Whispers from the Peaks (GW2)

A fantastical world filled with action and adventure, where the land can be both beautiful and deadly. An RP world based on the Guild Wars game, individuals and groups of people battle deadly creatures, powerful nemeses and each other to maintain a balance between good and evil. Professions of the land include Monks, Rangers, Warriors, Elementalists, Necromancers, Mesmers, Ritualists, Assassins, Dervish and Paragons. Ocassionally humans will seek aid from the 5 gods, Balthazar, Melandru, Dwayna, Grenth, and Lyssa when confronting a powerful foe beyond their abilities.
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Monkey Kitty
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Re: Whispers from the Peaks (GW2)

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Anakita Snakecharm

Anakita listened, rapt, while Nairn told her story. When Nairn had finished, Anakita gave her a hearty clap on the back - a very Norn gesture she had presumably picked up from Forgal.

"Congratulations!" she said.

The Ranger raised her tankard, and announced in a loud voice, "A toast! To Nairn the Knowledge-Bearer! May her adventures be many, and may her knowledge ever grow."

They drank to it.

"Hey, I gave a pretty good toast!" Anakita told Canach in a whisper... a louder whisper than she would probably have used if she was a little more sober. She turned back to Nairn. "I'm really proud of you!" she said.

Anakita almost added something unwise. Something that would have transmitted a curse. But she caught herself. She'd already drunkenly cursed someone once. For Forgal, it had worked out. In the future, she would be more careful.

"Nairn the Knowledge-Bearer!" the Ranger repeated with an impressed whistle.


***

Cara Rutherford was celebrating in her own way. She hadn't touched the ale, but she was engaging in another pursuit appropriate to a Norn event: a knife-throwing contest, which she was winning handily against all comers.

Stefan hadn't spoken much to Cullen, but the other warrior seemed pleasant, and by now Stefan was becoming accustomed to his presence.

"Your girl's good at that," Stefan said, gesturing toward Cara. "Did you teach her?"

Cullen shook his head. "No. I can't take credit. She learned from her uncle - that was before I met her. And of course, she has a natural talent for it. As a matter of fact, she gave me some pointers about it; improved my technique immensely. I can almost hold my own against her now. Almost."

Cullen grinned, and Stefan did too. He didn't feel so self-conscious anymore.

"You and your wife must be very proud of her," Stefan said.

"We are," Cullen agreed. "For many reasons."


***

The potential end of the world - or worlds - might be hanging over their heads. But it so often was. For tonight, it seemed absolutely appropriate to celebrate Nairn's achievement, with friends both old and new.
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Quaxo9
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Re: Whispers from the Peaks (GW2)

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Nairn Tuckamore

'may her knowledge ever grow' That was a toast worth drinking to. She accepted both it and the camaraderie that went along with it. For a brief moment, she became the observer at her own party. They were truly happy for her. Even the people she hardly knew seemed to be there for the reason for the celebration instead of the ale. It cemented in her mind that they might all be from different places and races, but these were her people. Her clan. She felt strangely humbled by the thought.

The time of introspection passed, and Nairn shared a few more rounds before deciding it was time to start cleaning up. She borrowed some clothes, then took over the bathing room. It felt good to wash off the blood and sweat - but of infinite more comfort was the increased surface area of fabric that now enveloped her. Herself taken care of, Nairn swept into the kitchen with enthusiasm. Her efforts to clean were not the most efficient, but in the end were effective. Of course, there was some leftover ale and the norn made a mess all over again making two huge batches of faux-sourdough bread. She managed to get the bread covered with tea towels and the flour swept up before she stumbled off to find someplace to sleep.

