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Armed and Disarmed: Book One (Conjunctions)
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Kruger
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 19, 2014 9:28 am    Post subject: Armed and Disarmed: Book One (Conjunctions) Reply with quote

Between The Bars

drink up, baby, stay up all night
the things you could do, you won't but you might
the potential you'll be, that you'll never see
the promises you'll only make ~ Elliot Smith





The smell of brimstone hung in the air near the forge, a sign that he was in to those who knew the area. An orange glow through an open door cut into the darkness of the night. Heat blowing lightly out of the place and carried that sulfurous odor with it. Inside was the sounds of the hammer strikes and something more, a voice singing softly, chanting perhaps. He was there, standing over an anvil carved like a man kneeling. Across his back a flat plate that looked ready for the weight of the world. One arm of that cast man out to form the horn of the anvil. The other arm reaching for the woman that was carved from the wooden base upon which the anvil rested. The hammer dropped in a ringing staccato of notes that had the singer changing his tones at intervals.

Coming from the inn Nilan took the long way home back to the docks. Cutting through the market didn't really make the path any shorter but there was a sense of restlessness under her skin tonight. Walking always did make that feeling easier to go to bed with. The massive black rune blade strapped across her back, easily almost a foot taller than its wielder did nothing to slow her stride. Nilan moved as though she had been carrying that sword all her life. Her mind moved at its usual pace thoughts of her children, her grandson. She wished she'd gotten something a little harder in her system than a bottle of wine before leaving the inn.

For a moment that internal monologue was paused, instead Nilan's attention was captured by the light coming from a short way down an otherwise dark street. Her pace stilled, her head tilted from one side to the other, thinking, considering, a forge. This was actually rather useful. Strides resumed and Nilan followed her feet to the entrance of the forge, breathing in the scent of brimstone for a moment - it was almost nostalgic. Nilan's eyes fixed on the smith at work, she cleared her throat. She tested the waters, seeing if he was aware of strangers afoot, or if he was too engrossed in his work as most craftsmen were inclined to be.

Kruger's eyes never left the glowing metal on the anvil, his lips moving in words that would be clear to those who understood the language of the elements. The song remained uninterrupted, even as a bead of perspiration rolled off the tip of his nose to sizzle on the heated steel below. He heard her entry; the soft clearing of her throat was picked up by the parabolic ceiling. It filtered down to him and the piece upon which he worked. Had she heard that? Understood it for what it was?

Few really did though he was always happy to explain the process, the need for the acoustics to be just right. That of course complicated things from time to time as well. It was nice when they could really understand. He changed the song once again, turning to deposit the steel into the flames. The leather apron that covered his chest left the back bared to the newcomer, a crisscrossing network of scars that could only be caused by a whip covered his back in white stripes. "Mind the circle."

She wasn't near it but if she weren't paying attention she might not see it on the stone floor. He turned to her then and offered an amber eyed smile that sent the wolf branded beneath his left eye into a kind of bow as his cheek creased. "Welcome to my forge, I am Kruger." He gave no accolades of rank, they mattered less to him than the work itself.


Last edited by Kruger on Fri Jan 31, 2014 10:27 am; edited 2 times in total
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 19, 2014 9:32 am    Post subject: Armed and Disarmed Reply with quote

"Well met," she nodded at the introduction, her gaze drifting over the circle he'd mentioned. She made a mental note that it ought to be given a wide clearance. "I have need of repairs, if you are able to assist." Her arms crossed over her chest, hands disappearing up the sleeves of the men's shirt she wore. Two throwing axes were revealed, one with a damaged blade. It appeared as though it had been thrown at a slab of stone instead of something that would yield beneath it. Nilan frowned at the sight of the damaged blade, holding the weapons, one in each hand.

The axes themselves were Dwarven make, although very light. There were runes carved down the length of each one's handle in an impossibly ancient script. She had, had them for a very long time indeed, and they were like friends to her. It almost hurt that one had been damaged so. "Of course I understand that a craftsman is in high demand and you cannot help me." A pause and she chuckled almost sheepishly, ducking her head in a small bow. "Where are my manners, my name is Nilan. And again, we are well met."

