1205 Summer - Blooming Alpine Weather

"Yeah... I want to see that old archmaga." - she didn't know what was the Sinews of Knowledge... maybe an Alp group? Like a gild? - "Your instructions are perfect and will help me a lot to find the place. Thank you Orell." - she sighted - "Now, if you forgive me, I will go to sleep. Tomorrow I have a long walking day."

She started to walk away when she stopped and looked to him again.

"Good luck in your travels." - she added with a tilt of the head. As usually with her, her tone and unmovable face make her look fake and forced. But she felt satisfied with the farewell and just went to sleep.

Next day on the morning, she took all the things and went to search to Stella. When she was ready, she looked back to Tugurium for a second before she started to walk road away.

OOC: The other day I asked Itzhak to specify questions about the trip, and I go and forget to do the same xD So I edit to add some details:

  • Alba will not use The Succubus's Trick for now), since she was told that it barely made a difference.
  • Alba will use Disguise of the Transformed Image to hide her special features... that said, she will still have the flowers, so expect bees and other insects to approach her. She is used to it, but can be weird to others. Also, the smell it's still there too. Fortunately, common hawthorn flowers smell sweet, fresh and a little like almond (unless other hawthorn types, that smell like rotten meat), but thats still another weird thing. And to end, she will take an appearance of a redhead, since she already have a fair skin full of freckles, she thinks that this decision will make her less noticeable (yeah, she doesn't think that redheads are noticeable in itself).
  • Stella will turn invisible as soon as she sees somebody else (mundane or not). And will pay attention at nights (she will not remain wake up all night long, but being a cat she wakes up easily).

The first few hours are easy. Alba follows through the valley, the temperature just a bittoo warm, on the verge of being unpleasant. The summer skies are clear, just a few sparse clouds above the mountains. Orell was kind enough to show her how to outfit herself for the trek, specially in regards to weight distribution. While a bit heavy for a frail woman, her supplies are not too burdensome.

(OOC: I'm figuring 7~10 pounds of miscellaneous items, including the food, which is just enough for a burden of 1 if properly packaged.)

Then, as she starts to go up and down with the terrain and the sun rises in the sky, the heat building up, Alba starts to have second thoughts about the trip.

"Let's go back" Stella complains.

Still, Alba goes on. The first day is pretty much uneventful, save for a few people encountered on the road. A few heads turn in Alba's direction as she passes, and she overhears a woman saying "poor child, traveling alone in the mountains". Looking around, she finds no child, of course. Perhaps the woman was imagining things?

As the sun goes down Alba finds a recessed way, safe enough to make camp. The temperature drops to confortable levels at night, the sky is clear and starry. There are dried fruits, cheese, and a few pieces of the sausage that Alba enjoys, smoked for long storage. Alba has already nibbled on some of the food through the day, but when she finally settles, the hunger strikes stronger.

"I'd still prefer if we went back" says Stella.

The first day was exhausting... A large part of the problem was that she was not used to the mountainous terrain, but also that this time she was the one carrying the entire weight of the supplies. Still, it was still bearable, since it wasn't going to be such a long trip.
And the heat... well, it could still be endured, and Alba supposed that as she rose in altitude it would become even more bearable.

At night and in a secluded place, Alba ate dinner in silence while watching the stars. Somehow, in those mountains the night sky shone even brighter, perhaps because it was closer to the stars.
After finishing the ration, she noticed that his stomach was still asking for more... she looked at the food she had brought, just enough for three days... well, two now... if she ate more she would need to fast later, but...
Finally, Alba began to eat a second helping of food. It wasn't worth worrying about, if she ate more now she would feel better, and she would also have less weight for the next day. They were just advantages. She could always conjure up some apples later.

Then, while Alba began to eat again, Stella expressed her desire to return. It wasn't the first time she had done during the day, and although the previous time Alba had taken it more lightly now she looked at Stella with curiosity, not sure if she had to be worried.

"Are you okay, Stella?" - she asked, looking at her carefully - "Normally it doesn't bother you so much to walk, and I know that the problem cannot be the temperature, because I still remember how you like to stand so close to the fireplace in winter that even your whiskers curled because of the heat." - she commented, remembering that moment with amusement - "Are you feeling bad? Are you sick? If it's that we can go back and I'll come alone if necessary. You shouldn't worry about saying it."

