Erogenous Enigma

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  1. Ondine barely realized it was Shak’ti grabbing her and all but throwing her onto Azu. Whatever the elf said was lost to her as the dragon roared again. Shak’ti’s hand hit Azu’s flank startling both of them as Azu bolted off and away, “Shak’ti!†Ondine screamed, but saw no more of the elf as she was forced to shift around and help steer Azu across what had become a graveyard. He wasn’t used to this kind of chaos, but he was proving even more reliable than she’d ever dreamed. Ondine hadn’t been certain when they went stampeding up to the dragon that either of them would survive and as Azu bound over the fallen and veered around the charred land she still wasn’t certain. It was only when she found herself on the outskirts of the plains, yards away from the fray that her limbs began screaming, or more that she finally felt them. However she swiftly forgot them again as a violent explosion pierced her ears, watching with wide eyes as it seemed for a brief moment the dragon herself had erupted into flames. Alas the dragon took to the skies escaping her demise and the burning lands she’d created. There was nothing more they could do. Ondine slipped off Azu’s back, he’d endured enough, and abruptly collapsed, huffing and curling in on himself. Ondine joined him, her ankle burning, hopefully just a sprain, but all the way up her thigh hurt, the one, she realized, Azu had landed on. Her arms still felt like they were vibrating from the tail lash she’d… well she’d blocked. The reminder had her looking down at the now stoic glaive, showing none of the red she was still questioning if she’d actually seen. Her mind was still racing when Dumont’s soldier’s found her. She didn’t speak, she just stared through them, trying to wrap her mind around what had just happened, around all the lives so swiftly taken by that creature. Now she had herself questioning why she’d never approached an ice dragon, would they have attacked her? Or just roared in warning? Perhaps they would have merely flown off. Or did she dare wonder if perhaps they could actually communicate? Would they if given the chance? Ondine didn’t hear whatever the soldier’s said to her, she just rose to her feet, Azu, reluctantly following suit though she’d told him to stay, he showed a strong protectiveness over her at the moment and followed her closely. The soldier’s intended to take her to the one who’d asked for her: Krios, but they didn’t get within a few yards before the scene became apparent to her. “No, it is not our place to intrude on this difficult moment. Do you know where the pale elf, Syl, is?†She was given a nodded and pointed off in another direction, the men returning to their own captain. Ondine limped her way along, refusing to burden Azu further, though he kept nudging her. “Shak’ti…†Ondine whispered, having seen that kind of grief in only a few cases, husbands and wives, mother’s and their children. “I wish I could talk to her… but the way of my people doesn’t even satisfy me… what kind of hypocrite would I be to preach it to her?†Azu nuzzled her again sensing her melancholy and agony of the situation. “Will my face contort into such horror when my father passes?†She hated herself for saying it outloud, immediately she felt her eyes heavy, reminded of the dragon’s smoke as they began to sting and burn. Ondine finally allowed Azu to help her, though she didn’t ride him, she did throw her arm over his neck and press her cheek into him. “It doesn’t matter, though does it? It’s just postponing the inevitable anyway….†Azu gave her a soft whine. They reached Syl to see a yellow-eyed worg hovering nearby, where was its rider? A soldier was seeing to Syl’s wounds, it was strange seeing him injured again, after so many years, it simply felt wrong. Ondine pushed away from Azu’s support to join the soldier on the ground, the worg gave her a growl, but Ondine glanced up with a soft gaze, letting the beast know her intentions were kind and after a moment it calmed down. Syl was burned considerably, in Jogrund she could mix up a dozen different concoctions to aid in the healing process, but here, with these queer plants she was unfamiliar with she could only watch on helplessly. “We should leave as soon as we are able, before more are taken by the darkness dwelling here.†The soldier looked at her strangely, but gave her a soft nod. Ondine helped him with the last of the bandages, Syl was as good as they could do for the moment, they needed to get him back to town, fresh water, and someone who knew more about healing with the strange plants here, she worried the drunkard might be the only option. With Syl stable for the moment Ondine’s eyes were drawn back down the way to the figures still stranded in the middle of the charred lands. Sighing she started on her limp towards them, not certain what she’d say or offer, but feeling like she should anyway. Azu stood up to follow her but a sharp eye told him to stay put, he whimpered but obeyed. Shak’ti was still heaving when Ondine reached them, Krios’ blade covered in the worg’s blood, gripped firmly in his hand. Death was never something she adjusted to well, but as she stood over them for those precious seconds, watching their agony she understood her father’s ability to remain impassive - it was what they needed, so he would manage. So Ondine swallowed the knot in her throat and approached the mourning family - for that’s what they were, a family - and laid a hand on Krios’ shoulder, “You should have your wounds tended too.†Her voice came out softer than she recognized, though still hoarse from the smoke, she was proud to hear the confidence there. Krios turned his head to face Ondine, and as his eyes examined her his expression was cold, but he gave an audible sigh of relief. "I will in time." He replied finally. "There are greater wounds that need to be tended to for now." Krios looked back at Shak'ti briefly, and then his gaze fell to the floor in quiet contemplation. "I am glad I did not misjudge you." he said, unable to meet her gaze. "You are truly a champion of your people, Agrines would gladly welcome you should you ever find yourself seeking this life." “I’m honored by your praise, but you do yourself or Shak’ti no good allowing your wounds to fester. Please, leave me with Shak’ti, you go tend to your injuries.†Ondine tried again, kneeling down by Kobi and Krios, squeezing his forearm to stress her understand of the dire situation. "Okay." Krios replied with a nod, pushing himself to his feet and wincing at the pain in his ribs. "If you need me to return, ask Maugrim and he will find me." Krios give a swift nod at his worg, who simply blinked to acknowledge him. Then with that Krios left, clutching his chest as he walked. Ondine closed the gap and placed a heavy hand between Shak’ti’s shoulder blades, firm with her support. “Tell me, Shak’ti, of how you met Kobi.†Ondine pried, doing as she’d seen her father do countless times, digging for stories and memories, to reminded people of the joy and not of the bitter end. "I was just a little girl." She said, her voice hoarse from crying. "Still so tiny I could sit on my father's lap while he bounced me with his leg. I am daughter of Agron, the Huntsmaster. He is the one who leads our people." Shak'ti swallowed, trying to wet her throat. "His companion is a wild worg, Mora. So fierce, but also gentle. Mora birthed three pups. Agni, Kobi..." Shak'ti turned to the grey wolf who lay with his head rested on her lap. "...and Maugrim. You'd never believe it....but when they were pups Kobi would always look out for his little brother." A sliver of a smile found its way to Shak'ti's lips. "Maugrim was quite weak and shy. Kobi would strut about like his little protector. Then Krios met Maugrim...they bonded. He made Maugrim strong, he made that shy little pup a leader. But Kobi...he was always strong. It was he who gave me strength, and courage." Ondine smiled softly with Shak’ti, “You’re right, I wouldn’t believe it, nor would I believe you were ever anything other than strong and courageous.†Ondine squeezed her shoulder, “And you would hunt with Kobi? It must have been exhilarating to hunt with such a magnificent individual.†"Mora taught her young how to hunt, as is her right" Shak'ti explained. "But when I came of age I hunted with Kobi. The first time was...frightening. I suppose it was difficult for the little girl that I was to see her pup become a killer. In time I understood. It is simply the way things are. We have to eat after all. Worgs are killers but they are fair...and they are incredibly loyal." As she said the last word another tear fell from her eye. "...a few years ago Mora passed away. My father used to say that she was the only lady who would ever hold his heart. I understand what he means now." “It is the way of things, Shak’ti, as we kill to eat, to survive, one day, we all give back what we have taken,†Only after she said it did she realize she was repeating what her father told her, but it felt natural, it slid off her tongue with ease. “I know your pain, truly I do understand, and I hope you will let me help you. Mourn your loss, but remember all that which can never be taken, your memories, your strength….†Ondine wrapped her arms around Shak’ti’s shoulders and waist, squeezing her sister-in-arms, to offer all her strength to the elf in this time of grief.
  2. AT LEAST LOOK, WOULD YA?! kthx~

    Breath, or air.
  3. AT LEAST LOOK, WOULD YA?! kthx~

    Uhh, a cat?
  4. AT LEAST LOOK, WOULD YA?! kthx~

    I enjoy Mind Trapped with those strangers than come over and hang out regularly and whenever we encounter riddles like this we'll give the hint that they're "Black Magic." I started it one day when I was playing with my little brother, reading the riddles to him and I know he's a super logical thinker so if I couldn't get it there was no way he ever would, so I'd tell him "This one's definitely black magic," and it just became a thing. None of us have the patience to spend TWO FUCKING HOURS trying to figure out a riddle, usually we'll give it like 3 minutes. ^^;
  5. AT LEAST LOOK, WOULD YA?! kthx~

    Yea these ones are beyond me, googled it, never would have gotten that in a hundred years. Nope. Not to mention I didn't know what truncate meant so I googled that as well, and well... the definition mislead me even further.
  6. AT LEAST LOOK, WOULD YA?! kthx~

