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Linde Xe' Almna

"Kyero is the Red-Eyed Demon, but he's also a human being."

0 · 891 views · located in Cre' Est

a character in “Assassin's Pledge: Awakening”, as played by KumoriRyuu

Description

Linde Xe' Almna

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Age: 21
Height: 5' 9"
Weight: 135 lbs
Voice Example: Linde

Basic Personality: Linde is a very kind and compassionate woman who, as a doctor, seeks only to heal and do right by others. Her love of life drives her every decision, and she would sooner cut both her hands off than allow them to be used for killing someone else. However, she does have an edge to her. As the daughter of a Cre' Itian general, she has been taught confidence, self discipline and self respect, and the mindset of a proud warrior. She will kick your ass, and tend to your wounds directly after no matter the circumstances. To date, Linde has only let one person die in her care... And it is a death that haunts her every day.

Basic Background: Linde was born as the daughter of a Cre' Itian general who taught her a warrior's discipline and pride, and a mother who was a doctor and taught her nurturing and kindness. Blending the best of both worlds, Linde became a doctor herself and a self-appointed protector of her community in the capitol city of Cre' Est. She earned the nickname the "Angelic Knight of Cre' Est" for her kindness and tenacity in combat whenever her community was threatened by bandits, rogues, thieves, or whoever. Linde's most famous feat was defeating a mercenary named Carnal, and after soundly defeating him took him to her clinic to tend to his wounds before sending him on his way. However, Linde has one bit of baggage hanging onto her... Which you'll learn about in the RP.

So begins...

Linde Xe' Almna's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kyero Character Portrait: Linde Xe' Almna Character Portrait: Lonán Arzura Character Portrait: Korriban "Aetrius" Borral
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Food was in bound for the young hunter, but before she could get another step in, she felt a hand on her shoulder. She groaned and looked to see Linde, she listened to her speak and tell her not to leave yet, but to wait. Aetrius wanted to argue, to deny her plees to help and stay and heal. To just leave in the morning, but...Aetrius saw her logic regrettably. She hated that Linde was right, in every way as usual. She groaned, her head fell and after a moment of silence she looked back up at Linde and spoke, "Fine...I'll stay...but two days only. After that I'm leaving, understand?" her voice was surprisingly calm and soft as she spoke to Linde. She nodded again and looked at Lolan, "Okay...Thank you, both...I...I appreciate your willingness to help..." she said with a slight smile, and turned back to Linde, "And yes, Linde...You may, be my...doctor, if that is what you want that is." a slight blush overcame her face and she quickly turned back to where the direction of the tavern was, and made her way there. Trying to overcome the embarrassment she felt, for some unknown reason to her, as well as her need of food.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kyero Character Portrait: Linde Xe' Almna Character Portrait: Lonán Arzura Character Portrait: Korriban "Aetrius" Borral Character Portrait: Okumi Chrysanth
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The overall consensus was food first, medical after. Linde could live with that. She gave both Aetrius and Lonan a small bow before gesturing for Okumi to come with them. She leaned in and whispered to Okumi that she didn't need to partake in food with them if she felt too concerned about lifting the mask. Linde would deliver her a meal later tonight after she checked her wound.

The offer was there, if nothing else to help ease her concern of removing the mask in the company of others.

And so they journeyed to the tavern to eat and relax. As Linde entered the tavern and sat down with the others at the table, waiting for the server to arrive and take their orders, she asked how the others were faring with their injuries. Her wound had been a clean slice to the shoulder, which didn't hurt as much because of the fact that the skin was cut so well that it didn't cause fraying or splitting of flesh or muscle which was often at the core of the pain. With a handful of stitches and an anti-inflammatory salve and bandaging applied, Linde's wound was fairly easy to dress.

But for Aetrius, having taken a crossbow bolt to the side, was the one she was most concerned with. The softer flesh and typically underdeveloped muscles in the sides of the core were often the easiest to destroy. She didn't doubt that Aetrius was well conditioned and her musculature fairly well balanced, but all the same she was worried about the wound. Those softer tissues and muscle groups, when not developed evenly with the rest, could take longer to heal due to being looser and more flexible, prone to shifting around with bodily movement which could delay the healing process.

Aetrius assured her that she was fine. Sore, yes. But fine. And after inquiring about Lonan's arm wound, she was satisfied that he was telling the truth when he said he too was just sore but otherwise doing fine.

Okumi was next, having taken a knee to the face and a crossbow bolt through her shoulder near the clavicle, she too was in jeopardy of the same problem Aetrius could potentially have faced. The muscled in and around the clavicle were much weaker than those of the chest (specifically the pecs) and the deltoids. The clavicle was mainly connective muscle and tissue. Very vulnerable to harm and strain from such damages. Okumi made an "Okay" thumbs up, indicating much the same as the others. Sore, gestured by rubbing her wound, but a thumbs up. She was okay.

Linde was glad they all seemed to be all right. Kyero had elected to remain outside to wait for them, as he wasn't one to venture inside crowded areas like taverns. His eyes were impossible to hide in such places, and they didn't need that kind of negative attention.

Their food arrived, and they all ate in relative silence though there was some pleasant conversation exchanged before moving to the inn to rest for the night. Once they arrived, Linde visited each one of them in turn in their rooms. Lonan was first, as his room was right next to Linde's. She removed the bandaging on his arm and cleaned off the wound with a disinfectant solution before wrapping it in new bandages. She also checked his head where he was hit by the club, asking him a series of questions and testing his visual concentration and coordination by having his eyes follow her hand through multiple patterns to confirm whether or not he had a concussion or had just been dazed by the blow. And luckily it had been the latter. Had the blow been a bit lower, he'd have had a concussion for sure and this would have proven difficult for him. The bite on his side was healing well, but she dressed it anyway before bidding him goodnight.

Next was Aetrius. For her, this would be a very uncomfortable situation due to the fact that, in order to reach the wound and dress it properly, she'd need to request Aetrius remove her clothing enough to have bandage wraps around her torso...

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kyero Character Portrait: Linde Xe' Almna Character Portrait: Lonán Arzura Character Portrait: Korriban "Aetrius" Borral Character Portrait: Okumi Chrysanth
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After they went back to the tavern and ate, having pleasant small talk even for her, they all retired to their rooms after they all settled down. Aetrius bowed out first and went to her room. She removed her belt and weaponry, placing them on the edge of the bed, and her boots, placing them under the bed. She sat down on the bed, legs crossed and began reading a book. Moments later there was a gentle knock on the door that garnered her attention.

"Door's open." she said with an all too relaxed tone, going back to her book.

When the door opened in stepped Linde, she put her book down and gave her her undivided attention.

"Yes, Linde?" she asked, who only came a few feet away from the bed.

"It's time to dress your wound, Aetrius. Would you mind if I sat down?"

Aetrius reluctantly nodded and looked back at her.

"So, where do we start?" Aetrius asked rather nervously.

"I would like to request that you remove the armor and clothing covering your torso. I have the easiest access to the wound if you aren't wearing anything around the point of injury. Try not to worry. We're both women and I'm a doctor. Modesty isn't an issue with me." She said with a smile.

Aetrius was hesitant, highly hesitant. Not just because she was a doctor, but of her scarring.

She looked up at her and stuttered a bit.

"I...I uhm....Not really comfortable doing that...Not cuz you're another female or doctor, just....My own reasoning, it makes me rather, uncomfortable..." Her voice was rather distant, and the relaxed tone in her voice was all but gone by now.

Linde smiled at Aetrius.

"I understand. Many patients in the past have been reluctant to reveal their bodies to anyone. Even doctors. It's happened to me as well, many times. But I think I have a way around your discomfort. At least in part."

Linde shifted her weight and gripped her own shirt, lifting it up along the side of her body showing the same spot on her own body where Aetrius' wound would be, but nothing more.

"Would you be more comfortable lifting just this much of your shirt and lying on the bed for me? It will be easier for you to hold the clothing out of the way and easier for me with you lying still."

Aetrius thought for a moment, that would be more comfortable for her. But having to hold it up would cause her side to be tensed up and harder for Linde to work with. She sighed and stood up, slowly grabbing the bottom of her shirt, then stopped and looked at Linde, pausing for a moment, then she spoke.

"Just....just promise to not be...disgusted by what you see?"

Aetrius asked, her voice held some sort of sadness in it, but the reasoning was left unknown at the moment for Linde.

"Fuck it..." She muttered under her breath, and gathered enough courage to remove what needed to be done for Linde to address the wound properly. With her leather gloved hand that wasn't injured she removed her over cloak and shirt, tossing them aside.

What was left was her long, rather think pants and boots and gloves, her chest was tightly bound with chest binding, making her basically flat and modest for the most part. It helped in combat and helped free up her mobility, among other reasons. She slowly turned back to the bed where Linde was sitting. Her back was littered with a plethora of scars littering her body, all ranging in sizes, shapes, severity, and recent damage tissue. They were a mix of A multitude of scars big and small on her back, as most of those are due to whips, and then a few dozen scars from arrows and bolts all over her body, especially her abdominal region and arms. Indicating as to what she has been through, and how many close calls this one human has endured. As well as her tattoos that were now visible. One on the center of her back and one on her right shoulder. She kept her eyes down and away from Linde, ashamed to look her in the eyes.

She stuttered as she spoke.

"I-is this good enough? I-if I need to r-remove more, I will..."

The usually calm and collective and apparently confident Aetrius was now gone, leaving the now current shell that was Aetrius in her most vulnerable state. Which usually appeared when people could ask and would usually ask about her scarring and tattoos, which usually caused her to panic and stutter.

Linde observed calmly as Aetrius removed her clothing in full along her upper torso, revealing her scars and numerous wounds received from over the years doing whatever it was she did. And Aetrius' demeanor upon completion of this task was... Surprising. But as she spoke, stuttering and looking down seemingly embarrassed beyond recognition from who she was before, Linde slowly stood up and put her hands on Aetrius' shoulders.

"You've already gone out of your comfort zone, Aetrius. I would be nothing short of inhuman to ask more of you. Here... Lay down."

She gently urged Aetrius to lay down on the bed, keeping her hands on her shoulders and using her thumbs to give her flesh a tender massage.

"Just relax, Aetrius."

She grabbed her tools, washed her hands, put gloves on, and began to work. She began by undoing the bindings around her abdominal area, leaving the bindings covering her chest in tact to help with her comfort level. And as she worked, her hands were incredibly soft. Incredibly tender. Almost as if the woman who fought five bandits didn't exist. Her hands were so gentle that it was almost like a completely different woman was working on her now.

"These scars all tell tales of your exploits, Aetrius. You should not be ashamed of them. Even if many of them look to be caused by something humiliating, you bore the pain and pushed through to become who you are today. You have nothing to be ashamed of." She cooed softly.

She removed the patch over the wound, and began applying her solution to keep it clean of infection while checking the stitching as well. The stitching did seem a bit loose, so she had to clip them and re-stitch the wound. And even while stitching she was gentle and the prick of the needle barely registered with her skill to use it in just the right way.

"So, Aetrius. Would you tell me more about yourself while we have some time?" She asked.

"I'd like to know more about where you come from and how you got to this point. Or at least what details you're willing to share. I will not pry into matters that are too personal to discuss." She said.

Aetrius slightly blushed as she was calmly talked to by Linde and guided over to the bed and laid back down on her back, watching as Linde busily got to her work of taking care of her wound. She could barely feel the needles and alcohol being used as not only did she have a high pain tolerance over the years, but the medicine used worked wonders. She would have fallen asleep if Linde remained silent, her eyes opening as Linde spoke up, asking about her scars but offering Aetrius to refrain from explaining if it was too personal.

