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Thaothien Airekhor

"To those who would condemn me, speak to my people. I have not yet led them astray."

0 · 558 views · located in Halcion

a character in “Across the Wilderness”, as played by XShishioX

Description

Thaothien Airekhor
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This... curse of mine. I shall end it. Let no one else suffer the pain I feel.




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Full Name: Thaothien Junazard Vladislav Airekhor
Nickname: None, but he does allow those close to him to simply call him Thaothien. Otherwise, he must be referred to as Lord Airehkor.
Age: He's not quite sure how old he is. He remembers the day he was bitten, and when his life completely turned around then, but according to today's modern calendars, that would have been over three hundred years ago. Further, he's forgotten everything about his life before he was bitten.
Sexuality: Pansexual, but he will never pursue anyone. He's too afraid of what he'll do to them.
Species: Vampire, but not by choice.
Occupation: He holds the title of Earl, but he doesn't remember how he came by the it, and when it was presented to him. However, despite his affliction, Thaothien has ruled justly, and his people are content.
Likes:
~Roses, they are beautiful despite their thorns.
~Moonlight. Surprisingly, the light soothes him, makes him feel safe.
~Listening to his lone servant, Thalia, play the harp for him.
~Solitude, it bring him peace.
~Reading books. Thaothien loves the way that it is possible to do anything at all within the realm of fiction.
Dislikes:
~Bloodshed or fighting of any kind. While Thaothien is not above fighting to defend his own life, or the life of something precious to him, he hates making or seeing anyone draw blood.
~His curse. He hates the way he thirsts for the blood of others.
~Physical Closeness. He prefers that people stay at least three feet away from him at all times.
~Sunlight. It doesn't hurt him, however, it is very annoying and bright.
~Uncivilized people. He does not dislike those who choose to live in the forest or others who choose to live simply. What he truly despises, are people who act like barbarians who have no reason to. He hates mindless killing/violence, the use of curses or swearing in front of women, and any other barbaric acts.
Hobbies: Practicing the noble art of fencing and working his forge.
Fears:
~Scratching the Itch. Thaothien fears, more than anything, that one day, he will give into his darkest of urges and feast upon the living until he has had his fill. That he will lose himself to the thirst and become a monster.
~That there is no way to cure his cursed blood, that he will remain a vampire forever.



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Skills and abilities: As a vampire, and an unwilling hunter of Men, Thaothien is much more physically powerful than the race of men. He benefits from several unique passive abilities.
~Enhanced Condition: Thaothien has enhanced strength, speed, senses, durability, endurance, agility, durability, jump, dexterity, flexibility, stamina, reflexes, and a regenerative healing factor. While these make him a better fighter than men, this should not mean that he is an indestructible behemoth of doom. While he tires less quickly than normal men, he does tire out after continuous exertion.
~Blood Consumption, and Empowerment: Should Thaothien ever consume any blood, it will massively augment his abilities, bringing his condition to supernatural levels. The more blood he consumes, the stronger he gets.
~Insanity Inducement: Whenever Thaothien consumes blood, he has a chance of completely losing himself to the bloodlust and becoming a complete monster. The more blood he consumes, the bigger the chance.
~Flight: Thaothien is capable of wingless flight. However, whenever Thaothien does take flight, he is cloaked in a shadowy sort of cape that makes him appear like nothing more than a wisp of deep black smoke.
~Minor Telekinesis: Thaothien is capable of moving small objects with his mind. This power is the only one that Thaothien hasn't mastered, and is relatively weak even now after long years of practice. Thaothien is currently only able to life anything he himself could physically lift with one hand. Though Thaothien is strong, physically, his Telekinesis cannot match his physical might. Thaothien's ability to move things extends to things like torches, a ring of keys, a dagger, and other small one-handed items. He is skilled enough to manipulate an object's position in midair, like turning it, or flipping it, but not enough to make a sword fight on it's own.
Due to all the spare time Thaothien has, from his extended lifespan, he has had a long time to practice up and is very skilled in a few specific fields. He is an excellent smith, as his natural abilities make him stronger, more dextrous, and has more stamina than human smiths. These same abilities lend themselves very well to the noble art of combat fencing.
Weaknesses:
~Sunlight. While it doesn't hurt him physically, it does dazzle him temporarily, until he can cover his eyes. It makes him dizzy and he doesn't like it.
~Wooden stakes and Decapitation. Both are deadly to Vampires and are tried and true ways of dealing with Vampires.
~Crosses, or more specifically, the beliefs of those who are holding them. Priests who channel their beliefs through their crosses can hurt Thaothien with their divine power.
~Running Water. It forms a barrier that he cannot pass over unless someone carries him over it.
Equipment: Though he usually doesn't wear it in his home, Thaothien has forged a set of armor that was made with a Vampire's enhanced strength and endurance in mind. It includes a breastplate, pauldrons, greaves, a chainmail vest, a short chainmail skirt, and bracers. He wears a leather jacket, several belts, linen pants, and lightweight boots. While the armor is thick enough to protect him, it is thin enough to move and fight in. For weapons, Thaothien carries a two-handed longsword, a dueling rapier, and two hunting knives all of which he made himself. They are very sharp and very durable.
Flaws:
~Thaothien hates his canine teeth. They set him apart as something inhuman. He goes out of his way not to talk much when he interacts with others.
~Thaothien's skin is very pale, also marking him a Vampire.
~Thaothien's eyes will change from their usual blue to blood red based on how much he thirsts for blood. The thirstier he gets, the redder they turn.



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Personality: At first glance, Thaothien appears to be a loner, at least that's what most of his subjects think of him, and that assumption would be correct. He doesn't like to be in the middle of big groups or even small ones. The only time Thaothien is truly comfortable is when he is by himself, or with his only servant, Thalia. He shuns large groups as best he can, purposefully keeping to himself. When presented with a situation that he is uncomfortable with, Thaothien retreats emotionally, often putting on a façade of charm and charisma so that he doesn't have to get too close to anyone he might hurt. He keeps others at arms length for fear of what he might do to them. Unlike a were, who hungers only during the full moon, Thaothien is always thirsty. He holds himself back by willpower alone, feeding only on animals that were slated for slaughter. Thaothien, while relatively calm an in control during the majority of his waking ours, lives in fear of the one moment when he'll snap, and the smell of fresh blood will overpower his reason.

Upon closer examination, Thaothien is actually, a perfect gentleman. He is chivalrous, well-mannered, polite, and perfectly kind. He has a sharp wit, a good sense of humor, and a generous soul. He never uses underhanded methods to get what he wants and always openly challenges those who would oppose him. Those who get to know Thaothien have found him to be loyal to the point of madness. While he normally shuns most conversation, those whom he trusts can always find, in him, a listening ear, an endless source of advice, and a wonderful wordsmith. While Thaothien tries to keep himself closed off and away from the company of others, he genuinely loves people despite the way his curse keeps him from interacting with them. Such a heavy burden has taken a larger toll on Thaothien than he cares to admit, but he will never complain about it to others, always shouldering the responsibilities and secrecy with silent stoicism.

