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Khrae Var

"If it cannot be avoided, then so be it. Pray that I be merciful, and I shall pray you safe passage into your next life."

0 · 261 views · located in Skyfall

a character in “A Tale of Lastra”, as played by Centi85

Description

Name: Khrae Var

Age: 43

Appearance: Khrae stands at just under 6", and has pure, unblemished skin (He claims it is through an untainted mind that the body remains untouchable). His long black hair reaches down to beyond his lower back, and it is usually kept either tied in a long pony tail at the top of his head, or at the base of his skull. His eyes are a hardened, steely gold that never cease moving, and forever hold a look of greater knowledge and understanding.
He wears a simple, loose, long-sleeved, white collared shirt that usually remains untucked and splayed at the bottom, over his matching pants. A short, sleeveless Haori-type garment is worn over it all, resembling much a jacket. Black outlines his clothing, and at his waist are two gold-embroidered katanas, while his arms and wrists are wrapped in what appears to be a type of tape, almost a gauze. Being a member of the Phoenix clan, usually when he is in public he will don a large black cloak, with a purple fire pattern outlining the openings to the sleeves, base, and hood. A cowl completes his attire, which does lack shoes or anything else to cover his feet, and is usually pulled up over the lower half of his face.

Image
(Normal clothing without cloak)

Dragon: None

Weapons: Dual Katanas (Blunted)

Abilities:
Swordsmanship -- Years of training have turned this man into the most worthy of adversaries in combat. His blunted swords can move with amazing speed, the man wielding them with an uncanny level of agility and endurance; enough to cut cleanly through most targets, despite the hindrance of dulled edges. The fact that they are blunt also helps in simply snapping an enemy weapon, and it further represents a passive side of the clansmen. Only when utilized as a weapon will the swords truly become that, otherwise they symbolize only the countless hours of training, and the dedication to personal development without the need of a ready weapon.

Powers of the Phoenix -- Khrae has at his disposal an extensive collection of literal firepower. Through his studies and meditation, he has achieved complete control of the element of fire, and can manipulate it at will with amazing skill. He rarely uses his abilities except under extreme circumstances, because of course of the recent laws, and also on account of the man finding that usually his swordsmanship is all he needs to end a confrontation.

Ancestors -- If the situation escalates ever to such the time where the man would need to call upon his ancestor's powers, he will. Requiring only for a stance to be taken, as well as quick prayer to the God Aeir and the late clan members, the man will then detach himself from the world completely and entirely, clearing his mind to summon forth their power. Through their embodiment in him, his eyes will glow a brilliant purple, and with their guidance, he can unleash devastating attacks with his fire, and gain increased strength. The toll however is heavy, as with the sudden eruption of power into his mortal being, fatigue quickly ensues, as well as speeding up the deterioration of the body. The duration of this ability may be as short as a second, or even last up to a minute. Any further however, and the user will die, the strain on the body being too much beyond that point.

Personality: Khrae is a rather unlively person, seldom smiling or showing any emotion, finding that they could cloud his judgment. Instead he relies on a clear mind, devoid of anything that may hinder it. He has few possessions besides his clothes and swords, and is the watcher. Always he'll be found observing, making careful calculations of everything around him and, whenever something stumps him, or if he should ever find himself unable to answer a question, meditation is the answer. The beliefs of the Phoenix are the governing force of this man, and he often seeks advice from his ancestors to things he cannot explain.

History: Khrae's history is unknown other than that this man was assigned to lead Dante in his exploration of the world. He is the trainer and protector, and would give his life for the boy or clan, having an exceptional sense of loyalty, duty and honor to drive him on.

So begins...

Khrae Var's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Dante Fuuriah Character Portrait: Khrae Var

0.00 INK

#, as written by Centi85
Khrae's gaze drifted back and forth across the city. All around him, throngs of people moved, bustling with whatever activity was currently occupying them and tending to whatever task was in need of completion. Lining either side of the narrow road, stands were setup alongside shops of various products, congregations of people obscuring the view to any of them and making it impossible to buy anything, unless of course you were audacious enough to try to push one of the bargainers out of the way. Nevertheless, Khrae wasn't in the market to purchase frivolous trinkets or otherwise useless chickens, one of the many things that was currently being passed around. No, instead the man was here to try to ascertain where in the world his counter-part had escaped to in his absence.

Glancing around, the man sighed. He'd expected as much, and he regretted now the moment where he allowed himself to drift, to get comfortable and become lax, momentarily letting slip his attentiveness to the task bestowed upon him whilst in the meeting with the Council and Order of the Vyldi.

The sounds of the people around him were almost overwhelming, with random people yelling this or that, trying to get the best deal for whatever they found it worthwhile enough to spend their time on, though usually in vain as far as the seller goes, always being the one with the better deal in the end. Shaking his head, the swordsman proceeded on, forcing his way through the relentless mass of people, maintaining a stoic expression as his eyes darted here and there, trying to pick out any sign of his young student's presence.

It took only a moment for the man to locate the boy, not finding it at all surprising that he was the epicenter of the chaos that suddenly broke out, an uproar of screams coinciding with a conglomeration of other sounds, ranging from what Khrae only assumed was a goat, to then a series of clanks and clattering of metallic objects tumbling to the ground.

Moving suddenly with a renewed purpose, Khrae dove further into the sea of people, all attention suddenly shifting in the direction of the commotion. Weaving his way towards the source, the man broke out into the clearing that had formed around an old blacksmith's shop, locating his prey on the ground, sprawled out beneath an avalanche of shiny armor pieces, and a cascade of weapons and wooden racks. How the goat played in, the man wasn't sure, but he didn't question it's presence over the boy.

With a heavy sigh, the clansman stepped forward to confront the bellowing oaf of a man who he only assumed was the blacksmith himself, or at least the shop owner. Clad in heavy leathers, gloves and an orange-stained smock, the heavy-set brute seemed unstoppable in his rants of incoherent curses and otherwise nasty language. With the appearance of Khrae and a new source upon which to unleash his unholy innuendos, the man proceeded to do just that, throwing at him a mess of, "Is he yours? Look at this mess! What kind of bumbling idiot is this child?!" until such times when the swordsman simply held up a hand.

"Please, friend," he said calmly, pulling down his cowl. All eyes were on the scene and the three men, but over a matter such as this, it was hardly anything to become so flustered about. In fact, if Khrae was correct in his learning about how most others interacted in public, this entire display was deliberately just that, brought on simply because the public was indeed watching, a sort of natural reaction to the sudden gathering of the people's attention, and then not wishing to lose it. The man had much to learn about a polite modesty, inventory on the ground or not. Still, Khrae didn't feel as though things were entirely against the fellow, or at all. Courteously he nodded before proceeding.

"My apologies for my young apprentice. Dante here tends to be a bit... irrational at times, does not think through his actions and their consequences, yet to fully understand fully exactly how he can affect a situation," the man explained, his expression or tone never changing.

"Khr--" Dante began, only to be silenced with one glance of his mentor. Although no expression was evident in the man's face, Dante respected the authority he still held. In fact, currently it was very much palpable, somehow the calm reactions of the man assimilating into the crowd. Normally they'd of expected much more shouting, yelling and debating, and perhaps they'd of cheered or continued on, but this sudden change in pace was almost intriguing, everyone wanting to see exactly how things would play out. A similar effect had overtaken the shop owner too, and with his outbursts quelled, he now held only a rather unfriendly glare towards the boy.

"I'll pay kindly for whatever may be damaged or broken," continued Khrae. "Again, I do apologize." That said, the man produced a handful of assorted coins, dropped them at the other's feet and turned on his heels, moving through the crowd that now decided to part in his wake. The boy was quickly to follow, standing and bowing his head to hide the sudden shame. At first he seeming to sulk with heavy steps behind his mentor, until such times when they'd made their way onto the path into the forests, when once more he became his usual, care-free, bouncy and bubbly self.

Outside the borders of the small community, and into the trees with the entire ordeal left behind, Khrae suddenly stopped, shutting his eyes and causing his apprentice to impact his back.

"Wha--" was all Dante could manage before suddenly Khrae had whipped entirely around, his eyes suddenly taking on a glowing purple hue as his fist moved with his body, the punch directed into the boy's lower abdomen. The young man was cut off before he could even finish his first word, and suddenly found himself propelled backwards with a force that was sent with more blunt, possessive attributes than actual power, simply knocking the wind from his lungs and sending him hurling back several meters, instead of breaking ribs or otherwise seriously damaging internal organs.

For a moment while the boy regathered himself and his pride, Khrae simply stood, his power having dwindled just a moment after his initial strike. With his face hidden in the shadows beneath the hood, and then further obscured by the cowl of his cloak, he looked truly menacing, but Dante knew better. After a long pause, and once the boy had reclaimed his ground, he spoke. "Explain yourself."

"What?" replied the young man, almost defensively, yet at the same time quizzically.

"Explain." repeated the swordsman.

"It wasn't my fault. That man was being rather unfriendly from the get go! I--"

"No, explain to me why you insist on causing trouble instead of sticking to your studies and meditation. Explain why I cannot take my eyes off you for a moment without something ending up broken, dismantled, demolished or otherwise not the way it should be." Again, the man's tone remained a steady neutral, but it was evident that he was displeased nonetheless.

"Because that stuff is boring!" proclaimed Dante, his shoulder sagging momentarily. "It's more fun to adventure, that's why we're out here!" With this he perked, waving to the forests now surrounding the two men. "I mean, I get that whole enlightenment stuff, but why can't we have fun in the process?"

"Fun can be had, but with the proper amount of discipline to ensure that it doesn't turn to destruction of property." Retorted Khrae, the statement having become tedious to repeat over the years. "Moderation... I only just managed to convince the council that our presence will be of no harm, that we are a peaceful group reliant on our studies rather than whatever else, and here you are collapsing a someone's shop, their entire inventory. Your ancestors would be ashamed of you. This is why no powers are granted to you..."

"I'm proficient enough without them," said Dante, as if trying to at the same time convince himself of the hollow statement. "Really!"

"Hmmph. Nevertheless, you are to remain where I can see you. I'd expected you could at least stay out of trouble while I was at the meeting, but apparently not. No matter how much I detest having to bring you into anything further, I suppose I'll have to. Now then." With that, the man turned again, proceeding down the road.

"Where are we going?"

"Lethandrill," Khrae said simply, then he elaborated. "We just barely got accepted, and now we're dispatched to alert the other orders of our presence. The Order of the Vyldi will be keeping a close eye on us, and frankly the only reason I'm afraid of that is because of a certain blacksheep. Now, you'll be on your best behavior for the remainder of this trip, yes?"

The question was rhetorical, Dante knew, so he simply remained silent as he followed the older swordsman down the road that would take them to their destination. He said nothing else for the duration of their walk, but in his mind he was working out plans already of how to exact a vengeance on Khrea, and of course cause more trouble. Smiling to himself, the boy was content his plans.

The setting changes from roell to Lastra

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Dante Fuuriah Character Portrait: Capella Character Portrait: Khrae Var

0.00 INK

Capella sighed, glancing down at the unfamiliar landscape below her as she glided silently through the sky. Dragons weren't known for their patience, and she was no exception. Still, what she did have going for her was an almost fanatical level of caution when it came to her hoard. True, her own stockpile of treasure was meager when compared to that of greater and older serpents than herself, and to most Dragons might not have even warranted the name she had proudly given it. Traditionally, a hoard was supposed to be of unimaginable value, treasure enough for a whole kingdom sealed away under the watchful serpentine eyes of its owner. Her own treasure was little more than the stashed plunder of her little raids on Human villages and towns. Although, some of it was admittedly quite valuable - like the rare sword she had just taken, or a few select goods already safe back in her cave - there was still none of the quantity that most would associate with a draconic hoard.

But, in any case, she was a very prudent dragon, which was why she was now having to wait much longer than she liked to return to the comfort of her cave. Given that her hunters were now close behind her, to return directly would have been foolhardy, as it would lead them right back to her own doorstep. If there was one thing a dragon loathed the prospect of, it was a battle where a hoard stood to be lost. In such a fight, you had nowhere to retreat, and, more often than not, even when you won, you lost at least something important to the thieving invaders. And so, Capella had reconsidered her initial plan, and had changed course slightly. Turning her gaze away from the inviting mountain range before her, she now made her way on a slanting course. She planned to pass high over Elven territory near Lethandrill, a place where the Humans wouldn't be able to follow her in numbers without risking a major political incident. Once they were sufficiently delayed at the border, she could come back around and reach her cave from the north, losing all those tailing her in one fell swoop.

Even so, that assurance didn't really help the fact that she was tired in more sense than one, and was beginning to get hungry again. Although normally she could go several weeks on a single meal - although admittedly, her idea of a meal was closer to "devour a sheep or two whole" than it was to the Human concept - she had been fighting almost constantly since she last sated her appetite, and an army - or, in this case, a dragon - didn't march - or, in this case, fly around blowing up the occasional nuisance - on an empty stomach. Unfortunately, there weren't exactly villages out here in the middle of nowhere for her to visit and steal livestock from, which put her usual means of feeding herself right out of the question. Maybe if there were some travelers on the road, or a merchant caravan...

But, no such thing appeared, and the Dragoness sighed again in disappointment as her stomach let out a quiet grumble. This wasn't exactly the most direct route to Lethandrill, so that wasn't much of a surprise, but still, it was irritating. Her wings were tired, the Humans wouldn't leave her alone, and now, to top it all off, she didn't even have any food in her belly! Sure, she had a shiny new sword, but you couldn't exactly eat that. If only-

Just as she was about to wish for something new and interesting to happen, however, she noticed something. Sniffing the air a few times, she realized that this was, as she had thought, the scent of Humans. So there was somebody traversing the forest road down there! Hmm, maybe they had some food? But, wait, there was something else interesting going on, she realized. Perking up her ears, she listened as faint words floated up to her from beneath the green canopy.

"...on our studies rather than whatever else, and here you are collapsing a someone's shop, their entire inventory. Your ancestors would be ashamed of you. This is why no powers are granted to you..." A stern, quiet voice said, the words barely audible to the one overhead until she focused her senses further, shutting out the sounds of the rushing air around her as best she could and, in fact, stopping in mid-air, fluttering her wings softly to slowly hover downward, closer to the source of the noise. But it wasn't just the sound that had caught her notice. What was this she sensed? It seemed like there was some sort of interesting magic that had just been used. Yet, the arcane residue in the air didn't match up with any sort of spell she had ever heard of. Actually, it resembled more the essence of life to which she was so attuned, which explained why she had been able to sense it so keenly without even trying to. And their strange words about "power" and "ancestors..." Hmm, was this some sort of power she hadn't been aware of? It seemed intriguing, whatever it was. Capella was a very curious dragon when her attention was attracted by something, and now, she was fully determined to learn more about the strange travelers walking the forest below.

She didn't really register much of the rest of their conversation, besides the fact that, as she had thought, they were headed to Lethandrill. Well, in that case, it wouldn't hurt anything to follow them, now would it? She was headed in that direction anyway, after all. But hmm... She couldn't really find out anything about them by just flying silently overhead, especially since they had stopped speaking, it seemed. Not to mention the fact that she wouldn't be able to get any of the food they probably had if she didn't acquire it directly through some means... Well, then, in that case, there was only one thing to be done! She would go down there and accost them! Sure, it might thwart her planned escape into the wilderness if they ended up tipping off her pursuers afterward, but she could worry about that later. Right now, there were interesting things afoot, and she wanted nothing more than to investigate! Grinning happily at her new mission, she rose once more, flapping her wings as quietly as she could until she was beyond the range of Human hearing. Then, following the road a little way down, she flew on ahead, staying out of sight above a small cloud bank until she could see a bend in the two travelers' path up ahead. Then, speeding out ahead of them, she swiftly landed amongst the branches of several small trees growing out over the road from a small, nearby hill, and waited.

Just as she had expected, her targets soon came into sight. She had chosen her spot well, for, as they came around the edge of the hill, the entire group of trees amongst which she hid sat between her and them. Only once they were right beneath her would she actually come into view, and by that point, she could already have accosted them. It sent the message that she didn't intend to attack them just yet - after all, if she did mean to, she had just passed up the perfect chance at an ambush, something no self-respecting dragon would ever be so foolish as to do if she intended to strike at her prey at all - so hopefully she'd have the chance to exchange words with them and discover who they were. While she loved a good fight, it was much harder to get information out of someone if they were trying to kill you. So, she restrained herself, and waited. The footsteps of the two were growing closer, now, and a few more moments of silence later, they fully came around the corner and out onto the road in front of her. For the first time, she got a pretty good look at them, and she had to admit, they seemed even more interesting in person. Unlike the knights and forest rangers, they were dressed in much more showy garb. The older traveler - who she recognized as the speaker who had wielded the strange power about which she was so intrigued - was clad in a flowing white haori, while the younger wore a coat of black leather that seemed oriented just as much towards looking impressive - which, admittedly, it did - as it was to providing protection. Yet, despite evidently not belonging to either of these parties, they carried swords, which meant they probably weren't mages, who generally favored staves and other long weapons so as to avoid fighting in close quarters. Were they mercenaries? Scholars? Assassins? The Dragoness couldn't say for sure. Still, it wouldn't take long to find out!

Half sitting, half lying on a thick, overhanging branch, the dragon lounged comfortably against the trunk of the tree, her arms crossed over her chest and her tail draped around her waist, twitching curiously back and forth. Her legs dangled carelessly out over the path, talons glistening faintly in the afternoon light, while her wings were spread out and hung limply around her body like some kind of webbed mantle. Her horns showed quite plainly in the daylight, and her ears twitched occasionally to listen to the songs of the birds - as well as to keep alert in case the sounds of horses trampling through the underbrush should be heard. Her amber eyes flashed eagerly in the light, and she smirked, a fang poking out from behind her lips as she grinned like a Cheshire Cat - or, in this case, Dragon - down at the travelers. She made no attempt to conceal her identity, nor did she try to leap up or surprise the travelers. Rather, she simply stayed where she was, which in and of itself was somehow more worrying than a sudden ambush would have been, especially considering the fact that the sword she had stolen in the last battle had its blade halfway buried in a branch next to the one on which Capella lay, well within her arm's reach. This was another thing she made no attempt to hide, which only further increased the bizarre nature of the situation.

"Oh? Good day," She said with an innocent air that was so notable for its affability that it spiraled back into the realm of threatening, or at the very least suspicious. "Fine day for a walk, isn't it? Are you going somewhere?" The Dragoness' smile broadened, and she rose gingerly to a seated position, folding up her wings behind her and uncrossing her arms, placing them at her sides and holding slightly onto the branch beneath her as she casually kicked her legs back and forth beneath her, flicking her tail back and forth. It seemed like a completely innocuous, even childish action, but, like almost everything else the Dragoness did in the presence of others, it was calculated to hopefully provoke an amusing reaction. After all, she hadn't bothered to replace the scales she had shed during her last encounter, and consequently the only thing that could be said to be covering her was the tail shrouding her lower half from view. But, given the continuous motion of this appendage, it did very little to hide her figure from view, least of all her generous and painfully visible upper region.

Ah, it would be interesting to see what they would do. Most people just threw things at her and tried to chase her away or otherwise attack her when they saw her, but during close encounters like this one and the one earlier, people always seemed to get really worked up. Evidently, not conforming to the Human custom of wearing clothing was a very big issue, but, like most other big issues, she just pretended not to notice because it always got those around her so flustered. It was always hilarious to watch, no matter how people reacted. Maybe these two would do something amusing like that knight had? Well, she hoped they didn't attack her and then try to throw their coats at her. Those outfits they had actually looked rather nice, in her opinion. It would be a shame if they lit on fire and burned into dust.

...

Even if they did, though, it would still be funny.

(Capella Trolling Count: 2.)

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Dante Fuuriah Character Portrait: Capella Character Portrait: Khrae Var

0.00 INK

#, as written by Centi85
Khrae

Khrae wasn't completely oblivious to the things around him, in fact his attentiveness to the world and his surroundings was what merited him the tedious chore of being the protector of a child whom required such unrelenting vigilance. The presence of some other creature wasn't totally new to him, as the forest held many interesting animals, and yet even so he was aware of it's unique qualities over all else. Of course, his senses weren't heightened enough to the degree where he could pinpoint its location or even know exactly what it was, but at the very least they granted him permission to acknowledge it. This in mind, he noted the curiosity it seemed to put off, getting closer before making what seemed like a rather deliberate and silent retreat. Sighing, the man classified it under unimportant for now as it it drifted beyond where he could pick up its presence. Should it return, then perhaps he'd take the time to worry about it.


Dante

As the two men proceeded down the path towards Lethandrill, Dante was lost in his own world, navigating a sea of thoughts that centered mostly on the events to come, those prior, and how he could possibly cause more trouble. Several times he'd contemplating the possibility of tripping the older swordsman, or giving him a flat tire, only to realize he wore no shoes... ever. How boring, Dante thought, his head down, eyes locked on the man's bare feet. Perhaps he could try at the cloak, but no, that wasn't any fun either because it came down to just above the man's ankles. Khrea was truly no fun to mess with, especially when afterwards he always seemed to go off on the same stupid lecture about the ancestors and meditation..

"You'll never get anywhere if you don't learn control... we can have fun but we need moderation with training... your ancestors are so ashamed of you, you'll never unlock your powers... blah blah blah, shut up old man!" the boy recited in his head, mentally shouting at his mentor's back. "And who wears no shoes? Seriously... this gravel. Freaking idiot... Do your feet hurt?! GOOD! Hmmph..." He just wanted to have fun, to play and explore! For the love of Aeir, it seemed like even when he was only talking he was doing it wrong! Even now the boy was annoying himself, his brows furrowing into a tight 'V' over his eyes as he shoved his hands into his pockets, staring down at the road. "I'll show you control," he thought. "Just give me a--"

It was the voice that caught his attention, that dragged him from the inner reaches of his mind. It was obviously female, and had a certain air to it, a playful one, candy-coated and sprinkled with deceit, one that merited suspicion, though the boy didn't pick up on any of those facts. Instead, what he was focused on was the sight that suddenly crossed into his field of vision, as when he looked up, what else would meet his eyes except a young woman, perched on a branch overhead. She was clad in scales about her arms and legs, with small devilish horns protruding from her skull, with wings doing much the same from her back, and most importantly, completely naked! Except for her tail which swung back and forth tauntingly across her most private of parts, Dante was starring at some sort of dragon, formed partially like that of a girl, and whom was lacking in the proper coverage to be in public. The sound he made next left much to be desired in the sense of literacy, as he hadn't even realized he'd done it when he did.

"Fine day for a walk, isn't it? Are you going somewhere?"

Clasping one hand over his mouth, the boy used the other to point as he mouthed several silent and incoherent statements. Words were failing him at the sight of the creature... er, woman...thing, whatever it was, and he couldn't seem to be able to manage anything past looking like a gasping fish with no water. Turning to his mentor, he finally stammered something, though it still lacked any actual structure as far as an complete word, and it was at that when the boy become even more annoyed, finding that the man had continued walking on. Khrae of course had seen the girl, had noted everything there was to note about her, but still felt no need to acknowledge it outwardly, as it wasn't worth his time. His expression remained completely neutral and hidden behind his hood and cowl as he simply proceeded down the road.

"Wha- KHRAE?!" screamed Dante, now finally able to find it in himself to form words. "What're you-- What? Ho.. What are you doing?!" He stammered.