She sighed and remained silent for a moment, looking up at the ceiling as she was lost in thought. Where would she start first? Most were self explanatory for Linde to figure, multiple crossbow bolt scars practically made her look like a pin cushion of sorts. Others were obvious slices and stab wounds, the most prominent one was on the same side as the wound Linde was currently working on. It was a long, rather good sized scar that ran along her side. She chuckled as the memory came back to her.

"The scar right below your hand, that one... Heh, got that one not by fighting if you can believe it. Instead, years ago when I was living on the streets....I was running away by an angry store owner as I stole what was my dinner. I hopped a metal, barbed fence. But as I was hopping over it, my side got hooked and it tore into my side. It was a poor sight to see if you asked anyone that saw. Twelve year old me hooked on a fence like a piece of meat." She chuckled a bit, but groaned as laughing caused discomfort as Linde was still at work on her wound.

Linde listened to the story Aetrius told her about the long scar on her side beneath the latest in what was obviously a series of crossbow injuries. And Linde couldn't help but chuckle a little to herself as she finished stitching Aetrius' wound. And when Aetrius groaned, Linde placed her hand over Aetrius' stomach and gently massaged it to help ease the tension in her muscles.

As the mind encountered pain, the core was often the first muscle group to respond. And not often positively.

"That must have been a sight." She said with a tiny hint of glee.

Linde sat up straight and looked at Aetrius calmly, but with seriousness.

"Mine is but a single reminder of a deadly encounter, but nevertheless the fact that I am alive is nothing short of the Goddess's mercy." She said quietly.

Linde slowly removed her gloves and placed them in a bag before putting it in the trash, and then stood up beside the bed, facing Aetrius.

"Please pardon the display, but..."

She slowly lifted her shirt, revealing her stomach, breasts, and upper chest area to Aetrius. And along Linde's middle, directly between her breasts and stopping just shy of the base of the rib cage, was a massive, jagged scar from a single puncture wound. Obviously this was caused by a serrated blade of some kind, and it was a grim reminder that not even Linde's body was safe from the marring scars of life.

"This wound..." She turned around, revealing a near matching scar on the back... A full puncture from front to back.

"Was received in a battle against Te'i Sai." She said quietly.

"It was when I met Kyero. He was injured after fleeing from them, and I tended his wounds. But after doing so they found us and presumed I was already his ally. So they attacked us, and I was unable to match their speed or expertise with their weapons. I was stabbed in the back through the chest, and left to die."

She slowly lowered her shirt, turning back around to face Aetrius with a sad, but still somehow charming smile.

"Kyero managed to drive them off and save me. I don't know how he did it. But he did."

She chuckled.

"The Red-Eyed Demon saving a life instead of ending it. Who would have guessed, right?"

She sat down on the edge of the bed, putting her hand on Aetrius'.

"No matter how many scars you bear, your story is your story. Be proud of your marks, Aetrius. They do not define you, but they do tell your story to the world." She cooed.

Aetrius chuckled, and a small smile appeared on her face when Linde found what she told her a bit humorous albeit dark. At least she could make one person laugh, never mind even cracking a small. A first for her. She listened to Linde as she began to explain her scar, sitting up as she gave her full attention. But what she didn't expect was for Linde to start disrobing, quickly she looked away as a blush over came her, only to glance up when Linde had turned around, seeing an entry wound. Her expression changed, her face flushed white and looked somewhat saddened at the fact that Linde could have, no should have died. But due to Kyero, she lived. She looked back at Linde when she turned around and fixed her clothing, not realizing that Aetrius was blushing all the while.

She only blushed more when Linde gently placed her hand on her's when she spoke a word of encouragement to her about her scars. She sighed and nodded. Aetrius pondered for a moment, and then looked back up, she sighed and begrudgingly started to remove her gloves. Starting with the leather gloves themselves, then stopped when it came to the under wrappings that kept her hands hidden.

She paused, and looked back up at Linde and in a soft voice she spoke.

"No one....well, not many people have seen my scars...Only those who are lucky enough to have..." she paused and looked away, her right hand holding the bandage over her left hand. "But....These....these are my worst scars..."

She slowly unraveled the wrappings, they fell to the floor where they lay. Aetrius looked down at her badly and distorted hands. They were marred over by dark, scars obviously burn marks. They were in the shape of chains, leading from wrapping around her palms and lead up to her elbows. Seeing how the gloves covered them perfectly, no one else had to wonder why she constantly wore gloves as well as layers.

"These... These are a reminder... Of the man that took everything from me... as well as the scar on my face... and back..." she said as she remained looking down at her hands that she held out in front of her, hands shaking all the while from fear and the memories coming back to her the day she received her most notably bad scarring.

"W-would you like to know...?" she asked rather innocently, which was odd coming from someone such as herself.

Never did she open up to someone like this before, not even to someone she barely knew. But, something about Linde made her feel like she could trust her, and be honest with certain aspects that others would most likely find repulsive.

Holding Aetrius' hands seemed to help her calm down, at least a little bit. Linde was not blind to the flush in her face, but she passed it off simply as Aetrius being new to this situation. And what she said afterwards only confirmed it. She was not used to people seeing her like this. Showing her past. Her nightmares. Her demons. The scars of numerous clashes and belittling moments... Culminating with the scars on her hands and arms.

She asked if Linde would like to know, but Linde brought up her right index finger and put it to Aetrius' lips.

"... Another time, perhaps." She whispered with a warm smile.

She gently put Aetrius' left hand in both of her own, sandwiching it softly.

"You have shown me so much already, and I thank you." She said, her smile growing even warmer.

"I feel I understand you much better now, and it makes me even more determined to help you find your friend. Kieran."

She slowly let go of Aetrius' hand, placing her hands in her own lap.

"Once I have ensured your wound is travel ready in two days, we will set out for Veilbrand. And we won't stop until we find Kieran." She said calmly, but with confidence and authority.

Aetrius couldn't help but blush more as Linde held her hand closer and tighter to herself and spoke to her as she did so. Her encouraging words did help a bit, but it wouldn't alleviate the struggle she dealt with for so long, the memories, nightmares, constant self hate and regret due to the cause of them. But she nodded, and smiled a bit as well when Linde confirmed wanting to leave with her, no matter what.

"Thank you, Linde...Your kindness...Is something I'm not fully accustomed to...Thank you..." She said with a genuine, but small smile.

Her hands twitched and she finally realized she still hadn't fully dressed herself yet. Aetrius quickly stood up and fumbled while putting her clothes back on, and when she was done she took a deep breath and sat back down, looking back at the floor then back up.

"So...Now what then? Like..Where do we go on from here?"

Linde's warm smile did not falter despite Aetrius quickly moving to clothe herself. And as she sat back down to ask where we go from here, Linde was happy to answer...

"For now, we rest. In two days, Veilbrand. It need not be more complicated than that." She said with a chuckle.

Linde said goodnight to Aetrius, giving her a small bow before leaving, and moved on to Okumi's room. She knocked quietly, entering upon a little tap in response against the door, and walked inside. She sat with Okumi at the bed and checked her wounds, which Okumi was a bit reluctant to show. However, once Linde showed she had gloves at her disposal, Okumi was relieved and allowed Linde to work.

It was a simple procedure to check her wounds, clean it, and re-bandage it before Linde bade Okumi good night and returned to her own room to check her own wounds. Her cheek was still raw and missing a layer of skin, but overall it was her shoulder that was the main concern. Her stitching held well, but the wound was seeping slightly. She cleaned it off before applying her disinfectant, and then re-bandaged herself as best she could.

For the next two days, as promised, Linde kept a close eye on everyone's wounds. She cleaned them, re-bandaged them, and made sure to keep everyone as occupied and content as she could during these two days of rest. The village was starting to settle in after what had happened, and had begun proper reconstruction by the time they departed for Veilbrand the next morning.

And as they all hit the road, now on horseback courtesy of the mayor as thanks for their heroic deeds, Linde was riding just behind Aetrius who took the lead position.

"Does anyone have any stories for the road?" She asked.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kyero Character Portrait: Linde Xe' Almna Character Portrait: Lonán Arzura Character Portrait: Korriban "Aetrius" Borral Character Portrait: Okumi Chrysanth
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The food and conversation was pleasant, and following the two days of doing no strenuous odd jobs in town as he healed from his wounds, which were checked and rechecked by Linde, Lonán was well on the way to recovery and preparation for the next adventure. The Saharan earned back the silver he spent, and 20 more besides.

When he wasn’t doing odd jobs, he was meditating in his room, trying to commune with the Holy Goddess, or his Ancestors for guidance on what to do next. Either continue on his way, leaving the group of friends he made behind, or join them on their next adventure which he considered doing; Veilbrand. He only visited there only with the Caravan he provides security for several years ago. He kept to himself and stuck close to what he guarded, and was glad to be out of there for the next destination they had.

When he thought he had no answer from Heresta, he recalled why Aetrius wished to go, recalled that sooner then later he had to speak to her about why he decided to truly tag along. That alone it seemed a good enough reason for joining.

So he did, atop Hawk and in the middle of the group, he was whistling a tune as their journey began, when he heard his most favorite question being heard. ”Do I have any stories? I have stories passed down to me from my grandfather from his father and their fathers before them. But I think I’ve got one that’s a little bit more easy to remember: Mainly the time The Old Wolf took me to deliver some of the weapons he made for the first time when he took me in as an apprentice, as well as provide services such as shoe traveler’s horses and the like for an extra silver or two...”

——

So began his Narration of ‘Lonán’s First real Adventure’, in which his Grandfather Magnus Arzura, known in his younger days as The Iron Wolf, took him to town. In this time, Old Magnus was still grieving the passing of his wife, who was not only a good fighter in her youth also, but a far better Blacksmith if she ever got in the forge with him. Lonán remembered that when she passed, the Old Wolf seemed to wear a frown more often then not, even the joy of hammering seemed to not lift his spirits.

But on this day in Question whilst providing his services and delivering his creations to their new owners Magnus noticed a drunk man robbing a woman in front of her child. Lonán poked his head out of the wagon.

”Grandpa, I got Lord Ragnar’s blade ready for deliver-.” he called out, only to see Magnus grab the sword in question from his hands, and storm straight up to the robber.

“Robbing someone in Public Eye is Punishable by removal of your hands.” Magnus coldly said, getting the other man’s attention as he turned and shoved at him.

“Bugger off and shoe a horse old man, or chase a skirt, if you’re into that.” The robber replied, gripping his knife tightly. Magnus held his ground.

“You do not want this fight.” Magnus warned, glaring at the man in front of him as he drew the weapon. “Because I will test this weapon’s sharpness.”

“I always wanted to kill you Blacksmith-Agh!” The man’s head rolled off his neck as Lonán stared at it in shock. The young boy of Ten remained frozen in that state, whilst Magnus gave the woman a handful of coin. Lonán was at last shaken from this shock when he saw the boot of his grandfather kick the head away like a ball. Looking up at the Older Saharan Lonán seemed both nervous and scared as he shifted his feet and tried his best to look the man straight in his piercing Grey-Blue Eyes.

“You learn from this Young Raven. Heresta does not like Robbers and Cutthroats. Do not waste breath in a one on one duel either.” He stated.

”But, I don’t know how to properly wield a sword, let alone take your lessons to heart unless I learn how to do the former.” the boy said, shyly looking away from his grandfather’s gaze. ”Will you please teach me?”


——

”He then Smiled at me. For the first time since Grandmother died, the Old Wolf smiled. He replied with a yes and that I had much to learn. We grew closer then I ever thought possible as a grandchild to his grandparent. So he taught me how to wield a sword and how to fight. But the story of my first adventure, and the sight of a man killing another man, finally instilled me with the Warrior Spirit the Old Wolf wanted me to have. To continue the legacy of the Arzura Warrior Clan.” Lonán smiled, finishing his tale as he bit into a ration of cured jerky he had in a pouch as he rode.

