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Left to their own devices, the two stragglers wandering aimlessly… 
7th-Jun-2006 12:37 am
Matrix Style

Left to their own devices, the two stragglers wandering aimlessly down the road would have become exactly what fate had intended. One, a thief, might have rose high in the underworld, had he survived long enough in the profession. The other, a farm girl, could have possibly spent the rest of her life cooking, cleaning and knitting for a man her father chose for her. Be that as it may, chance took an awkward turn for both, and fate had very little to do with their current prospects. Chase and Rainé Walters were considered the exception, touched not by fate, rather by humanity’s ability to change the way things were meant to be.

“Did you ever think this is where we’d be 7 years ago?” Rainé asked quietly, her diminutive voice creeping unexpectedly through a heavy wind. “A thief and a farmer’s daughter. It’s something out of a bad romance novel.”

Chase smiled briefly beneath the heavy mask he wore to ward off dirt and dust. “No, I didn’t. Honestly, I didn’t think I’d make it past 21, especially after meeting you and your father.”

Rain laughed from behind her matching mask and moved closer to her husband. “He really doesn’t like you, gods bless him, but I think he’ll get over it. Do you think we should find a place to stop? The wind is really starting to kick now….”

Rainé’s voice trailed off as a figure stepped out of the woods. Cloaked in grey and surrounded by mist, the figure cut an ominous visage across the road. Taking a moment to identify her opponent, she took a step back and moved to Chase’s right hand.

“I guess we didn’t need to go looking for him then,” Chase remarked as he threw his cloak open. Drawing his long sword and placing the runed shield on his arm, he crouched and waited. While not an overly violent person, Chase was fiercely protective and a dangerous adversary. He also needed the money offered to bring down this mage.

“Come on, bastard, show me what you can do,” he muttered under his breath, eyeing the mage carefully before starting the slow walk forward. Each step tested his resolve as the wind around him grew to momentous proportions, pressuring him constantly. He was careful too keep himself between the mage and his wife, as she moved behind him in wait.

A break in the constant barrage made him cautious, and he lifted his shield to block the first of a series of attacks. Air nearby was made solid and visible, striking the shield with devastating force. Each attack made Chase’s arm go numb before he finally began parrying the weapon with his sword. Slowly he made his way forward, fending off the barrage easily now that he realized his opponent was unskilled with his talents. Each strike was similar, with an unending pattern that revealed a man who was not very familiar with martial combat.

When he was within striking distance, Chase lashed out, only to find his weapon stopping short of his target, striking a solid, if invisible, armor. Stepping back, he blocked another attack on his shield and struck out again, in a different place. Again, he found his weapon useless.

The mage smiled at him, and spoke with a deep, thunderous voice, as if from far away. “It’s useless, bounty hunter, you can’t hope to penetrate my defenses, but you will tire, and then you will die.” The mage closed his eyes and his forehead knitted in concentration. Another cudgel of air formed, and suddenly Chase was fighting two weapons without apparent wielders.

Undaunted, Chase again began pressing forward, his jaw clamped tight with an iron determination. When he again reached the mage, he studied him carefully. Beads of sweat were dripping down onto the grey robes and the wizard’s fists were clenched tightly at his sides. Seeking to find an opening, Chase spoke, his voice muffled through the mask he wore. “But how long can you keep this up, mage? Is that sweat I see on your brow?”
As the mage opened his eyes in shock, Chase parried one weapon so violently it was flung backwards. Taking the other weapon on his sword, he spun furiously, raising his shield to his opponent’s head. The make shift bludgeon connected with the shield of air and knocked the mage from his feet. Immediately, the cudgels disappeared and Chase ducked. A flight of darts flew over his head parading into his opponent’s chest.

Even as he looked on, he knew the mage was already dead. Not from the darts, those were simply to incapacitate him, but from the blow to his head. Shaking his head quietly, he muttered a simple prayer. He felt his wife draw near and put his arm around her, holding her to him as he finished sending the mage’s soul to the next life.

“Chase… what happened? We… he wasn’t supposed to die. They were going to do that. We just had to bring him in. Right?” Rain’s voice was shaking, despite the now warm day.