"Going to Lethandrill," the man stated, not once looking back or stopping. "We've been dispatched by the Order of Vyldi to--"

"I know what we've been sent to do!" Dante retorted, "But there's a... This! Woman.. NAKED!" The boy was now less intrigued by the woman's form and absence of clothing, but now further baffled in his mentor's reactions, or lack thereof. How the man could simply proceed past a young girl in the middle of the woods, devoid of any sense of dignity was beyond him, and yet there he was, walking away as if nothing was happening out of the ordinary.

"If you know what we've been sent out to do, then you shouldn't be worrying about anything else." Khrae said. "Now come on, you're falling behind."

"Khrae!" Dante repeated, completely dumbfounded at the man. "What about her?!" Again he pointed, taking several steps along the road.

"What about her?" The man questioned, as if the answer was blatantly obvious.

"She's... AGH!" the boy screamed, become frustrated with the man's lack of any decent emotions that most normal people possessed. "Aren't old men supposed to be perverted or something, you should be drooling at her feet!"

"And you should be coming with me Lethandrill, but you're not. No, instead you're making a fuss about a girl, so we're both disappointed. Come on!"

Dante turned towards the Dragoness, unable to keep such a stupid look of bewilderment from his face as his eyes rolled over the entirety of her figure. He didn't know what to do, so he simply gawked at her, suddenly unable to speak again. After a moment, and realizing that his mentor had still kept on going without him, he sighed, exhaling defeatedly. "Just, ah... One moment," he said, holding up a finger and rubbing the back of his head nervously. "Please." Turning, he then proceeded to chase down the other swordsman, hellbent on tackling him and dragging him back if the need be. "KHRAE!!!"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Dante Fuuriah Character Portrait: Capella Character Portrait: Khrae Var

0.00 INK

Just as the Dragoness had predicted. Hilarious.

From the moment they saw her, their reactions had both been quite interesting. First, there was the boy. The instant he set eyes on her, he had been a riot to behold. Like the knight, his features seemed to spiral through a phase of momentary bafflement as he stared in confusion at her, followed by a swift reddening as he stammered a bunch of nonsensical things, unable to completely grasp exactly what he was looking at. He opened and closed his mouth several times, but nothing coherent came out, which, arguably, made him a more amusing spectacle than if he had done the same as the knight and ordered her to put some clothing on. Evidently, whatever he had been expecting to see on his trip, she wasn't it.

By the time the boy had finally come to at least slightly understand what he was looking at, however, something very curious happened. Namely, the older traveler finally reacted. Unlike everyone else who had looked upon her directly, this man did something unexpected. He passed his eyes over her once, and in the instant he did so, Capella could tell that he had already identified her for exactly what she was. And yet, despite that, his reaction wasn't one of caution, or confusion as to why she was accosting them. Rather, he simply understood that he was looking at a Dragon, and simply did not care. He passed calmly beneath where she sat, his only acknowledgement of her presence being the fact that he sidestepped ever-so-slightly to avoid the talons at the ends of her dangling feet. How interesting, the Dragoness thought, her curiosity piqued anew by this man's incredible single-mindedness and awareness. Even when called upon by the boy to stop and tarry a moment, he didn't even waste any time in continuing towards his destination. To think there was a Human with such mental discipline and determination... Capella would have said he'd make a good dragon were it not for his apparent lack of curiosity.

As the boy continued to stammer silly things, trying to get the older man to wait until he could discern exactly what was happening - Capella wondered if it had occurred to him that he had simply caught the eye of a particularly capricious dragon who was bored, hungry, and looking for something interesting to do - the Dragoness merely watched and laughed softly to herself in amusement. Oh, it had certainly been a good idea to accost this pair. They were perfect opposites, the one curious and incredulous and the other stoic and determined, and both of them were so interesting, much more so than the other Humans she had met recently! Well, that being said, she couldn't exactly allow them to just wander off, now could she? Her fun had only just started! Hopping dextrously to her feet atop the branch, she swiftly swept her tail out, catching hold of the sword in the tree trunk with it as she at the same time unfurled her wings and, with a few quick flaps, Capella rose into the air, fluttering along just above and behind the two as the boy ran after his master until another overhanging branch presented itself. Accelerating for a moment, she swiftly overtook them, and then, flipping over in mid-air, once more swung her tail upward, plunging the sword into the branch above her and, wrapping her tail tightly around the hilt, hanging onto it, swinging down suddenly into the two travelers' path once again, presenting a hilariously comical image as she sat suspended casually in their path, still not even bothering to cover herself.

"You're going to Lethandrill, huh? What a coincidence! So am I!" She said cheerily, giving another fanged grin. "And you say you're with the Order? How interesting! What sort of business do you have the-" Her words were abruptly cut off, however, by a sudden creaking as, with timing that might seem a little too convenient to be coincidental, the Dragoness' weight was suddenly left without anything to support it as the sword, its magically sharpened blade having slowly cut through the branch into which it had been driven, abruptly gave way, cleaving the entire limb and falling from the "surprised" Capella's grasp, at the same time dropping her just a little bit too precisely... right onto the head of the boy just as he caught up to his master.

Of course, being a dragon, there was naturally no chance of her making such a blatant oversight. Actually, there had been nothing accidental about the whole arrangement. She had timed her positioning just right as to cause it to happen. Although she'd been tempted to drop onto the older man just to see if she could break his composure, it didn't seem like he would react as well as the boy, who had already proven to be hilarious when agitated. So, she had decided on the more sure option, and had placed herself accordingly, delaying the blade until the perfect moment, until the boy had been within falling distance. Then, giving a slight squeak so as to seem surprised, she allowed her perch to be cut, and herself to fall. As predicted, she fell right onto the target, flipping partially over in mid air by grasping onto the boy's shoulders as she fell, rotating partially while hopefully dragging him down backwards. The result she was hoping for was for him to fall on his back, while she would cushion her fall on his top half, landing facing downward at him and pointed in the opposite direction. This would allow her to cushion the impact to her face on his chest - although she was, of course, careful not to land horns-downward - as well as letting her cushion the impact to her chest on his face. The goal being to embarrass him as much as possible for her own amusement, given what she had seen of the general regions Humans seemed to stare at and be alternatively entranced and disgusted by the exposure of, she had a feeling this would do the trick nicely.

(Capella Trolling Count: 3.)

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Dante Fuuriah Character Portrait: Capella Character Portrait: Khrae Var

0.00 INK

#, as written by Centi85
Khrea

Khrae had been keeping a keen eye on the creature, carefully calculating each of it's moves, motives and otherwise every last thing it did, yet at the same time never faltering from his course. Onward he kept marching, with the boy now rushing after him, insisting that he redirect his energy towards an endeavor so tedious to pursue. Besides, the Dragoness was now following them overhead anyway, so to turn back would be even more pointless. With that noted, the man acknowledged her advancement, the girl now taking up a position just in their path along the road, dangling upside down from an tree branch overhead, attached simply by a rather ornate sword. Her possession of such an object was not at all surprising as most of her kind always collected valuables of the like, though Khrae still took in the full makeup of the weapon with his single insightful glance.

Behind him the boy was approaching, and the man had passed beneath the Dragoness unscathed. Nevertheless, he sensed immediately the ploy in her tactics, and once more his attention to detail merited him the saving of the boy's fragile pride, which he'd already done so good to destroy himself with the events just prior.

A torrent of questions proceeded to spew forth from the wily creature's mouth, and it was with her last sentence, cut short by an abrupt snap and answered by her squeak of feigned surprise, that set Khrae on the defensive. Dante had been so preoccupied in chasing down the man while also watching as the bare woman passed overhead that he was too busy to even realize what had happened the moment he stepped foot beneath her figure. With the blade lodged into the branch, and her entire weight, no matter how light it may have been, tugging down on it, it was sure to do just as the man had expected. He knew also that she couldn't have been that stupid, and with the deliberate attempts at catching them off guard earlier, this was still of no surprise as she fell, intending obviously to land on the boy as he simply stared up at her.

Turning suddenly, the man's eyes began to glow beneath his hood, something that would've caused a rather interesting effect in the shadows of the fabric, had it not been under such circumstances. Closing the distance between himself and the boy with an almost ungodly speed, the man was further boosted as a jet of fire erupted from his back, massive wings forming and propelling him forward to where his left arm wrapped around the boy's stomach, grabbing him and pulling him out of the path of the falling Dragoness.

Rolling through the dirt and releasing his hold on the child, Khrae ignored the sudden scream from Dante as he came up to one knee, turned completely around again to face the Dragoness. The boy finished much less gracefully, actually only landing on his back and rolling over rather awkwardly, sort of like a turtle in the same position. Sighing, and with the threat to his student neutralized, the man allowed his power to dissipate, the wings and glowing around his eyes fading away. That was twice in one day, and even though it was only for a few moments, the man could feel his heart racing, his chest tightening as his body reacted with the sudden surge of power. He knew that if he continued, he'd die of a heart attack eventually, but it was worth it if only to keep anything from happening to the boy.

Standing upright, the man looked to Dante and shook his head. "Vigilance, child," he said, pulling down the cowl of his cloak so that his words could continue unobscured. Of course he knew there was no actual harm to be found in the girl's playfulness, but even so, he wouldn't allow the boy to make their clan look even more foolish than he may already have. "Do I really need to tell you where you've been going wrong this whole time?" the man continued. "Pathetic."

Turning towards the girl now, he addressed her. "If you wish to proceed with us to Lethandrill, I welcome you kindly." he said, "However, I'd prefer it if you leave the premature mind of my student out of your games. He's bad enough as it is without more exterior forces tainting his mind even further." With that, the swordsman gave a polite nod and proceeded on, his bare footsteps crunching almost inaudibly against the dirt road.


Dante

Dante shook himself, trying to get past everything that had suddenly happened. One minute he was chasing Khrae, trying to get him to stop when the girl had passed by, hanging herself from a branch over the path. She had started talking, and then the next minute she was falling, and suddenly the older swordsman had turned and tackled him, throwing him back several meters, and not to gently either. Shaking his head and with a red hue overtaking his face, Dante was more than annoyed now. How stupid had he looked? Did she try that? The boy had no clue what was happening until after it did, and even then he wasn't sure why. His mind was totally occupied on the Dragoness and her - he smirked, admiring her figure - nakedness.

Once the man had continued on, Dante approached her, but he still couldn't keep from feeling a fluttering somewhere in his chest, a sort of jittery-ness at the sight of her. With a sly grin, he waited until Khrae had gone a fair distance away, far enough to where he assumed he couldn't be overheard.

"Hey," he said casually, trying to act smooth. "You know I would've caught you had I not been interrupted, but," the boy cleared his throat, as if the act would merit some sort of awe from the girl. "If you want something to do, it's a long walk to Lethandrill...Or, not that long actually, but would you mind helping me figure out a way to loosen this guy up? At the very least we can concoct a plan for when we get to the city... He wants to meet with.. someone." His grin widened as he nodded towards Khrae, his back still to them. For the past hour or so, the boy had been trying to formulate a good way to catch the man off guard, to somehow break through the impenetrable barrier he hid behind, but to no avail. Now, with the appearance of this Dragoness, he had finally found a way to do that. Even though he lacked the senses of the older swordsmen enough to feel the aura she gave off, he could already tell she would be some fun to use against him.

"Oh," he added as a second thought, "I never got your name.. And uh.." he paused, trying to keep back the childish grin he was having such a hard time controlling. "You're not wearing clothes..."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Dante Fuuriah Character Portrait: Capella Character Portrait: Khrae Var

0.00 INK

"Aww," The Dragoness pouted, slowly sitting up from where she had landed on what was quite certainly the ground and not her target. She hadn't sustained any real injuries, given the natural toughness of her body even without its scales, but instead was only mildly disappointed. Capella sighed. It seemed that the older of the two travelers had noticed her little game before it could be completed. How tragic. It would have been much more amusing to watch the boy babble and stammer in confusion as she destroyed his facade of dignity completely than it was to see him get sent flying by his own master - although that, in and of itself, was also rather funny. Still, she had to admit, she was already beginning to sympathize with the boy. The moment the uptight old geezer finished rescuing at least a small part of his student's dignity, he turned to her and immediately began to go off on some stupid speech. She wouldn't really have minded if he'd given the usual cliched speech, drawn his swords, and tried to kill her. At least that would have been fun. But no, he had to go off on, of all things, a lecture! Who did he think he was, telling a Dragon how and how not to act? She'd do what she liked! That was the privilege of being a Dragon.

"Why, whatever might you be talking about? As you can plainly see, I haven't done anything at all to your precious pet lad - or is he your pupil? Perhaps a squire? Or maybe your son? In any case, if there's any 'taint' going on in that head of his, it was already there before I arrived. Even if I was 'tainting' him as you say, what would you do to me? Surely you wouldn't be so dishonorable as to strike down a defenseless woman in the middle of the wilderness?" Capella grinned as the older traveler began to walk away, almost quoting the knight's little speech word for word as she employed it to test the man before her. After all, if she was going to exploit whatever code of honor he might follow, she would need to test what she could and could not make him do, first.

Just then, however, it seemed the amusing boy had recovered from his initial shock at being bowled over after a dragon almost fell on his head. Mustering his composure - or, at least, at well as he could be expected to when faced with Capella sitting temptingly before him, once more wrapping her gently twitching tail around herself and crossing her arms loosely over her chest, as that posture had seemed to draw his attention and embarrass him fairly effectively before - he approached her and delivered a few comments he, judging by his tone, thought would impress her. She was rather surprised by this, actually. Considering he hadn't even thought to go as far as the knight from before had done for the sake of chivalry, it seemed rather odd that he would nonetheless try and act like a gentleman. Moreover, it seemed he was doing so voluntarily rather than out of a simple obligation to some foolish code of self-regulation. She wondered if that made him more courteous than the knight, or if he had just succumbed already to her influence. She wasn't as clueless as she let on, and, in some small sense, understood the reason most people were either enthralled or infuriated by her usual manner. Granted, Human attraction still made very little sense to her, but she knew it well enough to acknowledge why this boy suddenly seemed so intent on winning her favor. Ah, how foolish, trying to attract her in such a way. He'd have to be much more subtle and sly to trick her, but, nonetheless, she admired him for having the courage to try when she had already broken down most of his dignity as it was. It was kind of cute, actually. The way he was looking at her now was more like a dragon inspecting a treasure he hoped to add to his hoard than it was like a Human so entranced as to be able to do nothing but stare. Even if he didn't have the charisma or the power to do such a thing, the fact that he wasn't so scared as to be unable to even dream of his goal was a definite improvement from the lower caste of cowards she was used to observing. Further to the boy's credit was his taste. Unlike most Humans who were too scared to even understand the true worth of the great race of dragons, not only did he treat her with the same respect he'd treat a member of his own species - well, if that member was as audacious as she was, that is - he had made it quite clear through his demeanor that he recognized the rarity of the treasure now sitting before him, and was determined not to let his chance go. So, he was bold, greedy, and had a good eye for valuable treasures? To a dragon, those could all be called three of the greatest virtues. How impressive, to meet a Human with such a personality! This boy was, without a doubt, swiftly becoming the most interesting Human she had ever had the pleasure of meeting.

However, to her surprise, the boy continued talking, speaking once more in words she understood all too well. So, he was trying to toy with the mind of his traveling companion? Yes, with someone so composed and single-minded, it was only natural that a less stuck-up individual would want to break through that smugness. And to snap such intense mental composure... oh, the enjoyment one could derive from that would be quite considerable! How fun, how amusing, how wonderful! To think such a Human existed! It was almost a pity that this boy hadn't been born as a dragon, instead. He would have been much better at living freely, taking what he wished and doing as he liked, than he seemed to be at putting up with the obstinate nature of his own boring race. Actually, come to think of it, why should he have to put up with such tedium when there was fun to be had? And why should she be forced to allow such a promising specimen to remain in the dull society of his own race? She came almost immediately to realize that, as she had been appraising the boy's various qualities, she had been doing so in the same way as she sized up a treasure she was thinking about seizing. This boy, with his carefree, almost draconic personality, seemed to her like a particularly attractive prospective possession for her hoard. He had all of the virtues a dragon respected most, would be easy enough to entice into becoming her possession, and, just as icing on the cake, wasn't hard on the eyes and came in colors matching her own! Well, okay, his hair and coat were both black, but that complimented her own hues of deep gray well enough. While the Dragoness had initially landed in the hopes of getting some quick laughs and free food, she now made up her mind. She didn't intend to leave, even if the hunting party caught up sooner than expected. To just fly off and abandon such an amusing Human? Unthinkable! With such fun to be had, she wouldn't think for an instant of flying away and leaving her enjoyment behind. Her curiosity was now thoroughly aroused, as, with a fanged grin, she slowly rose, sizing up the boy before her eagerly, her tail swishing back and forth almost like that of an excited puppy.

"Oh, my name? I'm Capella, of the Elder Grey Dragons, the most capricious of all my tribe!" She declared happily, making her words just loud enough to let the man, Khrae, hear her. Given his general personality, he probably knew exactly what her tribe was. It would be interesting to see how he reacted, to say the least. Perhaps it might break his composure just a little bit to know that the harmless, fun-loving dragon he'd just encountered was actually a member of one of the most cruel of dragon tribes? It might be interesting, to say the least.

"Well, granted, I'm the only Elder Grey Dragon currently alive, so that isn't really saying much, but still, it's technically true," She added with a cheerfulness that belied the rather startling revelation that every last relative she might have had was dead. Not skipping a beat, as the boy made his next brilliant observation - speaking in a surprisingly calm tone compared to most of the other Humans who had noticed the same lack as he had just observed - she glanced down at herself as though just realizing something that she hadn't thought of before.

"Oh," Capella said curiously. "You're right. So I'm not. Huh. I hadn't noticed." For a moment, she remained dead serious, but in the next moment, she flashed a sarcastic grin and continued as though nothing had just happened. "Anyway, if we're going to be walking now, I suppose I can't afford to leave this behind. Hmm..." As she spoke, she once more swept out her tail, picking up the fallen sword and giving it a slight flick to shake the wood dust off of the blade, before holding it up in front of herself and glancing at it contemplatively. Clapping her hands together, she at last came up with a solution. In an instant, with a quiet clinking of moving scales, a small patch of grey began to spread from the base of each of her wings and across her back, before peeling back and floating into the air in front of her, at the same time beginning to curl around itself. Seamlessly, scales began to bend and fuse together, until she was gazing upon what appeared to be a scabbard made from countless feathery scales, all meshed seamlessly together into a sheath of remarkable craftsmanship, the shape of which was tailored perfectly to the contour of the rare blade. Smiling contentedly, she swiftly swept back the blade with her tail, then sheathed it. Sliding this over her back, she swiftly created a band of scales running from the hide already present over her shoulders around her front - finally covering her chest in the process, which, while she had been amused by the boy's reactions to, was beginning to become a distraction - wrapping over and onto the scabbard hung on her shoulder just below her left wing, joining to both of her wings in the process and forming a sort of covering with the general shape of a halter-top. Of course, in her usual fashion, it terminated without even fully covering the bottom half of her chest, and was also rather low-cut to boot. She didn't like wearing anything more than she had to, even to an extent in the case of her own hide, and it showed quite plainly. At the same time, she expanded the scales around her tail ever so slightly, covering both her front and backside - if a single, close-fitting strip of scales could really be called much more modes than nothing at all - eliminating this distraction for the time being as well.

"Funny thing," she observed, gazing once more at herself in the same contemplative manner as she had before, at last delivering the punchline of her little bit of sarcasm. "If you think about it, I'm still not actually wearing anything. And yet, by Human standards, I'm now considered clothed. You 'civilized-'" One could almost hear the air-quotes. "-races have so many needlessly convoluted regulations. Oh well. If we're going to the city, I suppose I have no choice but to obey your silly rules. Then again, all I'm doing is making it a little less embarrassing for the town guard to try to slay me, but I'll take what I can get." She grinned again, as though daring some invisible watcher to come and try stopping her. Abruptly, however, she lowered her voice, not wanting the older one to hear.

"I think I've got an idea," She whispered with an eager smirk, her tail swishing back and forth. Oh, her next plan was going to be so much fun. But first, she'd need to attract the boy's attention. Once he stopped moving to ask what her plan was... Yes, even that single-minded man - no, especially because he was so single-minded - would be frustrated! The boy should have known better than asking a dragon to "come up with an idea" without specifying what sorts of ideas were acceptable. His reaction to her next move would doubtless be just as amusing as Khrae's.

(Capella Trolling Count: 4, and swiftly rising. Pity Dante, and pity Khrae even more. =P)

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Dante Fuuriah Character Portrait: Capella Character Portrait: Khrae Var

0.00 INK

#, as written by Centi85
Dante

Dante was at this point, the epitome of mediocrity, and innocence incarnate. The sheltered life-style of the boy had apparently merited some appeal from the Dragoness, but even so, everything taken into account, he still had no clue of the simple fact. Instead, he remained standing, awaiting an answer and watching as she seemed to mull over his words, her eyes all the while scanning him over. The fact that he wasn't assimilated too into the proper aspects of social grace and chivalrous ways of the outside world, the clan finding it tedious to teach when it could be learned through meditation, and because his curiosity and need to mess with Khrae outweighed all else on the boy's otherwise blank agenda, meant at this point he was blind to everything except for the fact that he had found, potentially, someone who would help him accomplish his goals.

When she finally spoke, her words were confusing. Whatever capricious meant, he only assumed it was something good, and a Dragon? Interesting, at least that he understood... Well, and her name of course. Capella. She'd said it loud enough to the point where he assumed Khrae could hear as well, and he had to nod approval, though he still lacked in the knowledge of being able to understand exactly why the girl had done this. No doubt the man didn't really care, or whatever she had said was supposed to mean something to him...Hmm. Shrugging, Dante dismissed the thoughts. Also with Capella only moments prior having been telling Khrae off for chastising her, Dante knew this girl would be more than happy to assist him in his childish games.

Addressing his previous statement, the question she answered was something he knew Khrae would've called unnecessary. An acknowledgement to something so obvious as to the girl not wearing clothes would've been accompanied by a scoff from the man, a frivolous effort, as no doubt she would've been fully aware. Dante though, being so clueless to everything about him, found that in this instance the man may have been wrong. Looking to towards herself, the Dragonness seemed to be completely serious in the realization, as if she'd only just noticed. Perhaps then his words weren't wasted breath, energy that could've been better spent meditating, as Khrae would put it. But then she seemed to adjust suddenly to a grin that belied the foregoing moment of curiosity. Dante only got confused as his triumph was trumped, but when the topic suddenly changed again, he allowed that to slip his mind too.

Watching in amazement, the boy stood with his mouth slightly agape as the scales began moving from her body, conjoining and forming a sheath to match almost too perfectly the shape of the sword she carried. Attention span of a fish, Dante had only just noticed it. The most distinctive thing about it, was the fact that it was shiny, and was quite ornate, decorated in several jewels. The boy's eyes followed it to the girl's back, his inquiring mind suddenly taking charge again as he stepped around her, somehow drawn towards it like a puppy would be to a severed tree branch, though seemingly with less mind than that. "Sweet sword," he said rather flatly. If his previous attempts of acting smooth had worked, this definitely just caused whatever bar he'd set to suddenly come spiraling down. Then of course, when she began folding her wings to form a top that did little to conceal her... Dante was already blushing with the thought of the word as his gaze remained on the girl, never waver, now watching as the scales formed up over her front and rear. Most of the distraction gone, the boy was snapped further from the trance as Capella spoke.

