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Siobhan Brennan

It's harder to heal than it is to kill.

0 · 573 views · located in Calisma

a character in “Calisma”, as played by Celedia

Description

Full Name:
Siobhán Brennan (Pronounced: shiv-AHN)

Nickname:
Siobhán or if they cannot pronounce it correctly, Shivvie/Shiv.

Gender:
Female

Age:
22

Sexual Orientation:
Heterosexual

Height:
5'3"

Race:
Human

Class
Priestess/Cleric of Selûne.

Skills:
Her powers seem to fall mostly within the range of spells that heal or aid either an individual or group but sometimes Selûne favors the young cleric. There have been times when Siobhán has called for aid in another fashion, such as finding her way when lost or wishing for guidance or knowledge and her Goddess responds to her cries for assistance. Even once, as in legends past, she has been guided to safety by a will o' the wisp, a faint fragment of moonlight that led her to the nearest town while she was out adventuring.

Weakness(es):
She doesn't wear armor, period, and her long flowing gown provides absolutely no protection from anything other than the elements.

Equipment:
Her most prized possession seems to be a leather bound journal which she writes in frequently. Her clothing consists of her gown, her hooded robes which bear the holy symbol of Selûne upon the left breast, and thick leather boots. Random accessories which she has accepted from a few proud people in return for healing magic, such as a hammered silver cuff bracelet set with a large moonstone and heirloom ring given to her by a childless widow. She has a single satchel strapped across her torso and another pouch hooked onto her belt that both carry other random items that she usually needs during her travels.

Personal Quote:
"In every community, there is work to do be done. In every nation, there are wounds to heal. In every heart, there is the power to do it."

Description:
A woman of hearty constitution that lacks physical strength. Her body is lithe and agile, a trait only gained from her past few years of traveling and adventuring. Her locks are long and deep brown, flowing in soft waves to the center of her back and her eyes are an odd forest green. An alabaster complexion is the result of living in an area that is snowy and frost-laced while her slender hands have obviously never seen a day of hard labor. She prefers darker colors, even though her Goddess is dubbed the Lady of Silver and she rarely wears anything brightly colored. Only the stitching on her cleric robes would catch anyone's eyes since the holy symbol uses an enchanted metallic silver thread.

Image

Personality:
Quiet, curious, contemplative. She smiles easily but mostly seems serene or shy to others and though she enjoys people in good spirits and good company, she is far from outgoing. Kind and compassionate, she makes the perfect healer because she holds others above herself and would gladly sacrifice much in order to benefit another. At times, her Goddess shows her true empathy and when Siobhán casts a healing spell upon another, she actually takes the person's wounds onto herself. (Random and actually decided by a roll of the dice when she attempts healing spells before writing the result IC.) If they were bleeding from a cut arm, she would have a mirrored wound upon her own flesh even as the other person's laceration fades away. Yet she never rages over this and instead, she believes that it helps her to better serve others. How could she let someone deal with a broken arm when she, herself, has felt such pain before?

She also shies away from fights and confrontations. Her words are soft spoken and educated though it is obvious that she is a better listener than orator. It is obvious when you speak to her that she believes everything happens for a reason. There must be darkness in the land for people to truly appreciate the light and the same goes for many such pairings. No joy without sorrow, no laughter without pain. Though people usually list "no love without hatred" next, she usually responds with a smile and instead asks, "Are love and hatred really so different? Both are passionately rooted into a person's very being. You can see a person and either want to run and kiss them or cause them harm. No, I believe that the true opposite of either love or hatred is apathy. You feel strongly for them or you feel... Nothing."

History:
Siobhán was born 'neath a full moon on a cold December night in the city of Orranli to a hunter father and seamstress mother. They, like all the people in the city, lived on a day to day basis without know where their next meal is coming from. Her father had thus turned from his trade as a woodcarver to that of a hunter so that he could gather food for his family from the surrounding landscape and like a lion in the wild, they experienced either feast or famine. Days of sipping water and thinned soup of boiled root vegetables was interspersed with days of feast for a week or so after her father had returned from a successful hunting trip. Thus, she learned two things: to accept the good with the bad, and that she had to work hard for any of her endeavors to bear fruit.

When she was of age, the temple dedicated to the moon goddess, Selûne noticed Siobhán as both she and her mother came to pay their respects to the Goddess during a trip into the center city. As the two women crossed the threshold of the temple, the perpetual clouds broke overhead and a single stream of moonlight danced through the archway and illuminated the young Siobhán. The clerics took this as a sign of their Lady's affections and easily swayed Siobhán into joining their order. The young woman already revered the moon goddess and her life would no longer be based on luck and skill. She would have a home, schooling and all of the other basics of life provided to her as long as she remained with the temple.

On her 20th winter, Siobhán was finally deemed a full-blown cleric and inducted into an off shoot of the order named the Silverstars. The Silverstars were tasked with protecting the vulnerable, fighting evil (namely, the Goddess' sister Shar) and carrying the message of their Goddess to everyone. Their temple was not wealthy but still gifted a holy amulet upon the newly crowned Silverstar. Two pendants dangled from a long silver chain- the first was a round disk with Selûne's holy symbol etched carefully into its surface and the second was a silver star. Though Siobhán does not need the Holy Symbol to cast powers, she feels superstitious about it and thinks if she were to lose it then her Goddess would no longer favor her.

Anything Else:
Siobhán honestly knows quite a bit of history and lore surrounding not only the eclectic Pantheon of Gods and Goddesses for the continent but also of myth and legend. Along with her lessons in the temple while she was an acolyte, she was subjected to history lessons and the young cleric always asked more questions. Knowledge is her passion and that is also one of the reasons she writes within her journal. While she is off combating evil and trying to assist the populace of Calisma, she is also hoping to gather new facts to bring to her temple and share with her mentors.

So begins...

Siobhan Brennan's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Siobhan Brennan
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#, as written by Celedia
Image

The journey that had taken Siobhán to this dark and desolate citadel was one of great importance, though she didn’t know why, upon acceptance. It had seemed like a simple enough task for her to check up on a few people that had recently ventured into dangerous territory and then report back. Her skill as a priestess of Selûne should keep her safe from harm while also allowing her to assist if needed whether her aid would come in the form of healing or another talent or spell that she could procure for them.

What she hadn’t expected was the simple task to be so hazardous. Sure, she had been forewarned by the quest givers that her intended destination was a ruin beset with peril and dark magic but she had assumed that since the last resident of the citadel had been gone for some length of time, there was no lingering maliciousness to contend with.

And she had been wrong.

Prior to passing through the grand archway that led into the Citadel ruins, she had called upon her Goddess to grant her the moon’s light to guide her way to her charges. At first, it would appear that nothing had happened but then, an apple-sized orb descended from the heavens, glowing with a soft silvery white light that hung precariously in the air in front of her so that she could see where she was going. As she traversed the dark corridors and twisting passages, Siobhán hadn’t run into any of the dangers that the others had experienced and it was only when she had reached a central location inside of the great stronghold that her orb of light had suddenly cut off, vanished. Magic swelled within the room until Siobhán was practically choking upon it and then… Nothing. Darkness.

She did not know how long she lay unconscious but she knew by process of elimination that she was not dead. If she were deceased, the Moon Maiden would have welcomed her into the afterlife and she would now be on an island of exceptional beauty floating above the silvery seas in Ysgard. Siobhán also knew she wasn’t in an awakened state because there were no sensations to be experienced. No heat or cold, comfort or discomfort, pain or wellness. Only that inky black infinity that seemed to stretch on forever. After an unknown amount of time had passed, Siobhán finally felt the presence of another and withdrew into herself, afraid that it was the one that had cast her into this lifeless place. Instead, she felt her Goddess.

Selûne.

It was hard to describe to anyone that was not one of the faithful what the presence of the Goddess felt like but for the priestess it simply felt like home. Acceptance. Compassion. Love. The feeling that even if all was not right within the world, you would strive to make it so. That was the feeling of Selûne and in the priestess’ mind she saw a silvery feminine outline coming towards her with facial features etched by the stars themselves. The apparition smiled, then spoke:

“Let all on whom my light falls be welcome if they desire to be so. As the silver moon waxes and wanes, so too does all life. Trust in my radiance, and know that all love alive under my light shall know my blessing. Turn to the moon, and I will be your true guide.”


The blessing of Selûne filled her with a sense of calm and after a brief flutter of black eyelashes against alabaster skin, the priestess awakened. Oblivious to the fact that not only had Selûne spoken to her but through her as well and that everyone in the room would’ve heard those same words uttered by the unconscious Siobhán. That blessing of the Goddess would have been in a voice that was far more melodic and enticing than her normal speaking voice- a fact that would be proven as soon as her dry lips parted to speak, as herself, for the first time.

“Where….?” Her inquiry began as the confusion clouded her senses and after a brief pause, she realized that the same woman that had trapped her was now at the far end of the room. Siobhán’s moss-colored eyes swept about the room, taking it all in as her mouth stayed slightly agape. Bindings were on her wrists and legs, keeping her latched securely to her chair and there was a table upended so that its contents were strewn across the floor. Strangers milled about, some looking ready for battle and far more looking utterly confused at whatever had happened previous to her awakening.

Then chaos ensued and a lick of fear coursed through her very being and the priestess murmured softly in another language. Whatever words she had spoken caused a shimmering essence to descend above her head and then exploded in a miniature burst which separated it into dozens of tiny star-like lights. Those lights encapsulated the cleric in a protective shield, the only spell she could think of to aid her if a fight broke out. Twisting and tugging at her wrists, she began to attempt to break free from her bindings.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Feylon Haradas Character Portrait: Siobhan Brennan Character Portrait: Alice Sangera Character Portrait: Geraint Magdohl Character Portrait: Yaa Oba Contee Character Portrait: Dekard Roland Character Portrait: Selene Moretti
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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: Siobhan Brennan Character Portrait: Travian Zarel
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Travian let out a half-hearted laugh to Akdov’s remark. As he said, the injured were leaving the healthy behind. The man with his chest sliced open had managed to climb up to the balcony almost as easily as the monk did. At any rate it seemed that he was right-there were indeed stairs nearby and close enough to make his call for scouts to find some irrelevant. Naturally those who managed the climb beat Travian and the others on the stairs to the dining room, but it mattered little- their most excellent host was gracious enough to wait for all their guests to arrive.

Travian couldn’t help but look at the feast spread before them longingly. He had barely had a thing to eat all day and felt as though he could eat most of what was on the table. Well he could have if the Prince’s words hadn’t made him sick to his stomach. Suddenly the feast was completely unappetizing. Almost as soon as the prince was done speaking their party began acting. Projectiles were hurled and the table was turned over sending food all across the floor.

While all of that was going on a few of the adventurers began freeing the other “guests” who were tied to some of the chairs set at the table. Travian was somewhat wary- could their presence be some ploy Idassava’s? Well if they were they didn’t appear to be turning immediately on those who freed them and even if they were allied to the sorceress she would probably make use of them whether they had been untied or not. Furthermore, there was no was Travian could leave them like that with a battle breaking out. Thus decided he ran over to one of the nearest hostages, a young woman with long dark hair and carefully cut her bonds.

“Are you okay?”

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Talsin Inicka Character Portrait: Siobhan Brennan Character Portrait: Iravey Inicka Character Portrait: Travian Zarel Character Portrait: Yaa Oba Contee Character Portrait: Dekard Roland Character Portrait: Selene Moretti
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#, as written by Celedia
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Siobhán grit her teeth as her hands twisted and turned within their bonds. Others were being released from captivity and still she was ignored, worrying her wrists against the twisted hemp rope so that blood was drawn from her skin. Oddly enough, the red liquid was making it easier for her to work her hands loose, making her skin just slick enough so that if she squeezed her hands together in just the right way…

But before she could free herself a man came to her aid and with a few deft flicks of his wrist, the rope binding her arms, torso, knees and ankles were all freed. “Are you okay?” The cleric heard him speak and her head swiveled as she stood from the chair, trying to see if the newcomer was friend or foe. A warrior, from the look of him, and more specifically a Paladin in the care of the god Urusk the Protector if his tabard was legitimate. The temple had taught her much of the Gods and Goddesses worshipped in Calisma and the surrounding areas and she was both shocked and surprised to see a followed of Urusk venturing this far into the wilderness. Not because they weren’t known for travel, in fact they always seemed to be off aiding others, but there were so few people that had the resolve necessary to follow the Protector God that they were quite rare. Simply stumbling upon one of them in her hour of need seemed almost too good to be true.

Finally, she found her voice and casting a soft smile upon the Paladin, she nodded, causing thick raven-colored locks to tousle about her lithe frame. “I am, thank you. We should help the others….” A pause in her speech as she gestured to those still tied to their chairs. Siobhán then canted her head as if listening to something before angling her face towards the Paladin. “A gift, if I may?” She turned towards him and held both hands aloft as if to show him that she meant no harm. In fact, she was the antithesis of violence and if anything, she wanted to aid the people that would most likely be saving her from this dark citadel.

If he did not flinch or shy away, she would press a palm to each of his cheeks and recite a soft prayer in an ancient language. Pale, silvery light would seem to emanate from her very skin, concentrated mostly in her hands where she touch the Paladin’s face and he would feel more powerful than before. “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….” Her face turned again, casting a shadowed look at the young, beautiful woman currently stroking the man perched upon the cold stone throne. This group would have to throw everything they had at that woman in order to have the slightest chance of walking from these shadowed halls alive. “You are needed in battle, it seems.”

Smiling once more, she dropped her hands and ran off to the nearest captive, Oba, one of the two (technically three but she did not count the blankly staring man beside her) people that she had followed into this Goddess-forsaken place. “Do not fret. Go help in the killing. Do not let them have all of the fun.” She spoke in jest, in response to the woman’s outburst as Siobhán drew her own dagger from her belt and sliced through the bonds which held the witch doctor before moving on to her zombie-like husband. A golden-haired woman and purple-eyed lass were both being freed as well as the scruffy sorcerer that she had been pursuing so that left the man and woman that looked eerily similar to one another. Goddess, she hoped that she was correct in trusting everyone that had been captive and not naïve enough to unleash hell upon the group that was trying to assist them.

Another quick jerk of her dagger and she loosed the rope that bound the hands of Iravey first since she was still upright. “Are either of you wounded?“ Her voice softly inquired, hoping that they could still hear her over the raucous battle. Then she moved to the brother, Talsin and pushed his chair a bit so she could reach his hands whilst he was laying upon the floor still strapped into his seat. “Clever boy…” She murmured beneath her breath in appreciation at his quick thinking and then before standing once more, Siobhán shoved her dagger back into her belt sheath. Her protective shield still shimmered lightly around her, protecting her from direct attack but it was evident that she was skittish and wanted to remove herself from this room as quickly as possible.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Talsin Inicka Character Portrait: Siobhan Brennan Character Portrait: Iravey Inicka Character Portrait: Selene Moretti
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#, as written by Skwidge
Talsin Inicka


A silent breath escaped the man's lips, and his head craned a bit to try to get a good look at the couple up front once more. He blinked a few more times, before giving up his pathetic attempts. His neck was so stiff in any matter. So he ceased in his actions, a small thud coming from the back of the chair as he allowed his cranium to drop into the groove which seemed to have been hallowed into over the time he had been trapped there.

The brown-haired boy's lips turned down in a subtle frown as he internally complained about how tight the bindings were as his eyes focused on as much detailing as he could... of the ceiling. However, his gaze was suddenly captured by a new figure kneeling next to him, leaning fractionally over him and going at his arms, and then pushing his chair up a bit. His head instinctively swayed away in apprehension from the unknown silhouette. "Hey, what are-" He squinted, trying to make out just what this person was up to in his personal space, and then he got his answer as his precious hands numbly made their way to his sides. "Oh, thanks." He wrinkled his nose slightly, re-assessing his current condition.

“Are either of you wounded?“ Tal's eyes snapped back to attention as the woman, or at least he was fairly certain it was a woman, reiterated her question to him. He flashed her a lopsided grin before answering. "Other than my voice and my pride, I think I'm... fine. But my limbs are fairly stiff, so I believe... I'll just stay right here." He tilted his chin down in a slight nod of confirmation, almost as if he himself had been testing his words for their truth value.

His eyes slid to the left, indicating that she should return to whatever it was she wanted to be doing, well, if she could even see his eyes. If he stayed right in his little chair, he'd also be out of the battle, which Talsin preferred immensely. He needed both of his hands for playing. Other voices murmured in his hearing range, but one filtered into actual words, and a wry smile scribbled itself upon his face.

"Don't worry; I have no immediate intention to become closely acquainted with the floor, nice as it is."

He tilted his head carefully to the side, his eyes seeking out the individual to whom the voice belonged to. Once Tal got into the vague area of where he thought it was emanating from, he opened his mouth, coughed quietly, and then began to speak. "Nay, the floor could use a hug. It does so much work being a floor. You should embrace it! Just look at me, I practically fell over with over-exuberance in respect to it!" He clicked his tongue against his teeth, tapping the surface with the heel of his right foot.

Tal winced, looking up as a new voice began to fill the chamber. He rolled his head a bit to the side to get a look at the couple before the throne. He could see the man stagger a bit, something seeping from the side of his head, and it was unmistakable that it was blood. He let out a small hiss of an exhale escape through his teeth, and he scrambled backward a bit despite the vague throbbing in his legs.

”Halt. Hear you me, any aiding these prisoners will be punishable to the furthest extent of the law. These are rebels, high ranking members of the TK, and traitors to the King.”

"Wait, what? Where's the evidence in that!?" He pursed his lips, a thoughtful frown on his countenance. Tal then paused, wonder soon replacing what was previously occupying his facials. "Uh, what's the TK again?"


Iravey Inicka


Iravey remained silent, her eyes following the figure that jogged to her chair, the woman's intent clear. Without a word, the female twin watched as she thumbed the dagger under the ropes binding her hands and then saw through. As soon as her legs were free, and the stranger turned to help her brother, she was already backtracking into the shadows, using the black of her clothes to conceal herself all the easier.

