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You are here: Home --> Forum Home --> Free form RPGs --> Fantasy RPGs --> The Adventures of Kith, the Cat, and the Khatun
Related thread: Kith, the Cat, and the Khatun Q&A
GM for this game: Eol Fefalas
Players for this game: Reralae, breebles
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    Messages in The Adventures of Kith, the Cat, and the Khatun
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Eol Fefalas
Keeper of the Kazari
RDI Staff
Karma: 462/28
8484 Posts


Do I look like a cat with a plan?

“…What’s the plan,” Kithran murmured the question as the party approached Adedre’s chambers.

“Well, we have nothing to go on. So we must be open to adapt as things happen around us,” Aranwen answered as they came within a few feet of the doorway, “She will still be protected, one way or another, by spell or guard. If we should rush her, we may be able to keep her from wielding her magic. If she's there, that is. It wouldn't be impossible for her to have fled.”

A muffled rasp and thunk sounded from the other side of the doors, causing Ch’dau to hold up a paw, calling the troupe to a momentary halt. He sniffed the air, and snorted softly. “She is there,” he rumbled, nodding an affirmation to the bladesinger, “I can smell the rotten slitch... as well as the m’kojo running down her guards’ legs.”

That savage, sharp-toothed smile split the kazari’s lips as he glanced back at the others, sheathing one of his falcata as his fingers flexed firmly around the hilt of the other. “The plan, Little Kitten,” he chuffed, moving to position himself in front of the entryway, “is to tear these doors off and then kill everything on the other side, hm?” Ch’dau took a breath, carefully aligning his blade to the seam where the two door-panels met, then, with a quick glance at the others, asked; “Ready?”

Aranwen nodded, her blade relaxed but ready in her hand.

Mosic looked more than a bit concerned but made the sign of his god, readied his mace, and nodded as well.

Kithran was crouched low, her weight shifting on the balls of her feet. “You already owe me a cloak, cat-beast,” she muttered with a quick bob of her own head, “don’t make me take the price of this book from your hide because of your vengeance, too.”

“Hm,” Ch’dau grunted, his gaze returning to the door as he brought the falcata over his head, “I will do my best, kibibi.”

Then, with a roar that seemed to summon all of his strength, the kazari brought the blade down in a swift, savage arc. The only thing that gave any indication that it had met any resistance at all was the sound of splintering wood and the sparks that flew as the result of latches being hewn through. It didn’t even seem that the blade’s arc was fully completed before a snarling Ch’dau charged forward, literally barreling through the doors as shrieks of pain and fear erupted from inside.

"ADEDRE!!!" The kazari roared, standing atop a sundered door under which at least one guard was pinned, "Come and bleed me, now, witch!!!"



Posted on 2020-02-13 at 14:40:55.

Reralae
Dreamer of Bladesong
Karma: 142/12
2506 Posts


Two together

Ch’dau took a breath, carefully aligning his blade to the seam where the two door-panels met, then, with a quick glance at the others, asked; “Ready?"

Are we? Bit late to have doubts. You have them too. This is... strange, is all. Seems pretty straightforward, the way he puts it. Not that, you and me. Together. Here. Don't think about it. Okay, just focus... focus on what we need to do.

Aranwen breathed deeply, nodding her assent at Ch'dau as she felt the blade in her right hand. Her left hand met her right, wrapping around it and the hilt a moment, giving a light squeeze, before moving away.

As Ch'dau raised his falcata, Aranwen watched from behind.

Those muscles are very impressive, aren't they? I wasn't staring. Yeah, you were. Shush, I need to focus like we said.

Aranwen shook her head idly with a roll of her eyes, breathing a sigh. At Ch'dau's roar, she breathed in, feeling her muscles tense for the impact.

And the door was crushed.

Aranwen immediately moved in beside Ch'dau through the open door, stepping to his right as she scanned the room.

"You, who would claim the lives of others, others whom we would protect, we will not allow it," Aranwen spoke, her voice far softer, unheard underneath Ch'dau's declaration, until she began to sing...



Posted on 2020-02-14 at 01:31:35.
Edited on 2020-02-14 at 01:35:24 by Reralae

breebles
#1 Kibibi
Karma: 48/1
1677 Posts


The Den of the Slitch

"ADEDRE!!!" The kazari roared, standing atop a sundered door under which at least one guard was pinned, "Come and bleed me, now, witch!!!"

Kithran was in the middle of once again rolling her eyes at Samuel’s bravado when Aranwen’s own, softer bravado caught her long ears, "You, who would claim the lives of others, others whom we would protect, we will not allow it."

A head shake accompanied the eye roll she now attempted at the two valiant fighters ahead of her, but that too was interrupted as the four of them watched a sickly woman with diseased, yellow eyes, raise an unnaturally gaunt arm; her long, clawed fingers splayed toward them. A chant joined her movements as what looked like pale, jagged spikes rose up at an angle from the ground before her, aimed at the doorway.

“Move!” Ch’dau barked at them, thrusting his arm out in front of Aranwen and taking up more of the door’s space.

Kithran grabbed Mosic and dove away, hearing only the sickening sound of those spikes sinking into Ch’dau’s torso, somehow seeming only to infuriate him more. Aranwen also grunted, managing to dodge most of the needle-like bone fragments, but taking a few of them herself.

Snarling, the Silver Cat pulled one of the spikes from his chest, tossed it to the floor and snorted; "Good, bitch, the more bones you throw at me, the fewer I will have to tear from your body!”

The half-Syl finally had a moment to fully roll her eyes as she jumped back to her feet, and watched the two warriors charge into the room. In one swift movement her bow was back in her hands, an arrow set, and her back to the wall beside the door, “Alright Mosic, Ch’dau has several bones sticking out of him, so perhaps keep your mind on your goal and heal him, hmm? Keep those two up, and warn me of anyone attacking us that I don’t see. That’s all. Good luck.”

She spun around then and began sending arrows into the guards distracting her companions from their main quarry. Faintly she heard Mosic reply to her, and begin chanting, his hands moving fluidly into several quick shapes and forms in her peripheral until suddenly Kithran felt a warmth wash over her, a feeling of hope. Any weariness she had had from their long day vanished, as the arrows in her quiver quickly dwindled.

“That’s nice, what are you doing?” she asked, the hand at her cheek releasing another arrow into an unsuspecting target.

“Something to make it easier for all of us to resist these beasts, as well as to make my healing more potent.” On that note, he began another chant, this one quicker, and with just a thrust of his hands, directing the spell toward their Kazari. As Ch’dau engaged with one of the few remaining guards, the doomed man’s eyes grew wide, watching the bone spikes in the creature’s chest slowly recede and clatter to the floor. Before the last fell however, the cat-beast grinned, catching it in his clawed hand and driving it through the man’s face. With no one in his path any longer, Ch’dau turned to the witch who had caged him.

“Kithran look out!” Mosic shouted, and Kith turned to a guard at her left who had managed to sneak up on her.

Bending back, she avoided the blade aimed at her neck, “Thank you, Mosic.” She dropped her bow and grabbed her daggers, grinning as the guard faced her, a massive ball of darkness suddenly encompassing the room beyond him, “I’ve got this one, you get that one,” she said to the priest, her eyes focused on the guard.

As Mosic attempted to slip by, the man took his eyes off the thief, attempting to swipe at the small cleric. His aim would have been true, had a dagger not lodged itself into his shoulder. The man yelped in pain just as a familiar roar rang from within the darkness, and the bladesinger’s eerie new song crescendoed.

“Tsk tsk,” Kithran taunted, frowning sadly at his new wound and tossing her new dagger from hand to hand, “I hate it when that happens.”

The guard raised his sword as best he could at her, seemingly preparing to charge, “You Sylvari bitch, I’m gonna--” The blade entering his mouth stalled his words, ultimately replaced by a few weak gurgles as he dropped to the ground.

Half-Sylvari.” Kith glared as she corrected him and pulled her blades free.

 Mosic’s now-confident voice dispelled the magical sphere of darkness the slitch had put upon her comrades in the room beyond, and Kithran finally crossed the threshold.

Though invigorated by the cleric’s spell, the Kazari and Sylvari ahead of her still puffed with the fatigue of battle, and while they seemed only to face a chanting witch and her masked companion, a wall of the recently dead guards began to raise, separating Kithran from the others. These freshly mauled rose with missing limbs, and arrows sticking out of various parts of them; large gashes seeped blood and innards, and all moved with preternatural intent on the four intruders.

Kithran crouched down. The majority of them seemed to want to convene on Aranwen and Ch’dau, as they were the two focused most ardently on slaughtering their mistress while her smaller companion continued trying to usher her away. There were, however, a couple separating themselves from their pack to make their way toward Kithran.

They unholy horde all attacked together. Kithran dodged the attack of the first, as it swung wide at her, and parried the blade of the other away, countering by shoving a foot into its stomach, and giving her space to lunge at her first attacker.

Beyond them, more undead guards bore down on the bladesinger, Kazari, and cleric. Aranwen’s song rang stilted, as it had since they had been separated from her in the spider skeleton room, and Mosic fought anxiously, trying to keep his concentration on the first spell he had bestowed on the group, while trying to find space to call on Falloes to aid them in their battle.

Ch’dau laid waste to most of those in his path until he felt his limbs begin to slow and his snarls catch in his throat. Soon his entire body was no longer his, and his thoughts and rage remained buried inside him as he realized he was fully unable to move.

Finally able to accomplish what they had so miserably failed to do in life, the undead guards began to land blows against the massive cat beast. 

Aranwen’s eyes widened, “Ch’dau!” She called out as she moved up, “Sorry, I need to borrow this!” Aranwen’s left hand moved up to draw the second falcata from the stilled Ch’dau’s back, and in that instant her song changed, not one note but a call and return melody as if sung by two people. The elven blade in her right, and the falcata in her left, were only flashes of deadly steel as she wove around Ch’dau, striking down each undead guard that drew near.

“Mosic, we will see to the guards - break the spell that binds Ch’dau!” The bladesinger called back.

And yet, as the cidal priest walked forward to see what aid he might lend, a felt doll ran across the floor. The doll with Kithran’s likeness. With speed unfitting an animate doll it reached Mosic, and in that instant it did so, a shadow appeared beside it, a replica of Kithran’s shape, sinking a shadowy blade into Mosic’s side.

With its one task complete, the doll faded into smoke that drifted past Kithran into the hallway. Aranwen watched through the thinning wall of shambling guards as Kithran cut down the two that had given her trouble, meeting Aranwen’s eyes and offering a grin, pleased to have been able to show off her handiwork. However, the bladesinger was unable to respond to the gesture, as the smoke coalesced with more from beyond the door into a sinister shape behind Kithran.

Its movements as erratic and unpredictable as the first two times Aranwen had faced its likeness, she had barely a moment to warn Kithran before it struck.

“Kithran duck!”

The thief obeyed without hesitation, spinning as she did so in time to see a large wooden creature with a black mask and red lips, similar to that mannequin they had fought at the apothecary, just barely miss her with its long, bladelike fingers. She tried to find her footing before it struck again, but it moved so quickly that all she could do was throw her daggers up defensively before her as the steel fingers on its other hand struck. The force of the blow threw her off to the side of the room, where she rolled to catch herself in another crouch, and prepared for its next attack.

“Finally decided to join us, hmm?” the decrepit necromancer hissed from across the room.

My resources are greatly limited at this time and place, it's true, Morgana’s voice came back agitatedly from her doll, and the head of the puppet twitched erratically shifting from looking to Adedre to looking at Kithran, Now then, where was I? Ah, yes. I was going to make you bleed...

The creature launched itself at the half-Syl once again.

As Aranwen cut down another of the remaining undead advancing on Ch’dau, the Kazari twitched beside her, and Mosic crushed the knee of another on the other side of the silver cat. Blood streaked the cleric’s robes, and the feeling of hope and invigoration that had accompanied their initial advance faded.

“What is this thing, Aranwen?!” Kith shouted, unable to counter the strikes and only barely able to defend herself after evading the unpredictable assault. Another unblockable swipe tore through her side as she attempted to jump out of its reach, and she ground her teeth at the pain. The thing twitched, maniacally and unwaveringly continuing its charge on her.

What’s wrong, my dear Kithran? Morgana purred, Are you going to make me slice you into ribbons? Or will you be more... reasonable?

“Isn’t there a big scary cat somewhere tasked with keeping me alive or something?” she called, unable to look away from the thing, save for her brief attempts to see if another of Morgana’s shades accompanied it. She could not, however, hear the distinct sound of snarling she had begun to find comfort in while engaged in a fight. That accompanied with the loss of Mosic’s spell left a growing pit in her stomach.

“We’ll cover you, Mosic,” the bladesinger huffed at the priest, “destroy these things now!”

