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    Chapter 2: The Outsiders
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    aurdraco
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    PostPosted: Sun May 08, 2016 7:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

    Once his gear was properly stowed, Ohrin sat at his desk, availed himself to the snacks, and began creating a list of items he felt their large company would need while waiting for the others to return.
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    Syzygyst
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    PostPosted: Sun May 08, 2016 12:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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    "As for my woman-love," she said. "Clearly, you know of this. Then, it is no great secret. I hear the whispers of Corus' folk about it, when they think my back is turned and out of earshot. I know I am a source of scandal, in their eyes."

    "I wonder," she asked. "How do you view me, given what you know?"


    Njord wasn't surprised that the Captain's humor was lost on him. Cultural and lingual differences often proved a barrier to complete understanding for him, especially with respect to humor. But her explanation now had him far less exasperated than he was. She, and the people of her homeland, were indeed different from he and his. They concentrated on custom and decorum, whereas his homelanders were too busy dealing with day-to-day survival to care much about such things. But, upon reflection, the Raven-People also had their own strange traditions. Sexual taboos regarding same-sex coupling, however, were not among them.

    Njord smiled, and thought. "Captain, i will come back to question you ask, please." After a moment, he continued. "The proper name for what i...was, is Haagamoran. It means like Priestess-Husband. Witch-wife is worse than calling Mirka, slut. Maybe you did not pay Master Retlishin enough good coin!" he took a stab with his own humor.

    He then began returning to her question. "Captain, i still know little of you. It is like we just meet. Before, you are only Captain Fireheart, my commander. Now, i learn of you, person under armor and behind sword. Is there name i should use for you? Is Amarita okay?"
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    Kraftwerk
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    PostPosted: Sun May 08, 2016 4:26 pm    Post subject: Njord: Sometimes it Snows in Readying Reply with quote

    Njord smiled, and thought. "Captain, i will come back to question you ask, please." After a moment, he continued. "The proper name for what i...was, is Haagamoran. It means like Priestess-Husband. Witch-wife is worse than calling Mirka, slut. Maybe you did not pay Master Retlishin enough good coin!" he took a stab with his own humor.

    He watched the Captain's shoulders slump. "I am ashamed to admit that the blame for this sits squarely upon my shoulders," she said. "The magician is faultless. He made me well-aware that he could only see that which transpired in your past. He traced the movements of the lips of those close to you. I suppose I was so quick to claim knowledge for my own that I failed to consider context. Had I known..." her voice trailed off wistfully.

    He then began returning to her question. "Captain, i still know little of you. It is like we just meet. Before, you are only Captain Fireheart, my commander. Now, i learn of you, person under armor and behind sword. Is there name i should use for you? Is Amarita okay?"

    She nodded. "I would be honored to have you do so," she said. "But please...reserve this for moments in which we are alone. There are matters of propriety to consider. It would be unseemly to do this before another Guardsman. I would not have them believe I treat with you any differently than your fellows."

    It made sense. But Njord could not help but notice the words she used specifically. When we are alone. Not if.

    He couldn't wipe the smile from his lips if he tried.
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    lamashtu
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    PostPosted: Sun May 08, 2016 5:18 pm    Post subject: Re: Sævil: The Howling Reply with quote

    Kraftwerk wrote:
    From within the small cave, he heard a voice, somehow, amidst it all. “Come,” it bade him.


    Sævil crouches at the entrance for a few moments, then rocks forward onto his hands and knees. He begins to crawl into Milleen's abode.
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    Kraftwerk
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    PostPosted: Sun May 08, 2016 6:07 pm    Post subject: Sævil: The Howling Reply with quote

    Sævil wasn't quite sure what he would find inside the small domicile. Whatever he might have expected, though...it certainly wasn't what he saw.

    The imitation of a mine extended perhaps twenty feet deep, sloping slightly downward before flattening out into a roughly circular area. He crept over a series of small holes in the floor that served to drain away the snow and ice carried in from outside, melted by the heat of the torches that lined the walls of the abode at regular intervals. Flat pieces of slate covered the walls and the floor, only interrupted by thick timbers that held the ceiling in place above them. Against that dark stone, fine wooden furniture -- almost miniature in scale -- was pushed: A dresser and a full-length mirror, a desk and chair, an elegant dining table and a translucent folding screen. The floor and dollhouse-sized pieces were all immaculately kept. There was no clutter to be seen anywhere within the room. Amidst the silver platter and cutlery, the fine china and crystal decanters, on the table, a bouquet of flowers rest in a vase, filling the air with a lovely scent.

