Snippet #2215120

located in Skyrim, a part of Skyrim: The Mentor & The Sellswords, one of the many universes on RPG.

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Character Portrait: Sinderion Direnni Character Portrait: The Representatives
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The sun had fallen before the group stopped, and it hadn't been at Maya's request. One didn't move from place to place across the country constantly, hunting consistently new and challenging targets, without becoming an extremely good traveler. It was as though the wilderness itself renewed her energy like one of the stamina draughts she had tucked away in her bag. Perhaps it was just the knowledge that she was finally moving towards an extremely important goal, with a group of capable individuals at her back. Capable enough to almost bring down a dragon, it seemed.

Oh yes, they would do just fine. And they would help her, even if they didn't exactly know why at first.

That was the kind of devotion their Mentor created, wasn't it? His seeming omnipotence, his ways of solving any and all of one's problems, no matter how minute or how gargantuan. They would do anything to get him back, would they not? For without him, did they not see themselves as nothing? One could go so far as to call the relationship somewhat dominating on the part of the Mentor. But she was getting ahead of herself. Stonehammer had believed the man had changed, considering that he'd supposedly tried to get them to kill one of the Imperials, and failed. If Vodrin believed it, perhaps she could, too.

When camp had been struck, and the fire started, surprisingly not by the fire mage, Maya had offered to take the first watch, to allow the undoubtedly weary Sellswords their rest. She refused the rations the other Breton girl in the group had offered them, having her own food contained within her bag. She was nothing if not self sufficient. It was also not lost upon her that the reception she'd received upon joining the group had been significantly poorer than that of the Nord warrior woman, she who looked vaguely familiar to Maya. Perhaps she would remember what significance the woman had at a later date. Or perhaps all Nord mercenary women looked the same.

In any case, Maya had chosen to remove herself from the immediate area of the group, but she stayed within sight, choosing to scale a nearby tree about halfway up, settling in a nicely V-shaped branch formation that afforded her the opportunity to put her feet up, while also granting an advantageous overview of both the camp and the surrounding area. The tongueless Dunmer was in conversation, if one could call it that, with Adrienne, as the fire mage had called her back at the bloody site of the dragon attack. The fire mage himself lay some distance from the fire, apparently turning in for the night, but not before he experimented with flicking sparks into the air from the tips of his fingers. An interesting bunch, to be sure.

Settling into her watch, Maya lifted her hood up over her head, plopped her bag into her lap, and began to nibble on some of the bread she'd brought along for the journey. There wasn't all that much, as she hadn't thought to be gone long from the coven. The thought crossed her mind that they could perhaps stop by on their way to the Rift, but she doubted very much the Altmer would enjoy that. A werewolf among the Mentor's handpicked misfits. What better a companion to join in her hunt?

If the beast in his blood could be said to have any positive qualities whatsoever, Sinderion supposed he would count unnatural endurance immediately after his extraordinary sense-capabilities. He rarely tired much if at all, but the downside was, he never slept particularly well either. He was perpetually ready to move, to act, quite probably to hunt, the last of which he strove with great effort to avoid. It also made him restless, and he had a hard time settling. It didn't help that right now, he was also feeling guilty. He was not in the habit of allowing irrational emotions to rule him, because it was that kind of impulsiveness that got people killed. It was never him, either.

It had occurred to him that he'd done wrong by the witch, and the proper thing to do was apologize. That it was necessary did not make it any easier, and after he took his share of the cold rations, he spent a few hours ranging away from the camp, mostly just trying to bleed away his excess anxiety by running. It sometimes worked, and the Mentor had always encouraged physical activity as a way of bringing his temper back under his control. For a while, he raced between the trees, ducking and dodging around such obstacles as the terrain saw fit to present him, and pointedly thinking of nothing. He simply took in sense-data and reacted, for once in harmony with the totality of his being rather than working against it. The temptation to shift was always there, but as long as he restrained himself to some degree and did not push beyond what his humanoid body was capable of enduring, it was avoidable.

Circling back in a large loop, Sinder slowed his pace and jogged back towards the encampment, satisfied both that he was in a better frame of mind and also that there were no hostile persons nearby. Each of these hings was a comfort to him, and if he as ever going to be able to manage what needed to be done, it would be now. Taking a deep breath, he sorted though the various odors and aromas of camp and picked out the one he was looking for, following it to a tree. Glancing up, he took note of Maya's presence and then glanced backwards. It looked like the others were getting ready to sleep or already there, and he had no desire to raise his voice, so with a jump, he caught hold of a low-hanging branch and pulled himself into the tree, repeating the process until he was roughly at the same height as the Breton woman, but occupying a decidedly-separate limb.