"I'm fine. Lazing in front of a fireplace on a winter day is different than walking across the mountains in a hot summer."

Stella stretches herself before jumping to a large boulder and lying down, ears perked up.

"I like forests better. But at least the stars are pretty."

Alba looked back to the stars, its white flowers shining in the moonlight, because it had not bothered to cast the Disguise of the Transformed again after sunset.

"Yes, they are pretty. But not as much as you, my little star." - she said without looking away from the skies - "I also miss the forest..." - she lowered her gaze to the food, and started to eat again - "Soon will arrive the summer solstice. Back then, before I was living with humans, it was the biggest celebration for the Good Folk. A lot of faeries gathered in our clearing in the forest to sing, dance, eat, drink and have sex. I was very young, but I still can remember it like it was yesterday..." - she explained looking at the starts again. Then she turned to Stella - "Thats when I learnt to sing. A faun taught me the basics and I loved it, so I kept practicing." - she gazed to the stars just a moment before turning to the food again - "Those days are no more, but back then it seemed like it would last forever."

She fell silent as she finished eating. Then she started to sing a simple song in a melancholic tone. Only when she sang was he able to transmit emotions with her voice.

"Alle Sterne am Himmel
Zeugen der Mittsommernacht
Hört uns an, die Verfluchten
Schau uns an, die Ewigen"

She stopped halfway and finished eating before stood up.

"But there is nothing that lasts forever. Not even the Eternal ones." - she added looking down the mountain - "Specially this travel, so try to take it easy and enjoy the good things it has. You never know when you might miss it."

She went to a side to urinate and when she finished, she came close to Stella and her things, and casted Wall of Thorns in a perfect circle around them.
She packed everything again and then took off her clothes and made herself comfortable next to the stone Stella was on.

"Good night Stella."

OOC: this scene remembered me that now Stella its perfectly able to talk in High German too. I will add the language into her sheet, and this would mean that they both are talking in High German. I just tell you in case it's relevant.

OOC: The Wall of Thorns spell is very specific (this spell creates a straight wall of woody, thorny bushes up to 20 paces long, 1 pace thick, and 4 paces high), but there is nothing stopping Alba from casting it three or four times to make an enclosed space, so I'll assume she did that, ok?

The next day is as uneventful as the first one, if just as hot. Alba follows the path to Tavannes, and from there to the south. Around the end of the day Alba finally sees the large mass of water and a village, one day earlier than expected... before remembering Orell saying that she would see Lake Biel first.

On the third day, keeping Biel to her left and going southwest, Alba sees Neuchatel after about two hours of travel, and reaches the foot of Mont Racine in another two. Looking south, she can barely glimpse the other shore of Neuchatel. The skies are clear, not one cloud in sight, and the high sun and humidity in the air combine to make her clothes stick to the body even if the temperature is not that high.

Mont Racine is the most proeminent mountain around Neuchatel, and it's not hard to pinpoint. Going up, however, takes more time than expected, and as the sun sets Alba finds herself tired, hungry (the last piece of sausage eaten what seems like years ago, in the morning), and in front of a square stone tower.

The tower is perhaps 20 paces high, with a small stone building annex to it, somewhat resembling a church. Both the tower and the annex are in a state of profound disrepair, and Alba sees no one around. A large door, so battered by weather and time it makes impossible to tell the kind of wood, is visible on one side of the minor building. On the door a bronze knocker, patina covering it entirely.

After three days of heat and fatigue, the leaves on her head looked wilted and flabby. Even her flowers had stopped smelling. She wasn't used to such heat.

Alba leaned for a moment in the shadow of the building, enjoying the coolness a little. At night and in the shade it was fine, it was when she was in the sun that the heat seemed to hit harder... she thought it was perhaps due to being at a higher altitude, and therefore closer to it... but the fact that there were hardly any shadows along the way didn't helped either.

The maga looked at the building above her for the second time. At least she had arrived, although she didn't even feel like talking. The next time she saw a redcap she would thank them even more, because now she imagined them having to make even worse trips than her.

Having recovered a little, she looked at Stella.

"Let's call, and let's hope she's in here..." - she commented, because the building seemed quite abandoned... perhaps it was just the aspect that the archmage was looking for so that no one would bother her - "You don't see a Sanctum mark, right?" - asked the cat looking around the door.

