[The Keep] Walking to Skye

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Straken
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[The Keep] Walking to Skye

Post by Straken »

Ruarc stretched in the comforting shade of the cottage pergola. A warm breeze rolled through as the Irishman checked the watch on his wrist. It was late afternoon and he had just finished eating a light meal as he waited for the designated time. Drysi would be along shortly, at which point the two would set off for the apprentice’s first visit to the Druid Keep. The trip would take them a few hours, and accounting for the eight hour time difference they would get to their destination sometime a bit before noon. He was not a particular fan of transportation magic, but he had been practicing and improving; at the very least the discomfort they would feel would be marginal, and his accuracy would be better due to it being a familiar route.

Idly patting his hand against the backpack by his chair, Ruarc would normally get in and then promptly leave again, but with Drysi in tow he had said it would be an overnight trip. If nothing else, it would give Drysi a chance to really immerse herself in the Keep’s atmosphere. The Keep had always seemed claustrophobic to him. To many people, and too much going on. It didn’t help that following the Druid Purge and the creation of the Keepers, Carneath was an odd mix of military compound, a college’s student union, and an office building. To its credit the Keep was still very much a druid site, and had been lovingly maintained to provide a cozy and safe environment for the druids that called the Keep home.

Laoise popped out briefly to collect Ruarc’s plate and chat briefly. She was going to be staying behind as she had some business of her own to take care of, although Ruarc suspected she liked having opportunities to have the cottage to herself from time to time. Brushing the thought off, he went over his mental checklist of matters he needed to personally see too while at the Keep.
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Kokuten
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Re: [The Keep] Walking to Skye

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Life seemed to move quickly for Drysi these days. A few months ago, she hated druids and was thoroughly infested with the spirit of a dead grandparent. Now, she was about to meet her new druid boss and she had been making room in her mind for the snake that was her new familiar. There had not been a lot of time for fun or antics in the last couple of weeks, and even time spent with Willow was starting to become less and less regular. The two of them had been on split paths before, but now it felt that the more they neared Fall, the more their training intensified. It hadn't been how she imagined it would go.

"Do you think everything going on is a bit overwhelming?"

Gideon emerged from her the draping strands of Drysi's hair, as if he needed to be seen to be heard.

"Stop that. I know we're sharing a space up there, but I'm going to need privacy for my own thoughts."

The snake, growing at a very quick, and, at times, unsettling pace, began to slowly withdraw back into the girl's hair. One of the Safeholme students at the gate, still unfamiliar with Drysi's familiar, slowly backed away.

"I don't listen all the time."

"Hm! You pick and choose? You stay on your side of the brain, Gideon; can't have you seeing my artistic side."

"The artistic side being when you think things about Willow you won't say, or when you start pairing people off in your head and then start imagining them--"

"That's enough!" Drysi shrilly shirked, tugging the snake off her neck. She held him up on her arm and shoved a finger in his face, "Saying it back to me doesn't make it okay."

"But you like doing that." Gideon flattened his head.

"Not out loud. Gideon, I'm going to need you to keep your observations to a minimum durin' this trip. Okay? You keep just saying things that I don't even give a voice to, and it's makin' hard to have private thoughts."

"You know, they said Private Thoughts had a bright future in the army, shame he had his head stuck in the clouds," said Manon, who happened to be passing by, and then quickly jumped at the sight of the snake. The clown seemed to be sensitive to snakes, and was more unnerved as five glassy eyes looked at her. "I think I will go now."

"I'm sorry, Drysi."

The triclops didn't answer as she padded down the path, bouncing as she went with her backpack secured tightly. Anything she had to say Gideon could already figure out. He was tapped into how she felt, and, unfortunately, also possessed a high degree of emotional intelligence to the point where he often didn't need to hear her thoughts vocalized to understand them. Getting along with Gideon was easy enough, there was a fast bond that formed between the two, but as with any new relationship forced into close proximity, it was difficult to get used to the lack of space. His astute observations were a second opinion that her conscience couldn't make known before. The more he tried to help, the more crowded her head felt.

