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Days of the Past
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Fiona DeAuster
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Joined: 19 Apr 2006
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 13, 2006 10:50 pm    Post subject: Days of the Past Reply with quote

As found within the historical vaults located deep within the Keep of Gharnholme, dated some 100 years before present day:


Meeting him again face to face had been a shock to say the least. She had hidden it well, behind the cold reserved mask that was her normal expression, but the inner turmoil was still felt and controlled with an iron fist. If he even remembered, she couldn't even tell, with his features hidden behind that scarf and the cold glowing red eyes didn't offer much in the way of recognition.

"Ah, Lord DeAuster, please meet my Head Tarn. Fiona DeWil." Lord Brutin said lazily with a casual wave of his hand. The dark haired man was in his usual place within the Slaver's Association Hall, and holding court as she often thought in her mind. Sprawled out in that casually elegant way of his that many woman were drawn into, much like a beautiful web and he the large exotic spider just waiting to leap and capture.

There was an exchange of short nods and little more and she was moving away, feeling the clammy sensation of skin under the leather of her gloves. To look at her, none would even know she was shaken up. Indeed, she maintained her chilly demeanor with amazing skill.

Taking up her position behind Brutin, as was her normal mode of behavior, she fell to stony silence, often becoming part of the furniture, while around her conversation flowed. Brutin didn't expect her to speak, as it simply wasn't something she bothered with, but her ice green eyes kept a constant vigil. Shifting about and taking in locations of various individuals, except this day, she found her gaze drawn like a magnet to him. She had heard the rumors of course. The stories of the Death Knight even reaching the distant realms of Zymire and she even knew that his marriage had been pre-maturely aborted. In a way it was rather a curious form of Karma returning, at least she had comforted herself at such a frivolous thoughts

Fact of it was, when she had caught word of his death, she had actually grieved, to the point even her father had noticed, but to this day didn't understand why. She had never spoken about the only lover she had ever had. Her private life was as carefully guarded as her emotions now and few knew much including those closest to her.

That brief fling so long ago had taught her a very valuable lesson, one she had taken with great attention and had not allowed anyone else even close enough since. Every one that had tried had been held at a pointed distance and the more insistent felt the sharp end of her dagger. She had given of her body and her heart only once and been played the fool, and has sworn to never allow herself to be duped from that day when he had told her it was over and the heart ripping reasons why.

A moment and their eyes clashed again, hers frosty as a winter morning and his narrowing behind the dark cloth covering much of gray features. She still could sense any emotion behind the stare, just felt the waves of chill washing from him. She had a moment to mourn the loss of beautiful dove gray eyes but quickly squelched it before turning away with a thinning of rose pale lips and a snaking slide of a single thick black braid.

Already, feelings she had long thought dust were stirring up and she wasn't amused by it. Caught staring was one sign she was slipping and she sought to get a hold of herself. At her side the dagger hissed softly, calling a hand to stroke lightly against the black hilt and she mentally stilled its complaint. Garith was picking up on her mood and responding in his normal way.

Memories she sought to bury started to break free, floating up on the surface of her mind like bubbles from a deep, dark lake. It angered her, so she caught back a low growl only to hear the words she sorely dreaded. "DeAuster there will be with working with you Fiona." Her employer informed her and she found her jaw aching with sudden and bone jarring tension. Her eyes narrowed for only a microsecond before she gave a short nod to Brutin. To say anything at this point would only create questions she simply wouldn't answer. The man was already curious enough without adding more reasons for him to dig and prod.

He had changed quite drastically. The vitality he once displayed, with the almost pure light that both drew and repulsed her was now gone. Leaving in its wake a chilling aura. He was no longer of the living and yet he still walked, carried onwards by some unknown force she didn't recognize. What motivated him now was a guess, but she suspected it might very well be hate. Yet while much of the man she knew was gone, she could sense that a vast amount remained, hidden behind the mask of ruin.

Her "New" partner just stood near the door with his arms folded and said not a single word. As silent as a tomb he was and she couldn't sense a damn thing from him, which was galling for one of her nature. Brutin of course was emitting his delight in heavy waves, having managed some sort of coup getting the Death Knight into his employ but for her, a job she was generously paid to do had just become her own personal nightmare.

Thankfully it was one of the slower nights, with just others of the Association dropping by to touch base with the "Big Man". None of the typical heroes seeking to save some gibbering featherheads from they're enslavement, or any of this competition strolling in to make trouble and banter. In some ways she resented that, for it would have been something to take her mind of the thoughts she really didn't wish to brood upon and on the other hand, all she wanted to do was escape his presence.

Over the course of that evening, she heard from the rasping hollow voice he now had, as he spoke with Brutin that he was also a slave owner and could only think with wry irony just how low the pious do fall, and yet even that gave her a twinge of conscious. Knowing that somehow some way, she might be responsible for what had befallen him.

Forcefully shifting her thoughts away from such paths she was soon thinking it curious. She had worked as an assassin and still did on rare occasions, taking the odd job here and there. She had been an enforcer for one family here, and then another, and had even worked under the directions of a few Kindred clans. She was for the most part, comfortably well off, no longer needing to hold a job for support, but did so by choice. Something to keep her busy and her skills well honed. She held high rank with two guilds and stood in battle for them even now and was allowing one haunt from her past shake her usual serene calm. Had she met him again in all her previous jobs she may not be as surprised as she was now. Of all places to again meet, the Slavers hall wasn't one she ever would have imagined.

Thoughts drew a faintly satirical smile on her soft lips briefly as she waited the time until Brutin would turn in and managed reasonably well to control the direction of her thoughts. She refused to allow them to dip into the waters of the passionate couplings they had shared, but kept them more to the innocuous. She barely spoke and just remained as still as Lucius was in her position behind Lord Brutin. Thinking the night was wearing on much slower, or perhaps it was the tension weighing upon her that just made it seem endlessly long and tiring.

Emotions she had hoped were gone from her, having spent years of time binding them down were all suddenly alive and pushing at her mental restraints and she was feeling some resentment over that. This one man whose mere presence was rattling the foundation of all her training, was simply unacceptable, but she could not even let on the effects, for to do so, would show a weakness. A crack in the ice she encased herself with and this she simply could not allow to be seen.

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I run to seek my refuge from the light
until the darkness once more falls upon me"
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Lucius DeAuster
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 13, 2006 10:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nearly a generation and a half had passed since the Massacre of Cord’s Crossing, and the spot where the small road leading to the valley of Ravensfast split from the main roadway between Malarid and The Duchy of Urevan bore an evil reputation. Travelers did not tarry in the area, fearful of the stories now circulating of the ‘valley of death’, a story widely circulated after a small boy had come running into the hamlet of Briarstone. Barely able to speak, he had ranted about fire taking the keep, and of ‘the master with glowing red eyes.’

It was enough for the church council of Leorn to convene an emergency meeting. With no message, mundane or magical, from Arch-cleric Vladimir Glashion the church leaders voted to send an expeditionary force to find out the truth of the situation. Made up of the Ordo Militant, operatives of the Ordo Malleous, fighting forces of the United Dragons of Light and healers of the Church of Tymora, the small army made it’s way into the valley itself.

Only five of a force of nearly one thousand returned. Of these, three were declared insane, and a forth put to the question by the Ordo Hereticus for the disturbing ranting. Only one, a knight of the Malleous, could give an account of the tale.

The road leading into the valley passed over the crest of a small ridge, the true entrance to the valley. The woods bore a pall about them, and as the army advanced all went quiet. The pickets of the army had barely crested the hill when they were met by several slowly walking up the road toward them. At first thought to be local villagers, the truth became deadly evident as they closed, and the charnel odor of death reached the pickets, but too late as the zombies started to attack. The first were easily beaten back, but others shuffled from the woods, many dressed as servants and guards of the keep, as well as villagers and an unfortunate caravan to seek shelter at the keep.

As the shadows of the towering mountains crossed the road other undead joined the fray. Ghouls leaped from the branches of trees and erupted from the ground, often in the middle of the company. Slowly, the force was whittled down, and to the horror of those priests attending the wounded the slain would jerk back to hideous unlife after a few moments, a dark spell working around them.

Step by the step the combined forces fought their way within sight of the keep’s granite walls, where the leader received hope. As the army fought its way into the plains the great doors of the keep opened, and six armored warriors rode out, weapons flashing as they cut a path toward the beleaguered army. Cries of triumph rang out as the keeps knights joined the battle lines, the ranks opening to allow them entry. The commander of the army rode forward to the leader of the knights, but his welcome died on his lips at the sight of the fleshless skull and blasted armor, a second’s worth of shock before his head left his shoulders. After that, the battle became a rout as Sir Herzog and his skeletal knights rampaged through the army arrayed before the keep. Only a few escaped, most of those dying at Cord’s Crossing of their wounds.

The knight reported catching a glimpse of the courtyard, and the charnel house it had become. The Church Council was shocked by the news the knight brought, and sent the man to his chambers for rest as they debated the debacle. The knight was found the next morning in his cells, hanging from a noose made from his bedding. A last note, penned in his blood, lay on the table. Darkness and Death wait beneath the oak and elm.

The Ordo Malleous declared the Valley of Ravensfast Purgatis. No further attempts to take the keep would be made, and the records of Ravensfast and the terrible fate befallen were sealed in the Libram Malederium, known only to the Lord Inquisitors of the Ordo Hereticus. And thus Ravensfast passed from the annals of man.

But the keep continued, the valley gaining an evil reputation. Even the surly orc-tribes of the mountains quickly learned not to venture too close, and the shamans gave the valley the name Gharnholme, the orcish word for ‘ghoul-hold.’ It was a name intrepid trader’s brought from the wilderness, and it gained universal use in a short time, to the private amusement of the dark lord residing there. As years stretched on, Gharnholme became a name used to scare children into behaving. “Be good, or the demons of Gharnholme will come get you!” Occasional strange happenings, the disappearance of entire families from outlying farms or lost caravans, were blamed either on the insular Northras barbarians, or more popularly, the dark forces of the keep. The Ordo Hereticus knew the truth, but more often than not, could not arrive to stop the undead raiders until it was too late.

And today, thirty years later, even when the bright summer sun graced the caps of the mountains, snowbound all year around, verdant green forests were alive with the sounds of nature and people went about their lives, those living in the shadows of those mountains would glance to the north, and feel a chill run through their bodies and souls.

*****

Air rippled around the hard form of the nightmare as Dante reentered the Material plane, hooves flaming as they struck the hard ground. Circling, the fiendish horse pawed the air before settling with an indignant snort. Lucius DeAuster dismounted, sliding Deathlight from its sheath on Dante’s saddle, to be returned to its sheath at his hip as he dismissed the nightmare. As the beast faded from view he started toward the doors leading into the keep.

Around him a troop of zombies shuffled, being led to a place of containment by one of the black-clad Acolytes. The arrival of the twenty-some-odd men and women had been a shock, one of the first that the deathknight had experienced since his return. Their leader, Karthos, had managed to piece stories and legend together, and had sent a missive to Gharnholme, requesting an audience with the undead warrior. Lucius had agreed, intrigued by the audacity of the request, and fully intending to kill the fool and his followers afterward. Karthos had impressed him, however, with his zeal to his deathgod, and changing his plans, Lucius had welcomed the small band. Now, the Acolytes had all the undead they could study, and in return, had fashioned spells to make the zombies faster in their movements. A trade Lucius found amicable.

Stalking up the steps to the doors, Lucius banged them open and entered the keep. Around him the granite walls still bore the evidence of the fires that had gutted the place, years before. The undead cared not what their surroundings looked like, and the Acolytes made their home in the old barracks. No webs adorned the walls, nor did lichen grow here, the aura of the place keeping away such mundane flora and fauna.

Down the hallway that once opened into the main hall of the keep a set of stairs descended into the earth, exiting out into a small antechamber, with three passages branching off. A nearly invisible form shifted in one corner, a skeletal hand coming up to tap a blackened breastplate in salute. Lucius nodded once to the skeletal warrior that had been the paladin Gauth as he moved through an arched doorway and down a darkened hall. Passing through another arch, the deathknight entered The Underhalls.

Carved from the living stone, the hall was as large as any lord’s greeting hall, two stone pillars rising on either side partway down to the other end, where a raised dais awaited, an ornate oaken chair ready to receive the Lord of Gharnholme. Settling into the chair, arms resting on the hard armrests, He brooded silently, the flickering eyes dimming as he sat in thought. It had been quite a shock to see Fiona again, even for one such as him self. Brutin was a wily one indeed, to have her as his head of security. A leather-clad finger idly tapped the armrest as he thought over the meeting.

Outwardly she had not changed, except maybe for a narrowing of eyes. Yet her demeanor had radically changed. There was an ice-hard edge to her now that had not once been there. Probably a result of the parting they had shared, he mused to himself.

That cast dark thoughts further still back, to that fateful night in his study. After that night he had borne the guilt of his actions, but after his return, he had stepped into that chamber again, and felt nothing. No guilt, no regrets, nothing but a dull hollowness. Indeed, he had discovered that now, the only thing he felt was hatred, a white-hot hate to his enemies. It blossomed in combat, which is why he sought out challenges like he did.

Thinking back over the day, however, the image of ice-green eyes peering at him over the scarf covering her lower face, of the long black hair hanging in the ponytail, once again stirred something within the dead chest. Her melodic voice had graced his ears, bringing back memories long buried. Nights of passion unbound, made the sweeter by the illicit meetings determined by their life’s paths. As he had stood, silent sentinel by Brutin’s door, he had wished to see her face uncloaked again. The mental image was not enough.

