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Talsin Inicka

"You can find beautiful music in any situation. You just have to know how to look for it."

0 · 569 views · located in Calisma

a character in “Calisma”, as played by Skwidge

Description

Talsin Inicka

Image


Nickname(s): Tal, Ini.
Gender: Male
Age: 20
Sexual Orientation: Straight
Height: 6' 1''.

Race: Human.
Class Bard.
Skills: He's a pretty good orator, and such is why he's been so successful as a bard. Tal is specialized in only one instrument: the harp. Because he's been playing since he was seven years old, his fingers are very nimble, and he's fairly good with tying knots.

Weakness(es): Despite his ability in speech, Tal sometimes doesn't watch his mouth, and can thus get himself into a lot of trouble. He's not very skilled in combat, but he does have a few weapons on him.

Equipment: Talsin carries a harp with him which is never separated from his person. The instrument is a deep maple wood and extremely ornate with golden carvings and strong strings. His sister hollowed out a small square in it to hide away an unusually sharp wire- much like a harp string- which he will properly use for strangling and cutting into the flesh of a victim. Of course, this hollow has a covering on it so the string itself doesn't fall out, and the wire also has small metallic ends to it so he doesn't cut his fingers. Other than that, he also carries a dagger in his left boot.

Personal Quote: "Even though the rain is pounding down now, the clear must always follow. Music eases our sorrow, and lifts our spirits to keep strong in these times of trial."

Personality: Overall, Tal is an extremely happy-go-lucky guy. He prefers to look at the bright side of any situation, and would prefer to take leaps and bounds instead of slow, measured work. He’s fairly calm in most situations, and prefers not to panic. He lives by his saying, and sticks to it almost religiously. He’s a sweet man, and really loves to mess around with anyone and everything just to get a good laugh out of it. He adores a good challenge, and will relentlessly pursue any answers.

Talsin loves to watch a good fight, but tries not to actually get involved. He also likes the grass under him rather than a cot, but he’d never complain if one were to offer him a bed. He believes you can find music in any situation, and always follows this train of thought. It’s one of the reasons he’s always so upbeat. He carries around parchment and lead with him to write down ideas for new songs, and also to lend to his sister for information and the likes.

His personality is quite the opposite of his sister’s, yet he adores her almost as much as his music. The two mesh quite well together, despite the odds, and Tal would do anything for her.

Description: Tal is usually clean shaven around his upper lip, but will sometimes forget and allow a small stubble to grow there. He has green eyes with amber flecks, and dark brown hair. He’s often times found in a hooded cloak, dark green tunic, and brown trousers, with his boots on and a wide grin slapped on his face. He hardly cares about the dirt, and thus it shows unless his sister pesters him enough to let her clean them out. His skin is a nice, light tan, though he could use a bit more sun.

Tal has a fairly quick metabolism, and because of that, he’s pretty skinny. (Both he and his sister are) And because he’s pretty tall, he’s also adopted that of a lanky build. He’s not all that agile, but he knows how to get around through past trial and errors, and his sister’s guidance. Again, he being a bard makes him weak in many other aspects, but because he has his sister’s close bond, they’re both something you should watch your backs for.

History: Tal and his sister were both born to a small town hidden away in the Katevon Valley under the waning moon to a father whose profession was a baker, and a mother who dabbled in artistry and was a barber. What the two hadn’t expected was to be gifted, or cursed, with twins. The family was just one level above scraping by, and the twins were bound to drag them down into poverty.

However, they decided to keep them anyway.

At the very first, life was fairly uneventful, but the children were always hungry, and it was also apparent just how different they were from each other- as was to be expected with twins. Tal, being the older of the two by being born first took on the thought process of being a protective-when-he-needs-to-be brother, and did his best to stay by his sister’s side whenever they were kicked out of the house to go scavenge for whatever they could find. They were both inseparable.

But his sister was a watchful thing, and didn’t grace the world with her speech often, so she was always gaining knowledge and noting thieves and how they always managed to slip coins out of purses. So she had begun to think that that was a good way to live, but she also remembered what happened when they were caught.

About the same time, perhaps a day earlier, as Tal’s sister began to dabble in the arts of being a rogue, he himself had found a beautiful harp on display at the local shop and was immediately enraptured by the instrument. However, there was only one problem: he had no money to spare. His sister had been with him at the time, and thought it to be a good first goal, even if it were a big project. So while Tal worked on a secretive, though honest, work schedule, she lingered around wherever he worked and slipped into the pockets of random passersby. If she was caught, they foolishly only thought she was being a small child and confused with where her parent’s pockets were- meaning holding onto them.

So she had been keeping tabs on their money, like any good six and a half year old would, and when she realized they had enough, she confronted him with the money. Tal was a little shocked at first at how she had gone about getting the money, but, not knowing any better and having really desired that harp, he gladly took the money and went to buy the harp.

He’s had that harp with him forever, and has been playing it even longer, and he had proudly produced the instrument for his parents to see. They had asked him where he had gotten it, subtly horrified, and he told them he had been working on it for a few months. The two were absolutely enraged by the prospect that their son had been working on such a foolish thing for so long instead of buying food for the family.

In a ridiculously spur-of-the-moment happenstance, they threw both of their children out to fend for themselves. Through the incident, Tal had gotten a bruised arm, and a black eye, while his sister came out unscathed. He didn’t mind though. He still had his harp and his sister, and he knew what to do with both.

So, in an unlikely tale, the two worked on the guilt strings of wagon-owners, inn keepers, and other citizens for food, lodging, and ride, and Tal would work on his playing skills in order to obtain money which they would set aside a small portion. They both knew they wouldn’t be young and adorable forever, and asking would turn up nothing.

Eventually, he became a good player, and was able to draw crowds to his music and singing. And while they listened, his sister would thread through the people, and cut purses. Tal honestly never minded his sister’s profession, so long as it meant they could both keep living.

However, as he grew older, and thus increased greatly in his skill, he began to go on short bursts of expeditions for new inspiration in his ballad writing and such. Unfortunately, that led both he and his sister to the place of a young and mesmerizingly beautiful woman on the words of stranger’s through a tavern’s gossip. Though, the woman spared no time in sealing both of them, constricting them to chairs tied in ropes.

They have both been asleep for quite some time, and what will happen when they awaken to find themselves surrounded by strangers and chaos?

So begins...

Talsin Inicka's Story

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Talsin Inicka Character Portrait: Iravey Inicka

0.00 INK

#, as written by Skwidge
Talsin Inicka


The soft melody of harp strings filled Tal's void mind, his body having been inactive for quite some time, it came as a subtle surprise to himself. As the song ended, his eyes fluttered open, and he sucked in a deep breath, his vision blurry. However, as soon as it cleared, the tight ropes constricting on his abdomen and legs suddenly became apparent, and he struggled experimentally against them; To no avail. He blinked a few times, his eyesight focused on his legs, as his head was drooped over. Flaring his nostrils a bit, he dazedly lifted his head up, leaning it back to get a slight stretch.

It was then all of his memories flooded back into his mind. He brought his cranium back to it's normal position, his eyes scanning quickly across the scene. There was a dull vibrating in the room he was being held in, and he notified it as two bodies locked in speech. He turned his head, only to see some unfamiliar man sitting on a throne, the woman who had trapped he and his sister there beside him. Wait, my sister? He tilted his head to the side, looking at the body next to himself, to find her still out of it. This caused a frown to settle across his lips, and he glowered silently.

That is, until a whole bunch of new people flooded into the area on the balconies above. He was about to open his mouth to express his confusion, when suddenly random projectiles were fired at him, or rather, the table before him. He let out a gasp, kicking at the ground underneath him and overturning his chair. He collided with the floor, a resounding thud filling the chamber. "Wh-what the!?" He croaked out, his voice new to being used again. He blinked, craning his neck to try to see what had become of his sister as the table had been flung over their bodies. She was apparently awake, and had managed to wriggle against the ropes and duck down. That little eel! He grinned mellowly at her, turning his head back to stare at the ceiling as the place broke out in chaos.

It was pointless to struggle against the ropes, as he couldn't reach the dagger in his boot anyway. Besides, he would really rather not freak her out, if that was even possible. He could hear yelling and shouting all around, and people seemed to be thudding against the flooring, indicating they were running about.


Iravey Inicka


A small bell was ringing rhythmically somewhere in the back of Vey's mind, the image of a pigeon's feather floating downwards against a clear blue sky, the sun casting golden rays against it occupied her mind's vision. Her eyes suddenly flashed open, and her right ear wiggled slightly. Suddenly, the table scraped against the flooring, and she pushed her arms together and slid downwards in her bindings to duck out of the way to prevent herself from being beheaded.

She blinked, every sense alert, her eyes slowly moving from left to right to take in the scene. The girl's lips were pressed together, and she remained docile. Ira didn't even bother to struggle, though she turned to stare into the eyes of her brother as he fell over with a thud. Always the sure-footed one, Talsin. She thought to herself without a word, watching as his lips turned up in a grin. She didn't smile back, but knew that he would remember she was smiling back on the inside.

She watched as people scurried around before turning her attention to the front of the hall, her eyes locking onto the man lounging on the throne. Who is that man? He looks so familiar, but I have no memories of him specifically. Her face revealed nothing in particular, and she sniffed the air quietly. Food was scattered everywhere, and shards of broken everything littered the ground. She tried to catch the eye of one of the strangers in the hall, but so far she had no luck.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Travian Zarel Character Portrait: Siobhan Brennan Character Portrait: Selene Moretti Character Portrait: Dekard Roland Character Portrait: Yaa Oba Contee Character Portrait: Talsin Inicka Character Portrait: Iravey Inicka

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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: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Siobhan Brennan Character Portrait: Selene Moretti Character Portrait: Talsin Inicka Character Portrait: Iravey Inicka

0.00 INK

#, 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: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Talsin Inicka Character Portrait: Iravey Inicka

0.00 INK

#, as written by Skwidge
Talsin Inicka


Talsin’s lips remained pursed together rather forcefully as he watched as everyone began to get agitated, making a very mob-like formation as a few of them slowly progressed towards the Prince, casting many curses and angry words to him.

It was probably only worse, seeing as the guy had a whole mess of blood dripping down the side of his skull to fall onto his shoulder and stain it. ’Someone should probably get that taken care of for hiiiimmm- wait a minute….’ The male twin’s eyes swept over the room, seeking out his birth mate, his suspicions only being confirmed as he saw the form of his sister just slightly, coming up behind the prince. “I-“ He began, about to call out her name rather loudly before he promptly shut his mouth, not wishing to get her throat mauled by the sword in the prince’s grasp. ’Or was in his grasp.’ Tal speculated silently, watching as the Yellow-robed monk did some fancy shmancy kick to the thing, sending it upwards.

Tal didn’t have much taste to watch the following scene, but forced himself to do so nonetheless, the reason being his sister was fairly close to the two main stars in this scene. It was then that things got really interesting.

First, he was fairly ticked that the woman had turned and threatened his sister, and that alone was almost enough to make him go up there and drop kick the lady; second, that lady was NO lady, as he soon discovered.

”ENOUGH.” That sole word echoed through the expanse of the chamber, effectively silencing most everyone. An eerie feeling quickly ran up his spine, and he scrambled backwards into the shadows, though staying fairly close to one of the torches. The woman grew fairly grotesque, taking on a new form of the netherworlds, and his face twisted into a comically revolted expression, his tongue sticking out and one eye squinted. ”Oh dear ‘gawds’, NO.” His hollowed words formed, still somehow managing to make light of the situation in his tone. Though he quickly began to trot towards Iravey to protect them both, but he didn’t want to attract attention to himself either.

"And the rest of you, since you have ruined my dinner plans, please entertain my new guests." That did not bode well either, and Tal didn’t even want to look at what screaming meanies she had summoned from the eternal plains of damnation.

Iravey Inicka


Ira froze as she heard the voice of the woman, and the faint eye catching glint of the metal from the sword she equipped in her hand. A small blink and her brows knitting slightly together in irritation was the only reaction from the female twin, or at least facially it was. In physical aspects, her fingers let go of some of the fabric, thus causing it to spread out towards the ground, and her opposite hand was already shifting over toward one of the small pockets to where she kept one of her smaller blades. She needed to remove it anyway, but no one else needed to know that.

She was about to slam the sole of her boot down onto the woman’s foot and swing her left arm against hers which wielded the blade and then push up with her elbow, thus in attempt to dislodge the weapon from her grasps, when something kept her frozen to the spot. It was a very strong personal hesitation obviously caused by some kind of force around her.

That some kind of force was soon explained as the woman quickly revealed her true form, which was not a very welcome sight in Ira’s eyes. The small blade was slipped into another pocket without any vocals from the girl, though the smallest features of distress were scribbled here and there on her face. As the woman spoke, Iravey went into action.

Since she was no longer ‘barred’ from the prince, she ended the distance between them, quickly grabbing him by his arm and tugging him backwards while he was still in shock, and not to mention weakened by his wound. Stumbling a bit, the twin attempted to drag him away from the woman and out of danger. He wouldn’t be able to really react properly, not to mention he’d be an ample target if one were to take into consideration demons and blood scent.

Glancing up for a moment, Iravey clenched her teeth, putting her arm around the man’s upper arm and over his chest to his shoulder, pushing him forward in a sort of weak vice grip, using her free hand to press the cloth of her vest tunic against his wound, the material seeming to almost greedily begin to soak up a bit of the blood. Once she got him to the wall close to a corner, she pressed down on his shoulder rather roughly in order to indicate her desire for him to sit quietly.

Meanwhile, her brother watched the exchange, smacking his forehead and letting out a small groan. His sister could be a real idiot sometimes…. Actually, not really ever, and that’s what surprised him. He froze in his shadowing of the two as he heard a very disturbing growl. That was when he turned his head to see some really scary stuff. He hightailed it after the two, finally letting his frustrations vent as he neared the two. ”Iravey, what are you thinking!? That’s the prince. Don’t you know what could happen!?”

Iravey’s head tilted upwards as she watched her brother, shifting uneasily as she watched everyone move into action against the monsters. She really didn’t think much of her actions through, but it was all in good intentions. But she didn’t need to bring trouble to both he and-

”Seriously, you might catch his crazy!” Tal shook his head, clicking his tongue against his front teeth, despite the insane situation. ”Seriously, be carefulll.” He whined, his eyes scanning over her searchingly. ”But in actual seriousness, throw me some wire already.” He hissed, almost upon the two.

The female twin shook her head, indicating she didn’t have them on her. Talsin made a very comical ’Ughh’, much like a child in a small fit, but only to lighten the situation. ”Check your boots.” He demanded, and she complied, quickly running her finger under her laces toward the sides, pulling out a few lengths of tripwire and twine. Once Tal got close enough, Ira tossed him the requested items.

He gave her an exasperated smile before commenting one last time before running off to set up the wires. It was to secure his sister’s position just in case the uglies came their way; at least they’d have a form of protection. ”Corner; and you really aren’t thinking today, are you?” Ira remained silent, rolling her eyes in her own exasperated way while sliding into the corner as her twin had requested, her hand still around Rydas’ arm.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Selene Moretti Character Portrait: Talsin Inicka

0.00 INK

Selene was momentarily surprised when the man she vaguely recognized as Prince Rydas began to berate the surrounding crowd with a vehemence that Selene wouldn’t have believed to be possible, given his appearance and previous behaviour in regards to the aforementioned group. While she was not privy to what had gone on before her slow transition to wakefulness, she realised then that some kind of bond must have been forged in order to produce such a reaction. Not that any of this helped her, but Selene had always been a great believer in what the powers of observation could achieve, and any kind of insight – however small – could make a huge difference.

Then, however, she was denounced, with the rest, as a rebel, words which she answered, privately, by rolling her eyes. “Predictable,” she muttered under her breath, eventually dragging her gaze from the couple to scan the room, searching somewhat desperately for the items that she’d started this fool venture with. She missed, in particular, the familiar weight of her staff – the polished wood never failed to bring a smile to her face even in the middle of a crisis.

Another voice sounded somewhere to her left, and Selene’s attention wavered from her immediate task as her lips kicked up into an immediate, genuine smile. “You are correct, sir. The floor is often over-looked, taken for granted, when really we should be giving it the respect it deserves.” Amusement was clear in her light tone, softening her somewhat clipped accent.

Selene’s gaze was dragged inevitably back to the other end of the throne room as another strident voice filled the momentary silence. Oh, give it a rest, please. Her thoughts were hardly complimentary towards the various speakers – she was feeling almost antsy, restless, and had to suppress the urge to start pacing around the room. It would hardly improve what was already a volatile situation.

