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Damian didn't hear or see Ayura and Kat come into the room. He was too concentrated on his spell. However, it was clear that as time went on, he was starting to run out of energy. When 3 minutes hit, the flames started to waver slightly, becoming more and more unsteady as the seconds ticked away. When 3 and a half minutes hit, he could keep the spell going no longer. The flames violently wavered for a moment before going out. Damian sank to one knee, breathing heavily and sweating profusely, both from the heat and from exhaustion. After remaining in that position for several seconds, he managed to force himself to his feet and staggered over to the wall where the shelves were.

Upon reaching it, he braced himself on it and looked down at the box of Ichor-filled gems. Damian grabbed a handful of them, glad that they were easily reachable. He turned around, leaned against the wall, and slid down to the floor. The mage was still breathing heavily as he sat there. After a moment or two, his body started drawing the ichor out of the gemstones like an animal dying of thirst. Damian felt the golden life-force enter his body, his breathing beginning to become easier as it did so. After a minute or so, his body stopped drawing in the Ichor from the stones. Damian looked down at his hand, and saw the previously glimmering stones to be dull and lifeless. The mage was still somewhat winded, but it wasn't as bad as it was before. He must have used a lot of Ichor in maintaining the spell if he had drained all the stones in his hand and he was still out of breath.

He closed his eyes and took a deep, slightly rattling breath. That was foolish, he thought to himself. Let's not do that again. It was then that Damian heard a noise from near the doorway. He looked in that direction and saw Ayura and Kat standing there, just inside the doors, watching him. He somewhat weakly raised an arm in greeting.

Filing away the information, Katlina decided that she would indeed make her way back to visit the silly creatures when she found another good moment. "Thanks for accompanying me this first time." She laughed, "I am all for not becoming dragon toast or an aelori playtoy."

Closing the hatch behind her, Kat lithely followed Ayura back down the ladder and through the small hallway that led into the larger ones branching throughout the area. Keeping just a step behind, Kat quietly allowed the elf to lead her toward the warehouse, her fingers itching to practice with her knives again, longing for the comforting feeling of their hilt's held lightly in her calloused palms, and the thrilling thread of excitement and certainty she always felt just before she flung one.

As they walked, Katlina made a mental note of any targets they passed, which Ayura had mentioned, so that she could be sure to make use of them, it was a great idea, to place them throughout the rooms, since one never knew in what circumstances they'd need to make use of their weapons. It was necessary to practice in many different environments, not just the sterile set up of a practice ring.

Nearing the double doors of the warehouse, Kat slowed, her gaze flicking to Ayura as she picked up on the elf's change in demeanor. Inclining her head in a nod to the explanation, Kat curiously glanced inside as her companion made room, but kept her movements minimal as she watched the use of Ichor. Keeping her own thoughts hidden behind a light curiosity which colored her expression, Katlina watched the impressive display of flame. When the mage finished, clearly exhausted, Kat had to wonder at the extreme usage of his powers. Perhaps he enjoyed taxing himself to the limits of his power, so he knew his own boundaries, and worked to push beyond them. It was something she might have done as well, though perhaps not until she was better acquainted with those around her and more comfortable in her setting. She didn't want to leave herself vulnerable.

As Damian turned toward them, the now lifeless gems held in his palm, Katlina stepped smoothly inside, flicking a smile at Ayura and strode a few paces toward the man, one eyebrow raised as she offered him a half smile and a nod of greeting. After flicking her gaze around the expansive room, her gaze focused once more on Damian with interest. "I suppose you're tired now and wouldn't be interested in a sparring match the old fashioned way?" It wasn't quite a challenge, unless he chose to take it that way. Rather, Kat figured if he was here practicing, what better time and way to feel out her new partners than to spar with them? She wasn't as skilled at hand to hand combat as she was with her knives, but she felt that everyone should he able to defend themselves with their fists if all else went south.

A half-smile that seemed almost rueful appeared on his face. He chuckled a slight bit before looking up at the approaching Kat. He was still a little breathless from the exertion of keeping his spell going for so long. "I'm sorry to say, yes, that is indeed the case," Damian said, adjusting his position on the floor so that he was now sitting upright. He looked away for a few moments, took a deep breath, and looked back at his new compatriot. "However," he continued, "my hand-to-hand combat skills are what one might call 'rudimentary' even at the best of times."

