Juniper Bottlesocket - Once upon a last time

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lum
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Juniper Bottlesocket - Once upon a last time

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She rolled over to her side and beheld the world upside down, as if to see if it looked any better this way. She understood though that the answer to that sat somewhere in her own brain. How long now had she been lying here? The rhythmic and constant tic toc of one of her clockworks somewhere in the background reminded her that time was still being measured. And yet she felt like as if she lived in a time-bubble where all time had ceased to exist. All what her senses seemed to register right now was coldness, while on her inside it felt like nothing was there. Nothing to give, nothing to feed, nothing to have need of anything at all.

The past three days, time had passed by like worthless pennies sliding through her fingers. Like she had had too much of it. The future always has been something she had cared for, with plans to build upon. But now said future felt as shapeless as rain. Rosy fingers of dawn spilled over the window-sill without the Gond girl noticing. Tears clouded her world and burst forth like water from a dam as she pressed her face into the only soft available at the moment, her arms. Her chin trembled like a little girl’s when another wave of memories hit her. Brick by heartbreaking brick, the walls she had erected in order to protect herself, came down tumbling once again.

As sobs punched through her, ripping through her muscles, guts and heart, she slammed into the floor.

Stop it, Juniper, this is disgusting and its not worth it. If you cry… cry with style.

She did have every right to cry though as her life hasn’t exactly been succesful. Or it was just all new cause wherever she wandered, it felt like she never had walked there before. Not even here in Baldur’s Gate, a place that had been her home for a couple of years, but as it seemed… also a place that brought forth more tears than any watertank could possibly hold. Why did she have to come back?

Maybe cause of what happened to her when she returned to Lantan? Cause she felt like she had been stripped and dropped naked on a cold floor after the Holy Council of Gond took away her title and rank within the Church and Crafthouse? She could no longer present herself as a Techsmith of Gond, a punishment for her sin, albeit temporal. All that cause she had failed to archive her work, and didn’t sent copies of her inventions to Sambar. She explained she simply hadn’t had the time for that, but a too high number of Techpriests had demonstrated an unwillingness to forgive on that part. Thereafter, her case had been sent to the Bishop for a verdict. It took three agonizing months before a reply and a sentence was returned.

She would no longer be a Techsmith, at least not until she had fulfilled new duties as a Divine Seeker. The definition for her case : a Retriever of Exceptional knowledge, gizmo’s and other objects. Her training to qualify for the role had only just started, and she was allowed to continue this at any Church of Gond. So she picked Baldur’s. Why? Maybe cause she had hope, secretly. But her hope seemed merely a little twinkling star in a hopelessly dark universe, with happiness at decades of distance. She let her almost-naked form now entirely sag onto the cold floor, her muscles becoming loose as sleep finally started to pool on her eyelids. There was nothing she could do about it.

Why did she had to return here? Cause she had been worried sick about his legs and his health in the first place. That is at least what she told herself. But he was married now, and it had left her with her insides contracting the moment she learned who. Likely they had been destined to all along, where she merely was a small sidetrack before he ‘moved up’. She could have known this… and yet she had to come here.

Not long however. As of tomorrow she would find a ship that would take her to Cormyr. There she would continue her training and start her first explorations, so she could get at least some parts of her life back. And after that she would see some more of the world.

One final thought shot through her mind, something that her sister Pixel had told her.

If in life your heart acts like a bath of unstable and explosive chemicals, then the person you are thinking of has to be a monster. But he wasn’t. Rather the opposite. He actually has been one of the best things in her life ever. Only now, it was time to really move on.

Last edited by lum on Sun May 10, 2020 11:05 am, edited 2 times in total.
Moire Rouge : 'Coins are flat, and are meant to be piled up.'
Juniper : 'Your local tinkerer!'
Kitty -Less hell, more cat-
Álfhildr Fältkrigare -Oaken soul-
Erickar Avery -More than meets the eye-
& Brendika F., Jyn R., Bash B., Lux, Rift, Jezebeth, Isabel C., Depheant M., Sona K.

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lum
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Re: Juniper Bottlesocket - Once upon a last time

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A year later...

"AWWHH, that was my skin!" Juniper squeeked as pain rippled through her left arm.

"I'm sorry, little miss, I'm merely doing what is necessary, and if you still want to use that arm properly, you should forget the little trouble it takes."

