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The Fire Heart

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  1. "Phew, he will eat some hot food for once and It's not mine. Or is it?" He closed the door behind him with a smug smile and made his way to them. Rolliam was whistling behind them, as he added more and more groceries to make some great food. While he'd be considered the "woman" of the house, considering he finds joy in cleaning, making food, general household chores, he mostly took all this as part of his archery. As one would consider shooting an arrow as easy as, say, cooking, both of these have their little things to manage. Preparing the bow and finding a place to hide, climb a tree was just as beautiful as preparing all the utensils one would need for making a good, long lasting food. Aiming downards, as a ranger would acquire sight, was just as choosing the right way to cut the meat, in order to achieve the best crisp while cooking. All the little things that one would prepare to make the final action, holding the breath, calculating the trajectory would be compared to the required amount of precision you'd need to cut the fruits, if one wants all the cuts to be perfect by centimeter. He found joy in all these. He found joy in all that is difficult. He wouldn't like admitting, due to his brother fighting close ranged, but his thoughts around melee weapons are always... barbaric. He mostly can see it as flinging the lance left, right, above, down, but never doing the swooping, dance-like moves that he would dream of. He would see the battles as a certain form of art, where the brutality combines with the skill. He believed bows were fitting to art. The amount of time required to do a clean shot, as so no one would see the bowman. He appreciated art. Cooking was art, house chores were art for him. Bows were art. And that was why he was stuck into his little, own world, where he'd consider every single fine detail about the grocery he'd pick. And that was filling his own time. He appreciated filling it with something he'd do. He never seemed to lose energy, even if he'd work for hours in a row, with no pause. He finally came back to them, greeted by Lily's shaky, shy words, her wish to wield a sword. Defence, self defence or straight up slaughter... She never looked like it, in any way. He kept it hidden, but he was concerned that her innocence was finally giving in, only for the violent nature of battles, the sudden realization of killing a man, the guilt. He went through this, but he managed. He could never forget the face of the first man he had killed, so he'd doubt if Lily will never lay, even if a single tear at only the thought of that. Such is life, though, he thought. If that's what it comes to, he can't say anything against it. After all, they might get in trouble soon. He nodded to Roland, after he made his way on the other side of Lily. It is what it is, anyways. --- A snort could be heard from the door, as in mockery to the size of the sword. He looked at Roland, then at Lily, as he waited for the blacksmith to come back with another sword. A rapier, while at it. It looked far more different than other swords and could see some... moves with that. "I agree. You know what I think of swords, Roland, but I like this rapier. While it might take a while to take down those..." He snorted again at the thought of it, "turtles of knights, you'll do just fine. Besides, I like its look. It's simple and well-made."
  2. Once they had settled down in the restaurant, Pearl of the Keys, with the breeze of the wind calmly wiping away fears, dark thoughts and what not, Tolok listened to her talking while looking at the menu, with a rub to the head, whenever he'd see a word he'd consider a tongue twister, just by trying to speak into his mind. The prices were enormous, feeling a bit out of shame for not accepting the gold the Exarch had offered him. But, most likely, that wouldn't have been enough for a full course meal, though, so her response calmed him down, breathing out some air, in a sigh of relief. "Thanks." He said, as she poured him another bit, sipping not before he took off his father's gauntlets, the legacy he'd sworn to keep safe. He put them on his lap, as to feel just fine, knowing there'd be no way to lose them. “I hadn’t told you before, Tolok, but I’m glad we got to meet.” A small, yet smile slowly made its way on his face, as he was looking at the menu with a somehow inhuman focus, trying to hide the embarassment of him not handling emotions, feelings and the jumble of things happening in the background, considering the adventure the whole party is in at the moment. But deep inside, he was happy he heard that. He kept listening to her, sipping some wine and checking if his gauntlets are still there, but his eyes rose to her, once it had been mentioned she'd doubt her circle of friends, or rather the lack of. "What about camaraderie, Owend? That is a friendship, as well. I think it is not as superficial as some other would think." His eyes showed a tint of sadness, as those words had been spoken. And one could have admit, his eyes' dark green colour amplified that feeling, any human would recognise that he wouldn't lie. "But I understand what you mean. I didn't live with knights, commanders, a chain of command, all in all. I was a free soul, who'd take up jobs for coins and to help others. Even if you could explain to me, I'd probably still be cryptic and only understand when compared to my life." He poured her another glass and laid back on the chair, rubbing his nose in a calm, thoughtful silence and not awkwardness, as one would expect. He snapped out of it, once she made the joke. He smiled again, but probably had a feeling she was deeply affected by this. Now, that he recalls it; back when they were in Glia, the subordinates greeted Owend as a soldier, rather than a friend. They had known eachother for, at least, several years, where one would expect they'd become great friends, the link, string of that would be tied from one to another would be as tough as steel, unbreakable and only becoming stronger with time. But, he might just consider it as a façade. Nothing more, nothing less. "You're welcome, Owend. The feelings are mutual. I've gone through different parties, but none of the people I've met managed to be out of ordinary, like all of you. This party both of us are part of! It is true, we may not be as strong as the Princess and the Exarch, but we can only aspire to be better and help, in any way we can. Not only to avenge the nations or people, just like how they want, but to also find what we're looking for, whatever it may be." He smiled brightly, as if a ray of light came up from him, like a pocket-sized sun. Was he as much of a brute as others would think? Sure, he may fight, fight and fight. He may not be the best talker or to be skilled in any other things, other than battles, strategies or exploration. But he was just hiding behind a shell. And it started breaking, slowly, as if someone used a spell to wither it away. None of that mattered, battles, fights, blood. He had to cherish this moment. He felt special and he wouldn't know why, but the setting was unbelievable to his eyes. "But, why are you saying you've got no friends? What about your childhood?" He only said two simple questions, and waited while looking through the menu.
  3. Lightly tapping a wall that was not connected to the bathroom, Rolliam had his own thoughts, related to the two coming back safe and sound. He was lost in the details of time, place and what was next. Maybe taking care too much, preparing anything was too much? Such thought would storm in like a lightning and disappear just like that, knowing it weren't true. Certainly, even though his brother took care of her, she looked like a person who'd take the time to trust someone, no matter the circumstances. But this was a normal thing to do, that some people would forget about. He stopped tapping, only to see the wall, dirty again of the brown filth that was adding up. Dust; anything he'd clean up, dust would come back, like a parasite, destroying beauty, turning objects into antiques and ruining people's work. He had only cleaned it a few days ago, comparatively to other places he had been, this was not so normal. Just like life, it always finds a way to change the perspective of the people whose hearts, souls and minds were not singed by the impurity of the real world. Looking back at it, Lily seemed like that. She was slowly learning to see everything ugly about the world. Slowly, learning everything which she had never hoped to see. Unfortunately, life finds a way, at its worst times. --- After Lily was done, Rolliam and her came back in the main room, with Roland waiting as a hunter, his eyes showing a slight tint of annoyance. Rolliam noticed it and waited for Roland to say his thoughts, as if a barrage of arrows came out, not actual words. After it was done, Rolliam looked down, into his pockets, only to reveal two gold coins and a gentle placement of those on the table. "It was that bad you even lost the coins? This is what I have for backup. You might get everything you need with that: food, clothes, fixing gear, whatever." He sat down on the chair, gulping as if he had to swallow another hard truth, the bedroom. "The bedroom, you say? Hm. I haven't looked there, inside the wardrobe because I thought it would be empty." He sighed, then came back to his sentence, "But well, whatever it is, I guess. Most part of the safehouse is clean, except that wardrobe and... maybe... the chimney..." He instantly regretted mentioning it, but there was no going back now, those words slipped as if another entity drew them out of his mind, wanting to hear them itself. As brutal and horrendous he had imagined, it would be just a perverted excuse. "We will make sure the safehouse will look good after our departure, make sure she is dressed well and... What else. Making sure everything is done correctly, so our body and mind can relax and fare safely to Knight." And with that, he he sat on a chair, comforting himself, even for five seconds, those considered golden for all the work he'd been doing these past days, until they were off to work on the aforementioned.
