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In Search of the Past

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It had already been more than three weeks since Regalia, running out of resources on her own, went in search of those who might aid her in the search for her lost comrades. As such, she had formed a hodgepodge group of people, the only ones who would even do so much as to humor and join her. Whether for their own goals or not, Regalia didn't care if they were in the group to benefit themselves, or just kill time. Any help was welcomed as long as it brought her closer to her goal. Standing at the edge of a cliff which had they'd been directed to before leaving town, Regalia sighed. She looked about from the vantage point and knew very well there was nothing even remotely close to the Synth in this densely mountainous terrain. One male human, one female healer, and one obligatory man in robs that no one in the group was quite sure about. 

He didn't say much, aside from the occasional quip for laughs, usually for his own amusement and more than just occasionally. It was just about the only thing he did. With his hooded robe, and a half-face mask, the man was quite the mystery. Any attempt to speak of himself was quickly, and rather skillfully side stepped, though sometimes obvious. Regalia saw through it, but eventually stopped inquiring. It wasn't worth the time doing it herself anymore, especially when the other two prodded enough as it was. Still, the man didn't let on anything, save that his name was Tayel. He claimed to know the lay of the land quite well and, despite his rather shady personage, he was true to his word. Their trip to the peaks of the canyons were made much easier by his keen knowledge. 

Regalia finally stepped away from the edge, brushing her long silver hair back from where the wind had blown, and sat on a large boulder. Her voice, the resonant lilt softened by the wind, rang out on the harsh terrain as she spoke to her current companions. "Well, I don't believe we will find anything useful here. as far as I can tell, there wouldn't be any way to safely traverse this area even if we there was. That aside, I believe that the other side of these mountains is occupied by the demons. It wouldn't be a fantastic experience running into them during a search," she said, straightening the nomadic cloak idly. 

"It'd be something all right, having an encounter with them. But hey! If you wanna turn back here, we can always take a trip to Raxtin rather than going to Phaim. This mountain range is the dividing border after all," Tayel said, using his hands as he spoke to hid his knowledge that demons lived close by there as well.

Regalia considered this. The names of countries and continents were all new to her, and even if she could see an old map of the area, she probably wouldn't be able to make any kind of real correlation because of the drastic changes. She looked over to the other two and asked, "What do you think? I've no problems if it leads me closer, but you might have conflicting thoughts about going out of the country."

(Sorry about the obvious exposition. I didn't work very hard to cover it up or progress the story. Still figuring things out really.)

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Talia rolled her big brown eyes, her light brown hair blowing with the wind about them. "Demons are going to encounter us no matter which way we take." She answered evenly. Cody sighed inwardly. Even if she wasn't, Talia always portrayed herself as being in charge. He had to admit, though, that she was good at it. She typically knew the best way to do things, or at least the best way to get them out of trouble. She was strong for her size, even though she didn't look like it in her skin-tight pants and her black blouse. He smiled to himself. She could definitely handle any situation she put her mind to.

His own dirty blonde hair was also being played with by the wind, which also rustled his white shirt and dark pants. Directions weren't his strong suit, so he made no move to comment on the route they should take.

Having no one to argue with her, Talia went on. "It's no use trying to avoid the demons. They've made these areas their home and sooner or later, some are going to find us. I don't care which way we take to get to where you want to go, but we need to make sure we're prepared for the high possibility of getting ambushed by them. The weaker ones wouldn't be a problem but there are some that are pretty damn strong."

So long as they don't have your headstrong attitude, maybe we could just lose them. Cody thought to himself, but he knew better than to speak those words.

He glanced over at Taylel. Curiosity was usually a healthy trait, but with Cody it only served to get him into trouble. He went to great lengths to figure things out, including crossing boundaries those holding the information he searched for may have put up. That's what I'm good for. Not fighting. He liked to play in his head scenes where he was useful, capable of gathering information others couldn't get and saving people in the process. Facing the truth, though, he was bad about getting information, regardless of how badly he craved it. He had been thrown out of plenty of places for being too nosey. If Talia didn't like him so much, he'd guess she'd ditch him just the same.

Talia continued. "Since demons will always be a hazard, I think we should continue you to Phaim so as not to waste more time."

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"I agree with the lady. I say the demons can lick a shoe. A nasty one that some mutt has been chewing on for the last week before giving up and leaving to mold some back alley of Rak'Maun for several weeks, ignored by the disposal services because they get lazy and don't bother to clean such an alley," Tayel prattled on, then returned to the point, "We should venture on to Phaim! I know a couple who owns a tavern there we could stay for the duration of our visit. We might find leads there. After all, you said you searched most of Raxtin anyway, so there's no harm."

