Only half conscious Bizan watches the group of half humans and monsters slay her hunters, easily and with passion.
Who is that? Are those the ones i was searching for? They must be, slying knights of the Alerion like that! Why do i have to meet them in such circumstances?
You ... who are you? ... Aren´t you afraid ... of the knights? ... of their retribution ... that they hunt you like me? ... are you the ones from Talingarde? she croaks.
|NPC - Cardinal Adrastus Thorn|
When the time is right, the servants invite each of you to follow them towards the meeting place.
The opulent dining room has been fitted for the occasion. The luxurious table is set with several dishes already served, at the head of the table, a devilishly handsome fellow, dressed in simple yet elegant priesthood cloths. You immediately recognize the man clothing as high priest attire, but you see none of the rich and superfluous decoration that Mitran Cardinals and High Priest uses. And then, the inverted red pentagram of Asmodeus displayed prominently on his chest.
Sitting at the priest side, a red haired woman with simple, yet elegant white and black dress. Completing her outfit, an old necklace with a green gem that matched her eyes.
Valence, please describe yourself and Hask.
The host welcomes you as soon you enter. ”Welcome and I appreciate your willingness to join us on this occasion. I assure you won’t be disappointed.” he smiles and invite you to sit.
”My name is Andrastus Thorn and this is Lady Cecelia Wentworth.” he says referring to the ginger woman. The platinum haired woman is nowhere to be seem.
The food displayed on the table consists of the following dishes:
- Sea Scallops in garlic-hollandaise sauce & fresh chive garnish.
- Angus Prime Rib - with Ruby Port Au Jus and Horseradish Sauce.
- Honey Baked Ham - with Cranberry Cornbread dressing
- Pork Loin - topped with Demi-Sauce and accompanied with Cranberry Cornbread Dressing
- Wild Greens with Sugared Walnuts and Bleu Cheese.
And the side dish:
- Penne Pasta - garlic cream, fresh basil and Parmesan Cheese
The choices of drinks are:
- Red Elven wine
- Beer. But the bear is what attracts attention. The beer has a sweet, rich, chocolatey aroma. Lots of toasted, malty characters on the palate. Dry, Smokey, crisp and bracing, nutty and enjoyable. Bitterness in the finish. The meal, there’s no comparison with the one you eat at the baron house, but even then, it is well prepared and has a rich taste.
The main course:
”I know you must be curious of this whole endeavor, but first let’s feast and enjoy.” you host says commencing the banquet for four.
|NPC - Grumblejack|
Grumblejack, the ogre finishes chewing the priest head and then notices the fox woman is awake and alive.
”What manner of un’ is this one?” he asks genuinely curious squatting besides the humanoid fox woman and poking her with a huge finger.
”Can we keep her? Grumblejack has Un’s and the Snake woman to eat, but this one fox un’ish might be a fine meal tomorrow!”
Looks too skinny. Might be okay for a nighttime snack but as a meal? You've have to fatten her up.
Seems Hound likes to humor Grumbles
grrrrrr. You try to eat me and i´ll roast you slowly! Better give me some water...please?
Still obviously exhausted she tries to stand up, but visibly staggers.
Cecelia offers Thorn’s guests a friendly smile. "Pleasure to meet you."
-Posted with Wayfinder
|Valence Niels d'Geiger|
He deigns not to speak to the creature, instead giving her a terse nod, and follows the servants to his assigned area, Harsk at his heels. Stripping himself of his modest disguise, content to sew it back later, he orders the Dwarf to bathe, and change into better clothing.
Taking himself on a tour, Valence made it as far as the library; the multitude of diverse and fascinating texts captivated him, and it was with atypical surprise when Harsk found him perusing, of all things, a recipe book. The Half-Elf was a scholar at heart, and this was the library of his retirement.
Quick to regain composure and snap at Harsk for interrupting him, Valence made for the bathing pool; he was admittedly impressed with the luxury, though he had seen similar through his various estate dealings. He wasted little time admiring the scene, removing what remained of his disguise and dressing in suit reserved for his most important clientele.
When fetched by the servants, Valence leaves his equipment in the provided room, making no attempts to hide or secure it; Harsk lets out a smack of pleasure at the sight of the feast, with Valence delivering his typical icy stare at the inappropriateness of the Dwarf.
