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  #31  
Old 04-26-2020, 06:15 PM
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Molly Tespin
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Molly Tespin
Half-Elf Paladin/Rogue
Oath of Vengeance

HP: 42 -- AC: 15
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Molly shoved Bart away from her with her boot and looked around as those who came to her aid brought the other two to bear. Molly herself was quite surprised at the sudden assistance. It wasn't particularly unwelcome, just unusual. Normally someone lending her a hand wanted something from her in exchange--now THAT ticked her off.

So when she felt a hand on her shoulder and spun around to find one such interloper, her initial reaction was to roll her eyes vehemently. She was about to tell the woman to 'piss off' without letting her get a word in edgewise, but something about the woman's austere demeanor reminded her of...someone, and she only huffed insolently instead.

Molly let Tsenya speak her peace and, much to her dismay, it did indeed seem like the woman wanted something from her. The way she conveyed it, however, did much to smooth over the feisty blonde's ire. She didn't want a favor, she was offering a job.

Finally, after the woman had spoken, Molly responded in a stand-offish tone that suggested she wasn't fully convinced, "Wot are you, then? Some kinda princess or summin'? Looks t' me like your army's plenty big enough, innit Queenie?" Her eyes drift to the other women present who partook in the counter-offensive, then resettle on Tsenya, "What'cha need some gutter rat like me for?"
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  #32  
Old 04-28-2020, 09:26 AM
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To the wall
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The brawl was less than humane or honorable, as far as Tanni could determine. To fight over cards or dice like common thuggees (1) or members of the Red Eyebrows (2) in such a fine establishment, with no regard to the effect on others was abhorrent.

Luckily, quick thinking had been able to disarm the situation, for the mere price of a few silver talons. A small price to pay to more ingratiate herself with the inn's proprietors as someone worthy to offer hospitality towards. Business relations were exceptionally important, not to mention, her alternative was to destroy every class, mug, and ear drum in the establishment perhaps being banned for life after. Which for a human wasn't too bad, but elves lived for a really long time!

Tajsa came back to the table and sat down, ordering her own drink which was fine, if not a little offensive given Tanni had already offered a gift. Now seemed like a poor time to point out a matter of honor, so she just nodded her head in recognition to the warrior.

The beefier woman, with the hair of unvarnished copper accepted a drink, with a bit of let's say personality. There was something about her mannerisms around blood that was a little unsettling, but Tanni could not quite put her fingers on it. Haj seemed to be addressing her concerns, and as such, Tanni felt secure enough to leave her table for a moment - after all, her teacup was empty.

She ignored the new comer. A queen? There are no queens in the east, there were shoguns, emperors, and their wives and harems. It was quite an honor to be a member of the emperor's harem; one could even birth the next emperor. Not that such a role appealed to Tanni, but it was odd that the blond haired one was thinking another present may be a queen of some sort.

She stood up, smoothing her dress. Her dress was uniquely designed, hidden in its folds were slits that ran up to the waistline, should she find herself in quick need of flexible movement - yet when she walked, it looked just like a regular dress any normal lady would be wearing. Likewise, as a soldier or lady of refinement might, when she moved across the floor she glided with her shoulders and head level, neither bobbing up and down like a fisherman's line might.

"Ma Chung-Ying." She bowed slightly. "May I say you have a nice establishment, though the color of the guests may clash a bit. For that, I apologize. If it is no bother, I would very much like another kettle of tea, perhaps a jasmine tea if you happen to have it?" Her voice was as delicate as the petals of the cherry blossom, a compliment to her dress. She gently handed over a few silver talons to cover the bar tab - which should be plenty for everyone to get a drink.

She returned calmly to her table; making sure to make direct eye contact with Mad Dog, and when noticed, turning her face gently and walking off. Let the ruffian be confused as to if she were hostile, flirtatious, or disinterested.


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  #33  
Old 04-29-2020, 03:16 AM
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Watching the woman stumble towards her, Haj takes a step or two backwards involuntarily. The redheaded drunk staggers and gasps, sweat dripping profusely, and Haj regrets her decision to try to be cordial immediately.

"...Apologies, I did not mean to intrude..." she says, a vain attempt to extricate herself.

