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Phaedara

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Phaedara last won the day on April 2 2015

Phaedara had the most liked content!

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About Phaedara

  • Rank
    The Nightingale

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  • Gender
    Female
  • Location
    Japan
  • Interests
    Writing (duh), drawing, reading, video games (primarily PC), board games, exploring the wilderness, airsoft, medicine and cuddling all the animals! Oh, and definitely rain. I love me a good thunderstorm.
  • Occupation
    Veterinarian Technician

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    Phaedara#6624

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  1. Monday might have been a lie for updates. One of our computers is having an issue and it'll probably take the rest of the day to resolve. Sad times.

  2. Valucre to-do list took a bit of a hit last week. I should be able to jump back on board starting this Monday! 😄

    1. princeben07

      princeben07

      Well you're a sight for these old eyes!!! How are you dear???

      benny

    2. Phaedara

      Phaedara

      I'm doing lovely @princeben07! I hope you're doing well too?

    3. princeben07

      princeben07

      Yeah; just "Ben" Busy, lol.

      Quarantine, Social Distancing, Gardening, Lawn Care, Basement Flooding Tuck-pointing care, Computer Repairs up the yahoo this week; trying to make money. But nothing in particular tp keep my life in an uproar, LOL!!!

       

      Im in the process of building a MONSTER Gaming PC; ran out of money though, lol!!! So I'm BACK on the Hustle to build the monster PC!!!

       

      Specs:

      Intel Dual Xeon Quad-Core CPU's @ 3.79 GHZ w/Turbo Boost Technology

      16-20 gigabytes of RAM

      (3)-4 TB Hard Drives by Western Digital

      Windows 10 Extreme Edition 64-bit or Windows 7 Black Edition w/Private Server Updates, lol

       

      TTYS!!!

       

