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Upon making a precursory tour of the hallways and marking the rooms in her mind, Kat returned to the empty rooms set aside as living quarters, choosing the one just beyond Kaito's and walking in to set her satchel on the bed. While the room wasn't lavish, it was comfortable in its simplicity, illuminated by an Ichor powered lamp which was situated near the bed. Adjacent the bed was a drawered chest large enough to hold everything she owned and then some.

Flicking her gaze around she sighed softly, then reached up to run both hands through her hair, undoing the braid and holding the leather tie between her teeth as she rebraided the long mahogany locks into a more tidy plait, a few shorter strands remaining out to soften the otherwise sharp features of her face. Then, removing her leather overtunic and extra throwing knives, Kat settled on just her dark grey tank top, leather pants, and soft leather boots, leaving the knife at her waist and thigh. Raising her arms up overhead in a quick stretch, Kat eased the kinks that had a way of worming into her muscles when she was tense. Being underground was naturally warmer, and she figured she'd be more comfortable without the extra vestements.

Pausing in her open doorway, Katlina hesitated, her eyes moving up and down the hallway. It would be good to get to know the others, especially Ayura who was the leader of the group. Pushing past her reticence in seeking out conversation, Kat headed in the direction she'd last seen the elven female. She'd picked up on a bit of the woman's almost hesitant demeanor earlier. Did she even want them here? Once again, Kat realized she would eventually need more of the story before she could truly build relationships here, and as she moved down the hall she realized how much she truly wanted to. Kaito had given her a glimpse of his connection to these people, enough to both remind of her what she'd lost, and what she hoped to gain.

In the study, the footsteps had come from Asher, whose tall stature momentarily filled up the door that Damian had left open. He had passed by the Study and had been about to close the door when he'd seen the mage inside. He couldn't help but smile as he leaned against the wall, comfortably crossing his arms. His brown-tipped, vulpine ears were lopsided in amusement, one up and one tilted to the side. "Ah, looks like you've found Ayu's favorite little hoard and nook," he remarked lightly before stepping inside, looking around at the sizable collection.

"She's in here quite a lot, and has a knack for researching a wide variety of topics..." he trailed off, smiling as he surveyed the organized mess. "...most of these come from our exploits. A spoil, a reward, a pickup on the side." He glanced over at Damian, his blue-grey eyes warm. Intriguing. However, it seemed no surprise that Ayura would find and trust someone who was after her own heart. After all, it had been so with all of them as well. "You were the one she brought here, were you not?"


Katlina would find Ayura still in the commons space, that spacious area that had initially branched off into the two hallways and was also attached to the stairs that led back up to ground level. She was sitting alone on one of the couches, and the first thing that one would notice was the absence of the brown cape-cloak over her shoulders and back. It would reveal her to be lightly armored; the plates that she wore upon her shoulders, elbows, knees, and shins seemed somewhat mismatched, but somehow the clashing metal scheme still seemed to work aesthetically. Her chest-plate was off for the time being, sitting upon a side table, and she was busy with the brown cloak in her lap instead of on her shoulders, patching a tear near the cape's edge. Her fingers with the needle seemed precise as she busied herself with her task, seemingly oblivious to anything else for the time being.

Her thoughts roamed back to older days, back when it was just her and Ilias, back when she had first met Kaito, then the twins, and all the others... she had taken them in, one by one. This place had been their refuge and home from all the hardships that each had endured before they had found this place. Something in her wondered if it was silly to try to go back to those humble roots at least to some degree, to start anew with fresh faces. Gods, she was so sentimental.

Damian jumped about a mile when he heard Asher speak to him. He felt his heart palpitate for a few beats as he let out a mixture of a gasp and a frightened shout. He had been so absorbed in the sight of all these books that he hadn't heard the Vulpine Beastkin come into the room behind him, and as a result had been very startled when Asher had made his presence known. After he had settled down, he looked over at his new compatriot, eyes occasionally darting around the room at all the books as Asher detailed how most of them had been acquired. He nodded slowly as he listened, before focusing his full attention on the tall Beastkin.

