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  1. #101
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    Default Fellowship of the Golden Night, The Ambassadors, Volumn XII

    Fellowship of the Golden Night
    The Ambassadors
    Volumn XII "A New Proposition" Chapter 4

    *Uxor watched the skyscape drifting. Airships used to make her nervous, but of late, she had come to terms with many of her worldly fears. This was another behind her now. Beside her, Varro was napping. How he could sleep on one of these was beyond her. They could not travel using his Augur travelling technique - which she didn't entirely understand. He told her great distances were much more difficult for him to bridge, and that to board an airship like 'normal folk for a change' would not be a bad thing. Looking at him, her mind reflected back to his words before their venture*

    Varro: If you want to renew that vow of yours, now is probably the best time. I don't know that you'll get another chance the way everyone constantly tugs at us.
    Uxor: *she smiled a little, reaching for his hands. It seemed she always did this when she had something important to tell him, and perhaps he would always know something was coming in this way. Irregardless, she spoke* I will give up my vow for you.
    Varro: No... you won't *he lifted her hands and kissed both of them*
    Uxor: But you gave up your right to punish Juryrig, and for me even. It would be my karma to give up my vow for you.
    Varro: I told you once, I don't care about karma, I care about you. It's no less true now just because we're not dying.
    Uxor: I thought you would be happy... *she looked down a little, completely confused by his response*
    Varro: I asked you to be my wife. This means all that you are. My giving up bashing the daylights out of that forged was not me giving up a way of life. This is your way of life Ux. I knew you...loved you even...when you were not speaking. You said yourself that one day your vow will have served its purpose. I will be there for that day.
    Uxor: Then I will give you a gift. I will speak for our wedding. The last of my speech will be for your memory. Then I will travel to make my vow.
    Varro: Yes about that... I'm coming with you.
    *Uxor raised a brow*
    Varro: I said renew your vow, but I'm going to see what I can do for making that go easier.
    Uxor: You can try but it's a ceremony Varro. I don't even know if you would be allowed to be there. I don't even know if I can continue my vow if I am married. I am going to find out though. But... I would appreciate having you there, and if not there for the vow, at least to travel there with me.
    Varro: One way or another Uxor, I am going to see that we are wed. Either by your priests - or whatever they are - or ... something.
    Uxor: I don't know Varro. I've never seen it before... but I've never asked of it, and it's never come up before either. This is as new to me as it is for you. *she stopped a moment* You don't wish for us to marry before our friends? The guild?
    Varro: Nothing is going to stand in the way of this for us. When we return, I promised them we would have a party, but for now... this moment is not about them, it is for you and I. What's more, since you cannot remember your first marriage, I want to at least give you a wedding in line with your beliefs. I have non per say, and so long as I throw a party, that lives up to my Avatar's end of the situation.
    *She nodded in understanding and leaned into him, whereat he coiled his arms round her. No matter how often he said the words, to hear him say he loved her always eased her.*


    *With Varro napping beside her, and thinking on his choices, she was inclined to put her hand on his... but she thought the feel of her cold skin might rouse him from sleep. Instead she rested her hand on his sleave, to have contact with him, but allow him to continue resting. Her mind roamed over what they had yet to face. What would her master say? Did taking a husband mean leaving her path? If it did...she would leave it...but what then? There was a long way yet to travel in the airship.*
    Thank you all!
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  2. #102
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    Default Fellowship of the Golden Night, The Ambassadors, Volumn XII

    Fellowship of the Golden Night
    The Ambassadors
    Volumn XII "A New Proposition" Chapter 3

    *They appear in a room mostly in darkness outside, except within are Tyr, Ruse, and the clerics, mostly done with their work now.*

    Cerulean: *leans to Varro* she is going to be fine.

    Varro: *he was there, but his attention was not in focus in the least as he looked around*

    Cerulean: I’ll need all non essential cleric support out please *takes some of the cleric staff back, returning to the love-shocked Varro after this transport*

    Tyr: Brotherman

    Varro: *came back around at the sound of ‘brotherman’ and looked for the source.*

    Ruse: *waves Varro over, smearing tears over her face with her other hand*

    Cerulean: *guides the still shocked Varro over, glad that he’s staying*

    Varro: *he crouched down to Tyr’s side* Sister...

    Tyr: *to Varro* Mercy...

    Varro: *he sat quietly by her side, saying nothing*

    Ruse: What happened? *looking at Tyr’s face, but speaking to Varro*

    Tyr: *whispered again* Mercy.

    Varro: Mercy *he muttered absently*

    Cerulean: Ruse...Varro has gone through a lot... even more than this right now...is it alright if I tell you myself? *and he set to telepathic talk*

    Ruse: *Put an arm around Varro, nothing more than that, and her other hand once again rests on Tyr’s cheek*

    Varro: What mercy shall I give?

    Tyr: For...forged.

    Varro: *he looked at Tyr a moment longer.* Done. *he watched Tyr* I will grant the warforged mercy. If he tries to kill you again... what am I to do Tyr?

    Tyr: Stop. Being. So *pauses, swallows to clear her throat* responsible.

    Varro: I don’t understand.

    Tyr: *drags a hand up, lets it rest on her chest so she can point a finger up at Varro* Love your woman. Live your life. Today.

    Cerulean: Varro, you’re not the only one here. Your ... future wife taught me a lot about burdens. Let us help you. Let all the guild that can, assist you. You don’t have to run everything. Friends help each other out, and our goal is to keep joy going. Taking all this alone will only hurt yours. Your future wife will agree.

    Varro: Sister... she will be my wife *he managed a smile, and had apparently forced out concern over anything else in that moment.*

    Tyr: *finds enough energy to lift her fingers to touch Varro’s cheek*

    Varro: *when she made physical contact with him, a wave of sensation passed to her, and it was not of the Augur images. Guilt. He had been carrying much weight from Endaria’s death, and apparently considered himself a large part of her demise.*

    Tyr: *the words that came to his mind were the same she had offered to Juryrig* <You are not a monster.>

    Varro: *Varro broke beside Tyr. Nothing had been said aloud between them, but he was wracked with sobs*

    Cerulean: *Just holds Varro with the others reminding him he is not alone*

    Ruse: *her eyes change, not exactly becoming softer, but soft in another way as she looks at the broken down Varro. She rubs his shoulder* Varro *she says tenderly* go to Uxor...please.

    Varro: It’s my fault! I’m the one who lives this way! I’m the one who chose to be an ambassador! I’m the one who chose to serve the Avatar...

    Tyr: *lets Varro finish his rant without interrupting*

    Cerulean: *says nothing but has that far away look again*

    Varro: I didn’t have to... I could have passed it up! I could have just been with her... just the two of us! No cities... no duties...*it was difficult to say if he was speaking of Uxor or Endaria...perhaps both*

    Ruse: But now it is the two of you... with cities and duties...but still the two of you, and isn’t that what counts?

    Cerulean: *he sighed, deciding to speak in the vocal* And I had that choice too. But you know the type of person we are. We can’t deny what we truly are. It just is. All of us are in this as family, and it’s time you stop acting like the crazy uncle, and start acting like the ambassador WITH guild members by his side! *loving firm* Now stop this pity party and START a REAL party! We have a FEW people getting married!

    Varro: *heard Cerulean’s words, and Ruse’s, but he was as yet engrossed with a mental conversation with Tyr*

    Tyr: <You are not a monster, Brotherman. Love your woman.>

    Varro: <I do love her. I would die for her.>

    Tyr: <Don’t die for her ... live for her.>

    Varro: *he seemed to be letting the realization of all that had happened sink in better, and managed to say aloud* She said yes...

    Cerulean: Should I take Varro home?

    Varro: No. I will take myself to Uxor.

    Cerulean: Ah it’s finally hitting him. About time. Welcome back.

    Varro: *leaned over and kissed the top of Tyr’s head* Sister.

    Tyr: Brotherman.

    Cerulean: Did you two want to make an announcement, or should we tell?

    Varro: *to Cerulean* Say anything you like of it... it’s no secret. It will not be my job to spread it... simply to see that it happens. *he sat up, seeming more collected*

    Cerulean: *chuckles* I’ll dominate and anchor you to the ceremony hall myself if I have to!

    Ruse: Varro... *she said in one of those demanding voices that only bards can really attain* Ready to go? *she smiles, a weary thing, but all the same*

    Cerulean: I think visiting hours are over... spouses remain.

    Varro: Thank you for staying with her Ruse

    Ruse: You do not have to...

    Varro: *faded from their sight, not even bothering to get up*

    Ruse: ...thank me for that.

    Cerulean: *making sure that Varro left first, waves a hand, and he too is gone, reappearing at the tavern. Decides not to mention the negative, it will be dealt with in its own way.* HAIL EVERYBODY! I bring great news!

    Deriaz: *he glanced over at Cerulean* hullo there... Great newssss? Well let’s hear it then

    Cerulean: Varro and Uxor are to wed! *he shouts* COG, DRINKS ARE ON ME!


    Juryrig: *stares at the bloodsoaked paper, as a blue shard pulsates*

    Uxor: I do not require you to do anything other than please...help me keep other innocents from coming under harm by this woman *she nodded to the figurine at Juryrig’s feet, the likeness he had carved of ‘Elana’ who had hired him.*

    *Uxor was still watching Juryrig when Varro appeared beside her. He looked at Juryrig without reaction, but instead pulled Uxor to him, offering no word or explanation as the pair of them were gone again.*
    Thank you all!
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  3. #103
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    Default Fellowship of the Golden Night, The Ambassadors, Volumn XII

    Fellowship of the Golden Night
    The Ambassadors
    Volumn XII "A New Proposition" Chapter 5

    *Varro walked down the passage way, holding Uxor's hand, and escorting her as if she were royalty. The simplicity of the temple was interesting to him, as was the fact that none of the monks had tried to bar him from entering, or spoken a word to him. Once in a while, a nod would be given to Uxor, who returned it in kind, but they looked on Varro passively. At Uxor's direction, the two of them crossed through open spaces, small courtyards, past men gathered together practicing combat techniques, or other unusual rituals. Uxor paid them no mind because she expected it. Varro paid them no mind because he did not care. There was one destination, and that was to this 'master' fellow.

    Master. Varro gnarled his nose at the thought of that term. Did it mean the man was master of his arts, or master over her? Or... perhaps both? Varro was not so rude as to needle Uxor over it however. All that would matter is what this 'master' would permit, and what Varro and he would come to an understanding of.

    When they arrived before the fellow, Varro was at first surprised to see him sitting folded legged in a wooden floored room, looking to their entrance expectantly. This surprise was short lived, as Varro - being one who delt with formalities himself - figured one of the other monks had run ahead of them at the sight of Uxor to alert the master of their arrival. Uxor coiled upon the floor before the man, bowing her head in greeting, and Varro offered a formal standing bow to him, followed by sitting upon the floor, but with as much dignity as he could emulate. The monk sat across from both of them, but looked to Uxor and said* The second time to see me, in such a short time, Maiden?

    Uxor: Yes master.

    *He watched her a moment, then looked to Varro* Who have you brought, Maiden?

    *Varro was a little put off at being spoken about as if he couldn't very well introduce himself. He said nothing however, for this was her culture, and he would ... for the moment... let Uxor have the reigns of the discussion.*

    Uxor: The one I spoke of, Varro.

    *that seemed to bring recognition to the monk's face, and Varro wasn't certain if that were good or ill.* The one you have spoken for... twice.

    Uxor: Yes master.

    *Varro was also slightly curious at that reply. He knew of this most recent time, but the time she had broken her vow while he was absent had been something mysterious. In retrospect, knowing how she felt, for her to have broken her vow for him twice now made sense.*

    *The master nodded* You have returned for the Severed Song, but you bring with you other tidings. What are they Maiden?

    *This fellow was better than Varro expected. He could read others in a similar light to how Varro read them, and thusly, drew information out. For a moment the bard considered that he and this monk were not perhaps so different.*

    Uxor: I seek your guidance... *she started, but the monk cut her off*

    You have already decided, and you are willing to accept the consequences. What you wish now is to know what those consequences are.

    Uxor: Yes master. What are the consequences of marriage? I will wed this man. If I must give up my path to do so, I accept this. *she sat up very abjectly, looking to the monk with resolve and expectation*

    *the look of the monk softened a little* Your path is your own to walk, Maiden. I, nor any, will tell you to turn from it. Your karma is your own. However, I will tell you that to be with him, you will find that your karma is more complex, and walking your path will be more difficult. For this reason, many do not take a wife... or in your case, a husband... in order to focus upon their journey. You understand these things...

    Uxor: Yes master.

    *he nodded* then walk your path, Maiden.

    *Varro was almost relieved. He thought this would be one of their major obsticles. Uxor also seemed relieved, and continued*
    Uxor: As for my path... I wish to renew my vow. I will endure the severing of song, and marking. Is he permitted to be at my side?

    Varro: Before we get too far, in so much as accepting or denying my presence with my mate, I would speak *he wasn't going to let them get too far along before he had a chance to right this* The breaking of her vow was not her fault. She was not acting of her own accord, and was drugged. If you wish her to not speak, so be it, but she should not have to go through with this 'severing' process for something that was not her fault.

    Uxor: My actions are my own Varro, lucid or not. Circumstance does not change what happened. I let my emotions over come me...

    Varro: Because of whatever that forged gave you. I felt it. You were euphoric. Considering all that had been done to you at that point, I sincerely doubt it was truly because you were 'happy.'

    *The monks voice came to the two of them* Tall Lord of Words... your mate's karma is hers to accept or deny.

    Varro: Minstrel...I prefer the term Minstrel. *he could sense a mental slap on the back of the head from Uxor's glance at his 'disrespect' to her master's words. Tall Lord of Words indeed.... the monk only nodded*

    Minstrel, one does not walk the path of the severed song in half effort.

    Varro: Fair enough. Then I will be there. Whether I am permitted or not, I will be there *he lifted his chin. The monk nodded. Once more, prepaired for a battle, Varro found that nothing barred his request.*

    Be at her side Minstrel.

    Varro: *he turned to Uxor, a bit oblivious of the monk as things were going so well. He had as yet one last thing to get past the objection of these monks. He said she had to go through with it, but he did not say she couldn't have help* Uxor... I can help ease the pain of it. You know this. What I did for you in House Jorasco in the ward, I can do for you in this context as well.

    *Uxor shook her head no. Before he had the chance to open his mouth that she didn't have to listen to the black and white monks, that semantics was key, she touched his face and smiled at him*
    Uxor: I know you can. But I need to be able to concentrate. You can take away pain, but you also take away focus when you do. Lying there for Dal to heal me was one thing... but this... I need focus. I know you mean well, and you want me to be happy and safe, but please understand why I could not accept your gift despite your good intent.

    *Varro slouched dejectedly. The monk said nothing. After a moment of silence, Varro spoke up and sat up more straightly*
    Varro: So this song severing... you cut yourself *he ran his hand over his throat*

    Uxor: That is the basics of what it entails. I must end my capasity to speak.

    Varro: And how do you do this without bleeding to death?

    Uxor: There are brothers who tend to me, and provide healing to me as I perform the ritual, to ensure I will survive it.

    *Varro looked at the monk and held Uxor's hand as if the master had intent to seperate them*
    Varro: I will be at her side, and I will heal her. She will have no need of your brothers, she will have her husband. *Varro felt Uxor's hand press ever so faintly against his, and he recognized that she was comforted by this news. Prompted by her light gesture, he leaned toward her to offer a light kiss on her lips, and looked back at the monk defiantly.*

    *Once again, Varro was met with no objection as the monk nodded agreeably to him* As you wish, Minstrel.

    *No objections to marriage. No objection to his attendance or assistance. With nothing to fight against, Varro was back to the one part of this ordeal he had not entirely worked out... exactly how one in Uxor's faith did marry?*
    Thank you all!
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  4. #104
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    Default Fellowship of the Golden Night, The Ambassadors, Volumn XII

    Fellowship of the Golden Night
    The Ambassadors
    Volumn XII "A New Proposition" Chapter 6

    Varro: Before she is to sever her song, as it were, as a gift to me she has agreed to marry before your ritual. I will presume this to be ok, as it has taken her this long to even return to you for such a purpose. So instead, I wish to grant her a wedding that is traditional to her beliefs. How does one of your order go about this - what are the rituals?

    *The monk shook his head to the question* There are none, Minstrel.

    Varro: *he blinked at the master* You mean to tell me you have rituals and ceremonies to mutilate yourselves or deprive yourself of happiness, but not one related to marriage?? *again came that implied slap to the back of his head from Uxor's gaze. The master only looked on him passively, if not with pity*

    There are none. However, to atone for my failures as a teacher to the Maiden *which he nodded his head to Uxor* what I can offer you is the knowledge of how the locals undergo it.

    Varro: Fine. I was rather hoping to give her something of her culture, but since you apparently have none outside of this 'path walking'... I am open to suggestions.