While Thaothien's basic personality may appear to be a weakling or a coward, that should not immediately be taken as true. When provoked into a situation that requires him to fight, Thaothien becomes cold, completely emotionless, and condescending to his opponents. He is not someone to take lightly and that is reflected in his fighting style. He is a powerful foe who will not stop chasing you until the end of days. If continually taunted or provoked, Thaothien will, with greatest regret, fight with his full ferocity, allowing himself to feed upon those whom he has deigned are no longer allowed to live. However, he will never drain someone dry, for that would spread to them his curse of Vampirism. He will take just enough blood to make them woozy and then use his full strength to grind them into the dirt, if he can keep himself from taking more. So far, Thaothien has not created any vampires of his own. However, Thaothien, like all true diplomats, will only resort to violence as a final measure, once all other options have failed. To him, life is precious, and so very fragile.
History: Thaothien remembers very little of his past life, before being bitten that is, and everything else has not mattered enough for him to take notice, but that makes for a very boring history section, so let's dig a little deeper, shall we? Thaothien woke the next morning after being bitten in the middle of a forest. He doesn't remember who bit him and or how he got to where he was, in fact, Thaothien didn't even remember his own name. Any life he might have had before the bite was lost to him. All he could remember were the basics of survival, to eat, to breathe, to sleep, etc. He didn't know how to read or write, he could barely even speak. The only things he had with him were the clothes on his back, and a strange ruby in his pocket. He lived, for a while, in those woods, hunting small game, and living in a cave by the river which cut through the forest. He might have been there for the rest of his unnaturally long life had he not been found by some passing fishermen, who brought him into town. There he bathed, ate, and was taught to speak once more. Having no place to stay, Thaothien almost left for the wilderness once more. He would have too, had not a local family taken pity on him, and let him come to live with them. For years he worked as a farmhand, learning to read, write, and speak. He was taught manners and how to make life bloom from the earth, and how to turn useless lumps of metal into fine tools that would help the village grow. Strangely though, he never ate anything but meat, and barely slept. Over a few weeks, his canine teeth began to grow, his skin became pale, and no matter how often he tried to sleep, nothing could remove the dark circles forming around his eyes. Worried for his health, and the safety of the villagers, the family Thaothien was living with called a priest to exorcise the evil from his body. Sure enough, that very night was how Thaothien discovered that he was a vampire. As the priest prayed, Thaothien felt a pain in his neck, and a throbbing in his heart. He tried to hide his discomfort, but as the ceremony proceeded, Thaothien could contain himself no more. He stood just as his body was engulfed in flames, he screamed and the family's belongs flew around the house as if they had lives of their own. The shriek was long, loud, and piercing, everyone present had to cover their ears; the ceremony ended, saving Thaothien's life. He reverted back to animal instinct and flew from the house.

When Thaothien woke the next day, his whole body ached, and he felt as if his skin had been peeled off with a dull razor and then sloppily sewn back on. His head ached like he'd spent the night in the tavern, and his neck burned like fire. There was a pool of water not far from where he was, so Thaothien walked over to it, curious to see just what was causing him so much pain. When he looked into the water, he saw nothing. Shocked, he recoiled. What was he expecting to see? What did he look like now? Why was there no reflection. Thaothien wanted answers, and he would find them. Thaothien walked. He walked and walked. Thaothien didn't remember how long he travelled, only that it must have been hundreds of miles. Thaothien continued walking until he found mountains, and when he reached the foothills, Thaothien's only thought was to ascend. When he reached the top, he saw that, on the other side, was a city. It was a huge city, prosperous, and sprawling. The city was like nothing he had ever seen. It was like a beautiful light that nothing could extinguish. Thaothien walked towards it and learned it's name. Halcion, with the shining jewel of Ingotstone at its center. It was a magnificent kingdom. That was where, if Thaothien could call it such, was his true birthplace. It was the place where he truly existed. He wasn't the best of farmers, but as far as smithee's went he was excellent. He made a living working as a blacksmith, but it didn't stop there. His tools were so sturdy, his blades so sharp, and his decorations so fine, that his business quickly expanded. He became one of the premier smithees in Ingotstone, but such peace was not meant to last. War, as it always does, enveloped the land. Soon, the humble smith was enrolled in the King's royal army, and he marched, as did thousands of others, to defend his home and the land he'd come to love. Unfortunately, on the battlefield, Thaothien also excelled. While he was shy, and unwilling to kill, the initial shock soon faded, and Thaothien became a ruthless killer of anything that stood in his way.

The war ended rather mundanely. For such a horrific blight on the world, it was over within a few short hours and in a meeting Thaothien was not allowed audience. However, for his valor, Thaothien was awarded an Earldom, a small town outside of the kingdom. There he has spent the remainder of his days. He buys books and tools for his subjects with their tax money. He spends whatever is left on improving the quality of housing, roads, and livestock. The rest of Thaothien's time is devoted to practicing the art of fencing, writing poetry, reading novels, and practicing his smithing. Half of the tools he gives to his people are made by him personally. As a result, none of his skills have dulled, but his lack of liveliness is beginning to show. It was during this time tha Thaothien learned what he truly was; a vampire. This single thought chilled him to the bone. It explained everything, it made everything clear. The curse within his blood terrified Thaothien. He spent years, decades buying books, researching his condition. There had to be a way, some method of deliverance. All avenues that he discovered led to his death and soul's purification. Every failure, every dead end took a toll on Thaothien. His shoulders slumped, his humor vanished, and all liveliness faded from him. His only solace was the music his most recent servant, Thalia, played for him, and the solitude of his castle.

Thaothien is old, by just about anyone's standards, and yet, he doesn't look as if he's reached his thirties. Regardless, Thaothien has lived and loved much more than he ever cared to, watching those precious few he allows within his heart become old and die while he stays young and fresh, for what looks to be forever. Thaothien was considering killing himself when it happened. The attack on Ingotstone, the Capital of Halcion, and the closest city to Thaothien's earldom for miles. The demonic dragon Cyrodil attacked Ingotsone with a fury that Thaothien had never seen before. He stood, motionless as the dragon ravaged the city. Finally, when the attack was done, Thaothien ordered his people mobilize immediately to assist with the repairs. They obeyed without argument, many had family within the city. Through their efforts the city was rebuilt, Thaothien himself assisted in the repairs, making tools, building houses, and leading his people throughout the entire process. When the repairs were finally finished, Thaothien grieved with the rest of the city. The queen was a beautiful woman. A woman who smiled, truly smiled, upon all she saw. She was graceful and she was generous. She was everything that Thaothien wished to emulate in a ruler. He took her loss personally. Perhaps if he had sent his people sooner, attempted to repulse the demon, perhaps then she would still be here with him. Time passed, and Thaothien's people moved back to their homes. Thaothien comported himself as he always had, with sadness and solitude. Then came the word of Hollidelt. The twelve weapons of Tabitha were old news, nothing particularly interesting. However, rumors were circulating, Hollidelt, the Holy Sword of Tabitha, was real. Thaothien had stumbled upon it during his research, but had dismissed it as a fairy tail, a legend. It was something only foolish children were made to believe in. However, if the sword was real, truly real, it demanded pursuing. After creating his magnum opus, his armor and current weapons, Thaothien left his castle. He left his town to the village elders and their careful guidance. He headed into Ingotstone to pick up any information he could about the sword before setting off to find it. He, like the hundreds of others, are searching for Farendell.

Other: Thaothien wears an amulet of some kind on his breastplate. He calls it the "Bloodstone." When he drinks from anything thats still alive, the stone glows faintly. Thaothien has no idea where the stone came from. When he woke up after being bitten, the Bloodstone and the clothes on his back were all he had with him. Thaothien didn't even remember his own name. He made up a new one.

So begins...

Thaothien Airekhor's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Seleste Morthlock Character Portrait: Tarquin Rethleon Character Portrait: Bowman Woodcroft Character Portrait: Prince Aurelius Character Portrait: Elion Ondovir Character Portrait: Thaothien Airekhor Character Portrait: Lady Death Character Portrait: Ash Character Portrait: Sadia de Montefort
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Halcion, Twelfth Providence of the Tabithan Empire. 2:43 PM, Midsummer.
Four years later...




Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Seleste Morthlock Character Portrait: Tarquin Rethleon Character Portrait: Bowman Woodcroft Character Portrait: Prince Aurelius Character Portrait: Elion Ondovir Character Portrait: Thaothien Airekhor Character Portrait: Lady Death Character Portrait: Ash Character Portrait: Sadia de Montefort
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Seleste Morthlock

There was always something so magical and mysterious about the Vanderpool River after a rainstorm. The heavy mist that blew across the river's surface added a certain fascination to the normally dull body of water. Of course, someone who had just seen the river at that certain time wouldn't have known this. The woman who traveled on horseback certainly didn't, as she had never been allowed to venture far into the Laerorngwen forest by herself. Taking in all the picturesque scenery of the forest, the black-haired human felt like an all-new person. It was a feeling that she had needed to experience for about seven long years.