And for the first time in a decade, something else besides hate and anger stirred within the deathknight. What it was, he could not put his finger on, and that drove him into deeper brooding. Curiosity perhaps? Had she found another? Was she happy in her life’s lot? Questions haunted him until, deep into the night, he decided on a course of action. It was time to again meet Fiona.


Last edited by Lucius DeAuster on Mon Jan 22, 2007 12:50 pm; edited 2 times in total
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Fiona DeAuster
Adult Wyrm
Adult Wyrm


Joined: 19 Apr 2006
Posts: 234
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Jobs: Bullet Catcher, Cartographer
Can Be Found: Gharnholme, RhyDin, and acoss the realms of Carowyn
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 13, 2006 11:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

She felt him enter. No need to turn to see, the sharp senses of her nature bristled at the feeling. It likely made the boot pressing into the man under it just a little harder, forcing breath from him even more. The words she then spoke, enforced with the cold radiating from winter green eyes was soft and chilled with no emotion at all. “Seek to touch me again “Milord” and I will remove ye hand next instead of just ye finger.”

The Gorean lord had been told not to try and touch her, and had failed to listen and now clutched his bleeding hand and wheezed under her weight. Adding just a little more force, making him aware she could have crushed him before she wheeled away. A graceful bend and the finger she had sliced off was picked up and deposited deftly into a pocket of shadows.

This was one part of the job she utterly loathed. Some appearing from other realms and assuming due to her gender she was easy picking’s for their lusts. She had forsaken that side of her nature ages past and defended her own body with deadly force. Behind her, the most recent one to face that well hidden wrath was slowly picking him self off the floor to the sound of Brutin’s amused comment. “I told you not to do that Bartale. Fiona does not like to be touched by anyone that I have seen. None yet has managed to breech that icy exterior of hers and it’s why I hired her to start with. She’s cold and deadly with a reason.”

Oh she was hearing the words as well, but was quickly containing the rage that threatened to explode and all the while, she could feel those glowing red eyes upon her and it was only making matters worse. Sending her towards the bar where she made herself a drink with restrained efficient movements. Flame dancing over the spoon with the bubbling of hot sugar before dropped and stirred about in the small glass.
One gloved hand rose then, pulling the silken mask from her lower features, allowing for the first sip of the Absinth. The sickly green fluid catching the light in a manner that made it appear to glow eerily.

She had not yet looked his way, but knew where he was standing. Right to the right of the doors that lead into the Slavers Association hall, so her inner senses declared. Her leather-encased palm was placed on the flat surface of the counter top as she took a lean and just tossed back the deadly drink she preferred. The poison neutralized with the heated sugar cube. Savoring the bittersweet flavor of anis that the potent mixture offered, she carefully arranged her expression and reined in her straining temper.

She assumed it was her own over imaginative mind but she felt sure the Death Knight’s gaze had stayed fixed upon her for a full five minutes or more, but still could not sense any emotion from him. It didn’t surprise her having discovered what his nature was and only once she felt sure all emotion was buried deep her dark head lifted and frosty cold winter green eyes clashed with his.

Seeing him again was making it harder to control the rages of her demonic side. Working along side him was making matters even worse but she wouldn’t allow any hint of thought or feeling show on the pale-lit visage that now regarded him with an arching of a raven brow.

Sounded faded, the voices of those Brutin was regaling with some tale or deep, dropped and was lost in a rise of white noise. Yet still nothing showed on impassive features. She might take out her emotions later and clinically examine them in private, but here and now was not to be allowed.

Luck of course was with her, as a challenge rang thought her mind. War games while frivolous to her did often interfere with her duties here, but Brutin only found it amusing. Her record thrown at others for she wasn’t one that lost often but now had the perfect excuse to get the hell out of this place. “Milord Brutin, I shall return shortly.”

No explanation offered she just strode off with a confident glide towards the door. Moving past Lucius with a faint respectful nod of her head and once she was out of sight, letting the shadows enfold her.
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_________________
"Someone screaming softly in the distance
I run to seek my refuge from the light
until the darkness once more falls upon me"
Stabbing Westward
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Fiona DeAuster
Adult Wyrm
Adult Wyrm


Joined: 19 Apr 2006
Posts: 234
See this user's pet
Jobs: Bullet Catcher, Cartographer
Can Be Found: Gharnholme, RhyDin, and acoss the realms of Carowyn
10772.72 Silver Crowns

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PostPosted: Sun Aug 13, 2006 11:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

She took the time to ponder the various emotions in her movement towards the field. Resentment, pain, anger, all tangling up with memories she had sought valiantly to forget. The day she had walked away from his keep, leathers torn and her heart in tatters has been the very same time the building of the walls of ice she now maintained had started. She didn’t want anything trying to breech those barriers, not even her own wayward and foolishly sentimental memories.

The brief battle was used to her own advantage, the man she faced sent bouncing and bleeding across the hard cobbles of the courtyard. She unleashed the anger that was boiling up inside on a hapless victim that had likely assumed her and easy mark for the game. Fiona however, did not play fair and by the time it was over she stood a blood covered and battered victor and watched as her opponent was carted off to the prison.
“Fio, do you think you could ease up just a little in these fights?” Anath her Guild Commander requested, as he stepped up beside her to offer a clean towel.

“Why?” Blood soaked gloved fingers taking the towel with a hard flinty look shot up at him where he towered her over her.

He just gave her that curiously twisted smile. “Because Healers cost me money and that one you nearly destroyed will be needing them aplenty.”

A soft snort given as she wiped the blood from her pale face and then started to inspect her self for the various damages inflicted upon her leathers. “Most that challenge me, be knowing I nae play “Nice”. Tis nae my way and I’ll not change to ease anyone’s pain, even that of ye own purse Anath.”

“You watch yourself then. The one you just beggared up but good is the Enemy Guild Leaders current play toy. She might not take kindly to the ruin you made of him.” Now she could feel his amusement and just looked up with another soft snort.

“Then he should nae have tried to kiss me then. Tis his own fault, for most also know I do nae care to be touched in such manners.” Her ice green eyes just hardened and glittered dangerously.

“You just make sure to keep a watch. That work you’re doing for Brutin isn’t in one of our safe locations so anything is bound to happen. She has access to assassins and it’s sure you just became a major target.”

That little bit of knowledge just made her shoulders lift in a shrug. Let them try and take her out. Most of them were not even born when she was working steadily in that very same field. She wasn’t concerned and saw it as more of an inconvenience then anything else. “Aye, I will be watching Anath.”

“Well, this war is nearly done.” He didn’t hide the mockery in his voice, as it was more field games. The ritual of battle lost to the one on one nature of the games.

A glance shot up as she found a gash in her dark night leathers, noticing the dark hair and blue eyes of the tall form without any sensation at all inside. Such was easier to deal with then that cursed Death Knight. “Who be winning thus far?”

“Oh us of course. Looks like the coffers will be filled up with more points then I can push, which will only put us in direct line of fire of those power hungry Leaders looking to boost their own treasury.”

“Recruit more then.” This stated blandly as Fiona didn’t practice that. She earned her rank as a commander through battles and sweat and didn’t see any reason at all to seek others. She wasn’t a people person to start with. “I shall see ye later Anath.”

She didn’t even wait for him to reply just side stepped off into the dark embrace, her own injuries healed up enough to manage and was soon returning to the Hall of earlier.

Upon arriving of course she walked in to see a variety of things. A woman on the floor hunched up and weeping, while around her several “would-be” heroes were trying to get at Brutin and there in the middle, holding them off with surprising ease was the Death Knight. Blood splatters on the floor and the injured already heading for the exit, causing her to step to the side to let them pass. A raven brow arching with a faint smirk as it looked like she had missed much of the usual conversation. “Free her or DIE!”

“Grow up boy, she “wanted” that collar.” Usually followed with course laughter from Brutin. “I’ll make a “real” Woman of her, then you can buy her back for a price.”

“I’m going to KILL YOU!” Which inevitably ended with their blood coloring the marble floors of the Hall in copious amounts. Of course usually in the middle of it all was the diminutive Tara, Brutin’s unstable secretary, picking her way over the red puddles and muttering “Droolers.”

This situation looked much the same and as it did seem as if DeAuster had a good handle upon matters, she didn’t interfere, oh no, she merely took up a lean against the wall he had vacated and watched. It took a surprisingly short amount of time before only the wailing woman was left on her own, wallowing in her stupidity. So many thought they could bed Brutin and brag, but in fact, he used that lure and just collared them instead without the benefits of sexual release.

Fiona he did respect, as she lacked any urges that he was aware of in that direction and had simply not shown any sign of interest with him or anyone else for that matter. She was in a word, frigid. It was likely one of the many reasons he had sought to hire her. She was by all accounts, immune to the lustful urges of most other woman she suspected.

The cold voice of death did touch her ears as her “Partner” was returning to his place near the door. “Thank you for your help.” With only the rage easily felt she just gave a jaded little smile before pushing from her lean and off she moved again, putting space between the Death Knight and herself. None would even notice her behavior as unusual except for herself. She simply didn’t want to be near him and was making sure to keep a healthy distance. “Ye seemed to have it under control Milord. I didn’t wish to impede.”

In that single moment she sensed he was looking for something and again, berated her own wayward thoughts that she was the key to what ever he sought. It was bad enough she had to deal with him, but she wouldn’t be an amusement again for him, no matter what the situation. Instead she assumed her position behind Brutin, and idly toyed with a deep gash in the snug leather enfolding her forearm. Her pale features were still uncovered and streaked faintly with the glaze of blood but otherwise she looked cold and serene while she settled into guarding.

Deep inside her the emotions were in turmoil, for she wasn’t able to bury the memories and was slowly realizing it. Perhaps, she just needed to try and purge herself of them instead. Remind herself of the fool she had been. He had been her first lover, her only lover and had lost her self within his arms. Perhaps it was that reminder that deepened her resolve now.

Winter cold green eyes narrowed as they lifted and she looked at the creature across the room. He was a threat to all she had worked hard to acquire. The walls of ice she had constructed inside were shaking and she considered the menace to them. Even now her Demon was stirring and if unleashed, she may end up falling back into emotions she would rather forget, once again losing her pride and her dignity. So few had even gotten that close to the truth she now hid and it seemed an evil twist of fate that one who had, was now staring back at her and she could feel nothing at all from him. He was a void of any emotion or thought and made him even more dangerous to her piece of mind.

_________________
"Someone screaming softly in the distance
I run to seek my refuge from the light
until the darkness once more falls upon me"
Stabbing Westward
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View user's profile Send private message Visit poster's website
Lucius DeAuster
Old Wyrm
Old Wyrm


Joined: 14 May 2006
Posts: 450
See this user's pet
Can Be Found: Gharnholme or Cisroe in Carowyn
10557.36 Silver Crowns

Items

PostPosted: Sun Aug 13, 2006 11:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

He was indeed staring, looking into that coldly perfect beautiful face. Outwardly he was like a statue, stinking of blood from the recent “heroes.” Standing with his arms folded, the silent guardian watched not Brutin, but Fiona.And as he watched, memories continued to play over his minds eye. One time, he and Fiona had met in the verdant gardens of Bastion’s park, as the sun had set behind the spires of the city. They had shared tender hours, merely sitting and quietly talking, learning more about each other. Leather-clad fingers flexed slightly, as he could still feel the pale fingers in his own, so warm despite the chilly exterior.

Tender moments, and a relationship had bloomed. One he had thrown away, for "duty" and "honor." The mere thought brought a hidden sneer, the cold aura surrounding him growing as the anger swelled within. He had been a fool, and had bitterly cursed himself in the years since he had exacted revenge against Glashion.

Now, he watched her, as she fiddled with the torn leathers, the fait traces of blood easily picked out with the now-superior vision. He growled softly at that, at the thought of someone hurting her, and now he paused, wondering at this new-flaring emotion. Hate, but steered for a differing reason. Fiona was dangerous, deadly in her craft, but now, she threatened to turn the dark world of his existence on its ear.

It was something he needed to see to, if time could be found. But Fiona did not make it easy. Her mastery of the shadows made catching her by herself impossible, unless she wanted to be caught. So, for now, he would have to wait.

Cold emerald-green eyes met his own, and supple fingers came away from the gash in her leathers to belatedly pull the silk scarf up, covering her lower features. To the deathknight, it was akin to the sun setting, casting him again into a dark world of dark thoughts and ash feelings. Though, now, there was a glimmer there. While he knew he was damned, and would not, could not turn back from the road he now traveled, perhaps amends could be made to others.

Lost in his thoughts, he didn’t realize others were speaking. Brutin was watching two house slaves cart out the bodies of the girl’s ‘saviors’, taking a delight in the soft sobs of the wench kneeling before him. He was ordering her to strip, which she was reluctantly, or so it appeared, doing. “A fine catch you have there, Lord Brutin.” Another slaver, of one of the minor houses, comments as he watched her position herself as Brutin ordered her to.

“Perhaps, but it would be better if she were able to wear the white.” The two men guffawed at the comment, while other red-silks, dutifully kneeling beside their masters, shot venomous looks at the new girl, who was kneeling in a poor nadu before Brutin. Fiona stood behind the slaver lord, the injured arm half-hidden under her cloak, ice-green eyes watching all intently. It was hard to keep his own attention at matters at hand, and again Lucius silently cursed himself for the weakness he was experiencing.

“I’m certain she will ably make herself valuable.” The minor slaver chuckled again as he brought a goblet up to take a drink.

“Perhaps.” Brutin, leaned forward, and looked to Lucius. “DeAuster, what do you think?”

