• Patch Notes •                 • New User Guide •                • Guild Information •

    Star Gazing

    Diana Winchester
    Diana Winchester

    Alt Account- Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- S-Rank- A-Rank- Jewel Grinder- Unknown Powerhouse- Achiever- Buddy Buddy- Rich- Character Application Approved!- Magic Application Approved!- Complete Your First Job!- Obtain A Lineage!- Join A Faction!- Novice [250]- Player 
    Lineage : Reaper's Touch
    Position : None
    Posts : 436
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 465,897

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Silent Reaper
    Second Magic:
    Third Magic:

    Star Gazing Empty Star Gazing

    Post by Diana Winchester on 10th July 2019, 4:53 pm

    Job Details:

    Job Title: S-Rank Free-form
    Rank: S
    Job Location: Anywhere
    Solo Word Count: 8,000 words
    Group Word Count: 16,000 words
    Additional Requirements: N/A
    Job Description: Whatever the player chooses
    Enemies: Whatever the player chooses
    Reward: 75,000 jewels

    Job Sign-Up Page 25, Post Number 614
    Diana Winchester
    Diana Winchester

    Alt Account- Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- S-Rank- A-Rank- Jewel Grinder- Unknown Powerhouse- Achiever- Buddy Buddy- Rich- Character Application Approved!- Magic Application Approved!- Complete Your First Job!- Obtain A Lineage!- Join A Faction!- Novice [250]- Player 
    Lineage : Reaper's Touch
    Position : None
    Posts : 436
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 465,897

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Silent Reaper
    Second Magic:
    Third Magic:

    Star Gazing Empty Re: Star Gazing

    Post by Diana Winchester on 14th July 2019, 10:27 pm

    -Terasu-

    Arriving on the starry planet through a portal to Capital Crocus provided to her by Crocus Magicka University, Diana arrived on Terasu for only the second time in her mage career. The first time was a month or two ago when she was hired by Capital Crocus police to track down and eliminate a bandit gang that had used the planet as a refuge from justice. Diana tracked them to a makeshift campsite and drove them from it by killing gang members one by one until they fled to where their portal had deposited them, where she finished the job by wiping out members intent on making a last stand. Now Diana was here for a more peaceful job, which was to guard a university astronomy team while they observed the countless stars here for some kind of research that the blonde could not even begin to comprehend.

    Wearing her navy blue long-sleeved shirt with navy blue cargo pants and brown boots, Diana walked along the paved road through Terasu and admired the stars, being careful not to walk into the other visitors to the planet. Almost all of the visitors were teenage couples looking for a romantic spot to gaze at the stars, but there were two or three middle-aged couples walking down the road hand-in-hand. Diana carefully made her way past them and proceeded further down the path.

    Diana was to meet with the team at a research station set up by the university and protect them from wild animals. The animals were not too much of a threat since they were used to humans, but the university wanted someone to watch over them in case human adversaries threatened the research team for whatever reason. Diana did not see how their research into stars could attract the attention of criminals, but she would watch over the team anyway because she had been hired to do so and she always completed the job.

    Diana was a good distance down the path when she spotted a cluster of four large octagonal tents packed together and people standing outside looking into telescopes. She figured that they might be the university research team, but if they were just ordinary citizens maybe they would be kind enough to point her in the direction of the research team. Diana carefully climbed the gently rolling hills and approached an older man who was busy peering at the sky through a tripod-mounted telescope.

    "Hello there. Would you happen to know where the Crocus Magicka University research team is?" Diana asked the older man. He stood up from the telescope and looked at her, shining a flashlight in her eyes. The blonde covered her eyes to block out the light; even though she could not see him she could still hear the man approaching because of the crunching of grass beneath his feet.

    "I'm Professor Edwin Gasan of Crocus Magicka University's astronomy department. I was told that a female mage would be coming out here to assist us." The man said to her. The flashlight was still blinding her, so she could not see him. At least she now knew that she was in the right place.

    "Oh, the beam of the flashlight's in your eyes! I'm so sorry about that!" The professor apologized to the blinded mage. The flashlight was turned off with the press of a button and the blonde could see normally again... once the spots in front of her eyes faded away, that was. The dark spots alternated with bright spots and danced around in front of her before fading away roughly three minutes after appearing. Once they had faded Diana could see a middle-aged man wearing a white lab coat with a white dress shirt and brown dress pants with matching brown dress shoes. His hair was black but was starting to mingle with gray to produce salt-and-pepper.

    "It is fine, really." Diana said to the embarrassed professor as her eyes recovered from being blinded earlier. She did not hold it against him. It was an honest mistake that anyone could have made, so it would have been poor form to berate her client for the mishap. Mages who went around insulting their clients tended to have a hard time finding work; that went double for Guildless mages, who did not have the luxury of a guild's support network and the steady jobs a guild could secure for its members. Diana masqueraded as a Guildless mage to cover up her true allegiance, so it was imperative for her to be polite to keep the goodwill of clients so that she could possibly be hired again by the same person.

    "I'm glad you're here, Miss... Whinhestir, was it?" Professor Gasan asked.

    "It is Winchester, Professor." Diana politely corrected him. He covered his mouth with his right hand for a moment, then spoke to her again.

    "Right, Miss Winchester. Anyway, if you would be so kind as to follow me, I will show you around our research station." Professor Gasan offered to give Diana a brief tour of the hastily erected tents that made up the astronomy team's base.

    "Very well then." Diana voiced her consent to the academic. He clapped his hands together and motioned for her to follow him.

