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3 yrs ago
So tired, sleep why do you spurn me?!
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Bio

Hiya, AChronum here! Although I'm relatively new to rping, I have plenty of writing experience and love trying new genres and styles. I absolutely love high magic fantasy RPs and am pretty much willing to do anything so long as I can create a charaxter, not play an existing one, and develop lots and lots of backstory! I'm perfectly comfortable with all mature themes as well, although smut for smut's sake is out of the question.

Interested in an RP? Send me a PM and have a magically marvelous day!

Most Recent Posts

James Kingston




Location: The Mutant Underground (Stairs to Floor 2)
Skills: N/A





James sighed as he paused on the stairs. He could feel the exhaustion seeping into his muscles as he stood there. How many people had he healed today? If someone else needed anything more than a patch up, he might honestly pass out. His stomach grumbled and he frowned at it. Healing powers may be great but they relied on his own reserves too and 16 children plus a beaten up Jack and nearly dead Casper was a lot to handle. He felt his legs wobble a little and decided very quickly he should probably take a break before gravity demanded it. He sat down on the steps to watch the interrogation of their attackers.

Just in time to see Max burst through the doors and his eyebrows shot up. He wouldn’t claim to know Max well but he hadn’t seen anger on his before. It was weird; he’d only ever seen embarrassment or… well, mostly embarrassment on him considering he did burn down a building. Pride maybe? Definitely vanity. But anger seemed out of place for him. “Those two,” James jerked his head over at the unconscious girl and Vulcan, “Showed up outta nowhere and started blasting away. There was also a Purifier attack at the same time down in the Morlock tunnels. We’ve just been getting people back on their feet.” James explained, the weariness creeping into his voice even as he tried to battle it back.





Requiem




Location: The Hellfire Club
Skills: N/A





“Nothing you need to be concerned with. Just follow along.” Requiem replied as they waited for the elevator. He mostly ignored inx’s rambling; the boy was likely still hyper from their encounter with the misfits and needed to let off steam but he did pull Requiem’s attention to their newest… ally. Considering her connection to Frost, it was likely she was more of a leash than anything else. She was useful, he supposed, although he wasn’t impressed with the girl’s performance. She managed to convert one of the most useless members of their little band of renegades, put out some fire, and get herself impaled. Oh and she tossed the thief nearly out the window,he should credit her that. Too bad she failed the follow through.

“She does remind me of Ms. Frost.” With all her inherent weaknesses. Arrogant and reckless, eager to prove herself better than those around her with little regard to her own position. Requiem chuckled quietly to himself. She’ll learn soon enough that often times circumstances entirely unrelated to her are what cause her usefulness to change. Too often do soldiers forget they are disposable and Requiem firmly believed the Kings and Queens saw themselves as the only irreplaceable pieces to their plots. Even a queen loses interest in her favorites if better circumstances appear.


Kajin’s heels bounced off the seat of the carriage as he finished his last crumpet. Getting into the wheeled box was a blur, his focus singularly on the horned child. A ruckus of books hitting the ground had pulled his attention away long enough to send a glare the girl’s way. Books didn’t just grow on trees! It took hours upon hours upon hours of painstaking penmanship to produce them and someone had the audacity to toss them around like gil on the blood sands! He had half a mind to stomp over to her but he decided against it. If they were going to be working in close proximity for the foreseeable future, it wouldn’t do to start anything so quickly. So he held his tongue and followed the rest of the group as they were ushered into the carriage, making sure to seat himself as close to the Padjal as he could.

He needed to be respectful and polite, ask questions approperitaley and respect boundaries but at the same time he wanted to know. He licked the remaining butter off his fingers, practically vibrating with the need to bombard the child with questions, but he had some semblance of self con--


"It's the horns, isn't it? Are those the secret to the timeless deal?" The question burst out, definitely meant to be a thought but the Lalafell and his curiosity had never been one to respect the situation. "Thall’s balls, that was meant to stay private. Kajin Najin, aetheric evaluator for Azyma's Eyes. I've just never seen a Padjal outside of the twelveswood, or at all for that matter, and I'm dying to know what stories are true!"