    *the master smiled slightly* It is different for all who do so, but of weddings I recall before my time here... *he paused, reflecting* They gathered with their village. In a sacred place, they offered prayer to their families, ancestors, and to their gods. They wore ceremonial clothing... red typically, but not always. Sometimes the village women would create the garments for the bride. Before the town elders, they would proclaim their love and intent. They would give to one another an armband, wrought with a sign for their new family. The groom would have forged these before the ceremony, or have asked for the assistance of a trusted one to craft them if he could not. The couple and the elders would then march unto the home that the groom would provide, and the elders would offer prayer and tolkens of good luck. The couple would enter their home, and the elders would return to the rest of the villagers at the sacred place, and confirm the union. More prayers would be offered, and gifts to the gods to bless the couple and grant them luck, and strong children. Does this help you? *the master looked between them both*

    Varro: Yes and no. Tell me... do you believe in gods?

    *the master was not perturbed by his question, and Varro was starting to wonder if anything could get under the master's skin at all.* Minstrel, if there are gods, they will be, whether I believe in them or not. If there are not gods, they will not be, whether I believe in them or not. My purpose is to atone for my own acts in this world.

    Varro: Fair enough.

    Uxor: Thank you for your help master *and she bowed. Varro bowed as well, but didn't know how truly 'helpful' this man had been. In fact, he had done nothing but stand aside from anything they intended on doing.*

    Varro: Thank you for your knowledge.

    *the master returned the bow* You are welcome Minstrel, and Matron of Ice. *Uxor looked up for a moment at his comment, but smiled softly as Varro helped her to her feet, and escorted her out of the temple. As they walked, he was already set to scheming. She knew he would be, but she knew to expect differently of him would be the same as her speaking and forsaking her vow.*

    Varro: Sacred place...arm bands.....interesting. *he paused in one of the open courtyards, moving to guide her to a bench* Uxor, what do you want?

    Uxor: To be your wife.

    Varro: *he shook his head and grinned at her* Yes but HOW do you want that to happen? I've spoken with many folk over how ones goes about it. I've had legal documents drafted up in Stormreach. I've come to the place of your faith. I have my ideas of how it can be, but I still know nothing of what you would like.

    Uxor: I don't know. I've never thought of it before.

    Varro: I could always try to give you a wedding like the one you had from your first marriage to... *he stopped, realizing he was about to say too much. His capasity to see into the past conflicted with her request that he not tell her. Now perhaps she would think differently* I'm sorry. I just wanted to know of you, so I did look to my powers to show me what your wedding was. I know you said you don't want to hear it but, my offer still stands if you would like me to tell you of your past...or at least that part of your past which was happy.

    Uxor: You know his name... my first husband that is?

    Varro: Yes. Do you wish for me to tell you?

    Uxor: No. In fact, tell me nothing of my wedding. The life I have now is what I live. I do not want memories and familiar feelings clouding my mind when I am to marry you. The same is true for our ceremony. I do not want it to reflect my first wedding. I want no past to haunt my present in that moment. That is what I 'want' Varro.

    *Varro thought about this for some time, sitting and holding her hand, looking at the gardens around them. He smiled and patted her hand* Then I know how we will wed. If I have to leave your side a few days, is that alright in terms of your ... other ceremony?

    Uxor: Yes. I will miss you, but whatever you have in mind I will be happy. Am I to stay here?

    Varro: That will work nicely. I will return a few times before this will be proper, but all I ask is that you have patience, and enjoy what I bring for you. In the meantime, think on what words you wish to say to me. Everyone I have spoken with says that those who marry offer vows or words of intent as your master said.

    Uxor: I have thought on that much of it... Points said I should make a new 'oath' with you.

    Varro: Well, the elf has more rationality to him than I thought. Weigh that notion then, this new oath, in your meditation while I am gone. *he started to kiss her hand, then paused, looking at the band upon her index finger.* Does it bother you that Endaria wore it before you? If you would prefer that I find new rings for us, I will. Rings are my tradition, and if you did not want one at all well, that would also be within reason to ask me to part with both of them. *he nodded to the ring on his hand*

    *Uxor shook her head, and put her forehead to his* I loved Endaria like family when she was alive. To continue to take care of the one she loved, you, is something I take very seriously. My master spoke of couples giving prayer to their ancestors... wearing this ring will be my tribute to she that I held as kin.<

    *Varro brushed his nose along hers admiringly.* As you desire, my snowdrift. There is something else. I know you said you want no past looming over you, and that who we are now is what matters. But if you are intending to take my name, you should know that there are no Velox. Not only is my name alias, but I have no given name Uxor.

    Uxor: You have given yourself your 'given' name Varro. That does not matter to me. I will take it because it is from you. Perhaps it makes it more important to me because you are willing to share with me something that is truly your own.

    *Varro was very contented by this response, and kissed her, inbetween muttering* Keep this for me, and give it back when I return *he meant the kiss, and she understood saying* Always.
    Thank you all!
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  5. #105
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    Default Fellowship of the Golden Night, The Ambassadors, Volumn XII

    Fellowship of the Golden Night
    The Ambassadors
    Volumn XII "A New Proposition" Chapter 7

    *For several days, Uxor was greeted in the evening by Varro's appearence, coming and going from the temple. He would arrive, dine with she and the monks, inform her that 'things were going as planned,' and then depart once more. She never pressed him for details or to know when he would be finished with his plans. Each time, he requested the return of 'that which she said she would always keep for him' - the kiss - but subsequently, he would ask that she favor him by keeping it for him again when he departed. He would then set off on whatever errands he had in mind concerning the wedding.

    To her, simply wearing his ring and saying she was his wife would have pleased her. She knew that would not be his way however. Varro was a man of showmanship... to not put on a specticle in some form would be entirely unlike him. So rather than question what was to come, she spent her time meditating on what oath she would make to him, and what it would mean for her karma to be in love.

    One evening Varro did not arrive. Instead of being greeted by her tall bard, her Master came into the room. Uxor bowed her head, and angled her head curiously at her Master, who sat down across from her, saying*

    Are you ready Maiden of Ice? Your mate bade me come to inform you that by this time tomorrow, you will be wed. He did not have time to stay and dine with us this eve, however, he wanted me to show you something.

    *Uxor nodded, not surprised by any of this. Somehow she suspected that whatever Varro had in store for her would require that she jump through a few hoops. Her Master walked with her to one of the open courtyards, where a few of the brothers were gathered around one of the benches looking at something. Upon the bench was a long flat box. This she did not expect. Her Master motioned for the other brothers to move off*

    Let us allow the Maiden some privacy, Brothers.

    *Uxor approached the box and started to open it. Privacy she was not so concerned with. None the less, the brothers - as well as her Master - moved off as she inspected the contents of the package. Within was a folded paper, and beneath and all around this paper was the fabric of a garment. Uxor lifted both from the box, and folds of the fabric cascaded down to form the distinctive shape of a gown. It was a pale color like her skin, with golden patterns swirling up its length, and rich indigo colored panels that worked down the center of it and unto the sleaves. It was very lovely, and glimmered in the sun brightly on all accounts. It was perhaps more elaborate than even her robe she wore for official business of the high council of the guild. She read the paper that came with this dress, in handwriting she recognized as being Varro's*

    "Uxor,

    I understand that in this region it is traditional to wear something 'special' in which to wed. I saw this dress and my thoughts went to you. It is made from a material sacred to the people of this land, and I felt that was perhaps most appropriate. Tomorrow morning, your Master and several of your temple monks will escort you to me. Please wear this for your journey. If there is anything you wish for me to wear, think happily on it, and I will know. Until such time, continue to keep it for me.

    With infinite passion,
    - Varro"

    *By "it", she knew he meant their kiss. It was a sort of game she had come to enjoy now. At first she considered that her Master knew of all of this, and had said nothing to her of it. Instead her thoughts turned to what she would enjoy seeing Varro wear. Oddly enough, she found her thoughts went to the purple shimmering robe of the Augur. She enjoyed how it served to make the blue of his eyes all the more radient, and how dignified he looked in it. There was also the notion that the fabric was quite soft - almost silky. So her mind roamed to this outfit of his, hoping he would have an awareness to how pleasing it would be to her for him to adorn it for the wedding.*

    *That evening, she slept well. She was excited of course for what would come, but she had no hesitation or nervousness that would keep her from rest. Briefly it crossed her awareness that this would be her last eve as merely the 'Maiden of Ice,' for as her Master had so clearly pointed out to her, she would now be a 'Matron.' This did not trouble her she found, and sleep came quickly for her*

    *Sleep came quickly for Varro, elsewhere in the world, who milled over Uxor's happy thoughts that drifted to him by way of him being diligent in his searches through his Augur imagry to find them. It was all he required to relent at last to sleep, not having done so for the two days prior. The fact that she envisioned him in the purple robes was deeply comforting to him. She was truly going to become his wife, and accepted all that came with that arrangement, even his service to the Avatar. While he could never understand how he had come at last to the fortune of having a woman such as this, he was not going to question it. For once, he would simply accept her acceptance, and sleep. *
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    Default Fellowship of the Golden Night, The Ambassadors, Volumn XII

    Fellowship of the Golden Night
    The Ambassadors
    Volumn XII "A New Proposition" Chapter 8

    *A familiar scene was passing by Uxor... the sight of the countryside far below her, as the airship passed along. This time however, the situation was far different. In the first place, rather than Varro at her side, her Master sat meditatively. Additionally some of the other brothers were peering out into the vast blue, and the tiny world below, with either curiosity or fear. Some of them it had taken much coaxing to get them aboard the airship in the first place. Uxor rightly didn't know what to think of it all... this journey to marriage had been riddled with unexpected occurances*

    *Uxor stared at her Master with open wonder as he explained the manner by which she, and the other brothers, would travel. She had expected to simply walk to a location somewhere near. Perhaps by horseback if it was a bit of a journey. Instead, her master held a scroll in his hand, explaining that they were to teleport to the airship port, leagues away from this region.*

    Uxor: You...teleport? All of us?

    *her master smiled softly at her confusion* Yes Maiden. It surprises you that I am able to do such?

    Uxor: Yes Master. I've never seen you practice magic, let alone such as ths.

    *He was not insulted by her implication that he didn't seem 'capable' of it* No one will tell another how they may walk their path Maiden. You above all others understand this. My path is my own, and what it entails is of course not - nor has it ever been - a concern of yours. Thus do not feel bad that you had no awareness to this.

    *Uxor nodded in understanding, and in retrospect, the fact that he could so clearly recall the traditions of the regional villages implied that he did have a full life outside the monestary at some point. For all she knew, before coming to be with the monks, he had been a great wizard. She was not going to ask after this however.*

    Uxor: I am ready Master.


    *The surprise at learning that her Master was... or at least had been in his former life... a spellcaster had set her offbalance to a degree. Then there was the airship itself.*

    Uxor: You're positive?
    *The first mate nodded her head* Ooh yes, Ambassador. Cap'n made it very clear you and your escort were not to be charged for boarding, 's been already taken care of.
    Uxor: I'd feel more comfortable with that if I could speak with the Captain personally. I don't want any misunderstandings after the fact.
    *The mate shook her head* 'fraid can't help it Ambassador. Cap'n he's not here. If it makes ya feel better ta know, I tell ya if Cap'n ain't here, makes me Cap'n in es place. So 'f cap'n don't like what I say, he take it up with me, won't be your worry Ambassador.
    Uxor: Thank you for your reassurance.


    *She really didn't know what to expect now in the least, so there was nothing for it except to let all things unfold to her, and see what her new husband had in store for her.*
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    Default Fellowship of the Golden Night, The Ambassadors, Volumn XIII

    Fellowship of the Golden Night
    The Ambassadors
    Volumn XIII "The Maiden, The Minstrel, & The Marriage" Chapter 1

    *Uxor looked around to the sands, the tall cliffs, the red stone formations scattered round the horizion, and the overall scenery of the desert. Nestled amid this was the sight of a splash of buildings in the stark landscape. White structures, with dark reddish wooden beams and clay rooftiles, sprang from the sand, set upon stone foundations. Near at hand to these structures was the airship docking, hoving above the canyon that snaked all through this settlement. In the time it had taken them to sail through the skies from the monestary to this place, the sky had already began to reflect the come of eve. The multiple moons of the starscape had crested the horizion, chasing the sun to its retirement on the opposite side of the sky.

    Her Master walked with confidence across the gangway to the sands. Some of the other brothers hesitantly tred across... some practically scampering... to arrive at his side. Uxor walked with a hesitation of her own, not having expected the ship to dock here. She fully had anticipated arriving back in Stormreach to the sight of a huge gathering, and until her Master had gotten up, she didn't even know that this WAS their destination. She still expected that Varro had organized some huge gathering, but to think that he might have transported guests this far out of the way seemed very inconsiderate of him. She was not going to try and reason out what had been planned however - denoting how much had gone not according to her knowledge of the way life was told her that this too would be something she did not expect.*

    This way Maiden *and her Master motioned for her to come to his side, and set to walking purposefully across the stone bridgeways. She, her Master, and the pack of monks walked past many of the buildings, past merchants and caravans, and other sights of life in this settlement. This was not her first time here, but it was her first time paying such deep attention to what was going on around her. Momentarily she was afraid that Varro had intended to wed them before the sight of the Elder planar outsider that resided here. The guild often held ceremonies there, but in Uxor's mind overseeing a wedding was perhaps a trivial to impose upon that being. Her fretting over that prospect was quelled as her Master began to guide her up a steep incline to a building that sat upon high ground, and was not near the area she knew.*

    *Three things struck Uxor's immediate attention as they crested the incline to arrive level with this structure. First was the unmistakeable sight of Varro, standing beside the far end of the building, patiently waiting for her, but smiling when his eyes fell on her. He was wearing the robe of the Augur, just as she had so pictured. The next was a man standing beside Varro that she recognized as being the Captain of the airship. She recalled the gentleman from previous journies...even so recent as their trip to the monestary in the first place. It was the third thing in sight that prompted a look of true astonishment from her. Behind Varro and the Captain was the distinctive profile of a scraggly tree, close to the entrance of this building, and with signs that it had been only recently planted there. The outline of such a tree had been etched into her memory very prominantly, for beneath such a tree she had first confessed to Varro how she felt of him; the freshly disturbed dirt round the base of this tree behind Varro told her that someone had uprooted it from its original location.*

    *Her Master ushered her on until the group of them were gathered beside this tree. Varro looked her over, and held a hand out to her. His other was occupied by several scrolls of paper. Warm lips brushed against the back of her cold hand, as he kissed it and smiled at her*

    Varro: I could tell you how beautiful you look, but I believe it goes without saying. *almost privately between the two of them - as he moved closer to her, and rested his forehead against hers - he said softly* Are you ready for this Ux?

    Uxor: With you, I don't think I can ever be completely 'ready' for what you have in mind. I will say I have no wish to delay or turn from it.

    Varro: I'll call that 'yes' then. *and he kissed her lightly on the lips* thank you for keeping that for me. *then turned toward the Captain, and glanced at the monks round Uxor*

    *Varro held Uxor's hand out towards the gathering, and looked to the airship Captain*

    Varro: Captain... this woman wears my ring. I have asked her to be my wife, and she has agreed. Before you, before these monks, I make it known that she is my mate. *he held up the scrolls in his hand* All that I have, I offer to her, for our new life together. These documents specify that she is overseer of my affairs, and should such a time arise, she is also heir to my assets. I ask that you sign these papers concerning the sale of my property in Stormreach, and the purchase of this one, as I require a legal witness.

    *The Captain retrieved the papers from him and set to reading them over, but Uxor looked at Varro in even further astonishment than before*

    Uxor: The sale of your... you sold it?

    Varro: *he smiled at her* I did. This *he motioned to the door beside them* is our home now.

    Uxor: You didn't have to do that Varro

    Varro: No I didn't. I wanted to. I wanted somewhere for the two of us... somewhere with meaning. This place . It is my gift for you.

    *The Captain held out the scrolls to Varro and Uxor. Varro signed the documents, and held them out to Uxor, who started to simply sign "Uxor" but then remembered what this was, and signed her name as "Uxor Velox." She really didn't expect it, but somehow to write it as such was actually enjoyable. She found herself taking a certain amount of giddy pride in seeing her name written in this manner. She did not yet have the time to consider these things, or even look over what was about to become home, before she felt Varro guiding her towards the small tree, and the Captain nodded to both of them, biding 'Lord and Lady Velox' farewell.*

    *The monks however did not depart. Instead, they gathered around the two of them, and her master came to sit upon the sand beneath this small tree. Varro motioned for her to sit across from her master, and seemed unconcerned that they would be sitting upon the bare sands. He in turn sat beside her. She waited for further explaination from Varro, but instead it was her master who spoke*

    This man has requested that I guide the two of you in meditation. He tells me that often you assist others in helping them to walk their path in their woods, and yet what your path is, and what his is to you, is unknown to him. I see no reason why this should not be an appropriate experience for a husband and wife to share in, so I have agreed to guide you both, if you accept this Maiden.

    Uxor: *raised a brow at both of them* I don't understand. Varro I would love you no matter what your answers were.

    Varro: I know you would. I just want to know you. I wanted to experience this together... I felt it might be the single most appropriate means of sharing a part of ourselves in terms of your beliefs.

    Uxor: And what of your beliefs?

    Varro: Oh trust me, it's coming... I think Hope - and the whole lot of them really - would slay me if I intended to go through with this without including them somehow. Once we've had our marriage... once we've restored your vow... then we will return to Stormreach for celebration with them. That will satisfy my duty to the Avatar so far as that is concerned. For now, this time is ours. I want you to see all that I am if I am to be your husband Ux. That is why I asked your Master to perform this.