This was why Drysi looked dispirited as she walked up to the cottage. She hadn’t even noticed Ruarc as she walked up, keeping her eyes on her feet instead of ahead of her.
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Straken
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Re: [The Keep] Walking to Skye

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“It seems my apprentice has a lot on her mind,” Ruarc said as he watched Drysi approach. Seemingly unnoticed, the Irishman rested his chin against a propped up hand. There was no malice in his tone, and in fact he appeared mildly amused. He had his hunches about what might be troubling her, but he wasn’t going to pretend to understand everything that might be troubling a teenage girl.

“Anything you wish to talk about before we head out?” her mentor asked as he shifted in his seat to cross a leg up.
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Kokuten
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Re: [The Keep] Walking to Skye

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The moping student snapped her head up as the voice of the master druid of the campus called to her. Druids were like that, in areas of nature they could walk and move unassensed by other mages. Even in this urban environment, Safeholme was a vale of shadows for the practitioners of the primal to hide in.

He looked like the bear that watched from across the river.

"Mr. Flynn..." Drysi's fists wound tightly on each other. They rolled over eachother until she brought her fingers up to her snake

"It's okay," assured Gideon, patient and steady as his scales were caressed.

"Were things always good 'tween you and Ms. Laoise? When you two became bound... was..."

"Was it difficult?"

"... was it difficult? Did you adjust pretty quickly or did you... you... uhm..."

"Have a hard time adjusting to the presense of another in your mind?"

"... He's even helping me say things that won't hurt his feelings, but still represent my own. This isn't like anything I've even known before, and sometimes it's... overwhelming. What do I do?"
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Straken
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Re: [The Keep] Walking to Skye

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"Stars no," Ruarc's response was candid. "She was even more of a prima donna when only I could communicate with her. But so it goes with youth. She was young, just as Gideon is now. With time comes maturity, and growth bolstered by your own experiences feeding his. As the two of you continue to bond, and your connection becomes a part of you both, the link will become less intrusive and more natural. Usually after the first half year, but it can vary. Before long, it will feel like it's always been there, and the thought of losing it almost unheard of."

Ruarc shuddered slightly, a hint of past experiences.

"I can recommend some mental exercises, and it also helps finding hobbies for your familiar; something to occupy their time. Laoise became fond of reading romance novels, and manga once we came to Japan."
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Kokuten
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Re: [The Keep] Walking to Skye

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"Hobbies? For a snake?"

Drysi squinted her eyes, trying to picture Gideon trying to open a book. Then, she tried to picture a dove trying to open a book. Unable to picture either, she was not quite sure what to think. Laoise hadn't always been the striking, beautiful woman she projected herself as. Laoise would have had to have figured it out without the use of fingers.

"I'm willing to try things if it would help."

"But you need to want to do it, or you're just doing your job."

"Human awareness is complicated. I have to enjoy this activity?"

"That's not how this works, you do it because you want to enjoy it."

"I enjoy helping you."

Drysi tugged the snake off her again, now actually apparently speaking to him. "But that's your job. Helping me is your job. Your purpose."

The snake lowered himself flat on her arm.

"I don't think I understand the rules."

Her free hand touched on her three brows, rubbing on her forehead.

"Mr. Flynn, we'll take those mental exercises. Gideon isn't grasping what a hobby is."
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Straken
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Re: [The Keep] Walking to Skye

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"Well, he's only a couple weeks old. Let's walk and talk, I'll share some as we walk down to the glade," Ruarc said as he stood and put on his cloak. Shouldering his pack, the Irishman stretched and called back to the cottage to announce his departure. A well wish to Drysi from Laoise sounded through an open window, and an affectionate farewell for Ruarc came from Caoranach which elicited a stiff ahem from the man. A guiding hand on Drysi's shoulder started the two back onto the path to take them into the forest. As they walked Ruarc helped his apprentice brainstorm possible options to occupy Gideon's free time. The sheltered forest felt refreshing in the summer heat, and the two druids made their way down the path they had walked multiple times in the past. Around the time Ruarc was suggesting building an obstacle course for Gideon, they arrived at the glade.