It is too late. The woman is already moving towards her. Haj gently pushes the hand away from her back. Such a gesture would have been far too familiar even if Alena were not acting mad.

"Hey!" another voice calls out from behind. "My dagger, if you'd be so kind."

"Thank Najm." Haj thinks to herself as she struggles to contain a sigh of relief. A witness, and one capable with a knife. Haj pulls out the dagger she had taken from the table and looks at it. She had forgotten to hand it back, so lost in her thoughts she had been.

"My sincerest apologies. It was not my intention to run off with it." It truly hadn't, but that didn't matter, did it? Haj would be irritated herself if someone made off with one of her own weapons. The mamluk flips the blade around and hands the hilt towards Tajsa. She uses the handoff as an excuse to swiftly walk away from Alena, glancing suspiciously over her shoulder as she fled.

 
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  #34  
Old 04-29-2020, 01:36 PM
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The dark haired woman sighed softly as the feisty blonde warrior questioned who she was and what she needed her for.

What can I tell you? You wouldn’t believe the truth even if I told you? That you are destined.....that the gods have marked you for this. You wouldn’t believe me, who would? The thoughts swirled around inside her consciousness before she put them to one side. Smiling tightly, Tsenya nodded her head.

“I am nobody important....” she let her words trail into the ether for a moment as she considered them.

If only it were true. If that was the case then she wouldn’t be trapped on the path that she was on, with each and every footfall taking her one step closer to an inexorable doom.

“Just a lost wanderer who is trying to get home,” she finished as she turned away from Molly.

“The offer remains open. Consider it, I will pay you well for your help, particularly with your not-so-inconsiderable skills and strength.”

She cast her eyes over Black Bart, who even now was still rolling around in pain on the floor. Shaking her head at his plight, she began to walk back over towards the others.

”Yes. I most definitely need someone with your particular skill set Molly.”

It might not have escaped the half-elf’s attention that she had not at any point told Tsenya her name.


Another Cup of Tea
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Still sitting at the table, Lath was surprised at how quickly and efficiently the fight was concluded. Still sipping his tea, he casually glanced down to the palm of his hand as he did so. To his surprise the skin there was now pink and unblemished, although he could not remember how or where the minor wound he had inflicted upon himself with his fingernails had healed. Shrugging, he took another sip, it was a mystery for another day.

As the large blubbery man hit himself with his own tankard of ale, Lath glanced at him curiously.

”Hey, are you ok?”

He started, looking to the fat man, who continued to stand there, looking down at his mug of ale not moving as he stared into space. Lath shrugged, finishing off the last of his tea.

Black Bart finally got back up to his feet, he and Mad Dog both limped slowly out of the room, Bart bent over double while Mad Dog favoured his injured arm.

Alena excused herself from the room afterwards, quickly followed by the enigmatic Haj, and then by Tajsa. As the three went outside, Lath briefly entertained the notion of following after them. Almost as soon as the notion came up though he very quickly quashed it. How did that old saying go...something about curiosity killing the cat? He began to talk to Tanni, only to find out that she was no longer there. She was over conversing with Ma Chung-Ying. Silvers passed from one hand to another before the young elven woman returned to her seat. As she asked for another pot of tea, Lath spoke up too.

”I would like another pot of tea as well thank you my good man,” his tone was perfectly innocent.

Ma Chung-Ying stare at them wordlessly for a second, his expression one of thunder before finally he acquiesced, nodding his head. Returning over to their table a couple of minutes later with the requested pots of tea, he bowed before moving back to the bar area.

”So how did you end up in here of all places,” Lath asked of Tanni as he poured himself another cup of tea.

”And where is it you’re going if you don’t mind me asking?”

The smell that came up from the tea was absolutely positively delightful.
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  #35  
Old 04-30-2020, 03:23 AM
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Ouch... My ego!
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Sounetar's hearty laughter rang in Alena's mind as Haj made her hasty retreat. A sigh escaped the vampire. She stared at the hand the young woman had brushed away. The gesture had been something she'd often do with Saoirse. Their relationship had never been about anything sexual. But even so, as platonic as their friendship was, they were still very intimate with each other. And putting your had on the small of someone's back was intimate indeed. The hand came up to cover Alena's face. She groaned into it realizing how the gesture could be misconstrued without the proper context.