      Benny

  3. What in the world was that?! Caerwyn didn't dare look behind to see if the man was following her--at least not at first. How embarrassing! I must have looked like an idiot. Who knows who else saw that disaster. Splendid show you've put on, Caerwyn! After what she deemed was an appropriate amount of time, she pretended to stop and admire the string quartet before diverting her eyes to survey the ballroom. There was no sign of the mystery man, yet she didn't feel relieved. Just guilt. Fortunately, it seemed no one else had noticed the awkward exchange, or they were too 'polite' to show that they had. Regardless, the night was ruined for Caerwyn, just as she expected. But, it wasn't quite over yet and more torture duly was inbound. She would need to steel herself. So, she took a deep breath and held it, shutting her eyes and driving out the dissonance that pervaded her ears until all she heard was the music. It calmed her, a symphony that grounded her to the earth. Such heart wasted on a crowd not listening. Strings of sympathy tugged from within as she opened her eyes and faced the quartet. They play, knowing that few will pay their passion heed, yet they still do without relent. A violinist caught her pensive gaze and offered Caerwyn a knowing smile before turning back to the sheet before him. She flushed at having been caught, but a familiar voice called to her to distract from the humiliation. "Wyn? Ah, yes, it is you," Aldric declared, resting a hand on his daughter's shoulder to grab her attention. He didn't seem to notice the twisted and sunken flesh shaping her expression, just as he rarely did. "Come, let me introduce you to our next client." Caerwyn stiffened briefly but nodded, eager for the redemption of her inept social skills. They approached a small gather of men, all well dressed with impeccable posture and steadfastness that rivaled stone. One particular stout man, with a less than inconspicuous hairpiece, eyed her approach with dubious contempt. Aside from the girth of his round belly, his attire suffered much of the same overindulgence, each polished adornment glinting with nurtured hubris. This must be Edros Te'verti, she thought, clenching her jaw tight. Our next client. The needling puncture of his beady eyes convoked a swell of defiance within Caerwyn, and she readied herself to counterattack whatever animosity he bore against her. He must have seen the blaze behind her gaze, for when they stopped, he hardened and sucked in his gut. "May I introduce you to my daughter and protege, Caerwyn Elevar." Aldric gestured to her rather stiffly, surprising her with his apprehension. Then, he swept his hand towards a lord that was not her portly prosecutor. "Caerwyn, this gentleman here is Edros Te'verti, our most gracious benefactor in our next project." When Caerwyn laid eyes on the real trade commissioner, she confessed she had been fooled. He didn't strike as nearly as an imposing figure as she initially surmised from the pageantry of his residence, but there was an air of solemnity and purposeful dignity to his character. Slender, but not fragile, he tucked his hands neatly behind his back and nodded his neatly bearded chin with acknowledgment. Aldric went on to name the other men, including the belly-endowed aristocrat who was an esteemed architect named Lord Lesorde and who had lost his bid to her father. Alongside Lord Te'verti was his 18-year-old son, gawking at her with beaming glass spectacles that did no favors by magnifying his wide eyes. Despite how uncomfortable she felt under the young man's gaze, she presented a suitable curtsey and turned her attention to his father. "Miss Elevar, thank you for coming to celebrate my son, Yusef's, birthday," Edros began, his tone surprisingly pleasant. "From what I understood of your mother's very... thorough explanation earlier, is that you were quite engaged in your father's work and might not come. I must say, your transcendent commitment to such duty has reassured me that we have placed our trade wing's expansion into the right hands." Caerwyn blushed under the bombardment of his honeyed words. She caught a glimpse of his languid satisfaction in teasing her, which challenged her to remain steadfast. Perhaps her initial assessment of the trade commissioner wasn't mistaken. After all, money is the perfect medium for making con artists out of men. "Thank you, Lord Te'verti," she offered with a bowed chin. "I hope to prove your sentiments and esteem justly placed. I must say, you have a lovely home. No doubt, procuring and integrating such luxuries to display is a clear testament of your exceptional administration for trade. I wonder if any household could rival such secure levity during these uncertain times." The air around turned to frigid mush and Caerwyn paled until the border of her forehead and platinum locks disappeared. Lord Te'verti raised a brow, the warmth of his gaze diffused. His son, optics still beaming, seemed ignorant to the underhanded accusation the young woman had just proposed, as was Aldric. Lord Lesorde barely contained his curling simper and the other men shifted uncomfortably. She had fix this fast or risk losing everything to blind triviality. "That is, your business acumen is admirable and the Council showed great judgment when choosing you to lead these endeavors that are well beyond my simple comprehension. There's a lot one can benefit from by studying your achievements." Caerwyn spoke too fast, the string of words a muddled, knotted mess as they departed her lips. But when the men's shoulders relaxed and Lord Te'verti proffered the dip of his head with a conceding smile, she knew she was in the clear even if only by the skin of her teeth. If she wanted to escape this night alive, she would need to tame her tongue and unbridled opinion. Lord Te'verti shifted his attention to the men. "Pertaining to our discussion before, I think it's nearly time to retire to the parlor. Now that my son is a man of enterprise, he should learn the distinctions between good and bad business, and the fickle quintessence of lady luck's part in it." "Cards?" Aldric inquired, stifling his enthusiasm. "So there'll be gambling?" Caerwyn nearly paled again. It had been years since her father had gambled and not since her brother's birth. She could spot the twinkle in his eyes and the way he wrung his palms together with reserved anticipation. She lightly touched his elbow to signal her misgivings, but it went unheeded as the men grunted with unanimous endorsement. It was too late to change his mind, but not too late to keep him from spiraling into ruin. Or so she hoped. "Why don't I join you, papa?" Caerwyn wrapped her arm around his, and for a moment he looked guilty as if recognizing the shame of his wanton inclination but quickly replaced it with blank reassurance. "I do enjoy a good game of rummy every now then. This could fun." Lord Lesorde snorted. "This, as you call it, isn't some benign pastime you ladies partake in to waste a perfectly good afternoon on a rainy day; this is high stakes. You'd be better suited in following the other gentlewomen into the drawing-room for gossip and complimenting on each other's choice of ribbons." "Oh come off it, Gerg," said one of the other men she'd forgotten the name of. "You should know better than anyone that the ladies can be as ruthless as men at cards when coin is involved. I recall your wife single-handedly sweeping the board clear of even your own game earnings at the last time we played. Played us, and you, for fools." The portly lord glowered, spittling a single word as a reply. "Luck." "Luck indeed," Lord Te'verti agreed. "Lady Luck offers her favors to few, and often times when we least expect it." He raised his chin, casting an appreciative glance at Caerwyn. "Perhaps the young lady here will be the fortunate recipient of her favor today. Either way, it will be refreshing to have such... candid youth at our table." She flinched. He may have openly forgiven her earlier remark, but he hadn't let it go. Caerwyn doubted she was making the right choice in going with her father to gamble, but the alternative didn't seem any better. To return his open endorsement with gratitude, she lightly curtsied and then followed the men as they retreated to the parlor. Lord Te'verti's departure from the ballroom signaled others to do the same, though many would remain as they preferred music, food, and dance to that of smoke, bourbon, and the peal of lost coin.
