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Thread: Just Junk

  1. #1
    Make It So
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    Rayleigh's Avatar

    Name
    Rayleigh Aston
    Age
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    Just Junk

    It rose from the earth like a mountain, and in the darkness, it almost looked like one. Backlit by the nearby town of Ettermire, the vast majority of the towering mass was enveloped in darkness. Sharp edges jutted forth at odd angles, like the the rugged edges of an looming cliff face, blocking the bits of light that did work to illuminate it. There was no sound, and there was no movement, simply a mound cloaked in darkness and mystery.

    But there was a scent, which was the first indicator that all was not as it appeared. The rich, earthy smell that one might expect was replaced by something much sharper, and to most, far less pleasant. Rayleigh Aston, however, drew in the air like a nicotine-starved smoker. The harsh metallics, mingling with the musty aroma of time and gasoline reminded the woman of her father's shop. Once, that smell had brought her great comfort, and though four years had passed since she had last visited her old home, her reaction was still much the same.

    The wrought iron fence stood nearly three feet taller than the brunette, but that fact no longer discouraged her; she had been scaling it since she was young, and much shorter. Wedging the toes of her boots into the fence's lowest rung, she heaved her small frame higher. With one hand, and a soft grunt of exertion, Ray hooked the ring of her lantern on one of the many spikes. It took a bit more time and concentration to ease her body between said spikes, but by using the edge of the "No Trespassing" sign as a foothold, she was finally able to navigate her way to the other side. Her heart was thudding as she retrieved her light, and she found her breath a bit more slowly than usual. This was easier ten years ago, she thought with a grimace. I must be getting old.

    Of course, all negative thoughts fell away when she approached, just as they always did. Maybe it really was morbid that her favorite hideaway was riddled with so much death. She stared over a graveyard, where forgotten relics lay in silent wait, within view of the bustling city where they were conceived. The dim light cast by her small flame caught the reflective edge of an old steam machine, pipes and nobs peeking through the tufts of grass that worked to reclaim the metal. The mechanic paused only a few seconds to study it, before moving her attention the hollowed carcass of a prototype airship. Her excursions with the Tarot Hierarchy had consumed much of her time over the past year, and new items had been collected since her previous visit.

    Rayleigh turned back to the mountain, which was not a mountain at all, but instead, a pile of junk. Items cast aside, their intended purpose no longer apparent, or even relevant. They remained in limbo, waiting for something to happen. For something to change. For something to breathe them new life. Perhaps that was why she felt so at home there.
    Althy's Judging Admin
    To try or not to try. To take a risk or play it safe.
    Your arguments have reminded me how precious the right to choose is.
    And because I've never been one to play it safe, I choose to try.




  2. #2
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    Josette's Avatar

    Name
    Josette Hawkes
    Age
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    Ettermire was the city that never slept. Even though night had fallen hours ago, the lights of the metropolis cut through the darkness. She could see it in the distance, the sky above lit by the muted glow of electric bulbs. If nothing else, the woman appreciated the ease with which she had found Alerar's capital. While she had never visited before, it was nearly impossible to miss it in travel.

    Weeks of moving about left Josette Hawkes exhausted, and eager to settle in one place for eve a short while. Ettermire would not typically draw her attention, as the memories big cities awoke never ceased to unsettle her. But if the events in Salvar made her a wanted woman, losing herself amid the chaos might be a good idea. The plea for aid had also lured her southward. Increased levels of pollution threatened the health and safety of the city's residents, and the call had been to individuals who could design, construct, and distribute respirators. Josette was no engineer, but there was a chance her healing magic might be useful. Recent events had prompted her to explore her abilities, and this was perhaps her most volatile, and least practiced magic.

    The deep breath she drew hinted at the pollution that choked the region; the slight chill of night filled her lungs, but it lacked the clean crispness she had grown accustomed to. This air was reminiscent of Radasanth, the same poison she had breathed for for the first fourteen years of her life. Subconsciously, the woman crossed her arms tightly against her chest.

    It was not unease at the darkness that prompted the gesture. On the contrary, the knight was no stranger to Althanas' witching hours. That trait, she realized suddenly, she shared with another nearby. Josette paused to watch a lantern bob along, its owner too far off to be identified. Working late, she mused, preparing to move on once more.