Though by now completely out of energy and quite drunk, Nairn took the time to make herself comfortable. She'd never gotten used to sleeping in a house or lodge. They were just so...open. And the beds were always ridiculously soft. No, she couldn't bring herself to just lay down on a couch - instead, she dragged it toward the corner of the room. Flipping it onto its front, the back of the couch tilted forward to rest against the wall, forming a sort of cave. With a heavy sigh, Nairn slid herself inside feet first, flipped over on her stomach, and passed out.

~~~~~

Despite her late night and the rather large portion of alcohol swirling through her system, Nairn still rose at a reasonable hour. It may have been the light, but it was more likely the smell of yeast from the bread proofing on the counter. With a grunt, she pushed the couch onto its feet to give her space to stand, stretching to alleviate the stiffness in her muscles. Her first stop was the kitchen to check on last night's experiments. A smile rose to her lips as she viewed the bowls with their contents pushing to towels up into smooth, graceful hills. She hefted the two bowls and moved to the courtyard to fire up the oven while she formed the boules. A few extra trips were made to the Snakecharm-Baruch pantry for chilis, cheese, olives and sundry nuts.

This was a place she felt very much herself. Even though her head throbbed with the previous day's efforts and imbibement, Nairn could offer no complaint. Her hands tore hunks of dough out of the massive bowls and she gently worked in the fresh ingredients before starting to shape the shaggy hunks into perfectly smooth balls. Each one she finished, she pushed to the back of the table and covered with a towel before getting to work on the next. She was in no rush. Surely, they would soon be off and running after the mysterious cult and potentially evil wolf god, but until that time, she could make preparations for the journey they would be bound to make.
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Monkey Kitty
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Re: Whispers from the Peaks (GW2)

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The Rutherfords

It was still dark when Cara woke up. Her eyes popped open, and her heart was beating quickly. The usual fears were swirling in her head, and there was only one way to set them right. As she did almost every night - even though tonight it was in an unfamiliar guest room that she found herself awake - she slipped out of bed and padded barefoot down the hall. Once she made sure her family was alright, she would be able to sleep again in peace.

As quietly as possible, she pushed open the door to the room where her parents were staying. Her mother made a soft, worried noise in her sleep, and Cara frowned. Before she had a chance to intervene, though, Cullen's hand moved sleepily to touch his wife's arm reassuringly. Tempest's body relaxed, and she rolled over and nestled into him.

Everything was fine here, then. Cara closed the door softly and tiptoed away.

Next, to her older sister's room. On the way to Rashel, though, Cara noticed an overturned couch in one of the common living areas. At first she took it as a sign of commotion, and her hand moved to one of the daggers that was never far from her reach, even at night. Moving closer, though, Cara quickly saw that Nairn was sleeping beneath it. Odd. But not a bad idea. It looked safe. Cara had slept under her bed for a few months once; this was the same principle. She moved on.

Cara pushed open Rashel's door. Rashel was curled in a ball, barely visible with the blanket pulled tightly around her. Cara carefully adjusted the blanket against Rashel's cheek so she had a little more breathing room, then disappeared back through the door and closed it behind her.

All was well.

She padded back to bed, pulled up the covers around her, and went back to sleep.


***

Tempest had always been an early riser, and in an unfamiliar place, she couldn't cling to sleep for long. She was up and dressed by the time Cullen woke, and she left him to bathe while she made her way to the kitchen. Cara and Rashel weren't up yet, but Nairn was baking industriously.

"Those look delicious," Tempest said with a smile. "Anything I can do to help?"
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Quaxo9
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Re: Whispers from the Peaks (GW2)

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Nairn Tuckamore

She was a bit surprised to have company, though she willingly moved over to allow Tempest some space at the counter. She gestured at the half-empty bowl of dough and the ingredients scattered nearby. It wasn't much of an invitation, but more of one than Nairn generally gave. Most people weren't terribly helpful in the kitchen to begin with - and if they were, they tended to get in her way - but she supposed that bread was something that could handle a bit of mistreatment in case of the former and she, being in a reasonable mood, could handle a case of the latter. Besides, she was still rather curious about Tempest, her magecraft and her world. Perhaps in the working of dough, she'd learn more.

"If you wish. The seasonings...may be different from the ones from your world. These are chilis - some find them hot on the tongue - and there is rosemary, basil and oregano - hard cheese - walnuts and pecans - dried apricots and plums. You may want to see if any of them are to your liking. This bread will be furnishing our journey. It would not do to have you find it unpalatable."

She had pointed to each in turn, while her left hand worked at forming the boule. Tempest's physical condition had made her wonder how the shaping would go with only one hand to both stabilize the bread and stretch it. She found her fingers equal to the task and immediately considered whether she could do two at once, but reminded herself she wasn't in a hurry.

Nairn desperately wanted to start asking questions, but realized that first she owed an apology. Not for the night's festivities or her drunken appearance - that was something she had to accept for herself and thereby was not something she could offer apology for. But, she should have minded herself earlier in the day.

