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Alain Rolands

"Talk about wrong place, wrong time. What have I gotten myself into?"

0 · 377 views · located in Korratoth

a character in “Thorns Within the Rose”, as played by Aufeis

Description

Name: Alain Rolands
Age: Twenty-Six.
Gender: Male

Description: Preferring a lithe build over bulky muscles, slicked back chestnut hair, and brown eyes that know more than they express, Alain looks pretty much like your average joe on the street. With a dual-steel weave tunic (a cloth tunic with finely woven steel fibers in it which is very useful and lightweight, but maybe not quite as protective as something more like chainmail) and leggings, along with thick, rough hide boots with steel plates embedded in them, rawhide gloves, and a cloth cowl, Alain is mostly protected from glancing or light blows from lighter weapons, such as knives or one handed blades, and even the occasional arrow, but mostly, he just relies on not getting seen. A direct impact with something such as a mace or spear would crush or slice right through his 'armor'.

((I can never find a picture I like, if it's necessary, I'll sketch one up.))

Personality

Alain is extremely laid back. His loyalty is very easily bought with whatever he perceives as valuable at that moment in time, though his chief loyalty is always to himself. When he becomes serious, he executes plans and jobs with deadly precision, since they are his livelihood. Alain's moral compass is constantly set to spin towards whoever can do him the most good, rather than the right or wrong of things. (you don't become a thief or a sell-sword because you think about right and wrong.) Alain's attitude is often described as near apathetic as he very rarely lets his emotions show externally, though he is always calculating. He may not be overly intelligent, but he is extremely crafty and 'street smart'. When walking into a room, he can usually find two or three escape routes immediately, with more popping up as time passes. He is definitely not one to sacrifice his own well-being for the sake of others, though he may appear to be at first. Charm is, of course, just another form of lying.

Equipment

Favored Weapon: Dual daggers, one slightly longer as his left handed weapon, while the other is slightly shorter as an offhand.
Weapon Training: Alain knows how to use daggers, short swords, bows, crossbows, and a vast majority of throwing weapons effectively in combat, as well as some training in unarmed combat.
Armor: Because Alain relies on speed and stealth, he has very light armor. Dual woven material in the form of leggings and a tunic are the vast majority of his protection, if one could call it that. He wears tough boots and glove to protect his hands and feet from the elements more so than weapons, and a cowl does little more than keep his face obscured.
Magic: While he doesn't know how to shoot fireballs or raise the dead, Alain is capable of healing moderate to severe injuries (usually on himself) though he does not have a deep well from which to pull magic. His magic is generally an emergency type situation.
Alain's Lucky Coin: A simple looking coin from some other land, though it is very close to Alain emotionally. The coin has little value elsewhere. It is probably the one thing that would procure his attention entirely.

History

On the streets at an early age, Alain had to learn to help his family in any way he could, or else it was out on the streets, or worse...nobody would ask where the little street urchin went if he simply disappeared. Because of this life-style, Alain became very distrusting of others, never truly getting close to anyone and keeping himself emotionally and moralistically detached. Not that morals mean much on the street.

Alain is, for all intents and purposes, a jack-of-all-trades. A skilled thief, with skills ranging from pickpocketing, lock picking, and remaining hidden, even in what should be plain sight, an artful assassin, with expertise in both poisons and traps, and even a self-proclaimed medic, with an adequate number of healing skills at his disposal. When you rely only on yourself, you have to be able to keep yourself healthy, of course. Preferring to fight with speed over strength, and stealth over speed, Alain gets the fighting over with as quick as possible, and isn't bogged down by things like honor or playing fair. If there is a sand cloud to be thrown or caltrops to be dropped, then they will be taken full advantage of. His clothes conceal a series of throwing weapons, poisons, trap components, and on his belt are two savage daggers. Or there would be, if not for the fact that all of that had been confiscated when he got caught rifling through the kingdom's treasury. Locked in the castle's dungeon, he was contemplating when exactly he should pick his way to freedom and leave, when this invasion began. Interesting. So he hung around. Let's see if things stay interesting.

So begins...

Alain Rolands's Story

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Character Portrait: Alain Rolands Character Portrait: Aethyra
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#, as written by Aufeis
Alain held his gaze on her for another moment before finally letting it falter with a sigh. This would get them nowhere. He stood for another moment before he held his hand out to her, though he didn't look at her, "Come on, let us get you someplace where you can see the sun again. Skulking around here will do nothing good for either of us. And our friend here is beginning to become a bit stale." He said, though he stood between the dead man and Aethyra. His face was puffing up with the internal bleeding from the wound Alain had inflicted, and his head was a deep purple. Blood was pooling near and around his skull. While somewhat humorous looking to Alain, he was sure she would not find it so lighthearted, "Besides, I could use something to eat. It is not every day one goes from eating prisoner food to being able to eat a banquet, yes? I am sure you could use a little energy as well, after descending those stairs for so long." Truthfully, if Alain never saw another stair again it would be too soon, but he wouldn't say it. That was just an unnecessary amount of stairs, "And perhaps it would do you some good to change into some proper clothing, yes?"

