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* Plot Information for Dea al Mon

Gale Galoneth, Queen of Dea al Mon is desperate. 11 of her 12 daughters have fallen ill to the mysterious Waste. While the Brood of the True Born try to conquer her Territory she has opened its borders to call for aid.
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Author Topic: looking at my years like a martyrdom  (Read 398 times)

Description: tag: Hawk

Offline Virtuosa Illion

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looking at my years like a martyrdom
« on: Jun 02, 18, 11:40:29 PM »
"Virtuosa, no." Arbutus stood only a mere couple feet away from his Queen, arms crossed against his chest and a dour expression marring his features for what had to be the billionth time in his life (according to Virtuosa, anyhow). Most would think he looked authoritative and stern as he was clearly trying to be, but the Queen thought he just looked like a prat with a tree branch stuck up where the sun didn't shine.

"Virtuosa yes," she shot back with a glare, her defensive posture mimicking her Bonded's almost to a T. Why did he always insist upon having this argument anytime she wanted to do anything that didn't involve paperwork? (Though she was pointedly ignoring the stack of it that had seemed to grow yet again upon her desk.)

"It's dangerous and it's not your place. Your mother's Master of the Guard --" but he was cut off.

"Didn't find anything. Which clearly means he's an imbecile and it's Brood that have been harassing the refugees by the border."

"Or it's exceptionally clever, covert bandits and you have no business going out there without the proper authority to do so. Why can't you just be..." the Prince had been about to continue, but reeled himself back in before he allowed the words to tumble from his mouth. There were some things better left not thrown into the mix and that was absolutely one of them.

It hardly mattered.

She knew what he'd prevented himself from saying and the fact that he was even going to try and say it at all was enough to bring her pause, her agitation morphing ever so slightly into something wounded as she took a defiant step backwards. "Then why don't you go find the proper authority while I go do something useful," she snapped before turning on her heel and marching right out the door, leaving Arbutus with a look that was equal parts exasperated and dumbfounded.

By the time she'd reached the tavern that she was positive she'd find Hawk at (he hadn't been at home but a few people had said they'd seen him bounding off in the familiar direction), her mood wasn't wholly improved, but it was better enough. Huffing through her nose as if it were going to simply exhale the last of negativity into thin air, Virtuosa pushed open the door and wandered into the building, gaze sweeping around until she caught sight of her wonderful Warlord.

Even if she hadn't seen him, it would've been all too easy to hear him with the way his warm voice tended to resound throughout a place, regardless of how crowded it might've been. The Queen wove her way in between people before finally reaching the table he'd seemed to claim for the evening, dropping herself rather unceremoniously into the chair that was nearest. "There you are," she chimed, the brilliant smile she gave him resonated with fondness and something more than a little conspiratorial as she reached over to touch his arm briefly.

"I need your help with something." If it was somehow possible to bat one's eyelashes vocally, the cadence in which she spoke would've managed to exude that with dangerous accuracy.

Offline Hawk Amakiir

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Re: looking at my years like a martyrdom
« Reply #1 on: Jun 03, 18, 01:24:44 PM »
Hawk was indeed inside the usual tavern. Justice had just left, and though the Healer's request had left the warlord feeling a little uncertain, it'd only taken him a few minutes for him to be successfully pulled back into levity by the chatty bartender. By the time Virtuosa entered, Hawk was telling a story about a time he'd been forced to fight with just one arm because of a tricky spell that'd rendered his sword arm inert. His retelling was fairly animated, and the bartender and one other fellow who were listening were chuckling at the dramatics.

As much as Virtuosa might like to ignore it sometimes, her caste meant something to the people around her. Heads turned when she stepped inside, and she had a little easier time than most cutting a path through the tavern's patrons. There were a couple bows, half-bows, and my Lady's between the door and the bar where Hawk sat. Hawk himself didn't seem to notice until she was within six feet of him or so, at which point he paused his story and turned to look around with a mildly confused expression on his face. He spotted her quickly, and his expression broke instantly into one of delight.

"Vee!" he greeted her merrily, extending an arm towards her to invite her to his side at the bar. "Little early for you to be hittin' the taps, isn't it? Not that I'm complaining. It's high time you learn to drink your lunch like a proper soldier, if you ask me," he said, nodding to the barkeep to suggest he pour the woman a beer. Virtuosa told him she needed his help, and he laughed. "Apparently today's the day for it," he said. When Virtuosa's beer was served, Hawk picked up hers and his own and nodded towards the corner of the tavern.

"C'mon. Let's find a quieter spot where you can tell me what trouble you're going to get me blamed for this time," he teased, with a contented grin.




