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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.

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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: Wed Aug 16, 2006 12:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Memories are funny things. They surface at the oddest times, interjecting themselves into situations where they can be the most distracting. Even more so are the memories of the past that one might wish to remain buried. No matter how much one seeks to lock them away, they always manage to squeeze out again

And the undead are not immune, either...


“The snows are coming early this year.” Sir Herzog looked up into the low-lying clouds with a hint of distaste, the expression turning sour as Lucius chuckled softly from where he rode beside him. “You laugh now, but wait until we have to patrol in the mess.”

“If the snows get too bad, we won’t have to worry about it.” Lucius replied as he reigned in his horse to lean over and present their papers to the gate guard. “We’ll just scale back our patrols, since even orcs won’t travel in waist-deep snow.”

“Wasn’t orcs I was worried about.” The knight growled softly, kicking his horse’s flank as the two entered the city of Talcear. The two had started from Ravensfast two days ago, pausing only to rest the horses, even taking turns dozing in the saddle and riding through the night to beat the weather. While Lucius had personal business in Talcear Herzog was continuing south toward Bastion, to meet a new recruit arriving from Dragons Land.

“Herzog, you worry too much.” Lucius laughed softly, and reigned up beside a fountain. Leaning over, he clasped arms with Herzog, “I’ll see you in four days.”

“Aye. Be well, milord.” Herzog saluted formally, then reigned around and spurred his mount down the street toward the south gate. Lucius continued straight, coming to a stop about five minutes later before a public stable. A few moments later, he was walking briskly down the street, his cloak pulled close to ward away the slow-falling snow.

He felt the disturbance before he heard the voices, kept low, coming from down a side alley. His curiosity piqued, Lucius turned to move down the alley, but was stopped at its head by one of the city guard. “You cannot pass.”

A brow rose slightly at that, and a heavy-gloved hand pulled back the edge of his cloak to reveal the clenched-fist-aflame emblem of the church of Leorn. The guard’s eyes widened slightly, and his moment of surprise was enough for the paladin to slip around him and move down the alleyway. To his left was a half-closed door, suspicious eyes peering around the doors edge at the commotion outside. The sign above the door proclaimed it the “Hoarfrost Tavern.” One of the many dives half-hidden around the city.

Another guard moved to bar his progress, and again Lucius flashed the emblem. “I am a representative of the Tri-Spires of Leorn.” Lucius growled softly, invoking one of the ranks he held in this realm.

“A representative well away from his home base.” Another spoke from near the shadows, and as Lucius looked that way he noted the flinch of the guard. “Your name?” Lucius felt an edge of anger creep along his spine at the imperious tone, and in turn the edge crept into his reply.

“Lord Lucius DeAuster, Knight of the Ordos Militant and master of the landhold of Ravensfast.” The shadow next to the guard shifted at the other stepped into the half-light between the two buildings. Even taller than Lucius, the lanky build was offset by the fine chain mail vestment the man wore. Glittering snow-blue eyes bore into the paladin from above a black silk scarf that masked the man’s features from view. But the most startling feature was the emblem on the bared vestment, a flaming fist before a set of scales.

“Well met, Lord DeAuster.” The briefest of nods accompanied the introduction, and with the emblem in evidence Lucius was lucky to receive that. “Lord Torg Margeth, of the Ordos Hereticant.” The paladin’s eyes narrowed slightly as he returned the nod of greeting, even as his mind raced. It was not often one met a member of the church’s inquisitorial branch, even less often one of the feared Lord Questioners. There was a certain amount of enmity between the two orders, as many of the Lords Militant thought the methods of the Hereticant crossed the line they were sworn to defend.

“And what brings a Lord Questioner into the alleys of Talcear?” Lucius asked, almost conversationally as he moved to peer past the two. Margeth’s hand came to his shoulder to press him back, but a scathing look had the hand releasing him. Even the most headstrong would not bar another lord of the church, not without good reason.

It was nasty to behold. Three men lay in the alleyway, mingled blood splattered along the walls and on the ground. One lay curled at the base of the wall, cold hands clutched at his stomach. A second’s legs were visible through the smashed remains of a shipping crate. And the third lay sprawled in a doorway, eyes staring up at nothing. At a glance, the two had been savaged, and he felt fairly certain that the one in the box was also, given the amount of blood. “Who is he?”

“Lord Dynvan Carraent.” Margeth replied, after he had sent the guards to the mouth of the alleyway with a hand motion. Lucius nodded slowly at the reply. Part of the war that was flaring up again. He was already considering what to do about the situation as he regarded the corpses. As his fingers rubbed his chin Lucius realized his question had gone unanswered.

“And why does a clan-murder attract the Hereticant?” He turned to stare at the other man, who returned the look evenly.

“There is a taint about this place, Lord DeAuster. Surely even you can sense it?” Again, a flaring of anger, this time at the demeaning tone Margeth used. “I have been sent by the Council to investigate alarming rumors that has been reported by loyal members of the clergy.”

Lucius bristled at the accusatory tone, but he refused to take the verbal bait. “Indeed. I will be certain to pass word of your diligence to the Tri-Spires.” Each read the other perfectly, and after a moment Margeth nodded slowly.

“Aye, well and done.” Lucius returned the nod as he turned to leave the alleyway. In truth, it was as much to get away from the inquisitor as it was to return to his own business. Behind him, Margeth watched the paladin turn onto the street, his eyes narrowing over the silk scarf.

Lucius passed through the small crowds in the streets as he headed toward the inn he would be staying in for the next few days, absent nods to the ladies given as he hurried along. Herzogs trip to Bastion had come at the perfect time. He had received Fiona’s message just days earlier, and had been thrilled at the prospect of her being so close. It had been easy to explain the trip and stopover, instead of traveling on to Bastion.

He paused at an inter-section turning left toward the open-air bazaar a few streets down. Even with the approaching winter intrepid traders were plying their wares in covered stalls. Lucius slowly walked down the small aisles, perusing the goods on display, though he studiously bypassed the gaudy red tent near one corner. While he knew slavery was legal in this realm, he personally abhorred it. Even catching the quick glimpse of the tent set his back on fire again. He wondered briefly how Fiona would take in the sight of his back now.

Keeping the soft growl to himself he turned back, heading for the entrance of the bazaar. The guards stationed at the entrance were given a curt nod as he passed, and then he again turned aside on impulse, stepping into a small shop he had just spotted. A small bell chimed as the door closed behind him and warmth surrounded him as he pulled his hood back.

Falls of silky fabrics surrounded him in an ocean of color and styles, and the paladin had no idea where to start looking. He was rescued by the arrival of a young woman bustling in from the back, wrapping a thick shawl around her shoulders. “Good morning! What kin I do for ye today?”

“I’m looking for a gift.” Lucius replied after a few seconds hesitation. In truth, he had no idea what to do or get. The woman seemed to sense his nervousness, as she chuckled softly to herself.

“Ah now, milord, would this be for ye mistress, mayhap?” That brought a hard glance, and this time there was no hesitation in his reply.

“No. This is for my ladylove.” He was looking at a nightgown folded neatly on a shelf, gloved fingers lightly touching the delicate material.

“My pardon, lord. I nae meant any offense.” The clerk turned to look at her stock. “Perhaps ye could tell me what the lovely looks like, and I can help ye with the choice?”

Soon, Lucius was walking down the street with carefully wrapped packages in his arms. The shopkeeper had been helpful indeed, for when he had told her about Fiona’s inky-black hair and pale skin, she had picked out a shimmering black silk nightgown and diaphanous robe.
“Imported silk from deep within the Expanse, milord. Ye ladylove will look simply beautiful in it!” Lucius had agreed as he looked at the flowing silk and lace inserts, already seeing Fiona in the gown. The keep had further piled on stockings and other undergarments, insisting they completed the outfit. She had tried to sell Lucius shoes also, but he had been firm on that. Except for the one time, when he had first met Fiona, he could not remember seeing her in anything other than boots or barefoot. In the end he had bought a pair of slippers, as he had started to feel the urge to continue.

Ahead he could see the sign proclaiming the Paladin’s Coin, where he was to meet Fiona when she arrived. Packages carefully held under one arm, he pulled open the door and entered, missing the ice-cold eyes watching from across the street.

“Good morning, milord. Ye need some help with that?” Lucius shook his head as he set the packages on the counter, and looked to the man behind.

“Nay. I believe I have a room waiting for me?” Glancing around, he took in the place at a glance. Finding a sitting room and bar to one side and stairs heading up. The lay out was simple, and yet efficient.

“And what name would ye be under, milord?” Picking up a small register, the innkeeper started to flip through the pages, until he came to a page only half-filled.

“DeAuster.” Lucius watched the finger scan down the page, and then, a satisfied grunt.
“Ah, yes, milord. Your room was made ready this morning.” Turning, the innkeeper took a key from the wall and handed it to Lucius. “It’s the third room on the left on the second floor. I am Kralias, master of the Paladin’s Coin. Whatever ye may need, merely ask.”

“Indeed.” Lucius replied, picking up his packages as he did so. With a final nod to Kralias he took the stairs up, easily finding his room. Once inside, the packages were set on the small table, and the fire stoked before he removed his cloak and upper armor. Only then, did he sit down to a glass of wine from the jug already in the room and enjoy the heat of the dancing flames as he waited for her…
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Fiona DeAuster
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Joined: 19 Apr 2006
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 17, 2006 1:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Glancing at the missive that had been passed to her by a dark wisp of a shade and she looked it over, with her features showing a sudden tension about the eyes and lips. She was alone at the moment thus the expression wasn't as carefully guarded as it could be, and the words she read were the cause.

Fiona,
Falcon is on his way to meet with ye, and should arrive sometime this afternoon and will send word. He will await ye at The Dancing Fox to fill ye in on recent developments. New information has been discovered regarding your current location and there are more risks involved then first thought. Please hold off in taking the contract until further information can be collected and verified.

