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Mirabella d'Adreci

Only the dead have seen the end of war.

0 · 805 views · located in Calisma

a character in “Calisma”, as played by Celedia

Description

Full Name: Mirabella d'Adreci

Nickname: Mira

Gender: Female

Age: 27

Sexual Orientation: Bisexual, though her favor would be hard won.

Height: 5'10"

Race: Human

Class Warrior

Skills: Fighting, weaponry, defense. Minor survival skills but they wouldn't be comparable to a ranger or the like.

Weakness(es): Magic. Not only physically weak to the effects of magic but also holds a deep hatred for mages and their ilk. Yet she holds respect for clerics and paladins because she believes that God-given powers are natural. Arcane powers are not.

Equipment: Equipment? For a warrior? Expect the list to be light on the accessories and heavy on the weaponry. Other than her armor and a small pack of necessities, she carries: a long sword which is a family heirloom, a wooden shield,a one-handed axe which she has strapped to her right hip as a back-up weapon/survival tool, and a single dagger tucked into a boot sheath as a last resort.

Personal Quote: "Iron is full of impurities that weaken it; through forging, it becomes steel and is transformed into a razor-sharp sword. Human beings develop in the same fashion"

Description: Mirabella is tall and toned/muscular beneath her armor though her form still holds a womanly shape. She is agile and possesses the dexterity of a troupe performer but she would rather rely on the metal of her plate than her ability to roll out of harm's way so they are skills rarely seen. Fine blond hair feathers around her face and is kept short so that it is easy to manage while her light brown eyes always seem to be watching, judging. The complexion of her face seems to be rather flawless and though not much of her skin is seen due to her armor, it borders between pale and tan depending on the season. Were she to dress in commoner's clothing, most of her family and friends probably wouldn't recognize her because the warrior seems to be defined by her armor which had been passed down to her from her mother.

Personality & History combined: The life of a warrior is not for the faint hearted and rarely do we see any fighter that is jovial for any length of time. This woman has been on the front lines and possibly seen more blood and violence even during this “era of peace” than most people have seen in their lifetime. When you begin to become used to hacking into another human being as easily as you would an animal for slaughter then your personality becomes altered. This is the way it was for Mirabella.

At the tender age of eight, the children in Mira’s village of Douvhran are gathered up and taken to their first ‘class’. These classes are designed to create warriors out of daydreamers and before their first fortnight ends usually one of the children has either run away from their inability to deal with such violence or they have been killed during training. Only the tough and the strong survive. Should a child make it through puberty and to their 16th year without failing any of their tasks then they are elevated to the status of Triansui, an equivalent to the rank of Knight in most other cities. The Triansui are usually gifted with heirlooms for once they reach the rank, their mother and father may retire and live a life of leisure within the village.

With no outright wars and rarely a good fight to be had in her lands, Mirabella set out on her own to hire herself out as anything that would keep her skills well-honed. A mercenary, a bodyguard for a traveling merchant, it didn’t matter as long as she was able to keep her body trained and her mind sharp. It was during these travels that she learned people were usually untrustworthy and that even in an era of proclaimed peace, there were murderers and scoundrels waiting to prey upon others. These chance meetings left her with scars, both internal and external and an inability to trust as openly as she had when she was much younger and carefree. Those days seemed long passed.

More recently, she was spotted traveling the roads leading towards Paetax. To see for herself if the rumors floating about were true or if they were simply tales spun by local storytellers to gain a captive audience. Though one would wonder if a warrior like herself was going to see if she could help the King? Or if she was traveling to insure his passing so that her people would no longer have to scrounge for work.

Anything Else: All secrets are revealed in time and only at her discretion. This warrior holds many secrets, most of them stories told through scars that mar her skin. A jagged trio of pale white claw marks running across her left side. A healed over wound near her spine from literally being stabbed in the back. Do you wonder why she trusts so infrequently?

So begins...

Mirabella d'Adreci's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci

0.00 INK

#, as written by Celedia
Mirabella d’Adreci


The journey south had been long and arduous and by the time the armor-clad fighter and her horse finally made their way to the farm lands outside of Paenax it was already mid-morning. The heat was more apparent here than in her northern homeland but there was an eager breeze which swept over the land, cooling her face and whipping her pale blond hair about as she cast her light brown eyes over her surroundings.

She had passed several farmsteads on her way along the pounded dirt road but none so close to her path as the one that lay perhaps twenty yards ahead of her. Mirabella had come to this town seeking truth to the rumors and a family this close to the grand city would be eager to share their tales without being suspicious of her interest in the King’s well being. It would also prove a fine place to stop and rest, perhaps even gather her thoughts until she forced herself to enter the city proper.

With that vague plan in mind, Mira clicked her tongue softly, urging the chestnut mare forward until they reached a small wooden cabin with tiny faces peeking curiously out of its windows. The warrior dismounted, pulling the reins over the mare’s head as she led her to a small tree so she could hitch her to one of its limbs. Before the warrior could even turn from her steed, the front door to the farmhouse opened and a middle-aged woman came to stand on the porch, shielding her eyes against the sun’s rays.

“Y’lost, stranger? Paenax ain’t that far y’know…” She gestured to the grand walls surrounding the capital city, as if they were hard to spot and the motion drew a small smile to Mirabella’s lips.

“No, milady. Not lost. I am simply seeking a bit of information. I am a traveler and have heard word of the King being stricken with a malady of some sort….” Gossip was always best phrased as rumors or tales then laid out so that the person could refute or agree. It was less confrontational than a direct question and she could pretend as if she was deeply invested in the King’s welfare.

“Oh, you poor child. You haven’t heard?!” The woman began filling her in and her lips moved a mile a minute, explaining everything about the King that Mirabella had wanted to know… And more. Issues with the noble caste, hints of a conspiracy, and intrigue! The story lasted for well over an hour and as the farmer’s wife spun her tale, she fed Mirabella and allowed her time to wash up, even making the children feed, water, and care for the chestnut mare outside.

By the time that the fighter finally stepped back out into the sunlight, she had even heard of parchments that had begun to pop up around the city, speaking of noble adventurers being called to aid the King in a grand quest. Riches and honor, any hero’s dream, were to be offered to those that stepped forward. ”….Report to the Black Vagabond one hour past noon three days after spring equinox.” The scroll had read and so her next destination had been laid out ahead of her.

The bells sounded throughout the land after Mirabella had finally reached the town and stabled her horse. She was wandering the streets in search for the infamous Black Vagabond tavern when the first chime rang out, causing everyone to stop in their tracks. The fighter, being new to town, had no idea about the indications of the chimes and almost plowed into an entire group of people as they paused to listen. “Watch where yer goin’!” One angry man growled after the sounds faded and motion resumed once more.

It was perhaps twenty minutes later when she finally pushed open the door to the tavern. Her eyes narrowed at the sudden decrease in lighting and she paused a moment to allow her vision to adjust even as her hand went to rest on the axe hanging from her belt. City folk were generally an untrustworthy lot and as her eyes focused on the inhabitants of the room, her fingers clenched a bit tighter around the weapon’s handle.

A mage…

She had forgotten that they were more welcome here than they had been near Vaekor. Trickery, witchcraft, she knew one of them had to be a magic wielder because it simply made her skin crawl. But there were others in attendance. A shadowy figure, a scarred man, a woman in a blindingly bright robe, and the barkeep were also scattered about different parts of the room and the very sight of others made her grip relax once more. She couldn’t risk losing her chance to be a part of this quest because of some magician.

Exhaling forcefully, Mirabella made her way to the counter and crooked a finger towards the bartender, drawing him towards her so she could place an order. She had a bit of time to kill and a glass of mead would be welcome until the others arrived.

The setting changes from paetax to Calisma

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci

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#, as written by Celedia
[Ignore- damn posting]

The setting changes from calisma to Paetax

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci

0.00 INK

#, as written by Celedia
Mirabella shifted on her barstool and nursed her mead throughout the Prince's monologue. Though she was listening intently as Rydas confirmed many of the rumors that the farmer's wife had shared with her outside of the city walls, the fighter couldn't help the flash of surprise that crossed her face as he spoke of Panacea. In fact, it was all she could to do withhold laughter at the Prince's plan but she was smart enough not to express her opinion outwardly. The Prince was indeed desperate if he resorted to chasing after fairy tales and myths to cure his ailing father.

Their newfound leader opened the floor for introductions and she sat there, waiting for anyone to step forward but no one seemed ready for the attention. Unafraid and unwilling to let the troupe sit around in silence, she kicked back the rest of her mead in one gulp then lifted herself from her stool and turned, facing as many people as she could while she addressed them. For a female, she may seem quite imposing in her hand-forged armor that had been passed down to her from her mother and to her mother from her grandmother before that. Though aged and not as fine a quality as the armor that the Prince wore, it was obviously well taken care of. Since she was from a poorer region, her outfit was an eclectic mishmash of components- plate pieces over chain mail or heavy leather but the odd combination gave her a bit of dexterity that full plate would lack.

The voice that came from the imposing, metal-clad figure was probably surprising to anyone in the tavern. It was a voice that was strong and commanding yet oddly melodic, musical in the way she pronounced her words. A vague accent that would be easily recognizable as someone hailing from north of the Soch mountains though few ever dared to travel that far north without reason.

"I am Mirabella d'Adreci, daughter of Augustus and Selene from the village of Douvhran, outside of Vaekor." Her pale brown eyes went from figure to figure, gauging reactions to her introduction and whenever her eyes fell upon the mages, she couldn't keep her eyes from narrowing distrustfully. Obviously there was a deeper reasoning than mere hatred of all mages but she didn't seem the type to share such things openly.

"I am Triansui," she stated her rank and then adapted her wording for those unfamiliar with her culture, "A warrior of the highest caliber in our ranks. I fight with sword and shield or axe and shield and was born to be among those at the front lines." She kept her introduction short and sweet, since there were another ten or so that she would have to sit through, she was hoping that they took a cue from her and didn't drag out the meeting with any elaborate speeches. If they were going to go traipsing about the country looking for a mystical object then they would probably have many days to get to know each other.

Inclining her head towards the Prince in a semi-bow, she took her seat once more though this time with her back facing the counter so that she could watch everyone else as they made their introductions.

The setting changes from paetax to Calisma

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Xan Hallister Character Portrait: Narenia Halen Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Hayley Furdiligit. Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Callavan Sole Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Gallow Ó Tuathaláin Character Portrait: Feylon Haradas

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#, as written by slcam
Acacia listened with great interest as the Prince described their quest. It sounded like some epic tale from an old legend where the heroes go on a nearly impossible quest and somehow, heroically manage to accomplished their goal. She nearly laughed. In any case, Acacia knew that this quest would give her many new stories to tell at the worst, if they even ended up getting anywhere. When he asked for introductions, Acacia shifted back in her seat, watching her fellow "Adventurers" as they began the process of introducing themselves. Tal would have loved a quest like this, she thought sadly. It only made her all the more determined to take part. Suddenly a man who seemed to have just come fresh out of a brawl walked in. He didn't seem to have any violent intentions and the meeting kept on without pause.

The first to speak up was a tall woman in some various armor. It all seemed mixed and matched, but suitable for defense. She was fairly well built and spoke with confidence. She then began describing her qualifications and weapons of choice. Acacia was almost impressed as she stored everything in her memory for later.
The next was a man named Xan who blantantly admitted he was a thief. Acacia admired his audacity, especially in the presence of the Prince. It seemed he also perhaps had some interest in stories. Maybe they would get along well she thought, smiling at him as he sat.
Immediately after this, a man in full armor burst into the room, quickly introducing himself. Acacia was highly entertained by so dramatic an entrance. "Maybe I should have come in like that. Would have been fun," she mumbled to herself.
The introductions again went on without pause, only a few of those present seeming to find the sudden arrival interesting. One of those at the bar, a tall, rather large, blonde man who had been one of the few to react, then started introducing himself. Apparentally, he was one of the odd characters that followed the god Deud, and a priest no less. He almost seemed to ramble on, but Acacia, wanting to learn all she could, tried to absorb as much as possible and she leaned forward eagerly.
However, one of the others, a woman in yellow robes, seemed to dislike what he had to say. The mug in her hand suddenly shattered. What a strong grip, Acacia thought with an amused smirk. Those yellow robes seemed familiar, as if she had seen something like them before. The woman explained that she was a monk. Acacia thought over the odd name as it tickled the back of her mind. She couldn't quite place it though.
She gave a slight sigh as the next person, a woman standing in the back named Hayley, introduced herself as a merchant. If she is a merchant, then I am an enchanted cow,Acacia thought, the smirk increasing on her face.
Next was a woman who was a ranger. Acacia could almost imagine just how many places she had been. She wondered how long the ranger woman had been traveling. Most likely several years.
The next to introduce himself was a mage, who also seemed somewhat forward. He openly admitted that he was in this for only the money and the glory. Acacia did laugh softly as this, before gracefully standing to make her introduction.

"I am called Acacia Winn," she said with a bow, her arms sweeping back to dramatically flourish her cloak behind her and her hair splaying in front of her face before she abruptly straightened, tossing her head to get it out of her eyes. "You may call me Bard girl if that is too terribly hard to remember," she said with a wink. "I am merely a humble bard, looking to be of assistance to her king. I do have some ability to defend myself, so that should not be an issue. I don't think there is much else to tell, but I will let you know if I think of anything."

She then plopped back down in her seat, an overly thoughtful look on her face as she tried not to break into a smile. Her chin rested on the fist of her left hand as she held out her right hand, slowly twisting it as if to pop her wrist. When her palm was again turned upward, there was a small knife in it that she proceeded to play with, deftly looping it through her fingers and around her knuckles. She seemed to not even pay attention to what she was doing as her face still bore that silly, thoughtful look.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Alice Sangera Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Hayley Furdiligit. Character Portrait: Callavan Sole Character Portrait: Rydas Errion

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#, as written by Celedia
Mirabella's posture got noticeably stiffer as words began to exchange heatedly between the members of their newly formed ragtag group. There were few things she knew about dealing with outsiders and by the Gods, she didn't exactly want to work with some of these people but she would at least try. If they dispersed before even setting upon the quest....

The Priest was the first to throw out his ideals then one of the mages. The second mage, a young looking thing, appeared to despise confrontation so she simply lay her head down upon her arms to block out the argument. Next, the 'merchant' stepped forward, answering the Priest's claims and lobbing off a threat of her own as she now wielded a dagger.

Enough was enough. No one that she had originally thought to be a 'leader' of the group, whether the aged Priest or the desperate Prince, seemed determined to step in and stop this mess. So she would. Even if she didn't stop it, she would at least express her opinion that they were all fools.

In her clear, accented voice she finally said, "Enough!" Without the theatrics of breaking glasses or drawing her sword, she simply stood up and leveled a half-glare at all those participating.

"Whether you have come here to partake this quest upon sense of royal obligation or wealth or fame or glory... Know that none of you will have what you desire if you are to kill each other before we even start."

She glanced from the Priest, to the mage Callavan, to the 'merchant' woman all in turn since they were the three closest to coming to blows.

"If she were a merchant or a farmer or even a trollop from some two bit whorehouse I would have to say that as of right now I would prefer her at my side because she would probably bring more to this quest than a love of mead. So if you all are too bigoted to put your feelings aside then let me know now because I cannot help to guard those that would stab each other in the back before we even face an actual enemy worthy of our blades."

Her pale brown eyes were afire with her anger. She decided to settle down, shaking her head so quickly that her blond hair fell into her eyes for a brief moment and causing need for her to run her hand through her tresses to tame them once more.

"If you wish to have your battle then do so now and get it over with. I will be waiting outside so that my armor doesn't get stained over petty squabbles." Her voice had lowered for the last sentence and she pushed passed everyone in the room to walk out of the front door for a bit of air.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Hayley Furdiligit. Character Portrait: Callavan Sole

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Why had he always failed to be so… sharp when he needed to? The merchant was already closer than he would like and worse of all she was going for the bearded mage, damnit it should be the priest not the mage… he had to make her priorities change and she looked like quite the hot head it would not be hard

“Now listen to me wench, who is to blame the joker or those who laugh It was I who spat at your honesty not him, leave him out of it!” there was death in her eyes “Come and get done with it Ive got all night to get stabbed!” Deud would welcome him in the great hall he knew

And she seemed to be going to indeed do something about it, the mage was not content with being merely an spectator and was preparing a surprise of his own, Akdov wanted to shout for him to not do anything stupid when a voice interrupted them
“Enough” it was the swordsman, woman, she then continued to mark the errors in their ways and what Akdov had failed to communicate, if they did not work together they would be doomed from the start

The lying fire crotch had shown everything Akdov needed to know, she was a short tempered brute which despite the lies failed to hide the simplicity of her ways, judging that the situation was distinctively cooler now, the priest knew that the shield woman was the one that he should look upon for guidance and support most of all

He trailed after her giving a glance to the liar and the mage, he wanted to tell them to behave but it stuck in his gut not quite coming out
Making it out he saw her, the Triansui “Lady I think we need a word about this whole endeavor, something is rotten in this company and I think you are the one with the best judgment”

The setting changes from calisma to Paetax

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci

0.00 INK

#, as written by Celedia
Mirabella d'Adreci

((Outside of the Black Vagabond))


The doors pushed open, startling a few commoners that were lingering by the tavern's doors and windows to try to sneak a peek of the gathering. Apparently, once word had spread that the Prince himself was in attendance the brave and curious came 'round to investigate. A few made motions as if they were going to ask the warrior lass for more information but the look in her eye had them all scurrying back to their posts and they stayed still even when the Priest barged out after her.

“Lady I think we need a word about this whole endeavor, something is rotten in this company and I think you are the one with the best judgment.”

Mirabella pinched the bridge of her nose, hoping to distract herself from an oncoming headache and to try to ease the tension that she had hoped would dissipate without anyone to hover over her. Since she had no time to relax, no time to even take a deep breath, her ire was still simmering right beneath the surface and she let some of that spill out onto Akdov.

"You wish to seek my council?" She retorted, unable to keep the hint of incredulity from her voice as she turned to face him head on. "You. A priest much older than I? You are one of the reasons I am disappointed in this...." she paused to search for the word, her lips contorting slightly as if the phrase was bitter on her tongue, "Expedition. I saw you and I thought... 'Here is a man that will lead us on the right path. He is a priest so he must be benevolent and wise and strong.' Do you know how disheartening it is to realize that I trust no one in there at this moment? There are so many in there that are younger than even I am. That need guidance and leadership and someone to counsel them and do you think I am the woman for the job? No! I should not be but I also will not stand by while you ridicule people. It is obvious that she lied but did you stop to think that she is embarassed by her occupation?"

She paused, hoping that it would sink in even though she didn't think it would. He seemed to have his world easily separated into black and white, right and wrong categories with no room for negotiation. "Maybe she has had a rough life and turned to whatever it is she does to make a living but do not sit there and judge her when I highly doubt you or anyone else in there has led a life free of sin."

She had obviously run out of steam with her rant but if he (and every commoner within earshot, it seemed) had gleaned anything from her diatribe it would be that she was quite honest when she decided to share her opinions. In regards to that honesty, she didn't actually trust anyone but she seemed to be far more willing to give people a chance to prove her correct. Cynic that she was.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci

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She was rightfully pissed, good, a person enveloped in rage was sincere, and her words showed that she had never seen a cleric of Deud before, there might be a good reason for that
“Child age has blessed me with wisdom but I can only lead the faithful and those people would never put weight in my words I can tell, did you saw how they looked at you?” He sat, anger had soiled her fair features “If they are lying to us about something so simple how we can trust them for anything, do not think my actions are without plan, this whole bait and act has drawn the ones that can be relied upon… I was hoping it would be the prince but it seems not to be the case”

Where is a drink when I need one?

“The life of the clergy has seen attempts again my life over and over again, I am a blasphemer and the root of evil to several institutions… I will say this, you have to question everything that is given” he was not seeing any real impact on his words
“What I mean is, the prince could have easily assembled a better team himself a group of elite knights that had shared operations or the like… if he’s coming to strangers he has not seen before that either makes me believe he is desperate or that something far more sinister is at play here, he is prince yes, but no heir and none of us are bastions of virtue or admirations as you just saw… All I saw there were perfect scapegoats… but for what?” it was ill to sow even more doubt amongst the ranks but he would not hold what he saw
“I can only say that I trust the mage for hire, the monk and yourself… despite my liking for the bard she is far too innocent and sweet, something is amiss there and the disdain the monk harbors towards me, would not, could not be a part of a facade… and the merchant is far too hot headed to be of use, the right words and she could be the knife at the night to end us”
He glanced around, nobody could be listening now, not to him at least “Its better to weed out those that we can trust from those we can’t, there are many who would benefit from the king`s demise… did you looked at the prince? I challenged him and he stayed to goddamn calm, my every action was meant to touch nerves and it has served me well… one does not stay alive long with such reckless behavior”

If she is part of the plot I am a dead man

"I dont have the strength to stand in combat to any of them, I am a priest and I can only pray for the best, but goddamn sometimes it is easier to pray to forgiveness in stead of divine intervention, if it comes to it, whats your take on this?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Narenia Halen Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Hayley Furdiligit. Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Gallow Ó Tuathaláin

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The innocent monk had thanked her and smiled brightly. It was only returned by Nari. One friendly action deserved another. It would seem though, that everything from here on would spiral downwards.
The priest had overspoken and of course did the woman with armor - Mirabella - taken offense to it. After a short verbal insult had she left the room only to have the priest trailing after her.
I wonder how that's going to turn out. Nari thought and raised her eyebrow. The 'merchant' had proved her temper to be that of...well.. She was hot headed to say the least. Not a moment had it taken for her to take offense and retaliate to everything the mage said. Nari's first intention was to go over to the unbelieveable rude man and tell him how exactly you talk to a woman. She had went from the red-haired woman to a wench and a whore in a considerable short amount of time. The monk with the wounded hand was still remained in her seat and kept calm for the moment. As she looked with her piercing green eyes, so did a few others in the room. A man that seemed troubled and acted like he didn't really care much for what was going on, the prince himself and the girl with the lute. For now at least.

The other man, the other ranger, or that was what Nari would guess him to be, spoke to the prince now. Just within earshot, his female counterpart could her what he was saying.
Either that man is stupid or he's been paid to do that. She thought, expecting a blow from the prince's sword any moment now. But nothing happened. All that came from him was a bone chilling warning, hopefully effective enough to make the foolish man step down. How quickly this had descended into a mere brawl and petty squabble. This wasn't what she had come here for, not at all. Nari wanted to stop the fighting and make everyone pipe down, but feared that because of her proud nature she would end up holding a knife to someone's throat. Especially the mage if he so much as dared calling her a whore.
A smile crept across her face as the innocent little monk stood and approached the bickoring couple in an attempt to end their dispute. How unlikely and unexpected that was.
Maybe she can stop them now that they seem to completely ignore their prince's command. Nari had thought that his words would have an effect on them, alas it seemed to go in one ear and out the other. Were they even aware of his presense still?

A deep sigh came from the female ranger as she looked around. The mage was surrounded by three women, two of them trying to calm the red-head down and the prince was companied by the foolish insultant. It still hadn't settled with her how a man could be so reckless as to insult a man like him, even Nari had more brain than that. The troubled man had spoken as well, but his words too seemed to fly right past everyone. Everyone except Nari at least. She nodded at him and tilted her head with a shrug and a sigh. She didn't say anything to him as he had already sat down.
In fear of losing her own temper and seeing this group worsen, making their quest seem even more impossible, the ranger woman walked towards the prince this time. He had this thing about him. Something that demanded respect, but Nari wouldn't give respect unless it was returned. And there was the fact that everytime someone made a quick move or the like, his hand went to the hilt of his sword.
"My prince."she started. "Pardon my interruption, but I fear that neither of us had expected the outcome of this meeting. Perhaps a bucket of ice cold water would cool their heads?" Nari smiled half joking as she nodded in respect to him, letting her piercing green eyes settle on the orbs in his head. "Or maybe we should - pardon me - you should give them a choice? If this nonsense can't be stopped, then there's no sense in going on this quest either." Nari leaned on her bow, glancing over at the other ranger. She awaited an answer as she too hoped that the feud and fight behind her would cease and end soon. Her patience was wearing thin.
Thank whatever gods that at least my temper isn't as bad as hers. her mind went and her eyes settled upon the red haired 'merchant' once again, before returning to the prince.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Rydas Errion

0.00 INK

#, as written by Celedia
Mirabella d'Adreci


The Priest made his thoughts known to Mirabella and still, they did not settle well. Before this day she would have thought herself to be the pinnacle of cynicism and distrust but the older man had trumped her. "I do not see how you can even try to justify your actions in that tavern. Like begets like. You treated her with disrespect and hostility and she felt threatened and reacted. If you had said the same slanderous things to me than I would have had a blade by your throat as well."

Her tone was less violent now but still held a simmering anger. She had always despised it when people acted poorly and then tried to justify their actions instead of setting things right. "By the same token, the mage that you so dearly love? You've treated him like gold and he has become friendly to you. Is that such a surprise?" She shook her head, her eyes holding something akin to pity for the Priest. "A chain is only as strong as its weakest link and you just fractured a half a dozen relationships in there before they could even begin. Now, instead of a cohesive unit that wants to fight for each other as much as the task at hand, they will be second guessing and doubting and paranoid. If you had a split second when the merchant called out to warn you to duck from an oncoming arrow... Would you heed her call or think her a liar and remain standing?"

She reached up, pressing her hands against her face and rubbing her fingertips up along her temples to ease the tension which there remained despite her best efforts. "And as far as the Prince is concerned? Did you stop to think that there is a power vacuum at the moment? Perhaps the elite are best spent guarding the King instead of going on a desperate last ditch attempt to find something, anything to save him. I can only say that I will trust fully in him until he gives me a reason not to and if you do not feel the same way then perhaps it is best that you forgo this mission. Whatever honor and glory you hope to attain will be lost if your actions cause our quest to fail before it begins."

Looking towards the Black Vagabond's door, she decided- "I, however, am going to entrust my blade to his cause." Though not happy with Akdov, she wasn't rude either and she inclined her head in an informal bow before leaving his presence and pushing her way back inside. Her honey-colored eyes held a fiery determination now and she ignored all others as she pushed through the crowd. Withdrawing her sword from its sheath with her right hand, she advanced until she was right in front of the Prince before turning her blade so that its tip hit the ground as she knelt down on one knee in front of him.

"My Prince, I am with you until the end. Until the Panacea is around your father's neck or until my body no longer draws breath."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Xan Hallister Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci

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#, as written by Celedia
After her pledge, the Prince acknowledged her, allowing her to stand back up as he gave instructions and information for their quest which would begin the next day. Some of the other attendees of the meeting seemed disheartened but obviously such an expedition couldn’t be pulled together within hours. A day, minimum, was actually quite welcome. It would give the warrior time to gather oddities as well as grab one last night of sleep in an actual bed before they began to travel the open roads.

She had been traveling for years already so the thought of camping in the wilderness didn’t affect her. There had been nothing to do in her poor, destitute village after she finished her training other than getting married and having a dozen or more children or she could have taken on the role of mentor and taught the younger generations the art of war. The first didn’t appeal to her and the second made her grit her teeth in anger. She had not studied combat her entire life to sit about and play pretend. So, Mirabella had packed her things and went in search of her own adventure, her own battles. In doing so, she had traversed a great deal of the country and met a plethora of people. She had slept in fancy inns when coin was plentiful and on rooftops or in open fields when she had nothing but her armor and her weapons upon her back.

At this moment in time, however, she was caught betwixt and between. She had a fair amount of coin but not enough to compare to the Prince or the one that called him self Gallow, that was sure. Should she splurge and dump a fair amount at a nicer inn nearer to the rich sector or should she stay in this area and find less frivolous accommodations? It wasn’t like she had to choose now. The Prince had given them until the middle of the next day to do what they must so perhaps a tour of Paetax was in order.

Sheathing her long sword once more, Mirabella cast her honey-brown gaze about the room, noting as the honest thief was half out of the door on his way to find food and the scruffy-looking mage set about on his list for the barkeep. The fighter waged a brief internal war before deciding that she wouldn’t mind the Crown picking up the tab for some of her necessities so she walked over to the bar first, summoning ‘Vinny’ over to her.

“Barkeep, do you have any parchment so that we may write our lists?” Her voice was softer when speaking normally, not as commanding or authoritative as it had been earlier when she had been trying to draw everyone’s attention. Within seconds, Vinny had produced what she required and she kept her list short and sweet, only needing a few things to supplement what was already in her packs.

In surprisingly elegant script, she wrote:
Two lengths of strong rope, a crowbar, a sack of marbles, a small bolt of cloth, a ball of twine, flint, a few flasks of oil, chalk….

She bit at her lip as she tried to think of anything else she might need for the journey but she had quite a bit in her packs already: whetstones, a bedroll, a blanket, a set of regular clothing should she ever need to be out of her armor, etc. Unable to conjure any other items, she set the parchment and pen down, sliding them back towards the barkeep with a smile. “My thanks. Please also let whoever is procuring items for our trip, know that I already have a steed so they won’t need to purchase a horse for me.”

With that, she turned and searched for the honest thief, Xan, to see if he had left yet. “I have heard tales of a Pub two streets over that boasts of its mead and stew. If you still care for company, feel free to walk with me, Sir Thief….” She cast one more glance back into the tavern at the remaining patrons and offered, “Anyone else that wishes to come? I will be at the Dancing Dragon, if so.”

Turning back to the door, she made her way out the door passed Xan and kept her pace slow in case anyone should want to accompany her.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Xan Hallister Character Portrait: Narenia Halen Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Rydas Errion

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Although they all seemed to be oblivious to the Prince's words, the combined efforts of him, the monk and the bard seemed to cool their heads. At least just for one moment and that was enough to bring order back to everything. The one that seemed to have had the most effect was actually the innocent little monk, odd as it was. Sometimes it was the most unlikely of things that held the most power or promise or effect.
When his words were finally able to be heard by all of them, the Prince who seemed tired of their childish behaviour made his last statement and with a swirl of his cape he exited the inn.
How well we start off. Wonder who'll show up tomorrow. Nari thought as she tilted her head and let her eyes trail after the man. She gave on last glance at the other ranger who'd been dumb enough to insult a member of the royal family and her face settled to become unreadable and neutral again. They were all left to their own now and had been told to write down what they required for the journey and that they'd all be provided with a horse should they need it. Needless to say this impressed Nari. She knew the royal family could afford it, but didn't know that they would.

The warrior woman wrote down what she needed and then offered anyone who wanted, to come with her to the Dancing Dragon. After deciding to wait and write her own list, Nari approached the barkeep and was given paper and something to write with. Quickly her mind raced to think of the things she would need on the journey.

Needle and thread.
Arrows - Jagged and steel tipped.
Rope.
Herbs and spices.
Whetstone


All else she had already, when all else she needed was her bow and her sword. Nari didn't waste much time on her list so she quickly handed it to the barkeep with a smile. Something in the back of her head told her that she would somehow be responsible for gathering food. Or at least the hunting part. And if she was going with the other ranger, Nari would have to keep a track of him as well. She didn't trust him. The thief was still there, letting everyone know that he was hungry by the way his stomach growled. Her eyes settled on him for a moment and she tilted her head, looking at him with her nearly glowing green eyes. Whether he could really be trusted or not was unclear to her. Yes he had introduced himself as a thief, but something about him gave the notion that maybe he wasn't exactly dangerous to them.
Time will let us know. her brain told her. Daring to approach the thief and reaching into her pocket, she leaned against the doorframe and handed him a few more coins. "Here. If we are to set upon a perilous and dangerous journey on the morrow, one should have the right to a decent meal. King or beggar." With a smile and nod Nari leaned away and walked out of the door. Whether the remainding people in the inn thought she was making an alliance with the thief or not, didn't really matter to her. Alliances shouldn't exist within their little group here, the alliance should be the group. "I'm afraid I'm unaware of what name or title I should call you by, Triansui." Nari said as she caught up with the woman in armor. "I'm Narenia Halen. Nari for short. Mead and stew doesn't sound terrible to me at all at the moment."

This woman had shown honor and partially the same understanding of the situation in the inn as Nari had, except that she had left instead of staying. She was impressed with herself by the way she talked. How the words formed themselves in her mouth and how she spoke. It had all come back to her in an instant; the benefit of being of noble descent. Maybe the warrior lady would return the tone of voice or at least the respect Nari had shown.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Xan Hallister Character Portrait: Narenia Halen Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Hayley Furdiligit. Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Callavan Sole

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#, as written by Deallo
To be honest, Nel was terribly nervous as she tried to talk the fight in the tavern down, but was relieved as the bard, Acacia, effortlessly swooped in and managed to talk the merchant and the mage down. The monk was surprised at how effortlessly she had used her silver tongue. Not that she would know what a silver tongue is anyway. Before the merchant went off, she warned not to stay near the "pile of magic crap", which prompted Nel to check left up the heel of her foot and check the soles of her sandals. Looked pretty clean. Unless it was magical. Confused, she turned around for some explanation, and Callavan's beard started to thank the two of them and before sitting down, insinuated the merchant was hiding something. Nel wasn't as affected by his warning; mainly because she understood one would have to hide things so thieves wouldn't steal them.

During the mini-conflict, the prince promptly voiced his disapproval towards everyone, except Mirabella, and left rather dramatically, swooshing his red cape around. It was a pretty cape. His chiding, although not meant for Nel herself, still managed to pull her spirits down. Despite that, she understood fairly well that the adventure would be postponed for tomorrow, although why they didn't go now while everyone was here was still a mystery to her. Quickly though, she could see the group being torn apart, one half going out the door to see the "dancing dragon" and the other half...staying. In the midst of a clawing need for fresh air, she as well, wanted to leave but was at the counter with a piece of parchment, trying to hastily scrawl and write things that she would need. Her writing, despite her life as a monk, was atrocious...BUT! If one could squint their eyes and tilt their head to the side it would read:

Bandages

Whether or not it was illegible would be up to whoever would read it. Had it been any other time, she would have looked with awe at the feathered pen, but she quickly set it aside and joined the group just as the ranger was sharing her nickname. Nel gave a quick bow to Mirabella, having already crossed with the ranger, and since the warrior was closer then the thief. "Hello. I'm Nelinia but call me Nel." Before she could have a chance to respond, the monk ran back to her table, grabbed the quarterstaff that nearly slipped her mind, and came back to the group without so much as a huff of air escaping her. She bounced around on the balls of her feet excitedly, grin plastered on her face, eagerly awaiting the trip to the Dancing Dragon.

Although this may sound crazy she's never seen a Dancing Dragon before!

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Xan Hallister Character Portrait: Narenia Halen Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze

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#, as written by KuroRyu
With a hand on the door handle, ready to exit, Xan only stopped when a voice from behind started to speak with him. He released the door and turned to see whom it was that was to be his partner in conversation. It was the female warrior, Mirabella, at least that's what he thought her name was, although he could be completely wrong. She spoke of a pub that was near by, it didn't sound to bad and the company would be welcomed. Although the fact that she had called him 'Sir Thief' made him tilt his head a bit and have a bit of a laugh. He watched as she walked passed him and out the door, he was going to follow soon after, but his step was disrupted. This time it was the female ranger, whom had made her way in front of him and leaned against the door frame, effectively blocking his path out. He was curious as to what it could be that she wanted, until he watched her hand pull several coins from her pocket and hand them to him. He held out his hand to catch the coins, he was very much thankful, and also a bit confused, this was the first time anyone had given him money, until she had given her explanation. With that, she was out the door as well, and this time Xan followed behind, getting out before any more interruptions came. Third to join the small group would be the one monk that had participated in the meeting for this little adventure. He watched as she came and went, an introduction followed by a rush back to her seat to retrieve a nearly forgotten item. It was somewhat odd having the amount of people around him as there was, it had been a while since he had dined out with a group.

"So what type of stew does the Dancing Dragon offer?" Xan asked, following closely behind the group at his own pace, the food sounded good. The mead, not so much. He wasn't much of a drinker, alcohol never seemed to suit his tastes. He put his arms behind his head and relaxed, looking up towards the blue sky. He would like to enjoy this meal with the group, be he also wanted to the day to pass quickly. "I hope everyone can learn to get along" he said out loud without reason, it seems his mind was starting to wander again, allowing his thoughts to be spoken out loud. It was an odd habit, every time his mind wandered off into his own inner lands, his thoughts never seemed to be able to stay within his own mind, and instead become audible to everyone around him. Sometimes it would cause him to get into trouble, actually it would get him into trouble almost most of the time it would happen. Of course he knew of this little habit of his, but try as he might it would not disappear, so he has learned to accept it and live with it.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Xan Hallister Character Portrait: Narenia Halen Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze

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#, as written by Celedia
Mirabella couldn’t help the shadow of a smile that formed on her lips as Narenia was the first to follow, trailing out the door after passing some coins to the thief. Within a few steps, the ranger had caught up with her and re-introduced herself.

“Didn’t we already do this whole introduction thing once before?” she teased the auburn-tressed woman, hoping that she had an ear for humor. “If my memory deceives me, though, I am Mirabella d’Adreci. Apparently also known as “Triansui”. I should’ve expected as much when revealing my title but most of the companions I have traveled with before have simply called me Mira.” She flashed a smile at Narenia before tacking on, “So it is a pleasure to meet you, Nari.”

Next came the petite monk, Nelinia, who also re-introduced herself and proceeded to dance about on the balls of her feet, grinning from ear to ear and then seconds after, the voice of Xan sounded out behind the small group. “Glad you could join us, Nel and Xan. I have to admit I’d prefer company while eating. It saves from having to entertain strangers that sit at your table because the tavern is too full.”

Xan posed a question and Mirabella took her time in responding. “The Dancing Dragon is rumored to serve all sorts of fare, if stew and mead aren’t your taste… But I’ve heard they have the best venison stew for miles around and I trust the mead here in the city more than the water. The alcohol in it tends to kill off nasty things.” That last part of her comment was more to the poor monk who she had seen sniffing indignantly at her mead back in the Black Vagabond before she had crushed the glass in her hand. The warrior didn’t exactly love mead but some varieties had a pleasant flavor.

Their short conversation took them down a few streets until they finally approached the Dancing Dragon Pub. Though it was late afternoon/early evening, music already blasted out of the thick wooden doors and into the streets themselves every time someone entered or left. Yet when the warrior woman pushed the door open to allow the group entry, it wasn’t quite as deafening as she assumed it might be.

A small trio of musicians sat in chairs near the large fireplace centered along the northern wall of the feast hall with tables dotted haphazardly throughout the rest of the room. The bar itself was crafted from mahogany and stretched the entire length of the eastern wall, tended to by three barkeeps while the patrons at the tables were served by a handful of tavern wenches.

Making her way over to one of the corner tables, Mirabella settled onto one of the chairs and within a minute or so, a buxom redheaded waitress wandered their way for their orders while paying special attention to Xan.

“Well what can I fetch for you today?” The server asked of them though her eyes never left the thief.

The Triansui cleared her throat and grinned at both Nari and Nel before speaking up. “If it isn’t too much trouble, may I have a venison stew and a mug of Black mead?" Black mead, of course, having honey and black currants in its recipe given it a distinct and fruity flavor.

The setting changes from paetax to Calisma

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Xan Hallister Character Portrait: Narenia Halen Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Hayley Furdiligit. Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Callavan Sole

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#, as written by slcam
As Hayley walked away, Acacia let out a small sigh. She was glad the monk girl had stepped in, as her simple words seemed to have as much effect as Acacia's own. Of course, the angry red head had only left after giving another death threat to the mage. Just another thing to worry about, Acacia thought as she frowned after her. She had also seemed to threaten her and the monk with her "Don't stay near this pile of magic crap." warning.
However, as she saw the monk's confused reaction to this, Acacia laughed softly. She seemed as though she thought the "merchant" literally meant crap. Acacia began to wonder if she had seen much outside of the... mone... something. Acacia frowned as she couldn't quite find the name. Usually her memory was nearly perfect.

Oh well, she thought with a sigh, again smiling as the mage began to thank them. He also warned them about trusting her, especially in light of recent events. Acacia could only agree. She did seem to have quite the temper. He then walked to the bar to write down his list. Acacia figured she should probably do so as well. She had been expecting that they would be on their way today, but she didn't question the prince's decision. It only seemed wise that they should cool off a bit. Acacia just hoped the whole journey wouldn't be like this.

She heard Mirabella's invitation to the Dancing Dragon. After a moment, Acacia decided she might as well join them since there was not much else to do at this point. She walked calmly to her former position, grabbing her lute and thinking about what exactly they would need for something like this. The prince had already said that they would be supplied with food, horse, water and supplies, so she probably only really needed to mention specifics. She walked up to the bar and got a piece of paper. She had gotten quite used to traveling during the day and staying at inns for the night. She didn't have a good bedroll anymore, so that would be a good thing to include. However, even as she checked a few of her pockets, she could think of nothing else.

  • Bedroll.

Well, I guess that will do, she thought, handing the paper to the barkeep before heading out of the Black Vagabond. Now just to figure out where this Dancing Dragon was. Acacia fortunately had enough money for a good meal and a night at a small inn, but after that she would be pretty much broke. At least she wouldn't have to worry much about that as long as they did indeed leave tomorrow. She stopped a young woman, who gave her directions to the inn. She soon found it, walked in and quickly walked over to those from the "adventurers' group" as she had begun thinking of it. At the table was Mirabella, Xan, Narenia, and Nelinia.

"Mind if I join you?" she said, taking a seat beside Mirabella as the waitress came over. She smiled at those at the table. When the server looked to her she told her in a certain voice, a slight smile on her face, "I will have venison stew as well, with some tea please."

The setting changes from calisma to Paetax

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Xan Hallister Character Portrait: Narenia Halen Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze

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#, as written by KuroRyu
"Venison Stew" Xan repeated out loud, still in the wandering state of mind. He wasn't quite sure what kind it was, but if they have what is deemed the best then it might be worth a taste. He came back to reality as the sound of music started to fill the air. It was soft at first, but as they came closer to the source the true volume of the music started to hit. It was quite loud, he could actually feel the sound of the music as it hit him outside of the door. He allowed the others to enter the pub first. He stood looking at the building and the sign that had its name carved into it as it lightly swung above the door. It looked as if it would be falling off at any moment, ready to hit the head of someone that entered to left at the wrong time. As those that were in front of him made their entry, he followed behind, the music felt as if it had gotten softer as they entered but it was still quite loud. He took his time getting to their chosen table, for some reason his eye kept wandering around the pub.

He was about to pull out his seat to sit when he heard a voice that came from behind. Another had decided to join the group, the bard Acacia, as she sat he wondered if anyone else were to come and looked back towards the door. In the back of his mind he was wondering if anyone leaving would get hit over the head by the sign outside that might fall. He amused himself with the thought before he sat in his chair. The server had already begun to take orders, but Xan wasn't quite sure what to get. The recommendation of the Venison stew tempted him, but he also wanted to know what else there was. He folded his legs in onto the chair, placing both hands in his lap as he thought for a moment.

"I guess I shall take some of the Venison Stew as well," he paused for a moment, "And anything that has a good amount of chicken in it was well" he said with a smile. He had only eaten chicken once or so, but he couldn't forget the taste of it. Or perhaps the flavor came more from the sauces that it was covered in instead of the meat itself, but either way it couldn't hurt to try some again. "And anything that has a sweet flavor as a drink" he finished, he wasn't quite sure of anything they had, and if this was going to be his last decent meal for a while, why not spoil himself a bit. With the amount of coin he had before, added together with the amount that Narenia had given him, he should be able to pay the tab for his meal.

After the order of his meal was complete he started to think about where to sleep tonight. It was very likely that all the money he had would be going into the meal so he knew he couldn't stay at an inn. Perhaps he should sleep somewhere close to the city gates where they were to meet again. Perhaps within a large tree near the area, he liked to be off the ground when he had to sleep outside, and if it had enough leaves those would make a nice pillow as well. He shrugged off the thought for a moment, he would find a comfortable enough place to sleep when he had to. For now it was best to enjoy the meal and the company.

"So, what is that brought you all to the decision of going on this quest?" he asked, wanting to start up some conversation.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Xan Hallister Character Portrait: Narenia Halen Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze

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#, as written by Deallo
How could one not trust water? Nel thought as Mira told her she could trust it; a thought taking her back to the tavern sipping her glass of water. She pushed aside any worries of it for now and immediately thought of the Dancing Dragon. What did it look like? Was it a grand dragon? A small dragon? What colours decorated its skin? Music tickled the monk's ears as questions spiraled inside her head, growing louder and louder with every step she took towards the structure that advertised the "Dancing Dragon" upon its entrance. Who wouldn't advertise their dancing dragon?

To her extreme disappointment, the music wasn't being played by a dancing dragon, nor was there a dancing dragon at site in the establishment. Then she remembered the warrior's words: . “The Dancing Dragon is rumored to serve all sorts of fare, if stew and mead aren’t your taste… Of course! The dragon must be a cook! How delightful to eat food made by a dragon. Pondering what to order, the "venison stew" seemed to be a popular meal meal for everyone, despite the fact that Nel knew what "venison" was. Nel tried to look up at the waitress but immediately looked down at her feet in discomfort at the waitress's lack of...clothing across her chest.

Her head came back up as a familiar voice stood out from the music of the bards playing; a bard. Specifically, their own bard, Acacia. After she ordered, venison stew, what a surprise, Nel would put in her own order, generally playing monkey see monkey do with Mira. "Black Mead...and what's in the venison stew?"

"A little bit of everything and some deer, of course." The buxom waitress responded. Nel couldn't contain the horror that slipped through her lips in a mere whisper. Deer?
"Fresh deer from just this morning." Nel felt sick to her stomach as soon as she said that. What did the poor deer ever do to get eaten, cut into pieces and put into the fir-just thinking about it felt like she was going to hurl the lackluster contents of her insides. "Some bread please."

Amidst the sickening feeling, she could hear the honest thief, Xan, raise a question about why they were going on this quest. The monk cleared her throat and waited a few seconds for the colour to return to her face before she can speak. "If the king dies, it could be disastrous for Calisma if he's replaced with someone...else. Although most of my brothers and sisters couldn't care less. Apparently, as she's been told in the monastery, the possibility that disaster would occur in his death, was preposterous but she wouldn't believe it.

The setting changes from paetax to Calisma

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Xan Hallister Character Portrait: Narenia Halen Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze

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Much to her pleasure, the iron clad woman greeted her and decided to let Nari know that she also possessed a sense of humor. It fell in good soil with the ranger woman as she returned her smile and nodded, looking at the ground for a moment. How pleasant it felt conversing with this woman. Serious when need be but also knew how to lighten the mood.
"Ah yes, you're right." Nari said, delighted that she had decided to use her nickname. "Likewise." Her smile hadn't faded yet as she nodded in appreciation to Mira.
The next one to join them was the monk, Nel, who would first bow to Mira and in the next moment she ran back for a forgotten item and returned. Nari couldn't help smiling brightly at her. The innocent little girl seemed overly excited about something, but what it was remained unknown for the moment. It really doesn't take much to excite her. she thought to herself.

She had listened intently as Mira had told them about what the Dancing Dragon served. When they had all settled and was approached by the waitress, two things amused Nari to the point that she had to looked down to hide her smile. The first one was the fact that the eyes of this waitress never left Xan, which was understandable enough. The other was that innocent little Nel seemed to be made very uncomfortable by the lack of clothing over the waitress' breast. Her eyes met Mira's once and Nari looked away to settle her face again. "Black mead and stew please." Nari gestured towards the others to indicate that she would have the same as them. Venison stew seemed popular at the moment, or maybe it was because it was a nice meal and they were leaving the next day. The next voice she heard was that of Acacia. The beautiful bard smiled at the people surrounding the table, and ordered venison stew and tea.
Nari gave her a smile and a nod to let her know she was welcome. She had been one of those not to react rashly back at the Black Vagabond. At least there were a few cool heads among them.

"What is it, Nelinia?" she asked the monk when the waitress had left, only to return at some point with their orders. A smirk played at the corners of her mouth as she spoke, but Nari did her best to hide them. She didn't want to make the monk more uncomfortable, but a little fun couldn't hurt anyone. One slightly saddening thought crossed her mind. This monk seemed so unaware of how the world around her worked. What if when she found out, some things would be too much for her?

Xan had decided to strike up a conversation though, asking what they were all doing there, joining a quest like this. Nari decided to let everyone else speak first, thinking that they might forget about her if she kept quiet about her. If they all really wanted to know, she'd find out who that was and if not, well, nothing lost.

The setting changes from calisma to Paetax

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Xan Hallister Character Portrait: Narenia Halen Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze

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#, as written by Celedia
Mirabella kept an eye on the door for any stragglers but the only other form to walk into the Dancing Dragon was Acacia. When the Bard Girl sat down beside her, she nodded her head towards the woman and smiled once more. “Of course you are welcome to join us. After tomorrow, none of us will have much of an option in regards to the company we keep. Will we?”

Though she didn’t laugh outwardly, one would be able to tell by her tone and general demeanor that she was in high spirits. Adventure called to her like gold called to a thief and with an honorable task being their new purpose, she couldn’t help but feel a bit jovial. Especially since she hadn’t expected anyone to attempt to bond with one another after the scene from the Black Vagabond, instead she had thought everyone would go their separate ways only to meet at the gates with either apathy or distrust.

Some of the others went about their orders and Mirabella finally let loose with a small chuckle at some of their questions and requests. Xan had simply asked for a sweet drink and poor Nel had turned green the moment she heard what was in venison stew before opting for bread instead. It made Mirabella ponder for a moment if the monk was vegetarian, so she spoke up to order a few more things for Nel since she wouldn’t be eating stew like the rest of them.

“Actually, miss, could you bring her a cheese platter with bread and pears? And instead of the mead, perhaps she’d enjoy Granatus in apple wine? Perhaps two mugs full of it, I believe that Xan would enjoy its taste as well.”

So they wouldn’t think she overstepped herself, she explained the drink to both Nel and Xan as the waitress went off to fetch everyone’s food. “It is pomegranate boiled down and made into a syrup that is then added to whatever you wish with a bit of sugar. It takes away some of the bitterness of whatever you’re drinking, making it a bit easier to handle.

As the conversation turned to the quest at hand and their reasons for joining, the petite monk started out with her explanation and when silence fell upon the table once more, Mira gave her own response. “As you know, my people are fighters and warriors. Without any full scale wars, we have little to do and so our skills go wasted. I doubt we will find the Panacea without running into at least an enemy or two, so I pledge to use my skills to protect the rest of the party.”

Her eyes fell upon both Nari and Acacia next, wondering if they would share their stories but the tavern wench was back quickly, depositing a mug in front of each of the party members before sweeping back into the kitchen to gather their food. It wasn’t until the woman had come back out and set their stews and such upon the table that Mira turned her gaze first to Nari who had been quiet throughout most of the conversation thus far.

“And what of you, Nari? I didn’t expect one of the woodland folk to join us in our cause, in all honesty. It seems that even during the Wars that there was little that threatened nature. Or have you not always been a hunter?”

The setting changes from paetax to Calisma

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Xan Hallister Character Portrait: Narenia Halen Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Rydas Errion

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#, as written by KuroRyu
Xan sat and listened eagerly to everyone's own explanation for joining this quest into the unknown. He was happy that they were opening up themselves to this small group of strangers turned comrades, and his face showed it. He turned his attention to the mug that had been placed before him, he sat and stared at it for a moment before reaching out for it. The explanation about the drink did make it sound sweet, and so did the smell, but he was still a bit hesitant to drink it. He wouldn't know if he would like it or not, but to take a taste is the only way to decided such a thing. He brought it up to his lips and filled his mouth with the drink, swishing it around in his mouth a bit to get a complete taste of the drink before swallowing. It wasn't bad, although a bit of a bitter after taste, it was drinkable. He set the drink down on the table just as the food they had ordered was set down. He was glad that he could finally get something into his stomach, and his enthusiastic way of eating showed it. Although his mind and stomach may have been on the meal, his ears were still open to hear the talk around him, he himself didn't talk much, mostly because his mouth was usually full.

