Wardove's Rumble in the Jungle

Game Master Laithoron

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After Darvesch and Greasha have sat down to enjoy dinner together, Maasha calls it an early night. "Ah good appetite, that's what I like to see! Don't worry about cleaning up, I'll handle things in the morning. Good night, your honor, Greasha!"

It takes some time before the two remaining dwarves manage to reach their limits, but eventually it's Greasha who throws in the towel first. "Alright, I know when I've met my match! You bested me fair and square," she laughs.

Leaning back and taking a draught of ale from her tankard, Greasha asks, "So I couldn't help but notice the etching on your cuirass, you're a... Torchbearer? Is that right? What has you so far from home?"

Dwarf Lightbringer

Darvesch chuckles as he finishes the last of a pastry. He takes a moment to drink and wipe his face off before answering, "I didn't come to the Shiv with Alis and her retinue. The ship I was on crashed, with me and my blood-cousin Grimnon, well before they got there. We set off to search for her because of trouble in Dafar. My father couldn't help, as he was away, so I made it my mission to help Alis." He says, remembering Grimnon, but suppressing the sadness. "That's it really."

"Now granted," Greasha frowns a bit, brow knitted as she rubs a thumb across her lips, thinking equally on what Darvesch did and did not say, "most of the men were either jawing about this lass or that, but that was before the fight. After, I didn't hear tell about any more of our kind in your group. You were all stuck together there, on that island, right?"

SM DC 20 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (14) + 7 = 21

Dwarf Lightbringer

He lets out a sigh before continuing, "Yes." He looks to the axe at his side, sadness in his eyes. "My axe was destroyed." Is all he says.

"Your axe?" Leaning to the side a bit, Greasha notes that he still wears the same formidable weapon she spied earlier. She looks ready to ask another question when the expression on his face says it.

With a heavy nod, the woman pushes herself up and heads into the kitchen, looking for something. Not long thereafter, she returns with a dusty, oaken cask under one arm, and a three small stone mugs in her other hand. Expression stoic, she fills all three with thick, nearly black hirschblut, hands one to Darvesch, and keeps one for herself. Holding hers up in toast towards the hero before her, she says, "To blood shared, and for blood spilled... "

Dwarf Lightbringer

Darvesch raises his mug and throws the hirschblut back in nearly one drink. "Thanks." Darvesch shakes the sadness, "His memory will be honoured. In the mean time. Let's not ruin this evening." Darvesch stands and offers his hand, to help her up or lead her somewhere, or both.

LK Calendar: Uniens 19, 4210 — Alsday
Time: 2:00nf (night, 2:00am)

Even as Darvesch and Greasha were beginning to feel the weight of hours and spirits weighing upon them...

Even as Lureene and Sasha whiled the hours away laughing and flirting with Isaac...

Lilyana lay tossing and turning in Lieutenant Nimniel's cabin. Ire and anxiety were doing more to keep her awake than the muted conversation between Prince Tyralor and Princess Alissariel, or the intermittent squeals of laughter from the ready room.

She sighed.

At least we're safe now, but who knows what will happen when we reach home in the morning. Those two floozies are in for a surprise if they think brother will have time to dote on them with everything that's...

The young woman's thoughts trailed of and her eyes grew wide in the dark. "Of all the stupid..."

Lilyana yanked the sheets aside and slid out of bed slipping on one of the princess' silk robes over her nightgown. Within moments, her feet were pattering down the hallway towards the ready room where Lureene and Sasha were keeping her brother awake. Lips pursed, she put on her best face and flung the door open.

"Major Hlokenar!" Even though her words made it clear whom she was addressing, the look she gave Lureene took her to task just the same. "Were you planning to brief our new governor and her companions on the situation back home at some point, or were other more important affairs keeping you occupied?"

Alis bit her lip as she spied Lilyana storm past Tyralor's open door. Even as the shouting began, she picked up her glass of wine and said softly to the prince, "I suppose it is too much to hope for a single night of peaceful quiet."

Two bells past nightfall. She is a spirited one...

Lureene breaks off a giggle as she turns to see the SHE-DEMON enter the ready roon.

By the Hordes of the ABYSS...does she EVER sleep?