    The high pitched scream stopped her.

  3. #3
    Make It So
    EXP: 23,117, Level: 6
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    Rayleigh's Avatar

    Name
    Rayleigh Aston
    Age
    22
    Race
    Human
    Gender
    Female
    Hair Color
    Brunette
    Eye Color
    Green
    Build
    5'3 / 115
    Job
    Mechanic

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    Luck favored the mechanic, as the lantern did not shattered upon being dropped. Both of her hands clasped over her mouth, though not quickly enough to smother the startled cry. Her heart galloped in her chest, and thudded in her ears, until surprised finally cooled into embarrassment.

    "Gods," Rayleigh breathed, stooping to retrieve the still-flickering lantern. With a hand that still trembled, she shone the light on what the darkness had transformed into the bleached bones of a long-dead body. It revealed the truth of the matter - the skeleton belonged to a prototype steam engine. Metal pipes twisted to form mangled ribs, and extended downward to disappear beneath a larger pile of scraps. No, Rayleigh realized as she wiped the back of her hand across her damp brow, these were not the remains of a human who met their end among the wreckage. It was the wreckage itself, the remains of a machine without enough worth to cut it in Ettermire. It had been replaced by the flashier, the more effective, and while the woman could appreciate the winds of change, she felt some sadness for the mere husks that were left behind. As long as they lay there, growing weaker beneath Alerar's elements, they would never again be brought to life.

    In her own small way, Ray felt she saved these pieces by smuggling them out and breathing new purpose, new life, into them. It was not entirely legal, her fascination with stealing from the junk yard, but "rescuing" seemed easier to swallow than "robbing." And if she did her job well enough, the woman thought to herself, she would never be caught, and forced to describe the difference to anyone.

    It was a cruel twist of fate that brought her the sound of approaching footsteps only moments after she had reflected on avoiding capture. Instinctively, Rayleigh's right hand lunged for her gun, drawing it from the leather holster. She meant to blow out the lantern, and disappear among the shadows cast by the great mountain, but the figured moved toward her quickly. As the woman turned to face the one who had surely come to apprehend her, first surprise, and then confusion, danced across her face.

    The figure who stood before her was female, determined easily enough by her tidy braid of black hair, and the curves that were not well hidden beneath her mercenary leathers. A large sword was strapped to her hip, and it gleamed dangerously as the lantern light skimmed its golden sheath. All in all, she cut a striking, if not imposing figure. True fear might have gripped Rayleigh, had it not been for the expression the stranger wore. It mirrored her own.

    "I heard a scream," the woman stated, wasting no time. "Was it you?" Her voice was deep, and held the sharp edge of command within it. Sheepishly, Rayleigh nodded. The other woman's lips curved downward. "Well, are you hurt?"

    Something in the question led Ray to believe arrest was perhaps not her main concern; why would her captor bother asking her about her well-being if she simply planned to confine her anyway? But there was no real way of knowing, unless she were to ask. The hand that gripped the gun slowly inched behind her back in a half-hearted attempt to hide it. "No," she answered finally. "I am not hurt."
    Althy's Judging Admin
    To try or not to try. To take a risk or play it safe.
    Your arguments have reminded me how precious the right to choose is.
    And because I've never been one to play it safe, I choose to try.




  4. #4
    Member
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    Josette's Avatar

    Name
    Josette Hawkes
    Age
    19
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    Human
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    Then why did she shout?

    Josette's weight shifted from one foot to the other, her frown growing deeper. The flickering gold light cast by the lantern carved eerie shadows into the night, and the great mounds of junk that towered above were oddly confining. The middle of a junk yard was not where she had envisioned spending her evening, and if she had her way, she would linger no longer than absolutely necessary.

    "So," the stranger drawled, shattered the silence that seemed to make them both uncomfortable. "What brings you out here tonight?"

    "Your scream."

    The brunette's relief rolled across her face like a warm breeze. The woman was so animated, Josette noted. Her expressions were so big on her small body that it was almost comical. She could be read as easily as a book, which the knight supposed made her job easier. But as someone who preferred the more subtle, the stranger felt a bit too obnoxious for Josette to feel at ease.

