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Cold wind whistled through the gorge that cut through the Ascarlin Mountains, sending a shiver through Lyne that rattled all the way down to the bone. Below, autumn colors were settling into the woods that surrounded the city of Negav. People were tending warm hearths, cooking dinner as the heat radiated out into the room and melted off the chill starting to settle in. Snow was rare in Felarya's only permanent human settlement, but that knowledge did little to make the winter rains less frigid.

Lyne pulled his cloak around him and hunched forward, trying to keep his hands from the iron barrel of his rifle, which refused to hold any heat. His shirt and pants were at least warm enough to keep the chill off of his wire-thin body, and the mop of loose, curly hair was thick enough to hold in what heat he managed to acquire.

"Liven up, son," said the driver next to him. He dug his elbow into Lyne's side, and about knocked the young man over. "You look like you're keeping a graveyard watch."

The young man set his jaw, and tried to keep his teeth from chattering. "I'm cold," Lyne said.

"Then eat more." The driver gave a belly laugh, holding the reins of the cart in one hand as he slapped the other against his belly. The man had an ample girth to him, though as tall as he was, his bulk of fat and muscle was imposing rather than stubby. He smirked, the lines around his mouth creasing. "There's enough money in these mountains that you should be making plenty to eat with."

"Most of it goes to the landlord. Living in Negav isn't cheap."

"Living out here isn't either," the driver said. His eyes scanned up the sheer walls of ash-colored stone that defined the pass. Lyne looked with him: the ledges further up the walls were empty of anything but the occasional patch of scrub, and the skies were cloudless and blue. "If you catch my drift, of course," the other man continued.

There was no need to remind him, Lyne thought. The dangers outside Negav's walls were common knowledge.  Felarya was a dangerous world, and those unprepared to defend themselves from an imminent threat at all times did not survive long outside of the Magiocracy's protections. Even if it seemed that they were alone in the pass, the odds were someone or something was watching them. "I'd almost rather take my chances out here. Maybe I wouldn't be hungry."

"You might not be," said the driver. He chuckled, and returned his eyes to the road ahead of them. "But you might be lunch."

Lyne sighed, but held his tongue. The thick hand of the driver tussled his wind-tangled black hair, then gave a firm grip on his shoulder. "I only kid you, son. You're a sharp one; I wouldn't have hired you otherwise. Now sit up, and keep your eyes peeled." The driver's hand pulled away, and took a firm hold of the reins. The horses were slowing, their heads turning from one side to another, as though the beasts towing them and their cartload of precious, mined ascarlin were mindful of the threat lurking in the back of their two passengers' minds. "We're in prime harpy territory, now."

The thought of the winged menaces gave Lyne a chill distinct from that caused by the cold. Every strong wind, every noise, every silhouetted shape above them, was a potential harpy. He remembered his first encounter with one: the angry rattle of the cart's wheels as they raced down the pass still rang in his ears, as did the mocking laughter of the predator bearing down on them. The gusts from her beating wings blasted cold air down on them, growing stronger as the monster chased them down the narrow path.

He and Raq, the driver who rode with him today as well, were lucky to escape. The cart itself, the horses, and the two guards standing over the tarp-covered payload of ascarlin were less so. The two of them watched helpless as the cart was carried away in the harpy's talons, one guard falling to his death in the gorge below. The other guard shot fruitlessly at his captor, the gunfire echoing in the pass until well after the predator had flown out of sight. The fallen guard was the lucky one, Raq had told him later, once they'd emerged from the crack in the stone cliff they'd taken refuge in. As were they; the treasure and meal were enough that she'd not bothered to drag them out from their hiding spot through her magic or the slithering muscle of her tongue.

Lyne steadied his breath, stilled his heart; there must be no sound, no noise at all, he told himself. His head must be completely clear, as there would only be seconds after the tell-tale sound of a harpy's dive for them to seek shelter.

There was nothing but his heart beat, loud like a campfire drum.

Then, the air was split in two by a loud, piercing cry.

