island in the sky area

The first rule Jinho was taught in Verinber is: “ You hear nothing, you see nothing, and most of all you speak of nothing,”  Theu instructed him upon his first day serving the newly honor Imperial Consort of Esse. “The  affair of gods and their consorts are not for us mere mortals to even have hope of comprehending.”

It’s a testament to Theu’s carefully worded threat that Jinho tries desperately not to glance back as he dutifully pretends to find the most interest in a school of fish swimming underneath him while the Consort quietly slumbers on under the dusted evening sky of the many garden’s island pavilions that littered the area. Jinho, the youngest and newest of the Consort’s retinue, was specifically left with the Consort by the ways of having yet to earn his ire as the rest of the attendants and guards are close by but far enough to give a sense of privacy so the Consort can sulk in peace. 

That alone shouldn’t have make Jinho nervous, having gotten use to wild temperament of their Consort, but the appearance of another presence—a more unpredictable and frightening figure that has Jinho on edge since his sudden arrival in the pavillion. He tries not to be reminded of the slight gasp that left his lips when the Regis’ had casually strolled in and said to Jinho, “Let him sleep,” before sliding in the seat beside the sleeping Consort, who had tired himself out after all the yelling and promptly fell asleep here because he’d refused to crawl back to his chamber lest the Regis find him there. 

Jinho doesn’t look, his eyes had been turned away from the scene since the moment of the Regis’ arrival, but it has been nearly an hour with the light dying around them and the moon creeping higher and higher and Jinho can only stare down at the watery pool underneath him before he too fall asleep. The Regis hadn’t made any sound the entire time, just a sweeping silent that awkwardly hang in the air, as Jinho stood guard and tried not to yawn. 

He doesn’t know what’s going on behind his back, what action the Regis may have taken either on his person or the Consort himself, and the nagging curiosity slowly but surly strips away his resolve until Theu’s warning becomes a haze of words in the back of his head. 

It’s not like Jinho’s is breaking any law or religious degree if he just take a look, and he only wants to make sure the Consort is safe and the Regis has no need of him or anything important. It’s his duty and service to Crown to check up on them, he reasons quietly to himself. 

He casts a quick and furtive glance back, and catches sight of the Regis sitting beside the Consort, quiet and unobtrusive, as his hand plays with of one of the Consort’s open palms on the stone table—light, gentle, and a touch shy of a caress. His eyes are looking down at the Consort’s sleeping form and Jinho couldn’t make out any expression on his face even if it was daylight, and even if he wasn’t wearing one of his masks, but his thumb runs the course of the Consort’s palm, up and down, in slow and gentle motion as though he’s branding himself onto the Consort’s hand. The Consort’s barely react to any of the ministration except for the slightest twitch of his fingers and then abruptly it seizes the Regis’ entire hand in its grasp. The Regis doesn’t even react and lets his hand be held captive by the Consort’s as though he couldn’t let go even if he wanted to. 

It’s chaste and commonplace but there’s something about who they are and the heaviness of the roles that they both pose that make this private, intimate action too raw and precious for Jinho’s eyes to behold. 

As though sensing he’s being watch and it’s the Regis after all, Favored Child of the Gods and their God-King, so Jinho is not surprise that’s he caught so soon. The Regis glances up and Jinho quickly divert his gaze to somewhere else but not soon enough to catch a finger pressed to the Regis’ lips in a gesture so painstakingly obvious as though he was sharing a secret with Jinho. 

Jinho flushes and yields with a low bow before once again resuming his duty of fish watching even as he racks his brain to understand what that was. Not too long ago they were screaming at each other, or the Consort was and the Regis was coolly snapping back just as fiercely as they get into another bitter feud that nearly brought  half of the Blue Moon Palace down around them. 

“I’m not a child!” the Consort had shouted earlier. “You can’t keep me in the dark like this. I want to to be part of this too.” 

“I know you’re not but you’re behaving exactly like on now,” the Regis had responded, his tone was soft and dull even as his words were as sharp and jagged as any blade. “When you’re like this how can I trust you with anything?” 

The Consort had stormed out of the Regis’ chamber after that in huff of anger and bitterness clinging to his every steps. He had arrived here in a flushed of fury, walking back and forth in the circular motion, as he mumbles furious curses at the Regis before his anger had been beaten out and he lay his head down on the table and fell asleep. 

