Shadow of the Demon Lord for Itzi and Nik

Game Master Brainiac

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He healed up Melissa's first hit with spell recovery, but yeah, he's hurting.

Boons: 2d6 ⇒ (3, 1) = 4
Immolate: 1d20 + 3 + 3 ⇒ (7) + 3 + 3 = 13
Fire Blast x2: 3d6 ⇒ (3, 5, 2) = 103d6 ⇒ (5, 5, 4) = 14

Abalard stumbles back, bleeding from wounds dealt by Melissa and Saleh. He tries to immolate the rogue again, but this time she narrowly twists away, her enchanted cat's skull giving her the edge to avoid being burned. The wizard follows up with two blasts of flame from his hands, then casts one more spell that raises a wall of stone at the end of the alley, cutting Elizabeth off from the fight!

Melissa and Saleh take 10 and 14 points of fire damage from the two fire blasts. They can attempt an Agility challenge roll with two banes each to try to reduce the damage from each blast to half (5 and 7). The wall is 5 yards high and 2 yards wide, blocking off Elizabeth. If she spends her next round moving and then rushing, she can move around to get to the other side of the alley. Everybody is up!

It looks like Melissa will go down even if she makes both challenge rolls, so she'll have to make a Fate roll. No matter the result, Kragga will heal her again on her turn. She'll be able to act on a slow round.


Female Human Sorcerer (magic,history,occult) 5| Defense: 10+2 | Health: 24/24 | Perception: 14 | S:9 A:10 I:14 W:12 | Lang: Common, High Archaic | Speed: 10 | Fortune 2 | Spell Recovery 1/1 | Insanity 4 | Corruption 1 | Strain 0

Elizabeth curses when the wall of stone appears. With liquid words, she envelops herself in a layer of quickened time. She then moves with preternatural speed around the barrier.

swiftness - +10 move rate for 1 minute. Fatigued after that.


Female Human Servant/Cook/Rogue/Spellbinder 5 | Defense: 13+1 | Health: 28/28 | Perception: 10 | S:11 A:13+1 I:10 W:11 | Lang: Common | Speed: 10 | Insanity: 2 | Fortune: 2

Banes: 2d6 ⇒ (2, 5) = 7
Agility Challenge vs 10 damage: 1d20 + 4 - 5 ⇒ (17) + 4 - 5 = 16

Banes: 2d6 ⇒ (3, 2) = 5
Agility Challenge vs 14 damage: 1d20 + 4 - 3 ⇒ (15) + 4 - 3 = 16

That will put her at exactly 0.

Fate Roll: 1d6 ⇒ 4


Female Orc Priest/Oracle of the World Mother 6 | S13, A10, I8, W12 | Health 37; Damage 0 | D18 | Move: 12 | Insanity: 7 | Corruption: 1 | Fortune: Yes | Ecstasy 3/3 | Status: Normal

Kragga calls upon the World Mother to unleash a burst of vitality.

Melissa and Saleh both heal their healing rate. Melissa gets another boon on her next attack or challenge roll.


| HP: 42/42, HR: 14| Defence: 19 | Perception: 10 | S:13 A:12, I:10, W:10 | Lang: Common, Dark Tongue | Speed 10 | Longsword +1 boon, 2d6+2 // Long Knife +1 boon, 2d6 | Ins: 3, Fortune: Yes

Banes: 2d6 ⇒ (2, 5) = 7
Afulity: 1d20 + 2 - 5 ⇒ (3) + 2 - 5 = 0

Banes: 2d6 ⇒ (2, 1) = 3
Afulity: 1d20 + 2 - 5 ⇒ (18) + 2 - 5 = 15

Saleh takes a scorching but carries on, applying his weapons with vigor!

Attack: 1d20 + 1d6 + 3 ⇒ (7) + (1) + 3 = 11 Boon Reroll: 1d6 ⇒ 2Damage: 5d6 + 3 ⇒ (6, 1, 6, 3, 4) + 3 = 23


Female Human Servant/Cook/Rogue/Spellbinder 5 | Defense: 13+1 | Health: 28/28 | Perception: 10 | S:11 A:13+1 I:10 W:11 | Lang: Common | Speed: 10 | Insanity: 2 | Fortune: 2

Slow Turn

"You fat f$@+!" Melissa croaks out as she struggles to her feet, her burned clothing falling from her in tatters revealing blackened and blistered skin. She continues to delivery a stream of peasant-quality invective as she stabs at him with her blade.

Boons: 3d6 ⇒ (1, 5, 6) = 12

Long Knife Tricky Attack: 1d20 + 4 + 6 ⇒ (6) + 4 + 6 = 16
Long Knife Backstab Damage: 3d6 ⇒ (5, 4, 2) = 11


Epic Adversary: 1d3 + 1 ⇒ (2) + 1 = 3
Inevitable Blade vs Agility: 1d20 + 5 - 1d6 ⇒ (6) + 5 - (1) = 101d20 + 5 - 1d6 ⇒ (4) + 5 - (1) = 81d20 + 5 - 1d6 ⇒ (9) + 5 - (2) = 12

Abalard's arcane armor protects him from Saleh's blades, but Melissa scores another blow. The wizard casts a spell and conjures a blade of magical force, slicing at Melissa. But he cuts only through air, the rogue's dexterity and Kragga's protective prayer keeping her safe from harm!

Everybody is up!


| HP: 42/42, HR: 14| Defence: 19 | Perception: 10 | S:13 A:12, I:10, W:10 | Lang: Common, Dark Tongue | Speed 10 | Longsword +1 boon, 2d6+2 // Long Knife +1 boon, 2d6 | Ins: 3, Fortune: Yes

Attack!: 1d20 + 1d6 + 3 ⇒ (7) + (4) + 3 = 14 Damage: 5d6 + 2 ⇒ (2, 6, 6, 6, 3) + 2 = 25

This time he lands a powerful blow, cutting deep into the wizards arm.