Love,
Father.


She wasn't at all sure what to make of this and her fingers closed tight around the thick vellum it held. It was to late now, so she would need to meet Falcon to let him know of this, and hopefully learn more about this "new information" that had her father taking risks with messages and even using the same words. It made her nervous where she hadn't been before.

Just a short time earlier, Kralias had come to her rooms, after she had her breakfast that a maid had delivered with a milder form of the healing tea again provided. Even now, much of the damage was fading on pale skin. His news however had already created a certain fissure of unrest within her. He told her the city was now under the authority of the Ordos Hereticant due to the death of a recent high Noble. Indeed, it appeared her mark had friends in both high and low places. Discovering that a Religious Order was somehow involved in this war also wasn't a surprise. She suspected they were likely playing both ends against the middle and hoping to get a foothold once the conflict was done and the victor was set. Such was the ways of most, including her own on the rare occasion. Even this duty she had taken, was part of that.

Her arm rose, flinging the parchment with some force into the hearth, then watched with impassive ice-green eyes as the greedy flames licked the words to ash. Well, even if she had wished to leave she dared not do so until the date she had specified when entering the city. It was clearly marked upon her travel papers after all. Luckily for her those were also in order. She had not even told Lucius about her status, as it wasn't terribly important to her, but it was useful sometimes to use.

Few would look twice at a visiting noble generally, and while her father was a third born, he had power he displayed openly while the Duibh Order was standing behind him and held in silence. Gold and Wealth in the end was the true power and not the bloodlines or the Gods for that matter either, as rather like the pure breeds, Deities were also as fickle and warlike.

She did chaff a bit at the prospect of having to look the part of a lady in public, but again, luck was on her side for she had brought some garments suitable for the area just in case her and her lover might go out. Her leathers would be put aside for the time and she would garb herself in a dress and in the aura of innocence.

Considering that other Paladin's where staying here in this Inn, she should have realized something was going on. She was now relieved she had thought to request a separate room for Lucius. She didn't wish to risk harming his reputation anymore then her own and even if he didn't use the chamber, the connecting door made it a very useful thing for at least appearances. Considering others of his own status were also residing inside the Inn, care would need to be taken.

It was grating to realize what she had hoped would be a peaceful idyllic interlude now had some flaws. She only hoped he wasn't bothered by them, for she certainly hoped her own concerns would fade, as she waited for the end of the week before making her own unassuming and quiet departure.

Her attention was caught then by the knock upon the door and she rose with a slow stretch from the seat by the fire to answer it. Just outside a young woman stood with a tray holding a large pot and some mugs, and a platter of pastry, and atop that a wax sealed missive rested. "Master Kralias asked me to deliver this to ye Milady." The girl didn't stay simply passed her burden over and then just dropped a quick curtsey before moving back down the hall.

Using a finger she flipped the parchment open and a smile curled on rose pale lips at the news found there. She didn't wait then, her toss spinning the message into the hearth out of habit and she was heading for that connecting door. It took Fiona only a moment to push the false wall aside and draw that door out of the way before doing the same on his side. Taking a deep breath then she stepped into the other chamber with a glance sent around. This room wasn't as large as her chamber but was just as comfortable by the look of it. Her gaze was quickly upon him and her smile grew as she watched him. "Good morning to ye Lucius. I do hope ye trip here was without trouble?"

He was instantly up on his feet and once he had placed the glass of wine down, Lucius was moving towards her. "Other then taking to long, no trouble." The words were barely out of his mouth before he swept her up into a tight hug. A smoldering kiss then followed, and once done they were both flushed and warm. "I brought you something."

Her pale green eyes lit up with humor as she gazed into his face. "Did ye now? Well then, bring them along to my chamber so I can see. There be a pot of coffee and some pastry there." Not to mention the bed was bigger then the one found in his room.

Leaving everything of his for the moment in the room appointed to him, he collected the parcels and was moving after her, entering the other chamber. The morning light had been muted by the heavy curtains drawn to hold back the brighter blaze of sun, casting a warm glow on the rich wood inside. The scent of pine, coffee and the spice scent she favored also caught his attention and brought a faint smile to his lean features.

Fiona had waited until he was inside to slide the doors closed once more and gave a soft laugh at the array of packages he held. "Ah, it looks like ye got caught by a zealous shop keeper Lucius."

He dropped the gifts on the bed and gave a nod before looking her way. "I do hope you like them. I wasn't sure, but wanted to find something special."

Her gliding silent step carried her towards him and she gave another soft laugh. "As ye got them for me, I am certain to love them." Pale fingers picking up the first and started to unwrap it, unearthing the elegant gown in rich black silk. A brow arched at that, but she laid it carefully to the side and moved to the next. Within this one the matching robe, that wasn't designed to keep one warm was found. By the time the last of the silken garments was unwrapped, she was laughing quietly. "Everything is lovely Lucius."

He was standing near and watching, with an uncertain expression on his face and she could sense he was nervous that his gift might cause insult, but she wasn't at all upset. It wasn't something she would have gotten for herself, being a bit more daring then what she usually wore, even though she did have a weakness for silk and lace.

"Why don't ye have a seat and get some coffee while I try these things on." Another first for her as she hadn't ever dressed to please a man before but if he could take the time to buy such things, she would make the effort to wear them.

She took her time, stepping behind the dressing screen. There she shed the leather pants, vest and black silk shirt and soon was sliding the delicate garments onto ivory pale skin. The black stockings shimmered against her legs as she hooked them to the garter with little trouble. She wore such things when required so knew how to handle them. The shimmering fabric was like a caress against her skin as the gown settled along the lines of her body and even the delicate slippers seemed to fit. She was a little self conscious over the lace insert, as it exposed much of her upper body to the navel in a sharp "v" but as he had seen her with nothing at all, she just pushed the worry aside. Donning the robe last, she took a few more moments to unbinding the heavy plait of her hair, releasing it from the tight braid she favored and letting the thick raven dark waves free to flow down her back.

She had no idea how it all looked, but if the expression on his face was any indication it must have looked very nice. His sharp, indrawn breath brining a touch of pink to her pale cheeks, and as the morning wore on, she didn't wear the garments long, as they were soon tangled up upon the large bed and spending a heady morning entwined in a lovers passionate embrace.


The images caused the slumbering Fiona to stir, tossing the covers aside with a sudden restless kicking of legs. She didn't wish to remember this and was valiantly striving to push the more heated memories back and somehow, found the means, pushing a fast forward button on those more sensual impressions. Racing past the private moments of heat and friction to the next part of that old, tenacious remembrance.

Whispers were moving through her thoughts, stirring up the older, baser needs and she didn't want that. She wanted to remain hidden behind the walls of her ice fortress and fought against anything that might threaten the safety found there so the voices were also shunned subconsciously even in sleep and forcefully wrested control, to just how much she could endure.

_________________
"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
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Joined: 19 Apr 2006
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 17, 2006 1:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Moving with grace along the walkway, she mentally cursed the cumbersome green skirt she wore. Finding that having to hold up the hem was even more draining then her usual afternoon practice sessions. However, she had gotten the message and dared not wait. She hadn't wanted to leave of course, but considering that Lucius was tired from the long trip there and their late morning tryst, she had left him sleeping quite soundly and headed off towards her own business.

The Dancing Fox was located near the market square and like her own Inn of choice it also was considered more upscale. The tall Inn front rose with the tower rooms decorated like a gingerbread house, with the whitewashed front and the darker brown trim that appealed to the eye. The warm scent of spice and tobacco assailed her senses as she entered, the footman offering a polite smile as he held the door for her and inside she stepped.

Unlike most of the ladies here, Fiona didn't care for the wearing of the garish bonnets so her gloved hand rose to draw back the fur trimmed hood of her cloak instead and she then quietly looked about. It was Midday and the interior was quiet and peaceful after the chaos of the street outside. Even before she could move towards the front desk to acquire after the one she was to meet, she heard a voice coming from the common room.

"Ah, Milady DeWil, there ye are. Punctual as always." The tall form with the black hair and eyes bowed politely towards her from the doorway. "Ye father has sent me as currier."
"Greetings to ye as well Milord." She wasn't sure what surname he might be using this time so went with the safest reply and moved towards him with one of those insipid smiles she had seen many affect. "I hope Father is well?"

"Aye Milady. He of course does miss ye and is as always concerned of ye care, but let us get ye some hot tea and sit for a spell near the fire. Tis a chilly realm here." His dark eyes were holding shadows of laughter even as he played the role of a perfect gentleman and escorted her towards the very spot near the hearth.

In minutes she had a ridiculously dainty tea cup in her gloved fingers and was looking over at Falcon with another vague smile moving over the rose pale lips, even as his words spoken low touched her ears.

"This man Dynvan Carraent has ties to one of the Holy Orders. Not a name one would find on their books either. He be one they hire to do their less holy works ye might say." The tall form settled back with all the casual lazy grace of a Dandy and smiled just as benign as the same.

"Nae matters Falcon. The job be done already. I saw a chance and took it, but it's caused a bit of trouble now. I think ye may have noticed when ye arrived that security is now elevated."

For just a flash of a moment a frown touched his brow but was gone before it might be noticed. "This is nae good news Fiona. Ye father nae wants ye caught up in this, tis why he sent me. I was to take this job from ye and get ye back to the Keep, post haste."

"Tis to late for that now. I can nae leave without good reason at this point, without drawing attention." She took a sip of the hot tea but her gaze remained steady upon his over the gold edge of the cup in her fingers.

"How long will ye need stay then? I told them nae more then 3 days myself." He said with a slow nod and a quiet laugh falling, for the benefit of the serving girl passing.
"I said a week, for that was what I had thought I would need, but as I said before, the chance came and I took it." She replied with another honeyed smile sent towards him.
"Did ye make it look to be a robbery?"