    In the midst of the room, a troika of dark-furred wolves lay, each one eyeing him warily. They were relaxing in the comfort of what looked like a bearskin rug. It was difficult to see where one ended and the other began. Just ahead of them, a short reptilian humanoid. Instantly, he was aware that it was Milleen.

    She regarded him with snake eyes, dark and probing. She had features that were just as canine as they owed to slithering things. She looked fine-boned, perhaps as tall as his waist, were he to stand upright. She wore thick animal furs over herself, her dark emerald scales coated in some kind of ointment, the consistency of honey. He thought he might have smelled perfume upon her.

    A smile crept across her features, revealing rows of sharp, pointed teeth. "Greetings, Son of Dag," she nodded, almost performing a curtsy as she said it. To Sævil's shock, she spoke in a flawless human tongue. Her accent reminded him of the wealthy Perrenese of Krestible: Something refined and cultured.

    "Welcome to my humble home."
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    lamashtu
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    PostPosted: Sun May 08, 2016 8:02 pm    Post subject: Re: Sævil: The Howling Reply with quote

    Kraftwerk wrote:
    Sævil wasn't quite sure what he would find inside the small domicile. Whatever he might have expected, though...it certainly wasn't what he saw.

    "Welcome to my humble home."


    "My thanks for the welcome," Sævil pulls himself into a seated position, so as to communicate closer to Milleen's height, "I once fought a warren of your race alongside old friends, from what little I saw of their lives, I'm sure they didn't live like this. You home is fantastic!"
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    Kraftwerk
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    PostPosted: Sun May 08, 2016 8:58 pm    Post subject: Sævil: The Howling Reply with quote

    "My thanks for the welcome," Sævil pulls himself into a seated position, so as to communicate closer to Milleen's height, "I once fought a warren of your race alongside old friends, from what little I saw of their lives, I'm sure they didn't live like this. You home is fantastic!"

    Some sly light came to haunt Milleen's grin. "I see," she said. "And I suppose you slaughtered them to the one, hm, Son of Dag?"

    "No matter," she said, making a trilling noise in the hollow of her throat, some strange juxtaposition of a hiss and a snicker. "It pleases me that you find my home of interest. Mayor Highmountain and Lord Kalistis afforded me many good materials with which to make it comfortable."

    She turned about, circling the pile of wolves on the rug in the middle of her floor. Ever they stayed stilled, though they continued to watch Sævil's every slightest move. "When my pets informed me that I would be entertaining a visitor," she went on, heading towards the furthest part of the room. There, next to the table, a fireplace roared within the wall. A dark sphere hung within the flames. "I took the liberty of brewing a spot of tea. Can I interest you in a cup, perhaps?"

    She took some two white ceramic hollows from the top of the table as she made her way to the fire. "Perhaps it would be good to warm your belly as we spoke of the journey to come," she added. Her silhouette against the light of the flames reminded Sævil of just how tiny she was.

    "I suppose that's the purpose for your visit, hm?"
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    lamashtu
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    PostPosted: Sun May 08, 2016 9:45 pm    Post subject: Re: Sævil: The Howling Reply with quote

    Kraftwerk wrote:
    She took some two white ceramic hollows from the top of the table as she made her way to the fire. "Perhaps it would be good to warm your belly as we spoke of the journey to come," she added. Her silhouette against the light of the flames reminded Sævil of just how tiny she was.

    "I suppose that's the purpose for your visit, hm?"


    "Yes tea would be great, thank you," Sævil smiles slightly, "And to be honest, no, their numbers were too great, nor were they our goal. My companions and I withdrew after our mage crafted a shield that could not be pierced by their missiles.

    "I am here to ask you to provide me with a trained wolf, as you once offered, but even more I ask that you consider coming with me on a journey the Mayor has required of... a number of us," he breathes deeply, "We will need to travel as my own people travel, with dog - or wolf - and sled. I know some, but you appear to be a master with these animals, you're presence would be a boon."