She puts on a forced smile on her face, while stifling a yawn. Wow, it must be really late... "Why, hello Lady Lilyana. I hope we did not disturb you. As for why the good Major is here keeping us company, the Princess is currently conferring with Prince Tyralor right now. I presume Alis will summon Isaac when she is ready to be debriefed."

"Oh this is certain to end well, isn't it?" She gave a light laugh and held up a hand to the prince, clearly intending to deal with the latest crisis before the whole ship was plunged to the bottom by Lilyana's tempest.

When Alis held up a hand for for him to clasp, wrist gracefully downturned, he gently took it and raised her lightly to her slippered feet. "Indeed, although I would wager that no amount of wine nor weariness would see us resting at ease this night. I am grateful, however, for these few hours we at least have shared in what I hope has been pleasant conversation."

Alis returned his intense gaze with a sincere smile flecked with playfulness. "Most assuredly, and the company has been pleasant as well."

Squeezing his strong, warm hand with hers, she allowed the towering prince to lead the way to the back of the hall whereupon she chided, "Lady Hlokenar, I promise you we shall find whomever left that pea beneath the lieutenant's bedding and make them pay for your lost sleep. Now then, Sir Isaac, from what news does the captain of my guard keep me shielded?"

A gentle hand stroked Darvesch's hair, rousing him from slumber. Even as his eyes opened, he could feel the hard wood of the ship's deck beneath him and the balmy breeze coming off the bay upon his face. Beside him, sat Greasha raking out her braid with one hand while coaxing the hero back to wakefulness. The two were both still appropriately attired, but had evidently fallen asleep gazing at the scintillating band of stars ringing Elsemar's equator.

"I'd wager you could forge a hauberk that would be the envy of an elf king if you had a net long enough to sweep up some of those diamonds in the sky."

She smiled and leaned down to give Darvesch a kiss on the cheek. "You're a fine dwarf, Darvesch. I'd like to hear more about what your plans are for the Lightbringers when you have the time. Unfortunately, this young lady needs to get to bed, and you've got a midnight council to attend by the sounds of it! I'll see you at breakfast."

With that, she hopped to her feet, affording the warrior a pleasant enough view when she remembered to gather up the depleted cask of hirschblut and the stone tumblers.

Isaac was enjoying himself for the time being before he had to go back to working constantly. It was nice to be in the presence of beautiful women who were flirty with him and talking to him like an equal. It was different and very nice for a change.

Though of course his fiery sister who had a stick shoved where it shouldn't be came bursting into the room, yelling at him, but her wicked gaze was trained on the red head and the blond he was chatting with.

for the love of the gods, what has gotten into her? He wondered as he gave his sister a look of disbelief as he turned his attention on her, honestly speechless by her sudden out burst of rage.

"For one, Lilyana, I expect my little sister, and the daughter of General HLokenar to show far more self control than this." He said, raising his tone with her and keeping it firm, showing his disappointment with her out bursts, he figured he had let it slide for too long and needed to put his foot down.

"Secondly, we have just been rescued, I believe the prince and the princess were giving us a chance to rest and relax before we jumped back into business. So please, show a little more respect to your elder brother and your saviors, because I for one am sick of your little attitude. So adjust it to suit the daughter of a general." His tone now showing the authoritative side that he had been keeping at bay so he could enjoy himself for the evening.

With that said and done, he shook his head and turned his attention towards the prince and the princess, hearing that she was ready to be debriefed on what was going on, he pushed himself out of his chair and stood up, giving them a slight bow. "Of course, could we step outside to talk?" He asked as he raised his eyebrows too them, waiting for permission or another suggestion as to where to talk about such things.

Lureene's eyes widen at the outburst of Isaac. I did not think he would be SOOO forceful here...

In a burst of clarity, it occurs to the succubus the younger woman was JEALOUS of the attention between her and her brother.

As Isaac prepares to go meet with Alis and Tyralor, she waves him on realizing she needed to get some shut eye.

I wonder if he knows of her feelings about me?

Lilyana stands in shocked silence when her scolding elicits a stern rebuttal from her big brother.

He's– They're– My self control?!