You scared that one off good and proper! Sounetar finally stopped laughing long enough to rib her acolyte. Another sigh escaped Alena's lips. She was making all the wrong first impressions with this group. She was a strange occurrence for the inhabitants of this world for sure. So it was only natural they would view her habits as peculiar at best. But showing them glimpses of her past self was probably the worst thing that could happen to Alena. Still though... With such high concentration of virgins around you, I'd feel better if you found a willing donor sooner rather than later. Sounetar's voice sobered with her concern for her charge.

The cleric captain simply nodded her agreement. It would be prudent at best. In peak condition and with no injuries to her person Alena really didn't need to partake. But with the added temptation of having virgin blood so close by she would be in a semi-constant state of thirst. This meant she would need to find a way to take the edge off somehow, before she got too high-strung and acted out of control.

Alena waited for the two young women to re-enter the inn first, giving her enough time to properly get herself under control. Her eyes still transmitted her hunger. That couldn't be helped. The red strip would not turn brown again until she fed. But now, at least, Alena wouldn't be blindsided by the tantalizing scent of virgin blood. She would be better equipped when it came to maintaining control over her faculties. Breathing in deeply the vampiress entered the inn and headed straight for Ma Chung Ying.

"Master Ying, allow me to apologize once more. If there is anything else I could do besides offering you monetary compensation, please do not hesitate to ask." Alena clicked the heels of her boots together as she raised her right fist and tapped it against her heart with the knuckles facing down. Her head bowed sideways in deference. "Also, I would be ever so grateful if you would do me the honor of brewing some hibiscus tea." With one last bow Alena left the inn proprietor to his duties and rejoined the group at the table. She took deliberate care to sit as far away from Haj and Lath as possible. The hibiscus tea would help. It's aroma and taste would do well to mask the scent of desirable blood and the coloring would be visually appealing if nothing else.

With all that out of the way Alena returned her attention back to the matter at hand. She turned her gaze on the newcomer.

"I beg your pardon, m'lady, if I am late in giving you my response to your offer. If you need people to accompany you on your journey across the Dragonwall, then I see no reason not to accept. I will be crossing the wall one way or another. So if you deem me acceptable I wouldn't mind doing so as a member of your party." Alena inclined her head to the side in on of her signature bows. With her peace spoken she took to pensively sipping her tea.


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  #36  
Old 04-30-2020, 08:46 AM
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With hostilities, which to be honest were very brief, hardly even a quarter minute of fighting happened, at an end - one would think Ma Chung-Ying would be grateful things ended where they did, instead of harboring hostile thoughts.

'Tanni learned long ago, one must keep an inner core of calmness. If the forces of the arcane were not weaved with a delicate hand, a strong mind, and an inner-peace; very bad things could happen. Ever see an illusion of burning copper flakes in the sky go wrong, resulting in a fireball of destruction? She had. One of whom in her class had cast the spell for a display after breaking up with his consort, much destruction was wrought that day all because the lad's heart was not at peace when the spell was cast.

She did smile gently when the tea arrived. It was ordered more to re-establish normalcy, less due to any thirst she may have, though she would drink it, no use letting good tea go to waste! Her eyes scanned the tables, looking to see if any would try to resume whatever issue had caused the brief brawl, but she suspected things were returning to routine.

The cute young man took a seat near her, which was a pleasant surprise. He smelled of Wato, a type of soap many soldiers, lesser nobles, merchants and others who could afford soap used. It had a pleasant milky/herbal scent too it.

”So how did you end up in here of all places,” Lath asked of Tanni as he poured himself another cup of tea. ”And where is it you’re going if you don’t mind me asking?”

She looked up at him, directly in the eye as an equal. "Well, Lath, I apologize we were interrupted before introductions were completed. I am Jil'Tannith of Kitsuki, but everyone who knows me just calls me Tanni.

I am headed to the Dragon Wall. To be truthful, I am hoping to progress beyond the wall. You see, I am a vendor of herbs, spices, and other rarities. Many of the wares I sell come from the west. These normally cost a significant sum as the vendors have to travel from there to here through the wall, and dangers, and all manner of weather and plague.

It dawned on me, I could instead do the travel myself. I could bring the spices from here to the west where they pay a premium, use the revenue to buy the assortment of items they craft there that are in demand here, then travel back. This way I no longer have to pay the markup for travelers to do the journey myself."