Selene realised, suddenly, perhaps belatedly, that one of her feet was tapping rhythmically against the floor, the soft clipping sound utterly inaudible beneath the general hum of voices in the hall. Clenching her jaw, Selene struggled to get it under control. Okay. Okay. Breathe, damn it. You’re fine. We’ll get out of here soon. Breathe. In. Out. All that stuff. As her thoughts calmed, the tapping stopped.

Then the familiar crackle of magic cut through the air again, and several things appeared. Selene idly categorized them as demons even as she spotted a familiar length of wood propped up against a wall just to the right of her. Her grin of triumph morphed swiftly into surprise as she found a demon running towards her, and she instinctively took off towards her staff, with only a short cry of “gah!” punctuating her sudden movement.

Scooping up her weapon, Selene idly spun it in her grip, her finger settling into the grooves worn into the strong wood by long hours of training. Spinning it around and down, she drove the end up into what she had estimated was the chin of the thing in front of her, and was rewarded by a sort of choked gurgle. She followed it up immediately, raining blows on the thing until it collapsed gracelessly in front of her. Drawing herself up, she stepped gracefully over it to scoop up the rest of her effects, and only then realised that she was bleeding. She stared with some confusion at the gashes in her arm, until her mind supplied the information that the demon must have caught her one while she was belaboring it.

Ah well. You win some, you lose some. Then, of course, the pain kicked in, and Selene grabbed hold of the wall – as much as you could grab a wall – and closed her eyes, praying that she wouldn’t throw up.

Her foot was tapping again.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Feylon Haradas Character Portrait: Siobhan Brennan Character Portrait: Talsin Inicka 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

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Feylon Haradas Character Portrait: Geraint Magdohl Character Portrait: Talsin Inicka

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Geraint watched with faint pleasure as the Succubus was defeated, even if it was a defeat through her retreat. The speed with which the next set of events transpired though made him feel older than he ever had in his long life though. The young ones moving with such speed around him. Running about, shouting at each other, and suddenly there was a healing flash of light that lifted much of the exhaustion from the Old Beard's shoulders, all before he'd even made it to his feet. That was an amazing feat of magical might. The Shaman never ceased to be amazed by the power of the spirits others called Gods. He wasn't sure how they got to where they were, how they amassed such power. Only twice in his life had he encountered beings of similar magnitudes of power that weren't "gods", he'd have to look into that one day... These thoughts were interrupted when he heard the call for the gem from Rydus, but looking around could not find it.

Rising to his feet, his energy renewed, the Shaman found the image of throwing a small rock at Lakdov's head to shut him up for a bit idly bouncing through his head. But before he could even consider seriously doing so, not that he really would have, the ranger came and slammed his scarred fist into the Palli-Priest's face.... which in turn started it's own scuffle as the two began to brawl around on the floor... was that steel in Lakdov's hand?

One of the Table-Side-Prisoner's was set to dancing out of the way of that same scuffle, mumbling something about lack of group cohesion, basically the same argument everyone else had been making just from a different angle. But Geraint's eyes were caught by the glint of something in the Prince's hand at that moment. Perhaps someone had already grasped the gem for him? After everything that had happened Geraint would not stand failing in their mission, and he could only assume that Rydus had some sort of information on where to find the amulet from his time with Nilux. Perhaps his Fiendish abduction would prove worth something after all.

He couldn't fault Akdov for his rant, he wasn't exactly in the best of situations; that didn't mean Geraint agreed with him, but he could understand. Of course he couldn't blame everyone else either. There was truth in most every statement that was being cursed out. The biggest point was that now wasn't the time. They had a mission to complete, they... well they no longer had wounded to attend to thanks to the unconscious Priestess. The old Shaman would have to check on her soon, but for now he moved toward the prince, keeping an eye on the two brawling on the floor. Of the three of them, he was guessing he was the best able to handle a fight right now, they were all in similar physical states of refreshment, but he seemed to be the only one remaining with a clear head. So when he got within a few paces of Rydus, he turned and kept watch on the two. Ready to break in if it got out of hand. His spirits flowed around him, invisible to most, ready to freeze the two or help him pull them apart, stop a blade, whatever was necessary. He turned his head in the Prince's direction, though he imagined he was likely already in motion, it had taken the Old Man awhile to walk over there after all. "They may be at this awhile, we'd best finish with our business here Prince. You're father's health isn't improving any." He considered tossing in a belated comment about helping Lakdov with Xan's body... brave Xan. But the Cleri-Din seemed otherwise occupied.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Akdov Mur Character Portrait: Mirabella d'Adreci Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Feylon Haradas Character Portrait: Talsin Inicka

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#, as written by Deallo
It was the sight of the prince rushing into battle that surprised Nel most of all; the man who had first led them to this ambush was now fighting against it himself! Any demonic creature that got in his way met his sword but the monk couldn't concentrate on him, busy trying to attack the demon succubus until suddenly, a sword suddenly slashed through her wing. She turned to just meet the prince; finally joining them in battle and bleeding alongside them but also wearing down the Demoness at the same time. She could see it; it was only a matter of time until the monster would let in a single blow if she hadn't screeched and disappeared through a portal. The bloody monk tried to run in after her but the portal closed and it was too late; only running into empty air.

"That coward!" She thought with a penchant of revenge, turning back, and it suddenly dawned on her. It was over. It was all over. Nel slumped over on the table, breathing hard, black hair scattered about, dirty, reeking of rustic blood and ever so tired. For a moment her eyes met Mirabella's sad, glossy eyes as she called her a fool. Nel had no idea what a "fool" was but the way in which her friend had said it, it was that in a sadness the monk could only mistake for disappointment, and for just a brief moment, felt ashamed for no apparent reason. As Mirabella was about to pull up her arm, five tired yet innocent words left her mouth, addressed to the warrior herself: "What did I do wrong?" Just as she ended those words hand, a bright light suddenly erupted in the room, blinding her as she put an arm to shield herself.

With no time to think she could actually feel the wounds on her skin shift and move, the shattered bones of her hand move back into place, and with new vision came with her a healed body. It was almost too much to comprehend as she patted her previous gashes and slashes, reduced to mere cuts, and painlessly flexed her already healed hand. The breaking of the fist, her sixth to be precise, was healed in a mere matter of minutes then it would regular months. Nel turned her head left and right, severely confused to what had happened and who had caused it but now livelier then ever, almost rejuvenated. Her clothes were still riddled with her own and Vrock's blood, slashed by claws and sharpened wings, but nary a serious wound was on her.

It wasn't until Lakdov started lashing out at Mirabella did Nel suddenly saw Xan's cadaver on the floor and froze. Her breath gone as she horrifying visage of the thief's face, half ripped apart, embedded itself in the monk's memory. She kneeled down, inches from the body, and pressed two fingers up against his neck in the desperate, feeble attempt to feel the pump of blood. Nothing. Nothing but his skin, still warm, just escaping life minutes ago.

"What happened? Nel happened!"

The very man that saved her life from the grips of a ghoul now lay on the floor of demon corpses. Now more then ever, she wanted to cry, but it was impossible. The sadness that was supposed to arise from the death of a comrade was replaced with a dying feeling in the pit of her stomach and a single question.

Why am I here? She mentally searched for an answer, trying to find some semblance to her goal and why she was in this forsaken palace in the first place but instead, nothing.

"She threw caution and group effort out of the window and decided to prance on her own..."

The king...something to do with the king. It was such a blur in her mind; like a footnote to the chaos that had earlier ensued. A fleeting memory of childhood to the memory of adulthood. The needle in the haystack, call it what you will. Sickness...the king was sick?

"Should I commend her for such recklessness?"

And she had heard a conversation in the middle of her escape attempt between the Elder and another group; was drawn in, caught, and selected.

"Should I commend her for such recklessness?"

To decide either life or death.

"Do you find her actions acceptable even as she placed herself in danger and threw our organization in disarray?"

The ugly face of death showed his face to both Akdov and Xan; and it's such a terrifying a face he's forced to walk with the mask of a normal man. How could have anyone accepted death in it's most violent forms?

Nel bit down the sleeve of her yellow robes and slowly got up back to her feet, attention split between the half-bloodied prince and Lakdov, hate managing to win the betterment of her emotions with the belief that Rydas was only slightly injured, balling up her newly healed hand into a fist and ready to let Lakdov have it before Feylon beat her to "the punch". A little bit shocked, she watched as both of the men fought, fists flying, and frowned just as easily. Feylon's technique was as sloppy as the whore's he slept with and the paladin a wild animal lacking control. They didn't know how to fight. It was like watching two homeless men fight over a piece of bread; in her eyes a sad act considering they couldn't expect to compete with some of the extraordinary fighters she grew up with in the monastery.

Just as the young boy who carried Acacia finished his little speech, Nel came up behind both Feylon and Lakdov and subdued them, though the time was just incidental. Just as the paladin's arm was reared back for a punch, the monk grabbed him by the wrist, and redirected the direction up man's back while sporting a hefty tight grip of the long blond hair from the top of Feylon's skull, pulling his body back ever so slightly, making it impossible to move his own body but able flail his limbs to his heart's content.

"The only reason I interfered was to keep the prince from cutting Feylon in half." She growled, anger and fury mixed into her breath. "Perhaps if G hadn't struck him he wouldn't be enraged, perhaps if you hadn't started barking orders against his life he wouldn't be enraged, perhaps if we all hadn't have been standing around like sheep at one end of the room something might have changed." Nel leaned in towards the paladin and was nearly shouting in his ear at this point, wedging his arm a little bit higher on his back. "It's all meaningless! The if's and or's of the past are useless! It doesn't change the fact that the priest and Xan are dead and that their deaths weigh heavy on all of us!"

It was then that the prince had placed the emerald on the wall and exposed the room of treasures that simply demanded awe but it was center of the chamber of riches that caught Nel's attention. The amulet of Pancea that lay atop it's very own pedestal. The amulet. That was her purpose here. Nel looked at the prince, his breathing heavy, and his blood flowing from his clothing. The monk looked at the young man who seemed almost childish in nature, carrying Acacia in her back, managed to finally break a small smile.
"The boy is right. We work together now and keep each other alive; starting with Rydas. So end your petty squabbles or I'll end the both of you."

With one last tug of Akdov's arm upwards and a twisting pull of Feylon's hair, she bent her knees a bit more to stabilize herself and pushed them to the side, then running into the chamber to grab the amulet of Pancea, and force it upon the prince's neck. If either Feylon or Lakdov or anyone else dared to stop her; she had no qualms about face-punching. For the second time in her life, she'd seen death's ugly face mere inches from her own, touching bandits, demons and two of her comrades. She wasn't going to choose death for Rydas. He didn't deserve it's terrifying touch.

Now more then ever; she wanted to see life in action.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Cord Braxton Character Portrait: Talsin Inicka

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#, as written by Adantas
Plunging blackness that caused waves of dizzying nausea. There has no substance anywhere, an endless coursing of pain and confusion that Cord had never experienced before. Then in a sparking moment it was as if she were soaring above, she saw herself below but at the same time was completely conscious of herself lying there curled up in the fetal position. It was some unearthly nightmare and deep within herself she knew she was partly in the spiritual realm, brought on by the demons poison that was flowing through her. She had no control over anything, she was simply a helpless spectator to her own torture. Being so completely disjointed from herself it was as if her thoughts were finally her own and the timeless limbo that she had found herself in seemed to be the gateway to clarity. But with the clarity, knowledge that if she managed to return to reality, lucidity would not be hers. It struck something inside her, a deep grief that she would never be able to hold onto a firm understanding of anything. The grief and pain began to drown her. Her throat constricted and it felt as if her heart was seizing up. It seemed to magnify the utter deficiency that her life had been because she couldn't grip reality. The anguish she felt was a tidal wave of emotion burying her deeper and deeper within herself. Through hazy vision she watched as she began to slowly fall towards her limp body. She knew that should she connect with that feeble and defeated version of her consciousness, there would be no waking up.

This knowledge was just enough to cause a crack in the engulfing abuse of sehnsucht. It was as if she could see a small light streaming through the hole. Suddenly, any physically pain that she had felt before washed away, an abrupt relief wrapped around her pained limbs and aching organs. With this, the hole began to crumble and widen, letting in more light. The torment was weakening and she was slowly able to fight back. But it was hard going, having this sanity made it even harder to fight for reality. She would be giving up a lot, but if she didn't there was no chance of even surviving. She didn't know how, yet she forced her hand to reach for the light. It was like moving through syrup and having that prickling numbness all over each time she moved. There was no way of telling how close she was or how long she had been trying for, because in the next instant everything flashed white. Blinding yet she could see clearly. The pain was gone and any aching that she had for her sanity was ebbing away. In it's wake she could feel the cloudiness and strange confusion of her madness returning. She knew it wouldn't belong before she returned as before and would awaken. But before that moment, she saw two figures walking towards her, slowly losing their blurriness. Then, standing before her was Lady Silence and the man she had seen before. The same surge of power she had felt before in his presence was there but slightly dulled by the serenity that Lady Silence emitted. She knew she would only have a few moments with them and that brought a tear to her eye.

"I've missed you." She whispered, which was received by a sad smile from Lady Silence. The old woman took a step forward and placed her palm against Cord's cheek.
"I know child, but I've never been gone."
"Magdala, we have no time for this." The man's voice interrupted harshly. " She must know, future events depend on it."
Magdala turned to the man and said sharply."You have gone unfeeling for so long Seamus." A pause before she turned back to Cordelia. "I will do as I must. Sweet Cordelia, you must listen very carefully. I'm afraid I can't divulge in too many details but what you must know is that Royal blood will die but a king will live." A last deep look shared between them and then the two spirits were gone, ghostly words echoed in their absence. "Never let go of bravery and courage."


Cord woke up violently, she shot up, causing her head to rush. Blinking to take away the spots that were swimming in front of her vision she tried glancing around, trying to orient herself. She felt an emotion that she couldn't quite place nor understand why she was feeling it. Her memory of what happened only moments ago was all jumbled like pieces of a puzzle. None of it made sense but she knew that Lady Silence had spoken to her and that brought a bout of grief on. But something else pushed forward in her maze of a mind, something about blood, death, royalty and life. There was no way she could fully discern what it was but she knew it was important and she had to tell someone. Finally taking in her surroundings she realised that she was on some sort of balcony. How she got there she had no idea. There were people everywhere, but at the same time there was no one near her. She felt terribly alone and even the furious spirits had quietened down to a gentle chatter. But then rising from the quiet came the distinct sounds of yelling. Coming sharply into some sense, or as much that was normal to Cord, two men were arguing and nearby there were several unconscious bodies. Cord recognised one of them as Oats and a sudden sense to to go her aid struck her but another man quickly attended her. There was more arguing and talking which then broke out into a fight. Cord simply watched, dazed and confused.But she soon lost interest, her eyes drifting to another body. She felt a sort of tingling in the back of her head as she gazed at the man. Realisation struck her. It had been the cloaked one, but he was no longer cloaked in blackness. But that wasn't just it. There was something about what the spirits had told her. If only her mind wouldn't twist and distort like that of a disrupted pool! Feeling refreshed and rejuvenated she rose to her feet. Graceful as ever she took gliding steps towards the Prince. By this time, the fighting had been stopped and a woman had come to kneel beside the Prince. She had placed a strange amulet thats jewel shone iridescently. Oblivious to the others Cord stepped towards the two and gently knelt down.

"Of unshielded mystery and copious confusion, much blunder and triumph the knot has tied. Then, now and forthcoming all connected. Leaking blue, spilt now untold. Drawn askew but not erased. The pointed coronet which lays upon the dying will remain. But the ghastly grips of Thanatos has squeezed all of the last drop of blue. One will die for the other to live. Here or there we will see." All through her idiom her eyes never left the Princes pale and serene face. Her voice, no louder than normal, seemed to echo throughout the hall. As soon as the last resonance of sound left her mouth, she stood again. No longer interested in the prince as she knew that his life was now in the hands of something much more powerful than her, she fervently searched for Oats. Her ominousness gone, replaced with a wild eagerness. Finally spotting Oats she bounds towards them. She paid no heed to the grim atmosphere that had blanketed the room. Halting in front of the young man carrying Oats, her brow creased slightly.

"A bright glow and hearty proficiency, umbrageous no more but tucked unto languor." Cord sounded a tad impatient at the fact that Oats was sleeping soundly and wasn't awake since she had been healed. Like an impudent child, this upset Cord and wanting her way now, she swiftly removed something from her small pouch that hung to the side of her waist and thrust it under Oats' nose.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Travian Zarel Character Portrait: Cord Braxton Character Portrait: Talsin Inicka

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#, as written by slcam
When Travain bandaged Acacia, it vaguely registered in her mind; however, she still seemed to make no response. Still, she was stuck in memories of horrors that were triggered by the blood that was so prevalent in the room. She gave small trembles a couple times as he cared for her wounds, as if flinching because of pain, but in reality it was connected to the memories that were quickly turning to waking nightmares. Deep in her consciousness, she hated her utter uselessness, scolded herself for being frightened while others were still fighting, for causing Travain to worry.