    "Excellent! Now I will show you around our humble base camp and research station. I will admit that it is neither very impressive nor very large, but it does the job nicely." Professor Gasan said to Diana before walking towards the four octagonal tents only a short walk away from the telescope he was using earlier.

    [Word Count: 950]
    [Total Word Count: 950/8,000]
    Diana Winchester
    Diana Winchester

    Alt Account- Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- S-Rank- A-Rank- Jewel Grinder- Unknown Powerhouse- Achiever- Buddy Buddy- Rich- Character Application Approved!- Magic Application Approved!- Complete Your First Job!- Obtain A Lineage!- Join A Faction!- Novice [250]- Player 
    Lineage : Reaper's Touch
    Position : None
    Posts : 436
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 465,897

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Silent Reaper
    Second Magic:
    Third Magic:

    Star Gazing Empty Re: Star Gazing

    Post by Diana Winchester on 18th July 2019, 10:06 pm

    -Inside the Crocus Magicka University tent-

    Escorted by Professor Gasan, Diana stepped into a square tent which had electric lights hung on wooden poles near the top... Diana could hear the generator humming a short distance away. In the tent were rectangular wooden tables cluttered with stack of papers, old books with bookmarks stuffed haphazardly in between their pages, spiral notebooks filled with scrawled writing and hastily jotted calculations, and what looked to be astrological charts on corkboard. Some detailed the various constellations in the sky while others detailed the planets... Diana could not even begin to understand the charts because she was not an astronomer. Her job was to protect the scientists and help them with their work, not peek at their indecipherable charts.

    "I see that you have more than a casual interest in our work, Miss Winchester. Are you an astronomer by any chance?" The professor asked her. Caught in the act, Diana abruptly looked away from the charts and towards the older man.

    "I am afraid not, Professor." Diana admitted in a sort-of apology for peeking at their research without permission.

    "That is a pity. I was hoping that I would get someone who could help me with these charts. My graduate assistants are trying their best to help, but they're not quite up to it yet. They've studied in the classroom for years and have made good grades, but they'll need more experience in the field before they can really be a help." He lamented. Then his eyes lit up.

    "Speaking of which, I haven't heard from my assistants Tammy and Robert in some time. Five hours, to be exact. They were supposed to set up a telescope on some nearby hills, but that task shouldn't take five hours to perform. Would you be a dear and go find them?" Professor Gasan asked. Diana readily agreed.

    "I will go find them." Diana replied in the affirmative.

    "Good, good. I'll need their help for tonight's star viewing. I can't take notes and look through the telescope." He said to her before opening a medium-sized red book on astronomy. Sensing that she would get no more information from him, Diana left the tent to go perform her assigned task. She wondered how far "nearby" was.

    -Outside, the Terasu plains-

    Diana stepped out of the tent and walked towards a hill near the trail to get away from the electric lights so that she could better see her surroundings. According to the professor, his two assistants were setting up a telescope on some nearby hills, so her best bet would be to search for a telescope in the hills. Switching to her night vision mode so that she could instantly pick out human shapes, Diana looked all around her and spotted pairs of humans, but they were all walking on the trail and none of them had telescopes.

    Diana walked further away from the tent until she could no longer see the glow of its electric lights, then looked towards the nearby hills again. She saw a pair of humans lying on a blanket between two gentle slopes with a basket of food and a cooler of drinks, so they were not the graduate assistants. Diana turned away from them and walked towards a tree on the plain. Maybe she could get a better look at the surrounding area from there. The blonde mage walked until she was standing under its leafy branches, then stopped and looked at the surrounding area again.

    She soon saw a pair of people with a telescope on a tripod. Thinking that she had found them, Diana decided to hang back and observe before she went to get them. They might be travelers who were doing some stargazing of their own and she did not want to embarrass herself by treating them like the missing graduate assistants. Diana watched them peer into the telescope and make comments to each other about what they were seeing, but they did not take notes on the stars, nor did they have notebooks or other academic items with them.

    Diana left them alone and started walking the plains in search of the wayward graduate students. She wondered where exactly they had went. They should not have gone too far from the tent and the professor... unless something bad had happened to them and they had not left the immediate area of their own volition. Had someone kidnapped them or had they fallen prey to wild animals?

    Diana had no idea what had happened to them and it was her responsibility to find out. Due to the presence of civilians she would keep her weapons put away for the time being, but if danger were to present itself she would bring them out regardless of who was nearby. She would also have to take extra care when aiming so that she did not hit someone downrange from where she was shooting, but she did not anticipate any heavy fighting during this job.

    It should be a simple job where she babysat astronomers while they did their work for Crocus Magicka University. However, there was seldom such a thing as a "simple" job. Complications tended to come up and it was a mage's job to adjust to circumstances on the fly. Diana took a deep breath and began to walk towards another campsite with a pair of tents sitting side-by-side. Maybe the occupants could point her in the right direction.

    [Word Count: 926]
    [Total Word Count: 1,876/8,000]
    Diana Winchester
    Diana Winchester

    Alt Account- Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- S-Rank- A-Rank- Jewel Grinder- Unknown Powerhouse- Achiever- Buddy Buddy- Rich- Character Application Approved!- Magic Application Approved!- Complete Your First Job!- Obtain A Lineage!- Join A Faction!- Novice [250]- Player 
    Lineage : Reaper's Touch
    Position : None
    Posts : 436
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 465,897

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Silent Reaper
    Second Magic:
    Third Magic:

    Star Gazing Empty Re: Star Gazing

    Post by Diana Winchester on 23rd July 2019, 9:32 pm

    Diana felt like she had been sent on a snipe hunt by the professor. She had not seen the two research assistants nor their telescope in the immediate area and was running out of ways to find them that did not involve walking the entire planet, but she could not return to Professor Gasan without his assistants in tow. How could she find them in a reasonable length of time?