Saleh's blades nearly sever the wizard's arm! He howls in pain and clutches it to his chest as he falls heavily to the street. "Okay, enough! I surrender!"


| HP: 42/42, HR: 14| Defence: 19 | Perception: 10 | S:13 A:12, I:10, W:10 | Lang: Common, Dark Tongue | Speed 10 | Longsword +1 boon, 2d6+2 // Long Knife +1 boon, 2d6 | Ins: 3, Fortune: Yes

Saleh puts his blade to the wizard's throat, taking no chances.

"Explain." He growls, "What did you do?"


Female Human Servant/Cook/Rogue/Spellbinder 5 | Defense: 13+1 | Health: 28/28 | Perception: 10 | S:11 A:13+1 I:10 W:11 | Lang: Common | Speed: 10 | Insanity: 2 | Fortune: 2

Melissa moves closer to the man. "How about I cut his nads off, then he gets to explain?" she says with a wave of her knife. She doesn't begin her proffered action, though.


Female Human Sorcerer (magic,history,occult) 5| Defense: 10+2 | Health: 24/24 | Perception: 14 | S:9 A:10 I:14 W:12 | Lang: Common, High Archaic | Speed: 10 | Fortune 2 | Spell Recovery 1/1 | Insanity 4 | Corruption 1 | Strain 0

Elizabeth arrives and seeing the state Melissa is in, pulls off her cloak to wrap it around the burned and tattered woman. Melissa hiss in pain in response. A minor spell of healing follows, but it doesn't make a lot of headway against the damage the woman has taken.

minor healing for half healing rate.


"I'm sorry! I'm sorry!" Abalard sobs. "Everything that has happened has been my fault. It was all for love! My love of darling Elizabeth!" It's clear he is talking about his young dining companion and not the sorceress. "She is so beautiful and pure, and I am succumbing to the ravages of age. The gray in my hair, the wrinkles in my face, the constant aches and pains--all reminders of my lost youth and the opportunities I squandered. Even my magic has not been enough to keep time's ravages at bay.

"And so I succumbed to temptation. I turned to the dark arts of necromancy to find a way to restore my youth and win Elizabeth's love. I dug out an ancient grimoire I had long ago hidden away, fearful of being exposed to the secrets it contained within: the Flayed Codex. From the moment I opened it, I have been ceaselessly working to divine the secret of everlasting youth. I started animating a few dead animals, then created two undead servitors. Delving deeper into the grimoire, I found cryptic references that led me to believe the answers I sought might be found in whatever poewrs keep faeries immortal.

"So I stole out to the woods under the cover of night, to an ancient elf burial vault. There, I excavated the body of an elf lord slain long ago in the wars between the faeries and trolls and returned it to my lab to experiment on it. I did not realize the faeries would take umbrage at my actions and resort to terrorizing the town to get it back."

Abalard slumps and wipes at his eyes. "None of this should have ever happened. I let my obsession blind me to the harm that I caused. No more. I release the elf lord's remains to you. Please, make right the wrongs that I have caused!"


| HP: 42/42, HR: 14| Defence: 19 | Perception: 10 | S:13 A:12, I:10, W:10 | Lang: Common, Dark Tongue | Speed 10 | Longsword +1 boon, 2d6+2 // Long Knife +1 boon, 2d6 | Ins: 3, Fortune: Yes

"Well that was stupid." Saleh says bluntly.


Female Human Sorcerer (magic,history,occult) 5| Defense: 10+2 | Health: 24/24 | Perception: 14 | S:9 A:10 I:14 W:12 | Lang: Common, High Archaic | Speed: 10 | Fortune 2 | Spell Recovery 1/1 | Insanity 4 | Corruption 1 | Strain 0

"No, none of this should have happened. How many people have died because of your vanity?" Elizabeth snaps at the man. She gestures at Saleh to bring the seemingly remorseful necromancer with them as she leads them back around the wall to where the elf's remains were placed.


The hobgoblins have arranged themselves in a defensive formation around the elf lord's corpse, brandishing their weapons to keep everybody at bay. As you escort Abalard over, shimmering portal opens as a slender elf woman emerges. Her skin is a dusky purple shade, and her wide yellow eyes burn with intensity. She wears a flowing dress with a scimitar and scourge strapped to her belt, and a slightly manic grin splits her face.

"At last! My beloved husband is returned to me!" she cries. She looks up at you as you approach. "I am Lady Moon-in-the-Dewdrop. The humans of this town have defiled our sacred burial site. For that, they must be punished!"


Female Human Sorcerer (magic,history,occult) 5| Defense: 10+2 | Health: 24/24 | Perception: 14 | S:9 A:10 I:14 W:12 | Lang: Common, High Archaic | Speed: 10 | Fortune 2 | Spell Recovery 1/1 | Insanity 4 | Corruption 1 | Strain 0

"This human," Elizabeth says, giving Abalard a shove towards the angry elf. "He and he alone was responsible. So he alone should bear the punishment. The others in this village had no knowledge of his actions and have suffered almost as much as you have."

She tips her head in reverence.

"Demonstrate your wisdom, Lady Moon-in-the-Dewdrop. Don't strike down innocents in your wrath."


"Please, no..." Abalard whines weakly.

Moon-in-the-Dewdrop eyes the wizard clinically. "This old man is the culprit? Very well. We will take him back to the hidden kingdoms, where he will suffer excruciating agony for centuries until I finally deem it fit to allow him to die. Remand him to my custody, and we will leave without further bloodshed."