She starts to pipe up, growing red in the face with embarrassment at being treated like a child in front of the others when Alis' joking reference to the princess and the pea cools her flames just a tad.

Does Prince Amthyrian think of me as just a child as well?

Failing completely to avoid looking like she is sulking, she looks down, avoiding eye contact with everyone (particularly Lureene) and says, "Forgive me for interrupting your conversations, I thought we had simply forgotten ourselves in the excitement, that's all..."

Bluff Checks
L 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (2) + 11 = 13

Sense Motive Checks:
A 1d20 + 23 + 3 ⇒ (14) + 23 + 3 = 40 alertness
I 1d20 + 11 + 5 ⇒ (1) + 11 + 5 = 17 familiarity
L 1d20 + 2 + 2 ⇒ (9) + 2 + 2 = 13 alertness
T 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (16) + 11 = 27

S 1d20 + 2 + 2 ⇒ (4) + 2 + 2 = 8 human

Tyralor nods sympathetically. At once he understood the need for a young man such as Isaac to demand being respected as such in front of others and not brought to heel like some dog. Yet by the same token, it was clear to the older prince that Lureene and Sasha's cavalier ways did not engender sisterly feelings in the more conservative Lilyana.

"An eminently understandable conclusion, under the present circumstances, for one given to looking ahead to what might come. I should confess that I myself had lost all sense of how late the hour had grown. Let us hold council swiftly then that we might all retire and enjoy a few hours of repose as surely as we have enjoyed our high spirits."

Still trying to keep from pouting, Lily nods before giving a quick curtsy and a mumbled pardon to be excused. She then hurries out of the ready room and back to her bed whether to cry or curse you aren't quite certain.

Bluff Checks
L 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (18) + 11 = 29

Sense Motive Checks:
A 1d20 + 23 ⇒ (6) + 23 = 29
I 1d20 + 11 + 5 ⇒ (2) + 11 + 5 = 18 familiarity
L 1d20 + 2 + 2 ⇒ (15) + 2 + 2 = 19 alertness
T 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (3) + 11 = 14

S 1d20 + 2 + 2 ⇒ (12) + 2 + 2 = 16 human

Isaac is relieved to see that Lily had taken his words to consideration, and heart. He hated being like that with her, it was his least favorite thing to do, but he wouldn't be scolded like a five year old in front of his peers just as much as she didn't.

Reaching out before his sister ran off, he knew she was upset and had to right it before he lost sleep over it. Taking her gently by the arm he gave her a gentle look that was vastly different from the one he had given her mere seconds ago, "We'll talk tomorrow morning... I love you, Lily... sleep well." he said softly to her, his tone apologizing for his scolding.

Letting her go, he took another deep breath and nodded to Tyralor, "Yes... I believe a quick meeting would be preferable."

Although the others can't see or hear it, Isaac can tell that Lily gives a slight sniffle as she returns his hug and whispers, "I love you too, Ize," before heading to her room, eyes moist but cheeks dry — at least until she is out of sight.

Male Sky Elf Game Master lv 20

I'll post a recap of what's been going on in Dafar and Port Eldarion tomorrow as work affords time. Once that's taken care of any any banter/questions are resolved, I'll move on to our arrival in Port Eldarion.

BTW, just because it needs to be said... It's nice to be playing with you guys again. Thanks for your patience, and I'm glad for those of you who are still here. :)

Dwarf Lightbringer
Greasha Torwold wrote:

A gentle hand stroked Darvesch's hair, rousing him from slumber. Even as his eyes opened, he could feel the hard wood of the ship's deck beneath him and the balmy breeze coming off the bay upon his face. Beside him, sat Greasha raking out her braid with one hand while coaxing the hero back to wakefulness. The two were both still appropriately attired, but had evidently fallen asleep gazing at the scintillating band of stars ringing Elsemar's equator.

"I'd wager you could forge a hauberk that would be the envy of an elf king if you had a net long enough to sweep up some of those diamonds in the sky."

She smiled and leaned down to give Darvesch a kiss on the cheek. "You're a fine dwarf, Darvesch. I'd like to hear more about what your plans are for the Lightbringers when you have the time. Unfortunately, this young lady needs to get to bed, and you've got a midnight council to attend by the sounds of it! I'll see you at breakfast."

