Fable - Ask The World Unseen

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Bastian

The Runaway
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Bastian looked down at the woman, watching as she signaled towards the water.

His lips thinned for a brief moment, glancing up at Aisling who was still taking the lead in all of this. His mouth opened as if to say something, but before he did the Sailor quietly bit his tongue.

He was supposed to be hiding amongst the crew. Making himself known would only be a foolish mistake. It was better to follow Orders and do what he was told. At least for now. He glanced down at Vincent, making sure that he wasn't going to lurch forward.

When he saw that the boy was practically asleep he relaxed slightly, instead devoting more of his attention to the 'woman' on the floor.

What the fuck did I walk into. Bastian wondered to himself.
 

Arva

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The sun-haired woman's gesture was clear enough, at least so Arva thought. She was telling Arva she could leave, and at the motion, Arva lowered the hand from her throat--with a slight wince, as the pain was not quite gone yet--and slowly stood.

Arva frowned for a moment, poring over the sounds of the woman's words in her mind. They were strange and soft, so unlike the clicks and whistles that Kivren used to communicate under the sea.

"Ta oo-shun?" Arva spoke hesitantly, gesturing back toward the waves.

Her eyes fell hesitantly, guiltily, on the young one still restrained by the black-haired man.

The thrall on him would lessen with distance and time, but never truly fade. He would yearn for her--even if he could not pinpoint the yearning--for the rest of his life. If he was not restrained, at least for a time, he would even throw himself in the see in a desperate and futile attempt to follow her.

Unless she stayed.

Her pod had never used their siren voices for more than self defense. They stuck to waters that most ships never sailed, and so had little need for more. And while, admittedly, it had been self defense... she had no desire to send him to his death--any of them--if they were not going to hurt her.
 

Aisling Weiroon

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A smile blossomed across the young captain’s face as the blue hued girl tried to repeat her words. The pronunciation wasn’t right but it was discernable. A promising start. ”Ocean,” she said once more with a gesture towards the waves.

Aisling traced the woman’s gaze towards her two recruits. It was obvious she was looking at Vincent in a manner that harbored… something. Sorrow? Guilt? Concern? She couldn’t be certain. Reading people was something she was normally quite good at but a lifetime spent mostly with humans made the gestures of others tougher to comprehend.

”Will he,” she pointed at her unconscious sailor, ”be okay?”

Regardless of what the mer-ray felt it was obvious she was responsible for the boy’s peculiar behavior. Some sort of spell perhaps or a natural defense of her species. The Anirian from Weiroon couldn’t be entirely certain. Although, she could use her own magic to boost her luck. Maybe it’d help the cobalt-skinned girl understand her intentions. If there was something they could do for the kid she wanted to try.

Her face tilted towards Bastian and she quietly hoped her magic might help to guarantee he’d be reliable. After the events of today he was certainly showing signs of being a bit rebellious. ”Bastian? Bring Vince closer. Perhaps our friend can cure him of whatever it is that’s wrong with him.”

She had no idea that whatever damage had been done was already done. That it was permanent and that there was nothing the siren could do to un-sing her song.
 
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Bastian

The Runaway
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No one had ever accused Bastian of being a coward, or rather those that had never repeated the word again.

In that moment though he hesitated.

Most of his life had been spent in violence, poverty, and darkness. He had seen, and done, things that most people would never even dream of in their worst nightmares. Despite that, despite all that experience, Bastian still felt weary of the creature on the ground.

He didn't understand it.

Bastian had met a few Elves, some Orcs even, one troll, but he'd never seen something like Arva. He didn't understand what she was capable of, what that song was, what she'd done to Vince. Lips thinned for a few seconds and he gave Aisling a weary glance. A breath flowed into his lungs.

Good. Loyal sailor. He thought to himself and then stepped forward.

The way he moved was careful, dragging Vince along with him as he came to stand directly besides Aisling. He looked at her, then to Arva, half ready to draw his blade and stab her if she moved suddenly.
 
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Arva

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"Oo-shan," Arva repeated, watching the sun-haired woman's lips as she spoke, mirroring a small echo of her smile for just a moment.

Her smile faded, though, when the sun-haired women gestured toward the young one she'd had to thrall.

