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Falling and Forgetting to Land (IC)

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May 9th 8:34pm

Changeling had gotten strangely used to flying with Custos. He certianly enjoyed it at least, he wouldn't before as he would never think to leave his post, but a compelling arguement that they were far more likely to stop trouble if they moved about the city instead of simply waiting for had him plenty content to act as her ride. He wasn't very fast, not much faster than a car, but he could really very high, and it was always an excellant view. Though really, they had to be high so not many people could see them. Custos was really very nice, but a bit discontenting to look at for most people. Changeling herself looked a bit like a renaissance damsel in distress, except of course her expression was smiling, and she was not at all fond of screaming.

Pushing through a cluster clouds they got a good look of downtown, and much of the area, the most obvious building being Pyramid Plaza visible in the distance, though that wasn't the only thing.

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Gaian Knight sat on a rock in a batch of trees, just...enjoying the city as so few people could. Sure, he couldn't see the cars, but he could feel them, ripples of vibrations as they passed over the top of asphalt; in his mind's eye the buildings had no metal or glass but were large, abstract skeletons of concrete and brick rising up out of foundations that reached into the soil like the roots of a mountain. He could stretch out his senses and touch every stone in the earth, every oddly-shaped mass slowly flying through the clouds above the city, every brick in the surrounding buildings-

Wait, what? He snapped an eye open, craning his head upwards and turning his senses where they were so rarely turned: up, way up, where there was nothing but ambient dust and the occasional small, falling meteoroid. But this wasn't either of those. This was.... What in the world...this I'm going to have to see for myself.

The rock he was sitting on dislodged from the ground, reshaping itself a little for comfort as it and its passenger accelerated toward the very curious flying creature.

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As Changeling tried to look out, she made an effort to find the more forested areas, they were a bit out of the city, and she had not honestly really visited them. She had been busy after all, though the school year was ending, and even with summer school she wanted to see if she could convince her guardians to let her go camping. She didn't exactly know what it entailed, but it had something to do with spending a large amount of time out of the city and that was something that would be a rather nice change of pace.

It was turning towards that particular area, she glanced something in the distance. It was a bit far off, but she could tell even from a distance that it positively glowed magic. She watched it as it came only to see it was coming closer, until she saw the outline of a man moving to intercept their path,

"Custos, it seems someone has taken notice of us."

"Should we prepare to fight?"

Changeling looked again,

"It is hard to tell, but we should not look for a fight, I mean, I know you are skillful in the air on your own, but I do not think my grip is quite up to the task of a arial fight, you understand."

"Of course."

Turning towards the person Custos met towards this person who appeared when they came closer to be glad in brown and riding a platform of earth. The energy around him pulsed around the earth indicating that being the source. Changeling got close she exerted just a little magic herself just to make sure the conversation was more clear by simply quieting the winds.

"Good evening."

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Gaian Knight was standing now, and had a series of rocks and stony shards floating above and behind his shoulders - not that he'd wanted a fight, but just because he'd learned that it was best to be prepared for the worst. Especially when you were approaching some sort of flying stone creature.

A flying stone creature with...a human girl in a dress on its back. With a mask, and wings. ....okay, then. She's either some sort of hero or a new, monster-summoning villainess. "Ah. Hello," he replied, waving.

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She gave him a wave and a smile and looked at him more. Earth manipulater, a talented one too. She hadn't seen many of those, or really many elementals in the city at all. Well unless Ms. Cross counted, but she was far more a rounded sorceress than a pure elemental. She tried to look past but Custos who could really maintain them just hovering in the air had to sweep around to keep the visual.

She turned to the new person looking him over. He had magic, though this did not nessicaryly mean he knew about it, it would be nice to have a conversation with someone who did not discount it immediately or simply think of it as someone elses problem, rather strange the number of other heroes who seemed to take that stance. As Custos sweep closer she asked,

"If it is not a trouble, could you provide another platform, it is a bit hard for things with wings to just stay in one place for very long, especially so very high with the winds and such."

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Eyebrows rising up above his goggles, Gaian Knight blinked at the sweeping, circling pair. "Er....sure. I'm probably going to get dizzy trying to keep up with you otherwise, heh...."