She listened as the stranger asked her brother, and herself for that matter, if either one of them were hurt. She wouldn't have answered the woman in any case, and listened to the soft thrum of her twin's voice as he answered her. 'His voice is still cracked.' Ira observed. If she herself were to speak, she'd be quite the opposite, as she never spoke much anyway. She wasn't as eager as her brother seemed to be in compromising position with speech. Or at least in this case it applied. She recognized everything around her as danger, while he was easygoing and too lenient. But that was why they worked so well together.

Her eyes flickered away from the two and up towards the throne, eyeing the couple warily while the man spoke.

However, suddenly something came from one of the balconies, and the prince shifted to get directly into the path of it, obviously protecting that vile woman. It connected with his head, a thunk sound spreading a small way throughout the room before ceasing as soon as it had started, and the prince staggered, and ultimately fell, to the floor. 'Pain.' The sole word grew in her mind, registering what the contact must have felt like, and wincing for a second. The woman quickly bent over to scan his face, but Iravey was already slipping along between torches along the wall, keeping to the flickering shadows the luminescence cast across the floors. She was rapidly regathering her memories of experience on what should be done to keep oneself masked and greatly unnoticed as the Prince carefully rose to his feet again, his voice, slightly wavering, filling the room once more.

”But will someone explain what the fuck is going on here? Pray you all that Idassava’s ghost lingers these halls and has in someway bewitched you all, for nothing short of that will excuse such treasonous actions against the First Prince and future King of Calisma.” The blood was still slowly trickling down the side of his face, taking on that of a gleaming persona from the light of the torches. She was now situated behind the two, the pitch black vest-tunic off of her shoulders and in her hand as she, without a sound, approached the Prince. 'So that's who the man is....' The blood was already slowing, but it would still be a small period before it actually clotted, and it shouldn't be exposed like that after it did. It had a fair shot at becoming infected, and even more so if it grazed the ground and collected the dirt or dust or whatever might have been on the surface.

Vey was only meters away from his head, warily holding the soft material of her clothing piece, hosted in one hand quietly outstretched, as she attempted to get close enough to stem the bleeding. It was about then he unsheathed and pointed his sword in the direction of one of the other captives, his attention distracted for the moment being. Ira was being incredibly stupid, and she really didn't act out like she was at that point. But hey, her twin got to be an idiot most of the time, so the female simply reassured herself that she could afford to at this moment. The only thing she hoped was that she wouldn't have to pay for it with life or limb. She just had to get close enough, wrap the thing around his head and secure it, then swiftly return to the safety provided by the limitation of his range.

It had become increasingly obvious that there was something wrong with the ma- the Prince, but she didn't want him in pain caused from fever or delusion, or whatever truly came with infected wounds- she wasn't a cleric after all, she only knew that it was something painful and awful. She'd experienced it when she was younger, and it was not a pleasant time at all.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Siobhan Brennan Character Portrait: Cord Braxton
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#, as written by Celedia
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The Moonmaiden’s cleric barely registered the responses of the various people that she had helped free as her eyes trained upon the dramatic scene that rapidly unfolded before her. People she didn’t know were locked in a war of words- a war that would ultimately affect the future of each and every being that had been held prisoner at this mad banquet. One woman with golden hair and mishmash armor tried to appease the Prince while others hurled words as sharp as daggers at him in an effort to break through the enchantment that enthralled him. The Prince looked wide-eyed and panicked and it would only be a matter of time until things came to a head. Battle would erupt, Siobhán could feel it in her very bones and she retreated to a far corner of the room to prepare one of her spells.

Drawing a small pouch from her belt loop, she tugged at the ties, loosening them so that she could withdraw its contents. A small reliquary tumbled into her outstretched palm and dipping low towards the ground, she set it upon the floor as she offered up a quick prayer to the Lady of Silver in her time of need. Instead of the more easily broken shield spell that she had cast upon herself earlier, the reliquary suddenly vanished and Siobhán’s form now held a Holy Aura that would ripple out into a small area around her, offering up the same protection to any humans that were close to the cleric. The spell was one of the strongest that she had and her breath left her body in a sudden whoosh as if the wind had been knocked out of her. A few moments were needed to gather her thoughts and strength once more but even as the demons were unleashed upon the banquet room, she found a sort of peace and strength in the protection provided by her Goddess. The spell’s component was priceless but the effect of the divine magic was needed. It would increase protection for anyone affected by the Holy Aura from attacks, it would ward them against evil spells, it would block possession or mental influence, and if an evil creature tried a melee attack they had a chance to be blinded.

The chance to test the spell came quickly and even before she could fully stand up from her crouched position, one of the demon creatures came rushing towards her with its appendages wind-milling in her direction. A soft, shocked gasp left her throat and even as she moved to run from the vrock it seemed to stumble over its own clawed feet and crash to the ground with a loud clatter of noise. Siobhán seemed at a loss as to what to do. Her training at the temple had mostly consisted of protection and healing spells with only a few offensive spells thrown in towards the end of her lessons to aid her in her travels. She also had a dagger but using it seemed distasteful to her even in the face of death so the cleric did what any untrained fighter would do…

She ran.

The clanging of metallic weapons and the almost musical twang of bowstrings being drawn were masked by the utterly human reactions to the battle. Gasps, sighs, grunts and screams echoed all around her and Siobhán tried to keep her wits about her. She was trained for this, by the Goddess, and she would not fail in her first true fight. A small clearing, devoid of man and beast was found and she took a deep breath, steeling her spine and setting out her senses to search for those in need of healing. A Goddess, not her own, decided to intervene at that exact moment and from somewhere along the wall that she was leaning against she heard a sharp cry with a confusing message.

”OATS!”

Confusion knit her brow but she sensed the pain within the message, following the odd voice until she practically stumbled upon a woman with hair the color of wheat with skin as pale as alabaster. A large demon hovered over the woman’s still form and Siobhán summoned forth a ray of searing light, holding her hands together at the wrists with her palms fanned out in an effort to direct the burning energy at the vrock. The searing light cut forth like a blade, vivisecting the creature as it shrieked shrilly. Bodily fluids spilled from its wounds until it finally fell to the ground in a twitching mass of scattered limbs. With foes still rampant in the area, Siobhán searched desperately for someone to assist her with the passed out Cord but everyone seemed busy. It was only then that she caught the eye of Acacia, a woman that she did not know but looked both friendly and able-bodied. Perhaps she would assist?

“I need help!” The cleric called, gesturing down to Cord but then another demon came sprinting towards her and she couldn’t discern a response from the bard. It was only then that she scooped the unconscious woman up with her hands beneath the woman’s upper arms, effectively dragging her down the remainder of the wall until they could slip out onto the balcony beyond. This would have to be a makeshift triage, for now, with the battle happening mostly through the archway and in the banquet room beyond. Taking the chance to administer aid, Siobhán began to cast healing upon the fallen woman. A soft, silvery glow spread out from the cleric’s hands and onto Cord’s skin. Wherever the light traveled, the lacerations, rips and tears all seemed to seal shut before their very eyes. Her work was almost done when suddenly, she felt a sharp pain upon her hip. Warm blood trickled down over her hip and outer thigh and the cleric knew that the Goddess had delivered unto her one of the unconscious woman’s wounds and it was a surprise that the woman had withstood so much if this was but one of the ailments that she had suffered from before she had fallen. When her spell was complete, Siobhán pushed herself back until she could lean her spine against the balcony’s railing while pressing one hand against the new gash upon her hip. A rest. She needed a rest before she could do any more. The poor girl had an infection in her blood stream too but the cleric's magic could only do so much with the energy that she had left and on top of that the infection was of demonic origin. A simple remove poison or contagion spell would have no effect on her and without preparing the proper spell for the girl, Siobhán was unwilling to risk it.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Feylon Haradas Character Portrait: Siobhan Brennan Character Portrait: Travian Zarel 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: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Siobhan Brennan Character Portrait: Travian Zarel Character Portrait: Cord Braxton
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#, as written by slcam
Acacia was stunned when the woman before her seemed to regain her senses in an instant, informing Acacia that the Lady of Silence was not a person at all. At least that is what Acacia got from the woman's words. She even told Acacia to calm herself, which Acacia found humorous since the blonde woman was hysterical just seconds before. Acacia had met eccentric people before, but this woman was already at the top of the list. She then began mumbling something about whispering, which Acacia thought she vaguely understood. Was this woman telling how she had come here in her own way? The woman looked to the Prince and the woman next to him and began mumbling indistinctly once more. Acacia was still trying to catch what she was saying when she whipped out of her grasp.

The woman recklessly stormed over to where the Prince and Lady stood, bearing her dagger with a threatening air. Acacia took a step, as if to stop the woman. She was already feeling like she was somewhat responsible for her, since she had set her free. Acacia only hoped that the woman would not hurt herself, or anyone else. Of course, the woman began spewing riddles again, but Acacia thought she might be getting the hang of interpreting. Alternatively, she could just be totally off. Either way, she though the woman was trying to say that the woman next to the Prince was deceiving him, and the woman next to him had him, and this Lady of Silence, whatever it was, caught. Acacia almost wondered if the woman's cryptic words were some sort of spell, however, nothing seemed to happen as a result.

Before Acacia could grasp what was happening, Nel rushed the Prince, kicking up his sword and holding it in place. It seemed like too bold of a move, but Acacia expected nothing less of the yellow-robed monk. Acacia took another step forward, wanting to do something worthwhile to help this situation, though she could not think of what. All she could do for the time being was listen and watch, taking careful note of every detail she could.

Still, her eyes continued to be drawn to that jeweled skull. It seemed to stick out more and more each time she glimpsed it. There had to be something special about it, didn't there? If not, it would make little difference. She began to edge toward it, on the side of the dais that was opposite the commotion. The woman yelling out, “Enough!” made Acacia halt. She could feel the evil emanate from the single shouted command as the complete wrongness in the woman beginning to reveal itself. Fortunately, Acacia did not think that the command was to her and she continued toward the skull. However, she was still greatly distracted by the woman’s transformation. She was a succubus! That meant she had indeed enchanted the Prince.

A feeling of relief crossed her features for an instant before the woman began speaking. Acacia remembered her undertaking to destroy the skull that even now seemed to glare at her. She sensed that she did not have much time to accomplish this. If she guessed correctly, it had some importance; otherwise, it was very strange that it was the only skull so bejeweled and so clean. Her fingers grasped the skull just as the succubus summoned her creatures. Just how many creatures did this succubus have to summon?

Acacia grabbed the skull and threw it to the ground with all her strength. The skull itself fractured into several pieces that skidded across the floor. One of the jewels chipped slightly on the corner from the force of the impact. The beast and demons began to emerge, and Acacia stumbled back into a nearby, shadowy corner. She noticed several others doing the same. For a few moments, she remained unnoticed trembling at the sight of so many of the demons. They seemed to be everywhere. She could almost remember what these horrid creatures were called, but she knew she might have heard it in a story before but she could not recall where.

Suddenly, she heard someone call out, “OATS!” At first, she merely wondered what had caused such an odd battle cry. Abruptly, she recalled that the strange, golden haired woman had seemed to call her that. She immediately sprinted toward the source of the sound, dodging and weaving through the battle, attempting to stay in the shadows. She arrived just as one of the strangers they had rescued ripped the monster apart with some form of magic. The beast collapsed, and Acacia caught sight of the golden haired woman collapsed and bleeding on the ground. The woman who had slain the demon grabbed hold of the golden haired woman and started to drag her to safety. She shouted to Acacia for help, and Acacia noticed one of the beasts rushing toward the pair.

Immediately, she leapt into action, running to intercept the monster with a dagger in each of her hands. Crossing in front of it, she released both daggers toward its face. Its arm blocked one of the daggers, but the other embedded itself in its cheek, quickly swatted off as if it were an annoying bug. Nevertheless, it turned to follow Acacia as she intended, giving the pair some time. To her dismay, she saw another take its place, but Travain quickly killed it. Acacia continued running, at times feeling the monsters foul breath on her neck, causing her to turn abruptly to buy herself time.

She noticed some weapons in a small alcove ahead of her, a long spear catching her attention. She grabbed it quickly, but not quickly enough. It was then she remembered what the beasts were called. They were Vroks. She swung the spear in front of her as the Vrok lunged. It skewered itself on the spear, giving an earsplitting shriek. Unfortunately, this only stopped its forward motion instead of killing it. It jabbed its right arm into Acacia shoulder, embedding two of its gruesome talons into the flesh of her shoulder, pinning it to the wall. With its other hand, it scrabbled at her arm, intending to make her loose her hold on the spear so it could destroy her. Slowly, Acacia was losing the ability to resist as her strength faded. She gave a harsh gasp of pain, knowing she would die.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Siobhan Brennan Character Portrait: Xan Hallister Character Portrait: Alice Sangera Character Portrait: Callavan Sole
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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: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Siobhan Brennan Character Portrait: Travian Zarel Character Portrait: Cord Braxton
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#, as written by Celedia
Image



Siobhán attempted to move from the balcony to seek the wounded but it was as if the vrocks, like other predators could sense the weakest of the herd as the cleric suddenly became overrun with enemies. Yet, the pack of warriors and combatants that she was not truly a part of came to her aid just as quickly. Several monstrous demons were slain in her wake by the man she had blessed earlier, then the woman with short hair that she had called to for assistance. Spears and daggers drew the attention of many of the creatures until just one was left, trailing her so closely she could feel its hot breath through the thin fabric of her traveling gown.

It was then that the man everyone had named as the Prince came to her rescue. Quite obviously a well-trained swordsman, he pierced the half-ton creature then decapitated it in a flurry of movements before wrapping one muscular arm about her waist and settling the now-shocked cleric down upon the floor.

”You will live, stay strong.” His voice seemed calm and she could barely nod before he was off, weaving his self into the calamity once more. Though she heard shouts from many of the warriors urging their comrades to seek medical attention out upon the balcony on which she now rested there was no one else that came to her for the remainder of the battle. So with the Paladin guarding the entry to the balcony, Siobhán took the opportunity to kneel and pray to her Goddess. The Moonmaiden must be getting weary of me… The cleric thought with a hint of a smile tilting her lips but still she clasped her hands, eyes closed as she drew forth an image of Selûne in her mind as she thanked the Goddess for Her patience and guidance and begged Her once more for assistance.

The battle raging in the banquet room sounded fierce and they would all no doubt need some form of healing; healing which Siobhán was currently too weak to perform. It seemed that once more the Lady of Silver showed favor to the young cleric and the entire balcony became alight with Her blessing. To anyone that stood close to Siobhán including Cord and Travian, they would feel reenergized as if they had experienced a full night of sleep.

Thankfully, the war between demon and human had ended because Siobhán knew not how long the Goddess’ blessing would last and she wanted to perform the spell before she was once more too weary to do so. Stepping daintily over mutilated carcasses and trying to pick her way through the splatters of blood and gore that now littered the ground, Siobhán pressed on until she was directly in the center of the room. Her moss-hued eyes cast about, searching to make sure each and every human stood within range of her spell.

Then, without a word, she clutched her Holy Symbol between both hands and recited a few words in an ancient language, known only to the Selûnites. Whilst praying, her aura became visible as a shiny silver corona and once the last of the holy words had left her lips, the cleric thrust both arms straight out to her sides and her aura seemed to explode. That faint silvery glow pushed out from the center of the room like a tidal wave, flowing over her allies and once her energy was expended, Siobhán collapsed upon the ground, unconscious. The spell would heal any human of their serious or moderate wounds but may have left some scratches, bruises, etc if they were not life threatening. Unfortunately, the divine magic would also be unable to bring back the dead. Siobhán had obviously not been prepared for a battle at all, much less such heavy casualties. Her own hip wound remained unhealed but at least she gained no other injuries.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Akdov Mur 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: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Talsin Inicka Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Feylon Haradas Character Portrait: Siobhan Brennan Character Portrait: Iravey Inicka
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#, as written by Skwidge
Iravey Inicka


Ira remained silent, as always, while the Prince got up despite his head injury to go back into battle. ”Thank you, stranger, for the unearned kindness. Please, if you will or can, attend to the others that are more in need.” Her facial features remained steady for that moment, but as soon as he turned his back, it took on a bored and very irritated look. ’Are all Princes this stupid? Or is this one just special?’ The female twin shook her head exasperatedly before masking her emotions again.

For a handful of moments, she watched him walk along and dispatch many of the foul creatures threatening the lives and mental stability of the others within the large chamber. She leaned over and pulled a small thread from her trousers, noting that Tal had ceased in his actions, seeing them as pointless. However, the beasts were still a very prominent threat, or rather they were.

”ARRRRRRRRRHHHHHHH. Play time is over!” Iravey’s head shot up as her eyes focused on the marred figure toward the center of the room. She was obviously talking to the prince, and suddenly, the flow of Hades’ denizens ceased altogether. Suddenly a sharp pain rapped her temple, and she clenched her teeth mutely. Her hand was quickly over it, and she winced, her eyes sweeping over the floors. There was so much blood and gore splattered over everything- black and red alike.

Softly she rubbed her temple, waiting for the small migraine to disperse. Once it did, she rose from her position and walked towards the group that was amassing, before remembering that the Prince had requested something.

”Please, someone bring me the emerald, the unchipped one.” She glanced over toward where he stood, taking the blunt of many verbal blows. This group was... strange, to say the least. They didn’t work very well together, and there were so many different personalities. With a small shrug, the rogue silently moved towards the balcony where shards of bone sat scattered across the cobbles, an emerald settled to the left, and the one the Prince sought to the right.

Stooping down, Ira closed her fingers around the chipped one, and slipped it into a small pocket nestled at her side. Soundlessly, she took the other three steps to the left, picking up the emerald the Prince had requested. Her attention was alerted to someone up above the balcony, sobbing on and off. Her eyelids fluttered in a blink before she walked back to the group.

She stopped abruptly, her visual completely enraptured by the fist coming towards the face of the one who was yelling at the Prince before. Her eyes swept lazily away from the scene, and she walked over to the Prince despite what he was doing at the moment. She was unpronounced and unexpressed as always, and her fingers rested on the Prince’s own, disengaging them from their slightly clenched position. His hands felt clammy, but it was nothing more than a momentary speculation. Vey deposited the requested item into his possession, and then stepped away from him, her facial expression barren and her eyes focused elsewhere.