  4. Tolok listened to Owend's speech, taking some time for himself to think, as well as digesting her words. He never had the luxury to read a book about mystery, even though he had the feel for solving things. He listened, more and more, as he was absorbed even more by her words. She was the one to bring him hope, now that he is at a low point, right? He would have thought that this is a payback for helping her in Glia, where Owend had to prove she had changed into better, her cowardice turned into willpower and following the greater good. They made it, however hurt they ended up, but it showed what kind of persons they really were. Not just this, but the nobility... The one he despised, when no one was there to help him solve this underlying problem. When his screams echoed through the silvery halls of the noble persons, with the light of their stained glass, a gift to God for his willingness and acceptance, protection and prosperity, nothing came back to him, but the grievous silence, which cut its way into his heart, poisoning it with hate. But now, he felt as if someone lifted a stone off his heart, revealing a lighter side. Nobility wasn't that bad, was it? She is a heir to the throne, after all. He gave her a heart warming smile, still thinking about what's left to do. If they can change the future, there's got to be a chance for him to stay alive, finish his quest and find the mystery behind his parents... Right? At that, he took a deep breath and closed his eyes, in his mind, speaking only to himself, as if he wanted to hear his words echo through his conscious, "We'll get through this. Wherever you are. I'll be fine." He quickly woke up from his seconds-long meditation after she punched his shoulder. She might look weak, but she got one hell of a force in that knuckle, he chuckled. "Wine? I'm a fan of beer, but something sweet's all good! Wait. Isn't that stealing... Nah, screw this." Owend chuckled at that and they went inside, probably emptying a barrel worth of wine in three gulps. ---- The sun had finally set down and the party reached the inn, with Owend and Tolok's cheeks slightly red from the chugging they had. At first, it seemed like a normal, simple drinking sessions, but it turned out into a competition, such as back when Tolok downed a couple dozen of beers to get noticed by the Exarch. God, noticed by how much one drinks? If only his previous party knew... "Well... Swimming?" He let out a long whistle, seemingly amused by this turn of events. "Well, I suppose... If it's a festival, there might be a feast, yes? After a long, swimming sessions with the chilly water relaxing every pore of your skin, the stomach will want to devour something, yes-" Owend nudged him with the shoulder, shaking her head slowly. Tolok stopped, but it looked to be the right time, because it was at the time Wymp mocked Madon for wearing that piece of armour, like a masculine Iron Maiden. He snorted and Owend brought them inside where the rooms were set, chuckling a bit. "And you think with your stomache, Tolok."
  5. Rolliam took a more relaxed position as roland responded to him with the grin. The mocking response came with a welcome breeze of wind, knowingly the man did things right in his way. Behind Roland's grin, there was another part of him that was tired beyond limit. Did they actually get into as much trouble as he thought, things which blurred his vision with worry? He'll find out soon, once the Ebon Knight meets the trio, thus the mission being unfolded to its last bit, checked, rechecked and plans remade, until the group agrees to everything being discussed. He rolled his eyes while thinking about it, the wait would have to get even longer. And knowing how Roland gets into trouble, he'd need a bit of rest, at least. "... The Wizards sent her off with me. Don't know if they're trying to earn goodwill with the Knight somehow, or just saddling us with a problem they can no longer be bothered with. Either way, she's carrying the stone. So, be nice to her, even if she probably won't show any appreciation for it-" Like his brother, he glanced at Lily, his suspicions being confirmed about Roland. Aside from the etiquette (even though both of them were assigned in this safehouse), they came back after a long and excruciating travel, potentially fatal, given the circumstances. He nodded, smiled and pat his shoulder as he made quick steps to where Lily is. "We have a stove, Roland. If you are willing to wait, I'll heat the food for you. If not, that's fine, eat well. And by the way, your winged buddy also came back home safely." he said, turning his head back to him. Now it is unknown if Roland's hunger was unbearable enough that it forced him to eat the food as cold as it is, but the archer wasn't the fan of cold food of any kind, but his snobby characteristic would only rise when they would be anywhere considered remotely safe. His thought faded, as he approached Lily. He spun his finger slowly and pointed behind her towards a dark, wooden door. "Right there, miss. It's got a tub that I'll have to fill, so give me a few moments. Hot or cold water?" --- A bit of time had passed, as Rolliam filled in the tub of water with the water she desired and brought in other things, like soap and a towel, what is necessary for her to feel at home. He rubbed his forehead of sweat and put the bucket of water back where it belonged, at the well and came back to Lily, which was waiting at the door. "Well, sorry it took me that long. Getting everything ready's always a lot of work, but now, that it is done..." He took off his gloves and put them into some hidden pockets followed by a stretching of his shoulders, causing a pop to be heard. "My name is Rolliam and I may assume you know I am Roland's brother. Nice to meet you." He held out his hand to her.
  6. An arrow tip was thrown on the table, with a loud knock coming from its impact with wood. A few heads turned, curious, but they went back to their business, noticing one of the scouts. He was tinkering with the arrows, trying to make specific heads that would suit his missions. The man was bored from tying, loosening up and fixing the customized projectiles over and over again. It's not as if he'd do this to all his arrows, but he had a far greater quantity of arrows which were all the same, boring sight when picking up one from the quiver. Rolliam was doing this for more than a few weeks, every since he was relocated here, in order to secure the highways from any further incidents and threats, clearing the way for his brother to come back with whatever he was tasked to bring. Dragonstone was it, right? Yeah, right. Roland would surely be able to steal that, considering how much him and I used to steal before they were recruited by Ebon Knight. Hell, it feels like days since then. But... Roland's wyvern came back recently. It has been a good amount of days since then and there's no sign of his brother. What could have happened to him? Roland's as slippery as a fish, but this is extremely concerning. Did he cross any borders and got himself into trouble? Was he caught by any other patrols? Partisans took him as prisoner? Hell if he knows. Every morning, noon and evening Rolliam would sit in one of the highest trees near the safehouse to seek the lands. The landscape, as beautiful as it is, with the sun bathing him in its holy light, wind blessing him with its gentle touches against his pale skin, his heart was being filled with dread and fear. Fear, the strongest at the moment, that he won't see him back... But a few days later, when he was up on the highest tree, camouflaged, while the sun would rise, he saw a duo. A duo of horses, with a person each. He recognized his brother straight away, with a smile on his face, but it faded once he looked over at the other person, riding the horse. A woman with him, here? The duo was approaching the surroundings of the safehouse at such a fast rate and Roland would let a stranger come with him? Nothing at this moment is part of the plan and Rolliam was getting suspicious. He let them walk, as he stayed hidden in the tree, hoping Roland wouldn't notice him hiding there. After all, their childhood game was Hide and Seek. Both of them were good enough at it to notice eachother hiding in trees, in high foliage or even camouflaged. How? None of them know. Maybe talent? It didn't matter now. The duo would approach a bigger than average Isorian village, where the people looked all lively, doing their daily things, never noticing the others. They were all busy helping themselves in times like these, when Isore would fall to its knees due to the attack of Byrn, which hurt hard enough to destroy most of the remaining remnants of Isore's infrastructure. Roland was approaching a house, with a hand rummaging through his bag, looking for what would seem to be a key, an old, black key which seemed like it would open another old door... With the lady behind, Roland got off the horse and went downstairs, right outside to this house to what would seem to be its basement. With a swift move, he inserted the key and a click was heard, the door was opened. Rolliam wiggled his nose and followed the two, as they entered the basement. He followed them, entered and locked the door behind, giving both of them a good look, as they were looking around at the house. Roland was checking his bag once more, trying to find the thing he was missing after putting the key inside. Rolliam opened his mouth, "Welcome back, brother. Got what you were assigned to find?" He looked at the lady for a slight of a second then back at him, with his head tilted in curiosity and suspicion. Rolliam is a young lad with white, spiky hair which would occasionaly cover his brown-blue eyes. He was dressed in coloured leather armour, fitting the lands they were in: Green, with brown and specks of in between, blending in with the nature. He has a brave bow on his back, made from dark wood with several green tints on it, for further blending in with the enviroment, including his quiver. His face was a bit dirty from one of his recent missions, where he painted himself in all sorts of colours to take down a few bad guys. He seems like he wasn't really paying any attention to this, his mind seemed to be in a whole other world, coming back only to focus on his brother and the lady. Otherwise, his face is not really so dirty as one would expect from a scout. Not like he'd care, anyways. He preferred being stealthy over looking nice any day, but he'd forget the line between a task and free time.