"Tempest. I am...sorry...for startling your daughter - your family - with my...observation yesterday. I caused you some distress, I am sure, and I could have done...better."

Honestly, Nairn wasn't sure how to say it. Despite the fact that her statement had been truthful, she was well aware that there were many ways to speak truth. One of those ways likely could have saved the young woman from the sudden feeling of being unsafe - and her family from considerable alarm. Given the chance to do so again, she wasn't certain she would have said anything differently - but that didn't mean that one day she couldn't learn how to soften a verbal blow.
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Monkey Kitty
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Re: Whispers from the Peaks (GW2)

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Tempest Rutherford

Despite the loss of her arm, Tempest was clearly more than competent in the kitchen. She handled the dough and the flavorings with practiced ease, falling automatically into the same rhythm she would have in her own kitchen.

She hadn't cooked when she was young. There had been no opportunity. It was a hobby she had latched onto eagerly once she'd found her freedom, though. Being in the kitchen both calmed and invigorated her.

Tempest was a little surprised by Nairn's apology. Both because she didn't feel it was necessary, and because she got the feeling that apologizing probably wasn't something the other woman did very often.

"No need to be sorry," Tempest replied with a smile. "You did nothing wrong. On the contrary - we're grateful that you warned us, instead of allowing us to walk unknowingly into danger. Better to be prepared. If we were startled, it was only because so many things are strange here, and there are a lot pitfalls we need to be careful of."
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Re: Whispers from the Peaks (GW2)

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Anakita Snakecharm

First thing in the morning, Anakita decided to check on Iliana, Mikael, and Estella. The young woman had been resting last night when they returned, and none of that family had joined the party - unsurprisingly, under the circumstances. They probably didn't feel much like celebrating, after what had befallen Estella and the loss of her unborn baby. The Ranger had thought it best to give them some space.

Today, though, she wanted to check in. And the fact that she was going before breakfast - any breakfast! at all! - was a sign of just how important she considered her errand.

Anakita knocked softly on the door, and Mikael let her in. Estella was reclining, propped up on some pillows, still looking pale and drained. Anakita could see the faint bulge in the covers from the mound of her stomach, but she had no baby to show for it. Terribly sad. But Estella was awake, and seemed in reasonably good spirits under the circumstances.

Iliana and Mikael were eager to hear what had transpired the previous day. Anakita explained in as much detail as she could remember - and suddenly Mikael's eyes lit up with recognition.

"A spider web pattern?" the Northerner said thoughtfully. "That explains a great deal. We weren't sure exactly which of the daedra Julius had gotten involved with. Even when I was their prisoner, they naturally didn't converse with me about their intentions and plans. A spider web is Mephala. That... fits."

Iliana nodded her agreement. "Lias might be able to help," she suggested.

Mikael nodded thoughtfully, then explained for Anakita's benefit, "Lias is married to some old friends of mine." Realizing that this sentence might be incomprehensible to Anakita - he wasn't sure of the marital customs of this world - he added, "Lias, Ulga, and Soren. In Ulga's culture, it's expected for men to take multiple wives. Ulga felt it was only fair that women be able to do the same. It's... an arrangement that works for their family. They're happy."

Anakita nodded. She appreciated the explanation, because it made it easier to keep the names and relationships straight. As for the structure of their family, she had no judgments. Everyone had a different life to lead, and it was none of her business how they led theirs.

"Can we talk to this Lias?" Anakita asked. "He may be able to shed some light."
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Quaxo9
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Re: Whispers from the Peaks (GW2)

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Nairn Tuckamore

The norn made no secret of her watching Tempest's movements. She recognized the fluid movements, the practised ease, and most of all the kitchen serenity of someone who loved working with food. The response to her ill-planned apology was accepted with a knowing nod. Yes, new places had many pitfalls - nevermind completely new worlds - how would one even begin to fathom what sorts of questions to ask? Where would you start?

The Rutherfords had started by helping strangers.

It was moments like these where Nairn thought about some of the human theories of fate and destiny. Sometimes coincidence seemed just a little too far-fetched to believe it was responsible for every random fortuitous thing that happened. Sure, the Rutherfords were following Tempest's friend, but the chances that they'd be at the exact point on his trail as they were exiting the cave were astronomically small. Perhaps she could believe in something else that seemed a bit silly - luck. Luck was something she could get behind in this particular instance.

"This may be a new world for you, but I think you will get along just fine." The appreciation in her voice was plain, but it had completely fallen away when she spoke her next sentence. "Speaking of, I neglected to ask yesterday - how did you get here? I assume that it was an unusual method or we wouldn't be looking for how your friend or the cultists might have come here."

Though her words were plain, she clearly meant nothing by them other than the straightforward question they formed. She drew a blade from her sleeve and started scoring the boules with norn, charr and Canthan symbols for strength, power, family, courage, cunning...
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Monkey Kitty
