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Bellona Shield

"I was raised to protect the royal family. If I cannot do this much, then what is the point of me?"

0 · 585 views · located in Tabitha

a character in “Across the Wilds”, as played by Miss Nomer

Description




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"Never forget what you are, for the world certainly will not."


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Name
"I have no middle name, and my last was given to me by the King and Queen."
Bellona Shield

Nickname
"Typically nothing favorable."
Wolf Girl, Shield, Girl, Guard, Orphan

Age
Twenty-Six [26]

Sexuality
"I am not impervious to temptations of the flesh, male or female."
Pansexual

Species
"Something I am not allowed to forget."
Werewolf

Occupation
"I'm told it is an honor. Were it not for the queen, I'd gladly allow someone else this "honor"."
Personal Guard of the Prince



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"Someone like me? I am only worth what use I can be."



Image Skills and abilities
{Lycanthropic Shifting} Bellona is a werewolf, and despite not being born this way, she does possess the associated abilities. The most obvious is, of course, that she is able to shift into the form of a wolf, her wolf form being rather large- smaller than a horse, but larger than the average wolf. Shifting is a bit painful, even though she has done it many times before, but is much easier during the full moon. Some werewolves are capable of restraining themselves from shifting during the full moon, but these are rare even among purebreds, and due to the nature of her curse, it most certainly does not apply to Bellona, who has to focus all of her energy into not becoming completely animalistic during these nights. She does heal a bit more quickly, though.
{Enhanced Senses} Wolves are natural hunters, so it only makes sense that werewolves, as well, would inherit these skills meant for tracking and hunting prey. Bellona has enhanced senses of smell and hearing, particularly, though her eyesight is superior to the average human, as well. Her senses are particularly sharpened whilst in wolf form, but she still has very, very good senses in her human form, and her training has only helped to improve her abilities with them.
{Speed & Strength} As with most of her basic skills, Bellona's speed and strength come from her werewolf nature. She has a natural speed and strength which excel that of the typical human, and even very well trained humans would have to rely more on strategy against her. When it comes to brute strength, it is hard to find her match outside of other werewolves.
{Hand to Hand Combat} The young woman's entire purpose in life, beginning from early childhood, is to protect the royal family, specifically the prince. Part of her training for this included extensive tutelage in hand to hand combat, making her, with her brute strength, a very difficult opponent indeed. Many knights have taught her, and all but one were eventually surpassed.
{Basic Battlefield Medical Procedures} This was an added part of her education, meant to help any of the knights, or the prince, should they befall harm. However, her main purpose is combat, and so her knowledge in this is fairly basic. She can wrap and clean wounds, and make splints, but outside of poppy for pain, has little knowledge regarding herbal medicines and the like.

Image Weaknesses
{Illiterate} There was never a need for the prince's body guard to be well-read. If he wishes for legal or philosophical advice, there are scholars, advisers, and his own private library. Thus, no one ever deigned fit to teach Bellona to read, leaving her without access to a fountain of knowledge. There were knights and nobles who mocked her for her perceived ignorance, and though she ignored it, the girl does rather wish she could read, or had received instruction outside of just combat and combat-related fields.
{Full Moon} Under the full moon, as has been previously mentioned, Bellona has to forcibly shifted. This would not really be a problem, if it weren't for the fact that even she, with all of her training, has difficulty controlling her animal instincts in these times. If she doesn't properly prepare, anyone could be perceived as a possible threat or prey, and attacked- even allies. She usually distances herself from others on these nights.
{Marksmanship} While Bellona's hand to hand prowess is undeniable, her marksmanship is significantly less impressive. Despite enhanced sight, a few lessons proved that she had little to no aptitude with archery, or even using a slingshot or any form of projectile. Basically, in a long range fight, she's best left on the sidelines, being just as likely to hit an ally as an enemy.
{The Royalty} While Bellona's loyalty is an advantage for the royalty, such as the prince and queen, it can be a bit of a negative for everyone else, including herself. Due to her upbringing, and life debt, she places them above all else, and even though she might occasionally retort a sharp word towards the prince, she would lay down her life in place of his. For that matter, she'd allow everyone else, including herself, to die, if the queen and prince returned home safely. It's simply her duty, and partially due to a very low sense of self worth that comes from being raised exclusively to serve.
{Temper} Now, this is a weakness that Bellona has been working on getting past for a long time now, but with little results. Their infamous temper is one of the causes for the fact that werewolves are greatly looked down upon by other species, and she is not an exception to it, despite being cursed to become one rather than born one. To some extent, Bellona can restrain it when needed, but usually by distracting herself with infliction of pain on herself, or destroying things, for her temper is highly aggressive. When she fails to check herself, however, the seemingly cool girl can become reckless and unpredictable, and a danger to all around her, as well as Bellona herself.
{Cooking} She just can't. When Bellona needs food, and there isn't someone who knows herbs, she eats raw meat. Why should she know how to cook?

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Equipment
{Weapons}
One Short Sword, Three Daggers [Also for Cutting Things]

{Clothing}
Two dresses, Two Pairs of Pants, One Pair of Sturdy Boots, One Belt, One Tunic, One shirt of chain mail under armor

{Food/Food Stuffs}
One Water Sack [She hunts for food]

{Other}
She prefers to travel by foot, or paw, and carries as little miscellaneous items as possible



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"Fear cuts deeper than swords."



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Likes
Fresh Meat || Hunting || Voluntary Shifting || Running In Her Wolf Form
Equal Challengers || Self-Improvement || People with Purpose
Kindness || Small Children || The Queen || Being Treated with Respect
Stories || Small Fires || The Forest || Birds [She won't eat them]
Strength in People || Successful Missions || Being Able to Prove Herself
Music || Dancing [Strangely] || Small Taverns || Little Entertainments

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Dislikes
Being Spoken Down To || Arrogance || The Current Prince [Name]
Threats to the Crown || Being a Werewolf [At times] || Deceptive People
Intentional Ignorance || Being Illiterate || Those Whom are Constantly Neutral
Werewolf Stereotypes & Slurs || Vegetables || Eating Birds
Caravans/Traveling Heavily || Making a Scene || Losing her Temper/Control
Restrictive Clothing || Most Nobility || The Full Moon || Long Range Battles

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Hobbies
{Hunting} Well, it isn't a hobby, exactly, but it is something which Bellona finds rather relaxing. Even when not hungry, she might feign a hunt, stopping just before catching the prey, in order to release the mountains of pent up aggression she has.
{Taverns} She is not a drinker, by any means, or at least not an alcoholic. Bellona does drink now and again, though rarely, and when she goes to taverns, it is less for the drink and more for the entertainment and anonymity. To people at taverns, she is not the guard dog of the royal family, but just another pretty young woman. It's refreshing.
{Running} Another form of relaxation, she rids herself of tension by going on runs, which can last for several hours. She often wants to run for days, but of course obligations hold her back, and she always ends up returning to the royal family.
{Dancing} At taverns, Bellona's favorite thing to do is dance. She's actually a fair dancer, perhaps due to the footwork she's learned during combat training.

Fears
Losing Her Purpose || The Prince and Queen Dying || Being Cast Out Again || Witches || Failing the Mission



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"Monsters don't reside in hell. They walk among us."



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Personality

{Hardworking, Tenacious, Sarcastic, Large Temper [Controlled], Loyal}
Ever since she was a very small child, and first taken in by the royal household to be trained as a guard, Bellona has been constantly reminded that her life was saved by the royal family, and thus she is indebted to them. As it happens, it was never really the royal family, at least not the queen whom Bellona so greatly admires, who said this to her, but the message stuck nonetheless. Believing her life to be with the singular purpose of protecting the royal family, she threw everything she had into training. Though she has become slightly disillusioned with the royal family since then [perhaps due to being the guard of the royal brat], this work ethic and feeling of debt has never altered. Almost desperate to be accepted, or to please, she spent most of her life working herself to the bone, going through lesson after lesson and rejecting most breaks when offered. Some balance has been found by now, but she still has the tendency to push herself to the brink.

The only thing that Bellona half-asses, and even then rarely, is being obedient towards his royal highness, the prince. Besides that, the girl puts her entire self into all that she does- not one to be a jack of all trades, instead preferring to be an ace in a few. Her great combat skills were not simply given to her- the girl worked for them. Her ability to control, to some extent, her animal instincts was not something that simply came to Bellona- she was trained to keep it in. The girl does not believe in unconditional love, at least not that she is worthy of it, and thus works as hard as she can for some sense of belonging, which is often fractured by snide comments about 'the prince's guard dog.'

Still, the young woman has a tenacious spirit, which of course often go hands in hand with a strong work ethic. She can be particularly stubborn about things, unwilling to change her mind unless a very, very good argument is made, or she witnesses something first hand. She has strong values or principles, which she sticks to, even when they can be harmful to the situation. She understands that certain situations require certain compromises, and yet is unwilling to make these sacrifices, instead keeping with her own principles. The only circumstance which can change this would be one in which the royal lives are in danger, at which point the one principle that trumps all else, her debt to the royal family, takes over. This is also why she might follow orders that she doesn't necessarily agree with. In fact, even as she makes sharp comments, or even insults, the young prince, one will notice that she almost always does as he asks- claiming that she's a guard, not a servant, but fulfilling requests all the same. It was how she was raised to be.

The aforementioned sarcastic comments, however, were not something she was taught. They were the manifestation of a need to have some control over her life, but being virtually incapable of getting some without feeling that she had compromised her loyalty to the royal family. Bellona has a sharp tongue that one might not expect from the girl known as the royal dog, and does not hesitate to use it on those who have irritated or looked down upon her. The latter is especially certain to draw her wrath, and may even lead to a bruise for the other person, if the situation is right. Growing up in the court, even as a guard, meant that she had no room for blunt or tactless comments- while she did not receive the education of the nobility, she did observe and learn their sarcastic speech, though she never really lies- it is something she always greatly loathed in many of the members of the upper class.

Behind her sarcasm and tenacity, Bellona holds a fierce temper, characteristic of most werewolves and one of the things her kind, cursed or born, are looked down upon for. Unchecked, it is quick and dangerous, requiring great strength in order to stop once it has begun. And, in fact, her anger, despite all of her efforts and trainings to hold it back, continues to be very much like this. It has become an implicit part of her that would be nearly impossible to remove. However, she can control herself enough to make her temper, though large and dangerous, more difficult to arouse. She has slowly built up a tolerance, thanks partially due to a childhood of being disrespected and taunted by people that she could tear apart with a hand tied behind her back, but was not permitted to. When her temper is released, the young woman immediately sprints away, trying to distance herself from others, because this temper unleashes a more primal side of her that she prefers people not see, lest they judge her for it. She does have different shades of temper, of course, and the sort that could lead to her hurting someone is more on the extreme end. She sees no need, usually, to hold back the temper that will release a barrage of verbal assaults.

For her control, Bellona is still a rather warm and devoted person. Her loyalty is nearly unwavering, and is given to those whom she views to be kind, and willing to accept others. She, herself, is a rather accepting person, due partially to the fact that she can sympathize with those who have been cast out for things that were not entirely their fault. How could she be blamed for her lycanthropy, and how could one in good heart punish one who stole for the sake of another? Bellona can be very welcoming indeed and, when not around the court, has actually been known to quite enjoy to fun found in taverns and village festivals, not against flirting and playing, so long as it does not get in the way of her work. For, in the end, her first loyalty is to the royal family, who come above all else. This upbringing of complete loyalty can sometimes push the warmer, fun-loving side of her to the curb.



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"Bastards, cripples, and broken things- they learn more quickly than others."



ImageHistory
Bellona Shield was in fact born Bellona Lyall. She was not born into the royal court, despite that having been where she was raised, but instead into a small but happy family. She was the second child and first daughter of two peasants: a humble blacksmith and his wife. The town into which she was born was very small, and not one which one might find on most maps, so insignificant was it. This insignificance did have the benefit of leaving it typically undisturbed by power conflicts, and thus the residents of the village lived very peacefully. Bellona was only a year younger than her elder brother, and as soon as she was old enough to walk, followed him around everywhere. One day, the two of them snuck out to follow their parents, who went to visit the only thing that made this town different than any other. The visited a very powerful witch, who was a large part of the reason that the town was left to its own devices. The witch was not particularly malicious, but she was stubborn and somewhat irritable, never one to forget a slight. In this case, she had heard Bellona's mother gossiping about her, for her mother, while doting on her children, was one who spoke a bit too much, and was rather nosy. When Bellona's other claimed innocence, the witch was angered, and then caught site of Bellona and her brother, Eric, hiding behind the bushes watching. She threatened to curse Eric, as punishment for their mother's loose mouth.

But it is not Eric who was abandoned and taken in by the royal family. That is Bellona. The reason for this would be that their mother jumped in, and pleaded that she not take away her only son, her firstborn. The witch had not planned on setting a strong curse, but seeing this, was further angered, and instead cursed Bellona, the second child and daughter, with lycanthropy. Her parents were horrified- even peasants looked down upon the werewolves, who were seen as little more than violent beasts. Quickly, they rushed their daughter, only three years of age, home. They hoped for the best, at first, but after Bellona's first transformation, were frightened. In an effort to protect themselves and Eric, and perhaps Bellona from herself, they kept her locked away in the stone cellar of their small house, door barred with strong iron locks that the father himself prepared. It did sadden them to do this, and they began to discuss- would it not be better to simply kill the girl? Over the course of the next two years, they attempted twelve times to take Bellona's life, and each time could not bring themselves to do it- she was just an innocent little girl, after all. These happened so long ago, and yet they are all Bellona can recall of her childhood- a dark room, a dagger at her throat, a pillow against her face, etc. Finally, they took her far out, to an area of wilderness, and left her there. Perhaps some wandering werewolf would find the child, or she would learn to survive on her own. Regardless, the Lyall family washed their hands of her.

And survive on her own, she did, for a period of time which she cannot recall. In fact, whether she was on her own for two months or two years is a mystery to the girl, and thus her own age is a rough estimation. She was still young when found, however, discovered as a savage little thing by one of the queen's knights as he escorted the queen and her good friend, Lady Gwen, back to the palace after a long trip. They were not the first people Bellona had met since being abandoned, though most had only seen her in her werewolf form by this point, as she became more pup than child. However, the knight, his queen, and the strange gypsy woman were the first to show her kindness. Taking pity on Bellona, a dirty, wild-eyed child with remnants of clothing so torn that she might as well have been completely bare, the queen let her into her carriage, fed her, and at the next river, bathed her. By the time the week's journey was over, Bellona had come to greatly admire this noble lady who had been so kind to her, and the queen, in turn, decided that Bellona would be raised at the palace. At first, she lived pampered, but this lasted only a month- her first transformation while in the palace had her moved out to live with the Knight, where she could be kept safely away from the royal family.

This knight became a father figure to her. He gave her the last name Shield, and introduced to her a purpose which she quickly took to: the chance to be of use to the pretty and kind woman who had taken her in. To repay her debt. He knew she was a werewolf, and thus would have great skill as a guard, if properly trained. It was this knight who began her tutelage in combat, as well as control and, also essential, some semblance of manners and speech, for her own speech patterns, despite being past five, were similar to those of a three year old. Around five or six years after taking her in, this knight passed away, sacrificing is life saving the king from an assassination attempt. He continues to be her model for how a person should be, though she doubts she'll ever be able to emulate his mix of balance, gentleness, etc. He was the only fighting tutor she could never truly beat.