Lucius was well aware of the eyes, especially one pair, on him, but outwardly there was no sign at all of any unease. “She is a wanton slut, wishing to claim she has bedded the master slaver.” His low timbre filled the room, carrying a cold edge as palpable as the aura surrounding him. The kneeling woman shot him a dirty look, a mark of protest starting to come, but was cut off as Brutin leaned over and slapped her hard.

“I believe you’re right, DeAuster.” Behind the master slaver Fiona clapped her hands together, and two of the crimson-cloaked tarnsmen stepped forward to grab the protesting woman by her arms. “Take her to the sleen-pits. After she cleans them, if she is still wet, take her to the barracks to service the men.” The girl’s shrieks of anger and fright filled the audience chamber as she was dragged out. As Brutin and his guest laughed, Lucius had the distinct impression a hidden smirk was directed at him.


Two days after, Brutin decided to go out for the evening. It was a habit frowned upon by Fiona, as he ALWAYS seemed to attract trouble. But, he would not be dissuaded, so it fell to Fiona, Lucius and two other tarnsmen to escort him. Brutin picked a small hole-in-the-wall tavern, settling at a table near one corner to hold court. Fiona stood behind him, Lucius to the right and across the table, the two tarnsmen on the left, trying to edge away.

While they had not spoken, Lucius and Fiona did work well together. When another slaver came to pay his respects, something in the way his bodyguards acted had the two’s nerves on edge. A surreptitious nod from Fiona had the tarns easing over, as she otherwise remained silent and unmoving. Lucius watched silently, eyes boring into the larger of the two, who seemed almost orcish in build.

The storm broke suddenly, one of the bodyguards grabbing the slaver’s shoulder and hauling him back, sending him tumbling to the floor as another’s blade flashed down, to be caught on the hissing dagger of Fiona’s. The tarnsmen dived at the rear two, while Lucius intercepted a roundhouse from the brute before him. The blow was strong enough to level a normal man, but preternatural strength stopped the hamish arm cold. His own fist lashed out, the brute ducking surprisingly quick.

Fiona sent her opponent staggering back with a quick succession of slashes, the lithe elf ducking and weaving in the chaos that was erupting around them. As was typical in such places, stone-cold killers erupted at the sight of spilled alcohol, the entire tavern quickly dissolving into a mass of flailing bodies. She moved easily through the press of combatants, weaving well enough to shame Brutin’s best red-silks as she traded blows with the warrior. He fell back into the crowd, tossing another into her path. Garith slashed out, catching the living missile near the ear and carving a bloody gash down to his collarbone.

Lucius was locked in a bear hug with the brute, the armored deathknight lifted from his feet as his opponent bellowed in triumph. Lucius growled softly, channeling eldritch power into a burst of energy that flowed directly into his opponent’s chest. Howling, the brute dropped Lucius, flailing at his chest as his skin crawled and burned. A heavy blow to the side of his head sent the thug to a knee, and the deathknight’s hands gripped either side of his head, wrenching hard to the right.

Letting the corpse hit the floor Lucius turned, catching sight of a glint of metal. Behind the battling Fiona another had appeared, a dagger coming up to strike her in the back. Lucius reacted, raising a hand to point at the sneaking rogue. *DIE*

As the hand reached the apex the rogue stiffened suddenly, eyes glazing over before he dropped like a marionette with its strings cut. Her dagger carving open her opponent’s neck, Fiona glanced back at the thud, and then shot a glance to Lucius. Eyes narrowed slightly, as she turned back to the fight at hand. A fight which was quickly over.

The bodyguards of the slaver were either dead or being manhandled into a kneeling position in front of Brutin. The slaver himself had slunk away during the fracas, which continued with the other patrons of the tavern. With a look of disgust Fiona moved to speak with Brutin, who was standing in the shadow of a pillar, watching it all with a smirk of satisfaction. “It would be best if ye went back tae the halls.”

“Why? You and your men have things well in hand.” Brutin chortled softly, but Fiona shook her head, sending the long ponytail whipping around her.
“Nae. Too many about have their blood up.” She looked to the tarnsmen holding the captured bodyguard. “Take him and Lord Brutin back to the Halls. And nae let them out of your sight.”

“Fiona, you are no fun at all!” The pout was a put-on, as Brutin started for the door, the tarnsmen dragging the struggling man between them.

The brawls were starting to die down, the tavern’s bouncers knocking heads together and tossing people into the street, as Fiona knelt beside the one who was apparently trying to backstab her. Two things jumped out at her; One, this one was better equipped than the ones that had attacked Brutin, and two, a small pin she discovered under the lapel, bearing the logo “DV.”

“Dark Vengeance.” She breathed, and then glanced around again. Someone knew that they had stepped away from the safety of the SA halls, and had targeted her. With a soft growl she let the body drop again, after taking the pin.

“I trust you are not harmed?” The chilling timbre of Lucius preceded the unnatural coldness surrounding him, but neither registered to Fiona as she rose and whirled to face the undead warrior.

“And what, pray tell, were ye doing?” Her voice was soft, deadly in its tone. Most who heard it did not live to hear it again. Lucius, however, looked on impassively.

“I thought it was obvious. I was protecting you.” The words grated on Fiona’s nerves, sending already frayed nerves jangling. Her hand rose and slashed through the air dismissively.

“Frell that!” She snarled, holding up the pin. “Ye have interjected yourself into a war ye have no part of.” She was fairly simmering with rage at this point. She had felt the man as he moved behind her, preparing to strike. She had planned to take him down, and present him to Anathesisus as a captured prisoner. Now, however, things were more complicated.

“He was about to kill you, Fiona. I acted to stop him.” Lucius shot back in reply, his already low voice dropping in tone as his starburst eyes bored into her own. An indignant light came to Fiona’s eyes, as she started at the dead man.

“Ye insufferable, self-absorbed idiot! I nae need your protection!” Her hand rose, connecting hard with Lucius’s cheek, ripping down the scarf as she pulled it back. Frosty emerald eyes widened at the sight she beheld, for Lucius’s left cheek was partially missing, the ivory of his jawbone and teeth clearly visible against the pallid flesh. Lucius slowly brought his eyes back to bore into hers, knowing what she was seeing, and softly he spoke.

“Aye, enjoy the mar of my damnation.” Teeth visibly gritted together as he leaned closer to the shadow-assassin. “THIS was my reward, for blindly following faith and honor.” Crimson eyes flared as he leaned back again, his hand coming up to hide the ragged wound with the scarf as he continued. “This is my reward, for throwing away the only person I truly had feelings for, to fulfill a gods-damned political commitment.” He didn’t realize fully what he was saying at the moment, but merely let the heat of the moment carry him.
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Fiona DeAuster
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 14, 2006 2:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

She was enraged, and the temper she so carefully controlled flared wildly momentarily in her wintry green gaze before her restraints took hold and dragged the emotion back with impressive speed, leaving only the serenely cold mask in place. “I nae ever wished such a fate upon ye Lucius. Nae. I had hoped ye would have the kind of life ye wanted.”

One that didn’t include her of course and with that thought, she was spinning away. She had to secure her charge and then seek out her guild leader and attempt to explain the death of an assassin. In truth, she had to get away from him. Emotions were becoming too chaotic to contain and the words he uttered only made then claw and struggle inside. He had made his choices so long ago and she had not mattered in them then, so didn’t trust the words spoken now.

Even with his wrecked features and the chill radiating off him, she was still drawn to him. She was the moth to the flame but this time she didn’t wish to be burned. So she ran. Unusual for her, as she never fled from anything, but even as unhurried steps carried her out the Tavern door, she was fighting the urge to dash. For the next hour, she then buried herself in dealing with the matters at hand.

Lord Brutin had already retired for the night, so she set up guards and sent off a few to find the slaver that had attempted to set him up. That one would likely be brought in by the morning. Next, she had to see Anath. He of course wasn’t pleased about the death of the Assassin, but as nothing could be done to change the situation, he assured her he would handle the flack it was certain to generate within the Council. Once all that was done, she was able to get some time for herself. Seconds upon closing the massive door of the Guild Hall, she was sliding off into the weave of black, letting it carry her off where she could collect her scattered thoughts without interruption.

The last time she had sought solace in the dark woods, had been after the shattering of her emotions. Fragments of it had hung within her breast then cracked and jagged edged. With the drama of youth, she had sought her own company to grieve the loss of something not to be hers along with the lost innocence of her own soul. Her father hadn’t understood her behavior and if he saw her now he would be just as confused.

She had been raised to control all emotions and guard against the nature she carried. It was deeply a part of what she was. Something she never could change, anymore then she could round her ears or alter skin color for more then a few hours. She had accepted it and now she sought that restraint, seeking a way to once again bury the rocketing feelings.

Where she stood now was a quiet place, well off the beaten track, where nothing had scarred or marred the beauty of the view spread before her. The lake glowing from the sliver of moon above and the sound of night activities rose in a crescendo to her senses. Yet the serenity of her hiding place didn’t ease her bubbling emotions, but here she didn’t feel the need to guard against them so rigidly. None would see the strain on her pale features or the raw emotion that shone in the bleak green eyes.

In private she could allow some of the memories to rise. Remembering with perfect clarity that first night. The heat and the pain, the sensations of touch and lust she thought she would drown in it. Reason hadn’t mattered much, for even as she knew she should draw back, pure impulse had consumed her. At the time she hadn’t found an answer for it. He was wrong for her with his God and his pious ways, and still when she was in his arms, he had felt ever so right. Even now, wiser and more controlled then ever, she still had no answers to that conflict.

Some would say there was something wrong with her. As he had been the only one she had ever stupidly allowed to touch her heart. Over the years many had tried and all had failed to get close. To touch and seek to attract her notice, but she had shunned them all. Not one had appealed, nor created a single spark of interest and then out of the blue, he was back, changed, colder, and dead and she was unable to still the heat of emotion that threatened to consume her.

She must remember the facts. He had used her, slacked his lust on her body as he saw her as little better then a whore. Her nature in his eyes had declared that and damned her to such misrepresentation, and where his perfect Sapphire wouldn’t ever allow such hedonistic past times, she hadn’t put up even the smallest of a fight against it. At the time, she hadn’t ever felt such hunger for anyone and even today, the same could be said. He had used her, and then cast her aside to marry that virginal frigid bitch, uncaring of Fiona’s feelings or her childish dreams.

She found it ironic that he had claimed to love that creature and desired her at the same time. Fiona was dark where as his betrothed had been fair. She was shorter, with more curves, and the blond had been tall and willowy. Elegant and placid as a glass of water and she was and just as bland of flavor as far as Fiona had been concerned. While she hadn’t hidden herself from him, hadn’t held back anything, and even now she cringed at the things she had spoke of. Her secrets nearly all exposed to one that had turned around and wounded her with words she had never expected. “It’s over. I’m to wed another more suitable.”

Oh at the time she had been furious. Her bloodlines if she had cared enough to display them were as pure and long as the lands she hailed from. Her cousin was a queen, and yet, those words had not once fell from her lips. The truth of it was, she simply hadn’t been “good” enough to be considered a wife. Hell, she hadn’t even been clean enough but for back room liaisons masquerading as romantic interludes. She had been gullible and now had to find the strength to not let on any emotion at all.

His nature now, hardly suited such attentions. She was aware of what he was and knew full well he had no interest in a dalliance of any physical disposition. So in that she had no fear. It was her erstwhile emotions that she would need to contain. It was the only redeeming feature in what she felt was a nightmare of errors on her part.

Settling her self down upon the thick stretching root of the large oak, she rested her back against the towering trunk and just lectured herself in silence. She wasn’t a blind idiot now. She needn’t fear any attention from him that would shake her resolve, for he was one of the undead, a warrior for Death. Lust, as far as she knew, was normally found under the “life” category and made him incapable of such urges.

She gave a moment to ponder his words. It was apparent he did at least remember her, but hard to know the extent, considering his cold emotionless eyes and the grave like rasp. For a moment she had felt his rage and did wonder if he thought she had been part of his current state. She hadn’t done it consciously, but wouldn’t been at all surprised to have been accused of his corruption.

“Pull ye self out of it Fiona.” It was so bad she was starting to think she could feel him near and for just a moment believed she was letting her chaotic imaginings take over. It was the hissing of her blade that did alert her that someone was indeed invading her peace and she froze where she sat.

It was a desperate gathering of wandering emotions she was quickly struggling to stuff back into the rattling closet of skeletons within her mind and slowly, her inky black head turned to stare into the darkness just outside the bower of trees. It just was not possible he had dared to follow her. Had he? Would he? Why would he?

Frosty cold green eyes started to narrow now, thinking perhaps it was another one of those Assassins of DV sent to kill her. Tense and expectant now, she rocked up with a lazy motion to her feet. She wouldn’t go down without a fight and would be on her feet to face them. They dared hunt her down in a place she considered a private sanctuary and for that someone was going to pay, and pay dearly.

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"Someone screaming softly in the distance
I run to seek my refuge from the light
until the darkness once more falls upon me"
Stabbing Westward
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Lucius DeAuster
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 14, 2006 2:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As Fiona turned and headed for the door of the tavern Lucius fumed, fury radiating off of his dead form, the chill of the grave growing as the rage bloomed. Turning to the tarnsmen, he directed them to take the prisoners to the SA dungeons. Brutin’s torturers would extract what the slaver lord would need, soon enough.