”Anyone else got a tale or two?”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kyero Character Portrait: Linde Xe' Almna Character Portrait: Lonán Arzura Character Portrait: Korriban "Aetrius" Borral Character Portrait: Okumi Chrysanth
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As the days passed by slowly, Aetrius only drew more anxious as time went on. Would she really be finding Kieran after all this time? If they did, what state would she be in? Would she still be the same person Aetrius used to know and love dearly? Yes, they were sisters and they were incredibly close, but would that bond hold true now after three years of thinking she was dead? She didn't know, but she was so close to finding out. And she had to, no matter the cost of finding the truth. She was determined to find Kieran and bring her back with them, to be able to sit and talk with her and just go back to being like things used to be, even though she doubted it. With what they've gone through, on both side of the coin, they'd be different, but different how would be left up to when they found her.

When the morning came, Aetrius was the first to awaken, before the others were even stirring she was wide awake and packing her things. She dressed in her new outfit that she had bought while at Atlum and covered it with her black cloak. When the others had woken up, they all ate and prepared for the long trip ahead of them. Aetrius took the lead of the caravan, Bree leading them to Veilbrand. The ride was almost silent for the most part until Linde spoke up and asked if anyone had a story to tell. She pondered, she had many, many stories to tell. But most were uh....Not for this occasion, one could say? She was going to speak, but Lolan started to spin a tale of his, and she remained silent paying attention to his story of his first adventure with his grandfather. She and the others chuckled, the others did out of fondness and amusement, she chuckled due to her darker sense of humor. Decapitation? she thought, I would have impaled him on a pike and left him to dry in the sun...But that's just me. she mused at her sick twisted idea. The group remained silent after the others commented on his tale. She pondered again if she should tell one of her own, should she? If so, what one? She had many...

She looked up at the sky, lost in thought. Then came back down when she had an amusing story to tell. "Did I ever tell you one of my adventures?" she mused, looking back at the others she gave a shy grin and light chuckle, then turned back around looking at the road ahead of them. "It's uh....One not exactly for the faint of heart, or one who have disproving mindsets. As, yes this story isn't very....uh...how you say orthodox for this journey, but it's a story none the less." she said as she thought back to when she was sixteen and met someone who made her feel what it was like to be in love, or at least that's what she thought it was. But as her luck would have it, her relationships would never last long, nore usually passed a day or two. With what she did as a job, killing or capturing those that were of the lesser chain of humanity, to the fact that she was...well, how you say more so experienced than others? But that didn't mean she was one of those kinds of people. She still had morals and a sense of worth when it came to relationships. She always wanted more than that from a relationship, but usually the other one would just stay and leave without a second glance her way, often leaving her feeling rejected and alone. Therefore usually leaving her to stay by herself and be alone.

"I guess you could say it was a past relationship, but for me they never lasted very long...They'd get what they wanted and then would fuck off, never seeing me again...Does it bother me? Usually, but...well, let's just say I'm used of it and not really on the market at the moment...Not like anyone would really want anything to do with me anymore in that sense, if you catch my drift." she chuckled slightly, but then sighed, she wasn't proud of her reputation, but it was one she had and they were bound to eventually find out one way or another, and she'd rather it be by her than someone else.

"Let's just say, I'm not proud of the reputations I have, okay? Some are good, like me being one of the best Bounty Hunters on the market, cost cheap, get the job done, but with that it comes at a price. Meaning I have a rather big target on my back, which is why my relationships are never really that long lasting..It's not that I make a terrible partner...Just my reputation and well...what I look like doesn't help I suppose, or least it's what I've had said to me. Doesn't bother me none, but ya know..." she sighed again, but then decided to get to the actual story itself.

"It was about four years ago, I believe? The first person I ever dated, can't remember her name, but that's irrelevant. What the story does hold is that I met her by saving her ass from a group of bandits. They were...well, the lowest of the low. Murderers, rapists, dirt in one word. Well, I managed to come across them on one of my journies after a target of mine. I managed to pass them and stopped them, killed half, severely maimed the others. She was so thankful that she wouldn't stop saying thank you, and she said she owed me anything." she paused in her story, chuckled then continued with the events.

"I made a poor joke and I guess she took it seriously...Let's just say, I had ended up getting a bit more than I bargained for saving her ass." she chuckled, then realized how that would have made her look, "W-well, anyway. From that day out after I got my bounty paid for, she requested we could court if I so desired, I denied several times, but she uh...she had her perks. We lasted for a while, about six months...But after she realized how dangerous it was to be with me she left...I just woke up one day and she was gone...Sure it hurt, but...She was a fine young woman and I hope she has the best life one could have...Especially now that I'm not in it...ahem anyway, does anyone else have anything they'd share? I have other actual stories...but uh, they're more...more of sitting around a fire or a table and drinks and just waste the night away." she said with a slight smile, maybe she revealed a bit too much of her past, especially relationship wise, but oh well. She was honest and that should be the thing that mattered. All that mattered is that she wasn't the same person anymore in that regard, and maybe someone would change her for the better in that regard, but it didn't matter, not like anyone would ever be interested in her in that way anymore. As being with such a notable killer like her would put someone in danger.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kyero Character Portrait: Linde Xe' Almna Character Portrait: Lonán Arzura Character Portrait: Korriban "Aetrius" Borral Character Portrait: Okumi Chrysanth
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Listening to Lonan and Aetrius' stories was quite charming. Lonan's story of his first adventure with his grandfather, Aetrius her first relationship. Linde found Aetrius information before the story... Concerning, however. The idea that Aetrius did not have lasting relationships because of her job and/or her looks was greatly saddening. Linde dipped her head slightly on her horse and looked at Aetrius' back as she looked ahead and continued her tale.

When it was finished, Linde sat up straight.

"I guess it's my turn."

She cleared her throat.

"Let me spin you a yarn of a girl with a dream. A dream to save lives. A dream to protect her loved ones. And a dream to drive away the wickedness of man from her home." She began in a loud, clear, story-telling voice.

She chuckled warmly, and began her tale proper.

"Long ago, a little girl whose mother was a doctor began learning the craft of medicine. She studied hard every day, staying up late to study even more and practicing on anything she could including her stuffed animals. She was so driven to be the best doctor in the world that she sometimes didn't sleep for days at a time and would eventually crash and burn and sleep for an entire day or more. Sometimes she would stay up so long or go without proper food and drink that she would get sick, forcing her mother to care for her. And how this worried her mother so..."

She took a breath, giving everyone time to soak that in before continuing.

"One day, the little girl got her chance to put all she'd learned into practice. Her mother was at the clinic, her father at the library where he was the book keeper. She was alone at her house looking out the window at a passing caravan of merchants and vagabonds moving through the region. As they passed by she saw them attacked by a group of Vei Wolves, a large breed of vicious wild canines common to the Cre' Itian wilds outside the capitol who'd followed them through the main gates. The Vei Wolves assaulted the caravan, killing three horses, one cow, and twelve people."

She paused a moment, the memory flooding through her mind.

"... The girl was terrified. She wanted to save them all, but she was so afraid of the Vei Wolves she was frozen there in the window. She couldn't move a muscle."

She closed her eyes, recalling that horrible day.

"When it was over, the little girl's hands were shaking on the window sill. She finally worked up her courage and went outside, rushing to the first person she could find who needed medical help. She analyzed his wounds and discovered that she knew how to save him. But she didn't have the supplies. She quickly cried for a doctor, but no doctor came. She didn't have what she needed in the house. Her mother had everything in the clinic where she worked which was on the far end of town. She quickly called for the attention of those leading the caravan and directed them to her mother's clinic for treatment and help. The convoy quickly moved out, but on the way there they lost four more lives out of nine who were in jeopardy. Once in her mother's care, the other five managed to survive the first night, but come the following morning two more had passed."

Slowly she opened her eyes.

"... The convoy blamed her mother for failing to save their friends, calling her a "weak" doctor. The words exchanged her far from pleasant. Words a child should never hear were thrown back and forth. And the little girl was quickly ushered into the back room by her mother where she was told to forget what she saw and focus on the good that came from this. Three lives saved. That's what mattered."

She took a breath.

"But the girl could never forget. Her sense of helplessness. The fear. The hopelessness upon seeing all of that death unfold before her. The inability to help despite knowing what needed to be done... To this day she believes that if she only had what she needed, despite her age, she could have saved those two lives which were lost during the night by giving them care sooner rather than later."

She quickly adopted a new smile and spoke cheerfully.

"That little girl grew up to become a doctor herself, and despite several horrible experiences where lives could not be saved despite knowing what to do and how to do it, she never gave up hope that one day, when she found her way to the arms of the Gods, they would welcome her as one who gave her all for the sake of others... The end."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kyero Character Portrait: Linde Xe' Almna Character Portrait: Lonán Arzura Character Portrait: Korriban "Aetrius" Borral Character Portrait: Okumi Chrysanth
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Aetrius was leading the way, she held her head strong with renewed spirits knowing, that in two weeks time she would be arriving in Veilbrand to find Kieran. Yes, Veilbrand was a two weeks worth of time on horseback and sadly that was the fastest form of travel. Especially since Veilbrand is a very mountainous region. The mountains run far and wide along the eastern half of the north border, and wrap all the way around the east side down to the coastline. The rest of the nation is rolling hills with few to no forests and very open grassland type places. The capital city, Valoc is in the northern sector of the east mountains along the border with a giant wall around the front to guard from invasions. A fortress city, if you will for the lack of a better word. And that was their newest destination, in two weeks. They spent the rest of the day chatting, sharing tales of past memories and experiences, more so than the others did. They arrived at a small town, if you could call it that. It was mainly used by travelers from far away places to find respite and food, containing a small place for lodging, food, and stables for their animals.

After being their for the night they headed out the next day after a good meal and prepping their steeds of course. They spent the next week traveling from small outpost to small outpost, to small town to small town. Meeting new people and having some rather good bonding moments. From small talk in the local taverns, to staying up late in their rooms sharing stories and telling jokes. To making their way under the hot sun, to under the open and star filled night skies. Few and far between did they run into trouble, and they settled things with negotiations, not violence. They helped small groups with their broken convoys, or help from raiders and bandits. They were an interesting bunch to come across for sure, a shrine maiden who rarely talked, a tall man in a hood, a red headed male who more often than not would get into fights with his horse, the nurse of the group who was always helping with wounds like the one Lolan got from handling a heated up plate, and then Aetrius, the one who used to be feared and held a large bounty on her head and never talked to anyone, was now slowly begining to open up and slowly grow close to the others, which was odd for her. She hadn't had decent human contact with anyone in years, nor did she think she'd ever be in a group, but here she was in a group of the most unlikey of people....and...it felt right? Not being under constant surveillance or suspicion? It felt good, she was just worried it would eventually all fall apart when she found Kieran, if she did.

Now, it was the eight day when they saw another small village, one much like Atlum in the distance. It was late in the evening, and the sun began to go down. She knew the group was tired and would need to stop for the night soon, as much as she would like to keep going, she couldn't do that to them. "Alright, we'll stay here for the night. We'll leave in the afternoon, okay? Giving us some more time to relax and catch our breath. You've all earned it by now, eh?" she gave a small chuckle and smile to the others. As they grew closer to the enterance of the town, people greeted them with smiles and greetings as they slowly strode in on their horses. "We seek shelter, do you still have some room for a group our size?" she asked the man, who looked up at her with a kind face and smiled as he spoke, "We here at Ukron welcome everyone. We have space for you and your beasts. We'll take them to the stables on the east side of town, where you'll be staying is in the north side, just straight up this here path and you'll find the Gray Fox Inn. If there's anything else that you need, you mustn't be afraid to ask." he said kindly. Aetrius gave a nod, "Thank you, good sir. I see that a festival of some sort must be going on?" she inquired, as there was music coming from inside the inn and people were everyone smiling and drinking. "Ah yes. Here we celebrate the Winter Festival every year. It's a tradition we always have, and held close. Everyone who comes here is free to celebrate with us. So, do enjoy it, or just do as you please." Aetrius and the group smiled and thanked the couple kindly as they dismounted, grabbing their gear and saying goodnight to their horses for the night as they were taken to the stables.