Female Human Sorcerer (magic,history,occult) 5| Defense: 10+2 | Health: 24/24 | Perception: 14 | S:9 A:10 I:14 W:12 | Lang: Common, High Archaic | Speed: 10 | Fortune 2 | Spell Recovery 1/1 | Insanity 4 | Corruption 1 | Strain 0

Elizabeth looks down at the pathetic man.

"How many lives ended prematurely because of your vanity?" she asks in a cold voice. "How many children lost a parent? How many parents lost their child? Lovers that will never again feel the soft touch of their beloved because of you? And even after you knew what they wanted, you said nothing. You let it continue. You are a vain coward and deserve whatever punishment awaits you."

She spits on him and then looks up at the elf. "You need not my permission, Lady Moon-in-the-Dewdrop. But if you are asking for it, this man is yours to do with as you wish."

She bows towards the Lady.


Abalard hangs his head low but offers no protest as the hobgoblins snatch him up. Moon-in-the-Dewdrop grins. "Thank you for your cooperation. Please accept this token as proof of my gratitude." The elf tosses a gleaming silver necklace to the floor, then the faeries depart through the portal, dragging Abalard with them. The portal closes behind them.

The necklace is worth 10 gc.


Female Human Sorcerer (magic,history,occult) 5| Defense: 10+2 | Health: 24/24 | Perception: 14 | S:9 A:10 I:14 W:12 | Lang: Common, High Archaic | Speed: 10 | Fortune 2 | Spell Recovery 1/1 | Insanity 4 | Corruption 1 | Strain 0

Elizabeth picks up the necklace and returns to assist Melissa with a gentle arm about her shoulders.

"We need to find the local sheriff or whatever they use here and let him know what happened," she says to Saleh. "We'll show him Abalard's basement as evidence. Oh, and we need to let that poor woman out of the closet."


The forewoman Kyra Krent is the closest the town has to a sheriff. She and her gathered militia members follow you into Abalard's basement to see the evidence of his foul deeds for themselves. "The wizard was once a good man, and a hero. He kept Bricksburg safe for many years. It weighs on my heart to see him fallen so far," Kyra says.

She suppresses a shudder as she looks at the Flayed Codex. "What should we do with that?"


| HP: 42/42, HR: 14| Defence: 19 | Perception: 10 | S:13 A:12, I:10, W:10 | Lang: Common, Dark Tongue | Speed 10 | Longsword +1 boon, 2d6+2 // Long Knife +1 boon, 2d6 | Ins: 3, Fortune: Yes

"Burn it." Saleh says without missing a beat. "Necromancy is evil. You have seen what it did to Abalard. It will do no-one any good."

Unless someone stops him, he suits actions to words and takes the book upstairs to be burned in the kitchen stove. He makes a thorough job of it too.


Female Human Servant/Cook/Rogue/Spellbinder 5 | Defense: 13+1 | Health: 28/28 | Perception: 10 | S:11 A:13+1 I:10 W:11 | Lang: Common | Speed: 10 | Insanity: 2 | Fortune: 2

Melissa notices that Elizabeth seems to be about to say something regarding the Flayed Codex, but when Saleh speaks up, the sorceress holds her tongue.


The Flayed Codex catches flame and smolders in the fireplace. Saleh watches until it is reduced to ash, ensuring its dark secrets will never corrupt another person.

"Thank you again for saving our town. The people of Bricksburg owe you a great debt. Please, accept this as a token of our gratitude," Kyra says, handing you a purse of 5 gc.

The next morning, you say your goodbyes and make your way back to Gateway. The town council offers their promised reward of 5 gc as well. You've earned another chance to rest and hone your abilities, and you feel yourselves on the cusp of something even greater...

Everybody may level up to 6 (5 for Melissa)! You've got two to three months of downtime now. Remember to pay for your lifestyle if you didn't get work as a downtime event. You can work the following activities into your downtime posts:

Elizabeth:
Downtime Activity: 3d6 ⇒ (2, 2, 3) = 71d20 ⇒ 6

Minor Setback: You got into a fight. Roll a d6. On an odd number, you lost. On an even number, you won. In either case, the other person now considers you an enemy.

Kragga:
Downtime Activity: 3d6 ⇒ (6, 1, 2) = 93d6 ⇒ (6, 6, 3) = 15

Work: You earned some. You lived the comfortable lifestyle.

Melissa:
Downtime Activity: 3d6 ⇒ (3, 5, 6) = 141d20 ⇒ 9

You found work in a new field. Add a random common profession.

Saleh:
Downtime Activity: 3d6 ⇒ (4, 4, 1) = 93d6 ⇒ (6, 1, 1) = 8

Work: You earned little. You lived the poor lifestyle


Female Human Sorcerer (magic,history,occult) 5| Defense: 10+2 | Health: 24/24 | Perception: 14 | S:9 A:10 I:14 W:12 | Lang: Common, High Archaic | Speed: 10 | Fortune 2 | Spell Recovery 1/1 | Insanity 4 | Corruption 1 | Strain 0

The morning had gone by too quickly and Elizabeth still felt that there was something she was forgetting. She moved carefully through the crowded marketplace watching the people bicker and barter. Their petty little arguments amounting to nothing in the face of the horrors that lay just beyond their perceptions.

Past the market she reached the location she dreaded. It was a tea house. Not just any tea-house, mind, but 'Madam Ophalla's Tranquil Teas'. It was the place for the wealthy and influencial to sit, sip, and gossip. Part of the arrangement for her use of the family home here in the city was to make an occasional appearance among her peers. The fact that she detested her peers wasn't a factor in that discussion.