  4. 😄 Then it's done on the first front! When I get some more time here (hopefully tomorrow) I'll look into getting Nera involved with the next!
  5. Under normal circumstances, Jolstel Austell would've heartily welcomed the transient breeze as it wicked the beaded sweat from the nape of his neck and cooled his ruddy cheeks. The open field that stretched between Thraece's coastline and Fort Hardhal offered little respite from the sweltering heat aside from the occasional lone tree and its stunted shadow. The smooth-haired horse beneath him, a local mare he'd purchased at the port, fared considerably better under such sultry weather and gave no complaint. But as the wind rippled across the missive between his fingers, Jolstel cursed vehemently, folding it inward with the press of his thumb to prevent its escape. With the worst of it passed, he carefully pried the parchment open and continued to read. Why you did not choose to fit yourself with a larger retinue, I will never understand. It's not that I doubt Sir Myhkai's proficiency or skill, but one man is not enough. You're too valuable to this house and its family. You're too valuable to me. His jaw tightened, but he willed himself to continue. I am trying to run this place without you, but since Luc's death, it's become glaringly obvious that you're the only one who can attend to it with the kind of justice it deserves. It should be you that rules Austell. It should've always be-- The words disappeared into the palm of his hand. He buried the letter in his coat's pocket and turned his eyes to the horizon. "I recognize that look." Trodding beside him on the worn trail to Fort Hardhal, Sir Myhkai peaked a knowing brow at the brooding lord. They'd known each other for years, starting as bright-eyed peers at the institute in Austell. Although their paths would eventually take them in different directions, they never strayed far from one another. "It's the one you give when Kessie slaps your hand away from her tray of fresh tarts." Jolstel grumbled a reply, though he knew the knight would never be satisfied without a proper response. He shifted uncomfortably in his saddle, the leather creaking in contention, and cleared his throat. "Nera is upset I didn't bring a full escort," he admitted, trying to ignore his friend's brazen grin. "It seems you two have that in common." "The baroness is a clever woman and great minds think alike. But besides that, you've yet to tell me why we even had to leave in such a hurry that we couldn't gather more men. After all, there are already other chroniclers on the field observing the war and plenty more sitting in the archives, twiddling their thumbs, and trying not to piss themselves with anticipation." Sir Myhkai paused and narrowed his eyes. "And, if anything, you shouldn't be wasting your attention on a house like Tachelot. They're minor compared to the likes of Arcos or Kholin, who have more at stake in this." Jolstel shot him a glare. "I'd caution in reserve of dismissing a family like the Tachelots. Ambition steeled by conviction knows no bounds." "Alright, alright," Sir Myhkai relented, bowing his head. "I meant no offense to the Tachelots, but it stands to reason you know something I don't and have yet to offer any reasonable explanation. After all, doesn't a man, who was rudely awakened in the middle of the night from the arms of a beautiful, extrinsic woman, deserve to know why he was called away so suddenly to leave his home and gallivant halfway across Corinth and the sea to only to wind up here, on the ass-end of enemy territory?" "By beautiful, extrinsic woman, you mean the whore?" Myhkai clicked his tongue. "You're deflecting. And it's 'courtesan', by the way. Much more refined. And expensive." Jolstel sighed, digging into a pouch on his belt and fishing out a golden coin. He flicked it the knight's direction with a whistling chime that came to an abrupt end once caught. "That should more than cover whatever... business you couldn't capitalize on." "It's not about money, my friend," the knight said while pocketing the coin. "It's about being able to trust in the purpose of my mission so I can fulfill my duty unreservedly." "It's funny you'd said that," Jolstel remarked with the cock his head. "It's not often you hear of knights questioning their lord's reasons and purposes. They often just do the thing they've sworn to do." The statement prompted a peal of boisterous laughter from Myhkai. "If that were true, then perhaps you Austells shouldn't have put so much emphasis on the contemplative nature of your knights. Oh, don't look so grave, Jol." "I'm not," he disputed with his eyes drawn tight to a stone fortress in the distance. "If it would please you," Myhkai continued, ignoring the rebuttal. "As your friend, I will stop hounding you and trust in your judgment, which, admittedly, has yet to fail us. But also, as your friend, I implore you to consider that maybe I could better assist you if I knew the particulars. Just think about it. That's all I'm asking." Though silence was all that Jolstel offered the knight as a reply, he knew he was right. Myhkai would need to know eventually of the motives behind his logic, even if chances were he already knew and was just being coy about it. But as Fort Hardhal loomed ahead, the sun casting its full glare on the gray stone perched stalwartly on the hill's peak, he focused his thoughts elsewhere. He knew little of House Tachelot's governing lord who won the garrison with such collective ease. He did know of the house's history as recorded in the archives, but Danerion Tachelot was a different matter. If Jolstel were a common chronicler, his presence might go unheeded and acceptance into the lord's ranks would be more permissive. However, as second-in-line for the Austell rule, he would have to consider his intents might be questioned. After all, Myhkai was right. He was out of place. But, then again, there was hardly anywhere that Jolstel didn't feel out of place.
  6. @Die Shize I'd like to jump aboard with House Austell. I have partially discussed this with @Wade to begin establishing the house member's roles and opinions on the war, starting with Jolstel Austell. So, I'd like to bring him in the Clash of Swords thread, but not as an ally in the effort. It would be just him as a historian to record the unfolding events, if House Tachelot would have him as a tag-a-long. Also, might consider bringing Nera Austell to the Game of Words threads. Would need to sit on it to establish her role there, but I'm interested if you need another participant!
  7. Thanks @Csl for tagging me! Yes, House Austell is interested in participating if you'll have me. I'm still catching up on reading other threads (quite the rabbit hole one can find themselves in), and have yet to produce an accompanying character sheet to my house, but I'm eager to jump in. 🙂
  8. Phaedara