As her white-maned steed trotted over the sturdy bridge that was stationed just over the river, the woman had her eyes settled upon a map of the country. She had been heading southwest of Ingotstone, the capital of the providence. According to her mentors, the fastest she would be able to travel to the abandoned castle where the demonic dragon stayed was two-and-a-half days. Of course, if she delayed, it would take her much, MUCH longer. She didn't want to get lost in the woods like so many other inexperienced citizens making the trip, and so her course of action was to obviously take the swiftest route possible. The sooner she was able to kill that foul beast known as Cyrodil, the better. Fulfilling the ancient prophecies all depended upon how quickly she would let herself travel.

After she had looked over the geography of the land that surrounded her, the heavily-armored woman dropped the parchment back into one of the satchels attached to the saddle of her horse. It was then that her green eyes rested upon a peculiar sight: two large ivy-covered walls that stood equally parallel to each other. A dark mist wrapped itself all around the area. Whatever the ancient-appearing place was, the human didn't have too good of a feeling about it.

Once her steed had reached solid ground, she dismantled herself off of the elegant creature and used the reigns to tie it to a nearby oak tree. She then turned her head from side to side. Inspecting that there was no one close to the premises, she grabbed the silver pendant that hung securely from a choker necklace around her own neck.
"Crestae," she spoke firmly, her tongue rolling at the 'r'.

Slowly, the inscriptions that had been traced along the silver metal charm started to glow a faint blue color. She paced back and forth around the area before hearing a familiar voice greet her in a thick-sounding accent.
"Seleste," grunted an old man's voice that was being projected by the pendant, "This is Master Bjorn speaking to you. What is your purpose for contacting the shaman?"
"Master Bjorn, it is good to hear you," spoke Seleste in her usual moderately deep voice, "I've just stumbled upon a mysterious place...I'm assuming this is one of the areas you have warned me about...?"
There was a short pause. "Well, go on then, continue. Explain this place, shifter."
Shifter. Master Bjorn had always been close to Seleste, but he had never addressed her by her title in such a firm manner. It made her lips curl upwards into a bijou smile. "It almost looks like it could be the entrance to a garden..." she approached the walls with caution, and peaked her head over the edge of one of the walls, staring into the long path just in front of her. "...or a hedge maze."

"And quite a hedge maze it is. Congratulations, Seleste. The spirit of Jonassus Cavull has choosen you to enter through his very own labyrinth."
Memories about the name Jonassus Cavull started to reappear into her head again. Although hazy, she remembered the shaman speaking about him with importance.
"Just to refresh my memory, can you please explain this place to me again?"
"Indeed." Master Bjorn's voice started to progress more slowly as he spoke, "Jonassus Cavull was a great sorcerer. Born around the time of King Lislag the Great, he was particularly prominent in alchemy, enchanting, and illusion magic. He was also known for his tendencies to experiment with considerably volatile objects. Although his risky tests improved the education system of wizardry, his work killed him in one of the most unfortunate of ways." After a brief pause, the old man continued, " The labyrinth that lies in front of you is his burial place, and is said to be infused with considerably strong magic."
"Wait, Jonassus is buried here? Hope I get this fancy of a grave when I pass away..." she snarked.
"Although his mortal body is no longer present upon this world, the spirit of Jonassus Cavull has still managed to live on," continued Master Bjorn, "Being of testy nature, his spirit is still experimenting. Mortals that Jonassus Cavull wants to test have this labyrinth appear to them, as they usually have strange peculiarities about them." His voice became deeper. "I'm hoping you know why the spirit of the sorcerer has choosen you, Seleste....?"
"Nooo," she spoke sarcastically, "I have absolutely no idea why he would choose me. There's downright NOTHING special about me..."

She briefly chuckled, and then pivoted herself backwards to face the river. "So, anything else?"
"Oh yes. Yes, quite. It should be noted that the unlucky souls who happen upon this labyrinth have only two options: to enter through it, or turn around and go back the way they came. There is no use trying to move around it, over it, or under it. It will only make the maze move along with you. Jonassus's guardians also lie in the labyrinth as well. From what I've heard, they aren't the friendliest of creatures. I hope it doesn't frighten you to know that nobody has made it out of the labyrinth alive."
"Not in the slightest. One last question Master Bjorn...should i start heading through this place, or what?"
"Hmmmm...." Seleste could picture the old man stroking his long gray beard, as he usually did when he was submerged in deep thought. "I can tell you this: the smart man would enter through the labyrinth right away, assuming that the sooner he gets through it, the faster he will reach Farendell. However, the wise man wouldn't be so impulsive with his actions, and would wait until another being approaches. I know it's not in your nature to wait, but you must be patient, Seleste. Going through the labyrinth alone can result in unchangeable consequences. The prophecies can be ruined if you rush. With so many people heading in the same direction as you, you are bound to meet someone sooner or later. Stay outside the entrance, and if nobody appears by the time the sun starts to set, make your way through the labyrinth. Be cautious if this happens."

Seleste nodded, and thanked Master Bjorn for his time. "Divines look upon you blessed shifter, and good luck." She let go of the pendant, but before the blue glow of the charm faded away, more words came. "Oh, and Seleste, I'd take this time as an opportunity to focus on your meditation, yes? You are submerged in the essence of serenity, contacting the gods might come easier this time."

She subtly sighed, and sat next to the right ivy-covered wall, doing as her master had told her to. She tossed her long woven braid behind her shoulders onto her back, and with a deep breath, crossed her legs and closed her eyes. Of course, in the thirty minutes that passed, next to nothing happened. Nobody came, and no divine entities revealed themselves to the shifter. Still, it was relaxing getting to hear the sounds of nature surround her...






Bowman Woodcroft

...And if you should think that I am but wrong,
I urge you to sing the sour man's song.
The melody of it can never betray
the memories of that most woeful day...


Although not entirely sure where he was going, the peasant man confidently strolled along the path that led to the south of Halcion, all the while murmuring the lyrics to a war song he had heard as a child. The song, despite its sadness, had always made him feel somewhat stronger. It had always made Bowman grow more strong when he recited history upon his lips. Words had always been his form of weaponry. With words, he could become a king among men, a lion among sheep. If only other Halcions had known of such fundamental concept. In the era of which Bowman lived, everyone seemed to be obsessed with death. It was almost sickening. It poisoned his heart to know that nobody cared about emotion, passion, sanity anymore...

It was then as he was swimming deep into the thoughts of his own philosophical mind that Bowman heard a chilling scream. He stopped, his blood slowly turning into ice. His eyes shifted to and fro as he wondered whether or not he was just imagining things. Then he heard it again, this time, the high-pitched voice of a child was starting to make its way into his eardrums. He scrambled to run as fast as he could through the maze of trees. With haste, he quickly found the figure of a small girl wrapped in tattered clothing. Her face was a bright red, and was flooded with tears.

"What's wrong? Did something happen?" the peasant man asked with the utmost concern. "It's my mama," she cried, "she's hurt! She will die! MAMA!!"
Bowman shushed the little girl, trying to calm her down. He placed one hand on her shoulder, while his other hand wiped a tear away from her face. "It's okay. It's okay. Where is your mama?"
"She's over that way, by our camp! Please! You have to help her!!!"

Bowman sprinted in the direction where the little girl had pointed. Although traveling much faster than her, he could hear her small footsteps catching up to his. "Keep going! MAMA!!" she would cry. Bowman released all the energy he had stored up inside of him, and in a matter of seconds, he reached the campsite that the tiny girl had described.
"I'M HERE, MISS. I'M...."