Before he had died, however, he did teach her much, and how to deal with people was one of those things. Rather than protecting her from everything, he allowed Bellona to fight her own battles, and quite rightly. She learned that some people one simply cannot argue with, and that she needs to bite her tongue at times. The latter lesson was a result of several lashings when she gave the son of a noblemen a black eye for calling her a guard dog. She would be insulted, talked down to, and treated like dirt many times over the course of her life, but eventually learned when to grit her teeth and take it, and when she was allowed to fight back. He was not, however, her only tutor. In fact, for one year Bellona was sent to live with Lady Gwen in the woods, where the kind gypsy woman helped Bellona learn to control her temper and to keep others safe when she was shifting under the full moon. There Bellona found an elder brother figure in the huntsman, Herne, whom she would frequently go hunting with while in her wolf form. This is a year which Bellona continues to treasure in her memory. She returns still to the forest- usually on the days around the full moon, to keep herself away from those who would not be able to contain her should she slip.

Though she does not know her exact age, Bellona had been around fourteen years of age when her knight, for having called him a father figure earlier was not entirely true, as he did not want her to grow too attached to him, knowing his life was expendable, passed away. She trained for two more years, until the age of sixteen, before being told that she would soon assume the role which her training had been for: a guard of the royal family. She was very young for this, but her monstrous strength made sure that no one doubted her competency- it was her control and gender that her fellow guards doubted, in fact. Many of them mocked her, mostly in private but also to her face, to get her reactions, which were rarely lacking, given her temper and youth. The fact that she was a female, even if a werewolf, was one of the larger sources of ridicule, despite the fact that one of the most famed swordswoman in the kingdom was in the palace, as well. The frequent teasings and insults were what led Bellona to begin sneaking out at nights, when she was allowed to retire. She would leave the palace to find some peace, usually in small inns where she could have a quiet meal, without anyone knowing of her identity. These inns provided entertainment, often, and kindled the more lighthearted side of her, which luckily was given some fuel in youth, as it otherwise probably would have been extinguished completely.

As she grew a bit older, Bellona began visiting taverns rather than inns, and gained a reputation as the pretty girl that was not to be harassed, though still no one knew the face [though the city knew the story] of the royal family's dog. These little things are somewhat trivial, but important to the development of Bellona's personality.

As she guarded the royal family, Bellona formed opinions of them very quickly. She respected the king, adored the queen, admired the eldest prince, and rather despised the younger prince, who she saw as bratty, even when he was rather young. She was quite pleased to be able to be of service to the queen, though, and thought herself finally being of some use- and therefore having some sort of value. Bellona did not believe that there could be any positive regard that was not conditional, after all, but hoped to win some positive regard of the queen to whom she owed her life, and others whom she respected, through her service. She served faithfully for nearly a decade, before the queen was captured and taken away by the dragon. By this point, the elder prince had passed on, and she quite miserably noted that his younger sibling would eventually be kind, and therefore master of the "royal dog." Now, however, she has more important things on her mind: while she has served as a guard for the past years, she has never truly left her station, never going on missions such as those which knights are sent on. Bellona fully intends to succeed in this, and to both protect the prince and save the queen, even if she must forfeit her own life [and, if it comes to it, the lives of others] to do so.


Other
-Her favorite snack is rabbit, though for a meal she much prefers stag
-She's learned a few dances, peasant dances of course, from her visits to taverns
-Bellona once attempted to teach herself to read, and failed miserably at it

So begins...

Bellona Shield's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lady Gwen Character Portrait: Bellona Shield Character Portrait: Alaine Rivers Character Portrait: Adonis Huraines Character Portrait: Herne Fitch Character Portrait: Cassandra Castillon Character Portrait: O'Malley Character Portrait: Aeron Gwyn Demyan Character Portrait: Callon Agarwaenor Character Portrait: Taur Yamarak

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“I stand before you today with glorious news!” A man stood upon a balcony with his crowned head held high as he looked over the people gathered in the courtyard beneath him. His golden crown glinted in the sunlight as he moved to place his hands on the stone rail, a sad smile on his face. Everyone buzzed anxiously as they awaited the news, wondering what could be so important that the King had called all of his subjects and demanded even that the Duke of Erith and the Baron of Anghor Thom be present. The other two men sat quietly and patiently, not knowing any more than the others present. Everyone hoped that perhaps it was good news of the Queen, all of them still suffering from the loss. Queen Miyra was a beautiful woman beloved by her subjects and her family. The loss of Prince Septimus followed shortly by the loss of the Queen and the destruction of a good deal of Thralreth five months prior was still taking its toll on everyone. “I know that many good warriors have set out on the search for Cyrodil to return our fair Queen, but also many others have set out with their minds only on the treasure that the beast guards. I have taken it upon myself to assemble a company of ten who will go on this dangerous quest and restore our Queen to us!” The people all cheered, clapping loudly at the news. The King was a great General, having taken well to combat at a young age and showing great prowess for strategy. Surely, if anyone could pull together an ace team it would be he. “It matters not to which god or goddess to which you pray, or if you pray at all. But I beg of you to pray for their success in this quest.” There was a sadness to his voice as he stared out into the distance, knowing that they had already left some time earlier, slipping out quietly while others gathered.







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The passage from north of Ingotstone that went over the mountains and into Windermere was blocked by a rock slide and the seas were in a treacherous mood as of late. Some suspected that that the disastrous nature had come from the Merfolk and the Giants mourning over the loss of the Queen. Most suspected that Cyrodil had caused an upset balance in nature from being near. Either way, the company of ten were forced to travel through Legon forest to the far east, taking the passage way into Ralda. Not many would dare venture through Legon, much less through the Ralda tunnels. However, six of the ten traveling were natives of Legon, one of them the creator of the forest. So they had little to fear as they traveled. But, Ralda tunnels were filled with a number of nasty creatures and bandits waiting to jump anyone who dared to pass through. Nothing they couldn't handle though. They were all well trained and very good at what they did, even the Prince among them possessing some skill with a blade. Perhaps it would be Callon and O'Malley who would feel the most unease at traveling through the tunnels, one who is of the trees of the forest and the other a native of the sea. Obviously it would be Taur who would be most at ease, as Dwarves lived their entire lives in caves and tunnels whether under the sand dunes or the heavy mountains.

There was a hush between them all as they first rode out, only the sound of their steeds and the world around them to keep them from going mad in complete silence. But why would there not be? The fate of the Kingdom's happiness rode on their shoulders with this single quest. None of them were strangers to carrying out quests, some more familiar than the others. But one of such magnitude was unheard of. To defeat the mightiest known beast in the land? What a task it was. None even knew where Cyrodil resided. He would harass many lands every few years, but none could follow him high into the clouds when he left. But the King figured that his group would be perfect together to track the dragon. Between the skill and knowledge all of them, surely they could find the creature. And there were rumors of some that would provide helpful insight. Speaking of those such people, the group's first stop was the Summer Isles. Therein lived a Shaman who was said to be quite powerful and capable of helping those truly in need. It was rare that he would help anyone at all, instead living his life pampered by many Selkies and Merfolk of the Irman Sea. O'Malley was the one who had suggested that they visit him. Apparently, she and he went way back. In a totally non-intimate way. She was a pirate and pirates like to party. It seemed somewhat only natural that a Mermaid pirate have eventually found her way to him for a fun time. In a non-sexual way.

It was late into the day, the sun high in the sky. Though with the canopy of trees above them, it was almost hard to tell. Gwilwîlethien looked around at her companions and let a smile touch her lips. She felt comfortable with all of them because she knew all of them and had a hand in raising four of them. They were an excellent group, the King wise for having chosen them. She had complete confidence that they would have success in their quest, though she worried that perhaps they might not all make it through alive. Of course she worried for Aeron, Herne, Bellona, and Adonis the most – They were very much like her own flesh and blood. But she did care about the others too. While the Queen was very much a dear friend of hers and she did care about the King, she pondered whether one life was worth that of ten. Yes, many died. But the King said nothing of avenging their lives, except for his prized son, Septimus. Other than that, he expressed only the desire to retrieve his Queen at all costs. Gwilwîlethien was a thinking woman and the woman heavily thought man a time about why she held allegiance so tightly with the King. Perhaps it was because of his kind Queen that she still did. Or maybe her honor to uphold their treaty, however loosely held it was on his end. Or maybe it was because he had her son cursed that he would die should he ever mention his particular occupation.

She had at last decided that she did so for the Queen. While she was happy to have the chance to spend time with her closer friends and “family”, it was almost a damned shame that it took something such as this to bring them together. She had also decided that she would most certainly sacrifice her own life for the sake of theirs. Perhaps not O'Malley or Alaine, but the others. Her bright green eyes flickered to the left and then to the right some, spotting as people and creatures emerged from the flora to watch them on their way. Some of them prayed silently and she would offer kind nods in return. Hair the color of spilled ink fell around her waist as she pulled her massive tiger to a halt, a young child being carried by her father having approached. “Tabhair faoi a bheith sábháilte, mo banríon. Agus b'fhéidir féidir leat a iarraidh Herne a pósadh liom nuair a fhilleann sé?” She spoke in the vivid language of the gypsies, a smile on her dirty face. It was rare to find a gypsy child without dirt on their faces, always roughhousing and crawling on the ground in search of small treasures. Gwilwîlethien held back a laugh as the girl asked of her to assure her Herne's hand in marriage, glancing back at the young man riding behind her. “Dhéanamh mé aon gealltanais, ceann beag. Ach beidh mé ag plé cinnte sé leis.”
When Gwen was a child it was hard for her to pick up the different dialects and accents of the gypsy language, roma, due to her own strange natural accent that held the various sounds of nature. But she had over two hundred years of practice.

The girl handed her a large flower the color of fresh blood, matching the red of her own lips. The petals were almost translucent with a soft glowing core. The Nymph took it gently into her hands and braided it into her hair. The girl's smile grew as miniature flowers of the same kind began to blossom in the gypsy queen's hair, lighting her up and contrasting against the darkness of her hair, but illuminating her ivory complexion. Bidding them farewell, she nudged her tiger steed forward some more, holding her head high for her people. They would not see an ounce of fear cross her features, not even a flicker. She bravely rode among her companions, accepting the flowers and pendants for good luck and returning the nods of her people. As the elves approached, she brought her left arm across her chest, curling her fist over her heart in a sign of returned respect. They just might need all the luck that they could get. She was good with many animals and many creatures. But she had no control and rarely any sway with the darker creatures that roamed the Wilds across the land and most certainly never any dragons. Dragons were rare and she had only ever come across one. It had been one of kind nature that dwelt in the peace and quiet of sea coves. Cyrodil simply put the dire wolves and even the basilisks to shame.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lady Gwen Character Portrait: Bellona Shield Character Portrait: Alaine Rivers Character Portrait: Adonis Huraines Character Portrait: Herne Fitch Character Portrait: Cassandra Castillon Character Portrait: O'Malley Character Portrait: Aeron Gwyn Demyan Character Portrait: Callon Agarwaenor Character Portrait: Taur Yamarak

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Time: a week ago



Knock, knock.

Aeron sighed and looked up from the book he had been scribbling on. The notes were titled with female-looking names, and under each were bulletpoints and other such random scribbles, obviously written by the same hand. Who could it be at such a time? He placed the book down carefully on the table in front of him, and rustled his hair while pushing his chair backwards. Annoyance was etched over his face as he walked across his spacious room and pulled open his door roughly, his eyes narrowing at the sight of a small, young servant boy. A quick look left and right, Aeron looked down at the boy and held out his hand, "Give it here. I would presume I have a letter." The boy gulped and nodded, his face flushing a deep red as he handed a slightly crushed letter to Aeron, placing it lightly on Aeron's outstretched hand. "Leave- quickly." With another glare, Aeron stepped back into his room and closed his door silently to the boy's scared face- but the moment the door was closed, Aeron burst out with laughter. His face! God- do I look that scary? Shaking his head, Aeron walked towards the candlelight that illuminated his desk and grabbed a knife, cutting open the thick red wax seal. I should probably apologize for that sometime later... Aeron thought as he hummed a small tune, pulling apart the letter to reveal but a short sentence.

Meet me tomorrow after my dinner. Do not be late. He shrugged and walked over to the roaring hearth and threw the letter into the fire. Nothing urgent, I guess. Aeron yawned and stretched, ignoring the floating stench of burnt paper that suddenly filled his room. Probably should sleep soon... Walking back to his desk, Aeron looked at his book once more before nodding, a confident smile passing over his face before he closed it shut. He blew out the small flickering fire on the candle and made his way to his large bed and threw himself facedown into the soft bed. Thank Luhreah for royal furniture. Aeron thought groggily, turning over to pull the curtains around his bed shut and placing his covers over himself. A yawn and a sigh later, Aeron fell into a deep slumber.



Time: 6 days ago, afternoon



"Master? Master Demyan?" Aeron woke up suddenly, his snore cutting off midway to sound like a snort, the voice cutting through his sleep. Groaning, he turned around and grabbed a spare pillow to cover his head, intent on ignoring the imploring voice from outside his room. "Master Demyan?" This time, the voice was followed by two sharp raps on the door. Throwing the pillow aside, Aeron turned back around so that he was facing up once more and yelled, "Go away, for the love of Luhreah! I'm sleeping!- Or better yet, I'm not here!" He flipped around onto his side again, grumbling a bit as he tried to fall back asleep. Can't one get a good night's rest- or some peace and quiet in this stupid castle? As if to reply his mental question, two raps sounded on his door once more as the servant behind it replied, "I'm afraid I have to ignore what you have just told me, Master Demyan. It is already lunch time, and I was given the strictest orders from Lady Gwen to make sure that you do not skip your meals or eat anything that might harm your physical health!" Aeron sighed. "I won't tell mother about this, Eiregan- just let me sleep!" The raps and the voice stopped, and Aeron heard receding footsteps away from the door. This time, he sighed with relief and once again tried to forcibly sink back into a sleeping bliss...only to hear footsteps coming back once more and keys unlocking his door. Next thing he knew, Aeron heard his door flung open and the curtains around his bed suddenly pulled back, allowing harsh sunlight to fall on his closed eyes. "Luhrea- close the curtains, Eiregan!" Aeron quickly covered his eyes as he turned around, only to have his covers pulled away by the old gypsy servant.

"Oh for Luhreah's sake." Aeron sat up and opened a bleary eye, shutting it quickly as blazing sunlight burst into his vision. He then opened his other to glare at the old man who bustled around now, carrying Aeron a change of clothes from an extremely tidy closet. "I have your food prepared downstairs, already, Master Demyan. I was wondering if you are going to head out today? Also, I would like it very much if you could help me mail this letter to my family..." Eiregan delicately placed a letter on Aeron's desk, a faint sad smile on his face, before turning around to walk back to Aeron's bed, waving for the young man to get off of the bed. "Come on now, time doesn't wait for anyone!" Aeron sighed and opened up his other eye, squinting at the bright light spilling forth from his window, just as Eiregan walked out of his room and bustled down the stairs. Quickly, Aeron jumped off of his bed and changed quickly before fixing up his bed himself. Grabbing his old change of clothes, Aeron rushed down the small flight of stairs before coming to a stop in the kitchen. "Eiregan! I want a large platter of sausages." Eiregan nodded quickly, handing Aeron a plate ladden with ten or so already roasted sausages before turning back to the eggs simmering on the heated pan. Nodding, Aeron bounded and placed the platter of sausages on the large mahogany table that lined the center of the room, and then turned and walked out of the kitchen and out of the house. Taking a deep breath of fresh air, Aeron nodded and smiled and threw his dirty clothes into the basket right beside the door that was filled with dirty clothes.

Whistling slightly, Aeron cast a quick glance around his house, at the great courtyard of the Royal Palace that surrounded him, before heading back inside again. Need to go to meet his Highness later... He sat down in his usual chair and started shovelling down the food Eiregan placed in front of him, starting first with the cooling platter of sausages. Worry filled Aeron as he started to think about the letter, now that his head was clearer than during last night, noticing suddenly that the King had never included 'never be late' on any of his previous secretly sent letters. No matter. Even if it is something large, it shouldn't be too hard to handle. Shaking his thoughts aside, Aeron returned his attention back to his food and ate slowly, his mind once again roaming off to a particular young noblewoman who had caught his attention a few days earlier at a royal ball.



