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For nearly two centuries Askavi floundered, brought low in the wake of the Red Queen’s war. The institution of one court with its Two Queens and the end of restitution payments promises a brighter future. Still, War knocks on the Eyrien’s door from all sides and the people fight against the need to meet it.
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Author Topic: Alot to ask from dirt and bones  (Read 588 times)

Description: Tag: Endevar

Offline Zavian Dyalov

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Alot to ask from dirt and bones
« on: Nov 07, 17, 02:40:47 PM »
Zavian made a face, and turned a doubtful look towards the Landen at her side.

"Well, you said you wanted a challenge, right?" Farizar said, with a sunny grin. His smile looked all the brighter because of the dirt and dust that tainted much of his olive-toned face. Zavian couldn't help that the edges of her own mouth hiked a little in response, despite her determination to be grumpy about the whole thing. She turned her attention back towards the field before her, where a dozen Landen worked at pulling and pushing large rocks and small boulders out of the earth. It was too late in the season to expect the new plot to yield anything this year, but left to their own devices it would taken the Craftless Eyriens weeks on end to properly de-stone and turn over this earth. It wasn't unusual for Farizar and the others in his village to use Zavian for her ability to move a great deal of dirt around at once, but she'd never tried leaving the earth behind and picking out only the stones. It sounded so simple, but as Zavian began to try and order her thoughts about how to proceed, it felt a bit more complicated than it sounded.

"You should call them out of the field for a minute... just in case," she advised the Landen beside her, while she narrowed her eyes and stretched out her will. Distantly, she was aware of Farizar calling to the others, and the bustle of movement as they obliged him and made their way away from their labors. Mostly, she was focused on pushing her Craft out into the soil before her, and trying to sense the difference between the dirt and the rocks within it. She couldn't read a difference at first, and a growl of annoyance quietly rippled through her. A Queen could tell the difference, she groused to herself.

She went at it a different way, then. She closed her eyes and concentrated, and formed her power into long spines like a claw. When she first sank it down into the field, there was a smattering of shocked cries and shouts from the nearby workers, caught off guard by the way the grassy earth seemed to surrender a rash of small explosions out of nowhere. They were all out of range, but startled all the same. The sound of grass roots ripping rang through the warm morning air, and Zavian breathed in steadily as she carefully pulled on that power and drew it back towards herself.

It took a few tries. Her first attempt just scooped up dirt and rocks and all in large pockets. Her second attempt only cut deep divits into the ground. By the time she managed a balance that let her scoop up a large swatch of soil and sort of sift it, sweat had broken out over her brow and neck, and the farmers nearby had taken to sitting on a nearby knoll to fully spectate. Zavian got it more or less figured out eventually, though, and a little over an hour later, she had an impressive pile of rocks and some very churned-up dirt besides. She was speaking with Farizar after, trading jabs about efficiency with the winged but flightless man, when she sensed a wash of power that didn't belong nearby. It gave her pause, and she turned her head towards it. They were still in the Meadow, technically, but they weren't far from the line of Fell Valley, and the faint scent of a Red made her wonder if Jaegar had encountered some trouble.

He could handle it, if he had. Still, Zavian was drawn towards it, both curious and quietly excited about the potential of being able to help. She bid Farizar and the others goodbye and took to the air, giving no thought to how jealously they might watch her burst upward without even the need for much conscious determination, much less effort. She shielded herself from sight, not wanting to distract anyone if there was danger afoot, and aimed herself towards the place where the pulse had originated.

Offline Endevar Ranosi

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Re: Alot to ask from dirt and bones
« Reply #1 on: Nov 07, 17, 06:17:21 PM »
It was strenuous work, but he liked it. These people did not know who he was; and he preferred it. The depth of his jewel was indescribable, and the Landens and the Jewelled Blood near him had no basis to even conceive of the truth of his might. Even those of lighter jewels could not so much as imagine grasping the power within his reach. Power that meant nothing, here, except brute labor. There were rumors of who he was, and that was enough not to see him bothered. But when they got past the strangeness, the oddity, of his wingless appearance, they found themselves able to simply move on without such lofty concerns or fears.

For them, the depths he descended meant they could not so much as taste it; it let them move on with their lives. If he had been fortunate enough to keep his wings, to have not been stolen from these lands, it was likely he could have just blended in amongst them, confident that a minor flick of idle craft would ensure a masked jewel that could not be close to conceived of by them. Without those wings, his name was whispered with fear, the hint of his story enough to bring worry, dread and panic. Endevar would have blended in perfectly, and been able to merely ask to help with the work. Gabriel, however, was cursed with the burden of their awareness. So it was that these people who had agreed to afford him space to rest and work alongside his daughter had found themselves hosts to the former Warlord Prince of Askavi, the son of the Red Queen, and the man called the Black Prince by far less than had called him The Hayllian. Understandably, the dread of his past and the knowledge of his capacity to simply erase this village if the mood struck him, left few willing to call themselves allies even if they forcibly called themselves 'neighbors'.

But one man worked with him in the fields, today. The Landen sweated beside him, but was far less wet than the Black Prince. He gestured, educationally, guiding Endevar as the man dragged a spiked tool through the field, tilling a small and contained space to mix the ground, preparing it for its planting and beating back weeds. Endevar was doing it all with the mere strength of his back, a task which Drusilla - or Drusillian as she was now fashioned - saw little point to pursue and kept herself otherwise occupied. Her father toiled, as a Landen might, but he had been going for hours today, and his appetite grew as exhaustion began to root in his heart. A flash of the Red, just a tiny pulse of his strength, burned through him to refresh him and grant him the energy to continue. And so his arms stiffened and muscles firmed, and he continued his work, patient and dutifully learning tasks that were not ones taught to a Warlord Prince purportedly born to Hayll's hundred families.

It was this man, sweating and newly restored, his appetite pushed away, that awaited in the valley when a woman flying overhead cast a shadow that drew eyes. His eyes rose last, to see the silhouette of the Eyrien who neared, noting the slightly smaller wings and differently framed form of the gender the Darkness did not bless with such intent for war. Bearing within those shapes and shadows a woman who was not given by the Darkness what she deserved, in his eyes. He remembered her, immediately, though he did not call her name. Spearing the pronged tool into the earth, he ran a hand through his sopping hair to push it back and out of his face, before lowering his hands to his breeches and drying himself. "Gildenar, thank you for your time and patience. I think I can handle the rest of this. Go tend your harvest, I promise not to ruin mine without you." He smiled, patiently, for the Landen, and took the man's hand into a strongly granted shake. Endevar prided himself that he did not need to bolster his might to meet the sturdy grasp of his field-hardened mentor.

Eyes cast to the approaching Eyrien, and he waved, plainly, awaiting her approach. “I suppose I never did say you had to come back within a week,” he offered, almost playfully, the first words he’d granted her in the better part of seven years. It was not as if he disappeared the very next day, week, or even month after she had earned his agreement. She just never returned.

He did not say it admonishingly, though, merely teasing the dangerous woman who now approached the increasingly fertile field lost in the valleys where so few with her wings ever bothered to demean themselves to soar down to be seen.








Offline Zavian Dyalov

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Re: Alot to ask from dirt and bones
« Reply #2 on: Nov 08, 17, 09:23:10 AM »
Finding no violence, no press of Jhinka or other danger, Zavian let her sight shield fall away. As far as her eyes could see, there was only the quiet steadiness of farmers at work, though some deeper sense assured her that somewhere among the resolutely working bodies below was a substantial font of Jeweled strength. She nearly passed by Endevar altogether, nearly overlooked him while surveying the Landen turning over the earth with hoes and forks. He turned to look up, though, and she then recognized him instantly. Excitement thrilled through her at once. From his earth-bound place, could he see the broad smile that split her lips unbidden? When she dropped herself down to the ground (from too high - she always dropped from too high because she liked the feel of a controlled fall, no matter how short) could he sense the joy that warmed her? She was not hesitant in her approach, though perhaps she should have been. Her happiness at discovering that he'd returned prevented her from stopping to consider why she hadn't heard of his arrival. How long had he been here? Why was he here with the Landen instead of at court? What of Lady Kriat and Prince Estaroth? Had they yielded peacefully to the Black? That seemed unlikely, but she'd not heard of any great raucous at the head of the Territory. But then, would she have heard? She tended to stay so removed from most courts.

But none of that really broke through, just yet. She was too surprised to find him there, too glad to find him there to stop and consider all the reasons she perhaps ought to be hesitant. Had she known him better, had he not been quite who he was, she might've forgone Protocol altogether and rushed forward to shake his hand or hug him; the energy and elation were both certainly there. She restrained herself, however, and settled for a grin bright enough to challenge the sun, and a tight clasping of her hands in front of herself to keep them at bay.

His greeting rolled right off of her. She didn't care that he treated it lightly, no matter how devastating his disappearance had been, before. It didn't matter, now. He was back now, and she couldn't immediately count all the ways that registered as hope for her.

"You're back!" were all the words she could find at first, while she walked to close the distance between where she'd landed and where he stood. Her face shone like she was greeting an old friend - or like the face of a child whose hero had miraculously risen from the ashes. However, no sooner had she said the words than she realized what it might mean. The smile blanked from her face, and tension (excitement?) sent a shiver through her wings.

"Did you bring the rest of them back? The diplomats?"she asked, her voice much quieter and grave, but no less quickly paced or rife with energy. In that small eternity of silence following her question, her stomach knotted and flipped. He had gone back to Hayll, some had said. Perhaps he'd encountered the diplomatic party that'd been sent to Draega. Father. Perhaps that was why they were so long away. Perhaps Endevar had brought them all home with him! That shining blade of hope showed it's second side, biting into her from within as fear was drawn towards its light. They're dead. They're all dead. He's brought back their bodies, or confirmation of their death. That couldn't be right, and after she said the words, she felt foolish for asking. She would know, wouldn't she? If he'd been back long enough to find his way here, there'd been enough time for someone to contact her and let her know if there'd been any word concerning Vatar. 

Offline Endevar Ranosi

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Re: Alot to ask from dirt and bones
« Reply #3 on: Nov 10, 17, 04:07:46 PM »
She was eager, and enthusiastic, and it brought a faint smile to his lips. She was so unbothered by his words, and instead wholly focused on the dreams that his appearance likely meant for her. He could see dreams in her eyes at his appearance here, and he found that excitement somehow surprisingly infectious. It reenergized him in ways that his own Jewel had not even managed, seeing someone's belief in him reflected in their eyes. One of the very few Eyriens who looked upon him with anything but resentment and doubt. Even Renvar Yatskaya's eyes shone with displeasure, at least at first, and then was too often replaced with pity. She showed more: she showed hope. At least for a spare, brief moment.

"Yes, I am very recently returned from a Hayllian web that was my prison," he admitted, his voice surprisingly calm and at peace, given the torture that likely brought to his mind. The Black Prince even managed a smile, through those simple words that held within them so much dark and worrisome meaning. The warrior did not make it clear whether he was simply at peace with what had apparently freshly occurred, or how anyone could imprison him, choosing instead to state that simple truth rather than overwhelm her with the tragedy of those years while she merely wished to be thrilled for his return. She held meaning and hope in his return, and the man questioned the value of that, having so little idea of his own newfound purpose.

Stepping closer to her, he extended a hand, reaching to offer the more Eyrien Warrior gesture of a hand clasped against another. The Hayllian greeting was still well-ingrained, but he wouldn't be planning to flourish with a bow anytime in Askavi, and he knew that this greeting was not offered outside of warriors, but that's what she wished to be, and he respected that even in the simple grasp offered. Then, tension rose in her, and his eyes narrowed, as she then asked her questions. There was no joy in her greeting suddenly, a cold front crashing like the winds often would bring a chill through these twisting peaks and mountain breaks. Did you bring the rest of them back? The diplomats? she asked, her words deep and worried, and he knew immediately that someone she loved had gone with them. A sibling, a parent, a child, or perhaps a lover. Someone who had touched her life had been taken during peace negotiations, and not yet returned, and there was hope that was dying in her chest flourishing for the span it took to ask her question, even if the query held no true hope inside of it. The dying light in her eyes told him that to her, his return without them likely promised they were not going to come back at all.

The truth flitted through his mind: he knew damn well that they would not be likely to return. They'd even used him to execute Eyrien prisoners. For all he knew, it was his hand that had ended some of them, though even in flashes, he did not remember there being absent wings, and he knew already the story: a box of wings returned as if a gift to the Eyrie. It was the most egregious act of violence and conflict that had been fired since the Great War, and Hayll seemed to feel assured that the mountain warriors could offer them no retaliation, or that they'd be victorious if they did. She held hope that, even wingless like him, they'd return.

His face fell as he accepted that this was an answer he must give. "No," he told her frankly, shaking his head slowly. "I... was not imprisoned by Hayll's leaders. I do not think I ever saw the diplomats," he admitted, praying he was right, but fairly certain he was. "When I escaped, I had no knowledge of their capture. I only learned of their mission, and its heinous response, just recently after I had returned," he confessed, worried that this gave her more hope than she should have. But he also knew he was in no position to tell her what doubtlessly others had, and her own soul had: that she was hoping for something that was so very unlikely. That whoever she cared for was never going to return to these mountains. He could not be so harsh as to repeat unconfirmed condemnations she likely already was very well aware of the world offering her.

A hand would move, to rest on her shoulder, and squeeze gently, an attempt to be somehow reassuring. "I did not forget you, Zavian," he began, hoping to bring her mind from the grimness of where it might venture in light of his less than joyous news.

"Before my... disappearance, I had hoped you would return so we could begin, but you never did. Did you find a mentor? A way to fulfilling your purpose?" Clearly, he remembered her.

If he was honest, one was unlikely to forget her: someone as eager for purpose as he was, with a Jewel that could at least try to contend with his own. She reminded him of so much of his own journey here, the wingless Eyrien raised Hayllian, seeking to be what he was meant to be, even when the world chose otherwise.

Even had she not stood out so sharply, the lack of judgment or hatred she showed him was also not a trait he was like to forget; the names of each of those who treasured his existence were a short list, and one he treasured. The man had settled even for those just happy to manipulate or use him, because at the very least, they cared for his life.  The Eyrie had been an isolating place for the man once so well lauded by an entire territory, but he tried his best to carve his life here, and she had promised to make it at least an iota easier than it might have been otherwise.








Offline Zavian Dyalov

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Re: Alot to ask from dirt and bones
« Reply #4 on: Nov 10, 17, 06:20:49 PM »
Shock and indignation colored Zavian's features for a moment at the revelation of Endevar's recent imprisonment. She managed (only just) to stop herself from asking the obvious questions, the rude questions, the ones that cared more for her confusion than his comfort. She was silent in the wake of his comment, both hoping he'd explain further and unwilling to allow herself to ask for that very thing. The woman could not imagine what might have happened, or why - why keep him alive if he was captured? But Endevar didn't expound, and chose instead to step forward and greet her as he might've greeted a male -- no, not a male. A warrior. Pride swelled within Zavian and she was successfully distracted from the former mystery for the moment while she returned his grasp. Just that simply, the Warlord Prince had managed to reignite what remaining hopes had not yet been rekindled in her at the sight of him, few as they were. He'd returned, and he would help her train, and she would finally put her feet on the path she'd been meant to walk since birth.

