For anyone entering the Cathwa Nation by sea, the initial sight of the docks wasn't a good indicator about the kind of land they would be inhabiting. The docks were situated near the border to the Old Empire so a little of the forest bleeds through to form an oasis of sorts. Over the hills lays the real deserts, the little patches of oasis that accompanied them, but here? You would think the Cathwa Nation was a totally different place. Kharia had wandered the deserts for a little while, so she knew this was a fleeting sight, and unfortunately, August had been there too, so he knew it as well. It was a shame, she was hoping that she could have seen his reaction when initially coming off the ship, that looking confusion and faint wonder of 'did the empire lie to us all?' that she loved seeing.
As it was, she would just be greeting him as a friend, without any of the usual dramatic tricks or elaborate pranks (if only she knew illusion magic). According to the schedule, his frigate would be arriving sometime today barring any delays, so she had been waiting at the docks most of the morning, her hat thankfully shading her face from the beating rays of the sun as she watched the seas from her little crate, the horizon stretching out to the edges of the world. It was a beautiful sight in it's own way, as was the sea...perhaps one day Kharia would venture beneath the surface, see if anything lay in the depths that nobody knew existed. She didn't rule out the possibility of sentient sea-life, maybe even an underwater city, the world was too large to not have something like that. This train of thought was discarded as a small blip broke the smooth line in the distance, a little black shape coming toward the dock. Hopefully, it was August, she really didn't want to stay here all day...
Taliha had never been so glad to see dry land in her life. Their voyage had been one long cluster of vomiting, storms, and pirates. It was amazing she had made it all in one piece. Having combated the storm as best she could, the woman was a bit more exhausted than she would have been despite how often her stomach had turned traitorous to its mistress. Her hand clutched the gunwale aiding to hold her posture erect and unwavering as she cast her eyes upon her homeland for the first time in seven years. It was a strange mixture or relief and dread that assailed her for while the climate and terrain were as familiar to her as the feel of her horse between her legs, Setasut was foreign to her being far outside her clan’s territory. Historically when her clan had landed upon these very shores, they had sundered from each other with the Ojivua being consigned to wander the sand seas of the south forever. To her eyes the place was lush and verdant despite the obvious signs of the desert beyond the hills.
It would be fine, she mentally assured herself and turned her eyes to her horse being offloaded to the docks below. Rigged in a harness that Taliha had inspected for such a long time the sailors had gotten a bit surely with her, she stood anxiously watching Wench being ferried through the air high above her. Her teeth nipped the edge of her bottom lip as she saw her steed’s ears lay flat against her skull and her sides heaving with each intake of air. From this distance she could even see the whites of her eyes as they rolled about in panic causing Taliha to curse. ”I told those idiots to put a bag over her head but would those morons listen…”, she began complaining to August but the flailing of her horse’s legs and abrupt whinny of panic interrupted her impending rant of rage. ”Sons a bitches!”, she yelled and pushed off from the gunwale to dart down the gangplank with her dear strapped to her back.
”Those belly crawling fools!”, she curse. ”If anything happens to Wench I swear they won’t live to sun set!” With her eyes on the flying horse, the robed figure pushed her way through the dock workers and visitors alike to reach the spot where Wench would land. It was hard pressed to tell who was more upset, the woman or the mare.
To say that it had been a rough journey was an understatement. Between the ship getting shot to pieces, a storm threatening to tear them apart and a companion that spent more time heaving her guts overboard for almost the entirety of the journey, it wasn't pleasant at all. But he couldn't complain too much. They were alive, they were safe...and August was finally free from the Empire's grasp.
August stood with Taliha on the main deck, watching everything being unloaded. Soon it was her horse's turn, but the crew messed up properly with that. The horse was freaking out with her being in the air and being lowered so slowly. Taliha was understandably very angry and rushed off to go help keep the horse under control. He pushed off the rail and made his way down the boarding plank as well. His gear was in his backpack, his sword was on his hip and his hood was down. He didn't feel the need to conceal his identity any longer.