For his part, Harsk cleaned up well. His hair and been combed and set in a loose bun, and his beard as properly braided. A simple buttoned shirt, the color of fresh creme, was tucked into a pair of brown leather breeches, complete with a belt and clean boots.
Valence is dressed to the nines; a fine silk jacket, byzantium in color and trimmed with knotted designs in black flecked with bits of obsidian, rests over a frilled shirt of the lightest pink. A creme ascot, matching Harsk, is tucked about his neck, and a pair of fine leather pants rest over shined shoes. His light blonde hair is braided over each ear, merging into a single braid in the back and threaded with a black silk thong.
With a slight bow, he greets his host, Harsk waiting to sit until his master does.
"Valence Niels d'Geiger, Esquire. It is my pleasure to be here...Cardinal Thorn, is it? And to you, Lady Wentworth-", he graces her with a pleasant, practiced smile and nod, "-my warmest greetings." With a tilt of his head to his minion, Valence simply says, "Harsk."
Loyal cohort that he his, Harsk fills his master's plate; salad is consumed first, followed by a bit of prime rib and scallops. Valence eats gingerly; protocol is familiar to him, and though he thoroughly enjoys the food, he eats only the proper amount. Harsk has a bit of everything, and it is clear to anyone paying attention that Valence only eats after Harsk has a chance to sample first.
Valence opts for the wine during dining; once finished, he will round off the feast with the beer, and though not his typical choice, he is quite pleased with the brew.
He makes casual conversation during dining, commenting on the fine manor, and particular fondness of the library. He'll chat with Cecelia as well, but keeps to only general questions and polite interest.
|NPC - Cardinal Adrastus Thorn|
Don't ignore Tiadora! She is all about love!
The feast proceeds with little conversation and nothing of consequence is discussed while the food is still being served. Andrastus, after noticing the dwarf used as test subject, smiles and makes a point of sampling all other food before it is served to his protégé and guests.
He inquires about work and nobility, about your earlier life and compliments you on your achievements. Different from the silver haired woman, which you now knows answers by the name of Tiadora, the cardinal seems to be an welcoming and understanding fellow.
The food is removed, dessert is served (colonial Pudding Cake) with a choice of beverage (coffee, tea, or iced tea), and like an unseen signal was passed, the servants retire, leaving you four alone in the room. The man at the head of the table is quick to get to business.
”I’ll topple the current Markadian regime and put a new king on the throne, one that faithfully bows to the Lord of Darkness and King of Hell.” he says seriously. ”For your services, aside the glory and earthly possessions and knowledge, I offer you the chance to shape the future of Talingard.”
Cecelia maintains a pleasant disposition and makes friendly conversation with the guest. Cecelia elects for the salad, sea scallops and only a single glass of red wine, explaining, "I have really been trying to focus on my training regimen and avoid heavy foods and excessive drinking." She quickly adds, "Everything looks wonderful, though. You have out done yourself tonight, Master Thorn!"
As conversation turns to the library, Cecelia nods in agreement with Valence's praises and recommends to him a few of the books that she had found personally enlightening. "Perhaps they would not be so interesting to an educated fellow such as yourself, but I particularly enjoyed Ichabod DeForester's essays on the history of religion in Talingarde. He writes at length about his concerns that the diversity of faiths was dwindling and that a single religion state could quickly become oppressive. It is quite prophetic of the many issues that we face today..."
When dessert is served, Cecelia helps herself to pudding and tea. As Thorn dismisses the servants, she falls silent, knowing from experience that it usually means the conversation is about to grow more serious. As Thorn speaks of topping the current kingdom, her face lights up. She turns her gaze towards Valence, observing his reaction and waiting for his response.
|Valence Niels d'Geiger|
I couldn't even try.
A small blink and momentary pause is all the indication Valence gives at Cecelia's address of "Master" to the Cardinal; he filed it away, forming the hierarchy of this new organization. His expression is true when he smiles at mention of books.
"Not at all Lady Wentworth! Though I have been fortunate to possess a modest wealth throughout my life, my position limits me in what I can acquire. Though I've read some of DeForester's work, it was heavily censored, and I would much enjoy reading the true text. I'm afraid much of my education has been focused on legalities, and I would relish the opportunity to exhaust many nights in that library."
