Crossing Worlds 10: Crossing Paths

Dec 14th, 2016
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  1. The great beast thrashes about ripping the sand and rock apart with its massive body. One of their horses lies dead, bloody, and broken in the jaws of the sandworm. The massive blind creature thrashes about confused as the party unleashes attacks upon it, wind, electricity, energy bolts, energy arcs, and fire. Its instincts are to hold onto its prey, but under attack to close its mouth and return underground; but with prey in its mouth it knows not what to do. Suddenly as though a burst of inspiration the monster throws the bloody remains of the equine into the air, as the party dodges the falling horse carcass the sandworm retreats underground.
  3. “We don’t get paid if we don’t kill it,” hisses Cata.
  5. “Its not about payment miss Cata,” says Hollia, “it is our duty to secure this trail.”
  7. Rhulan leans over the hole and begins an incantation as she writes on a parchment.
  9. “For the time being,” says Rhulan as she rolls up the parchment and tosses it into the hole, vanishing in a blue light, and oddly enough so does the hole. The ground shakes beneath and feels as though it is being pushed up.
  11. “I have created a stone path here,” says Rhulan, “and warded it with a repellent force. This amount of work between these two towns is both a boon to them, and awards us an excuse to charge enough to get a new horse, not to mention supplies.”
  13. “Not that we need supplies,” thinks Cata, her eyes on Rhulan’s cape.
  15. ******
  17. Darkness comes quickly in the desert expanses between towns, rather than make camp out here in the open Rhulan has once again offered the use of the space inside her cape. This is a new experience for Gold Wolf who is less than impressed by the sleeping arrangements; the cots. Cata finds herself anxious as she tries to go to sleep, knowing that last time she didn’t move with out being noticed; however unlike last time she now knows where Rhulan is. Further down the hallway away from the warehouse is a room with a large bed, not unlike the bedrooms at Hyatha-Aria’s compound; here Rhulan, Hollia, and Lin Lin are sharing one large room. Needless to say Gold Wolf is not too happy about this, less learning they’d already shared such a sleeping arrangement before.
  19. In the stillness as Hollia cuddles up against Rhulan, one arm of Rhulan’s wrapping around the smaller woman a figure watches them; Amara. She has manifested of her own will and watches the two sleeping, with Lin Lin above their heads like some perfect little picture frame. Amara approaches the bed silently, leans down and places one hand on the sheets slowly pulling them back. She put one knee upon the bed and freezes as Rhulan’s eyes shoot open.
  21. “Mistress,” says Amara who has stopped dead in her tracks.
  23. “I do not need a kiss to awaken me,” says Rhulan with a smile, “but thanks for the consideration.”
  25. “You are welcome mistress,” says Amara as she rights her self, not showing any sign of embarrassment at being caught.
  27. Rhulan slowly rises, despite Hollia’s unconscious protests, and replaces her own sleeping form with a body pillow which Hollia’s sleeping form greedily snatches up and cuddles with.
  29. Rhulan smiles and says softly, “may have spoiled her,”.
  31. Rhulan quietly exits the room, Amara slinking back into her shadow. As she passes the cot room Cata’s ear twitches and she tries to keep her eyes shut knowing full well whose high heel leather (or leather like in any case) boots are walking past them. In near complete darkness Rhulan accesses a storage box, calling up a smaller portable sub-space storage container. She moves, flies, *zips*, and teleports through out the warehouse gathering up items. In the back of the warehouse an even stranger scene is to be seen as she accesses an assembly line device to gift wrap the numerous boxes she is projecting from the portable cube. Yellow with pink ribbon, red with blue, green with red, blue with green, and many others, some with glittering patterns, others plain, and several other designs.
  33. *One thousand gift wrapped master*
  35. Says the machine.
  37. “Damn,” says Rhulan, “forgot this one had a speech function.”
  39. She looks around realizing she is incredibly far from the sleeping space, but,
  41. “Kuhrai ears” she says, but the just *shrugs*.
