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 The Mansion in the Woods

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Floris



Posts : 133
Join date : 2017-02-03

PostSubject: Re: The Mansion in the Woods   Tue Oct 02, 2018 1:55 pm

"The Mansion?" Lifär squeaked, visibly distraught over the Mayor struggling to hold back a tide of unbridled fury.
Livi nodded passionately and made a shushing movement towards Deftis. It didn't have any effect on the man himself, but it did slightly calm down the panicking Faerie.

"Right. I'm going to be as brief as possible, as we are short enough on time as it is. The lord of the Mansion is the one who founded this city... I don't know how many years ago. Long ago. Long enough for the origins to have long since faded in obscurity. For all that time, the Mayor serves to lead the city, the Praetors serve the Mayor. All the technology, skills, knowledge, everything that our city is famous is for stems from the Founder. Deftis serves the Founder. The city serves the Founder. And it just so happens that one of the very specific tasks of the Mayor is to hold the city, to let it flourish and rule it well. The city is more important than the inhabitants. There are... reasons why we cannot retreat. Reasons I can honestly make a few guesses at — stop giving me the evil eye Deftis, I'm not going to voice them — but as such, we stand our ground or we die. Of course, there is one more very simple reason why we will not retreat." The tiny Gnome gestured to Krabdan.
The Orc stood up, raising himself to his full, impressive height and looked around the table, making solid eye contact with everyone before focusing on the small Lifär. The man's eyes burned with determination.
"This is our city!" he thundered, slamming his fist down onto the table with enough force to leave an imprint. "We will not abandon it! We have tended it, nurtured it and seen it grow and prosper! This is our home! All around us are nations that would kill all of us who sit at this table without a second thought purely because for who we are! I will die a bloody death before I let some blasted king take this from me! Let them come! Let them outmatch us! We shall hold and they shall pay the price!"

Livi smiled as Krabdan's thunderous speech was met with wild approval and was pleased to see Deftis finally start to calm down. She gave Krabdan a wink and grinned when the much taller being winked back. Both of them had been friends for decades and could play to each other strength's perfectly. She was about to start speaking again when an icy cold flooded the room, paralysing her.

I am sorry I am late, Deftis. A voice devoid of life filled the room. Livi felt her hairs stand up on end while Lifär, who wasn't familiar with the newcomer and as a Faerie was hit much harder by its presence than the others, launched himself into the ceiling in a blind panic. She was relieved when Diniras, Praetor of the magical Slivir'i, stepped forward on his hoof-like legs and cast a spell on the poor creature, shielding him from its presence.

In the midst of the table flickers of pale-blue energy merged together until a ghost-like apparition formed. Despite having met it before, Livi felled uneasy. The creature was as loyal to the city as all those present, and no less sentient despite it's alien appearance, but aside Deftis nobody felt comfortable around it. Its very essence seemed to conflict with life.

"What—" Lifär began, before swallowing loudly, his small eyes wide with fear. "What is that?"
The strange creature, lacking eyes or a solid form, somehow visibly turned its attention towards the Faerie, who recoiled to the very edge of the shield of energy surrounding him.
I'm sorry that my presence disturbs you, Lifär. I cannot help being who I am. The ghastly voice rang through the room without sound, more a dark, cold presence on their minds than being a spoken sound. Yet, fear not. I am on your side. I am a guardian of Lannas. Just like Deftis, I exist to protect the city. So my Creator has commanded.
The creature turned back to Deftis, who seemed to be immune to the icy aura that shrouded the being. "It's good that you have come. I didn't know how far you'd be when I summoned you. There's an enemy approaching. My estimate is roughly four hundred thousand men. Their vanguard will be here in a handful of days. The city will be locked within a week, two at most. Do you think there is any chance that you could delay them?"
You cannot hope to prevail against that number, Deftis. What is your plan? the creature whispered back.
"I shall hold the city until my last breath. Both walls and citizens alike. That is my duty."
Answer my question Deftis. the being repeated, its voice growing colder.
"I have sent a runner to the Mansion to request reinforcements," Deftis replied, finally showing a small sign of unease in front of the ghostly existence.
The Mansion is far away. It is not easy to reach. I hope your runner makes it, and with good speed, the creature continued. It floated closer to Deftis, frost forming on the table as it hovered slightly above it. A number of red orbs began appearing throughout its form, quickly glowing brighter as the chill spread, the wood creaking as the water inside began to freeze.
He will send aid. The city cannot fall for reasons beyond your understanding. Protect it Deftis. No matter the cost. Your restrictions are lifted. Fear nothing but failure.
"I don't need reminders of duty! I know mine well!" Deftis roared in anger, slamming his fists down on the table. His brown eyes were filled with red-hot anger as he matched the creature's gaze.

The creature pulled back as its form started swirling, the red orbs floating inside it. They were ablaze with light now while the light in the room seemed to dim. Frost started forming all over and the creature seemed to grow more agitated with every moment until it let out a powerful and feral screams. A strong flash of cold flooded the room and the windows shattered. It turned back towards Deftis, its form covering most of the room now, most of the Praetors cowering behind their chairs.
I shall delay them Deftis! I shall give you two weeks before their vanguards makes it here. I shall tear apart as many as I can! They shall be exhausted when they arrive! Do your duty Mayor! What we were assigned to guard cannot fail!

Letting out a shriek that penetrated flesh and wall alike, the creature dispersed, its ghastly wail only slowly dissipating.
It took a long time before anyone dared to speak again.
"Blasted unstable thing," Deftis cursed, wiping the frost of himself with a sharp movement.
Livi, who was one of the few Praetors who had met the creature before, shook her head slowly. "I don't like it much either Deftis. Look at what it did! Poor Lifär's out cold! Passed out from fear no doubt."
"Hah," grunted Krabdan. "Please, as if there's one of us who wouldn't pass out if it actually came at us with the intent to kill."
Diniras stepped forward, his lithe form belying the strength of the magical shield crackling around him. "What was that thing?" he asked, curiosity visible in his large, white eyes.
Deftis shook his head. "Not what. Who. Like me it's assigned to protect this place. We merely guard different locations."
Diniras gave Deftis an annoyed look. "I am not a child, Deftis. I fully understood who it was. I meant it. What is that? I've never seen anything like it before."
Deftis grinned. "Neither have you ever seen anything like me, Din. It's not a... How to put it. It is not something born through natural means, it was brought into life through means I honestly know nothing of, but it is powerful. A creature of spirit. Even with your magic you'd be hard pressed to go against it. For all its strength, however, it is still mortal and can die. Its abilities do not lay in direct combat. Still, I would advice against picking a fight against it. It's quite insane by our standards. Now, wake up those who passed out and let's focus on the defence again. We have much to discuss, and at least now we have a fair amount of time to plan everything."

Livi threw a sideways glance at Deftis before turning back to Krabdan, who nodded at her. They had both seen the same thing. Deftis was seemingly calm again, but both of them knew him long enough to see through his act. If he summoned that thing, it meant the situation was beyond dire. The Mayor was nervous and was doing a good job of hiding his rage, but not a perfect job.

Then Krabdan threw her another look and it took her a moment before she realised what it meant. The creature had said something along the lines of lifting restrictions. She narrowed her eyes as she carefully observed the Mayor. 'Never seen anything like you either, huh?' she thought. 'Then what are you?'
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Floris



Posts : 133
Join date : 2017-02-03

PostSubject: Re: The Mansion in the Woods   Wed Oct 03, 2018 3:34 pm

Melena slid across the tiles before crashing into the wall. The tough stone refused to yield, unlike her bones. She felt the pressure mount on them as they put up a brief resistance before the force from the impact overcame their feeble defence and they broke. She howled in pain, but she barely registered it. It was mere physical pain. Significant physical pain, perhaps, but still, it was only her body. She was far too occupied with the situation and the mental anguish that was tormenting every fibre of her being to care for something as minor as broken bones and cuts both large and small.

Footsteps rang through the long hallway as the source of her nightmare was approaching her. Through her dazed eyes she saw him coming. Feng, sole heir to the Dukedom of Avaran, a very wealthy and incredibly powerful nation that rivalled most kingdoms. Or so the man introduced himself at every occasion, even though rank and power counted for naught in these halls.

She felt how he picked her up by the neck. Not even the clothes, no, he just grabbed her by the neck. She was vaguely aware of the minor annoyance that this meant that she couldn't breathe in properly anymore. Instead, her mouth was wide open as her body desperately gasped for the much needed oxygen. Her hands clawed weakly at his, her body on autopilot as her mind kept panicking.

These halls were supposed to be sacred. One of the core tenets was that under no circumstances were students allowed to harm or threaten other students. What the punishment for breaking the rules was, nobody of the younger students knew. The older students merely shook their head warily when asked and suddenly had to be somewhere else. She had felt safe here, for the first time in her entire life. Steadily but surely, under the tender ministrations of the teacher, she had put her past behind, letting her mind bury the scars of abuse beneath the fresh flow of the knowledge she had so desperately craved her entire life. For the first time in her long, long eighteen years, she had felt at home. Safe.

And look where you are now. She wished that part of her head would shut up. It was strange. She had been beside herself with elation. She finally reached the stage where she could split her mind in three different, yet equally sentient and functioning parts, and then this had happened. She had been on her way to report her success to her teacher, full of pride, the three parts of her mind lulling her into a deep sense of peace with their discordance. Now one part was somehow registering everything and watching events unfold as if they were a story, another was busy making snarky remarks, and the last... Well... Panicked screeching and wailing in fear was one way to occupy yourself before history was going to repeat itself.

Were we always that stupid? came the snarky voice. She could feel the grin behind those words. She didn't dignify it with a response. It wouldn't help anyway. She knew what caused this.
"Bitch!" shouted Feng. "You dare deny me? Me!" he bellowed, his muscles tightening from the force he exerted on her throat. She felt it grow tighter, how her trachea was slowly being crushed. Her body fought against it, but she was no match for him. He growled at her and tossed her again. The two parts of her mind that weren't beyond themselves flinched as her body crashed into the ground, slid across the smooth tiles while leaving a trail of blood behind, before smashing into another wall.
Okay, time to panic now. He's going to kill us!
'Oh really?' she thought back. 'Now you're starting to get worried?'
The other part was right though. At first, she thought he'd do the usual. Hit her, beat her to a pulp, rape her, dump her abused body behind somewhere while he went to have a drink and brag about it to his mates.

She had really hoped that this place was different. She couldn't help having been born with this body. So many people regarded her as beautiful beyond compare. 'A true gift of the Lord!' the old baron had called her. 'Sent down from Heaven to reward us for our loyalty!' She had felt so happy at first when she was told that. Yet when the baron had come to court her, she had denied him. She was only thirteen after all. A child. The baron hadn't been so courteous. The last she saw of her parents was them nodding obediently, receiving a few pennies and a 'thank ye m'lord, you're ever so generous!'

"Well? Nothing to say, wench? First you seduce me over and over and over! Flaunting yourself all over me! Winking at me! Playing games with me! And I'm nothing but polite! Courteous! Friendly! And when I finally tire of your games and ask for more you have the gal to act offended! To be disgusted by me! Me! I'm the heir to the Dukedom of Avaran!" He picked her up by the neck again. "You're a peasant! A nobody! You should be honoured by the fact that I paid attention to you at all! You—" he dropped her.

We're not dead? the snarky part mused in bewilderment.
Both sane parts of her mind watched from her dazed eyes as Feng recoiled, as if bitten by a snake. Then he froze in place, ceasing to move all-together. He didn't blink, didn't breathe. As if he was a statue.

She vaguely became aware of footsteps behind her. Then she felt a large hand softly landing on her shoulder, where one of the larger cuts was. She gasped as she felt something stir from the wound, extending itself through her entire body as all three fragments were engulfed in something that cut her off entirely from the outside world. It only lasted for a brief moment, but when she regained her consciousness her mind was one again, the panic gone, and her body healed. That could only mean...
She turned around and was greeted by a warm smile as the hand pulled her to her feet with ease.
"Ma—" she began, before he cut her off with a gesture.

He walked past her, towards the still frozen Feng. Without knowing how he did it, the teacher let go of the... not spell. Trick? Illusion? She honestly had no idea how he did what he did. It did result in Feng crashing to the ground though.
"Student Feng. Recite to me the four rules you sworn to obey when you entered here." The voice wasn't cold, nor unpleasant. If anything, it carried a sort of bored acceptance.
"S-s-sir, I—"
"The rules, Feng," the teacher repeated.
"Sir, you do—" was about as far as he got before he started screaming in pain. The teacher hadn't moved. He stood still, several steps away from the man that was thrashing about on the ground as if he was under torture.
"The rules."
It took a while before Feng could respond, and even then it came in short screams as the pain continued. "Obey you! Don't damage the house! Don't go where we aren't allowed to go! Don't harm other students!" As soon as he finished reciting the rules the torment seemed to stop and his limbs flopped down on the floor.
"Do you think you broke one in this situation?"
"Sir, I—" He didn't get very far. The pain resumed instantly.
The teacher turned towards Melena. "Do you think he broke one?"
"Yes sir," she replied, her eyes downcast. She felt his fingers press against her chin, forcing her to look up.
"Don't be so down. You've done nothing wrong. As a matter of fact, you've done very well. Split your mind in three? That's a damn rapid pace you're following."
She brightened a little. "Thank you, sir."
"Now then," he started, turning towards a still screaming Feng. "To deal with this mess. Nobody's been stupid enough to break the rules in a long time," he said, dragging on the-ong quite a bit. He cut off the flow of pain towards the student, who steadily climbed to his feet.
"Well then Feng? Anything to say for yourself?"
"Sir, I—"
"Good!" the teacher interrupted. "Better think well on it. Melena, be a good girl and gather the other students to the debate room, will you? And get your story straight, select your witnesses who can support your claims. Feng, I'll expect you to do the same. Oh don't worry, it was just a bit of pain, you're physically still perfectly healthy. Now off you two go. Don't make any troubles. I'm expecting to see all of you in the debate hall in about an hour from now."

Melena turned to obey, before pausing. Something bothered her. "Sir..."
"Yes girl?" came the instant reply. The teacher's face was kept carefully neutral, except for a twinkling in his eyes.
"How long were you standing behind me before you interfered?" she asked, unable to keep an accusing glare from leaking out.
The teacher smiled. "Ah, see, this is why I think you're such a promising student. You actually think rather than blindly absorb and act!" He leaned against one of the pillars and his eyes turned cold and dispassionate. He made a gesture towards Feng to scurry along, which the young man promptly did. "I was there the entire time. I knew this would happen as well. It's the very reason I let Feng study here in the first place. Stupid twat's worse than useless. Too arrogant and incompetent to realise that he doesn't belong here as well."
"Then wh—"
A sharp glare shut her up and she took a step back. She narrowed her eyes. If he had wanted her to keep quiet, he could've very easily given her enough pain to do so. He hadn't, however. If there was one thing she knew from how he taught then it was that he wanted people to think for themselves. So that's what she did. She slowly split her mind into three fragments again, letting each of them run along a different track of thought as they worked together towards the most probable solution. She felt encouraged by how the teacher was simply standing there, arms folded, patiently waiting.

"You wanted this to happen," she began. He didn't respond. That bit of info he had told her so himself. So she continued. "The other students never talk about what happens when someone breaks the rules. They disappear when we ask them. So it is a very heavy punishment."
"Does that concept bother you?" he asked, taking her off-guard.
She thought about it for a moment before shaking her head. "No, it doesn't."
"Why not?" Another weird question that she couldn't place.
"Because..." she hesitated. He waited. "Because of what I've been through. I don't feel pity for someone who has hurt me, and was planning to do so much more."
"Not entirely what I meant. After all, the two of you will still have to debate over who is the guilty party here."
She opened her mouth to protest against that, but fell silent when she spotted his feral grin. He was baiting her! When he noticed that she closed her mouth again, his grin turned into a broad smiled and he nodded encouragingly.
"Would be stupid of me to punish the useful student and let the idiot get off without a hitch, wouldn't it? Mind you, if he defends himself better than you..." he left the rest unsaid. "Now, continue."

She was starting to figure it out. The entire purpose of this charade. "You want to set an example. To make sure the rules are enforced. Because..." she ran through her minds, going over countless lectures and books that she read. "Because one example of a person getting punished will hold the rest better in check than countless warnings!"
He clapped his hands. "Spot on! Now why would I let you go through so much pain just for an example?"
That question shook her. She had started figuring it out, though. He gave part of the answers away through his facial expressions. All of them were nothing but an act, she realised that now. He taught. That was all he did.
"Because you don't care. I'm alive, you undid the damage, and you got what you wanted. All of us will have learned something."
"Exactly!" he clapped again, then crossed the distance between them in the blink of an eye. He towered over her, suddenly cold and uncaring. "I teach you. In return you respect my rules. Plenty of lessons are harsh, painful and downright distasteful. But at the end of the day, I do not care for you lot. You are temporary. Gone in a moment. A momentary distraction. I am not here to shelter you from life. Nor do I particularly care if you are happy or not," he whispered. She felt shivers of fear run across her spine.

"But that doesn't make any sense! You teach us and raise us and then you say you don't care for us! That doesn't make any sense at all!" she shouted, anger bubbling to the surface. The next thing she knew she was being tossed into the air while the teacher had a happy grin on his face.
"See, I knew you were a smart one!" he caught her again, ruffled her hair while laughing, and put her on the ground again. "Never believe things blindly. Always think for yourself. If you let others decide how your world is defined, you are lost." He winked at her. "Now go fetch the others. I expect to see a beautiful debate. And if you do well, I'll give you a chance for revenge on those who wronged you in the past, if you want it." He walked off, waving at her as he went.

She didn't move until he rounded a corner and disappeared from sight. She left to do what she was instructed, but couldn't shake off the tremendous confusion the teacher had left her with.
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Floris



Posts : 133
Join date : 2017-02-03

PostSubject: Re: The Mansion in the Woods   Thu Oct 04, 2018 4:44 pm

Melena and her handful of friends were waiting in the far corner of the debate room. They were clustered together in a tight formation, as far away from Feng and his larger group as they could. There was a mixture of fear hanging around her group that seemed to affect everyone but Melena. It was true that the teacher had left her thoroughly confused, but she had been thinking about it constantly since then. She doubted that he truly did not care, as that made no sense, but at the same time he really was not the type to tell a lie. All things considered she had drawn the conclusion that it was his intention to confuse her with the target of making her think about things. Honestly, given that he droned on how critical thought was the mainstay to advance during every single lesson should have made that clear from the get-go. Then again, as he had also pointed out, there was a major difference between understanding a line of wisdom and actually comprehending it.

Or so she thought. At the very least it assured her that Feng wouldn't escape judgement or punishment. Not that the arrogant twat had any chance in her against a debate. He only focused on training martial skills. She had focused more on psychological traits, to strengthen her mind, and to enlarge her knowledge. According to the student that had accompanied her here, she had displayed quite a bit of skill when it came to diplomacy. Well, he had called it manipulation, but the teacher had said that the two were just opposing sides of the same coin.


Feng stood on the other side of the room, in the defendant's booth. A group of about a dozen students stood behind him, all of them human. They were milling about him, confidence oozing from them. Most of them came from wealthier families or were born in the household of minor nobles. There was a variety of topics that they studied, Melena knew. Most were focused on martial arts, like Feng, but plenty of them also studied mathematics and other subjects that may help them in later life. All of them, without exception, had a family to return to and a business or title waiting for them later in life.

Feng caught her looking at him and gave her a lecherous grin. His mouth moved as he silently spoke to her, well aware that lip-reading was one of the skills she had acquired during her stay here. If you beg for forgiveness and play nice from now on, I'll let you off.
The old her would have cowered from such a threat. The new her had been complimented by the teacher. A man who was as mysterious as he was wise and weird. She felt confidence in her well up. She wouldn't lose this debate, and it would be Feng who would be begging for mercy at the end of this. Feng's grin faded when he saw Melena react to him with a wolfish smile. From the way he shivered, she assumed she must had taken on quite the evil look. If she had bothered to look at the several dozens of students that were in the seats of the audience, she might have seen a number of them recoil. Evil look wasn't doing her justice. Wearing the blood-red dress of the accuser, her long, straw-blonde hair falling behind her in a graceful plait, her pale skin, without wounds or scars thanks to the teacher's healing, and her violet eyes she seemed more like an agent of death than a human girl. The way her pearly white teeth were bared in a feral smile further enhanced that image. As it was, she remained blissfully unaware of it.
Feng, on the other hand, wearing the deep-blue of the defendant, didn't strike half as much of an imposing figure.


The chattering was cut short when the teacher appeared. He usually didn't stand on decorum, but even he had changed out of his eternal not-quite-leather outfit and had shown up wearing long, white robes that slid gracefully across the wooden boards with every step that he took. He didn't bother calling for silence as the stern look on his face made everyone quiet down on their own. He took to the central booth in a few short strides. The slight elevation added to his already imposing length as he looked around the courtroom. He nodded once when he noticed that no one was absent and started.
"Feng has been accused by Melena of breaking the rules. Melena claims that Feng harmed another student when he assaulted her with the intent of either violence, rape or murder. Feng, how do you claim?"
"Not guilty!"
"Melena, you may commence your accusation."

Melena took a deep breath and took to the front. "As you all now, Feng has long since flaunted his status. Even though all students here are judged by their ability and their ability alone, Feng has often disregarded this. Most of us do not know where the rest of us came from, nor what position we hold, but there is not a single one of us who does not know exactly what position he holds. As such, he is used to having his way, despite lacking ability.
Giving in to his baser desires earlier today, he approached me with the roughly phrased invitation to go to his room for sexual intercourse while I was on my way to report news of having reached the third fragmentation level to you, sir."
"Lies!" Feng interjected as the audience muttered appreciatively. Most students hadn't even managed to split their mind in two fragments, let alone in three.
"Keep in mind that while in the courtroom, lies will not be tolerated," the teacher interjected, talking to both. "What was the exact phrase he used?"
Melena felt herself turn slightly red but continued on. "The exact phrase was: 'Why don't you bring that sweet ass to my room and I'll show you a good time.' Given that this was accompanied by a slap on said sweet ass, I do not believe there is any room for debate on the point of that invitation."
"No room for debate on the sweetness of aforementioned ass, or on the meaning of his invitation?" asked the teacher with a complete dead-pan expression.
Melena blushed furiously while the rest of the room burst into laughter, with some of Feng's friend hooting at her.
She glared at the teacher and decided to not be outdone. "Both!" she shouted back. When no response aside more laughter came forth, she continued. "I denied Feng, telling him I was not interested. I tried to leave and he took offense to that. He grabbed me by the hair and pulled me to the ground. When he tried to force himself on me, I kicked him in the stomach, forcing him to back off."
"How hard did you kick him?"
Melena blinked, taken off guard by the sudden interjection. "As hard as I could."
"Do you think it would have left a bruise?"
"I... think so, yes."
"Noted. Please, continue."
"Using this momentary distraction I got up and made a run for it. He caught up with me and..." she gulped, audibly. She closed her eyes for a moment as she found a shiver of fear running through her, her hands going up to her throat instinctively as she recalled the dreadful moment. "He grabbed me by the neck. Threw me into the ground hard enough that I crashed into the wall and broke several bones. He then grabbed me again, insulting me all the way. I... must admit I do not quite recollect what he said to me specifically. I had retreated into my mind at that point. He threw me again, picked me up again by the neck, started to crush my throat..." She felt a single tear run down her face and hated herself for it. She forced down the others and made herself stare at the audience, daring them to defy her.
"Then the teacher arrived and Feng backed down. That ended the confrontation between us."

The teacher nodded solemnly and turned towards Feng. "Defend yourself," he merely said.
Feng made a graceful bow, polite noble from his toes to his fingertips, and took to the front of his booth.
"Ladies and gentlemen, fellow students, I stand before you falsely accused."
Melena could barely suppress a hiss. How dared he!
"As a matter of fact, the entire tirade of the accuser is nothing but a memory. A fancy a pretty girl dreamed up when I didn't give her everything she wished. As the truth stands, ladies and gentlemen, there is a long history of courtship between Melena and I. She has often expressed an interest in me, through either physical gesture or spoken word. If you deem it necessary, sir, I will repeat what she said, but to save both her and me embarrassment, I would hope you are kind enough to forego that." He nodded deferentially towards the teacher, who nodded in turn, allowing him to continue unhindered. "It was a long and subtle dance of courtship, teasing and playfully challenging the other. As good things go, however, I called it to an end, telling her I tired of the games between us. That I wanted things to either continue further, or cease all-together. When my requests for clarity were met with more playful teasing, which was encouraging in nature, I may have resorted to using more crude language." He pronounced the word crude as if it left a bad taste in his mouth. "She then surprised me by asking me what she would receive in turn, hinting at monetary rewards."
Melena's eyes flashed with anger and her mouth fell wide open in shock as she couldn't believe what she heard.

"I... politely told her that I wasn't interested in her in that capacity. If she was up for some harmless fun I would have had no qualms with it, but a man of my status can't afford to have such scandals haunting him. I told her that if she wanted to whore herself out, that she should seek others."
Melena's beautiful face was now contorted in barely suppressed anger.
"Sir, please, I kindly ask you to keep in mind that my father and I are men of honour. I never wished for things to spiral out of control to this extent over something as minor as a dispute over bedding rights, and you would have my eternal gratitude if this case could be concluded quietly, without both parties having to hang their head in shame." He looked towards the teacher with pleading eyes, the perfect image of innocence, as if he hated having to trouble the girl as well, despite that she was at fault.