Talsin Inicka


Tal had ceased in his attempts with the wire, seeing as it was unneeded, and it would only be a waste of perfectly useful material. He let out a small sigh and stuffed them into his pocket. He was, of course, aware of the monsters surrounding him, but they were mostly interested in all of the warriors and the… people in the group… oddly enough. He coughed softly into his fist, and then watched as the Prince got up to go all ninja and the likes on the Vrocks and the succubus.

”ARRRRRRRRRHHHHHHH. Play time is over!” And the battle was over pretty much as soon as it had started, though of course with notable aftereffects. He blinked, and then took two steps toward one of the balconies to skirt around most of the bodies, when something rather large and wing-like smacked into the wall where he had just been. He jumped in shock, letting out a shaky ”Ehck!” while whipping his head around to get a better look at what had just made that sickly slap against the wall. It was a Vrock body part and he hunched over in a disturbed sort of manner, sticking his tongue out. ”Please watch where and what you’re launching....” He might have squeaked, had he not been so shaken up.

However, his pupils suddenly contracted as a bright light flashed across the room after rather loud yelling coming from one of the men within the hired group. Or at least Tal suspected they were hired to help the Prince, seeing as they worked absolutely horribly with each other, and any form of army would never act in such ways. Yet once again, his attention was suddenly snapped back to reality as the very distinct sound of a sob broke through the rest of the rabble.

He looked up toward the stairs leading to one of the balconies, and quickly ascended them with striding hops. He came upon a somewhat small form, curled into one of the corners, tears streaming down her face to descend into the pool of blood surrounding her. He frowned lightly, and stepped towards her, his boots probably the thing she saw first come into her vision, seeing as how her head was slightly tilted towards the ground.

She had obviously been wounded before that... bright light which had very obviously done something to everyone, as none of his own previous mars were found on his body, but she seemed pretty shaken. She also had no apparent desire to get up and move anywhere, and he wouldn’t want her to get left behind or forgotten from the group or anything like that, so he stooped down and made quick work of getting her onto his back in a piggyback fashion, though he had no idea how he managed to do so. ”There we go. See, I gotcha.” He flashed her a cheerful grin, though his face was pretty dirty, as were almost all of theirs. He then turned right around and marched happily down the steps towards the group, holding firmly onto her legs so she wouldn’t slip straight off. He coughed momentarily, and shifted her weight a bit. ”You know, you’re very heavy.” He murmured teasingly.

However, he had gotten there just when tensions were at an all time high, and he was stepping right between Akdov and Feylon. The male twin only just managed to catch the motion of a fist coming straight at him, or really at Akdov, and managed to stumbled backwards and then sidestep. Feylon's fist then came into contact with Akdov's face, suddenly knocking the brute to the ground. Tal had a look of absolute shocked relief, his limbs going all wobbly for a second. It took all he was worth not to fall over or drop the girl he was carrying. ”Hey, watch where you’re aiming that thing!!’ He blurted out with a shaky tone.

But oh, Tal wasn’t out of the woods yet. He had managed that little sidestep to land him back in the path of the two, the fallen brute oblivious to his presence as he charged in the form of a tackle to the man on Tal’s right. ”Oh seven hells!” He squeaked, his eyes wide as that very... massive form came hurtling straight towards him and the girl on his back.

However, he felt a firm hand on his arm pull him out of the way, causing him to stagger backwards and sway dangerously with the unaccustomed weight now placed on his back. He regained his stance, and let out a sigh of relief, looking towards Ira who had managed to drag him despite her strength. The most reasonable idea being that he was very sensitive and alert to her touch and normally her presence, as they had worked all their lives with each other.

”We can’t all be amazing h-heroes like you guys, some of us had other priorities. Like our own skin, or even more importantly the Prince’s. Isn’t that what your ultimate goal is? His safety? That’s where your paychecks are coming from anyway, I presume.” He took a breath, regaining his bearings before continuing. “And even if you aren’t working for pay, no one is twisting your arm to stay in this weird scraggly group!! He flailed one arm, the other still firmly placed under the girl’s leg to hold her up. ”You’re all acting like spoiled," Tal paused, his gaze uneasily flickering to the two currently engaged in a brawl before proceeding. "... and scary children- and it’s really embarrassing. And you guys are only just learning to get along and work together, so yeah, of course there are going to be bloody mistakes, because it sure as hell shows that you haven’t been with each other very long. Besides, some of us aren’t even skilled in the arts of war and fighting... ...and I’m about to be hit aren’t I?” His countenance fell into that of a comically despaired worry, and he suddenly swerved around. ”Innocent civilian; don’t hurt me!” Despite his outburst, he still managed to get in another show of humour by using the lady on his back as a sort of guarantee of protection, even though she was a member of their ragtag group.

Setting

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Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Siobhan Brennan Character Portrait: Travian Zarel
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Travian

The succubus didn’t rise to his challenge, but the vrocks did. They weren’t actually coming after him, but rather the wounded he was protecting. They were instinctively drawn to the weaker targets. If it wasn’t for the cleric’s spell he probably would have been overwhelmed, but with it he was quick and strong enough to intercept every beast that tried to get through. With so many coming at him he couldn’t keep track of what was going on in other parts of the room, and was beginning to get a little concerned that no one was making their way towards him. Was it a sign that the battle was going well or that his allies were unable to get to safety?

It was actually something of a relief to see Acacia stumbling towards him. He ran over to cover her from a pursuing beast, bashing it with his shield and then stabbing before it could recover from the shock. Not far behind him he heard the bard collapse onto the floor, she hadn’t made it to the balcony and was very exposed. He edged back closer to her but was too busy with oncoming vrocks to turn and get a better look at her injuries. He didn’t even realize that cleric had come out until he saw the flash of the prince’s sword out of the corner of his eye.

“Dammit we’re too spread out!”
he thought frustrated that he could do nothing to help his allies, though he was relieved to see the prince back to normal. He knocked down foe after foe but they just kept coming, keeping him pinned where he was; it didn’t take long for him to loose track of the cleric. And if that weren’t bad enough he could hear Acacia sobbing behind him. Then suddenly the stream of monsters ebbed. Looking around he saw that they had all stopped flying wildly around the room and were now moving toward the center where the succubus was.

He immediately went to check on Acacia. She had lost a decent amount of blood but aside from that her injuries weren’t too serious; none of her vitals were in trouble. She was still conscious but she may as well have been asleep for all the attention she was paying him or anyone else in the room. It seemed that her mental wounds were much worse than her physical ones. He took a look around the room again, the vrocks were still circling around the center of the room, he couldn’t see beyond the birds but he knew some of comrades must be in the middle of the vortex.

He had to do what he could to help them, but first he needed to help the bard while he was able to. He grabbed some water and bandages from his bag which he used to clean and wrap her wounds. It looked like they were pretty much done bleeding by this point, so with the bandages helping to stop it up she would be okay. He tried talking to her, but there was no response and mental wounds weren’t something he really knew how to heal. Sounds from the battle tugged at him, he was loathe to leave Acacia but he reminded himself that however damaged she was her life wasn’t in peril and he couldn’t say the same for those fighting.

He wasn’t going to leave her completely unprotected either. Using his shield he cast a ward around her, much stronger than the light ones he usually cast on himself. The ward came from the shield itself so he didn’t need to be holding on to it to keep the spell going. He leaned it up against the wall next to her. For about 15-20 minutes anyone trying to attack her would be repelled, though it probably wasn’t enough for a foe as powerful as the succubus it would easily stop the vrocks.

He needed to rest a moment after casting such a strong ward, the extra energy the cleric’s spell had provided was definitely used up now. But he still had strength enough to fight. He ran over to where he had placed his spears and quickly tossed the three light ones in to the vortex of Vrocks. Then taking a heavy spear in each hand he began picking off beasts from the outside. It was pretty awkward handling, spears definitely weren’t ever meant to be dual-wielded but the Vrocks were so focused on what was going on inside their midst that he didn’t need to do anything complicated. He simply thrust with both hands, one then the other; over and over again. In between the circling beast he could see some hint of the battle going on within, but nothing was really clear until the succubus howled out with pain for the first time. All the vrocks froze for a moment before disappearing entirely along with their mistress.

Once again Travian looked back at Acacia, but his attention was quickly drawn to the cleric who strode into the middle of the room where the battle had just been raging and performed a spell that healed and rejuvenated everyone in the room. Such a powerful spell took it’s toll immediately and she collapsed where she stood. He tried to rush in and catch her but was too late. The others were too busy arguing to even notice her, the woman had put all her energy into healing them and they couldn't do so much as catch before she fell on the hard floor. It really pissed him off and not just because he knew what it was like to have a spell completely drain you like that. Now that he was close to her he could see that she had a wound on her hip. At first he thought she must have been attacked when he hadn't seen her but on closer inspection he saw that the wound was very strange. It didn't look like it had actually been carved into her flesh, more like it had just manifested there. That struck a cord in his memory, he had heard of healers who took other's wounds onto themselves; but such a "gift" was truly rare. He took out his supplies to treat it but he wasn't sure how much good it would be, if it wasn't made like a normal wound than it might not heal like a normal wound either.

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Character Portrait: Siobhan Brennan Character Portrait: Selene Moretti
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Selene may have been more impressed by the various forms of magic flying around and impacting with various objects, if she’d actually been able to see it happening. As it was, she was crouched on the ground with her right hand pressed tightly over her eyes, and her left gripping her staff in a manner that told all and sundry that she would not be letting go of it any time soon, thank-you very much.

Logically, sitting in a corner having a mental breakdown/minor crisis wouldn’t be the best thing to do in such a volatile situation. But since most of the others in the room seemed occupied with beating on the demons attacking them, Selene had assumed – seemingly correctly – that she would go otherwise unnoticed unless she made the effort to bring attention to herself. So far, it was working, and if Selene had been in a better frame of mind, she’d probably have had something half-amused and half-offended to say about that.

Then, despite the agony piercing her skull and making it hard to think, Selene realised that it was somewhat quieter than before. Cautiously moving her right hand away from her head – she was more than a little afraid that her eyes would have fallen out without it – she looked around, noting, with some relief, than the flow of demons appeared to have stopped, and the woman who Selene vaguely remembered capturing her had vanished. Since revenge wasn’t one of Selene’s favourite pastimes she was hardly put out by this final observation, aside from her usual irritation directed at people who didn’t have to use doors.

Just when Selene made the decision that she could move without her head fracturing into a jigsaw, the shouting started up again. Automatically, her eyes closed as she winced a little, several barbed comments coming to mind. But as she turned into the loud conversation being conducted on the other end of the hall, her gaze softened and she abandoned such a response. It had no place here.

Straightening somewhat gracelessly, Selene opened her eyes again, cautiously, just in time to observe the cleric's healing magic pulse through the room. Since Selene’s injuries were only minor, it did little of real consequence to her, except take the poisonous sting out of cuts she was positive were infected. Her mood was somewhat improved by this latest development, but the continued existence of her headache prevented her from really enjoying the moment.

Well. Time to go, I think. Violet eyes raked over the proceedings with a purely professional air, noting with a certain clinical detachment, that the task she had been sent to complete was, most likely, going to become superfluous sooner rather than later. That determined, she located the rest of her belongings with no small amount of relief, taking a moment to first pull on her cloak before she returned the daggers to their usual resting place at her belt, swung the case containing her lyre onto her shoulder, and picked up the worn leather bag no one else had ever seen inside of.

And then she made the mistake of looking around one last time. The image of destruction that greeted her wasn’t one that she could easily dismiss. A softer gaze drifted slowly, regretfully, over the dysfunctional group, many of whom still bore injuries despite the healing power of the cleric, and Selene found herself rather uncharacteristically wondering if there was some way in which she could help out. Her skills did not, under any circumstances, extend to any sort of healing, but she felt as if she owed these people something. Inwardly berating herself for being soft, Selene strode purposefully across the room, intending to lend her assistance in some minor way that would, nevertheless, allow her to leave without feeling overwhelmingly guilty about still being able to walk.

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Character Portrait: Siobhan Brennan Character Portrait: Travian Zarel
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#, as written by Celedia
Then…

The mortal vessel, when used as a conduit for Godly powers, has a tendency to burn out quickly like a candle that has gone from being melted by the wick alone to one that is being blasted by a pillar of fire from a mage’s hands. Though she didn’t know the repercussions of the massive healing spell that she was about to cast, Siobhán was one of the few people left in the world to truly put the needs of others over her own well being. So she didn’t question the need for the spell. The cleric saw that many were wounded, some mortally so, and though she didn’t personally know any of them she would gladly give her own life so that they might live.

Yet, her patron Goddess would not allow someone so pure of heart to vanish. Selûne stayed the young woman’s soul and as the healer’s body collapsed to the ground, she would know that she was not yet done with this world. That she was still needed on this plane of existence. Her body needed a chance to heal. To recuperate from the unexpected expenditure of energy and it was thus that she slipped into a coma. Unable to be stirred or wakened by any means, even magical means and her eyes would not open for more than a week after she first released her spell.

Darkness…

The prince’s ear-splitting screams forced Travian’s attention from the sleeping cleric. He ran to where the man lay and watched in horror as wounds ripped open and closed all over his body. This was unlike anything he had ever seen; there was nothing he could do just stand back and wait for it to stop. The journey back to Paetax was absolutely miserable. The Prince’s waking hours were full of pain and the cleric never stirred. On top of that they had to walk all the way since there weren’t enough horses for the new members that came back with them and they didn’t want to jar the injured too much. Everyone was concerned, but Travian especially was a wreck. He was constantly flitting back and forth between the cleric and the prince and on the rare occasion that he actually tried to sleep he couldn’t get much.

His worry for the prince came from a fear of the unknown, there was no telling what that amulet might do to him but his worry for the cleric came from something he knew all too well. He would never forget the day his shield almost killed him.

……….To work the shield all he had to do was channel his energy into it; the more he put in the stronger the ward would be. It was a difficult thing to learn, but once he got the hang of up he could throw up light wards with hardly any thought. The mission seemed normal at first; another small isolated village was having bandit troubles. It was all too familiar for the disciples of Urusk; such villages were too far away from any official enforcers and too poor to hire mercenaries. This particular gang of ruffians was small and there weren’t many places for them to hide so the paladins decided to hunt them down instead of waiting for the brigands to make the first move.

While looking for the bandits, they stumbled across a Tommyknocker hideout. It was like stepping on a hornets nest, the sorcerers just kept coming and magical projectiles were flying all over the place. He immediately set to putting up a ward around his comrades. While they fought he knelt behind them and concentrated on putting as much energy as he could into his shield. More….more.....he started to really feel the drain. His life force seeped out from him; he was quickly approaching his limit. Finally he couldn’t keep it up, but when he tried to cut it off he couldn’t. He tried to remain calm….just try to focus on something else….but the battle around him was distant. Every attempt failed and then he began to panic. He thought he screamed but heard nothing, tried to move- to keep awake but with no result. All the while his energy kept spilling out like blood. He couldn’t fight anymore.

He woke up several days later. The only reason he survived was because one of his friends had noticed his peril just in time and thrown the shield away as hard as he could- severing the connection. He would never forget that feeling of his life slowly draining away, it still came to him when his mind was focused on nothing in particular and made its way into several of his nightmares. It was a long time before he was brave enough to use the shield again, and Travian had never been lacking in courage.

When they finally made it back to the city they found the people's mood to be even bleaker than before. It didn't take long for them to find out that the king had died and the prince was whisked off into the palace before his presence could cause too much of a disruption. For a time, the Prince stayed shut up in the palace, in fact some of the townsfolk began to believe he had died as well. Travian was naturally worried, but he knew there was no chance the Prince would die now. In the meantime, the Paladin settled back into his normal life: training, performing his duties to the crown and his church; the only thing that was different was that he spent at least a few hours each day with the cleric. He tried to come when her room was empty- he didn't want her to have to wake up alone. Some of his friends teased him about sticking his neck out so far for a woman whose name he didn't even know, but he wouldn't be swayed. Then finally the day came when she woke up.

It was dusk on the ninth day since she had cast the spell. Siobhán's eyes fluttered open and she sat up immediately, a gasp drawn forth from startled lips as her mind tried to meld her last memories of reality to her present situation. A single healer was in her room, checking on her as he normally did before he completed his rounds and her actions so startled the man that he stumbled back away from her, his fingertips flying away from her delicate wrist where they had been pressing lightly against her skin to find her pulse. "You are well, cleric." The healer reassured her before turning his head towards the exit of the room and bellowing, "Fetch Ian; tell him that his ward has awakened." A gentle smile touched his lips as he studied Siobhán closely and began to question her about her well-being but after a moment or two she halted his inquiries. "Tell me sir, where are we?"

"Paetax, my lady."

"And... The others?" Her brow furrowed as she tried to recall the ones that she had helped in the darkened citadel. Their faces she could recall but she found she could not remember any of their names, if she had known them at all.

"Your friends? One has visited you most every day," he chuckled, a hand resting upon his portly abdomen as he cast a glance once more towards the hallway. "The others? I do not know but you were sent this..." Within moments a piece of parchment had been withdrawn from a nearby table and he thrust it towards her so that she could read its contents. It seemed that even she, an unknown entity, was invited to the Prince's coronation in less than three weeks.

Travian was on his way home when one of the novices of the temple tracked him down. When he heard the cleric was finally awake he rushed back to the temple with the young man and barged into the room that had become all too familiar over the last few days.

"I'm glad to see you're finally awake."

The cleric was befuddled for a moment, her eyes tracing from the healer to the novice to the healer once more until the Paladin stormed into the room. Recognition flashed in her emerald gaze and for the first time in over a week, she smiled.

“Champion of Urusk. I remember you.” Her tone was soft, as if she had just woken up from a nap instead of a coma and her free hand dropped to clutch the blankets that were strewn across her legs.

“I…” she started, then her eyes widened as she looked about the room once more. “My things? I was wearing a bag….”

Travian smiled when she said she remembered him. "All of your things are in here," he looked around the room trying to remember where the bag ended up. He quickly spotted it in a corner and handed over to her. "My name's Travian, though most people just call me Ian."