Clearly, the woman wanted to know what had been done, and Arva watched nervously as the black-haired man brought the young one forward.

Arva sighed, frowning. She had no idea how to explain what had happened, what it meant for the young one.

Her gaze shifted between three humans before her as she thought. After a moment, she slowly raised a hand, touched her fingers to her lips, then to her brow, and then carefully stepped forward and pressed her fingers to the boy's forehead. Then she gave the sun-haired woman a helpless look, and shrugged.
 

Aisling Weiroon

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The only silver lining in this moment was the fact that Bastian brought the recruit over without question or delay. Even if his tense demeanor was caused Aisling to experience a fit of nervousness.

She rose her lime-colored eyes and watched as Arva sighed and then touched fingers to the baby-faced sailor and her own head. It was peculiar trying to understand what the creature's intentions were. What she was trying to communicate. In a frustrated huff the Anirian rose to her feet and crossed her arms.

Glancing back at Juliana and Scuttle she was met with blank stares. "Mouth? Both heads?"

Aisling was fairly certain that the mer-person hadn't undone whatever hex had afflicted the lad but she couldn't be certain. With no input from her other two sailors she felt like she was stuck in a spot where the language barrier might finally prove too much.

Unless, of course... her attention shifted to Bastian. "Any ideas as to what she's saying?"
 
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Bastian

The Runaway
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Bastian frowned for a moment.

The...creature was trying to communicate something. He was not entirely sure what, and trying to read her expression was as hard as trying to read a book was for him. Lips thinned for a brief moment, and he glanced at Aisling as she asked her opinion.

It was the first time a superior had actually asked for his thoughts.

For a few seconds Bastian found himself stunned, his fingers relaxing slightly on the hilt of his saber as he cleared his throat. "I...uhh."

What did it mean.

"I think...her voice broke him?" It was the only guess that he really had. He remembered that odd melody. How it had made him feel. That rage.

Was it different for Vincent? "Controlled him, maybe?"

Did she need to sing again?
 

Arva

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Arva huffed in frustration, reaching up to run her fingers through her short black hair when it became obvious that they didn't understand what she was trying to say.

She wished she could speak their language. She could... try to sing again, and then she'd be able to convey at least the intention of her thoughts, but then they'd all be thralled as well and there would be no purpose in explaining anymore.

How could she make them understand?

With one last idea, Arva crouched to the ground. She pushed away vines and leaves until there was bare dirt exposed, and she drew four circles with her finger, three of them grouped together, and one separated out. Then she looked up, checking that the sun-haired woman and black-haired man were watching.

Arva pointed to the circle by itself, and then reached up to pat her chest. She pointed to each of the other three circles and in turn, pointed to each of them. One for the sun-hair, one of the black-hair, and one for the thralled boy.

Then she pointed back to herself, touched her throat, and drew a line between the circle representing her and the one representing the boy.

Then she touched her lips, pointed to her circle again, and to the ones for the sun-hair and black-hair, and then back to the one for the boy.

Hopefully they would understand that if she sang again, the same thing would happen to them that had happened to the boy.

She didn't know how to tell them it couldn't be undone.
 

Aisling Weiroon

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Her voice? That'd make sense as she recalled the soothing sensation she had felt earlier at the high pitched notes that had come in Arva and Vince's direction. Perhaps the only reason the rest of the crew hadn't been controlled by the song was because of their distance.

"Decent theory," she agreed with Bastian until she saw the blue-woman begin to look bothered.

At the drawing of shapes in the sand she looked on with interest, trying to keep track of every motion and line that the strange creature's finger drew. Once she had finished the straw-haired captain nodded in understanding. Her lips twisted as she contemplated what their options were.

Shooting a gaze towards the alert recruit she said, "looks like you were right. He's under her control."

Now, the question was what could they do about it?

Leaving Vincent behind was out of the question. Taking Arva with them was certainly not ideal. What if she controlled more of the crew? Or any number of racist Anirians in her charge decided to "solve" matters their own way? If they parted from Arva, what would happen to Vince?

Involuntarily she let a sigh slip out in frustration. Recognizing the blunder she immediately cast a warm smile at the mer-person, a life of nobility meant she was quite adept at controlling her emotions and faking the ones that helped put people at ease. She pointed at her chest and stated firmly, "Aisling."

