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 A story

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PostSubject: A story   Sat Apr 08, 2017 2:11 pm


Imagine a land where the good, the holy, the light, has won. Humans, elves, dwarves, mythical races of all sorts having soundly defeated the amassed forces of evil. Goblins, ogres, orcs, trolls, ghosts, necromancers, vampires, werewolves, demons, banished from the lands, made into servants, or killed by the triumphant forces of good.

Now imagine that same land, fast forward a few centuries, millennia perhaps. The promised utopia should be here. After all everything dark has been obliterated or is in hiding. The golden age has finally arrived. Humanity and it's fellow sapient races are spreading culture, religion and civilisation across the lands as technologies scientific and magical advance.

That is what Priestess Glissandi had been taught, as she sets out into the borderlands. Her long years of study finally at an end, her freshly minted seal proudly attached to her newly made uniform as she eyes the wild countryside in front of her. Forests, mountains, a handful of tiny villages dotting the landscape. Her youthful eyes darted across the new sights, drinking it in and further fuelling the smile on her lips and the twinkle in her eyes.

If you compared her face to that of Paladin Lisa, a veteran Paladin with over twenty years of combat experience behind her, a keen observant would notice the looks clashed like fire and water. Where Glissandi was happy and cheerful and full of hope, Lisa's face portrayed annoyance. Wariness. And a keen dislike for anything that wasn't an optimum defensive position.

Slightly behind her was Knight Trista. Her hand rested keenly on her sword and her eyes were sharp, scanning for danger. Not much older than the Priestess, she had far more potential to be useful to the Order than Glissandi, in Lisa's eyes. If it weren't for her rebellious behaviour. But she was confident she could train that out of her to fully accept the Order's Commandments.
Between the two warriors were two squires, Mira and Mina, twins that were impossible to tell apart. Young girls, barely more than fifteen, with a small amount of training behind them. It was the usual formation the Order sent out. One Priestess, a senior warrior, a young warrior, and a squire attached to each of them. It was a good group. The girls knew their tasks and fulfilled them with haste and eagerness. While technically not in charge, as a Priestess outranked a Paladin, Lisa was the true leader of the group should any difficulties arise.

So far they had spread the word of the Order through a handful of villages. Eager, young and naive, Lisa had to admit that Glissandi's oratory skills were more than adequate to convince the groups of simple farmers. Her magical prowess and the 'miracles' that she performed were ample for the simple minded beings to flock to the banner of the Order.

And the one time it had become more dicey when a group of goblins had shown up, Lisa and Trista had somehow turned into revered saints, and their battle prowess had been labeled as 'divine'. It had taken a full week to talk sense into the villagers.

The journey had been easy. As had most been that she undertook. Only rarely had it come to blows with either monsters or villagers, and in her twenty years Lisa had never encountered a battle she couldn't win singlehandedly, much less with a Priestess for support and another Knight by her side. Yet...

Since they had entered the forest she had not been able to relax. Her sword was halfway out of her sheath and her eyes darted around from one tiny movement to the next. A branch that swayed in the wind, a squirrel that darted up a tree. A rabbit that got spooked by the horses and made a break for it. All normal, nothing suspicious, yet she couldn't put aside the ominous feeling that was growing stronger with every step they took.

Her thoughts were interrupted as Trista brought her horse level with her own.
"Sir" she whispered softly. Her fist was tightly clenched on the hilt of her sword, and her refusal to move her eyes towards Lisa's face was a clear indication that the girl was equally on guard as she was.
"This path through the forest. It's well maintained."
Lisa nodded in response. Trista was a girl of few words so when she did speak, Lisa paid attention to it.

She moved her gaze along the track. It was true. She had failed to notice it before, but the track was clean. No branches overgrowing the dirt. Nothing protruding from the trees on either side, yet no signs of branches having been sawn or chopped off either. It was suspicious. A path this well maintained should show signs of sentient interference. Shovel or chopping marks. A natural path wasn't this straight and clear. It would have more bends in the way. Roots growing all over it. Branches broken off and left in the middle of the path. A fallen tree blocking their way. It was grating on her nerves. The fact that Glissandi was constantly cooing over small animals that she saw, or a flower blooming along the path, only made it worse. She cast a sideways glance at Glissandi, then towards Trista. The girl felt the gaze and made eye contact with her. A short nod with her head was all she needed to make Trista pick up the pace slightly and guard the front of their small procession. Lisa herself slowed down and took up a rear position. If an ambush happened Trista would be struck first, and she was more than capable of defending herself. That, however, allowed Lisa to respond freely to the attack. The squi-

"Oh look! What's that over there!" Glissandi shouted, interrupting her thoughts. Lisa followed the outstretched hand, then looked beyond it and saw what she meant. In the distance there was a clearing, and the outlines of a mansion beyond it. It would explain the well maintained path, but not the lack of signs. Unless it was a mage. In which case they'd have to be doubly careful. It would be a good training exercise for Trista however. The girl had no experience dealing with a hostile mage.

The group sped up and within minutes they entered the clearing. It was a place out of a dream. The mansion was built into a rocky outcrop. A stately hall that was surrounded by fields filled with herbs, wheat, vegetables and flowers. Glissandi couldn't stop gasping in amazement to the point Lisa was really tempted to give her a whack on the head and tell her to get it together. The ominous feeling she had was gone, replaced by an alert, immediate sense of danger. That was more normal though. Compared to the ability that the average villager had, the amount of effort and skill that had gone into this mansion and its surrounding was astounding. It was comparable to the aesthetics that she had encountered at the Grand Church, which unnerved her slightly. A quick look around told her that the squires were gaping with mouths wide open. Trista, on the other hand, didn't care about her beautiful surroundings at all and her eyes jumped from place to place, checking for any would be assassins. To most people it might be considered paranoia, but warriors of the Order were trained from childhood to protect the Priestesses from any and all threats.

"Let's knock, shall we? I'm curious to see who lives here."
With those words Glissandi slid off her horse and walked towards the house. Mina and Mira hopped off their own horses and quickly grasped the reigns of the Priestess' horse before it could move much.
Trista and Lisa followed her quickly, taking up flanking positions without comment. Glissandi knocked on the door, hard.

Last edited by Floris on Mon Aug 28, 2017 1:38 pm; edited 8 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: A story   Sat Apr 08, 2017 4:10 pm

Oh this is my sort of story Floris! Woman power, magic and mystery!

You build up the feeling of tension very effectively. The short sentences. The meaningful eye contacts.

Smooth introduction to the characters too, very nicely done!

Now you know this is one you just have to finish, don't you! Razz
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PostSubject: Re: A story   Sat Apr 08, 2017 5:23 pm

It has a few advantages that I keep restarting stories. It helps me improve and get a feel for how to write, although I'm still largely stumbling in the dark. Right, on to the first chapter then.

A mansion in the woods:
The group waited for a minute they spent in moderate silence. For Glissandi it was a complete silence. For Mira and Mina, who both had several years of training behind them, it was a silence interrupted by the sounds of nature. For Trista and Lisa it was far more noisy. Mostly due to the unpriestly behaviour of Glissandi who kept hopping from one foot onto the other. With every passing second the warriors got more and more nervous, to the point where Trista started grinding her teeth and the sound of her armoured fist clenching tightly around the handle of her sword became audible. Lisa didn't blame the girl. Out in the open, unknown territory, a large chance of dealing with a mage who could manipulate nature, and a Priestess too giddy with finally having been promoted and being out in the field to realise what the warriors were going through. It was a nerve wracking situation for them.

Then the door handle moved and the two drew swords in an instant as the door was pulled wide open.
A young looking man, probably between twenty and thirty years old, stood there. He was tall, around two meters, with short black hair. His eyes were open wide, the dull reddish brown iris clearly visible. He looked surprised, but not worried. He was wearing a practical leather outfit, dark brown in colour. It was a clean, neat fit and well maintained to boot. Finishing the outfit was a pair of well tailored leather boots. There was no excess decoration to it. It was an outfit made to last, offer moderate protection for most activities that weren't related to combat and be comfortable.

Lisa didn't know what to make of the guy.

From his perspective he saw a group of five women. Two of them whose faces he couldn't see due to the well made helmets, with angelic wings on top, the one in the front, a girl who couldn't possibly be older than twenty-five with clear blue eyes that stared in wonder at the world, while the wind playfully whirled her long, blonde hair around her. A typical Priestess, in other words. Where the two warriors were fully armoured with expensive equipment and a light plate covering a leather undersuit, the engravings on all pieces were hard to miss, revealing to the experienced eye that they were magically empowered. The Priestess on the other hand wore a long white gown, somehow completely unstained. Behind her were the five horses and two young girls, no older than fifteen at most. Their brown hair was very short and both had hazel-brown eyes that were open wide as if they were equally surprised to see the man as he was to see them. They wore practical, simple leather outfits that protected them well enough from the demands that daily travel imposed on them.

The sudden opening of the door on their end, and the sight of two drawn swords on his, made for a short, stunned silence.
"Well now, you are by far the weirdest people I've seen in the last years. Come on in. It's been too long since I last had guests." the man spoke with a hint of joyful laughter in his voice. He took a step back, opened the door fully and waved them in with a short nod and a shorter bow.
"Name's Gaelus, owner of this little corner of the world."

The group paused, taken off guard by the behaviour and Lisa immediately became more wary of the man than before. There were a lot of questions that needed answering and with every moment that number grew.
Glissandi had no such qualms however and stepped forward, the surprise having knocked her common sense out of her for a bit before she hurriedly remembered that she was a Priestess of the Order and put on a more serene face.
"None of us own anything, we merely use it whilst on earth to service the Lord." she said with that angelic voice that had swooned countless villagers.
"Heh, aint that the biggest load of crap I've heard." Gaelus responded as he turned around, walking down the hallway, leaving Glissandi and Lisa stunned with shock. When Trista couldn't hold back a chuckle, the Priestess turned around to face her with an affronted look, followed by Lisa's armoured hand a second later, smacking her hard on the cheek.
"You will respect the Lord." she hissed.
Trista took a step back and looked down.
"I'm sorry, Sir." she whispered, chastised.

"You lot coming then?" Gaelus called them out from a bit deeper inside the mansion. "Feel free to sit here, I'll heat up some tea. Must be tired if all the dust you've gathered is a sign of how long you've been on the road."
While Trista and Lisa fell back into their guardian routine, Glissandi, for the first time in a while, fully fell into her role as Priestess, sent out to enlighten the heathens. She stepped through the hallway at a quick pace, entered the room where Gaelus had disappeared and saw him disappear into an adjoining room. She made an absent motion to the warriors that they were to stay in the room. Lisa made a short bow, feeling more secure now that their protege was taking her role seriously and had her magical abilities at the ready. She set about securing the room as Trista signaled the squires to take care of the horses and secure the supplies before coming in.

"You are mistaken if you think the Lord a mere folk tale, kind sir. The Lord watches over us all and tries to protect us from Evil." Glissandi started, her magical ability seeping into her voice. The Order relied on more than just oratory ability to spread the Holy Word.
"Right, cause evil and good are so solidly defined. Let me tell you something girl, if there's an all powerful being out there, he sure aint gonna give a damn about the little guys." Gaelus cut her off, juggling with a large kettle that he placed over a softly burning fire, before chucking a few more logs on it from a small reserve next to the hearth.
"I love having guests, it happens far too rarely. Not that I mind though. Keeps the boring folks away." he chattered on, opening a cupboard and grabbing several cups and small plates out of it. Then he paused his actions just long enough to give her a meaningful look.
"Most of the time."
Glissandi wasn't perturbed. Convincing non believers was what she was trained for.
"While there can be a certain amount of debate about good and evil, surely you cannot deny that monsters who take everything for themselves without a care for others, slaughtering and stealing as they go, can be nothing but evil? It's against those things that the Lo—"
The cupboard slammed shut with enough noise to startle the Priestess out of her decade old speech, and have Lisa pop up in the kitchen with her sword in hand, staring viciously at Gaelus. The man didn't as much as give her a glance however, and had his eyes solidly fixed on Glissandi.
"As a human being, you've got a fucking lot of gall to be spouting that kind of horse shit." he said, his eyes glaring at her with enough anger in them that she took a step backwards on instinct. She tried to look away but couldn't find the strength to look anywhere but in his eyes. She felt as if he stared directly into her soul and couldn't suppress a shiver running along her spine. Then he turned his attention back to the hearth, grabbed a poker and started to work on the fire.

