Lady Ivy Xantara Swift ~ Gia Panta//Walking.“Are we still all clear?”
Ivy “Evvette” Swift asked, adjusting her sunglasses slightly as she walked on through the city. “Looks like it. We’re all good. Although…”“Although?”
Ivy asked her enchanted cat. “There is something of slight interest,”
Tallis explained from the Elf girl’s bag. “Maropa, one of our dog scouts, has spotted a dog in her vicinity. Black and White Husky dog, Adult, Male, gives off an aggressive scent and a sense of purpose. Not sure who he belongs to, Maropa can’t get close enough to get a detailed scent without detection. Could be just sniffing around, but he looks like he’s specifically searching for something. Might be nothing, but should we keep tabs on him just in case?” “Sure. If you think it might draw up something interesting. Just make sure Maropa understands she is to observe from a distance, but not to engage the other dog unless deemed necessary or unavoidable, understood? Dogs can be too inquisitive for their own good sometimes…”
Ivy knew that whilst most humans and machines were unperceptive to her animals (unless she made it obvious/decided to show off, otherwise to most people they appeared to be ‘just animals’), other creatures were far more perceptive of the natural world. In a way, Ivy mused, animals were far cleverer than most humans gave them credit for. They knew when Mother Nature and the Heavens were at work…whether through detecting natural disasters before they happened, sensing when something was about to die…or even detecting the influence of the Divine on another animal such as themselves. Looking into the eyes of one of Ivy’s animal cohorts, under most circumstances a human could never be too sure whether what they were looking at was an ordinary animal or one of Ivy’s summons, but to a more perceptive being like a dog, they would sense the great power and knowledge these creatures possessed…and, if they had any common sense at all, they would back away quietly without a sound. Throughout the animal Kingdom and Mythological beasts of old, a Demi-Goddess of Gaiana would be greatly respected, admired and feared. And with Ivy, this was no exception. Even for the most powerful of beasts, it would be unwise to do anything against a divine being with Gaiana’s power and blessing. Gaiana had given life to them all, and it was Gaiana who ultimately would end them.
Ivy walked on, taking the scenic route to HQ. She was in no rush, after all. Her scouts would keep an eye on her and make sure she wasn’t being watched or followed. Her animals were dotted about the city, strategically placed and yet behaving in a way which avoided suspicion. In a way, they were better than any security cameras ever could be, her ‘natural’ surveillance team providing Ivy with a panoramic, fully fleshed-out view of almost everything. They not only saw, but heard, smelt, tasted, felt, sensed and experienced. It was like being everywhere all at the same time, added together with all the advanced senses of the various organisms under Ivy’s control. What Ivy lacked in military skill and strategy, she certainly made up for in surveillance and recon work. No manmade device on its own could ever match up to the raw power and camouflage of Mother Nature. Nature was all around, and a silent witness to all things in existence. Many wild living beasts could do things that mankind only ever dreamed about. Technology that humanity had spent many years perfecting, to take on a certain purpose? Some animals were naturally born with those skills, and whilst not nearly as faultless as a machine or device, where they succeeded, they excelled. Ivy Xantara knew all of her animals’ attributes, and used them to the best of her advantage. Who needed to spend a fortune on scientific research and funding, when you had all of Nature’s resources and best kept secrets at your fingertips? Technology was only a shallow imitation of the abilities Mother Nature had not offered to humanity – humanity’s way of trying to take what wasn’t naturally theirs. Typical, that Humans were so jealous of nature’s power, that they had to try and recreate that power for themselves. Destroying nature in the process, it seemed.
Ivy smiled grimly to herself, turning down a small side street before following down another. Tallis watching their surroundings from the comfort of her Mistress’s bag. It wouldn’t be long now before they reached Indolentia HQ…
However just then, Tallis broke the silence. “Oh yeah, Human coming your way, Xantara. Young male, about 5’5”, skinny, scruffy black hair. Looks like he’s from a poor background. And currently he’s not too far away, heading up in this direction. Looks like he’s in a spot of trouble, he’s got the police onto him. According to Haz, he was seen stealing a loaf of bread. And, heh,”
Tallis half laughed, “What do you know? He’s got quite a pair of legs on him. He’s a fast one, that’s for sure.”