Time: 6 days ago, late evening



He pushed open the hidden door and showed himself in quickly, noting that the King had not arrived yet. Thank Lureah I'm early. Aeron closed the door silently, covering the stone passage behind it, before turning around and taking a seat in one of the three chairs in the room. I'm early...but where's the King? He fidgeted a bit in the hard seat- and looked up right as the seeminly only door into the room opened up. The King walked regally into the room as Aeron jumped from his seat and onto the floor, kneeling in front of the seat the King sat down in. "Aeron, let us skip the formalities." Aeron nodded and looked up at the King, a look of puzzlement and curiosity in his eyes. "I have a favor to ask of you. I know that you know about my plans of creating a company to go and find my lost Queen. I also know that you know that my son, Prince Adonis, shall join the company to slay Cyrodil and bring back my beloved, Queen Miyra." Aeron once again nodded, keeping his mouth shut as he watched the King carefully. "I must ask of you, my most trusted advisor, attendant, to go along with this brave company. Your task is none other but to make sure that Prince Adonis is kept safe- if any harm comes his way, it is your task to make sure that he lives, even at the cost of your own life. Your other task," the King said, as he got up from the chair to pace around in fron of Aeron, "is to keep an eye on Lady Gwen. She is a friend of mine, I understand. And from what I have later learned, you are also...considerably close with her." To this, Aeron did not react, but stared down at the ground. "You will keep an eye on her. My trust for her is strong, but not as strong as I would like- especially in this case of affairs. Use your abilities to benefit my son and bring glory and my Queen back to Thralreth." Without a second word, the King left the room before Aeron could react.

The dull thud of the door closing escaped Aeron's notice as he kneeled on the floor, paralyzed from the information the King had just given him. A mixture of feelings- shock and anticipation- brewed throughout Aeron, before he finally jolted himself back to the present. Opening his lips as he took in a shakey breath, his eyes bright, all he could muster was a, "Yes, your Highness."



Time: Present



"Woah, Orome!" Aeron said, as he laughed, his horse prancing around underneath his saddle. It was as if Aeron's excitement was affecting his own horse as they rode with the rest of the company, all of which Aeron knew from either his personal life, or from court. He felt extremely at ease- though his mission cast a dark shadow in his mind- as he made Orome gallop around the group. His laughter tinkled in the air as they passed through forests he knew by heart, as he had grown up running through the trees that stood there. Legon forest was his home, though he had not ventured into it for a very long time. However, an incessant happiness filled him as he rode Orome through the gypsy settlements in the area, and his laughter burst forth as if uncontrollable. Out of all of the companions, Lady Gwen was greeted the most as tokens of good luck and flowers were handed to her by members of her own kingdom. He rode right behind her and her large tiger, eager to be with his foster-mother once more and interested in what many of the gypsies wished to say to her. Aeron pulled Orome to a stop as the young gypsy girl came up to Lady Gwen.

“Tabhair faoi a bheith sábháilte, mo banríon. Agus b'fhéidir féidir leat a iarraidh Herne a pósadh liom nuair a fhilleann sé? The girl asked, looking at Lady Gwen with eyes filled with ancitipation. Unlike Lady Gwen, Aeron burst out with laughter before he clamped his mouth with his hand. Herne! Aeron shot a glance at his foster-brother who sat on his horse behind Lady Gwen and couldn't help but laugh once more. Herne! The Heartbreaker. This girl has the most impeccable taste. Smiling- and still chuckling a bit- Aeron watched as the girl handed Lady Gwen a large blood-red flower and backed away, and followed Lady Gwen as she pushed her tiger to move forwards once more. Aeron opened his mouth to comment on the girl, but a group of elves approached and watched as the group passed by them. He mimicked the motion that Lady Gwen gave to the elves, and turned back to his foster-mother once more, the comment he had wanted to say still raging in his head. However, he held it in as he followed beside Lady Gwen, until the elves were out of sight.

"That girl has the best taste, doesn't she, Mother? Choosing Herne out of all the men in Thralreth." Aeron chortled, ignoring the fact that his brother could hear him as the group was moving in a close formation.

Adjusting the black cloak that hung around her shoulders and draped over her body, having not bothered to shed the cloth that hid the fact that she was adorned only in vines, leaves and petals while in Ingotstone earlier, Gwen pulled Cunés to slow a bit so that she was in stride with her youngest, Aeron. “Any woman would be a fool to not swoon at his presence. He's quite the strapping lad. Don't you agree, Aeron?” Her long and pointed ears flicked in quick movements as a smile grew across her lips. Aeron's laughter made her eyes shine and all dark thoughts seemed to simply disappear as he engaged her in a bit of friendly teasing towards Herne, the woman casting a soft wink his way. Always such the strong, silent type. “Agus cad de tú, mo mhac? Cén bean a croí a bhfuil tú ag chasing inniu? An bhfuil tú turas a bhuachan a croí chomh maith?” She switched to roma, knowing that Aeron [and Herne and Callon and Taur] would understand her words. She was hardly discussing anything secret, but it was a more comfortable language for her.

Aeron blushed slightly, hearing his mother's comment and looked down at his horse's neck. "Bhuel, tá. Tá bean ach creidim nach bhfuil a fhios aici ann agam fiú go fóill." He coughed slightly before looking back at his mother again, an abashed smile on his face. "Ach aon imní. Anois, nach bhfuil an t-am chun smaoineamh faoi mhná, ach de marú ar Dragon agus taitneamh a bhaint as an t-am le mo theaghlach." The words stumbled on Aeron's tongue, as it had been a long time since he had last spoken in Roma, the language of the gypsies.

“Tú, agus mé ag dul a bheith ag plé le do...shaol grá. Mar sin féin, nach bhfuil anois an t-am. Anon.” She shook her head at him and gave a light 'tsk' before offering a smile. Her tone was light hearted, but she really did worry about Aeron. Between his out of control love life, having a new woman on his arm to break his heart every other passing of the moon and the fact that the King cursed him and refused to remove it from him. She honestly was a bit paranoid that the King might have asked Aeron or Bellona or even Adonis to make sure that she didn't make it back alive. Or perhaps he was paying O'Malley or Alaine, or even Cassandra. She shook her head and issued a sigh, managing to keep a smile on her face, though she knew Aeron would have easily seen something was bothering her. She quickly found a smirk growing on her lips though, spotting Taur riding near Herne. She immediately rose her voice so that he could hear it as well, speaking in a most nonchalant tone. “Perhaps it is because I have lead with a bad example. Perhaps my sons would have a more fruitful love life, had I not been so secretive with my own.” She immediately flashed Taur a feigned pout, her brows pinching together as she pretended to be distraught. “But Taur...He's so ashamed of our passion. A Dwarf with a Nypmh. Crazy? Perhaps. But is that not what love is? Nothing more than acceptable madness? I love you, Taur! I love you!” She made mocking [but quite convincing] kissy faces at the Dwarf, much to the amusement of the gypsies and elves gathered within the foliage of the path.

Aeron saw a fleeting look of worry flash across Lady Gwen's face, but ignored it as she promptly turned to joke with Taur, Aeron's long-time swordsmaster. His eyes widened as he watched his mother make kissy faces at the dwarf, bewilderment growing inside him as he glanced between the two and then at his other adoptive siblings, looking at them all with a questioning look in his eyes. "M-mother?" He asked, his voice filled with confusion. Has something happened between the two of them while I was away at court?! Aeron thought, his brow furrowing. He shook his head quickly. That is not of importance- but, this is going to be a very long journey if this continues...

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lady Gwen Character Portrait: Bellona Shield Character Portrait: Alaine Rivers Character Portrait: Adonis Huraines Character Portrait: Herne Fitch Character Portrait: Cassandra Castillon Character Portrait: O'Malley Character Portrait: Aeron Gwyn Demyan Character Portrait: Callon Agarwaenor Character Portrait: Taur Yamarak

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It would be a blatant lie for Bellona to say that she does not love the smell of the Legon forest, one which she associated very much with running through the woods, and with a feeling of belonging. After all, though Lady Gwen had not raised her in the same sense that the gypsy woman had raised Herne or Aeron, she had still played a very large role in Bellona's upbringing, especially when she had been learning to control her instincts. In those months -Or had it been years?- before she had been found by the queen, the gypsy, and the queen's knight, the girl had acted completely on animal instinct. It is likely for this reason that she had remained alive on those plains. Had the beast side of her not existed, she would have merely been a little girl wandering an area that posed the threat of bandits and beasts. The other side of her had been her protection, for even as a pup a werewolf is large enough and quick enough to take down prey, enough so that they can survive, anyway. It's a double-edged blade, truly- she was cast out onto the plains because she was a werewolf, but was only able to survive due to the very same thing.

The young woman is watching the light that filters through the trees dance along the grass, and then watching animals jump around. They seem a mix of skittish, because of the strangers to the forests, and at ease, at the familiar face of Lady Gwen, mother of the forest. And, it often seems, all who reside within it. Some part of Bellona urges her to chase after an animal, but of course she ignores it. This is hardly the time or place to start a play hunt, is it? Besides, she hasn't really had one in many years now. The girl now only really hunts to eat, otherwise running or training to channel her energy. Or perhaps slipping away to some little tavern or another, now and again. Play hunting was for when she was a pup, and needed to learn.

Her eyes flit, not without a little look of dislike, over towards the prince, Adonis. He is her purpose in going on this journey, his personal guard who is meant to sacrifice her life for his safety, if need be. This task, luckily does not require respecting the fair-haired lad, for his constant calling her dog, and his tendency to act in a manner which she can only call foolish, hardly inspires admiration in the dark haired she-wolf. Rather, what she perceives as mocking and teasing from him has come to put her off of the prince almost entirely. Still, she walks beside his horse, keeping stride easily with all those who are mounted- which means nearly all of her journeying companions. Riding has never been one of Bellona's talents, and thus she is more than happy to simply follow the others by foot- she has stamina and speed to do so. It would perhaps be easier for her to follow in her wolf form, but for fear of spooking the horses, she remains human.

Besides, this form gives her the advantage of being able to smile at the little gypsy girl, who doesn't even look at her, without it seeming a snarl. Bellona has always been fond of small children, almost entirely for their honesty and potential. Of course, the girl begins to speak in the gypsy language, at which point Bellona is lost. Lady Gwen had, in some instances, made some sort of attempt to teach Bellona the language. However, in the year where she spent the most time with Lady Gwen, Bellona's English had been lacking enough, and she hadn't the linguistic gift to master two languages simultaneously. Thus, while Lady Gwen responses in her pretty Roma, others may smile knowingly at whatever the shared conversation is, but Bellona is left out. Well, even attributing much to Lady Gwen, Bellona was never quite as much her child as the others were- perhaps a godchild. It had been a source of great envy in youth. The brunette had envied very many in youth, actually- a side effect of being a werewolf pup in the palace, where werewolves are viewed as some of the lowest of beings.

Following this encounter, out of which Lady Gwen received a blossoming scarlet flower, the gypsy women received many other tokens of luck, flowers and pendants mostly. Some of the others received things as well, though less. Bellona, of course, received none at all. Even if there were a werewolf in the crowd, it likely wouldn't really consider her to be part of them- cursed, not born, and the dog of the royal family.

Bellona was near enough to Aeron and Lady Gwen that she could overhear their conversation, and therefore made a point to distract herself, in order to prevent herself from eavesdropping unintentionally. Most likely, their words slip into the gypsy language anyway, and Bellona will thus not be able to understand them anyway. She turns, somewhat reluctantly, towards the prince, "Your Highness, will-" her words are cut off as her attention is grabbed by a sudden humorous outcry from Lady Gwen. The beautiful Gypsy women proclaims her love for the Dwarf Taur, making kissy faces at him. Instantly, Bellona suppresses a quick bit of laughter, though the look of her smile makes it quite clear that she had nearly laughed at the overdramatic display. Looking at those who line the path, it is clear she is not the only one to find this very amusing.

Of course, Aeron, one of Lady Gwen's adopted sons, seems somewhat less amused. His voice seems struck with genuine concern. Convincing of an actress though Lady Gwen might be, Bellona finds it difficult to believe that Aeron would be sincerely worried by such an act. Of course, between the two sons, she had never really interacted with Aeron- Herne was the one who had been her hunting partner, and more of a cousin-figure to her.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lady Gwen Character Portrait: Bellona Shield Character Portrait: Alaine Rivers Character Portrait: Adonis Huraines Character Portrait: Herne Fitch Character Portrait: Cassandra Castillon Character Portrait: O'Malley Character Portrait: Aeron Gwyn Demyan Character Portrait: Callon Agarwaenor Character Portrait: Taur Yamarak

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Herne was roused from his nap from the increased amount of chatter among his companions. In particular, Aeron's usual fun stood out...once more something rather usual. His body ached from sleeping on the ride, but he figured it better than having to chase down the company every four hours and he had no intention of changing his sleeping habits. Herne undid the knots he used to tied himself to the saddle and quickly got off the horse; his stiff body took a bit to adapt to his usual loping strides but soon enough he was easily keeping pace with the steeds current pace.

"Very funny Aeron," Herne deliberately voiced his response to his adoptive brother and once more caught up in the younger man's pace.
"But we all know I don't do well with people, don't suppose you're going to suggest I go with someone familiar as during Winter ball- I'm pretty sure Bell doesn't see us that way. Or are you going to advise a 'rebound' like the Autumn festival? In that case, aside from Gwen I don't think anyone else fits that category." Herne couldn't keep a tinge of frustration out of his voice by the end of his response. Nor had he noticed to increase in the pace of his stride. In his little fit, Herne had abandoned the reins of his horse...no loss to him since the huntsman carried his equipment personally. A lecturing screech from his falcon,Aedin, brought the fact to his attention but he waved the concern away.

"Someone watch the horse I'm going to stretch my legs," Herne began to put some power in his legs at that statement. In truth he was just throwing a fit due to his own discomfort from being in the city earlier. He wasn't exactly comfortable with having so many people around either, the huntsman decided he needed to clear his head.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lady Gwen Character Portrait: Bellona Shield Character Portrait: Alaine Rivers Character Portrait: Adonis Huraines Character Portrait: Herne Fitch Character Portrait: Cassandra Castillon Character Portrait: O'Malley Character Portrait: Aeron Gwyn Demyan Character Portrait: Callon Agarwaenor Character Portrait: Taur Yamarak

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Time: 5 days ago



“Your majesty. Please. You do not understand.” The long maroon dress scraped against the marble ground with each step, matching her auburn hair that appeared to reflect a deep red within the faint lighting of the palace doors. Perhaps the only thing that did not contribute to the overall shade of red lies by her waist, the two swords clanging against each other with the rhythm of her footsteps, resounding throughout the great hall.

“Enough with your persistent attempts, Cassandra. You are to stay here. You of all understand the situation Thralreth has found itself in. You are to remain where you are needed the most.” The king’s voice bellowed throughout the halls, stopping his footsteps to truly look at the young woman who never has truly exerted such persistence with her thoughts nor words. “But your majest-“ “Cassandra. What has gotten into you? You are of the King’s Guard and you yourself have sworn your loyalty to me years ago. Your place is here, in Thralreth, by my side, by the side of my people.” For a second, the king’s stern remarks held a tinge of pity at denying the young woman her wish. However, his words did not linger in the air for long.

A quiet thud was heard along with the clang of metal against the ground, and the room was silent, the silence swirled around the stunned king along with the woman that now knelt on the ground of the hall, her eyes casted down toward the swords by her side. “Your majesty… Please. Lend me your ears,” She did not raise her eyes as she spoke her words, soft compared to the hard metallic weapons by her side. “I understand the grave danger that sinks its claws into this kingdom, but I also understand the unpredictable nature of the land beyond. The quest is risky, your majesty has said before. You lack a swordsman. Thus, please. Allow my blade to follow those that are risking their lives for the Queen.” Silence followed her words, the chilliness of the ground was seeping its way through the thin dress at her knees. However, she never raised her eyes. For the years since she was eighteen, she has never given a request to the king, always remaining loyal to his wishes and carrying out whichever orders he thought fit. Had she not caught the news of the Prince’s presence within the quest days ago, Cassandra would have remained true to the King’s wish for her to remain with the people of Thralreth.