Siobhán gratefully accepted her bag, flipping open the flap to reveal its contents and only calming once her eyes fell upon the worn leather journal. There was so much contained in its entries. So many secrets that if they fell into the wrong hands…

Her thoughts subsided when he introduced himself and the cleric smiled in response. “Well met, Champion. I am Siobhán Brennan. Cleric of the Silver Lady.” Her forehead wrinkled as she concentrated once more, obviously trying to recall the events that led her here, to this temple, but only blackness followed the memories of being in the citadel and trying to heal everyone that had fought so valiantly.

“The others? Are they…” she drew her lower lip between her teeth before she finished her question, “Are they well?”

"Yeah, we uh sort of lost one before we met up with you and another died during the battle, but everyone else made it out okay. We all split up after that, but they were fine last I saw them...... It's a good thing you were there or things might have been worse." He said in attempt to steer the conversation in a more pleasant direction.

The cleric exhaled, letting go of the breath that she didn’t know she had been holding and as she did so, she toyed with the rolled parchment. “Thank the Goddess. I was so worried…” The question is, why had she been worried? She hadn’t known a single soul. Even though she had known of the ones that she had been sent to save.

Still, if they had all dispersed it wasn’t like she could track them now. She would just have to believe that they had found their way back to those that missed them. “I assume I have you to thank for dragging me out of that horrible place, then?” Another smile lit her pretty face as she straightened up, still sitting in bed but leaning forward so she could extend her hand towards him.

“Thank you, Champion.”

He blushed, "It was the least I could do after what you'd done for all of us and I know how awful it feels to have a spell drain you like that." He said as he took her hand. "I imagine you have a lot of questions."

It was then that Travian and Siobhán talked well into the night. The Paladin and Priestess speaking of all manner of topics. How his group had come to be in the citadel in the first place, the quest, their religions, etc. For a week after her awakening, Siobhán remained in Urusk's temple under the watchful eye of the Paladin and the temple healers and when she finally left it was only to travel to one of her Goddess' own temples for lodging until the day of the coronation.

Now...

Siobhán Brennan immediately felt out of place as she was directed through the ornate gates of the palace. Her long ebony gown crafted from equal parts hand-crafted lace and more durable muslin was far too long for her petite frame and she had to hold her skirt to keep it from dragging roughly over the cobbled path. It was only then that she doubted her decision to don the dress instead of her more formal clerical robes but the robes were thick and heavy, crafted more for the colder climate of wintry Orranli than for the more mild weather seen in Paetax. She might have been uncomfortable in the cleric’s garb but at least she wouldn’t be falling over her feet in front of the Royal family.

She turned to Travian at the base of the steps, her gaze flickering anxiously towards the crowd gathering around the Royals. “I feel so… out of place,” she admitted. He had agreed to accompany her to the coronation and for that, she was thankful. Otherwise, she might not have shown at all.

"I know what you mean, I've been here a few times over the years and I'm still not used to it," He fiddled anxiously with his fancy tabard. He hated velvet. How was it that this stuff was more hot and uncomfortable than full armor? Among the numerous people milling about he managed to spot some of their group coming together. "Hey look there's the others." He said to Siobhán before making his way over. "Well met! I am glad to see you are all well!" Siobhán followed, smiling shyly at the group though she remained quiet since she did not technically know anyone gathered.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Senalae Errion Character Portrait: Siobhan Brennan Character Portrait: Callavan Sole Character Portrait: Yaa Oba Contee
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Callavan felt numb once the fighting had finished. Exhausted both physically and mentally he didn't even try to defend himself when the accusations started flying. He felt a flicker of anger but it was smothered quickly enough. His ego had overstepped his abilities and lead to the injury and death of others. Fighting bandits had bolstered his confidence, but a greater power had presented itself to him that day and found him lacking.

He bid farewell to the everyone that night, asking that the prince send his pay to his family home in Thoav, before parting ways.

A few days later and he found himself on the shores of Ida'an, with no small thanks to the horse that had been provided with. He crossed the waters with one of the familiar enchanted boats, the wood worn smooth by many hands over the years.

There were a great many new faces eager to learn the secret workings of the world, much as he had once been. There were familiar faces as well; most didn't seem to recognize him or simply didn't care, some threw snide words and insults, fewer still gave a smile and greeting before scampering off. Some things never change.

A quick stop at guest housing was the first order of business. He scraped some of the road off himself, scrawled a hasty note to his family explaining what had happened and then he was off again.

The library was the goal of this trip, a long fat building that could fit most of the other campus buildings inside. Van snaked his way inside, winding through a maze of shelves. A good chunk of his time at the guild had been spent there and even after all this time he'd bet a gold piece that he could find his way through blindfolded. He spent all his time in the library; only taking breaks to eat, sleep, fish, and harass students after drinking too much.

A week passed by as he read and read, taking note of every little thing; but, eventually, being shut in all day with nothing but books and the roving groups of tittering of young magi was slowly driving him mad.

He withdrew to the vaults under the guild where he could experiment in peace and relative safety. He started with simple modifications of spells he had grown familiar with before moving on to newer ideas, pulling from what he had read and whatever strange notion struck his mind.

A slight mishap, involving a remote immolation spell, left his clothes in tatters; forcing him to walk through the campus nude until he found someone willing to lend him a set of replacements.

Shortly after that he received a parcel from his brother containing a part of his payment from the prince, a letter stating that he'd keep the rest safe for Van, and an invitation bearing the royal seal. He skimmed the latter briefly. He was unsure of whether or not he should go. His companions had been good people on the whole, but he felt no sense companionship with most of them.

He tossed the bag of gold from hand to hand. It was hefty, only a portion of his keep and judging from its weight, it would could keep fed and housed for about two month. Four if he was thrifty.

There would be nobles there, that was doubtless. Not that he was keen to socialize with them, but nobles had deep pockets and little sense when it came to spending, and tales of their adventure had likely begun circulation among the upper crusts, greatly exaggerated he imagined. Some fool was bound to offer him a patronage simply for bragging rights. Van could preform simple parlor tricks from time to time and spend the rest of his days getting payed to do whatever he pleased.

It was decided then. He packed his things, as well as a few books that he had 'borrowed' from the library, and took off for Paetax the next morning.

He arrived two days later, leaving a week and a half before the coronation. After finding lodging he promptly lodged himself in a tavern where he stumbled across a familiar face or, rather, she stumbled across him.

“Ah, the mage!” Oba exclamed obliging herself to the stool next to his, ”One of them anyways. Sorry, never caught your name before. No one seemed in the mood for introductions at the time, what with all the demons and dieing and then you went and disappeared on us. Well, not quite disappeared, seeing as how you said your goodbyes before going on your merry way. Though I'm sure you could have had you wanted. What with the magic and everything.”

Callavan thought that she was taking a breath after her spiel, but she was only breaking to spout her order to the barkeep before continuing. ”Have you been well? It doesn't seem so.” She made a pointed look at the borrowed clothes he wore. They were still the ill fitting rags that he had borrowed after his accident. ”I'd have thought the guild would take better care of their own. It only seems fair when they keep such a tight leash on you all. That must be maddening. I don't know how you stand it. Oh, by the way, I'm Yaa Oba, or just Oba if you prefer.”

Van thought back to the citadel. She hadn't fought, nor did she cower. She strode through the conflict with a confidence that bordered on madness. Afterward she had gone around treating any minor wounds that the priestess's spell hadn't cover to prevent infection. All the while keeping up that mad glee.

”Callavan,” he returned, ”And I'm fine.”

A silence passed between them that slowly edged into uncomfortableness as the two drank. Oba offered him one of the sweet rolls she had ordered. He accepted it.

”So, what happened to the large fellow that was with you?” he asked.

”Oh, Yaatu. He's fine. A bit touched in the head y'know. Far too much stimulation in the city for him, so he stays in our room,” she answered, eager to break the silence. ”I'm guessing you're here for the coronation as well?”

Van nodded.

”Fantasic. I was a bit surprised when I got an invitation. Tell me, have you found anyone to go with you?”

He shook his head.

”Ah, then you'll just have to accompany me then.” She smirked, downing the rest of her ale in one long gulp and following it with a loud belch. ”After all, a fine lady such as myself can't possibly be expected to walk these streets alone.”

This got a small chuckle out of Van and he agreed to escort her to the coronation. They spent the rest of the evening getting properly drunk and sharing stories. Van told her how he had lost his last set of clothes with a few embellishments, such as marching through the master mages' office and passing through the women's dormitory asking if he could borrow a slip. In return, Oba told him about the time she had accidentally gotten an entire village high during an exorcism.

He had somehow managed to make his way home after the previous night. Extremely hungover, he managed to stuff something that resembled food down his gullet before heading to the shopping district. After talking with Oba the previous night, he realized that he was in sore need of new clothes, especially if he was looking to impress a new patron.

There was some unexpected difficulty in this. All of the shop keeps thought he was a beggar and refused to let him inside. After this happened a fifth time Van was feeling especially perturbed.

”Now listen here,” he hissed, grabbing the keep by the collar and pulling him close. ”We,” he indicated himself and the keep. ”Are going in there,” he pointed to the shop. ”You,” back to the keep now. ”Are going to take my measurements and then tailor me two suits. The first will be simple everyday wear, nothing flashy. Something comfortable and practical. The second will be more formal. You may take more liberty with the latter, so long as you don't make me look like some foppish git. Do you understand?'

”Let go of me you beer soaked tramp!” the keep yelled, struggling against Van's grip. ”Someone call the guards! This vagrant is attempting to rob me!”

Frustrated, Van grabbed up his beard with his left and released a small flame. It wasn't enough to burn himself, though he winced at the stray embers biting at his skin, but it was enough to singe away most of his facial hair. The intended effect was supposed to make him look like less of a vagabond. Instead, the shop keep was faced with a mad man who had just set himself aflame.

Regardless, it got him into the shop and afterwards he had to force the tailor to accept his payment. He made another stop on his way back to his room, getting himself a proper shave and trim so that he no longer resembled a mangy dog stuffed into a suit.

Between then and the coronation; Callavan spent his days working on his magic, alternating between studying and using a needle and ink to add to the spellwork on his left arm. While his nights were spent drinking with Oba.

Before long it was the day of the coronation. Callavan dressed up in his new suit, the left sleeve rolled up to avoid irritating the new marks; he picked up Oba, who had dressed up for the occasion in a dress with appropriate amounts of frillyness and the two set off for the castle.

Callavan greeted the prince and princess first, bowing low and addressing them as m'lord and m'lady. He felt increasingly uncomfortable. These strange social customs were entirely alien to him and he was simply mimicking what he had seen traveling troubadours do in their plays. He rose almost mechanically, walked over to where the others had gathered and tried his best not to make anymore of a fool of himself.

Oba on the other hand was completely at ease. She curtsied to the two with a slight bow of her head. ”It's a pleasure to meet you again, your highness. As well as to make your acquaintance, Princess. I'm honored that you invited me. Especially after, as I recall, you accused me of being a traitor aligned with the Tommyknockers,” she gave them a playful grin before prancing away to join everyone else.

”Oh, Little Bird,” Oba said, seeing that Siobhan was there. ”Glad to see that you are feeling better after that impressive display you put on for all of us.”

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Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Siobhan Brennan Character Portrait: Yaa Oba Contee
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#, as written by Celedia
Curiosity filled Siobhán’s emerald eyes as she stood to the back of the group. Unknown and unseen by most as the Royals cordially invited each and every attendee. The cleric knew… No one, save Ian and the woman that she had been sent to find before, Oba. As the other woman greeted her, Siobhán smiled serenely and nodded her head towards the witchdoctor.

“I am glad to see you are well. Your friends were looking for you… They know of your safety?” Her words sounded harmless enough but Oba would assuredly know their true meaning.

The rest of the faces were familiar but names did not come to her, since they hadn’t been offered during the battle and she was in no shape for conversations on the ride to the city. The Prince and Princess were like storybook characters coming to life. People that she had heard about but never witnessed in person and to be greeted by them personally brought a smile to her lips.

“Travian, Siobhan. Welcome, thank you for coming.

She did her best not to make a fool of herself and she curtsied towards the pair though her eyes, now drawn to the two, lingered more upon Rydas than his sister. He looked healthy but his aura screamed wounded and panic laced through her soul. Had her magic failed? Had she healed everyone but the Prince himself?

Stepping forward as everyone else was turning to leave for their rooms, Siobhán lifted a hand towards Rydas’ cheek in an almost motherly fashion, worry filling her eyes. A woman with no formal upbringing or knowledge of how to handle royalty, her actions might be seen as hostile by the surrounding guards but she had little care for anything other than the one standing in front of her.

As soon as her touch grazed Rydas’, his skin seared hers and she withdrew her fingertips just as quickly as they had been placed and a hiss of pain escaped her parched lips. “Torment and anguish, I cannot heal.” A wince was visible, slightly narrowing the corners of her eyes before she caught herself. “I apologize, Prince. It’s just…” Hands lowered, clasping in front of her so she would not make any more sudden movements.

“Thank you, cleric, but some burdens are not yours to bear." Rydas said, formally. His gaze lingered on hers, noting the minuet changes in her countenance. He sought words of comfort or explanation, but found himself unable to explain things that he didn't understand. The Prince wasn't sure whether it was empathy, or something more radiating from Panacea. His lips pressed into a hard line, finding himself unable to say more.

Pain was something that the cleric was eerily familiar with, yet finding a wound which she could not ease seemed to disrupt her natural serenity. She shifted her weight slightly, leaning more heavily on one foot, then the other, unwilling to let the situation rest. “And not all burdens are yours to bear, Prince and future King. The weight of the world will crush you, if you allow it.” Her head dipped and cheeks colored slightly at her forwardness. Now she sounded like the crazed soul-seer from the citadel.

“I mean… Your Highness, sharing the burden does not make you a weak man. I would suggest sleep but I believe….” Her eyes suddenly widened and she glanced around as if suddenly noting the remaining crowd.

If only I could… he thought. While Siobhan noted the crowd, Rydas fixated on her, his green eyes unwavering. The woman spoke of things that he had not shared. He had become immobile, uncomfortable in the sudden intimacy. When the man finally replied his voice was low and quiet, testament to his thoughts flowing elsewhere, though genuine all the same. ”I’ll take your advice under consideration. Thank you.” He only hoped she understood how voiceless he was.

The cleric’s lips parted once more but she already felt overwhelmingly awkward for bringing up such a topic in the midst of company. Her eyes flitted from the Prince to the Princess and she offered a half-hearted smile before mumbling some form of an apology. Her feet moved swiftly then, taking her through the ornate doors and into the castle.

Her bags were already placed in her room; she had sent them ahead with one of her Temple’s acolytes previously so that she would not have to lug anything around. Now, her next task at hand was questionable. She didn’t have anyone that she wished to speak to so she set about exploring her temporary residence. The corridors were many and the rooms that they led to were grandiose. The décor had obviously experienced a woman’s touch. Everything seemed warm and inviting while still retaining its regality and the cleric knew that it must be the influence of the Princess.

It is good that the siblings have one another… she thought to herself as she roamed the near-empty halls leading deeper into the castle. Upon her adventures she found dozens of rooms. Some obviously for more formal events and some that were locked, barring her entrance. The guest rooms seemed to all be stationed close to one another and a smile twisted her lips as she wondered if they would receive placards to denote their room. Otherwise, she was sure that people like herself would get turned around and accidentally end up in someone else’s quarters which might prove amusing but also embarrassing.

Briefly, Siobhán mused at how much time she had wasted learning the layout of the castle and pondered whether she should return to her room and get ready for dinner but her curiosity kept her feet moving beneath her as she ventured further into the castle.

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Character Portrait: Siobhan Brennan Character Portrait: Azevrec
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#, as written by Celedia
Though Siobhán went back to her room after weaving her way through every nook and cranny of the castle, it wasn’t to redress or prepare for dinner. Her black gown would suffice for the duration of the meal so the object she returned to her quarters to reclaim was actually a velvet bag containing a small journal. Tying the cord of the pouch around her belt, she set off once more to milk what little time remained of her freedom.

Since the inside was thoroughly explored, the young cleric set on a path that carried her outside. Elaborately landscaped gardens, twisting paths crafted from satiny smooth cobblestones, it was everything she had imagined and more until she turned a corner whilst her jaw dropped in awe.

Far from hidden but not something that one would come across easily, there was a section of the Palace grounds carved out specifically to house a menagerie of animals- a zoo. Elaborate habitats were constructed for each species, replicating their natural environment and Siobhán’s mouth remained in the form of a soft ‘o’ as she wandered, her forest green gaze dancing with delight.

In the harsh and frigid climate of her homeland, she had rarely seen such creatures. Bold and beautiful, with colors varying to shades she had never witnessed outside of human-crafted dyes. An avian creature strutted around a small pond featuring feathers that spanned the vast array of hues in a sunset. Splashing its way into the water close by was a petite smooth-skinned animal the color of cobalt with long ears pressed flat against its neck.

For the longest time, the cleric stood there, captivated by the scene playing out in front of her and only when the sun began to dip lower upon the horizon did she gasp in dismay.

I’m late!

Gathering her long, flowing skirts in one hand and clasping her journal-laden pouch to her hip with the other, she took off at a dead run and made it to the dining hall just as one of the other Priests was finishing a prayer. While all eyes were upon Azevrec, she ventured to an empty seat which just happened to be near him.

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Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Siobhan Brennan Character Portrait: Azevrec
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#, as written by Deallo
Nel entered with Mirabella to the vast dining room after sitting down, the monk took one good look over in order to take in how grand the proceedings were, admiring the architectural work around the dining room before finally scanning through the guests. She only knew those who she traveled with, Mirabella, Acacia, Callavan, the paladin, the tiny mage, and though she remembered some who were tied to chairs at the cathedral, their names still eluded her. The rest was filled with those of fair and dainty skin, colorful cloth, and high status. Though who was to say that she knew any of her friends, even Mirabella, even though she hadn't known anything about them except the bare essentials. Instantly regretting her spot amongst the table, she stood up, about to move, until an unsavory sight caught her glance.