He gestured with one hand, part of his rock breaking off into fragments and spinning out into a larger, solid - if thinner - platform a few feet away. It sat there, like his own rock (or what was left of it), fixed in the air like it was glued in place. "Sorry, I probably should have thought of that...I've clearly been spending too much time around giant bees." He chuckled a little. "I do have to ask, though: are you moving your friend, there, or is it - he? - moving on his own? I could feel him from way down on the ground, and I don't think I've ever seen....ah, ambulatory statues before."

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Custos moved around in a final loop before coming to rest on the platform and Changeling sliding off. She caught the little bit about the bees, but was more interested in the second question.

"Well no, I cannot make things move, not really, but he is not a statue at all, okay he is, but he is not just a statue."

She looked at Custos,

"He is a gargoyle after all, and that makes him a guardian. They are much like sphinx's in that regard, though not many are very active recently are they."

Custos looked at the pair,

"Well no, most of us have gone into sleep since no one seeks our protection."

"But not you, you were always so vilgilant, you are an excellant guardian as it suits your name."

Changeling thought about it for a few seconds,

"Ohh yes, names, I am called Changeling, and this is Custos. He is my friend, not a golem or creature of my creation, who is kind enough to give me a ride since my wings are sadly just for show."

"They are not very large, I do not think they would carry you very far if they did work."

"True, very true,"

Turning back to the man and brown she had another smile waiting and a hand extended for a shake.

"Now, I have given my name, may I inquire yours, and also what you did mean by giant bees. I do not think I have seen any around the city, have you?"

"I think I heard something happened like that before your arrival from a friend that there was a bunch of bees about, but he wasn't very certian if they were giant because they were very far away from his perch."

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The hero chuckled, listening to the back-and-forth with a good-natured grin hidden behind the red cloth that covered his lower face. "I'm called Gaian Knight, and it's a pleasure to meet you both, Changeling, Custos." He nodded - deeply, though not quite a bow - at each of them in turn, continuing, "And, no, there aren't any giant bees around the city that I know of. There aren't anymore, anyway. I just happen to know a few for...sort of crazy reasons, really, and they and other assorted flying heroes have given me a bad habit of assuming everyone can hover in mid-air. I apparently need to stop assuming anything in this city, ever. Assumptions never seem to quite work out."

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"Well I would think bees are lighter, and when insects fly, they beat their wings very fast so it makes it easier. Custos has to have big wings just support his weight and he cannot just beat them a hundred times a second."

"I should not try either, the stone might start cracking."

"I wonder, how many heroes actually have wings? I do not think I have met any myself, the more interesting people in the city seem to find alternate methods for flight, like yourself for example."

She looked down at the platform and stomped it a little bit, not that she could really stomp through with her strengh,

"Must say, it is very practical, and a bit more comfortable than riding. Though I think Custos is a bit faster."

"Of course, I've had years of experience, though I did have to adjust after being inactive for so long."

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"That's likely very true," Gaian Knight replied, sounding fairly amused with the whole situation. It wasn't every day that you got to talk to a strange girl and a gargoyle while standing around way up in the sky, after all. "Riding rocks around works well enough for me - it isn't very fast, no, but it's pretty stable. Though I do run the risk of just being knocked off my ride; I'm pretty tough, but I hit the ground as hard as anybody else, heh."

The array of earthen shards up around his shoulders had relaxed somewhat - the effect was sort of like a porcupine laying down its quills: they were still there, but much more relaxed. "I think I've met...only one or two people with wings, come to think of it. As for the bees...well, I'm pretty sure they outweigh you, Custos, but they're also much, much larger."

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"Well that is a little upsetting, it is a bit frightening to think of a bee that is just Custos size."

"I could probably take them,"

"Well maybe, but I would certainly not want to have a situation where we would have too. Given, they are bees, I could make a flower appear and they would probably pay us no mind."

"It would have to be a big flower."

"Yes, it would be, I could not imagine the trouble such large bees would have collecting from little ones."

Glancing over at the city than the forest, she thought back to her thoughts,

"Huh, I wonder, would you know where a good place for a trip would be, outside the city. I actually came around seeing if I could spot a good place to go since I am unfamiliar with the whole area."

Well whole realm, but that didn't bear mentioning.

"I have to say, being only in the city as lovely as it is for such a while has made me miss some of the more natural scenery. Would you happen to know anything about any local campgrounds, or good areas for the like? Also, swimming areas, a lake or something because I have found I am not to fond of salt water."