    Diana had no idea of where to look because "nearby hills" were everywhere and so were male-and-female couples with telescopes, so those three criteria were not of much help to her in ferreting out the researchers. The blonde was about to go set off on a planetwide search for them when a pair of young people around Diana's age in white lab coats walked by her. The male was carrying a telescope and the female was carrying the metal tripod; since normal people did not wear lab coats every day, these had to be the people she was after. Diana raised a hand and called out to them while stepping away from the tree.

    "Would you two happen to be the research assistants of Professor Gasan?" Diana asked them once she had gotten their attention.

    "Yes. Did he send you after us?" The young man asked.

    "He was worried when you had not reported back. He sent me to find you." Diana explained her reason for asking about their identities.

    "That sounds like the professor alright. He must have forgotten that he sent us pretty far to get a view of the planet's stars." The young woman commented. Her companion chimed in with a bit more backstory as to how they had gotten "lost."

    "The professor sent us halfway across the planet where there aren't a lot of people around. It took us about two hours to get there and two hours to get back, so it's not surprising that he got worried about us." The man explained to Diana. Diana raised an eyebrow. Before she left to find them the professor claimed that he had only sent them to a nearby hill to make their observations. Either Professor Gasan was a forgetful man or something fishy was going on here and the blonde was not sure which theory was the right one to believe.

    "Well, the whole trip was a bust because stargazing couples were everywhere when we got to our destination. We didn't have any room to set up our equipment, so we're going back to the professor for some guidance as to where to go next." The woman said to Diana. The pair then kept walking... they must have known the way back to the tents set up by the university. Her mission having technically been accomplished, Diana followed them back to receive more instructions from Professor Gasan... that was, if he was going to give her anything else to do.

    -Back at the tents-

    "Ah, there are my wayward assistants! I was wondering if you two had gotten lost!" Professor Gasan exclaimed, looking up from a paper chart he was poring over. Now that the trio were back in the light, Diana could make out the features of the assistants she had been sent to find. The young man wore brown-rimmed glasses with a white dress shirt and black dress pants with brown shoes. The young woman wore black-rimmed glasses and wore a white dress shirt with black knee-length skirt and black shoes. Both of them had brown hair; the male's was a short crew cut and the woman's was in a brown ponytail.

    "Sorry about that, professor. We went halfway across the planet to try and observe some stars, but when we got there there were a lot of civilians already there. You couldn't throw a rock without hitting someone." The male told his story of failure to the professor. The man's face remained neutral as he looked at the assistant.

    "Oh, that's quite all right, Robert. We should have known better than to come here during peak tourist season, but the department head wants results and she wanted them yesterday. Until we get something we can't leave here unless we want yet more funding cuts. We'll just have to find another location from which to observe the stars." The older man assured his assistant.

    "Why did they cut our department? Why not take some money from the magic research division? They're busy playing around in the desert and sifting through the sand for some magic superweapon from an ancient desert kingdom that fell centuries ago. That Dr. Anna's their poster child after that expedition to the Forgotten Desert found an intact Lestreki shrine." The young woman hinted at how office politics affected the operation of her chosen field of study. The young man was quick to take up the subject and add his opinions.

    "Or that insufferable ghoul Dr. Miller. She wants to go play around in cemeteries because she thinks some evil power's biding its time and waiting for the right moment to attack the world. What a bunch of bunk! Scientists should know better than to believe in such baseless, superstitious talk as evil spirits!" Robert lampooned a senior faculty member of his university. Diana could lecture him on the danger he chose to overlook, but it was not her place to debate the existence of the supernatural with close-minded academics like Robert. Professor Gasan raised a hand for silence, upon which the two went silent.

    "Be that as it may, we must continue to work and produce results for our division." He reminded them of what was as stake should their venture come up with nothing.

    "Of course, Professor." The two said glumly to him.

    "Now, I have another idea as to where we could go to observe the stars." He said to them. The assistants and Diana were all ears.

    [Word Count: 1,002]
    [Total Word Count: 2,878/8,000]
    Diana Winchester
    Diana Winchester

    Alt Account- Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- S-Rank- A-Rank- Jewel Grinder- Unknown Powerhouse- Achiever- Buddy Buddy- Rich- Character Application Approved!- Magic Application Approved!- Complete Your First Job!- Obtain A Lineage!- Join A Faction!- Novice [250]- Player 
    Lineage : Reaper's Touch
    Position : None
    Posts : 436
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 465,897

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Silent Reaper
    Second Magic:
    Third Magic:

    Star Gazing Empty Re: Star Gazing

    Post by Diana Winchester on 27th July 2019, 12:11 pm

    "I propose that you go to a tall hill on the far side of the planet and make your observations from there." The professor suggested to his assistants. He ducked under the table he was standing at and the sound of rustling paper could be heard as he rummaged for something, possibly a map or a chart. After a minute he stood up and unfurled a paper map of Terasu for his assistants to take a look at. Robert and his female colleague obligingly sidled up to each side of the table to get a look at where they were supposed to go.