  7. Tolok was watching the steam rise behind them, as a spirit raising in the Heaven, where God would judge them for their sins. He was standing at the prow, thinking about everything. He was deep lost in those thoughts about what else would come, as he was for several days after the talk with Severa, where Owend and him fought to regain the green haired girl's honor in Glia. Should one still talk about the future, when no one knows about it? He heard it brings bad luck but... He misses them. He misses a future without them and he'd fear that this future they will settle in will seem normal, after he would, seemingly move on, a more mature Tolok. He was ocuppied with all this, playing with the gauntlets and being fidgety for quite a while, trying to regain sense in the world around them. A bird flew by, which woke him up from this slumber of thoughts and looked at Owend, who seemed worried. Perhaps because he was so deep in thoughts the anger showed up? Was this another thing to care of? No, it wasn't. Luckily, it helped him regain his control. He took a few seconds to see reality as it is. "Food, you say?" He smiled slightly in surprise, as if she had some sort of ancient technique named telepathy. But perhaps, his stomach growl gave this away. "I think we'll be there by nightfall, or even faster, who knows? I'd watch the dusk on the river, I haven't really experienced that sight on water for so long. And... Pearl of the Keys? I've never heard of that place, but it sounds exquisite." The gauntlets' gold-white sun shone for a bit in a bright yellow, which Tolok looked at with confusion. He wanted to touch the glowing mark, as if it was calling him, the temptation growing larger and larger with every blink passing, but the glow faded. He looked back at Owend and sighed. "I dislike that <<Stray-Cat>> nickname. It feels like someone would put salt on the wound and enjoy the sight. But it's not just that. I fear... I fear a dark future where I would miss them. I think you know who I mean, right?" He turned back against the fence at the prow and rested on it, crossing his arms and biting his upper lip. "I've been exploring for seven, eight long years to at least find out a clue about my parents. I feel like the more I explore and try to find out something, at least a ray of hope in the dark, I drag and weaken myself. I thought it would be brighter to have these gloves but... I feel like it's worse, for some reason." "...I miss them. I couldn't tell them a proper goodbye." A tear shed from one of his eyes, "Let's hope this adventure will help not just me, but everyone with their inner demons." He shrugged.
  8. Tolok's breathing eventually went back to normal after spitting flames out of his lungs. It was seemingly as if he was a dragon in disguise, but it certainly was, taking the gauntlets in consideration, some kind of unlocking of his powers, tapping right into his blood bound flames, the essence of life holding the weight of his magic, his signature in the battlefield. Luckily, it seemed like nobody had noticed his out of ordinary action and sighed, silently in relief. The last thing he'd want from this Princess is to use him as a fire for cooking a wild animal, a boar or so. He is too young for this and it would feel like wasting his power for the sake of selfishness. Fortunately, this did not happen. And fortunately, again, his uncommon dislike for nobility (except for Madon, who's loyal to him even though his dry humour almost caused him a defenestration) did not rise... Not this time. But, as it seemed like he could be relieved, her "Siblings in arms" remark was quite enough to make him rethink the defenestration coming from The Exarch. Who knows when it could go handy, in case everything goes south. What else is there? Two commanders, one squad? Hell yeah, he thinks, this WILL go south. But then, confusion kicked in, once he eyed her, trying to find out what kind of person she really is, but was quickly startled by her quick reaction to his eyeing, Madon offering to help him out of the awkward situation. Although Madon's words were an attempt at getting him out and making him seem like a... Decent person, he quickly replied by saying his name out loud for her, along with the "stray cat". He was not so fond for this comparison, since his past is a train wreck which became worse after his parents' mysterious deaths. This was one of his goals in his life, discovering what happened to them and sending justice, filled in with unholy rage. But was he even remotely close to this goal that he had made in his mind? Of course not, but the gloves seemed like a slight hint for... something. His focus came back once he looked back at Olivia, who tasked him with taking care of Owend. Now, This would not have been so bad if the Princess wouldn't nickname him "Stray-Cat" in such a manner, as if he is nothing but a wind, a breeze you would feel for just a moment in your life and it's gone. You know it's invisible, but you can feel it. He nodded though, he wouldn't want to destroy the party from the inside since this was the last thing he would do, but oh boy, he had mixed feelings about Olivia. Once she turned to the other side of the railing, he shot a glare, a flame flickering in his eyes before extinguishing. He sighed, again, silently and turned back to his side of the railing, playing around with the gauntlets, making a few balls of fire which he would throws from one hand to another and catching them, at first loosened up, but becoming more and more focused on it, until he threw it in the sea as if it was a rock. May God have mercy on him, this festival shall give him enough food to be happy for a week and he will forget about this bitter taste in his mouth due to the presence.
  9. Even though Tolok is a man of fire, whose power would be fueled by anger and potentially turn into an infernal beast of hell, he burst out in laughter as well, expecting the bird to do its thing on his hand. His look jumped at Wymp, who started cleaning that place. "No, Wymp, that is fine. No, you want to clean it? Well, alright, if you insist!" He shot a smile at Wymp's maniac nods, as he cleaned the place until some sort of shine came up on the gauntlet, where part of the "job" landed. He kept laughing with the rest. He saw Olivia, but his laughter would keep going, unable to control himself. Her arrival meant honor, respect and... judgement, but gods decided to roll an unlucky dice against his will. He breathed in and out, exhausted, his lungs burning. He quickly opened his eyes, like an owl, raised a finger upwards in sign of taking a moment and turned backwards to where they came from with the ship. He breathed out, a thin flame making its appearance, as if a weak dragon would breathe out fire. Thin and short enough to not burn anything, long enough for the rest to notice. He turned around, embarrassed and bowed, courteously, his gauntlets lighting up slowly, as if weak fire covered them. "Sorry... This is the first time it happened to me."