Offline Virtuosa Illion

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Re: looking at my years like a martyrdom
« Reply #2 on: Jun 03, 18, 03:42:10 PM »
All of Virtousa's Bonded were deeply, reverently special to her and she knew that each one had been practically handpicked by Mother Night herself for some reason or another to remain by her side. Hawk? His purpose in the young Queen's life had always been rather clear to her: a consummate warrior of the Dea al Mon people as well as an exceptionally willing cohort to her exploits (she couldn't recall the last time 'Virtuosa, no' had left his mouth, unlike some people), but most importantly? He never once failed to bring a smile to her face or win her laughter, even in moments of her own distraction or irritation such as now, although the latter was steadily fading and only seemed to continue doing so when he greeted her.

It took but a few moments for it to sink in that he'd been in the middle of a story prior to her undue interruption, thus she suddenly felt both a little guilty and a little curious. Her love of tales knew no bounds, and between Hawk and his friends they had some of the best ones. The Warlord didn't seem exceptionally bothered, however, and Virtuosa smiled anew (albeit with no shortage of apology behind the expression) when he launched into his insistence regarding midday libations. "Well, who better to educate me on such things than the veritable example of a proper soldier?" she teased the emphasis on the word 'proper,' her smile slowly morphing into a grin.

A perplexed, unspoken 'oh?' took hold of her countenance when Hawk seemed to imply she hadn't been the first one to seek him out for something today, but she didn't get the opportunity to ask properly before he was ushering her away from the bar, beers in hand. Quickly, she smiled and thanked the bartender for the drink before allowing her Warlord to lead the way towards one of the less-raucous corners of the establishment. Habitually, her hand slid into the crook of Hawk's elbow until she was forced to let go upon arriving at the small booth, with her opting to slide in next to him rather than across.

"You get into your own fair share of trouble, need I remind you." There was a playful bump of her shoulder against his before she shifted around part of the way to face him more squarely.

Fingers curled around her newly-acquired drink and she regarded it a little absently, not necessarily fidgeting with it, but neither did she jump right into what she'd shown up to claim the man's attention for to begin with. "There have been a small series of incidents lately at one of the Province's borders," she finally began. "Something or someone bothering the refugees there. The Queen's Master of the Guard went to investigate but apparently came back mostly empty-handed - said it must've just been some teenagers trying to cause trouble." The expression that flashed across her features spoke of exactly how little regard she actually held for that conclusion.

"I want to go check it out for myself and deal with whatever's been causing problems there. Tonight. Fable and Justice could come too, if they're around?" She hadn't verifiably seen either of the other two when she entered, but it was busy and her attention hadn't been so much on locating them.

"Naturally, Arbutus thinks it's a terrible idea and that I should just leave it alone, but we all know what I think of that." Her nose wrinkled in that slightly annoyed manner before she dismissed it, looking over at Hawk from over the rim of her glass as she finally took a couple sips of her drink. "What do you think?"

Offline Hawk Amakiir

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Re: looking at my years like a martyrdom
« Reply #3 on: Jun 03, 18, 09:39:41 PM »
Hawk gave a snort that turned into a brief laugh when Virtuosa dubbed him a 'proper soldier'.

"Last time I was called a 'proper' anything, it wasn't nearly that considerate," he countered, with a grin. The pair relocated and the warlord made a dismissive face as he set the two beers down and took a seat.

"Pfft. I don't get into trouble," he said, as he settled back comfortably into the seat. He shrugged. "It tends to just... casually drape itself around me now and again." He lifted his drink to take a sip, but paused with it at his mouth and shot her a bit of side eye. "...usually when you're in the vicinity."

Then he did drink, and he listened while his Queen explained what it was she needed help with. It was a courtesy that she explain herself, really. They both knew that if she was determined to go somewhere questionable, then he was going to be beside her when she did. While he worried about his Queen's safety like any sane man would, he also respected her. Virtuosa could get carried away once in a while, but generally she started from a place that was practical and relevant. He'd never failed to show up when she called in part because she'd never called him to do something he thought was entirely foolish and without merit. And really, if it was just one or the other, he could deal with that.

"What do you mean by 'bothering'?" he asked, more because he was curious than because it made a difference in whether he'd go. He made a speculative gesture with his free hand. "'Bothering' like... freshly baked pies going missing off of window ledges? Because if they were cinnamon-apple, that's hardly a crime, that's just nature. Or 'bothering' as in, people are being attacked?"

He nodded his affirmation when she said she wanted to check it out tonight. "Justice has somethin' she's workin' on tonight. Fable ought to be around somewhere, though. Tonight when?"

