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Author Topic: La llum i l'anima [Mascherari & Caeli]  (Read 3459 times)

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Offline Mascherari

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Re: La llum i l'anima [Mascherari & Caeli]
« Reply #50 on: December 08, 2009, 01:15:13 AM »
Rohwik had managed to pull at the heartstrings of a familiar portly, yet most kind and generous mistress of the kitchen. (with the help of some very sympathetic kitchen hands, of course.) He had immediately assigned to dish duty, told to scrub each plate sullied at the table by Lord Atadel as well as Rohwik and the others. Mrs. Bertram felt for Rohwik and what had happened, but she did still fret for what treats he might get his fingers on should he be let near any thing that dealt with food. Much to her slight surprise, he was fairly well behaved. It seemed that he took his offense to Lord Atadel quite seriously, even though it was merely an accident.

Once the dishes had been finished - those that were used at the table as well as a few pots Rohwik managed to grab and wash despite the protests of others - Rohwik felt it was about time to make his way and apologize to the others about his misstep at breakfast. (Madame Bertram had it in her mind that he had done more than enough work to 'repent for his sin' and sent him on his way anyhow.) On his way to search for the master of the estate as well as the lady mage, he had passed by the staircase where three of the other boys had been lightly discussing the continuation of their journey.

"Rohwik!" William called out, moving down the stairs after the man. The others followed.
"Rohwik, I'm terribly sorry for what I had said this morning..." Tolan's head was bowed as he apologized to his companion.
"No." Rohwik shook his head curtly, "You were right. I deserved what happened. You're all telling me that I should keep my mouth shut and I just don't listen."
"And you don't intend to either..." William eyed the flame-haired jester pointedly.
"No, certainly not!" the grin on Rohwik's face caused the poindexter to sigh and shake his head defeated, "I'm the life of the journey - you can't expect me to allow it to go on without keeping things entertaining. But what I can do is apologize for any offense I inadvertently make. And that's precisely what I intend to do. You.. you haven't seen either Master Atadel or Lady Lhurriel, have you?"

William blinked a moment, unsure as to whether or not he had seen them after they had departed the dinning hall. Ghestin merely shook his head, certain he hadn't.

"I do believe I had seen the ladymage move to the study... after Kae had apologized."
Rohwik winced slightly at that last bit, nodding. He would have to apologize to his superior as well. He knew that his blunder did not only reflect on himself, but on Kaeden as a commanding official as well.

Having the brotherhood they did, it was no surprise to Hawk that the others practically stepped on his heels when he went to make his way to apologize. He took no offense to it, however, as he admittedly knew he would be the one to suggest sticking their noses where they "weren't invited."

The man's hand was poised to knock on the door left ajar to the library but stopped himself when he heard Corsair's voice. He had thought that Lhurriel would have been alone, however he found it a good turn for him. It would be best to apologize to the both of them at the same time. Well, so it was his intent until he had heard what was said. He glanced over his shoulder at the others who were looking on and seemed quite interested in the bit that was heard as well. Quickly and quietly they all gathered at the door, as silent as a grave while Corsair continued.

"What on earth are you all -" Kae was immediately silenced by hands cupping over his mouth. William was first to keep him quiet, Ghestin's rested over his. Kaeden gave a slightly annoyed look of confusion when he was shushed by Tolan and Hawk at once. Kae would have demanded an explanation for the behavior, but there was little chance he would be able to work free of Ghestin's hold unless that was what he wanted.

Tough luck.

Offline CaeliTopic starter

Re: La llum i l'anima [Mascherari & Caeli]
« Reply #51 on: December 08, 2009, 01:56:35 AM »
Quite oblivious of their audience, both Lhurriel and Corsair both sat in silence for a long moment as Lhurriel absorbed his words.

Yes... I loved him. But if the Fates intervened in such a way, then I was not destined for him since the beginning.

Lhurriel couldn't help it, as emotion clogged her throat. While one part of her understood that she and Corsair could never be together, the other part of her heart denied it with every silent tear it shed. When the accident had first happened, Lhurriel had been devastated - not only because two people had died on her account, and almost all the rest injured, but also because she had developed a fear of storms and heights...

But because now, duty - both her's, and Corsair's - barred them from ever getting married.