It took a couple of seconds for Bowman to realize that nobody was there. The place looked like it had been abandoned long ago. He turned to face the young girl, but she seemed to be gone as well. He looked around, trying to find at least a silhouette of a living being somewhere near the clearing. He didn't have too much luck finding what he was looking for. With a deep sigh, the young man calmed himself down, and aimlessly wandered around the area. The mountain of chopped wood that stood in the center of the camp looked as though it had just been the recent home of a bonfire. "Hello?" he called, hoping someone would answer. As he awaited a response, he could feel something wrap itself around his ankles. Before he had a chance to look down, Bowman was hoisted up into the air.

His eyes had instinctively closed from the sudden action, but when he opened them, he found himself dangling upside down by the binding of a thick rope. It was some sort of trap. Of course. Why wouldn't he have the eyes to see a hunting trap down on the clear ground below him? Quickly, he tried to think of ways to escape his self-afflicted torture, but he couldn't think of anything. Suddenly, as if it had come out of nowhere, and idea popped into his head, making his eyes widen.

Remembering the knife he had put in his pocket earlier, Bowman reached up towards the flap in the back of his trousers, expecting to wrap his hands around the handle of his makeshift weapon. His hand wandered, but it could not find anything to grab onto. He dropped his arms down, and sighed with subtle annoyance.

"Looking for this?" said a sly-sounding voice behind him. Bowman tried to move his head back to see who had muttered the quiet words, but his eyes couldn't see past his shoulders. Fortunately, the person came in front of him. It was a small woman with a large red scar across her cheek. There was a blue turban wrapped around her head, and a smug smirk upon her lips. She twirled Bowman's cheap dagger in the palm of her hand before swiftly throwing it across the camp, where it stuck to a nearby tree. Soon came two other men, both muscular and plastered with stern yet wild looks on their faces. Bowman shuddered in his skin.

"Can I help you?" he muttered with a slight shrill in his voice. The men gave no introduction, they turned to the woman in front of Bowman and started to interrogate her.
"Did you check 'im?" said the one man with a tattoo of a serpent on his collar bone.
"No. I will. Didn't think a human would get caught." Without haste, the woman searched through all of Bowman's pockets, and looked through his backpack that had fallen to the ground when he got caught in the complicated snare-like trap. She handed the leather bag off to the other man, who had a lazy eye and long curly brown hair. He pulled out one of Bowman's many maps, stared at it with curiosity, and then smiled with a vicious grin.

"Farendell, huh? That's what you have circled here," he said while leisurely sauntering across the camp. "Y'know, I was going to make the trip myself. Until of course everyone else decided to make it a new priority of theirs to get that damn sword."
"I here they price it for more than 10,000 in Walden," replied the woman, her arms crossed as she sat on a tree stump, "Even more if you sell it past the border of this pathetic land people mistake for a country."
"But why would you sell it? Ain't it supposed to have fancy enchanted powers 'er somethin'?"
"People care more about their present situations rather than the future. Besides, Hollidelt's magic powers are only superstition." The woman leaned back on the stump, and then continued, "Nobody knows for sure if that sword can grant immortality. Then again, nobody even knew that sword existed before Queen Rowan got kidnapped by Cyrodil..."

"If there's anything I can offer you, I swear, I'll give it to you..." Bowman spoke, abruptly interrupting the group's conversation, "Just please have mercy and let me go!"
The man with the lazy eye chuckled under his breath, and slowly yet intimidatingly approached Bowman.
"Don't you know, peasant? We're thugs. We don't have any 'mercy'. Don't waste your breath trying to persuade us."
"Weston, should I let this man go? He has next to nothing on him. He's clearly no use to us."
Weston, presumably the leader of the group of bandits, stared at Bowman as he replied to the woman. "Don't be foolish, Esther. If we let him go, he'll just tell the authorities. If he's no use to us, then kill him."

"Wait, no, I won't tell anyone about this! I swear!"
"Shut UP, you measly twit." said the man with the serpent tattoo.
"We'll kill him later. For now, let's go check on the other traps. I'm starting to feel like there's a hole in my stomach. Thelon, you wait here and make sure this lanky man doesn't break free."
"Aye."
And with that, the lazy-eyed Weston and the woman, Esther, ran off somewhere into the forest, leaving Bowman hanging with the muscular man named Thelon. He couldn't believe that everything the innocent-looking girl said was a lie. Such an elaborately planned trap, and he found himself in the middle of it. He would try to escape while he still had the chance. But then again, how could he? His weapon was on the other side of the small camp. It was useless calling for help, as the bandit would only slit his throat in a matter of seconds. With a sigh, Bowman loosely hung by his legs, (which were starting to loose feeling, no less) silently praying to the gods that he would be able to find an escape or somehow manage to survive. Hopefully he wouldn't be asking for too much if someone was able to swing by and take care of the thugs for him, and then manage to cut him down....

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Character Portrait: Bowman Woodcroft Character Portrait: Thaothien Airekhor Character Portrait: Lady Death
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Thaothien Airekhor


Thaothien had not slept. In fact, he barely ever did. His times of rest were few and far between, and he would often spend weeks, even months, completely awake. It was only after what seemed like ages of uneasy, restless waking hours that Thaothien would receive half a night's fitful sleep. Even then, the respite did little for the Vampiric Lord of the Gavony Township. His dreams, no... his nightmares, were re-lived with every moment of sleep. It seemed that deep within his very soul, Thaothien had not forgiven himself for his actions past. Visions of his inequities haunted him, the memories plaguing his precious hours of rest. Thaothien would fling himself out of bed, covered in a cold sweat, screaming blasphemies into the night. Only the soothing music from Thalia's harp would calm such fits of rage. Her delicate fingertips would dance over the strings, bringing peace into his empty heart.

Last night had been no different. When it seemed that Thaothien would, at last, succumb to restful, recumbent bliss, he was tormented with horrific nightmares. His terrors taunted him, jeering at him, feeding doubt into his fragile mind. Thaothien could remember little of the last time he had drunk of another's blood. What broken visions he did recall made him sick to his stomach. The neck he had ravaged did not belong to any animal. Instead, Thaothien had allowed himself to sink his hungering teeth into the soft and pale flesh of a young woman. She had not survived the ordeal. This time, as always, Thalia rushed to her Lord's aid. His eyes were wild and desperate, like a beasts. He roared and railed, shouting such unholy curses. Like always, Thalia simply sat at the stool next to her Lord's bed and began to play. Her fingers weaving back and forth, rippling across the laughing strings, whose gentle pealing soothed the Lord's aching heart. His flailing stopped, reaching hands finding their way back to his lap. He sat up properly and wiped the froth from the corners of his mouth. Composed, the Lord dismissed his servant to her quarters, ashamed of himself to the very core. As she left, Thaothien turned to gaze out of the window to his right. The sun was rising. A new day was dawning. The road to his salvation was, at last, at hand.

Thaothien rose from his bed, stripping from his nightgown and walking through the manor almost completely naked. The only thing that the Lord was wearing, were his undergarments, which did nothing to ease the morning chill. However, if it was chilly, Thaothien did not feel it. His skin was cold to the touch, cold like the winter's first snow and easily just as pale. He made his way to his private armory and pulled on his newest and finest creations. First was a thin linen shirt, its only purpose was only to keep his skin from directly touching the chain vest and to assist in muffling its clinking. After the vest was another shirt, like the kind he would have worn on any other day. It was white with a pull-string collar that was embroidered with a black, crawling vine. The cuffs of the sleeves were similarly embroidered. Over that went the breast plate, complete with the Bloodstone, which was placed right underneath where his collarbones met. Next came the black linen pants, followed by the greaves and his belts. Finally, over the top went the black, shin length jacket, reinforced with armor plates. While the armor would have been heavy on a human, it felt pleasant for the vampire. A comfortable weight that reminded him he was shielded. The armored cuff and the heart plating were particularly thick so as to guard his vulnerable neck and heart. Finally, Thaothien attached his swords and knives to the belts around his waist. The only thing Thaothien carried with him that wasn't a weapon, was a map, rolled up and bound with simple twine. He placed it and a compass in his pocket and turned towards the door. With that, Thaothien left his castle. He had formally dismissed his servants the week before. Those still living there had nowhere else to go, or simply couldn't bring themselves to leave. Thaothien smiled as he waved goodbye to Thalia, his most faithful and patient servant. If he could ever free himself from this horrible curse, if she was still alive when he returned, if he himself did not perish along the way, Thaothien intended to marry her. He was sure it would cause quite a scandal in Gavony, and chuckled at the thought.