Lyne rose to his feet, grabbing Raq's shoulder to steady himself. "Go!" he shouted, pointing his rifle skyward. The driver gave not a moment's hesitation; the reins snapped, the horses whinnying as they launched forward into a high-speed gallop.

Lyne sighted down the barrel, searching the sky for the shape of their hunter. There was nothing, nothing at first, the glint of the afternoon sun blinding him for a moment as it gleamed off of the top of the gun.

It was once his sight cleared that he saw her: she was still high in air, but dropping fast, brown wings outstretched and swept back to speed her descent. Lyne wasted no time admiring her, steadying his weapon before firing up at his target.

The harpy screeched, the sound crisp as the cool air around them, part of a feather or two flying away from one wing. The massive limbs flapped hard for a moment to steady their owner. The downdraft from her flight plowed into the cart, shaking it. Lyne's legs buckled, boots sliding over the floor of the driver's bench until he retook his footing. "She's closing in," he shouted, unloading the spent shells from his weapon.

"We're riding as hard as we can," Raq said over the steady, rapid beat of hoves on stone. "Hold her off a bit longer!"

"I'm trying!"

He jammed two fresh shots into the barrel and raised it up, only to gasp at how low the harpy managed to drop in so short a time. He could see her clear as day now; a halo of fire-orange hair blew back around her head, while something golden gleamed around her neck. Her chest was bound back with leather armor, though the rest of her was bare.

Gold eyes narrowed at Lyne, a corner of the harpy's mouth curling up towards her cheek. "C'mon," she said, calling down from above. Her voice, condescending as her laughter mixed with words, made the hair at the back of his neck stand on end. "Point that stick at me and shoot, you miserable bug. Try it!"

If you insist, Lyne thought, and planted one foot against the front of the cart before firing again into the harpy's wings. Pieces of brown feather flew away from her wing again, blowing away in her wake. The harpy snarled, taking a moment again to steady herself as he raced to empty his gun for another volley.

"I've got one with a bit of brains, today!" The harpy's laugh rang against the walls of the pass, and seemed to surround them as easily as the rock did. "Let's see you shoot at this!"

With one powerful beat of her wings, a wall of air slammed down into their cart, lifting it from the ground enough that the impact of landing cracked a wheel free from the back axle. The horses called out, stumbling as the cart dragged them backward, until they ground to a halt. The impact knocked Lyne from his feet; he grunted, his back hitting the front wall of the carriage. He sat stunned for a moment, while Raq braced his hands against the same wall to keep from being flung forward onto the horses.

"Where is she," Raq shouted, looking over at Lyne. There was an edge of panic in his words. This was a dangerous spot to be in; they both knew as much. There was no time to waste getting the harpy back in their sights. "Where did she go?"

"I'm looking for her! She must have climbed--"

Another sharp cry split the air, and a second wall of wind blew down upon them, dumping the two of them on the cart as it rolled onto its side, their steeds' harnesses splitting apart as they twisted. There was heat to it; the sudden warmth startling Lyne, his skin so used to the pervasive cold. "She...!"

There was not a moment to collect themselves; the surge of wind was followed by fire and heat, the burning curtain rolling over them as easily as the wind had. Lyne threw his weapon and hip bag of shot away from himself, fearing the powder would catch in the blast of heat, while his sight went red and white from the instant of blinding light.

Lyne dropped to the ground, curled on himself with his back to the sky, waiting for the wall of fire to subside before raising his head. The cart, the horses, and Raq came back into focus, though his eyes watered in the heat, blurring his vision. His partner ran towards him, stumbling on one leg as the other dragged a step behind him. "Can you get up?" Raq called, voice frantic, the man coughing as he tried to speak. "Lyne!"

"I can," Lyne said, voice rasping. "I think."

Another blast of air dropped down from above, crushing both men against the ground. Above, the harpy's laughter rang out, the beat of her wings through the air growing louder as she descended. Lyne looked over his shoulder, struggling to get his hands under him, to get off of his belly.

"Had enough, you measly worms?"