Nearly gasping for breath, the Cidal nodded, taking cover in the the bladesinger’s skill and song, and grasped his holy symbol. In words spoken quicker than he ever had in his life, and glancing around their tiny battlefield, he sent a prayer to the Helping Hand, the god of the hopeless, the lost, the needy, and requested his aid to destroy these unholy creations. A warmth pulsed from the symbol of the outstretched hand, filling his allies once again with whatever minute hope they could have at this time, and dropping the undead one by one.

Kithran dove out of the way of another strike, rolling hard into the legs of a wooden table. The doll leapt at her, striking the ground where she would have been, if she had not pushed herself up and away from her landing area. The doll’s claws briefly sunk into the ground, Kithran took her first opportunity to strike it, smashing one of the table's wooden chairs over its back and searching for threads to cut as with the last.

The doll pulled itself free a moment later, almost entirely unfazed by her attack, and tackled her to the ground, finally catching the swift thief.

Well, dear Kithran? What will it be?

The creature raised a long, blade-fingered arm above its head, as the sound of a bladesinger’s song wrapped in a full Kazari roar filled the room.

Kithran grinned, "Them."



Posted on 2020-02-16 at 10:49:05.
Edited on 2020-02-16 at 21:46:38 by breebles

Eol Fefalas
Keeper of the Kazari
RDI Staff
Karma: 462/28
8484 Posts


The next moments from Adedre and Tecla's POV

Whatever spell Adedre had used to still his body did nothing toward quieting his rage. As Ch’dau stood there, frozen in his fury, his hateful gaze locked on the sneering sorceress, Aranwen pirouetted around him laying waste to the risen corpses of Adedre’s fallen guard, brave little Mosic, too, lent aide and comfort in the melee, and Kithran fought off the assaults of another of Morgana’s bizarre mannequin minions. For the duration of the spell, the kazari’s rage only grew, continuing to fill him as others fought a battle that should have been his, and it had the same effect as bottling lightning. As the spell’s effects began to wear off, the massive kazari twitched and then trembled and then, finally, shook with fury as he exploded from his frozen stance with a gnashing of teeth, a flashing of claws, and a roar so loud in its ferocity that it threatened to bring the walls of the manor down around them all.

Never in all of her life had Tecla been as terrified as when the cat-man was loosed from the confines of that arcane hold and she was sure that, in the next few seconds, both she and her Mistress would catch their last glimpses of this world from behind the monster’s teeth. Her breath hitched behind her mask at the thought and it was an almost instinctual thing that caused her to take hold of Adedre’s sleeve, then, and haul her Mistress toward the bookcase where the secret door to the tower awaited.

What are you doing,” Adedre snapped, her yellow eyes narrowing on the masked girl’s face as she snatched her sleeve from Tecla’s grasp, “you spineless little cow?!”

“I am trying to save us, you mad crone,” Tecla hissed in return, the anger and indignation in her voice nowhere near as concealed behind the mask as was her expression. With the hand that held her dagger, she gestured at the battle that continued to rage in the room; “If we don’t leave, now, this is not going to end well for us!”

Adedre screeched, drew back her hand, and let it fly across Tecla’s face with such force that the mask was stripped away from the girl’s face as she fell to the floor. The fact that the kazari had, for now, abandoned his attack on her in favor of charging to the shadow-bitch’s aide seemed to give the witch a different idea as to how this battle might go. “Run if you like, you sniveling little cow,” the necromancer screamed, “This will end just as I wish it to and, when it is finished, I swear by the Devourer I will have your guts for dinner right after I’ve raised every corspe in Sendria to f**k you senseless!”

The tears that filled the girl’s eyes as she gawked up at Adedre, then, were hot with fear and anger in equal measure. As she wiped at her bloodied lip with one hand, the other took up the blade that had been jarred from her grasp by the witch’s backhanded blow. “No, Mistress,” she seemed to plead as she got to her knees. Her features twisted into a rictus of rage, then, and she lashed out with the dagger; “No you won’t!!!”

The witch howled as the knife’s blade tore through her gown and, also, the row of stitches that grafted the gray Ungoulid leg to her thigh. Even as the black blood poured forth from the reopened wound, Adedre’s mind sought an appropriate incantation to bring to bear on the treacherous little whore of an attendant. Before she could manage the spell, though, Tecla was gone; the bookcase door left open in the wake of her retreat and the sound of her footsteps fleeing up the stairs the only remnants of the girl’s presence.

“Gah,” Adedre groaned, clutching at her thigh and staggering for her chair, “duplicitous little…”

More words failed her, though, as the knitted flesh of her leg failed all the more. She toppled forward over the chair, upsetting the table at its side, and sending the flickering oil lamp that surmounted it crashing to the floor. Glass shattered, oil spread across the floor in a widening pool, and the wick’s flame set it alight as Adedre Undolithe’s sickly yellow eyes turned back toward the no-longer-secret door…



Posted on 2020-02-17 at 11:01:50.
Edited on 2020-02-17 at 11:43:59 by Eol Fefalas

Reralae
Dreamer of Bladesong
Karma: 142/12
2506 Posts


In the Endgame - Adedre's Death

While trapped within himself, forced to stare at Adedre while the battle raged around him, Ch’dau felt as if he were reliving each moment he’d seen the witch’s face over the past weeks and, even though there were no bars or guards between her and him, now, he felt no less trapped and no less angry about it. The desire to take his vengeance on her burned like a fire within him but, still, locked in his own body, he could do nothing to quench it. Instead, all he could do was watch the twisted glee play on her features and listen as his friends fought on around him. In that strained stillness, though, he heard things he might not have had he still been able to move…

Aranwen’s song, he noted first, was different than he had heard it before; as if it were being sung by two voices rather than one. While, to his ears, it was still a beautiful sound, there was something wrong about it. Something not quite natural.

Next, he heard more from Mosic than just the little cleric’s chanted prayers to his god. While those still filtered through the sounds of the fight, so, too did the Cid’s grunts and growls of effort as he laid about with his mace and the shouts and groans of those whom were felled by it.

Finally, he heard Kithran’s voice, quick-tongued and snarky as usual but, interestingly enough, also hard and commanding, at times. She barked orders and warnings as she leapt about the room, fighting as fiercely as any warrior he’d ever known despite her professed vocation as a thief.

…Then, at last, he was free! The damnable paralysis melted from his bones and he roared out every bit of rage that had been welling in him since he had been struck still. It seemed as if the witch and her masked acolyte recoiled at the sound…

As well they should! They are about to breathe their last! He thought, set to pounce on the both of them.

…but, then, he heard another sound; a voice unlike any of the others, yet, still unsettlingly familiar.

Well, dear Kithran? Morgana’s voice slithered silkily through the cacophony of the fray; What will it be?

At the sound of the puppet-witch’s disembodied speech, Ch’dau forgot Adedre for the moment… I thought she wanted Aranwen. Why does she taunt… and turned to see another mannequin, much like the one they had confronted at the apothecary, with the thief pinned beneath it; it’s steel clawed fingers raised to deliver a devastating blow to the scrappy half-syl. “Kithran!” The kazari roared, turning his back on Adedre, now, to leap across the room.

“Them,” Kithran grinned from beneath the puppet as Ch’dau landed heavily behind it, catching the wooden wrist in the vice-like grip of his paw.

“Off of her, creature!” the cat-man snarled, wrenching the mannequin’s arm behind it while driving his falcata through it’s timberous torso. A grunt of effort followed and, even as the puppet-monster laughed, Ch’dau hoisted the thing off of his friend and, spinning around, hurled the thing further into the room.

The bladesinger seemed to have been prepared for Ch’dau to have done exactly that. Even before the thing could right itself, Aranwen was there, her elven blade in one hand and his spare falcata in the other; a whirlwind of steel and song ahead of her as she set upon the puppet that still, yet, struggled to its feet.

 “Aranwen,” he called as the chittering construct clattered against the floor, “how do we destroy this thing?”

Aranwen shook her head, fear visible in her golden eyes as both her hands trembled between strikes, "We don't know!" she called back, "We couldn't find victory against the last one like this."

Nor should you expect to find victory here, my dears, Morgana spoke as the puppet twitched upright, as if hauled up by a puppeteer's hands, You lost to me once already. You will lose again; it's just a matter of time…  

As Aranwen engaged the mystic marionette, both blades used to attack and defend against the monster's claws, Ch’dau reached out a paw to haul Kithran to her feet. It was then, beyond where the Syl woman’s skilled strikes rained down on the thing, that Ch’dau noticed a bleeding Adedre struggling to her feet and flames licking at the floor around her. The masked girl was nowhere to be seen but a bookcase near where he’d last seen her stood curiously askew and the witch, too, seemed to be trying to drag herself toward it…

“Uj’nga,” Ch’dau spat, in response to both Ara’s answer and the witch’s attempt to flee. He glanced at Kithran, then, turned his eyes back to where Aranwen still held the puppet at bay, and, finally, growled in fury and frustration at the choices he was left with.

The snarl still on his lips, the kazari stormed across the room. “Kibibi, Mosic,” he growled, “To Aranwen!” As his feet pounded across the floor, he found an opening as he came within feet of where the bladesinger slashed away at Morgana’s puppet and, seeing no better option, drew back his arm and, in mid-stride, hurled his remaining falcata at the marionette but continued on toward where the necromancer clawed her way toward the bookcase, not bothering to see if his thrown blade had landed true.

When he reached Adedre, she gawked up at him, her eyes disbelieving and defiant all at once. “You do not get to walk away this time, bitch,” he growled, his foot coming down on her back, “where is your god, now?”

The witch’s mouth opened as if to speak or, perhaps, call another spell into the air, but the only thing to pass her blood-blacked lips was a pathetic squeal as the claws in the kazari’s foot extended and dug into the flesh and bone of her back. Then there was an agonized scream as the cat-beast reached down, took hold of her bleeding leg by the cold flesh of it’s ankle, and with a savage growl, Ch’dau ripped the leg from her body.

“You do not get to walk away from anything,” the kazari roared, kicking the shrieking witch over onto her back as he brought her dismembered leg above his head, “ever again!” 

Before another sound could escape her, the cat-man she had hoped to sacrifice to her god in exchange for power brought her own leg smashing down into her face. If the beast said anything else, it was all in his own snarling tongue and, even had it been otherwise, the words would have been lost to her as, over and over, the fetid meat and bone of the Ungoulid appendage hammered into her skull. Soon enough, Adedre’s head came apart under the impact of the blows just as the stolen leg was left in tatters from the force of it. 

Another feral roar escaped the Silver Cat as he tossed the improvised weapon aside and reached down to snatch up the mangled remains of what had been Adedre Undolithe. Fury still burning in his feline eyes, he turned his gaze, next, on Morgana’s minion and his mouth split wide to fully display his teeth as he carried the broken witch’s carcass toward it. 

The puppet’s head swivelled at an unnatural angle to see Ch’dau’s fury bear down upon the witch, her employer, and it stopped moving for a moment. It made no reaction to the steel striking ineffectually against its body. Chips in the wood revealed glowing, deep burgundy threads that seemed to pulse as if with a heartbeat, and a long, drawn out sigh was heard as Morgana’s tone all at once shifted from taunting to exasperation.

How inconvenient, she spoke, her voice betraying her irritation.

Whatever else she might have said was drowned out by the roar Ch’dau gave to her, his muscles tensing as he hefted the corpse he held at the mannequin with all his strength. The puppet-monster flew through the air from the force of impact, as if batted out of a fragile web that kept it upright, and it fell into the flames that had been started by Adedre’s fall.

A snort of what might have been satisfaction escaped Ch’dau just then, but it was quickly followed by an expectant series of chuffing noises as the raging kazari paced, his eyes darting back and forth, seeking out anything else he might kill, a low, steady growl rumbling beneath it all. His ears remained pinned flat and his tail lashed angrily at the air behind him...

Aranwen panted with fatigue, both her arms weary and bleeding from the assault she weathered in facing the monster from her past. Her golden gaze looked to where the mannequin fell into the fire, but saw no movement. Whether the fire worked, or Morgana had simply given up with the death of her employer, she had no way of knowing. Her hands quivered with anticipation, but, finally, she sheathed her steel blade, and reached down to pick up the falcata that Ch’dau had thrown at the mannequin. 

“Kithran,” The bladesinger looked to the thief, weariness showing in her golden eyes, “Better find your book,” She suggested, before she approached Ch’dau, “The battle is over,” She spoke softly, offering back to him the blades she carried.

Kithran tore her gaze from the burning puppet at Aranwen’s words, and sprinted to the bookshelf to search for her tome.

At Aranwen’s approach, the kazari’s pacing slowed and, after a moment, stopped altogether. His ears pricked up and the lashing of his tail abated. “Hmm,” he nodded, reaching out to accept the blades she offered, “It would seem.” He slid one of the falcata back into its scabbard but, before the other followed suit, Ch’dau seemed to regard it and then her curiously for an instant. “You handled this well,” he chuffed softly, finally returning the thing to its place, “I am happy it was of use.”