I loved him so much... I thought he was my soulmate. It felt right, it felt true... Perhaps that was my fault, to think that the Fates had blessed me with not only powerful magic, but two men who loved and cared for me. First Roland had died... and then the magicycle accident that had changed her life. Lhurriel choked back a sob as tears began running down her face, and was suddenly glad for Corsair's presence as he embraced her tightly, letting her tears wet his clean shirt. He murmured incomprehensible things to her in his soothing voice as she struggled to compose herself.

"I'm sorry I brought it up. But it hurt - for both of us."

It still hurt, sometimes, knowing that one simple event had forever altered the course of their life. They had been speaking of marriage, before that... but now, it simply wasn't possible.

"I'm sorry," Lhurriel finally whispered, when her eyes were dry again. He offered her a handkerchief, which she took and used before returning it.

"But you and I know... yes. I know. Because my duty demands that I find a spouse who will provide me heirs... that makes you unsuitable," Corsair said. Despite how softly they were speaking, every word coming from their mouths could be heard clearly by their silent audience just outside the door.

"If I had not made my vows as a mage of this kingdom - I might have considered tossing duty out the window and overruling my own wisdom. But I have to be rational - we both have to be," Lhurriel said with a weak chuckle. "Even love can't remove the fact that I have my duty to the kingdom, and you have yours to your bloodline. But Corsair..."

He smiled bitterly. "I know, Ree. But until I can in clear conscience say that you are my friend - and only that - I can't even think about looking for a wife. It would not be fair to her if part of my heart still belonged to you."

Sensing a lightening of the atmosphere, Lhurriel smiled and reached up to hug him, wishing that things may have worked out differently.

"Pretty words, my lord, but you'll have to let go eventually," she said lightly. She impulsively cupped his face with her right hand, seeing in his eyes a ghost of the haunted look that had been in them when he had burst into the room she was resting in, deeply in pain, after receiving news of her dreadful injury. Sometimes, the nightmares and ghost-pain still haunted Ree - she would wake up sweating, breathing hard, her heart beating unevenly as she struggled to remind herself that that was not her future.

She rose to her feet gracefully, smiling crookedly when Corsair when he did the same.

"This is goodbye then," Corsair said ruefully. Lhurriel nodded, not trusting herself to speak. They stared at each other.

They both reached for each other at the same time - Lhurriel, for Corsair's shoulders, and Corsair for her hips - and for a long moment, the two of them were transported back to the past, when they had been so deeply in love and so full of dreams and visions of future happiness. Lhurriel returned his fervent kiss with every drop of her soul, knowing that this would likely be the last time she would ever be the only female in Corsair's heart. Next time, they would be close friends - but only friends.

A sudden noise in the doorway made Lhurriel jump... eyes narrowing in suspicion, she strode to the half-open door and yanked it open all the way.

Offline Mascherari

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Re: La llum i l'anima [Mascherari & Caeli]
« Reply #52 on: December 08, 2009, 01:58:49 AM »
Kaeden's burning want to kick Rohwik in the head - because there was no doubt in his mind that it was Hawk's idea to eavesdrop on the conversation they were clearly to keep out of - subsided once the subject of the conversation was made clear. It was obvious that the whole story was muddled for them, the conversation lacking details to make everything fit together, but there was no mistaking what was being said.

His struggles settled, though his men were smart enough to know better than to let him loose. Perhaps Kae was just a little too good when he assumed that Corsair and Lhurriel held feelings for one another. In all honesty, they weren't a terrible match. Quite the contrary, by all accounts. Both were extremely respectable people as well as unsurpassably decent by way of general demeanor. Corsair was a very collected and very business savvy man. Lhurriel was an extremely talented mage with a grand intellect about her as well as a beautiful smile. She filled out rather wonderfully in the gown she wore the night before.

The captain's brows furrowed and he blinked curiously. What on earth was he thinking? There is no place for such a thing, Kae, you moron. Normally, Kae had no issues with having his mind wander, and certainly not in that way. He had his fill of women when he was at the king's castle. Women constantly vied for his attention and he dealt with it frequently. None managed to catch his eye in a way that would cause him to seek her in a relationship. In all truth, he was very much married to his work as a soldier. Such a life would not permit holding to his duties as he saw fit and foster a healthy and happy relationship with someone. He couldn't think of any woman that way. Most certainly not Lhurriel. For sakes above, she was a comrade and that was probably the worst place to even consider seeking out a companion.