Aetrius turned to her now friends and spoke, "If you all wish to celebrate, feel free to. I'll be having some food and probably will retreat to my room. I uh, don't really do the whole festival thing...At least not recently." she said with a small chuckle and looked down. As the last time she ever took part in a celebration was with Kieran five years ago. She turned heel and walked to the inn, she paid for the rooms and put her stuff away, and eventually returned after seeing the others had done the same. The inn was a humble place, as well as the rooms. Plenty big enough for two people to share a room easily, and so they did. Linde and Okumi were put into a room together and so was Kyero and Lolan, Aetrius decided to go for a single room, although it was still big enough for more than one individual. As the others took part in the Winter Festival, she had excused herself outside, and looked at the night sky, it was indeed the begining of winter as it wasn't completely freezing, but on nights like this one could see their breath, they'd need warmer clothing, that was for certain. The stars were out as well as a full moon, the animals were making noises in the distance, and Aetrius sat upon the wall overlooking the lake that was beside the inn. She sighed, it would be another week until they arrived at Veilbrand. She looked back at the inn, seeing everyone enjoying themselves, dancing, singing, and having a genuinely good time. She wanted to join, as she loved to dance, but she wasn't very confident in joining the others, she'd need encouragement from someone, if they'd bother trying to bring her out of her shell of being a wallflower, who currently watched from the sidelines.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kyero Character Portrait: Linde Xe' Almna Character Portrait: Lonán Arzura Character Portrait: Korriban "Aetrius" Borral Character Portrait: Okumi Chrysanth
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The next eight days passed by very quickly. It was a fairly uneventful trip, though whenever they stopped at a town or village to rest there was something to be said and done. They did some shopping. They intermingled with one another. And they went out to take care of private business of their own. When they intermingled, it was rather casual which was nice. After such a brutal introduction to one another with the bandits, it was nice for them to just relax and chat as regular people instead of warriors or "protectors."

Thankfully they didn't need to protect anyone during their trip, though Linde's work as a doctor who couldn't (or, rather, wouldn't) say "no" to a potential patient in need was never done. Every so often she'd tend to someone who tripped and hurt their leg in the streets, accidentally cut themselves slicing fruit at a fruit stall, etc.

Linde's interactions with everyone were fairly modest for the most part. With Lonan she usually asked about his choice of weaponry and combat style. Despite being a doctor, she was an avid practitioner of martial arts and could often be found training by herself whenever she ventured away from the group. She was interested in learning about other people's combat training to further advance her own knowledge and repertoire of techniques and strategies in combat.

With Okumi, it was slow going. But it was very sweet and always heartfelt. Okumi was still very reluctant to speak of or reveal too much about herself or her condition. But Linde had been piecing together the history of her family's tragedy. She didn't pry into Okumi's past, though. She kept her observations to herself. Instead she focused on happier things with Okumi. Asking her to discuss, as best they could, their favorite fashion choices for dress when note wearing something more appropriate for what they did such as her shrine maiden outfit or Linde's doctor's jacket. She spoke to her about hobbies and what some of her favorite things were. Linde, for instance, revealed that she loved children and flowers. So revealing little things about each other like that to help one another bond slow and steady seemed the best way to go.

And then there was Aetrius... Linde couldn't deny a certain charm to the woman as the days passed by. Her stoicism. Her reluctance to reveal the past or delve too deeply into it. But at the same time the trust Aetrius placed in her to show her the wounds she'd received, especially those on her hands from chains. Those were incredibly humiliating wounds to receive, as were the whip marks. They were, most commonly, wounds of helplessness and imprisonment. And Linde had treated many of them before and heard horror stories from past patients about such wounds and the circumstances that came with them.

Linde had made it a personal goal to help Aetrius become comfortable with her body and accept her past for what it was without letting it affect who she had since become. But she needed to take it slow. And the more she thought about the "how," the more she started thinking as well about the "why." Why would she help Aetrius with this? Certainly it wasn't just because she was a doctor and wanted her patients to feel better in whatever way she could, right? But no matter how hard she thought about it, there was no rational solution which came to mind as to why she'd go out of her way for Aetrius like this. But for now, it wasn't that important. What was important was actually doing something about it.

And, whether it was intentional or not was anyone's guess, but there was a specific interaction between them which took place just yesterday while Aetrius was washing her face at a stream near their camp out in the wilds...

Linde approached her, asking about her injuries and how they were healing. She had Aetrius show her the wound, which she inspected calmly. Aetrius didn't seem too resistant to show her. She seemed to have gotten used to Linde checking her which was nice.

But as she checked the wound... Linde couldn't help but let her fingertips trace the lines of some of her older scars. And when she touched one in particular, the long one she'd been shown before in Atlum before their departure, Aetrius flinched away.

Linde was taken aback, and froze with her hands held a few inches away from Aetrius' skin.

"Aetrius... Do these wounds still bring you pain?"

Aetrius slowly nodded.

"Is it the memories? The recalling of what it felt like when the wound first took place?"

Aetrius started nodding, but then shook her head, saying she didn't know why some of them hurt. For some it was like that, yes. Recalling what it felt like when the wound was received. But for others the pain just never faded. Like her body never healed. And it just wouldn't leave her alone.

...

Linde's hands slowly reached forward and flattened out against Aetrius' flesh. Her touch was so gentle one could almost presume she wasn't touching Aetrius at all. But she was. A touch so tender and cautious it would feel to Aetrius almost like she was being touched by a cloud. But what happened next was no cloud. Linde had been sitting on her knees, and leaned down all the way so her chest brushed the ground. Her forehead was gently pressed to Aetrius' back, just beside, but not touching, the long wound she'd been shown from the barbed wiring.

"... Sometimes, I find myself wishing I was a Goddess. One who could simply erase the pain, physical or otherwise, with not but a touch..." She whispered.

Her breath both tickled and warmed Aetrius' back due to how close Linde's mouth was to her flesh, causing her to blush madly and stiffen like a board. Linde's hands remained flat against her skin on either side of her waist, and her forehead was pressed to her bare back beside her old barbed wire wound. And she was whispering against her body. Her breath... It was warm. Her touch... So soft... !!!!

No, no, no, no, no!! Aetrius could not let herself be seen this way! She had to be strong! This pain was not Linde's, and she wouldn't let it become so!

She straightened her back slightly, took a deep breath, and told Linde it was all right. That even if she wasn't a Goddess who could erase pain, she did help manage it. And that was something Aetrius hadn't been able to say about these wounds in a long time.

Linde smiled, sitting up and re-wrapping the bandaging around her body before standing and departing to continue her daily activities.

Something about that exchange felt... Nice.

That's all Linde could really label it as. Nice. It wasn't overly dramatic. It wasn't too forward, she didn't think. It was nice. A moment of sharing between them which made her heart flutter slightly and a gentle pink blush fill her cheeks as she walked back to camp. Later that evening when she looked at Aetrius, her heart skipped a beat as she recalled that moment of touching her forehead to her back, and she felt her cheeks flush again. Thankfully it was by firelight, so her was well hidden from the others as they ate their meal around the fire together.

Now in the village of Ukron, and in the middle of a Winter Festival, Linde made sure to enjoy herself to the fullest. She abandoned her usual garb and doctor's jacket, donning a white and pink kimono with adorable wooden sandals with a heel strap. She intended to dance the night away, and she didn't need them flying off her feet. At first she joined in the mass of people who were all dancing together around a massive bonfire. But slowly, as the partners began whittling down and the focus was on fewer and fewer people, Linde began to draw a crowd.

Her beauty this night was even greater than usual. Her long hair had been done up in a bun, and left to fall from said bun into a ponytail which fell to her knees behind her. The bangs on the sides of her face were slightly thinner, falling around either side of her temples in front of her ears to frame her face. She wore a pinch of makeup. Just a little bit of powder and lipstick. She didn't need it anywhere else. But that tiny addition of make up helped truly bring her from "Angel" to "Goddess" this night in terms of her physical beauty.

The crowd which followed her through the night as she passed from partner to partner around the bonfire grew with each passing minute until eventually it seemed that Linde had the entire populace in attendance focused on her. She eventually came down to only one dance partner, and as the partner finished and left the area to rest, she was the only one left around the fire. Everyone was cheering and hooting and hollering for her. She was cat-called, whistled at, and told how beautiful she was by men and women alike all through the crowd. And chants for her to dance solo and to turn up the heat a little began echoing throughout the crowd.

Enjoying herself immensely, and caught in the moment, Linde turned to the musicians and clapped a tempo. They all nodded to the beat of her hands, until they all found their rhythm and fell in sync with one another in a traditional piece of flute, drums, koto, and more.

Linde began to Dance like there was no tomorrow. While it wasn't the most intense dance she'd ever performed, it was intense enough to get more clapping, hoots, and hollers from the crowd as she performed for them with all of the passion, vigor, and enthusiasm she could muster.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Linde Xe' Almna Character Portrait: Korriban "Aetrius" Borral
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Aetrius had watched as a large group of people had gathered around Linde, and joined her in dancing. A smile spread across her lips as she watched her dance, and as well as she could see how much fun she was having. But a bit of despair fell on her as she felt left out, but she didn't want to intrude on the fun. She looked back at the lack and thought, but as time went on she saw that many people had left and Linde was left by herself, people still cheering and yelling for her to dance more, which she obviously did with glee. But what upset her is what they were saying, she could tell that while they were doing it out of tradition and kindness, something in her made her feel...jealous? Why though, she wasn't sure. She would have gladly joined her, but she didn't have the appropriate attire. She looked around and saw that surprisingly enough, a clothing store was still open, she made her way over to it and walked inside. It was a humble place, and had plenty of options. The store keeper welcomed her in and asked if she needed any help.

"N-no thank you, I'm fine." she said with a small smile and polite wave, the woman nodded and let her search on her own. She looked at five different outfits, all were nice but none would be warm enough as the weather got colder. The last one she saw, made her smile a bit. It was a humble set of different layers, as well as it would leave enough room for mobility and comfort. She tried it on and looked in the mirror, seeing as how the outfit (the middle one) did compliment her figure, as well as be enough to cover her scarring and body, as well as the gloves gave her a bit more confidence. She smiled and quickly paid the store keep and left, she walked swiftly back over to the inn, and thankfully Linde was just finishing her dance. Hoping it wouldn't be a bother or too late she opened the inn's door and stepped in. She looked at the slowly thinning group of people, and shyly made her way past them and over to Linde, who was in the middle. She straightened her position and tried to look confident, while in reality she was a bit embarrassed and nervous, allbeit. She couldn't place it, but something about Linde made her heart skip a beat, but she pushed it out of her mind, she was simply here to dance, nothing else. She stood before Linde, and gave her a kind smile as she gave her a small bow, "Mind if I cut in for a dance or so?" she asked kindly, looking back up at Linde with a slight blush. She extended her hand for Linde to take if she wanted to dance one more time, but would understand if she was tired and was going to call it for now. If Linde was going to dance once more, Aetrius was ready to have her do a traditional dance from Saharan, also known as a Saharan Spin Dance, one that was most notable Aetrius' favorite forms of dance. No one would expect her to dance, but with all the jobs she had in the past before falling into the life of a Bounty Hunter, she was a part time member of an old traveling circus for three months. She did the high ropes and slight dancing, as well as balance acts, therefore reinforcing her flexibility and ability to dance, as well as fight as if it was a graceful dance.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Linde Xe' Almna Character Portrait: Lonán Arzura Character Portrait: Korriban "Aetrius" Borral
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The past few days after the start of the adventure, Lonán began to interact with many in the group. From answering questions for Linde about his weaponry, to telling small jokes to possibly make Aetrius or Okumi crack a small smile, even using Hawk as conversation. It’s how he always tried to do with his somewhat little to few childhood friends, despite the truth being when his training began his Grandfather became his only friend.