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She stood without his hand, and nodded before whisking her way back towards the rest of the castle, her eyes low. Proper attire, yes, that would be good...a good bath, a fresh gown, a hearty meal, goblets and goblets of wine...it would do her good. And seeing Parthenia would settle her nerves. Aethyra smirked a bit as she though of what was to come: she'd step out onto the grounds, accompanied by a convicted felon, and stroll about calmly. They'd break their fast and chat a bit, she'd give him his payment, and he'd disappear, never to be seen again. Her smile faltered a bit. Had she already grown so used to him, in the little under an hour they'd been together? Listening to his breathing and muffled steps, she realized she had.

"Yes," she said, her voice softer than it had been before, "a banquet, to celebrate your freedom. Of course. Do you prefer wine or ale? Lamb of pheasant? I should alert the cook." Her teasing was hollow, and awkward, coming from such a straight-laced girl, but it was her attempt at being non-chalant.

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#, as written by Aufeis
Alain shrugged a bit as she got up without his help, not that it really mattered on way or another. "Do not really need to celebrate something I never lost in the first place. I would say it would be more fitting to celebrate not being dead. Considering we went into some cursed crypt alone, with nary three weapons between us, and all I got was a few scratches, we should count ourselves incredibly lucky. Shit like that does not happen every day, you know." Why did it matter what they ate for, he just wanted to eat. His stomach let out a long, low growl as if to emphasis it all. Pheasant, lamb, wine, ale, he'd never had the option of such nice choices before. The swill in the town bar was pretty much the highlight of his meal, a casual ale and some sad excuse for steak or brisket, maybe a plate of chicken with potatoes. How he could go for some scalloped potatoes right about now. His mouth watered a little at the thought. He shook his head a little, "How does lamb, scalloped potatoes, some steamed corn, with a bit of wine to top it all off sound to you? Last I ate so well was a meal stolen from a count to the far east of here, in a land I no longer remember the name of. Nigh three years ago, I think." He stretched a little and thought about where he was to go next. Would this place just become some far distant memory he only vaguely recollected...and even if it did, why did it bother him so? He stopped for a moment, thinking back a ways. Something was nagging at him, "Oh. Right. I meant to ask earlier, what was it you were going to tell the guard before? When you stumbled upon me cleaning up after myself? Your lord wished something, if I remember right."

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"The Lord wished to question you," Aethyra said, "but he will not if I tell him not to. He does not wish to upset me." As they walked, and neared the exit, she paused and turned to look at him, her curiosity once again getting the better of her. "Where is it that you will go once you leave here?" She wasn't sure why she wondered, but she did. Banquets and joking aside, she couldn't squash the feeling that this wasn't the last she'd see of him.

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"Perhaps. I ignore the politics mostly." Aethyra sighed; it was true. She did not enjoy politics, meetings, problems as those, they were boring and not her job, not yet. Something had been bothering her for a while, though, and she bit her bottom lip gently. "You kept calling me 'girl.' It bothers me. How old are YOU, exactly, to call me a girl? And how old do you think I am?" She pushed open the door, blinking her eyes as light suddenly flooded her eyes. A guard across the way stiffened, but she waved a lazy hand and shooed him away, her stride lengthening as she hurried down the corridor.

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#, as written by Aufeis
Alain shrugged a bit, "Smart, if you were not you. You, unfortunately, must learn of such things." Her second question caused him to chuckle a little. He put a hand up before she opened the door, blocking out light while his other hand pulled down the front of his cowl a bit to help his eyes adjust slowly. He had longer legs than she did, so it wasn't too difficult to keep up with her even while keeping his pace unhurried. He rubbed his chin. How old was he? He didn't usually keep track. It wasn't really important, not normally. He thought for another moment before saying, "Mid twenties. Twenty six, perhaps? I do not keep track, generally. No need to. You look to be about cresting the eve of your twentieth year. Age is not measured in time, though. Age is measured in experience. I would say that I have probably experienced twice what you have. I do not say that to look down upon you or your life. It just is. Look at where you are now, compared to myself. The lower you are on the pyramid, the quicker you experience things. I was taught to fight by necessity. If I did not learn, I would have died. I learned to steal, to pick locks, to kill, all because I did not have a choice. You hunt, but you do not look to have grown up wondering where your next slice of bread would come from...or who, in my case." He chuckled a little again, before shrugging. If she asked when the day of his birth was, he didn't know what to tell her. He had never celebrated it. All it ever signaled was another year of struggling to get by, or another year to the game, "Life is a game. However many times you have been around the board is how old you are, not how long you have played. Some are complacent to be as they are born. Others fight their fates. I was born a pauper, to a widowed and ill mother, not that she ever acted as such. If you do not want to be the heir to a kingdom, well..." He let the thought trail and shrugged. He could teach her many things, she had the potential for it. He could see it. But he didn't care one way or another. He was just fine running a solo act.