  43. She holds out the portable contained and recalls all the boxes into it. She flies up and accesses an external hatch; which on the outside splits a fake rock apart when it opens; and flies off into the night over this jungle valley that exists where ever the warehouse is. This land is dark below, one can easily imagine though with the strange sounds that many horrifying beasts roam this place; the predators out looking for their next meal and the prey trying to be it. She flies beyond the valley passing over a massive stone gate with two guards in silver armor guarding it; she is unseen to them as they are sleeping at their post. This land is filled with craggy rocks and hidden passages. Rhulan whispers a little chant to herself and turns invisible.
  45. In this land there is a castle built into the mountain side not far from the valley. Here Rhulan flies hidden over the patrolling guards, up close one can clearly see they are neither human nor Aesperian, they are elves, only with silver skin, the guards have white hair. She flies up the walls to a closed window. With a little wave of her hand the window silently opens…too silent, her spell casting silence upon it as well as motion. This room is amazingly colorful despite the grab stone walls, with red curtains, red guest couches, a pile of pillows in one corner for some reason, a large dresser with a massive mirror above it. The centerpiece of this room however is a canvas bed, its pink curtains hiding behind them red blankets with somewhat clashing purple and pink pillows. Sleeping here is a woman with silver skin, long pointed ears, and strikingly dark red hair, very much the same color as Rhulan’s. Rhulan lingers a moment pulling back the curtain slightly looking down at this gorgeous creature, in her cherry red nightie. Rhulan smiles and turns away taking out her portable container. In a flash all one thousand items are present in the room, scattered about it, on the floor, the desk, the couch, and one small one by the sleeping woman’s head. Just as quickly Rhulan is gone from the room and flying back towards the valley, invisible, to return to her own sleep and the waiting embrace of Hollia which Rhulan admits she has spoiled herself as well to grow accustomed to.
  47. ******
  49. “huh” says the woman in the canvas bed as she sits up, her eyes blinking through the sleep looking directly at her window, “what…huh…its not daytime…so…”
  51. *blink, blink*
  53. Her eyes begin to see the presents strewn about the room even as her mind is not fully awakened, “its not the founding day already, that’s to…mar…ow…wait…”
  55. Her eyes shoot fully open and she frantically looks around the room and grabs the small box by her head as she looks behind her, “Wait…how…”
  57. Holding the small box she rushes over to the window and peers into the distance, her eyes glow and change from silver to green, and aura trail appearing in the sky going from her window towards the valley. Her eyes shift back as she falls back onto her bed,
  58. sitting there clutching the tiny box in disbelief.
  60. “Im…” she says staggering, “im…how, poss…”
  62. She narrows her eyes and sets the tiny red box down by her side, “why…”
  64. She shakes her head, stands, and with a click of her fingers flames that burn nothing soar around her. Departing they reveal she is wearing royal red garments.
  66. She grabs one of the guards by her door pinning him to the wall with a *thunk*, “How in the goddess’s name did you not hear an intruder in my room!?”
  68. “Your highness?” says the second guard alarmed looking past her into the royal chambers, confussed by the sight of the room filled with gifts.
  70. “Divert thine eyes,” hisses the queen at him.
  72. “My apologies,” says the second guard, “I meant no offense,”
  74. She releases the first guard, but grabs his wrist turning on his communicator, “captain this is Queen Sylvia, I command a squad of the royal guard to be ready in twenty minutes. We are marching on the Valley of Ra’Vish!”
  76. ******
  78. Forty minutes later Queen Sylvia riding in a royal basket atop a massive grey furred lizard like beast, a contingent of fifty men, and three small black dragons stand before the massive gate, the guards there very glad the rumbling of the road and roar of the dragons woke them up before the Queen Sylvia arrived.
  80. “Go in!” commands Queen Sylvia.
  82. The gate is opened and a scout team separates from the main forces. Not three minutes in however a thick fog appears from the jungle and engulfs the men. This fog manifests outside the gate, the scout team appearing with it and left behind outside the gate as the fog vanishes.
  84. “I see,” says Queen Sylvia, “your defenses remain on,”
  86. She holds a purple fan up, pointing it towards the valley and sky, “Hear me Rhulan, creation goddess of all Nocturne, I know you have returned, reveal yourself to us!”
  88. Silence is the only answer.
  90. Sylvia whispers, “reveal yourself to me…mother.”
  92. A slight tear appears in the corner of her eye, she is quick to pull back the curtains of her carriage.
  94. She yells out the command, “Return to the castle! We have sleep to return to and a holiday to celebrate in the morning.”