She lifts the delicate cup to her lips for a gentle sip, keeping her eyes on Lath - not in a hostile manner, but more in a flirtatious manner. "Although, if the hostilities evidenced here is a kind of omen as to what to expect out there, I will most certainly need the company of those with strong arms. I'm just a merchant, after all, not a soldier."


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  #37  
Old 04-30-2020, 07:56 PM
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Molly Tespin
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Molly Tespin
Half-Elf Paladin/Rogue
Oath of Vengeance

HP: 42 -- AC: 15
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There was a long silence as Molly stared at Tsenya, eyebrow arched and a rebellious frown plastered on her face. The fact that the woman already knew her name was...disconcerting...and more than a little shifty, at least in the half-elf's mind. Either she could read minds, or this meeting was not a coincidence, and Molly already had a bad relationship with 'fate' and 'destiny'.

"Bullsh**," she said in response to Tsenya's attempt to say she was 'nobody'. She clearly wasn't 'nobody', Molly could tell that much by the way this woman carried herself and in the way she attracted others to her side so easily. She didn't press the question, though, for while it soured Molly's tongue to not know who she may or may not be working for, she couldn't blame someone for wanting to preserve their anonymity, especially in a place like this.

When the woman turned to leave, however, Molly didn't follow, nor immediately answer. Instead, she turned back to the table and collected her earnings. After depositing them into a small sack, she took it over to the bar counter and tossed it so that it landed right in front of Ma Chung-Ying. "Keep it, just keep the drinks coming," she said with an annoyed tone, then snagged a drink out of someone's hand--giving said person a death stare if they so much as started to protest--and went back to her seat, kicking back once more. The table wasn't so bad when there weren't pigs like Bart sitting across from her.

...it was a decent offer...hmmm...

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  #38  
Old 05-02-2020, 07:22 PM
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"Sure." Was all that Tajsa replied with a shrug, as she took the blade back. "Can't say I..." But no sooner had she taken the dagger, than Haj was heading back inside. She took one last look at Alena, even more curious as to what had gone on between the two before she'd come out. But the red-haired woman was not even bothering to look at her. With a roll of her eyes, Tajsa turned back to the inn. "Whatever." she mumbled, then returned where she'd come from, finding her bottle of saké waiting to be consumed.

Putting one foot up on the table, she grabbed the bottle, opened it, and took a gulp of the fermented wine, then proceeded to gasp from the unexpected burn that accompanied such a disrespectful tasting. She quickly leaned forward in her chair, coughing harshly as she tried to regain her breath. "Wow!" she gasped airily. She tried to reign in her discomfort, not liking the look of weakness she was sure everyone was seeing.

With a spreading blush of embarrassment, Tajsa stood and started to walk away, before returning back for the bottle of saké she still wanted to finish. With a glare at the rest of the room, Tajsa took her wounded ego back to her room to sulk.

 

 

 
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Old 05-03-2020, 07:33 PM
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Well, that altercation was far more interesting than the previous one. There was actual blood spilled this time! Though this Tawni lady to put an early end to the entertainment. A frown touched Vanithessa's lips as she studied the other. She seemed a bit, well, delicate. Something that had no place amongst the vrael oro, if you couldn't pull your own weight you had no place and were removed like the waste of resources you were. Time would tell is this one was worth something. Though, Vanithessa tried to recall if she'd made an agreement with the other lady to come with them. If she hadn't then it was a moot point.

Speaking of those coming with, the redhead had said she would come. Vanithessa tried to remember if she'd given her name earlier before dismissing the thought. Despite the redheads penchant to whisper to herself suspiciously, Vanithessa had deemed her acceptable earlier. And if she wasn't mistaken... she had heard the woman whisper pureblood earlier. Vanithessa was pretty sure she wasn't vrael, but Vanithessa would be keeping an eye on her regardless.

As for the others that had agreed, well. The last woman with a T name, Tajsha, seemed rather flustered as she left. She had jumped into the fight with no qualms and happily drawn blood but Vanithessa wondered if she had a weak constitution anyway. The Hai woman seemed the most composed, though was she walking a little faster than normal just then? Vanithessa hadn't known her long enough to tell. Not exactly a great team for wandering into the unknown with in her opinion.