With that, she hopped to her feet, affording the warrior a pleasant enough view when she remembered to gather up the depleted cask of hirschblut and the stone tumblers.

His sigh could be heard by only the heavens, "I'm in no mood do deal with all that. I'm going to bed too." He gathers himself, stands, and makes his way to bed.

Alis looks around and notes that Darvesch has not been keeping Isaac and the ladies company all the while.

Not surprising after the drama from a few nights ago I suppose...

"My prince, could you please send someone to find Darvesch and request his presence? I have the feeling we all need to hear what news the good Marshal has for us..."

With a silent nod, Prince Tyralor hails a sailor from the night watch who quickly tracks down the dwarf and informs him that his attendance has been requested by the Princess.

Once the Governor and her companions are all in attendance, Major Hlokenar began to recap the recent events in Dafar and Port Eldarion that led to the current crisis.
What Went Wrong...
"Near the end of last year (Mistrath 4209), there was a minor earthquake in Dafar. Such quakes are nothing out of the ordinary and there was only insignificant damage. However, it loosed a plague of locusts that decimated farms throughout much of the interior. As a result, there severe shortage of both food and other agricultural by-products for the next two months."

"While this ordinarily would have been something the government was prepared to handle, Governor Gweniel Taurion elected to take a wait-and-see stance. Unfortunately, this resulted in a shortfall and many farmers and businessmen fell on hard times."

"To compound matters, selfish opportunists took advantage of the situation and banditry began to rise. Disgruntled farmers, unfit fathers, and even the very Dafari natives Ilmarond has been trying to help all saw profit where we would have hoped for solidarity. This unexpected outbreak of crime only weakened the economy further. Worse still, the Confederation of Freebooters decided a weakened Dafar was an ideal target for extortion. With our armed forces trying to keep the peace inside our own borders, we were in no condition to fend off attacks from. Knowing that it was our only option in the short term, the Governor attempted to pay them off, but they only wanted more bullion and more coin."

"Now Governor Taurion had always prided herself on the fact that Dafar did not need to call upon Mennen Fedleth for aid at any previous point during her tenure, but by the start of Kevath 4210, she had no choice but to swallow her pride and do just that. We received word that King Aramandil was going to be sending a skilled diplomat and reinforcements to help mediate the situation and spearhead relief efforts. Unfortunately, even though your Highness traveled as swiftly as possible, it seems Lady Taurion's call for aid came months too late. By that time, even fath– ah... General Hlokenar was having to contend with a high number of self-centered deserters who cared more about a lapse pay due to our emergency measures than about their duty."

"At any rate, one we had heard that aid was on its way, the Governor suspended any further tribute payments to the Freebooters and concentrated on placating the deserters by catching up on back-pay for the army. Yet in spite of her best efforts, we were forced to give up patrols and oversight of increasingly large portions of the interior to bandits and increasingly aggressive Zuck tribesmen. Her last hope was to host a grand tournament in the area, followed by an address to rally the nation, but it seems that only blood will satisfy some people..."

The Governor's Murder...
"In spite of the best efforts of Governor Taurion and Councilor Eluchíl, the people of the Dafari tribe (yes, there are other tribes of Zucks beside them) were seemingly intent upon overwhelming the system. More and more of them just kept building up this huge slum outside the city walls in a region we call The Flats. Even though they had been happy to hunt and conquer other tribes in the past, it seems like success had made them lazy. Every day, more and more would come hoping to work at the plantations, even though there is only so much rice that can be grown."

"So it was... Alsday, the 1st of Astrath... The Governor was holding a grand tourney in the Coliseum to boost the morale of the people. She also intended to announce her plans to restore order, and ask for everyone's support and patriotism, but that speech never came. Instead, a diabolic 3-stage attack was launched. First fires were set within the governor's residence at the palace sending alarms and a large column of smoke up into the air. This distracted all the attendees who could see it, and draw the attention of my previous superior, Marshal Gilthar, who raced off to try and put a stop to the crime before it got out of control. Yet with him distracted, Gwiniel's supposed servants threw off their disguises revealing a number of men and women with skin almost as dark as the Dafari, yet eyes and features that were distinctly elven! While I was manning the guard headquarters when it happened, I'm told the rebels first paralyzed the Governor before stripping off her crown and throwing it into the crowd. Then, with the poor woman still frozen and guards struggling to reach her, they cut out her heart and put a stone in its place before fleeing into the chaos! When Colonel Gilthar and his men gave chase, they the cowards set off a trap and blew up the Porter and Cartwright's Guild Hall, dropping the structure atop them and killing gods know how many innocent bystanders!"