  10. "...Wymp..." He looked at the seagull which met its eternal fate and the specks of blood on the fence. Was this an actual sport, hunting poor creatures whose only use is to defecate on the person you dislike? He swore he saw the bird again in the water, but only a few feathers were left from the impact, on the ship and the water. The rest had sunk like a rock at the bottom of the river. He looked at Madon and then at Owend, who both knew this is something usual that would test their precious, dripping patience they had. Wymp looked serious about it, but he saw a mere sanctified justice in his eyes, shining at Tolok's flaming gauntlets. The fire faded away and he looked straight into his eyes, with a slight, forgivable frown. "...You've heard this many times. But I'll bring my reason here: seagulls are not food." He grinned sheepishly, his gluttony showing up roughly, "They are some mere birds. Your belief for God must be true, so we shall crusade other bigger birds... Wyverns, when the time comes." He pat his shoulder while moving past him with large steps, but turned towards him with a rather curious look. "But may I ask, since my curiosity is increasing... Why are seagulls considered evil?" At this time, another seagull flew past by and Tolok didn't hesitate to hold his hand out in the air. After a few spins in the air, the bird sat down on his arm and pecked his now warm gauntlet. "Ravens sound more fitting for scouting than seagulls, I think?"
  11. He didn't know. He couldn't have known, not even if life itself would extend by decades and helped him gather more knowledge. This fate would bring more dread than a content smile on the face, had Tolok went with the rest on the ship without checking the place. but... ...Here he is. Tolok and Owend in Glia, rushing on a great pursuit of finding out buried past memories. The long road made of shiny cobblestone, glimmering in the lamp lights on the side; the road seemed endless, as the duo traveled towards the blacksmithery of Tolok's father. He wondered, why he never had his stuff officially inherited in the first place, even though age was a leading factor: perhaps the only gifts he'd received were the actual inheritance? His sword, shield and trinket, the trio that would lead to uncovering truths? How could he have known... Poor, lost man, in a world larger than he would have thought. But there were people to guide him. And they had finally reached the place: A red, brick-based building. The colour seemed washed off by the time, it seemed like nobody dared to enter the house without the proper invitation of its owner. The place felt empty and devoid of any meaning. Tolok sighed and looked up, noticing a dusty sign with washed off letters: "Barkul Sur's Everflaming Smithery". Hah. Everflame. His blood causing the gear to be enchanted. Veeeery clever name..... Poor Tolok. Owend noticed his stressed face over reading the sign and quickly nudged with her head towards the entrance. It felt like a Rite of Passage for him, entering the soulless building and acknowledging the darkness inside. But the trinket... It grew stronger. There was not much of a difference between the road from the castle and to his father's workplace, but once they entered? Even with small, mindful steps, the necklace would show the way more brightly with warm, protective light. And Tolok's fear would retreat slowly out of his mind, making way for curiosity. The inside was, of course, dusty. Weapons of all kinds were sorted on a wall, from small daggers to mighty warhammers held by guardians of many places. But as of now, this was more of a showcase, a display of mighty skill, than a shop. On the opposite wall, however, there were all sorts of armour pieces regarded as outfits, the set put together to never leave each other in a frenzy of fear. But, on the furthest side of the wall from the two, there was a leather bag, which drew Owend's attention. She quickly went towards it and touched it with care. It seemed like an armour piece. It seemed like a pair of armour, which felt different from the rest. Tolok followed and as soon as he touched the bag, the necklace grew strong enough, all of a sudden, to light the whole corner and the wall, as if it was in the midst of daylight! Owend's face slightly dropped at this bastardly magic, but Tolok managed to shoot a small smile while pulling its contents out of the bag. Inside? A pair of gauntlets, looking like they were tailored and specifically made by someone special, for someone special to them. They had a certain, glowy aspect to them: the metal felt strong, but yet light, the design felt familiar and its aura... There was an aura. He took his old gauntlets off and put those on. And it seemed like it was the perfect fit; "We missed you, our son. We are glad you found your deserved reward. We are glad you are still alive. We love you." A voice of a woman came up in his head, oddly familiar to him and caused him to have a chill run down his spine. But then, the gauntlets shone, revealing the aura he had sensed berfore. It was a show of lights, the thing covering the gauntlets seemed endless. It seemed like it will never stop. But at the same time, the feeling of this aura was soothing, powerful and looked like it boosted his power. Or caused his flames to work more efficiently. "You spongebrain, couldn't have you left the ceremony at the docks?" Owend said, with a small frown. "No." He followed it with a smirk. "These gauntlets... Completed me, of some sort. And.. I heard her again. I don't know if it's in my head or not but... I'm happy." She wanted to add something, but Tolok's smile, which came after he finished, managed her to stop. "Let's meet the rest, you sp- Tolok." ---- This was a few days after the whole incident in the castle; preparations have been made in order for the journey to go nice and smooth. But the two seemed to take longer, after they had helped with whatever jobs they had to make done. Eventually, Tolok's quest came last. They had reached the docks, where everyone else was ready. He had a small smile on his face, watching the gauntlets shining in yellow flames, dancing and moving like a living thing. Tolok kept his heart-warming smile as he stood at the stern of the boat with the rest. It was not that bad, was it? It felt like his mission would get so much better. But this would require higher, and higher, and higher risks to take on. Was he ready? Depends. But he wished to enjoy this time now. Owend was watching him, as if a child opened his Christmas present, but she looked another way, staying closer to Madon as the guard she is.
  12. The two entered Anselm's quarters and sat down, Tolok with his sudden, almost heavy movements which made it seem like a boulder, not a human sits down and Owend sat gracefully next to the couch. He was about to answer Anselm's first question, but it seemed like a force or magic of some sort cut him off. Of course, it was the necklace in discussion: He could not only see its magic, the bring orange colour surrounding the silvery sun, a trinket of purity and power, but feel it. And he was truly aware about that. Just like Tolok, whose eyes went from Princess, to the necklace and back to him. Their eyes met and Tolok opened his mouth again, to speak. Quietly, as well. "Aye." He put his hand over the necklace gently, "Indeed it is. Princess Severa vouched for your magic... dissecting." Anselm relaxed ever so slightly, but kept his look on the necklace, sometimes looking up at Tolok to analyze his face. "If Severa herself told you to come here, then I shall do a service. But I need to know something beforehand...." He then proceeded to hold his hand out, waiting for Tolok's answer with the same intent gaze as before. "Well... My parents gifted me this necklace, along with some other gear." He points with his eyes towards the sword and shield, as if he is trying to make a point. "It started glowing when I got close to Glia. Perhaps you may know what it is about?" Watching Anselm's palm, Tolok took off his necklace in a slow manner and laid it on Anselm's palm. He clutched it slowly and drew it near his chest, taking a look and pointing it with the nails. "I see now. My first guess would be your little, bright sun is tracking something special. Like a piece of equipment with the same magic." He looks up from the necklace to Tolok and waits for some kind of an answer. "...Piece of equipment? Uhh... My father was a blacksmith." Anselm grinned. "Good. I'll check this necklace now." He clenches his fist, closes his eyes and one would feel like he is taking in the magic and making it human. Talking with it and finding out what's it all about. He finished after a while and looked back at Tolok with a grin. "Seems like you had an interesing person, Tolok. A blacksmith's magic resides here and I know precisely who he is...." He puts the necklace on the table and quickly goes to a bookshelf, taking a cylindrical object with him and putting it on the table near the necklace. "Now, I know your family name, Tolok Sur." He giggled, "Your father was quite remarkable, indeed. Enchanted weapons, armor and all, he was considered one of the best. I'll take that your sword and shield were made not only with mastery, but also love." Tolok kept silent as Anselm started reading a parchment which seemed older than both Tolok and Anselm. "Yes, your father had a blacksmithery in Glia. It is on the main road to the East. You will know about it once you get there. It's abandoned, but in good shape and nobody entered out of pure respect for the dead." Tolok smiled at that and nodded, "I appreciate your help, Princess Anselm. Is there anything I can do for your majesty?" He was finally learning how to use respect as a tool for making some connections, as faint as they could be. Anselm shook his head, "Don't do anything stupid. And if you need Owend in your journey there, you better ask her." Tolok stood up and headed towards the door. "Alright. Owend, do you want to come with me?"
