The Search for Santinal

The Search for Santinal
The Search for Santinal
The story of Santinal is a sad one.

It was once said to be the greatest city in the entirety of the Sangsaxian Kingdoms, until it fell. Nobody can be sure about the circumstances that led to Santinal’s collapse as none escaped the city alive.

Those who journeyed to the city after its fall, who saw the death and destruction that had been inflicted upon that city by some unseen force, they did not like to speak about it. Nobody went back to Santinal for a long time.

Hundreds of years later and its location were lost to memory, as were the potent magics and the wondrous technologies it housed. Santinal is little more than a legend nowadays. Many people do not even believe that it existed, there is after all precious little evidence of the lost city.

But in the city of Khagash there gathers a collection of travellers who for one reason or another have reason to believe that Santinal is real and nearby.

Maybe they will uncover the truth of what happened in Santinal...


Hello and welcome to a blatant Gemgark ripoff. In the same style as Gemgark this is 'sort of like a Grand Battle in how the story is told but not in what the story is'. Some people come together to search for the Lost City of Santinal.

Apparently if things get slow I might post and introduce an obstacle or something for you to do? Who knows.


1) Everyone is from the same world so their backgrounds should all make sense when considered together. I've left everything pretty vague with regard to the world it is set in so worldbuild away.

2) There is no Grandmaster forcing you all to interact with one another, I'm not telling you to specifically do anything with this but its worth bearing in mind when you create a character that might not get along very well with other characters.

3) Because of these things maybe its a good idea to talk to one another about your characters that you are thinking of entering and work out how they would interact with one another.


Username: This category is the most unnecessary
Name: Your character's name.
Race: What race your character is. Be creative, just try to tie them into the setting somehow.
Gender: Does anyone even read this template?
Description: What does your character look and act like?
Inventory and Abilities: What does your character have on them? What can they do, either with our without their special equipment?
Biography: This is important since this is your homeworld. Stuff that is in your characters backstory can easily tie directly into the plot potentially. How did they come to be in Khagash and why do they want to find Santinal.
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RE: The Search for Santinal
Username: Dragon Fogel
Name: Elliot Mudwood and Slort
Race: Human and Larconean Parasite, respectively
Gender: Male and Female, respectively
Text Color: #C05A70
The Sangsaxian Kingdoms are home to numerous guilds, of varying degrees of prestige. There are guilds for warriors, guilds for mages, guilds for poets, for painters, for engineers, for explorers, even for thieves.
And Elliot Mudwood knew the names of more guilds than anyone else, due to the sheer number he had been refused entry to. At the Fighter's Guild, he could barely lift his practice sword; at the Wizard's Guild, the only spell he had been able to cast was one to turn a frog into a toad. In the Thieves' Guild, he hadn't even been able to pick his own pocket, and the Poet's Guild had been so offended by his verse that they passed a bylaw that his exploits couldn't even be mentioned in poems.
It was the same story everywhere. Regardless, Elliot persevered, certain that there was some guild where he could make a name for himself.
And then he stumbled upon the Checking Out Things That Fall Out Of The Sky Guild.
Their task was rather simple, though not in high demand; on occasion, something strange would fall out of the sky, and the Guild would send someone to take a look at it and find out whether it was safe.
The Guild's membership largely consisted of the sort of people who wouldn't think too hard about what it meant for them if the thing from the sky wasn't safe. And among this group, Elliot was exceptional.
The Guild's clerk was honestly surprised when Elliot asked what the entrance test was; they hadn't ever actually given one. The surprise soon passed, however, when the clerk realized that the key difference between "a test" and "a job" was that you were only obligated to pay for the latter.
Half an hour later, Elliot was wandering the fields outside town trying to find the thing that had fallen from the sky. He stared at the crude map he had drawn from his attempt to join the Cartographer's Guild that morning, and realized that it would have been much easier if he had written "The thing that fell out of the sky" on it somewhere.
Unfortunately, he had no pen. So when he saw something that looked like a small house, only made of metal and burning, he decided to knock on the door and ask if they had a pen he could borrow.
The small creature that popped out didn't answer him for a while. It looked around with its single eye, and stared at Elliot as if waiting for him to explain something.
Then it jumped at him. Elliot wasn't entirely sure what happened next, he just has vague memories of a haze of pain and then he had tentacles and an eye sticking out of his shoulder.
"Hello, transport-creature," the eye suddenly said. "I am Slort of Larconea, and I have come to learn more about this planet. How many creditoids of compensation will you require for carrying me to a local civilization?"
Elliot was understandably confused, but after a short conversation, he came to realize that she was essentially offering him money to take her back to town. Since they didn't accept "creditoids" here as far as he knew, she agreed to help him out with some odd jobs in order to pay for her fare.
Over the next day or so, Slort explained that she wanted to study the culture of the world by visiting every city and taking notes. She was confused by the fact that nobody else seemed to be willing to serve as a host for her, so she decided to stay with Elliot; his rates weren't that unreasonable, and the work she did to pay her way was also quite informative.
After several months of travelling, Elliot had taken her to every city in the Sangsaxian Kingdoms. Once her study had concluded, he very politely asked if she was done now.
"No, not just yet" she told him. "There's still that one city we haven't been to."
"One city?" Elliot asked, confused. He took out his crude map of the countryside and looked over it; he'd been to every city on there. "I was pretty sure we visited them all."
"No, you missed one. I'm not sure where it is, but from what I heard about it, it sounds far too interesting to pass up. I can't go back home until I've seen it."
"Which city is it?"
"I think they called it Santinal."
Elliot tried his best not to groan out loud. If he wanted his body to himself again, he'd have to guide Slort there.

Elliot is a boy of about fifteen, wearing unimpressive peasant clothing and thick boots. He's a little short for his age, and somewhat scrawny. He's got short and curly brown hair. All in all, he looks rather nondescript aside from the two pinkish-purple tentacles sticking out below his arms and the similarly-colored eyestalk growing out of his shoulder.
Said tentacles and eyestalk actually belong to Slort, who has made Elliot's body her new home until she's ready to go back to Larconea and report on her findings. Were she removed from him, she would look like a small pinkish-purple octopus with a single eye on a stalk.
Elliot is highly adventurous and optimistic, but ultimately not particularly competent at anything. He'd like his body to himself again, but Slort's a polite enough guest that he doesn't want to just kick her out. Besides, he's enjoyed seeing the world, plus she's good at paying for her space.
Slort, for her part, is very friendly and curious. She's taken a great interest in the culture of the Sangsaxian Kingdoms, and constantly directs Elliot at locales she'd particularly like to take a closer look at. This has a tendency to include the sort of places Elliot would avoid if he knew better. She doesn't quite understand the local culture or Elliot's discomfort with hosting her - the other intelligent species on Larconea are used to parasites, and she still has difficulty understanding that the local species generally aren't the same way.
Slort frequently talks, but to anyone except Elliot, it tends to come out as a series of incomprehensible squeaks and gurgles. Elliot, however, can understand her perfectly, and is a bit confused when somebody else can't.
Neither of them is particularly violent. Unfortunately, neither of them is particularly good at staying out of dangerous situations, either.

Inventory and Abilities:
Elliot has few abilities other than a boundless optimism and a desire. He does have a variety of miscellaneous minor skills he acquired from his days of guild applications; these talents include making maps that only he can read, turning frogs into toads, and writing the world's worst poetry.
Slort is quite intelligent, but most of her knowledge is based on how things work on Larconea. As such, a fair amount of it isn't so applicable on a planet with different species and cultures, and even though Slort's objective is to learn about the local culture, there are a lot of details that don't quite stick.
Slort has full control of her tentacles and eyestalk, and she can also grow temporary structures on Elliot's body and control those, as well. She can't really do anything with the body parts Elliot already has, however. If he falls unconscious, all she can do is wiggle her tentacles and eyestalk or hop out of his body and look for a new host. However, she's far too polite to force herself on a host; she only did that with Elliot because she assumed he was a transport. If she does ever shift bodies, she'll ask first, and she'll always offer to pay her way. She's used to Elliot's body, however, so if she uses anyone else's it will most likely be temporary.
Slort's tentacles are quite strong, and she could potentially crush someone with them, but she's not the violent type. They can also produce ink, at a rate which Slort can control; she can make a small stream and effectively use a tentacle as a pen, or she can unleash a large spray of ink if that suits her needs.
Slort's single eye can see some things that Elliot can't, but she doesn't have good depth perception with it; still, she's able to either borrow his eyes or let him borrow hers. Elliot generally doesn't look through her eye if he can help it, however, because it tends to give him a headache.
RE: The Search for Santinal
Username: Garuru
Name: Maria Yushiva
Race: Human
Gender: Female
Color: Some kind of Greenish Brown, I don't even know

Items/Abilities: Through constant experimentation and toying around with various herbs and potions, she has discovered a particular blend of pigments that will cause anything she can think of to become painted, whether it be a simple object or a complex abstract concept. This something would then be portrayed differently to each person. If she thought of the word "apple" and painted it, it would show as an apple to everyone, obviously. Simple things stay simple, for the most part. However, the tone and complexion of the apple would vary, and if people have strong subconscious connections between apples and other objects, those objects would also show up. If she painted a picture of "paradise", for her, it would be a haven away from people, where she can get her peace. For other people, however, they would view it as something entirely separate. And that is what makes it such a dangerous art. If she were to paint, say, "your desire", it would display a person's truest desire. Then, a person could go mad just by viewing it, and seeing what they want the most but not being able to get it. Worse still, is to paint a picture of "yourself". Everything about you would spill forth on the canvas and become evident to yourself. This can instantly render someone completely hollow and without a desire to live, now that they've known everything they can about themselves. She calls this pigment Miracle Hue. It may have further unexplained effects.