Harsk does well, for himself, to mitigate his shock as Valence does not wait for desert to be sampled, spooning a bit of honey into a glass of iced tea before tasting the fine pudding.
When the Cardinal makes his declaration, all pretext of meal is dropped, and Valence regards the man with folded hands. He makes an obvious glance at the holy symbol present on his chest before speaking, all but ignoring Cecelia for the moment.
"That is an ambitious plan. You know more of me, likely, than I am aware; it goes without mention that I am an ambitious man. Your God is not within my purview, but the structure of His domain is immaculate. And though I know so little of you, it would seem to me that, if there is a person in Matharyn whom I would believe capable of such a feat, it could, indeed be you."
With a quick nod to Cecelia, Valence relaxes, and, ignoring the nigh-untouched desert, pours a cup of coffee, which is sipped black.
"There is a phrase I have not had need to say for quite some time. Cardinal Thorn, you have my full attention."
Nahia smiles as the bodies of the riders are cleaved and burned. She twists her arms in the air, the wasps flowing with her movements and gathering together before she throws her arms out and her head back, her mouth wide open. The buzzing cloud of angry wasps turn their heads and rush towards her. Without a moment of hesitation the cloud streams back into her mouth, the ungodly volume of them expanding her diaphragm, rushing down nose and maw, until only a few stragglers are crawling their way back in.
Nahia gasps and exhales air, a couple of errant wasps flitting around the corners of her lips. She takes a few deep breaths before heading over to the corpse of the cavalier and snatches his holy symbol from him. As the fox-girl-thing asks about their fear, she pulls a loop of twine from her pack and adds the symbol of the Knight of Alerion to another, that one gold and sapphire.
Walking towards the girl with her hips swaying, the illusion falls from her, restoring her normally vibrant clothing and perfect skin. With a smile she responds "No, we do not fear such a paltry set of foes. And Grumble, I think we have plenty for a feast. Besides, such fur would be both unappetizing and too much work to clean from the skin."
As Hound offers the water, Nahia reaches into her bag and pulls out a flask, taking a sip before offering it to the girl. "Would you prefer water... or maybe, given your display, you would prefer fire."
Hmm, the knights were after this one. She might be someone important... we could use her for information... or I could always use another sister...
|NPC - Cardinal Adrastus Thorn|
“Excellent. Let us make it official.” Andrastus says and then adds ”To allow you full knowledge of my endeavor, a contract must be signed.”
He brings out a quill, a silver ritual knife and two copies of a contract written on some unidentifiable leather and written in dark red ink – the Pact of Thorns, it is written the following:
Behold on this day Oathday in the eighth age of this world a perpetual Compact is made between Cardinal Adrastus Thorn (hereafter the Master) and those who would be bound to him as his acolytes (hereafter the Bound). Both the Master and the Bound shall hold fast and true to this Compact through all trial and tribulation. By blood and soul the Bound commit to the Compact and swear that it shall never be undone.
The Bound shall know and understand the Four Loyalties.
The First Loyalty is to their patron and god – mighty Asmodeus, first among the fallen, prince of the nine hells, our father below. They shall do all that can be done to further his worship and his glory.
The Second Loyalty is to their master – He who is called the Cardinal Adrastus Thorn, High Priest of Asmodeus in Talingarde. They shall do the Master no harm and obey his every commandment as long as those commandments do not clash with their First Loyalty.
The Third Loyalty is to their companions – the other Bound who serve alongside them. The Bound shall deal with each other fairly and honorably as long as doing so does not clash with their first or second loyalties. All treasure, wealth and reward garnered in their exploits will be equally shared with all of the Bound who aided in its acquisition.
The Fourth Loyalty is to themselves – for Asmodeus is the Lord of Ambition and all who serve him should strive to become great and powerful in his service as long as doing so does not clash with their first, second or third loyalties. By their weakness, ye shall know the unworthy.
The Bound swear that they cleave to and uphold the Four Loyalties even in the face of death and damnation.
The Master swears that as long as the Four Loyalties are upheld, he shall reward the Bound as they deserve for their deeds.
Thus it is written, and thus it shall be.
We being of sound mind and free will do so swear and let they who violate this Compact know all the wrath of Hell unending.
To Cecelia he adds "You must sign it as well my dear, so I can entrust you with all the knowledge you need to have your justice."