Regalia heard him plenty well, but held Talia in her sight for a little longer than one might usually. Taking in the female's features and keeping a log of them. It wasn't as if Ragalia hadn't already memorized the woman's face, body, and voice, but something about her made it seem she was always ready to snap at someone. to avoid any unnecessary annoyances, she looked away and waved at Tayel. "All right. We'll take that course of action then. Since you're so confident in your knowledge and that's why I brought you along, do lead the way. I trust you know, but let's try to take the shortest route with the least hassle," she said, not withholding her motive for allowing him along.

Tayel chuckled beneath his guise and adjusted the pack he carried. While mumbling his own amusement to himself, he turned from the cliffs and began heading along the ridge, aiming for a ravine cut into the rock long ago by weather that would carry them back down into the forest, and eventually into a cave complex that would come out on the other side of the mountains in Raxtin, the country of Iron Knowledge. Ironic to be named that when they imported more iron than any other country. In truth, it's title had nothing to do with iron, and only vaguely of their knowledge, It was the black ruins that gave them the name. Regalia had visited the black ruins once before when she first arrived, but was well aware that she wouldn't find anything of value there. It had all been secured either way, so no one went in or out anymore. 

with her own sigh and inner thoughts, Regalia stood analyzing the scene before her with less precision and more in appreciation, something she'd been lucky enough to obtain at birth. Then, like the wind that blew, she motioned with an elegant smile for the other two to follow and the scene melted as she focused on her footing rather than something trivial. 

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Talia was eager to be off, energy coursing through her. She always needed something to do or else she got bored relatively quickly. She followed closely behind Taylel in the lead, not having any qualms about people being behind her. She was pretty trusting.

Cody had no arguments, though he preferred to stay back with Regalia. Taylel obviously had something off about him and, while he was more than curious to learn about the fellow, he was more comfortable letting Talia break the ice in the group. So, he walked silently beside Regalia, letting his mind wander to the possibilities of what they would find when they finally found what they were searching for. Will they be hostile? Or welcoming? Will the recognize their queen? Or will they not have survived the meteor at all?

Talia smiled widely at Taylel. "So, you were with Regalia before we joined along. How did you two meet? Obviously Regalia wants you around for your knowledge of the land but why did you tag along? What's your agenda?"

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Taylel, weaving between the rocky outcroppings that feebly attempted to impede on their journey, caught Talia's question while he wedged himself through a crevice. He said nothing, helping the others behind him to make it through first, then with a smile playing on his lips he finally answered where she could hear him. "I happened to have a run in with her back in the capital. I was on my way to the frontier lands from there. I have an affinity for artifacts you see, and the frontier is full of them. So naturally, I have obtained quite a wealth of knowledge about the land. I was on my way out when I saw her advertisement for people with unique skills willing to travel and join. Of course, there's no pay, but I'm all right with that. So we've been traveling together since we left the capital," he explained half truthfully.

He hadn't said anything false, but neither did he provide any specific information about himself, side stepping the latter half of the questions with the vague answer of I'm in it for the journey. Regalia paid close attention to his words, recording them all and analyzing them for anything that could help reveal himself, but it was nothing she hadn't heard. In fact, it was all surprisingly close to the truth, minus her advertisement. Rather than him finding her, she found him having heard that he was knowledgeable about artifacts. He wasn't much good for what she'd hoped, but knowing the land was enough to keep him around. 

After they'd gone a significant distance through the ravine, they came face to face with a stone wall that blocked their path. from there, they had to travel through the forest north along the mountain face until, finally, Tayel found the wide mouth that lead to the cave. "I knew it was around here somewhere," Tayel said with a slight chuckle. 

No one seemed amused at this and he proceeded to explain that the cave would take them to the other side, provided they don't get lost. By this time, however, it was already twilight, just on the verge of night. Regalia had no qualms travelling at all times of the day, but she couldn't make the same call for her companions. "Seeing as it's dark, I suggest we wait until morning to cross over. I'm sure you're tired after the trip all the way to the top, and then back down again," she said considerately, folding her arms and standing idly by. 

Though capable of complex emotions now, Regalia didn't display much in that way. She was one of very few of her kind that ever developed so much. However, as a queen and a war goddess, it was required that she quell any emotions that could interfere with her duty. Thus, while still feeling emotion, it was more like the emotions were hardly even surfaced, bringing into question whether she truly had any or simply faked it. Tayel, previously inspecting the cave, returned and asked, "Are we camping out here then? If so, I'll start a fire and cook something, assuming no one else feels like doing it this time around too."

 

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