Melena was flabbergasted. Feng had never shown himself to be more than a crude knuckle-head, but here he was being diplomatic, influencing the entire room. She could feel the audience shifting away from her. She had never interacted much with them, unlike the much more sociable Feng. The earlier comment she had proudly made about her rear had further reinforced Feng's statements. But the teacher had forced her to say that. Why had he—
"Noted. Continue." Melena looked at the teacher, a mixture of desperation and disbelief in her eyes.
"When I denied her, she started threatening me. That she would slander my name and would see me expelled, among other things. There were several insults added as well, that I do not believe should be repeated. When I ignored those threats and wanted to walk away, she started hurting herself. She threw herself against the walls, started choking herself... It shocked me and I am ashamed to say I was late in responding. I tried to stop her, keep her from hurting herself, but she kicked me. I must admit that the kick angered me and I used force to restrain her, attempting to block the blood-flow towards her head to knock her out to keep her from doing more harm to herself. That is when you appeared, teacher. I understood immediately what it must have looked like to you, and feared the misunderstanding that would and did flow forth from it. I cannot hold any ill will against you for that though," he said with a deep bow. "Your actions were commendable and I would have done the same, had I seen what you had seen."

The teacher leaned down onto the booth on his elbows, his head resting on his hands. A small smile played around his lips. "Anything else to add, Feng?"
"None, sir. Although, if I may be so bold as to ask, would you be lenient towards Melena? I know of her background, and understand that she has many hardships behind her. I would not want a momentary mistake to harm her future."

Melena's friends were chattering worriedly behind her, while Feng's group patted him on the back and congratulated him on his speech, saying they felt sorry for what he had gone through and other words of support. Feng himself remained the perfect example of graceful innocence. Willing to be generous despite being wronged. Melena, on the other hand, was caught in a middle of two raging emotions; fear and anger. Had the teacher been bribed? Had he lured her into this trap? She paled when another possibility presented himself. Had this been their ploy from the start? To exile her so they could let her disappear and leave her at their mercy?

Then she caught a small glance he threw her way and her rationality kicked in. No. If he wanted to toy with her that way, he would have only had to ask. It would have been a small price to pay to let her stay here. Aside that, he was strong. He wouldn't need to have asked. He could have taken her at any time he wanted. Then what was going on?

"Audience, you may now vote on the verdict. Do you believe Feng is guilty of harming another student?"
Plates went up. There were a handful of green ones, indicating a 'yes', but the red representing 'no' was by far in the majority.
"Do you believe Melena is guilty of harming another student?"
The same as before, except that the green and red was switched.
"Good. The court has judged. Feng is found innocent of harming another student, while Melena is found guilty."

Melena opened her mouth to protest but was shushed by a raised hand. The teacher looked up, a truly vicious glare coming from his blood red eyes. "I hope you all enjoyed the debate. It was fun, entertaining even. A good lesson. Melena was a good accuser, we even added in a bit of raunchy comedy. Feng defended himself in a truly exemplary manner. His noble upbringing really showed through."

The audience remained quiet. The glare coming their way shut everyone up. Though the teacher's voice was calm, pleasant even, the stare he gave them was anything but.

"Now, I all taught you how important thinking for yourself is. A global rule that we all should abide if we want to get ahead in the world. Now I'll teach you another rule. One that is undeniably true and supersedes all the others."
He breathed in and leaned forward, his voice a loud thunder.
"Might! Makes! Right!"
He slammed the palm of his hand down onto the booth.
"Feng defended himself damn well. Managed to fool all of you. Your verdict declared him innocent. Now hear mine. He is guilty. He harmed another student, lied despite having been ordered to speak the truth, and disobeyed me. Three times he broke my rules, three times he will pay. You may call him innocent, but all of you are worthless maggots compared to me! Do you understand that? This important lesson? You are weak! I am strong! My word is law! There are many types of strength. Feng used his strength in manipulation, his social standing, being popular and spinning a good tale to delude all of you! You became his strength! You gave him the ability to let him get away with harming others! Melena, on the other hand, lacked that strength! Yet she stands here now, victorious! Because in this case she can use my strength!"

He slammed his hand down again, allowing silence to return to the stunned court.
"Do you all understand, children?" he asked, his voice quiet and pleasant again. "At the end of everything, might makes right. The strongest can dictate how life will go. Feng, dear, you truly put up an exemplary defence. Honestly, it was quite a feat. You lulled all of them into eating up your story like it was coated in honey. I didn't think you had it in you. That's a lie you see, but you'd like to believe it because you're scared shitless given that you're caught. Oh, don't worry my boy. You don't have to be scared."

The teacher turned towards the room again, the perfect image of a caring professor. "You see children, being scared in front of a future you cannot avoid is truly just a waste of thoughts. You could try to steel yourself for it instead, prepare, try to think of a way to get around it, minimise your losses and the damage you'll take."

He turned towards Feng, who had gone as white as snow. "Well Feng, since you broke my rules three times I'm really not going to be lenient towards you. I'll tell you what I'm going to do to you. I'm going to put you in front of the Sitimi wing, you know, where all the non-knuckle head classes are? Then I'm going to lock your mind into a state of permanent torment. Your own nightmares will come alive and devour you whole. You'll be perfectly conscious throughout the whole process. Little by little, your mind will be devoured and you'll stay in a state of suffering the worst pains imaginable. I'll even make sure your feeble spirit will be properly reinforced, so you can withstand an even greater amount of pain. You always wanted to know why the older students don't talk about what happened to people who break the rules, don't you? It's because the screams of those stupid enough to defy me still haunt their dreams. You aren't even aware yet of how much pain you'll be going through. And the best part?"

The teacher casually hopped over the booth and started approaching Feng. His friends fell over themselves trying to get away, abandoning their friend. "It will take you over a month to die. Slowly. Painfully. Agonisingly." With every word the teacher got closer, his grin becoming more monstrous.
"M-my father—"
"Will have his dukedom razed to the ground, his farmlands salted and will receive your head on a pike as a reminder who he has to thank for his fate. Mind you, he'll die in the end. Screaming like a pig and cursing your name."
"You monster!" Feng shouted, stumbling backwards, falling over his own robes. The teacher hovered over him in an instant, his hand covering his mouth as his fingers steadily started exerting more and more pressure on Feng, who let out a muted scream in rabid fear. Blood-red eyes gazed into his.
"Oh yes. I'm quite the monster. And you poked it. Have fun in the afterlife."

With those words Feng's fate was sealed and the screaming began. True to his word, they would haunt the dreams of everyone present, even Melena, who had wished a horrible fate on him. As the students tried to run out of the courtroom, vomiting and crying as they went, the teacher called Feng's friends back.
"Put him up in front of the Sitimi wing. Then come back here and clean up everything the rest dirtied. You were his friends in life. Don't abandon him in death." The glare he gave them made it clear that he was not to be refused on this, and his voice was strangely solemn. From monster to instructor in a heartbeat.
"Don't worry, you'll run out of stuff to vomit soon and then you can carry him without having to clear up the entire path there. Best wait a bit until it's all poured out," he advised them, before he walked out of the room at a brisk pace.

He caught up with a crying Melena, who had sunk down in the hallway, her beautiful body covered in bodily fluids and her face marred with grief and tears.
"There you are!" he said, giving her a friendly wave. "You and I ought to have a chat." The grin he gave her was friendly and calming. It would be hard to imagine such a pleasant looking person to be capable of such monstrous acts.
He pulled her up by the shoulder, gently, his eyes soft and radiating worry for her. He wrinkled his nose as he smelled her. "Oh dear, best take a detour to the baths first. Get you cleaned up. Must be unpleasant to smell like that, although I do fear you have different things on your mind now. Come along."

He picked her up like she weighed nothing more than a feather and strolled off. Melena felt a mental presence stroke against her mind, distracting her from the nightmarish screams that echoed through the building. She looked up and was greeted by a warm and comforting smile. Both mentally and physically exhausted, the girl nestled herself against her teacher's broad chest and let sleep take her. Despite everything that happened, she still felt safe.


Last edited by Floris on Sun Nov 11, 2018 8:15 am; edited 2 times in total
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Floris



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PostSubject: Re: The Mansion in the Woods   Fri Oct 05, 2018 7:32 pm

A stream of water hitting her face woke her up. She jumped upright, instantly alert. Eyes wide, she took in her environment, heart beating loudly in her chest. It took her a moment to orient herself. She was in one of the many rooms in the baths, the teacher sitting down on one knee in front of her, smiling warmly at her. She shook her head, clearing the remnants of the fog of sleep from her mind. Her brain kicked itself into gear and recent events flooded back to her. She looked warily at him as he got back up and walk towards a cupboard.

"No need to look so suspicious at me. I won't bite."
She blinked. He hadn't turned his head at all. She looked around to see if there were any mirrors around, but couldn't find any. Her eyebrows came down as she stared at him in confusion.
"Yeah, that's one of the things we'll have a talk about." In a smooth movement he stepped out of his robes. With the exception of a small bit of cloth around his waste he was utterly naked. Melena felt herself blush and covered her face with her hands. She didn't quite know why she did it, it was an instinctive reaction. Then she slowly created a gap between her fingers to look through. She was greeted by a warm laugh as she sneaked a peek at him. What she saw made her redden further.

If she was considered the female embodiment of beauty, then her teacher could compete for the same title on the male side. It wasn't really the way he looked, although that didn't make much sense. His facial features were strong, well defined. His red eyes, no longer resembling boiling blood now that his anger had subsided, had the colour of burning embers. They caught her gaze for far longer than was appropriate, but he seemed content with leaning back against the cupboard and smiling lazily at her, as if he could read her mind and knew perfectly well what she was thinking. Then her eyes wandered further, across his body. Despite between being very familiar with what happened between a man and a woman, she had never received any joy from it the way normal humans had. Her history in that regard had been filled with violence and slavery. Yet when she looked at him she felt her cheeks heat in a way that was strangely pleasant. He radiated strength in a natural way. The way in which his muscles flexed underneath his skin as he crossed his arms, his smile turning into a grin while he slowly shook his head, reminded her of how the lightning-quick separs behaved. The cat-like creatures were lazy, seemingly at ease, before suddenly striking on a prey several times their sizes. Those animals had strength that belied their size.

"If you're done with that, we need to have a chat. A proper one."
She couldn't respond. She tried to turn her head to look away from him or at least close the gap between her fingers, and failed in both attempts. No matter how much she tried to urge herself to stop gazing at him, she couldn't. Then he laughed. A mesmerising sound. A source of vocal ambrosia that intoxicated her and made her slowly drop her hands and look at him with a broad smile. He shook his head, then looked at her. Not the way he normally looked. He caught her gaze and held it. He looked at her. In her. She felt as if he was dissecting her, and was surprised when she found it a pleasant experience. Her mind was being pulled on from all directions, all somehow related to him and despite being lost in the storm, she couldn't help but smile. He didn't smile however.

"Split your mind. Three parts. Let one part do the drooling if you have to, keep the other two sane. We need to talk about starting your studies properly."
She gave him a slow, confused look. At least she thought she did. Was she giving him such a look? She still was captive by those deep red eyes, wasn't she? At least they weren't dull embers anymore. They were glowing. It was nice to look at. Almost magically.
Then she felt him growl and suddenly she fell into those eyes as the fire in them swallowed her whole.

She blinked. He was leaning against the cupboard, still in that attractive state of undress. He was also giving her a slightly annoyed look, but she somehow knew it wasn't aimed at her. Two more parts of her mind started piping up, making her aware that her mind had somehow split again.

"Better."
"Sir... What..."
He sighed loudly before shaking his head. "It's..." he made a waving gesture with his hands, somehow seeming exasperated. "It's common. Can't blame you really. It's... Part of the reason why I don't properly teach anyone until they can show proper promise in critical thought and split their mind three-ways. Notice how one part of you is purely focused on me? Keep it that way. Keep one part focused on the rest of your body and guarding the first part and leave the last for talking to me. Think you can do that?"
She closed her eyes. Following direct instructions, yes, she could do that. She opened her eyes again after a brief moment, shrugging off the unease in how that one part of her mind was utterly smitten with him. She nodded.

"Good!" he exclaimed. "You have honestly no idea how annoying it is for me to constantly keep my barriers up to keep you all from getting influenced that way. Really hinders me from properly teaching. Now, new rules coming up, you're officially a student now. Hold on, interrupt me later, listen now."
She nodded again, closing her mouth and swallowing her questions.
"Right, first rule is that you will speak your mind, always. If you're confused, if you don't get something, if you doubt my sanity, voice it. Speaking your mind will not get you punished. Two, never stop using your mind, but don't let societal limits hinder you. This will get more clear as you learn more. Third rule is that you still obey me while you study here, but you're free to leave if you want so, after talking to me about it. You'll be handling a lot more expensive equipment and dangerous knowledge from now on and I'd rather not set loose a plague on the world. The first few times were bad enough. Fourth rule is that I decide on what you get to know. There are things I will teach you, parts of the Mansion I'll make accessible for you, and there are parts I will keep hidden. You will respect that. That's about it really. Never been too fond of too many rules. Your turn now. Go nuts with questions," he said, giving her a wide grin.

She opened her mouth, then closed it again. She eyed him warily, wondered what question to ask first of the several hundred that were fighting within her, each demanding to be voiced first. "What do you mean with that I'm officially a student now? I thought I was studying here for two years now?"
He let out a snicker. "No you weren't. You and the rest were just a handful of... prospects really. Not even that. Honestly, I let most of you in for my own entertainment and because you're useful as examples for the worthwhile students. Although, I must confess I'm not using 'you' correctly here. You remember that you were brought here by Evon, right?"
She nodded. That was an event she would never forget. Evon had saved her from slavery after a long party at the estate she had belonged to. He was one of the guests, a wealthy merchant. Then, after having talked extensively to her for the entire night, he had declared that he'd buy her. When her owner had refused, he had simply killed him, proceeded to slaughter every single guard trying to stop him, and took her out for a stroll. He had been nothing but kind to her, but distant and more than slightly mad. He had driven her straight to here, dropped her off in front of the teacher, told her to have fun and went off again. Which had proven pretty par for the course given how her lectures in the next two years had been, if the teacher bothered to show up.
"Right, that's precisely the difference between you and most other students. I'm a bit known as a teacher. That this place can serve as a very strict but absolutely excellent university. Which is a load of rat-droppings honestly. The only students that are worthwhile to me are the ones that my own students find and bring back."

Melena felt lost. "But I don't have any special talent! I was used for my..." she trailed off, embarrassed.
He laughed again. That musical sound again. It was so different to how he usually laughed. This was genuine. It filled her with joy, but this time her fragmented mind managed to redirect the overwhelming sensations to the part of her that was already smitten. He gave her a lecherous grin with a teasing twinkle in his eyes. "For your 'sweet ass'?" he asked. She turned as red as a tomato and looked down, realising she was still in her red robes, finally realising they were soaked, the vomit washed out. Before she could focus on that, the teacher continued. "Yeah, no. My dear, you've got a fair bit of ability to you. Just not the one people usually look for. You learned how to split your mind three-ways awfully quickly. You can think things through and, personally I value this quite highly, you learn rapidly from your mistakes and your mind is quick to take another direction when one is blocked. You don't stubbornly smash yourself into a wall when it's proven that a train of thought leads to a dead end. Don't worry if you don't fully get that yet, as you grow you will start figuring out what I mean."

She decided to accept that for a truth and choose to ask another question. "When you said that you didn't care, was that the truth?"
"Depends on your definition of care, really."
She jumped out of the chair, growled at him and was taken aback by her own action. "Don't play semantics with me!" As soon as the words left her mouth she slapped her hand over it, visibly shocked by what she said.
He smiled reassuringly at her. "Reckon your other fragment is struggling with keeping the first in control. Anyway, you're right. Don't forget you're actually allowed to talk back to me now. To answer your question: no, I don't care. I'm... honestly a bit beyond that. Yet, at the same time I do care, in a different way. Lives come, lives go, you can fight against that, delay it, sometimes even manage to subvert the damnable flow of time, but what happens, happens. Caring in that aspect? It leads to pain."

For a singular moment she saw grief flash through his eyes. More grief than she thought humanly possible. She felt her arms turn to lead and her legs turn to pudding. They didn't hold up and she started falling to the ground. Then he caught her. His arm slipped around her waist as he had somehow crossed the distance between her without a sound, in the blink of an eye. He was so close to her, intoxicatingly close as she suddenly became aware of all the things he radiated! His warmth, his scent, a comfortable feeling. Combined with the grief she just wanted to throw her arms around him and never let go. Then he stepped back, giving her a slight push so she fell back onto the chair.
"On the other hand," he whispered sadly, "I do care. Because that makes life worth living."
Where grief had passed behind his eyes a moment ago, now it was a well of boundless hope. It invigorated her, pumped her body full of almost reckless energy. She had the sudden urge to dance and couldn't stop grinning.

She blinked and was surprised to see him standing several feet away from her again, pacing through the room as if he was giving a lecture.
"Another thing you really need to keep in mind when dealing with me is that I have a flair and love for the dramatic, and that I cannot help being a damnably influential creature. And I'm not talking about the same influence Feng claimed to have. Mine's a lot more dangerous and I need to be constantly mindful of it. Although I may let part of it slip from time to time to highlight a point. Or for my own amusement. Or maybe I'm just careless." He gave her a playful wink. "Honestly, who can tell?"

"You're mad!" she accused him, but couldn't stop laughing as she said it.
"What is chaos to the fly is order to the spider," he countered, suddenly the very image of a stern professor.
She kept laughing. She was beyond being confused now. The way his very being influenced her, how he jumped between characters, how she was nearly raped and murdered, had her last sanctuary nearly torn to pieces, had gained hope for revenge, had that hope dashed, only to have it rekindled while receiving the fright of her life, then seeing her revenge become something truly vile and nightmarish, then this!


He disappeared as she kept laughing. On and on it went, from deep down in her belly the bursts came. Tears formed in her eyes and she started gasping for breath as it went on and on and on, utterly unable to call it to a halt. She was vaguely aware of water rushing through pipes around her, but it was a distant sound compared to the roars of laughter rolling from the walls. She must have crashed to the floor at one point, because she found herself laying on the smooth tiles, clutching her stomach as she was doubled over in pain. Sobs and tears started accompanying her laughs as they kept going. At one point the teacher returned and gently picked her up, rocking her back and forth as if she were but a babe rather than fully grown woman, softly whispering calming words in her ears as his fingers tenderly stroked her hair.

It took a while, but eventually she stopped laughing and crying. She looked up and found his face comfortably close, but the earlier feeling of undeniable attraction was gone. Had he locked it again behind barriers, or had she gotten a more thorough hold of herself now that she had expelled a lifetime's worth of emotions? She consulted the other parts of her mind and found that they had merged again. Rather than feeling whole, she felt strangely empty and was quick to divide it again. Hearing the soft murmuring of her other selves' thoughts running parallel along this version of her was strangely soothing. Made even stranger because all three parts of her shared that opinion, and all were equally her.
She focused her attention back to the here and now, the physical aspect of it all, and saw nothing but patience on his face.
"Will you really kill Feng's father?" she asked with a weak voice.
A soft smile appeared. "What do you think?"
"I don't know you well enough to guess. You might, but you might not..."
"I'm not asking you to guess, dear," he encouraged her.
"I... Can I get a hint?" She was using a childlike voice. She knew it was likely a useless machination to try on him, but she figured there was no harm in trying. If it amused him, he may actually give her one.
He smiled. Success! she thought. "Fine then. Think of the law of the lazy."
She blinked in surprise. "Make sure something needs doing before doing it?"
He nodded.
Her eyes widened. "You won't!" she exclaimed.
"Won't I?" he asked, a twinkle shining brightly in his eyes.
"No!"
"Oh really?"
"Yeah! Because there's nothing to be gained!"
"Are you sure about that? Maybe I don't want to be bothered for a while and setting fire to a dukedom would go a long way towards that."
"I..." she faltered. That was an idea she hadn't thought of. "But he did nothing to you!" she protested.
"He sent his son to me. That son hurt one of my students. It was his son that caused those troubles. He raised that boy."
As she struggled to ponder that, one of her other fragments came to the front with a reply. "You already punished him! And you're the one that let him stay!"
"Ooh, and she counters! What if I tell you though, that this man treats others the same way you were treated?"
Unbidden dark thoughts jumped to the front and she felt her face contort with anger. Then the anger recoiled from her with surprising force as her mental training kicked in. "Then he deserves to die, but not those around him."
"Oh really? I think he's quite free have such hobbies though. Might makes right after all."
She felt a sudden hunger well up inside of her. A dark feeling. The call of revenge. "But you are mightier."
"I might be." She knew that he was studying her. That it was a set up. Another test. The desire for revenge was overwhelming though.
"Then you—"
He laid his finger on her lips, shushing her. She suddenly realised that she was still in his arms and that she had halfway climbed up towards his face. A sudden reminder struck her that he was still mostly naked and that her own robes were soaked and clinging rather tightly to her. Blood flooded towards her cheek as she let herself fall back into his arms, making herself as tiny as she could.

He put her down, very slowly. Stately even. Moving carefully and with grace he went to stand in front of her. Every step was measured. It was a steady approach, official. Every time he planted his foot down he did so fully.

When he finally stopped he was standing a mere two steps away from her. Seeing him tower over her like that really made her become aware of just how tall he was.
"Melena. It it time for you to learn how to wield your spirit. It is time for you to decide on your future. From here on out, you and I shall discuss your destiny. Discard all. Leave your mind bare."

She had never heard him speak like that before. He sounded less than a teacher or a professor and more like an oracle, a king, emperor even! His voice had filled the room without being raised and she had been held captive in those deep pools that were his eyes.

She was barely aware of him walking through an open door in a different room of the baths. She came to her senses just in time to see him drop the last piece of cloth before disappearing into the dense steam. Realising she was supposed to follow, she hurriedly got rid of her own clothes and ran after him.
It was perhaps inappropriate given the official tone he had used only a moment before, but the last thoughts she had before entering the dense fog were focused on a, to phrase it roughly, sweet, sweet ass.


Last edited by Floris on Sun Nov 11, 2018 8:18 am; edited 1 time in total
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Floris



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PostSubject: Re: The Mansion in the Woods   Sat Oct 06, 2018 5:28 pm

The fog of steam was much denser than she had anticipated. The moment she had stepped into it, it had swallowed her whole. She couldn't see anything in it. She held up her hand in front of her face and frowned when even that was hidden from her despite the meagre distance. The smell hit her a moment later. It was an unfamiliar scent. Strangely pleasant, yet at the same time utterly foreign. She hesitated to call it magical, given that it was quite common knowledge that the teacher was a freak of nature since he didn't generate magic like virtually every other living creature did, but the scent had a certain inhuman flair to it.

It wasn't natural steam, that much she was sure of. With every step she took she grew more hesitant as the fog became thicker, as if the steam itself was trying to keep her from advancing. She was vaguely aware of her teacher was waiting for her somewhere ahead. She could somehow feel his presence. She didn't doubt that it was his doing. He had been showing off similar tricks all day long. Probably with the intent of giving her some insight into what it meant to wield 'spirit'.

As she took another step she let out a loud gasp. The steam had suddenly become a physical barrier. A cloud that clung to her naked body and hindered her movement. It felt frightening. No longer was she just stepping through an inanimate mist of water vapour. It acted as if it was a living entity. It swirled around her, grabbed hold of her and tried pulling her deeper into itself. She struggled and managed to pull back a few steps, to where she knew it was safe. Except it was safe no longer. It lurched after her, grabbed hold of her once more and pulled her forward again. She resisted as best as she could. The touch was no longer pleasant. It felt offensive, dirty, touching her in all the right places to make her recall all the wrong memories.

She opened her mouth to scream and the mist rolled in. It acted like a ball of cloth propped in her mouth, keeping her quiet. She pulled her arms back only to find the mist, previously only holding her wrist, to encroach down on the entire length of her forearm and pulling her in deeper. She felt herself panic. First one part of her mind. Then another as the mist kept dragging her deeper into the unknown and she felt water hit her feet as the floor tilted downwards. With every step that she was dragged forward, the mist encased her further. It grew more solid as it went, but never lost it's disgusting feeling of being an unstable substance. It was wrapped tightly around her limbs, but tendrils of it started embracing the rest of her. Deeper into the water she was pulled and she tried biting into the steam blocking her mouth when the tendrils reached her breasts, encasing those as well. Next to be covered was her nose. She could still breath, but that was the extent of it. Her eyes widened as she realised that it was slowly depriving her of all her senses.  She felt a modicum of pride that it wasn't until she was down to her neck in the water and the steam started covering her ears that the third part of her started panicking.

She was about to accept her fate, immobilised and deprived of all her senses safe touch, when it all stopped. The mist didn't withdraw, but it ceased being solid. Melena went from being completely encased to being fully free without any warning. She lost her footing and fell into the water. If it is water she thought to herself, rapidly resurfacing. The liquid was as impossible to see through as the steam was. A pang of worry struck her when she remembered the lesson involving lungs and the effect gasses could have on them. She wished she had paid more attention to the class, because then she might have been able to put her worries as to whether the steam would slowly fill her lungs with water to rest.