"Alright, this might be a tad jarring, and if you start to feel nauseous just close your eyes and focus on counting," Ruarc began the pre-trip announcement. "And the only rule is don't let go of my cloak. Don't need you ending up somewhere in Russia. Any questions about the trip before we get underway?"
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Kokuten
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Re: [The Keep] Walking to Skye

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"Russia?"

Drysi stared up at Ruarc wide-eyed, trying to contemplate just what exactly she'd do with herself if she were stuck in Russia. The Ministry of Magical Affairs in that country was stiff, and being an unlicensed foreigner would mean difficulties getting around. Ruarc could see his apprentice spiraling already, and he was, perhaps, not surprised when she took a portion of his cloak and tied it to her arm in response. Being risk-adverse, Drysi wanted to leave nothing to chance, and so she still chose to grip on to the fabric.

"I... I uh... Sometimes I get motion-sick in the car. Is that like this? I don't do good on car rides longer than an hour."

Again, she looked a little distressed.

"Sometimes I get pukey, but after wretchin' it out I feel a lot better."

Her three eyes drifted off to the treeline.

"Y'think I should just get it out of the way now? Or tough it out?
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Straken
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Re: [The Keep] Walking to Skye

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"It... might get pukey," Ruarc spoke honestly. "It's going to be a lot of images going by really quickly, but for what it's worth, it'll feel like only five minutes or so have past for you. Traveling along ley lines can make you feel some vertigo the first few times, but the more you do it, the more acclimated you'll become. My first time doing it I almost past out and ended up somewhere in Mongolia, but I've run this route enough times to where I can get us safely to the outskirts of the Keep. I've also heard of some druids using headphones and playing music to keep their sense of place."

Ruarc was orienting himself as he spoke. Pointing in a specific direction towards the horizon using one of a number of markings Drysi could note around the glade, the druid spread his hands and began to focus his will.

"Oh, and hold on to Gideon. Momentum is a non issue, but would similarly prefer not trying to find a snake somewhere between here and Scotland."

Beginning to chant, Drysi could feel energy begin to surround the glade as they tapped into the ley line, and as soon as the chant had finished Ruarc lifted a foot. The moment the foot touched the ground the world around them became a blur of motion. Like a movie played in fast forward the countryside could be seen in snapshots of clarity quickly replaced by new vistas. Water dominated their view momentarily as they crossed the Sea of Japan. Mountains, forests, desserts, jungle, steppes. They caught glimpses of a dozen varying biomes. No sooner did it feel like they started then the fast forward was turned off, and Ruarc stood with Drysi in a valley of exposed stone mottled by coats of low drab green foliage. To their right was a midnight blue loch, and to their left was a vast stretch of blue dotted by distant islands cast within a misty vignette.

"Welcome to the Black Cuillin Mountain Range. Lovely this time of year, ain't it?" Ruarc's voice cut through the haze of mist and post ley line travel that might be clouding Drysi's perception. The air around them felt damp and cold in the mid-fifties, especially having come from a relatively hot Japanese day, and the mist threatened to chill them were it not for the hearty cloaks they wore. "How do you feel?"

The vista was very Scottish, but despite Ruarc's claim, Drysi could see no Keep.
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Kokuten
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Re: [The Keep] Walking to Skye

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Prior to the leap, Drysi had Gideon wrap tightly around her other arm. The snake nestled his head in the girl's palm and buried his face.

"What are you doin', Gid?"

Gideon only spared a second to look up in his response. "Mitigating."

When the passing colors started, Drysi began to understand. It was like a long car ride, but worse, in that there was no floorboard to stare into. Even the floorboards were moving, and it was really bad over any water. Even so, she managed to keep it together all the way through. She even felt like she might have been getting used to it.

Then, they stopped.

Ruarc had been afforded just enough time to introduce his apprentice to the area. Drysi took everything in as her ears and her sense of balance came back to a halt. Then came her stomach.

"It's so beauti-Ha–OUGRLH."

She doubled over as her stomach viciously protested everything that just happened. Her arm was still caught up in Ruarc's cloak, while her other arm supported her. Gideon had slithered off just in time to make distance and watch the display.

After a couple of dizzying wretches, the triclops looked up and around, somewhat dazed. "I don'... don' see… a ca–... a cow–... a keep."
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