“Hmmm?” the Padjal mused aloud. He turned his head, instinctively looking up for the source of the voice that had spoken, as though expecting to find a Hyur or Elezen there. Instead, he found that he had to look down -- which was a strange experience for him -- and discovered a Lalafell who seemed quite taken with him.

Placing a hand over his heart, the boy gave a slight bow toward the diminutive figure.
“E-Siri-Rai of the timeless horn,” the child supplied in introduction, making light jest.

Then he paused a moment, reaching up both hands to gentle touch the horns on either side of his head as though checking that they were still there.
“Though, to be honest, I’m not sure these are good for much more than destroying many a good pillow,” the youth commented wryly, before looking down and adding, “Also, making it rather hard to get comfortable. It’s not easy to just flip over when you spear the bed every time you turn your head.”

Kajin couldn’t help the laughter that burst out, folding in half in the seat as he giggled. He hadn’t contemplated the difficulty the horns presented. He just assumed they adapted to them somehow but it made sense that laying down would be a struggle. However, he was more surprised at the joke. The Pagjals, despite their child-like stature, always seemed aloof in the stories he heard and yet here was one, cracking jokes with a stranger. Admitly, here was one presenting the perfect counter argument to the Lalfell’s assuptions.

“Delightful!” Kajin wiped the tears gathering at the corners of his eyes as he caught his breath. His heels resumed their steady thunking against the carraige’s seating. “I hadn’t considered the challenges unwieldy additions presented but I guess that would be a frustration. Simple blessing for me and I’m not below taking it. So E-Siri-Rai, two questions. One, is there a short version cause that’s a mouthful. Two, are you truly unaffected by time?” Kajin counted his questions on his fingers as he asked, leaning forward with curious eyes.

The young Padjal gave a slight smile, seeing that the jest seemed to have landed its mark and somewhat satisfied by that fact.
“E-Siri’s my name, if that’s what your asking,” the boy remarked in answer. “Rai is the family that I was born into. Padjal don’t often come from our lot though, so we’re not as well known in Gridania as the Senna or Yan.”

The second part of that gave the boy pause to consider just how to answer. “No one’s unaffected by time. It’s passage denotes a loss, a change, a passage to each of us. Some just don’t manifest it the same as others,” the Seedseer offered, somewhat musing to himself as he contemplated that. But, it seemed about as good an answer as any. “Will I grow up as you did? No. But, I am capable of learning and that’s a change of a sort, isn’t it?”

"E-Siri, okay. Nice to meet you." Kajin beamed but cocked his head at the answer to his second question. While the answer was correct, it wasn't the response he was looking for but that was entirely his own fault. "It is a change, for better or for worse, but will you pass away of old age like me? If some bumbling, wine-sodden brute doesn't crush me first that is." The last part was a grumble as he recalled the tavern incident but he shook it off as quickly as it came, a contemplative look taking the scowl's place.

"I couldn't even imagine the responsibility that comes with life longer than what the twelve gave me." Kajin spoke slowly, looking at the ceiling. "The knowledge you would gain, the things you could advance."

The boy just blinked as he looked down at the Lalafell fellow. Then the boy gave a warm laugh. “Everything that has a beginning, has an end,” the boy offered, by way of a somewhat cryptic explanation. “Death is what gives life meaning. Some of us just live longer than others, be they wine-sodden brutes or Padjali. In this way, what we hope to advance is a better of understanding of how man and nature co-exist.”

“I think I disagree with that point but I don’t think I have enough of an understanding to say why.” Kajin frowned at the statement. It just seemed weird, that for something to have meaning that it must be finite. A rope, regardless of length, was a useful tool and likely doubly so if it never ended but he’d never had an endless amount of rope so maybe it wasn’t useful and was only useful if you cut it into segments and… Kajin clicked his tongue to break that chain of thought before he stuck himself in it and developed a nasty head pain.