Next, she pointed at the recruit Arva had enthralled and said, "Vincent." Finally, she cast a finger at the woman before them and simply shrugged. Establishing names was at least a start to building some sort of trust so that they could, hopefully, figure out this mess together.
 
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Bastian

The Runaway
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Bastian didn't speak.

He didn't quite like the idea of this...thing knowing his name. There had been stories back home of Dreadlords, men and women with magic who could control your mind through uttering your 'true' name. Bastian had never believed it, mostly because the only Dreadlord he'd ever seen had just resorted to burning everyone to a crisp.

This thing though? This thing could sing and turn them all into a blubbering fools.

Briefly the Runaway glanced down at Vincent, frowning for a moment and remembering the echoes of that song. He had not felt controlled, just...angry.

Lips thinned for a moment, and his free hand reached down. There was a slight tearing sound as Bastian ripped the edges of Vincent's tunic. Then he reached up and stuffed the cloth in his ears. If anyone looked at him he would simply shrug.

He wasn't about to take any chances.
 

Arva

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Arva watched the others closely as they conversed, trying to pick up what she could--at least about their intentions--from their body language and mannerisms. Body language was a major part of communication to wild creatures, but deception was nothing new to her. There were many predators under the sea which lured prey in by appearing friendly, inviting.

She saw the sun-haired one's frustration, immediately masked by a friendly smile, and though Arva nodded at what were clearly names assigned to each of them, a tendril of doubt began to weave through her.

The black-haired one was neither given nor offered a name, and simply stuffed his ears with scraps of whatever covered the thralled boy, seemed to be the most honest of the lot so far. It seemed he'd pieced together exactly what her song could do, and Arva had no doubt he would kill her if given the chance. The others... she wasn't so sure, and while she'd do her best not to hurt them, she didn't trust them either.

She turned her gaze back to the sun-haired woman, and repeated the names given while pointing to each person. "I-slin?" The kivren couldn't quite get her throat to do that 'g' sound. "Vee-sent?"

She paused for a moment, rolling over the sounds she'd heard them utter so far, even when they weren't speaking to her, trying to pick out the ones that were closest to her own name in her own tongue.

She brought her hand back to her chest to pat it. "Ar-va."
 

Aisling Weiroon

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The Anirian noble shot daggers at the muscular recruit as he tore fabric and stuffed it into his ears. Perhaps it was the most sensible thing to do in order to protect themselves from the siren's song. But Aisling had reasoned that if she intended them harm or to subjugate them the way she had with Vince it would've happened already.

In fact, she assumed that Vince had only been turned because she felt threatened. There wasn't a good way to build trust when your crewmates weren't willing to make it a two-way street.

"Remove the cloth from your ears. That's an order." Her voice was firm, annoyed a bit, but not overly loud so as not to startle the mer. "If she wanted to hurt us she'd have already done it."

A smile bloomed while the corsair repeated the stranger once more. "Arva. That's a lovely name."

Juliana had been doing an ample job keeping Scuttle in check but having Vince be unreliable in his current state could complicate matters on this island. They couldn't afford to just sit around and chat for much longer while the enthralled young sailor remained. They had to secure Vince on the ship, maybe the magic would wear off in time.

"Juliana, take Vince and Scuttle back aboard the Rose," she could see the worry on Juliana's face bearing into the back of her skull. She appreciated it but she knew that Bastian had already proven himself capable and she couldn't afford someone ready to skewer the strange woman or a sailor ready to kill his crewmates. "We need to ensure Vincent is ok. Maybe distance will help. Bastian and I will remain with Arva."

If Arva was here then there had to be more of her kind on the island or elsewhere. Part of this expedition was to scout undocumented areas of the sea. A native would prove vital once they understood how to better communicate with her.
 
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Bastian

The Runaway
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For a few seconds Bastian gestured to his ears as though he didn't quite understand what Aisling had said.

His shoulders jumped and then dropped down in feint confusion. He knew exactly what the woman wanted of course, but putting himself in danger wasn't exactly within his nature. Of course his mind was changed when Juliana stepped forward.

The fierce woman grabbed Bastian's shoulder, yanking one of the pieces of cloth from his ear and leaning in to softly whisper.

"Follow the Captain's orders you little shit."