Bizan grabs the waterskin and drinks greedily. Where she spills water over herself, it sizzles and evaporates.
Thanks. ... I got plenty of fire myself thank you too. You can call me Bizan. Who are you? You´re the ones who escaped from Branderscar Prison right?
There are rumors...whispered among guards and in other places...a scourge in the north...mysterious happenings...
Bizan looks at the big green man.
You scared i´m a spy? Obviously i´m a bit different from them. she points at the slain hunters. And we had some major disagreements. Then i run into you lot here right before they can do to me what they did to the whole country.
Or this might be one of those situations where you try to infiltrate ur group by an elaborate setup where you pretend to be a fugitive and thus gain our trust.
Or that is how the stories go.
|Valence Niels d'Geiger|
Valence reads the contract thrice; its wording is deliciously simple, and it is only a matter of moments before he places it gingerly upon the table. A sharp nod to Harsk precedes a single word: "Pen."
Sipping his coffee from his right hand, the Half-Elf flexes and bends his left wrist; several delicate pops are heard during the process. "You'll pardon the delay, Cardinal; Dwarven legs are not the most brisk."
Harks returns, arms filled with a sheaf of parchment and a writing set, placing them before his master and returning to his seat. Valence takes pen in his limbered hand and drafts the first page, some 36" of script occupying both sides of a sheet, before stretching his hand once again, the face of a lawyer presented to the Cardinal.
"Regarding the First Loyalty..."
Valence doesn't argue any of the points of the agreement; rather, he works to solidify the details of each. A contract is designed to protect the interests of all involved parties, and Valence seeks only to ensure it does just that.
When the document is finally complete, he will allow Cardinal Thorn to inspect his addendum. If the man approves, Valence will agree to sign the contract original contract; his secondary addendum is left unsigned, discussed and debated but ultimately, unnecessary.
Cecelia continues to observe Valence's reaction. However, she is caught of guard when she is also offered a parchment and a silver knife. Feeling a nervous knot forming in her stomach, she slowly reaches out for the contract as if it were a wild animal that might bite at any moment. "Of...of course...That makes sense... she replies nervously to Thorn and she begins to sheepishly review the document.
Though lacking any legal experience, Cecelia tries to take the time to carefully consider each point. Loyalty to Asmodeus? I'm still getting used to that one....But I think I am okay with it. The fallen has certainly done more for me already than Mitra ever did. What's next? Loyalty to Cardinal Thorn? I have no problem with that. Next. Loyalty to the other bound? Does that just mean Valence or are there others? It does say companions...but I suppose if we are all following the same rules, they will have to be loyal to me also. That seems fine. Okay, last one. Loyalty to myself? Cecelia feels the knot in her stomach tighten. I don't know why, but that one scares me even more that the others. I mean, what does that even mean? But I don't really see any way that one could get me in trouble...so I guess I am okay with this...
Cecelia anxiously picks up the ritual knife and holds it against her hand. She is about to push down and break skin when Valence begins negotiating. Oh...I should probably wait and see how this plays out...
I think I am having a little too much fun making Cecelia both literally and figuratively short-sighted
Elaborate setup? Does this look like a setup to you?
She asks you with a raised voice.
You probably have good reasons to be suspicious, i do have the same. They not only killed my mother, but they invaded my life and took everything from me too. They´re responsible for the death of my father as well and they would have killed me in this damned prison, would i not have escaped. And ever since they hunted me. All because i´m a little different than them.
When you think this is a setup, then it is indeed very elaborate, without me even knowing about it and several towns burning down with many dying...
Oh there will be burning towns aplenty.
In any event, until we can confirm anything about you you will be coming along with us with a bag on your head. You'll stay in a cell and be fed and watered. If you try to escape, you die. Hound gets a bag.
Bizan looks around, clearly weighing her options, but then decides to remain passive and just look sullen.
A bag on my head and a cell? That´s not so different from them...
When the girl turns down the drink Nahia takes it back and takes a heavy swig. "Suit yourself then..."
Her face slightly reddened (whether through drink or the rush of combat, who knows), she listens to the bickering between Hound and the girl before intervening. "I believe that you will find us far more accommodating, even while being held. I don't believe our enemies to be so willing to soil themselves as to create a pawn such as yourself. So please, bear with us for a couple of days while we sort things out."
Fiery indeed, this one is. Reminds me of Rose when she is cornered...