    House Austell

    HOUSE AUSTELL "Bound Only By Stars" A pale crescent moon with a golden star at its empty peak and an onyx eye at the center are depicted as House Austell's sigil. It and their creed represent the house’s pursuit of exploration, knowledge, and nonpartisanship. HISTORY "History reveals all things hidden." The Austells are an old aristocratic house, dating beyond the rule of Queen Analea Decamron. It was established long ago by a scholar named Branagh Austel, who was sent to serve as a royal emissary with the elves who inhabited the Deadwoods. A fort, initially disguised as an embassy, was built nearby and would eventually become known as the household estate of the Austell’s. Now it stands as the ‘Witness’, a grand tower serving as the cerebral eye of Corinth. Despite their renowned roots, House Austell had little interest in participating in the political intrigue of Ursa Madeum. At least, not directly. They preferred to watch and record, serving as relatively neutral bystanders in the wages of conflict and war. They pride themselves on their impartiality, believing it enhances their scholastic sensibility. It’s not uncommon to find descents of House Austell serving as archivists or scribes for the kingdom’s royalty or its houses. Their pedagogical nature makes them adept as tutors and great benefactors of education. Other times, the house may produce a noteworthy medic or engineer, but rarely does magic or martial stoicism accompany its lineage. As result, House Austell relies on its non-partisan policies and academic notability to define itself as a relatively immune entity from outside interference. However, the house has not been without challenges to these sentiments. THE TYRANT-KING House Austell faced its greatest test of maintaining neutrality during the Tyrant-King’s reign. On paper, they were pro-King constituents, agreeing to provide the king with siege weaponry and resources as requested, in order to avoid his wrath and exonerate them from the contest. However, at the beginning of the great genocide, they feared for the lives of their allies in the woods. With the aid of a rumored band of smugglers known as the Suujali, they began the slow but secret extraction of elves who were willing to leave their homes. Unfortunately, not all could be saved. Eventually, a rumor leaked of Baron Luc’s involvement in the elves’ escape. But with no evidence or witnesses to indict the hearsay, he was publicly absolved of any wrongdoing. So, when Baron Luc was found lying dead next to his pregnant wife on the morning following his acquittal, a flood of wild speculation spread across the Austell domain, each more ludicrous than the last despite no visible indications of assassination or poisoning. After a lengthy investigation, his death would be attributed to his old age, but anyone who knew Baron Luc attested he was spry and would no doubt live to see his son become a man. The rumors persisted. After the dismantling of the Tyrant-King’s seat of power by the foreign forces of Veluriyam, House Austell quietly withdrew back into their objective acumen. Yet, beneath a placid surface, the rising anger of great injustice from the death of their elven allies could not be quelled. Meanwhile, whispers of dark magic and sinister plots plagued the domain, stirring a need for truth and change. LAND AND PROPERTIES Residing on Corinthian soil, the Austell domain consists of approximately 20 mi2 of land located east of the Deadwoods and north of the Reach. With its wide pastures and rolling hills, farmers living on Austell land can make decent earnings from growing wheat and herding sheep. Pockets of woodlands offer timber for milling but largely remain as untouched sanctuaries for wildlife. THE WITNESS Artist: Jessica Woulfe "And with the last grey brick lain, a stillness pervaded in the land below; for all that dared to meet the gaze of her discerning eye, knew the Witness's immortal plight was well above their own." The household estate, The Witness, resides at the top a hill near the Deadwoods border with a high tower seated upon its apex. Although the ruling members of the house reside within its stone walls, the tower also boasts of an expansive library and a wing of archivists that have pledged their life to maintain and preserve its contents. The library, though free for public use, access is heavily regulated and monitored. Some areas are limited to access with the supervision of an approved archivist, and some are restricted entirely to preserve extremely valuable or fragile archives. THE INSTITUTES Built on the summit of adjacent hills, the Institutes of Engineering and Medicine serve as a place for curious minds in the pursuit of knowledge. Both were founded by Branagh Austell’s daughter, Ametrie, and are open to any who wish to learn and can afford the tuition. In lieu of the fee, a bright student can opt to become a retainer with a portion of their earnings paid to the institution until the debt is cleared. A retainer has the freedom to seek work within or outside of the Austell domain, or as an employee in the workshop and clinic of the institutes. Although many graduates move on from the institutes, some chose to remain on as a member of their respective societies. Membership requires a hefty fee and strict guidelines, but the vast resources of the institutions are at their disposal. The Institute of Engineering is currently headed by Regius Asalle Provis. The Insitute of Medicine is lead by Regius Zyimus Chatrue. THE LONELY WATCHMAN Artist: Calder Moore As per an agreement with the elves that once lived in the Deadwoods, House Austell maintains a modest forest keep and lumbermill that generates some revenue. Known as the Lonely Watchman, it’s predominately occupied by fellers and carpenters with a skeleton crew of guard. Recently, field researchers have tried to establish a base of operations at the