Shaman King Pt 4



Scene Title Shaman King Pt 4
Synopsis A competition that comes every couple of centuries has arrived. The next two tasks involve a trip to Hawaii and South America…

Another card, another time, another place. While Haldor was off doing his own thing, Maia was doing hers, having gotten yet another card that brought her to a beach. It just wasnt any beach mind you. It was one in Oahu, it was Waikiki beach, and fortunately for her, she had the money to travel first class to make it here on time. Dressed in a simple sarong that surrounds her two piece bathing suit and flip flops, she looks around for any indications of who she should be looking for. All she's carrying is a baby blue backpack with her ofuda, a towel and an extra change of clothes. When in Hawaii, do like the locals, right?

Right! The beach itself is giving little indications of where she should go, crowds as heavy as one might fear. Still, as her eyes look around there is in the distance of a faint glimmer of red that is not an unfamiliar symbol of this competition. Following it results in a long walk, a good bit of travel to a stretch of beach more secluded and isolated. A private nook of sand and surf that the tourists have not pounced upon.

"Bah.. and here I was hoping I'd be able to bring Hal here later on.."

There's another soft sigh that escapes from her lips as she takes a quick look around and starts making a dash towards the familiar symbol of the competition. She's making sure no one is headed that way,but she oomphs for running on sand.. in flipflops no doubt is quite difficult!

There does not seem to be any real reason to run, things really are nice and quiet once she arrives. A long stretch of sand, the water lapping quietly at the shore. Now here, up close the red pulsing light has faded into nothingness. No symbols remaining of what lured her here. Of course she does not remain alone for long, a head first breaking the water and the rest of a form soon following it. Feminine certainly, easily judged given the lack of any clothing or even swimsuit. Her skin is pale, hair a bluish green that well reflects the ocean.

A mermaid? Maia blinks blankly for a few moments as she stares at the 'Beaches' moment with the woman rising from the water. She's suddenly thankful that Haldor isnt around as she just watches, not quite sure what's going on right now.

Mermaids usually have fish tails. As the figure continues to emerge from the water it can be seen she's rather leggy. "Do stop looking so astonished, one as familiar with the water as you has surely met some of it's denizens before."

"People! Mortals! Paparazzi! Waikiki!"

Maia's flabbergasted for a few moments before she lets out a deep cleansing breath to calm herself down. She wrinkles her nose and starts to rush towards the woman as she hrmms and looks around once more.

"I really don't want to have to flashy thingie mortals that may come by and see you. That would just be.. awkward. Besides, I don't have a flashy thingie." Hopefully the woman watched Men in Black.

Given the completely blank look that Maia gets it seems the woman has not watched any such thing. "Nobody told me that you were mentally infirm" she says looking alltogether fretful, "Well I guess you're just going to have to do anyways. We don't have time to get anyone else if we're going to stop the tidal wave and those strange people seemed to think you'd be able to help."

Mentally infirmed! Maia acks and shakes her head as she takes a deep breath and hrmms for a few moments. "No, I can help, and I'm not mentally infirmed. Look, some idiot revealed to the world that there are Scions, I just don't want you to be outed and suddenly be pulled into an E.T. tent.." she says firmly and resolutely.

"How much time do we have?"

Those fretful looks only continue as Maia mentions the E.T tent. Scoring zero with the pop culture references it seems, "You really kind of seem like you are, but that is ok! Children of the Gods are often mad!" Right, she looks to be cheering herself up with that thought. "I don't know how long we have. They've been powering the crystals for awhile now and it's really starting to get choppy down below which means it can't be long."

"They? Crystals? Who? Um,do you have some major social mojo? You're pretty, can you move the mortals away so I can go and setup a seal?" she asks curiously, her brows furrowed as she's already reaching into her bag to pull out the necessary implements.
"What mortals?" The woman asks mystified, "And a seal isn't going to do it. I mean maybe if you were an Ocean God but I don't think you are. And the crystals down below. The merpeople used to use them to control the currents before they moved away. But now the water giants have been going to them, charging them with blood, giving them their power back but unstable. Broken."

"I knew this wasnt going to be that easy.."

Maia takes a deep breath as she hrmms and nods and wrinkles her nose once more as she chews on her bottom lip. "Can you tell me how to find the water giants?" are they melted ice giants? Got to ask Haldor about this later. "Looks like I'm going to have to kick some booty.." she says, already starting to crack her knuckles.
"Maybe" The woman says helplessly, "They aren't from around here so I don't know much about them. They can breathe under the waves but only walk on the bottom. The crystals are in an old palace beneath the ocean in that direction" A perfect hand points the way, "I can show you the way, but I've been afraid to get too close. They've been hurting people that get too close."