Though she made no move even as Travain set the warded shield beside her, she immediately began feeling more peaceful, gradually coming back to the present as her sobbing ceased. Everything felt even more peaceful as the Vroks and succubus left, making the room lose most of the evil aura it possessed when they entered. Acacia's eyes shut for a moment, mind blank as she basked in the relative quiet that pervaded her mind. A few moments later, she felt herself being lifted, though her thoughts were somewhat confused. She thought she had fallen asleep doing chores in the barn again, and her father was lifting her onto his back to take her to bed. Something did not seem right about that thought, but she did not feel like questioning it and losing the pleasant memory to what was really happening around her.

There was a little stumbling and shouting, and Acacia assumed her siblings must be fighting about something again, perhaps getting in her father's path to her bedroom. Slowly, the scene in her head seemed less and less compatible with what she heard and felt around her. She debated whether to open her eyes and make sense of her surroundings. Suddenly, that choice was taken from her as some pungent smelling object was thrust under her nose. She took a small breath and a little cough, sitting up abruptly. She almost lost her balance and fell to the floor, but quickly leaned forward and clasped her arms tightly around the neck of the person carrying her. Once she was out of danger of falling, she loosed her grip so she wouldn't choke the person. 'The man,'she corrected herself as she became more aware. She looked to the side and saw the woman she had untied before holding some strange object. That was probably what woke me up, she thought with something close to amusement. She smiled at the woman briefly.

Her attention quickly turned to the person carrying her as she tried to figure out who he was. He had dark hair and was tall and rather lanky. He seemed too clean to be Xan or Callavan, and to lanky to be the Prince, though his hair was about the same color. Acacia could not see any of them carrying her unless she was badly injured anyway, and she felt relatively fine, if scratched up and bruised. She could think of no one else who matched the appearance of this stranger carrying her, so she decided that he must be one of the dinner guests of the succubus.

She tapped him on the shoulder, slight confusion mixed with a sort of polite confidence in her voice as she said, "Excuse me, would you mind letting me down? Thank you for your help, but I think I am fine now." Without waiting, she extricated herself from his grasp and landed somewhat shakily behind him. A light blush, hidden in the dimness of the room, colored her cheeks for a moment. To distract herself, she began trying to determine what was going on at the moment. Stepped up next to the man who had carried her, nervously looking around. It seemed that Feylon and Lance/Akdov had been fighting, but her gaze immediately went to the Prince. Several people were already around him, and she looked to the woman next to her with a question in her gaze. She wasn't sure what the woman would say, but she figured she might know what was going on.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Cordelia Braxton Character Portrait: Talsin Inicka Character Portrait: Iravey Inicka

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#, as written by Skwidge
Talsin Inicka


Tal shifted uneasily in his stance, feeling no sudden bombardment of bodies against his own, which was good, of course. He turned back around, only to be confronted by a very strange and boisterous woman stomping towards him. The male twin took a cautious step back, but it was to no avail. "A bright glow and hearty proficiency, umbrageous no more but tucked unto languor." Her babbled sentence immediately threw him into confusion, thus making her next action throw him off guard even more.

The woman suddenly grabbed something out of a pouch and brandished it towards him. ”Woah, woah, woah! Hey, personal space! W-what are you-“ The woman took no heed of his words, and thrust the object straight past him to the lady on his back.

He then gagged, his face scrunching up for effect as his eyes began to water slightly. ”It’s shin mah noshe, oh godsh, what ish that!? Aughhh, it burnshhh!” Tal doubled over, despite the woman on his back, trying to get the vile smell out of his system. However, without any warning, the woman’s weight shifted, and her grip tightened violently around his neck, causing him first to sneeze- successfully dispelling the object’s effects- but it then began to restrict his windpipes. ”Urk.” With a choke, his hands started to gingerly, though frantically, pull at the woman’s strangling grip in attempts to make her loosen up. However, he hardly had to, as she just as suddenly eased up on her own, readjusting her position.

The male twin felt the soft tap on his shoulder and he turned his head to look at her. "Excuse me, would you mind letting me down? Thank you for your help, but I think I am fine now.” He blinked, a second passing before he dropped his arms. She immediately slipped from his back and stepped away from him. He ran a hand through his hair for a moment before he realized what else was going around him.

His eyes focused on the Prince, who was just laying there silently, his breathing slowing down dramatically. Tal’s gaze was suddenly distracted by the chamber filled with treasures and his precious harp. His mind went two ways, one rooting him to where he was standing, the other desperately wanting to go to his item. The yellow monk entered the room and grabbed the amulet resting on the pedestal, rushing back to the Prince and draping it over his neck.

Iravey Inicka


Ira had returned to the place near the Prince after she had saved Tal from being mauled by two very large men, again. It had actually happened before in their lifetime. However, the Prince caught her eye once again. The bright flash of light that seemed to heal everyone didn’t affect him at all, and that troubled the female twin deeply.

Once again, she swept by his free side, as the yellow robed woman entered the chamber he had opened with his requested emerald, while another man stood by, speaking about his father. Ira placed a hand on his forehead for a moment, his blood quickly smearing across her palm. The monk reappeared, and she immediately dropped her hand. The yellow robed female dropped an amulet over his head, and Ira’s eyes fixed on his own. They obviously assumed the item would do something, though she had no idea just what.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Talsin Inicka Character Portrait: Iravey Inicka Character Portrait: Senalae Errion

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#, as written by Skwidge
Iravey and Talsin Inicka



Then….

Once Rydas began to mend, Tal entered the treasury room and retrieved his harp as those around him worked out their pay; Ira remained by the Prince’s side, watching him with that masked face of hers- though in her eyes worry and apprehension were apparent. Eventually they moved outside, and Ira shifted over to Tal, and he began speaking rather cheerfully about nature and how good it was to be awake and reunited with his harp.

Some departed, others stayed. It wasn’t very long before the twins were approached by one of the party members- the girl that Tal had carried a handful of minutes ago. Ira back stepped, her chin tilted down as she watched the ground while her brother conversed. ”I’m Acacia Winn. I suppose I should thank you for carrying me to the rest of the group earlier. I couldn’t help but notice your harp. Do you play?” Tal glanced up, his eyes focusing on the woman before him before he accepted her greeting, thrusting his hand into hers with a brilliant smile. “Uh, nice to meet you; I am indeed a bard, have been ever since I was a wee one.” He now grinned, his fingers fleetingly running over the strings in order to produce a gentle thrum. The female twin looked up from the ground as she heard the sound, a ghost of a smile teasing the corners of her lips as she listened to the dispersing notes. The harp was among one of the strongest links between them, and she appreciated it whenever he played, even if it was faint at some times.

Tal dropped his hand from his instrument and instead slung it back into its place upon his back, and he soon got an elbow softly in the ribs. He looked at Ira questioningly before smacking his forehead. “Oh right! Where are my manners; this is my twin Iravey, and I’m Tal. Tal Inicka.” His face crinkled slightly in his famous grin, and Ira met the woman’s gaze for a second in greeting, but Tal also added an afterthought, “That’s what everyone calls me by anyway, my full name is Talsin.”

However, the boy’s countenance fell at Acacia’s response to the information he provided her with. "Taliesin….” She mumbled before continuing muttering something else. “I need to go find...." It was obvious he had done something wrong by the way she suddenly abandoned him. Tal reached out an arm to stop her and question her, but Ira placed a gently hand on his elbow, and he dropped it. ”Was it something I said?” His sister simply shrugged, and Tal shook his head with a small glance behind him in the direction where the girl disappeared. ”But on a more pressing note, do you want to stay with this group?” His question had a lot of complications, but he expected the girl to answer rather quickly anyway. Two or three minutes passed before the female twin finally gave a nod, and then a firm shake of her head.

Despite the lack of any speech from his sister, Tal understood what she meant, and a wry smile found its way onto his face. ”So you want to stay with Rydas- to make sure he’s okay- but you’ve also come to the conclusion that it’ll be too much attention attracted to both you and I right now.” Ira rolled her eyes, and punched him in the arm. The male twin chuckled, though winced all the same. ”Alright then, sounds good to me.”


So the twins ended up travelling with the group for a few days- and just as both of them had concluded, the throngs of people were many to surround the Prince and his group on odd days. However, on one of the mornings- when the group was alone- Tal and Ira both approached the Prince. ”We’re going to split, we’re both really not used to so much attention, you see. But if you ever need us for something, send for Talsin and Iravey Inicka.” He flashed the man a sheepish grin, but Iravey wrote down both their names on a piece of parchment. She hadn’t spoken a squeak at all the entire time they traveled together. Even on their parting, once Tal had turned and exited, the only thing she did was take the Prince’s hand in her own and give it a firm squeeze before letting it slip out of her fingers. She left the piece of parchment behind through the hand grip, and she silently left the room.


Some time after then, the twins had eased back into their lifestyle, although every night Ira would sit near a window and simply gaze out. She allowed a troubled look to cross her features often when she did so, and Tal would watch her before shaking his head with a slight grin. However, one night he burst into their rented room while she sat, and brandished a piece of parchment in his hand, a huge grin on his face. ”Yo, Ira, guess what; I’ve noticed how much you’ve been worried about Rydas- well here.” He dropped the opened envelope at the table before her, and she took it, scanning over it quickly. ”Now we can go see him and the others- heck, maybe we’ll end up staying this time~” He crossed his arms and leaned against the wall, that teasing grin playing at his lips. Once again, he received a punch in his bicep, and he frowned, rubbing it and sticking his tongue out.

He looked down at the table only to find that the piece of parchment had been flipped over and turned towards him. The neat, flourishing pen of his sisters now faced him. ’You do realize we’re going to be in the court scene now, right?’ He rolled his eyes and shook his head with a grin. ”You do realize you can’t hide behind your precious paper forever, right?” A hiss escaped his lips as new pain blossomed in his bicep once more. ”And stop punching people,” He suddenly twisted his tone to match a more regal, British accent. ”It’s hardly lady like.” The male twin snickered, dancing away from the fist of his sister once more. ”Seriously though, you should try talking more often. The world longs to hear your beautiful voice; and I take it that it’s a ‘yes’ to the going of this ball, correct?” Ira let out a mute sigh, but then nodded.


Now….

Ira walked beside Tal as they neared the gates to the rather expansive castle, her head craning back a bit just to get a really good glimpse of it. Tal marched cheerfully along, whistling a pretty tune as he did so. However, once they actually got to the gate, he suddenly silenced himself, and they rounded the corner. Rydas was standing there, and Tal unabashedly grabbed his sister’s arm, dragging her up near the steps. ”Rydas!!” He called, waving frantically. He dropped his sister’s arm, still about seven feet from the Prince. His voice dropped into a coo of awe as his eyes suddenly beheld the scabbard at Rydas's hip. The male twin was instantly beside the prince, and he skillfully untied the object in one fell swoop. The boy stepped away, raising the object up to the sun and shifting it in his hands to marvel at it. The male twin turned it this way and that until something else suddenly caught his attention. He simply tossed the scabbard behind his back, striding over to the pretty lady a step behind him- one that Tal had previously completely ignored.

”Ooh, who’s this? Your promised, Rydas? Nice catch.” He muttered, nudging the prince with his elbow. The boy then let out a smooth laugh, shaking his head. ”But in all seriousness, you must be his sister; I’d know, what with me being a twin and all. I should be able to recognize one, right? What’s your name again? Sin… Seaweed… Sunway… something or other; anyway, it’s a pleasure to meet your acquaintance.” His facials gave away that he was teasing the woman without any shame, and he presented his hand to the lady.

Ira quickly took a step forward and caught the Prince’s scabbard, sending a rather annoyed look at Tal’s back. A soft sigh escaped her lips, and she flashed Rydas a sheepish smile, closing the distance between them and holding out her hand for him to take the object back from her. Tal’s voice flowed back into existence. ”Hmhm, Rydas talks about us? Oh Rydas, you chatterbox~” Tal put a hand up to his mouth and swatted his other hand downwards through the air softly, mimicking a woman’s giggle. Ira looked at Rydas, and closed her fingers tightly over the scabbard, raising a finger on her free hand before walking over to her twin. The girl swung the ornamental weapon down upon her brother’s shoulder before turning back around and resuming her former position while her twin let out a hiss of breath and rubbed at his stricken shoulder. She was smart enough not to do too much to the item, considering it was ornamental.

”Jeez, fine, fine. I’ll behave myself; for right this moment anyway.” That unabashed grin was consuming his countenance again, and he beamed brightly back at the siblings. Rydas should have been used to the man’s antics, or at least expecting them- and if he really did speak of the group, he’d possibly have mentioned it to his sister. Ira’s lips set in an annoyed line, but it quickly disappeared as her eyes scanned over the Prince’s features. She had heard the rumors of what the necklace had done, and had even seen a bit of it herself when she and her brother had been travelling with them. She had often heard the pained noises at night as well. Since then, those thoughts pestered her every night, and she was rather relieved to be near him again. It was ridiculous how large of a bond she had established- how much she bothered herself about him- and so quickly as well. It was obvious she was usually distant with almost everyone, considering her firmest- and rather only- social relation in her life was with her brother.

During the nights she constantly pondered over the abrupt new disposition- why she’d been so quick to care for this man. Was it because he was the Prince? Did he remind her of someone? Was it out of fear or was it out of respect? Or maybe it was something else entirely. Sometimes it kept her up at night, and sometimes she simply forgot what time it was. But now she was hoping that being closer to the Prince would work at the connection and begin to break it down so she could better understand just what it was that caused it.

But for now, she pushed all of those thoughts to the back of her mind. It was simply comforting to be in his presence again and good to see his face. She only gave a fleeting glance towards his sister before returning her attention to him, her fingers still loosely closed around the scabbard.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Cord Braxton Character Portrait: Talsin Inicka

0.00 INK

#, as written by slcam
...

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Cord Braxton Character Portrait: Talsin Inicka

0.00 INK

#, as written by slcam
At the Prince’s screams, all thoughts of waiting for the odd woman to explain what had occurred after the battle fled from Acacia’s mind. She rushed over, joining those gathered around the Prince. Her heart dropped when she noticed Rydas on the floor with unhealed wounds. Every sound was tortured, making Acacia want to scream with him. The blood both around and on him made her want to run, and the pain on his face made her heart hurt. She clapped her hands over her ears, but she could not rip her eyes from his contorted face. It was obvious he was feeling pain no one should experience. She noticed a jeweled necklace around his neck. It had to be the Panacea, but why was it hurting him instead of healing him? The whole scene seemed more and more like a nightmare. As suddenly as it had started, the screaming cut off, leaving behind hoarse gasps and groans.
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Within less than half an hour, the ragged group had exited the citadel. Akdov made his goodbyes, heading off to find Xan’s family. Acacia noticed one of the dinner guests with a harp, and, since they were not ready to leave yet, went over to talk for a bit. It would be good to get her mind off what had just happened. It was strange how differently the world seemed when they exited the fortress. She walked over to the man, holding out a hand in greeting. “I’m Acacia Winn. I suppose I should thank you for carrying me to the rest of the group earlier."There was a small pause before she continued, "I couldn’t help but notice your harp. Do you play?”


The man informed Acacia that he was a bard, and her face lit up. It would be great to have someone else to play and tell stories with. Perhaps even have little contest that would be sure to lift the spirits of the weary group around them. Her smile widened as he played a chord on the harp. However, his name gave her pause. Her smile faded as fast as it had come and her face paled considerably. “Taliesin,” she murmured.
She numbly let him shake her hand before abruptly turning away. "I need to go find...,” she mumbled over her shoulder half-heartedly, dropping the sentence before finishing it and refusing to look at him again. She walked away quickly, not pausing to look at or talk to anyone, pausing out of sight behind a tree. This really was too much. What were the chances that she would happen upon a bard, let alone one named Talsin. It was especially hard since she had been thinking of her Tal so often on this trip. She had hoped that she would be able to honor his memory, to get some closure, lose some of the guilt, but the sorrow had only become more painful.