keep, with prospects to investigate the abandoned elven homes. However, rumors of ghosts, curses, and witches, have kept most out of the forest. In addition, in order to maintain the good faith once held between House Austell and the elves, Baroness Nera has claimed a restriction on the area, with all petitions to enter required to go through her. Few have ever been granted, and none without strict supervision and limitations. THE FAMILY THE RULING HOUSEHOLD Baron Luc Austell Baroness Nera Austell Lord Sammus Austell Former Head of Household. Direct descendant of House Austell. Deceased Current Head of Household. Widow of Luc Austell. Son of Luc and Nera Austell. Heir to the household DESCENDANTS OF AUSTELL Lord Jolstel Austell Lady Esteri Moneth Brother of Luc and Esteri Austell. Uncle of Sammus. Unwed. Sister of Luc and Jolstel Austell. Aunt of Sammus. Wife of Sir Telsor Moneth. NOTABLE ANCESTORS OF AUSTELL Pending RELATIVES BY MARRIAGE Pending THE GARRISON Although the house only keeps a small infantry at hand, their greatest military assets are their engineers and siege weaponry. Since there are few opportunities to earn knighthood by combat, House Austell rewards the title to those who have shown exemplary knowledge in multiple areas of study, though they are not required to be experts. In addition to having tactical military warfare, siege weaponry, and combat skills, they are required to know basic engineering principles, first aid, and uphold the standard of objectivity and sound reasoning. With knighthood comes the benefits of owning land, prestige, and a modest income. They serve as leaders of the garrison, tutors, and advisors when needed. KNIGHTS Pending OTHER NOTABLE FIGURES SCHOLARS Pending
  9. There was a sweet innocence in the twinkle of Caerwyn's eyes as she watched the dancers take flight. But, lurking behind the gleam was despondent envy, hollowing her gaze. She was deep in the recesses of her reverie when a foreign touch brushed against her hand. She was content to ignore it as a casual incident, but when the stranger's fingers curled around hers with elicit intent, her mind reeled as the daydream came to an abrupt end. Caerwyn spun at the command of the hand, half-expecting to find Sir Revvick waiting with a bitter expression for her careless abandonment. Instead, she nearly gasped with surprise to find an entirely different gentleman regarding her with an expectant gaze and offer to dance. She stared back at him, wide-eyed and stiff like a frightened doe resigning itself to the maw of a hungry wolf. An awkward tension followed his invitation with the absence of her response. Though only seconds had passed, for her, it felt like forever. Realizing her jaw was agape, Caerwyn hastily snapped it shut and bit the side of her tongue. With an audible hiss, she reflexively freed her hand from the man's grasp and raised it to her lips, squinting her eyes to will the pain away. Her cheeks flushed, with a blend of embarrassment and irritation to paint them pink. She fluttered her tear-tinged eyes open, settling on the gentleman still waiting on her reply. "Umm, I'm sorry? Uhh, no?" Instantly, a spark of remorse for her rejection countered a reply. "I mean yes." But that was honest. "Wait, no. Yes, that I mean no." Caerwyn inwardly cursed the visible uncertainty that discredited her good judgment. Drawing her hands to her stomach, she clasped them together with a writhing motion. "I'm utterly hopeless when it comes to dance and so, for your well-being--especially for the well-being of your feet--I'm going to have to decline." That should've been the end of it. However, Caerwyn had been so caught off guard by this gentleman, that her invisible mask slipped out of place, revealing a clumsy and unstudied woman who had an unfortunate inclination to overshare. "Just to be clear, I'm not rejecting you because you're not pleasing to look at--you are, pleasing, that is--and I'm sure your feet are too, so I wouldn't want to step on them, which I will do a lot of--I think. I'm not really sure because I don't dance much, but I think it's better to assume I would." Oh please, stop. This is why I don't talk. Caerwyn swallowed, feeling exceptionally parched. "You know, I'm quite thirsty and it's really hot and this dress is suffocating, so I think I should bid you farewell. Excuse me." She turned in an attempt to scurry away as quickly as possible, praying he'd relent and she would never have to ever see him again. Small ripples of magical energy sent chills down her spine as she tamed her urge to cross into the veil and disappear out of sight.
  10. The ballroom was a dizzying array of shimmering glass and dancing vignettes, trimmed with delicate lace and rivulets of smooth silk. A cacophony of idle chatter and disembodied laughter jarred against the forlorn plight of the tiny orchestra's hum, as polished vamps and pointed heels swept across the floor with unbroken choreography. Among the blur of floating heads, painted lips smiled with feigned interest, and powdered noses flared with concealed resentment. Caerwyn bemused herself with the empty consolation that she was not the only one wearing a mask tonight. "Wynnie!" The drawling shriek from beyond the hall sent goosebumps creeping across her skin. Tearing through the crowd with little concern for the drawn attention, a middle-aged woman with probing hooded eyes and a hawkish nose barreled towards Caerwyn and her father. Aldric immediately stiffened, then pet his daughter's arm to signal the release of his patriarchal duty. "Seeing as your mother has found you, I have some business to attend with," he paused, eyes searching the room for a convincing, but vague target. "Those gentlemen over there, to discuss... buildings." Ducking his head behind the tall nest of a woman's extravagant bun, Aldric slipped away in time to avoid confrontation with the swooping harpy, otherwise