Other than her painting ability, she is capable of using herbs and brewing powerful potions. She can't really decently brew anything complicated, as most of her potions arised from failed attempts to make Miracle Hue, so if she ever tried to brew complex potions, they might have odd and unexplained abilities. Even she doesn't know what they do, though she can at least tell if it would be harmful for her. So, she can tell the difference between a potion and a poison, but everything else is a crapshoot. She can still brew basic potions of health, mana, etc. She also has a few darts, so she can actually utilize the poisons she makes.

Description: Maria is a reclusive cranky old witch who lives in the woods. She rarely ever comes out to meet people, but when she does, she always gets undue attention, because of what she can do. Her paintings would sell for top money, if she ever chose to sell them. She never does, though, because she believes that art is true beauty that should be appreciated, not peddled and used for money. Unfortunately, years of people constantly nattering her to paint something for them has left her bitter. She no longer believes that other people can appreciate art for what it is, so she keeps to herself, painting whatever comes to mind.

People do have the tendency to be persistent, however, and people would kill to see their own true desires. Thus, she has to be particularly careful about her true identity. She usually wears a dusty ragged shawl that covers part of her face, layered with more shaggy clothing that only serves to diminish her form. This works for her, and nobody knows where she has gone to, but rumors circulate fast and long, so she's had to move from place to place every so often. She would love nothing more than to leave people behind forever, but she does rely on them for supplies, as she is too weak to hunt for food or chop firewood. Hence, why she must live near people. Sometimes, if she's feeling mischievous, she will draw something and leave without a word, so that nobody will actually know that it was her doing until they point it out and people disagree with what it portrays. If they are familiar with her work, they might try and figure out what it is meant to portray. She enjoys these sorts of mind games. Most other times, however, she is absolutely misanthropic. She is not inherently evil, and she would never kill a person. Harm, maybe, but just so they get out of her way.

Biography: She was always poor and hungry when she was younger. She had one true talent, and that was painting. Or so she thought. She would paint wonderful pictures, and people would always compliment her on her skill. However, nobody would buy her paintings. They were cdefinitely skillfully painted, but they always lacked a certain finesse that other artists had. Her work was bland, simply speaking. So, she turned to witchcraft to try and turn a profit. She experimented for a while, and finally came up with Miracle Hue. She only found out what it can do by trying to draw the concept of "hope". When she showed the painting off, people were inexplicably drawn to it. Suddenly, people were bidding huge amounts of money for it, and arguing over what it looked like for them. She was very confused, but she accepted the money. She thought that the money would help her. Eventually, others got more and more greedy, outright demanding her to paint things for them. This did not agree with her ideals, so she would refuse. But, her customers were already tainted by the power of Miracle Hue. They would settle for no less. Riots ensued, and she was nearly killed. She ran away, taking her secrets with her. And nobody ever saw her again for 20 years. Every now and then, one of her paintings show up on a wall of a tavern somewhere. It is in one of those taverns that she is currently sitting. She is currently searching for Santinal for two reasons. One, she thinks there might be untapped magical potential in that place. Two, nobody's there. And this is all she needs to know.
RE: The Search for Santinal
Username: Solarsrsefsefd
Name: Shashara
Race: Chimera
Gender: Chick
Text Color: Golden ((#aaaa00))
Biography: The wilderness in the Sangsaxian Kingdoms is a... very weird place. There are all sorts of creatures of varying magical prowess and capability. Chimera in the Sangsaxian Kingdoms are interesting creatures with a complicated form of reproduction involving other creatures and two or more Chimera during a mating season. During the Chimera mating season, the creatures group together and emit genetic spores. Chimera cling together to give each other heavy doses of these spores, which determines what sort of traits a new child chimera will gain. This is how Chimera gain extra heads, tails, other arms, and almost every sort of combination under the sun.

After the Chimera end their spore dance, they spread out, back to their homes, and spread their spores around other mating or recently mated creatures, and silently infect any newborns or still developing life with the new genetic spores. This causes a magical transformation in which the egg or fetus is transformed into a chimera. This is how the general shape of the chimera is determined.

One day, a dual-member of the Wizard Guild and the Environment Protection Guild, Lady Robyn went out in the wilderness, searching for rare eggs and endangered species in an attempt to preserve them. As it was shortly after the Chimera mating season, though Robyn, in her excitement for adventure, forgot, there were many eggs that were incubating Chimera, rather than their normal creature. One such egg was that of the Shadow Parasite, a creature that began life as whatever creature touched it first and then evolved into it's normal, parasitic form that attempted to then feed and infect other living creatures around it.

They were endangered for a reason, obviously, but one egg had survived and now had been infected by a Chimera. And then Robyn found it. The Environmentally Minded Wizard was unaware of the unprecedented find she had in her hands, it was an egg that housed a creature that copied the genetic code of the first creature to touch it, that was also infected with the genetic code of a creature that would raise it as normal as possible before developing the traits of its true offspring. There were so many possibilities, but only one would have led to Shashara.

After Robyn touched the egg and Shashara hatched in the guise of a baby, she feared that she had gotten the wrong egg in her expedition, and immediately went to a group of clerics. They determined that the creature, though not fully human, was not a Shadow Parasite, and likely would not destroy or infect everything that Robyn held dear. Assured by their word, she returned to her work, raising a small child, unknown of just what sort of creature it would grow into.

Time passed and Shashara grew up, and unfortunately for Robyn, she was as dumb as a rock. Shashara was a Chimera, a wild animal, while she was civilized and trained she still had the mental capacities of a Chimera, not a human or a Shadow Parasite. This didn't mean that she was stupid, just not useful for many of the things that Robyn was knowledgeable in. After giving up on teaching her daughter how to talk, Robyn sent Shashara to the Fighter's Guild, where she would train and learn as best she could.

This continued until one day Shashara found that her mother was trying to find a place known as Santinal, but could not go herself due to health complications. Wanting to please her mother, and do the best she could, Shashara headed off toward the city of Khagash, where she would hope to find the city and make her mother proud...

Description: Shashara stands at a tall six feet. She has short, black hair and green eyes like her adoptive mother and wears a brown tunic with some light chain-mail underneath. The tunic is sleeveless, and she wears a sturdy green skirt. The reason for her open clothing is that after human, the most abundant genetic code that Shashara has is that of a reptile, making armor mostly redundant thanks to sturdy scales. Her fists muscle structure resemble that of an ape, giving her greater strength in the arms and legs. Her feet are also solidly reptilian, possibly most like a crocodile, clawed and completely covered in scales. Her head looks normal, but hides sharp teeth and hearing slits instead of ears. She has an aquatic suited tail that is not very useful on the ground.

Shashara herself is simple-minded, but not as dumb as her mother sometimes thinks. Chimera are after all clever enough to infect the offspring of other creatures without notice. She can sort of read and understands the common language well enough, but ask her to do any sort of school work like calligraphy, math, or science and she will just fail horribly. On the other hand, she has a knack for remembering things, and knows a random array of facts about the Sangsaxian Kingdoms and the wildlife, along with her Fighter's Guild training. She is at heart, a sweetie, who only wants to do good things for her mother and wouldn't think twice about helping a friend.

Inventory and Abilities: As mentioned above, Shashara has the muscle structure of an ape and the think hide of an as-of-yet unidentified reptile, giving her great strength and defense. Though not incredibly intelligent, she is clever enough to get out of a bad situation on her own and has a powerful survival instinct. Her training in the Fighter's Guild gave her mild proficiency in most weapons, but she excels at barehanded combat and intimidation tactics.

She has on hand, a satchel full of lovingly packed food and potions and first aid kits, a note book for drawing anything interesting that she sees, containers for taking interesting samples that her mother might want, and gloves, for when she has to punch things that might hurt to touch. She also has a locket with a picture of her and her mother together around her neck.
RE: The Search for Santinal
Username: The Most Necessary SleepingOrange
Name: Quick Cloudmoon
Race: Grey elf. Grey elves are like elves, but more elfy and less colorful.
Gender: A well-read male
Text Color: The very funnest #333333 possible

Description: Quick is a fairly standard-issue elf run through a greyscale filter. He's tall and thin, attractive in an ethereal sort of way, has long, pointed ears and long, less-pointed limbs, and a general air of ease and grace that can make less-elfish sorts kind of want to punch him without realizing why. His skin is a bloodless-looking white, his hair ashen, and his eyes a dull cloudy grey.

On top of all that bland elfinity he piles gaudily-trimmed and eye-catchingly-dyed robes, covered in belts and pouches and holsters. His slender frame is dominated by an enormous backpack that forces him into a near-constant hunch, always leaning on the ornate staff he carries. Even his ostentatious wizard hat has a number of pockets and devices around the brim, as does the billowing multicolored cloak that flutters beneath his pack. All in all, the impression is of an elf who wanted his outfit to say on no uncertain terms "Hello, I am a wizard, pay attention to me", and was then attacked by a mad tailor with a pocket fetish.