Goosebumps ran over Bastian's spine.

"Or I'll make sure you end up black and blue."

For a few seconds Bastian had to consider if he'd ever known a more attractive woman, his face contorting as Juliana grabbed his bicep and forced Vince free of his grasp. In one smooth motion she took the Sailor from Bastian, scowling at him and motioning towards his other ear.

"Yes Ma'am." Bastian finally said, as though he were complying with the actual order and plucking the cloth out of his ear.

Despite that it was clear he was still more than willing to jump Arva, his whole body as tense as a coil.
 
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Arva

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More commands poured from I-slin's mouth, so rapid that Arva couldn't make out individual words. She thought she heard some other names, but was unsure which humans they belonged to, and between it all I-slin smiled at her and said Arva's name.

The air turned absolutely tense, then, however. Arva watched closely, figuring out at least some of the dynamics between the crew.

I-slin seemed to trust the other woman, the one that hadn't been introduced. The black-haired man trusted no one, and it seemed that no one trusted him either, but for whatever reason he obeyed the women.

Were humans matriarchal too?

She watched without protest as Vee-sent was taken away, likely back to the ship. It made no difference to Arva. He was under her thrall, and while he always would be, some of his senses would return once the boy had... adjusted.

She didn't know much beyond that. Usually sirens killed their thralls pretty quickly. The siren song was a lure more than anything, meant to snare prey. Kiva had seen no reason to provide a cure for something meant to kill.

Then she was left alone with I-slin and black-hair, and she kept a wary eye on the man. He might have been obeying the women, but it was clear he didn't want to. She didn't trust him not to try and kill her just because he saw an opening.

"Oo-shan," Arva said again, pointing toward the beach, a section far away from the anchored ship and its landing boats.

Cautiously, she took a step in that direction, gesturing for them to follow.

She didn't know what else to do besides show them what she really was.
 

Aisling Weiroon

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If ever the time came for Aisling to give up her naval career and assume more responsibilities within House Weiroon she'd be sure to offer Juliana a position as her personal guard. The noblewoman didn't need to know what Juliana had told Bastian but whatever it was got him in line despite his tense demeanor. She also expected that Juliana had said something to the sailor to ensure he'd stay on the straight-and-narrow for the rest of this little trip.

While it was true that Bastian wasn't at that same level of trust at least he wasn't drawing swords in a hurry and he wasn't hexed. His actions to subdue Vincent had proven that he at least made split second decisions when they were needed. She'd be fine with just the three of them present.

"Ocean," she said with a nod.

An inviting arm gestured out towards the granules of sand that melded into crashing waves. Aisling's own demeanor was light, inoffensive, in the hopes of easing the caution that seemed to overwhelm Arva. They'd gain nothing through an overabundance of caution.

Even still, the daughter of House Weiroon focused her luck magic as her feet plodded into the earth, following behind Arva. No matter how unlikely she believed it was that the stranger would harm them there wasn't any harm in bolstering the two Anirian's luck just in case things went south quickly.
 
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Bastian

The Runaway
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Bastian let his fingers hover near his blade.

He did not trust Arva in the least, hell he didn't even trust Aisling, but he knew enough to do what he was told. The Runaway followed along with the Mer-woman and his Captain, standing a few steps apart from the former in case any ideas popped up in the creatures head.

Briefly he wondered if there were more of her.

Would they be enthralled once they reach the Ocean? Grabbed by Arva's friends and wrenched to the bottom of the sea where they would drown?

The thought made him stomach turn slightly, but he kept his face impassive as they passed through the thick jungle. Up ahead he could hear the sound of crashing waves, the trees and vines slowly thinning as they approached the sea once more.

He glanced at Aisling, wondering what was going through the womans mind.
 

Arva

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Arva led them to the ocean, but slowed as they neared the waves lapping at the shore. As soon as the saltwater touched her skin, the transformation would begin... But it would.not be pleasant. It never was.

She turned back, and held up a hand, gesturing for them to stop and wait, not wanting them to be too close while she would be so vulnerable.

Then, Arva turned back to the ocean and stepped into the waves.

She didn't know why the transformation worked the way it did. Why Kiva had made it so painful. When she'd stepped out of the ocean, the excess flesh of her ray form had dessicated and fallen away before crumbling into dust on the shore. It was painful.