While he was indeed physically strong and in excellent shape, Damian wasn't all that good at close-quarters combat. It would definitely be an important skill to pick up while he was here. His magic was powerful, and he was exceptionally skilled with it, but it had its limits. What had just happened was proof of that. Gingerly, Damian slowly got to his feet, still leaning against the wall for support. He reached down and grabbed another pair of gems from the box on the shelf, which his body drained in short order. He now felt that he could support his own weight and stepped away from the wall. "Although, I would not be opposed to try to better myself at that particular pursuit some other time," he said. He then looked over at Ayura, who he had noticed was watching him with interest. He gave her a weak smile in greeting.

"We'll whip you up in shape in no time, don't worry," Ayura assured Damian, a small, lopsided smirk upon her face as she eased herself off the wall. "Yes, we all have our specialties, but we do like to make sure that everyone can handle themselves if they're on their own. As for me--well, I'm just glad I won't be the only one doing that here in the Warehouse anymore." He cocked a thumb in the general area of the training ring, referring to the pillars of fire that Damian had summoned earlier. The elf looked a bit thoughtful. She had witnessed Damian's energy beforehand a few different times, mentally comparing his spell now to the blow-by-blow matching that had occurred when they destroyed that tome together. Interesting.

She also glanced over at the quantity of gems that Damian had consumed in replenishing his energy. There were plenty more in the box, of course, as they all took care to keep it stocked, but it was true that he'd used up a pretty sizable amount. The elf could quietly determine a fairly close estimate of the amount of Ichor that was used to release that powerful spell.

"I guess, Katlina, there's another use of the guild fund I seem to have forgotten to mention, to supply the Warehouse," she mused lightly as she glanced over at the rogue. "All of us have access to the resources in here."

One of the double doors opened once more, and the dark-skinned Fae entered, looking around. "Oi, oi, you guys've barely been 'ere f'r twen'y minutes and there's already a ruckus down 'ere," Kaito teased lightly in the others' general direction as he sauntered in, his hands in the pockets of his shorts. He had felt the vibration and disturbance that came with the heat and the footsteps...well, theoretically speaking, he could probably pinpoint exactly what room each member was in, especially since they were underground. The earth-attuned DuskFae was definitely in his element here.

Lance listened to the toy maker speak. He wasn't an inventor himself, but figuring out how things worked was something he always had taken an interest in. Whether it be from the mechanics of his guns to how one would properly use another weapon like a dagger or sword.

He watched as Kaj drained the Ichor from the dragon, looking over his shoulder, but not incredibly close to him. He seemed intrigued as to the mechanism of the dragon itself. "I see... I've only known of Ichor as a source of magic and as a life force." He paused. "Well I did before I saw it used in... twisted ways first hand..." He said, shaking his mind from the twisted use of Ichor he had seen before. "But nevermind that..." Lance said, changing the subject at hand.

"So it works as a vessel..." Lance looked at the dragon's many parts. "It makes me wonder what all can be done with Ichor. If it can be used to mimic life, like in golems as you mentioned, I can't think of the limits it would have." Lance mused. "Of course I'd imagine without all the intricacies of the shell of the dragon it wouldn't be able to move or preform as well. Or would I be mistaken in that regard?" Lance questioned.

"Some other time, then, but I won't forget to take you up on that." Kat smiled, offering Damian a tilt of her head as she acknowledged his fatigue. "Impressive display." Kat made a mental note to observe the mage more closely in future, perhaps glean some of how he controlled his powers. Though each power manifest differently, elements of control were always the same. Still, Kat hesitated to ever practice on, or even with another person. She'd made a big mistake once. Never again.

Turning to nod at Ayura's comment, Kat glanced at the stash of ichor filled gems. "Makes sense." She commented, just as the electric blue haired dusk fae entered the room. Recognizing his distinctive accent, Katlina turned to glance toward Kaito with a raised eyebrow and a half grin. "Damian has already tired himself out, so I've yet to find a sparring partner." She gave him a pointed look, remembering how he'd given her the run around when she'd asked him to spar during their journey. "Change your mind about that yet? I mean, you're here now so why not? Surely you can keep from creaming me too quickly."

Kajanh looked up at this piece of information. "Twisted ways?" he repeated, his emberlike eyes a little muted with the question. However, Lance had gone on to speak, and so the Toymaker remained silent, filing away the question for the time being. His mind wandered back to his own projects...the ones that had placed him in the path of the Treasure Lamp in the first place.

However, the glow seemed to return to those hues with the last few sentiments. "Yeah, you're totally right, the possibilities are endless, and apparently there are still more uses being toyed around with. Not that anyone would fiddle too much with the fractal quandary or amorphic lattice of it, otherwise the effects tend to make it deteriorate in weird ways..." The last sentence was an absent murmur, accompanied with a dismissive shrug.