    Slipping her gun into the holster as nonchalantly as possible, the odd little woman continued. "So you aren't here to arrest me then?"

    Josette's eyebrows rose, and she eyed the woman suspiciously. Of course, she also fought to keep her lips from betraying the amusement she found in the situation. Perhaps it was the stranger's size, or the silly smile plastered across her face, but she reminded the knight of a child avoiding a parent's scolding. "Do I have cause to?"

    "Nope!" The answer came far too quickly to be believable, and the ever-growing grin was just as fraudulent. Josette easily recognized the tell-tale signs of a blatant lie, but the motivation, and the truth, remained a mystery. As such, she remained silent, merely watching her companion for any further clues. Based on her performance so far, the stranger would give everything away in due time.

    But the stranger did not wish to provide her with more time. "Well," she continued, "I must be going now. It was great talking to you..." Her voice trailed, undoubtedly waiting for Josette to provide her name. The knight did no such thing. Forced to improvise, the woman flashed a strange gesture, in which her hands were fisted, save for a single digit, which rose toward the dark sky. "Great. Cool. Take care now."

  5. #5
    Make It So
    EXP: 23,117, Level: 6
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    Rayleigh's Avatar

    Name
    Rayleigh Aston
    Age
    22
    Race
    Human
    Gender
    Female
    Hair Color
    Brunette
    Eye Color
    Green
    Build
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    Did she really just shoot the stranger the thumbs up?

    Her freckled face flushing with embarrassment, Rayleigh turned on her heel, and strode away from the other woman. There was a sway in her step, a forced nonchalance that she hoped was convincing, but assumed was not. Even as she moved deeper into the valley the mountains of treasure created, Ray could feel the gaze boring into her back. Not that she would even recognize the gesture from Earth, Rayleigh scolded herself. The gesture that Vincent had taught her upon their first meeting. As the sound of boots scuffing along the packed earth filled the still air, she knew she was being followed.

    A moment passed, and all the while Rayleigh measured her own breathing to better hear the sounds of her pursuer. She could not do what she had come to do while being tailed, which greatly complicated matters. If the woman insisted on stalking her, Ray was better off simply turning around and going home. Frustration replaced the embarrassment riding high on her red cheeks. At this rate, the night would be wasted, and the trip that she had been so looking forward to would be a complete bust.

    Finally, she turned back, lifting her lantern as high as her short arms would allow. The small circle of light that it cast fell just at the feet of the other woman, and she remained largely in shadow. Yet, even if she had stood directly beside Ray, the Alerarian surmised she would be equally impossible to read. She had a face like stone, and that was not simply in reference to her sharp features. There was nothing soft about this woman, nothing feminine save for her hair and curves; in hiding both, she could easily pass as a man. This was not to say she was not beautiful, because even in the dim light, Rayleigh found herself thinking so. Rather, there was something hard about her. Something Rayleigh could not fully comprehend, nor relate to.

    "Do you need something?" she asked, "or are you just following?"

    The other woman remained stoic, but there was an edge to her voice which Ray recognized as amusement. "Following," came the easy answer, "but I need an exit. I do not wish to go climbing back over the fence." Her voice was deep, but by no means gruff. It could be velvety when it wanted to be, Rayleigh mused. When there was humor lurking beneath it. "I assumed that since you are here entirely legally, you would be able to lead me to the front gate."
    Althy's Judging Admin
    To try or not to try. To take a risk or play it safe.
    Your arguments have reminded me how precious the right to choose is.
    And because I've never been one to play it safe, I choose to try.




  6. #6
    Member
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    Level completed: 89%, EXP required for next level: 235
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    Josette's Avatar

    Name
    Josette Hawkes
    Age
    19
    Race
    Human
    Gender
    Female
    Hair Color
    Black
    Eye Color
    Blue
    Build
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    Arcane Knight

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    The mousey woman turned away, and though her face was hidden from view, Josette could easily imagine the grimace. The knight, on the other hand, finally allowed a smirk to curl her lips. Not here entirely legally, just as she had assumed. Not that she actually admitted as much. Women such as this hardly had to say anything, as their reactions told the entire story. As if she were an open book.

    "The gate?" Josette pressed, a single eyebrow cocking at the back of the brunette's head.