Talons clicked against the stone ground, the air falling still as the harpy landed behind them. She towered up over the pass, legs as thick as tree thunks, supporting a torso as big as a house. "Burnt up, and beaten down. Pathetic." She leaned down, her shadow stretching out over the two of them. The downward curl of her lips made her disdain perfectly clear as her face hovered above them.

"Lyne," Raq gasped, keeping his back to the giant and his voice low. "Get up, and make a break for the horses. Run for it; don't worry about--"

Raq bellowed in pain as one of the harpy's claws dropped down on him, her talons wrapping around him like a cage as it dragged him over the hard ground. "Did I say," the woman shouted, hips shifting her weight onto the claw that held the carriage driver in its grip, "either of you louses could spit up words? Did I?"

Lyne remained frozen in place. Part of him wanted to run; Raq was buying him a chance to escape. It felt cruel, though, to leave the man he'd worked beside for years to die in this monster's clutches. Sudden death might be a common work hazard in the wilds of Felarya, but abandoning one's fellow man to such a fate was by no means humane. He looked back to the rifle that lay discarded across the singed stone and scrub. If she held her attention on Raq for just a moment longer, he could reach it. He could fire on her, startle her, enough to release his partner and give them both a chance at escape.

Then her other claw dropped onto him and pressed him down against the rock.

"You think I don't see you? Think I had my eyes pecked out?" The harpy's legs spanned the gap from the side to side, though they hardly had to stretch far to do so. "Idiots. Your toys aren't worth a damn to either of you, now. You're the prey of Queen Nylea. You should feel flattered--" She grunted, pressing down harder on them, pain exploding through Lyne's chest as his ribs were pressed into the stone. Raq's own cries rang off of the walls of the pass; it took Lyne pressing his mouth to the ground to keep from joining him, "--to be held in the grip of a creature as magnificent as I."

Lyne pressed his arms down into the stone, and tried to push back. Anything, he thought, to keep his chest from shattering and tearing his insides to shreds. "I think," he spat out, raising his voice through the sounds of her and Raq's pain, "I'd rather die."

"Oh, rest assured," Nylea said. Her legs lifted, only a matter of a few inches, but just enough for her talons to close completely under the both of them. Her wings beat air against the ground, which slowly began to fall away from them as the giant raised herself skyward. "One of you bugs is going to die, today. Which will it be? Which one, which one?" She rolled the question around, as though pondering what outfit she wanted to wear, or what token to buy from a street vendor.

Her talons squeezed slowly around Lyne, the thick, hard digits of her claws pressing in on his skin before relaxing again. She did the same to Raq, the driver simply staring upward at their captor in horror. Once they were well above the pass, the harpy smiled, squeezing her grip tight around Lyne.

"I've made my choice," she said, looking down at Lyne. "Fatter worms are tastier, I find. Say 'goodbye' to your partner, you little weed."

Lyne's face went pale. He looked back over his shoulder at Nylea's face, far above them. "No!"

The harpy didn't bother with a response. Instead, she swung Raq forward, releasing him into the open air once she'd thrown him ahead of her. The elder man screamed as he was launched into free fall, tumbling through the open air towards the pass, hundreds of feet below them. Nylea leaned forward into a drive, chasing him downward as she held her grip tight to Lyne.

He watched helplessly, his old friend turning end over end, his captor's laughter ringing through the clear sky as she closed the gap between them. At the last second, with Nylea and her quarry only feet apart, she flipped over onto her back, drawing up the claw holding Lyne to afford him one last look at his friend.

Her mouth opened wide, head darting upward to meet Raq halfway; in an instant, her mouth snapped shut behind the screaming driver. Cheeks swelled from the morsel now trapped behind her lips, the occasional beat of a fist visible where it pressed out against her skin.

"Hmph," Nylea muttered around her prey, through closed lips. "Feisty."

She tipped her head back, and let her throat do what gravity wouldn't. Her throat swelled as Lyne watched, seeming to struggle to take in the man thrashing against its pull. Nylea seemed unbothered, though; Raq's attempt to escape being swallowed only seemed to amuse her. With only a little more effort than a human gulping down an over-sized bite of meat, though, Nylea forced her snack down. The lump in her throat disappeared into the depths of her chest, sealing her prey's fate. She licked her lips in satisfaction, smacking them together with a contented sigh.

