(group collab, friendly reminder tab = change in writer)
Ast yawned under the sight of the daybreak. She tightened the hold of the reins, trying to straighten her crouched posture from the horseback. Her hold of her spell wavered from her fatigue, but she released her spell once she was close enough from the town of Pearl.
Like a gathering mist the image of her and the horseback became sharper, until the invisibility spell was uncasted completely. The moonlight was good enough for her to maintain her hold without straining her casts. A useful spell to evade a few bandits, but not so against beasts with a keen smell or hearing.
Surely blending in the crowd is better than using such spells in the city, where traces are more obvious to magic users. And talking about traces, she doesn't need to even try to figure out the traces of magic. Just the disrupted soil, the uprooted trees are clear enough for her to suggest foul play. The evil magic of Nuxta or so she have heard. A task to keep a closer eye on a few individuals and a certain group, But to be honest, she wasn't here just to feed information to a bunch of grumpy old men.
Just the rumor of the treasure is more of her keen interest. Straightening her white robes, she galloped her horse to the small town. There are some quite nasty rumors surrounding and this wasn't the only place that she heard about. but its not worth to question the politics of these archmages. Those old hags...
She descended her brown gelding, placing her horse at the stables. The place, as she expect, a very small settlement, compared to the areas that she is used to living. Her constant hold of her cloaking spell above her Magoi Symbol Crest is still at hold. A more elaborate cast as compared to the one used on the Horse. But still that was just a spell intended to hide another hiding spell, her family symbol. She also have a few words to spin around on top of that.
The inn was just a stone's throw away.
A door to one of the single-bed rooms slowy creaked open. From it, a disheveled lassa girl shuffled out. She looked at everyone through squinted, tired eyes, having just rolled out of bed with the worse case of a headache she had ever experienced. Not to mention that just walking around made her stomach seem to lurch. She finally was able to meander to the table, her tail dragging behind her. "Good mooorniiiing,"
she managed to say quietly with a weak little wave and a slight smile to her group members. She sat down, and a leaned forward on the table burying her head in her head in her crossed arms and her tail curling around the chair. This....was the absolute worst feeling.... she has ever experienced....ever.
Despite Blight's rather saddening tale, and rather sound plan, Mason was far from convinced about how genuine such a story was, though he wanted to be sympathetic.... He just could't.
Was this story just a fabrication built to clear his name? Even if it remained somewhat true, who the hell thinks to EAT the heart? Especially when it was being OFFERED to him by the very corrupted beast it belonged to.... Then he so happens to be the sole survivor from his entire retinue? Something felt off about such a coincidence-ridden chain of events. Yet, regardless, he needed more proof before he could take action against Garrett. However, he didn't seem to be the only one who held suspicions against the knight, Nailah too, seemed on edge regarding both Blight AND Dremmick; just in time for Lynn to join the table."Mornin' Lynn,"
Mason said with a smile and nod, "Sorry everyone,"
he lightheartedly chuckled "Things were fuzzy after I hit my head last night- and I don't think I've properly introduced myself to any of the newcomers.""I'm Mason Drake, a rookie of the Aion knights."
Mason continued with a neat bow accompanied by his signature beaming smile before turning to Nailah, "Though I can certainly understand your suspicions regarding certain members of our group, I can personally vouch for Dremmick; he's a good man... However, it would be a lie to say I didn't harbor suspicions toward Garrett. Despite how I feel, and in spite of the fact that the proposed structure DOES seem to heavily favor Sir Blight... I will admit that his idea is fairly sound.......... Oh! One more thing! Regarding formation... I would probably be a fighter, most likely on the front lines, away from those of us with little magic resistance."
The boy's face fell grim."As for what to expect? My magic is highly volatile, such that just using it threatens to kill me, and those around me... And, well.... I can heal from nearly any injury short of a severed limb within a few days; others tend not to be so lucky. Regardless of who ends up in charge, I implore that individual to take careful note of that, as I intend to put my full faith in their decisions on the battlefield."
Tali's attention on the meeting was minimal at this point. She said her piece, quietly agreed with Nailah, and had nothing she could do beyond letting the rest flow. Three votes stood against the heavily weighted hierarchy, so she was fairly confident that it would not become the norm. If it did, then she would not remain in the alliance due to tyrannical oversight.
Lynn's obvious hangover was far more interesting to her. She basically faceplanted into the table. So, Tali beckoned her servitor over, grabbing her harp once more. Things were heated, Lynn needed some comfort, and the situation needed a good soothing. She lightly touched Lynn's shoulder. "Listen to the music. It will help." Then, she began to play a similar song as before, this one laced with her magic. It caused any who listen to feel calm, safe, and far less desirous of aggression. Those that could be affected by such spells, of course.
Dremmick listened to Nailah. He didn't know what happened, but given how things were going last night before he blacked out, it didn't take much to putt together that someone lost control. "Someone who can't control their magic has no buisness using it around others."
Dremmick finally spoke up. "You become a liability, and you endanger your allies. Simple as that."
Dremmick paid for his small breakfast and two cups of coffee. He got up from the stool he was on. "Figure something out, I have things to do. "
He had said what he wanted and was on the way out the door before he stopped next to Mason. "Mason, follow me. I'm going by the Taxis HQ to pick something up, and I would like to ask you some questions as well."
He then turned and made his way out, waiting for Mason to catch up when he was ready.
Lynn was feeling a little bit better, her ears started to perk up a bit from the music. She decided to get up from the table and sit in one of the other chairs next to the table, curling her tail around her as she sat in the chair, her legs pulld up to her chest and her sleeve covering her almost like a small blanket as she snuggled down next to the warm fire and peaceful music. "Thanks,"
she said with a warm smile to Tali, "My name is Lynn Meditrina. Happy to meet you."
She then turned and saw Nailah, the fog of her mind somehow just now allowed her to see her. "Oh Nailah! Good morning!"
she said cheerily, though still a bit weekly as the headache wasn't completely gone and she had still just woken up. The tip of her tail slowly moved back and forth as she sat there, as if it moved on its own accord.
Garrett raised his right claw, lightly scratching the side of his head as he received feedback on what he had stated. Most of all the feedback was textbook to be expected. If the textbook was something that Garrett has written, because he knew exactly what was to be retorted on everything he made a statement on. He had all night to think about what he was to say, exactly for setting down some stones for the group, as well as to gauge the personalities and reactions of the newcomers from what he has said. Most all of them sounded like excerpts straight out of a storybook emulating heroes in a troupe. It was funny. Garrett smiled at this fact. It was also very boring. No unique senses of self was a horrible thing to see. Above all else he had to internalize what they all had to say, in order to properly address everything everyone had a problem with. In particular, it seems one or two may have a direct problem with him personally. Very childish. It reminded him of the nobles and knighted back in Vrondi. It was funny. But everything one individual would say to him seemed very substantial and thought through. It was wonderful. He looked at Nailah, while still wanting the address the entirety of the group as he addressed her directly. She did exactly what he wanted. Expose all the doubts the entire group may have, it would be easier for him to talk about them.
"Wonderful. Dear. The thing is. The hierarchy would never work with us, as everyone has said in some way. Formations would be nice, but there will be no hierarchy to enact them properly. It would be pertinent for individuals to act out of the best interest of the others in the group either way. I never planned for the hierarchy to be accepted. The rules however, will stay. I dictate them because nobody else will, or has thought them through for the situation of the group in order for it to not crumble. It is not sunshine and rainbows as we believe it to be, as the nobles in Vrondi would like to believe.
His grin grew as he talked to her, her anger was wonderfully unwarranted for him to address.
"The rules were made from everything I saw wrong with the group from when we started to this morning. I am part of the group and will make rules that affect me as well because I am not an individual when I identify with the group. There is a sociological term I remember from a book about the worst parts of groups are those who abuse the hard working demeanor of the rest of the group to benefit themselves. A true leader allows rules to apply to themselves above all else. A leader worth being a leader is one who, with striking conviction and effort, will sacrifice their own personal goals, lifestyle, way of living, in order for the group's. What is more compelling than someone making rules that explicitly affect them more than anyone else? You must not think me to be devoted to the advancement, continuation and integrity of the group. You must have a problem with me, rather than the words I say. I know exactly why you would think as such, but I will say nothing of personal matters, as it has nothing to do with the wellbeing of the group for now.
He leans back in his chair. Enjoying the new tune Tali has made as a welcome addition to the troupe.
"If nobody has any problems with the rules set forth, the meeting will adjourn. We leave town at mid-day. Make proper preparations until then. The shops open at nine-ante meridian. Any tactical, influential, or seditious statements and plans can be made now, that the meeting is no longer officially occurring.
He says this, watching Dremmick leave as if he had nothing to do with the group.