A soft smile graced Aranwen’s lips, “It’s very different from the blade I used, but in that moment, it felt as if any blade would do. Yours felt… right though. A fierce blade, for a fierce battle, and the powerful song that accompanies both,” Aranwen’s voice replied.

The curious expression played across Ch’dau’s face again as his turquoise eyes seemed to peer deeply into her golden ones. After a moment, he rested a bloody paw on the woman’s shoulder, offered a somewhat curt nod and, then, leaned forward to press his forehead to hers. “You honor me, rrow’ka,” he murmured, “and my khatun.” He let her go, then, and stepping away turned his gaze to Kithran.

“Kibibi,” he rumbled, prowling toward the oddly angled bookcase, “if you do not find your book in this room…” he gripped the bookshelf and pulled it wider, revealing the foot of a winding stairway beyond “...perhaps there is one more place to look. Either way, I suggest you hurry. I do not intend on quenching these flames.”

Nor we, truth be told,” Aranwen chuckled, but she shivered as she looked once more towards the fire the mannequin had fallen into, “Could you describe it to us, Kithran? More eyes looking should make finding it much faster.”

“Ah,” Kith said, unable to look away from the shelf as she skimmed book spines, “It’s a book, probably old, called Tome of Whispers.” She crouched as she scanned the books on the lower shelves, feeling the heat of the fire growing at her back, “See anything?”

Ch’dau offered a shake of his head and, then, in an almost shamed tone, admitted; “I cannot read any of these tongues. I am afraid I am of little use in this search.”

Mosic, too, offered a shake of his head from his own perusal of the shelves along his line of sight, “I do not see it, Kithran.”

Aranwen also began to scan the volumes she could see, independent of Kithran and Mosic, “We’re not seeing any book with that title.”

In her frustration, and perhaps in part due to the time she had spent with the Kazari, Kithran growled and punched the shelf, then shook her hand from the pain and walked to the passageway Ch’dau had opened for her. “Alright, fine,” and without another word she sprinted inside.



Posted on 2020-02-17 at 17:46:58.

breebles
#1 Kibibi
Karma: 48/1
1677 Posts


Fire Escape

Kithran bound up the corroding stairwell, leaping up multiple steps at a time until she was in front of the chamber's door. Thick red runes rested in patterns across the door, but upon a quick inspection, there didn’t appear to be any trickery to caution her against throwing it open. Her heavy breaths steadying in her chest, the half-Syl grasped the latch and pushed the door inward. As she did, a gust of energy and light pressed back against her, as she caught a brief glimpse of the witch’s minion before she vanished in the midst of a circle of more red runes, sketched onto the floor. The turret room faded back into darkness as the runes settled once again.

“What was that?” Ch’dau huffed as he stalked into the room behind her.

“Adedre’s girl escaping. It doesn’t matter. Let’s find this book and get out of here.” Her eyes were drawn immediately to the center of the room, away from the shelves of books and skittering things, and to a stump-shaped stand hunched precariously on display.

"After everything," Kith whispered to herself, a grin breaking her face once more, "you'd offer it to me like this?" She strode over to the lectern, ignoring the sound of the rest of her party arriving. Instinctually Kith reached for the book splayed upon it, her excitement nearly getting the best of her, but stopped herself before she came too close. Instead Kith crouched down, studying the stand, walking around it, searching it for any sign of foul play. However, like the door, it too appeared free of any trap the slitch may have set--not that Kith had much experience in magical traps either way.

Once again their thief reached for the book, still hesitant, as was her suspicious nature, though much of that could be attributed to the eeriness of the room. She touched a finger to a page of script and paused. When nothing seemed to happen she withdrew her held breath and flipped the book closed, the word Whispers writ in sweeping letters across the front.

“Huh,” she said quietly to herself once again, “I guess it was just ‘Whispers.’” A pulse abruptly took her entire body, rippling up from the hand atop the tome and beating against the inside of her chest, climbing up her spine and dispersing throughout her skull into an ocean of whispering--

“Kithran, are you alright?”

The voices disappeared and the half-Syl blinked, looking down down to find the Falloes priest looking back at her with concern. She smiled back, “Yes, of course, I’ve finally found it!”

There was the sound of someone falling, and as Kithran looked over, she could see that the source was Aranwen, having tripped over the last step as she entered the study proper just now. She shook her head unsteadily, before pushing herself back to her feet, “You have it? Are you certain?” she asked, looking over to Kithran.

Kith nodded, holding the book up, her smile turning into a big, happy grin, “Yes, let’s let this place burn to the ground! First round is, on… Are you okay, Aranwen?” Kithran hurried over to where the bladesinger held herself up against the wall and looked her up and down, then back to the Falloes priest, “Mosic, do you have anything left to help her?”

The priest made his way to the bedraggled Sylvari woman and examined her himself, “Hmm, I am able to offer some healing, yes, but I am afraid the restorative incantations that could truly help her are yet out of my grasp.” With that he bowed his head and mumbled low to himself, before taking hold of Aranwen’s hand and letting the healing powers of his god do their work.

“It’s been a long day; we’re just, very tired,” Aranwen offered, before shaking her head, “Rest will have to wait until after we put Dravnor behind us though,” She nodded, as if agreeing with herself, “Best not to get detained by the city guard...”

Kithran shrugged, “I’m not that tired, but you’re probably right about the guard.” She sighed, “The celebration will have to wait.”

“We should leave,” Ch’dau rumbled behind the half-Syl.

“I agree,” Kith replied, “Do you mind making sure our bladesinger doesn’t fall on her face as we make our way out of this place, cat-beast?” At the nodding of his shaggy head, she turned and made her way back to the stairwell, patting the Syl’s shoulder as she passed.

Perhaps it was because her mind was no longer preoccupied by her book, but the corroded stairs seemed much more ominous as she hopped back down them. It did not help that heat and smoke were beginning to billow into the tower.

Aranwen began to cough, even as she held onto Ch’dau with her right arm for balance and support. Her left hand drew the black cloak from her bag, and upon seeing it, she hesitated a moment, but brought the material up to cover her mouth so she would breathe easier.

Kith wrapped her head in her cloak as she came closer, finding it to have a nice fragrance about it still, before cautiously poking her head inside. The fire had consumed most of the far side of the room, but luckily had not yet made it to the bookshelf. She turned and waved to her companions as they slowly made their way down they stairs, ushering them to make haste, as once a lick of that fire fell upon one of those books, the entire thing would go up, trapping them inside.

Kithran pulled her cloak away from her mouth, “We can’t wait here long, there’s already smoke coming up from the cloak fire someone started downstairs,” she glared at the Kazari.

Ch’dau offered a faint shrug in response to Kithran’s accusatory scowl. “I have no doubt you will be able to buy or steal another, Little Kitten,” he chuffed, shaking his head against the smoke that had started to fill his nostrils, “You have your book and that is the more important, yes?”

She shrugged, "This one should do for now," then covered her mouth once again with her new, dark blue cloak, before turning down the hallway and leading them in a jog to the stairs

Beside Ch'dau, Aranwen clung to his shoulder, leaning heavily into the arm he had around her waist in support. The bladesinger coughed against the smoke, too, and stumbled once more as the party made for the stairway. Her exhaustion in the aftermath of their battles was obvious but there was something else not quite right about the way she moved and Ch’dau had begun to wonder if she would manage the stairs on her own. “Come, Khatun,” he rumbled, scooping her off of her feet before they reached the flight of steps, “I have you.” With the Sylvari in his arms, now, the Silver Cat bounded down the steps behind Kithran and Mosic.

Aranwen gave a muffled eep as she was picked up quite suddenly, surprised once again by the Kazari's strength. As she looked up at him, her eyes seemed to be a haze of gold and violet. Or maybe it was the smoke. She nodded gratefully, "Thank you."

“Kr’ibu,” Ch’dau nearly coughed through the stench of smoke and burning rot that hang heavier and heavier in the air. He squinted through the haze, trying to keep sight of Kithran and the Cid priest as they raced down the switchback stair and, at last made the entryway of the burning manor. The doorway was already standing wide open as the kazari made the foot of the staircase,and Kithran and Mosic stood on the lawn a few feet beyond, their expectant eyes flitting between the doors and the flames that danced angrily, now, through the windows of the upper floors.

“It’s about time, cat-beast,” the thief jabbed as Ch’dau made the patch of dry grass where she and Mosic waited, “I thought I was going to have to go back in there and fetch you.”

“Hm, chu...” the Kazari sneezed, finally setting Aranwen back on her feet. “I made a few stops along the way,” he rumbled, turning his watering eyes back to the burning house of horrors and delighting a bit in its imminent destruction, “Wanted to make sure you had not missed anything, yes?”

After watching the crackling and creaking of the ever-growing inferno for a moment longer, he turned his gaze back to the others; “I am ready to put this place… the whole of it… behind me. What say you all?”



Posted on 2020-02-19 at 13:13:46.
Edited on 2020-04-09 at 03:08:12 by breebles

Reralae
Dreamer of Bladesong
Karma: 142/12
2506 Posts


In their mind

In Adedre's den... 

Aranwen winced from the volley of bone shards that were hurled against them. Once again, she found her left arm raised, having pulled her closer to cover to avoid the worst of the impact. She smiled appreciatively, and began to sing as she rushed forward to help Ch'dau engage the front line of Adedre’s guard. 

Ara? Yes, Sae? Why is it that I can sing? I thought my blade was broken. Maybe you're sharing mine. Either way, I don't care. I've missed this so much... Me too...

And yet, as they advanced, she saw Ch'dau suddenly stop in his movement. 

Ara, something's wrong. Morgana? No, Adedre's spell... She has Ch'dau! Adaron take these damned creatures!

Aranwen rushed forward, stepping beside Ch'dau. 

Ara, wait! Huh? Give me a moment

Aranwen's eyes widened as she felt her left hand go for the sheathed falcata, and heard her voice, "Sorry, I need to borrow this!"

Together? Together

In spite of the danger they were all in, the battle that could turn at any step taken by Haren'selkia in her dance, it faded away for Aranwen and Saeriel. In that moment, they shared the same dance, the same song in duet, and once again they swung their blades together. This was good. They could defend Ch'dau until he could move again.

And then they heard her. Aranwen turned to look, and her breath caught as she saw the creature bearing down on Kithran. 

That is...! 

Bliss gave away to fear, and the blades trembled in both her hands. Ch'dau was the first to act, his roar bolstering Aranwen even as he moved to intercept the mannequin. She stood ready, and as she saw the mannequin fall before her, she didn't hesitate, bringing both blades to bear as she tried to land any impactful strike against the magical construct.

Is there a second one? I hope not but keep looking, just in case. We won't let you win.

Blades met claws, and Aranwen grit her teeth in frustration and pain as, just as before, Morgana wielded her mannequin with deadly precision, slashing through her defenses.

In her periphery she saw Ch'dau go after Adedre, nodding to herself. Without her employer, Morgana would surely cease her efforts. Indeed, once Morgana turned the mannequin's head to look, it stopped moving entirely. Aranwen's hands steadier in her relief, and she moved on to return the borrowed blade.

Ara, do you think he saw me? I don't know... 

As the others moved to the hidden passage, Aranwen turned to look at the puppet burning. She could only look on with satisfaction. 

If only it hurt Morgana too. It does, in a way. She gets very disappointed when she loses a doll. They are far more involved in their creation than mere skeletons or zombies. How do you know that, Sae?  ... 

Aranwen blinked, repeating the question in thought, to no answer. Just a feeling of melancholy. Shrugging her right shoulder, Aranwen went to move, and stumbled into the stairwell wall. Her eyes widened with shock and fear. 

Sae!

What's wrong, Ara? 

I can't feel my left side

I... I can... oh no...



Posted on 2020-02-19 at 13:27:13.
Edited on 2020-02-19 at 21:47:28 by Reralae

breebles
#1 Kibibi
Karma: 48/1
1677 Posts


Little Terror

19th Day, Iteran, 427 E.R., Oryndal, Ertain

“Why are we always the ones who have to drag her back?” The black-haired Lover of Fortune grunted under the weight and hassle of their passed out companion.

“I don’t know, Nicola, maybe because we’re the ones who found her? Or because we always overestimate her tolerance for this stuff?” Nigel, Nicola’s black-haired brother, adjusted the young blond woman’s arm around his shoulder as they hoisted the unconscious Lover up the stone steps, to the small temple of Shinara in Oryndal.

“I think she sneaks more when we’re not looking,” Nicola suggested, both twins holding the girl at a distance for a moment as their friend’s stomach gave a sickly rumble. When all that came of it was a rancid burp, they continued down the corridor, waving down the first Spinning Star priest they came by.