known as his wife. Caerwyn should've been disappointed with her father's hasty and unapologetic abandonment, but it was nothing less than expected. When Tess Elevar finally emerged from the disgruntled masses, she blinked with perplexed disbelief at the vacant space beside her daughter. "Wasn't your father just here?" she asked, craning her long neck in search of her dubious husband. "I could've sworn he was. I sent him to go look for you forever ago and haven't seen him since." Caerwyn shrugged, drawing her lips tight. But before she could even get a word out in reply, her mother waved a dismissive palm and took her by the arm. "No matter. I have been waiting for you all night," Tess exclaimed with an exaggerated shrill as she hauled the young woman through the throng of amused spectators. "How inconsiderate. Lucky for you, you have a mother who cares enough to spend all her free time regaling our peers with your notable virtues and accomplishments to keep them interested in meeting you, instead of spending this memorable night dancing and feasting and--well--enjoying myself as I most rightly deserve to." Your accomplishments, you mean, Caerwyn thought with the words on the tip of her tongue. Clever enough to avoid invoking her mother's reprisal at the cost of her dignity, she puffed her cheeks and swallowed her pride. But as they approached the circle of scrupulous gentlewomen and their refined companions, she began to wonder exactly what her mother had told them and how much of it was embellished. Heat steamed from her ears as her neck grew hot beneath the high-collared gown. They came to a stop at the reluctant gap in the ring. The women, near her mother's age, arched their shoulders like challenged birds, bristling their iridescent plumes. The men, most of them older than their companions, were aloof but offered amiable smiles. One of the men, closer to Caerwyn's age, contributed nothing but a blank expression and measuring eyes. These were the unfortunate victims of her mother's attention. "May I present my daughter, Caerwyn?" Tess announced with thinly veiled enthusiasm while Caerwyn presented an adequate curtsy. She glanced at her daughter with a double-take, her face skewed as if reconsidering what to say next. "Obviously, I must been preoccupied with more pressing matters during the selection of her wardrobe for tonight. In her defense, she's been quite busy with the success of managing my husband's architectural ventures, which I'm sure you all know." At that moment, Caerwyn wished she had been born blind and deaf. As her mother paraded her unconvincingly to each member of the group with scant opportunity to reply, she could feel herself shrinking beneath their indifferent scrutiny. The subconscious prickle of magic raised the fine white hairs on the back of her neck with an open invitation to be used. But, even though she wanted to receive its call, she couldn't, especially not under the gaze of so many eyewitnesses. "If I recall, Sir Revvick, you have an interest in exotic and antiquated designs?" Tess's question was poised at the young man with the hollow stare. He shot a glance at the tall slender woman beside him, likely his mother by the shared darkness of their hair, who offered him a subtle twitch of her nose as assent. Sir Revvick straightened and replied with a stiff nod. "Well, then perhaps this a great opportunity to...probe my daughter's experiences," she offered while Caerwyn cringed at the unfortunate phrasing. "She's just returned from abroad, as I've mentioned, and is full of fascinating knowledge. I'm sure." Faithful to his upbringing Sir Revvick wouldn't deny the intended request of a lady no matter his social seniority. After all, he was gentlemen willing to play into the obvious scheme laid before him out of dignified civility. "I agree," he replied. "I would be interested in hearing more about your endeavors Miss Elevar. Shall we step away and leave our betters to their conversation so we can enjoy ours?" How can he show so much politeness with such a dead look on his face? He must really hate this. Despite her misgivings, Caerwyn wasn't about to pass a good opportunity to escape her mother's clutches. She nodded and accepted his arm's invitation as they separated from eyesight and earshot of the group without a further word. In fact, nothing was said at all until they stopped and turned to observe the dancers with awkward reticence. Finally, Sir Revvick cleared his throat and spoke. "Would you like a drink? I'll locate a waiter and bring us something if you'd like." Not since meeting him had Caerwyn uttered a single word. Now, the interior of her throat was thickened with neglect so she merely nodded her response. He turned, paused as if to say something, but quickly changed his mind and left. A heavy sigh escaped her lungs resulting in the most sound she's made since entering the ballroom. Casting her eyes on the center stage where sweeping gowns and pressed ensembles whirled in unison, Caerwyn felt a longing to join their whimsical exposition, but also great terror at the prospect of being on display. Ultimately, she preferred being a wallflower and the obscurity which accompanied the solitary role. Without thinking, she began to pace the outer platform, weaving in between gatherings of chittering gentry as she captured glimpses of the performance from varying angles. Willingly ensnared by her own dreamy disposition, she lost sight of where she'd been and practically forgot all about Sir Revvick fetching their refreshments. But, the pang of remorse was brief once she convinced herself he'd be relieved at her absence. So, she congratulated herself for the sense of thoughtfulness at releasing him from his uninspiring obligation. It helped to numb the pain that way.
  11. Starting to think I really need to get my hands on some of that Ursa Madeum action. 👀It looks so delicious. 

