Deedri, Modoran, Trakenthin, and Tassilda stand on the covered porch of the two story house. One small camera crew maintains a distance off to the side to capture the group waiting on the wooden deck. A young fvalian man steadies a camera on his other shoulder with a shrug, while a young fvalian woman glances over with a smile on her face as she adjusts levels on an audio recorder. The older man behind his head between the two with an amused eye roll and aims a boomed shotgun mic overhead towards the porch area. Deedri presents a cheery exterior, that occasionally wavers. Modoran leans upon the house front nonchalantly with hands in his pockets and eases a sigh out. Trakenthin crosses his arms and stoically stares out, traces of irritation twitching his eye. Tassilda places her hands firmly on her hips and glares out a beam of contempt to targets in front of her. She mumbles to barely audible to the rest. "I do NOT like the feeling I'm getting about this."

Out in the front yard, the majority of the other recording crews position themselves around Chad and Veevi. Chad walks confidently towards the black, dented sports utility vehicle, steps around the front towards the driver's side, and flashes a bright, signature smile to a camera with a smug flit of the brow. Veevi energetically skips over towards the passenger's side of the vehicle, excitedly bouncing her long, pink hair across her tight fitting shirt. As she opens the passenger's side door, she sneaks a wink at the camera, guides the short haired tail poking out of her skin tight shorts in her hands, and hops into the car seat with a prominent landing shake of the body. Chad settles into the driver's seat, closes his door, places his keys in the ignition, and grants the rest of the group a simple acknowledging wave. Deedri and Modoran return with similar gestures. Trakenthin and Tassilda continue to stare unmoved. Veevi closes her door and Chad starts the engine. As Chad and Veevi engage in a conversation inside the confines of the cab, attentions outside gradually shift towards the back of the vehicle. Deedri blinks in surprise and squints curiously. "Does anyone else see that strange-"

Tassilda eyes flit open with sinister amusement and a short, wicked grin cracks on her lips. "I DO. Is that YOUR handiwork?"

Deedri snaps her glance over to Tassilda and quickly shakes her head wide eyed shock. "What?! Oh! NO! Of course not!"

A smirk creeps from the corner of Trakenthin's mouth and he eyes Deedri. "If it is yours. Claim it."

Defiant embarrassment wells up on Deedri's face and she grits her sharp teeth. "I would NOT do such a thing! I wouldn't have had time anyway. I've been busy making potions and other supplies."

As Deedri crosses her arms upon her apron, Modoran snorts out a few fits of laughter as his cool exterior fractures at the sight before him. "It's okay. I believe you. Something like this would actually be my thing, but I've been too busy myself."

Underneath the vehicle a thick, glowing mist clouds around the wheels and baseboards to form a fluctuating rainbow mass. Just above the background noise, a strange, high pitch rattle replaces the anticipated low engine rumble. Chad checks his mirrors, shifts the vehicle into gear, and turns his head towards the back window. As the sports utility vehicle rolls back out of the driveway, the rainbow haze stirs up into the draft and blows up above the hood. Veevi tilts her head to the side and blinks dumbfounded at the strange colorful vapors. She briefly eyes Chad, remains silent, and returns to watch the fading mists. Tassilda covers her mouth just as an ill-humored snicker escapes. "Oh. Chad doesn't realize what's happening yet. This is TOO good."

All camera crew redirect their equipment on the dissipating colors flowing out from the vehicle as it finishes backing up on the street. Chad swings his head around and pauses on Veevi's awkward forward facing silence. Veevi glances over with a smile. "Well, let's go! I can't wait to get it!"

Chad nods with a charming smile, returns his attention forward, and accelerates the black sports utility vehicle. Outside the cab, a sharp, shrill din substitutes the exhaust rumble of the large engine and a stream of rainbow clouds erupt in the draft of the speeding vehicle. A few seconds later, a van with the "Next Adventurers of Nexus" logo follows behind, the drivers and passengers visibly laughing. Modoran breaks out cackling and steps around gasping for breath. Trakenthin stifles a series of snorts as his amusement fights for freedom. Deedri tightly works down an ear to ear awkward smile and firmly presses her crossed arms down to hide her giggles. Tassilda shines a devious grin, holds her long nailed hand in front of her mouth, and dramatically laughs, posing with her other hand on hip. Samantha blinks with jaw agape and gradually rotates her face away from the concealment of her clipboard. She eyes the resolute Gerald when he lowers his camera down and directs a whisper to him. "I know it's Friday and the production teams are getting ready for the live reveal tonight... But..."