    "Yes. That site would do nicely." Robert agreed with the professor. The young woman did not share Robert's opinion of the hill and made that disagreement known.

    "I have a feeling that it's already been taken over by tourists. Perhaps we should consider other options, Professor." She said to her fellow scientists. Professor Gasan looked at the map again and began tracing his fingers along it.

    "That is a fair point, Roberta." He conceded to her before resuming his search of the map. Diana was mildly surprised to hear the name of the female scientist. She was curious as to whether Robert and Roberta were brother and sister or if they were boyfriend and girlfriend. It was none of her business, but the mage had an idle curiosity that was becoming harder to suppress with each passing job. She was finding it hard to keep a detached, professional personality when the job did not involve killing someone or something.

    "What makes you think that tourists have taken over the site, sister?" Robert asked Roberta. Roberta appeared annoyed by the question and almost rolled her eyes, but she decided to answer it anyway.

    "This planet's a popular tourist destination, brother. People are clamoring for any space that'll let them get an unobstructed view of the stars, especially if they don't have to share that space with anyone." Roberta answered the question posed by her brother. Diana now knew that the pair were brother and sister, which did not change the nature of the assignment but satisfied her curiosity without her having to be intrusive.

    "It makes sense." Robert tersely commented. Roberta turned to the professor, who had come up with another destination for them to try. It too was on the other side of the planet, but it was in a remote location that few people visited... or so he claimed.

    "I believe that I have found the answer to our problems. I will send you three to Telescope Range, a series of steep hills that are on the southern part of the planet." Professor Gasan announced. All three young people took an interest in his words. Diana had a feeling that they would be doing a lot of walking to reach their destination. She also had a feeling that the trio would run into other amateur stargazers who recognized the value of such an area and had already staked a claim to the good spots.

    "Do you think we can find anywhere that already isn't occupied, Professor?" Robert asked him.

    "I don't know, Robert. That's for you two and Miss Winchester to find out." He said to them.

    "But what about you, Professor? How will we keep in contact with you?" Roberta asked.

    "I can't answer that either. Thanks to the budget cuts we had to choose between tents and a generator or communications gear. We couldn't afford communications gear, so we'll have to just run messages on foot." Professor Gasan started before Roberta took up the conversation.

    "All we have is iLacs, but they're not the best communication tools because they're not encrypted. And I don't think you'll want to be seen with a hot pink iLac, Professor." Roberta said to Professor Gasan. The older man grimaced at the thought of being seen with a hot pink iLac. Diana did not blame him... should she ever get one of her own, it would not be hot pink.

    "Why would you need encrypted communications?" Diana spontaneously asked Roberta. The bespectacled brunette turned to the blonde as if the former did not like being challenged. She deigned to answer the question anyway.

    "We're concerned that others might try to steal our research and claim it as our own. You see, the budget cuts we've had to take had made people in our department... competitive." Roberta said the second sentence delicately as if she were treading around a sleeping bear. Diana could only begin to imagine how academic politics would compel people to do unsavory things to keep funding, let alone gain an advantage. In a sense academic politics were not too far removed from the maneuvering of the business world that Mr. Necargie and Mr. Gorman performed to stay on top of their respective fields.

    "That makes sense." Diana conceded to the brunette. Professor Gasan soon butted in with an abrupt command to the pair.

    "If you ladies are done chatting, then I suggest that you join Robert in getting to the site I picked out for us. Time's wasting." Professor Gasan said sharply. Diana kept a neutral face as she and Roberta hurried out of the tent to try and catch up to the diligent Robert, who had already left with the telescope he had carried earlier. Roberta's face was less guarded than the mage's, but she said nothing while they hurried out to catch up to Robert.

    -Outside the tent-

    "Did Professor Gasan get short with you two?" Robert asked as he started walking slowly so that his sister and Diana could catch up. Roberta nodded.

    "He does that sometimes, so please don't take it personally. The department head's been putting him under a lot of pressure lately and I mean A LOT. I mean daily phone calls, daily visits to his office whenever he's at the university..." Robert trailed off as the trio set out for their destination in the hope that they could get some results for Professor Gasan so that he could appease the department head and ease the pressure on himself.

    [Word Count: 1,044]
    [Total Word Count: 3,922/8,000]
    Diana Winchester
    Diana Winchester

    Alt Account- Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- S-Rank- A-Rank- Jewel Grinder- Unknown Powerhouse- Achiever- Buddy Buddy- Rich- Character Application Approved!- Magic Application Approved!- Complete Your First Job!- Obtain A Lineage!- Join A Faction!- Novice [250]- Player 
    Lineage : Reaper's Touch
    Position : None
    Posts : 436
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 465,897

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Silent Reaper
    Second Magic:
    Third Magic:

    Star Gazing Empty Re: Star Gazing

    Post by Diana Winchester on 2nd August 2019, 11:42 pm

    -Terasu, halfway to Telescope Range-

    The trio walked through the moonlit plains in silence as they endeavored to reach Telescope Range before the numerous tourists roaming the planet claimed it for themselves. Diana listened to the siblings talk about calculations, constellations, and other subjects pertaining to their field that she had no clue about and could not even pretend to understand. Her job was to protect them and lend a helping hand when needed, not debate astrophysics.

    "I don't get it, Robert. Why is the department head so eager to get results? Why is she pushing Professor Gasan so hard lately?" Roberta asked her brother, who obviously kept up with department politics more than she did. Robert shifted the telescope from his right hand to his left without breaking stride as he began to give his answer. Diana listened with interest as the brown-haired male explained the reason for the intense pressure that the professor had recently come under.