    Totally my exact thought. XD
  7. Ondine spent hours talking with Shak’ti about formation and so when the time came she was prepared, having chanted the pattern over and over until she could think nothing beyond it. When the black beast swooped down it was not as surprising as she’d thought it would be and immediate the thought crossed her mind: “Krios had been right.†Whatever this monstrous thing was it was nothing like the intelligent dragons of Jogrund that watched her work from a far, as curious of her as she was of them, but never violent, never like this snarling lizard. “Show me your bravery,†Ondine spoke to Azu, clutching his mane as he galloped with the worgs, a strange kinship between the beasts Ondine didn’t understand. Syl had provided an excellent opening for the Agrinians to cross the remaining gap, while the dragon was still struggling with the vines the elves bombarded her. Ondine admitted she had no idea how to fight a dragon, and so she followed Krios’ orders to the letter. She’d barely reached the lizard’s legs before she was on the defensive as the dragon’s massive tail swiped across a number of them, dismounting several. Ondine pushed Azu and when it seemed they would be swept away she yanked his mane sharply, they both slid and tumbled onto the ground, the tail sweeping over them, just barely missing them. Azu was partially on top of one of Ondine’s legs, if he’d hurt her in the fall she didn’t show it as she was immediately recovering, a harsh slap to Azu’s rear startled the terabou and had him struggling to his hooves and running off as she screamed, “Go!†No need for him to die with her. “I’m sorry, father,†But she knew he’d understand as she dodged between the dragon’s legs. Another spout of flame consuming the green world around them but she was safe from that positioned beneath the dragon as she was. With the glaive strapped to her back she climbed the inside of the dragon’s hind leg. Her fingers could easily grip each massive scale, but the beast’s struggles made her ascend slow, she had to keep adjusting her grip, pressing her body flush against the dragon’s thigh each time the limb left the ground, but Ondine was determined and she would make it. When she was only feet from the dragon’s tender underbelly she withdrew the glaive from her back, holding onto the dragon with only one hand. It took all of her effort to hold on as the dragon continued to struggle and writhe but she wanted the leverage, and it would prove fruitful. As she leapt from her perch she took full advantage of the length of the weapon, the blade slicing through the dragon’s flesh with little more resistance than cutting through water, Ondine barely even felt it. At first she’d thought she’d missed, though she’d been certain of what she’d seen. When she landed blood spilled out over her, the blade of the glaive was glowing an eerie red, barely noticable from the blood coating it. She didn’t have time to question the enchantments of the weapon as claws swept towards her. Even as she bolted to the side, ducking and rolling she wouldn’t have been fast enough if not for the worg and his rider grabbing her arm and hoisting her onto the oversized wolf. They didn’t make it far before stepping in range of the tail, the worg wouldn’t be able to twist around fast enough to escape. In a futile and desperate attempt she crossed the length of the glaive in front of the three of them as if she would block the blow. Though the worg tried for all his worth to escape the tail inevitably hit them, coming in direct contact with the glaive. It should have snapped in half instead it illuminated in that queer red and then a burst. The three were thrown back but not nearly as hard, and without the tail crushing them. Quick to her feet again Ondine saw a charred spot on the dragon’s tail where it had come in contact with the glaive. More questions to be asked later. Ondine was bounding across the gap yanking up the Agrinian who’d saved her, his worg was rushing towards them, limping but he was a determined beast. The elf swiftly mounted and tried to pull her up with him but she was already running off, she would dig her glaive into the beast’s heart. A familiar huff drew her attention, glancing back to see Azu quickly catching up to her. She didn’t hesitate to grab his mane and throw herself onto his back, “You’re a terrible listener!†She screamed over the sounds of battle, briefly noting the blood covering his antlers. Azu giving her the speed she needed they quickly approached the chest of the monstrosity. Rising to stand on Azu’s back just as they were upon the dragon’s throat and at just the right moment as the beast roared and lowered her head unleashing another mighty wave of flames upon the lands and several unfortunate warriors, Ondine jumped arching the glaive across the dragon’s throat. The amount of blood flowing from the beast was astonishing creating a mucky mixture of mud and blood beneath the dragon, Ondine was covered in it, and now so was Azu.
  8. AT LEAST LOOK, WOULD YA?! kthx~

    Tomorrow? I don't know if I understand this one though.
  9. Ondine had been with the dragon hunter elves for several hours now, traveling and talking with Shak’ti who seemed to have a great deal of interest in her. If Ondine had met the elf in Jogrund she probably would have been more inquisitive, but as it was, the entire world was simply overwhelming. When they stopped the leader and Syl went off hunting, Ondine remained in the camp as the elves cared for their worgs and set up camp. It seemed normal enough until the sun began to set. The fire they burned they continually threw more and more wood on it until it flicked fifteen feet into the air, the smoke even further, if they were trying to set the forest on fire, they just might succeed. The bonfire seemed to be the beginning, before long someone pulled out an instrument, and it just slowly erupted from that. Someone began singing in a loud booming voice, Ondine couldn’t help but find it comical, but the Agrinians were quickly joining the solo singer. Another instrument, more voices. Next came alcohol, a thick, spiced wine. Someone was dancing around the fire with a tankard of it, just barely containing it in his merriment. Ondine sat leaning against a tree, watching and analyzing as the Agrinians carried on in a ritual she was unfamiliar with. Azu was curled up next to her, seeming to watch them as well, occasionally snatching up a piece of fruit from the ground in front of him - Ondine had made sure to collect them as they’d been scouting about. Syl and Krios had been gone for a good while, she considered going hunting herself, she had no place with this group anyway. Shak’ti might have said Krios actually liked her, but she wasn’t convinced, he’d given her a look that made her feel like a little girl again, regardless she’d stick to her gut. She kept reminding herself that she really didn’t know any of them, even Syl was a stranger to her after twenty years, it was not impossible, probably even likely, that they were simply dragon hunters for the sport, sadly the display before her did little to convince her otherwise. The remainder of Syl made her scowl, she was uncertain of Krios, but Syl she was certain viewed her as little more than a disobedient child running from home. She clenched the glaive resting over her shoulder, the familiar material calming, her father didn’t think she was a child, that was enough. Realizing she was glaring at the party going on before her she decided she didn’t want to be around their pre-murder ritual. “Come, Azu,†She commanded the terabou in a hard voice that caught her off guard the moment the sound left her lips. Azu snatched up his last apple and obeyed, rising and following Ondine into the forest. Ondine left Azu by a gentle stream to drink while she went hunting, which was surprisingly easier than hunting in Jogrund. Jogrund was silent, making a sound could scare off potential prey much easier than in the hustling bustling of these forests. There were drastically more creatures to hunt as well. The only thing that threw her off was the change in colors, the creatures were not white and neither was the forest, the hare that eluded her was brown and she’d been nearly on top of it before it darted off. With a sigh she willed herself on, she needed to be able to do this, needed to adjust to the terrain. How humiliating would it be if she tripped over an exposed tree root in front of any of them? It wasn’t much longer before she spotted a fox. With a single well trained shot she took him out, even between the foliage as he perched in his hiding spot. Ondine returned to Azu who was sitting by the water, watching her with expectant eyes. She held up her kill as if she expected his praise, he just huffed at her. “Yea, I know, you like fruit and veggies, shut up Ondine and get me more.†She laughed at herself and kneeled down to begin gutting and skinning her dinner. She found herself oddly relieved to be alone in the strange forest, even though she could still hear the merriment of the Agrinians, perhaps it was just the fact that she was away from them that brought her ease.
  10. AT LEAST LOOK, WOULD YA?! kthx~

    Cheese, Vagina(So I'm told), Tuna(in fact most fish).... But I think the actual answer is tongue.
  11. AT LEAST LOOK, WOULD YA?! kthx~