Aeden sighed as Garrett called for the meeting to end. The tension he could feel in the air was similar to that of the tension he felt when being on a mission with a disagreeable leader. Usually what happened if the tension did not get worked out and affected the mission if they survived it the group would be dissolved and reorganized.”I don’t know how much experience you have at being a leader, Garrett,”
Aeden stated cooly. ”From my experience, the best leaders do not choose themselves. Eighteen years working with the Aion, I have seen a lot. I can say definitely without a doubt the best leaders are proven, not proclaimed.”
Aeden’s gazed intensely into Garrett’s eyes. ”The lives of everyone on this team… are they a burden you can handle?”
Nyph chirped happily. ”You found a good partner with Shye, Nix! I can tell she takes good care of you!”
He rolled over as he looked up at Shye. ”I like you! You’re a good person just like Aeden!”
Tali's music was indeed welcome. Nailah was already this close to rip Garrett's throat. Luckily, the music calmed her down a great deal. Luckily for Garrett, Lynn also had finally woken up with a weak good morning. Nailah couldn't help but to chuckle as she saw the poor girl, obviously suffering thanks to all the alcohol she drank last night."Oh, good morning Lynn! Sorry, I didn't see you! My dear, you drank quite a lot, didn't you?"
Nailah asked, laughing as she saw Lynn burying her head on her arms."First time drinking alcohol? It feels terrible the next morning, doesn't it?"
Nailah asked, laughing softly as she looked to Lynn with a kind smile."Come here, I'm sure I can be a better pillow than the table. I don't mind."
She said with a motherly smile towards the lassa girl.
Mason also did seem to have something to say, but Nailah remembered how he also was one of those responsible for the mess on the forest last night. Exactly as she suspected though, he proceeded to say that he also didn't have control over his own magic and was honestly a threat to himself and those around him.
Dremmick was a surprise for Nailah though. Even though she didn't like him, she couldn't agree more with the words he said. Indeed, those who weren't able to control their own power shouldn't be in the group. His words were harsh, but she undoubtedly would make his words her own.
When Garrett finally started talking again, her anger turned into almost pity. She was honestly starting to doubt if he didn't suffer from grandiose delusions. Not only the rules he made heavily favored himself, as Mason said, but he also thought he was indeed in some kind of special position to do whatever he wanted."Everything you saw wrong with the group? You are definitely one of the things that is wrong with it. You are selfish, arrogant and a danger to those around you. Do you really think you're in some kind of special position to enforce rules you can't seem to follow yourself?"
she asked, raising her eyebrows."You are a threat to the group. You are in no position to be a 'leader' none of your actions, in fact, were befitting of a leader. You endangered everyone's life because you can't control your own greed for power. And you have the audacity to say you're doing all this for the group's wellbeing? Even though pretty much half of the things you said clearly favor you? Not only that, but you can't even seem to agree with your own words! Suggesting a hierarchy for the group but after being immediately refused, you quickly changed your tone, saying you never intended for it to be accepted in the first place..."
she said, looking to him and laughing with an almost surprised look. She honestly couldn't believe he saw in himself a perfect leader."If you truly believe your words, you should really just choose someone else to be the leader."
Nailah said, shaking her head in disappointment."Oh, you know the funny thing about all that? I'm not part of the Alliance. None of your rules, silly suggestions nor your delusions of grandeur affect me in the slightest. I'll simply do whatever I think it's right. I do care about some of the members from this group though... And if you prove yourself to be a threat to me or to said members... Good luck trying to run away from me."
Nailah said, her voice becoming much more serious."Just as Aeden said... Can you really handle the burden of being responsible for the lives of everyone in the team? Oh, and if you, by some case, happen to not really care about others, you should care about yours though... I never go back on a promise..."
Nailah said, staring Garrett in the eyes before looking away with a provoking smirk and a laugh."Now... where was I?"
Nailah said, dismissing Garrett with a wave of her hand."By the way, thanks for the music Tali... I was honestly about to rip that clown's throat with my teeth..."
Nailah whispered, leaning towards Tali with a mischievous wink and a laugh."Lynn, a good, relaxing hug almost always helps with hangovers~"
Nailah said, opening her arms to her."I am a good pillow if you want to rest your head."
Nailah said, laughing, obviously referring to her breasts.
Shye's cheeks flushed a little at Nyph's compliment. She didn't believe it herself, not with what she has done. She gave him a small smile however, "T-thanks."
she said in reply. Maybe one day she will be able to rebuild her life, try to forget her past and put it behind her without the fear of the Dolofon breathing down her neck. While this group gave her a slight hope she was not used to feeling, however, she still had her doubts this would work. And what if they failed? Could she afford risking everything like this? Would it be safer if she turned their plan for her to join them under a guise of assassination and turn it into a reality? Could she really do that after they extended an olive branch to her? It was all frustrating and wearing at her mind. On top of that, she would have to report to a dolofon agent with this plan, and she had mixed feelings about requesting any personal adaptations to her orders.
Nix had taken the opportunity Nyph created by rolling over to pounce, seeing the action as an invitation to play. She hunkered down like a feline stalking its prey before leaping into action, tackling him from behind when he wasn't looking and lightly nibbling on his horns.
Lynn looked to Nailah as she greeted her in return. A hug helping hangovers? That didn't sound medically accurate. Was it a type of magic she used? "Really? I haven't heard of that before. If it makes the headache clear up, hugs are always nice."
she said with a little smile and then turned to Tali as well, "and the music is great as well, it really is soothing it a bit, thank you."
She scooted over a bit in the apholsted chair she was in next to the fire across from where Tali was sitting. It was a big chair for a gaian, making enough room for both Lynn and Nailah to just fit in.
The sun was getting brighter, but Ast found her eyes tearing up a little. The long trip has sure taken its toll. Ast walked down the streets with her steady but heavier steps.
"Excuse me," Ast walked pass Dremmick to enter the inn, a large man that matched her height, her voice was rather deep.
Ast walked into the tavern. It was more crowded than she had expected, especially that of a small town. The bard music is great, if it weren't for the chatter
. Ast thought, taking a nearby table and calling an order of porkchops and mead. And lodgings too, but she will leave that for later. [/i]The inn is noisy...[/i]
The job of her foolish guild matters will have to wait, her hunger and sleep is the most important thing to solve right now. Stretching her arms, Ast rested her sore elbows on a wooden table.
At last making sure that those ink & parchment paper are well-secured to her leather pouch, Ast listens the soothing tune on one side whilst waiting for her food to arrive.
After Ast walked into the inn soon came barging in three well dressed men. They dressed almost like nobles. With fine silks sewn to a firm fit. Their shoes soft and pointed. Their hats colorful and feathered and their strides were as if on air. It was their dangling necklaces with the crest of the merchant guild that told their status. Merchants, ones that rule this town and arguably all of this world's wealth when unified with their peers. "It's so early." One huffed. The other, leading the group with a distinct red color distinction frowned at the sight of the inn's patrons. "Too early to have deal with such troubles." He sighed. The other two had distinct green and blue colors in their clothing. Noticing the group at the large table, one meant for the guardians of this town usually, defaced. No doubt by the man reeking of beast and blood, with claws to boot. Stifling a gag the red merchant spoke aloud. "Who here is a part of this so called alliance!?" "Sorry everyone, but I gotta go... If we're voting on a leader while I'm out, just stick my vote in for Aeden please. See you guys later!"
Mason nervously chuckled as he began to step away from the table, stopping next to Allard, "Hey Allard, I need you to do me a favor-- please don't leave Garrett alone with Shye... I don't trust his intentions around that poor woman."
he rather discreetly asked the giant man before rushing out after Dremmick.
Tali heard the nobles and immediately cut her song with a rather poignant sharp note. She stood up, handed her instrument to her servitor, grabbed an ocarina, and then walked over to the three men. "I am a part of the alliance. I am in the employ of the Magoi. Why do you wish to call upon us?" She managed to keep a calm demeanor despite being rather perturbed by the haughty attitudes on display. Garrett was bad enough, but the noblemen almost made it worse. She was prepared for the worst as noblemen often scoffed at her relative lack of clothing and tendency to release puffs of ash when stressed.
Allard nodded to Mason as he asked him a favor. Shortly afterwords however, a few men walked in in flamboyantly colored attire. Allard stood up to their call, though it seemed that Tali was already engaging in conversation with them. He crossed his arms and waited to hear what they had to say before responding to them, looking down to them, an eyebrow raised in question to their pompous entrance.
The merchants took a simultaneous gaze at Tali. Their lead, the one in red presented a piece of paper. It had a stamp, a seal of the merchants guild. "This is a bill. There has been countless damages to the property of the citizens here and most importantly our shops have been desecrated by wild magic!" His anger audibly rising with each word and hands visibly shaking from the sight of the numbers the others have yet to see. The waitresses gasped at the sight of this situation. The shouting stirring Raquel from her sleep. She began to rise from the bed and stretch, greeting a strange new day.