    "The department head's under a lot of stress herself, Roberta. She's been fighting hard to keep the department afloat ever since Dr. Anna made her discovery in the Forgotten Deserts. I heard that a Wizard Saint helped Dr. Anna make her find, but I'm not sure whether that's true or just a rumor." Robert began his explanation. Roberta and Diana listened with clear interest as he continued.

    "After Dr. Anna's discovery the Astronomy department came under scrutiny and came in for some budget cuts. Professor Gasan and the department head fought hard for the Astronomy department, but it took a lot of negotiating to keep us afloat. A lot of professors had to take pay cuts so that we could stay open, including Professor Gasan. Then the trouble really started." Robert said as he stepped over a rock in the path. Roberta and Diana followed suit and kept up with the scientist as he elaborated on the litany of woe facing the professor.

    "First his wife divorced him. Then he and his two sons became estranged when his older son chose to join the Rune Knights instead of following in the professor's footsteps and his younger son wanted to be a veterinarian. Then he had to fight to keep his house in the divorce settlement. It all just piled up on the professor until he reached the state that he's in now." Robert finished his explanation. Robert sounded like he was a big fan of the professor, so his opinion was hardly an unbiased one. Maybe when enough time had passed Diana would learn why Robert was such a steadfast defender of the scholar. Roberta took up the challenge and spoke to her brother.

    "I don't think he's entirely innocent in the matter, Robert. I mean, think about it. He's more focused on the stars than what's in front of him. He spends hours upon hours after work in the lab looking for the next big discovery." Roberta started a rebuttal. Robert did not take kindly to the attack on his idol and moved to defend Professor Gasan.

    "Sometimes you have to give up things in order to make really big discoveries." Robert said defensively. Roberta was not buying it and said words to that effect.

    "Yeah, I get that. I've pulled a lot of all-nighters to make sure my results were accurate to the last decimal place. But at the cost of your family?" Roberta asked him with a fair degree of emotion on her voice. There was something that happened in the life of the siblings to make Roberta feel so strongly about family and Robert cling so tenaciously to Professor Gasan. Diana kept silent as the trio trudged along a dirt path until they came across a wooden sign pointing to a path on the left.

    "We're getting closer to Telescope Range." Robert said calmly, pointedly dancing around his sister's question. The bespectacled brunette was not having it and raised the issue again as the trio set down the path to their destination. Robert waited until they were clear of a trickle of tourists before picking up where they left off.

    "Look, Roberta, I know you're upset about what happened between Mom and... You Know Who. But you can't dwell on it forever. Some day you've gotta move past it just like I have." Robert started off.

    "I don't think you ever confronted it, Robert. We were away at Crocus Magicka University when it happened." Roberta shifted tones from a confrontational one to a softer tone. Robert halted immediately, surprising both Diana and his sister. He then turned around to face Roberta with a stern look.

    "I've confronted it. MANY TIMES. I've thought about it so much that the only way I can get through the day is to put it out of my mind. Do you know how badly I want the asshole who beat our mother and threw her down the stairs to get what's coming to him? DO YOU?" Robert asked pointedly. Roberta recoiled and Diana took notice of the harsh tone of the mild-mannered youth's words. There was no mistaking that Robert hated the man who abused their mother.

    "Be careful what you say! If that man turns up dead you'll be the first one they suspect!" Roberta warned her brother. He did not care and disregarded the warning in order to continue the conversation, which was obviously a sore point for him.

    "So what? I want him to pay for what he did to our mother. It's not right that he gets to run away to Capital Crocus and disappear while we're left to pick up the pieces! He killed her and he knows it!" Robert ranted. There was no calming him down right this moment, so Roberta backed away and gave her brother his space. Diana kept her distance and her mouth closed, watching the spectacle play out as the fire in Robert's eyes gradually died and a sullen silence took over. He knew that the abusive man was beyond his reach and that vengeance would never be his.

    "I'm sorry, Robert. I didn't know that your hatred was that deep." Roberta apologized. Robert remained silent as the tension slowly dissipated and a feeling of sadness took the place of the tension.

    [Word Count: 1,072]
    [Total Word Count: 5,000/8,000]
    Diana Winchester
    Diana Winchester

    Alt Account- Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- S-Rank- A-Rank- Jewel Grinder- Unknown Powerhouse- Achiever- Buddy Buddy- Rich- Character Application Approved!- Magic Application Approved!- Complete Your First Job!- Obtain A Lineage!- Join A Faction!- Novice [250]- Player 
    Lineage : Reaper's Touch
    Position : None
    Posts : 436
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 465,897

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Silent Reaper
    Second Magic:
    Third Magic:

    Star Gazing Empty Re: Star Gazing

    Post by Diana Winchester on 8th August 2019, 12:23 pm

    -Two hours later, Telescope Range-

    The trio had walked in silence ever since Robert's impassioned admission that he wanted the man who allegedly killed his mother to face justice. Diana was used to traveling in silence, so she was not nearly as bothered by it as Roberta was. The silence lasted all the way to the top of Telescope Range, where the trio had to climb steep hills without the aid of handrails, stairs, or other conveniences. The only sounds made were those of breathing and shoes looking for purchase on the nearly forty-five degree hill.

    It took about three minutes of intense effort to reach the top, but when the trio made it, it was all worthwhile. The glum Robert even gave a small smile. Roberta was less restrained in expressing her good cheer.