Gerald gazes a Samantha with a wide grin and nods calmly. "Yes. I think Howard will approve a rush process of this footage for a clip tonight."


Inside the confines of the living room, Sotalia snickers and points towards the television, leaning forward off her side of the couch. "Oh, it HAS to be Deedri that did it."

Cideeda bites on a claw tip and flicks a furry ear as she ponders. "I don't know. She's always seemed genuinely nice."

Sotalia sinks back into the cushions of the couch, aims her gaze to Cideeda, and grins. "I'll agree, she is. But, that doesn't mean she can't get even. In fact, it'd be perfect cover for her to do anything. No one would expect it."

The possibilities weigh in Cideeda's mind and she eventually shrugs it off with a content smile to Sotalia. "I still don't think she's behind it. But if she did, I support her decision."

With a slow nod, Sotalia stretches her legs out, rests her feet on top of the coffee table, and folds her arms behind her head. "Always a rookie mistake to push the nice, quiet ones too far."

Across the room at the dining table, Bach lifts his head up from the project upon the tabletop, blinks a few times, and pivots his confusion at Sotalia. He hoists a brow sharply up and stares at her momentarily. Sotalia continues watching the show, oblivious of the attention. Bach rolls his eyes with a twist of the lips and drifts his gaze at Aristespha. Fingertips drum pairings on the opposing hand and Aristespha settles into the recliner chair, deeper underneath a blanket cover. She conceals the devious glee on her face behind her hands. Bach draws a deep breath, sighs with a roll of the eyes, and returns his focus to a number of small sticks resting on the tabletop. He looks up and watches Dretphi carefully carve out grooves into a broom handle, using a chisel from a set of woodworking tools. She guides the fine blade edge and follows inked paths with rigid precision. Bach smiles as he inspects Dretphi's work. "That's looking really good. Once, you finish that pattern, we'll do some basic flow inking. After that, you can start working on your actual staff."

Dretphi draws a slight smile, and turns her head to glance at the large, trimmed, debarked branch resting against the wall in the room corner near the dining table. "I want to practice further. Apply my best effort. The branch needs to dry first."

Bach examines the large piece of wood, nods, and picks up one of the small sticks in front of him. "Understood. That was a nice find. Even the branches you cut off are good enough to make some nice practice focuses from. You can try carving one of these and practice flow inking it, too."

His eyes dimly glow blue and faint flickers of magical energy swirl around the piece of wood in his hand. Purposeful patterns draw out a few millimeters from the surface and encircle the stick completely, sparing some limited space at the base. In seconds, the intricate designs shrink onto the surface, pressing tightly into the material. With a few faint sparkles, the work fades from view and Bach's eyes return to normal. With a little effort, he focuses upon the wooden stick and the previous patterns light up with the tip glowing a hazy trail of magical illumination. He doodles out a few shapes and letters in the air, waits for them to fade away, and places the finished practice wand off towards the table corner. Bach pauses a moment, lifts his head up, and catches Sotalia staring over from the couch. "What?"

Sotalia rests her head upon her propped arm, cracks a sly grin, and averts her eyes away pseudo innocently. "Oh... Nothing. But, if you are making another batch, my nieces and nephews were quite happy with the last set. If you got a few other effects, they would love them."

Bach briefly narrows his eyes at Sotalia and perks an inquisitive eye brow. "You know you can make these yourself, right?"

Sotalia lifts her head off her hand, brushes some dark red hair over a horn, and winks a golden eye with a smile. "Yes. Of course. But, who am I to deprive you of your fun?"

With a long sigh and shrug, Bach surveys the remaining stock of wooden sticks with a tug to the corner of his mouth. "Right..."

The television blares out a new jingle of music and displays some flashy graphics. The screen cuts to a shot of the Flames of the Phoenix group sitting around a table.

"Now, we bring you live inside the dining room to witness a major announcement from Chad Bosch, leader of the Flames of the Phoenix."

Aristespha, Bach, Cideeda, Dretphi, Sebastian and Sotalia collectively pour their attention to the television. The view focuses on Chad as he stands tall at the head of the table and overlooks Tassilda, Trakenthin, Modoran, Deedri, and Veevi. "I'm sure you've all been wondering what errands I've been running with Veevi."