    *Uxor nodded in understanding, deeply touched that Varro had gone through so much trouble on all accounts to make this something special - and unique - for her. She looked to her master to indicate that she was ready*

    *Many times before had Uxor seen others undergo the guided meditation. It was intended to show many things of yourself, but on an expressly subconscious level. Varro knew a good deal of it from helping her in the past, but she had never bothered to have Varro try it. After a moment of silence, she looked to her Master, who nodded and said* You as well Maiden.

    Uxor: Me? I thought Varro was going first

    *her master shook his head* No. You will also do likewise, and I shall explain once we are finished.

    *Uxor nodded and closed her eyes, entering her meditative state, but partly she worried, for she had always been of the understanding that the guide and follower were the only two for the process. To see more than one person being guided in the same meditation was something new to even her. None the less, she relaxed and pictured nothingness, and listened to the sound of her Master's voice*

    I want you to picture blackness. Listen to the sound of my voice, and as I ask you questions, describe what you see in great detail. When you can see blackness, say so. Picture the deepest darkest pitch, where no light could ever penetrate. There will be only my voice, and the voice of your mate.

    Uxor: Yes.
    *Varro was quiet for a time longer before he at last sighed somewhat*
    Varro: Close enough... as close as it will get for me anyway... blackness. Continue.

    I want you to picture a forest, and a path. Tell me all you can of what you see, what you hear... all of it.

    Varro: *he had no hesitation in offering up a description* Ferns. There are a lot of ferns. The trees are very tall... tall enough that I can't see through the forest canopy. Most of their folliage is towards the top though. The ferns cover the path pretty extensively. I can barely see it snaking through the woods. It's more like a...a deer trail. The bark of the trees is red, and so is the dirt path...what I can see of it through the ferns anyway.

    Uxor: *once she was confident that Varro had offered his description in full, she offered her own* Bamboo. Tall and straight, and everything is bathed in green. The long pointed leaves cover the ground. There is no path I can see, there is only space to walk between the trees.

    You pass through this forest, and as you are wandering, you see a bear. What do you do?

    Varro: I sing a song for it until it is entranced by my music, and then pass by it.

    Uxor: I remain where I am. If it moves about its business, I let it. If it lunges for me, I defend myself.

    The bear moves on, and you continue on your journey. You come across a key on the ground. Describe it, and what - if anything - you do with it?

    Varro: It's a skeleton key, very worn and small. I pocket it. Never know when a key will come in handy.

    Uxor: It looks like one that could have fallen off a key ring, perhaps a city guard or a jailor's keys. I keep it with me incase I might need it later.

    Your journey through the woods brings you to a body of water. Describe it.

    Varro: A waterfall. I'm about halfway up, looking out at it, where it cascades into a pool of water at the base.

    Uxor: A river. I can see the other side though.

    Can you cross it?

    Varro: Well there's no 'crossing' it really. You either jump in it, or you don't. Looks fun honestly. I don't know that I could get back out if I jump in from here though.

    Uxor: I can make it halfway out, the water is up to my midrift, but I can't cross it, and have to turn back. The current is too strong.

    Your path turns aside from this, and instead you come upon a bottle. Describe this bottle and what, if anything, you do with it.

    Varro: It's a potion bottle. Still full too...corked even. I'll hang onto that too... but what's in it I'll have to wait until I get back to town to get an identify cast on it. I'm definately not going to just use it until I know for certain what it's for. Might be poison.

    Uxor: The bottle is a wine bottle. It's empty, but it's clean more or less. Deep green, to keep the light from getting at the contents. I'll take it with me for now, incase I have a use for it.

    Not that much further down your way, you come upon a bowl. Describe it and what, if anything, you do with it.

    Varro: It's one of those mortar's like the alchemist's use to mix in with a pestle. That I'll also definately take. It's marble, and in good shape. Who would leave it out in the middle of the woods I have no idea, but I'll take it now.

    Uxor: *She paused a moment, distracted by the fact that Varro's answer was not that far from her own* It's a mortar ... and it's very well made. The stone is smooth and soft to handle. I'll take it because I enjoy holding it, and I have nothing else to do in the woods.

    Your path continues, through these woods, and you come to an obstruction in your path. What is it?

    Varro: A cliff. I'm out of the woods now and there is a cliff.

    Uxor: I've not been on any path per say, but now there are some. A series of forks and branches and paths to pick from. They all go off in different directions.

    Can you get beyond this obstruction?

    Varro: No. There is nowhere to go but down. Although, I do have boots that grant me featherfalling magic, and I could probably drift down below somewhere. I don't know that that is 'getting around' it really.

    Uxor: I can yes in a way. I pick a path, and start walking it.

    Picture blackness again for me. When you can, open your eyes, and we shall talk at length.

    *While Uxor withdrew from the meditation in the way she had been taught, Varro simply opened his eyes, watching her, until she was looking back at him. They both turned to look at the master*

    You both are aware of what these things mean, but I will reitterate it for you. This has been a journey of the self. The woods represents your outlook on life, and your path is an indication of how you see your travel through life. The bear is how you handle conflict, and the key, the value you give to knowledge and learning. The water was your libido, and your capasity to cross it or not is how much influence it has in your life. The bottle was your view of the traditional role of the male in a society, while the bowl, the female. Finally, the obstruction in your path was your outlook on death, and your ability to move beyond this obstruction was your feelings towards the afterlife. These things you may weigh of yourself, but additionally, you have heard the words of your partner in regards to their outlook. Know now that having undergone this together, hearing one another's words and thoughts, your forests will begin to bleed together. You will find ferns growing among your bamboo Matron of Ice, and Minstrel you will soon see an absence of a path, merely the process of walking between trees. This is but the smallest example of how your two existances will come together. Accept this, but always be mindful of the differences in your two forests. Walk your path together.

    *Uxor bowed to her master, and Varro nodded, but turned to her, and took both of her hands, as they sat on the sands surrounded by the monks. The tiny tree loomed over them all*

    Varro: I don't know what rituals or ceremony is involved in becoming married. This is my best guess at it after all I've asked of, seen, and learned. However, there is one thing that seems common and that is to offer a pledge... which I do before your bretheren... *he clasped both of her hands, looking nowhere but into her eyes. All else around them did not exist to him. There was only her.* I swear on my life, on my Avatar even, that I will love you, as I love nothing else. That I will protect you with everything I have to offer. I will live my life for you. Nothing will stand in the way of me tending my wife's happiness. Uxor, daughter of Sir Optelius Dyervolks - Living Ice of the East, Slayer of the Red - known among your brothers as the Maiden of Living Ice... you are now my wife, and you honor me with your love.

    *Uxor smiled at him, long having considered what she would say to him*
    Uxor: Varro Valerius Velox... to know your love is to be overcome by the very seas of passion, and I welcome it. I will make anew oath with you... to be at your side as your wife, and face that which we must together. I accept all that you are. Short of the gods themselves holding me back, I will always return to you. My friend... lover... and now, my husband, I will consider it the most beautiful of gifts to be now known as Uxor Velox. And I will always keep this for you...

    *to which she moved to kiss the bard, but he was apparently of like mind on the matter, and met her half way. She wasn't certain if he had any spells cast on himself to dampen the chill of her as they kissed, but if he had not, she would not have known. It did not matter. Nothing mattered... nothing except one another... so much so that when they finally broke from their kissing, she realized the monks were gone, including her master. She had not even noticed their departure, and undoubtedly her master had intended it to be so. How well her master knew her. He knew that she would fuss over their having come, and be so concerned with being a good hostess, that she would delay time with her new husband perhaps. Their departure served one purpose - to give her no distraction from her wedding night. By now, the stars were overhead, and too the moons. Varro helped her to the deck of their new home, permitting her a view of the landscape.*

    Uxor: Beautiful... *she muttered at the sight of the place*

    Varro: You are. Tomorrow, I will help you renew your vow... but for tonight, I will bask in the great privilage of your voice Ux. Now should I be worried about this river of yours?

    Uxor: Only as much as I should worry about your waterfall *she smirked at him* You're lucky I didn't say what I said a long time ago when I first took that meditation

    Varro: Oh?

    Uxor: Yes. I smashed the bottle.

    Varro: I think I just fell even more deeply in love with you, snow drift.
    Last edited by Merlask; 08-06-2007 at 09:16 AM.
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    Default Fellowship of the Golden Night, The Ambassadors, Volumn XIII

    Fellowship of the Golden Night
    The Ambassadors
    Volumn XIII "The Maiden, The Minstrel, & The Marriage" Chapter 3

    *Uxor smiled at the gathering before them. When Varro had said to expect such a party, he had not been joking. All around them were the faces of friends, guildmates, acquaintances, and well wishers... all dressed in flowing togas, and wearing laurel looking circlets upon their heads. A sense of familiarity - home almost - came upon her looking at them all. Apparently Varro had also not been bluffing when he said he used his abilities as Augur to see into what would have been her former existance... the time before her memories were taken. The mixture of nostalgia and familiar faces served to put her in a very bright mood, and she could not help herself looking to her new husband with an unyielding adoration.*

    *Varro guided her out to the center of the gathering, waving with his other hand*

    Varro: Who wants the honor of the first dance... with me or with Uxor...

    *A male voice called out* With Uxor of course.

    *Varro released his hold on her hand with a smile, offering a bow, and slipping back away. Uxor heard cries go up all around her, and she looked about in confusion for the source of her would be dance partner. Folk cried out 'Gary!' and 'The Watcher!' and 'Dances With Kobolds!!' as she searched the throng of people for the owner of the voice. Already having been in communication with Varro, she looked to him, and spoke mentally*

    Uxor: <I don't see him... where is h...>

    *Varro didn't answer. Instead, Uxor felt the world fall out from beneath her feet, and she recognized the feeling of being transported. Varro did so to her many times by now. This was different on several levels. In the first place, no one was holding onto her... for Varro to do so, he always had to touch her. Next was the fact that it did not feel to be Varro either, for when he did so, a sliver of his visions would flutter to her. This was familiar... but different. When the world solidified once more around her, she found herself face to face with a man in a toga, wearing a circlet, like so many of the other guests. But he was not like them. He had gray hair, mutton chops, and a soul patch not all that different than Varro's. His eyes were striking. Looking into them, she felt very small, as if at any moment his presence could drown her like an insect beneath all the terrible wrath and power of the sea. As she beheld this, she heard a voice reply to her question asked of Varro.*

    <I'm right here.> *where at, from seemingly nowhere, he set atop her head one of the beautiful circlets the party guests wore. The figure then swept her up in dancing, to which she could only accept, and stare at him in sheer bewilderment.*

    Uxor: <You...can hear me?>
    Avatar: <Just like your husband, always a question. Looks like my Augur could not have picked for himself a better match>
    *For some time of their dancing, Uxor said nothing. Neither did the Avatar. She tried to comprehend that she was dancing with the very being that she had so questioned the existence of. In all this time, she wanted to put faith in Varro and the others, but the whole idea of an 'Avatar of Celebration' had seemed so outlandish to her. Now, whatever this being was - god or not - it was here, and dancing with her no less. At last she mustered up the resolve to speak further with it*
    Uxor: <Did you stop him from hurting Juryrig?>
    Avatar: <No. I am aware you offered prayer to me for that Coralbina, but that was all him my dear. Of all the things you could ask me, you ask me that. Do you love him?>
    Uxor: *She had no time to react to the shock of him having said her birth name, for his question prompted swift response*<Yes I love him.>
    Avatar: <Would you stay with him, even if what was asked of him might threaten to seperate the two of you?>
    Uxor: <If it kept him safe, I would die for him. I have no fear of being without him, because I will not let that happen. Is this a test? Something I must undergo to be the wife of an Augur?>
    Avatar: <No. Just curious. Though I suppose it's fair to tell you that very soon, something may threaten your capasity to be together, and you will have to make a choice. Consider my telling you a wedding gift... just friendly advice.>
    Uxor: <I will accept my karma.>
    Avatar: <Yes, but will he?>
    *Before she realized what was happening, the figure had bowed, and passed her on to the next guest to dance with. Uxor mingled with the other guests, but time and time again her gaze fell back to the strange being that mingled with the guests, and drank with them as might any man.*
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    Default Fellowship of the Golden Night, The Ambassadors, Volumn XIII

    Fellowship of the Golden Night
    The Ambassadors
    Volumn XIII "The Maiden, The Minstrel, & The Marriage" Chapter 2

    ((WARNING: This account of the story contains some material that might not be appropriate for sensitive readers. If you are someone who has an aversion to stories of self mutilation, or that contain graphic depicitions of violence, please do not read any further.))

    *Varro glowered at Uxor, as she held the blade, going over the details of how the ritual of the 'severed song' was performed.*

    Varro: You're sure you don't want anything for the pain?

    Uxor: No. I have to concentrate. I've undergone this twice now Varro, I will be alright. It doesn't feel good no, but I will endure. Just be careful when you heal me that you don't heal too much... or it takes a lot longer for me.

    Varro: Understood. So what happens after that?

    Uxor: Then I must be branded, with this *and from one of her bags across the room, she retrieved what looked like a spearhead. Varro recognized that it was most certainly ceremonial in nature... no one could expect such a frail tool to survive real combat beyond one or two uses.*

    *Varro frowned as he recognized the profile of the thing in conjunction with her mention of 'branding.' On her inner thigh, Uxor bore a dark scar, like a pair of long fingers had seered into her, to form a a narrow v shape. He hadn't bothered to question her on it before, as they both had their share of scars from combat mishaps that could not be reached with magical aid in time to prevent a lasting mark. Now it was expressly clear what made the mark, and why*

    Varro: No. You're not going to be branded with that.

    Uxor: It's part of the ritual Varro...

    Varro: But this wasn't your fault... you were drugged.

    Uxor: When it comes to a vow Varro, the reason does not matter.

    Varro: It does matter. *he walked to her, plucking the spearhead from her hand* it matters because even your master said... I am the reason you spoke, both times. You're not going to get the brand this time... I am.

    Uxor: *she shook her head adamently* Don't talk like that. This was my...

    Varro: Your choice yes I know... but all that you've undergone in the breaking of your vow is my fault. I kept you in the dark, leaving you to think the worst. Then, I was arrogant, and my choices left you open to come into the hands of that forged. Both times now, I've been the source of your failing in your vow. You said we face what we have to together... so this is what I will face with you. Renew your vow, but I will wear your mark.

    *She knew there would be no talking him out of it now. In the same way he sought to help her, she could perhaps help him*

    Uxor: I understand. There is no real order to if the marking happen before or after the severed song really... so then let it be before, so that I can help you.

    Varro: Developed some Augur powers I don't know about? *he smirked at her* or been trying your hand with wands?

    Uxor: No...something a little more simple than that, love...

    ----

    *The feeling of cold rushed to meet scorched flesh. Varro growled in pain through tightly clenched teeth, but Uxor's cold hands were already upon his thigh to offer a form of ease. She was correct, it was simple. Her skin was very cold, and after the hot spearhead had been pressed to him, she had promptly removed it, and placed her hands over the mark, trying to cool it for him. He had expected there to be something elaborate involved... but it had simply been a matter of heating the thing up, and touching it to his skin until it left a brand in the thin v shape. Uxor's expression was very serious and business-like, but he could clearly see her distress at ordeal. He was almost glad that his torture at the hands of the warforged had prepaird him somewhat for such a brief, but painful, experience as this. At least it was over now. He forced out a few words to her, taking a free hand and lifting her face up to look at him*

    Varro: There... at least... we match. *he nodded his head toward her legs, where he knew she bore a scar of like kind. His other hand was behind him, propping him up, and clenched tight enough that he could feel his own nails drawing blood from his palm. This he kept out of her sight.*

    *Her expression broke to soft, loving, empathy at his ordeal. She tried to take comfort in that he had offered to undergo this willingly. It didn't make it any less difficult however. She sighed, lifting her hands after a few more moments to inspect the mark* Uxor: Still in pain?

    Varro: *he sucked in some air* Nothing that won't clear up the moment I have to start healing you. *He shifted up to try and get up and walk it off.* We can start whenever you're ready. *he continued to walk about until she had arranged herself.*

    *Uxor kneeled on the floor of the room, and set the curved blade down infront of her. Sitting mostly upright, she started to close her eyes, and clear her thoughts. She heard Varro sit down beside her.*

    Varro: Before you do this, I want you to know this much - yes, I have enjoyed your speaking. Hearing you do so moves me like music. However... that doesn't mean that I will regret your silence. There was a time that I hoped to turn you from doing this to yourself. Then I remembered that I loved you before I knew your voice. So just don't think about 'owing' or 'karma' or any of that in relation to this, alright?

    Uxor: Thank you *she smiled at him* and don't you think that I regret having spoken. To give you this gift - for you to be the last to hear my words - perhaps balances out my short comings in my vow. I am ready, I trust you, and I love you.

    *Varro nodded and kissed her, then offered up the blade.*

    *Uxor began to chant, but Varro didn't understand the words. He didn't care to understand them either, for he was far more intently focused on her hands, which brought the blade up to her throat, and hovered before her neck. As she had explained to him, in anticipation of her initial striking into her own throat, Varro coiled his arms around her upper body, to help support her, and be readily at hand to heal her - and monitor her wounds. He tried to drive back the torment of waiting for her to begin her ghastly work with admiration of her. Admiration that she could do this to herself without fainting. Admiration for the level of punishment this woman could endure. It was only partly effective at steadying his thoughts when she plunged the blade in.