The axes were taken and examined from the writing on the side and the design. He could tell they were old, though in truth he saw all metal as old, merely taking new forms. "Have they been worked on before?" He looked for signs of cracking that could be fatal to any weapon. Something he would need to take back to its beginning and forge all over again. Barring that, or delamination of the layers he could bring it back.

He spoke to the damaged axe softly as though it could hear him and understood. "You've been here a while now, a true testament to your maker." The smile turned from the axe to its owner. "Nilan..." He looked at her for confirmation that he was saying it correctly with the short I emphasized. "You needn't strive for manners with me, I am just a simple smith, servant to all who come through my door." He passed back the unblemished axe haft first to Nilan. "When would you like it completed?"

She shook her head, watching him handle her axes as a new mother might watch the doctor examining their baby, "no, they've never been damaged." Frowning in concern she could feel herself growing worried at the fact that perhaps her precious axes might not make it through this and took another step into the blacksmith's without thinking. Her dark brown eyes darted upwards towards the gentleman again, the corners of her mouth twitching in a small smile as she watching him speaking to her axes, it was oddly comforting to know she was not the only one who did things like that. Tilting her head from side to side as she pondered the question Nilan frowned and rolled her shoulders in a shrug, "when you are able to complete him - a craftsman's life is a busy one, and I will not be unarmed while he’s repaired."
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 19, 2014 9:40 am    Post subject: Armed and Disarmed Reply with quote

He traced the letters down along the handle with a callused finger and laughed, before looking back at her. His fingernail tested the depth of those carvings, a nervous habit that he had taken up recently enough with his own weapons. "It's funny isn't it?"

He laid the axe aside onto a workbench releasing it almost guiltily as he looked at Nilan hoping she didn't think him overly odd. "It'll be a couple of days, I need to get it apart and see how deep the damage is. Worst case I think is I will need to fold back the blade and reform it, it depends on any fracturing in the metal. Fractures can be welded but you don't want those welds to be on your edge. Then it couldn't do what it says." He stroked the letters once again. "Nota bene...Mark Well, your maker was a joker it seems."

She watched him as he studied her weapon, blinking as the translation came, how long had she gone without knowing what that axe actually said? Decades probably. A light chuckle escaped her and she bobbed her head slightly, nodded in amused agreement, "a joker? I am ashamed to admit these had a script I could never find the translation of. They were given to me a very long time ago - a sort of commendation of service well rendered."

Again she shrugged taking the axe's twin and holding it out to him. "Would having this one be of any assistance to you? I might be motivated by selfishness, in the hopes you might tell me what this one says as well. It has been too long to not know."

Kruger looked to the handle of the second axe. "I have what I need from it for the first, though I can tell you what this one says." His brows furrowed a bit as he looked at it though. "I don't find this one quite as funny, dura mater. Tough Mother, do you find this one hits the head more often than the other?" He turned his head to look at the other axe briefly before finding his eyes on Nilan once again. It was also the name given to the outer covering of the brain. If it were so he would find it much funnier indeed.
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 19, 2014 9:43 am    Post subject: Armed and Disarmed Reply with quote

The name of the second axe made her laugh and she grinned rather fondly at the weapon in question, "No, but it does explain why I like that one quite a bit. Often I do not use these axes for battle, I am generally quite covered in that respect," she tilted her head backwards, gesturing towards the massive black sword strapped to her back. "I prefer to think of them more as a last resort - or perhaps a means of gentle restraint."

He looked at the hilt that extended above her head and gave a small nod. "I think I'd use them as a first strike tool. Depends on the odds, you get a medium strike range out of them, could be enough to even any odds, or even swing them further in your direction. I haven't carried a sword for... Has it been that long?" He supposed it had the weapon was placed over the door to his storage room. A black hilted katana in a display sheath, the tsuba in the shape of a dragon eating its tail rested in a special rack. "Ten years"

"It's beautiful. One of your own make?" Nilan turned towards the katana, examining it from a distance but with an appreciative smile. "They have been helpful before in such a situation, ordinarily though I am closer to the danger, throwing weapons just seems foolish from so close." Turning back to him from the katana on the wall she shrugged again, "I don't like having to go back to retrieve anything, although it is awful how often I have had to do so anyway."

He nodded and gave a small shudder. "My master's piece if you will, the one submitted, to the guild in order to gain the title. I thought I was so... special back then, such a fool though. It wasn't ready despite them raising me. I was quite arrogant in my ignorance." Kruger pulled himself out of his memories almost forcefully. "You have no idea what I am talking about so this is a one sided conversation. Where did you get such a weapon?" He stayed away from any temptations to latch onto it, and search it for his own crafting reasons.
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 19, 2014 9:45 am    Post subject: Armed and Disarmed Reply with quote

Nilan's head turned towards Kruger and she studied him as he spoke, a faint smile tugging at the corners of her mouth, she could tell that he was somewhere else, a time long ago and faraway and she hardly minded the nostalgia, it was a comfort to know she wasn't alone in occasionally delving into the past. "You can continue your conversation with yourself all you like - we have all been stupid children I believe." Again she smiled faintly, perhaps now thinking of her own long ago and far away, "pride and hubris can be very addicting after all. There is no sweeter intoxication then when we are drunk on our own glory." She lifted her hand in a silent gesture that seemed to say 'oh what can you do?'

Clearing her throat and departing from her own private reverie, Nilan looked at the axes, and tilted her head; it was her turn to get a faraway look in her eyes as she ruminated on that question, "far, far from RhyDin. A stronghold called Dunadzak," the Dwarven name pronounced effortlessly by the woman before she remembered herself and looked back at him almost sheepishly, "you are not the only one who can be lost in the past. It was far from here, very far."

He pretended not to notice her look, turning as though it had been his intention all along to start to work on the axe laid atop the work bench. He looked to the head watching her peripherally while discovering the best way to free it from its handle. "Time teaches, sometimes ruthlessly no?" A pair of smooth jawed pliers were taken and placed, the smith gave a twist that had his forearms bulging for a moment before pulling a long metal rod from the top. It tapered downwards like a cone. "Nilan is an interesting name..." He was working away from the stronghold, anything to keep her talking, comfortable. "Is it from as far from RhyDin?"

She wasn't as discreet, choosing to watch him as he turned away to begin work. Craftsmen, smiths especially, were horribly fascinating people. "Further, so far it's likely not on a map," her voice was quiet, she did not often speak of her homeland, at least not while so sober. "Nilanoch is my full name, but no one has used it in a long, long time. Nilan does me fine, when I had friends, they would call me Nil." A pause, "and Kruger? Where are you from?"
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 19, 2014 9:51 am    Post subject: Armed and Disarmed Reply with quote

He gripped the haft tightly with one hand the other staying on the damaged axe head. Another twist though this one seemed to take effort before it the haft broke loose and he was able to unscrew it and separate the pieces. "Dwarves are very good at making things stay together... I like the sound of your name, Nilanoch. It reminds me of the makings of a song." He set the haft aside on the bench and looked up at Nilan though his smile had faded.

"Mostly I am from here I suppose, I was apprenticed at seven and taken away. Somehow I keep finding my way back though." He bit the inside of his cheek and fought to keep from putting a hand to the branded cheek. A deep concealing breath came from him before continuing. "Whatever brings you here though, I am happy you ran into the trouble that brought you and... him my way."

"Nobody calls me Nilanoch," she said, although she grinned as she said it. It was very strange indeed to hear anyone using her given name, much less someone whom she had just met. Her brows rose slightly at the word apprenticed, a term which could be used to cover a multitude of sins indeed. "It has been many years since my travels took me in this direction - although I do understand how it can lure one back time and again." Looking back to him she nodded, although she was certain he could not see the gesture. "I am happy to be brought your way. We are well met."

He looked more critically at the head now. "Does it bother you that I have used the full name? I use my middle name, I do not like my first for it gives an impression of me that simply isn't true." He nodded as he finished whether that was for what he had determined about the weapon or his words wasn't really clear even to himself.

"I returned and claimed my title. It gave me no pleasure to understand that my work was flawed. Years of belief in what I had been taught, only to discover that the method, wasn't finished. I went in search of knowledge then, every place I went I looked for the way. It was an obsession I think, figure a master swordsman who gets disarmed and must figure out why." He put a piece of metal into the hole that the haft had come out of. It would keep it from changing shape as he hammered and heated. "Ten years to perfect, the last five simply to find a measurement." He indicated the arches and the domed ceiling.

"It does not bother me in the slightest - it is strange." Tilting her head from side to side she mused on how to express just how strange it was, Nilan finally concluded - "like someone else wearing your nightgown almost." A laugh escaped her in spite of herself as she was unable to prevent her imagination from picturing this poor gentleman wearing just that. She cleared her throat, muttering an apology before looking back towards the work he was doing. "I will bring you a book I have carried with me for quite some time, when next we meet. A notebook of a master smith from as far away as I am."
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 19, 2014 9:54 am    Post subject: Armed and Disarmed Reply with quote

He wouldn't tell her he never wore a nightgown, he thought he understood the implication. He couldn't help to grin at her laugh, she wouldn't see it because he turned and pushed the axe head deep into the bed of coals. "You're saying if I keep saying it you will get used to someone wearing your nightgown?" Saying it brought images that he shook away. "You understand that in order to make the blade even, I first have to damage the whole of it."

He schooled his face before turning back to her, his eyes catching the carved woman that was the base of the anvil and lingering there for a moment. He held up his hand flat except for the pinky which he left bent. "I'll fold back the outer edge." He curled his fingers at the center knuckle as he talked about it. "Then weld it and redraw out the blade's edge." When he straightened his hand this time all the fingers were fully extended.

"I'm saying that if you continue to call me by my given name, at times I will not realize it is me you are addressing." She paused and chuckled lightly, "and perhaps I will continue to imagine you in a loose shift, off to bed." Her posture straightened in spite of herself when he turned again, explaining what would happen to the axe before it would be repaired at last, she gave a single nod at his description, "I trust that my tools are in good hands, do as you must."

"A couple of days should suffice, that will give me time to do the work, polish and sharpen... him." He pouted a little at her jest about him in a shift, though he couldn't say why that was his first reaction. "Perhaps that is how I will keep from being too arrogant then... Nilanoch. As for the notebook, I would be honored to be able to read it." He squared his shoulder, a twist to his neck to set it cracking. "Would you like it delivered or would you prefer to stop again? I don't mind bringing it, gets me out from time to time."

A grown man pouting - now that wasn't something you see every day, or ever really, if you happened to be Nilan. The sight had her laughing quietly, raising her eyebrows at him in amusement. "If you bring my axe to me I will have the book on hand for you, you shall have to give me a name to call you as well, if you mean to go on with this Nilanoch silliness," she nodded, that smile lingering still. It had been a while since she'd simply conversed with another person, and Nilan found it to be most enjoyable indeed. "I live at the docks, my boat is quite small it's called Tanelorn. It has a clothes line; you'll know it when you see it." How ridiculous. How many of his customers lived in opulent homes, while she made her base of operations a little boat?

"Tanelorn, at the docks. I'll remember." He was being closed mouthed at a name to call him. There were plenty around that were less than complimentary. "I wouldn't have picked you for a sailor, I have no name to give that would allow me to see you wearing a shift and off to bed." He chose that moment to be looking elsewhere, that spot on the wall, he'd been meaning to get to sanding that. "Fair is fair though I suppose. Aristotle is my name." His nose scrunched at the saying of it. "I don't know why my parents insisted on it." He did return his eyes to her and a callused open hand for her to take. "I'll bring it when it is completed." The corner of his mouth rose on that left side once more.

The remark about her wearing a shift silenced her for a moment, and while she didn't blush - Nilan simply wasn't the sort for such things - she did smirk, just at the corners of her mouth, and was indeed most grateful the gentleman was looking elsewhere and didn’t catch such a thing. “If I must be Nilanoch, then you must be Aristotle," nodding again in a very businesslike manner she took a step towards the door, "I will see you then."