"That just proves it," she said, looking back to Lyne, the young man's head poking out from between her talons. "The fatter ones really are better tasting. You ought to take after him, if you ever want to appeal to anyone."

Lyne grit his teeth together, and in that instant, a stupid idea flashed through his mind. He was a dead man anyway; no Felaryian predator would simply let their catch go out of pity. If he was going to be bird food, he might as well go down with a fight. Without a second's more hesitation, he opened his mouth, and bit down on the tough, plated flesh of the harpy's claw.

Nylea shouted, her talons stretching out, losing their grip on Lyne. The open sky surrounded him, and gravity began take him back from the harpy's possession. "Idiot hatchling!" Nylea snapped, and thrust her leg out, grabbing him tight again in her hold before Lyne could fall beyond her reach. "You're really that eager to die?"

Lyne gasped for breath; the moment of free fall had sucked much of the breath from his lungs. The impact of Nylea's claw catching him took care of the rest. "I'd rather choose how," he said, struggling against the claws digging into his sides and back to fill his lungs, "than be at your mercy."

"Oh, you're a feisty little bug. Bit like your friend right now." She smirked, the sound of her stomach groaning from her fresh meal timed perfectly. "He's not going anywhere though, and neither are you."

"Just do it already," Lyne said. "Just get this over with."

"You think I'm about to let some worm give me orders? Tough chance. Any time you scrub-crawlers beg me to off you is all the more reason not to do it." The world flipped back around, Lyne's stomach turning with it, as Nylea reoriented herself to fly slowly up the face of the mountain. "You're coming back with me. It's been such a long time since I've had a new toy to play with..."

Lyne swallowed the lump in his throat. Whatever playtime Nylea had in store, he told himself, was bound to be more horrible than anything he wanted to imagine.

~

To Be Continued...
With me drawing so many pictures of Nylea the harpy, and others writing about her, it only makes sense that I shuld start telling a story about her, right?

It's honestly been a while since I've written a story in Felarya; I'm not as familiar with the world as I might like to be. Though I hope that through writing stories about Nylea, and building from there, I might get a better feel for how things fit together.

The title of the story comes from a MeWithoutYou song, titled "The King Beetle on a Coconut Estate", which itself comes from a combination of the fables of Sufi mystic Bawa Muhaiyaddeen, and "The Sayings of the Desert Fathers", the writings of a Coptic Christian monk by the name of Abbot Joseph, dating to the 5th century ACE.

Nylea the harpy and related characters belong to :iconmukatkikaarn:
Felarya and related concepts and settings belong to :iconkarbo:
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:icondavid-dent-jedai:
david-dent-jedai Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2014
Very nicely written. This is why there are Isolon Fist battle mages assigned to every Ascarlin shipment. More to worry about than bandits Ya know. XD My word Nylea reminds me of a Mist Elf I wrote named Nelda. She too is very condescending to her prey too.
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:iconmukatkikaarn:
MukatKiKaarn Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
True, though I always imagine that the Isolon Fist charges a heavy fee or tax for that protection-- a dangerous line of work like that probably pays well. Those who can't afford the tax have to go it alone, and face all the dangers that brings. ^^ I'm glad you like her so much! I'll have to check out some of your own stories, since you keep mentioning them...
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:icondavid-dent-jedai:
david-dent-jedai Featured By Owner Sep 16, 2014
Hmm I dunno. I don't think it says so in the wiki. But it does make sense that they'd be compensated for such obviously dangerous work considering most of them don't hardly leave the city's protective zone much. XD Oh do I? I'm sure that's not deliberate. ....maybe. <.< Okay maybe a little. Though keep in mind I haven't gone over some with fine toothed comb again. ^^; As a writer I surfer from one thing you don't seem to. Spelling errors.