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Aethyra paused, turning to stare at the thief. He was despicable, being a man the least of his sins, but he had a point. "You suggest I...run? Abandon my life here and...leave?" A smile tugged at the corner of her lips. "As lovely as that sounds, as you said, I've little experience. Being stubborn does not mean I will survive a cold winter's night. Unfortunately, it seems I am a child." She turned back forward, eyes dark, but her mind whirring. Perhaps she could, though. Maybe she could make it outside these walls. She despised the rules, the politics, the being held in such high regard. She was sick of hearing, "yes, your majesty," and "oh, you mustn't, your majesty." It was terrible. For once in her life, while speaking with Alain, she hadn't been the heir. She had been an un-experienced, childish young woman. And for the exact reasons it was wonderful, it was terrible. She called to one of the servants, telling them to alert the kitchen to set a lovely lunch for her and her "guest", and continued towards her room, thinking of how much gold she would give him. Hell, she thought darkly, give him the lot that you've kept hidden, you don't need it.

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#, as written by Aufeis
Alain crossed his arms as she spoke then watched her walk away. He could teach her many things, yes. And she would be willing to work for it, he could see that. She might be just as good a thief as he, maybe better. He rubbed his chin before calling out, "Mayhap you need not do it alone for once. A teacher could be looking for an apprentice closer than you may think." He called out to her, before chuckling a little to himself. He couldn't help but admit that he liked her. She had a certain fire to her. He laughed a little to himself. Maybe this wouldn't be so bad after all. A companion on those lonely roads wouldn't be so bad...he guessed. He leaned against the wall as she went off to go do whatever it was she was going to go do.

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Had she heard right? No, no, she must have been mistaken. He would never had made an offer like that. She must have misunderstood. Aethyra paused before turning a corner, her hand on the wall, and stared at him. He would teach her? He would help her escape? Blinking to clear her head, she cocked an eyebrow at him. "I am no student. But if there would be equal respect, I would be interested in speaking to this 'teacher.' I shall bring you your reward, thief," her lips twitched into a ghostly smile as she said the word, "then we shall break fasts and discuss." Continuing down the corridor, she slid into her bedchamber and closed the door, resting her head and fingertips against it, releasing a large sigh before sinking to the cold stone.

A young servant girl bustled in and rushed the fair-skinned girl to a hot bath, scrubbing her and tugging her and coating her with sweet-smelling oils. Aethyra hated the cloying scent of the flowers, but it was "proper" that she be presented before the courtiers and guests as a true princess, whether or not she liked it. After being bathed, she was dressed in a long dusky blue gown, her chest constricted from a corset, waist tied with a ribbon of golden-coloured silk. Glittering jewels adorned her neck, and some were placed in her hair after it was dried and twisted into a terribly feminine cascading fashion. Was it overdone? Yes. Did the servant girls all gasp and coo upon seeing her dressed as a proper lady of her stature? Yes. Did Aethyra pine for the comforts of men's clothing? Yes.

Before abandoning her room, she snatched a heavy satchel of gold from beneath her mattress, and hurried out. Her silk-coated footsteps were muffled, but still loud enough that people could hear her coming, and she hated it. Her limbs stung from the harsh scrubbing the servants had given her with a pumice stone, her eyes and lips itched from being painted with all sorts of beauty products, her scalp pained from having her hair tugged and pulled as they fashioned it from her usual comfort of having it loose around her shoulders. Though she looked stunning, her lips a gentle red, her eyes outlined in a charcoal paint, cheeks defined with rouge, and looked a proper Heir, it was obvious the girl was not happy.

"Where is Parthenia?" she gasped, still unused to the corset holding her ribs tight, and was informed of her helping deliver the duke's child. "Inform her that I must speak to her privately once she has finished with that. It is of upmost importance, and it can not wait." Rounding a corner, she noticed Alain again, and had her cheeks not been covered already in a false pink, all would have noticed the mottled flush creeping into her skin. "There you are." She tossed the coin purse to him, trying to look at him as a diplomat would a common man, "I believe that shall be sufficient. Or do you require more? Come, we shall see the lord, if he is available." Bustling away from the dawdling women surrounding her, she hurried as well as she could towards the throne room.