Despite his overtly-magical appearance and bearing, Quick isn't as imposing a personality as he'd like to be. He does his best to effect the brash, near-power-mad cackling sort people often expect from traveling mages, but in his heart of hearts he was designed to be a quiet, bookish sort. He's knowledgable on a number of subjects, both magical and mundane, but not apt to speak up about them unless prompted or he feels like he needs to put on a show.

Inventory and Abilities: Quick is a wizard. What abilities do you expect him to have?

If you answered the obvious way, you're wrong. Well, you're also a bit right, but mostly wrong. Quick suffers from a condition that makes it impossible for his body to accumulate mana in large quantities or at any kind of reasonable speed. If he spent a few weeks carefully not exerting himself, he might be able to throw an unimpressive fireball or levitate for about thirty seconds. He knows how to cast many spells; he simply can't manage to cast them very often, or – in the case of the more powerful or esoteric ones – ever.

To that end, he has become an expert in the creation, maintenance, and use of magical devices. Wands, staves, rods, orbs, and all sorts of obviously-magical trinkets that pull mana from the air and channel it to one specific use are his particular specialty, but he's also a fair hand at magimechanical creations and other, more unusual fields. The fact that his only spellcasting ability is tied to the use and creation of tools and devices – most of which have little or no flexibility in their usage – combined with the fact that most of his pride is tied to his spellcasting ability account for the frankly ridiculous amount of gear Quick forces himself to carry.

In a more advanced world, he might have been called an arcane engineer; in a more traditional one, an enchanter. In this one, you'll call him a wizard or he'll make you regret it, or – if nobody's around to save face for – just quietly pout.

The sheer quantity of Quick's trinkets and tools mean it's impossible to describe everything he has on him in a reasonable space. Instead, it bears mentioning that his favorite combat tactic involves the use of wands that spray bolts of the various elements, so he's likely to have quite a few holstered at his belt. His greatest accomplishment, and what would be his pride and joy if he weren't ashamed of his specialty, is his staff; unlike most devices that store or channel spells, it can be used for seven different spells on a given theme, and with some time and materials, that theme can be changed. It's currently air-themed, with flashy spells like lightning bolts, whirlwinds, flight, and invisibility; he mostly uses it to appear to be a normal spellcaster to laypeople and casual acquaintances.

He also has a number of grimoires on his person and in his bag; it's hard – but not impossible – to make a device that effects a spell or effect he's not familiar with, so having references makes the design process a lot easier. He also has a personal diary and some research journals, the current one of which is filled with what sparse lore he could gather about Santinal.

Biography: Quick was born to the prestigious Cloudmoon family, a clan of aristocrats in the Dun Timberlands. A traditional lot, the Cloudmoons considered that the only suitable occupations for an elf were wizard, archer, or thief; naturally, a career in archery was simply too low-class for a noble Cloudmoon, and thievery didn't even bear mentioning. Elves have unusual ideas about theft and property, as evidenced by the Cloudmoons' belief that "thief" is an acceptable occupation in polite society, but it's still not something your average highborn would take up occupationally. This left Quick, as it had left his elder sister and the siblings that would follow him over the decades, with little choice, and he was shipped off to a prestigious magical school at the earliest opportunity.

It was here that his condition was discovered; it wasn't severe enough to allow him the opportunity to become a nullmage, but it was much too severe to make traditional magic a reasonable path. Were it not for his gift for magical theory – and more saliently, his doggedness borne from the reality that he'd leave the academy a wizard or a disgrace – he'd almost certainly have quit or been expelled. Instead, he simply adopted a courseload more suited to those abilities he had, growing over time to become the talented but self-denying artificer he would become.

Naturally, summers and holidays back home were tense and awkward affairs, filled with unsaid words and meaningful looks and an instinctual dislike for his siblings, but even a trinket-mage son was better than an archer or, god forbid, an alchemist.

It was a foregone conclusion that Quick would, upon graduating, not become a court sage or local wizard for anywhere within the Dun Timberlands; it would simply be too embarrassing for him and for his family. For a time, Quick considered settling down in a human settlement somewhere on the Emerald Plains or even taking up an ambassadorial exchange program with one of the dwarven kingdoms; humans had a much greater appreciation for devices both magical and mechanical than elves, and rumor had it that the dwarves had recently been coming into more and more fascinating applications for and knowledge about external magic. In the end, though, neither the thought of running a shop in some prosaic village or living a life on his knees in the dark appealed

Instead, Quick settled into the life of a traveling wizard; it was a good one for someone with an eye for magic items, and he'd always enjoyed learning about things from experience as well as from books. It also gave him the chance to give the appearance of a normal wizard, and to spread the Cloudmoon name beyond its native forests. He had long felt the only way to gain his family's respect was to increase its reputation by his actions, and if he got some excitement in the process, who was he to complain?

That all changed one day as he was passing through the border city of Sallingard; he made a point of perusing the libraries of whatever towns he found himself in, to broaden his horizons and to locate places nearby with potential to explore. One old tome in a forgotten corner caught his eye, and within its near-crumblng pages he learned of a device that could greatly empower any wizard who wielded it – and more importantly, gave the wielder the ability to store vast amounts of magic even if they had previously lacked the capability. Naturally, Quick became obsessed with the device and the lore surrounding it; it was disappointing to realize that it was said to have been a Santinalian invention, but he had already decided to pursue the device and was undeterred to find it was housed in a possibly-fictional city.

He set about learning all he could about Santinal and its collapse; when he finally had discovered all he felt he could – or, more accurately, could no longer restrain himself from the search – he went about gathering a group to explore the city with him. Adventuring in a group had become typical for Quick, and on top of that he was unconfident in his ability to find or survive the place on his own. The tales about Santinal's end and what might have been left afterwards were terrifying.

Unfortunately, in his eyes, the figures he approached to join him were almost-uniformly dismissive of the mission. Most regarded it as either not worth the effort, or patently ridiculous to even believe Santinal had existed. With his contacts from both his adventuring and academic days exhausted and no party formed, he desperately started advertising through fliers and magical messages delivered to whole towns. What leads he'd found suggested that Khagash was the best place to start looking, so he did his best to hopefully attract the attention of those others who might be interested in an expedition to Santinal and inform them of where he'd be.

At the moment, he's sitting in a small Khagashian tavern, hoping absolutely anyone will show up.
RE: The Search for Santinal
Username: Walgreens
Name: Noctilucent
Race: Dimensional Phenomenon
Text Color: STOP (#0a00e0)
Description: Being a spatial anomaly whose nature probably defies several laws of nature and mathematics, Noctilucent is hard to describe in conventional terms, rather it would be more fitting to angle some comparisons to more easier-to-describe objects of our universe. Noctilucent is shaped like a shooting star, a comet, or a smear of light. To put more accurately (and poetically), a lovely streak of blue on a fresh clean piece of paper - his figure moving oh-so-slightly as though he was breathing. If one had the fortune of keen eyes, they will find raggedy-looking dabs of white rippling across his body- although it is advisable not to stare too closely. Noctilucent finds staring rather rude.

One might expect such a physics-defying creature to be utterly incomprehensible to mortal beings, to bequeath obtuse languages and knowledges to the helpless ignorant. Unfortunately (or perhaps fortunately?), Noctilucent practically acts like a well, Normal Human Being and does fairly mundane activities like grocery-shopping or boutique-browsing despite technically having no hands. In terms of personality, Noctilucent is a peevish, prudish milquetoast with a fondness for conventionality and repetition. Despite lack of formal training, he fancies himself a polymath and a gentleman, although his aversion to social gatherings leave something to desire with his species of the opposite sex.

One probably wonders why he is going on an adventure to some ancient, dangerously vague city with a bunch of strangers if he is the type of person to be described as “no-fun” guy. He will never admit this, but he is kind of a hoarder. He likes steal--er, collecting things. By things, he means everything. It might be useful, he attempts to justify. Maybe not now, but later. Considering legendary places often have the most junk, the incentive to get out of his comfort is far too tantalizing to ignore for such a being with no self-control.

Inventory and Abilities: Being a middle-class citizen with an underwhelming resume and lack of experience, Noctilucent’s abilities leave something to be desired, although he is fairly bright, has an excellent memory, and has a fondness for puzzles (although that does not mean he is actually good at them). However, his biggest strength is something that could be said for all his species: he can swallow a freakish amount of things.

Into his hidden maw (magicians, scientists, and magiscientists still have no idea where that mouth is), an inescapable vacuum is created to pull in various objects that are sorted and organized into the limitless dimension that is his technical stomach. He cannot consume or otherwise harm living creatures, although they would definitely be imprisoned within this inescapable pocket of space. Although note, he can accommodate countless small things, but he cannot swallow a singular huge thing. To put in perspective, he can swallow all the cash of Sangsaxian Kingdoms without batting an (unseen) eye, but he cannot swallow the national treasury building itself. Vehicles and dragons will be difficult to handle. Obviously, black holes and small planets are way out of his league.

If it is needed, Noctilucent could upchuck a stored item for his or someone’s convenience. Being a Living Hammerspace, Noctilucent keeps tabs (names, status, general information) on everything within him with inhuman accuracy, although that does not mean he is totally defenseless. Noctilucent can bring out the item nicely with a pretty bow...or he can violently spit it out with a great force. The anomaly currently carries a stupid amount of literature (low-rate fantasy novella, choice history books, newspapers, outdated printed dictionaries) within him - most of them with hard covers and sharp edges. Obviously, if they made high-velocity contact with something - it would not be pretty.