Tassilda crosses her arms, Trakenthin eyes Chad with a flit of a snarl, Modoran simply quirks an unamused eyebrow, and Deedri vainly maintains a calm demeanor against the awkward attentions of Veevi. Chad presents his signature, heroically bright, white smile and chuckles out loud. "Well, I won't keep you in suspense any longer. Veevi."

Veevi excitedly stands up from her seat, reaches into her short shorts front pocket, and pulls out a rectangular card. With a dramatic fanfare and exaggerated pose, she presents the guild identification card in pan across the table and winks to the camera. "Say hello to Veevi Valiant! Official Intern of The Flames of the Phoenix!"

A fvalian swear slips through Deedri's lips before she seals them tightly under the pressure of her hand. Modoran blinks in bewilderment initially at the announcement, then eyes Deedri with guarded amusement. Deedri ties to assume a cordial exterior. Trakenthin grumbles to himself, retrieves his aetherphone, and taps up a paused game to absorb his attention. Tassilda glowers at Chad and her smile fails to disguise her gritting teeth as her ire visibly radiates outwards. Veevi grins brightly against the contrast of the team and flashes a seductive perk of the brow to Chad. She narrows her eyes and purposefully reflects the overhead room light off the card's plastic coating at Tassilda. A low growl vents through Tassilda's sneer and she swipes her hand out at the card. "Let me SEE that fraudulent mockery! There is NO way the guild would authorize you to be a rest stop janitor, much less an intern!"

Veevi snaps back her hand and sidesteps swiftly behind Chad with mocking fright. Tassilda tries to slide back her seat and glances to either side when her efforts fail. She discovers Trakenthin's foot hooked behind the front leg of the chair. She glares intensely at Trakenthin and harshly whispers. "Do you mind?"

Trakenthin keeps his visible attention to the game on the phone, but directs a quiet, firm response back to Tassilda. "Stay seated. No victory to be had here."

Tassilda draws a loud breath through her nose, contorts out the frustration on her face, and eventually releases a long, irritated sigh. She awkwardly shifts her expression back to a reserved, unamused state. Veevi slinks back into her chair and leans over to Deedri. One hand firmly grips the chair back and the other shows off the card to a wary Deedri. Chad coughs to attract everyone's attention and addresses the group. "I think that actually went quite well. Now, another order of business..."

He narrows his eyes a pans an accusatory stare across group. "Who the hell put the spell on the SUV?"

The conversation breaks down to a blame game as the scene view retracts from the borders of the television screen. The show transitions to other week highlight clips. A sinister grin creeps out upon Aristespha's mouth and she squirms delightfully into the cushions of the recliner, a faint giggle hidden behind the audio of the television. Hoving near, Sebastian blinks to attention and glances over to Aristespha. He maintains a long quizzical stare at Aristespha until she notices. The two engage in a quick conversation of eyes and emotes before Aristespha sighs and waves off the subject. "I'll tell you later, Sebastian."

Sebastian drifts his gaze back towards the antics on the television display and curls a smirk. "Okay, dear."


The nighttime illumination of the moon and stars casts through the sliding glass door into the living room. Faint reflections of the night sky glimmer in the finish of the coffee table. A dark blue hue radiates out into the room upon the walls and furnishings. Light, clicking steps sound out from the hallway and Cideeda wanders through the archway with a yawn. She rubs her eyes and walks in a hazy consciousness, her tail swaying lazily from underneath her long, large nightshirt. She rounds the dining table, plods forward into part of kitchen area, and stops in front of the refrigerator. Firmly closing her eyes, she averts her head away from the flash of light as the fridge door opens up. Reaching inside, her clawed fingers rummage around and feel out the various items inside until she carefully cracks open her eyelids enough for her emerald eyes to spot the target. Swiftly she removes the branded yogurt fruit cup clear and lets the door seal off the light. After a few moments, Cideeda blinks open her eyes, inspects the package, and circles a clawtip around to slice the foil lid off.  Lifting the lid off by her clawtips, her nose sniffs the near the underside of the lip.  Her hand pauses briefly as her eyes refocus on yogurt speckled foil and she quickly licks the top clean.  She plucks the plastic spoon off the side, pushes it out of the wrapper, and stirs the contents of the cup. Rolling the foil lid and plastic wrapper together, she underhand tosses the balled up mass into the garbage can.  With a number of spoonfuls in her mouth, Cideeda sates her smile and wanders forward along her return route.