  13. "What do I think that was about?" Tolok took a moment to think. "No idea but I will state the obvious here: It's really important for Glia. Maybe it's a surprise offense, God bless us if that's the case." He turned around and strolled lightly through Severa's room, inspecting the little details, as if he tried finding out something to say. "But I feel like the more we stay in one place and do nothing, the louder I can hear some sort of clock ticking in my head, as if something bad will happen. Perhaps we should go to Anselm's quarters?" Owend nodded. "That if Anselm is there. She might be busy around with few things, but I think it's unlikely. Now let's go, we'll walk for a long time to get there." Tolok took a long, last look at Severa's room, as if he wanted to absorb her energy. He felt like he won't see her ever again and that was already a reason to remember the talk about loyalty, duty and camaraderie. Things he had never experienced, but he heard of through stories from parties of people who achieved something in common. Would he and his party achieve the common objective to protect this world? Who knew. Maybe him being the weakest link, due to having almost no experience of teaming up, since he had lived as a lone wolf during his explorations is what might bring them down in the future. But he will learn from that... Right? Right. "Alright, let's go." He said after a long moment of thought and Owend started her walk to Anselm's quarters, with Tolok on her tail. A long time went by, as Tolok admited the architecture of the royal building: The marble, the arcades with their little details that an aspiring eye would analyze. Everything was of such a luxury, that he felt like they were stepping in Heaven for the time being. And his adventure through the impersonated heaven ended once they stopped at a room on thirteenth floor. Owend stood there, waiting for Tolok to knock on the door. And so he did, knocked three times and waited. He took a quick glance at the necklace before his sight went back at the room, watching over it with some sort of impatience.
  14. Glia, Glia, Glia. The place of women, men who turn into women or simple men. What was so special about it that the necklace was glowing right here? No, the question did not serve its purpose: Why would something from his family, or someone exist here? Did his father send it here? No, he is resting for eternity near his house. Was it found by someone and sent to a museum? Hell no, it's not a sort of relic, which would get so much attention from people. Nobody knew his family bloodline, the Sur. They were as invisible as the rest of the families in Erasmia: Mother, father, son. That was in Tolok's mind: trying to guess the uncertain future with wild assumptions, assumptions which would only cause enough pain for one to withstand. And he had absolutely no idea what kind of horrifying truths he will find. If it were for a prophet to tell him, the fiery man would sit in a corner, his face white like sheet, his eyes wandering into a sort of void created by the facts written in a book of his destiny. He looked up at Severa and his eyes brightened, as if she caused his cogs to work, once again. To think of something else than the future. If one had to understand his future, he would have to understand his past, beforehand. "You have told me so many secrets about Glia. I am sure everybody else would have already put me on a cross, drowned and then burned to ash if I were to be a spy. Not even being a spy, just knowing these kinds of secrets. If you put your trust not in me, but in Owend that she brought me here, I shall tell you something about this necklace." He worked his hand under the shirt, closing his eyes, as if he wanted to feel the light, the warmth, the materlial of the trinket, gift from his parents. After a while, he made it visible, he put it over his shirt, with a gentle, caring gesture, that only meant respect for the fallen... For his parents. "This was a gift from my parents, when I decided I shall explore the lands." The necklace was glowing as usual, but with a close look, it wasn't an usual light. The pendant representing a sun battered in pure silver was not glowing with yellow to orange fire, no... The pendant was coated in it. A second layer, materialized and protecting the pendant from any outside danger, wishing to corrupt its own, pure essence. The purity Tolok is asking for, a reminder to look for the best of the world and then of himself. "It was gifted to me along with the sword and shield you have seen me use. They could have given me anything else, a wooden kite shield and a normal short sword but... It was as if they saw what will happen in the future. It is the last memory I have of them, or that's what I thought. It started glowing when Madon's party and I went closer and closer to Glia. I believe it started glowing because of something related to my family. Something which should probably glow, as well, waiting for the necklace and the said item to reunite." He sighed, looking down at the jewelry. "I have a feeling that... thing... will destroy every single thing I knew about my life."
  15. Tolok nodded slowly, while listening to Severa. Her explanation was detailed enough to make him realize she was not joking. Prophets? How are they made, how can they predict the future, see in front of it, if it doesn't... Exist yet? Isn't it just like dough? Made, changed, formed and broke apart in pieces... Malleable is the word for this. It can't be, right? Isn't everyone's future already set...? So many counter arguments to this argument he cannot think of exist, ready to strike. "I haven't met a prophet, that is true. I don't think my connections were good enough to meet someone who holds these kinds of powers..." His voice trailed off a bit, when thinking of those, so called prophets. "Knowing your future is frightening already, but I understand it is a last resort option for the selfless rulers, who wish to protect their lands. Commendable, indeed, but I couldn't live with the fact that I managed to find out what happens... It is unsettling when you think about it, who falls and who rises." He sighed and finished his drink after a pause. "War is cruel. I understand why it has to be done. Preparations for the future, safes and ways to make sure everything works out... But, wouldn't the future still be the same if one tells you what will happen? Since it takes time for each event to pile up and explode into the expected result, including the preparations... Wouldn't the future be the same, if one decides to run away from it and so, so want to change future, as if it is malleable? Even so, preparations are preparations... I don't suggest not doing them anymore, because such a suggestion would be foolish. No, sorry. I'll stop. I'm not a tactician." He stopped, truly. This future talk was already unsettling for him, since the necklace grew stronger, with each step closer to Glia. It was still glowing under his shirt, as a reminder he will face the ugly truths. Would he find what he was already expecting? Only future would tell, and that continued to scare him. He gulped, his anxiety growing larger with every single thought about this. "I believe Owend will take care of Glia and make sure it will rise higher than before, though." He spoke, after another long pause, and then bunkered in his own mind, not paying attention to anything else in the room.