"Deviously clever to take advantage of the city gates being opened to all in welcome to commit their crimes in the arena, yet it still doesn't explain how they managed to attack the palace. The best we've been able to come up with is that they either had plants in the palace, or sacrificed charmed animal messengers to get explosives in the palace... that or shape-shifting druids perhaps. Regardless, that was the final blow needed to plunge our home into Anarchy."

The Aftermath...
"It's been well over a month now since that fateful day. Port Eldarion's high priest, Lord Mandir Darodel, attempted to resurrect the Governor, but he was unable to do so. Naturally, your Highness is aware that Dafar's charter doesn't allow the Cabinet's ministers to appoint a new ruler from within."

"Knowing that you were en route, the city's remaining leaders did their best to maintain order at least over Port Eldarion and Rivermarch even as contact with other provinces subsided. With my direct superior slain, I was promoted into the role of Marshal and immediately declared marshal law even Father strove to maintain order in the countryside. Yet in spite of our best efforts, thousands started departing by ship. That is, until word arrived that the channel at Light's End was cut-off by those monstrous titan-spawn, Scylla and Charybdis."

"With no telling how long it would take to receive aid, nor any friendly ports to which refugees could flee, fear began to spread. If the same traitors who organized Governor Taurion's murder were not already gathering warbands in the mountains and jungles, it was only a matter of time before the Freebooters would decide to take matters into their own hands."

"And that was exactly what happened..."

The Kidnapping...
"This past morning (Uniens 18), shortly before dawn, a rabble-rouser from Freetown calling himself O'beilumanji, lead an attack on the Academy of Starsha where Lily studies when she's not at the abbey. He 'said' it was retribution for Dafar's complacency over slavers operating out of Freetown, but that's complete rubbish. Everyone knows that slavery was outlawed in Dafar the moment the last Malatestans loyal to their manifest imperialist were ousted!

At any rate, O'beilumanji and his followers set fire to many of the campus buildings but chiefly concentrated their attacks on the student and faculty dormitories. Knowing that Lil' (and the others) were in danger, I set out ahead of my guard, racing across the rooftops to reach her."

"While I could see that there were dark-skinned rioters on the ground, it was the dark-haired elven woman I spied attempting to elude me who caught my attention. Mind you, I was not simply forgetting myself and chasing some loose woman, she was dressed in armor that made her resemble a giant wasp and carried two saw-toothed blades, moving with the grace of a dancer... or an assassin. Yes, I'm sad to say that Dafar is not without such low sorts, even amongst those who should be above such practices."

"Unfortunately, before I could apprehend her, I heard the rushing of great wings from behind me and above. I remember smoke and motes of fire... a staggering blow to the back of my head... The last thing I recalled from before I awoke in that cell was of the elven woman picking me up as easily as if I were a toddler. After that? Well, that's where you found up aboard that slave galley..."

"Any questions, your Highness? Anyone?"

Lureene is quiet and thoughtful as Major Hlokenar finishes his report. For once any thoughts of ardor are driven from her mind. The thought running through her mind was how the Governor was brutally desecrated as part of her murder.

I think this smells of the Coil...but to what end?

She clears her throat and speaks up finally, "Major, as you may or may not know we have run into these assassins before. They work for the Ruby Coil and their goals are quite nefarious. Have you discovered any other signs or evidence that point to that assassin"?"

Dwarf Lightbringer

"Yes. One question. How long will it take to get there? The sooner we get there, the sooner we can quash the lawlessness, fear, and paranoia. The sooner I can bring the Lightbringers to Darfar." Darvesch says, rubbing his eyes and half yawning.