"Funny thing," she began, "If you think about it, I'm still not actually wearing anything. And yet, by Human standards, I'm now considered clothed. You 'civilized' races have so many needlessly convoluted regulations. Oh well. If we're going to the city, I suppose I have no choice but to obey your silly rules. Then again, all I'm doing is making it a little less embarrassing for the town guard to try to slay me, but I'll take what I can get."

At that, the boy had to laugh. "Please," he said, "These old monks have even more stupid rules and regulations than what I've seen so far on my travels! They've got stupid things on how to sit, breath and everything! I've been out here for four years with this old man, and not once have I seen any of their most idiotic ideas practiced!" Leaning in, the boy hushed his tone abit, as if afraid of the man to suddenly come rushing back at him to once more unleash his ancestral wrath. "Khrae simply says it's because they're all uncivilized, but I think he's just annoyed because I know what goes on in the world." The last statement was of course a complete lie in regards to Dante's perceptive abilities spanning only to shiny objects, or otherwise things he could wreck havoc on, but still he had some sense in his logic. It could hardly be disproved, as it was true. Of the many things the monk's practiced, like their interpretation of proper social etiquette, relationships between others, and maintaining a low voice, calm composure, and all of that, it was useless in the real world. What Dante saw in some of the more misplaced cities were beggars in ragged clothing, people yelling and screaming to get what they wanted and even throwing small tantrums as they swarmed shops. Let alone no one bothering to sit properly, but instead simply sprawling themselves out in a pile of self-indulgence over the ground. It was a lot more exciting than a silent room, men and women in robes not speaking but simply plucking with dainty fingers at their plates. Shaking his head at the thought, Dante continued. "Either way, I agree... Why wear clothes? I tried streaking through the monk's hall once... It was fun until I was pounded up against the wall and banished to my room... course I escaped."

"I think I've got an idea," her voice interrupted. That too, the monks of course didn't enjoy when their conversations of speech was randomly cut off, but Dante didn't mind. He was entirely focused on his dealings with Khrae that he'd accept almost anything by now. Smiling, he looked to Capella, waiting. Although he wasn't keen enough to pick up on most things, he could at least realize the same wicked grin that someone wore when a stroke of genius hit them. And by genius, of course he meant some sort of clever plan.


Khrae


Khrae was beginning to become annoyed at his student. He was almost more than happy to have the girl's presence here though, as he felt she was no harm currently, and it meant that Dante's attention would be further diverted. The only thing Khrae had to worry about was the possibility of the boy being distracted to the point where he'd begin wandering. Acknowledgement was also necessary when it came to the girl's boasting statement, her voice carrying to him an interesting fact. With the realization of her origins, the thought of such a powerful and infamous dragon tribe having in it's possession someone like her... It was almost as bad as a clan of such prestige having in it's midst Dante.

Sighing, it occurred also that the pair may also be a bad influence on each other. Dante's mind was still young, and while he was smart in his own ways, it wasn't enough to overcome the wily silver tongue of a dragon. Noting also that they'd stopped on the path, Khrae decided now would be a good time to stop. Turning to face back down the road, the man shook his head. He didn't wish to walk all the way back over there, and then come back to this point, it would've just rendered all his progress useless, and yet it seemed like it would be necessary. Plus, with those two together, and the habits of the boy becoming a regular hidrance in the man's life, he had to do something. Even now he was fully aware that they were most likely plotting something, and so he knew he'd have to separate them.

Of course, the girl's words ran through his head a second time as he considered her questions. No he wouldn't strike her down, he wouldn't kill anyone unless necessary. He was a peaceful man reliant on diplomacy, and didn't necessarily care about people's preferences enough to change them. For example, if she chose to not wear clothes, she was entitled to such choices being exactly what she was, as well as if someone was too stubborn to back down in the event of a fight, the man would ensure his demise. If intervention became the solution, the man figured at the very least he could subdue the boy until a later time, leaving the girl nothing else to mess with. If she felt like fighting it, his role as a protector would ensure that he accept the challenge offered, and her end would be swift. With this conclusion met, the man began his trek back towards the two.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Dante Fuuriah Character Portrait: Capella Character Portrait: Khrae Var Character Portrait: Astrid T'vali

0.00 INK

"Are we there yet?"

"No."

"How about now?"

"No."

"...And now?"

"Ask me one more time and I will cleave the flesh from your bones."

"Can't do that when you are flying. It's unsafe to flay and fly." Astrid answered back, swinging her legs off the dragon as he sped through the air. Stephano fought back an angry growl. Sometimes, the dragon really wanted to make Astrid internally combust. Just for the giggles.

"I'm sure if anyone asks, they will understanding. I mean, I was provoked." The dragon half snarled back.

“Me? Provoking anyone? Oh come on now, doll. I would never do anything like that!”

”I’m sure, dear. You, an assassin, provoking anyone? How unthinkable.” Stephano’s droll response came back. He needed to concentrate but all his companion was keen on doing was distract him. Viciously. And continually. The sandy brown being just tried to ignore the assassin babbling on about nonsense on his back.

Yeah. That was definitely going to work.

"So, do you like puppies? Not to eat. Like to pet. They are kinda cool and fluffy. Not like you. You're all scaly and moody. And a prick a lot of the time. No offence, doll, just saying. I mean, making me walk?! That's cruel! And unusual. And unjust. And just plain mean. I am an assassin. I've got an image to maintain! I have to travel in style, by dragon back. Or by hell hounds. That would be cool. But they would burn my ass off. Literarily. Not so fun. So yeah! Back to puppies..." Astrid rabbited in his ear, knowing that it was annoying. She had no real question in mind. She was just bored. And what better way to pass the time than by Stephano baiting?!

”I will end the existence of all puppies in the world if you do not cease your chatter. I will kill your symbol of innocence and hope. And I will enjoy it.” Stephano snapped, unable to ignore the nonsense spewing from her mouth any longer.

"I'd always said you were evil but wow. Killing all the puppies in the world? Just for me? Aw, Stephano! I didn't know you loved me that much!" Astrid cooed, blinking innocently.

[b]"I do not love you. I want to destroy everything you hold dear. And then set you on fire. Then peel the flesh off your face. And then eat you. And if you turn that into another fat joke, I swear to Riena, I will evaporate you."
Stephano hissed back at his companion, hoping that threats would make her quiet for once.

Ha ha. Pull the other one.

"So much effort! Just to kill little old me?! I am touched! I love you too, doll." The young woman exclaimed, hugging the dragon around the middle tightly.

"Yes, all that effort, just for you. Really. Now stop talking." Stephano yelled, voice cracking. The assassin sitting on his back tried to hold back a barrage of giggles. After the hilarity had died down, Astrid sat back and looked at the sky. Another thing came to mind when she thought about it.

"I didn't know we had sheep in Riena." Stephano had to stop and think about this one.

"...Excuse me?"

"Sheep. You know, the fluffy white things, look like clouds. Kinda stupid." Astrid elaborated, speaking slowly as if she was explaining something to a very small child.

"Yes. I know what sheep are, you idiot. Why do you think there are sheep in Riena?" Stephano asked, mentally banging is head against a brick wall.

"Because. I saw sheep fur in the training courtyard."

"I spotted that myself. I believe it is wolf fur. Although don't ask me how it got in there."

"Ummm, nope. It's sheep fur."

"Astrid, I am most definitely sure it is wolf fur. White wolf fur."

"Sheep." Astrid grinned evilly. This will show Stephano why being so moody was a bad thing. You don't just ignore a master assassin. Especially if they are riding on your back. Extra especially if their name begins with 'A' and ends with 'strid'.

"Sheep don't have fur. They have wool."

"Their faces have fur."

"It doesn't fall off everywhere. I am rather sure sheep don't lose the fur on their faces."

"Maybe it does and the sheep just hide cos they are embarrassed." Astrid offered, innocent as a daisy. She blinked a couple times, her big eyes shining. Stephano mentally glared at her and Astrid had to try hard not giggle.

"Sheep aren't embarrassed. They don't get embarrassed." Stephano hissed out from between his teeth, finding the urge to drop his companion from a great height increasing. At an alarming rate.

"How do you know?! Have you asked a sheep? Are you a professor in sheepology?" Astrid asked on mock shock. Stephano threw a load of frustration down their mental bond and Astrid couldn't help but let a few giggles escape. This was making the journey ever fun. Not for Stephano but Stephano was just a spoilsport. And whiney. So Astrid didn't really care.

"And I suppose you have a degree in this sheepology?" Stephano asked, so much sarcasm dripping from his voice, there were almost lakes forming.

"Damn straight! Sheep are people too, Stephano! SHEEP ARE PEOPLE TOO." Astrid grabbed her dragon's ear and spoke directly into it. The dragon snapped.

And stopped flying.

In mid air.

The two dropped like a stone; Astrid screaming like a lunatic, gripping onto Stephano's wings for dear life and Stephano crossing his little front legs and pouting.

"The hell are you doing?!"

"You were being annoying. Now I'll letting you see what it's like."

"This isn't being annoying, this is being SUICIDAL. Now, glide, you scaly bastard, glide!" Astrid screamed as she pulled on Stephano's wings.

"...Fine. But only because the ground is getting rather close and I like my face the way it is." The dragon opened up his huge wings and drifted to a few feet above the ground. "Happy now?"

"Ecstatic. Jeez. Talk about PMSing..." Astrid muttered underneath her breath.

"THAT'S IT." Stephano suddenly rolled over in mid air, dropping Astrid to the ground with a thud. The assassin didn't have time to fall gracefully and landed right on her backside. The young woman got over the shock of being dropped and looked up at the still hovering dragon.

"What was that for?!"

"You being a complete idiot! When I'm flying, I need to concentrate!"

"Oh! Really! Well, if I had wings and could fly, I wouldn't be such a moody bitch about it!" A fire ball landed by her feet, setting the surrounding grass on fire. "And that was just uncalled for."

"I think I am very justified in being angry because you are just insufferable!" Stephano yelled back, eyes a fiery yellow.

"I think I am very justified in being angry because I am just a whiney bitch!"

"Don't you mock me an-ow! Was that a rock?!"

"...Nope." Astrid said, throwing another rock at her dragon with stunning percision, this time hitting him on the head.

"Will you knock it off?!"

"No! I will not and you know why?! Beca- Stephano. Who are they?" Astrid asked, voice dropping back to normal. She spotted a trio of people (she hoped, you could never tell) further away from them.

"Well. We are on a path." Stephano replied, flying towards the assassin, wrapping himself around her again. The fight was forgotten, just like all the ones before it and all the ones that were sure to come. Astrid looked down and Stephano was right (for once).

"Hey! So we are! Huh." The dragon rolled his eyes and prayed to any deity that might be listening to either A. help him or B. Get rid of this assassin he had to babysit all the freaking time.

"So, it is a rather logical guess that they are following the path." Stephano continued, ignoring Astrid's comment.

"I guess. So why are you here again?" She asked, looking down at the dragon's head on her shoulder. Not that she was complaining. Stephano was a bit like a hot water bottle and a blanket. A really sarcastic blanket. But you couldn't win them all, she supposed.

"Because if they aren't friendly, you're the bigger target."

"Oh. Love you too, Stephano."

"No you don't."

"You're right. I don't." And with that, Astrid set off to meet these three people on the horizon, all the while cheerfully informing Stephano that these people probably ate dragon meat all the time and that she would hold him a funeral back in Riena if there was anything left to bury.

Stephano cheerfully replied telling her to do impossible things to her own anatomy.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Dante Fuuriah Character Portrait: Capella Character Portrait: Khrae Var Character Portrait: Astrid T'vali

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Capella grinned cheerfully as the boy's attention was suddenly taken completely by the sword she'd stolen during her last battle. Yes, this boy was certainly dragon-like in his innocent eye for treasures. Again she thought of what a shame it was that he be born to such a boring, overbearing and petty race. Even if his temperament left a few things to be desired, such as cleverness and control over both himself and those around him - judging by the fact that he was trying so desperately to ruffle his master's feathers, she had a feeling his success rate was rather low, and she hadn't exactly found it difficult to absorb his attention completely from the moment she had appeared to him - those were problems that could still be worked out. Actually, she was impressed that, despite his Human heritage, he still had managed to reach such a high mentality. It was like finding a scholar amongst a race of savages, or a prince amongst a lower, baser crowd. While he was far from perfect by dragon standards, looking at him as a Human showed his true worth. Yes, yes, she could work with this, to be sure! There were many advantages that came with a treasure like this lad, even more numerous and more valuable than the brightest, rarest jewel in her hoard. Were she to lay claim to him before anyone else could, she could certainly make good use of him. Already, he was showing her the many ways in which he could alleviate her boredom, and, if properly trained, he might also be able to serve as a guardian for her hoard while she was away. Or maybe he could help her steal new treasures? A Human would certainly draw less attention than she did, and would be able to acquire supplies as well as precious items with comparative ease. And, although she was loathe to admit it, it was so tedious, just sitting in a cave surrounded by gleaming objects with nothing to do, nowhere to go, and nobody to talk to. Unlike all the other Humans she had met, this boy was actually enjoyable to converse with. While she, a proud dragon, would never admit to being lonely, she wouldn't have to now that she had a chance to claim for herself some tolerable company. The boy wasn't trying to kill her, wasn't treating her like some sort of creature to be gawked at - well, to be fair, he had been gawking at her, but it had been for different reasons entirely, and had been done in the same manner as he would stare at a suitably attractive member of his own species, which technically didn't count - and was actually trying his best to treat her with at least some level of respect, something it was pretty clear was somewhat foreign to him. That effort alone, even if it hadn't exactly worked, given his childish and innocent nature, was enough to satisfy the Dragoness. And so, perhaps it wouldn't be so bad if she were to procure for herself a pet Human? It would certainly be a new and interesting divergence from her usual trinkets and precious things.

But therein lay the problem. After all, it was pretty plain to see that this boy was already, in some manner, bound to the other traveler, Khrae. That man seemed dangerously single-minded, and, in the event that she were to claim his student for her hoard, she had a feeling that he would intervene. She would have a great deal more trouble stealing from under his watchful eye than she did taking what she wished from most Humans. She would need a plan, and a situation that was advantageous to her in which to set it into motion. Naturally, the first thought that struck her was to simply take the man by surprise and snatch the boy outright in a moment of opportunity. And yet, that's exactly what Khrae would expect her to do, was it not? He seemed very knowledgeable, especially of her kind. He had predicted her little mind games even before she had set them into motion, and identified her purpose with a single glance. Surely he'd notice if she, say, tried to abduct his student while he was attending whatever meeting it was the two of them were traveling to. And, although her hoard was well hidden, she had no means of knowing what method of tracking down the boy this man, with his strange powers, might possess. Capella was a very prudent dragon, and, even for this goal's immediate achievement, she wasn't willing to risk both her own safety, and the safety of her precious things, in a prospective battle where she'd have nowhere to run. Even if she was confident enough in her own strength, there was no telling what might happen to her treasure, and that was an uncertainty that absolutely could not be tolerated. In that case, she'd need a different plan. Well, in that case, she supposed there were a few other options. There were plenty of Human customs by which one person could be bound to another. An apprenticeship like the boy's was just one of those. Yet, she had a feeling that she wouldn't be able to weasel her way into Khrae's position, which left this course of action entirely out of the question. But maybe another, similar social convention could be utilized? Hmm... Could she made the boy swear an oath of fealty to her? Perhaps she could, either by cunning or through charm, make him sign himself into her servitude, or cause him to submit to a geas under which he'd have to be recognized as her possession? Or maybe a sworn brotherhood - no, this was out of the question. She liked the boy's dragon-like mentality, but she wouldn't become family to a Human. Similarly, courses of action such as adoption, marriage, a protectorate, or other similar mandates were all immediately crossed off the list. She didn't know much about Human familial relations, but all of these were pretty clearly not what she had in mind. Aww, curse it, she couldn't think of anything else! Well, actually, that wasn't entirely true. There was one other option, but that was so disgraceful as to be completely unthinkable. She was a dragon. Even if she was pressed for options, under no circumstance would she even consider abandoning her freedom just because of a particularly attractive treasure. She lived as she liked now. She would never give that life up, least of all to a Human, no matter how dragon-like that Human might be! Not after she'd fought so hard to attain that liberty.

But in that case, what was there to be done...? The way she saw it, all she could do at the moment was keep on her current course. If she stayed with the traveling party, she could at least get a feel for the treasure she right now so craved, as well as for the mind of its current owner. If she did that, then maybe she'd be able to come up with a plan to claim her prize? At the same time, she could also slowly gain the trust of both the boy and the old man, which would give her the advantage later when she decided to finally make her move. She didn't like the prospect of simply biding her time, being a very impatient dragon with a peerless craving for both treasure and entertainment, but right now, it seemed to Capella like that was the only option. She sighed slightly. I suppose that means I'll have to abandon the plan of "Distract boy, then grab him and fly off. When he asks what you're doing, tell him you're heading to Lethandrill ahead of Khrae, and making him walk is just a plan to annoy him. Then abruptly change plans and abduct the boy once he grows complacent, and make him part of your hoard." A shame. His reaction to that would have been worth his body weight in gold. In that case, I'll need another distraction. Fortunately, I have an idea, and better yet, this kid is dragon enough for it to work. You know, it was admittedly my best practical joke of all time, but I never thought the sheep incident would be useful for my plans after this many years, Capella thought, smirking as an idea came to her.

"Thanks for the compliment," Capella replied as the boy sized up the sword. "I only just got it. Knights are always fun to play with, but that one was even more worthwhile than usual. Here, want to see it? I'm in a good mood today, so I suppose I'll let you look at it, even though it's part of my hoard." Adding this by way of explanation and using her offer as a means of concealing the movement, she covertly shuffled closer to the boy, turning her shoulder towards him and detaching the scabbard from it while allowing her to place her head next to his ear.

"Your companion is coming back, boy. Just follow my lead for now," She whispered, spreading her wings to allow her to catch the scabbard with her tail, at the same time covering her face from view so Khrae wouldn't be able to see her lips moving. "I'll explain the plan later." Taking the sheathed blade, she stepped back, holding up the weapon so the boy could appraise it. At the same time, she took her freed up hands - using her tail to do things like manipulating nearby objects was so much more convenient than bothering with her arms, in her opinion - and stretched slightly, before rubbing her stomach sadly.

"Ah," She grumbled. "I'm so hungry, I could eat a whole sheep, probably without even skinning it first. Have you tried eating a sheep that still has its coat? Horrible, wooly things, those. Most unappetizing. The worst part is that to get to the juicy, tasty meat, you have to get all that fluff out of the way, or it just ruins the texture - not to mention the flavor. And you can't even just scorch the wool off with dragon flames, 'cause then the rest of the body lights on fire and burns to ashes! Like any dragon, I love a good sheep now and again, but it's so annoying, all the preparations you have to do before you can eat them." She stopped for a moment, as though pondering the very serious dilemma of the consumption of sheep by dragons. "But, I'm getting a little carried away. Point is, do you guys have anything to eat? I'm staaaaaarviiiiiing!~" The Dragoness declared loudly.

(H.H.)"You're hungry? Then, you, my friend, are in luck! I have here a prime dragon steak! You're gonna have to cut off all the...fat and sarcasm to get to it, but I'm sure it's in there. Somewhere," Said a voice from behind Capella, who, without thinking, replied without missing a beat.

"No thanks. I'm not a cannibal, and even if I was that desperate, I would think a dragon's hide would be much harder to skin than a sheep's meager coat," The Dragoness said dismissively. "Anyway, where was I-" She stopped abruptly, as though only just realizing a few important things. Firstly, that voice had come from behind her, and had been female. That meant somebody new had just showed up. Secondly, they apparently had a dragon, which was apparently alive, and were trying to sell it to her as food...?

"Wait, what?" Capella said, for a moment actually confused into abandoning her usual deadpan as she did a double take, spinning about to see just who exactly was behind her. The Dragoness' incredulous gaze fell upon a somewhat unexpected sight: a young girl with violently red hair, clad in a simple suit of golden armor, around whose shoulders was indeed wrapped a young, rather chubby red dragon, who, to Capella's amazement, didn't even seem overly concerned with the girl's brazen treatment of him, and who was instead arguing quietly with the girl over what was evidently a very normal point of conversation for them.

"Really. You're going back to the fat jokes?" The dragon asked irritably, deadpan.

"Yes. Now shut up, Stephano. I'm trying to make a sale. Or not. Maybe I'll give you away as a freebie." The girl's reply should have been enough of an insult to the dragon's pride to enrage him, yet, as Capella watched, the big red lug just passed it off with a sarcastic joke. Just what kind of dragon was this, that he'd stoop so low as allowing himself to be insulted so by a Human? Had he no pride? Honestly, she couldn't believe what she was looking at. This was the first dragon she'd seen since she had started her wild and free wanderings? This "Stephano" - what kind of name was that for a dragon, anyway? - was content with just being an oversized, scaly mantle and possible emergency ration/bargaining piece for some random Human girl? Who was whose hoard in this situation, and in what way could this shameless serpent justify the arrangement? It was pitiful just to look at. She was just glad that the dragon wasn't of her own tribe, or of an even remotely similar color. Had he been, she probably would have died from the shame against her blood - or what was left of it. Then again, all things considered in her own personal situation, she could hardly be said to be much better a representative of her kind than this lazy lout, but that wasn't something the proud Dragoness liked to think about. In any case, she had a feeling she knew what sort of ties bound this girl and her servile beast. Dragon Rider, huh? The mere thought disgusted her. To think that such a creature existed, who would abandon his tribe, his pride, and his very nature to serve a lowly Human... How pathetic.

"I am so honoured that you think so much of me, dear."

"Be quiet, fatty. The grown ups are talking." Clapping her hand over the dragon's mouth, the red-haired girl turned back to the group in front of her, only to begin flailing about and making a wide variety of noises ranging from disgusted squeaks to angry shouts a moment later as, evidently, the scaled carpet on her shoulders decided to lick her palm instead of perhaps biting a finger off in retaliation. Was this even a dragon to begin with?

"Not to interrupt your little moment," Capella called pointedly, interrupting their little conversation. There was none of the innocent, carefree tone she had used before on the boy left in her words, and her demeanor had suddenly become a very bitter, cold mask of distrust. In an instant, her entire attitude had been completely reversed. She wasn't playing around anymore. She was deathly serious, and wasn't trying to hide it. To those who had seen her antics before, this might come as a surprise - or, more likely in the case of the wiser of the two travelers, a validation of previous suspicions. Capella might have enjoyed playing around with Humans, but if there was one thing she despised above all else, it was to see the degradation of what was supposedly her own kind at the hands of such a low, base creature as the Human now standing before her. Rage boiled up from the core of her being at the very sight of this insult, and, if one looked closely, they might have seen faint black flames snapping and crackling across the surface of her scales. "But I'd like to know what Human exactly I'm looking at. Who is it who dares try to sell a dragon the flesh of her own kind? If such a creature could be called such, that is."