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#, as written by Aufeis
Alain simply leaned back against the wall, his cowl hiding his face for the most part, even in the torchlight that flickered along the wall mounts. Servants occasionally went past him, and they regarded him warily, but he paid them no mind. Not worth wasting his time or breath. He actually began to nod off a bit. He wasn't sure how long had gone by when Aethyra's voice brought him back to consciousness. He barely recognized her when he looked up and saw her; he had to stifle a laugh that partially slipped out, listening to her words almost too late to catch his payment. It was a mere few inches from his face when he caught it. A stupid grin spread across his face when he spoke and followed her towards the wherever it was they were going, "Oh, of course, my lady. I would ever be so humbly pleased to be introduced to your lord, from who's dungeon I just escaped a mere hour ago." He said in retaliation to her tone, as though they had not been casually speaking mere moments ago. He tossed the coin purse up in his hand, catching it, before adding it to the coin purse in his pouch. He wondered what she had done with his sash, but he figured he'd let her keep it as a memento if she ended up getting cold feet, "If one is to learn from a master of trade, respect is not garnered by previous position or bought. It is earned. Were I to teach someone my trade, they would be my student. Just as you are not an heir to me, no matter how painted like a doll they choose to make you. You are just a girl. This, plus the food and free passage from here, will be more than sufficient, my lady." He said, once again checking his knife belt and making sure it was secure. That nervous feeling hadn't left from earlier. He had some twenty knives, all sharpened and strung across his hips and chest in a bandoleer, with his two daggers on either hip, yet still he felt under-armed. He tried to shift his thoughts away from that, and ended up think about everything that they had just done. He couldn't help but think about all that she had said. That, combined with her facial expressions and body language whenever he mentioned leaving made him think. Finally, he spoke again, "Why would you consider leaving with a heavily armed man whom you barely know, who you know could kill you with little effort, and is known to consider himself over others. Does this not sound a little irrational? I know I do not ooze trustworthiness."

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Her voice delicate, Aethyra continued to walk, trying to keep from wiping the paint from her face. "I would rather die a free woman," she said, "then live a bird in a golden cage." She spun on him, face screwed up in confusion and anger, hands curled into fists. "Do I truly look so ridiculous as I am supposed to look? This is how they would have me live every day if I do not run. If you laugh at me, then I must look hideous. And as prideful as it sounds, I could not stand being laughed at every day for the rest of my life. And though I do not trust you, nor any man, I would give anything to be let out of my ivory tower. I despise these skirts--" she took a fistful of her dress, and sighed angrilly, "I despise this paint on my face, I despise these jewels about my throat, I despise the flowers that my skin reeks of, I despise it all. I wish to be only a woman, free to do as she pleases."

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Alain didn't laugh this time, "Then maybe it is time to stop doing exactly as you are told and do what you want. The way I see it, you have two choices. You can stay here, on your knees, in your ivory tower. Or. You can bite the hand that has fed you, chew it up, and spit it out. Reject your painted life. Are you a doll, or are you a hunter? You decide." He said without stopping, walking past her until he was a good few feet ahead of her, "But are you truly ready for that? Any doll can pull her cord and speak the words she thinks someone wants to hear. Any painted maiden can talk big." He turned to look back at her again, his eyes cold and his expression very serious, "We are not born as we are. We must make ourselves what we want to be. If you want to remain a doll, trapped forever in a gilded cage, then stay. Kneel back down, close your eyes, and pretend we never met. Pretend this day never happened. Complacently tell yourself this is where you belong. But if you truly wish to bite back at the hands that have sustained your life, to reject everything they wish of you, then do not speak of doing as you please. Simply do it. I have helped you up off your knees, little doll. You merely have to exert the effort to walk out that door..." he trained his finger on the far side of the hall, to a small window high up off the ground, "or you may simply kneel back down, and forget. I cannot make the choice for you."

He paused here, for just a moment, before a small smirk split his face, "But there is always the matter of food. Feel free to make your decision after food." He said, walking back to her, "We need not have more drama until food is in our stomachs. The outside world, and myself, are not going anywhere just yet. And it would be rude to leave a goodbye banquet waiting for guests who would never eat it, would it not?" When he was right in front of her, he put a hand on her shoulder again, "And you do not look hideous. Ridiculous and painted, yes. But not hideous. The court would coo and swoon over your appearance, fall head over heels for you in a heartbeat, I have no doubt. But I...well, I have seen the girl under the paint. She is not one for frilly dresses and ridiculous paints, I think. This is why you look ridiculous to me. Imagine me in a suit and gussied up as though I were some important bureaucratic. Would you not laugh as well?"