He made his way to Taliha's position to see if he could help out, but the sight of a very familiar face caught his attention. He made his way over to the woman sitting on a bunch of crates with a surprised smile. "Kharia?! What on Avsolom are you doing here?!" he shouted happily as he approached her.
As soon as the ship docked, Kharia's eyes turned to the deck, or what she could see of it, her eyes scanning the crowds for her friend. It didn't look like there was much in the way of visitors, mainly just crew, and they all had the same kind of dark blue clothes and surly disposition...dammit, she was gonna have a hard time picking August out. A sudden yelp dragged her attention to the bow, her eyes immediately spotting the struggling horse being lowered down like a prize whale. She was utterly flabbergasted at the sight - why in the hell would you- what even was- aaaaaaagh!! That wasn't right! That is cruel and inhumane and just downright stupid.
Kharia stood from her crate and, just barely registering August finally coming off the boat and greeting her, she instinctively reached out and grabbed his arm with all the strength of a Myst-empowered tiger, just dragging him along with her. "Can't talk, horse in need, come along!!" She exclaimed worriedly, scurrying over to the port and toward the horse, sparing a brief glance to the crewman. "That's not how you offload a horse jackhole! Where's the plank!?" The crewman just looked confused and pissed. "What plank?" He asked irritably, brushing her off and just going back to the unloading. Kharia just went quiet for a moment, completely aghast at the sheer callousness of the guy. Almost without thinking, she spied a large plank and sparks danced off her fingertips, shooting out and wrapping around the bottom of it. She flicked her arm and the plank flew up and came to rest beneath the poor thing's hooves, Kharia's other hand coming up and shooting a bolt at the harness, practically severing the ropes and straps. Immediately, Kharia moved up and put a hand on the plank, pulling it down gently while gently stroking the horse's hoof. They were particular creatures, it could have just as easily kicked her away, but that was why she moved the plank to the pier so that falling wouldn't cause it to go into the sea. "Hey baby, heeey, it's ok, it's ok girl...you're gonna be fine, just stay calm girl, we'll have you down soon." She crooned softly, trying to keep her calm.
Somehow, she managed to lower her down without the horse running off the plank, Kharia taking a soft breath as she only now became vaguely aware of the crewman yelling at her. She didn't respond, save for a single solitary punch to his jaw, knocking him down. He deserved it in her mind - he was an idiot that didn't even know how to handle horses, or care. Then, as she turned around and took August hand, another thought came to mind. "Hey August, sorry about that, I hate seeing horses and most animals get needlessly hurt...did I just use lightning to lift a plank into the air?"
Taliha was only minimally aware of August and the white haired woman, the inane thought about it not taking him long to pick up a girl for the night ran through her mind before she turned her eyes once more to the mare flailing in the air above them. At least the woman was not an idiot, not that you needed brains to please a man. ”Damned straight it’s not!”, she chimed in when August’s companion chided the dock workers for their stupidity. It was pretty obvious; even the dock walkers of the night knew better.
What wasn’t obvious was the solution now that Wench was in panic mode; seemingly out of nowhere a plank went whizzing through the air to provide ‘ground’ for Wench’s hooves to stand upon. Her focus had been on her mare so she missed the tell tale sparks at the tips of the woman’s fingers. However, Taliha’s mouth filled with a metallic taste and she knew a mage was channeling lightning quite near. Before she even put two and two together, more compelling evidence of what was happening materialized in the form of a bolt of lightning at her horse’s head! Naturally she screamed in full on panic mode thinking the call had been made to put the horse down rather than risk her breaking the rigging, ”Nooooo!”
Relief took hold as she realized the target had been the harness and as Wench was lowered she bullied her way through the dock workers on her way to her horse’ side. That was when she saw the White haired mage, mentally editing her status high above that of some dock walking woman looking to score, throw a well aimed punch to the idiot dock man. The man landed at her feet, a dazed expression upon her face and Taliha barely spared time to spat ”Idiot!” at the man before stepping over his downed form to move to Wench’s side with a low toned whistle on her lips.