His storm of thoughts was brushed aside by a heavy thump and suddenly the group was in a discrete panic. Rohwik had attempted to shift closer and find a better view inside, but in doing so, he had lost the placement of his foot and kicked the door as he shifted. It wasn't loud, but it was damn well noticeable. Kae was really going to kill them if they got caught. That remark alone at breakfast hurled Rohwik deep into hot water with Corsair. If they were found snooping at the door, Corsair AND Lhurriel would have it out for them all both!

Ghestin was fairly quick for someone his size and immediately hauled Kaeden down the hall toward the front door. Alex and Tolan grabbed Hawk by the shoulders and flung him back and he skidded down the marble floor a good few feet. The two others bolted after Ghestin and their captain and hurriedly disappeared from sight. Rohwik clammered up to his feet just in time to have Lhurriel throw open the doors. Rohwik blinked a moment  at Lhurriel, his heart lodged in his throat as he thanked all the heavens above that he had slid back as far as he did.

"Ladymage!" Rohwik called as he turned toward her and approached, "I've been looking for you... I wanted to apologize to you and Lord Atadel for my terrible comment. I honestly didn't mean to offend."

Kaeden was going to kill them all the next chance he got. Rohwik took comfort in the fact that if he attempted to reprimand them in front of Lhurriel, he would catch the heat as well. Clearly they would be perfectly safe from any wrath of either of them should Lhurriel not find out and she stay with them at all times.

Offline CaeliTopic starter

Re: La llum i l'anima [Mascherari & Caeli]
« Reply #53 on: December 08, 2009, 02:01:24 AM »
Lhurriel paused as she looked down at Rowhik, even though she was a good head and a half shorter than he was. She glared, a bit suspicious, but when she couldn't hear any other noise, she gave the knight a bright, cheerful smile.

Corsair bowed slightly, an amused smile on his face. "No. No need to apologize. I took no offense."

"That IS sweet of you..." Lhurriel jumped in, "But you needn't have done that. We did not take slight from it. Only the topic is still slightly awkward, is all," she said by way of explanation. Even if they had not heard her and Corsair conversing earlier, that simple sentence would have told the others that it had, indeed, once been a possibility, but now was no longer one for some reason or another. She grinned brightly, then tugged at Rowhike's sleeve (since she wasn't nearly tall enough to sling her arm around his shoulders).

"Well, we'll be leaving in one or two hours, so we'd best get our magicycles checked. The crystal mage, Alasdair, promised me he'd help me check over your 'cycles, but I need you to come with me and show me which ones belong to who. We'll do a little tune-up while we're at it... customize the 'cycles slightly for each rider, so they'll respond better to all of you," Lhurriel began blithely, walking down the hall and expecting Rowhik to follow her. Though she was a rather small young woman, her confidence and strong will made her presence known.

Corsair watched the two, an expression of longing flitting through his eyes as he watched her disappear down the hall, still chattering animatedly to the older knight. So trusting, she is... He thought to himself, striding silently in the opposite direction.

He leaned against the wall just around the corner, and watched rather blandly as the remaining members of Kae's squad whispered and sighed in relief at having escaped Lhurriel's wrath. Interesting. I wonder how long they managed to listen to us without either mage nor lord noticing... Corsair thought offhandedly, his left eyebrow winging up slightly.

"So."

The simple word startled all the soldiers into attention, though their faces clearly proclaimed their guilt. Corsair snorted, but smiled, waving at them to indicate that they need not be so formal with him. A self-deprecating grimace crossed over his features as he made eye contact with each of them, at once amused friend and stern lord.

"How much did you hear, anyway? I would explain some of it to you, but I believe that is now Lhurriel's place, and not my own. I am simply... curious," Corsair remarked drily.