Pausing for a few more scoops from the cup, her eyes spot a few wooden magical practice focuses on the corner of the tabletop. Her attention diverts from the snack and her consciousness piques as a thought rises in mind. She quickly inspects the vacant, silent vicinity and gently rests the yogurt treat with spoon nearby on the surface of the dining table. Her hand hovers over the sticks and her fingers wrap around one of the rods. She lifts it up, securely wrapping her hand over the other, and focuses her gaze upon wand. She breathes in slowly, bites her lip, and concentrates all her focus inwards. Seconds past and her face twitches as she exhales steadily. Occasional muscle flexes move her arms. Her mouth twists and contorts from sneers, smirks, and snarls. Her hands and arms tremble from strain and she sharply yanks air through her nose and vents through her gritting teeth. Closing her eyes tightly, she mutters in hopeful, encouraging tones to herself over minutes, occasionally slipping into fvalian. A few words clear the threshold. "Come on... Come on... Just once..."

Eventually, a final sigh of defeat escapes has she relaxes her whole body. Disappointment washes over her face and she straightens her posture with a simple, accepting shrug. She gives the wand a longing stare and holds it above the corner of the tabletop. But, her fingers pause right before release. Cideeda's grip tightens back and she rolls the stick in hand, her eyes searching her mind. A subtle smile graces her lips and she mouths to herself. "Some day..."

With a secure grasp around the practice focus, she pivots in place, picks up her yogurt cup with a free hand, and walks through the archway into the hallway with clicking, light steps.


Deedri flips through a few pages in a book upon the counter top of the encircling kitchen. She traces a claw tip through a long series of instructions, nods in confirmation after each bullet point, and taps at the last line of the remaining step. She pivots to another section of the counter surface, picks up a glass jar, and inspects the contents. Her auburn eyes visually count the small green plant sacs and narrow carefully to perform a recount. With a grimace, Deedri swings her attention back over to her book and checks the last instruction again. Shifting her focus over to a collection of calculations on a scratch piece of paper, she groans in frustration and twists her lips at a realization. She lifts the glass container back into view, deliberates with a long stare, and eventually sighs with a frowning shake of the head. Deedri rolls her eyes at herself and mumbles under her breath "No. You know better than that..."

She opens the refrigerator door and carefully places the jar inside. She pulls open a drawer, draws out a sheet of plastic from a cardboard roll, and stretches out the film tightly over a nearly full, glass bowl of blue translucent fluid. With a firm two hand heft and a swift toe claw pry of the door, Deedri settles the larger container inside the refrigerator. She seals the door back up, checks her apron, and tucks her notes inside book on the counter. She scans room and moves with a cautious gait around the dining table towards the back sliding glass door. Her tufted, furry ears flick and perk towards the front of the house. Distant voices barely rise out of the background quiet of the two-story house. A cringe flashes upon Deedri's face when her ears aim towards the stairwell. After a few moments, she slinks next to the back door. She flips up the lock and gradually slides the door wide enough to squeeze through. With a slow, firm pull, the large glass panel returns flush to the frame and Deedri steps gingerly around the perimeter of the backyard, her gaze darting between the visible vantage points of the two-story house. She squints cautiously to the balcony of the next door house. She swiftly weaves within the shadows of the scenery and creeps progress to the forest line.

A series of fast foot steps cascade down the stairs and Veevi swings around the archway into the dining area. She hops energetically into the entry of the kitchen. Her disappointment shows as she blinks and searches the area. Veevi crosses her arms, scans the countertops with her pink eyes, and blows a few stray pink hairs out of her pouting face. She wanders around the dining table and eyes out into the backyard through the sliding glass door. Her eyes snap to a point in the distant treeline and narrow as she leans closer to the glass panel. A mischievous, sharp grin creeps along her lips and she feels the position of the lock near the door handle. With a significant effort, she guides the sliding door open, steps through, seals up the transparent gate behind her, and slinks swiftly towards her target.


A gentle breeze rustles the leaves in the canopy overhead. The sun projects the clouds upon the tree tops and fragments of the pattern flicker below onto the forest floor. Deedri gazes up above and catches the chorus of the forest in her ears and squints her eyes at the glints of noon sun slipping by leaves. A peaceful smile rests on Deedri's lips and she stands calmly within the moment, each second stripping away layers of stress off on the passing winds. An unfortunately familiar, dangerously enthusiastic voice shatters the sensory haven. "Hey, Deedri! Wait up!"