For a moment she wondered if this was a dream, more specifically, an annoying nightmare.

Any thought about rejoining her companions were pushed aside as she sat down with a deep anger brewing in the pit of her belly, the sight of a familiar, cowardly, and most bothersome priest met her line of vision. A few days ago, one of the first thoughts she had regarding the news to joining the prince was "Well, at least I'll be rid of him." The prince and ever worshipped princess burst into the room, wearing each a assortment of lovely clothes, distracting Nel from the priest's dogged presence. For a moment, she wished she hadn't simply dressed down into her civilian clothes, being the plainest dressed one in sight but she dismissed it. They thanked everyone for arriving and for saving the prince's life and just as it seemed the meal was about to commence, to the anticipation of a hungry monk, he turned and motioned to the priest.

She closed her eyes and opened it again and after pinching herself under the table, realized this was no figment of her imagination or illusion. The name of "Deud" sounded ever so familiar but the connection to the party's original priest didn't click especially not with the month or two listening to this one preach and having to chase him off multiple times out The Black Vagabond. Nelinia's hand grasped the goblet full of mead tightly and tipped the drink to her lips in a fastidious matter, the mead gone within seconds. Drinking was useful for dulling the senses, which was excellent in ignoring people, but no refill in sight only brought her to tightly grasp the goblet, lighten up the grip, and squeeze tighter. The goblet was made of a steel so it held together but if one was observant enough, they saw it'd been ever so slightly bent, the circle of the goblet from the top resembling more like an oval. Listening to the prayer, again if she might add, was like listening to nails on a chalkboard.

His words for donation flew over her head, elaborate speech was never her strong suite, but she did catch on to Rydas' reply with a small snicker. The doors had suddenly burst open with tables of food being carted in one amongst the other, the sudden scents of exotic food hitting the senses, but she as she allowed herself to take a sip of water, an image approached from the corner of her eye, and the sound of a empty chair being moved back was enough for Nel to reasonably deduce who took his place next to her. Without turning around, she addressed him, right after taking another sip of water.

"Hello Azevrac." She said, spitting out his name with disdain like it was a soiled fruit. "What are you doing here?"

Azevrec made a squeak very much alike to a surprised rat on a kitchen once the prince reminded him of his place, I’ve gone too far, he immediately sat being now a hand full of nerves and was happy to see Nelinia.

"Nel god be merry are you a sight for sore eyes, I was invited here by the prince and it seems like I already endangered any second opportunities to enjoy their hospitality, It must be good for you to find your friends after all this time, surely you have so much catching up to do, tell me could I get you something ?" Azevrec had always possessed the mind of a servant which would either make him a terrible or ideal religious figure depending on whom you asked, he lifted his hand to call the attention of one of the servants and spat out "Hi very nice to meet you, could you please bring me a bottle of Rwal beer if you would be so kind? o and for the lady?" he gestured to Nelinia.

Ironically enough, the worst thing about Azevrac that separated him from the rest of the priests was that he was too meek. Paetax was filled with men of different religions and there was a beautiful structure that separated them from another: normally involving an insult, shouting, and a fight in the verbal sense, although the more zealous weren't afraid to roll up their sleeves and exchange blows. After one such encounter, you'll probably never see them again because they don't want to see you and you don't want to see them. The problem that remained with this priest was that he could care any less that a person holds him in disgust, preaching otherwise with some sort of optimism, and what this did was make him something like a persistent tumor. The only excuse Nel could come up with for kicking him out The Black Vagabond was whenever he was preaching too loudly and it was hard to find a reason otherwise. Reason was still important. Still, Azervac was a benign tumor, the monk's increasing tolerance enough to put up with him to the point where she didn't feel like punching him in the face. Wringing his neck perhaps.

"Just the Rwal." Nel replied, knowing she needed a couple of drinks before she could fully put up with Azevrac. "I could get the rest myself." She said, stretching over the table to grab a few plates of food, some cooked vegetables, cheese, fruits, nuts and bread to lay in front of her like a good feast. Most of the cooked dishes were of something odd to her; unable to tell if they were filled with meats or not. The many different types of forks and knives were ignored for a practical set of hands, picking and eating, the various sorts of food at a careful, slow pace.

Without a word of warning or even an extended invitation to join the two, Siobhán suddenly slid onto the empty seat on Azevrec’s other side. There just happened to be a lull in the conversation so she took it upon herself for swift introductions since she had never met the other priest before and the monk was only seen briefly but never spoken to.

“Well met, to the both of you!” A kind smile tilted her lips and she blushed then, feeling as if she were interrupting. “I hope you don’t mind if I join you, the other seats have been taken and…” Her shyness almost made her clasp her mouth shut but she pressed on, “I am Siobhán. Pleasure to meet you both.”

That monk had always been uncivilized in her mannerism, but it was understandable she had grown in some barbarous society that had a fascination for the yellow color and unlike the civilized people seem to have a terrible aversion to the wondrous products derived of fermentation… well Deud had told his disciplines to be understanding and kind to the less educated, and so he would
“O lady Nelinia surely you must grace the royalty by savoring one of their gracious accommodations?”
She cast a sideways glance towards the tumor’s direction before continuing to peel an orange as she replied. “I only eat what I know: meats and strange foods I know not.” Azevrec gave a sigh and felt sympathy for those who frequented the Vagabound, it was a good thing that Vinny was the one running the shots or else things might go sour for them, then he caught notice that the other woman had actually talked to them "Pleasure is all mine, lady Shiòvahn... is that your last name or your first name?" he had a custom to never call anyone or anything by its first name and acknowledge their importance by addressing them with titles or their last names, it was a shame that he had gotten her name wrong "My name is Azevrec and I don’t mind you joining us, after all the merry one left instructions that life was meant to be enjoyed most in company" he realized that his words probably came off as a confusing and nonsensical rubbish "Nevermind that, I accompany lady..." he rubbed his index against his thumb as he did his best to recall her last name and failed as well "Nelinia" he continued "She is one of the brave adventurers that went with the prince you know"

Nel looked at the woman who addressed them, a pale sort with black hair who looked unsure of herself, and held her eyes on her, trying to remember where she had seen her before suddenly remembering. Whilst chewing a few slices of orange, she talked for herself, cutting off anything Siobhan had to say.
“She knows.“ A gulp. Her voice was clearer, though her lips seem to be pressed sternly together, though she faced neither Azevrac nor Siobhan. “She was in the citadel with us.” The monk grabbed a piece of cheese and ate it, alongside an orange slice, mixing the flavors together to satisfy her appetite.

It fell on him like a slap to the face, but he had delved into the tales of their quest on the underground citadel of the fallen necromancer, perhaps the gossip of her exploits had not found the interest or imagination of the bards and soothsayers "O really?" his face failed to hide his embarrassment "O in that case lady Shióvahn it is my pleasure indeed, I had been researching your tale in most earnest, truth be told there are several accounts and interpretations and they contradict themselves at times, I have had only lady Nelinia here to offer her insight and it has been rather" he chose his words carefully, he didnt want to be rude or anything "well... it seems that storytelling is not the talent that Deud blessed her with" he leaned towards Siobhan "But I’ve seen her roll over brawlers like a hot knife through butter"

Siobhán’s mouth tilted in an amused grin while the two spoke amongst themselves, clearly relieved that the direction of the conversation didn’t rely on her and her alone. Only when confronted with a pointed question did she finally respond.

”I wasn’t really there for much of it.” She began, picking at the food upon her plate again though not eating any of it while she spoke. ”I awoke tied to a chair, words were tossed about like daggers then demons rained from above. Many of the adventurers fought quite valiantly and at the end of the battle I cast a healing spell…. Then I remember nothing.”

A soft blush colored her cheeks, embarrassed that her magic had drained her so easily of her energy. "O so it was demons then?" Aze said as he had his Rwal beer delivered at last, he snatched it and gave a vow of gratitude "I’ve heard that there was a 2 headed dragon with a head spitting fire and the other ice, also I heard something about a ghoul that was immune to magic and replenished itself with each attack, o and there was something about a demonic were-panther vampire that ate organs and bones" he took a heavy gulp of the beer and continued "And also I heard that they fought Idassava´s own spirit which had possessed a monstrous golem made out of furniture; O I’ve also heard that you faced some kind of... bear, demon, boar or some kind of mixed beast... I take it some of those are not true but it has been terribly taxing to tell which is fair and which isn’t"

At the mention of a healing spell, Nel perked up her head, remembering how bloody and pained she was after the encounter, a blinding light, then the restoration of her wounds and fist, which she was sure she had cracked. She didn’t know whether to thank the cleric or berate her for ridding all the scars of battle from her skin.
Although the monk may have ignored the priest for an extended period of time, stuffing various fresh foods in her mouth in the attempt to do so, she could still easily overhear him. Although she didn’t know some of the creatures he talked about, she drew the line at “golem of furniture”. The second that Azevrac stopped his speech, eagerly awaiting an answer, he received a very generous smack on the back of the head with Nel’s open palm. It was a very necessary evil else the man would go on for hours on end.

“Don’t start with that again!” She said, luckily having her Rwal delivered shortly after the priest's, drinking a heavy amount before turning to him and having to face his ridiculousness. “I told you, a giant cat, and tall bird-men with claws.” It wasn't the epic that Azevrac wanted, but it was the truth, and the truth was enough. "I forget myself" Azevrec knew he was an impatient and rash fellow, made all the more embarrassing since Rydas had just brought it to everyone´s attention just minutes ago "It was not my intention to hassle you Lady Shióvahn, mayhap we would do best to enjoy our meal, have you tried Rwal beer?"


Siobhán flashed a kind smile at Azevrec before inclining her head towards the monk. ”I was not there for the… giant cat. I do commend your group on their bravery, though. I do not know if I would’ve been able to stay put throughout the entire battle. The demons were frightening enough.”

Holding up a hand to the priest of Deud, she shook her head at his suggestion of beverage and gestured towards her own. ”And I thank you, but I already have something. I do not want to seem too gluttonous at the Prince’s reception.”

Her gaze lifted towards the Prince and Princess and as if it had been planned, they rose to speak about treasures acquired within the Citadel. ”A most noble gesture on the part of the Royal family.” Her gaze and pleasant countenance returned once more to her dinner companions. ”Don’t you agree?

"Indeed it is a most noble gesture" Azevrec was not really sure what else to add, surely they were not about to ask him of all people to guard some ancient weapon of dread, he wasn't about to put words in other people mouths and much less questioning the wisdom of the prince`s choices but... well truth be told some of these people were nothing less than mercenaries; was giving them potentially dangerous items that belonged to the royal treasury such a good idea?

“Yes, a noble gesture.” Nel replied skeptically to Siobhan and Azevrec with a raised brow, wondering if they heard the same words come from the prince and princess as the monk did. “They’re giving them to us because they don’t want them.” She thought, but she could barely remember the various objects they took from the citadel, she remembered their existence, though to be an “object of power” they looked rather quaint now that she watched them on the table, seemingly a random assortment of objects.

Though the line “protectors of this realm” was an odd line for the prince to speak of, even among the flowery speech of nobles, almost as if it was meant to be taken literally.

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Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Siobhan Brennan
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#, as written by Celedia
”You will live, stay strong.”



Then…

The mortal vessel, when used as a conduit for Godly powers, has a tendency to burn out quickly like a candle that has gone from being melted by the wick alone to one that is being blasted by a pillar of fire from a mage’s hands. Though she didn’t know the repercussions of the massive healing spell that she was about to cast, Siobhán was one of the few people left in the world to truly put the needs of others over her own well being. So she didn’t question the need for the spell. The cleric saw that many were wounded, some mortally so, and though she didn’t personally know any of them she would gladly give her own life so that they might live.

Yet, her patron Goddess would not allow someone so pure of heart to vanish. Selûne stayed the young woman’s soul and as the healer’s body collapsed to the ground, she would know that she was not yet done with this world. That she was still needed on this plane of existence. Her body needed a chance to heal. To recuperate from the unexpected expenditure of energy and it was thus that she slipped into a coma. Unable to be stirred or wakened by any means, even magical means and her eyes would not open for more than a week after she first released her spell.


Earlier this day…

Siobhán sat upon the edge of her bed in the House of the Moon, a temple of Selûne located close to the center of Paetax. Her fingertips traced along the broken wax seal once more before she unfurled the scroll and looked at it yet again. An invitation to the masquerade ball at the palace seemed both out of place in her small quarters and it seemed unwarranted as she hadn’t been one of the adventurers that had assisted with the Prince’s quest. True, she had healed the group but any other cleric would have done the same if placed in her position. The adventurers had been exhausted, weary and wounded and would have had trouble making their way back to the city if left unattended.

Still, even as she doubted her place amongst them she couldn’t help but wonder after their fates. Were they well? The woman with hair the color of wheat… Had she been cured? And what of the pretty brunette that had come to her aid when she had called for it? The one who had been sobbing upon the balcony?

And what of the Prince?

”You will live, stay strong.”

His words had been a much needed reassurance during her first and only battle yet she couldn’t help but feel guilty. After she had awakened from her coma, she had learned that her spell had done nothing for the Prince.

Nothing.

His wounds had been plentiful and only upon using the Panacea had he been revived. She had failed him and perhaps she should attend the ball if only to apologize for not being strong enough to save him. Now he was locked into the vicious grip of the Panacea and if only half the rumors about the enchanted amulet were true then he was in peril.


Now…

She was late. This, she knew yet Siobhán had trouble finding an outfit that would be acceptable. Though she had wished to wear her robes, her fellow Selûnites had told her to dress as everyone else would. The invitation had proclaimed the ball to be a costumed event and so a gown had been crafted for her by the more talented seamstresses in the Temple. Swirls of bold purples, brilliant blues and jewel-hued greens swirled against a black background with peacock feathers extending down towards the hem and instead of a mask she had her face painted in similar hues.

Though some of those at the ball would think peacocks bring bad luck, her past research had shown that peacocks were actually symbols of rebirth and regeneration. They shed their feathers yearly and people would go through great lengths to obtain peacock feathers thinking that the eye at the tips was all-seeing and would thus ward away evil.

Tonight, she felt like she could use a bit of extra protection against the unknown.

As she attempted to pass through the entrance, the guard put out his hand and gave a subtle shake of his head. “Not yet, miss. The Prince is about to make ‘is entrance so we ‘ave to wait until he’s in. Then you can slip in.”

She placed a dainty palm upon his chest and smiled serenely. “Don’t worry. You don’t have to announce me. Not many people know who I am, anyway.” With that, she eased passed him and slipped into the crowd with her eyes cast up so that she could watch Rydas make his entrance. Manicured fingertips reached up to rub at the pendant that she had received upon becoming a Silverstar, a physical reminder of her link to her Goddess and she offered up a silent prayer to keep the Prince protected through the dark days ahead.

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Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Siobhan Brennan
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#, as written by Celedia
Siobhán tried to mingle but her jade gaze kept creeping over to the Prince, awaiting a chance to walk over to him but there never seemed to be a time when he was free. People flocked to him, adventurers and nobility alike and though she couldn’t fault them for the interest in Rydas, especially since his coronation was on the morrow, she grew increasingly frustrated. What if the night ended before she had a chance to speak to him? What if the teeming crowds kept circling him all night, providing an unbreakable barrier which she was too shy to break through?

It happened, then. Her chance. She had just grabbed a small glass of punch and raised it to her lips when a clearing opened up in front of the Prince and though he looked weary, she didn’t want to miss the opportunity. Setting her glass down upon the nearest flat surface, she threaded her way through the mass of bodies and stopped in front of Rydas, hoping that she wasn’t being too abrupt of forward as she dipped into a low curtsy.

The flow of the room was quick, though halted abruptly by the short frame of a familliar face. Feet stopped mid-step, returning to a stead stance where Rydas could offer a curteous bow in response.

“Would you care to dance, my liege?”

"It'd be my pleasure, Priestess." He answered, offering his arm as propriety required. Already he could feel eyes upon them as they made their way to the dancefloor. While other couples had begun dancing as soon as the music had started, it was the first dance of the royal family of the night. The first dance also happened to be one with an unknown face. Rydas, in good form, ignored the chatter- he was accustomed to talk.

A calloused hand, well worn from years of swordplay, lightly took hers. His other hand was chastely placed on the small of her back. While dance lessons were not the fondest of childhood memories it came with ease, the foot work resembling the intricate dance of dueling. He swallowed, imposing height glancing down at the pretty cleric with much of the citadel's memories rushing back.

"It pleases me to see you well."

"I thank you." Siobhán forced her breathing to slow so that she wouldn't feel its erratic cadence of it within her throat. Emerald eyes cast about, noticing the glances and glares of those gathered and she wondered if she had broken some unspoken rule about who the first dance should've gone to. Was there a hierarchy?

Finally, she found her voice once again. "I could say the same in return, my liege, but it would appear untrue." Concern danced upon her countenance as she met his eyes, studying him a bit more closely. His aura screamed wounded but she saw no visible ailments. "Forgive me for saying so but..." Her words trailed, lingering for a moment upon utter silence and letting the noise filter in to fill the gap before she continued. "Your time at the Citadel has marked you." Barely a pause to allow him reply before more words tumbled from her petite frame. "I failed you. The last spell was meant to heal you and I failed and for that alone I have come to apologize, my lord."

“Siobhán,” His eyes darted back to her face, the confession and hopelessness catching him off guard. Rydas wasn’t sure if they had been introduced, but he had learned her name and thought of her often. It wasn't often the crown spoke of religion or belief, but the gravity of her words pulled on heartstrings, drenched in the familiar feeling of unmet self-expectations. “Leave life and death to the Gods, that isn’t our domain. You saved many lives that day. Some fates were sealed long before we set foot in that citadel.”

Surprise flickered across Siobhán’s face as the Prince called her by name but her torment was so close to the surface that the stronger emotion took hold despite his consolation. “You speak of Fate as if it is set in concrete. I believe it to be a battle between the Gods, Goddesses and how they decide to bestow their favor.” Her emerald gaze leapt to meet his once more before lowering to settle upon his masculine jaw out of respect as she had always felt holding someone’s gaze was slightly aggressive.