"I'm sorry, shouldn't give you such a hard time for it. Obviously you don't know. You can't know. I reckon there's no more than a handful who actually know what I'm on about."
"That you're a lunatic?" Lisa snarked, her sword pointing at the ground but in his direction.
Gaelus let out a laugh in response. A clear, soft sound that filled the room as he stood back up.
"Oh wow, you're the zealous type, aren't you? I bet if someone—" he stopped himself, shaking, a soft laugh still bubbling out of him.
"No no, enough of that. You're my guests and I really should be a good host rather than bug you about things long, long past. Right, tell you what? How about you let me set up some tea for now? I was planning on just having some stew, but since I have company I could make some bread and drag some pork out of the cellar. It'll take me an hour or four to get it all ready, but I'll show you the bathing house and rooms where you can stay. I have a library about extinct mythological beings that I'm sure you'd love to read through." he said, juggling some more pots around, clearly excited by the idea of having guests. He froze in the middle of swinging a pan around as if he suddenly remembered something.
"You will be staying for the night, right? You simply must! You must be weary of your travels and you'll find no better accommodations for hundreds of miles around!" he asked, his voice having a begging undertone.
Lisa wanted no more than to shove a sword straight through the man's heart for the insults he had thrown their way already, but sheathed her sword at a sign of the Priestess. She took a step back, grumbling mentally as the Priestess nodded gracefully towards the man.
'Figured she'd go for the bathing house.'

"We're grateful for your offer." she responded, before turning around and returned outside where Trista had gone to stand guard over the squires.
"The Lord has seen fit to provide us with a gift, in response to our faithful service of him. We shall be staying here for a while. Tonight we shall dine, not on our travel supplies, but on fresh food. The owner of this mansion has given us leave to use the bathing house to refresh ourselves. Let us pray and thank the Lord for this most welcome gift."
Glissandi turned her head slightly towards a very unhappy looking Lisa, her misery obvious despite the full face helmet. With a bit of a biting undertone she added
"It would be most rude of us to not accept this as a sign of the Lord."
Lisa bowed respectfully and brought her hand to her heart.
"The Priestess understands the Lord's divine will, and so we shall follow."
Glissandi nodded, pleased by Lisa's response, and turned to make for the baths. Lisa glanced at Trista, who shared her misery but was obviously blaming it not on 'the Lord's divine will', but on their Priestess who fell hook, line and sinker for the baths, the food, and a real bed rather than their travel bags. This was confirmed when Lisa took a loud step towards her and Trista flinched in response. From underneath her helmet she grinned at the Knight. She didn't blame her for those thoughts. She had very similar ones. Although she had to give the girl credit. She hadn't voiced them.

Falling in line a few steps behind the giddy Priestess and squires the warriors discussed how they'd split the task of guarding the bathing house. After all, who were they to not make thorough use of a bath offered to them by the Lord in reward for their services.

Last edited by Floris on Mon Aug 28, 2017 1:46 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: A story   Sat Apr 08, 2017 6:15 pm

More! More I tell you! *perches edge of chair with excited anticipation*
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PostSubject: Re: A story   Sat Apr 08, 2017 7:32 pm

The squires and Trista were spread around the bathing house, standing guard for anything that might come their way. Trista was wary. She didn't trust the guy living inside that mansion one bit. Like Lisa, she shared the number of questions needing answers. This place must have cost a fortune to build in materials alone, let alone finding a sufficient number of skilled craftsmen. The size of the fields and their diversity were another mystery, although that should theoretically be possible if the guy was a powerful mage or druid. But then she was certain he would at least give off an aura. Yet she hadn't felt anything. And that was equally worrisome. Nobody gave out no aura. Even a goblin gave one out, although that usually didn't do more than tell her the thing was murderous, hungry, or afraid. Yet somehow that man had kept his aura completely to himself, a feat not even Lisa was capable of. So obviously the man wasn't a normal human. But what was he then. And was he hostile, or not. She hoped not. The way he had flared up against the Priestess earlier had piqued her interest. It had felt to her as if his anger had been genuine, and she had long harboured suspicions that the Order had too firm a grasp on how history was to be taught to the next generation.

She shook her head and focused her attention back on her guard duties. She wasn't supposed to have those thoughts. Her cheek still burned from when Lisa hit her, despite her helmet. And her curiosity certainly would get her nowhere if he decided to ambush her and kill her. Oh god, if he killed Lisa after that she'd get a never ending earful in heaven. That realisation made her steel her resolve and banished all other thoughts out of her head. The next thing she had to ponder to get back on track of her list of questions that needed answering, was why was such a mansion with all these facilities out here in the middle of nowhere? And why was there only one inhabitant?

Inside the bathing house Glissandi let out a relieved sigh as she lowered herself into the water, submerging herself entirely before pushing herself out again, throwing her long hair behind her head with an elegant swing. She hummed the tunes of a hymn as she repeated the action, enjoying the warm water on her skin. Lisa entered the water with all the elegance of a stone. She stepped in, walked to the deep end and started scrubbing in the quick and efficient manner that was the trademark of a Paladin. Glissandi looked at her and sighed in despair. The Lord had given humans so many beautiful gifts, if only one would pause to look. Sometimes it seemed to her that the warrior half of the Order never paused to look at those blessings. She submerged again and swam from one end to the other. She truly felt it was a gift from the Lord. After months of travelling, barred from even modest luxuries such as clean beds, proper food, let alone a bath that wasn't limited to an ice cold splashing in a stream, this was heaven on earth. She could feel Lisa's disapproving stare on her skin from underneath the water but didn't care. Her magic was coursing through her veins and keeping a more thorough lookout than either Knight or Paladin could muster. She surfaced again in the corner and noticed a selection of bottles. Reaching out for them she brought one to her nose and took a careful sniff. A soft scream of joy passed her lips, alarming Lisa, as she realised it was shampoo.
"Truly a blessing!" she cried out.

Lisa grumbled and cursed quietly. Where the Clerics and Mages of the Order found the Warriors to be rough and unrefined, the Warriors considered them to be pampered. It was mainly due to a difference in function, but that didn't dissipate the grumbling that both factions directed towards each other.
"Priestess, if I may have a word with you." she politely requested when the much younger woman was done thoroughly washing her hair. Glissandi outranked her, true, but she had a job to do and she felt that the younger woman had no idea of the danger she could possibly in. Just as she opened her mouth to voice those concerns, Glissandi threw the bottle at her.
"Your black hair may be short to fit under that helmet, but it could use some care just as much as mine." the Priestess said. The magic had fully dissipated out of her voice and she looked sternly at the Paladin.
"Do not mistake me for a young, frivolous girl Lisa. I wouldn't have made it as a Priestess if I were." Lisa blinked in surprise, caught fully off guard by the Priestess' change in behaviour.
"He emits no aura, we do not know who he is in the slightest, and he may very well poison the food, but my magic can easily detect that. He is a heathen, but capable and has an obvious distaste for the Order and for the Lord. If he is merely misguided we shall correct that and guide him back onto the path of Light. If he has been wronged in the past and hurt because of it, then we shall heal him. If he has sinned and is therefore afraid of us, we shall make him see the errors of his ways and forgive him." She accompanied her words by a spreading of the hands, signaling her generosity. Then her eyes turned into steel.
"But if he worships the devil, if he threatens the Order and the Lord, if he means to harm any of our group, then I shall judge him as would the Lord and end him." She brought her hand down in a sharp, cutting movement. The magic imbued in her hand caused the water to explode and fly in every direction, causing a short shower to rain down upon both women.

Lisa stared at the Priestess in blind disbelief. She had thought Glissandi to be a naive girl like so many Priestesses before. But the woman in front of her was now proving that she had thought it through, and that she could be without mercy if need be. She bowed.
"Forgive me Priestess, I thought wrongly of you."
The gracious smile returned to Glissandi's face, and she looked once more the spitting image of a benevolent saint.
"You are forgiven, brave Paladin. As much as I wish it you would be right to worry in the case of many of my fellow trainees, I must sadly enough admit. But now, share with me what you know and suspect of this place and it's strange inhabitant. It would be a great blessing for our Order if we could make him into a faithful supporter, and use this place as a staging area for further missions."
Lisa bowed once more. She was surprised at how far the Priestess was thinking it through. The smile that the young woman, as she had proven herself to be too cunning to still be considered a girl, was throwing at her spoke volumes. There was a lust for glory there that reminded the Paladin of her own, younger days.
"As you wish, Priestess. Firstly, I believe that this man, Gaelus, may be a mage."
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PostSubject: Re: A story   Sat Apr 08, 2017 8:40 pm

"Care for some tea?" Gaelus asked.
Trista turned around instantly, her sword cleaving through the air. She was surprised to see Gaelus lean back slightly, calmly seeming to take both her and the sword in, as the tip passed his nose by a hair's width.
"Sorry," he said while she jumped back, her sword pointing at him.
"Didn't mean to surprise you. Just figured that you'd probably take turns standing guard while the others bathe." He held up the kettle and a basket filled with some cups.
The pounding of her heart echoed in her ears. How the hell had he gotten so close to her without her noticing? She had been scanning the entire area constantly.
"How in the Lord's holy name..." she trailed off, her sword still pointed squarely at his head. He smiled a lazy, disarming smile.
"You've been on the road for how long now? You're probably tired, come, sit, have a drink. It'll calm your nerves. Goodness, you near skewered me there," he said. He lied. She knew he lied. He had dodged that with ease even though he had been so close to her he shouldn't have been able to dodge it at all. Her eyes narrowed, but she pointed the sword down. He sighed in response and sat down on the grass, took out two cups and started filling both. He grasped one of them and blew softly on it, before taking a long, thoughtful sip.
"You know, considering you're from 'the Lord's lands' where all is so 'good' and 'perfect', I can't help but wonder why you lot act as if there're demons in every corner," he asked. Trista averted her eyes. She felt compelled to answer, to protect the Order with the same zeal the Priestess and her senior did.
"We are trained to deal with treachery and danger from where we least expect it. The Lord does not shield all, and certainly not the fools who don't protect themselves." she responded, feeling that this was the most truthful answer she could muster. She looked up again and felt strangely vulnerable under Gaelus' gaze. His eyes seemed to see a lot more than she was comfortable with and it unnerved her greatly. And he noticed.

He sighed deeply and put down his cup again.
"Look. You needn't worry. I can swear, on everything that I hold dear and holy that I do not mean you, or your friends, any harm. You will not find a single being on this earth that hates war and violence more than me. I've witnessed too much and lost too many." he said, forcing her to look into his eyes as he said that. She physically reared back. She didn't know what she had seen in there but it was... She lacked the words to phrase it. He looked away, as if shy. After a moment of pause he looked back at her and there was an additional layer of sadness present.
"That said, if you do try to harm me I will reply in kind, although I hope that it will not come to that. Guests are a rare treat to me, especially ones that come from so far and know so much about the world that I have abandoned so long ago."

She couldn't help but feel as if there was a truth to his words. That he wasn't lying. It made her feel guilty somehow. She sheathed her sword and sat opposite from him, her eyes locked on the ground in between them. When she spied a slow movement out of the corner of her eye and looked up, she saw him offering the second cup of tea to her. She nodded and offered a weak smile in return. A bit redundant since she was still wearing a helmet. She held the cup in her hands as Gaelus leaned back and stared up at the sky as the light started to fade and the first stars started to appear. She put the cup down and with slow movements she undid the straps of her helmet and took it off. She was a young woman, trained from a young age to be a warrior for the Order. She had been a Knight for several years, and a nasty encounter with an ogre had left her with a disfigured nose and a long scar on her left cheek. She took care moving the helmet to her back, to avoid it pulling on her short brown hair. She picked up the cup again and looked at Gaelus once more, to find him smiling at her. It was a weird kind of smile. She couldn't place it. It felt as if he was looking at her as a person and her entire past in one go. She let out an awkward laugh and his smile broadened.

