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Pluna Alto

This tall, steadfast woman moves like a cat and smiles like one, too.

0 · 284 views · located in Radess

a character in “The Nature of Scars”, as played by Marionette

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Description

Physical Description:

Pluna is a human with rounded cheekbones, a softly angled chin, and deep-set eyes the color of leaves beginning to brown. Left loose, her straight, black hair falls just past her shoulders. Often, she clasps it into a low ponytail. Her toned torso gives way to wide hips and long legs which lend her the impressive height of 5'9". She prefers to dress in thin, dark silk and favors blue, green, and black. She is rarely seen without some modest gold jewelry accentuating her warm, cinnamon-colored skin.

Abilities:

Though she once aspired to be a soldier and possesses some skill with polearms, Pluna quickly abandoned the martial arts for the magical. At present, though she's more of a theorist than anything else, Pluna excels most in the manipulation of wind. It takes a lot out of her, but she's able to deliver some fierce gusts.

History

Born to a fisherwoman and a soldier, Pluna had a rough and tumble childhood, but it's one she looks back on fondly. The Alto family was once part of the Zel nobility, but that was a long time ago; they fell upon hard times before Pluna's greatgrandparents were born. That never stopped Pluna's father from prattling on with a sly grin, instructing Pluna to keep her head up through "mud, blood, and offal, 'cause you've got the heart of a lady." Mud and blood turned out to be more Pluna's suit than offal, and she grew up wanting to be a soldier in her father's stead. However, her mother encouraged her to cultivate her mind in addition to her body. For her 14th birthday, she was given her first book of rudimentary magic, and the rest, as they say, was history.

So begins...

Pluna Alto's Story

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Pluna approached the vendor’s cart. Drips of oil hissed beneath a fresh round of kebabs, but something else drew the young woman near. She bent close and allowed the embers to paint her face with a red-orange glow – and with heat. Blessed heat.

“Can’t eat them with your eyes.” A broad, wrinkled dwarf sat on a tall stool behind the counter. His frazzled beard was nearly as red as his coals. When Pluna’s gaze flicked up to him, he answered with a grunt and a grin. He turned the kebabs, and a new chorus of sizzles rang out.

“Ah, yes,” she said, producing a few silver coins from beneath her cloak and dropping them into the vendor’s greasy palm. Blessedly, thought Pluna as he leaned over the grill to seize a kebab, that beard was kept nice and short.

Kebab in one hand, silver in the other, the vendor leaned back and observed both items. “Zel money,” he said. He turned the coins in the light before tossing them into a pouch belted over his belly. “Good money.” He handed her the kebab and added, “Good food. Careful, now, it’s hot-hot-hot.”

Pluna nodded and seized the stick. She stepped to the side but did not stray far from the cart. As she waved the kebab gently in the air, she eyed the vendor. “As you can tell from my coins, I’m a stranger here.”

He nodded. “That and your clothes.”

“Oh, yes. Those.” She smoothed the thin fabric of shirt – long-sleeved, at the very least – and fought the urge to shiver. Autumn had no right to be this chill, further north or no. “Perhaps you could point me to a tailor. First, though, what I mean to say is… anything interesting afoot, do you think?” She rubbed her shoulder.

“Aha.” The vendor’s stomach quivered with laughter. “So you were at the Ram’s Head first, I wager. I’m sure they told you it wasn’t free either.”

With a nod, Pluna waved a few more coins. She leaned close to the cart once more. At the influx of warmth, she took a deep breath. “I really want to know about this princess of yours.”

“And I’ll take that back if you’re not going to eat it.”

Jumping a bit, Pluna sunk her teeth into the roasted meat. “Mm. So, the –”

“Yes, I know, the princess. What’s to tell? Fairest beauty in all the land, hair like…” He slapped his knee. “Don’t make that face. You didn’t waste your silver. Thing is, there’s not much more to say. I’m sure you’ve heard, or you wouldn’t ask. I don't have inside sources on this one. Now, far as I know, it’s true, or they wouldn’t much care if we shouted it, other than we were shouting.” He jutted an elbow toward an armored guard rounding the corner of the street. “Whatever they want to say, she hasn’t shown her face while.”

Pluna leaned on her walking stick as she listened. “So it’s not a sure thing… but there’s reason to believe.” Between sentences, she nibbled at chunks of lamb. “Poor thing.”

The vendor only shrugged. Spotting some passersby, he cupped his hands around his mouth. “Hot kebabs! Sweet meat and finest potatoes! Trust me, I grew ‘em myself!”

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Pluna perked as something jangled nearby. From the corner of her eye, she noted the approaching man. His gaze rested on her just long enough that she could tell he was looking, but before long, he scrambled to order a kebab. Something in his manner reminded her of a rabbit. She turned toward him, head tilted. Quickly, she glanced away and dabbed at her lips with the corner of her sleeve. “Not in your way, am I?” She flashed Dariusz a smile.