The mage saw the warm blue-gray eyes looking at him, seemingly studying him; about what, though, Damian couldn't be sure. When Asher asked him about him being the one that Ayura brought to the Treasure Lamp, the blond looked away and nodded slowly, mind going back to the course of events that led to his recruitment. His right fist reflexively closed into a loose fist, which started imperceptibly shaking. His thoughts went to his former Mentor, destroying the tome, the vision that had knocked him out for two days. A small, but noticeable weight settled over his heart. "Yes, I was," he said softly. Damian swallowed and looked back at Asher. "It was a...rather trying experience for the two of us...." The statement was partially true. Other than Ayura breaking down crying after destroying the tome, it had been far more trying for him than it had been for her.

When Katlina emerged into the common room on silent feet, she halted at the entryway and her stormy grey hues swept the lone figure who sat mending her patchwork cloak. She didn't seem formidable, but Katlina knew from experience that anyone skilled in the use of Ichor should never be underestimated. Besides that, the elf seemed to Katlina to have the kind of strength that often took people by surprise.

Carefully settling into a couch near, but not directly beside Ayura, Katlina watched her for a long moment, noting the deft-ness with which the fingers wielded their needle. Everything about this moment was out of the rogue's comfort zone, yet she schooled her face into a quiet thoughtfulness, counting her breaths as she decided how to approach a conversation. She preferred to converse outside, under a clear sky, or possibly under the thrill of danger or adventure. Such things brought out her spark, and it wasn't so hard to relate to people she'd shared excitement with. Still, once Kat decided to give her heart and mind to a task, she would move heaven and earth to accomplish it if she had to. That meant opening up here.

"Thank you for this opportunity." She finally offered, her voice quiet, as if she were feeling out the other woman's desire to remain in solitude. She tried to read Ayura's current attitude, but with knowing so little about her she couldn't much tell. She leaned forward and braced her forearms upon each leg, cupping her hands together as she regarded the other woman without qualm. "If what Kaito mentioned is any indication, you all share a very close bond, and I ..." she paused her gaze serious, "want you to know that I take the offer of working with you all very seriously."

Asher had released a small breath of a chuckle at Damian's interjection of surprise, but otherwise didn't comment. Although he was never as close as Kaito when it came to reading people, it was plain to see that the memory of whatever they had gone through had been troubling. And to him, that shared experience was something that could forge a strong bond, as it had when they had all found one another. Ayura had not spoken in detail about what had happened, only that this young man had assisted her in destroying an evil tome; the last in her little crusade. And his impression was that Damian would not like to speak of his venture either. Not that it was an issue at all.

"It feels like all of Veritae has fallen into some trying times, one way or another," he mused absently as he lost himself in thought momentarily, his dim hues pensive and perhaps even a bit tired as he averted them momentarily. "And that curse seemingly afflicts us all. I do hope this place can be your place of rest, just as it has been for the rest of us." His gentler smile returned as he looked back towards the mage. "I imagine you're perhaps a bit overwhelmed, but what do you think of all this? This place, the shop, this group." He made a vague gesture encapsulating everything he had just mentioned.


Ayura had felt the presence walk in but had not bothered to look up. If she was needed, then she would be more blatantly informed. However, even she had to acknowledge the somewhat uncertain atmosphere as Kat took her place just out of arm's reach. The elf looked up at last from her sewing at the rogue's words, her fingers stilling as she listened for a few moments. After a moment or two, she rested the needle within a folded wrinkle of the garment. She nodded; she too seemed to be a little wary of conversation, but the cause for it was up for debate. "I'm glad. We are...pretty close, yeah," she ambled into a small shrug. "The Treasure Lamp's been around upwards of five years now. You tend to get close to people that you live, laugh, and fight with." A small breath of a chuckle escaped her.