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Gaian Knight slid a hand under his hood to scratch the back of his head, chewing that one over for a moment. "There's camping in the forest, of course, though I admit I haven't really been out there to try it. And I'm afraid I'm not much of a swimmer...I'm more a rock-climber, though there isn't a lot of that, either." He shrugged a little, helplessly, grimace hidden behind the cloth over his face. "New Jersey doesn't have a lot of natural lakes or mountains...though I guess there's a little bit of mountain up on the north side of the state. There are plenty of rivers, though, and if you hunted around in the forest I bet you'd find a little pool or three. It's not like there aren't enough rivers and streams in the area that could eat one out of the surrounding soil."

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"Well that sounds very nice still, I am not one fo climbing myself. As long as it is not too far I think I may be able to convince my guardians."

Reaching from the inside of the jacket she produced a small orange cell phone with a mini keyboard and started texting as quickly and effiently as any regular teenager with adequite practice and an unlimitied texting plan. She put the phone away just as soon as she had produced it, before resting her eyes on Gaian Knight and finding them set on something she had yet to notice,

"Ohh, that looks lovely."

She took a few steps and pointed at the swords strapped to his waist. It was a bit broader than her own, and probably more steely, but it looked like it could take combat and the design was really effective.

"Do you fancy yourself a swordsman?"

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"Hm?" It apparently took a moment for the earth-moving hero to realize what she meant, though when he figured it out he had to laugh.

"Ah - haha! No, no." Gaian Knight shook his head, looking down at the sword and scabbard that hung from his belt; he barely even remembered he was wearing it some days. "It's a very nice sword, but I'm pretty much awful with it. That's sort of a shame, really - as near as I can tell it never dulls and can't be damaged, so it'd be useful in a fight...but only if I could swing it with any skill whatsoever. Which, I'm sad to say, I can't, though I've had a lesson or two."

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"I can see how actual swordplay would not come up as often for you to use it, considering your specialty and power it would be hard pressed to think that you might need it."

She looked at the sword with another glance,

"It is a bit strange, having a tool but not knowing how to ultilize it. It is unsettling common, sometimes dangerously so, it is why I try to make good use of knowing something if deemed useful, like perhaps, sword play."

Reaching under her cloak again she pulled out a dainty looking flowery umbrella with a thick wooden handle and gave it a quick twist. She pulled from the hand a much smaller, much thinner silver coated blade,

"This is what I use if I ever feel nessicary for swordplay, though for me it has come to that once or twice. It is a bit less sturdy, though it probably gets in a much faster strike."

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Gaian Knight chuckled, watching her pull out the blade with interest. "Very nice - and unusual, though I'm sure you know that. And yeah, I suppose I'm a little weird to be carrying around a sword I can't use well. I just...don't feel right without it. It's kind of a strange thing. But it doesn't get it my way, and it does look a little impressive, so why not?" He shrugged. "But yes, you're right - it's not as effective as hitting things with rocks, especially since I'm not very good with it...and to be honest I've yet to find a situation where it'd work any better. Rocks are surprisingly versatile."

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"Well swords are just rocks that have been melted than sharpened, in a way you could just be skipping a step. Though it is possible someone might rob you of the power entirely, which the sword may than be useful. Power is rather fickle, it can be taken as easily as given, skill and training though, those are significantly harder to remove."

Though still possible, which was a rather grim aspect, but generally less used and less successful.

"When was the last time you wielded that sword if I may ask, it sounds like you have not done so in a while. I myself have pulled my sword, but have not recently actually used it in a fight."

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"Hm. That's a good question," Gaian Knight admitted, frowning down at the sword on his waist. "I pull it out to inspect it pretty often, but in a fight, I think...months, at the very least. It really isn't my first choice for a fight, because getting shot at usually means you go with your much better offensive option, as it were." He turned his attention back to Changeling, and some of the rocks floating around behind him came together to form what was probably a pretty good replica of his weapon, in form if not material. This rock sword idly hung around in the air by his side, turning around and jabbing at empty space as he gestured at it. "Metal isn't really rock, though the distinction's probably a little weird if you're not used to feeling it."

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"Bullets are not so hard to dodge if can see where they are coming from, though they look like they really hurt. I guess one could say metal is rock that has had it's soul burned away. But yes, it is practical to stick to what earth as it can be used to defend while swords cannot, at least not practically. I have seen some films, they always seem to have a very unusual perspective of what a sword should be capable of, or how it should be handled. But swords are rare now, so they probably do not get much correction in this area."