He had a childhood friend though, he remembered her fondly. He wanted to court her when he joined the Saharan Military, but such dreams feel so far away now. His new lifestyle dashing any chances of that ever happening. How he wanted to at least make that wish reality.

Eventually, they came upon Ukron, the group opting to stopping for the night and enjoying the music and fun of the winter festivities. When he got to his room he set out two sets of clothing in front of him that he usually changes into when he knows he’s not doing any fighting. Both were gifts for very different reasons, and he heaved a big sigh as he picked the more sentimental choice. An outfit his Grandfather was given by his grandmother. Putting it on He strode from his room, hair tied in a tight tail. The young man walked out to a scene of Linde being adored and asked to do a dance, which she complied in earnest.

To say Lonán was entranced was an understatement by the dance. The dance felt like it was hypnotizing him, mind and soul. It was then, Lonán heard the two familiar words. The last of them being ‘Brew’, the first of them being his Favorite Brand that his Clan also shared a favorite in Saharan. Icefire, a Beer best served Chilled. Hurrying to where the Vendor was selling it he willingly paid the price of said beverage and took the Tankard in earnest.

Taking a long sip he smiled, and for the first time since the time he worked Security in a Traveling Carnival, he decided to do one thing he hasn’t done in public. Thus he began to, quietly at first, but the drink made his confidence swell, as he broke out into song. This was accompanied by him punctuating the chorus of this song by taking a large swig of his drink, as well as jumping on a table and doing a small dance as he went.

When he was finished with that he collapsed back onto a chair laughing, as he watched Aetrius go up to Linde to ask for a dance. ”Go for it! Whoo!” he shouted, slightly tipsy from his drink and exhaustion from having a burst of courage to be extroverted. He wasn’t sure if he was going to do anything like that again that’s for certain.

Thus he sat at his chair, trying his best to be a wallflower for whatever occurred next.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Linde Xe' Almna Character Portrait: Lonán Arzura Character Portrait: Korriban "Aetrius" Borral Character Portrait: Okumi Chrysanth
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Linde let out a huff or two as she finished her dance. She was lightly winded, and a few beads of sweat trickled from her temples causing a few strands of hair to stick to the side of her face. She did her best to brush them out of the way, and for the most part it worked save like one or two strands still stuck on either side.

And then, without warning, Aetrius arrived asking if she could handle one more dance.

And as Linde observed her outfit, and the lovely compliment it gave her figure and her overall appearance and build, she couldn't help but feel her heart rate increase just a smidge. She smiled sweetly, and blushed a little as she let out a small giggle.

She placed her hand in Aetrius'.

"I'd be delighted!" She said happily.

Aetrius smiled as Linde did accept her offer for a dance. She looked at the people with instruments, who looked at her for guidance for what kind of song they'd play. She asked Linde to wait for a moment, and she ran up to the small band of players, took out a small, gray wind looking instrument and began to play a short song. The beat being understandable as a Saharan Spin Dance, short but sweet. They nodded, and she ran back to Linde.

She cleared her throat. "Now, where were we? Oh, right."

She gave a soft smile, gently placing her right gloved hand on her waist, and the left in her hand. As the band began to play, Aetrius helped guide Linde along for the first part of the dance, helping her understand the movements of which the dance held.

As Linde was led by Aetrius into the dance following her instructions to the musicians, she couldn't help but feel a bit... Different. Beginning slowly and easily so she could get the beat and the style of the dance, she and aetrius stepped in circles holding each other on the waist/hand (for Aetrius), and the shoulder/hand (for Linde).

Eventually, they separated and took a step away, stepping back in and linking one arm together as they walked in a circle. They switched and walked the other direction, linking the opposing arm, and continued to do so for a few passes before parting and walking in patterns around each other.

Soon, they walked in closer, placing their hands on one another's stomachs stepping in carefully coordinated circles around one another.

Linde was feeling anxious now. As her dance with Aetrius smoothed and became a bit more fluid, she couldn't help but sense she was blushing a little again. She was able to dance with many people tonight so far, but only Aetrius made her feel this way. A fluttering in her heart. A light feeling in her feet like she was walking on a cloud. And the feeling of her heart in her chest beating faster the more they continued.

Finally, Linde and Aetrius parted once again and Linde decided to take lead a little. She walked in, wrapping both hands around Aetrius' waist, putting them closer together nearly touching stomachs. But there was a small distance between them. She stepped to one side with Aetrius, then to the other. And as they reached the far side of each step, Linde let go to do a spin in place before wrapping her arms back around Aetrius as she came full circle around.

Aetrius couldn't help but smile as they danced together, it had been a while since she had not only danced at all, but danced with someone who was a fast learner and could keep up with someone who grew up with the dance. It was flawless and they were in sync after Linde had a small bit of practice, Aetrius smiled all the while.

When she realized the song was soon coming to an end, she remembered the ending to the dance, she gently grabbed Linde by the waist and with simple ease lifted her into the air and slowly did a spin, gently placing her back on the ground, and gave a small dip, holding Linde by the waist still. A slight blush filled her cheeks without her realizing as she looked at Linde who was currently in her arms. The music softly coming to an end at this point, the small crowd of people clapped at the seemingly to be couple, people cheering and complimenting the dance. But Aetrius didn't hear any of them, all she saw was Linde, all was silent, only thing she could hear was her heart beating. Why was this? What made Aetrius feel like this? She...she couldn't have had feelings for Linde, could she?

As Aetrius led her through the dance's final stages, Linde's heart was fluttering even more. Their steps quickened. The tempo of the music quickened. Her heart began racing. And her body was feeling hot as sweat trickled from her brow and temples. Perhaps it was all the dancing she'd done in the last hour or so, or perhaps... Was it Aetrius who was doing this to her?

Aetrius put her in a dip, holding her around the waist as she did so, and as Linde looked up at Aetrius she felt her cheeks flush and her heartbeat quickened to a feverish pitch.

Linde's right hand had found its way to Aetrius' left shoulder, and her left hand found its way to wrap around Aetrius' waist. She was held still, and holding Aetrius still. The crowd grew silent in her ears as she panted heavily from all of the effort she'd put into her dancing. And then, finally, Aetrius slowly lifted her out of the dip and stood up straight.

They stared at each other with smiles fro a time before Linde finally blinked and looked away rather shyly which was new for her. But look away she did. She used the sleeve of her kimono to wipe sweat from her forehead, and turned back to Aetrius. Some of her hair was smeared across her forehead, sticking to it from the moisture. But she smiled nevertheless as she clasped her hands in front of her stomach.

"Thank you, Aetrius. The dance was lovely." She said through her panting.

Aetrius smiled as the dance came to an end and Linde thanking her for the dance, and watched as Linde wiped sweat from her brow. A small chuckle came from her as Linde looked away, but...was it fromher being shy? Aetrius doubted it, but smiled with a small blush none the less. Aetrius shyly rubbed the back of her neck and smiled at Linde as she spoke.

"Of course. Thank you for the dance. It's...It's been a while since I had a partner to dance with." she admitted.

"If there's ever a time you wish to learn to dance again, I'm never bothered to help." She gave a kind smile.

And gave Linde another small bow, and as she did so she gently took Linde's hand and gently kissed the top of it, as it was Saharan custom to, as well as... Well, Aetrius didn't know why, but something compelled her to.

"A-anyway," she stuttered as she stood back up and let Linde's hand go, "I-I'll let you go now. I'd advise getting to sleep soon though...We'll be leaving at noon or so...Maybe later, you've all earned a night of fun and rest. No reason to push you all too hard." she said rather kindly, she looked among the inn's tavern, seeing few patrons here and there, then there was Lolan, who she pointed at and chuckled slightly, "Burnt himself out already, huh?"

Linde smiled, and as Aetrius said she would be glad to teach her to dance further later Linde smiled warmly. And then... Aetrius kissed the back of her hand. Linde's entire face flushed pink, luckily hidden mostly by the light of the bonfire behind Aetrius.

But something about that image... Aetrius standing before her, smiling, with a raging bonfire behind her.

Linde felt something in her stomach drop and her body suddenly felt lighter. Her eyes softened, her eyelids feeling a bit heavier, and she felt this burning desire to step towards Aetrius until the latter's speaking about letting her go and advising sleep brought her out of it.

"O-oh. Of course. Yes. Thank you. I believe I will go back for a bath and then go to sleep."

She gave Aetrius a bow.

"Thank you again for the dance, Aetrius. I enjoyed it immensely, and would love to dance with you again any time."

She turned and walked towards the inn, preparing to rest for the night as the others remained in the Festival to their heart's content. And as she saw Lonan enjoying drink, she chuckled to herself before walking inside.

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Character Portrait: Linde Xe' Almna Character Portrait: Lonán Arzura Character Portrait: Korriban "Aetrius" Borral
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Aetrius smiled as she bid Linde a goodnight, and that she accepted her offer for future dance lessons. She gave her another bow, and a longing look as Linde left the tavern. When she left she sighed, she wasn't very tired and could use a few drinks, but not alone. She ordered herself a tankard of BloodCrest Rum and took a seat next to Lolan at his table. She chuckled as he was talking to himself and murmuring something about Hawk, Silly bastard, already got drunk without me? Shame." she looked at him and smiled, they never really did talk much, and allbeit he wasn't a bad guy, despite his rather immature nature at times.

"So, Lolan." she started as she took a sip of her drink and reclined in her seat, and stretched. "How was your night? Despite the singing you did, and the fact that you're dead drunk already, I'm assuming you either got lucky with some bar maiden, or are just a weak man when it comes to alcohol." she said with a chuckle as she continued to take sips from her drink now an then. The evening for her was, for the lack of a better word, great. She didn't know why, but dancing with Linde made her feel happy, the first time she felt like that in a very, very long time. And she hoped it wasn't the last and only time as she liked her time with Linde. Something about that woman just, intrigued her beyond her ability to know why, and was focused on finding out the reason why.

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Character Portrait: Linde Xe' Almna Character Portrait: Lonán Arzura Character Portrait: Korriban "Aetrius" Borral
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Lonán chuckles as he sips into his brew as he heard Aetrius come up to him and ask how his night was. ”If I got lucky with a Barmaid, you’d probably see Kyero kicked out of the room and me not sitting in this chair.” He replied, ”I just found my favorite Booze. I enjoy the little things whenever they come but this is a blessing in disguise... Hic!”

Lonán knew he had to talk to Aetrius about what he thinks he knows about her. But for now, why not have a little fun and poking at her. ”So how was your dance with the Doctor? I’m sure you and Linde had a smashing good time.“ He teases with a knowing grin and bouncing his eyebrows. ”I wish I had a decent friendship... or at least the closeness you have currently. All I got is Hawk and All he’s good for is Nagging.”

He chuckled at his pun and had another swig. ”I’ve been hoping to talk to you for awhile. We swapped stories, told jokes, but never talked about Where we came from, what family life was like... the works. Hic!” He slurred out.

”Hey, wanna have a drinking contest? Loser talks about their life before meeting each other? He offered, hoping that this will break the ice and set this friendship on the right course.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kyero Character Portrait: Linde Xe' Almna Character Portrait: Lonán Arzura Character Portrait: Korriban "Aetrius" Borral Character Portrait: Okumi Chrysanth
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The night seemed to pass in a blink. The next morning, when they all woke up, Linde and Okumi were the only ones with clear heads. Both Aetri and Lonan were nursing light hangovers, which made Linde chuckle. Since they were both used to drink, they weren't too bad off. Just a headache and a bit of mild irritability. Nothing they hadn't seen already.