Juniper mumbled an apologies, embarrassed peeking up at the work he was doing with her arm. He was the best they said, not just in Sambar, not just in Lantan, but in the entire world. Her arm had been nearly crushed between the steel stamps of an unpredictable machina she had discovered during one of her Seeker expeditions in a tunnel under the city of Illul, not far from the home of the High Artificer. She'd do anything to get her rank back she so stupidly lost, even if it meant she'd act stupid for it it seemed...
Who else would slide her arm between the parts of an unfamiliar, untrustworthy machina in order to retrieve some object some of the Holy Council -might- interest enough in order to restore her rank under the Wonderbringer's clergy? Exactly! She would! She sighed softly as she listened to the cadence of blacksmiths in training, hammering away at their latest creations in Link's workshop. She deeply missed the clitterclank of her own tinkering, and the bubbling fizzing of chemicals as she experimented with the latest alchemical stuff there was. She missed the feeling of being useful or adding to the technological progress there always was in Lantan.
But she -had- to do this first, complete enough Seeker missions until the High Council, the Bishop, the High Artificer, every single Consecreated of Gond, and everyone else who may care about her situation, were convinced enough she was thrustworthy and -dutiful-. When it would be sufficient, she could only guess. And in order to achieve all that, she first needed her arm back, have it function properly and as accurate as it had been before. Link was right, adding these parts to her arm and making them fit and work well with her limb was no big thing. Merely a slight discomfort she had to face.

She winced, gritted her teeth as she felt another sharp object piercing her upper arm. Tears welled up in her eyes, but she said nothing. She smiled even a little when Link nodded approvingly at her while he finished the job by connecting her elbow with the upper and lower parts of her arm.

"There, all done I think. How does it feel to you?"

Juniper lifted her mech-arm and stared at it as she tested her metal-clad fingers. To her surprise she was able to control them with surprising smoothness, just as good as before. Maybe even better.

Link seemed pleased with his work and nodded to her. "I have added strengthened alloy ligaments and armored shielding to bulk up your power a little, especially since your arm without this is pretty weak. I'm not sure how long you'll have to wear this either, but at least you can do everything you did before, and better methinks. This is the most advanced piece I ever created for someone too. The strings and the springs are made of a material that is meant to last, regardless whether you put them in flames or use them under water." He removed his glasses as he produced his pipe and stuffed it with fresh tobacco. "-Not-... that I think you'll put your arm in a fire or go swim with that arm a lot, right?"

Juniper blushed heavily and shook her head.

Link barked a warm laugh and patted her shoulder. "Relax kiddo. You'll notice you'll be able to do even more than before with it."

Juniper smilled as he called her like that, even though she wasn't a teenager anymore. But she didn't mind it. "How much do I owe you, mister Link?"

The elder man waved dismissively. "Master Bottlesocket already took care of that for you, and he told me there was no need for you to lay awake at night over it. You just get on with it, and grab back the title you deserve. And should you one day be in the possession of your license again, please come knock at my door as I still could use an associate." He winked at her and got up, guiding her out.

Juniper was so completely baffled she could only stammer words like thank you and goodbye.

Puffing on his pipe, Link just watched how the younger woman descended the metal staircase and disappeared into the city, his own metal arm buzzing as he reached for his keys in his pocket.

((this gif takes up to a few minutes to load after pressing PLAY))
Moire Rouge : 'Coins are flat, and are meant to be piled up.'
Juniper : 'Your local tinkerer!'
Kitty -Less hell, more cat-
Álfhildr Fältkrigare -Oaken soul-
Erickar Avery -More than meets the eye-
& Brendika F., Jyn R., Bash B., Lux, Rift, Jezebeth, Isabel C., Depheant M., Sona K.

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lum
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Joined: Wed Jan 27, 2016 4:37 pm

Re: Juniper Bottlesocket - Once upon a last time

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Around present time...


When she opened her eyes, she frowned hard. She found herself waking up inside a somewhat dishevelled tent. Likely some of the ropes outside which should have been tight, offered plenty of room for the canvas to dance with the tune of the forces of nature. Something was rhythmically beating on the tent’s exterior, perhaps rain. She could feel wind passing in between, touching her face and bare fingers, and it was almost so cold that it could even steal heat from a glacier.

What the h...

As she stepped outside there was no colour save for white and dark grey. Said wind howled hauntingly under a leaden overcast sky, seeking its way down a huge dark mountain arching the horizon. Snow flurries were thrown at her face as she turned around. She lifted her enforced arm against the increasing barrage of snowflakes when a clap of thunder cut through the other sounds on this arctic plain.

The floor below her feet was absolutely white, and around her there was nothing that could guide her out of this place. Her limbs were already becoming still with unforgiving cold, any hope she may have had shattered like ice.