"You probably have loads of questions," he suddenly brought up, renewing the conversation and dispelling the torrent of emotions that had been storming around inside of her.
"You're free to ask them. I'm more inclined on answering you than your zealous friend and the brawns for brains," he elaborated, taking another sip. Trista, who had started drinking on the fair assumption that if he was drinking it, then it likely wasn't poisoned since it came from the same kettle, looked at him with an unspoken question in his eyes. Gaelus responded with a conspiratorial smile.
"Calling someone a lunatic for having a different opinion isn't a good way to make a proper first impression." Trista suppressed a smirk.
"Well... I was wondering," she began, hesitantly.
"Fancy that," came the immediate reply, earning him an angry look. He smiled in response and mock-bowed his head, indicating she could go on.
"This place, it's massive. And well maintained. How do you maintain it? And do you live here alone? There're so many weird things about this place," she gestured around. Then she turned towards the bathing house itself.
"Especially the bathing house! It has warm water, but it's massive! And there's no visible engineering on the outside, how does it sustain itself? Where does it draw the heat from? I've taken up engineering as a subject when I trained for my Knighthood, so I know a bit about it. I'm no expert, but there are so many things that don't add up..." she trailed off, realising she had been quite loud, and far too vocal on the subject compared to how a Knight should behave. Gaelus tipped his cup towards her.
"You're right. Let's answer in order, right? For starters, I maintain it because it's easy to maintain when you do nothing but maintain it. I don't have any other tasks and I'm quite a capable and skilled person. Yes, I live here alone. Haven't had temporary company for far too long. Permanent company such as fellow residents is so long ago it's nothing but a faint memory at this point. And the bathing house... Well, there's a trick to it. There's engineering, and a lot of it, but...." he paused, then shook his head.
"I'd love to tell you but it would cause us both more harm than good at this point. Tell you what, you and your companions prove to be trustworthy people who are open minded and I'll not only explain it to you, I'll even show it. For now, let's say that a bit of magic goes a long way. It's hon—" he stopped, tilted his head, and veered upright, motioning for Trista to do the same.
"Your friends are getting dressed. Reckon you might get in trouble if they see you chatting with me. You're free to tell them what I told you though, I didn't tell you any of my secrets." Trista practically jumped up when she realised that Lisa was about to come out of the bathing house and would find her without her helmet on and casually drinking tea with a potential enemy. She banged her helmet back onto place and struggled with the straps for a second before she forced herself to calm down and fastened them properly.

A minute later a very pleased looking Glissandi and a much grumpier looking Lisa, surprisingly enough without a helmet, pushed open the doors and walked out. Lisa paused half a step at seeing Gaelus, but Glissandi simply threw him a very warm smile.
"I must once again thank you for letting us make use of your facilities," she beamed at him.
"Through your actions, you honour the Lord." She made a short bow while Lisa gave a curt nod. Gaelus smiled and made a flourishing bow in return.
"Pleasure's all mine. You wouldn't believe how boring it gets here without company after a while," he replied, perfectly mimicking Glissandi's smile. The Priestess turned to Trista, who had called the squires.
"The facilities are exquisite. Take your time, brave warriors, and enjoy the gift of the Lord." Trista and the squires bowed in unison. Trista held open the door and the squires rushed in. As the door swung shut behind the Knight you could hear her shout at the squires to undress before jumping in if they wanted to be able to get back in their armour afterwards.

Radiating happiness Glissandi turned towards Gaelus once more, Lisa remaining a few steps behind her.
"Good host, would you do me the honour of sharing the history of this place, as you know it?"
"Of course," he replied, slowing down his pace slightly so she could keep up with him. She turned to him and very carefully and gently laid a hand on his arm.
"I believe there is much I could learn from you," she said, her voice dripping down to a whisper, her eyes catching his and locking them into place.

Behind the two Lisa watched the exchange without any emotion on her face.

Last edited by Floris on Sun Apr 09, 2017 7:39 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: A story   Sun Apr 09, 2017 7:48 am

Mira and Mina wasted no time in undressing. Training forgotten they practically tore off their leather armour and jumped into the warm water with a splash. They sighed and relaxed for perhaps a minute in all, before their relaxed bathing turned into trying to drown one another. Trista let them be. She had her own thoughts to contend with. She had always had a few doubts about some subjects that the Order had taught her. Meeting the villagers, seeing the outside world, having had to deal with monsters and now, having met Gaelus, those doubts had grown stronger. She had tried for years to suppress them, to be a proper, zealous Knight, but they kept popping up. There were a few errors in the equation that the Order seemed to try to smooth out with blind belief, and that had never been her style. She was a keen swordfighter, a decent archer, a masterful engineer, at least when it came to warfare, much less so if civilian engineering was involved, and, which had surprised her teachers, had a fair bit of magical ability. Nothing compared to a Priestess, but it gave her an edge when it came to combat with the more magically apt enemies of the Order. But despite all that, despite the harsh training, the praise of her teachers as she grew, the zeal that her fellow students, friends and teachers possessed, she had never been able to stop being a calculating, careful person at heart. The one time she had followed her zeal she had ran into an ogre who had hit her in the head with his club. Had it not been for her armour, she would have died on the spot.

"Is something wrong, sir?" Mina's, or possibly Mira's, soft words stirred her from her thoughts.
"It's nothing, Squire," she reassured her, finally starting to take off her own armour and placing it on a nearby bench. She felt the girls' gaze on her. She had more scars on her than most Knights. She knew she even had a few Paladins beat. Not a feat she was particularly proud of. It showed both a lack of ability and an abundance of strong enemies.

She lowered herself into the water, as far away from the playing twins as possible while remaining in the deep part. She sank deeply, making use of the small seats that were hidden underneath the surface that allowed her to just keep her head above the water. Regardless of all her thoughts, worries and cares, she had to admit that the water was blissful. After having been doing nothing but gathering dust, with only a handful of opportunities to wash it off them using ice cold water, a heated bath was a luxury often sought but rarely found.

She felt her thoughts swirling in her head again. And this time they went straight for their current potential benefactor, Gaelus. She had met many people in her travels outside the known world and outside civilisation, but meeting a person like him was a first. He obviously was highly educated, and had to possess a lot of skills to be able to maintain an estate as large as this singlehandedly and to this extent. Aside from that you had his obvious lack of aura. That was more than suspicious. Moreover, his eyes weren't normal. Whenever he looked at something, or worse, at a person, he seemed to see it entirely, its thoughts, and even its past. To label it 'unnerving' would be an understatement. It made her feel like a young teenage girl that had just been caught sneaking into the men's bathing house. She cut off that line of thought as soon as it began.

So he was very possibly a mage. And was skilled. And was rich. And from the way he spoke, he seemed to be a lot older than his appearance would indicate. He also seemed to know a lot more history that wasn't taught in the Order, and seemed to be willing to share it, provided she won his trust. She stirred and sat up as soon as she realised she somehow wasn't considering him a hostile anymore. It should be wrong, on all accounts. If there was any person she had ever met on her travels so far she ought to be incredibly wary of, it was him. Yet she couldn't help but feel that when he told her he hated war and violence, he had been speaking the truth. She couldn't bring herself to consider him hostile, despite his obvious dislike of the Lord and the Order. Perhaps there was a reason to it. The Priestess could probably bring him back to the Light.

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Mat Mase

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PostSubject: Re: A story   Sun Apr 09, 2017 8:28 am

Good lord, you are writing this story faster than I can read! Razz
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PostSubject: Re: A story   Sun Apr 09, 2017 9:10 am

Lisa watched Glissandi display her skills. It was a common tactic, really, very well suited for Priestesses. They were selected on magical ability foremost, with mental strength and physical appearance coming second and third. And it was a well known secret that there was a bit of magic involved as they grew from girls into women to make sure that their appearance was more angelic than not. A pretty face, after all, tremendously sped up conversion efforts. Combine that with the fact that the Order wasn't so old fashioned that a vow of chastity was a needed thing, Lisa had fully expected Glissandi, now that she come to know the true depths of her character, to start wielding this weapon. Men were fairly simple creatures in the end.

It was a subtle display. They were in the library now, where there were more books than a Paladin could feel comfortable with. She had to admit that the contents were intriguing however, considering the books contained a wealth of information on mythical beasts, some of them she knew still roamed the worlds. And knowing your enemy was half the battle.

Glissandi leaned up against Gaelus, far more than necessary as he had turned the book towards her. Her chest was pressed softly against his arm and her voice was laced with magical allure. On the way to the library she had readjusted her dress ever so slightly so that it revealed just that little bit more.
"So you're saying that Chimera were made by mages who combined the essence of multiple creatures into a singular being? Isn't that risky? Essences pulled loose from the body are highly unstable, and I can't see how you could activate the characteristics you want while avoiding the others?" she asked, her voice sweet as honey and soft as silk. She was leaning on Gaelus a good deal more than she had to, but he hadn't commented on it so far.

She smiled warmly at him, an honest, inviting smile. She was genuinely pleased with the situation. So far Gaelus had proven to be a proper and capable host. If she could convert him and bring the mansion to her superior's attention as a forward base of operations, that would be a tremendous boon for her. Possibly enough so that she'd be appointed as the High Priestess here. Aside the political dreams she had, she was also quite pleased that she could use her skills on someone that didn't smell of dirt and wasn't an old, decrepit man. Gaelus was young, pleasing to the eye, and proving to be a challenge. He hadn't visibly responded to her advances yet, but she was not in a hurry and was more than willing to use the abundant charms the Lord had gifted her with to her full advantage. It was true that serving the Lord was often it's own reward.

"I'm not denying that. It's not easy to manipulate essences to that extent, but there were a few mages who excelled at those skills. There's a trick to it and I know the theory behind it and understand it, but the practical application is a very delicate process that can easily backfire," he explained. He skipped ahead a few pages to a handful of images of mages being torn apart with warnings underneath it.
"As you can see, the main danger is losing control of the essence. Usually that will make the essence search for any nearby body. Since the mage casting the spell is generally the body that is nearby, you can guess what that means. A minor risk, compared to the essence invading you and blowing you up from the inside out, or merging with you and destroying your conscience and turning you into an abomination, is the spell going slightly awry and causing a chimera to appear, just not the one you wanted. Honestly, it's a pretty risky endeavour if you think about it. It's little wonder most mages don't want to meddle with it."
"The Lord frowns upon men who twist the nature of beings for their own benefit. He has made us in His image and we are beautiful the way we are," she replied, bringing her one arm slightly down and turning to look directly at Gaelus, displaying a fair bit to him in the process. He turned towards her, his gaze moving from the book up across her chest until he returned her gaze. She smiled her warmest smile and Gaelus smiled back, before closing the book and putting it back.