Deedri's ears droop sharply. Her auburn eyes slam open to narrow pupils, and a strong wince cinches up her upper cheek, snarling her upper lip. Her shoulders abruptly tense, her posture snaps rigid, and the fur on her tail flares out. A series of fvalian words spit through her clenching teeth, barely muted by her tightening lips. She slowly pivots in place, her feelings fighting against the pleasant facade her expression locks into. Veevi skips fast down the forest path and waves to Deedri with a wide grin. "What are YOU doing out here?"

Deedri presents a calm smile, nods to Veevi with her hands held tightly upon her apron, and honestly responds. "I was short of an important reagent for a batch of wound treatment salve. So, I am going to retrieve some from a source nearby, before the batch risks spoiling."

Veevi hops to a stop next to Deedri with a cheery smile and cocks her head to the side with a wink. "I see..."

After a few blinks, Deedri warily returns the smile, rotates herself around, and glances down the path. "I'm afraid it's nothing exciting, really. Just need to find the right plant and I'll be right back. Just a long, boring walk in a plain, average forest..."

Veevi's glints a grin at Deedri and looks down the path. "Sounds nice and relaxing, actually. Could I come along?"

An uneasy wave radiates through Deedri's core and she grants Veevi a gradual nod. "Sure, I guess..."

Deedri turns forward completely and walks down the path. Veevi follows with an initially faster gait, easing in pace to the side of Deedri. The two start down the center of the path. Deedri maintains her focus mostly ahead, occasionally peering out of the corner of her eye. Veevi stretches her arms and body out, feigning nonchalant. She gazes out into the scenery with fleeting interest and gradually adjusts her position along the trail. After minutes of casual nature watching, the gap between Deedri and her remains. Deedri's toed boots stir up the debris littering the rough shoulder of the path. She side steps around a small bush in the way, and returns to the outer edge, restoring the buffer zone between. Veevi lifts a brow with a smirk, sighs out loud, and directs a quizzical tone to Deedri. "So? I have to ask, what do YOU do for fun?"

Deedri recalls her attention from the distance back to her immediate surroundings, and quirks an ear over to Veevi. "Oh. Uh. I don't know. I read a lot fantasy and science fiction books. I really enjoy a lot of the Pre-Cataclysm books they find and republish."

With a calculating expression, Veevi draws a sly smile on her lips and concentrates a piercing gaze at Deedri. "I kind of figured that. Okay, your turn! Ask me a question, now."

Deedri blinks a few times and her eyes search her mind for a few seconds. "Um... Where did you grow up?"

Veevi giggles cheerily, and shaves a few centimeters off the divide between her and Deedri with a subtle overstep. "No where special. I'm just simple southern coast girl from around New Valdo. So, where are you from?"

Auburn eyes sort through memories and Deedri crosses her arms as she recounts. "When I was really young, I lived on the south coast, too. Actually, west of New Valdo in Dothan. But, some monster tore through part of the town. Killed few militia and injured a lot of people, including a girl a few years older than me."

She shrugs simply and keeps her sights forward towards a closing, familiar forest perimeter. "My mother was thinking about moving already. It made her decision easy. So, I grew up in a small town outside of Anta."

Silence looms above the two as they continue walking down the path. Veevi looks around the area before settling an anticipating glance at Deedri. "So, it's your turn to ask me a question."

Deedri tugs at the corner of her mouth and stumbles out a question through her indecision. "Ah... Um... Uh... Well, why did you become a pop star?"

A proud grin parts Veevi's lips. She draws an exaggerated breath in and melodically proclaims out with dramatic gestures of the arms. "Why?! Why not! I've got the body and the voice of star. Why not perform for the world, and gift myself to adoring fans near and far..."

Another subtle slide over shrinks the gap between Veevi and Deedri. Veevi's short-haired tail wags closer to Deedri's long-haired tail with each sway. A softer tone taints Veevi's voice and she seductively bites her lip. "Speaking of adoring... So, do you have anyone to adore you?"