  96. The beast turns around carrying the queen upon its back, the men are greatly confused. For it is tomorrow during the height of the festival that the queen and her elite guards…who are not with her now…would lead a caravan to these gates and leave an offering on a stone platform inside the gate in the hopes of appeasing their goddess. Expeditions are routinely lead into the valley to map as much as they can; always ending with the expedition sent back in only three minutes. Some in fact have come to believe this trespass insults the goddess and that is why she has not returned. Their immortal queen however tells another tale of a time over a thousand years ago when they could come and go from the valley and the goddess walked amongst them. Only the queen and the immortal elite guard would know the truth of this matter.
  98. “Why,” whispers Queen Sylvia to herself as the castle comes into sight, “why return only now.”
  100. In her lap she is holding the small box that had been left by her bed and opens it. Inside is a silver necklace adorned with dragons and red gems; as well as a note.
  102. [My dear Sylvia,
  104. It is with deep regret that I do not perform this reunion in person; however if you are anything like your mother, you may take issue with my undeclared absence over the last millennium; and I wouldn’t want you to harm your gifts (LoL).]
  106. Sylvia sighs, “So like you, and that ancient text of yours…no doubt it is you…mother.
  108. [While it is hard to believe a millennium ago some brave hero of justice, corrupted by a goddess of chaos revealed a weapon I was not familiar with…that did not look like a weapon. This device succeeded in turning me to stone. My power cut off from the rest of the world Aesperia was plunged into chaos. As such all the gates to Juhn, to you and the others were cut off from this side. However the chance is great that the other gates are still active. The necklace in this box is not merely a sparkly trinket to add to your collection, the central ornament is also the key too…]
  110. Sylvia reads aloud, “The Silver Dragon’s Gate…”
  112. Sylvia looks at the necklace, at the winding dragon ornament with its silver eyes in contrast to the red gems of the rest of the necklace.
  114. She continues reading,
  116. [The Silver Dragon’s Gate. I suppose I should have given this too you ages ago, but now is a better time. For this letter is an official invite to Aesperia, and your letter of claim as I promised so long ago to the Desert lands you loved so much. They are yours…you need only remove an oversized bandit gang using precursor technology to claim full authority. Nothing much, I already destroyed their most powerful weapons my child. Not that you couldn’t of course. I leave this new territory, and these one thousand gifts as my apology to you.
  118. Oh and also before I forget, there is a nation on the rise called Stratalia, I would be greatly appreciative if you made it a point to ally with them; after all the enemy you will face in the desert, the Magnus Empire…so they call themselves, are also enemies of this other nation, to whome I have connections.
  120. See you soon.]
  122. ******
  124. Back in the castle Queen Sylvia returns to her room to find another of her find a smaller woman with long pink hair standing in the room and counting the boxes.
  126. “Mana,” says Sylvia handing the pink haired one the letter, “alert the elite guard and give them copies of this letter. After the festival we are to have a meeting to discuss our course of action.”
  128. “Then these nine hundred and ninety nine gifts do mean?” says Mana
  130. “One thousand,” says Sylvia dangling the necklace around her neck, “yes, she’s back, and the key to the promised land is in our possession.”
  132. Sylvia smiles a wicked smile, “now lets see what other items our creator as deemed worthy as apologies for her sudden departure.”
  134. Mana is looking at the letter, “Woah,” she says aloud, “really?”
  136. “Mana,” says Sylvia.
  138. “Right, right,” says Mana, “right on, copy and fax.”
  140. As Mana leaves Sylvia picks up the nearest box and looks out the still dark window, “you are unbelievable you know that mother.”
  142. She cracks a little smile and wipes an errant tear as she starts to undo the ribbon.
  145. ******
  147. (A few days later)
  149. Diego, a massive port city, putting even Osopika to shame; its docks designed to be the first stop for massive cargo ships traveling across the Great Sea and among the many islands, as well as up and down the coastline. However something is unusual, there are military ships being built with great haste in the harbor, half the harbor in fact is under military control, and the security is much higher than normal. As they approach the city Gold Wolf urges Cata to assume her more common form. She does so, but with a scowl.