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Aethyra was thankful at once for the rouge on her cheeks, as they covered the flush that had not ceased to come to her face since meeting this man. His hand on her shoulder spread a strange looseness through her body, and she turned her face away from him. Doll she may be, and as much as she hated it, it was all she knew. Even as a huntress, she had only spent a single night unaccompanied in the woods. But that night...had been one she cherished every hour of every day. Her voice had somehow turned to song, her body to dancing, her smile hadn't felt so strange. And though her fingers bled from her bowstring, and her hair was in tangles, her dress was soiled and her feet ached, she had never been happier.

"Would I laugh? No, but I do not often laugh. You would look a bit silly but, you may also look quite dapper." She let her words hang in the air before continuing to walk, "Now, as you said, we've a meal to get to. Come along, don't be so slow."

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Alain shook his head as Aethyra walked past him. Dapper, eh? Indeed. His ragged clothes and dirty skin knew not the meaning of the word. He chuckled a little, shaking his head again, "Dapper...indeed. I do not think I have ever had the word applied to me before." He said, before following behind her. He may not have been able to see her flush, but he could feel the heat to her skin when his hand had touched her shoulder. He said nothing about it though. Let her romanticize their meeting all she wanted. He closed his eyes and tilted his head back, thinking to himself. Did he really want to head down this path again? Taking on a partner...he let out a small breath, and off his lips came a name, "Celeste..." By the time he realized he had spoken aloud, he could do nothing but hope no-one heard it. He sighed and concentrated on the now. Why was this girl bringing back those memories? She looked nothing like...her, and their attitudes were near opposite. He stretched and let out a groan as his back popped, before rotating and popping his neck, "A question, if you will. You have let blood before. What was it? Your kill."

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"Sometimes a steady aim is all you ever need. If you are smart and you are crafty, then you need never attack with a blade. Of course, it never hurts to know how, on the occasion you make a mistake." He had to think of his own kill count. How many men and women had he killed? He'd been killing his fellow man since he was almost sixteen. Before that, he had never killed before. Just stole or broke into things. Which of course came back to Celeste. He sighed a bit, shaking his head. Finally, he looked back at her, "Memories. Come at you at the worst times, yes? As I was saying, strength is not everything. I can kill a man with the simple force of two fingers. It is not about strength, but knowing where it is you must strike. Or, in cases, when not to strike. Timing is key." He said, before looking around. Had they already been here? He had no idea. He hated castles. He always ended up lost, or thinking he was lost, or some combination of the two, "Egh...castles. So confusing with all their corridors. Have we been here before?"

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"Nope," Aethyra said simply, and pushed open a set of doors, revealing a small dining hall. The tables were laid with bread and fruit, the main meal having yet to be brought out. She smirked at him and gestured into the room, biting her lip as though to keep from laughing. She knew the layout of this place by heart, of course, and knew most of it's secret passages and tunnels. She'd used them many times to escape the servants and have some alone time.

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Alaizabel had been drifting through the shadows of the castle, her senses stretching to their limits trying to see as much as she could.
The female demon was proving difficult to keep a track on, her strength really was fading. But as long as she was in the shadows she could temporarily draw on their power to keep her sustained and despite what Trifect had said she needed to inspect this demon for herself... partially to assess her as a threat but mostly to find out what had happened to their race. She had come through alone five hundred years ago, when did other demons start living among humans?
A small smile creeped across her face.
Trifect had told her to be careful and offered assistance... like he actually cared about her. Then again, she had known him most of his life. She had taught him magic. To him she had always been some kind of angel.
To her, he was a project.
She suddenly let out a hiss of pain, louder than she had intended so that a few servants passing her location jumped slightly. The darkness had stirred... the darkness from around her prison.
Moving through the shadows she soon returned to that same room she had occupied for 500 years. Alaizabel knelt down slowly, picking up a shard of glass as her eyes turned black. She took in the scent of the last creature to have touched it... the princess...
"She's been here, but why?" Her eyes trailed to the writhing shadows, suddenly smiling with genuine affection at the mass of dark coils and tendrils. "My beloved friends, have you been preparing her for me?"
Putting a hand to the shadows, she allowed them to enter her mind and show her the entire scene... oh how wonderful this was. The princess had been drawn to the shadows, she had been entranced by them. And... yes, they showed her the dreams. The girl thought she had freed Alaizabel. She went through the scene more, realising that the man with her had been able to sense the shadows, he had freed her. But he would be no issue, he was... no! They were leaving! She couldn't let that happen, not yet.
"The other demon can wait." She muttered, moving back into the shadows and drifting towards the sense of the princess and her companion, some kind of rogue she could see now. It didn't take a demon to see what would get this man's attention.
Part of her said to wait, to wait until she had taken the heart of this servant and become more powerful but... if she didn't make sure they were where she wanted them, things would be so much more difficult.
Without moving outside the shadows, she projected her voice into two messages.
First, into the ear of the man her soft, pretty voice whispered, "Whether she likes it or not she is a Princess, surely she should have the grace to reward you handesomely from the treasury for all your trouble."
Then she sent another message into the ear of the princess, giving her voice a desperate and innocent edge as she pleaded "Please don't leave me, you have freed me physically but I am still trapped... I need your help."
Neither would hear the other's message and neither would see her, all she needed was for them to stay inside the castle and she could do as she pleased. So patiently, she waited.