"Is there anything else you would like to add? Her eyes darted up just as the king broke the silence, her gaze catching his as her hand gripped the hilt of her sword slightly from the faint shudder in her heart. Of course, there was something else, but one that is of utmost secret even to herself, for she denies its existence. "You have placed your trust in me before, your majesty," Her voice was quieter now, "Place it in me once more, to bring your queen back along with your son, both safe and sound." She had always been truthful, and her words were true to herself, for she was determined to destroy the cause of the king's distress... And protect the heir to the throne. "Cassandra..." Her eyes immediately flitted back to her swords at his voice, one that sounded as if it could see right through her, toward the secret that lies within her heart, the reason that she even denies herself. The Prince. She closed her eyes, awaiting the king's refusal. "Yes. I have always placed the utmost trust in you." Her eyes widened at the kindness in the king's voice, her hand loosening from the sword that she did not even realize she had been holding onto. "Therefore..." Her breath caught in her throat at the pause, "Swear your loyalty. But not to me this time. To my son." A faint smile played on the corner of the king's lips as she looked up from the ground.

"I..." She paused for a second as she watched the king with amazement, but the pause only lasted a second before she pulled up the familiar sword beside her, leaving the family heirloom on the ground as she placed her sword, Reflection, within her hands. "Your majesty... By this sword, I swear my undying loyalty to the Prince." Her voice was accompanied by the sound of laughter, the king giving her a motion to rise as he turned toward his throne. "Then off with you, you foolish girl.” The sound of the king’s laughter was contagious. A faint smile played on the edges of her lips, so rare in the sight of the young woman.



Time: Present



The sound of the metallic swords clanging against each other with each of Dawn’s steps provided her with a source of comfort. However, that is not to say that the silence bothered her, for she was much accustomed to the silence that seems to bother many others.

Cassandra rode her horse with practiced maneuvers, Dawn’s steps perhaps one of the quietest within the group, the faint crushing of the leaves at its feet inaudible to those whose excitement reflected with a dullness within the young woman’s eyes. She was not used to having company, much less those that seemed to make such ruckus on the quest. But even so, her gaze did not hold any hints of animosity as she turned her head back toward her horse, her hands lightly maneuvering the reins to guide Dawn along the path it was so unfamiliar with. It would be an understatement to say that she has been on many quests, for she has never refused any of the king’s requests and decisions. However, most of them revolved around city grounds, and the unfamiliar paths of the Legon forest required much patience from the young woman to guide Dawn through.

A faint stir from her horse lifted her eyes toward the company of nine beside her, her head tilting with slight curiosity at the new addition to the group, a small gypsy girl. Only then did she recognize the presence of others that emerged from the flora, for her mind was elsewhere for the minutes before. “Hush… Dawn.” Her quiet voice was barely audible, but it did its job, for the horse stopped its strides and ducked its head as she straightened herself to allow the others finish their conversations. Truly, it was foolish for her to be so unguarded within the Legon forest, for as she had voiced to the king before: I also understand the unpredictable nature of the land beyond. However, her mind lingered elsewhere, at the figure she had held in her sight the entire journey thus far, the one she had sworn her loyalty to.

Foolish. Foolish. Her horse stirred once again at the sound of her sigh, but Cassandra barely noticed this time. She forced her gaze away from the figure of the Prince in the front toward the others that are speaking in the foreign tongue she has never attempted to master. However, whatever they seemed to speak of aroused laughter from the man she recognized as Aeron, though only having seen him several times in Court. The atmosphere was definitely lightening around them as the huntsman woke from his sleep and Dawn fidgeted nervously at the sudden rouse of voices around them. Calming down her horse, who took comfort in silence nearly as much as her, she blocked out the voices of others as she reached for her water skin, taking the first sip of water she has had since the day started. However, much to her dismay, her gaze landed on Lady Gwen just when she made those faces toward the dwarf, which was accompanied by a small cough from Cassandra, her water having gone down the wrong pipe at the scene, for she has only caught glimpses of Lady Gwen at the most formal situations, none of which foreshadows such a scene.

Interesting group the king had chosen. She watched as the huntsman showed hints of discomfort, her eyes flashing with disapproval at him abandoning the reins to his horse. Perhaps it was simply her discomfort in the company of others that aroused slight signs of dismay within her mind at the sight of others, but even so, she knew the dangers of this quest, having heard the king discuss its details in the company of others. She trusted in his ability to pick the best candidates for this quest, but her responsibility lied only in the safety of one. While she didn’t hold any disapproval nor judgment to others, she trusted in them to hold to their true purpose and not fall to the path of betrayal, even those who did not seem to volunteer for honorable means and simply for the promise of riches that lied beyond.

Pulling her hair back with her fingers, she tied two strands of her auburn hair back as to keep them out of her eyes. Under the faint light that struggled to seep through the branches above, her hair reflected a natural red, matching the deep crimson red of cape that draped over the thin knight’s armor. Everything about her was red, even the mane of her horse. The color itself was so familiar to her, often dripped over the blade of her sword and she had no doubt this quest will place even more of such color onto her blade.

But with the Prince is where my loyalty lies. Her hand gripped onto her sword at the thought, her eyes lingering on the back of the man riding before her. Despite the disapproving words of others, the rumors that fly around the kingdom and the naïve actions of the Prince himself, she at least understood the weight of the unexpected burden placed on the young man’s shoulders. And for that, she neglected the words of others. A faint hint of amusement played on the corner of her eyes as she continued her ride forward. Whatever was to come next, her blade will decide her fate.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lady Gwen Character Portrait: Bellona Shield Character Portrait: Alaine Rivers Character Portrait: Adonis Huraines Character Portrait: Herne Fitch Character Portrait: Cassandra Castillon Character Portrait: O'Malley Character Portrait: Aeron Gwyn Demyan Character Portrait: Callon Agarwaenor Character Portrait: Taur Yamarak

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#, as written by Cloud
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Time: Five Days Ago


Spattering torches lit the dank dungeon corridors, barely giving off enough light for Ally to distinguish the features of the man who was paying her a visit. Of course, she didn't need to see the colour of his eyes or the cut of his hair to know who the man was. Even with a plain brown clock drawn over his expensive clothing and the light casting shadows over his face, Ally could tell that the man was royalty, the King, to be precise. No doubt dressed down to avoid unwanted attention. After all, the King did not make personal visits to thieves.

She had sat and listened while he explained, her face giving away no emotions or thoughts as he told her the tale of his missing wife. Ally knew about the Queen and the dragon, you would have had to be living under a rock not to. Even down here, in the dungeons, she was able to hear news from the free world. "You will receive a royal pardon for your past crimes." He declared as he came to the end of his speech. Ally could only think that the King must have been desperate to ask her. Why else would the honourable and mighty King of Thralreth ask her to join his quest. Although asking was probably a slight exaggeration. Sure, Ally could refuse his offer, but that would just mean remaining in the stinking dungeons or worse. She could tell that he expected her to agree, he was the King after all, Ally doubted very much that he heard 'no' all that often. And if she was being honest with herself the moment she had heard of the dragon's treasure, her agreement had been assured. Still, Ally wouldn't let him know that too readily.
"A quest? Your majesty, I haven't seen the sun in months. My belly is crying for food and I have none of the equipment needed for such a long journey." Ally told him, pulling at her foul clothing. Ripped, covered in dirt and giving off a smell that Ally had long since gotten used to, she was in no condition to be seen in public. Given time she could source her own clothes, but why go to all the effort when the King himself could? "Yes, yes. I will have my man deal to that." He agreed, waving his hand at the implied question. "Does that mean you accept?" He added, leaning forward. Ally pretended to consider his question for a moment, waiting until he began to twitch before finally giving him her agreement.

The guard was waved forward and given instructions on what was to be done with Ally. Then, with a last look at the thief, he turned on his heel and hastily made his escape, no doubt asking himself whether he would regret including her in the quest.



Time: Present



Alaine Rivers, or Ally Rivers as she was commonly known in the city slums, rode silently at the back of the group. Clean, fed and wearing decent clothes, she was feeling better than she had in months. A small smile was spread on her face as she took deep breaths of the fresh air. Freedom felt good. Of course, the only downside to her current freedom was the quest she had joined. Noble and heroic, two words that had never been used to describe Alaine Rivers. Yet here she was, part of a group setting off into unknown dangers to face the evil dragon and save the beautiful queen. It sounded like a tale you would hear from a bard or a passing musician. Even the company would have fitted into song. A nymph, an elf, a dwarf, a pirate mermaid, werewolf and a collection of humans from various paths of life ranging to a prince to, well, a recently released criminal. Of course, the majority of the group was there to save the queen. Their reasons for joining the quest were actually noble and heroic. Ally, on the other hand, was in it purely for the riches. She wasn't going to put her life on the line for a woman she had never met. Royalty or not, the queen was nothing to her.

Ally tugged on Trouble's reins, keeping him following the group. The horse hadn't technically been given to her. Yes, the king had assured her the appropriate equipment and she had made the most of that (the blades on her back and stored under her clothes were proof of that), but she doubted that he had meant to give her one of his stable's finest horses. Trouble was a beauty Ally was somewhat proud of her knew mount and had gone to some effort to ensure he was hers. She kept his reins held loosely in her hands, although not with so much slack that the horse might wonder off the track, although the appearing crowd might have made him hesitate.
Ally's eyes flicked from side to side as people and creatures appeared to wish them safety on their journey. Some waved and smile while others simply prayed as they passed. Ally, usually someone who moved in the shadows and avoided large public affairs such as this, found the attention rather unsettling, especially after her long stay in the dungeons. Luckily, most of the attention was directed towards the members of their party who resided in Legon, drawing it away from herself, but there was no denying that she found it all rather strange. Yet, her face gave nothing away. The small smile still played around her face and anyone looking wouldn't have guessed her slight unease.

Ally took in everything as they rode, from the people gathered on the sides of the path to the interactions between the members of the party. She knew several by name alone, while others she had had the occasional dealing with over the years. Many of the group were already on familiar terms with each other, as seen by the friendly teasing Lady Gwen shot at Taur while speaking with her adoptive son Aeron. Ally simply watched, collecting thoughts and information. It paid to know the people you were working with, whatever the job. She found it easier to get a grasp of someone by watching them and then decide how to interact with them. Perhaps her method wasn't the most efficient for making true friends, it was far too calculating for that, but Ally wasn't concerned with making true friends of the gather gang. Once she had her treasure, she was out of there.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lady Gwen Character Portrait: Bellona Shield Character Portrait: Alaine Rivers Character Portrait: Adonis Huraines Character Portrait: Cassandra Castillon Character Portrait: Aeron Gwyn Demyan Character Portrait: Taur Yamarak

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Four Days Ago




"I still do not see why I am going," Adonis repeated for what had to be the thousandth time in the last few weeks, "It is a terrible idea, and we both know I am just going to get in the way."

"You will go because I command it." A stern voice answered, and lately, it might simply be his imagination, that same stern voice seemed to have gained some of the strength it had lost months past with the abduction of his mother and his brothers death, perhaps this foolhardy 'quest' had given him something he had lacked lately, faith. Of course, his father's faith and hope would do very little to stop a dragon from dinning on his corpse. Still, it would have been nice for his father to at least look at him instead of staring down at the stack of papers on his desk.

"Just," Adonis began trying to think of some point he hadn't brought up, "Think of the Kingdom, what would happen if your only heir were to die?"

"It is a risk I am willing to take. You are unfit to rule as you are now anyways," his fathers answer came a little too quick for Adonis taste, but granted, his father had a point. Adonis firmly believed he would be an awful ruler and didn't want the forsaken crown anyhow. Still, a little hesitancy would have been welcome as Adonis was not a fool, he had seen how his father treated some of the servants, guards and knights, far better then him that was for sure.

"You will have Shield, and I am even sending one of my personal guard," the King said finally looking up at him from the numerous papers strewn across his desk.

This was news to him. Adonis knew the dog was coming but one of the King's Guard? Was that a last minute addition?

"Which guard?" Adonis asked a little curious as he knew of some of the ones coming, well, no, not really. He knew Gwen from the forest of a ludicrously long name was coming and bringing some allies but that was it.

"Sir Castillon, she has sworn her fealty to you," the king said searching Adonis' face for, something.

Castillon? Yes, Adonis knew of her as it was hard not to know about the only woman King's Guard, but he hadn't really spoken to her much, in his memory, as most of the time he didn't notice she was in the same room and even now he wasn't quite sure what she looked like. He did know she was the best swordsmen, er, woman in the kingdom even surpassing his brother, and even more striking was the fact she gave her loyalty to him. Did she lack wit and sanity?

"Well, at least when I get eaten; it won't be alone. Hells, we can make a lovely meal, don't you think, my king? The, oh so, noble knight who swore loyalty to a fool and his cute little doggie. Maybe a lovely lady-in-the-woods after snack?" Adonis said not attempting to hide the bitterness in his voice.

A loud crack split the air as the King slammed his fist on the hardwood desk, "Boy! Can you not, for a single second, pretend to be half the man your brother was?"

It didn't hurt as much as it used to as Adonis had grown used to such comments and believed them himself. The Kingdom's future and his mother's safety would be ensured if it had been him that had died as was supposed to happen instead of Septimus.

"Of course, my king," Adonis said snidely, giving a mock bow, "I live only to uphold my deceased brother's mighty shadow," and so another argument began, another fight, another shouting match. Their 'goodbyes'.



Present




Adonis leaned back in the saddle, the sun rays peaking through the dense tree canopies to lighten their way. The noble group of heroes were underway, and Adonis couldn't wait to write down all their glorious deeds. Letting a long breath leave him, he took a moment to examine his newest traveling companions. The lady Gwen of something or another, of course, he would never tell that to her face as he could only take too many smacks to the head before he became a true fool. Still, he always had a small crush on her as a child; she gave off a warm, safe aura that he had never felt from anyone, and her voice was beyond compare.

The thief on a horse that Adonis found incredibly familiar. One that he was, more then sure, he had fed once or twice, but Adonis wasn't sure he wanted to bring it up as it really wasn't his problem but that of the stable master and his father's. Adonis was sure she had a very lovely name, but he had to confess that he really didn't care what her name was at the moment. Sure, in the future, he intended to flirt with her, and maybe, bed her, but he wasn't in the mood to chase after a horse thief in the search for carnal pursuits.

The other wheat-haired man, the first being himself, woke up, said something that Adonis didn't quiet catch then walked off somewhere. The dwarf... well, Adonis wasn't sure who he was, but the dwarf was a friend of Lady Gwens, close friend from the looks of them and A-something. Another human. One of the people he was sure he was supposed to know the name of, but Adonis couldn't quite remember it. He had seen him at court, when Adonis was forced to attend, once or twice. Few men's names were worth remembering. Those two and Lady Gwen were together speaking mostly in a language that Adonis did not know which somewhat irritated him. Were they talking about him? What were they talking about? Adonis firmly believed people only did that while in groups to annoy the other members and to broadcast how they were in a special little group that no one else was allowed into. Yes, this trip was looking to be a very 'fun' adventure.

"Your Highness, will-"

Adonis turned his head to look down at his faithful dog, Bellona Shield. The other castle outcast just like himself, and he was glad she was there with him as it gave him some small comfort, but she was distracted it seemed, and it didn't take him long to figure out by what as Lady Gwen and her group of secret friends that were talking in their little secret language had an outcry of something or another that led to Gwen sending the dwarf a 'kissy' face, but he wasn't close enough to hear what was going on, so he would assume it was an inside joke.