Later, after having fed themselves once again, they left and continued towards their destination of Valoc. Along the way they happened to pass one of the few forested regions the nation had to offer. And it was beautiful. Massive trees almost one hundred and fifty feet tall, some rare ones being even taller, all with bright crimson leaves which withstood the harshness of winter, surrounded them. Linde had never felt so small in the face of such massive organisms. These trees must have been thousands of years old. The trunks on some of them were at least twenty feet in diameter, some even thicker. And the coloration above them with the sun rays peeking through, coupled with the beautiful scent of the wood and moisture that was trapped beneath the canopy, all made this a rather heavenly journey.

The group pitched camp that evening in the forest, and in the day that followed as well. It was one of few forests, but it was a large one. During that second night, Lonan decided to go hunting to feed the rest of the group. Kyero was nowhere to be found, having seemingly disappeared for the time being. But Linde assured everyone he would be back. Chances were high he was scouting ahead of them and making sure their path was clear and that he could maintain a perimeter around the camp to help keep them safe.

As Lonan returned with game, skinned and prepared for eating, they sat around the fire roasting the deer meat he found and prepared once again for a night of pleasantries.

"Would anyone like to hear a funny story?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kyero Character Portrait: Linde Xe' Almna Character Portrait: Lonán Arzura Character Portrait: Korriban "Aetrius" Borral Character Portrait: Okumi Chrysanth
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Aetrius was one of the last ones awake the next morning, it having gone by way too quickly. She desired sleep, but after being awoken by both Lolan and Linde knocking on her door, she eventually joined them downstairs in the diner part of the inn. After they all ate and exchanged small talk, well the others did, as both Aetrius and Lolan were suffering with headaches from the drink challenge the night prior.

Before they left, Aetrius went to one of the stores and got supplies, warmer clothing and tents, food, and she managed to find a new mask that could be used for Veilbrand, as she knew she would need to hide her face their. Some of the others asked why, and remained to keep the reasoning to herself, as it was also due to her not feeling completely confident with herself.

But later that day they came to a remote clearing along the way to Valoc in a large forest. They pitched their new tents and supplies, making camp rather easily. It would be cold, as winter was coming to this area of Cre' Est and they'd need a fire to burn all night, not just for warmth but also to ward off the wild life as this place was known for wild wolves, bears, and other deadly creatures at night. Aetrius built a large barn fire and torches all along the camp, keeping enough light for protection and warmth for them all. As the days passed, it was the second day of them staying in the camp, they were sitting at the fire preparing to eat, when Aetrius noticed Linde seemed to be rather cold, she knew Linde didn't have alot of warm clothes, as she guessed she lived in a warmer place than Veilbrand. Aetrius walked past where Linde was sitting, she removed her cloak and gently wrapped it around Linde's shoulders, "You'll need it more than I do, so...keep it. I'll be fine, I'm used to colder weather." she said with a kind smile, and sat across the fire from where Linde was, and began to eat the dinner that Lolan had prepared for them all.

"Sure, always welcome an interesting story." Aetrius said with a small smile as she casually answered Linde's question if anyone wanted to hear a story.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kyero Character Portrait: Linde Xe' Almna Character Portrait: Lonán Arzura Character Portrait: Korriban "Aetrius" Borral Character Portrait: Okumi Chrysanth
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Hangovers were the bane of Lonán’s usual days. Of course when drinking Icefire Brew, it was worth it to savor the honey flavored drink. Breakfast was bought and eaten in silence, with Lonán not cracking jokes or telling any stories as the dull headache drummed against his head.

When Aetrius finished her shopping run of warmer clothing and tents and other useful supplies for traveling to their next stop on the way towards Veilbrand, Lonán made sure he had enough feed to keep Hawk satisfied throughout the trip. They passed through a forest on their journey towards a place called Valoc, and made camp there for the night and the next day.

On the second day, Lonán decided to go hunting for game to boost their food supplies for the next few days, and armed himself with a skinning knife, and his Crossbow, leaving his sword in its sheathe near His Tent, he trudged off to find deer. It took him several hours in the day to find it, but he killed a fine looking stag he almost felt ashamed to kill. Of course, he apologized to it and thanked Heresta for the kill as he set it on Hawk to carry back to camp.

Upon returning Lonán carefully skinned and prepared the meat almost as if he was painting a picture. In truth he knew a few skinning tricks he picked up from watching the two most influential women in his childhood skin rabbits and antelope. ”If only Mother and Granny Sigrun could see me work so they can nag how I’m not doing this right.” He thought fondly with a chuckle, curing the pelt as he watched dinner cook. He thought if he haggled the hide in Valoc, then he would certainly gain at least 60 silver at best.

He watched Aetrius give her cloak to Linde and smiled softly as he signaled the food was done cooking, and helped himself to a plate as he got comfortable to listen to Linde’s hopefully entertaining story.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kyero Character Portrait: Linde Xe' Almna Character Portrait: Lonán Arzura Character Portrait: Korriban "Aetrius" Borral Character Portrait: Okumi Chrysanth
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As Linde inquired about a funny story, Aetrius walked over and placed her cloak over Linde's shoulders asking her to keep it and saying she was used to the cold. Linde smiled warmly, and felt the fabric in her hands as she drew it around herself with a soft blush in her cheeks. It was nice and warm, having just come from Aetrius' body. In other words, she was now indirectly sharing her body heat. Linde drew it tight around her shoulders and sighed softly.

As they confirmed they'd like to hear a story, Linde cleared her throat.

But before she could start, Kyero arrived from out of the darkness. It was almost as if he just materialized from it. No footstep sounds. No silhouette. Nothing. Just... Poof. He was there.

He sat down across from Lonan, not far from Okumi, and looked at Linde calmly waiting for her story to begin.

Linde chuckled.

"Well, since we're all here now... I'll begin."

She cleared her throat once more.

"It was a long time ago, in a land far, far away." She said in her 'story teller' voice, which was slightly deeper and had the faintest hint of a raspiness to it.

"A little girl of twelve began dance lessons in her hometown, the Capital City of Cre' Est. There, she met many other young girls just like her who also wished to learn the art of dance. For some it was a passion. For others a hobby. For other still it was just to pass time because they had nothing else to do."

She stood up, still clutching Aetrius' cloak to her shoulders with one hand and using her other for dramatic emphasis.

"For our heroine, it was a hobby. And nothing more. Her passion was medicine, but she had nothing left to learn from her mother by this time as her mother was now across the continent in Gweynura for business, and would be gone for nearly a year. Our heroine took up the art of dance to fill the void, continuing her medical studies as best she could in the meantime at home."

She began to walk in circles around the camp fire, using dance-like steps in a 1-2-3 1-2-3 waltz rhythm.

"It came to pass that one day our heroine encountered another girl a few years her senior who was a complete snob. A wretch of a girl with a tree for a nose and her head up her ass!" She said loudly and dramatically, cocking her hip to one side and tapping her rear end a few times to emphasize the point.

"These girls became fierce rivals. Forever competing. Forever fighting. Neither content to let the other outshine them. But the one thing our heroine had over her evil counterpart..."

Linde paused, conveniently in front of Aetrius, and gave the bounty hunter an evil smile. With the fire light shining from beneath her face, her smile looked all the more sinister.

"What our heroine had over her counterpart..." She repeated in lower voice.

Suddenly Linde cupped her forearms beneath her breasts, pushing them upward as she turned and placed them right in front of Aetrius' face. Aetrius' entire field of vision now consisted of Linde's cleavage, including the slightly frilled lace around the edge of her bra beneath the shirt she was wearing.

"... Was a large heart" She said loudly.

She backed away from Aetrius, her smile now sweet and innocent.

"Her wicked counterpart didn't have a good heart, you see. It was icy and small. She cared for nobody. But she got what was coming to her when one day, during a performance, she found in the changing room her regular bra was replaced by one slightly more than twice her size... And conveniently, it was the same size as our heroine's bust."

Linde cupped her breasts in her hands and bounced them twice, smiling and raising her eyebrows each time as she looked Aetrius in the eyes. She then let her breasts go, and they dropped to normal with a slight bounce as she turned with a seductive arch in her hip and back as she walked slowly around the fire once again.

"The spoiled brat refused to come out of the changing room, forcing her stand in to take over her role for the remainder of the performance. After it was over, our heroine revealed that she hadn't placed the bra there despite being accused of such... It came to be revealed later, outside the changing room, that the bra had belonged to the none other than the girl's own mother who placed her own bra there as a lesson in humility. The girl was nowhere near her mother's size, and likely never would be. But our heroine was already just about there... Which is why she hated our heroine in the first place and was so cold to her."

Linde faced the group and did a little shimmy which shook her breasts back and forth with a little bounce on either side.

"And so our heroine abandoned the hatred of a spoiled brat with breast envy, and has lived a happy and fulfilled live ever since."

She took a bow, again showing her cleavage thanks to her shirt. When she was done, she came back up quickly so her breasts bounced a little once again.

"Thank you for listening, and may this serve as a lesson to all men and women alike... Never live with breast envy, because in the end your jealousy will always bring you embarrassment!"

She looked directly at Lonan, giving him a wink and a shake of her finger.

"You too, Lonan. Don't envy your incomparable bust to mine. Otherwise, I shall be forced to make you wear my bra in public as a lesson in humility!"

She gave a little curtsy and sat back down, chuckling to herself all the while for her overly dramatic and comical performance.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kyero Character Portrait: Linde Xe' Almna Character Portrait: Lonán Arzura Character Portrait: Korriban "Aetrius" Borral Character Portrait: Okumi Chrysanth
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Lonán was slightly entranced as Linde began her tale, always loving to get lost in the story. He slowly began to laugh as the comedy began to hit, ridiculous and inappropriate as it was. It was indeed a very interesting lesson in humility, especially amongst women who would suffer such envy.

He downed some water from his waterskin when all of a sudden, Linde turned to him and winked by saying he shouldn’t envy either or else face a horrible prank, causing him to cough and spit out some of his water in both laughter and shock as his face slowly began to turn to the exact same shade of red as his hair was, eyes wide like plates as he looked down trying hard not to think about Linde’s bust or even about how she used it to tease Aetrius.

Indeed, all he could think of at this point, all the while blushing and trying hard to not fall victim to his local doctor’s antics; ”I need to get a girl to court... and Fast. Otherwise this woman’s wiles will be the death of me. Maybe I’ll end up doing what the Old Wolf did and stumble upon a group of Female warriors or something. Wait a minute Lonán! Do not be envious of his ‘exploits’. He was probably bullshitting that first encounter with Grandmother Anyway.”

So he simply just stared at the fire, blushing face and all, trying to focus on something other then Linde’s threats or women.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kyero Character Portrait: Linde Xe' Almna Character Portrait: Lonán Arzura Character Portrait: Korriban "Aetrius" Borral
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Aetrius was happily enjoying the story thus far and was eating the dinner that was made for them, looking down at the ground as she was rather insecure when it came to eating. When she did look up however, she wasn't expecting to see what was currently in front of her, all she saw was clothing and a the general shape of something that was all too familiar to her. It was Linde's ahem chest, right infront of her face, her left hand was holding the plate and her right was holding her fork, but when she saw what had been going on, the fork fell from her hand onto the plate as her face turned several shades of red. Aetrius remained still and in shock as she just sat there with that view, until Linde smirked at her and walked off, continuing her tale. Aetrius couldn't speak or even more, she was frozen in place, hand appearing as if it was holding an invisible fork and eyes wide as tea saucer plates.