Turning from the tavern, ignoring the protests of the tavern owner about broken furniture, he stepped into the shadows and vanished form view. A power he had discovered after his fall, shadow walking made for an excellent way to travel, as well as capturing surprise in combat, as the doomed members of the RhyDin Council had learned, too late. The fools had thought the myriad guilds and groups of the realm would accept their arrogant proclamations; they had been wrong. Now, one remained alive, if you could call being trapped in a realm of shadows alive. It had amused Lucius to join with his erstwhile enemies in the Knights of Takhisis and the other independents in crushing the Council.

He stepped from the shadows in the Underhalls, moving the few steps to sit down on the dais; arms stretched upon the armrests as he silently brooded. She had turned and walked away. Walked away! Crimson eyes flared for a second, and then dulled again as the momentary anger dimmed again. Did she really dismiss him just like that?

No. This would not be tolerated. Fiona would know how he had felt after their parting. She used Sapphire like a bludgeon on him, not knowing the truth of the situation. The blonde-haired bitch had been using him to climb the social ladder, and had not cared for him. Probably welcomed the advances of that thrice-damned Corbane. Such had his thoughts turned, in the years sitting on this very throne, brooding over events.

“Ah, the mighty warrior returns from fresh triumphs, I see.” The voice, higher in tone than his own, echoed through the Underhalls. It’s owner stepped through the doors, ornate, voluminous robes billowing around the lean form as his walked, almost seeming to glide, toward the dais.

“I am not in the mood right now, lich.” Lucius growled softly in reply, cerulean orbs finding the crimson-glowing eyes of his visitor. Skin stretched pale over hollow cheeks, the mark of decay arrested. The deathknight’s visitor bowed low at the waist, a mocking of deference to royalty. Such was the game the undead played.

“Ah, but dark moods are the perfect time to make dark plans.” Soft laughter filled the dreary hall as the lich straightened, arms folding into the sleeves of his robes. “You do remember our plans, yes?”

“I have not forgotten them, Daugolozan.” His arm moving to slash through the air, Lucius leaned forward. “And they proceed as we have decided. But other matters need tending to currently.”

Daugolozan regarded Lucius for a long moment before he again spoke. “Now, now, DeAuster, there is no need for the temper. We are all friends, after all.”

“Perhaps my lord is simply thinking of matters of state right now, lord Daugolozan.” The new voice, as light as the others were dark, replied before Lucius could growl a response. A pale hand came from behind his throne, running a ruby-red nail lightly along the deathknight’s shoulder greave. Slowly, almost akin to a snake uncoiling from a winter lair, the newest arrival stepped from behind the throne, draping her self over a bare armrest. Pale skin bared along long legs and the tone midriff to best advantage, the woman again laughed softly. “After all, he IS the lord of a growing domain, one which we both serve, lich.”

A look of distaste flickered over Daugolozan’s features, as he regarded the woman. “DeAuster, I cannot believe you still allow that. . . that. ... Marilith have run about the place.” He fairly spit out the last, his eyes giving the appearance of narrowing in his annoyance.

“Zaleena has her purposes, Daugolozan, as do you.” Lucius rose from the throne and stepped down the dais, drawing a pout from Zaleena, who slipped down to sit in the throne, legs cast over the armrest as she slowly drew a finger over the red silk outfit she wore to smooth it down. Lucius paid her no mind, stepping over to face the lich, eye to eye. “You continue your experiments here at my suffrage.”

“And don’t you forget, it was I who came up with the plan to dominate the most powerful groups of the nearby realms from within.” Daugolozan spat back, his own eyes now blazing as brightly as Lucius’. “Along with my plans to make a better breed of undead, we will cow this realm, and the others soon enough.”

“Indeed.” Growling softly, Lucius half-turned, extending a hand to Zaleena, who quickly slipped from the throne to glide down to the other two. “Zaleena, I want you to work with Daugolozan here for the next few days in helping him obtain what he needs in his experiments.” The demoness’s expression fell at his words.
“What? No, you can’t be serious!” Her expression aghast and mirrored Daugolozan’s own. “Do I have to?”

“DeAuster, I have no need of this…creature’s help.” His venomous tone had Zaleena’s pink tongue flashing out at him in a petulant expression.

“Enough!” Lucius roared, causing both to jump. “You will do this, while I tend to other business. And when that is settled, we will return to our own plans. I have spoken!” Whirling, he stalked toward the doors leading to the passage to the surface, leaving the two to stare at one another.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 14, 2006 3:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

“I have spoken!” The words, a high-pitched mockery of Lucius’s last comment, had Daugolozan giggling softly as he moved around his laboratory. Set up in what used to be one of the servant quarters of the upper keep, his laboratory was filled with tables of bubbling beakers and glass tubing, and bookshelves lined the walls. The lich was carefully pouring a mixture into another beaker, still chortling softly. “The utter arrogance of that whelp is astounding.”

“Can you blame him?” Zaleena joined softly with his laughter, lounging in the comfortable chair behind Daugolozan’s desk, heeled feet resting on its corner. “There’s not many who can match him in power, you know.”
“Yes, but that arrogance will be his downfall, if he is not careful.” Setting the beakers on the table, Daugolozan approached the desk and the marilith. “He does not suspect our alliance, I trust?”
“As much as I bitch about you, I daresay no.” Red lips curling into a smile, Zaleena looked up at the undead man. “Nor does he suspect your true nature, Dauggy dear.”

“Excellent.” Hands rubbing together, the lich moved around the desk, to caress her cheek almost gently. “Our little ruse is earning dividends already, my dear. I have a lead on two new artifacts already.”

“And you want me to try to track them down?” An eager light came into the marilith’s emerald green eyes, as she moved to stand. Daugolozan nodded, stepping away to take a parchment from the near table to hand to her.
“This is the best direction I have to the first. Follow it, and see what you find.” Zaleena gave a quick glance to the parchment, which was rolled up with efficient movements and tucked into the waist of her fluttering skirt. “If DeAuster asks, you’re looking for spell components for me.”

“Of course.” Stepping closer, Zaleena gave the lich her best smile, batting her lashes coyly. “We’ll celebrate when I get back, yes?”

“Ah yes, we will celebrate.” Teeth flashed as Daugolozan smiled. Zaleena quietly pouted as she turned to head to the door. She was been trying hard to attract DeAuster’s attention, the better to control him, but the deathknight seemed oblivious to her charms. And be damned if Daugolozan wasn’t reacting either. Alas, she would have to just try harder!
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 14, 2006 3:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Storming into the darkened hall, Lucius stepped into the shadows, using the threads to feel his way through the dark domain. The dark weave thrummed with power, as well as the signatures of several who could travel through them. One such aura he now focused on, and moved toward.

Stepping back into view, he glanced around. He stood in the bowl of a large oak, near the edge of a forest clearing. Eyesight as sharp as an eagle at night looked around, as well as other sense he now possessed. She was near.

He should have known Fiona would still be angry with him. Their last meetings had not been easy. He did not blame her for that, would not even blame her for locking away the times they had shared into a small corner of memory, to be cast away from the light of day. After all, he was a pox to her, a weak and vain mortal who could not control his emotions and lust; a man who could not even make a correct choice.

So be it, he would live with that. That man was dead, purged of the weakness in the fires of the dark rebirth. She may pity and hate him, but they would come to an understanding, if they were to be in close company again. To do otherwise would welcome disaster and he would not do that!

He saw her stand as he neared the edge of the clearing, looking in his general direction. She had gained much in her years, and moved just as lithesome as he remembered. That brought a moment of memory, a playful moment one night, in the garden of a manor house they had shared for a weekend. He had chasing her through the paths of the garden in a light springtime rain, and the supple movements as she evaded his grasps. The memory gave him pause, but then, with a flaring of the twin nova’s that were his eyes, he stepped past the ring of trees into the clearing, into her view.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 14, 2006 8:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ice-green eyes narrowed slowly at the sight of him stepping from the veil of trees and her lips took a faintly thin line, but she did return the grumbling dagger to her hip sheath. The snap of the security strap loud to her own ears even as she was battling the rage of emotions rising inside at the mere sight of him. She was reminded momentarily of the first time she had laid eyes upon him, so long ago. For a brief moment, with the darkness and the faint glow of the moon, she was thrown back to the Garden’s of Lord Damrin. The lighting making the old Lucius and the new blur for a moment and made her voice sharper then usual, as she battled to get them straight in her swirling thoughts and muffle the sharp pang the memory brought. “What do ye want DeAuster?”

That grave shrouded voice of his sent a chill over her, but it’s effect was hidden from his starring crimson eyes. “I wanted to speak to you.”

“Why?” She snapped out with a spin and started back to resume her seat under the large tree. Her gaze sought the peaceful view, hoping it would still the turmoil that was sweeping over her senses. She should have known her retreat, would have made him more determined. He had proven that in the past, and apparently that side of him hadn’t faded. Glancing at him as he started to move closer and her eyes flickered with irritation before she contained it. In fact, it looked as if he was more unyielding now then before.

“We will be working together closely. Your current behavior will not aid that.” The emotionless words caused a muscle in her cheek to jump with the sudden clenching of teeth.

Eyes colder then the arctic cut his way and she smirked faintly. “Ah, I see. Well then, if my “behavior” is a problem for ye, I can always quit. I nae need to work nae more.” It was taking all she had not to lash out in some way. She wanted these insane feelings to return to where she had pushed them down deep inside, and left them to rot and was more then willing to do just as she said.
She could feel the cracking of the carefully constructed walls she had built around herself and felt a stir of panic. More memories surfacing in light of her racing thoughts, little moments captured like an artist renderings. Meetings in moonlit gardens, serene forests and even out of the way Inns and every last one was designed to torment her.

She could feel his silence, but as she battled to entrap her roiling emotion she just let him have the time to contemplate her offer. She had cast aside such things years back, the moment he had pushed her away. She found she liked her cold life and the lack of emotional upheavals that such frivolous things as “Lust”, “Love” and “Passion” could create. History had shown time and time again, how such things could be the downfall of nations and races, so that choice had been an intelligent one.

Only those nights like this, when she sought peace for herself, did she occasionally mourn the loss of her own optimism and even the innocence of her youth, but she did prefer the colder calculations of a wise mind. She wasn’t driven by such baser needs like so many around her. Commonly now, her behavior was not motivated by her own urges and she did prefer it. It gave her a certain edge in most instances and allowed her to keep her distance with ease.

She had worked for a Demonic clan for a time, and had been something of an enigma to them, for she hadn’t cared to embrace their more hedonistic ways, and hadn’t had any trouble at all shunning the advances cast her way. Her cold, emotionless and distant demeanor had held her apart and allowed her to do her job without anything to cloud her judgment. Such was her idea of perfection and she wished nothing to unsettle her perch.

Coming to a stop a few feet away from her and upon hearing her response arms lifted and folded over his armored chest. It was his turn for those red eyes to narrow and likely if she had seen his ruined face she might of caught the sneer, but as it was covered she only noted the stance. “I never thought you a coward Fiona.”

For just a moment her eyes flickered with an array of hot emotions but the fire was doused seconds upon springing to life with rigid control. Gloved hands resting on her bent knees flexed but the fists never were born, instead she took some quiet even breaths and then gave a shrug. “Think as ye will. Nae matters to me how ye might take my actions. I gave up decades back wondering, or caring what ye might think of me.” A raven brow arching with the arrogant tilt of her chin and her wintry green gaze flicked over him with derision.

“Ye did make that rather plain at the time. Of course I could also thank ye.” This time rose pale lips took a bitter turn and she gave a low, frosty laugh. “Ye did teach me that I was a fool and that emotions were a waste of time. Nae to mention that “Love” is but a frivolous illusion, shadows have more substance then such a, “ A soft snort floated from her, “vague feeling. Tis but a pretty word to excuse more primal urges and nae anything to waste me time upon.”

She could feel the rage growing inside him and the sheer energy it was radiating did have her coming slowly to her feet. Her movements unhurried and she forced them to seem almost casual. Cutting another sharp look his way and just gave a tight brittle little smile. She had one thought coming to her mind and that was simply to get away from him before she lost the tenuous thread she had on her wayward emotions, but she also had some pride and wasn’t about to flee, even if her emotions were storming fragile defenses.

“Was there something else ye be requiring then DeAuster?” A nimble step up on the thick bark covered root she was nearly as tall as he was now, and just took a lazy lean against the massive trunk behind her. Her gloved hands now moved towards the low-slung belt riding her slim hips, with thumbs hooking to rest in a casual pose.

Her ice-green eyes now rested upon him, just waiting for some sign or response so she could spring to action. The anger wasn’t stilling, in fact she was almost sure it was growing even more ominous. A confusing thing, as she had been the one cast aside, and no matter the reason, the rejection still stung, even if she hated to acknowledge it.

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Lucius DeAuster
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 15, 2006 9:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Watching her as she moved, he remained immobile simply standing with his arms folding over the blasted chest plate. “Aye, milady DeWil, I have one more thing to say. . .” He watched her closely, as he waited to see what her next response would be.

A raven dark brow arched slightly but she also remained unmoving, and just regarded him with the chilly gaze she had perfected over the course of years past. “Alright then, say what ye wish.” It was taking everything she had to remain still and managed to appear coldly serene and she was actually starting to resent his presence and what it was creating within her.
“I wish to apologize for what I did to you.” Could it be, the timbre of his voice, however sepulchral, softened just a bit? Perhaps, as he remained unmoving, except for his cloak, stirring lightly in a slight evening breeze.

That brought a low sharp laugh from her and her head turned to look out over the water; the movement sending the long sleek braid she wore swaying faintly behind her. “Aye, ye apology be accepted.” Assuming that would be plenty enough to get him to leave her in peace now. “It’s in the past and best left to rot where it should, don’t ye think DeAuster?”
Had he expected forgiveness? Who knows? He remained motionless, though, even if his tone returned to its normal resonance. “Just as I should be rotting in a crypt?” His head tilted slightly as he regarded her.