Tali just smiled, a mix of politeness and nearly pity. "I am neither authorized nor responsible for any of the damages accrued. If you know of who exactly is responsible, I can forward the message for them to contact you. Now, is there anything else that can be addressed by us as we are not the leadership of this alliance? We are simply representatives that function as exploratory teams." Her posture was rather ready to cast a spell or three as needed if they got physical or insulting, but she made sure to hold back as they had yet to get properly angry.
As Lynn sat in the same chair as Nailah, she delicately wrapped her arms around the lassa girl. Her warm body and smooth skin were sure to make it even more calming. Gently putting the hand over her head, Nailah smiled to Lynn."Hangover is indeed pretty bad... The best you can do right now though is trying to calm down and relax. Don't speak too much or worry yourself about anything."
she continued, speaking in a very calm tone."Oh, and you should drink a lot of water."
Nailah finished, jokingly touching the tip of her nose.
Just as things were appearing to get calmer, a few newcomers entered the in. One of them appeared to be just a female traveler, but the ones that really drew attention were two nobles wearing incredibly expensive and fine clothes. Everything about them screamed money. They walked, acted and even their tone of voice was exactly like those pompous nobles Nailah always hated.
As soon as they entered the inn, walking almost like if they owned the world, they immediately called for those who were members of the alliance. Well... maybe 'called' wasn't the right word. They were basically demanding to know.
Upon hearing that, Nailah couldn't help but let out a smirk. She simply hated those types."Shh!"
Nailah said, turning towards the merchants and putting a finger over her mouth."Can't you see the girl isn't feeling well?"
she said, treating the merchants like nothing but nuisances."Oh, I'm not a member of the Alliance by the way..."
Nailah said, rolling her eyes.
Just as that happened, Mason chuckled nervously, saying he needed to go after Dremmick after he asked him to follow him to the Taxis HQ. Before he went though, he leaned towards Allard, speaking something to him, which Nailah happened to hear...
Apparently, Mason didn't trust Garrett around Shye that much. For some reason, Mason seemed to trust blindly that strange woman that had just appeared despite her strange story. Personally, Nailah didn't care that much about what happened in that situation. Especially because it included Garrett. At that moment she was just too tired to even look at his face again.
Tali, unlike the others who either completely ignored the merchants or just said nothing, immediately stopped playing, getting up and going towards them."Tali, that's not our fault, we don't need to..."
Nailah tried to say, but Tali was already speaking with the merchants, saying that she was working with the Magoi.
Nailah could only sigh as she heard that. By going to them and talking like that, she was basically going to take all the blame for what happened, even though she was completely innocent. The moment she approached them, they immediately handed over a bill to her, saying that it was for all the damage the town suffered."If you guys want compensation, you should really look towards the one who look like they're able to cause such destruction... Maybe like the weirdo with the claws over there... Tali has nothing to do with all that, neither do I, Lynn nor the big guy over there."
Nailah said, pointing to Allard."Shh, just ignore them, Lynn. Just try to rela. We can talk about interesting things if you want!"
Nailah said, turning towards Lynn with a kind smile as she finished speaking with the merchants.
Garrett sat back, looking as the meeting fell into a bout of unproductive friction from those who kept with the group, but rather, were not considering themselves officially part of the group. It was important for him to note that she felt her opinion about the functions of the group gave her valid authorization and influence on anything that went in or to the group. It was comical that he would have given any consideration to her personal opinion on how he appeared to be as a leadership element of any form. It would be internalized, not as anything but as something to consider in further conversations and decisions. He turned to Aeden, returning the stare right back into his eyes. It was an even truer moment of consideration of the words that he, specifically, was saying. His brows furrowed, not in anger, nor in frustration, rather at him having to respond in a rather serious intonation at his question.
"There should not be a leader. Having a leader in a group with so many ends pulling in so many directions causes more harm than good. I would consider myself nothing more than the person guiding us in the right direction if that were the only case to this specific group, the Alliance. It is necessary for a leader. If we were our raw selves without a sole sense of guidance and enforcement, the world would perceive the group as a force of destruction rather than one of reclamation, or one seeking to better the world in any way possible.
He took a breath. What he needed was to get right to the point, and stop explaining the reasoning for him making his points, in a roundabout way. Especially with a team that seems to not take his words with a grain of salt now that he has the appearance he has now and how that appearance was gained.
"I would work with any member of the alliance wholeheartedly for the same goal, if they have any difference or disdain for me or from my own mindset, morals, lifestyle, or goals, they are not the goals of the Alliance. What I care about is their regard to the group over themselves. That will not stop me from helping, living with, guiding, or conversing from anyone on this team. If I were to be a leader in the sense of the societal term over the temperamental, self-proclaimed or not, I would be putting the group over myself in all of the virtues I have described. I will do anything in my power to see that those in the Alliance are alive and well, and improve from remaining. What I will not stand for is those who remain in the group who will harbor such grudges and allow it to cripple or harm the group due to their predispositions.
That was an adequate answer. It covered everything that Aeden's question could have really meant, and it allowed himself to be clear for the rest who remained near the table as to the intentions Garrett had with conducting this meeting and establishing what he did the way that he did. It was not a self-serving move, but one of controversy that was to spur some consideration around what he says, rather than exactly what he does say. He looked over at the exchange between Allard and Mason, it was to note, although all he could witness was the pause in the belligerent seraph's departure.
Then he looked to the conglomeration of the females of the group, it was comical, not in the sense as how Nailah spoke to him, rather, it was as if it were an excerpt in a novel, an intermission from the serious demeanors of those who had previously been placed in character-revealing situations, the respite was welcome, especially with the newcomer, Talise, whom seemed to be helpful and a calming factor in the group's current mood, without Garrett's friction causing words. Then, the Merchant's Guild would rear their ugly heads.
Before he could even move to address them, they were spouting out accusations of destruction, none of which Garrett had any knowledge of, all the destruction he had taken part in was out of the radius of the city. However, Garrett was one to think about how situations happen as much as he thinks about how he can make certain situations occur. Of course, if they were asking about destruction caused by the alliance, it must have been destruction the alliance must have caused while Garrett was indisposed and unable to contribute to the counteractive factor of such destruction. He looked at Aeden as the merchants said what they did, keeping an ear open and attentive to such. Talise, stepped forth, performing what would be considered a wonderful way to get them to go away. Then, Nailah interjected, completely countering the wonderful display Talise had done, and now, to take none of Garrett's surprise, the woman pushed all the blame towards, of course, the man whom she had no problem with other than the concerns for the current and potential individuals she may lay or manipulate, the one and only Garrett. He smirked.
He took another look at Aeden, nodding to him, as if now telling him to watch closely as he proves his own words to the man. He stood out of his seat and walked towards the disgruntled merchants. His claw scraping against the table he left as he moved towards the humble, innocent
merchants, flexing as he thought at how to defuse the situation.
"I am Garrett Everard. The self-proclaimed leader of the Alliance in terms of those whom are part of the retinue whom identify with the Alliance, and are part of the entourage towards our goal. If there are any charges from any guild or organization towards the Alliance and the Alliance's names, the damages will be paid by our benificiaries in Vrondi, and Vrondi himself. If that is not satisfactory, I will take the payments myself regardless of my own personal innocence on the matter.
Aeden felt no surprise as Mason voted for him as leader. Not because it was Mason, but because the display he presented would do well enough to frame him as a reasonable candidate. It made sense Garrett would respond in such a way as to state there should not be a leader while still claiming such responsibility. It was a classic deflection. He had learned a fair amount about politics and distraction techniques from the Therosi while he was a slave as they believed who would care about a slave either they would kill him or ignore him. He knew better than to spread such information anyways as loose lips resulted in death or worse.
From Aeden’s viewpoint, Garrett was quite naive. Hierarchies existed everywhere in one form or another. A leader would rise up declared or not, but he would not say that. Actions would decide everything not just words. The words would hold some value until actions proved otherwise. Unfortunately, the words Garrett spoke to answer Aeden’s question appeared to be more of a blanket response. It did not convey the understanding that he was looking for.
He took a deep sigh with a disappointed expression on his face. ”Fair enough.”
Aeden tilted his head over toward Nailah as she stated she was not a part of the Alliance. If that was true the smarter course of action would have been to not even bother declare such a thing. It only made her seem suspicious. He noticed merchants had entered the room and were now creating a fuss over damages caused by the Alliance. Garrett made his way over to them to speak to them. Aeden could care less about something he was not responsible for, so his attention turned to finding Nyph.
He found the little pseudodragon squeaking, giggling, and playing with another dragon. The collared woman’s dragon. ”Having fun are we?”
He had his hands on his hips, his voice feigned disappointment, but his expression wore an amused smile. ”Haven’t I told you no fun allowed?”
Nyph stopped, turned, and looked up at Aeden for a few moments. ”Oh! Hi! Aeden, this is Nix! She’s a new friend! This is Shye! She’s also a new friend! I like them!”
He turned to play more with Nix before another surprise “attack” getting into another play stance.