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Character Portrait: Alain Rolands Character Portrait: Aethyra Character Portrait: Alaizabel
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#, as written by Aufeis
Alain's mouth watered at the smells the foods, the fresh bread especially. When you spent a couple days in a prison cell, even baked bread or a few slices of ham began to smell like a feast. He took a piece of bread and tore off a bit, popping it into his mouth and chewing thoughtfully. Not half bad, actually, though he supposed for a place like this, you had to cook well if you wanted to stay on the staff. He leaned back and put his boots up on the table, and was about to speak when a whisper came in his ear. His chair legs immediately hit the floor as he turned to look for the source of the voice (expecting to see some fine looking servant to match the pretty voice)...but there was nothing. He grunted a little and sighed, rubbing his eyes. He was probably tired still. He probably should have slept more before making his brilliant escape. Still, the voice in his ear had a point. She was the heir to the throne, surely she had more than a small pouch of gold. After all, she could have been in who knows what kind of trouble if it hadn't been for him. He chewed some more bread thoughtfully. How to do this, exactly...he couldn't just say he wanted more gold. That kind of blunt approach never worked. He mulled it over in his head. Aloud, he asked, "So. What shall we discuss over the wait for the feast to arrive? Politics, prattle, or pleasantries?" He joked.

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Character Portrait: Alain Rolands Character Portrait: Aethyra
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Aethyra was side-tracked, staring around the room, searching for the voice that had whispered in her ear. Trapped? What was trapped? It needed HER help? It must have been the darkness. Need gnawed at her innards, and she wanted to run back to the dungeon, to the darkness. But no...no, the darkness had been bad, evil, hadn't it? She couldn't...but it needed her. It needed her help. Suddenly, she remembered Alain asking her a question. She sat across from him and blinked a few times, picking up and tearing a small loaf of warm bread in half and slathering it with butter. "Sorry, what was that? I was...thinking."

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Character Portrait: Alain Rolands Character Portrait: Aethyra
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#, as written by Aufeis
"I asked what you would like to discuss while we wait for our feast." Alain replied, but his expression was only half there. He was still wondering about that voice. A figment of his imagination, perhaps? His tired mind mulling over ideas? Or something else...he remembered that chilling feeling from earlier, when they were down in the cave. Did that have something to do with it? It had felt like no magic he had ever felt. He shook his head. He was being paranoid. Still...he'd keep an eye out for anything suspicious. He turned his attention back to her, letting her respond to his question.

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Character Portrait: Alain Rolands Character Portrait: Parthenia "Paige" Daphine Character Portrait: Aethyra
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It had been a long, hard and exausting child birth but Parthenia was glad to have been there for it. Reassuring the couple that all would be okay, dabbing the sweat from the lady's brow, fetching water and clean towels... It was stressful but well worth it. After a long struggle the child was born, a healthy young boy and the fight had been won. Parthenia had washed the child of the blood and swaddled him in a clean, warm towel which served as a blanket. Then she had the honor of handing the child to his mother and seeing first hand the emotions evident on Ms Slenie's face.

Mr Slenie came in at this point and Parthenia was silenced by the abundance of love and adoration on the new parent's faces. As Ms Slenie sang the boy a little lullaby and handed him to his father (who kept whispering that fact to himself over and over) she thanked everyone in the room by name, saving Parthenia's name for last. But she didn't just thank the servant girl; she went on. "Paige," she adressed the surpirsed serant girl by her favored nickname, "Thank you for everything you've done for us." Parthenia curtsied politely and very low to show her humbled appreciation, but nearly fell over when Ms Slenie said, "What should we name him?"

Now this seemed like a huge shock and perhaps even an outrage if Paige didn't know what Ms Slenie meant. See, she and her husband had been debating on names and had three selected for their child if he happened to be a son. Aland, Darren or Harding. They couldn't seem to agree as the Mr wanted Harding and the Ms wanted Darren, but Mr Slenie refused to ask another person's oppinion. Fortunatly his wife wasn't as stubborn and had prediscussed this with Parthenia, coming to an agreement.