The more days that passed, the more that path seemed to her to lead towards Hayll. Zavian inquired about the diplomats who'd last traveled that treacherous route. Endevar's resolute no forced her eyes to lower, disappointment reaffirming its grip around a heart falsely released into hope for the briefest of moments. She'd known better then to ask, she told herself. It'd been foolish. She'd know when they returned. Endevar went on to explain how he hadn't been held by the leaders of the Territory, and Zavian was busy enough navigating the re-submergence into concern that she nearly missed parts of what he said. Then his hand landed on her shoulder and she looked to his face once more, and his promise that he'd not forgotten her helped to distract her from the looming shadow of worry. She smiled, in fact. It was a low thing, weathered but sincere, and it took a gray turn as she considered her response.

"I found the opposite, in fact," she admitted. "I wanted more than anything to return, but my father got wind of my intentions. We... disagreed." She could think of no greater understatement to make, except perhaps that Endevar Ranosi was strongly Jeweled. Vatar was such a measured man. It shamed her now to think of how many times she'd driven him to exasperation. It didn't mean she was wrong to know what she wanted, but she regretted having been the source of so much frustration for him, even so. Zavian's gaze wandered again as she thought about him and their trials. He would see it as a betrayal of the highest degree if he returned to find that she'd taken up training with Endevar against his wishes.

But if he never came back?

What if he was there even now, trapped in whatever manner of web had ensnared the Black Jewel before her? Askavi was certainly not going to go and find him. Though she'd antagonized Drakkar before in hopes of spurring him to action, he'd held just as firm as Lady Kriat's people, in the end. No one wanted a war.

"I was still fighting with him about it when they said you vanished," she went on to explain, frowning. "It seems unlikely that he was ever going to give his blessing, but once you were gone there was no one to train me even when I was ready to go against his wishes. He left with the envoy." Something bothered her, though, and when she paused there, it was with a crease to her brow. A realization struck her, and the golden eyes that flicked back to Endevar were sharp and searching.

"What heinous response?" she asked. Her mind suggested and dismissed a number of possibilities in quick succession, and each one made her angrier. In the mere breath between comments, her heart felt like it caught flame, and her breathing began to shorten. They lied, she thought. She didn't want to believe it, but the fury that lived so constantly just beneath her skin was so anxious for a foe to rail against. "I was told there'd been no word from the diplomats since they left Askavi. What 'heinous response' did you learn of?"


Offline Endevar Ranosi

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Re: Alot to ask from dirt and bones
« Reply #5 on: Nov 13, 17, 10:27:12 AM »
The clasp of their arms passed, and he enjoyed the spark of excitement she shone with at the gesture. But the pressing for information led only to a darkness that dulled that spark in her gaze.

My father, she began it all, …left with the envoy, she finished, and he grimaced. It was not pleasant, and he knew that this sort of loss was not an easy one. When there was no war, long-lived could expect their parents to guide them for perhaps centuries, and hers was taken within her first seventy five springs; even if his adopted parents were taken by his own hand long before then, and birth parents before he even could remember them, he was all too aware of the pain that likely haunted her. It would not be a pain likely to be surrendered soon, and he nodded his understanding.

But the rest of her news was not happy news for him to hear either, and a look of guilt clearly passed over his features in discovery of that disappointing knowledge of her progress towards her goals. These years had seen her abandoned further of her desires, and he was left with the firm understanding that this was partly his doing. It was yet another disappointment and loss his failure resulted in, so he mentally added it to the long and seemingly endless tally of the consequences of him being a damned fool. “I am sorry I left, for that reason as well as so many others,” he assured her, his face twisted in the fullness of his frown, the sweaty laborer who wore the black jewel unhesitating in the way he expressed himself before this living embodiment of yet another failure he fostered.

She might not be the highest priority of his regrets, but he made it clear to her that he counted it amongst them. Part of him had hoped that she had not come back for the promised training because she had convinced someone locally to do so; at the time, he had hoped it because he was busy as hell, and now, he had hoped so to prove that not all he touched turned rotten in his absence. Unfortunately, his life seemed destined to bear down on him for every single mistake he ever dared make. A heavy sigh sounded the surrender of that past, and he instead tried to turn to the idea of the next steps, as he did with every other failure that needed to be put right after his long absence and the mess that was left in its wake.

The one thing he refused to do was discuss the ways they were disappointments with their parents; he had no interest in discussing any of his parents, not the ones who raised him and deserved the deaths he gave them (though his ‘mother’ had yet escaped him), nor the ones who were murdered when he was but a babe, nor even the uncle who hoped Endevar would see him as a mentor and a father when he came to the Eyrie. His role models had all unilaterally failed him, either by the loss of their life, or the political machinations choosing to attempt to wield him as a weapon rather than guide him to be the man he needed to one day become.

The wingless Eyrien did not manage to find a moment to pivot the conversation into what the next steps in either life would be, or on how he might help her now if she still held interest, because he soon realized the missteps of his offered words, and the canny mind of the witch before him who caught the slip and pounced. She was fierce, and he saw that in her questing eyes. Hesitation rested heavy in his heart; his instinct was to lie to her, ‘for her own good’, and for the inferred secrecy likely expected of him. However, Endevar was hardly the man to be inclined to lead someone astray based on his own selfish intentions or desires, not anymore. Gabriel Dacosta was the one who urged him to lie to spare her; but she was no Hayllian waif. She was Eyrien. He steeled himself, but still hesitated; he had earned the trust shown him through hard fought years. It was not a thing he would cheaply dismiss.

“I was entrusted certain knowledge, but I do not feel it is appropriate to withhold it from you. If I speak of it to you, will you trust me to be your advocate, and to not attempt to see it ‘fixed’ or even clarified on your own?” he asked, patient and hopeful that she would concede this, because he did not know if he would withhold the information even if she refused those terms. But she assented, quickly, and he breathed a sigh of relief, nodding his head slowly and dutifully while summoning the right words.

“Hayll apparently sent a message informing Askavi they’d captured the diplomats,” he explained, deciding in the moment that he was not ready to tell her what the message was, not until he saw how she handled even that information at least. He continued, not simply ending it on that half-truth, “As I understand it, the rulers of Askavi – of which I no longer am – are still trying to determine the appropriate response.” His hand moved to grasp the tilling tool, the long haft serving as a staff as he let its grain press into his digits while he contemplated his very next words, but decided not to censor his own thoughts.

She deserved to know she was not alone in the worries she likely had, but still offered her nothing other than comprehension in the doing. It cost him nothing to let her know she was not isolated in her rage. “I worry that they will ultimately do nothing,” he admitted. It was entirely possible they lived without their wings. It was not as if Hayll sent their heads, after-all. So they could very well be alive; but if so, why bother? Just to ransom them? If so, where was the ransom? He had countless questions, and doubts, but every one of those lines of inquiry led him to the same conclusion: he wanted to go find out, and rip open every door and house until he had their bodies to return to the Mountain.

He only had one other way to inquire, and he was hesitant to use it, mostly because he did not wish to set the precedent of peace when he hungered for no quarter with his former homeland. Just as they clearly did not, either, the wings in that box evidence enough.

“Perhaps even finer reason for you to prepare for war,” he added, thoughtfully, hoping to distract her from the rage and despair likely to fill her breast at the news – or, if not distract her, direct the very same into a purpose that could see her focused on a war somewhere other than merely at home with her own people.








Offline Zavian Dyalov

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Re: Alot to ask from dirt and bones
« Reply #6 on: Nov 13, 17, 04:11:58 PM »
Zavian shook her head, lowering her eyes rather than accepting his apology.

"You don't owe me any regret," she told him, not the least bit insincere in her sentiment. It wasn't something said for the purpose of assuaging whatever guilt he might feel for her sake; it was a statement of fact as she saw it meant to correct an error he'd made. "You gave me an opportunity, and I chose to yield to my family rather than seize it quickly. It is what it is," she explained, as she looked back up to his face.

The conversation moved on, and Zavian called him on his choice of words in regards to the Eyrien diplomats. That he hesitated before responding caused her to assume much, and little of it was pleasant. Fears piled themselves onto her heart like coyotes on a lame gazelle. They're dead. They're all dead. They're not telling us but they're all dead. Night, let it be untrue. I'm never going to see him again. I was so angry when I saw him last. Nobody wants a war. 

Finally, finally, the small eternity of two breaths passed, and Endevar began to speak again. Zavian was frozen in her focus, her eyes slightly narrowed, the entire rest of the world ignored for the moment. She scarcely even breathed while the words came so damnably slowly. She was nodding her assent at his first "if", and was determined to comply no matter what conditions he placed on sharing this hidden news with her. She was so hyper-focused on him and the explanation that seemed to be coming that she hardly even heard the rules to which she agreed. The longer the seconds ticked by, the more she felt like her heart and mind were going to explode from sheer impatience.

He said the words, and Zavian's head lifted from the conspiratorial bow it'd unconsciously gained in her waiting. Her chin tipped up a little higher than level, and she released the breath she'd been holding. Her eyes left Endevar's, shifting a little to one side while she clearly began processing what the news meant.

"I knew it," she whispered, eyes reading back and forth as she worked through memories and fears, refining both. "I knew they'd found trouble," she added, breathing deeply. Adrenaline had her heart rate up, but she actually felt some relief from his news. It meant they were still alive, at least, which was more than she'd dared hope.

"What do they want?" she asked, her eyes snapping back to his when her mind clawed across the logical next step. If the diplomats were being held, if the court had been notified, then it was because Hayll was unsatisfied. "The reparations," she realized aloud, understanding dawning over her expression. "Hayll's refusing to let us stop making reparations. Is that it?" A beat, a few more rapid thoughts, and she added, "And we don't have anything left. So the court doesn't know what to do, and telling people about the diplomats being taken hostage would stir up unrest..." Her eyes wandered again, as they apparently tended to do when her mind was working. She understood the reasons this had been kept a secret, she thought, though it still angered her. She shook her head and tried to not focus on that; she had the first news of Vatar's fate since he'd left, and it was something to take heart in. Now it was just a matter of finding a way to appease Hayll.

Or go around Hayll's wishes.

Endevar suggested this might be reason to prepare for war, and Zavian looked back to him with a smile that hungered for that very thing.

"Yes," she said, a hand reaching for his forearm out of sheer excitement. "You will teach me? And if those in the courts won't go to war for our people, then you and I can go to Hayll and free them. Don't you think? Between the two of us, couldn't we bring them home?"

Offline Endevar Ranosi

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Re: Alot to ask from dirt and bones
« Reply #7 on: Nov 14, 17, 08:57:58 AM »
The Hayllian Eyrien nodded his head in appreciation of her denial of his offered mea culpa. She was not given an infinite amount of time, but she had not been the one to take him up on his offer; he even paused a moment to briefly contemplate how much things may have differed had she been his student. Would she have accompanied him? Would he have allowed her to do so? Could they have realistically contended with capturing both of them in that sort of hanging web? The displaced and wingless Warlord Prince had often wondered, trapped in his prison of literally his own making, whether even the presence of Renvar might’ve been enough to tip those scales away from where they ended up. Would just a second presence have spoiled the trap?

Was it so predictable that he would always seek to handle his own problems? The boy he was when he left for Askavi definitely only saw the world as his problem to fix; the man who had toiled in this field, and was still slick with the evidence of that labor, was not that same man after the torture and torment. Patient, now, thoughtful in ways he could not have managed before.

But he was still, underneath it all, unchanged in his values: he would punish the One Hundred Families for what they had done to him and with him.

Zavian asked, then, of Hayll’s intentions in their capture, and she offered her own answer. His lips curled in a sort of wistful, saddened smile at the young woman’s cleverness. She understood immediately much of the issues between the two lands; Askavi starved and Hayll provoked, relentless in their appetite for spite. Perhaps that was not all Hayll wanted, but it was as good a supposition as any, and either way, they were stirring up the unrest for some reason. The witch who would transform to warrior completely, soon, was alive with thought and he empathized completely, understanding just how much this news might likely adjust her perceptions. He was not alien to the notion of the world being swept from under you, and needing to find new footing quickly.

Her smile was ravenous with hope at his offer of War, and he was bolstered to think he may just have found a good distraction or channel after all. The man eyed the field they stood in now, considering if this would serve as adequate training grounds, when she reached out for his forearm. An absolutely dorky smile touched his lips for a moment before turning to one of pride and matched enthusiasm, even if she lacked that amused smile, the enthusiasm was clear in the instinctual reach for the grasp. He took her arm, holding firmly for a moment in that warrior’s embrace. ”I will,” he vowed, simply and definitively. The Prince was about to ask if she wished to start now, in this field he needs to till being a fair place to practice, when she asked the question about invading Hayll. He conflated her rescue with the eager ‘yes’ of war-mongering, and offered some thoughts of hesitation there.

"It might need more than us to end Hayll’s threat. The Shield of Hayll, who knows where he sits on the Rebellion. He holds the Gray and so does Lilith Cinerus, who was no fan of my mother, or of any Eyrien. There's Silvia Devecchia, she bears the Ebon Gray, albeit as – if I recall – a rather nonaggressive healer. There are perhaps a thousand Sapphires and Greens, it seems like, many of which capable Black Widows and Warlord Princes, of which the former is the real threat to us. And many of these people are over a thousand years old, older still. If I remember right, you are... two or three years my junior? We're in our 70th years, then, the both of us. Let us say you manage to best their Ebon Gray; how many Grays am I expected to best? How many Greens and Sapphires and Reds? No, we need assistance."

He shook his head. "There are ways I’m considering, but…" he paused, looking at the confusion writ on her face, and his eyes dodged back and forth for a moment as clarity started to crest upon him. An awkward look of something like embarrassment managed itself onto his features before he simply offered the sound “Oh.”

Clearing his throat, he weighed the chances, and spoke again. “Just … free them. Maybe. But if we go the wrong place, the weight of Hayll might catch us before then. Intelligence is needed for a quick strike to hit well. Worst of all, the wrong retaliation might bring war to Askavi. I still have worries, even with an extraction, but uh, ignore… the part about all the people I’m worried about having to kill during an all out one- or two-person assault on their territory.”

Intelligence. He thought over that word carefully, again, and frowned for a moment. “I could try a method to seek out where they are kept,” he admitted, quietly, as if the thought that crossed his mind was somehow beyond a pale for him.

“But I still want you to understand the basics of Combat Craft before we would do even that,” he amended, to buy himself time as much as for the more simple fact of being readied should the worst happen and their plans go horribly awry. Should they need to fight, not having her skilled in the finer arts of combat against similarly depthed jewels would be crippling; an ebon gray healer nearing two hundred years of age would likely still easily best her on pure experience with jewel management without the edge of war behind her. They must be prepared for as many eventualities as possible.

He’d offer his hand, then, again, the third time that embrace would be offered and the first time it would truly mean something. This time the gesture was made as what its best used for: to form a bond and have his compatriot swear their word and loyalty. “We can start now, if you like,” he offered, because he was well aware of the timeline not being eternal for the life of any left alive amongst the diplomats. He prayed Hayll would not have killed them; even if some of them likely wished for death without those wings that they so identified with. Even he identified himself by his wings, or their absence, so he could not fathom what it must be for those born centuries ago to have their life so transformed. Time was of the essence, and this field could be tilled in other ways.








Offline Zavian Dyalov

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Re: Alot to ask from dirt and bones
« Reply #8 on: Nov 15, 17, 06:06:25 PM »
I will.