"Is there any other subject that has your interest? Or should I ask your guardian? I have a small selection of books about beings that I know still roam the land, although not nearby, but they're in the adjacent room, in the left case." Lisa thanked him with a nod and left, having received a very subtle signal from Glissandi. As soon as the Paladin had left, Glissandi walked up to him and laid a hand on his arm. She radiated a soft, gentle and pleasant feeling.
"I was wondering if you have any books in a different language that is spoken around here. I noticed in my travels that the language seems to be changing the further we explore. I would be very," she trailed off there, giving his arm a light squeeze, emphasising 'very' every so slightly and giving him a slightly different smile and a warm look before continuing on, "grateful if you could help me in this endeavour." Gaelus nodded, thoughtfully, before walking to a small chest. He slid his hand over the lock and it popped open with an audible click. Lifting the lid he rumbled around in it a bit before pulling an ancient looking, thick book out. He opened it, searched the pages for a bit, before putting it back. He repeated this a handful times before settling on a thinner book.
"This should be good then. The dialects used in this were used by tribes that settled this area a few centuries ago. While the tribes themselves have since migrated, a few of their descendants stayed behind, so the language should be similar." he elaborated as he motioned Glissandi to take a seat in one of the plush arm chairs. She obliged with a soft, elegant nod. Gaelus leafed through the pages.
"I actually forgot I still had this. It's an old transcript, translates between their language and yours. It's a logbook of trading transactions and how they were established though. Can't have everything, I suppose." Glissandi responded with a coquettish smile.
"The Lord works in mysterious ways." she beamed at him. Gaelus sat down on the elbow rest and handed her the book, pointing towards certain paragraphs and explaining the basic grammar behind it. Glissandi shifted herself in the chair, leaning more towards him than was strictly necessary to read, but once again offering him a broad view. Every once in a while her eyes would flutter towards his face as they made small talk as time went by, until Gaelus excused himself and went off to attend the last preparations for dinner.

Not a minute after he was gone Lisa entered the room again. Glissandi clapped the book shut and stood up, a bright smile on her lips.
"Lisa, you must take care not to give him any reason to take offense at your behaviour. If we can convert this man, the Order would be well off. This location has flourished under his ministrations," she ordered the Paladin, a twinkle blinking into existence as she said the last word, before disappearing just as quickly.
"He is capable and far more intelligent than I had given him credit for at first. His education easily rivals mine, surprisingly enough, and this library alone offers a wealth of information that our Order could make good use of. We will stay here until we can convert him and enlist him into the Order. You are to remain on guard, but not make him aware of it. Understood?" Lisa bowed.
"As you wish, Priestess. My duty demands me to speak up, however. Are you certain that you can enlist him to our cause and the Lord's service? He seemed to be remarkably resilient to your seduction." she asked.

Glissandi's expression turned from stern into a smile. A predatory smile. She took a step closer and Lisa fought off the instinct to take a step back. Then magical allure and power started to pour out of every ounce of Glissandi's being and she realised she couldn't move even if she wanted to.
"My dear, sweet Paladin." She brought a hand to Lisa's cheek and sparks appeared the moment it touched, sending a torrent of warm emotions cascading through her body, nearly dropping her to her knees despite her training.
"Brute force is an option we shall not revert to unless left with no other choice. And you should not doubt my abilities in this." She withdrew her hand and Lisa sucked in a breath of relief. She had just experienced feelings she did not want to feel in such quantity, much less associate them with a woman.
"Consider it a challenge given to us by the Lord. We would insult Him if we did not prove to Him that we are more than worthy of being His loyal servants."

Last edited by Floris on Mon Aug 28, 2017 5:21 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: A story   Sun Apr 09, 2017 10:25 am

Oooh Glissandi's a wiley foxtress! She oozes sexuality and manipulation! Put them away woman! Ha ha! Love it!

Poor Lisa though; that was so unfair using her powers on her just to prove a point. Surprised

And Gaelus...now he's an enigmatic character. I'm looking forward to seeing beneath that impenetrable facade of calm self-control and casual humour. The hints at his history and experiences are intriguing. I can't help but feel Glissandi is underestimating him and I think I wouldn't like to be around if he were ever stirred to anger.

I am getting so sucked into this story Flor...I'm finding it hard to read it with a critical eye now because I'm enjoying it so much. Very Happy
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Mat Mase

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PostSubject: Re: A story   Sun Apr 09, 2017 1:36 pm

I promised to let myself binge read this if I can get all the work done... We will see Smile
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PostSubject: Re: A story   Sun Apr 09, 2017 1:50 pm

The group seated themselves around a surprisingly large table. There was easily room for more than a dozen people. Gaelus had disappeared into the kitchen which was directly adjoined to the dining room. Glissandi was exchanging small talk and giving minor lessons to the twins, while Lisa was giving Trista additional tips on how to wield a halberd when facing a multitude of larger enemies, such as ogres and trolls.

"Right, everything's ready. Might I bother you two youngsters to give a hand carrying the plates out?" Gaelus asked the twins, popping out of the kitchen while wiping his hands on a towel. They looked towards the Priestess, who nodded in response.
"Mina, Mira help our host out." The two girls hopped out of their seats and half rushed towards him, hungry and fifteen years old, but also mindful of their position and their superiors' eyes on them.
"So which one of you is Mina, and which one of you is Mira then?" Gaelus asked. The two exchanged a look that just barely hid their frustration. They were obviously used to people asking this and then not being able to distinguish them a moment later.
"I am Mina"
"I am Mira" they said simultaneously.
"Right, I'll keep that in mind." He went into the kitchen followed closely by the pair. A few instructions later and they started running in and out carrying large plates filled with roasted potatoes, loafs of bread, huge slices of pork, a basket with fruit and several bottles of wine, cider, and light beer. As the three walked in with the last plates, Trista couldn't help but raise an eyebrow in surprise.
"You are incredibly well supplied considering your location." Gaelus shrugged.
"The estate has plenty of farm fields and I'm fairly alright when it comes to growing things. And I go hunting once in a while. Cellar has plenty of ice in it so I can store things for a long time too. Although I'll have to go hunting soon again." He sat down, turning towards the two girls who took their seats as well.
"Thanks for the help, Mira, Mina." He nodded towards each of them in turn and in correct order too, causing the girls to look surprised, before the food instantly grabbed their attention again.

Just as Gaelus made a move to fill his plate, he paused as Glissandi gave him a questioning look. A look flashed across his face but she couldn't discern what it had held before it had disappeared again. He smiled to her, and nodded. She thanked him with a polite nod and a broad smile. She had chosen to sit at the head of the elliptical table for this purpose. Trista on her left with Gaelus beside that, Lisa on her right and the twins just past her. The entire order of seating had been done on purpose as well. Trista's damaged face created a stark contrast with Glissandi's angelic one. Lisa's stern, older face offset the youthful twins. And from Gaelus position he could easily chat with Glissandi, while Trista, who was prone to silence during meals, would not be bothered by the enthusiastic twins, who now had to deal with the stern Lisa.
Glissandi intertwined her fingers and gave Gaelus a questioning look. He shook his head shortly, but did so with a smile. Glissandi gave him a sad smile back, before closing her eyes.
"Oh Lord, we thank you for this meal—" she lead the group in prayer.

Mira and Mina, whose thoughts mirrored each other nearly perfectly, whispered the words along, their eyes closed, their hands together. They tried to focus on the prayer, to be thoroughly grateful to the Lord for the food, but the constant barrage of smells kept sidetracking them. They had been relying on dried meals for months, and the villages they had gone through had barely been able to provide them with anything better. Now they had meat! Fresh bread! Potatoes! Even the light beer that they were allowed to drink. And the Priestess had told them that they'd be staying here for a while. It was like they were on holiday. And the man owning the mansion was kind to them without yelling at them, even when Mina had nearly tripped in her eagerness to carry a large plate. He had caught it before it could fall and simply told her to be careful and not pick up the large pieces. If they had been at home, they'd have gotten an earful for it, at least! And then would've been forced to attend an additional mass to make up for it.

Finally the prayer ended. Now they had to wait until everyone else had taken their fill first, as was normal since the others served the Lord for longer and were higher ranking, and they were just in training. They'd have to wait for the man too, since he was their host. It was hard to wait. They were hungry, they had been taking care of the horses and moving their supplies from the packs into the house all afternoon.
"Here, Mira. Feel free to take some. You're not obliged to wait, you know?" Gaelus soft voice interrupted their thoughts. Lisa looked up from her own plate, opening her mouth to tell him that they were supposed to wait, but Glissandi softly tapping her foot onto her own made her stop instantly. She tilted her head slightly to look at the Priestess for confirmation and received a bright smile in return. But the smile held a warning that was clear as day to her.

Mira looked up. Her face a mix of surprise and fear. The Order was incredibly strict when it came to its rules. Squires were supposed to eat last and were nearly at the bottom of the pecking order. She looked at the Priestess, who smiled and motioned that it was alright. Hesitantly she reached out and took the plate out of Gaelus' hands.
"Thank you, sir." she whispered, barely able to push her voice out.
"The Order is usually quite strict when it comes to table manners." Glissandi said, her voice dancing through the room.
"The Warriors even more so than the clergy. Discipline is a way of life to them. I fear you may have taken them off guard." She let out a gentle laugh, her eyes twinkling with amusement at the sight. Gaelus chuckled softly in response.
"Well, I believe we can do away with those rules for once, since it's my house and I am the host." He winked conspiratorially at the twins, who couldn't entirely suppress a giggle. Glissandi threw Gaelus another warm smile, while softly nudging Lisa again, who had tensed up at his remark.

The rest of the meal was spent pleasantly. Lisa and the squires spent it in relative silence, with the Paladin telling stories with a hidden message to the twins. Trista played the role of an attentive listener, and Glissandi continued working her charms on Gaelus, asking him about the area and things he knew of it, while flashing him a smile, or a deep, warm look every once in a while. She wasn't a dull being however, and kept the conversation interesting by bringing up questions that proved she had her wits about her and was an attentive listener. She also subtly interjected the Lord as often as she could, without it being a nuisance. Gaelus let those comments happen, but didn't react to them. He didn't berate her for it, didn't debate her over it, but neither did he agree to it.

When the meal was done the twins got up automatically, used to being the ones to clear the table and do the dishes. Gaelus remained seated and occasionally called out to them telling them where the towels were, how to operate things, while continuing the conversation with Glissandi. After a while Mira came out of the kitchen, wringing her hands and obviously embarrassed.
"Eh, sir, we... can't figure out how to operate the pump..." she stammered, aware that she was intruding on the conversation between her host and the Priestess. Gaelus smiled warmly at her.
"Ah, right, I forgot. That type of technology hasn't gotten around much. No need to feel bad about it Mira, it's rather complicated if you're used to relying on pumps or magic." He got out of his chair and ruffled Mira's hair as he passed her. Mira skipped after him, happy to not have been berated.

Glissandi turned to Trista as soon as Gaelus had entered the kitchen.
"How comfortable would you be to go hunting in these woods?"
"I.. I'm not sure Priestess. The woods seemed very dense on the way in, meaning we'd have to go on foot, which would make it difficult to traverse. It would make it difficult to rely on archery as well." Trista replied. The Priestess nodded, in thought.
"Priestess, surely you do not intend to go send us out to go hunting while you remain behind?" Lisa asked, her eyes alert and worried. Glissandi made a soothing motion with her hand.
"No. I would have Trista and me accompany our host. In the meantime, I would have you stay behind." She emphasised the word behind with a clear undertone that the Paladin was to take that opportunity to thoroughly secure the rooms and to explore the mansion. Lisa bowed her head, obviously displeased to let the Priestess out of her sight but accepting the order.
"As you wish, Priestess."
"I plan to retreat to my rooms early tonight. I have reports to fill in after all, and I am tired of today's events. I urge you to do the same."
"Yes, Priestess," came the instant response from both warriors.
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PostSubject: Re: A story   Sun Apr 09, 2017 3:51 pm

Gaelus guided the group to their rooms. Glissandi had a room of her own, with Lisa's and Trista's room being on either side of hers. The two squires were staying in a room together on the opposite side. Bidding them goodnight, Glissanda grasped his hands and thanked him profusely, saying that the Lord would reward him for the gifts he provided His servants with. Gaelus just smiled and walked down the hallway, leaving them alone for the night.