The nattering of petty voices filled her ears as she was led to a small table where three impecably dressed women sat, twittering to each other. The semi-hushed conversation stilled as she was lead to the empty seat.

"Lady Adamell, it's been ages," the woman with long dark hair gushed in a painfully forced voice. "It's so lovely to see you again."

"Hello, Iria. Narsa. Renda," Elizabeth said with a polite nod in each woman's direction. "It has been a while, yes."

"We heard you were in the city," Narsa questioned, subtlety not the woman's strongest trait. "What have you been doing? We haven't seen you around anywhere?"

"I've been involved in my studies," Elizabeth responded, quite aware of how these women viewed intellectual pursuits.

"Oh, pish," Renda said with a wave of her hand. "Bor-ring. You should join us more often and have some fun." She turned to the others and grinned conspiritorially. "Did you hear about Mealla Havership? Her family just expanded their stables and hired on a new stable boy. She's been monopolizing his time, I hear."

"Monopolizing more than just his time," Iria commented with a rude chuckle. "Speaking of which," she turned to Elizabeth who was attempting to avoid this petty conversation, drink her tea, and then leave - her duty fulfilled. "I hear that you've given that maidservent of yours one of the guest rooms as her own?"

"What was her name?" Narsa asked. "Melanie? Marisan? It was something with an emm, I know."

"Her name is Melissa and I don't see anything wrong with giving her a room of her own," Elizabeth said in clipped tones.

"Oh, of course not, dear," Iria said with a smile. "That's why the gods made the Servant's Wing of the house. They need to stay in their place. We wouldn't want them to think that they're as good as we are, would we?" She giggles rudely and the other ladys join in.

Elizabeth sets her tea down and decides that her duty is complete and she'll take her leave. She stands from her seat and moves to let a server pass to the adjacent table. "Ladies, it's been pleasant, but ..."

"Besides, we all know how those people are. Like dogs in heat. Why I'm sure even this Melissa of yours doesn't think twice before bending over for any man that would pay her a copper."

"What did you say?" Elizabeth asks, her voice lowering a register.

"No better than common whores, the lot of them," Iria said with a shake of her head and a smile as she took a sip of her tea.

"That's what I thought you said," Elizabeth growled as she reached for the silver tea tray in the server's hands.

~~~~~~

"Dana, is the bread done," Melissa called out across the kitchen. "No Miss ... uhm, I mean, Melissa," the stocky woman called back as she checked the oven.

"Please don't call me that, I just work here - like you," the red-head said as she continued to chop vegatables. "Beggin' your pardon, M-Melissa, but her Ladyship has said to treat you as a member o' the family. An' it don't feel right to be calling you by your given name, Miss. It's crossin' a line that I don't think should be crossed. There's staff and then there's family. There's a clear line, Miss, and you're on t'other side now."

Melissa let out her breath in a huff. "But I'm not a Lady like Miss is, I'm just ..."

The downstairs maid burst into the kitchen, interrupting Melissa's protest. "Miss, you should come right quick. The Mistress is here and ..." she trailed off.

"And what?" Melissa questioned, narrowing her eyes. "Best if ya sees for yourself, Miss," Tammi responded flapping her arms as if she was going to take flight

"I will and it's Melissa."

She wiped her hands on her apron and moved out to the front of the house and to find her Mistress in the entry hall, hanging up her cloak. "So did your lunch go well?" she asked. She gasped when Elizabeth turned around. "Not as well as it could have," the reserved woman declares. Her lower lip was split and one eye red and partially closed due to the swelling. There was also a trace of blood running from her nose.

"Oh, Miss! What happened? Were you attacked?" Melissa exclaimed as she rushed forward to look over the damage.

"No, technically I was the attacker, but I believe it was completely justified. And we'll speak no more about it, understood?"

Melissa frowned in concern, but she nodded, "Very well, Miss," she said with a reluctant nod. "I know you can do a little healing magic, how come you haven't ..."

"Oh, they use some herb in that damn tea that rattles me and I can't concentrate enough to manage a spell - another reason to hate the place."

Melissa nodded, not really understanding, but willing to agree for now. Her eyes widened a moment later. "But Miss! Mister Saleh will be here for dinner in a couple of hours."

"Damn! That's what I was forgetting. We'll just have to cancel the dinner," Elizabeth snapped with a curt nod of her head.

"The hells we are!" Melissa snapped back. "I been working all morning in the kitchen for this. The dinner's happenin' tonight and no mistake. I'll just have to send Tammi up to your room and we'll see what she can do with some makeup."

"I hate makeup."

"Then you should'a thought o' that before you went brawling in your tea room," Melissa commanded. An arm extends to point up the stairs like a divine command. "Go. Get cleaned up. Tammi'll be up in a bit."

~~~~~~

Saleh is greeted at the front door by the woman he remembers as Dana - the head of household. "Mister Saleh, m' Mistress is expectin' ya. Follow me, if you would," she says in greeting. She leads him to the same study as before. Elizabeth is waiting there with a book in her lap as he enters. She looks different somewhow. It only takes a moment more before he realizes that she's wearing makeup, which is something she normally avoids.

A lot of makeup.

"Good Evening, Mister Saleh. Please sit. I hear that dinner will be done in just a bit. So we've got time to chat," Elizabeth says, gesturing to the chair near her.

