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Order of the Hourglass (co-GM) - Main: Ayla Arslan, Secondary: Ashon'Amar'Loiyang, Maura Mercador, Taleja Drakenknecht. NPC: Oksana Levlytsar, and others.
Tales From the Realm of Laelilon - ꁲꂵꁲꋊꂠꂑꋊꈼ

Current TTRPG
(Roll20) Conan - Ivan, Cossack.

Current One-One Roleplay
None current.

Eldritch Escape - GM (1:1) - Daylight has not risen for seven days, and no one has noticed. Everyone seems oblivious to it, acting as they normally would. People are starting to disappear, but the news is silent. Bodies are appearing on the street, and yet people pass by without a second thought. Just when you think it couldn't get worse, you die. You are revived by your new companion, who calls themselves Bellwether. The thing that killed you? A monstrous Eldritch horror. Now, it's down to you to fight for your survival.

Potential Interests:
Currently interested in things that catch my attention. A little bit different or a spice to it.
Wuxia/Xianxia themed Martial Arts/Cultivation
Steampunk / Diesel Punk
Age of Sail (Discovery, Pirates, etc)
and more.

Most Recent Posts


Event: Penny Pellegrin | Location: Ersand'Enise

She could see him from her perch, just wandering around below her, all cute and clueless and stuff. She was rarely the one looking down, and this opportunity could not be wasted. “Boyfriend!” she shouted, hopping up on the bannister. “You’re mine! Think fast.” She leapt down, aiming to land right on him and be caught like the fair maiden she dreamed of being.

Ashon instinctively stepped out of the way of the falling boulder, except this boulder was rather too Penny-shaped for his liking. With a twist of his heel, he sprung back toward her as he caught her within his arms into a bridal carry. “I see it is raining Pennies.” He leaned down to peck upon her forehead whilst grinning widely toward her. He looked up to see where she fell from, as he shifted her over his shoulder and climbed up along the wall as he brought the pair of them back upon her balcony. He sat back upon the bannister as he had her seated forward upon him. “Want to dive off again~?“.

“I was trying to crush you,” she admitted. “A lil’ tree boy beneath the ruthless heel of the Perrench oppressor.” Penny shrugged. “Gotta make my ancestors proud.” She twisted free and sat beside him, snuggling into his shoulder and dangling her foot over the edge. She swung it idly back and forth, stretching her toes out a couple of times.

He could only raise an eyebrow at his would-be oppressor, “Perhaps I shall bat away those tyrants with my superior wits and combat ability, then ensure peace by seducing their King, or perhaps a Queen, the ol’ Talit and Arcel treatment.” He grinned as he snapped toward Penny as he teasingly whispered by her ear, “I would gladly accept a cute merchant girl instead.”

Gods, Carles is cold,” Penny suddenly offered. It was just on the verge of being legitimately cold - cold enough to make one shrink indoors - and, even here in subtropical Ersand’Enise, a handful of yellowed and browned leaves carpeted the ground of the small green by the merchant girls’ dormitories. “Actually, I was wondering what your plans were for the break. It’s Caldores in a month.” She twisted and looked up at him questioningly, innocent enough.

He smiled toward her as he thought about the seasons, “After the leaves turn crimson and fall like blood droplets upon the ground…” He gazed toward Penny with the most stern of expressions, and she shivered. “Macabre, Jammy. Macabre.”. He broke the seriousness with a big grin, “I hadn’t a clue.” Though the talk had certainly reminded him of something, as he raised the bushel of strawberries he had with him, plucking one out. “Red is my favourite colour“, he bit into the sweet flesh of the fruit as he offered out the rest toward Penny for her to bite.

Penny blinked. She plucked a strawberry and ate it, tossing the top down into the green to be food for the animals. “Mine changes every year or two,” she replied with a shrug. If there was some deeper symbolism, she wasn’t getting it. “I know it’s the milquetoast answer, but I think they all have their merits.” The berry was good. It reminded her of the ones in the castle gardens: the only real outdoor space she’d been allowed to spend time in as a child. She made sure not to waste any. It occurred to her that he was dodging the question, so she opted to let it linger. If he addressed it belatedly, then it meant that he was ready to open up. If he didn’t, then she wouldn’t press. She’d been less than open herself, Dami’s truth.

Ashon held out the strawberry as it was left hanging. Penny stuck out her tongue. “I don’t want your goober, Monkey boy,” she teased. Ashon shrugged. “Overheard Maura talk about the yanii custom of indirect kissing. Apparently all flustered when she shared a picnic with that boy that hangs around her. Sharing the treat that had been bit by another.”, rolling the berry with his thumb, then flicking it into the air as it caught it between his teeth.

Penny rolled her eyes, but then softened it with a smile. ”So you’re saying you want me to be unsanitary with you.” She leaned in and bit the strawberry and planted a little kiss on him.

He couldn’t resist grinning at her comment, enjoying the affectionate peck. “It may surprise you, but my company tends not to be wanted for too long,“ the tone soft and playful as his fingers were casually sliding through the strands of her hair as she leaned upon his shoulder, playfully twirling it around his fingertips. “So I tend to float from place to place, where-ever the breeze takes me. On rare occasions, I sometimes may visit my old man on a passing visit when he isn’t busy with his tea leaves in his gilded cage.”

That caused her to shift. “Gilded cage?” she enquired. “Just… what does he do?” Very ladylike, she picked a leaf from between her teeth and flicked it into the green-brown abyss below. “Sorry if it’s like… rude to ask, but I’m curious now.”

“Huh, never been asked before.” He scratched upon his cheek before turning to look toward her, examining her curious face. “He is a very well respected member of the community, everyone comes to see him for advice and his blessing. He took me in when I was young off the street. He is what you call a future-teller” He moved one of his fingers to stroke along the round ridge of Penny’s ear, “So he would do this ceremony where he pretends to look at leaves with his absent eyes which sit in a bowl of water, circling them around with a stick, and people take his ramblings as gospel.” His finger went into a circling motion against her ear as he acted it out, smirking playfully. “Though, that is not the main reason they keep him around.”

“Sooo… A timewalker?” she prodded. “You have a story to tell, precious one, and I’m going to squeeze you like an orange for it if I have to.” She smiled sweetly but challengingly, clearly taking an interest. Shune, we’ve known each other for months. We’ve even swapped strawberry spit. How is it that we haven’t talked about stuff like this?” She glanced down and then back up. “I mean… I’ll share too if you will. I feel like we should be doing stuff like this.”

He paused as he considered her words, simply listening. He moved to plant a kiss upon the top of her head as he spoke softly toward her. “Is this Penny wanting us to become serious?”

For a moment, an intense anxiety seized Penny. Being ‘serious’ would mean a whole bunch of things: things she wasn’t sure she was ready for. He would learn about her family. They would learn about him. They would… She wanted him. She wanted him for herself but she wasn’t enough. He hadn’t seen her - really seen her yet. She liked her gloves and her long dresses because they made her a normal shape. It would probably be okay. They would probably be okay, but she was malformed. It… wasn’t beautiful. Would the rest of her be enough? She was three-quarters of an ideal princess of Perrence. What if it wasn’t? What if he acted nice about it but she could see the enthusiasm leave him. She blinked to clear her head. “I suppose it is,” she admitted, pulse building behind her ears. “Frankly surprised we haven’t already,” she said with a nervous chuckle.

He moved to the other side of her as he watched her. His eyes examined her intensely, watching how the pupils fluctuated with each passing moment. Ashon moved his hand upon hers, as he took it within his grasp, holding upon it, his fingers stroked upon the back of it. He was silent in contemplation. “Excuse me for a moment, I’ll be back.” He squeezed upon her hand as he stood up to retreat within her room, moving over to her wash basin.

About to say something, Penny instead fell silent. She hopped off of the balcony and made her way quietly into the room, sitting on the bed and pulling her knee to her chin.

Ashon began to remove his shirt as he exposed that athletic figure of his, as he moved his hands into the water as he began to wash himself. The markings that cover him were being scrubbed and removed, working toward his face as he looked at his reflection. As he looked within the looking glass, he saw the person he presented himself as, the one he portrayed to the world, and even to himself. He took the time and attention as he started to remove his make-up. The eyeliner, the shadow, even the balm that coated his lips. He plays the role of the jester, the one he has perfected to a degree that he even made himself believe he is one. Once he was cleansed, he felt like he was able to bare himself before her, becoming less the Jammy she knew, and more the Ashon that laid underneath. Finished, he turned and dried himself, showing her what he really looked like raw, the masquerade mask slipped off. He approached her, his mannerism less clumsy, though requiring effort to adjust in what could be considered a more civilized manner as he moved to seat himself in front of her upon the bed. “This is me.” His hand reached for hers to bring it toward him, guiding it toward his chest as he placed it there and allowed her to feel the strong beat of his heart beneath the flesh.

It was clear that she had triggered something within him: something that she would have to respond to, and Penny wasn’t sure that she was ready. She withdrew her hand, eyes anxious, and looked up at him. Ipte, you’re beautiful,” she managed to choke out. “In more ways than you know.” It was true and she felt it, but she was also stalling, deflecting. You do this, Penelope. This is what you want. This is what you’ve always wanted: to be loved, and he is not just some plaything. He’s giving his heart to you. That brought on a new wave of anxiety. She was shaking, now, imperceptibly unless anyone should look very closely. The source of it was mixed: desire, terror, anxiety, excitement. No single factor won out, but she knew that she would have to bare herself too, metaphorically and physically, for this to work. She nearly pulled upon chemical magics, as she so often did, to steady her. Instead, she reached out with both of her hands. She took her gloves off. Her left was… objectively strange. It was not beautiful, but it was her and she could not hide it forever, so she didn’t. She was not about to make some ceremony of it, to put it in his face, but she let it be there as it was.

Ashon looked toward Penny like he normally did. To be fair, it is not that the girl wasn’t beautiful, he cherished those eyes, that hair, that smile upon her lips. It wouldn’t be a lie that he has acted like a womanizer in the past, his constant joking, flirting and serenading with every pretty girl he came across and that reputation hadn’t gone unnoticed even in the thicket as he had made advances on every girl there, except for Isii who had approached him first. He did this to mask the flaws that resided within his heart, the burdens that he carried around with him. With Penny, he saw something different, in the very first moments she fulfilled a need long hidden inside of him as he held her tightly within his arms. It was a peculiar and alien feeling to him, something that drew him strongly to her. There were things about Penny that the girl most likely didn’t know herself, and he loved those things about her. So when he saw the hand, he brought his own toward it, sliding his fingers against hers then interlocked them the best he could. Penny may be flawed on the outside, but he is flawed on the inside, yet despite this, he believed that she loved him regardless as much as he loved her. He smiled warmly at her comment, he knew that others found him handsome, but what caught him was the latter statement, in more ways than you know. It was this that caused his heart to skip a beat, the one that caused his own emotions to grow intense. “... and you’re perfect.” His eyes gazed within hers in an intense and unflinching manner, there is no trace of malice or cruel trickery, it was that scarier and more frightening thing, he genuinely believed what he just said.

There were layers to peel out of for Penny, then. She freed herself of them. She melted into Ashon, in more ways than one.

