[OOC This is a true and honest tale told by an unreliable narrator, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing*]
Lacuna stands near the gates to the Cemetery District staring at Zora Stables, lost in time. Bitter-Bittersweet memories come unbidden…
Zora had once been home. She remembers being led by Astarth on the terrifying, exhilarating winter trek from the desert through the Knot of Dementia and on to Zora. Her first sight of a Gibbai. But she had been happy here. She remembers the hours she spent sat at these stables planning with Spettra about going marauder. Lost Girls had been born at this very spot.
She remembers travelling between Zora and the Fyros homelands in her drive to master her desert foraging skills. The long conversations with Hiang Vo-Nuang on her return from the desert to discuss her progress. Looking back she can recognise if for the obsession it was, and how it would lead to her love of the Prime Roots. Her old guild master, Binarabi, had even resorted to forcing her to train her melee and magic skills in an attempt to make her less ‘squishy’, as she put it. But Lacuna mastered foraging long before being even close to mastering anything else. She even gave up on craft training, selling all the shield and staff materials she foraged so she could spend more time digging. As soon as she mastered the desert she started her explorations of the Prime Roots. Her first tentative steps in the Lands of Umbra led her to digging in Under Spring. She remembers how Binarabi paid Alric to protect them through Trench of Trials while she and Eikichi guided her to Fairhaven. It was on this trek that she first heard the allure of the song.
The desire to survive in Prime Roots motivated her to train her melee and magic skills. As the noise of the passing crowd intrudes, she remembers the hours spent training with Ozelott, Cyndalia and Astarth, of slowly becoming more skilled. Her pride at mastering her healing skills. The months she spent hunting with Lee and Agan. Foxy crafting her a set of Shooketh amps. Karabas crafting her first two-hand mace: the satisfaction of knocking Eikichi out with it. Nuno teaching her the secret to balancing a weapon to maximise its speed. Sneaking through the Westgrove gate into Highgrove with Fitis to finish mastering her offensive magic skills. The guild gathering in Min-Cho to present her with a beautiful Kara Klyde blade, crafted by Crafy, after Tao Nai-Da declared she had mastered the one-hand sword. Nagging Gasket into helping her master defensive afflictions until he gave in just so he could go back to getting drunk at the stables.
Lacuna remembers the sheer terror and excitement of stumbling round Atys and Prime Roots, more often lost than not, with Binarabi to collect teleport pacts after she passed the Kami rite. Trying to work out who in the guild had managed to craft a degraded q247 rubbarn weapon tool. Trying to learn the Crafy ‘shuffle’ to glide through Prime Roots unnoticed. Swimming with Leonora at the waterfall west of Still Waters. Training on great kinreys in Demon’s Lap with Neama, Generallee and Puffe. Trying to explain to Ink why she loved the Roots, and why lumpers were evil. Her and Spettra plugging their ears with wax to block out Suboxide’s interminable political discussions during guild meetings. After her first extended sojourn into the Roots, Eruv giving her her first set of maga-amps and a set of boosted focus attuned jewels. Jewels she still carries to this day.
Later, when she as well on the way to knowing the Prime Roots, she experienced the euphoria and chaos of killing Jugukoo with only an extremely drunk Gasket and Gaskette. The frustration of Rollocks ‘helping’ her dig supremes at the change of seasons. Digging supreme yana node in the Lands of Continuity while Binarabi supposedly guarded her, but in reality read romantic stories about homins who seemed to wear nothing but heavy armour boots. Trying to teach Ozelott how to hold her nerve and sneak her way through the predators and kitin to dig. Spending months hunting named with Spettra. The satisfaction of when the two of them were able to kill the likes of Ryx, Rippa and Bukah wearing nothing but light armour and a medium armour vest. Looking back she wonders why they both refused to wear heavy armour. That aversion changed after they started to hunt the apex boss creatures of Atys. After years of study and exploration finally understanding the weather and the ecology of materials of Prime Roots, when they were available and when they would refill.
The months spent digging in the Void, often with Eruv and Astarth helping her master her jungle foraging skills rises in her mind.
She woke up lying in her bed in GoS guild house. For a moment she does not know where she is, and she has no idea how she got here. The last thing she remembers is… She groans as the memory comes back of the explosion. She had been talking to Spettra about her growing frustration with the Kami Alliance, and had not been paying enough attention to the node of dung resin she was digging. She realises that Binarabi is sitting at the end of the bed, shaking her head at her. Lacuna groans, Oh No! This is going to be another I told you so lecture.
‘Spettra brought you back. You were at the epicentre of your little explosion, but, luckily, nearby diggers were able to revive Spettra in time. Your mektoubs are dead, by the way. Even Rollocks would struggle to take out three packers and one mount in one go. So well done!’ The speech dripped with sarcasm.
Lacuna lay back down and groaned. What was worse, it was all her own fault. She had been warned, and knew, that digging right next to her packers was stupid and far too risky, but the time saved walking to them to unload her bag seemed worth the risk. She smells the first sign of food burning, and malicious smile forms as Binarabi runs from her room. She’s not the only one who can make mistakes…
For a while she had been happy here. She mastered amp and light armour crafts. Her first tentative steps towards understanding how to balance an amplifier recipe and teasing out the secret of max dodge black light armour brought a sense of accomplishment. But her growing dissatisfaction with the greed of Kami alliance, who would stab each other in the back as readily as fight the Karavan, meant it could not last. Nothing ever does.
Lacuna came back to herself. There was no sign of her sisters in Zora, nothing that was not years old or less substantial than rumour. No one had touched the stashes she and Spettra secretly hid in Zora. It was time to move on; the guards were starting to take note of her. The song was getting louder; she needed to find her sisters soon. She needed to decide: the Old Lands or the desert. She had been putting off this decision for too long. The Burning Desert it was: she mounted her mektoub and trotted out the city gates for the last time.
[OOC One male was hurt in the telling of this tale; sadly he made a full recovery.]
*Some details have been changed to maintain RP continuity.