After a pause, Tallis faltered, nose twitching involuntary. “Uhh…Xantara, he’s literally heading straight for you,”
she warned, long before Kaito’s warning. “Oh really?”
Ivy asked. The chaotic Demi-Goddess smiled slightly. Ivy continued on calmly, as if unaware of the young man that was about to collide with her. In truth, her scouts had been tracking the boy ever since he had stolen the food. Ok then, let’s wait until the very last moment, just for fun…wait for it…wait for it…"Watch out!"“Now!”
Tallis hissed, letting out a warning cat’s yowl as Kaito careered towards them. Ivy then ‘spotted’ the young man, diving quickly and harmlessly out of the way just in time.
Privately, Ivy giggled, as no doubt Kaito missed her and collided with the ground instead. Composing herself and knowing that there was some urgency to the situation, she quickly went over to help him up. “Are you alright?”
the aristocratic lady asked, concerned. The Demi-Goddess guided the young man swiftly to his feet. Tallis poked her head out of the bag, peering around Ivy at the mortal human curiously.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Chance ~ Gia Panta//Indolentia HQ Sewer Entrance
Deep underground, a skinny dark grey rat made its way through the sewer system. Scurrying and pausing every so often to check on its location, before resuming its journey. It looked like any common sewer rat. Only the rat itself knew that it wasn’t. Gaiana’s divine power coursed through its veins, making the creature invincible all but in the physical sense of the word. This rat had been given an intelligent mind of its own and a name; Chance. He was one of Ivy’s many city scouts, and, in this case, her messenger boy. The energetic rat could hardly contain his excitement. He did love running by HQ. Seeing the look on their faces as they reacted to him was something Chance never tired of. Especially the Gato members of the Indolentia. They quickly learnt that Chance was one rat they didn’t
want to catch. The rat snickered, recalling the last time a Gato had tried to play with him. He certainly wouldn’t be doing that again in hurry…not if he valued his dignity and his life.
As the rat approached the first heavy mechanical door, one which led to the Indolentia base, he made a slight detour, scurrying up the wall towards a small rat-sized hole concealed in the shadows. Upon her first visit to HQ Ivy had placed her own security measures on it, ensuring that only one of her own animals could enter the mouse hole, and nothing else, if any such creatures realised it was there in the first place. Chance dived into it, running along a tiny network of rat-sized passages, scurrying to the next door, and repeating the process, before eventually plopping out onto the floor, just inside the hallway to the base.
The guard which the Elf, Julius Ashton, had addressed turned at the sound, spotting the rat. His face showed his consternation at the discovery. “The Lady Demi-Goddess Xantara is on her way here,”
Chance explained out loud with a rat-like grin. His voice sounded surprisingly human, for a creature with rat’s vocal chords. However it was still very squeaky, and there was a certain ‘rat-ish’ quality to the accent. “She just thought you ought to know. She’s been held up for the moment, but she’s not too far away. She’ll no doubt be arriving soon. If not, then certainly later today. But I wouldn’t count on it. You might want to be ready.”
The rat nodded.
Some of the other guards, upon hearing this news, exchanged looks and groans. A few of them looked panicked, and began to busy themselves, carrying the message on through the rest of the base. None of them had been prepared for Ivy
, of all people, to visit them today. Out of the three Demi-Gods, she was certainly the most…well, to be honest, words often failed to describe Ivy’s behaviour. How she came to be a leader of the Indolentia, was a question many of its members were still asking themselves. Certainly she was well respected; however her chaotic attitude had a tendency to make those working under her a little…nervous. Perhaps with good reason. Half of the time, it was like the young spirited Demi-god didn’t have a clue what she was doing – or simply did not care. Or at other times, she was simply all too eager. Some of them wondered whether Ivy just made it all up as she went along, or threw a dice…
The guard nearest gave Julius a bit of a grim smile. “Well, I guess that answers your question,” he told the Elf. “Lady Xantara is one of our leaders. And she’ll be arriving soon…apparently.” The guard leant closer to Julius, hoping the little rat Chance wouldn’t hear. “Prepare yourself. It’s about to turn into a Zoo in here.” “I heard that!”
piped up Chance irritably. “Belittle us one more time and I’ll rip your ear off – you know I will.”