While Acacia was lost in emotion, Cord on the other hand felt herself physically lost. It seemed that there was nothing else to do but for her to follow. Oats was awake and heading out with all the others, so she simply followed suit. She was rather pleased to find that outside there was a forest, something that she was familiar with and wasn't so confusing. Yet, something stopped her from just wandering straight off into the woods. She knew none of these people, their words meaning nothing to her and so she having no interest in them. She would have gladly disappeared, content to wander the forest with Lady Silence, losing herself to the thoughtless act of simply surviving. But she couldn't, she couldn't bring herself to walk away. It was Oats, the woman who saved her, the one whom she felt such a strong obligation to stay with. It was odd, after so long being by herself to actually know someone. It wouldn't be the same as with Lady Silence, the older woman always looking out for her, teaching her and helping her live life. No, it would be like a sisterhood. To Cord, this woman would be the one she would look out for, would enjoy the company of and simply be with her. Of course, it didn't occur to her that it probably wouldn't be the same but to Cord this was what friendship was. Oats simple act of kindness was all it took for Cord to wholeheartedly believe she was a good person.

At this point in time, since she couldn't find Oats she had decided to stay by the fire, lost in the sharp and twisting dance of the flames. It was captivating and magical. The simplest of thing such as a flame really was one of the most amazing things in this world to Cord. It was her innocence that made her see the world filled with a lot more wonders and mystery.

After a brief respite, Acacia walked back to the camp and began readying Maria, her horse, for travel. It was a relaxing, mind-numbing task and her thoughts were absorbed with things more simple than the torturing thoughts of Tal only moments before. Her gaze drifted to where a small fire crackled and she blinked in disbelief at what she saw. The woman from before was sticking her hand closer and closer to the flame. Acacia dropped what she was doing and rushed over to the woman who was staring at the flames like an addle-brained child. Seeing that the woman did, in fact, intend to stick her hand directly in the flame, Acacia grabbed her wrist in a gentle grip. "What are you doing? Are you trying to burn yourself?" The golden hair woman looked up to Acacia, with confusion plain on her features, but it eased slightly when she recognized the face. She rose, the flames already forgotten. "Oats! Benign and timeless, the echoes of far-fetched beliefs. Too, I fall brazened and glassy-eyed upon the weaving tendrils of burning light. Tingling sensations that raze and devour, utterly without knowledge of their destruction or giving."

Acacia gave a sigh as the woman began speaking in riddles again. It was not quite a sigh of exasperation, but of the necessity to puzzle out another unexpected riddle. She paused a moment, considering both the woman and her words before letting go of her wrist with a small smile."I understand," I guess, "The fire is entrancing. However, you are also right about its capability for destruction. By the way, my name is Acacia. You may continue to call me Oats if you wish. What may I call you?"
"Acacia?" The woman said tentatively, as if to test the sound. She seemed to consider for a moment before speaking. "Oats, the grain of sound, blissfully sweeping the heart to believe. Music. They call to you, notes of nature, life and love." Cord paused for a moment,"Of binding, lost to the world, listening to the cries of the unseen. Tied. To build inside, the thumping of life. Heart. Cor. Cordelia." She finished with a satisfied nod.

Acacia took another minute, trying to grasp the full meaning of what the woman, apparently named Cordelia, had said. After a moment, she gave up, unable to distinguish the different phrases into anything logical. Quickly giving up, Acacia realized it was time to leave. After extinguishing the fire, she made sure Cordelia was taken care of and could ride with someone. They set off with little trouble, and Acacia was glad for the time to process. She came to enjoy Cor's company. Her riddles were entertaining at the least. Overall, however, the ride was quiet and gloomy, the mood significantly dampened by Rydas's obvious pain. Acacia was relieved when they finally arrived at Paetax and received their pay. She decided to leave right away, for the thoughts of her Tal were far from extinguished during the journey, and she had decided to face his family with news of his death at last. She had tried before, coming even to the door with hand raised, only to flee again. It was time now, she had something to prove her apology was more than words; she could now help his family as well as bring them the hurt of another lost son. Somehow, the thought gave her a courage she had been missing before. It was far past time, in any case.

Nelinia gave her goodbye, and Acacia hugged the monk tightly before sending her on her way. She then gave her own goodbyes. "I will be leaving as well. I hope I will meet you all again in my travels." With a final nod and a smile to the remaining group, Acacia turned and began to walk away, only her lute, her few possessions, and the gold coming with her as she decided to leave the horse in the Prince's care. She was more comfortable on her own two feet in any case.

Cord glanced to the sky, the goodbyes totally irrelevant to her and so finding the swirling white fluffballs far more interesting chose to look up. Although, when she heard Oats' voice and realizing that she was speaking of leaving, had even begun to leave, her head snapped in her direction. She couldn't leave. She couldn't leave without Cord! It was like she was being abandoned and so having all her belongings on her, she sprinted after Acacia. Reaching her side, slightly out of breath from the effort and fright of being left behind. "Seconds, minutes and hours, chaotic and lost. The burning thrust inside, dwindling. Follow the song, find the path, the task of only. But alas! Chase the evanescence, there be naught a breath. Tread on familiar paths with another?"

Acacia was surprised by a pounding of feet on the path behind her. Was something wrong? She whirled on her pursuer, only to find Cor approaching, breathing heavily. "What is---" Her concern was cut off by the woman's panting phrases. With a sigh, this time of exasperation, she waited for the golden haired woman to spout her riddles, paying close attention so she could catch some meaning from Cor's words. It did not seem like anything was wrong, but the last sentence made Cor's intentions clear. There was nothing wrong; she merely wanted to join Acacia on her journey. Acacia released the breath she had been holding, and smiled. The smile quickly faded though. "Normally, I would say yes without hesitation, but... this is a... personal trip. I...." Acacia paused, uncharacteristically without words as she contemplated the absurdity of Cor coming with her on a trip like this. It just would not be feasible. Nevertheless, the desperate look on Cor's face made Acacia feel as though she had told Cor she was going to die. She exhaled wearily, hoping she would not regret this later. "Yes, I suppose we can 'tread on familiar paths with another'." Cor's whole face lit up and she spun around gleefully. Acacia could not help but smile at the child-like gesture. At least the trip would be more interesting.

They continued down the road, making good time. Acacia enjoyed conversing with Cor, but they spent just as much time in silence as in speaking. It was awkward at first, but quickly become companionable. Cordelia continued speaking her riddles, sometimes more complex and other times clear, but Acacia quite enjoyed deciphering and even began trying to formulate her own riddles until they seemed to be talking to each other in pure nonsense. Acacia found each riddle inspiring at best, and always entertaining. She eventually began calling Cord "My Muse" and thought it appropriate for the odd woman. The days went quickly, more quickly than even Acacia realized, and they soon arrived at the village. Acacia's mood immediately fell. All the joking and riddles were merely a distraction from her nervousness. The anxiety she had buried now hit her full force. She had visited Tal's family before, a family that seemed happy and caring despite many trials and grief. Tal's father had already died of sickness years before, leaving his mother, Baerina alone to raise their three children. Then Tal's older brother, Horulin, had died in an accident about five years earlier. All Baerina had left were her two children, and Acacia was about to take Tal away as well.

She entered the small yard of the small home, her steps growing smaller. She did not even realize that Cor was still walking with her. Before she even reached the door, Baerina opened it to see who was visiting on the pleasant day. Her face grew into a hearty smile when she saw Acacia, and the hefty woman gave a small laugh of pleasure as she wrapped the young bard in her arms. "So good to see you again!” she said enthusiastically, before looking around with confusion, her eyes resting on Cord. "And who is this you brought? Where is my Talie?" Without any hesitation, she warmly scooped Cord into her arms as well. "Nice to meet you, dear. Call me Baerina." She then hustled them all inside, informing them they were just in time for lunch. She had Yauta, her youngest daughter, who was only in her twelfth year, set the table and ladle out a hearty serving on each plate. It was apparent that Baerina was well used to having company and feeding others. Acacia ate enough to be polite and listened to Baerina's chatter and gossip with proper courtesy. All too soon, the meal was over, and Baerina asked once again,"So where is Tallie? What trouble did he get himself into now?" Baerina and Yauta looked to Acacia with interest, smiles on their faces that quickly disappeared when they saw her grim mood.

Acacia took a deep breath to steel herself, deciding just to get straight to the main point. It would be better to get that out of the way first and then tell what happened instead of leaving them in suspense of her news. "Tal... Tal is dead. He was murdered. It's my fault." Her calm voice began to crack. Suddenly, she broke down into sobs, unable to continue, and hid her eyes in her hands so she would not have to see their grief, their accusing stares. Instead, she felt herself gathered into strong arms, slight tremors going through Baerina as she held Acacia. After a moment, Baerina composed herself, releasing Acacia to set a warm hand on her tear stained cheek. Gathering herself, Baerina spoke in a calm voice, "Yauta, would you take..." she looked to Acacia for her friend's name. ”Cordelia," Acacia said without emotion. "Would you take Cordelia with you to the barn. You can show her the new chickens. I will call you in later and speak to you." Baerina's words held a certain authority that would allow no disobedience, and Yauta obeyed, herding Cord out to give the others some privacy. Cord followed the young girl silently, but she gave Acacia one last fleeting glance, a mixture of worry and confusion. Something that the bard would have noticed crossed her features often. But then she turned and bounded after Yauta, her child-like voice and actions matching perfectly with the small girl.

Under Baerina's caring gaze that held a deep, calm grief, Acacia simply told the events surrounding Tal's death. Many times, she had to stop and compose herself before continuing. Through it all, both women cried many silent tears, sharing in the deep pain of loss. The nearer to the end she came, the less Acacia could look at the woman. Her guilt was too great and she was ready at any moment for Baerina to toss her out the door and tell her never to come back. That never came. Instead, when Acacia finally finished, there was only silence for a moment. Acacia reluctantly looked up, seeing Baerina's concerned gaze. She was concerned for Acacia, and there was not even a hint of accusation in her eyes. Acacia hurriedly told Baerina of her recent adventure and the fortune that she had brought as a gift. Baerina tried to refuse, but Acacia was too stubborn in her convictions and talked her into keeping it. All of it. Though Acacia was planning to leave right away, Baerina convinced her to stay a bit longer. During that time, Acacia and Cord helped around the house, doing the daily chores and just being around. Of course, Cord was quite the mischievous one and would often get up to trouble with Yauta, and it was that little bit of youthful innocence that made the loss easier to bear. Cord greatly enjoyed spending time on the farm, she found all the animals intriguing and would sit and talk with them for hours when she was following either Acacia or Yauta. The young shaman, figured that this was how life was going to be from then on and was settling in well. However, a couple weeks later, they were found by a messenger, who brought news that they were both invited to Rydas's coronation in the coming week.

Cord didn't want to leave and kicked up quite a fuss about it, she would follow Acacia regardless but when young Yauta told her that they would be able to play when she came back, her mood brightened instantly. It seemed that Cord would have made a good sister, and if she remembered that she in fact did have siblings, she would have loved them dearly, making them laugh and just be children. And so their journey started again by venturing out on the road, leaving behind a smaller, but still joyful family. Acacia felt much more at peace, and was eternally grateful for the understanding and optimistic Baerina.

The trip, while slightly somber had a serene feel to it and Cord was surprisingly content just to travel peacefully, no longer feeling the need to go off on wild tangents and stop every five minutes to look at something. They soon arrived back at Paetax, among the last few to join the growing group. Acacia smiled warmly at Prince Rydas, and his sister, Senalae, First Princess of Calisma. As Cordelia came to stand next to Acacia it was then she recognized who was standing before her. It was in fact the dying man whom survived! She grinned widely at him, showing her pleasure at the fact that he was alive. But it quickly morphed into a frown as she noticed the woman beside him, she hadn't seen this woman before, but glancing to the side she saw Oats give a grand curtsy, spreading imaginary skirts with a proper, "Your Highnesses." Her tone was more friendly than proper, however, and when she stood again, there was a pleased smile on her face. Feeling obliged to follow suit Cord copied her meticulously, even using her actual skirt. Acacia looked around and greeted the rest of the groups, carefully avoiding the bard, Talsin and his sister, Iravey. Feeling slightly uncomfortable around so many people that she only met briefly and then didn't see for several weeks, Cord let her eyes wander.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Talsin Inicka Character Portrait: Iravey Inicka Character Portrait: Senalae Errion

0.00 INK

#, as written by Skwidge
Talsin and Iravey Inicka


Talsin beamed rather brightly at Rydas’ sister as her feelings were plainly shown on the outside. The male twin only shifted slightly as she motioned to the guards, and then clicked his tongue as Rydas criticized her action. ”That’s hardly a way to treat your guests.” He mused with a teasing tone, completely dropping his hand- the princess was obviously not going to shake it.

As the woman motioned for the guards to move forward, Iravey stiffened a bit, irritation and alertness both present in that one shift in posture. However, as Rydas held up his hand for peace, she allowed her muscles to relax. Her eyes were somewhat brighter than they were as she noted how Sena’s mask cracked so quickly, and also at her tone. Obviously Tal’s first impression on the woman caused distaste, and it showed so easily through her words. Ira’s face, as always when in the presence of strangers, was emotionless as the princess gazed at her and Tal alike. However, as soon as they both turned to greet another pair, she tilted her head down and a slightly dark smirk slipped across her lips. ’How entertaining….’ And the female twin’s face was empty once more.

The princess appeared to be rather pampered and otherwise unquestioned in her commands, so Tal’s behavior was understandably upsetting; however, Ira found it highly amusing that her form broke so easily. Furthermore, it’d be even sweeter to watch how Tal prodded and teased her in the days to come. She herself could only stand by and observe, as she’d like to keep her standings neutral with the woman.

Tal found his way back to his sister’s side, still smiling innocently at those around him. He had completely ignored the harsh reactions of Rydas’ sister, and would indeed continue to subtly harass her at every entertaining point possible.”Fun stuff, eh?” He spoke in a quieter tone, addressing his sister. She matched his grin and nodded before letting it drop off her countenance.

“Again, thank you all for coming. I am pleased to finally meet you all. `Das has only the highest of compliments for each of you. I look forward to getting to know each of you intimately. However, I realize how tired you must be from your travels. Please, allow our servants to show you to your rooms. Rest, bathe, relax. We shall reconvene in a few hours for a tour and supper. There will be men and women in waiting outside your rooms should you need anything. Please, come casually dressed.” The twins’ heads shifted up to look at the princess’s face. Tal’s own face had an amused look to it, and behind Ira’s was the feeling of distaste- she didn’t want to be alone with the woman, she was too pristine and self-confident, plus she didn’t really trust her. She knew how annoying siblings could be, since she had to deal with Tal on a daily basis, so looking on that aspect for Sena, Ira had a rather discontented feeling towards it. Plus she hated people prying at her and trying to get her to open up and talk.
As the group started to move into the palace, Ira and Tal followed leisurely, he somewhere up near the front and she lingering more towards the back. Tal’s face was openly awestruck by how ornate everything was and how many halls and corridors split off in every direction. Ira’s revealed nothing, though her eyes swept across every area. It was definitely a large place, and probably held many secrets. That made her grin internally, but her lips remained a soft line externally.

Finally two servants came to the twins to take them away and present them their rooms, as were different servants doing with the others, and the footsteps of the four echoed against the walls as they walked. The servants stopped at two different doors, the rooms side by side, and opened them without any trouble. ”This is your room, we here at Castle Paetax hope you have a comfortable stay. If there is anything I can get for you, please let me know.” Both recited the same lines to each of the twins, and Tal shook his head with a grin. Ira requested only for a small cup of tea. The servants bowed and then exited, both heading separate directions.

Tal’s room was mainly colored with rich greens, golds, and greys, while Ira’s had tans, whites, and creams. They were both highly furnished, and the beds were large and had canopies. Ira blinked, letting out a mute sigh before walking around the room and exploring the different attributes. Their bags were already placed in their rooms beforehand by some other unseen servant. Tal grinned ever so brightly, walking around his room cheerfully and touching everything. Once he was satisfied, he strode out the door and into Ira’s room. ”Ever so fancy I declare!” He was about to sit down in one of the chairs before he suddenly got smacked in the face with a towel. ”What-“ The male twin looked down at the towel, and then realized there was a bit of dirt and dust on it- obviously from their traveling here. ”Oh, right, right. Well, way to ruin my towel!!” He huffed, swiveling on his foot and marching out of the room, his head held high as he returned to his own quarters.

Ira remained in her room, her palm up to her chin and her fingers spread out- somewhat covering her mouth as a laughing smile wavered on her lips before disappearing. The servant returned with her cup of tea, and set it down on the vanity dresser against the wall. Ira merely nodded in thanks and the servant bowed before leaving once again, closing the door behind her. The female twin took the cup of tea and wandered over to the linked room. The water had already been drawn and it smelled like cloves and rosewater had been added into it. She merely blinked and began to undress, leaving her dusty clothes in a neat pile before leaning down and setting the small teacup beside the pool. She then submerged herself and rested her arms on the stone floor. The cup was right in front of her, and she silently watched the tea within, enjoying the warmth around her. Eventually she began to drink it before actually washing the strains of travel from her form.