"Aye, I did. Though, I should tell ye, some Paladins did see me return to the Inn afterwards. They be thinking one attempted to mug me, for that was the story Kralias gave them." She placed the tiny cup down into its matching saucer and gloved hands folded in her lap.

He was again looking thoughtful and soon gave another nod as he put down his own snifter of brandy. "Did ye bring the purse with ye?"

"Aye, I did. I have nae even looked inside them truth be told." She was already sliding them easily into a pocket of shadows, knowing he would clearly see where others wouldn't and again gave a soft airy laugh. "It was just a little scary Milord, but I am for the most part unharmed." The sound near the door had caught her attention and it only took one glance over to see the gleam of armor as a few figures entered, with their pristine cloaks fluttering before the door was secured once more.

"Tis a dreadful thing, but I did tell ye father ye should be traveling with an escort. Tis a pity your companion took ill. Perhaps I should look to find ye another in Rysandri since it is ye next destination before ye trip home."

She nearly snorted at that, but controlled it, even as she felt eyes resting upon them where they were seated. "Only if ye can find one suitable Milord. I can nae take a prattler. I find them rather grating."

"Ye can be assured I shall see to it Milady DeWil." He was passing over some papers to her and a heavy pouch. "Ye father wanted me to deliver these to ye. Tis some more information and letters of introduction."

There was only a microsecond narrowing of her eyes that Falcon caught and sat up slowly, reaching for his snifter on the table. "Did ye wish more hot tea Milady?" He asked, and his head turned as if looking for the serving girl.

Fiona had never seen such an insignia before, the flaming fist over the scales of balance, or maybe it was justice but she knew the rest of their appearance only to well. More servants of that God Leorn, and yet, these men held a different feeling then the one she knew. Darker, crueler even, if such a thing was possible in said "holy" comrades. It made the fine hair at the base of her neck stand and she fought back the urge to shiver as chilling snow cold blue eyes clashed with her own wintry green gaze.

Much of the man's features were mystery to her, for his lower face was covered and instantly reminded her of an Inquisitor from books she had read as a child. He was a tall man that carried himself well, but something about him rang discordant to her. As her own characteristics was masked with her own youth and other assorted magical aids, she wasn't worried he would detect her half nature, but she dared not seek deeper what it was that sent jangling danger signals swimming over her nerve endings. It was one glance at Falcon and she could tell he wasn't pleased, and catching that sudden tension line near his mouth her gloved hand lifted and she placed it lightly on his arm. "Milord? I do hope ye will escort me back to the Paladin's Coin? After last eve, I nae feel so comfortable making my way back alone."

"Of course Milady DeWil, I would nae even consider letting ye walk on ye own with the sun setting so early as it does on these colder days." The line relaxed under the force of a suave smile and courtly dip of his dark head.

Of course, even before they could start to ready to leave, she would have to endure another cup of tea for the serving lass was delivering it and so she sat and they traded in small tall. Her mentioning some names she knew in the realm but had not yet seen, and him commenting about light hearted gossip from the courts of their own home. Until that single man approached, sweeping those cold eyes over them. "Forgive my intrusion, but I am curious about where you two are from? I couldn't help hearing, and noticing you speak names I am not familiar with."

Fiona's words stopped instantly, fading at the interruption with a glance to Falcon, as she had not expected them to be so, intrusive. The feeling radiating from this one was even worse closer up and she was sure it wasn't any "Holy" aura or presence causing it. It didn't have "That" sensation about it. It was starting to make her a little light headed, as if he was using some sort of mysterious skill or talent to try influence others. What ever it was, she found she didn't like it, or the one that was making her so damned edgy.

"We are from the Lands of Zymire, under our great Regent, Queen Bronwyn Astria Kallaryn Milord." Falcon replied with all the proper loyalty of the mentioned Queen's court. It was also amusing to say he was actually one of her closest councils, but this few knew with the exception of those of her family, for Bronwyn was also Fiona's oldest cousin.

There was no emotion in those vigilant eyes, which continued to regard them with unblinking intensity. "A land I am familiar with in name and location but can still say our Order knows little about." Was his reply, which was offered in only what could be called a barely civil tone.

Falcon didn't bother to hide the fleeting play of expression that moved over his finely crafted features and gave a rather casual shrug. "Our land has its traditions sir and it is a place of many mysteries. Nae only that, but we have our own beliefs that nae always are easily understood by outsiders." His own reply head just enough of an edge to just hint at the arrogance he was restraining.

"So is it true it is a land of Heathens and the Godless?"

Fiona felt sure under the black silk mask that one was smirking and just widened her eyes at him in surprise. "Indeed Milord, our home is nae that of barbarians. We have many Gods and are as educated as most here, so can hardly be considered Heathens." Her softly spoken words carrying a shocked tone that would well match the guileless expression she wore.

He shifted with the slow crossing of arms that many might find intimidating, but only managed to irritate both he was currently interrogating, but luckily Fiona and Falcon were well schooled in keeping their own expression and responses neutral. "There are rumors that your "Queen" has shunned the Church of Leorn."

Ah, the horror, Fiona thought, but wasn't at all surprised, for her Cousin's beliefs followed the land she ruled. Most practiced the ways of the old Elven powers of nature and the Gods of the Earth and Sky, for even as a youth, that had been Fiona's own path, but as her own mixed nature had started to blossom and grow, she had been drawn towards a different road.

"Our Queen does not "shun" any religion's sir. However, our homeland still follows the older ways. Times before even the rising of ye own God. Ye people would have a difficulty finding followers amongst our citizenship. Many are comfortable in the traditions as I stated before." A brow started to rise upon Falcon's face as his own words took a sharper edge.
Oddly, this male seemed to be taking a sort of perverse pleasure in trying to goad them. At least that is what Fiona was starting to believe as he again spoke, the words having a rather brittle cadence to them. "Is it true your Royal allows Orcs and Ogres to roam about freely upon your soil?"

There were a few small settlements near the mountain regions to the north, and Fiona knew some of them, and found most of them peaceful enough. Of course they didn't live in a place where threats were ever constant so they had no need for the more warlike behaviors either.
"We have a few there. However, they don't tend to leave their own areas and mingle with the rest of our land. Perhaps those living on our land are less aggressive then the ones here. They have been there centuries and not once in our own history that spans from the beginning of our realm have they ever caused us a single problem." Her table companion now made little effort to hide his own annoyance with this Paladin and in fact Falcon was flaunting it now.
A gauntlet stretched out towards her companion then. "I do hope your papers are in order, for I will see them now." It wasn't a request but a command and for a moment Fiona was sure Falcon might decline to allow this one to review his traveling documents. Of course he did take his time removing them under his cloak and passed them over, wearing a cool and slightly tight face.

"Ye will see they are in order. I travel here often." The veneer of civility was now gone and it was apparent.

"I see they are. You only arrived today by the seal." Those were returned before those cold blue eyes rested upon her. "And yours miss." Again the hand was extended with the gleaming of armor-protected fingers.

It was a good thing she tended to carry such things with her and was soon drawing out the small book, containing the past weeks location. She had arrived late the evening before, and as her action had been on impulse and chance, most wouldn't think she was able to commit such a viciously brutal crime, so she passed them over without even a blink.

"It's Milady. She is noble blood and should be addressed as such." Falcon then growled, playing the role of protector with surprising effectiveness. "Ye have insulted our home, demanded our papers, and to be honest "sir", the lady had only recently arrived and was accosted but a night later in this "fair" city of yours. Tis nae been the warmest of welcomes."

The Paladin snapped the book closed and returned it to Fiona's waiting hand as she dutifully kept her eyes lowered, and even felt the heat of color moving over commonly pale cheeks as the words Falcon was grumbling. "As we are now patrolling the city, the lady is sure to not be harmed again." He was again looking at her with those calculating eyes of his and she was fighting the instant urge to shift under its penetration. "You were attacked when "Milady" DeWil?"

"T'was last night sir. After bonnet shopping, having noticed the ladies here have a fondness for that fashion and I nae have any and thought it best I see about finding one. I got lost, nae knowing this city and whilst wandering was," She paused with a hitch of breath, and her words going a little weaker, as any delicate creature would find such an experience unsettling. "Attacked. They took my small purse. I nae let on that I had another at the time, and I nae ever carry all my money with me anyway. T'was a harrowing thing, I felt sure they would do me harm having already knocked me from my feet at the start."

"Did you see your attackers?" It was a sharply pointed query and she slowly brought her gaze up to meet his, looking innocent and none to bright.

"Not really sir. It was dark, the nearest lamp being some distance away. I remember one smelled strange. Rather like he had been injured, for he carried that scent of. . . of. . blood about him." Again her soft words caught and carried a believable amount of horror. Elves were known for sharp hearing and other senses, but not all could see clearly in the dead of night or darkness. Of course she could, having an affinity with the shadows, but this curious man wouldn't know of that side of her nature.

"Ladies of your apparent status shouldn't be roaming about the street after dark and alone Milady DeWil." He replied in that flat droll and then with a nod he was walking away, satisfied for the moment.

Quite aware she had just been insulted, she decided to ignore that, as it had been vague anyway. She was more concerned about his interest in her and Falcon. Fiona also wasn't sure he believed her, but now, she wanted to be away from the watching eyes and was quickly moving to her feet. Outwardly she appeared a bit shaken and for once it wasn't faked, but assumed they were well used to creating such a mood in most, if his behavior was any indication at all. "Milord, I am nae feeling to well, would ye please escort me now?"

"Of course Milady." Falcon was already on his feet and cutting a smoldering glance to the three men now seated next to the entrance and still inspecting them. Muttering as he offered her his arm, he gave her gloved fingers a light pat. "Tis an affront to be sure, and they be calling "us" heathen's eh? Bah, this them that lack any manners if'n ye be asking me. Ye just ignore that lout. Ye father could buy and sell a dozen of his ilk and ye just remember that." He pitched the words low enough they would have to strain to hear them, but neither Fiona nor her companion had any doubts they had heard them none the less. His words also carried a ring of truth, even if it too, was a thinly veiled insult in kind.