A bit later he walked through the garden, alone, under the starry sky. He looked up and sighed, before a smile appeared on his face.
"Been too long since I had company." He walked around the mansion until he arrived at a shed that was hidden partially underground, well hidden from sight due to the grass growing over it and the bushes surrounding it. He slid his hand across the door until a click sounded and pushed open the door. Ignoring the total darkness that reigned inside the shed he walked in, his eyes scanning the contents hanging on the walls.
"Hmmm... Considering the time of year, I reckon the barbasts will be quite aggressive. Should make for an easy hunt, provided they can handle themselves. Still, their equipment is going to be next to useless," he mused aloud. He approached a wall and took a series of knives in his hands. He unsheathed them one by one, ran his fingers carefully across the edges, before putting them back.
"No, maybe that older woman could wield these with enough speed, but the others definitely can't." He put them back and walked to a closet. He slid his hand across the wood, but frowned when the click didn't come. He did it again, then slammed his hand into it. This time it clicked open.
"Let's see then." He stared at the lock for a while, fingering the delicate parts carefully, before pulling a long needle out of one of his pockets and prodding the mechanism for a bit. Putting the needle back, he shut the closet again. When he slid his hand over the wood again and the click followed instantly, he allowed himself a smile.
"Right then."

He dug around in it for a while, before pulling out a few leather gauntlets with armoured fingertips. It was covered in tiny plates that allowed for flexibility while simultaneously providing enormous protection.
"Bet that Paladin would cut off her left hand to have this." He grinned. Grabbing a bag he carefully tucked two pairs of gauntlets into it. Searching around further, he tucked a few more pieces into it.
"Right, that should cover the two. Now, what should I take? What haven't I trained with in a good while," he mused aloud, walking past the dozens of weapon racks, ignoring the armour dummies. He stopped at a vicious looking bow, grabbed it, put on a new string, fingered the knots a few times, before untying it and hanging it back, shaking his head. Next up was a short sword that had an intricate pattern rather than a smooth blade. He grinned and executed a few swift stabs with it, before twisting rapidly and finishing the manoeuvre. But he put that back as well. This repeated itself a few times before he settled on a large gauntlet with a large needle like sword attached to it. He put it on, lovingly oiled the gears, then punched the air. When the needle remained in place he flashed a broad grin. Then he repeated the move, but this time he clenched his fist. The needle jabbed forward, stopped, and instantly extended itself further as a hidden compartment opened and the needle itself grew to twice its size. If anything had been within thirty centimetres of his fist, it would have found itself with a hole the size of a coin in its body. He opened his hand again and the thin blade pulled itself back with a satisfying sound. Taking the gauntlet off, he put it in the bag along with another one for the other hand.

Having gathered the equipment he had come looking for he closed the shed, locked it, and moved on to the bathing house for his own bath. Along the way he could feel Glissandi's and Trista's eyes tracking him as he walked through the garden. Both pair of eyes emitted a completely different emotion, but neither bothered him. Entering the building he made sure to thoroughly close the doors behind him. He didn't put it beyond them to try to follow him and he wasn't keen on that, their reasons be damned. Walking into a separate part of the complex he shed his outfit and started a complex series of moves, executing them painfully slowly, stretching his limbs to the limit before switching into another stance. By the time he finished his workout he was thoroughly soaked and panting rapidly. Closing his eyes and withdrawing his awareness back into his own body he walked over to the water and just jumped in. He sat at the bottom for a while, alone with his thoughts before swimming a few leisurely laps.

A bit later he left the building and moved to tend the fields a bit. It wasn't much work, merely pulling out some weeds, making sure the traps against wildlife didn't need to be reset, minor things like that, before heading back inside and heading to bed.
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Mat Mase

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PostSubject: Re: A story   Sun Apr 09, 2017 4:07 pm

Marvelous work, Flor Smile Not quite the type I would read back when I did, but the way you write it is worthy of a bestseller!

And the speed which you write, you'll be a millionaire from publishing in no time if you tried Razz I just finished reading and 2 more chapters popped out of nowhere! lol

Must retire to bed though, 3am, and I have a long day tomorrow. Look forward to coming back to read though Smile
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PostSubject: Re: A story   Sun Apr 09, 2017 7:30 pm

"May the Lord guide your hunt." With those words Trista, Glissandi and Gaelus set off on foot, entering the dense forest. Both women struggled keeping pace with Gaelus who seemed perfectly at ease. The squires suppressed a giggle at seeing the Priestess having trouble keeping her elegant posture as the group disappeared into the thicket. Lisa turned to them instantly and gave one of the two a whack around the head, sending them both scurrying to whatever tasks they had to do. With a sigh she turned towards the mansion. She had already discovered that it was a lot bigger than it had seemed at first glance. It wasn't just built into the rocky outcrop, it ran deep into it.

Her first stop was her own room. She donned her other sword, which she had left behind at the order of the Priestess to make a more peaceful impression around the heathen, along with the rest of her armour. Kneeling in front of a small statue that she always carried with her in her bags, she prayed.
"Lord, grant me the strength I need to protect Your believers. Grant me the wisdom to do what is right. Grant me the will to never falter. I will serve You to my last breath, and offer you all that I am." She closed her eyes and kissed the small cross she carried around her neck and remained in that position for several minutes, before opening her eyes and tucking the statue into her bags again, placing it with great care. Then she turned around and left her room, ignoring the squires who were cleaning the Priestess' room.

She went down the hallway, down the spiral staircase, into the next hallway and paused at the large door separating the front half of the mansion, where guests had free access, from the other half where Gaelus had respectfully requested they'd stay out of. She grabbed the handle and pushed, and nearly walked into the door when it didn't budge in the slightest. She huffed and knelt in front of it, taking out a small bundle of lock picking tools. Sliding the pick into the lock, she quickly discovered that the lock wasn't budging. A few minutes later she realised that there was no lock. At least not in the keyhole. She started studying the door but couldn't find anything that even resembled a locking mechanism. It took her a while before she recalled that Gaelus had opened every door so far by sliding his hand across it. So she mimicked the movement and tried opening the door again, but it didn't work.
"Must be a magical lock then," she realised. Huffing angrily to herself she moved to the hinges and started unscrewing them. They didn't budge easily and she had to damage them a bit to get them out, but eventually she got them all, allowing her to swing open the door entirely and take a look at what was beyond.

It was a long hallway, at least as far as she could see, as there wasn't a single source of light beyond where she was. She sent out her aura to check for traps, and was pleased when she couldn't detect anything. Drawing her short sword with her right hand, she brought her left hand up in front of her face and whispered a short incantation, which was swiftly followed by an orb of light floating from it. With a short command she split it in half and with the next one orb floated to above her head, and the other scouted ahead.
"Now let's see what dark secrets you are hiding, heathen," she whispered to herself, stepping into the hallway.

The first door she encountered was a thick, metal door. There were words written on a plaque in front, but she couldn't make out what they said. It made her wonder if Gaelus spoke both languages, or if it merely was the language of those who built the house. She reached out and touched the handle and instantly swore as her body heat was pulled out of it, freezing her hand shut to it. She swore loudly and tried to jump back, only to discover that her hand was frozen in place.
"IGNA!" she shouted, sending a torrent of heat racing through her hand, forcing the warmth back into it and freeing her from the handle. A new blast of cold erupted from it, as if reacting aggressively towards the heat but she managed to pull her hand free before her spell was overwhelmed.

She jumped back from the door, moving her hand as far away from it as she could. Panting rapidly, she stared at it, expecting it to lunge for her somehow. It took her some time to regain her calm, realising that it was an inbuilt mechanism in the door, and a powerful one at that. Then a small rack to the side of the door caught her attention. Towels. She peered back at the letters and very carefully grabbed one of them. Wrapping one tightly around her hand, she reached for the handle again, stopping just short of it, wary. She grabbed it. Nothing happened. She let out her breath, unaware that she had sucked it in. She pulled the door open and heard it fall in place with a satisfying, metallic click. She double checked to make sure the door was properly locked in place, then slipped a doorstop underneath is just in case. Sending one orb out in front of her once more she peered into the room.

If she had been expecting some kind of secret, a dark, hidden room filled with evil, skulls, demonic signs, she would have been disappointed for there was nothing of the sort. Instead she realised that it was a short flight of metal stairs down into a small, square room, where the walls, ceiling and floor were made out of metal, and the temperature was ice cold, which was obvious as her breath turned into small clouds. It was the cellar for meat storage. Meaning the writing on the door probably said just that, along with a warning to not touch the handle directly. Considering there was no ice, or anything of the sort, it meant the cold was artificial, and most likely magical.
"But he said there was ice," she recalled. She'd have to bring it up with the Priestess. Despite her mental prowess, Lisa couldn't think of a reason why he'd lie about that. She closed the door again and moved onto the next one.

This one obviously had something behind it, because there was no way the massive sign above the door wasn't a warning sign. She looked around to see if there was anything aside the large wooden door that warned her to not touch the handles directly, but she didn't see anything. Casting a scrying spell on the door itself, she pushed gingerly against it when the spell didn't reveal anything. As soon as she opened the door she felt how she pushed through a thin, magical fabric and a wall of noise hit her. Hissing, spitting, rattling, metallic clanking, it was deafening. She sent her orb of light ahead and saw a wall of machinery. Pipes, gears, things she had never seen before. She knew that Dwarves worked with things like this, but the scale of it all was immense, and the pieces spoke volumes of craftsmanship, even to her untrained eye. She eyed it all, taking in the scale and the patterns. Once she figured those out she approached, wary, knowing that the strength behind the gears and wheels would be enough to turn her into powder should she get caught. When a loud flushing sound erupted from one of the pipe she jumped back, nearly turning tail and running for the door, until her brain caught up with her body and told her that the noise was water. It was easy to identify which pipe it was, too. She brought her hand towards it but stopped a feet short, the heat radiating of it.
"This must be how the bathing house works. And everything else." She took a few steps back, eyeing the massive wall of pipes, the intricate network of beams supporting it, and realised that this house carried more secrets than she could have imagined, although not of the sort she had expected. She had assumed there'd be heretical evidence that would convince the Priestess to resort to drastic measures that would produce result, but instead she had discovered technological miracles that Humans couldn't dream to equal. It meant that the cellar could possibly not be powered by magic, but by some intricate technology that was far beyond her scope of understanding. Still completely overwhelmed she closed the door and continued down the hallway.

She tried the next door, but before she even touched the handle she jumped back instantly. There were no words written here, but every instinct screamed at her to not touch it. Taking into account that the technology here was far beyond her she didn't want to take the risk of running into a trap that was of a technological sort, which she had no defence against. She went around it instead and continued down the hall. The next door she found radiated heat, but she sensed no traps and carefully opened it. Inside was a forge that glowed red hot, even though she could not see any source of heat. An anvil was tucked away in the corner, and a large bellows was located in between. Sending her orb in she saw that the walls were filled with countless tools, not only for smithing but also for fletching and other crafts. There was a small adjoining room that held supplies, all neatly ordered in rows with little plaques underneath each tray. The numbers she could somewhat recognise, but the letters were from an alphabet that resembled neither the Human one, nor the Elvish runes, nor the Dwarven ones. She determined that if Gaelus used this, and considering what he had been wearing before the hunting party took off he probably could, he also knew the language. Another thing to bring up with the Priestess.

Closing the door she once again continued down the hallway. She was pondering everything she had seen so far and because of that noticed too late that her orb had ceased moving further, and walked straight into an invisible barrier.
"OH COME ON!" she shouted, bashing her sword angrily against it, only to have it slide off without any result. She cast another scrying spell but once again came up blank, making her wonder if there was a magic here that she didn't know anything about, which she personally doubted, or if this place was more technologically advanced than anything she had ever heard of. Sighing deeply she accepted that she was not the proper person to deal with this, as her training had focused on bashing heads in and keeping magicians alive, not to deal with technological and magical things of unknown origin.

Retracing her steps, making sure to eliminate all evidence of her going past the door, she moved back into the guest part of the mansion. Doing her best to fix the door, she realised there would be signs of minor damage to the screws she had torn loose to get the door open. Cursing her rotten luck, she did her best to cover it as well as possible, knowing that it would be almost impossible to notice at a casual glance.
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PostSubject: Re: A story   Sun Apr 09, 2017 7:42 pm

At this point I'm at 13.002 words and 71.645 characters. I'm quite chuffed with myself.
A special thanks for Tree who has been correcting my chapters piece by piece and has been a tremendous source of encouragement to keep writing.
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PostSubject: Re: A story   Mon Apr 10, 2017 6:49 am

Added a Bestiary to the top post and put barbasts in there, so people know what to expect.