“It… was an accident. I must have broken his neck when I hit him with the shield. I… wasn’t sure how strong his wards were, I was just trying to break his concentration. He’s in a better place now. A place where he’s wanted.” I hope, Chase added silently to himself. Kneeling before the corpse, Chase told his wife to look away, and removed the head. He still needed to get paid.

“Let’s get back. Our job here is finished.”

Placing the head in a bag, he tied it beneath his cloak and turned around, returning to the village he received the proposition.

7th-Jun-2006 11:19 pm (UTC) - A tiny, impermanent village, a day's ride of East of Valael.

Kichea, Tordek, and Liluael shunned the village called Medra on Liluael’s recommendation. Apparently there was another which, although smaller, was closer to the forest, a virtue that would recommend it, indeed, if there were still bounty hunters in the area. As a result, they found themselves riding East as quickly as they could at dusk down a dirt path approaching a truly tiny village.

Kichea’s horse, Bryston, was straining with the effort of carrying both women such a distance. They’d stopped but once – trying to make time after the late start afforded by their confrontation with Galvoor. Kichea had spent most of the day thinking back on that morning’s discussion.

Kichea had scouted the area as thoroughly as she could before following the others into the stable. Tordek and Galvoor were holding a whispered argument as Liluael stood, off to the side a bit, eyeing the stable hand with a puzzled expression. The stable hand was filling a feed bag. She approached the angry men for the second time of the morning, intending to be a bit more tactful than she’d had time to be earlier. This intention, however, went out the window as she heard Galvoor’s latest:

“I don’t see how you can possibly condone this, Tordek. She’s a child. She can’t possibly be expected to make an informed decision – “

“You didn’t question my decision to become a NUN, Galvoor,” she’d reminded him primly, and was rewarded when he spun on the spot, looking every bit as shocked as he had the last time she’d dared question him. “Furthermore, you are only a year older than I, so it’s hardly accurate to call me a child. And please keep in mind that, should you manage to convince Tordek to abandon me, I’ll be going on with no one to council me at all. I shouldn’t think that would please you overmuch, all things considered.”

“You should do as your father bade, and go to the Monastery, Kichea. My orders are to deliver you there. Are you really asking me to take Nurse back there and lie to your father?” Galvoor had sounded so defeated at this point that Kichea nearly took pity on him. But she couldn’t afford to really. She had to play every card in her hand if she was truly to escape the life that her father had laid out before her.

“You have been like a brother to me since I was six years old, and you came to live with us. All I’m asking is that you see Nurse home safely. By then we will be gone from here. Tell him whatever you wish.” Kichea grimaced. She hadn’t intended to let him off the hook so easily. She’d wanted to demand his loyalty, but it was true that he’d been as much a brother to her as she’d been a sister to him. She couldn’t ask him to betray his own sense of justice.

{OOC-It'll take me one more post to get all the remembrances in, pls respond to that one, not this! -Brandy}
7th-Jun-2006 11:21 pm (UTC) - Re: A tiny, impermanent village, a day's ride of East of Valael.

Galvoor was staring at her, and he’d set his jaw in such a way that told her he was well and truly enraged now. She imagined it was on her father’s behalf. She HAD basically just told him that she didn’t particularly care what the man thought of her choices. But her assumption was proven wrong an instant later when he took her by the elbow and turned her slightly away from Tordek, as though it might prevent him hearing when Galvoor harshly whispered, “And what would you have me tell Connall?”

Kichea felt the blood drain from her face, and cast a glance back to Tordek. He, too, looked shocked that Galvoor would invoke that particular name. A long moment went by before Kichea attempted to pull her arm out of Galvoor’s huge hand. She failed, but at her wince of pain he let her go. “I see no reason why you should tell him anything at all, as he’s certainly never expressed any interest in my comings and goings before now,” she’d answered coolly. “It garnered no response from him when I agreed to marry the Duke, nor when I professed a desire to become a Nun. Why should I think he’d be interested now that I’d like to train as a Mage?”