Passing out into the now quiet and dark street, she glanced up at the man with her and just gave a weak smile. Her role still in place even as her free hand caught the skirt up and away from the dirty walkway as they started away, and neither spoke for a good block or two. "Do ye think he believed me Falcon?" She then asked quietly, as her ears tracked every sound near them.

"Aye, I do. One like him doesn't see woman as much of a threat. I think he thought I was more dangerous." Which made her laugh, for the Shadow Mage had skills she had yet to master and was more deadly of the pair. Of course in this instance he was actually innocent of any crimes.

"So what now?" She then asked, even as the warm light of the Paladin's Coin came into view.
"Ye stay until the date ye already listed. I would suggest ye do pick up a bonnet. I will handle the order notes, for I know one lady here that can assist, and has little love for the Leorn followers. Will send word where and when tomorrow evening via a shadow messenger. Nae hide either for I suspect he will be watching for ye and myself. In fact, I shall send word for ye Father and have him send such a message delivered by the magical means some use here. Requesting that I escort ye home. Tis best to cover all bases at this juncture, for they are suspicious of any and us being outsiders, makes us easy targets." He paused a moment a few feet from the door. "Ye being a woman and me only having just arrived is the only thing likely keeping them from laying blame upon us now. This land is already in chaos and if they be here to investigate, they would like nothing better then to accuse our Queen of allying in this clan war."

That brought a sharp look from Fiona and she glanced around before leaning close and whispering to him. "Ah, but Falcon, she has taken a side." Then, without even waiting for him to answer she was slipping inside the Inn, where Kralias was already waiting for her.

"Will ye be dinning in ye room tonight Lady DeWil?" Was the first question from him even before she shut the heavy wooden door and she glanced over a shoulder at him. "Aye Kralias. It has been a trying day. Do ye know when I went to meet my Father's assistant I had to endure an inquest by one of those shiny men?" She affected a shudder, just as another one of those very creatures stepped from the common room. Instantly pale cheeks filled with rose being caught so to speak, but in fact the color was from keeping herself from laughing at the look on the man's face. "Beg ye pardon sir." She gave a quick nod and was then scurrying up the steps and exposing one slender stocking clad ankle in her haste.


She didn't even wait to listen to the conversation now occurring below instead she slipped into her own darkened room. Once the door was closed, she could see him clearly in the faint glow of the banked fire radiating from the hearth. He was still asleep, and had cast the covers from his upper half off sometime while she had been away.

She stood gazing at him for a long moment, marveling at the simple perfection of him. Toned muscle, the tousled auburn hair and trimmed beard on his chiseled face combined to make her catch a breath. Such an uncharacteristic thing for her, as no other had ever had such an effect upon her, yet this one man did. It was moments like this she could feel frightened. His association to her could create so many problems for him, and yet, she was selfish. The rational side told her to walk away, but the up until recently absent sentimental side demanded she stay for as long as possible.

She was memorizing every moment with him, savoring each smile and suddenly in the midst of shedding the hated skirt she paused with the silk falling around her stocking feet and just gasped in shock at the sudden stunning realization that had hit her. She was in love with Lucius.

It was so impossible she had another uncommon moment of feeling the purely feminine need to weep, but forced back that urge with a pressing of fingers against her suddenly stinging eyes. How had she allowed herself to fall for him? They were polar opposites. He of the "light" and her of the "dark", and she was certain he couldn't love her. Not with the same intensity. He might be fond of her, desire her, but love, was to far out of reach, and again her gaze was drawn back towards his slumbering form. She could make him love her, but even as the thought formed, she instantly shut off the whispered voice of her Demon. She would never do such a thing to anyone, let alone one she realized she really did care for. Her father had always warned her to guard her emotions but somehow, the fail-safes had malfunctioned. Her heart had settled upon one she sensed was her soul mate, but whose path did not follow her own. It was a gut wrenching realization and she quietly sank down in the chair before the hearth, suddenly unbalanced and reeling with an unexpected flooding of fear. What was she to do now?

She lost track of time sitting there, but then a quiet sound just in the outer hall, had her moving, snatching up the black silken robe from the back of her chair and pulling it on over the restrictive corset and her stocking clad legs just as the maid knocked. Even though her thoughts were scattered, she did have enough sense to pull the curtain of the bed, veiling Lucius from the lamp she lit and any curious eyes, and then moved to let the woman inside.
"Evening Milady. Master Kralias sent this up for ye." If the woman was curious about the slender woman needing so much food it didn't show as she placed the laden tray on the table.
"Thank him for me and ye as well." She pressed some gold into the woman's hand.
"Do ye want me to set this up for ye Milady?" Fiona was then asked by the smiling servant but all she wanted was her gone.

"Nae miss, I was just changing and nae want it getting cold." Her hands were holding the robe close and praying that with all her roiling emotions they didn't pick this moment to shift on her.

"Well then Milady, ye just ring the bell if ye need anything else." Offering a quick bobbing curtsey, she was heading out the door quickly and leaving Fiona behind to just wilt.
A quick look under the covered plates to find the feast of slow roasted beef, steamed vegetables, baked potatoes along with what she assumed was a bread pudding and various fruit. Unaware that she was releasing the scent into the air and did jump at the sound of his voice behind her. "Ah, that smells wonderful and I'm starved."

She hadn't even heard him move and as her head turned she peered over at him where he was slipping nude from the warm covers and her face was flushing with another rose blush. "Ah, I hoped ye rested well Lucius?"

She couldn't drag her eyes away from, for he was like a magnet and her gaze feasted upon him as he stretched lazily then moved towards her. "Oh yes, I did sleep quiet well, until you left."

She finally forced herself to look away and busied to lay out a table with hands not as steady as she would like only to end up nearly jumping once more as his arms wrapped around her from behind.

"I am curious about where you went." Warm breath and the timbre of words sent a thrill of sensation through her and caused her to go still.

Her honey warm voice caught only slightly as she responded, seeing no reason to lie to him. "I had a message from my father and went to meet his assistant. Seems he wishes me to visit a few friends in Rysandri before I make the return trip home. Lord Falcon delivered some more gold and a few letters of introduction that I will need."

The sensation of his warm lips and the brushing of his beard nearly unhinged her as her knees went weak from the impact of that touch on her senses. "I hope this doesn't mean you need to leave before planned."

"Oh nae Lucius. I shall be staying here for the few days as scheduled." Her wintry green eyes drifting closed as he brushed another soft kiss against the side of her neck and she swayed back against him. "I thought ye said ye were hungry?"

The low warm growl only drew another shiver across her own heated skin as his response floated into her ear. "I am, just not sure for what at the moment."

"It would be prudent to eat before it gets cold." Her own words holding a breathless quality that wasn't at all normal for her, but she was again falling under what ever spell he created, every time he touched her.

He released her slowly with another quiet laugh and then those slumberous dove gray eyes watched her with a slow wicked smile curling on his lips. "You are right of course, as we will need the energy later."

Pulling her robe closer around her barely clad form and just gave a soft chuckle before she sank down into the seat beside his. She was fighting the tremor in her hands as emotions were bouncing all over the place, but once she had a modicum of control she was soon partaking of the succulent feast provided. "I met one of ye Order at the Inn where Falcon is staying. Nae a name or anything, but he wasn't like ye Lucius."

"Oh?" He paused in mid bite to look over at her. "What do you mean he wasn't "Like" me?" Already a faint frown was drawing on his brow, thinking such a thing had to be more then just a coincidence as well.

Laying down her fork, her fingers entwined before her as she returned his suddenly tense regard and it dawned on her he wasn't pleased. "His vestment was different. Was a flaming fist before the scales of balance or justice, I believe, but it was nae that which I meant." She paused for a moment, unsure just what she should tell him, as he may not believe her, considering her nature, which he was quite aware of. "He felt different from ye and others like ye. Made me feel ill, but nae in the same "Holy" way ye weapons do." Teeth caught her lip a moment, picking her words with some care.

Her voice dropped a touch, still serene and soft, but holding a hesitant tone. "Ye be knowing what I am, but I am nae the dark creature ye be thinking. Tis by choice I walk the path of neutral." She then gave a low, faintly sheepishly laugh, before continuing. "Aye, I can be quite vicious and in the eyes of some I may be evil, but I nae kill the innocent. I nae will ever kill children or those known for good deeds and true kindness. Tis a fact that there be few in this realm of even other worlds where there are any that are truly innocent, but I have some morals. The man of ye Order that I met, well, I suspect he nae has any such restrictions. Tis a coldness, a malicious and merciless nature I sensed in him and it made me quite nauseous as the cadence of it, held what I can only call vindictive malevolence." Fiona's ice-pale green gaze lifted and caught Luc's intent gaze.

"Tis a man that be hiding under the blanket of purity and hides his true face with more then just a silken scarf. A face that be far uglier then many I have chanced to meet, and there be plenty in my own past that were well known to sadistic and cruel ways. T'was seen in those snowy cold blue eyes of his and felt."

She couldn't know if he would believe her. He may desire her, lust for her, but she knew there was a side to Lucius that may not allow him to trust her words. The flaw of their relationship was her profession and a fault in her nature by birth that could make it difficult for the Paladin in him to have any faith in what she was saying.

_________________
"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: Thu Aug 17, 2006 12:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Fiona's news had stopped him from eating, as he listened quietly to her relating her meeting. His fork set down, he shifted to better face her, an arm moving to lie across the back of her chair. When she had finished he paused for a second, digesting what she had told him.

"He is an inquisitor." He said finally, eyes narrowing slightly as he considered his words. "I don't know why he is here, except that he's looking into the killing of some noble."