Turning his head back to Bellona, Adonis rested his chin in his hand watching and waiting for her to continue, when it became apparent she wasn't going to, he decided he would give her a nudge as social interaction would be a welcome change, "It is well that I wasn't holding my breath waiting for you, else I would be dead already," he said before giving her a coy smile, "Did you wish to ride in my lap?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lady Gwen Character Portrait: Bellona Shield Character Portrait: Alaine Rivers Character Portrait: Adonis Huraines Character Portrait: Herne Fitch Character Portrait: Cassandra Castillon Character Portrait: O'Malley Character Portrait: Aeron Gwyn Demyan Character Portrait: Callon Agarwaenor Character Portrait: Taur Yamarak

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TIme: 3 days prior to the present
1:05 pm


The King paced outside of his capital of Ingotstone, a platoon of at least 5 of the royal guard behind him. There was no real need for them, but a certain adviser insisted that he take a few men just in case the certain short fellow was more temperamental than they had heard. Truthfully, he had only sent the invitation on a whim in the hopes to attract the elusive dwarf's talents to Ingotstone, hopefully striking a deal with the smith. His abilities were completely unknown, but it was the stereotype that all dwarves were master smiths. However, the invitation said nothing about this deal: instead it only stated that the King wished to have the dwarf join the quest, and if he was interested to meet by the entrance of Ingotstone in 3 days time when the sun reached its peak.

With that time having past, the King was convinced that the short smith would not appear, and planned on retreating to the keep. It wasn't until one of the knights behind him exclaimed "There he is!" that the King turned towards the forest instead of the road. There, a lone fellow no higher than 5 feet tall broke through the treeline at a walking pace. Three handles poked out from behind the dwarf's head, with a hammer and axe on his hip. His head was held high, his stride strong, and his face an odd mixture of tense and smug. The figure did not speed up at all after clearing the forest, and made his way towards the King and his convoy at a fairly moderate pace: some would have probably seen this as highly insensitive towards the king. After all, who didn’t want to be in the light of the King?

Taur, on the other hand, couldn’t care. He planned on completely ignoring the invitation to parley with the king - especially since he had suspicions that Lady Gwen had been the one behind the fact that the parchment had been nailed to his door. Only a few new the location of Taur’s hut, and even fewer bothered to even venture that far through the forest. The thing was that, in a different handwriting, was a message on the original invitation: dragons horde jewels. That was all it said, in a simple font, and yet it was the whole reason why the dwarf had bothered to get dressed to travel this morning. He had to admit, he was late, but that didn’t bother him; Taur ran on his own schedule.

An odd silence began as soon as Taur finally reached the group of humans, to which he gave each a stern, fierce look, before turning to the King. Taur wasn’t sure how the man was feeling, nor did he care; it was time to get this conversation over with. “You wrote?” His voice was firm, and the King seemed to be slightly taken aback at the tone - then again, Taur had to wonder how many dwarves these pathetic humans had ever met. Taur watched as one of the knights almost unsheathed his sword, which only got a raised eyebrow from the dwarf. “I did. I have heard of you, dwarf. Some say you are a master smith, others write you off as an outsider. Taur’s eyes hardened as the King spoke, his mouth tight - but he said nothing as the King continued. ”Whatever you are, I want to know if you wish to accompany the upcoming quest to slay the dragon Cyrodil. What say you?” The King spoke with absolute authority, something that Taur admired even if he was a human. However, that didn’t mean that this King of the humans had any authority over Taur, and he took absolute advantage of this.

”I say this is absolutely ridiculous, and your hopes are wasted on this quest.” The King had steeled his face, but the obvious shock was still in his eyes. The other soldiers, on the other hand, could not and did not contain their shock. They began to voice their concerns almost immediately, but Taur continued on without caring. ”You have pitted barely a dozen warriors against a dragon; while the reputation of the warriors is commendable, you have nothing to go on. No heading, no location: coupled with a few deadweights, and this quest will fail.” The King was visibly taken aback at the rudeness and blunt tone that Taur had given, and his soldiers were no better. One even drew his sword and began to swing threateningly towards Taur, if the dwarf hadn’t reacted on his own. A flick of the wrist, and the sword the man drew lay instantly on the ground, busted in two. Taur simply held his tomahawk in one hand, and stared hard at the soldier. ”Predictable.” Taur looked back to the King, whose expression was unreadable.

”I will join your quest; somebody has to repair the garbage equipment you hand out to your soldiers.” The King said nothing as Taur turned and headed towards the forest, making no attempt to talk anymore. He was done with these humans, and hopefully the journey home would be better. ”I’ll be back for departure. Taur hollered as he grabbed his pipe from his pocket and lit it before taking a few puffs. As he entered the brush once again, he could think of only one thing: This better be worth it



Time: The Present and the Future



The whole quest was turning into a disaster, and it was barely time for supper; at least, according to the dwarf on the saddle of a pack horse, anyway. They rode through the Legon forest together, the jolly band of fools destined to be slaughtered by a mythical dragon. Truly it was a tale for the legends, a ragtag batch of individuals going on a quest, getting lost and dying slowly unless they found the dragon, to which they would be burnt to a crisp and eaten. Taur didn’t even want to think about all of the gypsies that came to greet them, most of them recognizing Taur as the fringe-dwelling dwarf and throwing odd flowers at him and giggling. He might have received them, if he wasn’t laying within the saddle like a child in a cradle, peering through his glass piece at an amethyst that he had acquired from a Giant before leaving. He used his other eye to make sure Herne didn’t fall off.

In truth, Taur really wished he hadn’t joined the quest: after all, if he died here, that would be it. No more forging under a rocky overhang, no more pesky birds to keep him company, no more anything. It was truly a dreadful thought, but he had also contemplated the meaning of existence during the waiting period before the quest. Taur adjusted his pipe with his mouth as he mused, staring at the light purple gemstone in thought. And, as always with his thoughts, they always seemed to be interrupted by a certain Nymph who just had to enjoy teasing him.

It wasn’t hard, but Taur easily picked up the Roma language, easily translating and understanding the conversation that his pupil Aeron and Gwen were having, and not liking where it was going. Like clockwork, a voice rang out, one that could cause the fiery dwarf’s face to turn a shade of red not linked to anger: Perhaps it is because I have lead with a bad example. Perhaps my sons would have a more fruitful love life, had I not been so secretive with my own. But Taur...He's so ashamed of our passion. A Dwarf with a Nypmh. Crazy? Perhaps. But is that not what love is? Nothing more than acceptable madness? I love you, Taur! I love you!” Taur could even place where she put in the pauses, it was that automatic for him. Yet that didn’t stop the flustered expression he always got when Gwen taunted him. He couldn’t help it: bluntness he could handle, but this form of bluntness made no sense to him. The innuendos and the references went over his head and made him squeamish: Taur remembered fondly back home that if two dwarves wanted to be coy together, they would go up to the other and state their intentions clearly and straightforward like. Love was something that made sense in a dwarven community. Out here? Taur was confused.

Taur sat up as Gwen spoke, and turned to give her a hard stare of annoyance before turning in his saddle to face back, taking a few more puffs of his pipe to hopefully calm him down. What made it worse was that Taur had no idea of her intentions: did Gwen truly see him as a possible mate, or was she doing this to torture the poor dwarf? Taur couldn’t tell, and it drove him mad. But he dare not speak of such matters with her; that was just... Taur couldn’t place it, but he did not want to do it. So instead, he spoke in a low tone. ”Ut-Utter lunacy... It came out a stutte before he took a few more puffs, and finally began to feel himself beginning to calm down. He put the gemstone away in his coat, along with the spyglass, and began to look around at all of the others, and he had to admit: he wasn’t liking what he saw.

There was that thief in the back, one he had never even heard of yet apparently held a nasty reputation amongst humans; that didn’t really concern him at all. There was also that mermaid pirate person that confused Taur as to what she really was. Dwarves knew little about those that lived at sea, as many of them cared not for seafaring. There was also an elf, but Taur paid him no heed. Then came his Royal Pain-In-The-Useless-Ass, Prince Adonis. From what Taur had heard about the boy, he wasn’t going to be much help, especially if the two women he had on the side were going to focus their strength on keeping him alive. There was the one that he learned to be a werewolf, Ms. Bellona Shield and the Scarlet Knight herself, Cassandra Castillion. He had heard great things about those two, but he wondered how useful they would be if their prince got himself compromised. Herne was also beside him, but he left to go something less than useful.

Taur then came around to see the two that he personally knew; Lady Gwen of the Legon and Aeron. One his pupil and one his tormentor, and Taur swore that they would change their roles sometimes to mess with him. He could not, however, say that neither of the two were not close to his dwarven heart. Lady Gwen had accepted him into her forest when he arrived, to which he was still somewhat grateful for. Aeron was the first human that Taur could safely put his trust into; it certainly did help that the boy was trained to kill by the dwarf himself. His circle of extensive and stern examining now complete, Taur returned his gaze from the others to himself, giving a sigh of annoyance as he stared upwards. This was going to be long, and if Gwen continued as she did, he might die of embarrassment instead of a dragon. How pathetic.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lady Gwen Character Portrait: Bellona Shield Character Portrait: Alaine Rivers Character Portrait: Adonis Huraines Character Portrait: Herne Fitch Character Portrait: Cassandra Castillon Character Portrait: O'Malley Character Portrait: Aeron Gwyn Demyan Character Portrait: Callon Agarwaenor Character Portrait: Taur Yamarak

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Three days before departure at precisely 6:35 PM



There was a knock on the door. Just a single knock sounded on Callon's door, and his entire life seemed to change. The young elf had curled up, back to the oaken wall, in his study. The room itself wasn't overly impressive, but the amount of literature he'd managed to cram in certainly was. Shelves looked ready to burst, and piles of tombs teetered occasionally as a running elf passed by. He hadn't been himself for months, and that was painfully obvious to the only elf who seemed the least bit concerned about him: his mother. Besides her, not many elves truly knew the young general. Instead, he was more of an enigmatic figure to the masses. They watched him ride home victorious, and they tossed flowers his way, yet he was forgotten once he entered his home and locked himself away. But, ever since the Queen had been snatched up, he'd been a wreck. One of his only friends, the woman he'd known since she was a mere girl, had been taken from him.

Callon truly couldn't remember how many times he'd read the same passage in the past hour. It should have been burned into his mind, but all he could recall was the sickening guilt he felt. Why should he feel guilty? How could he have known that the Queen would be taken. And yet, it only seemed right to blame himself. So, when the knock sounded, Callon hesitated a moment before he fully comprehended the fact that it was his door being knocked upon.

"Just a moment!" Callon cried, tossing the book down as he raced for the door to open it. His ebony locks were out of place, mussed from the constant tugging Callon had done. As he pulled the door open, he instantly regretted not freshening up.

"My sincerest apologies, General..." spoke the messenger who was as shocked to see the elf out of armor as Callon was to see another being at his door. "But, I thought you would understand my urgency. You have heard the joyous news, have you not?" Callon blinked ignorantly. Of course news hadn't reached him, for he hadn't had much contact with the world besides gatherings with his fellow officers or visits from his mother.

"No news could bring joy to me now," he murmured melodramatically. The messenger raised an eyebrow and silently handed the letter he held to the other elf. His griping ceased as soon as he recognized the seal of the King. "Is something the matter...? Why does he send me word?" What good news could the letter possibly contain? His doubt soon dissipated as Callon read the note once, twice, then three times. His King was asking for him to join the quest to retrieve the Queen. Oh, joyous news indeed! He could have kissed the man before him if he didn't stop to think about it before hand. "I shall go! Oh, tell the King I shall go!" He slammed the door in the man's face with hardly a "thank you". Callon had some packing to do.



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Present Day in the early hours of the morning



There was another knock on the door. This one, much more fervent and followed by many more. Callon finished lacing his leather boots and walked to the door to answer it, wondering who could be here now. Was it the messenger again? Did the King have another note? Perhaps he had decided at the last moment to hold off on sending the rescue party. Again, he opened the door and looked into the eyes of the visitor, Adam's apple bobbing in his throat. How could he have forgotten to tell her?

"You were planning to leave without even a word to me, your mother?!" scolded Lancaeriel, her amber braid flying around as she turned to shut the door behind herself. Callon backed up, giving the furious elf her space.

"W-well, I would have come by of course, but I knew you would not allow me to go if I told you any earlier." Well, at least that was the truth. Lancaeriel seemed to think the opposite however, for she fixed her steely gaze on her son.

"You are all I have left, yet you would leave me without a son, too?" she spoke softer now, lips pulled into a thin line as she looked at the younger elf. Would he die on his quest? Would fate, which seemed so cruel to her, strike another blow? As Callon tried to formulate his thoughts, she moved forward quickly and balled his cloak up in her fists. "Promise me now, Callon, that you will return to me." He nervously looked around the room. Could he really promise such a thing? He'd be lying if he did so.

"Rwy'n addo."



Present Day and Time



And so, that was where he was now. Perched atop a white mare named Ayla, he rode along with the others as they passed through the crowds of people. Though inside he was anxious, Callon had forced himself to sit upright in what he referred to as his general pose. When he would return from battle, Callon would instinctively take this position of rigidity upon his horse. Even if he felt like he would burst from the nervousness, the young man carried on. Right now, his hands trembled on the reins, causing Ayla to stir a bit restlessly. He looked around, hoping to find some familiar face, but the only ones he knew instantly-- Gwen and her son, Aeron-- were busy in their own conversation. He could translate, of course, but he did not wish to impede. Instead, he stuck to the middle of the group, chewing the inside of his cheek as he watched gypsies waving eagerly to their Queen.

As the elves approached, Callon seemed to relax a bit more. A few cried out their good wishes for him. "Byddwch yn ddiogel, syr!" Other elves merely watched with their hands over their chests. Callon returned the gesture, smiling down at those who hardly knew him. Around the dark, ebony locks on his head, he wore a thin circlet woven out of oak branches. It was a symbol of good luck, but as the enchantment of the scene began to wear off, Callon began to question the amount of luck some sprigs from a tree would bring. Shakily, he placed his arm over his own heart and continued on. "Wyf yn gobeithio fy mod wedi gwneud y dewis cywir..." He glanced around at his companions once more and fell silent, staring down at his hands which were tangled in the reins.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lady Gwen Character Portrait: Bellona Shield Character Portrait: Alaine Rivers Character Portrait: Adonis Huraines Character Portrait: Herne Fitch Character Portrait: Cassandra Castillon Character Portrait: O'Malley Character Portrait: Aeron Gwyn Demyan Character Portrait: Callon Agarwaenor Character Portrait: Taur Yamarak

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5 Days Earlier



O'Malley had taken puff of her pipe as she sailed into port only to draw attention from only a few people. As she threw the anchor in to the ocean, making a large splash. She grabbed her bag of treasures from her small cabin, putting them in her satchel with everything else she saw as important. The woman undid the rope keeping her horse calm and released his mouth. She petted his head with a smirk. "Ready to make some money, bucko?" The horse neighed as she chuckled and jumped onto her horse only to head to the gangplank and off to the local bar, the place all her best costumers spent most of their time.

As she rode to the bar, a young man ran beside, trying to get her attention. "O'Malley! Hey!," The girl turned her pulled her horse to a stop before glaring down at the man. "What do you want, McDaniel? I just got back, can't you wait until tomorrow to try and make a move on me?" The younger man just chuckled before shaking his head. "A whole day? I can try, but no promises, beautiful. But, that's not why I stopped you. In your bag? You got any new little trinkets?" O'Malley rolled her eyes before nodding, getting ready to start her horse again. "Can I see them?"