Offline Virtuosa Illion

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Re: looking at my years like a martyrdom
« Reply #4 on: Jun 04, 18, 02:04:14 AM »
"What?" Virtuosa gasped, voice purposely rising an octave and eyes widening in mock disbelief at the words that left Hawk's mouth regarding trouble, one hand reaching up to press flat against her collarbone in a manner befitting the melodramatic more than the warrior Queen that she was. "That's ridiculous, it's not my fault trouble seems to suit you oh so fashionably when its draped around you. It's like... like a brand new cloak, and who in their right mind would turn down one of those?"

She tried to keep a straight face, she really did, but... well... easier said than done in that specific instance so it wasn't but mere seconds later that her lips rolled between her teeth first before she finally lost the battle and let the humored, almost bashful smile wind its way across her features. "At least the trouble I incite has a purpose?" Anything for the safety and the betterment of Dea al Mon was worth it and she felt was the best justification one could have. It never failed that she'd don that reasoning like armor whenever any of her excursions fell into question from other people - she was still a Queen and she was protecting her people, even if her methods were unorthodox.

The mirth in her smile and behind her eyes faded just a touch when Hawk requested clarification on what kind of bothering she meant, an eyebrow raising as if to silently say 'really?' while she brought her drink up once again. She knew, of course, that regardless of the answer he'd have accompanied her, but it was hardly as if she'd ask for his help if it was something trivial. She hadn't actually specified though, which she realized and acknowledged in her mind before elaborating. "General unrest and harassment is what the word going around is, which I don't even doubt is code for people being attacked and Lady Illion's Triangle is just trying to prevent panic from spreading. I'd guess it's Brood, but could just as soon be bandits, I suppose."

Slowly, Virtuosa turned her head to look out the window for a few moments, eyes narrowing as she went about calculating just how much daylight was left. She hadn't thought about a specific time until her Warlord had asked, but she came to a decision pretty swiftly. "I think later would be best. Around midnight? If it's bandits they're not going to be acting while people are still awake and milling about, and if it's Brood, well... they don't really operate on any kind of time frame as it is, but it'd make sense for them to act during the cover of nightfall if they were trying to be more organized or covert in some kind of expansion."

Offline Hawk Amakiir

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Re: looking at my years like a martyrdom
« Reply #5 on: Jun 04, 18, 10:59:42 AM »
"Always," he agreed, lifting his mug to toast hers when she settled on claiming a purpose for her shenanigans. He took a long pull of his drink after and then sat back again, an arm lifting to rest along the back of the booth seat while he turned to face Virtuosa. He gave an exaggerated shrug in response to her questioning brow.

"Hey some people take their pies very seriously, who am I to judge?" And really, that sounded more like 'teenagers trying to cause trouble' than the alternative. Hawk didn't care for courtiers who refused to deal with the world outside of their courts, but that didn't mean he had to assume that's what the situation was. If he thought too long about people actually being hurt and the local court turning a blind eye, he was liable to get angrier than was useful. So, jokes about pies it was. For now.

"Sounds good," he said, when she named a time. "It's been a whole seventy-two hours or something since I've cut into some Brood faces. I'm about due anyway. I'll round up Fable and see if anyone else is about. You.. uh.. gonna invite Chuckles?" he asked, his pitch lifting slightly at the last, along with his brow while he eyed her. "Disapproving of shenanigans is kind of his job, you know. Doesn't mean he won't still be there when we throw ourselves into it. And to be honest if Fable's mid-bender like I think he is at the moment, we may want the extra hands."

Offline Virtuosa Illion

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Re: looking at my years like a martyrdom
« Reply #6 on: Jun 04, 18, 01:51:43 PM »
Virtousa wasn't generally the type who felt like she needed many reassurances about her life choices and endeavors, but there was still always something comforting about the notion when others around her validated what she strove to do; moreso when they were able to actually acknowledge her motivations behind it. The Queen would've never blindly or needlessly dragged any of her Bonded or her loved ones into unnecessary danger if she didn't feel that it wasn't the absolute right thing to do. And even when she did foray into more risky ventures, she did so with every intent to keep those around her as safe as they kept her, no matter the cost.

The fact that some of her nearest and dearest, like Hawk, were able to recognize that was something that brought a smile to her face and confirmed in her mind that she was doing the right thing.

"I suppose we'll end up finding out, hm?" The idealistic Queen didn't fancy the idea that her mother's Master of the Guard was potentially making things sound less dire than they were without good reason, though in her mind there simply wasn't any kind of acceptable reason to do such. She wanted to believe that his coming up short in his investigation was merely a stroke of bad luck or some kind of tactical thing (perhaps he'd planned to send out his own, larger contingent of guards to solve the issues later? maybe Arbutus had been correct and she was, in fact, stepping on the man's toes by interfering?). Whatever the reason, at any rate, she knew for a fact that she wasn't going to be content until she saw it for herself.