Glissandi struggled to adjust to the weight of her altered outfit. She was used to wearing her magically imbued gown that flowed along as she moved. Wearing actual armour was throwing her off. Trista on the other hand moved far more fluently, even if she was struggling to move through the dense forest. Her eyes fluttered from tree to tree, wondering how any animal could move through a forest where the branches intertwined constantly and thick trunks were only a few feet apart. Slightly ahead of them was Gaelus, who moved with the same grace he used when walking through the mansion. Sliding a hand absentmindedly across her body she marvelled at the armour he had given them. The outfit consisted out of several pieces of leather that were easily adjusted. She hadn't recognised the type of leather used and when she had inquired about it Gaelus had responded with a smile and said that it was an animal that lived a long ways from here. On top of the leather were tiny plates that flowed with every step that she took. Attached in ways she couldn't fathom, she did know that it meant that piercing attacks would struggle to penetrate this armour, without it hindering her mobility in the slightest. She didn't know what metal was used, but Gaelus had assured them that it was several times tougher than steel. To a warrior like her this armour was a blessing.

Glissandi struggled to keep pace with Gaelus, who obviously was keeping his pace slow. Despite that it took them four hours before he decided to stop, even though he had originally said it was a two hour walk.
"Right, we're quite close now," he said.
"Before we go any further, I'll give you some information on the barbasts. For starters, do not, under any circumstances, use any magic. They loathe it and are incredibly adept at sensing it, not from a great distance, but if they feel any magic being used near them they will home in with savage aggression. And they're aggressive enough already. Don't think of them as docile animals, or even boars. They won't engage us directly at first, but they won't avoid us. We'll look for outliers of the pack, but the moment they spot us they will attack us without hesitation. They won't climb higher than the tree trunks themselves, so if you keep your eyes open you won't be taken off guard. Don't lose sight of me, no matter what, or you'll get lost. Barbasts' preferred method of attacking is jumping from trunk to trunk. Don't let their initial speed fool you, if they get properly agitated they'll become exponentially faster. Rely on instincts, dodge their attacks, and hit them when they pass you. Punching them will throw them off balance easily enough. Go for the sides of their head, their necks are pretty much completely sheltered by bones. Once they're off balance they'll miss their jumps and start crashing into the ground. They can't run that fast, so from that point it's a matter of stabbing it with a dagger once it rushes at you in blind, confused anger. Do you understand all that?"

Trista nodded calmly, the instructions reminded her of her teachers explaining a mission to her. Glissandi looked nervous however and she couldn't hide it on her face. Gaelus smiled reassuringly at her and patted her on the shoulder.
"You hang back behind us, alright? Trista, stick close to her. I don't want her to be in danger." Trista responded with a nod and stepped closer to the Priestess while Gaelus turned around and closed his eyes. The two women looked at each other, wondering what he was doing, before they both became aware of a very soft mental touch. Glissandi looked confused, but Trista stared at Gaelus in surprise. She realised that he was using his aura to scout ahead and was weaving a barely noticeable net. Glissandi figured it out a few seconds later and mimicked Trista's look. Being able to control your aura to that extent was something very few people managed, and even Lisa wasn't close to that level, yet Gaelus seemed to be perfectly at ease doing it.
"Found two," he whispered and motioned for the women to follow him. He ran ahead at a soft pace, his steps not making a sound as he hopped from root to root, with Glissandi and Trista struggling to do the same and not fall too much behind.

A loud shriek tore them out of their careful concentration and they looked up just in time to see an angry, large flash launch itself at Gaelus, big claws aiming for his face. He simply sidestepped with all the grace and elegance of a dancer as the beast passed him. Continuing the move without ever losing pace, he almost seemed to carelessly brush his fingers against the barbast's head. Then the muscles in his arm tensed and he pushed, forcing the animal off course and sending it careening past the tree it aimed for. It screeched and raised itself, running at him with blind rage in its eyes. It leaped, but Gaelus leaped over it and tapped it on the head again, this time his hand forming a fist. With a sickening sound the thin blade added to his gauntlet vaulted forward and pierced the barbast's skull, only to be pulled out equally quickly when he opened his hand again. Its momentum carried it a few feet forward, before dropping down, dead. It had happened in the blink of an eye and Gaelus lazy movements revealed that he hadn't even exerted himself to take the beast down.

"Your turn!" he warned Trista before a second roar tore through the forest and another flash of fur occurred. Trista was taken off guard by the speed with which it moved. It had been significantly faster than the previous one. She heard and felt the claws skid on the plates of her armour and felt the massive weight of the animal knock her over. Instinct kicked in and she rolled back, violently ramming her knee into the beast's belly. It howled in pain as it passed her, but managed to grab hold of the tree. It looked at her with a viciousness that you wouldn't expect from non-sentient beings, before launching itself at her again. She rolled out of the way, unable to deliver a punch in time. She got up just in time to see it jump at her again, but this time she managed to slide out of the way and deliver a devastating punch to the barbast's head, sending it crashing into the ground. The beast got back up, clearly dazed, and roared in defiance. Baring its fangs it rushed at the nearest target.

Glissandi looked at the creature rushing at her in disgust. It had slowed down tremendously since receiving that blow and despite its obvious lethal capacity she didn't feel fear in the slightest. She had taken down far worse foes.
"You're no match for the Lord's fury," she coldly stated, extending her hand and sending a torrent of energy at it. It ran through it unfazed and jumped at her. Gaelus' words that they were immune to magic ringing in her head far, far too late as the beast lunged. Her eyes went wide as she saw Trista rushing at her, with panic and fear written on her face, knowing she'd never reach the Priestess in time.
Then Gaelus was next to her and delivered an absolutely devastating kick to the beast from the side, blasting it into a tree and killing it on impact. Whether the lethal impact had been the tree or the kick itself she couldn't say, and she couldn't spend time thinking about it either. For the first time since she had met him he had a deadly serious expression on his face. She wanted to ask why, but the roar that rang through the forest as the whole pack of barbasts cried out in rage was all the response she needed.

"RUN!" he shouted. Trista didn't question it. The tone he used overrode everything else and she grabbed the Priestess, pulled her along and made a mad dash in the opposite direction of the origin of the sound. Gaelus stayed behind a bit, before turning around and running as well, staying a good distance behind them. The trio ran with all the speed the two women could muster, but Trista saw Gaelus' expression and realised it would be a matter of minutes at most before the pack caught up with them. The roars getting louder was another sign. When it reached a certain level Gaelus turned around and stopped, outstretching his arms and getting ready for a defensive action.
"Keep going!" he yelled at her. "Whatever you do, don't stop running!"

Then the pack was upon them. Two beasts lunged out of the thicket, flying straight at Gaelus only to discover that he wasn't there anymore. He slid underneath them and extended both gauntlets simultaneously. The two beasts crashed into the ground, thrashing around with mortal wounds, unable to move. Another one ran out as more and more appeared, and that one met his end as it made the mistake of believing that his prey couldn't turn around quick enough, the blade disappearing into its eye. Four more appeared and the first died as it landed on a trunk, not getting the chance to launch itself. Gaelus nimbly dodged the next two, but was blown down by the fourth. Trista couldn't see what happened after that as she lost sight of him, but from the loud, bestial scream it obviously hadn't ended well for the barbast.

Glissandi's heart pounded in her ears. There were at least a dozen creatures on her tail and Trista had already expelled half her daggers to keep them back. Using her magical abilities she had blasted them with several powerful magic spells, only to have the beasts shrug it off without taking damage, despite their immediate surroundings being torn apart. For the first time in her life she was utterly terrified. Powerless, at the mercy of a Knight who was only marginally more capable of defending herself than she was. The animals could smell her fear and it enraged them ever further, although it was nothing compared to the raw hate that oozed from their small eyes when she had casted her spells. One of them launched itself at her and she realised too late that there was no way she could avoid it. She whispered the Lord's name, frozen in fear, when Trista's catapulted herself into the animal and narrowly knocked it off course.
"Run Priestess!" she yelled, before the beast she tackled swiped at her with its claws, sending her flying in turn. Glissandi shot a short, grateful look at Trista, believing it would be the last time she'd see her, turned around and ran ahead with all the speed she could muster.

Trista saw the Priestess disappear and smiled, despite the barbast in front of her. She had done the best she could. Surely the Lord would be proud. Then she saw how nearly all beasts abandoned her and ran off in the direction of the Priestess, only two staying behind to deal with her. She knew it would be enough to finish her off. She got up and assumed a combat stance, defiance burning brightly in her eyes. She would not go down easily however. She'd fight till the bitter end. The first barbast to attack was the one that she had knocked off balance before. It lunged at her, but she took a quick step back, putting herself out of reach of his first swipe. Before he could start a second her last dagger found its way to its face as she plunged it into his eye with a brutal roar. Then the second one crashed into her and while her armour saved her from being torn to ribbons, her tough constitution saved her from being killed on impact as she was smacked into a tree. She looked up, dazed, willing her body to move but finding that it did not obey her. She turned her eyes upwards, realising that this would be the end of her.

Gaelus raced through the forest, his breath coming out in short pants. He had lost too much time dealing with the barbasts that attacked him. They had far keener senses than humans, and had left most of their pack behind to deal with him. It turned out that their senses hadn't been keen enough. Blood dripped off him as he practically teleported between the trees, taking only minor steps to avoid running into one. The trail was easy to follow. With ever jump they made the barbasts' powerful claws had torn bits of bark out of the tree. All he had to do was follow the destruction, made even easier by the destructive magic the Priestess had unleashed, despite his warning to not do so. He arrived at Trista's location just in time to see the girl impact against a tree. Catching the barbast mid victory roar the beast didn't even have time to register his appearance. He spared one second to glance at the poor Knight who was drifting out of consciousness, before he continued his mad dash towards the Priestess. He knew he'd be too late. The Priestess wasn't quick enough, even with the time he and Trista had bought her. His eyes narrowed as he realised he'd have to take a gamble on Glissandi's mental fortitude, but he was out of options. A grimace formed on his face as he gathered his aura and launched it forward in a spear that heralded him and all the doom and destruction he'd bring with him.

The wave hit the barbasts like a lightning bolt and they dropped down mid-dash, disorientated, every instinct throwing red flags at them to run, to hide, to fight back against this predator bearing down on them, even overthrowing their natural hatred for magic. Glissandi went down like a log as well. The fear hit her like a tidal wave and made every muscle in her body freeze. Like a statue, and equally petrified, she crashed into the ground, unable to do more but shiver and whisper incoherent words of prayer while discovering there was a new layer to being deathly afraid. She would die. She was going to die. Trista was dead, Lisa was too far away, her magic was useless. All her hopes, dreams, her quest for glory, they were all forgotten as she quivered, unable to even resist the approaching death as around her the barbasts slowly regained their composure. Carefully, still wary of that short impression they had received from an unstoppable danger heading for them, they approached the creature that smelled of magic. The leader of the pack stomped over to the crying Priestess and prodded her with his talons. When she didn't react, he stood up on his hind legs and roared.

And exploded into paste when an absolutely furious Gaelus punched through his skull, the metallic gauntlet tearing through the bone with ease. The Priestess looked up, the violent display of raw strength and the amount of danger that Gaelus was radiating shaking her out of her stupor. He appeared to her as an Angel of Wrath sent by the Lord. The barbasts leaped back, roaring in defiance but staying at a safe distance. Before she could comprehend the situation he picked her up as if she weighed nothing more than a light travel bag and ran off, leaving the pack behind. The angry roars continued for a bit, before the death of the pack leader caused the magic user to be forgotten and infighting broke out to determine the new pecking order.