The vendor raised his brows. "The corruption? Not myself. Not yet. You ask me, they should be a lot more concerned about that. It ain’t at that point, but if we get another famine.." He grunted and looked toward the sky. Once more, his broad shoulders rose and fell. "Well, who knows what's on the horizon?" He snatched another kebab from the heat and reached forward with his free hand. “That’ll be two silvers.”

“Your crops too?” asked Pluna. “We don’t farm as much as you do in Zelys, but there have been a few... incidents.” A shudder ran through her. To excuse it, she pulled her cloak more closely around herself. "Oh yes, that's right. Mind pointing me to a tailor, either of you? And I suppose if there's somewhere I can find weapons..." She ran her hand over her gnarled walking stick. Dependable? Yes. Threatening? Not exactly.

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Pluna caught the cloak and lifted it into the air, blinking at the Tellosian all the while. She studied the heavy fur as if it were a foreign tome. In Zelys, one rarely saw that much fur outside a live animal.

"Well, I..." She toed the ground. Nevertheless, she pulled the garment around her shoulders. Her body melted against the interior of the cloak. "If you insist. Thank you for your kindness.” She tugged it upward to cover her lips. At this point, she resembled a dozing bat.

The vendor raised his brows but shrugged off whatever comment brewed behind them. “Those brick buildings straight ahead – you’ll find the shops you’re seeking there.”

A second stranger approached, and Pluna’s eyes darted between the chatting pair. A man of the cloth? She bowed her head, glancing up as he addressed her. Shaking her head, she freed her face from the cloak's confines. "Share a room?" Pluna bit her tongue. Once more, she bowed her head. “Forgive me, sir, but as a lone traveler… still, I can certainly spare some coins for you.” Beneath her cloak, one hand rested upon her satchel already. Without exposing the bag, her long, nimble fingers closed around a handful of gleaming silver pieces. She presented them before Thomas. “Will this be enough? And you shouldn’t worry about repaying me.”

She stepped over a broken cobblestone, staring toward the ruddy red shops. Though she’d moved no more than a few inches, her voice grew distant. “After all, I won’t be in this city for long.”




The clockwork clack of boots on marble signaled the king’s approach. Lines marked his sun-kissed face; hints of gray streaked his raven hair. However, his slender frame remained taut and conditioned. He possessed a severe brow, and his posture would have pleased a military commander (had any ranked above himself). It might have even pleased the dance instructor the queen thrust upon him last week if he could have kept it through a waltz. The thought of that ordeal earned a mutter.

He stopped before the prince’s door. Sighing, he rapped thrice. “Soren? Do hurry. My schedule is not forgiving today.”

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The plague. The curse. The corruption. Whatever the word, the point was clear -- people were talking. The young woman swallowed. Best to reserve comment.

"Ah, of course I forgive you," said Pluna. She bit her lip and returned the bow. "I don't mean to accuse you of anything. It's just..." She scraped the sole of her shoe over the road's surface. Despite the sturdy, down to earth architecture of the marketplace, cracks laced many a cobblestone and exterior. "I was raised to be cautious. That's all." When she looked up again, the monk was retreating. "Sir! You don't have to," she called, "if you don't want to. That is, I suppose we're tackling the market together. " She nodded toward Dariusz. "A third pair of eyes couldn't hurt, could it? We are all strangers here."

With that, she started for the shops, ponytail swinging behind her. Shouts of peddlers and food mongers pierced the air all around, but Pluna concentrated on the bright windows of more permanent establishments. One displayed a pair of autumn ensembles. "There! Just what I needed." Sighing, she shrugged off Dariusz's cloak. Goosebumps covered her neck.

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"I can't afford much here. Unless you mean…" Pluna tugged the hem of her shirt and sighed. "I thought I should look my best among strangers." Even inside the shop, she wrapped her arms around her shoulders. "One of my hastier decisions,” she added. She’d made a lot of those lately. A faint blush crept across her cheeks.

Pluna lifted the sleeve of a woolen cloak and fingered its lining. “Yes. That will do.” She glanced at the heavyset dogwoman leaning over the shop counter. “Is this for sale?”

The seamstress’s silken ears perked. “Of course.” She took Pluna’s money and swept the cloak off the display. Her curling tail swished back and forth. “Do you need a fitting, miss? Should I lengthen the hem?”

“No thank you.” Pluna accepted the garment. She slipped it on without removing her other one. The drab green clashed with the sleek azure beneath it. It didn’t matter how stupid she looked, Pluna reasoned, so long as she stayed warm. That was the lesson for the day.

She smiled at Dariusz and leaned against the wall. “Better. Much better. I believe I’m done. I’ll just wait here.” Pluna’s view of the shop began to blur. Her chin touched her chest. For a moment, she stood there, the picture of a dozing horse. Shaking herself awake again, she cursed under her breath.