When her teacher spoke, she jumped up and screamed.
"Didn't I tell you to leave your mind bare?"
She stammered a reply, unable to calm down her frightened mind.
"If you had discarded your worry and stopped focusing on everything else, you wouldn't have felt it when I used the steam to pull you in. Let alone have to drag you in while you put up a fight."
That broke through her fear and her eyes widened in rage as pure anger set het blood aflame. "You!" she accused, pointing a finger out of habit even though she couldn't see where he was and was guessing for his location at best. "You did all that!"
"I did."
Life itself be damned, she could feel the smugness radiating from him. "Do you have any idea how that felt to me? What it reminded me of!" she shouted, taking a step back and trying to use the way the water splashed to get an idea of where he was. Given how close his voice had sounded, he couldn't be that far off.
"I might have a suspicion what it reminded you of, yes."
She half stepped, half swam through the water, getting closer to his voice. "You utter bastard! You don't know what it feels like! Being used as a toy! Not even being seen as a human being! Only existing to serve for someone's fucking pleasure!"


She jumped when she felt large arms embrace her from behind. They gently slid down from her shoulders, just aside her chest, over her belly, before the hands rested tenderly on her hips. She felt her teacher's chest — who else could it be — press against her back.
"Oh, I think I might know how that feels," he whispered into her ear. She felt her mind spin. His sudden appearance from behind her had taken her completely off guard and had sent the three parts of her mind spinning. Emotions warred for supremacy while her body felt the need to point out that his touch felt incredibly pleasant. Were his barriers down again and was he subtly influencing her? The lack of certainty further fuelled her anger and she moved her leg back, searching for his feet. When she found it, she raised her own foot and brought her heel down onto his toes, as hard as she could manage. Pulling herself loose, she struggled slightly to bring her hand up above the water. She turned around, somehow knew exactly where he was and brought her hand down with all the force she could muster, squarely in his face.

The next moment she launched herself at him the best she could. Without hesitation she threw her arms and legs around him, clinging as tightly to him as her meagre strength allowed. She had tried to get high enough to properly kiss him on the lips, but the water had kept her from jumping that high and she had to settle for planting her lips in his neck. When she felt the hands that she had shaken free a moment earlier land on her backside, she tightened her hold on him, using every ounce of strength she had to pull herself up. She made use of his arms as they slid upwards across her back, his fingers setting her body aflame as they slowly progressed, to push herself further up. She felt a desperate heat building up inside her body as she neared his lips. A desire that was stronger than anything she had ever felt before ran from her head to her toes. It excited her, intoxicated her. She didn't care whether this was his doing or not anymore, all that mattered to her was that it wouldn't end! She'd beg him if she had to, just to let it continue! To let it spiral further down, to let it escalate until she'd explode from passion! Never before had she had the chance to actually enjoy it, always having to obey, always having to provide! As his arms tightened around her back, pinning her in place she almost howled with pure want, her nails digging into his skin. One hand remained in place as the other slid further upwards until it reached the back of her head and pushed her closer to his, forcing her to take her lips off his neck. She felt his near her ear —actually felt it!— and arched her back in ecstasy, pressing her breasts hard into his chest, further enhancing the pleasure she felt.

She became aware how his mouth opened, could make out the details on his lips, the line of his teeth and his tongue laying behind them without being able to see it, and she ached for them to touch her, it didn't matter how! Then he finally whispered to her.
"What do you think you're doing?"

The effect of those words was instant. Had she spend her entire life living in a desert only to be suddenly teleported to an icy wasteland, the shock could not have been greater. She lost strength in her limbs and fell off him. He caught her gently, but even that did not diminish the sudden loss and shock that she felt. His touch no longer pleasant, she tried to pull herself away from him. It turned out he didn't approve of that.


Before she knew what was happening the mist started swirling around her. It wasn't like earlier when it remained in place but the solidity of it changed. Now it was actually swirling, like a great hurricane that raged all around her. It pulled on her hair and nearly tore her out of her teacher's arms. She could see again and what she saw terrified her. She was staring into his blood-red eyes from up close, his massive frame mere inches away from her. She saw anger and annoyance behind those eyes and his presence thundered around her like an apocalyptic storm. He assaulted her with it. His presence crashed against her fragments and the meagre defence they put up was overwhelmed in an instant. It was a sensation unlike anything she had ever witnessed. She couldn't even describe it except that it overpowered her every sense. She felt how her mind shut off every connection it had to her physical body in an attempt to not drown in the flood of sensations that he conjured deep within her. It was a fruitless effort. He smashed through her barriers and filled every corner of her mind. She felt her fragments pull together in a far corner and put up a desperate, final resistance. Then that too was snuffed out.


"To start things off, I'd like you to know that nothing that just happened now was because of my influence. Everything you felt, did, saw and believed was all of your own doing. The steam is made up with a lot of herbs that strongly enhance any emotion. There's a fair number of hallucinogens in there. I didn't expect you to off on that tangent."
The voice was inside of her. Hang on. Inside of her? Where was she anyway? For that matter, where was anything?
"Aye, pretty confusing isn't it? Welcome to the inside of your own mind. Don't worry if it doesn't make sense, you'll get used to it as you spend more time here."
She tried to talk, then realised she lacked a mouth. Or a face. Or a body! Then she felt a stab of panic when she became aware that all of her senses weren't there! She still had an awareness, but she couldn't tie it down to anything. And where was his voice coming from!"
"Calm down!"
It soothed her. It shouldn't have as she was still quite angry from the avalanche of emotions he had unleashed on her, but it did.
"Don't try to talk. Think. I can hear you just fine. This is your mind, I merely invaded it to make you calm down a bit and talk about spirit in a more efficient way."
She felt torrents of thoughts pour through her as she felt how he carefully neutralised her emotions, reducing them to mere shadows of themselves, leaving her pure intellect bare.
"Is this what you meant earlier? About abandoning all and leaving my mind free?"
"Yes, that's precisely it."
"Then why don't you use this from the start?" It was strange. With her emotions mostly out of the picture, it was so easy to think. She couldn't fragment her mind though, which did feel weird.
"Your mind is fragmented. It just doesn't feel that way in here because this is the sum of all your fragments."

She saw him. Not with her eyes, but she saw him. Inaccurate description. She felt him? No, that was no good either. She felt? Heard? Smelled? him laugh.
"Stop that. People have gone mad trying to describe how senses work in here. It's easier to accept that, or if you really insist on using a word that can actually be applied, then use lactiobe."
"And what does that mean?"
He grinned. "Well trying to translate it really defeats the purpose of giving it a word in the first place."
"Oh." It made sense. She felt strangely stupid. Wait, he grinned. How did he grin?
"Basically our minds work a lot faster than our thoughts do. In the same way we often do things that we would struggle to describe. Try describing every step your body goes through when opening a door. Your mind makes your body do it, but try to make it a conscious action and you'll be writing for a long while. So when we're in here your conscious mind tries to make sense of it by creating images and feelings you can relate to. If we dealt in pure information the way our mind did, pretty much nobody would survive entering this state."

She pondered on that for a while. It made sense, but only in the way that everything else he had said made sense so far. By accepting that it was utterly beyond her, trusting her teacher to speak the truth, and moving on.
"To answer your earlier question," he interrupted her, "this is about the biggest invasion of privacy that you can imagine. For a mind as strong as my own? I see everything that's in here the moment I enter it."
She felt a strong blush. Apparently her emotions hadn't been numbed down that much.
"Everything?" It wasn't a spoken word, but she felt how she struggled to utter it. Think it. Whatever! The part of her mind that she had assigned to be busy being smitten with him had been very active.
He brushed her concerns aside by simply moving on to a different subject and it brought her great relief. Now that she was fully sane again, she was taken aback just how strongly her urges and desire had been. Not unjustified, mind you. He was strong, smart, handsome, maybe a bit of a jerk —alright, a lot of a jerk— but he was kind in the end. Wealthy too. There were worse people to feel attracted to and fantasize about. And that a— no, no, no! She was doing it again! Dammit, didn't he say he had disabled her emotions?
"You came to the conclusion on your own. I never said that. Besides, they're not disabled, merely numbed down. Emotions are pivotal. They provide us with a drive after all."
Damn. So he heard that too.

"Anyway, how about we get back to the topic at hand? You've given it a fair amount of thought. Your mind still works in its usual three-ways even if it feels like one, and with me being pretty much all over your mind, you've gleamed a fair bit from my own thoughts as well. Tell me what you've concluded so far."
She sat up straighter. Or didn't. Mindscape, confusing place. Right, question. Answering it. "The spirit works as a way to use your mind as a weapon or tool. It lets you project your own thoughts towards the outside. Even influence physical things. It's how you punished Feng. You used his own mind against him. How... I don't quite fathom that, but I reckon you'll point out that it's a 'you'll learn it as you go' thing. And the reason you wait with this until people can split their mind in three parts is because that's the very minimum needed to wield your mind that way. One part to function normally. One part to think. One part to project. And the reason you are so utterly confusing about all of this is to keep people from overthinking it, because overthinking it will make you realise that you can't ground this into the reality we... Into the reality I know. It doesn't make sense, but it's no less true for that. So you distract and annoy and dance around the subject and confuse us, but at the same time you're prodding us towards the starting line all the same. Because that's where I'm at now, isn't it? The very beginning of it all?"

"See, if I could just invade the mind of all my prospective students like that and have a proper heart to heart, it'd make my life so much easier! And putting up with me knowing your every secret is a pretty small price to pay in exchange I reckon."
She wasn't sure if she agreed with that.
He turned towards her, suddenly looking and feeling incredibly thoughtful, as if he was pondering a difficult question. "Do you really think I have a sweet ass?" he asked.

She felt oh so glad when she managed to smack him both mentally and physically at the same time.


Last edited by Floris on Sun Nov 11, 2018 8:34 am; edited 1 time in total
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Floris



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PostSubject: Re: The Mansion in the Woods   Sun Oct 07, 2018 1:00 pm

She massaged her hand while glaring at him. He was grinning broadly at her. Damn it, what the hell was he made of? He hadn't even turned his head when she had hit him. The worst of it all was that she now knew damn well why he was being such an utter and total bastard. Because it worked. She understood that now. Wielding your mind and your spirit as a tool required your consciousness to let your subconsciousness do the work, similar to how you opened a door. You merely went to open a door and your body did it. Same with this. Don't think, instruct, do. Didn't make his smug grin any more tolerable really.

"You're getting the hang of it, aren't you?"
She stuck her tongue out at him. For some reason the more time she spent with him, the less she began to care about decorum and the more common sense seemed to be thrown out of the window in favour of just being able to deal with him. Which honestly did explain why Evon had seemed so utterly mad without being insane. Perhaps it wasn't a consequence of learning how to wield your spirit, but more a result of having spent too much time around the teacher.


The steam was slowly returning to it's normal, impenetrable state after that he had stirred it up, but at the moment it was enough to vaguely see him standing there. Not all of him, thank the Lord, because seeing that would've tossed her mind into turmoil again. She saw enough, however, to see him sit down on an elevated platform in the water and both saw and felt him gesture for her to do the same. She obliged, wary of any tricks he might be up to now. It took her a few moments before she'd find another platform. The moment she sat down he started.
"Right then. Time for us to discuss the next part of it all. Your destiny as I called it earlier, which honestly is a lot of grandstanding. It means that we're going to see what direction you want to take your life from here on out, what subjects you want to study and which skills you'd like to master. So really, speak your mind. I'll try and keep inappropriate jokes and madness induced rants to a minimum."

She sighed deeply. For some reason the earlier staggering amounts of respect she had for him had waned suspiciously quickly and now she was stuck between seeing him as a teacher, a very attractive person, an even more annoying person, and probably the most dangerous and capable being she'd ever get close to. And she had to obey him too, on top of everything else.
"What choices do I have? I don't know a lot about the world. I was a peasant girl and the only knowledge I ever gained was while I studied here or what the people that owned me gossiped about while in bed."
"How about we start with what you want to do?"
"Honestly... I wouldn't mind staying here. I like it here. It's safe and comfortable and—"
"Blood and vomit!" he cursed. She nearly fell off the elevation in shock. "You listen up now, you're one of the very few people out in the world that has the talent to actually learn how to bloody wield your mind! Do you know how rare that red-damned talent is? And you'd waste it while sitting here and not doing anything? You're not going to get any-bleeding-thing done that way! By the Flows! You're never going to be more than an unblooded welp if that's your take on life!"

He slid off the platform and started walking around her, hidden by the fog. His sudden outburst had taken her off-guard. He seemed sincere for a change and there was a determination to his tred that wasn't there before. His sudden change in language was strange as well. She'd have thought more about it hadn't he suddenly grabbed her by the shoulders and roughly pulled her up. Her feet were dangling beneath her, her toes barely touching the platform.
"Since you have absolutely no idea and are far too much of a damnable anaemic to stand up for yourself, I'll give you a few ideas. You like the idea of taking revenge on those who wronged you, right?"
She nearly responded. Something in the back of her mind told her to wait. She thought about it. It was an old dream of her, that was true, but to take vengeance on nobles? She wasn't like her teacher, she lacked the ability. Physically, mentally, financially... It had been a dream the same way slaves sometimes dreamed of freedom. Unless he meant he was going to help her with it.
"Will you—"
He shushed her by placing a finger on her lips. She felt a sudden desire to lick it and cursed inwardly at the thought. Damn this steam! She quickly retreated most of her consciousness back into her fragments, severing the majority of her connections to her body, leaving just enough to remain aware but not much more than that.
"Don't think of the how. Think of the if. Does the idea seem interesting to you?"
She nodded. Slowly at first, but more vigorously as memories started flooding her. She'd sacrifice everything to get back at them and make them pay.
"Good. Let's take that as a base. Now let's move on to the how. You're not physically strong, and the time it will take you to wield your spirit well enough to actually strike them and surviving would mean they'd have all died from old age before you'd have a shot at them. So, we'll use other means instead. Intrigue. Cunning. Politics. Playing them out against one another."
She mulled it over. It was, without a doubt, an attractive prospect. She could not fathom how she would take on such a task though. "How then? You might as well be speaking in tongues to me. I'm a farm girl. I know nothing of their world."
"Oh yes you do." He smiled at her in a way that made her distinctly uncomfortable.
"What do you — No! No no no no no!" she screamed, trying to back away from him, which was fairly useless given that he was still holding her by the shoulders.
"Stop. Sit. Think," he ordered her, letting go of her after she ceased her struggle. She was surprised to feel herself obey. "Do you honestly think I'm asking you to go back there, lift your skirt and let them have their way with you? Please, that'd solve nothing except that they'd have fun. No, I'm talking about seduction. Dress up as a noblewoman. Flirt a bit with them. Use that body of yours as a weapon against them. Lure them into your web like a spider, make them hunger for you, dream of you, long for you until they start thinking solely with the wrong head. Make them buy you pretty things that are so hideously expensive they'll ruin themselves just to win your favour. Establish alliances with others so that when you publicly disgrace one of them, they'll all come running to protect your honour and maybe have you graciously take the arm they'll generously offer."

He was pacing again as he lectured. She sat there and thought about what he said, but he was far from done.
"If I were you, I'd start by learning a merchant trade. I can easily outfit you with the materials required to start a trade caravan. I'll give you a letter for the guilds in Lannas when the time comes. They'll procure the basic products and an armed escort for you, as well as letters of introduction from other nobles. I'd suggest trading in small, but valuable products. Jewelry or something of the sort. Magical items as well, those things always sell for a fortune and there are very few people that can produce them. That will be your cover to get in. Add in a few herbal products that are rumoured to heal various ailments and stimulate certain functions and you'll practically have a paved route to get near your targets. Then, wearing the right clothes and using a few choice words, you'll have them wrapped around your finger in no time. Psychological warfare is a dangerous thing, and by that time you'll have figured out the basics of how to wield your mind."

He paused and turned to face her. She knew she must have looked childish with her mouth wide open, but she couldn't help herself. The way he summarised it all made her question once again just who she was dealing with and how long he had been planning this. If it hadn't been for her three fragments running parallel to one another, she'd have just sit there dumbfounded and utterly overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information and possibilities being thrown her way.

"Of course, there are other ways. You could try the merchant trade and use your looks to gain an advantage and slowly climb the ranks, eventually growing large enough until you can institute a trade embargo, but that's significantly slower, much less effective and will cause a lot more collateral damage. You could try becoming an informant of others. Believe it or not, there are nobles who would see your looks as an asset to be used outside of the bedchamber as well, and they'd pay a pretty penny to have you work for them. They would work as your shield as well, even more so if you know a few secrets of them as well. Lastly, you could go the bandit queen role, but that might require a bit more of a hands on approach and I don't think you'd be to keen on that. Of course, if you want a completely different route then you could—"
"Stop! No more! Please!" she begged. Her head felt as if it would burst and she couldn't take in any more. This was her life he was talking about and she could see all the possible roads into the future flashing by at a far too quick pace as it was. "Please. Let me think. Please?" The words were barely audible, her voice little more than a whine.

She was met with silence, but was glad for it. She let her thoughts roam freely, thinking it all through. This was the first time in her young life that she had been given the chance to decide what she'd do from here on out and she wanted to make the right decision for a change.
"If I don't want to do that, what then?" she asked, her voice soft and unsure.
"Then you can do something else. Honestly, as long as you don't waste it doing nothing, I'm fine with any direction you want to take. It's better if you pick something you are interested in though. Ability matters less in these things. Determination and perspective beat it by far."
He moved till he was behind her and gently pulled her back, until her back was laying against his chest. He ran his fingers through her hair in an innocent, tender manner. "Even if you decide you just want to learn a simple trade while training your mind. You're free to do that, you know? There's no pressure."

She nodded and let herself lean against him. Her mind and body safely separated from one another through her mental barriers, his touch hardly reached her and the few parts of it that did were pleasant without being overbearing or distracting. Letting her mind wander she thought about it all. There were many paths she could take, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. Peace and safety spoke volumes to her. She wasn't really familiar with it, but knew that if she took that path then she would be safe from nobles and from twats like Feng. Part of her found that a waste, however. She had abilities. It would be a shame if she didn't make use of them, as her teacher had pointed out. There were risks involved with chasing after vengeance, but the rewards would be so much greater. What had he said again? Becoming a merchant? It would, after she finished the task of taking care of her captors, give her great freedom. Freedom and wealth, power even.

She did not know how long she lay there, supported by him, surrounded by pleasantly warm water and intoxicating steam. At one point she probably fell asleep, but if she had then he had shown no sign of it. He had been silent, patient, stroking her hair throughout it all. Slowly but surely she started making a decision, but before she'd choose she wanted a few questions of her own answered. She didn't open her eyes. It wasn't necessary and she could feel where he was anyway.
"Why do you do this?"
His fingers changed direction. They slowly slid through her hair until they found that sensitive spot behind her ears. When he started to rub it softly, she practically melted in his hands.
"It's a hobby. A pleasant distraction."
"Must... be more to it... than that..." she moaned. Lord, it wasn't fair to do that to her while she was trying to think. It wasn't fair. How could anyone be so damnably good with their hands? She shuddered when she realised that her mental barriers were still up and for one fearful moment she struggled with the urge to drop them, to feel his touch properly. Luckily enough for her she never had the chance as he moved his fingers back to her hair.
When no answer came to her remark, she slowly began to realise he didn't want to elaborate on it. Which was fair, given that the entire trade was already heavily weighed in her favour. A bit too much, really. It made her suspicious.

"Will it be with a loan contract or something, that you'll give me what I need to start as a merchant?"
"No, it's a gift. The only thing you might have to do from time to time is buy some items I might need. I'll pay for those though."
"You know that doesn't make any sense, right?"
"Not for you perhaps. You've decided then, I take it?"
"Are you still in my head?" she asked, wondering how he knew.
"Not since you smacked me."
"I'm not sorry about that."
"Yes you are. You hurt your hand."
Okay, this was creepy. "Are you sure you're not in my head anymore?"
"You're fairly easy to read."
"If I choose to become a merchant and go after them, I'll need a lot, you know? Wares, clothes, a caravan, money..."
"You'll have that, don't you worry."
"Do you actually have that type of clothes laying around?" she asked. She wasn't talking about merchants clothes either.
"You mean seductive clothes that show of your body? Outline your curves, bring attention to your breasts and highlight your assets?"
She blushed. Blunt bastard. "Yes," she muttered. "Those."
"No, but I can make them. I make a lot of things. I'll just need to take your measurements really."
Her blush got significantly worse at that but he talked straight over it. "You'll even get to decide what material, what colour. Honestly depending on what type of events you'll attend you'll need different outfits. The dances you'll partake in will dictate how the cloth will need to sway around you, and depending on how you want to seduce others, the material will matter greatly."
Her voice was barely more than a peep now, unbidden thoughts slowly eroding the barriers between her mind and body, even though two parts of her mind were fully focused on keeping them up. "But I don't know anything about dances or seduction. I'm just a peasant girl," she protested.

"Don't worry," came his confidence voice.
"I'll personally teach you so you'll master it."
And just like that, her barriers shattered.


Last edited by Floris on Sun Nov 11, 2018 8:38 am; edited 1 time in total
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Floris



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PostSubject: Re: The Mansion in the Woods   Fri Oct 12, 2018 4:07 pm

The wagon train had managed to enter Tinas without problem. The guards posted at the gates were the ones that always manned them and had easily recognised Marcus. The tiny merchant was quite memorable, tiny as he was and always accompanied by the huge, heavily armoured Daenan. They had rushed them aside as soon as they spotted them, giving them warnings about the armed zealots that now ruled the city and patrolled it. Their looks turned from worry to outright fear when Marcus told them that they had already met them. It wasn't unknown that Marcus travelled with an Orc and a Faerie, but while the humans from the borderlands traded openly with all, the zealots would gleefully tear them apart. Under the pretense of the usual inspection of goods the guards had exchanged information with the small, humble merchant and given them directions to a part of the town where they would be able to stay without attracting the attention of the fanatics. Marcus had thanked them and given them some coins in return, but the sad look on his face told him he was less than happy about their forced relocation. Marcus knew every inn for miles around, and as calm and docile as he usually was, he could get incredibly passionate when food was involved.


Daenan had decided to err on the side of caution for the night and was laying on the bed in his room rather than remaining downstairs with the others. He regretted it. He much preferred to be around others. He wasn't alone though, but Faen's constant and literal buzzing around didn't do much to pacify his annoyance. The large mug of beer had helped, but had been emptied all too soon. So had the other two.
"Faen, by my honour, stop flying about like that or I will smack you like a big bug."
"How can you be so calm!" the Faerie squeaked back. "We're in the middle of a town full of zealots! They'll tear us apart if they find out about us! What will you do if you can't lie your way through a group of them?"
Daenan patted the warhammer leaning against the bed he was sitting on.
"Violence doesn't solve everything!"
"Solved everything up to now though."
"I— You— Aaah!" the Faerie threw his arms up in exasperation, before flying over towards his friend and starting to hammer him on the head with his fists. "You absolute idiot! There's hundreds of them here! Do you hear me? Hundreds! You can't take them on! What are you going to do when they show up with crossbows?"
"Probably turn myself into a pincushion and take a few more with me, I guess," came the response. Daenan shrugged, as if the image didn't perturb him.
"You idiot!" the Faerie shouted again. Realising that hitting his friend on the head did absolute nothing except draw a broad, toothy grin from him, the Faerie ceased his assault and slowly sank to the ground. "At least distract them for long enough so I can escape." He threw a weak smile at his tall friend.
Daenan nodded. "Reckon I can manage that. Think if I throw a cart at them they'll be suitably distracted?"
"Like that time in Lurgassi?"
"Oh yeah. That was fun."
"That wasn't fun you jackass! We actually had to restrain Marcus or he'd try to skin you alive!"
"He what now? How come I never knew that bit?"
"Because you were too busy beating up the entire city militia you moron!"
Daenan's face turned thoughtful for a brief moment as he mulled over the memory.
"Well then their captain shouldn't have spit in my drink."
"He did that because you called him a cheating whore's son!"
"Well he was! The cheating at least. Using weighed dice, the bastard."

Faen had started fluttering again and realised that his friend was taking the piss with him. He sighed and slowly descended, landing next to his pal. "You're an impossible bastard, you know that?"
"Thank you. I try."
"So how do you think things will pan out in the city?"
"Hm. I reckon Marcus will want to sell everything as fast as possible and stock up on whatever he can get his hands on. Bugger's usually greedy, but I think even he prefers his head over gold. Like you said, it's a matter of time before we're found."
Faen paled, which was rather hard to notice given a Faerie's usual complexion. "What do you mean?"
Daenan's dark eyebrows formed into a frown, giving him a distinct demonic appearance. "You didn't see?"
Faen shook his head. Sometimes he forgot that his friend, despite being a rude bastard and an utter oaf, his skills were very real and that underneath his slow and clumsy demeanor a mind as sharp as a razor lurked.
"The Flame's giving out rewards for finding spies." He spat the last word.
Faen gulped. He could connect the dots. "And an even bigger one for creatures of the Dark," he finished.
"There's a reason the guards sent us here. This quarter has no love lost for the Flame, and their patrols are unlikely to frequent here as well. They may be fanatics, but they're not stupid. They have a few competent bastards leading them. By my honour, I wish it weren't so because the rest of them are just vermin. But you know what they say about pigeons being led by a phoenix." Daenan shrugged.
"So do you think we'll be safe here?" Faen looked up at his friend, a slimmer of hope lurking in the question. That slimmer was immediately extinguished when his friend looked down at him in disgust.
"Of course not. By the strength of my arm, Faen, could you please stop flying long enough so you can have some blood flow to your brain instead? I told you not a moment ago that we'll be found sooner or later. Safety is an illusion. There's always danger. The only way to be safe is to be prepared for it."

Faen realised his wings were buzzing again and slowly brought them to a stop, embarrassed. He looked down in shame. Silence reigned in the room for a good long while before the Faerie dared disrupt it again.
"Is where you are from that dangerous?"
"I travelled a lot. Some places were dangerous, others weren't. I'm still alive though."
"That's not what I asked, you oaf," Faen replied while smacking his friend on the side.
"No. I suppose it wasn't."
"So?" insisted the Faerie
"So what?" sighed Daenan
"So how was where you are from then?"
"Rusted blades and blunt daggers, you just won't leave me be until you hear it, will you?" Daenan growled
Faen fought down an urge to retreat and bravely held his ground. "You've not told me or anyone. And I'm sure you're an Orc. But you're not like how Orcs are supposed to be. You're not..." he trailed off, realising he was venturing on very dangerous territory. He looked to the floor in front of him. He could feel Daenan's eyes towards him and felt the fury behind them.
"You mean I'm not stupid. Reigned by bestial instincts that I have no control over. That I am, in fact, more than an animal. Something which you are directly inferring they are not."
"I didn't—" squeaked Faen, only to be stopped short when a pillow crashed into him. For most creatures, having a pillow tossed at them was a pleasant way to pass the time. For a Faerie it was more akin to someone throwing a frying pan at you. Faen, being caught off guard, was sent flying along with the pillow, without the use of his wings for once, and crashed into the blankets of the other bed. He struggled to claw free of them, intending to give his friend a proper cuff on the ears, with his limited magic if he had to, but was brought short by the sad look on Daenan's face.

"Those are not proper Orcs," he whispered. "They're abominations, Faen. They have forgotten their past. By my honour, I hate that I share ancestry with them. I hate that they are all people think of when they think of me and mine. Hammer and shield, how I hate it. We are so much more than..." he trailed off, as if suddenly realising where he was again. For a brief moment he looked terribly fragile, a sight that didn't fit the metal-clad giant. Then he growled and the image was gone. Replaced by the usual fearsome, fierce intensity that he possessed. He got up in a sharp, fluid movement despite the significant weight that his armour held. He stretched and tilted his head in both directions, his bones cracking as he moved.
"Bah. I need a drink. Drinks." He managed to stress the s to indicate he needed several. Before Faen could voice an objection, his friend narrowly managed to avoid pulling the door out of its frame as he left the room, leaving the Faerie alone with his thoughts.
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Floris



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PostSubject: Re: The Mansion in the Woods   Sat Oct 20, 2018 5:43 pm

Daenan muttered numerous curses behind his visor as he walked down the stairs towards the taproom. The conversation had made him recall memories he preferred to leave buried. He was annoyed at his friend, even though the little one didn't deserve it. It wasn't Faen's fault that everyone only thought of Orcs as barbaric creatures. He caught himself in the nick of time, his armoured fist a hair's width away from smashing a hole through the wooden wall in anger. He suppressed the hideous truth that the members of his kin that roamed these lands were hideous, vile and violent beasts, and tried to smooth out the lines of anger on his face. Bad enough that he was green, had massive fangs and more teeth than most Men were comfortable with. No need to further scare them.

As he entered the taproom he was warmly greeted by the other guards and some of the patrons that knew him. Marcus barely spared a glance and a friendly nod for him, for the short merchant was too busy gorging himself on a substantial amount of food. Where the tiny man put it all was anyone's guess.
Walking towards his colleagues, Daenan sat down, the bench creaking slightly under his weight. A call for more drinks went out while the Orc took off his helmet and slid it down his back. He smiled broadly at those around him and started to relax. Friendly banter, strong tales and stronger ale never failed to cheer him up. It wasn't quite like home, but it sufficed. Mug after mug was emptied and soon people started showing signs of minor intoxication. Laughs became louder, smiles were wider and the slaps on the back became harder. When one of the guards made the mistake of slapping Daenan with as much force as the bloke could muster, Daenan's grin was all the warning the poor fellow got before a massive smack echoed through the room as the guard's head dipped straight into his plate. The rest of the table roared and whistled in approval, which doubled when Daenan obviously lied about being sorry and profusely apologised. The man was a good sport about it and the event was soon forgotten as more ale was brought forth and another old, embarrassing memory was brought to the front.

When the serving girl set down a new tankard in front of Daenan, she made quite a show of leaning against him, her ample chest pressing hard against his shoulder, earning the pair plenty of hoots from the others. She grinned broadly at the group, gave the Orc a quick kiss on the cheek and to everyone's amusement and Daenan's embarrassment, she smacked him hard on the ass.
"Would be a shame if you turned violent, you know? You could charge all the way up to the third room on the left on the first floor, open that damnable door that—" she turned towards the bar where the innkeeper was slowly washing glasses and mugs and shouted "— still needs to have its hinges oiled", before continuing her lecherous chat.
"And have your way with me without me being able to do anything about it." She gave him a wink and slid her hands across his armour, causing the Orc to raise his arms and shoo her off. She laughed and started to walk away, throwing her arms up in desperation and Daenan made use of the moment to smack her on her ass as well, causing her to yelp and jump. She managed to keep her angry glare up for about two seconds before it was replaced by a broad grin and she joined the others in their laughter.
"Invitation still stands, big boy." She blew him a kiss and ran off as the innkeeper shouted for her to stop flirting and start bringing drinks again.

Daenan started to relax. Properly relax. His language became less guarded, more swear words slipping in with every drink he took. People started to arm wrestle and within a handful of matches everyone started to pile on him. Bets were exchanged as he took on the majority of the inn's clientele one after another. That was an old game he and the guards often played, and even though some of the inn's customers were wise to their tricks, the numerous drinks had dulled their senses. The first matches the tall Orc won without much trouble, easy squashing any resistance under loud cheers and applause. Then the victorious started being harder to gain, but they were still inevitable. After more than two dozen contests, Daenan's face contorted with effort and concentration as his hand wavered back and forth, between victory and defeat. One of the stronger, broader men in the room saw his chance and walked over to the table with much bravado. As he sat down and flexed his massive arms the room went silent for a brief moment before people started shouting and new round of bets was noted down. Daenan grinned, but there was uncertainty looming behind his eyes. The broad man flashed the Orc a cocky grin. Somewhere in the distance the serving girl shouted that she'd bed the winner, a comment received with plenty of hoots and people slapping the contestants on the back while making remarks that seared Daenan's eyes.

As the final bets of those willing were placed, weighing heavily against Daenan, despite a most of the guards betting heavily on their champion and shouting with slurred voices how he was absolutely unbeatable and they'd regret their choices. The serving girl quickly declared herself referee and eyed both men with a luscious lick of the lips before she placed her hands on the men's. She counted down and the game began. The muscles in their arms went taut as they exerted massive amounts of strength. The crowd erupted, cheered, yelled and screamed as Daenan's arm slowly started bending, his hand going down in the wrong direction. More bets were placed as the handful of undecided patrons realised the victor was certain, and in the midst of it all people overlooked that the innkeeper left the bar to place down a few crowns on Daenan.
As the Orc's hand was a mere few inches away from defeat, his expression changed.
"Everyone done betting?" he asked. Seeing that it was indeed done, he grinned broadly at his public, flashing them his full set of teeth. He turned his gaze at his opponent and smiled at him. It was a smug smile, full of pride, and it was well deserved as he started pressing the massive man. Slowly but certainly the tables turned as the Orc started exerting himself properly. The cocky grin remained as desperation etched ugly lines on the man's face who just now realised that he had been played for the fool. For that matter, so did the rest of the crowd, the impending loss of their coin slowly rousing their intoxicated minds. As the battling hands crossed the halfway point, the serving girl winked playfully at Daenan and blew him another kiss. The guards cheered, the slightly sober patrons that had bet on the Orc did the same, the innkeeper grinned, the other betters desperately urged their player to not give up, to aim for victory, Marcus ate, and in the midst of this chaos, Daenan smashed his opponent's hand down onto the table.

As the coins were collected and heated argument over whether the game was fair or not erupted, Daenan wrapped his arm around his opponent's neck and pulled him close before emptying his tankard over the man's head under loud cheers. The man returned the favour a moment later and the two engaged in a moment of mutually trying to crush the other in a violent hug that would grind lesser beings to dust. This settled the argument and under loud applause the massive man grabbed another tankard, dubbed Daenan Champion of the Inn and a true Man amongst Men, before emptying this tankard on the Orc's head as well. Within moments everyone joined him and the poor Orc was utterly drenched in ale. The room quieted down again when Daenan's colleagues carried in a large barrel, two men on each end, and put it down in front of him. Everyone backed away from the green giant as he adjusted his stance and grabbed the edge of the barrel, slowly lifting it. The liquor soaking his gauntlets squelched as he dug his fingers into the wood as he steadily brought the entire thing above his head. He opened his mouth, as if to call a colleague over to unfasten the lid so he could douse himself in it, seemed to change his mind, then slowly shook his head.
"That'd be a waste, wouldn't it?" he asked, before letting the barrel slide out of his hands. He took a step backwards at lightning speed, brought his hands down and caught it, carefully putting it down on the floor. He looked around, eyed the quiet audience, then smashed his hand through the lid.
"Barrel's on me!" he bellowed, and the room erupted in cheers once more.

Thoroughly doused in alcohol, intoxicated by the victory and the girl who was quite pretty, for a human at least, dancing around him and constantly skirting the border between flirtatious and raunchy, darting across one to nimbly land in the other every so often, and drunk on the atmosphere he nearly missed the sound. Nearly. It brought him out of his stupor immediately and his hands slid across his weapons that were, as always, slung across his back. He never went anywhere without them. He felt the urge to put his helmet back on, but suppressed it. Not yet. Then the door was kicked open and the source of the sound entered. The fanatics of the Flame, who had drawn their swords only moments before, burst into the inn.

The crowd went silent, men pausing mid-drink and the serving girl fell against Daenan's broad chest, as she had been leaning in to kiss him on the cheek the moment before. The only sound that remained was that of the innkeeper nervously wiping the bar and Marcus who didn't bother to look up from his meal. Two dozen armed men spread around the taproom, surrounding the clientele, their swords pointing down but looking no less threatening for that. The leader of the group stepped forward, a tall, handsome man with a large mustache and a golden blazon embroidered on his shirt. He eyed everyone present as if they were a group of cockroaches, his blue eyes full of disdain.
"There have been reports that heretics and criminals are being harboured here, committing crimes against humanity and violating the Lord's commandments. We are here to root out the filth that plagues this fair city. Rest assured, if you are found innocent you will be let go and you shall receive a crown as compensation for the caused inconvenience. If you are found guilty, however, you shall burn at the stake. Now— By the Lord! You!" he shouted, pointing dramatically at Daenan. "Take off that hideous mask right now! How dare you wear something as vile as that and—" the man paused and fell silent. Not a very uncommon thing when Daenan stood up to his full height, rather than slightly bending to make himself look less threatening. His dark eyes stared intensely at the man. Tall as the man was, he was still shorter than the Orc, and where the leader of the fanatics looked handsome and impressive, Daenan looked rough and dominating.

Under the gaze of two dozen armed men and nearly a score of patrons, Daenan slowly stepped towards the leader, seemingly without a care in the world.
"Is there something wrong with my face, good sir?" he asked, his voice calm, polite. A soft smile on his face. Now Marcus looked up, as he sensed that his meal was in danger. His eyes took in the scene, widened considerably and he started gulping down what remained of his food as fast as possible.
"Your face? There is no way an Orc can be in the city! The Lord would not—"
"Shh. Be quiet little man." Daenan pressed his finger against the man's lips and mustache and the man fell quiet, intimidated by the Orc's aura. "You see, me and my friends here had a lovely evening so far. Everything a proper evening in an inn should have. Good drinks. Decent food. Good company. Pretty wenches all over me. But there was one thing missing, and I am truly, truly glad you have arrived to bring me that. Now I can truly say that the evening is complete."

The man regained some of his composure and took a quick step back, bringing his sword up and holding it steadily in between him and the Orc. Daenan was impressed. The man was experienced if he could maintain his composure despite the aura pressing down on him. "What do you mean, vile beast?"
"Oh, you know. What every bar needs once in a while."

Daenan grinned, Marcus swallowed, the leader blinked and the next moment Daenan advanced on him. The man tried to stab him only to discover that the Orc was much faster than him as his sword was batted aside by a casual wave from Daenan's armoured hand. Grabbing the man by the shirt and trousers, he lifted him above his head as he had done with the barrel earlier.
Looking around the room, seeing both the patrons and the fanatics back up a bit, he flashed them all his teeth again and bellowed "Bar fight!" at the top of his lungs, before throwing the man into his comrades. Not giving them a chance to recover, he charged them.
As the patrons followed his lead and started pelting the armed men with chairs, plates, tankards, tables, anything they had nearby, a maniacal laugh escaped Daenan's lips as he roared a battle cry, launched himself into the air, smashed his head into the ceiling and landed on top of two fanatics, knocking them to the floor.

As an inn-wide, full on bar brawl broke out, the fanatics struggled to use their swords on account of the constant barrage of chairs being thrown at them and being heavily outnumbered. The leader, who climbed back to his feet rather unsteadily, started barking out orders, felt someone tap his shoulder, turned around with a swearword on his lips and was greeted by a very large fist approaching his face at a rather unpleasant velocity.
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Floris



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PostSubject: Re: The Mansion in the Woods   Sun Oct 28, 2018 10:57 am

The brawl ended as swiftly as it began. With Daenan at the front acting as an armoured battering ram that was completely impervious to their swords and dozens of angry patrons pelting the fanatics with anything they managed to get their hands on, they were outnumbered, outmatched and outmanoeuvred. Having lost their leader at the start of the fight, they had been temporarily confused, waiting for orders that never came. Instead they were facing a massive, armoured threat that dealt out punches with an impact not entirely dissimilar from crossbow bolts. They really never stood a chance.

Surveying the carnage with a brutal smile, Daenan overlooked the warzone the barroom had transformed in. Tables and chairs had been reduced to firewood, plates were smashed, food and ale were spilled everywhere and some idiot had caused a fire when he had pulled a burning log from the hearth.
The Orc panted from excitement more than any real exertion, as well as a mixture of stress. As exhilarating as the fight had been, it was also equally worrying. Beating up a handful of idiotic, lightly armed children was one thing. Going up against a proper force with crossbows, pikes, maces and axes was another. His mind was racing. The fight had been unavoidable, but he somehow had to avoid retaliation. To start that, he had to keep the drunk patrons from actually harming the fanatics any further. They were completely intoxicated by their victory, however, and the hatred they felt for the occupiers was visible.

"Enough!" he bellowed. Everyone in the room jumped at the eardrum-busting roar and stopped whatever they were doing to look at the Orc in stunned silence.
"Right, you lot, help me carry them out. We're dumping them out in the street. Feel free to rob them of their valuables, provided it doesn't look like anything religious. Let them keep their swords as well, they're undoubtedly marked, but you can take anything else. Now hop to!" he thundered. The sheer volume of his voice squashed any arguments or questions about his orders. There was chaos at first, but the more sober patrons quickly latched onto the Orc's train of thought. Any excess harm would be returned to them ten-fold. With the sober leading the drunk the knocked-out fanatics were being dragged out of the inn in something that resembles efficiency. Daenan shook his head warily and wondered how the hell they were ever going to get out of this mess alive. He straightened himself and put his worries beside him. First of all, I need a bucket of water.


Miriander was not having a good day. It had started off so well though. An easy mission from the Patriarch of the Flame, go into the darker section of the city and clear out an inn reputed to harbour heretical elements. An easy job, really. Two dozen men at his disposal, all armed with swords and their devotion, should have made this a walk in the park. Then the Orc had shown up and tossed him around, making a mockery of him and his faith!
Now his day was going from horrid to even worse, as he was rudely awakened by someone dousing him in what smelled like sewer-water. He spat out the disgusting liquid and veered upright, only to be met by far too many teeth that were lined up to form a very threatening grimace.
"I hope you are happy, soldier. You very nearly ruined all of it."
"I... what?"
"You're not even aware? Blasted man, when I met your patrol outside the city I at least expected them to relay the information."
"Information? I... Listen you scum, I—" A massive hand covered his mouth and fierce eyes burned into his.
"No, you listen, blind zealot. I could have had you and your men killed. Like this." The Orc snapped his fingers.
"But you are alive. I got you out of there because I have use for you and you and yours are already outnumbered enough as it is."
Miriander grimaced, his faith reinforcing him. He would chose death over dishonour. "I will never serve the Dark!"
The Orc let out a deep growl and shook the man. "Listen you idiot. When you return to your command post, ask for the patrol that was out south. I do not know how many patrols you have out, but they met me. They also heard my story and I am loathe to repeat that. Keep in mind your knowledge about Orcs and apply that to me. To my armour. You serve the Lord, and despite my hideous appearance so do I. I am cursed by the Dark to wander like this, and if you let my face fool you, then you are playing exactly into their hands."
The Orc brought his lips closer to Miriander's ear and he whispered softly.
"Look at my arms and let them guide your eyes back to the Light. I am part of those who are the first to carry the Light into the Dark. I belong to the Order. More specifically, I am part of the Order of the Eagle and serve it as a Paladin. We, more than the others, act as vanguards and are found far from our Fortress-Monasteries. We roam the land as hunters. Your goal here is commendable, but you should be wary. The Darkness has strong roots here and if you try to remove it through force you will fail."

Miriander nodded. As a child he had been infatuated by the Order of the Eagle. When his village had been threatened by a gang of rampaging bandits, a lone Paladin had charged into the dozen foes with a holy warcry on his lips and prayers to the Lord accompanying every swing from his sword. Ever since that day Miriander had idolised them and dug up any knowledge he could find. To discover that a noble Paladin had such a vile stroke of misfortune wounded his soul.
"My lord, sir, I did not know, please, forgive me." He cast his eyes down, his cheeks burning bright with shame.
"Do not blame yourself. Like you said, you did not know and how can I hope to blame the ignorant who had no way to open their eyes?"
Miriander looked up and was met by a warm smile now. The Paladin offered him a hand and he eagerly grasped it. The holy warrior pulled him to his feet with ease and Miriander felt the boyish adoration from so long ago well up in force.
"Listen... What is your name?"
"Miriander, sir, wick-leader of the Flame of the Lord."
"Miriander. Good. Listen to me. The Darkness that is rooted in this city isn't very large. Yet, should you try to uproot it, you will find that the ground will not let go of it. They do not know the Dark for what it is, and if you apply brute force you will find that the innocent will side not with you, but the Dark. Do not blame them for it, for they are ignorant and blind to His truth. It does not help matters that your fellows have a rather harsh reputation around these parts, given that many cities like these do a lot of trade with races other than Men."
The wick-leader looked down in shame.
"I do not blame you, but I am trying to warn you. Relay this message to your command. Keep your men out of trouble. Serve as police and curb crime. Help the civilians and peacefully spread His word. You are hopelessly outnumbered and should a riot occur, you will not live to see another dawn. You are not suited to root out the Darkness in cities. Fighting Its forces directly, that is your task. But in here? Leave the task of hunting the rats out to me. That is the task of Eagles, after all. We fly far, see further, and hunt rats. Wake your men, Miriander. I shall pacify the situation in this district to the best of my abilities, may the Lord guide my actions, but you must withdraw from here post-haste and not enter until this unrest had a chance to disperse. Ask for the commander of the patrol, he will confirm my tale. Go now! Do not disappoint me! And if we do not meet again, may your conviction never waver and may you never lose the flame He lights in your heart. Go with the Lord, child. But go!"

Miriander watched as the Paladin stood up, carefully looked around to make sure no one saw him, and disappeared into the evening fog with a few long strides. It took him a minute to get his bearings and start waking up his troops. All the while he could not keep the smile from his face. He had met a Paladin. A real Paladin. Truly, the Lord had blessed him.


The situation was becoming complicated. He was juggling too many plates at once and sooner or later the entire thing would come crashing down. As Daenan lay in bed and saw the first rays of the morning sun crawl through the small gap in the curtains, he tried to think of a way to keep them balanced a bit longer. He had gained time, but that was all. The situation in the inn had been narrowly contained, but if the sentiments of anger lingered much longer a riot would certainly follow, and he'd be caught in the midst of a bloody civil war. If that happened he wouldn't even have a chance to run anymore. He had betrayed his oath once. He would not betray it again, no matter the cost.
Letting his eyes wander across the curves of the naked serving girl. Sometimes, though, that cost was fairly pleasant. It had been surprising as well, given that his entire body was, well, green, but that hadn't bothered her any. And the ensuing argument between him and her had plenty distracted the crowd, further aided by the innkeeper bringing forth more ale and food after Daenan had given up most of his winnings to reimbursing the man for his demolished taproom. It had cooled tempers. For now. He doubted that Miriander would have much luck though. The man had seemed sincere and was a lot calmer than most of the hotheads that belonged to the Flame, but convincing their leader to lay off on the civilian population? The man would be lucky if he wouldn't be flogged for incompetence and executed for consorting with forces of the Dark. He would have to urge Marcus to get out of the city post-haste, everything else be damned, before it all spiralled out of control and his oaths would lock him in place more firmly than a steel chain. But unless the Lord or some other mystical deity deigned to interfere, what could possibly prevent disaster from striking.

Sanguilia looked up from her drink and smiled impishly at her audience. The Maester and his Circle, along with half a dozen officers sat around her looking thoroughly baffled.
"You cannot be serious. There is no way that would work," the Maester responded after a long moment of silence.
Her smile turned into a full grin. "You'd be mistaken. Humans are delightfully stupid creatures in groups, and so easily blinded. This'll be like taking candy from a baby. Besides," she shrugged, "if it goes wrong, I'm the only one at risk."
She bared her teeth at them and her eyes danced with something that danced along the line of cruelty and playfulness. "What do you say, o Maester Jas'Tra of Hold Kras'Vt? Shall we play on them the prank of the century?"
The Maester turned to his trusted aides and conferred with them for a short moment, before the gathering of Kobolds turned to their Human visitor. When the Maester spoke, all of them shared the same grin that spoke of their united love for mischief.
"Let it be known that we will. So I declare. So shall it be."


Last edited by Floris on Mon Nov 19, 2018 7:18 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Floris



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PostSubject: Re: The Mansion in the Woods   Thu Nov 01, 2018 3:28 pm

The serving girl stirred as soon as Daenan made the tiniest movement. Her large green eyes flashed open and blinked once, clearing any sleep from her eyes.
"You're not planning on leaving yet, are you?" There was a sharp undertone there that the Orc could swear hadn't been there before.
"I have a rather busy day ahead of me."
"Oh yes, I am sure you do." She adjusted her body so that the covers draped alluringly along her side, drawing his eyes to the curves of her breast as she stretched languidly, tightening the cloth across her chest. Daenan's eyes widened slightly at the display it made and the girl smiled. "But before you go about your day, I believe you owe me..." she said, whispering the last words into his ear.
A shiver ran across his spine when she bit his earlobe teasingly. He fought the urge to just embrace her again and recalled that it had been a lot easier to resist her offers when she had been fully dressed and they both were in a public room. Sharing a small bed with her naked form made that task a lot more difficult.
"I owe you? How so?" he asked with a soft growl, as she bit his earlobe again.
She perked up at the question and slipped her leg across his waist, sliding herself on top of him and pressing her chest tightly against his. Her cheeks were flushed with arousal and her full, red lips were slightly parted as she panted in excitement. That she was full of lust was also apparent in how her breasts felt against his chest. Being covered in rough, short hairs all over he could easily feel the two hard protrusions press against his rough skin.
"De gae, sie yeu sin." she muttered.
That drew him out of his stupor.
"What did you say?" he asked, trying to raise himself. He was brought short with a giggle and a wiggle as she started moving against him.
"I said that you're blind." She bit him again, the other earlobe this time. Harder, rougher. Her panting grew faster and she started picking up the pace. He groaned in response as his blood started flowing south.
"Last night was a warm up. A start." She wrapped her legs around him and pulled herself against him, tightly. He hissed at the sensation.
"You are not uncultured, Orc of mine. You are a better lover than that."

He wanted to respond but the tip of her tongue drew a slow line underneath his chin, rendering the attempt obsolete.
"Last night I had you in bed. But I didn't have you." She lowered herself and he groaned in pleasure as she rubbed herself against him. He felt himself harden, unable and partially unwilling to resist her.
"This time I want you fully," came her sultry voice. "I want your hands on my body. Your lips on mine. I want your tongue to explore me, your teeth to taste me." Her voice became more hoarse and her movements more hungry. The way she danced her hips across his length made him feel how aroused she was as droplets slid down from her and splashed across his groin. Her breasts scraped across his chest and her lips were close to his, tantalisingly close and coming closer every time she moved up and down. Her fingers trailed lightly across his rough skin, setting it aflame where-ever they went.

He shook his head, violently, and cleared the fog from his head. He grabbed her by the shoulders and pushed her up. In the back of his mind he realised that she was a lot taller than he had thought. She wasn't even two heads shorter than him. As he pushed her and her agonisingly tempting body away from her, he caught the grin on her face and the twinkle in her eyes and realised, far too late, that he had run into her trap. Moving swiftly she pressed her hips down against him just as he started to push and they both moaned as he pushed her smaller body onto his length. Daenan with his eyes closed and his mouth contorted in a snarl where reason fought a desperate battle against pleasure, and she with her mouth slightly open as the angelic sound echoed through the room.