Evidently, the Human wasn't fazed by this at all, however. Perhaps her experience with dragons was so limited by the pathetic being that served her that she didn't understand how formidable a real dragon's wrath could be, as instead of simply introducing herself, she began boasting in a manner that made it seem like she thought she was the dragon here, rather than the other way around. Pointing rather rudely at Capella with one hand and spreading the other in a showman's pose - the effect of which was completely ruined by her trying to shake off the saliva her "dragon" had left on said palm - she began an altogether silly introduction, striking new and increasingly obnoxious poses - most of which just consisted of her drawing a vast array of concealed weaponry and trying to look "heroic," as it were, by dropping into several clearly embellished poses which might have once been actual fighting stances - all the while, and several times stopping to argue with her "dragon."


"I am the angel of death, the archer of pain, the ninja...of awesome!" She began.

"Is there a point to this?" Capella asked skeptically, crossing her arms as she was ought to do and raising an eyebrow slightly, her tail shifting irritably back and forth as the curving talons on her heels were turned slowly back and forth, slowly carving out small holes in the ground where the Dragoness stood.

"And occasional creeper," her pet, Stephano - in fact, Capella decided, she couldn't keep calling that thing a "dragon," as it clearly didn't possess the necessary mindset, so she would just refer to it as a Stephano from now on - interrupted. Capella didn't overly like his attitude, but she had to at least give him credit for cutting off that inane introduction. The Dragoness didn't know what this "ninja" thing was that the girl was talking about, but it sounded like some kind of herb. Probably the sort that made you sick if you ate it. Blegh.

The girl, meanwhile, had stopped her posturing and had begun arguing with her Stephano once more. She really wasn't very good at this whole self-aggrandizement process, was she?

"OK. That was ONE. TIME. I had no idea that those two assassins would be doing that. I mean, ewwwww. Some things you can NEVER unsee..."

"Should I even know or care what you're talking about, is this just a waste of time like I think it is?" Capella asked, her voice scarcely heard beneath that of the girl.

"I am Stephano and this is Astrid," Said the Stephano, ignoring the girl's arguments and getting right to the point. Well, that was at least better than this maniac's speechifying.

"I am the amazing assassin of amazingness named T'vali. Astrid T'vali."

"How redundant. Also, I'm fairly sure the Human concept of grammar doesn't work that way," The Dragoness snarked, smirking condescendingly at the girl as she struck a final idiotic pose, before abruptly dropping the act altogether and pointing offhandedly at the Stephano on her shoulder.

"This is my dragon." Hah. As if. "He is called Stephano. I'm currently trying to sell him to the highest bidder. He's kinda fat. He'd make a good steak. Or roast. Really, it's up to you," She finished boredly, her tone standing in stark contrast to the overly manic, bombastic introduction from before.

"Ignore her please. She is not used to conversation that doesn't include bodily harm, crude hand gestures or killing someone. And you are?" The Stephano said.

"Or boasting, evidently. She seemed quite at home doing that, if not very experienced nor creative in said department," The Dragoness added sarcastically, smirking as she swept out her wings and tail into full view, just in case she hadn't hammered home exactly who they were talking to quite yet. At the same time, though, although it was subtle, so that most of those standing around her might not notice it, she momentarily shot a glance at Stephano, a glare that was the complete opposite of her usual casual attitude. It lasted only for a split second, to most seeming like her eyes had just momentarily stopped on the creature before passing over him, yet if he had any dragon blood at all in him, then he himself would recognize the expression, although it came from a Human face. It was the expression of a superior dragon making plain that this was her territory, and that she would accept no intruders, nor insults to herself, her pride, or her possessions. If the so-called red dragon did anything to undermine her, then she had just made it clear that he would get no second chances to save himself. That glare, containing every last ounce of malice in the serpent's cold heart, was a declaration of dominance, from one predator to a lower form of the same.

In the next instant, however, it had passed, not even lasting a whole second. It was as though nothing had ever happened, and throughout the entire course of the momentary contact, it seemed like her face hadn't even changed its expression. And, in the next moment, she, too, had begun to introduce herself.

"I am Capella of the Elder Grey Dragons, the final and only heiress of my tribe. I am servant to none, and ruler of all things I choose to possess. I collect only the most precious of treasures, and own a hoard of at least 30 Szendats." The Szendat was a draconic unit of measurement, in essence weighing the value of a dragon's possessions. One Szendat was roughly equivalent to the worth of a small estate, in Human terms. And, although her hoard was small, she owned enough decent rare objects - mostly weaponry of particularly fine craftsmanship, or other such enchanted trinkets - to have earned the worth she assessed her modest collection at, if not more. Of course, none of the Humans in the group would even know what she was talking about, but it sounded impressive enough, and the Stephano might understand, at least, which would give a certain weight and validation to her earlier declaration of dominance. "My home is elsewhere, but my territory extends to wherever I happen to grace the ground by standing, or upon whatever winds I choose to fly. Perhaps you might know me better as 'The Grey Sword,' the title a few of your fellow Humans gave me after they goaded me into leveling their village." Actually, this title was fairly well known in the region, and it was under this name that the Humans had hunted her for the past several years. In short, she was pretty much declaring herself to be the enemy of the entire surrounding countryside, and she quite clearly knew it, and, in fact, reveled in the distinction.

"It's pretty simple, really," She added, abruptly sweeping out her tail and snatching the sword she'd only moments before handed to the boy. "Because I'm grey, and I have a sword. Not too hard to remember, really, although it's hardly necessary to." In the instant she had finished making her condescending, sarcastic comment, she'd handed the sword off to the boy once again, and, her smirk as implacable as ever, she concluded.

"So, while we're on the subjects of introductions, I think I should like to ask you what exactly you're doing all the way out here. A girl and her oversized, bloated salamander are almost as unusual a sight out here as I am," She asked coldly.

(Capella Trolling Count: OFFLINE. Capella Tranquil Rage Mode Count: 1.)

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Dante Fuuriah Character Portrait: Capella Character Portrait: Khrae Var Character Portrait: Astrid T'vali

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Stephano's hackles rose as he examined this "Grey Sword". He didn't not like this. He felt something was off. He felt as if something was wrong. The little yellow-brown dragon rose up, his heavily clawed feet digging into Astrid's shoulder guard, his yellow eyes glowing menacingly. His head was a little above his companions and he gave the other dragon a look that she would definitely recognise (heck, even the humans would get this look): I do not like you and if you harm her, you will die. She returned the glare and Stephano almost laughed.

She was trying to threaten him?

Really?

Dominance?

She thought she was the superior here?

She may have been an Elder dragon and he was only a very small, young dragon but he was not a pet and he was not going to roll over and play dead.

Besides. He killed people with Astrid. It was their job.

Stephano growled softly at the half dragon, half human in front of him. Astrid looked over at her companion and asked silently what the matter was, her eyes conveying her worry and confusion. Stephano, by no means tame (he still had the unfortunate habit of leaving his food entrails on the floor at night even though Astrid threatened again and again to rip off bits of his anatomy if he didn't stop it), was usually quite docile and calm. She was the crazy one. He was supposed to be the calm one. She moved round to scratch the dragon's neck, being sure to share some calm (the little she had) down their bond.

"What's up, doll, hmm? What's got you all riled up?" She asked, gently below her breath. She didn't want these other people to hear them. This wasn't for them to see.

"Something is not right here. Something is...hiding."

"Hiding?"

"Yes...something about her. And I do not like it."

"So, while we're on the subjects of introductions, I think I should like to ask you what exactly you're doing all the way out here. A girl and her oversized, bloated salamander are almost as unusual a sight out here as I am." The dragon questioned, chilly undertones coating her voice.

Astrid, in all her "I don't give two shits" glory ignored these and barrelled on regardless. Stephano snarled softly. Oversized bloated salamander?! Who did she think she was? Sure, Astrid got to call him things like that but she was Astrid.

"Well, I'm an assassin from Skyfall and Lord V'lyn left quite suddenly. Quite curious, no? I had nothing to do and Stephano here was being rather boring and not fun..."

"I resent that, dear. I gave you many exhilarating options such as going to hell or leaving me alone." The dragon interjected dryly, still in his raised position, daring this Capella to come near his Astrid.

"Yeah well, I've already been to hell at least twice and leaving you alone sounded too much fun for you. So I totally ignored your ideas. Sorry."

"You are most definitely not sorry. You hate me."

"That I do, doll. That I do." Astrid said, feeling a bit more secure now Stephano wasn't acting funny and angry. They fell into step and it felt right. Which was helpful because being awkward in front of an Elder Grey dragon was not on the assassin's to do list today. There was a loud cough from somewhere in the group and Astrid remembered that she actually supposed to be saying something of importance.

"Oh right! The why are we here thingy..."

"When we get back to Skyfall, I am getting you tested for premature Dementia."

"I don't think that's a thing..."

"Trust me, for you? They'll make it a thing. "Attention Deficit, Oh Shiny" disorder will also be made a thing. Just for you." Stephano answered, hitting her leg softly with his tail. He smiled a little dragon smile as he watched Astrid splutter fondly. The dragon stretched his big wings and rolled his neck. Stephano knew his wings were bigger than a normal dragon's and used this to his advantage, making himself look bigger than he actually was.

It was silly but it made him feel a little bit better.

Well, it did until Astrid gave him a glare that told him to sit the fuck down.

"You are ruining my aerodynamics." What's the matter?

"Oh. I do apologise. I really truly do." Stephano replied, his eyebrow ridges raised. Tell you later.

Astrid shrugged and turned her attention back towards the people in front of her, giving the group a blinding smile.

"I'm sure you do. Anyways. We're here to go to Lethandrill to help him and his party out." Astrid finished, spinning her bow around her hands. Stephano didn't answer, his gaze challenging the whole party before Astrid walloped him over the nose with her bow.

Stephano shot out and grabbed Astrid's bow in his teeth, as quick as a wink. He then looked up to meet eyes with his companion and had to force himself not to laugh as she looked as if he had killed her first born child.

"Let. Go. Of. The. Bow. Before I do something I will really regret later. Or not. I'm not sure if I would mourn you right now." The dragon chuckled in response, although slightly muffled by bow between his teeth.

"Really, let go!"

"What's the magic word?"

"Pleeeeeeeeease?"

"Wrong one." The dragon's yellow eyes gleaned with amusement. To hell with the people who thought he was a weak little pet. This was much better than his lonely days round the mountains, just flying. Alone.

"Abracfuckingdabra. Give me it BACK!" Astrid squealed, not actually feeling too angry. Games. They were playing their games again. To the outsider this would be a fight, to them it was play.

"Correct, my dear." Stephano quickly released his hold and Astrid's eyes widened as she stumbled. The dragon snickered as his companion made a face at him.

”Keep pulling that face and it will stick like that.” With that, Astrid pinched his soft underbelly and giggled as Stephano had a little panic attack and fell off her shoulder. She threw back her head and laughed as he little friend stared at the ground like he had no idea what he was doing there. Once the dragon had regained his composure, he nipped Astrid’s ankle playfully and chuckled as she leapt up in the air like he had set her on fire.
Astrid knelt down and scratched Stephano’s head gently, pouring joy down their bond. It was fun when they played their games. Especially when other people freaked out and thought they were going to kill each other. Well, a lot of the time they were going to kill each other but where would the fun be in that?
Stephano climbed his way back into his favoured position, Astrid lifting her left arm to let him get comfortable. The dragon settled his head on her right shoulder and they shared a little grin. Until, Astrid felt Stephano tense. Not a bad tense. But as if he was getting ready for something. She felt his large wings brush against her back and she sighed.

“Really?” Stephano gave his little dragon smile in response. Astrid rolled her eyes. Stephano did this when his wings felt “itchy”. It usually meant that he wanted to fly or that his wings were actually itchy. Astrid took a guess and crouched down. In her crouch, she swivelled on her heel and suddenly the presence around her disappeared in a large whoosh. The assassin stood back up and watched as Stephano stretched his large wings, taking up the sky. Well, the only part she was interested in. She watched as her dragon looped and rolled through the air. But then he started to get dangerously close to Capella in his dives and Astrid felt the agitation as he tried to warn her away from them both. Stupid dragon pride, she grumbled.

“Stephano!” She yelled, sounding stern. But it was not as it seemed as through their bond Stephano felt a pleading note in her mind. He grudgingly glided down to his companion, deeming her more important than showing that other dragon that he was not some fat salamander.

He glided down to his partner, letting her clasp him in her arms before he winded himself back into his place. He bumped his head against Astrid’s chin, trying to apologise.

“Play nice or I’ll turn you into shoes.” I forgive you.

”Really. I’m sure you will. Now, let us remember why we are on this obscenely stupid journey in the first place? To get to Lethandrill? That rings a bell anywhere in there?” The little dragon asked, retracting his long claws.

“Oh yeah! The cloak!” Astrid grinned before remembering something else. She turned to Capella and giggled.

“By the way, love, in my experience as an assassin? Grammar is usually only used by those people who aren’t man enough to pull the trigger. Just saying.”

Stephano fought the urge to stick his tongue out. But one of them had to be the sensible one. Astrid giggled and with a wink, she turned to the other two people in the party.

“So! Who are you two?”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Dante Fuuriah Character Portrait: Capella Character Portrait: Khrae Var Character Portrait: Astrid T'vali

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#, as written by Centi85
Khrae sighed with the sudden appearance of the assassin and her dragon. At this rate he'd be getting to Lethandrill within a week instead of thirty minutes. Shaking his head, he looked to the girl, sizing her up, accounting for motives, and if she could be a possible threat, and concluded that for now she was nothing to worry about. Well, besides being a major distraction and plague on his young student's mind. Capella seemed to have lost all of her playful cheeriness with their introduction, and Khrae assumed it was because of seeing a dragon, part of her kin, treated in such a manner as they were witnessing currently. Back and forth they bickered, hurling threats and otherwise saying anything to each other that would normally cause a fist fight to break out amongst most other people, the dragon taking it all without even an ounce of damage being dealt to the pride most of his kind has so, or too much of. Khrae was sure that would merit some sort of discontent from the Dragoness, who had already made it clear how she thought of herself and her own kind, being above all other beings... Metaphorically and almost literally.

By the time she'd finished her flashy introduction, through constant interruptions to her posing from her scaly companion, Khrae felt as though he could've been to Lethandrill, completed his task and been back by now. Shaking his head beneath the heavy hood of the cloak, the man new that this was going to end up taking a while. The only thing that happened so far that was interesting was the girl's boasting about being an assassin. Astrid was her name, belonging to the order of Riena, which of course meant her higher was Lord V'lyn. Khrae had heard much of the man of course, and knew that eventually he'd have to meet him too in order to notify him of his own clan's acceptance into the order of the Vyldi. Perhaps the girl wouldn't be too useless as far as possibly being able to help Khrae in that task, but still she and the Dragoness lacked a certain modesty that the Phoenix clan so respected, and Khrae wasn't enjoying the idea of having both of them around Dante for too long, especially considering it seemed they were all heading to the same destination. At least that meant V'lyn was there. Maybe a consolation.

"This is my dragon. He is called Stephano. I'm currently trying to sell him to the highest bidder. He's kinda fat. He'd make a good steak. Or roast. Really, it's up to you," the girl finished, finally introducing the creature which clung to her person and who insisted on making her life as troublesome as possible.

Khrae raised an eyebrow, but said nothing. Instead, he looked to his student as he suddenly spoke up. "Ohhh!" he yelled, bouncing up and down slightly. "I want a dragon!"

"No you don't," Khrae interjected with his usual dry, neutral tone.

Dante turned, having previously been completely entranced by the girl's posing, as well as highly entertained by the conversation held between Astrid and Stephano. He'd nearly forgotten about the world around him, including the fact that he'd been holding Capella's sword. The best part about the weapon to him was not fine craftsmanship, which was usually what people gauged first, but the fact that when he looked at it, he saw himself starring back. It was shiny and had a reflection. This new girl was flashy and funny. How did they compare? Dante wasn't sure, but either way he was thoroughly impressed by both.

"Why not?" Dante complained, snapped out of his trance as he looked to the elder swordsman. Dante knew Khrae wasn't that old, being just over forty, but even so the fact that he was older than himself and had absolutely no sense of humor meant that the boy could do as he wished as far as name calling. Besides, Khrae didn't care too much. Khrae didn't care about anything, except maybe meditation... and training. And stuff like that, which wasn't even worth caring about because it was hardly material, and so you can't really lose it... Like the sword... which was shiny and... and...

"Because," Khrae responded, snapping his student from the hypnotism that was his own reflection. "I don't want to deal with you and any sort of pet you pick up along the way."

"I can take care of a dragon," Dante said rather sheepishly, taking on his usual tone that was more of a thoughtful optimism than anything else, something he used when trying to persuade Khrae, though always in vain.

"You can't even take care of yourself," the man retorted flatly.

"I take care of the dragon, it takes care of me," Dante concluded, beaming now at his revelation. Besides, isn't that what they were for? Looking back to the girl with the hair that was far too red to be natural, he raised his hand. Capella was currently saying something about being the grey sword, which Dante had no clue what that was because she looked about as much like a sword as he did a... tuna.. er, something. "I'll take the drago--"

"Uh, no." Khrae said, cutting the boy off by coming up behind him and placing one arm firmly around his neck whilst the other held a hand to his mouth. "Excuse the boy," he apologized. "You may keep your friend."

Grey sword huh? Khrae was now in the midst of two people who definitely didn't need to be messing with the fragile object that was Dante's mind. Again, the option of simply knocking out the boy before just dismissing the others and carrying on occurred to him, but that was a last minute resort. As far as trying to make sure his clan looked good in the eyes of the Order of Vyldi, it wouldn't happen if every moment the boy was acting up, only to have his mentor lose his temper and give him a beating. No, he had to show the peaceful diplomatic side of the clan, which is what the members cherished more anyway. But then again, they never dealt with Dante. Alone, on the road for four straight years...

“So! Who are you two?”

No, Khrae mentally scolded himself at the fact that he'd recently allowed himself to forget the morals of the clan simply because of the boy's antics. He was slipping too, and that wasn't allowed. Perhaps once this was over he'd sit and meditate a while.. Pushing all else aside though, the man smiled warmly as he used his free hand to pull down the cowl of his cloak, then nodded to the girl as her attention was diverted away from the Dragoness' introduction, to himself and Dante.

"I am Khrae Var. Swordsman and representative of The Clan of Phoenix. This is my student, Dante Fuuriah."

From his position as a captive in the powerful man's arms, Dante waved a hand as Khrae introduced him, mumbling something that turned into a sudden muffled cry of distress as the man increased pressure on the boy's neck before allowing him to be set free. Falling forward, Dante coughed and sputtered a moment as he regained himself before looking up. "Clan of the Phoenix, heck yeah! We're the most powerful of all!"

Khrae shook his head, looking from the boy to the girl again. "We're on our way to Lethandrill currently, the first of many stops as we make our rounds to all the orders. We've only just secured a spot within the Order of Vyldi, and have been dispatched to notify the other orders of our presence, as well as introduce them to ourselves. I will be meeting with your Lord at point or another, and considering we're heading to the same place, I'll assume that we'd run into him there."

"Idiots think we're mages," Dante said, scoffing as he took to his feet again. "We're not."

Khrae rolled his eyes, waving a dismissive hand. "Yes, well. Either way, if we could continue on... We've stalled enough as it is. Astrid, if you wouldn't mind locating Lord V'lyn when we arrive and if he's not busy, I'd very much like to speak with him."

"Ohhh can I talk to him?!" Dante questioned.

"You may accompany me, but you may not speak." Khrae answered. "Now then," looking up to the two women and Stephano, he nodded down the road. "Shall we proceed?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Dante Fuuriah Character Portrait: Capella Character Portrait: Khrae Var Character Portrait: Astrid T'vali Character Portrait: Stephano

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Capella stared down the two who had just arrived, seemingly impassive to their banter. However, if one looked closely, they might realize something. Slowly, forcefully, her hands were slowly curling into fists, the black flames that had begun to faintly appear across her body beginning to condense, crackling and snapping around her claws as they almost imperceptibly extended along her palms, as though eager to dig into flesh. These imbeciles... Not only was their very existence a disgrace to her own kind, but that fat little brat had... He had realized it, for one, and for another, he had shared her secret with his pitiful Human master, hadn't he? Scrawny, insolent dog that he was. He knew, he had understood the message behind her glare, and had dared to be so brazen as to violate her command? So, not only did he have no pride for himself, but it seemed he would trample upon the blood of his kin, too, not to mention the honor deserved by his betters! Oh, true, she hadn't heard him say anything, but she had seen him whispering his observations in his master's ear. He had understood her... unique nature, as only another dragon could. And yet, knowing that had been such a mindless, slobbering sycophant as to reveal her deepest secret so freely? Worthless, arrogant, foolish, disgusting, snake-tongued, mindless WRETCH! As the Dragoness' rage slowly mounted, growing from a simmering anger to a burning, hellish fury, her eyes slowly narrowed, slits appearing in her amber pupils as her wings and horns elongated, the former slowly spreading behind her as her feet slowly, imperceptibly began to dig into the ground, the hard dirt crumbling under the weight of her anger as cracks slowly began to spread across the path, forming a small crater with her at its epicenter. The air began to feel heavy and cold as a quiet hiss began to emanate from her person, the black flames on her hands beginning to grow in volume as her terrible wrath, the full malice of an angry dragon, was made manifest around her. Even to the most foolish, ignorant observer, it wasn't difficult to understand what stood there, clad in searing scales, fangs slowly clenching into a grimace of fury. All joy had gone from the Dragoness' countenance, replaced by raw killing intent. There were many legends that spoke of how terrible it was to look upon an angry dragon, and, now that one stood before the Humans present, it was quite obvious that those tales had been right. Capella was absolutely livid, even if her countenance had only changed slightly from an impassive grimace of distaste to a hateful glare.

"Well, at least you don't lack in bravery, ugly dog," Capella hissed, the ice cold tone with which she spoke, her voice booming with an unnatural echo, clashing with the heat of her rage as Stephano rose into the air and began to buzz her. Any time he came close, however, a sudden, momentary surge of flames - snarling and crackling as though eager to claim the life of whatever might be so foolish as to touch them - would rise from her scales, forming a scalding aura around her, warning away the proud servant dragon from getting too near the one he so thoughtlessly mocked. "A shame it's such an inadequate substitute for intelligence and honor, or you might have actually earned the distinction of 'dragon.' But, I suppose courage has its limits. If any fly could become a dragon just by having the gall to tell meaningless tales, then where would the world be now? And yet, there are always those who try to ascend thus regardless. And, I'm afraid there's no other course of action available when dealing with such noisome insects than the usual. With that said..." The Dragoness' voice suddenly began a menacing snarl, more like a roar than actual speech as it boomed several volumes above its normal level. "Don't make me swat you, pest."

It was perhaps fortunate that the Dragoness' attention was solely focused on the two new arrivals, right now. Had she heard Dante's and Khrae's rather disrespectful mention of Dragons in their own little squabble, she might very well have turned on them as well. However, at the moment, her rage had been narrowed down to a single, focused point, directed entirely upon one thing: the foolish Human standing before her, and her worthless, impudent pet. If these two knew the truth, then Capella already realized she would have no choice. At the very least, she'd need to sever their limbs and carve out their tongues so that they could never tell another living soul of her secret. But, of course, there was a far more efficient solution to the problem as well. Although she had a particular distaste for actually killing Humans, if there was ever a cause for which she would slay a sentient creature - and, in fact, had slain before - it was for the protection of her deepest, greatest shame. Absolutely, above all else, she refused to go back to how things were before. She would never, ever again be toyed with or ruled over, least of all by these worthless, insolent, HUMANS! She was Capella, the last dragon of a mighty tribe! She lived as she liked, and did whatever she pleased! She took what she wanted and hoarded it away, ate when she was hungry, and drank whenever she had to quench her thirst. And when she wished it, there was absolutely nothing in the world that would prevent her... from claiming the lives of her prey.