It was some time later, perhaps in the hours of Eshiran, though Penny thought it should’ve been those of Ipte. She sat in bed, as she was, white sheets pulled up around her and her head sticking out the top of them like some sort of little ghost. Her hair was rumpled and she was smiling. She couldn't stop smiling. “No, it’s not metaphorical, Jammy. I’m actually Rouis’ daughter: a princess.” She snorted. “Though not much of one. I’m no better than ninth in line for the throne. Anyways, I wanna hear more about your papa who can see the future.”

The temptation was there. It was very easy to find oneself slipping back into those familiar ways and habits. He had already thought of least five, seven, perhaps eleven quips to her confession. All the ways he can deflect and avoid, but he owed it to her, to Penny, to be true to himself, even if it let it slip a little. “One could say my father sees the future, and your father decides the future.” He grinned toward her as he placed a kiss upon her head, a Perrench Princess, huh?. He mused privately to himself, perhaps the dream meant more than he thought, “I guess that really does make us Talit and Arcel.”

Ashon reflected that Penny would not be interested in the challenges of a blind man attempting to dress himself in the morning, and thought of a tale. One that is often told to many a person, though it felt different telling Penny. She was different, she was special… he has to place his trust in her. “One day, the elders were deciding on what to do with a boy. Wee high and very mischievous.” He raised his hand to give an approximate size as he acted out the story with his actions. “His parents were once part of the village and left for Kerremand across the water, however, there was a terrible incident and they both perished. The locals, not wanting to deal with the boy, sent him back to the Hyparian lands, a land where trees grew like mountains and cities built in the sky upon their branches amongst the birds” It was clear that he had started to relive a more personal experience. “They couldn’t decide where they wanted to place him and no family would take him in voluntarily. Some thought the militia would straighten him out, others discussed sending him to the capital. In the end, they decided to bring him before the local future-teller. They sat the boy before him, and asked him to see what he saw that lay ahead in his path.” He smiled to himself, grinning, as he turned toward Penny, gazing upon her. “Apparently, he was so shocked by what he saw, he almost passed out. It turned out the boy had a very… destructive future. As you imagine, that caused everyone to grow wild, they even proposed stoning the boy as he would be better off with the gods. It was during this arguing between the elders that the future-teller had another vision, a… bright future, one of hardship but out of that destruction, came promise. Like a sapling sprouting after a forest fire, springing up from the ashes. It was as if he knew at that moment what he must do. He confronted those elders and took the boy as his own, his adopted son. There were protests, but if the boy were to be raised as a keeper, and an attendant, then perhaps destruction would be prevented, or so he said. Reluctantly, they agreed with his decision.”

Penny pulled her knee up to her chest, under the covers. The boy was Ashon, of course. That much she knew. Fated to bring destruction, just like me. She nodded for him to continue, and so he continued his tale. “You would think the boy would be extremely grateful for this fate, being raised in the household of a pillar in the community”

Penny regarded him with her head tilted. Slowly, she shook it. “Confining,” she murmured. “Marked out as different.”

“My father, one could say, was one of the fortunate ones. Those blessed with the gift of future sight are blinded as soon as they are identified, then brought before the Barons in the Yasoi lands.” He motioned with hands toward his eyes as if going to skewer them out with his fingers. It was always the eyes. Conscious, he looked toward Penny’s eyes, as if peering inside of them as they gazed back at his. “Those of a suitable temperament - those who respond well - are given the option of being assigned to a village, far away from the life those who that remain are subjected to. It is an offer that all would agree to: an escape, living a dutiful life in comfort.” He mused on how to better explain it. “You get to live in a large house, a prime location. You don’t have to toil for food or drink. Your surroundings are tailored to cater for any need or desire. There are those who provide physical comfort and affection under careful conditions as to prevent future children. You just had to remain within those walls and answer the requests of the village where it came to the use of your gift”

“A gilded cage,” Penny whispered, more to herself.

Ashon nodded toward her as if he heard what she said. “When you cannot see the world, thankfully there isn’t much out there to experience, or so they say. What you don’t know, you cannot desire.” He imagined home as being a bird cage with a sheet draped over the top of it. Some mysterious hand coming along to feed you, change the bedding, tend to you, whilst only hearing the whisperings of the greater world, and… “Only what is seen through the eyes of the person before you. The visions of their future, and of their past”

The parallels were clear, almost as if he were trying intentionally to draw them. Penny shifted where she sat and continued to listen. “I think we all know that to be false.”

“A cage can never hold anyone for long, for if there is a will, there is a way. Despite efforts, future-tellers still get born. He once told me of a woman in his youth that he grew quite fond of who used to comfort him, and they grew involved. One day, he learned that she was with child, and soon did others. He never knew what happened to her, only that she was spirited away and not seen again.” He grinned widely toward Penny for a moment, he has heard the next bit plenty of times before, “This is the part where you suspect, Ashon, is he really your father? but this isn’t some tale, and I am not some secret future-teller love child. This was far before my time, easily a good fifty years most likely, but the old man had always desired and dreamed of a child. So the gods cursed him with me instead.”

He started to reorientate himself to where he was prior to his tangent. “So the boy was unhappy. A life of enjoyment in taking care of an old blind man and confinement. As he grew, he frequently neglected his duties and was truant. He was wild and restless, like the vermin monkeys that plagued the village from time to time.” He moved his fingers beside his head and upwards as if to mimic a crown.

“Despite all this, he never gave up on the boy, and once he grew of an appropriate age, he decided to share the truth with him. He disclosed what he really saw on that day before the elders. The destruction he foresaw was not of the boy's doing, it was the lands of the Yasoi. Dessicated in their form and swept over by a fire which spelled the end to them as we know it. However, after what came and gone, there was a green sprout, the beginnings of a new future for our people.” He looked upwards toward the ceiling as he examined the patterns laid out within Penny’s dorm room. “Now, you may think the boy is some hero, a saviour to the people, and some high purpose. One to save the yasoi, right the world of its wrongs. It turned out the sprout is a girl, not a boy, and it is them who shall bring renewal.” He couldn’t resist the dramatic build up, everyone likes a good story about the birth and future of a folk legend, and leaning into it is what he does best. “Truth is, the boy, arguably, could be summarized as simply Ash-on the sprout.” He grinned widely toward Penny, that bit was his favourite part and loved to hammer it home.

She managed to hold back her groan, if only because, bad pun aside, this was clearly meaningful to him.

“Metaphoric, rather than literal. The ash represents nutrients and sustenance which allows the sprout to grow. My calling is to find and support her. As any boy who is both extremely disappointed by the revelation and currently thinking - eww, girls - he left rather promptly from the exchange.” He recalls the experience quite vividly and there were more than a few more choice words that were said at that time. His future was not to be the retainer of some old man, but that of some woman instead. It wasn’t until later, there was another vision of his future, one that spoke to him far more clearly. “... there was another. What the old man didn’t realize, was that he did not even truly interpret what he saw correctly at that time. The sprout was a metaphor too, for they only have a singular stem. I wasn’t meant to be the retainer of some random woman, but of the goddess Vyshta… the one you call Reshta.”

This was going to lead to the difficult part. He may have altered and obscured some of the facts around the story, but it was leading to where it is thus far, and how it may impact upon their relationship and what it threatened. “From that day, I learnt my true purpose and became inspired, and dedicated myself to being one of Vyshta’s Chosen.” He moved his arm around Penny as he held her close to him as his fingers caressed her back. He has been speaking a while, whilst she was ever patient with him. He felt himself grow cold and clammy, as he dreaded the words he were to speak. “When I came of age, I volunteered in the militia and became what you call a Dervisher. A most dangerous role used for scouting, ambushing, often working independently. I was trained to hunt and kill, similar to what you may call an assassin, and being naturally gifted and with a love of heights, it was like a calling to me.” That is right, Penny. The one you love has killed people, and that is not even the worst you are going to hear.

“So… you’ve killed, then?” It was as much statement as question. She studied him evenly. She had killed too, to be fair. It was still hard to wrap her around. She’d done it with shocking ease, too: almost cold-blooded, almost sadistic. It had been a matter of survival, but a small part of her had enjoyed it, at least before what she’d done had set in. She couldn’t judge him and she didn’t want to. The words had kind of just… slipped out.

Ashon gave a cold nod at the question. “By necessity, either on the orders of others, exacting justice, or my own survival. These hands have been stained red more times than I wish to remember, and the truth is that I could do it again if it came to be.” As such where harm came to you, Penny. The thought went unsaid as he placed a kiss upon the top of her head.

“There are two major crimes in Yasoi society… well, there are a lot more, but for the purposes of this story, there are two. One, as you know, is being a Future-teller. The other is breaking a vow to the gods.” If only that you knew. He pulled upon Penny instinctively, holding her against him as if scared she would suddenly move away from him, flee his side. “But staying would only break the true vow that I made, the one to the Goddess Vyshta. So I departed from my home and roamed the lands, drifting between places till eventually moving into the huusoi lands, encountering many yasoi in my path as I spoke of poetry and verse like a wandering bard. Yasoi are not widely received, often viewed as tricksters or thieves at best. It is there I found myself back in my childhood, the boy who ran with monkeys. Jamboi.” Your precious Jammy. “It was during this time I was called to Ersand’Enise, a place the most talented and gifted from around Sipenta are drawn towards. Where else could the Goddess Vyshta be, than here? I sought to learn more, to find the one I was devoted to.”

“Ashon,” she squeaked. Her heart was pounding. It was sappy, but it was so romantic. “Oh my Ipte.” It was her, of course. They were destined to be together. He thought she was the avatar. Maybe he’d thought Tyrel was at first, but it was her: Penny Pelletier.

He could see the excitement build up to her, she certainly was a fan of the storytelling. Watching that wonderful smile felt like a knife slide within his chest to what came next. I am a monster. Selfish, stupid. I have fallen in love with you.

“I thought this opportunity came to waste. Why would the Goddess choose to live in Huusoi lands, what was I thinking? Perhaps I had simply dreamed wrongly. It was then during our first term I learnt of the trials. The time of year when the best and brightest around Sipenta come to meet in one place. It happened to be that there was a team from Tarlon led by none other than the avatar of the Goddess herself: Vyshta’s Favoured.” He felt that knife twist in his heart. He could feel his body and spirit dying with each breath and word he spoke. “When we met, Penny. It was when I thought I was going to introduce myself to the one who is destined to be my wife.”

Penny went still for a moment: stalk still, and he could feel her stiffen. Her eyes became cold and she began to pull away. And here you are, she thought bitterly, bedding me: a wrench in your destiny. She stopped and waited and cautioned herself not to jump too far with her conclusions.

Ashon moved his hands to his eyes as he brushed away the tears that had formed there. Then, he spoke, the water trickling down his face to soak into the girl's pillows. The worst was out, the confession about Tyrel. “Then I discovered something that not even I could foresee” His hand clasped upon Penny’s own, seeming not to even care for the deformity in the slightest. “It was when this huusoi girl jumped within my arms, I felt… something different. It was when I knew where my path truly lay.”

Penny breathed steadily. There it was: the redemption. She allowed him to take her hand, but she did not give it to him. There were pasts other than hers that were confining, difficult. She wasn’t certain. Nothing was simple. Nothing was easy or straightforward or just…normal and how she wished it was! Her gaze was solemn. Wordlessly, she twisted away and, still under the covers, scooted to the edge of the bed. In a fluid motion, she rose, covered herself in her bedrobe, and took two hops over to her bedside table.