Zavian was immediately filled with every bit of the excitement and vigor she'd known the last time Endevar had promised to train her. Her grin not only matched him but might've surpassed it in sheer giddiness, for a moment. Had she known him any better, had she been any more familiar with him than having spoken to him so few times, she might have burst forth and hugged him purely out of energetic excitement. She knew well how her own passions could swing wide and fast, though, and was more than a little practiced at restraining herself. ..hence the almost too-wide smile, and the way her eyes shone with grateful glee.

Soon, though, Endevar took the conversation to a place she'd not anticipated, and that glee melted like a young snow under a warm sun. It was confusion, rather than disappointment, that was revealed in its wake. At first she thought Endevar meant to say he knew where the diplomats were being held, and knew who kept them and what strengths they commanded. It soon became clear that he was speaking tactically of what it would take to advance on all of Hayll, though, and Zavian was all but floored.

There are ways I'm considering.

Endevar backpedaled, explained the things to consider in regards to an extrication rather than an assault, and then tried to move back to training.

"No, no, no, no," she said, too quickly, trying to keep him from moving off of that topic so soon. "You've been thinking about it," she said. It wasn't quite a question, though there was a hopefulness in her expression that invited confirmation, certainly. "I mean, yes," she corrected, making herself look down and take his offered hand and grip it. She looked back up at him as she squeezed that grip reassuringly. "Yes, we can start now. But tell me,  are you..." she almost dared not put the hope to words. She'd been told no so many times. Her voice lowered, not quite to a whisper, but a good sight softer than it'd been before.

"Are you going to teach them that we're strong once more?"

Offline Endevar Ranosi

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Re: Alot to ask from dirt and bones
« Reply #9 on: Nov 15, 17, 08:02:24 PM »
She did not appear to be satisfied with his dismissal when he realized she did not want to siege all of Hayll. And then she made it clear, subsequently, that she would not quail at the notion of taking on an entire territory. It fortunately did seem to take off some of her worries that he would quail to act and rescue the envoys, had she any, which was a relief enough to him, but it also compromised him some: he had shown his hand. He had to decide whether he would try to distance himself from it now, or whether he would take her into his confidence.

The choice, and the benefits he could find in that choice, seemed fairly clear to the Warlord Prince.

The man who once ruled this realm just ultimately shrugged at her question, now that she finally had one. It was a visibly underwhelming response to the question of all out war, surely. There was reason to withhold; but he withheld already plenty from her and felt no pressure to withhold his own secrets on this matter from her. It felt like a fair trade for the secret he had yet to reveal her - the secret he himself was not meant to know.

"I feel there is a reason I did not die when they captured me,"
he told her, plainly, a small smile creeping over his lips as he told her what he would not risk telling the court. Facts that might worry them as they tried their best to avoid instigating a conflict that could risk much for Askavi.

"I have yet to crush the One Hundred Families. I might have a long life ahead of me. But they will not get away with what they did to me, and to my mother and father." The Red Queen was a contentious woman, doubtlessly, and one he had rarely spoken of to almost anyone, but he dared speak of her now, in this emptied field, with a woman with a zeal to take battle. If he wished to have her help him, he was of a mind to be honest about things as best he could. He also knew it doubled the chances she would not go off half-cocked upon what he told her of those sent to conduct peace talks. Of the wings that had been returned, which he opted not to let her know yet. It was not his state secret to say even what he had.

But his answer fell short; he did not speak on behalf of Askavi. He spoke on behalf of his own pain and his own goals, even if some of them had every bit to do with Askavi, as unextricable a tie as his mother truly was. He would certainly show Hayll he was strong, but offered no assertion beyond his own strength's illustration. Perhaps he was letting her infer the rest, but he was not of a mind to lie to her further, even if he apparently let her believe these slight falsehoods.

"Okay," he began, releasing his arm from hers, and he gestured to her idly, as if 'her' was his illustrated point. "No bolts, no fire, no shields. Wings are fine, but I cannot help you fight with them. All body. All form. Come get me. Land a blow. We will do this until you do, and then again, and then again, until you have landed five shots. Then I return the favor. Today is the first step. And for my first step..."

He lept back, suddenly, without more than that ellipsis and his smirk as warning. Just a breath of the red was shuddered forth from his frame as he was launched nearly fifty yards away from her. He cracked his knuckles, and rolled his neck, loosening his joints there while he waited for her to charge out at him. He pushed with just a shadow of his jewel, leaning closer to the might of her Ebon Gray, to bolster his strength and his speed. He wanted her to be forced to dig deep. Wanted her to find herself exhausting reserves. And a harsher push of his jewel built a blooming wall of might, that would move with his instincts, to serve as a stop for her power and his, so that the Fell Valley would not be ruins. She needed to push past limits to learn what he would teach her in the time that would be needed; and he was the only one in Askavi who could keep her from shattering the very mountains in the lessons she must learn.

The man was not teaching her to fight; no, he was teaching her Combat Craft. And it would be as much a part of her jewel as he could make it by the end of this season, had he his way. The project was enticing, for no other reason than the strength it brought to his cause. But more, it gave him a way to feel like he was actually in some way productive here.

And it might just serve to till some soil in the process.








Offline Zavian Dyalov

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Re: Alot to ask from dirt and bones
« Reply #10 on: Nov 16, 17, 04:45:12 PM »
He spoke so calmly of what must have surely been an inferno of passion within him. Zavian herself bore a mighty fury towards Hayll and its denizens, and that was even while she'd learned that her father yet lived. How Endevar talked quietly, with a calm smile, of the people who'd savaged his family and his life, she didn't know. She didn't begrudge him his control; she envied him for it, in some sense. She could only distantly imagine how much more inconsolable she would be, herself, if she'd found out that Vatar had been killed as she'd feared.

Truly, there was much she could learn from this man, she thought.

He moved on towards training. Zavian listened, rapt, as he laid down his requirements. She nodded, and he launched himself backwards and away from her, and she grinned. Nervous excitement rippled through her, and her hands clenched and unclenched as she tried to prepare herself. It was strange to think of hitting something more live than a target post (when her father wasn't looking), but she was too thrilled at the opportunity Endevar presented to doubt herself. There'd be no missed chances this time. No waiting, no stolen moments. She was beginning now, at long last, and she could scarcely contain her excitement.

But then it came time to actually advance, and a few things happened at once. One, her wings spanned out, as her instinct told her to take flight to begin. She began to do so, but stopped herself. It would be better if she learned without, at first, she thought. Even after that odd conversation with herself, when she started again the urge took her once more, and she had to stop herself from lifting off from the ground. She managed, and with some force of will she finally charged forward on her feet alone, her wings pulled tightly against her back.

Second, as she barreled towards the only advocate she really had in her life-long endeavor to learn, she imagined striking at him unrestrained. No bolts, no fire, no shields, he'd said. Surely he only meant her. Surely he was going to shield himself, right? But she could see him before her, could sense him even now, and nothing in her formidable power told her that he wore a shield around himself. Logically, she knew that if he was shielded with the Black (as she thought he should be), she wouldn't know it. Still, it was an incredibly disconcerting sensation to find herself hurtling towards what felt like an unarmed, unprotected man.

She closed half the distance between them, and then slowed. And then stopped. She was panting slightly, as much from adrenaline as from the meager exertion thus far. She fought with herself for a moment. Felt foolish. Felt more foolish. But after gritting her teeth in frustration for a beat, she called to him.

"I can't hurt you." Her voice echoed across the space between them, only just loud enough to carry across the distance. It wasn't quite a question, but she looked for confirmation anyway. Her brow was knitted in frustration already, though only at herself. "I know... I know," she said, her hands pushing her hair back from her face in a betrayal of stress. "But, just... Promise me I can't hurt you." In those words was revealed all her relatively few years compared to her peers, and every time she'd accidentally expended more power than she'd meant in a world where few people could withstand such accidents. Every eyrie wall that'd been torn through in an emotional fit, every shattered shield that had drawn a look of terror or rage from someone from whom she'd never hoped to see either. As much as Zavian felt like it was her destiny to be a force of vengeance for Askavi, the lessons taught to her over the long and difficult years of her adolescence assured her that she didn't belong on anything resembling a battlefield, and that catastrophe would surely follow her there, should she persist.

Offline Endevar Ranosi

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Re: Alot to ask from dirt and bones
« Reply #11 on: Nov 20, 17, 10:57:52 AM »
He was, in fact, calm, and it was nothing resembling an affectation. The Warlord Prince had accepted his revenge as part of himself, and had found the rage of it somewhere buried inside of him. The steel of his hatred had been hot, molten, shaped well into its purpose, then cooled before being tempered inside of him to strengthen its form. No longer was his hatred hot, no, it was now cool but readied, sheathed and prepared. But it would never leave him, not until the vengeance was found. There was nothing in his scent to indicate more than a mere prickle of his anger towards Hayll, despite his almost casual discussion of his plans to destroy them all.

That same calm ruled now as he launched himself back to the point where he was but a dot on the horizon. She chose to focus herself and begin running, without enhancement; he could tell she was already growing weary just from the run. This perplexed him, but made more sense when she came to a stop, and called out to him, praying he would assure her that he would not let her hurt him.

Sighing gently, he shook his head, refusing her request. "I trust you not to use bolts or witchfire that kill me unshielded; be worthy of that trust. But my body is reinforced at a strength comparable to your jewel; should you strike me, I will take it. I will spit blood, perhaps break a bone, but I will take it. That being said... you will probably not be able to strike me."

He gestured her on, again. "If you will not train against me if you can hurt me, then the training is not going to exactly work. Danger must exist for the battle to be real, for the blood to pump through us. Enhance your form, dig deep into your jewel, and try to beat me. One day soon, you will hurt me... and be proud for it."

He braced, then, and nodded her on, wishing her to continue. Distantly, a request for aid came on dark wings, but neither of them could remotely be bothered to pay that close of attention. There was a moving wall of black to protect them and to protect this land from ruin, and it would likely give him the warning he needed. And so, for now, he focused on the physical, and on living up to his word of refusing to let her land a blow.








Offline Zavian Dyalov

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Re: Alot to ask from dirt and bones
« Reply #12 on: Nov 21, 17, 10:19:11 AM »
Zavian tipped her chin down, though her eyes remained on Endevar. She breathed deeply and intentionally, trying to focus past the nerves that gripped her. Had anyone asked, she never would have anticipated fear to be present, when someone finally put themselves before her and offered to help her train. It shamed her now that she felt it at all, but it was what it was. She accepted it and tried to move past it, aided by the way Endevar seemed to have no doubts whatsoever. She stared down the field at him, and tried to consciously move herself towards faith in his promises.

"I trust you," she whispered, and though she addressed him, it was entirely too soft an utterance to reach him. It was said aloud for her own benefit, reaffirming the newfound faith that would allow her to give herself over wholly to the attempt to attack him. "I trust you," she repeated, determined.

Through it all, though, one comment of his in particular kept replaying in the back of her mind: You probably will not be able to strike me. It was a challenge she meant to meet, if for no other reason than her youthful pride assuring her that she would. She was meant for this, regardless of Vatar's thoughts on the matter. The hand of fate was in this, and so she would succeed. She had to.

Zavian did not hesitate when she started again. The difference would be that of night and day between her first, uncertain approach and this more invested, more committed run. It was not a conscious decision that pulled her feet from the earth and spread her wings to lift her, but habit and instinct. She reached deep into the Ebon Gray, as he'd instructed, and tried to sink it into her body to reinforce her strength and speed. She rocketed towards him, flying low to the ground and led by a clenched fist.

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Re: Alot to ask from dirt and bones
« Reply #13 on: Nov 25, 17, 05:08:29 AM »
The wingless man did not change his steps, did not shift his feet. She flew for him, all but in truth, her wings kept tight as she raced for him, until the last moment. He stayed, waiting, patiently, as she barrelled for him completely. His shield was still not there, no reflexive fear fell into place as she barrelled for him and took to actual flight. Still, he did not seem worried; his re-enforcement held and he was confident that it would not be needed. As she neared, mere heartbeat away, he twisted at the waist while ducking back, his feet unchanging. She would simply slide past, her body brushing his but providing no purchase.

He'd stand normally, and give her a glowing praise of her effort, before he urged her 'again', He had an entire lesson plan already formed, for what to do when she was wholly broken of spirit and drained of jewels, pushed to the point of anger, when the very whisper of effort would bring her exhaustion and worry. She needed to learn, but first, he needed to prove to her beyond the philosophical that brute force would never, ever be enough. She would be taught to be a warrior, by his hand, and the first step he found was a loss of her pride.

The man did not expect another break from this tedium, and so would spend the next while, sweating beside her, barely brushing his jewel while he tried to coax her into further burning through her own. She would be her worst nemesis, if he had his way, and he tried to endeavor to make this true. Patiently, steady, no more than a single step back to allow her past when her efforts grew too good to merely duck without the idlest effort. She sharpened as time pressed; he had to do more than merely step away. His pride only grew when he had to deflect a strike with his hand, impressed by her escalation, and by her prowess. She was capable; she was strong. She was fast.

She would prove an incredible warrior, and he perhaps thrill to be a part of this. And he would have continued forever, if that shadow had not passed over them, and the scent had not subsequently sparked through the air of the approaching  outside. Finally, at the end, he paused, eyes beginning to glance northward, to take in the sight approaching. Still, not a drop of blood would have managed their way from the Warlord Prince; not yet. But she was growing closer, and closer, and he was growing fond of her with every near miss.

"Watch my defense, seek openings,"
he offered, futile advice that would be useful eventually. Today was still about pushing her past frustration, and learning how she had been trained - or self-trained - before so he could discover what must be discarded and rebuilt. But it would make her think she had a chance, he hoped, and force her on past frustration.

Even if the effort expended very quickly became a potential tactical mistake, were they to know they might wish to prepare for the response they must give this incoming voice.








Offline Drakkar Estaroth

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Re: Alot to ask from dirt and bones
« Reply #14 on: Nov 27, 17, 11:50:19 PM »
Months upon months of stonewalling by the courtiers of Gravesend (along with an assassination attempt) had impressed upon Drakkar Estaroth a few truths. The most important, by his reckoning, was that he and his Queen, Illyrian Kriat, would not find peace between them in this time. Eristovar Errsa’s death at Drakkar’s hands remained between them. That wouldn’t change for the foreseeable future. While he’d made inroads with some of her supporters, despite their dislike of him and the Blood Seekers, there were many others who remained staunchly against his rule alongside Illyrian. But she’d withdrawn more and more, forcing Drakkar to into acting as more visible leader. If he was to lead, however, now was the time to address the greatest issues facing his people.

The Jhinka were on the warpath, stronger and smarter than before. He’d already set in motion a plan to deal with them, with the aid of Lady Ruslana and her soon-to-be Master of the Guard.

Now, though, he needed to address a different matter.

Time had passed since the Black Prince, Endevar Ranosi, had returned to Askavi. His return had, initially, given Drakkar pause. If he wanted to reclaim his seat as the Warlord Prince of Askavi, no one in the Court could mount a defense against him. His advisors feared the power of the Black, and they were right to. Only one among them counseled Drakkar to accept it and direct it toward the eventual goal of first freeing Askavi from the threat of the Jhinka, followed by strengthening Askavi for the trials to come. Drakkar had spent several days deciding how to approach the matter, wondering if greater weakness was shown in seeking aid or refusing to use a resource.

In the end, Drakkar decided that he didn’t give a damn if Endevar Ranosi tried to take Askavi back. There was nothing Drakkar could do to stop him, not truly. If the man wanted to kill them all, he could have done it when he arrived. But he hadn’t. Nor had he returned to do it since. Weakness was subjective.