"And, well, I've tried my best to make this...a home, above anything else," she added almost as an afterthought, her violet eyes falling to her lap, where her hands were folded upon the cloak. She seemed to be lightly fidgeting her feet as she spoke, a childish and uncertain action. It was strange to see the contrast between her relative firmness when she spoke to all of them as a group and the image of her now--small--and it perhaps highlighted her youth even more.

"So..." she added after a few more seconds of silence, seemingly uncomfortable with them, "I hope you guys like it here too. Kai trusts you, and I trust him, so that's that."

Damian kept his eyes on Asher as the latter spoke, the words rather pensive in nature. He had to admit that the Beastkin was correct. Many things he had heard over the last several months - even in his privileged existence - seemed to point to most corners of the realm being in strife. At that moment, the mage wondered if there was a solution to all these problems, and, if so, what it would take to get there.

Despite the melancholy he felt, Damian couldn't help but return Asher's gentle smile as the Beastkin said that he hoped that this place could be his place of rest as it was for the rest of the Treasure Lamp, and nodded in thanks. However, when Asher asked him what he thought of this new situation, the smile slowly faded. The mage sighed and looked away. "Yes, I am overwhelmed," he said softly. "Everything has been happening so fast. Just eight days ago, I was in Illustra continuing my apprenticeship, then the next day..." Damian trailed off. He still didn't want to talk about the events of several days before; the events that set him along the path of joining the Treasure Lamp. He swallowed again.

Taking a deep breath, he continued, "Then the next evening, Ayura and I destroyed a cursed tome, and now a week later I'm here." Damian looked back at Asher. There was some melancholy in his navy eyes, and yet a smile was starting to tug as his mouth. "As for all this," he said, making the same vague encapsulating gesture as his new compatriot, "I look forward to being a part of this with all of you, and I am honored that you all feel me suitable enough to be here." He took a moderately deep breath. I suppose that it must seem that I'm replacing them... he thought.

Lance moved to open the door to the room he had chosen, setting his bag, a simple light blue messenger bag, on the inside of the room, near the door. He was tempted to take his pistols off and keep them in there, but decided against it on the off chance he did need them. Not that he thought he would, just as a precaution. He made his way back to the main branching area, noticing the others having gone there separate ways.

Lance let out a sigh. He felt almost out of place without Indomiel, looking back to the door he shook his head. No, I need to do this. I need to at least live on for him if anything else. Lance thought to himself before heading off. He didn't find innately any particular attraction to any certain room, drifting down to gaze at what all there was to offer down there.

He eventually chose the door labeled workshop out of his own curiosity, moving towards that door. He gave a small knock before opening the door to peer inside, knocking really just out of politeness and habit of letting whoever may have been in there, if anyone, know someone was entering.

"You tend to get close with the people you live, laugh, and fight with." As Ayura spoke, Kat felt the cut of sorrow in her breast gape just a bit wider. Things had gone so wrong before... why had she used Ichor for the first time, something she had wanted so badly, yearned for all her childhood, only to have become a curse rather than a gift? She'd messed everything up.

The silence that ensued after the elf finished built up the awkwardness until it was palpable. Was Ayura as horrible at conversation as Kat was? Or was it just because they didn't know each other? Not sure why Kaito trusts me, I nearly stole from him after all.... I trust him, too... I hope I'll live up to it...This place is nice, I just "hate being closed up." The last shift of thought came out in a bit of a mutter as Kat glanced down at her lap. She'd sat in awkward silence going through answers in her head, and tossing them just as quickly. Somehow the words didn't seem appropriate.