“I’ll leave the philosophizing in better hands.” The Lalafell chuckled. “So E-Siri, what brought you to this little group? It’s a far way from the Black Shroud.” Kajin watched the blazing blue Thanalan sky beat down in sandy roads, cactars playing in what flora managed to find purchase in the thin soil.

“Curiosity about the world in which the Shroud exists,” the boy answered simply. There was far more to it, but the easy answer seemed the better option, particularly for the the sake of making conversation. “And yourself?”

The boy paused there a moment, before continuing, “I’ll admit that I’m not well acquainted with Lalafell. Your name is Kajin Najin. Do I say the whole thing, or just Kajin?”

"Kajin works just fine. It's the short version, makes it easier for non-dunesfolk to say it." The Lalafell shrugged, offering a half smile with the information. "I joined Ayzema's Eyes to help settle the world and my brother stuck me on desk duty even though I have the skills to be an assessor. I got bored after three years, saw the flyer, and went behind his back to get transferred out of scribe work. So now I'm here, free to travel. So long as I do my job along the way."

As the Lalafell spoke, a noise from another part of the carriage caught the Padjal’s attention. Turning his head away just a moment, the horned child looked over where two Miqo’te had been speaking quietly. Which, appeared to have moved on to one beating a tambourine. And, from there, the singing started.

Turning back toward his similarly diminutive new friend, the Padjal had to raise his voice just a bit to be heard over the Limsan revelry that was happening in the carriage.
“It sounds like we may be in similar circumstances,” the Padjal noted aloud. “Though, I admit that I’m not very familiar with Ayzema’s Eyes. It is the name of the guild that you represent?”

Kajin looked on with confusion as one of the Miqo’te started a beat and grinned as they started singing. His heels bounced against the seat in time with the music, turning his attention back to E-Siri. “Although I’m not 100% sure how its handled in the other city states, Ayzema’s Eyes’ Thanalan branch is under the supervision of the Thaumaturge’s Guild in Ul’dah. We record and monitor the aetheric condition of Eorzea. As we see stable trends among the regions, we’ll push forward to develop possible counters to severe aetheric imbalance. It relies heavily on aetheric sensitive individuals, although I think the higher ups are developing possible alternatives. We have monitoring stations across Eorzea and use members like me to wander and confirm the station’s observations.”

“Fascinating,” the boy remarked. It seemed that in Thanalan he had found an organization whose appreciation for the scope and depth of the elemental reach ran parallel to his own. “I’d be curious to look at your data for Gridania to see if your observations don’t match my own,” the child offered candidly. “Of late, we’ve observed a recurring elemental disturbance in the South Shroud. I’d be curious if there wasn’t some kind of mild imbalance somewhere in Eastern Thanalan that didn’t correspond.”

"A disturbance out of the South Shroud?” Kajin frowned at the comment. He didn’t personally know what the Padjal was talking about but if the Eyes observed a similar phenomena, there were a few stations that came to mind. “I’ll requisition a copy of the Golden Baazar’s records and cross reference them with your observations. Hopefully, that’ll give us a clearer indicator of the stressor. However, I think you’ll find your knowledge far suprasses our own. With the Calamity making a right mess of the aether, our early data only reflects the correction process so it may take some work to extrapolate the imbalance but I’m sure if we put our heads together, we’ll figure it out!”

Aster Damien Luxiel

Location: Wyandotte County Lake Park
Skills: N/A




“Yeah, yeah, yeah. I got it, I got it.” Aster stood from his spot next to the fire, grabbing his bow and shaking out the stiffness from his legs after sitting so long. He headed over to where his equipment lay, grabbing his bow and gesturing at his own tent. “You can hang out in mine for now. No dirty feet or shoes inside so clean your feet off in the river if you need to. And if you fuck it up, you’re cleaning it, not me.” Aster instructed as he sauntered back to the fire. He poked at it, adding a bit more fuel as he did, and returned his attention to the woods around them.