Drakkar refused to show fear.

It had taken some time to locate the Warlord Price Ranosi, so when Drakkar’s scouts heard rumors of that location, the Warlord Prince of Askavi sought out his predecessor with all due haste. Eventually, he located him in the company of another warrior, the dark power so casually used by both far, far beyond Drakkar’s ability to pinpoint. He drew closer, envying both of them for still having the full depth of their power. Drakkar had stood deep in the Abyss once, though not as deep as these.

He landed twenty feet away from the area of their challenge, prepared to adjust his position once more if their sparring moved in his direction. His wings tucked carefully behind his back, Drakkar waited for a pause in their training to speak. He inclined his head in a nod to the other Warlord Prince and to the...Lady with him.

Prince Ranosi, I would speak to you, if you’ll indulge me. I have a request of you, if you’ll hear it. It regards a matter that is personal to me, but also is important to many of our people. I can wait until you’ve completed your training.” Drakkar said, attempting to show respect to both parties.


Offline Zavian Dyalov

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Re: Alot to ask from dirt and bones
« Reply #15 on: Nov 28, 17, 11:23:40 AM »
Land a blow.

It was such a simple charge. Zavian knew she was raw and unskilled when it came to combat - that's why they were doing this, after all. But one didn't have to be a veteran warrior just to throw a punch. She may well not be able to defend herself against a skilled fighter afterwards, but she was confident that if nothing else, she could get that one blow in. At least, she started out that way.

At first it didn't seem like Endevar had even moved. It seemed like she'd just missed somehow, as impossible as that felt. Yet there was no denying that she'd felt the nearness of him brush by her, but by the time she'd stopped herself and turned, he was still just... standing there, as though he hadn't moved at all. It was embarrassing, but she'd laughed it off easily at the start. She'd tried again, and failed again, laughed again (though less convincingly), and then started over. It didn't take it long for it to become less a game and more a truly vexing exercise, and a deadly one if it hadn't been for who exactly it was she was targeting. She improved with each pass, sometimes significantly, other times less so. By the time their visitor drew near, Zavian was making passes at speeds that would have been terrifying to anyone else, her Jewels fueling her body in unnatural and punishing ways. She was less a woman running and more a Craft-fueled slingshot, whipping across the field almost too quickly to see.

Endevar was faster, though.

Zavian's temper rose with each pass, though she'd pause every three for four runs to force herself to take three intentional breaths and reset her intention. It was easier than normal to not let her anger get in her way, because this was a rare chance for her to have a task to accomplish, a mark to hit, that she couldn't just blast through if she loosened up her restraint. All that energy that might've normally gone into a frustrated tantrum was routed into her work, and she pushed herself as she hadn't ever, before. It was worth it, all of the humiliation (even though Endevar was very good at praising her and trying to lessen the embarrassment of being unable to strike him so many times in a row), the ache in her muscles, the steady depletion of her Jewels, the sweat that covered her... it was all worth it. The first time she felt his hand make contact with her, she whooped and cried out, grinning so broadly that she felt like she'd crack her face in half. Granted, it still wasn't what she'd set out to do - he deflected her easily and she didn't actually land a blow. But it was progress, and she took no shame in celebrating the proof of even such a meager accomplishment.

She nodded at his advice and set up for another run. Watch my defense, he'd said. It sounded simple enough, but she didn't exactly know how to do that. She didn't even see his "defense", until she was right on top of him and he moved at the very last minute. What did he mean, watch his defense? But of course the matter divided her focus, and her speed slowed on that pass enough that he didn't even have to deflect her, and she huffed, annoyed. A tempest, that one was. It wasn't uncommon for Zavian to be crowing in celebration one moment and crackling with annoyance the next. Not everything shoved her temper around, but the things that did could do so quickly.

The witch had returned to her distance and paused there, breathing to even herself out, when she noticed Drakkar's approach. She retraced the steps she'd just taken, and moved back over to Endevar's side of the field at a light jog. Quick enough to be expedient, slow enough to not make the newly-arrived Warlord Prince think she meant anything unfriendly with her approach. She knew of Drakkar and his Blood Seekers, even if he regretted knowing of her. He was one of countless males who'd refused her pleas for training and her offer of help. When the diplomats had failed to return she'd gone to him and tried to convince him to go to Hayll with her to seek them out, but he'd refused. They had troubles enough within their own borders, he'd pointed out, citing how the Jhinka were becoming more dangerous every day. Zavian had offered to help with that issue as well, but had been dismissed as neatly on that front as the others.

By the time Zavian came abreast with Endevar, Drakkar was already speaking to him. Zavian held her tongue for the moment, watching Drakkar for any sign of judgment or temper. Maybe he wouldn't care that someone else was obviously helping her train. Maybe he'd care but reserve his judgment in the face of the Black. Maybe he didn't even notice her, mere female that she was.

Offline Endevar Ranosi

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Re: Alot to ask from dirt and bones
« Reply #16 on: Nov 28, 17, 11:10:33 PM »
In truth, Endevar expected some emissaries to send for him. He was actually alarmed when he turned and saw the man who arrived, the look on Zavian’s face the first tell, and the feel against his outer barriers the second. Instantly, those walls he had risen as the barriers of their actions were dropped, and instead, a shield of power enwrapped himself and Zavian without a thought: as pushed as she was, he wished to ensure she was not caught unaware.

The man had first appeared to Endevar with a spear, wordless and preparing for war; the impression left Prince Ranosi not entirely at ease when he approached, but the Black Jeweled Warlord Prince did his level best to let that weariness not affect his expression, forcing himself to seem at ease as one of the rulers of these mountains approached, quite humbly, which almost left him surprised a second time.

It just meant the request was a serious one, he suspected; or one demanding allegiance. Either way, he understood it to be an action of respect, and tried to counsel himself to consider that in his response.

Unfortunately, his first response was a little sharpened, as he wanted not to let this episode be misinterpreted as anything but what it was. “Oh, I don’t ever plan to be done with training,” he assured Drakkar, a subtle dig that inferred that this was not some idle sparring; that the training being done here was closer to vocation than any idle hobby. He was smiling encouragingly over to the Lady who stood beside him, with a supportive nod, before his head turned back towards Drakkar.

Endevar was not unaware of societal mores here; he knew that what she was doing was thought to be to some degree abhorrent here. During Endevar’s brief reign, he had spoken often of distancing themselves from traditions that had allowed them to starve and die in the face of reduced resources and increased Jhinka and worse yet. The world was a dangerous one, and tradition, he often said, was killing them more readily than anything else. It seemed he was taking that cue well here, now, and he made the mentions he had more for Zavian’s sake than anything else.

“I am, as you know, serving at the pleasure of Askavi, Prince Estaroth. But without wings… it can surely be difficult for me to get somewhere private. Thank you so very much for coming here, to my level, in these valleys. I will always hear out the rulers of Askavi, and do what I can to serve.”

His head quirked, curiously, a friendly expression touching his lips. The request was gentle, well-worded, and used important words like ‘private’ in just the right proportions. Endevar knew he could not really, without being a dick about it, demand anything but privacy. But at the same time, while offering Protocol little room to demand of him further inconvenience, Endevar knew just fine that the simple fact was that his requests - so long as they were not unreasonable - could hardly be refused. There was weight in his demands, and he could let that weight sink into this soil now in front of the Warlord Prince of Askavi. He could insist on Drakkar being out with it, in front of Endevar’s student here… and he thought on it. The moment was heavy, as he did not cede to the privacy immediately, debating heavily how much he wanted to throw his weight about for the Warlord Prince of the Eyrie itself.

A title he once held, and then lost so disgracefully, before he climbed back to the mountains again.

He chose, after that awkward length of thought, to concede to the unspoken demands. “But as it is such a private matter…” he glanced to Zavian, and smiled. ”Could you move out of earshot, for respect? But not too far-- I am not done with you, today, if you are not done with me,” he assured her, unhesitatingly. A second clarification of just how serious he might be; or perhaps something more overt of intentions, if one wished to read less kind motives from the man that many walked so carefully about. A careful step he had helped to cultivate, he knew all too well.








Offline Drakkar Estaroth

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Re: Alot to ask from dirt and bones
« Reply #17 on: Dec 01, 17, 10:46:16 PM »
Drakkar, as he drew closer, recognized the female in the presence of Prince Ranosi. Zavian Dyalov was a particular thorn in Drakkar’s side, one that was hard to ignore before her Ebon Gray came into the equation. She’d offered, many times, to join the Blood Seekers in destroying Hayll, but Drakkar had been firm in his refusal. Women did not fight. It was simply not done in Askavi. Yes, there were a number of people who argued against tradition, believing that the old ways had lead to the damaged land beneath their feet right now.

Those same people were often too young to recognize that the traditions they spurned also lead to Askavi being the most dominant territory in Terreille less than two centuries ago. Drakkar’s attention turned, briefly, to the female.

Lady Dyalov, well met. I hope the day find you well.” Drakkar said.

He returned his attention to Prince Ranosi.

If Drakkar sensed a dig or any snark from the younger Warlord Prince, he did not show it. He had a thousand other things on his mind more pressing than any attempts at baiting or dry humor from someone a fraction of his age. He was here to make a request and then return to preparations for the Blood Seekers to engage the Jhinka in Black Forest. He would have to turn over leadership of the organization to a worthy warrior in the near future, for his duties as the Warlord Prince of Askavi precluded him from taking the field. His enemies would like it, but if he planned to lead his people, he needed needed to think and act differently.

Endevar asked Lady Dyalov to grant them privacy and Drakkar, despite his other inclination, did not inquire about what he’d happened upon. He resolved to stick to the task at hand.

Thank you, Prince Ranosi. The matter I’ve come to ask about is one that Lady Dyalov would be interested in, but I’d rather not bring it up if you’re about to tell me it’s not possible.” Drakkar said, sparing a glance for the female once more.

He looked back to Endevar.

As you’re likely aware, a delegation of diplomats was sent to Hayll some time ago to address the matter of the reparations owed.” Drakkar said, unable to hide his distaste at the idea of those reparations. Drakkar did not, would not ever believe that Askavi owed anything to the rest of the Terreille for conquering the realm. Still, history occurred as it had and Askavi had been forced to pay.

There’s been no word from anyone in the delegation for some time. Naturally, the families of those who’ve left us are worried. They deserve to know how their familiy members fare in Hayll. That leads to my request.” Drakkar said.

I understand that you were held against your will in Hayll, but is there anything you can learn about the delegation? It seems odd that there has been no contact of any kind. I’d like to offer some peace of mind those who’ve inquired and maybe an idea of how things are going.” Drakkar said.

While I have my own suspicions, I’m trying to exhaust the possibilities and resources at hand before seeking other measures.” Drakkar said.

Is there any way you can help with this?” Drakkar said.


Offline Zavian Dyalov

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Re: Alot to ask from dirt and bones
« Reply #18 on: Dec 02, 17, 11:57:04 PM »
"Prince," Zavian returned to Drakkar's greeting, a deep nod of her head showing proper deference to the Warlord Prince of Askavi. Endevar drew her attention back fully with his request, and with the promise that had her cock a lopsided smile before she took a few steps back from the men. Her wings flared out and propelled her upwards, and she ascended in a nearly straight trajectory until she was truly far enough away from them that she couldn't overhear.

It was far from the first time she'd been sent away while the menfolk talked about menfolky things, and as much as she thought it folly, she was accustomed to it all the same. Once she reached a decent height, she began a wide and unhurried circle with the men at the center. Truth be told, she was glad for the momentary break in training. She loved the work of it, but the cool air felt amazing against her sweat-damped skin, and lifted her hair off of where it'd come loose from its binds and stuck to her neck and shoulders. She would never have guessed that it would have taken as long as it had just to be able to force someone to block her attack. It was humbling, but at the same time it was invigorating in the way few things were. To finally have someone show her such unexpected truths was revelatory. To have someone promising to help her overcome them filled her with such hope and purpose that not even her wounded pride could sour the experience.

At least, not yet.

Zavian circled overhead and kept watch, though her glance drifted downward frequently to watch for some sign that she was allowed to rejoin them.

Offline Endevar Ranosi

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Re: Alot to ask from dirt and bones
« Reply #19 on: Dec 03, 17, 12:19:37 AM »
As to the landscape, he felt that he needed to provide some context as well. "I've been learning to farm," he explained, gesturing to the field they were beside, where the soil was being turned and readied for seed. It was not the season for doing this, which he damned well knew at least, but it was more about the practice of it. Though he plans for things to plant even in the coming colder seasons, to do his best to test his acumen through the season, for when Spring thawed.

"It's... steady going, but frustrating," he admitted, smiling softly. The words spoken were the words of a restless man pursuing a hobby to busy himself. It was a well-chosen, tactically wise hobby, at least. He was ridiculed, often, for being too Hayllian bourgeoisie, though in true snobbish fashion, he suspected the precision term of derision was not one known to those of the Eyrie. This allowed him to work the land, to humble himself, which paid dividends in its way. Additionally, it let him both show his value in the village he resided in here, and also recompense the land for the food he consumed, further starving his own home.

Telling Drakkar was as much an attempt to be honest and direct in how his day was, as it was to subtly try to engender some appreciation for Endevar's genuinely attained work ethic. Endevar was under no illusions that Drakkar likely was one of those who were of the mind to plot Endevar's death while he ruled; currying some favor was important to Endevar. Though he stopped short of using any social craft to influence him, his instincts urged him to do just that.

Lady Dyalov left, and he nodded to her as she made her move to depart. It signalled the beginning of Drakkar's opening up to the Black Prince, who looked slightly surprised at the request. He had the look of a question on his face, but one of suspicion, as soon as he set in about the delegation of diplomats that Zavian had interest in. He knew why she would be interested; so did Drakkar. And he elected to disinclude her. More, it was clear he knew about the issue, as it was suspicion and not wonder on his sharp features. "Interesting request," he admitted, after a moment, and then paused again as he stroked his chin.

A channel was opened as he looked down, a thread sent along the Black to the Ebon Gray who had distanced herself. He relayed much the information being given him now. *By some coincidence, he is here to ask my help in seeking information on your father's delegation. I am about to agree to do just that. It's a wise, and incredibly humble thing, for him to come to me for this.*

He finished his deep thought, the thumb brushing along his lower lip in ponderance, when he looked back up to Drakkar. "While... understandably strained, I do have contacts in Hayll. Chief among them my... 'adoptive'... brother. He is sympathetic to my plight. I can use him to find more, I think," he said, intending to be telling the truth even as thoughts brewed in his own mind of who he might request information from... and whether he would be there to ensure the letters did not go missing. The thought both inspired, and terrifid him, at almost equal measure. But if he were to invade their land, he must become comfortable in his former home again. Spying might just do, he considered.

"I should have an answer inside a month, I hope,"
he assured him. His eyes considered Drakkar, who clearly was accepting this at face value, and he pushed a thought along that open thread further, informing her simply that it was clear that was not the only reason he was asked here.

"I sense there's more?"
he asked, his voice more hopeful than he would've liked it to be; clearly, the newly minted farmer was restless here in the center of this Fell Valley. In truth, Endevar felt wasted here, and yearned for purpose, looking to Drakkar with shining hope he might find it. At least, for a moment, before the man counseled his expression a touch subtler than it was now.