Realizing she'd spoken the last part aloud, she flicked her gaze to Ayura, a silent stricken heartbeat passing before she smoothed her features and rolled her shoulders in an apologetic shrug. "If this place had a second entrance, a backdoor, it would be almost perfect." She was putting her foot in it now, she knew, but... was there a way to salvage this conversation? Ayura had just told her how much she'd worked to make this a home for the group. Releasing a breath Kat reached up to tug aimlessly on her braid. "What I mean to say... is that you really have made a nice home here. I'm sure it won't take too long for me to accustom myself." After only a brief pause she slipped the question in as an afterthought, " there a backdoor?" She kept her stormy hues nonchalant, though she knew it was a bit late to act as if it didn't matter to her.

Asher smiled, the traces of weight vanishing from his eyes. "Of course we do. Ayura's not exactly freely opening her doors to just about anyone," he hummed, his eyes tracing over the books to a few of the knickknacks that were occasionally and inevitably stashed all around. Small gemstones, hanging talismans, the occasional stack of scrolls. There was a flat stone upon the desk, its thickness like that of a marble. "If anything, I would think that she would be the one who wouldn't bring anyone to our recruitment drive," he mused.

Tilting the stone on its edge absently, he flicked his thumbs and sent it spinning, twirling just in place upon the desk. "It simply means that we're expecting great things from you, but, please, don't take that negatively whatsoever," he assured Damian and the stone began to slow, its spinning axis beginning to wobble. "Shall I leave you to your reading, then?"


Lance would lay eyes first, seemed like utter chaos. There were three--what seemed to be like worktables or islands but were absolutely covered with strewn tools, contraptions, small bottles of various liquid, including liquid Ichor, which glowed its familiar golden light. There were many things that were neatly hung on the walls with an organization one wouldn't be able to immediately place; the workshop smelled faintly of crude oil and projects with many gears, wood and metal pieces, as well as their respective bins, which littered every available counterspace. Large crates were stacked all along one wall, and high shelves, also full of projects, dominated another.

The gunmage would be greeted by a small clicking noise at his feet shortly after he walked in. If he looked down, he would see a small mechanical dragon the size of a domestic cat, looking up at him with a curious chitter as the tail flicked back and forth absently. Its eyes were glowing rubies, and one would be able to see the corona of the shifting glow of Ichor within the metal shell.

Shortly, the door behind him, which he had just walked through, opened again, and the Toymaker, Kaj, walked in, holding yet another bin of small metal parts, as well as the small contraption that he had been working on earlier during their introductions. He stopped short when he saw Lance, momentarily surprised to find someone else here, but after a moment or two he managed to collect himself. "Oh, hi," he greeted cheerfully, putting the bin down on what limited space still remained on the counter, the small dragon turning to follow and nip at the tinkerer's heels. "What brings you to my space? It's not...well, presentable, it hardly ever is, but you can have a look around."


There was something about Ayura's expression that was amused and yet somewhat lopsided, as if she were acutely uncomfortable yet at the same time fighting the girlish smile that passed over her face, which eventually won out. Oh, this was golden, but at the same time it made sense. Mercenaries and wanderers tended to spend most of their time outdoors, and having so much space simply robbed from them might be uncomfortable.

Her grin was almost impish, the awkward uncertainty draining away from her countenance. "We're a mercenary guild. Do you really think that there's no back entrance?" She chuckled, turning back to her sewing just long enough to tie a knot with the needle and clipping the needle off. She stood, flinging her cloak around her shoulders and closing the brass clasp at her chest to hold it together. "We try to use the shop entrance, the main, as much as we can since we need to keep a low profile," she explained, "But there are actually two other entrances to this complex. One, only Lala tends to use, because it goes out from the distillery into her small garden, and it'll really tick her off if someone goes through there."

"The other one...well, let's just say you'll have to come with me the first time, or else they'll freak out," she grinned, looking more comfortable now. The elf drifted toward the nearest hallway, the one that passed by her room, before looking back at Katlina. "Do you want to see?"