    On a microwave.
  12. AT LEAST LOOK, WOULD YA?! kthx~

    All I can think of is ants.
  13. AT LEAST LOOK, WOULD YA?! kthx~

    You chose your fate, wsst-ah-fuh-gul
  14. AT LEAST LOOK, WOULD YA?! kthx~

    Your name.
  15. NC-17 [Private] Forged by Fate

    The caverns the dwarves called home were massive, some of their homes were nothing more than compacted dirt dug out of the walls whereas some of the finer ones were made of stone, built up or wedged into the walls, many of them were smooshed together like the row homes of the Infurus back in Svarda. There was a hominess about them that had Solistce trailing her fingertips over the perfectly formed blocks. This entire place was queer to her, she had not expected the welcoming she had received. Surely by now all knew of the disfigured Infurus that traveled with the rider. The dwarves had notice from the elves, which surprised her all the more that they spoke to her with such ease, surely the elves had nothing but ill will to speak of her. There had only been a few elves that had really accepted her and called her friend, perhaps there were others that no longer viewed her with such potent hatred, but that wouldn’t be enough to overrule the majority that would still call her a hideous monster. Gnarlen directed her about the caverns and even after several hours it still seemed they’d only viewed a small segment of the domain. One day she might just wander aimlessly. Looking up rewarded her with the most intense view of glimmering and glistening precious stones, the fire torches throughout highlighting their beauty. Gnarlen’s directions had grown into a white noise as her eyes led her about, the smell of dirt and stone powerful and to her amusement she seemed to be picking at the slight differences in the stones, though she didn’t know what each was she could note the slightest variations. Only when Gnarlen repeated her name several times did she finally draw her eyes down to the small dwarf, his scruffy face scrunched up in concern. She almost laughed at him for the emotion. “Ya hear me, lassie?†His words finally coming to her ears but she just stared at him waiting for him to continue. “The feast? Come now.†There was a feast? Solstice shrugged as he turned his back to her and simply followed after him. She was sure he’d mentioned it already and she’d just zoned him out. The grand hall was just that: ‘Grand.’ It was massive, illuminated by hundreds of torches and candles, the enormous table down the center was as long as several of the row homes they’d passed, it was flanked by quite a few other tables of grandiose size and they were all littered with food, so heavily coated she wasn’t even sure what they were made of. The grubby little dwarves sat shoulder to shoulder, nudging each other and calling out for someone to pass this or that. Honestly, Solstice couldn’t get passed the amount of food, it was piled so high the dwarves couldn’t even see each other from opposite sides of the tables. “Lassie?†Gnarlen was fighting for her attention again and when she looked down at him with a wide-eyed, dazed expression he burst out laughing, a gruff sound that was drowned out by the amount of dwarves yelling and ‘talking’ – if that’s what it could be called at this octave. He gestured for her to follow him to the far end of the center table and only once they were almost there could she see King Barzúl from over the food. Aeran slowly opened his eyes and felt a warm presence already mixed within his thoughts, he smiled despite his discomfort. Náriel had remained awake during his long sleep, mixing her thoughts with his own and keeping any dark dreams at bay. He thanked her and rose from his bed and winced as the pain in his chest caught him off guard. Henkel had wounded him severely, a little deeper and he would have pierced his heart. He felt the cloth on his hands and slowly, carefully, unbound them. His palms were deeply cut, healers had tended to him, magical or otherwise, but they were still only partially healed. That was the price he'd had to pay for needing to grab the dwarf assassin's sword in order to halt the blade. Náriel told him the scars in his chest and hands would be the first of many, and that they would mark him as a warrior and champion. He only saw them as stupid, ugly mistakes. "Rider!" The voice was clear and loud. Aeran turned to see a group of dwarves, wearing armour and holding swords and axes, already unsheathed. "What is it?" Aeran asked, licking his lips. "The King calls for you." The lead warrior banged his sword against his armour and the other guards mimicked him. "I don't understand..." Aeran muttered. They honor you, Náriel's voice echoed in his mind. As Aeran and Náriel stepped through the enormous door's to the main hall, trumpets sounded on either side of them and the entire hall burst into clapping, cheers and yells. A group of musicians began playing music on the far side of the room, and hundreds of dwarves sat at dozens of tables began picking food from long tables that held every delectable delicacy you could possibly imagine. A single table, far taller than any other, had been set with a huge metal platter and upon it was a steak the size of a dinner table. I'll see you later, Náriel said quickly, before proudly sauntering up to her own table where the dwarves all around her yelled cheers at her, remarked at her beauty and touched her sides for good luck, asking for blessings and wishing her a thousand, thousand years of good life. Aeran grinned at her smug expression as he noticed Solstice and walked up to her. "Evening," He said simply, smiling at her and Gnarlen. "Aye, and a bloody good'un," The dwarf remarked. Solstice eyed Aeran suspiciously, she could see the slight hesitation in his motions, she assumed it was the Awyé, draining him; should he be up and about like this? “Gnarlen, will you fetch me some of that throat burning ale?†The dwarf laughed, but scuttled off. Solstice had not yet taken a seat though there were two open, she imagined for her and Aeran, she wasn’t to eager to be in the mist of this almost-food-fight dinner. With Gnarlen gone for the moment Solstice stepped away pressing her back to a wall, allowing her to scan the room, to watch the dwarves as they went about their feast. “Aeran, how are you adjusting?†To the Awyé, to the dwarves, she wasn’t sure exactly what she was asking. "To what?" Aeran replied, "To the dwarves? To being a rider? To becoming an elf?! Or how about this entire ridiculous quest you've set me on?" For a moment longer, Aeran appeared angry and then a smile cracked across his face and he laughed, "I don't know, Solstice... i'm just glad to be alive right now. For the first time in a long while, I feel like I have a family again, and friends..." His gaze fell across Náriel and the dwarves, and rested on her. Solstice’s face remained impassive as he broached a topic she’d questioned herself on countless time. After several long static moments she looked away from him, returning her gaze to the bustle of the dwarves. “Do you wish… I hadn’t intervened?†She whispered the words, half hoping he wouldn’t hear her over the chaos. Though her blue eye glossed over, the yellow one showed no emotion whatsoever, and as he was standing on her left, the soft emotion would go unnoticed to him. "I..." Aeran paused, thinking back to his life before everything had happened to him. What his life had been like. He had been content, happy even. He thought about what his future might have been like, of what it could have been and then he shook his head. "No, if you hadn't intervened, I think - no, I know I would have been killed by that monster, just like my mother." Aeran smiled, "Besides, Náriel is like... I feel like I was missing half of myself until I met her, and you've given up everything to bring me this far..." He looked around the room, studying the raucous dwarves, "I never thanked you for... for, y'know...." Aeran trailed off, finding himself unable to voice his thoughts on the monster that had assumed his mother's likeness, "So I just... thanks..." Solstice’s shoulders sank as tension simply melted off of her, not realizing how significant those words were to her until her mind had fully wrapped around them. She rubbed the wetness from her eye, feigning exhaustion. Though it would take a great deal for her to come to the point, she forced a yawn and for likely the first time in her life she slanted her head so the waves of red fell over her blue eye, hiding the emotion she seemed to be struggling with. She was reminded of all the times Galenus had put her in awkward situations, had made her feel the strangest of emotions, but it had been alright, they were alone, and he couldn’t see her anyway, though he could see far more of her in his own way. It had taken her a long time to adjust to being without cover around Galenus, and she doubted she could ever be so free with her emotions around anyone else. “Let us join this… feast… Your fans will want a turn with you.†Solstice pushed off the wall, leaving the safety of the corner just as Gnarlen was approaching with a couple tankards of ale.
  16. AT LEAST LOOK, WOULD YA?! kthx~

    Blood?
  17. Azu huffed as Ondine leashed him to a post just outside the tavern next to several horses. He towered over them, but they seemed unalarmed by him, likely their owners wouldn’t be so calm about the terabou though, oh well. “If someone gives you trouble you just call for me.†Azu snorted and nudged her, she rubbed his snout and disappeared into the tavern, following after Syl. As Ondine walked into the inn she had to step over shards of broken wood, just to her left there seemed to be a circle where the chairs and tables had been blown back, some of them just fallen over, others broken. She frowned, watching Syl’s back as he demanded rooms from the innkeeper, she didn’t have money so she kept quiet but this did not bode well with her. She waited until Syl disappeared up the stairs before approaching the innkeeper. He was an older, portly man with a thick beard, he eyed her with fear, she could see the shake in his shoulders, and he deliberately kept his hands out of sight - she was sure they must be quaking. The key to the room Syl had paid for her was sitting on the counter separating them. Ondine stared at it for a long moment, uncertain how to handle this situation. “Is the key to your room… ma’am….†The innkeepers voice reflected his fear, his eyes unwilling to meet her’s. Ondine sighed, and she saw him wince, she quickly sealed her mouth and snatched up the key. “Will you tell me what happened?†Again silence stretched between them as the innkeeper considered her intent. Ondine sunk down onto a bar stool, trying to make herself as unintimidating as possible, with varying success. “Just a.. just a bit o’ a bar fight… nothing new….†But it was new, Ondine could tell that just by glancing around the tavern, the walls were mostly intact, it doesn’t look like repairs of great degree had ever been needed, all the tables and chairs were of the same wood suggesting they hadn’t been broken before and thus never needed to be replaced, they all showed a similar level of wear. Ondine frowned, again she could tell the simple emotion affected the innkeeper as he tensed up. It took her a moment but she managed to relax her face and try to appear as calm as possible. “You don’t have to lie, I want to help.†He didn’t believe her, that was obvious. Ondine resisted the urge to sigh again, having never had so much trouble with people fearing her. She was smaller than most of her tribe, they patted her head and treated her like she was of no more threat than a snow fox, until they actually angered her, then she’d give them bloody noses. “Get me the supplies and I’ll fix up your home.†The innkeeper’s face lost it’s fear for a moment as it was consumed by his confusion, then quickly changing to disbelief. “Well?†Her tone swiftly placing fear back into his eyes. She decided if he was going to fear her she might as well take advantage of it. The innkeeper nodded nervously and scurried away, into a door behind the bar. Ondine got up and examined the damage done. Had Syl done this? It seemed likely as he was the last one to leave the tavern, when they walked back in it had been only the innkeeper standing behind the bar rubbing his balding head. Ondine went about gathering the broken furniture and righting the ones that had simply fallen over. While her tribe didn’t use chairs and had few tables she was familiar with them when visiting the larger tribes and so she understood the concept and use of them. When the innkeeper reappeared he was carrying a box overflowing with various tools, he seemed to be slightly less nervous seeing his tavern and what little things Ondine had already done. He set the box down on one of the tables and managed to stand his ground as Ondine approached him. For the next several hours Ondine worked with the innkeeper who she learned was named William, at repairing what could be salvaged and cleaning up the rest. He did eventually realize Ondine was sincere and not here to cause more trouble and warmed up to her considerably, even chatting casually with her. “That elf fellow was badgering the local healer, but he was wasting his time, he’s a drunk, a regular here, he lost his wife a few months ago and hasn’t swung back.†Ondine nodded at the explanation given, sitting across from William enjoying a drink. “What about you? Why are you with him? You two seem as different as night and day. Of course, it’s a bit backwards from what I would have expected.†Ondine chuckled, William smiled awkwardly at seeing such an emotion on such a hard character. “He’s not so bad. We’re just… going through a hard time….†William nodded, “I assume this has something to do with the fact that he was harassing the healer.†Ondine’s blue eyes glazed over, she looked down at her hands wrapped around the tankard of ale. Slowly she managed to nod, but it would take a while more before she managed words without a quake in her voice, “My father is… ill….†Though her words were simple the severity of it was obvious in her tone. “I see…†William scratched at his beard, “I don’t know if you’ll find much help here, Amerus is a small town, but there is a place that is known for its apothecary. It’s widely known that Lymleia is the best one can find. She focuses entirely on healing, both magical and herbal. She’s an elf but she resides in a human settlement. I’m uncertain of the town, a small place to the south is all I know.†Ondine smiled, “I appreciate your help. I’m so very sorry for the trouble Syl caused you. Is there anything else I can do for you?†William laughed heartily, “No, orc, your friend paid me well, and after your help I feel like I should be asking you if I could help you!†“Actually, Syl will be pissy if I don’t get him his bath he demanded of me.†Ondine chuckled, relieved to be distracted from the heartache of home for the moment. “Done,†William assured her. “Oh, and, if it’s not too much trouble, some place to stable Azu would be helpful, I don’t know how comfortable I am leaving him out in the open. Neither of us are used to the amount of attention we receive here.†Ondine finished her tankard and looked up to see William’s face contorted into confusion. “Oh, right, Azu is a terabou, but I guess you’re not familiar with them.†William was still looking skeptical like he thought his orc companion had lost it. Ondine chuckled and stood up, gesturing for him to follow, which he did. Outside the tavern Azu was still standing where Ondine had tied him up but there were people circling him, petting him, feeding him. Ondine laughed, the heavy chortle drawing the attention of Azu’s fans that upon seeing the orc they quickly backed up allowing Ondine to approach him. “This is Azu, who has apparently been spoiled while I was working,†She said cheerfully as she rubbed his ears. “He’s a beautiful creature. Bring him, there’s a stable in the back.†The crowd quickly disburse with Ondine’s presence allowing her to walk him into the back without trouble. Azu was obviously displeased with being left in the stable, locked in one of the stalls with minimal space, but once she set him up with food his disgruntled attitude disappeared. William left her with Azu. “I know its not ideal but it’s just for a little while, once we’re back in Jogrund you’ll be back to your freedom.†Ondine patted his head before returning to the inn. William saw her off with another tankard of ale. When she got to her room the bath was already there, she could see the steam coming off of it and after traveling across the country in the queer heat she was grateful for it. Come morning she was up pretty early, before even the sun, something had been bothering her all night. Well, a lot had been bothering her, but in the immediate it was the large piece of furniture she couldn’t figure out the use of. It had several drawers at the bottom and the top had two doors that opened up into a small section with a bar across the top. For awhile she sat in the large opening of the strange contraption trying to figure out its purpose. She found a tunic left in it, but she couldn’t figure out why anyone would need so much space for clothing, and decided it must have been out of place. After ten minutes she gave up her curiosity and went downstairs to see William, but he was no where to be seen, probably still asleep. Out to see Azu then. Azu was eager to be taken from his cage, and Ondine was more than happy to let him trot about, just enjoying the morning before the heat set in, though it still felt warm to the ice dwellers. Ondine sat straddling his back as she examined the glaive, fingering the feathers and precious gems hanging from the head. Azu took them about, and so it was him that led them to Syl and the worg riders. Seeing them in conversation she pulled Azu’s mane urging him to stop before interrupting. Her big ears were more than capable of picking up on the conversation without being right next to them, seeing as they weren’t whispering anyway. She hadn’t known about Syl’s family, but to be fair, she didn’t know much about him at all. While Ondine worried about taking Azu near the worgs Azu seemed unfazed, which wasn’t surprising as he’d walked past ice dragons before, needless to say Azu was either brave or clueless. Azu being more inquisitive than her it seemed, he started towards them, drawing Syl’s attention. Still uncomfortable with the situation Ondine hopped off Azu and positioned herself between Azu and the worgs, not convinced the riders could control such creatures in the face of what was technically a prey animal to them, even if they’d likely never seen one before. Putting off finding her father’s cure wasn’t ideal, but leaving this city to the fate of a dragon wasn’t either. Regardless of her father’s condition, of what may happen with such a delay that could take days, if not weeks, it was against everything she knew to ignore these people. Merely thinking of what her father would say was enough to make up her mind. “I will help you, but is slaying the dragon necessary?†She looked up at the elf mounted on one of the worgs who seemed to be a step ahead of the others suggesting his leadership among them. She lived among the ice dragons, had passed them on several encounters, though only on one encounter was she ever close enough to see the shine in one’s eye. Regardless she’d never killed a dragon before and saw no reason to do so.
  18. "Shit! Damn it!" Ondine hissed as she scrapped another hole in the hide, throwing the tool to the side she plopped down into the snow. She'd done this countless times, could do it without even thinking - scrapping the skin from the hide to prep it for tanning - but for the past several weeks she'd been out of sorts, of course, everyone knew why, and that only irritated her more. Her palms pressed to her forehead, her shoulders shook ever so slightly though she didn't make a sound... "Come now, it is as it should be." Rokhan patted his daughter's hand as she sat on the cold ground by his bed, her face drawn into an angry scowl, but her blue eyes were shining, the heavy liquid there just barely contained. "You will take lead of this tribe, you must be strong." Ondine's scowl only deepened, "I don't want to, I'm not ready, and they don't want me anyway," It was true, Ondine was not overly loved among the tribe, not that they hated her, she was just distant, they didn't really know her. She certainly wasn't leader material; she craved her solitude too much for that. But that wasn't what her words were for, she was resisting the inevitable, as if saying she didn't want to would somehow postpone her father's coming end. Rokhan chuckled, "They appreciate your strength, and now, more than ever, they need it." His massive, calloused hand stroked Ondine's dark hair as if she were still a small child, coming to rest on her shoulder where he squeezed trying to press his strength and courage into her. She didn't feel it though, she felt weak and helpless. Ondine was one of the very few orcs that showed magical potential but she was inept at it, she'd tried, been trained by the greatest orc shamans her father could find. The tribe had gone to great lengths to find her the best training, but it proved fruitless, she simply couldn't grasp it, and now it pissed her off, the magic she should be able to control could save her father, but alas, she was useless. "I'll go up the mountain, to Syl, he knows magic, surely he can help." Ondine spoke softly, writhing her hands, certain of the response she knew was coming. "No, it is far too dangerous, the tribe cannot lose both of us," His voice was hard, showing the authority he wielded so easily with the tribe. "Besides, my death is merely part of the cycle, just as you will one day return to the land. You must learn to accept it, you will preside over many deaths in your time as chieftess, will console many families, and you will have to remain strong for them, to help them understand, though passing is bitter and we will miss those we lose, that they are never truly gone, merely returned." Ondine hissed at his words, his wise voice grating on her nerves more than anything else. She'd been told this hundreds of times, but it never got easier, she had no idea how her father seemed so impassive when they lost someone. While it was all good in theory, even comforting to some degree, when it was your family.... Azu nudged her shoulder, sensing her distress. Azu was one of the terabou, a deer-like species that the orcs cared for, the orcs nomadic lifestyle generally following the migration paths of the terabou. Terabou are quite a bit larger than normal deer, larger than most horses even, all of them have antlers - male and female - and they're mostly white with beautiful black patterns swirled into their fur. Ondine patted Azu's snout, assuring him she would be fine and forcing herself to return to her task - it would be impossible to complete it if the fur froze, so she couldn't wallow in her misery. Azu dropped down into the snow with a flurry of white dust puffing up around him, bathing Ondine in the snow. She glared at him, "I can't complete this if you're going to be difficult." He just stared at her. Ondine spoke to him often, a strange habit even among the orcs who were so closely linked with nature. His big black eyes gave nothing away but after a moment Ondine gave a soft, melancholy smile, baring her small fangs, "You're right, I've been working non-stop for days. I should go see papa again." Still Azu just stared at her, huffing, but no real sign of recognition. When Ondine stood so did Azu. Picking up the half complete and partially frozen hide, as well as a bag with a dozen other completed and some uncompleted hides, she hoisted herself easily onto Azu's back and he took her back to her tribe. The tribe was not much, a few huts that were built with the intent to be taken down again, but they were sturdy, easily surviving the harsh weather of Jogrund. A heard of terabour sat in the snow just by the huts, unaffected by the snow pelting them, some of them had been sitting for so long they actually had a small layer forming on them. Ondine would make sure someone saw to that, they needed to be better cared for, had they been fed? Maybe she should just see to it herself. Even as she thought it she knew she was trying to stall to find some reason not to go see her father. Was is cruel? Selfish? To intentionally avoid him? She felt guilty, but at the same time she was terrified to face him, to see his condition. She barely made it five steps before someone approached her talking about Syl. Ondine frowned, "Why was Syl here?" She hadn't seen him since she was a little girl, so many years ago. What would draw him down the mountain after decades of seclusion? "Karvath went up to see him, to ask for his aid." Ondine immediately tensed up, glaring at the orc woman, who seemed baffled at Ondine's misplaced anger. She didn't have to bear the weight of it long as Ondine turned to her father's hut, abandoning Azu and the woman as she jogged through the snow to the hut, throwing back the hide flap without hesitation. Rokhan was sitting up, he seemed more jovial than she remembered him being days ago when she'd asked to go find Syl. Ondine didn't have to say a word Rokhan threw up his hands in defeat, "I did not send Karvath, I didn't even know he'd gone up the mountain until Syl walked in." This didn't soothe Ondine's anger one bit. "Well? Did he heal you?" Rokhan did seem quite a bit livelier, the idea that he could be recovering already was at least calming the rage. Rokhan frowned, seeing the light come to his daughter's face that had been bound in a perpetual scowl for weeks, he almost didn't want to tell her, wanted her to believe he was recovering just so he could bask in her happiness once again. Alas, he was an honest orc and with a sigh he answered, "No... Syl was not able to." And just like that the scowl returned to Ondine's face. "Where did he go then? Not even going to see the orc that nursed him back to health through to his final days?" Ondine stepped further into the hut, crossing her arms. The old orc rubbed his brow knowing his honesty would only cause more strife between him and his daughter, "He went to seek out the humans, hoping to find a medicinal cure." Ondine made a sound alarmingly similar to a growl, "Didn't give him the same lecture of returning to nature? Not going to force him to accept your death after he'd gotten so close to you?" Her voice broke and trembled, though she kept her scowl, "But you’ll expect your daughter to not only accept it but to watch idly as you wither away?" At that point her powerful facade broke and the first tear unleashed the gate. Rokhan grimaced, and after only a moment of seeing his daughter in such distress he held his arms to her which she easily fell into, sobbing against the firm chest she'd once found safety in, she now listened to his heart and his ragged breathing, could practically feel the frailty in him. The arms that once squeezed her with such power she thought she'd pop, now draped lazily around her shoulders. That night Ondine sat awake in her hut, the fire dying. She should have put more wood on it before she went to bed, but she had argued with herself for hours. She wanted to leave, to find Syl, to find a cure, or someone of greater magic to help, but she'd never left the mountains of Jogrund before, didn't know a world without snow, only heard stories of it. Not to mention the reality of it was still weighing heavily on her, whether she wanted to or not she would become chieftess, she could not leave the tribe without some kind of guidance. In the end her love for her father won out, she wouldn't sit by and do nothing. So she rose from her bed, dressed and gathered anything she could think of that might be needed for the world she didn't understand. Perhaps this was a fool’s errand, her father was old, even if they did find a cure to postpone his death, he would die eventually, postponing it might just be prolonging his pain, not truly curing him from the ailments. She prepared Azu, who as usual was ever obedient and affectionate, nuzzling Ondine's shoulder as she threw the furs over his back, and then latching her bags to him as well. The fear that she could possibly never see her father again, either because she died, or she... failed drew her to his hut. Patting Azu's snout she left him just outside the entrance to Rokhan's hut, slipping beneath the flap, trying to allow as little cold air in as she could. He was already awake, his eyes trained on her, they didn't hold the hardness she'd expected though. She was prepared for him to try and argue her out of this, to yell and scream at her, instead she saw his pain. Her heart clenched painfully as she approached his side. The thought that she may not even make it down the mountain before he passed made her second guess herself, did she really want to be trooping across the land when her father took his last breath? Kneeling down she pressed her hand to his forehead, brushing his sweat laden hair from his brow, frowning as she did. His hand grabbed her's, big enough to envelop her entire hand, he squeezed, she could feel the plea before he even spoke, "I can't persuade you not to do this...?" Ondine slowly shook her head. "You would make me see through to my final hours without my daughter?" Her heart clenched again, she knew he was trying to guilt her, but it worked, her eyes felt heavy with more tears. She raised her other hand to grab his, tilting her head down she kissed his fingers, "You won't see those final hours for a good while to come." Rising to her feet once more she pulled her hand free though he resisted, gripping her fingers with all his might, which wasn't much, and she managed to pull free with relative ease. "I'll be back, papa." Rokhan smiled weakly at the childish term. As Ondine approached the entrance, her father called out to her once more, "Ondine," She twisted back to look at him. "Take that," He pointed across the way at the glaive, the head of the weapon made of terabou bone, the pole made of the great frost trees of Jogrund, adorned with fur, feathers, and various stones and gems each with its own meaning. Her father was supposed to give it to her when he named her chieftess, he was essentially doing that now, in other words, he was saying goodbye. "You'll need all the strength of the elements and your ancestors." Ondine glared at him, but slowly approached the polearm she'd only gazed at before now, a child-like fascination keeping her from immediately rejecting the offer. With shaking hands she reached out and grabbed the weapon, heavier than she expected, but there was a certain comfort in the way it felt in her hand. Ondine turned to face her father completely, pressing the end of the glaive into the ground and holding it as she'd seen her father do countless times. Rokhan grinned, "What a powerful visage." She frowned, "I'll take it with me, but I'll be bringing it back to you before long. So don't get any foolish ideas like dying, alright?" She growled out, angrily, but her father just laughed. The slightest smirk touched the corner of her mouth and she left. The trip down the mountain, even riding Azu who was quite a bit faster than most horses, would still take time. The change in atmosphere was strange for both of them. The snow slowly lessened until they found themselves walking on just dirt, and the warmth was quickly getting to Ondine. They'd barely made it out of the snow before Ondine was removing layers. "This must be brutal for you. I promise as soon as we get to a human settlement I'll unload all these extra furs." Azu didn't seem affected though, he just kept galloping. Ondine didn't know where Syl had gone, but she didn't actually need him, she'd begin her own search for a healer. The human domain was a strange place, she had a general idea of where the major city was on a map, but other than that the land was completely alien to her. There was so much green! She marveled at the grass and the many trees all naked of snow. They stopped at several rivers along the way so Azu could drink, and she found herself fascinated by the liveliness, no ice to stunt its flow, fish jumping up the river's violent current, and it was so warm! She had to force herself not to linger beyond the necessary breaks for Azu. Ondine wanted desperately to wander through the forest, to touch and explore this new world. The forests were alive, there were so many birds, and creatures about. Not knowing the land or the layout made the trip longer than it probably should have been, but with the help of some traveling merchants she was set on the right path and made it to Amerus. For five minutes she stood at the entrance just watching people, she'd never seen so many people in one place, even the bigger tribes they'd encountered didn't compete with this. Slowly she started walking into the city, Azu staying close to her side as people eyed the pair strangely, rarely seeing orcs and most of them having never even heard of the terabou. The massive cathedral in the apex of the city drew her attention, though she could only see the crest of it over the many buildings, she unconsciously headed towards it, though she knew not what it was. People moved around them as Ondine drew closer to the center there were more and more people about until it became difficult to traverse. She found herself staring up at the massive structure in a daze. She was suddenly stolen from her stupor at the screech of several humans not far off. Confused and curious, she headed towards the cause watching as several people ran out of a building with a sign hanging over it that depicted some sort of cup. "Uhh..." One of the humans almost ran into her, just barely managing to skid to a halt, the action so unexpected he fell to his rump. "Are you alright?" Ondine asked softly but he was already twisting around and bolting to his feet running from her. Ondine rubbed her head. Syl walked out of the structure answering all of her questions with the look on his face. It had been so long since she'd seen him but he hadn't changed a bit, though it was a queer sensation to be looking him in the eye, when she'd last seen him she'd had to crane her neck to look up at him, he'd looked like a pale giant to her. Even still, his face was stamped into her mind, being literally the only being of another race she'd ever seen prior to today she could never forget. She vividly remembered sitting on the bed beside him as he'd recovered, 'watching over him' as her father had instructed her to do, looking back she knew he was just trying to make her feel useful. Though she'd been the one to find him face down in the snow, it had been her father that nursed him back to health. "Syl..." She spoke the name, still trying to wrap her mind around seeing him in person.
  19. Name: Ondine Age: 25 Race: Orc Appearance: Ondine is considered 'petite' among Orcs but is still the size of the average human male, and definitely larger than human females. She has a wide curvy figure that is laced heavily with hard, taunt muscles, but that's just the norm for Orcs. Her skin is a dark misty gray, her eyes a pale crystal blue - very queer among them, and was viewed as a gift of magic. Her hair is pitch black and hangs limp and straggly down to the middle of her back. While her canines are larger than a human's they still fit in her mouth - albeit rather uncomfortably, and so her lips are usually parted just slightly to show the fangs which portrays a less than inviting image. Living in the cold homeland of Jogrund she dresses in layers of furs and leathers. Reference Picture Personality: Ondine comes off as blunt and brutish, she speaks her mind and has no problem using intimidation as a means to get what she wants - though her wants are usually quite simple. Generally, she is not an easy individual to get along with, mostly only other Orcs understand her, though her contact with the other races is minimal. She is firm in her honesty and loyalty and has a lot of trouble handling liars and backstabbers appropriately. Bio: Ondine is part of a nomadic tribe that follow the migration paths of the Terabou - a rather large cousin to reindeer, with beautiful white and black fur that forms in interesting patterns all over their bodies, both the males and females have antlers - that they use for food, clothing, weaponry, and as their mounts of choice. Ondine was raised with a firm respect for nature, that everything falls into place as it was meant to be, not so much 'fate' per say, but simply that what one takes from the world they will give back in one form or another. From very young Ondine showed a gift in magic, which had always been expected of the strange blue eyed Orc, but she never truly grasped it. Her family and tribesmen even the tribesmen of other tribes they would pass or visit assured her that she would one day perceive the world with magic, but to date she still hadn't figured out more than simple magic. Ondine wields a polearm with the head of an axe, it's beautifully adorned with feathers and furs, created from the powerful bones of the Terabou. Her polearm she is far more skilled with and proves to be a deadly challenger even being smaller than many of her Orc kinsmen.
  20. CLOSED Darkness Falls

    The voice seeping from the darkness crawled under her skin, leaving her unsettled and tense; so rigid on her horse that she could feel the stallion growing more and more uncomfortable. Though she tried to calm him, until she calmed herself he would continue to huff and prance. With a deep breath she reached down and patted the stallion’s neck, hands shaking, “I don’t have any friends.†She whispered back into the darkness. A cruel chuckle echoed out of the darkness, "Would you like one?" Constance continued to try to calm the stallion even as this stranger continued to test her own resolve. Nothing good could come from an encounter with a strange male in the middle of the woods. It sounded human but its tone sent spiders up her spine. Struggling for courage she snapped the reins and spurred the horse into a walk, continuing down the dirt path. “No, thank you.†"Ooo..." The darkness cooed, "Are you sure? I can be ever so helpful." There was a long pause, "You're being hunted, you know?" Her hands continued to shake even as she kept a straight face, unfortunately she impulsively pressed her heels harder into the stallion’s side and so he moved into a trot, something she hadn’t wanted, she didn’t want to portray the image of fleeing. With soft words she eased the horse back to a walk. “All humans are hunted by monsters, it is daily life.†She retorted smartly, allowing none of her fear to come through in her voice. Another laugh escaped his lips, "You're not human. Not really. I can tell that much, at least." Another long pause, and then he asked a question, almost cautiously, "Would you care to know what's hunting you?" Constance felt her heart drop into her stomach. “No,†She spit back, the only word she thought she could manage without the dread creeping into her tone. She didn’t want to open doors, if this monster was just here to taunt her; it was preferable to those that truly hunted her. “I am human,†She added in, words she had rehearsed endlessly. "She told herself." The voice called back. A rush of wind rustled the leaves of the trees, and the voice had changed location, it was close now. "Aren't you going to run?" He asked. Apparently not just to taunt her, wishful thinking. Her calves tensed painful with the urge to spur into the horse, to rush him to a gallop, but there was no guarantee she could out run this thing. “No, if you were going to kill me you would have done it already. You’re just here to scare me, to what ends I do not know. Call me what you will but I don’t go around scaring little girls in the dark, only monsters do such things, and I am no such thing.†Her voice cracked once, but she remained firm. "I am." He replied. Her hands flexed, the magic residing there swirling into a soft light but it was consumed by the lantern by her thigh. She pressed it away, she wasn’t confident she could fend off a man let alone a monster. The reminder of blood coating her skin was enough to push away any thoughts of fighting. Without further resistance her heels jammed into the side of the stallion and they took off. If only she’d stayed the night at the brothel, she could have left in the morning and avoided the creeps in the dark, but it had always been safer to travel at night. The horse galloped at great speed to escape, in part due to her command, but perhaps also in part due to the horse knowing all too well what was following them. It snorted and heaved as it fled through the forest, following the path until suddenly a figure stood before it. The horse bucked onto its rear legs, throwing Constance from his back and then without hesitation, it fled into the darkness. "Are you alright?" Alexander ran over to Constance's side and offered her his hand, "I heard you yelling in the darkness and your horse spooked when he saw me, I didn't mean for you to lose him, but I was concerned someone was in trouble out here this time of night." The wind knocked from her, her back screaming the figure that loomed over her was unfamiliar, the voice new, but the threat that had followed her was still on her mind. With vigor that is only seen in the young she bolted to her feet ignoring the pain, placing several steps between her and the stranger. She twisted, looking around, straining her eyes into the darkness, but there was nothing to be found. Turning back to the man she stared at him for a long moment, “We have to get out of here,†She snatched his hand and pulled him down the dirt path, ignoring his comments in light of her concern for her own wellbeing and now this stranger. “Something is out here.†"What is out here?!" Alexander asked, looking around. “I don’t know, I didn’t see it.†Her voice trembled freely with the fear she’d struggled to hide from the monster. “And I don’t want to see it.†She pulled him into a run with her, “We need to get to town, Gilead isn’t far.†"Gilead?" Alexander ran beside her, "Why are you trying to get to Gilead?!" “To get away from whatever is chasing me!†She panicked, frustrated with his questions… but the forest was silent now. Alexander slowed down, looking over his shoulder as he held onto Constance's hand, "Whatever was chasing you, I don't hear or see anything..." He paused, listening, "It's awfully quiet, but there's nothing else here besides us, Constance." Constance went cold, dropping his hand she looked up at him with alarm, there was no hiding the fear. “I…†Her words didn’t come, she took a few steps back. “You’re… you’re probably right…†Rubbing her hands together she took several more steps away. “I uh… I have to go…†She turned away and walked with purpose, trying to put as much space between her and Alexander as she could without running. Alexander grinned, showing his fangs as she turned. Suddenly he was in front of her once again, "What's wrong?" He asked genuinely, taking a step towards her, concern on his face. She flinched as he suddenly appeared before her. Don’t open doors, she reminded herself. Staring at the ground she tried to continue the pointless charade, gripping her elbows to hide her shaking hands. “It’s cold, I need to get to town. My aunt is surely worried.†She lied. "You really are the worst at lying, Constance." Alexander paused, looking her up and down, "You have two options, either I take you back to my superiors, or..." He shrugged his shoulders and grinned, this time, he let her see his fangs. She never was very good at lying; it just wasn’t in her nature. Looking up at him and meeting his eyes, she mustered as much courage as she could and responded though her voice shook, “I’m not going to that prison so… make it quick would you….†"So be it." Alexander replied, and he was at her throat in an instant. He inhaled her scent deeply and felt the life flowing through her, but even as he started to pull a glove from his hand he hesitated. Something was familiar about her. Then suddenly the memories of that day came washing back over him like a tidal wave and he was staggered. Alexander pulled the glove back onto his hand and grasped her shoulder firmly. "You're coming back with me..." He said at last, "Like it or not." She stumbled at his motions, dazed to silence for several moments as she had prepared herself for death and yet he’d changed motives like snuffing a candle. Confused change in him she jerked away from his touch, stupidly reaching for words; “I give you the chance to eat me and you’re going to refuse?†Her voice reflected her bewilderment. She put more space between them, “I told you I’m not going to the coven, you’ll have to drag me and I won’t go quietly.†Constance returned to her resolve, regardless of his flippant emotions, she would remain firm. Suddenly, as if a switch had been flicked, Alexander became furious, "Fine!" He snarled, and grabbed her by the throat, holding her at a steep enough angle that her feet couldn't find purchase, and began to walk back with her. "You couldn't just make this easy, could you?" He growled through gritted teeth. Constance yelped, but her voice was quickly cut off as he left her with just enough space to breathe through – barely. “Let go,†She hissed, clawing at his hand. “Please, I don’t want to hurt you…†"I'll give you points for originality; I’ve not often been threatened at this point." Alexander laughed, "My fingers are around your throat, if you do anything, I will snap your neck. Now be quiet while I consider how best to get you back to the Wolves..." Alexander paused and thought for a moment, "Maybe we should just..." And he looked up at the night sky, "No, probably can't get all the way there doing that, not with you on board as well... Hrm..." He looked down at Constance who still struggled to break free and rolled his eyes. "Relax." He muttered. Constance sneered, “I told you I would rather die than go there and you think I’m worried about you breaking my neck?†With one hand she let go of his and raised it to the full moon, her palm glowed with a bright, white light and then she slanted her palm as if the flesh was a mirror reflecting and amplifying the moonlight directly into his eyes. Roaring, Alexander clutched at his face, releasing Constance from his grasp. While he could move about during the day, he was greatly weakened. The light had blinded him when he'd been caught by surprise and now he struggled to regain his sight; he fell to one knee and heard Constance's footsteps fleeing down the road. He could follow the sound, but he would be at a disadvantage while blinded. Best to recover and go after her then. "I will find you, Constance!" He yelled after her as she disappeared into the night. He grinned despite his discomfort... now, it was a hunt. The blind wouldn’t last long, now was the time to pull out all her tricks she’d learned over the past two years – which wasn’t much, magic was a fickle thing and she always felt it hated her manhandling of it. It didn’t help that her magic didn’t seem to exist in any book she’d ever read, she was on her own when it came to learning. Her magic was expansive and varied greatly, she knew it changed with the cycle of the moon but she didn’t fully understand how or why. With the full moon high overhead she had a much wider range of power, it was now that it screamed the loudest to be set free, that it burned the brightest. With power she didn’t truly understand she pushed it beneath her feet, creating the slightest gap between her and the ground allowing her to ‘glide’ over the dirt. Constance seemed to skate away, removing friction and sound from her footsteps, giving her a substantial boost in speed - though making it rather difficult to stop so she prayed nothing got in her way - and also making it more difficult for the creature that pursued her. He was a wolf, this was madness, she couldn’t truly escape him, but there wasn’t another option. She vividly remembered the tales Icarus had told her, she wasn’t going to be put in the mage’s prison, the ‘coven’ as they called it, they could sugar coat it all they wanted, it was still a prison. Mages could not leave without supervision, they couldn’t learn their craft without threat, they weren’t even allowed to dress themselves, they always had to be easily recognizable. The one encounter where she was discovered as a mage still burned in her memories, the faces of those citizens who once called her friend now cowered from her, every time she recalled such thoughts it felt like her heart was breaking all over again. She wouldn’t live a life of that. The edge of the city came into view, it was a much bigger town than she usually frequented, but at the moment it was a blessing, there were still people out and about, the nightlife still lively. Her magic shifted away, resistant at being shoved back beneath the skin after such little use. Hopefully she could get lost within the town, how she was going to manage the night she had no idea. The thought of offering herself to a desperate man came to mind, she would be off the streets, behind a locked door, likely other men and women would be performing similar actions in close by rooms. Her best bet to find a suitor was the tavern. In the morning she could hide in a caravan heading out of town. For now though, she pulled off her cloak and flipped it so the black silk lining showed instead of the purple velvet. It wasn’t much of a disguise, but better than being a purple beacon.
  21. CLOSED Darkness Falls