  16. "I've heard enough." She said. It was as if the jury decided the fate of either Tolok, Owend or both of them. A swift strike of words, hitting Tolok's cheeks. Well, would he look at that. His honesty helped him here... Right? But he realized Owend was not in her best mood. She, apparently, drunk enough to get tipsy and to shroud her mind. Was the sweet taste of the drink enough to weaken Owend's state of mind at the moment? Taking the success they've had earlier as a failure, in the conditions when not a simple person, but her Princess, Severa, congratulated them for their victory. Was she really this stubborn now? Or was it because of the drink? "Oh well", he thought. "She said she was never hurt by any other knight than you, Owend. Every scratch one would lay on Severa, from what it seems, sounds like a victory to me. Don't think so low of yourself, you have enough potential if Severa thinks highly of you. You may be stronger than her at some point and she counts on that." He then squinted his eyes at the flying bottle. He could have sworn this wasn't real. A princess throwing bottle like this over the balcony, as if nobody is down there? Hey, what about the fishes? Some sailor, a ma- woman? Is she just trying to look gracefully, but when someone would get to know her, the facade drops, becoming a graceless person? Now, this was... Quite an ugly thing for Tolok to witness, but he shrugged. It may have been for several reasons which he couldn't have known. He now listened. A smile on his face shone, realizing he thought right. He was pivotal in this discussion and he turned in the right way. He was now waiting for his fruits to ripe, watching over Owend and the graceless-behemoth Princess which had some kind of charm one would not really see through at first, but would get clear with time passing... Anyways, was he here to admire some Princess? Nah, he's here to help Owend and then... The necklace, which started glowing a bit stronger, all of a sudden. He was not quite content with this. Finding out the truth about his life, after Owend's life takes a turn towards a, hopefully, new, positive chapter of her life was frightening for him. Excitement, mixed with fear and anxiety? Yeah... That's his true fear. And he listened to Severa's monologue aimed at Owend. The flex of the muscles, somehow, caused her feminine side to fade out a bit. What she would look like was more of a fist fighter than a Princess who uses her weapons and strenght from some unbelievable source. Or maybe he is not used to women with toned, "demigod" muscles. Who knows, a simple man likes simple things. "Wait... You seem stronger than a lot of people i've seen in my life. How could you consider this unfortunate fate? Wait... Don't tell me you cheated Fate and now it is waiting in a shadow, creeping around and waiting for the right time to strike? I can't believe it. I've seen people who screwed Fate over and managed to live their lives happily ever after. Or... Is that what we would love to believe? Sweet lies flying through the air?" He frowned and became one with the seat.
  17. "Tch." Tolok sighed, realizing he did more bad than good. He was sitting in his chair and was slowly gripping the armrests stronger and stronger with every second that'd pass. His duty and loyalty being questioned; those kinds of long talks in the moonlight, that bring people close to eachother, improving their chemistry. But now, here, it proved to be fatal. Words are more powerful than any kinds of weapons: swords, dragonslaying crossbows or even Mason's boom boxes. No, those weapons would fade in comparison with the simple words a man can speak by mistake. Words decide the outcome of people. Words, which cause action. Assasinations, betrayals, friendships... Tolok was aware of that. And here he stood, freezing as if someone made an ice cube around him and that would be his graveyard until someone would find him... Dead or alive. "Then, I shall be honest here. And if honesty will bring me death, I shall drink a little in the name of truth." Tolok raised his hand to grab the bottle and Owend immediately gave it to him. He gently put it on the ground and picked a glass and filled a quarter of it. He hesitated, but drank a little after a while. "I apologize for coming off as a person whose objectives suit him and only him, and the regular responsabilities of a human being are just something I wouldn't even want to grasp. But since apologies are nothing but dust in the wind, useless, immesurable without a reason, I shall explain." He grit his teeth, due to the anxiety that Severa's presence would induce. He was adding the posibility of him being the tool Severa would want to use to destroy every single bit of cowardice she would have. Questioning him, until he shows fear, or until he says enough mistakes to force her to say the truth. "I understood duty after certain.. Events in my life, which still shroud my mind from time to time, when I think about it. Doubting people, hesitating, desire to be alone... All these don't matter anymore, but are a main reason as to why the development of my duty and loyalty were slower than average..." He touched the orange-glowing necklace which was behind his black shirt. "I must admit I know what duty means now, Princess. I understand she made some mistakes and that... She must be a prime example for those who would follow." He glanced quickly at her, but looked back at his glass, drinking a bit more. "And it is understandable why you call this act childish." He sighed. "It takes time for everyone to grasp this weight upon their shoulders, the title of a "Princess"... And I feel like she wants to prove her worth by these adventures she has." He sighed again... "And I know it is not the best way to do it but, as far as I can tell, she is probably preparing for her time to come and lead Glia, the Grey Knights to a better future... And to answer your question: yes, I do know what is at stake and her escapism might truly cause troubles if they are to increase in number over time. Loyalty and duty are important here, since you are not loyal for the person who is giving you the orders, but you are loyal for everyone in your charge and must be a bright example for others to follow." Long pause, he sipped. "If what you've wanted to do is what I thought about earlier, then you won, Princess, and I put a nail in my coffin."
  18. The man's grin slowly faded with the passageway showing itself. It was clear this won't be any kind of fight, but some sort of... cherry on top of what could be known as Severa's way to destroy the fear, cowardice and doubt of her subordinates. What he didn't know was that the place slowly turned unnerving for him: the long way to the destination, the almost-inaudible drops of water that would add to the restlessness, the purple lightning arc made, surprisingly, by the Princess herself - He would never expect a mammoth-disguised lady to also possess such an intricate, unstable element of the world. Last time he'd seen an electromancer, the person would have devastating outbursts, where lightning would fully control his body, - led the way towards the end, the purple feeling royal and fitting for her but, at the same time, it was something that made him self aware of this unnerving feeling that was related to this colour. Could it have been the arcs of lightning? He never knew. The walk continued. There was no sign of stopping any soon and he started analyzing some things. It is true that Tolok was never keen on learning the more complicated parts of geography. The little details, markings, resources, heights of a certain place in this land, but he was more than happy to learn the basics of the world: some notable rivers, effluents, mountains, cities and kingdoms... And learning how would a map work. Simple stuff that would be needed in his adventure, the rest could have been learned on the go, if it were for finding a resource, people or just buying another small map for certain adventures he's had way before he even had the chance to meet the Exarch and his crew. Phew, he thought; how lucky was he to meet these people? What would be the chances of him being picked by him? One percent? Two? Is his life written in a book by God and He decided who should he be and what kind of life should he have? Nobody knows and that's for sure... Otherwise, life wouldn't have as much mystery and will poured into each and every one of us, He shook his head and went back to analyzing everything around. His intuition told him he is heading out of the castle, as it should. It may be a long way which starts from the building, but it is enough, even for a child, to know they are moving away, away and away from it and closer, closer and closer to... an Aqueduct? For a second, he thought he was in the city center, but it was wrong. Seeing the sheet of water, he soon realized this place is even more surprising than he thought. And here they were, the trio had finally reached their destionation... Instead of bringing a warm feeling, a state of hope and... Temporary home, it felt more like an interogation room, at this moment. The place The Princesses would call home during a siege that would destroy their land, Glia, was now used not as a place to help, but to squish, destroy, decimate and brutally behead every single fear and nerve willing to fall. And because of that, tension grew stronger... He sheepishly turned his head to Severa and spoke, almost hesitating in the last moment. "Honestly, I barely thought about that. But to make up for it, now I shall think of something, if you may ask me..." He rubbed his chin, trying to find a logical idea, when he finally found one: "She looks like a truly adventurous kind. The kind of person whose wanderlust is only satiated by every single inch of land she would discover. Every notable place is caught in her sight and sorted after preference. Maybe she will find something useful later there, maybe it could serve as a safehouse, watchtower, resting place... Ever since I've met her, the decisions she made kept her group of Grey Knights alive. I don't think she'd lost one ever since I met her, which is truly, truly commendable." He made himself more comfortable on his seat and put one leg over the other and strecthed his battered shoulders. Sure, they hurt, but the sound of popping bones happened to flash a small smile on his face which faded immediately, going back to a more serious, mature expression on his face, while talking to Severa. "But every person has a drawback. Some are greedy, some are reckless, lazy, clowns, fools. You name it, there are many drawbacks one can have and discover, due to an important event in their lives. You may consider wanderlust a disadvantage in this given moment. Hell, you can call a good trait a disadvantage if something unfortunate happens due to it. But this is a double edged sword, Princess. Explorers have their own way to satiate their life. How do I know? I am here. I am no man under the name of a king, except Madon, the Exarch. You may call me knight, paladin, chevalier, but I am none. I am just an explorer whose wanderlust has to be satiated, like a drug. I guess you can consider this... Double edged sword when you look at Owend. Am I right when it comes to your answer? I don't know, my instinct forced me to say this." He started rubbing the edge of this seat, as if sweat was pouring through every single inch of the skin, waiting for the answer of the brute, silver tongued Princess, which would most likely aim to squirm every single act of fear she will spot in Owend.