    He fought to keep himself from complicating the ritual. His instict told him his wife was in pain, and he needed to help her. His reasoning told him that his help might make matters worse, and that this was what she had to do. He nearly released hold of her to keep himself from healing her up too soon. Instead, he held tightly to her, and tried to reflect on something else. He almost turned to drown the whole thing out with his Augur images, but he remembered her words that it would be a distraction to her. More than likley, to him too... and she needed him now. Instead he found himself fascinated by watching her. She choked and gargled, but still she managed to continue her chanting. He offered a bit of healing energy to her, enough to keep her from simply bleeding out upon the floor in his arms. With more discipline than he could ever imagine himself having, Uxor worked the blade in her throat, chanting and seeming very distant in her expression. Perhaps she was in deep meditation. Varro hoped that to be the case, and hoped it also meant she was able to block out some of her ordeal in that way.

    She drove the blade up, from one side to another, digging with it as if it were a shovel trying to unearth a hidden treasure, and bit by bit he healed her. Abruptly, her chanting waivered, and fell hoarse with a sickening rasping sound. Varro closed his eyes, his own throat binding up at the realization of her having finally succeeded in severing her vocal cords. The ritual was quite barbaric in his eyes... to feel about in one's throat with a blade, fumbling about with your own anatomy, until you were lucky enough to finish off your voice box, and the only proof you had was that you could no longer continue with the chanting. Why a professional surgeon could not be called upon to perform, or even do so while she was unconscious, was beyond him - but also beyond his capasity to question her over. This was her culture. He said he loved her as she was, and did not seek to change it, and this was proof in utmost, to permit her to undergo something such as this archaic ceremony. She relaxed completely into his grip, extracting the blade from her throat slowly. He set immediately to healing her fully, and quickly, not content until she was breathing normally, and her mouth stopped oozing blood.

    He lifted her up off the floor, carrying her to the bed, and stretching her out in it. After such an act, he fully intended on seeing to it that she rested, whether she wanted to or not. As he fussed over her, her hand slid along his arm, up his neck, and to the side of his face, turning his attention to her eyes. Looking at her expression, and feeling her touch, Varro suddenly realized that it really would be alright. All that she would have said shown clearly upon her features, and in her eyes. He could hear her as clearly now as if she had spoken aloud. Once he recalled her saying that her master told her 'actions were louder than any words' and here was the living example of this. For once, in turn, he looked back at her, and felt no need to say anything in return, for she too could see his meaning. In that moment, no speech was required by husband or wife.*
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  10. #110
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    Default The Brothers Forged, Chapter 7, The Final Attempt

    The Brothers Forged
    Chapter 7
    The Final Attempt

    (The following is a transcript. . . I seem to be addicted to these. Is there a self-help group available?)



    Ragyr closed his eyes, trying to calm himself. Deriaz and Jaggie had been up on the platform in the Phoenix for a few hours. He had had plenty of opportunities, but each time, someone had the nerve to just stumble across them and have a friendly conversation with the two. And each time, his mind raced back to Acapella and her words.

    “How can you prove to me that you really care!?”

    He winced as that memory rushed back. He had been as honest as he could have been. Yet she had pushed him away.

    ‘Fine,’ he thought, ‘if you want proof. . . I’ll get you proof. . . I’d kill for you.’ He glanced around behind the barrels, in time to see that Drow, Zoltando, and the dog—‘My dog,’ he thought—leaving. He waited a few moments in silence, before readying himself. He snapped his fingers, and his Adamantine Maul appeared in his hands. He adjusted the bracers of Bull’s Strength on his wrists, and set himself into motion.

    He slipped out from behind the barrels he was watching the two from, down near Cog. Carefully, he eyed Jaggie and Deriaz to make sure no one else was up there with them, before moving to Cog.

    “Cog. You turn away, go to the front, and do NOT check back here. . . Do you hear me?” Ragyr whispered.

    “I—“ Cog started, but Ragyr summoned a large bag of coins. It had pained him to do it, because he had been trying to save as much of it as he could, but a bribe was the only way Ragyr figured he could get Cog out of the back room. Cog eyed the coins carefully, before sighing and taking them to the front of the tavern.

    “Hmph,” Ragyr muttered. “Too easy. . .” He didn’t move until Cog was in the front of the tavern. He looked around, checking for anyone else. Surprisingly, it was empty that night, and none of the meddling Fellowship was there to try and stop him anymore. Quietly, he slipped up the ramp, to the stone pillar above, and peeked around at the two again from behind it.

    Jaggie tipped a cup up to her mouth, catching the last drops of the sweet liquor she had been drinking, and set the cup to the side. Ragyr didn’t understand why, but just the sight of the two sitting there, enjoying each other’s company, brought an old memory to his head. He shut it down quickly, and channeled the emotion to anger.

    Deriaz sighed, and looked ready to say something, until he caught the one red eye watching from around the pillar. He blinked once. “. . . Ragyr? When did you get here?” Ragyr cursed himself quietly before coming out from around the pillar. He stared at the two coldly, and gripped the Adamantine Maul tightly.

    The moment Ragyr’s name had left Deriaz’s lips. Jaggie’s full attention was towards the pillar and the Forged that moved from behind it. Ragyr ignored her, and only stared emotionlessly at Deriaz. The Maul spun around in his hand once idly.

    Deriaz shifted uneasily. “Um. . . Ragyr. . . What’s, uh. . . What do you need?”

    The black Forged glanced over at Jaggie, and remained quiet. The Maul started spinning in his hand again. Jaggie, feeling the eyes fall on her, began to slide away from Ragyr’s general area. ‘Hmph,’ he thought. ‘Still shaken up from me trying to tie her up. . .’ It brought up another memory in his mind, of Acapella’s resurrection, and how she had thrown him out of her life. He shut the memory down again, and turned back to Deriaz.

    “You. . .” His voice was low, and emotionless like his face. “Need to talk. . .” He stopped spinning the Maul, and glanced over at Jaggie. “Leave. . .” Jaggie winced at the cold words. She then turned her head slightly so she could see Deriaz. There was a questioning look in her one eye.

    Deriaz shrugged at Jaggie. “I have no id—“

    Ragyr cut him off quickly. “Need to talk. Alone. . .” The bracers began to glow slightly, and Ragyr felt the new strength flow through him. His grip on the Maul tightened.

    “Eh. . .” Jaggie looked up and about. It wasn’t like she had anywhere she could really go to get out of the way, being on the overhanging platform. Ragyr took a step to the side, allowing Jaggie to walk past and behind him if she wanted to leave. He continued to stare at Deriaz.

    Deriaz stood up slowly, still watching Ragyr and the Maul. “Um. . . Ragyr. . . Maybe. . . The weapon isn’t needed, if you’re just looking to talk. . .”

    Ragyr continued to stare emotionlessly. He eventually glanced over at Jaggie. “Leave. . .” He motioned at the space he had given her to leave, if she wanted to take it. She only blinked, and crawled under a nearbly table to hug the pillar behind Ragyr. ‘Fine. . . Don’t leave. . . Just stay out of the way,’ he thought. He watched her crawl, but didn’t say anything aloud.

    Once she was under the table, he moved over to Deriaz. He stared up at the tall, blue Forged. The bracers on his arms still were glowing. He mumbled something under his breath. “She wants proof, but the only way I know how to give it to her is through bounties. . . But this is getting old. . . Brother. . .” The only words that Jaggie or Deriaz could hear were, “My last attempt. . .”

    Before Deriaz had a chance to react, Ragyr planted his palm squarely in Deriaz’s chest, knocking him back. The giant Forged blinked in surprise from the force of it, and spun his arms around a few times, trying to get his balance back. It was futile, and he topped over the side anyway. He missed the main floor, and fell straight down to the brawling pit. A loud crack was heard as the weight from him slammed into the stone floor. He groaned slightly, as he landed on the back of his neck.

    “Deriaz!” Jaggie screamed out as she leaned over the side of the platform. Ragyr grinned slightly as he heard the crack. He hopped down from the platform to the main level below with ease. He then jumped down to the main pit, and stood over Deriaz, who was lying stunned on the ground from the fall.

    Ragyr chuckled to himself, as he kicked Deriaz in the side. The Forged rolled over once, and stopped on his back. Ragyr tightened the grip on the Maul’s handle in both hands, and grinned. “So far, so good. . .” He lifted the Maul over his head, and brought it down hard on Deriaz’s stomach.

    “Stop it!” Jaggie screamed again, and tumbled down into the pit. She landed awkwardly on the corner of a table. It splintered to bits under the force of the fall.

    Ragyr ignored Jaggie’s yell, keeping his focus on Deriaz. He grabbed the blue Forged by the neck with his left hand. The bracers continued to glow, and he lifted the heavy Forged with ease to his knees. He spun the Maul around in his hand a few times, and like a large baseball bat, swung it at Deriaz’s head. He let go as the Maul connected, and Deriaz went to the ground hard again.

    “No! No, no, no. . .” Jaggie hobbled over as fast as she could to the two.

    Ragyr looked ready to swing again, but stopped as he saw Jaggie out of the corner of his eye. He growled, “Leave. . .” Once she got in range, the bracers flashed, and the head of the Maul flew at Jaggie’s torso. Deriaz growled, and shook his head to get his focus back.

    “De—“ she started, but the Maul caught her squarely in the chest. It sent her back several feet before her head struck the stone floor.

    Deriaz growled, seeing Jaggie being struck by the Maul. “You son of a—“ he yelled, and got up quickly. He lunged at Ragyr, but the black Forged simply tumbled backwards and swung the Maul upward at Deriaz. The head of the Maul connected to his back, the bracers flashed, and Deriaz was sent into a face plant into the stone. His limbs went limp from the force of the land. Ragyr snapped his fingers, and the Maul disappeared from his hands. In its place, a long, black blade appeared. “Just need. . .” He stood over Deriaz, before kneeling down over his head.
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  11. #111
    Community Member Deriaz's Avatar
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    Default The Brothers Forged, Chapter 7, Part II, The Final Attempt

    The Brothers Forged
    Chapter 7, Part II
    The Final Attempt



    Jaggie stared, dazed, up into the ceiling. Tendrils of blackness crawled at the corners of her vision. Ragyr pushed the blade down on the back of Deriaz’s neck, almost trying to use the blade as a saw. He cursed as the blade wouldn’t cut through the Adamantine plating. “Let’s see. . .” He snapped his fingers again, and the blade disappeared. He paused, thinking.

    “Got to. . . Got. . . To. . . Can’t sleep. . .” Jaggie mumbled. “Got to get up. . .” She turned slowly. The pain in her skull was like a hive of angry wasps in the back of her head, trying to get out.

    Ragyr laughed. “Wait a sec. . .” He summoned the black blade again, and started to examine the back of Deriaz’s head. ‘The weak plate. . .’ “Should be around here. . .”

    Jaggie chirped as she barely managed to get to one knee. The very instant she did, she stopped again, cradling the back of her skull. Ragyr grinned, not seeming to hear the chirping and finding what he was looking for. “Alright. . . So if that weak plate is there. . .” The bracers flashed again, and he rolled Deriaz’s limp body over. He began to search Deriaz’s neck.

    Jaggie stumbled a few feet towards the brothers. “Please. . .” She staggered a little to the right. “Don’t do this, Ragyr. . .”

    He shrugged, and the emotionless tone was still strong in his voice. “No choice. . . Have to prove. . .” He grinned, finding the weak plates on Deriaz’s neck. The bracers flashed, and he rolled Deriaz onto his back.

    “Please. . .” Her arm reach out to tug at his leg, and missed it by hardly a hair’s breath.

    “No choice. . . Have to. . .” There was a hint of regret in his voice now. He was angling the sword carefully, as if trying to find the right angle to cut into Deriaz’s neck with. ‘But. . .’ he couldn’t help but think, ‘What of all the times he hasn’t attacked me?. . .’

    “Brother. . .” Jaggie hung her head, as she couldn’t hold it up.

    Ragyr growled. “I don’t care if he’s my brother. . .” His own thoughts were beginning to fight him. ‘Of course you do.’ He glared over at Jaggie. “Besides. . . Acapella said I had no proof. This would prove it to her. Get the head, cash it in, give it to her. Done. . . And everything will be back to normal.” ‘Far from it.’ “Now, please, shut up. I have to get this angle right, or I’ll have to start cutting more, and then everything will just get messy.”

    “Nooo. . . You’re my brother. . . Don’t. . .” She staggered more, then barely caught herself from falling over.

    Ragyr blinked, and stopped. “Me, your brother? What are you, desperate?” ‘Maybe she’s got a point. . .’

    Jaggie pulled herself up a little more, one arm clenching her chest. “Don’t do this. . .”

    “And if I don’t?” He moved the blade away from the back of Deriaz’s head. “Then word will just get out that I attacked the two of you. And then what? More daggers being thrown at me, more dirty glances being tossed my way, and more people just all around wanting me dead. . . Look, it was this, or the harbor waters again after Acapella told me we were through.”

    “Find another way. . . Prove you’ve changed. . . You’re better than this. Start over. . .” Jaggie said. “I. . . I never gave you a second chance for this. . .”

    Ragyr’s mind started to race. ‘The money’s right here. Just cut the head off, and you’re done with it. . . But if I do, then she’ll be crushed. . . But it’s better than starting over. . . Starting over would give me a second chance, though. . . But what if I mess that one up?’ His mind went silent for a few seconds. ‘. . .Guess there’s only one way to find out, hm?’

    “. . . Start over. . . I don’t know how.” He snapped, and the blade was replaced by a pair of kits. “I have no idea where to even start.” He opened one of the kits, and set to work on repairing Deriaz. “Second chances. . . I’ve gotten too many, to be honest. . .”

    “Heh. . . That’s cause. . .” Her head rolled back slightly. “You’re stubborn. . .”

    Ragyr stopped when he heard Deriaz groan after a few moments. “At least he’s up. . .” He glanced over at Jaggie, and held up a kit. “You need it? I mean. . . I figure you probably won’t, but. . .” He paused, considering her words. “Stubborn, heh. . . Maybe. . .” He glanced down at Deriaz, who was slowly trying to get himself back into focus by shaking his head. Ragyr glanced back over at Jaggie, and held up the repair kit. “You need it, or not? I need to leave, if the runt here is waking up.”

    “Eh. . .” She waved her hand loosely. “Bye-bye then. . . See you same time next week?” She allowed herself to flop down into an awkward sitting position. Her head was spinning slightly, from hitting the stone floor.

    “Same time?” Ragyr chuckled. “No. . . No, I said this was my last attempt. . . I’m through with this. . . This. . . Charade. . . It isn’t worth it anymore. . .” He moved to the ladder without another word. Once he reached the top, he called back down. “I mean, I’m probably going to be killed for this, anyway.”

    “Eh. . .” she called back up. “I’ll give ya another chance. . . I’m stubborn like that. . . Second chances, all around!” She twirled her hand as if giving a toast for some unknown occasion.

    “Yeah, sure, you will. . . Maybe the runt will. . . Guess I’m dead, once the Drow or someone finds out.” He walked out of view, and out of the tavern. He started mumbling to himself. “Stupid. . . What were you thinking. . .? It isn’t worth it. . . The money isn’t worth it anyway. . .”

    Back in the tavern, Deriaz groaned again, and shook his head. “Wha. . .? What happened?”

    Jaggie waved at Deriaz. “Good morning. . .”

    “Morning?” Deriaz looked around. “How long was I out for?” He rolled onto his back, and sat up, rubbing his face in pain. “And you alright? I saw Ragyr slam that Maul into you. . . And I got ticked off. Ran at him, and then. . . That was it. . . You alright?”

    “Not morning, no,” Jaggie shook her head. “Ragyr’s gone. We. . . Played charades.” She nodded. “I think we won, but my. . . Everything hurts. We won, yes?”

    “Your ‘everything’ hurts? Maybe we should go get a Wizard or someone?” Deriaz frowned.

    “Ehh? Sure. . .” She rubbed the bend in her chest that the Maul had imprinted on her. “He’s got a good arm. . .”

    “Alright, then. . . Come on. . .” He stood up slowly, and offered a hand to Jaggie. She reached for his hand, though she was uneven. More or less, she just waved at it. “Bah,” Deriaz grinned, and held back a laugh. “C’mere, you,” he chuckled, and grabbed her hand. He pulled her up carefully, and led her to the ladder. Slowly, he helped her up, and off to get help.
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  12. #112
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    Default Fellowship of the Golden Night, The Ambassadors, Volumn XIV

    Fellowship of the Golden Night
    The Ambassadors
    Volumn XIV "Spiders and Flies" Chapter 1

    *Varro's pleasent rest was jarred by the sound of something banging on the door of their home. He glanced at Uxor, who was also resting lazily next to him, coiled up in the crook of his arm, as she was always inclined to do to nestle him. The sound hadn't disrupted her terribly yet, so he ignored it. This was short lived, as the sound came again. <Well wishers probably> he thought. <Or the courier come to deliver more letters.>*

    *He slid out from beneath Uxor's catnapping, and stuck his head out of the bedroom doorway to call down to the lower level, loud enough for someone outside to hear him* No visitors please! Just slide it under the door!