"Proceed as you wish," She growled back at the two travelers. "I seem to have business here."

(Capella Not-So-Tranquil Rage Mode Counter: 1. Capella Foreshadowing Levels: Over 9000.)

The setting changes from lastra to Lethandrill

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Talon V'lyn Character Portrait: Armen Sorien Character Portrait: Fukayna Muidrehd Character Portrait: Jennifer Live Character Portrait: Dante Fuuriah Character Portrait: Capella Character Portrait: Khrae Var Character Portrait: Fay X'san Character Portrait: Astrid T'vali Character Portrait: Stephano

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#, as written by Qaida
Talon V'lyn

“I never liked this place anyway,” Jennifer hissed as she grasped his hand and rushed for the courtyard where they'd left their horses. The massive energy was growing heavier with each moment and Talon had a terrible flash back of the old city Kingsburrow. The city had once stood proudly in Lastra, but when the attack of the 'True Dragons' (a rebel group at the time) came, their leader brought devastation to the city. The Old God Domieen had been leading that group of rag tag rebels then and Talon had engaged in a fight with him. At the time they had just realized that Domieen was a Dragon God. Domieen had almost killed Talon, and with the assassin the city crumbled in on itself. Had Jennifer not been there, bracer or no bracer, Talon would have died in that dark pit.

His hand tightened around hers in a silent motion of urgency. The assassin was sure that she didn't need any urging though. If anything she would have been the one to be pushing him if he were to so much as fall a few steps to far behind her. Torak's power was so immense that it was sure to be felt miles away from the city. Taking one look behind his shoulder, he witnessed the Steward starting to unleash the power. His eyes widened and he feared for the inhabitants of the city. Most had gotten out the front gates and had started fleeing into the outlying forests, but many were still in the city scrambling to get away. Amongst them himself and Jennifer.

Turning, he spotted where they'd left the horses. One was missing and from the throng of people, Fukayna was rushing back towards them. Talon gave a sharp hiss of irritation. That girl should have left on her own accord, no need for them all to perish in one area. Of course, Talon had no intentions of dying but still. Though, he had to hand it to her, she was quite brave and honorable to come back for them. The marble steps beneath their feet began cracking as they rushed down to the courtyard. Once they were to the horse, which had surprisingly hadn't startled from fear yet, Talon all but tossed Jennifer up onto the saddle before clambering up behind her. It wasn't the large comfort of a dragon's neck, but he would make due. Also, it wasn't the first time that Talon had wished to have Vy with him again either. There were plenty of times that the assassin dearly missed his dragon companion. There was an emptiness in his soul that even Jennifer couldn't fill. It was the emptiness of losing a powerful creature, a linked companion who had been with him for many years. To suddenly have him gone was very painful.

Taking the reigns of the horse in hand he directed the beast towards the throng of elves that darted here and there. He caught sight of Fukayna and motioned to her giving a sharp whistle as he went. A flick of his wrist and a kick of his boots got the stead into a gallop. He rushed towards the other assassin and jerked his head towards the gates.

"You shouldn't have come back!" He yelled at Fukayna, but it was the only thing he said to her about her decision. Talon maneuvered the beast through the elven citizens on foot carefully. If he could help them all escape, he would have. However, there was no possible way to do so and he had two women of importance to take care of first. Talon had long since lost sight of the beggar who had jumped into the fight, though he hoped that the man had sense enough to leave the area. When the magic quieted down, Talon was going to come back and investigate. That was, if there was anything left to see in the first place.

A deep rumbled filled the air, sounding much like an earthquake as it shuddered the area. Another quick glance behind him and Talon witnessed the magic of the gauntlet being unleashed right behind them. The rush of blinding white light was picking up speed as it moved through the city. In reaction to it, Talon didn't think twice as he called upon the power of his bracer to protect all three of them. Fukayna was a stretch, but he managed. Silver light embraced them all as they rode towards the gates of the city. Screams issued in the air as the people of the city were struck by their Stewards power. The sounds of the large trees being bent groaned through the air and Talon feared that even the majestic trees would be toppled over. Closing his eyes against the blinding light that flooded around them, he could only hope that the horse would be able to make it's way out of the gates without incident.

His magic trembled as it struggled to hold against the destructive power. As soon as it came, though, it was gone and faded off far into the forest ahead. Talon cracked open an eye and took a quick look behind him. The elves that had once been in the city were gone, the trees still stood but they'd lost their grandeur and looked utterly destroyed. Nothing remained of Lethandrill except for the trees. His heart sank and his grip around the reigns tightened. Grinding his teeth he tore his gaze away and pushed his forehead into Jennifer's warm back. His rage at losing so many people and losing the gauntlet to a mad man was mounting. However, the was nothing he could do about it then. So, his frustrations tore at him, gnawed him to the bone as he rode deeper into the forest.

He pulled the horse to a stop as they rounded a corner in the trail of the forest and came upon a group of people idling around. Had they not felt the power that just destroyed the city? Surely they would have had the frame of mind to leave the area. His eyes settled on the third horse that had belonged to him upon first leaving Skyfall. Seated on it was the Navile woman and the young elf that Talon had hardly had a chance to see during his... discussion with Torak. The elven male looked utterly spent and beaten beyond life. Somehow he still clung to the living plane, breathing shallowly and leaning heavily against the woman in front of him. The Navile woman looked relieved to see them appear, and offered a smile.

"What are you doing still lingering here?" Talon asked, trying to sound more intimidating than he felt at that moment. The woman's smile faltered slightly, but then she looked back at the young man behind her and answered the assassin straight.

"He won't make it very far. I couldn't keep riding at the pace I was. I ran into these guys soon after," she said and nodded her head to the assortment of people before them, "Besides," she continued, "I wasn't about to go very far without you anyway. I owe you my life after all."

"You owe us nothing," Talon replied quietly, but his tone had softened considerably. His gaze turned to take in the group before them. Two men whom he'd never seen before were there, a young woman clad in... scales? That was an interesting notion, but further intriguing (and perhaps a bit unsettling) was her demeanor. She seemed highly enraged about something and her gaze was settled on a woman with red hair and a dragon curled around her body.

"Astrid!" Talon yelled, his former tone returning as he set his gaze upon the girl standing there bickering with her dragon as always. He made to further ask her as to why she was there and not carrying out her duties, but he felt a kind of sharp movement in his side. It didn't hurt, but it was the lack of pain that alarmed him. Talon was afraid to see what had happened to his side and even more afraid of Jennifer's reaction. Glancing down he groaned softly and only then did he feel his head getting light from the lack of energy. He'd used too much of the bracers power and it was catching up to him finally. To add to it, the crystal spike that had started out small after his breaking it from Torak's spell, had suddenly began to encase his side in crystal.

"Damnit... of all times," he managed to mutter before falling off the horse from Jennifer's back. All strength left him and he hit the ground unconscious from lack of energy.

The setting changes from lethandrill to Lastra

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Talon V'lyn Character Portrait: Armen Sorien Character Portrait: Fukayna Muidrehd Character Portrait: Jennifer Live Character Portrait: Dante Fuuriah Character Portrait: Capella Character Portrait: Khrae Var Character Portrait: Fay X'san Character Portrait: Astrid T'vali Character Portrait: Stephano

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"Yeah, let's....Stephano?" Astrid made to set off when her dragon turned to face the other dragon head on. He had leapt off her shoulder and stood in front of Capella, his wings outstretched and his teeth bared. Astrid fought the urge to grab him now as the other dragon seemed to emit pure rage. But her little guardian stood strong, the sandy brown creature's wings hammering the air around him to make a loud noise. Astrid wasn't used to this display of anger but she knew what he was doing. The other two people cringed at the noise. The other dragon just raised her eyebrows, her aura still projecting dark energy and a feeling of dread. Stephano just met her eye and had that look on his face. That look that Astrid hated. It was the one that felt as if he was staring right into your flaming soul. The young woman bit her lip. Hard.

Astrid didn't like this.

At all.

If she hurt Stephano...almost on auto-pilot, the assassin plucked an arrow from her quiver and readied herself in case she had to step in quickly. But there was no need.

Stephano gave a horrid hiss and a growl before snapping his teeth angrily. Capella looked at him with a frown before replying in the same manner. This odd conversation carried on for a few minutes before Capella's dark aura faded and she gave Stephano a loaded look. Astrid's grip on her bow tightened and she fought the urge to shoot the other dragon where she stood. She knew her face had changed into the mask. All the previous emotion had gone and she had changed into the assassin she was underneath. Dangerous, deadly and can kill you fifteen different ways with a paperclip. She didn't know if the other two were staring at her or at the dragons but she didn't really care. At this moment, she only had eyes for Stephano's safety and the Grey Sword's movements.

(T) "Fine. We have an agreement. If I find you have broken it..." Capella said, looking down at Stephano. The young dragon nodded silently and offered a little smile in response. After a few seconds, he launched himself backwards into the air and Astrid caught him in her arms, needing the contact. Stephano rolled his eyes before shifting into his wrap around position.

"So...The fuck was that about, Stephano?!" Astrid yelled at her little companion after getting over her worry. The dragon laughed softly.

"Nothing, my dear. We were merely discussing the current economical climate. Terrible business that." Stephano offered slyly, watching in glee as Astrid's features moved into a look of pure disgust.

"I hate you."

"I love you too, my dear." Stephano replied, his little head nuzzling her neck. Astrid softened a little and stroked her companion's head.

"I'm guessing this is one of those things you can't tell me, huh? One of the weird dragon crap things?" Astrid asked, not sounding too bothered. She supposed if what Stephano had said to Capella was really important then he would have told her through their bond. Thus, she concluded, it was one of the weird ass dragon secret conversations of secretness.

"Indeed. Now, I am rather sure we were supposed to be going somewhere. Shall we carry on?" Stephano asked, his eyes trained onto Capella. He must have found what he was looking for because then he looked back at Astrid and smiled. The assassin couldn't help but grin back. Then she spotted something. As an archer, Astrid had good eyesight. It was a given. But the two people on the horse were not hard to miss. The assassin gave Stephano a look which her companion mirrored and they took off, dead run, to find out who these people were.

They had one of Riena's horses.

Astrid knew this. She hadn't been very...well behaved in her childhood and had spent a good amount of time cleaning the stables as punishment. So she had gotten to know the horses fairly well. She run up to the two, bow drawn and eyes narrowed.

"And you are?"

...

After the Navile woman had explained who they were and what they were doing, Astrid had let the bow drop and had tried to help the best she could. But she was no healer and the young elf did not look well. Astrid could relate. A lot of the time, she too was not very well. Stephano felt a pang of sadness in their bond and had poured some reassurance down to the assassin. Astrid looked up and smiled sadly at the dragon before returning her look back to the two before them. They had seen V'lyn and Jennifer. Yet, they were not here. This was not good news. Even worse was the news that Lethandrill was currently exploding in on itself. Because the Steward had apparently gone fucking nuts.

Well, shit.

This was somewhat anti good news. Astrid's hand went up to find the little dragon on her shoulder, just to make sure that the little being was still there. Stephano accepted all this contact with so much as a blink. He felt the assassin's worry over her superiors being in danger. It had been drilled into her to make sure everyone was safe. All her brothers and sisters in arms. Stephano could sense that his assassin was not taking this very well.

Then she spotted two more horses over the hill and she jumped to her feet. The archer's eyes examined the horses before Stephano distracted her. Again.

Damn dragon.

"Really, you must calm down. You are scaring the people who don't know you."

"I am not scaring anyone!"

"You have all of your throwing knives out in a not so defensive stance." Stephano sighed as Astrid blinked and looked down at her hands.

"So I do. Huh."

"Yes. Maybe you should, I don't know, put them away so we don't give someone else a heart attack."

"Hey. That was partially your fault. And it was an aneurism."

"Oh, I do apologise. Anyway, knives? Go bye bye maybe?"

"Aw, but mooooooooom." Astrid whined, blinking innocently.

"But them away, you little monster. Before I make you into cat food."

"I prefer dogs myself." Astrid mused as she hit away her knives again, just as quickly as she had gotten them out.

Yes, well. I don't p-" Another intimidating voice cut off Stephano's sarcastic answer.

"Astrid!" The assassin instantly reacted. Her spine straightened, her bow was drawn and aimed within seconds and she turned out her heel, expecting the drills of Skyfall. She blinked and found Talon sitting on a horse, looking down at her. He was there with Jennifer and another woman who was covered in...

"Sheep fur?" Astrid wondered out loud, her face screwing up. On her shoulder, Stephano smirked triumphantly.

"Told you it was wolf fur. Astrid decided to ignore him rather than get into a very violent arguement in front of her highers.

Instead she sought out Talon again and he gave him a cheeky grin as he, no doubt, went to ask her what the hell she was doing out in the middle of nowhere and not at Skyfall training or killing someone. But before he could say anything, he grimaced and looked down at his side. Astrid frowned at Stephano who mirrored her look and she stepped forward.

"Um, V'lyn?" She asked softly, still holding the bow between her finger gently. Then Lord V'lyn fell to the ground and Astrid, being the closest, went to help him. She didn't know exactly what to do. She was no healer. She was more of a peacekeeper. Stephano poked his head over to examine V'lyn and Astrid knew it was bad. The look in Stephano's eye told her all she needed to know. But what really sealed the deal was when Stephano sighed and spoke.

Not to her, that was normal.

No, he spoke to the others by himself. Not through Astrid.

"He needs help. Now would be simply fantastic."

The setting changes from lastra to Lethandrill

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Talon V'lyn Character Portrait: Armen Sorien Character Portrait: Fukayna Muidrehd Character Portrait: Jennifer Live Character Portrait: Dante Fuuriah Character Portrait: Capella Character Portrait: Khrae Var Character Portrait: Fay X'san Character Portrait: Astrid T'vali Character Portrait: Stephano

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"Damnit... of all times." Alarmed by his fading voice, Jennifer snatched the assassin’s arm from the air just before he was allowed to drop. Talon’s head bobbed inches away from the earth as his momentum jolted to a sudden halt.

“Reev dammit you, you fat oath! This is what happens when you spend all of your days at meetings!” she gritted her teeth as her arm muscles screamed in protest. It was fortunate then that the horse wasn’t in motion or she too would have surely lost her balance and been pulled down along with him. Stabilizing his weight by gingerly cantilevering her own, the mage carefully lowered the rest of his body to the ground.

"He needs help. Now would be simply fantastic." Astrid's dragon stated.

"Yes, thank you for pointing out the obvious," Jennifer snapped at the duo, her eyes flashing dangerously for a second. "World Fracture."

An invisible force levitated Talon's body from the ground, lifting him past the distressed expressions of Astrid and Stephano. Steadily, Jennifer pulled the assassin back onto the horse, positioning him upright. The crystal formations delivered an ill-sense of unease as she assessed the wound. Worse than a bacterial infection, they’d grown significantly since she had last set eyes upon them, festering and coiling sinisterly around the assassin’s waist.

After some contemplation, she ripped off the goggles she’d conjured to cover her eyes and allowed the magic holding it together to disintegrate. Her hair fell smoothly against her silky cheeks as the straps released clumps of her dark locks. Scattering the goggle’s dusty remains like ashes to the wind, she gazed down at the others discourteously, her dark eyes really only addressing Astrid, the young vagabond assassin. Jennifer gave what could only be described as deep look of maternal disappointment before sighing at the young redhead. “Judging from the murderous glare that… young woman is giving you. I take it that you’re not here on official business Miss T’Vali? Let me guess, you got bored and took it upon yourself to find entertainment?” she said, reciting the last sentence like it was a daily chore.

“I thought I told you to rein in your companion’s behaviour, Stephano,” Jennifer mocked, directing an accusatory stare to the dragon, Astrid’s brown-yellow bond. Jennifer used the term ‘companion’ lightly as the duo always seemed be in a near perpetual state of bickering, a fact which often left her bewildered as to how they completed any work at all. Glancing towards the mysterious dark woman, Fukayna, she couldn’t help but to compare their personalities. Fukayna, despite her unnecessary compassion, held an air of reliability and well-tempered determination. Astrid on the other hand reminded Jennifer of her younger self at times, outspoken and wily beyond her years, but damn well frustrating at times also.

“Well if you're quite done with playing around Astrid, I have a mission for you,” Jennifer smiled wickedly.

Shifting her balance so that Talon’s body leaned against her back, Jennifer secured the assassin’s arms beneath her own and then picked up the reins. She’d have to remain in this position or else she wouldn’t be able to see past the assassin’s bulkier frame. “Fukayna, Astrid. You'll both be returning to Skyfall with me,” she announced, “I’ve performed some remedial healing but I must return to the city. I’ll need my lab in order to deal with the crystals. Once I’m finished with this debacle, we’re going after Torak. Take the Navile and elf prisoner with you Fukayna. I’ll have some further questions for them later.”

Jennifer then smiled cheerfully at the motley collection of strangers. Two men and one, almost reptilian, woman who'd continued to glare hatefully at Astrid and Stephano, they where all armed to some extent, putting the mage slightly on edge. This road provided access to and from Lethandrill, nothing more and nothing less, which meant they were either fleeing with the rest of the city’s inhabitants or, seeing as they weren’t running yet, more than likely had business at the elven city. Feeling unusually charitable, she decided to speak to them, “Lethandrill is regrettably, gone. Unless your idea of sight seeing involves smoking ruins and dead corpses, I’d turn the other way folks. Have a nice day.”

Without waiting for further replies, a sharp cracked pierced the air as Jennifer whipped the reins and galloped towards Skyfall.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Talon V'lyn Character Portrait: Armen Sorien Character Portrait: Fukayna Muidrehd Character Portrait: Jennifer Live Character Portrait: Dante Fuuriah Character Portrait: Capella Character Portrait: Khrae Var Character Portrait: Fay X'san Character Portrait: Astrid T'vali Character Portrait: Stephano

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#, as written by Igari
Fukayna shivered as they pulled to a stop, a larger group of people that seemed to all be traveling together in the middle of the trail. It did not take her long to spot Armen and the dark-haired woman, the former of which was weakly leaning against the woman. She felt relief, at least he was still alive, but by the looks of it, if was just barely. A string of irritated words left the lips of the mage and Fukayna turned in time to see V'lyn slip from his horse. His body was limp and had clearly faded out of consciousness--but Miss Jennifer was quick on the uptake and managed to catch him before his head hit the ground.

“Reev dammit you, you fat oath! This is what happens when you spend all of your days at meetings!” The hiss had another undertone, was that concern...? She flailed a bit when trying to get off her horse, though this time, she was a bit certain that her awkward, clumsy descent off the horse was witnessed by others. After she righted herself on the ground, stumbling a bit on her first few steps due to the fact of having been seated on the horse for awhile, she went to rush to Miss Jennifer's side to assist her. However, a sarcastically amused masculine voice brought her attentions upwards.

"He needs help. Now would be simply fantastic." She immediately started, never having seen a dragon before. He was a little chubby, but not absurdly so, actually, it was kind of cute. She marveled a little at the creature--what a magnificent work of nature! His wings looked like they were quite large, even despite being folded alongside his body, and his eyes were bold. She almost got enough courage to reach out and touch him, for his scales did look ever so nice. But then her attentions became more focused on the group of people and she no longer seemed to hear what Miss Jennifer said in response.

Fukayna's breath hitched--she had never done too well around large groups of strangers. It had been different at the Order of Riena--at least there... it had just been recruits and she had had time to observe them from the distance of her room and such to grow comfortable with their presence. But to have so many people together at one time... Instantly she moved closer to Miss Jennifer, almost as if to shield herself from the view of others. It semi-worked, given how small she was. But she could see the questioning gazes of the others and bit her lip in nervousness. This was making her terribly uncomfortable. She wrapped her fingers around her furs and pulled them tighter against her. Miss Jennifer was speaking once more, still the example of calm and controlled, despite the situation.

“... take it that you’re not here on official business Miss T’Vali? Let me guess, you got bored and took it upon yourself to find entertainment? I thought I told you to rein in your companion’s behaviour, Stephano,” The last comment seemed to be directed at someone else but she couldn't really be sure who. But by the way the dragon shifted at this, perhaps it would be best to assume he was the target of those words. The mage continued, her lilting voice taking on somewhat of that same deadly sarcasm Fukayna had heard earlier that was directed at the female Elf.

“Well if you're quite done with playing around Astrid, I have a mission for you. Fukayna, Astrid. You'll both be returning to Skyfall with me. I’ve performed some remedial healing but I must return to the city. I’ll need my lab in order to deal with the crystals. Once I’m finished with this debacle, we’re going after Torak. Take the Navile and elf prisoner with you Fukayna. I’ll have some further questions for them later.” Fukayna tensed a bit at the order but there was nothing she could do against it. Miss Jennifer's words were absolute. She pulled out her notepad once more and wrote her response, perhaps a bit slower than usual due to her hesitation.

"I'll have them ride next to me, then. She didn't take any steps nearer to the group, only silently gestured to the dark-haired girl and Armen to come closer to her. The girl tilted her head in confusion, probably over why Fukayna refused to approach them as before. The small girl didn't even try to comment, she only repeated her gestures until the dark-haired girl patted the side of the horse to make it trot over towards where Fukayna stood. She sighed, not even bothering to look up at the others as she tried to get back on her horse. The struggle was not unseen but surprisingly, she felt a weight at her back.

She would've tensed up, had it not been for the firm feel of scales behind her. She turned a little and saw the dragon, who had been poorly named Stephano, prodding her a bit to help her up the horse. She blushed but smiled at him, perhaps cutely, from underneath her bangs as she used his support to get on the horse. Now comfortable, it seemed she had been just in time, for Miss Jennifer had returned on to her horse. She cracked her reigns and Fukayna did the same, nodding to the others to follow suit.

Normally she would've urged to ask after what the strangers planned to do. But at this moment, perhaps due to her nervousness, or pure concern for the fact that Armen needed urgent medical attention (and a bath), she yearned to return to Skyfall. Not only that, but V'lyn seemed to have a serious injury as well and that knowledge bothered her. She only glimpsed behind her to look back at the lovely dragon--had she been paying attention, she surely would've noticed the dragoness that was fuming at the assassin and Stephano.

The setting changes from lethandrill to Lastra

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Talon V'lyn Character Portrait: Armen Sorien Character Portrait: Fukayna Muidrehd Character Portrait: Jennifer Live Character Portrait: Dante Fuuriah Character Portrait: Capella Character Portrait: Khrae Var Character Portrait: Fay X'san Character Portrait: Astrid T'vali Character Portrait: Stephano

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#, as written by Centi85
The clansman watched the events unfold before him with the same, detached expression he always possessed during such times. There wasn't even a moment that could be spared for questioning, but instead the man remained silent, observing and making careful calculations about the situation. The two who had appeared just previously, the Dragoness and young assassin, seemed to just have nothing else to do, and so seemed to decide it would be enjoyable, or at least somewhat interesting, to strike up a random conversation with complete strangers along a lonely road to Lethandrill. The next two riders, coming on horseback, seemed as if they appeared with more worthy intentions than simply for their own entertainment. The urgency he felt within them was evident, and it only increased with the addition of the next group of riders.