Smiling at the girl, Nahia adds "Please, don't mind him. He's a bit wound up from all of the recent battles. Call me Alina. And what would your name be?"
Hound takes the girl's weapons and equipment before bagging her and escorting her to the cells.
Struggling to smile...
Nice to meet you Alina. My name is Ashura, Bizan Ashura.
To the Hounds surprise, she carries no weapons but an utility knife. She also refuses to be undressed.
I would love to chat more with you Alinda, but it´s a bit difficult with a bag on the head.
Mysty pipes up
look at it from our perspective, strange lady. We don't know you...yet. you may be ally or food, I guess. But we must be careful, you see. So many nasty people in world, it has quite damaged my faith in the goodness of the world. Why only a few days ago we were attac... Maybe a story for another time. Be patient.
Mysty looked at their catch. Chased by mithrans, she may be of use. If not, the boggards would enjoy her.
waste not, need not she thought with a cheerful smile. Then she thought of something.[/i]
Alina? What was that new spell? Wih the bugs. I thought snakes were your thing.
She gave nahia a gesture, a thieves sign that meant, "nice one".
wonder if that is good against dogs
Nahia, um, Alina smiles at Hound and Bizan and adds "The little one is right, but so are you. Here, come with us and we'll be hospitable to our new guest." Waving her hand, she begins walking back towards to Horn.
"Oh, and have the others drag the bodies back too, I'm not done with them yet. And I know Big'un isn't either, are you." She gives a smile to Grumblejack as she licks her lips.
Though with a whisper under her breath she adds "Keep an eye on her Hound." Message should still be in effect.
Smiling at Mysty as she pets the serpent around her neck, Alina adds "I carry a little bit of all the creatures of the forest within me, just as mama taught. Tongue of the viper, eyes of the owl... and the wrath of the hornet. And yes, there is an hot ember of rage I'm saving just for those visitors."
I figure we can talk on the walk back before we start getting into any kind few prisoner dilemma.
As they walk she glances back at the new girl and asks "So, why were the knights after you? Maybe you're the one who torched Brandescar..."
Tapping along blindfolded, Bizan decides to continue with the conversation.
Me torching Branderscar? No, no, i never made it there. There were some unfortunate mishaps on my voyage which kept me from arriving at the destination.
For why those knights have been hunting me i can´t exactly say, i never asked them. I have been guest of the monks of the Blessed Order of St.Macarius for some time, then the knights of the Alerion seemingly decided to give me some hospitality. I needed a change of air though and decided to take a break. Perhaps they didn´t like that or worried about me and send those nice men to see after me.
But what about you? You seem to know quite some interesting tricks...
|Valence Niels d'Geiger|
Cecelia and I are just gonna chat for a bit during the casual dinner that we've already moved beyond, so we get a better feel for each others' characters.
While dining on the succulent scallops, Valence gives a smile to the ginger lady seated at the table.
"So tell me, Lady Wentworth. Are you local to Matharyn? How did you come to know our-" with a nod to Adrastus, "-delightful patron?"
"Matharyn? Born and Raised..." Cecelia replies. However, there is no pride in her voice and her eyes express only sorrow and disappointment. "This is probably the longest I have ever been out of the city...and let me tell you, it's like a breath of fresh air..."
"As for the Cardinal...well..." Cecelia reflects for a minute, coming to the realization that she herself isn't entirely clear on the answer. "I suppose that's a long story...or at least a bit of complicated one." She gives the Cardinal a genuine smile and says. "I like to think it was fate that lead me to this manor."
Tidily cutting her scallops, she turns her attention back to Valence and asks, "How about yourself? I was told little about you before tonight, aside that you would, well, be here..."
|Valence Niels d'Geiger|
Valence raises an eyebrow, but his voice remains calm and practiced. "Out of the city, you say? Yes, fresh air can be good from time to time, I have to agree."
He scoffs ever-so-slightly at her next statement. "Fate is quite the Human concept. My mother was keen on believing that fate brought about nearly every event in her life. I never quite adopted her thinking on the matter...though I certainly believe in coincidences."