    (Stop getting distracted Phae!) 

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  12. A New Start After setting out from the Tavern of Legend with her companions, she found herself in the Cold South of Genesaris. She had been separated from her companions due to ill-fate, stranded out in a blizzard with no hope of finding shelter. That was, until she was saved by man named Renkor. In a short time, she had developed a bond with the assassin and accounted him as her first true friend on Genesaris, despite his dark inclinations. After all, she was no stranger to befriending assassins and thieves, and a secret part of her thought she could help him step into the light. She needed to prove that justice and goodness would always prevail. Unfortunately, she would not complete her task as promised to Renkor. While outside of Valjer, a magestorm rolled over the land and the light that kept her safe from the darkness, extinguished. She fell into a coma, left under the incredible care of Valerie Valmer, healer and wife of Bailey Valmer IV, the leader of Valjer. With her presence kept a tightly guarded secret from even Renkor, who had been forced to abandon, she awoke two years later with no recollection of her time spent under. Surviving two years was an amazing feat that by no doubts was aided by more than just Valerie's expertise care. Even more incredulous was that she had survived and not succumbed to the darkness that ailed her. In fact, she felt no trace of it at all and it troubled her, but she prevailed nonetheless. She awoke to find Renkor gone, but left a note, having not entirely abandoned her. It gave her power to call upon him, should she need it, though she hadn't fully understand the full ramifications of the gift. However, instead of calling upon him, she first worked to gathering her strength and as fate would have it, met a man named Caliben who she had come to know as Forest. She offered her meager tracking skills to help scout for white wolves of which he needed the pelts for, more out of curiosity and excitement than for the mission itself. Unfortunately, he had found their wolves and dispatched them, but lost the precious pelts they would need. She had burned the wolves free of their pelts with a new found magic, similar to her own fire magic but darker and stronger. Unable to control her powers with precision, she had burnt the pelts. Alive, but still defeated, they were injured, they were lucky to have Valerie Valmer come to their rescue with a group of rangers, to extract them from the hostile zone. Valerie tended to their wounds but not without reprimand. After all, Aelyria was only just recovering and Caliben did not have clearance to hunt to wolves. But there was new information that she had to hear--a confirmation of what she already knew. The wolves were desperate and closing in on Valjer. Bailey Valmer refused to send men out to hunt them, for reasons unknown. So, she made them a deal. Recover and hunt the wolves, eliminating the den close to town. With that mission in mind, they made preparations, all the while honing Caliben's incredible eyesight ability and tutoring him with the rapier. Unwittingly, Aelyria called upon Renkor, in desperate need of guidance and perhaps, a friend. She didn't think it would work, and largely spoke his name in reminiscence. Much to her surprise, he arrived. His note had been more than a promise; it was a contract. He was obligated to go to her if she called, and so he did. Of course, two years was a long time to never have contact and a misunderstanding fueled some petty abhorrence between the two. But, the reality of it was they were friends, despite what either of the two wanted to believe, and eventually came to settle their differences--for a short time. Aelyria had awoken to a world much different than she remembered it two years ago. Although Valjer hadn't changed much, she herself had. A quiet thumping encouraged thoughts she once never had, and a overwhelming desire to practice her freedom developed into skills she became quite good at in a short amount of time. Turned out, she enjoyed subtle manipulation of people's emotions and slinking about in alleyways. Why she had never done it before puzzled her. It just felt so right to lurk in the shadows. There, she felt welcomed. With Renkor returned, she began to feel a deeper kinship with the assassin she hadn't felt before. She felt she could understand him, appreciate the things he did. The part that remained from before the coma was terrified of the change. Terrified she would become a callous creature of death that she believed he was. So, she pushed him away, anything to escape his influence. But the damage was done. There was no time to think on that. The wolf hunt had to be commenced and with careful plans, they ambushed a large pack with a group of rangers and succeeded in their task. However, upon their return, they found Valerie nearly dead and her daughter, Ysgrid, kidnapped by her own father, Bailey Valmer. The shadow inside of her sparked emotions and desires she had suppressed for so long. An anger bubbled inside of her and it washed away any misgivings she might have had before. She sought to kill Bailey Valmer, to take the easy way and be done with it. With Caliben and Renkor in tow, they dispatched the thugs and ended the mayor's life to save his daughter. But, with rash action came consequences. Before they could even burn away their crimes, Valerie and her rangers cornered them. There, they were brought into the light of Valerie's plans--to use them as a scapegoat and brand them as criminals with the town, despite their task being handed to them by Valerie herself. It was a betrayal Aelyria hadn't seen coming and suddenly she felt lost again, like she had all those years ago. Exiled from the only place she had come to know as home in Genesaris, she left and headed for Union City with Renkor and eventually Caliben going their own ways. (To be updated)