    He leans forward as he takes the cup of tea, lowering his voice, "And I have reason to believe things may not be as they seem. I will need trusted companions; your good works - together with the words of The Old Man - have convinced me that you might be exactly that. I've no idea if you're one of the volunteers The Mayor listed for us, and I don't care: I'm here to ask you to come. For Corus, if for nothing else."
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    Kraftwerk
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    PostPosted: Sun May 08, 2016 10:27 pm    Post subject: Sævil: The Howling Reply with quote

    "Yes tea would be great, thank you," Sævil smiles slightly

    The kobold nodded gently. He watched her wrap her hand in a thick cloth, then produce a silvered kettle from the fire. Carefully, she poured its contents into her ceramic cups. When that was completed, she put the kettle onto a stone flat in the center of the table, each of the cups onto a small saucer. She did each of these things as if they were a solemn ritual, one that required the strictest attention.

    She walked from the side of the table to where he sat, offering him one of the cups. "Please," she said, smiling her jagged-toothed smile. The tea smelled rather delicious. Sævil noticed that each cup was monogrammed with a single, calligraphed letter K on its side.

    "And to be honest, no, their numbers were too great, nor were they our goal. My companions and I withdrew after our mage crafted a shield that could not be pierced by their missiles.

    Milleen took a sip from her cup. She looked as if she mulled over its flavor for a moment before nodding to herself; evidently, it passed her muster. "A magi fighting at the side of a man of the north?" she cocked a scale-ridged brow curiously. "How very unusual." She smiled once again. Evidently, the notion was not displeasing to her.

    "I am here to ask you to provide me with a trained wolf, as you once offered, but even more I ask that you consider coming with me on a journey the Mayor has required of... a number of us," he breathes deeply, "We will need to travel as my own people travel, with dog - or wolf - and sled. I know some, but you appear to be a master with these animals, you're presence would be a boon."

    Milleen nodded. "I will do as I have promised," she said. "Though you should know that the matter is not quite so simple. I will not select a wolf to serve as your companion, Son of Dag. It is rather the wolf that will choose to place its trust in you."

    He leans forward as he takes the cup of tea, lowering his voice, "And I have reason to believe things may not be as they seem. I will need trusted companions; your good works - together with the words of The Old Man - have convinced me that you might be exactly that. I've no idea if you're one of the volunteers The Mayor listed for us, and I don't care: I'm here to ask you to come. For Corus, if for nothing else."

    Her sly grin seemed to pull still longer. "You are fortunate that I have already volunteered my service to your expedition," she said. "I need little convincing to accompany you. Corus is my home too, Son of Dag. I would gladly fight to the death to defend it, if that is what must be done. So, aye -- you may count my spear and my wolves amongst your number."

    She raised her cup once more. Sævil noticed that, when she sipped from its rim, she pointed one of her clawed digits in an aristocratic manner. "Your words have piqued my interest though, brave one," she said. "You say that things may not be as they seem."

    Her serpent's eyes gazed at him through the steam rising from the top of her cup.

    "I would know more."
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    Syzygyst
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    PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2016 1:56 am    Post subject: C2: The Outsiders / Fireheart's Sanctum / Njord Reply with quote

    Quote:
    She nodded. "I would be honored to have you do so," she said. "But please...reserve this for moments in which we are alone. There are matters of propriety to consider. It would be unseemly to do this before another Guardsman. I would not have them believe I treat with you any differently than your fellows."

    It made sense. But Njord could not help but notice the words she used specifically. When we are alone. Not if.

    He couldn't wipe the smile from his lips if he tried.


    Njord responded to Captain Fireheart's acceptance of the informal name. "Of course. You are my Captain. In company, that is your title. But am glad to have personal way to name you, Amarita. Good to make acquaintance." As he finished the statement he nodded and smiled. He thought of extending a hand in friendship, but then discounted the idea. He was steadfast now, and wanted that to continue.

    "Amarita, i have only few more questions of you, if i may? Then i will try to answer question you gave to me."

    [* Here, Njord will wait for an affirmative. If that is given, he continues... *]

    Before beginning the questions, Njord allowed Amarita the option to decline. "Of course, you may refuse answer if you wish. I would like to know name of your lady-love, so that i may refer to that person. Also, if you wish to say more of Mirka, i will listen." Then Njord's tone and pace changed a touch. "And, last, you are aware your eyes change color in most magical ways?" Njord put the questions to Amarita, although mostly phrased as statements. He was purposefully leaving one question unspoken. That one he would leave for another time. Hopefully, by her use of the term when rather than if, that time would come soon.
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    Kraftwerk
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    PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2016 6:34 am    Post subject: Njord: Sometimes it Snows in Readying Reply with quote

    Njord responded to Captain Fireheart's acceptance of the informal name. "Of course. You are my Captain. In company, that is your title. But am glad to have personal way to name you, Amarita. Good to make acquaintance." As he finished the statement he nodded and smiled. He thought of extending a hand in friendship, but then discounted the idea. He was steadfast now, and wanted that to continue.