Her features tightened again, only for a brief flash of a moment and then she forced herself to relax and just turned her gaze back to resting upon him. “I told ye already I nae ever wished any of that,” hand moving in a sweeping gesture in his direction. “Upon ye, DeAuster.” Had I wished ye dead, I would have nae warned ye about the assassination contract, now would I? “

“Indeed. And I wished to tell you I was sorry for hurting you.” Her gaze was returned evenly, for it was not easy to nonplus the undead. “I have thought about it for some time, hoping I would be able to tell you this one day. “

Rose pale lips twisted into a mockery of a smile and she shifted, the tension riding her body as mercilessly as the feelings all struggling to sweep past her controls, but she restrained them with sheer force of will. “Then consider ye have assuaged ye soul of any wrongs ye might have done to me, real or perceived.”

“Perhaps, if you truly meant that, would be able to.” No change in the tone, which would unsettle many who worked with body language. “I cannot change the past, Fiona, however much I may want. I can only mark the future.” And now, he did move, an arm slowly sweeping around. “And that future is serving under you. That, I will do to the best of my ability.”
Now some of the temper she was struggling to contain slipped past the walls she erected around them and her winter green eyes shot to meet his and then just ground down her teeth before responding. “Fine, and what are ye hoping for in the future DeAuster? I have been trying to stay strictly professional so nae see much reason for this discussion.”

“Because we have a history, one made worse by my rash actions.” The arm came back down, folding against his chest again. “I felt it better we at least attempt to confront our past, so we can work together.”

She had hoped he would have forgotten that past but knew such a wish was fruitless and now, she felt a need to move, stepping down lightly from the stretching root and away from him with another sinuous sway of her braided hair. “So, how, pray tell shall we confront it DeAuster? “

“Now is the perfect time to vent your anger at me.” He said simply, as he turned slightly, watching her move. “I would not want you distracted in the middle of combat, where you could be hurt.”

“I nae see any reason for venting any anger upon ye now for my own misconceptions of the past DeAuster. It will not distract me or get in the way in the event of combat either.” A smirk he likely couldn’t see as she was walking away from him slowly towards the lake edge. “I nae care enough to bother upon such things.”

“And for that, I am sorry.” He could not say anything more than that. He did not know how to make amends. “If I knew how to change things, I would.”

She turned around and looked at him and then time her laugh was calm, soft and low. “Nae ye wouldn’t. Ye would do as ye did before. The same thing as before, ye be a creature of habit and if ye nae knew what was to come, ye would still be wedded to ye own kind. There is nae any going back DeAuster. What’s done is done and it truly is best to leave it to the dust of the ages.”

“Would I?” He growled softly. “If that is what you wish, then so be it. But I have to ask. . .?” And again, the quizzical tilt of his head. “Can you stand side by side with me?”
She sauntered towards him and came to a stop beside him with her expressionless ice-green eyes meeting his and a brow arched. “If that be ye way of asking if I will cover ye back DeAuster, then the answer to that is yes.”

“Just as I will protect you.” He nodded slowly. He had already proven that earlier, with the assassin. “I hope I have not inconvenienced you, in killing the assassin.” Lucius was not repentant of the deed itself, however.

“My Guild leader is handling it, so any inconvenience will be his and nae mine.” She shrugged that off easily and then moved away from him, she only had a certain amount of tolerance after all.

Such he expected, as she moved away. He didn’t expect forgiveness, couldn’t ask for it. He could only offer regrets. “That s good. I will have the bodyguard interrogated, and will find out what he knows.”

“Aye. If he knows anything, ye be hoping.” Her behavior actually wasn’t uncommon she didn’t like anyone getting to close and was usually stepping away to keep her own personal space clear of any other interference.

“If he knows anything, I will learn it.” He growled softly, with a soft nod to her. “Is there anything in particular I should ask him about?”

“Other then who is behind the attack, now. Ye see, working for Brutin, there is always something going on. Someone is attempting to usurp his power by fair means or foul. Tis the beast of the business ye might say. They peddle in flesh and thus, nae have much regard for even their own.” She commented softly.

“I do not remember this particular slaver.” But, being new to the circles, it was entirely possible he had yet to meet that one. “Is it possible, given the assassin being there at the same time, that this was a ruse to get to you?”

Turning around her hands moved down to rest on her belt as she regarded him and then gave a light toss of her dark head, sending the plait dancing against her back. “Aye, it’s possible. I have something or a reputation and there be plenty enough wishing to bring me down.”

“I will find out if that was the case.” A slow nod to her, with the pinpricks of is eyes blazing for a moment. “You have done well for yourself, I see.”

A humorless smile flittered over her pale features then and she gave a slow nod. “Aye, I’ve done well enough. I nae need work now, but do such by choice. All this, be more to stave off boredom and rust then anything else.”

A soft chuckle, as he nodded. “You have drawn the attention of someone, it seems some one with power. And this, could be dangerous.” He looked to her, and found even the humorless smile appealing. “I will strengthen the patrols around the hall.”

“Ye nae need do that DeAuster. I am quite capable of taking care of me self. I have done such for years upon more and am still here. “ A raven brow arching again while she continued to regard him across the clearing. “The patrols can always be put to better use, then for any concerns regarding myself. It’s only what I expect considering the duties I hold.”He slowly nodded to her. “As you wish, milady DeWil. I will see to the interrogation. I will report to you as soon as I have extracted any useful information.”

She moved towards him again, forcing herself to meet his glowing red eyes but her own gaze gave away nothing to the inner turmoil she was feeling. “Aye, that will be fine. So, have we now covered everything ye wished DeAuster?”

Lucius slowly nodded, his own emotions also hidden. It was amazing, feeling again, after all this time. “For now, milady. Unless you have something else to add?”
“Nae, nothing more to add. Ye have a good evening.” She was going to wait until he left them pace herself to exhaustion but for the moment she looked cool and unruffled, unlike how she felt inside.

With a nod, he turned and headed for the edge of the clearing. “Be well, Fiona.” Said as he reached the trees and paused, a slight twist as though he was looking back.
She returned his nod and was heading back towards the tree, the facade erected starting to crack but she held it long enough and once he was out of sight, she didn’t need to guard so much against it.

Stepping into the shadows the deathknight faded from view, the aura of cold fading as he did.
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Fiona DeAuster
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 15, 2006 2:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Once he was gone, she could relax, if what she was doing could be called such. She was more in edge then before. A curious thing her anger was more towards herself then him now. True, she felt bitter about him and his place in the past, but the fact was, it was she who had the problem. It came down to her having to stop fighting the reminders and just let them go, maybe it will help her come to grips with the abrupt return of the only man she had allowed herself to love.

Remembering now, with keenly sharp details the first time she had ever laid eyes on him. She had little knowledge then of the impact he would have upon her, but now, against her will she was drawn quickly into those long lost days. Those memories feeling as if they had happened a life time ago.



It had been just another job. She was to find a way to get close to such a politician, a creature of vast vanity and stolen power so the request had claimed. Her father had offered it to her, knowing her own personal dislike of such creatures. She didn’t care for their two faced antics and had dispatched a few on her own for the simple pleasure of it. Thus, when the Dubh Order had received this contract, she had been the perfect tool for this illicit operation.

It had taken her some time to find a way to get close to the mark. Each step had been done with great care after all. He was well guarded and his home was fortress of traps both physical and magical. Her usual means of travel appeared to have been recently blocked, meaning to her that he might have gotten some intelligence about his imminent demise.

He was just the type she could enjoy watching the life fade away from. He was seen as something of a hero in the regions he was based, but his secrets were as dark as the abyss. The veil of goodness that he wore appeared to work on most, but she did have some inside information about Lord Damrin’s dark closet of snakes.

It wasn’t that he was more evil then good that irritated her. On the contrary, that would have amused her. It was his belief that he was above everyone else. He was better then the rest. He didn’t have to answer to anyone and could do as he liked, and he would never be caught. This was where she found the disgust rising. This creature thought he was on the side of good, yet condoned actions against those he felt were his enemy in the most devious of forms. It was a trait many of those self proclaimed “Do-Gooders’s” often did. To her, this was it’s own sin. It’s own form of evil. One shouldn’t hide what they truly were.

Not to mention, she had discovered over time, that those that claimed right to the “Good” and “Light” were far more inclined to back stabbing, betrayal and out right murder, all in the name of “Right”. Their “Right”.

It then took her a few weeks to get into a position for action. Using a few of her father’s ties, she took on the role of which she had been born and yet usually sought to avoid. A visiting Noble’s daughter from Sarion, recently sent on a tour of the regions of Zymiar. Of course she didn’t use her real last name, but by using the contacts was able to slide comfortably into the guise she knew rather well and into the very circles Damrin traveled.

With some slight manipulations upon one particularly greedy family, seeking a rich connection, she was offered a place to rest and relax for a few days before continuing on with her travels. While there, an invitation to a formal ball was then gifted. It was all rather simple really. Such societies seldom look past the appearance to what lay beneath a pretty surface. Not to mention, Ladies of breeding, simply didn’t fall into the category of dangerous. At least not in the minds of those she now found herself associated with.

While she had a certain confidence when it came to her chosen profession, she found the antics of the Upper Classes rather a vapid affair. It was true her own linage was as pure and regal as their own, her upbringing was not a study in insipid giggling and vacant thought. So, even as she did attempt to blend in, her nature alone made her stand out as a rather serious young lady. She often heard the comments, said under a breath or under an over laced fan, that she was odd.

“Must be living out there without proper associations I wager.” One feather headed Miss commented.

“Lucky she has money or she would be on the shelf forever.” Another patronizing matron was over heard.

This hardly caused a moment of concern. She didn’t need to fit into this world for long, thankfully. This would be her own personal vision of hell. She was not seeking a Husband, having little need for such forms of protections. Nor was she vain. Shallow was simply not a part of her nature and after looking on upon an entire region of it; she thanked the Goddess she had been blessed with a full functioning brain.

The night of Ball was a clear one. Stars shimmering like silver dust in the black sky. The home of Damrin was lit up with bright lights and candles lost in tinsel flowers that lined the drive. If one was of a whimsical mind, it could have been called Magical by its very design. He spared little for cost in this display of power and wealth and it showed in the opulence.

She had refused to adorn herself in the common pale shades favored by the current fashion. The mere thought of wearing anything pastel had nearly made her ill, not to mention, she might need to flee swiftly, and a light colored garment would hardly aid such a flight. Hence, she had chosen to wear an emerald green velvet dress instead. Red would have been better for it did hide bloodstains, but at the horrified look on her hostesses face at the suggestion, she had to alter this rather swiftly. Claiming she had only been making such a quip in jest.

With every known manner of pomp, they were lead into the massive ballroom. Joining the already large crowd of guests under the sparkling candle lit chandeliers. Knowing only to well it would be some time before she could slip away unnoticed, she forced herself to smile and be introduced to Societies elite.

Eventually, she managed to excuse herself and slipped out into the dark gardens for a breath of air and a means of getting a fast look at the lay of the lands, as was her habit. She never failed to determine the best routes of escape before committing to any job and this one would be no different.

It was outside where she first saw the man. While the darkness masked his features, his aura was a touch hard to miss for one of her unique nature. Few in this realm were what she could call holy, but this one, gave off the light of being the real thing. Ice green eyes watched as he spoke with one of the Lords and her sharp ears strained to hear, but the soft rose scented breeze caught the words from her attempts making this impossible.

“What in the Goddess’s name is a Paladin doing here?” Was the thought as she continued to watch from the safe veil of shadows. For how long the two men stood there she could not say, but eventually they parted company with the customary salute of hands and still she watched as he returned to the sparkling room inside.

It was the inkling of worry now that brushed over her mind. Her dagger was hissing, having felt the presence and was hardly helping alleviate the sudden sense of unease. She wasn’t used to such emotions and with her usual calm reasoning, decided to find out just why one of those Holy Creatures was here. His attendance could conceivably ruin her plans and that hardly pleased her.

Determined, she turned and quietly slipped back inside. It took her only a few moments to locate her prey, amidst the thong of pale dresses, satin tunics and military uniforms. One single passing thought about how he also looked just slightly out of place among the strutting peacocks before she brushed it aside and set about discovering who he was and why he was in Balevar this very night.

She was not one for pursuing the opposite sex. She had little time for the frivolous foolishness of liaisons or even casual romps, however, even she could admire this man. He stood well above the other men in the room, exuding a certain confident dignity that the rest lacked in this realm of vanity. The long shag of auburn hair and trimmed beard gave him a wild look that stood out. It was obvious he was not from this Balevar, but again, the fission of unease fluttered along tensing nerves. Why was he here?

His posture alone told her he was Military. The sword at his side made her skin crawl in the most unpleasant manner, but this did not deter her, not at all. She had never let the unexpected shake her, and she wasn’t about to start now. Paladin or not, she would finish out the contract.

With a few carefully placed queries, she learned his name. She also had her own swift perceptions confirmed. He was not from here, but was said to be a Foreign Dignitary. Hardly a post she needed to fear. He was military as well, but the rank seemed to escape the simpletons she questioned. This information soon relieved much of her concerns. He wasn’t a worry for her apparently and was only here as just another guest to this over stuffed party.

It was that cold tickling that raced up her spine that warned her, mere moments before she heard the voice of one of her recent informants calling to her. Upon turning her tension returned with a fury along with the suddenly intense heat rising on her thigh where her demon dagger rested.