"Of course not, Lad! You need to wait and look at them with all the other drunken land lovers. You are not special." She raised an eyebrow before petting Scout and telling him to go. And with that she continued to her favorite place in the whole kingdom, seeing in the corner of her eye, McDaniel walking behind her. The younger boy was, persistent to say the least. While he was a spitting image of Nathaniel, that only made her want to stay away from him more, but what he had in being annoying, he made it up to her by buying many of her goods. When she started hearing the sound of shattering glass and the smell of alcohol, the girl smirked before jumping off her horse and tying the rein to a small wooden bar out in front with two other black horses, who she knew belonged to two of her...acquaintances. She didn't have many friends, esp. male friends. So, she just called the acquaintances. She walked inside, fixing her hat as she looked around and got a jolly welcome. All of the men asking about her two month adventure and the things she got along the way.

She reached in her bag and tossed the treasures onto a table, only to soon be swarmed by other men of the sea. O'Malley was good at what she did, was it 100% legal and okay in some, if not most people's eyes? No, but she was a pirate. Finding and taking things is what she did. And, if she wasn't good at it, she wouldn't have gotten a royal pardon for having attacked one of Thralreth's ships. She was good at what she did. She grabbed a chair next to her and dragged it next to before standing on it and clearing her throat. "Alright, you animals. First things first, back away from the booty. Everyone." She said drawing her sword. These men were somewhat close to her but, they still were pirates and thieves. So, she took extra precautions to ensure that all her things were sold and she had the money to prove it. Some of the new men looked surprised that she was a woman for one thing and that she had to respect from the men for them to follow her orders. When they were all far enough away from the table, she smirked and put her weapon away. She picked up a large necklaces, holding it by the end. "The necklace goes to the boy with the most money. I got this in my travel on the way back here. Found it on an abandon little island not too far from here. Legend has it, that this necklace was given to the queen before this one and when she died her husband threw this into the ocean, not knowing that it would end up not too far away." She told them with a raised eyebrow as she looked from the golden necklace to the men ready to jump at it. Was the story the truth? Possibly, but only she knew the truth to a T.

"Which one of you want it?" She watched the men start to scream and shout their bids only to have McDaniel outbid them. The spoiled bastard had enough money to waste it on anything, something he constantly reminded the other men of when he would outbid them just for the mere fact that it might impress O'Malley. It never did, but if it kept him buying, she could play along a bit. One man put a bid of seven hundred. She waved it around for the others to make a bet before it was took late. "Going once. Going twice. So--.."

"One thousand." McDaniel said as he walked up next to the woman with a smirk with his arm reaching out to grab the necklace that he knew no one else would bid on. All the men looked down at the wooden floor when the woman looked around before sighing sharply and tossing the necklace towards the male. "You better have all the money right now."

He chuckled before tossing a bag on to the table for the woman. "What's the next item for sale, darling?" She could hear men snicker under their breath as they watched to two interact with one another. It was always the same thing. McDaniel made a move and O'Malley would brush it off like nothing happened. "Next thing I have for sale is--.."

The wooden door swung open to reveal the royal guards. A few men, some the were her friends rushed out the back because they were wanted men in the kingdom. Looking around, more and more men slipped out towards the ocean to hit sail before they were recognized by someone. O'Malley turned her glare towards the two men before dropping the money in her bag along with the golden compass she was about to sell. "Adeline O'Malley?" One of the men asked as they pointed towards her.

"Maybe...? Who's asking?"

"The king has requested to speak to you."

McDaniels' hazel eyes darted towards O'Malley before looking back towards the men. O'Malley slowly got off her chair before walking towards them, only looking back to look at McDaniel. He was about to say something but before he could the door slammed behind them


The present


O'Malley looked down at Scout with a smile as she petted him before looking at the compass she never had the chance to sell to see what way they were going. She only looked up when she started to hear Gwen speaking in her native tongue to the others. Personally, O'Malley didn't know a word she was saying but, she still listened to the woman. She took a deep breath as she looked at the ground, she never spent this much time on her horse before, hell she's never been this long on dry land. She wasn't a fan, her love was the water and it felt bizarre not setting sail for a new adventure on another part of the world. But, this. This was the biggest adventure she could ever go on, slaying a dragon and saving the queen. What could beat that? Nothing.

Sure, the money helped but it wasn't her main goal like some of the others. She took off her leather hat to fix the fly aways blocking her vision. Her hair was in a tight bun, out of the way but it always came undone after awhile because of how wild her hair was. She just pushed them back before putting her hat back on and started looking towards the others of the group. She mostly looked at the men, seeing that she wasn't used to being around so many for this long. Even in the pubs, she would be in and out. Sell them what they wanted and be back on the water by daybreak. As the crowd around them wished them luck, O'Malley just clutched her locket and sighed. "Wish me luck, Nate." She said under her breath before clearing her throat to remove the lump of emotion that was forming.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lady Gwen Character Portrait: Bellona Shield Character Portrait: Alaine Rivers Character Portrait: Adonis Huraines Character Portrait: Herne Fitch Character Portrait: Cassandra Castillon Character Portrait: O'Malley Character Portrait: Aeron Gwyn Demyan Character Portrait: Callon Agarwaenor Character Portrait: Taur Yamarak

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The group had long since passed by the large communities found in the forest and had now ventured deeper towards the north, mostly riding in silence once more. Gwen had dismounted as they further went in, the trail no longer visible and the plant life growing a bit more sentient. As she traveled by foot, she kept the vines at bay and allowed herself to communicate with them, establishing dominance and assuring them that they meant to pass peacefully. She was wondering when there would be some excitement, hoping for a fight. Not that she enjoyed watching lives being taken or others getting hurt, but she had to admit that she loved the grace of combat. Combining technique and strategy with strength and weaponry was an art and she was quite sure that the majority of them were all masters in the art of fighting in some way. She had seen O'Malley fight with swords before and she was good. But Cassandra was quite amazing with her steel. She wasn't sure about Alaine though, but it was wise to never underestimate a thief.

She had allowed her mind to focus on the world around her, pointed ears flickering at every snapping twig and crunching leaf as she prepared for bandits to jump out from somewhere. Though she knew that they wouldn't in this forest. But around the tunnel – That was a different story. She had no control over the creatures and plants that were there. She had no doubt in her mind that they would be fine though. Finding Cyrodil was the easy part after all. None of them had much talked about any sort of battle strategies, though it wasn't that easy to do when the dragon was so much surrounded in mystery. Gwilwîlethien wasn't fond of the idea of having to slay the dragon, being that the mighty creatures were so rare. But something had to be done. And who knows, there very much could be more to the story. Perhaps it was being controlled by some greedy person, a slave unto their whims. It wasn't unheard of.

But all that was put aside when they stopped to make camp, finding a nice clearing that was a good two hundred paces away from the mouth of the tunnel. The sun had long since set and the three moons rose high in the sky. The canopy of trees had faded away and become scarce, allowing those with human eyes to see by the light of the blue, green, and white moons. Cunés had padded away and found a nice spot to rest near a pond, unconcerned with food at the moment. She had gone running about earlier and had a few stags for lunch. She was good for now. The Nymph had gone about setting up a fire, clearing the small area of the tall and lush grass that went up to her knees – She didn't want to start a full on blaze. No, she was content with a small roaring flame, turning to the others as they got down from their saddles. “Herne, Bellona. Would you two mind hunting a meal?” She gave a light smile, shedding her cloak and kneeling next to the fire to warm herself from the nippy air that had fallen about with the fog.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lady Gwen Character Portrait: Bellona Shield Character Portrait: Alaine Rivers Character Portrait: Adonis Huraines Character Portrait: Herne Fitch Character Portrait: Cassandra Castillon Character Portrait: O'Malley Character Portrait: Aeron Gwyn Demyan Character Portrait: Callon Agarwaenor Character Portrait: Taur Yamarak

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Herne Fitch


Herne had rejoined the line for horses and the rest of the group after they had entered the more heavily wooded zones. The lack of extra crowds had made traveling with the company much easier. Unfortunately, the events of the day had made the man realize he'd need to adjust his sleep habit. Considering how travel was being done done his usual naps would simply get in the way, thus he stayed up. As the day wore on, mostly in silence he found himself starting to observe people closer for lack of other things to do. It wasn't an assessment of ability, more of a hunting view:body type, the ways muscles moved, physical features and in the case of those nearby he even tried to ingrain their smell in his memory.

Eventually the trees grew thick enough where he abandoned the idea of riding entirely...he'd rather walk anyways. It was sometime between here and camp that his trusted falcon dosed off on his horse. To Herne this was the most obvious indication of nightfall though due to lack of a clearing they continued walking for another distance until Gwen found one suitable for a group their size. By this point the air had become moist and crisp, good hunting conditions. But the abundance of fog limited his visibility to spot his quarry from a larger distance. He felt a smile form on his lips, this made the chase more fun really. When Gwen asked he and Bell hunt, it became the highlight of the day.

"Gladly...it'll be just like old times," Herne threw a glance towards his hunting partner. "Bell, today's the day I finally beat you to the trail." It was something he'd told the girl every time they'd gone hunting...and to date the huntsman had yet to win. Nevertheless, he still made his usual proclamation- he'd win eventually. That and from what he'd seen of her job so far, the woman could probably go for some old sport.In an effort to shed some weight, Herne took off his bear coat- a massive thing that could easily wrap around him three times. He'd added straps so it could be tied to a tighter fit, as it was now or so it could be dawned in full to make himself look like a bear in addition to providing warmth and snow cover.

"Gwen catch," he tossed the coat towards the Nymph after his warning. Herne had always found a bit of a chill livened the hunt and sharpened the senses (it was also his way of indirectly showing some consideration to his "parent"). To aide the endeavor, he even stripped his leather undercoat that he usually wore to keep dry and dropped it to the ground. The result left him in his torso covered only my leather armor and the long shirt under it. The huntsman drew his bow from there, finally ready to hunt. He began to set off, but a purple flower caught his eye before he could leave the clearing. Herne found himself pointing towards the plant to warn the party...a Prince in particular.

"Also no one touch those purple flowers, that's monkshood. Roots are tasteless and the whole plant is poisonous, Aeron I believe I have a set of your gloves in the dropped coat...in case you cared for a sample. Also...could you watch my bird?" Herne looked to his "brother" with a look of genuine sincerity...Aeron had brought him the bird a while back. In that sense, he wasn't secure with anyone else watching his friend...though the Elf and Gwen probably has plenty of tricks up their sleeves in regard to the falcon.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lady Gwen Character Portrait: Bellona Shield Character Portrait: Alaine Rivers Character Portrait: Adonis Huraines Character Portrait: Herne Fitch Character Portrait: Cassandra Castillon Character Portrait: O'Malley Character Portrait: Aeron Gwyn Demyan Character Portrait: Callon Agarwaenor Character Portrait: Taur Yamarak

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As the group had moved along, Aeron constantly rode directly beside Gwen, though his eyes were constantly set on the trees that loomed above them, the darkness of the forest, and Prince Adonis, as well. When Herne had suddenly made off, bounding off of his horse and away into the gypsy settlements that had surrounded them at the time, Aeron had followed, but had stopped Orome after a few steps or two. He'll be back. This was not the first time Herne had left Aeron due to his jests- but it was the first time for the Huntsman to throw aside such an important expedition. No worries. He is the older sibling. Surely enough, his responsibility will fill his heart and make him come back. Aeron chortled at his own tone before he settled Orome once again beside Gwen's tiger, his smile had returned and his eyes bright as he turned to look at the other companions on the trip. He knew all of them, as he had been the main messenger from the King, sending out letters to those that had been chosen- though he never did hand them the letter. But Aeron had been in the shadows, observing each of them as per to his Highness's orders. For those that had not been approached through letter- Bellona, Cassandra, Taur- Aeron had watched from his usual hiding place and had heard each word that they had discussed with the King. As this thought passed his mind, Aeron cast a pitying glance at Cassandra. Why would the famed Red Knight be so entranced by a fool of a prince? A sigh had escaped Aeron's lips, and he had turned to look at Taur. The Highness had not been pleased by Aeron's mentor- but it didn't matter to Aeron. Rather, he thought that the little 'show' the dwarf had put up had been mildly amusing- and had shown the arrogant guards of Ingotstone exactly where they actually stood.

Now, Aeron dismounted from his horse as [Lady Gwen? Gwen? his mother?] set up a fire, spreading warmth in the little clearing in front of the cave. “Herne, Bellona. Would you two mind hunting a meal?” Aeron set about unpacking his horse, pulling out his sleeping gear and placing the neat bundle carefully on the ground. Walking back to Orome, he pulled out a carrot for the horse, muttering to the horse quietly as he stroked it's long, black mane. When the horse finished, he tied Orome's reins to a branch on one of the low-hanging trees and undid his saddle quickly, placing it on the ground beside where he would sleep for the night. Stretching a bit, Aeron turned towards Lady Gwen and asked, "Mother, what are we having for dinner? And-" Aeron made sure to raise his voice for the dwarf to hear. "What is going on between you and Taur? I mean, I don't mind if you, er, choose him to be your lawful husband..." His eyes flickered between the two, his eyebrows raising as he took in the two. An amusing couple to say the least... A chuckle escaped Aeron but he immediately stifled it, knowing that Taur would take immediate offense.

Gwen had caught Herne's coat without so much as looking removing a variety of small jars with spices and herbs in them as he warned the others against bothering the monkshood. She lifted a brow and shook her head some, calling out to him in return. “We're well aware of that, Herne.” Gwen and Callon and Aeron and Taur and Bellona knew, of course. This was their home – Or second home, in the case of a couple. She was sure that O'Malley, well traveled as she was, knew well enough what was good to eat and what wasn't. It was something you learned quick on your own. She was also sure that the others weren't exactly about to go picking pretty flowers to chomp on with the promise of a meal less than a few hours away. Aeron had caught her attention though and she turned her head towards him with a light smile. “We'll be having a salad and berries with whatever Bell and Herne bring back. And no, there's no such relationship between Taur and I.” She laughed in amusement at her son's hesitancy, lowering her voice some. “I've been alone for almost three hundred years. Why change now?” There was a bit of sadness to her tone, but it wouldn't be seen in her face. However, as perceptive as he was, Aeron caught the sad tone in Gwen's voice. He patted his mother on the back, a small but firm smile on his face and muttered, "Níl aon fear ar an talamh sin is fiú do chuid ama, máthair

“Bhuel, tá go chompord.” She chuckled softly, shaking her head. She knew that he was only trying to comfort her and managed a small smile. Aeron squeezed Gwen's shoulder one last time before surveying the area one last time. He ignored the plant that his brother had pointed out to him- Aeron never used poison during his jobs, and never felt the need to. It made the job much less interesting, and court life had been everything but interesting in Aeron's eyes. As a habit, Aeron's eyes swiftly surveyed the area again, as if any sort of danger could suddenly burst out of the dense forest that surrounded them. However, his eyes did not detect anything. It almost seems...unreasonably quiet... His brow furrowed as a sense of uneasiness befell on Aeron, his eyes constantly flickering towards the forest.

Gwen poked at the fire some more, letting it grow before standing next to Aeron and looking about with him. “Rud ar d'intinn?” She nudged him gently with her elbow and gave a light smile after setting down Herne's thick coat. Despite her own lack of clothing, she seemed almost oblivious to the light chill that ran under her petals. This chill was nothing compared to the cold that came during winter. It didn't bother her much then, but she was more of a spring Nymph. She liked warmth. Aeron turned his head quickly, his hand jolting as it made a swift arc towards his sword, but stopped before it could. "Níl, máthair-" He cast one last glance at the forest, a light smile forming on his face as he walked back towards the fire. "Tá sé aon rud." Gently pulling on Lady Gwen's hand, Aeron slowly pulled her towards the fire that she had made by herself, the others gathered around it.