She glared at Galvoor for another long moment before the stable boy broke her concentration. “Your feed, Sir,” the boy said, handing the bag to Tordek, who thanked him. Then, as the boy turned his back, Kichea saw Tordek gesture toward him with his head. She squinted for a moment before understanding came. The boy knew too much. The old man could be here in twenty minutes buying information about who they are and where they’re going.

She looked up at Galvoor again. “Goodbye, my brother,” she said simply. In an act of defiance that mirrored her recent departure from her makeshift family, she offered him her hand, as she’d seen the Mages do on her father’s estate for years. Galvoor swallowed hard, then grasped her forearm as she grasped his, saying goodbye to her as an equal, rather than as a charge. He nodded once, then let her go and abruptly went to release his horse from her stall.

“I’ll bring Nurse back from the market, then, shall I, and you can be off?” He didn’t make eye contact, but Kichea smiled anyway. Galvoor was a lot of things, but he was fairly quick on the uptake. He’d divined Nurse’s task correctly. She nodded. He was out the stable door an instant later and it felt like the even the remaining horses breathed a sigh of relief.

Half an hour later, they’d finally found themselves outside the city and on their way.

There’d been little opportunity for conversation as they traveled, but now, as they slowed she turned her head slightly. “How are you holding up?” she asked Liluael, with more than a little trepidation. Liluael had been fairly quiet, even when it became apparent that she wouldn’t be able to prevent them from attempting the trip to the forest. Not for the first time, Kichea wondered whether the Wind Mage had directed them truly.

9th-Jun-2006 10:50 pm (UTC)
Kichea had healed her sore butt one time too many. Her most recent whispered spell had been no help at all. Truthfully, she could only go so far in healing herself. It just wasn't expedient to spend her own energy unless she was grievously injured. She didn't think this qualified.

She heard Tordek and Liluael chatting pleasantly behind her, but could not bring herself to feel at all pleasant. Her thoughts dwelt on Connall as they had not since she was fourteen years old. And there was an odd feeling coming from the ground, as though something horrible had happened nearby. It kept her spirits down, but gave her no hint of what, exactly, had taken place.

She wanted to mount up and ride the rest of the way to the village, but settled for hurrying her steps. Bryston seemed not to mind. But the riding clothes Nurse had purchased for her were of rough cloth, the like of which she'd never worn. And they were much too loose. They chaffed against her thighs, stinging as they rubbed places that were more accustomed to the feel of fine cloth. She soon slowed again.

The village was near enough, now, that she could make out the buildings. Not being particularly adept at distinguishing one dwelling from other, she turned, for the first time since dismounting, to ask Tordek where he thought they ought to go. But her eyes focused behind him on the road. There were two people, far enough away that she couldn't tell their gender, and walking slowly. Something bulky bumped against the leg of the taller of the two. Beneath her feet, the ground seemed to give a little tremor, slight, but full of warning. Her question died in her throat, even as her eyes squinted to get a better look, and she perceived that they were not being pursued. Yet.
9th-Jun-2006 11:20 pm (UTC)
"Keep your hood up," Liluael said in a low voice, "With those eyes they're liable to spot you for who you are in five minutes." She kept walking with her head bent over, still watching the road on which she tred.

"We should reach the village before them and then Kichea ought to change back into her dress. It'll be easier to avoid suspicion if we pose as a Lady traveling home. You should maintain your role as her protector, which should be easy enough. I'll stand in as her maid."

We should not have left Valael. She thought to herself and looked back to the figures in the distance. They were putting a little more distance between themselves and the hunter, but they were still far too close.
13th-Jun-2006 04:33 pm (UTC) - Inside the Shepherd's Daughter
Tordek grunted "yes, my lady" a brief moment after Kichea asked for him to get supper for them. His surprise that they hadn't gotten any in the hour he had spent in the stables is evident, but he quickly turns away and heads back downstairs. This time he finds the innkeeper himself, busily cleaning some clay steins.

"My good man, my lady hungers and requests some of your best food for herself and her maid. I will take it up when it is ready, but take your time; I'd like to eat too 'fore she wants sump'n else from me."

He smiles a wry smile when the innkeeper glances oddly at him for his sudden change in grammar and tone. Then the words hit him and he begins chuckling at Tordek's situation.