That was more than I thought it was going to be. For reference, Elizabeth's new enemy's name is Iria Vandwhelp. We can continue on with the dinner date if you'd like, Saleh.


| HP: 42/42, HR: 14| Defence: 19 | Perception: 10 | S:13 A:12, I:10, W:10 | Lang: Common, Dark Tongue | Speed 10 | Longsword +1 boon, 2d6+2 // Long Knife +1 boon, 2d6 | Ins: 3, Fortune: Yes

Saleh is dressed up for the occasion. Somewhat dirty - he's been playing the part of a labourer for most of the day, trying to track down leads about the mysterious 'Lacrymosa' who he nearly ran into a week or so prior, but he's clearly put some money into new clothes and looks at least respectable.

He offers Elizabeth a bow and the flowers he is carrying, while trying not to be too obvious about examining her make-up. Paragon of subtlety and tact that he is, its pretty obvious, but he does refrain from mentioning anything. Simply sitting, somewhat awkwardly and casting around for something to say.

"So... I've been trying to track down Lacrymosa." He offers, "It's proving difficult, she seems to be more of a name than a person - everyone knows the name, but no-one knows anything more. Or they won't say anything." He shrugs. "She seems obsessed with enchanted items though. If we ever need to find her then that might be a way to draw her out... If you're well enough that is." He finishes, apparently unable to not ask, but aware enough to know that he can't just ask directly.


Female Human Sorcerer (magic,history,occult) 5| Defense: 10+2 | Health: 24/24 | Perception: 14 | S:9 A:10 I:14 W:12 | Lang: Common, High Archaic | Speed: 10 | Fortune 2 | Spell Recovery 1/1 | Insanity 4 | Corruption 1 | Strain 0

"If I'm well enough?" the woman echoes back in a confused tone and then closes her eyes - one of which seems to close oddly. She rises from her seat with a determined air. "Would you excuse me for just a moment?" She stalks out of the room and he can hear her shout through the house, "TAMMI! Come get this ... stuff ... off of my face!"

A muffled argument follows and then silence.

Not more then ten minutes pass before Elizabeth returns. Her face looks like it normally does now. If one would discount the split and swollen lip and the bruising that's already beginning to show around her right eye which is almost closed.

"I'm sorry about that. Melissa thought the makeup would cover it up. I was of the mind that it would just make me look like a streetwalker. I had a philosophical difference of opinion with some peers. I think neither of us were swayed to the other's point of view."

The woman smirks as she takes a seat back in the chair she vacated.

"Do we need to draw this woman out?" she asks, attempting to steer the conversation towards things not related to her afternoon argument.


| HP: 42/42, HR: 14| Defence: 19 | Perception: 10 | S:13 A:12, I:10, W:10 | Lang: Common, Dark Tongue | Speed 10 | Longsword +1 boon, 2d6+2 // Long Knife +1 boon, 2d6 | Ins: 3, Fortune: Yes

"She is a powerful crime figure." Saleh says with a shrug. "But she has done us no harm." The 'yet' is unspoken, you can take the soldier out of the army, but you can't take the threat assessment out of the soldier.

"So..." He continues to manfully ignore the elephant in the room. "Has Melissa been cooking all day? I imagine you wanted to cancel this evening."


Female Human Sorcerer (magic,history,occult) 5| Defense: 10+2 | Health: 24/24 | Perception: 14 | S:9 A:10 I:14 W:12 | Lang: Common, High Archaic | Speed: 10 | Fortune 2 | Spell Recovery 1/1 | Insanity 4 | Corruption 1 | Strain 0

Elizabeth does something she doesn't regularly do. She blushes. Mixed with the bruising and scrapes on her face, it's not flattering. She chuckles dryly. "I did. I didn't feel that you would find dinner with someone that looks like they've gone three rounds with a bare-knuckle brawler something to look forward to."

She glances towards the doorway.

"Melissa was having none of it, though," she says quietly. "Yes, she's been working all day in there. Lots of recipes that I haven't been allowed to look at. I do know that there's chicken in one of them because it had to be fresh. Fresh enough, in fact, that it got loose and gave Dana fits until Tammi caught it. There was something else in a box that moved, but I didn't get a good look and she kicked me out of the kitchen. She's been working so hard that she's probably a frazzled mess by now."

As if on cue, the red-headed rogue appears in the doorway. A frazzled mess she is not. She's wearing a copper and green dress that does more than flatter her figure. She smiles at the surprised look on Elizabeth's face. "You didn't think that I wasn't going to clean up before serving dinner, did you?" She gestures towards the hall.

"Dinner is served. If you would be so good as to follow me?" she says. As she leads them down the hall, she continues talking. "Now there are going to be some dishes that you've never tried tonight. All I ask is that you don't ask what they are before trying them and that you do at least try each one."

She seats the couple across from each other at the dining table and pours each a glass of white wine before vacating to retrieve the appetizers.

Elizabeth holds up her glass for a toast. "To good friends," she says.

A moment later Melissa returns with a tray. On the tray are what appear to be crooked bread sticks along with a bowl of a pale dipping sauce. The red-headed rogue stands nearby as the diners sample the fare. The bread sticks are crunchy, and to Elizabeth and Saleh's surprise, filled with a spicy, savory filling of some sort. Paired with the garlic flavored dip, they're quite tasty.

"These are very good, Melissa," Elizabeth says, reaching for another.

"I'm glad you like them. They really are good. Those are K̄hā mængmum thxd, but the sauce is all mine," Melissa says with a trace of nervousness.

Elizabeth's brow furrows. "mængmum thxd?" she asks, her face paling slightly. "Yes?" Melissa answers.

The woman puts her hand out and drops the one she'd picked up back onto the tray.

"Oh, come on! You said they were good!" Melissa argues. "Don't be so narrow minded. Mister Saleh likes 'em, right, Mister Saleh?"