His stomach full, and the sun gone and the moon out, Xan thought it time to go. He enjoyed the time he had spent with the group, but it had to come to an end, a good nights sleep was needed for what was to occur the next day. His hand shuffled around his pocket for a moment before pulling out all the coin he had and setting it on the table.

"Should be enough" he said as the coins scattered about. "I should be going, finding a good place to sleep won't be easy" he stretched his body as he got up from his chair, a yawn escaping his mouth. He gave a smile and a wave as he turned to leave the group, "I'll be seeing you all tomorrow, I hope" he said as he made his way to the door. As he pushed the door open, the cool night air managed to sneak it's way in, stopping when the door was fully open. The sun had completely disappeared and the moon was clearly visible. He looked up at it for a moment, taking in the sight of the moon, it looked closer than usual, but that could just be his imagination. Another yawn escaped him as he started to walk off, towards the city gates where everyone was to meet. He knew sleeping there would be the best idea, whether he would sleep in or not he would be awakened and in time to go without the fear of being left behind.

He stopped his travels in front of a medium sized tree just to the right of the gates, it wasn't to large and the lower branches seemed more than thick enough to bear his weight. Not only that the fact that it wasn't to far off the ground would mean he wouldn't be injured should he roll off the branch, which had quite a good chance of happening. He found a small bush nearby, it was young, the not only the leaves, but the branches as well were soft. He pulled it from the ground, and stuffed it into the hood of his cloak, a make shift pillow for himself. With a few slight grunts he pulled himself onto a low branch, pulling up his hood and laying his head on it as he laid back on the branch. He gave one last yawn before closing his eyes and falling into a deep and comfortable sleep.

--------

Xan was awoken by the loud toll of a bell, the first bringing him back to consciousness, the second nearly causing him to fall out of the tree that he had been sleeping in. Somehow, he managed to catch himself with his right leg before his body made an impression on the ground below. Quite the way to wake up, his right eye opened to look around, his left eye of course closed and it felt as if a dream was still being played within the darkness of his dead left eye. He looked around, towards the gate to find that the Prince was already ready and waiting for those to come, as well as a cloaked man with quite the beard.

"Good morning" Xan called, holding in a yawn, he gave a forced smile and wave. He had just awoken, he wouldn't have the same level of energy as he did yesterday until another hour or so had passed. The look in his good eye said it all, he would be dead to the world till he fully awoke. He freed his right leg that was hooked to the tree branch, causing him to fall to Earth, a twist of his body he landed on his feet which soon gave way and landing him in a sitting position. His back was to the awaiting men as he gave a loud yawn, reaching back he pulled the remnants of the little bush that he had used as a pillow for the night. He pushed himself up off the ground with a grunt, one final yawn as he scratched the back of his head. Pulling several leaves and twigs that had settled in his mess of hair he made his way closer, taking a look at the well equipped horses that had been prepared. He had never ridden a horse before, so this should be an interesting, if not quite the embarrassing, experience for him.

"It's finally the day" he said with a stretch, "I'm so excited" the words not really matching his sleepy and dull tone. A sleepy smile was spread on his face, it was an exciting day for him from today onwards he would be able to call himself an adventurer, if he survived that is. Truthfully he wasn't worried about dying along the journey, he was quite confident that he would be able to hold his own, even in the midst of battle. He wondered if there were any monster out there. Although childish, he still dreams and hopes that the creatures that he had heard in myths and stories existed within this world. Even though the realistic part of his brain told him that it was impossible, the child within him kept the dream alive. His smile widened a bit as he looked out the gates, "The unknown is calling" he said to himself with a happy laugh.

The setting changes from calisma to Paetax

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze

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#, as written by Deallo
Nel felt guilty. Unintentionally stiffing the bill for her food to Mira, the monk refused to have her pay for another room, compromising they both sleep in the same room. With the thought that there was two beds, Nel nodded in agreement, and from fully satisfied with a meal she desperately needed sleep. Upon entering the room there was only one bed. There was only one option:

Sleep on the ground.

To be honest, she was used to sleeping on grounds since the idea of anything else was foreign, but the pillows and sheets said otherwise. Fine red sheets that felt so soft in between her fingers she wanted to just curl up in them and die. In a good way. Despite her mind already deciding on the floor, her body was already on the bed, writhing in the pleasure of warmth, not even bothering to take off her clothes. She could barely remember any sign of life whilst she was caught up in the euphoria of the softest sheets in the world and quickly fell asleep.

Waking up was not as pleasurable. Mainly because she noticed someone else under the sheets. Nel almost screamed but covered her mouth just in time to silence any noise. She carefully lifted the sheet up and saw the culprit from her long strands of hair to her face: Mirabella. It was Nel's fault, she thought she'd be taking the floor, then steals the bed, so it was to be expected. Besides it was a large bed that could easily fit three people. Nel instantly raised the sheets looking for another body but was relieved to find none.

Very slowly, she slipped out of the bed, and tip-toed to the door, opening slowly to avoid noise but not too slow for the door to creak and wake everyone. It was the same technique she used to leave the monastery. About to close the door behind her, she saw the bed, calling for her to come back. "Neeeel! Neeeeeeeel! Sleeep mee! Nel bit the edges of her lip as she regrettably closed the door behind her and flowed out of the tavern into the street. The sun hadn't even thought of coming out yet. The monk was used to waking up this early in the morning from the day she was brought into the Kula Monastery. Slipping into an alley, which provided some protection from the cool winds, she sat on the cobblestones cross-legged and began her meditation.

What felt like days passing were only hours and, unknowingly, a small crowd started to gather at the entrance to the alley, stricken with curiosity. At this point in time, the sun was rising over the horizon, giving a reddish-orange glow to the sky. Nel's hands slipped slowly from her lap with her forearms on the floor, slowly shifting her weight onto them until her legs, still crossed, weren't touching the ground. With all the weight transferred to her forearms, she slowly uncrossed her legs and held them up to the air, akimbo, and straightened her back. Now upside down, she kept her balance skillfully, and held the position for a while until suddenly she put tightened her hands into fists and lifted her forearms up. Hold. Nel still held steady breaths despite the beads of sweat pouring slowly unto her side. Now splaying her hands on the background, she pushed up once more, lifting her palm up into the air, and balancing off the tips of her fingers. The crowd at the entrance of the alley, still unknown to her closed eyes, was growing and watching with awe at the performance. She held the position for a while, then suddenly lifted her left arm up, and was balanced with the fingers of her right hand. Muscles quivering
and arm quickly wavering, she switched hands, held, pulled in her legs, and promptly stood up, eyes open before the now cheering crowd. Confused and sweaty as the salty water was now a second skin, her face flushed, and she ran the other end, this time mindful to bring her quarterstaff.

Whilst looking for the gate, the bells tolled again, and the human traffic immediately stopped once more. It all seemed so alien and strange to her; everything really. "I'll never fit in. She thought, just as she found the gate, and got into the empty clearing of space inhabited by horses. The prince was there in his swooshing red cape, which reminded Nel of the soft sheets that made her want to caress it through her fingers, the thief who seemed to be in a jovial mood this afternoon, and a tall character with a gold beard. The priest. Perhaps she has been too hard on Akdov. After all, not every priest would be like...him. Right?

"Good morning." Nel greeted the priest, standing beside him for the moment, trying to find a common denominator they can relate to. That was staring right at her. "That's an odd weapon." She remarked at the staff with the symbol of approval for a hand on it, looking back at her weapon, not helping the fact she felt a little plain.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Xan Hallister Character Portrait: Narenia Halen Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Rydas Errion

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#, as written by Celedia
Mirabella continued on with their meal after allowing both Nari and Acacia to respond to Xan’s inquiry about their reasoning for joining this epic quest. A ranger and a bard, both would have to have entertaining reasons for joining and as the warrior continued to listen to and feed into the conversation, she couldn’t help but feel a little curious.

These four seemed a personable bunch but what of the others that had stayed behind or gone their separate ways? Were they devious and trying not to befriend the others in preparation for their subsequent betrayal? Were they simply shy? As a matter of fact, after she had left the Priest outside of the Black Vagabond and returned inside to pledge her sword to the Prince, she never saw him slip back inside behind her. Odd, that.

Still, she didn’t let such things worry her and after the meal was finally over with, Xan tossed some coins upon the table and took her leave whereas Mirabella held up her hand to the remaining three to prevent them from doing the same.

“Please let me pay for our meal. In celebration of newfound allies and for safe travels on the road we have ahead of us.” As the waitress came by, Mirabella pressed a good bit of coin into her hand and then stood up, stretching her aching muscles.

Bidding good night to Acacia and Nari, the warrior argued a good bit with Nel who apparently felt guilty about the larger meal that Mira had asked for and provided for the young monk. Yet, the warrior knew that the first day of travel was always one of the hardest and the tiny yellow-robed figure would need more energy than a simple loaf of bread would have provided. So she quieted her fears and eventually they settled upon an agreement that they would share a room to save coin. There had been no way that Mirabella would’ve allowed Nel to wander off on her own to find lodgings. The girl looked like she could hold herself in a fight but she also screamed of innocence and naivete. Protection was one of the few things Mirabella was good at, so she extended this to the younger monk and they climbed the stairs to their accommodations.

Though Nel fell quickly asleep, the Triansui stayed up a bit longer to take care of her armor before she turned in for the night. Taking off first her breastplate, then each remaining piece of plate, she sat down at the small table provided by the inn and polished each piece. Cleaning it and inspecting it for any repairs she might have to make in the near future, the warrior did the same to her many weapons until finally the candle was almost burning out and her eyes were growing weary from being up for so long. The last piece of armor to remove was the chain shirt which she wore under her breastplate but over her muslin tunic and she draped that upon the back of the chair, yawning once before she slipped into the bed on the side furthest from the monk. Sleep took her and she did not awaken until the sun was already high in the sky on the following day.

When her eyes fluttered open, she first noticed that the monk was gone. With a practiced ease, she slipped into her armor, strapped on her weapons and shield and gathered her meager belongings into her rucksack. Feeling refreshed from the night of rest in a fine and comfortable bed, the Triansui went out of the tavern and found the stables first. A few more easy errands came next after retrieving her steed and by the time that the bells were tolling their trio of tones, Mirabella was already riding up to the gate upon her chestnut mare and the crowd that had gathered around the Prince dispersed for her to join the rest of the mounts.

Finding that a trio of familiar faces were already in attendance, Mira nodded to Xan and Nel before moving her horse so that she was closer to Akdov, the Priest so that she could speak with him.

“I am glad to see that you have decided to join us, Priest.” Her countenance was unreadable as she prepared for the journey ahead and her demeanor didn’t seem quite as celebratory as the evening before. “Shall we have you as a true ally, from this day forth, Akdov?” She wanted to know that they could all trust him. That he wouldn’t try to fracture and plot and plan as he had done the previous day. She wouldn’t judge any man for watching out for himself in times of turmoil but she also did not want to turn to him for assistance only to be rebuffed.

The setting changes from paetax to Calisma

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze

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He was not amused by these questions, was it some kind of riddle? Had she selected the words specifically to try to make an answer impossible?

“I beg to ask what is a true ally my lady?” it was an honest question, what exactly was that “Are you asking me if I will have you over my god as priority? Are you asking me if you can rely on my assistance, limited as it might be to those who don’t share the faith or perhaps are you doubting my tolerance or perhaps wondering if I have the capacity to handle lies and distrust from these people?”

He removed his hood revealing his dark blond hair “I don’t know what a true ally is, maybe its something found amongst the steel blades and the smell of blood, but I will say this, even if for some reason this endeavor fell to me and me alone I would see it through, I was wrong to cause conflict amongst us, but my god has chosen me to carry this out an I will not disappoint the faith the hall lord has delivered in me, I will support you, see your wounds tended and if there is a task that requires the life that Deud has given back to me, returned to the hall then I will do so”

He had not smiled and had been very serious when he spat the words “I hope that answers your question”

Akdov simply laughed at the monk, well not at her really, but at the way she saw the world “It would indeed be an odd weapon, if it was one girl” he looked at his long staff and continued “I don’t see myself ever killing anything with this” he chuckled a little rethinking that statement “Well it is very good to draw smiles and laughs so I guess you could say it is a weapon against boredom and dull moods, but it is a walking stick in truth, woman, after all this old bones can benefit from having a support since I am assuming we are going for a travel long and wide”

He looked at the distant horizon, the lands were the sun sat and the mountains rested “I look forward to it I once had a pilgrimage in which I saw so many things, enjoyed plenty and suffered few…”

I was another man back then

“I just hope that Deud can give me the vision to know things apart, I pray for the strength to change that which can be changed, the discipline to accept when I can’t change things and the wisdom to tell apart which from which” he turned to his companions
“I take it you have your shares of the road as well, I hope we can share them one of these days”

The setting changes from calisma to Paetax

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Xan Hallister Character Portrait: Narenia Halen Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Alice Sangera Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze

0.00 INK

#, as written by slcam
Acacia nearly burst out laughing at Nelinia's apparant embarrassment, and after Narenia's comment she did. Her laugh sounded almost as musical as her voice, causing a few in the inn to turn and look for the source of the sound. "Yes, I couldn't imagine what the problem could be," she said, still chuckling sofly, her dark eyes shining. Her thoughts tuned back to Mirabella, however. She seemed to easily take charge, quickly figuring out the needs of others and taking care of them. Acacia knew this was a quality of a great leader, but she instead focused on the possibly irritating side of having someone directing what you did. Hopefully she doesn't get too bossy, Acacia thought, a slight smile on her face. She listened to the music for a moment, noting the song before focusing her attention back on the group.

Soon the food was brought and Acacia eagerly smelled the stew. It was not bad at all and left her happy at least. The same went for the tea. This would have to be another place to remember when she came again to Paetax. She listened with interest to the answers of the others, especially Narenia, before answering for herself. "What brought me into the meeting was pure curiosity," she said, a grin on her face as she pulled out her new top and spun it on the table a couple times. "What kept me there is a different story. Sure, helping out the Prince and saving the kingdom is nice and all, but what really drew me in was the entertaining people. It is sure to be quite the adventure, I will tell you that much. Might even get a good story or two out of it." she grinned, snatching the still spinning top off of the table and stuffing it back into one of her pockets. Not exactly all my reasons, but hey, who needs to know everything right away, she thought, a smile on her face keeping her thoughts from coming through as usual.

She finished off the rest of her tea and was just about to pay and leave as Xan had, even standing up halfway, when Mirabella offered to pay. "Thank you, that is very kind. In that case, I will be off. See ya tomorrow," she said, sweeping a dramatic bow before spinning around and exiting the inn. Hmm, nice little group, she thought, breathing in the cool night air before heading off. I guess it is back to Golden Grape, but this time as a paying customer.

The plump innkeeper was surprised to see her back again, and asked how long her stay was extended, an almost greedy look in his eye. She quickly explained she was only staying for the night, rented a room, and headed up. She did her normal stretches before preparing for bed. She fell into the small bed with a sigh, thinking about her exciting day before falling asleep.
---------------------

The next morning she woke a little later than usual, a couple hours before noon. She went down to the main room, ate breakfast and relaxed a while. When it was closer to noon, she headed out. She quickly wound her way through the streets. Her attention was caught by a small girl with dark hair who was running exuberantly past her, suddenly falling to the ground just ahead of her. Something about her seemed familiar, but Acacia couldn't figure out why. Before she could check if the girl was alright, she got up. She seemed to also be headed to the gates. Acacia quickly walked up to the group, just behind the girl. She gave a small wave to those gathered. Now she was beginning to remember. This was the girl, a mage probably by her seal, who hadn't really introduced herself. Acacia walked up to the boulder where she sat, quickly introducing herself, though less dramatically than at the meeting.

"Hello, I am Acacia Winn. I suppose you're also going on this 'adventure,'" she said, her lips turning up in a friendly smile. "You're a mage right? What is your name?" After a moment she added in a more hushed voice, "I could show you how to fall a bit more gracefully if you would like," with a wink and a smile.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze

0.00 INK

#, as written by Deallo
Having been spotted by Mira, Nel promptly smiled at her, but was slightly surprised she wanted to speak with the priest; something of being a "true ally? The priest went on and Nel, though not meant to listen to this conversation, can easily tell he would rather trust his imaginary God then he would the group. Monks may not know much about travel or adventure but even Nel can feel nervous with such as an answer as his. A simple "yes" or "no" could have easily sufficed; instead he had to string words together in a complex weave that needed to be deciphered. Why so needlessly complicated?

Fortunately, he didn't try that weave of words when answering Nel's question, which thank "Deud" for that. Apparently, his weapon was a walking stick, for "old bones". She promptly raised an eyebrow to his response; feeling somewhat confused by it. "I never thought boredom or dull feelings were such vicious enemies. Starting to feel the soreness in her arms, she brought up one arm and held it back down behind her head, relieving a familiar ache from her training in her shoulder. "Kill someone with a walking stick. What non-sense." She firmly said under her breath; switching arms simultaneously. "A weapon never has to kill. I thought priests would know that." The last part seemed to have a incredible amount of sarcasm put into it, bitter memories resurfacing, then suppressed through clenched teeth. "As for my name, it is Nel, not woman. No-one would call you man, yellow-beard, or tall. I'm sure if you only had a name; priest...

Both arms back to her side, she once again gripped the quarterstaff that leaned on her body, and looked at the priest for a split second before turning to Mira and giving her a small bow of respect. She felt more agitated as as he finished speaking to the priest. Nel immediately left their company for the sake of having an area to fully stretch; today would be a horrid day to pull a muscle. Any day, really, was a horrid day to pull a muscle.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Callavan Sole

0.00 INK

Mornings are fearsome beasts and should be avoided at all costs. This was the first thing to occur to Callavan upon waking. It was also the second, third and sixth things. An arm flopped over the bed's edge, seeking for something. It stumbled upon a flask, carelessly discarded the night before. He managed to flip on to his back, wincing when the light that spilled through window attacked his poor eyes. With some effort the flask was unstoppered and what wasn't splashed onto his face made it into his mouth. Now in a somewhat improved disposition, he proceeded to lie there rubbing his eyes and wishing the wrath of hell on whatever demons were pounding away at his skull.

Once he felt that the foul hammer wielding creatures were exercised from his mind, he managed to roll off his cot and make his way over to the wash basin that sat on the table. His face was shoved into it and held there in an attempt to drown whatever remained from the previous night. Unsuccessful, he was forced to come up for air as he wasn't sure whether or not he'd be able to resuscitate himself. As he wrung out his beard he tried to recover the remains of the previous day's goings on.

It started with him waking up in a field, walking into town and being turned down for every job he applied for. Nothing unusual there. Then there was the meet up at the pub and getting into an argument with a stranger. That was different, he doesn't get an opportunity to make an ass of himself in front of royalty all that often. Everyone seemed to disperse after that, except for the damn merchant, and he made an attempt at sobriety. It didn't work, which explained his current predicament. He had managed to make his way to an inn however, that was a point in his favor he reasoned.

Judging by the sun he figured it to be nearly noon, which meant he needed to be moving now. Everything was still in his pack, except for the flask which he'd have to find time to refill at some point. The room had been payed for the night before, so he simply left. He did make time for one stop on his way, for a meat pastry. The smell curdled his stomach, but the greasy spiced meat set it at ease soon enough.

Most of the others had already gathered near the gates already. He noted a small cluster of them were talking, the priest among them. He meandered on over to them, still savoring the pastry, or what little of it didn't seem to entangle itself on his face. Perhaps it's time for a shave. He acknowledged the priest and the warrior with a nod, but not the monk, Still have to figure out what a monk is, who had wandered off as he approached. They were talking about something, but he was far too groggy to care at the moment.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Alice Sangera Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Callavan Sole Character Portrait: Rydas Errion

0.00 INK

#, as written by Celedia
Mirabella sighed deeply as the Priest replied. She had thought that he would take her words from the day before to heart and wake up with a renewed interest in the group as a whole... But perhaps she was asking too much of him. His last words spat out at her with a vehemence that she did not foresee and the shock of his reaction was apparent by the uncontrolled arching of her brows. Still, she let him respond to Nel before bothering to respond to him. Whatever he said angered the poor monk, causing her to clench her hands once more and set her jaw quite snugly before stalking away from them. Her eyes followed Nel for a moment before she spoke.

"A true ally, Priest, is one of the few things in life that you can explain perfectly and some people still would not understand the gist of what you are saying. A true ally, to me, is someone that you can count on and trust. Through roads both clear and sunny or murky and frightening. Someone that you can forge a relationship with that few others know. It is not only borne of battle but of any situation of strife or prolonged travel or even torturous endeavors. Yet, if you close yourself off from people before you truly give them a chance, then you alienate yourself. Tell me. Would your God of merriment wish this for you?"

She shrugged, an action that was barely perceptible in her heavy torso armor and another soft, forceful exhalation escaped her lips as more people began to filter into the clearing. The young mage had moved to sit upon a large boulder and Acacia, the Bard girl, had sidled up to her and initiated conversation. Then the other mage appeared, chewing on some sort of odd pastry as he nodded towards both herself and the Priest. With little left to say to either of the men, she clicked her tongue, urging her horse forward as the Prince began to speak.

Rydas mentioned packs prepared for those with mounts already and Mirabella rode forward to the small pile, dismounting easily and picking through the saddlebags to find what was hers. She had a small list so when combined with the basic necessities such as food and water, there were only three packs that were hers. Loading them up onto her chestnut mare, she climbed up into the saddle once more before trotting casually over until she was closer to the Prince.

"Not to start this mission off poorly or with any hint of disrespect, my liege..." she started, keeping her eyes forward on the others as they gathered either their mounts or their packs and began to prepare for the quest at hand. "But which way are we riding? What information are we going off of?" Finally her honey brown gaze settled upon the Prince with curiosity. "I must admit I have never worked with so little information before."

The setting changes from paetax to Calisma

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Xan Hallister Character Portrait: Narenia Halen Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Alice Sangera Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Rydas Errion

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#, as written by slcam
"Nice to meet you Alice," Acacia said, giggling at the flush of Alice's cheeks when she realized her "graceful moment" had been seen. "And yes, making people wary of you can be very entertaining." There was a momentary pause before the young mage continued. During this pause, Acacia leaned against the rock after Alice slid over a bit. She looked at those who were gathered so far. There was the priest of Deud, Akdov. Acacia hoped he wasn't in such an insulting mood today, though she doubted it as she saw both Mirabella and the young monk, Nelinia, walk angrily away. Xan was also there, looking as if he had slept in a bush, with leaves in his already messy hair. As Alice then continued, Acacia brought her attention back, smiling at the small girl. She wondered just how old she was. Her height alone was about average for a ten or twelve year old, though her face was a bit more mature. Perhaps she was fifteen or sixteen? Still quite young to be on a quest like this. "Ha, of course they would be memorized. How could they not?" she said, giving a playful wink. "But it also doesn't hurt that it helps you not injure yourself or get so shaken up. So yes, i guess it might help your skin, I don't see why not."

At first, Alice had reminded Acacia of her younger sister, Rachelle. She also was small, though not to the same extent, had a quiet personality, and was a bit disconnected at times though she wasn't shy. She, of course, also had similar dark hair. Though now Acacia could see that their personalities were very different. Once she had approached Alice and started a conversation, she chattered away like a chipmunk. Acacia could hardly get a sentence out of Rachelle most of the time. However, at times, when Acacia saw the mage out of the corner of her eye, she could have sworn that she and Rachelle were twins. She guessed it was something about the way the held themselves.

As Alice went on, Acacia listened, looking at the sitting girl with an amused look on her face. Fame, eh? How interesting, Acacia thought. She was highly entertained as the girl seemed not to even stop for breath, asking about why Acacia came, complimenting her lute, asking if she was going to play, all the way to talking about hair and daggers, all without giving her a chance to respond. When she finished, smiling and giggling a bit, Acacia then began to try to answer the slew of questions, a thoughtful look on her face as her eyes seemed to search the sky for the answers. She noticed a flash of red hair out of the corner of her eye. Must be Hayley, she thought.

"Okay, let's see, I want to go for a change of pace, the intriguing people, and the opportunity for an interesting story when all is said and done. Of course I will play, I would feel weird if i didn't, and thank you, it has been with me for years," she smiled at Alice before returning her gaze skyward. "Oh, that is what it was," her gaze returned to the girl, "so you're saying you cut your hair with a dagger?"

Before Alice could respond, the Prince began addressing them and Acacia noticed a few more had joined them. It was really very inspirational, and Acacia thought she might as well write it down so she could remember it word for word later. She patted her pockets, quickly finding a small pad of paper and a bit of whittled charcoal that she kept specifically to write with. A quill and ink just were not very practical in travel and as long as it didn't smudge too bad, her charcoal worked fine. She scribbled down the first part of his speech, stopping as he talked a bit about provisions and mounts, before jotting down, "We ride North." since it seemed to finish that fancy speech so well.

She smiled, watching Xan interact with his horse, and laughed at his attempt to get on. She probably wouldn't do much better. The only horse she had ever ridden was her father's old plow horse as he plowed the field, so she did know some things, but wasn't exactly an expert horsewoman. She also realised that Narenia had arrived, and she quickly and easily mounted her horse and began looking around. "Hello Narenia! Good morning!" Acacia yelled, raising her hand and waving.

The setting changes from calisma to Paetax

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Rydas Errion

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#, as written by Celedia
Mirabella narrowed her eyes in annoyance as the Prince ignored her query and began, instead, to lecture people on the proper ways to mount and ride a horse. Never before, even on jobs that were horribly managed, did she ever feel so uninformed as she did now. We ride north... That's helpful! She thought to herself somewhat sarcastically and drawing breath deeply within her lungs, she held the air momentarily before puffing it back out in a short burst.

North was quite vague, as far as she was concerned. There was a road heading out of the northern wall of Paetax, sure, but then it split off in a dozen different ways at a hundred different points along the road. They could head towards Vaekor, Orranli... Or if they were avoiding settlements of any kind they could still wander towards the Soch Mountains, Kon Falls, the Perpetual Frosts, the Lakes, the expansive forests.....


The Triansui stopped herself and instead, focused on the scene playing out before her. Hadn't she already reprimanded several people for their dismal attitudes? She put a stop to her train of thought before it soured her mood and waited for Nelinia to make her decision about who to ride with. Quite honestly, she didn't care either way. She had seen the little monk moving before and she had enough agility and grace to probably backflip right off of Mira's horse if the warrior was needed elsewhere in the midst of battle. And with the way she uppercut the horse, Mirabella was also pretty certain that Nel could take care of herself.

Though she mourned the loss of the fine steed that the Prince had no doubt paid handsomely for, the warrior still had a ghost of a smile playing across her arid lips. Surely the bard would have a hilarious tale to tell of the beginning of their adventure and the monk who had killed her own horse.

You just couldn't make this sort of thing up.

Listening first to Akdov plead his case, then Acacia came forth with her own proposal. All eyes seemed to be on the petite monk and/or the Prince. Either waiting to see who she would ride with or to await further instructions from the man in charge.

"I have no qualms, if you wish to ride with me, Nel. But perhaps you should ride with Bard Girl. Who knows? Perhaps she will need a bit of protection out there on the open road." Her tone had once more turned quite teasing and she winked at both the bard and monk before laughing out loud. With a soft click of her tongue and a gentle nudge of her foot, her own mare began to move so that she was at least turned towards the gate, ready to start this caravan to the north.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze

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#, as written by Deallo
As distraught as Nel was, there was a small sliver of excitement flowing through her veins, but immediately the worry overwhelmed her. The Prince's instructions on how to mount a horse went over her head as she looked at the unmoving horse. At first, the monk thought she killed it, but it was breathing, bare breathing, but breathing none the less...or was it just her eyes? Still shaken up, she needed to be comforted by someone, anyone.

Thus, the priest's presence was surprising as it felt like he was chiding her at first. Sure, she was the one who almost got killed by her horse, but it wasn't her fault! Lest she kept telling herself. "I don't have an apple." Nel said bitterly, eyes glued to her feet, keeping the suggestion to ride her own horse by being lead by him, almost reeling back at the priest's little tidbit about riding with him. If she was ever forced in such a position; she'd probably jog along the side of the trial of horses for miles to come.

Thankfully, Acacia's concern managed to wash away the anxiety and anger she held up, knowing someone at least sounded concerned for her. "I'm fine Acacia...but as for my steed..." Her eyes were cast low for a second before she brought them back up and flashed a tender smile to the bard to feign normality. Nel wished she could hear some sweet music and did when Acacia said she could ride with her. She waited until she mounted her horse yet before the monk could utter a word she could see Mirabella standing tall from her horse and making a slow trot towards her as well. It felt like for a brief moment, talking to so many people at once, being watched upon by either her unknown companions and the people from the crowd around the group as a whole, the world was revolving around her, and the feeling was not an enjoyable one.

The warrior's little joke about Nel protecting the bard gave her at least some imaginary comfort in the awkward position she found herself. It was fairly easy to choose which person to double up with. She definitely didn't want to get in Mira's way and be a hindrance if she was near her. "I think I'll ride with Acacia, Mira." Nel said, nervously picking at her collarbone before looking up. "After all, who else would protect her?" The joke was accompanied by her own form of laughter, obviously forced, and was extinguished with a quick clearing of the throat before she looked up at Acacia and then down at her quarterstaff. She grabbed it from the ground and stuffed it into the bag, most of it sticking back up, but luckily not falling over. Nel looked up, literally, to the bard, and hoped she understood the simple fact she needed her weapon.

Without bothering to hear anymore advice from her companions, she jumped on Acacia's horse, used her arms as leverage, and easily swung a leg over the horse. For a moment, it seemed she was going to fall, arms flailing back backwards, the momentum pushing her forward to wrap around the torso of the bard.

"We should be gong now." The entire fiasco with the horse made her nearly forget that she was going to go on an adventure out into the big wide world ad she held Acacia a little tighter.

The prospect was still terrifying.

The setting changes from paetax to Calisma

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Xan Hallister Character Portrait: Narenia Halen Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Alice Sangera Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Callavan Sole Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Icareau Sauveterre Character Portrait: Gallow Ó Tuathaláin Character Portrait: Feylon Haradas

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Image


It had stricken him then and there that the man was not only one of mere authoritative status. The whispers were true: the Prince of Calisma, through his weariness, led him to the tavern. Easily impressed as ever, Icareau had been wrought with awe, the admiration hidden by the shadow of his hood. Never would he have fathomed being recognized by royalty, not without startled gestures, no matter how brief. Strange and invigorating, that was, enough to send him dashing away to the Vagabond. Predictably, any meetings had adjourned, yet information was readily known through the barkeep. His needs were hardly demanding: a handful of spare whetstones, flasks, and rope should prove sufficiently; that, or his trek thus far had been fueled by pure instinct and luck, not to mention half a whisker or two.

He had not pursued comrades, nor had he basked in the grandiosity of the capital by moonlight. No one needn't remind him that he was not meant to enjoy it. Leering eyes cast him elsewhere, past the gates, up the hills, and down the dust trails to the cottage he called refuge. The elderly farming pair, who in time had been kind enough to lend him shelter in exchange for working hands, would tend to his belongings. Sleep eluded him. Hacking at the oak in the backyard ensured a good swinging arm—quicker, more agile, a tad more spirited, that'll do. Hours not spent in faux training were devoted to homely letters, though based on the lack of responses thus far, his efforts were made in vain. But Icareau kept at it for the sake of letting ink flow. He was as desperate as he was sad.

...And his cape was so red!

Love,
Chaton


Dawn met the city of Paetax.

Curious were the adventurers gathered at the gates, not in the least of which was the yellow-clad female who stirred heroic notions within him (for what better way was there to start a quest with a damsel, and he was ever so noble), but he remained hesitant, lying in wait until the Prince began to depart. Still others arrived after his instruction; Icareau took comfort in knowing that one was not as timely, although another's boisterous invitation to drink, however humorous, he could do without. How tragic it would be were he too inebriated to steer his mount!

"Sorry to keep you waiting!" he said to the venturing band, tail trailing loosely 'neath the folds of his cloak. One more delay and he'd be the subject of a running joke. He would not reveal himself, not entirely yet. In spite of uncertainty, the cat spun round to face and greet them all, with prolonged consideration given to the Prince. Paws were cupped demurely as he bowed, rattled off apologies, and sought the pack horse that held his requested items. The quips came rather quickly—"I am Icareau Sauveterre of the Feledine in Rousillen. We're not all bad, really, just a bit stingy. I'm so elated to travel with you all! Just think of the trouble we'll get in to. ...!"–which, in all his excitement, did not seem so detrimental. Such an array of scents and sights and sounds must be cherished. And he spoke as he swung atop his found steed, a young thing richly dark in pelt that appeared to huff bemusedly at his presence.

Less curious were the horses themselves, sans the victim of the reins incident. The forest of Taphon bred trackers, raiders, expert beasts who stole fine stallions from their trespassing owners. His riding was competent, his mounted combat skills a bit less so. Most dire was the image of his kind, especially one so small, gripping the reins so tightly, so eagerly. Had a few of the women not been shorter in stature, he might have been too flustered to attend.

To the lady in yellow, he smiled a meek smile, relieved that she was to be accompanied on her mount. To the rest, to those clad in armor or robe, to those weathered or bearded or bruised, he beckoned them as their leader had done, grinning as he directed the horse northward. Subtlety was needed, but it was hard being subtle.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Narenia Halen Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Icareau Sauveterre Character Portrait: Feylon Haradas

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She smiled as she looked down to hide it. Nari's first impulse was to go help poor Nelinia. Her innoncence and naive mind had struck a soft spot in the ranger, although she probably wouldn't admit it. She was proud and didn't really know the people present very well yet. Before she could do anything though, several people had come forth to help the girl, and some spoke words that only tired her. She clenched her teeth and looked at Mira at first, who'd made a generous offer, and so had the bard, Acacia. The Priest however. Maybe it was fueled by the tension between the four people, or maybe it was simply just Nari thinking him to speak too quickly. To speak before he thought.
Looking down again at her beautiful mount, Nari tilted her head and thought. "Vanir. That's what I'll call you." Strong and proud. And he really was. He was dark, with muscles like nothing she'd ever seen before. But something assured her that he could run fast as well, if need be.

Give the girl a chance, she can ride. Was her first thought, but apparently Nelinia decided to ride with Acacia. She frowned for a moment but then trotted forward towards them, very slowly. Nari had faith in the monk. She was sure that she could ride if she wanted to. Gods... She probably hasn't seen a horse before, let alone sit on one.
Was the priest always drinking? Now he proposed to toast to all of them before the journey. Nari didn't mind, but it was just the way he did it. She dearly hoped that he would change and be easier to be around once they knew him better. Otherwise, this would be a long journey. Out of the corner of her eye she saw the other ranger. He had appeared very suddenly, and hadn't done anything to earn trust. Not in Nari's eyes anyway. She'd keep her distance from him.

She reached Acacia and Nel, her face serious. Once she reined in her horse to be next to theirs, the ranger unwrapped her cloak around her and reached into the satchels for something. Narenia retrieved an apple and handed it to Nel with a smile. She wrapped her cloak back around her and winked, briefly looking at Acacia too, also with a warm smile.
What the prince had said about their mounts and how to mount them, honestly went over her head. Nari knew how to get on a horse and stay on it. She could fire her bow from it as well, and even do it when she was hanging on its side. It had been a long time since she'd done it of course, but the knowledge still remained. The horse trotted forward slowly, passing Mira and riding right behind the prince. He looked like he needed to clear his mind at the moment, so she wouldn't disturb him. Nari was sure that if she decided to do so, he'd keep his head cool. No need to cause him to think less of me because he thinks me annoying. She thought.
In the back, she heard the voice of a stranger. One that hadn't even been there before, or at least someone she hadn't seen before. If the prince knew him, he'd most likely adress him. If he didn't.. Well, they'd know. Nari thought of the priests proposal of a toast. If he hands me the mug, I'll drink it. Her mind told her. Nari wasn't mad at him, but no one else had given any reply to his offer to toast, so neither would she. The two of them hadn't exchanged a word yet. Nari returned her eyes to the way ahead of her, looking at the prince for a second and then back at Mira behind her. Nari smiled warmly at her for a short moment and then turned again, wrapping her big comfortable cloak around her. Her bow was strapped to the satchel of the horse and her quivers were there too. So was the food and water they'd been promised and all her other needs. Everything had been taken care of, and she was set to go. So here it begins.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Narenia Halen Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Icareau Sauveterre

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#, as written by slcam
Acacia gave a small laugh at Mirabella's comment before returning her wink. "Yes, you just never know when I might turn from a bard to a damsel in distress," she said dramatically, putting a hand to her brow as if she suddenly became faint before smiling broadly at Nelinia's decision to ride with her. As Nelinia somewhat awkwardly stuffed her staff into a bag, Acacia wondered how she would manage to get up. Maybe she could use the stirrup? She then realized her own feet weren't even in the stirrups. She really needed to get use to actually riding and steering a horse, not just hanging on while it plowed a field. Well, hopefully it will work out, she mused, scratching her head and giving a little chuckle. However, she didn't need to worry about Nelinia mounting since she easily jumped up on the horse, causing the mare to give a little start as she did a little half lurch forward. Acacia tried to put her hand back to catch the monk so she didn't fall off, her knees instinctively tightening so she wouldn't fall off herself. The monk quickly grabbed on to Acacia and gained her balance and Acacia relaxed.

"You okay back there?" she asked. Not really waiting for a response, she continued, "If you feel like you're losing your balance or are about to fall off, just grip with your knees, not your feet. Trust me, most horses will not like it," she said, thinking of a time or two she had been bucked off. "Of course you can also hold on to me a bit tighter, that will help too. Let me know if you need to stop for anything too, okay?"

When Nelinia suggested that they should get going, Acacia shot a grin over her shoulder before confidently saying, "On Ha!" to the horse while softly flicking the reins. The horse merely gave a small huff, stamped her front feet, and looked back again before bending her head down to munch on some of the plants growing through the cracks in the street. Acacia shifted to adjust with a small sigh, and wondered what she had done wrong. That is what Father always did, she thought, a confused look on her face. As Narenia came up beside them, Acacia's mare lazily lifted up her head and gave a soft neigh, maybe a greeting, to Narenia's dark colored mount. Acacia unconsciously shifted again, as she looked to the ranger with a small smile, wondering what she was digging for. She then pulled out an apple and handed it to Nelinia and Acacia' smile broadened. As Narenia's horse trotted off, Acacia realized what she did wrong. She then remembered the prince saying something about putting your heels in the sides. She tried it, and to her delight the horse started off. She then realized afresh that she still hadn't put her feet in the stirrups. Oh well.

She then hear the voice of a stranger, a man she supposed and turned to look as he walked toward them. She couldn't quite figure out what was different about him, since he was covered in a cloak. In his introduction, she caught two names. One, his name Icareau, and two, his species, Feledine. She had never seen one of the Feledine, but she had heard of them. It was odd that one would come on a quest like this. Acacia was surprised and didn't even stop the horse to turn and ask the... newcomer questions, though she soon wished she had. However, they were quickly off, following after the prince and starting their odd quest.

"Oh, Nelinia," she said after a moment. "We still need to name her." She gave the horse a small pat on the neck. "What do you think is a good name?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Xan Hallister Character Portrait: Narenia Halen Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Callavan Sole Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Icareau Sauveterre Character Portrait: Attica Ninethorn

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#, as written by Celedia
While waiting for everyone else to gather their bearings, the Triansui sat proudly upon her horse as she watched the proceedings. From the depths of the crowd emerged a cloaked figure, one with a tail trailing loosely behind him or her and the sight immediately brought about Mirabella's warrior instincts as she clasped a hand onto her sword, preparing to draw steel. Yet, the voice that emanated from the figure was anything but imposing, as stories and legends of her people should suggest. In fact, the voice was almost as naive as poor, lovable Nel's was which caused her to stay her hand for but a moment.

"I am Icareau Sauveterre of the Feledine in Rousillen. We're not all bad, really, just a bit stingy. I'm so elated to travel with you all! Just think of the trouble we'll get in to. ...!"

Feledine.... she repeated to herself and her hand clenched a bit tighter while still allowing the weapon to remain sheathed. How in the hell could the Prince allow a Feledine onto this quest?

The Feledine were a race of cat like people which had descended upon her homeland in ages past and before a treaty could be forged, many from both sides of the war with the Feledine race had been lost. Though her people were a proud race of unequaled warriors, they could not have expected the bestial ferocity of the cat people and some of their best had been murdered by the nomads.

Her eyes narrowed at poor, unsuspecting Icareau and stayed upon him until her attention was turned elsewhere- They were finally moving.


As the adventure began in earnest and the Prince led the group out of the city and to the north, Mirabella allowed herself to fall behind and bring up the rear. She was used to playing bodyguard for both nobles and merchants and knew that being attacked from the rear was more likely than a head-on assault. She wouldn't allow any of her new found friends (or new found comrades, for those she didn't quite trust) to be wounded on her watch. From this vantage point, she watched as her fellow travelers interacted. So much could be told from a person's actions for they were usually more truthful than a person's words.

Nari, the ranger, was quiet, friendly and gentle. She had offered an apple to poor Nelinia, which had seemed to brighten the young monk and before she rode off to follow the Prince, she had offered another smile to Mirabella. It wasn't a calculating smile that most other woman seemed trained in but one that, once delivered, made the recipient smile as well. This strengthened Mira's perception of the slender ranger.

The one thief, Xan, had a sweet interaction with one of the younger townsfolk as they were heading out of the city. The crystalline orb that he had toyed with in the tavern yesterday was now being passed down to a girl that couldn't have been more than 8 years old. Obviously shy, the girl took the orb from Xan, her large eyes growing wider with excitement as she took her new treasure back to show her mother.

It was these little scenes that entertained Mirabella throughout the day long trip. Little things, such as one of the riders grumbling about their butt being sore from the riding thus far or another one claiming they were parched barely an hour's ride out of the gate. A smile threatened her otherwise neutral countenance as they all became accustomed to the life of riding on the open road.

The ride was thankfully uneventful. She had hoped that no one would be idiotic enough to attack them so close to the city but she did honestly expect it at some point in time. There were quite a few people in Paetax that would like to see the mission fail and for the King to slip into the oblivion of the afterlife. Yet they made their way to a clearing that they would use as their camp and everyone began to dismount and prepare for the evening. Mirabella dismounted with a practiced ease, unloading her horse and slipping the bridle off of the mare so that she could roam nearby and graze. Her mare was her companion and had been for quite a few years now. The Triansui knew how to fight while mounted and Blaze, named due to her sorrel coat, seemed to be able to anticipate her moves. This all led to a remarkable relationship between horse and rider which allowed Blaze more freedom than the Triansui might normally give to an animal and she patted Blaze on her side before telling her to roam off and eat.

Looking around, everyone else seemed to be settling in for the evening nicely. The Prince was cooking and serving stew, the other riders were all working out their aches and pains with the exception of Van, one of the mages, who appeared to be walking a bit bow-legged. Laughing, Mirabella dug into one of her packs and pulled out a jar of ointment that she had bought from an apothecary before this mission and walked over to the mage to hand it to him.

"It treats saddle sores and prevents new ones from forming. Keep it as long as you wish and share it with those that may require it as well." Her attention was caught during the small verbal exchange by one of the rangers, who crouched down and gestured to one of the tents.

Intruder...

Dropping the jar of ointment into Van's hand, the Triansui drew her blade fluidly and began to circle around to the back of the tent. If the intruder, or beast, happened to fly out of the front of the tent then they would be greeted by the dozen or so people surrounding the campfire. So the Triansui moved slowly, trying to keep as stealthy as possible in her mismatched plate/leather/chain armor until she had a clear view of the back of the tent.

The fabric was parted by a sharp slit, allowing both sides of the manmade entrance to billow slightly with each breeze that passed through the area. Without warning and with little regard to stealth or safety, Mirabella popped through the same slit that the intruder had passed through with her sword arm ready.

Her eyes fell upon a rather wild looking figure donning rather naturalistic looking armor and her brow arched as she spied the woman moving about the tent. She looked like one of the forest dwellers but wasn't one that she had traded with in her past travels so Mira remained vigilant as she asked, "I will not harm you unless you attack... What are you doing in this tent?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Narenia Halen Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Icareau Sauveterre Character Portrait: Feylon Haradas Character Portrait: Attica Ninethorn

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No more did she see of the creature that had arrived as the last person in their group. Nari was still unsure of what his race was called, but as far as she remembered it was called a Feledine. She knew he was there in line with the others, but it wasn't exactly courteous to fall back and stare at him, asking what kind of creature he was. The ranger woman wouldn't care if anyone asked her the same, if only they kept it to asking and not judging her of what she was and where she came from. After all, her proud mind wouldn't allow insults to pass unnoticed. Mira fell back after Nari had placed her horse right behind the prince, much to her displeasure. She would have liked to speak to the woman. Not long after they had been underway, the thief did something unexpected. He handed the orb he had been studying when she first saw him, to a little girl that passed them by. Nari tilted her head she looked back at him, wondering where such kindness came from. He hadn't shown it before. Not as far as she could remember at least.

Although she had been trained to ride a horse and had done so many times, she was still sore when she dismounted her horse at the end of their ride. Nari stretched and led her horse over to a tree. "Vanir," She whispered his name and leaned her head against his. The horse neighed lowly and exhaled. "Hungry?" Nari asked and smiled. She found another two apples in the bags on the horse, feeding them to the horse. Apparently it pleased him. "Here, I'll give you a little leash so you can eat." Then she tied to the tree and let him eat. After that, all there was to do was follow the prince's example, setting up tents and making the camp as they wanted it to be. She helped making the fireplace and making it so it was possible to cook there. When she was done with her chores, the rest of the camp was already set up. Either I work slowly, or some of these people have set up camp before. Nari thought to herself and shrugged, her face serious now. As a ranger, she was used to staying on her toes and be alert, especially when out in the wild. It didn't matter to her if they were close to the city.

Nothing could have helped her when the Prince of all people, started cooking for them. Nari raised her eyebrow in wonder, half expecting that she was the one to cook. Not that she thought none of the others knew how, but because she was a ranger. In her experience she had usually been the one in charge of food whenever she had travelled with a group. "Thank you." Accepting the bowl and looking at him, she gave a warm smile and a nod of appreciation.
As she ate, Nari spied the trees around them. Force of habit. Only when the Prince requested a song from the bard did she come back to their small gathering. But before anything happened a noise alerted her of a presence in one of the tents but before she could do anything, the other ranger who she hadn't noticed very much motioned for silence. As Mira moved to the back of the tent, Nari stood up and nocked an arrow. She nodded at the other ranger and watched Mira go around to the back. If whatever was in the tent decided to come out the front, not only would she run into their midst, but Nari would have a clean shot. Did it decide to run, Nari was ranged and could still pose a threat.

She stood with bated breath as she waited for what would happen next. Her green eyes, even more visible - almost glowing - caught Nel's, and then the Prince's. She exhaled to calm her breath and then drew the string of the bow back and pointed it at the front opening of the tent, drawing her breath calmly. A voice came from inside, and Nari guessed it to be Mira's. What the intruder would reply was the only question that was on her mind.
What's the next move.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Attica Ninethorn

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Attica edged into the tent. In the dimness, her night-tuned eyes could make out the vague shape of a bedroll that felt lightly padded beneath her palms. Next to it was a pack and in careful silence, she unbuckled it and snaked her hand inside. One by one she drew out its contents- a canteen that was heavy with water (she pulled out the stopper to take a few gulps before placing it onto the bedroll), a tinder box, an item of clothing that felt to made out of high quality wool, a small jar of some ointment... Then, what she had been hoping to find; a small bundle of waxed paper tied with string.

Deftly, she cut the bindings and unfolded the paper. Her fingertips told her she'd found a hunk of hard cheese and her lips confirmed it. Hungrily she put her hand back inside the pack and drew out another bundle, this time wrapped in cotton; a crusty loaf of bread. With the eager mouthfuls of one who had not eaten in days, she rapidly consumed a good quarter of the loaf and all of the cheese, wrapping the rest back up and stowing it under her arm. She was about to remove the last of the contents of the pack when she heard the unmistakable sound of footsteps moving around the side of the tent.

Instantly she stiffened, one of her knives finding its way into her hand. Talk outside the tent was not as loud, nor had as many participants as it had previously had, she realised. The maker of the footsteps was at the slit she had made in the back of the tent now. And if there was someone coming in through the back, there would be another waiting outside at the front. Attica rose a little, knees bent, knife out, eyes sharp.

Awkwardly, without the slightest attempt at stealth, a woman with a shock of white-blonde hair and bulky mismatched armour pushed her way in through the slashed canvas. A longsword (a ridiculous weapon to choose considering the size of the tent) pointed out in front of her. She looked like a warrior of some kind but even with this observation, Attica didn't bother to wonder why she might be here along with the rest of the occupants of the camp. More important things- like her own survival- preyed on her mind.

At her question, Attica continued to stare at her with the incredulous unblinking gaze of a trapped animal. What did she think she was doing? Stolen bread in one hand, knife in another...

In a split second, Attica kicked out at the tent pole, her heel making contact with its base to make it snap cleanly in half. The tent collapsed down on top of them immediately and she slashed out with her blade to draw it cleanly through the canvas in one side of the tent. Not waiting to see if the warrior had freed herself, her armour and her longsword from the mess of splintered wood and waxed cloth, she dived through the hole in the canvas. Struggling up to her feet, using her hands to propel herself up from the damp earth, she sprinted for the tree-line. Or at least where the tree-line would have been had there not been a man standing in the way.

Attica hit him at full speed, his armour impacting painfully with her shoulder and collarbone. Her knife thudded to the ground and the two of them went down. With a howl of anger, Attica found herself caught in a tangle of armoured limbs and red cloak and she lashed out with her fist at the first inch of flesh she could see, her heart hammering in her chest and sudden rage churning her blood.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Xan Hallister Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Icareau Sauveterre Character Portrait: Attica Ninethorn

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#, as written by slcam
"Hmm," Acacia replied, her eyes lightly closed as she envisioned the name, "Maria sounds about right. It seems you have a name, Maria!" She finished with excitement in her voice, though she didn't finish talking. She continued chattering on about a variety of easy topics, nothing too deep, and making various observations which she sometimes wrote down. She spoke of some of the places she had visited and some of the adventures she had in them, though she was careful not to talk much about Tal. She speculated on what the people passing by them were going to do in town, and also what kind of occupation they had, though most seemed to be farmers. She talked about how it was "so kind" of Xan to give his bauble to the little girl they passed, also hastily writing it down with some other things she had documented about the ride. She spoke just loud enough to be heard by Nelinia, or so she thought. She would have been just as happy to talk to her self though, as traveling always put her in high spirits. She noticed Nelinia fall asleep a couple times, but the almost steady stream of words never stopped.

She even recited a story she made up while in Paetax waiting for the day of the meeting. It was a sort of sad story, one that she would probably turn into a song later, about a young woman whose lover had gone off to join the army. She spoke of all the things, the little things and big things, that she would tell him when he came back. It ended with the woman telling about how she would always wait for her lover, though she had already grown old and frail. Acacia supposed it seemed so depressing because her thoughts were on Tal quite a bit during the wait, but she didn't express this thought and moved on to happier topics.

After what seemed like a short time to Acacia, the day was almost over and they were finally stopping to make camp. After Nelinia dismounted and Acacia moved to get off, she realized just how sore she was and quickly joined Nelinia in her stretches, adding a couple more of her own as well. With her soreness eased, she began following the Prince's instructions on taking care of the horse and setting the camp up. She finished setting up and gratefully grabbed a bowl. She watched the Feledine over the rim of her bowl, wondering again at his intentions. She responded to the Prince's request with a quick nod of her head and a smile. "Of course!" She smiled at the others who also responded and gave a little giggle at Nelinia's query. She grabbed her lute and began softly tuning it. She noticed it was a little off after just one day's ride.