"Just lead the way and go as close as you're willing to. Then I'll go the rest of the way.." she says matter of factly, muttering a soft incantation to Susano-o just as the blue magatama on her ring starts to glow. Soon she's glowing with a baby blue sheen as she starts to head into the water, "Let's do this!" she chirps merrily.

The bluish green haired woman moves back into the ocean herself. No glowy thingies for her, although she seems to have no trouble breathing beneath the water and her movements beneath the waves take on an inhuman grace they did not exhibit on the surface. It's a reasonably long trek beneath the waves as much as such things can be judged. Four miles? Five? Soon stone structures can be seen, not having the look of ancient ruins but of rather more modern construction if of ancient design. The waters are not still, currents far more turbulent and violent than they would normally be and the waters violently buffeting any who swim within them. A large structure is the only illumination at this depth, a ruddy reddish light pulsating unhealthily shining through large doorways and illuminating the figures of several large figures standing guard outside.

It was a long trip, but four or five miles is nothing for a woman like Maia. She swims with similar inhuman grace and speed as she hrmms, bubbles forming at her mouth as she looks towards the light.

«This is as far as you'll go, I take it», she says, deciding to speak directly into the mermaid's mind at this point. «I think I can take care of the rest..» There's a bit of doubt in her voice at that point as she soon swims forward, trying to remain hidden and stealthy like.

Stealth feeds off Dexterity! And Maia is very very dextrous. Even so it is /hard/ to move in the waters in their current condition. The heavy plodding looking giants might have some advantage as they seem hardly phased, Maia though.. Maia has to be feeling like a leaf in a windstorm the closer she gets to the large structure. There are no windows here underwater and in the darkness, but a few glimmers of red light do show through cracks in the building that look to have opened up due to the recent turbulent forces swirling about the area.

While she's immune for the need to breath and the pressures, the waters still jostle her petite and lithe frame, it's only through taking advantage of just the right currents does she make it this far. She hrmms for a few moments and looks around, wrinkling her nose as she starts to try to wake up the structure in front of her, whispering softly in the water.. if that's even at all possible.

"Hey.. how many water giants are in there?" she asks the structure.

The building slowly and ponderously stirs to life, booming out "Dozens? I don't count too good." Talking, even without vocal chords does not seem without impact to the structure. Those cracks starting to widen along the top and one large section of room caving within. A beam of red light escapes from the newly opened hole, a ruby spear of brilliance stabbing through the waves towards the surface. The already turbulent currents get turned up several notches. Perhaps the building is containing some of the force of what it contained, but given the now violent shaking of the structure itself and the buffeting violence of the water it seems unlikely to contain it much longer. The building lets out a scream of pain, a desperate groaning cry of granite upon granite as it begins to die.

Maia's always been empathic to some extent. The scream of pain from the spirit she awakened causes her to wince as she whispers a soft little aoplogy before letting the spirit sleep once more. There's dozens. Can she take out dozens? She's not exactly a physical powerhouse here, and so she takes a deep breath, trying to swim around, hoping to do a little reconnaissance of her own to find out more as she hrmms for a few moments. She's going to try to call out to the kami, or in this case, one of the Amatsukami to help her in this time of need.

"Um.. uncle Susano-o, please, I need your help. I know you and mother never really got along, butthe waters are your territory, especially since we're off Hawaii.." she whispers softly, hoping he'll hear her prayer.

There is another scream of pain from the building as another section of the domed roof collapses within and another spear of red light shoots out at a different angle from the first. Even the giants are struggling to hold their place down, crouching low closer to the ground as the tides grow more turbulent. Whatever is happening now seems well on the way. Swimming around is hard, with her mastery of water she might manage it but even with that it is a constant struggle. Fighting her way past the guards remain an option, that shattered roof might provide another entrance. Susano-o does not answer her plea but something else does. Suddenly a small frog totally unsuited for these depths and these surroundings perching upon her shoulder, "Inside!" it croaks, "You have to get inside!"

"Uncle.. you sent me a frog.."

There's a sigh and she nods, following the frog's orders as she starts to swim towards the the shattered roof. She wrinkles her nose, knowing she can't take on too many giants by herself cause come on, they'd overwhelm her from sheer size. She takes a deep breath and cnotniues to swim, trying to calm the waters surrounding her as she swims as she tries to find the source.

