To Where First?

JP with Lucian, Bandorchu, and Omni

Tarmen remembered the village, but it had seemed so primitive, plus the natives hadn’t wielded that kind of power. Neither he or Hunter had gotten the best view however, the expedition swiftly falling apart right after they had spotted it.

“Didn’t get close enough to tell for sure. There were people, but we were forced to run only minutes after findin’ it.”

There was a part of him that dreaded a return to Sentinel, unwilling to be back on those cursed shores and what would happen to them.

Thinking of the imp again, he recalled the willingness the natives showed in following and fighting for the creature, as well as a familiarity with the woman’s wind magic.

“They might be natives, just under the control of this Alossi. Would make sense that they wouldn’t want to be slaughtered. Her speed and wind though, they could also think she is similar to the imp and worship her.”

It didn’t sound right, even to him, like he was missing an obvious piece to his thoughts. He frankly didn’t care. He gathered himself from the sand and looked out to the sea, shoulders slumped.

“I think she is tied to the idol we found. Somehow preserved as the ship was. Otherwise we would not have made it off Sentinel the first time.”

“The way she spoke was so… old-fashioned.”

Alexis remembered her peculiar pattern of speech. She took the remnants of the rods from Ekero with a nod.

“Don’t want to imagine it, but yeah… certainly feels like she might be an original passenger…”

Absolutely insane to imagine, if she hadn’t been in Arcadia for a while. Crazy was pretty normal around here.

“So. What now? Don’t think swimming over there is our best option. I still think it has to be Ostiarium. Frankly, we need help.”

Tarmen turned to Alexis, trying to keep his frustration in control, yet a snide attitude still coming over him.

“And how do we do that? We were sent to complete this hammer and bring it back, yet not only did we cock that up but we’ll also be tellin’ them that it’s in the hands of an enemy marchin’ on the city. I don’t see how we will get any help outside of bein’ helped out the door or being kept around to be part of the fight.”

He paced in a small circle, holding his hands around the back of his neck as he ranted.

“Not only that, but we then have to convince them that the dead end of a shithole that Sentinel is, is suddenly worth another go. How do we do that?”

Alexis understood the frustration. Gods knew she felt it herself. She showed the cracked rods.

“This might help as proof. And I would think, magik users from Allos in the neighbourhood might very well be of interest, especially not knowing what they are up to. Zane certainly was interested back when I reported.”

Listening to her friends, Voah saw they shared similar considerations and concerns. The only difference was that the others had more to lose by aiding a rogue arbiter.

"That Allosi woman held us all off easily. There is no question that we need help. Especially if there are more like her. The Purger won't need much convincing to send an attack against the remnants of Aloss. It's only a matter of resources and time... they have to feel the urgency of the matter. On top of that... he would be very, VERY interested to know about the Vaux... if he doesn't already. The importance of Gonyaul's abilities cannot be understated. Though... I fear The Mortal Shadow will want to take Gonyaul captive... and use him as a shield or a weapon."

She grew quiet for a moment and turned away.

"I know I would have... I... still do I suppose... in a way, but... it's not the same, you understand... I... love him... I..."

Seeing Voah be so vulnerable put out most of the fire in Tarmen, heaving the rest of his argument out with a deep sigh.
While he remained drained of any motivation, he knew Alexis was right. Looking at the rocks, he could see there was something of a plan to work with.
No matter what, their path was to Ostiarium.
A part of him wanted to console Voah in their usual silence, to save the words for later. Remembering his talk with Gonyaul in Desdem though, he spoke softly.

“You don’t need to convince us. We will do what we can to make sure he isn’t used as a tool, at least not for long. We take this step by step, aye? Worry about gettin’ the boy off that island first.”

Walking over to Ekero, he took his horse, securing Amu’s reigns to guide behind him as well.

“We got to get there first though. We can work out our parts in this plan on the way.”

Alexis carefully and fleetingly put a hand on Voah’s shoulder, but allowed her to stay turned away.

“We know. And we’re right there with you.”

She walked over to the horses, nodding to the two men, and turned around to wait for Voah.

“Let’s go. Whatever is going on, I think it’s a safe bet we don’t have time to loose.”

'To Ostiarium, with growing wariness the nearer we draw.'

Voah recalled the mercenary's previous words before leaving Desdem.

'Who knows what we get thrown at us before we even get there?'

Damn... how true those words were indeed. So much for keeping away from the Inquisition. Fate had a twisted and cruel sense of humor. The way it pulled them hither and thither... they may as well have been feathers on the wind, or sandcastles against the tide.

It couldn't keep coming to this, but... taking in the reassuring words of her companions, the tenderness in Alexis' touch, and the resolve in their intent to recover and protect their dear friend, once again it gave Voah strength and confidence to proceed closer to danger.

"Agreed. Let us be off. Time waits not for us." Voah affirmed, mounting her horse.

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