Hesitantly the servant girl neared the baby, looking at his face, imagining what a great man he would someday become. "He looks like a Harding Darren Slenie to me, Ms Slenie." she said slowly and Ms Slenie nodded before looking at her husband and asking, "What do you think dear?" As was to be expected the man could only nod in a shocked silence before handing the baby back to a nurse maid who would care for the child temorarally while his real mother recovered. Then all the servants were dismissed and Ms Slenie gave Parthenia a knowing smile, which the girl returned, before they parted ways.

Parthenia immediatly went to change and wash herself as she, like all the other maids who had been involved, were entitaled to a period of resting afterwards, sort of like a recovery time from the labor. Once she got out, smelling again like the flower she so loved to be around, she dressed a simple white dress with lace. It was moments afterward when there was a frantic rapping on the door. "Lady Aethyra wishes to see you!" then the footsteps fled. Paige smiled as she liked to be around Mistress Aethyra and was always honored to be called into her presense. The girl quickly left the baths and went to find Aethyra, asking around until she discovered her location.

Entering the small dinning area, Parthenia saw her Lady Aethyra eating with another man she did not recognize, but never the less would need to respect as he seemed to be a guest of her Lady. Parthenia approached the table, keeping a short distance as a matter of respect, curtsing low and keeping her head bowed. "You called for me, Mistress Aethyra?"

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Character Portrait: Alain Rolands Character Portrait: Parthenia "Paige" Daphine Character Portrait: Aethyra
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Aethyra whipped her head around, focusing her eyes on Paige. Somehow, she could never bring herself to call the girl Paige, she just couldn't. Though she preferred the nickname, Aethyra did not believe it fit her. Nearly smiling, the heir rose and walked over to the girl, nearly smiling.

"Yes, I have an important matter to discuss with you. But first, why not break tradition and eat with us?" It was improper, almost rude, and could get the girl in lots of trouble, but with Aethyra as her mistress, none would touch her if she said not to. "I already break my fast with a man escaped from the dungeons, so let us create more of a stir!"

Turning back to Alain, she gestured to the girl beside her, "This is Parthenia, my closest and most trusted servant. We have been together for years, since I was small, and she is a close companion to me." Then to Paige, "This is Alain. He was imprisoned for stealing a small bag of coin from the treasury, and had just escaped when I happened to meet him in the dungeon." Secrets were rarely kept from Paige, who knew all about her nightmares, her childhood, her need to escape these walls.

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Character Portrait: Alain Rolands Character Portrait: Parthenia "Paige" Daphine Character Portrait: Aethyra
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#, as written by Aufeis
Alain watched the little show with amusement mostly, though he gave only a mock salute when he was introduced. Honestly, he didn't care about tradition and such, so sure, let the servant girl eat with them. She looked harmless enough. Either way, he was ready for food. He took a drink of the wine that was there, relishing the sting a bit. It wasn't the strongest thing he had ever tasted, but he had drank worse swill. He gave the girls a quizzical look for a moment, waiting for them to be seated again, "Imprisoned is a bit of a harsh word, do you not think? I would rather say inconveniently detained, but even this implies I could not leave at my leisure." He would let them talk a bit, though now he did feel a bit like an outsider (he was, but that wasn't the point). He just sat back and listened, mostly, carefully observing. Why exactly had the servant girl been called, exactly? Important matter...what they had seen in the dungeon? He didn't know. You always had to watch the ones that seemed the most innocent. They tended to be the ones who really screwed you over in the end. He knew that all too well.

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Character Portrait: Alain Rolands Character Portrait: Parthenia "Paige" Daphine Character Portrait: Aethyra Character Portrait: Trifect Quaizon
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#, as written by Magix
Trifect had been wandering the halls, observing and listening. Ms. Selnie had her baby, eh? He should have guessed the servant girl would have been there for that. Naturally he figured that she'd go straight to the kingdom's illustrious heir after that. She seemed to have an overwhelming need to serve that girl, one need that the heir didn't seem to mind exploiting. Word had it the heir was in the dining hall, with a rather interesting guest. The lord had kept much of the staff of as he did with Trifect, so he was well informed as to who the guest was. It really didn't bother him much, as he saw it as a waste of resources to lock him up in the first place. He had better things in mind for the prisoner, but alas the royals did whatever they wanted back then, listening to his advice very little. They really were disrespectful curs, and got what was coming to them, though he had hoped for a more painful end for the dear royal family. Then again with some of princesses and princes still alive, maybe hope wasn't lost yet.