Did he? The frog does not look especially Japanese, but who knows how much Maia's family gets around. A protesting croak echoes in her ear at her words but then the frog is simply hanging on as she heads for the roof. The frog seems to be helping at least, her already impressive infinity with water seeming to get something of a boost just from it's very presence which is fortunate as it lets her move at all. Force is echoing out from the building, pounding relentless currents outwards. As she makes her way through that hole in the roof the source comes into a view. Intricate machinery sits in the middle of a large circular chamber, transparent tubes curling about and twisting feeding into several large jagged batches of crystal which are currently pulsing an unhealthy red. The water giants in this room are dead, they look to have been buffeted to death against the walls, bloody smears coating marble walls and shattered bodies quickly in the process of being torn to shreds by the power unleashed.

Are the spirits still there? Maia looks towards the giants to determine whether their souls are still intact or not. Still she takes a deep breath as her ichor starts to slip out of her pores, forming a metallic coating to protect her from buffeting waters as well as boosting her own health. She looks really healthy and sturdy at this point as she jumps into the water, going directly for the tubes. "How come I feel like a Planeteer and this is one of Dr. Blight's machines gone wrong?" she mumbles under her breath.

The water giant souls did not linger, it's not exactly a cordial environment for.. much of anything at the moment. Maia's quick actions are helping her to stay alive but even with her abilities and the assistance of her froggish companion things are getting brutal. Above the roof is slowly being torn to shreds, and the horrible bloody light of the crystals is only growing more pronounced. "Less bad TV references, more saving Hawaii" croaks the frog in chastisement. The tubes feed into the crystals, large canisters having been jury rigged into the other end. Blood. The tubes are filled with blood. Fueling the infernal machinery. "Destroy the crystals" croaks the frog, "Or replace their blood with yours to soothe them."

"Blood is still around ninety percent water. Before I let this thing try to eat me, or before I handle things like my boyfriend would, let's try something else, right?"

A wry grin curls onto her lips as she finally lands on the ground, looking towards the tube as she squints her eyes and focuses. She starts to move her arms in the opposite direction of the flow, trying to first get the blood away from the rest of the crystals, hopefully that should do something as she goes into a long almost kata like dance..

That much she can manage, it is not terribly difficult to stop the blood from flowing in the tubes towards the crystals. Still, there does not seem to be blood in the crystals themselves, the substance converted into an energy that is not liquid. An energy that has been a long time building, a long time being stored and simply cutting off the fresh supply of blood does not dampen what is already there. If there is a drop in power it is a minor one. The last section of the roof finally collapses, a large column of red light now almost drowning out everything in the vicinity as it fires towards the surface and the waters ripple with primal force. Even now upon the beaches of Waikiki people are probably starting to flee in terror, hoping to escape what is soon to come.

There's a few curses that escape from her breath this time. She wrinkles her nose as she looks around and hrmms for a few moments. The crystals belong to that woman and her people, of course, Maia doesnt think it's an option to destroy it. Hopefully, there's enough time for her own blood to soothe the anger and distortion and loss of balance in the crystals. She tries to pull out the tubes to stick the needle into her arm, making her own blood pump fast into the crystals! Hopefully she doesnt die…

Given the metallic coating to her skin inserting the tubes into her arm is not an easy process. Still the malignant light and buffeting currents have already done much to erode away that coating and after several fierce tries the tubes can at last find blood and veins. It's.. awful. Truly awful. The crystals do seem to /want/ to shed the influence currently corrupting them and they are vampiric in the extreme, eagerly sucking a large quantity of blood quickly from a very small Maia. Worse yet the exchange is not purely one sided, ripples of power escaping the crystals as they shed some of that dark energy. Homeostasis of a sort, that power working it's way into her and bringing with it tumultuous flashes of rage and hatred as her skin takes on a reddish cast of it's own for several long moments. In the end though the blood of the gods proves stronger, that glow slowly fading from both her and the crystals.

It must feel as if she has died, floating there in the water. Too weak to move in the aftermath of that, body sucked nearly dry of blood and her very frame feeling battered on the inside by that energy released into her which may not have won but.. had an impact. She is not quite as she was and can surely feel that, even as the world seems to fade away as consciousness wavers. Before the darkness of passing out truly claims her she can hear a croaking near her ear, "Your uncle did not send me, child of the sun. I am of the water, and for your deeds this day I lend you my power. When you have need of me. Call my name."