Biography: Like any other sufficiently populated city with tourists, Khagash had a daily ritual in which farmers and artisans displayed their goods under the complex of canvas roofs and providence. The amount of produce and products were various - giving this cheerful portion of the urban area a feel of plenty and feast - and an inevitably lousy smell. All the rosewaters, lavenders, jasmines, and plumerias could not cover the oceanic stench from the portion of the farmer’s market called “Pick Your Poisson.”

The name was appropriate alright - especially when the general aroma could be described as poisonous (and genuinely poisonous to those allergic to seafood). However, Noctilucent simply did not care. He was too busy reading his newest favorite book much to the consternation to the people behind him - people who are not willing to tolerate a sentient streak of noneuclidean space forcing them to prolong their time in the worst smelling place in the kingdom.

“HEY GET YOUR ASS MOVING,” a burly (and angry) looking man screamed three barrels away behind him.

“Mhm,” Noctilucent hummed to himself as he flipped another page in his book. The book was a fascinating study on his kind, their impact on mathematical endeavors and exploits. Oh how Noctilucent envied his personal heroes record in these choice books! The titular Living Hammerspace always aspired to be a some dashing scholar in these fascinating fields, but that was just an impossible dream. He was simply too boring. He might as well stay content in his home, tightly packed with various junk and trivialities.

As if some cosmic force was sick of his resigned daydreams, a flyer landed on his face (?).

Noctilucent was one of those people who liked to pore over the ingredients list on processed packaged foods and anything else that remotely had text. Naturally, he read the flyer that serendipity so kindly given to him. The flyer had a lot of texts and pictures but it was so intriguing, interesting...the Hammerspace’s unseen eyes widened. There was an interesting event that was going to happen.

“Huh, that’s odd,” a fisherman commented as a streak of blue practically slipped into the tavern.
RE: The Search for Santinal


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RE: The Search for Santinal
Username: Yon Lama

Name: Sthiren Vrkmet, Third Subservient to Skorrevan the Elder, Lord of the Northern State

Race: Anguis glaciem minor (informally known as the Lesser Ice Dragon, but close connection to Anguis glaciem major has recently come into question. Reclassification may be necessary; see A Study of Northern Dragon Species by Aelyth Dewglitter for more information)

Gender: Male

Text Color: A very ice color no goddammit no ice puns (#339999)


"...The Anguis glaciem minor is much smaller than its larger cousin, growing no larger than ten feet from the end of its head to the tip of its tail. Though, at a glance, they appear to be very similar species, many notable differences exist other than scale - enough, perhaps, to call the close relation of the species into question. I have not had the opportunity to study the creatures in great detail, perhaps due to the fact that both are, in fact, intelligent species that make up an odd sort of society deep in the northern mountains.

"(As an aside, such a society has not been observed among other Anguis species - for example, species of Anguis infernus are extremely territorial and, though quite intelligent, possibly moreso than many of the civilized species, they are also incredibly violent. Very odd. I shall expound on this society in a later chapter.)

"The Lesser Ice Dragon, as it is sometimes called, exhibits only a vaguely similar body structure to its larger counterpart - its back legs, for example, are much more developed, allowing it to take a bipedal stance (this skill seems to be uncommon among the species, however - in my travels, I have seen very few specimens proficient in this ability, one which appears to be highly valued among the Lesser Ice Dragons, and the Greater Ice Dragons they often serve). Their forelimbs, though often simply (and effectively) functioning as a secondary pair of legs, can also be used in this state as a pair of arms, complete with two pairs of opposable digits. Quite a surprising find, as the Greater species lacks opposable digits entirely.

"The most drastic difference, however, is in Anguis glaciem minor's wing structure. When not actively in use, the Lesser Ice Dragon's two pairs of wings are able to perfectly wrap around its body, granting a surprising amount of protection as well as assisting in regularing the unusually low body temperature of the species. These wings can be unfolded in just a few seconds, and, assisted by the extremely aerodynamic body shape of the species, allow Lesser Ice Dragons a high degree of aerial speed, albeit with somewhat limited control. They also seem to be unable to maintain flight for long periods of time, tiring themselves very quickly. Such drastic differences are the primary reasons I question the relationship between the two species - Greater Ice Dragons are not even slightly aerodynamic and are not as fast, but have an extremely high endurance, able to fly for hours at a time, as you will recall from chapter 3.

"Anguis glaciem minor does, however, possess a few commonalities with its larger brethren (?). First of all, as noted, is the extremely low body heat - cold enough to form frost on surfaces it contacts for a long time (though proximity is not a major danger - if you do encounter a specimen of this species, I would strongly recommend against extended uninsulated contact). They appear to have a significantly lower number of structures resembling ice crystals, unlike the Greater species - structures such as these are located on the back of the head, the neck, and the upper back, but are not especially prominent anywhere except the latter. Interestingly, the area often concealed by the wings, and the anterior side of the wings themselves, appear to be coated in a much lighter-blue shade of scales than the rest of the creature's body, resembling rough sheets of ice in both appearance, texture, and, to some extent, temperature.

"They also possess the ability to exhale a cloud of super-cooled gas, quickly freezing most liquids and unprotected organisms within seconds. It is this sort of weaponized breath ability that maintains their classification within the Anguis family, but anything further is still uncertain. More study will be necessary."

- Aelyth Dewglitter, A Study of Northern Dragon Species

Sthiren, a servant of one of the oldest and one of the most powerful (politically and otherwise) Greater Ice Dragons, is not particularly large among his species, being roughly eight and a half feet in length. However, he is moderately proficient at the aforementioned bipedal stance, an ability that has allowed him to maintain a relatively high position among the ranks of Lesser Ice Dragon servants.

Sthiren, above all, likes to avoid conflict with other intelligent races, but is often forced to fight back against invading forces, usually seeking either riches or vengeance against Skorrevan. He has personally killed many of these attackers, and could kill many more if necessary. Nonetheless, in his dealings with other races he attempts to be as civil and nonthreatening as possible (not many people tend to trust anything that looks like a dragon, let alone is one). In secret, he would very much like to escape the rule of Skorrevan entirely and live peacefully, but that isn't much of an option to him.

He is often quiet and slightly mistrustful of most everyone he meets outside of his own society, mostly because it's hard to tell if someone is going to be friendly or try to put an arrow through his eye. Tries to be fairly amiable when possible, but it often is not. He maintains a vested interest in advances in technology as well, though, as these are very rarely produced by his own race, he often uses what little time off he gets to see them firsthand. In his spare time he often attempts to replicate the devices he sees, though such things are often dismissed as frivolous by his peers.

He has taken very little with him on his journey to Khagash - concealed beneath the wings at his side is a bag full of basic supplies such as money and food, but he has no other items with him.

Biography: "Yes, my lord?" Sthiren hid any external signs of contempt for the enormous, ice-coated dragon stretched lazily before him within the completely-frozen "throne room".

"Sthiren. Have you heard the tale of the lost city of Santinal?" The enormous blob of airborne lizard didn't bother to visibly acknowledge his servant.

"I'm afraid not, my lord. What city is this?"

"Most seem to think it does not exist at all," the Lord of the Northern State continued. "It was lost a very, very long time ago, along with all of its riches. I would be very interested in obtaining these - for the interest in the state, of course."

"Quite naturally, my lord. I have to ask, though - how am I to find a lost city? How can we be sure it exists?"

"We can't. However, tales of the great lost technologies of the city may be more of interest to you. I have heard rumors that the city of Khagash has become of interest to a number of individuals. Some have already set out for this town, apparently interested in the lost city. Hurry to Khagash, Sthiren. These individuals may know more. Do whatever is necessary to find the city, if it exists."

"Yes, my lord." Sthiren, barely able to conceive how Skorrevan managed to make finding a long-lost city full of riches sound like no more of a big deal than bringing him a sandwich, began to slowly march out of the room.

"Oh, one more thing," Skorrevan added.

"Yes, my lord?"

"I know you would be much happier free of this service. As such... If you discover the city of Santinal and disclose its whereabouts to us, you will be free. No stipulations."

"Thank you, my lord." Sthiren's mind raced at the idea of it. Freedom at last. All he had to do was find a long-lost city that may or may not have ever existed, and, even if it did, would likely be guarded by exceedingly dangerous traps and monsters and the like.

No big deal, right?

RE: The Search for Santinal
Username: Tevler
Name: Ari Miktana
Sex: Worker (infertile female)
Race: Ant
Color: #1111AA
Biography: The Sangsaxian Kingdoms are the host of numerous species-- from the ubiquitous humans, elves, and dwarves, to the more secretive races residing beneath the surface. Amongst this multitude of inhabitants are the ants-- which, for inexplicable reasons, are not the diminutive vermin of other planes, but a full-fledged sentient civilization. Nestled along the southern periphery of the Kingdoms, myriad clans of ants struggle and prosper. Similarly to their infinitesimal namesake, the ant clans are each organized around a small cadre of fertile queens and their ephemeral, barely-sentient male drones, with numerous sterile females forming the majority of each clan's population. Unlike the smaller species they are derived from, the workers are not fixed in their occupation or station-- they exist as anything from manual labor, to skilled artisans and workers, to soldiers and bureaucrats. While never capable of achieving the lofty position of their queens, the workers have possession of an individuality uncommon to their derived species.