    "At last! Something went right for us tonight!" Roberta exclaimed when they finally reached the top to find it empty of tourists. Robert selected an area in the center of the hill and set up the telescope to stake out the spot before tourists came along to steal the claim. Roberta set up the tripod and Robert eased the telescope into position, then tightened the tripod so that the precious device would not fall off and break. Diana saw that it was not an ordinary telescope... it was a rather expensive one with a sturdy body to protect the precision optics that it boasted plus other features that distinguished it from more common models.

    "Now that it's set up, we'd better hurry before tourists get here. We won't have long before they get here." Robert said to Roberta. The siblings picked up their pace and Robert manned the telescope while Roberta brought a black notepad and wooden pencil out of nowhere using magic. Diana was intrigued by that but did not have time to ask what kind of magic the brunette used because the pair immediately set about observing the stars. The blonde stood a short distance away and left the professor's assistants to do their work in peace.

    With no way to offer them meaningful help other than to do what she was hired to do, Diana listened to the wind gently rustle the grass as she looked for danger while Robert and Roberta worked together. The siblings spoke to each other about constellations and stars, listing off names that Diana did not recognize and giving their coordinates with mechanical precision. It was obvious that they had studied astronomy for years and knew their craft because their coordination was impressive. Robert would give the name of a star or constellation and Roberta would immediately give its coordinates without having to consult a chart, then they would move on to another section of the sky without missing a beat.

    The area was peaceful and Diana was left with nothing to do other than to watch the wind rustle the grassy hills and listen to the scientists as they looked for anything of interest in the star-studded sky. She had partially completed the task of escorting them across the planet; all she had to do was get them through the return trip to Professor Gasan's tent with their telescope and data. The blonde had not detected any danger like wild animals or Shadow Collective assassins, so if this tranquility lasted she would make the easiest money she had made in awhile. The only other humans she had seen were tourists who were uninterested in the scientists or their escort. So far, so good.

    "Hey Roberta, there's something in the Mercator Belt. It's an object I've never seen before. It looks like a new star." Robert calmly observed. Roberta hurried over to the telescope and almost shoved Robert aside to get a glimpse of what he had seen. She looked and looked until she had sighted what her brother did.

    "That's not in any of the charts. Not a single one!" Roberta answered. Robert became excited and Diana turned away from the hills to see what the commotion was about. The pair produced charts and tables out of thin air with Roberta's magic and pored over them thanks to Robert's ability to produced a ball of soft light above his head at will. They were clearly excited about their possible discovery and chattered rapidly in more jargon of the astronomy trade.

    Roberta crawled over to the telescope and observed their star with keen interest. She also provided running commentary on its activity while Robert scribbled notes.

    "It's changing colors. It started out as blue-white but now it's green!" Roberta commented. Robert duly noted the observation in a blue notebook that was pressed against a hastily assembled stack of other books for a reasonably firm writing surface. Diana felt like she was watching something exciting in the making.

    "It's now blood red. The color changes seem to happen at roughly minute-long intervals, but I'll have to keep observing before that observation can be confirmed or disproven." Roberta observed aloud. Robert jotted that note down and waited for the next observation to be given to him for recording in the notebook. Diana stood by as a silent witness to the energetic activity of the siblings and stayed clear of them as they made notes and chattered excitedly amongst themselves.

    [Word Count: 900]
    [Total Word Count: 5,900/8,000]
    Diana Winchester
    Diana Winchester

    Alt Account- Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- S-Rank- A-Rank- Jewel Grinder- Unknown Powerhouse- Achiever- Buddy Buddy- Rich- Character Application Approved!- Magic Application Approved!- Complete Your First Job!- Obtain A Lineage!- Join A Faction!- Novice [250]- Player 
    Lineage : Reaper's Touch
    Position : None
    Posts : 436
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 465,897

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Silent Reaper
    Second Magic:
    Third Magic:

    Star Gazing Empty Re: Star Gazing

    Post by Diana Winchester on 12th August 2019, 8:22 pm

    -Two hours later, Telescope Range-

    Diana stood back and listened as the pair observed the star and made numerous scribbled notes on the notebook that Roberta had brought with her. It was a lengthy and busy two hours for the brother and sister, but apparently they had gotten a lot done in that window of time. Perhaps they even had enough to make Professor Gasan happy by giving him something to present to the Astronomy department head. If their findings were detailed enough, perhaps they would help take the pressure off of the professor and keep the Astronomy department running for a little while longer.

    Diana listened to them discuss their findings and watched them begin to take down the telescope. The blonde also heard the sound of other people making their way up Telescope Range to get one of the last unclaimed spots to set up their own telescope. The scientists had taken their telescope down just in time because a young adult couple stood in front of Diana and waited for Robert and Roberta to move. The young woman, a red-haired girl wearing a green tank top and blue jean short shorts with sandals, placed her hands on her hips and tapped her right foot impatiently.

    "Like, what's taking so long? Are you writing a book or something? MOOOVE!" She commanded the trio. Diana ignored it and Robert and Roberta soon finished taking down their telescope. Robert again carried the telescope itself and Roberta carried the tripod.

    "We're almost finished. Please wait a bit longer, Miss." Robert requested before handing Diana the telescope and going back to retrieve the notebooks that they had consulted during their research of the star that changed colors. Roberta put them away into the same magical space she had pulled them out from earlier, leaving Diana standing around empty-handed. The young woman was having none of it... she brusquely pushed past Robert and slammed down the tripod of her own telescope. The young man, a tall, lanky youth with black hair and a black t-shirt with blue jeans, looked at the scientists apologetically while his girlfriend took over the site.