“We found her!” Nicola called, “And she still had two unopened bottles on her!” Both twins grinned as they held out the bottles of wine in their free hands.

“Technically they were on the ground around her,” Nigel corrected, “among the other empty bottles. But she was just laying there in an alley so it’s a little surprising they were still there!”

“What luck.” The priest took in what the Lovers of Fortune twins recounted, as well as the wasted figure of their orphaned friend, dark streams of wine and refuse stained down the front of her shirt, and sighed, “Either the Scarlet Mistress despises this girl, or is doing all she can to keep her upright.”

Nigel shrugged, “We’re pretty sure she’s dying, so it’s probably that first option.”

“Excuse me?”

“Yeah, we found her in a pile of vomit. There was also some blood, but there was also a broken bottle or two, so it could have been from that,” Nicola added, her voice lacking the urgency she had felt earlier, now that they were safe inside the temple, “She also won’t respond to us or anything. So are you able to help?”

“I suppose.”

Nigel grinned at his sister, over the top of the blond Lover’s drooping head, “Guess this means Fortune’s Smile still does have some love for her.”

The priest harrumphed, unconvinced as he began a low incantation and flurry of gestures, which ended with him carefully placing his hands on the young woman’s shoulders, safe from the puke. “There, that should keep her alive for now. I haven’t gotten rid of the poison she’s put into herself, but I’ve given her some time. There’s a new one training with the healers, take her off to them, maybe give the new girl something to learn.”

“Thank you!” The twins chorused, and continued from the main room of the temple, down another hallway.

“See?” Nicola taunted her brother, becoming more tired with every step under the weight of their friend, “I told you the Mistress loves her. No matter how many times she tests her limits, the cards keep falling in her favor. The truest Lover of all of us.”

“You think this is favor?” Nigel laughed, “Maybe. All the rest of us simply tempt beasts, test our acrobatic skills, sometimes rescue damsels in distress if we’re up for it,” he nodded to the girl they carried, whom the twins and two others had saved two years earlier in Davnor, “but she puts glass to her throat every chance she gets, and the Mistress keeps pulling it away. Or at least mending her wounds, sending us on after her.”

“She’s been through a lot, Nigel.” Nicola retorted as they approached the door.

“And we’ve been through a lot for her, Nicola.” He knocked.

“What are you trying to s-”

The door swung open and a short, young, blond girl greeted them with a big smile, “Hello, I-oh!” She quickly eyed the other woman in their arms and stepped back, holding the door open, “Please, come in, put her in any bed.”

The twins skittered over to the closest bed and gently laid their friend down, pushing her onto her side once they were free. In doing so, for the first time since they found her, the young woman let out a sickly groan, smacked her dry lips, and tried to bury her face in the pillow.

The black-haired twins stood and stretched in unison, happy to be free of the weight. “We found her in an alleyway again!” Nicola announced as the young girl in her acolyte robes approached them.

“‘Again’?”

“Yes, and with two bottles to spare!” Nigel said, and the two held up a bottle of wine each once again.

“This happens fairly often?”

The twins looked at each other and nodded, stowing the bottles back in their packs, Nicola saying, “Fairly often, yes. She has trouble sleeping,” she offered, as way of explanation.

“This is one solution I suppose.”

“She was really bad this time, but we got her healing so she should survive if she doesn’t choke on her sick.” Nigel added, “Sometimes you clerics do your restoration stuff on her, sometimes you just leave her to wallow in her choices.”

Nicola reached over the bed to shove her brother, “But this time the priest said there was a new person he wanted to have that spell shown off to.”

The young woman smiled absently at the sentiment, as she looked the unconscious girl over, “That’s probably me then, I arrived a few days ago, from a village you’d never find on a map, down in Coria. I think I’ve read of the spell you’re speaking of, but I haven’t had the chance to see it in person yet,” her eyes glittered at the chance of learning something new, “I’ll go find a teacher.”

Nigel watched the girl scamper off, “She looks barely twelve. Should we be subjecting her to this little terror at so vulnerable an age?”

“They must learn someday, Nigel,” Nicola sighed, dramatically, "And anyway, she looked to be more fourteen than twelve.”

“Oh dear, your little sister again?” A Dwarven Shinara priestess swept into the room, shooing Nicola away from the bed so that she could move closer. She tsked and shook her head, “Honestly I would rather leave her to learn her lesson again, but this is proof that it doesn’t matter, and our new little addition here would do well to study this incantation--especially with this one around.”

Her protégé nodded eagerly, already prepared to memorize the gestures and incantations the priestess would enact, watching as the older woman sprinkled diamond dust over the younger one.

The priestess turned to her acolyte, “Have you introduced yourself, girl?”

“Oh, right!” she turned to the black-haired girl and held out her hand, “I’m Serah Clemens, one of Shinara’s Spinning Stars.”

Nicola couldn’t help but smile back at the young girl’s earnestness, despite the Stars being relatively bland compared to the luck mistress’ other sects. She was new though, both here and in life, it seemed. There was still time for the clergy to widdle down her flagrant edges.

She took her hand, “I’m Nicola, and that bonehead over there is my twin brother, Nigel.”

Nigel gave her a wave from the other side of the small bed.

Serah returned the wave before looking down at the blond woman who Priestess Germaine had called their little sister, despite their looking nothing alike, “And she’s your…?”

Nicola chuckled, “No, not really our sister. We rescued her a couple years ago from a bad situation, and she was so grateful she took our last name. She didn’t have one at the time anyway, so,” she shrugged, and pointed at their unconscious friend, “That is Tara Ikhari, a Lover of Fortune, wine, and horrific headaches.”

“Alright now girl, watch close,” the priestess demanded, beginning the motions and recitation of the restorative chant.

Serah leaned in, taking little notice of their patient now as she followed the older woman’s hands and the sound of her voice. The priestess pressed her splayed hands into the young woman’s back. The diamond dust atop her sizzled briefly and burst out into a thin layer of glittering light blue cinders that fell like a blanket over the woman, and dissipated.

“Incredible,” the girl whispered, more to herself than to anyone else in the room, “the movements and chant are very similar to another restoration spell I observed back in Willow’s Gully, but what you just performed was much more gran--”

The unconscious girl suddenly sucked in a strong, deep breath and rolled onto her back. That and the following sighs were the healthiest sounds she had made since the twins had found her. Soon her brown eyes opened and she sat up, a smile spreading sheepishly across her face as she took in her audience.

With more energy than seemed possible for a woman who just moments before had been on death’s door, Tara grasped one of the priestess’ ancient hands in both of hers, “Thank you so much, Germaine! For the hundredth time, thank you! I can’t exactly remember what happened or how I got here, but I do recall watching a rat stealing a piece of bread from my hand, so I imagine I was in a very poor spot a moment ago.” Her exuberance over such a story perplexed only the clerics.

The priestess snatched her hand away from the ungodly pep of the pretty young woman and stood up, “I am getting very tired of wasting our resources on your death wishes, Miss Ikhari.”

“I don’t have a d-”

“You are just lucky Serah has joined the Stars recently and needed to observe the Greater Restoration ritual.”

Serah grinned, “It was fantastic.”

Tara leaned around the priestess to look at her, “Great timi--Fortune have it, how old are you? Ten?” She looked back at Germaine, “Should you really be subjecting a ten-year-old to all of this?” She gestured to herself in a large, sweeping motion.

“She is not ten,” the priestess rubbed the bridge of her nose.

“More like twelve,” Nigel offered behind Tara.

“More like fourteen,” Nicola snapped back.

“I’m thirteen, actually,” Serah corrected, “and I’ve seen much worse than a reckless alcoholic.”

Tara’s eyebrows shot up at the statement as the priestess snickered beside her, and the smile on her lovely face grew, though very little of it met her eyes, “Either way, thank you for your timing and your kind words, Serah.” She threw her legs over the side of the bed and hopped to her feet beside Nigel, "Shall we off, then? See what the day has in store for us?"

Nigel poked her in the side, "It's night still, you cretin."

“Night?” Tara balked, “Night? You couldn’t leave me until the morning?”

Nicola shook her head at her friend, “We were trying to keep you alive, terror.”

“As is our way,” Nigel added with a smirk.

Tara glared back and forth at the both of them, then at the bottles glistening out of the tops of their packs. Her eyes immediately matched their glisten, “Oh, there were some left!”

The twins both groaned and the young acolyte’s jaw dropped, “Really? After all of this? All of the trouble you’ve put your friends through, you want more?”

Yes. Tara smiled sweetly at the girl, “Not at the moment, perhaps. Would you like some for yourself, darli-”

“That is quite enough!” the Dwarven priestess finally interjected, “The three of you may leave now so that we might get some work done.” She looked to the beautiful, destructive young Lover of Fortune before her, “Should you end up here again for this, you are on your own. I’ve half a mind to let you rot, at the pace you’re going.”

Tara shrugged, “Fortune favors who it favors, Germaine, and so far I’ve been quite lucky.”

“Yes, well, even the Scarlet Mistress grows bored of old songs, and the charm of you Lovers wears off quick.”

“I shall take that into consideration,” Tara replied, wanting instead to tell her she’d rather rot tempting her fate in the streets with a drink, than of the boredom within the stale life of a Spinning Star. Instead, she walked away from Nigel, around the bed, past Nicola and Serah, and gave the priestess a warm hug that the Dwarven woman had truly not expected nor wanted, “Thank you for the kindness you’ve shown me today.”

“Alright, alright, get off,” the priestess simultaneously pushed her away and patted herself down.

“And you, little one,” Tara said, opening her arms to the new Spinning Star, “good luck on your journey here.”

“No, Tara, stop,” Germaine pulled Serah away from the trickster, “Check your pockets girl, and be careful around this one.”

The twins laughed and made their way to the door, Tara backing away after them, shock washed dramatically across her face, “You try to show a little gratitude….”

The priestess shooed her away, “Show us some gratitude and bring us more of the diamond dust we continue to waste on you.”

Tara looked thoughtful for a moment, as though considering the thought, then bowed to the duo and shut the door on them. She grinned at her friends, “I owe you-”

“Millions, Tara,” Nigel laughed, “we will add it to your tab.”

“So gracious.”

“So tired, I think,” Nicola replied, rolling her shoulders and they wandered down the hallway, “we carried you for some time, you know.”

Tara thought back to her actual last memories before the world had tornadoed into blackness; she thought back to those moments of bliss from being free of the other memories that never let her be, and pushed them away. “Hmmm, near Falloes’ temple, I presume? I apologize for the long walk, I will try to find someplace closer next time.” She shrugged, “But it is Braiden High, after all, and those generous priests never think to check on the liquid donations they receive.”

The twins did little to hide their looks of surprise, nor their subsequent snickers of approval, “You truly are a terror,” Nigel said, shoving her shoulder, and Tara chuckled in response.

“There’s still a lot of the night left, what would you two like to do with it?” Nicola asked as they reached the main hall of the temple.

“I know what this one wants to do,” Nigel teased, already forming the arguments he would make, should Tara so much as glimpse at his wine again.

“I don’t know,” she replied instead, “perhaps find someone to help drive those thoughts away, as it seems drink is out of the question for the rest of the night.”

“Oh, the two of us aren’t distraction enough?” Nicola replied teasingly.

Tara grinned, “Alas, none of us seem to be the others’ type.”

“A tragedy, to be sure,” Nigel sighed heavily, “I suppose you’ll just have to find another unwitting heart to break.”

“It isn’t my fault the gods saw fit to make me so beautiful,” Tara said, “And I’d hate to disappoint them by wasting it.”

“How right you are, you terror,” Nicola laughed, “Go make the gods proud!”

“There’s only one that still talks to me,” Tara laughed back, “but she seems fairly happy with my work so far.” She broke off from them then, heading down a side street along the northern side of the temple while they continued forward, “Thank you again, twinnies, I will see you tomorrow!”

“Hopefully!” Nigel called back, and watched as she disappeared around the corner.

As soon as she was out of their sight, Tara sprinted forward, turning again around the next corner and bounding over the short stone wall that surrounded Shinara’s temple, leaping for the wall. She was not much of a climber, at least not in comparison to the Ikhari twins, but she was able to make the flat roof of the temple soon enough, collapsing in a huff onto her back once she did so.

The sky was clear and bright with stars; cool, but warming as Iteran ushered in the summertime. There had been a child at her orphanage, older than Tara and bright, who could name all of the constellations throughout the year. He would point them out to Tara, as she had been the only one interested, and soon she could pick them out with him. It had been one of her only comforts in the decade that followed her departure from that place. She had been moved around a lot, traveled a lot, was given to a lot of different people, but if she could only see the sky.… She didn’t even need a lot of it. With just a sliver of the night in her line of sight, she could preoccupy her horrified mind by finding ways to determine which part of the sky she was seeing, what part of the year it must be, and what system of stars she was likely glimpsing in that moment.