Tal bathed only to get the dirt off, and was only in the water for a short amount of time. He was quickly out and already dressed in different attire before exiting his room to go wander the halls and see what was to be seen. He wandered down one of the many corridors, and suddenly caught sight of a figure. He quickened his pace just slightly so he could get closer to discern just who it was. It was the girl he had carried- Acacia. She was just walking towards the corner when he called out, ”Oh, hey, Acacia!” She turned to look back, and her form stiffened slightly before she darted around the corner. Tal blinked for two seconds before actually beginning to go after her. However, when he turned the corner himself, she was nowhere to be seen. A small frown etched its way onto his face, and he shook his head. ’Seriously, what did I do?!’

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Travian Zarel Character Portrait: Cord Braxton Character Portrait: Talsin Inicka

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#, as written by slcam
Acacia briefly inclined her head to the Princess and gave Cor a reassuring smile before following after one of the servants. The group quickly dissapated, each heading to their own rooms, and soon Acacia was alone with the servant. She told Acacia her name was Getra, and she would be assisting her. Getra was a young woman, younger than even Acacia, and was small in stature though she still walked at a brisk pace. A moment later, they arrived at a room and Getra opened the door while asking if Acacia needed anything. Acacia merely shook her head with a smile and strode into the room, admiring the decor as she set her pack down by the large bed. Giving a small sigh, she hurriedly unpacked, leaving only a few items in her bag and laying her spare clothes out on the bed. Taking the various items out of all the pockets in her current shirt and pants, she gently set her trinkets on the bed next to her spares.

Whirling around, she sauntered over to the adjoined bathroom and was happy to see the tub already filled with warm water. She rapidly undressed, bathed, stepped out to dry herself off, and dressed in her spare clothes, stuffing her various pockets again with the possessions she had laid out on the bed. With an eager stride, she walked to the door and flung it open, excited to start exploring. It was a grand castle, filled with many intricate decorations. She was intrigued by the myriad halls and corridors. Walking through one such corridor, she took a moment to observe a large tapestry which vividly protrayed a battle scene in crimson and violet tones. Just as she began to move on, she heard a familiar voice call her name.

Stiffening, she turned and saw Talsin striding toward her. She dashed around the corner and hurried along the short corridor, watching for Tal over her shoulder. She turned to the right and continued trotting down the hall, hoping he would not catch up. Her reaction almost surprised her. She could not have said why she felt she had to stay away from him, but here she was, fleeing.

THWACK!
Acacia was astonished when she collided with a solid surface of some kind. She turned and found herself face to face with Travain. "Oh, hello. I did not see you there. Sorry about that."
"Don't worry about it I wasn't looking where I was going either...."
Acacia gave a nervous glance behind, looking for any sign of Tal. "Why don't we take a walk," she said, facing him once more before taking his arm and nearly dragging him down the hall.
"Fine by me, I've been hoping for a chance to catch up with everyone."
She pulled him along at a brisk walk, wearing an oddly cheery look. "Yes, it is so good to have the 'group' together again. It felt far too strange traveling with just Cor and I after being in such a large group for so long. It was pleasant, of course, but it took some getting used to, for several reasons." As the got further away from the spot they had met, Acacia slowly became more relaxed.
"Do you mind if I ask what you were so eager to get away from back there?"
Her steps slowed for a moment as a slight blush colored her cheeks and she looked down at the floor. Just as suddenly, she sped up and looked at him with confidence. "Oh just something silly. It really was nothing worth consideration. What did you do when everyone took their month leave, Travain?" she said, changing the subject abruptly, hoping her question would call for a long enough explanation that he would not have a chance to wonder why she was being so vague.
It was easy enough to get the hint, he wasn't going to press her into anything she didn't want to talk about. "Oh...well you know I actually live here in Paetax. So it's pretty much just gone back to the way it was before. The only difference is helping Siobhan out now and then."
Acacia gave a genuine smile, the first since she had bumped into Travain. "Oh, Siobhan, the cleric who healed us all, correct? I must find her later. I owe her my thanks. I am glad she had some one to watch out for her here in Paetax, and I am sure you did an exellent job. Have you been to the palace before?"
Now he was the one blushing. "Uh... yeah. I've been to several events and celebrations here before, but I've never really been outside the main hall before. I'm actually kind of excited for the tour later."
"Oh, do all paladins come here frequently? Well not all, but maybe the ones who live near Paetax? "
"Oh well actually I was a knight before I was a paladin, actually it's still my "job". I have to report whenever they call me which is fairly often. My affiliation with the temple is more of a volunteer thing, but because I'm a knight I was able to become a paladin."
"Oh, really? But wait, can't only nobles become knights, at least officially?"
"Uhh yeah, well I technically am a noble but my family's pretty low on the scale," he said somewhat reluctantly.
"Hmm... Zarel. I would not know much about who is who when it comes to the nobles. We only rarely performed for noble families." Realizing too late she had said we instead of I, Acacia hurried on hoping he would not catch it. "So, your family must be proud of you for becoming a knight. That is a noble profession," she smiled at her pun, waiting to see if he would catch it.
"Acually....I haven't had any contact with them in a long time. I don't really know how they would react.......and I'm kind of worried about running into them at the coronation."
"How they would react to what? They are coming to the coronation too? I think it would be interesting to meet them. I am sure they will be proud of you, but why are you worried?" Unfortunately for Travain, he had sparked Acacia's curiocity and she was becoming increasingly determined to find out about his family.
"How they would react to me being a knight.....it wasn't something they approved of when I was a kid.......I sorta ran away from home so I could be one........and I haven't talked to them since. And they're definitely going to be at the coronation. All the nobles have to swear fealty to the new king."

There was a short silence as Acacia thought about her last visit to her family. She thought about how she would feel if she knew she was going to have to see her parents. To be forced to see them. Her emotions showed on her face as she contemplated what to say. "I... I understand. My parents do not approve of my being a bard either. My last conversation with them was not what you would call cordial. I haven't seen them for almost a year. I understand how difficult the situation is for you."
Her words came as a great relief. "I just hope I get the chance to find them and sort it out before the actual ceremony. As much as I'm not looking forward to it, I'd rather it be me that tells them. I'm afraid of us being announced or something at the ceremony, since we went on the quest with Rydas, and having them find out that way." he then switched to something he assumed would be more cheerful. "You said 'we' earlier. Does that mean you were part of a troupe?" He said with a tinge of excitement. In his mind he pictured a colorful group of bards, players and all sorts of other interesting acts all living and honing their craft together.

A small smile appeared on Acacia's face, but if Travain looked into her eyes, he would see a note of sadness there. She answered in a soft, oddly melodic tone, "No, nothing as fancy as a troupe. But I did travel with another bard at one time," she paused for a moment, wondering how to continue. She gave a sigh and looked around, noticing a small door. It was too thick to be just a room door, at least for a normal room. Acacia walked over, curious, but also wanting to avoid going deeper into the current subject. She was not ready for that yet, and did not know Travain well enough to tell him something so deeply personal. Her relationship with her parents was one thing, but Tal was another level entirely.

She grasped the handle and pulled, almost surprised when in swung open. Outside was a small, round balcony with a waist high railing encircling it. It was large enough to hold several tables and still have room to spare. She walked to the railing and looked out on a courtyard that had a few people strolling about amongst the various flowering plants that circled a shallow pond. A breeze blew softly around them, and Acacia breathed in the refreshingly cool air. "Beautiful, isn't it?"

It was quickly apparent that he had chosen the wrong subject. Almost as if trying to escape him she abrubtly walked off and opened a random door to find a large balcony overlooking a courtyard. They were silent for a moment as they each took in the new sights. When she spoke again all he could think to say was "Yeah." So far everything else he had tried to ask her about had been an unpleasant subject for her. "I'm suprised to see so many plants growing right now. I don't know much about such things though. They probably have enough plants for the different times of year that it always looks this lively."

"Oh, here you are. Dinner will be served in half an hour."Acacia turned and saw Getra, the servant girl who had lead her to her room earlier. "Oh, thank you. Would you lead me back to my room so I can freshen up?" Acacia said briefly before turning to Travain. "And thank you, good sir, for the conversation. It was... nice." She hurried after Getra through the winding halls again and was relieved when they arrived at the familiar hall. She hurried into the bathroom and looked at herself in the large, gilded mirror before splashing a little water on her face from a nearby basin. The water was cool and rejuvenating, and Acacia felt ready to go to dinner. She stepped outside her room again and nodded to Getra, saying, "Alright, on to dinner."

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Talsin Inicka Character Portrait: Iravey Inicka Character Portrait: Senalae Errion Character Portrait: Azevrec Character Portrait: Magna Romea

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#, as written by Skwidge
Talsin Inicka


Click click… click. Click click… click. The sound of Tal’s boot heel spread across the rather void halls as he walked, his back straight and one hand behind his back. ’Step step, hop. Step step, hop.’ He mused to himself as he acted out his odd little shuffle. A soft tune wavered behind Tal’s closed lips, pausing only when he breathed. His footfalls matched the song which he hummed, and every so often the notes would drop as he brought up his left hand, opening his mouth and then biting down on the soft flesh of some sort of fruit.

The male twin smiled cheerfully to no one save himself, and then licked at the corners of his lips where juice threatened to dribble down. His movements could be seen as clockwork- fairly precise and very continual. ’Step step, hop…. Step step, hop.’ Click click… click. Click click… click.

After having attempted to chase after that Acacia girl, Tal figured he had seen enough of the castle for one day. He had also decided it to be best not to get lost and then make a scene and cause trouble for the hidden workers of the castle. So he had wandered off and found some sort of sustenance. Click click… click-k. Tal’s ear twitched, and he abruptly stopped, retaining his content grin as his sister suddenly appeared at his side. He broke his stance to perform a small little wave to her before continuing to move.

He blinked, his gaze shifting down towards her outstretched hand. He rubbed his chin for a few seconds before shrugging. ”Don’t know,” He leaned against the wall with a mellow facial expression before taking another bite of his mystery fruit. Continuing on to elaborate more on his sister’s written question, Tal’s voice worked its way around the small pieces of fruit within his mouth, ”It appears to be a hybrid of peach and plum, but I don’t rightfully know what it’s called.” His walking- and humming- resumed and Ira followed behind. Click click… click. Click click… cli- ”Hey Ira, do you remember that little marionette doll. You know- the one from the small town… uh, Tempera I believe it was?” -ck. Click click… click. Ira’s eyes shifted over to her brother’s form, and took the extra step-breaking the merged sound of their footsteps- and her step settled seemingly perfect with his.

She neatly deposited a little puppet string into his free palm before falling back in step with him, although this time at his side. Tal smiled, tilting his head and peering down at the object. ”So you’ve still kept it, huh? That’s nice to know. Sometimes I wonder how deep those pockets of yours are… but then I remember I don’t ever want to find out. It would ruin the fun and excitement!” He let out a short laugh before humming once more.

He finished his fruit and then deposited the pit onto a small table nearby and then gazed up at the grand ceilings. He opened his lips and words came forth from his hummed song, “But alas, her string- began to fray; Alas, the little puppet girl knew not- for if that knot unraveled that day; The little puppet girl would never get to play… again.” The tune he carried on humming until they ran into a pair of servants who had been sent out to find and corral the adventurers to dine. They led the two to the dining room, and Tal entered cheerfully, his eyes scanning over many of the already-seated guests. However, there were some new faces as well- nobles, as he soon discovered from the idle chatter going about the table.

The male twin simply strode to an empty seat, his facials brightening as he realized it was next to the One-Who-Keeps-Avoiding-Me, and fell lightly into it. ”So, what do you think of the castle so far?” He blinked, his focus directed solely on her with a small smile. However, it faltered a bit when she failed to answer him. ”Acacia?” He waved three fingers in front of her face, trying to grasp her attention.

”Oh sorry, I wasn’t paying attention.” Tal let out a soft cough, squinting one eye before restating his question. After a few more moments she answered him, only to receive another subtle cough. ”Very… big and… nice words.” He mimicked good-naturedly, a cheerful smile on his face to show no hard feelings were meant in his jape. He opened his mouth to say something else, but was instead interrupted by a sharp jab in the ribs- the result of his sister sitting next to him, and the Prince began to speak. So they’d have to listen to some prayer or other. Tal’s lips pursed uneasily, but he remained polite and silent.

After the prayer was finished Tal’s eyes widened as the plethora of food entered the room. The smells were fantastic, and his stomach growled eagerly. He tucked into the food before him, but ate rather modestly for fear of being beaten by Ira afterwards and stuck to a new training schedule. He shuddered at the thought before quickly putting it away. He chewed thoughtfully and laughed often with the conversations floating around him, having almost completely forgotten about the encounter minutes ago with Acacia.

However, as the servants returned to dispose of their dishes, their attention was recalled by Rydas. A look of distaste wove itself onto Tal’s countenance, but he focused nonetheless. His eyes widened as he noted the random objects set before them- all linked by their magical properties. “These items will be sought out by friends and foe alike, and while Paetax’s own treasury is safe, I fear housing all this power in one place is asking for doom. Your task, should you accept it, is to safeguard an item and use it to protect this realm.” Blinking, the male twin leaned back further against his chair, pondering over each one in particular, his only thoughts being that of just what they did. And, since Rydas himself had one, what the consequences were.

Iravey Inicka


Ira stepped from her room, quietly shutting the door behind her- now that her things were unpacked, she wished them to remain anonymous from prying eyes. She would have to find herself a key later on, but for now, she set off on her task of finding the dining room. Unlike her brother, her steps were relatively silent- the result of something practiced for many years. Of course, she was a lot more casual about her mannerisms as she was a guest, and figured that there wouldn’t be many watchful eyes out. Being loud just wasn’t something she could make herself do anymore for fear that it would break her carefully constructed demeanor.

Her eyes quickly landed on that of her brother’s back, and she immediately advanced towards him with her steps shifting in sync with his. She was about a second off, and the ending of her footfall delayed after his, causing her twin to stop, waiting for her. Her eyes travelled up and down his form critically, and a piece of small parchment was in her hand while she scribbled something down as they resumed motion. What are you eating? She held it out for him to read, and he responded with a very vague answer.

”Hey Ira, do you remember that little marionette doll. You know- the one from the small town… uh, Tempera I believe it was?” With a blink, the female twin shifted around in her pockets before producing the small golden string, her leg stiffening to match down with her brother’s step and depositing the item in his hand before shifting back and walking next to him. ”So you’ve still kept it, huh? That’s nice to know. Sometimes I wonder how deep those pockets of yours are… but then I remember I don’t ever want to find out. It would ruin the fun and excitement!” She grinned slightly at him, her eyes shining with the emotion before it was wiped clean from her face. He continued his humming- the song he had created from the days they spent within that town and the small puppet.

Tal stuffed the string into one of his own pockets before continuing down the hall with Ira close at hand. They quickly ran into two servants who immediately led them to the dining hall- a small relief for Ira. As they entered, her eyes scanned over the faces within the room- quite a few had still to arrive, but there were new people as well. Her form stiffened for two seconds before she forced it to relax, but she was on the alert. Nobles- those who rarely should be trusted. She quickly turned and followed Tal to the table, taking the seat to his right as he conversed with the woman from before. Her gaze shifted around the room, taking in the faces and focusing on what was going on around her.

However, after a short prayer, the food was quick to arrive, and she settled back into her chair, waiting for her plate to be set. Once it was, she ate silently, listening in on the conversations going on about her. She constantly found her gaze shifted more towards the nobles, noting how they acted and how they spoke.

Once dinner was over and the servants appeared to take away their dishes, Rydas recalled their attention to himself as he spoke- changing the topic to something apparently more serious. Just what was quickly revealed as the Prince removed a cloth from a table. Twenty items of power- it boded many things, good and bad. Her thoughts immediately went to the nobles- in her opinion, it wasn’t very wise to have them there if they were rather influential. They were called the twenty items of power for a reason. Her eyes focused on the Prince’s face, rather docile towards what he wanted them to do.

Magna Romea


Her ears shot up as she heard the voices of some of the nobles of the house, and the softest of growls threatened past her vocals to lightly test the air. ’How offensive! They invite practically all the highest ranking nobles, and I didn’t see a single servant walking towards the direction of my room.’ Her whiskers twitched softly, another display of irritation. Oh well, it hardly mattered in any case- she was there after all. Her head twitched up as the man departed from the Princess to sit down.