The woods. He sighed, missing the noise and the energy of the city. The only “energy” out here were bugs. Lots and lots of bugs. Aster grumbled as he applied a fresh coat of the foul smelling spray. There would be hell to pay if he found a single damn bug bite on himself after this. He worked too hard for some third rate garbage spray to fuck it all up now. He pulled out his phone, opening his to-do list, and added Research Bug Repellants under Subscribe to New Fashion Magazines and Develop New Routine for Class. Aster tucked his phone away and returned to his job, settling in for a long night.


“M-me?” The girl asked in apparent disbelief, looking around her to see if there was someone else the adventurer could be speaking with. After a few moments, Nanlia turned back to Cecelia. “I need to gather Java root for my brother… He’s sick so he can’t go out right now but we need the money. There’s so many beasts out there though, I’ll get eaten up! Can you come with me and fight off anything that comes around? I’ll give you a cut of the pay.” The girl asked, hope practically radiating from her.

Quest: Into the Woods
Escort Nanlia into the woods to gather java roots and defend her from attacks.

Rewards: XP, Renn
Accept Quest?
Y / N


Meanwhile...

The shrine dedicated to the Goddess Morrigan was easily spotted, a black, red, and white standard sitting out front an unassuming building. On the front, a three faced mask was surrounded by a circle of blood on a white field. A figure, Grisham the Purifier Trainer, in full plate crashed his fist against his chest in salute to several passersby. Soft chanting floated out from inside and an older woman stepped outside, full plate and a longsword at her side shining brightly, to take the Purifier’s place. Wilka the Battle Cleric Trainer hovered above her head as she waved politely to a few children playing in the market.



Location: Human Resistance HQ, New York, New York
Skills: N/A





James felt himself relax, tension he wasn’t aware of seeping out of his muscles and leaking a faint ache behind. Apparently, everything had overwhelmed him more than a little but hearing that Casper was alive and still remembered him and still cared for him if the message was anything to go by. He couldn’t help the smile that played across his face, probably dopier than he cared for, but it was so good hearing that come from his boyfriend that he didn’t bother hiding the relief. Even if the cute idiot was playing around in a S.H.I.E.L.D base. What else would his boyfriend be doing but finding the most dangerous, crazy thing he could do and jump into it head first? He couldn’t hold back a quiet laugh and shook his head fondly at the thought.

James looked up as the stealth team came in and noted Klara led it. He wasn’t particularly attached to the woman but he was glad she made it out nevertheless. She didn’t deserve to die. None of those people did. He refocused on Reed as she explained what she knew, processing the information. An infinity stone cause that craziness in New York? He didn’t know a lot, only that aliens and the avengers were going at it, but that seemed incredible. No wonder S.H.I.E.L.D. wanted to keep an eye on them. He cocked his head to the side as the gears in his head started turning.

“Wait a moment. So my boyfriend is pinging near the X-Men while he so happens to be in a S.H.I.E.L.D. facility looking for a stone with the power to start wars with alien races while we’re all waking up to realize this is an alternate reality.” James spoke slowly, organizing his thoughts as he did. “One of the stones is called the Reality stone, Cassandra? Or wait. Should I stick to last names? I think that’s what I used to do but it’s kinda weird? You know, I’ll stick with Reed until you say otherwise. Why doesn’t everyone just use first names? It’s the code name crap all over again. Anyways, would this Reality stone have the power to fix our reality? I’m not really sure how powerful these things are but it can’t be a coincidence that S.H.I.E.L.D. has at least one of them and the regime they work for is responsible for this crap situation. And don’t think we aren’t discussing that little pity parade you had.” James’ attention jumped back to Max, slipping his arm around his shoulders. “This is your last call and then call it a night dude. You’ll wear yourself out faster than I do putting the Underground back in one piece.”
James Kingston