The melancholy slowly left Damian's eyes as he found the smile that had been tugging at his mouth appearing on his face, and it was a genuine one. "Thank you," he said, his voice louder than before. "And rest assured that I won't take it negatively." The mage looked over at the wobbling disk on the desk, watching its spin slowly come to a stop. After thinking for a moment, Damian shot a small wisp of his Ichor at the disk. When the golden substance made contact with the stone, its spin was suddenly revitalized, and the stone itself started exuding a soft golden glow.

Smiling at his handiwork, he looked back to Asher. "And no, it's alright, you don't have to," he said. "I was tempted, but most likely wasn't going to read anything." As he said that, his eyes darted around the room once more at the collection before resettling their gaze upon the Vulpine Beastkin. "Anyway, enough about me," he said. "When we were all upstairs earlier, you mentioned you had some blacksmithing experience. Might I ask where you were apprenticed?"

Two backup entrances? Perfect. The tension buried in Kat's muscles, obscured by her nonchalant pose finally drained away. As Ayura offered an admittedly impish grin, any remnants of awkwardness on Kat's part flitted away like mist under sunshine. Oh yeah, she could come to like this one.

Rising at the invitation in the elf's voice Kat's lips curved upward in an echoing grin, one eyebrow lifting as well in a flash of curiosity. "I'd love to." She murmered, wading around the couches to follow Ayura, hands moving loosely at her sides. "And," she conceded, "I'll avoid the distillery exit like the plague if using it'll turn Lala's ire on me. The small quiet types are always the spunkiest." She chuckled quietly, genuinely intrigued as to what, or who, would have freaked out if she'd gone out the second exit alone.

Moving down the hallway next to Ayura, Kat wondered for a brief moment where Kai had gotten to, but the thought evaporated as she had a new one. Ayura had said she was good at Ichoric manipulation. Perhaps she'd help Kat understand her own a bit better, though she'd always felt her abilities strayed from the usual way such power worked. Certainly it didn't look like any power her people had ever had, which is one reason events had been so disastrous.

Tentatively, her steps making little to no noise as her gait was naturally fluid and light, she glanced at the female elf. In her experience, there was no time like the present. "I know its early in my tenure here, so you needn't give me any information you aren't comfortable in, but, I'm always looking for ways to gain more control over my own... power. You mentioned you were gifted with Ichor, so if you have any tips..." her voice drifted off, the echo of her words muted upon the wooden walls of the hallway. Kat didn't feel ready to detail how often she'd inadvertently hurt or destroyed things in the early days of her power, especially not that day, but she'd learned a fair amount about it on her own. As with everything though, there was always more to know, to discover, to glean.

Asher tilted his head at the question, after releasing a small breath of a chuckle at the small spell that kept the stone twirling. He leaned back to partially sit on the desk, facing Damian. "La and I found ourselves in Cae'bril some time ago, so we both took our apprenticeships in Sagetoria," he explained, briefly reaching up to scratch behind his ear. "It was a few years ago, but we still practice on our own. My master was a blacksmith, and hers an herbalist." He shrugged, shaking his head. Although I would venture to say that she's much more experienced now than her master ever was. And the rarities that this business gives us access to, it only allows us to reach new frontiers that we could've never imagined when just relying on a master who was fairly rooted down."

He contemplated thoughtfully as he looked Damian over. "You mentioned an apprenticeship in Cae'bril as well," he acknowledged. "And I would think that, based on the ease of that earlier spell, that you're a mage." He paused to chuckle once more. "And that just makes you and Ayura quite the pair. Maybe you could teach each other something." The beastkin paused, his ears flicking automatically as he registered quick footsteps just before Damian heard them too, running just past the door. After another moment, Asher continued. "Her arcanism is a little on the unorthodox side, and with all the resources she can find, she's always learning something new on her own. I'm not quite sure she's ever had a formal mentor."


Her grin continued to be infectious, although she did pause to listen to the request. "I'll teach you, sure," she nodded. "It's a little bit different for everybody, so I've found. And we can keep working on it whenever we need to. We all try to learn things from one another. It's how we grow."