Khrae had only a moment to assess the first pair, a young woman with distinctly paler skin and pointed ears, as well as wearing not a lot of coverage, but still more than the Dragoness. Unless Khrae was simply being judgmental and forming conclusions based on first glance generalizations, she had to be a Naville. Later on he could worry about any threat she supposedly posed, but currently it seemed she was more in a hurry than anything to escape from something. The boy whom rested on her back had obviously seen better days, looking as if his daily sustenance intake had been replaced with a beating for a good week, maybe more.

Without totally disregarding the others once they had been evaluated, Khrae turned to the next three. A young woman whose eyes he could not see due to her silvery bangs rode alongside yet another woman, obviously older, but not at all lacking in an elegant beauty despite the fact, as well as was another man whom Khrae was surprised to learn was Lord V'lyn himself. Reasoning then giving Khrae enough to assume that the woman was the infamous, or simply famous, depending on your preferences, Jennifer. Khrae mulled this over in his head as he took in the man, the all powerful assassin leader who seemed as if he'd just come from a rather strenuous battle, and who quite literally fell into a state of unconsciousness, though luckily the woman riding with him had just managed to catch him. Whomever he'd been combating had obviously wielded devastating power, and as for the crystallized magic which latched onto him, Khrae had never seen it before.

Well if you're quite done with playing around Astrid, I have a mission for you,” the woman said as she looked to the young assassin. "Fukayna, Astrid. You'll both be returning to Skyfall with me. I’ve performed some remedial healing but I must return to the city. I’ll need my lab in order to deal with the crystals. Once I’m finished with this debacle, we’re going after Torak. Take the Navile and elf prisoner with you Fukayna. I’ll have some further questions for them later.”

Khrae was swimming in his own thoughts as he took in everything that was happening and all that was said. Names were dubbed to those present, and then the information was sorted through and then processed. Torak stood out above all else. Yes, that was who Khrae and Dante were headed to see on behalf of their clan, and whom apparently had caused this whole ordeal. How exactly each one of these people fit in to the situation, however, Khrae wasn't sure, but he didn't question.

“Lethandrill is regrettably, gone. Unless your idea of sight seeing involves smoking ruins and dead corpses, I’d turn the other way folks. Have a nice day.”

Raising an eyebrow at the statement, Khrae let out an sigh of exasperation behind the cowl of his cloak. Lovely. Obviously then whoever these people were escaping from was a worthy adversary, especially considering the almighty Lord V'lyn had sustained such damage, and from what Khrae was gathering, the culprit was Torak. So the man had destroyed his own city? Hmm. That definitely complicated a lot of things. Before the swordsman could respond however, before he could even formulate a question to help clear up the mess of information that had just been thrown at him, the woman rode off with her companions, back to Skyfall.

Shaking his head, Khrae from those still here (I think it's just Capella.. ??), and then to Dante. The boy was staring at something, or someone, but he couldn't tell who or what. Tapping him on the shoulder to gather his attention, Khrae blinked once as the boy jumped suddenly, having drifted off quite a ways, consumed by whatever it was that held his attention. The man dismissed the action, however, as it wasn't unusual for Dante to get so distracted.

"O-huh, er.. Oh. What?" the boy finally questioned, looking around suddenly as he now began to register all that was going on around him.

"It seems as though we've encountered a hitch in our plans." The man said simply.

Dante looked at him curiously, not understanding. "...Okay.. What does that mean?"

"It means we're no longer going to Lethandrill." Khrae clarified.

The boy beamed brightly, overjoyed now that they didn't need to continue down this boring road to a stupid city for whatever stupid meeting. "Really?!" he exclaimed, throwing up his arms in excitement. "Haha, awesome! No more stinkin' meeting!"

"Hold your tongue," Khrae warned, now beginning to continue down the road.

Dante suddenly fell silent, clamping both hands over his mouth while managing to maintain an apologetic look for little more than two seconds. "Sorry," he mumbled, lowering his hands, "but I knew this whole trip was useless anyway." Happily, trotting up to his master's side, he smiled again. "So where are we going now? Some local pub, or a store, someplace actually fun, right?"

"Skyfall."

Dante stopped, looking at Khrae's back now, his mouth slightly ajar. "Skyfall?" he complained. "Why?!"

"Because our previous destination has been destroyed, and we have to go there anyway to speak with Lord V'lyn. I'd also like to know exactly what happened during his visit to Lethandrill that would leave him in such a state, what would cause the Steward to destroy his own city."

"Another meeting?!" Dante said, once more hurrying to catch up to the man. "Ugh, this clan business is soo boring! Plus, do you even realize how far away Skyfall is? It's a lot farther than where we just came from!"

Khrae turned slightly to face his student, truly amused for once, though the reaction remained hidden beneath his hood. "Oh? So you actually know something? Congratulations."

"I know plenty," Dante protested. "Like... like... Uhmm..." The boy paused, trying to think of something that would impress his mentor, but finding nothing.

"Nevertheless," Khrae continued, dismissing the previous conversation, "It's either a trip to Skyfall to speak with Lord V'lyn and find out what's going on, or we go meditate and train."

"Off to Skyfall!" Dante proclaimed, pointing down the road and beginning to run. Khrae simply shook his head, smiling with content beneath his hood as he continued walking, watching the boy gain distance ahead of him.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Talon V'lyn Character Portrait: Armen Sorien Character Portrait: Fukayna Muidrehd Character Portrait: Jennifer Live Character Portrait: Dante Fuuriah Character Portrait: Capella Character Portrait: Khrae Var Character Portrait: Fay X'san Character Portrait: Astrid T'vali Character Portrait: Stephano

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Astrid gave a cheeky little grin and a little salute. Back to Skyfall? Happy days, no more walking. Walking was slightly worse than a slow painful death being eaten by a really nasty dragon. Well. That's what Astrid thought. She had never suffered a slow painful death being eaten by a really nasty dragon but she used her imagination. But what did her superior mean by Lethandrill is regrettably, gone? Surely it couldn't just be gone. Cities don't just disappear. Astrid grinned at the thought of a city just going "poof" and it vanished, like a magician's trick gone large scale. And then some. Stephano just rolled his eyes at his companion.

"Aye aye, Miss Jennifer, ma'am!" She turned on the spot as the mage took off with Talon on the back of her horse. Astrid winced a little at that. Maybe she should have offered to let his ride with her and Stephano. It would have been a much smoother ride. But then she shook her head. Ha! Talon had fought in the great war! He'd be fine! Just fine.

Wouldn't he?

The assassin distracted herself from these disturbing thoughts by trying to figure out where her little scaly friend had gone to. Because he was not on her back right now. As she turned to find Stephano, she giggled. Aw, her dragon. Such the gentleman.

Stephano had obviously noticed that this 'Sheep Fur' person (Astrid couldn't even hope to pronounce that name so "Miss Sheep Fur" it was) was struggling to get back on her horse and had gone to lend a hand. It was actually kind of cute. Stephano wasn't all that bad, she supposed. Unless he was being whiny. Which was often. So really, Stephano was all that bad.

After both the horses had gone on their way, Astrid bounded over to her dragon who looked up at her.

"All abord the Stephano express?" Astrid asked, her eyes wide and pleading. The sandy brown being rolled his large eyes and spead his large wings out to allow Astrid to climb onto his back.

"Well, are you just going to stand there all day? I'm pretty sure we have work to do." Stephano drawled, his voice laced with sarcasm. Astrid hopped onto his back and hit Stephano's side sharply with her bow.

"Yeah, smartass. We got work to do. Now hustle. I don't wanna be the last one to Skyfall because of your mediocre flying skills." The assassin remarked, grinning as she sat in her normal position, knees against the wings joints and hands braced in front of her.

"Fine then." Stephano took off with a large whoosh noise as his huge wings forced him into the air. He moved with a grace that you wouldn't imagine from a dragon that was so clumsy on his feet. His large wings spanned the sky and before long, they found themselves way above Jennifer, Sheep Fur and the other two, one of which was still not looking good. Astrid leaned to the side and Stephano obeyed, tilting his wings so that they moved over to the left. There. Now the sick guy was in the shade of Stephano's large wings. Maybe that would help him. It was a rather uneventful journey until Stephano stopped dead in the air, hovering a little.

"Oh, Riena..."

"What? What is it. Steph-Oh Riena..." Jennifer was correct. Lethandrill was gone. It was wasn't totally gone but it was near enough, in Astrid's opinion. The ruins of a great city stood among the destruction.

"Something bad is going on here. Something very not good." Astrid whispered, hands fluttering to her collarbone. Stephano nodded before carrying on to catch up with the rest of their company. The dragon glided down towards the others a little, feeling his assassin's need to know they were OK. Apart from Talon and the sickly looking guy, the rest of them seemed OK. She hoped. Stephano felt this little bit of worry leak through their bond and he pushed it away, trying to reassure her that they were fine. Everyone was going to be OK. The sandy brown dragon flapped his wings powerfully rising in the air before gliding down closer to the others.

"So. We should play a game."

"Really. And what should this game be?"

"Oh, it could be "Tell Astrid about the weird ass dragon deal" or "Jennifer baiting" or even I Spy!" Astrid said, crossing her arms. She needed something to take her mind off the current events. And what better way to do that than by annoying Stephano?

"Ok. No, hell no and don't even try. And in that order."

"Yay! I spy..."

"No."

"With my..."

"Stop it."

"Little (although incredibly accurate) eye..."

"We are not playing this game."

"Something beginning with..."

"Astrid, I'm serious. Not after last time."

"Hmm...something beginning with S!" Astrid finished, leaning back, feeling smug. That dragon was NEVER going to get this one.

"I despise you. I really do."

"I know that. Now guess!"

"Fine, fine. S? Salt?"

"Don't know where the hell you're seeing salt, dragon boy, but no."

"Sand?"

"Again, god knows where you're seeing that and hell no."

"The sun?"

"You can't look directly at the sun, you idiot. Therefore, I cannot spy it."

"Fine. I fricking give up. What the hell is it?" Stephano grouched, trying to concentrate. Oddly enough, he got a wave of deja vu. As long as she didn't start on again at the puppies, he'd be fine. He wouldn't kill her.

He hoped.

It would be slightly awkward to explain to Jennifer why one of her assassins was now in a billion little flaming pieces.

"It's sheep fur, you silly!" Stephano's brain froze for a few minutes before he sighed heavily.

"Wolf. Fur. it's wolf fur."

"Nuh uh. Sheep fur!"

"Wolf. It's wolf. Ask her yourself if you fricking want. It is WOLF FUR. Stephano yelled, his eyes wide and jaw squared. Astrid stopped for a minute before falling back with laughter.

"I...I..." The assassin gasped for breath, laughter streaming out of her mouth. Stephano rolled his eyes and took on a wicked grin of his own.

"Let's see how funny you find this." With that, the dragon pitched down, forcing Astrid to lie flat on her stomach as Stephano shot down and down and down. He almost reached the ground around a metre or two in front of Jennifer and then shot back up again, twirling as he did. Astrid screamed, laughter piercing the terror.

"Stephano! Stop it!" The assassin called to her dragon, not really meaning it. Her long red hair flying around her as the dragon flew up into the air again. She wasn't worried. They had done this kind of thing before, until much deadlier circumstances. But the thrill falling through the air gave her was still phenomenal. Unbeatable. Stephano arched his back as he went to loop the air and Astrid fell. Again, she didn't worry. She didn't need to. A few seconds after just falling in the air upside down, she flipped herself upright and landed square on Stephano's back again. The assassin giggled, eyes screwed shut, hands reaching the air as Stephano carried on dancing through the air.

Who needed a horse when you had a dragon anyways?

After a while, they decided to cease their aerial display for now and glided down until they were above the others again. Then Astrid decided she wanted to meet the new recruit, properly this time. Stephano agreed, also wanting to meet this new person civilly now instead of being attacked by her later for something Astrid had roped him into. The dragon and his rider soared down until almost eyes level to the woman wrapped in fur.

"So! Who are you?" Astrid asked, her hair flying around her face and eyes shimmering from the adrenaline of their flight. Stephano rolled his eye and just carried on gliding gently beside the poor woman Astrid was probably going to scar for life.

The setting changes from lastra to Skyfall

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Talon V'lyn Character Portrait: Alistair Fenix Character Portrait: Fukayna Muidrehd Character Portrait: Jennifer Live Character Portrait: Khrae Var Character Portrait: Astrid T'vali Character Portrait: Isaehn Raxieyl

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Skyfall – Afternoon

Jennifer slumped into her armchair, sighing and allowing herself to rest after all the time she had spent removing the crystals. The furniture squeaked as she thrust herself careless upon it, her lithe body folding into the seat’s cavity as though she lacked any semblance of a backbone. Her heart hammered in her chest, her breath hitched in her throat. Somehow, she’d succeeded, but it had taken a considerable proportion of her necklace’s powers. The experience left her utterly exhausted but her concerns where already focused elsewhere, on the events in Lethandrill. It was the indistinct dread that forced her minor asphyxiation. Torak’s gauntlet had haunted her memories ever since she’d returned to Skyfall, disturbing the events from forty years ago. It wasn’t quite right to call it Torak’s gauntlet though, no, that wasn’t right at all. By now she was certain that it was Domieen’s. There was also the mystery of the third figure, the man with the stone gauntlet. After the chaos she'd seen no sight of him and believed him killed, but she knew better than to assume.

“Jennifer! How is Lord V’lyn?” The gruff voice of Sebastian, a seasoned veteran, called from beyond the entrance.

A fist pounded violently at the door, startling her. Jennifer only rose when she heard her name called a second time. She edged past the flat, silver table which worked as a center piece to her lab. Talon’s unconscious body laid face-up on the block, shirtless. His tanned skin was marred with numerous scars, some old and faded, some raw. Paradoxically, like the distinctive scar on his handsome face, the markings along his body afforded him a gentle, almost vulnerable appearance. Pity swelled into her chest as she remembered being unable to prevent more than one of those of those wounds, and now there was one more to add to that list.

Before she could part ways, Talon’s eyes snapped open in so fast Jennifer expected to hear thunder. A deep reaching breath filled the room as the assassin sucked the life back into him. The change in scenery made him instinctively go for his knives, which of course, weren’t there. “Talon!” Jennifer yelped, equally surprised to see him awake. Drawing his attention with her voice, Talon relaxed at her presence. The door knocked a third time.

“Where are we? How are the others?” he asked in a state of confusion as Jennifer went to retrieve a glass of water.

“Skyfall,” Jennifer replied, carefully feeding him the clear liquid. “And care more about yourself first,” she reprimanded, her sharp features showing irritation once more at his lack of self-preservation.

Talon ignored her of course. His mind was a haze but there were more pressing matters. Torak, and more specifically, the gauntlet. “Ro’ell,” he said, his jaw muscles working like crazy to formulate his ideas, “You need to…research…the gauntlet…”

He fell into quiet slumber before uttering another word.

“Jennifer! Are you there?!” the voice behind the door banged again with an undertone of urgency.

The door flew open in front of Sebastian, revealing the mage behind it. She looked ever so slightly bedraggled, not having the time to even straighten herself out since arriving back at the order, but that only seemed to augment her profound beauty. “Send a message to our contacts in Ro’ell, Alistair Fenix and Isaehn Raxieyl of the Order of Vyldi. Arrange a meeting, request both of them to research for information regarding Domieen’s gauntlet,” Jennifer ordered immediately. Sebastian’s ember eyes narrowed perceptibly at the mentioning of ‘Domieen’s gauntlet’. Sebastian was old, forty-five now, so the war had occurred when he was only just five. Yet even he knew of the infamy surrounding the old black dragon. That the mage had decided to acknowledge it suggested the matter was dire indeed. “And summon Fukayna and Astrid to the briefing room.”

“And Lord V’lyn?” Sebastian stuttered, suddenly remembering his original purpose.

“He’s fine,” Jennifer huffed, storming out of the lab room, “The foolish oath would sooner die of his own vaunted chivalry before any infection would even have the chance to become lethal…What?”

Sebastian still lingered by the open doorway, giving off an apprehensive aura that didn’t suit the middle-aged assassin at all. “A man by the name of Khrae Var has also requested to speak with Lord V’lyn,” he informed her.

“Well, you can go ahead and tell him that Lord V’lyn is unavailable due to unconsciousness,” Jennifer retorted with a flippant wave of her arms.

“He wants to discuss the events in Lethadrill, he’s accompanied by a younger man and a…humanoid drag…” Sebastian’s speech stopped, his voice caught in his throat by the expression that the mage greeted him with. He looked tremendously disturbed to see her standing in the hallway, smiling. “I’ll tell Mr Var to wait in the main courtyard and then get to mailing those messages for you...”

There were still so many duties to attend to.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Armen Sorien Character Portrait: Fukayna Muidrehd Character Portrait: Jennifer Live Character Portrait: Khrae Var Character Portrait: Fay X'san Character Portrait: Astrid T'vali Character Portrait: Stephano

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#, as written by Igari
Path to Skyfall - Morning

Fukayna adjusted herself on her horseback, her eyes flitting over to the horse riding next to her that was supporting the weight of both the elves. Now that they were away from the odd group, she was beginning to feel more like herself and her shoulders had relaxed from their previously tense position. The journey was moderately paced and it gave her a chance to evaluate what happened as they rode. Lethandrill had fallen, a city that had once stood so firm and so proud. All of that had been decimated in mere minutes thanks to the frightening power that the steward wielded.

The power hadn't seem to come from the man though... The pulses of magic had come more from the gauntlet than it was coming from his own efforts. And there was something troubling about that. Her eyebrows furrowed, her bottom lip jutting out as she tried to ponder the possibilities. She felt she had seen that gauntlet before, perhaps somewhere in texts--there was something familiar... Before she could focus any more thought to the idea, a whoop and a flurry of air hit her face, bringing her out of her reverie effectively.

It took her a bit for her eyes to focus upon the sight. It was the red-haired girl upon the lovely creature, the dragon doing twirls dangerously close to the ground before rising up and coming to settle next to Fukayna's horse. She jumped, reeling back just a bit as the woman grinned over at her. "So! Who are you?" Her voice was peppy, excited, jumpy--like the personality she seemed to radiate. Fukayna was a little lost and glanced at the dragon, who rolled his eye. She fumbled a little and tapped the side of her horse to slow it down a little.

Feeling it safe to feel around inside of her wolf furs, Fukayna pulled out her notepad and pen, jotting (somewhat sloppily due to the up and down movements) on her parchment. "I'm a new recruit, chosen to accompany V'lyn and Miss Jennifer through a spar match." It seemed like a proficient-enough answer but the woman was looking at her expectantly. Sighing, she scribbled a little more on her paper. "My name is Fukayna Muidrehd." The girl finally seemed satisfied and giggled, proudly introducing herself with puffed-up bravado and way too much arm movement.

After finally sorting out left from right, for the wild way in which she spoke made it difficult to pay proper attention, Fukayna finally got that the girl's name was Astrid and the dragon was indeed Stephano. A look of pity came across her face, though she wasn't sure if it came across all the way. Who on earth would name their dragon Stephano? Perhaps when they had some time to themselves back at the Order of Riena, Fukayna would get the chance to ask him if that was really his name. And if that tie was worn because it made him looking more dashing or because it was forced upon him by the the girl with the boundless amount of energy.

The trip continued by in much the same fashion. Astrid blathered question after question--but unlike Miss Jennifer, the questions were borderline rude and rather disturbing. What did asking her if she had ever tried to put giant cloth diapers on sheep have to do with her life? She kept her responses minimal, still unsure how to take this character. Maybe when she was a little less tired, the conversation might make a bit more sense. Maybe. An hour or two more passed by before at last they came to the Order.

Skyfall - Afternoon

She hadn't been able to find time to take a nap after all. After they had arrived at Skyfall, Fukayna had followed after Miss Jennifer a few paces before the mage had told her where to take the elves to rest. She had been adamant about making sure both made it to the infirmary. She eventually had to be told to leave, for her fretting was doing ill for Armen's rest and the dark-haired elf sleeping a few beds from him. As she was leaving, she was approached by an older man appearing to be in his late forties, one whom looked wizened with experience and sights of war--given the haunted look behind his eyes.

"Ah, you must be Fukayna?" She nodded hesitantly, unsure who this man was. He smiled a bit as if to put her at ease. "My name is Sebastian. Jennifer requests your presence in the briefing hall." She nodded to indicate she understood what had just been told her. The man nodded back before turning, heading off in another direction. She paused, choosing to cut through the courtyard to get to the hall quicker. She yawned as she rubbed at her eyes beneath her bangs. Gods, she needed a nap.

As she walked across the courtyard, she caught sight of the same strange individual she had seen earlier on the path. She froze in her steps, now wary. 'What is he doing here...?' She nervously gripped at her furs again as she forced herself to keep walking. She didn't want to be late for a summons by Miss Jennifer and shyness around strangers seemed like a pretty poor excuse. Fukayna walked to the other side, only glancing to her right once to look at him once more. She met the gaze of the older male and immediately looked away, hurrying towards the briefing room. There was an intensity in his gaze, though gentle, there was something in it that commanded respect--perhaps power? She shook her head; now was not the time to have her mind on the man.

She came outside the door, knocking quietly twice before letting herself in. She peered around, not spotting anyone inside. Perhaps Miss Jennifer was delayed? The room was the same as when she had last seen it, except not so cram full of new recruits. She found herself drawn to her original seat that she had taken when she had been first listening to the words of V'lyn. It was hard to believe it really hadn't been that long ago at all. After her experiences, such a speech seemed so long and distant in the past. And there were still so many unanswered questions. She sat down, placing her hands in front of her on her lap. Well, she may as well wait. Miss Jennifer would surely be here within moments.

The setting changes from skyfall to Lastra

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Fukayna Muidrehd Character Portrait: Dante Fuuriah Character Portrait: Capella Character Portrait: Khrae Var

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#, as written by Centi85
RECAP

"Fly?!" Dante exclaimed happily. "You can fly me?!" The boy's face was lit up with enthusiasm at the idea of actually getting an express route to Skyfall, one that didn't involve running, a bumpy ride on horseback, or whatever other means of transportation there was. No, instead what was being offered was something that wouldn't otherwise tax him physically, either with exhaustion or aches that would haunt him later. The idea was brilliant, especially if it meant he could escape Khrae, if only for just an hour or however long it would take. Any time away was time well spent. One look at the older swordsman however, who was already shaking his head, made the boy's elated smile twist around and into a frown. His next face was one that looked far too practiced to be genuine sadness, as if he'd used it, which he had, millions of times to try to merit some alternate outcome from his mentor.

"But Khraeeee..." Dante complained.

"If you truly think that face will work," Khrae said stoically, not even looking at the boy, "then that simply shows how much knowledge from past experiences you retain, and explains wh---"

"Explains why I don't learn anything because no matter how much I'll study I won't remember it because I don't blah blah blah!" Dante interrupted, his expression once more transforming, though this time into one of irritation at the man's constantly being so repetitive.

"If you've memorized everything I've said, maybe I should--"

"Maybe you should read to me!" Dante proclaimed, once more finishing his mentor's statements while throwing his hands up into the air defeatedly and sighing loudly. "Really?!" The boy groaned, kicking a stone towards Khrae, though missing terribly. "What's wrong with me flying?" Dante questioned, losing the previous voice of irritation for one of simple curiosity towards the man's logic. "Seriously, you can fly! What's wrong with me doing it?"