She casually brushed his hands off her shoulders and placed her own down on his chest, pushing her off. Illuminated by the first rays of the morning sun, her long hair glittered just as much as her deep, green eyes. The covers slowly slid down her body, revealing her lithe form.
"I love the way your eyes are glued to me," she whispered, her voice so thick with lust that he could barely make out the words. "Do you like what you see? I know I do. I love green. It's my favourite colour."
His usual eloquence was smashed to pieces by the sight. Her ample chest heaved slightly as she breathed quickly, her cheeks burning red with pure want. She was leaning backwards slightly, showing off her looks and with reason. She wasn't as plump as he had expected, but she was thin, waspishly so, and his well trained eye told him that she was a lot stronger than she looked at first glance. His eyes continued their expedition. Her skin was smooth, and he knew it was soft as silk from last night. She was sitting still, her eyes focused on his face, waiting for a reaction, a comment. Her entire body was seemingly relaxed, yet he could feel that she was tense from the way her insides gripped his length. She was ready to pounce him at a moment's notice.

Unable to look away from the beauty on his lap, he closed his eyes, earning him a moment's reprieve. He fell back on his training, tried to collect his thoughts.
"No," he whispered, fighting off the near-overwhelming urges of his body to just take her.
Wrong answer.
"Yes!" she hissed, pushing herself down, hilting herself fully.
"By my honour!" he shouted, grabbing her roughly by the arms.
In a surprising show of force she freed herself with a quick movement and pinned him down. She was panting heavily now and so was he. She slowly grinded her hips against him, causing him agony in the form of overwhelming pleasure.
"My honour insists that you make up for last night. That you will give me your undivided attention. Your every effort to please me."
He groaned in response. He couldn't! He had things to do, even if Marcus didn't expect him for several more hours, he had to stem the upcoming tide of troubles as much as he could. She twisted her body slightly, how he did not know, but he nearly exploded from the feeling. She smiled slyly at him.
"You're in me, Daenan. Mind and body. But I am not in you."
She lowered herself against him, gently laying her soft body on top of his. She looked deep into his stubborn eyes, then slowly closed hers as she pressed her lips against him. Softly at first, without hurry. Then slightly harder. He felt her tongue dart against his teeth with surprising agility. He held firm, keeping his own lips closed. Feeling his resistance she moved and the sudden sensation took him off guard. He moaned and she made use of the opening. Her tongue darted through the breach and found his, and before he could stop her or himself, they tenderly intertwined. He wrapped his arms around her and pressed her head tightly against his for what felt like an eternity. He couldn't move beyond that, the slightest press of her limbs steered him. She tasted like sweet ambrosia. The feeling overwhelmed him, flooded through the final defences in his mind and left him bare, filled with want. She was far more skillful and alluring than a human had any right to be. Then she drew back and sat upright again, leaving the both of them panting, breathless. In the light of the morning sun he could see small droplets of sweat slide down her beautiful skin. It only enhanced her stunning image.

He was taken off guard by how vulnerable she looked all of a sudden. Her nakedness was bewitching him and it stirred him to hold her, to protect her and keep her safe. At the same time the arousal that hung in the room like a thick cloud spurred him on to be a lot less gentle, and the way her body gripped him left no doubt that she was more than eager for that. Her parted lips were an unspoken invitation and he longed to dive back into them.
"Please, Daenan," she whispered.

He jumped up and embraced her. Fully, properly. Just as she desired she had his undivided attention and he proved to be a very attentive lover. His mouth, when he finally tore himself away from her lips, explored her body thoroughly, leaving not inch uncovered. Rough, large and firm as he was, both in body and in sex, she did not let him get the upper hand and met his every thrust with even greater want, her body holding up and constantly moving as she intertwined with his or as her limbs coiled around his, spurring him on to do more. Where at first words were still used as exclamations of pleasure, soon those were beyond the pair and only primal screams revealed the pleasure they gave to one another. she tried to guide him but soon discovered he had no need for it, as he found the spots she wanted touched on his own. He left her full of tender marks and she squealed in delight for every one, before returning him to the best of her ability. At first they were creative, inventive. His fingers probed her and hers danced sensually across his body. He tasted her and found it to his liking and she melted under his touch. When part of his arousal was spent, she skillfully brought her oral skills to bear and replenished it. They moved from the bed and made thorough use of any piece of furniture they found, exploring the possibilities they brought. The desk was tried and tested, so was the chair. When they ran out of options on those, they made a valid attempt to return to the bed, but failed and mutually decided that the rug was comfortable enough as they left the frivolities behind and began to be more rough with one another. He took her wildly there and she urged him on. They managed to maintain their intense kiss for a short while, before their play grew so wild and rough that it simply wasn't feasible anymore.

As the pair neared the final and conjoined highlight, Daenan felt how her fingers, who had been digging into his back for quite a while, somehow managed to pierce his skin and draw blood. He hissed, temporarily pulled from the spell they both were under, but was sucked in again when she kissed him hard, clenching herself fully around him and making any movement all but impossible. With wild spasms, tightly embracing one another, it all came to an end and they collapsed in each other's arms, fulfilled and exhausted.


Half an hour later a properly freshened up Daenan joined Marcus and the others in the taproom and was greeted by a lot of cheers, which were doubled when the serving girl, her hair only partially restored to order, hopped down the stairs, gave him a quick kiss on the cheek and announced loudly that she was going out to buy supplies.



Making sure she wasn't followed, Ly stopped playing the serving girl as she pulled her armour out from a well hidden chest in her safe-house. She didn't waste any time and quickly put on all the separate pieces and tied them in place. She wasn't as well armoured as the normal Paladins from the Order, but her training was superior to them, let alone what she had received since.
She paused slightly when she spotted the dried up blood on her fingers and smiled. It wasn't the first time she had applied blood magic, and she was still in awe of the abilities it carried.
Then she continued getting dressed. The attire of a serving girl was little more than underwear to her.

Once she had fully donned her weapons and her armour she reached into the chest and pulled out her badge. Clipping it onto her breastplate, she felt a weigh sink down on her shoulders. Her time as the gleeful serving girl had come to an end. Duty called, and for a Paladin of the Order of the Eagle, that burden was heavy.
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Floris



Posts : 133
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PostSubject: Re: The Mansion in the Woods   Sat Nov 03, 2018 3:46 pm

As much as Ly didn't want to waste time, she knew better than to go to the headquarters of the Flame in a straight line.  The populace of Tinas was anxious enough as it was, and even though the Order wasn't exactly well known around these parts that didn't mean that her presence would go unnoticed. Fully equipped Paladins were a rather memorable sight after all, even one as lightly armoured as her. Rather than further antagonise the more rough elements of the city by openly announcing her presence, she shrouded herself in a cloud of distraction. It was a simple magical trick that was beyond the ability of most Paladins. They weren't recruited on their magical prowess after all. The Order of the Eagle, however, required their members to have a far broader skill set.
She hastily navigated through the maze of narrow streets that littered this part of the city and let her thoughts roam free.

Had she made a mistake when she had called in the fanatics of the Flame? Tinas had been ripe for colonisation, really. The Flame would have been an excellent militia force to pacify the city and wipe out the unrulier elements. Sure, they were fanatics, but there were plenty of decent folks with them. The original plan had been for them to enter the city in force, then she'd subtly stoke the fires between them and the underground of the city, steering them towards an open confrontation. The normal folks would hate the Flame for their zealotry and fanaticism, but that would subside quickly once their burning conviction had an outlet. The criminal elements would, despite their home ground advantage, be quickly eradicated when she joined the fray, allowing her to take up an advising role for the Flame and steering them towards a decent middle ground. Merchants would be happy that the crime rate dropped, civilians would be happy that there would be no more violence, the fanatics would be pacified and feel very successful and blessed to be guided by a Paladin, and the Order would have a strong and reliable outpost near the Wilds.

Of course, plans rarely survived contact with reality. She had never gotten the chance to steer them into conflict with the criminal underground, as the Flame had run into a Kobold village on their way to the city, and that had sparked a full out war with the nearby Hold. The fanatics, unable to come to terms with losing a third of their force against the Kobolds, had retreated to the city and imposed martial law, making the civilian populace sympathise with the criminal elements as a thriving black market sprang forth. Not only that, they had also begun aggressively recruiting citizens, and there was something about how that came to be that disturbed her. It wasn't unusual to conscript civilians, but after they came out of the headquarters they had been a bit too zealous for her taste. Either they had one hell of a recruitment manager, or something else was going on.

Then the Orc had shown up. She didn't doubt he was an Orc. She knew his race too well to be fooled by his eloquence. True enough, she had never met an Orc that was actually polite rather than constantly blinded by blood-thirst and rage, but that didn't mean he suddenly stopped being one. A grin crept on her face as she ran through the memories she had copied from his blood. She couldn't see too far in the past with it, she wasn't that skilled in blood magic, but she had very clearly seen him imitate a Paladin of her Order. He'd done a damn decent job of it too, and would likely have gotten away with it if he hadn't bumped into a real one. The real question was why he did it. Sure, avoiding getting impaled by crossbow bolts seemed to be a decent excuse, but that didn't explain the second time he did it. She had noticed that he hadn't feared death, but something else entirely. In that aspect she felt they shared a certain kinship. Death was but a minor issue compared to failing in their task. She grinned again. Kinship, huh. Never thought I'd be associating that with an Orc.

Still, as much as she had enjoyed the evening, night, and especially the following morning, it didn't diminish the very simple fact that his presence was an absolute major pain in her backside. The creature was dangerous. His equipment spoke volumes, the way he perfectly controlled his incredible strength, something she had tested very extensively, his wits... If the populace rallied to him for support, and he gave it to them, the short and harmless little war she had planned would end up wrecking the city entirely. Not only would Tinas be lost as an outpost to the Order that way, but it'd harbour a grudge towards all those who follow the Lord. Him being an unknown factor in the entire game made an already complicated situation worse. A lot worse.

So, she'd have to eliminate that factor. She could try a direct confrontation, but that would end badly. She was quite sure she'd win. She had plenty of tricks up her sleeve and she was far more than just a Paladin. But a direct confrontation against someone who hadn't sinned wasn't her style. Sure, he had killed one bloke with his aura, but her own hands weren't exactly clean either. And by killing that one guy he had kept a fight from breaking out that would have ended badly for all those involved. If she judged him by her own rulebook, he had put down an exemplary performance. Killing people like that didn't sit right with her. Another thing that made the majority of the Order look at those who belonged to those who donned the badge of the Eagle with suspicion. Most Paladins would put anything that didn't believe in the Lord, or wasn't a human or a member of an allied race to the sword as soon as it came within striking distance.
Then again, those Paladins didn't leave their home much. Indiscriminate murdering and long distance recon didn't merge well.

So she was stuck with the Orc, for now at least. Luckily enough he seemed to be a reasonable sort, although she wondered how well he would take it when he discovered that the tavern wench he casually bedded was the very Paladin he had pretended to be. That brought a smirk to her face. No doubt that'd be a fun little experience. That was a matter for later, however. First, she had to try to pacify the far too aggressive Patriarch of the Flame. If he was willing to grant her an audience. Bloody bastards were more than a bit sexist and didn't share the Order's ideas that ability was the only requirement, gender be damned. Luckily enough she'd have an ally in that little squirt, Miriander. The boy clearly idolised Paladins and that would give her an opening to at least start negotiations. It was a shame she couldn't fall back on her other identity, however. Despite that the other title she carried tremendously outranked her title as Paladin, it had the minor downside that it was a hidden organisation that very few people knew of. Even within the Order itself.



She made a brief pause in the shadows of a market stall and surveyed her surroundings. Letting the stream of magic to the shroud that hid her fade away, she admired the efficiency that the Flame had shown when setting up camp. Sure, she'd have preferred that they hadn't come in with swords drawn, evicted the entirety of the city council and their clerks, demolish the nearby stands to create open fields of fire and barricade the town hall to the point it resembled a fortress, but at least they had been terribly efficient about the matter. Fanatics and zealots they may be, but they knew their stuff when it came to military matters.
Except that they obviously don't know that it's a bad idea to try and assault Kobolds on their home ground with mere foot soldiers and a handful of mages. Oh well.
She double checked her armour and weapons, polished her badge with a piece of cloth for good measure, and stepped out of the shadow.

To their credit, the dozen guards noticed her instantly and the first row lowered their spears instantly. She ignored the weapons pointed at her and approached them calmly, as if they didn't concern her in the slightest.
"Halt!"
"I am Paladin Ly of the Order of the Eagle. I am here to speak with the Patriarch."
"Sure las, and I be a Bishop. Nice outfit fer a whore, but we den wan' yer type 'ere. Turn about and off with ye. Before I stab ye with me spear."
"She might like that Barrus."
"Aye, reckon she might."
She stopped right in front of the spear and folded her arms. "Are you obstructing my path, Barrus?"
"Aye las, that I be doin'."

She grinned and darted forward. To Barrus' credit, he wasn't caught entirely off guard and reacted with commendable speed. Yet to her, he might as well have not acted at all. She casually sidestepped his spear and brought the side of her hand against his temple, smashing hard enough to dent his helmet and making him collapse to the ground. Before the other guards could blink she took a second step, twisted, and smashed her elbow with a sickening sound into the face of another guard, shattering his nose. It was so simple. They were so slow. It was a matter of balance. Bring arm forward, return the other. Keep your balance. It was a mantra to her. The others started to react but she kept on her dance. She moved further, retreated her elbow slightly and repeated her earlier trick. The third guard went down, blood pouring from his nose. She shifted her weight and leaned forward and used the momentum from hitting the third guard to ram her palm onto the forehead of a fourth. She grimaced when she heard a crack and felt a pang of sorrow as she knew she had split his skull.

She had no time to lament the man's fate, however, as a spear was thrust in her direction. A fatal mistake for a fifth guard as she leaned back and brought her foot up, kicking it aside. As the overeager guard stabbed a colleague in the leg, Ly made use of her agility and turned sideways, delivering a devastating kick to his chestplate. It crumbled under the impact of her heavy boot and the man fell backwards, gasping for breath. She knew he was out with several broken ribs. Finishing her move she turned her head, stretched out her hands and grabbed the man with the wounded leg by the shoulders. She pulled him towards her at the same time her leg returned and she eliminated him as a threat by smashing her knee into him with enough force to shatter bone. His. Not hers.
Barely a moment had passed and half the guards were out, and she hadn't even drawn her weapon. The others reared back, looking towards each other, unwilling to be the first to step forward. She capitalised on that moment.

"Cease!" she barked. They obeyed like beaten dogs. "Get help for your friends. That one is dead, so don't bother with him. And one of you, take me to the Patriarch."
They didn't move and she grabbed one by the neck, pulling him towards her. Her green eyes were lit with anger and she hissed at him. "Are you obstructing me again?"
"N-no Paladin! We'll obey! Forgive us, we—"
"Stop whining and take me to the Patriach!"
"Yes Paladin! Please, follow me!"

She shook her head and left the carnage behind her. It was a shame, but this little display would stir up further trouble in the city. It was the most efficient way however. Well, maybe not, but she hated it when people challenged her authority when she actually could be bothered to make her identity public. She followed the lone soldier through the halls and was somewhat surprised to find that the carpets and furniture inside hadn't been removed. Given their sober, military style, the Flame usually found these luxuries unnecessary and did away with them post-haste. Their presence was worrying.

They passed several groups of soldiers that milled about, moving in and out of the rooms in the town hall. Every time they encountered one, her guide would shout loudly to make way for a Paladin of the Lord, causing everyone to jump against the walls while saluting her. It was a little guilty pleasure and she knew it, but she couldn't help but thoroughly enjoy it.

It didn't take long before the soldier paused in front of a large set of doors that were covered in masterful carvings, picturing the city in all it's glory with a major focus on wealth. The soldier knocked softly. The voice that responded was everything but soft however.
"WHO DARES DISTURB THE LORD IN HIS QUARTERS!"
"My Lord, I am your humble servant. A Paladin, most holy, has arrived and requested an audience with you, my Lord."
Lord? Uh oh...
"HOW SPLENDID. I DID NOT THINK THAT WORD OF MY ARRIVAL WOULD SPREAD OUT TO MY LOYAL SERVANTS SO QUICKLY. LET HER ENTER."
"Yes, my Lord." The soldier turned to her. "Please, good Paladin, the Lord is expecting you. Forgive us for not believing you at first, it was an honest mistake. Had we known who—"

She ignored his grovelling and pushed the doors open, revealing an enormous room that was filled to the brim with carefully crafted desks and closets, hand-woven carpets and a whole load more of that crap that she really disliked. But none of that bothered her as much as the man sitting on a throne made of gold. Normally she'd have been up in arms about such a waste of resources, but honestly, she struggled to see anything but the tall, red-haired man that sat atop the damned thing with bright red eyes.

"GREETINGS, MY LOYAL SUBJECT. HAVE YOU COME TO HONOUR YOUR LORD?" the voice boomed, unpleasantly loud.
The man was the spitting image of a storybook hero, albeit with red hair and eyes. His entire being radiated authority and glowed with unearthly magic. She fought off the urge to kneel in front of him.
She recognised him. Or it, rather. All the blood fled from her face as she turned as pale as snow.
Oh Light preserve me.  This explains everything. A fucking Fauknir. May the Lord have mercy on my soul.


Last edited by Floris on Mon Nov 19, 2018 7:19 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Floris



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Join date : 2017-02-03

PostSubject: Re: The Mansion in the Woods   Wed Nov 07, 2018 9:01 pm

A shiver ran down Ly's back as her mind raced. She tried to recall everything she knew about Fauknirs as quickly as she could. Everyone of her Order knew the general bits and that they were a major threat, but she'd need a lot more than that if she wanted to have a shot at surviving this.

First of all, they were arrogant. Believed themselves to be self-righteous to the point they often saw themselves as godly. Given that this one addressed himself as the Lord, that point was proven. She could use that to her advantage. She praised the Lord that she was allowed to falsely call out his name.
"My Lord, I did not, I must admit to my shame. I was not aware you were here, clouded as the world is by Darkness. I have failed to recognise your light, worry filling my head on how to further spread Your light. I ask humbly for your forgiveness, that you do not retract Your light from me, that I can remain on the blessed path, and that I may learn how to serve You better."

She hoped he'd buy it. Fauknirs were smart, far smarter than most people gave creatures with such self-delusions credit for. And if things turned violence, well, at least she wouldn't exactly feel it coming. They looked human, but were anything but. Physically, mentally and magically they completely outclassed them. It would take a large force of Paladins supported by high ranking Priests to subdue even a single one, if those were the only factors involved. The real danger was hidden in their ability to use blood magic. Not a little trickle like what she had at her disposal, oh no. They could turn others into puppets simply by speaking to them. Blood magic wasn't comparable to normal magic. It was alien, inhuman and dangerous beyond measure. Even now she kept fighting the urge to simply kneel down and swear allegiance to him, and she had years of harsh training behind it.

Her mind raced and tried to draw up plans to let her survive this encounter, and safely withdraw to the Order and return with an army. They'd torch Tinas to the ground to get him, but the price would be worth it. Left alone, Fauknirs could rally entire populations and destroy nations through civil war. Influence some, influence more, and before the rulers' would know it, half the land would have sworn allegiance to the creature through it's malicious and insidious influence.

The creature tilted its head. It looked so damn regal. If the Lord would deign to descend from Heaven, He'd look similar to this.
"YOUR APOLOGY IS ACCEPTED, LOYAL SERVANT. I DO NOT BLAME YOU FOR YOUR BLINDNESS. THE DARKNESS THAT NESTS NEARBY HAS ALREADY CLAIMED MANY LIVES, AND THE PEOPLE HERE ARE SLOW TO ACCEPT MY TRUTH. YET FEAR NOT, SOON ENOUGH OF THE FAITHFUL WILL HAVE GATHERED AND WE SHALL MARCH INTO THE FORESTS TO ERADICATE THEM ONCE AND FOR ALL."

She opened her mouth to speak, to protest that the civilian population might revolt, before her mind kicked itself in gear and reminded her that she had to ditch her entire earlier plan. Saving civilian lives, using the city as an outpost, every objective she had, all of it was irrelevant now. She only had two objectives. The primary being to survive long enough to report to the Order. They had to know. The secondary one was to limit the damage it could do.
She suddenly felt very glad that the Orc was still in the city. He might be the only one who could resist the creature's influence and actually take the fight to it, or to a large group of brainwashed civilians and win. Well, no. Not to the creature. The Fauknir would squash him like a fly.

"It fills my heart to hear that, my Lord. If Your humble servant may voice a request?"
"YOU MAY SPEAK."
"I worry that the Darkness will have spread to the population. If You take Your forces out of the city to eradicate them, I fear that they might revolt, seduced as they are by the Dark. If You would permit me, along with a token force of my choosing, I could keep them at bay." She was lying through her teeth and would disappear as quickly as the situation would permit, but she hoped he'd buy it.
"My skills are infinitely inferior compared to Yours, my Lord, but I am still significantly more able than the others here, I—"
"DO YOU THINK YOU CAN DECEIVE ME?"
She felt her pulse quicken at the thunderclap of a sentence. Her blood started heating up and the pressure the creature omitted washed over her defences and forced her to kneel. Focused as he was on her alone, she stood no chance. She was going to die and she couldn't even fight against it.
"My Lord—"
"YOU WISH TO PERFORM THIS TASK SO YOU CAN SHOW OFF YOUR ABILITY. TO GAIN PRESTIGE IN MY EYES. TO MAKE ME WITNESS YOUR ABILITY IN THE HOPE THAT I WILL REWARD YOU FOR YOUR FAITH AND SERVITUDE. I DO NOT DISLIKE THAT, BUT DO NOT TRY TO DECEIVE ME AGAIN."
An opening. She threw herself to the ground, burying her honour and spitting on its grave. She grovelled in front of him, kissed the ground and let her very real tears flow freely.
"It is as You say, my Lord. I am truly sorry. I only wish to serve You and to be allowed to be near You. I beg You for Your forgiveness." She could feel him smile at her as the pressure lessened.
"IT IS KNOWN THAT I AM GENEROUS AND KIND. I FORGIVE YOU. AND THE CONCERN YOU RAISE IS A VALID ONE. ALL POWERFUL I MAY BE, I CANNOT BE EVERYWHERE AT ONCE. WHAT FORCE WOULD YOU REQUIRE."
"My Lord!" She didn't have to act much to put pure elation into her voice. Death didn't scare her, but the idea of leaving a Fauknir at large was terrifying. Left alone in a city like Tinas, the creature could marshal a devastatingly powerful force in far too short a time.
"My Lord!" she repeated. "If I could be reinforced by wick-leader Miriander and any of his men, or Your less loyal soldiers." She took a gamble with that last sentence, but smart minds tended to find explanations for things even if they weren't there.
"YOUR HUMBLENESS SIRES YOU. VERY WELL. I SHALL GRANT YOU THIS BOON. I SHALL DEPART SOON WITH ALL THOSE FULLY LOYAL TO ME. I AM GRATEFUL THAT ONE AS CAPABLE AS YOU SERVES ME."
A note of amusement crept into his voice.
"EVEN IF YOU ARE A BIT ON THE ZEALOUS SIDE."

Ly felt a hot flash of anger roar through her body that she suppressed immediately, narrowly keeping her from glaring at the monster. The Fauknir laughed, a truly musical sound, but given how he didn't react beyond that she doubted he had spotted her deception.
"GO NOW, MY SERVANT. I HAVE MUCH TO DO STILL, AND TOO LITTLE TIME TO DO IT IN. BUT REST ASSURED, THE LIGHT WILL TRIUMPH AND PEACE AND PROSPERITY SHALL REIGN OVER THESE LANDS ONCE AGAIN."

Ly made a remarkably fast retreat out of the room, given that she had to remain dignified the entire time. She nearly ran out of the building, pausing only to nearly strangle the first guard she found and shouting at him that Miriander had to meet her at the inn he was at last night. Normally this would have ended in a snarky remark from the guard, but given that the Paladin was throttling him the man had wisely decided that discretion was the better part of valour, and promised on his eternal soul that he'd deliver the message and that the wick-leader would be there.
When she left the city hall, the guards recognised her immediately and jumped to attention, saluting her as she went by. She fled the courtyard and shrouded herself once again, vanishing from sight. She quickly picked up speed and soon was given in to her previously suppressed instincts and took off in a full sprint.

She didn't stop until she was several miles away from the building and the monster inhabiting it. She looked at her hands and wasn't surprised to see them shivering. She fell to her knees and clasped her fingers together. She cast her head skywards and closed her eyes and started praying. It was one of the most heartfelt prayers she had ever uttered. The Order of the Eagle had always hammered on how dangerous Fauknirs were, but it was the lessons she had received from the other group she was a part of that really drove their danger home. After all, if one of the most powerful and well hidden organisations in the world proclaimed something as a major threat, then a smart woman listened carefully. And Ly was many things, but stupid was not one of them.

Once she finally finished her prayers and recovered her wits to a reasonable extent, she made her way back to her hideout, taking a long and convoluted route to get back there. Once there she quickly changed into her serving clothes again. She let out a sigh. The bloody thing was decent in terms of skin it covered, but that was something she really didn't care about. She'd have gladly worn the most gaudy piece of lingerie if it had been properly enchanted with defensive spells. Her armour may not offer her any protection against a Fauknir, but she'd be foolish to ignore all other threats because a massive one had roared its ugly head.
She neatly put her armour back into the chest but kept her badge, closed it, locked it, shut the second lock and clicked the third one shut for good measure, before hiding the chest. Then she left and made sure both locks on the door were closed as well.

As she rushed through the shopping she had told the innkeeper she'd do, a hint of a smile finally broke through the worried lines on her still pale face. At least Daenan would still be around to provide an excellent distraction in the evenings. She paced herself at the last bit to keep herself from arriving at the inn while panting. Her reputation was already bad enough when she had simply playfully flirted with the green giant when he'd been around before, but now it would have undoubtedly plummeted after she actually slept with him. If it weren't for her employer's firm hand, the grim truth that most people had bigger things to worry about than she sleeping habits of a tavern girl, and the fact that even the most intoxicated patron realised that should Daenan should take offense to them, he could crush their skulls with a single hand, then a lot more salacious offers would come her way, accompanied with insults and other similar pleasantries. It was a close thing though, and if she arrived with her hair disheveled and panting heavily, not to mention a good bit later than she ought to have returned, then a lot of folks would start viewing her as a cheap two-penny whore. And that could only end badly.

She pushed open the door and immediately slipped back into her role. It was like putting on her second skin. She'd worn it for what felt like an eternity. With her mind still focused on the Fauknir and whether or not she should sent carrier pigeons, her body ran through the motions automatically. She greeted the innkeeper warmly, smiled at the patrons, batted the hands away of those who wanted to cop a feel or pull on her skirt to get them to sit on their laps, and danced through the room with her usual gleeful demeanour. It would take a keen observer to notice that her eyes weren't as radiant as they usually were, and looked dull instead.

Sadly enough for Ly, she wasn't aware of the discussion that her bed partner and his friend were having quite close by. Because Daenan might not have been paying a lot of attention to the details of what transpired in the morning, but his little Faerie friend was a whole lot more attentive, and was now pointing out every irregularity he had found in the story, and the Orc was listening with rapt attention and a dark scowl on his face.
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Floris



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PostSubject: Re: The Mansion in the Woods   Sun Nov 11, 2018 2:38 pm

"I mean, come on Daenan!" the little Faerie squeaked angrily. "There's nothing about it that's right! Even if we overlook the fact that a human suddenly finds herself mentally disturbed enough to bed an Orc, she somehow pierced your skin with her fingers! That doesn't add up! Nothing about it adds up! You're not the type of lazy oaf who'll prefer to spend the entire morning in bed rather than get things done! I've never known you to do that! You're always up at the crack of dawn!"
Daenan listened to his friend with rapt attention, in deep thought.
"You're right," he growled. "It doesn't add up. By my honour, it doesn't."
"See! See! I can understand why you took her with you last night, it pacified things greatly, but by all that blooms, you're an Orc! You're not attracted to humans! Sex doesn't transcend species!" the tiny creature cried out.
Daenan interrupted the tirade by raising an eyebrow. It transmitted a thought that Faen found profoundly worrying.
"There are species, human included, that—"
"I don't want to hear it!" Faen slammed his hands onto his ears, much to the amusement of the Orc.
"But what you say is correct. They share a certain similarity with us, body wise, are sentient, but... There always is a barrier. Or so I thought. So I believed. After last night, I'm not that certain anymore."
"Look, listen up you big oaf! After what you told me, I'm sure of it. She's not who she claims to be. If you can spend a full night making... well, if she can survive that, she's no ordinary human! And how many humans do you think can actually pierce your skin with their fingers?"
"You have a point, I'm not battling you on that anymore, am I?"

Faen huffed angrily. "It is my task. I study things, and proof is required. Forming an opinion is best done with as many facts supporting the claim as possible."
"Well she certainly didn't move like an ordinary human, the way she turned and twisted while—"
"Can it!" Faen squeaked, slamming his fist onto the bridge of Daenan's nose. It didn't do any real damage aside providing a slight discomfort, but it did shut him up. Damnable Orc kept a lecherous grin on his face.
"Do you understand how serious this all is?"
"I wouldn't worry overmuch. If she wanted to do harm, I reckon she'd have tried it so far. I don't think she associated with those zealots."
"That's what irks me. You think. I prefer knowing. I don't like unknown threats that could squish me."
"Faen, buddy, an annoyed cat could squish you if you don't watch out."
"Daenan, for the love of—"
The Orc raised his hand. "No, I'm taking it serious. It is in my nature to mock anything and make it seem smaller than it is, but I am just as worried as you. The only reason I don't show that outward worry is because I believe that she's not a direct threat to us."
"Don't tell me you've gone soft because you got laid!"
This time the Orc threw him an annoyed glare, and it was the Faerie's turn to smirk smugly. "No. I'm not that easily turned and you know that very well."
Faen knew he had hit a sore spot. The big oaf didn't show it outwardly, but the Faerie knew how much pride the Orc took in being unshakable and being incorruptible. That a girl had somehow gotten past his defences instilled a cold and frightening fury inside him and Faen felt the anger radiate of him.
"Then the only question that remains is, what are you going to do about it?"
The bones in Daenan's hand creaked in protest with how much strength he exerted on the handle of his war hammer.
"You know me friend. In cases like these I am not much for tactics, ambushes or other indirect means to reach my goal."
He lifted the weapon with ease, despite it's massive weight.
"I reckon I'll just have a little chat with her when she comes back. Marcus doesn't need me for the rest of the day anyway. The others provide enough protection for him with even the petty thieves having gone into hiding with those damned fanatics all over the place, and I'd only draw further unneeded attention. Are you sure you don't want to tag along with him? He's not much without you backing him up, you know?"
"Bah, he's not planning on buying anything anyway. We discussed this while you were in bed. He's going to cut his losses and just sell as much as he can in two days, ditch the rest and then get out of the city while we still can. He's scared out of his wits, even if he doesn't want to admit it."
The Faerie flew towards the cupboard and plopped himself down onto it, crossing his arms and legs in a smooth movement.
"So, since he's not picking up anything, he doesn't need me to help him appraise things. I've already updated the ledgers as well, so he knows what price range he should sell everything in. And I'd rather not run into the Flame out there."
Daenan slowly stretched his arm, the muscles pulling taut as he held the heavy weapon horizontally. "In that case you may not want to stay here."
Faen paled slightly. "How so?"
"Because if the way she moved last night was any indication, this inn isn't going to remain standing if our chat turns, hm, uncivil."

As if Darkness steered the events, Faen heard a door open, an enthusiastic voice shout that she was back, and slam shut again. Any colour that still remained on his pale complexion disappeared entirely and he shot out of the window like an arrow, barely spending any time to conceal himself.
Daenan's hand cracked again in protest as his green fingers gripped the handle tightly. His gaze was aimed at the floor and intense enough to nearly burn a hole through it. It took him a long time before he finally managed to calm himself and he finally managed to put the weapon down, forced his face to take on more normal look, and went downstairs.


He saw her flitting about from patron to patron, he seemingly usual self, but he noticed that her steps lacked their usual spring. What was even more unusual was that the very moment he had descended the stairs, she had looked up at him. So she'd made out the sound of the stairs creaking due to his weight despite the full taproom? Another thing that wasn't normal.
Faen was right. Nothing about this makes sense.
He knew better than to just blindly charge in however, and resorted to tricks most people thought his kind incapable of. Subterfuge and deception. He smiled a broad and lazy smile and waved at her. He made sure that his eyes hid his real emotions and instead greeted her with elation and a hint of longing. While last night may have not made that too difficult, the ice cold fury underneath made the task a whole lot more challenging.
She smiled warmly at him as she waved back and gestured for him to come towards her. Sealing away his murderous aura, he walked over to her.


Ly was worried. She had heard Daenan the moment he came down, and knew she fucked up when she looked in his direction. He hid it well. Too well. Maybe it was tradition, because the guy was an Orc after all, but she hadn't thought him capable to this level. It wasn't an easy task to mask your emotions and feelings, and it was a lot easier to see through such a deception than maintain one. There was something off with him. He was suspicious of her. And if she could see through his disguise then...
He could see through hers
For a brief moment she considered making a run for it. She was unarmed and really didn't like the odds. Then his demeanour changed and he waved at her. The intense feeling that he radiated a moment before disappeared and she let out a sigh of relief when she recognised the emotion in his eyes. Lust and longing was something she was fairly familiar with. She waved back at him and gestured for him to join her.
She felt a knot of stress untangle itself from her back. She was jumping at shadows. She didn't blame herself, really. Meeting a Fauknir would do that to people, provided they actually survived the encounter. She eyed him as he waded through the patrons, enjoying how little the shirt he was wearing did to hide his muscles. She still had time before Miriander would arrive, and the innkeeper owed her enough that she could easily get away with an unexplained break.

"Hello lover mine. Glad to see I didn't tire you out too much," she greeted him, flashing him a sultry grin. His eyes twinkled and his fangs revealed themselves as he returned her grin.
"I'm pleased that I can the same about you," he grumbled, motioning to the innkeeper for a drink.
She caught him on the arm before he finished the gesture. She squeezed him tenderly, sticking to her disguise as a feeble serving girl.
"How about we remedy that?" Her voice was hot and hoarse. Needy even. That was something she didn't have to mask. Her desires had always been unconventional, if they ever reared their head. But just to make sure, she subtly prodded him with her aura. No harm in doing that. It was a little extra stimulation.

Something flashed briefly in his eyes and she felt the threads of her aura dissipate the moment they came close to him.
Oh fuck.
She paled and knew she paled and that it was a mistake, but she couldn't help it. If he could defend herself against her aura, that means he could wield it as well. She tried to withdraw her hand but he was faster and grabbed hers, giving it a not so light squeeze.
"Sounds like a plan," he responded. His voice as hoarse as hers. He stood up and pulled her with him. As she nearly fell of her stool, he placed a hand on her thighs to keep her steady, his fingers pressing against places in the same way they had this morning.
Had she been mistaken? Was there another reason that her aura had bounced off him? He definitely seemed lustful. She was running out of options quickly. If she wanted to make a break for it, she'd have to push him off, and with the strength he was using now that meant blowing her cover, at least to him, even if she managed to make another excuse to the patrons. If he was already wary of her, then she'd have no chance at all. On the other hand, if he wasn't suspicious of her and it was just her paranoia speaking, then staying with him was the safest choice. Not to mention the most pleasurable.

As she was pondering her two options, they ascended the stairs and she felt how he wrapped his arm around his tender body. Out of sight of the patrons below, his hand slid upwards until it rested on her breast. He squeezed it, perhaps a bit rougher than he ought to have, but given last night's performance it was deserved. They had been much rougher then after all. His fingers were skillful and within moments he had slipped past her shirt and now had the ascent of her breast firmly between them. He pinched and she pressed herself against him, letting out a low growl of pleasure. Her choice made, she started running up the stairs. She let out a giggle as she escaped his grasp, but did so in a playful way. He could have stopped her easily if he wanted, and that he didn't further encouraged her that she was worried over naught.

Still... Better to be safe than sorry.

In a smooth movement she slipped out of her shirt and tossed it down behind her, leaving the Orc to stare at her naked back.
"Be a dear and bring that with you, will you?" She blew him a kiss and giggled excitedly when he let out a low growl and sprinted after her, scooping up her shirt in the process. She heard fabric rip behind her and turned to look, and found that she was now being chased by a very attractive, green giant, who happened to be topless. It distracted her enough that she nearly careened into a wall, only narrowly dodging it at the last moment. She moved a bit swifter than a serving girl should be able to, but at this point that was a moot concern. She used the stumble to shake her skirt off, leaving her only in her underwear. She was pleasantly rewarded when he tried to mimic it and didn't manage to fully round the corner. She had to give him credit though, he merely glanced off the wall rather than crashing straight through it.

She burst into her room with Daenan directly behind her. She jumped towards her bed and never made it. The Orc intercepted her mid flight while simultaneously kicking the door shut. He pulled her towards her while his momentum carried them to the bed. He growled in her ear and teasingly bit her earlobe. She laughed. It intensified when he tore off her underwear. He didn't slip it off, he just tore it off. The cloth didn't resist much. She might have felt sad about the loss of clothing, but the pay off was that it was incredibly unlikely that he had any other intentions besides taking her there and then.
She felt how he discarded the last bits of clothing on his end and pressed a passionate kiss onto her lips that she greedily accepted and returned. He picked her up and tossed her onto the bed, making her turn around so that she'd face him. She barely had the time to throw a hungry look at his loins before he took her. He seemed so utterly filled with want that she didn't even have the time to open her arms. He just embraced her, his lips warmly against hers, his arms tightly around her body, pinning her arms to her sides. They struggled briefly with their legs before she managed to move hers out of the way and the pleasure caused her to scream into his mouth. He really didn't waste time for foreplay this round and just pressed deeply into hers, grinding his chest into hers.

Then he broke off the kiss and she found herself staring into very calculating and serious eyes.
"So, serving girl. It is time you and I had a chat."

Both arousal and colour left her body in an instant as she froze and paled simultaneously.
Shit
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Floris



Posts : 133
Join date : 2017-02-03

PostSubject: Re: The Mansion in the Woods   Thu Nov 15, 2018 7:23 pm

Daenan stared directly into her deep, green eyes. They had gone wide for a moment as she paled, but now they narrowed again. Faen had been right. This was far from an ordinary serving girl. He felt the muscles in her arms tighten as she undoubtedly ran through her options and tested his strength. He blinked in surprise. She was strong. Incredibly strong. It was the sort of raw strength that only prolonged training and years of combat could bring.
He grinned and displayed all of his teeth. She was strong. But he was much stronger. He squeezed her. Not too hard, just enough to give a proper warning that she was at his mercy now. He could hear her bones creak in protest and she relaxed her muscles again. Colour started returning to her face as she frowned.
By my honour, he thought. She's good. Calculating and cunning like a fox. And not easily scared either.
He admired her, in a strange way. The way she remained composed despite that she was, well, in a rather complicated and delicate situation and position. His arms threatening to shatter her bones into splinters aside, there was also the added fun fact about Orc and human physiology that if he made a hard thrust forward, he would do a lot of damage on the inside as well. He shooed away the realisation that it had felt rather pleasant when she had tightened up like that.


He felt her reach out with her aura. He prepared herself to crush her a bit, teach her not to do that. He was already being far too lenient with her. She had used him in a way he wasn't happy about at all. He hated being manipulated, no matter how pleasant her methods had been.

"Urgh!" she grunted. The aura fell away immediately. He couldn't tell what she was trying to do with it. He wasn't good with it. He could defend himself against such attacks to a fair extent, but his own ability to extend it beyond his physical self was incredibly limited.
"You oaf!" she gargled. Her muscles pressed hard against his. She was exerting enough strength to crush most Men, but she may as well have been attempting to crush a bar of steel. Actually, a bar of steel would bend sooner than he would. He kept up the pressure for a good while, until she had assumed a rather nice shade of purple. He could see that she was still keeping calm though, and preparing herself for an all out attack should he push it too far. Obviously she didn't expect him to kill her. A fair observation really, given that she had answers he wanted.
He loosened slightly and she hungrily sucked in air, coughing as much as the tight vice he formed allowed her.
"By the Lord, if I die in this position I swear on His name that I'll haunt you for the rest of your life!" Her eyes spat fire towards him and before he could blink she smashed her head against his. Then he did blink while she recoiled, her eyes unfocused as she groaned loudly.
"That was stupid. I am stupid. Stupid and naked and tight down in bed by an Orc in the most messed up interrogation position I have ever been in."

She shook her head a little and resumed her glaring at him.
"For the record, I was going to show you who I am. My badge's in the heap of clothes laying on the ground."
He squeezed again and she made a squeaky sound that he found absolutely delightful. He grinned darkly at her.
"Last chance. I don't need my answers that badly."
She paled slightly. Good. He wasn't joking around.
"I'm Ly. Unlike you, I'm an actual Paladin of the Order of the Eagle. And I'm not here to kill or harm you."
"Oh."
Her eyes caught fire again and she struggled against him, then groaned when she moved her hips too much. The resulting mixture of pain and, strangely enough, pleasure, made her wrap her legs tightly around him to keep herself still.
"Oh? Is that all you have to say? Lord— Flipping dammit! Let me go already! Put me in a normal position if you want to interrogate me! I swear on His name I won't try to escape or use force unless you try to kill me!"

He smiled at her, and she glared at him, somehow managing to ignore the very threatening fangs that were in her face.
"No. I won't."
"You—"
He bashed his forehead against hers. Her head shot back and her neck nearly broke as it struggled from the sudden pressure on it. Her eyes became hazy and her mouth remained open, mid-curse.
"Listen well then, Ly from the Eagles." He spoke calmly, masking his emotions quite well. A good part of his anger had disappeared. He was mostly amused now. Still, she had manipulated him and she wouldn't get off lightly.
"You used me. Abused me. Lied to me. I cannot say I am happy about that. I don't know why you did all that either, and that I like least of all. So you will stop being a little bitch, stop complaining about the situation you are in, and you will answer my questions, using as little words as possible. For every word you use that I deem unnecessary, I will tighten my hold on you. Am I clear?"
She nodded, then grimaced as pain washed over her. Probably a concussion. His head was rather hard.

"Why are you here?"
"Scouting. Try to prepare the lands for missionaries of the Order. Create bases if possible, establish alliances. Kill evil. Eagle stuff."
"And what about here, in this inn specifically?"
"Good disguise and place to hear gossip. Makes it easy for me to disappear without an explanation."
He raised an eyebrow, looking at her in wonder. Apparently he was easy to read because she answered the unspoken question, even though she was clearly worried that he'd crush her. Inner body language was hard to mask, and he could feel her tremble quite thoroughly.
"People assume I got pregnant and went away to get rid of it."
"Why go to bed with me?"
"To pacify the situation."
She was lying. He could smell it. He tightened his grip.
"You're green!" she squeaked.
That answer took him so off guard he nearly let go. She jumped onto the opportunity and tried pulling her limbs together to launch herself out of his hold like a cannonball. He noticed the pain in her eyes, from the concussion no doubt, but she shrugged it off. He could feel magical energies gathering around her and he knew he was going to get hurt if she launched that at him. His lips displayed a ruthless and feral grin.

He thrust his hips forward and the energies dissipated immediately. She let out a scream of pain and wrapped her limbs across him. He had torn a few things, no doubt. She was good though, she had managed to get her arms out of his hold. He pinned them down behind her back and held them there. He wasn't holding her so gently this time. In this position her arms where only a sneeze away from being torn from their sockets.

It took her a long moment before she collected herself enough to voice words again.
"Good Lord that hurts."
"Explain yourself," he said, continuing as if her escape attempt hadn't happened.
"I'll be dead within the hour if I you don't let me heal from this Daenan."
He knew she spoke the truth. He also knew he didn't care. And she had said words that weren't needed. So he tightened his grip again. After all, she hadn't answered his question.
"I like green things. It's that simple. I really, really like them. And I like strong and capable men," she confessed meekly, pain still contorting her face.
"Is that the only reason you went after me?"
"Partially. I needed to draw your blood so I could read your memories of what you did with Miriander. I don't want a war to happen in this city."
"You could have done that in a less suspicious way."
She glared at him through the pain.
"You would have fucking noticed. You already noticed that something was off. How the fuck did you even see through me?" There was genuine anger in her voice and it nearly overrode the pain.
"Because unlike you, I have friends who watch my back."

Something in her broke. He didn't know what it was, but that comment had cut her deeply. She pulled up a wall around her in the blink of an eye, but it couldn't mask the new layer of pain on her face.
"So what now? Will you kill me? If so, get it over with al-fucking-ready. Either kill me, or let me go. You're not a concern of mine. I have bigger things to worry about."

He very nearly killed her. His own anger exploded and the urge to just close his arms and shatter her to bits was almost impossible to resist. He couldn't even pull out of her and give her a beating, because given her magical talents she'd turn the situation around in a few heartbeats.



It didn't stop him from growling at her. This wasn't the normal growling he did. His feral side emerged. A wild part of his soul, lurking deep within him, a part that only wanted to destroy. It was a low sound that vibrated in her chest and genuinely scared her out of her wits. Ly could feel the blood magic within her stirring at the sound and had no idea what it meant, except that it felt incredibly foreboding. It felt similar to when she had met the Fauknir. She couldn't place it. It wasn't comparable to aura, that felt completely different. It was something primal and ancient and beyond frightening. It wasn't Daenan himself, although him hovering over her would fuel her nightmares for a good long while if she survived this. No, it was as if there was something behind him. Something that was impossible frightening. Something that made even the Fauknir pale in comparison. And it was only a faint echo.

For the first time in well over a century, Ly decided to let go of her pride and stop being stubborn. She vaguely became aware that somewhere along the way the agonising pain had ceased being important in the face of the monster on top of her. She meekly lowered her eyes. When she swallowed, in an attempt to regain control of her voice, she felt his teeth press against her neck. A shiver ran across her spine.
Lord above, I can't remember the last time I was this scared. I don't think I ever was.
She gingerly ran her tongue across her lips, wetting them.
"There's a Fauknir in town," she whispered.



Daenan, lost as he was in his feral state, was somehow still sentient enough to recognise her behaviour as that of someone who admitted defeat. He tried to resurface from his anger, but failed. Oh well. He could co-exist with this part of him.
"Show me your badge," he growled.
Tears appeared in her face as the fear took more and more root in her heart, but she obeyed him. He look at the badge and nodded after a while. It was the real thing. That made things easier.
"Swear on the name of the Lord that you'll obey me, that you won't try to harm me, and that you'll answer my questions truthfully."
She hesitated slightly, but spoke the oath. He knew it'd bind her. Paladins preferred death over breaking their oaths.

"Now, tell me everything. From when I first arrived, to now, and anything you deign related."


It took well over an hour, but Daenan let her heal herself about ten minutes in, being a lot more lenient with her now that she was peacefully cooperating and behaving meekly. Even with behaving like the perfect prisoner, it took him the better part of the story before he finally managed to return to his normal self.

By the time she was finished Ly had regained a semblance of her usual behaviour and was looking slightly defiant again, but both parties knew she was tightly bound to her oath. Most of his anger was gone as well. It was weird to see how he really hadn't been anything more than a random bystander in the entire thing. As he laid on top of her, still maintaining his hold, her eyes caught his attention when they changed from angry and stubborn to thoughtful.
"I don't assume you'd be willing to help me deal with the Fauknir? You're strong, and I think you're one of the only people in this city who wouldn't fall under his spell. I could use your help."
He laughed. The idea was absurd. An Orc and a Paladin of the Order teaming up against a Fauknir who posed as the Patriarch of a zealous order who also followed the Lord? It sounded like the script of an overly dramatic play by an incapable playwright with more ambition than common sense.
For a moment she very visibly displayed the urge to hit them, despite her given oath, then she settled for something that she was allowed to do, and she pouted.
"It's not that stupid. Fauknirs are a threat of a level you can't imagine. Even the two of us together stand no chance against him, let alone when he has an army. But I really could use your help in keeping the situation contained. You're not a bad man, Daenan."
"Orc."
"You're not a bad oaf, Daenan," she replied, a cheeky smile on her face.
He squeezed her lightly.
"Orc! Orc!"
He loosened up again.
"No. I won't help you with the Fauknir. I don't believe they're inherently evil, as you claim they are. They merely happen to be what they are and they cannot help that. Most of them are very caring for their followers, as far as the stories I've heard go."
"You can't be serious!"
"I am. Now then. I'm done interrogating you. I won't help you, and I expect you to behave while I'm still in town, and don't you dare play any more games with me."
"I—! Fine..." She sighed. "You win. I'll behave. Can you at least tell me a few things about yourself? Where did you learn so much about the Order? And what kind of Orc are you? You're... well, unique, to say the least."
He shook his head. The girl was more than slightly mental in more ways than one. He undid his hold and placed his hands beside her shoulders, leaning lazily on them.
"Now why would I tell you that?" he asked.
"Well..." she purred. "You could consider it a reward for me behaving like a good girl."
She wrapped her legs around him and tried pulling him down. When that failed, she simply pulled herself up until her chest rested against his again.
"Or don't. Just don't go. Because right now, I could really, really use some stress relief," she whispered hotly into his ear, biting his earlobe gently.
"Isn't Miriander supposed to arrive soon?" he responded, shaking his head softly. He upgraded her from mental to fully insane.

She wrapped her arms around his chest and slid against him teasingly, moaning into his ears as she moved her hips.
"Fuck Miriander," she whispered.
She pulled her head back, suddenly looking very serious. She shook it, aggressively so.
"No. Don't." She voiced it like a command.
She kissed him, hard and roughly. Her eyes were full of lust, completely devoid from any thought or emotion but that one. She briefly broke it.
"Fuck me," she demanded, before resuming the kiss.
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Floris



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PostSubject: Re: The Mansion in the Woods   Sat Nov 17, 2018 6:50 pm

Well Ly thought as she lay alone on the bed. At least he did tire me out.
She sat upright, grimaced a bit as she called up her magic, before hopping out of bed. Letting out a sigh as it healed the numerous bruises and "love" bites that covered her body, she stretched and shivered in delight when her bones made that delightful cracking noise.

She did a few quick exercises to get the blood flowing again, then started getting dressed. She let her aura flood the room, making sure that the Orc had actually left. Once she confirmed that he was gone, her deep green eyes lit up with unbridled fury. And she couldn't even take it out on the fucking room! No, she'd have to be obedient and play the oath-bound Paladin for now. Lucky for her and bad for him, he didn't know that she could easily ignore that oath if certain demands were met. And that wasn't hard. He deserved it too! Lord above, she had never been that humiliated before. She had been captured before, but not— She turned red at the memory and hated that it was more than just anger. Part of her had enjoyed it and she hated that part too.