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Re: Whispers from the Peaks (GW2)

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Tempest Rutherford

Tempest was pleased that she seemed to have made a favorable impression on Nairn. Back home, Tempest had a rather vast social network - family, friends, associates, connections in the world. Here, knowing so few people, she felt a bit unmoored.

She realized she and her family had been incredibly fortunate, though. They were starting to make friends already. Tempest had expected a cold rest on hard ground last night - instead, they'd been in comfortable guest quarters. They were off to a surprisingly good start. And the Norn's approval was another hopeful sign.

"We found our way through... this may sound strange, but a series of mirrors. They're called Eluvians. They're rare, and very powerful. In the past, I've known them to connect in our world, and to The Fade - like your Mists, I think. It's possible to follow someone through these mirrors, but figuring out your destination in advance can be a little approximate. While we were traveling, something... shifted. We ended up here, instead of where we expected to be. We can travel back the way we came. But it doesn't explain how someone found their way from our world to arrive here in the first place."

She hoped this explanation would suffice. Tempest had a working knowledge of Eluvians, but not a detailed one. When she had questions, she normally called upon an expert. But the chief among the experts she knew was the one they had followed here.

Out of curiosity, Tempest asked Nairn about the runes she was carving into the bread, and listened intently to the response. "Very fitting," Tempest told her - appreciating the symbolism - when Nairn explained.

By this point, Cullen had made his way to the kitchen. He made sure Tempest had seen him in her peripheral vision and noticed him, before wrapping his arm around her and kissing her cheek. He knew better than to take her by surprise... and she knew better than to take him by surprise, too. When the past had left its mark, adjustments needed to be made.

"Good morning," Cullen told Nairn cheerfully, giving the bread an approving glance.
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Quaxo9
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Re: Whispers from the Peaks (GW2)

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Nairn Tuckamore

Mirrors. Nairn's mind grasped at the idea, prodded it with information she had about travel between planes. Perhaps these mirrors - Eluvians - were a bit like the Mist Portals. The asura had figured out how to direct those too. She gained some hope that their asura might be able to figure out how these crystals worked. If that was even the method the cultists used...time would tell.

She had noticed Cullen's approach and his method of doing so. It was a tactic Nairn was familiar with and could approve of. People in their line of work couldn't afford surprises and often accumulated a severe allergy to them. While the norn had clearly been listening to Tempest's explanation, she had gone quiet in pursuing her own thoughts. She didn't pursue breaking that silence with the addition of a new person to the room, but did acknowledge Cullen's presence with a nod.

The boules scored, Nairn turned toward the oven and opened its maw wide before taking a long-handled peel in her hands to start shovelling the completed loaves inside. The last loaf barely fit in the door, which she fastened shut. Moving to the oven's side, she started fiddling with some turnkeys and dials before remembering that she wasn't alone. She turned her head to address Tempest, and Cullen by his presence, and beckoned them to join her.

"You may appreciate this. I convinced Whisper and Leepni to find a way to add steam to the oven without my having to add trays of water. This device routes water from the house and shuts itself off in time for the bread to brown." There was a hint of pride in her voice with her scant description, but much more in the way of anticipation. She gave the pressure gauge one more appraising glance before turning toward the other two. Clearly her time in silence had not been in direct response to Cullen's arrival.

"The Eluvian in this world. Is it safe? What is keeping someone - anyone - from using it to travel to your world?"
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Monkey Kitty
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Re: Whispers from the Peaks (GW2)

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Tempest and Cullen Rutherford

Tempest and Cullen both regarded the oven setup with interest. "Very clever," Tempest said. "And useful. Perhaps we could figure out something similar for our oven back home."

"Ingenious," Cullen agreed.

Tempest nodded approval when Nairn asked about the Eluvians - it was a good question, and needed to be asked. "It's as secure as we could make it," she replied. "It's in an out-of-the-way spot, and we concealed it as best we could. The main safeguard, though, is that they have to be unlocked. Someone would need to have the power and knowledge to do so. That isn't impossible, of course. But it wouldn't be easy, and we did our best to keep it safe."

Cullen added, "The gut instinct is to place it in most heavily guarded spot possible, of course. That isn't always the correct strategy, though. Say you have it in the heart of your fortress, and someone does crack it. Suddenly they have a way past all your defenses. Best to put it in a location that is secure but not incredibly high-value."

So not, for example, in Anakita's house. Not if they wanted to use this as a base of operations and prevent infiltration.

Anakita strolled into the kitchen, scooped an apple out of the fruit bowl, and took a large bite. When she had chewed and swallowed, she said, "Bread smells good! I found a lead. Mikael figured out which cult the purple-robed creeps are from. And he knows a guy - Lias Grath - who was mind controlled by them." Realizing she might sound a little too enthusiastic about the idea, she hastily added, "Which is terrible, of course. But he might know something that can help us. By the way, good morning!"
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