With that it is blackness. When Maia awakens again it is to find herself on the stretch of beach she started from, sprawled in the sand as if just washed up on shore.

Unlike most of the times Maia has taken part in the competition, this time does not follow the normal pattern. She receives a familiar invitation marked with a familiar pentagram that is not a pentagram but it contains no time or place and it comes with a heavy bundle of notes. Detailed within is a current conflict within Brazil, an unspoken and undocumented supernatural civil war occuring within the Rainforests. Increasingly the pantheon of the land has been stressing development, fully encouraging the industrialization of their nation which has seen wealth and power flow into a region long neglected. This is of course in conflict with the way things have long been done, and the deforestation of many areas has equated to a virtual genocide of the native Dryads. Nature nymphs are not violent by default, but in the wake of such slaughter and terror over being next they have begun to wreak bloody havoc in revenge. Over three dozen laborers have in recent weeks met gruesome ends, as have two Scions who tried to defend them. It appears the competition has decided to leave it completely in her hands how to approach the matter.

It's the chaos from the InterOceanic Highway that's going to connect the Atlantic coast of Brazil to the Pacific Coast of Peru! Yes, Maia listens to her NPR. Still, she wrinkles her nose as she looks over the development and read through everything on her first class ticket to South America. Of course she left a note, and she's trusting Haldor to take careof Drake while she's gone. This is something she has to do afterall.

The flight itself is relatively uneventful. Sure there was that creepy businessman hitting on her in first class,but she ignored it. There was the matter of the dryads and their ecoterrorist ways and the industrialization. IT'snew versus the old, and balance must be achieved. It's natural for a child of the Amatsukami to take care of something like this.

Still, she wants to find out more, and that would be through a local guide. An Aztlanti perhaps. And a hot one hopefully. She gets off the plane and heads towards the rainforest where she's suppose to meet him to find out more.

Leandro is hot! This makes sense, given that he is an Aztlanti he is also probably kind of evil in a muderous sort of way. Still he has his dark hair bound in a ponytail, attire the khakis so often associated with jungle exploration. That mode of dress might indicate that he has already picked his side, if not the sheer fact that he looks so carefully groomed and well off might help. The jeep he leans against this years model with all the extras. At Maia's arrival he gives her a once over and gives a perfect toothed smile, "You must be our visitor yes? I was pleased to get your call."

"Yes I am. Can you fill me in as to what has been happening recently? Or was the attacks against the Scions rather recent as well?" she speaks in perfect Spanish. That uberbrain of hers can house many languages and considering the popularity of Spanish, she decided to learn it. She flashes him a toothy smile while idly running her fingers through her hair. Japanese people shouldn't be that wierd around here. South America had a president of Japanese ancestry after all!

"Foul murders" Leandro says spitting off to the side, "There was another Scion was found murdered just yesterday. A pretty young thing yes, idealistic, hoping she could explain it all away and put an end to things peacefully. They bound her naked to a bed of nettles, growing vines and thorns right through her flesh and into her organs. The doctors, they think it took her days to die. Days there screaming where nobody but those monsters could hear her and not a one of them deigning to lift a finger to save her."

And that's when Maia swallows nervously, wrinkling her nose a little as she takes a deep breath and nods once more. "South America has always been known for it's lush rainforests and untouched lands. Why are the Aztlanti pushing for industrialization now? Surely there are still native tribes who worship the gods following the old ways, and the deforestation would also affect those worshippers?"

"A few" Leandro agrees easily, "But so many more within the cities. This land has always served our people. Once we needed shelter and the land would provide it's trees, once we needed food and the land would provide with the boar or the jaguar. Rocks to make our tools. Now we have cities full of people and as we always have, we must call upon the land to serve them. Lumber to make them homes. Cleared land to plant with grains. The minerals beneath the earth to make our modern devices. Some old ways we must cling to, for without them the world itself is in peril but in others.. to cling to them beyond reason would doom the people that depend upon us. The land must come to accept the new changes, the new ways."

"Yes, the land can serve a people, but it's not all one way. What sorts of efforts for sustainability are being made? How are recycling efforts to use greener materials for buildings? How about energy efficient home designs?" she knows it's probably a bad question. Such luxuries aren't typically available to poorer countries, but one never knows afterall.