She finally raised her hand to knock on the doorknob, but she paused for a moment and took out the letter she had saved again. She looked over at it, as she had realized that she had forgotten the archmaga's name. Jacinta. Okay.
Alba put the letter away again, and now she knocked on the entrance.

OOC: Where I said Sinews of Knowledge earlier I should have said Icy North. Not that it matters much, really. :sweat_smile:

Alba and Stella wait a few moments. Soon they hear a sliding sound, and a small window opens besides the knocker. The maga sees a brown eye, seemingly as old as the building.

"Who are you? What do you want?"

Surprisingly the voice is young. A young female voice.

OOC: It doesnt matters at all xD I know as much about the Great Alps as Alba... so... nothing :stuck_out_tongue:

"H-hello!" - Alba bowed her head - "I-I'm Alba of Merinita. A-and this is Stella, m-my friend and familiar." - she added pointing to her at the start, and then picking her up in her arms (with some grunting and a lot of effort) when she thought that maybe the other person couldn't see the cat from the door. Stella was with an angry face cat, but didn't said nothing, since Alba let her free again pretty fast.

Alba took a second to recover her breath due to pick Stella and looked again to the eye at the door.

"I was searching for Jacinta of Flambeau." - she added as explanation, not wanting to assume that her interlocutor was her, although Alba thought it was most likely - "A-and maybe a little of water..." - she added without air.

The sliding window closes, and a few moments later the door opens. Before you stands an old, crooked woman. She gives way for your entrance.

"Mistress Jacinta is in her chambers. I will ask if she wants to receive you."

It sems the woman is indeed not Jacinta. As you walk through the door you feel the tingling of the Aegis on your skin. Stella is unable to enter. The woman observes for a couple of seconds before shrugging, intenting on closing the door.

OOC: if there is an Aegis, i will suppose that the Disguise of the Transformed will get dispelled then.

Alba entered into the chamber and looked around.

She noticed the Aegis, but she didn't really paid attention or thought about her illusion being dispelled. Her only worry become that Stella couldn't enter, and when the woman seemingly didn't want to help, Alba placed her body between the door and the wall, to avoid her closing it.

"I-if its ok I will wait outside with Stella." - she said, walking outside again and preparing herself to wait outside.

She looks at you oddly for a few moments before asserting with her head and allowing you to leave, after which she closes the door. After ten or so minutes you hear the sliding window again.

"She will come soon. I will bring you water. Wait here."

Again she leaves, this time towards the other direction. Soon you hear the door unlocking. The woman holds a cup in a hand, a jug of water in the other. At her feet there is a bowl. She fills in the cup, offering it to you, and puts down the bowl in the ground for Stella. The water tastes stale.

Before you have the chance to inquire further you hear another voice, speaking in Latin.

"I will take her from here, Anabella. You can go away."

Another woman appears besides the door. Now, the former one was old, but this new one is somehow older. She has an aquiline nose, and her very pale blue eyes bring a spark which betrays the intelligence behind them. But her skin is wrinkled and dry, her hair grey and bushy. The few insects who still circle around Alba, even in her tiredness, flee from the woman's presence.

She looks attentively at Stella, then bends down slowly and extends a clay piece in her direction, a few letters inscribed on it in an idiom Alba does not recognize.

"Of my own free will I invite you to enter my tower, as long as you behave. Also, do not eat Icarus."

She then extends a similar piece of clay to Alba.

"Of my own free will I invite you to enter my tower, as long as you behave. You also have no permission to eat Icarus."

"I am Jacinta filia Nicoli. You are Alba of Merinita. This one - she points to the cat - is Stella. You seek me."

Alba took the wated and drank it without a second though, she was too thirsty to care about the aftertaste. But Stella just smelled the water in the bowl and abandoned it without even touching her, she would prefer to die than drink that polluted water.

The maga was about to thank the older woman when Jacinta came.

Alba just looked at her in silence, as she gave them a little token to bypass the Aegis and presented herself. She just was able to think that Jacinta was great. She looked wise, refined, elegant and had a way to make her sentences concise that Alba liked a lot.