    *The knock came louder this time, far more pertinant. He glowered, considering that it was perhaps another 'emergency for the ambassadors.' He decided to try and play ignorant, and hope they went away* I've told you people a hundred times, no solicitors! Leave your business on the step!

    *He turned around to see Uxor was looking back at him, curious about the sound at the door*

    Varro: It's nothing, I'll get rid of them. *She was already getting decent for company however, and he rolled his eyes* I'll get rid of them. Honeymoon Ux... Hon-ee-moon *he pointed with a finger into his palm* Nothing warrents interruption of our time.

    VARRO! *came a voice that shouted with much force, and carried up readily to both he and Uxor. Both had a look of acknowledgement to this*

    Varro: Tyr? *he called back down* Just a moment *Uxor was smirking at him, with a raised brow, and he gnarled his nose playfully at her* Hey, there are some exceptions.

    *Uxor's teasing smirk slid to a warm smile, as she was apparently in agreement with him of the importance of who was calling at their door.*

    *Varro went out through the balcony door, deciding that Tyr would be surprised by that, and he thought it would be amusing. As he rounded the corner of the house, and came down the stairs, he saw that upon his doorstep were Tyr and Ruse. He started to make small talk with her, wondering what brought her to their new home.* Sister...

    Tyr: Brotherman... *she smiled at his approach. She then turned to look at Ruse with an even broader smile, and whipped around, sending a tightly clenched fist into Varro's jaw.*

    *Varro's whole upper body twisted as his head turned with the force of the hit, taking it fully, as it was not what he expected from Tyr of all people. How was it that any time someone had need to deal with him, it was via physical contact with his mouth? He took a few steps back, fully convinced that Tyr was either out of her mind, or her mind was not her own to control at the moment perhaps. He heard an approach behind him, and knew it to be Uxor, who came to his side, and looked at Tyr with surprise. Ruse looked at Tyr with as much shock as Varro and Uxor.*

    *Varro was about to subdue Tyr with his bardic song, until she proceeded to relate exactly why she was there. Mekari had been in her home. This news pushed out the concern he had for his injured mouth. To make matters worse, Tyr's encounter with Mekari had apparently already set her to venture on her wild scheme*

    *Uxor slipped into the house to grab something to write with. She could tell by watching Tyr that something was very wrong.

    Tyr: I am going to kill her.

    Varro: Don't. I can't have her killing you... You're under my protection. As long as I say you're off limits to her, you are. Otherwise you'd be dead right now if she was in your home as you said.

    Tyr: It's not going to stop. I am ending this.

    Varro: Tyr I told you, you can't. Knowing her like I do, hell this is probably exactly what she wanted - to bait you into coming after her just so she could claim self defense to me.

    *Uxor immerged with a note that read* "Tyr what has happened?"

    *Tyr shook her head at both of them* No... it's not going to stop. The minute I give in, it will never stop.

    Varro: If you're not dead, then that means she wanted something. What did she say to you?

    Tyr: She didn't say it... you did *to which Tyr held out some folded papers, which Varro took*

    *The page that came to Varro's immediate attention he recognized readily. It was stained in blood, and contained that which he'd written for Juryrig, under the warforged's torture techniques. Beneath this page, one note read "Your friends are in danger, and the danger is you." Varro felt an odd chill work up his spine as he read this.* Where did you get this

    Tyr: You said she'd stay away... you said...

    Varro: What did she say to you... exactly *his words oozed with a mixture of wrath and purpose*

    *After much coaxing between Varro, Uxor, and even Ruse, reluctantly Tyr related what had transpired...*
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  13. #113
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    Default Fellowship of the Golden Night, The Ambassadors, Volumn XIV

    Fellowship of the Golden Night
    The Ambassadors
    Volumn XIV "Spiders and Flies" Chapter 2


    ---((Chat Transcript))---

    ((Prior to Tyr's arrival at Varro and Uxor's home))

    *Tyr is enjoying the "bath" that the new home Ruse found for them contains... by doing the backstroke*

    *There is a knock at her door, the sound of which faintly echos to her. It is business like, and not sounding urgent or forceful*

    *a thick, coarse length of cloth is wound about the lean form, tucked in at the breast while another drapes across head and shoulders to soak up the water on her hair and skin as she walks to the nearest window to look out and see who it is*

    *There is a tall elven woman wearing the garb of the House Philanian waiting patiently upon her doorstep*

    *the only other time she'd seen such attire was when she was accosted, so understandably, the hackles at her nape defied gravity*

    *The knock came again*

    *under her breath she cursed. Though at this point, if it were Mekari defying her word to her son, this small a distance would be inconsequential... so she calls through the window* state your business.

    *The elf looked around for the source of the voice, and she smiled softely* I have a message for one Tyrynyn Ylydhwyyn, and was instructed to deliver it to her personally. *to which the elf held up a folded parchment in her hand*

    *the towels are replaced with a loose, linen pullover robe, obviously new, a muted greyish green color with an open-necked collar before she heads downstairs to get the door* Who's the sender? *as the door is swung half-way open*

    *The elf nodded her head in greeting, and seemed to have a very far away look in her eyes* Ambassador Uxor Velox, from on honeymoon

    *tilts her head, the still-wet strands of hair loose from the customary tie-back shift to shade half of her face* why would she...? *her hand extends towards the elf for the message*

    *The elf held the note out to her and bowed, setting off upon her errands*

    Tyr: *deciding now would be as good a time as any to read it....*

    *She denotes that there are two pages folded within the outter page, which is blank. The first of these inner pages was splotched with dark brown, as if someone had spilled something on it. The writing was smudged, but in charcol, and she recognized the penmanship. Varro's penmanship. It read:* "She is no Sword of Liberty. She is a vagabond, a lone kalashtar. I took her in off the streets. There are no associations You Dreaming Dark @#$%&!#! STOP There are no associates. No family. She is alone. That is the truth. She didn't kill anyone" *the bottom portion was illegibly smudged. the page behind it was clean, and writing she did not recognize very neatly and centered read* "Your friends are in danger, and the danger is you."

    *her face remains impassive, blank, but if one could see her eyes, the bright, new-copper color blends in a swirl to the dull, muddy color of a tarnished coin.. and as she reads the second page, she staggers back, as if struck in the face from an entirely unexpected source* Uxor.. *the fullness of her mouth pinches in, tightening in pain as she drops the missive on a small table and covers her face with her hands* why?

    *A female voice, one that ran down her neck like ice, was there to answer her question to the air* Because it is the truth? I would say that is accurate. *this voice came from the far side of the room of her. Unfortunately she recognized it*

    Tyr: Mekari

    Mekari: *Standing on Tyr's ceiling was the form of Uxor. She peered down at Tyr as if to be on the ceiling was the most normal thing in the world. She then passively walked down the wall as she spoke* Smart girl. *she moved gracefully and straight down towards the floor, not apparently interested in coming towards Tyr...at the moment. She instead touched down upon the stone of the floor with her feet, and stood, still in the appearence of Uxor, watching Tyr*

    Tyr: *having spun about to locate the voice, Tyr takes an involuntary step back as the false Uxor finally alights on the same level as herself, and her hip bumps the table that holds the damning letter. One hand goes out to steady herself, and the fingertips alight on the cool facets of the shard that Juryrig had sent her. Not knowing why she did it, she tugged the edges of the paper over it, hiding it from casual sight* What do you want?

    Mekari: To give you a chance to help them... before it gets worse.

    *her hand comes up to press the flat of her palm over the healed scar under her breast.. that place where the warforged had tried to carve out her lungs* I'm supposed to believe you give a @#$%?

    Mekari: I care about my son. The longer you are here, and around him, the more of a threat it will be to him. I included his 'wife' because I gather that you're fond of both of them. *she held out a graceful hand with long slender white fingers* You are what they want, and so long as he works to protect you, he will be in danger.

    Tyr: *watches the hand much like a fledgeling chick might watch a viper come to the nest. A sickening fascination with the woman's resemblance to Uxor makes the skin tighten across her chest* Let me see your true face.

    Mekari: Interesting request. *to which the form changed to that of a red haired figure, that looked mostly drow, but was rather pale if it were a drow. She was frail looking, and her lips were as red as her hair*

    Tyr: Pardon me if I don't just take it on faith.. take off the mask.

    Mekari: May I ask what good it will do you to know it? As you can see, I am never in my true appearence.

    Tyr: You came here. I most certainly didn't seek you out. Humor me.

    Mekari: Perhaps you'd be more comfortable if I invited those who are seeking you to join us for this viewing party? I came appearing as someone you would not preceive as threatening... I am not here to harm you. You would be dead already if I were.

    Tyr: You made your threat clear to me the last time we met. *the fear is similar to the pervasive aura that followed her through most of her life, and as a sort of old friend, it doesn't incapacitate her. She refused to cower* You've made your point. Let me make mine. Unless you intend to do the damage to your son yourself- ie, to kill me, you can honor my request. Otherwise, get the @#$% out of my house, I'm done listening to you.

    Mekari: They're going to kill him next time you know. If he doesn't give them what they want. I've interfered once now, but a second time will put me at an end as well...which I care neither one way or another to my own death... but not his.

    Tyr: *folds her arms across her ribs, and waits, her eyes now the color of old blood*

    Mekari: I will not remove it, but I promise I will show you how I look. A compromise.

    Tyr: Are you suggesting I trust you?

    Mekari: I am suggesting you care enough for Varro to realize that by preventing me from killing you, he is sealing his own death. Thus, I unable to act, the power now lies in your hands of the matter. Consider this my gesture that I trust your capasity to look after the well being of my son *and with that, her form changed again, and a blonde woman was staring back at her. This did not look like the blonde juryrig had so carved a likeness of. She was exceptionally alluring and radiated an otherworldly beauty. Her eyes were a similar pale blue to Varros, and she could very much see Varro's likeness in her features*

    Tyr: *sarcasm is thick in her voice, she just can't help it* Sooo let me see if I understand. You are telling me I should kill myself... to save you having to do it... thus preventing Varro from dooming himself by protecting me... *her voice trails off to nothing when the new image is revealed*

    Mekari: I am not *it was apparent Varro looked more like his father than his mother* I am telling you that you need to leave. Now. Or at least find the means to distance yourself from him. It is my job to kill you. I am unable to. If I am unable to perform my duties...then they send others. Others who are not as... understanding *her eyes flashed with a bit of maliciousness for a moment* of the fact that he is mine, not theirs. And they know you are here. This will escalate quickly. Varro's 'gifts'...as he insists on calling them... make matters worse for my ability to keep him out of it. They will use him to find others of you. You are a stepping stone for them. Varro is the walker.

    Tyr: Why do you serve them? *a whispering tickles at the back of her memory, just out of reach*

    Mekari: I want to go home

    Tyr: *the dispassionate tone of Juryrig's voice comes back to her, seeming to echo at once both in her mind, and the stone on the table behind her: it was only one word- "Dance"*

    *Mekari's eyes roamed towards the source of the mental tickle that wafted to her from the stone, but she seemed disinterested by it*

    Tyr: *her head feels like it's whirling from the thoughts that cram through it, and again that one word in the dry warforged's tone echoes in her memory "dance".. and reminds her that she has a way to focus herself. Her body shifts into the readied stance of a hand to hand encounter, loose and prepared...*

    *Mekari watched her a moment* Mekari: I dont require that you die Tyr... but you can't continue to be around him. They are coming.I can no longer prevent it. What's more, you stand a better chance of being alive gone from here. I cannot make you, I can only ask. I ask for the life of my son. He has bound me from protecting him, and my power to hold back the storm is gone. Because he says that you make him happy, I honor his request, and allow you this chance to escape, rather than simply turning you in.

    Tyr: *at first it seems as if her words are ignored, with the swift strike of one of Tyr's hands to in invisible target, but as she segues into the follow through, and drops to sweep one foot in a short arc, the impassive mask drops from her face. Mekari's words seem to weave into her motions- when the word "gone" is spoken, she is suddenly not there, having moved so quickly to the tucking roll that carries her into the center of the room. Like an afterimage, only seen from the corner of the eye, the graceful motions she makes become traced by light*

    Mekari: *watched her dancing, but didn't seem bothered by it, she simply continued* I can't force you to do anything. I'm prevented from that by my son. But I can implore you, and hope that you care for him as much as I, and will find the means to make yourself scarce from him.

    Tyr: *the dance serves it purpose, and when she spirals down to a stop, her breath is smooth, steady and slow, her form almost kneeling at Mekari's feet. her voice is vibrant, as if she'd just swallowed a mouthful of rain enchanted by the moon* I'm certain you have suggestions? *the question is in the tone as she looks up at the other woman*

    *Mekari looked down at her* No. How you find the means to do this is up to you... the less I know, the better you will be for it. If they search my mind and kill me, this conversation will be all they have, and my hope is that you will agree, and they can see this, and know it to be truth that you are gone from his life, and he is therefor no longer useful to them

    Tyr: *almost, it's as if her voice is shadowed by the undertone of an other, and her speech patterns seem more formal* If I am but a footstone on the path, and he is the true goal... why would my presence, or the abscence thereof, change his usefulness to "them"?

    Mekari: He is only useful so long as he has a kalashtar contact. You might wonder at my presence, but I am an agent. A tool. A tool that has perhaps now outlived her purpose, and they will dispose of me soon enough. I am more difficult prey than you. Through you, and with his gifts, they will have a window. The path of least resistance. I cannot right the mess he has made by accepting the gifts of this 'avatar'... or his insistance at having made it such public knowledge of what he is capable of...

    Tyr: even though I know no others of my kind *implied is that Mekari is NOT her "kind"*

    Mekari: On a conscious level. It is your less conscious level they would be interested in. *she folded her arms. For a moment, she looked like Varro's posture doing so...apparently that was something he got from his mother, rather than father* They will use him to you, and you to him, in the same way as Uxor. Because you are friends, they will wield that, walking about in your mind and beyond taking what they need. Varro's ability will make that all the more easy to accomplish.

    Tyr: Atara... why do you suffer them? You could work against them.

    Mekari: I suffer on this plane. Home...there is no suffering. To dream. To feel that again. This plane has nothing in the way of what can be at home *her eyes drifted a little speaking on it, as if reflecting on something, and a certain sadness passed over her gaze* I want to go home. They are the way home.

    Tyr: not the only way

    Mekari: They are my way. However... he is my son. It seems my way home is barred by my need to protect my son. *her focus came back to more of what was round her*

    Tyr: *quiet, almost gentle voice, as if she is trying not to startle Mekari unduly* is it protecting your son to deny him the right to live as he sees fit?

    Mekari: Yes. The ignorance of youth. He is cocky... self assured... and seldom has far sight into his choices. He crafts his words well, he manipulates others with exceptional skill, he even moves nobles and kings with his presence... but he lacks wisdom. Look at him even now, having made himself a target to any who would seek to use his newly acquired vast knowledge for their own personal gain... simply because he felt the need for fame and glory more so than tact at not informing half or more of Stormreach that he can see further than most into the lives of others

    Tyr: You would change who he is?

    Mekari: I simply work to repair the damage he does to himself, and shield him from what I can. Even knowing who I am and who I work for, he still took you in, despite the great foolishness of such an act - knowing who would seek you - and even now, stubbornly acts to spite me, with no regard to why I have done what I have. I am given no credit for relenting from my assault upon you.

    Tyr: *slow blink* you expect congratulations? you think he loves me for spite of you? *oddly enough, this strikes through, wounding her*

    Mekari: I expect no reward. I simply cannot understand why he would befriend you, knowing what he did, unless it were because he knew it would pain me or cause me undo stress at having to work round it. He knew you were prey Tyr. How do you think he was able to recognize your kind when he met you?

    Tyr: *sadness seeps into her soul* Toror.. *the whisper is not directed at Mekari, though she is the source of the hurt in that she has quite brutally made her point*

    Mekari: Now perhaps some true friendship toward you has spawned in his spite, in which case, now he will strive to protect you. Tell me...is what he wrote on that paper true? *she nodded to the words in varro's writing. She didn't wait for an answer* If it were true, then they were successful in breaking him once now. He will break a second time, and when they do, you will weep for them to end his life so that he will be free of what they will do to him. I can only hope that is not what you want *she nodded at the paper, and the dark stain on it now was very apparent to her of being blood* If they take you and use you for bait, he will come. You know this. If they take him for bait to lure you... would you leave him to his fate? And if you did, it will only be a matter of time before they use his resources to track you down. Unless he doesn't know how or where to find you. If you came to him to help him.... you would both be @#!$%&. With no viable kalashtar contact, I could perhaps trade my life for his.

    Tyr: I can't lie to him.

    Mekari: Then you'll have to find another way. If you cannot lie, then find some other means. Perhaps you could learn to hate him? After all...it does seem he's used you to wage a spat with me.

    Tyr: *shakes her head, not realizing how much the hurt has let her open up to Mekari* I couldn't hate him for that.

    Mekari: Not to mention *she looked round the house* here I am in your home...where your...Ruse is it? Yes that's her name. Where you and Ruse live. To think he's been cocky enough to presume that he could keep you or her from this. Or Uxor for that matter.

    Tyr: *ice slicks a thin rhime of sweat across her skin at Mekari's mention of Ruse* You don't get to speak her name.. and if you touch her.. with any part of yourself..I will find a way to see that you never find home again.