Settling himself into a crouch, Sinder took a moment to find his words. It was not always an easy thing. He didn't speak much now, and he'd had no need for speech at all for a significant portion of his life. "I apologize," he said at last, forcing himself with some difficulty to actually look at her, make eye contact as he should. "My temper speaks poorly of my character. You did nothing to deserve my ire. Thank you for helping my friends." He was quite ready to be done there, but he wasn't ignorant of the fact that it would be polite to wait for some form of response, so he did.

She let the silence linger for a moment, if only to study the man a bit more. He seemed very quiet, and very troubled, and speaking to her in this manner was bringing that out. He was not comfortable with her in the slightest. His demeanor, as well as his previous reaction to her, had made that clear. Most did not approve of witches, and she supposed it only made sense that one forcibly turned to lycanthropy against their will by them would feel more strongly about this. Maya would have called such a thing a gift, to take on such a glorious and powerful form, one in which the drawbacks, in her opinion, were few. Why sleep when one could hunt? A blissful existence, if she had ever heard one. Still, it showed more of her devotion to Hircine that she overcame her shortcomings due to her desire to hunt, rather than simply being forced to as a matter of necessity. In all, it left her with a hungering desire to learn more about him.

"Apology accepted," Maya said lightly, pushing her hood back and running a hand through black hair. "As are your thanks. I normally charge for my alchemy." She leaned back against the tree, allowing one of her legs to fall lazily and dangle to the side. "Now, if we're going to be traveling together, and very likely fighting together, perhaps we should learn to deal with each other like civilized beings, no?" She broke off a piece of her bread and chewed momentarily, swallowing before speaking again. "You may call me witch if it pleases you, in which case I will refer to you as werewolf, or perhaps simply as beast. Or we could put hate and prejudices behind us. For the sake of our common cause, if nothing else. You may call me by my name, which is Maya, and I may call you..." She trailed off, hoping to get the elf's name from him. She was quite serious about the whole beast thing.

The Altmer blinked slowly. His life had shaped him into a deeply-suspicious, wary sort of person, and he did not part with pesonal information easily. Still... there was little information to be had in his name alone, and she'd hear one of the others use it, eventually, if indeed they were to be spending any duration in one another's proximity. There was likely no harm in it, and he had no desire to be called "beast," however accurate the appellation may be. He shifted in his crouch, vaguely uneasy all the same. "...Sinderion. My name is Sinderion, but they-" he lifted one hand from the branch he was holding and gestured vaguely to the Sellsword camp- "are given to calling me Sinder. I... will not object if you prefer it as well."

In a way, her easy identification and untroubled acceptance of what he was perplexed him. He put great effort into appearing as nothing more than his current state showed him to be: a relatively ordinary Altmer, with the typical sharp bone structure and appearance, if a bit tall and with a somewhat-odd eye color. There was supposed to be nothing whatsoever extraordinary about him. Granted, his control had slipped that afternoon, and he'd felt a few physiological changes, but it wasn't as if he'd sprouted fur and descended to all fours. Perhaps it was simply her background that made it an easy guess; it was ironic, but he rather hoped so. Worse than that though was the fact that it didn't seem to bother her. He viewed that part of himself with a heady mixture of contempt, caution, disgust, and- he could admit to himself if nobody else- a fair amount of abject fear. He was no coward, but he managed to scare himself rather profoundly.

Either she didn't know what he was capable of, or she didn't fear it. Both would trouble him, for distinctly different reasons.

Perhaps he was more a coward than he'd believed, because he avoided that question in favor of one perhaps equally-important, but less about him. "If I may, how is it that you came to be connected with the Shadow? I... my knowledge of your people is limited and heavily-shaded by... unfortunate circumstances, but I had thought you rather insular as a rule." He was genuinely curious, but it also seemed important for their purposes. She was considerably chattier than he was, and more open than Stonehammer had seemed, so there was always a chance she'd tell him. If not, well... he supposed he could hardly blame her when he was reticent enough to almost refuse her his name. Perhaps this was something Adrienne should have been doing, or Drayk.

