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Author Topic: Chapter 1B: The Ball of Pure Souls and Tormented Minds  (Read 32310 times)
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Luca the Thief
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« Reply #120 on: December 03, 2005, 04:40:22 PM »

It’s raining.

The observation was a keen one and the figure crouching, miserable, wet and cold on the roof couldn’t help but find it bitterly upsetting. It was indeed raining. The icy sheets beat across her shoulders relentlessly and the half-elf muttered incoherently into her cloak. The horrible stuff had soaked through her cloak, sweater and shirt, chilling her to the bone and making the hair across the back of her neck feel like wretched little spiders tickling across her skin.

I told you it’d rain.

“I bloody well know you said it would and I am quite aware that it is raining!” she snapped suddenly into the darkness, forced to yell against the drum of rain against the shingles, aware that there was not a person to be seen nor another voice to be heard outside her own mind. A small shape emerged from the shadows against the roof, ruffling it’s many feathers and stretching out her fabulous wings. The bird, appearing black at first sight though glistening a rich crimson in the right light, sidled up beside Luca, perching on the edge of the roof. She looked down and ruffled her head.

Long way down

“Good observation. You said the window was just under here, right?” Luca snapped, crouching against the wind, her fingers clutching the overhang of the roof with a white knuckle grip which had long gone numb from the cold.

I wouldn’t lie. I just think it’s a stupid idea.

“What else is new?” the half-elf replied, and before the amulet about her neck could allow a reply from the eagle, she teetered off the edge in a flurry of cloak and skirt. Her elbow crunched painfully against the stone wall but her grip held, clinging desperately at the window sill with numb and bleeding hands, her boots scraping desperately against the rough outer wall. The height didn’t even seem to phase her, her grip holding true and her toes finding miniscule holds even through the tough boots.

Luca pulled herself up with a grunt to bring herself eye level with the window. Which was closed. “By the gods, Pick you worthless bird! I’ll stuff you with turnips and roast you over the stove if it’s the last thi—,” she screamed into the rain before being silenced by a familiar click. The window squeaked open towards the inside, the latch swinging listlessly in the wind.

You’re welcome.

“Stupid duck...” she muttered under her breath, wriggling through the constricting space and collapsing with a thud and a squish on the pleasant hardwood floor. “Plush,” the half-elf critiqued aloud to herself, standing and admiring the room. The first thing the half elf did was strip of her soaking cloak and sweater, casting them over the hooks over the raging fireplace and setting her sopping boots by the flame while Pick preened silently on the window sill, occasionally shaking her bizarre plumage free of water. She paced about silently in her barefeet, admiring the various artifacts that littered the room. Luca’s eye was eventually drawn to a silver candelabrum that she lifted and admired, her eyes shimmering with their inner fire.

Suddenly, the sound of approaching voices struck at her keen ears. Luca cursed violently to herself and dashed across the room, stuffing the silver candlestick halfway past her belt, holding the cold metal against her stomach. She raced past the fireplace, grabbing her cloak and fastening it swiftly around her neck while clamping her still wet sweater into her mouth. Pick had already flown from the window, knowing not to get in the thief’s way as Luca vaulted through the small window. It was a moment too late that she recalled that she was, in fact, several stories above the ground. With a flurry of frantic hands, she clawed desperately at the lavish white curtains that lined the window and succeeded only in dragging them out with her.

Cursing wildly, Luca clung desperately to the drapery and plummeted, only to be stopped abruptly and smashed crudely against the outer stone wall just as the doors to the anteroom swung open. Hearing the voices raise suddenly in volume as they entered the vicinity, the half-elf bit into the fabric of her sweater and clung to the curtain. Thank the lords for good craftsmanship, she thought, staring up in horror at the curtain rods above her which, miraculously, held. It was, however, near the end of some crazy woman’s speech that the half-elf’s keen hearing began to pick out the ominous sound of ripping coming from above. There, just near where the woman’s fingers rest on the window sill, the silk curtain was beginning to shear. A small groan escaped her throat, though lost in the drone of heavy rainfall, and was only dredged out further as Luca noted, with dismay, the fact that she remained barefoot.