He watched her, and he knew he’d hurt her. The pain he inflicted upon himself paled in comparison to the pain he felt now. Perhaps he was wrong to trust, and that keeping his secrets would be preferable. There were things he didn’t consider ever confiding in another, yet, here was Penny. This huusoi girl. He recalled the conversation he had with Chad afterwards, he knew what others thought of him and their relationship. The twisted perversions they accused him of. He sat up on the bed as he looked toward her, “My life has always been full of expectations, then I came across the unexpected. For the first time, it felt that I could see, and what I saw was you.”

She bent over and slid the little table’s drawer open. She rifled through it in silence and came up with a half-rolled up piece of parchment. Turning on her heel, she was back on the edge of the bed in two bounds. She unrolled it and tossed it to him. “I received this from Evander,” she remarked. “He found it inside an idol of Reshta in Thalakos. I’m not sure what it means, but I have my theories and I thought you might know.” Out of habit, she scooted forward a bit, hugging her knee to her chin and looking up at him not quite expectantly.

Ashon looked toward her and the parchment, questioning her meaning before he started to read and make sense of it. A number of the names were familiar, but there were also huusoi and siisoi names on the list. The idea that Reshta, and not Vyshta was the original, but he gathered the meaning, especially noticeable was the interchangeable leg. It was when he got to the bottom, he saw the line through the name Tyrel. a mistake?. The name underneath. He paused a moment as his eyes scanned the document. If this was some sick elaborate joke, it was a good one. However, the worn parchment spoke of its age, or at least poor conditions it had been held in. It took a moment, then he laid back upon the bed, and laughed. The ridiculous absurdity of the situation was far too much, how would one not laugh? Why yes, I did go to introduce myself to my wife at that moment, it just happened to be you and I never knew. He couldn’t help but laugh, the sweet sound of laughter, a joyous laugh.

Penny reached up and flicked some hair from her eyes. She couldn’t help but be influenced - couldn’t help but smile some herself. “Gonna let me in on it, Jammy?” she prodded, scooting a bit closer. “Do you believe I’m a goddess now, and not just metaphorically, or is it ironic laughter?”

He turned toward her, and playfully threw the parchment in her direction, “You were always my Goddess, that was never in question.” His grin was wide, unable to resist the smirk, and wasn’t quite sure how to respond to her question, mulling it over and perhaps answering it a different way. “Perhaps my story needs a correction”. He reached out toward Penny, and pulled her upon him, as he continued to gaze within her eyes. “The day I met you, Penny, it was the moment I was destined to meet my wife. Despite, at that moment, being before the girl who is purported to be that person, my heart was not swayed, and it led me to the true Goddess?” He moved his arms around her waist as he pulled her under the sheets on top of him. “Do you believe in destiny, Penny Pellegrin? Do you believe we were meant to be?”

She didn’t speak. She leaned down to kiss him. Her fingers played across the buttons of her bedgown, and they became connected once again. That was answer enough.


Event: Re-Cap | Location: Ersand'Enise

Far too long.

Jamboi watched out across the city of Ersand’Enise, as he perched upon the window sill. He has been in this place too long. He has grown sloppy during his time here and people have taken notice. Those who already suspect are given him strange looks he is familiar with. Fugitive glances peeking from the windows and alleyways, the ceaseless whisperings, and the men in dark cloaks following him around every corner. The students here don’t seem the wiser, they think the eyes looking at them are traveller agents, but he knew better. He would have already moved from this place by now, perhaps he would have dared to enter the portal to Tarlon and followed Tyrel. He knows how his kind are treated, he saw it in the girl's eyes when they first met, she also knew, that is why she rejected him so harshly.

Then there were those like her, like a ray of sunshine burning brightly. She came up and straight into his arms and held him there. All he could do at that moment to hold upon her in return, and breathe in her essence. The first time he had felt at peace. The way she looked up toward him, her soul screaming that she needed him. Perhaps his kindness at that moment was an unknown cruelty to the girl, but he was selfish and wanted her shining brilliance. For she was special in other ways that others could not see, as if it were a whirlwind trapped within a bottle. The future was all but unclear. The sight of her got his heart racing, as he grew genuinely excited every time she was close to him.

“Were you thinking about Penny, again?”, the yanii beside him gave him a mischievous smile. He returned a goofy expression and a wave as he looked around the room. It appeared to be a classroom of some description. When did he arrive here? Doesn’t matter, it appeared to be one of those boring yanii subjects anyway, maths. Yanii really enjoy their numbers, as the people here seem to disassemble the world around them into figures on a piece of paper. All that effort, that courage, the beauty, the great diversity that is life, boiled down to a numerical value. It has a simplicity to it which betrays the nature of their minds, small.

He wasn’t one to fall into that trap though, there are intriguing characters amongst them, and he was starting to grow fond of them. There was a girl called Mar’ci, a boy called Des’mon, yanii’s were proven to be worth his interest. There were his brothers and sisters, even the one named Cal. Attachments are too easily being formed here, encasing him, forming a gilded cage that is erected around him, his vision blinded…

He looked up towards the stars. Perhaps we all reside in a cage, together. He stood upon the window sill as he walked along the outside of the building to lay upon the bed on the roof. He should sleep, perhaps Mau’ra will allow him to copy from her Math answer sheet.


@Ti, I think she's aware. The idea is to have Silas be a bit behind due to his lack of literacy and lower starting point, at least based on the discussions we've had.

She explained since! I wasn't aware at the time and wanted to assist.

<Snipped quote by Ti>
Small question, actually: is Oksana meant to be attending the school? If so, I can include her in groups and such. Also, not to be nitpicky, but is that Atomic point for Maura in error? She's taking colossal risks at her RAS level if she's doing that. No reputable practitioner would be willing to teach her.

Oksana is attending St Yuri's in Vossoriya. She has potential to turn up in Cold Comfort as a local character. Her main debute in Ersand'Enise was in a shelved mission arc. The leveling up so in line with the other students.

The Atomic point is there when unlocked via the other magic schools to say the character has a very basic/loose understanding of its existence. As pointed out, Maura is not going to use that in a million years due to probably blowing herself up, but she is aware it is there.

Student Magic Specializations

Start of Arc Four

❖ Ayla Arslan: 3 0 3 4 0 1 0 0 0 0 0
❖ Ashon'amar'loiyang: 0 0 2 4 2 0 0 0 0 0 0
❖ Maura Mercador: 3 0 0 3 3 1 0 0 0 0 0

NPC Specializations
❖ Oksana Levlytsar: 4 2 0 3 0 1 0 0 0 0 0

Arcane Binding Chemical Kinetic Magnetic Atomic Blood Temporal Dark Command Primordial

Student Magic Specializations

Start of Arc Four

❖ Silas Reiger: 0 2 2 0 4 0 0 0 0 0 0

Magnetic Arcane (+1) Binding (+2) Chemical Kinetic(+1) Atomic Blood Temporal Dark Command Primordial

Hi @Tackytaff - You are missing a point of magic. You should have a minimum of 9 at this point of the RP.
If you put this point in Arcane (making it 3), you also gain a point in atomic (1) which means that option is unlocked.
Madame Rose Bleue

Event: Madame Rose Bleue | Location: The Crying Lion, Mudville

The young woman sat in the corner booth at the Crying Lion. The darkness hid her features as the hood remained up. The long blue hair was tucked underneath like a crown. She nursed a drink of unknown origin offered by the barkeep, as she used what appeared to be a letter opener to cut an apple, spearing into its flesh as she brought it up to her lips.

It wasn’t long till the door to the tavern opened, as two hooded figures moved into the hall. The pair splitting up as one approached the woman, taking a seat opposite her. The man’s voice low toward her, “C'est un code plus ancien, mais il passe” It is an older code, but it checks out.

She smiled as she shuffled and placed the cards before her and the hooded gentleman. A card game. The pair discussing casually as they played their hand. “Are we ready to proceed with the next step of the operation?”, as she converses in Perrench, her eyes fix upon his facial features and the blonde curls peeking from beneath the hood.

He shuffled his hand with a twisted smile, “Madame Rose Bleue, you were brave to approach me with that name”

Her eyebrow raised as she placed three cards upwards upon the table before him, “It most certainly caught your attention. Would you have come to our meetings otherwise?”.

He lined a finger upon the cards in his hand, placing two faced up on the pile before him, the third faced down. “Your games are not welcome Élise de Herbeumont, Witch of the Mystica. He referenced that ancient and denounced organization openly, it seemed like the code really did check out after all.

Her smile wide as her teeth gleamed as if her mouth was ravenous and waiting to devour. She placed two cards face down upon the open cards, then one upon the middle faced up toward him. “Then you sign these documents as per our agreement. This will establish a Perrench holding company under your name. The terms are as generous as we discussed, and this charter is to be filed in Ersand’Enise as public record.”

He placed a single faced down card upon the middle deck as he blew a sharp whistle. The noisy tavern uninterrupted as the second figure sat herself along the man and began to pour through the documents. He leaned back, and he looked toward her, “Your father is a loyal baron to our house. Had you simply presented this proposal to us directly, we may have considered it.”.

Madame Rose Bleue worked the letter opener tip under her fingernails, seeming to be unfazed by the comment. “This would require the Baroness to owe you a favour. Under these circumstances, you owe me the favour, and we could have easily reduced your share, and you still would have accepted it.”

He grunted as she saw through his little ruse, though the other female beside him raised her head after reading through the document, “It all checks out. Including the part you were not going to tell us about.” Her gaze locked upon the woman in front of them. “The small scribble. We would be bound by Ersand’Enise foreign policy, so during a time of war, we would risk being unable to access our share of the company. We would be expected to trade with…” She lifted the paper toward the gentleman beside her, so he could see, as she whispered toward him to explain the nuance. He looked displeased as his eyes peered toward her, “This would make us traitors to Perrence.”

“You are right, but you are also wrong.” She moved a finger to tap the estimated location of the figure listed by the profit margin as a reminder of predicted wealth they would have access to. “You are only traitors if you trade to the Central Alliance, but not to Ersand’Enise. There's your loophole.”

“How is that any different? We are expected to trade without restriction. If we are approached, we cannot refuse.”. The female beside him pondered for a moment as she considered the meaning, “You have access to a company who is trading within the Central Alliance, registered in Ersand’Enise. You are suggesting we trade through them, allowing access to both markets.”

“You share a warehouse. How else could King Rouis enjoy his Tourrare beef otherwise.” She winked toward the pair as she pointed toward the quill.

“Quel bordel! You fed that to the King?”, the man pulled his hood backwards to reveal his identity, Étienne de Perpignan. “It would have been better if you did feed him the Snowsweeper.” The woman beside him placed her hand upon his, encouraging him to remain seated. “Frère, sois gentil.

“We needed to feed the nobles something they would not recognize, or at least avoid publicly declaring they recognize it.” She playfully bites toward Étienne, “Heard that even you enjoyed it.”

Frédérique sighed as she moved to grab the quill, signing upon the document. “Wait, what are you doing?”, turning to stare toward her in surprise. “It is already clear, brother. We were deceived, however, with these terms, we are predicted to profit greatly from this arrangement. The terms are designed in a way that if we avoid drawing attention, there will be no consequences. The emphasis on the last part, a threat. Étienne took the quill as he signed it after her, almost throwing the papers toward Madame Rose Bleue.

“Prudence est mère de sûreté. discretion is the better part of valour. She waved away the nobles as they left the tavern disgruntled, but potentially far richer as a result.