As he had done so many times before, Thaothien began to walk. The dim morning light had not yet brightened Ingotstone, and as the city slept, Thaothien continued on. The twilight hours were peaceful and silent. Thaothien smiled to himself as he journeyed to the Forest. While many would shun the Laerorngwen Forest, Thaothien set himself on a path straight through it. The dense forest would sheild him from the harsh light, and he would be less likely to run into other travelers through the woods as well. Most would, instead, opt to take the road, which Thaothien thought very foolish. Why risk the thieves? Though many would argue that the beasts of Laerorngwen were no better. In fact, most were of the opinion that they were worse. Thaothien couldn't quite see why. Sure some were bigger than most were used to seeing, and perhaps many of them had more teeth that a corn does kernels, and even though very few came back out of the forest alive, Thoathein was sure his path was the best. After all, it led him straight there. The forest path would take no turns, depositing him directly at Farendell, where his salvation awaited. Looking over his shoulder, Thaothien's grin vanished. He was being followed, and not by men either. He turned, allowing himself to grow viciously. "I am no man." Thaothien declared to the predator in the wood. "Your padded footfalls are not beyond my ears, nor your dark hide beyond my eyes." Thaothien threatened, turning directly towards the creature, which stopped abruptly. It had sensed something strange about the man before it. There was no fear in his eyes. Thaothien unsheathed his sword, the steel gleaming wickedly in the light. "I am a monster that all men fear. I will devour even you. Begone." Thaothien commanded, growling deeply. The beast stared directly into the little man's eyes. Though the mighty creature was as tall as two men, its claws like swords and its teeth like spearheads, it felt as if it were standing before a predator, as if it were no more than a cub. The beast felt fear. Fear that it had not felt since it was small. It ran. Sighing, Thaothien sheathed his blade. "What a relief. I don't have to kill anything today." Smiling to himself, Thaothien began walking once more. However, he stopped himself short once more. Footsteps, in front of him and to the right. Two of them, one heavier than the other. One breathed through his mouth with a stench most foul. Thaothien had to force himself not to gag. The other seemed a touch more civilized, if only a little. Thaothien could tell it was a woman before she had even come within twenty feet of him. Her footfalls were light and graceful, unlike her counterpart. She smelled much cleaner as well.

"Well lookie here!" Thaothien heard to his left, the large and smelly one stepped from out of the brush directly in front of him. Though large, the man was obviously directly related to swine, he had the unfortunate facial features and apparent lack of intelligence to match. Although Thaothien did feel a little bad for a moment. Pigs were such fine creatures. He supposed then, that the fool standing before him was only half swine, and the other half was fish. Thaothien nodded, pleased with himself at the classification. "Looks like we got a little traveler off to Farendell." Came the female voice from Thaothien's right. "Can I kill him now boss?" The fat one asked, as a child might beg for presents. Thaothien sighed. I suppose I shan't be living up to that promise... He thought, annoyed. "No... this one appears to be a castle brat. Look at how pale his skin is, how thin his arms are, how frilly his clothes are." The woman said, causing Thaothien to roll his eyes. "Instead, I recommend that we keep him, unlike the other, this one might be worth something." That was the snobbish woman's last mistake. "Excuse me." Thaothien said, drawing his would-be captors' attention. "While you are correct in the assumption that I am travelling to Farendell, your conjecture as to the nature of my status was entirely incorrect. I am far older than fools like you will ever live to be, should you continue to annoy me." Thaothien said kindly, and though he smiled pleasantly, his tone was poisonous and cold. "Weston, did you hear what that whelp just said to his new masters?" The woman said coyly, pretending as if she'd been offered a great insult. "Be a dear Weston, and teach the brat some manners." The woman said with relish, to which the lazy-eyed, fat one nodded vigorously.

He drew a greataxe from its spot on his back, bringing the massive weapon down on Thaothien's head. His hands moving so quickly that they appeared to be a blur, Thaothien drew his longsword. He whipped the blade upward, holding it defensively above his head and spinning in place so his back was turned to his enemy. The axe bounced off of Thaothien's blade, shattering into pieces. Moving quickly, Thaothien tilted the sword down towards the ground, the back towards his foe in a tight, circular motion. Then, with practiced dexterity, Thaothien quickly thrust the blade behind him, aiming slightly upward so as to catch the man beneath the ribs. If done correctly, the weapon would find its mark in the lungs and other vital organs. Thaothien smiled darkly as he felt the sickening crunch of the blade piercing his foe, he had struck true. Just as quickly, Thaothien drew the sword back out from the defeated thug, cleaned it on the man's pants leg, whipped it around his body in a quick figure eight, and then sheathed it. As the sword clacked into place, blood spurted from the wound and the large man fell to the ground, dead. The woman, deeply afraid, backed away from Thaothien, whose back was turned to her. "I warned you." Thaothien said, turning slowly. Only the side of his face was visible to her, but the dim light caught his eyes just right, making them glow. "Now leave before I change my mind about killing you too." Thaothien growled, baring his teeth. The woman, deciding quickly tha she had somewhere else to be, turned tail and ran. His little annoyance dealt with, Thaothien quickly consulted his map and compass before turning back to the direction of Farendell, and beginning to walk once again.

As he walked, Thaothien couldn't help but notice signs of daylight breaking through the foliage. He sighed. He hated the light. It didn't hurt him, but it was so bright and unpleasant. He sighed, only to have his hand fly to his sword. He heard voices, another man, and a woman as well. These voices were different though. It wasn't the same woman as before, no, she was long gone. This voice was different, calming and gentle, but it carried a regal weight that demanded respect. Whoever this woman was, she was no bandit. Thaothien smiled, heading towards the clearing with his hands resting on the pommel of his sword. When he reached the voices, he was shocked. There, next to a boy who was just barely old enough to be a man, was a beautiful woman. She was most likely a fae, her ears carried the telltale points and her bearing was regal yet poised. However, he couldn't tell for sure whether she was an elf or a nymph. The difference was rather important to most, be they either side of the distinction, so instead of calling her one or the other, Thaothien dismissed her race as temporarily unecessary. He bowed his head, as was polite. Though they were in the middle of the woods, Thaothien saw no reason to shirk the niceties of civilization. "Hello Miss," he said simply and respectfully. However, when he turned to the male voice, Thaothien couldn't help but let out a gasp. "Ahh!" Thaothien said, surprised. "The map maker! I purchased this from you just last week!" Thaothien exclaimed, chuckling slightly to himself. "I'm sure the average farmer doesn't need a map of the Laerorngwen Wood. Whatever are you doing out here?" Thaothien asked, genuinely intrigued and smiling gently. He'd made a joke, such frivolity would have to be stifled. Still, it was quite odd. Usually mapmakers were sitting at desks with quills and ink, awaiting the stories of those who were sturdy enough to venture into the dangerous world beyond the gates of Ingotstone.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Seleste Morthlock Character Portrait: Tarquin Rethleon Character Portrait: Bowman Woodcroft Character Portrait: Thaothien Airekhor Character Portrait: Lady Death
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Bowman Woodcroft

There was a cave-like silence from all around the forest. The only sound that could be heard was the bandit man's whistling as he whittled away on a block of wood with the knife that originally belonged to Bowman. It hadn't quite hit him before, but now he could feel the pressure of the current situation starting to rise inside of him. He kept his eyes steadily upon the black-haired man, hoping that the next motion he made with the knife would be carving the wood, and not his face.

And then, something happened. Something undoubtedly terrifying. An arrow, seemingly coming from thin air, pierced through the man's chest. He fell to the ground, and a smooth yet chilling voice addressed him as he grunted in sheer pain.