She'd silence him just to keep that tale from getting out. If her brethren ever heard of that, she'd be the laughingstock of the Order for decades. She tilted her head and started counting all the reasons she'd have to get him for. First and foremost was the previous reason. Then there was the fact that he had seen through her disguise. The fact that he had managed to capture her, which was a different reason than the how of course. So, all things considered, she'd lure him into a trap of her own making, beat him to an inch of his life and take her sweet, sweet time with it, do it rather bloody and painfully too, then bind him to her so tightly he couldn't even dream of going against her. She wouldn't kill him. Heaven above, that'd be a waste! No, she'd keep him as her pet. Her tall, strong green pet. Good for a travelling companion, a guard, carrier boy, or man rather, as well as for... other things. Her lips twitched upwards in an evil grin as her eyes glittered darkly.
Vengeance would be sweet.


"YOU FUCKED HER AGAIN!"
Daenan had to fight to keep a broad grin from dividing his face. He found the situation highly entertaining to start with, and to see a tiny Faerie put up such an absolutely enraged front really made matters worse. It wasn't a fight he was winning. Faen had been keeping an eye out on the inn, and when it hadn't exploded after an hour, he had flown back in.
"STOP GRINNING YOU GREEN BASTARD!" Faen cried out.
Daenan started laughing and the Faerie flew up to him and started hitting him. Really hitting him. As in, magic surging into the Orc's body with every blow. It hurt, but he knew he deserved it. It didn't last too long, luckily enough, before his friend ran out of strength and gave up.

He fluttered down and sank onto the bed.
"I don't get it Daenan. You were out for blood earlier. And now you're telling me you made nnice and then you slept with her again."
"I... Listen, Faen. I was angry. I'm not that hard to anger in some areas. But just because I'm angry doesn't mean I'm unreasonable. She had no ill intentions to me, she didn't really harm me in any ways, and I can sympathise with the reasoning behind it. Still, she did deceive me."
Faen opened his mouth but Daenan talked over any objections.
"And she paid the price. I wasn't gentle with her and she got hurt a fair bit during the interrogation. I also forced her to swear oaths to me."
And I put the fear of her Lord into her. He didn't say that out loud. That was a part of him that nobody but his race needed to know of.
"And about sleeping with her... Well. I've been travelling on my own for a long time. I'm not made of stone, Faen. I have been away from my people for a long, long time. And don't you dare call the cretins that infest these parts my kin or I'll glue your wings together!"
Faen motioned that his lips were shut tight.
"She's... Well. Tough. Supple. Reminds me our women, in a way. I'm not going to go in detail, I know how much you frown on it all, but it's a harmless bit of fun that I haven't had access to in years."
Faen shook his head. "I don't blame you for that, you big oaf. I'm worried that she'll break her oaths. I'm worried she'll hurt you. Or somehow lure you into fighting the Fauknir. Those things really are a nightmare made real, you know?"
"Really? I've encountered a few of them, but they never seemed to bother me much. Delusional bastards the lot of them, and sometimes very prone to getting angry, but as long as I remained polite they returned the favour."
The Faerie's mouth fell wide open. "You're telling me you met more of them? How? By the Queen, how are you still sane?"
"What do you mean?" Daenan asked, his thick eyebrows quizzed in a frown.
"I... How can you not know? They use blood magic" hissed the tiny creature. "They influence the minds of all those around them. Rare are the minds that can resist their touch. They do not do it on purpose either. It is just the way they are. Nearly everyone who is near them will automatically agree with them and become their loyal follower!"
"Huh. Really? I never felt that way. Isn't it just Men who are susceptible?"
"No," whispered Faen, his normal pale skin having turned pearl-white. "No living creature is immune to their touch. I can't imagine why you weren't affected, but I do know that if your lady-friend finds that out, she'll be coming for you with some friends of her."
"Ah, well I wouldn't say no if she brought more friends along to—" He coughed loudly as Faen blasted a considerable amount of magic into the Orc's stomach, causing him to double over. It costed Faen most of his energy reserves, but the oaf deserved it.
"By the Queen, Daenan, this isn't a laughing matter. You'd be captured and quite probably dissected. Vivisected."
"Haven't heard those words before," coughed the Orc.
"It means they'll cut you open. First one means they do it while you're dead. Second one is while you're still alive."
"Oh."
"Yes, oh," mimicked Faen with a mocking tone.
"You really don't know how dangerous Fauknirs are, do you?"
"I... No, I don't."
Faen let out a long sigh. "Right, where to start. Keep in mind that Fauknirs have caused some of the bloodiest wars in known history. Their influence doesn't fade easily, even when they don't meet up with their victims for years."
For once the Orc managed to withhold his comments and sat there quietly as Faen revealed just how dangerous Fauknirs were, even if it wasn't on purpose.


Miriander was glancing about the inn. He wasn't at ease. He had carefully changed his attire, had even gone to the extent of dying his hair, to make sure that the patrons wouldn't recognise him. He had taken several of his more trustworthy men with him, and they too had been suitably disguised. They were spread around the taproom in small groups, keeping watch.
None of it made sense. The soldier that had relayed the message had talked about a female Paladin. Yet the Paladin he had met was male, no doubt about that. He stared darkly into his drink as he wondered if there was some sort of spell that allowed people to disguise their gender. As his eyes nervously darted around the room, fearful of being recognised, he hoped there was.

"Here you go hun, it's on the house. A gift from me," came a sweet voice, interrupting his thoughts. He looked up and saw the green-eyed serving girl standing in front of him, holding her tray against her hip in her usual alluring manner. She held up a large mug and slowly brought it down, leaning down far more than was needed to put it down. His eyes fluttered to her ample chest for a moment, then back to her face, before he jolted back towards her chest.
The badge of a Paladin of the Eagle was laying in between her breasts, carefully hidden from outside eyes.
"Oh, before I forget hun, I found your money pouch. It's up in my room. I'm free in about ten minutes, so we can go get it then."
Miriander nodded, his eyes thoughtful.
This couldn't possibly be the same Paladin that had knocked him out yesterday. Did that mean there was a second one? That couldn't possibly bode well for the situation if two of them were gathered in the same place.
He thanked her and she smiled broadly. He sipped from it as he signaled his men. They were good soldiers, and he had grown up with them. It wasn't a very large squad, and they had taken some losses over the years, but they functioned well together. In a few quick motions he told them that he had made contact, that he'd go away for a bit and that they had to stay put. Well, he signalled that he'd scout ahead, but they could read the context.

He took another sip from the mug again, tasting it this time. It was tea. Clearly the Paladin wanted him sober.
He felt his eyebrows lock into a frown, making it look as if he was staring angrily at the mug. He couldn't help it however.
Because no matter how hard he tried, it was hard to combine the ideal of a brave Paladin exploring the unknown with a very sultry serving girl flashing him most of her chest.
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Floris



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PostSubject: Re: The Mansion in the Woods   Mon Nov 19, 2018 7:17 pm

Miriander followed the serving girl up the stairs. What little doubt he had about her being an actual Paladin were dispelled when he saw how she moved. For all the world it seemed like a sultry manner that focused on shaking the hips, but when she did it, the movement was controlled and faked. Not that a lot of people would notice. Not that he would have noticed had he not been carefully observing her.
Then again, there never had been much question about whether or not she was real. The badges that the Paladins of the Order carried were enchanted. They couldn't be replicated and emitted a pleasant amount of heat, among other things. Most important of all, however, was that they were attuned to their owners. If they were stolen, or the owner murdered, then they'd self destruct. Fairly violently at that.

As he observed the lithe form of the young woman in front of him, Miriander did shake his head slightly. The Eagle had a reputation for being out of the ordinary and the tales he had gathered since his first encounter with them had only served to reinforce that reputation. But still... The serving girl didn't seem much older than twenty and played her role frighteningly well. His mind really struggled to see her not as an attractive young woman, but as a Paladin.
Then they entered her room and her behaviour changed instantly.

"Sit. There's too much to discuss and too little time."
Her voice was like thunder and he found himself sitting on the bed before he even taught about it. She stalked the room like a feral cat and her green eyes were ablaze with light in the dimly lit room. Gone was the impression of a young serving girl. Even wearing as little as she was her authority was undeniable.
"Have you ever met the Patriarch directly?"
"The Patriarch? No, Paladin, I haven't."
"Good. He's not who he claims he is. Claims he's the Lord himself."
"He is though, isn't he?"
She paused and glared at him.
"I— I mean, he's the lord of Urnival, isn't he?"
Her expression softened and she shook her head. Sadly and slowly. "No, Miriander. He claims he's the Lord. Ruler of all. Lord of Light."
The young man's face paled. "I... No! That can't be!" He stood up, desperation written clearly across his handsome features. "Paladin, are you telling me I've been serving a traitor all this time?"
"Do not blame yourself, Miriander. You have been deceived by something far greater than a mere Man."

In short order Ly explained the situation to the wick-leader, then had to give the man a few moments to compose himself. He was a devout follower of the Lord and the news hit him hard. He was a good soldier, however, and soon sorrow and pity turned to determination and anger.
"What would you have me do, Paladin?"
"For now? Nothing. Gather the men you can trust. I have been granted its permission to guard the city when he next goes out to fight the Kobolds. They should distract him for a while. In the meantime we should try to evacuate as much of the city as we can, and inform the Order of the creature's presence. I am capable, Miriander, but I am alone. I need more men for this task. Men you have. But take care, I'd rather perform this task with a handful but trustworthy companions than with an entire army containing a single traitor. If the creature finds out, he will likely strike back, and none of us will weather that storm."
"I understand Paladin. But what about the other Paladin that I met yesterday? Can he not be of any assistance?"
A strange mixture of emotions slid across her face for a brief moment before she locked it away behind an emotionless mask.  
"He has tasks of his own he must perform. He cannot render us any aid. It is best you pretend he is not here. I wish it was not so, but alas, I cannot command him nor could I convince him to support me. Therefore it will be up to you and me, Miriander, wick-leader of the Flame."

The young leader drew his sword and knelt down in front of the Paladin.
"By His light that I serve. By His mercy I breath. By His will I act. I will be your sword and shield, Paladin. I will be your tool. Use me as you see fit."
A gentle smile appeared on her lips and a pleased twinkle ghosted behind her eyes.
"Your attitude is commendable, Miriander. If we succeed and survive, I am sure the Order would welcome you with open arms."
That rendered him speechless. He lowered his head further and the knuckles holding onto his sword turned white. He tried to hold himself back, but soon tears fell from his face onto the floorboards.
"My only goal is to serve the Light, Paladin," he whispered with a broken voice.
"And serve it you shall. Now rise. We both have much work to do. I will need to send messengers and I cannot draw them from your men. The creature would notice. Vile as it may be, its intelligence is not to be underestimated. That it is delusional is our only strength.
Now go! Gather your men! Keep me updated! I will remain in this inn, so you can always find me. If you need to meet up with me, send one of your men in. Make him order a ginger tea and a mug of cider. It will let me know that you are looking for me. Do not tell your men who I am. After that, let him return to your location. I will shadow him and find you through your man."
Miriander, who had stood up and had been listening patiently, now bowed deeply. "I shall do as you command, Paladin. May the Lord be with you."
He turned around, but she stopped him.
"Hang on. People will talk if you leave my room like that."
"What do you m—" he was interrupted when she started messing up his hair. He was suddenly painfully aware of how close she stood and that she, aside being a Paladin, also belonged to the female gender, which wasn't a thing he had too much experience with.
"Paladin!" he shrieked, his voice having risen a few notes.
"You were here for quite some time, Miriander. People will assume you were..." she smiled teasingly before continuing. "Busy. It is a very good excuse, so we must stick to it. You, however, look far too clean for people to buy that tale."
"But Paladin! My reputation! Your reputation!"
She continued adjusting his looks, ignoring his flustered attempts at stopping her.
"Reputation? Dear boy," she said, stressing the boy to indicate that she was a good deal older than him. "Reputation is a ridiculous thing to maintain. I care not for what other people think of me. I only care for the Lord. And so should you. Don't spend your time worrying about that. Reputation is but a tool we can wield. Not a master we are enslaved to."
"I... I... Yes, you are right. I am sorry, Paladin."
"You're young. You'll learn."

She stepped back and gave him a lecherous smile. The Paladin was gone and the serving girl was back. She pushed the door open and shoved him through. There were a few people walking in the hallway who utterly failed at trying to throw an inconspicuous look at the two.
Miriander felt his cheeks flush red. He jumped when he felt the serving girl's hand land on his butt. He turned around, an incredulous expression on his face as if he couldn't believe what she just did. He was greeted by a downright dirty smile.
"You're welcome to forget your money pouch more often," she said in a sultry tone, adding in a wink. The wick-leader stuttered something that was supposed to resemble a response. Then she stepped very close to him and ran her fingers seductively along his chest. "It might be good for you," she whispered. Her green eyes caught his gaze for a brief moment and he was reminded that despite her young exterior, she was a Paladin. And she only cared for her goal. No matter the means. He swallowed, unaware of the laughter that erupted through the hall.
As she briskly walked past him with a spring in her step, he could only stare at her back. He was finally working together with a real Paladin. And it was so different from how he had imagined it. Yet, at the same time, it was everything he had ever hoped for.



So could you repeat to me once again just how this is supposed to work? asked the Maester. The Kobolds carefully walked around the strange construction that Sanguilia was tinkering in. The woman was barely visible, only her feet sticking out from the contraption.
Mix the stuff, aim the thing, light the thing, and pray that I didn't miss-remember the formula. Her voice was distant and slightly muted as she worked on whatever mechanisms were inside it.
And if you did?
Well, then the prank will go up in flames, you all get to thoroughly mock me for messing it up, and provided all of you stay well clear of the thing when I light it up, nobody dies.
That does not sound reassuring... the Maester objected.
Good! she shouted as she pulled herself out of the hatch. She wiped the sweat of her forehead and turned to the smaller creature. It's not supposed to be. Frankly these things scare the life out of me. This? She hit the metal casing with a hammer. This is just a bad mimicry of what my master makes. He let me try out the formula a few times and told me where I can apply magic to make the process more efficient, but the calculations involved are impossibly tricky and I'm only a novice.

The Maester turned to the Circle that was watching from what Sanguilia had declared was a safe distance. They shook their head in either disapproval or wonder. All of the Kobolds looked slightly worried. Sanguilia's maniacal grin and her estimates for just how much damage the thing she was building could do, they had plenty of reason to.
She saw, of course. Over the course of the past days the Kobolds had learned that Sanguilia was a very particular creature, but a very observant one. She popped up whenever someone needed a hand, and when things went badly she seemed to simply step between the bad events, pacifying things as she went, or solving them with frightening speed if a peaceful solution was out of the question. Some felt she overstepped her authority, but the Maester had declared her a guest and she was helping out in the Hold far more than any guest in recent memory had, so they had remained quiet.

When she had unleashed a concoction that smelled of rotten eggs in the midst of the mess hall however, followed by the food starting to form humanoid shapes and trying to run away from the smell and dancing merry jigs when they were safe, the general opinion of her had changed tremendously. It had been a prank of an impossible scale that had hit nearly everyone and nobody had seen it coming. Not an hour after the first Kobold had escaped the mess hall while gasping for breath due to both the stink and laughter, a petition had been handed over to the Maester to upgrade Sanguilia's status from a guest to a Cousin. Someone who wasn't a Kobold, but who was seen as an honorary member of the Hold. Someone who was declared family. Kobolds were absolutely enamoured with pranks, after all, and Sanguilia outmatched and outplayed all of them. In a very short time, they had come to love her.

And now she was sitting in an empty storehouse, tinkering away at a weapon none of the Kobolds could fathom. It would be used as a prank against the humans, however. The war, after all, was far from over.
Since nobody replied to her, Sanguilia turned back towards the thing. The last thing the Maester saw before she turned were the sparks in her eyes.

Little did he know that those sparks would turn out to be very prophetic.


Last edited by Floris on Sun Nov 25, 2018 10:55 am; edited 1 time in total
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Floris



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PostSubject: Re: The Mansion in the Woods   Sun Nov 25, 2018 10:51 am

Ab'li looked at his protege with worry marring his face. Kobolds were no strangers to climbing trees but... Usually they stayed on thick branches. They didn't somehow walk on the damned leaves.
Are you alright Ab'li? she called out from the top. Your face doesn't look that healthy.
I'm trying to come up with a valid excuse on how I'll explain things to the Maester when I return alone. Somehow I don't think saying 'she climbed a tree and fell down' will save my hide, he remarked dryly.
She grinned. No need to worry. The leaves don't mind. They'll hold me.
Ab'li blinked. The girl made less and less sense. The leaves don't mind? What nonsense was that?

The girl in question seemed unperturbed by the fact that she was standing tiptoed on a tiny branch that shouldn't possibly be able to hold her weight. Neither did it bother her that she was on an incredibly tall tree, to the point that Ab'li, who was quite a way from the ground as well, wasn't more than a dot to her. It was the edge of the old part of the forest, and it was here that she had been staking out the city for the past few days, whenever she wasn't tinkering or planning with the Maester and the other Kobolds. And every time she went, Ab'li accompanied her as a guard. It was more of a token gesture, a tradition, than an actual guard. He had managed to lure her into duelling with him once, and he knew that she was strong. Albeit in a very, very weird way. He'd have more luck fighting a shadow. It wasn't that she was exceptionally strong, fast, smart, cunning... She just always stood where he couldn't hit her. It had been an incredibly frustrating fight. He had tried every trick in the book, only to see her casually side-step anything he threw at her at a speed that was lower than his own. She used his own balance against him, always stood right outside his reach. When he lunged forward she'd slide to his side without him having the required balance to actually turn to hit her. Then she'd shove him and laugh. Gods above, it had been nerve-wracking. He still hadn't figured out how she did it. Normal people didn't just evade attacks like that.

I must admit, I am curious. What is it that you can see from there? he asked.
The city, of course! came the answer.
Ab'li groaned in frustration. The longer he knew her the more infuriating she became. Dependable, certainly, but she was driving him up the trees.
What about the city? I mean, you can't really see more than the wa—WHAT He jumped back and nearly fell out of the tree when Sanguilia suddenly flashed by him, having jumped down. He stared wide-eyed at the girl as she fell past him, sparkles in her eyes and a broad grin on her face. Just before she hit the ground, a sudden burst of wind slowed her down enough for her to grab onto a branch. It bent greatly, but didn't break, and she landed neatly on her feet.
You coming? she shouted upwards.
A very pale Kobold climbed out of the tree, rather unsteady on his feet. The damned girl'd be the death of him. He wasn't that young anymore. His heart couldn't take these kind of things.
Sanguilia waited until he rejoined her before starting her explanation. I see far more than just the city walls. There's an energy to it. Flows. I can't explain it. There's a flow to everything. The Flows. My master says I'm the second person he has ever met that can see them. Don't ask me to explain them, I really, hand on my heart, cannot explain it properly. It lets me sees what is and how it is. How life flows, how everything will turn out.
So you see the future? he asked, bewildered.
She shook her head viciously. No! Not in the slightest! Wording it like that is completely wrong and twists what it actually is entirely. Her eyes narrowed as she tried to think of a better explanation. She pointed towards a leaf.
The flow to that leaf has been cut off for a while. The first gust of wind will take it off the branch. That wind is coming in three seconds from... now!
Ab'li held his breath and counted. One. Two. Th— It came loose!
Sanguilia made a quick dash to spot a few dozen paces away from the tree. She made a show of closing her eyes and stretching her arm out. She stuck out two fingers and opened them. The leaf slowly danced in the wind, coming down in graceful arcs, before it neatly slid in between her fingers. The very moment it did she snapped them shut, capturing the leaf. She opened her eyes and gave Ab'li an intense stare. This is the best I can do.
The Kobold stared at her with wide open eyes. No wonder she evaded his every attack. She could feel what he was doing before he even started a movement. Not just the flow of combat, but the flow of everything.
The Flows... he whispered, finally understanding why she used that expression so much.
She nodded seriously. The Flows of life. Then a weak smile crept on her face, before she shook her head.
Come on. Let's go back. The city's about to explode and we have to be ready. We move out in a few hours.
Ab'li's expression turned sour. Are you sure about this?
She nodded. You're worried about the casualties. Those who will die, will die. That is the way of life. But it will keep the humans from striking out at you again. In the foreseeable future, this will save a lot of lives. Yours, mind you.
The Forebow of the Hunters and Warden of the West Gate sighed and tightened the hold on his crossbow. Insane and unpredictable she may be, but he knew her words to be true. As she started singing and skipping through the forest, he followed a small ways behind her, keeping a close eye on her, as was his duty.


"How many men do we have, Miriander?" Ly asked.
Miriander felt uneasy. The Paladin behaved like a caged separ. "I have forty-nine men at my disposal, Paladin. All loyal to the case, all clean of the traitor's influence."
"You are sure?"
He tried to hide his hurt and failed. "I am sure, Paladin," he replied.
She sighed. "I meant no offense. I had merely hoped that my back up would have arrived already. They haven't. They are no doubt close, but the Fauknir will move in a few hours and capable as you and your men may be, we are too few to make a difference if he notices us. He has been sending messengers to me far too frequently for my liking."
It was an understatement. The first time a messenger had greeted her while she was busy serving drinks, she had nearly blasted the entire inn apart in shock. She knew Fauknirs were intelligent, but that the creature had so easily found her in a city of tens of thousands had chilled her to the core. The messengers had never been impolite and simply requested an update. The creature had even graciously placed another two hundred men at her disposal, but she didn't deem those trustworthy. She had to use them, however, lest she draw the beast's attention. What had really surprised her was that he had even seen fit to inform her exactly when he'd move onto the Kobolds, and with what forces. Which was good because she hadn't been able to find that out from her own sources. The last message had even stated that he trusted her to keep the peace while he was gone.
Miriander's face went a tone lighter. "Do you think he is onto us?"
"I don't know. I do not think so. He seems fully focused on the Kobolds." She shook her head and pulled herself away from those thoughts. "Do you know the plan?"
"Yes Paladin. We will take positions around the warehouses in the trade district and defend it with our lives."
"And the reason?" she pressed him.
"It is an easily defended location, the food stores are positioned there, we have stashed a significant amount of weapons there and should your reinforcements arrive they would have little trouble with the gates anyway. Even if the populace has been partially turned by the traitor, we can hold out there, and without food they will not stand a chance."
She nodded, pleased with the response. It was honestly a temporary measure, but the food would be needed to rebuild the city after and she could not risk it being looted or going down in flames. She had sent a messenger well over a week ago, and the nearest enclave was four days away for a normal messenger. Her back up should arrive here later today in the best case scenario, or in a handful of days at worst. She just hoped that the Kobolds would keep the Fauknir occupied for long enough. They were no match for him in direct combat, but that was only if he actually took to the front lines. If he didn't, and just supported or lead from the rear, then it would be a long time before the Hold would fall. Fall it would, eventually. The creature had turned thousands to his cause, all fanatical followers now. It would turn into a siege, but a siege was a slow process. Slow enough for her to assemble a proper force of her own. Then she and her companions could surround the foul monster and burn it to a cinder, along with the entire Darkness damned forest if they had to.

She felt a disturbance in the net of aura that she had weaved around her room and recognised the Orc immediately. She made a short gesture to Miriander and dismissed him. The man made a respectful bow and left the room, frazzling his hair in the process. He had gotten used to it now, and the looks people gave him no longer fazed him. As he walked down the hallway, he passed the other Paladin. He had gotten used to the man's appearance as well, and gave him a respectful nod as he walked past him. The Paladin returned the nod, but not before giving him a stare that made Miriander feel a bit queasy. He let out a breath he hadn't know he had been holding and shifted his focus back on the upcoming task.

Daenan pushed the door open, not bothering with knocking. Ly sat on the bed and gave him an annoyed glare. He smiled at her and walked over to her, stopping just in front of her.
"Well? What is it?" she snapped. She could feel his eyes sliding over her curves and she had to suppress a shiver. Over the past week their relationship had gotten intensely physical. Both had a lot of stress piled up, and both shared a history of not having had a proper partner in a far too long time. Despite their mutual annoyance of one another, it hadn't stopped either from constantly seeking out the other whenever they had a free moment. It had even reached a point where the innkeeper had started complaining to Marcus that his guard kept his serving girl from working, only to have Marcus shrug and demand more food. Neither had really shirked their duty, but Ly simply hadn't found it worthwhile any longer to keep up the facade of being a serving girl. She had much more pressing concerns after all.

"Well?" she repeated, irritated by how he just stood there, silently gazing at her.
"I'm leaving," he repeated.
"What!" She jumped up. "What do you mean?"
"Marcus has had enough. He's decided to cut his losses, about time too, and we're leaving soon. So, I came to say goodbye."
The damnable Orc's face was unreadable and she loathed him for it. She pushed herself up till she stood on the tips of her toes, lessening the height difference. For a brief moment she contemplated playing the frail girl and throwing herself in his arms, to use a weak voice and teary eyes to beg him to stay and help her. She discarded the thought as soon as it popped up. He wouldn't fall for it.

As she stood there contemplating how to somehow convince the big bastard to stay and aid her, he suddenly wrapped his arms around her and kissed her. She fought back for a moment before realising that there was no way she'd succeed. She had tried it plenty the past week. She might as well enjoy this last moment then, before hell would break loose. She embraced him in turn and let her aura flow freely. Over the week they had gotten more at ease with each other, although it was only when during these moments that they both let their guard down. She used her aura to push his hands down till they rested on her butt while simultaneously wrapping her legs around him as well, trying to pull him down onto the bed. She was still dressed in her serving outfit, and that meant she was just a slight step above being naked.