“My Goddess favors you. I felt that was why she wished for me to cast the spell…” She trailed off and a soft, rueful smile tugged at her lips. “I apologize, for I have learned that the Crown holds no preference of deity. I do not wish to make you uncomfortable.” Self-doubt and awkward awareness seeped into her consciousness as the song began to change tempo. "But I felt that you should know that there are many in your corner, willing to uphold your right to the Crown because they believe in you, my Prince."

Rydas didn’t respond, gaze meeting hers in kind before it dropped. Eye contact was rare for him, and something to be cherished. In those fleeting moments where others rose their vision to match his own he saw, often, a genuine part of the person. Still- his lips remained still as she spoke. It wasn’t uncomfortable when religion came into conversation, but he kept himself to strict regulations of non-discussion. He’d leave philosophy to scholars and religion to priests, and amidst it all try and keep a nation afloat. In all honesty, he simply had too much on his plate to argue the what-ifs and intangibles.

Still, her words reassured him. As the song slowed he released his soft grasp and bowed deeply. “Thank you, Priestess. I’ll do my utmost not to disappoint.”

Dipping into another low curtsey in response to his bow, Siobhán couldn’t but feel aggravated at herself. The song had been too short. Her inability to speak clearly and confidently kept her from saying all of the things she needed to say. She wished to help him but didn’t know how and a small part of her feared attempting to help him once more. What if she failed a second time to aid the Prince and future King of Calisma?

Straightening her posture, Siobhán lifted a hand towards Rydas’ cheek in an almost motherly fashion, worry filling her eyes which she hoped would convey the sincerity of her words. Yet as soon as her touch grazed Rydas’, his skin seared hers and she withdrew her fingertips just as quickly as they had been placed and a hiss of pain escaped her parched lips. “I sense torment and anguish, I cannot heal.” Her voice had dropped to a low whisper and then a wince was visible, slightly narrowing the corners of her eyes before she caught herself. “I apologize, Prince. It’s just…” Hands lowered, clasping in front of her so she would not make any more sudden movements.

A touch of déjà vu with some of her words and gestures echoing the dream of which she knew nothing about. “I thank you for the dance and I thank you for saving my life that day in the Citadel. Be well, my Prince.” A small touched her painted lips but she had enough of the masquerade ball. She had come to say what she needed to say and now that she was done, she had no reason to remain. Gathering her skirts in one hand so she wouldn’t trip over the hem, she tried to look casual as she disappeared into the crowd.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Talsin Inicka Character Portrait: Siobhan Brennan Character Portrait: Tariel Vaynell Character Portrait: Iravey Inicka Character Portrait: Cadeyrn Gaile
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#, as written by Skwidge
The Inside Joke

Talsin and Siobhan



It had seemed as though he had missed the entire party while having been there the whole time. After he had entered he had descended the stairs eager to meet and greet, but most everyone had already found a speaking buddy. It saddened him greatly for naught but a moment before he was quickly off. After minutes of scanning, he finally spotted a noble who he thought would make for pleasant chatter, and he quickly stepped up to her and presented a bow, “Good evening, madam.” However, as the woman turned around, fury suddenly rippled across her face and Tal took a quick hop backwards. ’I swear I have no luck.’ He winced as the woman started speaking harshly at him; it had been none other than the woman he had marred earlier with the fruit, and as the crowd shifted, so he disappeared as well.

Tal lounged by one of the tables, still in search of a friend, when suddenly Rydas was announced. His eyes shot up to the man, and a broad grin filled his lips, it had been much too long since he had last seen the future King, and his appearance only spurred the glee of the night onwards. As he hit the floor, everyone dispersed once more into groups, and again Tal did his best to catch someone. However, it always seemed as soon as he neared someone, they would be whisked away out of sight.

’Speaking of out of sight, where is Ira? She should have come in by now.’ He searched vainly for his twin, desperate for some company in this huge crowd, but she still seemed to be nowhere in sight. He even checked the darkest corners of the room for her. Did she just ditch the whole thing while he wasn’t looking? A good natured frown eased onto Tal’s facials as he started thinking up devious things he’d do to her if she had indeed left him all alone.

His plots were cut short as dancing begun, and he had yet to enjoy any of the festivities. He watched the mass of whirling bodies for awhile before he suddenly spotted someone he knew. He dashed forward with absolute disregard for anyone around him and gently tapped her arm. “Siobhan, ah thank the gods. I was starting to believe that I was the only one who actually bothered to show up.”

With cheeks tinged a soft pink from her awkward encounter with the Prince, the Priestess jumped slightly, surprised by the tap upon the arm but a warm smile softened her features when she recognized the man from the Citadel. His name escaped her and she was surprised that he knew her own which made her feel even more self-conscious and rude than she had felt just moments prior.

“Hello….” She paused, letting him fill in the name and when nothing was given she looked apologetic. “You are one of the twins, correct? With the silent sister?”

Tal looked injured as she came up silent in her attempt at a greeting, but quickly grinned brightly to show he honestly wasn’t offended at all. “Indeed I am! My sister is Iravey, and I am Talsin, but call me Tal. So, what brings you here on this most fabulous night? Surely not the reflective floors, am I right?” A half smirk half grin wriggled across his lips as he made jape at their first exchange within the Citadel and the wonderful conversation about the floor.

His demeanor and comments worked together to draw laughter from Siobhan’s lips and she shook her head. “Though, if we are both to be honest with ourselves, this floor is much more comfortable looking. Don’t you agree?”

The tension began to seep out of her muscles and she clasped her hands loosely. “Apologies, Tal. I don’t recall much from that night other than… terror, honestly. I was wondering why the few of us that were saved were invited here as well as the adventurer’s themselves. Curiosity as well as the chance to make amends drew me here. How about you?”

“Haha, indeed, indeed.” He nodded his agreement to her return comment, grinning broadly at the fact he finally had someone to talk to who wasn’t trying to rip his head off. He grew sober as she spoke of her encounters at the Citadel before making a soft attempt at a joke, “Ah, no worries, although, I do like to think of my face being a bit more memorable to people.” What happened that night was a rather touchy subject for many, but Tal had his own view of the world, and overlooked the Citadel. “Well, I’m sure Rydas is grateful for our assistance, even if it had been little. We were along for the ride, he probably didn’t want us to feel left out. Either that or he knew I’d hunt him down and complain to him about not inviting Ira and myself.” He smiled mischievously before thinking of his own reasons for being here.

“I suppose to show support for Rydas as well as dabble a bit here and there in the lives of the upper class.”

Siobhan laughed at his well-placed jokes and it was obvious that her mood was changing from when he first ran into her. “Ah, yes. Well perhaps your uncovered face is extremely memorable but tonight’s festivities…” She lifted a hand, indicating her own painted mask before reaching up to delicately touch the side of Talsin’s own mask. “Leave everyone a mysterious stranger.”

Tilting her head slightly to one side, she listened to his own reasons for being at the ball and nodded, then laughed. “So your sister is here as well? Please give her my regards when you see her next. If I may be so bold as to ask… What do the two of you do? You are very charming and funny so for you I am going to guess some form of entertainer.”

His eyes widened as she reminded him of his own mask, then chuckled at his own expense. At her mention of his sister, he grinned ruefully, “If I see her.” His eyes took a cursory glance around the room once more in search of his sister, but alas, once more he came up empty handed. “Hah, thank you my kind madam. I am a bard, Ira and I travel the lands in search of inspiration, which is why we eventually got stuck in the Citadel, and she has a less… accepted job than most.” He scratched his temple with a sheepish grin, not exactly planning on informing everyone that his sister was a sneak.

“A bard?” Siobhan smiled, amused that she had guessed something close to his actual profession. “So, let me guess. You have been quite busy telling our tale far and wide? Did you pen the first versions of the tale?” The cleric allowed Talsin to talk about himself instead of prying into his sister’s life. If she ever met Ira, she would feel more comfortable asking further questions.

“Ah, somewhat.” He admitted, thinking back to what they had done. In all honesty, the adventure hadn’t been his first priority on the to-do list, but he had spread it to a few, who in turn spread it further on. “I didn’t exactly put it to song, plus I was only there for the battle and the reward, hah. But yeah, I worked a bit on it every so often. Obviously quickly enough as almost everyone knows of it by now, especially from the announcement of Rydas’ return and the likes.”

“Ah, I was only there for the end battle and reward as well.” Siobhan nodded, pausing to signal a waiter as he passed so that she could take two glasses from his tray before he moved on. One of which she handed to Tal before sipping at her own beverage so that she could continue on. “Don’t speak too soon. I have a feeling that our part in this grand tale has yet to reach its conclusion.”

A single brow rose upon her forehead as she cast him a questioning look. “Wouldn’t you agree? There’s…” She paused, shaking her head as if she had tried to summon words adequate enough to describe the feeling that she possessed. “Something unfinished. Perhaps the warning from the creature in the Citadel or perhaps I’m just being foolish but I feel that we’ve just begun.”

“Oh yeah, right. You just seem to fit in so well.” He spoke a little jokingly in an attempt to cover his oversight towards the fact she had indeed been one who was tied up as well. He watched her contently as she flagged down one of the servers and was nice enough to get him a glass as well. As she began to hold it out, he grinned brightly and made a small bow of gratitude before happily taking the drink and sipping at it. He was unused to the flavor, but it was still good.

At her foreboding comment towards their grand tale, as she had put it so well, Tal merely nodded with agreement. “Ah, yes. An adventure is never truly completed, whether it continues on through the words of a song, or in the minds of many. Also literally, yeah. There are many things that can happen with a new king coming into reign, many plots and plans, stress between the countries, things like that. It was a wise thing to bring us back to the Princes’ side, even if the invitation wasn’t meant in such a way.”

Siobhan turned her gaze fully upon Tal and seemed to be scrutinizing him. She didn’t mean to be rude about it but if his words were true then what would he and/or his sister offer to the newest King of Calisma? Perhaps there were skills that she had yet to see. Bards were rumored to be assassins and informants in some areas of the country, after all. Their profession making it easier to slip into highly guarded places otherwise inaccessible to others.

Yet she didn’t voice her opinion and instead, merely let her lips curl into another grin at his words. “I think it was wise for the Prince to bring you to his side. You seem an honorable man, Tal.”

He laughed at her assumption good-naturedly, a wide grin to his face. “You could certainly say that without it being an untruth. I suppose I’ll have to be his entertainer, because the moods around here are positively ghastly.” He spoke in a prim, high lady’s tone at his last two words. But he had been serious on all notes of his response. While he lied for his sister, and the form they previously used, stalled for quite some time now as the Prince had given them a large sum of money, to gain some sort of income was him playing and his sister snooping about with a knife.

With the Prince’s whispered condition, Tal having also seen it while they stayed with him after the Citadel, was certainly something that sobered up the Kingdom, as well as the stress and caution that was used within the nobles’ courts. Tal had no carings about such things, and would voice himself and plow through any noble in his way without any regret and with complete freedom.

“But I have yet to hear anything of you. What do you do for a profession, what do you enjoy, any special reason you’re here?”

The bard seemed to have an easygoing way about him that drew Siobhan from her shell. Though still soft spoken since she rarely had full conversations with anyone other than other clerics, she answered each question fully though part of her wished to run away and get lost in the crowd.

“Oh my, an entire litany of questions! Is this an interview, of sorts? Am I being graded upon my answers?” Her head tilted slightly as she tried to answer them in order. “I am a Silverstar, a priestess of Selune. I enjoy…” That one gave her pause. What hobbies did she have, if any? “Not being in battle. Travelling. The night.” Laughing at her own answer she debated briefly whether to share her actual reason for coming or to simply shrug it off with the fact that she had been invited, so she attended.

“And if by here you mean the ball itself… I had unfinished business to attend.” She quickly took another sip of her drink to quench her thirst and to wet her parched tongue. Finishing the cherry colored liquid, she set the glass down upon the nearest table and it was only then that she realized that it was growing late and a few of the guests had begun to trickle out, leaving the massive room a bit sparser than before.

"I hope you do not mind if I take my leave, Tal. It was a pleasure to meet you, though... I do hope to see you again." Smiling, she gave a small wave then turned, losing herself in the crowd as she exited the palace.

Tal grinned mischievously to play the part, “Perhaps.” He spoke vaguely, lifting his arm up and waving at the air, “Perhaps, perhaps.” He then settled into a listening stance, really interested in what she had to share.
“Silverstar, eh? That’s a rather fancy name. I think I may have to call you Sil for short. Or Silvester.” He grinned cheekily, but with all good intentions. He laughed as she mentioned what she liked, and he had to nod his head in agreement, put his hand to his chest, and mouth the words, “Yeah, me too, me too.” His attention was snapped up as she laughed, and he couldn’t help but grin happily along with her.

“Oh, unfinished business? Verry mysterious~ Care to divulge on that?” Ah, but he didn’t get an answer, as she soon made her farewell. Maybe Tal could catch her later, maybe not. He shrugged and simply accepted whatever would be coming. “Ah, yes of course. Wouldn’t want to keep you from your mystery quest.” He made a small bow, “As it was a pleasure meeting you. I do hope we run into each other once more.” Tal glanced down at the floor in an obvious way, then looked up at her with a knowing glance and a half grin half sheepish look, trying to see if he could get another chuckle. As she waved, he waved back to her and watched as she left.

He soon turned, though suddenly took a jump back as he was faced with none other than his sister. “Cripes, Ira. You startled me; seriously, announce yourself once in awhile.” He rolled his eyes with a relaxed smile, offering her his arm and soon leading them towards the door.




Bull’s Temper~

Cadeyrn and Neliana


To the short answer she was given, Nel had simply nodded, the prince’s lies were much more reassuring a place to settle, easier to believe in then to think otherwise for his pain and agony. As quickly as he had appeared, he was out of sight once more, gone into the sea of the masquerade and frivolity.

The attention of Nel was gathered to the Prince’s familiar whom he addressed who was just on his way to leave before she addressed him.

“Lock, was it?” She said to garner his attention, hoping that she had indeed heard the tall man’s name.
“How does Rydas know you?” Granted, it wasn’t that riveting or important a question but Nel was curious, for the prince was a figure relatively unknown even after their adventure if not for the broad strokes of his character. Perhaps whom he considers friends could say more of him then all the adventures together.

Cadeyrn stopped in his tracks, turning to look at the woman without a hint of expression. As she addressed him, he simply nodded once before sliding one of his hands into his pockets and looking down at her. He shrugged as she asked of his relations to the Prince and merely said, “I’m the greens keeper, I take care of a few of the nearest forests, and occasionally do work around the gardens.” His shoulders shifted a bit into a more comfortable position. “You’re one of the adventurers.” It was hardly a question, and was obviously restating what had quite easily been established a few moments ago by Rydas’ cover up.

Nel had to tilt her head back to make eye contact with Lock, who stood tall and seemingly emotionless behind his black mask, the monk flashed a quaint smile as he mentioned he was the greenskeeper. The likes of which disappeared when he reminded her she’s one of the adventurers, something that she really didn’t need to be reminded of.
“Yes, I am.” A bit reprehensive, as of the last two people she decided to take to had no qualms causing her trouble or to chide her on combat itself.

“Hm,” Was all he said, his eyes raked over her form in a scrutinizing way, making notes of every twitch she made before he shrugged. “What made you want to join?” He expected somewhat of a petty answer, like to get in favor with the Prince or ask something of him, and yet there was the always present chance people actually didn’t have an alterior motive. But Lock had yet to find someone like that.

Upon picking a metal goblet off of a server and wasting no time to satisfy her dry mouth, she winced at the remarkable concentration of alcohol in her drink, least until she took another sip before answering.
“I thought it was necessary. I’ve heard tales of the wars that used to plague lands while I was growing up and I thought if there was no king, chaos would ensue, and wars would be fought again.” The monk swished the goblet in her hand to watch the liquid slosh and cycle round and round, gaze distracted by the tiny whirlpool of alcohol.

Cadeyrn simply watched her down the drink, a bored look to his face for the moment. He despised wine, wasn’t sure why, didn’t really care either. At her answer, he turned his head from her to look around the room once more, locating certain people and making note of others. Once more he had been disappointed by the answer he received, but no hint of such was displayed on his face. “I see.”

For a moment, Nel looked up from her drink, up to the man and even she could see something was wrong, perhaps even odd with Lock.
“What is it?” She asked ever-so-bluntly with a tone of thinly veiled anger behind her words fueled by alcohol.

Once more he looked down at her, his eyes boring straight through her, as though he could care less of her tenseness. His lips flattened into a straight line as her anger rang subtly in his ears. “You have the temper of a bull,” He said flatly before advising, “Less alcohol.” As always, his face remained uncaring and void, tapping a finger against his thigh.

She clenched her teeth as the greenskeeper started to address her drunken state and balled up her fist, fancying the thought of punching him right through the gut or breaking that damn finger while the grip on the top of the metal goblet tightened as well.
“It’s cleaner then the water.” She hissed at the man, taking a step forward before she said in a low voice.
“I’ll show you a bull’s temp-” Then she stopped and just then realized what she was about to do: to assault a man for…what? Because he told her she had a temper? Which made her angry enough to assault him? It’s not as if he was going to endanger her or anyone else and she was just as sure he wasn’t even trying to aggravate her unlike others. How…when did she get...to this?

What remnants of anger marred her features were replaced with a look of neutrality then confusion that stayed for a moment or two before she placed the goblet back on a tray one of the servants carried around.
“You’re right.” Nel admitted rather painfully as if it was harder to admit to herself then to Lock. She nervously laughed for a moment, still trying to figure out how long she was like this during her month-long stay in Paetex.
“Guess, I’ll just die of thirst then.” The monk said rather glumly, her hands low to her stomach and busy trying to stretch each and every individual finger.

He looked on as she stiffened threateningly, and watched as her grips tightened. Hadn’t he heard a glass shatter already tonight? As she spoke of the local water, a hint of agitation flicked across his eyes, the forests he resided in had perfectly clean water, and it was quite obvious that wine had its downsides as well, as was soon displayed by Neliana’s next words. He remained steady on his feet, not flinching whatsoever.