Tara sat up and pulled both of the twins’ bottles of wine from her pack. Everyone had thought she had meant to torment the priestess and her protégé with her antics. It was a distraction of sorts, but not for what they had assumed. She chuckled softly to herself, thinking once again how surprisingly little people understood the power of lying with your eyes. The sticky fingers she had had for as long as she could remember, the acting she had learned in adolescence, the charm she was still working on. It truly didn’t hurt that people found her so easy to look at. At least, it didn’t so much hurt anymore.

She opened the first bottle and took a swig of the thin red wine, eager to tempt the fates, wondering when the twins would find her once more; and eventually, as her constellations began to fade in the morning light, sleep finally found her.

 

Tara woke up far earlier than she would have liked. Commotion rang up from the front of the temple. She rolled away from it but there was no escape. Instead, she pushed herself up onto her knees, and promptly threw up. As this was not uncommon, she took her time, praying this would be a morning in which her headache would leave her swiftly. Eventually, she wiped her mouth on her sleeve and stumbled to the other side of the roof.

She could see the crowd that had formed before she even looked over the edge, and it quickly dawned on her what a large excited crowd like this before Shinara’s temple could only mean, even before she saw their crimson robes: the Laughing Maidens were here.



Posted on 2020-02-19 at 19:45:32.

Reralae
Dreamer of Bladesong
Karma: 142/12
2506 Posts


Sweet, but Bitter

It was well past midnight. Davnor was behind them, and the group had made camp sheltered off the road for safety. As the four began to settle and relax, Aranwen took her own leave first. Still unsteady on her feet, she curled up in her bedroll, but it was no use; she tossed and turned, unable to relax. 

You should rest; I can feel how exhausted you are.

I can't. I just don't understand how this can be. How is this possible, why did this happen, how do we explain-

Shh, Ara, relax. Just let your mind still. Don't worry about tomorrow. Everything will be okay.

I can't help it. I put it out of my mind in Adedre's keep, but this-

Here… let me help you relax… 

… It’s been… A long time… 

… Yes… it has… 

It was later, just when Mosic was about to sleep, when Aranwen approached him and laid a hand on his shoulder, "Mosic?" 

"Lady Galandel? Aren't you tired? You should be resting, especially after that battle, and… Well," Mosic averted his gaze and coughed, "You should be resting," he repeated. 

"She fell asleep," Aranwen's voice replied, soft and soothing, "I'm just here to ask a request."

Mosic blinked, shifting upright to get a better look at Aranwen. Though her eyes were open, they were unfocused and distant. He frowned, "What is going on, then?" 

Aranwen shook her head, "I don’t know, and I haven't the knowledge to explain it. But please, when you have rested, and after your morning prayer, you must dispel any magical effect on us.

"This is Morgana's doing then?" Mosic's eyes widened. 

Aranwen nodded, "Yes. You must break any lingering magic on us. Ara, that is, Aranwen… she will object, but I will hold her still so you can do so. Please, will you do this for us?

Mosic frowned. If the request asked anything else of him, he might have had more questions. But he was tired, he knew Aranwen had to be likewise tired, and the request seemed harmless enough. The Cidal nodded, "Yes, I will."

"Thank you, from both of us," Aranwen smiled, "Rest well," she offered. 

As she moved back to where she had set her bed roll, she paused a moment as she walked by Kithran. The way the half-Syl's brow furrowed in her sleep, and the way she quivered, Aranwen could only guess that her dreams may be haunted. Aranwen knelt beside Kithran, careful not to touch, and closed her eyes as she began to hum. A gentle melody, simple but soothing. It was a lullaby she had heard and hummed many times before. Aranwen smiled as she saw Kithran's face relax, and she stood up to move on. 

She paused by the large form of Ch'dau, unsurprised to find that he was already set to take the first watch of the night. Aranwen swallowed nervously, remembering how his eyes looked inquisitively at her and, carefully, she attempted to walk past. Then she heard his voice. 

"Who are you?" Ch'dau's voice rumbled, quiet in the night. 

Aranwen froze, taking an unsteady breath, "How could you tell?" Aranwen's voice returned. 

"Your footsteps are different, and the way you move, the way you speak, even the expressions on your face, they are different than Aranwen’s," Ch'dau replied, his voice gentle as he looked towards the Sylvari, "Now answer, rrow’ka."

Aranwen sighed, "You wouldn't believe me if I told you, Ch’dau,” She replied, holding a hand to her chest, “I know you have no reason to trust me, nor would I ask it, but please, be assured that things will be back to normal tomorrow morning. Mosic and I will see to that."

Ch’dau gave a soft chuff, “I do have reason to trust you; you fought by our side through our last battle, didn’t you?” he asked.

Aranwen’s eyes widened, and she looked back towards Ch’dau with uncertainty in her violet-tinted eyes, “You… truly saw me?” Like a child caught in a lie, the Syl faltered in her step, before finally she sighed and walked over to sit beside Ch’dau, looking upwards towards the starry sky, “If you really want to know… my name is Saeriel.

“Hm,” the kazari rumbled, his eyes ticking to the body of the woman beside him, briefly wondering where her mind was, before following her gaze to the stars, “You were her wife, yes?”

The Sylvari’s golden eyes flicked in his direction, a bit of violet glimmering in the clouds of gold as she did, and offered a simple nod.

Ch’dau nodded in response, sighing softly as he rested his elbows on his knees and, again, turned his own gaze skyward. “She mourns you, still,” he offered quietly, “loves you, still. Does she know you are with her, now?”

"She does, and I've missed her so deeply, as well. That's why it's so hard to do what I must. This… It simply can't last," A sigh came from Aranwen, "You saw us after the battle, the fatigue and clumsiness. After that battle… we are even more entangled. We stumble over each other with how we must move as one, when we are used to moving as two. Even beyond that, it is still Morgana's magic…"

The Silver Cat nodded, again. “I do not understand the ways of magic,” he quietly confessed, “nor, after what I have seen of it, lately, do I think that I want to. I do know, though, rrow’ka, that whatever magic brought you to us… to Aranwen… turned in our favor whatever its intent.” He turned to look at her, again, and, almost tentatively, reached out a paw to rest on her shoulder. “Should we not speak again, Saeriel, know that I am honored to have met you, today, and, when you have gone, I will care for Aranwen as you have until I am called to the Hunt.” 

Aranwen leaned back with the paw, until she was leaning against Ch’dau’s warm fur, her head resting at his side, “Thank you, Ch’dau. That means… more to me than I can express. Ara is at her best when she has someone beside her…

The next morning, Aranwen looked even more disoriented than she had looked the previous evening, after Kithran had struck Morgana. Her right eye was golden, and her left violet. She pushed herself upright with her right arm, even as her left combed the unruly hair from her face.

Morning… forest… no road… where are we? South West of Dravnor, remember? Trying to; it's hard to think. One body was never meant for two. I don't care, Sae. We can make this work, somehow. It won't work. It will. Ara… It has to… 

Aranwen staggered over to the firepit, collapsing onto the ground nearby. Her movements were awkward, as if her right side and her left were not moving in complete unison. She ate slowly, measuring each bite carefully.

We can’t keep going like this, Ara. We were fine while we sang together. That’s… You know I’m right, Sae. We could make it work. We just have to learn. Ara… 

Before long, Mosic approached the assembled trio, and laid a hand on Aranwen's shoulder. As she looked over curiously, he nodded to her, "I will do as you asked, now," he spoke. 

"Mosic, what are you doing? Go ahead, Mosic. Wait, what is he-" 

Aranwen's left hand lifted to her cheek as Mosic began to pray. 

Relax. What is going on? The right thing. Wait, no! You mean-?! This is Morgana's work. Her magic is dangerous. You know that. I do know that! But still-! It wouldn't work. It can! Look at yourself, Ara, you know what state you're in. You have to let go. But-! I don’t… I don’t want to be alone… Look around you… you aren’t alone. Let more people into your life. Let them kindle the fire in your heart. Live. For me.

Aranwen lifted her right hand to meet her left, her golden eyes beginning to mist over with tears. 

I love you. 

As the spell completed, Aranwen's left hand fell away, limp for a moment before she closed and opened her fingers, as if re-adjusting to them. Her mind, which had been overwhelmed by two thoughts at once since the previous night, felt quiet and lonely. 

"We could have made it work," Aranwen whispered, burying her face in her hands.

"That was weird. Care to explain yourself?" Kithran asked, staring pointedly at the bladesinger. 

"There were two in her mind, just as she had wielded two blades last night," Ch'dau's voice rumbled, his ears flattening, "But who the other was…"

Kithran’s gaze wandered for moment, remembering the change in Aranwen’s song the night before, “Is that who you were singing with?”

Aranwen blinked, “Was it… that obvious?” She asked sheepishly, fidgeting with her right hand clasped around her left wrist. She took a deep breath, doing her utmost to regain her composure.

“I am a Corian,” Kithran pointed out, “Song is in our culture, and yours was like a duet that was missing the other singer. It started after we were separated, and it was kind of becoming distracting...” 

“Tempted you to jump in?” Aranwen asked with a weak chuckle, before shaking her head, “Yes… when you broke me out of that trance Morgana had me in, I wasn’t completely myself,” She explained, “My thoughts were crowded, and I could hear another voice in my head. At the time, all I thought to do was to push it aside. I could only assume it was some manner of trickery and witchcraft. But that voice… it was Saeriel’s voice. She pleaded to prove that it was really her, so I asked her to sing with me, as we used to,”

Aranwen’s golden eyes grew distant as she sighed, her voice nearly cracking as she pushed herself to continue, “In the past… When we were together, our individual bladesongs wove into a duet. Through it, we lent strength to each other in spirit as well as our steel. And when we sang, again, even if none of you could hear her…” Aranwen held her left hand to her chest, “I stopped caring if it was an illusion or a trick.”

“She helped you when you rushed to my defense, did she not?” Ch’dau pointed out, “And I know I spoke with her. I do not know magic, but it seemed far too real to be a mere trick.”

Mosic nodded towards Ch’dau, "I did as well; she was the one who asked me to break the spell. I don't think Morgana would have done either of these things, nor allow some illusion of hers do so. I can't claim to know what witchcraft she did, but based on that alone… I, too, think it was real."

“Yes, but if-” Kith stopped herself, seeing the bladesinger struggling to keep herself together. She couldn’t help but wonder though at the strength of the decades, possibly centuries of memories Aranwen had of her wife. If Morgana could twist those thoughts and memories into doing her bidding... just more ghosts.

Aranwen trembled as she held her face in her hands once more, tears flowing freely from her eyes, “We could have made it work, surely? Why did she do that?”

Mosic shook his head, “I do not know, but the strain upon your body was clearly visible. You were more fatigued and clumsy than any of us after the battle…”

"Just remember this, no matter what witchcraft she possesses, Morgana surely cannot revive the dead.”


"The thread's been cut," the human woman observed, her head tilting as her gaze lingered on the dancing felt doll of Saeriel's likeness.

Morgana nodded, "I didn't expect it would stay for so long. Long enough to widen the holes in her psyche that the needle made in passing."

"Then last night wasn't so terrible, now was it?" Spiderlily asked, wrapping her arms around Morgana's sides. 

Morgana smiled, looking back towards Spiderlily, "I suppose not. And now…" 

"Now, we need only wait…" 

Beside Spiderlily, the red haired Sylvari lay in bed, her violet eyes slowly opening. Though she said nothing, she could not stop the tears that welled in her eyes. 

Morgana approached, reaching up with a cloth to dry Saeriel’s tears, “Do not worry,” She spoke softly, “She will come. And then…”

“... You can be together, forever.”



Posted on 2020-02-20 at 01:49:16.

Reralae
Dreamer of Bladesong
Karma: 142/12
2506 Posts


Cookiemania

434 E.R. Calestra, Coria, Market Streets

It had been while running with the Lovers in Calestra that Kithran had met the girl called Ocyari. A half-syl, like herself, with braided locks of brown hair that danced behind her as she ran, and playful grass green eyes always on the move, looking for things to steal. Preferably cookies; Ocyari had an incredible sweet tooth. When she joined Kithran and the other Lovers in their adventures, she always suggested a route that took them near one of the many bakeries in Calastra.

And today, Ocyari stumbled head first into the cart outside one of the bakeries.

“Owww” she toppled over, parcels spilling out of her hand as she landed unceremoniously on the ground beside the cart.

As passersby started to gather around her, Ocyari made a show of crying, the little girl staggering to her feet and pushing herself away through the crowd that had begun to gather. Quite a spectacle.

And a spectacle was what Ocyari was trying to be, as a distraction. No way to look to be certain if Kithran had taken the opportunity to snag them some pastries. Don’t give her away by looking for her, Ocyari knew, and so she ran away, down a side street, doubling around and about. Lose those eyes that are on me. After a few moments, she made her way towards their meeting spot, slinking skillfully from alley to alley until she hopped up along some stacked crates.