Ari, born to the Miktana clan, was one of the few who voluntarily restricted that freedom-- at a young age, she dedicated herself to a monastic life-style, entering the Order of Av'ka. Seeing potential that could have been wasted, were she restrained to being solely a member of the clergy, the clerics of Av'ka saw her pressed into the militant arm of their faith. Ari survived the combination of her martial training and the intense theological study, becoming both an outstanding warrior and a capable practitioner of divine magic. Her abilities would soon be put to a test, however-- one of the neighboring human kingdoms, held under the sway of a corrupt monarch, had decided to war with the ant clans. As the regular levies of soldiers and cadres of war-mages were raised, the Order of Av'ka decided to have their paladins accompany the ant clans. All too eager to both prove her faith and free their neighbors from the shackles of a tyrant, Ari was swept into the conflict.

Even against the assembled host of the ant clans, however, the human armies proved to be a fearsome opponent. Ari watched as, time and time again, vast phalanxes of enslaved soldiers were raised and sent forward; she felt her once-zealous faith was tested and whittled down. She found herself in a situation years of prayer had not taught her-- there were no demonic abominations or unequivocally malignant presences, only the misguided led by an opportunistic ruler. The war dragged on. Many of the comrades Ari had were killed or captured. The lines of battle solidified.

And then Ari left. The Order of Ak'va, the religion she had spent her life under the fold of-- she could not willingly accept that they were the true representatives of Ak'va. The notion that they would willingly let so many faithful adherents die, that they would not seek out the true aggressors and instead would be content to allow the tyrant's victims to be butchered-- all of these sins were inexcusable. If the Order did not represent the light of Ak'va, surely there was some way to find it herself. Deserting the ant clans, she vowed to one day return-- and bring with her the truth of Ak'va, not the corrupted structure and order of its flawed clergy.

Her wanderings brought to her the rumors of Santinal-- in particular, its pavilions of temples and extensive, now-forgotten reliquaries. If the truth about Ak'va were anywhere, if there was any one location that could re-affirm her faith, it would be somewhere in the ruins of Santinal.

And now, as she waits inside of a Khagash tavern, her search may truly begin.

Description: Ari stands tall, for an ant, being about four feet in height. She appears similar to an upright, bipedal ant, with a segmented body broken into three distinct sections. She has a dark amber-colored exoskeleton, with numerous plates covering folded-over layers of lighter colored cuticle. Three pairs of limbs extend from her thorax-- two pairs act as arms and end in dull, clawed hands, while the final pair serves as her legs. Her head has a pair of elbowed antenna, two large compound eyes, and a set of dulled mandibles she clicks and chirps with to communicate. In spite of her unique mouth, she is still capable of speaking the common languages of the Sangsaxian Kingdoms, although she often has to accentuate her speech with sign language and gesticulation.

Ari wears a combination of various armors; in addition to this she is wearing a plain blue tabard and has cloth wrappings around the outer segments of her arms and legs. Her abdomen and head are most strongly protected, with a metal shell of plate armor covering each. Her thorax is slightly less protected, merely having a chain-mail hauberk. In order to accommodate the spiracles located throughout her body, both her clothing and armor have small slits-- while thin enough to not act as a weak point, they allow unconstrained airflow. Also on her person are several weapons, a shield, and several packs stowed with adventuring gear. She also has a holy symbol of Ak'va, but she is reluctant to openly display that.

When interacting with others, Ari tries to maintain the precepts of her faith-- while she wishes to distance herself from what she sees as a perversion of Ak'va teachings, she still tries to maintain herself according to the scripture she has learned. She is kind and soft-spoken, the zealous faith of her earlier years tempered by experience. However, her righteous belief is not fully burned away-- she does not condone quietly acquiescing to temptation and evil, and tries to maintain a virtuous, monastic lifestyle. Whenever possible, she tries to help those in need, even should it come at a cost to herself. In combat, she is not afraid to put herself in danger before her allies, and holds herself to honorable conduct even when fighting despicable scum.

And yet, even though she presents a strong, valorous exterior, she privately worries that she is questioning and doubting her faith, and that she may never discover the truth of behind her deity.

Items/Abilities: Ari's training has given her some skill with arms and armor, and while she is not as strong as other species, her expertise helps her achieve leverage in combat. Her four arms give her incredible flexibility in combat, allowing her to wield numerous combinations of weapons. She prefers to use a longsword in one hand, a shield in another, and a halberd with her remaining two hands. While apt at other choices of weaponry, her preferred setup is a variant of that pattern. Additionally, she has significant practice with divine magic-- particularly with healing and assorted varieties of abjurations, but she is capable of channeling her magic for use offensively.

She has also had some training in rhetoric of a theological or philosophical nature, as well as having memorized many, if not all, of the teachings of her order. She tries to distance herself from the behavior of proselytizing missionaries, however-- her mission is one of faith, but not that of the polluted faith her order has displayed. Her belongings, in addition to weapons and armor, consist of the standard assortment of items found on any traveler.
RE: The Search for Santinal

EDIT: RaaaaageRaaaaageRaaaaage
quidquid Latine dictum sit altum videtur.
RE: The Search for Santinal
Name: Prince Dorogan Marshall III of the Red Stone of Orzy, duke of Orzy of Santinal

Race: Salamander

Gender: Prince


Biography: The Marshall Orb was known to be an orb of faith, an object that, were you to entrust your life with it, it would save you but definitely take its sweet time doing so. Allegedly, this was a test of your courage, and of your trust in the object. Dorogan has always cherished the dragon orb his father had given to him, he had learned the hard way to listen to good advice. Orbs of faith were generally either fortune-cookie level wellwishes or distressingly vague advice, so to say the least, he was surprised to see his orb broadcast a very, very clear message to him.


When Dorogan Marshall III actually claimed the throne of the lost city of Santinal, the plebians' reactions were divided between confusion and laughter. It had been too long since anyone had heard the name refer to a kingdom, not to a place adventurers go to die for anyone to even consider that the royal bloodline of Santinal had continued through the ages, let alone that the heir would reclaim his throne centuries later.

Needless to say that with such a support Dorogan's search for his country has been a fruitless one, partially because of Dorogan's inherent impatience. He saw the people he met as ways to discover more about the legend of Santinal, not thinking anything of simply leaving someone behind in the wilderness when they proved of no use to his quest. The places he went to were just "not Santinal" or "close to Santinal" and even the inns he stayed at only accepted him as a customer reluctantly, if only after throwing a tantrum at their door for twenty minutes straight.

When he had lost the last of his vassals' trust, and he had been entirely abandoned on grounds of being, essentially, an insufferable person, Dorogan fiured it was about high time for a drink.

Description: Salamanders are a race of large, humanoid reptiles with a pale red skin, with spikes arcing over their backs and eyes glowing like coals. Their strong affinity with fire, by living close to hot, volcanically active areas and the noblemen having their draconian nature only amplified by carrying around large orb through which to channel magic. They are adept mages, but don't really excel in physical combat much. Their scales are remarkably thin, dressing in heavy armor isn't their invitation to a swordfight but a necessity because one stray arrow could send them bleeding for hours. If you can find a commendable Salamander eager to join you on your quest, you make an ally who rends enemies asunder as long as you protect him.

If you meet Dorogan, you make for a slave who gets to carry around his items and kill his foes.

It's not that Dorogan is not a good mage. He is incredible, a magical prowess rarely matched even amongst his kin. He has killer survival instincts, a great sense of footing in battle and a keen tactical mind. What he lacks in punch he makes up for by knowing exactly when and where and how to punch to do the most harm. The only issue is that, as prince of Santinal, Dorogan refuses to do absolutely any work whatsoever unless his life would depend on it. When confronted with a puzzle, he will only start looking for a solution when he grows bored with the incompetence of others. When in battle, he will purely defend unless seriously provoked otherwise. The only thing he reluctantly carries is his own sword on his belt.

It's a good thing he is so frail, else people aren't sure he would even be bothered to wear clothes.

Dorogan is dressed as royally as he considers himself. His tabard, encrested with the family blazon and overcoat with the same are standard issue, and wearing a gold armor over it is not by any means rare, though maybe a bit poffish. Dorogan however insists on wearing a red fur cloak over all of this, which is just a fire hazard waiting for the right time to strike, and a crown instead of a helmet, where his head is probably the one body part that most needs the protection.

But his orb of faith knows the way to Santinal, though it might not always be as unambiguous about it, so as insufferable as the young man may be, he might be anyone's best bet at finding the undiscovered city. Someone may ask Dorogan along because Salamanders make great squad members, but they will be sorely disapponted. But were they to put up with him, they might just be pleasantly surprised.
quidquid Latine dictum sit altum videtur.
RE: The Search for Santinal
Okay here we go.

Players are Dragon Fogel, Solaris, SleepingOrange, Pharmacy, Anomaly, Sanzh and Woffles.

Pharms I sent you a PM asking for a slight tiny adjustment to make Noctilucent fit better (it's nothing major if you haven't already looked at it).

ATH i had some issues with your character, that I didn't feel the concept was very compelling or useful and I also had issue with some of the logic involved in this concept and the profile at large.

I'm going to write up a quick intro now, sorry for this all taking so long. Blame my awful sleep schedule/internet connection/life.
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RE: The Search for Santinal
If it were not for its sprawling mass it would be easy to describe Khagash as a border town. It was a place that had been built out of necessity, a pit stop for weary travellers making their way from one kingdom to another through the perilous swampland of Bellanth. The ramshackle nature of the original town had long since past but it was easy to see its fingerprints in the city itself, the haphazard and unintuitive layout of the streets ensured that the city itself was more confusing and easier to get lost in than the bogs that surrounded it. Being upon the fringe of society had its benefits, the cultural taboos that had pitted some species against one another as enemies seemed to mean less out here where working together to survive was integral to survival. However being so far from what was recognised as society tended to attract a not unreasonable number of what you might describe as undesirables and crime was commonplace.