All the while, his hands were adjusting a tiny motor with small tooled appendages that were about the length and width of a toothpick. "It doesn't just mimic life, it is life itself," he corrected jovially. "It's a pretty interesting thing; and a bit scary when you think that expending too much magic can actually kill ya. Hence the thousand-wisp rule." Many knew of the thousand-wisp rule. It was an indisputable fact, a function in which a fleshly body could only absorb or release a particular amount of Ichor at once, more or less, before collapsing for a period of time. Hence the carriage of Ichor in gemstones or other conduits such as metal so that additional amounts could be carried. "And the Ichor serves as a power source to move the dragon's gears and give the automaton movement, yep. I'm a bit fond of this guy for that very reason. Put a lot of work into 'im." The tinkerer began to piece back the leg he had dismantled.

~~~~

Kaito threw his head back with a scoff. "Are ya really doin' 'is, Kat? Here, 'n' now?" he teased playfully, not bothering to dust off the loose dirt of the warehouse off of his bare, dusky-mauve feet and slightly elongated toes. He tilted his head playfully, remembering the times when he and Kat had fought together, in those skirmishes with the Black Lens and also with Stallion. "Shiet, hones'ly...if we doin' straight handtahand, it'd be a mite too temptin' fer me to cheat. 'Specially down 'ere." He flicked his near-neon green eyes around, implicating the warehouse. They were surrounded, enveloped in earth. Not to mention the metal bangles that he already wore consistently around his wrists and ankles. The Fae glanced meaningfully at Ayura, who put up her hands.

"Gods, don't look at me, you know I don't know the meaning of 'no magic'," the elf fussed, shaking her head, retaining the lopsided smirk upon her face. After a moment or two of continuing to stand her ground, she at last relented under the unspoken inquiry. "Alright, alright. No Ichoric contact, no enhancement, but I won't guarantee that magic won't be used for personal orienting purposes. That's all I can promise."

She sighed as she rolled her wrists lightly, uncinching her sword from her waist and slipping the staff out of the hole in her cloak before setting them down on a table nearby. Kaito kept along the edges of the warehouse walls to amble until he was alongside Damian, allowing another small smirk just as Ayura lightly elbowed his arm in passage.

The elf stood just a half-head taller than the rogue, and, with the subtle jaunce of a child, stood within the center ring with her hands behind her back, smiling. "Anytime," she hummed.

The Fae noted Damian's faint breaths and concluded that the human had exerted himself just recently. "Musta been you who made all 'at racket," he teased the mage lightly, although he kept his gaze upon the girls. "Holdin' up arite?"

Damian fought hard not to smirk at Kaito's and Ayura's exchange, and largely succeeded; however, the right-hand corner of his mouth did twitch upwards a few times as the DuskFae and the Elf ribbed each other. He cast a quick glance at Kaito as the latter came to a stop next to him, his eyes still on Kat and Ayura, who were just about to start their fight.

At Kaito's words, Damian fully turned his head to look at the Fae and nodded once. "Yes, that was me," he said. "Decided to test my limits when it came to a certain fire spell. Wasn't the wisest thing I've ever done." Damian looked down at the collection of gems in his hand. "I suppose I'm holding up just fine; that's after draining a dozen crystals' worth of Ichor, however," the mage said. He massaged his right shoulder a bit; it was still a little sore from his arm being in the air for 3 and a half minutes. Damian also noticed that he was still breathing a somewhat heavily from his exertion. "And I'm still not completely recovered."

A bemused smile lingered on Kat's face as she paused, watching Sparrow a moment longer before giving an exaggerated sigh and flashing a grin. "You're just scared." She quipped, but didn't push the Dusk Fae, happy to have Ayura jump in the ring with her. No doubt she'd lose badly, but it would be good to stretch her muscles and test her reflexes again.

Slipping in after the elven woman, Kat too removed her two holstered knives and moved to face Ayura with a grin, taking a moment to stretch her arms and jumping a few times to get her blood pumping. With one hand, she flicked her braid from over her shoulder and out of the way, with the other she beckoned the elf, a mischievous grin slipping onto her face, like "bring it."

She kept her footing light, her knees bent only slightly, and she watched the elf carefully, knowing they could move with amazing agility and quickness. She'd have a disability there no doubt, though she had honed her own reflexes well. Ayura had mentioned using ichor for orienting purposes, and indeed, Kat was always well aware of a light and almost warm hum in the corner of her mind where she kept her power tucked. It had taken a lot of practice to keep it from leaking, but for her, such a thing meant others were too easily hurt. Power, for Kat, was a last resort. This meant that she wasn't as practiced as she should be, too, and she knew it. Yet the memories that swamped her each time she used the power were hard to ignore.

Now, she made no acknowledgement of the beginning of the match, instead fainting to the left with no warning and jabbing a flat hand out to try and strike at Ayura's exposed right while whipping her other hand out to attempt a grapple of Ayura's arm, which, if successful, she would then twist back and around to try for leverage on the elf.