    "Get your asses off of my spot!" She ordered. Robert and Roberta wordlessly walked past Diana and began walking down the hill. Diana turned around and began to follow them without a word. Since they had gotten what they had come for, there was no point in sticking around. Miss Pushy could have Telescope Range. The blonde had a feeling that this would not be the last time that they would cross paths.

    The trio wordlessly descended from the hill and reached the main path without further incident. They paused for a moment to let a pair of tourists walk up the hill. They were the first of a steady stream of fellow stargazers that filed by them as the trio began the long walk back to the professor's tent. Diana got the satisfaction of hearing the spoiled girl scream in frustration as other tourists began to set up their telescopes on the valuable hillside real estate. There was no way that she could order all of them around like she had order Robert, Roberta, and Diana.

    -Four hours later, at Professor Gasan's tent-

    "Ah, welcome back! I thought you three would never return!" Professor Gasan greeted the trio. Robert gently carried the telescope over to a secluded corner of the tent while Roberta carried its tripod. The siblings gently set the precious cargo down and then walked over to the professor's table. Roberta fished out the notebooks and sifted through them until she found the exact one they had been using, then presented it to the professor.

    "What's this?" The older man asked while opening the notebook.

    "It's the notes we took on a chameleon star. We spotted one in the Mercator Belt." Roberta explained. Professor Gasan thumbed through it in search of the notes but was having difficulty finding them due to the hard-to-read handwriting of Robert. The older man squinted and the brown-haired male chimed in with the reason why it was so hard to read.

    "Sorry about the handwriting, Professor. We kinda got excited and I didn't exactly make it legible." Robert sheepishly apologized to the professor.

    "Do you need me to translate?" Roberta asked the professor. He waved away the inquiry and flipped the pages of the notebook, pausing on a section that had caught his interest. His eyes darted back and forth as he read the notes his assistants had taken.

    "So you two believe that you spotted a chameleon star, huh?" Professor Gasan asked without taking his eyes off of Robert's notes.

    "I believe that we have, Professor. We observed the star for two hours and noted the color changes in the notebook you're holding." Roberta answered in the affirmative.

    "If that's true, then this would be the first time that a chameleon star's been sighted in almost one hundred years." He commented before setting down the notebook and digging out some charts he had stashed in plastic milk crates under his table. The trio waited in silence for the astronomer to finish rummaging through the bins; the sound of papers being rustled filled the silence. Soon the older man emerged with a thick book with a gray cover featuring what looked to be a map of the stars on its cover.

    [Word Count: 914]
    [Total Word Count: 6,814/8,000]
    Diana Winchester
    Diana Winchester

    Alt Account- Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- S-Rank- A-Rank- Jewel Grinder- Unknown Powerhouse- Achiever- Buddy Buddy- Rich- Character Application Approved!- Magic Application Approved!- Complete Your First Job!- Obtain A Lineage!- Join A Faction!- Novice [250]- Player 
    Lineage : Reaper's Touch
    Position : None
    Posts : 436
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 465,897

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Silent Reaper
    Second Magic:
    Third Magic:

    Star Gazing Empty Re: Star Gazing

    Post by Diana Winchester on 19th August 2019, 11:13 am

    Professor Gasan slowly but surely pried open the tome and began sifting through pages yellowed by age and exposure to sunlight. Diana could smell the musty pages from across the room. Robert and Roberta waited in tense silence for the professor to find out more about the "chameleon star" that they had spotted and soon had an answer when the older man stopped flipping pages.

    "According to this report written by the late Dr. Hubel of the Crocus Magicka University Astronomy Department, the chameleon star was last seen over ninety years ago around... Telescope Range. He spent six hours observing it and he's the basis of what little we know about it." Professor Gasan told Robert, Roberta, and Diana about the phenomenon that the scientist siblings had spotted and made notes on for over two hours.

    "So this Dr. Hubel... he's responsible for what we know about the star?" Robert asked the professor. The professor nodded.

    "Yes. Dr. Hubel was an older man in his mid-sixties who had been teaching for over thirty years when he began exploring the mystery of the chameleon star. His peers thought that he was a crackpot, a lunatic who spent way too much time under the stars instead of in the classroom. They thought that his efforts were doomed to failure and tried to get him to take an early retirement to spare himself the embarrassment of being proven wrong. He persisted and proved them wrong instead." Professor Gasan told a bit of the late doctor's story. Diana was not sure if it was a tale of triumph in the face of naysayers, but it was still interesting to hear how one man was willing to defy his peers and risk his reputation for science. Perhaps Professor Gasan was looking to duplicate Dr. Hubel's feat and get the last laugh on his doubters and critics.

    "What do we know about the chameleon star, Professor?" Roberta asked.

    "Well, we know that it got its name from its tendency to change colors at roughly minute-long intervals. We also know that it tends to be seen around the... ah yes, the Mercator Belt. Other than that, it's a complete mystery. Dr. Hubel thought that it had a special influence over mages, but he was never able to prove or disprove that theory before his death of old age at 76." Professor Gasan explained further. Roberta seemed to be a bit upset when she heard that, probably because she had hoped that they would find at least one new piece of information about the chameleon star that would make the trip to Terasu and all the effort they had went to to get to Telescope Range worth it. Robert shared her unhappiness because he had carried the telescope for at least four hours and was hoping to get some small thing to show for it.