  19. The end of the battle has been decided, once and for all. Tolok is, honestly, a knight others would look up to, if they were to consider his bravery. His bravery was something out of ordinary. So out of the ordinary, that the "ordinary" bravery would only be seen in the fairytale books about shiny knights in strong, heavy armors. Handsome, powerful, smart, but their most important attribute was bravery. The bravery that lead them to defeat demons, dragons, armies and save pretty princesses, the books ending with a happy ending for the forces of good and the forces of the dark would suffer in silence, behind the curtains, asking for help, as their pleas become more silent with every second that passes, until nobody hears them. And that was Tolok. His bravery was to be commended: fighting a very strong individual by himself, sacrificing himself in the name of the victory... His bravery could be mistaken for recklessness, but one was to be proud of doing something stupid enough to get him killed, without thinking it further and the other was to use your last card, the last resort, the surprise element and hanging by a thread, knowing your partner will help. And so it happened... The battered man picked the towel with his shaky hand and rubbed it on his face in a few rotations. He was so out of this world, with a stupid grin on his face, exhilarated by the victory, that he didn't realize he was not even rubbing his face anymore, but moving the towel in the air. He stood up, shakily, with the help of Severa and grimaced, as his temporary injuries started showing up. Lots of bruises, as a note for all the slams he took part in as he held her by the thigh. But he didn't care. "I can see you took note of my pride and endless hope... I am proud. No. I am happy I aided Owend in the battle. I was sure she wouldn't miss her target and she didn't manage to disappoint." He gave a warm smile to Owend, being proud of her. Of course he would after this victory, like anyone would be for their partner, friend, lover and so on. "What is this music you mentioned, Princess Severa?" He struggled to walk after his sword and shield, but managed to pick them up and put his beloved sword in the scabbard that would let the weapon rest until its help was needed. He just kept the shield on his left hand, as a decoration, a sign of pride related to his father, his family. The place where he came from and where he turned from a boy to a man. He took a deep breath and closed his eyes, preparing for whatever had to come. He knew this would not be easier than this fight, it would probably turn out to be even more difficult and even more dangerous than this fight. "If that is the case, I would gladly help her become better, with every step she has to take." He drank a bit of water from the flagon, before giving it back to one of the ladies which offered him. "Even with a limp hand and these injuries, I will continue fighting. I honestly don't care anymore about these wounds, for I want to get done with this." He now followed Severa, keeping an eye on everything they would walk along the halls she would redirect the party to. He was either excited, nervous, unsure, prideful or all of the above. You couldn't tell from his face's expression.
  20. It was quite a shameful first approach for the duo. Both of them knew the fight will take long enough, since the Princess Severa... Princess? Is she even a Princess with the raw, sheer strength she beholds? She might have a used, beaten polearm, but as it is known usually about melee weapons of all kinds, a skilled man with a rusty sword can beat an armored knight with good equipment. It all comes down to the flow of battle and who controls it. Unfortunately, Tolok and Owend were struggling to keep up against their opposant, who put them in place so easily, as if they were ragdolls. Tolok suffered a heavy blow, as he has to surrender his sword, somehow his main hand suffered a sprain, due to the force she pulled his hand and kept in place to force him to do something. She was something else than a woman and he regretted underestimating her. He breathed in heavily, trying to stand up after the kick which sent him flying towards the other side of the ring. "What is this strength and how... The fuck is she so strong? Do I see a behemoth in disguise or what?" Owend comes right after Tolok, rolling backwards and towards him and gave him a long look, since he spoke the obvious: "You spongebrain, that's why she is the leader!" She noticed his limp arm taking a few pendulum movements instead of holding it firmly, with the sword in hand. "...Bollocks! How are you going to fight like this, Tolok?! We barely had a slim chance to fight her and now you lost your sword! We don't have any chance, you realize that?" Her voice spoke true concern and fear, seeing the effects of Severa on her assumed lover. He stood up, taking a few more breaths before speaking. "Well, we do actually. You see, Owend, Her Majesty knows how to fight really well and her strength aids her well, but..." He came in to whisper into her ear and Owend jolted her head backwards, but she quickly replied, "Are you insane now?! Tolok, this is dirty!" Tolok had a smirk on his face. Even though he knew using magic in a sword fight was dumb, he wasn't planning on hitting her with fire, but to disrupt her vision. "Hey, a fight is a fight, during war you don't fair play and give roses to your opponent." He then focuses on Severa and his mouth opens: "I am far from dead weight, Princess. I will be rendered useless once I will lay my last breath. Until then, I will fight even with a severed hand, as long as I can fight to protect the party and myself. I don't give up that easily." Owend sighs, but she quickly claims her position, but she soon hears the specific word, ringing through her ears and entering her bones, cuasing her to shake as a jelly for a moment. "No, Tolok is right." She mutters to herself, "I can't let her words control my movements.". Tolok follows soon after, holding his shield up in the left hand, his eyes focusing on Severa and her pole again, . He snaps his left fingers five times and finishes with a push in the air, an opaque wall of fire formed in front of Severa, restricting her vision. Of course the fiery man had a scummy plan like this, but he knew Severa was stronger than both of them together and to tip the scale, one, has to think out of the box. Owend began her rush towards the wall and at half the distance between Tolok and the firewall, she jumps high up in the air with the lance up, thanks to her speed. Tolok followed and gained enough force to throw his shield like a frisbee, aiming to have it below Owend's feet. He wasn't a mathematician, physicist or whatever, but he follows his instinct and strength to lead him to a potential victory; and now, the shield was flying right below Owend's feet. At the right time when she was above the firewall, her descent began and the shield came up expectedly, laying her feet on it. Now, Severa had to face a falling shield of metal with Owend on it and a lance which will aim to hit her at high speed, considering the whole situation. Will Owend be able to lay the winning blow and draw Severa's blood? She was sure she could do it. This time, it really felt different.