Now, as she waded deeper and deeper into the water, her legs fused together and the skin on her back began to stretch, bone and flesh regenerating and morphing. Her legs and feet lengthened and thinned, vanishing into a long tail with fins on the end, and she fell forward into the waves.

She was grateful for the water, cradling her as her body finished its metamorphosis, hiding her anguish as the pain washed through her.

Then she dove, deep into the sea, picking up speed before she turned sharply back to swim parallel to the beach, and leapt out of the water to soar above the surface, turning to catch I-slin and black-hair's eyes before she plunged back below the surface.

The call of the ocean was strong, and she was sorely tempted to heed it. Slip back into the depths and leave all of this behind.

Instead, she swam back to the beach, as far into the shallows as she could manage, popping her torso above the surface as she waited for I-slin and black-hair to wade out to her.
 

Aisling Weiroon

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The transformation had been astounding to witness. Aisling herself couldn’t help but grow a bit tense as Arva moved into the crashing waves and her legs melded into one. Her flesh changed before their eyes. She understood better why Bastian and Scuttle had felt so uncertain.

This woman was very, very, different to the rest of the Anirians.

It was natural to have reservations about the unknown. To fear it. But the entire reason this expedition existed was to confront that fear, embrace it.

When Arva jumped from the waters the yellow-haired corsair couldn’t help but let a simple, ”wow,” escape from her lips. Then, their new acquaintance came to rest in the shallows and seemed to be waiting for them.

And, in the moment of truth, Aisling hesitated. She kept her feet dry. While corsairs trained to fight in the sea, while she had to be an excellent swimmer, she knew that this Arva was better. Born for a life navigating the ocean. If the captain of the Bloodied Rose entered those waters she’d be vulnerable. More vulnerable than she ever had been.

Casting off the thought she stepped forward, salt water rising to her ankles. Aisling bent forward and said, ”that was incredible.” Perhaps showing Arva that she was willing to come into her area of comfort would convince her that she could return to the land without fearing harm.
 
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Bastian

The Runaway
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"Ca-" Bastian bit his tongue, remembering Julia's threat.

He was none too eager to suffer the woman's rebuke, but he also knew that if he let anything happen to the Weiroon woman he would likely regret it all the same. His lips thinned for a moment and he looked down towards Arva.

Even he wouldn't have claimed that the display wasn't amazing.

Cynicism and pessimism were the core of his being, but the display had been wondrous enough that Bastian could understand it's beauty. Not that he much cared for it beyond what it meant in the moment. Arva could still be trying to drag Aisling under the water.

He frowned for a moment, unsure of what to do.

His hands stayed away from his blades, at least enough that he wasn't going to lash out at any second.

Despite that a tension remained within his chest, holding as he was ready to spring forward and grab Aisling in case she was about to be taken away. That was his plan, and he'd be damned if he let some sea-creature carry it out before his own chance.
 

Arva

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Arva did not need to understand human words to understand the quiet awe in I-slin's voice, and the Kivren smiled, keeping her sharp teeth mostly concealed, at the obvious compliment as the woman approached her cautiously.

Arva did not blame her nor the black-hair, for their trepidation. She had no way to prove that she meant them no harm.

But they had to figure out some way to communicate. Arva did not know if she would be able to learn enough of their words to adequately explain what they needed to know about Vee-sent.

The black-haired one stayed further back, behind I-slin. Arva wasn't sure what to make of him fully yet, other than not to make any sudden moves or to take her eye off him. Both humans were obviously a little uncomfortable wading deeper into the sea, and Arva wished she had a way to tell them that she was the only Kivren around for miles.

She wasn't about to walk on land again anytime soon, though. She wanted the comfort of the ocean being there in case she needed to make an escape... and the pain of transformation--both leaving and returning to the water--was enough that she would prefer to avoid it again so soon.

After a moment of thought, Arva pointed to herself, then held up a single finger. She gestured to I-slin and black-hair, and held up two fingers. Then she motioned toward the ship where it was anchored out at sea, and shrugged as she held a hand out, palm flat, with no fingers extended.

She watched I-slin, hoping that the woman understand what she was trying to say. What she was trying to ask.

I am the only one of my kind here. How many of you are there?
 