Sinderion. Beautiful. Or Sinder, even. Maya almost thought the Altmer wasn't going to part with his name, and that she would have to weasel it out of one of the Sellswords with a softer exterior. His cooperation was appreciated, and slightly unexpected given his violent reaction to her earlier. His change of subject to her past was slightly less appreciated, but the fact that he was talking to her was a massive improvement over what she'd expected. She had no intention of denying him an answer, but of course, the Shadow was not fond of being exposed. She was confident she could get their help even with a minimum of information presented. They needed to find the Mentor, after all.

"Easier than you might think, though of course I cannot say how much you know already. Or what exactly you've been told. If you spoke to the Spymaster, most of what she told you was probably lies, or at least half-truths. She's very fond of them." Even in the short time Maya had been exposed to the Dunmer woman, she'd learned that. Few enjoyed their plots so much as that one. Maya found herself hoping Stonehammer was indeed successful in paying her a visit as he had intended. Vodrin was far more bearable to be around, in her opinion.

She took another bite of bread. "As for myself, I was sought out specifically a little over seven years ago. I was still a girl in many ways, but I was exemplary in certain qualities that were being sought. I was contacted, I was prepared, and now I hunt. I'm afraid I shouldn't say more. If you haven't already learned, they don't look kindly on being spoken of." She thought for a moment. "I'm sure you'll learn what you need to know when the time comes. You're wrapped up in things now, whether you want to be or not." Maya hoped the words wouldn't worry Sinder unnecessarily, but they were true. If no one else, the Mentor and the Shade seemed driven on bringing them into this, for reasons she could not know.

The mer's reaction was scarcely earthshattering; his grip tightened minutely on the branch he held, his nostrils flaring slightly as he exerted conscious effort to regulate his breaths. His disliked being manipulated, and quite frankly, someone was doing quite a masterful job at it, if he had his guess. It was perhaps only the fact that it probably wasn't Maya that kept him level. How many times had he been told something similar? That his ignorance was for his own benefit? He'd asked the witches what they planned to do with him, and his answer had been nearly the same. The Mentor had used the sentiment as well, though he'd thought he'd managed to forgive that. His father had used it, refusing to tell him the finer details of his mother's untimely demise. His sister had held it over his head when he was small and she was so much wiser. He was not a fool and he was not made of glass. When he'd shattered, it had been the breaking of something far harder, but just as brittle, it seemed.

And then, as though she had caught Sinder on a bad move in a board game, Maya slid her proposal his way, failing to hide a mischievous glint in her eye. "Do you trade often, Sinder? I've answered your question the best I am able... might you do the same? How did you come to be connected to the Mentor and these Sellswords?" It was undoubtedly pushing her luck, considering that it was far more information than a simple name to call him by, but she saw no reason not to try. If he was going to attack her out of his hate alone, surely he would have done so by now.

"You attempt to draw me into a bargain after the fact," he pointed out flatly. Nevertheless, his sense of fairness niggled at him, reminding him that he was trying to be civil, and that it was truly little more than a return of his initial query. Any discomfort he felt with it could only be considered his own fault for asking it in the first place. He would, then, answer to the degree to which she had, which was to say, quite vaguely. "With more difficulty than you might think, though the extent of your knowledge is unknown to me as well," he echoed her speech pattern intentionally. If this was to be a trade, it would be a fair one. "I was the first of the Sellswords. I too, was sought, and for my qualities, though certainly not the same ones, I am sure. I was saved, I was trained, and now... I, too, hunt, it seems."

His mouth twitched, though whether it was a ghost of a smile or a grimace was unclear. Perhaps it was both. "What was the rest? 'I'm sure you'll learn what you need to know when the time comes'?" He tilted his head to one side, fixing Maya with something that wasn't quite a glare. It was less hostile than that, though still not exactly friendly. It was hard to say if the hard glint to his stare was intentional or just habit. "I suppose so, yes. If something as irrelevant as my history ever becomes important, I shall not withhold it." And that was the best he could do.

Nodding tersely, Sinder abruptly jumped backwards, propelling himself free of the tree's foliage and landing solidly, but not without grace, on his feet beneath the boughs. He still wasn't sure how he felt about this whole ordeal, and there was no mistaking that Maya's presence was going to make things more difficult for him (she could scarcely help how familiar she smelled, after all), but his mind was set somewhat at ease. Trust was no easy thing for him to give, and he hadn't, but at least when he checked behind him for the knife at his back, he wouldn't be automatically expecting to find it.

Maya pulled her hood up over her head once more as she watched him go, smiling slightly to herself. She could already tell she was going to like that one.