He could care less as conflicting feelings displayed themselves on Nel’s face, along with his point being made. At the response after her laugh, Lock simply shrugged. “You’ve drunk quite a bit already. Modest amounts.” He rolled his eyes at his own advice, why was he even bothering?

Nel was clearly agitated, more so at herself and not at Lock in particular, although partially so because if it wasn’t for him she wouldn’t be worrying about any of this and just happily guzzle away.
“In a week or a month or a year.” She clarified for him before running a hand through her hair.
“I don’t want to choose between the poisoned water of Paetex that’ll blow out the other end or being a drunk that finds it fit to needlessly hurt others.” Then, she turned her head towards him and in perhaps a bid of desperation thought Lock could help her.
“Do you know of an alternative? Any alternative?”

“Boil it.” He said simply. It had been a slight surprise she had not thought of such a technique herself, having been out and about on quests and the like, and it was rumored that they had their own ranger within the group who probably would have known the same trick. They probably just resorted to ale and the likes.

She blinked a couple of times and then some more as what she considered a major part of her life flawed and broken suddenly fixed with naught but the knowledge of two words. For a few seconds she simply rejected it, the idea that Lock had lied more plausible then the stupidly simple solution to a dilemma just realized. Yet somehow that was just as, if not worse. Why would anyone lie over such a thing? Was it truly something that everyone knew or should have known as common sense?

Nel was used to simply not knowing the outside world beyond the monastery but this was one of the few times she truly felt like an idiot. Still, she was grateful none the less.

“Thank you.” Nel told him a bit absent-mindedly, the simplicity of the advice still picking at her brain like a tumour, but she smiled for his help however simple it may be.

“Can you take off your mask?”

At the smile, he merely blinked slowly, ’City people.’ He thought exasperatedly before his entire line of thought came screeching to a halt at Nel’s request. He instantly stiffened and crossed his arms, immediately wary of her intents. “What for?”

Somehow, Nel seemingly crossed “a line” for asking Lock to take off his mask. She wasn’t entirely sure how these events worked or this was simply a problem or tradition or of oneself.
“I find the masks a bit…odd? Weird? A bit sad, even.” She tried to explain the general uneasiness she felt and most probably failing before shrugging her shoulders and relaxing a bit.
“I’m just more used to faces. It’s what people are born with and die with and they’re all different and memorable.”

He stared at her for a few more seconds before straightening himself out once again. It was odd for her to ask him to take off his mask when it was a masquerade ball. Whether or not she disliked masks really did not matter, as the occasion called for it tonight. At her explanation of the face, he let out a bland sigh, and tipped his mask upwards on the right side to reveal his scar, but quickly refastened it. That should give her something to recognize him, and the only reason he went so far was to get her to stop poking at him so much.

She looked up earnestly and admittedly a bit disappointed as he just flashed his scar but it was no use trying to argue. The man was just too stoic and stubborn. Still, that scar told more than Lock could ever say, although Nel’s interpretation of it was just a slight skewed. She thought it be a momento from adventures of his own and most likely would have asked if she didn’t get the feeling that her presence wasn’t exactly welcomed.
“Very well. I think it's time for me to go. Have a good night Lock.” Nel would have curtsied if she knew that it was customary before she turned around and began to walk off. She stuck to the edges of the dance floor, moving towards the food that sat on display at a table, her appetite growing and her curiosity with others growing dim with recent events.

His eyes narrowed as he watched her line of sight find the mar upon his cheek, and he disdained the look that seemed to subtly portray itself on her face. He was rather relieved when she decided to leave, but then everything seemed to freeze. ’Time.’ As Nel’s back turned from him, his eyes quickly darted across the room, how could he have missed it? There it was in the corner, ticking harmlessly away, a few minutes till the next hour, when it would toll. Lock needed to get out. Now.






Strange Encounter


Lock and Tariel




As Mira departed, Tariel offered her a warm smile. "It's been a pleasure to speak to you, Mirabelle. Until we meet again." he replied, bowing politely to his new friend. As she moved off, he decided that fresh air sounded like rather a good idea. He recalled there was an outer balcony just off from the ballroom, and he decided to make his way towards it. His mask remained held at his side rather than worn, as he had no desire to return his face to its unpleasant confines, and no schemes to further by concealing his identity. And it just looked silly, anyway. Not that the excessively elaborate robes he wore didn't too, but removing those would be several degrees more inappropriate.

Lock's eyes had quickly dilated and a cold sweat was threatening to break at his forehead. His line of sight darted towards the time teller, boring into the numbers displayed. Five minutes until the clock tolled and all hell would break lose. He made a rather snappy farewell as his shoulders squared and his form stiffened, and then quickly departed. His eyes were constantly on the clock as he weaved past bodies, the ticking ringing in his skull despite the loud commotion surrounding him. For a moment his mind fell blank as he watched the hands tick by, and suddenly his form sped into another.

Tariel was taken by surprise as someone blindsided him from just out of his field of vision, and was thus ill prepared to stop himself from consequently tripping sideways over the folds of his robe and landing entirely ungracefully on his rear with a yelp of shock. He looked up at the figure that had walked into him with a small frown, but he forced himself to swallow the urge to snap at the man and instead merely raised his eyebrow. "Ah... hello there?" he said hesitantly, blinking as he recognised the man as the one from earlier who had entered without being announced. "Distracted?" he added with a small half-smile, annoyance quickly fading. He never had been one to get angry easily.

As Lock looked down with an expressionless face as the man fell to the floor, a flicker of shock passed over his own face before it was instantly smothered. “Apologies.” He spoke clearly but in a quiet tone as he bent down and offered the man a strong hand. At his comment about Cadeyrn’s attention, an agitated feeling flared up inside him, but he quickly suppressed it as the man offered a small smile. "A bit." He admitted, but was otherwise silent.

Taking the offered hand to pull himself to his feet, Tariel brushed his robes down quickly before looking up at the man. "Well, no harm done!" he said cheerfully, "You're lucky I wasn't one of the noble ladies," he added with a chuckle, "With the frames on some of their dresses I wouldn't have been surprised if they'd snapped in two." The young man shook his head, before offering his hand out again, this time to shake. "Well, ah, since we're talking now, I might as well introduce myself. I'm Tariel." As an afterthought, he offered a quick bow, though the stranger didn't look the type to get hung up over such things it was better safe than sorry.

At his comment of not running into one of the ladies here, Lock gave a shudder of agreement, having just witnessed it moments ago. At his jape he nodded, but didn’t bother with a grin. He watched as his hand neared his own, and Cadeyrn returned the gesture quickly and firmly. “Lock.” At the bow Tariel made, he raised an eyebrow behind his mask, speaking of which, it was becoming rather stuffy in this room, what with being so close to so many bodies. He removed it and held it from a finger before remembering the clock. Once more his eyes shot towards the time teller, but he remained rooted to the spot.

Lock, was it? An odd name. If he'd had to guess, Tariel would have said it was an alias, but then again he knew very little about naming conventions in the more remote regions of Paetax. Maybe Lock was from one of them. 'Probably shouldn't comment on it just in case.' As the mask was removed, Tariel took note of the stern look to the man's face and the scar beneath his eye. Probably one of the adventurers, then. He'd be unlikely to get that scar in a courtroom.

"I don't want to be rude," Tariel began, "But I couldn't help but notice you seem a little on edge." It hadn't been hard to notice the way that Cadeyrn's eyes flickered about and the tension to his posture. "Is everything alright?"

He tilted his attention back to the man before him. Why wouldn’t his body obey his mind? He was little for chatter, especially with nobles. A soft breath left his lips as Tariel began to speak of his body language, causing an agitated twitch in his fingers. “Just not a fan of crowds.” He lied simply, ’Especially crowds of nobility.’

"I can understand that," Tariel grimaced sympathetically, "I'm not such a fan of them myself. I'm only here because of peer pressure from my family." he laughed, shaking his head. "I was just heading out to the balcony to see if a friend of mine was there. Do you want to join me? There's not so much of a crowd out there." The youth hesitated, "I mean, I don't want to impose, I'm sure you have better things to do than talk to some second-rate noble progeny that you literally just bumped into, but if you were wanting some fresh air anyway..." he trailed off, shrugging his shoulders with an embarrassed smile. Lock looked entirely unamused, and was probably counting the seconds till the conversation ended. He supposed not all the adventurers were going to be as open to exchanging chatter with someone like him as Mira had been.

Cadeyrn blinked as he spoke of being forced to come to the social gathering. He tsked lightly, this noble was already on his least disliked list. Suddenly Tariel offered to go out onto the balcony, and suddenly he heard the loud clunk of the clock hand turning, and he quickly sprang into action as he continued a little awkwardly. “Ah, that would be… nice.” His speech was quick as he lightly grabbed the nobleman’s arm and led him through the crowd once more until they reached the balcony. He dropped his arm unceremoniously as he securely shut the door so no sound would pass, and stepped over to the furthest part of the platform. He visibly relaxed, running a hand through his hair lightly before sighing. “Much better.” He mumbled, glancing out over to the stars before his eyes scanned below and sought his workplace. He should really be out there, getting things done, rather than stick around this frilly nonsense, adventurers or no.

Tariel suppressed a surprised squeak when Cadeyrn took hold of his arm and began to lead him through the crowd. Evidently the other man was in a hurry to get out of the line of fire, as it were. As they emerged out onto the balcony, he noted the obvious relaxation of the adventurer; he obviously hadn't been kidding when he'd said he didn't like crowds. After taking a moment to adjust his robes slightly from the march across the ballroom, the young mage walked across to join the other man at the edge. "Agreed," he said in response to Lock's mumbled remark, "Though I'll admit, I'd sooner be tucked up in the warmth of a library. I'm guessing you're more of an outdoorsy sort yourself. Do you mind if I ask what you do?" He paused to laugh, "When you're not on a noble quest for the kingdom with the prince, that is."

Lock slid his jaw to one side, his eyes trailing Tariel’s form as he neared him. At his remark, Cadeyrn simply snorted lightly, he himself was an obvious outdoors type, and libraries were usually dusty and cramped. Although he didn’t mind reading information strictly to assist himself out in the woods, he still didn’t like the prospect of a library. Tariel soon expressed he thought as much, and then asked what he did. Why was everyone so interested in that? It was only mere chatter, pointless information that others wouldn’t use anyway, only to be polite. However, his next comment caught him off guard, and he blinked. “I am only the greenskeeper, I tend to the forests and the like. I was not one who joined Rydas on the quest, seeing it as nothing but foolhardy wishes. Proven wrong there, it still remains that the quest did indeed have its downfalls.”

"Oh, I'm sorry. I shouldn't have assumed you went with the Prince." Tariel ran a hand through his hair with an awkward half-smile, "I thought you were one of the adventurers, by the scar on your face. Thinking about it, I did sort of jump to conclusions with that one." There were lots of people who had scars, and didn't act like nobles. 'Way to put your foot in your mouth, Tariel'. Deciding to move on from that, Tariel turned to look out across the forests in the distance, beyond the city walls. "So you're responsible for all of the forests out there?" he asked, "That's an awful lot to be looking after. It must keep you busy." Tariel laughed lightly,"I imagine that's an understatement." he added, before pausing. "Do you enjoy it?" he went on after a moment, "It sounds like a lot of responsibility, but if you're at home in the woods, it must be a nice way to make a living."

Caderyn shifted his eyes back down to the dark green of the night grass, listening to Tariel apologize for the mix-up. When he spoke of his scar, his grip on the railing tightened a bit, but not as much as it usually would when he had to face that reality every day. He simply shrugged, “Honest mistake, I suppose.”

When the subject switched to the forests, Lock relaxed once more, and at Tariel’s musing, his eyes dilated just a bit in a pleasant way, but his lips remained flat. Was he hearing perhaps a hint of awe from this man? “Not all of them, way too much work. Only a select few, and I usually remain a relatively close distance to the city. Other times, though, I just decide to wander. I learned my lesson a while ago not to stray from the castle for more than a day or two unless expressed beforehand.” Sena, it was a strange attention she held towards him, one he didn’t delve into when thinking.

“I do enjoy it. It’s more of a home to me than walls and hearth. While it may be a large amount of responsibility, I don’t notice it, it’s just what I do, and if anyone has a problem with how I do it, they can take it up themselves with the wolves that call the earth below the trees home. Or bother themselves with me.” He tapped a few fingers against the smooth stone of the railing, his mind wandering for a few moments to what he described.

"It sounds... peaceful. I'll be the first to admit I'm not particularly... ah, rough and ready when it comes to spending a lot of time in the great outdoors, but on a conceptual level it sounds very pleasant." Tariel laughed, shaking his head, "In practice I'd probably fuss over getting things in my hair and tearing my clothes and proceed to trip over in the mud a lot." He gave a sigh, "I've never been very good with er... the real world, as it were. My family's estate, and then the guild, were very sheltered environments. I'm a little... a lot soft."

Indeed, whilst he'd been on something of a leash for much of his childhood, he'd never really had the initiative to pull at it. He'd made himself a home amongst books and creature comforts and closed himself in it. It was only now that he realised there really was more to the world, and he had no idea where to start about experiencing it. "Ah, and mentioning the guild, I should probably let you know that I'm a mage. I mean, since you've told me what you do. I like to consider myself a mage before a noble, even though I'm not very powerful. I have my seal, though! I'm not going to explode on you or anything. In case you were worrying. At all."

Tariel coughed, looking away as he decided to shut up for a moment and recollect his wits off of the ground. "I imagine your calling is a lot more interesting than mine in the traditional sense. Unless you're particularly into reading about very specific areas of magic, in which case my days are full of thrills!" He chuckled wryly at that, raising his eyebrows in the facial equivalent of a shrug. "I enjoy it, it's interesting, but... it's not very exciting. It can get a bit monotonous if I'm totally honest."

With Tariel’s comment on the amount of activity, Lock did a sort of half shrug. It wasn’t always that way, even if things remained calm and calculated in his mind. As the noble continued on, Cadeyrn made a quiet, amused snort. It was rather obvious that Tariel was not particularly active, nor would Lock ever have thought of such a thing from a noble other than the occasional walk through the gardens. With his laugh, Cadeyrn looked up at him and blinked before giving a nod. “It is pleasant, something people should do more.”

Tariel then spoke of his assumed reactions, and Cadeyrn had expected nothing less. Nobles were such pansies, and it seemed they never thought to wear normal clothing. At the mention of the guild, Lock tilted his head towards him, a blank face. So he was also a mage, interesting. Tariel soon reiterated Cadeyrn’s thoughts, and his facial expression didn’t change except for maybe the slightest raise of an eyebrow. “I’d hope not, that would reflect poorly on the guild’s teaching.” He’d had no unease with the man so far, other than the fact he was a noble and was a little awkward.

Cadeyrn agreed completely when he said that reading could get monotonous. “Try a change of scenery once in awhile.”

Tariel nodded his head solemnly. "I suppose I should." he said, "Old habits die hard, though. I'm not particularly... ah, adventurous. Not that I don't want to be, just... well, I'm not really sure where to start. I don't really know anyone outside of the nobility and the guild, neither of which are known for their outgoing tendencies. I suppose I could go alone, but I think I'd probably get robbed..."

He sighed, "I need something new, though. Or else I'll still be sitting in the same chair in the library when I'm fifty, and naught will have changed for all my years." The young mage paused and glanced back across at Cadeyrn. "I'm sorry, I don't know why I'm regailing you with all this. I must sound terribly whiny."

Lock Rolled his eyes subtly as Tariel made excuses, and at his mention of being robbed, Cadeyrn snorted derisively. “Only if you look like you have something worth stealing.” He would have smirked at Tariel at that point, but as was his default, his face remained somewhat expressionless other than the slightest twitch of his lips. As the noble looked at him, Lock blinked for a moment before raising a hand and pointing towards the actual city with his thumb.

At the apology, Cadeyrn simply shrugged. “I brought it up.” While he could admit that Tariel was just another whiny noble, he felt slightly more comfortable around him than other court people, although that wasn’t saying much.

"That's true, I suppose. I hadn't thought of it that way before. I thought that the fact I looked er, weedy and defenceless, would be enough to draw unwanted attention." Tariel replied, laughing and leaning onto the balcony's railing to stare out across the city. "I can't help but think I'd stick out like a sore thumb as soon as I opened my mouth, regardless. No matter my intentions I'm painfully aware of how ignorant I am of a lot of things outside the little world I've spent my childhood in."

His expression became thoughtful, "I suppose that could be solved just by keeping my head down and my mouth shut and making observations until I can comfortably blend in..." he trailed off, "Ah, rambling again, sorry."

Deciding that this subject matter was probably growing tiresome for the other man, Tariel opted to change it. "So, what do you think of the Prince?" he asked, looking over at Cadeyrn. It was hard to tell whether the greenskeeper was enjoying his company or not; whether he was always a man of few words, or just had no interest in the conversation.

Lock almost dared to zone out, but he was more particular than that. He gave a bit of honest attention to Tariel as he spoke. A few thoughts drifted into his mind, but he couldn’t possibly believe them. He wouldn’t prolong his suffering just to silence the man now. He tapped a finger on the smooth stone as Tariel himself realized he was just rambling.

However, at the change of topic, Cadeyrn’s motions stopped. A few silent moments passed before he spoke. “He’s a good employer. Doesn’t bother me much. He apparently likes me.” With a simple shrug, he met the man’s gaze with his own for a few moments before letting out a soft breath and tilting his sight towards the moon’s glow.

Tariel rubbed the back of his neck awkwardly. "Ahg, I'm sorry. You came out here to get some peace and quiet, and here I am blathering on about myself and asking questions. I must be driving you up the wall."

He took a breath and glanced back towards the door inside. "I should leave you be. If you want, I mean. Which I assume you do. I have a habit of talking too much when I'm nervous, or meeting new people, which tends to be at the same time."

This man really had little confidence. Once more, Lock met and held his gaze with a soft edge, just looking at him for a few moments, deciding what exactly it was about this man. He also seemed forgetful, a little foolish. He was a noble, he was supposed to act like the world owed him something. That’s how all nobles worked. So what was wrong with him? Lock had to admit, this one intrigued him just a bit, but he had yet to decide if he wanted to bother with him.