She was still tuning when she heard Mirabella's voice coming from a tent. She looked up to see the tent collapse and a wild looking woman try to run off, only to be caught by Prince Rydas. She realized that she was already standing with a knife in her right hand and the lute in her left when Akdov spoke. He was quite right, she did seem to have just taken some food, but they really didn't know for sure. Nevertheless, her knife quickly disappeared back up her sleeve. I wonder if he will also offer to let the woman sleep in his tent. The thought flew across her mind, but she paid it no attention.

"Who are you?" she asked gently, as if talking to herself. In the now mostly quiet camp, however, it was easily heard.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Narenia Halen Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Icareau Sauveterre Character Portrait: Feylon Haradas Character Portrait: Attica Ninethorn

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#, as written by Deallo
Nelinia was eager to hear Acacia play, leaning in ever so slightly as she rattled off a note or two on the lute, an incredibly odd song to the monk since she had no idea what "tuning" meant. After a while, it occured to her she might be stretching the instrument, like how she does on the morning. With that thought, she straightened her back, and pondered Acacia's existence. She knew so many stories and had so many adventures it made Nel felt in awe, onc more, and yet feel slightly benign in her presence.

She looked at the roaring fire and outstretched her arms to bask into a fiery heat before recoiling from what felt like a burn. She examined her unbandaged fingers and felt relief at the lack of damage. Nel held out her arms again, at a safer distance and felt euphoric with the warm heat caressing her fingers, a comfort that almost made her feel like diving into the fire, but even she knew better. The bowl beside her lay untouched for the sole reason that she didn't eat food in the evening, the schedule was ingrained into her memory: stretch, meditate and training, eat, spar, meditate and train, sleep. Already uncomfortably avoiding the morning meditation for the sake of traveling, gracious for the apple that Narenia had gave her as lunch, all that was left to do now was spar, meditate, and then sleep.

The yellow clad monk looked around the campfire, noticing Akdov, the blood covered man from before who's name escapes her, Narenia, Rydas/Prince, Icareau, the odd cat-like being, and obviously Acacia. Mira was walking off somewhere, quite in a funny way at that, but Nel shifted her attention at potential sparring partners. Only Nel was obviously out of the inner-message of "somebody's here, who is it?" as she searched for a suitable partner. It was then the monk, decided to choose by height for a light spar, afterall, they were eating. So her eyes lay on the Felendine once more, believing him to be actually the person slightly taller then herself, if not of even height.

Nel's eyes flashed to his ears and then back to his face. She wouldn't lie; her hands were itching to go behind the ears. Save that for later. Nel mentally told herself as she leaned in towards him. "Icareau...was it? Do you wish to spar?" She asked softly. Upon his answer though, there was a commotion as a woman, a woman Nel hasn't seen before ran into the prince, who in turn, grabbed her wrists and held her tight against him. At this point, Nel instantly had her hands upon her eyes, from deducing how...naked the woman was, and the position they were in, she could only say one thing:

"Please take your relations to a tent!" Nel said in a loud voice, face reddening, as she shrunk in her spot, tortuously pondering why they would do that out here, in the open.

Princes are sick.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Xan Hallister Character Portrait: Narenia Halen Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Alice Sangera Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Hayley Furdiligit. Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Feylon Haradas Character Portrait: Attica Ninethorn

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The girl struggled a little again, but obviously her strength was failing her. The Prince had held her in an iron grip where the attempt to get away would be to no avail.
Rydas shook his head at her mention of rope. Apparently he had enough trust in this wildling to let her go without, and then again, she was surrounded by their rag tag group. Whatever she did, she would be caught. If not, Nari would let loose an arrow, and this time she wouldn't miss. Attica, as she was called, didn't do anything though. She must be clever enough to see the futility of trying to escape. Nari thought, smirking a little. What would happen now? Would she become an addition to their group? Would they feed her and send her on her way again? The ranger didn't even manage to think another thought, because the wildling had told them she was being followed. That she was. From everywhere around them, the bandits came out of the trees. Narenia turned in a circle, trying to figure out how many they were. She narrowed her eyes and then nocked an arrow, this time sending it into the neck of one of the bandits.

Feylon, the other ranger, was also using his bow and arrow although he switched them when he was on the ground, fighting an enemy. The only thing Nari managed to catch of the scene was, that he managed to kill his assailant, but in turn the assailant managed to knock him out. The eyebrow raised, her beautiful face giving off an expression of confusion. The Priest was lying next to him, Xan the Thief pulling a spear out of his back. Two already? She thought, pulling herself back to the battle at hand. She let loose another arrow and made it pierce the chest of an enemy. Nari had to make sure that every arrow counted. Due to the fact that they were surrounded, plus two of their men had fallen wounded already, bandits occasionally slipped through. One of them grabbed her from behind and choked her. Nari struggled against the strength of the man who brought a knife around to her throat, and her eyes widened when she saw the blade. Frantically she tried to escape him, and managed to hit him in the jaw with her armored shoulder. The bandit stumbled back and without a moments pause, she stabbed him in the heart with her short sword. Footsteps behind her. Nari flung around and pointed the arrow at the bandit that had come for her. A woman. A woman! She slowed down to a halt, but Nari released the arrow anyway. Her face was stern and serious. She didn't feel any remorse for the kill. It might have been caused by the heat of the battle or the fury of her recent close encounter. Either way, Narenia Halen didn't feel bad. They were her enemy.

As she turned to continue fighting, she felt a sharp pain go through the leather and into her lower stomach. A scream of pain escaped as she fell to her knees. Nari's hands wrapped around the arrow and she grimaced in pain. You can't fail now. Her mind told her. She felt another kick of adrenaline and mustered all her strength, and broke the arrow off so only a little bit was sticking out. It was bleeding quite a bit though. Another arrow was sent into the brain of a bandit, their numbers seeming to thin out. That was the worst part of this fight, it was dark and they could see how many enemies there were. Her train of thought was stopped short by a deafening shout. Somewhere behind her a man had come into their clearing and started fighting. But he was fighting the bandits. Nari nocked another arrow, grimacing again because of the arrow sticking out of her lower stomach. She aimed it at the man for a moment, then caught his eyes. They weren't very far apart, and all Nari did when she saw he didn't do their group any harm, she nodded as she breathed heavily. When she was a child, Nari had only heard tales of his kind. As far as she could tell, he was a Shaman. Her eyes widened for a moment before she remembered that they were in the midst of battle. Her stomach started aching badly, but she wouldn't give in. Nari made her way towards the two fallen of her comrades, reaching Xan with heavy breath. "If you can protect me for a while, I'll do my best to treat them." She told the Thief. Her eyes flew up at the Prince. As far as she remembered, the Priest had tackled him to the ground. The ranger woman half wanted to tell him to get to cover, but what was he here for if he had to hide from every battle? "Be careful." She said hastily and then returned her gaze to the two wounded in front of her. The one in need of most critical help was the Priest. Regardless of whether Nari disliked him, she had to help him. They were brothers in arms now. Or well, she was technically a sister. With great haste, Nari unwrapped her cloak from her body and put it over the Priest. She swiped away tehe fabric to get a look at the wound in his back. Her hands rapidly found the healing herbs and water in her belt. First she cleaned the blood away from the wound, and then started adding the healing herbs. The wound was so great that it made her doubt whether it would be enough. As an enemy closed in, Nari's hands found her bow and she loosed another arrow into an enemy. The amount of projectiles coming towards their group had lessened. Apparently most of their archers had been dealt with. It was still unsure though. "Don't let them in here. The Priest has to lay still." She shouted, hoping both Xan and the Prince would hear. Or anyone around her actually. The Shaman. She stopped instantly and turned her head in search of the big man, however elderly he seemed. "Shaman!" Narenia roared, her eyes meeting with his through the battle. "If you know healing then please help me! I have but needle and thread!"

As she waited for him, her worries started growing. Wondering if anyone else had fallen yet. She feared not for Mirabella. Nari feared for Nel the most. The monk could probably fight, but she seemed so young and naive. Quickly, the ranger reminded herself not to judge. Maybe she had the highest body count?
Waiting for the Shaman's reply and trying to keep up the battle, Nari loosed one arrow after the next, guarding the two fallen.
Mira, Acacia, Nel, Akdov, Hallister, Feylon, the Prince, Alice, Haley, the Mage. Nari reminded herself the core names of their group, should any of them be missing after the battle.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Attica Ninethorn

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#, as written by Celedia
It took Mirabella but a moment to release her self from the confines of the collapsed tent and though she should probably be angry at the wildling’s reaction, she actually felt quite sorry for her. The woman’s actions had been one of a scarred animal, notably so, and even as the leather-clad figure struggled in vain against the Prince’s grip, Mira could only feel pity.

Then, a myriad of reactions from the gathered members of the group left her with other emotions. Amusement at Nelinia’s oh so naïve outburst, a swift grin at the Prince’s response, skepticism at the newly introduced Attica and…

And that was when bandits began to pour out of the surrounding woods.

Everything happened quickly after that as her party clashed against the invaders. Mira had no time to babysit or keep track of the others, praying silently that the other members of the party would see to such thing as she did what she did best.

Fight.

Throwing knives flew passed her as she tore across the small clearing, sword still in hand from the inspection of the tent and she slid towards the pile that held her packs so that she could snatch up her shield. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw the Priest fall with the shaft of a spear in his back and within seconds she had slipped her arm through the leather straps upon the back of her wooden shield. Standing, her gaze swept across the scene to pick out where she might be needed.

Already, there were several people injured and the warrior saw, with great relief that her companions were already tearing through the bandits easily. Bodies littered the ground and she was thankful that none were those that she recognized as she made her way towards the bulk of the group. An arrow flew into the neck of one of the men running towards her and she took the opportunity to run forward, full speed, with her shield held in front of her. At the last second, she extended her shield arm out, bashing it into the already wounded bandit and sending him reeling backwards. Once upon the ground, she drove the tip of her blade into his belly and leaned into it for leverage, driving the sword deep into his flesh.

With a practiced yank she released her weapon from his musculature and looked elsewhere. Another bandit was circling behind an apparently wounded Bard girl and Mira’s protective instinct carried her towards the man even as he raised his mace towards the bloodied Acacia. Leaping to cover more ground in less time, Mirabella crossed her blade viciously through the air so that the finely honed blade slashed across the man’s back to draw his attention towards her instead of the seated bard.

“Pick on someone your own size,” she growled and the man spun around, blocking her next swing easily with the hard steel handle of his mace before twirling it once to throw off her sword. Yet, he had obviously been trained poorly because the movement left him wide open for another slicing motion, this time catching him right across his midsection. The man stumbled back in surprise and the Triansui kicked out with one of her feet, landing it on his already bleeding stomach which caused the figure to crumple over in pain.

“That’s better. Now, die for me.” Her voice was cold and harsh, a surprising change from her normal demeanor as she drove her blade down through a chink in the bandit’s poorly crafted armor between his neck and clavicle. The crunch of bone was barely detected through the already chaotic noise of the dying battle and she planted her foot on his chest, kicking him back once more to push the bandit off of her blade so he could bleed out.

The Triansui stared at him for but a moment, making sure that he wouldn’t be getting back up any time soon before she turned to Acacia and knelt down beside her. The warrior’s eyes were now soft once more, though her face was now as bloodied as the bard’s though the wounds were not her own, thus far.

“Do you need assistance standing?” She asked, moving the shield onto her back so that she had a free hand which she used to inspect the other woman’s wound. “Scalp wounds always bleed the worst but it looks as if you’ll be quite all right.” A smile followed her words as she reached into the pouch on her hip and dug out a strip of muslin and thrust it towards Acacia as her gaze lifted to search for their party members.

“Let’s go find the others and see if they need any help. The battle appears to be dying down." A quick smile flashed across her lips as she stood up, looking down at the bard girl while extending her free hand should she need the assistance to stand. "I just realized. I saved a damsel in distress. Shall you sing songs of me now, bard girl?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Rydas Errion

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#, as written by slcam
Blood, so much blood, Acacia thought to herself. However, her thoughts were not on the blood streaming down her face, nor the blood from the bandit woman, but on a different time entirely. Her left hand was still pressed against the bloody wound, her breathing shallow and fast, her eyes closed to keep out the blood still coming from the shallow wound. Memories from a time that Acacia had tried so hard to forget flooded her mind like a nightmare. The slash, the cry of anguish coming from her lips...

She was jerked back to the present by an almost familiar voice. There was something about it that was too harsh, but it still seemed as if she should recognise it. Acacia dabbed her eyes quickly with her sleeve to get rid of any blood on them and opened her eyes to look around. She glanced at who the voice had come from, Mirabella. She was fighting a bandit. Acacia realized she had probably just saved her life. The realization helped her calm down as she forced herself to quash the panic the had overtaken her. Mirabella quickly finished off the bandit and came back to Acacia with genuine concern in her eyes. Blood covered her face, but she didn't seem injured. Acacia tried to focus just on the woman's eyes and ignore the blood, but it was difficult and her eyes kept nervously glancing at it.

"Maybe, thank you,"Acacia said in responce to Mirabella's question, her voice still slightly shakey. At least she hadn't burst out sobbing, yet. Acacia took the muslin from her, barely keeping her hand from trembling, and pressed it to her forehead. At least the flow of blood had slowed. "I don't much care for blood," Acacia stated, a slight, forced smile on her lips.

Acacia reached out with her free hand and took the help to get up and sprung lightly to her feet. She paused a moment to gain her balance and let the lightheaded dizzy-ness pass. "Well, you can't say I didn't warn you that I might turn into a damsel in distress," Acacia laughed, a genuine smile on her face. "Perhaps I will. Then everyone will know of Mirabella, the courageous warrior in shining armor!"

As the Prince called for them to fall in, sounding like an army commander, Acacia gave Mirabella another smile and shakely began walking toward him. She would have to get her knives at some point, but she pushed that to the back of her mind. It would have to be taken care of later. When she got close, she responded to the question of injuries with a simple, "I'm fine". She stood near the growing group, nervously shifting from foot to foot. She was determined that she would not panic again.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Geraint Magdohl

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#, as written by Deallo
About to unleash another strike on the paralyzed figure, Nel noticed the white beard attached to the body, and stopped in her tracks. It instantly reminded her of the Elder, the leader of the monastery, and for perhaps a split second, thought it was him she hit. The thought immediately caused her to stand up straight and abandon her fighting position; inspiring both a mix of fear and respect. However, it was easily disregarded as the man didn't have the same shiny bare head, nor the voice as he raised his arms and spoke that he meant no harm.

Now any reasonable warrior, human being, animal wouldn't be as quick to believe him as the monk did. Whether this was Nel's secret weapon or her greatest demise; only time will tell. Just as she put that trust in him, a bandit decided to take the opportunity to attack, and the events that transpired still shocked her. She shifted her weight to her left foot and was about to unleash a kick to the knee when all of a sudden, the old man hissed angrily at him, and the bandits sword came alive. Nel stood in awe, mesmerized by the blade that acted like a metal snake, chasing the owner left running with just the hilt in his grasp.

The eerie silence returned to the camp once more, attackers either slain, unconscious, or fled, the air was tinged with the smell of red. Nel looked at the old man, albeit considerably bulky and muscular, with a grand sense of curiosity. Did he make the sword into a snake? Was he a magician? She could hear the Prince calling for them but still pinned her attention to the man in particular.

"Forgive me, it's...hard to tell who's an enemy and who isn't." Nel admitted, panting with beads of sweat rolling off her crown, looking at the floor in shame, bending down to grip her quarterstaff once more and looked up to the eyes of the old man once again. "My name is Nel. Excuse me, but I must go." The monk said hastily, turning around to the group, and walking to the small crowd that was gathering.

Nel made the mental note to arrange the bodies after.

The yellow monk scanned the members for injuries, immediately turning to Acacia and Mirabella, running up towards them with worry. Nel nearly screamed at the copius amount of blood upon both their faces. "Are you two alright? Are you hurt? Where does it hurt? There's so much blood, wait here, I'll be right back! The bombardment of questions led Nel to forget about the cut on her right bicep, staining her yellow cloth as she ran back to her pack, grabbed a couple roll of bandages, and ran back to to the two. Instantly, Nel tried to promptly wrap Mira's face with the roll, as the warrior seemed to be the most urgent and bloodied.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Narenia Halen Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Attica Ninethorn Character Portrait: Lance Elgard

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#, as written by Celedia
Mirabella


Mirabella wouldn’t have wiped the honest grin off of her face that had crept upon her lips in response to Acacia’s comments, even if she could. The Bard, despite the fact that she had most likely never participated in battle before, had held up quite well. The Triansui was shocked that even with the surprise attack and having no time to prepare that the group had fared as well as it had. She looked around briefly, walking a few steps behind Acacia as they made their way towards the Prince and before they could come to a complete stop, Nel rushed to their sides.

The tiny brightly colored monk was quick, that was for sure, and before Mirabella’s lips could part for her to address the girl’s concerns, the petite Nelinia was already clambering about with gauze in hand to patch the warrior’s wounds. Laughter spilled from her lips as she went to stop Nel’s hands so that she didn’t waste her supplies and she warded off the tiny monk until she could speak properly.

“Nel, love, I am fine. Honestly. Thank you for looking after me, though.” She smiled at the yellow-garbed girl before turning to Acacia as well. “It is good to have people such as your selves by my side after a battle.” If this was the kindling to true friendship, then let it come. The warrior had not trusted any one before in her life but that didn’t mean that it couldn’t happen either, right?

“Speaking of such things… Where is Nari?” Her golden eyes suddenly went wide with curiosity and a touch of fear as she pushed away from the small group, her eyes seeking the red-haired ranger even as she passed by others. Mira made sure not to pass by anyone that looked injured but she didn’t happen upon anyone with more than a scratch until she approached the group of wounded. It seemed that two had fallen and Nari and one of the mages had held watch over them until the end of the battle. A smile of relief passed over Mira’s face until she noticed that Nari was, indeed, injured. Lips parted as if to call out for the cleric until she noticed that he was one of the ones upon the ground and she gritted her teeth, moving beside Nari. A grimace now replaced the smile upon her lips as she looked at the wound. It was in a bad place and it looked deep as well.

“Look at you, Ranger, getting yourself in to trouble our first battle. I thought you would be dancing among the treetops and shooting from above.” The Triansui managed a brief smile and upon closer inspection, realized she could do nothing for Nari and it was then that she remembered the wildling, Attica.

“Forest dweller!” She called out, trying to find the woman that had brought the battle upon them. “If you are knowledgeable in the healing arts we could use your assistance.” Her eyes held worry though she obviously tried to look positive when facing Nari. "If she refuses, I will try to raise the Priest. Don't move, Nari." With that, she knelt beside the prone figure of the Priest. That was when a new figure caught her eye, wearing the shiny and well-tended armor of a Knight but his words as he addressed the Prince marked him as a holy man. A Paladin. She had heard of their kind before and she prayed silently that he was trained in the arts of healing as well.

"Paladin!" She addressed Lance as such because she had not overheard his name. "We have many wounded. Could you leave the introductions for later and help us tend to them?" She didn't even bother to see if the man had agreed and she assumed he would hear her since the Prince was only a few feet from herself, tending to the other ranger. "We have a cleric which is unconscious and another ranger with an arrow in the belly."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Xan Hallister Character Portrait: Narenia Halen Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Hayley Furdiligit. Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Callavan Sole Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Icareau Sauveterre Character Portrait: Feylon Haradas Character Portrait: Attica Ninethorn

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As she tried her best to patch up the Priest, Nari could feel the arrow in her stomach. It was hard for her to concentrate on what he was doing through those wracking pains. The Thief looked like he was beginning to tire, and as it looked as if their darkest hour was upon them, the Mage came. He wrapped them in a kind of light pink transparent shield, which held Nari in awe and made her momentarily forget about the pains. Next was the Prince. The Priest had tackled him - much to Nari's confusion - but he was down and now the Prince fought along side them. She cursed herself for rushing to the Priest's aid so quickly. Nari would have been a greater help at distance, raining arrows upon their enemies. Fortunately, their ranks were thinning now.

Elsewhere on the battlefield, she caught bits of conversations from her travelling comrades. The Thief disappeared suddenly. One had to admire his fighting style. The way he used his two daggers was more than likely exhausting, although it was effective. He ran and as far as Nari could guess, he ended the lives of those who hadn't yet fled the site. Her mind again wandered to the big brute of a man, although he seemed old, that had made his presence known by swinging a great big log at his enemies. In the heat of battle, Nari had called out to him to heal the priest, but he hadn't made it. He must have been caught up. The Prince, Akdov, Acacia, Alice, Hayley, Nel, Mirabella, Xan, the Mage, Feylon. Her mind went over the core members of the group again, should they be missing now that the battle was ending. Nari had managed to stop the bleeding of Akdov's wound, so he wasn't in danger of dying unless the wound was left unattended now.

Her hand found it's way to the wound again. It was bleeding badly and Nari's was a little dizzy. In order to get the arrow out, she had to get her armor of first. The light plate adorned with beautifully ornamented leather, would make it impossible to get the arrow out. It had to come off, but all Nari did was sit back against a tree. The next thing she heard was the Prince's voice. He called for them to gather, but Nari didn't move. She looked at them though, and watched the new arrivals. Attica from before, who she hadn't noticed during the battle, the man with the log and a new one. A heavy armored man, kneeling before the prince. The Ranger woman was relived to see that only the Priest and Feylon were down and wounded, along with herself but she was still concious. The others seemed to have minor wounds as far as she could see.

She let her head fall back to relax a bit, taking deep and steady breaths. Not long was she allowed to rest though, as the warrior woman Mira had come to her and spoke. I would have thought so too, but apparently I was foolish enough to rush to the aid of that oaf. She said, serious at first and then giving Mira a faint smile. She let her hand wrap around the arrow and tried not to move, trying to get rid of the jolts of pain. Mira called for aid to the wounded, and Nari's eyes found the newly arrived Paladin. She wasn't going to have someone she didn't know treat her wounds. "Mira." She called, reaching out and grabbing her shoulder. "You have to help me get the armor off." Nari spoke between gasps and jolts of pain, her blood trickling between her fingers. "You ha-have to-" A grimace flashed across her face. "Just pull it out." Narenia leaned forward, revealing her back where the armor was tightened to fit the armor closer to the body. She had to loosen that and then lift the armor off the arrow and then over her head. "How do you know that Paladin isn't another assassin?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Xan Hallister Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Travian Zarel

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Travian Zarel

It was such a relief seeing Paetax again. Travian had left before the king got sick and had never stopped worrying that he wouldn’t recognize the Paetax he returned to. Even greater than his worries for the city were those for his king. As a knight, Travian’s loyalty to the king was unquestionable and the news of his illness struck him the same as if the king were a member of his own family. Knowing there was nothing he could do churned his stomach and being so far away from news only made it worse.

Still, it was a worthy cause that kept him away. He and several other members of Urusk’s church had been helping rebuild a small village that had been devastated by raiding brigands. Additionally, they had put up walls, ensuring that the village would be better defended should it be attacked again. When he left there were still a few from his party staying to train the local militia, a task he would normally have been thrilled to help with, but they could handle it themselves and he had been away from his home about as long as he could stand given the situation.

After making it to the city and stabling his horse, he made his way to his favorite tavern in hopes of getting news and some lunch. Halfway there he heard the three bells. He asked someone on the street what it meant and when he found out he was relieved to hear that the king was still alright. So relieved, that he allowed a huge grin to sneak onto his face as he entered the Dancing Dragon.

“Haven’t seen you in a while.” The bartender remarked as Travian approached.
“Urusk business, thought I told you before?”
“Aye, perhaps you did. Things have just been kind of crazy around here, I take it you’ve heard about the king?”
“Yeah…”
“That reminds me, that lady-friend of yours was here last night.”
“Mirabella!? Is she still in town?”
He also wondered at the connection between Mira and the king, but didn’t ask.
“I’m afraid not. She and a bunch of other strange characters left this morning with the prince. Some quest to help the king.”
“What!? You have to tell me more!”
“That’s all I know, but you might have more luck with Vinny at the Black Vagabond. The prince had them all meet up there yesterday.”
“Thanks.”
He passed the barkeep a coin for the information and without another word took off towards the Black Vagabond as quickly as he could go in the capital’s heavy traffic.

The difference between the two taverns, and their clientele, was immense. It was hard to believe the prince would have anything to do with this place. On top of the usual crowd, there were also quite a few rubberneckers trying to find out more about the prince’s quest. With all of that it took a moment to get the barkeep’s attention.

“I’m looking for information about the prince’s quest.”
“Yeah, you and everyone else here.”
“I’m afraid you misunderstood. You see, I would like to join the quest, not gossip about it.”
“And what makes you think I would just give away the prince’s location to a random stranger?”

Travian had to remind himself that he had never spent much time on this side of town and rather than getting angry, simply explained that he was a knight and showed him proof of it. The barkeep then took him to a private room where the rowdy patrons couldn’t hear.
“The prince’s group rode north towards the Gaeric Forest. Since you’re from around here, I assume you know the road?”
“Indeed, sir.”
Once again he gave out some money and set off. In a few moments he was on the road.

He set out at a full gallop, positive that he would be able to catch up quickly. If they had set out at dawn he was only a few hours behind them and they probably weren’t moving as fast as he was in a large group like that. However, just as open country came into view he came across a man lying by the side of the road. Though it pained him to have to stop when he was so close there was no way he could just ride by and do nothing. He dismounted and walked up to him, realizing as he got closer that the man was rather old.

“What’s wrong, sir?”
“Overworked meself in the fields again, just give me a little while and I’ll get goin’ again.”
“It’s not safe, sir. What if someone doesn’t see you lying here? You’ve got to get home; come on you can ride my horse.”

The old man struggled a little as Travian awkwardly scooped him up and onto the horse. When it was apparent that his struggling would do him no good he switched to shouting, but still to no avail.
“Now that you’re up there you may as well tell me where you live,” Travian said with a mischievous smile.
The old man did so grouchily and before long they had made it to the man’s small home. The paladin laid him on his bed and sat nearby, waiting to see if he needed anything else.
“All right you brought me home, now begone with you!”
“You sure you’ll be alright by yourself?”

“I’m fine, been by meself for seven years now.” The paladin wanted to stay and make sure the man was really okay, but at the same time he wanted to be on with his quest.
“Very well. Take this,” he said as he laid some coins on the man’s bedside table, “should be enough to get you a good mount. It will make the trip home much easier and can even help in the fields.”
“Get going, would you?”
The man said, rolling his eyes. Cranky patients were always so difficult to deal with. Before leaving for good he knocked on the door of one of the neighbors and explained the situation so that they might keep an eye on the man. Their expressions showed that the man was just as much of a grump to his neighbors as he had been to the paladin. They sighed; remarked on how much more pleasant he had been before his wife died and assured Travian that they would watch out for him.

Once again the paladin was on the road. Night fell before he could make it to the woods. He knew it would be hard to find them in the woods at night, but as he was impatient to catch up he decided to try anyway. He followed the river, knowing that they would probably have set up camp nearby. After a while he came to a small waterfall, under which a young man appeared to be relaxing.

“Excuse me sir, have you seen a group of adventurers around here?”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Xan Hallister Character Portrait: Narenia Halen Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Feylon Haradas Character Portrait: Geraint Magdohl

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Geraint blinked dubiously at the yellow-clad woman who identified herself as "Nel". Her seemingly self-conscious apology and subsequent running off to aid her comrades caught the Old Beard by surprise, to say the least. Truth be told he stared after her for a few seconds before a tingling sound reminded him that he had an enslaved sword running around somewhere. His spirits didn't like him assaulting their kind more or longer than necessary. With an absent flick of his wrist and a snorted word, the Shaman let the sword return to it's natural state... laying somewhere out in the forest, having pursued its master.

The Old Man's attention was really more focused on the group around him though. They split up rather quickly, all things considered. In the matter of a few moments two of the group disappeared off into the forest, "roll call" was made, and... were those two women fighting over whether treatment was needed? Geraint shook the thought away, it wasn't important at that moment, and besides, it reminded him that someone had called out for his help during the fight. That someone was now sitting up against a tree and looking far less then healthy. Blood, red as the woman's hair and, interestingly enough her armor, was seeping from an arrow wound. There was another down near her as well, but Geraint couldn't make out details, in the current lighting; other than that he, the unconscious group member, was big enough he had to be male. Add to that, some sort of Knight had trotted into camp, complete with horse, bit and bridle, bowing and introducing himself to a man who was apparently the Prince. The Prince, now things were shaping up quite interestingly indeed.

There were a number of adventurers right around that spot, with the Prince and the wounded, the biggest clump of them Geraint could see actually, all told. So while he realized he may well be walking into a sword nest; the Old Man had to introduce himself at some point anyway, and the arrow-wounded woman by the tree had already both requested his aid, and, interestingly enough, ascertained his life calling. If there was a place to make one's first, well, second appearance, this was it. Leaving the Caber in its place on the ground for now, Geraint stepped over toward the group, specifically skirting the camp and heading for the leather-clad red-head. As he had before he joined the fray, the Old Man was consciously making a lot of noise, crunching on twigs, brushing against trees and in general making about as much noise as one could while walking around without banging pots together or some such.

Once he was within ear shot, and close enough to be attacked should those around him feel the need, Geraint stopped. He'd been too far away to hear the comments about not wanting help from unknown's, but the Shaman would have approached regardless. After all, she'd called for his help earlier right? He harumphed loudly. "You called during the battle young one? I can help with that arrow there. And..." He gestured at the unconscious form on the ground between them. "I can check on that one too if you like." His voice was gruff, but his tone wasn't unfriendly.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Xan Hallister Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Travian Zarel

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Travian Zarel

As the man stood he revealed a pair of chained daggers and raised them defensively. The reply he gave was just as defensive as his stance and Travian began to think it may have been rude of him to bother the man. He wondered if the man had any connection to the party. He was also curious what had him so defensive, since he hadn’t appeared startled. Furthermore, the man looked completely worn out, could he have run into trouble of some sort? Although the paladin supposed that if he had, he’d gotten away from it or he wouldn’t be relaxing under a waterfall.

"Who are you, what do you want, and what do you have to prove that you are not a threat?" The man said in a harsh tone as positioned his daggers to strike.

Travian knew the man would do so at the slightest provocation so raised his arms above his head and gave a friendly laugh to try to ease the tension. “My name is Travian of the Zarel family. I am a knight of Paetax and a Paladin of Urusk. I happened to hear that the group I seek was on a quest to aid the king and I aim to join them. I mean you no harm.”

He nodded towards his horse which was grazing a little ways behind him, oblivious to the scene around it. “Not that I could attack you if I wanted, as you can see all my weapons are on that stupid horse back there.” He laughed again while making a mental note to resume his usual policy of not trusting a horse to keep up with anything important. “As for the proof you mentioned, I do have proof of my knighthood which you may see if you like.” He slowly reached into his pocket and held out the small piece of thick parchment that he always made sure to carry with him.

“Oh and I guess it won’t matter much if you don’t know the group, but I happen to know one of the adventures. A warrior-woman named Mirabella, she can vouch for me.” He gave yet another laugh at his own awkwardness.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Feylon Haradas

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#, as written by slcam
Acacia looked up, her left hand still holding the muslin to her wound, when Nelinia came up and began firing off questions. Apparently she was concerned that they were badly hurt and Acacia wondered just how... messy her face was. She decided she probably didn't want to know as Nelinia hurried of to get bandages an came back to bandage Mirabella, who Acacia thought wasn't even hurt. Acacia gave Nelinia and Mirabella a wide, if short-lived smile.

"I am glad you feel that way Mirabella. I feel the same," she said her smile slowly fading as Mirabella strode off and began yelling out orders. Acacia rolled her eyes, I knew she was going to be bossy, and turned her gaze back to Nelinia. "I am fine as well. I mostly need to clean up." Glancing down slightly, Acacia's eyes were unavoidably drawn to the blood staining the monk's right sleeve. She gently put her hand on Nelinia's shoulder, her eyes nervously jumping back to meet Nelinia's. "It seems you are the one that is hurt." Hearing the Prince, she looked up, noticing a large, old looking man had joined them. Since no one was attacking him, Acacia figured he must be a friend. The Prince then gave some instructions, and Acacia decided she should probably go clean up since her face was already beginning to itch from the drying... mess... on her face. She took in a shaky breath and said,"I think I will go clean up." She realized she might seem rude just walking away like that and quickly added, "Sorry, but I don't do all that well around blood." She gave a quick smile and quickly walked back to where she had set her lute.

Thankfully, the lute hadn't been damaged in the fight, and Acacia strapped it up on her back where it belonged. She went up to her packs and pulled out the canteen of water and a cloth, which she wet and used to wipe most of the grime off her face. She tenderly wiped around the cut on her forehead and pressed the muslin to it again to make sure it wouldn't open again. That might complicate things. There were still stains on her shirt, but those would be difficult to get out without a larger source of water. She replaced the canteen in her packs and set the cloth down on a patch of tall grass to wash out later.

Feeling a bit more presentable, and still trying not to pay to close of attention to the various bodies lying around, Acacia found a spot by the fire. She gratefully took some wine, taking a large gulp to take the edge off the still present fear. She wondered if she would ever get over it. A warmth spread through her as the sour liquid reached her belly. After eating a bit, a peaceful sort of tiredness swept over her as she calmed. It seemed a bit quiet around the fire until the Prince spoke. He introduced himself to the newcomers and went into more detail on their mission. Acacia now knew where they were headed, the Citadel of Idvassa Del Reyanth on the Pyzer Lake. From the stories of the ruins, Acacia guessed this would not be their last battle, or their worst.

She listened to the various comments and questions in silence, her eyes fixed on the Prince, waiting for his answers.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Xan Hallister Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Travian Zarel

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#, as written by KuroRyu
Xan gave a slight sigh at the answers that were given, they were convincing enough for him to think of the man as less of a threat. He stepped out from under the water and placed both daggers in his right hand.

"Follow me" he simply said as he bent down and picked up his clothing. His shirt was still quite wet and cold, as well as his body. The feel of the night air didn't help at all, he felt as if he would freeze soon if he didn't get back to where the fire was. He started to walk back towards the camp, with only his underwear on he could feel every brush of the leaves and twigs that stuck out from the bushes as he walked. They tickled slightly, and some even hurt, he didn't even notice some of these bushes when he walked down to the little waterfall. The light of the campfire started to, dully, shine through the leaves and trees showing that he did indeed go back the right way. 'Finally, I can warm up a bit' he thought as he gave a slight sniffle.

"Mirabella!" Xan called out as he finally passed through the last of the trees and back into the camp, "Found some guy, says he's a friend of your" he quickly said, his feet never stopping and heading straight for the camp fire. The only thing he could think of at that moment is some warmth, the fact that he was still in his underwear as he entered into the large gathering of people didn't really bother him. He sat as close to the fire as he comfortably could, placing his shirt down next to it as well for it to dry. "It's cold out here" he said, putting his hands up to the fire.

As he sat he noticed that cake and wine were being offered this time, again he wasn't that much of a drinker, but cake, well he couldn't pass on that. He took large bites from the cake, a long with a few sips of wine if his mouth and throat went dry. In the end most of the wine that had been given to him was left within the cup, and with the cake gone he had no more reason to touch it. He listened as the Prince described the quest at hand in more detail, their destination was a citadel that was inhabited by a sorceress during the war. Seemed interesting enough, and even if the amulet wasn't there, there was sure to be a lot of other mythical treasures to be found, maybe something that even better than what they were after.

He licked his fingers, still tasting a bit of sweetness on them. He picked up his shirt to see if it was dry, slightly damp, but not completely wet, and it was warm thanks to the fire. So he slipped on his shirt, as well as his pants and cloak, his clothes felt nice and warm against his skin so much so he felt like he could fall asleep right then and there.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Narenia Halen Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Geraint Magdohl Character Portrait: Travian Zarel

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#, as written by Celedia
Mirabella’s face and armor were covered with blood, mostly arterial spray from her two kills but also from having it on her hands from checking the bodies or helping her allies and then smearing it over her face or into her hair as she pushed her locks from her face. She must’ve looked a mess but thankfully, she wasn’t hurt. The rest of the gang had taken out a majority of the bandits before she had even drawn her blade.

But Nari… Nari was injured and as soon as the auburn-tressed ranger told her how she could help she had freed her hands and began to unclasp the leather straps upon the back of the ranger’s armor. It was almost silly to see how many straps and latches a piece of armor could have… Or perhaps it only felt like there were too many closures due to her impatience to get the arrow out of Nari’s abdomen so that she could be healed. Mira didn’t care who healed the ranger which is why she had issued the call for aid to each person still left standing that looked capable of such things. It surprised her that an older gentleman whom she didn’t know was the one to heed her call.

“Who are you and what are you doing in this camp?” Her tone wasn’t unfriendly but she had never seen Geraint before so she wasn’t about to accept him so easily either. The warrior woman had not been near when Nari had called for the shaman’s assistance so she was wary about his sudden approach.

The ranger’s armor was now unbuckled and with Nari’s help, Mira managed to lift it out a bit from the ranger’s skin so it couldn’t snag on the broken shaft of the arrow before pulling it up over her head and laying it beside them. “Pulling the arrow out could cause more damage.” She spoke, knowing that the others would be aware of this fact as well but she wanted to issue her warning anyway. Her slender fingers wrapped around the wooden shaft of the arrow and her eyes met Nari’s for a brief moment to ascertain if she was ready for the next step. It would hurt like hell.

Even without an answer, Mira pulled hard at the arrow, dislodging it from Nari’s midsection and tossing the arrow to the ground as she substituted her hand over the wound to staunch the bleeding.

“Now would be a good time to heal her, if you can.” Her eyes flickered up to the Shaman and she hoped that she hadn’t relied on the wrong person.

Her name was called out by Xan and her gaze flickered his way even as her palm remained pressed against Nari’s wound. “Busy here, Xan.” She called back but noticed that he hadn’t even paused in his travels. The thief had gone straight for the fire instead. So the Triansui allowed her eyes to flicker back to the trees where Xan had exited, keeping watch for this man she knew. If it was anyone, it could only be the Paladin from Paetax.

“Ian, is that you?” If the Shaman couldn’t heal Nari and if the visitor was indeed Ian then she wouldn’t be so worried anymore. Travian Zarel was one of the best healers in the city, if not the country, and she would know.

He saved her from Death’s clutches once already.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Xan Hallister Character Portrait: Narenia Halen Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Geraint Magdohl Character Portrait: Travian Zarel

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Travian

The younger man sighed and told Travian to follow him. He gathered all of his things and began walking off into the woods. It was then that Travian realized the man was wearing nothing but his underwear and began to really feel awful about disturbing him; he for one wouldn’t want to run into some stranger practically naked.

“I guess he really is part of the group,” he thought to himself as he retrieved his horse’s lead and began following the younger man.

It didn’t take long for a fire to come into view and once the trees dispersed the man ran, still wearing next to nothing, towards the fire without paying any heed to those around him. Definitely not the modest type. He called out to Mirabella as he ran and Travian followed his line of sight to where she and some others were gathered.

She responded without looking up, “Busy here, Xan.” So his name was Xan. Travian resolved to formally apologize to him later. Mira then looked up from whatever she was doing, he couldn’t quite tell from his angle and called out to him when their eyes met. “Ian is that you?”

“What? You didn’t think someone like me would miss out on a quest for the king did you?”


He looked around the camp as he approached Mirabella. He’d definitely been correct when he wondered if Xan had gotten into some trouble, there was a pile of bodies at the edge of camp and everyone in sight had at least a little bit of blood on them. He didn’t see the prince anywhere, but Travian just figured that he was relaxing somewhere private for a moment.

Now that he was closer to Mira’s group he could see that they were all around an injured woman. By the looks of it Mira had just pulled out an arrow and was using her hand to stop the blood. A panic seized hold of him. Most of his life had been devoted to the practice of creating wounds, not healing them. Suffice to say it was the most difficult skill for him to learn in order to become a paladin. It wasn’t really so much that the techniques themselves were difficult as it was the pressure of literally holding someone’s life in your hands. It always flustered him and when there are so many things to keep track of, being flustered is not ideal. Even though he had a much better reign of it now, the panic he felt looking at the wounded woman was little different than it had been with his first patient; a certain warrior-woman who’s constant teasing had only made things worse for the poor rookie.

And so as the now-familiar sensation set in, he dropped his horse’s reins and rushed towards the woman. As he did so he quickly unbuckled his shield and set it on the ground, following suit with the pack underneath the shield. He fished out his first-aid kit, pulled off his glove and gauntlet and rolled up his sleeves.

“Let go, Mira. If we let it bleed for a minute it should flush out some of the nasty stuff that might be in there.”


He carefully watched the blood flow; it was coming out at a decent rate so he couldn’t let it go freely like this for too long. Once he’d let as much flow out as he felt he could allow he took some thick gauze from his kit and pressed it up against the wound. Whenever the blood started to soak through he put down more gauze and pressed a little harder. Once it finally seemed to have stopped he removed the gauze. He then got out a vial of salt water.

“This may sting a bit.” He paused for a moment before proceeding to thoroughly douse the wound. As he gently rubbed his hand over the wound he prayed; he’d never been able to miraculously seal a wound like he’d seen some clerics do, but with any luck his prayers would at least make it heal faster. He then placed some herbs on the wound and bandaged it. He heaved a sigh of relief and backed away a little bit. He realized that his heart was pounding and his hands shook as he tried to put away his supplies. It was only while doing so that he really noticed the old man next to Mira. The way he was looking at the patient made Travian guess that the man was some form of healer himself. The realization sunk in that Travian had just rushed in and got to work without really assessing the situation; had he essentially just butted this guy out of the way? He blushed slightly and looked away from those around him. When he did, he saw that his horse was using its new-found freedom to inspect someone’s tent. On the one hand it gave him an out on the other “OH SHIT! PLEASE DON’T BE THE PRINCE’S TENT! THIS IS NOT HOW I WANTED TO INTRODUCE MYSELF!”

“Oh- uh, I guess I better take care of my horse.”

…About the time he finished brushing down the odious creature, the prince emerged from a tent which thankfully was not the same one the horse had been poking at earlier. Travian walked over to the campfire and sat down like the others but a little bit away from anyone else. The prince explained the details of the quest and then asked if anyone had questions. Travian was loathe to interrupt everyone’s train of thought by introducing himself now, but fortunately he had no questions so introducing himself wasn’t necessary just then. He was totally devoted to the royal family so in his eyes the details weren’t too important, he would stick by his prince no matter what. He contented himself with listening to everyone else’s questions and getting a feel for them all- trying to pick up names when he could. Once they were done he would formally introduce himself to the prince and his followers.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Narenia Halen Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Geraint Magdohl Character Portrait: Travian Zarel

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Mira helped her get the armor off. It was an incredible relief to have the weight lifted off her shoulders, and even more so to not have it pressing down on the arrow shaft. Nari clenched her teeth as Mira wrapped her fingers around the arrow, as their eyes met Nari nodded and grabbed her shoulder. She yanked out the arrow and a scream of pain escaped her lips, Nari hurling her fist into the ground. The moments that followed were spent on trying to calm her breathing. Another jolt of pain presented itself though, when Mira pressed her hand against the wound. "I thought we were becoming friends!" She managed to say, smiling at the warrior-woman. Mira invited the Shaman to heal the wound, but before he could answer another man came to. Apparently Mira knew him, or so Nari thought.

Biting her tongue to not say anything, Nari let the man treat her. He let the blood flow in order to have it as clean as possible before he cleansed it himself. When he told it might sting a bit, Nari shook her head in annoyance and looked down at the wound. She lifted up in the cloth a little more, revealing more of her skin. Thankfully the only wound she'd sustained was where the arrow had gone in. When he poured the salt water on the wound, Nari groaned and her grip on Mira's shoulder tightened. He proceeded to clean the wound and wrapping a bandage around it, herbs underneath to help it heal. The sweat started appearing on her skin, but fortunately the worst was over now. Nari looked up at Mira and nodded, a brief smile appearing on her face. "Thank you, stranger." She added to the man who had treated her, but noticed his distraction by the horse. Nari couldn't help laughing, but was abruptly stopped when she felt the pain in her stomach. If this doens't heal fast enough, it's going to make riding a lot more painful. She thought bitterly, closing her eyes for a moment.

Nari stayed where she was for a short while, until she heard the Prince call out to them. He wanted them assembled around the fire and said there was much to discuss. With a sigh and an annoyed look at the Prince, Nari struggled to get up and grabbed her armor. She was helped to the fire, and put her armor on the ground close to the fire, resting her head on it and wrapping her cloak around her. She closed her eyes as she listened, beginning to feel tired. Nari enjoyed the fact that the Prince didn't have trouble in talking about the Sortelige Wars. He just spoke of them. Nari was from the south herself, and she had always hated it when people didn't dare talk about the Wars.
"Be honest, Prince." Nari spoke in a quiet moment, before he had chances to answer the other questions that had been asked. Her eyes were still closed, the flames dancing over the skin on her face. "What are the chances of survival?" For now, she was tired of not knowing enough. She knew what they were after and now knew where they were going, but Nari had a feeling that the Prince told them less than he knew. Even if he told them that their chances were minimal, Nari would still go.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Alice Sangera Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Geraint Magdohl

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#, as written by Deallo
"Your welcome, Mira." The monk chimed, relieved that Mirabella was alright, despite how disconcerting the blood on her face was. Her words brought a smile to Nel's face The mention of Nari brought the monk to whip her head around and search for her ranger companion; when she found her currently patching up the wounds of the priest. Nel had to judge it wasn't the best use of her time, already knowing too well she wouldn't cry for his death, she would've visited her if it wasn't for the thought that Acacia might have been hurt. The hand on her shoulder, caused Nel to jump, then realizing it was the bard's before she did anything hasty.

Emerald eyes widened on sight of the wound, in a mix of surprise and shock, at the red that stained her yellow garb and stuck to her skin. "Oh." was all Nel could say, the pain seemingly invisible to her, as if she was watching someone else bleed. The bard had to leave in order to clean up and apologized shortly for being unwell around blood. As any person should be, for it should be either guilt or pain, they should feel. Pain was euphoric, the natural instinct to run away, and to ignore pain is to dull it's capabilities, transcend it. With the absence of Acacia; there was nothing to distract her from the mess of bodies around the tent. Nell closed her eyes for a moment to block her surroundings and turned away from the camp until she reached a tree.

Rolling up her right sleeve, she painfully lifted the fabric from the wound, the pain shooting up her body once more. Nel looked at the old bandages that were on her arm and unwrapped them away, assorting it into a pile, and a relief came over her as she felt the cold wind across her bare arms. Her eyes gazed down at her calloused hands for a brief moment and then dressed the cut with gauze. The monk was no expert in medicine but she knew her fair share from multiple incidents in the monastery. Awkwardly twisting the gauze into a knot with her teeth and left hand, she sat down, and closed her eyes.

It was surprisingly different to meditate. Not difficult, just...odd.

She stood up from the tree and could feel the beads of sweat upon her brow. Sweat? No, this was all wrong. Meditation was supposed to be harmonious and peaceful.

Just forget it. Nel told herself, rushing to drag the bodies together. She was familiar with this only once before and it was to show respect to the deceased in the battle as they rode away. The monk had no idea they were going to burn the pile in the morning as they left. For now, she sat near the fire, her yellow robes still stained with the blood of her right arm, beside the body of the tiny mage. Nel almost woke up the tiny ball of fur before realizing she was fast asleep. The words of the prince reminded them once more why they were here as well as some extra information. There were new faces around the campfire, the old man who Nel thought of as an enemy, which the priest seems to know, and two more armored solders. Questions were tossed at the prince and even Nel needed an answer to a rather confusing statement.

"I'm sorry, but what do you mean by sorceress? And restore back to life?" Nel said with curiosity. Of course, she had more questions and concerns, but these were questions she needed to know the answer, for her mission.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Narenia Halen Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Travian Zarel

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#, as written by Celedia
Mirabella had moved like a spectre after everyone had been healed from the battle with the bandits. Silently, she moved off from the crowd to the patch of forest she had seen Xan exit from previously. He had been soaked from head to toe and carrying equally drenched clothing so she knew there had to be a stream or lake nearby which she could use to wash up.

As she pushed through the last bit of brush and into the clearing, her eyes widened at the sight of a waterfall and a hint of a smile played across her lips. Even here, after seeing so much bloodshed and the worry and fear in her newfound friend’s eyes, there could still be a hint of beauty in the world. Droplets which were cast off by the rush of the falls hitting the lake beneath spread into the air like tiny crystals and formed an ethereal rainbow in the air. For a moment, just a single moment, Mirabella knelt by the pool of water and closed her eyes.

Rest and relaxation were not on the itinerary for the evening, though, and the Prince had mentioned that he wished to speak with the group at the campfire so the Triansui hurried her movements. Using the crystal clear water, she easily cleaned her face, hands and hair, slicking her blond tresses back away from her face as she stood up and wandered back towards camp.

As she made her way to the campfire, everyone else seemed to already be seated and she caught the middle of the Prince’s speech about the Panacea. A single brow lifted upon her forehead at the revelation of their intended destination but she did not utter a single inquiry afterwards. Too many already filled the air around her and she listened intently to each response the Prince gave before allowing them to disperse if they wished. Only when Ian stood up and gave a formal introduction did humor play upon her countenance once more and as he settled down close to the fire, she neared him after grabbing a sweetcake, nudging him with an elbow before taking a seat herself.

“Sorry our greetings earlier were cut short…” Her eyes sought and found Nari, watching the ranger to make sure she was all right before returning her attentions to the Paetax Paladin with a smile. “But I’m glad you finally decided to join us.”

At the first hint of silence, Mirabella called towards Acacia with a teasing grin curving her mouth, “Bard Girl. Did you not promise us a song with our dinner?” If the bard were to look her way, she’d wink at her then fall silent just in case Acacia decided to play.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Xan Hallister Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Lance Elgard

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She heard the Prince's reply and just nodded faintly as a reply, closing her eyes. Nari was tired and wanted sleep, though part of her mind wanted to thank the Paladin that had stitched her up in the battle. She hadn't even seen the wound so she didn't know how well he had done, or if he had healing powers to close it up on the spot. Either way, it didn't feel so painful. The last she heard was the beautiful voice of Acacia when she started to sing, playing on her lute as she did. Nari was thankful for having her with them on the journey, her music brought a soft relief over her. Then she passed of to sleep.

Her next sight was the ground on which she lay. Nari was on her side as she was woken up by the noises from her fellow travelers. Leaves in her tangled hair and with her cloak around her, Nari hurried to get up on her feet. There was no way she would let the others do the work as she just slept the morning away. She had just been worn out by the wound and the battle. "Vanir!" The ranger called and watched her horse trot toward her. "I'd half forgotten how big you are." Nari smiled and patted him, planting a kiss on his head. She reached up and stroked him, winking at her horse as if to tell him 'Good morning'. "Go. Go eat the days first meal." Vanir walked off, toward the trees and started searching for food. Nari turned and walked toward her tent, the scent of the jerky being cooked over the fire reaching her nostrils. It was a heavenly smell. She hadn't expected their food to be of this quality, but then again, they did travel with Royal purpose. And a Royal member. She could feel the wound on her belly, but it didn't pain. It felt as if the skin pulled at the stitches a little, but that seemed only logical. At her tent, she found her armor and her bow from the battle, the night before. She praised herself lucky for the fact that it was still all there. Slowly and with a little struggle, Nari began packing her tent down.

Once she was done, and everything had been put in it's right place, she called Vanir again, and packed her things on her horse. All but her armor. At the moment, Nari was only wearing the cloth on her body. None of her light plate, or the mail was on her shoulders. Or anywhere else for that matter. She sighed and took a deep breath, feeling a little dizzy. Her hands found the edge of her shirt, pulling it up to reveal the bare skin on her stomach. Nari traced a hand over the wound from the battle, where the arrow had gone in. The Paladin had done a remarkably good job, yet it nagged her that she couldn't remember his name. I shall have to thank him later. She thougth, setting her direction toward the way Xan had disappeared after the battle. Once she had found the small stream, or river, Nari knelt down and splashed water onto her face. It felt nice and cleared her mind as the cold water seemed to freshen her up a bit. Nari hadn't spoken a word to anyone all morning, and wouldn't notice if anyone was watching her for the moment. Maybe this is reckless, unarmed and alone. Her mind warned her, but she thought nothing more of it.