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Gararion
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« Reply #121 on: December 07, 2005, 05:02:22 AM »

Gararion sat silently up the high arched chair that he had claimed.  The aging magus listened to the words of the Duchess, though part of his mind lay elsewhere.  The mage sensed something within the room, rather something that was within the room mere moments ago.  The aura that provided a cool pulsing effect to his temple was weak, though he could sense that it was at one point strong within the room and still near by.  The magus’ eyes scanned the room, looking for any signs of company.  It was not until the Duchess moved to the window that he found what he looking for.

Standing from his chair and moving to the window sill, he light pulsing upon his temple becoming stronger as he came near, Gararion put his arm around that of the Duchess’s own arm.  “Come, sit down.  I am sure you will find the aid that you ask for among those who make your association here tonight,” Gararion spoke as he lead the Duchess back to the chair she had left moments ago.

Moving back to the window sill, Gararion spoke again.  “I am sure all of us will have an answer by the end of the night.  Whether it be the one you seek or fear only they will know,” the magus said, though paused slightly.   As he speech pasued, Gararion braced himself as he reached out of the window.  “Why don’t you come inside and away form the weather outside.”  Bracing one hand upon the window frame and holding out the other outside in a welcoming fashion, Gararion awaited the return gestures, the rain pouring down upon his outfit, the rain beading upon the black leather falling upon the figure below him.

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ratdragon
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« Reply #122 on: December 07, 2005, 06:21:22 AM »

Ratdragon contemplated the woman's words, absorbing her past for later reference. Mulling the thoughts over, he was about to reply when the mage suddenly drew the Duchess away from the window.

Next, he leaned over the window sill and held out his hand, talking to no one apparrent. Curious what the mage was doing, the elf watched intently, eager to see something magical.

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Luca the Thief
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« Reply #123 on: December 07, 2005, 03:04:22 PM »

Luca's brows came together as the hand emerged, an elvish one no doubt. Stupid bloody elves she cursed silently to herself, trying to avoid Gararion's grasp. Still, the curtain persisted to rip and she was left with little choice. With a violent lurch, Luca's left hand shot up and grabbed fiercly around the mage's wrist. The sudden movement proved to be the breaking point, shearing across the nice white cloth which Luca let drop soaking to the dirt.

The small young woman struggled but got an arm up over the sill and pulled herself in with the mage's help, only to collapse headfirst back into the warm room. Drenched, cold, dirty and discovered, the half-elf sat up on the floor with a scavanged air of self-importance (despite the fact that she had just pulled a rather pathetic looking sweater from her mouth) and looked wide eyed around the room. Running a hand through her hair sheepishly, the thief revealed her young face, peppered lightly with freckles, cheeks flushed from the cold and a persistently devious tug to her rose pink lips.

"G'd'evenin," she murmured, looking from person to person as a bead of icy water trickled down her neck.


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ratdragon
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« Reply #124 on: December 08, 2005, 08:24:22 AM »

What the mage produced from the window wasn't exactly magic, but it was interesting all the same. Watching as the dripping form landed on the floor, the elf gazed at her with amusement.

The short-haired half-elf was in a rather pathetic position, though still managed to keep an air of dignity. Feeling sorry for the soaked girl, Ratdragon quickly strode over to her, un-fastening the violet cloak that hung from his shoulders and handing it to the woman.  

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Tomás Valentín
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« Reply #125 on: December 08, 2005, 11:09:22 AM »

Duchess Sera

Sera sighed as she was led to her chair, meekly allowing the elf to guide her. His touch was similar to that of Avash yet different at the same time. It reassured her that not all elves possessed Avash’s mystique, for she dearly loved those qualities that truly made him unique. With a rustle of silk settling, she eased herself into the chair, careful not to tear her dress. A worried look crossed her face as she noticed Elendilwyn still standing to the left of her chair.