Offline Drakkar Estaroth

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Re: Alot to ask from dirt and bones
« Reply #20 on: Dec 07, 17, 11:13:35 PM »
Drakkar listened while Endevar explained that he’d learned to farm. Surprise played across his features as the Warlord Prince explained his actions here, at least prior to what Drakkar had happened upon. Whatever else he’d expected Endevar to be doing at this point in his life, this wasn’t it. Drakkar couldn’t speak against it, though. It was a worthy pursuit, even if he wasn’t a Queen. A Queen with Endevar’s Black Jewel would be the savior of Askavi, capable of restoring their land in conjunction with the remaining Queens of Askavi.

But every Black Jewel placed in Askavi was given to a male, which was once seen as further proof of their eventual superiority.

Drakkar nodded. “That’s worthy work, Prince Ranosi. I hope it goes well. Our people need it.” Drakkar said.

He wondered, for a long moment, how Endevaor would respond to his request about Hayll. Briefly, Drakkar expected that the man would take it as an insult. He’d been wronged by Hayll and imprisoned for years. Had Drakkar been in his place, he would have wanted to burn Hayll to ashes in revenge. Drakkar wanted to burn Hayll to ashes even without Endevar’s torment as a motivation. He often wondered what stayed the Black Warlord Prince’s hand, now that he’d seemingly recovered from his original ordeal. Perhaps he loved Askavi that much.

Drakkar respected that. There was a time, centuries ago, when nothing would have made him happier than to lay down his sword, pick up a shovel, and work all day until it was time to go home to his wife and daughter.

Moreover, he respected Endevar’s acceptance of his request. When Endevar said that he’d have some kind of information within a month, Drakkar almost wanted to ask him how. He nearly asked him to inquire after his brother, who’d gone with the delegation as well. Instead, the Warlord Prince of Askavi held his tongue and nodded in agreement.

Thank you. The...there are many families within Askavi who will appreciate your willingness to help.” Drakkar said. He hooked his fingers into the holes of his vest and considered the other thing he’d come here to ask. While Drakkar had deep faith in Blood Seekers and their skills, their enemies were numerous and capable of massive damage and destruction. Those enemies were implacable and seemed bent on wiping out the Eyriens who’d called Askavi home for thousands upon thousands of years.

Humbling himself once more, Drakkar spoke.

Yes, there is one other thing.” Drakkar said.

I respect your devotion to farming and giving back to our land. You could create a homestead anywhere and rest assured in your ability to defend it. There are a many who cannot say the same.” Drakkar said.

The Jhinka are on the rampage and I mean to strike decisively against them. The Blood Seekers and the other War Camps are currently putting together a strategy to drive them back. But they have menaced Black Forest Province for some time. They’ve grown smarter and stronger, somehow, and have slain many of our warriors.” Drakkar said.

I’ve come to ask your aid against these enemies. Our forces will handle the hand-to-hand combat and taking the fight into the mountains to root out the Jhinka. They have superior numbers, but shock and awe would could break the will of their forces and level the field.”  he said, looking to Endevar once more.

Will you aid us, Prince Ranosi?” Drakkar asked.


Offline Endevar Ranosi

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Re: Alot to ask from dirt and bones
« Reply #21 on: Dec 18, 17, 10:46:32 PM »
His efforts to farm explained, Drakkar praised him, and he looked duly bashful and modest, dismissing the man's effluence with a gesture. "I need it, too," he explained, with a shrug. "So long as I live here, I drain from these lands without stop. I am a hole that must be fed. And so I fill holes with food." He made a slow gesture with his hand, weighing from one hand to another, to show the very clear meaning he laid out: balance. It was what he perceived through the toil of his hands. Even if he currently decimated some of the land with the force laid out by the two of them. The soil had tracks laid through it, and concussive force that divoted huge portions; he was tilling the soil and this seemed an effective enough method, really.

It all came to a stop in a circle, if one's eyes were sharp. Where the barriers of his jewel contained the full weight of both himself and Zavian's earthquaking might.

But Drakkar moved past it, and moved past his gratitude. Endevar appreciated the man's earnestness, and his feelings towards the man from their first two meetings softened almost visibly. For whatever negative first impressions, or dark resentment sensed in him, he was willing to humble himself so severely out of love for this land above all. It raised him in Endevar's estimation uncountably, and a soft smile crossed his lips despite himself. A smile touched with sadness, but admiration shone through it the brightest. The Warlord Prince, the leader of the Blood Seekers, forced himself to ask for help with more.

Endevar smiled brightly, then, and clapped his hand on Drakkar's shoulder, to show solidarity and fondness as best he could. "Prince Estaroth-- Drakkar-- I have been waiting to be called for this exact kind of thing. Yes, absolutely, yes. The enemies of Askavi are my enemies; nothing will ever change that."

Glancing to the sky, however, he looked back to Drakkar, and cleared his throat. "But the Eyrie needs every advantage it can get. If we are doing this - I am bringing her with me. Untrained, rough, but the pure power she can bring to bear will serve as shock to my awe." He knew this was a dangerous gamble, but he extended his hand forward in a gesture of agreement, awaiting the met hands.

In truth, he meant his first words; he was bluffing in his way. He would help regardless, but he made it clear this was far more than a mere request. He threw his weight, some, now, and challenged traditions as he bulled forward. He did not know if he would push this further if Drakkar refused him, and merely prayed that the Warlord Prince of Askavi would see fit to grant the weapon before him his second.

Prince Ranosi did not communicate the breadth of this conversation to her, though, leaving her largely unclear on the topics discussed. No, he only offered a scant few words skimmed across the thread offered her. *A strike on the Jhinka looms.* She was not being ordered to come; she was also not being asked to come. Not yet. This would depend greatly on Drakkar's next choice, and the hand that hung in the air before him, awaiting the clasp of a warrior's grasp. It would also depend, in part, on Zavian's enthusiasm: he would not champion her to the point of ire should she not desire such effort from the young Warlord Prince who shook these mountains once, and threatened to now do so again.








Offline Drakkar Estaroth

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Re: Alot to ask from dirt and bones
« Reply #22 on: Jan 01, 18, 11:24:35 PM »
The hand on his shoulder was a gesture that Drakkar was not used to from someone he did not know intimately. Few people, even among the Blood Seekers, would have done it. But Endevar’s humility struck a chord with Drakkar, earned him a grace that Drakkar wouldn’t have granted others. That, combined with physical evidence of the raw power that his fellow Warlord Prince possessed, forced Drakkar to think his way through this discussion rather than bull forward with offense that would sour their interaction. In the end, Drakkar had come here asking for the aid of the Black. Drakkar respected that power.

His ego, large as it was, had to kneel before his desire to help his people.

Thank you, Prince Ranosi. From all that we’ve seen, the Jhinka do not care for the winters here and may hunker down. But they’ve also grown more intelligent, more cunning in recent times. They are attacking farms, farmlands, and smaller towns on the outskirts of the Provinces.

Please be careful in your travels.
” Drakkar said.

Endevar’s gaze traveled skyward, though, and Drakkar followed it to the circling form of Lady Dyalov. Their activities here had not escaped Drakkar’s notice, but he’d said nothing of it. There’d been no reason to discuss it when it was something happening outside his vision. Now, though, Drakkar had an inkling of where this discussion was headed. His gaze returned to Endevar, but Drakkar did not speak. Prince Ranosi was known, during his rule, for challenging tradition, bucking it where it didn’t serve him as he tried to pull Askavi forward in the wake of his mother’s near-successful campaign to conquer both Realms. Drakkar saw something of the Red Queen in her wingless son.

He did not yet know if he liked it or feared it.

I understand your intent, but I wonder if you’ve considered what you’re suggesting.” Drakkar said, his tone neutral.

Many will speak against the choice, if it’s known. Tradition is all that is left to some people. This,” he said, indicating Lady Dyalov, “will be a bridge too far for some.

And yet, even as Drakkar spoke his warning, he couldn’t deny the power of an Ebon Gray and a Black on their side against the Jhinka. The sheer might contained between them could easily save the lives of thousands of their warriors. So many fathers, brothers, and sons had already perished at the hands of the Jhinka. Drakkar considered that Endevar was testing him. To what end, he didn’t know. His choices were simple.

Deny the request and gamble that Endevar was willing to help anyway…or damage his the morale of his warriors. He wouldn't wish this choice on anyone else. His shoulders tensed. His wings flared. He wanted to snarl at Endevar that he'd only allow such a thing over his blood-stained ashes. That a female in Askavi would not raise a weapon while a capable male remained.

But if the Jhinka’s rampages continued successfully, the choice would be out of his hands. Drakkar did pull away from Endevar then, needing the space to think. He didn’t want to make this decision. It would open a floodgate that would not easily, if ever, be closed. His warriors would challenge him hard on this. If he went through with it, it could cost him valuable support.

They have to live through this in order to challenge you. a voice said in the back of his mind.

You say she is rough and untrained, making her a liability on the battlefield. Yet you believe in her.” Drakkar said.

He turned back to Endevar, eyes narrowed in consideration as something came to his mind.

Why?


Offline Endevar Ranosi

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Re: Alot to ask from dirt and bones
« Reply #23 on: Jan 05, 18, 10:00:34 AM »
Endevar watched as Drakkar struggled with this information. He was not unaware he was asking – no, threatening – a staunch traditionalist with an ultimatum he could never abide. It was a challenge, and both of them were aware it was happening. He was not inclined to make enemies, judging by his kindness being shown and the softness of the speech offered. But his bucking traditions clearly showed he was not here to necessarily make friends, either.

The man claimed he did not want to rule Askavi; yet clearly he was not satisfied merely abiding the rule of the land, all the same. Perhaps his power made him feel above such law, or perhaps he still wished to find an excuse to challenge for the very power Drakkar struggled to claim now. He merely stared, passively, appearing unbothered as the winged Warlord Prince struggled through the challenge placed before him, offering no expression of malice, but also not one of amusement or mercy on this issue. He held the line in the sand he had drawn, so far, while the other man danced along it, debating his willingness to cross it.

Drakkar asked a question, however, and it almost prompted Endevar to answer him, but he realized there was a fair chance it was rhetorical. So rather than offer any words with which to assure the other man who already damned well knew Endevar had made his choice deliberately, he granted instead a faint smile on his lips in answer - one of kind patience and understanding, and not one beaming with mockery and his desire to inflict pranked torment. That smile, faint and pleasant, was all he promised of assurance that he had considered what he was suggesting; Endevar knew just fine. So did Drakkar.

But then the man continued to explain how traditional the Eyrie truly was, and Endevar continued to listen, barely blinking, and not shrugging or dismissing the man’s words. He listened, and watched, but did not nod in agreement, shake his head in denial or look bored or tired of the man’s hesitations.

And then the real question. Drakkar was not yet decided on whether he would or could break tradition, and he needed a good answer. Fortunately, Endevar had one: and one that Drakkar would receive only after he had walked himself into a trap they had worked together to prepare. “Because so am I. I'm untested on the battlefield, Drakkar. You ask for me. I've been trained as a Warlord Prince should be, yes. I've received a few lessons from Renvar Yatskaya in more advanced combat forms. But I have ... barely used my caste-borne combat skills in the lives I've taken. I've merely extended my hand... and willed my enemies gone," he explained, reaching his hand forward, angled to the side of Drakkar, before he clenched his fist. The Warlord Prince of Askavi likely could feel as the air itself pulled tight, as Endevar tested the slightest flex of his power in memory of how he had merely crushed his uncle in front of all of the guards of Askavi. It was a simple gesture, and he repeated it here.

"I am not even one hundred years old. I was not here for the war. I killed Jhinka for only two seasons of the seven seasons I was here last, and only barely, as I was counseled not to on account of assassins desiring my head. She has, like me, spent her life using her power, but not for war, just like me. She knows shields, as even Eyrien women are taught to protect, to defend, even if not attack. So: if you deem it acceptable she comes with us, you explain to your men that she will protect us all, so that we brave men may focus on the attack. And if she decides to take an offensive approach when an opportunity is too good to ignore, when there is no chance of endangering your men, you can tell them after that she acted against your wishes. Which is true, I imagine, because I am certain you wish she wouldn't."

He shrugged, casually, as the other man brooded and paced, clearly torn apart at this decision. Endevar did not, at any point, indicate to the warrior that he was going to put restraints to Zavian to match what he was describing: he only ever gave Drakkar ideas for what he could tell his men to mollify them. There was no promise made by the Black that he would keep the Ebon Gray witch on this imagined leash he was now describing.

Sensing the hesitation remaining, he opted to offer a few more words to summarize the issue and to cement it. "It tests the bounds of acceptibility, I understand that, but truly, you can even use my own untested strength as excuse further. I am genuinely someone you should see as a liability for my untested skills in war; Ebon Gray shields will limit it. Unless anyone else amongst your Blood Seekers, or your other warriors, can even hope to try to contain my power if left unchecked?"

The challenge was made as a question, still; as if it was a request he would allow Drakkar to deny. Perhaps he would, his steely eyes meeting the others with confidence and certainty. He was certainly making it, at least for now, Drakkar’s choice to bring her along. He offered avenues for Drakkar to justify it, but he never backtracked to suggest he was less certain about bringing her. The only allowance for it he truly gave was if Prince Estaroth could somehow find someone else of similar power to use instead of her. They both knew there was no one, so that was not much of a walkback of his request. His arms crossed, perhaps suggesting he had finished his answer. The look in his eyes turning even harder, however, clearly indicated he was now awaiting an answer in turn, rather than more questions.








Offline Drakkar Estaroth

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Re: Alot to ask from dirt and bones
« Reply #24 on: Jan 05, 18, 11:23:06 PM »
I expected this. Just not this soon.

Drakkar recognized his mistake. Attempting to negotiate with a force of nature was a foolish sentiment, let alone two. Even with his Red intact, he’d have been hard-put to attempt imposing his will on either of these people, let alone both together. The Ebon Gray and the Black were passing rare in Askavi and all of the darkest jewels in Askavi that Drakkar knew of, save one, were in the hands of people who’d seen less than two centuries of life. He wanted to snarl, to rage at the bind he was placed in. It served no purpose here.

He’d used the same tactic, in a way, to become the Warlord Prince of Askavi.

He still didn’t like it.

His attempts to understand Endevar’s reasoning went unanswered, grating his nerves. The display of power wasn’t lost on Drakkar. Unnecessary, to his mind, but not lost upon him. Still, the ability to guide and direct that power meant sparing the lives of his warriors in the coming confrontation with the Jhinka. If they were using tactics and strategy now, if they weren’t just some mindless horde, Drakkar owed it to his people to exhaust and exploit every advantage available. He’d come here in good faith, but Endevar had leverage that Drakkar did not. If he didn’t secure his aid now, his men would demand it once the casualties mounted. He’d promised Auralian Ruslana all of the aid that he could provide to help Black Forest.

Through it all, he couldn’t help but hate Endevar just a little for thumbing his nose at their traditions. He did not have to deal with the fallout of this choice.

Very well.” Drakkar said, his words clipped. “I hope you know what you’re doing, Prince Ranosi.

I hope I know what I’m doing, unleashing this.

Drakkar turned once more to look at Lady Dyalov, flying high above them. Whatever he’d just done, he’d done it for Askavi. When it came to keeping his people alive and securing this Territory against all threats, his ego was a sacrifice he had to make. Only time would tell if he was sacrificing more.

I should go. There are more people to advise of this matter and strategy to decide.” Drakkar said.