Also do you mind if posit your theory on the Felarya forum or ask you to do so? I'm always trying to find new ways to expand Negav in my question to be see as mod mat- Ah to help better the human city of Negav I mean! ^^; Aha ha ha ha....eh....*Neurilizes you then does what I have to do in Oblivion so much: runs away*
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:iconmukatkikaarn:
MukatKiKaarn Featured By Owner Sep 20, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I know, and I've actually debated the mechanics of maintaining the Isolon Fist with someone before. That's probably one of the more frustrating things I've found with trying to write in any depth in Felarya, is that no one's really worked out the details of how Negav keeps running, and how the Magiocracy holds onto power against the different political factions. They control the technology and magic that protects the city, but theoretically, someone with the desire and will to wrest all of that out of their hands could do it. So the question becomes, how do they maintain control over the economy (to prevent someone from amassing enough wealth to raise an army?)

Now, generally, a state like Negav does that by taxing the daylights out of people, which helps two-fold: you raise the money you need to pay for your troops (they need food, housing, equipment and training, after all!) Plus, I'm sure the family is compensated somehow when a member of the Isolon Fist is killed. You also prevent anyone else in your area from raising enough money themselves to organize, feed, and equip their own army.

One of the things I imagined is that Negav taxes the miners and merchants who work the Ascarlin mines a portion of what they dig out of the mountain to pay for their protection. Can't pay, because you're a smaller mining outfit? Well, that's too bad; you'll just have to fend for yourself. This way, the Magiocrats protect their most profitable mining operations, ensuring that people will *want* to keep working in the mines, and also guaranteeing the loyalty of those powerful mining outfits (since they'll be the most able to pay for protection) and that most people will want to work for those very loyal mining companies. Thus, your source of revenue is secured, as well as some of the largest outfits capable of opposing your control of Negav. And you ensure that your people are dilligently working away and not otherwise plotting to try to overthrow your government.

You can share my thoughts if you want; I honestly should participate more in the Felarya forums myself. Maybe sometime I will. ^^;
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:iconveteanofvore:
VeteanOfVore Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
MORE MORE MORE MORE MORE!  :happybounce:  
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:iconmukatkikaarn:
MukatKiKaarn Featured By Owner Edited Jun 28, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I'll write more when I get a chance! ^^; I wasn't expecting so many people to like this...
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:iconshady-knight:
Shady-Knight Featured By Owner May 3, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Hey, it's been a while since I talked to you.  I've been interested in checking your stuff again when I read that you're not as familiar with the setting anymore as you might have liked.  If you don't mind, I'd like to chat with you about Felarya via notes.  Anyway, reading the story, it does show that you're not as caught up with what has been going on, but honestly, I don't blame you for it.  I'll try to not to dawdle on those points in case you want to talk about them via note, so I'll just say this: as much as I'm annoyed at seeing people not do the research, it dawned on me that the wiki is very badly written and organized, and it's missing a lot of very useful information that would have removed a lot of ambiguity, which makes doing the research much more difficult than it should.  If you want me to elaborate on that, just tell me.

Anyway, on to the narrative itself.  One thing I noticed from this story, and from the samples from your other works, is that you have a much richer vocabulary than I do.  Maybe it's a case of "you are your worst critic", but while your writing is pretty simple, it's also very effective.  I find I'm having a lot of problem balancing things out in my own stories, even recently when I started doing things a little differently.  As a whole, I found that the story did its job well, it was easy to follow, and there wasn't really anything that stood out to me as bad.  I actually like that you showed that Lyne's rifle, though not stated to be modern, was actually hurting Nylea.  It bugs me when I see giants shrug off firearms in a story.  I understand them shrugging off a handgun or shotgun pellets since they have low power and penetration compared to a rifle round, and while it's not going to cause a serious wound, it's still going to hurt, if only just a little.

To me, there's only two sticking points.  First, when the flashback begins.  I understand it officially starts at the next paragraph after the colon, but when I first read it, I was a little confused, I thought suddenly they were attacked.  I think you should have separated the two paragraphs with a line or a lot of dashes.  That would have made the transition clearer.  Next, the fire.  I am still confused about what happened.  I think the idea was that Nylea cast a fire spell, but the form of the spell I think you should have made it clearer.  I can't tell if it was a fireball that scorched both Lyne and Raq (I see what you did there), or if it was a heat wave that made the cart combust.  In any case, neither of them are deal breakers, I just think you could have made them less ambiguous.