“Elen, darling, please have a seat. You’ve earned a few moments of relaxation.”

Focusing once again upon the eldest elf, she gasped in surprise as he lifted something into the room from outside of the window. It was a moment before she realized that it was a young woman he pulled into the room, by the looks of her a waif hoping to steal food from the ball. In the moment it took her to recognize the nature of their visitor, the younger elf had wrapped his cloak around the thief. She smiled as his caring nature became apparent, clearly approving of his actions. With the grace befitting a woman of her position, Sera arose and walked over to the half-elf, as she could now see the similarity between the stranger and her son.

Her expression remained that of a caring mother, as disdain for those less fortunate than herself did not exist in her nature. Without seeming to care about staining her dress, she knelt before the half-elf and peered into her eyes. What she found within them seemed to please her as her lips had curled into a broad smile.

“Welcome to my home. As you may know, I am the Duchess Sera Rose though I would prefer it if you just called me Sera. Formality should be left at the courts where it belongs. Oh dear, I am sorry. Here you are wet, cold, and probably starving whilst I’m rambling on. Please, come sit by the fire and warm yourself. Is there anything that you require? Food, perhaps?”

In one fluid motion, Sera stood and held her hand out to the half-elf, offering a hand to help her up. She was treating the waif much as she would have treated her son when he was younger, and she seemed to throughly enjoy an opportunity to tend to someone.  

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Elendilwyn
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« Reply #126 on: December 09, 2005, 12:10:22 AM »

Elendilwyn could not decide if the night was going to be really long or extremely short. Too many things are happening at the same time so much so time seemed to have stretched to contain all these different pockets of happenings, but being eventful, she hardly felt the tick of the hour. Comprehension as to why on earth she was where she was is definitely beyond her.

Being privy to a private conversation, the tension, the sudden drop-in of another half-elf through the window—as if the night has not had enough of surprises—being invited to sit, Elen could not help but stare at her mistress in disbelief. She watched her mistress go over to the newly arrived stranger but stayed where she was. She had no intention to sit as instructed. It would not do and she will speak her mind when the Duchess returns to her seat.  


The day has waned, walk with me, grant me this song... Can you hear?
The midnight sun is calling...


Elendilwyn Gwaihir

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Gararion
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« Reply #127 on: December 09, 2005, 05:00:22 AM »

Gararion stood in silence beside the window sill, watching as the rains fury washed the fine curtian down the street in small stream that had been formed with the nights rain.  Closing the window, the magus turned to watch as the half-elf was taken in with loving care.  This group of strangers were indeed true of heart, perhaps they would hold a strong enough will to carry out the Duchess wish.  Gararion only hope...for he had a feeling his time among them may be running short...

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Luca the Thief
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« Reply #128 on: December 09, 2005, 08:18:22 AM »

Luca stared Sera down in disjointed disbelief. In all her years, the half-elf had broken into many homes, though not all as nice as this, and had been caught her fair share of times. But it was such a rare occurance to be treated as such that she had never really come to understand it. Eyeing Sera's outstretched hand, elegant and unmarred, Luca decided not to lower herself to accept charity from some woman living the high life.

With a cool nod to Ratdragon, Luca slipped off her own cloak and let the watered-down material drop with a slosh to the ground, slipping the dry violet material over her shoulders. Eyes skipping across the room to those present, Luca stood quietly and nodded to Sera.

"It's appreciated, Dutchy, but I'll just be gra... ah... ah....CHOO!" she sneezed suddenly, catching her mouth in a chilled hand and groaning slightly. Sighing, Luca nodded again and shuffled half-heartedly over to the fire. "Some tea would be nice," she muttered quietly under her breath, figuring she should might as well take what she could while she was there.