Magna’s sleek form shifted from her seated position on the floor to the pillow which was placed specifically for her near the Princess’s side. It was rather soft and filled to just the right proportion to be comfortable and still allow her a good view. She settled into the center, her tail curling over her left haunch and stopping at her side. And then Sena announced they had to listen to some priest drone on in a prayer, and Magna’s ears flicked backwards fractionally to display her distaste.

Thankfully, it was a short one, so the food would be arriving shortly. She was rather hungry, and was definitely ready to eat. However, her head tilted up to peer at the priest who then addressed the Prince and Princess, asking for a donation. ’Tactless.’ She thought mildly towards the man, her tail tip twitching softly against the fabric of her pillow. Her eyes darted upwards, her gaze settled on Sena’s facials as her own anger showed up in some of the angles of her cheeks and countenance. A soft meow pressed past her lips and she reached out a paw to tap lightly on the hem of the Princess’s skirt before returning to her body. Rydas addressed the man, and Magna let out a short purr.

Her ear twitched as Sena clapped, indicating that food was soon to come, and Magna’s eyes brightened at the aspect of delicious food. Soon she felt the soft hand of Sena sliding across her head and back as she was stroked, and a light purr rumbled through her vocals. The feline daintily took the small pieces of meat from the Princess’s hand, being sure to refrain from actually touching her fingers. She chewed cheerfully, relishing the tastes that filled her heightened senses.

Her ears swiveled constantly, never ceasing to pick up pieces of all conversations. She was learning a lot about these people, even though they only shared a few tidbits of what they had been up to lately. Rydas soon stood once more, calling everyone’s attention. Her head swiftly edged up so her sight would rest on him, and he revealed that he had something important to explain at this gathering. Her ears flicked forward readily, eager to gain the information.

But she wasn’t expecting what he unveiled. A soft hiss escaped her vocals, and her ears fell flat against her skull. Her form tensed and many thoughts flew through her head. The nobles were here- it wasn’t even a question to think that they’d want those items. It wasn’t safe for them to be here, and she was quickly put off.

Rydas continued to speak, and her form reverted to its normal state, though still tense. So he was going to entrust his adventurers to these items. That was clever of him. Magna rose from her pillow and gingerly leaped up to the lap of the Princess and settled down, ready to depart if she showed any signs of not wanting her there. She wanted to see who would get what.

The setting changes from calisma to Paetax

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Acacia Winn Character Portrait: Cord Braxton Character Portrait: Talsin Inicka

0.00 INK

#, as written by slcam
The trip to the dinner hall was shorter than Acacia had thought it would be. She would need quite a bit more time to become used to the layout of the castle, of course, but she was unsure whether they would have the time until the coronation for themselves or if they would be helping somehow. She hoped they would have at least some time to explore for themselves as well as something to do. Acacia was never one for merely sitting still.

She thought back to her encounter with Travain and began to wonder if she had made a fool of herself. It was obvious she had made the conversation somewhat awkward, and she wondered if she should have said more and what she could have said differently. However, she did not regret the conversation itself. It was nice to feel that someone understood her situation with her parents. She wondered if Travain felt the same way. On the other hand, she wondered almost guiltily if she would have even begun talking to him if she had not been running from Tal.

When they arrived at the hall, Acacia gave Getra a small nod and went inside. She sat in the first chair she came to, happy to see several others already seated. After giving a small wave, she busied herself with observing the decorations and layout of the room. She soon noticed a few people she did not know, and assumed they were nobles and courtiers from the way they were dressed. She tried to figure out who they might be, but she had paid little attention before to who was who when it came to the nobles. Perhaps she would meet them later?

She rapidly became bored with speculating on the nobles identities and taking in the room, and began searching through her pockets for something interesting. She happened upon a small metal puzzle and pulled it out for a moment. She had not worked on this particular one before, so she began fidgeting with it under the table. She had just finished taking the pieces apart when she heard someone sit beside her. Acacia looked over with interest that quickly turned to surprise and dismay when she realized it was Tal.

Acacia hastily turned her head as she replaced the unfinished puzzle in a pocket and out of sight. She tried to look as though she had not noticed him. She knew that Tal probably saw her look but kept on with the charade, feeling foolish. She did not understand why he wanted to sit by her, and hoped he would not bring up what happened earlier. She fought down a blush, quickly becoming embarrassed.

She inwardly cringed when he spoke, asking what she thought of the castle. Acacia realized he had not specifically said her name, so he was not necessarily just talking to her, right? She wondered if he would end up leaving her alone if she did not respond. She could not really think of much to say in any case, and just being near him made her slightly uncomfortable, though she knew it was irrational. She almost flinched again when he said her name, leaving her without a good excuse.

“Oh, sorry, I wasn’t paying attention.” She hesitantly looked at his face with an overly cheerful smile. He repeated his question and she paused for a moment before answering, “Ah, well. Its fine, I guess. Very… big. Nice….” She gave a small nod and a smile; however, inwardly she berated herself. ‘Big? Nice? That is all you could come up with to answer him. What a great conversationalist. Probably feels like he is talking to a four year old.’

At his response, Acacia nearly laughed. She was glad he at least had a good sense of humor about the situation, but she did not know how much longer she could stand the awkward conversation. Luckily, she was saved from further embarrassment by the entrance of Rydas and Senalae.

Acacia was glad to hear the warmth in Sena’s voice. She obviously had experience entertaining guests. She raised her glass and took a deep sip before returning her interest to Rydas. She was intrigued by his instruction to stay after the meal, wondering what exactly he had in mind. He introduced Azevrec, and Acacia was caught off guard when he introduced him as the head of the church of Deud. This man, if she understood correctly, was Akdov’s successor. She listened with great bemusement, eager to learn what a prayer to Deud would sound like. When the man briefly addressed Rydas, Acacia gave into temptation and pulled out a small book and charcoal to write the prayer. It was somewhat poetic, but not as ostentatious as some could be, or, thankfully, as long.

Her stomach began to rumble as she thought about the plentiful, delicious food they would soon eat. However, she was surprised when Azevrec continued speaking. He really did remind her of Akdov in the way he spoke frankly without care for how it would affect others. Acacia was by no means surprised at the shock and anger on Sena’s face. It must have been quite insulting to her for him to beg for money at a celebratory dinner. Rydas skillfully smoothed the situation over and Acacia laughed along with him, glad to be joined by a few others.

Finally, it was time to eat. Acacia darted a glance at Tal, but he paid little attention to her. She was happily ate and joined in the general conversation. Though the mystery of the Rydas’s announcement hung at the back of her mind, it really was nice to be together again. After a time, the meal ended and Rydas spoke again, finally telling them what he had in store for them. They would be entrusted with the items of legend.

Acacia’s gaze wandered over the various guests at the table, some familiar and others not. She processed their reactions, trying to decipher what they were thinking though her own thoughts were buzzing. She pulled out her book again, writing a couple hasty sentences before putting it away.

Amid the buzzing, Cord came up to Acacia and kneeled beside her. Acacia gave her a genuine smile. She had wondered what trouble the golden-haired woman could have gotten into, but she was not concerned by her short absence. To Cord’s questioning statement, Acacia effortlessly replied, “A wonted echo for truth, my Muse. Nevermore removed from the heart. Settle contiguous, loquacious one. Among, so inside a manner affable. Only hear and know.” She motioned to a chair beside her with a grin. Speaking in this manner had become easy for her, and she greatly enjoyed it. However, she motioned to Rydas and the objects, hoping Cord would be able to understand what was happening.

The setting changes from paetax to Calisma

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Talsin Inicka Character Portrait: Iravey Inicka Character Portrait: Cadeyrn Gaile

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#, as written by Skwidge
Cadeyrn Gaile


Cadeyrn leaned back against the roughly textured bark of one of the trees in his forest, arms crossed and one hand holding a small slip of parchment. His bow was placed at his side resting against the tree as well, and Lock moved his foot to settle against the trunk. The wind whispered through the leaves above and across the grasses below, teasing at his hair and parting around the collar secured around his neck and mouth, it seemed to try to snake its way down the strong cloth to tickle at his neck, but the man shifted his neck to the side and allowed a hot breath to exhale through his mouth in an irritated manner, forcing the wind backwards. His eyes narrowed slightly as he looked down at the black ink staining the page, and he snorted through his nostrils.

’And just why did I get an invitation to this ball thing? When it comes to these events, I have nothing to offer. Obviously I’m not expected to be working at the thing, but come on, I could do so many more important things with my night than attend a silly social gathering. I hate being near people, is this some kind of elaborate ruse to shove me into a mass of people so someone can laugh at my squirming? There’s no way I’m goi-… What?’ The paper made a loud noise as it was mercilessly crushed under the unforgiving fingers of Lock. His eyebrow twitched with a quiet fury as another exhale was forced from his nostrils. ’Did someone know I would be interested in the adventurers? Impossible considering I reveal absolutely nothing.’ An irritated sigh left his parted lips as he pinched the bridge of his nose. It was no surprise, really. He had had the feeling this was going to be happening, and so he had done a slight bit of beforehand prepping, just in case something awful like this ever were to happen.

Grabbing the soft leather grip of his bow, Cadeyrn disappeared from the clearing he had been in, heading back to the castle with his boots pressing indents into the soft ground causing light crunches to snap into existence as twigs and dried leaves crumbled under the weight of his steps. ’Fine. Best go get ready, this is going to be a long night.’



While the warmth of the water surrounding him was, admittedly, a bit relaxing, nothing could keep the edge off from his form at the dreaded idea that he would be standing around people and actually dressing up. A deep settled frown scraped the tips of his lips downwards, and he clenched his jaw. The sooner this was over, the better.

He did nothing unusually special with himself, other than being forced into formal wear and wearing a mask. That was pretty much the only thing he liked about this entire situation- the fact he got to hide his face. The guise he adorned was the darkest of black with small, pale golden accents painted on, which was no surprise. It was crafted in the form of dragon, a half mask with little revealed. It matched his clothing well, but that point was simple enough, considering everything he was wearing was essentially black, with the same bit of dull gold woven around his neck in slim, progressive rungs that split rather quickly from their circular design into two simple lines that ran down the front of his attire to suddenly stop centimeters from the bottom and remerge to pool at his legs. He wore somewhat tall boots, which, surprise surprise, were also obsidian in color. Nothing was done to his hair, it was simply left in its natural state. He looked longingly towards his high collar coat, and was a little upset at having to go without it. That wasn’t the only thing he decided he’d have to leave behind, Cadeyrn left his eyes alone, abandoning the black markings he usually wore.

Adorning the mask and making sure it was secured, Lock left his small living arrangements and walked amid the large halls and confusing turns within Castle Paetax until he walked into the space before the large ballroom doors. He stood as a few moments ticked past in his mind, his eyes following many forms as they entered and their names were called out and their rankings. There was no way he was doing anything like that. Lock discovered that a few strange nobodies were standing a little ways off, he had never seen them, and they didn’t look the type he envisioned to be adventurers. ’Probably others to attempt a beg at the Royals’ company.’ His face remained set in that slightly annoyed look, and if he actually bothered with feelings or facial expressions, there might have been a slight possibility he would have maybe tried a smirk there. It was rather pointless for him to do so in any case, and thus Lock walked towards the servant who had been stationed there to announce the arrival of everyone invited.

That wouldn’t be happening in Cadeyrn’s case if he had anything to do about it. The man seemed to tense just a bit at the sight of the man before him, which was understandable what with who Lock was. Cadeyrn held a blank and bored expression as he looked at the servant and presented the invite to the man. His name was unknown to a large sum of people, with perhaps only those who hired him having an idea of what it was. “Lock.” That was all that was said to the little man before him who returned a funny look for a moment before scanning down the list. With a lazy tilt of his head, Cadeyrn’s eyes lightly bored into the man’s figure, seeming to almost dare the man to question him, but in all honesty, Lock couldn’t care less. He had braced himself beforehand as to having to be so close to so many people, so he wasn’t displaying any discomfort just yet.

With the name he had just provided, it wouldn’t seem very tactful, nor very formal without a last name, to announce it to the whole room, and Lock made sure that was clear to the little man with a small word in his direction. He entered without anyone really being the wiser unless they actually bothered to pick him out.

Cadeyrn made his way to one of the far walls that held the least amount of people, and leaned against it with his eyes trained on the stairs, actually eager to pick out the adventurers from the mass of nobodies that littered the floor.

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Iravey Inicka


Over the past week and a half, things had turned… strange. Ira just hadn’t been herself since she and Tal had departed from the questing group with Rydas. Most every night she’d find herself sitting on a windowsill in the inn they were staying at, gazing blankly across the land splayed out before her, while her real attention was focused on her thoughts. Something had changed since running into that group of anonymous persons who had come to be her acquaintances; a feeling she had never known troubled her and turned her insides. Fortunately, she had enough control over herself to not let it bother her during the day, but when the sun fell below the horizon, and things slowed down in time for sleep, she couldn’t fend it off any longer. It was deep set worry, and she couldn’t shake the foreboding that crept along the outskirts of the emotion. But… it was also something else, and she couldn’t put her finger on what exactly that something was.

The only thing she could compare it to would be towards having to constantly watch out for herself and her brother, and constantly deal with the idiotic things Tal would wreak upon them. Most unlike her previous self, she longed for more than just Tal’s company, and once Talsin had presented her with the invitation they had received from the Prince, she knew it would be good to see Rydas and the others again.

However, things didn’t go quite as planned, because once the twins arrived at Castle Paetax, Rydas, and anyone else for that matter, were nowhere to be seen, and it had remained that way for the past two days. Nothing had changed in her nighttime behavior, and she itched to just hunt the others down and gain information on her new surroundings, and thus put the unease to rest. The castle was a massive, confusing labyrinth, and she had little time yet to go exploring. Her brother and she had heard the rumors of what Panacea did, and had also seen a bit for herself when they had still been in Rydas’ band of adventurers, which was probably what was causing the worry. What she really wanted to do was figure out why she had such a strong and quickly obtained bond with the Prince, and perhaps by figuring that out, she could then move on to distance herself from others again. It was enough having to deal with Tal, and because of that she’s figured having other relations with people would be just as tiring and stressful.


A sneeze to her left dismantled all of Vey’s thoughts, and she tilted her head to the other side, her eyes now softly focused on the form of her twin, a ghostly smile appearing and disappearing on her lips. Tal simply blinked and looked at her, “It’s the stupid dust these nobles are kicking up with their fancy shmancy shoes.” He whined, rubbing under his nose. ”Riight.” She mouthed at him, rolling her eyes good-naturedly. The only thing that bothered her nose was the gentle aroma of the flowers around them. While some were pleasant, there was always that one scent that mingled into them and made the whole thing a pungent mess. The female twin ran her index finger along the smooth stone of the bench armrest, her eyes scanning across the vibrant greens. While the ground was a bit dry, the garden was very well kept, and there were few nobles around. However, she really didn’t think her brother was allergic to flowers, so she just shrugged.

“Well, now that I’ve got your attention, are you all prepared for the masquerade tonight?” A disgruntled look passed across her face at the mention of such a detestable event. While normally such a thing would pose as a great opportunity for easy coin, she considered Rydas a friend, and in any case, she’d never dare bother a royal event, let alone usually be near one. Besides, she and Tal were fairly well off in any case, and the thought was just a distant muse rather than a consideration. She was not looking forward to the attention that would be chucked at their heads from the unpleasant eyes of the nobles and others as their names would inevitably be announced. A slight pang of unease wracked her body for a moment, ’It’s probably going to be impossible to get anywhere near Rydas for quite some time. Still, I suppose it’s a good thing to start picking up info from the talk that will inevitably be floating around the room.’ Ira’s eyelids fluttered once before she gave a nod, finally answering Tal’s question.

“Well that’s good. I can honestly say I’m really excited to get back together with everyone, plus come on, you can’t help but admit this is going to be a fun night. Since Rydas’ sister is hosting it, he’s sure to be there, and then things are going to get really interesting from that point on.” A lazy grin plastered itself to his lips, but his eyes were wide and portrayed his excitement. He let his head fall back and he gazed up at the waning light. “Best get going then, huh?” A mischievous look claimed his facials as he looked at his sister, his finger suddenly closing in on her shoulder. “Raaace yuhhh~” With only a second spared, Tal suddenly sprang up and was dashing across the ground towards the castle.

Ira watched as her brother was suddenly in action, and she quickly scrambled to her feet after him, but he had, of course, had a head start. Vey raced after him, focusing intently on his form and putting on more speed. She was closing in on him, enjoying the feel of the wind whipping past her. What happened next was not what she was expecting, but it shouldn’t have been a surprise.