"Oh come on, El! Chopping people's hearts out in an arena?" Sasha shakes her head. "Trust me, that's not the Wasp's style. Aunt Shivone would go for a nice clean kill if she wanted someone dead. No way she'd leave a job that big to a bunch of crazy half-black, um... half-black-elves? Black-elves? Half-blacks?"

She rolls her eyes and twirls a finger in her hair, clearly annoyed. "Anyway, you know what I mean."

Sasha's words are of no comfort to Alis and she merely replies to her cousin, "I had a look at the charts earlier, we should be there around daybreak, Frændi."

Lureene glances at Sasha, a look of surprise on her face. "Sash, I did not say Shivone would personally cut out her heart. I meant to say the Coil orchestrated the attack against the Governor! I don't think the Coil would care HOW she was killed, only that she meets her end."

Isaac pauses for a moment to consider what Lureene asked as well as what Sasha meant by her 'Aunt Shivone'. "Well honestly, it sounds like you could probably tell me more about the Ruby Coil and these 'Wasps' as you call them. I know that they are more than just rumors though. Every now and then, we'll find a victim, but they're always left in such a way that it's clear we were meant to. The thing is, the cases I've seen, it was mostly people who were opposed to the Governor that wound up with a slit throat. Somebody that good probably could have taken Lady Taurion out any time they pleased I'd think."

"Unless some factor unbeknownst to us has changed to precipitate such a change of heart... no pun at the late Lady's expense intended, of course."

It's a few moments before the irony of Tyralor's comment causes Sasha to snicker, inappropriateness lost on her. "Oh who knows, you guys. All I'm saying is that the Wasps are way fussier about their work than that, that's all."

She raise her palms with a shrug and comments, "Why do you think I didn't want to join up? Too many rules and orders to follow, that's why!"

Lureene ignores Sasha's outburst and turns to look at Isaac, the look in her blue eyes intense. "Are you suggesting the former Governor was in league with the Coil?" She glances at Alis and adds "'Lis, do you remember what Jask had said about what he discovered about Governor Taurion?'

Alis sighs slightly, forcing a congenial smile, "Thank you for that personal insight, Sasha."

Turning to Lureene, she says, "When Priyya was talking to Jask, she said something to the effect that he discovered a higher-up in the government was funneling gold to a Freebooter captain by the name of Kinkarian I believe. It sounded like a protection racket of some sort."

"A protection racket? Lady Alis, I'm sure you'll find that there are many rumors in Dafar. If every last one was true... Well, Lady Lammontari should be able to help debunk some of them when you meet her. She's our Spymaster, after all. If anyone would know about such things it would be her."

Lureene's eyes widen in recognition as Alis mentioned the Captain who was the Freebooter contact. She remembered all too well the ex-Captain...

"Alis, I remember Kinkarian!" she exclaims, "Sasha and I encountered his ghost back on the Shiv! He was on the wreck Brine Demon and we ended up putting his soul to rest!" She smiles happily, "But we were ALSO able to recover the logs from the wreck! They may have some proof of the ex-Governor's involvement with the Freebooters!"

Alis blinks in surprise at the revelation and shakes her head slightly, smiling with relief at the revelation.

"Lureene, have I mentioned that I love you lately? Evidently Lady Luck has her eye on you as well. I'll be quite interested to review those logs later when we have more time. Thank you for this, El, you too Sasha, this could be one of the breaks we've hoped for..."

Dwarf Lightbringer

"While you are looking over logs, I'll be sure finalize my plans and give them to you after." Chimes Darvesch. He looks to Isaac, "Are there any other developments we should be made aware of? Any other information we should know? If not, may we adjourn here?"

Alis nods in acknowledgement to Darvesch. "It will be a few days yet before Yvonne and the rest of the convoy arrives with supplies, funds, and reinforcements, but perhaps the Major can direct the appropriate individuals to us for your building project once we arrive.."

Turning to Isaac, she says, "I have read about as much as I can on Dafar, her people, and provinces as I can. Learning more about a delicate situation is my chief concern, but at this point I think a few hours of rest would be better preparation than a few more of briefings. That is, unless there are additional current events we need to know about..."

"I believe that some rest and relaxation would be best," Isaac agrees. "I can't think of anything pressing enough to lose any sleep over. Well, besides what we've already talked about that is."