    In a room lit only by candles, where the decor was dark and had a strangely erotic hue to it a couple lie on the bed performing acts no one else's eyes should see. An overweight man who seemed to be balding was bent over a woman who was half his age or worse, she was young and beautiful, her skin completely smooth, too young to even have the hints of wrinkles by her eyes, not even laugh lines. Dark wavy hair haloed around her as she lay on her back beneath the behemoth of a man violating her young body and yet she did not cry or scream for help, her face seemed completely dead, void of emotion or thought. While the man huffed and groaned with the rhythmic motions she seemed to be focused on the far wall, of the erotic decor, staring at a statue of a woman half naked, her waist wrapped with a sarong, her hands placed perversely against her stomach and breast. "Look at me, Gem..." His husky, panting voice drew her violet eyes to him. As if a switch had been flicked she arched, and cooed, wrapping her arms around him and reciprocating his motions. A hard knock on the door halted their activities for only a moment before the girl tapped a finger to his cheek and drew his face back to her, "Ten minutes," she whispered in a way that promised these final minutes to be worth it. He grinned and growled, all but throwing her onto her stomach and lifting her onto her knees. She didn't mind his roughness as he pulled her hair and yanked at her hips though, she didn't have to pretend to be interested when she wasn't facing him, she just returned to focusing on the decor for the last ten minutes. He finished in seven minutes - she counted - thanked her, dressed and left. Not two minutes had passed before a woman walked into the room, she was a bit heavy, wearing green and black, a corset so tight her breasts spilled out the top, draped in layers of jewelry. She carried a bowl of water and over her arm was a robe, the bowl she set down on the table and the robe she threw on the bed at 'Gem's' feet. "Who's my next client?" The young girl asked, still naked, sitting up on the foot of the bed. "You're done for the night, I sent the others away, I wanted to talk." The larger woman handed the girl a cloth, with a frown the girl took it and moved to the bowl of water to begin cleaning herself. "I wish you hadn't done that, I need the money." She showed no mercy when cleaning her breasts and groin, in fact she seemed to focus on these spots with an unsettling vengeance. "I know you intend to leave tonight and I'm hoping I can persuade you otherwise. Constance, you have a good home here. I know the work isn't ideal but it pays for everything you need and more, you won't find better anywhere else." The woman approached the younger girl with a brush, working through her thick hair even as Constance continued to clean her hide as if she intended to remove it. "I know. I wouldn't leave if I didn't have too. I just can't linger in one place too long, and its already been too long." Constance finished her vigorous cleaning, dried off and put on the robe. "Do you have my pay for the night?" The woman sighed and from her bodice she pulled out a coin purse heavy with its contents, "Why do you need to leave? What's so bad about Hearthwood?" Constance took the bag. Nothing was wrong with Hearthwood, in fact, she rather liked it, it was a small town, it was the safest she'd felt in a long time, but she knew that wasn't wise. The wolves were not stupid, they knew she hadn't just disappeared, they would continue to hunt her until she either died or they succeeded. When she'd left the sanctuary two years ago it hadn't occurred to her she'd have to spend virtually the rest of her life running. At first she hadn't had too, but her magic just kept growing, if she didn't release it, it would build up and burst out of her control, so she'd worked at focusing it and controlling it. Inevitably she was caught, that was in the first town, Barton, she'd made a home there, for almost six months, surviving off a mixture of begging and any side jobs she could find, but on one fateful day she was trapped in a dark alley with a male who had less than friendly interest in her. At the time she wasn't skilled enough to summon her magic on command, especially under the panic and distress, so when he began tearing away her clothes magic burst from her, creating a violent light show, and then a blood bath.... She shivered as she brushed off the unsettling feeling of blood coating her skin. Of course people seen the event, saw her running from the town, their eyes pinned on her with a mix of terror and hatred. Icarus had been right, mages were feared and hated, so they were imprisoned, prior to that event she'd never been viewed as a mage, just a homeless beggar on the streets. Constance now went to great lengths to make sure her magic was never revealed but that one event had been all it had taken. It hadn't been another week before she was confronted, not a wolf, thankfully, she was able to escape them, but now she found herself constantly looking over her shoulder, certain there were eyes on her back. Only a few other times did she come close to her hunters, and only once was it a wolf. She made enough friends in each town that word got to her that people were searching for her before her location got to them. She preferred not to play it so close though, it was better to be gone before the whispers ever began. Ignoring her question, she gave the older woman what she could of a farewell, "I hope I can come back one day, I like Hearthwood, and I'll miss all of the girls here, and most of all, you, Madam." Tears welled in the other woman's eyes and the two embraced tightly. "If you absolutely must, then allow me to give you a farewell gift, but know that you're always welcome back, sweetie." Constance nodded and followed the Madam back to her room, a much more lavish room, hues of green all over. "Since you first mentioned to me with that hard look in your eyes that you were leaving I had a piece commissioned for you. I hope you find a new start, a better start, perhaps convince some Lord you're a nobleman's lost daughter. I'm sure you could seduce the pants off anyone." Madam smiled and from her armoire pulled out a black dress. Laying it out on the bed allowed Constance to gaze at it in its full beauty, black velvet and silk, the bodice lined in pearls and embroidery, the sleeves ending in wide bells of lace. "Please, put it on, I want to see it on you." With a nod Constance stripped off the robe and Madam helped her dress in the luxurious pieces. As Madam tightened the corset Constance stared in the mirror at herself, the skirt hit just below her knees, black stockings hid her pale calves, and low heeled booties with amethysts worked into the side of each boot, only when she noticed the small purple gems did she realize the entire outfit had a purple sheen somehow imprinted into it in swirls of filigree. With a twirl she watched how it shimmered in the dim candle light. "It's lovely, Madam, but I feel like it shows my age, don't you think?" She chuckled as Madam pulled a purple velvet cloak over her shoulders; it ended just beyond the bottom of the skirt. "Is that so bad? The men adore your pouty, innocent look, just show them your big violet eyes, and bat your lashes at them and you'll have them tripping over themselves to do your bidding." Constance chuckled, gazing down at herself, the purple shimmer was hard to notice unless she was in motion. At the bodice she found more amethysts stitched into it, "This must have cost you a fortune." She cooed as she fingered the stones. The woman scoffed, "I called in a favor, it wasn't as much as you would think. It pays to have connections, not to mention dirt on every noble in the town!" The two of them laughed together. Silence stretched between them, and when Constance looked up again there were tears in her eyes. With a trembling sigh the older woman embraced Constance once more, "I don't know what has you running, but I'll do everything I can to protect you." Constance nodded into her shoulder and after a few more bated breaths they released each other. "Come now, the rest of your family will want to make their goodbyes as well." Leaving the room they went down a dark hallway lit just enough to make out the edges and walls and then down a flight of stairs into a grand room where a dozen other girls sat dressed in various states of undress and lingerie, draped across chairs or the laps of men. Constance followed Madam to the bar where Madam climbed up onto the bar and rallied the patrons and girls attention. "Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you all for visiting my lovely home. I am Madam Charlotte and tonight we have a very special girl saying her final farewells." Madam gestured down at Constance who blushed at the attention, "Everyone! This is Gem, many of you know and love her, and tonight was her final night with us, let’s make sure she knows she'll be missed!" Madam looked down at the bar wench, "Jade, a round on the house for everyone tonight! And make sure Gem gets a glass of our best!" The patrons cheered raising their tankards to the call of more booze. Constance's blush persisted as she sat at the bar, Jade, a darker skinned girl with a slant to her eyes offered her a glass which Constance quickly shot back, briefly contemplating the stupidity on having such a loud farewell, but shrugged it off, at least they didn't know her actual name. Many of the other girls who called the brothel home came up to Constance, embracing her with teary eyes, some of them kissed her, others patted her shoulder and wished her well, few of them asked where she was going or why, it was simply custom not to ask questions about another girl's personal life. There was flirting and booze abound, games where for once Constance didn't play with the intention to lose so instead she won game after game, laughing and teasing the men who always believed her a silly girl, but where now throwing more and more coin on the table. They were good sports about it though and even after losing to her countless times they still bought her drinks. When the night was late and the patrons had thinned out Constance finally decided it was time to go, she'd dallied long enough. Another round of hugs and teary eyes begging her to stay but she eventually escaped the building. Just by the brothel was a stable where mostly patrons left their horses and carriages for the night. Constance slipped into the structure, her hood drawn over her head, shielding most of her face. She wobbled a bit from the booze having not drunk so much in a while, almost stepping on a white bundle that weaved around her feet. "Pandora, I'm going to crush you," She groaned as she continued to the back of the stable. The small bundle of fur climbed her body like a tree perching on her shoulder unmoved by her threats. In the back of the stable was a black stallion, he huffed at her, but bowed his head allowing her to pet him. She'd bought him just a few days ago, she'd desperately wanted the white mare, but knew she needed stronger, faster, and darker, just in case. 'Just in case...' It always rang in the back of her thoughts. She wiped fresh tears from her eyes and saddled the stallion, stuffing the saddle bags with food and gear she'd prepared. It took a bit of effort to get her tipsy self up onto the massive animal, but once she was there she righted herself with a trained instinct leading the horse from the stable and out to the road. Constance looked like she should be on a pony not this massive animal that could easily be trained to be a warhorse. 'Pandora' crawled down her body perching in front of Constance between her hips and the horn of the saddle. The moon was high, she could feel it even through her cloak, knew her eyes would be glowing right now. It had been too long since she'd used her magic, her body felt like it was humming, she wanted to draw it to her palms, to manipulate the world around her. The stallion pranced uncomfortably; it sensed her magic and was uneasy with the way it wobbled beneath her palms begging to be released. Taking a deep breath Constance willed away the sensation as she'd been doing for years. She'd get lost in the woods for a few days, let her magic run its course, use it as it begged to be used, and once the full moon passed it wouldn't be so tense, like a coil twirled up inside of her she was just barely managing to keep it from springing away. "It's alright, I won't hurt you..." She cooed to the beast, stroking his neck, surprisingly he seemed to believe her, calming down. Pushing her heels into his sides they headed off down the cobblestone path. She silently prayed to the Holy Mother for a safe and event-free trip and as she had for some time now she also begged forgiveness for her less than moral means of employment. She'd taken up prostitution almost a year ago when begging for money and work wasn't keeping her warm at night or her belly full. She'd gone without food for several days and had only questionable water to drink, she was at her limit when she pleaded with one passerby that she would do anything, he took her back to his home and stripped her naked. Being raised in a sanctuary everything about this felt wrong, but the lull of money and food to fill her aching stomach was enough to make her compliant, overriding whatever religious rules she'd held herself too. The man was gentle and felt positively terrible when he found blood on the sheets, he paid her far more than she would generally receive in the future. Though Constance had promised herself she'd never do such things again, it was only a matter of time before the money ran out and her stomach began growling for food once more. It wasn't easy and yet it was, it was awkward to show her thighs, or whisper those perverse words, but when on the edge of starvation they seemed to just stumble out; morals be damned, they had no ground for those that dwelled in the dirt already. She stumbled her way through towns, when she couldn't find work there were always men willing to pay, and the occasional woman. Three months ago she found herself in the streets of Hearthwood, once again offering herself to the passing man. Madam Charlotte would happen upon her, having seen this dozens of times before she took Constance in, taught her the art of seduction, and though Constance was resistant to becoming a full-time prostitute she understood the money would keep her safe, not to mention she felt indebted to Madam Charlotte. It hadn't been so horrible, the girls at the brothel took her in like a sister, they knew her plight without having to ever ask, and they never did, they just supported her. On a regular basis Constance struggled to justify her actions but she always gave up and ended up seeking forgiveness in one fashion or another, often times she would volunteer at local sanctuaries when she could, offering whatever coin she could spare, it never really eased her mind though. The lights were quickly going out all across the town and soon it would just be Constance, Pandora, and the still unnamed stallion, his hoofs almost echoing in the desolate streets.
  22. Many greets.