With no space to have a proper stop distance, and no time for any type of noise to pass her lips, she was suddenly on the ground rolling. ”What do you two brats think you’re doing!?” A shrill voice screeched as a lady in a very expensive looking puffy dress was storming over to the place where Ira had stopped herself in her forward momentum. The furious noble was waving her parasol in the air and stomping a few stray flowers down until she was a few feet behind Ira. Luckily for Iravey, she had stopped herself before she hit the wall of the small raised pond and as the noble grew closer, Ira’s foot suddenly shot out, and down went the poor girl. ’Oops.’ Ira smirked to herself for a second, watching as the girl’s foot caught in the stone wall and her knees stumbled to the rim, thus causing her to do sort of a flip into the water. Mud and dirt, and a few large rips in the noble’s dress were the result of this, but Ira was already up and gone, chasing after her wicked brother with a devious grin to her face.

Ira stopped a short way from the doorway leading into the castle with a look of exasperation to her face. Her brother was leaning against the wall with some kind of fruit in his hand, working away at some parts of it with his knife. A piece of paper was suddenly flourished in front of her brother’s face, and the response from her brother was a laugh. “That, was an honest clumsy moment, and… I don’t really know.” He peered at the fruit in his hand and scratched the side of his head with his free hand as the paper disappeared into his sister’s sleeve. Suddenly her hands were pressed against her brother’s side, shoving him over and onto the ground. The fruit launched itself from his hand, and Ira smirked as her brother whined. ’There, now we’re even.’ However, that smirk wouldn’t last for long as the twins simultaneously turned and discovered where the fruit had landed. “Oh crap,” Tal scrambled to his feet and grabbed his sister’s arm, dragging her inside and making a break for it.

Once they had escaped the pink fury, Tal let out a loud breathy laugh, “Well, that was eventful.” He patted his sister’s head playfully, which Ira responded to with a light punch aimed right at his arm. Tal let out a hiss before putting his hands up, “Alright, alright.” And with a shared grin they both went their separate ways to go prepare for the masquerade.



The dress she had chosen to wear was fairly simple, yet it suited her form very well. The fabric was a soft red brown with pale white dapples spread from the neck to the chest. The sleeves stopped just above her elbows with a golden Celtic knot design at the ends. Branch designs reached out from her sides to point towards her stomach, and at the very bottom of the dress, splatters of color that reminded her of autumn- reds, greens, and yellows- adorned the hem all the way around. The mask she had chosen covered half of her face and resembled a barn owl, the colors matching her dress.

Ira nervously fingered at the leather straps of her mask before a knock sounded at her door, which quickly made her secure it around her face. “Hey, Ira, let’s go already.” He sounded impatient, and Ira rose to comply to his demand. As she stepped outside of her room, her brother whistled playfully. “That’s certainly not my sister.” He grinned and offered her his arm, which she wrapped her own in, and off they went.

Once they arrived before the ballroom doors Tal was left to person watching as his mouth hung open a little bit and his thoughts wandered at the sight before them. Ira remained silent as always, glancing around and taking in the nobles who walked into the ballroom with a purpose, and the servant who called out their names. Peering into the grand room, it was obvious that someone had put in a lot of work to get it to look so brilliant. ’Senalae.’ While not having had the pleasure of meeting the Princess as of yet, it was obvious as to what her tastes were.

“Well, shall we get on then?” Tal’s voice spoke close to her ear, and Iravey shifted back in response. She wished to linger here rather than go into that mob of people, but she also really didn’t want to go in on her own later on. Letting out a mute breath, she untangled her arm from her brother’s, and waved him on. She could deal with going in on her own, it wasn’t that big of a problem, and she’d much rather wait to see who she could pick out.

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Talsin Inicka


Tal rubbed at his nose irritably as he explained his sneezing conundrum to his sister who had previously been staring off into nowhere. While she seemed to be confused towards her feelings, Tal had a pretty good idea what was going on with her, and he grinned cheekily down at her form as she distracted herself with the bench. At his question towards the ball, he laughed at her flustered facial features. Ah, he wished he could understand why she couldn’t be like him once and awhile and enjoy herself the way he did. He breathed in the fresh air deeply, despite having just sneezed, as he waited for his sister’s response, keeping his gaze in her direction, as she didn’t really speak. With the nod, he grinned once more, one side of his lips tilting up more than the other as he began plowing on with his opinion of how the night would be going.

Once he had concluded, a thought suddenly popped into his mind, and he jabbed his sister in the shoulder with a challenging whisper, “Raaace yuhhh~” He left a fraction of time for his sister to register what he had said before he was zooming away, racing down the neatly cut paths in the garden. He knew his sister was hot on his trail, and he took a second to look back to confirm his suspicions. However, in that amount of time, he had suddenly come upon a noble, a lady in a rather large pink dress holding a parasol in the same color. He let out a short yelp as he half ran into her half grabbed her, slowing down enough to push her back softly and say a quick apology before darting away again, the woman screaming infamies towards he and his sister. He had also apparently stolen her fruit in the mix up. However, he soon heard a startled shriek somewhere behind him from the lady, and despite having screwed up once by doing it, he turned around once more to see her flipping backwards into the water with her hands flailing about like an out of control windmill.

“Timbeeeerr.” He called back with his free hand cupped over the side of his mouth as he continued running. He came to a stop as he neared the wall, panting and a bit out of breath from all that action. He chuckled to himself as he leaned back against the wall, leaning down and pulling the knife from his boot and begin to cut away the part of the fruit the lady had already bitten into. His eyes lit up as he saw his sister jog over to him and suddenly flash a note in his face. That was such a cheap shot Tal!! And what exactly… are you eating? “That, was an honest clumsy moment, and… I don’t really know.” He smiled sheepishly as he scratched the side of his head after having wiped and slipped his knife back into its place within his boot. He suddenly found himself falling towards the ground, his arms flailing once and thus projecting the fleshy fruit into the air as his sister pushed him.

“Iraaaa!” He whined childishly, pouting just a bit as she smirked down at him. However, suddenly they both turned to see a sopping wet mess of a lady sloshing towards them. She looked absolutely ridiculous, mud was splattered across her dress, it was torn in several places, a small piece of fruit, the bite she had taken, seemed to be resting on her bosom, her hair looked like it was harboring the nest of an angry chipmunk, and she seemed to be leaving pools of water in her wake as it sloshed and dripped from her form. Apparently that dress was a wonderful container for water, but that wasn’t the best part. The fruit that had slipped from his hand was sailing across the air until it hit smack dab on the lady’s forehead and split, sending mushy chunks of whatever it was across her face and into her hair, while juice dribbled down her already wet face.

Talsin’s lips wobbled just a bit as he fought of a laugh, and instead let out an, “Oh crap!” And scrambled to his feet as the scariest roar he had ever heard, worse than a bear’s, worse than a demon’s, heck worse than a dragon’s split from her vocals, and Tal could have sworn he saw flames leaping from her lips. He suddenly pulled Ira along with him and ran for cover before the lady mauled him, quickly taking turns this way and that until he decided it was safe, and finally came to a halt. A hearty laugh escaped his lips, and he grinned broadly at his sister. “Did you see the size of that monster!?” With another howl of laughter, he finally settled himself down and patted his sister’s head, “That was eventful.” He was suddenly punched in the side of the arm, and let out a hiss of breath with a pout and a defeated raise of his arms.

“See ya when I see ya.” He called as they split up to go get ready. Tal took the long way to his room, intending to see if he could run into anyone unusual. And unusual he did find. As he rounded the next corner, he practically bumped into someone he had known. “Whoops, sor- hey, I know you.” He beamed cheerfully down at the smaller form of Acacia, taking a step back to get a better look at her. "Um, yes, you do. What a coincidence. Well, it is starting to get late, and I need to, uh, prepare for tonight. You know how it is.” Tal blinked, opening his mouth to reply to what she had stated, or even give a confused vocal, but she was already gone. ’Seriously, what did I do?’ He gave an exasperated sigh before turning away and continuing on up to his own room with no other run ins.



After the basic preening, Tal had chosen a suit vibrant in rich colors. Gold was the main hue, and diamonds of black and red met with each other at the collar, sleeves, and down the front of the suit. His pants were a simple white, with little to no design. His mask, of course, matched his attire very nicely, with notes splayed along the white parts. As he left his room and leaned against the wall near the door of his sister’s room, he waited patiently for her to finish. However, he eventually became bored, and that was never a good thing. So either he interrupted whatever she was doing, or go sneaking off to cause mayhem.

“Hey, Ira, let’s go already.” He called loudly, his knuckles rapping against the smooth wood of the door. Talsin then took a step back as his sister opened the door and emerged, and he couldn’t help himself but whistle. “That’s certainly not my sister.” He mused with a teasing smile. ’Can’t really blame me, it’s really nice to see her wear some actual color, and something that actually looks nice on her.’ With another grin he offered his arm to her. Once she accepted the offer, they began making their way down the hallways until reaching the room before the ballroom.

It was like nothing he had ever seen before. And that was just all the dressed up nobles. He had never seen so many massive outfits in one place, and the colors were extraordinary. Once he peered past the large open doors, a low whistle pressed through his lips. ’Well, someone knows how to throw a party. Unless there’s no music, because then this is going to be the worst events I’ve ever gone to in my entire life. And I’ve been to a lot of… events.’

He leaned over to his sister’s ear, “Well, shall we get on then?” A little half frown half pout pulled at Tal’s lips as his sister removed her arm from his and took a step back, shooing him on. “Whaaat, you’re leaving me all alone!? Ira, are you sure you want to do this?” As she shook her head in confirmation, Tal put his hands on his hips and shook his head with a disbelieving look to his facials, “Man, you really aren’t my sister.” A devious grin spread across his lips and he was suddenly over by the servant with the list, waving quickly at his sister in departure.

He told the man their names, and once Tal had pointed out his sister and explained the little situation, he entered through the doors with the servant calling out loudly behind him. ”Presenting Adventurer Talsin Inicka!” An excited grin was placed onto his face as he took the moment to stand at the top of the stairs and soak in the surroundings. ’Man, this is gonna be fun.’

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Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Nelinia Jaze Character Portrait: Siobhan Brennan Character Portrait: Talsin Inicka Character Portrait: Iravey Inicka Character Portrait: Tariel Vaynell 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: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Talsin Inicka Character Portrait: Iravey Inicka

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#, as written by Skwidge
Strange Night Encounter
Ira and Rydas


The next few days that followed the masquerade ball were rather hectic. Servants were flying about, getting things prepared under the strict eye of Sena. Having seen the Prince that night, Ira’s wanderlust had died down considerably, and fewer of her thoughts revolved around worry for Rydas. However, this particular night, the night before the coronation, an unseen force seemed to goad her along the corridors, eyes relaxed but also curious as she walked down unknown hallways, not entirely sure where she was going. As her feet tapped against the stone softly, it seemed as though she was the only living soul in the entire castle. It was quiet… other than the sound of her own footsteps.

It was also dark; the only thing lighting her path was the soft blue glow of moonlight filtering in through the windows. She should be asleep… readying her mind for the dawning of the coronation day. There would be many people, many restraints, lots of noise, and little room for viewing anything. Or so she supposed. But alas, instead she had decided to wander aimlessly and attempt to occupy her mind with less stressful thoughts.

Calmed by the soothing touch and reassuring words of Selune’s cleric, one single night of restful sleep had been awarded to the Prince. It was the first in weeks, but such peace was fleeting. As the coronation approached the gravity of the crown weighted heavy on his thoughts and the stress of assuming shoes far too large for his feet seemed to retrigger his ailments.

As the moon filtered through his large chambers, full and silver, the nightmares began to take hold again. His restless slumber was not unheard as he gasped or cried out, though no one came running. Rydas’ night terrors had become common place. His blankets were strewn away from his body as if he had fought some unseen beast, and a light sweat covered his forehead and bare chest. Years of rigorous training were apparent from his toned -even still with a month of rest- body. More apparent than pristine pectorals were the three distinct scars along his side where wing and claw had ripped him from flesh to bone.

As Iravey turned and wandered down a new hallway, she suddenly heard something that almost made her heart skip a beat. There was a short yell that did not manage to escape her hearing and it sounded too familiar, which was what worried her. The sound of her footfalls quickened as she began to dart down the hallway and the next to two large doors with guards stationed before them. For once she allowed pure worry to portray itself onto her face, and she paused for the guards to see. However, she did not wait for them, and immediately pushed the doors open. They didn’t really try to stop her, and she slipped into the room with a silent huff of breath.

Rydas appeared to be writhing about on his bed, and his blankets were completely disregarded as he continued to shift and gasp. Ira was suddenly at his side, her approach there silent and well composed. From the moonlight, she could see the gleam of sweat on his forehead and chest as her eyes swept across his form, freezing at the sight of the large gashes at his side. Cautiously, she extended her hands and allowed her fingers to brush fleetingly along the scar tissue. She immediately revoked her hand though, looking at Rydas’ face to see how he would react, yet at the same time sitting at the edge of his mattress and allowing a gentle touch to his forehead.

It was unquestionable that she shouldn’t be here at this hour, at this place, near this person. Especially not the night before the coronation, but it was that accursed feeling that managed to sneak past her sane judgment and goad her to his side.

Gentle fingers caressed his scar, though he didn't flinch or stir. The fact of the matter was that the tissue, widened in healing by such distress, possessed no nerves or feeling. The gashes were forever marked upon his body as a point of weakness, a badge of failure to his deeds. Again he sighed, nearing a whimper as he tossed in his bed.

Ira’s eyes were fixated upon the Prince’s troubled face and she blinked when he made no reaction to her touches. She brought one knee up to rest upon the bed beside the sweating form of Rydas. She should have brought a wet rag with her, but then again, how could she have possibly known of his condition? Her eyes scanned around the room, seeking out some sort of liquid she might use to aid in the writhing plight her Soon to be King faced. Failure was the only thing that she could find, and she looked towards the door, her form already receding from the bed.

The door softly cracked open as she stood there, looking at the guards who returned her gaze with wary expressions. She made a squeezing and wringing motion with her hands and then pointed to her forehead, attempting to indicate what she desired. The men simply stared at her for what seemed to be an eternity, but in truth probably was only a minute, before it finally clicked in their minds.

One separated from the other and disappeared down the dark corridor, and Ira remained at the doorway, leaning gently against it and looking down at her feet. Impatience threatened to flare within her, but she quickly smothered the flame and merely waited as she listened to the grunts and pants from the Prince.

Eventually, a guard returned with a bucket of water and a small cloth of undetermined color, and she quickly took it with a slight dip of her head to indicate gratitude before closing the door once more. A mute breath left her lips as she eased back by the side of the Prince, taking up her previous position on the soft mattress. She dipped the rag into the cool liquid and rung it slightly, the dripping water breaking the silence of the room with a cacophony of plunks. The rag made contact with Rydas’ forehead soon after with a gentle pressure, and she watched his face once more for a reaction.

A hand, with quick flexes and an iron clad grip, shot out to hold and still the hand that drug the cool cloth across his head. Restless lids flung up, eyes staring wide with striking green at the woman on his bedside; though pupils were undialated as if he were in a room flooded with light.

"They're coming." He said, a hoarse whisper shaking in fear and excitement.

The grasp relaxed, body suddenly less ridged as he blinked and seemed to wake. Eyes darted from her figure to the room trying to figure out where he was, and why he wasn't alone. It wasn't often he had visitors in his chamber, and the face of Iravey confused him for a moment.

"Iravey, what..." Though his voice trailed, unsure of what to ask and unsure if she could even speak. Again, this strange woman seemed to be near him in his moments of distress. There, in the soft moonlight, if he had believed in angels Rydas would have thought her akin to one.

At the unexpected movement from his hand, Ira jumped a bit with a look of surprise, shifting fractionally backwards away from his harsh stare with a small wince. However, her gaze had been seized by his and she couldn’t break from the contact. She tested the strength of his grip with a slight tug of her captured hand and quickly discovered there would be no release unless he decided so. His hands were a bit clammy as well. If he weren’t clutching onto her wrist and palm so hard she wouldn’t have minded it so much, but with what he said next a chill ran down her spine and she became very uneasy, a sense of foreboding suddenly keen in her mind.

Ira didn’t like the tone he had said that in; it didn’t seem entirely like him. But once those words had passed his lips, his agitation had disappeared and the dull ache in her hand was no longer there as his fingers and muscles released their tight grip. Hesitantly she pulled her hand back to her own person. Her guard was still up, but she watched him passively as his gaze left her to scan the room, but eventually it did return to her and he seemed confused.