Location: The Mutant Underground (Floor 1)
Skills: N/A





“We’ll get you all somewhere safer than here.” James didn’t hesitate to give out hugs and encouraging words as he could. They were only kids, they deserve someone to hold them up. He thought about his own childhood, a mutation that could go unnoticed and it had. He’d had a normal life, full of normal issues, full of normal promises, and he gave it all up to heal some poor kids after a completely unknown attack. He felt a little angry with himself for throwing it all away. He would have had a job and been above all this mess. He could have lived a normal life for as long as he could. But he only felt like that for a second, after the fifth, sixth kid he patched up, and shame lanced through him at the idea so he pushed that away again. He focused on the filming girl with a weary shake of his head.

“Everyone is in working order but would you two,” James spoke softly as he rubbed the back of one of the crying children, nodding between Cayden and Feedback. “Would you two help find their stuff if they have any? And maybe let’s get them away from you know who? I still have to get upstairs and see what the damage is there.” James stood, his legs trembling a bit as he bit back a curse. He’d done a lot already today and he knew he was overexerting himself. He just had to keep moving. As long as he kept moving, he’d be okay. Just keep swimming, just keep swimming. “Everyone, this is Cayden and Feedback. They’re going to help you for now. Cayden’s super strong and Feedback can…” James paused for a second. He wasn’t 100% sure what she could do but she did pick up messages from something so he’d run with that. “Can hear danger coming so you’ll all be safe with them for now. I know everything is scary but right now, we need you to make sure you’re ready to go. Can you guys do that? Get what you have, Cayden and Feedback will help, and stand with them until everyone is back?” James gave them all a smile, murmured a quiet thanks to the other two, and made his way upstairs to continue his work.





Requiem




Location: The Hellfire Club
Skills: N/A





Requiem waited as Jinx cooled down his hands, rolling his eyes at the boy’s inability to take care of himself. They boy did have a point; Shaw was another type of menace to handle but the girl came looking for him specifically. His own niece sneaking unauthorized personnel into the Hell Fire’s headquarters and causing a ruckus. Requiem sighed and rubbed the bridge of his nose. It was a wonder these people got anything done. As powerful as they may be, turning on each other was only a waste of their resources. Requiem shrugged off the annoyance. They saddled him with this child, whats dancing between four more?

“Then lets be on our way.” Requiem responded, grabbing his briefcase and making his way to the elevator. “The girl mentioned her Uncle so we’re going to ask him where she is. Our first priority is to recover that data. They have time on their side and he’s the most direct line. We’ll head over to his beloved yacht; we’ll likely find him indulging in his hedonistic tendencies.”
James Kingston




Location: Human Resistance HQ, New York, New York
Skills: N/A





James only shrugged in response. The plan wasn’t meant to kill so clearly the finer points got swallowed up by the single focus these people had. It seemed everywhere he turned, these people couldn’t handle more than a single objective but so be it. James made his way over to Max and slid down to the floor next to him. The exhaustion of healing so much was creeping up on him now that everything slowed down for a moment. James nudged the other man with his shoulder and chuckled. “Out of the frying pan and into the fire, huh? Christ this is one shitty situation.” James shook his head with grim humor.

“What exactly determined all this nonsense?” James asked quietly. James didn’t want to reflect on everything that had happened in this life, not with an objective so close at hand so in typical James fashion, he shut those emotions down real quick. That would be something to focus on later when he had time to unpack all those things. Maybe he wouldn’t have time until they fixed it and then hopefully he could forget all of it. Hopefully, he’d forget all of it.