"Thank you very much for your kind welcome... indeed, we were looking for you." - answered Alba with a little nod - "I have come from Tugurium..." - she pointed her finger in the general direction that she hoped to be the covenant - "We are trying to be a full fledged covenant at the Rhine Tribunal. And that means receiving the support from all the different existing covenants. Three days ago..." - she stopped and thought about it - "Four days ago, I received a letter asking me to visit you to ask you for a spell in exchange for support to our covenant... or future covenant, I suppose. The sender also mentioned that you have some trouble related with flowers. Maybe I could help you with that or with any other problem that you want, in exchange of a copy of the spell... uh..." - she had to pick again the letter to read the spell name - "Stormbreaker." - she looked again to Jacinta and noticed that they were still outside the tower... she gave them free pass to her tower and yet they didn't entered... also, she suddenly noticed her own exhaustion... was she being too direct again? - "I-I'm going t-too fast, right? I-I'm sorry if its the case..." - she explained getting red and playing nervously with the letter in her hands.

"Yes, too fast. But don't worry child. Take a breath."

Jacinta gestures for both of you to follow her inside, closing the door behind you. You stand in the entry hall. The walls and floor are dusty, the air stuffy.

"Straight to business, eh? I like that. But by what you said you are here on behalf of Phillipus. That I don't like so much. He is boring and narrow minded. Meh. Well, I suppose listening to you won't hurt."

"You seem battered. Care to rest before explaining yourself again? I won't be dead tomorrow morning. Probably."

OOC: Give me a simple die roll, yes? It will come into play soon.

Alba nodded with a feeling of relief. Then she and Stella followed the archmaga inside the building.
The young maga looked around with curiosity before she looked to Jacinta again.

She got a little red, when she deducted that the letter was from Phillipus.

"Oh, yes, its from him. He said that you didn't replied his letters, so he contacted us." - she explained - "I-I don't know him... so I don't really know how he is. And since I'm very bad judging people I just try look to the good side of everybody since at the end of the day we all have flaws..." - she added looking again at the letter into her hands - "But I can't understand how someone can send a letter with words crossed out... It doesn't look good, at least."

Jacinta proposed postponing the conversation to the next day and letting Alba rest.
At that moment, Alba seemed to deflate as she became conscious of her own fatigue.

"I wish that tomorrow you are still as alive as today." - she said, but then she thought about it - "Well... I suppose that it's not really possible to be as alive as today, since each day we are all a little closer to be dead... B-but well, I can wish for you to being tomorrow, and for more days if its possible, alive enough to now be... dead." - she got red when she noticed that she was being quirky again - S-so... y-yes, I would love to take a bath and rest a little. Thank you." - she answered at least to the proposal, trying to leave the previous topic behind - "Oh! I would like to ask you a thing before I forget if its not a problem... Before you mentioned Icarus, which I assume is your familiar, and you insisted that we not eat him... we... we don't want to eat Icarus, but there is a reason for it being such a threat? It's Icarus specially delicious looking?" - the mental image of a magical living sausage crossed Alba's mind - "Or its maybe that Icarus is so small that we could eat him by accident? Like.. a fly maybe?"

"You are just overthinking things." - said Stella to Alba.

OOC: And now, a simple roll :slight_smile: I think that its my first official roll in-game, lets see if it brings some good fortune xD

@discobot roll 1d10

¡Hola! Para saber qué puedo hacer, escribe «@discobot mostrar ayuda».

... I forgot about the language...

@discobot tirar 1d10

:game_die: 8

"Icarus is a crow, and my familiar, yes. You probably won't be eating it by accident, but I figured a small warning was good just in case."

"But I will be keeping an eye on you, Stella."

Jacinta calls for Anabella's presence and the servant quickly appears. The maga instructs Anabella to cater to your needs, bringing you supper and then leading you to a guest room. She won't be joining you, sice she still needs to finish a few things in her lab.

The food which Anabella brings you tastes awfully bland, and it would be impossible to discern what you are eating if you couldn't see the cheese wheel, bread and fruits. Afterwards you are brought to a small guest room, which seems to have never been used before, given it's state. It's crumped, moldy, dusty and damp, all at once.

"If you want a bath, there's a water barrel outside."

Anabella and Jacinta leave you to your designs (Anabella shows you where is the barrel and waits for you if needed before retiring), and you are not bothered until the next morning.

You wake up after a warm night. The room was not comfortable, that's sure.