He watched her all the way out, a bare nod before turning back to the circle he had been working in. "Be careful."
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 21, 2014 8:56 am    Post subject: Armed and Disarmed Reply with quote

Cellar Door

Oh these walls, know everything, and I'm tired of being lost inside
Overflowing underneath my pretty face with the presence of the haste
Now they're sayin don't believe anything But I do believe I know you ~ Holly Brook




There was a small plume of smoke coming out of the little chimney on the boat called Tanelorn that evening. Nilan was below decks, making use of the small galley area just across from where she slept and otherwise spent her days. There were potatoes to be roasted and a bottle of wine to be uncorked - which she had actually just taken care of thank you very much. She stayed close to the fire, prodding at her potatoes while keeping warm and letting her hair dry.

The whole day had been terribly quiet, Nilan had walked for miles, just trying to keep her mind active as there were too many things for her thoughts to return to without diversion, eventually though, the cold simply got to her too much and she had to return home, to the modest accommodations her little boat provided. There was a warm glow coming from the small porthole windows of the boat, despite its size Tanelorn could be quite cozy indeed.

It was better to arrive later than early to the docks. Kruger was familiar with the smell of fish and the sea breeze. Enough so at least to know he preferred the breeze without the fish. Nets were hung on the vessels docked, some were in the process of being repaired, mostly it was to dry them and keep away the mildew. The Tanelorn had been pointed out by a passing sailor who seemed more in a hurry to find a tavern and a wench than take time to chat.

His steps were not softened, the heel toe clomping an indication he wasn't trying to use stealth to approach. The smith wasn't really sure though how to announce himself. There were no formal doors to knock upon or signs indicating he was free to board. He called out instead loud enough to be heard but not draw the eye of every sailor left to mind their ships. "Hello? Nilanoch?"

That. That name. Nilan's eyes went to one of her little round windows. The voice was somewhat familiar, and nobody living had the audacity to call her by her given name. She wasn't expecting the smith to be done with her throwing axe until tomorrow, and hadn't dressed to entertain company at all. Pulling a cloak over her shoulders Nilan climbed above decks, calling ahead of her as she went, "Aristotle? Is that you?"
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 21, 2014 9:01 am    Post subject: Armed and Disarmed Reply with quote

Pushing open the little trap door and hoisting herself through she looked down towards the docks for the visitor. "Well met, Aristotle," she said with a small smile as he was spotted and she went about picking up a long wide plank of wood she kept on deck for the purposes of boarding. "Please, come up and inside, it's too bloody cold out here for my old bones."

A wry smile at his own name fired back at him. Fair he supposed, he had after all started it. "It's me, or as me as I tend to get." Kruger traveled along the dock to the plank that linked it to the ship. The pack on his back was nearly empty, it hadn't been earlier but he was saving this particular delivery for last. The long handles of two hammers hung down the sides of his thighs. The heads couldn't be seen beneath the leather coat he was wearing.

He crossed the beam slowly as though lacking trust in its ability to hold his weight. He hit the deck and moved a little closer to her, His eyes showing a certain amount of baggage from lack of sleep. "I found a little time to work in your axe. I hope I am not intruding." He looked from her to the fading light. "I can come back if you would prefer." He kept a distance between them, though if that was for his comfort or if he meant it for her he wouldn't be able to answer easily.

Watching him with a faint touch of amusement as he crossed the plank onto the deck of her home she gave him an appreciative nod once he reached the other side. "Intruding? Yes. Roasting potatoes does require the most intent of focus," she smirked although tried her best to sound serious. "Please, come inside." Without waiting to see if he would follow, Nilan headed back through the trap door and back to her quarters, hanging her cloak on a hook as she reentered the warmth of her home. The place was modest really - and strangely enough one might note that the boat looked bigger on the outside than it was on the inside, how strange indeed.

There was her cooking fire and a small table piled with various ornately decorated books and scrolls opposite a single chair, which was where the woman was headed now. Unlike the previous evening she wore a shirt without sleeves, as she had not expected company, and the dark skin of her arms were peppered with scars of various sizes and shapes, a testimonial to the fact that she had survived much. "I believe I promised you this, did I not," a pause, "Aristotle." Lifting one book bound in sky blue leather, silver lettering on the outside cover in an Elvish script. "It is the journal of a weapon smith, his entire study on the purification and imbuing of metals."
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 21, 2014 9:03 am    Post subject: Armed and Disarmed Reply with quote

He looked at the plank, then out of a sudden burst of paranoia pulled it back in. He didn't know that she had enemies, but random acts of violence happened from time to time. He pulled the pack from his shoulders before entering holding it in front of him. The warmth was welcome on his face which had started to redden from exposure to the cold outside. The place may have been modest, but it was perhaps an insight to Nilan. He didn't follow too far, noting the single chair and cooking fire. "I've made potatoes and have to say that they can be trying to the impatient."

He ticked up the corner of his mouth at her, tongue tied momentarily. The scars were noted in her dark skin something he was used to seeing in his business. "Still..." One hand let go of the pack and took the notebook. "You did promise me this, I don't know that it is fair to take it from you though. Knowledge is priceless." The pack fell to his side with his other arm, he went to a knee to open it and pull free her axe. He looked up as he presented it to her. "Make sure he is as you remember. That I haven't played with his balance any." He was certain that any difference would be negligible.

"I have read that cover to cover many times. I feel it should be with you now, who will use the knowledge within for more than just to read." She waved a hand, silently insisting he take the book and use it well. Her gaze followed him intently when he dropped to one knee, stepping closer as her axe came into view. "Oh he looks in fine spirits I must say."

Lifting the weapon she hefted it once or twice in her hand before, quick as a wink the axe went flying across the room to bury itself in the wood of a far wall. At the sight of the handle still vibrating slightly against the force of the throw, Nilan gave a satisfied nod. "Fine spirits indeed. What do I owe you? Can I offer you some wine? A seat? A potato?" She didn't talk much with others, and in moments like this, perhaps that was painfully obvious.

Kruger nodded swallowing as she took the weapon. "Cost means little, I'll take the notebook as payment. I have no parts invested just a little time is all." He wouldn't discuss too much the time involved. Time ran funny for him occasionally. He watched the axe fly and smiled at the woman's accuracy. "You wield him well too." He closed the now empty pack and rose looking to the seat and the fire.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 21, 2014 9:04 am    Post subject: Armed and Disarmed Reply with quote

"I'd enjoy a little wine, and a seat." The food was not claimed, was he hungry? He really couldn't say for sure. He had a vague memory of the last thing he ate, that ought to be enough right? "I'll try not to be too much of a disturbance to you. Are you here for long or just passing to the next port?"

"You'll have to excuse me, but all of my fine crystal doesn't exist." She spoke as she took a cup more built for coffee and filled it with wine, holding it out for him before she gestured towards the chair. His question made her shake her head, shoulders lifting in a little shrug. "I can't say. I've been here for a few months now, and work is very thin on the ground so I expect I will be here for a few months longer still." Pausing a smirk curled the corners of her mouth gently, almost feline in nature, "why? Do you wish to be rid of me already?" Tsking at him, she filled her own mug with wine and had a sip. This was a definite improvement to getting drunk alone.

He gave a silent laugh and took the ceramic mug. "I look like a man who drinks from crystal? Give me a stout wooden cup something I am not afraid to break." He had considered refusing the seat since it would leave her standing but sat anyway not wishing to insult her hospitality. It wouldn't do to flip flop on the issue either. "Is it okay if I feel guilt over sitting while you stand?" He lowered himself into the chair and smiled up at her. "Since I am now kicking you from port out of hand that is."

"You have distinguished cheekbones," Nilan said simply, "I'm sure sometime, somewhere, you've drank from crystal." Again that smirk came into view for just a moment before the expression was hidden behind the rim of her mug. "I do not know - you should ask yourself if it is okay or not." The smirk widened into a smile as she met his eye. "I sit all the time, standing will not kill me." She was a good sport about it though, leaning against the wall beside her fire as she took a look at the potatoes still roasting in the embers before her attention returned again to him. "I suppose if it does kill me my daughter will be stunned to silence that I met my end so quietly, which is almost worth it."
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 21, 2014 9:05 am    Post subject: Armed and Disarmed Reply with quote

He looked down at the mention of his cheek bones. "Perhaps, though it wasn't my first choice. Special occasions from those who could afford it." The first drink was taken and savored out of habit more than any desire to be pretentious. "What's a little more guilt one way or another anyhow?" Kruger latched on to any subject change to bring his thoughts out of himself. He did look up to her lean and nodded to himself, and keeping the eye contact. "You say old, and speak of a daughter, yet you seem..." He cut off that question finding it to be bordering on offensive to some women. She seemed different, harder wasn't quite right, solid seemed better. "Is she here with you?" A bit of a change to the subject and the direction he wanted to go when that maelstrom of his thoughts redirected him to questions of age.

As he spoke, the topic of conversation drifting into personal waters, Nilan studied him with interested, dotted with just a touch of amusement. "Anyone who lived here only a week would know that seemings are purely cosmetic and worth very little when taking the measure of someone." It was awfully true of RhyDin wasn't it? Nobody was what they seemed in a place like this, where it seemed that every bloodline and every strain of magic came together into a great melting pot of everyone and everything. Nilan shook her head, smiling at the question about her daughter, "oh no, she's much too stable to come traveling with me. My daughter lives eight days by sea away, raising her son." Mentioning her daughter and grandson for even a second made the woman look a million times happier. Her children and grandchild were the greatest joys of her life, after all. "Do you have children Aristotle?"

He knew the truth of her words, still he had found that most of those extremely long lived people had a slight pointing to the ears. Not all by any means but a vast majority. "You aren't wrong, and perhaps I am simply being selfish and wanting to know things that aren't mine by right." He pushed out of the chair, still looking at her as she spoke of her daughter and grandson now. "Children? I have children though some of that is more complex than it needs to be. The two girls are mine but aren't, one adopted the other... I don't know exactly how to explain her. She came from elsewhere and a different me." He narrowed his eyes trying to wrap his own head about it too. "My son... I have a son, and no honor. Perhaps knowing that will see you putting me out?" He looked for it, was ready to comply with it as well.
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 21, 2014 9:06 am    Post subject: Armed and Disarmed Reply with quote

It wasn't her place to pass judgment on another, her own sins tallying in the high hundreds. As he spoke of his children any amusement melted from her face, and she seemed to be pensive instead, sipping her wine in silence as she listened. Complex lives were sadly too common, and far too painful, although his mention of having no honor caused an eyebrow to rise. "I do not know that you have no honor, only that you have told me you do not, which may be pain speaking." Studying his face she spoke again, quietier this time. "Pain lies." Refilling her wine, she moved towards him with the bottle, refilling his own without being asked. "You sound like a man who needs to drink his wine to me, so it would be a crime to turn you away with you not having done so."

Kruger looked to the cup and the wine within it. "Pain? In some things that may be true. I thought I ought to let you know... early on… that I walked out on a home a wife and child. That I did so without being provoked and having little more reason than I couldn't stay there anymore." He watched the cup as it rose to his lips. She would judge him or not, he wasn't sure what he hoped for out of Nilan. He liked her enough to be honest with her. "It's hard to say it sometimes and I have been looked at in ways that I would be tempted to as well. No one has called me to account yet though." He expected to be of course, always on the edge and waiting to be judged by everyone. The sip and swallow preceded his look back to her, wanting to see if she held anything different in her eyes.

His openness surprised her, and if he chose to study her expression now perhaps that would be the only thing that had changed at all about the way she was looking at him. After another, large sip of wine was had Nilan's hands went to her leather supply pouch, usually at her hip but since she was home it had been waiting by the fire, her nimble fingers rolling a cigarette as she spoke. "My son's father, he was brilliant, but he was power hungry. He was also the consort for a queen."