"Come on, then, if you're coming," Ayura beckoned with a mischievous excitement, like a child about to unveil a big secret. She flitted down the hallway, footsteps a swift staccato against the worn wood all the way down to where the larger rooms were. Workshop, Distillery, Forge. And also the Warehouse, with that small and narrow hallway that led to the door. Stables. Her footsteps slowed here, and she halted just before the door, not-quite-breathless as she waited for Kat to catch up.

Whenever she did, Ayura pushed open the door. "Try not to make any loud noises, at least until they start to get comfortable around you, alright?" Without waiting much for an answer, she pushed the door open. At first glance, it was disappointing. Just an empty room, barely enough to fit a person. But then one would see the ladder embedded into the wall, going up. The elf went up first, climbing up with familiar ease. And just as she neared the top, where there was another trapdoor, she clicked her tongue and made a strange trilling noise, of which a responding sound answered before she pushed open the door and climbed up.

"Climb up, and close your eyes when you get to the top. I'll help you up."

If Kat was good at anything, it was being quiet. She had matched Ayura's pace down the larger halls, and then on into the smaller one, intrigue building within her. Giving a nod to Ayura's cautions, before moving into the tiny room and sending a glance around at the bare space. Odd... Then, catching sight of thr trapdoor and ladder, Katlina realized this room must be underneath the stables. But why did they have to be so careful?

Waiting as the elf made odd trilling sounds, she followed Aura slowly up the ladder a twinge of unease moving through her at the instruction to close her eyes. As she reached the top few rungs she drew a breath and acquiesced, dark eyelashes brushing her cheeks as they closed, and lifted a hand up towards Ayura so the elf could guide her the last few steps up. Once her feet were planted firmly, keeping her breath carefully controlled, head tilted slightly to the side, Kat waited for further instruction, eyes remaining closed. As she waited, her mind reviewed the animals she'd seen in the stables, wondering if one of them was the cause of this caution.

Lance looked down at the small mechanical dragon with eyes of wonder. "Huh..." He muttered to himself. "That's really neat." He spoke before realizing he had been followed into the workshop, stepping out of the way for the tinkerer to enter into the workshop. He took note of the clutter and mess, but overall shrugged it off as he wasn't always the most organized.

Lance looked at Kaj. "Ah. I was just looking around. I guess curiosity got the best of me and I wanted to see what all was inside." Lance replied. "That dragon of yours is mighty impressive I must say. I can't fathom quite how it works though using Ichor in such a manner..."

Damian's smile widened slightly at hearing that both Asher and Lala had apprenticed in Cae'bril. At least he wasn't the only one here from that neck of the woods. He knew where Sagetoria was, maybe a couple days' journey to the northeast of Illustra. The mage nodded. "Yes, I am a mage," he said, again trying not to think about the events of the previous week. "It's good to know that there are others here who are from Cae'bril, or at least have spent a significant length of time there." A little bit of melancholic reminiscence slipped back into his eyes as his thoughts momentarily flashed back to his time in Illustra, which he still felt ended prematurely, but he then pulled his mind back to the here and now.

The mage lapsed into thought about Asher's statement concerning Ayura and her magic, before nodding slowly. "Yes, maybe we could teach each other a few things," he said softly before looking back up at Asher. "Her magic is incredibly unique, to the point where her magical aura seemed nonexistent at first glance. I'd be very interested in knowing how it works." He then shrugged. "I also wouldn't mind giving her slightly more formal instruction, if she were open to it of course," he said.

Damian rolled his right shoulder a bit, massaging it as he did so. He didn't know why, but it was feeling slightly stiff. He then scratched the back of his head with his left hand. "By the way," he tentatively began. "If it's not too much for me to ask, I was wondering if you could show me around your smithy. I've always had a general academic interest in blacksmithing."

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