Her careful attempt at casual interest had sparked the heart of a matchmaker, who was now attempting to drag this DeAuster the Paladin towards her. Her knowledge of such classes was slightly limited. She had the basics, but as she didn’t know his true power, this might get ugly very swiftly. He would sense her true nature if she wasn’t careful.

Drawing upon every discipline she had, she sought to mask the half he would likely detect. It was likely one of the most difficult tasks she had attempted in some time and the strain would cost her later, this she knew. However, she could hardly run now. That would draw unwanted attention and that she simply couldn’t have. Instead, she pasted a polite smile on her face and braced for impact.

The faint wince as they were introduced, told her quickly she had not been successful in fully masking the Half Demon side. Luckily, there was several people around her and if he didn’t look to close, he might not realize it was coming from her. The trick would be to keep this little introduction quick.


“Lady Fiona. May I introduce Lucius DeAuster. He’s an Ambassador from one of those Clannish Realms. The name escapes me at the moment.” The lady beamed a broad smile up at the slightly pained looking man.

“Lord DeAuster, This is the Lady Fiona, she’s cousin to the Duke of Sarion.”

If he was one of those that could detect lies, he would find only truth. She was Lady Fiona and she was cousin to Parllan, but after that, it did become slightly murky. Digging deep inside, she turned on her most charming of smiles and offered a velvet green hand towards him. “Tis’ lovely to meet ye Milord.”

“Milady.” Came his response in a low deep voice and bowed with just enough effort to be barely polite over the splayed fingers.

Unable to bring herself to giggle in the manner common of the ladies here, she offered a quiet laugh instead, while drawing her fingers away. Pity he was of a Holy Order as even that innocuous touch had created a bit of confusion internally. Part found it appealing and the other side and shuddered in revulsion. “What bring ye to our fair land Milord?”

“Business.” Just that one word and he seemed to need some air. His brow darkening slightly as it was suddenly assaulted by a severe headache. “If you will excuse me Ladies.” And away he went, not looking back.

“Well!” The matchmaker huffed. “That was rather rude, don’t ye think Lady Fiona.”

“Nay, nay. He must be a very busy man. Ambassadors usually are. Now, I must find some refreshment. If ye will excuse me Milady Tristina.” Waiting as was expected for a response before she fled.

“Oh yes dear. Do get some of that lovely fruit wine. It’s divine really.”

“Ah, yes. That sounds just the thing. Thank ye Milady.”

Freedom! She was off. Gliding towards the doors towards the garden. The Paladin wasn’t a threat after all. She had managed to withstand a full on confrontation without notice. Her disguise was still intact, even if her nerves yet danced about from the brief contact of hands.

“Should have used the Succubi smile on the creature.” Garith hissed as she paused in the darkness of the garden and prepared.

“One doesn’t do that in mixed company Imp.” She whispered while brushing the skirt down over her legs and took a quick survey of the upper floors from that vantage point in the darkened garden paths.

“Aww, but it would be so much fun to try and corrupt the Holy.” A snickering, devious laugh followed.

“Aye, perhaps, but I nay have time for such. Besides, tis’ possible he would be immune.”

“Not likely! I wager he isn’t.” More bubbling hisses falling from the blade now resting in her velvet fingers.

“Tis’ possible he is, now hush up ye babbling beast. We have a contract to fulfill.”

“I will shut up if you at least try the smile on the next Holy One we see.”

“Aye, fine ye pesky demon. If I see him again, I shall throw a lingering dream upon his thoughts. Satisfied?” Ice green eyes flashing as she glowered down at the blade just hissing in her hand.

“Oh! Oh.. Wonderful! I shall hold ye to that promise!” He then fell to silence as he agreed and she slipped smoothly into the shadows to locate the prey.

Senses stretching with the aid of shadowy Sentries, she found many of the usual wards of the place had been lowered for this stuffy gathering and smirked to herself. Unseen eyes sent back impressions in a collage of colors and snippets of words. Even at the chaos of which she was well used to, she caught her prey’s location and was off, slipping easily into the embracing night.

Others were with him, she noted and prepared to wait for as long as needed for him to be alone. She amused herself by taking Damrin’s companion’s measure. Most looked as over blown as he was.

“A dim witted lot Eh Mistress?” The mental hissing of Garith floated over her thoughts and she could only agree. “One thinks that even if ye fell into sight, they wouldn’t even notice.”

“Oh I think they would.” For one younger man did seem to be shifting uncomfortably and looking around. It was as if he could sense he was being watched. Odd, most in this realm were usually to self-centered to notice what time of day it was let alone be sensitive enough to feel anything other worldly. Not only that, it was that one who fled first. Making some rushed excuses and moving out the door as it already hunted.

Once he was gone the rest slowly followed Her target actually remained behind. Placing the array of papers into the desk and locking it, in what she found a slightly nervous manner. Making one mental note to collect those papers before she departed, for not only did the Dubh Order deal in assassinations, but also found information to be very lucrative.

Easing from the pocket of a deep corner shadow, she moved up behind Damrin without disturbing even the air. In mere seconds he sank face down over his desk into his own growing pool of blood. He didn’t even have a moment to cry for help for it happened that fast. While it was true she would have liked to make him suffer just a little longer, the location and the level of guards surrounding the place made such pleasure wasteful and dangerous.

Yanking the drawer open with the splintering of the lock that had contained those papers, she peered at them a moment then efficiently gathered them up and slipped them into the bodice of her dress with a faint smirk at the blood happy dagger. “I am thinking this little contract might prove to be vastly profitable eh Garith?”

Even as the demon blade gurgled in agreement he was carefully wiped upon the satin doublet of Damrin. “I did get just a touch nervous when that Novice Paladin was here, but it seemed that worry was unfounded. He ran like a scared little puppy!”

Fiona froze then. The words echoing in her head then her teeth snapped with lips pursing into a tight line. “Damn!” Before she sheathed the dagger, she dragged its tip down over the edge of the restricting skirt. Sliding Garith home, her fingers tore the offending garment from well above her knees, leaving only the stocking clad legs exposed. “Looks like it will be a bit of flight and fight after all.”

Even before she had tossed the length of cloth into the waiting shadows, the door crashed open and there the light already blazing openly from the full blown Paladin poured into the room, nearly blinding her. Not only that, he had effectively blocked any shadow avenues of escape for the glow sent them fleeing at it’s very touch.

Undeterred, she moved with preternatural speed towards the window. So fast that it would have appeared as if her feet hadn’t even touched the floor. Below the moat waited, but she wasn’t concerned about taking a dip. It was that foul sanctified sword being drawn that had her tensing up well-deserved apprehension.

Eyes meeting for a moment, hers narrowed and intent in a mirroring of his, but the Paladin’s also glinted with some religious fervor she never would understand. Then, they widened with surprise, a surprise she took full advantage of and smoothly swung her legs up on the window ledge.

“Smile at it!!” Hissed the dagger, vibrating with stinging heat on her thigh.” You promised! Smile at it! Throw it off guard!”

Muttering for a moment as her gaze dated towards the wavering of that sword and what pain such a thing could inflict on one of her kind. It was due to that she simply reacted. If the action slowed him down even a little, it would be all she needed to escape undamaged. Thus, she unleashed that farewell smile. Using an arsenal of demonic abilities and every expendable bit of power she could afford in it’s offering.

This was not a commonly used weapon for her, so she was also startled at the stunned expression that fell over the Holy Man’s face, but she didn’t wait to see for how long. Instead, she slipped from the window like an autumn leaf from a tree, letting the air catch her and pull her safely into the shadows that waited long before the icy cold waters of the moat could claim her.



She shook herself from her memories, realizing the hour was growing late and she still needed to rest. Rising with a lazy stretch from the seat on the tree and in seconds was melting into the shadows.

A few minutes later and she was entering the austere apartment she held in the city. It was a pristine place, uncluttered and elegant, but there wasn’t any of her own personality found at first glance. In truth, where one might learn about her was back at her father’s own Keep, here, was but a place to rest and little more. She wasted little time in shedding her leathers and was soon bathing away the grim of the earlier fight and checking the various injuries with a sort of detached air. Some bruises a few cuts, all already starting to heal with her half demonic nature.

Such an amusing thing, were as she might have corrupted Lucius, her involvement with him, had woken her demon side, and the little things like the faster speed of healing was just one of the bonuses along with more then a few drawbacks as well. Back then she hadn’t been able to heal as swiftly without aid.

With her thoughts roaming she was dropping into the large canopied bed and pulling up the covers, feeling the crisp sheets dragging against her aching form and just sighed. Chilled nights like this also didn’t help contain the memories either.

At least her dreams wouldn’t interfere with his, for she doubted he slept and soon enough she was drifting off into the quiet rest and reverie, the one memory from earlier just continuing to play even as she slept.

_________________
"Someone screaming softly in the distance
I run to seek my refuge from the light
until the darkness once more falls upon me"
Stabbing Westward
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Fiona DeAuster
Adult Wyrm
Adult Wyrm


Joined: 19 Apr 2006
Posts: 234
See this user's pet
Jobs: Bullet Catcher, Cartographer
Can Be Found: Gharnholme, RhyDin, and acoss the realms of Carowyn
10772.72 Silver Crowns

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PostPosted: Tue Aug 15, 2006 2:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

In her sleep she tossed and turned with movements that spoke of her discomfort but try as she might, her mind wouldn't let go of those old memories. In the dreaming plain she didn't have the controls or ability to stop them. Yet she still muttered in protest as the next vision began to flow.

It had been almost too easy finding Ranuff's hold. The dark stormy night having made movement easy for one of her kind, with the shadows dancing wild with every flash of lightening above. Over the grounds she traveled, passing without even a visual ripple under the heavy water soaked tree branches. The lights of the mansion glowed in a haze a head, but she paused, going stone still and watched the figure entering.

Imagine that. She hadn't seen that one in quite sometime, but she had not forgotten him. Senses shivered in warning, of what she couldn't say, however, the job was not yet done so she couldn't heed that sudden emotion. Ice green eyes narrowed as one gloved hand rose, drawing the black silk mask down over her pale features. Perhaps he was only there for this party and nothing more. The thought was cold comfort, as her time was limited. News of the Skull had reached the Duibh Order just two nights back, and the ruling set in mere minutes. It had to be acquired at any cost for that knowledge was to remain a secret.

Ranuff's home was not warded against her kind, which was a surprise, considering he had been seeking information about Shadowweavers for some time. Apparently he had not met any Wizards that could protect against such unconventional magery that no effort had even been applied, and suited her just fine. In mere moments, she was sliding through the threads of black right towards the energy only she could sense, the beconing of the shadow skull drew her as a light would likely draw that paladin.

Once inside the room it was nothing for her to drift, listening and watching from the protection of candlelight and looming forms that mottled the study's floor. She watched DeAuster as he inspected the location and took notice of his facial expressions. It was likely the storm outside that had put this Holy one in a foul mood, or something else. None of which should matter to her, but oddly did.

She continued to observe silently as the small elegant poof entered the room. He had the look of a scholar but not for the knowledge, but for the power it gave him. A rather weasly sort of fellow she would enjoy killing if given the chance.

She was allowed a moment of amusement as the Paladin's bad temper was made more overt, his words and manner more speaking of his disgust in such matters of mythical fables then any fact. It was the exposing of her objective however that brought her attention around severely. It was what she was here for, and nothing, not in this inconvienent and uncommon facination with that Holy man, would prevent her from taking it.

"Merely stories to frighten children and apprentices." Those words made her smile behind the mask. Aye, indeed they were often spoken about in such ways. Few knew those old stories had been born in fact and if her Order had anything to say about it, they would remain as nothing more then pure fable.

She waited until the moment she felt she could act, hearing the tension rising in the Paladin's voice and noting the shock upon the nobleman's face and she shifted, fading into solid form and simply attacked. Her intent wasn't to kill, but if it happened, so be it. Garith hissed in her hand as she swung towards DeAuster, the pommel taking the lead, but he moved before the blow could find its mark.

A quick shifting and she was soon dueling with a longer weapon that brought a sharp agony to her head but she persisted. Refusing to back down even as the holy weapon swung far to close for comfort. A silent command, as the shrieks from Ranuff were distracting and soon ribbons of shadows were wrapping themselves about the smaller man's throat, bring a cicession to those disruptive wails.

She danced quickly, darting up under his guard after a wide swing of that foul blade of his and managed to send a deep slash into his forearm, but the action cost her as her mask was ripped away from her face and exposing features. Eyes narrowed and flinty as she registered the shock on his face before she darted in fast with a wide swing of her dagger towards his throat and quite nearly managed it before he spun away with another unexpected movement.

He was larger, but she was faster and used that to her advantage, taking a few bone jolting blows from that sword of his as well as a few gashes that peeled through well worn leather, but held her own, waiting for him to open up a weakness in his guard. The size of the room was also a mute ally for it limited his abilty to battle her more effectively.

When it came, she didn't wait a moment but dove in fast on pure instinct. Garith's hissing demands fogging her thoughts for a moment before she realized she had brought that blade deep into a break in his armor. The falling of that hated sword broke the spell she was under and she jerked back, pushing the suddenly still man towards the floor and ripping Garith free, his mental screams of annoyance suddenly muffled inside her head.

She had only a second but knew she had to restrain him somehow and again acted on sheer impulse, dropping down and using supernatural weight to pin him to the floor. Hardly her best plan, but for the moment it would work and give her time to think. Staring down into stunned gray eyes, her own narrowed slightly at her own thoughts. "Kill him!" Garith screamed.