"A whole, seventy-two hours," she repeated with a slightly teasing lilt, smiling at him fondly as she set her glass back atop the table for the time being. "You must be rightly beside yourself and we can't just allow that to continue." Not that she couldn't relate, of course, and they both knew that exceptionally well. It was dangerous work, but it was also thrilling and she wouldn't have preferred anything else in the world, especially with such wonderful companions.

Virtuosa frowned ever so slightly at Hawk's mention of the Prince she'd left to his own devices back at the palace, but even still she was quick to dismiss the notion of not inviting him with a shake of her head. "Of course I am, that's a silly question." There was a sigh before she lolled her head to the side in such a manner that it casually rested against the arm that Hawk had extended across the back of the booth. "We got into an argument before I came out here," she admitted, casting her eyes downward momentarily. "But I know he means well and I wouldn't ever hold it against him like that."

Offline Hawk Amakiir

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Re: looking at my years like a martyrdom
« Reply #7 on: Jun 05, 18, 11:18:16 AM »
Hawk shrugged when Virtuosa dismissed his question about Arbutus as silly. He held his tongue, though, because even he didn't see the merit in pointing out that a Queen's volatile temper had prompted worse decisions on occasion before.

"Yeah, I figured when you said he disagreed, it wasn't quietly," he said, with a grin. "Let me guess. It was somewhere in the vicinity of..." he said, setting his drink down. He sat upright - ramrod straight, in fact - folded his arms and darkened his face into the grumpiest, most disapproving expression he could manage. It wasn't a terrible Arbutus impression, actually, considering the little details of mannerisms he'd thought to emulate. Hawk couldn't hold it for long before surrendering a laugh and reclaiming his drink, though.

"But I'm glad he's coming. He's a stick in the mud sometimes, but it's nice to have someone drawing aggro up front," he said, with a rakish grin.

Hawk chatted up Virtuosa for a bit longer before letting her leave. Once she set out he got up as well, and went looking for Fable. The loquacious Prince was not currently on a bender as Hawk had said, but was quite occupied with a rousing round of storytelling at one of the other local pubs. As usual, he was ready and willing to sign on to whatever caper Hawk was set on, and the two enjoyed just a bit of mild carousing before they headed out to the meeting spot Virtuosa had indicated. It was a little before midnight still when they arrived, and so they found places to lean and set in to wait. Silence never lasted long between the pair of them, and now was no exception. Fable started pressing Hawk about Justice, and the way that friendship was shifting. Normally a topic Hawk was loathe to discuss aloud, Fable was one of the few people who didn't annoy him by asking.

"If you ask me, it was about time," Fable said with a shrug and a bit of a laugh. "You two have been dancin' that dance for over a year now, without admitting it. I'm glad one of you finally got the nerve to do something about it."

"It wasn't a matter of nerves," Hawk countered. "We're both busy, is all. There's always some monster to cut down or some crisis to solve. You know how it goes, Fable."

"Hawk, if you're too busy for that, you're too damned busy," the Prince countered, to which Hawk could only grin in surrender. The sound of someone's approach halted the conversation, and both men turned towards the oncoming arrival.

Offline Virtuosa Illion

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Re: looking at my years like a martyrdom
« Reply #8 on: Jun 05, 18, 04:06:44 PM »
The remaining time spent with Hawk had left Virtuosa in a far more genuine good mood than when she'd initially arrived at the tavern. They'd talked about a few other things and discussed the appropriate meeting time and place before parting ways, the Queen feeling lighter in step as she made her way back to Esgarth's palace. There were a couple things she saw to arranging first before she ended up seeking out Arbutus (was she stalling? maybe), but she was unsurprised to see him in his office where she'd left him that couple of hours prior.

There were a few beats of uncomfortable silence as they regarded each other from across the room, but after heaving a sigh Virtuosa made the first move and promptly waltzed over to perch herself crosslegged right atop the Prince's desk, grinning all the while as he rolled his eyes and grumbled an assortment of protests regarding the messing up of his paperwork that the action had wrought. Apologies were made, any hurt feelings were assuaged and the Queen even went so far as to put up with attending dinner with the rest of her mother's court for the sake of giving Arbutus something to escort her to and fuss about. (There was absolutely no dress-wearing whatsoever, she refused as adamantly as she always did and showed up in her usual adventuring attire, thank you very much.)

Midnight couldn't have possibly come fast enough after that.