"Worry not, friend..." "Tordek, my good man. That's what she calls me when she uses a name." Janus clasps a hand to Tordek's shoulder briefly. "Friend Tordek then. Some time you'll have to entertain me with else she calls you. Janus is my name, and I'll have my wife fix up something the lady will like, and there'll be time enough to eat. When you're ready, find me and her meal'll be ready."

Tordek nods his head in thanks and takes his bowl and mug back to the spot he'd vacated a few minutes before. He pulls off his hood, to be less conspicuous, and in fact removes the drab brown long riding cloak entirely, revealing his nearly form-fitting grey and green hunter's garb. At least that's what the tailor who made it called it; he never had need to dress like a hunter when hunting. His black-tipped red hair draws a few murmurs from the surrounding people, but mostly he's ignored as most strangers to a village this size are - they're ignored to their face, but become the focus of conversation for the next few weeks.
13th-Jun-2006 04:35 pm (UTC) - Re: Inside the Shepherd's Daughter
Tordek drains the mug of its contents and nods to the serving wench for more. After she refills it, Tordek's hand suddenly darts behind him, grabbing the wrist of a young boy standing by his side and pulling him close in.

"The key to being a successful thief, lad, is in knowing the difference between a good mark and a potential problem. I am a potential problem, and had you been watching me earlier, you would have known that." Tordek's voice is a murmur loud enough for the child to hear him over the din, but not loud enough to let his voice travel much further. He turns his head to lock gazes with the child, who suddenly understands just how grave an error he made as Tordek's yellow-flecked green cat eyes look deep into his eyes. "That pouch does not contain my money. Coins I keep in a purse hanging under my shirt. The contents of the pouch at my side are of no interest to you. Do we understand each other… What is your name?"

"Bryan, sir, and I'm sorry. I didn't mean any harm, honest! I.. I.. I'll"

Tordek's face breaks into a grin, and he fishes out a small coin. "You'll tell everyone you know about me. I know you will; I would do the same in your place. Young Bryan, I'll give you this coin here in the hopes that you will do me a favor. Soon I'm going up to the room of my lady. In about the time it takes to burn one band of a day candle I want you to find out what you can about that man there and his lady friend, and then find me and tell me. I will give you more depending on the value of what you find out. Okay?"

Tordek points out the muscular man with the lute that has just seated himself by the fire. Bryan nods his head takes the coin, and darts off when his wrist is released. The thin mage takes his time finishing his meal as the tall man with the tattooed face begins to strum and sing. He looks awake as the singer's gaze comes his way, noting that the teen-aged singer from before stands in the doorway to the back, her face filled with ... joy? rapture? longing? – Tordek is too far away to be sure – as she watches and listens to this man perform.

At the end of the song, he collects his cloak, stands up, and gets the ladies’ food from Janus. Heading to the stairs, something makes him stop. He puts the tray on the step, and pretends to fiddle with his boots as he mutters, and his hearing becomes much sharper. The voice he hears is that of Janus's, and by the crackling behind him, he can tell the innkeeper is by the singer and the fireplace.

"The ladies seem normal enough, Chase, but their guard, he's not. His eyes aren't human, and he moves too fluidly. It's like he's a cat in human form! He seems a good enough fellow, but if he's fey like he seems, there's no telling for sure."

Listening in to the rest of the conversation as he resumes his stride up the steps, he shakes his head in self-annoyance at his carelessness. Once at the room he knocks twice with his heels, his hands being occupied with the food tray.
13th-Jun-2006 06:05 pm (UTC) - The Shepard's Daughter
Kichea opened the door as soon as she heard his kicking. She'd been pacing behind it intermittently since the moment it closed. "Thank you," she said at once, taking one of the trays from him and setting it down at the foot of the bed. "There was quite a noise down there a bit ago, and I was worried you might have gotten yourself into a bar fight or something," she commented.

She knew very well that no such thing had happened. The cheers that had drifted up to the room had sounded benign enough. However, it had been rather uncomfortable in the room, what with Liluael obviously despondent over something she chose not to mention.