He nods. "About me. I've been a practicing barrister for-", he gives Cecelia a look-over, "-likely longer than you have been alive, my dear. I 'paid my way,' so to speak, serving under the guards; a boring lot, most of them, more content with their pay than the duties at hand. In fact, I would reckon most of my life has been fairly dull; numbers, legal texts, bookkeeping...nothing terribly interesting, at least until I received a letter from Cardinal Thorn, here, inviting me to his lovely home." Obviously that's a lie, but we don't need to try and out-bluff each other!
"Have you lived here long?"
How old is Valence? I have Cecelia marked as 21
Cecelia shrugs off Valence's scoff. "Well, I did say it was complicated, didn't I? Perhaps it was fate that led me to this manor...perhaps it was something else. However, I can feel in my bones that it was not mere coincidence. There are powers at work...and those powers have...intentions." Cecelia gives Valence an wickedly innocent smile. "Perhaps you would not call that fate, but I don't really know what else to call it."
As the topic changes, she replies "How long have I lived here in the manor? Well, I wouldn't be presumptuous enough to say I live here...but I have been staying here for..." Cecelia pauses a moment, as if counting in her head, "...well, I guess its almost been two months now."
As the conversation continues, Cecelia turns to Harsk. "Where are my manners?" She remarks, her voice still friendly, but her eyes cautiously investigating the silent dwarf. "So, the two of you work together?"
|Valence Niels d'Geiger|
59! Joined the guards at 24 (which I guess he was backpacking through Casmaron or some other rich person thing before that), spent 7 years in law school, and practiced for 28.
Harsk looks at Cecelia and smiles; before he's able to even begin to speak, however, Valence interrupts.
"Harsk and I met during my stint with the guards. When I left and began my legal duties, opening my practice, I invited him to join me for the extra salary. He seems to enjoy himself, don't you Harsk?"
Harsk will nod, before Valence moves on.
"He's quite the diligent scribe, though I'm afraid his table manners could use a bit of...refinement."
"Two months, you say? Our host is, indeed, very gracious. It is a lovely home you have shared with him."
Cecelia raises an eyebrow in amusment when Valence answers the question, studying the dynamic with curiosity. I could have sworn I asked Harsk that. Still, she smiles and listens, as she gingerly lifts pasta on her fork, making sure to not drop any on her white dress. Feeling a mischievous urge rising, she decides to further test the waters.
"Interesting..." she replies to Valence, before turning back to Harsk. "So, Harsk? What do you do with yourself when this one lets you away from your desk?"
|Mustaf and Chriztoph Hömner|
"I'm a guard." Harsk is currently on his third plate of prime rib. At least five mugs of the delightful beer have slid down his throat, possibly more; the Dwarf, in typical Dwarf fashion, seems unfazed.
A solid chunk of meat enters his mouth as he continues, the juices flowing from the corners into his beard. The words "Valence," "schedule" and what sounds like "pain in the ass" are intelligible; the rest is lost to chewing.
"HARSK!" Valence's command is forceful, but lacks any significant and obtrusive volume. "Never speak with your mouth full of food. Do you need another 'lesson'?"
Harsk looks solemnly down at his plate, though a twinge of something...anger? agitation?...clearly causes one of his eyes to twitch. "Sorry boss."
"Don't apologize to me! Apologize to the Lady Wentworth, and Cardinal Thorn."
At this, Harsk is obviously agitated, and rises, bowing deeply at the waist, his beard scant centimeters from his plate. "My sincerest apologies, Lady Wentworth. Cardinal Thorn. As Valence said, my manners are a bit brusque."
And with that, he sits, polishing off another beer and resuming his dining. Valence frowns, but it's accompanied by a chuckle, as he turns his attention back to his hosts.
"Do you garden, Cecelia?"
I almost stopped with "I'm a guard," but I figured I'd let Harsk say something! XD
Cecelia's eyes widen a little bit when Valence scolds Harsk, but the side of her mouth creeps into a smirk. Well, that was interesting.
Unable to hide a chuckle, she smiles at the dwarf. "It's no problem, Harsk. You did not cause me any offense."
For a moment Cecelia toys with the idea of trying to escalate the situation. However, she ultimately thinks better of it. I shouldn't be going out of my way to agitate the Cardinal's guests...even if I haven't had fun like this in far too long. However, Valence's question snaps her out of her thoughts.