The elf tilted her head with a note of amusement as Kat got herself ready, while she herself merely shifted from foot to foot rather idly. She was definitely looking forward to see what level of combat these recruits had. Everyone would differ, and the differences would not only identify weaknesses, but also indicate strengths that would fit them into whatever role they could play for the group. There were really no set roles, just a taking inventory of everyone’s skills and utilizing them as was so needed.

Instead of falling for the feint, the first thing that Ayura did was skirt backwards, her violet hues watching the human closely. She had seen the feint’s initial movement and opted to move in an unexpected direction in anticipation. Not to mention that it was best for Kat to come to her; the distance allowed her to observe instead of simply striking. If there was any follow up strike, the elf would deflect it from below with an upward movement of her left forearm.

Still watching the girls, Kaito released a low whistle at Damian’s words. “That’s a good time,” he remarked with a lift of his chin and a faint tile of his head, somewhat impressed. “Jus’ don’ kill yerself tryin’, arite? Gettin’ better’s one thing, but driving yerself into the ground’s not gonna help anyone.” He allowed his neon eyes to be drawn to the quick movements of the girls as they skirted one another, seemingly getting a feel for the other’s style before getting into grittier and more determined tactics. “You might even manage to be a good sparrin’ partner fer Ayu. She needs sum’un at ‘er own level o’ magic ta work with. I might beat ‘er in earth’n technique but...” he trailed off into a shrug.

Despite having moved in quickly to attempt first strike, Kat had expected her opponent to dodge at least one of her blows. As such, she was able to gracefully pull out of the movement with a spin that once more closed the distance between herself and Ayura. This time she moved counter clockwise, head tilted a bit as she studied the other's bearing and posture.

She liked to get the feel of her opponents and how they'd react by an initial attack, and it seemed to her that this one would try and make all the fighting come to her. It was unclear yet whether the elven female would choose to take any offensive tactics. That was okay though, Kat would have to push herself to come up with maneuvers that tested her own limits as well as Ayura's.

With a sudden shift of her feet, Kat swung one foot in an quick arch toward the back of Ayura's knees, expecting to either connect, or force the elf to jump away, moving with the momentum, she switched feet to bring the other foot around in a hard backkick toward where she hoped the elf would move to, should her first strike have missed. All the while her arms were loose and ready should she need them.

Always the rogue kept moving, sliding with fluid ease and grace through each motion and keeping a careful watch of her opponent's posture as she did so, in order to catch the subtle hints a body would give away just before it moved.

Damian nodded slowly, a smile tugging at the corner of his mouth. "I'll try not to do that," he said. "Wouldn't want Ayura to have to go through the trouble of finding another recruit so soon after bringing the three of us in." He secretly agreed with Kaito. What he had done was demonstrably foolish. It had been too much at once, something that his former Mentor would probably have chastised him for, however gently.

The Mage then considered the Fae's words concerning Ayura and being her sparring partner. "And is that so?" he continued. "I've seen Ayura's magic at work. She's highly skilled." Damian shifted his stance against the wall a slight bit. And there's a large patch of burnt grass in the middle of the Neutral Lands to show for it, he thought, remembering the primal shriek she had emitted before she conjured the massive pillar of fire that had finally destroyed the tome. "If she were open to it, I would be as well," he said, casting a quick sideways glance at Kaito.

Lance nodded. "Well its mighty impressive in its own respect." He commented on the mechanical dragon. "Sure golems are neat, but this is marvelous really." He added. Lance didn't know too much about what Kaj had murmured, but shrugged it off in his mind, assuming it as more technical terms that he didn't entirely need to know.

Lance watched Kaj work on the leg until a question sprang into his mind. "Say, how long have you been a part of this group?" He asked, assuming it was a harmless question, but he was curious if the group had been together for years upon years or if their time was shorter than Lance initially assumed the entire Treasure Lamp had been together, or at least the ones before he, Damian and Katlina had shown up.

The Toymaker released a satisfied huff just as he clicked together a few more pieces of the elaborate puzzle that was the assembly of the mechanical dragon’s leg, before he paused to flex his fingers and also acknowledge the query that was presented to him. “Well, I’m the newbie out of us usuals here, and I’ve been here about…four years or so, I’m pretty sure?” he adjusted his goggles nestled upon his head. “Maybe going on five.”

“You don’t really think about how long you’ve been home, if you get my drift.” His hands resumed their task, now picking up the completed leg and painstakingly attaching it to the currently-inanimate dragon.

“…you know,” he began after a moment, “Windell, er…oh, I’m sure you know his name already, Dom…” he trailed off for a moment, and it would be uncertain whether the cause was the subject at hand or the mere distraction of his focus on the machine. “…well. We’ve been dead sick worried. He just up and went. And then five months later, you show up.” He glanced up at Lance.