“Knock, knock,” Ocyari whispered, tapping her knuckles on one of the larger crates, “Do we have..." She paused a moment, letting the sound fade before she finally finished, "the cookies?”

“Mebbe,” the half-Syl replied, her mouth full, and the front of her new yellow dress cascading with crumbs from the cookies filling her skirts. She watched from where she sat cross-legged as the other half-Sylvari girl bounded from behind one of the crates. Kithran swallowed her prize, then leaned protectively over the treats in her lap, “Oh, did you want some of these?” she grinned up at Ocyari, “I may be able to part with one or two, for a price.”

Ocyari's eyes widened, and it looked as if she really might cry, "But I let you handle all of them," she protested, "And I simply can't survive without cookies," she reached forward, and dramatically fell flat on the ground in front of Kithran.

Kithran continued chewing, watching amusedly as the other half-Syl’s back slowly rose and fell with each of her small breaths. Finally, she unfurled a leg and tapped her friend on the shoulder with her foot.

“Alright, come back from the dead!” She tossed a cookie at Ocyari’s head, “I don’t usually accept anything less than two lives for cookie payment, but I will make an exception this one time.” Kithran held her yellow skirt out like a platter, “If you don’t come back to life, I'll have to eat these at your funeral. Also, that cookie on your head is about to fall off!”

Ocyari stirred once more, one hand deftly catching the cookie that was falling off from the top of her head as she looked upward at Kithran. Her eyes glimmered with mischief, and she had a small, innocent, smile around the cookie she was nibbling. She sat up and shifted beside Kithran, giving a playful smirk as she revealed the additional cookies she had snatched from the youngest Lover, hidden in her left sleeve. 

“Can’t keep cookies from me,” Ocyari smirked, curling up to also get comfortable and savouring the taste of her ill-gotten gains, "Also you miiight want to stitch up that hole in your skirt pocket. Just saying. You've left that as is for weeks."

Kithran narrowed her eyes, “I bet I could,” she grumbled and shoved another cookie into her mouth. She picked up another from her skirts and tossed it like a frisbee at her friend, who caught it easily, her fingers drawn to the treat like a magnet.

“We’re a good team,” Kithran grinned, “I bet we could steal all kinds of things if we wanted to!” And her eyes drifted off with her thoughts, thinking of how much easier it would be to get her hands on some of the glittering trinkets she had had her eyes on with a partner like Ocyari.

Ocyari's eyes widened, and she looked back to Kithran, a look on her face as if she had the best idea ever, "Are you thinking… we could steal… tarts!" Ocyari's sweet tooth struck again… 

“Ah….”

Seeing the disbelief on Kithran's face, Ocyari tilted her head, "What? Tarts are expensive and they are like…" she held out her hands as if measuring, squinting at the space between them, "bigger cookies."

"Or was there something you had eyes on?" Ocyari asked, "You seem to like shiny things, like this," Ocyari held up the red jewelled pin she had swiped off of Kithran in the moment when Kithran was distracted by disbelief. 

“Hey! Give that back!” Kithran lunged for the pin Tara had given her, all of the cookies in her lap spilling out from her dress.

"Ahhh!" Ocyari dove forward as Kithran did, her eyes widening as she saw the cookies falling. She slipped one leg from beneath herself in order to land on the ground first, catching at least some of the cookies on top of her dress, even if the majority did fall on the ground. She still held up Kithran's pin in her left hand, letting Kithran take it back as she pouted, "The cookies…"

Kithran rubbed the jeweled stars with the hem of her dress, making sure the cookie thief hadn’t smudged her gift, “We can find you more cookies, Ocyari, there’s always more cookies.” She put the trinket in her pocket, out of the sight of her friend, and hopefully out of mind.

The trick effectively worked on her as well, as the sight of the other young half-Syl stuffing her face full of cookies made her giggle, “Will you have room for a tart?”

Ocyari smirked as she looked up at Kithran, “I thought you knew by now - I always have room, Kithran.”



Posted on 2020-02-20 at 16:49:31.
Edited on 2020-02-20 at 17:15:11 by Reralae

breebles
#1 Kibibi
Karma: 48/1
1677 Posts


What Say You?

28th Day, Ternoth Ore, 452 E.R., the forests outside Davnor, Sendria.

Their flight from Davnor had been as exhausting for Kithran as it had been exhilarating. While she had been disappointed they had decided to avoid the city proper, as well as a celebration with drink and someone to spend the night with, Kith was grateful to be on her way to return the whispering book. Aranwen certainly looked ready to collapse from the day, and the others, she imagined, were also happy to spend a quiet night in peace.

Sleep came surprisingly quickly for the thief. While on the road, she usually preferred to sleep against something. It made her sleep lighter, she was quicker to wake at suspicious sounds, and she felt better with something at her back. This night, however, as the others spoke in low tones around the fire, she looked up at the constellations Tara had pointed out to her all those years ago, as well as the ones she had learned since then, and soon found herself fast asleep.

“You’ve been so busy little one, and in so few years, at least in terms of your species... half of a Sylvari. You know you still have centuries left? You do not have to do it all at once.”

It laughed at her.

She took a step and the darkness that surrounded her burst like plumes of smoke into the Long Gamble. It was as crowded as ever, and Kithran was small. She was jostled, pushed, kicked away.

It was the Long Gamble but it wasn’t right. Her normal escape routes were merely paintings of the pathways that would lead her out. No one was looking at her, no one noticed her, no one helped her.

“You want a mother so badly, little one.”

Kithran stopped, the voice had changed, become more feminine, the echo of its booming voice stilling, “Who are you?” Her voice too was different, softer, smaller, unsure.

A hand reached under the table she had hidden, and she grasped it, knowing that it was Tara without needing to check. In one swift motion, Kithran was securely wrapped around the maiden’s back as she bounded through the patrons as though they were nothing, her blond hair bobbing in Kith’s face as they barged into the painting of the hallway along the western wall. The canvas tore apart but they fell forward and Tara disappeared, leaving Kithran to fall into the pool of darkness beyond alone.

The black pool engulfed her. She spun around, kicking her arms and legs toward the light she could still see through the broken painting, but the dark water pressed back on her, pulled her down and filled her lungs.

“No one will help you, little one. You are alone.”

She stopped struggling, she couldn’t any longer, and the light above her began to fade.

“I am… I’ve always been….” Her eyes began to fall shut, and silence, like the water she was becoming, swallowed her.

And then she heard a song. An old song. A familiar song. But she couldn’t remember where she had heard it from. The water continued to press and there was little consciousness left in her, no air left in her lungs… but that song was frustrating her. Did she know it?

It became louder and Kithran’s eyes opened. She couldn’t breathe but she didn’t need to anymore.

The water clashed around her, pulling her down, pushing her up, jostling her worse than the Long Gamble had, but she only wanted closer to that simple melody. It was above her, back through the painting. She kicked and the water pulled her, then swirled, fighting, spinning her around, jutting her back up in the direction of that song. She kicked again and another fight ensued, but she surged further. Over and over again she lunged upward, feeling fuller, warmer, happier, the closer she became, until finally the water spat her out, back through the painting.

But she was no longer in the Long Gamble. She was outside. This was Calestra; beautiful, beautiful Calestra. The sights, the sounds, the smells, the excitement, the mystery, the promise of the greatest city in all of Audalis.

Kithran woke gasping. She sat up, disoriented, one hand rubbing her spinning head and the other reaching for a dagger at the sound of people talking nearby. The low rumble of Ch’dau’s voice finally found its place in her mind as it settled, and she pushed herself up to join the kazari and the priest.

Her body protested at the movement, a bit more than she had expected, though she had taken a few decent hits from the night before. She was not used to fighting so many for so long. Her tactics generally included sneaking in, taking one or two out here and there, silently and by surprise; or simply running away very fast through a plethora of obstacles. She preferred the latter by a lot. Fighting the undead was not something she enjoyed, and she looked forward to never having to do it again.

“Good morning Kithran,” the Falloes priest chirped more brightly than she was capable of reflecting back this early in the morning, “Did you sleep well?”

“I slept alright,” she returned flatly, accepting the bowl he offered her. She had been about to ask him the same, but the sound of Aranwen tripping near the fire drew all of their attention. Kithran took a bite of her meal, but couldn’t take her eyes off the Syl. She looked ragged, somehow even worse than the night before, if that were even possible. Kithran watched her out of the corner of her eye as she ate haltingly, awkwardly, hardly the woman who had saved them that first night.

After they had eaten, Mosic went to the bladesinger, who argued with herself over the spell the Cidal priest spoke over her, until finally it was finished. Aranwen almost immediately looked different. She still looked sad and awkward, but her posture was more familiar, more her, as far as Kith had seen of her at least.

Eventually she spoke again and it seemed Aranwen, Mosic, and even Ch’dau had all known that there had been something strange happening with the bladesinger. Kithran had noticed her song had changed in Adedre’s mansion, but that her dead wife had taken over half of her mind?

“Tempted you to jump in?” Aranwen asked with a weak chuckle, but it was true. She had felt pulled to respond to the bladesinger’s song, but she didn’t know how to, and it was hardly the place to try. It had been just a minor distraction, but Kithran had never liked hearing only one side of a duet, even in practice. They were created to be sung together, it was just frustrating and empty otherwise. She truly wished she could have heard her wife’s part.

Aranwen fell back into tears, and once again Kithran was unsure what to do about it. It was uncomfortable sitting there as the others spoke words of comfort to her; and while she felt bad for the woman, there was nothing she could do to help her. Anything she could think of just felt hollow. In the end, she took her bowl and moved back to her bedroll to finish her breakfast.

As the morning wore on, the tears dried up, and their camp was put away, Mosic called for their attention, and cleared his throat as the three approached, “I would like to thank you for the adventure we went on together yesterday. While I hope to never experience something quite like that ever again, I am gracious to have lent my abilities as a conduit for the Helping Hand, to assist your missions, and to rid the world of that horrendous evil.”

“You saved our lives, Father, on multiple occasions, thank you for your help.”

“I am not a Father, Kithran, and I wish you would stop calling me that.”

“So you’ll be off then, Brother?”

Mosic sighed, “You are so much… Yes, I would like to continue to follow you three, as I am sure there is much trouble awaiting you on your path,” his eyes briefly met Aranwen’s, “but Falloes has called me to Davnor, and I believe I still have work to complete there. Thank you again, and safe travels.”

((OOC: Ara and Ch’dau’s goodbyes with Mosic))

As the Cidal disappeared on the path back to the road, Kithran turned on the other two, “Speaking of farewells, I don’t know what the two of you have planned next, but I am about to begin my journey to Felarin to drop off that book and collect my reward. I also have some errands to run there. If you are headed in that direction, you’re welcome to join.” She looked pointedly at Ch’dau, “We all saved each other from death multiple times last night, so we are even. As it says on that dagger of yours, your debts are paid. Don’t think you need to join me if you have other things to attend to, cat man.

And you,” she poked Aranwen in the shoulder and pushed, testing how sturdy she was, as she wasn’t quite exuding that bladesinger power Kith had been in awe of when they first met, “if you need to find some rest, or an actual physician, I understand. You two have both helped me complete an important task I had not realized I would have never been able to complete on my own.

So,” she said to them both, “what say you?”



Posted on 2020-02-26 at 02:47:18.

Eol Fefalas
Keeper of the Kazari
RDI Staff
Karma: 462/28
8484 Posts


Morning at the Camp

Ch’dau crouched at the edge of the fire, absently poking at the embers as his gaze slowly skimmed the fringes of their campsite. Davnor was behind them, now, and Adedre Undolithe would never again capture and cage any others in her dark quest for power. Those things alone should have been enough for the kazari to have finally managed a decent night’s sleep. The fact, too, that he’d had the long missed opportunity to sleep under tree and star as Khr’a intended should have seen to a peaceful rest for the Silver Cat. Putting an end to Adedre’s life and leaving her corpse to burn in the remains of her manor, though, had done strangely little to ease Ch’dau’s mind, especially after the conversation he’d had with Aranwen… No. Not Aranwen. Saeriel… last night. Whatever machinations Adedre and Morgana had conspired to accomplish seemed, somehow, to have followed them out of the inferno in which they had left both witches in defeat and, because of that, the kazari still felt uneasy.

The soft tread of footsteps at his back drew Ch’dau out of his grim musings and he turned a glance over his shoulder to find the little priest of Falloes approaching, still wrapped in his cloak against the morning chill. “Good morning, Ch’dau,” Mosic yawned, sitting himself down beside the cat-man and stretching his tiny hands out before him to soak in the warmth of their meager fire.