He needed Vannevar’s help and maybe Celebrian’s to get in front of this. He already knew whom among his commanders would take this as a personal affront. Those were the ones he’d either have to compel or drag into this, kicking and screaming. He did not relish it any more than he relished what was coming. But if it succeeded…

Best not to think ahead that far. We might all be dead before this time next year.

We’ll speak again.” Drakkar said.


Offline Endevar Ranosi

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Re: Alot to ask from dirt and bones
« Reply #25 on: Jan 06, 18, 12:09:40 AM »
There was a long look between the contrasting and intense men, before Endevar witnessed as Drakkar swallowed what must be a thousand years of war-worn pride. It was an impressive proof of the man's need that he would cave with such bitterness, but he caved all the same. The Black Prince had his way, and he looked sorrowful to have gained the path he found himself upon. Especially when the concession came with such biting remarks of doubt and near accusation. The particular one, though, earned mostly a soft laugh from the young warrior.

"I rarely feel that I do,"
he admitted, with a welcome shrug to the man who bristled so strongly before him. "But it sounds like we will see."

It's amazing how questioning one can be of everything, when their entire life was a lie. He wished to express this, but had no doubts that the man would offer no sympathies for a life of pampered excess.

Seeking to make some effort to soothe the fury between them, he stepped forward, and sought to meet his eyes firmly. His arm extended, to clasp his forearm if the Warlord Prince allowed the gesture, and shake firmly. "I want to save Askavi. I can not thank you enough for the chance to do so, no matter how reluctant it was."

There was little doubt that this gesture would be enough to entirely alleviate the consternations of a man such as Drakkar Estaroth, but he hoped at least for a bit of respect in the handling of it. The entire situation was a contestation against much the man held dear, but Endevar attempted to do so with some dignity offered him even as he subtly and less subtly browbeat the man into it.

But the wingless warrior made the bed he chose to make, and he bowed in respect as he stepped back and away, to allow the other to find the winds and launch himself back into them. He would watch the man disappear into the distance, before he took a long breath and then moved to grab the large two-handed forked spear he had surrendered when Zavian approached, and took it back into hand. Eyeing the soil, he shrugged and threw his shoulders into it again as he speared the earth anew, before raising it and repeating the process, arating the ground that would soon receive the seeds that would wait until the spring to raise to true life.

He knew it was just a matter of a minute or two before Zavian landed again, especially as he offered no further words through the link he had formed, other than to beckon her to land. Once she had, the skies surrendering her to the earth in a way he would always find a pang of sadness and envy for, he would give her a nod of his head, his expression intentionally and mischievously somber. He did his best to hide the puckish mischief he had planned in this reveal, instead soberly looking upon her to ask of something entirely far afield from her hopes and wonders.

"Do you know anything about this? Or, any good at learning?"
he asked her, hopeful, implying he definitely needed the help, gesturing towards the untouched field he was trying to cultivate and that their brutal workout had helped beat into the submission needed to soften it for this tool to get proper and easy purchase.

It was only as he let that question stew in her mind, about why after war preparations were discussed that he would ask her about farming,  that a wicked little smile could not help but bubble up across his strong features. It was amusement he could not hide any longer, and he clarified his stance, revealing that Drakkar had conceded - though not to the limitations Drakkar would expect. That'd come later, after the celebratory look he wanted on her face. "Because if you're going to go hunt Jhinka with me, we will need a lot of time here together, and I expect you to offer me services in trade. Farming labor seems good."

More than merely him, an outsider, entrusting her, or taking her on a mission outside of the Eyrie on a rogue operation to kill, he suspected that gaining respect and trust and service in Askavi might matter to her. He hoped to see it blossom now; even knowing that the consequences for her would be far-reaching. He may find another target on his back; and she might come to share it.

But for now, there was a moment in time where dreams might be imagined, and dreams were of great value to a land so barren of hope.








Offline Zavian Dyalov

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Re: Alot to ask from dirt and bones
« Reply #26 on: Jan 06, 18, 02:49:52 PM »
By some coincidence, he is here to ask my help in seeking information on your father's delegation.

High overhead, Zavian tensed. She just barely resisted the urge to pause mid-circle and hover in place so that she could look down at the gathered pair below in response. She wanted to do more than that; she wanted to descend again with all haste and ask questions. Drakkar Estaroth was the Warlord Prince of Askavi. He was one half of the Territory's rule. If he didn't know what was going on with the delegation, did no one? Had the Territory Court received word that the delegates had been taken prisoner and done nothing in response? Zavian managed to keep flying in wide circles while she waited, but her mood darkened and her anger began to rise. Endevar pointed out the significant amount of humility and wisdom Drakkar had shown in asking for his help, but Zavian was not of a mind to make such concessions yet. Humility and cowardice, she thought, instead. It took every ounce of restraint the witch had to remain airborne then, and in the moments that followed. Had it not been Endevar who'd asked her to step aside, and had he not been her only hope of the training she so desperately wanted, she likely would've failed to do so. 

She was still fuming in silence over the matter a moment later, when Endevar informed her that there was a strike being planned on the Jhinka.

*I can help,* she sent back to him, loathe to distract him from his conversation with Drakkar, but unable to stifle the offer. *I can stay hidden the whole time if I have to, and they'll think it's all you. They'll never have to know I'm even there. Please, Endevar. I want to stand shoulder to shoulder with my brothers and bleed the enemies of Askavi. I can do this.*

Drakkar left soon after, and Zavian wasted no time in returning to the earth at Endevar's side. The question was written into her face since before she touched down, and she didn't deviate from watching the Warlord Prince's expression, even when he reached for the farm tool. At that, her brow began to furrow in a blend of confusion and consternation. Had he chosen to not help the Blood Seekers fight? She didn't understand. Endevar turned to her and asked her if she knew anything about the field before them, and only then did she shift her eyes aside to eye the upturned dirt to which he referred. She was stunned. Emotion surged in her, disappointment, anger, confusion. It'd all just begun to bleed into her face when she looked back to him, her lips parting in preparation of objecting.

Because if you're going to go hunt Jhinka with me...

Zavian blinked. He smiled, and all at once she understood that he'd been fucking with her, and she felt her knees nearly turn to jelly.

"What?" she finally said, lamely, but then the relief gave way to a more complete understanding of what his words meant. "WHAT?!" she said, much louder, but this time the word was fueled by a sudden and robust excitement. Her hands rose up, balled into excited fists, and she gaped for a beat.

...and then she all but exploded towards him, and before she'd had a chance to consider how unfamiliar the two of them were, she had her arms thrown around him in strong and grateful hug. "I can't believe it," she breathed, leaning back from him with wide eyes and remnants of shock still plain about her. She released him just as quickly as she'd grabbed him, turned away and hopped a little out of sheer excitement. "I can't believe it! He said I can?" she asked, turning back to him, the potential for deflation lurking just in her periphery as she realized it was unlikely that Drakkar had actually agreed, rather than just having relented against the demands of the Black. Had Endevar just made an enemy of the Warlord Price of Askavi? If Endevar confirmed that Drakkar was (even grudgingly) on board, however, that brilliant grin would flicker back onto Zavian's face.

"You're amazing," she told him, grinning brightly and gripping her hands hard into fists to keep from hugging him again. "I can't believe it. You're amazing! I will plow every field in Askavi with you if you help me, Endevar! As much time as you want, as many fields as you want. Everything, you can have it, just..." she paused, made herself breathe, as she'd started to work herself up to the point where she was short of breath, between the excitement and the emotion of the moment. 

"Just help me do this. I can do this."

Offline Endevar Ranosi

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Re: Alot to ask from dirt and bones
« Reply #27 on: Jan 06, 18, 11:07:33 PM »
She launched at him, and swung arms around him in enthusiastic exultation, and he returned it, laughing as he hugged her back. His own arms slung low on her back as they clung together, to avoid the wings that she so appreciated and he'd never known. She pulled away to meet his eyes and ask more, and he laughed again as he nodded his head and took in her avalanche of gushed questions.

He wondered if he had ever felt this joyous as her, at anything, and struggled to even conceive of it. Another envy was borne in his gut, but he was just as happy as he was jealous,  "He caved," Endevar corrected, to make it clear that the view she had from up there was not wrong. The tension in Drakkar, the pacing anger and disgust that were barely concealed, it was all on display for any watching... and that was only her. He did not want what happened; she was wise to assume it, and he corroborated it clearly enough. The concession granted her was not an enthusiastic one; but that was something they could work towards. Progress in territories ruled over by the Long-Lived was predictably as slow as their aging.

"Eh, I am okay. I just have limited cares of what people think of me anymore, and enjoy using my power to pressure change. Hopefully this only gets one assassin sent to me, though. But, I'll be happy, honestly, if it's only two. At least I never have to worry about any coups anymore. No one wants to take my land, they just want me buried under it." A jackal's grin spread on his lips as she praised him and he deflected some of it, dismissing some of her enthusiasm further with that smile doing its best to smother wildfires; it did not succeed greatly, and in truth, he wasn't hungry for it to do it anyway. He enjoyed the praise and the idolizing. It felt rather nice.

He went on, to explain the finer details; agreements it was inferred he was making, but never made. Still, she should know the bonds anticipated of her, even if she planned to break them. "He conceded to allowing you to join us in hunting and killing them. I instructed him he could tell the men that your role would be shielding everyone; that the Sapphire would surround everyone, and Ebon Gray would be used to deflect the power of the Black when I unleashed it, because I am, like you, young and unreliable. I never said to Prince Estaroth that I would require, or really even expect, you to actually do any of that, mind you... merely that this was a lie he could likely sell as something most could endure hearing."

A wry little smile teased up at the end of this, as he considered this deceit further. "If you plan to violate the promises he will make - and feel free, I do not really care if you do - we will be sure you are as unlikely as possible to hurt the Blood Seekers and their allies by accident. We will be training hard. I imagine in a few days, this will happen. And when that ends... I will be travelling - alone - to Hayll to try to hunt down information on where to find the delegates, assuming they live. This last piece is a secret you will keep."

He extended his hand to her, offering to clasp her arm in the way he had clasped Drakkar's own a minute ago, that warrior's grasp to seal this vow between them. That she would train with him, and that she would then hunt alongside some of the most important warriors in Askavi. And in exchange, she would help him farm, and teach him all she could of what she knows in that time, and she would keep his secret. That the man who was captured in Hayll for years just months prior would return there of his own will now, by himself, unaccompanied.

It was all part of the deal and he was unhesitant in his gaze, awaiting her contract to be bound.

"You can do this. You will do this. But first, you still haven't punched me yet."
The tool was embedded again into the dirt, and he rolled his neck slowly, that grin growing far more cheshire on his golden skin, peeling open to reveal a dangerous number of those sparkling whites.








Offline Zavian Dyalov

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Re: Alot to ask from dirt and bones
« Reply #28 on: Jan 09, 18, 03:33:59 PM »
He caved, Endevar said, and Zavian looked away, a firm nod making it seem like she was weighing that truth and coming to terms with it at the same time. Caved. Well, that was better than refused, better than thinking he'd been so adamantly against it that he'd left an outright enemy of Endevar's.

Might be a subversive enemy now, but there was little to be done about it. The Warlord Prince echoed similar thoughts with his words about assassins, which drew Zavian's eyes back to him overtop a gamine grin.

"Let them come," she almost growled, as though the notion excited her. "Cowards who try to strike from the shadows will stand no chance."

Endevar's explanation of what Drakkar might tell his men had Zavian's expression twisting towards hesitance, maybe a stroke of confusion. But that was chased away by the emergence of a conspiratorial little smile as he made clear what limit he hadn't set. She was grinning brilliantly again by the time he finished. He went on to talk about the training they would do and she nodded, trying and failing to rein in her eagerness so that she didn't come across as a child who cared not for details so long as they got what they wanted.

His assertion that he'd go alone to Hayll sliced right through all of that enthusiasm, though, and her expression blanked, then showed reluctance and concern, both. Her lips pursed, and she obviously considered whether or not to argue on that point, even going so far as to shift her eyes away from Endevar for a moment, giving real thought to the matter. But Endevar extended his hand, and Zavian looked from it up to the man, and there was only a heartbeat's pause before she joined the offered clasp of hands.

"It seems wrong for you to have to go back alone," she told him, the best she could do, when holding her tongue entirely wasn't an option. "I would go with you," she offered, even though she suspected before she said it that he would not prefer that. His tone had been decisive, after all, and he had to already know she would have gone, if he'd wanted her to do so.

"But as you wish. I'll tell no one," she sword, with a sober nod. He shifted to the matter of her training, and his rising grin was answered by a wolfish one of her own. He stowed the farming tool and she paused only a beat before a mighty thrust of her wings launched her into the air, and she raced back towards the starting point from which she'd tried to assault him more times than she could count.

Offline Endevar Ranosi

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Re: Alot to ask from dirt and bones
« Reply #29 on: Jan 21, 18, 08:52:35 PM »
Zavian took the compromise of Drakkar well; he had hoped for more enthusiasm, but understood it all the same. Even good news stolen by force was good news, but it would be of much better value if given far more freely. That enthusiasm returned, though, when she understood that the bonds placed upon her by them were wholly nonexistent: that there was an inferred agreement, but no one swore a damned thing. She was free to fight beside them. The actual slow comprehension dawning upon her gave him a deep sense of enjoyment, as understanding blossomed behind her every feature. It warmed all the cold in him, it felt like, and he was all too welcoming of the warmth this moment brought him.

It carried him through the subsequent winter as her mood soured at the notion of his escape to Hayll, and his independence in the journey he planned to undertake. She was as much concerned as clearly chomping at a bit, and he looked sympathetic, but resolute all the same. She promised she'd go with him, and his head merely bowed for a moment in understanding. A faint smile touched his features, there, to show his appreciation to her, but he offered her no encouragement at her urging. "We can't give away our hand yet. And I can be practically invisible there. In ways no one else here can be."

He shrugged, apologetically. "Trust me, you're going to come with me there, one day. Soon, I hope," he assured her, the man clearly certain, despite the equivocation he offered. And, more frightening to the world, just as certain in the second promise: that the wingeds of the Eyrie would be at his back as he returned to Hayll again.

It was not but a moment after her resolution to this before she launched herself into the air and soared back to the beginning where this fight had started before. His eyes followed her, and a rush of excitement pulsed through him at the thought of letting her cross blows with him again. The energy of this all boiled his blood in a way little else did, the essence of his caste so often ignored, but allowed to flourish in moments like this. He yearned for the moment she was ready for more from him; more than merely his dodging, blocking motions. He wanted to test her; to battle her. His blood sang for it, and for other methods of conflict with the lovely and eager witch.

"We don't stop until you give, or you hit,"
he reminded her, and then urged her on, standing unbraced, preparing to move like a willow in the wind to be wherever her fist was not being sent.

It was the first time since he returned to Askavi that he had felt alive; but Drakkar's news promised something else, soon.








Offline Zavian Dyalov

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Re: Alot to ask from dirt and bones
« Reply #30 on: Jan 30, 18, 08:12:24 PM »
Zavian understood. She didn't like it, naturally, but she understood. It seemed wrong to her for someone with Endevar's strength and justification to go skulking about in the shadows while he returned to the place that had tormented him. Even so, she knew he had goals he meant to accomplish, and she was willing to trust that - knowing Hayll as he did - he was going about it the way that was best for him. She nodded to his explanation resolutely, even if unhappily. His next words, though, wherein he pointed out that she'd go with him there soon, succeeded in wrenching a little smile back onto her lips. It was enough, for the moment, to consider the eventual glory of Askavi returning to Hayll en masse, and culling the fat and simpering courtiers who had so greedily sunk their teeth into the hand of diplomacy. With Endevar as their vanguard, there would be no escaping that tide of wrath.