Well it was rarer now, when her father started her to learn swords he said that while the styles were based human, fewer humans really used it, and that the last visit he found that it was painfully easy to take a human swordsman who seemed to treat the weapon more as a decoration than an object of battle.

"Huh, I wonder, would you fancy a match? Nothing serious, just a few quick jabs. You said you are unskilled, I could give you some hints as to improve yourself."

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Holding up his hands, Gaian Knight shook his head; the stone sword replica fell apart as his attention was taken away, little bits of dirt and stone pulling back into waiting up behind his shoulders. "Er, call me old-fashioned, but I'm not keen on fighting a lady. Even if it's just sparring, and especially one a bit younger than me, no offense."

He dropped his hands, shaking his head. "As for souls being burnt away...I'm not sure. Even naturally-occurring pure metals - gold and platinum, say - just seem outside my domain. They're not...rock, somehow. They're just something else. Who knows...maybe the Chinese had something with their old Wu Xing element model, for all I know. I just can't do anything with 'em."

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Custos started to chuckle a bit at the burrowers resignations,

"Now when you say younger,"

"Stop right there, you know he is technically correct. This whole chivalry thing though, it always seems be lost on those who could stand to gain, and in full effect on those who would not. No matter, it is not a good stage for such things, one of us might mistep and that would be rather messy."

She didn't know why men wanted to be chivalrious around her, she could clearly handle herself.

"Anyway, the chinese magics do say that metal is an element in of itself along with wood. I have not met many practioners of those arts in the city so I am not as certain on them as other arts, though I am sure I can find a book given time. Do tell, you seem to have a fair bit of magic, is that by your own hand or an outsiders?"

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Gaian Knight shook his head, chuckling. I seem to be doing a lot of that lately, here or elsewhere. Hmm. But chivalry - good manners, really - isn't about loss or gain. Though, admittedly, it usually ends up being loss. Heh. "That's...ah, complex, I think. It's my magic, but I'm not a magician or whatever. It's just kind of a part of me, now - has been for a while. It's sort of like being permanently tapped into something bigger than yourself; I'm not certain I could explain it even if I knew all the details. Out of curiosity," he added, gesturing, "how does one end up riding gargoyles and holding sword-umbrellas? Even in a city like this one, you're pretty unique."

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"It is not that complex. The magic you have is limited to the element you are most innately attuned to making it more an extension of yourself rather than say a call to spirits or symbols. It is rare, but possible with an outside source helping the empowerment. It is actually very similiar to the magic I use, though my innate form is a very different type of magic."

It was a theory more than an actual answer, but it fit what she saw since magic for him seemed to come from within.

"Well how does one not, gargoyles are such lovely creatures who serve an important purpose as to scare away the demons that serve to tempt the hearts of man. No one in the city seems to have an appreciation for them as anything other than ordimentation and I find that a bit insulting to their position personally."

"It is not that bad, at least we are kept well perserved in our forms."

"But still."

She let out a sigh as she looked at her swordbrella,

"I do not see how this is unique, I saw an advertisement for it online and it seemed a very practical weapon to have on my person without drawing panic. People do not really like to see other people casually carrying swords with them, at least, not when they are not wearing scarves and goggles and riding large mounds of dirt. Though if we are to say which is more unique, I would think your sword is far more so. It does not need much work yes, it has been enchanted to never rust or to chip even after several hundred swings."

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He shrugged. "Well, to be fair, I'm pretty sure many or most of the gargoyles in the city aren't actually...y'know, alive. They're just statues, when they're present at all." Part of the rock Gaian Knight was standing on twisted up like clay into the shape of a decent, if sparsely-detailed, gargoyle.

"As for the umbrella...how do I say this." He rubbed the back of his head, pondering. "They're not something people actually...use. I mean you can buy them online, but almost no one is going to actually carry them around. Even sword canes are probably more common, and you pretty much never see those; I'm sure it's useful, for hero work I mean, but to the average person they're just for show, or for fun, or for a costume."

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"Well the form is only a vasal for the spirit, and the spirits are what are important. The form Custos has is one of the larger ones from around the city but he could inhabit a smaller vasal like the one you have made."

"Though I'd rather not, it looks very cramped."

She turned to the swordbrella,

"You see what I mean again, about people having tools they do not know how to use. I mean, I got the idea for it online, though the craftsmanship was downright shaudy I could see it from picture. Though I needed a custom job because of other reasons and it got very expensive. Besides, you should be well aware by this point that I am far from average."

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