    "The gate," came the answer, an echo that was tinged with pain. "Right. Yeah. Follow me." She stalked away, the lantern swaying back and forth with each step. Cloaked in the situation's humor, the knight momentarily forgot how the light caught the junk in such a way that made it look a bit like glowing eyes. She even overlooked the actual pair, a piercing yellow against the inky darkness, which glared out from the base of a nearby pile.

    They moved in silence, though the waves of emotions rolling off the brunette told Josette all she needed to know. Her shoulders were tense, her spine was rigid, and her arm trembled slightly as it clutched the lantern. Fear? Josette mused. Frustration? Anger? Whatever it was, a sliver of sympathy suddenly mingled with the amusement. The result was a curiosity quite uncharacteristic of the dark-haired knight.

    "So," she began, careful to mimic the stranger's words, "what brings you out here tonight?"

    The other woman did not stop, did not turn, but she did hesitate. Josette could almost predict the lie before it came. "Work," was her answer. Perhaps it was not a lie after all. "Getting some things for work."

    Josette's head tilted, and she asked, "What sort of work is it that you do?"

    This time, there was no doubt of her sincerity, as the answer carried a sort of pride. She even lifted her chin a bit as she spoke. "I am a mechanic."

    "A mechanic?" This caught Josette off-guard, the fact evident in her voice. Why in the world should she be so surprised? She was nearly to Ettermire, the technology hub of all of Althanas. Yet the thought of the tiny woman tinkering with an engine was nearly impossible for her to conjure up. Furthermore, the machines were so foreign to Josette that she struggled to imagine making a career, a living, a life out of them. Without quite realizing it, she gave a low, throaty grunt of approval.
    Last edited by Josette; 03-26-17 at 10:15 PM.

  7. #7
    Make It So
    EXP: 23,117, Level: 6
    Level completed: 45%, EXP required for next level: 3,883
    Level completed: 45%,
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    Rayleigh's Avatar

    Name
    Rayleigh Aston
    Age
    22
    Race
    Human
    Gender
    Female
    Hair Color
    Brunette
    Eye Color
    Green
    Build
    5'3 / 115
    Job
    Mechanic

    View Profile
    Misreading the cue, Rayleigh's already frayed nerves flared. She rounded on the other woman, green eyes flashing like emeralds as the lantern's light caught them. "Do you have a problem with mechanics?" she asked. It was not quite a demand, not quite a bark, but she made no attempt to hide her disapproval.

    Josette frowned back at her. "No," she answered in earnest. "I just was not expecting it from you."

    "And why not?" Ray shot back.

    It seemed that the knight knew better than to engage an already annoyed woman in a discussion that was sure to upset her further. Rather than taking the bait, she simply stated, "There are not many mechanics where I hail from."

    Fortunately for the stranger, this was enough to momentarily distract the fiery Alerarian. Rayleigh studied her through the darkness, then asked, "Where are you from?"

    "All over," came the easy reply. "Most recently, Salvar."

    The freckle-faced woman winced. "Salvar," Ray echoed, shaking her head slowly. Though the night was mild, she could not help but shudder at the thought of her previous adventures in the Salvarian mountains. "Cold there." Her companion nodded. The silence came again, as thick as the smog that hung heavy in Ettermire's streets. It would be easy to turn and continue walking, Rayleigh mused. Easy to simply lose the woman in the maze, drop the lantern, and take off running. But after the somewhat casual, and somewhat personal conversation had transpired between them, something felt off about returning to her old plan. "So what is it that you do..." her voice trailed expectantly, and for the second time that night, she waited for the stranger to give her name.

    This time, she obliged. "Josette," the raven hair girl replied, a ghost of a smile drifting across her face. "And I am a knight."

    Rayleigh nodded sagely, her tumble of brunette hair spilling over her shoulder and into her face. She shoved it back with one hand; it was an absentminded and well-practiced movement. "That was pretty easy to guess," she admitted. "You look the type." Then, remembering her half of the bargain, she said, "My name is Rayleigh."
    Althy's Judging Admin
    To try or not to try. To take a risk or play it safe.
    Your arguments have reminded me how precious the right to choose is.
    And because I've never been one to play it safe, I choose to try.




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