It was that invigorating thought that she took with her into the sky, letting it lift her heart as surely as her wings lifted her body. When she'd returned to her starting point and looked down the range at the man standing there, she hesitated only a moment to try and center herself and recall all the coaching he'd given her before Drakkar had shown up to distract them both. Watch my defense, he'd told her last, and though it sounded simple enough that it ought to be enlightening, she still struggled with how to change her tactic based on that advice. She knew it was in there somewhere, though, and stubbornly rolled the phrase over in her mind, prodding it for understanding.

She then launched herself at him again, though her newly-reinvigorated spirit did little to help her actually make contact with him. She missed him entirely, but didn't even stop for correction before throwing herself back to start and trying again.

And again.

And again.

And again.

Slowly - painfully slowly - she found that groove once more that'd forced him to have to deflect her strikes. Watch my defense became a call to anticipate where he might move, or how he might shift his hands to push off her attack. He added more instruction when she plateaued again, an admonishment about not just anticipating where a target would be, but controlling where a target would be in order to strike it. Endevar was endlessly patient, and his unyielding willingness to watch her try past scores of failures made her all the more determined to perform well. She would not let this be a waste of his time. She would not give him reason to doubt that she could learn what he needed to teach her.

To Zavian, time ceased to mean anything. To her body, her Jewels, her stamina, her right arm that felt like it'd thrown a million unmet punches, it eventually asserted the fact that it hadn't lost its meaning in the slightest. It seemed like no time at all before she was dampened with sweat, her face and arms streaked with the fine dirt she'd picked up from the freshly-plowed field. It turned to mud on her slicked skin, streaking faintly here and there without her ever noticing. She had no idea how much time had passed before she began to feel aches in her tiring muscles, and that dull discomfort of a waning Jewel. All she knew was that she every pass was another chance she'd missed, and the longer she tried the fewer of those chances she had remaining. Running out of Jewel strength wasn't a problem she encountered. Ever. Yet here she was, steadily waning without any reward save the sometimes-slap of Endevar's hands when he was forced to bat her advance away.

Maybe it was the weariness that helped her, in the end. The fury and chaos that usually rode her mind eventually burned away, and she was left with only stubborn determination, and a focus that was intensified by her pride and her unwillingness to admit defeat. It was quieter in that place, and it was only there that Endevar's coaching finally seemed to her to line up with her perceptions. She started at him once more, aiming for the same path she'd trod for the last three runs. The same look on her face, the same intention broadcast for him to see. The past three times, it'd won her a bump from his hands, had forced him to step aside and deflect. She waited until she was nearly touching him, then buffeted herself sharply to one side, matching his side-step while driving her fist towards his face for what had to have been the thousandth time.

The sound of her fist colliding with his jaw resounded through the valley like a thunderclap, palpably streaking through the air before returning in quiet echoes. Pain exploded through Zavian's hand, but she hardly noticed; she was too busy watching wide-eyed as Endevar flew backwards off of his feet. He hit the dirt on his back, and panic shot through the witch, who had perhaps never in her life hit someone else with the full force of her Ebon Gray.

"Endevar!" she shouted, as she darted forward after him. She was on her knees at his side almost instantly, recklessly enough that if he'd had a mind to counter her attack he'd find her wide open and unprepared to defend.

Offline Endevar Ranosi

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Re: Alot to ask from dirt and bones
« Reply #31 on: Jan 30, 18, 10:55:49 PM »
It was exhausting, truly; and even he felt the beginning awareness that he was feeling a bit worn through. Her jewel's efforts, and his own to counteract it, saw him tapping deeper into his wellspring than he had known since he had escaped Hayll so recently, where his jewels had been pushed to their very limit. But this, here, was something far more rewarding; she actually approached his level, only slightly outside of his level, something that felt straining as he pushed her to try to reach his limits instead of her own. The titanic force she unleashed, the unbelievable speed, was incredible. The once lost Eyrien spent what little energy he could beside, to craft for them his own memories, watching her move as she came in for one pass after another, a million endless attempts to drive him down with her power and her fury. And a million attempts swung past him, or forced him from the sequence of throws to finally deflect.

And then a million and one strikes; she lulled him into a sense of repetition. He grew to expect her own exhaustion, and figured her trying the same exact sequence of strikes, including this one where she violently overcommits to a single blow-- but it never came. His head dodged aside, just in time for her to put everything into catching him exactly where he juked to find her fist. The sound that followed was thunderous. The air shuddered with the force of the strike, wind rushing away to follow the pure power sent through her arm and into his skull. The air was not the only thing displaced in the strike; he lifted off of his feet, and soared through the open sky as if he had discovered those wings carved out of his back so expertly. He floated for what seemed like an age; his surroundings warping around him as his awareness narrowed down to this exact moment. Had his shield not been more than needed, it would have ended him - or any other. She unleashed everything, power enough to shatter mountains, into a single distilled punch. And he flew.

When he came to land, it was inelegant. There was no controlled landing, or him forcing himself to at least catch himself in the fall, merely the mad chaos of his impact into the dirt, followed by him rolling feet over head, and then head over feet, before he came to a stop, the soil matting into his sweat-sopped form, packing into him as he let his shields collapse and enjoyed the cool feel of the earth against his burning skin.

Zavian was understandably distressed, and raced to his side. In truth, he was not wholly aware of her until he felt her press her hands to him, seeking to ensure she had not broken or killed him. His hand rose, to catch her wrist, as she checked his jaw for the fracture that was not there. He laughed, gently, a smile blossoming over a very gently bruised lip. It seemed she had managed to make some damage; but it was so much less than what the mountains would have endured when that strike cracked them open. He seemed, more or less, ready for it. Even if the landing told a slightly different story to her. "I am more than okay," he promised his champion, looking up at the worried warrior woman.

"That's today's lesson,"
he told her plainly, though warmth creeped easily into him. "And I am very proud of you." His hand would leave her wrist, then, to let her pull herself away, at her leisure. He groaned a little, before another chuckle issued free of his chest, making no effort to leave the small crater he had formed in the soil.








Offline Zavian Dyalov

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Re: Alot to ask from dirt and bones
« Reply #32 on: Feb 01, 18, 11:09:40 PM »
Endevar all but ragdolled into the earth, and Zavian's heart lodged itself in her throat. She moved faster than nearly anyone in Terreille could, propelled by the remnants of her Offering's power, and yet she couldn't move fast enough towards him. Dirt sprayed in a tall, violent plume from where her feet dug into the soft soil to stop herself once she reached him, and she half collapsed, half threw herself to her knees to check the damage done. The wings on her back shaded him as she leaned over, but the daylight was plenty enough to see by, still. The dirt that had collected against his skin terrified her; where were his shields?! And yet she'd no sooner made that realization than he assuaged her panic with nothing more than a smile that sliced brightly through his dirtied face. Endevar laughed and Zavian deflated, releasing a held breath and tension in one deep wilting of her shoulders and head.

"Night, I thought--" she began to say, but he assured her that he was fine and then some. The hand that'd caught momentarily at her wrist released and she rolled back to sit more fully on the ground, still bleeding off nervous energy from the recent fright. But Endevar expressed his pride in her progress, and that brilliant grin of hers resurfaced at once, summoned as reliably as the sun at dawn. 

"I hit you," she said, telling him with all the emphasis she might have if she'd been telling someone who might've missed that feat. She laughed, for no other reason than her delight had no other means by which to escape her, and it was too great to be contained. "I hit you!" she repeated, more a celebration than any real need to communicate what they both already knew. Both hands grabbed at the sleeve of his shirt so that she could jostle his arm in her excitement. And then she released him and was away, her wings hefting to pull her to her feet in a burst of movement. She leaned over him, and once she had her feet squarely on the ground again she extended both hands towards him, offering him two hands to pull himself up on. The grin she wore threatened to split her face, and she practically hummed with the joyous energy filling her.

"You sure you want to stop?" she asked him, and it'd be unclear whether she was merely teasing or entirely serious. However tired she was, he had to be less so, so perhaps it was unlikely that she was sincerely prompting him for more. But then again maybe...

"I feel like I could go forever, right now," she said, a flutter of her wings lifting her just an inch or two from the earth before depositing her again. "What is the next one? The lesson, I mean. Is it to--nngh." Hunger gripped her, a need she'd been ignoring for the better part of the afternoon. Who could eat when there was finally a chance to train? But now that she'd stopped working for a moment, the gnawing in her belly was annoyingly uncomfortable, and embarrassingly loud. Her mood darkened in response, as eating was never a matter she truly enjoyed. The annoyance at the prospect of having to part ways for the sake of finding food was momentarily abated when she realized the Warlord Prince at her side might be hungry as well. So she asked him, outright, if he was.

"My family's farm isn't very far from here," she told him, looking towards it, to the north, before looking back to her newly-christened combat instructor. "Come and let us feed you," she invited, something close to a smile settling on her lips again.


Offline Endevar Ranosi

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Re: Alot to ask from dirt and bones
« Reply #33 on: Feb 07, 18, 11:22:40 PM »
Despite how well and truly he was walloped, he did not seem terribly bothered by the event. She was relieved to see him so at peace with the violence she visited on him - and so whole - and he was amused despite himself at the worry she had written so plain on her. She grabbed at his arm, jostling the shirtless Eyrien who was covered in the dirt of the land where he lay unshielded, trusting her for the moment; he was wholly unguarded as he began to sit up, reaching his hands up to hers, and let her help him to his feet. Standing just slightly over her, the warrior woman impressively tall; she was as tall as the average man, and Endevar did not stand all too tall. He had just a few inches upon the impressive woman who managed to lay him low, and in his estimation in that moment, she was standing as tall as a giant. The wings helped some with that illusion.

She was still exalting at the experience, and began to ask him if he wanted to keep going. Her mentor began to open his lips to speak, and found himself bowled over by her own enthusiasm, leaping to how she was ready to keep going. About to concede to doing so, she immediately lept to the next issue, which was asking when the next one would be, having already surrendered to defeat that he would dismiss her, when it was anything but true, but even as he was about to correct her on that she had fallen into the newest issue: her appetite. Her stomach roared inside of her, and he smiled softly. The rumble was loud enough he swore he could hear it, even, the tearing snarl reverberating into the air here.

It appeared that her hunger was the victorious choice, and she looked torn. Taking his hands from her gently, he used one and brushed at his shoulder, and in a fine mist, the dirt rose free of him, pooled together into a ball, and dropped itself all onto soil below to join its brethren. He was immaculately clean with just this gesture. She asked, then, if he would join them - although ask was a wildly generous reflection of her invitation, which was a bit more assertive, that smile crossing her lips making him feel a little like they were being in some way mischevious. His hand extended, then, and his coat flew from the earth he left it on, and slid over his shoulders of its own accord, sleeving him and hiding his back, which was a point of some strange modesty for him here in Askavi. From the nowhere of his cabinet, small boots appeared, and he paused, before sitting on apparently the air itself, to forcefully pull on his shoes, one, then the other. It was possible he was showing off a little bit.

Shoed, coated, and still shirtless with the black hanging proudly upon his sternum, he gestured her on. "Lay on, Zavian," he bid of her, and prepared to follow her to the north, cleaned of his sweat and his dirt and everything else. He looked entirely well, rested and unbothered by the challenge, comparatively. Whether that was a part of the craft he used to prepare himself for dinner, or whether he was just that unphased by the effort that was involved in the combat that drained her nearly dry, was not immediately evident; but he definitely walked tall, at the least.

"And as for the next: considering my plans to head out sooner than later, I was thinking I might show you steps and moves after dinner. Craftless; I needed you to learn your limits, sure, but now we can work our way back up to them. Plus, it won't demand such a meal this way."


It seemed she would getr her wish, if she wanted, of not stopping; he certainly stated, at least, that he was game for more tonight after the roaring lion that was hiding somewhere near her midsection had been satisfied.








Offline Zavian Dyalov

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Re: Alot to ask from dirt and bones
« Reply #34 on: Feb 14, 18, 10:00:04 AM »
Truth be told, Zavian hadn't thought out her invitation very well. It'd been reflex to offer hospitality to someone who was helping her, and she was very much looking forward to having a chance to sit across from Endevar and speak with him, to hear him tell of his plans and his hopes for Askavi, and how Zavian might help them come to pass. She watched him clean and dress himself, affording him only a soft smirk at how casually he expended the well of power that seemed unending to her, but it wasn't until she actually turned toward the North to begin moving that it sank in, what she'd done. Endevar couldn't fly, you see, and she found herself suddenly uncertain how to go about leading him home. Did he just.. walk everywhere? It seemed like such a base and inefficient means of travel. The Winds were an option, but they really didn't have terribly far to go - at least, not by air. And while she was wondering how to pose the question to him without drawing direct attention to his lack of wings, she realized that not only was she bringing a wingless Eyrien to her mother's table without warning, but she was bringing Endevar Ranosi, the wingless Eyrien and former ruler of the Territory.

Not to mention his Jewels, which would tax anyone's kitchen stores.

Likely accustomed to such hesitation, perhaps Endevar understood the odd pause from the witch once he was ready to go. They would sort out how they ought to travel, then, and they'd set out. Once en route, Zavian reached out to her mother via psychic thread to prepare her. She made no comment to Endevar that she was doing so, but by the time they were both standing at the edge of the Dyalov property, the witch was doing a poor job of hiding her sudden aggravation.

"I should warn you, my family is fairly.. conservative," she quietly told the Warlord Prince at her side, while her eyes moved over the farmhouse before her. It was late enough in the day now that the fields nearby were empty save for their determined, slightly under-nourished yields. The farm hands had all retired for the day, gone away with the setting sun and due to return when the daylight did. It was only just dusk, and lamps were beginning to come on inside the house while the world around it steadily dimmed. The Dyalovs were a hard-working bunch, perhaps evidenced by the fact that they'd chosen to make their home on the ground instead of in the mountains. While there weren't many of the actual family who tended the land personally, they had stewarded this property and the fields upon it for generations, now.

"They mean well. They're just..." Zavian shook her head, and gave up on trying to find a word to fit her mother and brothers. She led Endevar to the door, instead, quite unbothered by the fact that she was still muddy, sweaty, and wind-blown. She stomped her boots on a mat just outside the door to knock the worst of the dirt free, and then pushed inside.

The house was large without being extravagant, warmed by a rustic sort of charm. Endevar was quietly introduced to  Markonar, Zavian's older brother, a Purple Dusk Warlord who did not seem impressed by the figure his sister had brought home with her. He was stoic enough that it might have just been a reserved flavor to Markonar's personality; it was hard to tell quickly whether there was actual disdain present or not. Sarian, the broken Healer who was Zavian's nearest sibling, was much sweeter at first meeting. She was not entirely sane, which may have had something to do with how unfazed she seemed by having both a Black and a former Territory Ruler in the house, but she was not so out of touch that she seemed so right away.