I'm gonna leave it at that with Saleh on the spot. :)


| HP: 42/42, HR: 14| Defence: 19 | Perception: 10 | S:13 A:12, I:10, W:10 | Lang: Common, Dark Tongue | Speed 10 | Longsword +1 boon, 2d6+2 // Long Knife +1 boon, 2d6 | Ins: 3, Fortune: Yes

Saleh looks from one woman to the other. "What is kha magnum thud?" He asks, mangling the pronunciation horribly. He doesn't seem overly concerned however, as a soldier he's learned not to be too picky. "It tastes very good."


Female Human Sorcerer (magic,history,occult) 5| Defense: 10+2 | Health: 24/24 | Perception: 14 | S:9 A:10 I:14 W:12 | Lang: Common, High Archaic | Speed: 10 | Fortune 2 | Spell Recovery 1/1 | Insanity 4 | Corruption 1 | Strain 0

Elizabeth raises an eyebrow at Melissa in expectation, but doesn't say anything.


Female Human Servant/Cook/Rogue/Spellbinder 5 | Defense: 13+1 | Health: 28/28 | Perception: 10 | S:11 A:13+1 I:10 W:11 | Lang: Common | Speed: 10 | Insanity: 2 | Fortune: 2

Melissa's eyes look away, but then back to Saleh. "It's the fried legs of a Green-Stripped Rat Catcher," she says, crossing her arms in defiance. "It's a delicacy and I had to make a lot of arrangements to get one." She reaches out to dip one into the sauce and takes a bite. "And I don't care what you think, I think they taste wonderful." She turns and exits the room in a huff.


| HP: 42/42, HR: 14| Defence: 19 | Perception: 10 | S:13 A:12, I:10, W:10 | Lang: Common, Dark Tongue | Speed 10 | Longsword +1 boon, 2d6+2 // Long Knife +1 boon, 2d6 | Ins: 3, Fortune: Yes

"They do!" Saleh calls after her, before turning to Elizabeth with a vaguely disapproving look on his face. "That was unkind. She has worked hard on this and it does taste good." He shakes his head, and for perhaps the first time looks genuinely disappointed in his companion.

"What is a green-stripped Rat Catcher anyway?" He asks a minute or so later, apparently making an overture. "Did you have one as a pet?"


Female Human Sorcerer (magic,history,occult) 5| Defense: 10+2 | Health: 24/24 | Perception: 14 | S:9 A:10 I:14 W:12 | Lang: Common, High Archaic | Speed: 10 | Fortune 2 | Spell Recovery 1/1 | Insanity 4 | Corruption 1 | Strain 0

At Saleh's disappointed look, Elizabeth rests her elbow on the table in a complete break from decorum and drops her chin into her hand.

"It's a spider about the size of a pekingese," she clarifies. "I'm so sorry. I didn't realize that she would be serving us something like ... this, and it caught me off guard" She waves a hand over the appetizer tray. "You're right," she says, rising from her seat. "I should apologize."

At that moment, Melissa tromps back into the room to drop a plate of warm and aromatic bread on to the table with a sniffle. She turns to leave when Elizabeth calls out, "Wait, please, Melissa."

The woman stops and stands with her back to the table. "The rest of your dinner will be out in its proper time," she answers.

"I'm sorry, Melissa. I shouldn't have reacted that way. You've gone through so much trouble for tonight and I've been very ungrateful."

"I even made a glasberry pie for dessert," Melissa responds in a small voice.

"A glasberry pie? I love glasberry pie. But they're not even in season."

"I found someone that had some in cold storage. They weren't cheap but I wanted you and Mister Saleh to have something nice."

"I've been a beast and I'm sorry," Elizabeth repeats. "We would love to enjoy whatever else you've prepared."

Melissa's posture shifts. "Just remember you said that, ok?" she answers in a voice with a cheerier tone before quickly exiting the room.

Elizabeth returns to the table and looks across at her companion, appraising the man. "You should be having dinner with her, Mister Saleh. She's a much better person than I am," she finally says with a shake of her head. She reaches out, and with a dainty hand, picks up another fried leg. She dips it into the sauce and takes a hesitant bite.

"They really are good."


| HP: 42/42, HR: 14| Defence: 19 | Perception: 10 | S:13 A:12, I:10, W:10 | Lang: Common, Dark Tongue | Speed 10 | Longsword +1 boon, 2d6+2 // Long Knife +1 boon, 2d6 | Ins: 3, Fortune: Yes

"My name is Saleh." The warrior corrects, catching Elizabeth's hand gently in one of his own. "We are friends, you don't need to call me 'Mister'. I asked Melissa to stop but it seems ingrained, you on the other hand I have hope for." He adds with a smile, "So I insist, no more. Do we understand, Lady Adamell?"

He releases her hand and takes another spider's leg, enjoying the spicy food. "You and Melissa are different people, both good, neither of you better than the other. Not that I can compare everything about everything." He manages to keep a straight face but scrutinises Elizabeth closely - despite knowing full well what Melissa intends for the eventual outcome of their 'dates' to be, he still isn't sure just how happy Elizabeth is with the idea.


Female Human Sorcerer (magic,history,occult) 5| Defense: 10+2 | Health: 24/24 | Perception: 14 | S:9 A:10 I:14 W:12 | Lang: Common, High Archaic | Speed: 10 | Fortune 2 | Spell Recovery 1/1 | Insanity 4 | Corruption 1 | Strain 0

"Saleh, I think we'll agree to disagree about who's ... " she begins before trailing off as the inference of what he said finally sinks in.