Trifect headed straight for the dining hall, missing Paige in the hallways by just a few moments. Things would have been easier had he been able to intercept her in the halls, but it was of little consequence in the grand scheme of things. He heard the heir invite the servant girl to eat with her and the thief. Quite an odd gesture, one that could have gotten Paige severely punished, but again that was if anyone that actually cared wanted to punish her. The Lord was wrapped around the heir's finger with that kind of stuff, so she was relatively safe as long as Aethyra chose to protect her. The more interesting thing he found about the room was the hidden presence inside. What exactly was Alaizabel doing? Well in the end it didn't really matter, he could sense the presence of no other demon inside.

Before Paige had the ability to respond to the offer, Trifect made his own presence known. Of course once entering the room, he got the strong scent of darkness from both Alain and Aethyra. It was a familiar darkness, had they been down to the cursed chamber where Alaizabel had been trapped for so long? They must not have found much to be eating calmly here. He didn't make mention of the darkness' scent, as to smell it you really had to be quite in tune with dark magic, and anyone that was that in tune with dark magic, could hide the smell of it easy. "Quite the interesting meal we have today, isn't it? The Heir to one of the greatest kingdoms to ever live, a rogue whose talents were wasted and locked away even if it was apparently futile to try and do so, and the ever loyal servant girl. It almost sounds like the start of a bad joke, if you think about it." Trifect slammed his book shut, and looked at Paige for a moment. "I believe our lady heir requested you eat with them. Do you need to take so long to decide if this is the request you refuse her? Seems like quite an odd choice to me."

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Character Portrait: Alain Rolands Character Portrait: Parthenia "Paige" Daphine Character Portrait: Aethyra Character Portrait: Trifect Quaizon
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"Yes, I have an important matter to discuss with you. But first, why not break tradition and eat with us? I already break my fast with a man escaped from the dungeons, so let us create more of a stir!" Parthenia couldn't help but laugh slightly and nod her head. She knew how dearly Aethyra wished to be just about anything but Princess and supported her spontaneuos acts. At least, as her friend. "As you wish, my Lady." Parthenia smiled, then straighted up, looking stiff but unable to hide the familiar and friendly twinkle in her blue eyes. "Of course, as your maid I completely disapprove, and furthermore I would discourage you from committing these acts again." she said in falsely stern voice which she only used playfully, a frown barely maintained on her lips.

Then her poker face broke and Parthenia smiled kindly, all the fake seriousness gone from her once again as Aethyra introduced her. "This is Parthenia, my closest and most trusted servant. We have been together for years, since I was small, and she is a close companion to me." Paige was flattered by the title and description Aethyra gave to her and curtisied to the man, greeting him with a small, "How do you do?" before Aethyra went on. "This is Alain. He was imprisoned for stealing a small bag of coin from the treasury, and had just escaped when I happened to meet him in the dungeon." "Imprisoned is a bit of a harsh word, do you not think? I would rather say inconveniently detained, but even this implies I could not leave at my leisure."

Parthenia laughed again, softly. She enjoyed this relaxed atmosphere and knew quite well that this type of comfort and companionship was one of the things Aethrya desired, while she liked to admit it or not. Although she hadn't seemed to escape the preening and dress up before coming. Reguardless, Paige was glad to be here, as she was always glad to be of use or even a pleasant presense. "Well, it is a pleasure meeting you Master Alain and it would be an honor to eat with both of you." Taking a tentive seat, she could see she was not the only one hungry as Alain had already been reseated and now eyed the food ravenously. "What is the important matter, or would you care to discuss it at a later time and place?"

She had barely finished speaking when another presense was made known. "Quite the interesting meal we have today, isn't it? The Heir to one of the greatest kingdoms to ever live, a rogue whose talents were wasted and locked away even if it was apparently futile to try and do so, and the ever loyal servant girl. It almost sounds like the start of a bad joke, if you think about it." Parthenia jumped, startled by the sudden intrusion and nearly fell over in the chair as she made her way to her feet. The man who Paige recognized as the king's advisor, slammed his book shut, and looked directly at Paige for a moment. She was frozen, though could not explain why. "I believe our lady heir requested you eat with them. Do you need to take so long to decide if this is the request you refuse her? Seems like quite an odd choice to me."

"I-I apologize. You are completely right Master Trifect. I did not mean to be so dimwitted and slow. I beg yours and Mistress Aethyra's forgiveness." Parthenia said quickly. She knew this was a man of great power and had no desire to offend him. Really she didn't want to offend anyone, but especially not this man. She always got a strange chill when he was near and try as she did to be light hearted, he always struck a tune of fear in her soul. It was almost like... well, Paige wouldn't ever bring herself to say it outloud. Quickly she took a seat and became very quiet, looking down at her hands, her knuckles white.