    She chuckled slightly, sensing the awkward timbre of the moment just as well as he did. "And yours as well, Njord Wintercrown," she replied. In spite of herself, her lips were beginning to form a proper smile. It was nothing short of a miracle.

    "Amarita, i have only few more questions of you, if i may? Then i will try to answer question you gave to me."

    The Captain nodded. "Ask," she said. "I will tell you as much as I can."

    Before beginning the questions, Njord allowed Amarita the option to decline. "Of course, you may refuse answer if you wish. I would like to know name of your lady-love, so that i may refer to that person. Also, if you wish to say more of Mirka, i will listen." Then Njord's tone and pace changed a touch. "And, last, you are aware your eyes change color in most magical ways?" Njord put the questions to Amarita, although mostly phrased as statements. He was purposefully leaving one question unspoken. That one he would leave for another time. Hopefully, by her use of the term when rather than if, that time would come soon.

    "Her name was Marianna," she said, some bit of melancholy creeping into the tone of her voice. "She was of the olve-folk, as am I. I met her here in Corus, only a day after I arrived, confused and afraid. It was she that brought calm to my brow and comfort to my soul. She was as gentle as the spring wind and beautiful as the flowers whose petals it moves." Njord thought that she might have trembled slightly, just to remember her.

    "As for Mirka," she said, the steely resolve in her voice returning, "there is little more to say. I disapprove of the sort of woman she is. I find her manipulations and intrigues repellent. In turn, she finds me stern and lacking in humor. We dislike one another almost equally, I think."

    She paused for a moment. "You wonder much about her," the Captain said. "Is this merely curiosity, Wintercrown? Or is there a deeper question that you hesitate to give voice to?"

    "My eyes," she closed them for a moment, opening them again. The greenish tint he'd seen in them before had almost completely fled their quality. As he gazed into them now, they were the gentlest shade of blue. Like the sky, the sea. "This is something I cannot explain. It seems that in every generation of my family's lineage, the eyes of one child are such that they betray their mood. Of my three siblings, mine -- as you have seen -- shift and mute with my emotions. They grow ever dark when I am angry or sternly focused. When I am at peace, their character lightens to blue. Once in my life," she confessed, "they have been violet."

    The melancholy returned.

    "But that was a very long time ago, now."
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    Syzygyst
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    PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2016 8:32 am    Post subject: C2: The Outsiders / Fireheart's Sanctum / Njord Reply with quote

    Njord sensed a most interesting tale behind the violet eyes, and that might be a deep story, with many roots leading to other narratives and still more questions. He would plumb those depths another time, as he still had the task before himself and his fellows, and he didn't want to overstay his welcome at the Captain's domicile. He attempted to steer the conversation back toward the question she had posed.

    "Now, your eyes are pretty, soft blue. I hope i never see them burning red!" He smiled at that, hoping to evoke the same for Amarita.

    "Marianna, that is lovely name. I bet she is lovely woman. Thank you for sharing such. I hope to learn more of her some day. About Mirka, i am thinking there may be more to story than just being hukaa, as you say. Maybe you have tangles with her? Maybe even she had relations with Marianna? I am curious, to give information to comrades concerning our selections. As yet, i can only say, but use better words, that you think she is scheming slut!" Njord gave a wry smile and slightly shrugged at the thought. "Does she offer anything for expedition?" Njord, being straightforward, didn't realize what a setup the last question was.


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    lamashtu
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    PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2016 5:09 pm    Post subject: Re: Sævil: The Howling Reply with quote

    Kraftwerk wrote:
    She raised her cup once more. Sævil noticed that, when she sipped from its rim, she pointed one of her clawed digits in an aristocratic manner. "Your words have piqued my interest though, brave one," she said. "You say that things may not be as they seem."

    Her serpent's eyes gazed at him through the steam rising from the top of her cup.

    "I would know more."


    "I wish I had much more to tell you," Sævil puts down his teacup, having finished, "The Old Man warned me that it's possible not all who go on this mission are trustworthy, even potentially that my life or the mission might be targeted.

    "I'm simple enough, but I'm not a fool Milleen, I know I've a tendency to think the best of those around me. This leads me to seek the opinions of others - and to place unexpected allies where they might cover my back."