After serving you breakfast (as bland as everything else you have tasted here so far) you are invited by Jacinta to her sanctum to continue the conversation of the previous day. You have heard before that one shouldn't thread careless into other magi sancta, since a few (especially the old ones) are often overly protective of their personal space and research. On the other hand, until now you have felt no animosity from Jacinta, and this is a unique chance to get a glimpse on the lab of a powerful maga. Maybe this might bring you some insight towards the design of your own lab?

You look at Stella, probing for her opinion, and she simply shrugs. It seems this is going to be Alba's call.

"Hey! You..." - Stella started to say in an angry tone, when Alba quickly intervened.

"D-don't worry about Stella, I can assure you that she will behave." - Alba said quickly, trying to defuse the situation.

Then both followed Anabella to the guest room, where Alba ate with sadness for that bland food. Stella, again, didn't wanted to touch the food and expressed her wish to hunt some mice outside.

"It's due to Jacinta specialization... she is a Perdo master, so this things..." - she showed the cheese on her hand - "Are to be expected... When I get out to bath, you can come with me and go to catch some mice if you want. Just leave the little clay piece inside the doors before you do, so it doesn't get lost."

Stella seemed conformed with that option, and she waited patiently for Alba to finish dinner.
Since Anabella was there, Alba thought about talking a little with her too.

"Have you been working with Jacinta for a long time? I imagine that spending so much time with her means that you are very close friends." - she said - "Oh! And you have such a beautiful voice... I'm sure that you must be really good singing." - she added.

Later, she went outside to bath, while Stella ran to the mountain in the night to hunt something to eat. Alba tried to clean herself the best that she could at the barrel, and then she took the opportunity to clean her clothes a little too.
What she didn't thought what that she would end with the clothes soaked and that going around without them would be seen as inappropiate... so, she would need to improvise a spell to make a very simple cloth to reach the room. Surely with one spell with diameter duration would have enough...
So she just waited to Stella while conjuring some apples to satiate herself.

Stella found her searching for something at the mountain meadow.

"What are you doing now?" - she asked to Alba.

"I'm searching for a clean stone to put on top of the cloth to prevent the wind from blowing them away at night..." - she answered, picking a medium rock from the ground - "This one should work..."

Stella ate while looking at Alba somewhat amused while the maga searched for a place with high grass to extend her cloth with the stone on top, so it would dry at night.

"Did you learn those ideas somewhere or do you just improvise them as you go?" - Stella asked her when she finished to eat.

Alba looked to the cat without understanding her.

"W-what do you mean?"

"Nothing... can we go inside now?" - Stella said while approaching the door. Alba nodded and cast a simple spell to make a simple fabric with a hole for her head. She entered first and gave Stella the clay piece. Then both went to sleep at the room.

"Surely we would sleep way better outside at the ground." - Stella proposed, since the state of the small room was not very comfortable.

"Yes... but I don't want to seem ungrateful..." - Alba answered.

"Okay, you'll know what you're doing." - Stella jumped at a table and curled up while Alba went to the bed, trying to ignore the smells and the itchy fabric.

The next day, Alba woke up barely having been able to sleep. Stella looked at her like saying "it's your own fault" but didn't opened the mouth.
First of all, Alba casted again a spell to makeshift some fabric and went outside to pick her clothes. At least were dry, but they smelled even more than before to grass now, and then she came inside again, where Anabella appeared again to serve some food for breakfast.

When she got directly invited by Jacinta to her sanctum, Alba got surprised. She didn't expect that the archmaga would want to invite her to her private chambers... Alba looked to Stella, but the cat just said that she would wait outside... so Alba choosed to not overthink and get inside. After all, they were in a very isolated place, if Jacinta wanted to kill her she could do it in any moment and just tell her own version anyway. Also, she was very curious... and couldn't say no even if she tried.
So, she crossed the door and greeted Jacinta like it was completely normal, waiting patiently for the archmaga to tell her if it was the moment to resume the conversation from the previous day.

OOC: I don't know why I like to cause and get into trouble by myself, but oh well xD
If you want extra rolls due to the spells, tell me. I just went with a sheet cloth, poncho style, to avoid having issues with Finesse, but if you want... :stuck_out_tongue:

Edit: btw, Alba is innocent and trustful, but she is also very respectful, when i wrote that she crosses the sanctum door, its because i understood that Jacinta is there in person inviting her and opening the door. On the contrary she would first call to the door. I dont think that its specially important for the game, but it is for the character :wink: