Hidden 8 yrs ago Post by Rayn Night
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Rayn Night

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And so, as he walked along the crowd, his mind was manipulating the strings of magic around him, extending his senses… Immediately, he was surprised to feel how many magical items there were just around. Ellahur had done the best to destroy all those they could, but outside of that ruling, other people weren’t shy. He was wandering the streets, trying to sense the magic that was within the blade… He had felt its energy before, but for such a short time. His steps were careful, guided… Until it hit him. A bond… The energy… Moving rapidly. Vordan, on this single feeling, started sprinting through the crowds, following the energy.

It took him into the alleyways, the energy was getting closer, Setna was near. He turned abruptly into one of the darker, muskier alleyways. He came right to the edge and waited, hearing the heavy footsteps and the breath of the young man. He turned around the corner and there he was, running from two men… The same two that were there the other night.

“Setna!” He put himself in front of him, wanting to stop him… His blade was there, its energy still pulsing in his mind.

-- Setna looked up as he heard a voice call his name. He practically had to skid to a stop in order to not bowl over Vordan completely. His breathing was heavy and his eyes wild as he looked up at Vordan. "What the hell man? I got to go, let me through. I don't have time for you."

He was about to pass Vordan as he looked back to see the two Syndarean men right on his heels.--

The link was finally gone and Vordan’s mind was a little clearer. Setna stood in front of him and wanted to pass by. He saw the two Syndareans bastards. They were Executioners? He had thought most of them be removed from their tradition after the war, but ti did not seem like so… And they wanted the twins. That much was clear, but they would catch up, they would get him. Fortunately enough, he was not too late for both them and him. He looked down on Setna. “You can run if you want to, but I’ll be fighting them.”

With that said, his hand grabbed the hilt of Setna’s sword and pulled it out… Immediately, he felt the effect of the blade on him. It wasn’t meant to be held by other people than the Syndareans and there was a good reason why. He moved the boy aide and came forth to the Syndareans.

“Come on you scum, you couldn’t even finish the job last night!”

-- Setna turned wide eyed as Vordan reached over and took his blade. He literally unsheathed Setna's sword from his sheath, and took it for his own. Who the hell does that!? The boy was in shock as Vordan merely moved him aside and finally Setna returned to his senses. "What the hell!? What are you doing!? Don't you have your own damn sword!? I was doing just fine! Aaerynn told me to expose them to the public!"

Vordan didn't have time to answer as one of the Syndareans went for him first, blade drawn. The other however went to move past Vordan to the unarmed Setna. –

The kid would have to learn that these kinds of bastards can’t be dealt with the traditional, lawful way. They needed to die. The first one came down upon him quickly, yet Vordan simply parried the blade and snapped his wrist behind him. The chains came bursting out his wrist and towards the legs of the one running by, entangling rapidly around his ankle. “Watch and learn kid!” And with that, he screamed words of the ancient Maker’s language. “Praetende imperium pellerentur!”

The blade’s writing took on a bright luminescent light as a purple barrier formed in front of Vordan for just a second, enough to push the man in front of him back and disengage. Of course… His entire body tensed in pain as he was not trained to use this blade nor a Syndarean. Hopefully, this will clear the young man's head as he tossed the blade to his feet. The magic was now active and he didn't have to do anything but fight with it now.

“Run or fight! Choose!”

-- Setna was breathing heavily but he now looked at his blade at his feet with a sense of amazement. So that's what it could do. At Vordan's voice, the teenager immediately picked up the blade. "Fight, of course!" Setna called out, grinning as he felt the blade pulse in his hands.

The man that had been blown back by Vordan charged again, dagger ready in one hand as a barrier began to cover his free hand. He moved fast as he yelled, "Don't get in the way outsider!"

The other Syndarean that had been tangled within the chains broke free and came towards Setna, blade ready. Setna easily parried his swing, but that's when the teenager caught sight of the man's face.

"Sino!?" Setna gasped, his eyes widening in shock. But then he received a blow to the stomach that sent the boy tumbling back. Setna winced as he stood his ground again, glaring at the man before him.

The man known as Sino stilled, readying his stance. "So you stole your father's blade as well!? Where did you learn such treachery boy? And letting an outsider use it!"

Setna tensed, holding his blade up. His voice was laced with anger as he spoke. "When did you become such a lap dog? You ate at my father's table, spoke of politics and change. Yet here you are... a minion."

Sino's face didn't change. "My allegiance isn't with your father, but with the King. You have no right to challenge my values. You've disgraced everyone, broken our laws, and destroyed the balance."

"The balance is nothing but lies!" Setna screamed at him. "Everything is a lie! We all follow the priests and the King's as if they are gods when all they cause is suffering and the killing of innocent girls for made up gods and traditions!"

Sino's face darkened and he seemed to ripple with power as the iridescent purple of barrier magic began to ooze from his skin like liquid. "It doesn't have to be this way Setna Roan. You can come back. Blame it on your sister, tell the council it was her fault you left, perhaps she threatened you, or blackmailed you. She's just a petty woman and they'll accept the excuse."

Setna was shaking with rage, and immediately charged as he screamed, "Fuck you!!"—

There was no sense in trying to keep the other one off Setna. He wouldn’t be able to handle both at the same time. Vordan hoped that the kid had some talent because he wouldn’t be assisting him right now. He would have a handful with the one in front of him. Executioners were an elite group of assassins of the King, he remember that. They were not pity fighters and he would probably come out with some broken bone or maybe even worst.

As the Syndarean charged, Vordan retracted the chain back into his gauntlet. He would try to punch the dagger back, but the man swept a little lower, just brushing over his plate. Vordan backed off a moment. He wasn’t paying attention to the other two anymore… He needed to fight this barrier creating idiot. He reached for his dagger and drew it forth. A two handed blade would be useless against him. The two began a deadly dance, Vordan being a lot more agile in close combat than he appears. Yet, he received a stab in the leg and one near his collarbone. He didn’t scream at any, just pushed forth…

“You won’t live to see tomorrow you filth!”

-- It didn't matter that these men were elite. It didn't matter that they were executioners or the King's guinea pigs. Setna knew them. He knew their combat style, he knew their thought process, he knew their strengths and weaknesses. The barriers had to be avoided at all cost, but if an opening established itself, a hard strike to the barrier itself could be able to stun them. Catching them off guard in a place where they wouldn't think to protect was also good.

Setna moved in but was cautious as the taller and older man went on the defensive. Sino was a hard soldier just like Setna's father. The only way to live through this was surprise and quickness. Sino parried Setna's strikes as if they were nothing, and then he immediately went on the offensive. Setna had to quickly shift his feet to dodge the oncoming blade and striking limbs.

Think, think! Setna grit his teeth as a swipe came too close to his chest, tearing through his shirt to his skin. Setna didn't let that stop him as he dropped and spun, swinging his leg out beneath Sino's. Sino stumbled and Setna pounced forward, blade ready. A barrier came up but Setna's eyes widened as his blade pierced straight through it, into Sino's chest. The lettering on the blade had lit up, and surprised both the young and older Syndarean.

Setna stood in shock, his blade impaled through Sino's chest. Both seemed incapable to understand what had happened, completely frozen. --

The Syndarean got another stab into the mercenary who grunt, feeling the blade dig through his side… He had hit true that time and he felt the sharp pain worsen. The bastard smiled as he tried to finish him off, but Vordan saw it coming. He simply moved to the side and flung his arms as the chains pulled out and wrapped around the man’s neck. A quick tightening and the man fell, trying to rip them off. Vordan help it tight and even those barriers wouldn’t protect him.

Vordan held it as long as he could, but he felt like he was going to drown… He coughed, blood spewing out his mouth… His breathing became painful… He finally saw the other two, a blade through someone. Setna had done it… Vordan smiled weakly as he couched out more blood. ‘’Finally… Figured it out… Kid?’’

-- Slowly Setna withdrew his blade, he watched with wide eyes as Sino's body fell forward and blood began to pool along the cobblestones. Setna's hands were shaking as he looked down at the man, his blade still covered in his blood. He bit his lip as he stepped back and then heard Vordan's voice. He turned, only to see Vordan's body even more bloody and torn up. That seemed to help him get his wits back as he hurried over to the mercenary. "Shit...are you?" Setna's dark eyes searched for Vordan's injuries. "Are you ok? I mean...obviously not but I mean..."

The boy was shaking, his mind frantically trying to keep up with what was happening. He ran a trembling hand through his hair. He didn't know whether to touch Vordan or help him up or not do anything. Instead he just stood there awkwardly. Who the hell could help with injuries like that? "We should get Aaerynn..."

But that's when Setna looked at the downed Syndarean men around them. Neither of them had the Executioner ring, which meant neither of them were the leader. Shit. Shit. Fuck. Setna immediately went and tried to help Vordan up. "Can you move at all, or do anything? We have to go. Shit. We have to go." --

The kid definitely wasn’t used to seeing people dead or even dealing with taking someone’s life… Vordan knew that if he would really want to defend his sister, he would have to take lessons from Elrithos. He doesn’t know why, but that Aavikkanian had something for killing without being traumatized at all after, even after he called many of them. Yet, he broke through and seemed panicked by what he saw. At the mention of Aaerynn, he wondered in what kind of... The last guy. The one missing.

Vordan let the chains loose as the body fell to the ground, completely lifeless. The bastarded deserved it… But he could feel the pain in his sides especially. Every breath was painful again and knew ti was another one of those days where the bandages would be super useful. He reached in his pouch, slowly pulling out some bandages… “Kid… you need... to calm down…” He said, coughing some blood after. The guy definitely got a lung and it would become worse.

The young man tried to get Vordan to his feet, which made it worse again. Vordan simply pushed him off gently and coughed again. “Cut a piece… of bandage *cough* for me… this long.” He showed him about four inches long and pulled out his dagger. “I’ll be… *cough* on my feet *cough* in a minute.”

-- Setna looked at him as if he had gone crazy. "I don't think that short of a bandage is gonna keep you on your feet man."

He did what he was asked though, cutting it for him and then handing it back. He was antsy and panicking a bit. He didn't know what to do. He couldn't stay here. What if the leader had gotten to his sister? But he couldn't just leave Vordan here like this. Sure Vordan was an ass...a total asshole. But he had helped, didn't he? He even unlocked Setna's blade. Setna couldn't just leave him like this after all of that, it didn't sit well on his conscience.

The boy's hands were twitching, watching Vordan warily and hoping to leave. He was also trying his best to keep his eyes averted from the dead bodies on the ground. --

Vordan took the piece of bandage and ignored what he had just said. He did not realize what was about to happen. Vordan knew too well that his magic was going to be revealed anyway, so it wasn’t that big of a deal anymore. And so, with another noisy cough, he sighed and placed the bandage into the hole in his clothes and armor and then decided to try something. “Adoleret Vulnus.” As the words sprung, a short burst of flames came out of Vordan’s wounds and screamed loudly.

Breathing deeply, the effects of the bandages start and Vordan quickly brought the hilt of the dagger to gag out the screaming. The wounds were closing a little slower now and Vordan was sweating. “God damn… Help me up… Get my gear and let’s go.”

-- Setna stepped back in shock as suddenly Vordan's wounds lit up in a brief flame. "What the fuck!?" He exclaimed as he watched with surprised eyes as the wounds seemed to slowly close.

The Syndarean boy stood frozen in place, his eyes wide as he looked from the wounds to Vordan's face. He flinched as the mercenary screamed and seemed to be in a hell of a lot of pain. The boy finally jolted as Vordan spoke, and Setna fluttered around for a second before finally helping the taller man to his feet and grabbing his stuff. "So you have magic too? Cause otherwise I have no idea in hell how that just happened."

Setna handed the man his dagger and shook his head. "I mean you don't have to tell me...Uh...Are you good enough to move? I don't have to hold you do I?"

He tried to change the subject. He wasn't exactly sure if he was supposed to see what had just happened with the bandages or not. But either way it didn't matter. He needed to get to his sister, pronto. --

Now to his feet, he sighed. [b]“I can walk… Slowly but I can. Here…” He reached in his pouch to pull out the bandages. He handed it over to him and tapped his back. [b]“I’ll catch up… If anyone if inured, apply a band on a wound and DON’T let go until the bandage has melted into the flesh.”
He used the wall to help him walk.

“And yes, I use magic… I’ll explain myself later… Now go!”

-- Setna juggled the bandages in surprise and in slight fear that suddenly he'd be in pain too. But nothing came of it as he held the bandages in his fist. "Put it on an injury. Don't let go...wait it's supposed to melt into your flesh? How is that healthy?"

The boy looked at Vordan incredulously before realizing he was being stupid. "Right...You'll catch up..."

He nodded and then began to sprint, after a while he realized something crucial and found himself running back to Vordan. "How would you even know where to go!?"

Setna huffed for his breath. Panicking with indecision as he stepped forward and then backward. "Besides...I don't....I mean...you can't honestly expect me to put these things on an injured person? I...Don't you have bandages to make you go faster?"

Setna probably looked even more like an idiot. But a part of him was scared, he didn't want to walk in and find his sister killed. He didn't want to be too late. Another part felt guilty for leaving an injured Vordan that had risked his life to help. The last part was overwhelming anxiety at everything that was happening. "Sorry...I should just go." --

Vordan didn’t say a word as he simply looked at him. He was still there? He wanted to yell at the kid right now, but he didn’t have the strength to do it nor the will either. This day was already more than enough as it is. And so, he simply waited for him to start running, slowly using the wall to help him march forth…

Then he came back. Vordan was slightly confused and annoyed right now. What in the hell was he doing coming back? The first question was a good one, he could admit that. But did he really need to explain right now? And of course he would hesitate to put on the bandages. Again, with another sigh, he shook his head but did speak in a calmer more compose demeanor.

“The same way I found you in this ally in the middle of nowhere. Keep the sword and I’ll be able to find you… And yes, these bandages save lives, that’s why I make them. I WOULD have bandages that could do that, but I have to make them, which I can’t for now. Now, go kid… Unless you want to take the chance to be too late for your sister.”

-- Taking in the response with a scowl, Setna turned and finally ran. To be honest the real question was how was he supposed to know where to go? He had a bit of an inkling. Ever since he was small, he could always generally tell where his twin sister was. He could never really explain it, their mother had said it was a gift. But he decided to follow the instinct now as he began to back track. He stopped first by the alleyway where he first encountered Aaerynn and the executioners. The black blood that was spilled across the alleyway was not a good omen. Setna cursed and continued on his way. --
-- Eventually the prosperity of the town began to filter away into old abandoned buildings. Most looked like they hadn't been used in years. He happened upon a clearing purely by chance and upon entering it, Setna sucked his breath. Their was the awful smell of burnt flesh in the area and Setna quickly covered his nose as he looked around. Tirian was down for the count, but he didn't seem to be injured. Next was the charred remains of a body that couldn't be identified from this far away. Setna quickly looked away as he heard a voice cry out.

"Set!!"

Setna filled with relief at the sight of his sister. Her face was red and blotchy and her cheeks were covered in the trails of tears. The boy quickly scrambled over to his younger sister, enveloping her into an embrace as she began to wail. She tried her best to speak about what happened, but Setna couldn't understand her words through her choked sobs. He rubbed her back calmly, looking around and that's when he saw Aaerynn. The most noticeable thing was the gigantic black and red burn that covered her side and still looked as if it were burning. Setna stiffened up. He couldn't tell if the wood elf was still alive or not, and Serna pulled out of her brother's arms, yanking on his sleeve. "Y-You have to h-help...I d-don't know what to d-do."

She couldn't stop crying and Setna pulled out the bandages Vordan gave him. "It's ok! It's gonna be fine!"

Setna didn't believe his words at all. But the twins kneeled by the elf's side and Setna cut a piece of the bandages off. Carefully, he placed the bandage onto the wound and grimaced as he then held it down. At first Aaerynn's body writhed and struggled beneath him, and the teenager had to use all his strength to keep the bandage applied. However, her body suddenly lurched and then became completely still. If it weren't for the fact that her chest kept coming up and down, Setna would have thought she died. Eventually the glow stopped, and there was nothing left but a brutal scar where the burn had been.

Setna breathed heavily, sweat forming across his brow. He could hear what sounded like creaking though, and the boy looked up to see her collarbone attempting to slide back together. That made the boy turn away and vomit the remains in his stomach.

He finally turned back, wiping his mouth and looked up to see Serna looking at him with wide eyes. He looked down at the bandages and held them out to her. "Vordan gave me them...I don't know what to do about her collarbone..."

The boy slowly stood up onto shaky knees. Frankly he didn't know what to do now. Both Aaerynn and Tirian had to be moved, Aaerynn more carefully than the red head, but still...even if Vordan caught up, how where the two of them going to be able to transport the unconscious? --

Finally, the kids had left. This constant hesitation and question would get him killed for sure… He was lucky enough to still be alive right now. Vordan needed the kid to grow up faster if he really wanted to protect his sister as she won’t tough it out through her magic alone. A magical theory pushed to think that the twins were linked by mind, blood and soul… Maybe they had a shared capacity in magical prowesses. Either way, they needed each other, especially with the Executioners coming for them. Vordan simply looked at him go for a second and marched forth slowly.

He tried to get his senses on the sword again, but it seemed the burning wounds and recent exposure of magic was making it quite hard to do. He had a general idea of where he was, but nothing more. He had “overdosed” On his use of magic and he knew it would make him weak if he continued to expose himself to his own mixtures or bandages. Fortunately enough, his wounds healed up pretty quickly without the whole painful process, letting him go into a light job. He drew forth his crossbow, just in case, and followed his instinct towards the odd source of energy that was the sword.

He had found the trail of blood… Black, just like Aaerynn rotten blood. It was a stress inducing situation as it went for a little while before he actually reached the scene… Setna and Serna were alright. Thank the Creators for that. Tirian was, for lack of explaining unconscious but well. It was an odd sight, as there was no visual injuries… His magic? A possibility. He came forward, in much better shape than earlier and looked down at Aaerynn… He could see the collarbone trying to set itself back. It was true that magical items were a lot more responsive when used by or on a Maker. She would have to suffer the pain, but she could take it.

He raised his eyes to the twins. “Glad to see you kids are alright… We have to bring them back to the inn, in their rooms to rest. We don’t say anything to anyone else, even if they ask questions. The only you give is that they were in trouble. That’s it.” He leaned over to look a Tirian once more. “Both of you grab him and take him to the Inn. I’ll bring Aaerynn. Understood?”

-- The twins both looked up to see Vordan enter the clearing. Setna was surprised to see that he seemed even better than when he had left. Silently the boy wondered what kind of magic he really possessed. They both straightened up though as Vordan explained what they would do and Setna looked over at his sister. He could tell she was exhausted from the whole ordeal and carefully he wiped his sister's cheeks with the palms of his hands.

"I'll carry him ok?" He whispered. "Just take it easy."

Serna immediately shook her head as she rubbed her eyes and then looked at her brother a bit defiantly. "Let me help. I want to do it."

Setna paused but then nodded as they both walked over to Tirian. Carefully they each lifted an arm over their shoulders, with Setna bearing most of the red head's weight. But suddenly Serna's eyes widened and she dropped Tirian's arm momentarily, making her brother grunt at the sudden increase of weight. The girl ran back over to the Executioner's body, making Setna call out to her in worry. "Serie? What are you doing?"

The teenaged girl put a hand over her mouth as she saw the gruesome remains of the dead body, but it didn't stop her from unlatching a small pouch from his waist. She stepped back and loosened the strings. Inside was a small pile of white capsules and the girl quickly closed the bag and tied the strings around her wrist before returning to her brother. Setna frowned at her, his dark eyes turning serious. "Syndars? Serie...you should just leave them."

Serna frowned straight back at her brother before gently taking Tirian's arm and placing it over her shoulders once more. "So someone else can take them?" She murmured quietly. "They're better with us."

"I don't want you using them." Setna glared at his sister. "I mean it Serie. There's no need for you to even have them. You don't understand what they can do to you."

Serna remained silent as she looked away from her brother and tightened her grip on Tirian. She shifted the man's weight as she said, "Let's go."

The boy was tensed and irritated, but he begrudgingly agreed as they both began to carefully carry the Durandal warrior out of the clearing after Vordan. --

Vordan did not look to see if they were doing what the twins were asked to do. He was knelt down to one knee as he looked at the collarbone trying to recover with the aid of the bandages. It seemed off that the wound did not heal properly, but his explanation came quickly. The brutal scar on her stomach meant that it was probably the wound Setna had covered. Again, it just proved his theory to be right and he would make note of it. Starting to toy with the healing of the wound would be dangerous and he would let it be for the moment.

The mercenary slipped one arm under her back and another under her legs and lifted her off the ground. His sides were burning a little, a sign that his own wounds were not completely healed over. Fortunately enough, she was light enough to not be too much of a burden and then he made sure that everything she had would be on him.

It was then that he brought his attention back to the twins who were starting to carry the young man over. Good, they seemed to be not to be injured although they were a little tired. It would just be a trip back to the Inn… Nothing wrong could happen. “Don’t know how you all managed to kill an Executioner, but that takes some skill…” It would be the only words he would say until they reached the Inn to bring them into their rooms.
His good deeds of the night had changed Elrithos mood back to pleasant and relaxed. He finally had that name out of his mind and would be able to go about his usual tasks. The first thing he had to do was go train somewhere peaceful and hopefully, where no one would recognize him from the day before. He didn’t want to explain himself to the others and to the people of Cromerth. He wanted little attention right now.

What he did want to do was see how the others were doing, but he couldn’t find them in the Bronze Lantern. As odd as it may be, it seemed everyone was busy doing their own thing. Perfect, a day of peace and of simple training. He smiled lightly as he came forth to the counter, asking for some water… His eyes turned to the person beside him. An older fellow, drunk out of his mind. So early in the morning?

“Sir… Are you alright?”

- Velim's bleary eyes narrowed as they fell on the elf, "Just grand, you nosy shit, thanks for the conshurrn."

He stood, unsteady on his feet, his thin mouth twisted into a scowl. "I'm in godshfucked Cromerth. Great Gabo's teeth, how could I not be good? What more could there be to life?" -

That was not an answer he had expected to get back from the man, seriously surprised and shocked by the harsh reply… He wasn’t used to dealing with intoxicated beings. The Aavikanians drank close to no alcohol as the desert conditions made it hard to do so. And Elrithos particularly didn’t know how to handle them.

“Hum… This place doesn’t seems as terrible as that.”

- "Ah-ha! Evidence of a...a... profoundly profound lack of taste! You desert wanderers are impreshed by anything..by anthing shturdier than a tent."

Velim regarded his interlocutor slyly, "Come to think of it, jusht what is av Anik- err, an Avikanianian doing here?" -

Again, Elrithos was simply shocked by how the man was talking to him, almost insulting him at that. Was human drunken behavior always like this? Not sure what to say, he simply looked at him a moment, lost for words.

“I…. I am traveling with a merchant and a brigade to the next continent.”

- "Well, shit," said Velim. He sat down hard on the bar stool, "I musht say it's been a pleashure, my elfy friend, but I do believe it's time to retire to my rooms and shleep and vomit and all the rest of it." -

-- Rudolf waddled down the stairs slightly disappointed. He was hoping for some companionship for breakfast but everyone was gone. The twins, the mercenary, Aaerynn, Tirian and everyone else. The dwarf was pretty sure that a few didn't even return to the inn the night before. He pursed his lips slightly as he stroked his beard. He had promised to tell Caelis that Vordan wished to speak with him, but ah well. It would come in time. The dwarf was somewhat expecting the duo to end up staying in Cromerth. The journey thus far had proven a bit dangerous for a young little halfling already.

The dwarf scratched his back and stretched his old bones as he headed into the lobby and tavern. His eyes lit up a bit however, at the sight of both Elrithos and Velim conversing. He quickly approached them wearing a large pleased grin. "Oho!" He said loudly enough to interrupt the conversation. "Sir Elrithos! It seems you've become acquainted with the Athalus Velim! He will be joining us on our trip!"

He grinned wider...and then he sniffed. The pungent smell of alcohol filled his nose, and his eyes reevaluated his companion. "By the gods of creation Velim, have you stayed up all night with the drink? Hooo!" --

Elrithos simply looked at the man in an almost embarrassed, nervous kind of way. He still felt very awkward in this kind of situation. One, he did not understand how humans or elves could put themselves in such a state of lucid minds. What if something happened that needed their attention? They would surely be unable to act properly in a situation and therefore be useless. So he said nothing back and went back to drinking his water…

…Until Rudolf showed up. Elrithos turned on his seat, a small smile forming on his lips. Finally someone that could maybe reason with the man before him? Who knew, but it was a welcoming sight. The great surprise now was that this drunken man was going to join them in their journey. Him? He looked over at the bald man and raised a brow. It was odd and even worse; the two seemed to know each other.

“I am quite surprised you know this… drunken man. I do hope he will not be like this all the time…”

- "Drunk! The horror!" Velim cackled, throwing Rudolf a crooked grin and wink. "I do believe I've offended your elfish friend's tender senshibilities, Rud. My shinsherest apologies, I had a ah.... rough evening. A conversation with some associates of mine went poorly, and sometimes..."

Velim's green eyes flicked over Elthiros, "...sometimes you just need twenty ales." -

“Please, do not think that I am offended… I simply do not understand why one who talk so much out of their capabilities to consume a tasty drink when water and juices can replenish you quite easily.” Of course, coming from an Aavikkanian, it wasn’t that much of a surprise as most of them did not drink in favor of keeping water fresh and untouched.

As the man eyed Elrithos, he simply looked back blankly. “I do not think there is a reason to do that. Ever. But it is true that I do not understand it.”

-- The dwarf gave a hearty pat onto Elrithos' back and grinned. "Don't worry my friend! He's just another man who has a fine taste for ale! We'll make sure he stays out of trouble. Well, I will at least."

Rudolf gave a belly laugh as his smile turned wider. "Though, we'll have to take you out one night so that you may understand it one day!" --

Another man with a taste for ale… Elrithos just couldn’t see it. He had seen the dwarf being in a state like that, although lesser than this, and not be so… Destroyed and impolite. He trusted Ruldolf’s word that he was a man of good use and simply liked ale. He wasn’t going to go against it. Not for now anyway. And so, he stood up, about to give his goodbyes for the day, but when the door opened at the front with familiar faces, he looked confused… Aaerynn? Vordan? It was quite odd, even more so with the twins coming in with Sir Tirian. They seemed in bad shape, which meant they probably did something they weren’t supposed to.

Vordan, seeing eh had the elf’s attention, signaled him to have them follow upstairs. Elrithos nodded and looked at Rudolf. “We are heading upstairs. Let’s hurry.” He simply said as he went forth and followed them.

Vordan came to his own door and carefully reached onto his belt for his key to open the door. He signaled the group to come in and lay down both of the unconscious beings.
Hidden 8 yrs ago Post by LastCinder
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Rudolf’s eyes widened as he took in the sight of both an unconscious Tirian and Aaerynn. He quickly followed after Elrithos but paused to look back at Velim. “If you have your wits about you dear friend, you should come up. This is the whole of the group and perhaps your smarts may help.”

Rudolf didn’t really know if now was a good time to incorporate him within the group or not, seeing as he reeked of ale, but he had an inkling that whatever happened involved the group as a whole. . So Rudolf didn’t look back as he waddled up the stairs behind the Desert Elf.

As soon as Vordan opened the door to his room, the twins followed behind him and gently laid the Durandal warrior down on the floor. As soon as he was settled, both twins sat back on their butts. Setna was catching his breath, having taken on most of the weight of the red head, while Serna pulled her knees up to her chest, hugging her legs close to her.

The group piled into the room and shut the door behind them. Rudolf finally took in the damage. Tirian seemed alright, but Rudolf knew better. He probably was experiencing a kickback from his magic and would be paralyzed for a while. Aaerynn on the other hand, he was worried about the most. Such a pretty thing now marked by a gruesome burn scar, and even in her sleep she looked pained. The dwarf finally looked up and to Vordan, then the twins. “What in the god’s names happened?”

Setna’s face twisted in guilt and Serna flinched, holding herself together as a new wave of tears filled her eyes. The boy finally leaned forward and held up a hand to speak. “It’s my fault…”

Setna looked to Rudolf and then the rest of the party. He had only told Tirian their story, but now was perhaps a good time to tell the whole truth to the rest. “We ran into Executioners…they’re the Syndarean King’s men. They are the only ones allowed outside of the kingdom, in order to perform deeds for the King himself. One of these deeds is to go after and kill those that have escaped the Kingdom.”

Serna buried her face in her knees and Setna watched her before his dark eyes looked up at Rudolf. “In Syndarea, men are the only ones allowed to use magic. If a woman inherits it…she’s used as a human sacrifice to the gods. They burn the girls alive on stakes during their eighteenth year on the summer solstice. It’s a fucking festival.”

The boy’s rage was rising, his hands clenching into fists as he looked at the floorboards. “I couldn’t let them do that to her. I couldn’t watch my sister get burned alive while people celebrated her death as if it was a fucking honor. As if it was a good thing that another person’s horrible death would please these invisible fucking gods.”

He was shaking with anger and tears had sprung in his eyes which he quickly wiped away. “So I stole her, and we escaped. That act alone breaks a multitude of laws. I wasn’t expecting them to send Executioners though…especially because she is a sacrifice. They’re anal about their traditions. I thought if anything the scouts would come to convince us to come back… I didn’t expect…well, this.”

Setna looked lost as his anger slowly disintegrated into guilt and anxiety. He bowed his head slightly toward Vordan as he muttered. “I’m sorry…I didn’t…I didn’t mean for this to happen…I didn’t want anyone, even you, to get hurt…”

The boy ran a hand nervously through his hair. “Thank you though. If it wasn’t for everyone…it’s obvious I’m not…strong enough so…”

His voice broke and he turned silent as he mulled over everything that happened. His thoughts drifted to Sino, the man he killed albeit accidently, and the boy’s face darkened with guilt.

Elrithos was extremely curious as to what may have happened to his fellow travelers. Having seen the condition of Tirian, Aaerynn and even Vordan, it must not have been good. The pain the mercenary was suffering was maybe invisible to most, but he could read it in his expressions. What had they done out there or even the night before? Sure, the Twins and the Durandal warrior were there the other night, but not the mercenary and the wood elf. Elrithos let everyone who needed to come in enter before shutting the door and standing in front of it… Velim had followed which was odd but would not say anything as it was Rudolf’s comrade.

Vordan, after laying down the elven lady, backed off to one of the chairs and sat down, finally feeling the repercussions of using the bandages and his magic a little too much. He was drained now, but still could move normally. He looked down for a moment, his breathing deeper… He could feel it turning in his stomach. The last few days had proved to be pushing his limits too far and he would soon pay for it… He would have to leave the room soon.

Rudolf finally came around to asking the question both him and Elrithos wanted to know… Then Setna started with the whole story. Elrithos was shocked to see that, even after the war, their tradition did not change in the slightest. Even worse, those men that were used in the war by the Syndarean kingdom still lived. Were they really acting like this? Why? Elrithos felt bad that they had to live through this hell… And oddly enough, even Vordan, who was still in some discomfort, did not show that hatred towards them. He was showing compassion. It was still something Elrithos could probably the one seeing.

Vordan looked at them, cold sweats dripping from his forehead now. He shook his head. “Setna. It is not your fault…” It was probably the one of the few times he actually used his name and not ‘kid’. “It is the Syndarean king’s fault. You defended your family over stupid traditions… Which is the noblest act I have seen in years from a Syndarean.” Vordan’s voice was getting a little weaker and his pain now showed clearly. He stood up rapidly, seemingly holding his stomach. [/b]“I’ll… be right back…”[/b] He said as he stumbled across the room and out the door. Elrithos moved out of the way in shock, wondering what was making him so sick… Elrithos turned his eyes to the twins. “What happened to all of you… Any major injuries?”
Vordan stumbled down the stairs of the Inn, moving people aside as he went for the front door, quickly going to an alleyway… He fell to his knees and he felt the bile going up his throat. He did not try to hold it back as it was pointless. It would come out either way. He hurled out, a mix of half-digested foods, some blood and a strange bright green liquid forming. Vordan was having a hard time breathing, but he knew it would be fine… He needed to rest again, even if it was just morning.

“By the gods… I need to stop abusing…”
The Syndarean boy looked up in shock as Vordan spoke. It was really the first time he had ever heard the mercenary use his name. His slim shoulders slumped slightly both in relief and heartwarming surprise. To think that this man, who had expressed such hatred to the twins in the beginning, was willing to sympathize with them now. It was nice and it felt good to know that the people in this room knew where he was coming from, but it didn’t make him feel better. He had thought that he was strong, strong enough to protect and defend his sister no matter what. Yet it had become quite obvious that he was nothing of the sort. He was cowardly and stupid. Sure, he had been able to take Sino’s life…but that was from an accident. He didn’t even mean to do it, and it left a horrible taste in his mouth. The bandits had been easy. He didn’t know them and instead could focus on killing them. He could find pleasure in the way his blade sliced through their flesh. Sino’s death was different. He had known him, for most of his childhood. He knew where he had lived, the name of his sons, the face of his wife. Taking his life in surprise and in such a pointless way was…awful.

Both twins shifted as suddenly Vordan stood and quickly exited the room, holding his stomach. Everyone seemed mildly surprised at that, and silence filled the room until Elrithos changed the subject. The floor creaked as Setna shifted again at the desert elf’s question. “Aaerynn was the one to tell me they were in the city. We went out and she was the one that ran into them first, there were three of them. Two lackeys and the leader. Uh…”

The boy paused and rubbed the back of his neck as his dark eyes drifted down to gaze at the floor. “We got separated. The two lackeys ended up following me, and I ran into Vordan. Vordan and I…took care of them. Vordan got pretty beat up.”

Silence filled the room for a moment as Setna collected his thoughts. He paused as he looked to his sister and then to Aaerynn and Tirian. “Uh… I went and found them. I don’t know—.”

“Sir Tirian and I went to train.” Serna’s voice piqued up, causing her brother to jolt slightly in surprise. Serna continued, pulling her legs in close to her chest. “Th-that’s when the leader came. He trapped Tirian and went for me…”

Setna stiffened at that and watched his sister with wide eyes. Serna’s voice wavered with emotion and her lip trembled as she attempted to hold back her sobs. She wiped her eyes hurriedly, sniffling quietly as she spoke. “B-But that’s when Miss A-Aaerynn came. She was able to hold him back but…she-she was injured.”

The girl started to shake, her voice cracking and lilting with sadness. Her brother put his arm around her shoulders, feeling his sister shake. His grip tightened, becoming her support. Serna looked up at Elrithos and Rudolf. “She-she stabbed him…but he hit her away. B-By then she was bleeding really b-bad…and some of her bones were broken. T-Tirian was able to break the barrier and come help. He was the one to finish off the leader…but he used a lot of magic and c-collapsed. H-He burned M-Miss Aaerynn’s wound closed. Th-Then Set came, and Sir V-Vordan’s bandages h-healed the rest.”

Serna finally let her tears flow again and Setna rubbed her back. Rudolf let out a sigh as he observed the two and then stepped forward slowly. He leaned down as he approached Aaerynn and touched the scar that covered a part of her stomach. Even though she was in pain, her heart was beating and she was very much alive. They were blessed this day. “Well thank the gods everyone is alive and alright. I am sorry you all experienced something like this. But it is as Vordan said, do not blame yourselves for it.”

Rudolf paused as he noticed Velim and he nodded gently at the twins. “Everyone should get some rest, excuse me.”

Both Rudolf and Velim exited the room, and it was engulfed in silence. Setna’s face hardened as he went over the events of the day. Finally he gave a last rub to his sister’s back and then stood. He faced Elrithos, his hands clenching into fists as he lifted his chin to display his resolve and determination. “Sir Elrithos…if the offer to train with you is still available…Please, train me. I want to learn all I can. I want to get stronger.”

The boy bowed his head, his fists shaking at his sides. “Please, help me.”
Rudolf sighed as he waddled down the stairs after his chat with Velim. Turns out his friend backed out of the trip, but the dwarf certainly didn’t blame him. The journey was safer within a group of people, but compiling a group of strangers didn’t mean that their past lives were left behind. Friends and strong companions can be made through a journey such as this, but it certainly didn’t mean it would be easy.

Ah, well.

The dwarf was now on his way to see if Vordan was alright. He wanted to personally thank the mercenary too, for his hand in helping the young twins and saving the wood elf’s life. The short man ended up leaving the inn as he saw no trace of the mercenary within any of the other rooms or the lobby. As he drifted towards the nearby alleyway he finally caught sight of the tall man and hurried closer. “Are you alright dear man? Would you like some help?”
Elrithos listened to the painful story as the young boy described what had happened… Elrithos took a seat on the bed as he watched Setna simply trying to keep his composure as he spoke. This was a horrid day for him; he could see it in his eyes. The Syndarean boy was suffering emotional distress and it wouldn’t fade away. It was to say that he wanted to become a warrior, yet his fear would push him back on it. He looked at both Tirian and Aaerynn, who seemed to be in not that bad of a position, considering what was happening.

The young man seemed to fumble with his story, and then Serna picked up, revealing her training with Tirian for her magic. Elrithos figured that it was what they were doing… His eyes set on both the twins now. They were living a lot of misery for their young age, living a harsh reality. He could understand their pain in a certain extent. The poor twins… Elrithos continued on listening to the story, looking at the wound of the Wood elf… It seemed to be in quite a good condition for a burn and a possible stab wound. Vordan’s bandages and Tirian’s fire. Tirian clearly had magic… But what was Vordan hiding? He clearly knew something or could do things he had not told anyone.

Rudolf resumed how Elrithos thought and him and the new guy walked off… It left Elrithos to stand up and look at Tirian again. Magic was dangerous and the effects were showing. Paralysis… Unable to move or act even conscious. Elrithos had shivers run down his spine at the thought. He sighed lightly, thinking the last few days have been the abyss on earth for most of these people. Elrithos would have offered more words of comfort, but Setna came forward with a demand that the desert elf went wide eyed for a moment… He stood there a second then brought a gentle hand onto his shoulder.

“I will help you Setna… I’ll help you become a warrior, but for now, rest. You are living a difficult situation; I can see it in both your faces. Take the day to stay to relax and stay near the Inn. There no point in training for now, not in your state. We will start tomorrow morning. Bring your sword and your shield outside when the sun comes up.”

He spoke with gently, showing a small smile, hoping to take the heavy atmosphere away for one second.
Vordan threw up two other times, the strange liquids and chunks of food onto the ground… He was feeling like crap at that moment, but at the same time, it got it out of his body. His breathing was deep and slow. He was happy that no one in the street was coming over to see as they would probably question what was happening. A drunk probably, most of them wouldn’t care until they saw the liquids on the dirt. Yet, someone came by, Vordan raising his head as he head the gruff voice of the old dwarf.

“I’m fine… Just a little sick… Have anything I can wash my mouth with?” He said as he came and leaned against one of the building walls. He was trying to regulate his breath, closing his eyes for a moment. He then spat out a few chunks and some blood before letting out a long expiration. “Today is a shitty day and it is still just morning…”

The dwarf unlatched his canteen that was attached to his waist and unscrewed the cap for him. The alleyway reeked of vomit and Rudolf couldn’t help his nose from scrunching up. He silently hoped Vordan didn’t mind a splash of alcohol as he held the canteen out to the mercenary to use.

“Well, I hope you feel better my dear man… I heard you helped the twins, and it was your invention that healed up Aaerynn.” The balding dwarf’s smile was somber as he looked up at Vordan. “I thank ya for that. It was a fine thing you did.”

Vordan reached over and grabbed the canteen and took a swig of it… Alcohol. Not exactly what he needed, but he knew this would be coming. Swirling and swishing the liquid around his mouth, he spat it back out, handing back the canteen as he considered the words he had just said. He looked up at him and smiled lightly.

‘’What kind of human being would I be if I didn’t help?” A small laugh came as he then looked in front of him. ‘’They all don’t deserve what is happening to them. Aaerynn, the Twins, even Tirian. You and Elrithos seem not to have a hard time in your lives, maybe it’s your age. Either way, they need help in their lives… So why not help while I’m there? You know what I mean?’’

He looked back up at the dwarf before slowly rising to his feet with the help of the wall.

Rudolf looked at the mercenary with curiosity, before he finally laughed and a warm grin filled his face. "I suppose so, I suppose so."

It was hard to let go of what Vordan said. A human being whose duty was to help? Many other races would have laughed at the words. Yet the mercenary seemed genuine. Even so, the old dwarf couldn't help remaining curious about it. He had made a comment about Elrithos and him, and perhaps it was true, that their lives were no longer hard, that peace might be had with old age, but Rudolf couldn't help wondering about the life the mercenary was leading. A man for hire looking out for others.

"Yer a hard person to come by these days." The dwarf finally commented, the smile still on his face. "Well, kindness such as your's will always be reciprocated, you'll see. If you want to rest, you are welcome to take up my room, since your's has become quite crowded."

The dwarf's hands rose just in case the man needed some support. "At least for the time being. I'll find something for Tirian and Aaerynn so they don't have to remain on the floor. I doubt that's good on injured bodies!" The dwarf made a guffaw of a laugh.

‘’Your offer is kind, but I’ll just stay at the Inn and maybe strike a conversation with the ladies or the hard working gents…’’ He said as he then looked to the sky. ‘’You know, being a Maker is harder than I thought it would be, but it is more than worth it.’’ Vordan was bluntly admitting that he was a Maker now. He knew none of them would judge him for what he was, not anymore. He pushed himself off the wall and looked at the small man.

‘’You have time for a drink and tales Rudolf? I am pretty sure you have amazing stories to tell.’’

The dwarf smiled at the announcement that Vordan was indeed a Maker. He knew the mercenary was certainly capable of something magical, but the fact that he was able to say it out loud to someone else, showed quite a lot of trust. Rudolf lit up completely at the mention of drinks and stories.

“But of course I have time! Who do you take me for? The first round is on me!” The dwarf laughed as the two proceeded back to the inn, and immediately jumped into story telling. “Have I ever told you that if Aaerynn drinks too much she’ll sing like a choir girl? Beautiful sight really! Of course don’t ever tell her I told you this or she’d have my head on a plate! It happened quite a few decades ago, but I swear…”
Setna’s eyes widened and he looked up as Elrithos put his hand on the boy’s shoulder. The teenager’s face wavered with emotion between happiness and utmost relief as Elrithos agreed to train him. He quickly brought his hands to his face as he felt his own eyes become watery and he quickly rubbed them as he said, “Thank you….”

He finally looked back up and grinned happily. “I’ll be there! I promise, bright and early.”

Serna watched her brother and a small smile returned to her tired face. Surely things would get better, bit by bit.
The day went by slowly. The twins transported Aaerynn and Tirian into their own room, allowing each of the injured their own bed while the twins volunteered to watch over them for the night. Rudolf had come up to give them dinner and tell them that the plans to leave tomorrow were still set.

Serna now sat in a warm tub of water, silently scrubbing off the black blood of Aaerynn’s that had dried onto the skin of her arms. Her wet hair was piled onto her head to avoid the dirty water as it slowly turned gray. The young girl hadn’t stopped thinking about what had happened that morning. Setna may have taken the blame, but it was ultimately her fault. The executioners had been looking for her, had wanted her, and now people were hurt because of it. Aaerynn could have very well died.

Serna held up her hands, flipping them over to look at her palms that had once been pressing down on a bleeding wound. Her eyes would have filled with tears once more, but she didn’t have any left. How could she repay these people for protecting her? For putting their bodies and lives on the line for her?

Her small hands turned into fists as she buried her face against them. She thought over everything that happened, every move that had taken place. Perhaps if she were stronger, she could have protected them. She had the ability, didn’t she? Whether or not it was good of her to use it, whether she could do it or not, she had the power.

The frequency beneath her skin pulsed as Serna closed her eyes and focused on it. She thought back to Tirian’s lesson and she opened her eyes as the magic lit up between her hands. She needed to learn how to make it stronger, how to bend it to her will, that way she’d be able to protect everyone. She focused on it, watching as the barrier molded to her will, elongating and compacting again as she bent it. Then it disappeared as she felt the dull ache reappear behind her forehead. Through more use perhaps she’d be able to deal with the kickback a bit better.

Like her brother, she wanted to get stronger.
As the day turned into night both twins sat beside the invalids taking up their beds. Serna sat beside Aaerynn and Setna beside Tirian. Setna was the first to fall asleep, exhaustion both emotional and physical took a hold of him and he was out like a light, slightly snoring as his chin hit his chest. Serna however, couldn’t allow herself to sleep. Her thoughts were rapid and guilt stricken as she looked from the wood elf to the red headed warrior on the other side of the room. She couldn’t sleep until someone woke up and confirmed that they were ok. Serna couldn’t find rest until then.

It was a few hours before dawn when she noticed a change in Aaerynn. The wood elf had begun to sweat and her body jerked every so often. Her face was scrunched with what looked to be pain, and the young Syndarean girl didn’t know whether it would be best to wake her up or leave her in that state.

She didn’t get to choose, as suddenly Aaerynn jolted upright, her body flailed slightly and she fell off the bed. Startled, Serna jumped to her feet, running around to make sure the wood elf was alright. But she froze up as she watched Aaerynn struggle to breathe. It sounded as if she had just sprung her head out of water after losing air. The elf’s body was shaking and Serna could see the sweat that dripped of her face onto the dark floorboards. Before the teenager could make a remark, Aaerynn began to get up and stand, she took a few shaky steps before collapsing and Serna rushed to support her. “Miss Aaerynn!”

At the sound of her name, Aaerynn seemed to still, her body calming as she turned her head and her eyes met the concern of Serna’s. Slowly, Serna helped the wood elf sit down on the bed and watched as Aaerynn put her head in her hands. “A-Are you ok?” Serna asked quietly, beginning to fidget.

There was a pregnant pause before Aaerynn finally looked up and then down. Her hands slowly touched the new scarring that marked her smooth stomach. Serna played with her hands as she softly explained. “T-Tirian c-closed your wound, h-he had to b-burn it. A-And Vordan’s b-bandages d-did the rest.”

Aaerynn stilled as she held her stomach before her hand reached up to touch her collarbone. It was almost perfectly set, but the pain was still there as the bones had to shift. In all honesty, she felt like shit. Her body couldn’t comprehend what was happening to her, and the rot, like a familiar friend was still in the background, pestering her insides. “I see…” The wood elf finally commented.

Serna stood around awkwardly, clamming up. She didn’t know what to say. How exactly do you deal with waking up from almost dying and having your body riddled with new scars? What do you say to a person that has experienced that? But her eyes turned wide as she watched Aaerynn try to stand up. “Wh-What are you d-doing?”

Aaerynn grunted as her body betrayed her. Her legs were shaking and numb, and her light headedness forced her to close her eyes. “I have to go somewhere.”

Serna shook her head and placed a hand on the elf’s arm. “Y-You shouldn’t b-be going anywhere! Y-you just s-suffered s-some major injuries! B-Besides it’s almost dawn, you sh-should sleep more! R-Rudolf is planning to c-continue the journey tomorrow.”

As much as the teenaged girl tried to coerce the wood elf back into the bed, Aaerynn stiffened up and pushed back. “That means that I definitely have to go. So let go of me. This has nothing to do with you.”

The wood elf pushed herself to her feet and Serna bit her lip as she watched Aaerynn wobble on shaky legs. “It does h-have to do with me! Y-You were injured helping m-me, s-so please l-let me help. Th-This is my f-fault.”

Tears had sprung back into her eyes as she watched the usually strong wood elf look weak struggling to maintain a proper posture. She sniffled quietly and Aaerynn grimaced in irritation and spoke coldly. “Would you stop blubbering? It’s annoying.”

Serna stiffened up but the tears continued and Aaerynn sighed. “It has nothing to do with you. Why are you blaming yourself for my own actions? I made the decision to step in. I decided to help. If this is the consequence that comes from it, that is something that I have to face. Taking the blame for whatever happened is selfish and incredibly stupid. Gods, humans and their need to make everything about themselves.”

It was cold but perhaps it was what Serna needed as her tears finally stopped. Aaerynn was right, she shouldn’t blame herself…instead she should be thankful for the people that decided to step in and help.

Aaerynn fumbled to the door as she muttered. “I have to go.”

She made it out into the hallway before her legs gave out and she nearly fell until she came into contact with the smaller girl offering her support. Aaerynn looked down at the girl and Serna looked up with a determined face. “L-Let me help you. Since you helped me.”

The wood elf groaned in annoyance as Serna helped to lean her against a wall. As much as she wanted to ditch the little girl, Aaerynn doubted that she’d make it to her destination on her own. She was still too light headed and her body was weak from trying to recover from trauma. If she wanted to get there, she’d need help. “Fine,” she mumbled as she reached into her trouser pockets and produced a key. “Go to my room, there should be a satchel on the bed filled with money. Bring it to me and I’ll let you help.”

Serna smiled brightly as she took the key and hurried down the hall to Aaerynn’s room. She retrieved the satchel and returned to the wood elf, who slowly put her arm around the Syndarean’s shoulders to use her as a support.

“W-Where do you w-want to go?” Serna asked quietly as she helped Aaerynn move to the stairs.

“Cromerth’s Cemetery.” Aaerynn answered softly.
Before the sun could reach the horizon, Setna was up. He rubbed his head and yawned loudly. He had heard some type of commotion a bit earlier, but hadn’t thought much of it. He looked over to see that his sister and the wood elf were gone. He guessed that must have been the noise and talking he had heard.

The teenager scratched the back of his head as he frowned. He relied on his inkling to get a sense of if his sister was ok or not, and nothing bad came to him. The two were probably together, perhaps in another room and Setna’s worries faded. Instead, excitement began to fill his blood as he picked up his sword and shield. He looked to Tirian however, not quite sure if the red head was conscious or not. “I’ll be back soon!” Setna said quietly, not even sure if Tirian could hear him.

But then he was out the door, sprinting down the steps to head outside. Today was the start to getting even stronger. The boy breathed in the cold morning air with a grin as he stretched out his body. He looked up in surprise though as he caught sight of Rudolf. “Morning!” Setna called out and the dwarf answered him.

“Mornin’ you’re out early my boy!” Rudolf smiled, but looked around hoping to catch sight of the boy’s sister.

Setna’s eyes narrowed. “She isn’t here dwarf, she’s most likely with Miss Aaerynn. Oh, that reminds me! I’m training with Elrithos this morning, and Tirian is still in bed if you want to check on him.”

Rudolf nodded, hiding his disappointment at not seeing the young female twin. “Will do lad, I just have to fix up the oxen.”

The dwarf waved his good bye as he began to whistle and head over to the inn’s farmhouse.
Hidden 8 yrs ago Post by Ikari
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Ikari

Member Seen 4 yrs ago

Magic. Deadly and mysterious. Tirian felt nothing, nor did his body perceive anything. The world around his mortal shell ceased to exist in his magically induced coma. None of the words spoken would enter the memory of a soldier tormented by his own demons, everything was silent. Quelled by the powers within Tirian’s very blood flow. A pair of eyes watched the group scurry upstairs from the distance, an unusual look upon her face, eyes staring at the limp body of a certain red-haired man. Lucille melded into the shadows of the inn’s bar, waiting for the right moment to follow the tattered group upstairs. Time ticked away, second by second until fifteen long and painful moments had passed.

Lucille crept up those wooden steps lighter than air with not a sound to be heard. She slithered across the floor to the sounds of muffled conversation. There would be not better chance than tonight for her mission. With haste she disappeared once more into the darkness and waited, silent and patient. Once more, time passed on, slower than anything imaginable. After many hours’ time scuffling of feet, struggling to move something heavy and limp. She waited for the noise to die down to nothingness, it was her chance to move. From a storage room, her eyes peaked out looking into the hall way. Tirian’s room was exactly fifteen paces away.

The door was not locked, open passage allowing the pink-haired predator to slither into the darkened and silent room. On a lonesome bed rested the broken body of her target, a familiar face she’d learned to trust in once upon a time. Lucille closed the door slowly behind her own frame, and proceeded forward with slight caution. One step, to another and then unto another until a slender frame stood above another more muscular frame. Tirian, behind all the dirt and blood, looked peaceful. Lucille stopped in a sudden instant, dagger no more than an inch away from her target’s throat. A single droplet slid from the girl’s cheek falling every so gracefully down to the resting man’s chin.

“You look so peaceful… What did they do to you back home…”

Lucille sheathed the dagger, removing her eyes from the sight in front of her and quickly disappeared from the room silent as death itself. Lucille looked forward to the brisk air of a deathly quiet night. She’d have to break those feeling and tether ties to her target if she were to ever complete this task. Hey eyes gazed up to the moon hidden by clouds.

“Next time.”

That harsh whistle shattered the silence of Tirian’s desolate world. Eye’s snapped opened to reveal a blurry ceiling. Tirian groaned in mild annoyance as his body began to come alive. His muscles twitched as his torso lifted to a seated position. The haze of his vision cleared to a crisp picture, he wasn’t totally alone in this room. One seated and slumbering pink-haired female snored in one corner of the room. Tirian slid out of the bed, testing his balance before putting all of his weight onto the floor. Just as he went to move Lucille snapped to her feet quickly grabbing the soldier’s arms with her ice cold hands.

“You need to rest.”

Tirian forced a smile before sitting back to the bed.

“Sleep here all night?”

Lucille nodded slowly, yawning and then moving towards the door.

“I’ll go tell midget man you’re up. Don’t move or I’ll kill ya, Got it?”

Tirian nodded with a more generous smile as the ill-spoken girl let the room. She rushed down the stairs and then quickly broke towards the dwarf. She was fast in her strides making the distance in next to nothing.

“Tirian’s awake.
Hidden 8 yrs ago Post by Rayn Night
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Rayn Night

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Elrithos had been glad to see the young man eager to be up early in the morning. He bowed to the both of them as he also left the room, going to his own. He locked the door behind him and walked over to the bed to sit down… He wasn’t exactly sure what to think about everything now, as all these events led to something he wasn’t particularly pleased with. Even though he showed sympathy for the traveling company, he wasn’t sure if everything would be alright. The twins and probably Aaerynn and Vordan were attracting a lot of trouble for who they were. It was dangerous to be around them, yet they were probably the only way to get to the other continent. Did he dislike them? No, not at all. Elrithos valued his life though, and with everything that happened, was it all worth it? The question would probably linger on his mind for the whole day.
Vordan had taken the first round of the old dwarf with a smile, sharing some time with him. To say, the old man had one particularly quirky life, which was amazing to hear about. He couldn’t help but keep a nice smile and even laugh along with the ridiculous events he has lived through. What a rich life… Vordan wished he could do something like that, but he knew he couldn’t grow of his age without… That was his life’s work. The mixture that would extend his life for a couple hundred years. He wanted this to make sure the Makers would come back, to teach those with its powers to be used properly and to not harm themselves with it. If only…

Eventually, Vordan thanked the dwarf for his time and tales, but retreated to his room. He came back up the stairs and to his room, noticing that the people had moved from his room. Good. Vordan dropped all of his weapons, equipment and armor on him, setting them under the small table in the room. He proceeded to look over his scars and wounds. Everything was alright, but he kept adding on top of new scars, seemingly mutilated from everywhere. It was a bad image really, but it is why he barely ever takes off his vestments in public. He hates showing his scars… They had a certain charm and story, but he knew it wasn’t pleasing to the eye. With a light sigh, he crashed into his bed, taking the rest of the day/night off to rest completely.
Elrithos had been up quite early that day as he needed to be ready for the young man and his training. So, he actually needed to get a sword and a shield to demonstrate the fighting techniques. To say, it wasn’t very hard to do so as with how this town was made and the coliseum fights; getting access to basic weaponry wasn’t too hard. Elrithos had managed to find something for his size, being smaller than the average person here. It would be perfect as Setna was not a tall human anyway, so he would be able to teach for his body weight. Satisfied of his findings, he walked back to the Inn and waited for the young Setna, having none of his equipment other than the sword and the shield. He didn’t even bring his armor or other weapons, wanting to best replicate how Setna would combat.

It didn’t take that long for the young man to show up, Elrithos offering a kind smile as he pushed himself off the wall. He seemed ready and awake, a good sign that that he would probably learn easily and properly. “Glad to see you active Setna. There is a lot to learn before we leave this morning, so I hope you are ready.” He said in a kind tone as he strapped on the shield to his own arm and attached the scabbard of the sword to his hip. Raising his eyes back up.

“Since we do not have that much time in hand, we will be practicing right in the street.” He said, drawing forth his sword and raising his shield. “Show me your initial stance.”

-"Right!" Setna was overeager, his hyperness showing in the way his feet bounced. He jumped a few times, stretched out his neck and back, then he was ready. Slowly the eagerness faded into determination as he took a few deep breaths and calmed himself of his adrenaline. He unsheathed his blade and steadied his shield. He took the stance that he had been taught within Syndarea, shield up and sword at the ready. His knees were bent, his weight on the balls of his feet. He was sturdy and focused.The boy's ears were open though, waiting for instruction and anything that Elrithos would be willing to show or say.-

As the young man took position, Elrithos took note that at least he had the initial stance right. It meant that he could learn a lot faster than most beginners to the art of combat. He approached him and simply tapped lightly the man’s fingers with the flat of his blades. “Make sure to keep a strong grip on the handle of your blade. This will be the first area they will try to strike to disarm you. Since you are using sword and shield, you won’t have the grace of using both hands on the sword and keep it secure from being knocked out of your hands.”

He then placed himself right beside him and took the same stance. “What is important when fighting with these is to learn when and to block with the shield and attack or counter-attack with the sword. I’ve seen too many humans fall because they did not understand that you never take a blow directly to the shield.” Elrithos walked to face him, bring his sword so that it was hitting parallel to the shield. “You want to avoid taking a direct strike to the shield as much as possible. You want the blades or axes to slide on the shield and continue their motion to leave him open for a counter-attack.” He demonstrated by striking the shield directly, which would make the arm take most of the impact and stop the swing, making it easy for Elrithos to take a defensive position once more.

“Now, when you deflect…” He went on, showing him to put an angle on the shield so the blade continues its motion away from his body. He struck like before, but this time, he had to continue his motion and the impact wasn’t as harsh on the arm. “… It gives you more options and generally gives you an advantage for a moment. You have to be careful not to block your own vision with your shield. If you do not know how the weapon is striking, you are most likely in for a surprise.” So he went on to do a couple of practice swings, letting him understand the difference between the two impacts and how seeing the blade or handle makes the difference between an easy strike back and a surprise lunge for his lower body.

- Setna nodded following Elrithos' lead and taking in everything he was saying and doing. The boy repeated shifting his shield in the angle the desert elf had moved it. His dark eyes took in each time the swing of the elf's sword impacted the shield. He followed along to the way Elrithos' swing, when deflected, caused him to continue forward and the boy shifted his feet watching as he was able to turn into a counter attack almost immediately. A lot of this was the basics but that didn't deter from Setna's determination and focus. His father had always told him that the mastery of the basics were required before doing anything else.

"What happens if the deflection doesn't go as planned?" Setna asked as he continued moving with Elrithos' practice swings. "Like, if an enemy's sword catches the rim and I lose the shield...is there a way I can counter back quickly? With enough power to give me some time? I mean I know I have to master this first but..."

His curiosity was shining in his face. –

Yes, it was simple basics, but without a proper foundation, you couldn’t have any mastery of the art of combat. Setna had proved that he did indeed know the basics and didn’t need all that introduction to the art. They continued practice for a while, until Setna asked a question about if the deflection failed. Elrithos took the point of his and moved Setna’s shield aside. “A strapped shield won’t be lost very easily. But, if you ever do, the option to you. For me, if I lose my shield or hit the rim, I simply step in and push him.”

He let Setna strike normally, having the deflection fail. Elrithos took two quick steps in, coming to knock back Setna and then put his own shield back forward. “You could also step back and reconsider your options. You always want to make sure the blade never deflects towards your own self… But I figure you already know all this. What you need to do is practice.” And so, Elrithos dropped his own shield and took a few steps back. “Now, I want to see how you defend yourself.” And without another word, Elrithos came forth, thrusting his sword forward, using unusually lunge tatics and pushing aside Setn’a blade or pushing it into his own shield. He wanted to disarm him, show him how easy it is to do so when a hand is open. “Always keep both your shield and sword forward.”

- Setna nodded, taking in everything that was said and shown to him. Push in, or pull back... His brows furrowed in concentration as Elrithos stepped back and then began to lunge forward. The boy did well for awhile, using the basics to deflect and push forward. However, as the speed increased in the spar, he finally tripped up, opening himself up too much and allowing his sword to fall off to the side. The blade slid across the ground and Setna immediately jumped back, creating as much room between himself and the Desert elf as he could manage. He couldn't help shaking his hand in pain as he looked up, keeping his shield raised and ready, in case Elrithos continued to pursue. –

The young man had potential, Elrithos could clearly see it. And really, for a young human, he was doing much better than he would think. Having lasted this long with almost no experience in actual fighting was quite impressive for the desert elf’s experience. Yet, he eventually got to the boy’s weapon, knocking it aside, leaving him with nothing but his shield… Elrithos continued striking, but spoke a few words between strikes.

“Don’t panic… Losing your sword doesn’t mean you are in trouble…” He said, striking one more time before backing up, holding his weapon high. “You still have your shield that can be used as a weapon. You simply have to keep with the basics and apply in various situations.” He stopped the attacks and came forth, positioning the blade as if it was blocked. He then showed him that usually, opponents get cocky in fights when this happens. So as the demonstrated that the sword was set aside, he pulled his shield down, showing him that he could easily have the rim hit his face or neck.

“It is simply that you must no panic and your options will be clear. I do not play fair in fights. I use anything at my disposal to down my opponent, even if it means using dirty tricks.”

- Setna nodded at the explanation and watched as Elrithos went through the motions of what he could do with his shield to hit back at his opponent. He took everything in, attempting to memorize the feeling in his muscles as they were moved into the different positions. It would take awhile to master everything. He would just have to practice as much as he could.

But that was when his ears piqued at the sound of Rudolf calling out to them. "Ready to go lads?"

Setna's shoulders gently sagged to a relaxed position as he looked at Elrithos and grinned happily. "Thank you for the lessons! Can we continue later on?"-

The call of the dwarven man came to ask if they were ready to go. It would mean that it would be time to leave very soon. It was odd that he hadn’t seen Serna, Vordan, Cealis, Faith or Aaerynn. They were maybe somewhere inside still and he didn’t have time to see them. Either way, Elrithos looked at the grinning young man and smiled back with a small nod. “Of course, we will probably find time on the road to practice. I have a better idea on where your training needs to go so I will plan accordingly.”

He then let Setna go do what he needs to do, turning to speak loudly to Rudolf. “I’ll be back in moment! Just have to pick up a few things from the market and I’ll be ready to go.” He said as he then brought the shield and sword up into his room with the rest of his gear then headed off to the market.
Vordan had woken up early too that morning, that was because he went to bed quite early the other day. He didn’t have much to do really, but he did have time to go buy a few things he needed from the market. It wasn’t much, although a little costly. It was another little book he would write in, for a new subject of research. What was going to be written inside was something he didn’t want people to read. His inventions, mixtures and finalized recipes were not that much of a problem, but this one would be. So, there were two small locks on this one, which the keys were kept under a small bag under his gauntlet. Hard to get to, but worth the while.

Other than that, he had walked around a little bit before joining back with the group… Elrithos had a variety of new weapons with him too… Two axes, a spear, a halberd, four different types of swords, a shortbow with arrows, a crossbow with bolts, two different style of daggers, a mace and few other things… What in the hell was he doing with all that and putting those into the cart.

Vordan approached him and tapped his shoulder. “Hey, Elrithos… What are you doing?”

The Aavikkanian turned around with a smile on his face. “This will be for Setna’s training. I’ll prepare him for everything he needs… You alright Vordan?” He was making a reference from the day before.

Vordan nodded. “Yeah, I’ll be fine, don’t worry yourself.” He said, the two then looking over to where Rudolf was, now all ready to go.
Hidden 8 yrs ago Post by Monstah
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Monstah

Member Offline since relaunch

How long had it been since something looked different to her faded blue eyes? Each town looked similar to the next, with the bustling life and hordes of travelers. The years passed and yet she had never grown accustomed to so many people in a single area. Yet she continued her strides in Cromerth towards a nearby Inn, her destination for the next few hours. Slowly, the rustic Inn came into view upon the horizon. Lillith entered through the front door with unexciting eyes that seemed to pass over each and every patron in the main room. Her eyes caught sight of a specific individual who had been joined by a certain ecstatic female. Lillith walked with confidence, without even the slightest hesitation.

“Rudolf VanKirtschein?”

~Rudolf peeked up at the unfamiliar voice, and his eyes immediately sparkled at the beautiful young lady standing before him. "Why yes, yes I am."

The old man grinned and ran a hand over the last few strands of hair covering his balding hair. "What can I do for you, my lady?"~

“Are you going to Thialea.”

Her voice was stern and her conversation was straight to the point. Lillith knew the answer but was testing the validity of the old dwarf’s competence and truth.

~The dwarf blinked but then grinned. "Aye, lass. I have a caravan and a group traveling to the next continent."

Rudolf gave the woman another once over, finally taking note of her exotic clothing.~

“I’m on a long pilgrimage. I would like to join your caravan, if you’d so graciously have me.”

Rudolf's smile turned a bit more serious as he said, "It's a rough journey my lady. It will be filled with danger, as well as things you don't normally see."

Lillith’s face never changed in emotion. Her eyes had seen many things a normal being would never witness. This journey surely would not offer anything of a surprise. Her lips parted a bit as she smiled warmly.

“I’ve seen many things in my travels. I can assure you I can protect myself if need be.”

~Rudolf looked her up and down, and then finally smiled amiably. "Well if you are sure, welcome aboard!"

"We'll be leaving after a few more hours, if you need to get more prepared or anything from the market." Rudolf spoke kindly as he turned back to his oxen and began tightening his ropes. "What's your name by the way, young lady? I'll introduce you to the rest before we leave."~

“Lillith. I am in your debt generous dwarf. Thank you”

With final words she bowed low with her grayed hair falling over the rest of her face.
Hidden 8 yrs ago Post by LastCinder
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LastCinder

Member Seen 7 yrs ago

The two women drudged through the streets of Cromerth. It was still dark, just an hour or so before dawn. The town was just waking, a few merchants beginning to set up shop and a few drunks still stumbling and trying to find their way home.

Aaerynn halted as they finally reached the gate of the cemetery, and her arm rose from Serna’s shoulders. The teenaged girl turned concerned eyes onto the wood elf, but Aaerynn only stared straight ahead, taking in the rolling hills of graves and tombs.

“Stay here.” The elf finally commanded as she began to get her bearings. As time went on, she was feeling better and better, but she could still tell her limbs were weak, and the lightheadedness had not gone away completely.

“But…” Serna protested, causing Aaerynn to look back at her. The look itself made Serna close her lips.

Aaerynn straightened up a bit, putting a hand on the gate before she gave one last look to the teenager. “Hold onto that bag and wait here. If I don’t return after dawn, go back to the inn and give it to Rudolf…and let Vordan pick what he wants from the vials in my room. I don’t care about what happens to the rest.”

Serna turned wide eyed at the sudden commands. It sounded like she was heading towards her death. The young girl tried to protest and follow but the wood elf had already disappeared beyond the gate.
Aaerynn stumbled a bit as she entered the cemetery grounds. Her sight was still blurry and her legs were struggling to keep her upright but she grit her teeth and pushed through it. A part of her wanted to call back out to the young girl for her support but the more reasonable side of her knew that she was entering uncharted grounds. She didn’t know what would happen when she saw it. It was possible that the rot would kill her then and there. But she needed to do it.

The voice of her nightmares was still stepping inside of her reality.

The form was still at the corners of her periphery. Aaerynn could still see her as much as she tried to ignore it. The form of her mother, dripping in rotted blood, smiling that fake smile she always bore. Her voice was still reaching out like a fog, intending to entrap her.

You can’t change. You’ll die. You’re dying. It’ll kill you. He’ll kill you. Just like you killed me.

“I didn’t kill you.” Aaerynn mumbled under her breath as she looked around. She didn’t even know where to start. 180 years ago this had been a giant field with rolling hills covered in wildflowers. Now it was haunted with rotting corpses and jutting stones.

Bleary eyes looked up to see the shadowy form of a tree, jutting out from the crest of the hill. It was close enough to the forest that she knew right away what it was. How many moments were spent there? How many days were spent entangled in his limbs as he read her poetry? How long did they spend together as he taught her how to read human word, and she taught him the waltz? It had felt like summers went on for centuries when she was beside him, taking in his smell, feeling his fingers caress her skin, and his lips pressed against her’s. Back then she had yearned for his voice as he read to her, the scratch of his quill as they had lain side by side, and his words flowed as if painted by the stroke of the artist’s brush. How many nights did they spend together, huddling close and reaching out for the stars? How many hours did they spend laughing together until they were nearly in tears? How many flowers did she entwine as she listened to his dreams of escape, of how he wished to leave forever and steal her away for places unimaginable? How wonderful it had felt to have someone covet her so greatly that he swore on his life he would die without her.

Her feet had been moving unconsciously, closer and closer, jagged steps that seemed to take all her strength as she hiked up that hill once more. This time however, she didn’t have skirts to trip her up, or heels that would sink into the soft dirt and make her cry out for him to help her up as she laughed, completely embarrassed.

She saw the stone of his wife first. She had lived long it seems, and had borne quite a lot of children. She had probably lived long enough to see her grandchildren come of age.

Aaerynn’s body didn’t stop until she finally reached his stone that had been struck into the earth beside their tree. Suddenly the memories stopped completely, filling up with complete silence and Aaerynn’s legs failed her as she collapsed onto the grass that surely covered up what was left of his body.

Her hands shook as she reached out to the stone. It was covered in ivy and moss, dilapidating so badly even the engraving seemed sanded away by time. Her fingertips gently touched it, frightened as if the physical action would cause the stone to decay away completely. But it was still there, his name. Her fingers traced the letters. John Abrams

The sudden confirmation finally sparked her rot, and Aaerynn lost her breath as the pain bolted through her chest. She doubled over, holding herself together, feeling as if her body would break apart, here and now. Why had she come here? What was the point? To live, only to die?

Aaerynn grit her teeth, the sadness and pain overwhelming as she looked up at the tombstone. “I hate you!”

She shook her head, looking at the ground as her hands dug into the skin of her arms. “I hate you!”

Aaerynn repeated the words again, but they had lost its meaning. She was talking to a stone. It wasn’t like he could ever hear her, and it wasn’t like she hated him either. She couldn’t. No matter how hard she tried.

The worst pain of all though, was knowing she didn’t love him anymore either.

Yet she was tied, tied to this husk, this piece of marble…for what? For a bond that was severed 180 or so years ago, or even the 150 years since he died? She hated herself. Hated what she was. Hated that it seemed she was born to nothing but suffering. She was tired…so incredibly tired of all of this, of grief, of rot, of guilt and of death.

Her shoulders slumped as she curled into herself. “I’m leaving…and I’m not coming back.”
The sky was beginning to turn red as the sun slowly crept over the horizon. Serna leaned against the wall of the cemetery and frowned both in boredom and in worry. Aaerynn had still not returned, and her last commands had been rather disconcerting.

Serna fiddled with the straps of Aaerynn’s bag. Why had she wanted to come to a cemetery? Perhaps she knew someone buried here. The girl frowned further at that thought. Then why did she make it seem like she wasn’t going to come back?

As much as Serna liked to follow directions, she couldn’t just leave the wood elf alone. She turned, only to smile as she caught sight of a whole bed of wild flowers sprouting from where the wall met the grass. These would be perfect.
Aaerynn sat in silence, feeling the rotting pain fill her core and burn through her veins. She had to ask herself, was this worth it? So much pain just to say goodbye? But it wasn’t just goodbye, she wanted to cast off these feelings entirely. She wanted to be free, so desperately. She just wanted to forget him completely. She wanted to live on from the pathetic mistakes of her youth.

Closing her eyes, Aaerynn buried herself in the pain, in the burn of grief. She could feel her heart expand against the tightening of her chest, and her lungs burn as they were constricted by closing ribs. She would die here, she was sure of it. How pathetic. Haunted by a nightmare, only for it to become reality.

“Was he close to you?”

Aaerynn’s eyes widened in shock as her head whipped to the side to see Serna. The young girl held a bouquet of wild flowers in her arms and a sad smile. The wood elf wanted to rebuke her for disobeying but she couldn’t bring herself to say anything. Especially as she watched the teenager place the flowers before John’s grave and began to delicately pull off the ivy and weeds that had attached themselves to the decaying stone.

“He died rather young.” Serna mumbled as she touched the stone. “He was barely even fifty.”

Aaerynn held herself closer and Serna looked back, seeing the wood elf’s face fill with agony.

“I’m sorry.” Serna whispered softly and pulled away from the grave stone, sitting beside the wood elf. Aaerynn only bowed her head, feeling her innards crunch with anxiety.

“How do you deal with it?” Aaerynn finally murmured as she looked at Serna and then the stone. “This is what you become. Humans are gifted the least years of life between all the races. You’re weak too…you die so easily, you’re just lucky to reach old age. Then you are forgotten…leaving only a stone that slowly crumbles apart into dust.”

Serna frowned softly as she listened and felt the wind blow by them, she tucked her hair behind her ear as she answered. “But you remember. Who he was lives in you too, doesn’t he?”

Aaerynn grimaced at the answer, it wasn’t what she wanted to hear. She looked over at the teenage girl and Serna smiled softly. “We live inside our friends and family and loved ones. And that’s enough isn’t it? Some people strive to be remembered, but that’s not the point of life. It should be enjoyed, however you see fit.”

The girl smiled again and Aaerynn frowned, for some reason she was reminded of Vordan and his promise to help her. In fact….

The elf turned to see that the sun was certainly over the horizon now. The sky was alight in a palette of reds and blues and purples. It was beautiful. She had lived this far to see it. Aaerynn had decided to change. She had taken little steps, and she wanted to come here to step into a new direction didn’t she?

Suddenly, Aaerynn unsheathed her dagger from her waist. She raised it, noticing that it hadn’t been cleaned. It was covered in a dried purple mess, a mix of her blood and the Syndarean’s. She noted the interesting color, before suddenly gathering her hair in one hand. Then in a single swipe the blade cut through the strands, causing the free hair to drift down to the grass. Serna’s eyes widened in horror at the sight, and she held onto her own long hair as if it was precious. Aaerynn ran a hand through her now shorter hair, feeling lighter. The front was still long, and she’d braid it later, but right now it felt good.

The elf slowly stood, feeling the wind on her face. The pain was still there, it was always there but now she wanted to step through it. She wanted to change it and she would. The wood elf looked down at the girl beside and held out her hand, “Let’s go.”
The duo went together into the market and finally returned to the inn with Aaerynn holding some new supplies. The wood elf returned to her room, seeing it still a mess from when she had left it.

She slowly packed her bag for the trip and paused for a moment, to look at her hand. It was trembling, the uncontrollable tremors a sign for what was going to come. She had pushed herself, and her rot, far too much in one day. Honestly, she was surprised she was even still standing.

But, for once in a century, she felt good. She was in a hell of a lot of pain, but her mind felt clearer. She had gotten to say her goodbye, and hopefully she’d be able to let go of his memory. The process would be painful, but it could be done. She had at least one person that wanted to help, and the others within the group were good people.

She’d be able to try at least.

The wood elf pulled off her vest and ruined shirt, and opened the package that she had asked Serna to get. She had asked for a few new shirts and as the elf opened the brown paper; her eyes were accosted by pastel colors. Pink, blue and purple. The wood elf stood in shock, realizing she hadn’t specified a color and the teenager had picked whatever. Aaerynn groaned in annoyance and pulled out the blue one, the least offensive as the rest and pulled it on.

Aaerynn wanted change, but not that much.
Setna and Serna walked over towards Elrithos and Vordan as they exited out from the inn. They were already in conversation, and clothed with everything they needed to continue on with the journey.

“I’m surprised you’re already up Set.” Serna giggled and smiled at her older brother.

Setna looked down at her with disbelief. “Me? That’s a lot coming from you, I’m lucky to even get you up most days. I had to be up for training.”

The boy was already beaming with pride about it, and both twins looked up as they came to a stop before the Desert Elf and the mercenary. Serna immediately smiled happily as she bowed her head to them in a greeting. “Good morning Sir Elrithos, Sir Vordan!”

Setna had paused in thought as he suddenly looked back to his sister. “That reminds me, what happened to you and Miss Aaerynn this morning? You were both gone before I was up.”

The girl stiffened in surprise as she turned to her brother once more. “Ah… W-We…”

Setna gave her a blank face and Serna bit her lip as she tried to think. Aaerynn had told her to keep this morning’s incident between the two of them. But what Aaerynn had overlooked was that Serna was a horrible liar. Her gaze shifted to the side, her body tightening up as she tried to answer her brother whose dark eyes seemed as if they could peel back the skin on her forehead. “A-Ah! We went to the market!”

Her face lit up triumphantly at the half lie. They had gone to the market after all, just not all morning. It wasn’t a total lie. Yet as the girl looked at her brother, she was met with an I don’t believe you at all gaze. She immediately tried to stare back with an It’s totally the truth, I am in no way lying stare, but her brother wasn’t buying it.

Suddenly Serna felt as if she they were children again and her brother was trying to singe the truth out of her. Sweat blossomed across her forehead as the stare down continued, and she was beginning to break down. Surely telling them about what happened wouldn’t be a big deal. It wasn’t like anything really happened. It was just sad.

Serna was about to open her mouth when a voice interrupted them.

“You shouldn’t interrogate your sister like that.”

Setna nearly jumped out of his skin in surprise. He looked back wildly to see Aaerynn standing behind him. She had been so silent he hadn’t even heard her coming. Setna opened his mouth to say something, but became distracted as he noticed that Aaerynn looked almost completely different. Besides the front part of her hair, the rest had been cut off just below her jawline. The shirt underneath her leather vest, which usually was black, was now a powdery blue and hid the scar on her stomach. Setna tried to gather his words but only ended up mumbling. “I…I…uh…Sorry…”

Aaerynn shifted her bow across her back. “I just wanted to see the sunrise. Your sister offered to help.”

Setna nodded numbly and yet his eyebrows rose in curiosity. Finally his thoughts began to stick together, and struck him across the skull as he realized who exactly was standing in front of him and what had happened the day before. “AH! Miss Aaerynn….I, I need to apologize.”

He suddenly bowed his head. “It was wrong of me to just run off and leave you alone like that. I should have stayed and helped…I should have fought then and there, I…”

Aaerynn held up her thumb and pointer finger, and suddenly flicked him in the forehead with enough force to snap his head up. “Stop. I don’t want to hear that. I don’t care about what you did or should have done. It doesn’t concern me.”

Setna just stood there in surprise as he rubbed his forehead. He blinked a few times as he stared at the wood elf. She was…different somehow, besides the hair and clothes. Her words were blunt but it didn’t have the coldness that it usually did. She seemed sad, but a lot softer.

Aaerynn spoke again as she looked him over. “You should just be glad you’re alright. Did you fight? I didn’t expect that you’d come out so unscathed.”

The boy suddenly looked back at Vordan before turning back to Aaerynn. “It was alright. Vordan really saved my ass, and took out one of them.”

Aaerynn’s light blue eyes finally moved over to the mercenary. Her gaze immediately scanned him over for any possible injury or ache and she lightly frowned. Vordan had stepped in, even after what he had experienced in the bar. Well obviously he had helped out; it was his bandages that had saved her life. Still, he had taken a beating the night before, and even with the bandages, the fact that he immediately stepped in the next morning…there was no way he wasn’t injured.

“Are you alright?” She asked Vordan softly.

-The twins had just joined in, both seemingly ready to go too. There were still a few of them missing, noticeably Caelis and Faith who they hadn’t seen the last two days… It was a wonder what had happened to them. Vordan nodded to Serna with a light smile while Elrithos bowed lightly with a small smile. The desert elf found it great to see the both of them in a good mood. It was a great change from the past events that was brought upon them.

Vordan was about to ask something of them, as the last one to have seen both Tirian and Aaerynn was the both of them and maybe Rudolf. Setna had beaten him to the question… But what came to a surprise was the young girl’s reaction. Easy to see she was hesitant on the answer and clearly nervous about the question, so both the mercenary and the desert warrior were curious about what had happened. They eventually got an answer, one that clearly did not seem to be true; everyone around could see it. No one was going to force her to say anything… but they wanted to know…

Their answers came shortly, both men turning their heads towards the feminine voice… And what a face of surprise they did. With the change in her appearance, it was a wonder what they did. Elrithos simply thought it would be a drastic change in her appearance from a life experience, but he didn’t know. Either way, she was walking properly and seemed not too bad. Still the men were quite amazed.

Then came the explanation… To those words, Vordan smile grew a little. It’s a gift to see the sun rise everyday… Maybe he had nothing to do with what he said, but nonetheless, it was something great to hear. Elrithos thought it was best if he went on to secure the equipment he bought and left them to converse a moment.

The events of the other day came up and Vordan really could have passed over all this. Yes, the other day was a shitty night, there was no need to go back on that. Yet, Serna spoke of getting his ass saved by him… Not exactly what he had seen, but Vordan guessed it kinda went like that. He looked at the young man, then back to Aaerynn. He was still trying to take in the new changes. The shirt was for the scar, but the hair? Who knew why. She asked forth a question, one in which he simply gave a slight nod.

“Of course. Just needed to sleep it off…” He said plainly, then went to ask something with a light tone. “How is it to see the sun rise?” In reality though… Vordan wasn’t completely alright. He knew that he would easily get sick the next day or so, depending on what he did. One thing was for sure, he wasn’t going to drink any potions or use his bandages.

Aaerynn's eyes softened slightly at the question. "It was beautiful...you'd have said it was a gift, right?"

Her voice had a teasing lilt, and Setna looked from Vordan to Aaerynn in confusion, feeling as if he was missing out on something. But Aaerynn only set her pack down from her shoulder, and looked up at the mercenary once more. She wasn't really convinced that Vordan just needed to sleep everything off. He seemed off in his own way, and Aaerynn was beginning to seriously wonder about the implication of his magic bandages. How much could his human body take? Constantly being forced to close wounds at such a rapid pace and in such little time. It couldn't come with no price, could it? She placed her hand on her hip as she spoke to him. "If you feel unwell at all feel free to rely on me. Not all my medicine is for drunks."

Her face was soft as she spoke, yet somber. Setna was trying to figure out what happened to cause the change as Aaerynn continued to speak. "We've relied on you quite a bit, so you should feel welcome to rely on us. Sometimes the body needs time to heal, and I promise I won't charge you."

Serna had quietly dismissed herself from the group, and walked over to Elrithos who was securing the equipment on the cart. Gently she reached up and lightly tapped his shoulder. When he looked back at her she smiled softly. "Sir Elrithos, I j-just wanted to th-thank you for helping my brother. W-We can't r-really repay y-you. B-But! If there's a d-dish you like perhaps I can cook it f-for you and the r-rest of the party one night."

She smiled sweetly, yet nervously. All of these people were helping them in their own way. The young girl just wanted to give back to them somehow. Her mother had always told her to repay kindness, and she had many people she wanted to repay, in whatever way she could.

“One of the most beautiful and underestimated gifts, yes.” What a change it was. Just a couple of days with the lot of them and it seemed that maybe someone got through to her. Her soft and light expression was a sight to behold… Rudolf had yet to see her too. That would be a priceless sight to admire. Vordan laughed lightly. She then went to her offer for medicine, one which was more than greatly appreciated. There were times he would have preferred simply resting and let it work itself out, but with his lifestyle, it typically never happened.

“A kind offer I will not refuse.” He said softly, turning to Setna that seemed to be trying to figure something out. He didn’t understand, but he would know. Not now, but when he would hear the stories, if they are ever told, will maybe quench his curiosity. Then, he turned back to the wood elf. “Nice haircut. It does you justice.” He said with a kind smile as he went to one of the carts to sit down… Although he wasn’t in bad shape, he still didn’t want to be working too much that day.

Elrithos swung his head around as he felt someone tap on his shoulder… Serna? A small smile rose to his lips. The young lady was surely in a good mood and it was a sight that pleased the desert elf. Finally, people were able to relax with everything that had happened. So, she thanked him for his help with his brother. Elrithos had to admit it, Serna was a very generous young lady and Elrithos couldn’t help but laugh a little.

“Please, I am more than happy that I can help a fellow warrior. He needs the training and he is fighting for a good cause…” He then turned back to attack the last remaining weapons before he completely turned. “You do not have to make anything special Serna… But I do wish to ask you never to let Rudolf do the cooking. I love your cooking and would hate to have it spoiled by the small man’s tastes.” At that, he laughed, a hint of playfulness in his words. Erithos, for a warrior who lived for over 300 years, was a very light hearted being.

Serna absolutely lit up and giggled happily at the compliment. “Th-thank you! I promise I won’t let him near it!” Her stuttering was lost to her happiness as she giggled again. She was going to ask the Desert Elf another question but was interrupted by a rather loud scream of joy and the Syndarean girl looked over to see Aaerynn lifted off her feet in what looked to be a bone crushing hug by Rudolf.

“My Ryn! The beauty of the woods! The light of my life! What joy it brings my heart to see you up and about once again!” The dwarf exclaimed as he swung around with the much taller wood elf still in his arms.

Setna raised his eyebrows as he witnessed the spectacle and grinned. “Oi old man, she just got back on her feet! You’re gonna send her back to her death bed.”

Aaerynn was attempting to pry him off her, her face turning an unnatural pale until he finally let go of her and she was able to breathe again. Just as she was catching her breath she was yanked down to the dwarf’s eye level as he touched her hair. “What in the gods happened!? Oh you’re beautiful hair is all gone! For shame! For shame! A wood elf with short hair!”

The wood elf gently, yet firmly, kept the dwarf at a distance away. “Calm down, you old coot. It’s just hair, it’ll grow back. A Syndarean lopped a piece off and left it uneven, I couldn’t just leave it like that.”

The dwarf pouted. “What a vile demon! To slay something so precious as a wood elf’s hair!”

Aaerynn was getting annoyed and she planted her hand in a smack onto Rudolf’s bald head. “That’s enough pervert, revel in your hair fetish on your own personal time.”

She mumbled something under her breath and Rudolf finally looked up at her, and seemed to calm himself down. He grinned though and spun Aaerynn around a final time before looking at the others. “Well I think we’re ready to head out then! Would someone mind fetching Tirian?

Serna immediately volunteered herself. “I’ll g-go tell him!”
Serna had volunteered herself so eagerly to be the one to tell Tirian that the caravan was ready to move out. But as she stood in front of her door, she found herself frozen. She looked down, her shoulders slumping as he small hands fiddled with the front of her dress. The last moment Serna saw Tirian awake, he was absolutely terrifying. He hadn’t even responded when she talked to him, when she asked what he was doing. The look in his eyes…had been completely frightening.

It was so different then the soft look he had given her when they were training, and it was completely different from when he was smiling. The teenager couldn’t help but worry about which side of Tirian she would see when she opened the door. She wanted it to be the smiling Tirian.

The girl straightened up a bit with a spark of determination. It would be ok! Tirian would be fine! The girl reached up and knocked on the door, before opening it quietly. She poked her head into the room and called out nervously, “Sir Tirian?”

-Tirian laid in his bed, feeling the agony of his innards screaming in protest of his actions. His eyes remained shut even to the protruding sunlight within his room. He replayed the events of yesterday through his mind, shivering with pain at the darkness that had entered his heart. Guilt began to set in as he remembered Serna had also been there with him. She as an innocent girl and Tirian forced that darkness upon her. That was when the nervous voice of the previously mentioned Serna broke his thoughts.

“You don’t need to call me Sir.”

Tirian looked over with a warm smile, his eyes brightening at the sight of Serna in his doorway.

Serna smiled as she slowly opened the door more and stepped into the room. But the smile faded as she looked at his face with concern. "A-Are you ok?"

Tirian nodded slowly, turning his eyes towards the ceiling with a breath of clean and fresh air.

“Perfectly fine. I take it the group is ready to move?”

Serna nodded. She turned quiet and was frozen in place as looked at him. She still felt unbelievably guilty. She had wanted to do as Aaerynn said, to just be grateful for the help. But she couldn't. Tirian had offered his help and his teaching to her, and all she did was get him involved in something dangerous.

Tears began to flood her eyes and they dripped down her face to the floor as she looked down and bowed her head in guilt. Her voice cracked as she mumbled, "I'm s-so sorry...it w-was my f-fault...y-you collapsed."

-Tirian had slid out of the bed noticing the drastic change in Serna within moments. Tirian quickly closed the gap between two bodies and lifted the females chin to meet his own eyes. He seemed genuine and happy, just being alive did that for him regardless of past actions and travesties.

“It was not your fault. Besides I’ve been through much worse. Let’s put this behind us and continue forward. I’m ready to go downstairs if you are.”
Serna nodded, and quickly wiped her tears away with the back of her hand. "S-Sorry."

-"It's fine. Let's go."

Serna nodded once more, sniffling for a final time as she walked behind Tirian and followed him down the stairs towards outside.

Rudolf lit up as he saw Tirian finally come out, and he approached him in the same way he approached Aaerynn, by suddenly hugging him much too tightly. "Tirian! My boy! How do you feel!?"

“I’ve been better, truthfully but all is well. I am ready to go when you are.”

Rudolf smiled happily and then motioned for the entire group to gather together, as if everyone was a child in school. "Now everyone, we'll be heading off after a few bits of news. I'm afraid that Caelis and Miss Faith will not be joining us. I received a letter this morning in which they stated that they will remain in Cromerth. However! We have two young ladies who will be joining! Perhaps they want to introduce themselves? Name, and perhaps any skills so the group knows you are capable!"

Lucille eyed over the entirety of the group, not exactly impressed with the members individually. However, as a group this caravan certainly would be nothing to mess with. Rudolf spoke up of two travelers she hadn’t heard of and t hen asked the newcomers to introduce themselves. Lucille stepped forward with her arms crossed and that smug smile on her lips and began to speak.

“I’m Lucille Hearthstone. I’m from a small city on the southern tip. I’m proficient in several languages and I’m a healer. There really isn’t much more that needs to be said about me.”

~Lillith watched the pink-haired girl give a small introduction. From the miniscule speech Lillith conjured an idea of the attitude this women held. From her posture and that smug grin it was obvious she would be hot-headed and possibly arrogant. More could be said with a greater investigation. However she would need to give an equally mysterious introduction.

“I’m Lillith Zhao of Nibelheim. Not many of you will know where or even what that is. I’m joining to make my way back home. I thank you for allowing me to join the group.”

Lillith melded into the background, keeping quiet and perfectly to herself.~

~“It’s rare that get to meet someone from the Electus.”

Tirian spoke up, stepping forward and extending his hand out to Lillith with a warm smile. ~

~Her eyes opened up with surprise to the manly voice, taking the hand still in shock.

“How?”~

~“I’m from Thialea. My mother was Allynn Runetheil.”

This further statement shocked the greying girl to her core. The late queen of the northern wood elves. She couldn’t believe but then she took in the details of this man. Tall slender with those eyes. There was a resemblance. ~

~“Well met. Excuse me for my disrespect.”

Lillith quickly bowed before the red-haired man.~

~“No, no it’s perfectly fine. I don’t deserve that kind of respect. Not with my past.”~

“Well then! With everyone acquainted let’s head out!” Rudolf clamored as he waddled over to the lead cart. “Ladies are welcome to hitch a ride on a cart, or feel free to walk beside!”
Aaerynn had frowned at the introductions. She was slightly relieved that the Halfling wasn’t coming along, especially after today. She looked too much… Aaerynn paused her thoughts as a violent tremor overtook her arm and she held it in place. She had done her best to swallow the pain down and ignore it, but it was creeping back with a vengeance. It would be alright though, all she had to do was live through the pain and the sickness for this moment, and hopefully she’d be stronger at the end of it.

Her frosty eyes looked over at the pink haired girl, then the silver haired one. They were interesting picks, but it wasn’t like Rudolf could ever say no to a pretty face.

Aaerynn fixed up Baineth to follow the carts and then walked over to Rudolf’s cart at the lead. His cart was the only one open and not covered by canvas. The Wood elf whistled for Kai and the young wolf eagerly followed after her as she pulled herself up and over into the cart to lie down. “I’m gonna hitch a ride with you.” She murmured quietly to the dwarf who looked back at her with concern.

“You’re abusing yourself to much.” The dwarf spoke softly before letting out a loud yip and a crack of the whip, starting the motion of the caravan.

Aaerynn remained silent as she looked up at the sky, feeling the pain slowly become worse and worse, drowning her. The tremor of her arm had begun to drift and she felt her entire body begin to tremble. Kai wrapped himself around his master and let out a soft whine. “I had to say good bye…” She murmured back to the dwarf who shook his head.

“You’re trying to rip it away by force, as if you’re cutting off a limb. That’s why it hurts too much for you to bear.”

Aaerynn turned to look at the back of the dwarf’s head before she closed her eyes, her mind focusing on the roll and bump of the wooden cart. Perhaps he was right...but she could bear it. She could live without this limb.
Hidden 8 yrs ago Post by Ikari
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Ikari

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Tirian opted to hang back and once more bring up the rear of the caravan. His body had settled into a dull pain, pushed to the back of the warriors of the mind as he began to walk forward with the loud crack of Rudolf’s whip. His sky blue eyes gazed around, taking in the subtle details of the surrounding environment. Everything was calm, a well-earned day of silence for all those around this caravan. Tirian’s pace was slower than usual, amazing however that this soldier could even walk straight. His body had grown accustomed to the devastating effects of that forbidden magic of his. Each stride that he placed in front of his worn and tired body caused tremors of growing pain within his abdomen. His face showed no pain, however his mind began to concentrate on that growing pain, until a certain pink-haired teenager interrupted the man’s thoughts.

“What’re you thinking there Tiriana?”

Tirian raised an eyebrow to the obvious insult from the smirking female before his eyes. That smug smile burned deep into the soul of Tirian as he just continued to look forward. His lips cracked into a smile after a moment’s time of debating whether he had a solid comeback or not. Unfortunately his mind had been too focused on the past few days to string together anything short of pain and discomfort.

“Thinking of how nice it will be to get this journey over. “

Lucille dropped that smug look, snapping thoughts back to her mission. Her eyes shifted forward with an uncomfortable heat raising in her chest. Without a word the girl sped up and disappeared in between the caravans. Tirian simply watched with wonder what her problem was, but this was not his problem to deal with. Tirian continued on with his mind falling back into realms of darkness, nothingness.
-Serna had been taking glances back at the read head as the caravan started. She was worried. His pace seemed slower and something about him was off. She watched as Tirian and the new girl, Lucille chatted for a moment before it ceased and Tirian was alone again. Quietly, the teenager handed the reins of Deetri over to her brother and she motioned over to the red head. Setna looked back and then nodded to his sister, who then waited until she could walk beside the red head.

"A-Are you alright? S..." She stopped herself from saying Sir and stuttered. "T-Tirian?"-

Tirian looked over to the Syndarean girl with a broken smile, his mind taking a while to come back to the realms of reality. After a moment Tirian finally drew in a heavy breath with a hard shrug to the girl’s question.

“I’ve been better, everything will get better with time though.”
-Serna frowned at the smile. It was a sad one, and it wasn't his. She looked away, walking beside him for a moment in silence. But then she turned, with a spark of determination. She felt bad for all the sadness within the group, especially with Aaerynn and with Tirian. The teenager gently took Tirian's hand. She looked up at him with bright eyes and then turned his palm up, with a small finger, she dragged around his palm into a design and then she closed his fingers into a fist, and led his fist to his chest. "It's protection against bad dreams and bad thoughts." She finally explained and began to blush as she let go of his hand. "M-my mother taught it to me, whenever I w-was sad or scared. It's kind of childish...but..."

She shifted away from him a bit, suddenly embarrassed. To do something so childish...how embarrassing. She had done it on instinct, not even thinking about it. She had wanted to do it for Aaerynn too, but felt the wood elf wouldn't really appreciate it. Serna looked away from the soldier, not wanting to see his reaction. "S-sorry." She apologized.-

Tirian felt a warmth entered his chest and face as her gentle finger moved around his hand, then closed the fist and placed it against his chest. Tirian kept his hand there for a moment or two before nodding with a happy expression entering his mood.

“Thank you. It means a lot to me. Are you still up for training?”

-Serna blushed and smiled brightly. "Y-yes! I...I want to become strong. Strong enough to shield everyone."

Her stutter was gone, both from the happiness that he had accepted her small charm and because of her resolve. She didn't want to see anyone get injured like that again, especially when she had the power to help. "I practiced th-the frequency!"-

Tirian smiled warmly, a bit of surprise within his heart at the determination shown by the navy haired girl.

“That’s good. We’ll start tonight and go through the ropes again”

-"Ok!" The girl smiled happily once more. "D-Do you mind if I walk with y-you?" She looked at him curiously, but she was glad to finally see his smile again.-

“I don’t mind at all.”
Hidden 8 yrs ago Post by Rayn Night
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And so, the group had gathered up with some new recruits, something Elrithos was perplexed about. Yes, an extra hand for what was to come was a welcoming sight, but it meant they were at risk of confronting whatever these other people would attract towards them. It was already something Elrithos considered to be a great threat to his own and the others’ lives. He wasn’t one to stay were this kind of trouble would arise, but it seemed that these folk would probably need his presence. Why? Age and experience, which he has over most of these people… Rudolf seemed to have control over his own life and his emotions, but the rest of the group had their problems. Notably, Aaerynn with her rot and Tirian with his past of blood and violence. The twins and Vordan certainly had their own problems, but they could be helped easily, or so the Aavikkanian thought.

Vordan, on his side, was more than happy to hear that there was a healer within the group, although he did wonder in what terms she meant healer. Was it simple medicine and knowledge of the humanoid body, or did it extend beyond that? Something told him it went beyond what he understood from it. Not only that, but she said to have been able to speak multiple languages… Which struck him as odd. She seemed so young to have such knowledge. Even himself, he did learn ancient and forgotten languages, but ti took him at least a good 8 to 9 years to sort through the lot of them and figure out the Maker’s language. She had a background in something that went beyond what she wanted to say… And it worried him.

The other lady that joined them, Lillith, was more or so a mystery than a worry. She was, by what he had heard of her introduction, from the other continent, like Tirian, but another region. It meant she had crossed not too long ago if she was here. Plus, the word Electus rang a bell, although he couldn’t exactly remember. Knowledge of the other continent was hard to get by in the northern region as they were not in direct trade with them. It was to say, he would be wondering why he knows that word without associating something to it… It had to do with magic, or he wouldn’t even remember. But what? He would have to take some time to know.

For the time being though, he was leaning onto one side of the cart, a single feather in his hand and the new book with locks open. Contrary to when he wrote in his prototype notebook, he wasn’t just scribbling away. He was talking his time, looking up for long minutes and sometimes towards the front before writing even a few words. But, he had a smile on his face the whole time… And if one would look closer. He actually had five notebooks in total. The two one he hadn’t pulled out yet seemed a more worn out than the others, showing that they were probably older. What they had inside? Only Vordan knew.
The group was moving along, but Elrithos had noticed Tirian’s less than good condition. He didn’t think much of ti at first, thinking it might just be the morning was harsh on him… But then, as they went along, he had not improved from his previous condition. The young man had kept going in this slow pace, clearly not in great shape. Yes, he was holding a solid expression, letting it seem it wasn’t bothering him. Elrithos know better. He had seen many humans and even elves he has fought alongside with try to push through when they had the chance to relax… It was a question of pride, which something that killed skilled warriors by the hundreds.

Turning around on the saddle of his horse, the Aavikkanian looked towards the back where Tirian was. Serna had joined up with him and Elrithos wanted to see where that would go. She seemed to have somewhat lighten his mood, but he was still pressing on. He couldn’t let this go on… He would be in danger if anything would happen to the group. With a swift push of his arms, he hoped of the back of his horse who just kept going as normal. He slowly walked up to the both of them, walking backwards to make sure they kept moving.

“Tirian. It would be wise if you took a place in the cart. You clearly are not well… You shouldn’t be making your day harder than it is.”

Elrithos tone was unusual. He didn’t have that glint of kindness he typically had… He seemed to be serious about his words and worried about the condition of the young man.

~~ Things continued to move, slowly, for the soldier. It wasn't until the desert elf Elrithos spoke did the red-haired warrior break his thoughts. His words weren't wrong by any sense, and Tirian knew this. His pride could be easily shelved, his mother did well enough to teach him to be humble when the situation called for it. Tirian drew in a breath of fresh air, allowing his muscles to relax and ease themselves back into a comfortable and painless position.

"Wise is an understatement my good friend. Perhaps I will take that advice and rest myself. I appreciate your eye."

Tirian nodded to the kind elf, turning and nodding to Serna as well before pushing forward and climbing to the rear cart and taking a well-deserved rest. His eyes remained open, observing the rear of the caravan. His eyes looked upwards to the sky and then closed. Tirian allowed himself to rest, taking in the air around him as well as nature itself. ~~

- Serna nodded back to Tirian and watched as he took the Desert Elf's advice and pushed up to rest on the final cart. The Syndarean girl looked up to Elrithos and smiled happily as she bowed her head. "Th-Thank you Sir Elrithos...if I knew it was th-that easy to have him rest, I should have t-tried it myself. Y-You're very kind." –

The young red-headed warrior complied with his advice, which was more than what Elrithos thought he would receive from him. It at least proved that Tirian wasn’t the kind of soldier to waste away at his body because he needed to stay ‘tough’. It was a good thing; it meant he knew the difference between foolish pride and determination. He watched him go along to the back of the last cart, and then turned to Serna. Elrithos still didn’t put smile on his face, but answer back in a softer tone than before.

“There is no need to thank me… I would have done regardless of the conditions. When you are in a state weaker than normal, a warrior must never push through when he has the chance to rest… With what I have seen with the war, I hate seeing a fellow killing themselves when they are not fighting.”

With that, he walked back towards his horse and hoped back on, staying near the front of the caravan.
Hidden 8 yrs ago Post by LastCinder
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After a day's traveling, the woods began to slowly thin out as the group got closer and closer to the mountains. Everyone who could was resting, while the others followed along by walking or horseback. Finally Rudolf raised his arms and the caravan slowed down to a stop within a nice clearing in the woods. The dwarf looked back to his companions and smiled. "I'd say we made enough ground for today! Let's stop for the night."

Once everyone got settled after gathering fire wood or hitching horses up to graze, Setna popped up beside Elrithos. He smiled eagerly, energy practically radiating from him as he asked. "Could we continue where we left off? If you're not busy, I mean."

Elrithos turned to the young boy, having just finished removing the saddle off of his horse. He smiled lightly, seeing the young man so eager to get to the training. Those who wanted to learn would be those who would be ready to face this world and gain new knowledge of it. So, with a gentle pat of his shoulder, he nodded briefly and started walking to a tree.

“We will continue, but on another subject. You already know how to sword play and defend yourself with a shield… Now to work on how long you can last. Follow me and don’t stop following me until I say so.”

With that, he winked at him and then started a light jug in the words… Which was a little faster than what most would anticipate. He, like a wood elf, wasn’t really obstructed by roots, bushes or anything. He seemed to find ways around things like nothing.

Setna grinned wide as they started the jog. He loved running, the feel of his muscles stretching, the pounding of his feet on the ground and the burn and race of his heart. A wave of nostalgia hit him as he thought about morning runs with his father. The races they would go through together as the sun came up and cast a halo of lilac light as the rays struck the barrier. As Setna dodged roots and jumped over short bushes he thought of his training back home, the obstacle courses and punishment runs. Setna had always lacked in strength, he was lanky and skinny, his arms looked like they couldn't bear much muscle. But when it came to running, he was always squad leader. That usually meant he was forced to sprint back to the end of the line, physically spur his teammates forward before sprinting back again to help the others. He had loved it. Even the punishment runs right after eating, or the long treks through sand or the early morning runs of winter when the air was so cold it would close your lungs. It was something he was good at, and made up for what he was lacking in physical strength. If he was faster, and if he could endure it longer, he could be just as successful as his comrades who proved stronger yet lacked the stamina. It was a high.

Although his dodging and run through bushes was far more clunky than the graceful Aavikanian, Setna easily caught up to the side of Elrithos. He couldn't help the cheeky grin that spread across his face as he looked at his teacher. "Is this as hard as you want us to go, sir?"

Elrithos looked to his side, seeing that the young man had no hard time keeping it up with the steady pace. Again, he impressed as he was showing a lot of determination and endurance. All that was really missing from the young man was experience and keeping calm in tight situations. A gently smile stayed on his lips as he spoke about keeping this speed, shaking his head.

“Well, I thought it would be enough to put some difficulty on you, but it seems not. Let’s… give you a challenge.”

He spoke very simply and gave him a quick wink. Right after, he started running. Not full speed, put definitely much faster than their jog. It is then things seemed different. The Aavikkanian was running forth and actually using the trees for ease of movements. You would see him jumping and pus himself off a tree to catch a branch and swing himself over place, running without care through buses, rolling over obstacles. He didn’t have the grace of the Wood Elves, but as they continued, one would see that Elrithos didn’t tire down that much.

Setna laughed as Elrithos sped up into a run. As the boy watched the Desert Elf effortlessly use the environment to his advantage and push ahead, he couldn't help shaking his head. "Now you're just showing off!"

The boy called out to him but grinned as he too pushed forward with a bit of speed. Although he certainly couldn't do as much as the Aavikanian, he could do a little. Being deliberate in his steps, he was able to push off roots and leap forward for more distance, landing straight into a sprint. He was finally beginning to pant and breathe hard, collecting sweat across his face, but he continued smiling. His heart pumped wildly and his blood rushed as he pushed himself to keep up.

Yes, he was showing off just a little, but it would allow him to really see what this young man is truly capable of. It would also allow him to release himself a little, push himself a little. The distance only slowly began to increase between the two. Eventually, Elrithos came to a stop, not too far ahead of Setna. He leaned against a tree and waited with a smile, barely tired or in a sweat. At his arrival, he clapped at him.

“I am impressed Setna. You prove to be better of a warrior than you show… You really only lack in experience and self-control…. Have you considered maybe trying to wield a new set of weapons?”

Elrithos came forth and offered to start walking back towards the camp.

Setna finally broke through the last few bushes and slowly came to a stop before Elrithos. He was breathing hard, and sweat was dripping down from his forehead. He was grinning though, even as he doubled over to catch his breath. He finally pulled himself up, crossing his arms behind his head as he breathed and beamed with pride that he had impressed his new teacher. At the mention of trying other weapons he shrugged slightly. "I was shown how to use other weapons but I've never been good at them. A sword was always the easiest to use."

The teenager walked side by side with Elrithos as they headed back to camp.

Elrithos considered his words and actually found it quite odd he said that. He wasn’t good with any other weapon? The sword wasn’t the most instinctive weapon one could use, but definitely one that could be learned to use efficiently. It was also one of his preferred weapons, but he knows how to use others, notably the spear and the short bow. So he smiled and looked around.

“I can tell you that some weapons are much easier to use than the sword, although everyone is different. I’ve learned an array of methods of combat, but only so few I can use with great efficiency. Do you know how to fight without a weapon?”

He asked , still casually strolling along.

Setna rubbed the back of his head at that question and looked away a bit bashfully. "Kind of?" His words lilted with his insecurity. "I've never been the strongest, muscle wise. So my instructors didn't bother with it for me. I mean I know how to throw a punch and dodge. But...I'm better with some sort of weapon."

The Syndarean boy ran a hand through his hair at his words. Really without barrier magic, and without much strength as the others, his training was merely for him to be frontline fodder. His father had gone out of his way to help train him further, but the incident with his sister quickly stunted that. The boy cast a glance to Elrithos before finally voicing his thoughts. "Back home, without magic, boys like me were pretty much trained for the frontlines. I don't think they expected much out of us. If we were fast and proficient enough with sword and shield, that's all that mattered. Stronger kids got more training in order to be a type of anchor, while magic users probably got the most training out of all of us."

Pausing to collect his thoughts, Setna continued. "I mean being on the frontlines is an honor in itself, and heroes and survivors are granted knighthood. Plus we got trained very well with what we were given." The boy didn't want to seem ungrateful for his upbringing, he had obviously impressed Elrithos with it thus far. Setna looked over to Elrithos as he said, "But I want to learn to be more than that. I want to know as much as I can so I can protect what's important to me."

The boy flushed a bit with embarrassment as he said those words. He looked a lot like his sister, as he rubbed the back of his neck and turned his gaze back to the path ahead of them.

-The initial answer was kind of a surprise for the veteran warrior, as hand-to-hand combat was given to every single soldier within the Aavikkanian race. It didn’t matter if you were good or not at it, you needed to know so that if the situation arose, you would be ready for it. Then, the boy actually explained how the whole process of the Syndarean military. Erithos, knew all of this, but didn’t say anything to Setna about it. He was, after, the messenger of the Council. He had learned about how their warriors were trained and such, knew that those unable to use magic and push through sheer strength, were meat shield.

Elrithos nodded to his friend and looked to the sky. “Strength is an advantage, yes. I know how your military works, my friend. I have been to your nation before the war started. Not for long, but I learned enough. But, my people don’t consider such things. We are mostly smaller than your average human being, and yet, even our youngest members are taught that bigger opponents are simply easier.”

He smiled lightly. “You will become great Setna. I’ll teach you everything I have been taught. And do not worry, I will condense it for human years.” He laughed lightly before continuing. “When we cross the desert and go through the capital of my people, we will get you a better shield. Yours is too heavy for you to use efficiently I would believe. We will keep your sword as I believe you have a special Battleblade don’t you.”

Setna grinned as he listened to the Desert Elf. He had forgotten just how old Elrithos was, and that he had been around before the war and when all the separation happened. It was kind of a relief to know someone that knew where he was coming from. The boy smiled more at the mention that he'd definitely be getting more training, but as Elrithos mentioned his blade the boy instinctively put his hand on the hilt. His mind traveled back to the fight with his countrymen and how Vordan had somehow unlocked its potential. Setna still had no idea just how powerful the blade was or what it was capable of. It had gone through Sino's shield like it was nothing, and had even been able to produce a barrier itself. The boy unsheathed his blade to look at it. "That reminds me...perhaps you'd know what these symbols are."

Setna moved closer to the Desert Elf, and flipped the blade over to show the lettering of the enchantment forged into the blade itself. "I don't know what they mean. I thought they were elvish...But this blade was able to cut through a Syndarean barrier and more...It's been in my family for generations, but I don't understand it's power. Vordan seemed to be able to unlock it but..."

The boy shrugged and looked over to Elrithos to see if he could tell heads or tails of it.

The reflex the young man had as he mentioned his sword caused Elrithos to think there was much more to his blade than Setna cared to share. It looked like a particular style of blade he had seen before, many years ago. He wondered if it could possibly be the ones that were forged with the Dark Ones. It was only when the young man wanted to show him some symbols that Elrithos stopped a moment and showed the symbols on the blade. It was what he thought and he seemed to become a little more, serious.

He looked up to his eyes and sighed. “These blades were created with the Syndarean smith and the Dark Ones magical prowesses. They are a derivation of the elven tongue, yes, but adapted to the Dark Elves. I do not know every detail, but the blades are said to nullify magic and cut through magic like nothing in addition to provide barriers. They were forged during the Dark Emperor’s invasion of the continent as a mean to counter, most notably, the Makers and the Elven mages. Though…”

Elrithos started walking again, having found his calm and warm attitude again. “… I suggest maybe talking to Vordan for details about the weapon. If he unlocked it, it means he probably knows a lot about it. He seems to have acquired a lot of knowledge in his short time of living… Let’s go eat and we’ll start weapon training.”

Setna took in the new information and held the blade up to the light to look at it one last time. He thought over the fight again and nodded at the advice to speak to Vordan about it. He finally sheathed it. “I’ll ask him after the weapon training, if he has the time.” The boy answered as he followed behind the Desert elf back towards camp.

There was such a thing as Dark Elves?
As the caravan had stopped for the night, Aaerynn needed help out of the cart. Rudolf of course immediately jumped on it, teasing her all the way over to where the campfire would be set up. Her muscle spasms had simmered down to a small tremble that shook her body occasionally as if she was cold. The pain was still there and it came in waves. There were moments of reprieve, then it would build up bit by bit until it became so painful she was forced to close her eyes and become completely still in order to bear it. Then it would simmer down and she could focus again.

She had to be such an idiot for doing this to herself.

Sitting by the fire with Kai curled around her to keep her warm, Aaerynn worked with her hands. She needed something to do so her mind would stop fixating itself on what was going on in her body. Her current project was cleaning off her elven dagger that was covered in dried purple gunk. The color itself had sparked an idea that was taking her mind by force. Her blood and that of the Syndarean had covered the blade and the mixing of the two had procured the bright purple color. Aaerynn had never put much thought in the effect her blood could have on another races’ but it was proving to be interesting. When she had first noticed it that morning, it was too late to try and find the body and see the effects for herself, so she wasn’t exactly sure if the new substance was toxic or not. But the ideas springing in her head had led to an impulse buy of another dagger which she was now using to shave off the dried blood in fragile sheets.

Aaerynn carefully scratched and peeled off the substance from her dagger and let it fall into a clean vial she had picked out from her bag. After a moment she held up the glass and looked at the purple build up within. The color was still taking her by surprise. What were the implications of it? How could her rot and human blood lead to such a substance? She set the vial down and continued her task. Was it toxic or the opposite? Could it harm or empower? The wood elf pursed her lips as she thought. The best way to go about it would be to ask the twins for a sample of each of their blood. They were perfect controls, one with magic and the other without. Then she could see the reaction herself.

It was interesting enough to take her mind off her pain at least.

The wood elf didn’t raise her head until Rudolf set a bowl of stew in front of her. Aaerynn looked up to take in the sight of the smiling dwarf and then looked back at the Syndarean girl who was happily handing out bowls of food.

“Thank you.” She finally replied to the dwarf who grinned and nodded.
Upon the caravan stopping, Serna had immediately gone to work on something for dinner. She worked happily and diligently, especially after seeing Setna go off to train with Elrithos. She couldn’t help thinking that everyone deserved a nice filling meal.

As the stew finished and Serna began administering bowls, her brother and Elrithos broke through the trees and entered the campsite. The young girl happily handed them something to eat which Setna eagerly took with a grin.

Serna just bowed her head and continued to the others. She proceeded to give a bowl to Tirian and Vordan, then decided on letting Rudolf give bowls to the two newcomers. The new girls were pretty and interesting, but the young Syndarean girl felt too shy to approach them just yet.

Instead she sat beside Tirian and her brother with her own bowl and happily ate.
Hidden 8 yrs ago Post by Ikari
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Ikari

Member Seen 4 yrs ago

Tirian had fallen into a lazy and comfortable rest, his body wobbling to the sides with each clop of the oxen. His face portrayed a stationary smile, almost referencing the soldier having peace in his dreams for the first time in what seemed like eons. The peaceful man’s eyes opened as the caravan came to a slow stop, revealing beautiful eyes of Tirian gazing deep into the afternoon’s sky. He continued to look around to each individual member of the group that had been fortified in blood and bonded together by danger and comradery. Vordan was the last person he looked at, simply smiling and hopping off of the cart with a quick breath of the fresh air. The world was quite, with only the sounds of distanced animals and then Elirthos jogging off into the shrubbery with the young warrior in training, Setna.

Tirian distanced himself from the carts, finding a comfortable spot upon the ground to sprawl his body out. The air was cool, and carried a wondrous aroma of varying ingredients from the pot Serna chose to cook from. It wasn’t long before a steaming bowl of perfection rested in his hands, his stomach rumbled with anticipation as the soldier quickly began to devour the bowl and all of its occupants whole. Tirian finished his share of the magnificent food in no time, and simply waited. After some long minutes, Tirian turned towards Serna with a warm smile.

“If you’re ready, we can continue the training. Your call.

-Serna lit up at that and she immediately tried to finish her food as fast at the soldier. But it didn't end well as she stuck her now burnt tongue out and whined. "Hot..."

Setna laughed beside her and waved his hand like a fan to cool her. "Calm down Serie, I think he can wait for you to finish."-

Tirian let out a miniscule chuckle, standing his rested body to a full stretch and then turned his azure eyes to Serna’s counterpart.

“You’re more than welcome to join us. The next part is a bit tricky with just two people.”

-Setna raised his eyebrows and smiled. "Sure! I'm doing weapons training with Elrithos, but if it doesn't take long I don't think he'll mind."-

Tirian nodded to the boy, turning to Serna with a patient smile upon his face.

“It could take a while, why don’t you keep your plans with Elrithos, then when that’s over, come join us.”

-"Got it!" Setna gave a thumbs up and Serna smiled as she finally finished her dinner and set her bowl down. She practically hopped up on her feet and looked at Tirian with large eyes."Ready!" she said eagerly-

Tirian nodded, allowing Serna to take his side and then began to walk forward into the thinned tree line. The sun warned of descent, however they still had some sunlight to fiddle with for this training session. The paired duo did not walk far, stopping in a slight clearing. Tirian inspected the surroundings, knocking on each tree before picking out the perfect tree for this next project.

“First things first. Come to me, and let’s practice that frequency. If you can find it in less than ten second we can move on to the next step.”

-Serna paused a moment before looking back at the campsite. She supposed they were far enough away. With two newcomers joining the group, the young girl felt a bit uneasy about using magic so freely. But she looked back at Tirian and held a determined look. "Right!"

She came up close to him and gently touched his hand as she closed her eyes and focused. Serna had been practicing a bit on her own, and she opened her eyes to look up at the red head, as she found the frequency much more quickly than last time. "Got it."-

Tirian felt warmth to his face as the innocent hands of a determined Syndarean touched his own. He counted out the time in his head. One… Two… Three… then suddenly she spoke, impressive. Tirian dropped his hands for a moment, then raised them to the tree. This next part wouldn’t hold relevance to the training, but it would give Tirian the right idea of how strong Serna’s magic is and even further to how much it could be molded.

“Every living thing has a frequency. Magical or not. Try to find the frequency of this tree.”

-Serna's face turned blank and she looked at the red head a bit incredulously. "R-Really?-

“Yes, really.”

-The girl paused and bit her lip as she looked at the tree. How exactly was she supposed to find the frequency of a plant? She looked at Tirian a bit dubiously before closing her eyes, and placing her hand on the firm bark. She had to at least try.

But as she concentrated and her own frequency filled her ears, she decided to try something. Perhaps if she tried to interact with it, maybe she'd be able to hear it. She focused on the magic residing within her, on the gentle hum that hid underneath her skin and she followed it. She followed the frequency as it traveled across her body, swam down her arms and circled her fingers. As her frequency entered the sensitive palms of her hand she focused more, her eyebrows furrowing as the hum met the hardness of the bark. That's when she heard it, or rather felt it, it was dull and monotonous. At first she had overlooked it, but concentrating further she felt the dull thrum that seemed to come from the tree itself. Serna opened her dark eyes and looked up at Tirian in wonder.-

Tirian smiled, taking in the cuteness of Serna and her disbelief in the world. She was so innocent, unknowing of the real beauty this world held. Serna, compared to the red-haired warrior she was completely different. They were so vast in difference this training would be almost impossible. Tirian would never be able to show Serna the brutal side, he would never do that. Tirian held a smile even in the deep thoughts he was having.

“Not many people can do that. Okay, the next part is going to be a bit different. Sit down with me and try to place a barrier around my hand.”

-Serna sat down and she shifted a bit nervously. "I'm not that great at shaping it..." She mumbled quietly.
She hovered her hands over Tirian's and took a deep breath. Her hands focused entirely on his hand as her magic suddenly lit up between them. The barrier glowed with a light purple iridescence, and she tried to shape it to the best of her ability. Right now it was like a flat surface and she tampered with the shape a bit, trying to mold it the way she wanted it.

It ended up being flat on top with curved drooping edges that were close to wrapping around his hand but not entirely. The girl squinted and suddenly the magic was gone as her shoulders slumped in disappointment. "I don't know how they do it..."

She looked up at Tirian with sad eyes. "Other Syndareans are able to mold it perfectly to any shape or size. I can only make flat surfaces..."-

Tirian watched, observing the difference between the barriers of the man he fought and the girl he was training. She struggled to form a perfect barrier but Tirian could see her problem. He had the same problem, in fact it was an identical problem. Tirian couldn’t form flames even resembling shapes.

“It’s okay. You’re trying to force it. Close your eyes and imagine the shape. Ease the shape out and let it take a natural course.”

-Serna nodded, although the defeat hadn't left her shoulders. She closed her eyes and attempted to do it again. This time she tried to focus on the shape instead, and she was a bit more successful, it looked a bit more curved, yet it was still imperfect. It was still too flat in certain areas, as if she were attempting to bend hardened glass.-

“You’re focusing too hard on the shape still. Take a deep breath, and just let the magic flow. Guide it rather than force it.”

-The barrier disappeared and Serna opened her eyes to look at him. She took a deep breath and tried to hold down her watery eyes. It was harder to say than do. She was trying her best not to force it, but she couldn't get around to doing it naturally. Mostly because she had spent 18 years of her life trying to keep it pent up and unwilling to release it. Now it felt as if her body was betraying itself when she let the magic go. Either way it required pushing, and Serna wasn't entirely sure what was natural or what was forced.

She wiped her eyes and took another breath as she closed her eyes and tired again. The barrier still came out lumpy and less smooth, but there was slight improvement.-

“Good job. Take a break. The magic kickback will start biting if we aren’t careful.”

-The barrier disappeared and Serna opened her eyes as she leaned her back against the tree trunk. She nodded softly to Tirian's words, she could already feel the slight hum of a headache in the back of her skull. But there wasn't a nosebleed yet, so that had to be a good sign.-

Tirian scooted across the ground and sat against the tree with Serna, his legs touching her own. Tirian stretched his arms out in front of him, turning his head towards Serna with a disappointed frown. He wasn’t disappointed with Serna herself, but rather the situation. Explaining magic to someone who spent their life concealing that magic is nearly impossible and incredibly agitating.

“How are you feeling?”

-Serna looked up at Tirian for a moment before looking down at her hands. Her fingers curled and uncurled before she finally answered. "Frustrated..." She mumbled softly. "W-When the executioner c-came.....I w-wanted so badly to help...There were t-times I could h-have helped myself or Miss Aaerynn....I have the c-capability t-to do it...Yet...at the same time I don't. It makes me mad."-

“I know that pain. Just find that courage and dig for that strength. Over time you’ll see improvements. If you want you can rest your head on mine. You’ve earned the break.”

Serna's face turned red as she looked up at him with surprise. She then looked away but eventually her head slowly rested against his shoulder. "Is-is..th-this o-ook?"

“Of course it is.”

Tirian lowered his head to touch her own, closing his eyes and allowing his mind to rest for the moment.

-Serna's face turned a brighter red and she felt her heart leap into her throat. She closed her eyes though, feeling the heat in her face.-

“What motivates you to keep going forward?”

-Serna jolted slightly as Tirian suddenly spoke. She tensed a bit as she thought over what he was asking. What motivated her? She bit her lip a bit as she continued thinking. "I-I suppose it's my b-brother..." Her stutter was lost as the meaning of her words became more powerful. "He's trying so hard to save me. It would be a waste to give everything up. Especially since everyone has gone out of their way to help us...I want to help everyone else too."-

Tirian smiled listening to the words spoken. Serna found confidence and spoke with meaning, without that stutter he had grown accustomed to. Tirian hesitated for a moment before answering himself.

“My mother was a beautiful person. I think without her motivation I wouldn’t be able to keep pushing forward. I would’ve been gone a long, long time ago.”

-Serna finally turned her head to look up at him. She looked down at her lap as she thought of her own mother. "Do you miss her?" Serna asked softly.-

“More than anything.”

-Serna nodded. "I miss my mother too. I haven't gotten to see her in years, since the night I was taken from my family." The girl rubbed her eyes quietly. "It's sad to know that I'll never get to see her again or know if she's ok."-

“You’ll see her again one day, don’t worry.”

-Serna looked at him and smiled lightly, knowing it wasn't true. But the thought was nice and she was grateful for it. "I hope so."-
Hidden 8 yrs ago Post by Rayn Night
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Rayn Night

Member Seen 2 yrs ago

Elrithos had joined back with the others, happy to see that the young man would be eager to continue the training after a good meal. He wouldn’t go too hard on him after this, but he would learn a few things from different styles of combat. And so, he sat down with the group, surprised to actually see that Vordan was sitting in the circle with everyone, so was Aaerynn. It made the mood a lot lighter, although he could see the pain of the wood elf. She was still suffering from whatever she had, but at least, there was some kind of peace from her. He lifted his head when he was served his food, thanking the young Syndarean women for the meal.

Vordan, for his part, was reading one of his older books, reviewing a few of the pages. He had a smile on his face, and unlike other times, took the bowl of food with gratitude instead of dismissing it. The events that had happened in their short journey had changed him a little, his perspective on those of Syndarea. They weren’t all buffoons. Some had heads. Some had hearts. He couldn’t help but to look at the twins a moment then towards Aaerynn. Such an odd gathering of people, even the two newcomers he had yet to really speak to. They all had something. Every single one of them.

The mercenary put the book down, starting to enjoy the lovely meal. Everyone around seemed to be doing the same… But it was then he felt it. Vordan stopped eating for a second, a pain in his stomach starting. It wasn’t the food… He covered his mouth for a second, held it back. He set aside the bowl for a moment and went back to his book, trying to take his mind off of it. It was then that Tirian and Serna went off, Elrithos getting ready to pull Setna aside for more training. Vordan looked up and felt dizzy, now holding his stomach. He could see Rudolf looking towards him and Vordan couldn’t help it anymore. He quickly reached for a waterskin and sprung to his feet to get away quickly.

When a little ways away, he threw out the chunks of green liquid and blood mixed with eh freshly consumed meal. It wasn’t a pretty sight at all and Vordan cursed in some old, ancient language. The price of magic… Vordan started breathing heavily at that point and he leaned against a tree so he looked away from the pile of puke.

-- Watching the mercenary dart into the woods, Rudolf sighed gently with concern and huffed as he got up. He quickly waddled over to Aaerynn who had yet to pick her head up from what she was doing. She would eat a few bites of her meal before continuing to scrape off her dagger. Even as the dwarf approached, she was too engrossed in what she was doing to notice him.

The dwarf cleared his throat before speaking. "Aaerynn? Do you have anything for upset stomachs?"

"Mmm?" The wood elf mumbled before looking up with a curious expression and a raised eyebrow. "Yes, I do. What's wrong?"

The dwarf didn't seem to know how to answer. It wasn't his place to tell the wood elf of the mercenary's magic, so he did his best to speak in layman's terms. "Vordan hasn't been feeling too well. Lad had a bit of a rough spat yesterday and I think he's suffering the same tonight."

There was a subtle frown on Aaerynn's lips that the dwarf caught before she turned to riffle through her bag. She procured a small leather bag closed by a drawstring. "Do you have a mug and some water?"

The dwarf straightened and hurried off to grab her what she needed and returned with an old wooden mug and a canteen. The wood elf took them and poured a bit of powder from the pouch into the mug, and mixed it with a good amount of water. Rudolf held out his hand to take it from her but was surprised instead to see Aaerynn stand up. The dwarf tried to interject. "I can take it Ryn, you're not doing too well yourself..."

Aaerynn waved him off as she walked over to where Vordan had been sitting. "It's fine, I need the exercise."

Rudolf sighed and let her go. He supposed it wasn't all bad, if the young mercenary was trustful enough to tell him of his talents, he'd probably tell the others. Even if he didn't, Aaerynn's medicine might help him feel a bit better anyway.
________________________________________
It didn't take too long to find him. All Aaerynn had to do was follow the sharp and distinct smell of vomit, and sure enough there he was, leaning against a tree for support. He was breathing heavy and as the wood elf got closer the amount and color of stomach contents spewed across the grass made her eyebrows draw together in concern. Even in the fading sunlight she could see the distinct green, as well as the streaks of blood mixed in. This wasn't an illness. Aaerynn's light eyes looked up to observe the young man as she finally spoke, loud enough to grab his attention. "What was it you told me this morning? Ah yes, I believe it was 'Of course. Just needed to sleep it off.'"

The wood elf raised her eyebrow at him, and her lips maintained an unimpressed frown as she held out the mug towards him. "Here." Her voice finally became soft as she spoke. "It's ginger root and a mild pain reliever...it should help your stomach, or at least soothe some of the damage puking that up caused."

She waited for him to take it from her before providing more instruction. "Sip it slowly, or your stomach will turn again." – -

Vordan had closed his eyes, not wanting to see his surrounding spin before him… It got him jumping when he heard someone’s voice. His eyes shot open and focused on the blonde lady that stood there, a mug in her hand. Had he said that? It wouldn’t even surprise him that he did. It typically never went this far, but with the events stacking upon each other, his exposure to magic had increased drastically. He didn’t move, simply sighed a little.

‘’I normally can just sleep it off… Seems I went a little too strong this time.’’ He said, feeling it again in his stomach. He took a deep breath. Aaerynn had stepped forward, handing him a mug. Vordan was about to just chug it down, until he heard what it was. He looked up at her, then back at the liquid. He brought it to his lips, then heard to drink it slowly. He did so, taking his time… He then set it aside and looked up at her.

‘’Thanks… Hopefully, it doesn’t co-‘’ A rough cough caught the mercenary, using his elbow to hide his mouth… And he then saw some blood there. He really needed to calm down on the intense magic… It seemed to have reached his lungs now. ‘’… Damn…’’

-- Aaerynn watched him, her light eyes were unwavering and observant. Her hands clenched and unclenched at her sides as he began to cough and she could see it. The blood left over on his lips, the roughness of his cough. It unnerved her, and she wasn't exactly sure as to why. He was a human being that was interesting to her, that much was true, and perhaps she was becoming over emotional from her own pain. Or maybe she was just holding onto useless words he had told her. But, either way, she didn't like seeing this. She didn't like it at all. Her gaze turned to the discolored vomit on the ground. That wasn't caused by illness or disease. Something was wrong with his system. "You're... suffering from a kickback aren't you?" She voiced her thoughts, before her gaze turned to linger on his face. "Or perhaps...an overdose on magic."

She cut the shit. She wasn't going to lay it on thickly anymore or try to persuade it out of him. She knew.
--

Vordan looked up at her, his eyes lingering a moment. He then sighed, wiping the blood off of his lips. ''I'm suffering from both... It has never been this bad. Guess they never tell the painful stories the Makers had...'' He said, reaching for his waterskin and getting some water down in his system. He followed by tossing it not too far from him. ‘’I just overdid it… It will come back to a balanced state. Just means laying off the magic and the potions for a little while.’’ He said, taking in another deep breath.

His sight trailed off to nowhere for a moment. ‘’Better go back with the others… But thank you for the medicine.’’

-- Makers? Aaerynn lit up in recognition at the name and then her face turned puzzled. Makers had been from Ellahur, right? Her memories went back to the first day of the journey...that's right he had said he was from there, wasn't he? She hadn't really paid attention to anyone's introductions, and had placed it in the back of her mind. She cursed herself for doing that, everything would have made a lot more sense in the long run.

Returning to reality, the wood elf caught his last words about heading back and then the thank you. Yet he made no move to head back himself. Was he dismissing her? Aaerynn's face softened a bit in uncertainty. She didn't really want to leave him alone, especially in this state. It wasn't really up to her though.

"You don't have to thank me. I'm the one that owes you." Aaerynn stood there, feeling rather awkward. She mulled over her thoughts, bits and pieces coming together until she finally looked up at his face once more. "Can I ask you something? Or...Could we talk?"

The wood elf grimaced as the question left her lips. She wasn't used to this, and her uncertainty was absolutely clear. How strange it was that she could easily pretend with strangers. She could flirt and chat and converse as if it were her second nature. Yet the real her struggled with just basic kindness and conversation. She didn't know where this sudden need came from, whatever this was. But she was trying her hardest to change and to be better. She had things in common with him, and he was agreeable. For even that one night, that short amount of time, she had enjoyed being with him. Whether his words were trustworthy or not, they had pushed her, even that short distance and his actions had commended him.

The wood elf paused and finally shook her head. She was being ridiculous. "It can wait though...if you'd rather not." She shifted her weight, before picking up the mug to bring it back. "Let me know if you need anything else. When you feel better, I'll teach you some of my vials. I still owe you that." –

She owned him one… He thought about that for a second. Maybe they she did, maybe she didn’t, but it didn’t seem to matter for Vordan. She needed the help, she got it. Now he needed the help and she was giving it to him. A nice act of her part, one he would remember. He sighed lightly, making himself a little more comfortable against the tree and looked up to Aaerynn. She asked if they could talk, which did surprise him a little, but it wasn’t something he could refuse from her.

His smile grew, even as she tried to push her demand away. He laughed a little. ‘’We could talk if you want to… It’s not like I’m going to be moving from here quite yet.’’ He was still a little uncomfortable with the pain in his stomach and lungs, but he could do with it. He pushed himself to his feet, still a little dizzy. ‘’… But if we’re going to talk… let’s find a spot that doesn’t have that disgusting smell.’’ He said, still leaning on the tree.

-- Aaerynn's eyes widened a bit at the fact that he granted her request. She had expected him to refuse. Usually people feeling sick or in pain were too ornery to talk, at least humans were from her experience. She would rather distract herself, which was working for her, for the most part. The pain was reaching her joints but she couldn't help feeling...pleased. But at the mention of the smell, her nose scrunched. Point taken.

"Would you like some help?" She offered. –

“Yes please…” Vordan wasn’t scared to ask for help in these types of situations, although he was used to relying on himself to get himself places. He slowly stepped away from the tree and leaned onto Aaerynn, making sure he wasn’t putting all his weight on her. It was a little bit of relief for his walk. It would be great to get back without falling over unconscious in the woods.

The both of them moved forward, back towards the camp, but in an angle. Vordan eventually asked to be let go, in which he leaned onto a tree and slid down, a soft sigh escaping his lips. He turned back towards the Wood Elf. “You have something to ask, you said? Go ahead.”

-- Aaerynn eased herself down to the ground in order to sit. She sighed and rolled her shoulders, trying to fend off the ache. She'd have to sedate herself tonight if she wanted to get any sleep and no nightmares. After cracking her fingers the wood elf thought over what she wanted to say. There was actually a lot she wanted to ask him. He was an obviously intelligent person, even though she teased him before, and it would be nice to pick his brain a bit, especially about her recent findings on her blood mixing with the Syndarean's. However, she couldn't help asking him something that just popped into her head as she helped him walk.

"I'm sorry, it's mostly to sate my curiosity." She looked over at him, mulling over this question and whether she had the right to ask. "You said you are a Maker...but how did you get out of Ellahur? They were the first to try and dismantle all things magic after the war...I can't even comprehend how you were able to slip through their fingers with your magic intact."

The female elf was surprised at herself for not figuring it out sooner. His inventions, his scribbles and especially his bandages. She looked at him a bit inquisitively before adding, "If that is too personal a question, I understand." –

Having taken a comfortable position, after readjusting his breastplate a little, he listened to the question that was asked of him. It was a very specific and personal question indeed, one he hadn’t heard in years. Being a mercenary like him and with all his secrets, making friends wasn’t exactly that easy. Revealing his past was an even harder task. Yet, it didn’t seem to matter with this group anymore. They all had something, every single one of them.

His eyes rose to the sky for a moment. “Well, normally, these talents are discovered young and the parents take their children to the Ripper to have it removed… It was the law. My parents decided it would be my choice. I chose to leave and actually do something with this magic. No one ever noticed because I always hid it.” He laughed as he looked towards Aaerynn. “They have the means to take it out, but they can’t detect it… Those items were destroyed after the war. Only some small versions of the Rippers remain.”

He put his head against the wood, breathing softly. “I thought being a Maker would be easy, but with all the injuries, the illnesses and everything that comes with it, it made my task a lot harder… But still enjoyable.” He smiled softly. "My research lead me to incredible things. Even to talk to animals, believe it or not. Learned an old, druid language that made conversing with animals possible. I can also speak the language of demons... But that is another story."

-- Aaerynn finally chose to lean back on her arms. Pushing weight on them and making her muscles work seemed to alleviate some of the ache. The wood elf watched his face and was surprised to hear him answer her. She couldn't tell if she should take it as a sign of trust or if he would tell anyone of the group...but it still made her a little happy. As she listened she couldn't help wondering if his parents loved him so much to give him a choice or whether it was just the opposite. She closed her eyes though as the pain began to build to its peaking point and her body tightened up to deal with it. She held onto each of his words as a distraction and a small smile etched across her face as she listened to his somewhat ridiculous findings. Talking to demons? Really? As the pain began to decline she opened her eyes once more to look at him.

"Are you afraid at all that it might kill you?" She finally asked, taking in his expression. –

Vordan watched the wood elf trying to make herself comfortable… His bandages had done wonders, but it seems that she was still a little beaten by the events of the other day. Yet, Vordan felt it wasn’t the extent of it. It clearly had more to do with the Rot than she was probably willing to say. He wasn’t going to go ask her about it… It seemed enough of a burden as it is. But, she asked a question that he knew the answer quite well.

He shook his head. “Afraid? I wouldn’t say so… The fear is always there that it will take me, but it’s a risk for a reward. Like my crossbow. I almost paid the price, but now, the magic inside is stable, without kickbacks to use it. Sure, it cost me one of my fingers, but it is well worth it. I live for the day, until the next sunrise or sunset. If I see those, then it means I did well… I don’t regret anything I’ve done in my life so far…”

His eyes wondered around for a moment and then he turned back to Aaerynn. “I was given life, I’m going to enjoy it until the day I draw my last breath, through the pain and the suffering. Beside, even if I die, my books will continue my work. Just need someone else to pick them up… But enough about me. What about your story Aaerynn?”

-- Aaerynn didn't know what to think as she listened to him. It reminded her of that morning, when she had asked Serna about human mortality. The answer seemed to be the same, the idea that they could live on in some way. For Serna it was just her memory, and for Vordan its his books and notes. Humans were fascinating creatures, but then again, they always were to her. If she were honest with herself, she was still alive merely from the fact that she didn't want to die. She fought and struggled to keep going. But that in and of itself was certainly wearing her down. Death hadn't become such an uncomfortable thought. What exactly would she be remembered for though?

His mention of losing a finger made her think about his scarred arms. He had gone through a lot of pain for his magic and his findings. Aaerynn frowned as he said he didn't have any regrets either. That was hard for the wood elf to believe. Her own life was filled with nothing but regrets. But then he asked her a question that she had been somewhat expecting. It wasn't fair of her to try and peek into his past without offering bits of herself in return. The wood elf sat up a bit, trying to find her words as she gazed at the ground in front of her. Eventually she rubbed the scar on her shoulder, both for comfort and to try and alleviate the pain blossoming in her chest.

"My story?" She mused, before saying. "I'm afraid it's not as interesting as your's." –

Vordan didn’t expect much of an answer really, but he could try at least. He waited for her answer, settling in quite nicely into the tree now. Then, she spoke forth, but it wasn’t what he expected. Not interesting? How odd for a being of at least a century to not have an interesting story. He couldn’t believe it, but hey, maybe her life was quite peaceful and without risk, which seemed improbable. Vordan kept his smile and shook his head once more.

“Not interesting? You know a Wolf God… Or Goddess, I don’t remember. You take pleasure in stealing from poor rich bastards. You have a wolf that follows you around… You know how to do a lot of things and you say your story is not interesting?” He laughed lightly, flinging his arm up as a chain whipped out of his wrist and rolled itself onto a branch above him. He slowly rose to his feet with the help of it and then proceeded to have it come back into his wrist. “I am sure you can tell me a little something before we go back.”

-- Aaerynn listened to him as her head bowed and she rubbed her scar absentmindedly. She made no move to get up as she remained planted there, her eyes focused only on the grass. Whether her life was interesting or not, it was filled with foolish, and embarrassing mistakes. But Vordan had opened up to her and he had told her what she wanted to know. Perhaps, she could reveal bits of herself as well.

She finally spoke and looked up at him with what seemed to be a teasing smile. "The elves don't give genders to the gods. They are what they are. My mother served the Wolf god, they never had interest in me. Kai follows me out of duty, I saved him from a human bear trap when he was young and nursed him back to health before sending him back to his pack. I assume he is repaying me for that...and I steal from fools in order to survive and because humans are easy to take advantage of."

She paused then and looked down as she gripped her shoulder. The smile was gone as her grip tightened against the scar that was bottling up the black sludge of blood beneath her skin. "I have to survive from stealing and conning because..." She paused, turning silent. When she opened her lips, everything spilled out. "When I was young, I fell in love with a human man. He promised me great things, and taught me many things as well... After giving up everything for him, he later rejected me for a human girl. An arrangement from his family."

Her voice was soft, filled with the century of pain and bitterness she felt. "I was banished from my race and my home because of it. I was lucky I was banished. Normally elves that sleep with humans are killed for such treason, especially in the North. My father was able to sway the council... and my mother wished I had never been born." She looked up with a rueful look. "Such a shame to my family's name."

Aaerynn looked down at the ground again, feeling her throat closing up. There was more to this story, there always was, but this would have to do. She felt like she couldn't look at him. Here was a man with a burden that he pursued with all of his strength and feeling. While she on the other hand, continued fumbling through her years without real purpose. She almost felt sorry that she was the being who could live for centuries, and he wasn't. If Vordan had been given immortality, he would be able to accomplish such great things and grab hold of all his goals. Aaerynn couldn't help feeling ashamed of herself. "My life is filled with complicated, pathetic and embarrassing mistakes that I keep stumbling over. I'm afraid I can't look at my past without regrets, like you can." –

Her initial story was one that amazed the mercenary, more than what Aaerynn might have thought. Serving a God so closely in their family? Actualyl having its physical presence? That was beyond what most humans would even imagine to be able to do. And saving the wolf? It was a story worth to be known. Maybe it wasn’t such a great thing in their culture, but in his… Beyond believable. Vordan kept that light, warm smile for her whole story.

Yet, there, it surfaced again, that unconscious pain of hers. Her thoughts were hurting her, her past or whatever she was thinking about. Vordan stood there a moment, listening to what she was about to explain to him. And she had finally spilled it. Vordan lost his smile for a moment, hearing about what had happened to her. A sad love story… That was the source? It wasn’t as simple as he thought, but he could see the pain it was causing her just to talk about it. She continued on with her family and her race, making Vordan’s heart sink. How could someone do that? Break her heart, take her home away, disown her… She wasn’t brought up like he was.

Vordan stood there in silence, looking away a moment to stare at the grass… What could he say to this? Everything was taken away from her. She didn’t choose this life; she was forced to live it. Yet, his thought lingered a moment, and he took a few steps to be right beside her, slowly dropping down on one knee. “I didn’t think that would be your story… I’m sorry…” He said softly before he brought a hand up to her shoulder, on top of her hand. A smile crept up on his lips.

“We all make mistakes, ones that cost us dearly sometimes, others just being minor decisions… But you want to know the beauty of it? You still live… You still live to see the sun rise in the morning, which means it isn’t too late to change your story. You can’t change what has become, but you can choose what you do from here on end. It’s one of the joys of freedom; we get to choose…” Vordan stood back up slowly, stumbling a little but regained his composure. “… Always see the positive… Besides, you saw my arms, how many mistakes did I do in my life you think? Many… More than I tell… But, I can still do as I want… You know what you need? A good hobby.” Vordan smiled widely. “Come on… I’ll show you a few tricks of mine for dealing with people in taverns and teach me a few mixtures. Put your mind off of everything. What do you say?”

-- She was expecting him to mock her. So she kept her head down, unwilling to watch his face if he were to laugh or snide at her misfortune. Aaerynn would be the first to admit that it was ridiculous. If she had been a "good" girl and had ignored him that day, none of this would have happened. She wouldn't have fallen in love with a man that didn't love her as he said he did. She wouldn't have driven her mother into her last stages of rot and grief. She wouldn't have been so foolish as to run back to him to try and save him, only to watch him die in front of her, his blood splashed across her face. Aaerynn's grip tightened on her shoulder. Why did she tell him?

Aaerynn jolted slightly as she felt his hand touch her's and she looked up in surprise, taking in Vordan's brown eyes and his smile. His hand was much warmer than her own, and the female elf felt her shoulders sag in comfort. His words weren't mocking at all, instead they were kind and even gentle. She raised an arched brow at his positivity. How could he do that? How could he keep going with just the belief that it was all worthwhile if he got to see the sunrise? Why? Aaerynn couldn't exactly believe all of his words, but she wouldn't ignore the truth in them. She had the freedom to change, and the ability to do as she pleased. She had a choice. But how could she be like him, and live past the mistakes?

The wood elf snorted slightly, almost a laugh, at the idea that all she needed was a hobby and she hid a smile behind her hand. "A hobby?"

She wanted to laugh but she held it back. This was unfamiliar ground that she hadn't experienced in over a century. Slowly, she struggled to her feet, her body worn from its abuse. "If you say so, I wouldn't mind. But should you really be doing anything in the state you're in? You're better off getting some rest. I have some aids that might help you sleep." –

Vordan stepped right up towards a tree and leaned on it for a moment to turn back towards Aaerynn. She didn’t seem to take him seriously, but then again, it could sound quite ridiculous. Vordan knew how to keep himself busy, that was for sure. He laughed again, looking in front of him. ” I probably shouldn’t, but what I’m going to show you a few things that are just… Inventions and tricks of mine that are effortless. We can wait for the mixtures.”

Vordan motion her to follow up, taking his time to go back towards the group.
Hidden 8 yrs ago Post by Monstah
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Monstah

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The journey began much like any other would, a slow trot the lead into a slow-paced strut forward. Most groups had their cliques that stayed together, yet this convoy seemed to be, in a general consensus, equal. Lillith placed herself between the middle carts and simply blended in with a quiet attitude. The first and only conversation took place between Tirian and the female twin, quickly followed by the taller male elf persuading Tirian to rest his body. This sparked interest within her mind, yet she quashed the assumptions and continued forward with ears open to anything else. The convoy stopped shortly after entering a thinning area of the woods, and each member began their own routines of setting up a campsite for the night. Lillith moved to a nearby tree and sat quietly, observing the female who had spoken with Tirian as she made food from a simple cauldron.

It hadn’t been long before a bowl was placed in front of her by the old dwarf. Lillith nodded her thanks to the old pervert and ate the stew with delicate hands. She took time to savor each and every flavor that had been in the dish, allowing her to gain a true respect for the cooking. Each spoonful entered and quickly found its way to the quiet girl’s stomach. The bowl before her lasted mere minutes as the pace of eating increased with each bite. She was sure to thank the cook, but it seemed as if she had disappeared with Tirian into the forest. Odd.

-Lucille took the bowl, sniffing the aroma for a moment then devoured the bowl in the most unbelievable fashion. If there had ever been a definition for tom-boy Lucille fit the bill almost perfectly. Her eyes watched Tirian exit the camp along with Serna, her chance would not be just yet. However there was one other person of interest in the camp, Lillith. This person drew immediate conversation from Tirian and even Lucille herself did not quite understand where she was from and why it was so important. Thus the pink-haired snob took her approach towards Lillith with her infamous smug.

“Electus huh. Sounds pretty important.”-

Lillith rested upon the tree, allowing the food to settle to the bottom of her stomach but it would seem peace was not upon her as the screechy voice of a certain female came down onto her ears. Lucille seemed to be interested in her background, but this would not come out so easy, especially to someone as shady and smug as the person before her eyes. Lillith stood to a full posture and gazed dead into Lucille’s eyes as she spoke.

“Indeed. Now please excuse me.”

Lillith moved past her conversation partner and took a seat neat to the flames to keep her body warm. The crackling of the fire offered white noise to drown herself into mental thoughts, allowing her mind to rest and body to ease itself into a state of peace.

-Lucille dropped the smile, watching the quiet and straightforward female move past her as if she had meant nothing to the world. Lucille clenched her hands into fists, only for a moment however and shook off the clear insult. She would certainly have to keep an eye out for this one, and Serna as well. So many variables were becoming apparent for her task, making it nigh impossible… Nothing was impossible however, for this Hearthstone soldier.”
Hidden 8 yrs ago Post by LastCinder
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LastCinder

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--Vordan stepped right up towards a tree and leaned on it for a moment to turn back towards Aaerynn. She didn’t seem to take him seriously, but then again, it could sound quite ridiculous. Vordan knew how to keep himself busy, that was for sure. He laughed again, looking in front of him. ”I probably shouldn’t, but what I’m going to show you a few things that are just… Inventions and tricks of mine that are effortless. We can wait for the mixtures.”

Vordan motion her to follow up, taking his time to go back towards the group.--

The wood elf couldn't help feeling a sensation of relief. She didn't know where it was coming from but she felt...good. It had even felt nice to open up to someone, and have them understand. He didn't mock her, nor did he seem to judge her. Instead he offered her something to do to keep her mind off her troubles. Aaerynn couldn't help feeling slightly glad that she had met him, which was frightening for her. But she couldn't ignore the fact that her body seemed to be in less pain than before. She was taking uncertain baby steps towards change, and she felt as if she could be proud of herself, even a little.

She picked up her pace, coming to Vordan's side and she offered her arm. "Would you like some help?"

Vordan turned to the elf that had offered to help him and the mercenary simply shook his head in response. “I’ll be alright… You are not in the greatest shape either, I noticed.” He said gently, looking back forward. Yes, he would have appreciated the help right now, but Aaerynn had her own issues he didn’t want to impede on.

“Thanks for the offer… Remember when I said I wish someone would try to steal my coins?” He said, going to his belt and pulled off the pouch that had his coins. With two fingers, he reached in slowly, looking for something… It took him a moment, but he finally pulled out two things. The first resembled a coin, but with an edge, the second like a tiny caltrop with barded points. He kept it in his hands to show her. “If they would have reached into my pouch at any time, they would have cut themselves and probably make a sound from the pain. For the pouch itself… Well, haven’t figured that out yet.” If someone would cut the pouch off his belt, he would lose his money, but a nasty surprise would wait for those who peeked inside.

“One of my many tricks.” He said with a smile. “My chain also typically pulls me out of tight situations.''

Aaerynn looked into his palm with curiosity. Carefully she picked up the edged coin, careful not to prick her fingers. She held it up to observe it before placing it gently back into his palm. "Well done."

She certainly would have never thought of that. The scribbler had proven himself, once again, to be quite clever. She was surprised she hadn't figured out his origin and talents beforehand, since being a Maker certainly suited him. Although he had politely refused her help, Aaerynn stuck by him just in case he stumbled or his body failed him. At the mention of his pouch, the wood elf pursed her lips in thought. Then he mentioned his use of chains and she nodded, she had seen him use it within the bar against the Syndarean. She supposed they were incredibly handy. But finally she spoke, "With the pouch, did you mean if someone were to cut it off you? Have you thought of something more sturdy? Perhaps some type of chain to tie it to you. Chains can be cut through, but it takes more effort and would be more noticeable then a typical leather draw string... As I'm sure you know with your own."

She shrugged slightly, feeling awkward about her proposal. So she supplied some more information. "I know some elves were able to create thin cords of metal that were practically impossible to cut through, and acted a lot like thread. They used them in multiple ways... belts, drawstrings, straps."

Aaerynn shrugged again.

-Aaerynn had made a simple suggestion, one he had considered many times, but never really put his mind around how to make it work. Vordan scratched his chin at the thought of chain being a good substitute to a simple cord, but it was too clunky and uncomfortable at the waist. It wasn’t that big of a deal, but with everything he already had on him, adding some unnecessary discomfort wasn’t great. And so he simply nodded to respond to her first part of the suggestion.

She continued forth with something that actually sparked his creative juices and his curiosity… The elves had discovered something like that? His eyes turned to her, his eye lit up as things started to ramble in his mind. The mention of straps, strings and belts meant it was a versatile material. So Vordan spoke eagerly. “Steel threading? You know how amazing that would be for… Everything. Hmm… I bet I could do that, given some time and the proper materials…” Vordan was definitely showing a different side of him. He seemed to have a sudden rush of energy. “… But I already have to finish my two main projects… That will be the third one.” He said, almost talking to himself.

The two eventually came back near the camp, although Vordan seemed to have lost his sickness altogether right now.

Aaerynn's eyes widened slightly in surprise as Vordan seemed to light up at her information. His eyes were sparked with a sudden rush of energy, and his frailty from before seemed to be gone completely. He was practically talking to himself now, wrapped up in his thought process. It was almost like he forgot she was beside him. That's when she heard his last mumble. Main projects?

The wood elf thought back to the glimpse of his notebook, the language she didn't understand. It had been filled with pages upon pages of notes. She hadn't thought that he was working toward a singular goal. The wood elf looked at him and repeated what he had said, "Two main projects?"

She murmured it as they walked into camp, she had enough self-awareness to not announce it.

-The murmur of the wood elf had pulled Vordan away from his thoughts. Yes, there were projects he needed to finish before anything else, but he couldn’t help but stack up multiple small inventions and potions in his books to satisfy himself. He turned his head towards Aaerynn with a smile, going back to a calmer, relaxed self, though the sickness he previously had seemed gone. “I’ve been working on two main inventions for over ten years now without really any possibly solution that didn’t involve stealing someone’s soul or kill someone.” It sounded very cruel and direct, but Vordan wasn’t afraid to tell her… Plus, most of the others were busy.

Vordan reached on of the carts where he had his things and pulled the books from the ground. “What do you like to do on your spare time? Singing? Horse riding? Stealing from poor bastards?...” He couldn’t help but chuckle before he moved on. “… Anything that takes your time and makes you happy?” He said, now undoing the padlocks with two keys on a necklace. With a feather and ink, he leaned against the cart and listened to her.

Aaerynn blinked in subtle surprise as he explained it to her. Solutions that involved killing or stealing souls? The wood elf frowned slightly and thought over the fact he said he could speak the language of demons. How deep was Vordan willing to go for the sake of his inventions? She supposed it was a hard question to answer. She didn’t know what he was working towards, what he wanted to do. She silently wondered what it felt like, to be the only Maker left in a world where even your homeland wanted its magic gone.

She had been lost in thought when suddenly Vordan spoke up with questions about herself. Aaerynn looked up, not knowing what to say. She paused, turning to look at the campfire and then her gaze drifted towards Kai and where she had left her things. What made her happy? Hell if she knew. Happiness wasn’t really known to her anymore. But she supposed she had some things that she enjoyed.

She finally answered. “I like reading.”

It was a surprising confession, but it was something she definitely missed. She used to have books upon books in her possession, but had to sell or leave all of them in order to take this journey. It didn’t really matter anyway, with her Elvish memory she could easily recall her favorite passages and recite them word for word. Learning how to read human word had been a gift from him and the only part of the relationship she would always be grateful for. Especially because human writers were far more creative than the drab Elvish writings.

“I also like making medicine, and trying to find new formulas or figuring out what works more efficiently. Most of the time the things I make by accident turn out better than what I attempt to do intentionally.” Aaerynn turned to look at Vordan, watching him write with a feather. It was a bit nostalgic and the wood elf had to fight off a feeling of melancholy.

She continued to speak anyway. “Then I usually con and pawn off the flops to naïve people with a bit too much money. I suppose I enjoy that too. ”

The wood elf shrugged, obviously not feeling guilty or ashamed of it at all. "What about you? Is that all you enjoy, just scribbling?" She teased him.

-His eyes stayed set on the elven lady before him, waiting for her answer to the questions… It was quite odd that she didn’t just say anything out of her mind right away. Instead, there was a short pause and her eyes set away for the fire. The feather wasn’t moving for the moment; his hand and playing with it a moment. The mercenary was wondering what was crossing her mind as she looked over the camp. The wolf? The others? He wanted to get inside her head, to understand her if he was really going to help her.

Eventually, she came back with an answer that was a little surprising. Reading? That was odd… Of all the things present in this world, reading? Vordan wasn’t judging; he did enjoy seeing the sunrise when he could. It simply was fascinating that such a simple thing is something that made her happy. The feather started moving, Vordan’s eyes still on Aaerynn. There was a start. She proceeded with the medicine and there, a wide smile ran across his face. That, he could totally understand. The thrill and the joys of it. It was amazing.

A laugh even followed when she mentioned the naïve people who bought her overpriced things. If they knew anything, they would have better deals, but they didn’t. Besides, it wasn’t like they needed all of that money. The tip of his feather eventually stopped when she asked the question back to him. He took his eyes away and looked to the sky, his smile becoming smaller, but still warm.

“Music…” He said softly. “… I love inventing, creating and otherwise research in rare knowledge… But music takes me off all of it… Hearing elven harpist pull the strings, the lute of a traveling bard… The melodies of a mermaid… I was lucky to be graced by that voice…” Vordan brought his eyes back down. “And sunsets and sunrises… I have a few other things, but it’s typical of a mercenary like me.” He said, his feather going on for a few seconds. “So, reading… Legends? Stories of history? Of anything?” He asked, ready to listen.

Aaerynn's face softened as she listened to him. Music, huh? He did indeed seem the type. In fact if she remembered correctly, he seemed the one to be the most content when the halfling was still with them, singing her songs. Still, it almost seemed strange, a man so technical liking something so passionate. But perhaps she was reading into it too much. Besides she definitely had her own quirks. She'd keep this detail of Vordan's, in mind though. If he liked music, he would be sure to enjoy the dwarvish parties, and knowing Rudolf, there was certainly going to be a party once they reached the Dwarvish capital. Although she wasn't too sure if the rowdiness might put him off.

The wood elf suddenly focused as he asked her another question. Aaerynn seemed to contemplate it for a moment before answering, "Well there's the typical medical books since I do my own research. But, if we're getting into the nitty gritty of our souls..." Her face seemed to warm then as she continued. "I have a soft spot for poetry."

There was a slight sadness there as she closed her eyes, but her face continued to hold that soft look. "Let's see if I can remember one..." She mumbled as she thought back.

Aaerynn finally opened her eyes as she spoke, her voice soft and warm as she looked at the fire.

"His hands are full of brambles, and the woman
in that tower a bit more feral than anticipated;
it turns out she had a bone collection
and a habit of turning princes into toads.
With her hair cut short, sometimes her eyes
and cheekbones look so sharp she reminds him
of some forest creature gone astray in a floating green dress.
He makes dinner for the two of them,
gently snapping asparagus in two, cutting
the fascia away from a chicken breast with a sigh.
A backfire, a black spire, a fear ark, a fae bicker:
a creature with a beautiful song and sharp claws.
Nothing the way he'd pictured it.

(The Knight Wonders What, Exactly, He rescued. Jeannine Gailey.)"


The wood elf looked up at the mercenary for a second, before becoming noticeably embarrassed. "I'm sorry, I couldn't help myself. It's been awhile since I got to think about it."

She stood a bit straighter, and wiped off imaginary dirt from her trousers. The wood elf looked down before gazing up at him. "I think I've taken enough of your time for today." She turned silent before looking away. "Thank you for talking with me. I enjoy this too, I suppose."

-Raising a single brow to the answer of the wood elf, he wondered why she spoke of medical books. Clearly, it wasn’t something of enjoyment, but more a study and a chore. It possibly wasn’t so for Aaerynn, but Vordan had a hard time believing it. And so he let her continue, his hands writing a little slower. To the nitty gritty of the soul… He stopped writing, surprised at the change in her face again. She had lightened up and showed something different again, only this time, it was warmth. Poetry? Yes, that was a beautiful art indeed.

Putting his feather down, he listened to her words, astonished she seemed to remember it purely from old memories. The story she evoked was one that actually stung the mercenary to the heart. It reminded him of a past… Unfortunate event. A contract that had cost him part of his sanity, per say. His expression had been lost in this gaze, like he was looking at a ghost. Of course, he quickly snapped out of it and picked up the feather, writing a few things down, his smile raised once more.

He lifted his eyes from the book this time, closing it. “Please, don’t be sorry, that was great to hear.” He simply said, letting her go on. He laughed. “I have plenty of time on my hands, it’s not taking a little of my time that will be a loss. In fact, it helps me.” He wouldn’t say why for now, but he knew he needed rest. “Until you enjoyed it, that’s all that matters.” He said gently, locking the book and putting it down, grabbing his two older ones. He found something to lean on that was near the fire, sat down and flipped through the pages of these old books.

Aaerynn nodded lightly, feeling better that she hadn’t overstayed her welcome beside Vordan. She bowed her head slightly for a goodnight though, and returned to her things, knowing that she and the mercenary needed the rest anyway.

---------

Setna had watched his sister run off to train with Tirian and he couldn't help his chest filling with pride. Serna seemed a lot more confident now. He had been scared at first, especially after the run in with the executioners that it would be too much for her. But she was proving that she could take it in stride. She was growing in strength and confidence, and it made Setna feel better for stealing her away from her fate.

But he couldn't let her be the only one getting stronger.

The teenager finished his meal and jumped to his feet. He stretched his arms, warming up his muscles before eagerly coming over to Elrithos. "What are we going to do first?" He grinned happily.

Elrithos wasn’t half-way past his bowl of food when the young man presented himself to continue training. The desert elf raised his head and smile warmly, taking a few spoonful of his meal. “Eager Setna?” He laughed lightly, setting the bowl aside for a moment and going to his feet. “Well, I guess the training could continue with some weapons training.” Elrithos winked and walked over to the cart that held all the weapons eh had gathered and purchased, untying the rope. He reached for a long wooden shaft, pulling out a spear that he then brought back in front of the man.

“Have you ever thought against trained with a skilled spearman? You’ll see this weapon commonly amongst warriors of skill. I find it to be a particularly weak choice against a shield, but I am creative with it. Think you can handle a little sparring?” Elrithos said, starting to go somewhere where the isn’t anyone but still visible to the camp.

Setna rubbed the back of his head, noticing he had interrupted Elrithos in his meal. "Sorry, if you want to finish eating I can just do some reps!"

But the boy followed the desert elf eagerly and lit up in both curiosity and slight concern at the spear and the possibility of sparring. "Uh, sure." Setna responded to Elrithos' question although he wasn't entirely sure what to do. He picked up his sword and shield though, and hurried behind the tan elf into the open space.

"How exactly do I defend against a spear?" Setna asked looking from the weapon to Elrithos. He had done some spear training himself, but he never actually sparred against someone using one.

Elrithos grabbed his spear with two hands and pointed the tip forward. Elrithos poked his shield with the tip, smiling lightly. “What you want to do is clothes the gap. Until I have a small gap between us, I will keep the distance and try to jab at you. Your shield is going to act as my direction for my spear.” With that, he shows a simple example on how a spear tip slides along the shield, not stopping and following the angle of the shield. After that, he took a couple of steps back.

“Now, I want to see how you’ll defend yourself for now and readjust as I see fit.” Elrithos takes up a battle stance, taking the spear from the mid-section. “Are you ready?”

"Right." Setna took in the information, but it was obvious he was still unsure of himself. He had to be wary of the way the spear could slide against the shield, if he didn't protect his head it could very well slide straight at his face.

The boy took a deep breath, and still took his stance. All he had to do was close the gap. It sounded simple, but the teenager could already tell that it wouldn't be as easy as it sounded. His eyes met Elrithos' and he nodded, his shield up. "Ready!"

Elrithos winked at him and stepped forth and feinted his first few strikes, backing as he stepped forward. There was no strike from Elrithos initially, although he kept his feints at a constant pace. Setna would hesitate and he would use it against him. “If you are going forth, commit Setna. The longer YOU fight, the more time you let me to defeat you.” Elrithos said quite seriously, and then pulled his one move. Elrithos aimed low and missed, knowing this time Setna would go… But he then pulled to one side, hitting up his shins and tripping him up.

Elrithos took a step forward and offered the young man a hand. “You hesitate Setna. You could have had me a couple of times. You have the speed. You close the gap and render my spear useless. I know techniques for close combat with spears, but very few actually know. Though, you know how to use your shield adequately.”

The sudden feint and the swipe to his shins sent the boy onto his back. He lost his breath for a second before groaning at his mistakes. He immediately took the hand of Elrithos who helped him up and the boy wiped the dirt off his pants as he listened to his teacher. The boy’s shoulders slumped for a moment before they picked up with his reignited determination.

“Right. Don’t hesitate. Move in fast.” He mumbled to himself as he picked up his shield and then looked back to the desert elf. “Can we go again? I’ll do it better.”

The boy set himself up one more time, unwilling to disappoint himself or Elrithos. He had to swallow his fear down. All he needed to do was remember his sister, he was fighting for her after all. It didn’t matter if he got hurt, as long as she was safe.

The boy seemed to buck up again in preparation, his hesitation seemed to ease. He had been through it once, he could do it again. Be fast. Move in. Press him. Close the gap. Learn from last time.

This time Elrithos would be sure to see some better improvement.

The young man wanted to go again. Elrithos looked at him blankly for a moment, seemingly thinking about something. Then, that small smile of his rose to his lips and took a few steps back to a battle stance, slightly different this time. “Don’t tell me Setna. Show me.” His smile grew a little wider as he took the offensive this time, pushing forth while keeping his distance. It was very different yes, but Setna had his determination.

The young man, this time, did not flinch or hesitate. He stood his ground and Elrithos was pleased as he wasn’t able to push him back easily. Elrithos had to eventually open himself to get somewhere without pulling out all his skill and, fortunately, Setna stepped forward and committed to his gap closing move… Elrithos tried to back up, but spears of this length were awkward in close quarters. So Elrithos tried to trip him up again, but this time, Setna moved aside the shaft with his blade. Smart move. Elrithos was rendered unarmed… And Elrithos was pleased. Elrithos backed up, hands in the air to sign his defeat… He could have really changed it around, but this would be what a typical armed man could do.

“There we go.”

Setna grinned so wide at his accomplishment that his eyes were forced to close. He punched his arm into the air in a celebratory fashion before plopping down on his butt. He took a few deep breaths with sweat still streaming down his face, more because he had been nervous than anything else. The boy wiped his forehead with his sleeve, before looking up at Elrithos. "That was it, right?" He grinned again and got back up to his feet.

He stretched his arms a bit, feeling sore after such a long day. But he was still excited about the spar. "Couldn't trip me up again!" He couldn't stop grinning but he finally seemed to calm down, reflecting over the match as a whole. "I'll have to keep practicing that though. It's a lot different than going up against someone with a sword."

Setna sighed a bit, and cracked his neck before looking back at Elrithos with a smile. "What else?"

Elrithos laughed a little as the young man pumped his fist into the air. Confidence; that is what he needed to gain. He was a capable warrior, but he wasn’t taught how to stand up and stay straight. He could a very capable warrior with the assets he had. Elrithos reached down to pick up the spear and came closer to the young warrior.

“Yes, you got it right. See what happens when you don’t hesitate? It makes good use of your energy allows you to readjust more confidently.” He said simply, another laugh escaping him as he talked about not tripping him up again. He nodded at his statement. “Every weapon is a different style of combat. I’ll teach you to defend yourself against those I know are commonly used or I have seen before. Axes are going to be a nightmare for you.” It sounded wrong really, axes being very inconvenient in a fight… But Elrithos has seen it come to use.

Elrithos walked towards the cart. “Go join your sister for now. We’ll continue training after you are done with her and Tirian.” He said simply.
Setna stretched his tired body as he entered the forest to go check on his sister and the Durandal warrior. He stepped through the grass and bushes in the same direction he had seen Serna run off into and as he entered a clearing he was surprised to find both Serna and Tirian fast asleep. Serna's head was positioned against Tirian's shoulder and his head was on her's. Setna raised his eyebrow and smiled. So much for a real training session, or maybe they had both tired themselves out. The boy approached them and leaned down next to his sister, he reached out and gently shook her shoulder. "Oi, you two, time to head back to camp."

Setna frowned as his sister remained unresponsive and he shook her a little harder. "Serie, c'mon, get up."

Finally the girl's eyes fluttered open, and then they immediately widened in fear as they took in Setna's face. "Setna!!"

Serna suddenly flung her body into Setna's chest, taking him by surprise as he fell back from the force. He hit the ground and groaned. "Gods, Serie. What the hell? What's wrong?"

The boy's eyes widened as he felt his sister tremble in his arms, and he immediately embraced her. Serna slowly looked up, her eyes in tears as her hand reached up to touch his face. "A-A-Are you r-r-real?"

Setna looked confused as he tried to soothe his sister and rub her back. "Of course I'm real. What's wrong? Did you have a nightmare or something?"

Serna didn't seem to be able to take in the answer as she continued to touch her brother's face, tears slipping down her cheeks. Eventually she seemed to accept that he was in fact physical and in front of her. She buried her face in her brother's chest, hugging him tightly as she breathed him in. "Thank the gods...thank the gods..."

Her twin was still left bewildered as he simply rubbed her back, hoping it was helping. But then the girl suddenly sprang up in a sudden realization, which led into an accidental head-butt into her brother's chin. Setna held his jaw and cried out in both surprise and pain as Serna fled toward the tree and an unconscious Tirian. The girl began shaking the warrior with all her might, trying to get him to awaken. "T-Tirian! T-Tirian!! W-Wake up!!"

Tirian’s body remained limp and lifeless until those words finally reach listening ears. Tirian woke up with a quick spring in his step as his hand reached for the blade at his side. Azure eyes focused in on the surroundings before them and finally the prince settled into a calmer state. The soldier slumped his shoulders and finally turned his attention to Serna, unaware of the fact her twin had been the one to break them of that nightmarish dream world they have been cast into. His eyes wondered for a moment, if perhaps it was all just a dream and maybe it would be better to not talk about it. However, the Durandal warrior gave Serna a simple inquiring look, checking if she had experienced what he had in the past few hours.

Serna calmed after seeing the red head immediately wake up and launch himself forward. She watched as he seemed to calm himself down and then looked back at her. The Syndarean girl returned his gaze with one of her own. She was still shaking from whatever they had experienced, and as she looked at Tirian's face she could tell...it had been a shared experience. But what had happened to them? Was it just a nightmare? Had it been unreal the entire time?

The young girl trembled and looked at her hands, feeling the ground underneath her. It was no longer covered in ash, instead the grass was green and full of life. The tension and pressure of that place was gone as well, as Serna took in the cool night air and the sound of insects buzzing throughout the wood. What had happened?

Setna slowly stood up, still rubbing his chin as he looked from his sister to Tirian and back again. "Uh...are you two alright?"

The boy couldn't help feeling that he had missed something large.

Tirian returned his look to Setna, a small smile coming to his face as the world around him began to settle.

“Just a bad dream, let’s get back to camp before nightfall.”

Setna took in the man's expression before shrugging and going over to help his sister back up. The trio finally returned to camp and Setna stretched his body out before returning over to Elrithos in order to finish their training for the night. Serna however, idled a bit and she gently reached for Tirian's hand, squeezing it lightly. She looked up at him with large eyes, unsure as to what she should say. What could she say? How exactly should they move on from here?

She wanted to ask him if he remembered too. She wanted to ask if they should tell the others, and if they could possibly know what had happened to them. But instead she remained silent and immobile. Serna ducked her head as her brows knitted together with thought and concern. She shook her head before finally looking up at him again. "Are y-you ok?" The Syndarean whispered.

-The walk back remained silent, and awkward. Upon returned to the camp itself, Serna who would normally retreat to Setna’s side, opted to instead squeeze the soldiers hand and stay by his side for the moment. Tirian’s face warmed up to a dull shade of maroon with the soft touch of the Syndareans hand in his own, until her words entered his ears. Blue orbs looked down to larger, darker eyes knowing what her thoughts were in the moment. Tirian turned his eyes forward with a heavy sigh and returned the gentle squeeze to Serna’s hand before returning words of his own.

“It was just an odd dream. Let’s just keep this between us and pretend it never happened. Okay?”

Serna nodded in agreement, and slowly slipped her hand out of his. She quietly returned to her brother, but her thoughts refused to let go of what had happened. She laid down beside Setna, who had already conked out, exhausted from a day of training and traveling. Serna curled up beside him, using her cloak as a blanket. Even though she tried to get herself to fall asleep she couldn't. She kept opening her eyes, making sure she was still in reality, making sure that her brother was indeed beside her. The teenager curled into herself a bit more, her ears open for the sounds of the monsters that had invaded her dreams and of the silence of the ash that smothered everything beneath it.

As much as she wanted to pretend it never happened, it was haunting her. The young girl was in for a long night of restless sleep.

Tirian frowned ever so slightly as the hand in his own slipped and seemed to pass over him, as Serna returned to her brother and attempted to sleep. Tirian took place against one of the far away carts and did his best to quell the uneasiness of his mind. The fear of falling asleep and once more being thrown into a hellish nightmare caused the soldier to feel human for the first time in ages. A very mortal shiver crawled down the Durandal warrior’s back but just as the fear had come, it dispersed and the soldier found himself in an uncomfortable and very light sleep. His dreams were of nothingness, a dark black background but the soldier felt in control and lucid.
Morning came quickly upon the group. After a restless night, Serna got up early, trying to put the day to good use instead of wasting it on sleep that wasn't going to come. Setna also woke up rather bright and early, already stretching his body and prepping it for the training that Elrithos decided for the day. He watched as his sister put together a simple breakfast for the group, wary of the fact that it was noticeable that she hadn't slept well. Hopefully he'd be able to convince her to rest on a cart when the caravan picked up for the day.

Aaerynn was also up at day break. Having sedated herself for the night, she woke up with little pain, although she couldn't tell if it was from her own medicine or the conversation she had with Vordan the night before. She felt better though, the pain had reduced to a minor thrum. It was there and prevalent, but it didn't take over to the point where she had to physically stop what she was doing in order to bear it. She was getting better, and actually producing results. The wood elf rolled her shoulders as she stood up and gave a soft pat to Kai's head who whined about being woken up.

Gazing over at the young Syndarean boy, Aaerynn couldn't help feeling a little motivated to undergo her own workout. It had been a long time since she had practiced her stances, and perhaps working out her body would help loosen up her muscles and the tenseness in her joints. The question was, who to practice with? Eventually her eyes landed on Tirian, who seemed awake like the rest of the rising party. Her thoughts drifted back to his confession of his heritage, and Aaerynn found herself wondering what he was taught in elvish culture. She slowly approached him, and offered a greeting. "Morning." The wood elf tried to hold down her awkwardness as she stood in front of the red head. "Mind if I ask you for a favor?"
Hidden 8 yrs ago Post by Ikari
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Ikari

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The morning sun threw Tirian’s mind to the wind as his azure eyes opened with haze covering them. His heart raced for a moment, expecting to be in some devilish world but to the soldier’s comfort, this was the very same place he had fallen unconscious the previous night. With a quick motion Tirian hopped off the ground and stretched his worn and weary body to full extensions, further deciding to warm with a quick session of squats. The cool morning air against the sweat beads upon the red-heads skin caused some ecstasy for him. The feeling of pushing his body and the feeling the pain caused by effort had always been intoxicating for the soldier. It wasn’t long before a voice surprised him, and then asked for a favor. Tirian smiled at Aaerynn, before answering simply.

“Sure what do you need?”

-Aaerynn felt herself ease as Tirian immediately accepted. Thus far, everyone seemed to break her expectations. It made herself feel silly for thinking the worse of others. Vordan had been kind to her, and Tirian too. Serna as well had been gentle with her, although it was to be expected from the Syndarean girl. It was nice. "I was wondering if you were familiar with Quel'Dalanosh?"

In a softer voice, so no one else could eavesdrop, she proceeded to say, "I don't know if the Thialea elves are different or not. But I'd really like to go through the forms as a warm up."-

Tirian nodded quickly to Aaerynn as he quickly understood where this conversation was about to go.

"Indeed I am. The only difference is the slight shuffle near the end of the dance. Instead it's more of a three-step twirl rather than two step slide."

-Aaerynn nodded before planting a hand on her hip, looking a bit hopeful. "Would you mind doing it with me? You can take any stance to defend. I just need an eye to help fine tune it, I haven't done it in a while."-

Tirian smiled warmly to the elf, appreciating the courage it required for someone of her nature to open up to anyone.

"I would be honored. Though be warned it has been sometime. So, shall we?"

-Aaerynn nodded and lead the way to some space a bit away from the campfire, so they wouldn't be in the way of the group packing up for the start of the trip. The wood elf stretched her arms a bit, getting her muscles warm for the session. She looked over at Tirian as she did so and finally spoke. "Hey, I never got to thank you for the other day. Although, without me, you'd still be stuck in that barrier huh?"

Her voice held a teasing tone, but her eyes showed just how thankful she was. If it hadn't been for Tirian cauterizing her wound, she would have probably bled out before Setna even reached them with Vordan's bandages. The wood elf gave another stretch, hearing the subtle crack and pop of her bones and tendons. Then she brandished her daggers. Part of the reason why she wanted to practice was for getting used to using a dagger in her non-dominant hand. She had done it before, a century ago, but now she was deeply out of practice. In sparring Quel'Dalanosh, weapons were only to be used as extra extension for the arms, they were never meant to harm the sparring partner, so Aaerynn shifted the blades to the unsharpened edges.

Her light eyes shone a bit as she took the initial stance. "Can you keep up with me Red? I like to go fast."-

Tirian followed the wood elf only a slight distance away from the camp fire, stretching his muscles as he walked. His body was warmed and loose enough for the mystical sparring dance known only to the elves native to the trees. Tirian learned much of the dance with his time in Thialea with his mother, yet he was not a natural in the art. Aaerynn quickly thanked the warrior for his deeds the previous days, and then hit him with a teasing comment. The soldier smiled for a moment allowing the realization to set in that Aaerynn was changing right in front of him. The sight was certainly a beautiful one.

“If you weren’t so slow I might have gotten out faster. Maybe you’ll be faster with this spar?”

Tirian led his words with a teasing tone just as Aaerynn had done with her comment. The soldier quickly brandished his blade, spinning the cold steel around his finger before quickly gripping the hilt and lowering his center of gravity.

“Whenever you’re ready.”

There were 48 forms to the Quel'Dalanosh, and Aaerynn wasted no time in performing the first one. The technique was meant to exercise and use elvish flexibility and agility. It showed. She was fast, even faster than the Durandal warrior in some aspects, although he quickly caught up to her with defense. The forms themselves were beautiful, but their beauty only hid their dangerous and potent capability. Each strike could be damaging and even with her blades turned, it could provide deep bruising if Tirian was unable to defend himself.

Both the twins found themselves awestruck by the match. They sat together, absentmindedly eating breakfast as they watch Aaerynn move and Tirian try to defend. Each step was deliberately placed, every movement was calculated. The wood elf's body could move and bend in ways that Setna didn't think was possible. Then it was all over, with Aaerynn's dagger still against the blade of Durandal’s prince.

The wood elf was sweating and breathing hard, but her eyes were alight with energy. Her lips were twinged into a subtle smile, proud of herself for completing the rounds. She finally backed off of Tirian and sheathed her daggers, her chest still heaving as she tried to catch her breath. She held her hand out for Tirian to shake. "Not bad Red. Guess you could keep up after all."

Aaerynn moved quickly, as expected of a surefooted elf. Tirian managed to keep up with his trained eyes watching each step forward and back. The daggers whirled furiously even though the steps were calculated and calm. Tirian ducked a serious of swipes bringing his blade up to meet cold steel as he entered his own offensive. The constant clash of metal sent sparks bursting off into many directions. One step forward, then three to the left and finally one backwards with calculated slices of his own. Aaerynn was much quicker than he, though he could overpower her at any moment with the right stances. However Quel’Dalanosh was not about winning or losing. It was about the heat of battle and the joy of sparring with someone that you trusted. As the battle ended Tirian let out a heavy breath and then smiled warmly towards his partner.

“Not bad, but you need to get some more stamina.”

Tirian took Aaerynn’s hand and shook it firmly, taking notice of the smoothness of her palms with the callused fingertips from shooting her trust bow. Tirian discarded the branch and began to walk back towards camp, just as Lucille appeared from the shadows and approached Aaerynn with and underhanded comment.

“Odd. I thought loving humans was forbidden in elfish culture.

-Aaerynn's face was smooth with an underlying happiness. She felt good. Her body was warm, her muscles ached in the right places and she felt stretched and loose. For once the rot seemed to slink into the background. She could ignore its ache with a clear mind and a fond memory to last night's conversation with Vordan and now of a good spar in the old art form her brother had taught her. For once things seemed to be changing for the better, bit by bit.

The wood elf had been pulling back her hair from her sweaty forehead when she felt the sudden presence of the pink haired girl. The girl's comment however, made the wood elf freeze up completely. She felt her heart drop as she looked over to the girl with wide eyes before her eyebrows furrowed in anger. "Excuse me?”

Rot oozed its way back into her system as Aaerynn looked to the girl, her body tensed. Her mind raced at the possibility that she had heard her talk with Vordan the night before. However, back then she had prepared herself to be mocked by him. She had opened up with guarded vulnerability to Vordan's opinion. She had been prepared. But, this....This sudden backhanded comment from a stranger not only took her by surprise, but stung.-

Lucille held her smug smile, shrugging off the inquisition and simply turning away from the elf. It was not the right time to engage this foe. To get to her target she would need to break alliances and distance each individual. This was the start to it all. The start to her ultimate goal. For now, she would sit in the shadows and be one with the darkness, waiting.

-Aaerynn felt her skin break out into a cold sweat as her rot began to sizzle. What the hell had that been? What the hell did that little girl know?

The wood elf watched the girl walk away a bit warily before she finally returned to the camp as well, and began to pack her things.-

Tirian watched the little exchange between Lucille and Aaerynn, then took in the aftermath of whatever few words had been distributed. The soldier approached Aaerynn with a sullen expression as he spoke with an easy and somewhat tensed tone.

“Whatever she said just ignore it.”

Tirian placed a gentle hand onto the woman’s shoulder for a brief moment before turning back and tended to his things.

- Aaerynn paused and looked a Tirian. She gave the man a nod, but there was no way she could just ignore it. Not after she said what she did.

The twins had seen the interaction as well, and Serna decided to approach, while Setna turned to watch the pink haired girl for a moment. What was with her, exactly?

The Syndarean girl approached Tirian and Aaerynn, trying to clean up the tense air with a gentle smile. "Th-that was r-really pretty!" She exclaimed mostly to Aaerynn and the wood elf looked up at her for a moment before nodding, slightly grateful. The pain had become a bit overbearing and the wood elf kept her jaw locked to distract herself from it.

The young woman could tell the wood elf would rather be left alone, so instead she looked up at Tirian. "W-Would you like to t-train this morning too, b-before we go?"-

Tirian sighed to himself, watching the elf walk away. Just like that the change he had seen was crushed by a few simple words. Azure eyes snapped to where Lucille had disappeared to, she would surely get a talking to before this day was over. Serna snapped the warrior out of his daze with kind words. Tirian thought for a moment and then nodded.

“Get Setna too. Everyone will get a warm up today.”

- Serna blinked before smiling brightly, "Ok!"

She quickly scurried over to her brother and then returned with her twin at her side, who looked slightly confused. But they both looked up at Tirian for some sort of explanation.-

Tirian took the twins off to the side in a tiny clearing, taking off his cloak and sheathed weapon to grant his body more clearance for the upcoming engagement he would had.

“Setna, I understand your training with Elrithos but I can teach some things too. Are you versed in hand to hand combat at all?”

= The twins followed behind the redhead and Setna immediately faltered as he rubbed the back of his head awkwardly. "No, not really. I mean, I know how to punch and dodge and everything...but I was never exclusively trained in close combat."