On a particularly muggy evening a group of individuals with one goal in common were drawn, whether by fate or by chance, or by the timely acquisition of a leaflet written by a desperate elven mage, to a small Khagashian tavern known as the Troll’s Head; a place where the drinks were strong and the gossip was cheap.
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RE: The Search for Santinal
Elliot had been to Khagash twice before, and neither visit had been pleasant. There was a Sangsaxian saying that Khagash was only known for one thing: its taverns and its crime.

Elliot's first visit had entailed his usual search for a guild, and there were three in Khagash: the Brewer's Guild, the Thug's Guild, and the Drunkard's Guild. He still remembered each rejection perfectly.

"What the hell's in this drink? Mud?"
"You're supposed to rough up the old woman and take her coin, boy. It's not supposed to go the other way around."
"Ya pashed out already? But thash just water!"

Unpleasant as it had been, it was a fairly standard experience for Elliot in a new city. He hadn't been too concerned when Slort had asked him to return there. He doubted any of the guilds would remember him, and even if they did, it wasn't as if he'd done anything to make them put a price on his head. It surely couldn't be as bad as his dealings with the Poet's Guild in Lyrios.

It had taken them a month to leave. Carriages only stopped by once a week due to the city's reputation, and it was difficult to hold onto enough gold to pay the fee for that long.

Slort, of course, hadn't understood the problems at all. From her point of view, it was simply an extended research opportunity, and she was particularly pleased to see the wide variety of intelligent lifeforms. No wonder they were staying so long - Elliot must have wanted to show her how these host species communicated with each other!

She had caused at least a third of Elliot's problems by insisting he approach a creature she hadn't seen before and ask it to give her a ride.

Now they were here again, much to Slort's delight and Elliot's displeasure.

"We're in Khagash again!" Slort squealed. "Oh, this was my favorite city! It's just so exciting, so alive!"

"I wish I could say the same for me by the time we're out of here," Elliot muttered to himself.

"Do you think we can stay here for another month? There are a few pages of notes I'd like to go into more detail on."

"NO!" Elliot shouted. He then noticed that several bystanders were staring at him, and this was definitely not a city where he wanted to attract attention. He continued walking and lowered his voice. "Er, I mean, we really need to show you Santinal. We should stay focused on that."

"Oh, yes!" Slort squealed. "I can hardly wait to see it! I wonder what it's like. Why don't you ask that host over there for directions?"

Slort's right tentacle pointed towards a hulking lizardman. He was at least three times Elliot's size.

Elliot's survival instincts weren't particularly strong, but his last visit to Khagash had sharpened them significantly. He had already adopted a personal rule of "Don't talk to a Khagashian whose fist is larger than your face".

Unfortunately, Slort tended to start all their conversations. Usually with a well-meaning tentacle grab at the other party's wrist.

"Hello, sir!" Slort bubbled, snatching the lizardman's right arm. "Could you tell us the way to Santinal?"

The lizardman snarled, staring down at Elliot and the tentacle wrapped around his wrist.

"What do you want, weakling?" he growled.

"Oh, honestly!" Slort sighed. "I just told him I want directions to Santinal, wasn't he listening?"

"I, uh, think he couldn't understand you," Elliot said. "Like everyone else you talk to."

The lizardman lifted Elliot up to eye level. It was an unnerving experience.

"What's with your babbling, boy? And just what manner of race are you? If not for that eye and those strange arms, you'd look human."

"Ah, I am," Elliot explained nervously. "The eye and the tentacles aren't mine, exactly. I'm, ah, just giving them a ride?"

The lizardman's eyes narrowed as he held Elliot's face closer.

"A ride, eh? To Santinal, perhaps? Seems everyone's looking for that place these days."

Elliot nodded nervously.

"Well, boy, all I can tell you is, give it up. Santinal's but a story. I know the lands here better than anyone, and I've never seen such a city. I'd wager it's just a fairy tale to draw adventurers here and take their purses."

The lizardman laughed.

"At least, that's how it's worked out for me. I've made quite the tidy profit today. Let's see what you can add to it."

Elliot had just enough time to sigh before the lizardman's fist hit his face. At least he didn't have that much money to lose this time.

When he regained consciousness, he found Slort's tentacle waving a leaflet in front of his face.

"Look, Elliot!" she said excitedly. "Look what I found!"

Elliot glanced at the leaflet.

If you want a good wizard on your side - and who doesn't? - come and see me, Quick Cloudmoon. I'll be waiting at the Troll's Head tavern.

"Well? What are you waiting for?" Slort asked. "We should go and see him! He can probably take us to Santinal!"

"Great," Elliot said. He reached into his pocket and pulled out his personal map of Khagash. "Now where exactly is the Troll's Head again?"
RE: The Search for Santinal
Sthiren hated the summer.

The town of Khagash stretched before him as he soared through the sky, bag of supplies clasped in his hand. From an aerial perspective, the town was nothing short of an eyesore - gravel streets running into cobblestone ones at odd angles, buildings tossed onto irregular lots with very little planning or reason - under normal circumstances, Sthiren might have found disappointment in such a mess of engineering.

However, Khagash lay many, many miles to the south of the mountains Sthiren called home, across a series of putrid bogs whose smell couldn't even be avoided from far above. The whole town stank vaguely of festering swamp water, though it didn't seem to bother the denizens much. Much worse was the season - even in the evening, as the sun disappeared over the distant mountains to the west, the region was unbearably hot for one whose natural body temperature is slightly below freezing. Were it not for the extreme level of insulation also possessed by his species, he would have been entirely unable to venture this far south.

As it were, though, he had a lost city to find. And to do that, unfortunately, he would have to travel through the city. Perhaps for good reason, people tended to be especially wary of dragons or dragon-like beings, given their natural tendency to reduce towns such as this one to either burning or frozen wreckage. Perhaps they'd be less so in Khagash - a town which apparently had few quarrels with races that typically received nothing but hostility. Expecting the worse, Sthiren dropped altitude and made a landing in one of the less-occupied streets of the town.

Surprisingly, no one started yelling about a "dragon attack" like they usually did. It was a step in the right direction, at least. The only yelling came from the driver of a carriage whose horses Sthiren had managed to upset, probably by landing right in front of them. The driver also had a crossbow aimed at Sthiren's face, so he decided it would be a very good idea to get out of the way as quickly as possible.

"Sorry, sir. Didn't see you there." Sthiren attempted to sound as sincere as possible, although it's not exactly easy for a large winged ice-lizard to not be threatening in some way.

"Damn right, ya didn't," the balding driver hissed. Sthiren noticed a large clawmark-shape scar running across his face, underneath the eyepatch where his left eye used to be. "Damned dragons, thinkin' they can just land anywhere they please. Take a piss right over a city, they will. Rottin' in the ground's too good for 'em, I say." The man trailed off into inaudible mumbling as his cart pulled away. A brown blob of well-chewed tobacco splattered to the ground inches from Sthiren's feet, accompanied by rather loud cursing.

So it was that kind of town.

Sthiren walked along quickly, avoiding eye contact with anyone who looked like they might have been threatened by him. Surprisingly, this wasn't a whole lot of people. Most of them probably figured that Khagash wasn't important enough for a dragon to attack, and even then Sthiren was kind of on the small side. It seemed that people in Khagash tended to keep to themselves - a dwarf selling raw meat at a ramshackle stand, a burly lizardman chuckling as he looked through some sort of coin purse - no one paid any mind to anyone else unless they had reason to.

Sthiren's attention was eventually caught by a colorful piece of paper nailed to the side of the dwarf's stand. Cautiously, he approached, attempting (perhaps in vain) to not appear threatening to market-goers.

If you want a good wizard on your side - and who doesn't? - come and see me, Quick Cloudmoon. I'll be waiting at the Troll's Head tavern.

"Who's this Quick Cloudmoon?" Sthiren asked.

The dwarf stared at Sthiren in disbelief, perhaps expecting to have been frozen and shattered rather than asked about an advertisement. "I, eh... Don't know exactly. Elf wizard of some kind. Not exactly in his right mind, I'd say. He seemed desperate, so I let him put the sign up."

"I see." Perhaps this Cloudmoon was one of the people he was sent to follow. "Where's the Troll's Head tavern, then?"

The dwarf pointed at a winding dirt road, dipping up and down erratically on a very uneven hill. "Follow that road for a while, and you'll end up there. Can't miss it. Now, can you be on your way? My customers are getting nervous."

"Right away. Thank you."

The dwarf continued to stare for a while as Sthiren made his way up and down the twists and turns of the very unpleasant street. In spite of its shoddy construction, cart drivers seemed perfectly content to use it like any other road. Sthiren was a bit surprised that the carts never managed to topple over. He really didn't like this city.