Left to her own devices, Kichea had struggled once again with her corset. Then, having no luck with it, had thrown it, and the rest of her clothing, into a pile in the corner and dug out her nightclothes instead. They were thin, but they were finally sleeping indoors, and she was comfortable enough. Besides, it was painfully clear that she wasn't leaving the room under their current disguise.

While rooting in her bag, she'd found something that she was certain she had not put there herself. It was a ring, of all things, wrapped up in a shawl she'd brought but had not yet worn. She suspected the stone was amber. It was a simple ring, not the sort of thing she'd have received from her father. And besides which,he would certainly have taken great pains to present her such a thing in person.

She had known better than to try the thing on, of course. She had an inkling that amber was supposed to possess protective powers, but had decided that she could be mistaken about the stone. She'd been waiting all the time Tordek was downstairs to ask him about it, but now that he was present, she found herself loathe to discuss it in front of Liluael. She kept it clasped in her fist, and took the second tray from him as well, setting it down, one handed, on the floor beside Liluael. "You should eat something. It's been rather a long time since breakfast," she said quietly.
13th-Jun-2006 08:41 pm (UTC) - Re: The Shepard's Daughter
Liluael looked down at the food and then up under her lashes at Kichea. After a moment she reached out a hand and took up a piece of bread.

"Thank you..." she murmured and began to nibble on it. There had been an icy feel running up and down her spine, but the food dulled it down. She finished off the bread and smiled up at Kichea. She looked towards the door. The music was flowing up from downstairs. Her hand went down to her belt and fingered the small wooden flute that was tucked therein.

"It sounds rather lively down there."
16th-Jun-2006 12:08 pm (UTC)
Kichea drew in a sharp breath. She was more than a little confused about what exactly Tordek had just gotten them all into (and her half-dressed, as he'd kindly pointed out to the boy!). Still, she was prepared. She had arranged herself near the head of the bed, pillows behind her, on the side away from the door. She probably looked like a well-to-do invalid receiving noble guests. Her dagger, however, was in easy reach to her right hand, but out of sight at the side of the bed.

The boy's fear didn't sit well with her. It wasn't like Tordek to intimidate, but to someone who'd never met a Mage at all, he would certainly seem uncanny. "Come, young one, while your friend decides whether or not to brave the room, and sit here at the foot of the bed. My name is Kichea, and I can promise that no one here will harm you." She smiled, then, as the boy did as he was told. "What do they call you, Janus' son?" she asked.

He still seemed frightened, but he didn't stutter as he replied, "Bryan, ma'am."

"Well, Bryan, when you go back downstairs, give my compliments to the cook. Dinner was lovely." She'd eaten most of it, in actuality, and took this opportunity to set her tray on the ground and slide it under the bed, so as to be out of the way in case there was trouble. She wasn't particularly concerned about the possibility, however, she had just given her word as to the boy's safety. If there was to be any fighting, her first priority would be to remove him from it.

16th-Jun-2006 09:39 pm (UTC)
Chase smiled as he stepped into the light coming from the mage's room. He did not enter, prefering the ability to be able to get out of harms way should it come. Cocking his head to the side, he gave a slight nod in greeting to the two females in the room before addressing Bryan and the man kneeling beside him.

"I've not come to start trouble. Janus and his family are close to me, and when they come to inform me that I'm under inspection, I get nervous. Bryan, go back to your father, and I will speak with these people."

The young boy nodded and all but raced back behind Chase before tramping down the stairs. After he was sure of the boy's safety, he stepped carefully into the room, locking gazes with the only other male. Placing his hands clasped behind his back in a relaxed position, he spoke, perfectly at ease with the situation, and at least assured he could get out if things went wrong.

"So you have questions, then ask me, I am more open than most. Please do not go scaring little boys into doing work you should have the ability to do yourself. The people here mean a lot to me, more than you would be able to discern, and I would do much to spare them any pain. Especially fear."

Narrowing his gaze at Tordek, Chase made sure the mage was well aware the comment was directed at him. His fingers toyed with the fabric keeping the thin blades strapped parallel to his back hidden. He had decided that this discussion would not come to bloodshed, but it never hurt to be cautious.