Aeden looked at Shye with a smile and gestured to the booth she was sitting at. ”Nice to be introduced to you Shye. I am Aeden Demavend. May I join you?”
He had a hard time keeping his gaze from the collar of magic around her neck.
When Nyph stopped to look at Aeden and respond, Nix was still holding on tight, looking up at Aeden as well and, giving Nyph's horn one more small bite before hopping of. She then sat upright for a moment, her head tilted as Nyph seemed to stop playing all the sudden. This didn't last long however as Nyph then resumed a playful stance. Nix's pupils widened, her fur fluffed out, and ears perked up, right before she couched down and pounced forward at Nyph once again. Shye smiled with a soft little laugh at seeing Nix play, something she never really seen her do with other dragonlings before since she traveled with her. The face seemed to drop a bit when Aeden asked to join her. While her vision of him may have improved after meeting Nyph, she was still unsure of him, or really most the people in the alliance right now, with a small trust in Mason and Garrett, but only just so, as both of them displayed some disturbing qualities that she couldn't quite place her trust in last night. Shye realized she was staring and she shook her head slightly, breaking eye contact. "I apologize, you may."
she said, agreeing to letting him take a seat at the table. "Nyph seems to speak quite highly of you."
She mentioned, looking back up to him.
Lynn let Nailah embrace her. she closed her eyes, which seemed to be a releif on its own to her head. Everything was.... oddly comfortable. The room was quite warm, almost perfect for snuggling down for a nap, though se had just woken up, she still felt increadibly tired due to the circumstances she had unknowingly brought upon herself. When the music stopped, however, some of the pain from the headache had come back along with it, and she was slowly waking from a nap she wasn't even aware of that she was taking. Her left ear twitched slightly as her eyes cracked open to see what was going on. "Wait.... what's wrong? Is everything all right?"
Nailah hushed her to have her not worry about it and relax. It didn't take much persuasion at this point to drop her head back and close her eyes once again, though, she felt a bit more awake this time. When asked if she wanted to talk about anything that was interesting, Lynn wasn't sure what to say, "What would you like to talk about?"
she asked, though her eyes were still closed as she remained with her.
Allard listened to the men come up with their charge for damages. Typical merchant guild, counting their coins after a disaster before even the dust had settled or the bodies were cold. Plus, there was no way they could have accurately tallied up the costs from last nights battle by this morning. Allard agreed with Tali, they had no way of paying for damages they may have caused in the struggle, not that he could remember anyway. "They are right,"
Allard started, "IF there was any damage ta tha town, caused by us, it would have ta charge our benefactor, as try'n ta aquire funds ta fix the town from us would yeild quite tha underwhellming sum. The member who may have caused the plants to grow at an uncomfortable rate, however, was also tha one, with that same power, revived many people who were on tha brink of death, and eliminated whatever plague had run amock through the town.. An evil man took that time ta launch an attack, which was what caused the damage. That man was put down by one o' ours and tha Gaurdians of Pearl. What say you merchant?"
Talise's reply was met with distasteful glares. Was she trying to avoid all payment? They visibly seemed to question. "I'll have word with your superiors. This hastily made 'alliance' isn't worth this much!" He cried, slapping the paper with the back of his hand multiple times for emphasis. Then came Garrett. The three looked even more displeased at this one. His smell caused them to hold their noses. The sight of his claws did intimidate them, but merchants did not often fear battles. A champion for coin was never too far away. "You.. You'll pay for that table as well!" The green clothed merchant shouted, unable to hold his anger. The blue one calmed him down with a hand on his shoulder.
The merchants listened to Garrett's words. "Hm.. You seem far more reasonable than we thought." He sighed. A bit relieved it seemed. "Vrondi is quite the beneficiary to have. I will send word. Your name? sir?" The merchant pulled a feathered pen from his hat. Ready to write it down on the paper. Once told they made note of the table, adding it to the debt. "Now with this matter settled we have no more business with this 'alliance'." He put his pen back to his hat. "It will take time but the renewal of this town will be underway soon enough." He looked to Allard who mentioned how the towns people were healed. "For that we are thankful." He seemed a bit humbled, but turned to make his leave. The others following. "I'm sure Vrondi will be able to pay for all of this. Luckily..."
Emerging from her room was Raquel. She opened the door gently. A bit uneasy about waking alone with so much noise downstairs. She also was a bit nervous about being seen by her peers emerging from her room alone. She saw from the higher floor Garrett, who looked very different. With many others, some of who were leaving.
Aeden sat down on the other side of the booth with a firm smile. ”Yeah, he’s kind like that. We’ve been comrades for fifteen years. The Therosi were going to sell him as a guard pet, and I happened to be a part of the Aion operation that rescued him and others. He’s attached himself to me ever since.”
He chuckled as he watched Nyph tumbling around with Nix. ”He does just about whatever he wants by his own sense of justice. Honestly, he has helped me more than I’ve helped him.”
He focused his attention back onto Shye with a more serious expression. ”I don’t know about your past. It’s not really my business. You may have your voice for now, but that collar is not broken.”
He scratched his neck rather than point at her neck. If Shye paid close enough attention she could see scars all over his hand, lower neck close to his collarbone, and wrist. ”The Aion are not unfamiliar with such things, and we will be heading to Vrondi after our mission. You may have a hope of completely removing it there, so if you are able to I suggest you come along with us, and I can get you connected with those that can do the job right.”
He stood up from the booth. ”Nyph has an excellent sense for people. If he says you’re a good person then I trust him. If you decide to come along with us I will extend to you my protection to the best I can offer it.”
He looked to Nyph as the two dragons played. ”I will be at the market resupplying, Nyph. Don’t wear yourself out too much.””Oh-UMPH-Kay!”
Nailah couldn't help but smile as she saw how comfortably Lynn was snuggling with her. The same girl who was so shy before was now so comfortable on her arms, going as far taking a nap. Looking at her, Nailah giggled. Lynn was indeed just like a child. She couldn't say she wasn't pleased by that. She was just like a little sister."I wonder what happened for you who was so shy at first to go as far as to take a nap snuggling with me."
Nailah said, with a giggle."You're so cute! Just like a little sister!"
she said, giggling as she playfully pinched Lynn's ear."Although it appears you're a bit more awake now. When you start feeling a bit better, we can even go go take a look at the shops outside if you want. Maybe we can even find some pretty interesting things!"
Nailah said, with a playful wink."I totally saw some interesting little things when I was walking with Allard yesterday. Maybe they are still there?"
Nailah asked, with a mischievous tone."Until you start feeling a bit better though, we can talk about a lot of things! Maybe even about ourselves a bit. After all, I know nothing about you other than your name. If you're going to be my cute little sister, we should know more about each other, don't you agree?"
Nailah said, laughing."For example... Do you know anything about the Temple of the Fallen Goddess?"
Nailah asked, with a kind smile."Well... Although I said temple and I am a 'Priestess', it's not exactly a religion. At least not as you might be accustomed with."
Those people of the Merchants Guild. Just when she thought the Magoi's guild and that alliance are just petty affairs, these merchants are also looking for them. She knows that the merchants aren't the nicest of people, but just how many guilds did that alliance infuriate?
"Tsk....." Ast glanced over the other table sternly when the music stopped adruptly. Right where this inn was already noisy enough, that damned merchant guild went to find fault at this place. Please don't drag the Magoi's Guild into this...
'Alice' whispered to herself a long line of curses that she could think of.
She decided that she wouldn't meddle in this affair. Those Archmagi would have trusted that bard for a good reason. Now that she is reminded of those old hags, that alliance seemed as well organised as the Magoi's Guild. She meant that in a bad way, There doesn't even seem to have leader. And a few even spun out tales that a child could pick apart. Still, she was considered a child by some of the elders, but she felt old enough to think things through.
Ast didn't expect to see the alliance this early, but that explains why the inn was so rowdy in a small town... For now, this matter is not of her concern. Pray that she will have her late overdue supper peacefully.
And somehow it worked, that supposed leader had actually talked things out with these pesky merchants. At least she will have her food, for however long it arrives.
Lynn considerred the question Nailah proposed about her shyness. "I, uh, guess it was just that I wasn't really...'accustomed' to it."
she started. "Aside from my family, it wasn't something anybody had ever really done, much less someone I hadn't met before."
She sat up again, her head actually was starting to feel a lot better.
At the 'little sister comment, her ears perked up and her eyes seemed to widen a little, her tail movements were a bit wider now, the whole end of it moving back and forth. "S-sister? I've never had any siblings before! And I would love to see what they have in the market! I tried to get an anklet in Vrondi....but it didn't quite work out...""I've never heard of that temple before."
she admitted to Nailah. "I grew up helping my mother in an infirmary in Tearia, this is my first time leaving the ocean."