    Mekari: I am the least of your worries now my dear. If they know you are here, they most certainly know the avenues to persue. Who are your contacts. Your associations. Your loved ones. Where will the blade sting the most when they turn it in you. Why do you think they were asking him those questions *she nodded at the paper again*

    Tyr: then you suggest I return to the life I knew before..

    Mekari: As I said, how you do it is up to you. I need not even know, other than to know that you will agree to help keep him safe.

    Tyr: *the eyes are dry that look up again at Mekari* I will help keep him safe. *weary* now get out of my house.

    Mekari: Let us hope it will be enough then *she resumed a different appearence...the form of the messenger at the door actually, and dematerialized*
    Thank you all!
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  14. #114
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    Default Fellowship of the Golden Night, The Ambassadors, Volumn XIV

    Fellowship of the Golden Night
    The Ambassadors
    Volumn XIV "Spiders and Flies" Chapter 3

    *Uxor listened to Tyr relate the incident, stoicly taking in the information, not trying to interrupt at any point. Varro's aura of malicious wrath seemed to grow the more Tyr talked.

    Initially, Varro had determined the ultimate force behind he and Uxor's kidnapping to be one of two sources: his mother, or her employers. Neither had made sense. However, at his suggestion that Tyr's vigilanty justice was exactly what Mekari was up to in her meeting with Tyr, a wave of fury came over him at the prospect that it very well could have been Mekari. He had dismissed her before, but his own advice - that Mekari was a liar - came into play as he weighed Tyr's recount of Mekari's words...

    "You are a stepping stone for them. Varro is the walker."

    Tyr had been correct in wondering... what difference did it make if she were there or not. If to use Varro's abilities was the aim, Tyr would not matter. He continued to pick apart her disertations to Tyr....

    " I simply cannot understand why he would befriend you, knowing what he did, unless it were because he knew it would pain me or cause me undo stress at having to work round it. He knew you were prey Tyr. How do you think he was able to recognize your kind when he met you?"

    This he recognized as baited words... trying to toy with the emotions of her target to force a choice on them of her own design, without their awareness. He'd undergone such antics with her before, as had Uxor. He knew this was a lie. SHE knew he was not doing it to spite her, for he had already been on his course of spite long before Tyr arrived.

    "...You'll have to find another way. If you cannot lie, then find some other means. Perhaps you could learn to hate him? After all...it does seem he's used you to wage a spat with me. Not to mention here I am in your home...where your...Ruse is it? Yes that's her name. Where you and Ruse live. To think he's been cocky enough to presume that he could keep you or her from this. Or Uxor for that matter."

    More emotional fuel... fire Tyr up to act rashly. It had worked thus far, for Varro now gathered that Tyr was trying to drive him away from her, as he had seen her attempt to do in the past when situations got bad for those she cared about. Put distance between she and he, so that she could face Mekari alone. It was a plan working so well.

    "Who are your contacts. Your associations. Your loved ones. Where will the blade sting the most when they turn it in you. Why do you think they were asking him those questions"

    By the time she had related this part of the conversation, Varro's mind had already disected his mother's words. It was only with a certain madness that one could appreciate the possible course of events...

    "I cannot kill you, he prevents it. You are a stepping stone. I simply cannot understand why he would befriend you, knowing what he did. it would cause me undo stress at having to work round it. You were prey Tyr. He's been cocky enough to presume that he could keep you from this. Or Uxor for that matter."

    The prospect that his own mother had been the one to subject him to his ordeal was not nearly so rage inspiring as that she was the reason Uxor had suffered all things of late. The spider had woven her web carefully, and Varro was going to weave a few of his own. He motioned for Ruse and Tyr to come inside*

    Varro: let us handle this, Uxor and I...

    *webs were being woven, but it was Varro who now placed the flies*
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  15. #115

    Default A Bard's Tale, Chapter 2, Corvile

    "The Prettiest Maidens Sing the Saddest Songs"



    Morah, A Bard's Tale
    Chapter 2: Corvile


    Saldez and Telano reached the Leaky Dingy by early afternoon. Inside the tavern sailors were eating, drinking, and regaling each other with tales of treasure and monsters. Saldez walked over to the bartender and whispered a few words in the man’s ear, slipping a platinum piece in his hand as he did so. The bartender readily pointed to the rear of the tavern that offered a partition for the partial privacy of its more important guests.

    Saldez and Telano made their way past the partition where the bartender said the man they sought audience with would be. Corvile, a human thug, was seated at small table with one skinny leg propped up in an empty chair sharpening a large knife. His oily black hair was slick against his skull, and the hairline of his forehead was vastly receded. He had dark eyes and was clean-shaven with a slender frame that suggested he was some sort of rogue.

    Flanking him to his rear, along the back wall was a row of hired thugs. Probably recently hired to protect him. The thugs made a move towards the halflings and Corvile raised his hand to stop them.

    He recognized them, by their surname if not by their appearance. He smiled as they approached revealing a row of yellow-tobacco stained teeth.

    "Boromar!" He greeted in a gruff voice. "I was wondering when you would oblige me with a visit, and so it seems the time is now. Please," he indicated, "have a seat."

    Both men pulled chairs from other tables even though the extra seats at Corvile’s table stood empty. "Drink?" The thief offered, though there was no wine or ale on the table.

    Saldez waved his hand, and began what he knew would be a difficult, if not futile conversation. "Well met Master Corvile." He began, "I understand you are a businessman."

    The thief inclined his head, "I am at that." He agreed resuming the sharpening of his knife.

    "Then I have a business proposition for you sir, and with any luck, it will result in minimal bloodshed from both sides of our respective organizations."

    Saldez explained and noticed that Corvile seemed amused by the mention of ‘lack of bloodshed’. He continued, "we have a mutual interest that is in need of recovery. I can make it worth your while and more appealing to your employer to come to an agreeable arrangement between us."

    Corvile laughed low and deep, and leaned forward on the table with his knife still clenched in his fist. "The only deal we’re going to be making is the one that has the Boromars leaving Stormreach forever! Ha ha!" He whispered close to them and Saldez could smell the man’s rancid breath, "listen up hobbits, Dassk doesn’t want any part of you dirty disgusting little halflings." Corvile moved his knife threateningly towards the men, and his bodyguards responded by drawing their weapons.

    "Port Authority!" A man could be heard announcing as officers from the PA moved into inspect the tavern patrons for weapons and illegal substances.

    Corvile and all his men made their weapons vanish in the blink of an eye. A man of medium build and sandy hair walked back behind the partition, it was Gindel. "Is everything alright here gentlemen?" He asked with a curious eyebrow raised.

    Corvile spoke up, "fine sir, and I hope your evening is uneventful as well, my friends here…"

    "Were just leaving," Saldez finished his sentence for him. Both Saldez and Telano stood up and gave curt bows to Corvile. "I bid you goodnight Master Corvile." The halfling was sure to use the name in front of Gindel to ensure the Port Authority would realize who was behind the newest wave of organized crime in Stormreach.

    Gindel followed behind the halflings and stopped Saldez before he reached the door of the tavern. "Saldez," he began slowly, "Lessah has asked me to look after her cousin while she is on her mission to Karrnath, I understand she is still with you."

    Not wanting his personal life to be intruded upon, Saldez nodded slightly, indicating to the man that he was in fact correct.

    "Yes well, I never breech a promise." Gindel explained, "with your permission, I’d like to drop in on her from time to time, I’m afraid Lessah will be gone quite a while."

    "I assure you she is well taken care of," he tried to smile and reassure the ranger. In truth the last thing he wanted was the Stormreach Port Authority poking around his home, but his mind was far preoccupied with the situation at hand. He was very concerned the Dassk grab for power in Stormreach was not going to stop at one crop of Dream Lilies, a thought he shared with his cousin as they descended the long set of rickety stairs away from the Leaky Dingy.

    "What are we going to do?" Telano asked. "The Dassk will never listen to reason, and old yellow teeth in there is going to be our downfall. Sal, we have to do something!" His cousin exclaimed with a sense of growing frustration and anger.

    Saldez shook his head, his hands were all but tied by the constraints Popi had laid out for him. He decided burning the field now would be premature, and he would have the crop destroyed only as a last resort. He turned to his cousin, "I want you to put our best men on that thief," he explained. "I want you to find out everything about him, what he does, and who he does it with."

    The two men parted ways in the marketplace proper, as Telano had much more work to do as he had put it. As he walked back to house Jorasco, Saldez thought to himself that Corvile would most likely be giving the same order concerning him. He thought again, of the ranger Gindel, and realized that perhaps the situation might be advantageous after all. He made a mental note to have Morah go and visit the ranger in the next few days.

    It was well after dark by the time he reached his villa, the night sky was clear and barely beginning to show evidence of stars. Saldez was tired and hungry and glad to be home as he opened the door. He could smell roast and fresh bread as well. Morah sat in front of the fire with a glass of wine, which she was not drinking, and gave a sigh of relief when she saw Saldez. She closed the distance between them quickly, and threw her arms around him.

    "Where have you been?" She asked, "I am starving!" She pulled him over to the table and brought the roast that she had been keeping warm over the fireplace. "You should have told me that craftsman was a halfling Sal, he is such a little devil!" She eluded that the smithy had been flirting with her.

    "All men have a weakness for beautiful women Morah, it is their biggest liability." He said as he ate his meal.

    She smiled at him warmly, "well, your liability got you bolts at half the marked price!" Morah indicated to the small stack of bolts resting in the corner. "He also threw in twenty of something he called ‘Goblin Slayers.’" Morah continued, "Oh, and when were you going to comment on my dress?"

    Saldez had been too thoroughly engaged in his meal to notice much of anything. Slipping easily back into his more charming visage, he sat back in chair and said, "well let me see it then." She stood and turned around for him. The dress was a deep brown color with a high waist and a built-in lace corset on top meant to lift the breasts and make the waist seem smaller. She came close enough to for him to reach out to her and he pulled her onto his lap. "It’s beautiful," he said smoothly, kissing her fingers, "like the girl who wears it."

    In response, Morah blushed deeply. Thank you for the shopping trip as well my lord, it was quite fun." She produced the coin purse he had given her earlier that morning and handed it to him. It was still more than half full. "Suppose you’ll be wanting this back." She said handing it to him. "I was a bit nervous, I have never carried this much money before."

    Glancing down at the coin purse, he asked, "surely there must have been more in the marketplace that caught your eye." Morah shook her head timidly in response, and Saldez handed the bag back, "as you wish then."

    She took the bag and placed it idly on the table and remarked softly, "indeed my lord, I wonder how far my wishing will take me."

    "As far as I have said," Saldez responded.

    The girl desperately craved a place at his side, and wanted to stop worrying that she would be asked to leave. Taking a deep breath, she said, "then I wish to never return to my cousin’s house."

    "Why not Lovely? Does she treat you poorly?"

    Morah looked away quickly to hide her disappointment at the response, this is not what she had hoped for. She shook her head back and forth, "oh no, she is very kind to me."

    "Then why do you not wish to return?" Saldez asked a bit confused.
    A feeling of dread washed over her, and she felt incredibly foolish for having pressed her advantage, "Nevermind," she stood up and tried to walk further away from him, "please don’t worry about it."

    He grabbed her hand and pulled her back to him and responded, "no, I do worry about it, please tell me." Morah looked down in response and he grabbed the bottom of her chin gently and turned her face up to him. "Please," he repeated.

    She looked at him with glassy eyes, and prayed she wouldn’t cry. "Don’t you want me to be with you?"

    Saldez smiled a bit confused, "Of course I do Lovely! What would make you think otherwise?"

    Morah felt more sheepish than ever now, "Its just…" she paused trying to find words, "you never said you wanted me to stay." She turned away from him again, "I was afraid you’d send me back."

    Saldez grabbed both of her hands and pressed his forehead against hers, "I want you to stay," he whispered softly, "I want you to never leave."
    Her emotions carrying her beyond her own words, Morah simply shook her head rapidly to indicate compliance, "ok," she managed to say. She felt a tear break free from one of hers eyes and turned her head quickly to wipe it away so he wouldn’t notice. She smiled at him, "Shall I try again tomorrow my lord?"

    He smiled back and responded, "I hope so."

    Mischief flashed behind Morah’s eyes then, and she stood up quickly, "I have a present for you."

    He looked at her strangely, but allowed himself to be led out of the house, through the darkness, to the beautiful tiered fountain that overlooked the public gardens. At night the fountain was well lit with the use of everbright lamps, which reflected against the cascading water. Saldez noticed the lights on the middle tier of the fountain had been covered and bound making that space quite dark.

    Morah led him to the base of the fountain and giggled, "wait here." He watched as she ascended the spiral stairs leading up to the fountain’s second tier neatly dropping her dress on the steps. She looked over her bare shoulder, her blonde hair cascading down her back, at him to make sure he was watching, and smiled when she could see that he was. She slid into the water, and asked simply, "aren’t you going to join me?"

    She gasped in surprise as he vaulted himself over the edge of the second tier, slashed into the water, and closed the distance between them. The girl marveled at how quickly he had come out of his clothes. It was as if nothing else existed save for the reflection of the moonlight on the water, the starry sky above them, and what they had for each other.

    On an adjacent hill watching with quiet interest sat a human rogue who had been tasked with the dirty business of following the favored son of the Boromar clan. He smiled to himself at this new information. Squinting to see more clearly, he cursed his human night vision for not serving him better.

  16. #116

    Default A Bard's Tale, Chapter 3, The Making of A War

    The Prettiest Maidens Sing the Saddest Songs



    Morah, A Bard's Tale
    Chapter 3: The Making of A War


    The night wind was unusually quiet for Stormreach. The breeze that would normally blow through the harbor and the streets of the city had abated for the evening. Telano Boromar sat crouched behind some stacks of barrels in an alley of a hidden section of the Stormreach Harbor. Flanking him on either side were two of his distant cousins. The halfling rogue had chosen them specifically for their loyalty to him and for their discretion.

    Saldez Boromar had given Telano strict instructions not to make a move against the Dassk until they had gathered enough information to know everything about the extent of the Dassk’s power and influence in the city. Saldez’s larger plan was to strike only when it would make the biggest impact on the Dassk, and perhaps shut them down entirely.

    Telano clenched his fists at the thought of doing nothing. He had waited far too long! This was too perfect, too good of an opportunity to pass up. Corvile, the human rogue who was the head of operations for the Dassk in Stormreach, had entered a brothel alone. Indeed, he was still there. Telano could hear the music of a lute and the laughter of many human courtesans’ drift out of an upper window, and down to the street below.

    The fact that Corvile was bold enough to walk around the city unescorted was further evidence that the Dassk lacked regard for the Boromars. Telano told himself that after tonight they would have to show his family more respect! He smiled a bit to himself, thinking that if he were able to stop them by himself, he would be rewarded.

    The skinny visage that was Corvile appeared on the street. He was overly pleased for several reasons. The samples of Dream Lily he had given to the courtesans were a big success. This house would be a regular customer once the entire field was harvested; a fact he knew would make him very rich.

    Glancing around, his dark eyes searched the darkness. His personal guard was supposed to be waiting for him here. Silently he cursed their ineptitude and began walking through the alley unescorted. Corvile heard a noise behind him and stopped abruptly.

    “Who’s there?” He spat into the darkness. In response, he heard nothing save the echo of water dripping into the alley from the rooftops and the scurrying sounds of rats moving in the shadows. “Sevante is that you?” He asked again into the nothingness calling the leader of his hired men by name. Still there was no response.

    Corvile turned and continued down the ally and was pulled into exquisite darkness abruptly as Telano Boromar pulled a bag over the man’s head and cinched it back so that it could not easily be removed. Telano’s cousins were out then, hitting the rogue repeatedly with clubs. Corvile managed to blindly grab one of them, throw him roughly over his shoulder, and into the wall of the ally. Ripping the bag from his head, Corvile ran at full speed down the ally and into the street that emptied into the doc. Several lucky shots landed on Corvile’s neck and back as his assailants pursued him relentlessly, following him down the deserted street.

    Corvile could see the peer in front of him. He tapped an enchanted ring on his finger and began running at very fast pace. So fast, in fact, that his pursuers could not keep up. He sprang into the water from the end of the peer. As he floated away bloody and bruised he could see the silhouette of a halfling holding a club looking out over the water. His eyes narrowed and pure hatred welled up within him. “Boromar…” he said to himself through gritted teeth.




    *********



    The next morning, birds were singing outside the window of Saldez Boromar’s villa that overlooked the well-manicured gardens of House Jorasco. Light streamed into the open window of the bedroom he shared with his companion, Morah. Saldez stared up at the ceiling with his hands relaxing easily behind his head, the sheets from his bed draped across his hips. Only one thing was on his mind this morning; the Race of The Eight Winds. He had lost more time training than he would have liked dealing with the loss of one of his fields of Dream Lily. Lying in his bed next to the sleeping Morah, Saldez decided silently that he had wasted enough time.

    Morah’s soft moaning broke into his thoughts and the pretty girl rolled over to nuzzle her head on Saldez’s chest and wrap her arms around him. In response the halfling brought on of his hands down to stroke the girl’s hair.

    “Why did you not go out to train today love?” She asked stretching. It was unusual for the athletic little halfling to be there when Morah woke up.

    Smiling, Saldez grabbed the girl playfully and kissed her, “are you trying to get rid of me?”