Thankfully the time finally arrived and they could get on with the thing she'd been eagerly looking forward to all day. Hawk and Fable seemed embroiled in some sort of conversation when Virtuosa and Arbutus arrived upon them, but for as much as the Queen had tried to strain and hear what it was about (she was occasionally nosy... occasionally), the pair of them had ceased chatting before she could glean any kind of interesting tidbits. Oh well.

Virtuosa was the quicker of the pair to bound over and greet them, ensnaring Hawk in a hug and then shifting to do the same to the voluble Prince. "I'm glad you agreed to come, Fable, it's good to see you! I hope you've been well."

Arbutus, as per his usual, was more rigid and proper in his greeting. A respectful incline of his head and a handshake to both of the other men before he turned his attention back to the Queen who'd decided to arrange all of this in the first place. Despite the seriousness of the entire thing, Virtuosa couldn't help but smile broadly at the merry little band of the evening.

"There's a landing web just a short walk away from where the disturbances have been, so it should be an easy enough trip there. I doubt there'll be too many people milling about given the hour, but that's probably the ideal," she explained, contently taking up the front of the marching order as she was generally prone to doing while they walked from their meeting spot to the nearest point to catch one of the Winds.

Offline Hawk Amakiir

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Re: looking at my years like a martyrdom
« Reply #9 on: Jun 06, 18, 07:39:46 PM »
Virtuosa bounded out of the dark and hugged Hawk, and he greeted her with a grin and a strong arm gathering her to his side. Fable accepted a hug as well, and surrendered a broad grin to the Queen.

"Right as rain, Sunshine. Nowhere else I'd rather be," he said. "Good to see you, Chuckles," he added towards Arbutus with a mock-salute and a grin. Hawk greeted Arbutus as well, and was content to hang back with Fable while the Warlord Prince tried to keep pace with his eager Queen up front.

"Unless there's a band of them laying in wait at the landing web," Hawk suggested, in response to Virtuosa's comment.

"Is it just me, or was that hope in your voice just now? Fable asked, looking aside at the warlord.

"Well it would keep things interesting, wouldn't it?"

"If by 'interesting' you mean 'insanely dangerous and liable to cause serious injury', then sure."

"Scars make for great stories, Fable. They don't perform too poorly with the fairer sex, either," Hawk pointed out with a rakish grin.

"Not that you need to worry about that," Fable snorted softly. "You told her, didn't you?" he asked, nodding his head towards the Queen before them.

"I'm sure Virtuosa is well aware of my fondness for good stories and battle scars," Hawk quipped, and Fable surrendered a brief laugh, letting the topic slip away.

"I'm sure she is. Hey Sunshine, you got any idea how big this crowd is we're going to 'investigate'?" the Prince called up to the Queen. "You sure we shouldn't go rouse some of the others before we head in?"

Offline Virtuosa Illion

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Re: looking at my years like a martyrdom
« Reply #10 on: Jun 08, 18, 02:11:48 PM »
The reciprocated greetings caused Virtuosa's smile to broaden even more infectiously, and it admittedly took a very pointed covering of her mouth with one hand to not start snickering with the way Arbutus' face contorted at the moniker he was greeted with. The Prince really could be such a buzzkill sometimes, as much as she adored him, but she reached up with her free hand to gently nudge him as they started to walk. A silent (and very likely futile) lighten up, so to speak.

Their own conversation wasn't remotely as fascinating up front, with Arbutus lowly reminding the Queen of this thing and that thing that she'd have to take care of when they got back and within the next few days, which mostly resulted in humorous-looking contortions of her face signifying assorted shades of distaste and boredom. She was only really half-paying attention, her head constantly swiveling back and forth on the lookout for anything while she tried (and failed) to inconspicuously listen in on the alternate discussion taking place between the other two.

"That's a possibility..." she tacked on almost far too idly regarding the notion of those which they sought getting the jump on them at the opposite landing web. Personally, she agreed with Hawk's assessment that it would've been interesting, but she wasn't sure the blonde Prince walking alongside her could take much more of her excitement on the matter without his features becoming permanently stuck in disapproval, so she simply left it at that for the moment. "We'll be fine."

She'd started to open her mouth again with as Hawk and Fable's conversation shifted into something that sounded like her favorite kind of gossip, but by the time she'd pivoted around on her foot to face the other two and started walking backwards to address the matter, she was instead met with the other Prince's questions. "To my knowledge it's only a few? As in, about three or four. It's one of the smaller camps. I couldn't find Melody, otherwise she'd have absolutely been here. Druid had some very intensive healings at the clinic today and I didn't want to bother her when she should be resting. Mirage..."