Location: Château de Maisons Gourmandise.
Event: The Rescue.
Characters: Ingrid @dragonpiece, Zarina@YummyYummy, NPCs @Ti.

The foul mountain of dung behind the neglected and weakened snowsweeper was like seeing how the soup was actually made. Any sort of appetizing aromas that came from the kitchens were quickly turned into stomach churning thoughts to Zarina. Wordlessly, she approached the tired and vulnerable beast, hesitant and careful at first, only to notice its lack of reaction. It was so easy for Zazzy to just rest her hand on the animal's dry snout and begin petting. Even with her chemical magic and direct contact, she could only muster a little moo from the beast. It really wasn't well.

“It'll be hard to get it to move.” she pursed her lips and then inspected the shelter. It was large and the doors were adapted like barn doors to be able to let such an animal in and out, so access wasn't the biggest problem. Then, she snapped her fingers, “I might have something to help, however.” in her bag was a sealed vial of what looked to be a yellow-ish fluid, “Oraff bless that boring class.” it was posed on a nearby surface for now, “I'm going to open this when we leave,” she addressed Ingrid, “make sure the chains are loosened and the shelter's doors jammed until we get back in. Don't want stay visitors here until then.”

When they were done, the vial was opened and left that way. In contact with air, it began to unleash a steam that smelled of dandelions and garlic.

Maura then informed them of their predicament, prompting Zarina to cross her arms and ponder the issue, “They're gonna sing that anthem they can't help doing.” she remarked as men and women lined themselves for what was going to be Green Perrence's usual fanfare, “How about we have our smallest teammate do a thing?” she peered over at her shoulder, and Nibbler emerged! He awkwardly raised his front right paw, trying to mimic a wave, although it would mostly be little up and down jerking motions, “We need a route, however. And be fast, that way we can still serve them our "Snowsweeper at home" ploy.”

Ingrid felt her head pulsing with anxiousness. This wasn't what she signed up for. She thought that there might be a the marquis and a few other midsized or small nobles. Not all of the high nobility Perrence had to offer. Even the King was here. And here I am. The one to cook for them and put a vial of something unknown in their food. What if this is just a ploy? God damnit it would all fall on me. Ingrid couldn't tell if this was all by design to put the heat on her but she sure wasn't risking it

Ingrid put a hand on Maura's shoulder, "Maura?" Ingrid squeezed her shoulder, "I hate having to be so forceful but," Ingrid glared down at Maura, "What is in the vial you gave me and who is our sponsor." This was a demand, not a question. "If they find out, I'm the one with the most to loose. I could be serving the king poison for all I know." Ingrid stated bluntly. She wasn't a fan threatening others but this was insane to do without all the details.

Maura flinched as she felt Ingrid grab a hold of that sore shoulder. Even though it was repaired, it was still sensitive and tender. She felt how she held tight upon it as she gave a howl of pain, pushing herself backwards to dislodge herself. She looked up toward her as she met that gaze, she saw him there again at that moment. Another noble who saw her as a tool to mistreat, threaten, and to see her as nothing but an invalid stuck to their shoe like muck. The urge to go ¡Al carajo con esto! was almost overwhelming as her eyes looked up to see Zarina’s to gauge to see if this was something shared.

She took a moment to breathe, closing her eyes. She has got this, she has worked so hard to get to this point and not going to allow it to fall down at the last hurdle. Her eyes looked back up to Ingrid, “There’s a difference between fear and losing your nerve.”. Her tone was cool as her eyes flicked between the pair. “It was the both of you who asked for this, and we have made it possible. We have the support, the contacts, everything to see this through. Our backers request discretion, and that vial has been in your possession all week if you had any concerns, so the only poisoning that would occur would be your terrible cooking.”. She took in a deep breath, then finishes off, "We don't all have the luxury of deciding when and where we want to care about something."

Maura looked Ingrid up and down as she started considering Plan B, she examined the dress she was wearing, clearly not for her, but maybe... “If you want out of this, take off your dress and glasses. Idun can replace you, we doubt they would be looking at her face.” She followed up with a statement of contempt, “If you’re a coward, just say so. Don’t take it out on me.”

Ingrid didn't squeeze Maura's shoulder terribly hard. Enough to make Ingrid seem firm but definitely not enough to hurt her. Ingrid jumped a bit at the howl. The gave Maura gave Ingrid made her hesitate. She wasn't looking at Ingrid. More like what she represented. It was a stare she got used to, one that she learned to fear after her time with the Traveller.

Ingrid let Maura say her peace before responding. Ingrid's expression went cold, deathly even, "If you want to view me as a noble trying to trample you, go ahead. I know my intentions and if you want to misconstrue them than so be it." Ingrid took another breath, she was insulted 3 times by Maura. "Maura. Whether you care or not, do not insult me," Ingrid said clearly, "If I'm going to risk my life. I want to know more. I'm the one cooking for them. I'm the one who could be putting poison in their food."

The way things were going did not leave Zarina with a pleased expression. Her facial features became more pronounced as her muscles tensed up and her jaw locked. Although Zarina was going to abstain and let this issue peter out on its own, the look Maura had given her and Ingrid's sudden flip-flopping when royalty officially entered the picture, “The notion of poisoning someone did not seem to be of concern until royals came into the picture,” a half-lidded gaze reeking of judgement was shot at Ingrid, “Leads one to question why one would assist in such an altruistic endeavor when oddly specific on who may die and how it affects one's reputation.” she too stood tall and straight, with steam practically erupting from her nostrils, “Besides, the De Perpignan may as well be considered royalty. I don't know what's changed other than a more glamorous name appearing.”

Her attention briefly returned to the Snowsweeper's shelter outside, prompting Zazzy to purse her lips and clench one of fists, “You also forget Maura, a Torragonese, is publicly sponsoring us.” she took a step closer to Ingrid, peering up slightly as the Eskandish was a few centimeters taller, “If you fall, she falls, and so do I as a Virangish AND Darhannic. So, obviously, this isn't some ploy to poison anybody.” but was this convincing enough? They didn't have time to discuss, and so Zarina pulled out her hand flat before Ingrid, “Give me the vial, I'll take a raw sip from it to ease everyone's worries. If I fall dead, at least you have an opening to get this done.”

Ingrid felt cornered. She felt, no knew, her concerns were reasonable. Instead she was called a bad cook, a coward, and told to strip. Then Zarina with her argument of poisoning one a marquis over a king. Yes, Ingrid worried about poisoning the person who warned her own king of an assassination. Was that hard to believe?

When Zarina got closer, Ingrid drew, "I ask you to stay back at the moment." How was Ingrid suppose to trust them. She had half a mind to sell them out to get escape this. Her basic worry and concern were being treated as cowardice. She hated the way they treated her. She tossed the vial at Zarina. Ingrid was close to tipping over the edge.

Maura just stared in amazement at Ingrid, now she is jeopardizing the mission and nothing short of a liability. Drawing magic when surrounded by the Gardes Perrençaises was tantamount to suicide. The plan was simple: escort the beast to the lake, cook some beef and pretend it is Snowsweeper. The difficulty of the task was relatively low and the survivability with little consequence was high, and yet these were reversed within moments due to a noble losing their nerve when it came to following through.

She looked toward Zarina, “Cannot say for the taste, but there is enough to cook a Snowsweeper’s worth of beef. Salt isn’t poisonous, though if you eat a cup of it raw…”, she indicated only a sip for obvious reasons.

Maura turned to Ingrid. “At no point have we ever discussed poisoning the King. Is it because we are Torragonese? Is it because we are a Merchant class girl thinking of nothing but money? Is it your own guilty conscience?”. She rubbed her temples with the stress as she tried her best to dumb court intrigue for the Eskandish girl. “Just… think. Use that imagination of yours. Who would be powerful enough to bring us here for this opportunity to allow us to steal a Snowsweeper at the King’s Banquet, right underneath their noses.”, giving her the most hopeful look at this supposed intellectual heavyweight could piece together something so simple. She looked toward Zarina, as if posing the question to her in order for it to be answered if Ingrid happened to fail.

Zarina did not show any hesitation in taking that sip. It was followed with a gag, but she swallowed, “Fucking nasty,” she brushed her lips with her sleeve, “but harmless.” the vial was once again sealed and tossed back at the Eskandish protestor, “Now that this issue is settled, may we proceed?” she inquired, clearly frustrated and looking at both the tall and the short.

“Whether we have powerful people on our side or not, I'm going to cover my ass.” claimed Zarina, still chewing nothing in her mouth to try and get over the rancid taste, “Now, enough pussy-footing when things get slightly more intimidating. I want to get this animal out tonight.” a half-hearted attempt to diffuse the situation, “Bitch away when we're done. Your prides come third to our goal and my ringed fist up your asses.”

Ingrid had enough of this. The insults, the disregard of her worries. All of it was wrong. Ingrid looked at Maura. "I have tried to remain civil. I have tried to not insult you even when you take every opportunity to do so. If I treated you the way you like the person you think I am, then you would long be dead," Ingrid stated it clearly, "But I'm not. I let you insult me, belittle me, mock me for having a thought." Ingrid was seething, she was angry that she was treated this way. "The Eskandish are mocked for who they are all the time and you think that you can't be corrupted, that I won't ask questions? You think I don't want to safe the animal of my homeland? Maura I swear to you that I am here for the beast." Ingrid thoughts were hazy at this point. She was restraining herself from action. Was Ingrid so unthreatening, so weak, so stupid for the both of them to make fun of her.

She was no longer to be messed with. Ingrid looked to Zarina, "The fact that you think this being the King's banquet only slightly raises the stakes is absolutely absurd. The fact that you didn't question it is preposterous." Ingrid rubbed her temples, she was done with this, "Enough," Ingrid said, she was tired of this. All the fighting had been enough, "I will do my part." Ingrid started to head off. Her expression was cold and she didn't give the most confidence to them.

Maura looked toward Zarina as she raised an eyebrow toward her as Ingrid stormed off by herself “Saving the Snowsweeper, mi culo. Her indolence is transparent. As soon as she faces any hardship, she crumbles.”. She sighed out in an almost defeated manner, “Our sponsors wanted our little rescue to go unnoticed for obvious reasons. If they find out there is even an attempt, it would be disastrous for all parties.”

She looked toward Zarina, “You are now in charge, we will send in Idun to assist you.¡Buena suerte! Zazzy ¡Suerte en tu nuevo trabajo!. She handed the Virangish girl a pouch containing five six-sided dice within it, another gift.

Zarina dismissively gestured at Maura's complaint, “Let her get worried, she'll be twice as careful doing her job.” she said with clear indifference to the situation, as it had been resolved and the main goal could be properly focused on. A nod was conferred to Maura as the good lucks were given and Idun joined the process. The dice made Zarina chuckle, now reminded of who was truly involved here.

The two would meet just outside the kitchens as Zarina prepped her knives for the coming carving slaughter and butchering. By then the animal should've been reinvigorated and at least standing, “When they start singing and the King makes his entry for the aperitif, I will cause a distraction. It'll be your signal to open the gate and escort the beast through the pathing we've established, okay?” Zarina briefed without a single pause in her speaking, and she did not repeat herself.