    Sævil gestures widely at her home, "You are... no ordinary Kobold - you left home to make something more of yourself than you would have been. So too I left home, although I had the blessings of my mother and step-father to do so, because I wanted to see more of the world and be more than just another Xeai of the Tusking Strand.

    "My birth father wanted the same you know; 'Who put the ocean so near the shore?' he used to grump whenever he felt the horizon singing to him. When he died, I promised myself I'd discover what's beyond the horizon for both of us. There's still much more to see, and I mean to keep alive in order to do so, and bring my friends through this Land of Black Ice and back again as well.

    "And if we're betrayed when we least expect it, I mean to have a friend or two waiting to put their dagger into the back of the traitor."

    Sævil smiles and laughs, "I learned many useful things in my time with my old adventuring company. Some perhaps, not entirely in keeping with the traditions of my ancestors," he grins widely and true, "but I like to think they'd understand."
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    PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2016 8:20 pm    Post subject: Njord: Sometimes it Snows in Readying Reply with quote

    "Now, your eyes are pretty, soft blue. I hope i never see them burning red!" He smiled at that, hoping to evoke the same for Amarita.

    He found his words successful. The Captain offered the slight curve of her lips as a reflection of some muted mirth. “I don't think you need worry about that,” she replied. “Of all the colors my eyes might claim, red is not one of them. At least,” she countered, “I've never been told they've gone red before.”
    "Marianna, that is lovely name. I bet she is lovely woman. Thank you for sharing such. I hope to learn more of her some day. About Mirka, i am thinking there may be more to story than just being hukaa, as you say. Maybe you have tangles with her? Maybe even she had relations with Marianna? I am curious, to give information to comrades concerning our selections. As yet, i can only say, but use better words, that you think she is scheming slut!" Njord gave a wry smile and slightly shrugged at the thought. "Does she offer anything for expedition?" Njord, being straightforward, didn't realize what a setup the last question was.

    Fireheart – Amarita – nodded. “I vow to you that there is nothing more to the tale than what I have said,” she told him. “I simply disapprove of the sort of woman that she is. I do not believe in manipulations or duplicity...especially when affairs of the heart are concerned. If anything else you've said is true, then I know nothing of it. Perhaps this does not make your decision regarding her easier,” she allowed, “but you now know the whole of it.” If there had been an opportunity to further impugn Mirka's character, she did not take it. It said much about the Captain, after a fashion.

    “The night has claimed the day, Wintercrown,” she told him. “You have duties to tend to, as do I.”

    Something in her voice sounded...reluctant?
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    PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2016 8:22 pm    Post subject: Sævil: The Howling Reply with quote

    "I wish I had much more to tell you," Sævil puts down his teacup, having finished, "The Old Man warned me that it's possible not all who go on this mission are trustworthy, even potentially that my life or the mission might be targeted.

    He watched her eyes become slits. “I see,” she nodded. “As ever: It's nothing as it seems.”

    "I'm simple enough, but I'm not a fool Milleen, I know I've a tendency to think the best of those around me. This leads me to seek the opinions of others - and to place unexpected allies where they might cover my back."

    Sævil gestures widely at her home, "You are... no ordinary Kobold - you left home to make something more of yourself than you would have been. So too I left home, although I had the blessings of my mother and step-father to do so, because I wanted to see more of the world and be more than just another Xeai of the Tusking Strand.

    "My birth father wanted the same you know; 'Who put the ocean so near the shore?' he used to grump whenever he felt the horizon singing to him. When he died, I promised myself I'd discover what's beyond the horizon for both of us. There's still much more to see, and I mean to keep alive in order to do so, and bring my friends through this Land of Black Ice and back again as well.

    "And if we're betrayed when we least expect it, I mean to have a friend or two waiting to put their dagger into the back of the traitor."

    The comment brought a wry grin to the dark lips of the kobold. The imagery stoked some sort of black mirth within her, clearly.

    Sævil smiles and laughs, "I learned many useful things in my time with my old adventuring company. Some perhaps, not entirely in keeping with the traditions of my ancestors," he grins widely and true, "but I like to think they'd understand."

    She seemed to take that which he'd said under careful consideration for a moment. Then, after a long sip of tea, she placed her empty cup upon the floor, alongside his. To Sævil's mild surprise, it had actually been quite good-tasting. “You and I,” she said at last, “seem to be of the same kind, Son of Dag. You place value in trust and friendship; you place value in cooperation and harmony. My blood is not so removed from that of my folk that these things are strangers to me. Perhaps the blood of small dragons courses your veins, too?”