Her clothes were clean and her spirits lifted, and Nari headed back for camp. She walked straight to Vanir and put her arms around his neck, resting her head against him for a moment. That was until she noticed the Paladin that had saved her. Nari walked toward him, no smile but just a neutral face. "Thank you, Paladin, for coming to my aid." She said, bowing her head slightly. Although he had saved her, Nari held no ill will toward him, but neither did she trust him. He may have sworn fealty to the Prince, but that wouldn't make her drop her guard. Respect is earned, not given. The words had stuck to her all her life. With a nod, Nari turned again and made sure she had nothing left to pack. She would also have to thank Mira as soon as she spotted her, and had a moment to do so. Her ears caught the voice of the Prince. Nari looked at him, and shook her head gently. In her proud mind, their enemy deserved no prayers in their death. Not these cowardly dogs who had ambushed them from the trees, fighting with cheap tricks and low blows. As she couldn't find anything else to do, and most of the others seemed done with their own packing, Nari sat down near the fire opposite Xan. Should anyone need help, they could call for her. Starting a fire to burn the bodies couldn't be very hard, and she doubted that they'd light it while they sat and ate.
"Was it difficult getting on your feet?" She asked Xan with a smile, tilting her head at him. Due to her remembered manners and nobel birth, Nari didn't start eating before the last of them had arrived, or the Prince had given them permission. It was a strange thing to see herself not in her ranger attire, but in the clothes she wore underneath. Her shirt was a dark green, nothing special about it. It was short sleeved and made of cotton. Her legwear was a dark brown, made of leather, fur on the inside to keep her warm. The boots were the same though, reaching halfway up to her knee. Nari ran her hand through her hair, closing her eyes again. "Are you alright? Did you sustain any injuries from the battle?" If she was sitting there, Nari might as well talk to the man instead of just stare at him.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Geraint Magdohl

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#, as written by Deallo
The monk absorbed it all in, the sorceress Idassava, her evil powers over the dead, the obsession with immortality she had, and the possibility of something guarding her tomb. It's the telling of an adventure that's been spun so many times before in books and stories but it was unfathomable to Nel. She began biting her knuckles; an awful habit picked up as a child whenever she was uneasy.

The identity of the new guests were revealed as Paladin...s. Warriors of fake gods. Hypocrites. Liars. Nel glared at the paladins and her mood soured; instantly resentful towards the prince for accepting them into the group. They didn't need more people, they had...what, ten people? No, it made no sense. She'd have to sleep with hands around her throat with this many crusaders of "Gods" around. Luckily, Acacia played a song, a nice one with lyrics that Nel swayed back and forth to. Delighted, the monk clapped her hands together in applause, asking the bard how she knew how to play.

It wasn't until after, when she went inside her tent, and snuggled in her bedding that she realized something was wrong. Having been caught up in sweets and music; she tried to pin the moments that were bugging her. The image of Mirabella's bloody face came to mind. "I'm fine" she said, voice echoing inside the monk's head. "She's a warrior too...like the paladins." Nel thought, nuzzling herself in the sheets once more. She actually liked the warrior though. "I'll...make her see the error of her ways." Nel decided, knowing it'd take a lot of work to convert a warrior, ignorant about where to even start.

The yellow figure slept for a few hours and woke up shortly after; a biological mechanism built-in her mind after countless years of waking up early. She got up and exited the tent, an average tent that may or may have not been hers to begin with, and breathed in the cold morning air. The sun hadn't even thought of peeking over the horizon yet the priest, who will forever called the priest if he never introduces himself, was up. He was still speaking to the tall old man, the one who was Nel mistakenly took for a bandit. They talked as if they knew each other. The monk made sure to avoid them she was in their view but was far enough not to be approachable. The last think she wanted to do in morning was to speak with the righteous and holy.

She found an appropriate spot and began her morning regiment. First, a series of stretches that would loosen her arms and legs, and then a run. The camp provided an open space unlike the city of Paetax. The jog ensued, evolving into a run, then a sprint around the camp for what seemed to take span in three hours until she slowed down to a halt. Covered in sweat, she walked towards the stream, looking back every few seconds or so, and found a secluded spot where the stream bended behind the trees. In a matter of seconds, she unwrapped the yellow cloth around her body and jumped into the freezing cold stream, nearly screaming at the sudden change in heat, the slash in her arm reacting with pain before settling down. Just as quickly, the jumped out, and covered herself up with her unwrapped robes, which was now a long yellow cloth, and dried herself up in them.

The Monastery was fickle in the lack of necessary possessions, which included towels, and instead made the robes of quality to act like one. They taught the children to wrap the robes nice and tight to keep them from falling off and if they didn't; well...it was embarrassing none the less. Partially clothed, she dipped the segment that was covered in her dry blood, and wringed out the blood using her hands. After repeating the process a few more times, the blood finally came out from it, only a slight stain left that can be seen up-close.
Feeling slightly damp, Nel adored the cleanliness over her skin, a feeling which was almost forgotten in the three days of travel to Paetex. To think back on it gave her a shudder for how long she went without a bath. The sun shone and the morning officially arrived as Nel treaded back into the camp, tempted by the smell of cooked meats but avoiding them, just in time to see the Prince gathering tinder around the pile of corpses.

It took a minute or two to understand what the prince was doing and Nel stood dumbfounded until she noticed the fire in Rydas' hand. She wanted to voice her concern for the bodies to the prince and did so when he mentioned of a prayer for the deceased; cutting off anyone who may be speaking.
"Excuse me, but shouldn't we dig the graves first before a prayer?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Xan Hallister Character Portrait: Narenia Halen Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze

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#, as written by KuroRyu
Xan's attention turned to Narenia as her voice came into his ear, "It's always difficult in the morning" he said with a smile, a large piece of jerky still being held in his mouth. "I believe I should be asking if you are alright" he said, taking the piece of jerky from his lips, "you seemed quite injured yourself. I'm sorry to say I have no knowledge of treating wounds so I was no help. As for injuries to my own self, I got out quite unscathed, although because of my own lack of regular training my shoulders couldn't quite keep up." He rubbed his shoulders a bit, although they felt much better than they did yesterday, the sharp pain now only a slight ache when he tried to raise his arms above his head.

The ranger was soon joined by Mirabella, whom had a bowl of berries that she had brought from somewhere. She simply remarked as to how she would eat quickly before they were to start burning the bodies. Xan turned to look at the pile of bodies that had been stacked up the night before, 'So that's what was planned for all that' he thought as he placed the end of the jerky that he had been chewing on back into his mouth. He really didn't care or mind what they did with the bodies, it wasn't something to put to much thought into, although it seemed that not everyone thought the same. He looked on as the monk came upon the Prince and a slight discussion began between the two, which quickly escalated. 'Is that really something to get heated about?' he asked himself as he listened on to their argument, it somewhat astonished him as to how far the little argument exploded and ended the way it did. The Prince left the monk to do as she pleased, but told the others to mount their horses as they were to ride on.

Although it would be against his best judgement he decided to give his own opinion to the little monk that was now clawing at the ground, trying to form graves for the fallen bandits. He decided just to say what he needed to and move on before she had a chance to explode on him as well.

"There are many people with many different views that live in this world," he started as he walked towards the monk, "and so" he said as somewhat of a grunt as he crouched down next to Nelinia, "There will be many times that a clash of views will happen. In this time I believe both you and the Prince should have taken a bit of time to think about the others views. You want to bury those that are dead as a form of respect, but in the same sense in the Prince's view the burning of the body of those fallen in battle is a form of respect just as much. Plus, the Prince is also going against time, as I do believe he wouldn't want to return home only to find that they are preparing to do the same with the King's body. I suppose what I want to say is no matter how much you kick and scream there will always be someone that sees things in a different light, and no one will ever truly be right or wrong."

Xan wasn't really sure of what he wanted to say, nor how to phrase anything right, he wasn't very good with words.

"If you're really going to stay and dig graves, all I can say is; catch up soon"

He let out another grunt as he stood, he wasn't sure if he had just angered the little monk more, so he decided to escape before she could really react to anything he said.

"I suppose I'm going to rely on you again my friend" he said, placing a hand on Myst, his four legged companion staying silent. Xan took in a breath as he put a foot in the stirrup and hopped onto the saddle much quicker and easier than he managed to do yesterday. Although is balance upon the saddle still wasn't the best, he managed to sway back and forth for a moment before he stabilized himself on top of the saddle. "I wish this thing would be a bit more comfortable" he mumbled slightly adjusting himself a bit in the seat.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Callavan Sole

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With conversation dieing down Callavan took his leave of the fire's warmth. He faded into the woods for a bit of privacy as he applied the ointment from the Triansui. It took a lot of the bite from his sore legs. With that taken care of, he returned to his tent to find that it had been trampled in the brawl. Taking a closer look, he saw that it wasn't too damaged and was still usable, but he was tired and didn't much care for setting it up a second time in one night. Instead he took his bedroll and found a soft patch of grass to sleep on.


Dawn came much faster than he would have liked. The sun shone right into his eyes to wake him. A few of the others had woken as well, but there were others who had managed to stay asleep. He sat himself up and reached for his flask only to find that it was still empty. Being sober for so long was starting to sour his mood.

Stifling a yawn, he packed up the trampled tent and set it aside with the rest of his pack and tack, figuring that there was little point and saddling his horse so soon. He'd let the beast rest for now.

With what little chores he had set for himself taken care of, he made his way to the fire where breakfast was in the works. While the Prince cooked, Van pulled out some parchment and charcoal. His hand moved slowly, weaving lines together into intricate patterns. It had been a while since he had worked on any new spells he realized. He had crafted a new spell easily enough, but sticking to spells that he was already familiar with had made him forget a lot of the nuances of spellwork. This new spell was far too inefficient and weak for what he wanted. He crumpled the parchment and tossed it into the fire before pulling another sheet from his satchel. This was repeated a dozen or so times before the food was ready.

He shoved his writing tools away and sat fuming while he ate. He ignored the others mostly, sticking to his own little mindscape. So much mindless chattering, he thought to himself. It was only when the Triansui joined the group around the fire that he pulled himself from his own reverie. He retrieved the ointment from his satchel and tossed it into her lap.

”Thanks for that. It was useful,” he said. His food was finished and the prince was getting ready to burn the bodies, so he left her that and went to ready his horse.

It didn't take him long and seeing that most of the other horses were readied as well, he thought that their merry little band was set to go. This left him only slightly surprised to find them arguing over what to do with the bodies. The fact that the monk of all people was the one arguing was much more surprising. Callavan didn't much care what happened to the bodies. He found it difficult to give a damn about anyone that tried to kill him. Rather than joining in, he waited for them to come to a compromise.

When they didn't and the monk chose to stay behind, he simply shrugged, happy that they were ready to leave. A couple of others spoke to the monk, making some very good points he noticed. Then the bard joined her in digging graves. Van rolled his eyes, thinking that it was entirely pointless. Still, he thought back to the bar, where the two had stopped him from making a complete ass of himself over some petty squabbling.

”Oh for fuck's sake,” he muttered to himself before calling out to the leaving group. Oi! I'll catch up with the lot of you!

Walking over to the pile, he pulled a sword from one of the bandits. With that he dug it into the ground and started drawing out a spell. He spoke as he worked, ”I'm only doing this once and in all likely hood, I'll be the first to set fire to the next bunch that attacks us. You may be from some hole in the ground where everyone farts fairy dusts and rainbows, but out here you're gonna have to grow a thicker skin. How many innocent people do you think these bastards have killed? How many women they raped? Children's throats slit? They don't give a damn about anyone else and if we hadn't killed them, they'd have just as easily killed us. And now you want to take your sweet time just to give them whatever the hell you think a proper funeral is?”

By the time he finished ranting the spell was set. ”Alright now, back the hell up,” he said. Bending down, he placed a finger on one of the lines. He could feel the magic swell and pulse around him as he channeled it into the sigil. The spell required more power than he'd normally use at once. By the time he was finished with this foolishness he'd probably need to wait at least a few hours before he could cast anything else. When the spell had the all the power it needed he backed away. At first it did nothing, but then the earth bowed inward, towards the sigil. It flowed up and out into a neat ring of dirt around a circular hole that was as deep as a man was tall and about four times as wide.

”I'm not digging a grave for each man. If they fought together then they can rot together,” he said. ”Now help me move these bastards.”The sword he left planted in the ground, he'd need it again when he filled the hole. Hopefully they'd be done before the others got too far. At worst they'd have to ride through the night to catch up.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Xan Hallister Character Portrait: Narenia Halen Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Callavan Sole Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Lance Elgard

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She smiled when Mira came over and nodded, moving a little so she could sit down at a more comfortable spot. The ground was more even where Nari had taken a seat. She held a hand up to decline her offer of berries with their breakfast. Nari was fine with the bit she had already taken. "No thank you," She said and smiled. "And thank you. For partaking in saving my life." Nari planted her hand on Mira's shoulder and squeezed it gently, giving her a warm smile as if to make sure she knew she meant it. It had really meant a lot to Nari that another person had actually come to her aid. It also gave her hope that this quest might actually succeed. At least the group wasn't fully without a sense of unison. The ranger took another bite of her food and chewed, glad that they were at least offered something to prepare them for along days ride. The Prince had said they were going to Pyzer Lake. In her mind, Nari wondered if they were going to travel further inland, or if he would follow the coast along the bay.

She laughed briefly and looked down at the ground, giving a shake of her head when Xan told her that it was always difficult to get up in the morning. Fortunately, Nari had never had that problem. At least, not during the time she had lived on her own in the wild. As a Ranger. When she had still been a child -living in the South- due to her highborn heritage, she was allowed to sleep late some days. And the days she weren't allowed, she did it anyway. Her excuse was that she needed her beauty sleep. "I'm quite fine." Nari said and nodded, giving Mira another smile and then searched for the young Paladin who had stitched her up. She was unable to find him though. "The young Paladin was a great help though. He did a good job." She lifted her dark tunic once again and looked at the stitches. It was strange how it seemed so rapidly healed already, leaving Nari to yet again wonder if the young man had any healing skills beside just needle and thread. Her eyes were still upon the thief as he walked off. Nari too had noticed the escalating arguement between the Prince and the Monk. She gave Mira a look and wrinkled her nose at the mention of burning flesh. Nari agreed with the Prince though. Burn them and let that be it. She shook her head and ate the last of her jerky. "She's too naive. Too young, at least of mind." Nari sighed deeply and looked toward the Monk again. "I can't help but care for her though."

People came and went to the fire, eating their breakfast and minding their own things. Some of them gathering at the scene of the two argueing. Too Nari's own agreement, the Prince gave her an ultimatum, like you'd give a child, and let her stay behind to dig. He was under pressure of time and worry. They had to move on. "She'll scratch her nails off before she gets a foot deep." Another sigh escaped her as she stood and brushed her behind, ridding it of dirt and leaves. "We should probably get ready." Nari pointed toward the mage now helping them digging a hole. If that would speed up the process and let it be the last to hear of it, that was please Narenia as she was tired of hearing about it. As harsh as it was all put to the Monk, it was sadly the truth. They simply didn't have time to bury each and everyone of their enemies. "If by chance you'd like to, feel free to ride by my side. I'd like to talk to you, Mira." With that, Nari stood up just to hear the last words of the Prince Rydas. They were told to mount, and so Nari did after donning her armor and strabbing her sword onto her horse so it was easy to draw. Her bow was there as well, and the quiver on the right side of the horse. She gently kicked the horse and rode up the Prince, waiting for him to lead the way.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Xan Hallister Character Portrait: Narenia Halen Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Callavan Sole Character Portrait: Travian Zarel

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Travian
As Travian began eating, a girl pulled out a lute and announced that she would play. He perked up in excitement; a bard was always a welcome addition though he found himself wondering how well she had fared in the battle. He made a mental note to watch out for her. The song she sung was a familiar one, and he would have joined her if the rest of the group hadn’t been settling down to sleep. His singing was of the kind only welcome in boisterous celebrations where everyone was too drunk to discern quality.

The wine helped his exhaustion catch up with him and he dazedly prepared for sleep when the song was done. He didn’t have a bedroll so instead he pulled out his cloak and laid it out on the ground. He decided to take off his plate mail for the night since he knew it was a luxury he might not have in the future, given their destination. The back of his mind nagged him about the possibility of more bandits but he shrugged it off, “I’ve still got my chain mail on….”

As he settled in he saw that the priest and the older man he introduced were preparing to stay up and keep watch. He felt a pang of guilt for not thinking of that and volunteering himself, but it had been a long day and the two men seemed glad for the chance to catch up.

The smell of the food woke him. As he rose he saw that pretty much everyone else was up and nearly ready to go. Though his stomach rumbled, he decided it was best to get everything ready before settling down to eat. He began with the horse. The grey mare may have been dumb but at least it wasn’t intentionally disobedient or stubborn. It let him put on the saddle and packs without any fuss, “I guess it could be worse.” He decided he may as well come up with a name for it, but that could be decided later- it would give him something to do while they rode.

As he began putting on his armor the ranger he had healed approached him. “Thank you, Paladin, for coming to my aid.” She said as she bowed her head.

“No problem, I kind of shut everything out when I see someone is injured, sorry if I seemed cold.”

She sat down and he decided to join her once he finished getting his plate mail on. She gave a friendly greeting to Xan who seemed to be having trouble being up so early. Before he had a chance to address the thief, Mira joined the group with some fresh fruit. Since she offered he ate a little bit but left most of it for Mira and the others.

Xan was looking a little more awake after he finished eating so Travian decided to talk to him. “Your name’s Xan, right? I wanted to apologize for interrupting your privacy last night. I was impatient to find the group and didn’t consider that you were enjoying a moment alone.”

It was then that the Prince addressed the matter of the bodies. He knew a prayer for the dead, but before he could make his way over a heated debate broke out. Like the Prince, he was accustomed to cremation and though burial was not a totally foreign concept it was one he was unfamiliar with nonetheless. It was apparently very important to the monk though and she refused to budge on the issue. The argument ended with her attempting to dig graves by hand as the Prince and most of the party set off. He was a little torn, he wanted to help but he knew the monk was still fuming and might react with hostility to a stranger. That didn’t stop Xan and another man from giving her some advice before they left, but he could tell by her expression that even Xan’s friendly words only made her angrier.

He was relieved to see someone- the bard, come to help her. She finally seemed to calm down a little bit so he went to help too. And he was not the only one; a bearded man who soon revealed himself to be a mage used his magic to create a giant grave for them. Travian was grateful that he sped up the process but a little irked at the man’s rude words- they certainly weren’t going to make the monk any happier.

Travian and a handful of other people helped the girl pull the bodies into the hole. Once they were done the mage sealed it up again. He delivered his prayer quickly and silently before returning to his mount, giving the monk some space. He waited for everyone else to set off before bringing up the rear.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Narenia Halen Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Callavan Sole Character Portrait: Geraint Magdohl Character Portrait: Travian Zarel

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#, as written by Celedia
Mirabella had finished her breakfast just as some of the others were beginning to trot off on their mounts and the argument that had ebbed and flowed behind her appeared to be resolved. Nel was surrounded by a few caring people who had not abandoned her to the task and the Triansui wasn’t surprised to see Bard girl by her side but she was intrigued that Ian, Van and Geraint had stuck around.

Nari spoke to her and though she agreed with every bit of it, she also had a soft spot for the monk but the small band that was burying the bodies already had a handful of capable fighters so it was with great reluctance that Mira decided to ride on after the Prince as well.

Still, she couldn’t leave the monk without saying something and she crossed the clearing and pulled the girl close, wrapping her in a quick bear hug before releasing her. “No act of kindness, no matter how small and no matter whom it is directed towards, is ever wasted. Do not let anyone ever let you believe differently.” With a smile and a nod directed to each of the others that would stay behind, Mira went for Blaze and mounted easily, clicking her tongue until the mare was set to a canter so that they could catch up to the others.

When she reached the group, she slowed her pace, settling her trail beside Nari’s where they would converse throughout the rest of the ride. Many subjects were broached but none delved too deeply into their pasts. Their friendship still, perhaps, too new for such things. Every once in awhile, the group fell into a comfortable silence, simply enjoying the sounds of nature that surrounded them.

It was during these lapses that Mira could not help but turn around to look behind her to see if the others had caught up to them yet. Hopefully, they would not be more than an hour or so behind the main body of travelers. Who knew what they would run into on the trail to the ruins since they had already had one battle less than a day after setting out from Paetax?

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze

0.00 INK

#, as written by Deallo
Nel stared at the stray strands of black hair wavering at her face and blew them forward with a huff only to have them fall back down again. Back in the monastery, this would've been the extent of her frustrations, had there been no little ones to teach as well. Mischievous little brats who'd pull pranks every so often and needed a slight punishment.

The monk wondered who was worse; the naive, undisciplined, sometimes mischievous children of the monastery or the insulting, patronizing adults of the group she traveled with now. In that instant; the latter definitely seemed worse. Nel caught the bard's smile and tried to smile back but simply couldn't do it. After being helped up onto the horse, the monk pulled up the yellow head over her head, and concentrated on her breath. She prolonged each inhale and exhale in an effort to calm herself and found the exercise, the same one which was taught when she herself was just a child, effective in finding some sort of peace. She thought back to when the warrior embraced her and gave her the words of encouragement no-one else was willing to give. The memory was comforting to have.

The horse trotted forward and Nel found herself looking at the back of Acacia, in between her shoulder blades, when she had conjured the nickname Neli. She paused for a second, having never been called Neli before, but found it oddly suitable. "The monastery?" Nel asked, somewhat surprised she had taken interest. "It's a big house where all the monks live, train, and eat in. There must be...120 something? 160 with the children?" She twisted her head, wondering what was the exact number before continuing. "The monastery is in a town called Kiron and the people are kind and grateful. We normally train our bodies or our minds through the days."

Nel paused and frowned, heaving a sigh as she glanced at her right arm, eyes focused on the area where the sword ailed her. "All this traveling to Paetex, and now, hasn't given any time to train or meditate. It makes me feel weak."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Narenia Halen Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Callavan Sole Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Feylon Haradas

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To Nari, the ride seemed a little slow to begin with. It made her think heavy thoughts with grim expectations for the rest of the day, but fortunately it was all made better when Mira caught up and reined her horse in next to hers. They all started sharing stories and tales, talk being heard all around her. It made her mood lighten a little, something she was grateful for. The warrior woman next to her was the friendliest person Nari had met in a long time. Their handsome Prince seemed nice as well, but she had yet to figure him out. He was very serious when he spoke, and the amount of words Nari and him had exchanged was limited. Fortunately, there were other people she could talk to. The whole business with the monk and her desire to bury the bodies had been a bad start of their morning, Nari thinking it to be unnecessary delay. She would have burned them as well. That was how you did it in the wild, and that was how they had to do it. They didn't have the time to bury each and every one of their enemies, and Callevan couldn't keep doing that neat little trick of his.

When finally they reached their camp for the night, Nari stopped Vanir in his tracks and looked out across the open plain that streched out between them and their destination. The ruined citadel seemed eerie. Looming over the lake like some dark, destroyed watchtower. Nari took a deep breath to avoid a shudder, the feeling of a cold knife running down her spine displeasing her. Something was very wrong with this place. She knew it. Fortunately the night came rather pleasantly, no severe dicussions and arguements. The Prine however, after a days ride of fine mood and raised spirits, all of a sudden seemed tired. He excused himself and walked to his tent, apparently going to sleep. Nari's first intention was to rise and follow him, asking if he was okay. But looking into a Prince's tent, only dressed in her poor clothing she wore under the armor, seemed inappropriate. The Prince would appreciate proper etiquette and behavior, even out here. That was her impression.
When her stomach was full and she had tended to the wound she had sustained the night before, Nari went to her tent and decided to get a good nights sleep before the dawn. Luckily, hers wasn't the first watch. The night came and went, Nari sleeping rather peacefully.

The first words to reach her ears the morning after were of several people. Something's wrong. She thought, opening her vivid green eyes and rushing outside with her shortsword in hand, dressed in little more than undergarments. When she discovered that they weren't under attack, Nari began dressing herself and hoping that no one had noticed. Everything was very hectic at the moment, but she was grateful for the fact that someone had decided to take charge. The Paladin who had stitched her up was barking out orders. Nari gave him a smile and a nod, letting him know that she approved of his quick decisions. Something had to be done, and the Prince be found. Her only fear was, that the Priest would oppose. Nari could already feel the irritation building up at the mere thought of him opening his big mouth. Could he just keep quiet now, she'd be thankful. As fast as she could, the Ranger packed her things away, tied them to her horse and gathered the things necessary for scouting. That meant her bow, shortswords and a few additional belongings.

"It's such an open plain," Her hand rested on the shoulder of Feylon, the other Ranger. "I'll track the footprints as far as I can." Nari nodded at him once, and then began tracking the Prince's footprints. Her mind circled about that grim ruin ahead though. How close would she have to get before she was in danger. In her mind there was no doubt. Where else would he have gone but for the citadel?

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Callavan Sole

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#, as written by Celedia
The rest of the ride to the Citadel went quickly, in Mirabella’s point of view. Conversation kept their minds occupied as they traversed great distances and while she kept vigilant of their surroundings, the Triansui knew of their arrival at their destination by the sudden fearfulness in Blaze’s step. The mare reared her head slightly, then shook it as if saying she would step no further and only with gentle coaxing from the warrior did Blaze finally proceed forward to the clearing where they would camp.

Another meal was eaten, this time more heartily than the night before since the commotion had caused her to eat little, and she was asleep on her bedroll before the last licks of sunlight withdrew from the area.

She was awoken by the sound of scuffling about and the loud shouts of newfound friends and allies. With practiced hands, she was armored and armed within a matter of minutes and her bronze plate shone in the morning light as she packed a few of her heavier belongings onto Blaze while keeping the rest of her things that were easier to carry in the multitude of pouches about her waist.

While she readied herself, she overheard the conversations taking place and a single golden brow arched. For once, she agreed with the Priest, which was a shock in and of itself. Perhaps there was more to him than it seemed because he settled easily into a role of leadership with a plan that was admirable.

As she passed by Akdov, she simply gave a small nod of approval before heading to one of the mages. Van was the only one that she knew the name of, the smaller girl mage never introduced herself, to Mira’s recollection, so if she were to watch over anyone, it would be one that she was at least semi-familiar with.

“Ah, I am to play escort with you, mage, but from some of your tricks that I’ve seen I have a feeling you won’t need a bodyguard.” Inclining her chin towards the citadel, she tried to joke even though her eyes held signs of worry over the Prince’s whereabouts. “Let’s go, squishy one! Everyone else is running headfirst into the unknown. I wouldn’t want to be the very last ones in. Cleaning up after everyone else isn’t as fun as it seems.”

Even after the words left her mouth, she was hoping that they weren’t true. It was foolish for so many people to just run off without a plan into the great unknown. Their one true, agreed upon, leader having seemingly abandoned them; the Prince wouldn’t have wandered off on his own which meant something else was already working against them and could get to them with little effort. A comforting thought.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Feylon Haradas Character Portrait: Lance Elgard Character Portrait: Travian Zarel

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#, as written by conor
Feylon looked at the bard as he processed the question. "I highly doubt he has come back. He is not in his tent, the footprints lead to the citadel and his cloak is resting somewhere down the path" as he pointed to the red fabric on the floor. Then he acknowledged the Priests question of the bard. Feylon turned to the bard and thought for a minute before opening his mouth. "While I agree with the Priest to some degree I do not wish to relegate you to camp duty. It will be dangerous down there. If you wish to come I will certainly not stop you." He un-sheathed one of his two daggers and offered it to the monk. Surely better protection than a lute and some throwing knives. Whether she took it or not was up to her and he thrust it into the ground near her feet.

As everyone began shouting and running off Feylon grew angry, People were beginning to be reckless about the task at hand. The priest had more tactical sense than he had imagined with some tweaking it would be the best shot they had of infiltrating the citadel. His anger however got the better of him. He cleared his throat and began to shout. "EVERYONE STOP!". He would not be responsible for the ones who had already run off, that was their choice and he wasn't going to strain himself to look after the ones who already left. "Right now we are heading into something unknown. Evil creatures are probably lurking inside the citadel, all of which will poses some kind of magic. We need the mages, the shaman and the priest for a magical defence and this is how we should do it. Up front we need two soldiers preferably Mirabella and Travian. In the middle of those two I recommend the shaman however it seems he has run off down towards the citadel. Hopefully if we catch up to him he can fit in. Right behind them in the middle is where the two mages should fit in. One looking left and the other out right to protect the flanks from creatures. However each mage should stick tight to the warrior in front of them for extra protection. Behind that I will slot in and the other ranger should she come back. This should allow us adequate protection for aerial attacks with our bow's. Then behind me again I would have everyone else in a semi-circular shape protecting the rear and closing down the flank's, with the other paladin, Lance?. To hold the rear line.."

Feylon took a deep breath and wiped his forehead. He waited to see whether anyone would listen to him so they could try an ordered and structured assault on the citadel. Otherwise he feared the Prince and most of the group would be lost to them and Feylon was not done with the Prince yet. Not by a long shot.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Xan Hallister Character Portrait: Narenia Halen Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Feylon Haradas

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Not long had she been tracking footprints, and searched for any clues before Xan and Nel passed her. Nari didn't say anything but let them go. Nari was roughly two thirds of the way across the open plain, towards the citadel. She shook her head and frowned when Xan decided to go in to the ruins. Has all sense left him? She thought, eyebrows furrowed. She still had no doubt though, there was no other place the Prince could have gone. And where else would he? Behind her she could hear raised voices from time to time, though it seemed surprisingly far away. Nari turned her head, acute hearing trying to pick up more words. All she could gather was, that they argued what to do.
With a nod, she let the small monk pass her. "Fine, I'll wait here until they arrive." Nari responded and looked towards the citadel entrance again. Despite her words, Nari closed the distance between herself and the ruin. She crouched down a litte way from the large dark doors. It looked so dark and dangerous in there. What creatures lurked, waiting for them to entrude she dared not think of. Dark magics and the undead?

Whatever the enemy, we'll defeat them. She told herself, chest heaving with a deep sigh. Over her shoulder, she saw the rest of them getting ready. Nari nocked an arrow on her bow and stayed where she was. If they had any sense, Feylon and herself would be fighting together. That only made her curious as to what kind of man he was. She didn't know him very well, and so far she hadn't trusted him. Would he be trustworthy in battle?
"Easy." Nari told herself and tried to calm her breath. She wasn't scared, but something from inside that ruin made her shudder. As if the cold steel of a blade was running up her spine.

Getting up and running back to the camp in a steady tempo, Nari stopped when she reached the others. "Nothing to see from the outside." She said to Feylon, giving the Priest and Lance a look each. She'd heard their voices when someone was arguing over tactics. "Not to my eyes anyway, but maybe the mages will see something else." A deep breath was inhaled as she steadied her breath and let her bow rest on the ground. Her hand moved up to brush her hair out of her face, leaving her piercing green eyes revealed. "All tracks lead to the ruins, but they seem feather-light. As if a ghost has walked the path. It doesn't look like the Prince in full armor and sword stepped that path." Nari finished her sentence, and looked around at everyone. Her eyes lingered on Mira, glad that she was with them. "I'm glad we have mages with us, as well as able bodied warriors." Her eyes wandered to the people she had mentioned, and smiled to each one.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Narenia Halen Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Alice Sangera Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Callavan Sole Character Portrait: Feylon Haradas Character Portrait: Geraint Magdohl Character Portrait: Lance Elgard Character Portrait: Travian Zarel

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Akdov was dissapointed by Lance`s lack of leadership, if he ever wanted to be a paladin he would have to accept that protecting is part of the task but so is leading and the idea of the soldier leading was not something he wanted, the man was unable to detect supernatural presences and could not distinguish if the events unraveling in front of him were to be fought by faith or by steel

"We have to move people, those that are ready prepare to move out we already have quite the lot of people headed in the citadel while I will not have anyone enter it just yet we must judge the situation from what we see in the outside and verify if Xan is back with news" despite how reluctant he was and longing for the comfort of just following around it was too risky to let others make choices that he should be making "Geraint already moved ahead, so it is settled that he will be our vanguard I know the man and can attest that he will do fine"

He pointed at the green eyed rouge "Huntress if Xan has failed to come back to us I want you as our lead scout, while I realize that the woodland might be more to your liking I hope whatever our scoundrel has unveiled can give us an edge, besides I can judge that you have some knowledge of first aid so I will be requiring you to assist me when my mending is not enough"

O shit what was her name?

"Mages" he said to Alice and Callavan "you must not under any circumstances find yourselves alone the advantage you provide is far too valuable to risk, Mirabella guard good Callavan and soldier I will insist that you keep the other girl safe, I will be needing the paladins on other roles due to their potential to fight the unholy if the 3 of us focus I believe we can heal wounds and purify the foul taint that the necromancer might have left lingering"

Some growled, some gave an approving nod and he realized that his own preferences had clouded his judgment, he had completely left out the 3 brats they had a spine all of them he knew

"Acacia I would insist, again, that you stay behind but if you must come I have a task well suited for you, I assume bards have good memory no? I hope that someday you will make a lovely tune about our courage here but I will ask you to keep a close track of the surroundings, take note of any icons or landmarks and the doors and paths we take I would not like to get lost there and that is something that would be valuable to us"

He then looked at the monk... part of him struggled to not make a smart remark of how she should be the headmistress of the rites of passing but right now he had to make bridges not pits "Monk I will ask you this, assist the huntress in whatever she might ask of you, I trust you are agile enough to perform under her direction" then there was the firecrotch, Akdov did not want hot tempers going to the Citadel with friends like those who was in need of enemies "Id like you to stay and guard our flank at the entrance dont want the enemy sneaking on our back"

Or you for that matter

"The paladins and myself will be in the center their ability in case we need either involvements of both arms or prayer we will be able to assist either the rear or the front in short notice" he looked at the group and concluded "Those that are ready accompany me to the entrance, the others dont take too much time but dont arrive unprepared either"

He had everything he needed, the tome of truth, his staff and the cup, he walked pondering if he was fit to lead... if Xan was around or the paladin lance had been up to it he would have been more comfortable with them having to bear the burden, if these where faithful then it would be different, but right now he had to act as the elder that he was and make his best to see them all alive through

As he drew closer however, the stench of something that simply was not right permeated his advance, he looked at the hellish citadel and it occurred to him that it looked more like an unholy cathedral which was a bastion of blasphemy to the faithful "Deud`s mercy" he told to himself, he was unnerved by the realization that the place was emanating something dark... in broad daylight

The prince did went missing at night did he not?

They would have to preferably end this quickly, he found Geraint there waiting "Were getting too old for this friend" he smirked giving some humor to a truth that was harmful to the pride, however in case he indeed didnt made it out he had to slip "G, look should things go sour... remember that I told you that before I became a priest I was a man of influence in Queran? I heard that my last wife had a child who himself bore a daughter later on, they probably are living off the wealth that I left them back when... they're doing good, just..." he saw how those that had accompanied him were giving looks to them "well you will know what to do I'm sure, just being a paranoid old man"

As they gathered around he began to prepare a rite, a blessing of sorts... faith would shield him to an extent, but would Deud be so benevolent to those who did not bowed?

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Xan Hallister Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Callavan Sole Character Portrait: Geraint Magdohl

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#, as written by Celedia
As the group passed through the towering archway that led into the Citadel, Mira couldn’t help but lift her chin and cast her eyes upon the massive structure. Ominous…. She had heard that word before and it fit their surroundings quite well, now. Never before had she felt such a sense of foreboding and it made her edge closer to the mage, Van.

Soft conversations echoed around her and she winced as she heard Akdov basically spout his living will to his old friend, the Shaman. A quick glare cast in his direction signaled that perhaps it was a foolish thing to speak of when the courage of some of their party members was already threadbare at best. Yet she did not part lips to verbally issue her warning because an argument would also do little for their resolve.

As they crept deeper and deeper into the stone structure, avoiding traps with the helpful markings from Xan to show what spots and steps they should avoid, there were brief bouts of silence as each party member made their way through or over the dangerous area. It was during one of these lulls in conversation that Mirabella first heard the noises.


Tap… tap… tap…. Crunch.



That’s comforting… The Triansui thought sarcastically and in fluid motions, she retrieved her shield, slipping her left arm through the straps on the back then quietly drew her sword free from its scabbard with her right hand. None of the others seemed to note the sounds that were emanating from deep within the Citadel, growing louder with each step that they took further into the archaic corridors.

Pausing her steps, Mirabella held up a hand for the others to fall silent once more and the sound seemed more pronounced this time around.


Tap… tap… tap…. Crunch.



Worry filled her eyes and she let her gaze sweep the passageways more quickly, noting that the thief had left the doorways open to signal that he had searched the room’s interiors before moving on. The warrior wanted to move more quickly, in case the horrifying sounds were related to the Prince’s disappearance but on the other hand she knew rushing into the unknown would be foolish.

“Perhaps we should quicken our pace to get closer to our thief scout.”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Alice Sangera Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Callavan Sole Character Portrait: Travian Zarel

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Travian

The mage he had been trying to wake was grumpy when he finally came to, cursing and shoving his way into alertness. Once it was apparent he was truly awake and wouldn’t just roll over, Travian backed off. That task done, he began surveying the camp more carefully, his stomach began to quiver as he realized what had happened, “the Prince….”

As others-most notably the priest, began waking up and taking stock of the situation Travian made himself ready. His stomach seemed heavy; the quest had just begun and he had already failed his prince. He felt sick as he reflected on the confidence he had shown when he first caught up with the group, “just hollow words I couldn’t back up….” He took a deep breath in an attempt to just exhale all his negative thoughts. After a couple more he looked around at the others again: a few had gone off after Xan, some were still waking up and getting themselves ready, some were considering strategy, and the rest just milled about seemingly wondering what they should do. Unorganized as they were, there was something about them- he found himself thinking back to the pile of bodies at camp when he first joined the group and a new wave of confidence filled him. He- no, they had not failed yet; they could do this.

"Those that are ready accompany me to the entrance, the others don’t take too much time but don’t arrive unprepared either,” Akdov announced after explaining the third formation idea that morning. His idea that himself, Travian and Lance should stay in the middle was a sound one, and knowing Mirabella was in the front made him more comfortable with the fact that he wasn’t. Most of the party accompanied the priest to the entrance; some still seemed a little confused about the conflicting orders, but as there had been no apparent signs of distress from the group that had gone ahead there seemed little need to establish a formation until they actually reached the citadel so the issue was put aside for a moment.

As they walked, he found himself taking note of a particularly small girl that he had somehow failed to notice before. He wondered what such a meek-looking type was doing there until he saw her mage’s seal- yes it made sense now. However, despite whatever skill she may have had she seemed anxious. He started to consider whether he should take charge of her protection, that is until he remembered the priests words- once again he found himself agreeing with the man’s logic despite his own wishes. Well, he could still say something to her at the very least.

“Excuse me, Miss.” He said as he approached her, “I hope you will not think me rude, but I couldn’t help but notice that you seem rather uneasy; more so than the rest of us at least. I know it is not my place to look out for you, but should anything happen find me and rest assured my shield will defend you.” He closed his eyes and made a gentle hand motion, “the protection of Urusk be upon you.”

**********************************************************************

Tap…tap…tap….crunch

Travian felt his heart rate shoot up. The crunching sound in particular set his pulse pounding-it was somehow familiar but either ignorance or simply an unwillingness to recognize it kept him from identifying the source.

Tap…..tap…..tap….crunch

Under his breath he prayed for the Prince, and Xan. “Please be okay.”

“Perhaps we should quicken our pace to get closer to our thief scout.” Mirabella said from up ahead.

“Aye, and the Prince too!” he said as he began moving more briskly.

Tap….tap….tap….crunch

Damn it all! If we could just get to wherever that sound’s coming from- if I could just see it…..
a cold bead of sweat rolled down his face…. I wouldn’t be so damn afraid.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Xan Hallister Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Geraint Magdohl

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Geraint waited, stone walls of the eery place rising up to heights great enough that he had to crane his neck backward, shaggy, twig-laden hair falling back lower as he did so, to see their peak. He listened intently as the others spoke on their way to he and the ruins both, gathering their plan of approach, and rolled his shoulders, casually stretching himself without being too obvious about it as they drew near. Vanguard then mmh? Very well. The old man smirked into the darkness ahead of them, he probably should be tired of it by now, but he still took some sort of perverse pleasure out of beating evil into a mindless mulch, and something about the ruins hinted that he would have his chance this day, whether he wanted it or not.

The place was eery, but the word didn't do the feeling justice. There was an almost literal pall laying over the land immediately surrounding the broken, cathedral-like structure sensed with varying degrees of vagueness by just about anyone whom should pass by, but definitely more readily tangible to those sensitive to such things, men of God(s), like his old comrade or the Knights, and likely the magisters as well, not to mention a certain old Shaman too stubborn to quell in the face of such energy, despite his Spirit's preference to shrink from the inhospitable place.

These thoughts were interrupted however, by the arrival of the group at large. Within moments they had gathered 'round the entrance, apparently making any final preparations before entering. Geraint waited, though realistically only having nothing to do for the scant space of the few seconds it took Akdov to reach and speak to him. The Priest's voice was low, intending to make the conversation private, though as he became, to his long time friend at least, noticeably self-conscious about the subject, Geraint realized at least one or two of the others took notice. In a response, both to Akdov and anyone else listening, the Shaman clapped a powerful hand upon his dear friend's shoulder, giving a short, rumbling bark of laughter. " Keep up talk like that Akdov and you're liable to make me think I'm the one 'hasn't gotten any older. All the stories you tell these cubs last night and you're worried about a little graveyard?" The powerfully built Shaman snorted and adjusted his caber, resting in it's usual place over one shoulder. "I'll be pulling you from your grave before I go running off to you're family you drunken sod." His words were playfully reproachful, with a trace, but not overbearing level of confidence. But the look in his eye and the firm squeeze on Adkov's shoulder were a silent message for his friend. I'll look into your family if it comes to that. They seemed to say, but that message was for the two of them alone, whereas the little speech, if it could be called that was for the morale of all whom happened to be listening.

Letting his hand fall, the Shaman shrugged his shoulders and turned toward the entryway, taking only a step or two before he heard the sound.

Tap... tap... tap... crunch.

A frown touched the weathered features of his face, and he paused, cocking an ear to the side. Listening intently for the source. It seemed neither near, nor far, but it wasn't as if it echoed terribly, it just seemed to... emanate from within the structure, on its own quite disturbing really. Setting his shoulders, the Shaman and veteran dungeon delver mentally shrugged the majority of his unease away, looking back over his shoulder. "I'm to be the tip of the spear yes? Well then, let us press on." So saying, he turned his attention forward once more and proceeded as speedily as he could whilst keeping a wary eye out, and led the "merry band" into the musty, dust-ridden bowels of this nearly hellish place.

They proceeded with a fair amount of speed, passing opened doorways and crudely, but sufficiently marked indications of traps. Handiwork left no doubt, by their fearless rogue, somewhere deeper in the structure. They proceeded further in, thankfully never coming across any choices of directions, no "T" shaped hallways or the like, so they knew that they followed in Xan's footsteps; and all the while that damnable sound followed them.

Tap... tap... tap... crunch.

The infuriating thing is that it never seemed to be any louder, never any closer, never an farther, always just there like annoying background noise. Though Geraint was certain that the moment he ceased to pay attention would be the moment they came face to face with with whatever was causing the sound... things always seemed to work out that way, in his experience. But after the umpteenth time that series of sounds repeated, he couldn't help but nod his shaggy head in agreement with the Lady Knight, they'd be best served by catching up to their trap-smith with all speed, and thus, as Vanguard, he quickened the group's pace as much as could safely be done. It wasn't much later that there was a furious sound, almost like rain, but harder and closer, more vicious, up ahead of them, and as they rounded a last corner, Geraint's eyes found Xan, the one-eyed Rogue, peering in an annoyed fashion at a hallway literally choked with arrows. Imbedded into the stone no less.

The Old Man grunted to announce the group's presence, and couldn't keep the comment that sprang to mind from leaving his lips."They're thickly resting enough, any chance we can just walk on the arrows down that hallway pup? His tone was quietly jesting, he wasn't making light of the situation, merely throwing some mild cheer into the air for everyone's sake, admittedly, his own included.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Xan Hallister Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Feylon Haradas

0.00 INK

#, as written by slcam
As the group approched the looming structure, Acacia was hardly surprised at just how much it dominated the surroundings. Even she could feel the pure reek of evil and death when they first arrived at the lake, and now that they were coming closer it was almost overwhelming. Nothing seemed to move besides the approaching group. No birds chirped and fluttered in the trees, no bugs crawled around on the ground. As they approached, even the trees and weeds seemed as if the life was slowly being sapped out of them and everything seemed twisted oddly. The very earth seemed permeated with the sheer evil of the place.

As soon as Acacia recognized the graveyard inside the fence and the dead hanging from the trees, she tied Maria outside of the gates. She didn't have the heart to bring the animal into a place of so much death. Though it should have been a warm day, the sun already shining brightly, the entire place seemed cold. It was as if even the sun was wary of entering this place. Despite the horror at her surroundings, Acacia felt calm. She knew she should have been terribly frightened and worried as she was probably the least in actual battle experience, but those feelings seemed distant. There was only one goal in her mind and only one thought. Find Rydas.

She grudgingly nodded at Akdov's instruction to memorize the way they went so they could make it back out, ignoring the rest. The thought that he didn't think she was good enough to be there no longer irked her. She was at peace with the feeling that this was were she needed to be, had to be. She was thankful that her thoughts were so clear and was determined to keep them that way no matter what they faced. They went up the steps as a group and Acacia stooped down and carefully gathered the prince's cloak. She neatly folded it, tucking it securely in her belt as they moved forward.

As soon as they passed through the doorway, the temperature seemed to fall even lower, and Acacia drew her cloak closer around her. Though their way seemed clearly defined by Xan's marks, Acacia nevertheless paid attention to as many details as she could other than those marks made by that brave rogue. In a place like this, she wanted to be able to make her way out blindfolded if necessary. To be sure she would remember, she worked the details into a story in her head, carefully going over it when they were forced to slow as they navigated around the traps Xan had marked out. She noted the numeber of doors, high, arched windows, and details in the stonework, some of which was melted away. She even noted the weathered tapestries, many depicting horrifying scenes that fit the gruesome atmosphere of the citadel. Everything seemed dusty and untouched.

Acacia had the haunting feeling that their presence didn't go unnoticed. Something knew they were there. Slowly, she began hearing an odd noise. It didn't seem to grow, but rather suddenly appeared. Trying to find its origin was useless as it quietly surrounded them, seeming to eminate from the very stone. She wondered if she had imagined it until Mirabella spoke. Acacia's attention went briefly from their surroundings to the looks on others faces as they began to hear it as well.

Tap… tap… tap…. Crunch.

Something about the noise both drew her in and pushed at her. The desire both to rush toward it and to flee as fast as her legs could carry her resounded distantly in her mind, still drowned by a calmness. It wasn't a total calmness now, as it had been when they first entered. Now it was the calm before a storm. She was relieved when they saw Xan, glad that he seemed unscathed. However, it seemed that nearly wasn't the case, as he was sitting mere feet from a multitude of arrows, all imbedded deeply in the walls and floor.

Though he seemed to have no apparent injuries, Acacia still felt concern. When Xan noticed them, she walked near to him, kneeling by his side with a gentle hand on his shoulder. "Are you alright?" she said, her voice soft and tinged with concern. Her eyes, however were focused where Feylon now pointed.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Xan Hallister Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Feylon Haradas Character Portrait: Geraint Magdohl

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#, as written by Deallo
The structure that towered over them, despite how malicious it truly was, fear was not the first emotion to cross Nel but confusion. The fact that a graveyard was around the ruins held no fear for her, her monastery was also surrounded by a graveyard of fallen monks, although it was more peaceful and serene. The graveyard back home was filled with greenery and flowers but the one here seemed to be dead, lifeless, leeching the energy of everything connected to it. Nel held a tighter grasp on her quarterstaff as the group entered the darkness and only shadows could be made out of the group.

The monk begrudgingly followed the priests orders, walking side-by-side with Nari, and growled in the pit of her throat. She was by no means happy or glad that the priest had taken charge of the group but it wasn't like she knew anything like tactics to contest for leadership. The talk between the priest and the shaman reached Nel's ears in particular; especially the information of a wife and child that made her mentally twitch for a moment.

"Of course. Only a priest could abandon her wife and children." Nel thought and tilted her head towards Nari, whispering in a low tone so only she could hear: "If only we were that lucky." the monk said, referring to Akdov's demise. Yet the angered thoughts on the priest seemed to disappear in smoke as soon as Nel examined the insides of the ruins. She was more fascinated by the intricate details of the stonework, high arches, and design of the cathedral. The haunting presence of the Cathedral was unlike anything she ever knew and Nel didn't know if she should be more curious or frightened by the same presence.

Tap...tap...tap...Crunch.

The noise just reached Nel's ears, causing her to make a full turn and back, in her vain attempts to find the source of the noise. It was like the heartbeat of the Cathedral was still beating but it had an illness. The sound didn't become louder or quieter but it became more pronounced with every step closer they took.

Nel looked at Mirabella as she suggested they should speed up and instantly did. Her own heart was beating faster, lungs breathing faster and faster, but she wasn't tired nor exasperated. Unable to make head or tails of what was wrong with her, the monk tried to lie to herself, saying it was just the air o the ruins. Yes. The air was heavier in a place life this. They needed to find the prince before the air would crush them.

In sight was Xan, uninjured by the looks of it, and behind him a plethora of arrows stuck in the walls and floor. When Nel was going to assure of his safety, Feylon rose his hand, and pointed to the far end of the hall past the arrows. Nel had to squint a little bit before she can see what he saw.

"That's a room...isn't it? Perhaps the prince is in there." The monk said, assuring Feylon. Although the shaman's comment about walking on the arrows was a joke, by no means did she see it that way. Nel walked up to the hall of arrows, behind Xan, Acacia, the shaman, and tested the strength of the arrows by transferring weight from her feet to three arrows underneath it. Remarkably, it did seem strong enough to support Nel's weight. With evidence to confirm the idea, she jumped up onto the field of arrows, feet on about the ends of six different arrows, and held her balance. "G's right!" She said with surprise, borrowing the name the priest used to call the old man, walking rather normally from side to side, before pulling herself up on one of the arrows stuck to the wall and flipped herself to a comfortable sitting position. Sitting precariously on a couple of arrows that was embedded quite forcefully into the stone, she looked down at her comrades, and waved them over. "We can just walk on the arrows!" she shouted confidently before jumping down back down on top the makeshift floor of arrows.

The arrows that held her fall broke on impact, losing her balance, about to crash into the ground until the quarterstaff was stabbed into the ground, granting Nel a graceful jump to another patch of unbroken arrows. The monk breathed a sigh of relief and looked at her comrades; lightly laughing from her mistake of judgement on the drop. "I'll go look for the prince in the room then." Nel said confidently, softly jumping from one part of the arrow floor to the other, no clue as to what had awaited her in the room at the end of the hall.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Xan Hallister Character Portrait: Narenia Halen Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Feylon Haradas

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Nari sighed deeply and agreed, along with everyone else, that this was the plan. She tied her horse outside the ominous cathedral, to the broken fence that was still remaining. The ground she stood on seemed lifeless and sick. It was as if the energy that was coming from the huge building, simply drained the life from every living thing around them. That all made sense, thinking of the fact that it had been a necromancer who had inhabited the place. Had. Had. I don't hope she's still there. Nari thought to herself and shook the thought aside. She couldn't afford to worry about that now, all she had to focus about was looking out for what was ahead, and finding the prince. Even though Nel probably didn't like it, Nari was happy that she had been assigned to walk beside her.