Deedri eyes flit wide and she senses Veevi's immediate proximity. The short-haired tail swings over the long-haired tail, coiling slowly around in a gradually tightening wrap. Veevi gazes with a sultry undertone to Deedri. "Boyfriend, maybe? Or... A girlfriend-"

From beyond the transition of forest to field meters away, Bach's distant voice calls out. "So, the fluid sacs are located near the top, underneath the big flower top?"

At another point out of immediate sight, Sotalia speaks in a loud, curious tone. "Yes. Did you find some? Show me where they are at!"

Veevi halts her progress and stares forward, her furry ears puzzling at the sounds ahead. She feels a swift brush within her tail's grasp as Deedri rushes ahead, pulling the long-haired tail clear. Deedri hides behind a large tree trunk and peers out to the side, observing the activity. She momentarily glances up to the skies above with a thankful expression to powers beyond.

Out in the many stalks of the patch, Bach and Sotalia stand underneath the shade of a larger protellow plant. Bach circles out an area with his finger, aiming upwards into the giant flora. "I think I see a few up there."

Sotalia squints for seconds, contorts her mouth in thought, and blinks her eyes. She quietly recites a few incantations, gestures her hands to touch opposing finger tips, and looks through the magical energy framed within up at the protellow. A smile graces her lips and she separates her hands, wisps of fading flow trailing from her finger tips. "That's them. Now, we need to get up there and pick them."

Bach furrows his brow, slowly rotates his head, and hoists an eyebrow at Sotalia. "What? Like climb up there and pluck them off?"

Sotalia places her hands on her hips and flashes an unamused expression at Bach. "Yes. As much as I'd like to use magic to pull them off..."

Her eyes roll. She groans with a trailing sigh and drones technical from memory. "Aristespha has explicitly said to avoid using any direct magic to acquire reagents to prevent cross-contamination and avoid accident alchemical misfires during processing."

Bach scratches the beard hair on his chin and develops a sly smirk. "So... Indirect magic is okay?"

Sotalia places her hands on her hips, shifts her gaze to Bach, and amuses at the idea with grin. From behind the clearing's edge Deedri harshly whispers. "Where are you going?"

Veevi boldly strolls out from the brush perimeter of the forest line. A gust of wind flares her pink hair out. She approaches Bach and Sotalia, and energetically waves with a proud tone. "Hello, fellow adventurers!"

Sotalia pulls the corner of the mouth, narrows curious eyes at Veevi, and frees a hand from the hip to grant a plain wave. Bach blinks, darts his gaze side to side around the area, and eventually responds with a simple, meek wave. Veevi skips over with a spunky demeanor and poses confidently in front of Sotalia. "I don't think we have officially met. I'm Veevi Valiant, rising star, AND... Newest member of the Flames of the Phoenix."

Sotalia slightly pitches her head up and lowers an examining stare carefully upon Veevi. An intrigued smile draws across her lips. She guides dark red hair over a horn, gazes at Veevi with golden eyes, and poses proudly. "So, I have heard. Sotalia Feratosia. Mage."

Bach shrugs nonchalantly, notices Deedri cautiously walking up, and waves again at her. "Um, Bach Warwick. Intern...?"

Veevi focuses upon Sotalia, tosses her pink hair back, and responds with a charming smile. "I actually got to witness some of your spells when I was training the other day. Impressive."

Deedri stops in front of Bach with a calm smile, and shuffles over to keep at least a meter gap between her and Veevi. "Hello. I am sorry to interrupt. I was out to gather some reagents from these protellows. Veevi joined along to for the walk."

Scratching the back of his head, Bach nods and points a thumb up to the large looming protellow shading the vicinity. "Well, so are we. We're trying to get some of the fluid sacs from up around the top and were trying to figure out how."

A spark of enthusiasm lights up Deedri's face and she steps forward with initiative. "Oh! Perfect! That's the same thing I need. Let me climb up there and I'll gather enough for all of us!"

Bach glances up the tall plant and returns a concerned expression to Deedri. "Um, that's pretty high up there. Do you want any help?"

He notices the quick, awkward glance Deedri aims towards Veevi as she passes by him on her way to the base of the large stalk. She flexes her claw tipped fingers to Bach with a sharp grin. "Don't worry. I've got the climb part covered. I just need to concentrate on the task. But, if you could keep watch, that would be very helpful."

Bach's mind processes the situation. He briefly gestures to Deedri to wait and steps next to Sotalia with a grin. "Hey, maybe you should share some magical education pointers with Veevi. One fellow mage to another aspiring mage."