    I just realized even if either of you did know me you wouldn't recognize the name. ^^; Erogenous Enigma -> previously known as GlassDaemon. <3
  23. Many greets.

    I do not recall someone by the name of Bang! but regardless, glad to have you here. ^^ I do, however, remember Iza and wondered where she'd gone off too. <3
  24. CLOSED Darkness Falls

    Name: Constance Geneve Drennen Age: 17 Race: Human - mage Appearance: Ref1 Ref2 Personality: Constance is a truly kind individual who will go out of her way to help someone in need often times being betrayed or mislead for the greed of the other person, but she never gives up faith in people and will repeatedly try to help someone who proves untrustworthy. Regardless of being regularly manipulated and fooled she still smiles and seems genuinely happy about most things and people. Most people consider her persistent kindness and happiness to be due to naiveté, but that is far from the truth. History: Constance was barely five years old when her family and a large portion of her village were slain. It had been a late evening sermon in the church when a shade had attacked killing everyone there except for little Constance. It’s uncertain how she survived; the creature looked the child in the eye, but swiftly left, leaving her unharmed. She curled up next to the cooling corpses of her parents, and that would be how the acolytes found her in the morning. With no family to go to the acolytes took her in and Constance would be raised in the sanctuary, learning from prayer and doctrine with great respect for the Holy Mother. It was easy for Constance to forget her poor history with the acolytes, they were kind bunch if not a bit prudish, but they looked out for her best interest and did not judge her for being an orphan, no one was unwelcomed within the sanctuary walls. She lived a life of simple needs, there was little flavor to the food and her clothes consisted of shapeless, fashionless robes, but she was still happy. At seven she began having horrible nightmares, with no explanation to the cause the acolytes took her to see Cardinal Richelieu, an almost three week trip. The trip would prove fruitless the Cardinal did not have an answer for her troubles; he sent them to see his apothecary who tried a number of remedies with only mild effectiveness. Armed with a dozen remedies and a list of things to-do before Constance was to go to bed they returned home. On the ride home Constance would meet a jackalope, a small white fox like creature, with dark fur on two of its paws and the tips of its ears and tail. The jackalope adored Constance’s cheer and kindness and quickly bound to her. Constance named her Pandora, who would become her saving grace as the magical creature began slipping into her hellish nightmares and soothing her. Her nightmares thwarted, but they were just the beginning as unexplainable events began popping up around her: stars seeming to fall, or change color, or brightness, what appeared to be northern lights flashing for brief moments in a starless sky, while other nights the sky would be so heavy with stars it would light up the sanctuary. Rumors passed around the village that it must be a rogue mage, but nothing ever came of any searches, even wolves were called to the village to seek out the cause of these strange occurrences. Years passed and the strange events became common place, in some months there were more than others, but they seemed harmless. It had become a bit of a tourist attraction and the once small village grew into a large city. A nearby village was attacked by stalkers and the survivors came to the city seeking refuge at the sanctuary, with them was a vestal named Icarus. Icarus became a big brother for Constance as she trailed him everywhere fascinated by his magic, a key to realizing her own. Yet Constance would not go gracefully into magehood, she would be tossed about like a pebble in the ocean with little control over her fate. It became apparent to her as she reached fifteen that the strange occurrences were due to her, as she slowly learned to manipulate the world around her. Somehow, someway she was messing with the solar waves of magic. Having spent several years as Icarus’ shadow she knew what happened to mages, how they were locked away like prisoners. For months she’d disputed what she knew would happen if she spoke out of her power, had tried to accept that even if she was taken to the coven she could simply become a vestal and return home, but it wasn’t the same, she wasn’t clueless to the way the others looked at Icarus. But even beyond the fear of being taken from her home was the fear of her magic, she’d researched endlessly, knew the ins and outs of the awakening process, knew of every tree, and the details of every tree, and whatever she was doing, whatever was affecting the very stars, was not among these trees…. Abilities: Uncertain
  25. ...and it made me frown

    I had more trouble trying to read this than I ever care to admit to. I really wanted it to be "my granny."