Vanithessa sighs. It'll be fine, she tells herself, all I need from these people is directions. I can take care of everything else myself.

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Old 05-05-2020, 01:31 PM
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Alena did not have to wait for long for her hibiscus tea, nor did she have to pay any more monetary recompense than had already been done. Yet, although he did not say anything, Ma Chung-Ying was clearly not pleased as his eyes scanned over the wreckage and punishment that had been inflicted upon his small (as he saw it in any case) paradise in the middle of the Quoya Desert.

Rejoining the group after concluding her conversation with the blonde half-elf, Tsenya sat down next to the vampiress. At her affirmation that she would join the caravan heading over the wall, the woman inclined her head slightly.

”Your presence on the journey east would be my honour,” her voice was softly spoken, her lilted accent particularly pronounced as she nodded her head towards Ma Chung-Ying.

Perhaps taking the motion as his queue, the enigmatic innkeeper returned to the table forthwith with one more of the fine china cups filled with tea. Her eyes briefly flitted over to where the young man, Lath, was sat deep in conversation with Tanni.

Lath leaned in closer to the pretty elf as she spoke. Keeping his eyes on her, he let out a soft chuckle as she explained her reasoning behind her journey across the Dragonwall.

”You know, that doesn’t sound so much different from what Haldemar is trying to do,” meeting her eyes with his own he whispered, ”I overheard him talking about it on the way here, but I think he’d make a terrible negotiator. Perhaps you could use his caravan and the trade route he’s looking to establish for your own benefit.”

Leaning back out he took his own cup of tea. Bringing it to his lips he took a small sip as his eyes closed, taking in the delightful aroma.

“I’m not that experienced in fighting,” he suddenly admitted, his cheeks going slightly red at the confession. “I’d been hoping that the monks of Lagiluri would teach me their martial skills, but they’re quite prickly when it comes to outsiders. Still, I know the mountain passes at the very least and I can see the caravan through the other side if nothing else. I could be your guide?” he said hopefully, his eyes sparkling at the thought of it.

Moving her eyes away from the two, a small smile played its way onto Tsenya’s features. She had, of course, seen Lath liberate the lockbox from Haldemar’s possession earlier and had recognised it for what it truly was, but she would keep that small piece of information to herself. The young man and the elven girl, along with the rest of them, would play a vital part in what was about to unfold in the days and weeks to come.

And that includes the half-elf, her thoughts interjected quietly to her as her eyes moved over to the blonde half-elf as she politely asked for another drink in her own inimitable manner. The half-elf had been quite coy in her response to Tsenya’s offer of employment, but the woman was quite confident that she would be able to convince her to join them. Indeed, her eyes moved from one woman to the next, and for a second.....the briefest of seconds, a look of sadness crossed her features.

She, of all of them, knew how unforgiving the Unapproachable East truly was. Only she knew of the dark shadows that encircled them....all of them. And of the horde that even now approached them.

The sands inside the hourglass continued to slide down...... Some of them would never ever go home.

I’m sorry. Her thoughts echoed silently inside her head as she stood.

“Merchant Haldemar,” her accented voice spoke with cool authority. “We must leave the oasis soon, this afternoon if you are able.”

Haldemar, swallowing slightly, merely inclined his head in affirmation.

“I hope you are all ready to depart. I have a feeling this journey will be a long one, those of you who are travelling with us.”

At the last sentence, she gazed over towards Molly, who was still alone with her drink.
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Old 05-06-2020, 09:54 PM
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My, but you are used to giving orders. Alena thought as Tsenya. She didn't mind authority figures in general. However, she would no longer be a puppet to leaders and rulers who expected nothing less but her blind obedience. Alena's eyes wandered as she observed their group splitting up. The young man was engaged in a conversation with the fair, female merchant. Taj had run off somewhere with a bottle of sake. The blond rascal had also wondered off to a different table to drink alone. Though, Alena wasn't really sure she was part of the group. Had she accepted the offer to escort Tsenya beyond the wall. Alena couldn't really tell by her behavior. But if they were all to leave at noon, their charming employer would have to gather them all up again. The cleric didn't even allow herself to wonder what young Haj was doing. It was best for both of them is she left well enough alone.