Tap....tap...tap...Crunch

"What in all hells is that noise." She said in a low voice, but loud enough for the people around her to hear. It was eerie and an ill omen. She didn't like the sound of it, but at the same time couldn't do anything about it. The other members of the group had heard it as well, obviously. Nari looked over at Feylon as they walked, trying to figure out if he could make out what the sound was or where it came from. To Nari, it sounded like it came from, well, all around her. It was not louder nor any quieter as they moved further into the citadel. In her stomach, a knot formed from worry about Xan. She wondered if he was unhurt and hoped that he had made it through without any injuries. She had been farily surprised and impressed with the signs and clues he'd left behind, to indicate that there were traps and things to look out for. Oh, Nel. Nari had to smile, though she tried to hide it. She looked over at the Monk and smirked, though shaking her head slightly. "You behave." Nari nudged her and nodded ahead, to make the Monk focus. "How's the hand, by the way?" The memory of Nel's injured hand came back to her. When they had first assembled at the tavern, Nel had crushed a glass in her hand and Nari had picked the shards from her hand. It seemed like it had healed nicely so far, seeing as the monk was still able to fight.

It seemed like the little girl hadn't quite heard what she had said, because when they reached Xan, she was off. Acacia had asked Xan if he was okay, which it seemed like. Nari gave the thief a nod and a smile, approving of his work so far. She passed Mira, putting a hand on her shoulder as she did. In her mind, Nari thanked her for being there. It made her feel safer that Mira was there, and also the Paladins. "Nel!" Her eyenrows furrowed over the piercing green below them, looking at the Monk. "Wait! Come back, you don't know what's ahead." Narienia looked ahead and tilted her head, squinting. It was hard to see what it was, if it was another room or just an illusion. You never knew what magic lurked in this dark place. "Don't be too quick to rush into death's jaws." They couldn't afford Nel to be too reckless and rush ahead. She'd throw herself straight into the arms of some undead creature. That's makes me wonder. Why haven't we encountered any enemies yet? The thought was worrying, but on the other hand, maybe it was a good thing. "Should I fire an arrow toward the door? Or maybe one of our mages can tell if there are wards or any dangerous spells?" Nari asked everyone. Possibly the ones that had taken charge the most.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Xan Hallister Character Portrait: Narenia Halen Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Callavan Sole Character Portrait: Feylon Haradas Character Portrait: Travian Zarel

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It startled Akdov to see just how agile Feylon was, he was under the impression that the soldier would be a swordsman or someone with practice in fencing but he moved quick as a snake following Xan and Narenia without much effort or pause

Bloody hell he should have told me about that

Callavan then made a remark that they would have to get uncomfortably close to each other, he winked at Mirabella and said "O woe us, I fear I might get ravaged by kinky hands" he laughed all the way through as Callavan led them, that was a talent of sort that the priest had even in the darkest hours he could find a reason to laugh

It was unsettling to hear action coming ahead and more so to hear Xan calling out for a man of god to assist them immediately, his voice broke no argument

So now you pray sinful children

Travian showed startling initiative by shouting that the priest should come with him and rushing ahead of Callavan´s ward, Akdov followed suit and was welcomed by the sight of Xan struggling against a thing with a chain, in yet another moment of courage that surely was making the patron of his order proud Travian charged forward without any hint of terror, whether this courage came from familiarity, hubris or the desire to help Akdov could not tell but he was moved by his actions, he looked to the monk then, she was going to be fine... just not soon.

He could break the taint, but it would take time, time the ghoul would not spare... it had touched flesh its zeal and fervor would only increase now "I can help her but first we must banish the ghoul" he would not have more victims if he could help it, healing one back was bad enough "Xan, Huntress keep your distance dont let it touch you, try to impair its movement" Travian was too valuable to send to errands but the monk could not stay here "Soldier" he told Feylon "She cant stay here the creature will do its best to get it and if it consumes its flesh things will get ugly and fast, carry her out of here well cover you, send for Lance, Geraint and the mages tell them not to allow it to get close"

A cracking sound was heard and he saw how the ghoul had pulled itself free "Damnit I could try an burial ceremony but we lack the manpower to keep it busy while I make the ritual, if I begin it will come to get me and it wont stop until I die" Travian seemed to get the idea "Once Geraint and Lance arrive I will feel confident enough to try until then " in one motion he dug his staff in the ground and then took a heavy gulp of his cup, then in one grotesque show that was not expected from other more conventional priests Akdov regurgitated a stream of highly pressurized vomit from his mouth towards the ghoul which knocked it back, Akdov fell on his knees and elbows coughing while cleaning bits of the crap that still hung up from his beard "we just need to keep it busy until the others arrive, play it safe" he spat and regained his composure

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Xan Hallister Character Portrait: Narenia Halen Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Callavan Sole Character Portrait: Lance Elgard Character Portrait: Travian Zarel

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#, as written by Celedia
Time was of the essence and perhaps it was this fact that caused the next series of events to play out both too rapidly and too slowly for Mirabella. If it were to be recalled at a later time, the warrior might bring up a flicker of random memories. A pat on the shoulder by Nari as she passed to catch up with the nimble Nel who hopped through the dangerous arrow trap to head off on her own with Xan, another agile acrobat, quickly following.

There was the eerie stillness of the citadel, the odd play of emotions through each of her comrades as they too made their way via the mage’s protective spell towards the circular room. A few jokes were told to ease tension. The mage, Van, called the priest elderly which made her lips split into a wide grin before the priest cracked his own comment about kinky hands. If hers had even been free, she would’ve held them aloft for his viewing pleasure. Those free roaming touches wouldn’t come from her hands even if they did not currently bear sword and shield. The holiest man among them seemed to be one of the most lascivious.

Then the world paused, as if holding its breath before all hell broke loose. Upon entering the room, Mirabella’s mind couldn’t keep up with the calamity. Nel, seemingly frozen, was being dragged away from a vile creature that reeked worse than any place she had ever visited. Ghoul the word was either screamed out or whispered by various people and everyone battled desperately to take down this new foe. Only the second battle they would encounter and it had to be this… This thing?

Ghouls were notoriously hard kills. In all of the lore she had collected on her various travels or through her kinsmen there had never been any real tactics shared about the creature. Holy magic, the kind that her people couldn’t cast, was useful so the only options she was given to defeat a ghoul were slim.

Decapitate it or run for your life.

Its touch was paralyzing so she couldn’t get too close but still she had to do something. The priest needed time for his spell.

Keep it busy, she heard the priest say and with that she saw the ghoul being knocked back once more, this time by the stomach-churning display of Akdov vomiting upon the creature. Disgust roiled through the warrior’s body but they couldn’t hesitate. They had to keep the beast away from the others while the men with holy magic did their duty.

Keep it busy.

Mirabella held her shield in front of her and ran full force at the ghoul. Thankfully its movements were lethargic so even as it reached out its uninjured hand, she bashed her shield into the foul undead sending it staggering back another few feet and disorienting it briefly. Over her shoulder she called out to the priest and paladins, “Keeping it busy. Do what you need to do.”

With that declaration, she caught the eye of Xan, Nari and Van. Those with ranged abilities that could give the ghoul everything they had while awaiting the spell to unfold. The ghoul took another lumbering step towards her and she parried its outstretched hand away with her sword then tried to hack at its leg with a swift blow. Perhaps, if they could disable it then it would be easier to take down.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Xan Hallister Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Callavan Sole Character Portrait: Geraint Magdohl

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Geraint's mouth literally dropped open when Nel bounced across the field of arrows as if it were a spring meadow. He'd been joking, joking! His complete and utter surprise was briefly compounded by two more of the group taking off after her, albeit somewhat less gracefully. The gaping maw of surprise turned into a wry grin, and a chuckle escaped him. "Well, I'll have to remember not to discount such ideas in the future then won't I?"

The Old Shaman was just pondering how to go about passing through that hallway, he presumed it was still trapped or Xan would not have been standing on this side of it still, when Callavan called everyone to gather together, and enveloped them all within a protective shield of some sort.

Magic. Never gets old does it?

Then, part way through, two things happened, the first was Adkov's comment about wandering hands, directed, apparently, toward the Lady Knight, which gave Geraint images that caused him to shudder inwardly, though all that shown on the outside was a quizzically quirked lip in Akdov's direction. Mirabella couldn't have been much older than Geraint's own daughter, if that, and the concept of the two of them together was just... ugh, it didn't bear thinking about.

It wasn't but a few moments later when there was a shout from the chamber up ahead, answered by the cry of one of the Paladin's, whom grabbed Akdov and charged forward, shield raised to the ceiling for protection. There were obvious sounds of scuffle, shouts, and all in all, the general sounds of frenzy that often accompany combat. Soon enough, though the wait felt like an eternity, they emerged into the chamber to be confronted by a ghoul. A ghoul of all things. Of course just, just as he entered the room, he had the unfortunate and dubious pleasure of watching Akdov knock the undead fiend back a number of paces... with vomit. Compounded with the overwhelmingly cadaverous stench already permeating the room, and the Old Shaman immediately turned an ugly shade of green.

He took an deep drag of breath, instantly regretted, and wreathed his face in a small torrent of wind, with an angry, contemptuous gesture. Hearing would be mildly more difficult, but since everyone was shouting that wasn't likely to be a real problem, more importantly, the breeze that now disturbed only his hair and beard kept that ungodly awful smell from his nose... mostly. It would have to do for now though, there was a battle to be fought, with many of the others already engaged. With a roar, the Shaman charged, bringing the caber to bear, reaching the Ghoul just moments after Mirabella engaged it. Keeping his momentum, he dropped to his knees, sliding alongside the enemy, and using his spirits to increase the speed of his slide, took a great swing at the creature's knees. It was surprisingly stable though, and he only managed to stagger it. However, the the attack was well timed, as the Transui's swing at the Ghoul's leg collided around the same time, taking it from it's feet, at least for the time being. All this happened quickly enough that by the time Geraint had regained his feet and turned around, the creature had yet to shamble to it's feet. Which gave Geraint time to notice something would he rather not have, two lines through the disgusting bile laden attack salvo Adkov had launched earlier led to the Old Shaman's position, and he knew without looking his knees would be covered in it.

I hate vomit.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Xan Hallister Character Portrait: Narenia Halen Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Feylon Haradas

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Where Nari might have smiled before, she didn't now. She had a soft spot for Nel and didn't want to see her hurt. Her rushing forward increased her worry and hardly had the Priest's words left his mouth, before Nari followed the Monk.
She bounced across the arrow-floor, with the grace she'd learned as a Ranger. Nari's body moved like it was supposed to move in such ways as this required her to. "Thank the Gods that I am a woman." She said under her breath once she had reached the other side. The arrows felt like they were going to break beneath her, and if the heavy armored Paladins would make it across, she could not say. Feylon and Xan had landed too though, Nari a little surprised.

"Nelinia!" The Priest had told them not to waste their lives, but how could they not when they saw what was before them. The.. Thing, had caught Nel and was inches from taking a bite of her flesh. Nari nocked an arrow and almost let loose, but had no clear shot to take. If she did, she would hit Nel and be the cause of her death. If anything, Nari would rather that Nel died by the hands of a ghoul, than her own. What went on behind her, she didn't know and didn't care. All she wanted was that they caught up soon. Everything happened so fast that she barely managed to let loose an arrow without risking her companions lives. The strangest thing happened not soon after Nel had been put on the ground, luckily not dead. A jolt of worry shot into Nari, and she instinctively moved toward the Monk. The Priest decided to throw up on the ghoul. Throw. Up. In all the battles Nari had seen, though she hadn't been in any army or war, she had never seen anyone vomit on their enemies.

She placed herself in front of the Monk, letting one arrow fly after the other. All they did was stick to the monster, but seemingly not slowing it down or killing it. Nothing happened, it just kept coming. To her relief, the Priest asked Feylon to move Nel. Nari would cover him as he did, not letting either of them die by the hands of their enemy. "Van!" She called, still firing at the ghoul. Mira and the others currently fighting it were doing a good job. At least they kept it busy. "Can you do something to my arrows? Or can you do something to that?" If Nari should have any change of doing damage to that ghoul, normal arrows wouldn't be of any use. Maybe Van, or the Priest could imbue her arrows with something potent enough for a kill shot.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Xan Hallister Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Callavan Sole Character Portrait: Feylon Haradas Character Portrait: Geraint Magdohl Character Portrait: Travian Zarel

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Travian

Travian was still trying catch his breath when the rest of the group caught up. They were just in time to see an.....impressive display of projectile vomiting from the priest which knocked the ghoul back a bit. He had requested that everyone keep the ghoul busy so he could prepare a spell and Mirabella and G were eager to oblige. Not quite ready to charge in with them, Travian watched carefully- ready to run should either of them get themselves in trouble. He was also concerned about Xan, the beast may try to shake off the chains at any moment. With Mira and G coming at it, the ranger had a chance to get away and he took up the monk as Akdov instructed. Travian was relieved to see the two of them get away safely.

The two fighters worked together well and with two hits to the legs the creature came falling forward. Finally fresh and now presented with a golden opportunity Travian surged forward. His first thought was to take out the creatures eyes but he quickly realized what a bad idea that would be "don't want a creature with a paralyzing touch flailing all around...." His hesitation almost lost him his chance- the creature was beginning to shamble to it's feet.

To stop it Travian plunged his spear into the creature's neck. Its mouth surged towards the paladin in retaliation, but he easily blocked with his shield. With the its face so close it was easy to remove the throwing spear he had hit it with earlier. Not wanting to linger so close to it's paralyzing flesh he stowed the ranged spear and then pulled out the melee one that was still lodged in the neck. The creature rose as he backed away from it and tried to take a swipe at him once it was up. He blocked with his shield but the blow was powerful enough to knock him off his feet. He landed square on his back and got the wind knocked out of him. He struggled to regain his feet as he felt the creature closing in on him, but it was hard enough just getting air. It attempted to hit him again now that he was vulnerable but he managed to get his shield up in time. That was when he heard the mage call out

"Oi buggers! Best stand back now, lest you want to loose a limb or two."

He coughed before spitting out "Working on it!" It was then that he realized he breathe normally again and he scurried to his feet. He ran to what seemed a safe distance- keeping his eyes on the ghoul the whole time. Before he could see what the mage was up to the priest summoned him.

"I will perform the rite of Sanskar that demands you act as my acolytes and put your arms down while cleansing your souls of any intent of violence."

Travian had never heard of Sanskar but Akdov's description made it sound similar to the once exorcism he had been present for. Though at that time all he had to do was hold down the poor victim- this would be a lot more complicated. He made his way to the priest and removed his pack and shield. He closed his eyes and knelt before the man. He turned his thoughts away from defending himself and the others (with force if need be) and instead concentrated on helping the poor soul-peacefully- gently guiding rather than forcing it out. The more peaceful his mind became the more in tune he felt with the magic the old man was conjuring. More than anything he tried not to think about what would happen if the ghoul reached them before Akdov was ready.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Xan Hallister Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Callavan Sole Character Portrait: Geraint Magdohl Character Portrait: Travian Zarel

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Geraint watched the battle unfold quickly after his initial plunge into the fray. The ghoul took a few more hits, before a call from Akdov and the Bearded Mage signaled the convergence of two very different plans. Plans that frankly called for entirely opposing sets tactics for those who favored melee such as he himself and the Lady Knight currently holding the foul creature at bay. As luck, fate, chance, or just good planning, would have it however, Xan, the increasingly resourceful rogue implemented a plan that would, temporarily at least, satisfy all plans and keep the remaining party members safe from harm.

Even as the undead figure raged, eyes literally glowing red with fury and hatred toward the two Holy Men whom worked to purify its soul and separate it from the unholy shackles that bound what should be a free spirit to the withered remains of the long dead corpse, it was whipped around and pinned to the wall. An impressive feat that scarcely left Geraint with time to wonder if it was the single minded fury toward the holy men that allowed such maneuvers or if Xan was really that quick and skilled.

With blades cutting through flesh, bone and biting into stone, the ghoul was pinned by the Rogue's unusual weaponry... not that the Old Shaman had cause to call anyone's choice of weapon unusual. Still, with the Sanskar infused anger fueling its limbs, the creature may not stay pinned long without aid. All were free of the blast should the Mage's trick work, and Akdov needed only time. So Geraint answered his ally's call, stepping up to Xan's side before pulling him back farther from the living corpse, willing his spirits into action as he did so, ending it with an stomp of his foot once he'd drawn his comrade to a (hopefully) safe distance. The sound echoed hollowly, as if from far away, and the stone, marred by the malevolent bondage daggers, grew out to encase part of the blades, holding the ugly fiend tighter to the wall, and sprouting additional, painful restraints elsewhere. Hopefully all together they would hold until the Ghoul was blasted to pieces or freed from its not-quite-mortal coil.

"Anyone? Now would be a choice time!" After all, he wasn't entirely certain how long that would all hold.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Xan Hallister Character Portrait: Narenia Halen Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Callavan Sole Character Portrait: Feylon Haradas Character Portrait: Geraint Magdohl Character Portrait: Lance Elgard Character Portrait: Travian Zarel

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#, as written by Celedia
Mirabella was grateful for the aid in fighting the creature. Geraint had helped her in taking down the creature and then Xan had used his unique daggers to chain the ghoul to the wall. Seconds were ticking by and still she had not seen or heard the arrow fire that the mage had crafted for them. Hadn’t he said they didn’t even have half of a minute before it would blow?

Turning her head quickly to scout out the area to see where everyone was, Mira caught sight of Nari with the spelled arrow still in hand. “Everyone back!” She called to the people still left close to the monster and with all the speed she could muster, she sprinted towards the female ranger while sheathing her sword. Plucking the arrow from Narenia’s hand she moved just as quickly back towards the ghoul, praying to whatever spirits were listening that she wouldn’t be blown to smithereens and once close enough she stabbed the arrow at the ghoul’s face. Her aim had been reckless and the projectile stabbed its way through the rotting flesh of the creature’s cheek, pushing the scrolls which were wrapped around its shaft up a bit until they were pressed flush against the ghoul’s jaw.

“Nowwouldbeagoodtimetorun!” The Triansui’s words ran together as she turned on her heel and raced passed anyone within spitting distance of the ghoul. At first, she thought that her rushed efforts had been for naught. That the arrow hadn’t worked for some reason but thankfully she had not turned her face to check. Within seconds of the thought of failure entering her mind, she was quickly proven wrong as a muted boom echoed through the massive room. Mirabella didn’t stop again until she was beside Xan and she finally turned, seeing blackened bits of flesh sprawled against the wall while smoke emanated from the spot where the ghoul had been chained.

Xan’s weapons looked a little worse for wear but that was probably just undead gobs sticking to the metal. It would no doubt be hot to the touch since it had been within the blast radius and while she tried to catch her breath, the warrior looked over to the Priest and Paladins to see if they had completed the ritual. The ghoul and his paralytic touch were no longer a threat but the holy men would no doubt be concerned over the state of the monster’s soul.

Patting the thief on the shoulder, Mirabella muttered a breathless, “Good thinking, shady man. Sorry ‘bout your daggers.” Then she passed over to where the monk, Nelinia, lay unmoving. She placed her round shield upon her back then fell to her knees beside Nel, casting a look at Feylon, the ranger whose name she still did not know. “How is she doing?” Her voice was quiet, worried, and barely perceptible to anyone but those nearest to her.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Xan Hallister Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Callavan Sole Character Portrait: Feylon Haradas

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#, as written by Deallo
In that crucial moment of time the monk held back the ghoul; her arms and legs suddenly went limp. It was as if her body had shut down, the Ghoul's teeth neared, and all she can think about was about how this was going to end. Eaten alive. A mix of terror and fear flowed through her blood as the creature grew closer and closer while she was utterly powerless. Nel couldn't even scream. The worst part of it all was that she couldn't even close her eyelids to block the reality of being eaten by a zombie; forced to watch it as was going to happen before her very eyes.

The ghoul's rotten face grew closer to the monk's, jaw unhinged, rotting teeth begging for the gluttony of meat about to doom Nel until it's head suddenly reeled back. Shock and relief poured in Nel's mind as her eyes caught the chains that were wrapped around the zombie's neck. Xan. With one vicious pull, the ghoul was hoisted into the air but it's grip on the monk's shoulders didn't waver, pulling her up with it. When she landed hard on her side, she couldn't feel neither pain or floor, but heard and saw everyone who attacked the beast. The monk could see Feylon slashing away at the creature's arms with his knife and the spear of the Paladin pinning one of the arms of the ghoul. Travian tried to pull Nel but the ghoul's grip was relentless.

It wasn't until a stream of high-pressure ...vomit hit the creature, pushing it back, and finally weakened it's grip enough for the paladin to pull Nel away. Unfortunately, Travien had placed her in front of the one person she didn't want help from. The Priest. In such a weak and vulnerable position; she mentally debated which of the two she would rather have in front of her. The ghoul or the Priest? As luck would behold, he didn't even acknowledge her presence, glowing with holy magical energy. Though she couldn't scream; the monk would've pulled herself into a fetal position at the sight of it. Horrifying memories flashed before her eyes. So much blood. Screaming. Chaos.

Just as quickly as she was placed in front of the priest, she was swooped away once more, away from the battle. Her head was lying back, staring up into the ceiling, unable to see her savior. Nel was propped up against the wall, sitting down, and could finally see who it was that carried her. The rogue Nel knew as "the man covered in blood" back in Paetax. Despite being unable to feel the moisture behind the walls; he layed it under the monk to keep her dry.

She felt like a child all over again, being watched over, and powerless to do anything while everyone else fought. Nel was the injured one all over again. Worst of all, she couldn’t even see the fight with the angle she was given, allowing her imagination to fill in all the details. Unable to just turn her neck; the monk was caught in a waking nightmare. It was impossible to breath, a heavy weight baring down on her chest, and dizziness came over her.

Just as the ghoul exploded, the weight from Nel’s chest was lifted, taking a sudden gasp of air before coughing and at the disgusting smell that overtook the room. Had the scent of ghoul been not any more sickening before; it somehow manage to get worse with bits of the creature’s burnt flesh splattered around the room.

It wouldn’t stop the monk from breathing in the precious air, despite how sickening it was, and turn her head at the scene before her. No-one was hurt except that of the priest; yet an odd thing his injury was.

“Is it over?” Nel managed to cough out to Feylon; hands starting to get feeling once again. She spotted Mirabella running over and heard the warrior inquire about her condition. The women in yellow manage to squeeze out a smile to her friend. “I am fine.” She managed to sadly speak, looking down at her feet as she did.

“But useless.”

A voice brought her back to reality; a voice unlike any she has ever heard. Something about it brought shivers down her spine but those shivers were nothing in comparison to the creature that manifested from the shadows.

The giant panther-like monster made Nel’s blood ran cold with fright as she inspected it. Armed with six legs and two shoulder tentacles with spades as sharp as blades on them. Evil practically emanated from the creature. She heard the voice nagging in her head:

“Cooooward. Nothing but a useless coward.”

The Displacer Beast looked directly at the crowd of three, leaned back on two if it’s legs, and smacked its lips in anticipation. Perhaps it was such the proximity of the prey or perhaps that group caught his attention at first glance by the yellow robes one of them wore. Nel recognized the gesture from a few black cats in the village whenever they were hunting mice. It was very much the same stance.

The monk stood up; leaning against the wall for a brief moment before regaining her balance. She stood erect between her two comrades about to speak just before the creature suddenly pounced in the air toward them. With her wits finally about her; Nel's instinct practically screeched to move. She ran in between both Feylon and Mirabella, one hand at the rogue's stomach and another at the warrior's back who faced the being.

"Forgive me." She uttered just before taking one more step, pushing them with all her might, launching them towards the direction of the creature. At first, it might have been an incredibly stupid tactic to see, to just charge head-on against an enemy. In hindsight, it was an excellent maneuver, for if anyone observed a cat, big or small, their pouncing relied on precision with their prey.

Yet as Nel shortly followed suit, it seemed the two paws were directly overhead, ready to crush her. She closed her eyes in the run but felt nothing as the front paws flowed through her effortlessly, the impact crashing into the ground two feet behind her, alongside with two of the creatures deadly spade-like limbs. Dirlagraun were intelligent predators and this creature was no different. It's plan was to scatter the small group by pouncing in front of them, pinning at least one of the prey, forcing the rest to run backwards or through the sides, ridding the stragglers with each of its deadly spade limbs.

The three were directly under the belly of the beast, where it's spade limbs couldn't reach them, in between the six legs of the creature. Nel's heart was practically beating out of her chest over her near death with the illusion of the beast but she knew all too well it was too soon to stop and breath. The monk grabbed one arm from both the rogue and the warrior; forcefully yanking both of her comrades back to her feet.

"The knees." She said quickly; finding it unnecessary to give any more further explanation. Everyone should've known as she did that the knees were one thing that'd bring down any man or woman, small or large, and the monk hoped that applied to creatures of this magnitude as well. The orders from the mage, Callavan, were in all honesty, the absolute worst advice she's ever heard. Perhaps it was the philosophy of the monastery rubbing off her or the common sense a bare fist fighter had but being backed up in a corner against a regular foe was a recipe for failure. Being in a corner with this thing as an enemy is a damned catastrophe.

It was the mayhem, the fact that she was nearly eaten by a ghoul, nearly crushed by a monster, the in-fighting, the actual fighting and the life-threatening advice that caused the tremor of a voice she never heard before. "Don't get trapped in a corner!" Nel shouted strongly, surprised to hear her own voice loudly but so...satisfied to hear it. "Get under it and break it's legs!" The monk ordered just before running up to one of the front legs of the beast, jumped up, and raised a leg into the air only to be brought back down. The vicious axe-kick was about to crash into the creature's knee but instead went directly through with no resistance.

Nel landed the drop and threw strike after strike at the leg of the beast, hitting the illusions spot on, until she swept her hand throughout the entire leg and felt the invisible calves. It was all a trick but now she found the secret. One hand grabbed the invisible pelt and clenched the fur of the creature in her vice-like grasp while the other hand reared itself back to gather the power necessary and shot through the air; landing on the front of the knee with an audible crack left to her delight.

"Grab it! You can't miss if you grab it!" The monk shouted for the last time, clinging on to the leg as the creature ran just before the room was filled with white mist of a strange scent, continuing to strike the leg with brutal punches and elbows until the room suddenly exploded, a painful ringing swelled in her ears.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Feylon Haradas Character Portrait: Geraint Magdohl Character Portrait: Lance Elgard

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He could hear the singing, familiar voices of those that had gone before him cheering and celebrating in the great hall, the smell of roasted meat seasoned in exquisite spices filled his nostrils, he then began to recall his life in that sinful earth.

The youthful Arthur growing up with an unhealthy ambition, he wished to rise high and beyond his menial position in Queran, it was shameful to recall how he had stripped young boys from their mothers to send them marching to a war they wanted no part in, the flashing memory of his first wife accident with the flu... holding a pillow against her head was the cause of her demise, not the goddamn flu.

Then the memory of the second woman who had drowned, she could not bore Arthur any children so a little push in a boat and she went down like a brick, that man Arthur such a terrible sinner he was... had Akdov done enough to repair the damage and mend the wounds that such a despicable individual brought down upon innocent folk powerless to defy such a cruel twist of fate?

"yes" a female voice had said decades ago, Ryja sister to the nefarious riftwalker who would have scarred the borders between realities forever had she not been stopped, but she was wrong in a way, indeed while the vanquishing of such a menace was something commendable and that so far, history had failed to take note upon the unsung heroes, it wasn't enough

The vanquishing of evil did not equal the creation of good

No doubt existed in the mind of the priest that he would be accepted in the presence of the Hall lord to have drink and dance, but that didn't meant that he was ready to go, his projects of healing Queran and establishing a proper clergy for the merry church a holy bastion which would make Deud proud.

Yet, he had failed, in his confidence he had attempted to have another soul freed from its foul chains and in the end it had been him, not the ghoul who had died, he had some regrets but the destination was a fine reward, he would be in the presence of the sacred party... and he would be with Ryja at last.

"Not yet priest" the familiar female voice echoed coming from everywhere but nowhere as well "You are needed still" he felt a pull, one that slowed his advance "The hall will be here when the day comes" then the pull became more than a restrain, it began to drive him backwards

Then he saw, it was Geraint his old comrade and Lance the eager young paladin, they were surrounding the ruin that was his corpse, if they were planning to put his soul back into its old socket they were being naive, the wound that the violent release of his essence had left would mean that he would only return to die from it... such an honest and stubborn effort should not go without its reward, but there was no point to their endeavor... the vessel of his body was wrecked.

As he went down, ever faster he managed to see how in spite of his bravery Lance was ultimately outwitted by the foul beast that now had the group on the defensive, with one swift and decisive strike the beast had ripped through Lance signature helmet and sent him tumbling over Geraint and Akdov´s own ruined husk.





Blue eyes opened and Akdov took a deep breath, he rose up blood dripping from his short blond hair he leaned on the sword he had been carrying using it for support as he got back on his feet and looked at his allies under attack from an alien creature, it looked like some sort of minion from the riftwalker rather than a necromancer... he felt feelings of vengeance and retribution race through his flesh

Vengeance...

He felt a terrible headache he touched his chest and found that there was no sign of the burst of his spirit, only hard metal plates

Metal plates?

His allies needed him! the beast used the cover of darkness to strike, he didn't knew why or how he knew but the certainty of it covered his conviction, he struck his sword and hand against the massive shield he carried and the unnatural shroud that covered the monster dissipated like cloth burnt by a fiery blaze, the eyes and ears of the group would now be hindered no longer by the threads of the beast

"Strike it down! take the offensive!" he shouted to those that were not engaged with the creature, when he began to turn to lead the offensive Akdov thought he saw an old hairy blond man lying near were he had came back to his feet, he charged towards the beast not really paying any attention where his iron gear had come from, why he felt such an outburst of vitality or why his cup and tome could not be found in his presence

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Geraint Magdohl Character Portrait: Travian Zarel

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Travian

He was completely focused on the magic flowing inside him. At least until the boom stick went off. He felt the magic begin to fade, cutting off entirely with a thud in front of him. When he opened his eyes he saw the priest on the ground.

For a moment, he was frozen. He felt his mouth opening as the realization of what had happened dawned on him. A check of the older man’s pulse confirmed it- he was dead.

“No,” He said softly, echoing the word that had been the priest’s last. Like most of the group, he found the old man grating but that didn’t mean he wanted anything bad to happen to him. He would wish death on no one and especially not a comrade. Without thinking he started trying to start the man’s heart, pushing down on the chest with all the force he could muster. He didn’t know exactly what the ritual had done or if his simple first aid could even do anything where souls and magic were involved. But he had to try, he couldn’t just sit there and do nothing.

Travian hardly even noticed the eerie voice echoing through the dank room, but the sounds of battle that followed were hard to tune out. He was starting to falter and completely lost track of how many compressions he had done when G slammed his log of a staff into the ground nearby. The old shaman didn’t need to say anything to the paladin- just by looking at his face Travian could tell that the old man had it covered so he turned his attention to the battle.

Relief surged through him as he saw the little monk in the fray. He would be lying if he didn’t admit that part of his concern for the priest came from the thought that Akdov was the only one who could help her, but it seemed that the ghoul’s spell had faded when it died. He charged in just as the mage’s spell went off. A thick mist filled the area- following both monk’s and mage’s advice he began stabbing at legs where he could find them.

He was beginning to find a rhythm when a spiked tentacle came out of nowhere and hit his left side, knocking him back into the wall. His armor kept most of the spikes from his flesh, but a couple found their way in and he groaned in pain.

“Mira! Slice off those damn things if you can!”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Callavan Sole Character Portrait: Geraint Magdohl Character Portrait: Lance Elgard Character Portrait: Travian Zarel

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#, as written by Celedia
Once more the chaos of battle took over the small group and with the lack of leadership weighing heavily upon them, everyone seemed to disperse. One moment she was on her way to the corner to guard those that needed it but then on her way over, the small monk yanked her down to the ground with a strength and a quickness that she did not believe the young girl capable of possessing. It was just as her back hit the stone flooring that she felt the faint whoosh of air as something passed over top of them and though she didn’t say it, she was thankful for Nelinia’s quick thinking.

The displacer beast was a bastard to fight, that much was sure and as soon as she was standing on her own two feet once more she tried desperately to slice her blade into the creature’s flesh. Yet, how can a warrior without a hint of magical know-how attack a beast that is shielded by illusion? The image of the creature seemed to always been a few feet away from the actual body and though a couple of lucky strikes hit something she didn’t feel comfortable battling a hidden foe while there were so many of her comrades in close proximity. Nel was attached to one of the beast’s many legs and Travian and Lance would both zero in, slashing at the creature before retreating to assess the situation once more.

The mist and cacophony of sound that the mage summoned seemed to hinder the creature’s attempts but it also affected their side equally. Those with keen hearing stood about clutching their sensitive ears and it was only then that Mirabella noticed that the mist that Van had summoned would part in a way that didn’t make sense. The displacer beast would pounce towards someone but the mist would part three feet to the side of the illusion and it was then that she found her answer. Attack wherever the mist was cleared from movement and not the actual visualization of the creature itself.

Using this logic, she struck the beast with great force three times and annoyed it so considerably that it leaped in her direction, causing her to just barely evade its massive form but the dirlagraun’s paw still caught her shoulder which knocked her off balance and sent her tumbling to the ground.

“Mira! Slice off those damn things if you can!”

”Oh, right Ian because I was simply waiting for you to give me the go ahead, I’ve been practicing my footwork for the next masquerade ball. What was I thinking?”

Though her comments were sarcastic, they were also good-natured. The Paladin and Triansui had a history of ribbing each other and even in a situation as dire as the one they were in now, she couldn’t let the opportunity pass to respond. Yet, both Geraint and Ian were right. With the illusion of the displacer beast nullified, now was the time to go on the attack and she pushed herself up, steadying herself briefly while she swapped out her shield for her hand axe. The beast was massive so there would be no shield pummeling it into submission so she may as well use her free hand for something useful, like an extra blade.

Now wielding her short sword in her right hand and her axe in her left, the Triansui sprinted forward while the dirlagraun’s attention was focused on Ian. Using a stabbing motion, she buried her sword into the creature’s side to keep it steady then swung her axe at one of the tentacles. Her axe had remained unused since it’s sharpening in Paetax so it cut cleanly through the appendage, causing it to fall off of the beast while the dirlagraun let out a vicious sound that was somewhere between a squeal of pain and a roar of anger.

The blond warrior grinned but the victory was momentary as the beast wheeled around, its attention now focused solely on her and as she jerked her arm to withdraw her blade from its musculature the dirlagraun vaulted towards the Triansui with renewed ferocity despite its many wounds.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Alice Sangera Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Lance Elgard

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The frontline troops had engaged the enemy and without illusion on its side anymore the displacer beast had the odds against it, already the Triansui and the paladin had loped off a member of the wretched creature but it seemed to be determined to not go down without first giving them a fierce remorse to go with the joy of victory.

But nobody is going to die to this cat, not one more

It appeared that his illusion nullification had affected the mages in an adverse way as well seeing how they were not busy raining hell upon it, it was of little importance the day would go to valor and zeal.

Mine... Ours

Then in a turn of good fortune the feline began to freeze as it was about to strike a counter attack at the warrior "Yeeeeeargh!" Akdov smashed himself with all the impulse he had attained in his charge against the beast putting his whole weight behind it, so mighty was the attack that the legs it used to stand upon it stayed behind in its wake glued to the ground, an effect of the freezing act that one of the mages had conjured.

Now he pressed the shield against the maimed cat pinning it in the ground, one of its tentacles was still free and it lashed around aimlessly unable to cope with the events around it in time to avoid its grim fate, it struck Akdov several times before he had the idea to stab his sword into its throat and use it to carve a bloody road till it met the jawbone and then in one last movement it had sliced the thing open leaving its elongated tongue kissing the floor as guts and fluids escaped from the foe

He had seen that done when he was young, a thug which whom he ran into at times had killed a man in a similar fashion and had told him that it was a very balanced method of slaying, elegant, painful, quick and fatal...

Wait... I... I was a noble in Queran

With the enemy down the man that had been known as Lance placed his hands on his head as if to stop it from lifting and soaring on like a humming bird, he was having a violent clash of memories, things Akdov had never seen or done

Pray to Pelor for guidance, wait... no thats wrong, there is only Deud

He screamed and kicked making his pain a well known fact to everyone as he still seemed to be struggling with an invisible demon wrapped around his head recoiling in the ground and rolling from side to side

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Feylon Haradas

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#, as written by conor
Feylon looked at Mirabella when she came towards him. He could sense the discreetness of her question. Obviously not wanting anyone else to hear. Feylon only assumed that she wanted to keep her affection for the monk hidden. Perhaps to avoid anyone taking advantage of what some would see as a weakness. He nonetheless obliged and just as he was about to speak an arm grabbed his. He looked down to see the monk staring at him, fear in her eyes. He placed his hand on hers and said "Yes, it is over". As quickly as he had said it she had already shot upwards. A new foe approached.

The next few moments were a blur to Feylon. He found himself being thrashed around by the small monk. Who knew she possessed such strength. After he found himself against a wall he struggled to get back up. The damp, slimy liquid on the walls seemed to glue him in position. It was only after a few seconds of thrashing was he able to break free. At the same time he could see the creature before him lash out. An attempted dive out of the way was in vain as Feylon felt a sharp burning sensation across his chest. A short moment later he landed with a thump and blacked out on the floor.

Battle sounds wore out as he regained consciousness. The sound of the beast hitting the floor led to a hollow and brief silence. Using his hands he propped himself upwards and inspected the source of the now searing pain in his body. 3 large lines across his chest were oozing blood. Claw marks from the creature his comrades had just slain. On the uppermost gash he could see the protruding white image of a rib. Cursing profusely he scrambled to look for something to stop the bleeding before he lost to much to keep consciousness.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Alice Sangera Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Callavan Sole Character Portrait: Geraint Magdohl

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#, as written by slcam
Acacia gave a quiet shriek as Mirabella shoved the modified arrow into the ghoul and it exploded into bits. She turned her back quickly to prevent the worst of the rotting goop from covering her face. She quickly realized that she hadn't gotten quite far enough away from the faint ringing in her ears, and the newly strenghtened odor of decay was giving her a headache. She flung her arms back and forth for a moment, trying to rid herself of some of the unpleasantly slimy substance. A moment later, she heard a loud, "NO!" as Akdov fell limply to the ground. Acacia stared in horror, not able to see any injury on him, but it was soon certain he was dead, despite attempts to revive him. Geriant stooped over the priests fallen form, trying to bring him back as well. Acacia was unsure of what had taken the priest's life, but she greatly hoped that the shaman could help him. It was somewhat ironic that Akdov had been worried about her, yet she was unscathed and he was gone, or so it seemed.

She was moving toward the priest, anxious to help in any way she could, when a sinister voice rang out in the room, calling to a kitty that was likely to be something far more deadly such a place as this. It was a Dirlagraun, or more commonly know as a Displacer Beast. She had always heard that they had been hunted to extinction. Apparently that belief was false. Her face became notably paler at the sight of the large, panther-like monster. It looked grotesquely muscular with its six massive legs and sharp tentacles projecting from its rippling shoulders. Callavan called out for them to come to him in the corner, and she quickly went toward him she watched with fascination as he put up a web of rope, but, remembering herself, pulled out the dagger Feylon had lent her.

The Displacer Beast began pouncing, making multiple versions of itself as those who chose to fight it directly instead of from the corner began their assault. Callavan's next spell came into effect, causing noise and making it difficult to see. Acacia stood near one corner of the net and jabbed through the openings whenever they moved near her. To her satisfaction, she heard the Beast screech in pain more than once. A moment later, things became quiet and she saw the form of the beast become suddenly still and fall over, completely frozen. A moment later, Alice slumped to the floor and Acacia hurried over to her. "Is there anything I can do to help?" A small smile briefly lit her face as she told the girl, "That was great, Alice."

Abruptly, Lance fell to the floor and began thrashing, and Acacia stared wide eyed. 'What in the world is going on?' Turning to look, she saw that Feylon was also down. He seemed to be bleeding badly as well, and the sight made her feel lightheaded and queasy. Lance didn't make her feel any better or less confused when he got up and claimed that he was now both Lance and Akdov. However, it didn't stop there. Applause rang out from a balcony and Acacia looked up to see Rydas there with the woman, calmly watching them. By now, Acacia was severely perplexed and slightly dazed. She walked slowly across the room as her eyes continued to dart back to the landing the Prince had just disappeared from a moment before. She fished her throwing knives from among the various goop on the floor until she again had the remaining nine knives. She stood staring at them a moment, taking the time to try to put this puzzle together.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Alice Sangera Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Feylon Haradas

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#, as written by Celedia
Just as quickly as the battle had begun, it came to an unforeseen halt. It was not by blade or bow that the devilish creature had been downed but by… Magic. The very essence of which Mirabella neither understood nor trusted and yet it was that essence, that magic that had felled their foe and the warrior had front row seats for all of it.

With her sword lodged firmly into the displacer beast’s side, she had begun to crawl backwards like a crab, axe still clasped firmly in her hands and ready to rise if the dirlagraun decided to attack. Then, even as the cat’s body crouched into position, projectiles appeared out of nowhere. Magic daggers exploded in luminescence against the blue-black pelt and freezing limbs into place so that the creature could do barely more than stand as a statue for all to view. Then the Paladin, Lance, insured the beast’s death by ripping its broad torso from its very limbs and both man and cat clattered to the ground in a cacophony of chaos. That was the end of it, right?

No, it would seem that the show was not over though applause rang out through the cavernous room and two figures appeared above them, cheering their production as Lance crumpled to the ground with hands clasped to his temples. A quick look around the room noted that everyone else was either standing still, stunned, or wounded in some way whether it be physically or… Mentally. Mira didn’t know much in the way of healing arts but she knew a basic combat first aid so her tasks were set before her.

First, she walked to the dirlagraun’s corpse, eyeing it warily before planting one booted foot upon its side. Her axe was sheathed in its leather holster so that both hands were freed to grasp upon the hilt of her sword and she kicked out with her foot while pulling fiercely with both arms to free her blade from the dead beast’s flesh. A wet slurping sound accompanied the removal of the blade and she wiped it upon that prized blue-black pelt to clean it as well as she could in the current situation before sheathing the sword as well.

Next, her eyes scanned the remainder of the group once again. Out of all of the wounded, it seemed that Feylon was the worst off after the Priest but as she saw Van set the cleric’s corpse ablaze she knew that Akdov would not need her aid. So, she crossed to the ranger and popped open one of her pouches along her belt, drawing a length of cloth and a small jar of ointment. ”This will help aid you…” She said, a weary smile curving pale, arid lips as she lifted the jar for him to study. Mira had it bound tightly so it wouldn’t leak out in her bags and once it was opened, an oddly aromatic smell was noticeable. ” A natural astringent called Agrimonia eupatoria, Achillea millefolium which stops the bleeding, and Calendula to aid in the regeneration of healthy cells.” Trying not to wince at his wounds, she applied it to his side where the cat had ripped down to the bone and once she had a liberal dose upon the skin she tucked away the jar for safe keeping. ”It’s not magic but it’ll do…”

Then, she gestured for him to remove his tattered shirt so she could bind his wounds. All the while, the Triansui tried not to pay attention to anything else. Her mind would break if she also listened to the Paladin/Priest and Mage speak to each other about their witchcraft and wizardry. The Paladin was both Lance and Akdov? She had more questions even after the cleric’s short explanation but they had no time for inquiries. Now that they had the chance, no matter how small, to regroup and tend to the wounded she was going to make every second count.

When Feylon’s wounds were tended and his torso wrapped as well as could be expected, Mira next moved over to the little tiny mage that no one ever seemed to notice. As she approached the young girl, she passed Acacia who had just been speaking with her. The bard and mage seemed to know one another but sadly, the warrior didn’t even know the girl’s real name and thus had conjured a nickname for poor Alice. Kneeling down so that her face was level with the mage’s, Mirabella smiled before speaking. ”Eidolon. I can tell by your hands that it is you that cast the frost daggers and for that… I thank you.” Rising back up into a standing position, she extended her hand towards the tiny mage and offered a helping hand up. Whether the newly titled Eidolon accepted or not was up to her but she had obviously gained respect in the warrior’s eyes. Anyone that had your back in the thick of battle was as close as kin.

Her ever vigilant gaze cast once more about the room as she looked for the others. Xan, Acacia, Nari, Nel? Were they okay? She had lost sight of them in the midst of battle and sought them out to confirm that they weren't among the dead or wounded. And what of Ian and Geraint? Both had been wounded. Did either need bindings? Her mind sifted through those present and those missing until she eventually realized there was one she couldn't account for.

"What in the hell happened to the other thief? The flame-haired one?" Her voice rang out as she asked the question though she didn't even know if anyone could answer her.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Hayley Furdiligit.

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The citadel was huge. The maze of hallways and apparently randomly placed rooms gave the illusion of an endless place, maybe some dark magic made it truly endless. Hayley had been wandering the dark corridors for what seemed to be forever, her footsteps muffled by the dust collected on the ground after many years of abandon. The only sounds heard were echoes coming from all directions, screams, indistinguishable sounds and impact noises.

The young woman thought it would be a good idea climbing the walls and entering through a broken window in search of valuable treasure left after the fall of the sorceress, now she was lost in the citadel. Hayley had found no treasure and couldn't go back the same way she came in and not daring to force other locked doors she made her way through the deserted corridors looking for a way out.

Disturbing sounds echoed in the walls occasionally as the young rogue came across a stairway, she decided to follow the polished black granite steps that led downstairs. Coming across another empty room full of apparently untouched, old bookshelves and doors that led in all directions, Hayley chose to enter one that was open and a few more after that. Hayley picked up a book at random and opened it, then, a strange, grinding noise made the thief change her mind and quickly turn around and go all the way back to the stairs dropping the book. Maybe the citadel was built, or enchanted to spook unwanted visitors, slowly steal their minds from them and leave them lost forever in there.

Now walking at a quicker pace Hayley went the opposite way she came back and passed through more rooms filled with old, untouched shelves. On the last one she entered, there was a book, the same she had dropped in the room on the other side of the citadel. Now confused the girl head the same noise again, now louder, apparently closer. She inspected every shelf looking for anything moving, but now the noise seemed to be coming from the walls. Not wanting to discover the source Hayley paced the halls to see if she could find a hole in something, or maybe places to escape.

Back to the room with the stairs Hayley pushed the first door she could find and entered another corridor, this one smelled like mold, disease and death. Pressing forward she saw an open door and walked in. The tall triansui woman could be seen standing on the large, unsurprisingly dark room.

"What in the hell happened to the other thief? The flame-haired one?" The triansui asked.

"I thought I was supposed to guard the entrance." Hayley said loudly to catch her attention before adding as she looked around "There is something you and the others need to know. Where are they?"
"And who the hell told you I am a thief?" She thought waiting for the answer

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Hayley Furdiligit. Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Geraint Magdohl

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#, as written by Deallo
Flung to the wall like a rag doll, Nel's back collided with the rock, stuck for a brief moment before slumping to the ground. Her left leg started bleeding from the spikes on the Displacer beast's tentacles, the bandaged she wrapped beforehand a little torn, and wet with red blood.

The scene from the battle became illuminated to the monk's eyes with the Paladin's light but she couldn't have heard a word. The explosion, manufactured by Callavan's magic, partially deafened her, a sharp high-pitched ringing in her ears. The shaman's bout with the beast, Mirabella's swiftness and strength, Lance's bravery as he nearly sliced open the Displacer's Beast head, the frost dagger's of Alice's magic stabbed into the beast were all observed like a pseudo silent play. The beast finally fell, shaking the earth in a small quake, blood flowing from it's rare dark pelt. Only when everyone, weary and tired, looked up did Nel do so as well, spotting the prince and a young woman in the balcony, clapping their hands back and forth with smiles on their faces.

A hundred questions were boggled in Nel's mind. Question like: Why is the prince clapping like he saw a performance? Who was that woman beside him? What affairs did he have with her? Did they knew they were here all this time? Why didn't they help them? Why were they walking away? What did he say? Most importantly however: why was the brooding prince they knew and love knew smiling?

After the rather disturbing display of the Prince's teeth, the seemingly love-struck couple, walked away just as a fireball hit the balcony. The monk twisted her head back, trying to figure who or what threw that, before looking back up the balcony. Her hearing was just about coming back know as the confusion amongst the party spread. Lance was about spouting some nonsense, as was the mage with the beard, Feylon was hurt but bandaged by Mirabella and Akdov's body was set to fire. Quickly looking away from the fire, she spotted Acacia, busy picking up knives, and turned her sights back on the balcony. Nel silently went to the wall under the balcony, positioning her hands and feet wround the edges of the brick, pushing herself up, scaling the wall.

With each time she pulled herself the image of the priest set on fire was searing through her mind. It wasn't the method of burial that scared her, there was no earth to scoop up, and she doubted the priest, like the prince, wanted to be buried but the mere fact that she cared so little in his death. Sure, the priest wasn't the most lovable person but he was a person and an ally. A human being who probably had parents and perhaps by his age, children. Priests were abhorrent, bigoted, liars...but this priest was an ally with the same goal. In no way would Nel muster a tear for the priest but the fact she wasn't able to conceive a thought towards it; feel nothing towards it. In the monastery, if someone died, there was a day of grieving and the children would be ever so happy on these days because their training was a little less strict. They had twenty-four hours to sort through all their thoughts, emotions, and feelings but Nel got over Akdov's death in little more then five seconds.

It scared her to even think that while she's trying to figure out why she had nothing but apathy for the priests death; she couldn't even muster up feelings, regret, empathy, or even hate for the deceased. She realized the same thing for her enemies, the giant beast, and the cannibal corpse. She felt numb to them; literally for the ghoul.

Pushing those thoughts aside as grabbed the ledge of the balcony, she flipped herself over on the platform, wincing as the pain shot up her bleeding calf. The monk turned around and watched everyone, looking so small and insignificant from there, and from there recognized the red-haired thief.

"Merchant!" Nel called, waving her hand from the balcony, probably the only one who truly believed Hayley was a merchant. "We found the prince and we're going to bring him back!" She said, updating Hayley on their status, and turned around to meet the scent of food mingling in the air. Tempted by the scent of food, having hardly eaten at the camp that morning, she followed the scent down the corridor to one of the doors open wide. Light flooded in from the room and the monk followed in...

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Alice Sangera Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci

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The light around Alice died slowly as the beast was broken to pieces. Her fingers uncurled, letting her muscles relax. Her signature smell of her Magic circled her. The Bard came to her aid swiftly, a playful smile lit up on Alice. She was kind but it seemed that she needed more help than Alice did. She watched her expression change as she saw the wounded body of Feylon and the thrashing of Lance. "Thank you," Alice replied in a whisper of a voice. She wasn't sure if Acacia even heard her. The girl was transfixed with everything that was going around and seemed that she only needed to work things out. The Bard wandered away, Alice sat there for a few seconds just watching the body of Lance just scream and shout. That may have been her second time witnessing a soul transferred to another body but she was too tired to give it much thought. Alice smiled at the other Mage's compliment as she thought she should. She never understood compliments; they never helped her feel better. Soon the body of the priest was turned to ashes by Magic nonetheless.