Noting Cassandra standing by herself, away from the others, Aeron nodded at Gwen with a smile on his face before walking over to the Red Knight. "How do you do, Red Knight of Ingotstone?" He asked, as he motioned towards the reigns that were clasped in her hands, offering his assistance to tie her horse to a nearby branch. Not that she needed any help- he knew more than the others gathered about the Red Knight's prowess, not just in the realms of swordsmanship, but also with her mastery of the special heirloom that passed through from her particular family. At this, Aeron's eyes flickered down quickly to the sword and back up again, though the smile on his face did not waver one bit, or at least she could not see the movement of his eyes in the dimming light of the day.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lady Gwen Character Portrait: Bellona Shield Character Portrait: Alaine Rivers Character Portrait: Adonis Huraines Character Portrait: Herne Fitch Character Portrait: Cassandra Castillon Character Portrait: O'Malley Character Portrait: Aeron Gwyn Demyan Character Portrait: Callon Agarwaenor Character Portrait: Taur Yamarak

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The group of would-be heroes had stopped the day's march in order to set up camp. They were close to the mouth of the tunnel now, the marker for the next stage in their journey. They had ridden largely in silence during the day, everyone no doubt lost in their own worries. Ally too hadn't been exempt from sinking into her thoughts. They had ranged from the blissful feeling of fresh air against her skin, a feeling she hadn't yet grown tired of, to the danger that they were heading into. Ally liked being alive, she didn't plan on dying in order to save some Queen who she had never met. She could only guess who knew that her true intentions were to go after the treasure, rather than the Queen. She was sure they all knew her as a thief, she doubted the King would have let her past... career remain a secret from the group's members. Well, even if they did suspect her true reasons for agreeing to the King's request, for the moment there was little they could do about it.

The sun had set a while ago, revealing a sky filled with stars and the three moons. Ally dismounted Trouble and led the horse over to the side of the clearing. She quickly and efficiently unsaddled the horse, before giving him a thorough rubdown. As she worked she made sure to keep her eyes on the rest of the group. Ally had learnt early on in life that it paid to keep your eyes open. Although it may have appeared that her full attention was on Trouble, she was in fact able to watch the rest of the members with just as much attention. Even when she had been enjoying a drink in her local tavern with those she counted as friends, Ally had always made sure to take note of what was going on around her. It's what kept her alive for so long.

She watched as Lady Gwen instructed Bella and Herne to hunt for dinner. Ally's eyes followed the huntsman as he took off his bear coat and threw it to his 'mother', before warning the group about a particularly dangerous little flower growing on the border of the clearing. Ally, who hadn't known the particular dangers of the little plant, made a note of it's properties in her mind. Who knew, she might need it later. At the same time she heard Aeron, Lady Gwen's other adopted son, ask her about her relationship with the dwarf. Ally rolled her eyes, were they to have this same conversation everyday? Rather than take the opportunity to tease Taur, as she had done earlier that morning, Lady Gwen brushed off the comment with a laugh. Then a short conversation in their own language took place. Ally frowned slightly, she would have to pick up a few phrases of the language in order to keep up with the conversations. She didn't like not knowing what was going on.

Finally done with Trouble, Ally gave the horse one last pat before heading towards the warm fire. Her eyes, always alert to the movements of other people, landed on Aeron who was intently surveying the surrounding trees that bordered the clearing. While she might not have been much of an outdoors girl, she was excellent at reading people and Aeron looked jumpy, an impression only increased when his hand made an almost unconscious move towards his sword. She subtly checked that her own blades were in place, the two secured to her back and the hidden ones under her clothes. Happy that they were in place, Ally followed Aeron and Lady Gwen to the fire, seating herself close enough to feel the warmth, but far enough away so that the fire light wouldn't obscure her vision.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lady Gwen Character Portrait: Bellona Shield Character Portrait: Alaine Rivers Character Portrait: Adonis Huraines Character Portrait: Herne Fitch Character Portrait: Cassandra Castillon Character Portrait: O'Malley Character Portrait: Aeron Gwyn Demyan Character Portrait: Callon Agarwaenor Character Portrait: Taur Yamarak

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As her attention had already been taken by that general vicinity, and her senses mean that she is likely to hear every conversation the group has in her vicinity, wish it or no, Bellona of course overhears the rather irritated response that Herne gives to Aeron. She can't help but be somewhat amused at Herne's reaction, as it deals mostly with the fact that he cannot find a partner for the Winter Ball- on the surface, anyway. The smile only grows slightly when he mentions that she 'doesn't see them that way'. Herne is much like a cousin to her, a childhood friend despite him being her senior by several years. Of course, most of their interactions when she was young involved her being in her wolf form, which suited both of them nicely enough. He will forever be the person she thinks of first as her hunting partner, and was certainly one of the first people within a decade of her age to not taunt her as the dog girl, as far as she can recall. For that, she values him greatly.

Bellona glances once, or perhaps twice, back at one of the stranger members of the party- Alaine Rivers, one of the two criminals among them. She had apparently been granted pardon on the condition that she joined this band of travelers, and this bring Bell to wonder what skills it is that she excels in enough to bring this about. Thievery, certainly enough, but what else? Persuasion? Disguise? Bell wonders if Aeron would not be able to easily boast skills in these same fields. These thoughts are not the reason for her second glance, though. That would be the fact that the horse she rides is rather grand, even for a horse given by the king. It is familiar enough, as well, even to Bell, who does not often go to the stables. Some of the more nervous horses have been known to become slightly skittish in her presence. Such is the tendency of prey when faced with a wolf.

Any passingly pleasant, or even half decent, thoughts Bell might have occupied her with are immediately shattered by a handful of words from the prince, and a smile which she perceives as a very irritating smirk. If the smile had still been on her face, it is without a doubt gone now. Don't give me false hope, she thinks bitterly, regarding his 'holding his breath' comment, though she doesn't say it aloud. Even thinking it seems nearly too much- she may speak to him sharply now and again, but she fears the king would not hesitate to "put down a dog" should it seem about to bite the prince, even if he is not his brother.


While Bellona likely would be able to continue on, her eyesight quite good in the dark, she is glad when they stop to set up camp. The slight clenches of oncoming hunger hint at her stomach, and she generally prefers to eat whenever hunger first arises. Thus, when Gwen asks that she and Herne go find something for the others to eat, Bell is more than willing to oblige. At Herne's promise that he shall beat her this time, Bell merely smiles at him, the manner of it nearly challenging. Regardless of how it ends, the girl decides that she is glad to have joined this journey. Even with her having to keep watch over the prince, the openness of it all makes her feel very much at ease, greatly differing from the palace, where whispers and society are more likely to make one feel claustrophobic than the walls are.

"Optimistic as ever, Huntsman," Bellona adds to her smile, referring to Herne as Huntsman primarily to emphasize the fact that he is a hunter by trade. Of course, it is difficult for one to learn in such a way that will surpass the instincts that one is born with. Or, in Bell's case, is given. That being said, Herne often is very close to beating her- which only motivates Bell to move faster. She has no intentions of losing, after all.

Once Herne has informed the others of the identity of the plant, perhaps mostly telling the Prince, Alaine, and maybe O'Malley, Bell looks over towards him. She doesn't particularly wish to simply shift here, and besides must take off her clothing first. Contrary to various rumors people tend to spread, werewolves' clothing doesn't simply "shift with them". So, she briefly walks off into the forest, neatly piles her clothing under a bush, and shifts. Soon the girl has returned to the clearing, and in this form barks softly for Herne's attention- she is ready to hunt. Were it just Herne, Gwen, and Aeron with them, she may have playfully nipped at his shirt or something, often falling into more animal-like behavior while in this form, but the presence of the others prevents her from such behavior.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lady Gwen Character Portrait: Bellona Shield Character Portrait: Alaine Rivers Character Portrait: Adonis Huraines Character Portrait: Herne Fitch Character Portrait: Cassandra Castillon Character Portrait: O'Malley Character Portrait: Aeron Gwyn Demyan Character Portrait: Callon Agarwaenor Character Portrait: Taur Yamarak

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What a sight...

Her dark gray eyes dimmed with the setting light of the day, merging in with the sudden onset of darkness. The darkness also brought along a sense of emptiness, but it was nothing unlike what she was used to, simply diving into the abyss of her own thoughts, her eyes betraying no signs of emotions, simply a dull stare, her metallic colored eyes matching the blades of her swords.

However, her thoughts ran deeper, and her gaze flickered from shadow to shadow, watching each member of the group with cautious glances. While it was a spectacular group the king had chosen, indeed, her trust only lied with several. The Prince was, after all, the sole reason for her to be on this mission, but Bellona Shield was one of the few that Cassandra entrusted the Prince's safety to. That along with Aeron Gwyn Demyan, whom she had noted the presence of several times in court. However, there was something else lurking behind the conducts of the man, but Cassandra was never one to pry and thus, left the man to his dealings with the his majesty. The rest though, were mostly unfamiliar to her. Lady Gwen with the name she had not even attempted to master appeared to be one of honor, though her conducts with Taur Yamarak had invoked an uncomfortable shift from the knight. The group she paired them in included also the elf Callon Agarwaenor, whom she also had doubts about regarding his true intent upon this journey. Toward the dwarf by the name of Taur, she held a sense of respect for one who has such mastery in the art of forging. And toward the Huntsman Herne Fitch, she held no feelings except a simple distaste for his neglect of his steed moments earlier. However, the remaining two others she had placed within another group. The "business woman", or so she prefers to call herself, O'Malley has not yet gained her trust, for her reasons for being on this mission was still unknown to Cassandra. Then, there was the woman nearly everyone held a mistrust for, and it was predictable that Cassandra wasn't going to regard the woman too highly. The thief, with the lies and manipulations of those in their occupation, aroused a sense of manipulation in the knight. When it came to the safety of the Prince, there was truly few that she could hold hopes for to ensure his well-being.

With swift movements, she lifted herself from Dawn's back as the group came to a stop, her feet touching the ground with a quiet thud against the crisp leaves that scattered the site. For the entire trip, she had not spoken one word, though that was not out of anyone's expectations. She preferred to remain in the dark, away from the attention of others. However, that is not to say that she did not remain focused on the conducts of others, taking in the words spoken, analyzing each situation with care. Herne's words earned him a small shake of her head. Has he been underestimating them? The king did not choose fools to participate in this journey. Besides, many present appeared too deep within their own thoughts to care for the luxury of food.

With the leave of Bellona, Cassandra's eyes focused on the Prince's shadow. It was by her blade that she swore her loyalty, and she will abide by that promise. Besides, she owed his father her life, despite the situations that led to the unsightly event. Stop. A small breeze blew her hair back over her shoulder, her gaze remained unwavering on the back of the Prince. Perhaps there were reasons for her conducts, but at the moment, they no longer mattered. All that remained was the promise, nothing else. Nothing else. The words she constantly reminded herself, despite the rising feeling of tension that came with every glance at the man. The tension she had merely regarded as simple loyalty. Was it loyalty that she always remained a few steps behind his every step? Oh, will you stop it? Her metallic eyes flashed a hint of annoyance at the disturbance of her own thoughts before the distant gaze returned.

A faint neighing sound from Dawn pulled Cassandra's attention back to the horse, whose reins she had coiled about her hands. A hint of tiredness flashed across her gaze as she held her hand toward the horse, giving it a slight brush of the mane. Perhaps it was the amount of company, or the simple unfamiliarity of the forest, but her horse was not in its best state. Even to her gentle movements, the horse still showed hints of discomfort, shaking its head against the reins that she held loosely in her hands. Why so startled?

"How do you do, Red Knight of Ingotstone?" The sound of the familiar voice startled her, but no movements of hers showed hints of such. It was surprising that she did not take notice of Aeron's footsteps, but then again, her attention had not been on full alert for the past few minutes. Her gaze moved quickly toward his outstretched hand, but the reins between her fingers tightened on instinct. "Swell, Sir Aeron Gwyn Demyan of Ingotstone," It wasn't like her to hold a hint of amusement within her words, but the formal words of Aeron was returned with the courtesy of hers. "And how fare you, if I may ask?" There was something about his gaze that forced her to hold back entangling her words with bitterness. The puzzling smile was one she had seen often in court, but it held an enigmatic nature, one she has yet to truly see through.

Truly perplexing. This group, chosen personally by his majesty. And Cassandra now realized that she has merely scratched the surface of this enigma of a group.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lady Gwen Character Portrait: Bellona Shield Character Portrait: Alaine Rivers Character Portrait: Adonis Huraines Character Portrait: Herne Fitch Character Portrait: Cassandra Castillon Character Portrait: Aeron Gwyn Demyan Character Portrait: Taur Yamarak

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Much to his utter disappointment, the loyal dog did not raise to his baiting. Adonis had hoped to drag her into some kind of conversation even if it was confrontational if only to make the trip slightly more bearable, and in his mind, getting in some kind of spat with Bellona was a far more enjoyable then ridding in silence as others had conversations in their secret little languages. He never expected her to actually sit in his lap as not only would that be incredibly uncomfortable, but it wasn't in her nature, as far as he understood her. The smile that was on her face that just so happened to disappear when he spoke to her was not missed, in fact, he would have to be oblivious, well, truly oblivious, to miss that at this close of a distance. The fool and his dog were truly on a great start weren't they?

On that note, Adonis looked behind him hoping to find someone else to engage in friendly banter to pass the time and found the very set face of Castillon, whatever she was thinking; he wasn't sure he would ever find out as her face was incredibly set as if she was determined to let nothing in or out. Turning back around with an annoyed sigh, he understood one thing; this was going to be a long quest.




When the 'lady of the forest' dismounted and started to build a fire, Adonis was extremely relieved because his lower back was starting to kill him, and he was more then certain that by the end of this he would be bow-legged. Maybe his dog had something with the whole walking bit? But that said, if he had been walking; his feet would be killing him, and he would be on his knees begging her to carry him, so perhaps bow-legged was preferable.

The hunter, who Adonis was still sure had a very lovely named but cared less on what it actually was, pointed at a random purple flower and made a declaration about it, normally, Adonis would ignore him and move on, but he seemed quite intent with his look as if warning him, specifically. That coupled with the fact that he was going with Bellona on a private hunting trip thus depriving him of his only true source of companionship, as Gwen, on some level, had always been too intimidating to try and get closer to, more like a distant aunt that one wanted to know more but couldn't help but feel that the feelings weren't returned, made the hunter very low on his list of adored people.

"Wonderful. There goes my evening plans, because, you know us Princes, we just love wandering the forest looking for various pretty flowers to eat. Shucks," Adonis said failing miserably to keep the mocking tone from his voice. Shaking his head at the utterly waste of time it was telling him the properties of a random flower, like he was just going to pick it up and eat it, he swung himself off his horse and tied the reins to a nearby tree.

Turning back to face the group, the first thing he noticed was the sudden lack of Bellona which was an utter disappointment as he had always wanted to see how she transformed. What happened during the process? Did it hurt? In fact, this would be the first time he had ever seen her in her wolf form, and she, apparently, didn't like doing it in public which he had mixed feelings on. His knight seemed to have been engaged in a conversation with the courts cloak and dagger. The thief was off tying off her own horse, who he was sure wasn't hers; the dwarfs declaration which, honestly, Adonis couldn't fault as it made a lot of sense, and he was fairly sure he, himself, was being insulted in some way, but he couldn't fault the dwarf for that. He was a pretty easy mark when it came to insults. Still, if the quest came down to the 'mighty' Prince Adonis being the only thing standing in the way of the dreaded dragon then they were all very, very doomed. Still it couldn't hurt to have the dwarf look at his arming sword; it was an old blade, one he had used since he first learned to use a blade, so it probably could use some work. He knew of more then a few nicks that ran along the blade as well as a few scruffs on the flat of the blade.