    She paused a moment, chuckling at the absurdity of the notion. “But you hardly know me,” she added. “All that you know is that I have offered you one of my pets to call your own. So how do you know that I am not one of those waiting with a dagger held in my claws?”

    “How do you know that I am not the one who would bring ruin to your journey?”
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    PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2016 9:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

    Quote:
    “The night has claimed the day, Wintercrown,” she told him. “You have duties to tend to, as do I.”

    Something in her voice sounded...reluctant?


    Njord was fishing for more details concerning Mirka, either in regards to the woman's promiscuity and games, or to her abilities as a travelling companion. He guessed there was more to be told by Amarita, and it might have something to do with Marianna, but, regardless, the captain was no longer speaking of the matter; the non-specific answers would have to suffice.

    "Yes," Njord began. "Evening is crawling its way toward night. We both have duties." He may have let a bit of disappointment slip as he repeated her sentiment. "So, i will now try to answer question. You ask me what i think of you." Njord paused a moment to coalesce his thoughts. "There will be more to say on matter, but i say now, i like this Amarita that i have met, and look forward to learn more about her." And so he answered the question, smiling, looking into Amarita's eyes. It was almost as ambiguous as the captain's reply about Mirka. There were definitely more things to say, and he knew many of them already, but he managed to bottle them away under his skin, close to his heart.
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    PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2016 9:51 pm    Post subject: Re: Sævil: The Howling Reply with quote

    Kraftwerk wrote:
    She paused a moment, chuckling at the absurdity of the notion. “But you hardly know me,” she added. “All that you know is that I have offered you one of my pets to call your own. So how do you know that I am not one of those waiting with a dagger held in my claws?”

    “How do you know that I am not the one who would bring ruin to your journey?”


    Sævil continues to smile as he considers her questions, and before speaking he shifts a bit closer to her, "In a way of course, I have no secure knowledge of you. But I know you came among those whom are traditionally enemies of your race, in a desire to be more than just a female kobold's traditional place in the world...

    "I know you offered me a boon in the past, and that you've been a gracious hostess today. I've never seen you act against the city, nor heard a word spoken against you worse than mere disbelief that you could be anything other than a savage," he makes a face, "old hatreds are not so easily set aside - even in Corus I guess.

    "I know that The Old Man knew you and he whom you journeyed with, and that he thinks highly of you. And at last, I believe you are inclined to prove wrong those who doubt you - your home tells me you're a Kobold, but also that there may never have been one like you before. If we've a kinship, and I think we might, it's in our delight to never quite be what is expected of us."
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    Kraftwerk
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    PostPosted: Tue May 10, 2016 11:08 pm    Post subject: Njord: Sometimes it Snows in Readying Reply with quote

    "Yes," Njord began. "Evening is crawling its way toward night. We both have duties." He may have let a bit of disappointment slip as he repeated her sentiment. "So, i will now try to answer question. You ask me what i think of you." Njord paused a moment to coalesce his thoughts. "There will be more to say on matter, but i say now, i like this Amarita that i have met, and look forward to learn more about her." And so he answered the question, smiling, looking into Amarita's eyes. It was almost as ambiguous as the captain's reply about Mirka. There were definitely more things to say, and he knew many of them already, but he managed to bottle them away under his skin, close to his heart.

    Amarita Fireheart stared into Njord’s eyes. The blue in them was going the deepest shade he had even borne witness to. It was something more unto ultramarine than azure or turquoise. As she did so, silence fell between them. She shattered it by taking a step towards him. They were no more than two feet distant now. “As your Captain,” she told him, sharp steel reclaiming the tone of her voice, “you would do well to remember that, even when you are detached from your post, no matter how far away you may be — it remains my right to order you as I see fit. You understand, yes, Guardsman?”

    She came still closer. The unearthly color of her eyes…her stern bearing…the simple gravity of her being: All these things combined to make Njord nearly tremble in her presence. “I order you to remain safe during your time with your fellowship,” she said, her manner intense enough to cleave hard and cold stone as if so much fragile lace. “Upon the completion of your mission, you are furthermore ordered to immediately return to my command with all possible haste. At that time, we will continue this conversation. Do you understand, Guardsman Thorjorsson?”

    The ghost of a smile haunted her lips. “Do not forget me, Wintercrown,” she finished. But how to forget a woman like Amarita Fireheart?