Alice turned her head to the clapping sound. The mighty Prince stood at the top with a woman that had an ugly glow to her. Through the tension, Alice couldn't help but smile at the two. If the Prince is seduced with such ease, the fate of the King is only the beginning of the worries. The couple fled the scene as quickly as they had entered. She tried not to wince at the bearded Mage's vulgar words. He had a mouth on him. Was it Magic? The possibility was high but she wasn't sure of which kind. Maybe if she had paid more attention in class. She sighed, looking down at her hands. They had almost always been perfect. She hated getting her hands dirty in anyway but today they had four small slits that shed a small amount of blood. Nothing damaging for even that to be worried about but to Alice, it was horrible. The pressure she had applied just to save a few folks when she could have just saved herself and ran away. No, that was wrong. She didn't do anything to save anyone but herself. She just wanted someone that could help her get out of the castle. She was too scared to go alone and the threat of a trap was fresh in her mind. Even when she did something right, she did it for the wrong reasons. A coward to the core. But there was still hope in her mind. If she went along with the quest, just maybe, she would find a little box that had been welded shut inside of her. She would open the box and all her bravery would come to her, maybe. She had to hope.

In her moment of peace she had not noticed the warrior at all. The moment the faintly familiar voice was heard, Alice flinched, whipping her view from her hands to the blonde that was staring at her. She remembered everyone, even if they didn't remember her. Mirabella, the warrior that had sent waves of hatred to her at the Black Vegabond. She had made the mind of staying clear of her, who wanted to get into a useless argument with one that was repulsed by a Mage? Not Alice. It took her a moment to fully understand what the woman had said to her. She called her by a name that was not hers but at least there was no fight. Alice grinned at the warrior, whom she had thought to be cold hearted. She took the offered hand and helped herself up, not bothering to tell the warrior of her real name. She liked the one that she had gotten. Yet she was still confused. They were comrades, why had the warrior thought she wouldn't help in a time of need? She was certain no one knew of her cowardly status, so what other reason could there be? As much as she wanted to know, Alice kept her mouth shut. She didn't want to ruin anything when everything was going just fine, especially since the warrior was scary. You'd have to have much strength to send waves of hatred with no Magic. Alice wasn't so keen on finding out how much strength. When the warrior had gotten herself busy with her own thoughts, Alice quietly turned around and ran to the shattered beast. She fell to the ground like a rag doll and searched. There were several daggers in him, all that Alice had thrown. The petite girl waved a hand and all but one dagger had disappeared. She smiled. All she needed was the original dagger. It was her only weapon if she got stuck without the use of her Magic. "Do forgive me Demon, I bet you were a lovely kitten as young."

Biting her bottom lip, she ripped the dagger out of the beast. "You were still lovely. Loyal to your mistress, that's what matters in the end. Lovely but grumpy..." As odd as it might be Alice preferred to have conversation with things that couldn't speak back to her. That way, she never got hurt and neither did they... and it amused her. She just really liked talking, but it was hard to speak to people. Things that didn't talk back were much easier. "Like my brother! Oh kitty-cat, we could have been the best of friends! If only we didn't try to kill one another." She gave a final smile to the large beast before she got to her feet. Alice turned to see the Merchant had come back, fiery as ever, it seemed. Alice tucked her dagger back in and waved her hand. Her body rose to the air, her feet hovered off the land just a few inches. She wasn't going to climb anything nor would she risk walking and setting off any traps still left. Alice loitered around the air, waiting for anyone to tell her it was okay if she followed the path that the lovely couple had taken.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Hayley Furdiligit. Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Travian Zarel

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#, as written by conor
Feylon groaned as the pain in his chest grew worse. He needed to stop the bleeding but he could not put sufficient pressure on all three wounds with only two hands. He began to breath heavily and his head fell back against the wall. His spirits lifted when he saw Mirabella coming towards him. She opened a vial of what she said would stop the bleeding. The scents fluttered around his nose. They were oddly pleasant as he took in a small breath of them. The next few moments were gruelling for Feylon. Although Mirabella guided her hands deftly it was not enough to stop wild flashes of pain shooting through his body. He could feel the nerves all around him rattling to life. Screaming in anger as his wounds were tended too. The older scars across his chest and back seemed aggravated too, as if they were none to pleased about this new addition to the grotesque family.

When she had finished Feylon let out a small sigh of relief. The make shift bandages wrapped tightly around him and his now tattered shirt become his new attire. He was glad that Mirabella had attended to his wounds in the traditional manner rather than use magic. Doing battle was a noble thing. The injuries inflicted upon you by the enemy was your trophy. Your enemy should carry as much honour into death as you do as victor. Your enemies should be treated as equals on the field of battle and when they are no more. It was a code that Feylon lived by, although in the case of these monsters he was unsure. He found it ironic considering his line of work was in stealth and subterfuge but nonetheless he stuck with his code. He felt that somehow it stopped him from being desensitised to the plight of a dying soldier.

As he pushed himself off of the wall he felt a new energy driving through him, he had unfinished business with the prince that no one was going to take away from him. After all his employers would not be happy if he failed. He walked over to Mirabella. "Thank you. It is a favour I shall not forget I promise you. As quickly as he came to a stop he was off again. This time in the direction of the other adventurers. He reached Travian just as he shouted for him to climb up to where the figure of the Prince was seen. He moaned at the thought of putting his wounded body under such stress but he was not one to skimp out on his duties, military life had taught him that the hard way, by means of fifty lashes.

Cracking his fingers he jogged at the wall and took a leap into the air. His hands slammed into a rock and grasped tightly as he pulled himself upwards. He began prancing from rock to rock slowly making his way up the wall getting closer and closer to the edge at the top. Had he not spent most of his life in trees the journey would have taken much longer. Thankfully he was nimble enough to achieve such a climb. He reached the top and hauled himself over. His breathing was heavy and his chest pushed against the bandages around his torso. He pulled himself up again, slightly out of breath and light headed. He slowly stumbled down the corridor looking for any rooms or dark passages that the others might find danger in but their was nothing. The corridor let straight into a brightly lit room that was just a few metres away from him now. He could hear voices. Slowly unsheathing his little dagger he noiselessly moved across the floor. A bead of sweat tumbled down his forehead as he grew closer. Now he could smell succulent meats of all kinds. To say he was confused would be an understatement. As he came into the entrance a large hall opened in front of him. Brightly light and elegantly decorated with mounds of food he stood there quite anxious and unsettled. In front of him he could see the redhead and the monk and then beyond that the Prince and a mysterious lady.

"what the hell is going on?" he let slip from between his lips.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Narenia Halen Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Alice Sangera Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Callavan Sole Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Feylon Haradas Character Portrait: Travian Zarel

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He was afraid

No that was undercutting it, he was terrified

Terrified when he tried to heal the wounded and the calls he made went unanswered, the power and favor he once had commanded with his god were either being dampened by another source or something far worse, the blessed body of the man that had been Arthur was the one who had attained all those ointments and honors to the hall lord

Logic would dictate that it was the soul that should be the one to be held accountable for its deeds, but maybe Deud had frown at the defilement of the Sanskar, and he was inhabiting the body of another man, a man that had been sword to Pelor... maybe both gods were at an argument at the moment about what was who's

But he was needed here and now, and goddamn the lack of common sense from these people was still something that did not cease to amaze him, despite having wounded and dead some still felt like rushing in along without a clue of whatever it was that awaited them or even if their companions were good to go

I swear I cant figure how she survived into her age

The group was still gathering when the wizardess, monk and soldier moved on and that red headed troublemaker "Seems like were out of time Travian, the wounded are leaving the healthy behind seems that logic and consequence don't hold the power they do outside, we best pack things and get going" it was not long before they were on the move following the smell

a delicious smell that made Akdov realize that he felt hunger, a hunger that he had not felt in decades in his blessed body, he also could not help but to notice the pleasing anatomy that the prince`s companion featured- Goddammit these youngsters!- He did not recall feeling so, lustful, maybe it was age, maybe it was something done to him in his consecration, but she had curves where a wench should have them and everything seemed to bounce in a very feminine way.

Lance must have struggled a lot if he had vows of chastity

And the dishes, there was Umathonel wine there! those bottles were worth a small city and were holy property to the Church of Deud only to be opened at the best celebrations, and the spiced pork, and the cinnamon pineapple and the molten cheese pot and the stuffed turkey and... and...

Get back on your senses!

"Rydas I see you waited for us before you ate, how very kind seems like humor has found you at last" he noticed the tied fellows, they could be either friend or foe but they had parts to play he was certain "It is so very nice of you to have prepared this banquet for us" he moved forward boldly almost defiantly towards the table "I have to say it is nice for a change to be received like this, yet there is just one thing... " in one quick motion he pulled the mantle off the table intending to make a mess of it and instead the dishes and bottles stayed exactly in their place while a very confused Akdov held to a piece of cloth, their female host made a giggle

Well that wasn't supposed to happen

"Errr... what I meant to do was this!" he tried then lifting the table but by the barrels that thing was heavy or Lance was not as strong as the priest had been they were both now snorting and grinning "Screw this piece of sh-"he turned it over to the side instead, this time doing what he intended all along, screw up their plans "I don't know who are you or what you have in store wench!" he unsheathed his sword and pointed at their direction "But Rydas is expendable he is second in line after all and your intent to do us harm is clear so excuse me if I am rude when I decline your so called hospitality, you have underestimated us it seems "

He made a signal for the rest of the group to follow, hopefully they would and if not... well he already had made a fool of himself with the table "Feylon aim at his knees, Nernia aim at her gut!" those two smirking jerks looked awfully calm, Xan would have alerted them if something was up or the mages should have seen a hint of something to be worried about " Callavan, Alice dont let her do anything without you noticing it!" he then made a nod to Mirabella and Travian "draw your steel"

Akdov had been a man of words, he was an accomplished orator after all " Listen and listen to me well, while the Panacea might be a lie we root out the corruption in Paetax today!"

Half of confidence is being confident, well it better be causing an impression on those two

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Hayley Furdiligit.

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#, as written by Celedia
Collaborative post between Celedia and flieslikeabrick!

"I thought I was supposed to guard the entrance." Hayley said loudly to catch her attention before adding as she looked around "There is something you and the others need to know. Where are they?"


The Triansui’s attention was drawn towards the ‘merchant’ and she grinned, pushing pale blond hair from her eyes before replying. "Most of them have decided to traipse off into the unknown to greet our hosts. Lovely planning, eh? At least two of us shall be well-prepared..." Her light brown gaze cast back in the direction of the few people that remained within their vicinity and she let out a sharp whistle to gain their attention. Any that cared to learn the secrets that the merchant had revealed were more than welcome to join them as Mira prodded Hayley to speak. "So, what is it? What have you learned?"

Leaning closer to the fighter, Hayley looked around to make sure the sorceress had no way to hear what she was about to say. It could give them an advantage if someone figured a way to exploit it.

"Well, the sorceress, she's not human any more. Not that I think she once was." Hayley started "I sneaked in the citadel through a window, and found the Prince with her. I followed them, trying to get more information." The last part was only true if gold and information were now synonyms. "And I saw her turn into some sort of beast, with wings, fangs, claws, horns, a tail... Maybe more disgusting stuff I couldn't see." The rogue continued "I think she is some sort of unholy beast, and has the prince under a spell or charm to prevent him from fighting her." Hayley finally let out her thoughts and took a breath "What should we do?" She asked, as a rogue, the only answer to this question would be 'run away'. But that doesn't get anyone paid.

Mirabella chewed upon her lower lip as she listened to the 'merchant' speak and her eyes lifted to the path taken by the others as she tried to open her senses. Light cast from the arched opening that most everyone else had gone through up on the balcony above and at first there were no sounds yet as soon as Hayley stopped speaking, all hell apparently broke loose. Glass shattering, metal clanging loudly against stone flooring and two men yelling? Whatever the Triansui and Haley decided to do, it would have to be quick.

"You're pretty observant for a merchant..." Mirabella began, a quick twist of her lips showed that she was teasing before she jerked her head towards one of the twisting corridors. "Where does that lead? We need a back way in to whatever room they're in...." The Triansui paused, jabbing a finger in the direction of the noise and light before turning her honey-gold eyes back to the red-tressed rogue. "If you can lead me there, stay back and watch from the shadows. We can't play all of our cards for the sorceress, we need to hold something back and that something is you."

She paused a moment, letting that sink in for Hayley before continuing. "I have no protection against magic and if what you say is true then we have a hell of a lot to fear from this woman." Searching in her pouches and bags, she withdrew a small circular capped bottle filled with an oily black liquid and thrust it towards Hayley. "Flammable. If things get out of hand, chuck it at the sorceress and we'll see how she handles being set ablaze. With all the candles in that room I am sure you can find something to light it with." Another lapse in her speech as she realized she was being bossy once more and Mira cast a look at the thief as if seeking her input. "Like the idea? If not, tell me now. Sounds like things are heading south in there already..."

"Good enough for me, let's go upstairs; I know how to get there." Said the rogue as she took the bottle and pointed at the door she went through when walking in. Mirabella checked her weapons then gestured for Hayley to lead on and within a span of a few minutes the Triansui came in to the scene whilst the rogue stuck to the shadows. Chaos was an apt descriptor of the action taking place and she eyed the captives tied to their chairs as she let the others have their moment of glory.

“Are we done here?” Mira mused to the room in general, her golden gaze settling upon the too-perfect sorceress at the head of the table before sliding over to the hopefully-bewitched Prince. Taking her time, she removed her shield and slid it onto her left arm, testing its balance before drawing her sword into her right hand once more. Though still slightly blood-stained, it would have to do and she circled the table slowly in an attempt to flank the beautiful ‘couple’.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Alice Sangera Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Feylon Haradas Character Portrait: Geraint Magdohl Character Portrait: Siobhan Brennan Character Portrait: Selene Moretti Character Portrait: Dekard Roland Character Portrait: Yaa Oba Contee

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#, as written by Deallo
The scene that appeared before Nel was the most off-putting and confused she'd been in her life.

It was until she managed to tear her eyes from the feast that she can see the entire picture. Guests, tied down to their chairs in rope, bound and trapped. Most of them were unconscious, three of them women, two out of three as pale as the ghosts that probably haunted the ruins while the third had obviously spent most of her life outside in the sun, skin tanned to a dark hue. There was also another gentlemen, a rather scruffy looking man that can only be compared to the group's oh-so jolly mage, Callavan. Of course, they didn't matter to the monk, nearly salivating as her attention was once again on the smell and sight of food.

If only she managed to eat that one fateful morning. The heavenly scent of caramelized pineapple, roasted potatoes, and cooked meats. Though the monk had never smelt nor tasted meat in her whole life; she would have dined happily with the meal if it wasn't for the appearance of her comrades that stopped her otherwise. The ever-so baffling fact that the smaller mage was flying above her head for one example. Magic. Nel reminded herself, as the expression of their floating mage turned to one that was sour, as she was going to hurl at any moment. Nel recognized the look when she used to train children until they passed out or puked.

The monk took two steps back; redirecting herself from the trajectory should that happen.

Then, did she hear Feylon's words, after failing to realize or even know it was a rhetorical question as she tried to find some sort of answer, even without knowing what "hell" was, deduced his question. The prince and the ever-so-random woman by his side. A table. Chairs. Guests. Food. Sweet, delectable food.

"...Maybe it's a meal?" The monk said to Feylon, her statement turning partway into a question, her gluttony and her brain playing tug of war with her words.

The Paladin had come in right after, speaking directly to Rydas, and dramatically pulling the white tablecloth from right under the plates. Nel blinked for a few seconds, trying to figure out what gesture that possibly was, and was furthermore confused when he was trying to pull up the table. He was grunting and working up a sweat by his brow; had it been any other time the monk might have offered her assistance if it wasn't even a little humorous and pathetic all at once. Of course, he gave up, and turned the table over to the side, spilling all the delectable warm food crashing on the ground. It was only his little speech afterwards, did Nel pay attention again, with the paladin accusing the woman of intent to do them harm and called Rydas "expendable", another word foreign to the monk.

With the orders that came around, ordering each and every member of the team to aim at the couple, Nel turned her head around to see if anyone was complying and noticed the shaman-warrior coming up. Although Nel might not have been the best at recognizing humor, euphemisms, or the other strange social phenomenons of the world, without a doubt, she could tell there was rage in each and every step. There was no need for a nasty scowl or growling; the mere look in his eyes had enough fire to burn a hole into the stone wall.

The monk stepped aside from the shaman and went down the other side of the table where Mirabella and went down the other. However, instead of preparing herself for battle, she went to the closest chair, containing a certain tied-up scruffy haired sorcerer and watched the 'couple' at the head of the table while her fingers fumbled about the knot behind the man's chair. Surely, the fact they were taken prisoner here, in this evil place, meant they would be allies. The soundless caber passed her, pushing a small wind towards her face, and bolted like an arrow towards the two. It was too fast for Nel to do something and so watched in horror; waiting for the impact.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Hayley Furdiligit. Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Geraint Magdohl Character Portrait: Cordelia Braxton

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#, as written by slcam
Acacia's contemplation was interrupted by Mirabella's inquiry after the other thief. She was puzzled for a moment before she realized, 'Oh, the 'merchant.' She noted that she hadn't seen the red haired woman for a while. Just as Mira asked this, Hayley walked in and said that she had discovered something. Acacia hurriedly wiped her knives on her already grimy cloak and replaced them in her sleeves. She then walked back over to listen. Just a moment later, she saw Nel approaching the wall under the balcony where Rydas and the mysterious woman stood moments before. With disbelief, she watched as Neli began climbing the wall. Would this girl never stop rushing headlong into danger? Acacia thought the monk would have more common sense than that, especially after what had happened with the ghoul.It was already difficult to imagine that they had defeated both the ghoul and the Displacer Beast just moments ago.

Though Acacia was worn out and confused by this already long day, she was also furious at Nel for throwing herself into danger once again. Nel stopped after getting to the ledge and yelled back down to the red-head merchant before scurrying off into the unknown. During Nel's climb, Acacia had moved closer to the wall, worriedly preparing herself to climb after and watching with a pang of emotion, mostly jealousy, as Alice zoomed up with magic. Suddenly, she was startled as Feylon sprung onto the wall beside her and began crawling up as well.

The thought that she was hesitating when Feylon, who had been injured, jumped so fearlessly into action motivated her. She carefully began her own climb, slipping several times but holding on with fierce determination. She finally made it up to the ledge, and, after catching her breath, sprung up and ran down the hall, stopping beside the doorway. The room was large, with bare walls and a large dais occupying the middle of the room. The throne on the dais was unadorned, the wall of skulls behind it giving it an intimidating feel. One skull in the wall was decorated with jewels and seemed more important than the others from how much cleaner it was kept. The scent of delicious food was so intoxicating that Acacia was immediately suspicious. Those doubts were immediately confirmed when the woman invited them to eat. Sitting at the table were various people, unconscious and bound. As more of the group arrived, Acacia noticed several of the bound 'dinner guests' begin to stir and wake up.

A moment later, Lance/Akdov came into the room and began to confront Rydas. Acacia's eyes were immediately drawn to the Prince's content face. Things were definitely more than they seemed, they had to be. Acacia couldn't bear it if the Prince had intended to betray them all along. When she decided to come on this quest, she had, in a small amount, given Rydas her trust. She had decided to trust someone who would one day be King, though she felt that the current King had failed her in the past. It was just another if only, but it was something that she felt the King should have been able to change, to prevent. Though this accusal was usually in the back of her mind, it was always overshadowed by her own guilt. Now, however, it was prominent in her thoughts, the pain of a perceived betrayal as fresh as it had ever been. For this reason, she couldn't accept that Rydas had betrayed them. It would break her, render her unable to trust not only others, but also her own decisions. While she was contemplating this, she rubbed the material of Rydas's cloak, which was still tucked safely in her belt, between her fingers. It seemed that she was considering ripping the red cloak to pieces, confusion and anger written plainly on her face.It has to be something else, Acacia thought. He could be enchanted.

Acacia's attention turned to the woman as Lance/Akdov tried unsuccessfully to disturb the meal on the table by pulling the cloth off and flipping the table. Could this be Idassava herself? Or was it merely an illusion. Acacia had no doubts that her magic was still very much alive, but whether the actual person was living was a different matter. Acacia's eyes were once again drawn to the jeweled skull. Something about the way those emerald eyes glittered in the light made them seem alive. Was this skull somehow important. Acacia felt drawn to it, as if it held the answers to all her questions.

Geraint threw his caber at the couple, causing Acacia to stop staring at the skull and remember the captive people at the now overturned table. She hurried over to one of the captives, a woman with golden hair who was struggling to get free, a desperate look in her eye. "Calm down," Acacia said softly, kneeling before the woman and working on one of the knots. "I will untie you." After a moment of struggling with the stubborn rope around the woman's arms and chest, Acacia gave up on trying to untie it and a knife from her sleeve dropped into her hand. She quickly sawed the rope, making sure to avoid cutting the woman. After a long moment, the now frayed rope split with a jerk and Acacia unwrapped the woman. Pressing the handle of the dagger into the woman's palm, Acacia said "Do you think you can get your legs free?" Acacia stood, ready to go free someone else.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Rydas Errion

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#, as written by Celedia
-=Mirabella=-


The Prince spoke and Mirabella knew not whether he could possibly be serious in a situation such as this. Rydas looked at them with astonishment tinged with contempt when he had seen them battle the monstrosity that was the dirlagraun in the fetid aftermath of their triumph over the ghoul. Yet he dared to pretend that they were out of line?

Her feet paused in their travels to flank the couple even though they were almost upon the dais as her mouth gaped in astonishment. Shock, surprise, anger and betrayal- a full bevy of emotions flitted across her fair yet bloodied face yet her golden gaze never left the Prince. He has to be bewitched.. There is no other explanation for it. Her thoughts tumbled loosely through her mind, edges dulled by the unwillingness of the Triansui to believe any other avenue of events. With her blade still held at the ready and shield still hanging upon her arm in defense, her words bit fiercely into the stunned silence of the room after the Prince’s diatribe. Though not seething from rage but from disbelief for she had pledged her sword to him to save his father and yet he was intent upon the guilt of the group as a whole? It made no sense.

”First Prince and Future King of Calisma,” she started, using his title as he had before amending the moniker to one used less often as she hoped it would remind him who was friend and who was foe. ”…Rydas.” At the informal greeting, her voice softened slightly though her weapon remained clenched in her hand since she trusted the woman at the Prince’s side less than she had trusted the ‘merchant’ with her coinpurse.

”I should not have to remind you of events thus far but obviously you are not on the same page as we are. You left camp in the middle of the night without a word to the rest of us. We- who had vowed to fight by your side and gather the Panacea in hopes of saving your ill father, the King.” Once more her honey-brown eyes sought his, hoping to find a flicker of recognition while she all but ignored the beautiful woman that he was trying so valiantly to protect.

”So we followed you here. To this dark and depressive Citadel that has reportedly been abandoned for a time and we fought through traps that our rogues and our mages assisted your team in passing until we reached the hall in which you saw us last.” A sweeping gesture with her shield hand as she indicated the small pathway that led back towards what she would call the ‘battle room’ since that was the only activity that had taken place within its walls.

”In that room we, your team, fought two deadly creatures. Many of your people were wounded.” Like a cleric or village elder trying to help the Prince sort through his thoughts and feelings, she tried to remind him of his relationship with the group gathered around. Recognition and familiarity might trump sorcery even if for only a split second of time. That was all she needed- a moment of remembrance for the Prince to recall that they were on his side.

”Nelinia was paralyzed by the ghoul. Akdov has died.” Her words paused, lingering upon the still air to let that sink in for him. No need to mention the odd new combination of Akdov and Lance in the Paladin’s body. That would be shared later, if there was a later. ”Geraint, Lance, Travian, Feylon, and I were all harmed by the dirlagraun. Some more than others… Her gaze left the Prince momentarily, sweeping back to the others before returning once more to Rydas.

”The dirlagraun beckoned by your… Lady which we finally took down but before the battle haze could even clear our eyes you were both standing there applauding as if it were a show? Then you wander off to this feast hall and pretend upon our entrance that you are our gracious hosts and have come to invite us to a meal?” The incredulity was palpable in her voice now and it was only then that anger seeped into her tone as well. “Tell me, Rydas, First Prince and Future King of Calisma which seems the more likely scenario… That these people who have fought and bled to find you have betrayed you somehow? Or that you are being deceived by the one woman in this room who reeks of magic and death that you just happened to stumble upon in a seemingly abandoned Citadel?”

She waited for a response either from the Prince, or the Sorceress, or at the very least from her comrades. Perhaps conversation was out of the question and the Prince’s mind was too far gone to be reasoned with but she knew that if she hadn’t tried she would have regretted it.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Feylon Haradas Character Portrait: Cord Braxton

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#, as written by slcam
Acacia looked at the woman, a bemused look on her face. The woman said something about oats, but Acacia wasn't certain whether the woman was addressing her, or merely making some sort of riddle. Though Acacia was good at riddles, she could make little sense of what she was saying. At least the woman was able to cut her own bindings. The golden haired woman then jumped up and stretched, oblivious to the confrontation going on around them. Acacia took a step away to go free someone else, only to be stopped by the woman grasping her arms with a strong grip that made Acacia wince. She suddenly became frantic, saying that the Lady of Silence was gone, but soon began to just babble incoherently. Acacia quickly began to wonder if the woman's captivity had done something to her mind.

At the same time, Prince Rydas began yelling at them, making it seem like they were in the wrong, and telling them to stop freeing the prisoners. He accused the prisoners of being part of the Tk, something Acacia had a hard time believing. The more Rydas spoke, the more she was convinced that he was bewitched by the woman sitting next to him. If he wasn't either he, or the group, was missing some vital piece of information. Mirabella attempted to reason with him, and Acacia hoped he would see the sense in what she was saying. Feylon, of course, decided the best thing to do was to insult him. Why did he like doing that so much?

Acacia's focus quickly went back to the woman who was still tightly grabbing her arms, still frantically babbling. Acacia tried to pry the woman's painful grip from her arms, but to no avail. The woman was frantic enough to make Acacia believe this Lady of Silence was extremely important to her. She looked into the woman's eyes and asked, "Who is the Lady of Silence?" After a pause, she moved her arms up to grip the woman's shoulders and, with a single shake, continued, "Where is she? Who took her? Who took the Lady of Silence?"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Feylon Haradas Character Portrait: Dekard Roland Character Portrait: Cordelia Braxton

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#, as written by Deallo
The sorcerer's coughing fit left Nel feeling guilty. On one hand, she could offer a throat message, but even she could tell this was hardly the time and place. She leaned forward and grabbed the mystical red jewel that clattered to the floor, watching the enchanted ruby sparkle in the light before closing in her fist and slipping it into her pocket, mentally telling herself it'd be a memento of the only good thing to come out of the trip to this forsaken place.

Rydas shouted and when Nel stood back up; greeted her with the tip of his blade aimed at her neck. His demands to stop had fell on deaf ears, especially since the man had been freed the help of someone in a cloak, and when one of the prisoners themselves asked who TK was, it was obviously some sort of trick. The monk scanned the faces in the room but couldn't recognize anyone who was a "high-ranking" official of the TommyKnockers. The prince of Calisma was mistaken but Nel wasn't going to be the first to tell him otherwise.

It was the whole reason why she was here in the first place.

Nelinia stayed silent and raised her hands up behind her head in a gesture of surrender. Of course, it wasn't entirely genuine. Unless swords can jump; there was no way Rydas could've stabbed her from that distance, unless he decided to charge. Mirabella spoke softly to him, attempting to jog his memory, and even jogging Nel's as to why they were here in the first place. The amulet. The monk thought; and bit her lower lip as a slew of thoughts went through her head. Had the prince found the amulet? Did he truly deserve it? Did this womanizer of a prince, finding strange woman in the forests and in abandoned ruins, who lacks so little empathy for his enemies to just set their bodies on fire, and now threatening her life, deserve the amulet? Deserve to be king?

Mira's assumptions on the woman left Nel, and only Nel, with the exception of the prisoners, confused to what she was actually implying. The possibility of a dead sorceress coming to life wasn't even remotely possible to the skeptic's mind; unlike everyone else in the party. From her right, Feylon started to slowly but surely insult the prince, either for the sake of insulting the prince or some long-winded arbitrary plan, got extremely close, close enough to be slashed by the prince's blade if he so much as take a swing at him.

At the same time, one of the prisoners, an odd woman speaking nonsensically started to approach the prince and his lover with a small knife in her hand. Nel recognized that very same knife from one of the cruel training methods she received from the monastery. It was a position, squatting down, arms stretched out the sides with a knife just like that attached to the bottom of each bicep with rope so if she slowly put them down, the pain of the knife digging into her sides would cause her arms to shoot back up her sides. Her longest time for holding the position was about half a day, from morning to noon. The tiny scars on her sides were a testament to it's sharpness.

The monk looked back between Feylon's suicidal approach with his aggravating speech and the woman who was most likely going to stab the prince.

"You are weak."

Nel bit her bottom lip as she had to figure out what she was supposed to do. The woman was angry and most likely, crazed and approaching the prince and his lover. If someone didn't do something, she's going to stab one of the two and kill them.

"Your mind is easily contorted."

On the other hand, the prince himself is already delirious with rage after being stricken with the caber, and after threatening Nelinia, the monk had no confidence he wouldn't cut down Feylon the moment he finished speaking.

"You are inferior.

She couldn't just stop both of them at once. Nel clasped her head in her free hand, rubbing one of her temples with her thumb as her eyes zipped between the crazed woman and their ranger. To the monk, It was either one or the other. Feylon or the prince.

"A decrepit sole.

Comradery or loyalty to the talking crown.

"You shame your family and the people of Calisma and I spit on your legacy."

With one fell swoop, Nel took two large graceful steps, towards the tip of the prince's sword still pointed at her, quickly closing the gap. While Rydas had his attention on Feylon, the monk kicked the flat end of the sword up into the air with her good leg, gritting her teeth in the pain of balancing her body on her bloody leg. With one more large steps, she was finally close enough to grab the prince's hand so she can stop the sword in place before he could give it another swing, her iron grip and strength could easily overpower any resistance the prince can put forth.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Feylon Haradas Character Portrait: Travian Zarel Character Portrait: Siobhan Brennan Character Portrait: Cordelia Braxton

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Travian was relieved to hear that the woman was okay, though he was still somewhat wary of her.

“A gift, if I may?” She said as she turned towards him with her arms gently raised in front of her. Any doubt he may have had about her was erased completely. Her whole figure bespoke peace and calm, things he sorely missed in this place of death and decay. If this was a trap it was one he was happy to fall into. Sensing her intent, he knelt down in front of her so she could reach his face. With a palm on each cheek she softly spoke in an ancient language and a light filled her that even his closed eyes could sense.

“You worship the Boar but I give you the strength of the Bull. Use it wisely, Holy Warrior. I will try to release the others….You are needed in battle, it seems.”

The sensation that coursed through his body as the spell took effect was possibly the best he had ever experienced. It was as though he had bathed in a cold mountain spring; he felt refreshed and cleansed of all the negativity that burdened him. Hunger, weariness, fear, doubt; they had all been washed away and replaced with an incredible energy. It was like a rush of adrenaline and at that moment he felt he could do anything.

But when he opened his eyes he found not the combat he was now itching for but words, strange words. The prince’s account of what had happened was odd, like a warped version of the truth. For a moment Travian couldn’t help but wonder if they had all been bewitched. But the doubt that had begun to creep back into his mind was vanquished yet again when the prince claimed that the prisoners were of the Tommy Knockers. No, that was impossible. There was no that woman had anything to do with such a violent organization.

Mirabella tried to reason with the prince- many of her words echoing Travian’s own thoughts. When that didn’t seem to work Feylon began insulting the prince. There was a sincerity to his words that gave Travian the impression that the man was glad he had an opportunity to say such things. But though the paladin may not have cared for his attitude, that sincerity gave his words a powerful bite that did seem to have an effect on the prince; though the paladin couldn’t tell if Rydas was struggling against enchantment or merely an overwhelming anger. The monk-reckless as always, took the opportunity to try and kick Rydas’ sword out of his hand.

“ENOUGH!” The word reverberated throughout the room and chaos followed.

First the woman began transforming. Her body took on numerous grotesque additions: wings, horns, claws, fangs, a tail- the rest of her was still beautiful but now there was a clear reason for the underlying horror one felt when looking at her. She did something to the prince and then Feylon before finally unleashing a whole flock of other monsters into the room.

Blood boiling, Travian charged into battle. He quickly threw his three throwing spears at the first enemies foolish enough to come into range. His first victim was killed instantly, but he had missed the vitals of the two that followed. He ran up to the first creature, grabbed the spear sticking out of it and used it to finish them off.

As he put the spears back into his quiver the screams of the frazzled woman caught his attention. Travian had been dimly aware of her presence during the conversation but was too absorbed in it to pay her much heed. Well she had his attention now along with everyone and everything else in the room. She was in trouble, but he was on the other side of the room from her. Luckily the woman he had freed managed to get to her and drag her onto the balcony out of the fray. He saw that at least one monster was following them so he ran to the balcony to cut it off, getting there just in time to do so. He skewered it through the shoulder and thrust it into the ground with all his might. Then holding it in place with a foot on it’s stomach he pulled the spear out of the shoulder and jammed into the heart.

He looked around and saw no other enemies in his vicinity, so he took the time to stab all of his spears into the dead creatures flesh like it was a pin cushion. This way he could access them more easily and move about more freely. Normally when he used this strategy he would arrange the spears in an arc around him, but he didn’t think the marble would hold them as well as the corpse did. He then cast a ward around himself.

“Nothing’s getting through here so if you get hurt get your ass to the balcony!”
he shouted to his comrades. He doubted the demon woman would leave such a cocky statement unchallenged but that was fine with him. Bring it on.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Feylon Haradas Character Portrait: Travian Zarel

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#, as written by Celedia
Chaos erupted as the succubus revealed her true form and for a moment, Mirabella was stunned. With the lore and dark magic emanating from these darkened halls she had expected the mysterious woman to be the physical manifestation of Idassava not…. This. The demonic creature summoned more of her ilk and they dropped from the magical portals like rain, their massive bodies interspersed between her and her cohorts so that each being was practically cut off from the other.

The warrior had heard legends pertaining to certain demons but seeing them in person created a whole different perspective. The vrocks which had joined the battle were each around 8 feet tall and weighed anywhere from 500-800 pounds a piece. Fear lanced through the Triansui’s body as she thought about the smaller members of their ragtag band. The rogues, the healers, the monk, the rangers. Where were they? She couldn’t let them duel the beasts on their own yet before she could even move to assist, one of the monstrous creatures took her by surprise and with a single heavy-handed swipe of its hand had her flying across the dais and slamming into the back wall. The very breath was knocked from her lungs and while already dazed from the impact, the creature let out a shrill scream. The stunning screech caused her to raise her hands to her ears and even then she wasn’t quick enough to recover. Pain pierced her eardrums, disorienting her so that when the creature moved again to attack she was helpless to defend herself.

The next hit, thankfully, caught the corner of her shield so that the blow was deflected slightly yet the vrock’s knife-like talons still grazed her forehead. Scalp wounds are notoriously bloody and as the red rivulets flowed down into her eye, Mira seemed to kick into survival mode. The creature, cocky from its first two victorious assaults, was preparing for a death blow when suddenly the Triansui let out a scream of her own- a battle cry that was filled with fury. Her right arm struck out, impaling the creature’s thigh with her sword and she jerked the blade viciously, tearing sinew and muscle as her body lifted and spun to send her shield slamming into the demon’s side. The mangled leg mixed with the offset in balance sent the creature tumbling to the ground and Mirabella followed though, standing over the vrock and driving her sword down into its eye socket. Gore and blood erupted from the wound and once more, she twisted her sword to increase the damage, only pulling away when the creature’s body had stilled beneath her.

Her vision was now blocked on one side and using the back of her hand she tried to wipe the blood from her face so that her gaze could sweep the area. Assessing the situation, she noticed that most everyone was caught within the fighting, the injured were moving towards the balcony which Ian seemed to be protecting. Two figures moved towards the succubus, Nel and Feylon yet the monk was going to attack whereas the ranger was bespelled.

Still located at the wall behind the dais and therefore, behind the succubus and Feylon, Mirabella switched out her off-hand. Her shield was removed and placed upon her back once more and she withdrew her hand axe once more though it was still somewhat bloodied from the last battle. Moving forward, she tried to remain silent but a murmured, “Sorry, ranger…” left her lips as she brought the pommel of her blade down in an attempt to knock Feylon out.

Unable to see whether she had succeeded or simply ticked the ranger off, Mirabella had to move quickly since her movements would no doubt catch the succubus’ attention. With Nelinia almost upon the demoness, Mira aided her by flanking their enemy with both weapons at the ready.

“Demon whore, let’s play!” She yelled, trying to distract the succubus so that Nelinia’s hits would strike true and the warrior moved in for battle. Twirling quickly, the Triansui aimed each blade at the demon’s torso and wings, whichever she would come into contact with first.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze

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#, as written by Deallo
The one-man charge led by Nel suddenly turned into a three-man rush, Mirabella flanking in from her left, and Lance flanking from her right. The yellow-clad monk showed no signs of stopping her mad sprint, hood flying behind her as her hair was sent loose, even as balls of Underfire formed atop the Demon's hands and were flung amongst the attackers. Four of the balls of green fire met Nel before she fully reached the other end of the table, her eyes adjusting to the speed they moved at. In one fluid movement in the midst of her dashing, her torso dropped to mere inches from the table, dodging one of the balls of fire, then her hand shot out and held her balance in place of two legs while two more balls of fire missed her lower body, right before flipping forward onto her feet and heading face first into the last fireball. The spirits that were living in Geraint's caber finally made it to Nel in this crucial moment, the extra quarter of a second enough to just tilt her head out of it's way, its fire charring a center line through her right cheek.

The burning sensation wasn't enough to stop the monk from charging and she finally reached the end of the long table, directly in front of the demon succubus and jumped, left arm outstretched forward and fingers splayed open, aiming her strike directly over the head of the succubus. Her entire body reared back with her right arm, pulling back for all the strength she could muster before her muscles suddenly tightened and released, launching the cannon-like strike to split open the head of the succubus.

Though it was indeed a powerful strike, it's very speed was sacrificed for that power, but the mere sight of such a bold move took the succubus to pause for only a short moment before weaving her head out of the way. The monk's fist merely glanced off the demon's left shoulder before crashing into the marble floor, cracking both the section of white floor she struck and the bone of her own knuckles, the pain like a circle of stabbing knives ran up from her hand and down her spine, eyes widening in a mix of shock, pain, and surprise.

Had not the demon been distracted been rather preoccupied by the Transui and the paladin; it would have been the monk's last move.

Nelinia's broken fist slowly yet painfully unraveled back into an open palm and the bloody-yellow robed monk got back on her feet, wobbling for a brief moment, partly due to the pain, the loss of blood ever so evident by the now yellow cloth stained red, sticking to her wounds, and just the sheer fact that she was tired, hungry and thirst. She eyed the battle between the succubus, Mirabella, and Lance, and waited for a moment to strike. The demon was a very natural fighter because her wings were sharp, nimble, flexible and could easily create distance between herself and fighters. Nel carried out another rush, unable to see an opening but to make her own, kicking the succubus in the knee, unable to break it due to what fortitude demons had in their skeletons, but obviously hurting the succubus.

Niluxie was interrupted with a vicious kick right under her ribs and a bear-like grip on her calf when she tried to hover away from the ever so persistent monk. The succubus was as light as her demonic frame for seducing men suggested, and already hovering in the air, had little strength to fight back against Nel's throw, and ended up being painfully slammed right into the marble floor. Just as Nel brought Niluxe back up in the air to throw her back down, the demon's wing lashed out, and cut the monk's forearm deep enough to reach the bone, the pain unbearable as Nel's grip loosened and Niluxe easily broke free.

Covered with a layer of sweat, wounds and blood; the monk was out of breath. Nelinia was reaching her breaking point.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Xan Hallister Character Portrait: Narenia Halen Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Alice Sangera Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Callavan Sole Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Geraint Magdohl

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The fighting was ferocious, never before had Akdov felt so savage and bloodthirsty... his rage and passion had always been in check up until this moment, yet he could not find it in him to temper this outburst for blood, the demon sent in several directions streams of flame, which were easily deflected by his mighty shield.

Then he was upon her, he swung his longsword without any technique just hoping to lump off something or make something bleed but the temptress was swift and returned the ill aimed strikes with lethal precision going for the weak spots like tendons and bone joints, again Lance's armor proved to be a much needed safeguard against them.

Yet he could not harbor hope, even while they were outnumbering their current target she did not seemed to be worn out by the combat due to the lack of strikes by their part reaching their objective and to add to their woes the number of Vrocks charging to aid their mistress was enough to overwhelm a small city, by the time they made to her position death would be the only outcome, filled with dread the paladin kept slashing knowing that with each second the horde of ravenous beasts would be upon them, it was too late the succubi seemed to be incredibly dense, even when the strikes landed she simply brushed them off.

As the Vrock horde rushed in and Akdov`s water almost dropped a black angel surfaced to cover them

"Come and get it bird brains!" the rogue jumped at them charging like a madman having the numbers heavily against his favor, the tenacity on the man!

He quickly killed two of them in a swift strike at their guts, using the momentum of his charge he threw a kick which sent the majority of their vanguard in disarray breaking their advance completely, the scoundrel kept on going like a whirlwind of death. As the Vrocks were still getting back on track he grabbed the neck of the nearest one and snapped it in one wild move then not wasting another moment he gave a snapping kick to another one locking both of his heels around its neck and snapped it as well while impulsing himself through with the force of the motion.

Yet the enemy was not bereft of their own damage, while he had successfully killed at least 5 of them in less than a minute for each the claws of the demons had reached him and left wounds that if not tended immediately would grow to be fatal.

And they did not yielded, they forgot their mistress aid and went berserk for vengeance.

With the time they needed to get their act together and the agility of the rogue being dispaired by his wounds the horde of the birds fell upon him and he was soon overwhelmed but none could deny the fact that as hard as he took damaged he did not fail to deliver it back at his attackers, every scratch and bite was paid off in kind with stabs to the gut or coldly calculated jabs through the eyes.

As they began to wear her down before the joint efforts of the knight, the monk and the paladin progressive and decisive damage was being delivered on the demoness, her parries were slower, her attacks had been drained of their vitality and the smugness on her face was replaced with a palpable fear of defeat.

It was when the prince moved and clipped her wing off that she realized that she could be banished here despite her careful plans and made a retreat, as Akdov cleaned his wounds he turned his gaze to the rogue that had secured their attack, he was leaning against a wall and the punishment he had been delivered could not be hid, neither could the pile of corpses around him.

"Hold still" Akdov ran towards him desperately making incantations and prayers to request assistance to his god, assistance that never came... even at the height of his power Akdov was not sure he could have done anything for him, his scarred eye had been completely torn out, part of his left cheek was missing leaving the teeth bare, multiple lacerations had been delivered across his chest, which were still bleeding, his left hand was a maimed wreck with only thumb and middle finger remaining, the man was going to die... "We got them good didn't we?" the rogue said not clear if it was a question or an affirmation "Yes we did" Akdov blurted "The prince is he..." judging by his lack of movement Akdov could make out that the man was blind completely "Safe he delivered the finishing strike"

"Good... good, Lance... find Systril, find my sister Yun Halli... deliver her my daggers..."
Akdov clasped his hands with the wreck that were his and gave some some relief by saying "I swear it, ill find her and deliver your legacy" Xan gave something that could be a smile, it was hard to tell with half of his face missing and then finally moved on from beyond his mortal shell

Akdov stood up rage boiling as he moved towards the prince "You idiot!" he yelled at him, he would have backed it up with a blow to the face had the battle with the succubus not left him so tarnished "nice way to deliver us to the enemy's hands there prince, tell me now does your plan to get your father killed failed here or do you have some other backup plan to make a grab at the crown? did the demon failed to deliver her end of the bargain!" but it was not wholly the princes fault, the crew had been slow to react to his directions, both archers had not moved to make any damage to the prince or the temptress when the events began to fold out of control, Akdov had shouted those threats precisely to make the enemy know that they were being kept on check "And you fools" he said to the soldier and the ranger "What kind of marksmen are those that fail to deliver their mark and instead chose to simply watch as a beast ravages your companions?" then there were the wizards...wizards that sat helplessly as a monster far beyond the capacities of steel presented itself "which part of dont let her do anything without you noticing confused you? I mean maybe you noticed it but I didnt see anything flash in her general direction now did I?" he clasped Xan's daggers and made clear his frustration "If only you were more competent a good man would not have had to die to secure our assault, shame on you all who failed to give what was needed" he could now only feel that his old friend, the Triansui and the monk were the ones worth anything "G, I will need your help moving his corpse" he signaled towards Xan "I will not let such a brave soul go down on a place of such unholiness, he needs sacred ground to host his rest"

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Xan Hallister Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Alice Sangera Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Callavan Sole Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Siobhan Brennan

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#, as written by Celedia
-=Mirabella=-


Hope began to thread its way into Mirabella’s very being as both the Prince and Xan joined in their battle with the succubus. The fighter grit her teeth, trying not to focus on how Nelinia gasped in pain or how the thief suddenly fell silent but instead she kept pursuing the succubus. Her two weapons moving in a precisely timed flurry that sought to keep the demoness on her toes, holding her attention so that the others could land blows against the vile fiend.

One such hit rang true and the Prince’s sword struck Nilux’s wing, drawing a shrill cry from the woman’s poisonous lips along with threats aimed at Rydas before she slipped from their plane. The battle had ended. Their enemies were either in tattered heaps around them or had escaped and it was in the silence of the aftermath of battle that everything could be assessed. The thrill of such a fight was usually rewarded with a slain enemy but in this fight they weren’t so lucky. Not only had the temptress escaped but the group was left wounded and weary with yet another loss of life to attend.

Yet, before they could even process what had happened, much less deal with their own grievances, Lakdov’s voice shattered the silence with accusations and inflammatory remarks. Not that the reaction was anything less than what she had expected from the Priest but his timing was imperfect.

Breathing in and out slowly, the Triansui took the time to sheath her bloodied weapons before speaking softly, yet firmly to Lakdov. ”Priest,” she paused a moment, hoping to draw his attention without elevating her voice as he had. ”I understand your pain, your grief. We all do…” Her bloodied face tilted so that her troubled gaze could fall upon Xan’s body, the oddly honest thief who had given his crystalline treasure to the child outside of the gates at the start of their journey. ”But that is no reason to attack people that are already battle weary. Once again, you seem intent to divide this group instead of strengthening it. Without those mages? We wouldn’t have had the scrolled spell for the ghoul. We wouldn’t have ended the diralgraun as quickly as we did.”

Her eyes cast quickly about the room in search of both Van and ‘Eidolon’ as the Triansui named their contributions to the previous battles and then she returned her gaze to Lakdov. ”And the Prince? Judge not lest ye be judged. If that creature had set her magic upon you instead are you so arrogant to believe that you would have cast off her attempted charm? He was most likely asleep, when we’re all at our most vulnerable and I have no qualms in admitting that were I male, she would have probably made me a puppet just as easily as she had made him.”

Her finger jutted out, pointing towards Rydas though her eyes never left the Paladin/Priest. ”So, yes. It is a shame that we have lost so many in these battles today but for once in your life get your pompous ass off of your high horse and realize that your constant derision serves the group no benefit. You are not the only one who has lost a friend and comrade this day so stop wallowing in your self pity long enough to see that.”

Having said what she needed to say, the Triansui turned to check upon the two comrades that were closest to her position. First, she walked to Feylon who had maneuvered quickly out of the way of her attempted knockout earlier and slipped upon the bloodied floor, rapping his head soundly against the elevated dais instead. She checked to see if the ranger was still breathing then laid two fingers upon his neck to check a pulse that was steady and strong. He was unconscious but otherwise in good health, so she moved to the next.

Nelinia wasn’t as lucky. Her wounds were many and blood stained her yellow robes so that they had turned a mottled brown in places. ”Nel, you fool…. Mirabella chided her, trying to keep the strain from her voice. Yet, as she went to pull the monk’s sleeve back to examine her arm a flash of silvery light filled the entire room, causing the warrior to leap up and spin around with her hand upon her blade. The light had made her think of a magical attack and yet it was quite the opposite. The raven-haired woman that had been trussed up to one of the banquet chairs now crumpled to the floor soundlessly. The magic had felt… Beneficial instead of detrimental.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Feylon Haradas Character Portrait: Siobhan Brennan

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#, as written by conor
Feylon opened his eyes slowly. His vision was blurred and his breathing heavy. Much of what had happened in the last few minutes was a mystery to him. His memories provided little help in deciphering what had gone on. He remembered standing in front of the mystical lady inspired by her beauty and then a sharp and abrupt pain in his side and everything went black. He remembered feeling as if he was laying in a pitch black room, devoid of anything but his own body. Slowly he felt as if every fibre in his body had been drained out, his connection with the lady diminishing until he was left empty and alone. After a few uneasy moments of what seemed to be non-existence he felt his body come back to life. As if each one of his organs, one-by-one, began to boot slowly back into life. His energy was gone but so was the haze and vapour that clouded his mind. His head was his own again.

Now awake, his face pressed against the cold floor. Nausea washed over him as if he had taken one swig too many from the jug of the mead. A trickle of blood worked its way slowly down his forehead from where he had made contact with the floor. Shivering with illness Feylon tried to push himself over, only to be met with fierce resistance from his wrist. Broken it would seem. He must have landed on it when he hit the floor, an occurrence of which he still had no recollection of. As he slowly rolled himself over he stopped when his back met the floor. All of his energy had been sucked away when his connection with the lady had been broken.

Finally nausea got the better of him as he titled his head to the side and ejected a pool of vomit. The vile, viscous liquid landing far enough away from him not to cause him any immediate problems. Free from the burden of the contents of his fragile stomach he pushed himself up. Slowly at first onto one knee and eventually, onto both feet. His hands trembled and his skin was white as the northern snows, but suddenly a wave of energy then flowed across his body. Instantly he felt as if he had been rested for days on end. The gashes on his chest now resembled three claw shaped scars that spanned across his stomach diagonally. His wrist seemed to gain normal function once more and his mind felt rejuvenated.

Feylon began to look for the source of the magic but before he could determine the persons location his ears stumbled upon Akdov and his ranting. Frustration grew inside of him as Akdov shouted and blurted all kinds of insinuations. Feylon did not regret his actions towards the Prince, not in the slightest. However Feylon knew that the responsibility of the deaths of other companions were partially on his shoulders. Although inevitable he felt he had provoked the attack, most of which he could no longer remember. Picking up his courage and pride Feylon walked towards Akdov with purpose in his stride. He squared up to him and hurled his fist in the direction of the priests jaw.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Feylon Haradas

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He was so close to be foaming through the mouth, he could not recall feeling so wrathful in his life "You understand my pain? Dont bark back at me as if we were in equal circumstances woman!" the audacity on this wench "What do you know about the loss of Lance? of Akdov? of Xan? what have you lost in this struggle that marks you in the position to understand that I am stripped of my God´s graces! Graces that mind you could have saved Xan" she continued to call for reason and understanding on the capacities of the group "Am I supposed to congratulate this bluberring rable of fools then? I have seen riots with more cordination than this team of lackwits" He wanted her to shout a comeback because he was certain she was wrong and he had proof all over it

"To your eyes it may seem that I want to attack and divide, had they done as they were told maybe more people would be alive, when we entered the group I did my best to coordinate it... what happened, Nel happened! she threw caution and group effort out of the window and decided to prance on her own, should I commend her for such recklesness? Do you find her action acceptable even as she placed herself in danger and threw our organization in disarray?

Now recall if you can but Lance, Travian and Akdov were in the middle of dealing with the ghoul, in the middle of delivering salvation to a tortured soul and what do you do, you make a show of your ignorance and blow the creature to ashes condemning a soul to a guideless afterlife and killing a man that was risking his life to help, you expect me to tell you that what you did there was fine? that I aprove of that nonsense that wrecked one of your brother in arms?!

Then there is Lance who fought his ground and held it so that Geraint could do something for Akdov whilst some of you hid in a corner and our mage acted only when she was directly threathened, what did Lance got out of your coperation? why was his bravery and reliance in his comrades was rewarded with death? youre going to tell me that there was a group spirit there? If I wanted to divide us we would first need to be united and I can tell you that only some of us have showed any intent to pull in the same direction.