"There's nothing wrong with you flying," Khrae began, still not even bothering to look to his young ward. "bu--"

"Then why can't I?"

"To further enforce what I've been trying to teach you, you cannot because you've yet to sit down and for once meditate longer than fifteen minutes, thus your ancestors haven't granted you such-"

"Nooo," Dante protested loudly. "Why can't Capella carry me?"

"Because I'm not going to waste my time gathering food for your new friend simply to have you airlifted when you're perfectly capable of walking." Khrae said. Of course he was also aware of the time restrictions, and while the idea was tempting, he wasn't about to let the person he was tasked with protecting and maintaining an eye on be literally swooped up and carried away. No matter how annoying. Not to mention that if he did attempt to keep up to the Dragoness for the entire journey, either using his speed or ability to hover on his wings of fire, he'd surely die.

"What if I get the food when we get there, and then promise to meditate for the entire time you're meeting with... Uh, what's his name." Dante snapped his fingers several times, looking around as he dug through his head to find the name of Lord V'lyn. "The leader.." He finally finished, having given up on the strenuous activity. "What about then?"

"It takes the bribe of the prospect of being able to fly just to get you to meditate and pay for yourself?" Khrae questioned, slightly intrigued now as he looked at the boy. Then as an afterthought, and with a smile that could almost be interpreted as amused if anyone could see it from behind the cowl of his cloak, he added, "You don't even have money."

Dante was becoming quite hopefully as he gave a thumbs up to Capella. He knew his rouse was probably working, and once Khrae sat down to meditate himself, he'd be up and gone. Though, at the realization of the fact that he held nothing to pay for food, he put on his best act of innocence. "Uh, Khrae... could I borrow... like.. ten silver coins?" Smiling at the man as he held out his hands, he knew if worse came to worse, he'd simply steal whatever it was Capella wanted. A moment later however, when the man's hand came out to him and dropped the wanted monetary donation into his palms, Dante had to admit that at times, when Khrae wanted to be, he wasn't so bad.

"But!" Khrae knew that the single action would probably cause the worst of heart-attacks in his student, and he was right, because as he looked to Dante, he saw all the boy's hopes suddenly die as he winced, waiting. "I expect you to be meditating by the time I get to Skyfall... And Capella, I will be keeping an eye on you."

Sighing with relief, Dante towards the Dragoness. "Right!" he said looking back once more to Khrae. Beaming triumphantly, as if what he'd just done was something not even the most skilled of negotiators could accomplish, he approached Capella and whispered, "Don't worry. We'll get the food and do whatever. We've got like... time."


SKYFALL

Khrae watched as the man left, bringing his message to whomever it concerned, probably Jennifer, that he was here and wished to speak with V'lyn, as well as introduce himself and the clan. That done, he turned back to Dante who was sitting cross-legged in the center of the courtyard, one eye peeping open at him, and not at all meditating like he said he would be. Of course it didn't surprise Khrae, but even so the man's arm came out as he walked around the boy, impacting hard on the back his head.

"Concentrate!" Khrae snapped, somehow harboring a commanding and harsh tone, while still maintaining the same neutral one. How he did it, Dante didn't know, but quickly he shut his eye, mumbling under his breath something about it being difficult to do such things when the man was always talking and hitting him. Of course that simply merited another thump on the top of his head, though this time from the pommel of the man's sword, so the boy sighed and shut up. He hated having to sit around and do nothing, especially when it cost him the loss of feeling in his leg, but even so, the experience of being able to fly was more than exhilarating, and well worth it.

Glancing up, the older swordsman let out a long exasperated breath. Pacing around, his bare feet were silent in the courtyard as he shut his own eyes, relaxing momentarily. Currently with all that happened, now would be a perfect time for meditation, but because he knew that Dante would only take that opportunity to sneak away and cause trouble, the man would have to wait. He couldn't risk that happening whilst they were here on such terms, especially considering he knew that at any moment, the order of Vyldi could be watching to ensure that the clan truly meant no harm, or if anything went wrong, he or Dante could be dead without anyone knowing it. These people were a force Khrae didn't wish to contend with, not in the city of assassins itself.

Opening his eyes, the man was surprised to find one of said skilled nighttime marauders before him. She had stopped as she crossed through the courtyard, their gazes meeting momentarily. The man felt no need to acknowledge further, as it was obvious she knew he saw her, and instead put his mind to work calculating everything about her that he may have missed from their previous encounter. She seemed just as shy and nervous as before, clinging to the furs that hung about her, probably for comforting reasons to keep her moving considering she'd just stopped dead as soon as the man made visual contact. He then watching as she continued on, seemingly in a hurry to either get where she was going, or to simply escape from his scrutinizing stare, though she glanced back one more time before disappearing. Khrae simply maintained his usual apathetic composure as his eyes fell upon Dante, whom was hopelessly lost in looking towards the area the young girl had once occupied before she'd left his sight.

Sighing again, the man removed his hood and pulled down the cowl of his cloak as he shook his head and once more hit the boy with the pommel of his sword. No words were necessary, as Dante knew what he'd been doing and what he was supposed to be doing, so the man simply rolled his eyes and continued pacing. Perhaps if the boy could've gotten a girl back in the clan, she would've made him concentrate. It took just that to even get him to consider meditation, albeit though in return for being able to fly, but then again, no one from the clan would've considered someone so careless and troublesome, it simply wasn't worth their time.

The setting changes from lastra to Skyfall

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Talon V'lyn Character Portrait: Armen Sorien Character Portrait: Fukayna Muidrehd Character Portrait: Xandur Character Portrait: Jennifer Live Character Portrait: Dante Fuuriah Character Portrait: Khrae Var Character Portrait: Fay X'san Character Portrait: Astrid T'vali

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#, as written by Qaida
Armen Sorien

"Hello there, Fukayna. Good to see you made it out of there in one piece. Am I assume young Armen and Fay X'san did as well? Good."

He looked up sharply at the voice and didn't recognize who it was that spoke. The man was about his height with a stone gauntlet over his entire forearm, an eye patch and a kind of aura hanging around him that put Armen on edge. Since coming to Skyfall, he'd had his wounds treated and had something to eat and drink. He still felt sore all over and a bit on the exhausted side, but he held on to staying awake for a while longer. He'd been summoned to see the woman who was the shadow to the order of Riena and he was intrigued about her.

At first he'd wondered where the man was, the 'Lord V'lyn', but didn't ask. Instead his concentration was torn from the stranger who had burst in, to the woman who came right after him. Her sharp gaze pierced everyone around the room and Armen felt a cold chill in his bones. She didn't seem all that pleasant, how did the Lord V'lyn love a woman like that? The elf shook his head slightly and decided it was none of his business and concentrated on her words.

His eyes shifted to the red haired woman with the dragon as she stood abruptly and began yelling at the stranger who had walked in. It had been several minutes since he'd made his presence clear and Armen wondered what exactly the girl was thinking. However, a sharp look from the woman, who could have only been the Lady Jennifer Live that nearly everyone knew about in Lastra, quieted the girl. A second after and the briefing began, though it was clear that Lady Jennifer wasn't accustomed to doing such things, nor did she seem to have any interest in it either.

“Lastra is in anarchy. As of sixteen hours ago, half of Lethandrill’s population was killed in a discharge of energy, magical in nature. As Lethandrill’s neighboring city, Skyfall will have to prepare themselves for an influx of refugees...This city is to assist in Lethandrill’s aid and recovery blah blah blah.“But, as the Order of Riena, this isn’t our primary concern. I’m sure you’re all aware of the restrictions being pushed upon mages by the Order of Vlydi themselves. The political backlash of this recent disaster is huge. People haven’t seen this much destructive power since the last war. They’re scared, heck even I am. They will want closure, so we need to resolve this before things get even more out of hand. That will be your mission,”[/b] Jennifer finished and looked up at them all. Her dark, but beautiful, gaze swept across them once more.

Fukayna, who had rescued him from the dungeons, stood abruptly and made to go towards Jennifer. However, the young assassin didn't make it in time and promptly collapsed onto the floor. Armen jumped forward and rushed around the chair that he'd been standing behind to reach the girl. Kneeling next to her, he gently lifted her up into his lap and felt her face and neck. The poor thing was exhausted, much like himself. He looked up at Jennifer and offered her a slight smile.

"Just, tired," he said slowly, unsure of how to act around the powerful mage, "Perhaps we should all get some rest before we leave?"

Fay X'san

Her eyes widened at the end of Jennifer's statement. They were going to Ro'ell next. The things that she could obtain there... the knowledge about her power, the knowledge about her kind and how they came about... everything was there. Fay couldn't have been more excited in her life. She was more determined than ever to prove to the entire world of Lastra that the Navile were of no threat to them at all. Oh, how she wished her clan could have been there with her. In time... in time, she thought to herself.

Then the girl with white hair stood and collapsed. In a matter of seconds the young elf named Armen was next to her, concern driving his actions. Fay had even started forward to tend to the girl, but realized there wasn't much she could do. Instead, Fay stood next to the chair where she'd been at during the entire meeting. Her eyes settled on the stranger who had joined in at the beginning quite suddenly. She didn't even remember seeing him in Lethandrill, but for some reason he'd known her name. She wasn't sure how to go about that.

After being reassured by Armen that the young assassin was alright, Fay turned to Jennifer, "I agree, Lady Jennifer, we should rest before we start for Ro'ell, though I'm anxious to go myself," she said gently, bringing her fingers together before her, each slender finger slowly curling around one another as she stood there, "I'd like to see the rest of your grand Guild, if that's alright?"

The door opened a third time then and before her stood the tall man whom she'd first seen in Lethandrill. It was the Lord V'lyn and he looked utterly worn out. How he was still standing, Fay didn't know, but her eyes widened and her mouth dropped open in a small 'o' of surprise as he stood in the doorway.

"I appreciate you're taking care of this, Jennifer," he said gently to the mage, his tone holding the thick layers of his pure affection and love for the woman. His gaze was soft on her as well. However, that all changed as he turned to look at the rest of them. His lips pulled into a deep frown as he set eyes upon the red haired assassin, though he didn't say anything to her. Lord V'lyn's steely grey-blue eyes turned towards Fay.

"You may look around as you please, just take care as to not get lost or get in the way of anyone," he said and stepped aside from the doorway, allowing the lithe Navile passage through.

"Thank you," she beamed at him, her curiosity overtaking her once more. She looked around to everyone, feeling a bit embarrassed as to leave so suddenly, but she didn't think she could stay cramped up in that room for very much longer. Not to mention she had nothing else to add to the current situation. It was all pretty clear to her at the moment, their next objective was Ro'ell. From there, they would figure things out.

Fay left the meeting room and immediately went down the stairs. The first place she wanted to see was the courtyard. She'd seen it from the window of her guest room and had witnessed several new recruits sparring out in the yard. It had warranted the highest part of her curiosity. However, when she got out there, no one was there except for two men, one was on the ground, cross legged and looking terribly inconvenienced. The other was pacing. As she gazed at them, she finally recognized them to be the two men that had been in the forest of Lethandrill right when she'd been fleeing the city with Armen on horseback.

The young boy was most intriguing to her, especially since every now and then he would open his eyes, give the taller man a sour look and then promptly get smacked in the back of his head. The taller man hadn't even had to look at the one seated to know what was happening. It must have been happened often enough. Fay moved swiftly, her body carrying her lightly across the courtyard until she was right in front of the boy. He was obviously trying to meditate and he was failing miserably at it.

So, Fay sat down gently in front of him, her legs crossed as well, her back straight and her arms resting over her knees. Her eyes watched the boy carefully as she waited for him to open his eyes once more. Fay turned her head ever so slightly, the strands of hair loose from the top half being pulled back, fell off to the side to gently sway across her bare shoulder. When the boy opened his eyes she beamed at him.

"You're meditating isn't very good," she commented with a slight laugh. Then she leaned forward, coming very close to him, "Would you like me to show you?"

Talon V'lyn

He woke up groggy, his head felt like it was going to explode from the amount of pressure that was building. However, he couldn't have stayed asleep any longer. Glancing down at his form, he noted that he was shirtless and laying stretched out on a table in the center of his room that he shared with Jennifer. How he'd gotten there he didn't remember, all that came to mind was the fight in Lethandrill and what they had to do next. Ro'ell was their best shot and figuring things out, especially about the gauntlet.

Pushing himself up he moved as quickly as his tired body would allow and pulled on his leather shirt that held all of his weapons. Tightening down the long sleeves, he turned to the door and exited. His elder assassin, Sebastian caught sight of him and ushered towards him. The man eyed the Lord up and down before frowning.

"You shouldn't be walking around."

"There's a lot of things I 'shouldn't' do that I still do. You should know by now that I'm not one to listen all that well, Sebastian. Where is my lovely mage and the rag-tag group that we met in Lethandrill?"

"She gathered them together and is having a meeting with them right now, my Lord, there is another party that wishes to have your attention. Your esteemed mage turned them away quite nicely, or at least put them off for a little while. You should speak to them if you're up to it."

"Who are they?"

"Two men from a clan named the 'Phoenix'. They wish to have an audience with you as soon as possible."

"Then they need not wait any longer, damn that woman... Why didn't she wake me up for this?" Talon complained as he straightened his armor.

"My Lord," Sebastian started.

"Talon is just fine, Sebastian, stop calling me that... I swear by Riena.. we've known each other long enough."

The old assassin sighed and then gave him a sly grin, "You know damn well that should anyone have disturbed you after that injury, Jennifer would have incinerated them on the spot, Talon."

"Sometimes that woman drives me insane."

"You're no spring chicken anymore, Talon. A hit like that could have very easily killed you," Sebastian commented sharply.

"You're not getting any younger either, old man. Besides, she's got nothing to worry about. I'm just fine, we both should know that well enough."

"Keep pushing yourself like you are and I won't be surprised if she locks you in a dark room for the rest of your very long lives."

Talon laughed to this and waved his hand at Sebastian, dismissing him officially, "Training tonight, Sebastian. Lets see if your still as sharp as your tongue," the Lord V'lyn opened the door to the meeting room just as it was ending and caught the last portion of the Navile's question.

After giving her leave to run about the Guild halls, he turned to Jennifer once more as he spoke to the rest of them, "Astrid, you know what you should be doing right now. Elf, take Fukayna to her room, it's just down the hall," he waved his hand in the direction, "Jennifer, I know what you're going to say, but I-" he stopped mid sentence after the elf had left with Fukayna and Astrid had scurried away with her dragon. There was one person left in attendance that he hadn't noticed standing at the back of the room.

He raised an eyebrow and the recognized him as the man who'd interfered in Lethandrill. Turning slightly to face the man he crossed his arms. With a sigh of frustration he looked back down at Jennifer, "Sometimes I wonder if my work will ever end. I have company downstairs I suppose, two men from a clan of Phoenix as they've called themselves. I'll bring them here and we can deal with both of these... guests, in one shot shall we?" Talon said as he leveled his cool gaze at the man across the room. With that he left to seek out the other two men who required his attention.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Dante Fuuriah Character Portrait: Capella Character Portrait: Khrae Var Character Portrait: Fay X'san

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Flashback

Capella watched the two Humans before her as they bickered and bargained, her old amusement swiftly returning now that the threat to her pride was gone. Everything was alright again. There wasn't any danger. She wouldn't have to go back to those days of shame and fear again. She was alive, and she was Capella the Grey Sword. She wasn't a coward anymore.

Taking a deep breath, she gave a quiet chuckle as she did her best to drive the unwanted thoughts from her mind, focusing entirely on the situation before her. It wouldn't do any good to stop her scheming before her plans could come to fruition, least of all for such a silly reason as being preoccupied with days long past.

At last, the conversation came to a close, and the decision seemed to be made. So, she'd be carrying the boy after all? Well, now seemed like a perfectly good time for some double reverse psychology. Obviously, Khrae would be expecting her to make her move now, since it was the perfect chance for her to carry this Dante kid off. This meant that such an abduction would be strategically foolish. Besides, were she to leave so soon, she'd lose her chance of ingratiating herself with the Humans, thereby putting her into position to backstab them later and claim whatever power it was that had just destroyed Lethandrill for her own hoard. So, she'd kill two birds with one stone. By staying perfectly honest - something that, as a dragon, she rarely had incentive to do - and following through on her end of the bargain, she could hopefully eliminate any fears that she was trying to abduct Dante - while in fact positioning herself to do this very thing all the more easily later! And, even if Khrae suspected her, she wouldn't be giving him any way of proving his fears, because even if he did run into her hunters on the road below, she had already revealed her own identity as the infamous "Grey Sword" as a show of good will, which would show him that she meant no harm. So, even if she didn't make a net gain, she wouldn't incur a loss. But this didn't even take into account the gains she was assured of either way. The closer she could draw Dante to herself - a task which would be much easier than gaining the trust of his master, given the boy's hatchling-like nature - the easier it would be to claim him for her own later. In short, she was absolutely assured of at least some sort of gain no matter how things turned out. This course of action would bring her closer to either the power she wanted, and the treasure she desired, if not both. Just as planned.

"Very good!" Capella said innocently, giving a cheery smile. "In that case, I suppose we'll be off, then." With this, she casually strolled alongside the boy just as he came toward her. Sidestepping around behind him without giving him time to react, she spun about on the ball of her foot - or, rather, her rear talon - at the same time retracting her claws and sliding back the scales on her hands slightly, giving her the somewhat odd appearance of wearing fingerless vambraces as her surprisingly Human fingers - normally replaced by her draconic talons - poked through, and her unexpectedly soft, pale hands showed beneath her divided scales. Capella hid her grimace at having to do this, but, she supposed, it was a necessary shame. Handling the fragile Human with her claws would only harm him, and at this point, that was what she least wanted. Still, a Dragon's talons were one of its many prides, and having to dispose of them in favor of a more Human appendage violated her willful nature.

Her old grin renewed by the prospect of the boy's reaction, she didn't wait an instant, not wanting him to realize right away what was going on. Bracing herself against her firmly planted back foot ever so slightly, she hopped towards the boy while he was in the middle of stopping his own movements, taking him while he was least balanced. Giving her wings a slight flutter and spreading them wide, she at the same time wound her own arms beneath those of the Human boy, wrapping them tightly around his center in what was essentially an airborne tackle-hug. Not waiting for gravity to take hold and break the velocity of her small jump, she gave her wings a mighty beat the moment she had a hold on the boy, ignoring his slight cry of surprise as she rose sharply into the air, holding him close beneath her and sweeping her long, serpentine tail down, wrapping it around his legs so as not to have them dangling uncomfortably. He, being slightly taller than her, had his gaze roughly on a level with her own this way, and she could rest her own head on his shoulder from behind so as to see where she was going without even having to strain her neck around him. Of course, while his reaction would have undoubtedly been amusing had she "accidentally" pillowed his head against her chest - removing the scales covering it to do so, of course, obviously so as not to cut him and simply not realizing the embarrassment this would cause the poor boy in the process (Hah! Yeah, right.) - that would have made it somewhat harder to carry him comfortably, and his spiky hair, blowing in the wind, would have gotten in her face. So, she settled for what Humans called a "hug" and left it at that. The effects seemed none the less amusing for her sacrifice, in any case.

"Uh...! You... Me... You're..." The boy stammered, his gaze repeatedly flashing to and from the hands of the Dragoness wrapped around his chest, then to her face which peered over his shoulder only inches away from his own. Dante, as her new soon-to-be pet Human was called, was rapidly growing red in the face, much as the knight had when he had first seen her up close. It seemed that, even without stripping down her scales as she had done then, she was still sufficiently embarrassing when in close proximity to her target. He continued mumbling random words, stopping, reconsidering his choice, and then trying in vain to begin again, not seeming to be exactly sure where to begin as the two of them continued rising into the air. He twitched uncomfortably, but was restrained by her tail and arms as she only pulled him closer, all under the pretense of keeping him from falling, and making it appear as though she was blissfully unaware of his shame. She laughed innocently as, during one of his restless twitches, he hit his head harmlessly on one of her horns.

"Don't move around so much, boy. We're still taking off, and we wouldn't want you to fall, now would we?" Capella said, unable to fully hide the mirth in her voice. The boy's voice grew quieter as he tried to say something coherent, and, at long last actually succeeded. She wasn't sure if he had noticed that she was toying with him, but either way, it didn't matter. Hmm, he was growing quite hot, wasn't he? She could feel it, even in the cold breeze that flitted across the open skies. Perhaps she could use him as a personal heater as well as a treasure? It was certainly a possibility. Yes, yes, this boy's uses were certainly diverse and numerous!

"Ohh, isn't there a slightly more ...or... less awkward position?" Dante asked at last, glancing nervously at the Dragoness before averting his gaze, evidently made quite uncomfortable by the closeness of her face to his own.

"Would you prefer a Full Nelson?" She asked innocuously.

"E-er.... Never mind," Dante mumbled quietly. Yeah, that's what she thought. It would have been awkward to carry him in such a manner, anyway, so...

Capella's thoughts were abruptly cut off, however, as the easily distracted boy she carried seemed to find something to take his thoughts away from the embarrassing way in which he was being carried. Namely, he finally realized exactly where he was, and what he was doing, as the Dragoness made a single, swooping circle, then sped off in the direction of Skyfall, flapping her wings at a comfortable pace despite the fatigue slowly creeping into them. At first, she made broad, sweeping strokes to gain momentum, but these soon narrowed, becoming fast, fluttering motions that blurred one into another, until it seemed more like she was gliding than actually exerting her wings, thus allowing her to continuously and slowly gain velocity whilst also not rising higher than she wished to, and without tiring herself needlessly. It was efficient and swift, two merits Capella greatly appreciated.

The boy, however, seemed more preoccupied with the novelty of the whole situation than the technique involved. This was made evident by the fact that he somehow managed to slide his way out from between her firm arms, hanging head-downward from his legs which were still caught firmly in the coils of her tail, and flapping his arms incoherently while crying out joyously with delight. Capella laughed despite her annoyance at his escape, and her fear for his falling and harming himself. He was really just like a hatchling, flying for the first time even if it wasn't his own wings that carried him. For once, Capella decided willingly that perhaps it was better to let the Human have his way - she saw no harm in it, so long as she kept sufficiently vigilant lest he hurt himself - and so simply tightened her tail and held onto him, allowing him to swing back and forth and see the landscape passing below, none of which seemed to escape his youthfully eager attention. He called joyously up to her, telling her of all the amazing things he could see, everything from brooks babbling merrily through the forest to squirrels chattering excitedly to one another amidst the trees, even down to small, intriguingly shiny objects lying by the side of the road. Yes, he was most certainly like a hatchling, taking in the world and all its wonders after finally escaping his restricting shell. His innocent, carefree personality was one Capella greatly admired, never having seen a Human whose mindset was so similar to her own draconic standard. Seeing his raucous, happy antics, she became all the more convinced of his value, and all the more determined to add him to her hoard.

At last, the boy grew tired - well, either that, or the blood had finally begun rushing to his head - and, startling Capella greatly, instead began trying to climb his way back up her tail, wrenching the appendage rather awkwardly in the process. For once, it was the Dragoness who flushed several shades of deep red, giving a quiet gasp of surprise as the boy tugged yet again, attempting in vain to clamber back into a more comfortable position. A dragon's tail was perhaps just as sensitive as it was versatile and powerful, and, given her more Human build that other members of her species, this went double for Capella. The sensation was something between an electric shock and a sudden, giddy feeling, an experience that could not fully be defined in words. It was, however, more strange than it was enjoyable, and that, combined with the fact that it was a Human touching her in such a manner, was enough to embarrass even the Dragoness.