"Now, my name is Chase. I am married, and my wife is downstairs as we speak, and I would keep her out of this. Any other questions you may have of me you may ask now."
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18th-Jun-2006 02:27 pm (UTC)
Liluael sat on the ground with her head down for a few moment after Grace left, just starting at the dust beneath her. She was still coming to grips with what had happened but she had mostly pushed the feelings aside and her eyes were now dry.

"It's over with now-" The Wind Mage looked up, expecting to see Grace but saw no one at all. She looked around desperately, but saw nothing. She must not have heard her go. She knew immediately where she had gone and what she meant to do and she kicked herself for telling her.

Liluael leapt off the ground and, once again, ran back into the building after Grace.

"Grace, STOP!"
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19th-Jun-2006 01:56 am (UTC) - {The posts get thinner and thinner...}
Kichea spells the dust of the floor to chase Tordek out the door, smothering the sparks a fire salamander tends to trail. Then she turned to Chase. "Give her some time to cool down," she said quietly, hoping he was, himself, was cool enough to take her advice.

She looked around the room, perceiving that the room had cleared when the fire had appeared. For that she was thankful. She had given her own abilities away to this bounty hunter, and didn't want the entire crowd to be aware of them as well. Still, some part of her trusted him. She didn't think he would harm her, in spite of his dangerous appearance.

She didn't know the woman in red, and had quickly determined that she didn't wish to know her. Such a one left nothing but pain behind her. She was glad of Tordek's careful choice of Shift. At least she didn't have to worry for his safety. It was unlikely that the Fire Mage could damage him in that guise.

"Will you come away out the back door," she asked, with rather less impertinence than she'd shown when she demanded it early. "Let's not tempt her to damage this establishment."

She cast a glance back toward the retreating figures, and finally lets go the handle of her dagger, leaving it hidden beneath her skirts. Instead, she fingers the ring in her pocket and turns to leave by the back entrance, praying that the foul man who tried to take liberties with her person earlier isn't lurking back there with his friends.
19th-Jun-2006 02:13 am (UTC) - Re: {The posts get thinner and thinner...}
Rain came down the stairs as soon as she heard the rush of flames. Her steps were light, but swift, becoming of the young woman who had given up her life for the man she loved. Her eyes were narrowed, emerald sparking through the lowered lashes and watching carefully as Tordek changed to protect her husband, then bounded out the door before he caught the Inn with the natural flames the Salamander possessed.

Chase was almost out the door after Tordek, when he heard his lady's words. His mind raced with options, but finally, he gave into her request. He could be a fool, but he was able to control it occasionally. Turning back to Kichea, he nodded once and replaced the weapons in there respective places.

"Of course. You are right of course. Forgive me, I let my own selfishness cloud my judgement."

Taking his wife by the hand, he led them through the kitchen and out the back, into the stabling yard. Though his eyes still burned at the Fire Mage's actions, he had calmed enough to except the things that can not be changed.

"For the moment, m'lady, we are safe. Who knows later, but for now, I will not seek retribution for this insult. I do not know who she is, but she is a danger, and that you were brought here to meet her for the Osia, makes me reconsider their whole operation. That they would bring into their fold someone as volitile and uncaring as that blaster tosses a great stain in who I thought they were, from what I've heard of course."

He grew quiet after that, simply holding tightly to his wife's hand. It was of course she who spoke next, asking the most difficult question of him. She had a right to know of course, but that made it no easier to answer.

"Chase, what were you going to do when she threw that ball of fire at you? If that man hadn't... changed... and saved the inn?"

Chase closed his eyes, and took a deep breath, trying to find the words that were racing through his brain. But there was no easy answer to that question. Janus was family. His family was Chase's family, and his well being was Chase's well being.

Turning to look back at the inn which Janus had built, he spoke quietly, his voice filled with regret, and sadness, "I was going to kill her..."
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20th-Jun-2006 01:11 am (UTC)
Chase and Rainé watched the scene with a bad taste in their mouths. Here was a woman who had just threatened to burn the entire village to the ground being offered solace in the inn she had promised to bring down around them. Chase's reaction did not diminish the fact that the woman had just tried to kill him, but he did understand the need for a midnight security.