His uneasiness returned and Setna tried to swallow it down. He would apply what Elrithos taught him, not to hesitate and to think. Serna bit her lip slightly in concern.-

Tirian wasted no time returning words of his own to the uneasy boy.

“Don’t worry. Open fisted strikes. Just keep up and follow what I say. Serna.”

Tirian turned to the female twin with a smile.

“I will be getting opening for shots and it’s your job to do your best to protect Setna. Got it?”

-Serna straightened up in sudden fear and with a feeling of importance. She only seemed to relax when Setna placed his hand on her shoulder. "Relax Serie, just have my back OK?"

The girl looked at her twin and nodded. She wouldn't let her brother down, that was for sure. Setna continued forward and undid his cloak and sheath for his sword. He stretched a bit before trying to take up a stance. Although he obviously felt awkward. Exactly how were you supposed to stand without a weapon? He took the general athletic stance, but it felt strange without something to protect himself with. "How exactly are we going to do this?"-

“Are you right handed or left handed.”

-"Uh, right." Setna responded, and held up his fist.-

Tirian nodded and quickly began twisting the boy’s arms and legs to an orthodox boxing stance.

“You’re left foot should always forward, pointing just about straight ahead. You’re right foot should be backwards and pointing just a bit to the right side. Keep your body in the same angle as your right foot to protect yourself, and generate torquing power when punching. Stay on the balls of your feet to stay mobile. Now hold up your hands, palms open and facing me.”

-"Right." The boy followed easily into the position Tirian put him in. It felt a lot better than his unorthodoxed athletic stance. He opened up his palms as he faced Tirian. He wasn't going to lie, facing the red head even in a spar was a bit intimidating. Sure Elrithos was a mighty warrior, but Tirian had proved himself to be completely brutal and unmerciful. His whole body looked as if it was bred and trained to kill people. The boy swallowed down his fear, focusing. Besides, his sister liked the red head, and she always saw the good in everyone.

Serna smiled as the two conversed but slowly she set into her own stance. Although she was incredibly nervous. She hadn't actually used her magic within battle yet....except for that bad dream, but that had obviously been a dream...so she had no gauge as to whether she was up for the task of protecting Setna or not. But she was sure as hell going to do her best.-

“I am just going to show you how to throw a simple jab. Then a cross. After that we can string those together for simple combinations. When you’re ready I can teach you more power punches but for now just watch my form.”

“Tirian got into his own stance, inverted of Setna’s as Tirian was ambidextrous and preferred to switch his fighting style up. Tirian quickly jabbed out his right hand striking the Syndareans open palm. Tirian waited a moment before jabbing once more then twisting his left hand out into the same palm. His strikes were fast and precise, his defense left no openings for simple punches. Tirian eased his body into a normal posture after a moment of waiting.

“Any questions?”

-Setna just blinked, slightly amazed and slightly wondering if he could even come close to doing the same thing. He shook his hand out for a moment before bringing it back up and finally responded."Uh...no."

What was there to ask? He just had to do it.-

Talking was over and now Tirian got into the flow of battle. Setna followed with clumsy movements and slow punches. Tirian bobbed and weaved slowly, throwing slow punches that his opponent easily dodged in opposite directions. As Setna grew more proficient with his stance, Tirian increased the pace and the angles of his punches. Setna did his best to keep up but there were points in which his guard had been open and Tirian struck hard into the iridescent barrier set by Serna. Setna felt his confidence surge with the protection of Serna, as the twins began moving in a unison motion. Tirian felt himself pushed from an offensive into defensive as his body began to twist around every punch from the Syndarean boy. Setna overstepped a punch and Tirian took the shot instinctively with speed the Serna could not keep up with. Setna threw up his guard as the soldier’s right hook slammed into his block perfectly. Everything stopped suddenly as Tirian stood up with a bit of concern in his eyes.

“Are you okay Setna?”

- Setna slowly opened his eyes, and revealed a surprised expression. "I blocked it!...Oh, shit."

He waved his arm around a bit, feeling the beginning of a bruise on his arm, but he was beaming. He had done it instinctively, and sure Tirian wasn't trying too hard with him, but the fact that he blocked a shot without Serna's help, raised his confidence a bit. Serna came running over though, looking horror-stricken and guilty. "I-I'm so s-sorry! It w-was so fast I d-didn't have time!"

Setna just lit up in laughter and placed a hand on her head, mussing up her hair. "Calm down Serie! It's not like you're supposed to protect me all the time, besides you did really awesome!"

Serna went from guilty to beaming in pleasure, just like her brother. She looked up at Tirian with the same expression. "I was able t-to do it, w-wasn't I?"-

Tirian felt the guilt drop as both twins saw pleasure in the success. The red-head simply let out a small chuckle as a smile crossed his face.

“You both did perfect. I’m impressed. Sorry for the hard hit there. Just keep moving it and make sure the muscle doesn't lock up.”

Tirian turned to Serna with a small, bringing his thumb up to the dark-haired girl’s nose and poking it gently before leaving her with a few words of care.

“Take it easy for the rest of the day. Make sure you don’t over work your body.”
Hidden 8 yrs ago Post by Rayn Night
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Rayn Night

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Elrithos was early to rise yet again, as he has always done so far. The desert elf was conditioned for this kind for thing and it showed in his early morning actions. Quick training and warm-up, followed by a little bit of peaceful meditation. He was always ready for whatever was to come from his day… All this and still be able to hold a gentle smile or serene expression. The Aavikkanians were one of a kind for that, Elrithos being a prime example of it. Vordan’s rising from his slumber was almost agitated; his eyes shot open and his back straightening almost right away. He almost seemed panicked for a bit, but calm down when his hand touched the book by his side. He had fallen asleep reading, the warmth of the fire having kept him from getting cold. “Thank the Creators…” He whispered to himself, getting himself up and ready for the day.

Vordan was rummaging through his things when he turned his head towards the sound of some people training. It wasn’t Elrithos or Setna… He was curious and looked towards what was happening. Aaerynn and Tirian were sparring… Or so it seemed. What he saw was more of a dance. It seemed very odd for a moment, taking his attention. He looked at them in wonder, wanting to understand. He then felt a tap in the back. He turned for a second to check.

“Elrithos? You know w-“ Vordan was gonna complete, but the desert elf interrupted him with a gentle voice.

“Quel'Dalanosh, Vordan. It’s an art per say, a dance, a warm-up. Call it what you want, but part of the northern elves use these for various reasons. I know some of the forms, but I couldn’t follow one of a wood elf.” Elrithos was also admiring the work. He had seen this performed before, when he visited the Northern elves a few years ago. The Southern elves had their own style of it. Vordan looked at the unfolding with a smile.

“It is amazing…” He simply said, waiting for it to finish. The two stood there and watched until the end. Then came the comment from Lucille, which surprised Elrithos and shocked Vordan. The two of them looked at each other before looking back at the scene. It was something Aaerynn didn’t need to hear and Vordan was almost infuriated by it. Why, in the celestial, would she do that? Elrithos was quite passive about it, though his eyes followed the light haired girl. It intrigued him why she was so cocky about it. He then turned back to Vordan who seemed to want to go confront the girl. Elrithos grabbed his arm.

“Leave it be Vordan… There is no point…. Aaerynn will suffer her Rot for now.” Elrithos said as he let him go and went to get himself all geared up. Vordan didn’t understand why Elrithos intervened like he did. It was actually surprising coming from the desert elf. He would follow his advice and not intervene with what just happened. Instead, he got himself ready and also rearranged his potions on his belt and the stuff in his bag…He had realized something after that. He mentioned the Rot. He knew something about it?

Elrithos, once geared up, made his way to the carts and started reattaching the weapons. He wouldn’t need anything along the road for now anyway. He had taken notice of Setna training with Tirian in hand to hand combat. It was something Elrithos knew well, but not in the same style, especially not one on one. But it would give the young man some defenses if he found himself unarmed. The only thing was… Elrithos still was worried about that red-haired warrior. He still couldn’t get over what had happened with the bandits. Killed so brutally… He sighed, not wanting to think about it. He watched for a moment and was glad to see the quick progress of the young man. He would become a strong warrior, Elrithos believed it. With that, he went back to getting ready for the day.
Hidden 8 yrs ago Post by Monstah
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Monstah

Member Offline since relaunch

Lillith had enjoyed enough of the fire, moving backwards to her supplies and quickly laid her head to rest on the small satchel she had carried with her on the journey. Her eyes shut and just like a light the peaceful female had found herself in a deep sleep. The night passed on with no interruptions and the morning came quietly. Lillith was the last to awaken her rested body, stretching out with dirt covering her hair and face from rolling around on the ground in her sleep. Tiny hands quickly knocked away the dust as her body final raised up from the solid ground.

The first thing Lillith noticed was the sound of metal clanking together, her eyes quickly found the origin of the sounds, and to her amazement it was the beautiful wood elf and the red-haired prince Tirian. The quiet girl did not know of their art, though anyone could tell it was a beautiful dance. The agility displayed by the wood elf was impressive and the quick reactions from Tirian were just as impressive. As the dance ended Lillith clapped audibly only to stop as the words from the smug girl from last night hit their ears. Lillith wasted no emotions on the drama created by Lucille, simply shaking her head in disgust and walked back to carts.
Hidden 8 yrs ago Post by LastCinder
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LastCinder

Member Seen 7 yrs ago

Besides the commotion of the early morning, the caravan took off without a hitch. Aaerynn had taken the same place as before, sitting within Rudolf’s cart and listening to the clack of the wheels and the creak of the stressed wood. Absentmindedly, the wood elf played with Kai’s fur, who had squirmed his head into her lap, and her eyes kept watch along the tree line. She looked content and silent but her mind was a flurry of nonstop thoughts. She couldn’t get over the morning, which was absolutely pathetic. It upset her that a little girl’s words could impact her so deeply. It had just come at the wrong time. She had felt good for once in a century, and of course one thing came to ruin it for her. The wood elf was more upset at herself than she was of the smug little brat.

Aaerynn grit her teeth, before leaning back against the rigid railing of the cart. She looked up at the pale blue sky and took a deep breath, willing herself to calm down. She decided to preoccupy herself and stuck a hand into her bag to grab her dagger and the vial she had placed the dried purple flakes in. But instead her fingers brushed against a curved glass bottle and an eyebrow quirked as she lifted it out. It was the bottle that Lysander had given her and upon further inspection, it wasn’t glass at all. It was a phial made of crystal. In all honestly it looked like something perfume would be held in with its decorative stopper, and designs that had been welded throughout it. She opened it, out of curiosity, but was disappointed to find it empty. The wood elf frowned at it. What was the point of it? Lysander had said it was to remind her of her family, and with that thought she nearly pitched it over the side of the cart. Something stopped her though, and the elf cupped it in her hands.

She hadn’t truly given much thought to her run in with her elder brother. It was strange to her that he hadn’t seemed to change at all. But elves were like that, unchanging. They seemed to be constantly stuck in their age and stuck in their ways. They weren’t like humans who seemed to constantly change, growing and aging so fast. Aaerynn pursed her lips as she held the delicate vial. So was it useless? Was it pointless to try and get better?

A frown slowly graced her lips before she closed her eyes and shook her head. Lysander would have called her a coward again. After a pause, the wood elf opened her eyes and gently placed the crystal phial back into her bag.

“I heard the bit of commotion this morning.” Rudolf’s voice suddenly invaded the elf’s thoughts and her ears pricked up to hear him.

“Mmm…” Aaerynn answered him with a mumble, trying not to foul her mood even more.

“I wouldn’t take it personally. Girl seems a bit too direct if ye ask me.” Rudolf took a peek at her before shifting his reins. “Practically gave me an interrogation about joining. She found out about it through Tirian, so he must have seen something in her.”

Aaerynn watched the back of the dwarf’s head before her gaze lingered over to the little pink haired girl. Strange.
The caravan had started off rather quietly. Setna had convinced his sister to rest on one of the carts as he walked beside it. But eventually his thoughts drifted towards his training and his sword. His curiosity had finally peaked and he ran ahead to Vordan. "Hey Vordan." He called out to the mercenary to grab his attention and then unsheathed his blade.

"You were the one to unlock this, and I had some questions about it." The boy held the blade up to the sunlight, glancing at the symbols engraved on it, before turning it to show the mercenary. "Elrithos said that these are Dark Elf symbols, and he told me to ask you more about it. Do you mind?"

The boy tilted his head a bit, a curious expression on his face. "I don't really know anything about it...to be honest."

Vordan lifted his head from the book he was reading that had his old project he had yet to finish. Oddly enough, it was Setna that called for him and came by to the cart he was sitting in. As he came forth, Vordan set aside his book with his things and stood out of the cart, wondering what the young man wanted. When he drew the blade, it became pretty clear what he wished to talk about, but would let him speak.

He showed the bladed and said he had some questions about it. It was weird for the young man not to know what it did. So, he looked at the blade a moment and then walked along with him as the cart went forth. “Well, Setna, it’s a Syndarean Battle Blade. A weapon only found in Syndarea and typically only used during the time of the Dark Emperor. Dark Elves and Syndarean blacksmiths would combine their efforts to enhance the blades capabilities the symbols are words that represent it’s effect and the binding of the magic to its blade.” Vordan was speaking very casually about, as he knew very well what this item was. He looked over to the young man once more.

“its main property is that it cuts through magic like a hot knife cutting through butter. Hence why you killed the other Syndarean without too much effort. That blade would just run through like nothing for those barriers. It can also project a barrier itself. A pretty nifty tool used by the soldiers who could not use Syndarean magic.”

"I see." The boy looked at the blade for a long while before sheathing it once more. Eventually he began to frown as he thought it over. He vaguely remembered his father talking about it, how it was passed down the generations and how it was always given to the men of the family. His father had always been the type to lecture though, so usually Setna would end up tuning him out, for the sake of his sanity. He was beginning to wish he had listened more often, especially now, when the chances of seeing his father again was a big fat zero. Although most of it wouldn't have mattered, the Syndareans never talked of the war. The fact that his father was even able to hold onto the blade and keep it in pristine shape was a bit strange, when he thought about it. It wasn't like it mattered anymore though. It was a tool with a very helpful ability and he was going to put it to use, no matter its history.

But the mention of killing the executioner, was still a bit of a sore subject. He hadn't even told Serna about it, and the sudden memory of it made him turn somber. The boy shifted his weight a bit before looking back up to the mercenary. "Thanks for telling me."

Vordan looked upon the young man, wondering what he could be thinking of. This was some information he was unaware of and usually seemed pretty impressed with new things. Right now, he showed nothing of it. It wasn’t an insult to him, but it made him think that the blade had some history or odd value to the young boy. He wouldn’t ask him for now, but he certainly would want to know if they altered anything on it. The symbols looked like the ones they typically put on those blades, so there was nothing he needed to worry about yet.

He smiled and nodded back to the young man. “Please. It’s your weapon. You should know what it does… Oh, and as a sign of warning, only Syndareans can wield these blades without suffering a hidden kickback these blades have. They suck the energy of anyone without Syndarean blood… Which is why my pathetic state was worse in the alley.” Not many people knew about his one, because the blades were so rare to find now. “But hey, if you have any kind of question on magic, I know my fair share of secrets.”

Setna nodded before rubbing the back of his head and giving the mercenary a lopsided grin. “Yeah…my dad knew a lot about it. I’m sure he probably told me most of it, but I wasn’t the best listener. Back then, I didn’t really see the importance of an old sword.”

The boy looked down, his hand still on the back of his head as he seemed frozen in thought. Finally he looked back up. “I’ll be sure to come to you with any other questions, I really appreciate it.”

He nodded his head gratefully before running off back to his twin.
Aaerynn had shifted around a bit as the hours went by and she focused on different tasks to keep her rot at bay. Her head picked up though as the caravan began to head into a small settlement. The wood elf picked herself up a bit as she looked around. It seemed that it was new. Houses were still being built, and the most surprising sight was that dwarves and humans were working together. The whole settlement smelt like wood and saw dust.

Rudolf seemed just as surprised as she was. “This wasn’t here last year. To think a town like this could suddenly take bloom so quickly.”

Aaerynn looked around and watched as the town’s people noticed them. Many of them waved, and curiously came around to see the caravan as a whole. Children laughed as they attempted to run along with the oxen. Others welcomed them, and gave a hollering “Good day!”

It wasn’t until an older dwarf suddenly broke through the crowd that Rudolf pulled to a stop. The dwarf raised his arms up to Rudolf’s cart. “Is that my good cousin Kirtschein!?”

“Varic!?”

The balding dwarf jumped off his cart and proceeded to complete some type of greeting ritual that made Aaerynn turn away from sheer second hand embarrassment.

In a matter of minutes the two were talking at the speed of light. Aaerynn frowned as she tried to understand them. Rudolf explained where they were heading, while Varic informed him that the dwarves had found a great ore deposit close by and have been working closely with a group of human miners in order to excavate it. It’s the first time the races have worked together so closely since the war. The deposit is large enough that it’ll keep everyone busy for years, and thus the settlement was under works.
Varic of course offered them a place to stay, and Rudolf looked back to his group with a large cheesy smile and said, “We’ll stop here for the night everyone! A nice place to relax before we hit the mountain pass!”

Aaerynn frowned as she jumped off the cart with Kai at her heels. Something about this place irked the wood elf and she looked up toward the mountains.

No, something didn’t sit right with her at all.
Varic’s voice broke out to the group, forcing Aaerynn to look back as he called. “Come come! We’ll get you all something to eat and a place to rest!”

Setna looked around the happy town, unable to hold his own smile back. The houses were cute and small, and he watched as little kids played and helped their parents with chores. It was a really nice place. He turned to his sister, about to comment on it to her, when he noticed that she had gotten noticeably pale. Her lips were brought into a small frown and her eyes were wide and frantic as she looked over the little settlement. "Serie...you alright?" Setna finally asked her, and the girl looked up at him as if she was broken out of her thoughts.

"Yes! Um...I'll be right back." The girl clambered off the cart as she spoke and like that she was off, leaving her brother with another confused expression and raised eyebrow.

Serna quickly found her way towards the towering red head, and as she came upon him, her small hands grabbed at his cloak for his attention. "T-Tirian...it's...it's.."

Tirian's muscles felt alive as the journey forward continued on. The air was brisk even as the sun belted down upon the land without the slightest cloud to block it. His injuries from the previous days’ nightmare seemed to be just that, a dream. His body had been healed and energized from the last week of peace and it would seem that peace would continue as the caravan came upon a settlement just outside of the mountains. At a first glance Tirian did not noticed any similarities between this town and the one from his nightmare the previous day. However as Serna came running over to the red-haired prince it dawned on him. This was one and the same as the town from the dream. Tirian gently grabbed the Syndarean’s tiny hands with a firm grasp and simply smiled as his words came out as a whisper.

“It seems like that dream was real. Just keep your eye out for anything unordinary. Everything will be fine. I promise.”

Serna's small hands shook in his larger ones. She nodded though as she tried to calm herself down. She looked up at him with her large eyes. "W-We should t-tell, shouldn't w-we?"

The young woman looked around the settlement, completely unnerved. Now it looked happy and busy, but during that dream state all of the houses had looked caved in. It was strange looking at them now, now that they weren't dilapidated and falling apart. The girl shook her head, trying to wash away the memories of that night.

Tirian’s answer came firm.

“No. Absolutely not. Wait for something to show itself otherwise we look like crazy people. Ok? Play it cool and do your best to enjoy what we have.”

Serna nodded, but she couldn’t help the frown that filled her face. It didn’t feel right.
After everyone was settled, the group was led into the largest building of the town. It was a giant hall, kind of like a mead hall if Aaerynn were to guess. It was long and large, filled with wooden tables and benches.

“We don’t have an inn yet! But we’ll bring in some cots and blankets for you all to sleep in. It’s rare for us to get some visitors!” Varic said and Aaerynn peeked over to the corner to see some of the women folk already unfolding cots and piling blankets. She had to say that at least it would be better than sleeping on the ground again.

The two dwarfs led them over to some wooden tables to sit down, and the wood elf watched as Varic beckoned to some ladies about food and drink. Eventually a young woman came around to ask each one about drinks and Aaerynn paused as the young woman came to her with a smile and a tilt of her head. “Would you like something to drink?”

“Wine, please. Red would be preferred if you have it.” Aaerynn finally answered, hoping that a bit of alcohol would help loosen her up and let her shake off the feeling that she was forgetting something.

Rudolf and Varic immediately began conversing about this and that, answering questions and filling in everyone about the small settlement. Aaerynn leaned her chin on her hand as she tuned them out through sheer boredom. But that’s when the doors opened to reveal a large group of males covered in soot and dirt. Seemed like the miners were done with their day’s work. They filled up tables and that’s when the wood elf noticed that the hall was also used to feed all the men as well. Not a bad set up when she thought about it, and it was interesting to see men and dwarves getting along so well.

That is until she noticed a group of younger men looking at their table with interest, well, more like giggling like children. She didn’t blame them of course, the group certainly looked like a rag tag team of strangers, a mix of elves, a dwarf, and different types of humans. But as she observed them, another observation became clear. With the men returning back from mining, it was becoming quite obvious that the men outnumbered the women. All the women were married or mothers, and it had probably been awhile since they got to see single young women. Their chance of getting their own wives was probably based on snagging a traveler.

Oh, great.

She watched them out of the corner of her eye and then looked around at the group. Who would be the first target? She ruled herself out, since short hair would at least make them second guess if she were a male or female elf. Let’s see, Serna would be out too, tucked between Setna and Tirian, it wouldn’t be likely that anyone would be able to sneak in there. The pinked hair one…..she didn’t give a rat’s ass. In fact hopefully they would latch onto her, and then all problems would be solved. But if she was being honest, Lillith would probably be the best guess. Quiet and elegant, she was an exotic beauty that would surely turn heads. Her bet would be placed on the silver haired beaut.

An arm suddenly came down on the table top beside her and a male voice piped up. “Mind if we sit with you lot?”

Aaerynn turned her head to see the miners already crowding around the free space of the table. Fuck. Really? All inclination of fate and luck were obviously against her today.

A man sat flush beside her and smiled wide. He was large and muscle-bound, the perfect body type for his occupation. He looked over the group, a grin still on his face. “It’s rare for strangers to stop by! Where you all off to?”

Aaerynn grimaced as the man leaned against her to get a good look of the group as a whole. Placing her arm on the man’s shoulder, she forced him back a bit. “The next continent.” She answered for the rest.

The man lit up as he noticed her, well not really her, more like noticed her chest and then her face. Gods, human men were so predictable and simple. If she felt like it, she would con every single one of them for extra money in her bag. But she just wasn’t in the mood for it. The whole day had been shitty, she just wanted some wine and to be left the hell alone.

“The next continent, really? Well we’re honored to have you then! This is the new Bresbin!”

Aaerynn suddenly stiffened at the name, her eyes widening.

The man nudged her and gave her a cocky grin as he boasted. “You know, it was my ancestor that really found the ore!”

“Oh not this story again!” Varic’s voice called out to him but the man just leaned closer to Aaerynn.

“You know, my great-great grandfather was the greatest leader that old Bresbin ever had! He was the one that found the ore deposits and knew he could make a huge profit for the whole town. He thought it was best to keep it a secret for the safety of everyone though. But old Cromerth got wind of it, and thought Bresbin was up to no good.” He leaned closer to Aaerynn to create dramatic effect but the wood elf only tightened up. Her hands bunched up into fists on her lap.

“Cromerth rallied up their farmers and boys and some say they even paid mercenaries to come and burn down all of Bresbin. My great-great grandfather William Rand fought for his life! He downed twenty three men by himself!" At this point he stood, placing his foot on the table as he held up his fist. "Sadly the town was lost, but thanks to my grandfather’s hard work he was able to escape with his knowledge, never allowing it to fall into Cromerth’s hands!”

Now he slunk down again, and slung his arm around Aaerynn as if he had just won her over. The wood elf however had stiffened up completely. Her head had been down during the story and she finally looked up. Although her cold eyes were not what the miner expected. “Do you honestly believe that idiotic story?”

Her voice was cold and the man raised his eyebrow. Aaerynn suddenly stood slamming her hands on the table. “You truly believe that’s why Bresbin fell? Unbelievable!”

“Let me tell you something.” She pointed her finger at him accusingly. She was absolutely infuriated after listening to that bullshit. “Bresbin was run by idiotic morons who believed they knew how to run a town. They couldn’t even figure how to keep themselves alive! They didn’t even know how they kept fields fertilized and rich, and they wouldn’t ask for help! It had nothing to do with fucking ore. It was because Cromerth was succeeding as a farming community and Bresbin was failing. It was old Bresbin that attacked Cromerth for their land! They pillaged, assaulted and attempted to burn and kill everyone. They thought it was their best option, to take other people's land over completely because they were so fucking stupid they couldn’t figure out how to live on their own! It didn’t matter if they hurt men, women or even children! Cromerth retaliated in order to defend themselves from this moronic town.Innocent people died and suffered just trying to save their families and defend themselves...”

Aaerynn was livid, completely fuming as she breathed hard, composing herself. “And I knew William Rand, and let me tell you something else. He was a fat, cowardly, son of a bitch who didn’t care about anyone else. The only reason he survived was because he fled! He didn’t fight anyone! He ran away and left his people to suffer! He was so fucking stupid he couldn’t tell his mouth from his ass!”

The wood elf reached out and the miner flinched, but Aaerynn only brushed off some dirt from his frock. Her voice suddenly became sweet and gentle as wind chimes, as she ended with, “So next time you decide to tell a twisted version of history, I suggest you ask the 280 year old elf if she knows of it, or better yet, if she was there. That way, instead….” She brought him in closer, her voice turning icy. “You can fuck off properly.”

She was done. She was absolutely done with this entire day. Now she knew why it had felt wrong to be here. Now she knew exactly why it was making her sick. Memories of that night were burning beneath her eyelids, and Aaerynn finally shoved off and away from the table. She held up her hand to Rudolf as she passed by him, her voice turned back to its usual softness, “I’m sorry… I’m getting some fresh air.”

The wood elf plucked the bottle of wine from the young waitress’s arms with a mumbled thanks before heading out into the evening air.

The miner just stood there with a slacked jaw and wide eyes. His buddies behind him didn’t give him any mercy as they immediately burst out laughing. Even Varic who sat beside Rudolf couldn’t help a slight smile as he looked back. “Good. Now he won’t tell that bloody story anymore.”
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