Her eyes dart away and the second blush of the night fights with the bruises on her face. A hint of a smile moves across her lips. "There are many areas in which Melissa will always present as a more attractive choice. Some ... arenas ... in which I would never be able to compete in." Her face grows wistful. "I admire that about her. That she can be so free to be herself and do the things she wants to do. She can be so carefree in regards to ... things ... that are so fraught with fear and trepidation for ... other people."

As if realizing what she sounds like, she shakes her head. "That's not to say that I ... I mean ... I have desires." Her eyes widen. "I mean desires to learn and better myself. Not that ... those ... kind of desires are bad. O-or that I don't have ..."

She takes a deep breath and then a large swallow of wine.

"I think I'll just stop talking now before I make myself out to be a completely inept fool," she says with a smile.


| HP: 42/42, HR: 14| Defence: 19 | Perception: 10 | S:13 A:12, I:10, W:10 | Lang: Common, Dark Tongue | Speed 10 | Longsword +1 boon, 2d6+2 // Long Knife +1 boon, 2d6 | Ins: 3, Fortune: Yes

Saleh stands as Elizabeth takes her swallow of wine and, as she puts the glass down, she finds his large, dark eyes looking closely at her own. As she mumbles he reaches out with one long finger to gently tip her head back as he lowers his lips towards hers, close enough to practically taste the wine still on her tongue.


Female Human Sorcerer (magic,history,occult) 5| Defense: 10+2 | Health: 24/24 | Perception: 14 | S:9 A:10 I:14 W:12 | Lang: Common, High Archaic | Speed: 10 | Fortune 2 | Spell Recovery 1/1 | Insanity 4 | Corruption 1 | Strain 0

She can feel her heart beating like that of a bird as the man moves close enough for her to feel the heat from his lips. "A-are you trying to kiss me, Saleh?" she manages to whisper, unwilling or unable in her near-panicked state to bring herself to lean forward just a bit to taste those lips.


| HP: 42/42, HR: 14| Defence: 19 | Perception: 10 | S:13 A:12, I:10, W:10 | Lang: Common, Dark Tongue | Speed 10 | Longsword +1 boon, 2d6+2 // Long Knife +1 boon, 2d6 | Ins: 3, Fortune: Yes

"Yes..." He replies, breath warm on her lips. After a moment's more pause he closes the gap and presses rough lips against Elizabeth's soft ones, trying his best to avoid the black eye and other bruises.


Female Human Sorcerer (magic,history,occult) 5| Defense: 10+2 | Health: 24/24 | Perception: 14 | S:9 A:10 I:14 W:12 | Lang: Common, High Archaic | Speed: 10 | Fortune 2 | Spell Recovery 1/1 | Insanity 4 | Corruption 1 | Strain 0

Elizabeth moans in response to the contact and attempts to press back against Saleh's overture, but a faint whimper follows and she pulls away, one hand moving to her split lip.

"I'm sorry, Salah," she says in consternation as she probes at it gently with her finger and her tongue. "I always knew that my first kiss would be ..."

There's a clatter of dishware and both people turn to see Melissa's frantic figure in the doorway as she attempts to gather the remains of the salad bowls from the floor. "I'm so sorry," she calls out. "I didn't mean ta ... I'm such a klutz."

"That's ok," Elizabeth says in a scattered voice. "I was ... I think I need to ..." She rises from her chair moving away from Saleh and towards the other door.

"Don't you take another step, Miss!" Melissa calls out in a commanding voice. Ignoring the broken china, she skips over to where Elizabeth stands with her hands clasped in front of her. There's a hushed conversation and Saleh can make out the words, 'scared', 'unprepared', and - oddly enough - 'chowder head'.

After the whispered conversation has run its course, both Elizabeth and Melissa make their way back to where Saleh stands.

"Mister Saleh," Melissa begins with a smile. "I don't believe that I'm mistaken to say that you were kissin' my Miss when I came in?" When there's no denial she continues. "And if experience tells me anything, it says that you'd like to do it again?"

Without waiting for an answer, the rogue reaches out and grabs Elizabeth at both elbows and pulls her to stand in front of herself as if presenting her.

"Well go on," she prompts. "I won't even watch ... much." As if to make a point, Melissa turns away and crosses her arms.

Elizabeth glances over her shoulder at the woman with a glare before returning her attention to Saleh.

"This is the insanity that is me," she says with a partial smile. "I'm sorry that was rude. I enjoyed that and ... and I would like to do it again if you're ... if you don't think too little of me by now."


| HP: 42/42, HR: 14| Defence: 19 | Perception: 10 | S:13 A:12, I:10, W:10 | Lang: Common, Dark Tongue | Speed 10 | Longsword +1 boon, 2d6+2 // Long Knife +1 boon, 2d6 | Ins: 3, Fortune: Yes

"Why on earth would I do that?" Saleh asks kindly as he steps away from Elizabeth and towards her maid servant. He wraps a strong arm around Melissa and frogmarches her back out of the door. "Thank you Melissa, I'm sure the salad will be lovely." He says with a grin, before shutting the door firmly, and returning to Melissa.

"Now..." He says, still smiling. "Where were we?" He leans down again, hoping that this time Elizabeth will meet him halfway.


Female Human Sorcerer (magic,history,occult) 5| Defense: 10+2 | Health: 24/24 | Perception: 14 | S:9 A:10 I:14 W:12 | Lang: Common, High Archaic | Speed: 10 | Fortune 2 | Spell Recovery 1/1 | Insanity 4 | Corruption 1 | Strain 0

Elizabeth glances at the closed door for just an instant before looking back up at the man standing in front of her. Her tongue slips out and traces over the wound there as if weighing the possibilities.

