It was not Haru's lucky day. All the way out to Fort Ouph? For the most renowned Artificer in the land? And just what could possibly have been backordered ages ago that arrived now? The missive didn't say. Something was important enough that the merchants refused to move it any farther, and one images that for an Artificer of Haru's renown, things like this may happen. Oh, and could you please deal with this Hunter's Guild trifle on your way?
It was not Lauren's lucky day. "Fort /what/?" For a favor called in by the Guild, the artificer with no renown found herself paying back some favors owed to the Hunter's Guild, and apparently they were all about debt consolidation these days.
Goldenblade, much like Haru, was simply and politely asked.
Haru doesn't need luck like Goldenblade doesn't need magic. If you stay in denial long enough, it must come true. "Ouph," Haru explains, "it is a Root Town over there," he points, "with a high elevation." Its a wonderful look, so long as you don't fall in the big hole in the center to your death.
Goldenblade often finds herself on quests at the behest of one or more Lander governments. And this is no exception. "Eastal needs to clear the way south?" she wonders, "that makes sense. It's wild between Ouph and Shibuya, there's no way Landers can travel safely overland." She asides to Haru, "I assume you bring in by ship anything you can't get locally? You guys planning roads when the way is clear? I've heard you have some young builders starting to get into things?" As opposed to Goldenblade, who's absolutely a solid journeyman at least, with some impressive credits in Eas.
Lauren can only but nod, grateful for the instruction because... "Have either of you ever noticed that the only thing in the wilderness are forts?" She observes dryly. "You don't find forts in the city, where you expect them. No, it's always in some innocent flower valley."
The city girl, a committed urbanite, is still stifling a yawn as though deprived of coffee vendors every six feet.
At that moment, a goblin arrow wizzes past Lauren's head, and she looks increasingly irritated.
Haru offers with an absent look off into the distance, "I am focusing more on Dragon's Eyes these days. Yeowang handles the economic dealings of Shibuya and Shiruba..." oh hey look, bandits, "...shoots bandits." Or rather /he/ shoots bandits with a pew pew and dakka dakka of the magic missiles. "Yamato was designed interestingly," Haru informs Lauren with all the dakka going on.
Goldenblade is following along with the group. A city girl, like Lauren, forests and trees are not her element, and when a goblin arrow makes an appearance, she urges, "Quick fade. The Landers will handle a raiding party this close to Ouph, let's just sneak past them. No point in doing their job for them, they need the exercise anyhow."
And with that clever advice, she will lead the way through a low part of the terrain past the wandering goblins.
Not only does Lauren fail, but she fails /badly/. "Dear god," She says, still somewhat shaken as she follows Haru and Goldenblade into the trees. Her own magical attempt to strike out is just that: an attempt to strike out, and one which fails.
"Well, it isn't wolfgarms," Lauren mutters to herself after the ensuing chaos of the random attack is far behind the escaped group. "But it is something. I'm beginning to suspect catching that direwolf was bad karma," she informs no one in particular. "I think we need to take out this pack."
Haru takes an arrow out of his arm as the red light line on him begins to glow. "No, adventuring is three fourths fortune and one third skill." Yes, he knows that math doesn't line up. Thats the point. He kicks back a health potion as the red line begins to fade away. He starts to search around, putting a finger to his eye to analyze the surroundings scouter-style. Its more an appraisal tool, though.
Goldenblade leads the way past the goblins, but she has no idea of her path or destination. Luckily, the quest is somewhat open-ended: Kill so many monsters in this area. Well, we're in the area now, we ought to track down the wolves. She has all the tracking skills of a bulldozer, sadly, and couldn't track a wolf through a paper bag. On the other hand, there's always luck.
"Hey, over there," she points out, and will hurry in the direction where she actually noticed a wolf.
"Oh," Lauren says. "So... These aren't tracks. These are bird droppings," She says, because humiliation knows no bounds.
And, through the divination of bird droppings, the trio find themselves stumbling around into the maw of the literal den.
"It is wolf like," Haru notes with the dire wolf situation being somewhat dire, "lots of these around lately." Of course it also means its time to drop a big AoE based attack on the wolves. And he does. A veritable inferno upon them. Burnination.
Goldenblade saw the wolf go this way, but then lost sight of it. When we catch up with the pack, she gahs, completely blindsided as they attack ferociously. She tries to fend them off with her swords, but there's too many, and they're harrying her so she can't bring out the fire she'd really like to spray over these furry pests. Luckily, Haru has the solution here. Burnination for the win, and she breathes a sigh of relief as the pressure slacks off and she can regain her equilibrium.
The day is truly lovely. Even as the sky commits its inevitable descent into dark, the nature on display is stunning. The simple act of walking could be rewarded with no greater treasure than the idyllic pastoral setting that twinkles by.
"Anyone else have a strange feeling about this?" Lauren is the first to ask, because her barometer is set to Creepy Background music.
"Always," Haru responds as the whole Stormcrow situation makes itself clear. Fortunately Haru is rather familiar with birbs. Phoenix is a fire birb. And thus he commands thy birbs to calm their birby shenanigans or get all ducked up.
Goldenblade has survived the fight against the wolves, and taken several hits off her oxygen bottle to regain some HP, but at Lauren's comment about a strange feeling, she looks around. "No, I don't ... argh!" Her comment is clipped as she vanishes from sight, and hopefully from the stormcrow's sight.
What this means is that when they swoop on Haru or Lauren and circle around, they don't know to avoid Goldenblade, and her steel lashes out, puniushing them as they try to regain their precious altitude. It does not go well for them.
Birds, now, birds are something Lauren can deal with. Even stormcrows. That greedy avian eye for weak spots and glittering things sees Lauren issuing a declaration in hand motions that negotiates what few will not be scared off by Goldenblade's sudden and immediate victory over their existence.
"Goldenblade? Darling?" Lauren's voice is soft. "I hope you've not fallen asleep. Just for fun, would you like to commandeer a construction project? Haru-- you deal with haunted things all the time, non?" She asks before standing up, smiling, and facing the dark nightmares with something like a refreshed attitude. Lauren knows nightmares.
There is a shake of the head from Haru. "You are thinking Kau. Kau deals with haunted things all the times and is a literal nightmare." He is familiar with the Tidal Gallop that the were-mare is often to, and does a similar enough version of it with his ice summon wolf-lion to handle the situation.
Goldenblade had, in fact, fallen asleep, since it's night time and she needs sleep, but she wakes up quickly enough, and grunts at what she sees. "No time," she says about construction projects, though .. maybe there is, maybe there isn't. But there's always time for her number one go-to.
She fades from sight, and some moments later, appears behind the herd of nightmares, and transfixes one with her katana mid-gallop. It is fully skewered, and despawns. After a moment, she will ambush the next farthest back, because she's seen Sergeant York and knows how to ambush enemies for best effect.