"Um? Garden...? No, I can't say I do." She looks at him inquisitively, thrown off by the new topic. "Do...you garden?"
|Valence Niels d'Geiger|
Valence shakes his head. "No, not since my youth; the manor home of my parents had a yard, and I rather enjoyed working with my mother during those times. We had quite the rose bush collection."
"Unfortunately, living in the heart of Matharyn doesn't lend well to having a yard. Though I have a few potted plants in my office, it isn't quite the same."
With a sip of wine, as dinner winds to a close, Valence smiles. "If I may, then, what did you do for recreation? Prior to arriving here, and certainly making ample use of the library, that is."
The second Valence asks Cecelia about life prior to the manor, the light seems to drain from her eyes and her smile is noticeably weakened. Memories of her past life flash through her mind. Wandering around in a haze. Finding no joy in old hobbies. Lonely nights spent with nothing but her dark thoughts for company.
Breaking eye contact and fidgeting with her fork, she mumbles, "Oh, this and that...Mostly, I just read...a lot..."
"What about yourself..." she mutters weakly, not taking her eyes off of her plate.
Once the prisoner is secure, Hound gets right to work getting The Horn on alert for the Moon Dogs. He speaks with the Daemons and Erza about the intruders as well as the Boggards.
Unholy water is fetched from The Sanctum and kept in mugs and skins for splashing if the guards become aware of the dogs. In fact, all guards must now dabble their fingers in a small bowl of unholy water when challenged to see if there is any reaction.Kind of like The Thing test.
Hound will wear leather at all times at least.
Alina dismisses the question with a wave of her hand. "Interesting? Maybe. It's just what happens when you spend time in the company of the natural world. There is more in the spiritual world than just the angels the Mitrans speak off, whether they like it or not."
She glances back with a smile "But what seems really interesting is that you implied that you were being sent to Brandescar. Now that seems like it could be in interesting story."
Mysty walked along with nahia and the prisoner, until she was secured.
Mysty on hearing brandscar piped up yes tell us that story. Perhaps we have a lot in common, although i never went to the prison. Just the salt mines.
That´s funny. You put a bag over my head and put me in a cell, but you think we might have a lot in common and want me to share my story, while you don´t tell me anything. How about you give me a more comfortable bed, a good bath and something good to eat and we can talk tomorrow? Those guys hunted me for days and i had no rest at all, nor real food.
|Valence Niels d'Geiger|
"Ah...well, allow me to tell you a story."
"When my father was young, he fancied himself an 'explorer,' and he set upon his 'grand quest for adventure and excitement.' He traveled across much of Talingarde, and eventually, to the mainland. His group delved into ancient ruins, unearthing secrets perhaps best left buried. As I was told, they lost many good people, but my father was fortunate; he managed to avoid much of the trouble himself. Or, so it seemed."
Folding his napkin, and placing it upon the table with his silverware, Valence frowns, and mimics Cecelia's forlorn posture.
"On his final expedition, a strange being contacted my father, deep within some hidden tomb. Some sort of fey, I believe, though at the time, none were certain what exactly she was. She informed my father that she had been watching his activities for many years, and her people were no longer going to tolerate his looting of their sacred places. She warned him that he would suffer greatly if he didn't return everything; every artifact, every bone, every scrap of dirt he'd ever gathered..."
Valence sighs. "My father protested her demands, telling her it was impossible. At that, she grew furious, and as he stated, her appearance went from inhumanly beautiful to fiendishly terrifying. She declared that, for his insolence, any child he sired would be cursed, to live their life in reverse; they would be born old, and die young, doomed never to have a normal existence. Needless to say, he didn't take such a threat as serious as he should..."
Fiddling with one of the buttons on his coat, Valence casually tossed it on the table as it came loose. "Though I may appear young, Lady Cecelia, I am actually over 300 years of age. I am rapidly nearing the end of my life; I fear I have only a year, perhaps two, left on this plane. And I fear as well, that my soul is doomed to the courts of the fey upon my passing, in penance for my father's crimes. Like my coat, I, too, am falling apart."
i like your attitude, but you may want to think about your position. We are not the mitrans. If we don't like you we won't send you to prison. We will slice your throat and use you as undead sword fodder.
Mysty considers for a second.
if we thought you were a danger, or a threat, that's what would have happened. But we see potential. So tell us your story, and we will tell ours. We have common ground, I think. Otherwise you are of no use, and we'll dispose of you.
On arriving at the cell, mysty removes the bag.