~~~~~

Kat would see Ayura’s body tense and move, coiled to jump and leap back—but instead of moving with the momentum like she had predicted, the elf had scrunched herself up like a spring and launched against the momentum of the kick to her leg, leaping over it in a lithe backflip. As the whoosh of the back kick rushed towards her she tucked her head and upper back downward, allowing the rogue’s foot to rush overhead.

The elf allowed herself to do more than just react; she didn’t put too much effort at all into crafting an offense, rather, keeping her own defense in unexpected ways to see how quickly or slowly Kat would be able to adapt to a situation. Instead of landing cleanly on her feet, she planted her hands upon the ground and swung both her legs around parallel to the ground, continuing the momentum of the flip into a skirting grind in the next moment as she tried to sweep Kat off her feet.

Regardless if she failed or succeeded, she would use that momentum to ultimately fling herself backwards and push off the ground with her hand in front of her, to launch upward and backward just enough to get her feet beneath her so she could be upright once more with a small hop back.

“Ah, ‘m sure you two’ll get along jus’ fine,” Kaito lazily waved him off. Damian had been Ayura’s recruit, after all. He was aware that accepting people into her fold was incredibly difficult for her in particular after what had happened to them, and if anything, they’d all been surprised to know that she’d actually brought a recruit to the appointed day. If the rest of them were any indicator, the elf had an eye for diamonds in the rough. And Damian would probably be no different.

“I mean, jus’ try not ta off yerself,” he teased, lightly shoving the mage’s shoulder, neon green eyes glittering with amusement. “We won’ let ya get off easy, bu’ still.” He glanced at the girls, and at the acrobatic display that the elf currently executed. “Well, either way, I think you got a ways ta go. Magic c’n take ya pretty far, no doubt ‘bout that, but, good luck, m’ man, regardless. Magic ‘r phys. She’s a drill sergeant.”

Delight sparked in Kat's hues, lightning against a cloudy sky, even as a puff of air escaped her lips as she caught the shift in Aura's muscles just before the elf jumped to avoid her kick. Agility was key here, then, but she had anticipated that. The moment between the kick, and righting herself left the rogue momentarily vulnerable to a counter attack, as her eyes had briefly flashed to her surroundings. When her stormy grey eyes centered back on the female before her, the return sweeping of the agile elf's legs were already aimed low to Kat's own. Dipping in a handless cartwheel, Katlina flung herself over the offensive attack, eyes trained on Ayura's body below her. While the elf's hands were set on the floor to complete her sweep, the rogue lashed a strike out to her ribs, hand flat to hopefully deal a sting or bruise rather than any real damage, even as her feet connected back with the ground, having leapt over the maneuver.

Her strike, should it have connected, would have done little, if anything, to stop the elf from springing back up, completing the move, and Kat took that moment to close the distance immediately, offering no respite in the form of distance or time for thought. Instinct and subsequent action were a pair that Kat had finely honed throughout the years. Though her instinct was not always correct, it had kept her safe in many a tight situation. Here, she felt that her only chance in winning lay in keeping the elf moving, defending, and landing what blows she could. The worry was, however, that the elf's stamina was likely much greater than her own. Well, she had wanted to push herself, hadn't she?

A wry smile tilted the rogue's determined lips, oblivious as she was now to those still watching the match, her focus solely upon Ayura, she aimed a kick at the elf's side, but rather than follow through with it, she lunged straight toward the female, hoping to catch her off guard and bring her back to the ground with a potential for a grappling hold, where the elf's own speed and agility would work to less advantage.

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Forums > Fantasy Roleplay Forum > The Treasure Lamp 2.0 (closed)