There was a slightly uncomfortable sort of pause, ended by Virtuosa clearing her throat before continuing. "... was busy." That had been an entirely awkward situation and she desperately wished the Black Widow would start remembering to lock her door when she had company. "But she knows about it and knows where to find us if she happens to end up deciding to show up. Hawk said Justice had something else going on tonight, so... that essentially just leaves us, unless you know of anyone else nearby and free?

... and tell me what, exactly?"
she asked with raised eyebrows and a sly smile as she regarded the pair of them. Naturally, she couldn't resist backtracking as that had been what she'd turned around to ask about in the first place.

Offline Hawk Amakiir

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Re: looking at my years like a martyrdom
« Reply #11 on: Jun 12, 18, 05:30:15 PM »
"Three or four, she says," Hawk said, an elbow jutting out to nudge Fable while he grinned. "You see? We're going to be overkill as it is. No need to bother the others."

Virtuosa explained where the other common faces around her were, and Hawk's grin returned in force at her stumbling over Mirage's chosen pastime.

"Busy? What could possibly be more fun that helping us dispatch some Brood?" he pressed, solely for the sake of trying to lead Virtuosa into speaking further on the topic that clearly unsettled her.

"The matron's around isn't she?" Fable ventured, looking to Hawk.

"Hazel could probably get away," the Warlord agreed, eyes lingering on Virtuosa long enough to let her know without uncertainty that Fable had just saved her from a mercilessly awkward line of questioning. But after that beat, he looked over to the Prince. "But I'm certain Arbutus is doing enough disappointed frowning for the party already. Wouldn't want anyone to encroach." He shot a lazy smile to the back of Arbutus' head, but would not be surprised if the comment garnered no response.

"Tell you what about what, now?" Hawk asked, looking confused by Virtuosa's question. Fable made a noise and rolled his eyes, looking away to save himself from yielding to the temptation to spill the warlord's secrets for him. Though, why it was anything even close to a secret, Fable couldn't say. Hawk and the Healer had been circling each other for some time now, and it didn't surprise the Prince in the least that they'd finally made a go of it. Of course, then he looked back to Hawk and Virtuosa, and the shit-eating grin the Warlord was wearing explained the matter. Not a secret at all, then, Fable decided with a smirk. Just Hawk enjoying a bit of tormenting his Queen.


Offline Virtuosa Illion

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Re: looking at my years like a martyrdom
« Reply #12 on: Jun 19, 18, 04:07:47 AM »
If looks could kill, the glower that the headstrong Queen shot her dear Warlord would've likely been capable of nigh-instantaneous murder... or rather, it might've been had it not been entirely robbed of its seriousness with the way her face heated up along with it. Virtuosa knew Hawk was baiting her into what would've developed into an entirely mortifying-for-her series of inquiries regarding Mirage's extracurricular activities, and he knew in turn that she was undoubtedly not interested in answering them, so obviously that transformed it into a jolly little game.

The Queen hardly had a moment to make her retort, and instead she settled for flashing Fable a look that was both relieved and grateful when he interjected, effectively saving her from an entirely ridiculous, unnecessary and embarrassing conversation. "Hazel's more than welcome to join if you think she's amenable and free to do so." Intently focused on that topic of conversation rather than the prior. "Besides, misery loves company. Isn't that right, Arbutus?" she teased, watching the blonde Prince's shoulders stiffen and some huffy, grumbled reply both to that jape and the one offered by Hawk escape into the air between the four of them.

She wasn't surprised when Hawk feigned ignorance on the question she posed, and it was equally telling in the manner of which Fable seemed to divert his attention to a whole lot of nothing off to his side, causing Virtuosa to scoff in derision. She watched the confused look turn into another trademark grin and decided to meet that expression first with a hmph of displeasure, but then even that faded and was replaced with a bright, arguably mischievous smile. "Guess I'll simply ask Justice the next time I see her, then. Maybe I'll swing by her way tomorrow, do some catching up."

It took mild restraint to not go full-on schoolchild and stick out her tongue in conclusion before she swiveled back around pointedly. The landing web they needed wasn't terribly far off after that point, the clear crystal that signified its presence catching the moonlight and reflecting it upon the ground a little bit. There was a bit of additional deliberation, checking to make sure they had everything (and everyone; if either Hawk or Fable opted to rouse their aforementioned companion there was time enough to do so) they needed before hopping right onto the appropriate Wind to get where they needed to be.

Between the assortment of moderate-to-dark jewel depth the group possessed, the trip wouldn't have taken terribly long under normal circumstances, and in truth it didn't. The problem, however, presented itself when they arrived at the landing web of their destination.