Offline Mascherari

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Re: La llum i l'anima [Mascherari & Caeli]
« Reply #54 on: December 08, 2009, 02:02:34 AM »
Rohwik sighed with a soft nod. Perhaps they did not take offense, but Rohwik knew full well his misstep into halls of discussion that did not welcome him. (And regardless if he was forgiven for it, he was well aware of his awaiting punishment courtesy of his superior. His only consolation to that was the joyous fact in which he would not bear such a burden alone.) With the thought in mind, he was able to keep up the pretense that covered their hides from a mage's - nay, a woman's wrath.

"Nevertheless, I hand my regrets to you on a silver platter." the vibrant-haired solider bowed lowly as he extended his apology once more. He stood at the gentle tug on his jerkin. As Lhurriel meandered her way off, surely not intending on speaking to herself to where she might wander, Rohwik nodded politely to his honored host before falling into step behind the ladymage.

The remaining brotherhood held nary a spark of such alleviation. In perfect honesty, Ghestin had considered not releasing the man for the promise of the storming rage he would let loose on them all. However, there was no choice left to him once they were at attention to the familiar voice. Ghestin's arms fell to his sides in suite with the other two and Kaeden was allowed to stand upright on his own.

"I extend my greatest and sincerest apologies for the behavior of my men." Kae sighed as he straightened his tunic, "If there is any punishment for their actions you feel should be implemented, I'm sure that it would be suitable."

Like clockwork, the three standing behind their captain winced. Perfect. That was the last time they were going to let Rohwik convince them into pulling them into his wiles. (At least with him around to get them all caught.) They were going to be in for it. Not only was the captain inviting Corsair's punishment, but he would have come up with special penance for each of them. The cool demeanor that Kaeden held only sent shivers down the boys spines. If he wasn't outrightly angry, it would only mean terrible consequences for them all.

Offline CaeliTopic starter

Re: La llum i l'anima [Mascherari & Caeli]
« Reply #55 on: December 08, 2009, 02:02:48 AM »
Corsair shook his head. "No... no, it's fine. I'm sure she'll tell you in due time, what we were discussing. And I understand the urge to snoop, and poke my nose where it doesn't belong - it was, in fact, how I came across Lhurriel, though she tells me often that such a chance meeting, steeping in sin and debauchery in both parts, is probably going to give us both bad luck for life!"

He shook his head, but smiled and waved down the hall gracefully. "I'll help you see to the packing of more rations for the rest of your journey, gentleman, and updating the maps that you currently have. I have some of the best map-making, and map-display technology in the country - if you'd care to take a look, perhaps I can be of some help to determine where these bandits of yours went."

As he led them down the hall, the lord of the estate detailed his research concerning the map-making technology and equipment he had.

"At first, it was out of necessity. The magicycles need a way to detect how far above the ground they are, and the angle of the pathway, and anomalies in the terrain ahead. So eventually this technology was developed. But then I though - why could this technology also not be used for cartographers? Several years ago I sent a large group of my riders throughout the country with special 'cycles equipped with magical recording equipment; all of them returned, having recorded many of the major trade roads and paths of travel within the kingdom. Knowledge of other geography filled in the rest." He led them into the dark room; Alasdair was currently casting a spell on a large crystal set into the front of a circular table, so he didn't look up when the small group entered. When he finished, the glow between crystal and mage died, and he stood bowing once for Corsair and another time for the soldiers.

"Maps, Alasdair." The taller man smiled, glancing back at the crystal and twitching his fingers almost imperceptibly. Immediately, a glowing, slightly transparent three-dimensional geographical map appeared within the perimeters of the table, displaying rivers, canyons, gorges, forests, and mountains. Another twitch of his fingers brought the region of focus into closer view, and more details dotted the crystal-illusion. Everything down to goat paths in the forest and forks in the road could be seen; it was quite thoroughly complete.

"Interesting device, no?" Alasdair said conversationally. "It took a complicated, powerful working to construct this table - it was Lhurriel who thought of the idea, and connected many of the critical elements of the spell together so that it would function smoothly. But," he said, clearing his throat, "that is quite besides the point at the moment. Now that you can better see the geography you'll be riding into, where do you think the bandits ran to?"

Offline Mascherari

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Re: La llum i l'anima [Mascherari & Caeli]
« Reply #56 on: December 08, 2009, 02:07:20 AM »
A slightly odd confession for the lord to share with the lot of them. But Kaeden held his peace with a dignified nod, unsure of what one would say to such a thing when in his place.