“Mosic,” Ch’dau rumbled from behind a nod, “Umelalaje, little one?”

The Cidal chuckled softly, rubbing his hands together and, then, blowing into them before pulling his cloak tighter about his shoulders. “You know, my friend,” he quipped, glancing sidelong at the giant cat beside him, “I’ve scarcely known you two days and, even before those, I thought Kazari to be creatures of fairy stories. You’ll forgive me if I don’t quite speak your language, yet, hm?”

Ch’dau responded with a snort of a chuckle and a nod of his own. “Forgive, Mosic,” he chuffed, stoking the embers again and, now that the camp seemed to be rousing, reached for a few more sticks of wood to fuel the fire, “I asked how you slept.”

“Ah,” the little cleric smiled, blowing into his cupped hands again before stretching them out to the flames once more, “Umelalaje. How did you sleep? Interesting.” He blinked into the kindling flames for a moment, then turned his eyes to the kazari. “I slept fairly well, thank you,” he answered, at last, “Much better than you by the looks of it. Did you even manage to close your eyes, last night?”

“There were moments,” Ch’dau shrugged, piling another few bits of wood on the fire before his eyes turned to where Kithran and Aranwen each lay wrapped in cloaks and blankets, “You all seemed to need the rest more than I…”

“So you took it upon yourself to watch us all night?”

“Mm,” the Silver Cat grunted, “Your magic seemed to take a lot from you,” he offered before nodding to where the women still slept, “and the witches’ seemed to take much from them. It would not have been… wise… to leave you unguarded.”

“I see,” Mosic’s eyes flashed blue as a faint smirk played on his lips. He gave a soft grunt as he got to his feet; “It would be unwise of me, then, to not tend to breakfast. You’ll need food to fuel you on the journey ahead, especially if you have not had not sleep.”

The cleric padded back to his bedroll and rummaged in his pack for a moment before returning to the fire with a pot, a waterskin, and a few bundles of what, Ch’dau assumed by the smell, was food of some sort. “Will you be staying with Kithran and Lady Galandel, then,” Mosic asked, readying his cook pot and unwrapping the parcels as he spoke.

“If they will have me,” Ch’dau returned quietly, “both of them would deny it were they awake to hear me say so but I owe them both a great debt…”

“And it is nice to be in the company of those who see something other than a monster?”

…The kazari’s ears twitched and his tail swished softly at the ground behind him as he turned his head and offered the priest a faint grin. “Just so,” he chuffed. He nodded to where Kithran had begun to stir from slumber; “The Little Kitten seems prone to getting herself into trouble whether she seeks it or not. I should be there to keep that trouble from finding her too often.” Ch’dau sighed, poked at the fire, again, and let his gaze drift to where the bladesinger dozed, then. “And the khatun is more than worthy of following,” he rumbled thoughtfully, “though I begin to… worry about her…”

Mosic looked up from his stirring of breakfast, regarded the sleeping Sylvari for a moment, and then offered a nod. “You speak of the other in her mind, I’m guessing?”

“Saeriel,” the kazari affirmed, “her wife. Yes.”

“I wasn’t sure anyone else knew,” Mosic murmured.

“It is not difficult to see if one watches closely enough,” the Silver Cat shrugged, “and I spoke to her, as well, so…”

“So, you know she means no harm and has asked my help to free her from whatever spell has so cruelly joined them?”

“Mm,” Ch’dau nodded, accepting the bowl of breakfast stew Mosic offered, “So she told me.” He tipped the bowl to his lips, grateful for the warmth of it and for the way it almost immediately started to fill the hole in his belly. “As troublesome as it is for there to be two in her head, though,” he rumbled, wiping his mouth on the back of his forearm, “I worry more at what Aranwen will think at having her wife taken from her a second time.” He sighed, again, and took another mouthful of the stew before continuing; “I promised the other that I would watch over Aranwen after she was gone but how to do such a thing, I am not sure.”

“You’re doing it, now,” Mosic assured the kazari with a smile and a nudge, “uncertain or not. Continue as you are, Ch’dau, and there will certainly be a Helping Hand there when you have doubts.”

“To be so small, Mosic Townes,” Ch’dau chuffed, “You are full of wisdom greater than your stature, hm?”

A sharp gasp and the rustling of blankets interrupted the conversation, then, and both Mosic and Ch’dau turned to see Kithran making her way somewhat stiffly to the fireside. “Good morning, Kithran,” the Cidal chirped, ladling a fresh helping of breakfast into a bowl and offering over to the thief as she joined them at the fire, “Did you sleep well?”

“I slept alright,” Kithran returned flatly, accepting the bowl and settling down beside them. She shoveled a spoonful of the stew into her mouth, chewed and swallowed, and then, seemed to start to say something but, as she did, the sounds of Aranwen staggering woodenly toward the fire seemed to stay her tongue. Instead, she simply went back to her bowl and continued eating in silence, though her wary gaze never seemed to leave the befuddled bladesinger for long.

((OOC: Mosic’s dispelling and the conversations that followed go here&hellip)

As necessary as the ritual had been, it was as grievous a thing as Ch’dau had expected it might be, and, while Aranwen seemed much more herself at its end, her heartache over losing Saeriel seemed painfully fresh. Mosic consoled the grieving bladesinger with the wisdom imparted to him by his faith; the kazari could do little more than comfort her with warm, supportive embraces and words that spoke to Saeriel’s honor; but Kithran seemed not to know what to do or say about any of it and, in the end, excused herself to go finish her breakfast alone.

As the morning wore on, the tears dried up, and their camp was put away, Mosic called for their attention, and cleared his throat as the three approached, “I would like to thank you for the adventure we went on together yesterday. While I hope to never experience something quite like that ever again, I am gracious to have lent my abilities as a conduit for the Helping Hand, to assist your missions, and to rid the world of that horrendous evil.”

“You saved our lives, Father, on multiple occasions, thank you for your help.”

“I am not a Father, Kithran, and I wish you would stop calling me that.”

“So you’ll be off then, Brother?”

Mosic sighed, “You are so much… Yes, I would like to continue to follow you three, as I am sure there is much trouble awaiting you on your path,” his eyes briefly met Aranwen’s, “but Falloes has called me to Davnor, and I believe I still have work to complete there. Thank you again, and safe travels.”

Ch’dau took a knee before the diminutive priest, reached out a paw, and rested it on the Cidal’s shoulder. “It has been an honor to fight by your side, rrow’ka,” he rumbled respectfully, “Should our paths not cross again, know that I will take the name of Mosic Townes with me to the Hunt.”

“That would honor me, Ch’dau,” Mosic beamed, reaching out a hand to rest on the kazari’s sloping shoulder, “Thank you.”

The kazari got back to his feet as Aranwen took her turn at the farewells and, when she was finished, the three of them watched as Mosic turned his feet back toward Davnor and, whistling happily, wandered away.

As the Cidal disappeared on the path back to the road, Kithran turned on the other two, “Speaking of farewells, I don’t know what the two of you have planned next, but I am about to begin my journey to Felarin to drop off that book and collect my reward. I also have some errands to run there. If you are headed in that direction, you’re welcome to join.” She looked pointedly at Ch’dau, “We all saved each other from death multiple times last night, so we are even. As it says on that dagger of yours, your debts are paid. Don’t think you need to join me if you have other things to attend to, cat man.

And you,” she poked Aranwen in the shoulder and pushed, testing how sturdy she was, as she wasn’t quite exuding that bladesinger power Kith had been in awe of when they first met, “if you need to find some rest, or an actual physician, I understand. You two have both helped me complete an important task I had not realized I would have never been able to complete on my own.

So,” she said to them both, “what say you?”

“Hm,” Ch’dau snorted, “I say that, though I have explained it to you once, you still do not understand the meaning of ki’ja’kazi. I suppose I will have to stay with you until it makes sense, yes?”

((OOC: Aaaand, I’ll leave it there for whoever else to pick up and run with. ))



Posted on 2020-02-26 at 13:00:22.

breebles
#1 Kibibi
Karma: 48/1
1677 Posts


Sing With Me, Just For Today

Kithran hummed softly to herself as she trotted along the road to Felarin beside Ch’dau and Aranwen. The tune was nothing she had heard or hummed before, and the melody hardly made any sense at all, but that was how most of her songs began. Her travels were normally quiet, solitary, save for the infrequent passerby here or there; very conducive to the formation and playing around with new tunes. Regardless of whether she intended to create something or not, traveling a long road always drew something out of her. It was a relic from the time on the road she spent with her father. If she wasn’t idly listening to him weave his wandering thoughts into song, then he was listening to her, or they were going back and forth as a game to build on some nonsensical tune one of them had started.

It was simply instinct now, but one that drew her back to the bladesinger’s song… her songs. They were different than anything Kithran had created. She hadn’t heard many Sylvari songs, at least not enough to distinguish their common elements, and she wondered how much of their traditional culture was intermingled with their bladesingers’ songs. Likely a lot, as was the nature of such things. Music, and art in general, were unique in how they could perfectly reflec--

“You’re staring at me, Kithran.”

Aranwen’s golden gaze met hers and Kithran jumped ahead of her, walking backwards and grinning, “Just making sure you’re not going to collapse again, Sylvari.” She stowed the journal she kept her melody notes in, and held her arms out in front of her in order to catch Ara if she indeed dropped.

"Not presently," Aranwen chuckled with a wry smile, "Being in full control of my body certainly helps."

Kithran dropped her arms, but her smile remained, “Actually, I was thinking about your song, your songs,” she corrected and hopped back to Ara’s side, “Do you bladesingers only sing while fighting, or do you sing just for the hell of it as well?”

Aranwen tilted her head a bit at the sudden question, "Well, that is up to the individual. Some only let their song be heard in battle, others sing more freely. Given that you're asking me," Aranwen smiled, "I do like to sing even without battle, though I still prefer to have my blade in hand."

“Oh yes, me too,” and she drew out her daggers, spinning them before her and tossing them back and forth, swiping and twirling them all while humming a cheerfully chaotic tune, and then resheathing the blades once more.

“Just kidding,” she grinned back at the Sylvari, “but you do have a nice voice, as far as I can tell. If you are ever feeling up for a song, you will have to let me know, blade or no.” Her expression darkened slightly in frustration, “It’s been a very long time since I’ve had anyone to sing with, and as I am sure you can attest, it is far better to do with others than alone.” The grin returned and she pulled a dagger on the bladesinger, “So don’t hold out on me.”

Aranwen nodded, giving a warm smile, "I wouldn't dream of it, Kithran. It might take a few attempts to synchronize our songs, but when we do, I wonder how it will sound…" Despite sharing her bladesong duet one last time just the previous night, she would have been lying to herself if she weren't already missing it. And the way she saw the sparkle in Kithran's dark eyes as she talked of song, she couldn't help but wonder… if things were different, might she have been able to teach Kithran the bladesong? 

“My alto is perfection, Aranwen, so if we sound anything less than that, I would be very surprised. And you,” Kith pointed her blade now at the large cat beast, “with that rumbling baritone of yours, do you sing?”

Ch’dau had been enjoying Kithran’s antics and her conversation about singing with Aranwen enough that he found himself surprised by the thief’s question and he seemed to contemplate his answer for a long moment. “I doubt that it would sound as music to your ears, kibibi,” he offered, at last, “but, yes, Kazari do sing.” He gave a shrug, then, and added; “It is mostly done before battle… or, during the Gathering…” his turquoise eyes flitted in Aranwen’s direction, then, “...and like our Sylvari friend, here, hardly ever without a blade in hand.

Music on Capasha is much different than what I have encountered on Antaron’s shores,” the kazari admitted, then, “We do not have the many instruments that I have seen, here, for example. We have no… er… how do you call this?” The big cat pantomimed playing  an instrument he’d seen used by bards in many different taverns, one paw moving as if it held the neck of the instrument and the other plucking at phantom strings.

“Um…” Kithran’s face screwed up in brief confusion then, with a smirk playing on her lips, she asked, “is that supposed to be a lute, maybe?”

“Yes!” Ch’dau grinned, pointing at Kithran with a furry finger, “A lute! We have nothing like that. Nor the tiny lute that I have seen your minstrels put to their necks and drag a stick across their strings… I do not know the name for this, either…”

“A violin, perhaps,” Aranwen suggested.

“Perhaps,” the Kazari shrugged, “I have enjoyed the music I heard made with one but I have never asked what it was called.”

“Hmm,” Kithran began, pleased that he too seemed to have some interest in her favorite pastime, “I can pluck a few notes in some semblance of a melody on a lute, if one were to beg me, and I could make your ears bleed should I ever so much as touch a violin, but both are very lovely in the right hands.” She flipped her dagger back into its place, “I’d very much like to hear one of your… hmm, Kazari battle songs someday, if you’re ever in the mood to share. Or perhaps before we storm the next evil slitch’s manor?”