Adonis took a step towards the tree claimed by the dwarf before he stopped at the sound of a bark, turning his head fast enough to feel like he was going to snap his neck; he starred at the large wolf; he wasn't sure what to think at first, and he wasn't sure what he was expecting. Well, that wasn't true, he either expected her to be some bi-pedal monstrosity or her with just a lot of hair. No, it was a wolf. A normal looking wolf, well, if the wolf had giants for parents as while he had never, personally, come into contact with a wolf, he knew they weren't that big, and so his short journey to the dwarf was delayed as he could only stare at the huge beast that was the Dog.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lady Gwen Character Portrait: Bellona Shield Character Portrait: Alaine Rivers Character Portrait: Adonis Huraines Character Portrait: Herne Fitch Character Portrait: Cassandra Castillon Character Portrait: O'Malley Character Portrait: Aeron Gwyn Demyan Character Portrait: Callon Agarwaenor Character Portrait: Taur Yamarak

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A small smile formed on Aeron's face as he pulled his hand away, allowing it to drop down at his side as he noticed the reluctance from the older woman. "I am fairing well on this splendid day." He stated, leaning on his left foot as he tilted his head, watching the shorter figure. And why would such a fine woman sacrifice her own life for such a foolish prince? It is not like he is the most eye-catching man of the court back at Ingotstone. There are so many more to choose from- and such a waste, too. She is both talented and beautiful. Aeron thought, though he did not voice the sentiment that crossed his mind. "Well, 'tis a nice night. Much different from what we are both used to back at court, is it not?" Chuckling, Aeron tried to force the conversation on, his voice easy and his eyes filled with kindness. He tried to refer to his memory as he remembered the many days and nights acting as the ears and eyes of the King, trying to note if the Red Knight that now stood in front of him had anything in peculiar that would create better conversation. However, his memory proved faulty for once, as all attempts to recall anything of importance of Cassandra slipped through Aeron's mind.

The young woman could not help but allow a small and meek smile appear at the corner of her lips. The reins were held tight within her hands, and as Aeron spoke his words, she turned her head, taking a few steps forward before she pulled the reins around the trunk of the tree on the side, her eyes showing no hint that she actually took in his words. However, she listened on. "Sir Demyan." Her gray eyes flickered to his face, though darkened in the shadows, searching for any hints of what he might be attempting to say. "Won't you speak your mind?" She had seen much of such conversation draggers in court, for many liked to play such word games in front of the King. However, she was not about to have it. Aeron raised an eyebrow as he looked at the woman, though a humorous- rather than afronted- smile formed on his face, the once meek and entreating smile turning into one of pure friendliness and fun. "I just wanted to make a new friend, especially one I should have made earlier, seeing as we both have had the chance many a time to talk with one another. As like every other person living in Ingotstone, I have heard many stories of your prowess; I would think it normal for a curious passerby to come and and greet you- or does that not happen often?" It was as if a block had opened as Aeron shirked most of his sense of propriety to a side, his gregarious nature coming to a front as he tried to understand the Red Knight more. An intruiging figure...that not many really know. Or is it that they just do not care. A contemplative look flashed through his eyes as memories flipped through his mind, in which Cassandra was constantly left alone- even during large festivals and feasts.

Friend? She turned her head, as if truly acknowledging his presence, for her posture showed no hint of familiarity a second before. Friend. A word she had yet to be familiar with, and one she did not expect from this man that she had constantly seen before the King. "It... Does not happen very often." There was a reason for that, of course, for unlike the gregarious man in front of her, her reserved nature was enough to keep most curious observers at least a considerable distance away from her. "Do not listen to too many stories," A faint shake of her head was enough to push the ridiculous stories that spread around Ingotstone regarding such people as herself, Aeron, and many other admirable figures. "Many of them are ridiculous to even consider." Her voice was quiet, barely audible even in the silence of the night. However, she took at least a hint of delight in his company, but the presence of another person so close was unfamiliar to say the least.

Aeron laughed slightly when Cassandra finished, his easy smile reflecting the emotions that coursed through him as he talked to the knight; it was calming to talk to Cassandra. With her, Aeron did not need to keep up his appearance as a 'royal man'. Rather, with her it was almost as if Aeron was once more a boy without any courtly experience- and that was exactly what he wished to return to. But it was all too late; it had been too late the moment Aeron had taken the step out of the influence that Lady Gwen set on her foster children. "I am sure that most of them are true- or at least based on true events that have happened that you wish to deny from this conversation!" Aeron said as he placed his hands against his hips, relaxing as he took in the sounds of the night critters that surrounded them. You understand the ways of the human mind well... She couldn't help but accept that his words are true to their claim, for many rumors and stories evolve from the dark pasts most of them held. "And these events shall be exempt from this conversation." She did not wish to deny the truth, and thus, her eyes flickered away, her hand reaching upward to brush Dawn's mane back from the eyes of the softly neighing horse. "Come, come. There is no need to be unjust to yourself and your own reputation, Red Knight! I would dare not to spar with you at all, even for practice; a lowly royal man as I would never dare to even raise a finger against a person of military experience as you."

"You're too modest, Sir Demyan." Her gaze lowered slightly, her eyebrow raised ever so softly as she glanced over his baggy clothes, a hint of amusement lingering in her gaze. "A lowly royal man do not carry... Such a variety of weapons. Besides, the King would not choose a-" Suddenly, the smile fell off of Aeron's face as his eyes darted to the shadows of Legon Forest to his left. There...a presence... His brow furrowed as Aeron tried to perceive any disturbances- but there were none. Perhaps it was Cassandra's mistake to have let her eyes wander, but the second she caught the gaze in his eyes, her hand immediately dropped to the swords strapped to her waist. A faint sound of sheathing metal was heard, a small movement in her hand pulled her regular sword halfway out as her eyes darted to the same position as Aeron, but caught nothing. Unconsciously, her gaze wandered toward the position of the Prince, now standing next to the dwarf, and a sigh of relief was heard.

Aeron raised an eyebrow at Cassandra as he watched her sigh with relief, her attention obviously directed towards the Prince that stood in a distance beside Taur. "Well, I carry weapons myself because I do not have the means of employing others to help keep harm away from me. Anyhow, if you do not mind me prying but...I noticed that you have a certain," Aeron searched his mind before letting the thought drop. Teasing her right now would only cause me to lose a friend through the journey. However, the young woman's gray eyes searched his expression for what he wished to convey, the slight pause aroused her suspicion just for a second before Aeron coughed, leaning on his other foot. "Excuse me, but I hope you do not mind me asking about the heirloom I have heard much about from the many tales that follow you through Ingotstone. I heard that not only are you a master wielder of weapons, but also the master of the winds when the beautiful blade is in your hands?"

So the rumors have spread. The sound of sheathing was heard again, but this time, her hand let the blade drop back to its sheath, returning its fluid motion as she stroked Dawn's mane, calming down the horse that was obviously disturbed to her sudden defensive action. Only once did she use the sword in battle, the blade owning the ability to push back a coalition of warriors without even needing the point of contact. However, that one time has also kept her from using the blade again, the nature of its force was too dangerous to be wield in a normal occassion. "Such tales may have been exaggerations, I must say." She shook her head, her other hand reaching downward to place against the silver sword, pulling it out of the belt that strapped it to her waist, weighing it in her hands. It was never meant to be passed down to her, the reason being that she was a woman, and sometimes she doubted whether or not she was meant to wield it. "It is enchanted with the element of wind, that is true. However, to call me a master would be a lie. I do not have the power to wield it... Safely." She held out her hand, handing him the blade. It was safely in its sheath, and she trusted Aeron enough to examine the blade.

Nodding slightly at Cassandra, his head tilted to a side, Aeron gently took the sword into his hand and flipped it so that it was perpendicular to the ground. "This blade is, really-," Aeron lost his thought as he gazed at the beautifully forged hilt and the sheath, each obviously made from the hands of the best craftsman whom had ever lived. "I never would have thought such a well-crafted sword would ever exist. It is absolutely spectacular, I must say- and however much more I wish to hold onto it, the sword itself beckons for its true master." But Aeron gazed at the blade some more as he felt cold air seep from the blade and blow at his bulky garbs, as if warning him away from Cassandra and from the sword itself. "Well, beauty is always dangerous, is it not?" Aeron said as he held the sword out back at Cassandra, allowing it to rest on his two spread and outstretched hands.

She watched him closely, the tension that usually lingered in her shoulders now loosening in his presence. Perhaps he would make an ally. There was a reason she never went on team missions, always finding a group of people much more bothersome than simply conducting the mission herself. However, at the current situation, it was inevitable that she might have to fight shoulder to shoulder with some here, and truly, she did not mind Aeron's presence. The sword was returned to her hands as he stretched it toward her, the faint breeze blew at her hair, but instead, to her it was welcoming. Familiar even. "It is a beautiful piece of work," She herself could not help but admire the intricate designs from time to time, "But yes, beauty comes with a price. I hope the time would never come for me to wield this." Tucking the blade back into the belt, she gave him a small smile, so rare in the usually expressionless woman. Aeron grinned. As if just on cue, Taur's voice boomed from the fireplace, beckoning for the others still left in camp to congregate around him to allow his weathered and experienced eye to judge their weapons. ”Since we are stopped for the night, I might as well make sure you all aren't wielding absolute garbage weaponry. This quest is botched enough already without a man being taken out since his sword broke in two fighting a drake.” Aeron shrugged as Taur turned to stare at him, "You too: who know's what you've done recently.” A mischevious grin formed on Aeron's face as he turned to Cassandra, tilting his head towards Taur as he motioned for her to go first.

"Well, then. Lady's first?" He stated as his right hand moved behind his back to grab a vial, the other already gripping a knife by it's blade. Cassandra's gaze flickered quickly to the motion, raising her eyebrow as she watched Aeron's suspicious actions. "What are y-" Motioning for Cassandra to keep silent, Aeron quickly smothered the substance in the vial onto the blade's handle, smoothing the substance onto the handle with a spare piece of cloth. Hopefully Taur is more...interested in examining the Prince's weapon. He quickly- but carefully- stuffed the cloth into a pocket as he held the blade with his pair of thin leather gloves. "This will be our little secret, Lady Cassandra. Taur won't even know how he got the rash on his hands." A childish glint flashed through Aeron's eyes as his grin widened. It was hard for Aeron to not act like a child around Lady Gwen and Taur- and it was even more so right now, with both present at the same time. Aeron placed the knife back into it's original pocket, though he kept his gloves on as he motioned once again for Cassandra to take the lead back to the fireplace. However, his eyes constantly flickered towards the dark forest from time to time, the ill-feeling still in his heart despite his cheery mood.

His grin was contagious, and Cassandra had to mimic a small cough to hide the laughter that threatened to escape her lips. The court always had a serious enough environment that it was suffocating simply to stand in, but Aeron's little idea of a prank was something both strange and, though she refused to admit, rather pleasant. "You better be quick on your feet, Sir Demyan," She still hid her amusement behind her monotone voice, though the flicker of delight in her eyes shown through as she shook her head. "For I believe the dwarf's appearance might deceive one into thinking that he is not mighty." With that comment, she turned her feet, her quick steps bringing her toward the dwarf but still a distance away. However, her attention was quickly distracted by the sound of a bark, her gaze lingering on the figure of the Prince before forcing herself to break her gaze away. There is no need to be overly cautious... She closed her eyes for a split second before opening them again, this time focusing her attention on the dwarf, whose crafts she definitely had a respect for. My swords will not break though. She was at least sure of that, and even doubted whether or not her presence was necessary. However, with slight reluctance, she unstrapped the swords from her belt and placed it gently down onto the ground beside the dwarf. No words were given, simply the usual silence and the sound of metal clanging against the ground.

Walking but a step behind Cassandra, Aeron wiped the smirk off of his face to replace it with a more sincere one. "Yes, yes, Taur. I see that you have not lost your penchant of picking at my faults- and, well, I do have a faulty piece, actually. But all my others were broken, and I wished to bring a full-set. Here." He quickly pulled the knife out of his pocket and flipped it in the air, allowing the blade to slide between his index and middle finger before clamping the two together tight, stopping the knife from it's downward trajectory. His gloves made the movement a lot easier, though Aeron could have done it with his bare hands. Holding the knife to Taur, Aeron held it out for his mentor, the dwarf, but his demeanor nor his expression gave him away. "This one has been feeling rather light and blunt for my taste."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Lady Gwen Character Portrait: Bellona Shield Character Portrait: Alaine Rivers Character Portrait: Adonis Huraines Character Portrait: Herne Fitch Character Portrait: Cassandra Castillon Character Portrait: Aeron Gwyn Demyan Character Portrait: Callon Agarwaenor Character Portrait: Taur Yamarak

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#, as written by Cloud
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From her position by the fire, Ally has an advantageous view of the camp and the various members of the group. In particular her attention is caught by the receding figure of Bellona as the woman makes her way into the forest. If Ally were a betting woman, which incidentally she was, she would have guessed that Bellona was going to shift into her werewolf form. Ally had always been curious about the transition from man - or woman - to wolf. She had never met a werewolf before Bellona, but she had heard plenty of rumours and her curiosity, always fighting to outweigh her common sense, had been instantly sparked when she had discovered that the werewolf would be joining the quest. Of course, as much as she wanted to know if changing form was painful, if her clothes shifted with her and so on, she could sense that outright asking the woman, or following her into the forest to see for herself, was probably not the best way to go about it. So, for now, Ally had to simply make do with watching Bellona stalk into the forest and keep her questions to herself.

Besides, another distraction was quick to make itself heard in the form of the dwarf, Taur. "Now is as good of time as any." He began, having lit his pipe in the fire. Ally turned her attention to the dwarf. ”Since we are stopped for the night, I might as well make sure you all aren't wielding absolute garbage weaponry. This quest is botched enough already without a man being taken out since his sword broke in two fighting a drake.. Seeing as that may be the case for a few of you, I'll see what I can do to strengthen it until I can find a proper forge. Until then..." His speech over, Taur retreated once again to his tree.

Ally remained silent for a moment, considering his offer. Pulling out the twin blades on her back from their sheaths she gave them a quick study by the flickering fire light. She had always thought that she was rather knowledgeable when it came to blades, knives in particular she'd always had an eye for. These two, and the collection of small throwing knives hidden across her body, had all come from the Royal armoury. She had been careful to only pick knives that she considered to be of high standard. However, Ally, as much as she was confident in her choices, could see the advantage in having Taur have a look at her weapons. His knowledge of weaponry was undoubtedly far greater than hers and while Ally valued her pride, she valued her life more.

Ally got to her feet, her muscles aching slightly from the movement. Riding all day had had more of an effect on her than she had thought. She was slight out of shape from her long stint behind bars, or at least out of shape compared with how she had been from before she was imprisoned. Making a mental note to begin early morning exercises, she left the warmth of the fireplace and headed towards Taur. Like the Prince in front of her, her attention was caught by the sound of a wolf barking. Turning her head, Ally caught sight of Bellona, now fully transformed into her wolf form. Ally's steps slowed slightly as she studied Bellona. She was bigger than your average wolf, and Ally could only assume stronger and faster too.

Drawing her eyes away from the werewolf and back towards Taur, Ally couldn't help but smile and shake her head. She remembered the tavern fight she had had Bellona and now, after seeing the women as a werewolf, Ally could only think how lucky she had been that she hadn't been seriously hurt. She liked to think that she had held her own in the brawl, but what would have happened if Bellona had transformed partway through? Ally smirked to herself and pushed the thought to the back of her mind, she could think on that later. For now she turned her attention to Taur and Aeron and Cassandra who had arrived before the dwarf to let him inspect their weapons. Cassandra unstrapped her swords and placed them on the ground beside Taur without a word, while Aeron pulled a knife from its sheath, flipped it and handed it to Taur. Ally stopped short of Taur, Aeron and Cassandra, happy to wait her turn. The twin blades were still in her hands from when she had drawn them out by the fire, but rather then place them besides Cassandra's blades, Ally slotted them back into the sheaths. She hated not having her weapons on her, it made her feel somewhat naked. She was perfectly happy to wait until Taur was ready with her blades in their sheaths.