The vampire gulped down the last of her hibiscus tea, closing her eyes blissfully at the pleasant sourness of the beverage. Putting her cup down gently, she stood up. "If you'll excuse me. I'll go prepare for the journey." Alena inclined her head to Tsenya and made her way to her room to gather her things. She didn't have much in the way of personal possessions. She never expected she wouldn't be able to go back home for any of her belongings. What she had now, what she traveled with, she'd accumulated during her short tenure in this world. So it took her no time to pack. She needed to meditate, but she hated doing it inside. However, the prospect of doing it outside, in the blistering inferno of the desert was not a better one. I suppose I could find a shaded corner somewhere. Alena sighed and exited her room with her backpack slung over one shoulder.

The cleric captain hesitated before going down the stairs to the common room. Taj had wondered off with her bottle of sake and Alena wasn't sure she knew what time they would be leaving. You don't even know which room is hers. The vampire chastised herself, shaking her head. Ma Chung Ying can always relate to her the hour of our departure. With a soft sigh Alena descended the stairs leading to the common room. "I'll be waiting outside, m'lady." The vampiress nodded to Tsenya and headed for the exit. Her eyes lingered for a while longer on the wily blond, drinking alone.

Once outside Alena found a shaded corner near Haldemar's caravan. Mindless of the dust and sand that made up the dry soil of this place, Alena dropped her bag on the ground and sat down next to it. She assumed her usual position, closed her eyes and let her mind wonder. Not stopping on one single thought for too long. Always moving on from one, to the next and the next after. Until no thought at all entered her mind. Until all that was left was air. Air moving in and out of her lungs. Air moving around her. Hot and dry on her face. Playful and free as it swirled dist devils along the desert floor.

In this state of mind the thirst was more acute. But so was her control on it more tight. The added temptation of virgin blood within her grasp would be a challenge if Alena could not find a willing donor. She could control the hunger like this. But it would become increasingly more dangerous in stressful situations for the others around her. She would become increasingly more dangerous! An out of control predator was the last thing a group of people in close quarters needed.

Of course, Alena knew that should the worst come to pass, Sounetar would not allow her to harm innocence. It was, after all, the fail-safe the two had agreed upon when Sounetar had offered Alena her patronage. Naturally the cleric captain was honor-bound to keep herself in check, but neither she nor Sounetar were foolish enough to disregard Alena's more baser, animalistic instincts. They both knew how dangerous she could be, were she to revert back to her brute self. Of course, Alena would rather have her life stripped by Sounetar's power, before that ever came to pass.


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  #42  
Old 05-07-2020, 12:53 AM
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Molly Tespin
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Molly Tespin
Half-Elf Paladin/Rogue
Oath of Vengeance

HP: 42 -- AC: 15
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Molly rolled her eyes when she heard Tsenya's words. She was well aware that the woman was walking to her, though it ticked her off that the woman had just assumed she would accept. The 'knowing' kind of people always the most irritating of people, and Molly had half a mind to refuse quite simply out of stubbornness and a want to prove the lofty hag wrong.

But in a very real sense, there wasn't many other ways around it and offering only a low, callous "Whatever..." before turning both her mind and her eyes away from Tsenya.

In this way, she also took in the forms of those who had offered to join the caravan. An awful lot of women in a small place like this. Not that she had anything against women, it just seemed an odd coincidence. Her eyes passed over the young gray elf first. That one seemed hoity-toity too, though she was far too young for that kind of ego. Leave it to an elf to be trying to wear pants that were too big for her. Molly had a feeling, judging from the way she passed her off earlier, that they'd be butting heads all the way across the wall.

The ones called Haj and Vanithessa seemed the most agreeable, at least in the sense that they were the quiet ones that kept to themselves. That suited Molly just fine; she wasn't here to make friends anyway, she just hoped they were capable. The former seemed up to snuff. The latter...who knows...

When Tajsa got up and left in a huff, Molly was having a difficult time containing her amusement. At least this one was honest in the fact that she acted her age, though that, of course, came with its own stubborn pride. Molly felt more akin to that kind of cockiness, however. Out of the lot, she'd probably get along best with that one. Supposing Tajsa looked her way at any point whilst storming away, she'd see Molly smirking bemusedly and holding her drink forward in acknowledgment...for the effort, anyway. She liked this one.