Having waited for everyone to finish their own thoughts, Rainé turned to Liluael, the first words his wife had spoken to the wind mage. She spoke with narrowed eyes, through an even tone of a scolding mid-wife.

"You need to finish with whatever it is that brought you here and leave. You're young, immature, and emotional, and your actions have brought this peaceful village more trouble than they are prepared to handle. If this Grace causes harm here, we will not just hold her responsible."

Rain moved to stand within inches of Liluael, whispering harshly as she did so, "And do not make threats to humans, little girl. We do not care about Grace's abilites, nor do we care about yours. The Osia mean nothing to us, and your boasts and threats are idle. Beleive me when I say that my husband and I will be able to handle anything you two trouble makers can throw at us."

With that, she abrubtly turned away and walked out the back door of the Inn, to find Janus and assure his family was alright.

Chase turned to Kichea and frowned, a thoughtful gaze delivered in her direction. He did not like seeing his wife act like he did. It made things difficult. She was his rock when it came to things like emotion, always more settled than he was.

"I will watch the front. The people know and respect me here, there will be no harm to your companions this night. They love Janus and his get, and will not trouble the Inn he has worked so hard to make sucessful for a simple dispute between this Fire Mage and myself. You need not worry. I would, however, ask you to rethink whatever it is that brought you here. This Grace is dangerous. I think you would be better suited to find your own paths than to follow in one she will burn down for you."

Nodding once, Chase stepped out the front door of The Shepard's Daughter and leaned against the wall. He was, at the very least, a man of his word, and no harm would befall those within for the night he stood guard.
20th-Jun-2006 01:38 am (UTC) - Behind the Inn, planning to sleep on the ground. Again.
Kichea didn't require the warning, but appreciated it nonetheless. She had begun regretting her impetuousness the moment she realized Grace was part of the Osia. And yet, there was a part of her that wasn't ready to let go her hatred of the Duke and pursue another path. Perhaps ... perhaps this 'Icthus,' in whom Liluael placed her hope, could redeem the Osia in Kichea's mind.

She turned to Tordek, who had remained silent throughout the women's disagreement. She hoped that she was only imagining the amused expression on his face. It would be better to have no quarrel with him, at least. "I'll be at the kitchen entrance anyway. And Tordek should stay in the stable, in case." She didn't say, in case the woman decides to set the place alight after all, but she knew Tordek's inherent interest in the animals would endear that particular post to him.

She turned back to Chase and Rainé and forced a smile. "I won't forget your generosity this night." With that, she took up her skirts once again and went back around the corner of the building.

As she settled herself on the ground beside the door, she could hear movement within. Janus and his family were finally able to relax a bit. Undoubtedly they could see Chase and his wife, standing sentry out front. She drew her dagger, and rested it in her lap. It was difficult to draw from any sitting position that didn't involve a horse.

She stared into the darkness, letting the Earth speak to her. It told her that she was lucky, and had narrowly avoided something horrible. It told her the people of the village were restless. It told her she was too keyed up to sleep and ought just to enjoy the stars.
20th-Jun-2006 01:20 am (UTC)
Grace proceeded up the stairs, but Icthus found himself unable to catch up with her through the tumult. He cursed; being much smaller than he was, Grace had been able to maneuver through the crowd, a luxury the Osian leader would be denied. He looked back to make sure Farah was still with him; she was, staying near his side so as not to get separated. "Come on," he said. "Let's get out of this mess."

The two of them proceeded to an empty corner of the common area, where there was a small table pressed against the corner. Signalling to Farah, Icthus took a seat from which he darkly surveyed the room. His hand went to the small pouch he kept under his robes, making sure the map was still there. Reassured, he turned to Farah.

"So," he began. "What can you tell me about the Mystics?"
20th-Jun-2006 01:40 am (UTC)
Liluael perked up at the sound of Icthus's voice. She tucked her flute into her belt and left her post, rushing down the stairs. She immediately found him in his dark corner and ran up to him, ignoring the new mage who was with him.

"I'm sorry to interupt you, but we need to get out of here. There are bounty hunters about who are making threats that I do not think idle. Grace will not come out of her room and if we do not get out of here now something is going to happen. You are the only one Grace will listen to and if you do not take control of all this I do not think we can get out of here without bloodshed." The wind mage spoke very quickly, saying all of the latter in one breath.