A run-down stone building greeted Sthiren at the end of the road, chipping paint proclaiming it to be the " ROLL S HE D TA ER ". Close enough. Sthiren pushed the door open and walked into the bar, as several patrons simultaneously wondered what might have been in their drinks.
RE: The Search for Santinal
Despite the ignominious reputation of the city, Khagash had fairly robust economy. Although magical industrialization had some less-than-desirable effects (namely a small populace, high crime rates, really shitty beer), people still found enough motivation to set up various markets, boutiques, and whatnot – catering to every need to want from groceries, utility services, and less than legal arsenal. To sum it up sufficiently, Khagash had a lot of stores. Noctilucent loved stores. If the day was more casual, he would take his fine time to mosey around – see the sights and see the things.

“Sorry!” The streak of blue said he bumped into one very annoyed pedestrian. “Oh, I’m sorry!” He accidentally angled into a rather pudgy (and irritated) fisherman. “Sorry!” As though he was in a pinball machine, Noctilucent kept on smashing into random people and the more stationary objects retrospect, these frequent accidents (along with the apologies) could have been avoided all together if he would have slowed down and looked both ways. However, excitement had superseded common sense and polite sensibilities. He had to go to the bar. He had to know what the delicious surprise was.

You could say he was on a mission.

Namely, the mission to gain an Interesting Experience. The capitalization of his goal is symbolic of how much importance he placed on the apparent reward and the importance was there was for a reason. Noctilucent had hit a certain nodule of his indeterminate life span where everything he used to be okay with feels like a dead end – which was pretty much something considering he practically worshipped repetition and monotony. No joy. No progress. No excitement. Nothing ever happened and boy, was Noctilucent frazzled. He had to fix this and what the flyer had promised seemed to solve his apparent problems (especially with the treasure part).


Noctilucent skidded to a violent halt. As he pulled himself together, the sentient phenomenon found a very voluminous beard focusing into his view. The texture (and the smell) was unmistakable. This was definitely the facial hair of a noble dwarf.

“Can’t you watch where you going,” the beard talked.

“Oh okay.” Noctilucent decided it would be rather prudent to lean back maybe a couple of inches or so. Feeling a bit embarrassed, the anomaly decided to busy himself by reading the flyer for the fiftieth time. It was not that difficult of an endeavor considering Noctilucent was a very speedy reader and the paper was not exactly a novella. “Sorry about that.”

“You don’t need to be sorry,” the dwarf sighed, making the physics-defying phenomenon jolt from high-strung nervousness. A heavy silence fell between the two as the awkwardness from the near-collision settled in. After about a few simple seconds, the dwarf decided to interrupt the silence. “So what are you looking for?”

“Oh,” Noctilucent piped from the flyer. “Something.”

“Well,” the dwarf leaned forward on his stand. “What are you looking for.”

“Something,” the dab of blue poked his head into the flyer again.

“You aren’t going to tell?”

“It’s nothing really.”

“Well, I am pretty sure this ‘Santinal’ is not exactly what you call ‘nothing.’”

“Holy crap,” Noctilucent darted from his flyer and made an expression (?) of pleasant surprise. “How did you know what I was looking for?”

“Well,” the dwarf grumbled as he crossed his arms and began to rub at his temples. Noticulent had no idea why he had done that. Perhaps, the dwarf was some sort of psychic, which would be pretty interesting. However from what he had read, bona-fide psychic dwarves had not existed in history before, but hey, this might be a first time happening! Which would be really interesting indeed. “Look at that.”

Noctilucent followed the dwarf’s finger to a colorful flyer stamped on the dwarf’s stand (judging from the goods the stall was offering, he was apparently some sort of butcher). The writing was clearly in elven hands – and rather similar to the tattered paper in his invisible hands. The dimensional entity decided to take a closer look at the nailed advertisement:

If you want a good wizard on your side - and who doesn't? - come and see me, Quick Cloudmoon. I'll be waiting at the Troll's Head tavern.

Well, it was the exact same message on the paper he had! What a pleasant (and redundant) surprise. The quest was closer to completion than Noctilucent had previously thought, especially since the dwarf pointed out directions. “Troll’s Head is up the road, that-a-away – if you want to know of course.”

“How do you know the answers before I ask the questions?” Noctilucent was awed by the dwarf’s courtesy. “Are you some sort of psychic?”

“No.” the dwarf sighed again. “It’s just that there was bit of hubbub about this ‘Santinal’ thing especially since a dragon came and asked for directions--”

“Wait, wait,” Noctilucent interrupted. “A dragon?”

“Yeah, a big one.” The dwarf stretched his arms to show how gargantuan the flying reptile was. “With wings wrapped all weird about his body like a blanket.”

“Holy crap,” the wavy blue smudge declared. “I need to see this. Thank you bye.”

Not even waiting for the dwarf to shake his head, Noctilucent practically bolted off to his destination. The roads were hazardously unlevel and incredibly ill-constructed, but that did not stall the speedy space-weirdo – especially since he had no legs (and “walking” to him was basically gliding along).

Eventually, he managed to reach the destination (along with the partially completed sign). Despite his high velocity, Noctilucent manage to slip in safely without any attention, especially since most eyes were on the colloquial elephant of the room – namely, the dragon in the bar.

RE: The Search for Santinal
Khagash had once been described a puss-filled blister, burst open and exposing its infected filth into the already-diseased mires that engulfed it. Ari felt that such a description was bestowing unwarranted honorifics upon the city-- the swamps were only slightly preferable to the den of crime she now skittered through. Every step through the city caused the precepts of Av'ka to rattle in her mind-- that she was to not tolerate defiance of the law, even when there was little to no law present to uphold. Only a combination of well-practiced self control and years of jading experience kept the paladin from making a brazen-- but ultimately futile-- attempt at vigilantism. The folded slip of paper held between the digits of a chitinous hand helped reconcile the dissonance with her beliefs. It promised a chance to get closer to her duty, a chance to redeem her conviction. The thought of reaching that distant goal helped assuage her dismal failure to help the needy of Khagash.

That was assuming the ant could navigate the city.

While ostensibly built on a foundation of dirt and dredged-out deposits of silt, the need for land had long since outstripped Khagash's supply of solid anchoring, and the city had expanded out into the bog-- developing a dense network of wooden boardwalks and neighborhoods precariously balanced on top of stilts. The edifices and buildings set upon soil, while not as confusing as the ramshackle habitations of Khagash's periphery, were still difficult to move through. Ari could handle complexity-- the ant hives she had grown up in were comprised of numerous labyrinthine layers. But those same hives were ordered, not the sprawling, organic mess that was this city.

The insect paused, unfolding the slip once more. A single compound eye focused on its contents-- a call for adventures, the promise of a compatriot, and a tavern to meet in. Her destination refreshed, Ari once more began to wander through the city, her small size allowing her to quickly navigate and circumvent some of the dangers present. She resented that she could not adorn herself in the armor and regalia of a full-fledged paladin, but the pragmatic desire to remain unnoticed out-weighted whatever pride would be gained from such accoutrements-- and such decorations would show support for a corrupted institution. Ari reminded herself of that fact once again.

It was then that she noticed the tavern advertised. She paused for a moment, taking in the momentum of the occasion-- that after many years, she would have finally gotten a step closer to achieving her goal.

And then Ari entered the Troll's Head.
RE: The Search for Santinal
Shashara had just finished trekking though the various lands that separated her home from Khagash, and she was pretty tired. She also smelled a little, and had a bit of grime on her, but she didn't really mind either of those as much. The main contributions to these attributes was her desire to save up the supplies her mother had given her for later, leading to her trip so far mostly spent camping wherever and eating from whatever selection of wild animals and plants there were. The only time she stopped was to elicit directions to Khagash.

Shashara wasn't exactly sure of how much time had passed, but she hoped that it was "less than too late." As she started to walk further into the town, she recalled what prompted her to the town in the first place, however many days ago.

Her sick mother Robyn had an old friend over. Apparently, the pair had been in an adventuring group of some sort together, going through caverns or forests or whatever to do some sort of thing, brought together by a common goal. Shashara was listening attentively and serving them drinks and such, as she had been doing since her mother first got sick. Somewhere along the conversation, the guest began to talk about someone else that he had been on an adventure with, Quick Cloudmoon.

He was a Grey Elf Wizard who had got it in his mind to find a legendary lost city, known as Santinal, which was said to hold the greatest of secrets and the rarest of items, something like a vision to the past, kept intact even over the many years since it had last been seen. Robyn was interested, thinking about what sort of things she could see, but with her sickness, she knew that going would be impossible. When Shashara saw the look of wonder and longing in her mothers eyes, she knew that she had to do something.

The guest decided to humor her enthusiasm and tell them what he knew, which while wasn't much, did point them to Khagash, where Quickmoon was traveling to make a party, spreading the news by word of mouth, as apparently no one in their circles had taken up his offer. If they hurried, perhaps they could catch him.

The preparation was quick and Shashara gave her goodbye and began to run, not wanting to miss this opportunity to impress her mother and make her proud, along with maybe finding some of the rare and powerful objects that Santinal was said to hold.

And now she was here! And she smelled bad. Shashara gave herself a quick sniff and realized that there was no way she could meet Cloud Quickmoon like this! He was an elf! And a Wizard! And she was really dirty. For a moment Shashara panicked, but began to take a deep breath before deciding to hunt for someplace where she could get a bath and clean her clothes and maybe take a short rest before she went to find the wizard.


"No, I don't know if this is the right way..."

Elliot and Slort hadn't made that much progress in finding the Troll's Head. It was in fact, quite possible that they had been everywhere but the tavern where the wizard would hopefully take them to the lost city. Luckily for them, they weren't the only lost adventurer, as Elliot was about to find out.