Nilan's lips twisted into a humorless, bitter smirk as she spoke. "She was a fool. Her kindness made her stupid and she would permit her enemies to walk through the front door. I was in her employ, protecting her children as her stupidity caused near fatal error after fatal error until one day," she lifted her gaze to him, bringing the cigarette to her lips as she moved towards a porthole window, opening it to let a slight chilly breeze in, "I just left them. I abandoned my duty as a petulant child might after not getting their way."
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 21, 2014 9:07 am    Post subject: Armed and Disarmed Reply with quote

He watched her move, the cigarette hit her mouth. He had noted her surprise but interpreted it wrongly and aimed at him. Still she was talking to him and hadn't pushed him out yet. "This man... He came to you?" He wasn't judging, just looking to understand a little more as he saw in his mind Nilan in her role. How did one defend when their hands were tied by folly? He moved to look out the window she had opened. The Light house cast its glow across the waves of the bay. "Your children though are grown? How long since you left the service?" He kept a distance between them, not needing to move more to see out, or to be able to see her at the edges of his vision. It required focus to be able to truly see both.

"He did," she shook her head. Remember that particularly colorful chapter of her life was always something that hinged on headache inducing. "It was a very long time ago, it doesn't really matter anymore." Well, it shouldn't matter anymore, although truth be told sometimes it still pissed her all the way off to think about. When he asked her about her children again though, that rather annoyed light in her eyes died off right away and she nodded, "they're both fully grown, off somewhere having lives all their own, as it should be."

Taking the match she had brought with her to the window she struck it against the wooden wall igniting the head of it before she brought it to the end of her cigarette, taking an inhale of smoke. Lovely. Just lovely. "My last period of employment ended just a few months ago. I received a bit of gold and this boat - and it took me here." Looking at Kruger she smiled again, "ice mage with a mile long stick up his arse. Not at all a pleasure to keep alive day after day."

The smith nodded somehow understanding it would have been so with the father of her children. The air in the cabin filled with that sulfurous smell, he couldn't help but close his eyes and enjoy the hint of brimstone. 'Home' was the thought that pushed at him though he managed to keep it from spilling directly out of his mouth. "I don't mean to pry of course, I am ready to hear that something doesn't concern me at any point." He had opened his eyes, realizing there was a smile on his face that didn't have to be schooled into place
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PostPosted: Tue Jan 21, 2014 9:08 am    Post subject: Armed and Disarmed Reply with quote

“I'm fortunate I think, the girls are close though I don't see them much. I do try and see Nikolai as often as I am able. The snow isn't always a friend to me.” He was neglecting his drink on purpose, giving him reason to stay longer. “I can only try to equate your experience with that mage as selling a weapon that you know is going to do questionable things. Daggers with poison wells for instance. There is only one reason to own one of those.” He wet his lips and looked at her seriously, wondering how much she would tell him if he asked. “Did your queen ever discover what happened?”

"If she did, I never knew of it." Another pull of the cigarette taken as she strode across the room, breathing out smoke as she returned to the fireplace to toss the rest of the cigarette in. "If you ask me things I do not wish to tell you, I will tell you so - women do like their mystery at times, as I imagine you must know." Nilan chuckled, daggers with poison wells - to her it seemed as though some people just wanted the weapon to simply do the work for them.

Of course, her own broadsword did pack an extra punch all its own but that was entirely different. Or so she liked to think. Another sip of wine was taken and Nilan studied her visitor with interest. "I do not care if she held me accountable for my betrayal. She would invite those who tried to kidnap her one week to court the following week." She gave another somewhat annoyed sigh and a shake of the head. "I suppose when your resources are seemingly limitless it does permit you to be a fool to some degree."

"I've heard that about women a time or two, liking mystery I mean. I'm not sure I am any different. It may just be the question hasn't been asked yet." He moved out of her way to let her by. "Perhaps she knew and preferred to pretend she didn't, I am no judge of such things. I am not so sure I can agree to the permission to be a fool. The fool with power has a responsibility to listen to those around them. Not simply depend on them to make it right when all goes wrong." Finally Kruger took another slow sip from his mug. "I'd think that knowing your enemies is a good thing, putting them in the ground may be better though." His fingers tightened on the mug as he spoke, a subtle movement except for the slight whitening to his knuckles. "You do tend to find other enemies then though."
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