"Very well then," Alis says, "let's adjourn and get some rest then. Lureene, I'll have a look at that journal after we've settled in at whatever is left of the palace. Sleep well everyone."

Dwarf Lightbringer

"Sleep well, Frænka, everyone."

With that, Darvesch makes his way to his bed.

Lureene yawns, "That is a good plan, 'Lis. Pleasant dreams, everyone!" She then allows Sasha to walk her to the Captain's quarters to catch a few hours of shut-eye before the start of what she suspected will be an eventful day.

LK Calendar: Uniens 19, 4210 — Alsday
Time: 2:00db (morning), 8:00am)

Theme: Doomful Presence

"Nnnngh..." Alis squeezed her eyes shut against the insistent clanging of a bell folding a very comfortable pillow over her head. In spite of her best intentions, she and Tyralor had remained up even after the prior night's conference speaking until the sun had very nearly breached the horizon.

"Just another half hour, Miss Nell..."

Yet in spite of her best efforts to sink deeper into sleep in the first comfortable bed she had enjoyed since leaving Malatesta, the sound of fast-approaching footfalls was soon met with a rather loud banging on the door of Prince Tyralor's cabin.

It was only when a strong, yet gentle hand took her by the shoulder that she started to wakefulness.

"My Lady," Tyralor's mellifluous voice held an undertone of concern even as the aroma of the hot mug of tea he bore reached the sleepy princess. When Alis gazed up at him with her blue-violet eyes, hair disheveled, and make-up smudged, she could tell that the prince had never gone to bed himself and perhaps only splashed some cold water in his face and had time to bind his luxuriant coppery tresses in a ponytail.

The prince smiled gently and set the mug on the nightstand beside her. "Would that I could in good conscience leave you to dream a bit longer, but alas the concerns of the world wait not for man nor muse."

Holding the bedsheets to herself with one hand, Alis reached up with the other to caress his cheek. For a few indulgent heartbeats, Tyralor clasped his hand over hers, enjoying the softness of her touch before kissing the inside of her right wrist.

All the while, the ship's bell continued to toll.

Alis turned her head momentarily and could spy hints of sunlight trying to penetrate the burgundy curtains, thick as tapestry, that covered the windows. She inhaled deeply before giving a sigh. "Your cook isn't merely signalling breakfast, something's wrong, isn't it?"

Lureene sighed as the insistent tolling of the bell awoke her from a dreamless sleep. She felt Sasha's arm holding her tightly as the red haired woman murmered softly and held the succubus even more tightly against her.

She wriggled free of the ranger's embrace and gently shook her awake, while trying to shake the cobwebs out of her own head.

Probably had too much to drink last night...

"Sash? Wake up, hun. I think something is wrong." She shook her hair out of her eyes and tied it up in a bun while slipping out of her nightgown and into a pale blue blouse, dark leather pants matched by a pair of black heeled boots (courtesy of Alis). Grabbing her staff along with the rest of her gear, she exited the cabin looking for the Captain.

"Uugh, bells this early?" Sasha grumbled. "Ship better be on fire for all the noise they're making..."

With a weary sigh, she slid out of bed and gave her charming bedmate a squeeze before gathering up her clothes. "I'll be right behind you, El."

It took only a solemn nod from the Prince to banish all thoughts of sleeping in from the Princess' mind. While Tyralor returned to the deck, she hastened to get dressed foregoing the dress she had hoped to wear. Instead it was a pair of crimson fencing pants with black lacing on the outside of the leg, a ruffled, black satin blouse, and a silver-piped corset that matched her leggings. A pair of black leather gloves and over-the-knee boots, and a large crimson tricorn with a black plume completed the look.

Art: Alis' 'Daredevil' outfit

"So much for making a more regal entrance..."

With a quick peek in Tyralor's full-length mirror, she frowned at the small protective pendant dangling above her cleavage, and thoughts turning momentarily to the majestic purple diamond. Last night, after Lilyana had retired, the diligent gnome had offered to place it within the platinum setting he found in the case. Now, the finished masterpiece lay locked within an adamantine coffer inside her trunk.

To hell with it, I'm a princess dammit!

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