Wench’s head swung round upon hearing the sound, her eyes wide and showing the whites, sided huffing from heavy panting and nostrils dripping with sweat. Laying a hand on her flank, Taliha soothed, ”Easy now Wench”. Her coat was drenched, her legs trembling in full on panic but Taliha kept up a string of nonsensical word-sounds hoping to reassure her steed.
Vaguely aware of the woman speaking to August, who called him by name, she cast her a glance as her hands continued to smooth over the soaked hide of her horse. Although on firm ground, Wench was quite upset and sidestepping at each flash of movement in the crowd that caught her eyes. Quickly she took her head wrap off and began to cover Wench’s eyes crooning to her all the while. In this crowd the last thing she wanted was for her war steed to start rearing and fighting or take a mad dash through the city in panic. Eventually it seemed to take hold, the feeling of the ground beneath her hooves, the sound of Taliha’s voice, and the inability to shy at movement around her. At least enough for Taiha to set her eyes once more upon the woman and say, ”August. Introduce me to your friend. I must thank her properly for saving Wench.” Thought her accent made the man’s name sound more like ‘Ah-goose’, than not.
Kharia charged past him, grabbing his arm and pulling him along to help the horse. He stood in place as he watched the spectacle unfold. First they chewed out the dock worker, then somehow Kharia created a telekinesis spell with lightning, then Taliha decked the dock worker before trying to calm her horse down. August simply stared as he tried to make sense of it all. Kharia took his hand again then asked him if she did what she just did. "Unorthodox display of telekinesis but hey, it helped the horse out a great deal." he commented. In all honesty he was impressed by her spell, but he was far too confused to figure that out at the moment.
They approached Taliha who wanted to know Kharia's name. He looked at her then to Kharia. "Taliha, this is Kharia. Kharia, this is Taliha." he answered simply, choosing to not make fun with silly titles now with everything going on. He finally looked to Kharia again after the pleasantries. "Okay...what are you doing here, exactly?" he asked her with a small, but confused, smile.
Now that the horse was down and safe, her head started to relax again, and then she started to actually take stock of the current situation. August looked so confused about everything that was happening and, if she was hearing right, he had come to the Cathwan Nation with someone else it seemed. Kharia turned toward the woman tending to her horse, looking her up and down - she didn't know her, though she was a hot piece. When she came over, Kharia extended a hand as August introduced her, flashing a friendly grin. "Nice to meet you Taliha, I take it she's yours?" She asked, gesturing to the horse. Wench looked like a strong one, maybe a bit jittery for her liking though, given how wildly she reacted in that harness (not that she blamed her).
When the questions of her being here came back, she actually took a breath, feeling that she could finally take a moment to explain. "People were looking for you in Noria so I figured that you needed to leave. I checked with the harbourmaster and he gave me the manifests from the past few weeks so I could find you. As for the why, well, I thought it would've been obvious." She took August's arm and pulled him into a hug, practically being devoured by his big meaty arms. "I wanted to make sure my friend got here safely and had a warm welcome, as opposed to getting off the ship cranky and creaky and getting a, well, warm welcome." Already, Kharia could feel the heat bearing down on the trio, the sun high in the air and unlikely to lower anytime soon. She scanned the dock and spotted a café, nodding toward it. "Food anyone?"
Leaving her hand on Wench’s shoulder, she took hold of the lead strap with her other hand and smiled to the woman, ”It’s nice to meet you Kharia, and thank you for saving Wench here. She can be a handful but she’s all mine. I’d hate to lose her, but then she wasn’t meant for sailing, or flying, I’m afraid.” Falling silent she listened to the exchange between the two who clearly were no strangers.
The woman seemed to have news concerning the trouble from which August was running, but to go to all the trouble to track the man down and warn him how things were in Noria was rather impressive. All she could assume was the two were very good friends. At the mention of food, however, Taliha spoke up, ”I wouldn’t mind joining you for a meal. Why don’t you two start without me? I need to stable Wench and see she is settled in properly before I take time to eat.” Her suggestion would let her tend to the mare, but it would also provide the old friends a moment of privacy to discuss matters of which she was not in the know.