Aster Damien Luxiel

Location: Wyandotte County Lake Park
Skills: N/A




Aster laughed every time Jackson hit the ground, giving the new kid a rousing round of applause for the recovery and the amazing transformation. Watching Jackson hit the ground time after time was music to his ears and Aster made no effort to disguise that. “Aw, what would dear old daddy say if he knew his little kid was pouting over fair? Aster cooed at the Ares kid. The idea of anyone from the Ares cabin playing fair made him rolls his eyes. They were notorious for wanting to win at any cost and pushing fights and conflicts farther than necessary just for the fun of it. Maybe it hadn’t been such a good idea to rile him up and throw him at the new kid. Very rarely did Aster regret his actions but he could see this going sideways very quickly, even if the kid could change shape at will.

“I’m hoping the new kid wins this. I want to be able to tell everyone when we get back." Aster grinned at the girl. "And for the record, I take no responsibility if Jackson gets his ass flattened--well, it can't get much flatter but you know what I mean--by the new kid. I was unaware we'd have rhinos trampling around. But with how excitedly he jumped into the fray, I think he might find more than a few friends among the brutes."


The Market was busy for such an early hour, plenty of laborers bringing shipments to and from the docks. Carts whipped to and from one side of the city to the other, mostly hand drawn but a few horses could be found amongst the crowd. The market itself was a bright display of colors, clothes and hides trading hands as quickly as fruit and vegetables. A few food items from Genesis lined the wealthier looking stands.

Willow made a quick round, checking signs and store names, before finally ducking into a moderate sized apothecary. She paused a moment, reading over Cece’s message and dismissed the image. The idea wasn’t a bad one, some extra Renn in the guild coffeer’s wouldn’t hurt but with the public disapproval of Datalink 66’s methods Willow was hesitant. Once someone lost the server’s approval in something, it took a lot to earn it back and this game lacked the privilege of server transfers as far as Willow was aware. It was worth considering but she might need some advice before continuing with that idea. If Zeke ever showed up, she’d have him do it and then just kick him from the guild in a show of solidarity with the Council but she could never find him.

The apothecary had a few individuals wandering the shop, various ingredients and potions labelled and bottled on shelves. An older woman in heavy glasses leaned on the counter as she went over a small list with a boy who nodded as she finished, dropped a small pouch of Renn on the table, and bolted out the door with a hurried goodbye. The woman’s tag read Valrene, Alchemist Trainer as she turned to Willow and those following her.

“Welcome, welcome!” Valrene waved at the trio, beckoning them closer. “You look like fresh faces ‘round here. What can I do for you folks?”

“We heard you needed help gathering supplies and we came to offer our assistance.” Willow responded as she approached the counter, eyeing some potions. If only she hadn’t spent all her Renn.

“Yes, yes! Running through my Welkin Gland supply. Nasty things but their poison can be used to make quite a number of remedies. I’ll need at least ten but I’m always pleased to pay for a few extra.” The alchemist spoke as she rummaged under the desk, pulling out a small scroll and rolling it open. A long tailed serpentine creature was depicted on it and a close up of the poison glands behind the fangs and a quick description on how to extract it. “Make sure they don’t get ruptured!”

Emergency Supplies
Gather 10 Welkin Poison Glands.
Return to Valrene for a reward.
Optional:
Gather 10 Additional Glands.
Return to Valrene for a reward.

Valrene’s Bonus: Increased Drop Rate, Increased XP
Share with Guild?
Yes No


“Is there anything else we need to know?” Willow asked as she accepted the quest and shared it with the guild.

“Hm, hm. You’ll need to be quick to kill them before you get coated with their vomit. The smell attracts other Welkin and can start a feeding frenzy if you aren’t careful!” Valrene explained cheerfully as she rolled her scroll up and stashed it away. “Good luck! You folk seem like you’ll do great!”

Willow stared at the woman blankly for a few moments, thoroughly disgusted with that information but pulled up the guild chat.

I have the quest from Valrene. Meet me at the bridge at the edge of town and we’ll strike out from there. Make sure your gear is in decent repair on the way out.