When came the time, Zarina pretended to make her way to the shed for the slaughter, but in truth she found herself stopping half-way in order to pilot Nibbler. The little critter had hopped onto the roof of a nearby building and eyed the patrol of Perrench guards that were in the way of of their planned trajectory. Using the dormouse's intense chemical magic and decent prowess in arcane, a powerful illusion was conjured to trick the guards. One of their commanders called for them, warning of an imminent threat at the entry ceremony. The ruse wouldn't last long, but the group was banking on Idun's chemical abilities and overall capabilities as an animal lover. Nibbler remained on standby to help too, ready to go as far as to create a difficult illusion to hide the snowsweeper, and then the cart with the meat.

Ingrid was pissed but it didn't matter, let that anger move her forward. She headed into the kitchen again, pretending that she had to step out to cool down and she started to work with the rest of the crew. I need to keep them busy when the time comes. Ingrid thought that trying to take over the kitchen should be the last response. The chefs were respectable so the best thing to do was to smash them with responsibilities when the operations.

From the speed of her chopping, to blocking them slightly as she moved them about Ingrid was creating a backlog of duties that will occupy even the most talented crew for a few minutes. Each action was made purposeful. She refrained using magic but readied herself to use it when the backlog hit to slow it down further.

The chaos of the kitchen gave her mind no time to wander but something did come to her mind. The image of Maura and the way she was offended. Her nose wrinkled as she wiped it away with her arm. She whispered, "fuck," as she realized fully what she did as the stress was fading giving way to focus. All she could do is complete her part perfectly right now.

Idun had never worn platform shoes before, and the concept was rather alien to her, but here she was, making do as she dressed up like a terrible cosplay of Ingrid. With makeshift glasses and similar coloured dress. Her mind was unclear on the details, but Madame Rose Bleue had instructed her to join the others in the Château, seeing the pair by the rose bush as instructed. She started to walk alongside Zarina as they started making their way toward the Shed. Her bountiful chest kept attention focused elsewhere than her cooking skill.

She had been given her instructions from the Virangish girl. The Snowsweeper has been made docile through unknown means, and an expert chemical mage was required. Her task was rather simple, to make sure the beast is able to make it toward the lake whilst the others do their part. She laid her hand upon the best's head as she began to pet upon it, sensing that the garlic and dandylion elixir were starting to rouse the creature from its deep slumber as she coaxed it to life as she sung her call beside its ear.

”Now for that whistle…”

As Green Perrence finally echoed through the whole establishment, signaling the arrival of the King, Zarina whistled a pleasant little tune as she made her way to the shed. This was the warning for Idun to execute her part of the plan. Zarina opened one side of the shed, while they were to improvise a door on the back, courtesy of Idun too with her specialty in binding, preventing any potential witnessing from being a problem.

As Zarina stepped in, she'd actually sit nearby and begin to pilot Nibbler so he could follow-up with the next part of the plan. Thorin was the backup, using his Thunderchild capabilities to knock hostiles out if the plan was found out prematurely.

The Ingrid-cosplayer gave a giggle as she opened up the back of the shed as a big Snowsweeper shaped bush started to walk out. It is not the best disguise, but such a make-shift cover is the best she could do in these circumstances. The beast looked more alive and well, having an aroma of garlic to it as it paid Nibbler a curious glance. It watched as the dormouse climbed upon it, as it proceeded to move forward. Idun holds her hand out in front of it's eyes to instruct it to stop, she turned toward Zarina for the next instruction.

Nibbler on behalf of Zarina started to point out the direction when the hedges started to move as if responding to the increased presence of magic. They stayed still after the magic energies have failed, but they appeared to completely obscure the exit. The Snowsweeper groaned softly at the situation, as the outside sides were patrolled by the Gardes Perrençaises. They would need to travel through successfully to get there safely.

With Nibbler taking the bushy Snowsweeper as his steed, he could get a good vantage point and better place himself on the metaphysical map budding in his head. Of course, it wasn't Nibbler but Zarina piloting him with her slightly longer range than normal. For now, she was given peace by the establishment's staff to do her slaughtering and carving without interruption. Hopefully the exchange could be made swiftly enough to avoid arousing any suspicion. Ingrid was the cover to prevent them from being made.

There were three entry points to choose from, with Thorin indicating that the furthest North was the best bet. They did so, taking alleyways big enough for the animal to pass through to avoid detection whilst Nibbler sniffed out potential threats and concealed them. Eventually, they meet a fork that left Nibbler confused. As to why he was could be anyone's guess, but the reality was that Zarina was distracted from a call by the Perrench chef.

"Ca va mademoiselle? Il est éteint?"

“Uhhh, oui. Il mort.” answered Zarina with broken Perrench, “Bougez de ici, très sale!” she warned of the hazards that came with butchering, and so the chef simply stepped back. She eventually returned to piloting the Dormouse, having lost them some time but they were on the right track again.

The Real-Ingrid, despite her misgivings, decided to cooperate with the others as she has begun to start a backlog in the kitchen for the other staff members to manage, which appeared to be going perfectly. She looked out of the window as she noticed what appeared to be a large-chested doppelgänger seeming to lead a Snowsweeper sized bush toward the hedge maze, which appeared to move and distort as if responding to something. They were going to take forever.

It is as if the gods at that moment came to test Ingrid and her speaktrout. “Putain, c'est dégueulasse! Oh, viens ici toi! Tu te torches le cul à chaque fois ou une fois par semaine? Alors pourquoi ce n'est pas propre?!” t's disgusting! Oh, come here you! Do you wipe your ass each time, or just once per week? Then why is this not clean?!.
A very angry, short chef appeared to be walking up and down the kitchen looking at the mess that had been made. "Aller, bougez-vous le cul, bordel!" Come on, move your asses!

He cussed and cursed as he got a towel and whipped one of the servant girls with it across her hind quarters as he swore vulgarly at them as he clutched upon his chest. "Les chats ont neuf vies. J'en ai eu déjà douze dans cette cuisine et je ne sais pas combien j'en ai en réserve." They say cats have nine lives. I've had 12 already in this kitchen and I don't know how many more I'll have.

The man’s attention turned toward Ingrid as he sees her looking out of the window. Thankfully, the girls tall frame blocked sight of the display going on behind them. "Le Snowsweeper sera tellement cru, il va meugler au Roi!" That Snowsweeper is going to be so raw, it will moo at the King. The pressure is on. They are wanting that Snowsweeper cooked.

Ingrid's cascade was in effect but oh god they were slow. It didn't matter though, Ingrid said she would hold them up and she will make sure of that. The real problem was the short chef, he was bound to try to make his way outside.

Ingrid devised many ways to deal with him and most of them originated from the overwhelming desire to slap him across the face. He treated his staff so harshly. Maybe she could use that to her advantage.

Ingrid looked at the short chef, obviously looking down at him, the visibly got startled, "Åh, ursäkta kära kock! Du ser att jag är ganska ny i köket och alla skrik gör mig lite nervös. Men jag försäkrar er att vår slaktare är fantastisk. Hon hade slaktat alla möjliga djur över tvillingkontinenterna. Jag har haft snösvejare tidigare och instruerat hur man klipper den också, med hennes skicklighet kommer hon att kunna skicka slaget om några minuter och sedan bryta ner det," Ingrid said in Eskandish, drawing on her thick accent. Then she smiled expecting him to understand, giving him a thumbs up! All part of the plan to to confuse him and get him to stay.

The short-chef just peered toward Ingrid with a look, a look that symbolized someone waltzing in from the garden after treading dog muck through his beloved kitchen. “Mon dieu! ça me saoûle” My gods, this makes me get drunk

The chef now really frustrated is starting to take over the kitchen himself as he writes Ingrid off as an incompetent fool. He started to micromanage things, beginning to re-order to things as they prepare for the Snowsweeper meat coming through the doors. ”Oh la vache!” Oh the cow!, he sent a maid to see what is taking Zarina so long.

Idun follows the direction of the Dormouse as it led the Snowsweeper by the nose, literally. The big beast stumbling along in the direction, only momentarily stopping as and when they spot the Perrench patrols. Idun had to use chemical magic to help the beast recognize them as friends rather than foes, which kept making the maze more challenging as it responded to the use of magic. One point the motley crew getting temporarily trapped and even poor Nibbler getting confused.

Still, they eventually managed to make their way through to the exit as they waited upon the banks of the open lake. It was a beautiful scenery which stretched for miles. Nibbler started to grow rather anxious as it appeared they were waiting for nothing until he noticed the ripples from the water.

The Schwarze Alice pulls itself out of the depths as water runs along the side of it, the clockwork-powered submersible pulled itself upon the bank as the cargo bay doors start to open up as the girl in the wheelchair pulled off the ramp. “Surprise!” As she rolls out, expecting Zarina, Ingrid, or anyone with her showy display, only to be met by Idun who travelled here on it, Nibbler the rodent, and the Snowsweeper rather nonplussed. She looked upon them in disappointment, “My entrance wasn’t that terrible”, she moved herself to the side as the Torragonese Beef was unloaded, already prepared in advance by Thorinn and frozen to keep fresh. Room on the Alice was made for the Snowsweeper’s arrival with some delicious hay to lay upon and oats for it to eat, “Thorinn, deliver the beef and get back here, so we can depart. The other two can get their own ride back. Tell them to meet the Dock Foreman, he has destination in Eskand for them.”

The Snowsweeper reluctantly is brought on board, persuaded by Idun with a fair use of magic. Thorinn with his pint-sized new rodent friend will have to deliver the beef and get out of there safely to avoid anyone getting suspicious.

Well Ingrid felt she did good at frustrating the little chef and buying some time. Ingrid knew that he would take some control over the kitchen so she made herself more of a nuisance by speaking very broken perrench. Nothing made the proud Perrence angrier than a barbarian speaking their language so ugly.

And a barbarian Ingrid was, she got in the way of people by "helping out." She apologized profusely as she got in the way of the people doing there best. she ended it with accidently spilling some oil on an open fire right as he was sending the maid. Ingrid apologized profusely and said it might be best for her to get the snowsweeper, since she was making such a mess. Ingrid walked out in what seemed like a hurried pace but was actually moving to her plan to give them as much time as possible. Surely no one would want to go with the walking tornado that Ingrid was. Especially if she might be dispatching the beast with that backward virangish girl.

Nibbler suddenly became more like himself, as Zarina was not only quite far but her 'husk' was awakened by knocking at the shed. Panicked, she began shouting, “Oi, OI! What is it?!” her blades were brushing against one another, making loud sharpening noises, “Don't open the door! I'm in the middle of curing the meat. If you need anything, I'll slip it through the small opening.” she spoke of the boarded window that barely gave line of sight to anything. The smell of the shed reeked of garlic, making it maybe a bit more convincing to the maid that she was indeed working the meat in some capacity.

Meanwhile, Nibbler didn't have Zarina's mind guiding him, but he was still the dutiful Nibbler. Standing on top of the carriage that held the meat, he stood guard and used his range to potentially detect threats. When he did, he squeaked loudly for Thorinn to react. Admittedly, there was little suspicion when meat was being carried around unlike a Snowsweeper, but it was still good to avoid attention.

Thorinn grunted as he was being led around by a rat, of all things. The creature perched upon the tip of the wheelbarrow stacked up with the Torragonese beef. The warm weather was defrosting the meat as it was transported in order for it to arrive at a suitable temperature. Without needing to keep the Snowsweeper docile, the bushes remained rather stationary, making it easier to transverse through the maze set before them. Thankfully, everything was being kept busy in the kitchen to avoid needing to explain away the muscled blonde Eskand man, and the interruptions orchestrated by Ingrid involved her missing out on a sight for her eyes as well.