Yet she paused. Logically he was the enemy, but her mind wouldn't wrap around it. She had not been sent her to kill either, but that usually didn't matter. Confusion played in her mind, along with conflict. He was the enemy and she simply didn't understand this baffling emotion that was staying her hand.

She read the expression in his eyes, and perhaps it was the need to shock him or something else that made her lean down and kiss him. The action backfired, as she hadn't expected him to respond and when he did, she found herself lost in the melding of lips. Nothing like this had ever happened before and even as she warred with herself mentally at her own insanity, she finally managed to drag herself away realizing she still had a job to do. Not only that, but she could hear with sharp Elven ears the heavy thundering of boots moving towards the study.

With one last lingering taste, she hopped to her feet and went into action. She quickly retrieved the box and hastily placing the papers along with the skull into it. A short glance towards Lucius, aware that any moment he would start to move, she grabbed up the heavy chair and sent it spinning towards the window. The silence sudden shattered with the crashing of broken glass and the explosion of wood below in the garden.

Smoothly moving towards the make-shift exit, she turned back, and smiled wickedly. She had won this round again and was already looking forward to the next time their paths would cross. However, the sounds in the hall just beyond the study door gave her little time. She had to leave now and simply turned and bolted into the storm, sliding down over the window's ledge into the waiting darkness below.

She was limited however, even the few minor injuries could become deadly if she shifted into shadow form for any length of time, thus, she could only move swift and silently over the well-manicured lawn towards the street beyond the high stonewall. Rain continued to fall in a dismal mist, but she paid it little attention, simply seeking a place to take a breath within the darker and seedier area of Straddleford.

She finally came to a stop in one of the many ally ways and took a much needed breath. One gloved hand lifted, pushing dark hair from her face before she froze, hearing a sound she didn't expect. Slow measured steps were moving right towards her and she felt her teeth grinding down hard. Even without seeing, she knew who it was, felt it even and was again struck with those baffling and confusing emotions and the serious need to understand them.

The moment the light exploded down over the place she stood, she felt a more comfortable emotion, one of fury as she drew her blade and spun about to the ready. Iced green eyes narrowed and reflected that hated glow like a furious cat. "How?"

"You cannot run from justice, murderer." He didn't answer the question and her anger expanded. She also heard the sound of those men coming nearer and knew what would happen if they caught her. Her gaze shifted to his sword, then towards the ally, gauging her own ability to get past him before the rest arrived. He had only taken one step towards her closing the distance somewhat, but she then took one as well, waiting for him to act with their gazes clashing. She would try to get away, as death was far more preferable to being caught by any city guards. However, he simply dispelled the light and she didn't wait a moment, sliding smoothly into the darkness and protection.

Why she went back and got him, she couldn't say, but as she caught sight of the men moving towards that location, she knew his actions would damn him later. One split second decision and she had him, dragging him into the darkness that was her home and out onto the safety of the rooftop.

Glancing down at the searching figures below, she looked back towards DeAuster, watching the emotions war on his face with her own confusion still muddling her understanding. Perhaps it was the mirror of that very turmoil she found in his eyes that she didn't flee instantly and leave him to his own fate. What drove her towards him she also didn't recognize for it was beyond anything she had felt before. A complete unknown urge that she found she couldn't break free from. Like some unseen hand was guiding her and she was but a puppet to it's bidding.

Heat flowed through her as his lips pressed against hers and she stopped fighting herself. Needs she had never allowed herself to accept took over, burying her logic under the sudden incomprehensible yearning.

_________________
"Someone screaming softly in the distance
I run to seek my refuge from the light
until the darkness once more falls upon me"
Stabbing Westward
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Lucius DeAuster
Old Wyrm
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Joined: 14 May 2006
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PostPosted: Tue Aug 15, 2006 2:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

As he silently stood watching the slumbering city, soft-glowing eyes gleaming under hsi drawn hood, his thoughts were unknowingly echoing hers. Replaying the snippet of memory from his perspective...

“Good evening, milord.” Half-bowing, the butler stepped back as the cloaked figure crossed the threshold. “Master Ranulf is expecting you.” Stepping through the threshold, the other reached up to pull back his hood, shaking water from the shoulder-length hair as it settled.

“I see that your master is entertaining tonight.” Even in the antechamber he could hear the music drifting through the halls, though it had been the carriages outside that had tipped him off. The butler nodded as he shut the door.

“Yes, milord. Lord Ranulf is celebrating Maileens Harvest. However, he instructed that you be brought to his study, and he assures me his business with you is urgent.” The part of the manse he led the silent paladin was markedly quieter, the sounds of the party quickly dying away. Drawing a small key from a vest-pocket, the butler opened a door and motioned Lucius inside. The smell of aged paper assailed him immediately and, as lamps were lit and raised, he saw two walls filled with shelves of books. “Master Ranulf shall be with you shortly.”

Left to his own, Lucius slowly made a circuit of the room. Ranulf’s tastes tended toward the exorbitant, if the ornate desk was any indication. He briefly wondered how many months a family could eat with the money this one piece of furniture would bring, and then dismissed the subject from his thoughts. Across from the desk a large window gave view to the Correll Manor’s gardens. Occasional lightning flashes lit the garden in stark relief, manicured bushes towering under low-lying clouds before being plunged into darkness again. A foul night for this business, he thought, a brief look of distaste crossing his features as he turned away from the window to peruse the bookcases. Ranulf’s taste in books didn’t impress him either, for many dealt with esoteric subjects or ancient empires.

Perhaps it was circumstances of the request of this meeting, or perhaps it was the weather, but a clinging unease ran down his spine. The feeling that events were about to explode. The feeling he had felt many a time during his career. It was not a feeling he liked, but he also drew comfort from it. The feeling meant Leorne was with him, serving his paladin champion even as he was served in kind.

The opening door drew him out of his reverie, and he turned as the master of the manor entered the study. Ranulf Correll was not an impressive figure by any means, though he wasn’t going to fat like many nobles Lucius had dealt with in the past. After making sure the door was secure, Ranulf moved over and extended a hand. Lucius returned the gesture, resisting the brief urge to give a hard squeeze. “Lord Correll, I am Lucius DeAuster. I have been sent regarding your message to the Towers of Justice.”

“Yes, yes, to be sure.” A wan smile tugged at Ranulf’s lips as he moved behind his desk. “I’m pleased the church sent someone so quickly, and in this weather.” A bolt of lightning flashed across the sky, followed by a loud peal of thunder. “Such weather, indeed. I apologize for your wait. Host duties and all that...”

“Your servant, milord.” If Ranulf caught the sarcasm laced in the paladin’s reply, he ignored it, choosing rather to continue. Ignoring the nobleman’s wave to an empty chair, he waited for Ranulf to continue.

“Yes, let us get on with business then.” Cupping his hands before him, Ranulf stared up to the paladin. “Have you heard of the shadowweave?” Lucius shook his head, prompting Ranulf to continue. “There are theories that suggest a dark mirror to the traditional weave of magic. Rumors run rampant of spellcasters that can manipulate the very shadows to their own ends. ”

“Merely stories to frighten children and apprentices.” The paladin grunted, folding his arms before him. “Or figments of the imagination.”

“Noble one, how do you then explain wraiths? Spectres? Or shadows?” Lord Correll stood and moved from behind his desk, and over to a small table next to the bookshelf. His lean fingers lifted to caress the box sitting there. “Incorporeal undead, but darker than your mere ghost.”

“All you just named are aberrations and undead.” Irritation was now clearly evident in Lucius’s tone, head turning so he could keep Correll in sight. “Each was cast from the light of grace, and exists in the darkness of evil.” The words came easily, even though his teaching had been years before.

“So are vampires and ghouls.” Ranulf countered. “However, neither of those can walk through walls.”

“If THAT is your argument for your theories, then you’re wasting my time.” Lucius started to turn toward the door, but was stayed by an upraised hand.

“My proof is in here.” Beaming, Ranulf opened the lid of the box, lifting a small cloth-covered object out and setting it on the table. Engrossed as he was, he missed the scrunching of DeAuster’s eyes, and the hand that drifted down to rest on his sword-pommel. “This, my friend, will prove all the ‘stories’ true.” Reverently, he lifted the cloth, brining into view a grinning skull. Far from ordinary, however, it had a dusky-grey pallor, and one almost imagined wisps of vapor surrounded it. “Beautiful, isn’t it?”

“Not the word I would use for it.” Lucius stepped forward, narrowed eyes on the skull. “There is a taint on this.” A hand came up, almost as if reaching to touch the skull, then drew back. “And how does this…thing prove what you say.”

Placing the cloth back over the skull, Ranulf turned to Lucius, excitement in his features. “These remains were found near the edge of The Wastes, buried deep within one of the caves there.” He kept his hand resting atop the covered skull as he spoke. “The remnants bore clothing similar to that found in the remains of ancient Karathas. But the equipment this person bore was in good condition. Not aged as we would expect.” The nobleman drew out a small sheath of papers from the box. “Thus, I asked for a church representative to come and help our investigation with a divination.” Lucius had been slowly glancing between Ranulf and the table, and now focused on the nobleman.

“Divination?” He was sure the look on his face mirrored the surprise in his voice, his control starting to slip. “Why in Leorne’s name would you want a divination?”

If Ranulf caught the tone, he ignored it. A trait many nobles seem to possess, Lucius briefly thought, watching Ranulf set the papers aside before he turned to the paladin. “The findings that I have made are going to change everything we know about magic. Perhaps even the way we consider our place in the universe. To date this unfortunate’s clothing and weapons would be the proverbial icing on the cake!”

“And this is why you contacted the Towers?” Lucius snapped, interrupting the oration. “You bring me here, show me a greyed skull, and spout stories about shadows-this and shadow-that!” His eyes bore into Ranulf’s, letting that transmit his anger as well as his words. “And then you want us to bring ourselves before our god to date a pile of relics? Lord Correll, with the utmost respect, the Tower’s of Justice cannot chase after dreams.”

Correll sputtered, clearly not used to being spoken to in that manner, but quickly refound his voice. “Sir, your church operates on the sufferage of the Lord’s Council. I have some influence there. Like it or not, you and your fellow clergy will chase after this ‘dream’, as you so quaintly put it.”

Lucius opened his mouth to reply, but a flaring of pain in his head brought him about, sword arcing up and across in a slashing motion. Sparks flew as his blade met another and batted it away. Just as quickly it came back in, to be met by his blade again. Lucius had no time to figure out where this attacker had come from, he was hard pressed to get his sword up to parry each slash and cut.

Ranulf, for his part, had not initially seen what had brought Lucius about in such a violent way, and was about to admonish him when the intruder danced into view. His words turned into a shriek of fright, and the nobleman pressed back against the bookcase as the other two circled, trading blows. Even had he thought of running for the door, his legs refused to obey him.

Bringing the holy avenger across in a horizontal swipe, Lucius jerked back as his opponent lunged in, and felt the sting of it’s blade along the back of his arm. Like his dodge, Lucius’s returning slash was also a bit slow, the tip of his blade entangling in the obscuring mask and ripping it away. The pale skin and flowing black hair thus revealed was a shock, and the paladin almost fell victim to a blow that, had it landed, would have opened his throat ear to ear.

Her! Though some time had passed, those features were unmistakable. Some years before, Lucius had been sent to the land of Belevar, to oversee the current state of the church therein. While there, he had been asked to attend a ball given by a Lord Damrin. During the course of the night, the lord was killed by the woman he now faced again. Ever since, in his free time he had searched for any clue to her identity, but had found nothing.

Often had Lucius wished for a second meeting and Tyr be blessed, here was that chance! With every bit of vigor he could muster, Lucius slammed into his foe, seeking to take her off balance. She was better than that, though, not only blocking and dodging each blow, but his armor was scored by several nicks from the gleaming blade she wielded. The paladin found himself pivoting in place, working desperately to bring the holy avenger around to deflect the hissing dagger.

One small part of his mind wondered at the cessation of Ranulf’s wailing, and that bit of distraction cost him. Fingers snaked around his throat and shoulder suddenly, choking the air away and forcing his guard to drop. The woman came straight in, her blade slipping neatly into the seam of his breastplate and slicing deep into his side. Pain blossomed like a dark flower inside him, Evilkiller dropped to the floor as the most intense cold the paladin had ever known seeped into his system. There was a backward jerk, and he was slammed to the floor, the blade forcefully withdrawn. His opponent hopped atop his prone form, knees pinning his arms in place.

Time slowed, and every detail of the milieu came into focus for the paladin. Searing pain in his side sharpened, along with the smell of well-used leathers. Tips of pale ears visible through the curls of ebon hair. Ranulf, on his knees near the table, hands clawing at his throat. Piercing green eyes boring into his own. Lucius knew, he was about to die.

Only, that didn’t happen. Leaning over, the woman pressed full lips to his in a hungry kiss. And, to his surprise, he responded! An arm came up, snaking around her waist as he drew her close, sealing to her in way he had never done before. It seemed to last forever before she arose, tongue flicking over his top lip as she pulled away. Lightly hopping to her feet, she ran the few feet to the table, scooping up the skull and papers there and dumping them back into the box. The blade was slid away, the box collected under one arm, her other hand grasping the back of a chair. Spinning, she sent it sailing with ease through the window, glass flying into the garden along with the chair.