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Edited by: Luca the Thief at: 12/9/05 6:18
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Tomás Valentín
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« Reply #129 on: December 10, 2005, 01:50:22 PM »

Duchess Sera

A slight frown crossed her face as the half elf stood without her help. It was not that she was disappointed in that Luca could stand on her own, rather the look in the girl’s eyes told the Duchess that her help was not appreciated. Awe was a common enough reaction to her title, but this disdain was so unusual that it surprised her.

Regaining her composure as Luca staggered over to the fire, Sera realized that whether or not the girl wanted help, she desperately needed it. Just barely hearing Luca whisper about tea, Sera smiled and walked to the doors, with such grace that it appeared as if she were gliding, her feet not even touching the floor. Only a moment before she would have reached the doors, they opened of their own accord, and a servant dressed in the blue and gold livery of the castle stepped through carrying a tray with a kettle of tea and several cups. A fringe of white hair surrounded his bald scalp, yet he stood straight despite his apparent age.               

“The bard sent me with this, saying there was one here that needed the warmth of the tea.” The manner in which he said the word bard indicated his thoughts on taking orders from a court bard.

With grace surprising for one of his age, he set the tray on a small table next to the fireplace. He bowed to the Duchess before making his exit, and it was clear that she was the only one he was willing to bow to.

Sera watched in silence as the servant moved about the room, evidently surprised that Avash had enough foresight to send for tea before there was even a need for it. Without speaking or even looking at the others in the room, she returned to her seat, wondering what kind of man nay elf could predict the future. It was as she arranged her skirts that she noticed Elendilwyn still standing.

“Elen, please sit. You’ve stood long enough.”

Her gaze turned to the half elf as she stood next to the fire. There could be only one reason for someone to be outside that window in this kind of weather nay in any weather. She had heard of thieves that could scale walls hundreds of peds above the ground with only the right equipment, and this girl was indeed skilled if she could scale a wall in the pouring rain at night. Her gaze when it focused upon Luca was frigid, all warmth toward the half elf faded the moment her help was refused.

“So tell us, girl. What have you stolen? I ask only about what you’ve taken from my home, as your past crimes do not concern me.”

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Elendilwyn
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« Reply #130 on: December 11, 2005, 02:23:22 AM »

“Elen, please sit. You’ve stood long enough.”

Elendilwyn raised an eyebrow and looked at her mistress--she had not managed to stop herself in time... it was not her intention to be rude but she knew that she too could be difficult when she set her mind on something.

"My lady, thank you for inviting me to join you at the table but I would prefer to stand. Please allow me to remain in my place and keep my duty."

Elendilwyn gave a slight curtsey as she finished her line and then looked back at the Duchess, her expression resolute and to some, possibly defiant.


The day has waned, walk with me, grant me this song... Can you hear?
The midnight sun is calling...


Elendilwyn Gwaihir

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Luca the Thief
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« Reply #131 on: December 13, 2005, 08:47:22 AM »

Luca squinted into the fire and turned to the tea, nodding vaguely to the servant. One hand reaching up around her neck to pull closer the dry cloak, the half-elf inspected the brew curiously before sitting on the stoop of the fireplace, warming her back.

“So tell us, girl. What have you stolen? I ask only about what you’ve taken from my home, as your past crimes do not concern me.”

"As they shouldn't seeing you're bold enough to suggest I've any crimes behind me to begin with." Luca poured the tea into the cup and swirled it around. She could lie, easilly enough. Throw up some rubbish story they would probably very well believe. But she was tired and wet, surrounded by the rich and fortunate with nowhere to go. Perhaps she could use the dutchess' kindness further to her advantage.

"But otherwise, was just taking a look is all, Dutchy," she replied innocently enough, raising the steaming cup to her lips and simultaneously pulling the elaborate candelabrum from under her belt and balancing it on an outstretched palm. "Nice piece of work there... make it yourself?"


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Tomás Valentín
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« Reply #132 on: December 15, 2005, 07:31:22 AM »

Duchess Sera

She sighed as Elendilwyn defied her suggestion that she take a seat. On any other night, she would have had the girl scrubbing pots for such disobedience, but she was too tired from tonight's activities to concern herself with one stubborn maid.