“Foolish Thelon. I am quite sure that I warned you and your whelps about entering my domain.”
Bowman's eyes widened in stark fear. Whoever had spoken had clearly killed the bandit for trespassing. If the attacker were but to have no mercy for other intruders, there would be an arrow through the peasant man's chest next. As he swiftly moved his head about trying to find the source of the wispy-sounding voice, he put too much force upon the rope that connected him to the tree. His body started to rock back and forth as he watched the action unfold right in front of him.

As he processed, what his eyes were seeing, Bowman could have sworn that he was going insane. A woman with extensive black hair and moon-white skin approached the premises. She sat upon an obedient-looking tiger, no less, and her eyes gave the impression that she was condescending, yet undoubtedly intuitive. The woman almost seemed to blend in with the forest surroundings. Could she be an elven war general, or rather the divine goddess of nature and wildlife, Perella? Only the actions she inflicted upon the poor bloody bandit she had recently sniped would tell.

After her impressive entrance, the woman began to near the injured man. As the archer strolled up towards her victim, muttering quiet words that Bowman couldn't hear from where he had been hanging, the map maker began to feel his jaw slowly dropping. The elegant lady then pulled out a sharp dagger, (much more impressive than Bowman's FOR SURE,) and carved the blade through the bandit's throat, similar to how he whittled the now unfinished block of wood. She then turned her attention towards the scrawny man, who was silently praying that the woman would forgive him for wandering into her self-acclaimed territory. He tightly shut his eyes in fear as she raised her hand, preparing for the worst. Instead, he could only feel the forest floor gently nearing him, as the tree that had just been his hanging place was now magically starting to shrink. He was still up off of the ground when the tree stopped moving, but he could touch the surface of the woodland area if he so wanted to.

“You are human," she spoke with her smooth-sounding voice yet again, "But I am fairly sure I've not seen you among the Court of Laerorngwen, miñoû.
Miñoû. Bowman recognized that word from one of his language books. It was Nymi for 'little one'. The woman was a nymph.
"Pray tell, what is it that you would venture into Laerorngwen for rather than circle round?”
Still astonished by her incredible demeanor and skill, he didn't quite catch the last part of her sentence. "Huh? I'm sorry, what did you-..."
He had stopped mid-sentence when he felt the woman's large feline pet grasp his shirt by its teeth. He sighed in relief, finding comfort in the fact that the tiger wasn't hostile towards him, just his clothing.

“Are you sore?” she asked again after freeing him from his bonds. She didn't seem the least bit angry, which quelled Bowman's nerves tremendously. "I'm fine, don't worry about me..." he replied quickly as he stood up from off of of the forest floor, brushing dirt off of his already smeared trousers. The blood that had rushed to his head was now starting to return down to his body. "Thank you for...saving my life there. That was just...incredible..."
He looked her straight in the eye, his own eyes glowing with energy, and gave her a smile of sincerity.

It wasn't long until someone else found their way towards the abandoned campsite. This time, it was a man, presumably of the same race as Bowman. He was adorned in very expensive-looking armor. Bowman's eyes and brows widened as he approached. Could this man be some sort of aristocrat?
"Hello Miss," he said, addressing the peasant man's savior in the utmost respect. "Ahh!" he then added in exclamation as he turned towards Bowman, "The map maker! I purchased this from you just last week!"
Memories of the previous week came back to the twenty-three-year-old. He smiled, and then excitedly pointed to the man with two fingers, "Yes! Yes, I remember you! How are you? It's nice to see you again."

"I'm sure the average farmer doesn't need a map of the Laerorngwen Wood. Whatever are you doing out here?"
The question struck a nail in Bowman's mind. It was always hard answering the question as to why he had left Ingotstone in such a brash manner. "I'm heading to Farendell. I'm...I'm documenting the events that have been unfolding throughout this time. I'm a...historian, you see. I'd like to make accounts of these dark and exciting times before they should pass."
It wasn't a total lie, but it wasn't quite the truth either. Bowman was merely making the trip for his own purposes. There was really no explanation to his madness. He just craved freedom, and traveling through the woods without any decent survival skills like a foolish man was how he intended to get it. He quickly scrambled to get his things, and grabbed the knife that was interlocked between the dead bandit's grimy fingers.

"I guess we better get going quite soon," he said in an anxious tone, not knowing that the Earl in front of him had taken care of the other two bandits. "The others might be coming back soon, and I don't want you both to be caught, like how I had been before you came." He briskly shifted his eyes, investigating the area around him. "Any suggestions as to where we should head out?"

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Character Portrait: Bowman Woodcroft Character Portrait: Thaothien Airekhor Character Portrait: Lady Death
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Thaothien Airekhor


The question seemed to trouble the young map maker. He appeared confused and upset. Thaothien frowned sympathetically. He began to raise his hands in a simple, non-threatening gesture, about to tell the boy that if it were such an inappropriate or troubling question, he needn't answer it. Just then, however, the boy surprised Thaothien with an answer. "I'm heading to Farendell. I'm..." He paused for a moment. The hesitation was not lost on Thaothien. The boy was either thinking up a lie on the spot, or trying to find the right way to phrase it. "I'm documenting the events that have been unfolding throughout this time. I'm a...historian, you see. I'd like to make accounts of these dark and exciting times before they should pass." Thaothien nodded. There was some truth in there, but the real reason was beyond Thaothien. He smiled, "Good for you!" Thaothien said, putting a comforting hand on his shoulder. "Most mapmakers and historians would be content to leave such wild adventures to mercenaries or other explorers. It's a fine show of courage. I must say, I'm impressed." Thaothien said, genuine pride in his words. The week before, the boy seemed perfectly content to sit at his desk and draw maps all day. It was good to see him out and about, though the Laerorngwen Wood wasn't exactly the best place for first time adventurers. In fact, 'twas often that men much more grizzled than he had attempted to make the same journey, only to never be seen again. The woods was not a kind, forgiving place. Thaothien would have to do his best to protect the boy. After all, he was young and inexperienced, and those devils walked hand in hand. Though he wanted to sigh, Thaothien simply smiled, watching as the boy scrambled to get his things, and grabbed the knife that was interlocked between the a dead bandit's grimy fingers. Upon seeing the body, Thaothien smirked. 'Twas another fool like the one he had just seen. Fish-swine like them deserved the worst that fate had to offer them. He scoffed softly.

As the two men conversed, the lady listened, with neither perceived interest nor concern. She pulled a cloak over herself and nestled into the wool. Thaothien relaxed ever so slightly. While her nakedness wasn't vulgar, it was certainly astonishing. She was very beautiful, had he lived any less, loved any less, and been less of a gentlemen, Thaothien would have felt the urge to stare. As it was, he simply smiled at her, catching her eye for a moment before returning his attention to the boy. She held some hesitation near him, a certain barrier existed between them, and not just the large cat. She knew he wasn't a man, that much was certain, and the cat knew it too. It was why they had been so startled when he arrived. From his quiet footsteps and strange smell, Thaothien must have seemed like a beast of some kind. He chuckled to himself under his breath. Hopefully, they wouldn't ask about it. After all, it wasn't polite to lie top strangers. Thaothien was removed from his little reverie by the voice of the mapmaker. "I guess we better get going quite soon," he said in an anxiously. Thaothien tilted his head sideways, what could have made the poor boy so nervous? "The others might be coming back soon, and I don't want you both to be caught, like how I had been before you came." He briskly shifted his eyes, investigating the area around him. "Any suggestions as to where we should head out?"