Aisling Weiroon

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There were very strict rules in the Anirian Guard and Navy when it came to sharing, ‘tactical information,’ with others. The simplest way to state it was that if they weren’t part of the state of Vel Anir you shared nothing with them. So, as the meaning of Arva’s gestures riddled through Aisling’s head she couldn’t help but issue her fishy new friend a frown.

At first she glanced at Bastian for a hard while, biting at her lower lip, struggling to find a suitable answer. Then she stared off at the anchored Anirian ship, it’s huge sail dancing in the coastal wind.

She didn’t want to lie to the mer-woman but she could really tell her the truth either.

”Many,” she said after a long time, emerald eyes focused on the swimming creature. Her words were accompanied by a point at the Bloodied Rose before all ten of her fingers wriggled in a gesture she hoped would convey, ‘a bunch people.’

Her lips scrunched and arms folded. Communicating with this one was proving to be tougher than she initially suspected. The information that Arva was by herself was informative however. Perhaps her species were a solitary one…

”Do you think she gets lonely? By herself out here?”

The question was directed at her crewmate. Maybe if he eased his guard a bit Arva wouldn’t feel so isolated.
 
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Bastian

The Runaway
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Did Aisling really trust the creature? He certainly didn't. Everything was uncertain, though he allowed himself to untense slightly. Even though he had to force himself to do it.

His fingers eased at his side, his stance shifted.

It was the same way that he stood in the middle of a den of assassins. The same way that he carried himself when he was staring down the center of a vipers nest. Bastian forced himself to relax, to keep his face even as he stood behind Aisling.

"Maybe." He said softly. "It would explain why she was so scared."

Creatures that were alone were often afraid.

Wolves in a pack did not run away. A herd of sheep did not immediately scatter when presented with one predator. It wouldn't surprise him if Arva was telling the truth, but his own paranoia dominated his mind. Slowly he took a step forward. "We can make camp on the Island. A truce?"

He offered.
 

Arva

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Arva frowned lightly when I-sling did, but nodded when the woman indicated that there a lot of them. She'd suspected as much, and despite the fear that laced through her at the confirmation, Arva still watched I-slin's mouth form the new word.

"Man-ee," she repeated carefully. She think she understood what the word meant. More than four or five. In this case, certainly more than twenty or thirty.

She wasn't sure what I-slin and the black-haired one were discussing, but at least black-hair had relaxed a little.

Arva lounged forward then, resting her elbows in the sand just beneath the ocean's surface, and set her chin on her clasped hands. She was quiet and thoughtful as I-slin and black-hair conferred, still trying to figure out a way to tell them that they would need to bind Vee-sent when either she left or they departed, to keep him from throwing himself in the sea to follow her.
 

Aisling Weiroon

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Her new recruit’s words impressed her. Offering a truce meant that Bastian seemed to understand what Aisling had been going for here. And the idea of camping right on the beach was a helpful one as well.

The captain smiled. ”We’ll stay here for now until we understand what Arva wants.”

If they played their cards right the mer-lady might be able to share what she knew of the surrounding area. In an absolute worst case scenario at least she could share with her kind that the people of Vel Anir weren’t an enemy. That was a start.

What was it she could still want with them?

The bright-haired woman waded through the shallow waters until she was just outside the other woman’s personal bubble. She collapsed onto the shore, ankles still submerged in the sea.

”What do you need from us?” The question was partnered with a gesturing shrug as she tried her best to reason with the stranger.
 
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Bastian

The Runaway
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Bastian didn't move forward with Aisling again, instead he kept himself back.

He was still standing in that more relaxed stance, his fingers half unfurled at his side. Lips thinned as he watched Aisling approach the monster once more, though aside from that he didn't let his expression change an ounce.

Arva hadn't killed either of them yet, nor had she sung more of that song which had enthralled Vince. It was a good sign at least, though Bastian's natural distrust kept him from believing that things were actually going to end up well.

A truth, that he was all too right about.

Aisling's luck stuck to the two sailors like jewels to a golden ring, yet it did not extend out towards the Bloody Rose. It did not protect Julia and the others who climbed aboard only to find pools of blood and scattered remains spread around the deck.

It didn't even help them as swords rang out, and something rushed across the deck.