Dont you dare telling me about self pitty and high horses woman! what have you lost today I ask! I tried to put us in one direction I tried to give orders expecting them to be followed but this rabble does as they want and any cohesion cant be expected of them, if it wasnt for a selected few individuals, some of them who are dead now, most of us would be cold and dead

And the prince... if you have ever played chess you would know that you always keep the most important piece guarded and what does he do he Ung-"
Akdov was cut short as Feylong delivered a tactical strike that knocked him off his feet, he quickly got back up and shouted "You want a piece of me you asshole! you will get it!" he threw his sword out of his seath, he didnt want to kill the man,yet, but he was going to break something that was for sure, he rushed in towards him trying to land a grapple and get on top of him once they both hit the floor. not really minding the sudden surge of energy that had repaired most of his wounds

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Feylon Haradas Character Portrait: Talsin Inicka

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#, as written by Deallo
It was the sight of the prince rushing into battle that surprised Nel most of all; the man who had first led them to this ambush was now fighting against it himself! Any demonic creature that got in his way met his sword but the monk couldn't concentrate on him, busy trying to attack the demon succubus until suddenly, a sword suddenly slashed through her wing. She turned to just meet the prince; finally joining them in battle and bleeding alongside them but also wearing down the Demoness at the same time. She could see it; it was only a matter of time until the monster would let in a single blow if she hadn't screeched and disappeared through a portal. The bloody monk tried to run in after her but the portal closed and it was too late; only running into empty air.

"That coward!" She thought with a penchant of revenge, turning back, and it suddenly dawned on her. It was over. It was all over. Nel slumped over on the table, breathing hard, black hair scattered about, dirty, reeking of rustic blood and ever so tired. For a moment her eyes met Mirabella's sad, glossy eyes as she called her a fool. Nel had no idea what a "fool" was but the way in which her friend had said it, it was that in a sadness the monk could only mistake for disappointment, and for just a brief moment, felt ashamed for no apparent reason. As Mirabella was about to pull up her arm, five tired yet innocent words left her mouth, addressed to the warrior herself: "What did I do wrong?" Just as she ended those words hand, a bright light suddenly erupted in the room, blinding her as she put an arm to shield herself.

With no time to think she could actually feel the wounds on her skin shift and move, the shattered bones of her hand move back into place, and with new vision came with her a healed body. It was almost too much to comprehend as she patted her previous gashes and slashes, reduced to mere cuts, and painlessly flexed her already healed hand. The breaking of the fist, her sixth to be precise, was healed in a mere matter of minutes then it would regular months. Nel turned her head left and right, severely confused to what had happened and who had caused it but now livelier then ever, almost rejuvenated. Her clothes were still riddled with her own and Vrock's blood, slashed by claws and sharpened wings, but nary a serious wound was on her.

It wasn't until Lakdov started lashing out at Mirabella did Nel suddenly saw Xan's cadaver on the floor and froze. Her breath gone as she horrifying visage of the thief's face, half ripped apart, embedded itself in the monk's memory. She kneeled down, inches from the body, and pressed two fingers up against his neck in the desperate, feeble attempt to feel the pump of blood. Nothing. Nothing but his skin, still warm, just escaping life minutes ago.

"What happened? Nel happened!"

The very man that saved her life from the grips of a ghoul now lay on the floor of demon corpses. Now more then ever, she wanted to cry, but it was impossible. The sadness that was supposed to arise from the death of a comrade was replaced with a dying feeling in the pit of her stomach and a single question.

Why am I here? She mentally searched for an answer, trying to find some semblance to her goal and why she was in this forsaken palace in the first place but instead, nothing.

"She threw caution and group effort out of the window and decided to prance on her own..."

The king...something to do with the king. It was such a blur in her mind; like a footnote to the chaos that had earlier ensued. A fleeting memory of childhood to the memory of adulthood. The needle in the haystack, call it what you will. Sickness...the king was sick?

"Should I commend her for such recklessness?"

And she had heard a conversation in the middle of her escape attempt between the Elder and another group; was drawn in, caught, and selected.

"Should I commend her for such recklessness?"

To decide either life or death.

"Do you find her actions acceptable even as she placed herself in danger and threw our organization in disarray?"

The ugly face of death showed his face to both Akdov and Xan; and it's such a terrifying a face he's forced to walk with the mask of a normal man. How could have anyone accepted death in it's most violent forms?

Nel bit down the sleeve of her yellow robes and slowly got up back to her feet, attention split between the half-bloodied prince and Lakdov, hate managing to win the betterment of her emotions with the belief that Rydas was only slightly injured, balling up her newly healed hand into a fist and ready to let Lakdov have it before Feylon beat her to "the punch". A little bit shocked, she watched as both of the men fought, fists flying, and frowned just as easily. Feylon's technique was as sloppy as the whore's he slept with and the paladin a wild animal lacking control. They didn't know how to fight. It was like watching two homeless men fight over a piece of bread; in her eyes a sad act considering they couldn't expect to compete with some of the extraordinary fighters she grew up with in the monastery.

Just as the young boy who carried Acacia finished his little speech, Nel came up behind both Feylon and Lakdov and subdued them, though the time was just incidental. Just as the paladin's arm was reared back for a punch, the monk grabbed him by the wrist, and redirected the direction up man's back while sporting a hefty tight grip of the long blond hair from the top of Feylon's skull, pulling his body back ever so slightly, making it impossible to move his own body but able flail his limbs to his heart's content.

"The only reason I interfered was to keep the prince from cutting Feylon in half." She growled, anger and fury mixed into her breath. "Perhaps if G hadn't struck him he wouldn't be enraged, perhaps if you hadn't started barking orders against his life he wouldn't be enraged, perhaps if we all hadn't have been standing around like sheep at one end of the room something might have changed." Nel leaned in towards the paladin and was nearly shouting in his ear at this point, wedging his arm a little bit higher on his back. "It's all meaningless! The if's and or's of the past are useless! It doesn't change the fact that the priest and Xan are dead and that their deaths weigh heavy on all of us!"

It was then that the prince had placed the emerald on the wall and exposed the room of treasures that simply demanded awe but it was center of the chamber of riches that caught Nel's attention. The amulet of Pancea that lay atop it's very own pedestal. The amulet. That was her purpose here. Nel looked at the prince, his breathing heavy, and his blood flowing from his clothing. The monk looked at the young man who seemed almost childish in nature, carrying Acacia in her back, managed to finally break a small smile.
"The boy is right. We work together now and keep each other alive; starting with Rydas. So end your petty squabbles or I'll end the both of you."

With one last tug of Akdov's arm upwards and a twisting pull of Feylon's hair, she bent her knees a bit more to stabilize herself and pushed them to the side, then running into the chamber to grab the amulet of Pancea, and force it upon the prince's neck. If either Feylon or Lakdov or anyone else dared to stop her; she had no qualms about face-punching. For the second time in her life, she'd seen death's ugly face mere inches from her own, touching bandits, demons and two of her comrades. She wasn't going to choose death for Rydas. He didn't deserve it's terrifying touch.

Now more then ever; she wanted to see life in action.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Feylon Haradas Character Portrait: Geraint Magdohl Character Portrait: Travian Zarel

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The air had a new taste to it, he could not say if this was due to him having gone into that citadel of darkness in the body in which he had been born and having walked out as a youthful and brave paladin or if it was because the stench of evil that had plagued the necromancer´s hideout had been left behind.

All was well, the prince in one piece after the Panacea had lived up to he expectations, the king would be healed in no time and Deud would get a huge building to house the faithful and spread the word of his might, yet... How would he be able to explain what had happened to him?

He was not really sure he grasped it, for starters he could not remember anything about his life as Arthur, all the memories of Queran were left behind and he could not for his life locate it or recall it... In its stead were others the ones who were filled with the thrill of chase amongst suburbs and stealing bread, knowing hunger and devotion to a foreign god one who stood for light, strength and healing.

Akdov held no enmity to this other.. Idol of the sun, but his devotion was to Deud and Deud alone, the hall lord allow this other aspects to be tolerated, but it was not unheard of that the defenders of the faith could do just that, Deud´s scriptures were a joke to some of the other religions at Paetax, a joke they would not tolerate to compete with... Many times had Akdov had his life endangered when he worked as a missionary, the gallows, poison, drowning and stabs on the back had not felled him.

What was he now? He had the vitality to fight now, he could endure the travels that he had once made to be a missionary...but

He looked at the prince, then at the Citadel they had left behind... That temptress was a sign of things to come, the poisoning of the King might be but the advent of a greater wave of chaos, if the king was killed that would mean an imbalance to the power structure that had held the continent together, that demoness had sought to enslave the heir, she could be in league with whatever had aimed to kill the Monarch of Paetax

We put a stop to it, or did we just fought a herald of greater evils?


The priest had done a great deal of bitching down there, he had called everyone´s incompetence up when it surfaced because mistakes like that had costed Lance and Xan a price that could not be paid twice of them... But what had he done?

He had gotten himself in a position where he had to extract a soul -and gotten himself killed for it-, he had also not been able to be strong enough to overpower the succubus on his own or hold the Vulture monsters like Xan did, if the roles had been reversed the creatures would have easily killed him and he would have failed to stop the backup from reaching the demon which the Triansui and the monk had engaged.

He simply did not match the power that some of the members of the group commanded

The Triansui would absolutely trash him at swordplay, let alone the handling of shield and arms
The monk had incapacitated him with ease with only one twist of an arm
Geraint had been a force of nature and wrecked through the enemies ranks
Xan had been vital to the advance of the group, diffused of the traps and his sacrifice had saved them
Lance had not held back even when it meant his life.
And callavan had frozen the beast... Or was that the other girl?

What had he done? How would he help if the succubus was but a slight rash of a deadly disease... How would he stop it? He had to take a path that the followers of Deud rarely took... While the Hall of the merry one was open to all, there were some whose behavior inside could not be accepted, the hall needed to be guarded against supernatural entities and intolerant mortals as well, the defenders of the faith, the paragons of virtue, the keepers of the words... The Paladins of Deud.
He would have to rise up to the challenge and ask of him more than what he had already been given, this was mayhap, Deud´s secret and convoluted plan... All part of it scheming to have a champion to fight the darkness that advanced on them.

He clasped Xan´s chain daggers and told the group "We have succeeded were few would have, Panacea is retrieved and the prince is safe... While our loses were dire only a fool would have expected to come out of such unforeseen adversities without any consequences... Yet our bargain has been met and I must part ways for I made a promise to one of our companions and I will not defile his legacy by forsaking his dying wish" he faced the prince "Deliver the Panacea to your father Dazius, tell the old man that I want a statue of in my image in front of the church, he promised it last time and he never got around to it " he chuckled... The prince remained cold- smile for once you bastard, should have left you on her charm- "I jest your highness, have my reward be delivered to Azevrec my acolyte, he is the one leading the church now... I want your promise fulfilled your highness, Deud will have a great hall inside the walls of Paetax were the cult might at last have the recognition it deserves and the faithful might have the necessary room to pray without being hindered by other zealous churches"

He moved to the Triansui "See them safe to the capital woman, you do your people proud with your skills and righteousness, if you ever need divine assistance my Church will aid you or your people for what you did for us in this journey"

Then it was the turn of the mage "Callavan I am afraid that your powers are still raw, while this rune working of you is a craft unknown to me I am certain you will make a great mage one of these days, stay true to yourself and support your King, the times before the guild were dark, but mages with your promise and discipline confirm that this generation is in safe hands"

He could not let Feylon walk out on him "I will look forward to ending what we started below that accursed place one of these days soldier, who knows, maybe I can teach you how a party is really all about, consider reading one of Deud´s preaching at least once, you might find some faith in you"

The foreign paladin had also need some commendations "Travian you are the example of everything your order should be and a pride to Urusk, be safe and see the Prince safe to the capital" he gestured to Accacia "without your help we might have spent weeks in there lass, I am glad this didn't weighted down on you as much as it did to others"

He then finally talked to his old friend "G, Ill be seeing you again that's a promise, were getting too old for this shit aren't we? All this shit about sorceress, demons, undead and wizards... A man can only take it so far... Glad to see we aren't even halfway there" he chuckled as he gave him a pat on the shoulder

Then he addressed them all as he walked away "I made a promise to Xan, I told him that I would go to Systril -wherever the hell that is- and find his sister, deliver her his legacy... And while at it make sure his family does not suffer a day of hunger with all this treasure we found, I'm taking both of our horses for this reason, once I do that I shall return to Paetax... Tell them that Akdov died, that he fought and fell for Deud and the King, let others take strength in the sacrifices of the few that bought the safety of the masses today and make sure the King can hold together the peace"

That marked the farewell of Akdov to the group... He would return, but when? And under what conditions?

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Geraint Magdohl Character Portrait: Senalae Errion

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#, as written by Deallo
Then...

"I've seen children put up better fights." Nel muttered under her breath, meant for no-one but herself, a great deal of annoyance from Feylon suppressed. Children brought up like her to know nothing but combat. As she turned to the prince, expecting his wounds to be magically put together, she was treated to a different sight.

The prince was supposed to live. Those blood-curdling shrieks of pain and the wounds that suddenly appeared on his body were beyond the monk's comprehension as she watched, horrified, slowly backing herself to a wall. She was killing him. Killing him. Through what cruel twist of fate, Nel looked at her hands, blood from the demons she killed and maimed and her own mingled together in a crimson red and black. It may not have been the prince's blood but it might as well have been. Covering up her face with her palms, she smeared the fresh blood across her eyes, and wanted to oh so badly curse Panacea. Yet she had no words to shout, to articulate, to speak. Lies from the beginning! Her efforts in saving the prince was now dealing his own death, she could see images of the mutilated prince flash in her mind, and can still hear him sing a torturer's song that grated against her ears like a banshee's scream.

Only after he stopped his song of pain did Nel peak from the corner of her bloody tear filled eye to the clean corpse. Just a sliver of doubt probed her head; telling her that he was alive. The monk had no words to respond with to any criticisms or reassurances for her. As mute as a man with his tongue cut off, the opposite state of the paladin, roused by the recent actions to speak, and speak, and speak. Yet Nel could hold no malice against the paladin; noticing the fact the he most likely failed to address her but failing to care otherwise.

He set off with Xan's body and as much as Nel had his dislike of the priest, she can trust him to take care of his body, maybe set it to pyre. It's what Xan would have wanted, she thought.

The entire trip back to Paetax was accompanied by the prince's obvious pain and the mute monk left with a sickening feeling. Sleep was nigh impossible with the visions of demons, the menacing succubus, and the mutilated prince haunting her dreams. Safe within her meditation, it did nothing to quell her growing weariness. By the time the group sans the paladin reached Paetax, they were each paid handsomely, the prince was healthier and Nel finally spoke.

"Thank you." She made sure to tell Rydas, avoiding to look him in the eye before turning to everyone else.

"It was-" Nel paused, closing her eyes to remember the word before opening them again. "-an honor to meet you all."

Managing to finally press her lips into a smile, it quickly disappeared, and her tired visage quickly came back. Her sight centered themselves on each individual. Mirabella, the warrior who felt like the closest thing to a relative, Acacia, the bard who told her of such tales of woe and happiness of the world she never knew, Travian, the paladin who protected the weak in the fight against the succubus, G, the old man who was passionate of heart and spirit. Yes, even the images of their fallen flashed through her eyes: Xan, the man who had saved her from being eaten alive, and yes, even Akdov. For some strange reason, she thought of the first day setting off from Paetax, and that oddly staff with the absurd shape of a hand with a "thumbs up" sign. "Well it is very good to draw smiles and laughs so I guess you could say it is a weapon against boredom and dull moods..." Nel managed to give a small, abrupt chuckle.

"I'm going to go home." She said and decided. If anyone wished to join her, it'd be impossible. The monastery had no care for strangers.


Corrupt.

The Elder was a short battle-hardened man, a relic from the days of war in Calisma, wrinkles a testament to his wisdom, lithe oddly muscled body a testament to his power. As he watched over the training over his assistants, the chatter of other yellow clad monks of all shapes and sizes went through the walls and grew louder when the double doors swung open to the Elder's private training room. He was familiar with the face before him, unnerved by the splotches of dry blood that surrounded Nel's cloth, while all the other monks behind her looked with a mix of wonder and horror at the scene that was going to play out in front of them.

"Elder, please tell everyone that I'm to stay." Nel said, exasperated by the countess questions by her former companions. With the edge of his sharp eyes, she looked at her with a cold almost steel look and voice.

"You've left the monastery, Nel. We can not allow you to come back."

Nel's lips parted, her eyes widened and pupils dilated in a mix of shock and surprise.

"But you sent me out-"

With naught but a swift movement, he turned towards her, brows knitted together furiously.

"Don't you lie!" He boomed, the Elder's voice slapping her across the face and wrenched her heart. While every monk behind Nel bowed, the proper custom when the Elder faced a student, Nel only noticed a few seconds after and bowed.

"A wolf in sheep's clothing, you left the purity of the monastery and became corrupted of your own fault. Get up and leave. If you come back, you will find no friends in these walls. GO!"

Tears welled up in Nel's eyes against the harsh words but her teeth clenched against each other and her hands balled up in tight fists. Some of the monk's noticed and gasped from their kneeling position. That by itself was an act of treason. The Elder motioned everyone to stand up and they did. For just a split second, Nel thought she may have been mistaken, but she pushed that aside. Nel turned from the leader and the fellow monks she now faced parted a way out. With tears streaking down her face, she faced forward and refused to break down into a weeping mess. She was right and nothing could have taken that away from her.

The monks and villagers of Kiron looked at her like a sick leper. Out of the outskirts of her home and now in the Shallen Woods; there only one more place she can call familiar.

A week after the quest of Panacea, Nel found herself back in the Black Vagabond, the pack that was given to her for carrying the gold in question stuck to her back created a spot of sickly sweat between her shoulder blades. Vinny, the bartender and former owner of the Black Vagabond, recognized her. How hard was it to forgot about the motley meeting the prince himself hosted alongside a woman who wore bright yellow? With the gold she had layed on the counter, a sack, he thought she was going to buy the Black Vagabond and brung her the deed to the bar.

Although she needed to do a little bit of explaining on what was going on, an exchange (without any sorts of haggling) was made, ripped-off she was but it mattered not. All that gold did was weigh heavy on her back and annoy her, at least now she had some home, food, and drink. Vinny was still the bartender, the old crow he was, he wasn't ready to just up and leave, and Nel did at least respect him for that. Still, he was kind enough to help her adjust to life in Paetax, she was after all his boss, whether she realized that or not. She figured out how to buy things and check the quality of clothes, though haggling was still far beyond her comprehension.

She still trained, whether it be on the roof of the Black Vagabond or on the farmlands around Paetax. Her sleepless nights were spent inside the bar, sometimes telling the tales of her adventure, sometimes listening to the tale of others, and sometimes drinking. Most nights, she had to act like a mediator between spontaneous fights, break them up, and through the patrons out the door. Though she had made acquaintances, they were by no means friends just because she knew their names. When everyone sleeps or everyone in the bar is passed out in drunken bliss she'd meditate. Memories always brought her back to the monastery, whether when she was a mischievous child, or she was a teacher and had to deal with her own batch of them, she cherished those precious mental images.

When she got the message from the prince himself, Nel was reluctant to accept it, looking back to the yellow robe that hung from a hook in her room. The faint splotches of blood were still on it, no matter how hard she tried to scrub it off with soap or water, they served as constant reminders. After shedding off her clothes, tracing the light scars around her body for a moment before replacing them with the yellow robe, she was almost surprised to see that it had still fit, despite it only being a month since she felt comfortable wearing it. She threw a couple of punches before jumping up striking the air with her legs. Somehow, it still felt normal. Dinner social, combat, sleeping, it just felt right. The very fact that it did made her happy and sad all at once.

She was the among the first to appear at the gate, clad in yellow and meditating, to pass the time. She'd easily break her meditation and welcome her friends, even the paladin. Upon the gates opening, the familiar sight of Rydas strung up feelings of guilt, and the other familiar sight of that woman brought feelings of scorn, too familiar with those that thought she was godly, though she had more then a few problems with the variety of religions in the capital. Yet when she welcomed those who've arrived, Nel took to pause for a few moments, alternating sights between Rydas and her sister, mesmerized by the royal colors for a moment before stepping forward and speaking. Life in Paetax still hasn't prepared her for speaking to royalty and in meditating; she forgot Vinny's advice about addressing royalty.

"Thank you for inviting us. It's, uh-" She cleared her throat.

"-good to see you, Rydas." It was a half lie.

and good to meet...your sister." Nel said hesitantly, forgetting her name, not prepared to call her either Mother or Saint.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Xan Hallister Character Portrait: Narenia Halen Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Travian Zarel Character Portrait: Senalae Errion

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#, as written by Celedia
-=Mirabella=-


Fierce words were lobbed back at the Triansui by the Priestadin but Mirabella ignored every bit of venom that spewed forth from his mouth. He claimed kinship with the honest thief, Xan, but his speech was not taken to be as acerbic as it would have been if he had bothered to feast with them at the Dancing Dragon before their journey. She, however, would take Xan’s wish that he had shared that night to heart: "I hope everyone can learn to get along…”

So she turned from Lakdov and the others until the amulet hung around the Prince’s neck. When Rydas’ sickening screams had lessened, the party began to disperse and even as the Priestadin spoke to her once more, this time almost cordially, she still ignored him. Only when Nelinia announced that she too was parting ways with the group did the warrior’s bloodied features fall.

”Home?” She repeated the monk’s words dully as her gaze raked over the yellow-clad figure. The tiny melee fighter had become one of her closest allies in the massive group and she couldn’t come to terms with parting from her this quickly. Arguing wouldn’t solve anything so instead Mira wrapped her arms around the weary monk in a bear hug and embraced her quickly before stepping back.

”Be safe, Nelinia. If you ever need anything….” Her words trailed off and a sad smile clung to her lips. Honey brown eyes searched for her other close companions: Nari, Acacia, and Ian to see if any of them would be leaving as well. Those of the group that wished to travel back to Paetax were gathered together. With Ian’s help, Mira managed to load the Prince onto the back of her mare, Blaze, who had just happened to linger around the entrance to the citadel with a handful of other horses. The ride to the capitol was uneventful and as soon as they had reached the gates the Triansui reined her horse around to face north.

”I must travel home,” She murmured to herself but the realization that there was nothing really left for her there emerged. Most of her life she had been a nomad, wandering from place to place in search of gold and adventure and an honorable fight. It had taken them a few days to travel to the capitol and she realized that there really wasn’t anywhere that she would truly call home anymore, so perhaps she should simply continue her adventures elsewhere. When trying to pick a destination, she inadvertently turned her steed southward instead, towards the Shallon Woods, towards Kiron and the Kula Monastery.

She took her time on the trip and it was only when three more full days had passed that she had breeched the perimeter of the town. Exhausted, Mirabella barely noticed the agile monks hopping swiftly from tree to tree above her and though on any other day she would be halted and questioned regarding her entry into Kiron, she was allowed to pass into the village itself with no hesitation. As she brought Blaze through Kiron towards the large monastery, a small group exited and stood by the doors as if they had been waiting for her arrival.

”Ahhh. You are early but no matter.” One of the yellow clad figures stepped out to meet her and though Mirabella arched her brow in confusion, her reaction was ignored as the figure turned quickly to a rather short man that looked as if he had seen his fair share of battle. The monk that had greeted her quickly stood back and half-bowed towards the short man whilst introducing him.

”I present to you, the Elder. Elder, this is the representative that…” With a lightning quick gesture from the battle hardened man, the other monk’s words halted so the Elder could speak but not before his steely gaze assessed Mira with great intensity.

”Come, we have much to discuss.” The Elder turned without waiting for any sort of acknowledgement from the Triansui and puzzled, she had no choice but to dismount and follow along. She was led to an area where they could sit down and a small meal was placed before her.

”We have come far,” The Elder started, a conversational segue which confused Mirabella even more than it had before, but she assumed that Nelinia had simply told the man of their adventures. Not wanting to interrupt, she remained silent while she ate.

”If you have not heard the news. The King as passed. All that remains is the lesser son, the Prince. He won’t prove much of a challenge, will he?”

Mira’s honey-hued eyes widened at the statement, her spoon missing her mouth and spilling the heated soup that she had been served down over her breastplate. One of the Elder’s apprentices ran to fetch her some cloth to clean herself with while the Elder barely even registered her actions and he continued to deliver information to her. All throughout the man’s monologue the warrior couldn’t help but wonder exactly who he thought he was speaking with. None of this made sense. Where was Nel?

What had started out as a simple trip to visit what she had considered to be a dear friend, ended up being a one-sided conversation that brought a hint of intrigue into the Triansui’s life. The Elder chose all of his words carefully, as if he were speaking in code, and though she drew hints of treason from his speech she had no time for inquiries. Almost as abruptly as she was greeted by the Elder, she was dismissed. He stood up when he was finished and made a swift motion towards his apprentices. ”They will see to your needs and you may deliver the message to your superiors.”

What superiors? Who or what did they expect to visit them? Where is Nelinia?

Those troubled thoughts echoed in Mirabella’s mind and it wasn’t until the following day when she was leaving Kiron that she decided to ask someone of her friend’s whereabouts. Though her query was met with narrowed eyes, she was eventually given a brief response.

”Not here. That is all you need to know.”

It was a response that left her with more questions than answers.

Time passed. A messenger had hunted Mirabella down during her travels over the next few weeks and hand-delivered a satchel that was quite heavy and a rolled piece of parchment bearing the Royal seal. Both were expected and both were well received: her payment for the Panacea quest and a letter inviting her to the coronation of the First Prince and Future King of Calisma, Rydas Errion.

The gold she managed to hide away, like a squirrel preparing for winter. The scroll was slid behind her belt, keeping it firmly by her side to prove that her presence at the castle had been requested. Unlike other more vain warriors, Mirabella hadn’t used her newfound wealth to buy new armor or weapons. Her breastplate was still the one that had seen her through the battles in the citadel, her blade was still the one used to hack at ghoul, diralgraun, vrock and succubi. The only thing that had changed during the month long absence was the look in her eyes. Though still caring and jovial at times, her meeting with the Elder had proven that everyone had secrets. Even the most unsuspecting entities could be worthy of her distrust and cynicism.

Ascending the stairs with her head held high and her shoulders set proudly, her breastplate polished to a mirror finish and her golden hair pulled away from her face with a leather tie, Mirabella approached the Royals and the monk. A flash of surprise and curiosity flashed over her fair features as she came upon the tail end of the conversation then she bowed low before righting herself once more.

“Prince…” she trailed off with a nod and a friendly smile towards Rydas before she greeted his sister next, “Princess.” Another bow and acknowledgement before she proceeded, “It is an honor to be invited.”

Her eyes turned briefly to the monk as she murmured a brief greeting to Nelinia as well, though whether it was from suspicions based on her visit to the monastery or simply because she didn’t quite know the protocol when royalty was involved, it wasn’t clear.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze

0.00 INK

#, as written by Celedia
The monk managed a small half-smile at the princess and a familiar voice behind Nel beckoned her to see if her ears were deceiving her. It took a moment to gather who the warrior was, those fateful days on the quest anything but a fleeting memory, and something was odd. The warrior just briefly looked at the monk and murmured something, too low for the monk to hear, and Nel had to take a step closer just to be sure. She wanted to be sure this time, having thought a couple of random strangers her friend from behind by their shiny armor, Nel turned around so she can clearly see the Triansui's face. The monk took a moment, scanning the face that watched her before wrapping both arms around the warrior's body, and tightened her grip in a bear-hug, the same way Mirabella did before, and even lifting her a couple of inches off the ground.

"Mirabella!" She shouted with glee before putting down her friend and taking a step back, facing her with a smile as wide as the crescent moon on her face. "Oh, how are you? It's been so long, what ventures have you been up to?" Nel spoke quickly, mostly excited to see her favorite familiar, friendly face amongst the crowd.

Mirabella smiled, though the reaction appeared to be accompanied by slight discomfort. Before the month-long absence, Nelinia had obviously been one of the warrior’s favorite people but time had lapsed. Things had changed. With a nod towards the Princess to acknowledge their ability to leave, rest and redress, Mirabella looked pointedly at the monk and began walking towards the castle. A servant stepped up towards her, making a gesture as if she were to follow and she could only hope that Nel took the hint and followed as well.

The royal castle was massive, which made her thankful that they had a guide through its twisting corridors. A right then straight until they reached the stairs, ascending to another floor before another flurry of turns had the trio suddenly grinding to a halt before a pair of elaborate doors located on opposite sides of the hallway. The servant gestured to one set and announced, “This room is for you, Mistress Jaze…” then with a flourish the servant swiveled on his heel and opened the door on the opposite side of the hallway. “And this one is set to be your lodgings, Mistress, d’Adreci.” A pause, a brief lapse in the conversation which the servant quickly filled once more with his chatter, “Is there anything else I can get for either of you?”

Mirabella shook her head and stalked into the room designated as her own, slinging her pack upon the nearest settee. “No, thank you.”

The servant turned just as quickly towards Nel and looked at her, expecting an answer as well but only left with awkward silence. She wondered why the Triansui was silent; perhaps she had not heard her? He lightly cleared his throat to get her attention and the monk paid her attention back on him, only then the servant realized she wasn't listening to him. "Is there anything else I can get you?" he repeated with a calm patience. "No, nothing else. Thank you."

With that, the servant nodded, turned round, and headed towards some other part of the massive castle, Nel and Mirabella finally alone.

The conversation was inevitably awkward. The monk had claimed she was returning to the monastery before she left, correct? Yet when Mirabella had returned there she had found hints of treason and nefarious activities and no sign of Nelinia at all. The Triansui fumed briefly, wondering if she had been fed fallacies by one of the few people she truly trusted within the group but her anger was tempered by the fact that she honestly did not believe that Nelinia had it in her to tell a lie. So, an honest start to the conversation was perhaps best. "After I made sure everyone returned to the city safely, I visited the monastery." Her honey-brown gaze settled upon Nelinia, letting that sink in. "Your monastery."

It took only a moment, a moment for Nel to realize what Mirabella just said, widening her eyes in shock and gasped, bringing up a half-closed hand towards her lips before closing her eyes. "Oh no. No, no, no..." The monk trailed off and looked at Mira's face, only just understanding the anger in her face, almost indicative to the Elder's haunting face.

Instead of guilty, the monk looked surprised? The reaction was on that the warrior obviously wasn't prepared for and her scowl twisted into a look of confusion. "Why weren't you there, Nel? You always spoke so highly of the place..." Her words lingered in the air as they trailed off once more. "What are they involved in?"

Nel turned from Mira's face and looked at the floor, the Elder's visage engrained in the back of her brain, the disgust among her fellow monks and the apathy from the village, the memories rushing in like end of storms and she looked back up at Mira again with a look of great concern and care, small drops of sweat forming from her crown, the warrior's questions going over her head. "Y-you got attacked by the outer guards but are you injured?" The monk said, her words stringing together faster and faster, quickly yet lightly gripping the Triansui's arm, using her hands to search for broken bones, glad yet all the more confused. "Did you hurt them? Kill them? No, no, first I get banished for doing what's right and now you've injured or killed a monk and now the Masters are going to hunt and kill you and I can't let them do that but I can't do anything to stop it because they all despise me and they're too strong and-and-and-" Nel was at a lost for words, pristine drops of sweat slipping down her cheeks, breath at a lost in hyperventilation, chest convulsing and eyes coated over with a shiny gloss.

"Guards, what guards?" Mirabella added to the two-sided confusion as the monk's nimble fingers prodded her forearm and her brow arched in utter disbelief. The monks patrolling outside of the town had danced like shadows among the treetops and she hadn't even seen them so she had no idea what Nelinia was talking about. "They just let me into the city and introduced me to the Elder. Said they had been expecting me and that I was early."

The Triansui's brow furrowed further as she tried to piece together the discombobulated story. "He spoke and didn't really let me talk at all. I thought that you had told them about me and about the adventure but Nelinia..." Searching for the words, Mira tried to piece together her side of the story as best as she could. "Are they trying to...." Her eyes flashed quickly towards the door and she walked over to close it tightly before continuing her inquiry. "Are they trying to kill Rydas?! They spoke as if they wished the crown to be gone forever!" Her tone had dropped to a near whisper.

"What?!" Nel exclaimed loudly at Mirabella's claim, her voice carrying loudly into the hallway despite being dragged into the Triansui's room, shocked and appalled at the warrior's words. "Of course not!" Mira quickly shushed the monk before she continued in a quieter voice. "When I came back to the monastery, the Elder...he banished me, probably because I...I-" The monk suddenly stopped talking and bit her tongue. Without a second more, Nel made a swift move for the door, unable to take the conversation anymore, determined to leave the warrior's presence as fast as possible.

Brows flew skyward once more as the agile monk dashed for the closed door and Mira was startled, a lapse in motion before she moved towards the entrance to her room and attempted to hold the door closed to prevent Nel from leaving. "Because you... what?!" Her voice had risen above a whisper.

The monk slid to a stop to open the door, and tried to open it but couldn't. Mirabella already held the door shut. Nel stopped in that moment, her escape plan easily foiled, and leaned against a wall, facing her friend but looking at the ground. For a couple of minutes, it seemed like she wasn't going to explain anything. Then, she unwinded, speech slow and methodical, still focused at the floor. "When I was leaving the monastery to go to Paetax, the Elder caught me at the door, and asked what I was doing late up at night. I told him the truth; that I was sneaking out to aid the prince, as scared as I was, I told him the truth." Eyes lingering on the floor went up the warrior's ankles before she went on. "He didn't shout at me to go back to sleep or lecture me again that the monks weren't supposed to get involved in those affairs. Instead, he became quiet and told me to be careful of the prince." Sight focused a bit more upwards, to the Triansui's shiny breastplate. "He explained to me that if I wasn't careful he'd usurp the kingdom. The Elder also told me what an 'usurp' was." A little bit more, just on Mirabella's neck. "He told me to either bring Panacea to the monastery to bring it to the king directly or bring the prince to the monastery to assure his intentions." Nel finally looked at Mirabella, her chest pounding with fear, and lips dry. "He said If I told anyone, I'll never have a home back in the Monastery, and that he'll personally see to my life." The monk looked in Mirabella's eyes for just a second before turning away. "But when I put Panacea around Rydas, I just didn't want him to die, and I couldn't bear to look at him when he was in so much pain."

The Triansui remained silent during the monk’s explanation, chewing on her lower lip the entire time to keep from speaking.“But you placed the Panacea around Rydas’ neck, saving him and then you allowed him to go home. You weren't the cause of his pain and the amulet would've done the same to his father."

For the first time since she had met her, the monk seemed fragile. “You did the right thing, Nelinia. Rydas would have died without your assistance. I think even the King himself would’ve preferred for his only remaining son to live in his stead.” Once more, her golden gaze focused on the monk with sympathy and… What was the other emotion lingering in her eyes? Pride? “And neither your Elder nor the rest of the monastery will ever harm you as long as I am still alive, I swear this to you.” One hand reached out, resting tentatively upon the monk’s shoulder, seeking to provide comfort.

Mirabella's encouragement was just enough to put a small smile on Nel's face albeit a sad one. Although the monk found great comfort in being told the king's suffering wasn't her fault, how could she explain to Mira that the monastery meant everything to her. Her students, her friends, her duty and place in life? The fabric around her shoulder pressed into her skin and Nel found her right hand lightly on top the Triansui's. "Thank you Mirabella." With a light squeeze of her hand, she brought Mira's hand down from her shoulder, and gave another squeeze. "Thank you." The monk let go of her hand and took a deep shaky breath. "I should go to my room, and, I don't know, pass the time somehow, maybe train. Mira?" Nel said, gesturing clumsily with one hand to the door that she was blocking.

Mirabella frowned, sensing that the issue was in no way resolved but she also didn’t want Nelinia to feel trapped. Raising her hand from the door, she took a step back and folded her arms across her breastplate. “Nelinia…” she began, allowing a brief pause as she tried to seek the words that would comfort her friend. “If you need anything….”

The monk paused just as she was going to open the door; turning around briefly to listen to her friend before facing the door again. Nelinia took the moment to truly think about what she needed and somehow, she had it all. Food, water, shelter, clothes. Yet why wasn't it enough? What was missing from her life that peasants would kill for? The monk half-opened the door before she finally realized it, turning around on the balls of her feet, a surprising spring in her step just as she faced Mirabella. "There is one thing." Nel said, shifting her weight from one leg to the other, unable to mask the grin that was quickly forming across her face. "I haven't found a sparring partner in so long, it feels like years since I've had a proper spar. Pleeeease Mira!" The monk whined, repeatedly tugging on her arm. It wasn't a lie either; the fine drunken bar patrons of the Black Vagabond proved themselves pathetic, despite their persistence to start fights whenever they so desired.

Mirabella’s eyes flashed with something akin to terror for a brief moment. “Wha….?” She stuttered, trying to retract her arm from the monk’s grip. Having seen Nelinia in action, she knew that there was no way she would best her in hand to hand combat. If she had her weapons, that might be a different story but sparring with a melee fighter meant no weapons. Yet the look on Nelinia’s face, such childlike eagerness, was something that she didn’t want to disappear either. “I… Well, fine.” Mira huffed, the exhalation blowing feathery tendrils of blond hair away from her face. “Let me change, though. I won’t have any chance against you in full armor.”

Nel was obviously ecstatic with glee, hugging Mirabella spontaneously, repeating the words "Thank you!" over and over again before she backed off and started stretching, joyous over the opportunity to spar again by the silly grin that was plastered over her face. "Take your time, Mira, they said we have a few hours before the meal after all." The monk said happily, humming a tune she had picked up from Acacia, though the name of the song eluded her; she continued to stretch her muscles, eager for the spar.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Callavan Sole Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Travian Zarel Character Portrait: Senalae Errion

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Travian

Travian bowed low when the princess address him. “Thank you for the invitation, it is a great honor.” He looked at each of his companions and smiled or nodded as they were similarly addressed, in several cases making note of names he hadn’t heard or remembered.

Nelinina, the reckless little monk he’d saved from the ghoul. He was glad to see that she was okay, considering she had apparently learned nothing about diving headfirst into things. Still, it had been that very rashness that saved the prince’s life so it would probably be hard to convince her to act otherwise.

If he had not known Mirabella as well as he did and thus didn’t know the significance of her mishmash armor he would tease her about wearing it to the palace. In spite of that, he couldn’t help but wonder if there was any occasion for which she would wear something else. Suddenly the image of her dancing at a ball in her armor sprung to his mind and he had to suppress a chuckle. He made a note to bring that up with her later.

He was also happy to see Acacia again. He had been so worried for her after what happened during the citadel, and though the presence of the babbling woman had seemed to act as a balm she remained troubled throughout the whole journey back to the capital. Once they made it back the two departed and he hadn’t seen either of them since. Wherever they had gone must have been good for Acacia because the smiling woman in front of him was quite different from the depressed one he had come to know.

Callavan he didn’t even recognize until the prince and princess addressed him. The man looked completely different now that he was clean shaven. He actually looked like a reputable person!

After all had been acknowledged servants guided them to rooms which had been prepared. Even though he had been to the palace before he hadn’t seen much of it beyond the great hall, and he marveled at all of the new sights. He was eager to catch up with the others but decided to change and freshen up a bit first. He changed into a lighter tabard which was still quite formal, though not quite as much as the velvet one he had been wearing. The princess had said to dress casual but he couldn’t bring himself to drop too much formality in the palace; he was a member of the nobility after all.

That’s when the realization hit him. His family would be at the coronation. In the past whenever there was an important event that might bring them to the palace he simply made a point to blend in with the other knights. But it was different now, he wasn’t just an average knight anymore he was a special guest of the prince. What if he was announced? He still held his family name, he wouldn’t have been able to become a knight without it; he had been so careful not to make so much of a name for himself that the courtiers might gossip about him.

Overwhelming guilt consumed him. So many times he wanted to write to them, or visit them when he was passing through the area. How much grief had his selfishness caused them? He’d kept track of them through the years, he knew that he now had a sister. Finding out about Kalifina had only increased his desire for reunion. He wanted to meet her more than anything. Her presence also dispelled the fear that his parents might reveal him. She was the charming debutante his mother had always wanted; she’d never find a good husband if anything were to mar the name Zarel.

Despite all of this the only response his brain could ever conjure to the idea of reuniting was “I’m not ready yet.” And now he might not get a say in the matter. More than anything he wanted to be the one to tell them instead of being revealed by circumstance. A part of him was happy, not having the courage to deal with this was the one thing he hated about himself, but mostly he was just anxious.

He had to talk with someone. Listen to someone else’s worries or even just small talk. Anything to take his mind somewhere else and banish the anxiety. He strode out into the hall hoping to find someone milling about, doing his best to keep his mask of confidence from slipping.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze

0.00 INK

#, as written by Celedia
Mirabella went flying a good six feet, landing roughly on her back though at least this time, she remembered to tuck her limbs in to avoid breaking anything. Movement was easier considering her lack of armor and though she was dressed more casually than before, she still wasn't decked out in garb appropriate for tonight's dinner. A tan tunic over worn leather pants were deemed suitable for this spar with Nelinia and she almost wished that she had some form of padding in the back, since she seemed to be constantly landing on it. "Dinner is soon; perhaps we should go get ready?" Her tone weary, the Triansui stood once more, dusting herself off despite the posh surroundings as she turned and faced the tiny monk again. Her stance changed into the defensive pose that Nel had taught her and she waited for the next dose of instruction. Teaching melee to a weapon-based fighter? The two servants that were watching the spar with mild amusement must think that the monk was out of her mind.

With a sigh of reprehension, Nelinia scanned Mirabella's defense and ignored her queries about dinner. "Tuck in your thighs a bit, stop stiffening your shoulders, and straighten your back." She chided like a patient scholar but losing patience as she walked toward her friend to adjust the Triansui's stance herself, who could never just let her shoulder muscles relax. In the beginning, Nel was disappointed with the fact she expected a fierce battle of sparring, but instead, just had a fawn of a fighter. All that fighting spirit from Mirabella had with a sword didn't come through with her fists, though it all brought back a familiar atmosphere, teaching and training the little ones around the monastery. To be honest, Mirabella was capable enough, but in Nel's slightly condescending eyes there could be much more work to be done. After practicing kicking earlier on, the monk learned of the warrior's flexibility, even though those same kicks were somewhat there. The talent was there, it just needed to be trained, day and night, seven days a week for just a couple of years. Dinner, on the other hand, wasn't in a couple of years time. "Three more strikes, defend yourself!" The yellow-clad figure shouted with a recited discipline, running towards Mirabella, rearing back her right fist to an obvious blow to the face, significantly slower then the other punches, holding it back for a couple of seconds more before letting it fly. If there was any strike Mirabella didn't try to dodge or block, Nel could stop her attack just before it'd hit her. Of course, what Nel thought was a move to dodge or block, wasn't always so.

A scowl marred Mirabella’s features as she was reprimanded. It was like being back in her home village under the tutelage of her superiors, before she had essentially graduated and obtained the title of Triansui. She wasn’t used to being commanded and though her form was shifted into the stance that Nelinia desired, her body was still tense, shoulders a bit too tight for hand-to-hand and her eyes were trailing the tiny figure of her friend. “If we both had swords, we’d see who would trounce who….” The warrior muttered and even after Nelinia’s warning, the attack took her by surprise. Rearing back, she just narrowly missed the punch to her face though the tip of Nel’s knuckles caught her chin, whipping her head to the side as she tried to regain her balance in preparation for the next hit.

"Don't step back-" Nel voiced as she turned on the balls of her feet, her right fist in left hand, left elbow jutted out as she swiftly turned. "Step forward!" The elbow though was a feint as it suddenly tucked into Nel's side- elbows were prohibited in combat against students for their deadly nature; this was just a spar after all- and the monk prepared an open fist strike towards the Triansui's gut, the whole motion giving the warrior a few more seconds to react.

“Step forward into the tiny little woman’s rock hard fist of fury!?” The Triansui exclaimed. Though the elbow was a feint, she still moved away from it against Nelinia’s instructions and that meant the follow-up hit landed right in her midsection, causing her to double over at the waist.

Without a second to spare, the monk clasped two hands at the back of Mirabella's defenseless head, and her knee lifted in accordance, prepared to break a nose until it stopped mere inches from the Triansui's face. "Yes." Nel answered, letting Mirabella go from the clinch, and allowing her some time to gather her breath. "Strikes are the weakest if you run into them. Try hitting me."

“I am just saying that if someone thrusts a sword in my general direction my first instinct isn’t to toss myself upon the blade…” Hand to hand was definitely taking the warrior a bit to get accustomed to and when she finally caught her breath, she drew back her fist and punched towards the agile monk.

The monk didn't allow the strike to cover any distance, using just two fingers to fight against the reared back fist, stopping it dead. "Is something wrong?" Nel said with hint of cockiness, knowing far too well that Mirabella, or anyone, for that matter can muster any strength when their fist is next to or behind their head, reared back. The phenomenon astonished Nel as well, although at the time she was eight and everything used to astonish her then. "From there, you have no power. but-" and Nel lightly grabbed her fist and extended it like it was a punch, Mira's fist resting at Nel's cheek."-here, you have all the power. So if you step forward, like so-" With a step forward, the monk was back holding the fist as it was reared back, inches from the warrior's face. "It's easy to just counter-" Upon counter, Nel's open hand slid into the crook of the forearm and pushed down, manipulating the Triansui to balance on one leg as her arm dipped.

"We should eat." Nelinia confessed sheepishly as her stomach abruptly growled mere moments seconds before she was about to push Mira.

The Triansui couldn’t help the look of relief that washed over her features as they disentangled themselves, standing straight once more. “I’m going to have to get changed. I am sure that they won’t appreciate a sparring outfit to their elaborate feast.” Laughing lightly, Mirabella bowed to Nelinia and gave a quick wave before heading up to her room.

With their training having ended, Nel's lips pursed into a smile, but she let out a sigh and tilted her head to her shoulder. Now that she was teaching Mirabella, she realized how much she liked teaching, despite all the little nuisances. "Great. Another thing I miss about the monastery." Nel thought soberly as she looked at her yellow robes, instantly regretting her decision to bring this constant reminder with her. After retreating to her elegant room, she took no time to absorb the surroundings in her room, and threw the dirty yellow robes to a corner of the room before turning out the door, clad in the slightly-less-dirtier-but-still-stained-with-a-bit-of-the-blood brown leggings and white tunic. It was her usual attire in Paetax and she wore it under the robes, lest if anything happened to it. With not a moment to spare, she quickly left her room, tied her long black hair into a ponytail, slipped it down her back and headed down the hallway, more determined in distancing herself from any semblance of the monastery than in going to dinner.

Mirabella took only a few minutes to get dressed in a navy blue tunic belted over black leather leggings. Sadly, it was the most formal outfit she would ever own. She disliked being without her armor for any length of time and was practically counting down the minutes until the coronation was over and she could hit the road once more. Spotting Nelinia a few steps ahead of her, Mirabella jogged to catch up and in a few minutes they were being escorted by their personal servants into the dining area for dinner.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Senalae Errion

0.00 INK

#, as written by Celedia
A single month had passed from that fateful day in the Citadel until Mirabella once again crossed through the gates of the city of Paetax once again. True, she had seen the gates on her return to the capital when she had escorted the Prince and those few lost souls that could think of nowhere else to go after their grand adventure but she had not been able to allow her steed to cross the threshold. Instead, she had bid farewell to those that remained and reined Blaze around and the duo wandered a seemingly aimless trail for perhaps two weeks before a Royal messenger managed to catch up to her to deliver the parchment bearing her invitation to a bevy of events. A masquerade ball? Her lips twitched as a ghost of a smile fought its way to prominence as she rolled the scroll once more and gave a careless shrug to her horse.

“It would be rude to decline the invitation. Would you agree, Blaze?” The mare whinnied as if in reply as they made their way back to the city where it had all begun.

Upon her return the city seemed busier, more vibrant, yet at the same time the townspeople seemed more solemn than before. She recalled the ringing bells which tolled to signify the King’s health and though conversations and background noises prevailed upon the streets the lack of the chiming made it seem quieter than the last time she visited.

After stabling her mare, Mirabella let fate steer her course and her feet took the same trail to the same tavern where the first meeting had taken place. The Black Vagabond. Inhaling deeply, she let her hand linger upon the door before finally thrusting it open with a bit more ferocity than she had intended and it took her eyes a moment to adjust to the dim interior.

Looking at the bottom of her glass, Nel was nervous for the evening, more nervous then she had been when coming into the Black Vagabond for the first time, leaving her home for a rumour. At this very moment, she was supposed to be at Castle Paetax, taking in the celebrations. On one hand, she wanted to see her new found friends from the journey like Mirabella and Acacia. On the other, she didn’t want to see the prince for it was her fault the whole venture failed and also her fault for his pain, couldn’t put on the dress she received by herself, and denied anyone the knowledge that she had the honour of being invited to the event.

“There’s no point in going anyway.” She told herself plainly yet there was a part of her that wanted to leave the new routine that she built for herself in Paetax. Nel clutched her head and turned it just as quickly as the front door opened suddenly. For a moment, she couldn’t believe it, and stood up and walked up to the figure, blocking it as if to confirm for herself because she wouldn’t want to make a mistake like last time but she was real.

“Mirabella!” Nel said with glee, face turned into a smile, arms wrapped tightly around the warrior’s armor in a terrible bear hug, lifting her a couple of inches in the air and not letting go.

A gasp escaped Mirabella though it would be uncertain as to whether it was from the tight, almost uncomfortable grasp of the diminutive monk or from the sheer shock of the impulsive act. At her current angle, it was difficult for the Triansui to positively identify her friend. Nelinia’s hair had been cut and her distinctive yellow robes had been replaced by utterly mundane earth-toned clothing.

“Wha-“ she started before the voice registered with her. “Nelinia?!?” The hug was returned, three-fold. “I have missed you! How have you fared?”

“I’m great, just great!” Nelinia squealed out of happiness, a wide grin plastered across her face as she put her friend down.
“You’re looking at the new owner of the Black Vagabond, I’ve been training every day, I’m thinking of setting up my own monastery, oh and are you going to the castle tonight?” The monk said all at once as a burst of energy ran through her body, big green eyes staring up at her friend.

Though she was just as excited to see Nelinia as the monk was to see her, the Triansui was remarkably well-contained. “You… You own this establishment now? What happened to visiting your own monastery? I was going to visit you there but I didn’t want to arrive unannounced and now I’m glad I didn’t make the attempt!” A soft bout of laughter left her lips as she settled a hand upon her friend’s shoulder, taking a good look at her as if trying to soak in all of the changes. Whereas the monk had entirely transformed, Mirabella had simply ridden north and then back again. It made her a bit ashamed to be so untouched by the passage of time.

“And yes, I am attending the ball tonight if that is what you mean.” Her face contorted slightly as if the words had an unwelcome taste to them. “I do not wish to attend any frilly soiree but I do miss our companions.”

Nel gave a small nervous bout of laughter as Mira mentioned the monastery, looking away for a moment, glad that her friend didn’t make the visit to the xenophobic town, and still insecure about sharing her dilemma. Upon hearing that she’s going to the “ball”, which the monk had deduced to be what they were going to the castle for, the grin came back on her face as she grabbed her friend’s arm.
“Actually, I know something that you can help me in!” She said happily, dragging her friend through the bar, up the stairs, and to her own room before letting her go and grabbing the dress that was behind her bed. It was quite an expensive thing, adorned in all of the warm colours with eloquent and skilled white stitching among the sleeves that became symbols of spirals and ran down the length of the dress.
"I just can't get this thing on by myself." Nel motioned to the laces on the back of it, a corset attached to the dress.

Mirabella tilted her head, looking at the fancy torture device masquerading as clothing and her brow arched towards the monk. “You’re wearing that? Is that what they wear to these events?” A small but noticeable shudder skimmed her spine and she made a motion for Nelinia to proceed. “I don’t know what I am helping with but by all means… Let’s get you ready.”