The knocking at the door grew insistent that Zarina thought they were going to try to force themselves inside. As she opened the door, the brutish hands of the short-chef grabbed upon the handle and tried to pry the door past the Virangish girl to see what was going inside. A sudden jolt was shot through the handle, causing the chef to curse out repeatedly as he released the handle. “Branleuse!”.

Zarina turned her head to see Thorinn standing there with the beef and a squeaking Nibbler as she took a hold of the first slab of meat, bringing it out to slap it down upon one of the kitchen maids. She turned toward the chef with a wink, “Le Snowsweeper est prêt à péparer!”. The chef turned toward her with a disgusted look, “Tu parles prennçais comme une vache Tourrare”

As the meat is coming into the kitchen, Ingrid moves to take charge of the shipment. She gets to work with her preparations as she starts to slice, dice, and get things in order. As the short chef comes storming in, he is bowled over by the size of the Eskandish girl as he ends up falling out of the door again, and starts to strut around to the other entrance.

Zarina and Ingrid have some time for the home run whilst Thorinn makes his way back. Are they able to prepare the ‘Snowsweeper’ to the satisfaction of a king?

It seems things worked out. The Snowsweeper had been saved and now Ingrid was tasked with cooking the beef. Ingrid cooked a piece of the beef on a hot pan. Only a little bit of salt to draw it out. She was comparing it to her memories of Snowsweeper. The fat was luxurious and coated the mouth with that signature beefy flavor that. Not as gamey or grassy notes as snowsweeper but in turn had a mellow, nuttier flavor. It was more tender and lacked a certain chew that Snow sweeper had. A beautiful meat for sure but not snowsweeper.

She cut a piece of the meat off and tried it raw and it had more or the grassy notes and that nuttiness was nowhere to be found, it must be more pronounced with the intense searing. That gamey funk could be added in with a few simple ingredients to add to the braise. She knew what she needed to modify on the side of the beef.

She tried some meads and ales along with some wine to find what she would braise it in. Tasting it after boiling made it more apparent what it will taste like after. Ales might be traditional but the king would definitely prefer wine. A sweet wine would almost be overpowering so she chose a drier red wine to pair with it.

There was a 100 ways to cook torragonese beef, it was versatile and more tender. Ingrid would have loved to serve it in a way that let it shine brightly but this was "Snowsweeper" and it needed to be braised. The stock was made of good beef bones, carrots, celery, onions, parsley and many spice berries. Along with some pig skin and chicken wings to give that thick glossiness to the sauce later. From her sleeve outcomes a small vial to give the meat that toughness. After doing only a light sear to start to get the needed color. Separate vegetables were prepped to make it pretty and they would be browned by themselves. Ingrid finished making the butter, it was cultured and had a tang to it that made it addicting to eat.

Normally you would only serve up to 10 people but with this being a feast, multiple cuts had to be used and their minerality, fat, and sweetness varied so would the cooking time of each bit. Ingrid had to sense each one and do small pushes and gentle control with Arcane to make every piece as good as it needed to be. Frankly fighting the Aberration crazed Royal Sand Wyrm was less taxing and significantly less stressful than trying to trick the upper end of Perrench nobility.

But Ingrid had this. She needed to. She made a blunder and let the increased stakes get to her and lashed out at Maura. She could have got them caught right there. She needed to perform well. Plating was something she practiced all week before hand. She knew she was good but this was the King. It needed to be phenomenal. Ingrid was solely focused as when it was finished, she wiped away the sweat and let the maids take it. All she could do now was hope that her skills were up to the challenge.

The Bourguignon is being served out towards the lord and ladies of Perrench. The rich aroma filled the air as the notoriously tough meat was made tender and appeared to be the closest to how it could be, falling apart upon the plate. Some of the tougher pieces were being served to those with the teeth to bite through the tough flesh. As the pigeons flew out of the pies, the main dish arrived before many a still wet appetite.

The short-chef belatedly moved to take one of the dishes, taking it from the serving girl. His fingers dived upon the plate as he took a chunk of the meat, chewing upon it repeatedly. ”Pouffiasse!”, he swore and spat out the chunk of fakesweeper as he headed over to the Marquis urgently as he pushed over another one of the maids.

“The taste of the Snowsweeper is truly the most exquisite…”, the attention of the Marquis was taken away whilst his staff happened to start interrupting his serenading of the King. He turned as he made his apologies, moving back the chair as he went toward the man to usher angrily toward him, “Salaud, you are embarrassing me in front of the King, what could be so important?”

“Perhaps we have the opportunity to eat before it gets cold.” Étienne dipped his fingers into the stew as he plucked out a tender piece of beef, throwing it into his mouth as he chewed upon it. “Mh, delicious”. The Duc turned his gaze as he glared toward his son, “Do you dare to dishonour yourself in front of the King?”. King Rouis glanced between them both, “The meal is best served warm. Help yourselves before we are waylaid further by discourse.”

The Marquis hurried toward the King, “My King, the Snowsweeper…”, “... is as good as you claimed.”. King Rouis wiped his fingers upon the Napkin. “We were concerned about your choice of chef, we must put greater faith into your judgement.”. The Marquis mouth dropped agape, unclear on how to respond. “The Marquis is most humble, he wanted the honour…”, the Marquis grimaced at the Perpignan brat and interrupted him promptly. “.. all the staff that have made it possible here at Château de Maisons Gourmandise…”

The things in the Kitchen did not go as well, as Ingrid and Zarina are almost hauled outside to the shed, but the Marquis. Evidence of their deception was laid bare as clear as a shining summers' day, the lack of anything related to the butchering of the creature being absent. “Putain de bordel de merde, you two thought you would be the death of me. You Garces forced my hand to the king.”

He raised his hand sharply to strike down the girls as they stood in shock as a scream is suddenly heard behind him, he turned sharply as he witnesses Frédérique looking on, “Monster! You deceive the King and you try to cover for your crimes!”. The Marquis’s eyes bulged as he charged toward her like a bull, his fat fingers grasping her by the neck. “You pute! You are in on this as well!”. The pair looked on as he was going to choke the noble girl in front of them.

Before they had chance to act, the door next to them flew inwards as a very angry Étienne has his rapier drawn as he pointed it toward the Marquis, the tip slicing through his shirt as blood is drawn from the red welt. The pudgy noble moving back away from the boy, squealing like a pig. “Help! Help! They are trying to kill me!”.

The Gardes Perrençaises entered through the door as they looked toward Ingrid and Zarina menacingly, then toward the two nobles. They raised their muskets toward the pair. The Marquis started to laugh as he grinned evilly toward him. “You thought you can treat me here like this? You shall learn the true meaning of humility, de Perpignan.”, and spat toward him. The Gardes firm in their position, clocking their muskets ready to fire.

It was Frédérique who moved first as she got her handcloth, and wiped away the spittle from Étienne’s features. The Marquis looked toward her puzzled as the boy started to smile as le commandant came in and moved toward the Marquis, roughly pushing the man against a supporting pillar, and bound him together. “What is this? Wait until King Rouis hears about this! He will be most…” “... Pleased. I am sure Johann the Pious and King Horik will share those sentiments as well. Criminal.” He withdrew the rapier as he took the hand cloth, moving toward the former Marquis as he stuffed it into his mouth like he was a pig with an apple. The Gardes Perrençaises dragged him out as he squealed fruitlessly.

Étienne turned to look toward Ingrid and Zarina, “Payment has already been delivered. I hope I don’t need to state your discretion in this matter.”. He raised an eyebrow toward Ingrid, and Zarina, then provides the Virangish girl a warm smile as he hands her a blue rose. “There is a carriage at the entrance when you are both ready to depart.”


La vaca, moo
La vaca, moo
La vaca, moo
La nieve vaca, moo

La vaca, moo
La vaca, moo
La vaca, moo
La nieve vaca, moo

Maura sways side to side in her chair, clapping as Idun dances excitedly in a seductive Eskandish style of dance. Even the Snowsweeper is bobbing his head to the side, joining in on the chorus with an almighty Moooooo!

Thorin turned toward the woman, "You held your end of the bargain. We will hold onto ours. The Snowsweeper reservation will be under the protection of the King Horik directly, Madame Rose Bleue”. ”Blue Rose, and please, it is thanks to their hard work.”, she smiled widely toward him.

Location: Eskandish Snowsweeper Reservation

It was sometime when the opportunity for everyone to assemble together at the Snowsweeper Reservation came. Some came via Dragon flight, and others through other means.

Maura smiled as she saw Ingrid and Zarina approach, “Welcome to our Big Furry Friends home!”. She held her hands out for them to take in the scenery. A wide open space with mountains that provided a natural enclosure. Plenty of snowgrass and other wild vegetation for the Snowsweepers to eat here. After their eyes have looked around, she adopted a more serious expression. “If you are here for the money. Here it is. 50 Magus each, as promised payment from the Marqius.”, she looked toward the pair as two hefty bags were sat upon her lap, ”... or if you are willing to forgo payment, there is an alternative you may be interested in. What do you choose?”

Zarina, wearing a bulky coat in anticipation for Eskand, was pleasantly surprised to find a more mild climate. Witnessing the beautiful landscape and the growing herd of Snowsweepers safely indulging in their new safe haven, she was briefly distracted from what Maura was saying.

Then, she shook her head back to reality as Maura beckoned her attention with a query, “Oh.” she blinked, peering at her wheelchair-bound friend, “I'm all ears.” her eyes, though, were mostly dedicated to the sights.

The dragon ride was fun. Riding with Zarina not so much. But as they got closer to her homeland, Ingrid grew more energetic and much more talkative as they flew over places she has been to or read up on.

Ingrid was dressed in a summer dress for the time, the cold breeze breathing life into her. She looked at the payment of 50. It was such a small some that even a sweater might as well be worth it, "I'm open to alternative options."

Maura gave them both a wink as she beckoned them after her as she led them toward the barn where the Snowsweepers sleep for the night. It was a large, impressive looking structure which appeared to be recently renovated with extension work still in progress. ”You have both come at a good time. The reservation are looking for ways to continuously raise revenue, and they have just started an adoption programme. It turns out, for 50 Magus each, you would be allowed to ‘adopt’ a Snowsweeper. These adoptions include a personalized certificate, letters updating you on the progress, and even a cuddly toy made of your Snowsweeper to take home with you. As you are both the first… you get to name your chosen one.”

As they opened the door and walked inside, five little Snowsweepers start scurrying over them to them excitedly. Two boys and two girls, and a little runt of a Snowsweeper trying to catch up behind them. Maura smiled widely at the precious side of them as they run over toward them. “Oh, we are so adopting that little one and calling it Ayla!”, as pair of male and female made their way to Ingrid and Zarina, Maura leaned over as she pulled the little runt upon her lap to cuddle it. ”These are so cute!”

ngrid squealed as she saw the tiny little babies. Ingrid goes to her knees."Hi there little one," Ingrid petted the boy, "Aren't you so handsome!" They were adorable.

"A name," Ingrid pondered, then she lit up, "How about Elskr?" Ingrid looked around to them to see how they felt.

Zazzy listened and nodded, remaining silent as she was really just waiting for the big moment: The Snowsweepers! And when they get to the barn, the whole family was there with the five little ones rushing in curiously to see the humans. It looked as though they were used to humans and enjoyed the pets and scritches. Zarina did not hesitate and got on her knees, dirtying her attire, and let a couple of them gang up on her. A male and a female, with the male eagerly licking her face while the female rested comfortably on her lap, “Ohhhh, you're good little moo's, huh? Yes, yes~” she lowered her head to give them kisses on their snouts.