Meanwhile....

At the edge of the market, a young girl tried to catch the attention of various adventurers. A large basket was strapped to her back and with every person who ignored her, she grew clearly more distressed. She was in no way bad off, her clothes clean and well kept and she was clearly well groomed, but she shifted from foot to foot as she tried to catch one man’s attention but was pushed a few steps back. The girl, Nanlia, crouched for a moment with tears in her eyes.

“You’re such a sweet talker.” The woman, Farlie, tittered after their conversation. Her husband rolled his eyes fondly as he assisted another customer. “A silver off for a silvered tongue is only fair, don’t you think? 5 silver a piece rather than the normal 6 and if you like, I’ll throw some bananas fresh off the boat from these bothran’s homeland. A few days old but they’re perfectly ripe! Goes great with the cream the Verdant makes special.”

Acting Skill Points Gained: 2


Meanwhile…

Bidthorn’s Smithery was just as lively, loud and hot and full of workers. Various metals made their way in and out of the building, three large carts exchanging good with the shop and then on their way. Inside the shop proper was much quieter and several rows of cases displayed various items, ranging from horseshoes to weapons. A few suits of armor lined the walls. A balding man with a long braided beard stood behind the counter, weighing various bars of metal on a scale. Bidthorn looked up as Holly entered, squinting suspiciously.

“What’s a little lassie like you doin’ in mah shop?” Behind him, a massive hammer hung on the wall. Intricate patterns were carved into the handle and the dual sided hammer heads were emerald green.







“Maxwell Alderman… Aha, here we go.” The clerk pulled out a map of the housing areas and circled his new address. “All of your belongings have been relocated as well. Your partner was given both keys as well.”

“Mr. Spellman, both your keys are in count Astorio’s possession. We can issue you a new key if either of them were lost but it will take twenty four hours. I’ll have the request placed and you can pick it up at your convenience if you wish.”






The needle dropped delicately from her finger onto the surface of the record, taking just a moment to start playing. Soft piano notes floated out from the gramophone, a little scratchy with age, and she let herself indulge in the music. The quiet, desperate scratching of boots on the stone floor and the creaking of fingers, white knuckled and trembling, slowly splintering wood faded away into hazy memories of dappled warmth on her skin and the laughter of a family long gone, long replaced by time and responsibilities. So rarely did she let herself remember a time when the hunger never existed, a time when she thought the world was safe and happy, that demons were only fairy tales and monsters existed under the bed only in the imagination of the young.

But those were times best left where they were. Red eyes opened slowly as she focused on the world around her. She could feel her sister’s impatient gaze on her back, she could smell the fear in his withered heart, she could feel the desperation rolling off her previous student’s fingers as they scratched uselessly at Nox’s wrists. Letting out a long sigh, Ryner turned with a friendly smile on her face as she settled back into the chair in the cold room. A champagne flute sat on a small table next to her chair alongside a dossier and a plain cloth napkin. Count Lutheran sat across with fingers leaving indents in the wooden arms, staring past her at Nox whose hand covered Mariette’s mouth and kept her just on the tips of her toes. Before they’d invited Lutheran in, the girl remained docile and cooperative and that wouldn’t do. It ruined the ambiance after all. So Ryner murmured exactly why she was there and Nox sntached her up like a rag doll just as the Countess screamed and bolted for the door.

Ryner let Lutheran stew a while longer, picking up the dossier. She flipped it open, reviewing the documents about the murder of Count Dracul and the exile of his daughter Arianna, the disappearance of Ikelos, and the full investigation report of Mariette Eve and her family’s extended vacation. Each report made her feel worse, not because her sister and she have systematically destabilized the House but rather Lutheran forcing her hand this far. She’d forgiven his incompetence the first time and spoken politely about it the second time. She still needed Varis’s influence for the time being and with this many problems, the noble brat wouldn’t stay contently in the dark for much longer. She’d already dealt with a few unauthorized inquiries but there were bound to be more snakes in the garden if she didn’t get this under control. She snapped the folder shut.