It was then she noticed Farah.

"Oh. Hello."
20th-Jun-2006 02:57 am (UTC) - At The Shepherd's Daughter, AFTER the confrontation
Tordek was indeed rather amused at the advice that Chase gave Kichea, but it was hard to tell with the reptilian face he currently had. However, he was starting to feel the natural urge of a salamander to watch things burn build up in his brain, and the fact that he wasn't happy that Kichea was present when the proverbial stuff hit the fan wasn't helping any. Such was the danger of these forms - the more powerful the form, the more dangerous it was to stay in it for any length of time. That and he'd pay for it when he changed back. Speaking of which...

"Kichea... my cloak..."

The 6' burning reptile slowly started shrinking and losing its tail as it begins returning to human form: its face shrinks and flattens out, its scales flatten out to a highly sunburned skin, its limbs become human again, and the flames come back to being hair. His form-fitting tunic and leggings re-emerge present, but they look charred and soot-covered. He takes the cloak offered to him without seeing who it is that actually does, and he collapses to his knees as he wraps it around himself tightly, muttering "s-s-so c-c-cold..."

He remains like that for about a minute as Chase takes up post at the front door, keeping an eye on him and the initially slow trickle of patrons that return to the inn. He then stands up and walks over to the bard, still shivering.

"Please don't hold it against Liluael - she's still an emotional child. She had no way of knowing Grace would show up and all hell would break loose. I have, however, no excuse for this Grace, as I've never laid eyes on her before."

With that he clutches the door frame hard as a particularly violent shiver runs up his spine. "I must sit by the fire for a bit and get something hot inside me. Pray don't think I am being rude. When I am warm again I will check on the well-being of the animals."

Staggering to the bar as the shivers are beginning to increase, he asks Janus for a bowl of stew. Janus pours him one. "This one's on the house, for saving it." Tordek smiles slightly and nods his thanks as he clutches it and sits by the fire.

Once there, he slowly begins to warm back up, and as he sips the stew, he notices the pair that Liluael has gone over to. He slowly gets up and wobbles over to them.

"Don't worry, Lilueal. Ch-chase won't harm you as long as you don't c-cause any more trouble. They're not c-currently on any bounties, not from Remon." Then he directs his attention to the two already seated. "You would be the ones that Kichea was looking for? She wished to join, but after seeing Grace in action she's having second thoughts. Kindly explain her to me. I, by the way, am Tordek."
20th-Jun-2006 02:59 am (UTC) - Re: At The Shepherd's Daughter, AFTER the confrontation
Kichea sat outside the kitchen door, behind the Shepard’s Daughter, and tried to focus on something other than the stars. She didn’t have much luck. She was startled, therefore, when the door beside her banged open, nearly hitting her, and young Bryan ran out. He took three steps passed her, and she stood abruptly and sheathed her dagger before he could turn to notice it.

When he did turn, she was surprised to discover that he was looking for her. “Miss, Father wants to know if you’ll come inside. You can stay in the kitchen until we know what the others are up to. He doesn’t think there’ll be any more trouble, and he says you oughtn’t to be sittin’ on the ground.” Bryan said all of this breathlessly, his arms hanging at his sides as if he didn’t know what to do with them.

Kichea smiled, and looked about. The alley was deserted. The eyes that had shined at her, so malevolently, she’d thought, were long gone. “Alright, then,” she agreed readily enough. It was growing cooler out, and though her dress had a great deal of material to warm her legs, it had very little to cover her arms and shoulders. She imagined she must have been sitting there longer than she’d thought. Perhaps she had fallen asleep.

Bryan ran back inside ahead of her, and she turned her face into the welcoming warmth and light from the doorway only to discover, to her chagrin, that there were cool tear tracks down her cheeks. She stepped back into the darkness again and wiped them away with her sleeve. Only then did she enter the kitchen. From the common room, she could once again hear some muted revelry, and she was surprised at how quickly the incident seemed to have been forgotten.
21st-Jun-2006 12:24 pm (UTC) - END OF THREAD!!!!
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