Thaothien was now thoroughly confused. Others? End up like him? Thaothien was about to speak, and ask the boy exactly just what he meant, but the Lady, who was now astride the tiger, spoke. “Petty thugs and bandits are of no consequence to me, quite easily dealt with. I assure you that I am nowhere near as fragile or incapable as I appear.” She gave a dazzling smile and a teasing wink to the young lad before pursing her ruby lips. Thaothien nodded and smiled in comprehension. It all made sense now. Bandits and thugs usually travelled in packs, they must have run into the dead man before he was so indisposed, springing the rope trap, that hung on a nearby tree, in the process. "I assure you, they won't be a problem. I ran into a group of bandits before I met you. A cruel woman and a fat man with a lazy eye? They have been dealt with." Thaothien said with a poisonous smile. Though he did not intend to be wicked or cruel, his memories of the two bandits, who had gravely insulted him, were not his fondest. He allowed the declaration to be completely understood before he was silent once more. The woman spoke again, and though Thaothien was listening, he turned to look at the odd little thing. It was most curious how a tree this small could have trapped a boy like him. Now the boy was no giant, but he wasn't sickly or small either. That left only one solution. Magic. The woman must have shrunk the tree, after killing the now dead bandit, so the boy could escape. That, of course, left Thaothien with only one conclusion. The woman was a nymph. While Elves were no slouch at magic, only the Nymphs were truly connected to the natural world around them. “...If we are all headed in the same direction...I don't suppose it would be too queer of an idea to travel until our paths diverge.” The woman finished. Thaothien looked over to her just as she stopped speaking. "A splendid idea." Thaothien said, smiling. "'Twould be far safer to use our advantage in numbers whilst we traverse the wood. After all, you and I are guests here, boy." Thaothien finished. "I see no reason to wait any longer. If we have no qualms as to the method of our departure, I suggest we begin. Milady, would you be so kind as to lead the way?" Thaothien asked politely.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Seleste Morthlock Character Portrait: Tarquin Rethleon Character Portrait: Bowman Woodcroft Character Portrait: Thaothien Airekhor Character Portrait: Lady Death
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Seleste Morthlock

If there was but any time that she wanted the hours to pass like a quick gust of wind, it was right now.

As she had speculated, nobody was drawing near towards the labyrinth. No people, no creatures, not even the faintest sound crept close to the place where Seleste had been patiently meditating, just waiting for something to happen. Through all the quiet, she had been building her hopes up about contacting the gods. Every time she heard the breaking of a branch, or the rustling of leaves, she would look up to the skies in anticipation, searching the heavens for light. When she would see the same old gray clouds and skies, however, her giddiness receded at a dramatic pace. She'd grunt, push her braid (which was losing its form and was starting to become rather sinuous) behind her shoulders, check on her white steed, and then close her eyes yet again. This kept repeating for what seemed like an eternity.

It wasn't until about two hours later after she had reached the ancient labyrinth that something happened. With her eyes closed, Seleste could hear the heavy footsteps of someone or something approaching. Of course, she knew better than to lose her concentration. After all, she had been hearing this but way too many times before. Why would she open her eyes again for something that only existed in her ludicrous imagination?

“’Tis not particularly safe, to linger,” said a clear, strong voice. It was deep, full of much depth. Her legs still crossed upon the forest floor, Seleste opened but one of her eyelids as she observed the shady-looking man in front of her. There were so many details that radiated off of him, it was hard to take a good glance at the dark-haired man. He was dressed in long, black leather clothing that seemed to stand out amongst the green pigmented trees of the forest. Two nonnative-appearing swords were securely strapped to his back. They subtly attracted her curiosity at first, but another good glance at them, and she couldn't help but admit to herself that they were exceptionally eye-catching. The man was quite tall himself, and somewhat handsome to say the least. He wasn't handsome in the flashy way, but he had more of a natural and strangely unique appearance to him. The thing that stood out most about him was the silver hooped earring with an encrusted green-colored stone that hung rather casually upon his ear. Overall, he gave the impression that he was lawful, yet most likely chaotic on the inside. Perhaps in combat he showed his true colors...

The shifter created a half-smile, and answered the man back informally, much unlike how he first responded to her presence. "Not safe to wander, either. Congratulations. You've been deemed worthy enough to stumble upon the grave of Jonassus Cavull." Her tone was flat. She rose up from the ground, and started to stretch as she continued speaking. Sitting in the same position and having to concentrate for divines knows how long made her muscles unbearably tense. "Hate to be the bringer of bad news, but this labyrinth behind me...supposedly it's enchanted. There's no way around or over it. If you try to run past it, it will only travel with you. You have but two options: you can either turn back now and save your skin for good, or you can be a reckless fool, like I will soon become, and take the risk of becoming the first man to pass through it alive."

While still keeping her gaze upon the stranger, Seleste nonchalantly strolled over to where she had fastened her horse, and unknotted the steed's bindings to the tree. "Legend says that the spirit of Jonassus Cavull, the sorcerer, is still very much alive. We have something in common: both you and I can see his labyrinth, his creation. This is because Cavull has regarded us as being profoundly peculiar in our own special way, and he would like to...observe us." Her tone had shifted from being somewhat snarky to now having a matter-of-fact sort of sound. She grabbed onto the saddle of her horse, and swiftly lifted herself up onto the creature's back. "Hopefully I haven't frightened you too much to ask a favor of you. There's a place I need to be heading, in a brisk fashion, to be frank. Not only must I head there quickly, but I must head there alive. I'm asking you to place your trust in me just this once. I'm also asking that I can do the same for you. Not to make judgemental assumations, but you seem to be a capable swordsman."

Her horse trotted in the direction towards the two ivy-covered walls. Just a few steps back, and Seleste would have been inside the entrance to the dangerous maze. "You are free to say no. I'd certainly say no. It's what a smart Halcian traveler would do. But I tell you this; if you leave me to enter this maze alone, more than one life may be irrationally wasted..." She hated staring with a burning passion, but in order to further persuade him, she locked a green-eyed gaze upon him. "So...now that I have stated my words, what be yours?"




Bowman Woodcroft

Bowman, although having no proficiency in the art of reading facial expressions, had a strange gut-like feeling that his answer had not quite answered the man's question in a 'normal' fashion. To put it simply, Bowman could not tell a lie. It was just something that passed the borders of his simple nature. He could never seem to learn how to effectively use the art either. The young man had tried as a small child to learn from his friends, and thought he had picked up the skill just fine. Of course, that was proven otherwise when he hadn't gotten away with stealing a loaf of bread from the local market man...

Back to the present situation, the two strangers had answered his question without much pondering over what to say. At least, that's how it seemed. “Petty thugs and bandits are of no consequence to me, quite easily dealt with," said the nymph, "I assure you that I am nowhere near as fragile or incapable as I appear.” She presented Bowman with a bright and brilliant smile, as well as a bold wink. He had forgotten that it was in the essence of all nature-oriented nymphs to be a bit flirtatious. (as if the woman's pink-pettled getup wasn't enough for him to tell. For someone of her skill set, it was taking a big risk to show so much exposure and not be protected by heavy armor...)

“Truth be told, I must journey to the center of Laerorngwen to my home and meet a friend; We too are traveling in the direction of Farendell at the behest of the King.” Bowman raised his eyebrows in shock. This nymph had come into contact with the king? What else could she do, turn metal into gold? “But, if we are all headed in the same direction...I don't suppose it would be too queer of an idea to travel until our paths diverge.”

Before the nymph had finished, the aristocratic-looking stranger revealed that he had slaughtered a fat-looking man and a woman; the two bandits who had approached Bowman previously. Although realizing that there was now nothing to worry about, the peasant still kept his mouth shut about the subject. Perhaps it was better to move quickly anyway. After the woman had proposed to split up after traveling for a certain period of time, the man spoke again, "A splendid idea," he said, smiling, "'Twould be far safer to use our advantage in numbers whilst we traverse the wood. After all, you and I are guests here, boy." Bowman nodded. According to legend, the Laerorngwen Forest took its name after a brilliant marksman. The forest had been dedicated to the talented warrior for years. "I see no reason to wait any longer. If we have no qualms as to the method of our departure, I suggest we begin. Milady, would you be so kind as to lead the way?" asked the man politely. He seemed to have a bit of charm about him regardless of whatever he spoke. "Yes, indeed. Please, my good woman, it would be profitable to all of us if you could show us the way. I am a man of geography myself, but I am yet to acquaint myself to the terrain of Halcion. It would be a great honor to be led by you." Bowman gave a miniature bow to the woman. After all, she did save his life. It was best to treat her with the upmost respect that she had rightfully deserved.