As they were beckoned along, Kae gave a backward glance over his shoulder with the gleam of promise in his eyes. He was pleasantly greeted with the look of guilt and regret on each face. Already he had the perfect punishment for each of them. So perfect he almost couldn't wait to give the orders. However, they would have to wait. Corsair had mentioned the thieving souls that had pilfered the coveted treasure and suddenly the knight's mind had shifted back to assignment.

Kae had almost forgotten through all of the activity during their stay that they had only just begun their mission to return what was wrongfully taken. He wondered then just how much of an issue this was going to turn out to be. There was little clue to who it was that managed to make off with the royal treasure. All they had to go on was direction. He was actually very grateful for Corsair's help. He wasn't sure just how far they would have gotten if they didn't have his help.

It wasn't intentional, but Kaeden was only half listening to Corsair's explanation of the mapping system. It wasn't that the technical didn't interest him, but now he had become refocused on the duty at hand and now that he was considering how little they had to go on, he had become pensive, terribly distracted.

William, however, was quite the contrary. His focus was completely on Lord Atadel and his mind fixated, hanging on every word. The previous burden of guilt and the haunting warrant of punishment had completely left his mind like a weak flame to the gales of a storm. He had become riled with excitement as they moved along down the halls of the estate, eventually his steps were even with Corsair as they trailed ahead of the group toward their destination. Tolan couldn't help but smile as he watched the youngest of the brothers remind him that he was just that. His youthful interest in all things technical and complicated was always something to coax a smile out of whoever took note of it. Ghestin was merely his normal stone faced, silent self following in heavy, (but surprisingly hushed,) steps.

William couldn't help but watch as the spell transpired between mage and crystal, trying to decipher the spell and it's purpose by body signs and utterances he attempted to make out in the vague light. Unfortunately, the moment hardly lasted long enough for him to come to an educated conclusion. Of course, his internal disappointment was highly overcompensated when the room was brightened by a new source of light.

The map faded into view and William's eyes lit up twice as bright, his awe painted all over his face. He was amaze by the vivid detail of the terrain, the accuracy of the roadways - easily recalling smaller landmarks he notice on their journey from the kingdom, all of which he could point out without fail - the fabulous ease that came with finding their current whereabouts and deducing precise distance between them and any curious point he could find. The overall majesty of the geological phantasm was indescribable. Without even thinking - or even hearing Corsair's query - his mouth had converted to a fountain of curiosity, spilling countless questions of his own.

"Lord Atadel, these aren't standard in magicycles, correct? These are merely of your own personal design? How long did it take to create this map in particular? How often are they updated? I mean, considering the fact that it's not done by hand I would imagine it wouldn't take as long, which would mean frequent revision and updating for best accuracy, correct? And what of use in general, Lord? Is it only available to mages? That is, no one without magical talent like myself would have capability of using such technology? I'm curious how the technology and magic coincide. Is it similar to the methods of magicycles? Or is there a different approach taken to implement the structures of magic and science?" The lad went on and on with his questions, fishing for the knowledge of the thing that fascinated him so, each question spawning another thought and thusly several more questions followed; hardly a breath between them. Poor Lord Atadel could possibly spend weeks trying to sate the young ones lust for knowledge.

Offline CaeliTopic starter

Re: La llum i l'anima [Mascherari & Caeli]
« Reply #57 on: December 18, 2009, 09:12:47 PM »
Corsair gave a bark of laughter. "Standard? Gods above, no! If I made these crystals standard in magicycles, my own mages would rebel against me and kill me in my sleep!"

Chuckling, Alasdair hooked the last piece of magic into the crystal, then loops of the crystal magic to the soldiers in the room, enabling them to also move the map at will. "The crystals required for this sort of map-making illusion are few and far between - the purity, size, and flawlessness required makes such crystals rare and expensive." He named a price that made every jaw in the room (except Kaeden, who was focused on the map, and Ghestin, who didn't react in the slightest) drop in shock.