What Greener materials do you wish than what the land can provide?" Leandro asks giving her a quizzical look, "As for the rest, we have little time to worry about such things. You do not worry about how carefully seasoned a dish might be or how perfectly prepared when your people are starving. You see them fed. Such details are the thoughts of one who had grown used to a life of luxury and abundance, we have more immediate concerns."

"Recycled materials. That is what I mean. And your sustainability efforts would perhaps help appease the land. You are correcthat you have more immediate concerns, but perhaps thinking long term, in how it will eventually affect the land. More people will starve if you drain the land completely, that is probably why they are angry. Nevertheless, I will speak with them. How can I find them?" she asks, sighing as she runs her fingers through her hair. This is a tough one for her, even she's torn.

Leandro gives a hearty chuckle, "You clearly have little idea of the poor. You do not have to strive to recycle when you have little, people already try to get every last bit of use out of everything they can. Using it until it can be used no more and then finding some use for the remains. Again, you speak as one too used to luxury." He pulls himself away from the jeep to point in one direction, "Through the jungle. That way about three kilometers you will find a grove of them. I will not drive you, it would not be safe for me. It is not safe for you , either, but at least you are a foreigner."

Maia has lived a life of luxury the entire time. Her mother is a goddess! And a poewrful one that leads others. Soo she has been a bit spoiled and her cheeks flush a bright tinge of red as she's called out. "I have, but I will still see what I can do. I know that people recycle things, but I was talking about recycling building materials. Perhaps that is already being done, but I will go,even if it's dangerous.."

This one's going to be a toughie as she wrinkles her nose and starts to head into the thick foliage of the jungle. "Take care. I will contact you should something come up.." she says as she pats her cellphone. "If not by cell, then listen to a little frog that may come your way.." And with that she's off!

Leandro gives her that sad sort of look you give someone you think heading off to their certain terrible demise. The Rainforest is pretty damned unpleasant to walk through, forest floor littered with natural debris and the heat and humidity both sweltering. No wonder some people wander around the tropics naked. Insects sting away at the flesh and make a too often buzz. Still the further she goes into the forest in this direction, strangely, the more silent it gets and it is not long before there is distinct feeling of being watched by unseen eyes.

The insects are starting to get annoying. So what does a girl do in the tropics? Her ichor oozes on out and hardens to protect her from the insects and perhaps other things that wander through the jungle. She's quite wary now, wrinkling her nose as her gaze scans the area. She decides to take a risk to announce her presence, the deeper she goes. "Hello? I mean no harm.." she says matter of factly.

"And you will do no harm, stranger" comes a feminine voice from somewhere behind her. That recognition of her presence causes several others to reveal themselves, several feminine figures emerging from the treeline. All are nude, appearing human apart from a variety of skin tones taken from leaf and bark leaving only a rare few who might actually pass for human. It might not be Maia's first time to see such natural protectors but they have probably never looked quite like this, each and every one wearing war marks upon their flesh. Hand painted designs of what appears to be dried blood, human? Perhaps even Scion. "The forest says you have the scent of the Gods about you, but not the ones that rule this place. Why do you approach our grove?"

"I humbly ask that the violence against the humans stop. Surely a compromise can be reached. I know your people have suffered, but they are only doing it to survive as well. I feel that balance can be restored and hopefully a compromise can be reached.." she says with a bow of her head after she turns to look towards the one speaking on the rest of the nymph's behalf. "My name is Tsuchimikado Maia, daughter of Amaterasu, goddess of the sun and crops of our land, she who first cultivated rice is Japan."

"Suffered" says one of the Dryads in a tone that well conveys her dismay and fury, "SUFFERED?!? Do you know what happens to one of us when they destroy our grove. When they destroy our tree. We perish. We die. The humans have littered the jungle with the bodies of our sisters though they know it not. Every day their machines work and the forest shrinks we lose yet more. Roots which should drink life giving water are instead now fed by the blood of our slain sisters until even the most peaceful trees can sob no more and cry out for blood to avenge them. What balance would you hope to strike? That they murder us more slowly?"
<OOC> Maia says, "Sorry. Sister nabbed me."