Jinho doesn’t get it. They were at each other throat only hours ago and now they’re holding hands in the dark, while one of them is sleeping and no words nor apologies were exchanged but the contentness that exudes from the pair spell out the peace that they had finally settled between them. He can’t even begin to wrap his head around their complicated and often volatile relationship but then again his parents’ often blow hot and cold with each other and they had been married and hopelessly devoted to each other for as long as Jinho has been alive. 

The rumor of the Regis marrying the Consort out of duty and obligation certainly had taken hold in the early days, with the distance and the fractureness of their newly established relationship that seeped into their every words and action with each other, but right now here in this water garden with the Consort asleep and the Regis holding onto him, it’s makes Jinho reconsider. 

Maybe it’s love. Or something close to it at least but as Theu had said in Jinho’s first day, the relationship of Gods and their Consort are best left alone.  

8

#mypubliclandsroadtrip stops at Pine Forest Range Wilderness in Northern Nevada for solitude and stargazing.  

The area is an island in the sky rising almost 6,000 feet above the desert floor to peaks that top out at just below 10,000 feet.  The range has been glaciated, and has several cirque lakes which are very uncommon in the Great Basin.  The 4WD access route travels through huge patches of aspen interspersed with meadows. Whitebark and Limber Pine cover the peaks giving the area its name. This part of Nevada is as dark as anywhere in the continental U.S. so the Milky Way is very visible.

Photos by Bob Wick and Rita Ayers, BLM

7

Resurrection of The Dragon Lord - Sky Island In-Depth

Previously one of 5.0′s most obscure content, there was little explanation or indication as to how this in-game event worked. 5.3 recently did a rework and buff to certain aspects of this particular content, as well as the PVP equipment drop rate.

To begin, Sky Island is Norsvold’s and Iluma’s version of Beritra’s Invasion, except this time round, instead of balaurs, you fight the opposing faction. It is significantly harder as you need the entire server’s effort to trigger it. However, the rewards are extremely gratifying.

In order not to confuse people, I will be splitting it into three sections, Minor, Intermediate and Major.

Minor Invasion

Most of the players should have experienced this first hand by now, the opposing faction guards that spawn randomly through a rift. But their spawn is actually triggered by player action, by killing dynamic mobs.

These are mobs in various colour palettes (notably, the blue crystallized form). The mobs themselves drop a couple of PVE sets themselves which are mostly used for fodder.

The guards (elite and alliance) only drop the following series:

- Boundless Oath (Level 72 & 75)

Intermediate Invasion

This portion actively involves Sky Island, the group of floating islands seen around Norsvold and Iluma. These islands are inaccessible by normal means. The trigger for this event only occurs when players have killed a certain quota of rifting guards.

A notification will appear in the entire region when Sky Island is triggered, a NPC (standing near the Repose charging area) will send players to the nearest triggered Sky Island.

Players who enter one Sky Island will be automatically grouped up with one another and fight waves of elite and alliance guards, until the final commander guard is left. Rewards include:

- 20,000,000 Kinah
- Boundless Oath (Level 72 & 75)
- Boundless Hope (Level 77)
- Boundless Glory (level 80)

In addition, there is a slight chance where a rift to the opposing faction zone will spawn after you have cleared the battle successfully.

Major Invasion

The third wave also has to be triggered, which is done by the amount of Intermediate Invasions that players have cleared successfully. This time round, the opposing faction’s airship literally comes straight up to your doorstep (which will be denoted by an airship icon). A notification will be sent to the whole region 10 minutes before battle commences.

A windstream (also at the similar spot where Intermediate Invasion NPC is) will bring players directly up to the airship. Players will have to take out the waves of opposing faction guards, which hits even harder than the ones from Intermediate Invasion.

Killing the airship commander will bring the Invasion to a successful end. Rewards include:

- 300,000,000 Kinah
- Boundless Hope (Level 77)
- Boundless Glory (Level 80)
- Omega Enchantment Stone
- Supply Bundles

Pieces dropped by the guards are random, and being high daeva equipment, they are tradable. Boundless Oath sets only exist in armour, whereas Boundless Hope and Glory exist in weapons, armour and accessories.

P.S - This also means that an inactive or lazy server will never hope to trigger the second or third phase of the Invasion, as they do not go by a set time, but rather, by the successive actions of players.

A vibrant sunset over a carpet of wildflowers at Pine Forest Range Wilderness in northern Nevada. The area is an island in the sky rising almost 6,000 feet above the desert floor to rocky peaks that top out at around 10,000 feet. The range has been glaciated, and has several cirque lakes which are very uncommon in the Great Basin. It makes for some exceptional views, doesn’t it? Photo by Bob Wick, @mypubliclands.