Where am I… who put me here…? And… and why this.. this cruel? This place would be beautiful perhaps under different circumstances, majestical even. But like this? I bet I got less than ten minutes. Seeing this place may be perhaps an opportunity of a lifetime, but it is going to cost me mine…

Meanwhile it was also growing darker, and for a moment she imagined her heart had just stopped beating in her chest, while her body became as frozen as the rest of the landscape. If there had been any sun at all, it had now sunken deep behind the horizon.

How could anyone even survive out here? They should at least have warm clothes, and equipment… and… and even then. If you were to live out here, you’d need way, way more.

Weird perhaps given the circumstances, but during what she considered to be the last minutes of her life, her mind started working out solutions for what be a problem for others.

Don’t fight the problem so much, child...

Huh…? Who is there?


The Gond girl looked around but then realized it had been a whisper, or a voice inside her head perhaps. Nothing, and no one answered.

Instead however, something else started to happen. Whether this was before her mind’s eye or for real, shapes loomed up in the nearby distance.

Have faith…

That… voice again.

She tried to focus on what was happening in front of her. The shapes moved and…


Gond’s hammer… are those… people? And… are they... working… building? For real?

It were workers alright, preparing some sort of foundations in the snow. More shapes spaced in as if showing up out of clearing fog. Cranes and supporting towers, building constructions, structural frames like ugly skeletons sticking out of the snow, massive blocks of rock transported down a railroad network… the building site expanded, eating the land around.


They… are building a city…? Right here? In the middle of… how, how they even think to stay warm?? They can’t…. oh my… thermal tech. Yes, they would need to have some kind of local heat source. Near a… a volcano perhaps, or… or geothermal fields.

She blinked as she heard that voice again, soft yet clear in her mind.

See…? Do you now see what a mind can do even when you are pushed to your limits…? Problems are opportunities, chances in life.

“W.. who are you?” She asked out loud, but received no answer. Instead she seemed to consider the growing society in front of her.

It would know its problems, but if there be laws and everyone would be doing their parts… and not lose faith…


The images went on for a wee while longer, until she sensed something warm against her.

When Juniper opened her eyes, she saw she had been lying curled up against Aidan.

Much better than some icy rock, she thought to herself as she closed her eyes again. But she also realized she just now had been presented another engineering challenge...
Moire Rouge : 'Coins are flat, and are meant to be piled up.'
Juniper : 'Your local tinkerer!'
Kitty -Less hell, more cat-
Álfhildr Fältkrigare -Oaken soul-
Erickar Avery -More than meets the eye-
& Brendika F., Jyn R., Bash B., Lux, Rift, Jezebeth, Isabel C., Depheant M., Sona K.

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lum
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Re: Juniper Bottlesocket - Once upon a last time

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Classified as Project Polar in her notebook...


Polar bear, bear which is adapted to cold environs without the use of magic. They are among the largest of normal bears in all Faerun. They’re actually also sea bears and can swim for days in a row. Their skin is built up in different layers, two coats of fur and a good layer of fat helps them keep their temperature up comparable to that of a human. The bumps and hair on their paws helps them with traction on slippery surfaces, and they find food in even the most of desolate looking places simply by their powerful sense of smell. And yet... even for them things can become too cold, especially when winter arrives. In that case they either seek shelter, or come down south for a time.


In the cool glow of a gaslight, Juniper dropped her quill pen in the flask. It was funny that she was sitting here like that in the lower levels of the Gondian temple while outside summer started to kick in. But she had to do this. She had to figure out how humans could survive in the scarcely populated region like the Cold Lands for example. There was a mass of land there -which had been frozen for who knows how long- called the Great Glacier. Some say it’s a god who laid himself to rest there thousands of years ago, while some others claim it’s magical.

Thoughtfully she tapped her left metal finger on the map next to her notebook. Yes, it would be the perfect region for her thesis, and to release her eventual concept on. But before she’d go there, there was a place beyond Nashkel that would do just fine for smaller, equipment-independent and theoretical experiments. Nevertheless, the Great Glacier would be the final goal for this project, and hopefully some day perhaps even reality.

Imagine that, a second Lantan, but then high up in the North. Gond would be so proud of us.

The Gond girl closed her eyes as she leaned back and pictured what it would be like in that world of ice. A world so mysterious and beautiful, and at the same time a nemesis to all life, with pristine white, uncharted deserts and brilliant surfaces. Even with good means and equipment, crossing such would be an entirely crazy and soulless operation, unless you happened to posses unlimited conviction and powerful spells bestowed upon you by the gods. The latter however was not a solution for just anyone, like the common man. Colonists heading there would also require a strong will in order to reside in such featureless landscape, and they should be prepared to pierce deep into the crust of ice and earth to establish the foundations of a new durable, self-sustaining society.