Ch’dau snorted out a chuckle at that. “I will see what I can do, Little Kitten,” he said, his ears twitching and tail dancing, “Kazari songs often require more than one voice, though, and are often led by the khan or khr’dun of the war-band. Sometimes there are even drums.”

“How fortunate for you, Kazari! We have a ‘curtain’ right here for you!” She raised her eyebrows playfully at Aranwen, “And I bring a drum wherever I go!” She stuck her stomach out and slapped it intensely and with very little rhythm for a few beats before taking a quick bow.

Ch’dau shook his head and smirked in response to Kithran’s antics. “There is not enough skin on that tumbo n’dogo to make even a small war-drum, kibibi,” he chuffed.

"Very well," she suddenly jumped in front of Ch’dau and took a boxer’s stance, “You are also supposed to teach me how to be as ferocious a fighter as you,” she threw a couple weak punches at the Kazari’s stone stomach, determined not to show either how hard she had actually tried, or how much she had hurt herself doing so. Still, she shook her hands before continuing, “Maybe we can do a pre-workout war chant, or I can teach you how to use those bass notes. I must warn you though, I am a very impatient teacher, but I also give up on students quickly, so just be perfect the first time.”

Laughing as Kithran’s blows pattered against his stomach, the Silver Cat looked curiously to the sky and held out a paw, palm up; “Is it raining, khatun?” he asked with a sidelong glance in Aranwen’s direction, “It feels as if it is and yet the sun shines and there is not a cloud to be seen.” He turned his paw over and reached it out to tousle Kith’s hair, then, and the half-Syl batted him away. “It sounds as if your method of teaching singing is much like my method of teaching combat,” he rumbled from behind his grin, “Mistakes are often costly, hm?”

Aranwen hid a giggle behind her hand as she watched Kithran and Ch'dau. The two together couldn't have looked more different, and yet, despite knowing they had only met recently, it felt to her as if the cat and the thief were long time friends. 

“I wouldn’t know,” Kithran replied to Ch’dau and hopped back to her spot to fix her hair. A few moments of silence passed, and she began humming quietly to herself once again. Though Aranwen offered no sound to accompany Kithran's tune, she was listening closely. The first step towards synchronizing songs was simply to listen…



Posted on 2020-03-02 at 18:42:17.

breebles
#1 Kibibi
Karma: 48/1
1677 Posts


Little Tara: An Introduction

20th Day, Iteran, 427 E.R., Oryndal, Ertain

Tara had only seen the maidens once before. It had been a little over a year ago, in Ethryn. She had only caught a glimpse of them, as she had been following the Ikharis south to Oryndal just as the maidens were entering the city, but they appeared as fantastic as ever now. It had been a hope of hers to run into them again, to get to speak with one of them, ask them questions. The most she had were stories of their exploits, and tales in the temple’s books.

The Laughing Maiden sect of Shinara’s flock was comprised of women who had escaped the monotony of the expected social structures traditionally granted them in this day and age; they were adventurers, wanderers, seekers and bestowers of joy upon each and every town they found themselves in. Tara herself had once considered seeking a life with the maidens, but quickly extinguished the idea. Her issues weren’t entirely conducive to the air the Laughing Maidens portrayed. Even the Ikhari twins could hardly stand her anymore, despite their being the closest thing to family she had ever felt she had, but she could never leave them. And anyway, she would never be able to live up to the standards of being a Laughing Maiden either way, but that was alright. She had carved a bit of a life out for herself here, and that was more than she could have ever dreamed of, just two years ago. She was happier than she had ever been, despite the dwarven priestess’ insistence that she was trying to end herself.

Tara slipped back over the back of Shinara’s temple. Climbing down was much, much more difficult. Her queasy stomach rolled each time she dropped her foot down to the next maligned stone, and her head still whirled sporadically at her descent. She only slipped at the end, and while it was still enough of a fall to roll her onto her back, all but her liver remained intact.

After relieving her stomach further of the red poison she had filled it with the night before, Tara wearily snuck around the side of the building, running in through one of the side doors and sneaking up unnoticed through the winding halls and stairways of the temple. Her room resided at the top of the stairs in the Lovers wing. She had used to share a room with the Ikharis. After saving her they had liked to keep her close, to keep an eye on her and make sure she was okay. It had been very difficult for her to adjust in her first few months away from the life she had led before. However, as she began to seem more comfortable in her surroundings, she began barging into the room at more infrequent hours of the night, or harassing them in their sleep. Eventually they decided to move her into the room next to theirs instead. The twins would still check in on her to make sure she was still alive, but it would be on their own terms.

She walked into her room and was met immediately by the black-haired pair, sitting on the bed across from the door, waiting for her.

“You look like s***,” Nigel laughed as she shut the door, “To be expected though, seeing as how you must have finished off two more bottles of wine on your own last night.”

“Really, Tara,” Nicola said, “you’re still covered in your refuse from when we first found you, and now it’s all in your hair as well.”

Tara touched her natted, once-blond hair, now turned a multitude of other putrid colors, and Nigel snorted, “Oughta just chop it off at this point.”

“Yes, probably,” Nicola agreed.

“Alright you two,” Tara huffed and folded her arms across the admittedly disgusting front of her shirt, “I apologize for swiping my wine back from you-”

“Falloes’, wine,” the twins corrected in unison.

“Can I make it up to you after I’ve changed and c-” she nearly gagged again, “cut my hair?”

The twins’ mouths both dropped agape, and Nigel continued, “You wouldn’t, Tara, you know I was only kidding.”

The once-blond Lover rolled her eyes, but the sentiment was true, “Of course I wouldn’t, though I am not looking forward to the time it will take to fix this.” She grabbed a handful of the thick, disgusting hair.

“What you could do, to make it up to us, Tara,” Nicola continued, “is take a trip with the maidens to Felarin, and pick us up some of the Osbury wine they sell there, and bring it back. Unopened,” she added.

Tara paused, eyeing the twins skeptically, “You want me to leave you?”

“We expect you to come back to us, little sister,” Nicola grinned, “we just expect you to have some gifts for us as well. Otherwise,” she and Nigel sighed together.

“We’re not sure we will be able to forgive this most recent transgression,” Nigel finished.

“And anyway,” Nicola continued, “aren’t you intrigued by the maidens? You’ve talked about how great they are more than once, despite your never having even met one.”

“Yes. I mean I could.” She touched her hair again and her spirits dropped, “How long will they be here? It’s going to take me a while to look presentable.”

Nigel shook his head, “This is the sort of thing we’ve been trying to tell you, Tara.”

“This specific thing?”

Nicola snorted, “You’ve gotta get a handle on it, terror.”

“I’m trying,” Tara grumbled back.

The twins stood up together, “Are you trying, terror?” Nigel asked, “Because it was cute at first, but it’s looking more and more like a deathwish.”

Tara groaned, “If I wish anything it’s that people would stop saying that. I don’t want to die.”

“And yet we had to save your life from the same thing again last night, and then you went out and continued to poison yourself.” Nicola added, resting a hand on her friend’s shoulder, “We’ll speak with the maidens about bringing you along, but you should really use this trip to think things over.”

The young blond Lover of Fortune turned as the twins left, “It really feels like you want to be rid of me.” The door closed behind them and Tara got to work, already pushing aside the initial pang of pain at the twins’ words for now, and replacing it with an urgency to make herself presentable before the Laughing Maidens.

***

The sunlight began to wane through Tara’s window, by the time she felt refreshed and put-together enough to join the others downstairs. She had learned years ago how to make her face seem to glow amongst the others, what colors to wear to make her brown eyes stand out, how to put her hair up in ways that were interesting and accentuated her features. She put these lessons to use now as she wasn’t sure what sort of impression would have prove to have the best effect on a group of maidens and convince them that she would be tolerable to bring along. At the very least though, she would prove she could at least pull off the appearance of a decent human being.

There was also the fact that she did happen to idolize the maidens. Self-sufficient women able to travel the world, look out for one another, go on adventures, widely respected, never confined to one space, or forced into another… All the things Tara dreamt of for herself, but she could not bring herself to leave the Ikharis. At least not for good. For how much they badgered her, guilted her, became fed up with her, they still looked after her. They still saved her life, and for that she owed them everything.

If they needed a break from her antics, so be it. She could hardly blame them. She was a handful, and grateful they continued to keep her around despite all she put them through. And this would give her at least a brief glimpse into life as a maiden.

Tara approached the entrance to the small banquet hall and stopped abruptly at the wall of bodies clogging the path. From what she had heard, the arrival of the maidens always warranted a celebration. This was true whether they were arriving at one of the Luck Goddess’ temples, or in just a normal town. They brought luck, and stories, mischief, and of course, a band of lovely women. This was likely why now, it was clear that it wasn’t simply the normal patrons of the temple who had crowded the banquet hall, but several people she had never seen before, several wanting simply a glimpse of the enigmatic maidens.

It was also why she could not even slip in anywhere. The entry was dense with bodies, no way over or around.

Eventually she sighed, inaudible above the raucous crowd, and resigning herself to her fate for now, turned to go back to her room and change. The twins had mentioned putting in a word for her, and the crowd couldn’t last forever. She would get her chance, hopefully, before they set off for Felarin.

She entered the main hall once again and was about to turn toward the Lovers’ ward when she glanced a shock of crimson from the corner of her eye. Turning, she found a long-haired young woman, not much older-looking than Tara, sitting on a bench against the far wall, reading in the crimson robes of the maidens.

Tara’s heart fluttered for just a moment as she thanked the Scarlett Mistress for smiling upon her once again, and hurried over to the maiden. It was clear as she approached that this woman would be much taller than her had she been standing. Tara wasn’t incredibly tall herself, but the maiden seemed to be, and she was definitely more broad in the shoulder than most young women Tara knew.

The young Lover approached, stopping just a couple feet away, a wide grin on her face, giddy for her first encounter with a Laughing Maiden, awaiting her notice.

But it never came.

Tara took a small step closer, but the woman remained engrossed in her book. So instead, she cleared her throat. And cleared her throat again. And then one more time, until she had finally won her attention.

The long-haired woman sighed softly to herself and closed her book, setting it aside as she gazed up at her intruder, “May I help you with something?” She glanced behind her, “If this is about the banquet hall I’m sorry, I cannot squeeze in either.”

“You can’t… but aren’t you a Laughing Maiden?”

She looked down at her garb, tighter around her arms than she would have liked, “Ah, I suppose so, but I am also new.” She gestured to the hall from which the sounds of merriment and celebration could be heard, “And all of that, it isn’t for me.”

“Oh.”

“Oh?”

“Well I just sort of assumed it was custom for all maidens to participate in,” Tara gestured behind herself as well, “all of that.”

The woman shrugged, “It isn’t for me. Do you think that makes me less of a maiden?”

“I guess not.”

She tilted her head toward the banquet hall once more, “They don’t believe so either. So, now that that is cleared up,” she reached for her book, “if you’ll excuse me--”

“Wait!”

Taken aback by the fervent outburst, she set her book back down and studied the young woman, “Yes? Are you alright?”

“Um, yes.” This was not going how Tara had imagined at all. She really wanted to speak with a different maiden, “Ah, what’s your name?”

“Serena.”

“Serena…?”

The maiden smiled and shook her head, “Just Serena. And you are?”

“Tara Ikhari.”

“Oh.”

“Oh?”

“I’ve heard of you, from those funny little twins, um,” she tilted her head in thought for a moment before recognition hit her, “Nigel and Nicola!”

You were the one they spoke with?”

Serena stifled a chuckle at her incredulity, “No need to be so surprised. I was only in the room when they requested we take their little sister with us to Felarin. Speaking of which...” She eyed the young Lover of Fortune, “You are about the furthest away from a sibling of there’s as I can imagine.”

“They rescued me from a sex thing, and your imagination could use some fine-tuning.”

“I’m sorry, a sex thing?”

Tara waved away her confusion, “It’s a long story. They saved my life. I took their last name. The end. So what was the consensus, will the maidens have me along to Felarin?”

Serena’s head reeled with questions, but her demeanor remained stoic, “Yes, of course. We’ve no reason not to bring you along. They said you idolized us, so I suppose that clears some things up here.” 

“Well, as much as anyone idolizes the Laughing Maidens,” Tara replied, trying her best not to do laps around the entirety of the temple in her excitement. “When do we leave?”

Serena’s book was back in her hands, her mind still burning with questions as she flipped back to her spot, “We are planning to leave an hour or two after sunrise. Will you be able to make it in time?”

The frustration at the twins for not having come directly to her to give her the news clouded by how excited she was to finally have a chance to travel with the maidens, Tara nodded wildly, “I will go pack my things now. Thank you, Serena!”

“You’re welcome,” the maiden replied to her book, as the lover sprinted back up to her room.



Posted on 2020-04-08 at 04:53:56.

   
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