A couple of the other guards snickered at this. Chance glared at them. “Oh, if Xantara hadn’t given me strict instructions not to start a fight, I would so make them sorry,”
the small rat muttered under its breath in a deadly tone. “Pfft. Silly humans.”
Ignoring the guards, Chance then turned to Julius and the two gatos with him. A wicked grin on his furry rat face, his long fine whiskers twitching. “Hello,”
the rat said. “The name’s Chance, one of Lady Xantara’s personal agents and courier. Who might you lovely people be?” Mystara Hallow ~ Sorrow Lake, Forest of Memories
Mystara sighed. She had been quietly watching her memories for a while now. Familiar faces and scenes played out across the crystal surface she was sitting closest to. Her first day at school. Her first scratching post. The time when she’d stolen some of her father’s invisibility potion to play hide and seek, and worried her parents by staying ‘hidden’ until night fall. The time she’d runaway from home, just to see what it was like, and had returned to her family the very next day homesick. The time when Jace first taught her how to use his chemical explosive, Nitro-9. The time when she almost gave Jace a heart attack by using it incorrectly, and Jace, having stopped her just in time, explained to her that had she activated it, it would have exploded in her face. Mystara grinned slightly at that memory. It was one of the very few times she had witnessed her brother really freak out like that.
She watched as the scene changed again, back to memories from home…Her mother teaching her how to play the flute…Mystara watching her mother in one of the music concerts she performed at. The small gato remembered how beautifully her mother had played. Mystara almost thought she could hear it still, as she watched a memory of her mother, her fingers running intricately along the keys of their small piano at home. She hadn’t just played the flute; Mystara’s mother had been known the play all kinds of instruments – the violin and the piano in particular. The young girl could have listened all day to her Mother’s music. And her voice; her voice had been perfect for lullabies. It was that kind of sweet soft voice that could gently take all your troubles away, if only for a little while. She could still remember many of the lullabies her mother used to sing to her when she was small.
Mystara opened her satchel, diving in with one hand and retrieving a small slender silver instrument. Her mother’s flute. It only survived the fire, because Mystara had been practicing with it not long before the Purge. It was the only thing she truly had left of home. The girl ran her hand along its smooth surface, picking it up and placing it to her chin.How did that lullaby go that mother used to sing?
she thought, closing her eyes and trying to recall it. Her fingers placed in position, she started to play a haunting, melancholic tune
. The beautiful sound of the flute ringing clear across the lake, out into the forest. She knew it might draw the attention of creatures in the forest, but she didn’t care. She needed something to comfort her, to take her mind off remembering what she had lost. To take her mind off the reason she had come here, if only for a few precious moments.
However towards the end of the song, she had to stop. She put the flute down again, wiping the tears that had somehow rolled down her cheeks without her noticing. She was just so tired. So tired of running away. So tired of fighting all on her own. So tired of trying to be strong, knowing that she had nothing left to live for. Nothing but to keep living for the sake of her brother’s memory. Because she knew that he wouldn’t have wanted her to die. “I can’t do this on my own anymore, Jace…I just can’t,”
she whispered to herself, hugging her knees as a fresh wave of tears streamed down her face. And there on the crystal trees was that memory again. The one which had haunted her since her brother’s death. So many times she had wished it had been her that had been killed by that fatal shot…so many times she had wished she could have saved him.
And yet she couldn’t. And that was what hurt the most. The fact that she couldn’t have done anything to stop it.
Mystara turned away from the memory, looking out across the water. She couldn’t bear to watch it. Not again.