    Morah giggled in return and accepted his affection gratefully. “Of course not, Silly!” She looked at him a bit concerned. “What’s the matter? Are you not feeling well?”

    Looking at Morah suddenly and very seriously replied, “I’m fine Lovely, it’s just,” he paused realizing that this would be harder than he expected. “I am arranging for my Glidewing to be transported to Stormreach. I have to train with it as much as I can, or I will not win the race.”

    The girl knew that nothing was more important to Saldez than the Race of the Eight Winds. She also realized that time was growing short for him. “When will he be here?” She asked.

    “She,” Saldez corrected, “will be here as soon as I arrive in the Sharin to go and get her.” He went silent to allow Morah to process the realization that he was planning to leave.

    Her eyes glazed over with sadness and concern, “I could come with you.” She said hopefully, but Saldez was already shaking his head no.

    “No Lovely,” he smiled, “where I am headed is no place for a beautiful woman.” He caressed her face and kissed her forehead.

    Morah was not pleased at the thought of being left alone, “how long will you be gone?” She asked.

    He thought over the matter carefully, there might be more business he had to attend to. “Four days, perhaps five,” he grabbed her hand and kissed her fingers lightly, “I want you to go and visit the ranger from the port authority, your cousin’s friend, Gindel. Do you know him?”

    Morah looked displeased, “of course I know him.” She replied, “I wondered how long it would take Lessah to set her dogs on me.” She rolled into Saldez and wrapped her arms around him tightly. “Why can’t I come with you?”

    “She only cares about what happens to you Lovely.” Saldez comforted the girl. “I care as well, which is why I think you should pay him a visit.” He lifted her face so he could hold her eyes in his, “promise me you will do this?”

    Morah had long since given her whole heart over to the handsome, young halfling, and she could no more refuse a request from him than she could willingly stop her heart from beating. “I will,” she nodded and changed her tone suddenly, “but you must promise that no other girls are going try and steal you away from me while you’re gone!”

    Saldez laughed and hugged Morah tightly, “do not worry Lovely,” he assured her, “I cannot be stolen.”

    She seemed overly pleased at this response and Morah proceeded to shower the man with affection in an attempt to make him miss her as much as possible.

  17. #117

    Default A Bard's Tale, Chapter 4, Vengence

    The Prettiest Maidens Sing the Saddest Songs



    Morah, A Bard's Tale
    Chapter 4: Vengence


    Morah walked along Silversmith Road in the marketplace proper. The sun was high, casting short shadows down from the large tents of the huge bazaar that was central to the market. Morah adjusted the lute on her back and felt her waste to make sure she still had her coin purse, so she could stop by one of the taverns and a have a some water or juice. She was feeling very thirsty and the dehydration had made her just a bit dizzy.

    Saldez had caught a ride out of the city on an airship to the Sharin in order to oversee the transport of his Glidewing, a great flying lizard he would ride in the Race of the Eight Winds. Morah was a little more than upset that he would not return for several days.

    Even more disheartening was the fact that Saldez had asked her specifically to go and see Gindel, a human ranger and friend to her cousin Lessah. Gindel was probably the closest thing Lessah would ever have to a boyfriend, and everyone seemed to know it except Lessah. Morah summarized that it was most likely the straight-laced paladin upbringing Lessah’s mother had subjected her that made her so stuffy. Morah grew up surrounded by art and music, boundaries were always questioned, and ideas were reinvented and elevated to new heights. Self-expression through music was all she knew as a young girl.

    The little bard had taken to carrying her lute around anywhere she walked now. Occasionally she would be asked to play, and if the mood was right, she would oblige the request. Most of the time, however, she made excuses not to play. Before she became so involved with Saldez Boromar, she refused to play or even carry her lute period. Now things were different. She felt a fundamental change in herself. He had given her confidence back to her. It was a commodity she had been missing badly.

    Walking along the street that would lead her to the Soulgate area of the marketplace, she felt a tinge of anger at her cousin Lessah. She could very well take care of herself; she didn’t need someone looking after her. She smiled a bit at that thought. Saldez was very protective of her, she realized, but with him she did not mind. As she arrived at the stairway that would lead her to Gindel’s door, she thought to herself that Saldez had never gotten along with her cousin, and the thought made her a bit sad. Morah wished there were a way to make Lessah see him as he really was.

    She knocked on the ranger’s door, and heard a man’s voice shout that the door was open. He seemed very pleased to see her. Gindel sat at his table, and looked both surprised and overly pleased to see Morah. His sandy brown hair had been neatly combed back from his face and he was wearing finer clothing than Morah had ever seen him in. Had he been expecting her?

    “My dear Morah!” He smiled a very charming and warm smile at the girl. “What a wonderful surprise!” He got up and crossed the room to shake her hand and give her half of a hug with the other side of his body. “Come in sit down!” He said as he led her back to the table. “I am afraid I do not have much time for visitors today, I am waiting to be interviewed by the harbormaster and several of his men. I really thought you were the messenger they were supposed to send for me when they were assembled and ready.” He admitted.

    Morah was suddenly interested, “Why are you interviewing with the harbormaster?” She asked him.

    The handsome ranger smiled proudly in response, “it is a formality really, I am being promoted to supervisor of the port authority.” He winked at Morah, “No more late nights of work for me, as I will be expected to oversee security measures during the day.” He leaned closer to Morah, “and no more waking you up in the early morning for breakfast with your cousin.”

    “I expect it will be dinner for the two of you then!” Morah smiled.

    The ranger’s facial expression changed slightly, “aye lady, in my heart, I hope it will be more.”

    Her eyes widened when she realized he was revealing his true feelings for Lessah. “What are you about Gindel?”

    “Lady,” he explained as if he were desperate to share the information with someone, “I have made an offer of marriage to your cousin.” Morah got overly excited at the thought of Lessah and Gindel getting married. The ranger stopped her before she could answer, “no lady, she has not agreed to anything, and in fact gave me a list of reasons why a relationship between a human man and a half-blooded halfling would not work.”

    “But she did not say no?” Morah asked excitedly.

    Gindel paused and smiled a bit, “no, she did not.” The answer elicited a squeal of excitement from the little bard, and a knock came at Gindel’s door alerting him that it was time for his interview.

    “Gindel!” Morah exclaimed, “this is wonderful news! We must talk more about this.”

    “Aye lady,” Gindel replied apologetically, “we must, but now I am afraid I am required elsewhere.”

    “Saldez is gone for a few days, why don’t you meet me for dinner in House Jorasco tomorrow! We need to work out a plan get say Lessah to say ‘yes’ to you!” Morah explained. “If you let her think about it long enough, she will never follow her heart, and she loves you Gindel! I know she does!”

    The ranger smiled at the statement, and agreed to meet her the next evening before sunset. She kissed him on the cheek and smiled before she ran off and disappeared down the street, “welcome to the family!” She smiled and waved at him over her shoulder as she headed for House Jorasco and the safety of the villa.

    The night was long and lonely for her, and Morah stayed in bed entirely too long the following morning. She thought to herself that she had no real reason to get out of it, and when she did, she did not change out of her nightdress. Instead she went to the villa’s private garden and played her harp for no one. It was something her mother used to do. Morah remembered the woman playing wonderful music on mornings when she was not required to teach students at the barding college where the two of them made their home. Morah lived with her adopted human mother most of her life, and had only come to Stormreach because of Lessah.

    The beautiful young girl had never been anywhere else in her life. It was something she wanted to change, but lacked the courage to do something about. Playing her beautiful harp, Morah smiled remembering that Saldez had asked her to go with him to watch him in the Race of the Eight Winds. It was a day she was very much looking forward to.

    One of the strings under Morah’s fingers gave out with a slight snap, and pricked the girl’s finger a bit. She withdrew her hand quickly and stopped the small amount of blood that had begun to seep from the tiny cut left by the string. She was unconcerned with her finger, however. The harp had been a gift from Saldez. Morah hurried into the house so she could make herself ready to travel to House Phiarlin and see someone there about repairing the instrument.

    Suddenly and violently Morah was grabbed from behind, causing the small harp to fly out of her hands and crash against the back wall of the villa. Someone much larger than herself spun her around and shoved her roughly against the wall. A strange human man, tall, thin, and balding, spoke to her in a quiet and measured tone.

    She did not recognize Corvile, the human thug and leader of the Dassk within the city walls. Outside the city, the Dassk were nothing more than Ogres and overzealous hobgoblins. In the city, however, this man was to be feared. Corvile smiled at Morah, revealing all of his very yellow teeth, “Where is your husband?” Corvile asked still pinning the girl against the wall tightly.

    Morah’s reply was honest and barely audible, “he is not my husband sir.”

    Corvile shook the girl violently, as he did not like the answer to his question, “I want to know where is Boromar, and you are going to tell me!” He yelled at her and Morah could smell his rancid breath as he put his face close to hers causing her to look down and away from him.

    She was very near paralyzed with fear, and words would not come to her. A sick feeling welled up in the pit of her stomach. It was an almost uncontrollable feeling of dismay. Morah felt her stomach turn itself out and when she opened her mouth, only vomit came out, it spilled down the front of her dress and onto her assailant as well.

    He took this as a terrible act of defiance, and backhanded the girl’s face, scraping the ring he wore across the right side of her face very near her eye, leaving a considerable gash. Blood streamed down the right side of her head. Morah screamed through violent tears and tried to get away from him; she could not.

    "Where is he?" Corvile asked again loudly. When she did not answer, his anger became an uncontrollable rage, he threw the girl roughly though the door of the villa and into the house. She landed hard on her right side, and the snap of a bone in her arm could be heard from across the room.

    Corvile entered the house and grabbed Morah by the hair and drug the screaming girl around the villa behind him, causing a several trails of blood, vomit, and urine to cross over themselves. He searched in vain for Saldez, and when he did not find him, he grew even angrier with Morah.

    "You give him this message for me!" He said as he leaned down to her. Morah was gone, out of her own mind and shut down from fear. The last thing she remembered was praying for her own death to come as quickly as possible.

    By sunset a soft knock came at the door of the villa. “Morah,” a male voice said from outside the door, it was Gindel. He knocked again, “Morah, are you there?”

    When no one answered, the ranger tried the door and found it to be slightly open. “Dear gods!” He exclaimed and carefully scooped up the unconscious girl in his arms and dashed out of the house with her as fast as his legs would carry him. Her small body was limp and unresponsive. He ran feverishly to the clerics of the Order, the ranger prayed she was alive.

  18. #118

    Default A Bard's Tale, Chapter 5, The Infirmary

    The Prettiest Maidens Sing the Saddest Songs


    Morah, A Bard’s Tale
    Chapter 5: The Infirmary

    Pain. A terrible wrenching pain in her head and in her abdomen woke Morah from a fitful sleep. She had heard chanting in her sleep, and assumed it was she the clerics were at prayer over her. It could not have been, however. The voices were too distant. It must have been a dream.

    She grabbed her aching head. How long had she been asleep? She didn’t know. Her mouth felt dry and sticky as if she had tried to swallow a handful of sheep’s wool. What had happened again? She closed her eyes and flinched at the memories of the ordeal. What few memories she had of it. She had been in and out of consciousness she knew since being delivered to the Order by the ranger Gindel. She had nearly died, that much she knew for sure.

    Morah tried to push thoughts of the attack down in the dark corners of her mind and slowly crawled out of bed. Her bare feet touched the cold floor and she crept down the long corridor of the infirmary. She passed two occupied beds. One held a male elf, she knew to be Elorick Silvershade. The other was a woman who looked so pale she could have very well been dead. In fact, her positioning on the bed was very much like a person resting in death, but Morah could see shallow breathing escaping the girl’s lips. A cleric was moving around with a candle on the other side of the room, and Morah made her way quietly passed him so as not to disturb his work.

    She crept all the way down the stairs in her bare feet and tiptoed into the kitchen. It was empty. The staff would not start making breakfast and bread for several hours. Morah was thirsty and the walk down the long steps had made her very tired. She stumbled a little in the kitchen looking for a cold waterskin.

    “Who’s there?” Asked a confident male voice behind her. Morah turned, and looked up at an overly tall and handsome knight of the Order.

    “Hello Sir Siward,” the girl replied sweetly. He moved into the kitchen with concern written all over his face.

    “You should be in bed.” He lectured her. Siward had been present in the Hall on the night Morah was brought in. There was much speculation and scandal surrounding who might have attacked the pretty little bard, and why. There were even wild rumors that Saldez Boromar himself had attacked the girl, but they were only rumors. Morah had not heard any of them, and Siward thought to himself that she wouldn’t listen to them even if she did.

    He watched as the little halfling drank deeply, and drained as much water as a thirsty grown man on a hot day in the sunshine from the waterskin. He bent down in order to get a better look at the girl’s face. “Who did this to you child?”

    The bard thought to herself that she was likely older than Siward, but let the remark pass as the knight showed genuine concern for the girl. She answered him slowly, “I, I am not sure sir.”

    He nodded, “Do you remember what the person looked like? Was it just one or were there more?”

    Morah became a little uncomfortable with that thought, but answered as best she could. “There was only one, sir.” She explained slowly. “I have never seen him before.” She felt a pain then, like someone was twisting and wringing her underbelly out like dirty wet laundry. She flinched a little and then sat down in a chair to hide the cramp.

    Siward was too caught up in the questioning to notice her wince, “what did he look like Morah?”

    She looked down, “skinny, mostly bald, yellow teeth, bad breath.” She suddenly started remembering more than she wanted to and then fell silent. The man had given her a warning. He had left her alive as the bearer of a living message to the man she had chosen to love. Fear rushed through her at the thought of how Saldez would react at such a horrendous insult. She flinched again as another sharp pain and a terrible cramp ripped through her core.

    This time Sir Siward took note of it. “Morah, are you alright? Perhaps we had better get you back upstairs?”

    She looked at him with glassy eyes and sweat falling from the sides of her face. Her pain was constant now, and she could not ignore it. She tried to stand. She felt something wet and sticky on her and looked down in horror at the cotton nightdress she was wearing. It was thoroughly stained with blood. More blood dripped slowly down her legs and onto her bare feet and the cold floor. She bent over and looked up at the knight.

    “I am not well sir.” She collapsed and fell forward. He caught her easily and cradled her like a child in his arms. Siward carried her up the stairs and into the infirmary. Hannible was there with an incredulously worried look on his face.

    “What is she doing out of bed?” He asked purposefully.

    “It doesn’t matter now, she needs help Hannible! She is burning up!” Siward carried the girl back to her bed, and Hannible began chanting prayers over the little bard.

    “What’s wrong, “Siward asked worried, “will she be alright?”

    Hannible shook his head noncommittally. “We feared this would happen.” He explained. “It is not uncommon for halfling females to miscarry their first couple of pregnancies, but in this case there was a significant amount of external force on the womb. It weakened her.”

    A look of rage washed over Siward’s face at the news. He wanted to find Morah’s attacker and kill him with his bare hands. How could someone do this to such a sweet girl! “You mean,” he hesitated, “her attacker forced himself on her?” He asked through gritted teeth, his hand was unconsciously on the hilt of his weapon.

    Hannible replied matter of factly, “Yes, but in this case the pregnancy at least saved her from the danger of bearing the oversized child of a human or elf... or whoever did this.” He felt her head. “She is in significant danger of infection now. If you could please, go wake the rest of the clerics?”

    “I will,” the knight replied and hurried off.

    Morah was in shock. She did not know she had been pregnant. This information was new. She opened her eyes and looked at Hannible. “Am I going to die?” She asked him simply.

    The sober and serious cleric looked into her eyes, “I don’t think so.” He answered honestly. “Sleep now child.” He put his hand over her eyes and closed them for her, muttering the words of a sleep spell as he did.

    Morah drifted off, thinking to herself that she was probably older than he was and that he should not call her ‘child.’ It hardly mattered. All she could think of now was her own child and the loss of it as she faded into a magically induced sleep.
    Last edited by Lessah; 08-07-2007 at 01:01 AM.

  19. #119

    Default A Bard's Tale, Chapter 6, The Return Of Saldez Boromar

    The Prettiest Maidens Sing The Saddest Songs


    Morah, A Bard’s Tale
    Chapter 6: The Return of Saldez Boromar

    The air ship had flown through the night. As it docked on one of the sky platforms, Saldez allowed the wind the wind to rush over his short, bright blonde hair as he looked out over the quiet city. The salty air that blew in from the harbor flew into his nostrils and brought with it all of the memories he had collected since moving to the city. The sunrises in Stormreach, he thought to himself were some of the most spectacular in all of Xendrick. He felt glad to be back in Stormreach, he had missed his home.

    He tried unsuccessfully to shrug off the irritation he felt towards his family. He had not been greeted with the welcome he had been expecting from them. Instead he had been repeatedly berated for the loss of the field to the hated Dassk. What’s more, it had been openly suggested that he throw the Race of the Eight Winds to the profit of his family. It was the subject of heated debate the entire time he was in the Sharin. The harsh words of his family hung over him still like a dark cloud before a heavy rain.

    He closed his eyes to try and block out some of those thoughts. He was dirty, hungry, and tired. He wanted nothing more than to go home and crawl in bed with his Lovely and sleep. He had missed her terribly. At least he could take comfort in something!