Speaking of the cart, some of the mistakes you made.  One, you mentioned at the beginning that winter was coming.  Now, I talked to Karbo about it, and according to him, you wouldn't find winter around Negav and the jungle because it's a tropical climate.  If there's any amount of snow, literally a wizard did it.  But I don't blame you for it, because nothing in the wiki really bring up weather and seasonal patterns.  Next, the cart and the mines.  Supposedly, cargo from the mines to the city follow a specific route, which is guarded by Isolon Fist troops.  Here, Lyne and the two drivers came across as more freelance than actual miners, because the route was devoid of protection and the mention of fellow miners.  But again, I won't hold it against you because that's only mentioned in the Isolon Fist's entry, which is in Negav's Faction; no such info is in the actual Ascarlin Mountains page, and nowhere does the wiki outline what equipment miners use and what vehicle they employ to get the cargo back to Negav.  Common sense dictates Jetbikes, but that's really up in the air.

Lastly, the characters.  I like how you chose to make Lyne and Raq people who are aware of the danger of Felarya and that they prepared for it.  Although, I will say they prepared themselves poorly.  While bringing a weapon was already a good idea, they should have brought something like smoke screens to cover their escape, as there's no taking down the giants.  They're too big for conventional weaponry to bring down.  As such, they should have had a back up plan that entails what to do if they get caught.  Another thing is that I think they should have had more guards with them.  Just the two of them left them horribly undermanned.  That said though, I won't blame them if they didn't have the means to hire a worthwhile mage, cause they can be costly.  I did like that they were defiant to end, though.

This leaves me with Nylea, and this is probably the part where you're now most unfamiliar, at least in my opinion.  The way I see Nylea and how she acts, she understands humans on a fundamental level.  She knows what they are, she knows they're intelligent, she knows what they do and all that crap.  However, she doesn't care and eat them anyway cause she's a giant and that's what giant do, and because she's an asshole.  This doesn't work for me.  The primary reason, in my opinion, is the lack of contact between humans and wild species as they grow up.  As such, the wild species tend to adopt a mentality closer to that of beasts than of humans, in spite of being fully sapient.  When they see a human, they know that it's a human, but that's about as far as their knowledge of them goes.  What they see is a weak creature that's (sometimes) easy to catch and easy to eat, thus a prey.  They may be able to talk, but that's largely irrelevant because they were taught from a young age that Felarya is dangerous and you can't be fussy with your diet, otherwise you're gonna be weak and an easy prey for something else yourself.


I've had this idea for a future short story that involves my giants cast where a group of harpies living in the Ascarlin Mountains are talking about Nylea behind her back, and they think she's either going crazy or her ego is at an all-time low because she's referring to herself as a queen, she's talking to food (read: humans) like they're actual people, and having a few around as slaves, all to make herself feel more important than she really is.  If you're cool with that, I'd be happy to write that story.  It would only be a small part of the story, though, so more of a cameo by mention than anything.

Anyway, that's all I had to say about that chapter.
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:iconmukatkikaarn:
MukatKiKaarn Featured By Owner May 4, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I mean, the wiki is very thorough in most places, and it's a really great resource for writing in Felarya. At the same time, though, it's very obvious that it grew organically and that there wasn't a lot of attention towards how stuff was organized. I would not envy the person trying to take on structuring the wiki into more of a sourcebook/bible on the entire world, though, as there is simply so much to have to cover to really form a comprehensive guide to everything.

Nylea does have fire magic in conjunction with wind magic. It wasn't particularly clear in the story, but she primarily uses this to cast a sweeping wall of super-heated air. This has an effect similar to a firestorm, and while it can ignite things it is primarily intended to scorch and disorient her enemies.