"No, that there be an understanding. The people need your help to survive. They need the helpof the land. Help me educate them. They're ignorant of what happens, if they know what is actually going on, perhaps there will be an end to this." she says, her voice calm as she wrinkles her nose, her heartstrings being tugged by the suffering of the nymphs

"The people have let themselves go out of control. Such things are not unknown to us, on occasion boar will grow too strong and too many and exhaust all of that which they depend upon. When that happens it is time for boar to die, their numbers to thin and shrink back to where they should be." The lead nymph answers as she leans forward, "We have not pressed this upon them outside our lands. Outside our jungles. But when they have grown too many, when they come here, they exist by our rules. The only true way to save more of our sisters is to thin them so much as we can. If you would educate them, educate them. Teach them to use those lands they have already claimed and taken. Keep them from coming here to murder us. Keep them from coming here to devour more than is their share or is their right."

"I will do what I can to educate them. The people are trying to survive by any means necessary. If they do enter your land, try to educate them there. Show the people what they have lost out on by murdering your sisters and perhaps they might repent.." she offers as she hrmms for a few moments as sheidly runs her fingers through her hair. "Perhaps what is needed is a government sanction that your lands become protected as nature preserves."

"If they do not enter our lands to murder us, we shall not leave to murder them" The lead Nymph says firmly, "But we know nothing of such things, they are not our ways and those are not our tools. You came to ask that we stop the violence, and this we cannot and will not do while the reasons for it continue. The humans survival will not be bought at the price of our own."

"I'm not exactly an ambassador in any official capacity, but I do know someone who nis.." Of course, it's an ambassador for Japan, but perhaps it can still work. "I'll try to influence as many UN officials to declare your lands a nature preserve. That way the humans can't do anything to your land without recrimination from the government itself.."

"The Government must truly want them to stop for this to occur" The lead Nymph says scowling before sharply gesturing with her hand. "But it harms nothing to try. Do what you may, then, child of the croplands. You need not our permission for that, but you have it. Is there more you would discuss with us?"

"Please, the violence must stop. The last woman who was sent here, she was killed. What happened?" she asks curiously, her brows raised as she knows how the woman was killed, but she wants to know whether the nymphs were truly responsible or not.

"I do not know" The Nymph leader answers, "There are many groves. Many of us. Some have suffered more than others, some feel more rage than others. She likely either came with violence in her heart, or came to those who had lost many and needed to quench their rage."

"You have all proven yourselves to be capable warriors. Perhaps, a compromise can be achieved with your lands. Would you be willing to help the children of the gods ward off Titanspawn from these lands as well?" She thinks she knows the answer, but she can't be too sure.

"The spawn of the Titans often bring chaos in their wake, disrupting the order and killing of their own. They are no friends of ours and already we hunt them when they appear." The Nymph pauses and adds, "We might not be adverse to cooperating with them on some of the stronger. Many can be lost that way, too many."

"I will offer this to the others. I will tell them you are strong allies in the war against the Titans and their spawn and what they are doing will only harm them in the longrun. Humans tend to think mostly about themselves afterall. Perhaps that will get them to leave your lands alone, in fear of losing on an ally. Is that amenable to you?" she asks, her brows furrowed.

"Our goals are simple" Says the Nymph, "To stop being murdered. Tell them whatever you wish to keep them from doing this, it does not matter. We care not for the means, only for the results. But so long as they continue to trespass and burn and kill they shall find their crimes met with retribution."

"You all are wood nymphs. You can heal and repair the trees that you inhabit. Would.." and she hrmms for a few moments. "Would you be willing to give the people a bit of wood. Perhaps that which needs to be pruned off from your own trees to help them survive? Perhaps some fruits as well to help them eat? If they see that you are willing to help, perhaps that will keep them away as well."

"What wood falls they may have. Some fruit.. perhaps" The Nymph says in answer, looking sharply towards the treeline and her eyes narrowing before saying, "But you must understand that much of the forests have no protector. Not every tree has a Dryad, or even every grove of them. There is much that they might harvest and do us no harm. But that is enough talking for now. Another followed you. A man. One of them. If he draws closer we will kill him. We have spoken enough, turn him back if you would see him live." And without further ado the nymphs back into the trees. Vanishing quickly from sight.

There's a man? She blinks and starts to head back, bowing her head respectfully towards the nymphs before she starts heading back. "Stay back, these are dangerous forests!" she calls out.

It's Leandro! She can easily recognize his voice as he calls out, "Seems I was the one telling you that just a little bit ago. I see they didn't kill you on sight. I'm guessing you've got things you want to say if you had any success at all. I'll give you a drive back to town and we can chat on the way." And that is just what happens! Leandro is good listener, if not over committed on what the reaction of the Atzlanti might be but he does allow that especially of late nasty Titanspawn are more common.

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