He broke off the kiss, to her annoyance. "I don't have that much time."
She growled viciously and nipped at a spot right beneath his chin. His hold on her tightened. She knew his weak spots as well as he knew hers. "Then you should have come earlier," she admonished him, and pulled on his skin with her teeth. He growled in return and his fingers tore off the bottom of her serving clothes. His hands pushed her against his growing lust while his fingers probed her, easily finding entrance in her aroused body. She hissed in pleasure and let go of her skin. She violently grabbed his head while she leaned back and pulled him down into her chest and for a short while neither of them thought about the upcoming troubles.


Ly lay on her bed, panting heavily, as she watched Daenan get dressed. He had been rough, fast, brutish, violent even, and she had enjoyed every moment of it. She felt thoroughly used and battered, but it was nothing a short jolt of magic couldn't handle. Neither of them spoke a word as the Orc finished putting on his clothes. They both shared an intense, surprisingly vicious look at one another as if they rekindled their animosity in that very moment, before he left her room.

She rolled onto her belly and gazed intensely at the door, as if expecting it to burst into flames from her stare alone. She growled, low and dangerous. If they succeeded, if they survived, she'd chase after him. This time she'd ambush him, and she would make him pay.
For now though, she had a war to wage. She got up and grimaced.
No, first she would have to clean herself up. She could feel the evidence of their deed leak out along her legs. A smile played on her lips at the thought of having him underneath her, tied up, helpless, crying out her name and the name of the Lord as he was at her mercy.

That was the fun part about her Order. The goal justified the means.
And she could be very, very mean.
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Floris



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PostSubject: Re: The Mansion in the Woods   Mon Dec 03, 2018 10:25 am

Daenan was moving with care as he peered at the army around him through the eye-slits of his helmet. The entire gate was surrounded by thousands of armed men and even a few hundred armed women. Marcus' caravan was a tiny island of silence amidst the sea of troops, who all gave them a respectable berth as to not be in their way. It was surprisingly disciplined, but it didn't put the Orc any more at ease. Neither did it calm the tiny Faerie, who was doing his best to remain perfectly hidden underneath the sail that covered one of the wagons. The other guards all kept glancing at one another, equally concerned, and Marcus himself looked as if he was about to faint.

Despite his growing concern Daenan had to admit that the entire mess was well organised and everyone stuck in the groups they had been assigned. Which was utterly incomprehensible given that most of these people were civilians and not thoroughly trained soldiers. With Daenan spearheading them, the small caravan slowly made towards the gate, hoping nobody would stop them.

"Halt!" A soldier with a red piece of cloth attached to his cap stopped them. Daenan considered drawing his warhammer, but knew that would mean their end. They were ants in a storm here. The soldier smiled apologetically. "I'm sorry for the inconvenience, but you'll have to wait here a bit until the next few columns have moved out. It shouldn't take more than ten, perhaps twenty minutes at most, then you can be on your way. If you have any further questions, feel free to ask them to any Lantern you see." The man tapped his cap. "This is our telltale sign."
Daenan nodded and the man saluted. "Good day to you sirs," and walked off.

The Orc gave the merchant a confused look.
"Daenan, what's going on?" whispered Marcus.
"I think it's the fanatics," he whispered back. "They're moving out against the Kobolds if I'm to make a guess. Luckily enough for us that's properly diverted their attention. We should make it out just fine I think."
"I hope so, I—"
Whatever Marcus wanted to say was lost when a powerful presence made itself known. Every head in the square turned towards a tall man striding through the crowd, that parted respectfully for him. Daenan didn't know who he was, but the sheer domineering presence he radiated made it impossible to mistake him for anyone else than the Fauknir, the self proclaimed Lord.


The creature had a soft, pleasant smile on his face and waved warmly at the people around him. He stopped frequently to make some small chat with the men and women surrounding him, who all gazed admiringly at him. Even from this far away Daenan could feel the pleasant warmth that the being exuded. He shook his head, smiling. He really didn't understand what Ly had against the Fauknir. Sure, he sort of brainwashed damn near everyone that came close to him, but everyone seemed happier for it and it wasn't like they were bereft of their conscious and independence. They just blindly followed him, but the man seemed to lead well and there were worse things in life.

Faen shivered as he cowered underneath the sail. His wings were wrapped tightly around his tiny body as if they could protect him against the overpowering aura of the Fauknir. It was a constant struggle to not just leap out and fly towards the being and pledge his loyalty to him. He hissed at Daenan and was pleased when the Orc heard and moved to stand directly in between him and the creature. Somehow his friend's presence disrupted the alluring aura slightly, and gave him a bit of breathing room. The other humans were faring worse than he was, though, with Marcus and the guards gazing longingly at the Fauknir.
"Daenan!" he hissed. "We need to go! Now!"
"We cannot," the Orc whispered back. "We give those soldiers a reason to target us and we're dead."
"Damn! Blackened oak and splintered branches! We need to get out here as soon as we can Daenan! Look at the others! They're gone already!" the Faerie cried out, pure panic audible in his voice.
Daenan looked around shiftly and grabbed the sail his small friend was hiding underneath and pulled it loose, but not before he caught his friend in it.

"By my honour, this doesn't sit right with me," the Orc grumbled. He walked towards one of the so called 'Lanterns' and tapped him on the shoulder. The man seemed to struggle to look away from the Fauknir, but managed eventually.
"I have forgotten something in the inn. I will go now to retrieve it. I hope that is not an issue?"
"No, of course not. Go ahead," the man responded, before turning back towards the creature who was now climbing a scaffold.

Despite himself, the Orc turned his head slightly to look at the Fauknir. The creature looked positively regal, the perfect image of a kind, benevolent ruler. He spread his arms towards the sky and drew the attention of everyone.
"Children of the Light! Believers and friends! We are here to march out and cleanse an infestation of Darkness that has haunted these lands for far too long! Whether you were with me before, or have only joined our ranks recently, all are equal now! Place your trust in the Light, and give it your all! Know that if you fall, you fall in My service and yours shall be a place by My side in the here-after! Not only that, you will have secured peace and prosperity for those who stay behind! You fight not for your own gain, but to safeguard those you care about! You fight for the Light! For your friends! I ask that all of you fight like men possessed when I ask for it, that you shan't shy away from the task at hand, that you trust in those standing beside you and that you will act as one! For we serve the Light!"

The Fauknir thrust his fist into the air and shouted loudly across the square. "For the Light!"
A thunderous roar returned as thousands of voices shouted back at him. "For the Light!"



Sanguilia was standing at the edge of the forest, watching column after column stream out of the gate. It was an impressive army, far larger than the Kobolds could have possibly anticipated. The aura of the Fauknir behind it was clear as day to her. That made things a lot more complicated. She grinned maniacally. It made them a lot more fun too. She liked Fauknirs. Adored the blighters, really, even though she pitied them. Not their fault they ended up the way they were, but that's life. Life was never quite fair. It simply was. And she? She just went with the Flows and danced alongside them. She could ride them, or sail them if you preferred that term, and rather than be carried along by them she could easily float from current to current to end up at a destination of her choosing.

Behind here were roughly two hundred Kobolds. A very large vanguard given the usual size of their operating forces. All of them armed with crossbows and daggers, wearing virtually no armour in order to let them move faster, and for much longer. Ab'Li was near her. The little fellow always kept a close eye on her. He trusted her and yet at the same time was incredibly wary of her. She didn't blame him. Not being able to understand someone was generally seen as a good reason to be wary. Things became progressively worse when she became exited. And now? Now she was dancing with excitement. Quite literally too. It wasn't just a dance though. It was a very intricate pattern that allowed her to count passing seconds with absolute perfection, because any wrong movement would throw her off the pattern and then her count would be lost. And that couldn't happen, oh no. Because then she'd miss the fireworks.

Far, far behind her, the Maester warily eyed the curious construction that Sanguilia had left behind. He was standing behind a line that she had said indicated a 'minimum safe distance'. There was a small trail of smoke coming out of the rear metal plates, when all of a sudden it roared like a Drake and it started spewing flames. The Maester jumped back as the thing launched itself into the sky, gaining a frightful amount of speed as it went before it disappeared over the horizon.

Sanguilia danced. One. Two. Three. Twist, bend low, drop the boosters, turn, twist.

The contraption entered stage two of it's function and dropped it's metal casing, leaving only the bare essence behind. Magical energies intertwined around the more mundane means and the flame narrowed in size, before turning bright blue. It whisked across the sky at impossible speeds and crossed the distance between the Hold and Sanguilia's location in moments.

Still she danced. Hop. Backflip. Stretch leg. Acquire target. Final boost. Land on feet. Slide. Flash.

Right on time a bright white flash illuminated the sky as the blue flame turned pearl white and the missile streaked towards the gatehouse.



Daenan saw the flash and turned towards the source of the light at the same time the Fauknir did. He saw a tiny dot and felt the Fauknir gather an insane amount of energy. The world contorted as ridiculous amounts of magic gathered around the creature and a shield of incredible density manifested itself around the square. Then another layer was added, and another. It all happened so fast, faster than the blink of an eye. The Orc didn't even have time to admire the sheer raw strength and the cunning that the Fauknir displayed before the world literally exploded. The poor Orc never even had the time to register the large piece of masonry that hit him.


Watching from afar Sanguilia finished her dance, standing straight up and her arms spread wide. An utterly insane grin was plastered on her face as the gatehouse was gone, replaced by a cloud of dust and debris raining all over the place. The Fauknir had reacted quickly and threw up a really powerful defence, but this was a toy of her master's devising, even if it had a few tweaks to it. It hadn't completely torn the shield apart, but most layers were gone and so was the gatehouse.
Boom! she laughed, turning back to face the two hundred stunned Kobolds. She smacked Ab'li on the head. Come on! That was part one. Get everyone in the trees and ready to run. I am going to poke the beehive.


Daenan slowly climbed to his feet. It took him a long time to reorient himself. His armour had held, somehow. It was dented in quite a few places and he knew he had broken bones. Blood was pouring down his face. A shallow wound, a gash just across his left eye, but the flow kept him blind. His instincts guided him while his mind was still trying to make heads or tails of the situation and he removed his helmet, wiping the blood off him, letting him regain his vision. Only then did the sheer impact of whatever it was that just happened hit him.

There were corpses everywhere! They weren't so much corpses as they were bits of meat. It had been a massacre. Dust made it hard to see, but even at a minor estimate there were several hundreds of deaths. Most of the impact had been near the gatehouse, if he were to make a guess, but the debris that had been launched from it had caused dozens more to perish. Himself very nearly included. He blinked. Marcus! The guards! Faen! He looked around and realised instantly that he didn't need to bother to look for the caravan. It was gone. It had been too close to the gate and there was nothing left of it. Wagons, horses and men alike were gone. Utterly gone. Men he had known for years... all dead.
He turned around, hoping to at least spot Faen and found the ragged sail his friend had been in a few feet away. He ran to it, fell down when he lost his balance and hurriedly crawled the rest of the way, desperation marring his face. His fingers fell just short from the bundle. Faen was still in there, but he wasn't moving. The Orc hesitated, fearful of what he might find.
"Faen, please..." he whispered, tears running down his face. Faen had been his only true friend ever since his banishment. The thought that something had befallen the little blighter tore his heart apart.
His fingers carefully tugged open the sail and what he found underneath petrified him.

The world turned black safe for the little pale corpse in front of him. Faeries were physically weak and unimposing. The impact, even if it hadn't his friend directly, had broken him internally. Faen had never stood a chance. His only friend. Gone. Robbed from him.
He felt grief. Sadness. Then anger. The anger started boiling and evaporated everything until pure, seething rage ran through his body and made him ignore everything. His eyes darkened to the pine-green found only in the most ancient of forests and he unsheathed his weapons, letting out a roar that shook the stones around him.


He ignored the Fauknir holding up the barrier around well over two thousand men around the scaffold. He ignored the thousands outside, healthy and wounded. He ignored the orders to rally the men, to march out and take the fight to the cowardly enemy.

He knew better.

This wasn't the work of Kobolds. They were not capable of this.
There was only one being, one woman capable of this. Of course it was her. She could not face the Fauknir directly, so she'd try to wipe the being out through other means.
He growled her name and promised that he would kill her. That he'd tear her apart, bit by bit. She'd pay for the death of his friend.

He ran off towards the inn. He'd find her. The wild, ancient part within his soul stirred again and this time he let it take over completely. He was damaged and she'd have the advantage, but that wouldn't matter. He would end her.


Sanguilia casually walked towards the city, amused by the stirring of the men. Wounded were helped, debris was cleared, death were taken aside and lined up for proper burial, and she could see the magical energies of the Fauknir flash all over the place as he healed people, used his physical prowess to move heavier pieces of debris and reassured people, giving them hope as the army reformed.

She tilted her head and her amusement peaked. Something had changed the Flows. As if a small rock had been tossed into them and caused ripples. It hadn't changed the Flows, of course. The Flows didn't change. They simply were, and anything that happened was already part of them. But it hadn't been so blatantly visible to her before. She studied the pattern carefully and scoured it for the source. When she found it, she grinned. She gestured with her hands and a rain of white sparks gathered around it. She whispered gentle instructions to it and off they went. She didn't fear that the Fauknir would notice. Her abilities were very different from his, and she was about to give him a lot more pressing matters to be concerned with.

She stopped about half a mile away from the vanguard of the army and brought the more mundane and commonly known magic to the front. Condensed balls of energy gathered in front of her and she started lining up her shots.

A fireworks display, she thought, doesn't end with a single boom after all.
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Floris



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Join date : 2017-02-03

PostSubject: Re: The Mansion in the Woods   Yesterday at 10:05 am

The balls floated in front of her for a moment as she picked her targets. Most mages would use balls of fire, but honestly that was a waste of energy. She wasn't a conventional mage. She laughed at the thought. Nothing about her was conventional, and she, in turn, was the perfect example of common sense compared to her master. She shook her head, smiling at the idea, then fired.

The energy flashed across the field in the blink of an eye. The Fauknir threw up shields in response, but he couldn't push them out fast enough. Poor bugger, really. Couldn't even protect his own followers. She felt a bit of pity for the creature as her attacks exploded in the front ranks, reducing those around the centre of the impact to ashes, and those further away into minced meat. She oversaw the result. At least fifty men died per impact. The disadvantage of being formed up into neat ranks. She wasn't killing soldiers, and that made it a lot easier as well. These weren't trained and well armed men. These were civilians. Fathers, husbands, brothers, grandfathers even. The occasional mother, wife and sister was there as well. Not that she cared one bit about them. Wrong place, wrong time. Their screams of pain and sorrow didn't bother her, heartfelt as they were. The Flows didn't care, and neither did she.

A furious roar rang across the battlefield and the Fauknir leapt into the air, wings of magic forming behind him as he flew. His handsome face was marred with rage at the loss of so many of his followers. Where Sanguilia didn't care, this fellow obviously did She gave him a sad smile even as he threw his arm forward, sending a bright lance of white-hot energy in her direction. Stabbing her staff into the ground, she used it to push herself in the opposite way. She rolled across the ground, but when the lance impacted the resulting shockwave threw her aside. The blast shook her to the core and she let go of her staff. Sensing an opening the Fauknir closed the distance at blistering speed. Summoning a magic sword, he slashed at her, fully expecting to cut her in half and was incredibly surprised when her hand connected with the ground, dug itself in, and she kicked her foot against the flat of the blade with speed that defied human limits. His surprise grew when her second foot followed the first and she kicked him squarely in the jaw. He crashed beside her as she lightly hopped to her feet, still wearing a sad smile.

He got back up and readied his sword, looking warily at his opponent, who was shaking her head slowly and being her usual highly confusing self. She casually picked up her staff and lazily leaned on it. Tilting her head, she eyed him curiously.
"You know, I really feel sorry for your kind. That aside, we shouldn't have that conversation here. Have you ever heard of combustion magic?"
"I... WHAT ARE YOU ON ABOUT?" came the confused reply.
"Oh, just this." She slowly raised her arm, her closed hand pointing up. She slowly opened it and revealed it a tiny, grey pebble, or something that resembled it. She smiled again. Broadly this time.
"Combustion magic. It goes—"

It exploded with tremendous force and blew both combatants away. The Fauknir rolled over the ground, trying to slow down. The blast had cut deeply into his flesh, but his blood magic was already working overtime and knitted the wounds close in seconds. His red eyes were ablaze with anger and the memory of pain as he scanned the fields, searching for where the blasted witch had run off too. To his surprise, she was standing near the edge of the forest, leaning on her staff again. She was covered in cuts and scrapes, and still wearing that Darkness damned smile! She waved at him and lowered her staff, gathering energy around it. She aimed it at him and shouted with a magically enhanced voice.
"Darkness shall prevail!" Her eyes, however, spoke not of darkness, but of a twisted sort of fun, and she launched a lance of her own, far too weak to hurt him, and he knew she knew it. Was she trying to confuse him? To what end? What bothered him even more was that he sensed no Evil from her. She wasn't fighting him with the intention to kill him. There was no hostility, no anger, no wrath, rage, anything! It was as if he was wading through a current. It made life difficult, but that was just the way of things.


From behind him, he heard his followers roar as they charged towards the forest. He had to give orders! Keep them from recklessly rushing in, or they'd die en masse! He couldn't let that happen! Even if there were plenty of Lanterns to make sure the army would remain disciplined, they needed him to break through the traps the Kobolds would have laid out! He felt the witch gather energy again and was forced to look towards her. This time her staff was aimed at the advancing army this time, but she still looked at him. This time he could feel her hostility and the message was clear. Come at me, or I will keep tearing into your army. His mind raced as he thought of any way to break the stalemate. He could try to stay with the army, shield them, but despite his strength he couldn't continuously shield everyone. Not to mention that if she chose to threw another blast at them as the one that destroyed the gatehouse, she'd simply shatter those shields. If he went after her, however, the army would be exposed. That meant he only had one real option. The army would keep charging. That wouldn't stop. Once such a beast started moving, not even the Lord could stop its charge. So his goal was simple. Slow the army as much as possible, and eliminate the witch as quickly as possible.

"MY FOLLOWERS, HEAR ME! ADVANCE AT A CAUTIOUS PACE! NO DOUBT THE FIENDS HAVE LAID TRAPS FOR US! BE WARY OF THEM, AND HOLD FAST! I SHALL DEAL WITH THE FOUL WITCH AND THEN REJOIN YOU!"

The army slowed somewhat, but blood lust and desire for vengeance had fallen upon them, and far too many elements were still threatening to tear themselves out of formation in order to blindly run down their enemies, who, aside one witch, hadn't revealed themselves. He grimaced. This wasn't good at all. He turned to the witch, who had disappeared into the forest. That didn't matter. He could sense where she was and as magic coursed through his veins, he ran after her with dazzling speed.

His breath quickened as he dodged tree after tree as the chase lead him deep into the forest. The undergrowth grew more dense and he had to leap over plenty rocks. No matter how fast he was, no matter how quickly he ran, he couldn't sense the distance between him and his prey closing. He was wary, constantly keeping an eye out for traps or surprise attacks, but no, there were none. No reinforcements appeared, and he couldn't sense anyone in the area except for her. A mere human, somehow managing to keep ahead of the Lord himself! It just wasn't possible! What foul game were the forces of Dark playing?

So focused he was on his own thoughts, that he nearly ran into her when she finally stopped. He dug his feet into the ground and summoned his wings again, using them to counter his momentum. She just stood there, standing in a large clearing in the middle of the forest, with nobody around them for as far as he could sense. That meant that this entire place was deserted for miles around. A few insects scurried about, but even the few animals he could sense were evacuating the area with haste. He strengthened the net his aura threw around and felt a soft, unnatural breeze in the air. Was that the witch's aura? He grabbed it, strangled it and dissected it. She was chasing off the animals. Why?

"Isn't this better? Here we are, far away from everyone else. From prying eyes. No need to worry about holding back anymore. You can unleash your 'heavenly' fury to your heart's content."
She had lured him this far for that?
"I DO NOT CARE FOR YOUR PLANS, WITCH. THE LIGHT SHALL TRIUMPH!"
She sighed and sat down.
"Look, you can't seriously believe all this Light this, Darkness that, bullshit you're spouting, right? I know you all become delusional as soon as that cursed magic that runs in your veins activates, but come on. You must still have some grasp on reality?"
"DO NOT TRY TO CONFUSE ME WITCH!"
Her browned eyes turned fierce and she suddenly emitted a murderous aura. The Fauknir took a step back, raising his guard and erecting plenty of shields between him and her.
"Call me witch again and I'll stop being civil and just skip to the end with me tearing your skull and spine out that fucked up rotten mess you call a body," she hissed. She glared at him for a bit longer before shaking her head again. "Ah, bugger me. Not your fault. You were born with the curse, no helping it. Still, you're responsible for your own actions."
"WHAT ARE YOU ON ABOUT W—" She glared furiously at him and the Fauknir decided to err on the cautious side. The woman wasn't human, of that he was certain now, and he felt something around him that was... familiar, yet alien. But it felt so much more ancient and powerful than anything he knew, and it was only the faintest echo that lay on her.
A broad smile broke through her anger. "You can sense him, don't you? I can see it on your features!"
"WHO?"
The smile grew bigger, from ear to ear now. "My master! He's... Well, not like you. More like an earlier starting point... No, wait, shouldn't try to explain him. Never mind, sorry. I always get giddy when I talk about him. He's pretty much my ultimate goal in life, you know?"
The Fauknir remained silent, quite thoroughly confused. She didn't need to be able to read the Flows in order to see that. She couldn't see the Flows too well around him. That was a common issue with stronger people. The stronger they were, the harder it became to read the Flows since they could move things too quickly. They sort of disrupted the currents, in a way. Not that it was an adequate explanation. Her master had been spot on when he said that there were plenty things easier done than said, and that putting things that weren't comprehensible into words was a waste of time and effort.

She hopped to her feet and smacked the dust of her clothes.
"Anyway, I feel sorry for you and all that, because honestly? You lot are very good guys. Decent morals. Care for those who fall under your sway. You pretty much brainwash everyone, but you can't be blamed for that. That is simply who you are. If you were trained properly, you might even learn to control that, but that's beside the point. What is to the point, however, is that I brought you here for two very simple reasons. First reason being that I'd like to avoid too many casualties. Not that I particularly care, honestly, but I'm oath bound to help the Kobolds and so I have to keep you away from them. The second reason is that, well, I am under very strict orders. Any Fauknir I encounter I have to terminate. My master was incredibly clear on that point. I find one of your kind, I kill you. Awakened or not. Hostile or not. Violent or not. A threat or not."

The Fauknir growled. So they were going to fight. That made things easier. He was about to launch himself at her when she raised a hand.
"Before you blindly rush at me, I want you to know this. I am a very unconventional combatant. It's quite risky to consider me human, even if I was born such. I hold no hate for you, but I will try to draw out the fight, because fighting creatures like you makes for excellent training. Therefore, I want you to be warned. Forget about how normal people fight. Because when you fight me?" She grinned and lowered her stance. "Things get very confusing."
She readied her staff and grinned at him, gleeful as a child on its birthday.
"Bring it!" she shouted.

The Fauknir obliged and rushed at her. Staff and sword clashed with force. Sanguilia altered her attack just enough for the sword to slide down and cause the Fauknir to hack into the ground instead.
The self-proclaimed Lord reacted swiftly and shifted the position of his feet, solidifying his stance and punched her. She twirled her staff around in response and whacked his fist aside. The magic he had gathered shot out from it and the trunk of a nearby tree exploded into splinters. The Fauknir opened his fist and grabbed her staff. She was fast, strong, weird, capable, but he was faster and stronger! With a primal warcry he tore the staff out of her hands and threw it aside. His sword came up a moment later in a powerful swing aimed to decapitate her. She smashed her elbow onto the flat part and somehow danced into the sky, throwing herself over the swing. He forced his arm still, then made it reverse direction, not giving up on his attempt to slice her in half, when her staff suddenly whacked him on the head and his eyes shook in their sockets. He stumbled backwards, trying to creature some distance between him and her.

His blood magic took care of his concussion as he resumed his stance. She was standing in front of him, unarmed, with her staff floating next to her. She grinned. It was a feral thing.
"There is a third reason I brought you here," she announced, as she slowly walked towards him. Her brown eyes lit up with a myriad of colours and rocks and splinters started floating behind her along with a cloud of sparks, forming a colourful blanket behind her.
"I cannot fight freely unless I am alone. My master has forbidden me to reveal my skills to the world. That means that when I fight, everyone who sees me dies."

Her presence vanished. He could still vaguely see her, but his mind refused to acknowledge that she was there.
"You are stronger than me. Faster. Your magic potential far outstrips mine."
He felt her all over now. His eyes struggled to keep track of her. She didn't move, but somehow shifted her presence around. He tightened the magic shield around him and started gathering energy.
"But as my master thought me, no matter how strong a foe may be, if you can think outside the box..."
She fully disappeared.

Silence reigned on the field for a moment as the shield crackled with energy.
"Then the fun begins..." she whispered into his ear. Her presence solidified and he felt her standing behind him, leaning against his shield.
"BEGONE!" he shouted, and unleashed enough energy to incinerate the entire area. The last thing he saw before the flash of the blue flames hid everything was her eyes widening in surprise.
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PostSubject: Re: The Mansion in the Woods   

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The Mansion in the Woods
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