Sotalia slowly rotates her head and casts a dubious eye to Bach. She examines his expression, notes the subtle wink, and soon grows a devious, mischievous smile. With a proud shift of her pose, she taps a contemplative finger upon her lips and grins at Veevi. "Why, of course! If I am to assume correctly your present teacher, I do believe her distinctive emin haughtiness may be impairing her ability to properly educate you."

An intrigued smile parts Veevi lips and she places her hands on her hips attentively. "Why, yes. I do believe it is. She keeps telling me to go through long, pointless drills and tries my patience with trivial practice exercises."

Sotalia chuckles darkly, waves out her hand, and sprinkles a dramatic flair to her sigh. "I figured. I do believe I should share some important hints and tricks to help you along your path in the magical arts. And, I'm certain if you demonstrate these proficiently to an audience, you teacher will EVER be so motivated to teach once she recognizes your potential."

Veevi's attention fully affixes on Sotalia's examples, gestures, and incantations. Sotalia demonstrates a series of small, colorful, and exceptionally flashy spells from the simplest instructions. After each quick performance, Sotalia coaches Veevi until she enacts the basic functionality. Meanwhile, Bach assists Deedri as she deftly climbs up the stalk of the towering protellow. Deedri's finger and toe claws render the task routine and she secures herself near the top of the stalk. With expert precision, she extracts the fluid sacs into the safety of her apron pouch. Bach stands by at the base and keeps a vigilant watch overhead, and spots other locations that he calls out to Deedri. After half hour, Deedri's feet touch stable ground and she sorts through her apron pocket. "There was quite a lot on that protellow and the sacs looked freshly formed. I have more than enough. Here."

She scoops up a double hand full and presents it. Bach retrieves a cloth bag from his pocket, opens it up, and guides the contents from Deedri's hands in. "Thanks. Really. The local reagent shop was out, so we've been looking for a source."

He glances over his shoulder and returns to face Deedri with a grateful expression and softer voice. "Hey, by the way, thanks again for the other day. Didn't think we really needed a showdown at the grocery store of all places."

Deedri rolls her eyes away with a sighing shake of her head. "I understand completely."

She briefly peeks around Bach at Veevi and returns her eyes to Bach. "Thank you for the latest distraction."

Bach blinks, quirks a brow at Deedri, and points through himself at Veevi with a light snarl. "Yeah, it looked like you needed a break from... her..."

Deedri narrows her eyes to a tired, unamused expression and sighs. "You have no idea."

She retrieves her aetherphone from a side pocket, taps the screen, and reads the time of the clock. "Oh good, I should actually be back in time to complete my batch of wound salve."

After a gracious bow, Deedri navigates the thick surface roots over near Sotalia and Veevi with Bach following. "I hate to leave so soon, but I must get back. But Veevi, you are more than welcome to continue your lessons."

Veevi flashes a sly smile to Deedri, flits her dark pink brows, and sighs contentedly as she stretches her arms back. "Well, they want to do video journal segments today and I don't want to be late for mine. I have a lot to say."

She nods to Sotalia with hints of respect. She excitedly squeals with childish glee. "And I can't wait to practice what you've shown me! Thank you so much!"

Sotalia crosses her arms with a smug smirk. "Oh, I'm certain you'll definitely impress your teacher."

Deedri waves at Sotalia and Bach, and quickly moves towards the tree line and the forest path. Veevi slinks over to the side of Deedri, trying to close distance Deedri refuses to relinquish. Bach slides next to Sotalia and gradually angles his gaze to her, puzzling. "So... What all did you... teach... Veevi?"

A sinister glint shines off Sotalia's smile and she flexes her long, black nailed fingers on a hand. "Oh, you know... Just a few simple spells and flow techniques."

Bach's stare narrows at Sotalia and he twists his mouth suspiciously. "Okay. What would those be?"

Sotalia nonchalantly inspects her nails and fails to contain her overflowing self-satisfaction as it forms into a wide grin on her face. "Oh. Just a few of the most distracting, flashy, trashy, lowest common denominator spells you can find. Only the BEST ones to show a starting student. A few of my favorites from when I was an annoying teenager."

A snort escapes Bach and he gazes off into the forest with a slow side to side sway of his head. "Wow... Just wow. You think she'll actually follow through and use them?"