"Which would explain the feel from him." Fiona replied, still watching him closely. She could feel the anger coming from his normally calm aura, and for a moment regretted telling him. "I nae told him anything about knowing you."

"If you meet him again, tell him as little as possible." Lucius's arm slipped closer, onto her shoulders, and Fiona leaned against him slowly, her head resting on his broad shoulder. "I don't know why he is here, or why he has so much power in Talcear. The church has taken a position of neutrality in this conflict."

"Mayhap things have changed." Fiona said softly, looking up to his set features. "The slain lord, he be dead because of me." She felt the short jolt of his body, then a shift as he looked down to her. "A contract placed by the DeCort family." There. She had said it, and they young woman tensed, waiting for the explosion sure to follow.

"Which would make him a member of the Teodry." A soft grunt, as pieces started to fall into place. "But it still does not explain Margeth's being here."

Fiona had nearly fainted with relief, as he had not exploded on her. Unwilling to push it more, she changed the path of the conversation slightly. "He nae cares about the people themselves, but tis secrets he be after."

"Indeed." Lucius nodded in reply. "I will see if I can find out what he is doing here." He leaned over to gently kiss her forehead. "And, if this investigation should suspect a certain black-haired elf-lass, well, I will deal with that also."

Fiona's eyes widened slightly at that. He was saying he would interfere in an investigation, to protect her. "Nae, nae! Don't ye dare do anything to…" She had started to shake her head in protest, but Lucius brought a finger up to her full lips to stop her.

"Don't. I will not let you get into trouble about this, especially with an inquisitor about." His eyes darkened for just a moment. "They have ways to extract information even from the most zealous. You will NOT fall to him."

"Lucius DeAuster, I can well take care of meself amply, thank ye very much!" professional pride flared, and she leaned back to fix him with an icy stare. "Only one has even come close to catching me."

"Aye, and I plan on keeping you close too." Chuckling softly, he leaned forward, pressing closer to her as his hand pulled her robe open enough to slip against the tight satin of the corset. And after that, the only sounds for some time were those of heated passion.
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 17, 2006 12:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Hey, where's Lucius?" Zaleena's beatific features were clouded with irritation as she faced the ghostly form before her. Of the many beings she had met in her time, not many irritated her as much as Corbane.

"The master is currently engaged." The spectre floated before her in the passage, looking in death as he had in life, albeit a transparent apparition. Zaleena's frown deepened as she glared at the spectre, her arms folded across her ample bosom.

"Well, why don't you float on down and tell him I need to speak to him?" Zaleena's pouty lips turned upward as she put on her most charming smile. Corbane's expression, however, remained impassive.

"No."

Zaleena stared at him for a second in shock of the simple refusal, and then sputtered for a second. "Excuse me?"

"I said no, Zaleena." Now his features did change slightly, as the flash of annoyance pushed past his cold exterior. "He has given strict instructions not to be disturbed." A ghostly hand came up, finger extended to forestall any other outburst. "And do not attempt to charm me. The pathetic attempt was not worthy of a succubus, much less a marilith." The spectre spun in air and floated off, leaving Zaleena sputtering in rage behind him.

--------------------------

"This will not do." Daugolozan hissed in irritation, looking up from the book he had been perusing. Zaleena stood across from him, her body radiating anger from her earlier encounter with Corbane.

"Well, you can deal with that floating spook next time." The marilith growled, a tapered fingernail lightly tapping her forearm. "The damned thing flat-out refused to do what I said!"

"And what did you expect, my dear?" the dracolich leaned back in his chair, fingers steepled before him as he contemplated the demoness. "He is, after all, DeAuster's seneschal." Huffing softly, Zaleena whirled on a heel and stalked over to a nearby couch, where she sat with another petulant sigh. "What bothers me is DeAuster's apparent lack of focus recently." Daugolozan continued, rocking slowly in his chair.

"He hasn't said anything out of the ordinary to me." Zaleena studiously examined her fingernail as she spoke, a sign she was irritated. "But then, he is one of the most tight-lipped males I've ever known."

"Yes, it is too bad he appears immune to your charms." Hissing softly in amusement, Daugolozan stared over at Zaleena. "I want you to go out, and see why our ‘ally' has lost his motivation so suddenly."

"And then?" Zaleena peered over at the dracolich, who had leaned forward to reply.

"And then, if need be, we will eliminate this distraction."
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Lucius DeAuster
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 17, 2006 12:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Memories, sharp as a dagger, can slice into the even the darkest of souls. The body forms scars, reminders to let one know they are alive, but how do you mend an ever-flowing fountain of regret?

---------------

Lucius lay back on the tousled bed, Fiona lying quietly beside him, her head resting on his chest. She stretched languidly, her legs entwining with his, then settled again. A pale hand lightly traced along his back, a fingernail finding and tracing one of the scars along his back, eliciting a twitch of muscles under his skin. Kiss-bruised lips turned down slightly, as she looked up to him questioningly.

"Happened about two months ago." He said quietly, as she again ran a fingernail along the pink scar. "We stumbled on a raiding party attacking one of the small hamlets near Ravensfast. Slavers looking for an easy mark." He stretched slowly, grunting with the effort as Fiona rose up on one elbow, looking up to him.

"They led us back into the mountains, and jumped us with an ambush." He continued, laying back into the pillows, with an arm behind his head to support. "Four of us, myself included, were captured. Needless to say, they were not happy about our interference."

Fiona's eyes narrowed slightly at the light tone he had taken. "What happened next?" she asked simply, her hand moving to rest on his stomach as he lay back.

"Over the next two days we headed back into the passes of the mountains." Lucius's eyes focused someplace else for a moment, as he thought about the past. "Then, we made camp, and they decided to get some payback for the one's we had killed."

-----

Gritting his teeth, Lucius fought back the sharp grunt of pain as the whip bit into the already-torn flesh of his back again. He could feel blood running down his back from where the whip had already lashed into him, his back aflame with pain. His hands were lashed to a treebranch above him, and his armor had been stripped away after he had been knocked unconscious after the ambush.

Cold grating laughter came from behind him, undoubtedly the one wielding the whip. "Dammit, I'm gonna get this one to yell, I tell ya."

"Yeah, yeah, just like you got those last two ta scream." Unabale to stop himself Lucius glanced to the side, where Karn and Selgeth's bodies had been carelessly tossed. The two had each been subjected to the lengthy kiss of the whip, and when neither had cried out the more sadistic of the slavers had taken to them with knives. The villagers that had lived this far into the trek had been forced to watch as the slavers slowly tortured the two men, as an example.

And each had died without making a sound.

Lucius had also watched, alongside Borric, as the two men he had commanded were slaughtered. And he had sworn to make them pay for the innocent blood being spilt. He had been the next picked, however, and now he stood, another ‘example' to the villagers.

Coarse laughter again came, and the bound paladin closed his eyes, steeling himself for the hiss of supple leather, and the crack of the whip as it met yielding flesh. The only hiss he heard, however, was that whistling by his ear, and the gurgle of pain coming from behind him. Eyes snapped open, to see several mounted warriors thundering into the glen, with Herzog and the knights in the forefront.

The slavers scattered, scrambling for weapons in the sudden onslaught, and Lucius was helpless but to watch as battle was joined. That is, until one slaver ran past, heading for the bound villagers. Gripping the branch that he was bound to tightly, Lucius heaved himself up, his legs arcing out to catch the man around his neck, where a sudden wrench to the side snapped his neck like a twig.

-----

"Herzog had managed to follow our trail, and arrived in the nick of time." Lucius finished his tale, and looked into the deep emerald eyes of his lover. Fiona had remained still, listening, and now she lay down again, her head buried in his chest as she hugged him tightly.

"Remind me to one day thank him." She whispered softly, and then leaned upward to press a gentle kiss to his lips.


----------------

Worn leather creaked softly as a fist slowly clenched shut, and the soft-glowing eyes blazed under the drawn hood. "Sharper than a drawn dagger." he growled softly, turning away from the vista that held no answers, the armored form fading away into the welcome embrace of darkness.
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 18, 2006 3:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

She woke, feeling as if her head was stuffed with cotton batting and under her eyes shadows could be seen. She had slept but the dream had been so vivid her sleep hadn't been restful. Fingers dragged the heavy curtain of black hair out of her pale face and she was soon moving into the bathroom to prepare for another day. Ignoring the array of pillows she had obviously tossed from the bed and now littered the floor.

She was tempted to run for it. It was one of her most unreasonable thoughts of late, and as quickly shunned for she didn't want him to think he had chased her off. Her pride wouldn't allow it. It was apparent to her he had no trouble at all working with her, and all the issues now were her own. Meaning, she had to get a firm grip on her re-awakened emotions and just stuff them away again, deeper and father down this time, so they would never again find the light of day.

She was going to take advantage of Brutin's stable this morning. A brisk ride might help clear up her addled brain and shake off some of the more irritating cobwebs. So, once donned in her usual night black leathers, she yanked on the kid gloves and pushed Garith into the sheath at her side, she was heading out. Fading into the waiting embrace of the shadows.

It was one of those over cast days with the chill of winter still heavy in the air as she strode towards the stable minutes later. She had brought her own horse to be kept there, as it was more convenient. Normally she would be saddling Madyrn on her own, but as the stable boy was already rushing to collect her stallion, she had no other choice but to wait.

As she leaned against the rail of the corral she caught sight of Lucius moving across the yard, but it appeared he hadn't yet noticed her. Then again, it wasn't likely he would. She wasn't standing out the in the open, nor was a stable a place where most would even think to find her. That realization brought a faintly frosty smile to her rose pale lips. Years before she had gone riding with him a time or two, but these days, she tended to use the shadows more for transport, but still, there were times when a horse was needed and thus she had brought her own.

Of course for once, luck was on her side, for as her mount was presented, she felt the whispers against her senses that he was approaching. She decided she would rather not deal with him just yet, and thus vaulted nimbly up into the high saddle, with a fluttering of her cloak, and then sent a short nod to the young man who instantly stepped back. Madyrn danced for a moment at the sudden weight upon his back but then sprang forward at her urging. Sending both rider and horse surging out over the fields towards the distant forest of Brutin's land. So swift was the stallion that by the time DeAuster made it to the stables, she would be nearly out of sight.

The plan was simple, there was a small Inn just behind the distance trees, set off the road only a short distance and there, she would get some coffee and collect her thoughts and her common sense, but with the ride there she hoped would clear her thoughts and ease her unsettled mood.

Under most circumstances, she would have felt the assassin even before they got close enough, but as her mind was obviously preoccupied, she wasn't as prepared as she would like, as suddenly her mount was skidding to a sharp stop then rearing up with a scream, nearly unseating her. It took all her skill to stay astride as narrowed green eyes caught sight of the man emerging from the corpse of trees.

In an instant she was aware of the crossbow leveled on her, as she struggled to settle Madyrn down and then her deeper senses picked up others. Ears straining and marked at least three more already moving closer, making it apparent she had foolishly run right into an ambush. She bit off a sharp Elvin curse and her gloved hand moved down towards the dagger already hissing furiously at her hip.

"Touch it and die bitch!" The large man with the bow snapped, causing her movement to still, only for the moment, as already she had used her shadows to release the peace knot.

"You can come along with us all peaceful and be declared a prisoner of war or we can force you to come along. Your out numbered and no one said you had to be breathing."

Those words just brought a frosty glittering from her eyes as she slowly swung a leg over the pommel of her saddle and then slid from her mount, with feet touching the ground silently. All the while she had kept her hands in sight, letting the others draw closer and biding her time without saying a word.

Inside her mind a plot was already being formed, of how she was going to handle it, when that sudden sensation moved over her skin and she very nearly groaned. Her new "partner" was nearly there, and even before she could act, her stallion just reared up with another wild scream and then bolted away. She had only just managed to dance away from the deadly flashing of hooves when the sound of the crossbow being released hit her. She lunged in an effort to avoid it, but didn't move fast enough, so the sudden blossom of pain in her side took her down to a knee in an uncharacteristic stumble with a soft furious hiss of pain.

Looking down she saw the fletch protruding from her right side and just growled faintly, for it was buried deep and the simple fact now was she couldn't escape into the shadows. To do so now, would ensure she would bleed to death so she had no other choice but to fight. In a sudden rise Garith was sent flying, slamming full force into the throat of the man that had just shot her. The force of her throw lifted him clean off his feet and falling backwards. She watched impassively as a cloud of dust and leaves rose from the now prone attacker then turned as another ran towards her with a shrill battle cry.

The cry was short lived as shadows exploded around her, bands wrapping and tangling the wild looking woman and in moments she was dangling limp from a high branch, the life literally squeezed from her throat by the constricting black ribbons.

Her senses stretched, seeking the other two, but before she could even move, a broken body came crashing down only a few feet away from the first one she had killed. The man's neck twisted in a very unnatural angle and then the blood curdling screams of another had her moving towards the sound.

She stumbled a few times, as the notch in her side was causing her some serious pain but she dared not yank it out for she had nothing to stanch the blood or even wrap it with. She also had seen the tip upon that first glance and knew it was pronged for maximum damage, so yanking it out would make more of a mess.

Once she moved past some of the large trees, she found DeAuster, and the screamer, who he had pinned neatly against the thick bark of a large pine tree. It looked as if most of this man's limbs had been broken already, and the Deathknight now had his arm twisted back behind him. "Who sent you?" He hissed, that cold voice of death likely being even more effective upon the weeping would be assassin then the actual pain he had to be feeling by now.

"DV! DV hired us!" The man whimpered where he slumped again the tree and his arm was released abruptly. The sudden surge of blood and feeling being released sent him falling over in a dead faint seconds later.

"Aye, I suspected as such." She muttered, having stopped to brace a leather-clad hand against a sturdy tree. "I beat her current lover senseless and now Lady Catdrina be looking to get even."

She felt him coming towards her and just gave a tight winced smile. "Ye appear to have scared my mount away DeAuster. I nae supposed ye have one of ye own nearby eh?"

"You're injured." Was his answer to that question, as he drew closer and saw quickly her situation, and a hand rose to steady her where she was leaning again the tree.

"Aye that I am." She glanced down at the arrow still penetrating her body and sighed quietly. "This is what I get for beating one to near death who be playing bedroom games with a guild leader. Welcome to me world DeAuster."

He was inspecting the damage and the moment she saw his other hand reaching towards it, she growled low. "Touch that and I will send ye sailing. I only need a way back or help to an inn that be but maybe three miles to the east. I can nae use the shadows else I will bleed out."

It was bad enough he was touching her, even though the shield of his leather glove and her own armor, but she was already feeling light headed and he of course paid her threat little mind. The first light press of his fingers on the item impaled in her flesh and she gave a muffled sound before she just sagged as a blinding white-hot pain attacked her senses. "Oh frell… tis poisoned." She managed to mutter before the lights went out and she was cast back once more in memories.

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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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Fiona DeAuster
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PostPosted: Fri Aug 18, 2006 3:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Another city, and she was moving through the crowded street with an easy smooth stride. The place was called Cisroe, where they boasted the quaint charm of rustic beauty. It had been a month since the last time she had set foot upon the lands of Kaylieth, but this time she wasn't there to assassinate anyone, but to deliver contracts to members of the Malarid Clan from the Queen. She had a side trip to collect another relic that had surfaced and one her father wanted to have buried again.

It was a dagger unearthed in one of the old temples out in the Distance Mountains of the Urevan region. It had apparently belonged to one of the Ancient Mages of the Order of Shanith. An Order she knew her father had personally destroyed when she was a tiny child. Duibh now kept such magic from the hands of others. Not only to keep their own secrets, but also because they didn't wish for any others to find the Dark Paths and misuse them. She wasn't even here to steal it, but to purchase it from the dealer handling the transaction. All she had to do was arrive and collect it, passing over what for most was a king's ransom, but barely made a dent in her father's coffers.

She had sent word head to Lucius of her arrival, but having not received any reply before she had boarded the ship that brought her to his lands, she didn't know if he would show.

She paused beside her companion, one of her Cousin's Stewards, a woman known as Lady Saestaer, and carried herself with more then a little dignity. She radiated confidence and old wealth in the way many wished they could, but often failed.

This trip, Fiona had little choice but the play the part of a lady, acting on the confidence of her Regent, but suspected there was more going on, that she hadn't yet been told of.

A hand drew her to a stop as the crowds in the street started to part and a troop of Knights came into sight. "Ye have care Fio." Saestaer stated as her sharp golden gaze watched the gleaming array of mounted men pass.

The one in the lead Fiona already knew and just glanced over at the taller woman with a arching of a brow. "I am always careful Milady." It was said the woman was gifted with the "Sight", but there was no telling what she might of noticed as the Paladins had ridden past.

"One of them is looking for ye. I could sense it." Was the next cryptic remark before the lady was again sailing regally into the teaming mass of humanity that filled the cobble stone street.

Fiona wasn't sure what she should tell the woman, but suspected truth might work best. "I know one of them Milady. He is a. . . Friend." She paused, as she wasn't sure she wanted to share more, as she hurried to catch up with the older noble.

"Friend perhaps, but one be here on a mission as well. I can nae tell what that is but if ye speak with him, nae mention of what brings us here, at least nae the business we have for our Regent." The penetrating eyes of the woman turned to regard the half Elven miss beside her.

"As ye like Milady. I also have business to attend for my father, as ye know. I shall simply mention that if asked." She felt oddly uncomfortable at the idea of keeping anything from Lucius, but as she knew who and what he served, and did have some faith in the lady she was with, she had no other option but do as asked. There was also the chance he wouldn't even question why she was in the city.

"They are looking for men, nae woman anyway. So Tis’ unlikely they will stumble into this unless alerted. I am to speak with Lord Damarcus DeCort who be an old friend and that will be under the cover of the Albaelia Ball. I do hope ye brought something proper to wear for the party Fiona." She was smoothly changing the subject, but as Fiona also didn't think speaking about such on the street was safe, she readily nodded.

"Aye Milady. I was aware I was to attend the ball with ye. So, I did make sure to bring something suitable." Fashions here were a bit different from her own home, but having only been in these lands a month before, she was well prepared, even if she had left the bonnet behind.

"Well, we shall still pick up a few more things, as that is what Ladies do." The elegant woman gave a sudden smile and pulled Fiona along into one of the many boutiques lining the street they had been on.

It was some hours later when a very tired Fiona was able to drop down on the edge of the bed. "The Whispering Dove" was a very expensive lodging located in the better part of the city and carried a price to prove it. She was relieved to have her own room at least, for she knew that the city was packed with many for this grand Ball Lord Morcyn and Lady Shaydarria were throwing in celebration of the birth of their first child.

She thought it odd they were having the party here, but again, suspected they were also in league with her own queen and the hidden alliances being set up.

She was also clueless about where Lucius might be staying, having been unable to get away from the shopping storm of Lady Saestaer. Now she had an array of finery and more dresses she didn't really need and aching feet from the activity. However the day wasn't over yet, having learned they had invitations to several events for the evening. It was apparently a social time in Cisroe or more then likely several noble families were taking advantage of the monied guests and looking to make connections while they could.

Muffling the groan that rolled up from her she made her way into the appointed bathroom, delighted to find a bath there with actual running water. Something few places could boast, although back in her father's keep such a thing had been established even before her own memory.

She did try to beg off, really not wanting to attend any of the oft dull events, but as Garith whispered to her, she realized there was a chance she might at least find Lucius at one of the fêtes, and if little else, let him know where she was staying for the week.