But just imagine the glamour of such enterprise in itself…


Moire Rouge : 'Coins are flat, and are meant to be piled up.'
Juniper : 'Your local tinkerer!'
Kitty -Less hell, more cat-
Álfhildr Fältkrigare -Oaken soul-
Erickar Avery -More than meets the eye-
& Brendika F., Jyn R., Bash B., Lux, Rift, Jezebeth, Isabel C., Depheant M., Sona K.

User avatar
lum
Posts: 852
Joined: Wed Jan 27, 2016 4:37 pm

Re: Juniper Bottlesocket - Once upon a last time

Unread post by lum »

Around present time...


There were days she had the feeling where she felt welcome and could help and turn the world -and the lives of the people within- into a better place. But just as well she experienced days where it felt like as if she was merely observing said world from within her own sanctuary. Like as if her body was a shell she used to move around in an attempt to change or perhaps even improve her actual perspective. Or maybe she moved her body around in order to find a sanctuary for it as well.

Whatever be of it, it was clear that whatever she was looking for was safety and peace, as well as the ultimate time and place that would best suited for her to be. In reality it was an escape, and perhaps ignoring a problem she had. Because, why wait for the right time before doing something, or before moving to potential new favorit places? Why not attempt to interpret signs in each new place and setting differently?

She sometimes was so much different than anyone else. So what? Did it mean she had to try and handle things all alone? All by herself? Or, could she perhaps accept that life was actually also about pleasure as well as pain? Could she understand that in the eyes of some she was looking very special? Could she herself decide on things by how they resonate in her heart? Could she really care on what she actually wished to express in the same way like Gond does when He nudged her dreams?

Hardship versus success, frustration versus motivation, hesitation versus anticipation. Or would she pay too much for dreams to come true? Life however was not just about the destination, if at all. It’s more about the journey she was making. And maybe it shouldn’t be one in the dark, especially when alone. Maybe… there were others out there. And maybe… just maybe... she already had met them.

And maybe her mind just hadn’t been open...


Moire Rouge : 'Coins are flat, and are meant to be piled up.'
Juniper : 'Your local tinkerer!'
Kitty -Less hell, more cat-
Álfhildr Fältkrigare -Oaken soul-
Erickar Avery -More than meets the eye-
& Brendika F., Jyn R., Bash B., Lux, Rift, Jezebeth, Isabel C., Depheant M., Sona K.

User avatar
lum
Posts: 852
Joined: Wed Jan 27, 2016 4:37 pm

Re: Juniper Bottlesocket - Once upon a last time

Unread post by lum »

Very close to present time...


The Gond girl sat down near what was to be become the prow of the ship, a bowl of bean soup cupped in both hands. Gingerly as well as giddy she watched the act of semi-bare flesh and muscle working out in front of her. Improper thoughts briefly flashed through her mind while she took a sip, and for a moment she was tempted to suspend the work until she’d be done investigating those. Around here at Baldur’s harbor it would be like sailing close to the wind however, so for now it was just up in her fantasy how she’d put that muscle to work in other ways.

She giggled soft to herself, and barely was able to suppress laughter when she saw how he looked up from his work and over at her. And with that oh so typical yet handsome frown of his!

“It’s nothing, love, just ahhh… a few inside tickles….” She blushed as she said that, knowing all too well it would be not long before he’d put down that axe and saw and come over to her.

Shiny with sweat, solid enough for her, muscles apparent on his back and arms, hair and other spots coated in sawdust while the rest of that skin gleamed in the bright sunlight… what more could a girl like herself wish for?


In her imagination he already had reacted to her. He said : “Impossible for me to continue…”, and with those eyes of his intensely looking into hers he continued, “...so, now if you would, my sweet Gondian goddess, breakfast awaits us, and it promises to be more pleasing than this labor.”
She would then have taken Aidan’s arm and answered with a bright blush on her cheeks : “I would be more than willing to accompany you to such feast, my captain.”



And then all of a sudden he was standing in front of her, holding out his hand. How did she miss him walking up to her??

She nearly died however when he started.

“Impossible... for me to continue…” he whispered. And with those eyes intense with desire and love.

Her heart skipped a beat… or two.
Moire Rouge : 'Coins are flat, and are meant to be piled up.'
Juniper : 'Your local tinkerer!'
Kitty -Less hell, more cat-
Álfhildr Fältkrigare -Oaken soul-
Erickar Avery -More than meets the eye-
& Brendika F., Jyn R., Bash B., Lux, Rift, Jezebeth, Isabel C., Depheant M., Sona K.

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