    A terrible squawking sound rang out from the deck of the ship behind him. It was the too loud complaints of his Glidewing. Saldez smiled slightly as he approached the magnificent beast. Glowing with smooth gray and shinny green skin, the creature stood two meters tall and three meters in length. It resembled an overgrown lizard with wings, but boasted a mouth that was more beak-like in appearance. The beautiful creature flapped its leathery wings in mild protest at having been chained to the deck of the ship. It was obvious she wanted to fly!

    Saldez came over and quieted her, with soft words. He stroked her face and scratched her head between the eyes, something she liked very much. He rested his body against her great neck and closed his eyes. “Easy girl,” he said to his mount. “Soon you will have the skies of all of Stormreach as your playground.”

    The ship’s captain cleared his throat behind the halfling. Saldez turned to face the man, “Sir,” he began uncomfortably, “I don’t mean to be rude…”

    Saldez managed a smile, “it’s alright Captain,” he comforted the man who seemed overly concerned about such a large creature on the deck of his ship.

    “Just how do ye figure on getting off my ship without those big claws tearing the deck apart sir?” The Captain removed his hat and very concerned expression washed across his face.

    Saldez grinned broadly, “no worries Captain!” He said and grabbed his pack and strapped it to the Glidewing’s back, saddled and released it from its tether to the deck. He crawled up between the shoulder blades of the winged beast and strapped himself into what appeared to be a safety harness. The little halfling leaned forward in the smooth saddle, and whispered quiet words to his mount.

    “Softly, softly, softly,” the Captain thought he heard the halfling say. He watched as the beast tiptoed slowly to the edge of the ship. The ship titled a bit and strained under the weight. The Captain’s eyes flew open wide for fear his ship would break!

    In the next moment, the ship righted itself, the deck was empty, and the Glidewing was barreling towards the ground fast! The rush of air and adrenaline hit Saldez, and he smiled as he said, “now!” The Glidewing opened its wings wide and swooped up, catching itself on the wind. It hovered there for a moment beating its wings just feet above the fountain of the Stormreach Marketplace situated in front of the entrance gate to the House Denith.

    Several young women were gathered there and watched him with keen interest. Saldez simply couldn’t help himself, “hello ladies!” He smiled and winked at them before circling back upward. They all gasped and waved wildly back at him. From behind the fountain, he thought he spotted the Stormreach Chronicler who was always writing scandalous stories about him, but he couldn’t be sure. He didn’t care! He didn’t have to explain himself to anyone at this moment. There was no race, no family, no lost field of dream lilies to worry over. There was only the bright open sky over Stormreach.

    He relished for a moment in the flight as he circled the entire city. He passed by most of the buildings, including the hall of the Order of the Sword and Rose. He would take the creature to a stable set up on the outskirts of House Jorasco where he made his home. He leaned into the saddle and flew higher and higher, making playful loops around the spires that towered over the city. On the ground, the Glidewing seemed awkward, like a clumsy duck out of the water. In the air, however, she was graceful and free.

    An hour passed like a brief moment and Saldez finally decided he would stable the creature and go home. He smiled to himself as he flew over the people walking in the streets of Stormreach down below like so many tiny ants. He was so glad to be back home!
    Last edited by Lessah; 09-09-2007 at 03:25 PM.

  20. #120

    Default A Bard's Tale, Chapter 7, Lovely

    The Prettiest Maidens Sing The Saddest Songs


    Morah, A Bard’s Tale
    Chapter 7: Lovely


    The halfling Saldez Boromar reluctantly left his glidewing at a stable outside House Jorasco. As he made his way through all the well-manicured gardens of the province, he felt strange. The sensation of walking on his own two legs instead of flying made him mentally plan more time with the creature. He loved flying. He thought to himself that Morah would have to help him name his glidewing.

    He smiled again, this time in anticipation of seeing his lovely bard. The villa that was situated against a small grove of giant trees, looked empty, however. As he approached his front door, he did not hear any music playing from the garden where the girl liked to sit. Perhaps she was out.

    He tried to open his front door, but it proved to be locked. Morah had been using the rear entrance by the garden anyway, and she likely wasn’t expecting him. He trotted around the house to the back, where his small private garden was. Tiny red flowers were blooming from the bushes that lined the walls of the garden, their fragrant aroma filled Saldez’s nose as he hopped over them.

    The garden was in full bloom, all around, red blossoms mixed with large purple flowers with giant petals that attracted butterflies. Saldez deposited his bag on the stone patio next to the back door. The house was dark and deathly quiet. Light cascaded in through the curtains and cast playful shadows on the marble floor. The halfling moved to open the door, and stepped on something hard. Looking down, he noticed several modest chunks of wood on the ground. He bent to retrieve one of them. It was a polished piece of dark wood that had been polished smooth. He turned it over in his hand, rubbing the smooth edges with his thumb. Closer inspection of the fragment revealed a tiny musical note carved carefully into the side of it.

    A shock of cold ran down Saldez’s back as he realized the fragment’s origin. This was Morah’s harp! He had given it to her as a gift after their first night in the villa. He looked around the back patio and found the rest of it. The crown had not become fully separated from the foot of the harp. A few unbroken strings bound what was left of the instrument together. Worry washed instantly over the halfling’s face. Again he moved for the door.


    “Saldez!” A familiar voice came running up behind him before he could even set foot in his own front door. The halfling turned around and recognized the speaker immediately.

    “Well met Andark…” His words were cut off.

    Andark fixed him with serious and dark eyes, very unusual for such a resilient man, and spoke terrible words through gasping breaths. “Morah is in the hall at the Order.” He explained catching a better hold on his breath. “I know she would want you to be there as soon as possible.”

    Saldez looked at him in mild confusion. It did not surprise him that Morah would seek the company of her friends, but the look on his friend’s face and the broken pieces of harp told him there was more to the story.

    “There’s been an accident.” Andark managed to say. “She’s going to be alright!” Andark explained putting his hands up quickly to calm Saldez down. The little rogue wanted to say more, but he couldn’t. The athletic little halfling’s eyes flew open wide with worry. He dropped the piece of harp he was carrying, and started running. Andark did his very best to keep up with him, but Saldez was a professional athlete. He reached the door of the Order’s Hall well before his friend.

    Sweat still ran fresh down the sides of his face as he moved to open the door. He knew exactly where he was going. He had spent time in the Order’s infirmary himself after his own ordeal with the Halfling War Counsel.

    Music from a lute stopped him dead on his feet. “I hear my lovely.” He said aloud, “where is she?”

    “Up here.” Morah answered looking down and smiling at him. She had crawled out of the window as soon as she realized that there was halfling on a glidewing flying through the city. “Think you can catch me?”

    Saldez felt as if his heart would burst, he was so relieved to see her. In reply to her, he lifted his arms and Morah jumped down to him from the second story balcony. He caught her easily enough, and allowed the momentum to roll him onto his back with her over him. She dusted herself off, and helped the halfling to his feet. He in turn swept her into a great hug and whirled her around. Had the girl not been so weak and dizzy, she would have enjoyed the sensation very much.

    He smiled at her. “I was so worried about you Lovely!” He sighed with relief, “Andark said there had been an accident.” She did not speak at this. Instead she hugged him tightly. She was torn between telling him what happened and protecting him from the too awful truth.

    He put his fingers under her chin and raised her head up for a gentle kiss. He looked at her and tugged a bit on the ends of her long bangs. “You changed your hair.” He said referring to the way she had parted her hair to cover most of the right side of her face. He smiled at her. “I like it.”

    Saldez moved to kiss her again when a familiar female called his name out from the other side of the street. “Saldez Boromar!” A sturdy halfling female came walking over from the other side of the street. She had green eyes, and bright blonde hair that was pulled back away from her face. Morah thought she recognized the girl, Saldez knew he did.

    “What are you doing here?” Saldez asked harshly.

    “I might be asking ye duh same ting!” She walked right over to Saldez and smacked him right on the back of the head.

    “Owe!” He protested, and glared at the girl. Rubbing his head he turned to Morah, “Lovely, you remember my sister Saydee,” he said in a mildly irritated introduction.

    “Of course!” Morah answered remembering. She had met Saydee only once. Morah wondered if his sister even knew how close they had become since her abrupt disappearance from Stormreach. She doubted it. Saldez was intensely private about their relationship so far. The life he had with Morah was a sanctuary to him, and she understood his need for isolation. Morah backed away from him a bit. She wanted to give him the option not to say too much about them to his sister.

    Saldez caught her easily behind him and drew her by the hand to his side and put his arm over her shoulders. “Don’t run away.” He whispered to her in her ear. It was a gesture that made her hold him very tightly around the waste.

    “What are you doing outside?” Andark asked Morah incredulously as he trotted up the street.

    “I was waiting for Sal!” The little bard protested putting her head on the man’s shoulder giving Saydee an excellent look at what was under her hair. In reaction, Saldez’s sister smacked her brother on the back of the head again.

    “Owe!” He flinched, “what did you do that for?”

    “Cuase yer an idiot!” Saydee answered.

    Saldez moved to smack his sister on the head in well-practiced retaliation, but Morah stopped him. “Why don’t we all go inside,” Morah suggested.

    The hall boasted a sizeable kitchen and dining area where fighters would eat their meals and magic users would study their books. The four of them: Saldez, Morah, Saydee, and Andark sat down at a table along the far wall.

    “So what happened to you Lovely,” Saldez asked Morah as he helped to a seat, “I have not heard why you ended up in the infirmary in the first place.”

    Morah felt conscious of all eyes on her, she glanced quickly at Andark and then at the floor. “I... I fell.” She did not look back at Andark, but she knew the halfling rogue was looking at her in utter disbelief.

    Saldez chuckled a little and kissed her forehead over the top of her hair. Morah winced because it was right over the spot of a healing bruise. He didn’t seem to notice. “You must be more careful Lovely.” He was relieved and amused.

    His sister Saydee, however, was not amused. She narrowed her eyes at Morah. “And jest whose fist did ye fall on?” She asked sarcastically.

    “Just what exactly are you doing here?” Saldez spoke markedly irritated words towards his sister.

    “What do ye tink Sallie?” Saydee asked as if the answer should be obvious. “That duh family’s gonna let ye ruin everyting? I come te clean up yer mess… as usual!” She added. Saldez glared at his sister with an expression that told her he did not want to talk about the situation just now.

    He felt a soft hand on his arm then, “Sal.” I was Morah. “Will you go and get me some water?”

    “Aye, and fetch me an ale while yer at it!” Saydee said propping her feet up on the corner of the table.

    Saldez fixed his sister with a look of disbelief. “When did you start drinking ale?” He asked irritated at the very thought.

    Saydee raised her voice to a whine and repeated his question mockingly, “When did you start drinking ale…” She changed her tone and leaned forward, “Don’ ye be telling me my business Sallie. I ain’t telling ye yours!” She pointed straight to Morah who looked down and away awkwardly.

    Saldez started to make an angry reply at his sister when an uncomfortable Andark stood up and intervened. “Saldez, why don’t I go, it’s no bother.”

    He glanced up quickly at Andark. He had not expected to see his sister, and her presence here edified his family’s current disapproval of his handling of their affairs in Stormreach. He broke eye contact with Andark and glanced at Morah. He could see she was very uncomfortable. This was not the home coming he had envisioned. He felt suddenly concerned for her; it was her he had come to the Order for after all. He nodded solemnly, stood up, and kissed Morah lightly on the top of her head.

    “I’ll be right back then.” He whispered to her. As he walked away, he could feel Saydee’s eyes boring into him.

    Morah could feel that same steel gaze shift over to her. “Ye gonna tell him what really happened? Or ye gonna make me do it?” Morah did not know Saydee very well at all, but she also didn’t know who else could be trusted with the information.

    The small girl fixed Saydee with a very serious gaze. “Your brother is in danger Saydee,” Morah tried to explain the situation as best she could. “The attack on me, it was meant for him!” She looked down as if she might cry, and desperately tried not to. “I’m afraid for him to know the truth, it would make him insane.”

    Saydee cocked her head at Morah, “by not telling him yer puttin yerself in even more danger, and him as well.” She jerked her head slightly in his direction.

    Morah looked up at Saydee and the hair covering her bruised and scared eye fell back a bit. “I have not said all.” She breathed deathly serious. Morah leaned over and put her hand on Saydee’s. “I carried a child,” she cut Saydee’s words off with a look and slight shake of her head. “No more,” she whispered and then smiled sadly as if entertaining thoughts she had not previously encountered. “You would have been Auntie Saydee.”

    Saydee’e eyes flew open wide with rage. She got up and marched towards the kitchen, “Saldez Boromar!” The shout echoed throughout the hall.

    “Morah, what are you doing out of bed!” Asked Siward as he approached the girl with great concern.

    Morah had left the infirmary in order to seek an audience with Aribell Kross. She told Aribell about her cousin’s strange behavior, but Aribell seemed unconcerned. After seeing the spectacle of a glidewing flying around the city, she was too excited and nervous to go back to the infirmary. Only Andark had saved her from trying to run all the way to Saldez’s villa in house Jorasco.

    In response to his query, she smiled a bit and pointed meekly towards a halfling female dragging a halfling male over towards them by the ear. Saldez was complaining loudly for his sister to let him go. It was a request she denied and shoved roughly back into his seat at the table. The man’s face was red with anger and embarrassment until he looked up questioningly at Sir Siward. The knight was making intense eye contact with him.

    “We have kept the lady safe in your absence Master Saldez.” Siward explained. “Between myself, Andark there, and Master Gindel, the lady has never been alone.” Siward turned back to Morah. He took his very large hand and brushed back the girl’s hair well away from her face. Saldez froze like a temple statue. Siward examined her marks critically. “It looks better,” he remarked to her. He nudged the underside of her chin with his index finger. “You need rest lady, you still look flush.” He looked now to Saldez, “promise me she’ll make it back upstairs soon.”

    Saldez nodded quiet thanks to Siward as the knight departed. He looked at Morah now, and his sister spoke serious and quiet words to him. “Look at her Sallie,” the girl explained, “no fall coulda made des marks.”

    A renewed concern washed over his face for her, the same fear he had felt when he found her broken harp. “Someone did this to you Lovely?” His eyes were saturated with hurt.

    Morah nodded her head slowly and whispered a soft “yes.” She couldn’t bare to see him this way. Now the ugly truth would be known, and it would change him forever. The thought of loosing him to his enemies scared her much more however, so she pressed on. With a deep breath she explained what happened.

    “A man came to the house looking for you.” She looked down and away from him. “He was not very happy to find you not at home.” Her lower lip trembled a bit as she spoke. Saldez slid out of his seat and knelt on the floor beside her chair. He held her hand and did not appear intensely angry. It was a gesture that gave Morah the strength to continue. She went on to describe what he looked like in great detail to him. His face tightened with understanding at who it was, but he said nothing openly.

    He kissed the fingers of her hand as he held it. “Did he say anything else?” In truth the man was livid, but upsetting Morah would only cause her to retreat further from the situation. Saldez was sure he knew who her attacker had been. He just needed a bit more confirmation. Morah looked away from him, very close to tears. He turned her face back to him. “It’s alright Lovely.” He assured her. Andark was walking back over to them, and Saydee waved him away.

    Morah did not notice. The girl took a deep breath and spoke, “he said to tell you that you should have killed him when he had the chance.” She began sobbing. Saldez held her and allowed her to bury her head in chest. He flashed deathly serious eyes over to his sister, offering a small glimpse of his growing anger.

    Saydee seemed pleased that her brother reacted this way, he would demand action soon. She realized that telling the rest of the story would drive him right over the edge. “There’s more brother,” Saydee whispered after Morah had calmed down a bit. “Ye think she’d be here still if she just got roughed up a bit? Duh fact is dat she was carrying a wee Boromar in her belly.”

    Saldez went white like he had been hit in the face with a brick. He looked at Morah for confirmation. She smiled regretfully at him and spoke. “I… I only just found out myself.” She explained meekly. “Sir Hannible said that I might otherwise be in danger of carrying the child of… him.” She looked down to hide her embarrassment, “but Hannible said there was no chance of it because that task had already been done.”

    Morah heard a gasp escape him and he bent low, putting his head in her lap. He sobbed again. Morah leaned over and tried to console him, “I swear to you, I do not remember. Though I admit I suspected, I did not know about that baby. I would have told you if I was sure.” She hesitated, “do you believe me?”

    Saldez raised his head and wiped his eyes. He tried to answer her and failed. He nodded a ‘yes’ instead.

    His sister put a hand on his shoulder in a rare consoling gesture. “I know who it was, Sallie. I’ve been to see Telano.” She spoke low so her voice would not carry. “It was Corvile,” she saw his recognition of the name. “Telano said him and the boys tried to kill him.” She rolled her eyes and huffed, “guess it didn’t work.”

    Saldez was nearly shaking with anger. With great effort he looked at Morah. “We should get you back in bed.” He turned around and glanced at Saydee. The look spoke volumes about what he intended to do next.

    Morah protested. She wanted to go back to the villa with Saldez. Saydee convinced her that it would be much safer for the time being if the girl remained in the Order’s infirmary. Saldez took great care saying goodbye to her. He looked closely at her bruises, trying to soak in every detail of what happened to her. He brushed her cheek with the back of his hand, and kissed her fingers lightly.

    “Get some rest now.” He said as he turned away from her. His expression changed instantly. His sister fell in behind him with a slight smile on her face.
    Last edited by Lessah; 08-08-2007 at 12:54 AM.

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