Eventually when Linde was done spinning her tale of all things, it had to be that, she finally slowly looked up. Thankfully with no female breasts in her sights, her blush slowly starting to go away. She needed to calm and cool down, she carefully placed the plate on the log she was sitting on and stood up, face still a bright red but was thankfully covered by the fire's glow. "I-I uh....Uhm....I-I'm gonna go on a walk....I-if anyone needs me, I-I'll be over...." she looked around as she needed to think of something, noticing a path that was well treaded upon, "There, I'll be there if you need me for anything." she stuttered and awkwardly stumbled away from the fire, and dipped out of there. She needed to clear her head and not have that image ingraved into her mind, sadly it was too late for her.

"That woman is going to be the death of me I swear...." she muttered to herself as she started her walk to nowhere in particular. Thankfully the moon was out and shone its light, making walking easy, but still dangerous without fire light.


The next day they woke up early and took down the tents, ate food, prepared for the long trip ahead of them to Valoc. Things were a bit awkward between Linde and Aetrius, as the events that took place the previous night still left Aetrius rather flustered and every time she looked at Linde a blush were spread across her face. But as the days passed by the group only grew closer to even becoming better and closer friends, some more than others. They passed by towns, villages, outposts and all the like. Meeting new people, encountering ruffians here and there, dispelling trouble every way they went. Eventually they made it to the capital of Veilbrand, Valoc. The was seemed to endlessly surround the city, one may say it did. As all you could see was large and thick walls guarding the great city from invasion and the like. Once they passed through security checks, they were allowed into Valoc.

Aetrius warned them of the dangers that would lie in Veilbrand, it was not only walled off from invaders, but to also keep people from leaving. The only people allowed weapons were military or security personnel or people among those ranks. As well as passerby's and travelers, but were kept under tight surveillance. Once they made it into the middle sector of the city, they stopped in the middle of a marketplace and store center. People were everywhere, of all kinds. Shop keepers, buyers, travelers, townspeople, young and old. The group stayed together, as Aetrius warned them, "The people here are dangerous and should not be underestimated, even some children...The people here are some of the wort kind. If you must go somewhere, stay in a group, never go anywhere alone. Trust no one." she said under the new mask she had bought, also dressed in one of her new outfits with her hood up, and mask covering her face. She knew she would need to keep her face covered, as unbeknownst to her friends, she frequented Veilbrand in the past for....business purposes. She was going to talk to the group more as to devise their plans of what to do to start searching for Kieran, she knew where it was and how to get there, but their course of action would be of most importance.

"What did I tell you, you little bitch? Don't try running away from me, you hear?!" a deep voice sounded out from the crowd, garnering Aetrius' attention, as well as the group. It was a rather large man yelling at a small child that couldn't have been any older than twelve, if even ten years old. She was small, light brown hair, dark grey eyes, innocent looking, and rather roughed up looking. It didn't take her a second thought to understand what was going on. Slave traders... she thought to herself. If there was anything that she hated more, it was slave traders. The lowest of the low, next to murderers and rapists in her opinion. She swiftly dismounted Bree and strode over to the man and child. She forcefully pushed him aside, causing him to reel back and yell, "Watch where you're going, slut! This is none of your business. Just walk away and you won't get hurt. Much." he said with a sneer as he held a cat and nine tails in his hand, a painful and grotesque whip Aetrius was all but too familiar with. She growled at the man, and seized him by the throat, smashing him into the wall, "I will gut you like a fish where you stand, you piece of shit. Do you hear me?!" she yelled, slamming him against the wall again, and punched him square in the jaw. The man reeled back and spit on the ground. "I told you to stay out of this, bitch!" he exclaimed, going for a punch.

Aetrius dodged with ease, not even coming close to her. She grabbed him by the arm, and slammed her arm down heavily in the joint between his arm and elbow, dislocating it in one swift motion. Causing the man to yell out in agony and fall to the ground. "Get up, you uselss, good for nothing, bastard!" she punched him again and then again, until she slammed her leg into his jaw, letting him fall to the ground. She panted, breathing heavily as she looked at the beaten man. Her attention was fully on him as she was in a pure and blinded rage. She never once took her eyes off the man from behind her mask, it was only taken away when she saw movement from the corner of her eye. She saw the child pick up the whip that her slave master had dropped. Aetrius immediately snapped out of it once she saw the look on the girl's face, she was horrified of Aetrius, and trembling before the compared to her giant. Aetrius slowly turned to the child, and slowly knelt down infront of her, removing her hood and mask, revealing to the child that she was actually a woman, a scarred up but none the less rather good looking female. To the child's relief her savior was a female, which caused her to relax somewhat. She looked at the child and spoke to her in a calm and soft voice, looking her directing in the eyes, "That man, your....your master, he's hurt you, hasn't he?" she asked with a tone of sadness in her voice, the girl shook her head. Aetrius sighed, "It's okay, sweetheart...You're safe, okay? I...I was once like you...A slave..." her voice fell flat, and she looked down. She never spoke of her past, especially the fact she was once a slave, but this time she had to. The girl looked at Aetrius with innocent and scared eyes.

"You want proof...?" she asked, the girl slowly and nervously nodded. Aetrius nodded at the girl, and slowly stood up. She took a deep breath, and removed her belt and over shirt, having her chest binder be the only thing that was covering her chest. Normally she wouldn't do something like this in public or at all, but this was the only exception. She turned so the young girl could see her scars, littering her whole back, she then put her clothing back on and looked at the child as she crouched back down. "I have the same scars...same story...I know what he did, and he can do it no longer to you, okay? If he or anyone ever tries to harm you again, I will personally deal with them." she said with a slight chuckle. She then became solemn and serious. She slowly unwrapped the wrapping around her hands, covering the scars on her palms and forarms, she spoke to the child yet again, "These...These were made by my master...When I was your age, one day I did something he didn't like, and as usual he would punish me, and hurt me...Much like your master would do to you...As punishment that day he made me carry heavy load of supplies through the shop, with recently forged chains...These are what is left..." she looked back up at the girl, who's eyes were filled with tears and sadness, but nevertheless she continued her speech, not caring who heard her pour out her life story to a child. "But, a few weeks before he did that...He gave me this scar, as well as the ones on my back." she said as she pointed to the scar on her face. The young girl looked at her scar, never once looking away. She reached up and gently traced the scar on her face, it caused Aetrius pain, but she bore a strong face for the child. Aetrius looked back at the child, "What? What is it, young one..?" Aetrius asked, the girl looked at her and spoke for the first time, "Why...Why do you wear a mask, lady..." she asked innocently. Aetrius was taken aback. No one ever asked her why, she thought for a moment and sighed. "Because...These scars...They made me ashamed...and I felt like I wasn't worthy to look at, all scarred up...I felt ugly, ashamed of these markings that were not my own...But...Overtime...and thanks to a good friend, I...I'm not so ashamed..." she answered honestly.

"Then why do you still wear one..?" the young girl asked Aetrius. She was stunned, she didn't really know. "I wear this mask...So people forget I exist...To...To be something I'm not, I suppose..." the young girl shook her head at Aetrius, "Well, I think you shouldn't....I think you look better without the mask...It...It covers your face...Too pretty to cover up with something so ugly..." Aetrius chuckled at her words, but was nonetheless dumbfounded. She had a point, even though she didn't want to get outsmarted by a mere child. She sighed and looked at the child once more, "But promise me one thing, dear one. Do not let this man win. Do not let him make you become something you fear..Don't let him make you become a monster, something you never wanted to become...Don't...Don't become like me....Live a life you deserve to live. Grow up, become a wife, live a happy and well deserved life. Don't let him make you into what my master made me..." Aetrius said as her tears filled with tears. The girl slowly drew close to Aetrius, and gently wiped her tears away, "What...What did he make you become...?" she asked. Aetrius looked at the child, "What I feared most...A heartless, ugly monster..." she looked down at the ground.

The girl giggled and gently lifted up Aetrius' head, "I don't think you're a monster...nor ugly..Neither do I think your pretty friend does...If anything I think she disagrees." she chuckled. Aetrius looked up at the girl with confusion, "M-my friend? You mean, Linde?" she questioned. The girl nodded and giggled, Aetrius chuckled along with her, "Is that so?" the two chuckled for a moment, but soon became serious again. Aetrius slowly stood up and straightened her height, towering over the young girl, and began to walk away. "H-hey, wait....M-miss?" the girl called. Aetrius stopped and looked back, "Yes, dear one?" she asked. The girl looked at her and spoke for the last time, "What...What's your name? So that I can remember the person who saved me..." she said shyly. Aetrius thought for a moment, should she? She remained silent, then finally spoke up and uttered something she hadn't said in years, "K....Korriban....Korriban Borral..." she said, gave the girl a small smile and turned back to her friends, leaving her mask and wrappings on the ground behind her. But before she left the man, she looked at him and spoke, "If you ever touch her or someone else, ever again. And if you harm anyone else, ever again. I will personally come back here just for you, and deal with you, personally. Don't make me make your life a living hell, because I swear to Heresta, I will." she growled, and turned away from them, letting the guards deal with the mess. She learned a lesson, from none other than a child. She wouldn't need to hide behind a mask no longer nor would she need to hide who she was, and Aetrius sighed, a small smile on her face as she walked back to the group, with renewed energy she anticipated her mission for Kieran.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kyero Character Portrait: Linde Xe' Almna Character Portrait: Lonán Arzura Character Portrait: Korriban "Aetrius" Borral Character Portrait: Okumi Chrysanth
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As they entered the city and went about their business, Linde watched the scene unfold between the girl, her 'master,' and Aetrius.

As she watched, her eyes betrayed absolutely zero emotions. The glint of light had even vanished from them, making them look devoid of any and all signs of life. Her face was completely relaxed, and there was no hint of sympathy or empathy to be seen. Normally the opposite was true, even for people who deserved a beat down. She would heal them after... But not today.

As Aetrius came back to the group, Linde acknowledged her with a nod of her head, but then slid her gaze to the man on the ground as he was starting to get up.

Slowly she approached the man as he reached his hands and knees. He wept his mouth off and looked up at Linde, whose dead eyes sucked all of the bravado he may have had left right out of him.

She knelt down and put a finger under his chin forcing him to look directly at her.

"... A child..." She said, her voice lower, slightly raspy, and cold as ice.

Her fingernail began to slowly dig into his chin.

"I am a doctor. I am sworn to save lives. But you..."

Her fingernail dug in more causing him to flinch away. When he did, blood was trickling from his chin where her finger was, and from her fingernail.

"Even with my belief in the Goddess of Mercy, and my pride as a doctor... People like you, who pray on children and commit such heinous and unforgivable acts against women of any age... You disgust me." She said.

Her tone of voice was even more chilling than before, and all the man could do was look into her eyes as they narrowed.

"Have you ever truly felt fear?"

She stood up and walked up beside him, putting a single finger against his neck just above the shoulders.

"... As a doctor, I am familiar with the body in ways you can't even imagine. Even having never met, I am more familiar with your body than you are. For instance... Did you know..."

Her finger began to push down into his neck, and a few of the muscles in his shoulders and upper arms began to twitch.

"The spine is the path to the body from the brain. If I apply pressure to just one spot..."

She pressed harder, and both his arms went completely limp causing him to fall forward and onto his face. He turned his face to the side, and Linde knelt down next to him, putting her finger in another spot about 6 inches lower.

"If I apply pressure to the right spot..."

She pressed down, and his legs went limp and slid out straight from under him.

"... I can shut down literally any part of your body I want."

She stood up, walked around the front, and knelt down to look him in the eyes. And because his limbs were numb, he couldn't move away or escape. He was trapped, and entirely at her mercy.

"Some people say doctors are the true saviors of human kind... But that's not entirely true. What we are..."

Linde leaned down, getting up close with the man and glaring into his eyes with that stone-cold stare.