Levering up on an elbow, trying to fight back the pain of his wound, Lucius watched as she turned and smiled wickedly at him before seeming to melt away. Ranulf fell forward onto his stomach, audibly gasping for much needed air. Wincing, Lucius fell back again against the desk, holding a hand over his stomach while struggling to concentrate. Dimly he was aware of pounding on the door, and the splintering of the frame as Corell’s house guard battered their way in. Drawing deep into his reserves, the paladin felt the healing touch of his god wash through him, knitting veins and muscle easily, though the lingering cold was present. Unsteady at first, he pulled himself to his feet and reclaimed his sword.

“Someone alert the watch. Be on the lookout for a dark-haired woman, pale of flesh but very quick.” Not bothering to wait for a reply, Lucius passed through the shattered window in pursuit.


Now, where in the hells would she have gone? Pondering the question as he loped down one of the dimly-lit streets, Lucius soon stopped at one of the many intersections. Looking first left, and then right, the paladin growled in annoyance. Think, DeAuster, think! She’s faster than you, so outthink her! A back way out of this part of the city, the wall!

Spinning on one heel, he took off at a swift jog, heading for the black wall that marked the outer edge of Straddleford. The alleyways there were almost completely dark, allowing for a swift road for one accustomed to such paths. Behind he heard the heavy tread of the city guard, no doubt with Correll’s houseguard now, following him down the streets. He put that out of his mind, setting his focus on the chase. As he neared the edge of the Noble Quarter Lucius slowed, stretching out with his god-aided senses. To the left! The mouth of a tight alleyway beckoned him, and Lucius plunged in.

There was just enough light to avoid plowing into stacks of boxes and trash, and for him to see a dim figure near the end of the thankfully-blind alley. Lucius acted without thinking, throwing up a hand and calling upon Leorn, brining into being an intense ball of light above the alleyway. The shadows fled, leaving the figure, and indeed it was the woman, acutely visible. Still cradling the box stolen from the manor under one arm, she spun about to face Lucius, the hissing dagger firmly in hand. “How?”

Her voice was like cool rain to him, though why, Lucius did not know. Evilkiller leveled at his opponent, he cautiously stepped closer. “You cannot run from justice, murderer.” Even as he uttered the words, he could hear the yells of the men following behind. Undoubtedly they had seen the light he had cast, and were closing. “You..cannot run.” He said, softer this time. Do not hesitate! His mind screamed. Take her now!

The elf-woman also stepped closer, her blade slowly wavering from side to side. Her eyes darted toward the mouth of the alleyway, though Lucius knew, as he was sure she did, that she could not get past him. Looking to him again, her head cocked slightly to one side, almost quizzically. He returned the stare, again for a long second, then two, before his free hand came up, and dismissed the light. Immediately the alley was plunged into darkness again, lit by the flashes of lightning overhead. The end of the alleyway was empty, the woman having disappeared again. A neat trick. He said to himself as he sheathed Evilkiller. The voices of the men were almost upon him, and he knew not how to explain this. Nor how to explain the chase’s result to the head of his order.

The decision was taken from him, in the form of a pale hand that suddenly grabbed his left shoulderguard and pulled him into the darkness. For a brief instant Lucius felt as though he was falling into the Abyss, then solid footing was his again. Blinking rapidly, he saw he was on a near rooftop, across from the alleyway. Already soldiers were entering below, torches throwing shadows against the buildings across the street. She stood beside him, only a few feet away. Her own weapon was put away, the box rested on the roof beside her.

Neither spoke, but merely stared at one another. Lucius knew he should move to attack, take her while he could. Call out for help. Anything! These logical thoughts warred with something else deep in him, something he hadn’t even realized before now he had. And he could see it mirrored in her own eyes. Almost simultaneously they stepped closer, finding the arms of the other in a hard embrace. Lucius bent down to kiss her, ignoring the pounding in his head, the screaming of his teachings, and the rain that started to fall. All he knew was her, until he again fell into the Abyss.

----------

Distant thunder awoke him, and it took a moment for Lucius to piece together where he was. He lay on a large bed, half-covered by a sheet that felt like the softest satin. And beside him she lay asleep. Fiona, he had finally learned her name. Her hair drifted across the pillows like a fan, almost obscuring her features. Slowly he sat up and slid to the bed’s edge, pausing to look back at her sleeping form, then to the room itself. Pieces of armor, clothing and leather were strewn throughout the large bedchamber, and in the corner was his weapons-belt. It would be so easy now, but he made no move toward it, instead grabbing a towel to wrap around his waist as he moved to the half-open doors and onto the balcony.

The house he was currently in was in the Merchant’s Quarter of the city, and the second-floor balcony gave a wonderful view of the sleeping city. The storm had moved further east, though lightning still flashed on occasion across the sky. Resting his hands on the wooden rail, he closed his eyes, letting the cool breeze wash over him, hoping it would settle the turmoil he felt. But it didn’t help.

There was a faint rustling of cloth, and a moment later Fiona joined him on the balcony, tying the sash on a cotton robe. She breathed deeply of the moist air, and then looked up to him. “Ye have the look of someone with something on his mind.” She stepped closer, a hand coming to rest on his arm. Softer, “Do ye want to talk about it?”

“This should not have happened.” He said bluntly, the low words putting to words his crux. “I…we…it should not have happened.” Glancing over to her, Lucius saw Fiona’s eyes narrow slightly, and knew again, they mirrored his own.

“And why is that, Lucius?” Fiona asked simply. The question carried the weight of a rebuke, something he was not prepared for. He turned more fully to her now.

“You know why, Fiona. What you are, what I am.” His hands splayed outward in a sign of confusion. “We are diametrically opposites.”

“Oh yes, you’re one of the noble. A paladin.” Venom fairly dripped from the last word as she removed her hand from Lucius’ arm. “You’re the righteous arm of the faith, the one who brings justice for all.” She snorted at her own sarcasm.

“You’re right. I am a paladin, just as you are a murderer, a thief, and Leorn only knows what else you have done.” The words came out in a rush, and Lucius realized he had said too much. Fiona’s eyes fairly blazed in the candlelight from the room, and almost seemed to turn a shade of crimson.

“Murderer? HAH!” Snapping her fingers, Fiona spun to stalk to the end of the balcony, then turned back. “This, coming from a man who once sought to wipe out the goblinoids of the Dawnsbreak Mountains.” She referred to a campaign two years before that Lucius, as a paladin lord of the church, had taken part. Several tribes of goblins had moved from the higher Dawnsbreak Mountains into the foothills near the old forest, and Queen Dorothy Scotts of Verrok had ordered her army to drive the tribes off. Three had been wiped out, the others fled back to their mountain warrens. Lucius started to reply, and then stopped himself, closing his mouth again.

Fiona, however, continued. “ I’ll make a deal with you, Lucius. IF you can answer my question, I’ll go with you. I’ll turn myself in, with no resistance. But only if you answer my question.” After a moment, Lucius nodded assent. Taking a step closer, Fiona’s voice lowered slightly, but still held the hard edge. “How is the killing of a nobleman who tortures the homeless any different from the massacre of a goblin tribe that has not attacked anyone at all?”


"Amazing the silence, when one cannot answer." He growled softly to himself. Today, these many years later, he still did not have an answer.
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Fiona DeAuster
Adult Wyrm
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Joined: 19 Apr 2006
Posts: 234
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Jobs: Bullet Catcher, Cartographer
Can Be Found: Gharnholme, RhyDin, and acoss the realms of Carowyn
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 16, 2006 4:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Memories, such torturous things and she struggled against them, but couldn’t manage to shake them off. Events and moments, feelings dredged up from the place she had thought well guarded. Rising up from the dark places she had sought to contain them forever.

The snow was fresh on the ground that winter day and she was excited. It was a new job that would bring her near to where he was, her secret lover, whom she hadn’t even told her father about. She did keep her emotions carefully guarded, not letting on her delight. Stolen moments away from all others and she was finding herself becoming addicted to it.

It was a simple job, one she could manage in her sleep and after a quick inspection of the reports, saw no reason not to take it. Talcaer was located in the realms of Malarid and would surely be near enough for them to perhaps meet. She even knew a place to stay, having and old contact there who owned and operated his own Inn.

The area was in the midst of a civil war, with the noble families all vying for power so her job would be easily managed and if the man she was to kill was as vile as reports stated, she would even enjoy the work. Wouldn’t take her but a day to do it, but of course she would get a week to determine the best course of action.

“His name is Lord Dynvan Carraent. He’s a member of the Teodry, the opposing clan against the DeCort Nobleship. Tis said he has a taste for blood and often kills innocent woman he’s seduced. Apparently he got his hands on a relation of the DeCort’s and they wish to see him removed from his current position.” Her father’s words cut through her other plotting and she gave a slow nod.

“Shouldn’t be to hard to learn this one’s habits. Already have information about what places he frequents. Mostly the Dives and Hell Den’s of Talcaer, but he’s also known to attend the Debutante’s balls, often fishing for new blood to ruin.” The file was passed over to her and she returned to inspecting the contents.

“The employer wants this one to be a bit messy, but no leads or clues left to who did it. Carraent has many enemies and this way, it will create suspicion in many of the Teodry’s allies.”

“Aye Father. I think this I can manage easily.” Ice green eyes lifting to meet the matched pair from her elder.

“Ye may want to take Falcon or Lire along. Both can blend in easily enough there.” He then suggested, never to fond of sending her off on her own, even though she was one of the best his order had to offer.

“Nae, I am sure I can manage this one easily enough. I can always send for them later if I find otherwise.” Gloved fingers moved over the edge of the prepared report, making note of a number of things.

“As ye wish Dear. Just do be careful. That one has slipped out of the grasp of a few, and it’s said he’s hired some effective guards to keep him self safe.” Rhystil wasn’t thrilled about her unwillingness to take others along, but he had realized she was well trained and if she felt if assistance was needed, she would send word.

“I am sure I can find a way around the guards father and still make it look more accidental then purposeful.” A quiet smile touching the pale-lit features as she slowly rose to her feet with the soft hissing slide of dark leathers.

It took her no time at all to send word to Kralias Thaudin, Innkeeper for the “The Paladin’s Coin”, the name having a certain irony to it. In no time at all she was on her way, traveling through the shadows and then boarding a ship. Her abilities then, hadn’t been as strong to carry her so far over deep oceans and she had to rely upon more traditional means.

Of course once she reached that distant shore near the capital of Malarid, she would certainly be sending a missive to Lucius. Her timing having worked out that by the time he arrived the job would be done and she could spend at least an evening in his company.

Perhaps if she hadn’t been preoccupied the job might have gone a little smoother, but in the end of was done quietly and with success. As it was, she had taken more then a few knocks before subduing the guards and the mark. Then, she left a gory mess for the city watch to discover at daybreak before slipping away, leaving not a single trace to who was responsible. She had helped herself to the purses of all of them, so the word would likely come down to robbery. Such things in those locations were common enough.

Any guilt she may think to feel had faded the moment she had watched from the shadows as her mark had terrorized a young woman in the street. The guards hadn’t even thought to stop him, making them little better then their employer in her mind. She had stopped that, and doubted the woman would even report seeing anything, if she had saw something to start with. Karma was a beautiful thing.

Of course she did have to walk back to the Tavern, as the injuries she had taken wouldn’t allow her to use the shadows, but she was already elated. She now had the job out of the way and could spend time with Lucius.

Upon entering the Tavern, Kralias nodded her way and then stepped around the long counter to pull her cloak about her shivering form. “Careful there Lass, ye be a bit dirty.” His low words floated upon her senses and caused her to nod. “Aye. T’was some half-hearted attack to rob me I believe. Set upon by cut purses I was.”

Her sharp ears had caught sounds of some approaching out of the commons and would explain her response, for the Inn Keeper knew only to well what she did for a living. “I do hope ye have something for this. I think I have a cracked rib.”
“Aye Lass, have some herbs that will help. Ye go on up and I’ll have one of the maids bring ye a tray.” It was apparent he wanted her out of sight and with a glance shot to the side, she could see why. Several of Lucius’s own compatriots were exiting the bar area.

She had no other choice then but to move up the stairs with another nod to Kralias. “Thank ye Milord.” She knew what they would see. A small dark haired elf, and looked rather as if a good gust of wind would blow her right over. Her pale skin would only enhance the idea of fragility and was something she did often use to her advantage. In part due to her relationship with Lucius, she was becoming very skilled as masking her own true nature as well.

Of course some stared after her as she slowly moves up the steps, adding a bit more limp to the step and behind her she could hear the low murmer of conversation. The righteous ones asking what trouble had befell the young lady. She nearly laughed out loud as one’s response struck her as amusing. “Young woman on their own are often targeted and her people should ashamed to let her travel alone.”

If they only knew but she didn’t tarry long, having headed into her own chamber and was soon taking stock of her various injuries. She indeed had a cracked rib, several gashes on pale skin and more then a few ugly bruises. Yet, for the most part she had managed things well. She had thought to wait a day or so longer before actually acting upon the contract, but admittedly lost her temper as the sight of that so called “Nobleman” bullying a frightened young girl.

The knock at the door had her drawing a robe on and soon rising to see to the maid, she assumed was behind it. The woman standing with a footman behind her and gave a polite smile. “Mr. Kralias thought ye be in need of a bath Milady and sent us to set it up for ye.”

She could only nod and let the door swing open, allowing them to enter and in less then a half and hours time she was able to soak away the grim and the aches from her battered form.

The heat from the relaxing soak and then the subsequent herbal drink also sent, she was soon finding the comfortable bed and even before drifting off into a deep sleep, her last thought was of Lucius. Wondering if he would arrive tomorrow or the day after, as far as her personal wishes were concerned neither being soon enough.

_________________
"Someone screaming softly in the distance
I run to seek my refuge from the light
until the darkness once more falls upon me"
Stabbing Westward
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