  21. Tolok kept his silence after his monologue, which was supposed to defend Owend. With every second that passed, every step Severa took and every vowel she would speak, it felt like eternity. He knew he tried his best and was slightly proud of standing up for the green haired lady, who would slowly regain the same courage that she has in the battles, when both of them rode the same Pegasi, to fight their current opponents, the Byrn troops. The fiery man nodded when Severa looked at him. A node of approval for the word she'd spoken: "Different". He slowly went down the stairs, lessening the grip on her shoulder, but let it there, to calm her down. "Everything will be fine..." He thought. With the new approach of Severa, he realized she is not just some brute, that acts like other power-hungry heroes, enslaving the friends, subordinates, people, in consuming shackles of power and fame. No... Her head was on the shoulders, conscious of everyone's feelings around, when she gets told. Perhaps she may not be that bad as he first thought, at all. The man let out a slight smile when he checked the room they had entered. The ring, the showcased training weapons, the bags and mannequins, a training room for knights. Tolok was delighted to see a room where training would be performed efficiently, since he had never entered one of those in his life. He learned how to fight through all his adventures fighting bandits, finding dangerous jobs and everything in between. He took off his greaves and gauntlets and laid them gently near the ring, since those were the only heavier things Tolok would wear, aside from a chainmail which he got used to and could no longer feel its weight (not that it was heavy, anyways). He stepped in the ring and turned his sight towards a mannequin, as he saw Severa undressing, until she was fully nude. If anyone would ask him why he doesn't look at the Princess his response would most likely be "I have been taught not to look at undressed women, unless I am allowed to. Doesn't matter where I may be, I do that all the time.", followed by a sigh, reminding himself oh his mother, long gone. He might have probably forgot to take off his backpack as well, and quickly did so and put it right next to his pairs of armor. He turned his sight back at Severa, who was now dressed and nodded. "I shall fight." He kept his orange kite shield and the one hand sword, made with respect, sweat and pride by his father. He could not, at any point, give his sword to anyone else or being disarmed off it, unless those that would try were masochists who would enjoy Tolok's berserk. Same with his kite shield that served him for years. He turned his gaze at Owend and a smile came on his face. "Are you ready?" He asked on a warm tone, as he unsheathed his sword from the scabbard and held his shield, a smile creeping on his face. He would be mindful not to hurt Severa in such way her wounds would need intensive care, but he wasn't keen on hitting her with his weapons, as if they were pillows. Owends nods and both of them focus on Severa, who is armed with the pole. Tolok makes his first move, he steps forward and slashes with his sword on her left side side. Since Severa would probably be focused on Tolok's sword, Owend strenghtens the grip on her lance, Blinkstrike and lunges forward towards her back, aiming to finish the battle as soon as possible. If Severa were to counterattack his sword swing, Tolok will raise his shield and aim to push her and the polearm, leaving Owend a clear window to strike and to block the next blow coming from Severa, if she somehow parries her hit.
  22. "With all due respect, Princess..." Tolok stopped, as he felt her sudden order, as if it reverberated in his bones. The talk between Owend and Severa was alright. He didn't mind the gossips, as long as the lieutenant of the Grey Knights was feeling comfortable in the place she would call home, before she left Glia. But with the sudden change of tone that didn't leave Owend any choice to take a deep breath, regain her feelings and move forward, knowing everything would be fine. But this time, the Princess screwed up her emotions. He put a hand on Owend's shoulder and a whisper followed: "It's okay. Take a few deep breaths and think of something which makes you happy. Everything will be fine soon enough." He turned his gaze at Severa, a frown forming on his face: "...I don't think the sudden change of tone helps any of us in this situation. I understand that you are a commander, a leader of the wyvern riders in Glia and that is a honorary title to be respected. But Owend was happy when she saw you. She was happy, because she met someone who would look up to when times would be rough for her, something rare for their soldiers, even higher ranked individuals to feel comfortable with. She must have worked a lot for the rank she has, a lieutenant. She must be proud of it, but it is all in vain, if the work she poured does not grant het anything but a cosmetic title. I know there is a strong camaraderie between you both and I base myself on that, knowingly you can let her take a few precious minutes to feel better and be encouraged to take a step into the unknown and not being forced to do it upon an order. After all, courage is gained by facing a fear by her own, free will and not being forced to do it. So I ask you, for the benefit of us here, on a staircase which leads us somewhere of importance, if you could help her... Not by forcing her to take the steps, but to show her the way, to grab a torch and light the path, so that she knows there is nothing to fear. I might have had quite a tongue earlier, but I did it because of some clear stress which shrouded my mind, but I will not let the stress pour into the words that I wish to help my lover with. If you really felt love, which I am sure you did, you know how you would want to protect that special someone, knowing you feel the same way, as if there is an emotional rope that transfers the emotions one feels through another. "
  23. The supposed boyfriend-husband-whatever of Owend was walking next to her in pure silence. Even though he said what he felt could be... True, with the bad and ugly side of it, he probably went overboard a bit, according to his pride and bad tongue. His confusion grew with the talk of the two ladies next to him, having their ladies talk about men. True, Tolok wasn't the best out of the existing men, but the comparison was what confused him the most and kept his mouth shut, not wanting to add fuel to the fire, especially after the Exarch's scolding. Instead, he let out a soft "mhm" which only Owend could hear after the two were done talking, as a reply to the comparison. "Now, what in the fuck was that green glow coming from the necklace? What caused it? Will it happen again or something, at the worst timing possible? Please don't, because I am tired of any other unfortunate moments." His attention was, instead, focused on the necklace which was still glowing a bright orange, visible behind the black shirt. "Can my necklace do other things I am unaware of? Blergh, dunno. Might as well not happen during Owend's problems she has to solve. Otherwise, both of us will have to suffer."
  24. "Money and thrill." Tolok answered in a suspiciously calm tone, as he analyzed the surroundings, with the electric stick on his back and holding the sword's hilt, the weapon resting in the leather scabbard. "Wanderers like myself are looking for work like this, so they can earn the coins and... Have more stories to tell at the next local bar that will be visited. After all, wanderlust is an addiction, if you can call it like this." He raised an eyebrow at Isaac and took him a few seconds to smug at the rifleman's response. It was a rather unwise thing to comment about his words, seeming he would only talk when he has to or when he is asked questions. Best not to ruin his mood right at the beginning of the journey. What else was there to say, other than ruining possible, essential chemistry between his workmates?... Nothing. Pure nothingness, in such way the silence becomes its own music. This is how it felt like after he finished his sentence and waited for the lady named Danica. In the meantime though, his gaze was starting to fix on the hills that would uncover in his line of sight. His small thing to do, as a way to pass some time, was suddenly obstructed by a crackling sound. The wanderer thought he stepped on some rock that was smashed to bits, probably being eroded by time and wind, but it was... Something else, a sudden, morbid twist, as he looked down. Those were... bones... He quickly made a grimace, which aggravated with every inch closing in between his hand and another bone laying on the ground. "Guys..." He wasn't able to finish his sentence, as his focus was all spent on the bone. "This does not look like a human bone... It's a small wildlife's bone." He held it in three fingers, towards the sky, to notice some more features. "Doesn't look too old and.... The way it is laid around and being seriously chipped, along with looking questionably clean, it's something unnatural that caused this." He muttered a curse word and laid it on the ground gently, as if he was paying his respects to the bone of an unknown animal.
  25. Tolok's necklace grew a stronger glow, signifying that he was getting closer to the source that fuels it, now being visible behind the shirt. He snorted a bit quietly, hearing the idiocy coming from the supposed princess... Princess of clowns maybe. "I read a book before about a man with severe growth developments, who would have some really small wings and shoot heart shaped arrows towards the hearts of two people he'd think they would make a good love story. I thought it was a dumb thing to read, until I heard of your plan to gain Madon's heart, which trumped that book in a few words. Hey, I understand things might be different in Glia and love confessions might be sorted in a "It's either Love or Death" fashion, but it does not justify bringing one assasin to kill his companions and some guards, probably increasing the chance of him being murdered in a swift strike, or being captured and tortured to death by his opposants..." The necklace suddenly flashed, changing its glow to an intense green, as if something triggered the necklace's magic and made it act like that. Due to it, Tolok's voice changed to a grim, disgusted tone, as he was finishing the sentence. "...On his land." The necklace went back to normal a few seconds after he was done, but it was already enough to catch the attention of some people. Not even Tolok was able to understand what was wrong with his sudden action, which might probably put him on some sort of 'Watch list of shady men in Glia.' (This is how Tolok looks like)
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