It took a while before the Virangish lass eventually turned over to Maura, “I'm game.” the bag of coins was so easily discarded, as if it had never really existed, as her focus remained on the little bundles of joy. The male, in his eagerness, releases a bit of his bowels on her thigh, “Uh-oh, someone's had to go!” she giggled, clearly experienced with this. A bit of kinetic magic here, and chemical magic there and it was clean, “I'll name you ...” she squinted and mused for a moment, “Adnan.”

As they have picked out their chosen Snowsweepers, the two mothers and the rescued ‘Daddy’ came over to greet them. His snout brushed against the three of them, as he hunted for garlic, however he was happy to see them both.

“We guess you picked the better alternative after all. Going to pay them and hide this one in my bag.”, she winked toward them as she allowed them to continue playing and greeting the happily reunited Snowsweeper family.


Event: Love and Learn | Location: Ersand'Enise | Characters: Maura, Abdel @yummyyummy

”Make that two Ayla’s with churros, gracias, the girl had a warm smile as she ordered the drinks and treats, everything today had to be perfect. She had made sure to get plenty of beauty sleep, assistance with her hair, make-up and clothing. The girl was adorned in a beautiful black dress, certainly dressed to rival nobility and something normally selected for special formal occasions. The dress was gorgeous, following the recent Perrench style with a frilled skirt and hems, accompanied by a pair of white tights. She wore ribbons upon the sides of her head to compliment the hair that was straightened then cut short, which bounced with every movement of her head.

The girl stood, waiting, as she leaned against the wall beside her. It was exhausting, but she wanted to be at her best. The braces upon her legs felt very heavy and burdensome, but they helped keep her standing. She ran a hand through her hair as she looked out hopefully and patiently through the crowds of students to spot the one she was waiting for.

The boy, on the other hand, wasn’t thinking ahead too much. He woke up a good twenty minutes later than usual and had only bathed the night prior. Still, he did have the forethought of dressing decently, going beyond his usual getup or the average peasant vestments. He looked like a lower merchant boy with the garments a certain tailor he worked for made for him, being made of a sky-blue silk and decorated with golden patterns that were reminiscent of his lost home. His medium-length hair wasn’t stylized, but he could easily blame it on the gust of wind that came strong this morning.

Then, he arrived. He didn’t see her right away, for she could not be what was standing just a few metres away. Clueless, he looked around, only for it to hit him like a Kaempe Ko.

“Maura?” Abdel asked, himself standing comfortably without even the need for ankle braces, “W-wow.” he blushed at the sight and at a loss for words.

Maura smiled wide like a Cheshire-cat at his reaction, “We got you coffee whilst we waited.” The illusion somewhat broken with her very stilted movements as she bent over slightly pat the space for the seat next to her, whilst keeping her feet absolutely still. Maura managed to shuffle herself in front of her own chair as she held upon the table, though looking somewhat perplexed at the lack of arms upon the dining chair. She paused for a moment, before flashing Abdel a warm smile, “You may assist the lady to her seat.”

Naturally, he complied, rushing over behind the lady like a new servant undergoing a trial period. The chair was slid back with an unpleasant creek, and then pushed forward a tad more elegantly as Maura took her seat. Everything about his movements was stiff and awkward, along with somehow seeming rushed despite the gestures being anything but. He paced his way to his seat and gazed upon his ‘date’ with a look of pure admiration, “You … Look very nice, Maura.” he flashed an innocent smile, hands peeking out the edge of the table and his digits nervously drumming.

Her blush reddened as she gently moved her hand across to his and squeezed upon it as she gave him a playful wink, “You are guapo yourself”. She tapped upon his hand as if to signal something as she moved it down to start tugging her dress up, baring her ankle and shin toward the boy. However suggestive this may have looked became more clear when it revealed she was wearing Abdel’s old braces. “We have been putting the practice exercises you spoke about from the refuge”, as he lowered his head to look, she placed a quick peck upon his cheek, “Gracias. Now drink and eat up before they grow cold.” She distracted the focus away from her gesture as her cheeks flushed a rosy red.

Abdel rubbed the back of his head when complimented, trying to hide his rosy cheeks and stressed facial features. He really couldn’t hide that smile of his, especially when she touched his hand like that. “So that’s where I put them!” he jokingly remarked as he saw his ankle braces, “Snagged them when I was helping you up the other Victendes?” he too winked, although he was clumsy and ended with a silly blink instead. But then she posed a kiss on his cheek, and he could feel his heart race. His hand gently posed itself on his kissed cheek, “Care for a walk after our meal?”

As they walked, Abdel hooked Maura’s arm with his own in a gentleman-like fashion. It wasn’t just for show and proper manners; he was helping her, “Would you like to see the Arboretum? I hear more Blueberry dragons gather in the hotter months, around this time.” he suggested, his gait elegant and pronounced, like he was calculating every step.

Maura continued to walk awkwardly around the café area, with her arm intertwined with Abdel’s own. He has been very kind in helping her learn how to make some steps as she went on the brief walk with him, easily finding herself becoming tired. As they came by the chair, she pressed herself against him as she gazed into his eyes, “Yes, let’s enjoy.”. She gave a big smile as she held upon the top of his arms, running her hands down them as she used them as support to lower herself into the chair as she rested into place. She held upon his hand as she used her magic to make the chair seem weightless, seamlessly gliding alongside him as they went toward the Arboretum together.

They got to the Arboretum, and Abdel sought out a bench they could sit upon. He’d offer to lift his date to sit by him as they were positioned to have a great view on the pond, “I’m in this, uhm, study class with Zarina and Evander.” he mentioned as he peered toward Maura, “It’s on this Magnetic spell I think would help you, actually.”

She shivered, even Abdel sat behind her would have been able to feel it as she heard his name again, el cabrón. The reason she has been putting this effort into walking was because of that helpless situation, she found herself stuck and held hostage by him. It wasn’t hard to imagine that she would have been nothing more than a casualty statistic if she didn’t pull through, given his family's influence. She took a deep breath and sighed, not looking best pleased at hearing the name, but he did seem like he had something to tell her. “Magnetic spell, huh?”, she pondered for a moment, “We were thinking about Levitate. Is it that one?”.

Abdel shook his head, “It has something to do with blood and the metal in it.” he answered plainly, “... I could just bring the book with me after the next session and study with you.” he lit up, offering an alternative to the problem he had already caught on.

Maura raised an eyebrow up toward him at the idea of metal in blood, though, it is true that it does taste metallic. She moved her hand against Abdel’s own as she interlocked her fingers with his, smiling a little brighter as the boy was trying to find reasons to spend time with her, and she liked this a lot. “Alright then, you come to mine? We will make sure we have some nice treats.” She was already mentally selecting the options in her mind, as she pondered what his favourites are.

Abdel tightened his grip onto Maura’s hand. Eventually, after a few laughs and cute exchanges, they would be walking into Ersand’Enise’s streets again, “It was very nice to spend the afternoon with you, Maura.” he turned to look at her as they arrived at the Merchant dormitory, “... Same time tomorrow, but we study instead?” he scratched the back of his head.

She stopped by the door as she gazed back toward the boy, smiling warmly at him. “Never knew you were so diligent in your studies.” She bit upon her lower lip as she tried to suppress how big her grin was getting. “We will see you at the hour tomorrow?”

Location: Château de Maisons Gourmandise.
Event: The Rescue.
Characters: Ingrid @dragonpiece, Zarina@YummyYummy, NPCs @Ti.

The champagne glasses clash during the party of Marquis Blaise Beauregard. Hosted at the magnificent Château de Maisons Gourmandise, where the Marquis hosts the most gloutonnerie of intrigues. The building is large as the monumental architecture exhibits arches, vaults, columns, and balustrades on such angular perspectives. The vanishing points make the space appear deeper, conveying the ambience of a theatrical scene. As the nobles are shown through the door, the majestic hall makes them appear like small figures before the sumptuous banquet that tempted their senses.

Amidst the lavish decor, there were a multitude of showcase pieces such as live animals jumping out of dishes for the court’s amusement. Many of the usual decadent offerings served à la perrençaise, such as the soft-boiled Fricassee and Ragout for the nobles who dined richly at the expense of their oral healthcare. There were plenty of serviettes made available for their fingers and mouths, so one may keep their appearance to a high standard, with toothpicks, stems of fennel, and mint confections to freshen one's breath. The prize of tonight on the menu is the fabled beast from Eskand territories, the Snowsweeper, known for its rich marbled meat which caters for thick chewy bites which oozes flavour with every mouth full. The meat has cultural significance following the events of Oriflamme as King Arcel dined upon its flesh in triumph over the Eskand.

The tables followed a clear hierarchy, each seat was reserved to the name and station of the one who occupied it, as politically difficult task as many of the Perrench High Nobility are in attendance, along with their supplicants, and those who may like to be seen as equals bend the knee to Perrench supremacy. Rumours of Royal Attendance are abounded, how that King Rouis will deign his favour upon this gathering, as those who aim to gather favour with House de Perrence have come bearing gifts. The noticeable presence of House de Perpignan in this gathering has already made this meeting auspicious, as all the major players of Perrench politics are going to be dining together at the same table.

The old noble is sweating as he tried to keep the powder from streaming down his face as he approached the noble boy, “The King will be making his appearance.”, the statement more of a statement than a question. “My father shall be here any moment, and soon shall every noble man worth their Couronne from Vaen, Kressia and Solenne shall be here.”, the sweet sister came up along the Marquis as she took him by the arm, “King Rouis wouldn’t want a gathering of every house of Perrence occurring without his attendance.” Étienne moved in front of the Marquis as he appeared to straighten his suit, “Refresh your powder, for tonight you will earn the favour of the two most powerful men in Perrence.” The Marquis stared at them both, shaking his arm free as he moved toward the back, cursing under his breath. Frédérique tutted as she gazed within her brother's eyes, “Brother...”, he smiled in return, “Not all flowers can be as sweet as you”, she raised an eyebrow toward him, “Save that for the Virangish girl.” as she playfully scolds him.

The work in the kitchen was rough, despite what they may have thought, they didn’t expect they would have to cater for a hundred or more guests. The preheating ovens around the hall were routinely heated to help the offerings to be served at least lukewarm instead of cold. Ingrid’s and Zarina’s suggestions of adding some further herbs and spices appeared to work well, compensating the bland cold taste with tingling warmth. Thankfully, they were not the only two on duty, as the well-prepared experienced team at the Château essentially ran everything for them as they experienced an overwhelming crash course of life within a royal kitchen.

Yet this was not the task they set out to do. It is in the hastily constructed stable at the back they were allowed to witness the rumoured and magnificent creature itself, the last surviving and known Snowsweeper bull. As one may imagine during such an ornate and grand event, security was a high priority as many of the Maison militaire du roi de Perrence were present. There was no room for imagination that the presence of the Gardes Perrençaises signalled that King Rouis de Perrence was soon expected to make his arrival.

The pair entered the shelter as they faced the creature they were faced to butcher and serve the pompous Perrench nobles. They were met with large dark sorrowed eyes as the beast was restrained within the walls with no room for manoeuvre and a pile of sweet smelling putrid dung piled up behind it. As they interacted with it, they saw how docile, not seeming to recognize or contest their presence, enabling further insight into the stark and terrible conditions it is being housed under. The pair are freely able to interact with it, as the assigned executioners.