Then there was that last one. This Alena. It seemed quite clear to Molly that more than any of the women, save for Tsenya herself, this one didn't fit, and some reflex inside the half-elf what was not wholly her own was screaming at her to be careful. The woman looked flimsy and unimpressive at first glance, but when she left the room, she could always feel her holding something back. Something terrible. This idea didn't sit terribly well with the rogue; the last thing she wanted was to be caught out in the middle of a desert with a madwoman. She'd have to keep a close watch on that one.

Well, this was all supposing she decided to go at all. The choice was still her own, though it continued to annoy Molly that there was so very little alternative.

Last edited by briar; 05-07-2020 at 12:56 AM.
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Old 05-08-2020, 08:11 AM
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It was quickly decided to join Haldemar's expedition west. Competition did not bother 'Tanni, especially as she was unsure what it was Haldemar was going to be trading. Her most immediate concerns were being in a caravan for security and companionship purposes.

"You certainly look as if you are more trained than I in the way of the sword, Lath. If you don't mind the distraction from your path to the Monks of Lagiluri to show me through the gates, I would appreciate the company."

The caravan leader was calling them to make ready to depart. Which was good, it was already far too late in the day for 'Tanni's liking, and she desired to start making progress. Her herbs and spices were dried and preserved so they would not spoil, but her patience was neither - rather it was still a bit frayed from the ruckus previously. She could almost hear Master Hikaru Inanna's voice in her head; 'Enhance your calm, little one. This too shall pass.'

While the others went to the rooms, 'Tanni gracefully - like the soft flow of a river over the smoothed stones below, made her way to her wagon where she ensured the horses were fed and watered, double checked the lashings on her goods and possessions, and refilled the water bladders as needed for the journey.


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Old 05-09-2020, 09:53 AM
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Giving Tanni a mock bow (certainly an impressive feat given that he was currently sitting down at a table), Lath grinned.

”Its not too much milady,” his eyes sparkled with a mirthful light as continued, “From this moment forwards consider me your guard of honour. I too would appreciate the company.”

As he spoke, words swirled around inside of his memory. Words spoken to him by another not so long ago.

And when you think yourself lost with nowhere left to go, the girl in white will show you the way.

The next moments of time passing were almost torture for poor Lath. Impatient to be off, and finally having some sort of direction and purpose, he was very restless and agitated. As everyone else in the group went off to perform whatever activities or meditations they needed to do prior to setting off, Lath went outside the Inn and over to a small area in the corner of the oasis. Crouching, his eyes went from side to side, looking for anyone who might be watching him. After a few seconds, satisfied that nobody was nearby, he reached into his pockets and drew out the small lockbox that he had liberated from Haldemar earlier. Turning it round in his hands, he gazed at the box with an expression that was almost one of longing.

Holding it in the palm of his hand, his fingers traced around the golden insignia embossed into the lockbox. As he did, he closed his eyes.

Why is it, outcast stranger, why is it that you are so eager to die?

Ma Chung-Ying, speaking to him. In his mind, he heard his own reply.

You die for something that you believe in.

They were words he had spoken once before.

***

You die for something that you believe in.

The thought was scant comfort against the approaching darkness.

The pass was treacherous, surrounded on one side by a high wall of rock, and the other side by a sharp plunge downwards. When he lost his footing, it was over this side that he fell.

And fall he did, down....smashing at the bottom of the ravine, next to a river. As his ribs and legs shattered, and as blackness flitted across his vision.....as he struggled to take in breath, he knew that his life now could be measured like grains of sand falling through an hourglass.

”I’m.....I’m sorry sister. I’m sorry I couldn’t fulfil my promise.....”

Then, as the end neared, he heard another voice.

”I can save you Lathlaeril Dorrel, if you desire saving.”

He saw a slight form standing over him as sight faded, wisps of silver hair shining in the sunlight.

”It will cost you dearly though. The question is, is the price worth your life?”

Struggling with his breath, lying there helplessly as life fled slowly from his broken body, Lath gasped,

The girl, whose face he could not see clearly, held out her hand. She said one word.

”Everything.”

The dying man reached out and took her hand in his own.