In no time at all she was ready having settled on the newest gown in deep lavender, as it did make her green eyes appear darker and just as she drawing the matching gloves over her pale fingers, heard the knock upon the door. Opening it, she found the older woman all ready to go looking surprisingly stunning in a rich chocolate brown. "Ah, good, ye be ready. Here, ye put this on, it will go with the dress as I knew ye would be wearing that one." A thin box was passed over. "As my niece ye need to look the part after all, and I know ye father has nae bothered to suit ye up with such things either. He always was single minded, even as a boy and nae thinks of things a girl might have need of."

She was surprised, as the woman was distantly related to her, but didn't know she was to take the role of niece. Slowly opening the jewelry case she blinked for a moment at the delicately made color of amethyst that would indeed go perfectly with her dress and gave the lady a grateful smile. "So do I call ye Aunt now?"

"Aye, I be Auntie Eires, though if ye forget, few would think it odd. Now, let me help ye with the collar and hair combs. Our coach is already here and be sure to take ye cloak, there be a storm building off the sea and will hit soon."

How the lady knew such things was a mystery, but she had yet to be wrong so once the weight of the stones was secured about her neck and adorning the raven black hair she was collecting the fur trimmed velvet cloak and moments later being handed into a carriage.

"I do so hate such things, but appearances are important." Eires commented, as she adjusted her skirt. "Nae care for these skirts either. Tis’ a strange land this one, where ladies are to be hobbled up like spirited fillies in such garments."

That brought laughter falling from Fiona, as she could only agree, and until arriving upon the shores of Kaylieth, had only seen the woman in soft doe leathers, but she did wear that with the same elegance as the dress she had on now.

Eires tucked a few strands of brown hair back into place and just settled back. "This first house be that of Lord Haven, he be another old friend of my late husbands, Tis’ why I accepted his invitation and should nae be a crush. He's known to be a bookish fellow but does hold some influence. He also has an excellent palate being well traveled, so the food there will nae be of poor quality as others likely will."

Fiona just listened, having little use for such things really, but assumed the lady had her own agenda, and it was her job to ensure she was kept safe while performing it. It was a surprisingly short trip and they were soon being ushered into an elegant townhouse and meeting the small wiry fellow her companion had mentioned.

She was a little surprised, for if this wasn't a crush, she was starting to dread the other events the lady wished to attend this night, for the large gathering room was packed with people, all dressed in the finest cloth displaying their flashest gems and wealth.

In the first 15 minutes her head was spinning with the names being given her and the mauling of her gloved hand and the urge to disinfect it from the array of kisses placed upon it. She of course prevailed, pasting the mask of a smile on her face and staying close to her "Aunt' as she flittered from one pocket of people to the next like a social butterfly on a rampage.

After a while she was starting to feel a little ill from the stuffy air and just leaned to whisper quietly into Eires's ear. "I am going to step outside and get some fresh air Aunt. I will be back shortly."

"Ye do that dear. Stay near the lights, as that storm is near." The Lady answered along with a rather motherly pat on her gloved hand absently.

She didn't notice the cold blue eyes watching her as she moved through the crowd, having not seen him or those with him in the thick crowd, but as she was only seeking air she didn't have any worries.

Stepping out into the night, she felt the cool moist air and could even catch the scent of the storm that was approaching and just drew in a deep cleansing breath. Resting her hands against the balcony rail she looked out over the lighted Garden, noticing easily the various couples strolling along the walk and just let her self relax for a moment. Such events always unsettled her, as she had never been fond of crowds. Something she blamed upon her upbringing, for she had open space and plenty of room to roam that being closed up with so many others, grated.

"I do hope your having a nice evening Lady DeWil." The voice sent a sudden chill moving over her and as she turned slowly she caught sight of that unsettling Paladin stepping out the door. She noticed he wasn't wearing the vestment just the ornate armor most wore for affairs of state and special assembly.

To some he might seem attractive, but she saw the weakness of his chin. The cruel thin lips and the frigid nature behind those snow blue eyes, but all this she carefully hid with a polite smile. "Do I know ye Milord?" Offering up a baffled tilt of her head.

"We haven't been formally introduced, but I am Lord Torg Margeth." He replied, hand extending toward her and she found she had to force herself to place her fingers into his, and then watched him bow over them. Admittedly she was relieved he hadn't kissed her gloved fingers, as she knew she couldn't have refrained from shuddering.

"Well met Lord Margeth." She replied and as soon as it was polite, drew her fingers from his grasp. She didn't fidget or look flustered, but she was getting that feeling again, much worse then when she had been inside.

"I am glad to see you have a companion with you on this trip Milady." He gave what she assumed was a charming smile, but it just looked reptilian to her.

"Ah, I am with my aunt, so Tis’ I that is the companion." Her words just oozed with a polite tone, even as she watched him with none of the caution she felt being allowed to show on her face or in her steady gaze. She didn't care for the way he was looking at her, as it made her skin crawl in a very unpleasant fashion, nor did she like the way it lingered upon the gems she was wearing either.

She was now praying for the storm to break, as it would give her the perfect excuse to move back inside, but she had never had much luck with the weather, for it refused to bend to her silent plea.

"Ah, yes, the Lady Saestaer. She is one I have heard of. Has many ties to this realm so it's said." There was something behind those words, but she couldn't determine what it was and just gave another nod.

"Aye, she knows many here it would seem. She was something of a social butterfly when she was younger and made many friends in her travels." If he was seeking something from her, she didn't know what it was, but felt sure he was digging.

It wasn't the storm that saved her, but the small unassuming Lord Haven, who was pushing the door of open and offering a smile. "Ah, there you are Lass. Your Aunt is looking for you. Come along now, I believe she has many others to meet before the night is done."

She managed a polite dipping of her head to Margeth before slipping away from the balcony and joining the gentleman at the door. "Thank ye for coming to get me, I nae want to keep my aunt waiting."

She could tell he was following, feeling those cold, frosty eyes boring into her back even as she rejoined Eires in the crowd. The golden eyes narrowed a touch, catching sight of the one tracking Fiona's movements and her hand clamped down upon the younger girl's arm. "Come along dear. We have many others to see before the night is done."

In a whirlwind of movement she was enfolded in her cloak and pushed into the carriage that started off rolling just as the clouds above unleashed the torrent of rain.

"I do hope that one following ye inside is not the "Friend" Fiona. Ye father nor Bronwyn would nae approve of him." She stated in what could only be called tight tones.

"Oh nae Milady. That one, be a reptile and nae one I trust at all. I met him once before. The last time I was in these lands just last month, and found him then more then a little unsettling." She didn't bother to hide the shudder of revulsion now. "He be looking for something, and I can nae sense what."

"Ye be right about that girl, but even I can nae "see" what he be wanting, which means we shall have to seek to avoid any further contact with that one." The golden eyes were narrowing in thought and then a sharp nod. " Ye send word to ye father about that one. I nae care for the look of him and think we shall create a diversion for him."

"What sort of diversion?" Fiona asked, as she wasn't following this conversation very well.

"Tell ye father to send a few here to make mischief in the city. That should keep that one out of the way. Nae like the way he was watching ye." The woman was sounding rather protective and Fiona found that curious as well.

"I shall send the message Milady. Tis’ sure father will know how to handle it." She doubted her father would be as worried but she would relay the lady's concerns nonetheless.

_________________
"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
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Jobs: Bullet Catcher, Cartographer
Can Be Found: Gharnholme, RhyDin, and acoss the realms of Carowyn
10772.72 Silver Crowns

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 18, 2006 2:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The next stop was the house of Lord and Lady Granville. A rather elegant residence very near the large stately manor where the Albaelia's occasionally resided, and even more crowded then the last, which made Fiona just mutter darkly even as she slipped out after Eires from the warmth of the carriage. Thankfully the rain had stopped for the moment. A respite it would seem, as above the lightening flickered and was followed by the ominous rumbling of thunder.

Of course the moment she stepped inside, she could feel him somewhere within the sea of socializing members of Nobility. Lucius was there, somewhere and she thought with her luck, it would take ages to find him. Again she had to endure the introductions and just pasted the smile on her lips and allowed herself to be dragged along by her "Aunt". She caught sight of him a few times, as he was taller then most, but as soon as her gaze would find him, he would get drawn away.

"Goodness niece, ye be looking peaked. Perhaps ye should get some fresh air. The balcony here is covered so ye will nae end up rained upon." Eires commented and she soon found herself escorted to the double glass doors that led outside but was grateful to escape. The perceptive woman had noticed she was starting to wilt under the press of too many. Eires seemed to thrive on the energy, where Fiona found it more draining then anything she could compare it to.

"I thought I might find you out here." The rumble of his voice sent her spinning around and she couldn't stop the bright smile that lit upon her tired features.

"Ah, Lucius. I nae thought I would ever catch ye. Tis' a madhouse inside." She held back the urge to fling her self into his arms, as where they were standing was far too open to the eyes of others that might be watching. It didn't stop her green gaze from roaming over him. He looked elegant in the clothing of a noble with the armored bracers the only thing she could see of his usual gear.

"Walk with me." He caught her hand and drew it into the crook of his arm and started to lead her towards the darker area of the covered walk. "Where are you staying?"

She found his behavior a little curious but assumed it was where they were which made him seem somewhat stiff.

"I am staying at "The Whispering Dove" near the high end." She replied quietly as she let him lead her further away from the din of the party. "And ye? Where are ye staying Lucius?"

"The Flying Delight, a few doors down from your own lodgings." He glanced back towards the glow of windows with narrowed steel-gray eyes. "I saw you on the street when we arrived."

"Aye, I saw ye as well." She gave a soft laugh even as her own gaze shifted, wondering what had him so edgy. "Is there something wrong?" Fiona then asked, as his tension was starting to stir up her own again.