It was during their walk through the ornate gardens as the sounds of trumpets blew to sound the arrival of King Rouis as the royal carriage pulled toward the entrance of the Château. The literal greenfield carpet being rolled down before his feet as the royal family are escorted toward the door with many paid well-wishers to announce their devout loyalty to his majesty. They also become aware of the awaited signal as they crossed a rose bush coloured blue, and through simple deduction, they passed through the row of hedges nearby, as a familiar face awaited them.

“This is bad, it really looks that King Rouis is making an appearance.” The girl in the wheelchair looked up toward them both with a very uncertain expression, “We have a shipment of Tourrare cattle beef with us but we don’t have a way to bring it here from the lake undetected by these patrols. There doesn’t appear to be any sign of the Snowsweeper either.”

As the pair filled Maura in on the details, they start to craft a basic outline together. “You are the ones who will need to bring the Snowsweeper to us, or at least close enough for the exchange. You will need to create an opening, a distraction, in order to enable this.”

With their shared understanding, the pair return back to the Château to prepare for what is to come next.

After the arrival of the King, the hall the doors were opened for the High Duc, Charles de Perpignan, the second most powerful man to the King of Perrench himself. Their dynasty is entwined as thick as the blood of the royal family themselves, and it is unspoken that if House de Perrence were to ever falter, House de Perpignan would step in as the rightful heirs of the crown. The loyalty of the man presented before the crown has been questioned multiple times, often the constant source of gossip and intrigue of the multitude of ways he has sought to undermine the reign of King Rouis, and far too powerful for him to act. However, these rumours have taken an unusual and silent turn as King Rouis have stepped into the role of the saviour of Perrence as the Duc being one of his devout supporters. This has led to even more dangerous rumours that the Duc had been a pawn of King Rouis these years, using the seeds of ferment to root out those disloyal to the crown. It is wise for one in court to never speak either of these rumours aloud, as Duc Charles de Perpignan is a fearsome man.

It was to no surprise that he was afforded the honour of making the keynote speech for those in attendance, and the choice of topics cut to the core of the societies problems.

“Men are not born equal. This fact is how those like the Traveller and those that support him fail to understand. Some men are born swift, some men are strong, some are born more handsome, some were granted great intellect, and some men the wisdom of the gift by the gods. Some like our King, have all these apply.”, he made the expected deference to King Rouis, with much support and laughter from the audience

“Others are born in poverty, others born sick and feeble. Both in birth and upbringing, men are inherently different. This is why men discriminate against one another, this is why there is struggle and competition, it represents the unwavering march toward strength that we must continually overcome. Inequality is not wrong, it is essential." His eyes cast the room as he looked upon the men of note and worth, they knew their merits, their privileges, but they know they're right in where they stand in the grand order of things.

“We in Perrench see this in the surrounding nations. We see Revidians, clinging on tales of a long dead empire, as they allow a rabble to try to decide their future and entrust it to an Eel. The nation of Joru? They are a nation of lazy dullards as they squander their former Kingdom's wealth. The Torragonese are envious sand vipers, always fighting amongst themselves over their piles of sand. But not our beloved Perrence, we thrive, we compete, our supremacy is continuous. With our allies in the Sovereign alliance, Perrence moves forward, always advancing perpetual into the future.”

It was on this final note, that Green Perrence began to play.

Event: Prior to Madness | Location: Ersand'Enise

It was the morning after Chamber of Greed, the prize selection, and the auction. For the first time in a week, Jocasta simply lay there in bed, letting the sun’s rays warm her face and reel her unhurriedly into the land of wakefulness. She let out a small, satisfied yawn and stretched languidly, still laying in bed, revelling in that once-per-day feeling of muscles, ligaments, and tendons popping and loosening for the hours ahead. Then, there was a knock.

This was when Ayla came to disturb the tranquillity of the morning by knocking upon Jocasta’s door in a musical manner. If the blonde had any doubts, the sweet sounding “Hola soy Ayla” drifted through the air towards the bed. It had been a busy week and the events had left her feeling emotionally and physically drained, though there was someone at this moment she wanted to see, and had missed during the excitement of the last week.

“Bruja!” came the response, but there was a tired puckishness about it that softened any real vitriol it could have held. “Give me twenty-nine seconds,” she promised, oddly specific. “I’m in my nightgown.” Jocasta rolled over, summoned the Gift to lift herself as she did when she was lazy, and changed into a half-decent dress while scarcely moving a muscle. With a smirk, she wondered if Ayla was actually counting out the seconds.

Ayla waited patiently as she had brought a tea set with her, adorned with a colourful display of macarons. A peace offering, or just a friendly gesture? Either way, the homemade luxury delights were going to be offered freely. She had half-wondered if wearing her hair within a cushioning hair net would be appropriate given their last encounters, but that would be too much. “You have twenty-five seconds,” she called back in a tease, though in no hurry to enforce the new deadline as she idly stirred the tea, and adjusted her new cloak, so it sat upon her shoulders comfortably and made herself look very presentable.

The door swung open on the twenty-seventh. “I shall expect something in return for this concession,” Jocasta rejoined, presentable enough. Then, her eyes widened at both the tea and the cloak. “Acceptable.” She blinked and smiled warmly. “Do come in. Let me take that tray for you.” That was the right offer, wasn’t it? That’s what a friend would say, right?

Ayla greeted Jocasta with a beaming smile, and greeted her friend warmly with a light hug upon her presentation. “Very well, you bring the tray, and we will make ourselves at home.”, she made her way into the room as she found a suitable location, and tidied it up to make it very presentable for two good friends to enjoy a nice occasion together. She was certainly chirpy and smiles as she pecked at making things look perfect by the time Jocasta brought the tray across, “Place it down, and we’ll get pouring.”. Her hands moved to the pot as she began to pour into Jocasta’s cup first, then herself, and after she placed them down, lifted the delicious looking plate as she served the first choices to her friend.

Jocasta was not ladylike except when she was forced to play the part. She simply stuffed her face. “You know, I was hoping for some breakfast,” she admitted, “And these are really good.” She glanced out the window. They had perhaps half an hour before everybody would be gathering in Market Square - Why not Balthazar? she wondered to herself - for the closing ceremony of The Trials. In truth, she was glad of their end. She had found it a strain to maintain her friendships while competing with people. She hadn’t intended to have any, but she was glad of them nonetheless. “We should go together to the square,” the blonde recommended. “Maybe meet up with a few others we know and put all the silliness behind us.” She knit her hands in her lap, glancing downward. “I fear I’ve been ever so ghastly to you, Ayla. You have my apologies.” And my warning, she knew. This is what I’m capable of. Please don’t push me. She looked up.

The cup clicked upon the saucer as Ayla placed it down. She took a moment to look towards Jocasta as she tilted her head to the side. “Is this ‘lo siento’ from Jocasta? Perhaps this moment should be framed.” She smiled widely as she offered the plate of Macarons toward the blonde, encouraging her to take another. “You are my amiga, and that means we are there for each other, no matter the circumstance. Especially, if it is saying the other is in the wrong, then supporting them on the right path.” She leaned forward as she took the other by her hand. “So you are forgiven.” she squeezed upon the fingers, then released her hold. “It would be nice to meet up with Yalen, Zarina, Kaspar, Marci and the others. It isn’t easy to forge such a firm friendship in a short span of time, and like a garden, friendships must be tended and watered for them to grow into a beautiful blossom.”

Ugh. You’re so… good. Too good, Jocasta found herself thinking. Still, everyone needed at least one Ayla in their life. After finishing one more of the treats, she swallowed and allowed herself to speak. “Good. It’s settled. I don’t need to hypnotize you.” Restless, Jocasta set hands to wheels, backing up a half-foot before making her way around the table. “Now, tell me all about this cloak,” she entreated, [color=ffdead][i]“while we walk, though, hmm? Let’s not be lost in the crowd. Besides, I want to surprise Yalen. I’m going to take some of your cookies and say that I baked them.”[/color] She grinned devilishly.

Ayla smiled softly in response as she whispered, “We knew you liked him.” she winked toward Jocasta as she gathered an adorable looking cloth then wrapped the macarons within it, and tied it with a bow-like knot. It certainly looked as if homemade with love and care now for a special someone. She placed the wrapped package upon Jocasta’s lap as they began to journey together. “Is that where showmen make people bark like puppies on command?” she mused when hypnotism was mentioned, soon being brought to the attention of the cloak. “This is a reward from The Trials, it creates beautiful pictures and patterns out of the constellations adorning it when you talk. Would have been handy for telling that story in the refuge, wasn’t easy cleaning all the ink up after that display.” She giggled as she recalled that event in the desert. “Let me show you. Asier eating breakfast.”, she stretched the cloak to show the constellations forming a pattern before Jocasta of the puff-lion cub adorably eating breakfast.

”Oh, right!” Jocasta exclaimed, “I remember August was all salty over not having it for himself.” She shook her head. “You are bolder than I thought, Ayla Arslan. Very bold indeed. Though I do suppose you’ve got quite the menagerie to act as protection now…”

In truth, Augusto had been something of a suitor before, but Jocasta could not have countenanced a life of noble snobbery. She had played the part enough and found it tiresome in the extreme. In many ways, he was different. In others, he was beholden to his father, his family, and his way of life, and she wasn’t so certain that he was as eager to break away as he occasionally claimed. Were there to be any romance in her future, Ipte willing, she was settled that it would be with Yalen and his gentle strength - so different as it was from the boastful nature of too many men. ”You know…” she began, “I’ve heard he’s taken a bit of a fancy to Yuliya…” Jocasta trailed off. “Any truth to what the little birdie tells me?”

The Torragonese girl smiled at the thought of it, “The world was spared the secrets of his soul for another day.” She mused the thought as she listened along, though found it rather surprising Jo seemed to take an interest in him. When she encountered Augusto Frannemas, it was the same as any other time she encountered a Frannemas, someone scheming to always come out ahead and even cheating within children’s games. The fact Augusto appeared to be on occasions pleasant reminded her of a delightful expression that Maura once used, mierda con azucar. She knew the talk Jo referred to, and had seen the pair together on a number of occasions, where it was clear that they were more friendly than working as a team, “The talk is true, he had taken a liking to her temporary company at least.”. Ayla did feel very conflicted when talking about the man, especially as he had not been particularly rude to herself. “There… is a reputation, but as the saying goes. If you don’t have anything kind to say, it is best not said at all.”

“Babe, you don’t have to remind me of the Frannemas’ reputation,” Jocasta joked. “It precedes them. Anyhow, enough about Augusto and where our Vossoriyian friend chooses to venture.” She hurried out ahead in her excitement. “I think there’s something big in the pipeline today. Why else would they be calling us to Market Square?” Jocasta did not let herself drift. She twisted back and glanced at Ayla. “I just wish I could figure out what it’ll be and if it’ll affect my bottom line. I need to become as rich as Ingrid,” she scoffed, “someday.”

Ayla smiled as she saw the happiness and excitement that her friend displayed, “Anything would be a better distraction than listening to Maura attempt to make a trip to and from Callanst be profitable in a submersible. The only way she’ll turn a profit is if war breaks out, and that won’t be any time soon.” the pair headed towards the Square to witness the great unveiling that awaited them there.

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