Had he actually thought about it, or had expressive emotions or a care for another person, he might have found the babbling fool a bit endearing. But no such thing arose, only a thought as to what ends he was working for. As Tariel broke the gaze and looked back towards the door where people were beginning to dissipate, Cadeyrn’s attention remained on him for a few more seconds before looking to the ballroom as well. At last, this bloody event was ending, he could go disappear once again and not bother himself with these confusing, malicious peoples of the court.

As the man turned back to him, he babbled about being a bother. He was beginning to be, just a bit, but it didn’t matter much. This night was dwindling, a new day would soon begin; Lock didn’t mind so much being near this man, as their interaction would end eventually, whether or not it was sooner or later, it did not matter. With yet another shrug, Cadeyrn watched the man for a few moments, analyzing his movements, watching his body language. Suddenly something clicked in his mind, and he blinked. His lip twitched slightly at the idea- this man seemed meek, as a subordinate would to an alpha. And yet in reality their roles were switched for all technical purposes in the world of politics. But for the real world, for what actually mattered in life, Cadeyrn swamped him in many an aspect.

His attention tilted back to the man as he continued, “Doesn’t matter. Stay if you’d like. Go if you’d like.” Cadeyrn leaned back comfortably on the railing, tilting his head back and looking up at the night sky, inhaling deeply. He would have grinned softly if he ever dared an actual facial expression.

Though he shifted slightly uncomfortably under Lock's scrutinous gaze, Tariel took note of the soft edge to the man's eyes. It wasn't a hard, cutting stare, but rather a thoughtful one. He had to wonder at what was going on behind those eyes, just what was running through his head. Unlike Tariel, who largely wore his heart and mind on his sleeve, Lock was something of a mystery. His ambiguous reply didn't help with trying to figure out whether he cared for their conversation a mite. "Well..." he began, "I don't really care to try and weave my way back into the politics of the ball just yet. I suppose I'll remain, but I'll endeavour to keep my babbling to a minimum."

Smiling slightly, he turned back to lean on the balcony and - finally - lapsed into silence. He'd leave the floor open for Lock to continue to speak if he wanted, but was otherwise content, as he assumed the other man was, to enjoy the quiet and the view.

As Tariel made his choice to remain, Lock simply agreed with him as towards the politics. At mention of his speaking, Lock shrug lazily, keeping his eyes fixed upon the soft moon’s glow. He could almost hear the soft, mellow howls and calls in the forest, beckoning him to return to simpler means. It was tempting, but he was too far, it wasn’t the right time, and he figured he’d best leave more time to linger near the adventurer’s, as well as stay closer by the prince. That was a relative term, of course. For some reason, Cadeyrn felt a need to cut closer in towards Rydas, though he honestly didn’t know why. Perhaps it was an unspoken mutual partnership of some sorts, or maybe he owed the Prince for some reason. He did not know, and just decided to go with the feeling so he wouldn’t get a headache from having to ponder over it.

With Tariel’s silence, Cadeyrn realized it was sort of nice to have another human soul around, but alas, if only he were perhaps a mute all the time. Usually he only communicated by silence with the creatures around him when he was submerged in the forest, so it was a bit of something new to have someone else’s silence match and coexist with his own. A few minutes past, and a breezy wind flickered across the balcony. Lock’s eyes opened, and he stretched his jaw a bit, walking quietly past Tariel to the door. He paused before entering, his hand upon the handle, “I’ll see you around, Tariel.”He spoke at last a simple farewell, dipping his head fractionally before slipping inside and making his way silently around the nobles of the court to the exit and to his rest.

Tariel started to attention when Lock moved, having been lost in thought staring up at the sky. He turned to watch the other man leave, and smiled warmly to him as he spoke his farewell. "Goodnight." he said in turn, waving a hand after him. "Thanks for listening to me yammer on."

Then he was gone, and Tariel was left alone. He sighed lightly, leaning back onto the railing for several minutes before he pushed off and himself drifted back inside to wait out the rest of the evening amidst the music and the dancing.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Siobhan Brennan Character Portrait: Alys
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#, as written by Celedia
It was the morning of the coronation and the streets were exceptionally busy for such a time. Her shoes had been scrubbed, as if not to dirty the streets which were free from litter and beggars for once. Even the back-alleys which she passed through were much more pleasant. The city had pulled itself together for the important occasion but Alys doubted it would last long; perhaps a couple of days? Or even just a few hours until the wine started flowing.

She knew where she was headed but she tried not to think about it and let her stride take over. Before long, a set of stone stairs loomed ahead of her like a giant wave, leading to the mouth of the temple. Her heart was in her throat, tangled in her vocal cords, demanding her not to speak. A cleric bumped past her, knocking her shoulder and making her stumble. They apologized good-naturedly but looked taken-aback and a little confused at the terrified look in her eyes. Luckily, instead of questioning for her, they nodded their head awkwardly and started climbing to the temple. A relieved rush of breath escaped her lips, stirring the hair that hung limply about her face.

She couldn’t do it. All was well when she was delving into the unknown each night, gliding through nothing, riding dreams and reaching out to bodiless voices. But to face an old friend with the fear of rejection? It was petrifying. For a moment she thought she was going to laugh at the ridiculous situation, instead, she steadied herself and lifted her skirts then began the ascent.

Seated within the temple’s main room was Siobhan, seated on one of the cushioned pews with her hands clasped tightly upon her lap and her heard bowed. Her black locks spilled around her small frame and if one were to look past the falling tendrils of wavy hair they would see that her emerald eyes were closed and her lips were moving in silent speech.

Lady Selûne, please hear my prayers. Bestow upon me your wisdom and guidance, for I feel the shadows darkening upon the horizon. Let your silver light break through to illuminate our threats. Know that my breath is mine, but I am willing to sacrifice it in your service.”

Lifting the metal pendant hanging around her slender throat, the cleric lifted the symbol of her Goddess and laid a gentle kiss upon it before finally reopening her eyes and rising to stand. A fellow cleric, Khalia, happened to be wandering in through the doors at that very moment and she gave a half-bow before passing through into the living quarters.

At the top of the stairs arched a great stone doorway, carved in delicate symbols and swirls, turning the otherwise bland rock into a work of art. With each step Alys took closer, the more intimidated she felt. Yet not unwelcome; the double doors were pushed open, allowing entrance into the tiled foyer and giving one’s eyes access to the grandeur within. The sound of her footfalls changed as she crossed the threshold into the temple. After clearly being identified as nothing more than, well, a rather scruffy young girl who was probably up to no good, she was approached by an ardent. Through the next set of doors she glimpsed recognizable locks of black disappearing around a corner. She started, unable to help herself, toward the main chamber but was stopped by a stern hand on the shoulder.

“May we help you?” The ardent’s voice was pleasant enough, but those fingers had a strong grip.

“Siobhan?” Alys asked breathlessly. “Priestess Siobhan? May I see her?”

The elder woman dressed in those plain cleric robes was not giving much away as Alys scoured her face. “Name?”

“Alys” She answered.

With a curt nod, the ardent set off at a slow pace which made Alys sigh audibly. She twisted her fingers together nervously as she waited. Most of the worry she had felt only a few minutes ago was replaced with a kind of excitement.

“Sister Siobhan,” a voice called out mere moments later as the elder priestess turned into the hallway to the living quarters. “There is someone here to see you, it seems.”

Siobhan exited her room with a thoughtful frown upon her lips. Her list of acquaintances was growing steadily longer but she could think of no one that would come to visit her at the temple. “Did they give a name, Sister Tabitha?”[b/] There was a pause and a brief nod from the elder cleric though the name that left her lips left Siobhan in shock.

[b]“Alys. She is waiting just within the doors for yo-“


Siobhan cut off Tabitha with a quick word of thanks as she gathered her skirts and set off at a near run for the entrance. If it was truly Alys… If she were still alive… But how could that be? The letters had stop coming years ago. She hadn’t heard from either Alys nor anything from Peyton in regards to why the letters would have simply ceased. Siobhan had feared the worse, that Alys had gotten herself killed in an alleyway somewhere here in Paetax.

Yet, as she cleared the main room of the temple and came to a skittering halt, the woman standing before her did, indeed, bear her old friend’s appearance. Stepping forward tentatively, Siobhan cocked her head to the side for a moment, studying the woman with the limp hair in front of her and two things happened at once.

“Alys?!” The name sprang from her lips with giddiness that she didn’t think she was capable of anymore and she practically launched herself at the other woman, wrapping her arms around her and bringing her in for a tight hug.

Alys’ anticipation had been rising as the seconds ticked by, and she shifted her weight restlessly from foot to foot. But before long, the main chamber had been host to an oncoming figure whose hair bounced freely as she walked. Alys couldn’t help but beam, and rushed a few steps forward to jump into the hug with a relieved sort of sob. Whilst Siobhan had only grown in grace and beauty, the same couldn’t be said for her, and she couldn’t blame the now-Priestess’ initial hesitation.

“I’m sorry” She sniffed, arms still wrapped tightly around her old friend. It had been a long time since she’d been this close to any other person and she couldn’t bring her fingers to unclasp themselves just yet.

It was strange; after such a while of worrying about herself and the oncoming troubles, she had neglected her mundane life more than ever before. There was no longer a type of dormancy about her powers in this life, the Oracle, the other Sudaje. And she couldn’t do this alone.

“So much has… changed. We need to talk, I- I need your help. I’m so sorry… It’s just…” Her words were coming out in a flurry and she closed her mouth, drawing out of the embrace sheepishly before she’d spill any more jabber.

Siobhan drew away from the embrace and her countenance held an odd mixture of elation and worry. Lifting a hand, she pushed Alys’ hair away from her eyes, tucking it behind her ear and though Alys was a few years older than she was, Siobhan took on an almost motherly role the moment that her old friend began to sniffle.

“Sorry? What are you sorry for? I have been so worried about you and Peyton…” Siobhan looped an arm around Alys’ waist and urged her to follow her into the temple proper. If they needed to talk then the cleric wasn’t about to do so out in the entrance of the temple where anyone could pass by.

And what do you need my help with? Where have you been? Have you been in the city this entire time?” Siobhan stopped herself midsentence and held up a hand as if forcing herself to pause. “Wait, all that can be answered in a bit. Are you hungry?” She tried not to be rude but Alys looked worse for wear.

The mere mention of Peyton threatened to push Alys over the edge.

“He’s dead. Years ago, he passed away… flu” She decided getting that piece of painful information out of the way as quickly as possible was for the best. Her head bobbed in a rather dismal way, accepting the offer of food. “I’ve been here all along, Siobhan, and I know where you’ve been too.” She smiled, her face brightening a small amount. “Seems like our adventures at the docks paid off some?”

The next part would be tricky.
“Before anything, I need to explain, please. You might want to sit down…”

All the joy seeped from Siobhan’s features as Alys shared the news of her brother. Peyton. Dead? Siobhan shook her head in disbelief then stepped forward to wrap Alys once more in a warm embrace. “I am so, so sorry to hear, Alys. He was such an adventurous soul. But you need to explain why you’ve revealed yourself after all this time and before that happens I am going to get us something to eat. One moment, I swear. I’ll just fetch us a tray.”

The priestess lifted a hand to Alys’ cheek and simply stared at her for another moment as if taking in the details in case this should be some sort of hallucination. “Actually, come with me! Then we can retire to my quarters and you can tell me whatever it is you wish.”

Siobhan led them easily through the back corridors of the temple, bringing them to the kitchen in just a few minutes and her eyes kept flickering back to Alys as she loaded a silver tray with assorted fruits, cheese, breads and a pitcher of lemonade with two glasses. When they reached Siobhan’s room, the cleric laid everything out upon the small table that she used to take her meals and she perched on the edge of a chair before gesturing to its twin so that Alys would take a seat as well.

“Now, there we go. What is it you need, Alys?”

Alys' own features mirrored Siobhan's for a while. The same sad, down-heartened expression. She padded after her old friend through the maze of stone, wood and fabric, all the while, her worry was creeping back. And then they were alone again, and now she had to explain. Gingerly, she lowered herself into the seat indicated, drawing in a long breath as she did so. Her eyes levelled on Siobhan again and she couldn't help but feel that warm familarity, such kindness. She wasn't sure if the Priestess would be so pleased to see her by the end of this conversation.

"Siobhan, I need to see the Prince, or King - as of later today."

Siobhan had just poured the first glass of lemonade whilst Alys spoke and her eyes widened at the request though she didn’t respond quite as quickly as her companion might have assumed. She took her time, pouring the second glass of lemonade as well and setting the pitcher back down upon the tray.

“What for, Alys?”

“It’s hard to explain” She shifted in her chair, fingers closing around the arms, sweaty palms pressing into the fabric. “You’ve heard the stories, myths, whatever you want to call them, of The Sudaje, I assume…”

Siobhan’s interest was obviously piqued but it was clearly evident that she had reservations about the new topic brought to light. “Yes. In my years of training we learned of many things related to religions, beliefs, myths and legends.”

“It’s not a myth.” Alys delved into her story, trying her best not to offend her friend’s religion. She kept it as short and concise as possible, and so her tale was lacking in places, but she hoped Siobhan would understand her hurried and somewhat jumbled talking. Her description of her ability, her dream-walking, she kept light then finished sheepishly: “I’ve seen your dreams too. I had to know you were OK.”

Though Siobhan listened intently to Alys’ story, she remained silent for a length of time after it ended. “I… Don’t know what to say, Alys.” She admitted freely, crossing her legs with her hands folded upon her lap whilst her eyes searched her friend’s face. “I have never placed much stock in the legend of the Sudaje. Eye witness accounts are found in older texts but the last one was from centuries ago…” She trailed off again, trying to keep her tone light so that Alys wouldn’t be disheartened by her reaction.

“And there are three of you total? Where are the other two? What can I do for you?”

She didn't believe her, did she? Alys' spirit fell, hands falling into her lap and head dipping some.

"Yes. I understand, it's hard to believe. But Calisma is in danger. We've been warned, now we must warn. I'm not too sure where the others are now, they were attempting the same as me, trying to get close to the prince. That is what I need, Siobhan. I need to warn him. I know you care, you educated me -" She let out a nervous, fluttering laugh when referring to her friends dreaming and rushed ahead "I understand that he is a good man. But it's so much bigger than that, it isn't just he who is in great peril. It's the whole realm. I must warn them. We must unite. Calisma must be prepared. As prepared as she can be."

Siobhan’s heart dropped the moment she saw Alys’ chin dip lower and she slid forward until she perched on the very edge of her chair so that she could lay a hand upon Alys’.

“I trust you.”

She smiled and squeezed her friend’s hand. “Today is the coronation. You are more than welcome to join me, if you wish… But I don’t know if there would be time to speak with him today because of everything that he must do.”

“What must we prepare for? Is there anything I can do…” She paused, retracted her statement and then lifted her hand to gesture to the temple around her. “Anything that we can do to aid whatever is forthcoming?”

The reassurance lifted a weight off Alys' shoulders and she entwined her scarred fingers through her friends. How could she have ever doubted her? There was her chance. Like Siobhan had said, there was no guarantee of success, but three voices were louder than one - and she hoped the others were on such a hopeful track as she was.

"I don't think there is" Her reply followed a genuine pause as the pondered and took in the prettiness around her, but her mind was elsewhere, wondering how disaster could be avoided, for what seemed like the hundredth time. And she came to no solution, as usual. Her knowledge was limited by the guidance she was being given from above. Alys' faith was strong, yet still, it seemed hopeless...

"Maybe there is nothing anyone can do... Maybe it's too late..."

- - -

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Siobhan Brennan Character Portrait: Alys
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#, as written by Lialore
The borrowed clothes did not fit well; they were too tight, the hems too short, the style not hers. But she was grateful regardless, for the garments and the priming. Alys had spent her day catching up with her oldest and dearest friend. Yet no matter how much they may have reminisced and laughed, the sense of foreboding of the upcoming event did not withdraw from the back of Alys’ mind. She kept it to herself, mostly, for she did not want to make Siobhan feel uneasy – especially after the news she had already received early that day. The news that sounded so ridiculously unbelievable that Alys was surprised the priestess had not sent her away, claiming she was insane, lost; to loss.

She did not do well in crowds. She never had. Alys had stood with Siobhan. It dawned on her that this would be the first time she would lay her own eyes on the Royals, though she had seen them frequently through the eyes of others during their dreams.

There was something just out of her sight, that she felt she needed to see yet could not pinpoint. A presence that she knew was near; she sensed it, on a level unbeknownst to those who surrounded her. Alys could guess what it was – who it was. It made sense, after all: the warning should be delivered to the King, and King he was to become today. She tilted her head up to the sky, to silence which was offering her no guidance when she most needed it.

Bringing herself back to reality, she resumed staring into the mass of people once again, her eyes seemingly glazed over, shining with an odd concern. Something was wrong.

"It's not just me here"

Siobhan stood to Alys' side, dressed in her clerics robes. Black as ebony with her Goddess' symbol sewn in silver thread upon her left breast and despite the formality of the event she had a belt looped about her waist with a single pouch dangling from it containing things she rarely left off of her person. The cleric was seemingly drawn into her own world as she studied the growing crowd. The comment from her friend drew her out of her reverie and she turned her head until she was looking in the Sudaje's direction. "What do you mean, Alys?" A frown etched her lips and she furrowed her brow.

"It's not just me." Her reply was muttered. Her attention elsewhere.



{ - - - - - * - - - - - * - - - - - * - - - - - }



Alys could recall it perfectly though a reasonable while had passed. Red on white. The death stained celebration - a bloody end was brought to the coronation. Yet, the message had been delivered. The Princess had known, and she could only think of one reason as to how. Luckily her reconnection with the Priestess had allowed her to pass this far. She lingered outside the library, hesitant. A nightmare worse than the thousands she had seen was about to become a reality. Her hand pressed against solid wood, and she pushed the door open, stepping into its weight. The air which rushed to meet her smelt of parchment and of pleasant dust. Now was not the time that councils, commanders nor kings were likely to listen to a stranger spouting tales of old. But they had all felt it - everyone there - that surge, the dancing of magic; terrible and tremendous. It could not be denied. She would not be denied.