  151. A guard at the home office of Gold Wolf’s shipping headquarters, where Haki’s device was meant to transport them salutes and says, “Welcome back Lord Gold Wolf, there is a message waiting for by Queen Jasma and King Tryos.”
  153. The party all look at each other, “Lord Gold Wolf?” says Gold Wolf, “since when am I lord Gold Wolf and not captain Gold Wolf?”
  155. “Sir?” says the guard, “have you not heard? Sorry sir, that may be what the message from the royal house is about, my apologies sir.”
  157. *Indeed it is, while the party was in transit and traveling across the desert Osopika sent out scout adventurer teams. These small bands despite their powers were overwhelmed and forced to retreat by the Magnus Empire’s troops. Numbers overcoming power, as ants may overcome a scorpion. Even with out two facilities and their power the Magnus Empire is still a force to be reckoned with. As a result Stratalia has made a desperate action; the Merchant Confederacy is now The Stratalia Union, Postorina, Crimdalina, and the island nation of Caprish have all already joined forces forming a united military and navy to oppose the Magnus Empire’s attempts to expand.*
  159. “Huh,” says Rhulan, “well Hollia, it seems now you are officially a princess as your parents have claimed the titles officially and not just defacto.”
  161. “I…” says Hollia, “I…guess, wow, should we.”
  163. “No,” says Rhulan, “It may be a bit extreme but I have no worries Stratalia will come out on top; this event was inevitable.”
  165. Rhulan’s mind’s eye flashes back to Stratalia, seeing a recording from the library of a woman in a maid costume with shoulder length pink hair, accompanied by a shorter girl with pink hair in pig-tails, “Taki and her daughter Pima,” thinks Rhulan. Behind them a woman with a very athletic build and short blue hair wearing an enforcer uniform, “and Morohi,” followed by Jasma.
  167. Rhulan smiles while thinking, “I see just like Scrags before them they found their way into the secret library. Hmm..”
  169. She noticed they only looked about the walls and shelves, Taki made a play for a hidden panel even Scrags missed but decided it was sealed beyond their means to open with out Rhulan or blowing this entire wing of the school apart.
  171. “Miss Rhulan,” says Hollia bringing her back to reality.
  173. “The school,” says Rhulan, “Hollia contact your mother…the Queen, and tell her those books in the library are of no use to them if they want to build weapons and vessels to defend their kingdom. If they ask nicely I may open the gate and let them into the main computer to access some blue prints; naturally only of things easier to produce than Petite Juggernauts; but it should put them on par technologically at least with Croix in terms of weaponry.”
  175. “Miss Rhulan,” says Hollia confused and a bit frightened.
  177. “Don’t worry,” says Rhulan, “you have my word everything will be fine; Stratalia has many hidden secrets of its own, I am just giving them an edge.”
  179. Gold Wolf looks at her from the corner of his eye, “why did that sound so ominous?”
  181. ******
  183. Later on back in Stratalia, Jasma reads the transmission sent from Diego’s Merchant Guild instant transmission terminal. Morohi, Taki, Pima, and even the green haired Launia who is normally in Bostonia attending a shop are there.
  185. “Bringing your daughter along again,” thinks Morohi, “and here I thought you said years ago you didn’t want to raise her to be a thief.”
  187. “Jasma,” says Launia, “does this mean the empress…which I am still totally in shock that hot babe with Holly was her…is on our side.”
  189. “Hollia’s side,” whispers Pima with a smirk.
  191. “It means,” says Jasma solemnly, “she knew we were in the library and saw us…we shouldn’t under-estimate her. The fact she had my daughter write the letter instead of she herself doing it…alarms me…although I can’t quite put my finger on why…”
  193. “She is openly granting us access to her weapons?” asks Morohi.
  195. “If my daughter, if Holly is repeating what Rhulan said,” says Jasma, “it seems only partially. That she can command the hidden chambers from across the continent…what you have all heard today is to remain top secret…”
  197. She looks directly at Pima, “understood.”
  199. “Yes your highness,” they all say in unison.
  201. “Jasma,” whispers Taki, “with all the tomb raiding we’ve done before in the secret chambers unlocking blue prints why is she only now appearing?”