“Thanks. I’d wear my robes but as you could see-” She pointed to the once yellow robes that hung from a hook on the door, covered in motley spots of a faded brown on most of the fabric. “-apparently blood is a pain to clean.” Nel paused for a moment, before turning around, and taking off her shirt, her body bare except for the bandages that was bound tightly across her chest. She flipped the dress upside down, and put it upside her head just as she would a shirt, obviously not the right way, but hey it worked. “Besides, the dress came with the invitation, so, why not?” She sat on her bed now, back towards Mira, turned her head and had her hands grasp the two different laces of the corset she wore that lay upon her lower back. “It keeps falling off if I don’t get these laces tightened and if I try to do so myself, I can’t get in this thing after.”

Mira’s attention had momentarily stuck upon the bloodied robes before she turned her gaze back towards Nelinia and then her eyes settled onto the bandages wrapped around the monk’s chest. “Are you injured?!” She had thought she had made sure that Nelinia was fine before they had all split up and gone their separate ways. So had she gotten into some sort of trouble recently?! Questions threatened to tumble from her lips but instead she waited patiently for the answer and stepped forward. Her nimble, scarred fingers took the two lengths of lacing from Nelinia’s grasp and she pulled, tightening the corset so that the bodice fit the slender form in front of her before tying them tightly enough so that they wouldn’t come loose.

The monk was taken back but after realizing Mira’s concern quickly assured her otherwise.
“Of course not! I mean, there’s this scab on my hand that won’t just heal…” Nel looked into the palm of her right hand, heavily calloused, and picked at the small scab with her left hand for a moment before she looked back at her friend.
“You see, I wrap bandages around my chest, so when I train or fight, they, er, my chest, won’t move around much when I move. It was something all the women did at the monastery.”

The moment Mira fully tightened the corset; Nel stood up, and looked herself in a mirror that hung from a wall. “It’s a bit tight.” She strained the words, the air in her lungs compressed, and she took a couple of breaths to try to get used to it. The bandages were obviously visible across her chest but she decided against taking them off.

For a moment, she looked at her feet after moving the dress to see them and even she realized the shoes didn’t match with it at all. Nel kicked off the shoes before going went off to the dresser to grab a pair of knee-high black boots that she bought for the winter and proceeding to put them on.

The Triansui had to draw her lower lip tightly between her teeth and bite down upon it so she wouldn’t laugh at the eclectic style that Nelinia seemed to possess. Still, it wasn’t like the warrior was any better at being fashionable so she kept silent for a moment longer.

Then, gesturing towards Nel’s bedroom door, Mira finally asked, “Are we ready to go?”


“Just about,” the monk, gleamed, taking the next two steps stepping on the edge of her own dress and nearly falling over before she can retain her balance.
This was going to take a little getting used to.




“Presenting Adventurer Nelinia Jaze!”
“Presenting Triansui Mirabella d’Adreci!”

The two walked in the lavish party and the monk’s nervous smile twitched ever so slightly in horror as all eyes in the room were laid upon them, hidden behind their unmoving, colourful masks.
“Why are they wearing masks?” Nel spoke softly as she smiled so only Mirabella could hear her concerns and perhaps that bit of fear in her voice.

A few soft gasps could be heard from some of the nobles standing closest to the entrance. Mirabella, of course, having not changed into anything fanciful and having retained her armor though she had left her shield behind in her room at the Black Vagabond out of respect for the crown. Her breastplate had been polished to a mirror-like shine… Or as well as it could be, anyway.

She shrugged, smirking slightly and inclining her head to the announcer as she and Nelinia made their way through the bustling crowd. “Maybe they’re ugly and they don’t wish for people to look upon their features and faint?”

For some reason, Nel laughed at that, before mentally chastising herself.
“Aww…that’s sad.” She said with the utmost sincerity and not a touch of sarcasm.

“I’m going to go up and try to look for our friends, alright?” She told the armoured Triansui before moving through the crowd, reaching the stairs, and meeting with the Princess of Calisma. At the moment, she looked nothing at all like her stone representations on the streets of Paetax due to the ridiculous face paint and Nel simply looked at her and unintentionally gave her the cold shoulder as she ascended the stairs, much to the shock and disapproval of all the nobles surrounding Senalea.

Mirabella stood in the sea of masked attendees and searched for some way to entertain herself. Whether that be a familiar face, someone new and interesting, or a keg of mead which she could run dry.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Senalae Errion Character Portrait: Emma Armelle Character Portrait: Tariel Vaynell Character Portrait: Cadeyrn Gaile

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#, as written by Script
"Are you quite sure she's on the list?"

"It has her name right here."

"Are you sure that's her? What if she's lying? I've never heard of her before tonight."

"The family crest definitely matches. I do remember her name being mentioned as associated with a family that had come by hard times..."

At the palace gates, Emma leaned quite casually upon her staff as she watched the two guards conversing in hushed whispers over her request for entry to the masquerade. It had taken no small amount of wrangling to acquire an invitation based upon her former noble status, with palms greased and words honeyed. She was attempting to restore her family name, she had said. With the advent of a new king, what better a time to come to pledge her support? So her family had seen better days, what of it? She may have lost her land and her power, but she still had her blood. And blood was power, after all.

She might have left that last line out. It probably would have unnerved the poor representative of the crown she'd been speaking to, bless.

Of course, it might have helped her case if she'd bothered to dress fancily. A little silk here, a little gold there would have done wonders for her reputability, and she probably would have scarcely been questioned. But such finery was not her way. Nor was it particularly friendly to her purse, the contents of which she was loathe to part with. Tight-fistedness had served her well thus far, after all.

Simple, practical clothing would do just fine. There would be no hiding her status as a disgraced noble no matter how fancily she dressed - mutters of her name would pass quickly, disdainful sneers shared. No, this way she embraced her far-from-noble upbringing. It was a statement, as much as a convenience. 'I will not pander to your sensibilities.'

Let them mutter. It suited them, behind their masks. "If you're quite finished..." Emma interrupted the guards, inclining her head to one side. "I believe it is customary to direct the guests inwards, is it not? I'd hate to just walk in without waiting on decorum."

A pause.

"... yes, my lady. Of course. You will need to leave your weapon with the servants at the entrance, but please, enjoy your evening." one of the guards finally said, hesitantly gesturing towards the doors.

Emma had barely waited for him to finish speaking before starting forwards, smirking to herself. She climbed the steps with a few strides, brushing off the servant that moved forwards to greet her by thrusting the staff into his hands. "Put that somewhere safe. If it's damaged, you'll end the night with it up your ass."

Taken aback, the servant briefly stood speechless before stammering a question after Emma's already retreating form. "Ah, and for whom is this being kept? A name?"

"Lady Armelle." Emma replied, before wrinkling her nose. "No, that sounds bizarre. Emma. You're keeping it for Emma."

Leaving the servant staring after her in bemusement, Emma strode onwards towards the ballroom entrance. Reaching into a fold of her coat, she produced a mask. It was an ugly thing, twisted features and an elongated nose, its colours a mix of red and black. It suited her quite well, she thought. The odd look the servants at the ballroom door gave her only confirmed that. She chuckled as the man gathered himself enough to inquire her name.

And so, finally, Emma proceeded into the ballroom. Leather boots sounded on the elegant stairs and the lighting fell upon some ominous old stains on her well-used coat. "Presenting the Lady Emma Armelle!" came the voice from the top of the stairs. Emma could almost hear the mutterings of 'who'?

She smiled a wry smile as she noted she wasn't the only one who hadn't bothered with dressing up. She assumed the armoured warrior was one of the Prince's adventurers, now famed for their role in his quest. Not quite famed enough that Emma had any idea of the woman's name or role in the endeavour, mind, but it was about as famed as anyone who wasn't royalty was likely to get.

Alighting the staircase, Emma identified the princess amidst her crowd of brownnosing nobles, and bowed a shallow (probably rudely shallow) bow to her. "Well met, your majesty. And may I say how appreciative I am of the invite. A wonderful first step in turning over a familial new leaf, if ever there was one. I hope you don't mind the outfit; I just couldn't find a dress to match my eyes for the life of me. You know how it is."




In the meantime, whilst Emma made her very distinctive first impression on the Princess, Tariel was watching the flow of guests into the room from one of the drinks tables. After having retreated away from the Princess as quickly as was polite, he found himself hesitant to approach any of the adventurer-types he'd spotted so far, more out of nerves than anything else. After all, he was a soft and young noble without any experiences like they had. Why would they want to talk to him?

He'd seen the stern-looking man enter without having his name announced, finding refuge in a quiet portion of the room. He'd seen the ones called Talsin, Nelinia and Mirabella announced as adventurers (or in Mirabella's case, an unfamiliar title), even if some of them would have fitted in amongst the nobles, but for the life of him he couldn't gather the confidence to walk up and bother them with trite like 'Hi! You're an adventurer then? What's it like? You know... adventuring?'

Gods, there was no way he wouldn't sound like an idiot, was there?

With his mask held in one hand - it had been uncomfortable and stuffy behind it, really not worth the effort - Tariel settled for letting his eyes wander between Lock and Mirabella. Lock's entrance had piqued his curiosity by his avoidance of the announcement, but he could just as easily have been a reclusive noble who preferred to keep to himself. Mirabella, in her armour, was far more obvious. He just hoped it wasn't too immediately apparent that he was looking. Maybe he should put the mask back on.

Nope. Not worth it. Blasted uncomfortable thing.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Feylon Haradas Character Portrait: Tariel Vaynell

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#, as written by Celedia
The chaotic soiree was almost overwhelming to the Triansui. She acknowledged Nelinia’s statement with an almost imperceptible inclination of her chin before her honey-hued eyes scanned the crowd once more. None of the faces swirling and milling around her were recognizable. Perhaps that is why the tiny monk had gone to higher ground to scout out their friends. Until then, the warrior woman was left alone to her own devices.

It was only then that she caught the gaze of a rather effeminate figure studying her. With an arched brow, she returned the look though she made no move towards the stranger. Mirabella wasn’t the most sociable creature in the realms and she was perhaps only a rung or two above trained monkeys when it came to unstructured small talk.

It took Tariel a moment to realize that the armour-clad warrior had noticed his gaze. He instantly averted his eyes, embarrassed to have been caught out. No doubt she thought him to be staring disapprovingly at her armour, or something equally poncey. In an attempt to make himself look a little better, he lifted his hand in a small wave and smiled nervously. There, now he at least looked friendly. That was a start, right?

The stranger’s reaction caused Mirabella’s brow to rise a bit higher upon her forehead and as the costumed man’s gaze fell, she swiveled her own head slightly to cast a look around her. Is he looking at someone else? This is all rather… awkward. Still, she would rather engage in awkward conversation than to be left alone in the center of the ballroom so she immediately made her way over to Tariel. Her hand was settled comfortably upon the pommel of her sword which might be taken as a slightly aggressive stance, especially when coupled with her blunt greeting.

Her voice was strong yet melodic, tinged with a noticeable accent. “Did you wish to speak to me?” It was obvious that she had not taken his gaze as an offense or condescension about her armor.

When Tariel realised the woman was moving over, hand on sword, his eyes widened. Oh god, I’ve done something horribly offensive and now she’s going to stab me in the middle of a crowded ballroom.

If he was honest with himself, Tariel knew that was probably an unlikely outcome. The woman wouldn’t be here if she was that volatile. Probably. Still, in the face of a warrior with a potentially aggressive posture, the young mage felt very small indeed. Tariel looked up at her with a gulp as she spoke. “I... ah, I was just observing your armour, miss, and coming to the conclusion that you must have been one of the adventurers who accompanied the Prince on his quest.” He managed to spit out nervously, “I didn’t mean to stare.”

He paused for a moment, before blinking in realisation. “Oh! Where are my manners? My name is Tariel.” He offered a hasty and slightly clumsy bow.

The Triansui’s lips twitched at the man’s nervousness and after he delivered his formal greeting and bow she laughed out loud. A quick yet honest burst of sound that caused her torso to shake slightly and while the amused sound still escaped her lips, she bowed in return.

“Well met, Tariel. I am Mirabella d’Adreci.” She left out confirmation on being an adventurer and instead she turned his observation into a question of her own. “What interest do you have in the adventurers? Are you planning on becoming one?” Her features had softened somewhat, making her seem a tad friendlier than before though her gaze remained sharp as she studied the man. In the few weeks since the group had returned from the Citadel, she had been bombarded with requests to share the tale or she had been asked to share secrets about the Prince and future King.

Tariel stared in bemusement at Mirabella’s burst of laughter, hesitantly laughing lightly in kind. “Oh... I don’t know about becoming one. On paper it’s all very exciting, but... well, I don’t think I’d be very good at it.” He half-grimaced, “Besides, I don’t think there are any other grand quests going around. Perhaps I could slay some boars for a local farmer and bring their snouts to him, or find a cellar with an overabundance of rats, like in every bad adventure story?”

He shrugged his shoulders with a small smile. “I’m only rather average, sadly. I’m a mage, but not a particularly powerful one. Better at reading books about daring and heroic deeds than actually performing them. I don’t know, I suppose I just thought that an adventurer who’s seen the world and stuck a sword in it would likely be better conversation than one of the nobility who’s scarcely seen beyond the end of their own nose. There are a lot of those around tonight.

Tariel wrinkled his nose. “I blame the gaudy masks. Probably further inhibiting vision already partially blocked by oversized egos.”
It was then that Mirabella decided that she rather liked this fellow.

“Oversized egos are sadly not confined to nobility. I have known adventurers that suffer from the same ailment.” Her statement was in the form of a murmur as thoughts traced back to Akdov before she shooed away such thoughts. “And never doubt yourself or your skills, Tariel. Even if you are a mage and even if you believe yourself to simply be average, remember that even the smallest stone has the chance to begin a landslide.” A ghost of a smile tilted her lips again as her eyes settled upon his. “And don’t rule out adventuring too quickly, you never know what the future holds.”

She took her time to scan the crowd again before continuing. “So tell me… You must have more experience with these events than I do. Is this… it?”

Tariel laughed, “Maybe. I mean, I’ve not got much better to do than reading. I’m sure my family wouldn’t approve, but that’s more of a running theme than particularly troublesome...”

At Mira’s second question, he glanced around the room in turn, “Well, the Prince will get here soon, and then I imagine he’ll make some sort of speech, maybe. After that... well, there will probably be dancing and possibly feasting.” The young mage shrugged, “For someone without any interest in the political games that get played at these sorts of thing, it’s not exactly exciting. There’s nice food, but not much else going for it beyond meeting people.”

The warrior’s nose crinkled in distaste. It seemed funny to her how people clamored and begged to be allowed entrance to these events. No offense meant to the Royal family but drinking, feasting and dancing seemed like a silly way to spend an evening. At least the dancing part did, anyone in Paetax would probably never complain about the feasting portion of the evening.

“Well, then if I take away anything from this evening it will at least be that I met you.” Unlike the nobility surrounding them, Mirabella’s words could be taken at face value with no underlying message hidden within. “If this is the world you live in then I can understand why you would wish to lose yourself in your books.” A passing servant holding a tray of glasses aloft began to pass them and the Triansui stopped him long enough to snatch two before letting him proceed. Handing one over to Tariel she cast a suspicious eye upon her own drink then shrugged and smiled. “To friends, old and new.” She toasted, clinking her glass against his a little too forcefully before downing her entire drink in one go.

Tariel smiled warmly, pleasantly surprised at how friendly this warrior seemed to be. He didn’t think he’d ever made a friend faster. “I try to spend as much time away at the Guild as I can, just so mother stops trying to matchmake me and father stops telling me to learn to use a sword.” He said, “It’s hard to have so much as a conversation with either of them without them trying to form some elaborate plan for getting me ‘ahead’. At the very least, though, I have the independence to just ignore them now.”
He clinked his drink with Mira’s, nearly spilling it down his front with the force she put behind it, but managed to salvage it in time. “Hear hear!” he agreed, taking a rather more demure gulp of the beverage.

“I can honestly see the point behind teaching you to use a sword but that may just be me being a bit biased.” Another grin lit her features as she rested her free hand upon the pommel of her own sword once more. “But it should be because you want to learn it and not because it is forced upon you. No skill that is forced will ever be truly learned because you will always be holding a part of yourself back, preventing the lessons from really sinking in.”

The now empty glass was placed upon another passing servant’s tray. “I don’t know if it’s rude for me to ask this but why are you here if you would rather be reading? You don’t seem the stereotypical noble and if you don’t wish to ‘get ahead’ as your parents wish for you to do then I also can’t see you rubbing elbows with the majority of the people here.”

“Mostly because I’d never hear the end of it if I didn’t attend. As much as I’m not that concerned about what the rest of the nobility think of me, I try to keep up some appearances just to avoid the trouble.” Tariel laughed, “Besides, this is a coronation ball. Anything could happen, considering how reclusive the Prince has been of late. I have to admit, I was curious to meet the group who went off to save the king, too. It’s not very often you get a real life quest that could be compared to the story books.”

He laughed, “I imagine you get asked about it a lot, though. I don’t want to be a hassle.”

Mirabella averted her eyes for a moment and the honey-hued orbs took on a vaguely faraway look before she refocused her attention on Tariel. Her smile was a bit softer as she responded to him more fully than she had to anyone before which wasn’t saying much because usually she told people to sod off and go listen to the bards if they wanted a fanciful tale.

“Real life quests aren’t all they are cracked up to be.. But then again, they are. People think it is all heroics and defeating the evil so the good can rise up and claim their winnings. Most stories fail to portray the true depth of the sacrifices made to obtain the happy ending.”

“I expected as much,” Tariel said, “I always joked back at the Guild that for every epic adventure detailed in a novel, there were another two-dozen would-be heroes who’d already tried to do the same thing and died horribly in the process. They just didn’t write about them.” He chuckled. “I’ve considered just travelling at some point or other... but I don’t know the first thing about where I’d go, or how to survive on the road... I’m self-admittedly soft.”

The young mage thought about such things a lot, but the truth was that he was awfully fond of comfortable libraries, warm baths and soft beds. He hadn’t quite decided whether it was worth the trade-off of curing him of his eternal boredom. Maybe he just needed some new hobbies.

…died horribly in the process…

Mira’s gaze grew distant again as if she were viewing some other scene before her gaze snapped back to Tariel and she looked almost startled at the transition. “If you ever travel then travel with a group. The road can make fast friends out of even the most diverse people. If you’ve ever got need for a sword arm….”

Her sentence was cut off abruptly as a hush fell over the room and a loud booming voice, ”Without further ado, I have the esteemed privilege of introducing tonight’s guest of honour- First Prince, m’lord Rydas Errion.”

As the announcement was made, Tariel too turned his attention toward the prince. The dark, imposing attire he wore suited him well – certainly it was less ridiculous than the fanciful array of colours and extravagant dangly-bits on many of the others here – and the young mage allowed himself a moment to admire it (and the Prince, but he couldn’t think along those lines for more than a moment before mentally scalding himself to avoid the blush that threatened to form on his cheeks).

’I am constantly amazed at how I manage to embarrass myself in my own head without actually doing or saying anything.’
“It’s good to see the Prince is well,” he finally murmured to Mira, “Nobody’s seen him for more than a month. People have been saying that Panacea had disfigured him, or driven him mad, or any number of bizarre rumours.”

Mirabella thought of the heart wrenching screams that had echoed throughout the deserted Citadel after Nelinia had placed the amulet around the Prince’s neck. She had been just close enough to have a front row seat to the spectacle and to this day she couldn’t seem to rid herself of the images. The wounds that magically manifested upon Rydas’ body before disappearing once again… It was the stuff of nightmares.

“He is a strong man. What he has experienced would have driven anyone of weaker will insane.” Her own voice was kept soft so that only Tariel would hear her despite the eerie silence that now befell the room. She wanted desperately to go talk to Rydas, to see how he had fared in the past few weeks but she knew better than to approach him now.

The young mage glanced across at Mirabella curiously, wondering just what ‘what he experienced’ was. He wasn’t about to ask, however. It had obviously been jarring for her as well as for the prince himself. “I think he will make a good king.” Tariel said quietly, “I don’t know him on a personal level at all, but just from what I’ve seen and heard of him...”

He nodded his head. “My mother isn’t overly fond of him, which is a sure sign that I ought to like him.” He remarked with a small smirk. “If only to annoy her.”

Thankfully, hushed conversations began to take place all around them and the murmuring mostly hid her next abrupt laugh which she expertly covered with a cough then a clearing of her throat.

“Forgive me for saying this but your mother and father sound like people I never wish to meet.” A smile altered her countenance and she turned slightly upon noticing Feylon passing through the room. Though in all of the time she had spent with the group he was the only one which she had never caught a name for though she recalled him clearly since he was the one that had punched Lakdov square in the jaw. She inclined her head towards him in greeting as his gaze swept over their section of the crowd and she returned her attentions to Tariel.

“But yes, I believe Rydas is a man worthy of knowing. I believe he will make a remarkable king.” Once he believes in himself… She added silently.

"I exaggerate how bad they are a little, and I really do love them. They're just difficult. I don't fit into how they perceive their family should be, and they aren't sure how to deal with it. They try, I think, but are more inclined to try and change me than broaden their outlook." Tariel shook his head with a small sigh, "Alas. In the grand scheme of things, they could be much worse. In any case... I wonder whether he will be making any sort of announcement. We'll just have to wait and see, I suppose."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Meia Veritas

0.00 INK

#, as written by Celedia
Mirabella felt trapped. Fight in a battle with no hope of survival? No problem. Stand in a room full of masked strangers and try to be polite while following the etiquette of high society? It was stifling.

Thankfully, she had found Tariel but the crowd pulsing around them was unsettling her nerves and she lifted a hand, touching him briefly upon his shoulder to gain his attention once more. "I am going for some fresh air. Well met, Tariel and if you ever need anything you may find me at the Black Vagabond." With that, she turned and pushed her way through the crowd. Confidence and composure emanating off of her, causing the people to part to allow the armored woman through the edge of the dance floor.

One man, however, stopped her progress by stepping directly in front of her and performing a deep bow. A noble in fanciful attire with the mask of a fox or some other furred beast plastered upon his face, hiding both his countenance and his identity.
"Would you care to dance, madame?" He began with a seductive tone and clasped her hand as if to drag her out upon the dance floor but she took the gesture as a sign of hostility and before he could take a single step her free hand closed around his throat, easing him back into the throng of people from whence he emerged.

"I don't dance." Her words came out sharply through gritted teeth and she barely paused for his reaction before she continued on. Pushing her way outside, she took a set of stairs nestled to the left of the doorway that led up to higher ground and hopefully away from the crowd.

Meia sighed as she continued her observation of the floor below. Restrained dance, empty smiles, wineglasses crushed in bare hands. The labyrinthine thing that passed for logical thought among the people of the capital was beyond her. Meia picked up her own, forgotten wineglass from the guardrail. She had given up trying to finish the drink long ago. The deep crimson color belied the wine's shallow body, which admittedly suited the masquerade, even if just one layer of deceit made the drink rather innocuous by comparison. Meia gave the glass a lazy swirl. The bouquet couldn't quite drown out the stink of too many perfumes too close.

The entrance of the Prince engendered an immediate shift of atmosphere. Meia breathed deeply. For just an instant, forgotten were the festivities, the social maneuvering, the vile things slithering in the candle-cast shadows of the Palace. It was merely a temporary distraction, unfortunately, as the crowd's murmur returned and reverted to its gossiping ways. From afar, the prince looked appropriately regal, though the evening being what it was, judging by appearance seemed largely meaningless. Meia could not help but wonder what kind of person the Prince was. There was no merit inherent to being the son of a father, but the late King dealt fairly, and sometimes the fruit could be told from the tree. But was the prince ripe for kingship?

Meia aborted the line of thought, deeming it inconsequential - her business with the future King did not extend far into his reign. She merely needed to explain her plight and return to her clan. Hopefully the prince would see truth, or failing that, reason. But how was she to seek a private audience in a place like this? Not for the first time, Meia wondered why she was even here. From a nearby stairwell emerged a handsome woman who might be wondering the same. Maskless and donned in full armor, she felt almost as out of place as Meia felt herself. A guard of some sort? A brazen courtier who thought it fashionably unique to attend in plate? Meia turned to face her, folded her hands, and bowed from the hip, in part because she was taught to be courteous, in part because it was good practice to be polite to people with swords.

A twitch of lips was the only sign that Mirabella was amused whether that emotion stemmed from the constant and almost enraging amount of curtseying and bowing that took place or from finding someone on the balcony where she had assumed solitude would wait for her. The figure before her was curious. Alone and sipping upon wine whilst wearing robes fit more for a cleric than for a masquerade ball, the woman seemed out of place. An odd thought coming from the adventurer lost in the sea of nobility.

“Well met. I apologize, I thought this balcony would be empty and I…" Her honey-brown eyes cast to the side to view the crowd milling about below with slight apprehension. “I think that I was getting a little claustrophobic.”

"I can sympathize." She didn't, but she could. "I sought respite here myself. My name is Meia, currently attending court in the capacity of Envoy." Meia smiled politely as she gave the woman a closer look. She was tall for a woman, and though her shiny armor obscured much of her body, it was manifestly obvious that the plate did not encase a lanky waif. Her mien was one of pleasant honesty, if a bit perturbed by the ruckus downstairs.

"Might you be some manner of guard or warrior?" Meia wondered. "Forgive me if the question seems daft - the masquerade, you understand."

Mirabella grinned at the woman’s last question and she turned, leaning her forearms upon the banister as she peered over the edge once more. “You truly don’t think there are wolves and peacocks and such down there?” A shake of her head and a burst of soft laughter preceded her reply.

“I dislike costumes so yes, I am some manner of warrior. My name is Mirabella d'Adreci and I am a Triansui, to be precise. I am one of the people that accompanied the Prince upon his journey so I received an invitation to be here.”

Casting a sideways look at Meia, Mirabella adopted a teasing countenance and added on, “I doubt someone of my station would have even known about this party otherwise.”

Mirabella d'Adreci. Triansui. Meia tasted the name and occupation on her tongue and committed them to memory. She was unfamiliar with the profession, but perhaps Lord Vaynell might provide a meaning to the word later. Much more interesting was the reason of the woman's presence here. An adventurer that had joined the Prince in his quest? Meia had only recently learned of the Prince's endeavor, but the minstrels of the Palace had already set the story to song, and the tunes remained in her mind.
"I... see." Though acquaintance with royalty might warrant an invitation, it seemed odd to Meia that the adventurers were welcomed. "But did the Prince not fail his quest?"

The corner of Mirabella’s eye twitched a bit. Leave it to those that have never ventured outside of a life of comfort to try to sum up events with a single statement. Still, her voice remained calm even if it grew a tad sharper than it had been previously.

“If you are being literal and allowing for no mitigating circumstances to be presented into the conversation then it might seem that the Prince had failed. He set out to claim Panacea for his father and his father passed away. I can see where you might assume such knowledge but let me tell you this. Even if the mission had failed, it is due to no error on the Prince’s behalf. He died trying to save his father and we, the adventurers that tagged along with him, chose the man dying at our feet to save, instead. We chose a man with honor and integrity that would sacrifice himself for the greater good and though we all mourn the loss of our King we would do it all over again. Rydas has a future. Blazingly bright that those that have met him, that have talked to him, or have served him have seen.”

“So yes we failed to save the King but on the morrow we will have a King just as strong, just as honorable and just as worthy of this Kingdom.”

Meia smiled warmly and decided she liked this person. Her words rang true and her passion was raw, not veiled behind smiles or hidden within schemes. On a personal level, Meia regretted offending her, although she considered doing it again just to see if dispensing interesting information was a consistent reaction of hers. She would have to figure out what had caused the offense though - Meia had merely tried to be accurate. The King died, the Prince lived, and in the grand scheme of things, the journey seemed but a small detour preceding the Prince's accession. Perhaps such a destiny was foreordained. Verses in Veritas Thargelion spoke of absolute events in history where cause and effect were one and the sequence subjective. Meia did not fully understand, but even without words like fate or destiny, a certain degree of inevitability was evident in mortal life.

"Uncommonly sensible," Meia praised the adventurer, and her party in general. Discarding an old King in favor of one with more years on him showed wisdom, and it was heartening to know that even people of the capital were capable of such sound judgment. Meia supposed it did cause some unrest during the transition of the throne, but her travels derived from that unrest, and while nauseating at times, they were an valuable experience in their own right.

"I do wonder why the Prince elected to go on a quest when inaction was the easier path to the same destination, but please disregard it as the ignorance of a sheltered woman."

Pausing once more, Mirabella seemed shocked by the implications of the woman’s statement. “It wasn’t the easier path. Our choice, as I stated, was one of extenuating circumstances. Our quest started with the belief that we could save King Dazius with the Panacea. Rydas didn’t wish for him to die and he most certainly wasn’t seeking to be crowned King this early in life. But at the moment when we had the Panacea resting in front of us and the Prince dying at our feet it became a choice. It became an either/or situation. At that moment, with Rydas gasping his last breath, we were presented with a decision that we didn’t have at the beginning when we set out for our quest.”

So many words to illustrate the desperate salvage of a situation better avoided. Hard paths reap great rewards, but the hardest path is walked by fools. From the songs, Meia had been unable to understand why the adventurers had set out to save the King - it simply seemed something everyone agreed on as admirable. If the Prince was unwilling to accept his heritage, that at least offered an explanation. Tidings of good fortune for her clan. Truth did not condemn cowardice, and if the new King did not covet power, all the better.

"I see," Meia smiled. "For your patience, I thank you, Mirabella d'Adreci. It sounds like a complicated affair, this adventuring."

The Triansui’s brow furrowed once more. Was this woman playing tricks upon her? Was she prying information from her to somehow use against Rydas? Those had always been her chief concerns and the main reason why the warrior woman had never spoken to anyone regarding the quest. The thought of having people who had never been in a life or death situation see themselves fit to judge those that had made her skin crawl but for some reason she sensed no antagonism within the other woman.

“I think that this party has tired me. I am unused to prolonged social interaction so if you’ll forgive me, Meia.” Mirabella bowed at the waist, clasping a hand against her stomach and another behind her back as formality prevailed. “I must be going. Have a pleasant evening.”

With that, the Triansui turned and took the steps leading back down to the ground level, her forehead wrinkled slightly as she made her way to the exit and back to the Black Vagabond.

"I shall try to," Meia answered to the warrior's back. There. She supposed she had to, now.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Narenia Halen Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Balian Halen

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The patterns on his armor almost looked silvery against the black plate in the moonlight, despite the fact that they were made of gold. His ornate black hood was up to shield his face from the rain. Ever since he had left home it had been pouring down. Balian tucked at the reins of the great black destrier he was riding, stopping it on top of a hill that was overlooking the Vyric Plain. Many battles had taken place here. It was a good place for armies to meet face to face. No advantages for either side, just a vast plain for the soldiers to clash in an epic battle. His sword was in it's sheath, tied to the saddle of his horse. Valin had been his horse for a few years now and of the finest breed. He was big, strong and fearless. But a frightened horse wouldn't do for battle. Balian steered Valin down the hill and began crossing the great plain before him.

Meanwhile, his mind was racing. Barely did he notice his surroundings as steering the horse forward had become a habit, while his mind worked at full capacity. He had decided to gather his thoughts during his ride to the capital. Nari had died asking him to deliver her bow just before her eyes closed. What she told him just before she passed still rang in his head, the words seared into his brain. His sister had cried when she explained what had happened. The Citadel... Idassava. She had kept repeating that, voice trembling with fear. The group of adventurers had been fighting a beast. The Diralgraun. Obviously her memory was foggy when she had told the story, but Balian could easily remember when she had told him about her abduction. His face contorted, showing the pain of remembering. Nari had been kept awake under the torture, asked to answer questions which she by no means could. "I swear by my sister's name, the pain inflicted on her will be paid back tenfold." Balian muttered to himself. Nari had given him two names beside the Prince's, members of the adventurer-group she apparently cared for. Quite a bit he assumed. Mirabella d'Adreci and Nelinia Jaze.
In the end, Balian decided to race for the Paetax, bring the news to the Prince, deliver her two hunting knives to the woman Mirabella and her bow to Nelinia. 'If they're not at the capital, the Prince would know where they are...' He told himself. Whether or not the two adventurers were in Paetax, he didn't know, but the roads had been flowing with carts and merchants and nobles bound for the city. Something must be going on there, since Rydas' return.

So, with mind set he spurred Valin on and the wind caught the red sash he wore. Paetax drew slowly closer and Balian found himself with a purpose. That was all he needed. Bring the news of Narenia's death to the Prince and deliver her weapons to her friends. Still, Balian's expression was grim as he rode and he would have to remember his lessons in manners and etiquette when he reached the Prince. After all, House Halen was a prominent and well liked family. He would have to live up to the name.
'Despite that my House has fallen apart....'


---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Only three times had he been to the Capital, visiting with his father. That was before he fell ill of course, so it was many years ago. Still the city was something to behold. Banners waved in the wind over the towers and two hung on either side of the gate as well. As he rode through, he looked down at one of the guards who merely gazed back at him and nodded. Balian knew that if he hadn't been wearing his armor, he would have been stopped. In one of the saddlebags though, was a suit of finer clothing if he would come to need it. It was simple though, consisting of a black attire with a red sash much like the one he was already wearing. So he wouldn't raise suspicion in any way though, he pulled down his hood and revealed his face. Sadly, there's was small chance of anyone there recognizing him. Maybe some of the adventurers might, since some facial features were shared with his sister. Whether or not they did see the resemblance, he would state his name as was expected of him. 'If this Mirabella and Nelinia were so good friend's of hers, they will remember the name Halen.'

Castle Paetax was lit up. There was something grand going on in there. Something that Balian hadn't heard about. Most likely a celebration for the Prince, if he should take a wild stab. Balian Didn't dismount his horse as he rode through the streets, wondering what to do. Should he wait until morning to seek out the people he wanted to find, or should he try now. He figured that the Prince would be the easiest man to find, but didn't see the opportunity to gain an audience as he was currently inside the Castle. 'Small chance the guards will let me in...' So that was it, two choices. Either go to the Castle and try to get in or wait until the morning.

His steelclad feet hit the ground with a heavy thud as he dismounted Valin. Balian ran his fingers through his hair and rubbed his eyes, tired from many days of riding. After some consideration he had decided to rent a room in case his attempt to get into the Castle failed. Then he'd try again the following day. "Easy, friend." He spoke to Valin in his deep voice and patted him. He'd tied the horse in the stable and paid for a few days of having him there. His feet carried him to the entrance of... What was it?
"The Black Vagabond." Balian read aloud and looked at the door before he opened it. The dim light inside was nice as he had just come in from the darkness. The heavily armored fallen Paladin didn't look at anyone in the room, but headed straight for the barkeep. "One cup of spiced wine, bread and cheese. Thank you." He threw more than his order cost on the counter and sat down. "Keep the change." As he sat and waited, he reached into a hidden pocket and pulled out the scroll with the three names on it and fixed his eyes on it.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Balian Halen

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#, as written by Celedia
Mirabella had retired to her room at the Black Vagabond after the ball without speaking another word or acknowledging another person. Her thoughts were kept to herself and though her eyes continually scanned her surroundings, she was noticeably distracted. Was it from the words exchanged with the woman on the balcony, Meia? Perhaps. The viewpoints that the robed woman held could be but an echo of the population at large. Uneducated, not because of a lack of general intellect but because they hadn’t been there and they did not know the details of the quest.

The turmoil that those facts wrought was upsetting to the steadfast Triansui and even when she finally slipped into her bed, her tumultuous thoughts kept her from sleeping easily. Nightmares renewed, bringing with them the faces of friends lost and friends yet accounted for. The sight of Xan with half of his face missing had been devastating but so had the inexplicable disappearances of Acacia and Narenia after or during the battle. The last sight she had caught of the ranger had been when she had failed to fire the arrow at the ghoul and she had seen Bard girl slip towards the archway in the Citadel but… Nothing. No other recollection of their whereabouts came to mind.

The next morning she awoke with a heavy heart and a weariness tugging at the corner of her eyes but still, she rose. Readying her armor so that once more it had a brilliant shine despite its well-worn appearance and finally after she had redressed she made her way downstairs for a bit of a meal before the coronation.

“Morning, Vinny…” The Triansui half murmured and she cast him a shadowed smile as she slipped onto one of the barstools, signaling for her usual breakfast meal. The barkeep grinned and nodded in her direction, setting his cook to work as he readied a drink for the warrior and slid it across the counter. “Morning, Mirabella. It’s goin’ ta be an eventful day, aye?”

The evening he had arrived was spent on much thinking that lead to nothing. Balian had been too tired and too worn out to make a rational decision. He had actually been surprised when he had reached the capital, having gone from his home to Paetax in record time. Or so it felt. As he sat in the bar of the Black Vagabond, people came and went but Balian didn't pay much attention to them. For a long time, he sat and looked at the two names on his piece of parchment. Wherever they were, he'd find them. It was what came after he was afraid of. What he was going to do after he'd given them what his sister had requested, he didn't know. And it made him feel like cold fingers wrapped around his heart and it was a grip so tight it felt almost impossible to break.

On the brink of falling asleep at the bar, Balian decided to rent a room instead. Sleeping at the bar would probably get him kicked out and that would be a poor beginning to his visit to Paetax. When he'd paid the man he now new as Vinny, he headed upstairs to his room. His steps were heavy and his armor felt heavier than usual. The room he'd rented was nice. It wasn't fancy and it wasn't exactly clean, but it would do. In fact, he was focused on the bed more than anything. Now, the arduous task of removing his armor was upon him. Fingers that had done it a hundred times before found straps and hooks and quickly his breastplate was off. The rest of it was easy and it didn't take long before he could rest his head on the pillow and fall asleep.

'If the coronation is today, Mirabella and Nelinia are bound to be there.' The thoughts ran through his head although his eyes hadn't opened yet. It took a few seconds to realize that he was actually aware of what he was thinking and the sounds around him. The man opened his eyes and sat up. It was still early, he could see, but the Castle would probably be busy by this hour. It had been impossible to miss the fact that Prince Rydas' coronation was today, so Balian had reminded himself to get up in time. As he stood out of bed he contemplated if he should wear his armor again, or the finer clothing he brought. The decision didn't take long though and so he started to put on his armor. Of course, he made sure it looked presentable. Wearing the black tunic and his fine shoes wouldn't do him any good anyway. Balian didn't know anyone here and he didn't see the point in pretending that he was from a prominent and well respected House, now that it had crumbled and fallen into dust.

Downstairs there were still people. Most of them sat with a plate of food instead of wine or ale now. Balian decided to order breakfast. A lot of it, since the man had an appetite. Here, he didn't have to be aware of his manners either, so he could order as much as he wanted without having to worry about what people thought. Going anywhere on an empty stomach simply wouldn't do. The same serious and stern expression you had sometimes seen on his sister's face, was now on his own. Balian didn't say or do anything until he heard someone speak up. His head shot up as he fixed his eyes on the woman a couple of seats to his left. Mirabella. If that was her, he was lucky today. After a few moments of thinking it over, Balian decided that it was better to do something before she left and he missed his chance. He left his plate and slowly stood up, reaching into his hidden pocket and fished out the parchments with the two names. Quietly and in an easy fashion, he approached Mirabella. "Excuse me." He said, stepping left so as the woman could easily see him. Balian's expression had not changed much. Hopefully this would go well. "Do you have a moment to spare?"

Meeting new people had become second hand to Mirabella now though the results of her social interactions varied widely as proven by last night’s two separate conversations. Still, she was trying to not be as closed off as she had been before and she set a smile upon her lips, gesturing to the empty barstool to her right. “As long as you aren’t begging coin or trying to tell me the benefits of joining your local temple or cult then I have as many moments to spare as it takes for me to eat my breakfast.”

As if on cue, Vinny settled a plate in front of the Triansui and she tucked into her meal for a few bites before taking another look at the stranger. It was then that she noticed the strange almost jewel-like hue of his eyes and though her own brows rose in surprise, she didn’t comment upon the similarities. She was probably just likening him to Narenia because of her dream the night before.

He almost took offence at what she said, but reminded himself that the Capital was probably filled with beggars and priests. Maybe she was just used to being approached by these people. A displeased expression appeared on Balian's face for a moment, but it faded. Do I really look so poor that she might mistake me for a pauper? He looked down at himself briefly and shrugged. "I am neither poor or a priest." He uttered and sat down, looking straight at Mirabella. A moment passed in silence as he studied her, wondering what she might be thinking. He was also considering how he should say what he wanted to say. Balian knew nothing about this woman, except from what his sister had told him before she died. If this was her at all.

In his hand he was clutching the note he'd taken from his pocket. Balian opened it and put it on the table for the woman to see. "Is this your name?" He asked, pointing at where he had written 'Mirabella d'Adreci' just below Nelinia Jaze, but was looking at her. He did not wish to bother her with religion or beg her for coin, but just wanted to know if that was her name. If he had indeed found who he was looking for, he was lucky. "I don't wish to be rude, nor waste my time. It's very important that I find these two people." He was polite when he spoke, but said it so she would understand that he meant it. Balian tapped a finger against the parchment and glanced down at it before fixing his eyes on the woman before him again.

Mirabella looked at the man’s eyes again then down at the parchment which he spread before her. She took her time in responding, tearing a chunk of her bread off and chewing on it thoughtfully before finally answering though she knew it wouldn’t be in the way that pleased him the most. Being as cynical as she was, she had to wonder why an unknown man would care to find two of the adventurers from the Prince’s quest mere hours before he was sworn in as the new King of Calisma.

“The poor are not the only to beg coin, sadly. Though you don’t look as if you need the gold there are people out there that would lick their silver spoon while asking for one made of gold. You know how society is nowadays…” She paused, her honey brown eyes lingering on his features to watch for a reaction as she slowly sipped at her mead to cleanse her palate.

“So why is it so important that you find these two listed?”

She seemed to take her time with thinking. A thing that didn't exactly help on Balian's temper. When he wanted answers, he wanted answers. Of course, he could see it from her perspective as well. If this was indeed the woman he was looking for, she would be curious why he was asking this. On the day before the coronation as well. 'I wonder how she will react to the news...' All he knew was what his sister had told him and it was hard to get a real impression of their friendship from that. When Mirabella finally spoke, Balian leaned back and raised an eyebrow. If anything, she seemed a little cynical. The Capital was probably full of greedy people, but he had expected that. The most valuable things he owned were his armor and his sword.

"I take it you've met some of these people?" He asked, sighing. Undoubtedly, there would be people who wanted to hear their stories. Being pestered and constantly asked to tell the same tale over and over again would quickly annoy Balian, he knew that. They couldn't have returned without being given a reward either, he was sure and that made them potential targets for thieves and assassins. As he sat and watched her honey brown eyes gaze back at his own vivid green, the Paladin realized that telling the woman what he wanted was easiest.

With a heavy sigh and a slight frown, he decided to begin. "It is very important that I find these two people, because they knew someone who was very close to me." Balian said, pausing. He looked at Mirabella to see if she had caught on by now. Did she know what he was talking about, or would she need more information. Regardless, he continued. "I'm not from the Capital, as you may have guessed." He didn't exactly look like he was from a far away land across the seas, but it was easy to see that he was from the South. "I am here to carry out a bequest."

"I'm afraid I'm unaware of what
name or title I should call you by, Triansui."

Nari said as she caught up with the woman in armor.
"I'm Narenia Halen. Nari for short. Mead and stew
doesn't sound terrible to me at all at the moment."




"…And thank you. For partaking in
saving my life."
Nari planted her hand on
Mira's shoulder and squeezed it gently, giving her
a warm smile as if to make sure she knew she meant it.




"She's too naive. Too young, at least
of mind."
Nari sighed deeply and looked toward
the Monk again. "I can't help but care for her though."



The memories flowed rapid fire through her thoughts and she forced her gaze to settled and stay upon her mug instead on the eerily similar eyes of the man next to her. At the mention of the words knew and bequest her hold upon the handle of her cup tightened so that her knuckles whitened and she forced herself to take a cleansing breath before she responded.

“No.”

It was short, succinct and a breathy whisper that could be barely heard above the noises in the tavern and for a moment it was questionable as to whether or not that had been her reply to his inquiry.

Grief flickered through her gaze but emotion and weakness had been drilled out of her since the first day she held a blade. Instead of weeping, she clenched her jaw tightly and after pushing her plate away from her she asked a trio of truncated questions.

“Who is responsible? How?”

A brief pause before the last left her lips, “Why?”

It would seem that she had known his sister after all. He studied her face as she seemed to realize what he had just said. She let out one word at first, which made Balian sure that she had known Nari. It was barely audible, but he still heard it. A reaction like that meant that they had known each other, better than just first impressions. There was a moment of silence where he figured it would be better to let her speak. Balian had now stated why he was here, and Mirabella seemed to have figured out who he was talking about as well. Had she figured out that she was now talking to Nari's brother as well?

Next thing he knew, she rattled of questions. You could only expect that though, and he would have asked the same.

"I don't know who is responsible." It was a question he wanted answers to as well, so he could figure out who he had to kill to avenge his sister. Perhaps by gathering information from the woman before him, and this Nelinia, he could figure out who might have taken his sister. He hoped so at least.

"If you wish to know the whole story, I will tell you, but it isn't very pleasant." Balian would have to tell her what Nari had told him, and that meant reliving all that one more time. He would have to explain how his sister had been kidnapped while they were in the Citadel, fighting a beast called Diralgraun and then suddenly being abducted. She never saw her captors, but the torture had been excruciating. She had been kept alive during it all. Bloody and beaten had she shown up in her home town, where she had later died.

A brief flash of emotional pain shot across Balian's face although he quickly hid it and the stern expression returned.

That brief flash of emotional pain was mirrored upon Mirabella’s face though the Triansui hid it just as swiftly. Silence reigned for a moment as she debated whether or not she wanted to hear the whole story. Then another look crossed her countenance as she managed to say, “I do not wish to know what pain she went through, you’re right. She was…”

The warrior huffed out a sigh and rubbed her fingertips along the arches of her eyebrows to soothe away her tension. Instead of ending her own statement, she let out an abrupt chuckle as her hands moved away from her fair features.

“You know the first time I saw her was in this very bar. Nelinia, the monk you seek and the second name on that parchment had crushed a glass in anger. Shards of glass had embedded themselves into her palm and Nari helped her to pick them out and cleanse the wound before wrapping it. I thought, at that moment, that if everyone we were adventuring with had the same compassion as she did, then we would be fine. Our quest a success.”

A small lapse of quiet followed her short story and her heart clenched in her throat until she finally spoke again.

“Yes. I wish to know her story.”

As the woman before him told of the first time she met Nari, he couldn't help but smile. Despite her proud mind, it did sound exactly like her. It was clear that it pained this woman to hear of his sister's death, but still she was strong enough to ask of her story, after she had disappeared from their quest. Balian could only tell her what Nari had told him, before she had died.

"Well, I can only tell you what she told me." He started and looked at Mirabella, sighing and pausing as he tried to get his thoughts straight. It was straining and exhausting, having to tell her all of this. With another heavy sigh, he began. "A few days ago, she came riding into the town we were born in, in the south." He said. "And before that, I hadn't seen her in a very long time. Yet, she came riding into town half awake, bloody and beaten." Balian contemplated telling her about what his profession was, but decided against it. "I brought her to the priests and they kept her alive as best they could. Narenia told me that she had been taken from something called Idassava's Citadel, while fighting a beast called the Diralgraun. After that, her memories were hazy. Fortunately." He figured that she'd rather not remember the things that had happened at the hands of her captors. "Nari kept repeating your names," He glanced at the paper still on the table. "And asked me to find you and give you something. I have her hunting knives for you."

The Paladin sighed and shook his head, closing his eyes for a moment. "I'm sorry if it none of it makes much sense, I still can't quite believe that she is gone." Balian paused and shrugged. "She was my sister."

The muscles in Mirabella’s jaw tightened as she clenched her teeth together. Idassava’s Citadel… she thought, forcing herself to take a slow, deep breath to calm her reactions.

“Niluxiel,” she spat out the name with venom and she looked at Balian. “The demon must have had a hand in this. Nothing would have happened in the Citadel without her knowledge.”

Pushing herself up quite suddenly, Mirabella walked a few paces from the bar and Vinny came out of the kitchen, his brow arched inquisitively. “Can I get ya anything else?” The bartender asked but Mirabella shook her head in response and he left to wait upon other patrons.

The Triansui dragged her hand through her short blond hair and came back to where Balian sat to lay a hand upon his shoulder. “I am sorry for your loss, brother of Narenia.” She didn’t know his name so she used his relation to Nari when addressing him. “I swear to you that I will see Niluxiel dead. I have more than one grievance to repay her for, now.” Tears threatened to spill over the lower lids of her honey brown eyes once again and she blinked rapidly before sliding back onto her stool. “Nari did not deserve an end such as that.”

His eyes narrowed when the woman before him mentioned a name. Naturally that caught his attention. If she knew anything of anyone that could have had something to do with his sister's death, he would very much like to know about it. This wasn't the time, nor the place though. Before he could open his mouth though, she stood up very suddenly and walked a few steps away from him. Balian merely watched her as she seemed to be thinking, before returning back and put a hand on his shoulder.

Having found one of the three people he needed to talk to, he felt a sense of success and a tinge of hope. It was small and he did his best to get rid of the knot in his stomach. Balian needed to find Nelinia next and the Prince. The monk was to receive Nari's bow, and he wanted to bring the word of her death the Prince personally. It seemed he had picked a bad time to gain an audience with him though.

The way Mirabella reacted was unexpected to him. When she had finished her sentence, it almost looked like she had a tear in her eye. Of course, the Paladin said nothing. Instead, he kept his vivid green eyes locked on hers and waited for a moment before opening his mouth. "Whoever this Niluxiel is, I would like to learn more about her but not now." He said and clenched his jaw, sighing. In all honesty, he'd rather grab his sword, saddle his horse and go after this evil creature. "No, Nari definitely did not." It warmed his heart to hear that someone else felt for his sister. "And it has just dawned on me that I have forgotten to introduce myself. My name is Balian."

In the silence that followed, another opportunity presented itself to him. If he could find nothing else to do, he might ask Mirabella if she needed a companion for her journeys or quests she might be going on. But that was another topic entirely. One he was going to take up later.

“Well met then, Balian Halen. If I knew more of Niluxiel, our future would be easier. Until then, know that she is a demoness that has threatened the Prince and soon to be King. The other person you seek, Nelinia, is actually the proprietor of this inn and if you are rooming here, as I am, you will find her easily enough. If nothing else, you can leave word with Vinny that you wish to see her.”

She found it easier to speak as the topic strayed slightly from the news of Narenia’s death and though she didn’t want to appear rude, the Triansui needed air. She needed space and time alone with her thoughts.

“I hope you forgive me but I must go. If you need to find me once more, my room is on the third floor. First door on the left.”

Perhaps it was not going to be as difficult as he had first expected. The woman Nelinia should be quite easy to find now. The Prince (soon the King) was going to be worse. Balian listened as Mirabella spoke, although he was deep in thought. Would the other woman he searched take the news different from her, or would she react completely different. Had she been just as close to Nari?

Balian decided that he would give hand over his sisters hunting knives later, or tomorrow.

"That's quite alright." He replied after a short pause. "I understand." Judging by her reaction, it seemed like she needed to be left alone for a while. That was perfectly understandable. A couple of days after Narenia had died, Balian had just wanted to be left alone. In fact, he didn't want to speak to anyone at all. "Thank you for your time, your help and your patience. I'll give you my sister's knives either later or tomorrow, if time permits." He nodded and smiled slightly. "I hope there won't be long until our next meeting, Mirabella d'Adreci." Balian bowed his head slightly, a lock of dark hair falling down in front of his face.


'Now to find the other woman...'

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Balian Halen

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The city was busy. People everywhere whether it was day or night. He had expected as m