    "So you pretty much knew everything that we recorded in the notes?" Roberta asked frankly. Professor Gasan nodded sadly.

    "Damn. All of that work for nothing new." Robert commented dejectedly. Diana could tell that the brown-haired youth was crushed by his failure to make a new discovery. Roberta was not too far behind him.

    "That's the way the academic world works, my boy. You pick an avenue of research and give your all to pursue it only to find that it's been done before." The older man said sympathetically before closing the gray book. The soft BOOM that sounded as the book was shut sounded like the door being closed on the brother-sister team's work... and possibly the astronomy department they had fought to save. Diana did not know how to feel because there was so much subtext to sift through to get the whole story.

    "I was hoping to get something, anything, to show the department head so that the department stays funded." Robert said.

    "Well, we'll just have to find something else, but we won't find it tonight. Not here, anyway." The professor consoled Robert before putting the book away back into the crate from whence it came. He then began to take down the charts and maps tacked to the corkboard, then took down the corkboard itself. To Diana the meaning of the gesture was soon apparent... they were taking down their base camp and calling it a day... or night, or whatever time of the day it was.

    "What do we do from here, Professor?" Roberta asked him.

    "Gather up all the books, charts, and notes, then take down all the tables. We're going home. There's nothing more we can do here." The older man answered. Robert and Roberta began to do as instructed while Diana moved to assist them in whatever way she could. She felt like she had just stood around while the scientists did most of the work, but she had completed her end of the "contract" by keeping Robert and Roberta safe as they did their work and helping them whenever they required it. It was easy money.

    [Word Count: 849]
    [Total Word Count: 7,663/8,000]

    Diana Winchester
    Diana Winchester

    Alt Account- Quality Badge Level 1- Quality Badge Level 2- Quality Badge Level 3- S-Rank- A-Rank- Jewel Grinder- Unknown Powerhouse- Achiever- Buddy Buddy- Rich- Character Application Approved!- Magic Application Approved!- Complete Your First Job!- Obtain A Lineage!- Join A Faction!- Novice [250]- Player 
    Lineage : Reaper's Touch
    Position : None
    Posts : 436
    Cosmic Coins : 0
    Dungeon Tokens : 0
    Experience : 465,897

    Character Sheet
    First Magic: Silent Reaper
    Second Magic:
    Third Magic:

    Star Gazing Empty Re: Star Gazing

    Post by Diana Winchester on 19th August 2019, 11:45 am

    -Eight hours later, outside Crocus Magicka University-

    Eight hours after transporting the base camp and its contents back to the university, Diana was standing outside a large brick building labeled CROCUS MAGICKA UNIVERSITY on the roof above the entrance. Outside with her were Robert and Roberta, who were still clearly unhappy about the outcome of the expedition and about learning that all of their work was for nothing. The fact that Professor Gasan would have to face the department head and beg for their continued existence did nothing to help their mood. Diana could not blame them at all for feeling glum.

    "Well, we tried." Roberta said tersely.

    "Yeah. We got so excited and felt like we were really getting somewhere, then we hit a giant brick wall." Robert agreed with his sister. Diana kept quiet and let the siblings commiserate over their failure to learn anything new about the chameleon star. Part of the blonde was hoping that they would make a new discovery so that they could keep their "home" alive. It was clear to her that astronomy was one of the only things keeping the siblings in the world after the "accidental" death of their mother. If they lost that anchor Diana did not know what would happen to them.

    Would they simply withdraw from the world and end their own lives in some isolated location?

    Would Robert throw caution to the wind and search for his mother's killer in Capital Crocus in an effort to get revenge at any cost?

    Diana did not know and part of her did not want to find out, but what could she do to help? She did not have enough money to sustain the giving even if she could afford to make the occasional donation to the campus. Another strike against the gesture was the fact that the astronomy department might not benefit from the money in the slightest unless she donated directly to the department in question. The donation would also leave a paper trail for any of her numerous enemies to follow right to her doorstep, so that was the third strike against giving financial aid.

    "Eh, we'll live. We'll just have to try and make another big discovery among the stars. Hopefully one that hasn't already been made." Roberta said to her brother, who was not convinced that they could make a discovery that would keep their department afloat. He did not share her happy-go-lucky attitude on the matter.

    "Yeah, but the department might not live for much longer. Professor Gasan was counting on us to come up with something big, but all we came up with was a whole lot of nothing." Robert countered Roberta's statement. Roberta took a deep breath and tried to console her brother, but Robert just walked back into the university building, defeat echoing in every step he took. Roberta simply sighed as the glass door closed and her brother disappeared into the building.

    "We're sorry that the job wasn't very thrilling for you. We're still glad that you helped us, though." Roberta thanked Diana for her help even though most of it consisted of standing around and watching the siblings work.

    "It is no problem. Guildless mages take any job that comes their way." Diana said to Roberta, deliberately misrepresenting her true allegiance. The cover of a Guildless mage was the best cover for a mage of her alignment to use because very few people questioned it without having a good reason to do so. Being polite and not standing out too much were good ways to make sure that no one asked inconvenient questions.

    "Well, I'd better go see about my brother. He doesn't take disappointment very well. Thanks again!" Roberta thanked Diana before walking away and disappearing into the university building in search of her brother. With her work here done, Diana turned around and walked away from the institute of higher learning in order to head for home. Hopefully she would get paid for her time and effort.

    [Word Count: 682]
    [Total Word Count: 8,345/8,000]

      Current date/time is 20th November 2019, 10:43 pm