... Rather, where the landing web of their destination had formerly been were it not for the inability to actually land when they tried. The web was shorn and the crystal shattered, the realization of this causing Virtuosa's stomach to lurch and her heart to start pounding more rapidly within her chest. *This isn't good.*

The next closest landing spot wasn't egregiously far, but still too far for the now concerned Queen's liking even after reaching it and dropping down onto the grass. Arbutus, knowing her like he did, made a move to reach out and snag her arm to prevent her from darting off immediately (ever the picture of caution, he was), but Virtuosa knew that trick well by now and twisted her upper body to one side, nimbly avoiding the outstretched hand. Snapping her shields up around her, she took off at a run to make up for the time lost in having to divert course.

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Re: looking at my years like a martyrdom
« Reply #13 on: Jun 21, 18, 08:27:16 AM »
Virtuosa decided aloud that perhaps she'd make inquiries of Justice, and the way she tooled that comment as though it was a threat drew a merry laugh from Hawk. That grin lingered a little too long afterwards, and though he was aware it did, there was little he could do about it. There was little he wanted to do about it. He was happy about the matter, all joking aside, and wasn't ashamed of enjoying it. Later, when it was just the two of them and they were nearing the end of their celebratory cups in the wake of whatever they were walking into now, Virtuosa would ask him again, he wagered, and they'd talk about the matter in more depth. As much as Hawk lived to toy with his Queen's humor, there wasn't much she couldn't coax out of him when she was sincerely trying. He'd never quite figured out if that was the Bond between them, or if it was just... her. He told her well enough about the matter for the moment just by the brand of near-giddiness that infected that persistent smile. Love was going to turn him into an idiot, he was fairly certain, but he couldn't be arsed to care.

He was smiling less by the time the party touched down after the trip on the Winds. Fable emerged just after Hawk, who'd been beaten to the ground by Arbutus and Virtuosa. No sooner had his vision cleared than he saw his Queen darting off through the night, Arbutus having failed to stop her from doing so.

"Whup," the Warlord expressed, lunging into motion. He blew past the Warlord Prince while Arbutus was still getting his glower properly in place, and sank into his sprint to try and make up the distance between himself and his Queen.

*Eyes up,* he reminded her, worried only that she was so intent on getting there that she might not be as wary as she ought to be while en route. He understood, because his own heart hammered in eagerness while he ran. *Watch for an ambush.* It was a comfort, to some degree, that Arbutus and Fable were near behind them. Whatever Virtuosa was about to lead him into, the latter two would at least have the opportunity to survey the scene before indebting themselves to the same course.

Offline Virtuosa Illion

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Re: looking at my years like a martyrdom
« Reply #14 on: Jul 02, 18, 02:07:45 AM »
Arbutus watched with an agitated inability to do much of anything as first his Queen broke out into a run and Hawk followed right after her like the enabler he always seemed to be. He wouldn't have called it helplessness (as shields and other preventative measures were options, but likely undue ones that he didn't really care to risk Virtuosa's ire with when her mind was set upon something), but there was a definitive, purposeful lack of action as the blonde Prince remained behind with his fellow of the same caste.

"Suppose that's our cue." Raising an eyebrow, he tilted his head to glance over at Fable and shrugged, which turned into a roll of his shoulders before he finally followed suit behind other two. Though his pace was slower and more measured, the occasional tendrils of Craft swept about their surroundings for any hidden dangers while they held up the rear.

Virtuosa, on the other hand, ran. And continued to run as quickly as her feet could carry her right up until Hawk's mental presence caught her attention. Finally stopping once she realized he was close to catching up, she waited for the Warlord to close the distance between them, offering him an appreciative smile and an affirming nod at his warning. There wasn't much further to their destination anyway, so even while adrenaline fueled her, her mind and instincts screaming to instruct her body to resume its sprint rather than the jog she took the rest of the way, the Queen kept her wits more pointedly about her.

Even if what patience she had summoned up immediately seemed to dissipate the instant she broke through the side of the clearing.

Signs of a battle were obvious. Tents overturned, blood and viscera spattering the trunks of trees and the tall grass, visual confirmation of the destroyed landing pad with both crystal and web leveled, the occasional body strewn about of those who had fought on either side (though seemingly far less present and accounted for than would make up a camp of that size, indicating that many likely escaped; the Dea al Mon were industrious denizens of the forest, after all)...

Her people, as a Queen of the Ebon Wood (for all she tried to ignore it on the regular). Of which several somethings had dared to bring harm to. Virtuosa's blood boiled and the muscles in her jaw instantly tightened as her sword was drawn, humming with the Craft that regularly channeled through the weapon. *Come out!* she challenged over an open thread through the area, the sheer contempt dripping even from her mind's voice.