Shye touched her neck when he mentioned her collar. "How did you know?" she asked, a mixed look of confusion and surprise. As far as she knew, Aeden never was told about it, not that she saw anyway. But she quickly brushed the question away, at some point she geuss he could have been told. "I appreciate the help your alliance is trying to give me. I am....still worried though. It's not my life I fear for. Soon I must go meet with my contact. If all goes well. I should be able to meet back here before everyone leaves. If not....I don't know..." she finished, thinking about the possibilities. Honestly, at this point, she wasn't sure if she had been found out or not, as she never knew when they were watching. She cleared her throat,"pardon me, I should probably infrom him as well."
She looked to Garrett when he was free for a moment and walked over to him. "I may have to seperate for a meeting with my contact. I resume I will be coming back here if things go well." She informed him.
As Nailah quietly heard Lynn's explanation to her shyness, she could indeed understand her reason for that, but at the same time, she felt happy that Lynn wasn't so... closed to her anymore.
As she heard Lynn saying that she would love to go to the market, mentioning the circlet she wanted to buy on Vrondi, Nailah smiled to her."Don't worry about that circlet! I'm sure we'll find something nice and pretty for you, ok?"
Nailah said, promising to go to the market with her once she felt better."Regarding the temple... What you said came in a good moment. About not many people hugging or showing affect.."
Nailah said, with a thoughtful expression."Nowadays this seem to be common... Most people are so focused either on their own greed or hate, distracted by wars, violence and prejudice that they completely forget about love and pleasure."
Nailah continued."Love is a wonderful feeling. To feel safe on someone's arms, to feel you can trust said person with all your heart and forget your problems... Just like what you're doing right now!"
she said, laughing."It would be wonderful if everyone could have the same feeling you're having right now, wouldn't it?"
Nailah asked, with a smile."Regarding pleasure, many religions see pleasure as a 'sin' or something bad, right? But... no matter what they say, it's still part of our body. It's still a physiological need, It's something natural, don't you agree? A mother's comforting hug, a lover's warm embrace or even... something more. Everyone should be able to feel those things."
Nailah said, looking to Lynn."That's exactly why the Temple of the Fallen Goddess exists. We want only make people remember what love and pleasure mean. It's a temple dedicated to love and pleasure."
Nailah said with a kind smile."But don't believe all the rumors you hear. We don't sell our bodies or anything like that. We sleep with those who we feel attracted to, with those we like. Many of those who enter the temple, interestingly enough are after not sexual pleasure, but only to feel loved and cared about."
When she heard Lynn saying she never had a sibling before and saw her cute reaction to it, she couldn't help but to hug her tightly as she giggled."Oh my~ You're so cute and adorable!"
she said, laughing."It's settled then. If you ever get into trouble, feel scared, need to talk to someone or if someone tries to hurt you, I'll be here for my cute, little sister."
she said, giving Lynn a small kiss on the forehead."Oh, and don't worry. It's not just because I'm a Priestess of the Fallen Goddess that I need to love everyone... We can and know how to defend ourselves... I was also one of the... most fiery ones inside the temple as well..."
Nailah said, with a mischievous wink to Lynn.
Raquel began to approach the group after the merchants left and fewer people were about. With no one talking to Garrett Raquel came from behind him. Attempting to playfully catch him by surprise with her greeting. "Good Morning!" She shouted with a firm hand placed onto Garrett's back. "You smell like you've been gutting beasts. Look like it too." She chuckled.
When Nailah started talking about love she was fairly understanding, and even nodded her head a few times. Though, it was the 'pleasure' part that was lost to her. As for those matters, she couldn't relate. She had never been with anyone before, so she wouldn't know. She looked at Allard, who had some new scratches an bite marks that seemed to match Nailah, remembering that they seemed fairly close the little amount of time she saw the with each other. "I, uh... always saw that kind of thing to be something only shared with someone special."
she said, a turning a little red. "Its funny.... ask me how to care for a wound and I can tell you without hesitation, but I have no idea when it comes to things like that,"
she said with a sheepish grin. She tried to wave the matter off though, her tail wrapped around herself and Lynn was trying to hide her blushing with her sleeve covered hand."S-so! I think I'm feeling much better now if you want to see if any of those shops you mentioned may be open!"
Aeden calmly stared at Shye while he considered responding to her question. He figured truth would be better than a lie or not saying anything in this instance. Before he made his way out he stated. "If you're wondering who told me the answer is no one. My eyes can see more than most, and they see what is really there."
With that Aeden bowed his head to Shye and bid her well before making his way outside to get an early start to the market. He knew it would not be open for a while longer, but the sooner he was done the better he would feel.
Nailah couldn't help but to laugh seeing how Lynn was embarrassed as she mentioned pleasure. It couldn't be helped, she was still an innocent girl, but at the same time, it surely was refreshing to have someone so pure and innocent around."Don't worry, my dear. You'll understand with time."
Nailah said, laughing."Also, I'm quite sure that yourself will meet a number of people you consider 'special' through your life. It doesn't have to be necessarily just one too! When the time arrives, just remember that there is nothing wrong in staying true to your desires. It's not as romantic thinking about it like this, but if you think about it in medical terms, it's still a phisiological need. It's a part of our own body. No need to be ashamed of it, right?"
Nailah said, giggling as she watched Lynn hiding her face with her sleeve."Ahem, even though it's so adorable to see you blushing... I'm pretty sure we have some shopping to do, don't we?!"
Nailah asked, with a mischievous wink to Lynn."Shall we go then?"
she asked, with a kind smile. "Yes! Let's!"
Lynn said. From her room a staff floated out of it and came to her, careful not to run it into anyone. It was a quite heavy and thick steel staff that had a rounded footlong handle in the middle. Then it had about two feet on each side that was like a paddle, making it easier to sit on, and on the ends of the paddles, were heavy durable glass containers of water. The glass was tempered and enchanted when made to be as strong as the steel it was housed in. It's design was simple and utilitarian, a gift from her father's guard unit to her when she left Tearia. On her own, she would probably not even be able to lift it, but with her water manipulation, she could move it around with ease, often using it for travel. It floated next to her as she stood up, and she would sit sidesaddle on it when they would leave the inn."I can't wait to see what interesting things they will have here!"
She said with a sparkle in her eyes similar to that of an adventurous child who planned to go find some treasure.
The merchants have left, but the music that she took for granted has been cut away right when she was enjoying the tune. And that conversation of the so called members of the alliance became as clear as the morning sky. She gulped down a sharp breath, feeling a few goosebump prickling against the fine weavings of the robes.They...... are on a hangover right....?
In this hours of morning, hearing on what she isn't supposed to hear. Alice was glad that she had not started gobbling on her food. That kind of talk, is going to kill off whatever traces of her appetite that is remaining on her stomach. But it is somewhat... interesting she should say? She decided not to let her stray thoughts wander too far away.
Right, the most important thing, asking to join sounded like a decent idea, but she'd prefer shutting off that conversation. Somehow, her weariness have disappeared suddenly as she found herself approaching Tali in her graceful steps.
"I like that music, mind if you play it again? Now that those pesky merchants are gone~"
Ast aril elissande was more interested in having that talk muffered away, but she doesn't feel any waverings of lying, since she found the song to be nice.
Tali let out an exasperated sigh from the merchants. They were obviously just trying to take advantage of the situation to make money rather than actually care about anyone here but themselves. She was about return to her chair by the fire when a young woman walked up and asked for more music. That made Tali smile and let her feel a little distracted from the merchants. "Sure. Do you want me to keep using my harp? I can also switch to a lute or ocarina if that would suit your mood better. I also have a flute."
She motioned to her servitor to emphasize the instruments it carried for its mistress. Each one was kept tuned and ready to play at a moment's notice, so all she had to do was grab it and go.
Garrett watched the members of the merchant's guild leave. It was a victory in of itself to remind himself that he was able to speak to others who were not quick to question everything he says despite his appearance or why he looks as such, even with the smell of blood. It was either through intimidation or through the eloquent words he spoke, but they departed, and if it were his threatening presence that had done the work of this encounter, they were not truly members of the merchant's guild, seeing as they have their tendrils deep in every facet of the civilized world.
Soon, the indentured conscript made her presence known out from the booth she slept in. Shye came up to Garrett, seeming to not be one of the few individuals to show distinct disdain for his own presence made in the inn. He nodded at her statement to meet with her contact.
"You are free to do so. Remember where your true loyalties lie, young Shye.
He enjoyed the rhyme he made, even if their ages were moderately close to each other in terms of their appearances, but also to be cryptic enough for any of those who may prove hostile to the Alliance to not truly understand what the conversation was about through eavesdropping.
Garrett would soon be surprised with a touch to his back it was unknown as to who would do such a thing until he heard a playful voice exclaim his horrendous state which he had been ignoring since he was knighted, sadly, becoming even more horrendous from the previous night. He turned at realizing exactly who would be so friendly with him, with a bright, genuine smile. The large claws that adorned the ends of his arms deforming, soon becoming a chitinous plating that ran along his bicep and forearm, folding away from his hands so that they may see the light of day again. What had made his claws now becoming hard-chitinous plating along his bicep and forearms, leaving his hands free, something that had not happened until some sense of true safety was given from those he would interact with, in this case, it was Raquel. His right hand would lift up, to cup her cheek as a greeting. He chuckled.