Her decision made, she rises up on her toes and joins her lips to the soldier's. It's a gentle touch this time, but hungry. Her hands reach up and slide around his strong neck. The kiss grows more insistent and she presses herself up against the toned body underneath the upper-class clothes.


| HP: 42/42, HR: 14| Defence: 19 | Perception: 10 | S:13 A:12, I:10, W:10 | Lang: Common, Dark Tongue | Speed 10 | Longsword +1 boon, 2d6+2 // Long Knife +1 boon, 2d6 | Ins: 3, Fortune: Yes

One of Saleh's arms slides around Elizabeth's waist and crushes her body into his own as she returns the kiss. The other hand creeps up to cradle her head and help him control the kiss. As Elizabeth's tongue reaches into the duel with his Saleh returns the compliment with interest, enjoying the passion that hides beneath Elizabeth's normally so-restrained surface.


Female Human Sorcerer (magic,history,occult) 5| Defense: 10+2 | Health: 24/24 | Perception: 14 | S:9 A:10 I:14 W:12 | Lang: Common, High Archaic | Speed: 10 | Fortune 2 | Spell Recovery 1/1 | Insanity 4 | Corruption 1 | Strain 0

Elizabeth finally pulls away to catch her breath. Moving Saleh's hands from her waist, she continues to hold them in hers. "That was ... stimulating," she says. "Umm... I'm not sure what is ... what I'm supposed to do next," she looks down at the floor. "I know what I think I'd like to do, but I don't know if that's what you want or even if ... if I can."

She takes a deep breath and looks up at the man she's willing to open up to.

"The man I apprenticed to," she begins. She seems about to say his name, but then thinks better of it. "He was a jealous and vain man. Very learned, but ..." She shakes her head. "As part of the contract between us, he placed a spell upon me that induced discomfort when I considered ... or imagined ... intimacy ... with any other man but him. And physical pain if I would have ever touched one. The apprenticeship was only to last for two years, so I did not consider it an imposition as I'm not prone to thoughts of that nature and have always considered men ... nothing more than a distraction. It's surprising to find out how often it actually happens in just everyday life. The sensation was horrific."

The woman is silent for a moment.

"You would be shocked to know just how much effort it takes for me to do this without pulling away," she says, indicating their clasped hands. "I know the magic is gone now, but self-preservation is a powerful thing."

Elizabeth steps closer and looks up at Saleh's worn face. "I tell you that so you understand when I say that I think that we want the same thing. But I don't know if I'm brave enough to go through with it ... alone."

She says the last word with particular meaning.


| HP: 42/42, HR: 14| Defence: 19 | Perception: 10 | S:13 A:12, I:10, W:10 | Lang: Common, Dark Tongue | Speed 10 | Longsword +1 boon, 2d6+2 // Long Knife +1 boon, 2d6 | Ins: 3, Fortune: Yes

Saleh keeps Elizabeth's hands clasped in his, although his hand clenches momentarily as Elizabeth reveals what had happened to her.

"One day." He says quietly, "You will tell me that mans name, and we will have a conversation about how to treat apprentices." The tone of his voice is calm, but Liz knows him well enough to recognise the steel beneath the gentle exterior. The mage is going to suffer significant pain, it is quite clear.

"I will help you Elizabeth, whatever you need." He promises solemnly. Reaching out with one long leg he pulls his chair around the table so that he can sit across the corner of the table, within easy arm's reach, rather than on the far side. "Whatever you need. Perhaps, for now at least, we can make this easier... I certainly don't mind." He grins, the slightly lopsided smile that tugs on a small scar on the corner of his lip.

"This isn't something you have to do alone." As he says those words Saleh makes a note to speak to Melissa later. He doesn't know what to make of Elizabeth's tone, but he can't help but wonder.


Female Human Servant/Cook/Rogue/Spellbinder 5 | Defense: 13+1 | Health: 28/28 | Perception: 10 | S:11 A:13+1 I:10 W:11 | Lang: Common | Speed: 10 | Insanity: 2 | Fortune: 2

As if listening - and perhaps she was - Melissa chooses that moment to enter the dining room with two replacement plates of salad.

Elizabeth releases Saleh's hands and moves to take her seat again. Melissa places one of the plates in front of Elizabeth with a questioning smile. "Enjoying the meal so far?" she asks.

"Everything has been lovely, so far," Elizabeth answers with a smile. "Some of it was a little new and scary," she continues with a glace at her dinner partner. "But I've been enjoying it."

"I thought you would," Melissa responds as her smile widens. She approaches Saleh and places his salad in front of him. "And how are you enjoying the evening, Mister Saleh. Is everything as good as you thought it would be?" she asks.


| HP: 42/42, HR: 14| Defence: 19 | Perception: 10 | S:13 A:12, I:10, W:10 | Lang: Common, Dark Tongue | Speed 10 | Longsword +1 boon, 2d6+2 // Long Knife +1 boon, 2d6 | Ins: 3, Fortune: Yes

"The food is delicious thank you." Saleh replies, sharing a significant look with Melissa. "I hope you don't mind me moving my place?"

At her affirmative he nods and slides out of his chair. "If you ladies will excuse me a minute."

Outside the door he steps out of sight and waits for Melissa.


Female Human Servant/Cook/Rogue/Spellbinder 5 | Defense: 13+1 | Health: 28/28 | Perception: 10 | S:11 A:13+1 I:10 W:11 | Lang: Common | Speed: 10 | Insanity: 2 | Fortune: 2

Melissa steps back to her mistress and converses in hushed tones for a moment before making her way back to the kitchen. Passing through the doorway, she notices Saleh waiting lurking in the hall.

She smiles and approaches him. "Some folks might consider it rude t' be lurking around listenin' to other people talk," she says with a smirk and then waits for him to convey his thoughts.

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