    He might be dead a year – and still her name would remain upon his lips.
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    Kraftwerk
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    PostPosted: Tue May 10, 2016 11:12 pm    Post subject: Sævil: The Howling Reply with quote

    Sævil continues to smile as he considers her questions, and before speaking he shifts a bit closer to her, "In a way of course, I have no secure knowledge of you. But I know you came among those whom are traditionally enemies of your race, in a desire to be more than just a female kobold's traditional place in the world...

    "I know you offered me a boon in the past, and that you've been a gracious hostess today. I've never seen you act against the city, nor heard a word spoken against you worse than mere disbelief that you could be anything other than a savage," he makes a face, "old hatreds are not so easily set aside - even in Corus I guess.

    “Indeed,” Milleen agreed. “Though I hold such feelings against the human-folk and other fleshlings not. Kurtulmak’s Children are well known for our own long memories and the ever-burning fires of our hatreds. My hypocrisy only goes so far, you see,” she said, offering a slight chuckle to punctuate the sentence.

    "I know that The Old Man knew you and he whom you journeyed with, and that he thinks highly of you. And at last, I believe you are inclined to prove wrong those who doubt you - your home tells me you're a Kobold, but also that there may never have been one like you before. If we've a kinship, and I think we might, it's in our delight to never quite be what is expected of us."

    The kobold found no small mirth within the statement. “Again, it seems as if you have a way of spying into the cloisters of my heart, Son-of-Dag,” she said. “It was not always easy. When first I met Lord Kalistis, I was a snivel wretch of a thing. I was frightened of the open sky and clumsy when I would try to emulate the ways of the fleshlings. But now, it is as you say: I have come to enjoy being that which is not expected of my kind. It is ever a part of me now, as my claws and scales.”

    “You should know,” she allowed, “I am somewhat surprised that the Old Man had anything good at all to say about my former liege. Lord Kalistis was not a kind man, to be sure. On the day that he set away from our home for the last time, he counted no few enemies within Corus’ walls. I was certain that the Old Man was one of these.”

    Her thin black lips curled into a smile. The gesture revealed her two rows of sharply pointed teeth for Sævil to see easily.

    “I find it pleasing to know that, somehow, I was mistaken.”
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    Syzygyst
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    PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2016 12:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

    Quote:
    The ghost of a smile haunted her lips. “Do not forget me, Wintercrown,” she finished. But how to forget a woman like Amarita Fireheart?

    He might be dead a year – and still her name would remain upon his lips.


    Njord, gazing into those bottomless blue eyes of hers, smiled, and replied with a simple, soft, "Yes, Captain," thereby answering all of her questions and commands at once.

    He wished he could remain standing there, staring into those pools, feeling the electricity course through his body. But he knew it was time to go. After what seemed an eternity, he finally pulled back from her, standing at his full height. With a deep breath, he held out an open hand to the side, beckoning her to lead him out of her chambers. It was all he could do not to reach out and wrap that arm around her.
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    PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2016 6:20 pm    Post subject: Re: Sævil: The Howling Reply with quote

    Kraftwerk wrote:
    “I find it pleasing to know that, somehow, I was mistaken.”


    Sævil cocks his head slightly, "Kalistis? The Old Man said you traveled with an Ilkka? Ilkka Suhonen. Although I'm not sure it matters what he thought of the man you once labored for - The Old Man was quite certain you were to be valued entirely for yourself."
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    PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2016 7:38 pm    Post subject: Njord: Sometimes it Snows in Readying Reply with quote

    After what seemed an eternity, he finally pulled back from her, standing at his full height. With a deep breath, he held out an open hand to the side, beckoning her to lead him out of her chambers. It was all he could do not to reach out and wrap that arm around her.

    The last he saw of the elven Captain was the way that the flickering candlelight lit her features in alternating dancing patterns of brilliance and shadow. He watched her purse her lips, then extinguish the flame atop the wick with a gentle breath. Darkness swallowed the both of them wholly.

    Njord felt the sensation of her passing him by as a springtime zephyr. Behind him, the door opened and he was aware of her passage back down the hallway from which they'd arrived in her chambers, despite the absolute silence of her travel. He followed her just as surely as she commanded it, retracing their steps through each doorway and down the corridors of the structure until they were at last in the foyer again.

    She opened the heavy, girded door to the outside, at last. The act allowed the icy wind and wet, heavy snow to wash all over, then seemingly through his body. The weather had grown worse, if that was entirely possible. Above, nothing but dark clouds, rendered almost invisible by the night. No stars, no moonlight. Just angry, roiling blackness, ever-screaming a wintry cry.