The seasonal thing was a bit weird; I imagine seasons around Negav are more along the lines of a wet and dry season, more so than winter/summer, per se. So that could definitely use revision. Though (thinking more broadly than my story for a moment) climate and weather are probably an even bigger mess to pin down in Felarya than on Earth, because of how unstable the world is. Earth depends on multiple levels of cyclic systems to drive weather, and in Felarya, those cycles are subject to alteration at any time. Though enough of the world is stable enough that we can at least have some typical patterns that can be followed.

One thing I would like to be more clear on is whether the mining companies that work the mountains have to pay for protection by the Isolon Fist-- it'd be guaranteed income, especially as they'd charge a handsome price for such dangerous work. Surely, they would have to, which would make smaller outfits like Raq and Lyne's much more vulnerable. That and the technological level of Felarya. I feel like it is such a strange mix of archaic and sci-fi technology, swords and sorcery and starships and lasers, that it's really hard for me to have a concrete feel for the world and what can typically be expected as far as the tools and weapons the average Felaryian human would have access to.

I honestly imagined Nylea as being somewhat deluded and full of herself; her arrogance and interest in science, magic, alchemy, and the like is probably doesn't rub other harpies the right way. She sees herself as destined to be something great, a leader who will dominate a new era in Felarya's history. She's really off, and it's not hard for me to imagine a scene like you described, with a couple of other harpies talking about how she's completely out of her mind. Which would just make her hate them more, and more determined to prove herself a superior creature who will crush her less sophisticated peers under her talons. ^^;

I don't remember talking to you before, but it may have just been a while ago. But yeah, we can talk more by note if you'd want? I just don't know how quickly I'd get back to you, especially if you reply as in-depth as you did here. ^^;
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:iconshady-knight:
Shady-Knight Featured By Owner May 5, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
I think the whole idea with the Isolon Fist and the mining route is that they're just on patrol around the area, because the mining of Ascarlin and other important minerals is more or less what Negav's economic is founded on.  That said, it's not entirely foolproof.  For example, if giant harpy activity is particularly high that one day, it would probably be in their best interest to have everyone steer clear, cause while they're effective, they're not invincible and an entire flock of giant harpies would be more than a match for them.  There's also the fact that nothing really stops adventurers and mercenaries to come to the mountain and try to score some of the minerals for themselves, cause they sell for a ton of money and some of them are powerful magic conductors.  I imagine they're free to come and go as they want, but they have to steer clear of the miners just so they don't get in their ways, unless of course they're mercenaries offering their services for extra protection, though these would probably work inside the mines, at which point they'd probably have to take a more roundabout way to get in and out.  That's just my take on it, though.
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:iconmukatkikaarn:
MukatKiKaarn Featured By Owner May 15, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
That makes sense, though somehow, someone has to pay wages to the members of the IF. How are they housed? Fed? What about their equipment and supplies? Training? Those have to come from somewhere, which means that somewhere down the line, someone pays for it. Considering they're the right hand of the Magiocracy, the easiest solution is that the Negavian government levies a tax on something to cover that cost. Ascarlin being the most valuable commodity that Negav has, exacting a tax on the industry of mining it would pretty handily pay for everything the IF needs.

Of course, that may mean that only the biggest players in the mining business can realistically afford that tax. And the tax can potentially become a way of strongarming business-- pay the tax, and ensure that you are kept under the watchful, protective eye of the IF. Can't pay? Then don't wander too far off the beaten path. Which, of course, if you're a smaller company, you HAVE to wander far from the main mines to hit a good vein of Ascarlin, as the better-protected routes are all dominated by bigger, wealthier mining companies. So you either pay for mercenaries (might protect you, or might just up and bail when the going gets tough), train your own workers (not a good guarantee, and if any of them get eaten-- well, there goes your investment!), or hope to the deity of your choosing that you're just really, really lucky (good luck with that.)

Economics is one of the areas that I feel should be hashed out more in depth in terms of Felarya, and Negav in particular. Or, if the information about how the nuts and bolts of it works is already worked out, it should be more visible. Politics and economics go hand-in-hand like sleazy brothers up to no good, and the political world of Negav is fairly elaborate. So we now need to know what tools they are operating with, and how people can use, abuse, and game the system for power and profit (because, after all, that's how capitalism works.)
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