"Good Morning, dearest Raquel! My sincerest apologies for leaving your side cold in the morning. I hope you understand how problems pop up to distract those who can do something to solve those problems. I wished to sleep in, to be perfectly honest, but now I smell like what I have been doing, gutting a cursed beast. Which is what took me away from your bed in the first place. Now I am cursed with the same that afflicted the beast, but the city is safe from that and it's reign of terror.
The magoi guild girl looks more than trustworthy from the way she sounds. Ast isn't talking about herself. That bard is also a Magoi from what she overheard from that guild merchant conversation, not that she is a bit of a busybody, but she got used to having a good note of surrounding events.
Ast wanted the nosiest instrument to be played. Something like drums and trumpets, but...
"I'd prefer the harp," Ast calmly lied, the bard doesn't look very familiar to her. That Alliance seemed nicer than her pesky Guild, despite their half-baked politics amongst them and their 'leader'.
"Oh my. You sound like the guardians of pearl. It is a shame they have been gravely injured. But I see the town outside is covered in plants. While I slept quite a lot has happened it seems." Raquel held Garrett's wrist as he touched her tender cheek. With a humored smile she looked at him. "You need a bath. There's one upstairs in the room. You might as well use it since you paid for it." She gently rested his hand down, observing his armor. "Excuse me if your prowess in battle is lost to me. All that has happened... it is so jarring." She sighed. Being taught how to read and write similar to royalty prepared her for a life on the mountain. But yet she remained here in the simple town where she was born. "Lets talk more in town. I'm sure the market will be restocked by this morning."
Tali clapped her hands together eagerly with a light nod. "Absolutely. If you ever want to hear an instrument I do not have, just track down one for me and I can probably play it. Now, on to the music." She grabbed the harp from her servitor and took her seat by the fire again. She resumed her music, this particular song more lively than her calming spell. She seemed much happier to have the merchants gone and out of her very long hair.
Her fingers danced along the strings, her foot tapping to keep the beat proper. She seemed to return to her own mind, the place where she could just play and enjoy herself. As her worries melted away, she hoped her music could at least help others unwind as well.
After departing from the inn where the allince members were staying, with Nix in tow on her shoulder, Shye started to make her way out of town to the west. She came upon a clearing in the woods, away from prying eyes of any passerby. She gave Nix a little pet and scrath behind the ear before clicking her clawed gauntlet twice and drawing a little circle in the air with her finger. Nix took the command and flew up, circling above and staying away, but close enough to observe. From the small pack at the side of her waist, she pulled out a small pendent that had a tiny blade on one side. Using the small blade, she mad a cut on her arm that was enough to draw some blood onto the pendent. She took a deep beath to calm her nerves as she set the pendant down on the ground and waited.
The crimson echoed out into the air like a visible red sound. The shadows beneath the trees were bending to a silhouette. A form began to rise from the dark. Masked and bending forward as if unnaturally made. It loomed over Shye like a hanging light. Looking down on her with its smiling mask, one that represented pleasure. The red and black it was coated in gave it a unspeakably cynical appeal. "Shye... Have you succeeded?" A voice echoed from the dark mass. Slowly it crept down taking the form of a tall slender man. Still masked but standing with legs together and shoulders aligned. A calm elegant demeanor despite being made of shadow. Though it seemed less shadow more and more it moved idly.
The visual display was admittedly haunting when her contact arrived, Shye nearly physically squirming with discomfort at being around the man and for what she had to admit to him. When he asked if she had succeeded, she looked at the ground and slowly shook her head.
"Even with your child, whom you love, on the line. You still dare to fail?" The body moved within the sunlight. The rays seemed to turn its ends into mist. Yet it remained as if constantly regenerating. It seemed to peer deep into her eyes. Observing her saddened state. A plaything at this point, it caressed her cheek with a cold touch kin to steel. "You must have been through a lot. I don't see what he hates about half bloods. I sensed a fire within you before. Where has it gone?" He tilted his inquisitive head. "Your son will die, and you will live a life of pain. Until you too die. That is your fate it seems." The man pulled back. Stepping backwards towards the shadows.
As he appeared to start to leave, shye reached out. "Wait!"
she cried, knowing it might be a mistake, but if she didn't he could have been well on his way to send word for her sob. She reached up to her neck and pulled down on the bandages, revealing the burn marks where the first later was removed though slowly recovering. "There are Aion in this alliance...one of them my seraph target, who did this after finding me unconcious."
She looked down remembering what happened. "Just after fighting with the necromancer target, who I was never told had blood magic, the town was attacked also by one of Nuxta's pawns."
Shye took a step forward to plead with the man. "Please, leave Bidzil out of this, I can still make this work! They......trust me...."
she said, her head hanging a little. To betray the trust of the first people to ever show her some real kindness, if only for a moment. It would break her heart to lose them. More horrendous tasks to keep her son safe....how many people had to die just for the two of them? "I could travel with them....have them believe they freed me from whatever shackles they think they can break. And when the time comes.....I'll....make my move."
She said turning away and holding one arm. "This....may be a good chance to see what the Aion are up to?"
When she yelped finally for him to give her a second chance he seemed to freeze instantly as if anticipating her pleads. "Oooh.. More Aion." His hand twitched. "They deserve a horrible fate... I will make certain of it." He drifted forward more into the light. "You've shown incompetence yet you want me to believe that they trust you? Merely because they undid your curse. Pathetic." His blackened cold hand outstretched and a blade emerged from it like a ebony dagger. "I care not for your excuses. You acquire more time it will seem... That is unfortunate I was expecting more from you." He out stretched his hand and held the dagger out for her to see. "This is what will be used to take your sons life for your failure. A soul sucking dagger. Only by removing it can he be revived. You will have a limited time to return and save him. Maybe a day, three if you're lucky. The boy looks healthy. But only after you take the life of one of the Aion's finest. It won't end with that, but it will be a start." He then leaped backwards, as if weightless his form began to disintegrate in the light. Yet his laugh could be heard, thoroughly amused at her misfortune.
Shye tried to continue to convince him what she could do but he none of it and continued with his own decision. Her blood froze when he pulled the dagger out, explaining its purpose as tears started to run down her porcelain cheeks. "No...please no! Punish me instead! He doesn't deserve this!"
She called after him, but he was already starting to fade away. She leapt after him, only meeting a shadowy aura that faded away, his sickening laugh hanging over her while she landed on the ground, curling into a ball as she wept. Her cries went unabated as she couldn't seem to bring herself back together, not this time. It happened, as she feared it eventually would. One day, she knew she would fail, and here it was, her child was being sentenced to death for her inability to complete a job she had never wanted. She wished she could male it all stop, to wake up from this nightmare that seemed to be her life. There seemed to be no more silver lining she could look up to.... what little hope she was just given, had been decimated as fast as she had received it. Even Nix flying down to her to try to cheer her up brought her little comfort as she laid on the ground with her sorrow, knowing she would never be able to escape this fate.(edited)
Nyph rolled around for a little while after Nix stopped playing with him. It took him a while to realize that his play partner had left. He flopped onto his feet and scanned the space briefly to see Shye and Nix had approached one of the other alliance members: Garrett. He tilted his head curiously. He knew Aeden had already left for boring errands. Nix and Shye were mysteries. He wanted to know more!
He camouflaged himself as they headed for the door and slipped through just as it closed shut. His camouflage ability worked better outside than in, however he could not move very quickly for long. He kept up with them fairly well as they made their way west through the town. He flew onto a tree branch and glided from branch to branch from there to get a good vantage point as they entered the forest. Once they stopped he settled down onto a nearby branch and waited while he watched Shye regain her composure.
What he witnessed next sent chills down his spine for the next several minutes. She was an assassin! Sent to kill Aion?!?! Part of his instinct told him to run away, but he knew if he were to move suddenly at this point he would be discovered and so he hunkered down and listened. He watched as Shye collapsed in tears at the end of what was effectively her warden telling her the terms of her imprisonment.
Nyph had to do something about this. First, he had to help her feel better. He glided silently down to the pendant and landed on it before turning off his camouflage. "Y'know what's good about having a bad benefactor? You can always find a good one!"
He shoved some soil over the pendant and tamped down on it with his tail. "Those evil overlord types don't have quite so much power over you as you might think!"
He waited for Shye to calm down with a head tilted and his greatest puppy dog eyes. "Now, tell me about your son and we can make a miracle happen!"