He muttered quietly in reply. "Nothing I can't handle." Then before she could quiz him again, he spun her about and her soft laugh was lost seconds later under the hot press of his lips against her own. She was lost instantly and her arms lifted to entwine about his neck with a low moan of hunger.

Perhaps it was the danger of discovery, or what ever had him tense, but there was an almost desperate edge felt in his touch as he dragged her closer in tight arms and the kiss became even more heated. The feeling of her silken clad form dragging a low growl from deep in his chest.

To Fiona the kiss was shattering her reason and her usual caution, as she fell headlong into it, with her fingers tangling in his hair and drawing him even closer with a soft aching sigh. She could feel his obvious need even though the soft folds of silk and just trembled with an answering yearning. So heady the feeling that she made no protest even as she felt the glide of his hand sliding up against the shimmer of her stocking clad thigh. If he wanted to take her right there, she wouldn't have minded, and even as he broke the kiss, her breath caught in a whispered moan.

Her dark head drifted back seconds later, feeling the graze of his whiskers sliding against the exposed flesh of the top of the lavender gown and just trembled again, while her gloved fingers stroked through his hair and traced his ears.

So caught up in the moment, it was a shock to hear her name being called from the house. She froze as did Lucius and she took a deep gasped breath, struggling to collect her scattered senses.

"I am sure she was out here. Perhaps she wandered out farther then she should have." Eires commented to who ever was with her.

In her ear he whispered quietly. "Find me later and don't change first. You look beautiful and I want to undress you later." Again she nearly melted, but even as she felt the heavy thudding of his heart as he hugged her close, she so wanted the night to be over just so she could be with him.

"Aye, aye. I will find ye." Her answering whisper was nearly lost as the next wave of the storm unleashed from on high and she melted away into the shadows. She was aware enough to reappear in one of the powder rooms, so she could deal fix her hair, and collect her self before emerging again. She quickly located Eires in the mingling crowd and they were again on the move, one last stop she was told and just suffered for another hour before finally the end was in sight. The next evening wouldn't be as difficult, for the only event would be the Ball, and she comforted herself with that thought.

Once back in her own room, she quickly penned a note to her father and sent it off in the hands of one of her Shadow Sentinels. Having kept her word to the lady and then, she pulled the covers of the bed back, making it look slept in before she slipped silently into the waiting shadows.

The storm was still raging outside, but she arrived dry and quickly located him within the large establishment, and just as silently drifted into view just a few feet from where he was sitting and watching the fire, and she assumed waiting for her.

Upon seeing her, he rose silently with a hand extended towards her and once her gloved fingers were caught in his warm grasp, he drew her into the glow of the single lamp lit inside the quiet room. For the longest moment they just gazed deeply into each other's eyes, words feeling suddenly useless.

She was struck again with the feelings she was picking up from him and still couldn't determine just what they were, then soon forgot, as lips parted under the tender press of his. He touched her as if she was the most precious treasure in the realms, and if she hadn't already been in love with him before, she would have been after, instead she just fell deeper under his spell.

Their lovemaking was gentle and languid, an eloquent exploration of each other as if each was etching the memory in their minds and clinging to every sensation. Then afterwards, they fell asleep, wrapped tightly in each other's arms until the first fingers of sunlight pulled her from sleep and sensual dreams.

Slipping from the bed, even though she didn't want to, she collected her things, and wrapped only in the velvet cloak, faded quietly again. They hadn't spoken much during that time for it felt as if words couldn't convey the emotions.

It wasn't until she returned to her own room she realized she had lost one amethyst hair comb and a creamy white stocking and just hoped he found them before anyone else. Putting what she did still have away, she shook out the folds of the elegant gown, hanging it up and placing it back into the wardrobe before seeking more sleep, as the next night would be just as long and likely as exhausting as the first.



The dream images became hazy then, mingling with reality, as she was sure he was touching her and started to fight against it, feeling icy fingers against her hot brow and growled faintly. Eyes fluttering open and blazing crimson as she hissed. "Nae touch me!"

Her body was on fire, and she couldn't remember why, for everything was becoming tangled up in her thoughts so she struggled against it.

In fact, if not for that Demonic side of her nature she would have died, for the Elven part wasn't strong enough to fight the poison racing through her blood stream but at the moment she wasn't remembering that. Yet, even in her near hallucinatory state, she was aware of who it was bending over her and didn't like it one bit. She didn't want him seeing her in such a weak and vulnerable state and feared what might slip out of her mouth in her dreaming moments.

She couldn't even tell or feel where she was, as her vision was clouded, but was aware it was dark and hot, so hot her body was shaking and damp. Yet him she could see clearly, the covered features tangling up in her head with the memory of the face she carried in her thoughts. Trembling taloned fingers rose, brushing against the silken scarf hiding his ruined face in a gentle touch before drifting away and her eyes closed again, muttering to herself. "It's just a dream. . . just a dream, nae more."

_________________
"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
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
10772.72 Silver Crowns

Items

PostPosted: Fri Aug 18, 2006 2:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Waking late in the day, she discovered to her surprise that her father and Falcon had arrived early in the morning. Both certainly had the skill to travel through the shadows great distances but she was aware of the hightened security in the city at present so somehow they had managed to forge dates on travel documents.

Learning later that they had simply taken the shadows to a near Zymirian ship and un-boarded once it had docked.

She hadn't thought her message would bring Rhystil personally, and then learned that it had, along with another message about the aged Dagger he wanted. Someone else was seeking it so the deal needed to be re-negotiated as a bidding war was in the works. Normally he would have simply sent Falcon or Rylan to handle the new contracts, but adding on her own note, he felt it was time to make his own appearance.

"Three more are here, but they didn't have rooms here for them, so are now staying a few doors down at another lodging for the duration." Her father was informing Eires over cups of the rich spiced coffee as she joined them.

"Tis' good to see ye Father." Fiona said as she dropped a light kiss to his cheek, then one to the lady, keeping up appearances before she also settled into a seat at the circular table. "I nae expected ye to arrive so soon."

"We had good winds at our backs Fiona." He was gazing at her quietly for a moment then gave a nod. "Ye aunt was telling me about this Paladin that seems to be taken with ye." The tremor of his voice showing more then a little disapproval in the offering, for it was obvious he didn't like whatever Eires had already mentioned.

"Aye, that be Lord Margeth Father and I nae have any interest in him in the least." Her lip took a faint curl that spoke more of her dislike then she normally would allow. She was mentally telling him of her distrust, for words spoken where others could hear, simply wasn't prudent not in the common room where they were seated.

"Ye gads, nae that pompous ass from last month Fiona?" Falcon added, arriving after apparently cleaning up from the trip, as his dark hair was still damp from the bath.
"Aye, the very same. He was more pleasant this time but I still nae care for the creature." Such things wouldn't raise any brows even stated so openly, as the way it had all been worded, would seem harmless enough.

"T'was obvious he was taken with ye Fiona. He could nae take his eyes off ye last night." Pausing in the drinking of her coffee, Eires added and Rhystil instantly frowned.
"Who are his people?"

Fiona offered a simple shrug and then helped herself to a cup of the strong brew all the others were drinking and some freshly cut fruit. "I nae know Father. As I said, I didn't care much for him and nae stayed long in his company."

"He's one of those Paladins of the church of Leorn, Milord." Helpfully Falcon interjected with an arrogant smile moving over the carved features.

For just a moment rage flashed in a momentary flicker of crimson in the ice-green eyes of her father then was banked as he gave a snort. "Ah, one of those "Holy" sorts. Hardly worthy of my only daughter."

"Nae all of his comrades are like him Father." Fiona commented softly then, with a quiet lifting of lashes to gaze steadily at her sire.

Rhystil gave another snort, but it was followed with a low laugh. "Aye child, there are even some of the brighter ilk that even I can like, given time and if they prove themselves. I just nae think ye wouldn't care for their ways, nor them for yours, but as ye already said ye nae like this Margeth, Tis' nae a problem anyway." She was very aware her father wanted to have a look at this one. His abilities far surpassed her own and where she might not detect his agenda, the elder DeWil just might have better luck.

"Now, as for the dagger, Falcon will be helping with it. Apparent the contract that had been set has been shaken as someone else offered even more for the relic. I will have it in the end, as the dealer will be forced to say yes to my next offer."

That made Fiona chuckle quietly, as she was more then aware her father could and would persuade the man without laying a finger on him. Such was his more honed skills in the art of mental influence.

Soon enough she was left on her own, having little to do but wait for the evening to come and the ball, so decided to take a walk. Just across from "The Whispering Dove" was a park and so it was there she was soon headed.

The storm of the night before had passed and now the crisp winter after noon air carried a clean scent she appreciated and knowing that later, it would be stuffy over used air she would breath, she took full advantage.

Finding a shaded bench under a tree and hidden by the trimmed shrubs and fragrant roses
She settled down, with one hand adjusting the skirt with a frown. If not for the role she was playing she wouldn't care if she drew curious looks. Her leathers were less cumbersome and in most instances, more comfortable, for one didn't need to wear corsets or stockings under those.

She had only just settled down when that feeling touched over her senses mere moments before Lucius rounded the path. Hands clasped behind him and looking to be taking a walk, but she knew he had seen her entering the park and had followed. That realization brought a warm smile curling on her lips as she nodded to him. "Good afternoon Milord."
"I hope the day is treating you well Lady Fiona?" He said with a slow lazy smile. "I wouldn't have thought you liked roses."

"Ah, roses are nice, although my fondness of them is nae as great as the love I have for lilies. " Fiona's soft honey warm laughter rose into the crisp air as she gazed at him with a shimmer of humor in the ice-green eyes.

They spent a few idyllic hours, sitting and talking, or strolling along the paths until the sun started to set and she was forced to return to the lodging to prepare for the next part of the evening.

_________________
"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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