  203. “Because now she can,” whispers back Jasma, “I’ll explain later when we are down there.”
  205. ******
  207. In the morning there is a little white envelope sitting on the floor by the door of Rhulan’s room scooted in there in the middle of the night. She picks it up and looks behind her at the bed where Hollia and Lin Lin still lie; having snuck in the middle of the night to share this single bed despite Gold Wolf giving them all separate rooms. Rhulan smiles at the thought, “Hollia came to me.”
  209. Her smile vanishes as she opens the envelope and reads its contents, she thinks for a moment, looks back at Hollia and smiles again, “one more down.”
  211. ******
  213. “Miss Cata left?” asks Hollia at the breakfast table, Rhulan presenting the note just as Gold Wolf was starting on about the maids telling him Hollia didn’t use her room.
  215. “Useless spies,” thinks Rhulan, “this little imp dares….”
  217. “Oh,” says Rhulan, “Yes, it seems…well…just read the letter everyone…well Gold Wolf and Hollia.”
  219. [It has come to my attention that this adventure is a waste of my time. On one account I tire of hiding my true form from you aliens. It is an insult to my Kuhrai pride. I have allowed this insult long enough. However this alone is not why I have chosen to leave your company Rhulan.
  221. It is readily apparent that you have access to Ju-el technology, possibly other technology as well, in your cape, in that legendary warehouse of yours. No doubt you have a vehicle stashed away in there that would have made this adventure far quicker; yet you drag your heels. You are prone to deviating from the path to our goals and I can no longer tolerate this expense of my time. My reasons for joining you on your mission were to avenge my crew and ship against the Dah-hoth and their master the creature you called Satasar. However it is apparent to me that despite your claims of them targeting you and Holly-Lia that they have not done so for some time, nor have we seen any signs of the Dah-hoth. Our only adversaries have been criminals targeting Captain Betty and local political problems I am not supposed to become involved with; which it is apparent are coming to a heated head on this continent.
  223. My second reason for joining you was to find The Tiger Eye Gem, which according to that monster on Los Rodos is near where Satasar is, in Croix. At your current rate, and using a mere ship, even one powered by golem tech, will take far too long. As such I am departing your company and using my own space ship, whose scanners can detect Dah-hoth life signs and take me to Croix much faster.
  225. Good luck with your adventures
  227. Sincerely
  228. Kathara Harana]
  231. “huh,” says Rhulan, “accuses me of holding out on a vehicle and yet she has had a space ship this whole time.”
  233. “Do you,” says Gold Wolf.
  235. “Why yes,” says Rhulan bluntly, “A two seater Air-skimmer, a Vera Vex from the Ju-el universe. As I can fly and have my ware house on my back I have no need to acquire larger vehicles in there. I had intended at the start of this adventure, if the need came to use the Vera Vex. Of course that would mean just Hollia and I traveling together.”
  237. *chirp* goes Lin Lin
  239. “and you of course Lin Lin,” says Rhulan, “and while not speaking yes Amara you as well, being that you can hide in my shadow and Lin Lin on Hollia’s temple, the number of seats would not be an issue.”
  241. “You two alone,” thinks Gold Wolf crossing his arms, “not on my life.”
  243. Hollia looks at the letter, written to Rhulan, again disheartened, first Betty and now Cata, the two that had been with them since Los Rodos are now both gone. She looks at Rhulan, a smile coming back to her face, “she’d never leave,” thinks Hollia. Looking at her uncle however she thinks, “but Miss Rhulan might be worried I’d have to.”
  245. “I’d never leave,” says Hollia aloud, really a whisper.
  247. “Huh,” says Gold Wolf looking at her, Hollia blushes realizing she spoke aloud.
  249. She looks at Rhulan who smiles down at her.
  251. “I mean,” says Hollia to Gold Wolf, “I know there is trouble back home, but there’s nothing I could do…and…oh…right, I can’t anyway, we’d have to cross over or around enemy territory, it’d be safer if we kept going.”
  253. “Sounds like a plan,” says Rhulan much to Hollia’s relief, “So Gold Wolf, where is your ship?”
  255. *Cata has left the party*
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