Shye recoiled back a bit as she heard Nyph's voice, fire bursting into action at her arms and legs. Nix had decided apparently not to warn her of his presence, seeing him as ok so far. When it registered to her who it was, the flames died out as she slumped back to the ground. "When did you-?" She wiped the tears from her eyes, though it did little to stop them, or the shuddering from her overflowing emotions at he moment. She guessed he had been there all along, but it didn't matter to her now. The image of that man with his dagger, going to take her son, vividly played through her mind, knowing here was nothing she could do to stop it now, consumed her, making her feel that all was lost as she knew her task was most likely impossible. As he said, her son would die, and she will live in pain until her eventual death, and without her son, she may as well settle that herself, one last stand of defiance by cutting to the chase. She shook her head, noticing her mind drifting again as she remembered Nyph was talking to her."I can't do anything against them...."
she started defeatedly. "They are already taking his life, and if I can't do what I was sent to....there will be no way to get back to him in time to save him....""H-his name.... is Bidzil. He is only about five years of age. I had left him at Sunfire Orphanage to take care of him where I couldn't until i was able to find proper employment, I had even left a note saying as much ...but i was found by the dolofon first. He is still there, but has been watched ever since they forced me into their service. He favors me, but with white hair."
The tears still came down, but she was calming down by talking. Though she couldn't help her mind still being plagued by intrusive thoughts of what had, and may, happen.
Nyph's eyes lit up when he hear Sunfire Orphanage. Even with preparation it would not be an easy task for the Dolofon to pull off an assassination there of all places. If he could get Aeden to send a message to them quickly there would be a good chance that they could respond quickly enough. The Dolofon and the Aion fiercely hated each other and there is no way the Aion would let the Dolofon easily pull off an assassination right under their noses. At least not the Aion he knew. "Okay! You can't do anything, but that's alright! I think I can! Especially if Aeden is on board, and knowing him he will want to help!"
Nyph puffed up in a heroic pose. "I know I won't stop until you are free and I know a day is a loooong time! I swear on my name, Nyph Pettyr, that I will do whatever it takes!"
With that he got into a ready stance to fly off to find Aeden.
Why? Why would someone she was supposed to kill help her? How could they so easily trust trust her? And what would she do if they came back to check on her progress? What would they do to her? She shook the thoughts from her head. No, That didn't matter. If Bidzil was safe, even if she was never able to him again, her soul could rest easy knowing he would live on. And he was right, she couldn't do anything, her only chance at saving her son would be to put her trust in them, and pray for the best. She looked up to Nyph before he took flight. It was hard to find any other words than her uttering lightly, "Thank you."
After he flew off, she sat there. Her emotions of hope and despair fighting one another. She then took a moment longer to gather herself the best she could. She stood up and looked down to where Nyph buried the medallion. Her brows slightly furrowed at it, and then she made sure she stepped on in as she made her way back to town, clicking her claws signalling Nix come to her.
Nailah and Lynn arrived on the market the very second the merchants finished tearing down the vines, finally opening the building to everyone. By the satisfied look on their faces and the cheers, they were finally open to business again."So lucky~~ We're going to be one of the first ones to enter!"
Nailah said with an excited smile and a playful, tone. One of Nailah's favorite things to do when visiting different places, other than hearing stories was to look at the local merchants' wares. It was always interesting, they always had so many different things to sell!"You know... One of my favorite things to do when visiting different places is looking at the local merchants' wares. Who knows what they have to sell, right?"
Nailah asked, winking to Lynn with a playful expression as she gently took her hand and went inside the market, pulling Lynn with her.
As they went inside, Nailah's curious eyes were like a cat's. Jumping from one stall to another followed by small exclamations of surprise, excitement or looks of curiosity when she found things she didn't understand.
There was a little bit of everything, from enchanted pipes and enchanted lanterns to weapons, spellbooks and grimories. Every item was a bit more strange, magical, beautiful or enigmatic than the previous one.
Amongst all of them though, two items caught Nailah's attention. One was a shining silver circlet with a beautiful green stone adorning it and the other was a necklace with a strange purple capsule."Look at that circlet! The green gem has such a beautiful color, doesn't it?"
Nailah asked, gawking at the green circlet."Hey, Lynn! Look at that necklace! The one with a small bottle of enchanted water on it!"
she said, pulling Lynn."It would look really good on you, you know? It's beautiful blue color matches perfectly with your hair!"
Nailah said, smiling kindly to her."Hm... This one is also really interesting and mysterious."
Nailah said, pointing towards the necklace with a strange capsule on it just before she looked at the merchant, staring at him in silence with curious eyes, obviously waiting for him to talk a bit about his wares to them.
Lynn floated along next to Nailah on their way to the merchant shops. She gently and neatly lowered a bit to get off of the staff when they arrived. Nailah mentioned this being one of her favorite things to do when traveling. "Oh, I couldn't agree more! This looks so exciting!"
she said as she walked in, looking around the stalls at all the unique trinkets that she had never seen before.
Her eyes lit up and her ears perked up as she looked around. Even her tail was up and slowly wagging side to side, well, until she bumped it into a few things. Being careful not to bump anything else, she then just curled her tail around and held it in front of her against her chest with her sleeved hand as Nialah had the other.
There were a lot of beautiful handcrafts that a lot of merchants brought to their stalls, but of coarse it was something shiny that really seemed to make Lynn's eyes sparkle. "You think so?" she asked about Nailah's statement about a necklace that matches her hair as she held it up to a longer strand of her hair that she could match it with. She took it in her hands. "Its so gorgeous! The water is so pure!"
She gently took it from Nailah, inspecting it. The water inside glistened and reflected in her eyes, making them look like they were actually sparkling in wonder. Without even knowing what it does, she was already wanting it. "I wonder where the water is from? I don't feel any impurities in it. And I feel warmer just holding it."
she mentioned with a curious look at the pendant, her head tilted slightly.
The supper, or she should say, breakfast was rather good. Especially with the harp music played. Sipping on her jug of mead, Aste was about to take a long morning rest from the trip, until the noises from the market echoed into the less crowded inn. She almost forgot, now that the merchant guild are here, she had to at least take a look at their wares, who knows if they are selling mundane stuffs that happen to be treasures.
Her belongings are in the inn but she did not bother on if they are stolen. It will just be a short while, she thought, a short trip that she will return in a bit. Leaving her leather pouch on the table, Aster headed for the market of the merchant guild.Nobody will steal her stuffs, she had thought.(edited)
The marketplace goods was larger than she expect, the assortment of goods area more than what she sees even in her life at the city of Verndi. That was the merchant guild, that one guild that she doesn’t like even on the light of their achievements. Just a missing payment and they do stupid things, she don't like their style to this day.
One of the lanterns in display caught her particular eye. A lantern that shines the glow of moonstone, the price was a bit off, but it might be worth to get a better lamp for the long term of use.
Her magic spell works better under the light, unlike the similar spell from the dark affinity, the invisibility spell work the best under the brighter light. Under complete darkness, she would strain her cast, but who uses that kind of spell on the dark was the good question.
The lantern would be good if she wanted to make the light dance under the night, like illusions. And it might use it to whack monsters if things got dire enough.
"I would like to buy a moonstone lantern, just one will do."
Taking out her gold encrusted purse, Aste dug out a couple of Bronze coin for an exchange of small change, 30 bronze those pesky merchants sure know how to overcharge for such an artifact. For now and then, she hoped she will get what she paid for... "Well, I guess now is a good time as any ta check tha market."
Allard said as the merchants left, followed by a couple more of their small group. "Maybe see if anyone in town needs anythin' before we go while I'm at it. I would assume we will meet here before we shove off, see ya then."
He then walked out of the inn himself, making his way, in no rush towards the market. He looked around at the town on his way, seeing how things were going or if anyone needed a hand.
Nyph soared through the forest and back to town within moments. There were few things that motivated him more than helping people get out of bad situations. He hovered over the marketplace as soon as he arrived and scanned the area for Aeden. The market just was beginning to open up, so he hoped to see his comrade there. Minutes passed and then he noticed at the edge of the marketplace Aeden appeared.
Nyph zipped right over to Aeden. ”Aeden! Aeden!””What, Nyph?””I have something urgent! It’s important! Super super serious!”
Nyph glanced around the area looking for a semi-private place for him to speak. ”This way!”
Aeden hesitated briefly. Very rarely was Nyph in a state like this. Even with the constant enthusiasm of the little dragon, Aeden could tell Nyph was worried about something. He followed his partner down a nearby alley where nobody was around in any obvious way. He crossed his arms and leaned against a wall once Nyph stopped waiting for Nyph to explain.
Nyph took a deep breath. ”Shye, she’s a Dolofon.”
Aeden tensed visibly, but Nyph continued. ”Well effectively a slave of the Dolofon. I bet we can free her from them! Her son is in danger though, so we got to do something to save him. He’s at the Sunfire Orphanage! The Dolofon have a plan to kill him if she doesn’t kill one of us Aion by the end of the day. Can we stop it?”