Shashara looked down at the boy who had bumped in to her and then noticed his condition. As a daughter of an Environmental Wizard, Shashara did have a good idea of the biology of the Sangsaxian Kingdoms and this, like herself, was something really weird. Thinking about her mother, she decided that it would probably be really neat to record this odd part human part something to show her mother when she got home.

She took out her notebook and pointed at it, smiling and making some vuage writing motion.

However, rather than pick up on her gestures, Slort noticed that the partially open notebook had some notes on Santinal and Quickmoon.

"Elliot, I think that she might be able to help us find the Troll's Head, quick, ask her to take us."

"Uhm, okay." Elliot looked at the large, smiling, intimidating creature and did his best not to stutter, "Excuse me, could you take us to the Troll's Head? I'm also looking for Santinal."

Shashara was a bit confused, before realizing that they had read her notebook. She thought about what she could do, and concluded that while both of then didn't know quite where the Troll's Head was, two people looking for it would be better than one.

Smiling proudly for what she was sure was going to be a gain, she shook her head before grabbing Elliot, wrapping her large arm around his shoulder. With her free hand, she wrote 'hey, i think we want same thing, lets find together?' on her notebook and then put it closer to his face so that he could read it, waiting for his answer, still smiling, and being maybe a little bit closer to him than comfortable...
RE: The Search for Santinal
Elliot had no idea what to make of his new companion. She made him uncomfortable, of course, but it wasn't as if she intruded on his personal space more than Slort did. More to the point, she hadn't actually tried to rob him, and she was imposing enough to discourage any other aspiring muggers. Granted, he didn't have any money to lose at this point, but that didn't make the process of not losing the money he didn't have any less painful.

He just hoped she wasn't expecting him to pay for bodyguard services.

"I guess we should start by asking for directions," Elliot said. "Maybe it'll go better this time..."

Before Elliot could finish the sentence, Slort had already grabbed a passerby. He was a rather muscular, dark-skinned man with large grey feathery wings. And he wasn't in a good mood.

"Er, pardon me, sir," Elliot stammered. "I hate to bother you, but could you tell us how to get to the Troll's Head?" He held up a piece of parchment with a crude and incomprehensible outline scrawled on it. "Or you can just mark it on my map here."

The winged man glared at him. He seemed unimpressed by either Elliot's tentacles, or Shashara's imposing form.

"More treasure-hunters looking for Santinal, no doubt" he scoffed. "And what makes you think this Quick Cloudmoon will be interested in your help? You can't even find one simple tavern, how can you possibly hope to find a civilization no one has seen in a thousand years?"

"How rude!" Slort gurgled. "Elliot, let's find someone else to ask. Someone who knows how to be courteous."

She released her grip on the man's wrist, then gave him a slight slap. He smirked, and then grabbed Elliot by the throat.

"Shouldn't have done that, boy," he growled. "I don't have much patience for troublemakers."
RE: The Search for Santinal

If Troll's Head look terrible on the outside, it was even more so inside. This tavern was the epitome of discombobulated disintegration - what with the mismatched cutlery, even more mismatched chairs (some were even collector's items, Noctilucent observed), and holes. Lots of them. All the walls (even the ceiling) has holes of various sizes and shapes - most of them vaguely humanoid or creature-shaped. It was pretty amazing that Troll's Head did not spontaneously caved although the spatial anomaly had the deepest suspicion that it might happen anytime soon.

Noctilucent immediately settled into a chair and got the full brunt of the Troll's Head school of filthiness. The table was, to simply put it, disgusting to look at - and smell to boot. Judging from the hardened crusts of food and other unmentionables lacquered on the surface, it had not been cleaned for a while.

Noctilucent could fills his thoughts about how oh-so-incredibly dirty the table was. Actually, he was doing that now but his thoughts were suddenly interrupted by his target of choice. In this case, the target was a dragon. A fairly enormous one whose neck length is exaggerated by the incredibly low (and frosty) ceiling.

The dragon was sitting in the corner of the bar, slightly sinking into the floor from his massive girth. He was trying his best not to make an hole in the second floor (although it was pretty hole-y enough). However, what was most noticeable was the thick lattice of frost surrounding the intimidating composure of the strange-winged beast. It was quite generous and covered a good distance away - and kept a people at the distance. Most of the bargoers were clinging onto the other side of the bar but judging from their chattering teeth and the alarming amounts of goosebumps, the cold was unavoidable.

Wow, a real dragon! A mere man would have quailed at the sight of such a reptilian superbeast, but Noctilucent was no man at all! Well, he was a guy with no sense of safety with especially interesting things. Also he could not feel cold anyway, so that's a plus.

So he skidded Sthiren-wards.


Of course, the dragon did not simply ignore the oncoming anomaly. He glanced down with an expression which could be described as "solicitous awareness of foreigners." That was rather chilly on the dragon's part and Noctilucent found that quite surly although that did nothing to stunt his curiosity. At least the dragon was not that rude - or willing to eat him. That would be terrible (Noctilucent shuddered at the thought of those other species). So he was willing to give him a hello.

"Hello!" Noctilucent waved at the head several feet from his own.

"Hello," the dragon greeted with a puff of frigid nitrogen. Noctilucent marveled at the way the scaly creature managed to talk despite the lack of lips. Fascinating. Simply fascinating. "Do you need anything."

The dragon's tone seemed rather polite and reserved, which eased Noctilucent's mind on many levels. "I'm Noctilucent, nice to meet you!" The physics-defying creature raised out an unseen hand forearm-wards.

"Um. okay," the dragon said as he felt an invisible force pumped his left forearm up and down. "I'm Sthiren. Sthiren Vrkmet, by the way."

"A dragon. A real-life dragon! Just as the books had told!" Despite a rather audible sigh from Sthiren, Noctilucent was getting noticeably more excited. "I always wanted to ask this question to a dragon." The anomaly looked up. "Are you a wizard?"

"Ummmm," Sthiren stared at Noctilucent as though the intruder had just claimed that rain falls down or the sky is blue but did not want to point out how stupidly obvious the statement was. "Not really."

"Aw, but aren't all dragons magical?" The dragon's icy forearm was still in the throes of the invisible handshake.

"That's...a good question," Sthiren replied. "Especially considering a lot of things are what you deem 'magical' in this world, so we may never know." The dragon shrugged as he pulled his left arm out of Noctilucent's reach. "So. Wizards."

"But you aren't one."

"No no no, I'm not one at all." Drawing a look(?) of disappointment from the blue streak. "I am just wondering..." Sthiren raised an ice-encrusted arm from the floor, drawing in a good chunk of rapidly evaporating ice. "You are looking for a wizard, right?"

"Yes!" Sthiren suddenly found a colorful piece of paper practically shoved into his face. It was rather annoying but from the close promixity, the dragon could make out a

If you want a good wizard on your side - and who doesn't? - come and see me, Quick Cloudmoon. I'll be waiting at the Troll's Head tavern.

"Oh, you too, huh." Sthiren arched a brow.

"Yes, me too." Noctilucent shaked the paper with glee.

"I guess we are in this together," Sthiren stood up, causing the temperature to drop a few notches down much to the displeasure of the customers. "So you want to find this Cloudmoon fellow or something?"

RE: The Search for Santinal
Though Shashara didn't really know the kid who was being held and while she didn't feel that slapping around people who are a bit rude is quite proper, she knew the winged man even less and he went and decided to hold the small and weak kid up! That didn't make him strong, that just made him a bully.

And Shashara didn't like bullies.

The man was hold Elliot out with his left arm and pointing at him with his other clawed hand. Breathing in, Shashara focused and speedily punched the bully's right arm.

He let out a yelp of pain, let go of Elliot, who thumped onto the floor, shaken and with a hurt neck, but otherwise fine, and instinctively holding the damaged arm. He looked at his attacker whose demeanor had changed, now sporting a scowl instead of the large grin.

"What did you do to my arm?" He spat out.

Shashara continued her stare, and re-affirmed her scowl and fighting stance and then grunted.

The bully noticed that their somewhat loud tiff had now attracted a crowd, bets were flying around over who would win, and people were taking sides. He clenched his working hand and stretched a little before leaping into the air.

Shashara continued to focus, remembering her training on the topic of flying opponents and opting to play the waiting game.

This made the small crowd boo, and while Shashara didn't care, the bully really did. Against better instinct he dive-kicked down to Shashara, who grabbed his leg and threw him toward some open bar, where he made a crashing sound.

She picked up Elliot, who had been a bit too shaken to do it himself, and then made her way to where he was thrown, reasoning that inside he wouldn't be able to use his wings.

"Eliot, what does that say? Go to the sign!"

It read," ROLL S HE D TA ER".

"Could this be the Troll's Head?"

Shashara turned to see what Elliot was staring at and noticed the decrepit sign. With a frown, she decided to write in the missing letters, once more making the sign say the Troll's Head, although it was a bit sloppy.

Meanwhile, the bully was contemplating his choices. He had just been flung into a bar by some weirdo with a mean punch and as he just learned quite a throw as well. With the Laissez-faire attitude of the bar, not really paying attention to the guy who just flew in to the bar, he decided that it would be best to cut his losses and leave through the back.

Shashara, content with her change to the sign, then looked inside the tavern, and after not spotting the bully dragged Elliot in.

She did it! She found the tavern! Now she just needed to find Mr. Cloudmoon was...