"... We are the most efficient killing machines in the world. We simply choose to use what we know to heal rather than hurt... Except in special occasions such as this one."

Linde leaned back, sitting up straight, still giving him that icy glare.

"For what you have done to this child, and undoubtedly other young children over the years... I will make this permanent."

Linde moved to the side and slammed three of her fingers into the middle of his back, causing his entire body to spasm and go limp. After a few moments, he blinked and realized he could still control his head, but that feeling... A searing pain. Numbness. Followed by the relief of the feeling returning in his core and head and neck... But not his exterior limbs. He had no feeling in his arms or legs at all. None.

"For what you have done you will live the rest of your life unable to walk or use your hands ever again. It's better than you deserve, but I refuse to stoop to your level by taking your life. Though, if I wanted to..."

She scooted around to lean in even closer to his face.

"I absolutely could!" She hissed.

With that, she stood up and turned from him, walking back to the others as she took in a deep breath and let it out on a sigh. And after a moment, her normal smile returned as she looked somewhat apologetically to everyone.

"I'm sorry for that display, but... People like him, if you can call them that, disgust me more than any others."

She looked slightly to the side with a saddened expression, worried that she may have just turned them all against her. Even with Aetrius fighting him, at least she didn't try to tear the man's soul out by robbing him of 90% of his mobility and turning him, essentially, into a vegetable.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kyero Character Portrait: Linde Xe' Almna Character Portrait: Lonán Arzura Character Portrait: Korriban "Aetrius" Borral Character Portrait: Okumi Chrysanth
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Aetrius watched as after she walked back to the group, Linde nodded and walked right passed her, and to the man she had been previously speaking to. She watched from the sidelines as yet again, Linde went psycho on someone's ass after she dealt with them from the start. Every time it happened, it always left Aetrius in awe and fear, but mainly awe. But this time, something...clicked in Aetrius. She watched, mouth ajar and eyes wide as Linde did what she did best, kicking ass in the most fearsome and unexpected ways. Why, why did Aetrius feel this way, was...was she actually....in love with Linde? She thought to herself in her dumbed and zoned out phase, if she was this was the first time she ever felt that way. But she pushed it back into her mind again, away from her train of thought. She was where Kieran was, and she was going to finally see her and take her away from Veilbrand forever. No matter what it would cost her this time.

This time she had a team, a group. A reliable one at that, and they were here to get their mission of saving Kieran finished once and for all. If Kieran truly was here, she was about to find out, and she didn't care what she had to do to get to her. If she needed to go guns and swords ablazing, she would. If it could be peaceful, she would. She was just deadset on it, and she was going to make sure everyone knew that. She looked back at the group as Linde walked back over, "I was going to break his hands and body if he tried it again. But...But that was...That was better than what I had planned. Well done, Linde. Well done indeed. Now, whar are our course of action?" she asked as she looked to Linde and the others for plans.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kyero Character Portrait: Linde Xe' Almna Character Portrait: Lonán Arzura Character Portrait: Korriban "Aetrius" Borral Character Portrait: Okumi Chrysanth
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Lonán, for most of the time was quiet as the group made their way into Valoc. Witnessing the various activities reminded him just why he felt this land was a danger to itself at times. However, when he witnessed the slaver with the young girl his blood boiled, inching closer to his sword when Aetrius beat the slaver and comforted the young girl, allowing the more honorable side of him to relent in attacking a downed man. If he got back up to try anything he was thus ready.

However, Linde, gentle Linde once again reminded The group that whilst she was a healer, she sometimes used her knowledge to turn her enemies bodies against them. However, her fierceness caused him to pale a bit more then his skin tone, followed by a massive blush. Whilst he knew Aetrius seemed to have some crush on her, Lonán couldn’t help but see why she was attracted to her. She was beautiful, and could hold her own. He struggled with the sudden urges of Saharan Customs.

”By the gods, I need to get a drink before I think about trying to steal her from Aetrius, or whatever she calls herself. Otherwise I just go search for a house of lady favors or go flirt with Local tough women (if any)!” He thought, before hearing Aetrius applaud Linde’s punishment as he agreed with her with a nod, still slightly pink.

At the asking of any plans Lonán simply said, ”We find a place to stay first off, then ask around for the establishment of Lady Favors your friend supposedly is in then go from there.” he suggested, uncertain whether or not it was the most thought out plan. Mostly because his feathers, in a word, was ruffled.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kyero Character Portrait: Linde Xe' Almna Character Portrait: Lonán Arzura Character Portrait: Korriban "Aetrius" Borral Character Portrait: Okumi Chrysanth
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{OOC: Kumo gave me the go to post a second post to move things along in the Saving Kieran Arc, of this RP. So, according to him we're not anywhere close to ending this, not even close to being half way. So, more to go. OOC Wolf out!}


After devising plans of what to do next, the group agreed of searching for a camp of operations first. Preferably an inn, but even in a city like this, inns here would be far different than what the group was used to by this time. They kept to themselves and stayed out of causing further scenes, blending in with the locals and fellow travelers easily. They looked around for places, abandoned/empty buildings, some came up but they were in the lower, poorer sectors of the city and wouldn't even consider staying in a place like that. So, search of finding an inn was voted upon, from much disagreement from Kyero, but majority ruled, and they ruled for an inn. After a few hours of searching and trying to bargain for reasonable prices, and after being chased out of a few by angry inkeepers, they came to their last chance. A good sized, two story inn in the above poverty level of the sector. Aetrius told Kyero and Lolan to stay with the horses and Okumi, as leaving her alone in a city like this was as good as selling her outright to sex traffickers. Which, they'd never consider, obviously.

So that left Aetrius and Linde, they entered the inn, keeping their eyes open for any sign of danger as well as knowledge they could use, but without seeming suspicious. Aetrius walked to the front desk that was in the corner, an old and grayed man sat on a stool behind the desk, obvious a drunk as well as a creep. Aetrius cleared her throat and looked him in the eye, "How many rooms do you have left?" she asked.

The old man looked up at her with a scowl, as if he didn't even want to deal with someone, he groaned, "How many you asking for?"

Aetrius thought for a moment and then spoke up, "Three. Doesn't matter the size. Just need three rooms. The rest of our group is outside. Five of us in total. " she chose to be honest and not seem to be worthy of any trouble to him the best she could.

"Three rooms, eh? For how long?" he croaked out, his breath smelling of old ale and decaying teeth.

Aetrius did her best not to gag on the noxious smell that assaulted her nose, feeling sorry for Linde if she dared to even inhale. "About a week or so. Maybe two at most." she said as she adjusted her position and stood up straight, never looking away from the man, no matter how ugly and unkempt he may have been.

"Three rooms, for two weeks at max...Five people...." he yawned and scratched his ever balding head. "Shit ain't cheap, doubt you'd have the money. Each person costs 1 Silver ($25), and you have five people ($125/night), and are here for two weeks (14 days), then your total comes to about 1,750 or 70 Silver." he said as he coughed and hacked up some phlem at the end. Causing Aetrius as well as Linde to reel back a bit in disgust.

"Seventy silver??" Aetrius exclaimed in shock and revulsion, as that would be over whelming and drain them dry of all their money.

"Told you it's not cheap here. You pay for what you get. Your rooms are nothing special, but they work and that's all that matters. Now, fork over the fuckin' money if you want to stay and leave me be. Or you can go fuck off and find some place else, ya bitch. Yer choice." he said as he spat on the floor after he was done talking.

Aetrius' fists tightened as he spoke to them, such disrespect out of nowhere and no for shitty rooms at an overwhelming price? She was tempted to deck his ass right then and there, but they needed a place to stay. And this was their last chance of getting any place for their time here. Aetrius sighed, looked at Linde and silently shrugged. She had just enough money to make it for their time there, as well as help from the others. She knew she'd need to do some dirty work to make money for them to be able to survive, nevermind live comfortably. As well as find and get information to find Kieran. She sighed and tossed her money as well as what they could pitch in on the desk, accepted their keys and went back outside. The way to get up to their rooms was by a walkway in the back. The Prancing Pony as it was called was known to be rather dangerous and constantly filled with drunks, murderers, and rapists. But they needed a place to stay, and this was the best they could muster up.

"We'll work out something...If I need to do work to make money, so be it. I'll do it. Just for now we lay low and get intel, work our way up to finding her. We can speak more inside. The stables are in the back as well. Much as I don't like it here, it's what we got. Three rooms, for two weeks....Choose who you want to bunk with and we'll move on from there." she said as she crossed her arms and let the others understand what the plan was, and let them discuss who they'd be staying with while they're there in Valoc.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kyero Character Portrait: Linde Xe' Almna Character Portrait: Lonán Arzura Character Portrait: Korriban "Aetrius" Borral Character Portrait: Okumi Chrysanth
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Linde was grateful that nobody seemed to dwell on how she treated that man. He was a piece of refuse, after all. He deserved much worse than what she gave him. But still, part of her heart ached due to her behavior... She was a doctor. She should be better than this.

They moved on from there not long after, and it came to pass that she and Aetrius went to numerous inns trying to secure rooms. Finally, they ended up at the Prancing Pony and the innkeep was incredibly rude. Linde had considered using her feminine charm, but Aetrius managed to secure their rooms. However, it drained the last of their funds. Aetrius' silver plus Linde's and the last remnants of the other's finances which were donated to the cause just in case.

So now the group was literally broke and without a single copper to its name.

But they had a place to stay for two weeks, and that was something. In this place, that was more than they could otherwise ask for if they lived here.

As Aetrius spoke about their conditions, Linde spoke first.

"This might sound odd, but I have a suggestion to make about our room arrangements."

She made sure everyone was listening before speaking again.

"I suggest we move beds around a little. Kyero in the room on one end. Lonan on the other. All three of us in the middle. In a city like this, full of corruption and unscrupulous characters seeking to do harm to women, it would be prudent for all three of us to be in one room with the men on either side. That way they can both react in their own time instead of fighting to get out the door first to reach us and potentially needing to run down the hall to do so... And if need be, Kyero can use his orichalcum daggers to carve a makeshift door between his room and ours for easy access, using the cutout as a "door" so we are not without privacy. With the way the inn keep treated us, he can consider this an investment into the safety of his guests." She said with a hint of pride.

She looked up to the others.

"Does anyone have objections?" She asked.

Kyero shook his head.

"I feel it sound. What do you all think?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Kyero Character Portrait: Linde Xe' Almna Character Portrait: Lonán Arzura Character Portrait: Korriban "Aetrius" Borral Character Portrait: Okumi Chrysanth
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Aetrius looked at Linde as she spoke, and thought over the plans for the rooms. In a place like this, Aetrius would be easily awoken to almost any noise as is, as she's trained herself to wake up at any sound when she knows she can't fully trust it. That, and she'd keep watch for most of the time, not being one that needs much sleep anyway. She nodded at the suggestion in agreement with Kyero. "It is a safer option, as well as an easy way to move around the place without causing attention to be brought to us while we're here. The plan is sound. As well as me staying up to keep watch, and only sleeping when I need to, works for me. I'll be alert at all times to keep you safe, you all safe." she said that, first she looked at Linde with a quick glance, then to the others to pass off what she said as if she meant the group itself. She cleared her throat and nodded, going over to Bree and taking off her supplies, as they couldn't trust any of their things outdoors.

"Sorry, girl. But you'll be an outside horse for a while." she gave Bree a gentle pet and kiss on the forehead, which garnered a whinny and a huff from the horse. "I'll have none of that attitude with you, missy." she chuckled and picked up the rather large amount of supplies she had on Bree, and began carrying them up the stairs to their room. "We can discuss things better as we settle in. Plan things further without getting anymore attention than we've already gotten. I say we find a place for future food and supplies after settling, then retire back here and plan things out. What says you all?" she gave a rather small and genuine smile to the others, then resumed to go to the rooms that were mentioned.