Aeden grit his teeth as he puzzled over the situation Nyph presented him. Knowing Shye was a Dolofon assassin left him with the temptation to end her life the next moment he saw her, however, if Nyph was vouching for her like this he had to consider turning her against the Dolofon. Still, he could not fully trust her with that collar knowing she was Dolofon. There was no way he would let them assassinate someone right under the nose of the Aion base though, but if they did not know the Aion homebase was there then it would reveal their location. ”Damnit, Nyph, this puts us in a really hard spot you know. This is going to take more finesse than just a simple message. I said I would protect her the best I could, but this is going above and beyond, and now I know she’s more than just an escaped slave.”
With the market opening up perhaps he could find a solution to the challenge here. ”We’re going to see if we can find something to help us before we risk a message being intercepted.”
He entered the market building and started searching the displays. It did not take long before he saw a set of scrolls that he recognized. Scrolls that had been used in emergencies to escape. The label the box they were in read: Home Traveling Scrolls. This would work.
Aeden cleared his throat and pointed at the scrolls. ”I’d like all three of these.”
Shye had eventually gathered herself up enough to go back into town, judging that maybe her eyes weren't so puffy anymore from the ordeal and could walk around without getting too much attention now. Nix sat silently on her shoulder, ears down, feeling her masters emotions. Shye was honestly very tired and stressed, emotionally and physically. The previous day, the unrestful night, and today's events seeming to wear her and her very soul down.
When Dremmick noticed Mason walk out, he nodded a short greeting to him. Before moving on to what he wanted to talk about however, he wanted to get one thing cleared up. without saying much, and with an unwavering stare locked to Mason's eyes to look for any trace of doubt, he asked, "So...Is our, 'new acquaintance' to be trusted?"
He was mentioning Shye without trying to say too much in public. "I believe so Dremmick...... They have something of theirs.... Something that means everything to our newcomer. I'll fill you in on the rest later."
Mason sighed as he walked alongside his friend, "Buuuuuut anyway......"
he trailed off with a soft click of the tongue as he reached to itch the scabbed over burns on his right arm. For some strange reason, though the damage had healed, the skin still wasn't quite right.... It was almost as if the new skin had grown a weak, fleshy shell, protecting the tender skin that lay beneath. "What was it you wanted to talk about?"
Dremmick thought if there was a way to be subtle about it, but then again, it was never really his forte. "Remember when you fell unconscious before reaching here? Have you felt as if something isn't quite right since that moment? IYou have two souls inside of you, Mason."
He let that linger a bit. "Now, there are proper ways to do things like that, but you and this other soul are already intertwined....they are fighting for control, and the other soul is quite aggressive. In fact, it has a slight life energy drain at all times. Stand still, and look closely at the grass beneath your feet."[/color] Dremmick stopped and pointed to some of the grass they were walking through, watching as it ever so slowly withed and withered. "Mason.... Do you recall anything strange lately? Once a soul starts to take root, it can slowly fuse with the host soul. Depending on the strength of the host soul, you either overcome it, become something new, or are devored by the other soul.....The later two are the most common concerning....well,"
He looked down where he remembered the soul in Mason's chest and looked back up, "Souls of that caliber."
He could remember the pull the soul had on him until he redirected it, and the amount of plantlife it killed in a single spike incident before getting him to pearl.
Mason swallowed as his face went pale as he watched the tip of the grass at his feet turn brown, "Well Dremmick..... Th- thats... Well, a lot to take in."
Biting his lip in thought for a moment, Mason continued, "The worst part.... Is that I feel increadible; like I've never been strong-"
his voice cut as a horrified expression grew across his face, growing ever more dire by the second "Dremmick. Back in Vrondi, I heard a voice..... And now, I-I think it's changing me."
he stuttered, as he revealed the strange scarring on his arm. "Do you think....... Can you remove it?" "No,"
Dremmick said bluntly. "It was risky just for me to redirect it's feed from you to the nature around you. For now, it's content, but there will be spikes in its hunger that you will probably have to quell from time to time. 'Keep it fed', if you will. You most likely get a strength boost after taking in life energy. And that voice you hear....
Dremmick sighed as he knew all too well about voices in his head, most his own, but one was very different. "The closer the bond is between the two of you, the more you will hear it. Over time you get used to it, but its power will spike from time to time, and it will be as if they are right next to your ear."
When Mason showed Dremmick his arm, his brows furrowed at the sight, taking a closer look. it was weird, even though it still seemed like normal flesh, it had a weird in between stage as if he was growing..."Scales?"
He turned his arm this way and that looking it over. "Mason...You aren't full seraphim, are you?"
he asked. "I don't know what I am Dremmick, what I'm becoming, or what's really inside me.... I knew I wasn't normal, but this? I never expected...."
Mason paused before letting out a forced chuckle, "I guess that makes us quite the pair doesn't it?"
clearing his throat the racially confused boy hurried along, beckoning Dremmick to hurry up as he donned his usual smile, "C'mon Dremmick! There's that Alchemist lady at the Taxis camp right? Lets go find out what I'm made of! I'm sure she can tell us!"
"Well, if i were to take a wild guess," Dremmick started as Mason talked about how he wasn't sure what he was, "I'd say you have some dragon blood in you. Which, personally, I wouldn't say is too bad considerring your magic." He followed Mason to the Taxis HQ, but Dremmick was the first one to actually knock on the doors to the building. "Amaiah is the person you are refering to, shes the one who made the elixir, I'm sure she could pinpoint what your lineage is with a blood sample."
The door slid open a little after the knock. It was then fully opened by a Taxis knight acting as a guard to the HQ and the only one on duty it seemed. He was visibly tired this morning yet greeted the two with a welcome gesture. Letting them enter without issue. Inside were many healers sitting together and harmonizing their energies. In a separate room Amaiah and Lucius sat. Discussing things. His knights outside of the door keeping it guarded.
Dremmick nodded to the first guard, returning the greeting. He then looked over to another room where Amaiah and Luscious sat and talked. He sighed at the man's presence but knew his business was more important than his distaste for the irritating royal. Dremmick looked to one if the guards. "We would like to speak to Amaiah if possible. I have urgent business with her that I need seen to before we part ways."
"I will see." One of the knights said. Turning to open the door he stepped inside and closed it behind him. With about five minutes passing he opened the door. "You may enter." Once inside Amaiah, Lucius and the Hunter from before were standing in the room talking. "Ah it is the Aion. We were just discussing your battle last night in the wilds. We were told some interesting things of the alliance's abilities. It has instilled some faith in your quest." Lucius was holding the Elixir. It had a wrapping around it to conceal its strange coloring and aura. "Yes and thank you for telling this hunter about the cure. I heard a couple of you were bitten." Amaiah chimed in. "Ai. Twas that one there." The hunter pointed to Mason. "Oh my, you need to be cured immediately!" Amaiah turned to Lucius. "Hm. This is a rare item. It must be used wisely. Amaiah, please distribute the proper amount to cure this man." With a surprised and humbled expression she nodded. Taking the elixir from Lucius with both hands she placed it on the alchemy table.
She took a orb like injection needle and sucked in some of the liquid within it. "Alright just a drop of this should do it. Lets hope it doesn't react negatively." She chuckled nervously. She went ahead and approached Mason with it. "Hold still please? And remove your arm's armor." Once done Amaiah would inject Mason with a small dosage. "I'm glad to see you're alright."
Mason smiled as soon as he saw the hunter, "But yes, last night was a bit.... Odd, to say the least. Hit my head pretty good on a rock during the fight so my memory of list night is a little fuzzy."
he chuckled somewhat nervously at the remark about the alliances' abilities. It was rather convenient that Mason had to be injected with the cure by the very person he needed to see about his other 'problem', and as Amaiah approached to inject him with the cure, Mason unfastened the armor on his right arm; not thinking about the fact that Lucuis and the hunter were still in the room. As the armor fell to the floor with a soft 'clink', his naked arm was revealed to be spotted with patches of heavily underdeveloped, fleshy scales, appearing in a pattern nigh identical to those caused by electrical burns. [color= darkorange]"Well, uh...... There's kinda one other thing I need you to look at..."[/color]
Amaiah didn't shudder at the sight of his scaled hide. Being around the folk in Gaia made her used to such a thing. But it was notably different than any other seraphim she came across. "Hmm." She peered curiously at the texture of his flesh before attempting to pierce between the line of the scale markings and inject a small dosage of the serum. "I hope you don't mind being the first to try this." Once inside it would cause his veins to glow visibly. His souls affliction will even be affected, being washed over by a divine purity from its seraphim origins. Even those around will feel some of the effects of the serums metaphysical effects. Amaiah back away some.
Dremmick watched as Amaiah administered the elixir to Mason, curious himself at how effective it would be. With his curiosity, his left eye lit up, studying the effects it may have on Mason's souls with his soul sight in one eye, and plain sight in the other so he could see normally at the same time. "So, Amaiah, before we were... interrupted yesterday, I was going to ask, how did you make the elixir?"