Arriving back at Trista's location he saw that the Knight was doing her best to stand up.
"Easy there now. You probably have a serious concussion from the way you nearly toppled that tree," he greeted her, his usual smile having returned to his face despite him being covered in blood, gore, and was holding a shivering Priestess who clung to him with desperation and a glazed look in her eyes. Trista breathed a sigh of relief and collapsed into the ground. Armed with the knowledge that the Priestess was safe, she allowed unconsciousness to claim her.

Last edited by Floris on Sun Jun 04, 2017 2:05 pm; edited 2 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: A story   Mon Apr 10, 2017 12:11 pm

Hi Flor,

My god the speed at which you write is truely remarkable
The way you write things extraordinary
The amount of puns not enough! Razz
I'm really flabbergasted by your skills, when is the book coming out?

yours truly,

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PostSubject: Re: A story   Mon Apr 10, 2017 3:33 pm

Wow, that last section had me on the edge of my seat! Gripping stuff! Action and danger! What will the women make of Gaelus now then I wonder!

Glissandi can no longer underestimate him surely? Will she give up her obvious attempts to manipulate him with her magically enhanced feminine wiles? Will she be so impressed by what she has witnessed during the hunt to start to fall for him for real? Will it make her even more determined to win him over to the Lord, now she knows the extent of his power, or will she now see him as a threat to the Order that needs to be eliminated?

And Trista…she’s already half in love, though she doesn’t seem to realise it. How might recognising and admitting her feeling to herself affect her already questioning faith in the Order? What would the Order think if she were to end up in some sort of relationship entanglement with a powerful heathen mage? Would she be banished? What might her life become without the Order that has always protected her and given her a comfortable framework of belief to make sense of her life? What would she make of it if Glissandi were to try her luck with Gaelus?

Does Gaelus have any interest in either of them in that way anyway? Maybe women aren’t ‘his thing’! Does he have some sort of relationship past that makes him immune to the romantic/sexual possibilities presented to a lonely man who hasn’t seen company for a very long time and is now surrounded by a flock of women/girls - at least one of them whom is very beautiful?

And the twins? They are vulnerable girls on the cusp of puberty. They could quite easily get a crush on a good looking mature man who has shown them some kindness and seems to see them as individuals in the way that no one ever has before.  Have they ‘awoken’ in their development that way as yet? Will they do soon? Or will they simply remain the innocent children they seem to be? Will the awareness Gaelus has shown to their differences, make them more aware of those differences themselves? Will it affect the closeness of their relationship with each other in some way?

Oh so many possibilities! I can’t wait to see how the story pans out! Very Happy
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PostSubject: Re: A story   Mon Apr 10, 2017 5:42 pm

Thank you, Tree, Mat, Leah, Palawag and Uranus, for your kind words of encouragement.

Also Mat, kinda curious: what kind do you think I'm writing? Cause I can guarantee you, this is only the start.

To say that Lisa threw a fit when she saw Glissandi, slightly covered in gore and blood, being carried in Gaelus' arms, who was significantly more covered in gore and blood, while clutching at him like he was the Lord himself, and somehow as well as carrying an unconscious Trista draped across his shoulders, would not do the event justice. Like a mother bear Lisa charged him, an avalanche of questions, insults, demands and more than a fair share of random gibberish streaming out of her, before she slid to a halt mere inches away from him. Gaelus flashed her his trademark lazy smile.
"Hunt didn't go that well. Trista's concussed, Glissandi got shocked, and we didn't bring any meat back." he summarised. The sheer audacity of his response stunned Lisa enough to prevent an instant retaliation and left her staring at him, mouth agape, utterly dumbfounded.

"Lisa," came Glisandi's weak voice.
"Take Trista to her room. Please." It was barely louder than a whisper. For the first time in her long, full life Lisa was considering ignoring the order of a superior.
"Priestess," she countered.
"Please." The begging look in Glisandi's eyes shut her up, and she couldn't do anything but bring her hand to her heart, make a short bow and comply. She stared daggers at Gaelus while taking Trista of his shoulders. If a Knight had gotten that badly mauled, and the Priestess was in such a state, than what kind of ambush had the bastard lured them into tha-
"It was my fault." She barely heard it. She nearly dropped Trista in surprise. When she turned to look at the Priestess, the girl, as woman didn't seem applicable anymore, was burying her face in Gaelus' chest. For the second time that day she realised that she wasn't trained to deal with it, and moved on to something she could deal with; taking care of Trista.
"Head trauma, take care when removing the armour to not damage it," Gaelus called out to her. Lisa turned, only to be faced by that smug smile she so badly wanted to plant a fist in. If her eyes had shot daggers at him before, they were now bombards launching cannonballs. Gaelus nodded towards Trista, seemingly oblivious to Lisa's anger.
"If you put stress on the plates, they'll lock up automatically and trying to force it off can cause it to tear, and those plates will slice through your leather gloves like a hot knife through butter. And the material's poisonous enough to kill her, in her state," he elaborated. Lisa's anger evaporated on the spot as she took a closer look at the armour she was wearing, her eyes wide as she remembered the forge room. She nodded and muttered something that could vaguely be considered thanks if one was open to interpretation, before disappearing into the mansion with broad steps. Despite the Priestess being her superior, Trista was a warrior of the Order. And despite the ranking system, sisters and brothers of one group tended to prioritise their own kind over the other.

Gaelus chuckled softly at her departure before gazing down on Glissandi who still had her face buried in his chest and was stubbornly refusing to look at the world in general. He let out a soft sigh. He suspected that, being a Priestess, she had a tough mental fortitude that would repair itself when damaged. If her training was as rigorous as he suspected, then that little magic trick would be standard for anyone who reached her rank. There was still a risk however. It was like a broken bone. The pieces would heal, but they had to be in the right order for there to be no lasting damage, and that meant gently coaxing her out of her mental hiding spot.
"Well, at least you're proving to be very entertaining guests," he joked quietly as he made for the bathing house. Getting rid of his cloak of innards would be a good start to heal her. Glissandi responded to his joke by softly squeezing him, making him aware that she had heard him.

Trista came to smelling a herb she couldn't remember the name of, but sure as hell hoped she would never smell again. She tried to veer up when strong hands pushed her down.
"Easy there. You took a massive blow there. No quick movements, alright? Holy Lord what happened out there, half of your face is swollen and your entire back is covered in black bruises. It's a miracle you broke nothing and that you have all your teeth." It took a bit before Trista put two and two together and recognised the voice as Lisa's.
"Sir—" she whispered, but was quickly shushed.
"None of that girl. Speak when you're able, but don't push yourself. The Priestess is back safe, although probably in about as right a state of mind as you are. Physically unharmed though, as far as I could see. Here, drink this. Slowly! Slowly I said!" Lisa carefully manoeuvred a cup to Trista's lips and let her drink, making sure she didn't consume too much. From the taste alone the Knight recognised the draught. Meant to paralyse the limbs, in a light manner. A good call if she was even half as bruised as she felt she was. It would leave her mind clear however, which was the important part. Well, as clear as possible considering that it seemed as if a cathedral's worth of bells were announcing that it was the day of the Lord.

Lisa didn't speak and sat quietly next to the bed. Opening her lips slightly before closing them again, Trista ran a few tests to see how far her body would obey her, and how badly her line of thought would get interrupted by the bells in her head.
"We went to hunt... bar... barbasts. Monkey like, but aggressive. Immune to magic, but can sense it and hate it. Killed two, Priestess used magic. Pack attacked. Gaelus held some off, told us to run. Fought to delay, lost. Gaelus caught up, somehow, saved me, ran after the Priestess. Tried to go after her... Couldn't walk. Don't know how long I tried. Gaelus showed up with the Princess. Blacked out again. Nothing after that," she recounted, the tale coming out slowly as Trista struggled to remember everything, and her damaged body didn't make speaking easier. She heard a strange noise she couldn't place, but found herself incapable of asking what the source was.

Lisa cried silently, kneeling next to the bed, her hands held together in prayer. She had heard of barbasts. She had read of them the day before in the library while the Priestess had weaved her web. If even half of what in the book was true, then it was a miracle they survived. Beasts made to hunt magicians, quick as lightning and travelling in packs of up to two dozen. Stronger than a man and armed with fangs and claws. She thanked the Lord for Trista and the Priestess' safe return. That they had returned alive without life threatening wounds or injuries that would end their active career. At one point she grasped Trista's hand, shortly after the girl had fallen asleep, and she put it to her forehead, tears still running silently down her cheeks. And she prayed.

Gaelus carefully lowered Glissandi into one of the smaller baths. She was surprisingly reluctant to let go and had latched onto him like a vice.
"Come on Priestess. You're safe, you can let go now." He tried to get his arms free again, but she kept on holding him tightly. He sighed, but smiled.
"Oh come on now. Fine. Have it your way then. You're not going to like it though," he warned her, picking her back up. He walked to the central hall again before turning into another room, containing one of the large baths. He paused at the edge, looking at Glissandi who was peeking through her hair at the room.
"Last warning." She responded by tightening her grip on him.
"Eh. I tried," he said, before jumping in.

"YOU BASTARD!" Glissandi shrieked as she resurfaced, glaring at a laughing Gaelus.
"YOU UTTER, UTTER BASTARD!" Gaelus struggled to remain upright, nearly bending over from laughter. Glissandi, position as Priestess forgotten due to a dunk in an ice cold bath, moved closer to Gaelus and roughly dunked him as well, before clambering out in a way that was not unlike a cat. Gaelus resurfaced, spluttering while coughing out half a pint, before resuming his burst of laughter. Apparently shock therapy had worked better than him trying to coax her gently out of it. She shot him a look that warned him that she was contemplating throwing a spell at him. He shot her back a warm smile.
"Glad to see you're back to normal. Warm bath is second door to your left in the hallway, red valve sets the heat, blue one is for redirecting the water flow into the bath rather than through the pipes," he replied, outright grinning at her now. She huffed at him, walking out, looking significantly less gory than before the dunk. Gaelus got out as well and switched on the valves to drain the bath. Considering that a good portion of the water was now red, he turned another valve that would ditch the water in the fields rather than sent it back into the pipes.

As he hummed softly to himself while removing the last bits of barbast from his body, he picked up on a faint noise. Then the noise grew louder. Then he heard an incredibly weird combination of holy and curse words and he stifled a laugh. Moving without a sound he exited the room and sneaked towards Glissandi who was struggling to undo her armour. Leather didn't respond well to being wet and the woman was obviously out of patience.
"Need a hand?" he asked gently, causing her to shriek, turn around, slip and launch a spell all at the same instance. Gaelus grabbed her hand, shoved it into the bath while sliding his other arm around her wrist and catching her, preventing a second guest from receiving a concussion. The conjured flames made the water bubble before sizzling out. Gaelus put her back firmly on her feet while her mind was still racing to catch up with things, and put his fingers into the water.
"Might be a bit too warm now," he commented. Glissandi seemed to regain her wits and took an angry step towards him, punching him in the stomach but failing to get anything other than a smile out of him,which further infuriated her and causing her to deliver a second, harder punch. This time he took a small step back, but his smile didn't falter.
"You. Utter. Arse."
"You wouldn't be struggling with your armour if you had let go when I asked. Let me help." At this point she was used to him being a total enigma and ignoring half of what she said, and she knew that her image as a stately Priestess had been well and utterly annihilated, but the idea of him helping her out of her armour, under which she wore virtually nothing that could be classed as clothing, really was a bridge too far. She opened her mouth to protest when she heard silent clicks and felt the armour loosen significantly around her.
"Undid the system that tied the plates together. The leather itself is fairly easy to take off normally, but it's the plates that are tied to it that make it difficult. Of course, if you know how it works, it's easy. Just drop it off in the corner somewhere. I'll send one of your squires over with some other clothes in a bit." With a galant wave and a lazy smile he turned around and walked out of the bathroom, closing the door behind him.