"As you wish Elen. Remain standing for the rest of the night, and if I see you sit down once then I'll take the switch to you myself."

The threat had surprised even her, yet she supposed her anger stemmed from her frustration over the half elf that rudely invaded her home. Still, one has to discipline the servants or risk them thinking of themselves as nobility.

Her eyes widened in surprise as the thief pulled a candelabrum from her belt, the very one that had remained upon that mantle since her grandfather was alive. At first, her glare was enough to melt ice yet she soon relaxed, reminding herself that fate was a fickle mistress.

"At least you have the dignity to return that which you have stolen. Return it to the mantle and you will not be punished for your crimes."

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Tasuli Rose
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« Reply #133 on: December 15, 2005, 07:58:22 AM »

The doors to the anteroom flew open with a crash as Tasul’i made his entrance. Not once did he glance at anyone but his mother as he strode through the doors, the disgust at being in their presence clearly writ upon his face. Despite his sudden entrance, his face appeared quite calm, and he bowed to his mother before straightening with a smile.

"Hello, Mother. I leave at daybreak for Vezash. Will ten guards be enough, or should I take twenty instead?"

With a smile for her son and a shake of her head at the thought of him having such an escort for his journey, she replied. "Tasul'i, please sit and drink tea with us. I was hoping that these adventurers would be a more suitable escort for you, as any number of guards will attract unwanted attention."

His hand rushed to the hilt of his sword as she mentioned the strangers, glancing about the room as if he were noticing them for the first time. With a cruel smile, he walked around the room, peering at each of them as if he were examining horses. As the closest to his mother, he began with Elendilwyn.

"I suppose I will need a maid to tend to my clothes as we travel, for someone of my position should never be stained with dirt." His eyes traveled over her body, noticing each curve, as his smile became something that hinted at more. "And I suppose I will have other needs, ones she seems suited to satisfy."

Without another word he strode away from the maid, walking toward the golden haired elf standing to one side, wondering why anyone would taint their appearance by styling their hair in such a fashion. Nodding in approval he spoke, "This one seems young and hale. He'll do well enough as a guard of my royal person."

He then strode to the window, not seeming to notice Gararion at first. Tears streamed down his face as he watched the rain, awed that something so simple could have such beauty. Startled as he noticed the elf standing next to him, he seemed to jump out of his skin. Wiping the tears from his cheeks with one sleeve, he spoke in an angry manner, enraged that anyone would see him displaying such emotions. "And I suppose you're supposed to be the voice of age and wisdom. I do not need a granther for this journey, especially not one so close to the grave. If you wish to help me, then throw yourself out the window."

As he turned back to face the room once more, he realized that he had forgotten someone. Standing next to the fire sipping on tea was the thief, holding the candelabrum as if it were a trophy. With only a few strides of his long legs he was at her side. At first it seemed as though he would snatch the candelabrum from her, yet he also seemed to be disgusted by the filth covering her, refusing to touch anything she had defiled. "What purpose could you possibly serve? The rich such as myself have no need of petty thieves." He stepped back as if his very senses were offended by her stench. "Perhaps you'll be the pack mule. You certainly smell like one."

He took another step back as he turned to face his mother once again. For the moment, he remained silent yet a torrent of emotions flowed over his face.  

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ratdragon
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« Reply #134 on: December 16, 2005, 06:50:22 AM »

Ratdragon listened to the conversation between the servant, the duchess, and the thief with little interest. He was about to speak when Tasuli strode in, gazing at the man with contempt as the he examined them like slaves.

His lip twitching into a snarl, the golden elf kept an unblinking gaze on the half-elf as he spoke. "My companions and I do not like being treated like we are common livestock. If you do not suppress your arrogance, perhaps we will provide you a greater service then guarding you and end your miserable little life as it stands."

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