    "Farewell, Wintercrown," Amarita said. "I await your return."

    He stepped out of the door's threshold. Gently, she closed the portal behind him.

    He could hear the bar fall into place inside its inside face, locking it tight. He stood there, up to his knees in the snow, almost dumbstruck, until he heard something behind him, snapping his reverie.

    The figure was tiny, barely taller than Mayor Highmountain. Wrapped in heavy bands of dark cloth against the cold, it was trudging its way across Njord's plane of view, from left to right. Perhaps from the Icepick or Flowerfield's Bakery, to some point unknown. Out from the swaths of the utterly ebon cloth, a long, pointed beak, like that of a hummingbird's protruded. Above those, twin pieces of obsidian hung, as eyes. They were fixated directly upon him.

    Crow Jane made a little chittering noise that was probably meant to represent mild amusement. As she watched, a long parcel in her possession, likewise wrapped in heavy, tenebrous sheets, she raised a single digit -- a raptor's claw -- to the approximate area of her lips.

    "Shh..." she said, a croak of a voice, barely above the sound of the wind. "Secrets" Winked an unblinking black eye at him, as she continued on her way.

    She could have been talking about either of them, just as easily.
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    Kraftwerk
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    PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2016 7:45 pm    Post subject: Sævil: The Howling Reply with quote

    Sævil cocks his head slightly, "Kalistis? The Old Man said you traveled with an Ilkka? Ilkka Suhonen. Although I'm not sure it matters what he thought of the man you once labored for - The Old Man was quite certain you were to be valued entirely for yourself."

    "Kalistis," she informed him "is a title, Son of Dag. In the tongue of my folk, it means something like the name Emperor of Swords would in your language. You have the whole of his name correctly, aye. I am loathe to speak it, though," she explained. "It is...improper."

    The way that she said it, there was little doubt left to the reverence in which she held the man.

    "In any case, you may count upon my aid -- though that was assured long before your arrival at my home. With that done...we should go outside." She looked at the pile of wolves in the center of her carpet. "None of these coal-chewers will do for a fine manling like you. I would introduce you to the others."

    She started ahead of him, towards the entrance to her "mine".

    "We will see which one of them finds you worthy."
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    PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2016 8:32 pm    Post subject: C2: The Outsiders / Outside Fireheart's Sanctum / Njord Reply with quote

    Quote:
    "Shh..." she said, a croak of a voice, barely above the sound of the wind. "Secrets" Winked an unblinking black eye at him, as she continued on her way.

    She could have been talking about either of them, just as easily.


    Njord snapped to attention. Underneath his alert mind, he was experiencing sensations that he had never felt before. Had Fireheart indicated that she awaited his return from the Black Ice? Was it an invitation for any visit? As of yet, he fully intended to see her again before leaving on the expedition. Hopefully, the proper moment would present itself.

    But now he was taken away from all of those thoughts. Crow Jane was a complete enigma to him, and he had some reticence about approaching her. But she was on the list, Fireheart had offered approval for Crow Jane, and he had a duty to pursue. He trudged after her as quickly as he could, hoping to intercept. Shh? Secrets? What was she speaking about? Approaching her, he realized his trepidations: she reminded him of his homeland, and of a certain people there. Some of them were able to take the form of birds: ravens in particular. This creature was caught somewhere between woman and crow -- much too similar for his liking. But he was able to put his misgivings aside, perhaps encouraged by the fire that Amarita had lit within him.

    "Crow Jane," Njord offered in as a low a voice as he could, still hoping to catch her attention. "I would speak with you if you have moment."
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    PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2016 9:28 pm    Post subject: Njord: Blackbird Singing in the Dead of Night Reply with quote

    "Crow Jane," Njord offered in as a low a voice as he could, still hoping to catch her attention. "I would speak with you if you have moment."

    She did not turn in his direction. Instead, she continued to trample the snow beneath her feet. She might have quickened her pace, rather, leaning forward against the force of the gale and the snow. "It is cold," she said, her voice a kind of a sing-song thing. Not a croaking, he considered. A cawing. Like a raven's. "And my bones are hollow. If you wish to speak, I would do so about a fire -- before my feathers become white with rime."[/i]

    Not far ahead, Njord saw the looming shadow of the headquarters of his fellowship. The guards outside already watched them warily.
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