Of all of them, it was the matriach, Tavarian, who was most forthright in her disapproval of Endevar. Zavian's mother was a severe woman, weathered but unbent by almost 2,500 years, the Great War, the Purge, the loss of her Jewels, the loss of children and the apparent loss of her beloved husband. She was far from heartless, and not one of her children questioned her unyielding love for them. But life had made her hard, and she had no interest in pretending that Endevar's involvement in Zavian's life was anything even remotely close to acceptable. She extended Protocol to the former Warlord Prince of Askavi, and she did calmly invite him to share in the dinner she'd been putting on the table for her children. There was not much in the way of banter or easy conversation, though, not from Tavarian and not from the others, while the Dyalovs and Prince Ranosi took their places at the table. Zavian was forced to leave Endevar alone with them for a moment while she washed up (she'd forgotten until a lifted brow from her mother had sharply communicated the need for attention), but she wasn't gone long. The table was round (thank the Darkness, Zavian thought), so there was no indignance over the Protocol-dictated guest "of honor" sitting at the head of the table, the seat that traditionally belong to Vatar. Sarian sat at Endevar's side and toyed with her napkin, and when Zavian returned, she took the sea on Endovar's other side. Tavarian sat across from Endevar, with Markonar to her left.

"This looks amazing, mama," Zavian said, to break the uncomfortable silence. It was true, at least. Tavarian had prepared a hearty and impressive meal for her children, and the table between them all was covered nearly edge to edge by a pair of roasts, a few kinds of cooked potatoes, an assortment of carrots, corn, beans, and greens, and a large loaf of warm, crusty bread. There was more yet in the kitchen, as the woman was more than familiar with the needs of the very darkly Jeweled. Zavian poured some of the table wine for Endevar as the guest, and then passed the carafe around the table for the others. The witch then gestured for Endevar to begin filling his plate, and she'd do the same once he'd started.

"Thank you, Zavian," Tavarian replied, though she was watching the Black Prince instead of her daughter when she said it. When she continued, it was to Endevar that she spoke. "Are you aware, Prince Ranosi, that it is the wish of Zavian's father and myself that she not be indulged in her desire to learn to fight as men do?"

"Mama," Zavian objected, but the elder witch spared not a glance for her daughter.



Offline Endevar Ranosi

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Re: Alot to ask from dirt and bones
« Reply #35 on: Feb 14, 18, 10:27:08 AM »
He would walk, but he knew her appetite; so he offered, before she even asked, that he had ways of crossing distances quickly. What followed was likely the quite impressive sight of him leaping in long, powerful bounds that took him a hundred yards in a jaunt. This travel easily competed with her flight, but definitely gained him more notice than it did her; the surreal fact flight was the least impressive travel between them still astounded him, since he had not seen an Eyrien fly until he arrived in Askavi, having spent nearly seventy years without knowing what flight truly looked like.

They arrived, and he was still immaculate, but with some dust at the edge of his coat. She was filthy, of course, but he rather liked the look of the road upon her, of the struggles she came out victorious through. What happened past that doorway was far less welcome, as he was granted the absolute minimum of courtesy that Protocol could permit, with one of them out-of-touch with reality and two seeming a good deal resentful, the mother in particular. He steeled himself for this reception before they arrived, and played through it, smiling and offering much more genuine and enthusiastic interest in response to their muted or hostile turns.

Dinner was deathly silent as they laid out the dishes without even talking to one another, eyes pitched his way frequently. Well, at least, until Sarian began to talk with him. It was not wholly... sensible conversations, but he was interested. With a 'mother' who was a Black Widow, he had some familiarity with discussing with people who's touch with reality was challenged at a moment. He worried her touch with reality was more than momentarily challenged, but he talked with her respectfully and kindly, not dumbing himself down and giving her a more than equal share of the small talk that helped him through the initial discomfort.

Zavian finally rejoined from washing up, and he smiled brightly to her as she came and joined them. She took the temperature of the room, and the feeling was oddly stilted; clearly the meal was ready to begin, but there was strange tension. She broke through it with a compliment, and he breathed a sigh of relief. But Tavarian answered her... to him, before striking.

Endevar's head rolled back in an exaggeration of exasperation. Bringing his fingers up to drag at his forehead, that hand slid down to pull at his eyes and the bridge of his nose. That final gesture seemed to pull his entire head forward again, and as his hand slid away he was smiling, but it was not as loving and sweet as the ones he had given Sarian or Zavian.

"Thank you for reminding me. I knew that six years ago when she first approached me, and I knew that six hours ago when she approached me again. But seeing as she's nearing a century of age, I think it's really your daughter's choice what to do with her life, don't you?" he asked.

"This smells phenomenal," he added, knowing his question was practically rhetorical. And once more he was smiling pleasantly, as if he had not just been openly admonished. Pausing a moment, he decided to clear the air, because he was that sort of a dickhead when it came to social engagements in Askavi when there was no real threat of repercussion. It was not uncommon for people to be appalled by the brazenness of this Hayllian upstart who called himself Eyrien; and it was perhaps the best indication he had the fire of the Eyrie inside his breast.

"May I interject? I just want to clarify things: it always strikes me after I blatantly ignore someone being passive aggressive, condescending, or even just directly aggressive: they might fear reprisal from me when I respond as sharply as they spoke to me. So let me set you to ease: I am worn out, so my killing edge is far from us. But even were it not, I think of myself as an incredibly pleasant person and do not find conversation cause for murder, so do not hesitate to ridicule, harangue, or mock me. You may offer slur by calling me a wingless pretender, or Hayllian scum, or anything you like. You may even yell at me, all with reasonable confidence I will not use the wellspring of my power to erase you from existence. That said, I have a certain amount of self-confidence that springs eternal from it, so I am not going to take barbs spinelessly. I am well and truly exhausted by the notion of turning my cheek, a trait that burns likely all of Askavi."

He took a drink of wine, setting it down. "You know, just to set the tone, and control expectations."

Sitting back in his chair, he placed his hands on either side of his plate, and looked about the table, curiously, and changed the topic off of his report. "I have never actually enjoyed a home cooked meal in Askavi yet, strangely. Do we wait for you to begin eating? When I ruled, they all waited for me, so is it the same?" he asked of Tavarian, the Matriarch, pleasant and diplomatic expression worn as if he had not just sounded the drums of war. He waited, patiently, to see if this was the case.








Offline Zavian Dyalov

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Re: Alot to ask from dirt and bones
« Reply #36 on: Feb 14, 18, 11:41:33 AM »
Sarian responded kindly, even if a little nervously, to Endevar's attention. She was given to watching him curiously between comments, as though he represented a puzzle which eluded her. Given a little leeway to do so, she'd tell him quietly about the blue thistles that were in bloom right now, and how they made excellent tonics for the care of the skin. It might explain the faint scent of that very flower that lingered about the young Healer.

Zavian returned and was pleased to find the two chatting, evidenced by the bright smile she returned to Endevar's in spite of the metaphorical chill which lingered about the other half of the table. For just a moment, it seemed like a little bit of stubbornly ignoring her mother's displeasure would allow them to get through the meal without drama, and Zavian was naively hopeful. It didn't last long, of course, and the elder Dyalov woman succeeded in quickly draining the optimism from her daughter's mien.

"No, I do not," Tavarian replied coolly, not allowing Endevar's cheeky 'Don't you?' to pass as unanswered rhetoric. She had more to say, but Endevar interjected instead. Tavarian sat there unmoving, beautiful features arranged in that reserved but unmistakably disapproving mask while the Warlord Prince spoke. The longer Endevar talked, the harder Markover's face got as well, and the more tightly he gripped his flatware. Even Zavian stilled, unaccustomed to anyone (except maybe her, and only then in private) speaking to her mother so bluntly, and uncertain as to what sort of situation this was creating, exactly. She glanced to Markovar often, checking her brother's apparent temper. Sarian alone seemed unbothered by the turn of events. In the thundering silence that followed Endevar's diatribe, it was the Healer who spoke first. She leaned closer to the man sitting beside her, and, emboldened by his promise that they could speak freely to him, spoke so quietly that it was almost a whisper.

"Does your back hurt?" she asked him, something close to fear in her sweet eyes. Not fear of him, but fear of confirmation that he was enduring a pain that she could no longer sense. She thought she could sense the scarring that must be there, and the heinous damage that would've been done by the removing of a man's wings, but she knew that might only be in her head.

Zavian stammered in silence for a beat, uncertain of what to cast into the strange air over the table then.

"You-you're the guest," she told Endevar quietly, with a gesture towards his place. "Go ahead and eat first."

"I am afraid it is not within your power to set me at ease," Tavarian said to Endevar, her syllables sharp as a knife's edge, "...so long as you continue to encourage my daughter to believe that she will some day be allowed on a field of battle. Her father," she continued, shifting her gaze to the daughter in question, "...was very clear in his desires in that regard." Zavian did not meet her mother's weighty stare, but sat there staring at her plate while her jaw flexed. She thought it cruel for her mother to throw her struggle with her still-missing father at her again, but saying as much just now didn't seem like it would do anything to end this miserable conversation quickly.

"Do we have to talk about this right now?" she asked, instead, now lifting her eyes to find her mother, and her brother as well. "Can't we just enjoy dinner? You've done all this work, mama, let's just enjoy it," she suggested, standing up a little to reach for the basket of bread.

"Indeed, I have done all this work. I have birthed you from my body, raised you up from a babe. I need no reminder of Zavian's age, Prince Ranosi, as I have been present for every single year that has passed. Feeding her, clothing her, wiping tears and praising accomplishments." She had turned to Endevar as she spoke, but now she shifted her attention back to Zavian to continue. Though the anger in her demeanor wasn't given reign enough to fully break her mask, it was clear the topic was one about which she had sincere and deep feelings. "And while I do not regret any part of that labor, I am unwilling to see that hard work wasted because you refuse to look for your purpose anywhere aside from warfare. It was disrespectful enough that you continued harboring those fantasies after your father forbade them, but now, in his absence, you have sought training?"

"I went looking for training before papa left," Zavian shot back, less skilled at hiding her aggravation than her mother was. It was Zavian, in fact, who held the bulk of Markovar's attention now, as though he expected to have to intervene. "That isn't fair. He and I disagree and I hate that, but I'm not--" Zavian caught herself, closed her eyes, forced herself to relax. She visibly dismissed some of the tension that'd crept into her over the last few minutes, and when she spoke again, her voice was much softer. "Prince Endevar is a friend, and a guest. Can we please just talk about the rest of it later?"

The silence that followed was stony, and indecisive. Tavarian stared her daughter down, and it was unclear if the two were speaking privately or if the elder witch was merely forming her response. Into that quiet, Sarian's voice floated again.

"I want to heal people, to take away their hurt. Sometimes you just can't. That is the worst hurt of them all, I think. Sometimes you just can't, even when you feel like you can."

Offline Endevar Ranosi

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Re: Alot to ask from dirt and bones
« Reply #37 on: Mar 11, 18, 06:45:01 PM »
Despite the elder Dyalov’s efforts to be a condemning force of infuriating condescension, the Warlord Prince seemed utterly unbothered by her assaults, while he attended to his food, considering it and wondering when they would begin the meal. He was doing his best to seem unaffected and indifferent to her anger and outrage about his training alongside Zavian, when suddenly Sarian chimed in and his heart warmed visibly, lips curling into a real smile, if a bittersweet one. He turned his attention to her, and answered patiently.

“They were very careful to remove all connecting bones and atrophying muscles,” he told her plainly, hiding his sadness over this fact well, “and it was a very long time ago. So I’m all healed, and there’s no pain.” These were not facts he was happy about, but, they were facts all the same, and he told them as gently as he could, so as to not let bitterness bleed out of him too sharply. There was real, true pain there, in fact, but it was not physical. The weight of being wingless - of being denied ever even knowing the feeling of it - was something that haunted him deeply, and troubled much of his rule here when he had tried to claim dominion of Askavi in the years before.

But it wasn’t a problem he wanted to lay on the head of Sarian, and so he couched it as gently as he could. She was nice, and alert, and he found he had definitely chosen a favorite at this household beside the woman who he had entered the place with, of course. Zavian was witness to an unfortunate turf battle between dynamic forces, and he felt a little apologetic to her for the stance he was forced to take against her mother.

Zavian, quietly, urged him that he eats first, and he nodded his head, cutting into the meal provided, and began to chew thoughtfully on the dish while Tavarian set back in upon him. His eyes rolled, but he just tended himself with his food, enjoying it genuinely, even as the one who prepared it all but seethed with her resentment. There were battles he was not the one who needed to battle, and he allowed Zavian to contend her mother as well. He had tried his best to point out this was a problem with her daughter, and not with him, but she continued to focus her rage upon him for so much of her diatribes. But the two finally clashed, and he just enjoyed his dinner while they argued, and Zavian finally silenced her mother by reminding her of the duty of the guest right, and demanded observance of kindness in a guest’s presence. It was a bit of a work-around to actually resolving the dispute, but he wasn’t terribly interested in inviting further dissent, while the two stared one another down. Even the Black was not limitless, and he was not in a rush to see if the way Zavian’s mother tried to stab him for talking to her would take bloody root in his chest despite all his barriers.

Sarian spoke again, and he took a moment to listen while finishing the bite he currently had. “I believe that. I’m sorry for that struggle. I have spent a lot of time trying at things that I cannot fix, and there is no worse feeling of powerlessness in the entire world,” he empathized, and granted her another bittersweet, sympathizing smile.

Really, he just hoped that her mother wouldn't be more offended at him letting this fight not involve him for a moment. Or, at least, that he could get through a few mouthfuls before being stopped with more of an argument from her. Which would be coming, at some point.








Offline Zavian Dyalov

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Re: Alot to ask from dirt and bones
« Reply #38 on: Mar 14, 18, 10:00:48 AM »
Sarian seemed sincerely soothed by Endevar's explanation, as the mild tension bled away from her expression and she nodded in response. She smiled back to him and then looked down to her plate. She still seemed just a touch anxious, but the broken woman often seemed that way regardless of circumstances.

"It's very delicate work, to hew one muscle from another," she could faintly be heard to murmur, with an appreciative bob of her head while she toyed with her napkin.

Meanwhile, Tavarian set in on Endevar with the sort of logic only a mother could summon. While he said nothing directly in response, choosing instead to let the matter volley between mother and daughter, the roll of his eyes and his dismissive regard for the mother's concerns clearly did not sit well with her. She looked in silence between her daughter and the accomplice, and then put down her napkin.

"Very well. We will speak of it later. But I cannot sit here and eat at my husband's table while his deepest wishes are being defiled." She stood to her feet, and Zavian's mouth opened in quiet protest.

"Mama," she said, but Tavarian did not so much as look at her. The elder Dyalov woman turned away from the table and left the room without another word. Markonar watched her go, and then looked back at Zavian disapprovingly.

"Now, Zavi?" he challenged her, from beneath a darkened brow. "You needed to do this right now?" He pursed his lips and shook his head, then stood to leave after his mother. Zavian said nothing to stop him from leaving, but looked down at her plate while her jaw shifted tightly in irritation. There was a pall of silence in the room for a moment, before Sarian's sweet voice ushered it away.

"They're angry," she said, watching the door through which her brother and mother had left. She turned her head afterwards, looking back to Zavian by leaning forward to see her around Endevar.

"Yes, Sari," Zavian conceded with a soft sigh. She continued to pick at her food.

"Huntar will be angrier."

Sigh. "Yes, Sari."

"I am not angry, Zavi." She sat up again, and looked to Endevar. "I like that you're here."

Zavian turned her head and looked over at her sister, and the aggravation on her features softened away a little. "Thank you, Sarian." She paused, then picked up her fork again. "Finish your plate, it's getting cold."