See, your situation has improved. Now let us talk. We can offer allies, power and vevenge against those who have treated you as a hunted animal. But we need to know about you, and you us. We have secrets, which we cannot tell until trust is earned, but we can still tell much.
Mysty finds a seat. A flame starts dancing over her hands as if a toy.
this is a job interview, of sorts. The opportunity of a lifetime. And to have a lifetime, as well.
you! as she points at a guard.
go get food and drink for our guest. Make it good and make it snappy. Move!
The guard takes off at a run, towards the kitchen. Shortly he returns with fresh bread and butter , meat stew (best not to ask what sort of meat), and a large mug of ale. [/b]
Mysty removes the fork and knife from the utensils, leaving a spoon.
just in case she smiles. you can kill someone with a spoon, but it's not that easy. Did it once.
she looks at Bizan
so you were saying?
Bizan takes a deep breath as the bag is removed, then watches Mysty and everyone else carefully, listening to each word.
As the flame appears over Mystys hand, she beginns to smile and relax a bit.
I see you aren´t a stranger to the fire. That is indeed a common ground. Very well, i´ll tell you my story in short details.
I grew up like everyone untill some monks came along and took my mother away because she was a witch or something. Then my father and i moved and had a nice life, untill i found out my mother wasn´t a witch, only a little different from the average human. So am i. I learned to keep it secret and developed some talents. Then i met this lovely boy who wanted to be a knight. We got a little bit too close, the real me scared him off, he came back with some knights to investigate and somehow the town burned down. I can´t remember everything, but many a knight burned that day. Eventually they caught me, imprisoned me and sent me off to Branderscar, only i never arrived because there was an unfortunate incident on the road. I wandered through the woods in search for a peacefull live, but it seems someone decided i don´t deserve that and sent some hunters after me. They were a bit better than the average knight and hunted me through half the country, where i met you. Maybe not totally coincidental, i heard rumors and wanted to investigate. I need a place to live and some more tolerant people.
She looks at Mysty again, as suddenly her figure changes and she looks exactly like Mysty, conjuring a little flame on her hand.
Got some talents to offer.
Disguise: 1d20 + 18 ⇒ (1) + 18 = 19
Also i don´t need a spoon to kill you. Only fire and i got plenty of that.
Cecelia continues fidgeting with her food, half listening, half lost in her own thoughts. However, somewhere around "fiendishly terrifying" she begins paying more attention to the bizarre story. As Valence begins to explain the curse, she starts to look up from the plate with a raised eyebrow and confused expression. When the story ends, she opens her mouth as if to speak, but then closes it again as if lost for words. I think he's pulling my leg...but I'm not sure...
Uncertain what else to say, she just plainly states, "No, I meant do you have any hobbies?" before returning to her food. "Besides gardening and lawyering, that is..." she adds, hoping, but not expecting, that the awkward topic shift will pass unnoticed.
Nahia sighs lightly at how quickly the conversation turns ugly.
Yes, we're in power here, but mead loosens lips better than vinegar...
Still, she has to chuckle at the girls response. Though when she shows off her shapechanging the chuckle turns to a giggle as Nahia will her crown to also make her appear more like Mysty. "You're not the only one with that trick. And it isn't that we don't empathize... I mean, we've been in similar situations before... but you can never be too careful." But it isn't long before she is back in her fancy clothes and elven features.
Nahia takes a bad and bottle of wine from her bag, along with some glasses. Filling both glasses and revealing the bag to contain some sort of honey soaked pastry, she walks over to the cell and offers the girl the sweets and her pick of glasses. "Here, something a little nicer, as a sign of good faith."
She can take it or not... Assuming nothing goes awry...
Sipping from a glass herself, she goes back to her bag and gestures an offer wine to the others as well. "So your mother was something like a witch and you burned down a town. Plus a story of lost love. That is interesting, like out of one of my books." she adds with a starry eyed smile.
"See, that's why my mother lived in the woods. By the time someone can think you're a witch you've already eaten them and divined the next months weather with their entrails. Much simpler that way." She chuckles at her own joke before sipping more wine, her face reddening a little more, and asking "So, what is your plan? Given your choice, how would our encounter here come to an end?"
Mysty grins at bizan's flame.
new there was a reason i liked you. But i don't burn well. I like the burning knights