When the sound of her name filled the room, her eyes darted to him once more with a keen attention. However only one other word followed it, and Rydas didn’t sound particularly pleased, or at least that was how she figured it since he never finished the question. Suddenly all of the unconsidered consequences of infiltrating the Prince’s chambers at night flooded her mind. A look of shock momentarily flickered across her facials before turning into one of smooth sheepishness. Ira placed her hands flatly in her lap, ignoring the dampness of the rag she still held, and tilted her head down a bit to stare at her fingers and avoid the Prince’s gaze. However, the shift of sight lasted only a second before her gaze rose to look at the window nearby.

Her lips parted softly as she sucked in a breath of air before letting it flutter out with the soft murmur of a single word, “Apologies….” Her voice was quiet and gentle, barely more than a whisper in the silent expanse of the room. Had there been any other noise within the chamber, her voice would have been missed, but there was no such luck for her. She shifted backwards a bit, placing one hand on the mattress to steady herself as she prepared to slip off and depart as quickly as she could and never repeat this foolish mistake again.

Rydas' hand moved, quick to press into her own, though this time far more gently. Calloused hands, from nearly obsessive hard work, urged her movement to stop. Eyes locked upon hers, widening slightly as she spoke. The sound was fleeting, silence once more all encompassing before he shifted to make room. Again his eyes began to grow heavy, lids threatening to shut despite how he fought the nagging exhaustion.

"Stay?" The question was a request, uncertain. Had he been anyone else it would have been a plead, but even in his vulnerable state Rydas couldn't let loose his pride enough to show his need.

Ira wasn’t entirely expecting to feel the touch of his skin against her own as he grabbed her hand gently. She had immediately frozen when he touched her, and she hesitantly settled back to her kneeling position. That hesitation was eased when he requested her to remain by his side, which she was content to do, and as he shifted over, she scooted forward just slightly. It was warm where his form had previously been, and a gentle look filled her facials, though hard to discern from her otherwise calm complexion.

She held the lukewarm rag for a moment before gently wiping at his forehead again to rid him of the dried sweat. She would have wiped down his chest, but felt that the Prince would rather rest than be kept agonizingly awake by the constant and fleeting touch of cloth. But then again… his nightmares also threatened him should he fall asleep once more. After a short mental debate, she hesitantly began to work on his chest and abdomen with soft, deliberate strokes. Ira soon shifted off of her knees, but kept her legs close to herself so as not to impose on the Prince's space, for the fact that staying by his side all night to watch over him should he have any more struggles in his sleep, would mean pins and needles had she rested on her legs.

For all he wished to fight the impending nightmares again, his body would have none of it. The wear of the evening and the stress of events to come brought sleep unbidden. Heavy lids drifted shut with the last mental image that of an angel watching over him. He had the strangest feeling of peace as he gently squeeze her hand in thanks before slumber took hold of him.

Ira remained by the Prince’s side for a few hours, but eventually conceded that it would be a wise idea to leave Rydas’ bedchamber. Not only did she need sleep, but it would be a difficult scenario should the morning come and others enter and question. And questions would most likely lead to rumors, and Ira stuck to the shadows and heard gossip rather than be the point of them. Long ago she had discarded the cloth, and now, as she carefully slid from his bed, she retrieved both bucket and material and slipped out the doors once more with silent footsteps. Heading back towards her own room, she eventually deposited the items on a nearby table before disappearing completely from the castle’s hallways.

~-~-~


Ira’s eyes flickered open as morning light peaked through the drawn curtains and slowly made its way through her room. She squinted and wrinkled her nose a bit, shaking her head into her pillow with reluctance to get up. It was warm and soft, and the world outside was so cold and harsh. But today was the Coronation, and she could not hide forever. Pushing back her sheets, she forced herself into a sitting position, rubbing one eye groggily. Being in the castle for so long was making her senses dull, and that wasn’t a good thing at all. She and Tal always needed to be alert and on their feet out in the real world, and it was dangerous not to be keen.

They would not be staying in the castle forever, she knew, and while she had been doing a bit of more lax training, she honestly needed to get back into her routine, and leave palace grounds to fix her slow fingers. ’Or perhaps that’s a bad idea.’ She mused silently to herself, it wouldn’t do to be a wanted person in the city of Paetax, so close to the Prince himself. The only way she’d be able to train her fingers would be on Tal, and it was of course difficult to catch him in the huge grounds of the castle. With a mute sigh she ran her hand through her hair before standing up and dressing.

As soon as she had finished, it seemed, Tal burst through her door with a very cheerful demeanor and a huge grin slapped on his face. “Good morning, little one!” He practically gushed all over her as he clasped his hands together in an excited gesture. “Today’s the day, the day, the daaay~” With a sing song voice, her twin jounced around the room before pulling her into a bear hug. Ira attempted at a stern face, but her brother’s antics easily broke the charade, and a genuine grin of her own filled her lips. Often times, she found, Tal’s energy was contagious, and it was always entertaining going along with him when they were in private. Besides, today was an important day.

However, he suddenly stopped and pushed her back just a bit, holding onto her arms and looking into her face with an inquisitive glance, “You look tired. What, did you stay up all night worrying or something? Or causing mischief and doom, maybes?” He teased her with no shame, though his tone held some concern to it. Ira blinked for a second before suddenly remembering the events of the prior night. Wariness tugged down on her mind, but with a shrug she figured she had at least helped Rydas a bit, and he probably wouldn’t remember what had happened anyway. Plus it was only a one night thing. Talsin pouted at her and crossed his arms, “Whaat, if you’re having trouble sleeping, you should just come sleep with me rather than get in trouble wandering the corridors at night. It’s not good for your health.” He flicked her forehead gently with his forefinger and clicked his tongue in mock disgust.

Ira grinned with a cheeky look, one which she only ever shared when alone with her twin, and Tal responded with a challenging stance, his fingers poised for poking and possibly tackling his sister. However, his gaze shifted towards the window, and he laughed, grabbing her arm and dragging her out the door. “Well, we should probably get going, eh?” With a content smile, she took a small hop in order to gain her balance and walk toe to toe with her brother, who soon rested his arm across her shoulders with a good-natured, lax grin, tapping his fingers on the very upper part of her arm to a tune in his head.

Setting

Characters Present

Character Portrait: Rydas Errion Character Portrait: Talsin Inicka Character Portrait: Iravey Inicka Character Portrait: Magna Romea Character Portrait: Cadeyrn Gaile

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#, as written by Skwidge
Magna Romea


As soon as Magna had returned to the castle, it had been an entire day of prepping for the huge event. Well, perhaps not all day, as she was entitled- even expected- to cause a bit of mischief here and there. And she certainly couldn’t leave her loving prey in despair over peace. It was mostly the usual startling, insulting behind polite words, and causing a bit of chaos in the kitchens, but there was one event that was particularly… interesting, to say the least. Suffice it to the imagination, cloth everywhere, hard to see, ladies screaming, and almost getting her tail chopped off by a slammed door.

’Ah, the daily life of Miss Romea.’ She mused, working on her red locks with a curler. She had been prepping for this event for the past week, though of course in only a personal way. Clothing, fashion, plans, possible mischief; but this was a really important and special day for Rydas, so other than her small uproars, she wouldn’t do anything drastic. In fact, she had truly wanted to be there for him today, even though they rarely spoke. He was practically like an annoying almost-brother, considering she had grown up alongside him. Their relations were nothing close, they really never were, and Sena and she had seemed to hit it off wrong quite early. The most ironic part, however, was that Sena technically loved and hated her, depending on her form. It was pretty much shared on Magna’s part too, while she hated her high and mighty ways, she really did have that affectionate loyalty to her, though Roma wouldn’t spill that even if someone tried to torture it out of her, or if her life depended on it.

Glancing up to peer at herself, she couldn’t help a pretty smirk from flitting onto her lips. At the cost of being vain, gods did she look fine. Curves accentuated at all the right places, striking eyes displayed further by just the right shades of dust, and that always present gleam of mischief to her features. She was a noble after all, and should anyone mock or shun her tendencies, they’d be getting a nasty shock soon after. She knew it really didn’t matter what she looked like, and when it came down to it, she honestly didn’t care. But she had an image to uphold, and besides, she wanted to look nice for today.

After finally perfecting her look, off she went down the corridors with fan waving before her face. Killing the last few minutes before she would find her place within the throne room with so many others.

~*~*~*~*~

Magna could feel the immediate change within the air as the entire scene flipped, could sense it before it happened. But she hadn’t thought to open her mouth. There really wasn’t enough time to, because soon everything was happening all at once. It was surreal really, the eerie silence that plagued the room as a sole voice spoke, commanding attention. It was coming from Sena, the woman she spent at least a third of her time with, and that certainly wasn’t who she knew.

Panic had struck her down to the bone, and like so many others, she could not move, couldn’t speak, couldn’t process quickly enough what was going on. And that was when the dagger was pulled upon the newly crowned King. Shock spread itself through her body, and soon blood rained upon the throne, splattering all that was near the source. But it was not of the crowned. Something sickening and horrid ran down Roma’s spine then, and that’s when the Princess was taken. She was grabbed and ripped away from her brother, from her realm, and from her life, and that was when Magna screamed out her name.
~*~*~


Roma sat silently within the library, her face emotionless save for the look of shock that still lingered within her eyes. The only real movement was the fan at her wrist, trying in vain to blow away the scenes she had just witnessed. It had been horrible, yes, unspeakable really. But where others found shock and utter terror, it was twice as strong for her. The blood… it just wouldn’t leave her senses. The scene just kept replaying and replaying in her mind, no matter how hard she tried to stop it. However, while she might have looked completely lost to the world, she was highly attuned to every word that was being passed within the royal library.

She had practically barged into the library once she had figured out what was going on, giving anyone who stood in her way a look that just quelled all opposition. If there was anything she could do to help, she would. Despite her utter dislike for the Princess, no one deserved a fate such as the one she had been forced into, besides, Sena wasn’t all that bad. The struggle within Magna was often neutral towards her human hate and her feline favoritism, but now it was clawing and scratching at her, and she was lost as to what she should be doing. Thus she had come to the conclusion to be present at the library.




Talsin & Iravey Inicka

The twins had actually found some really good spots for the coronation, right up in the front. Indeed good seats- for an unexpected horror show, that is. It all started off well enough, Rydas had seemed so confident and prepared when he spoke out the oath of the throne. Though the whole thing was much too serious and tense for Tal, he had of course gone without question and stayed through the whole thing, as was his duty as a friend and subordinate of the Prince. It really wasn’t like Tal to sit and focus on one thing for so long, especially with all the stuffy nobles around him and the stiffness in his spine. He wiggled and shuffled constantly, much to the subtle annoyance of his sister who had to constantly poke him in the side to get him to behave. Tal couldn’t help it, despite the seriousness and formality of the event, he was bored with having to stand about. He wanted to be up where the action was, or at least have things pick up so that the coronation would get more exciting.

Unfortunately, he got what he wished for.

At first, Tal had just thought that Sena was giving her kin well wishes, or giving him some encouragement. There was something off about the whole entire thing though, from the moment she started walking forward towards him. The little nagging sense was in the back of his head, and it seemed like déjà vu, so familiar yet he couldn’t place what it was. Besides, he should be focusing on Rydas and what Sena was saying to him. Tal’s previous thoughts, though, were not confirmed, and he instantly knew something was wrong when the color drained from the Prince- New King’s- face.

Ira had seen it too; she had been a little on edge the entire ceremony- probably because of all of the people, and the whole massiveness of the event itself, but her wariness had been justified when everything went wrong.

“Long live the King!” Everything happened instantaneously. Suddenly Sena had drawn a knife on the Prince, and immediately Ira had reached for the dagger she always kept in her boot. The murder was immensely clear on the Princess’ face, and foreseeing what she intended to do, a ruthless fury had suddenly flourished within Ira, one she could not place, but such trivial confusions were missed- the only thought in her mind that she could grasp and understand was simple. Kill before -Rydas- was killed.

But her dagger was not there; she had foolishly left it with the guards before she had entered. She had even hesitated when they asked for all weapons- she didn’t have to reveal that one, she could have kept several and they wouldn’t have been any the wiser. But she had been a complete fool and had decided to show good faith and leave them behind. She never did that, why did it have to be different the one time she needed it to be the same? Even if she had possession of her blade, she wouldn’t have been able to do much, because one, Tal had quickly covered her body with his own to ensure her safety, and two, because another had acted before her- one of the Guild, who abandoned his own life to save that of his new king. The twins had been close enough to her the sickening gurgle of blood within the man’s throat, had almost been close enough to be splotched with it.

But as the air changed, a shiver wracked both of their bodies simultaneously, and a foreboding chill prickled at the back of their necks- the familiar feeling of devil’s magic spread like tendrils throughout the room, and they had both immediately known what that feeling had meant. They had felt it before in the Citadel, and that spoke only one thing- Niluxeriel. Suddenly Sena was gone, pulled through a rip that connected to a world that held only the worst of hells, and Rydas was left bloodstained and shocked.

~*~*~

It had not taken long for a meeting of sorts to be called, and Ira and Tal had been among the first to arrive at the library. Both were rattled, but only Talsin really showed it. They had both found seats to occupy, Tal having grabbed the closest two and dragged them to the point the armrests were touching. Ira had taken her place silently, and Tal had kept his form protectively close to that of his sister’s. They waited, using the other’s presence for balance, for the announcement from Rydas concerning the events that had just taken place.




Cadeyrn Gaile


After the rather strange morning with Tariel, they had finally parted to prepare for the coronation. It irked Cadeyrn in a subtle way as to how Tariel behaved, and Lock didn’t trust him. While being the strangest noble he’d ever met, he was also the most wearisome and complicated at that. His mind was always trying to figure out the man, and eventually he simply came to the conclusion to try not to bother with it anymore, whatever that entailed.

Other than cleaning himself up, Lock did nothing to his appearance before the Coronation. He wasn’t expected to, and he wouldn’t have anyway. He had other things to do afterwards, and it would only be a pain to add extra mechanics to his routine. So by the time the event was taking place, he had quietly snuck in and taken a spot against the wall, watching without any emotion. He truly had no reason to be here other than show his allegiance to the Prince, so thus the occurrence was taken in such light. He hated these things, hated them. It was all just fancy wording, false politeness, condescending stares, all challenging the world and proclaiming victory when the battle had not even been fought. Nobles had no idea of what the real world held.

Cadeyrn crossed his arms and leaned further up against the wall, his chin tiled down and his eyes focused at his feet more often than not. However, when the time came for a challenge to the Prince’s right, Lock’s gaze shifted upwards to find Sena moving forward to Rydas. A harsh breath of air forced itself past his nostrils, and his eyes narrowed. It was a terrible time to be talking with her kin, especially when rights were questioned. Naturally a red flag popped up in his mind, and he stood up from his lax position, more focused on the scene in front of him. Suddenly a voice called out within the room, and the Princess lunged at her brother with a dagger that seemed to arrive from thin air.

Immediately Lock had grabbed for his bow- which he had sternly made clear he would not part with when the guards questioned- but he had left his arrows. A candlestick would have sufficed enough, had there been any nearby. And the thrice ‘demned guards stood idly by and did nothing as their new King’s life was practically taken from right from under their noses. However, by some power or fortune, another’s was taken in place of Rydas’, and blood splattered all over the floor. Suddenly the knife was clanging on the marble floor, and Sena looked absolutely shocked with herself. And then something practically knocked the breath from Lock’s form, and then the princess was tugged out of existence. After that, Lock had gained his senses back, and he immediately strode up towards the Prince with no care for any thoughts from others. There was no way in hell that he was letting any of the so called ‘guards’ handle anything from there, and Lock made that increasingly clear as he remained by his employer’s side, giving anyone who challenged him a death-sentencing glare.

~*~*~


As Rydas entered the library, Cadeyrn was close behind him, straying only so far as to slam his fist sideways into the clock that ticked innocently against one of the walls. Glass shattered loudly and the fragile mechanism within was cracked from the force of impact. Lock simply shook his sleeve once in order to dispose of the clinging fragments. Returning to the Prince’s side, he leaned back against one of the windows, crossing his arms and looking around the room with those eerily emotionless eyes of his. But his body language spoke doom to any who dared to try again at Rydas.

Lock had thought it a terrible idea to invite so many strangers into one room right after the newly crowned King’s life had been threatened. Did the man have a death wish or something? None of the people that gathered within the room struck him as particularly important, and a silent growl rumbled at the back of his vocals. He had almost immediately grabbed his weapons as they had left the throne room, and Lock was very obviously armed. A mistake like the one that had just happened would not be occurring again within the same day, or at least not if Cadeyrn had anything to say about it.

His natural instinct was, of course, to leave this entire mess behind him and slink back into the forest; there were many people gathering, and the flow did not seem to be dwindling any time soon. Despite his utter hatred for sticking around crowds, he would not leave the life of Rydas in the hands of imbeciles. The man deserved as much.