“The Noila family isn’t in the habit of letting mistakes go unpunished, let alone three, Lutheran.” Ryner spoke conversationally, like she was inquiring about the weather. “I would like to remind you, my Mother’s favor secured you your position. Just a few words, a rumor here and there, and a leaked report would ruin you, Lutheran. You have so many enemies in the House, each one with a better handle on their affairs and the affairs of their factions." She let the folder fall open on the table next to her, angled so the other vampire could clearly see everything in it. She pulled a letter out of the back, clearly addressed to Count Benjamin Eve.

"Dracul's would-be usurper managed to get his hands on a piece of history about my territory that was not authorized for release. Rather than bring the Council to bear against him, I believe I'd like to bind his spawn to me. Do you think you're capable of ensuring that information makes it into his hands?" Ryner asked sweetly.

"W-well, Princess that's a little difficult." Lutheran laughed nervously at Ryner's questioning look. "See, Pierce doesn't take orders all that well and that's a very specific thing you want. May-maybe something I'm not supposed to know about. So I'm not real-"

Ryner’s finger traced the rim of the glass as he spoke. A faint cracking could be heard and a muffled blood curdling scream. Lutheran watched in horror as a member of his house bled from the temples as Nox crushed the little vampire’s skull. She was slow about it, pausing periodically to let the girl scream herself hoarse. Lutheran made to speak, a protest on his tongue, but Ryner pressed a finger to her lips. She raised the glass and Nox let Marienette’s blood drip steadily into it. Once Ryner waved her away, Nox crushed the vampire’s skull completely against the wall and took her place behind her older sister. Ryner swirled the glass, breathing in the metallic tang. Her smile never wavered.

“I’ve always preferred Noble blood. And it’s been far too long since I’ve been allowed to indulge.” Ryner drank long and deep from the glass, a pleased sigh following her tongue as it darted out to lap at the stain on her lower lip. Ryner’s eyes never left Lutheran’s as she sipped at it again and again and again, showing no sign of the usual sickness vampiric blood afflicted. She drained the glass with one last content sigh.

"Please forgive me, Lord Eve. Duty has demanded my attention beyond my appetite's patience.” Her eyes barely cleared, still bright red despite the meal. She picked up the napkin and blotted her mouth. “Now, you were saying?”

"Nothing to be concerned about. It will be arranged as you wish" He spoke shakily.

"I expect so. Take this." She tossed the letter into his lap and with the press of a button, the shackles unlocked. Lutheran stood on shaky legs and bowed before he took his leave as quickly as he could. Ryner waited until the door shut behind him before covering her mouth with the napkin and retching. Only a few drops of blood came up and she clicked her tongue irritably. Her Sire forced her to acclimate to the experience all those years ago. Apparently, it’d been far too long since she drank and made a mental note to continue doing so. Behind her, Nox also made her way to the door.

“Thank you for your help.” Ryner said as she stood, fetching her supplies to clean up the mess.

“Now I owe you nothing.” The other spat and slammed the door behind her. Ryner sighed as the display. She missed the nights they would spend together before they were driven apart. She chuckled at the memory of teaching the younger girl to ride, of teaching her how to loose an arrow and set a trap, of long nights of hide and seek deep in the woods shrugged off as survival exercises. Ryner thought she’d be a useful ally but Greta discovered her plans and twisted the girl against her. Ryner sighed again at an opportunity lost.

Staring at the rotting corpse of a hundred year old vampire, Ryner considered asking one of the servants to clean up after it. But doing so would add one more unknown variable that the other Houses or even her own Sire could pick apart and she had little interest involving more individuals that she already had. ROlling her sleeves up, she picked up a trash bag and a bucket and mop and set to work cleaning up the mess her fun had made.
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