Glissandi undressed in silence, flung the armour into a corner and shut off the valves to keep the bath from overflowing. Letting herself sink gently into the water, she enjoyed the comfort for a bit before recounting a long hymn dedicated to the Lord, to calm her mind and start recounting just everything that had happened.
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PostSubject: Re: A story   Tue Apr 11, 2017 10:12 am

The meal that evening was spent in relative silence. Lisa didn't move from Trista's side. Gaelus had made Mina bring the Paladin her food and take a stew along for Trista. Glissandi was eating in silence, her thoughts troubled. Mina and Mira had been quiet too. They had snuck glances at the Priestess while Gaelus had tried to make some small talk. It had taken a while but eventually the twins had realised that the Priestess was mentally absent and they had taken the opportunity to bombard Gaelus with questions.

"But how are barbasts immune to magic?"
"Good question Mina." He nodded appreciatively.
"It took magicians over forty years before they asked themselves that question. It's because they eat a certain type of stone with certain properties when they are young, and those stones set themselves in their stomach, slowly dissolving and spreading into their fur."
"But how does that work?" He smiled at the girls with a mischievous glint in his eyes.
"There's a very long and lengthy explanation for that. I've got the book with that information, if you want to have it?" he asked. The girls gave each other a horrified look before shaking their heads.
"No thank you!" Mina hurried to say.
"Does that mean that if you make a shield of that stone you'll be safe from all magic?" Gaelus' smile broadened. The two girls were surprisingly bright.
"No. The stone needs to be treated with a complex solvent that the barbasts produce naturally in their stomach. The process is slow, very difficult, and needs to be kept up constantly. The stone is often turned into powder though, and that powder is used by alchemists in certain compounds to boost the magical defence, but on its own, the stone is fairly useless to humans."

Freed from their restraints the twins showered Gaelus with one question after the other, letting their unbridled curiosity loose after it had been restrained for so long. Glissandi spent most of that time prodding her food and consuming more wine than a Priestess should. In the end Gaelus called the dinner to an end, saying he had chores to do, and tasked the twins with clearing off the table and washing the dishes while he would go and fix the damaged armour. He pushed his chair back against the table and noticed that Glissandi still hadn't stirred. He walked up to her and put a hand on her shoulder. The twins started grabbing plates and rushing to the kitchen, racing against each other.
"You alright?" he asked, his voice soft. Glissandi jumped at his touch, having been deep in thought. She looked up and saw Gaelus' eyes looking at her, concern clearly visible in them. She felt how he held her gaze in place for several seconds that felt like an eternity before she pulled herself away, looking down.
"I'm- I'm fine." She pushed her chair back brusquely and got up, made a short bow to Gaelus and thanked him for today before making a very hasty retreat. Gaelus shook his head in wonder as the Priestess just narrowly avoided breaking out into a run. He shrugged and turned around. He had armour to fix. As he left the dining room the laughter of the twins followed him. He smiled, pleased that sounds of happiness once again filled his mansion.

Last edited by Floris on Tue Apr 11, 2017 12:07 pm; edited 2 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: A story   Tue Apr 11, 2017 10:44 am

Slight PG warning. Hence why it's in a spoiler.


Last edited by Floris on Tue Apr 11, 2017 12:13 pm; edited 2 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: A story   Tue Apr 11, 2017 11:56 am

Time for the real spice. PG Warning kids.


Last edited by Floris on Tue Aug 29, 2017 7:43 am; edited 2 times in total
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PostSubject: Re: A story   Tue Apr 11, 2017 1:11 pm

Ha ha! I loved the twist at the end of that last episode, didn't see that coming at all! I was momentarily as disorientated as Gliss was at Lisa's voice!

Steamy stuff though...*fans cheeks with hand*
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PostSubject: Re: A story   Tue Apr 11, 2017 7:44 pm

Glissandi woke up to a soft knocking on the door. She grumbled as she slowly got up. As far as mornings went this one didn't start off well. She was hungover, her hair was an utter, utter mess. Her sleeping gown was thoroughly rumpled and her sleep had been troubled at best. There had been a lot of thoughts that had kept her awake. The events of the day before had shaken her to her core, and she was trying to both deal with them and think of ways to prevent them from happening again. Aside from that she had come to terms with Gaelus knowing a lot more than he let on. The way he had dealt with those barbasts had also proven that he was far more capable than she had originally thought. Enough that she'd have to be on her best behaviour and play the seducing game very carefully. He was smart enough to catch on easily. She still had to receive the report on what the mansion contained from Lisa. Too many questions that needed answering. And she sent a silent prayer to the Lord that her dreams would at least cease being so... intense.

"What is it Mina?" A few seconds of silence followed, meaning that she got the wrong name.
"Gaelus has requested to speak with you, Priestess," the girl responded from the other side of the door. An unbidden thought struck her. It was the opposite situation of her dream. She felt heat radiate from her cheeks and knew she was blushing. Trying to banish all thoughts of last night out of her mind, she started making herself presentable. Twenty minutes later she opened the door, finding Mira standing guard outside. The girl flinched slightly and straightened as she spotted the Priestess. Her hair had been combed thoroughly and was now floating softly behind her back. Her green dress was immaculate and spotless, hinting at her femininity but not highlighting it too much. It was a standard outfit for a Priestess. The only thing that she had added herself was a simple silver chain with a silver cross hanging from it, the symbol of the Order.
"Lead the way."
Mira bowed and led her through the mansion into the dining room where Gaelus was just putting fresh loaves of bread onto the table.

"Good morning!" he greeted her. His smile was broader than usual.
"Good morning," she returned as gracefully as possible, blocking the unbidden thoughts from her mind with a minor effort.
"Mira said you wanted to speak to me?" she asked. She smiled gently at him, her voice soft and polite. The stress she had endured the day before was nothing but a memory to her now.
"Right," he responded, putting the tray on the table.
"I want to teach Mira and Mina some things. Hunting, herb-lore, medicine, things like that. I want to see what level they've reached in the Order and want to build on that. When I'm not training them and when you have time, I'd like to learn about the Order from you. History, what it's built on, ranking system, goals, prayers, everything. If you'll allow it, I'd also like to learn from Trista." Glissandi almost broke her facade. He wanted to learn about the Order of his own accord! Truly that had to be a sign of the Lord. But she was wary. While she didn't doubt that the Lord would help out His loyal subjects, Gaelus was too capable to request all that for no reason at all, and she had no idea what his motivation could be.
"Learning about the Order will be no problem, and while I'm sure the squires would benefit from your training, I have to wonder, why?" Gaelus shrugged.
"Multiple reasons. I'm curious by nature. I want to know what this organisation that you all represent is and does, whether or not it's noble or not. Hush now, you can't expect me to take your word at face value," he said, stopping her before she could interject.
"Also, you may not be able to tell, but their form is abhorrent. It just hurts me to look at it. They're not cut out to wield shield and sword. I want to train them in some alternative forms of combat. It'll be a mostly non-lethal style though. I abhor fighting."
Glissandi tilted her head slightly and threw him a curious look. "You seemed quite fine with it yesterday though."
Gaelus smile broadened slightly at her remark. "True, but that's hunting. I like the art, the style, the ability. But I abhor fighting sentient beings. I loathe violence, and the thought of war makes me sick to the core. Hence why I'd teach them this specific style. It once had a name, but that's been long lost to history. It's hard to master," he turned to face the two girls who were listening with rapt attention. "But it's a very useful style, and with some training you can easily adapt to it. It'll be a hellish training though, and I fear I may only be able to teach you the very basics of it, and that's only if you will be staying here for at least a month." He threw Glissandi a questioning look at the end of his statement.
The Priestess responded with a benevolent smile at both him and the girls. "If you wish to learn about the Order, I would be remiss in my duties as a Priestess to not fully teach you. The Order serves the Lord, and by serving the Order we serve Him as well. It would be my pleasure to educate you. And the Order is a huge organisation, not to mention the history of the Lord that comes with it. You are an intelligent man, so I shall hold nothing back. If you permit, I would like to eventually send word to the Order of my location however. If they have no urgent mission for me, I can stay and teach you everything. That could easily take several months." She smiled at him, then bowed slightly. "And that should cover the basics," she added, a teasing grin on her face as she watched Gaelus' face for a reaction. He let out a short laugh. She had figured him right. He greatly valued intellectual challenges. Quite logical if you realised that he had lived here on his own for so long.

He clapped his hands. "Well then, that's settled. Right, let's have breakfast and I'll start teaching you two the ropes. And you can take that fairly literally. Oh, but first, Mina, could you take that tray in the kitchen with the stew on it to Lisa? It's for Trista. Tell Lisa that she's supposed to eat at least half of it. Lisa's breakfast is on the tray too, so make sure you don't drop it, it's not that heavy, but the tray is full."
Glissandi motioned for Mina to stay and walked towards the kitchen. "I'll take it to her. I should be able to speed up things quite a lot." She waved with her hand and sent a series of green sparks flying.
"Thanks for that. I hate seeing people in pain." Gaelus responded before turning to the girls. "Now hurry up you two, there's a lot I have to teach you. I'll even show you the storeroom." The girls looked at each other with wide eyes before rushing to the table, accompanied by Gaelus' laughter.

He slid his hand across the door until it clicked, then pushed the doors open. He pressed his hand on a metal plate just next to the door and lamps lit up all across the storehouse. "Voila!" he announced. The girls' mouth dropped open as they gawked at the enormous selection of swords, bows, axes, armour stands, shields, battlestaves and so much more, including a fair selection of things they didn't even recognise. Gaelus walked in, heading for a barrel in the back that stood next to a small armour rack. "Come along then. Don't touch anything though. Don't want you setting something off. And a fair number of things are poisonous too!" he warned them.
The girls followed him, taking great care to stay as far away from the weapons as possible. They stared at them with reverence in their eyes. "This looks so much more impressive than the armoury back home..." Mira whispered. Gaelus smiled at that. "This isn't that much. Just a little selection of things I use from time to time."
"You can fight with all of these?" He nodded, causing them to gasp and stare at him as if he was an Angel sent down from Heaven.
"Come now, close those mouths. Mina, you're the eager and brash one, you always step a bit too much forward when you run, so I'll give you this suit here," he tapped a full leather suit with very thick sleeves. Then he grabbed another one, a much thicker suit, but with the same expansion at the sleeves. "And Mira, you tend to hang back for a second before running after your sister, so this'll be more up your alley. It's the defensive model. They were usually used by pairs of fighters who had to really coordinate their abilities, so I figured it would work well with you."

The girls took a step forward before stopping. They threw a hesitant look at each other before turning back to Gaelus. "You can tell us apart?" they asked in unison.
Gaelus looked up from the barrel he was poking in. He had a surprised look on his face. "Of course. You don't look that alike."
The girls turned to each other again as he returned his focus to the barrel. "Nobody's ever been able to do that," Mira whispered to her sister.
"Let's switch places!" Mina hurriedly replied, sneaking a glance at Gaelus who was too occupied digging up something metallic at the bottom of the barrel to look at them.
By the time he popped back out, holding a series of metallic ropes, the girls had switched places. He hooked the ropes over his arm and picked up the thin leather suit. "Here you go," he said, holding it out in front of Mina.
The girl shook her head. "I'm Mira."
Gaelus frowned at her and threw the suit into her arms. "No you're not." Mina's mouth dropped open.
"You can tell us apart!" she shouted.
"'Course I can," grumbled Gaelus, handing the other suit to Mira and pushing them out of the storeroom. "You thought I was lying? He gave them both a stern look and they withered under it, shrinking under his gaze.
"S-sorry sir—" Mira began.
"It's just, nobody's ever been able to do that," Mina finished.
"That's cause your tutors..." Gaelus told them, putting on a very serious voice as he brought his face to their level,
"were nincompoops." With that declaration he turned around, switched off the lights, closed the doors, and walked away.

The twins looked to each other, burst out laughing and ran after him. They really looked forward to the lessons.

Last edited by Floris on Tue Aug 29, 2017 9:37 am; edited 1 time in total
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A story
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