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Character Portrait: Bowman Woodcroft Character Portrait: Thaothien Airekhor Character Portrait: Lady Death
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#, as written by Vix
The Nymph was more than happy to oblige, though not bothering to offer either of the males a ride on Cunés to save them from walking; The big cat wasn't a big fan of many people - It was just better to have them walk as she guided them off the beaten path and deep into the heart of the forest. Colorful flowers bloomed around them and leaves unfurled, presenting elusive fairies that curiously peered from their hiding spots to see what large people had come so deep into the forest. Cunés sneezed as some played near her snout, scattering pollen across her wet nose. Her rider gave a soft giggle, holding out a small hand as one of the minuscule creatures landed within her palm and danced about before fluttering away. “Watch out for the Urtińs. They're a bit...Playful. In an aggressive sort of way.” She pointed into the trees, indicating the hairy and colorful creatures that resembled a cross between squirrels and rabbits with wings and long tails but with enormous eyes that might entice one to pet them.

She stopped as they came upon various warning signs placed near what looked to be a wall covered in vines. The vines parted slowly as they walked on by, passing into a tunnel. At the end of the rocky tunnel was a hill that lead down into a small valley. At the center of that valley was the heart of Laerorngwen Forest; The ebony Laerorngwen tree sitting upon its small island and surrounded by what was once and pond but now moreso a small, circular river. It was a peaceful slice of Nirvana, guarded rocky walls covered in vines on all sides as the tree in the center grew up and out, its branches seeming to spread out over the whole forest. Cunés padded down the hill carefully, overstepping the protruding roots. Within the branches of the tree a small home was constructed and small lanterns were hung here and there. “M'Lady! We had heard that you were off to Farendell. Is this truth?”

There was a gathering of people of various species at the base of the hill, worried expressions upon their faces. Gwilwîlethien dismounted and gave Cunés a light pat on her side before the tigress wandered away. Gwen gave a light nod and returned the soft bows of the others as she approached. “T'is true. I would be plagued with guilt if I stayed behind - Halcion's Royal family has shown me great kindness for nearly a century and the Queen is a dear friend of mine. I must make the trip to Farendell and aid in any way that I can.” She pushed her hood down, offering a kind smile as she held out an upturned hand. “But, if you are gone...Who will care for the forest...and us? Surely once those who wish us harm will strike when it is known you have gone.” There were hushed murmurs of agreement as an elderly lady stepped forward and placed her frail hand within the Nymph's. “You shall, of course. I have faith in our fine warriors that they can handle bandits and thugs; I open my own sanctum to those of you who fear remaining in your own homes during my absence. After I leave I will take necessary defensive precautions to ensure your safety.” They nodded in agreement as they bowed their hands.

“Oh - These are my new acquaintances; Bowman of Ingotstone, a mapmaker. I'm sure a few of you are familiar with him. And Lord Airekhor of Gavony.”
The various forest dwellers gave light bows to her guests as she stepped aside.

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Character Portrait: Bowman Woodcroft Character Portrait: Thaothien Airekhor Character Portrait: Lady Death
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Thaothien Airekhor


At the mapmaker's behest, they were off, and the Nymph seemed more than happy to oblige, though not bothering to offer either of them a ride on her feline steed, for the best really, the cat didn't appear to like him. As they walked, colorful flowers bloomed around them and leaves unfurled, presenting, to Thaothoen's disbelief, fairies, that curiously peered from their hiding spots to see what large people had come so deep into the forest. “Watch out for the Urtińs. They're a bit...Playful. In an aggressive sort of way.” She pointed into the trees, indicating the hairy and colorful creatures that resembled a cross between squirrels and rabbits with wings and long tails but with enormous eyes that might entice one to pet them. Though Thaothien held his hand out to the little creatures, they shirked away from his hand, hiding behind branches and flowers to stay away from him. Thaothien sighed. "It seems that creatures of this world and I simply won't get along. No need to fret, I won't hurt you." Thaothien lamented.

They appeared to be getting close, as their guide stopped when they came upon various warning signs placed near what looked to be a wall covered in vines. The vines parted slowly as they walked on, passing into a tunnel. Finally, the woman astride the tiger lead them into a great opening in the forest, it appeared to be a whole city. At the end of the rocky tunnel was a hill that lead down into a small valley. At the center of that valley was the heart of Laerorngwen Forest; The ebony Laerorngwen tree sitting upon its small island and surrounded by what was once and pond but now moreso a small, circular river. It was a peaceful slice of Nirvana, guarded rocky walls covered in vines on all sides as the tree in the center grew up and out, its branches seeming to spread out over the whole forest. Though Thaothien couldn't see anyone, he harbored the suspicion that they were being watched. He felt their eyes, many inquisitor and prying eyes scouring him for information; it unnerved him. However, all of Thaothien's worries and fears subsided completely as they approached the great tree. It was a city. A massive metropolis that spread out for miles in the canopy of the great ebon tree. Even more astounding, the buildings and homes seemed to have grown directly out of the trees. Rope bridges attached what was not already joined through an intricate system of interlocking branches. It was beautiful, Thaothien gasped at the wondrous sight before him. "In all my life, I have never seen such a wonder as this." Thaothien breathed. His reverie was interupted as the Nymphs he had sensed apprached them, they seemed worried. Hurriedly, they addresed the woman guiding them. "M'Lady! We had heard that you were off to Farendell. Is this truth?"

It was a gathering of people of various species at the base of the hill, worried expressions upon their faces. Their dismounted and gave her tiger a light pat on the side before the massive beast wandered away. She gave a light nod and returned the soft bows of the others as she approached. “T'is true. I would be plagued with guilt if I stayed behind - Halcion's Royal family has shown me great kindness for nearly a century and the Queen is a dear friend of mine. I must make the trip to Farendell and aid in any way that I can.” She pushed her hood down, offering a kind smile as she held out an upturned hand. It all made sense to Thaothien now. She was some sort of leader to these people. Maybe not an official of their government, but most assuredly a spiritual or popular leader. It explained her mannerisms and speech. Thaothien chuckled slightly to himself in embarrassment. How had he not seen it? He leaned over to the mapmaker and whispered. "Methinks we've been in the presence of royalty this whole time..." At that, one of the gathered people addressed the Lady, concern in his voice. “But, if you are gone...Who will care for the forest...and us? Surely once those who wish us harm will strike when it is known you have gone.” There were hushed murmurs of agreement as an elderly lady stepped forward and placed her frail hand within the Nymph's. “You shall, of course. I have faith in our fine warriors that they can handle bandits and thugs; I open my own sanctum to those of you who fear remaining in your own homes during my absence. After I leave I will take necessary defensive precautions to ensure your safety.” They nodded in agreement as they bowed their heads.

Finally remembering that she had brought company, their guide turned towards Thaothien and the mapmaker, gesturing with an open palm. “Oh - These are my new acquaintances; Bowman of Ingotstone, a mapmaker. I'm sure a few of you are familiar with him. And Lord Airekhor of Gavony.” The various forest dwellers gave light bows to her guests. In return, Thaothien bowed respectfully. "Thank you for welcoming us. While I have oft read of the great city in the heart of the Laerorngwen Wood, the petty words in my books do no justice to the sight I see before me. Being invited here, even if only for a passing moment is most assuredly an honor I shall remember for the rest of my days." Turning back towards their guide, Thaothien spoke again. "M'Lady, at the risk of sounding impatient, I must ask if there's anything we might do to hasten our visit here? We're it not for the nature of the quest we were undertaking, I might wish to stay here a while. As it is, we should be off quickly, after all, we aren't the only ones traveling to Farendell." Thaothien reminded.