The fury that those of her caste were so infamous for was raw and dangerously near-unchecked throughout her presence as she strode in closer with the intent to track down whatever had whirled through the area and give pursuit. Though it was aptly timed, it seemed, as not even a minute or so later her psychic demand was answered with a series of low snarls and the sounds of branches snapping when several (definitely more than the presumed three or four she'd predicted) of the twisted Brood abominations stepped out from the other sides of the clearing; teeth, claws and weapons alike all bared.

Virtuosa, naturally (after subconsciously sweeping out with Craft and mild dread to make sure none of them were her Strife), charged right for the closest few without a second thought.

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Re: looking at my years like a martyrdom
« Reply #15 on: Jul 09, 18, 11:32:38 AM »
"Yes, good," Hawk breathed when Virtuosa paused to let Hawk catch up. "You and I know I'm likely to be outrun by a woman, but I appreciate you letting me keep the enemy ignorant of that fact for the moment," he quipped as he came abreast of her, eyes forward. The pair continued into the clearing, though, and the eager, bright expression Hawk had been wearing was quickly replaced by one of disgust.

"Ick."

There was so much more that could be said in response to the grisly scene before him, but none of it would be helpful at the moment. And while Hawk's expression of his disgust perhaps didn't seem terribly helpful either, it helped him to reject the debilitating hopelessness of the situation and gloss over it with something more comical instead. He opened his mouth to add something else, but Virtuosa opened a thread and challenged the whole bloody forest to come and fight. Maybe he should have been disappointed in that, or hopeful that the Brood involved in this attack had already retreated far enough to not hear her challenge. The truth of it was, though, that when the first twig snapped and Hawk zeroed in on the emerging threats, his blood heated in excitement and a macabre sort of joy.

"Oh, look!" he chirped, swinging his sword and buckler free from his back. "Things to stab! You know how much I love a good stabbing. Such a thoughtful Queen you are, Virtuosa." With Arbutus a few steps behind, Hawk instinctively added his Opal to guard the woman at his side as well as himself. That done, however, he launched himself forward, sword raised to draw the aggro that the Queen might have stolen for herself if he hadn't.

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Re: looking at my years like a martyrdom
« Reply #16 on: Oct 10, 18, 03:25:49 AM »
The open thread had been loud and it had been no less than one of Virtuosa's typical, foolhardy gestures (she could already imagine the lecture that Arbutus would be attempting to give her later about just how stupid and unsafe that actually was...), but the Queen hardly cared right in that moment. She was incensed and the Brood would be paying a Price for what they'd done this night.

*Was that absolutely necessary?! You've probably caught the attention of all the Brood from here to Kassel!* The mental voice of her Princely Bonded reverberated in her mind and she grimaced ever so slightly, shaking her head to herself before cutting the link without so much as a reply. Better to ask for forgiveness than permission, right?

Besides, it was clearly much too late for fussing about what she'd done or lamenting on how she could've proceeded with more caution. The group of Brood seemed determined to shamble their way to close in on the two-turned-four of them (as Arbutus and Fable seemed to arrive just in the nick of time and she felt the familiar Summer Sky shield snapping up around her on top of the Opal one Hawk provided), but the warrior Queen was more than confident they could handle the odds presented. (As far as she could discern, it seemed the darkest of the group bore the Blood Opal, but the rest all sat farther up in the Abyss and the castes were assorted - not that it mattered since they were all clearly monstrous shadows of their former selves anyway.)

"See? There's a reason you're my favorite," Virtuosa retorted to Hawk with a bright grin. If there was one thing she could always count on it was his willingness to always jump into the fray alongside her instead of trying to prevent her from putting herself into the danger in the first place.

Virtuosa had leapt forward weapon first, her attention swiftly and singularly fixating on the abominations in front of them while adding her own shield to the two that were already pulsing around her form. Effectively as protected as she could possibly be in that instant, it allowed her to concentrate more on the fighting than on her companions, knowing all three of them could full well take care of themselves.

Humming with Purple Dusk Craft, her sword arced downward, whistling effortlessly through the air before it met the resistance of a nearby blade. The resounding clang of the parry was absolute music to her ears despite the momentary lapse in balance that the creature in question (a Rose-jeweled Warlord, or formerly one anyhow) had managed to force upon her. Light on her feet as she was, however, Virtuosa reclaimed her footing shortly after and went in again for another strike.

Several more were exchanged between the dueling pair before she was rewarded with the gurgling howl of a dying beast when she finally managed to sink her blade squarely into the thing's chest. The gore and blood that resulted bothered her none and she simply spun around to engage the next closest one all over again.

 

 

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