"You must....you *will* do something very important for me Lathlaeril Dorrel. In return I will give you your life, and I will give you the means to find your sister, though there are some answers that are better left unsaid."

Lathlaeril tried to laugh weakly, although the effort in doing so caused his pain to intensify. Turning to the side, he bowed his head, grimacing weakly.

”I....have nothing left to lose. Take the price that you will from me.”

A flash of light. A glowing radiance enveloped Lathlaeril now, consuming him. The radiance.....it healed. It closed his wounds, restored his strength. Banishing his hunger and thirst, Lathlaeril watched as the world spun around him, fading out of his view.....fading into ghostly etherealness before reforming once more. Only Lathlaeril was no longer at the bottom of a ravine in the depths of the Katakoro Mountains.

Now he sat at the foot of the mountains themselves. Behind him, the path led inwards. Ahead of him was the tundra, arid badlands stretching off into the distance as far as the eye could see.

Looking upwards, Lathlaeril could now see his saviour.


Standing, amazed as he did so that his legs worked....that he could breathe, Lath turned to the silver haired woman. He bowed to her.

”The price?”

The mysterious woman smiled, the corners of her mouth turning up enigmatically.

”Time is running out. To the north lies an empire called Solon. Inside it’s borders, an army.....a horde masses under the rule of an emperor who desires a nameless kingdom hidden deep within the Katakoro Mountains. His is a desire that has gone beyond obsession into something more dangerous still. He will come with his army, and the kingdom will fall. This can be prevented, but there is something that is needed to do so, something very important.”

Lathlaeril looked to her expectantly as she continued.

”You must retrieve for me a lockbox with a golden insignia. It can be found in the city of Kuo-Te’Lung, inside a Solonic Embassy. I am sure one of your resources and ingenuity can locate the item.”

Lathlaeril nodded wordlessly.

”You are bound to me now Lathlaeril Dorrel, for the rest of your existence. That is the price of your life. You will not do this alone. Six others will come, seeking the lands of their dreams. They will come to the Bitter Well Oasis and you will know them by the presence of a girl dressed in white. And remember....Lathlaeril. There will come a time when you are lost, and you have nowhere left to go. This girl.....she will show you the way.”

Walking up to him, she reached out, touching his head. There was another flash of light, and Lathlaeril stepped back involuntarily.

***

The memory faded, and Lath, still staring at the box, reached to it with his other hand as if to open it. His hand touched the surface as he briefly considered trying to twist it open again. And then, shaking his head, he pulled his hand away. Putting the lockbox away, he stood and began to make his way over to the caravan.

Seconds later, Haldemar stepped out of the shadows that he had been hiding in. His eyes followed the retreating form of the young man, and they narrowed. His hand dropped briefly to the hilt of the knife that he had belted to his waist.

***

An hour later.

Standing outside the caravan, Lath was pacing agitatedly along with Tsenya and Haldemar. Whilst Haldemar was seeing to the horses, Tsenya was standing calmly, almost like an exact juxtaposition to Lath’s pacing.

”Be calm my friend,” Tsenya spoke as her eyes continued to rest on the Bitter Well Oasis.

“We will be gone soon, and when we do, you will miss the comforts and shade offered by the establishment.”

Sighing softly, Lath stopped his pacing. His hand reaching in his pockets, they brushed the lockbox concealed inside gently. As he did so, Tsenya’s eyes moved over to him briefly and the corners of her mouth turned up slightly in a look of amusement.
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Last edited by Nade; 05-09-2020 at 10:51 AM.
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  #45  
Old 05-11-2020, 10:00 PM
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In her room, Tajsa just stared at the bottle of rice wine. It had been a long time since she'd taken a drink of anything as potent as this had been. And then, she'd lost control, and gotten drunk to the point that the most of the night was a blur, and then a blank. She really wanted to finish the bottle off. Especially in the comfort and safety of her room.

But she had made a promise to that strange beauty out there. Surely she'd used some kind of magic on her, and yet Tajsa still felt compelled to stay true to her word. Placing the sake bottle into her pack for later use, Tajsa packed up the rest of her gear and stepped out of what had been her home for a long time now. It was time to move on. "I'm ready." she called out to the caravan, then looked around to see who else was joining them.

 

 

 
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