An evil laugh slips out from Sotalia's mouth and she reaches out for cloth bag full of fluid sacs. "A young, egotistical girl with something to prove the world? Trust me, she will NOT miss the opportunity to try."

Bach hands the fabric sack over to Sotalia and she happily nods at the contents of the bag. She carefully wraps the end of the bag up, and secures a hand around the opening. With a motions to Bach, she steps forward towards another part of the forest perimeter. "Well, we better head back. I have potions to make."

Bach shakes his head and follows along behind with a dry chuckle to himself. "Next week's episode is going to be interesting."

A wicked sparkle dances in Sotalia's eye. "I do hope so."


Aristespha, Bach, Cideeda, Dretphi, and Sotalia sit around the dining table. Sebastian's ethereal form hovers overhead. He scrutinizes the collection of documents littering the surface of a large table covering map. Narrowing his eyes in thought, he slowly nods in agreement. "That makes the most sense. One of Noxian's old hang outs is nearby and there's a few... uh..."

He pauses moment, contorts his mouth hesitantly at words at the front of his mind, and sighs reluctantly. Aristespha smiles amusedly with a shrug and gazes lovingly at him. "Go ahead and say it, Sebastian."

Sebastian floats over and lands down on the floor. He holds his ghostly arms out and plainly states. "A few simple, routine, and easy jobs... in the area. Now that I've cursed all of us by saying that, let's look at our options."

Cideeda reaches out over the table, arranges the a few quest print outs next to each other, and compares coordinate lists to the map. Dretphi peers over another row of papers, guides a finger on one hand along the text, and points out the location on the map with another finger. Sotalia gestures quickly and taps the spots Dretphi designates, leaving a magical highlight on the surface. Bach shifts his focus between the papers near Cideeda and Dretphi, picking out keywords and mulling over his opinion. Aristespha squints over the data and turns her attention to one her tablets. "I'm going to guess that Hattan will be the best place to get rooms for a few days. I'll start searching the area."

Sotalia perks up, faces Aristespha, and flits her dark red eyebrows. "Hey! See if you can book that one place with the day spa next door. That was REALLY convenient."

Aristepsha rolls her eyes with an incredulous smirk and eyes Sotalia. "It's only going to be for a few days. I doubt we'll really have the time for such activities."

Sotalia pouts with a sigh and mumbles. "You should still try... Please?"

Sebastian's eyes follow a road on the map and he notices a particular location that pulls a snide grin on his face. "Hey, bro. You think we should stop by Tullachester? Stop by the old house?"

Bach lifts his head up, squints his eyes at his brother, cracks a lopsided smile with a cringe, and lays down the sarcasm. "Yah, sure. We can swing by and tell the new renter, that the land lady most definitely conned, all about the plumbing, heating, cooling, electrical... structural... and ethical problems with that place. I'm certain they would also love to know the best places to put the pots and pans when it rains or what creatures make which noises in the attic."

Dretphi stares over to Bach with an uncertain expression and struggles for the right words. "That residence sounds... Difficult?"

Bach rubs his eyes to pinch of the bridge of his nose with an honest smile on his lips. "Yeah. That actually sums it up. That town has nothing going on for it. There's one decent bar in whole area and that only showed up in the last few years."

Shrugging his shoulders and Bach pans a gaze at everyone with a chuckle. "When being abducted AWAY from the town is the highlight of your time being IN the town, it probably isn't a good place. Two months out and still NO desire to go back."

Sebastian crosses his arms and smiles with an ethereal laugh. "Okay, so that's a strong NO on stopping in Tullachester."

Dretphi traces the route out on the map, pausing at key points, and plots the travel in her mind. "The roads are serviceable from experience. Not sure if we can arrive at by nightfall. Just after, maybe."

Cideeda idly scratches her jaw line and her emerald eyes study the path Dretphi points out. "Worst case, we camp at a rest stop in the mountains. I remember a few coming from Anta."

Aristespha smirks, lifts her tablet up off the table, angles to Sotalia, and flits her brow slyly. "I can't get that one place, but..."

Sotalia shifts her attention over. Her eyes widen and she bites her lip in gleeful anticipation. "That will work, girl."

Sebastian hovers up and hangs over the table, his eyes sifting through the job notices. "Okay, let's bid on jobs, get some work, and book the rooms. Take it easy tomorrow, and we set off Monday."