Alasdair's smile was crooked as he waited for them to regain their composure. "Since most people have at least a little magic in them, it's possible to make these maps usable for individuals who haven't enough power to become mages. With the right combination of crystals - small ones, those that activate or enhance power - even a layman could manipulate this map. The one in this room is not spelled that way - we've kept it as pure and as minimally complex as possible - but since I am a crystal mage, it's possible for me to tie the spell to you, so you can move the map." Nodding at the map, he flicked his fingers to zoom back out, to a view of the entire country.

"You should try it out. The spell is attuned to the movements of your fingers and hands. It's a bit difficult to remember how to move and not move at first, but it's quite intuitive. The intricacies and science of this spell are mostly thanks to Miss Lhurriel, though - she was the one who helped pioneer this project. In the meantime-" At Corsair's nod, Alasdair leaned forward, using his free hand to brighten the colors in the north-eastern region of the country. "Lord Atadel's estate is here, at this edge; the Great Eastern Trade Road continues up this way before turning north in a few days..."

Offline Mascherari

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Re: La llum i l'anima [Mascherari & Caeli]
« Reply #58 on: January 05, 2010, 06:28:08 PM »
The squad captain was transfixed to the map – though for little reason of astonishment. His eyes were geared into analysis. Where could these thieves be going? Was it possible that whoever was behind this robbery was someone close, or at least operating from somewhere nearby? He glanced over the dimensional map before him, eyes tracing over the landmarks and fields, looking for any trace of possible escapes these bandits could have crawled into. Tolan kept an extra set of eyes out for Kae, always certain about what was going through his superior’s mind, though, he kept an interested ear open to Alasdair’s explanation to young William’s curiosity.

“I am..” William gave a small and softly forlorn smile, “envious of magic users.”

He was thoroughly disappointed at the fact that one had to be blessed with the gift of magic in order to use it. He was a creature of comfort and his warmth was knowledge. His ever nagging curiosity drove him and it made his heart sink every time he was reminded that magic would elude him. His young spirits were lifted once more once the crystal mage offered to let William give it a try.

“Look.” Tolan pointed a bit north on the trade road. “There’s a settlement just east of the trade road.”

William took to the map like a fish out of water, extending and curling his fingers to let the image flow and zoom as though he had worked it since development. The images whipped by and focused in on the village that Tolan had pointed out. “That’s Enloden. At least a two day’s journey from the Lord’s estate.”

“Enloden?” Kaeden heard that name before, “There’s a shadow network there. If we find the right place and the right people, perhaps we can find out of there is any information about the stolen artifact… Or at least if anyone has heard of the happening.”

“And look there. Just northeast of the fields.” William shifted the map again flying the focus passed the fields and to a particular point of interest as Tolan spoke up once again. “It looks like some kind of cavern in the mountains.”

Kaeden nodded. “Looks like we have our starting point.” The captain looked over to Alasdair and nodded in thanks to the mage’s great help. “My Lord Corsair..” he looked to his host, “I believe it’s time we made our departure.”

Offline CaeliTopic starter

Re: La llum i l'anima [Mascherari & Caeli]
« Reply #59 on: May 05, 2010, 07:02:18 PM »
The nobleman smiled and bowed slightly. "I am grateful that I can be of service to you gentleman. While I would be honored to have you extend your stay, I understand that you have your duties to the kingdom as well."

After a few more short, terse comments on where they should go and what kind of plans should be made, the entire group filed out of the map room. Without the magic of the map filling it with a gentle, warm glow, the room seemed almost normal - certainly, nobody who did not know the secrets of the table would be able to guess that it housed such a powerful resource.

"I'm sure that Lhurriel will be nearly done with preparations on your 'cycles. If you'll follow me?" Corsair led the way to the 'cycle housing, the modern reinvention of the medieval stables. Few people except some nobles with a soft spot for tradition (Corsair being one of them) owned horses anymore.

As they approached, they could hear Lhurriel muttering out loud to herself as she went over the magicycles. Turning the corner, they could all see that most of their vehicles had been pulled out of their respective boxes; the mage was currently going over Kae's 'cycle, examining and probing it with both fingers as well as magic. From the satisfied tone of her comments, it was clear that she was near to finishing.

Looking up, she flashed the group a bright smile as they walked near. "I'm just about done here. I need all of you to test them for a short ride before I solidify the changes with my magic, but we should be well on our way to our next destination within the hour."