"H-hey, stop that!" She called down, her voice breaking slightly as Dante gave another innocent yank, renewing the bizarre feeling and causing her cheeks to deepen several shades in hue. The boy stopped, giving a confused glance up at the one carrying him. Innocently, as though not understanding the importance of heeding the Dragoness' order, he twisted himself over and gave an expression of perplexity.

"Why?" Dante asked curiously. Oh, right. Hatchling mentality. Capella realized he'd want an explanation, because individuals such as this wanted a reason for everything. Flustered by the bizarre situation, she replied without missing a beat, saying the first thing that came to mind.

"Because dragons explode if you tug their tails too much, so quit it," She said straight-facedly. The boy seemed surprised and fascinated by this comment, and began to ask why, in turn, this was the case, but the Dragoness swiftly interrupted him, not wanting to make a surprisingly humiliating situation even worse. "Because the bases of our tails are actually storage organs for our flames, so if you jostle them too much, the flames inside will lose control and be released all at once. That, in turn, is why dragons often suffer from very bad gas when we get indigestion, before you ask. Now here, I'm pulling you up, so hang on, and don't pull my tail!" She said quickly, doing just that. Winding her tail firmly around him, she got a firm hold, and then began to haul him quickly upward, swiftly grasping onto him with her arms and reassuming her old position directly above him. Although Capella was momentarily worried that he might happen to be a pyromaniac and try pulling her tail again to see if she'd blow up, she needn't have. These answers to the questions she hadn't given him time to ask thankfully seemed to satisfy him, and swiftly lost his attention as he once more found himself presented with a panoramic view of the vast landscape below. He started grinning from ear to ear, and swiftly released his hold on her tail, much to her relief.

"Wow, everything looks so awesome from up here!" He murmured, eyes moving slowly across the world far below as they glided silently over it. "Hmph. Who needs Khrae and his stupid meditation to fly, anyway? This is way more fun," He added, a hint of discontent creeping into his voice. The Dragoness smiled happily. Now was her chance to begin the first stages of her plan. Perfect. Even if this excitable Human boy had just demonstrated the worse part of curiosity, he still wasn't irredeemably tarnished in her opinion. Far from it, for when a dragon sets eyes on a treasure, it looks only at how bright and beautiful it is, and not at the many scratches or flaws it can see on the precious thing's surface. For this reason, some dragons' most prized possessions can sometimes be completely innocuous things most Humans wouldn't assign such a value to. And, in the case of Humans, someone that members of his own species viewed only as an excitable, manic nuisance could appear to be a prodigious specimen that did credit to his whole race. Such was the case with the boy, Dante, and the Dragoness who would claim him.

"Well," Capella began cheerily, a slight hint of melancholy creeping into her voice. "It's not often that you find a Human who actually appreciates the greatness of dragons. Most members of your race view us either as no better than common beasts, or, at best, as interesting magical pets. Since you enjoy it so much, I suppose it wouldn't be overly troublesome carrying you like this now and again, so long as you don't squirm about too much. You're rather light for a Human, so it isn't exactly difficult, in any case."

One instant cry of joy and thankfulness later, Capella smiled happily, and, striking up conversation once more, sped up, descending slightly now that the area the hunters would likely occupy had been safely bypassed, and to amuse both herself and her passenger by gliding low over the treetops. Yes, it was a great shame this boy hadn't been born as a dragon. It was a very great shame indeed.

.....

Skyfall

The trip had taken a comparatively short time, and had passed by so quickly that even the Dragoness was a little surprised. Long since used to the wonders of flight, long trips generally became tedious to her after a while, a fact of her existence which was partially the reason she had accosted Dante and his master to begin with. Yet, this time, it had been different. The Human had kept her occupied the whole way, entertained by the boy's innocent curiosity and amusing nature. For the first time in memory, she had conversed with a Human, and had actually enjoyed the experience, several times laughing along with the cheerful one she carried. They had played games - on the one hand with Capella showing off by striking a few small targets picked out beforehand with small scales fired as projectiles, all the while not ceasing her flight, and on the other with the boy introducing her to a very interesting Human game called I Spy, at which she found herself to be very skilled, her own superior eyesight allowing her to pick out objects from a distance quite beyond what the boy was capable of, and her crafty nature giving her the insight to guess all of the things the boy had seen - exchanged several small jokes, and had a competition to see who was the better prankster by telling tales of old exploits. Capella had won in this regard as well, trumping all of the boy's admittedly fairly impressive accomplishments with her own tale of the time she had gotten horribly drunk - long story short, enchanted wines and dragons in Human form don't mix well - and ended up covering a sheep in a coat of scales she had just shed, then using these scales to prod it and direct it into a Human village, where it had rampaged for almost a whole day, chasing down random pedestrians and spraying flames from its mouth as she had slowly converted the scales into dark fires. Not satisfied with this, she had recalled the creature, then taken it to the next village down and, covering herself fully in her scales, had charged atop the creature right down the main street of the town wielding a rusty frying pan and a live chicken, and attacking everyone who crossed her path indiscriminately. The "Sheep Incident" as she liked to call it, had brought confusion to an entire province as Humans wondered exactly what in the world had just happened as they fled in confusion from the dragon and her sheep, and even after she had recovered from the rather crippling hangover, she found the prank just as hilarious as when she had actually carried it out. At this point, the boy admitted his defeat, which was good, as even she had done nothing to top this practical joke.

After this amusing journey, they'd had some time left over before Khrae arrived, so they had moved on to the next order of business. Namely, buying the Dragoness her well-earned food. Not wanting to arouse suspicion, she had ordered Dante to go to several different butcher shops, ordering various large cuts of meat from each which she then would pick up in alleyways and concealed locations, devour, and then move on to the next site. Although, being a dragon, her appetite was very difficult to sate, she was finally just about satisfied around the time they ran out of coins with which to pay for more food.

One, two, three, four, five, and... Ooh, ouch, Capella thought casually as she munched on what was probably a leg of mutton. The warm, tender flesh sizzled and cooked on her breath - dark flames did wonders in small quantities - before it even entered her mouth, and tasted quite delicious. This was her last piece of meat, so she was eating a little more slowly than usual, taking the time to savor it as she watched from where she sat. Concealed within a tree in the courtyard where Dante and Khrae now waited, she occupied herself with counting the number of seconds the boy could go without his master hitting him. Although she couldn't see the purpose behind this whole "meditation" thing, evidently it was vitally important, and, what was more, Dante was apparently rather bad at it, an opinion which was confirmed as a dark haired woman emerged from the building, noticed them, and actually offered to help the boy, getting rather irritatingly close to him in the process. What exactly was she trying to pull, messing with the Dragoness' Human? She'd claimed him first, so what right did this fool have to just show up and start trying to provoke amusing reactions? She didn't appreciate a mere two-legs trying to copy her, even if imitation was the sincerest form of flattery. What, did this girl not notice the lingering dragon-scent on the boy's person? Obviously, she didn't know who she was dealing with if she was trying to claim a treasure before Capella the Grey Sword could. Perhaps she should educate this would-be thief then, before she got any ideas? Swinging her legs down from the branch she lay on, Capella landed softly in the grass directly behind Dante, a look of irritation, pride, and jealous dislike already playing on her features.

"Hey, wench. I got to this Human first, which means he's mine. Either wait your turn or go find someone else to amuse you," Capella said icily, giving a hostile glare over Dante's shoulder at the girl.

...

Oh, right, she was supposed to be hiding from the two-legs in this city, wasn't she? Now they'd probably panic and hunt her as an abomination. And Khrae probably wouldn't take kindly to her calling Dante "Her Human."

...

...Oops?

...

Well, they were trying to claim the treasure she wanted. It was totally called for! Necessary sacrifice, in her book.

(I had fun writing this, especially the last part. I wonder how Dante will react to Capella's possessiveness? XD This should be amusing, to say the least.)

The setting changes from skyfall to Lastra

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Dante Fuuriah Character Portrait: Capella Character Portrait: Khrae Var Character Portrait: Fay X'san

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#, as written by Centi85
Khrae

There was hardly anything unusual happening in the time that Dante spent sitting cross-legged on the ground. The routine was simple; pace, the boy peeks, Khrae administers the repercussion, the boy shuts his eyes again, and then the cycle begins again. The only variable was how long Dante could manage to stay at least looking like he was trying to concentrate, which still wasn't very long. Both mentor and student were well accustomed to this style of somewhat meditation, and after several years together, it almost seemed like neither of them really realized they were doing what they were, but of course that wasn't the case.

Khrae watched as the Naville woman made her way silently into the courtyard, her steps light as she approached the boy with a rather amused smile. Sitting down, she then merited just the smallest amount of admiration and surprise from the older swordsman as she folded her legs and mirrored the boy before her. Raising an eyebrow, Khrae nodded approvingly before his gaze fell back to his student, whom he knew was contemplating some sort of devious plot in his mind. Most of the time it included the Dante having figured out how long it took for his master to have paced entirely around him, thus allowing him to try to trip him, or make whatever strange face while his back was turned. It didn't work of course, or not anymore, but it was still always worth the entertainment.

Pacing to the boy's side and then simply waiting, Khrae sighed.


Dante

Dante was ready to pounce. In his mind he was counting seconds, listening intently for the swishing of the man's cloak as it passed in front of him, to his right, behind him, to his lef--... No, it stopped. Khrae was behind him. Damnit. Maybe wait longer? No, impossible... Wait. The boy tilted his head to one side as discretely as he could, trying to listen, because he could've sworn he just heard either Khrae somehow go from his back to front, or someone else had appeared. Does that mean perhaps Dante should be on his best behavior? Well of course not! Alright sure, his attempts so far at had all failed, futile, frivolous, blah blah, whatever Khrae wanted to call them, but now Dante was sure he had the perfect method of attack...

Khrae had actually taught him the move he was about to do, a quick maneuver that got you off the ground while sending your opponent down in your place. Though it only worked when they were behind you. Despite Dante always being late or hardly listening during the training sessions, some of the man's teachings did find their way into the boy's thick head. Luckily because of the overall integrity of his skull, which could probably spend hours being bashed against a wall without getting even a dent as the monks said, nothing really escaped either.

Opening his eyes, Dante was about to make his move when he faltered. It was the face of the young woman before him that caught him completely off guard, thin strands of hair falling just in her face, the rest framing it perfectly. He'd seen her before, but she hadn't been this close, and hadn't been watching him so intently. It was just that, that sent the boy sprawling backwards instead of coming up and around to his feet like he'd intended, while sending Khrae down in his place. Flapping his hands a moment to regain his balance, any concentration, if any, was completely tossed aside as he struggled to gather himself off the ground, trying to get back into his sitting position while not looking like too much of a fool.

"You're meditating isn't very good," she said softly, laughing, "Would you like me to show you?"

Dante was lost for words as his face grew red hot. What started out as an attempt to take down Khrae, ended up with him simply landing on his rear and looking like a total idiot in front of... Whomever this was. He didn't even know the woman, had only seen her once, and yet she was here, leaning towards him with such a warm, sweet smile and offering to help with his failing attempts at such a boring chore. That fact alone was one that perplexed the boy even more, as how could someone like this know anything of meditation, or even consider offering to show him how to do it correctly? Albeit there were some girls in the clan who enjoyed such a tedious task and were still rather attractive, but even so, they wouldn't even bother giving him a first glance, let alone actually approaching with such a close proximity and offering to show him how to properly meditate.

Blinking several times, Dante began mouthing random sounds as again he tried in vain to formulate proper speech patterns before he simply looked to Khrae. Had the boy been a little less flustered, perhaps he would've been annoyed that the man had been on his left instead of behind him, meaning that move he was about to do wouldn't have worked. Either way, however, Dante knew from the expression the man held, with the smallest of variations that he'd learned to pick up, that Khrae had been well aware of the woman's presence, and yet he did nothing.

"Er-I.. Ah.. Wh..?" was all the boy could manage before Capella took over. Why she was so annoyed, he wasn't sure. He may have been even more confused he had actually heard her words, but yet he was still occupied with the face before him. Looking to the three around him, he was stuck between the girl whose stunning eyes pried for their answer, his mentor who was of no help in the situation, and the Dragoness yelling about something. Dante simply shut his eyes, trying to process everything until finally Khrae intervened, dragging the boy to his feet and moving him off to the side.

"Stay," he said, before proceeding back to the two women.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Talon V'lyn Character Portrait: Armen Sorien Character Portrait: Fukayna Muidrehd Character Portrait: Xandur Character Portrait: Jennifer Live Character Portrait: Dante Fuuriah Character Portrait: Capella Character Portrait: Khrae Var Character Portrait: Fay X'san Character Portrait: Astrid T'vali Character Portrait: Stephano

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#, as written by Qaida
Talon V'lyn

He moved out of the room swiftly and down the stairs. Talons sharp ears caught the sounds of someone banging around in one of the corridors. He felt his blood pressure rising and was thankful that Jennifer hadn't accompanied him out to get the two men waiting for an audience with him. Astrid wouldn't have lived to see another day should Jennifer hear her doing that one more time. Even so, he was certain the young assassin was bound to be nearly killed by the other assassins in place of Jennifer.

"ASTRID!!" The loud gruff yell could only have been one man and Talon soon caught sight of the elder assassin as he came storming down the hall in search of the red haired woman.

"Sebastian."

"My Lord," the assassin said hardly covering his angered tone, "Have you seen that red haired brat?"

"No. But when you find her, bring her to see me," Talon ordered. He held back his smile, keeping a stony face instead. At the back of his mind he was deviously thinking of what he was going to do to terrify the young red haired assassin. Many things came to mind, he even mulled over the thought of handing Astrid over to Jennifer to allow the mage some enjoyment in tormenting the younger woman.

"Lord V'lyn," Sebastian replied, bowing his head and then hurrying off in search of the girl. There weren't too many places that Astrid could hide, and there was also her dragon Stephano to think of as well. Bribe the dragon, find the girl. It wouldn't have been the first time of course.

Talon proceeded to exit the building and moved into the courtyard where he caught sight of the Navile woman and the two men who wanted his attention. However there was another woman, or rather, dragon like creature, that was baring her teeth at the half startled elf. The Navile stood up from her sitting position in front of a young boy and backed away cautiously. She put a smile on her lips and raised her hands.

"I meant no harm," she stammered softly, tilting her head off to the side.

Lord V'lyn moved purposefully into the area, gathering the attention of the tall man with long white robes and twin swords. He turned his steely grey eyes towards the strange woman as he stood there. From the lack of surprise and caution between the tall man in white and the much younger boy sitting on the ground, Talon figured that this woman was known somehow between them. Though, she did look vaguely familiar. Perhaps he'd seen her right before his loosing consciousness back in Lethandrill. Even so, he didn't like the fact that she was there and trying to pick a fight already with one of his guests.

"Enough," his commanding tone was backed by a bit of magic from the bracer on his arm. Dragon, half dragon or no, Talon was hardly intimidated by her presence. It took a lot to intimidate him these days, especially since the War. After getting his point across and making sure that all knew their place especially seeing as they were in his jurisdiction, he turned to the man in white.

"I assume you're the one calling for an audience with me? From the clan of the Phoenix? I am Lord V'lyn, if you'll come with me I'll see you now. I've got another to speak to as well, so I hope you don't mind sitting in to a long meeting," the assassin explained as he turned slightly lifting his arm to gesture towards the Guild. Talon led the two from the clan back into the house, but before entering he turned to the dragon woman.

"You would be wise to stay out here and out of sight. Cause any trouble... you'll have more than just me to deal with," he cautioned her firmly.

He closed the door gently and took the lead before the two men. Bringing them up the stairs for the final time, he reentered the room with Jennifer and the man with the stone gauntlet. Gesturing to the empty seats, Talon folded his arms across his broad chest as he leaned against the table in the front of the room. It was Jennifer's desk where she worked at, but he also used it at times too. Once they were all seated he spoke.

"We'll start with the clan of the Phoenix. State your names and business for being here."

Armen Sorien

His consciousness seeped back to him as he slowly woke from falling asleep. It had probably been a few hours and it was a small commotion that woke him. With a soft groan he slowly lifted himself forwards in the seat that he'd drifted to sleep in. Running his hand through his hair he looked about the dim room and spotted Fukayna sitting on her bed. Next to her was a dragon and a second later something or someone slipped underneath the bed. Armen was awake then, his eyebrow coming down in confusion as he looked up to the dragon and Fukayna.

"Um..." he started, unsure of what was going on or how to even begin. First off he hadn't even really meant to fall asleep in Fukayna's room, so that alone was awkward.

"I... Who was that just now?" He asked, deciding to keep it simple as he pointed towards the underneath of the bed.

Before he could answer, the door opened and a very angry looking elder man glared into the room as he filled the doorway. It must have been someone who lived in the large home, another assassin from the looks. His armor was much like the Lord V'lyn's, except it was black and with more buckles and attachments than Armen thought humanly possible.

"Astrid! I know you're in here you little..." The man growled as he stormed into the room. He glanced around and folded his arms over his chest. Turning to Fukayna he narrowed his eyes.

"Hand her over miss Fukayna. I've checked everywhere else, there's no place left but here. You can't fool me, Astrid. Lord V'lyn wants to see you... Now..."

Armen's face flushed as he felt the atmosphere in the room darken. He wasn't entirely sure what to do, so he was stuck sitting in the chair watching the drama unfold.

Ruins of Lethandrill : Torak

His finger thrummed against the arm of his throne. The silver tipped claws of his gauntlet scratching into the stone as he drummed them. His city was empty, void of any life and only smelt of death and dark magic. However, this didn't seem to phase him in the least as he sat there, deep in contemplation. Lord V'lyn had managed to take the elf that was a threat to his position, not only that but he'd been highly interested in Torak's gauntlet.

Slowly his fingers curled into a fist as he sat there. That damned assassin was after his power, just like everyone else. All of the Orders were after power that shouldn't be theirs. Especially the Order of Vyldi. They put up a front of locking down their mages, keeping them under hook and chain, but in reality they wanted all the power to themselves. They were putting everyone under their thumbs. Torak had always known the mages were just putting up a front, all so that they could bring themselves into higher power and rule over everyone else.

As if he'd let that happen. It was bad enough that the Order of Riena worked in the shadows and everyone knew that the assassins held the true power in Lastra. It didn't matter if the cities had Kings and Queens, it didn't matter that there were Orders in place to keep the balance of power. No, Lord V'lyn had already taken all that power, he'd tipped those scales long ago. He had too much power, in Torak's opinion. Now he wanted to take what little power Torak had gained away from him! The audacity.

"Fuming in darkness again I see."

Torak lifted his head to see who had spoken. The soft sounds of boots across his marble floor alerted him that the intruder was coming from the front entrance. How very bold. Lifting his clawed fingers he let his power rush out and the torches illuminated the throne room. Orange light flickered and danced, bringing to light the tall marble pillars that lined the room. Their polished surfaces reflected the flames and it made it seem like the room was on fire.

Standing in the middle of it was a hooded and cloaked figure, the only thing giving him away was a single symbol of silver etched on his chest. The symbol was that of a dragons claw curling around nine rings. Torak relaxed in the chair as he stared at the man whose face he'd never seen.

"J'haren. It's been a while. Couldn't get away from the Nine?"

Though Torak couldn't see the smile, he felt it. A slight chill crept up his spine as he glowered at the man before him. Slowly the Nine made his way up towards the throne where he stood at Torak's right side. J'haren folded his hands behind his back as he let out a soft sigh before speaking.

"We're very busy you see. The Order of Vyldi is fighting desperately with the Order of Riena on the matter of social display of power. Of course, I must agree with Lord V'lyn on the whole matter of showing magic to the public. Keep it hidden any longer and it'll be forgotten by those who are not gifted. That will ruin everything."

Torak gave a snort of irritation, "As if the Order of Vyldi will consent to that."

J'haren shrugged, "They won't have much a choice the way I see it. We all know how much power that assassin wields. The Nine are not much farther behind. We too agree with him and the more we pressure the mages, the more they will bend, until they break."

"They won't break soon enough."

"Perhaps not. But all it takes is a push," J'haren leaned down to whisper the last part to Torak. The elf slowly sat up as he turned his beady gaze upwards to look at the Nine. No matter where he stood or sat, no matter what light was in the room, he could never see under that dark cowl of the man who stood next to him. Torak frowned as he slowly put his arm back up on the throne chair and rested his chin in his hand.

"You're saying I should display some power? Huh, already done that."

"To V'lyn. Probably the worst person to reveal your power too. You're too hasty, Torak. That is where rulers fall. Patience is key."

"I've no patience left."

"Then you'll die," J'haren's sharp reply caused Torak to suck in a deep breath and look sharply up to him.

"You're an annoyance as always, J'haren."

"And yet, you still keep me around."

Torak rolled his eyes as he turned his gaze back to the front of the empty throne room. Silence issued between them and soon Torak was back to his brooding. J'haren never moved, and it was almost unnerving to sense the man's presence right next to him but not hear him at all. There wasn't even the sound of breathing filling the air, only Torak's steady thrum of fingers on the throne chair and his heavy breath in and out of his nose.

"The elf. What did you do with him?"

"I'd kept him in the dungeons, but V'lyn's bitch managed to break him out somehow."

"Careful there, Torak. I wouldn't advise invoking the Lady Jennifer's wrath. Of the two dangers, she's the worst. Though both of them hold the power of the Old God's, Lord V'lyn's body can't withstand the power. Thus he has to share it with her in order to continue living, dragons blood or not. Because she is a powerful mage, a prodigy even, she can handle both her own Godly power and his. With the dragon blood in her system as well, she is more than a match for you as you are now, Torak. Should that woman so wish, she could level all the cities in Lastra in a single day," J'haren turned ever so slightly to put his unseen gaze on Torak, "And she wouldn't even sweat while doing it."

Torak felt another chill spread across his body. His hand clenched into a fist once more as he sat there, glaring at the door and refusing to make eye contact with the Nine. That woman... was a serious problem to him.

"How do I get rid of her?"

"You don't."

Torak growled in frustration, "You're damned helpful."

"I'm speaking truthfully. Lady Jennifer isn't someone you just get rid of. Nor is she one whom you can use people as leverage against. She'd much rather kill you painfully than deal with you in the long term. No, she's much to smart for that, too dangerous to meddle with and far too cunning than a woman should be. I suggest leaving her alone as much as possible. That includes the Lord V'lyn. Harm him and you'll bring down her wrath. But, enough of those two powers. We'll deal with them when the time comes and when you're much stronger. Our problem still lies with the elf. Should anyone realize his true identity then the game is over. Should he realize his true identity, the same applies. Though I've received word from Ro'ell."

"About what?"

"Apparently Lady Jennifer is sending some of her assassins to speak to the Order regarding a few matters. I assume that our elf will be going there as well. If I were him, I'd be looking for some answers as to why I was thrown into a dungeon cell."

Torak's lips pulled into a smile, "Well then. Perhaps its about time that man felt the power of the Nine."

J'haren shifted his body ever so slightly, the same chill from before coursing through the stewards back told him that the Nine had a cold smile on his lips once more, "Perhaps."