  13. Her Troubled History As a young girl, Aelyria was often mistaken for a farmer's daughter or kitchen wench from some little known hamlet. With little effort afforded towards her appearance, she was forgettable and her voice lacked the resonance of command or charm that hailed recognition. Additionally, her diminutive stature claimed no sense of foreboding, so her threats were easily reflected with laughter or indifference. Nevertheless, the truth of her origins was impressive, even though it was rife with pain and tribulation. The only daughter of wealthy merchant-noble, Aelyria hails from a tiny islet off the coast of larger twin isles known combined as Eotia, a country far away and unknown from the shores of Genesaris. Her childhood left a lot to be desired with cruel parents and stringent expectations. Though she found comfort in the kinship of her two brothers, it would not be enough to deter her from running away to the mainlands. However, Eotia was torn by war and Aelyria had unwittingly cast herself within it. Through a series of fantastical events, she became an icon of hope to an army at the age of 16. Known as the Shining Star, she stood among the ranks of the much-admired Lord Commander of the Dragoons named Kell, a man she saw as representing all the good the world had to offer. He raised her, trained her, loved her like the father she always wanted, though she loved him in other ways. It was by his hand she was placed upon the pedestal as the beacon of victory, and with blind adoration and youthful naivety, she yielded to the role. It wasn't until after his death that she would learn of his manipulation and lies. Yet, as her closest friend, they stood as a formidable foe against the Clan, an enemy believed to seek in ruling Eotia with iron and blood. Whereas the Lord Commander had confidence, fortitude, the decisiveness to lead the army, Aelyria had the passion, mercy, and tactical wit to unite them. Together, they led their forces to imminent victory. However, triumph remained out of reach on the far horizon, as a new enemy appeared--Asath. Once a man of Eotian's nobility, he had gone missing after a venture into the untamed wilderness known as the Dark Lands, chasing the trails of a legend in search of fame and fortune. Now he returned, corrupted with an ancient darkness and with the desire to claim the rest of Eotia. Accompanied by an army of creatures known as the Shadowborn, he launched his conquest on the war-torn nation, leaving nothing but ruin behind. Shortly after the birth of his assault, Asath's Harbingers would claim the Lord Commander's life. Aelyria, gravely wounded, would barely escape the encounter with their dwindling army and although she wanted to surrender to the throes of anguish, she held back her tears and swallowed her pride for what had to be done. Against the commands of her nation's governing council, Aelyria formed an alliance with the Clan. Though the Council cried treason and heresy, the people stood with her--rather, they stood with the Shining Star. With the Council's human tool of propaganda turned against them, they fell silent as they watched the new united front battle Asath's otherworldly forces. With steel and magic, the alliance struck down the Shadow Lord, driving the remainder of his dark forces back to the land of which they resided. The war was finally over. After a period of uneasy peace, the nations would eventually come together to unite their people once more. The Council continued to rule, but with new members. Aelyria stepped down from her command of the Dragoons, and instead was awarded a seat on the committee. At 19, she was hopeful and idealistic but uneducated in the complexities of political intrigue. On the surface, she was respected as a tested warrior with the newfound power to command and lead the room into various discussions, but beneath the facade, she struggled to keep up and was swayed in multiple directions by the more experienced statesmen and partisans. As a result, her personal life would begin to suffer. During peace talks with the Clan, Aelyria had met the notorious assassin and spy named Kaede. Though she had briefly met him once before during the war, they had been enemies. Now, they were lovers. However, his notoriety ran deep, and to protect her reputation as well as her life, they met only in secret. Eventually, the secrecy came to strain their relationship, as suitors seeking power and influence came courting Aelyria's affections. Though most would ultimately accept her refusal with quiet dignity, there was one that did not relent. Lord Flouren was the man to bring Aelyria's demise. Upon discovery of the secret relationship, he sought to expose them and Kaede's continued nefarious crimes, but not without first resorting to bribery. With a summons disguised as an innocent invitation to discuss city matters, Lord Flouren cornered her, threatened to incarcerate her lover, and reveal their connection unless she yielded to his demands. Of those demands, was to bed him and begin their public courtship. Aelyria relented and lived to regret the decision for the rest of her life. When she returned to Kaede, hoping to find comfort and reassurance that they would persevere as a couple despite the obstacles, she only found anger and disgust. Betrayed and heartbroken, Kaede disappeared. Her world had shattered. In the following months, Aelyria tried to keep up appearances. However, maintaining her governmental duties become impossible as a terrible, nauseating sickness took hold. It didn't take long to surmise the cause of her illness. Terrified of what Lord Flouren might do with the discovery, she stepped down from her position and quickly vanished into the countryside where she would give birth to a baby boy. Although she felt nothing but hatred for the man who did this, she couldn't come to hate the child that shared his blood. But, it seemed her love would continue to be a curse to all those unfortunate to know it. Lord Flouren came for his child. In the short time she had been gone, he married another woman. Aelyria's child--his child--was a problem. In cold blood, he murdered the newborn before her eyes. He dispatched of the midwife--her last friend--and then turned to her. The world turned dark and a shadow buried deep within Aelyria boiled to the surface. Though the Shadowborn were gone, they left traces of themselves behind in the men and women they wounded. Under great duress, they emerged, taking over the mind and body for their hosts and sending them into a spiral of unquenchable wrath. She had been warned of this darkness and it was her own investigations that discovered the cause. After countless months of research, they'd developed a preventative, but in perfect conditions, there was no stopping the scourge. In this shadowed state of which she retained no control, Aelyria killed her offenders. Once they were gone, the parasite within beckoned for more. But as it tried to quash the remainder of her consciousness, she fought back. After wrestling power back from the shadow, Aelyria buried the trauma of the tragic event deep within the recesses of her mind to prevent herself from losing control again. Instead, believing her son to be kidnapped, she followed an imaginary trail away from Eotia, to never return. For years, she searched for him, nearly killing herself in the process. But when her search appeared to come to a dead-end and she could no longer make sense of the trail, Aelyria lost hope. But, there was no life to return to. Everything that she had either died or abandoned her. So, with nothing to lose, she pushed forward and hoped she would find something else to fight for, all the while battling a dark, maddening sickness from within that was just waiting for the next great opportunity to emerge.
  14. Gallery Appearance and attire adopted while in Union City
  15. Heyo Maddie! Welcome to Valucre! Look forward to you joining us and don't hesitate to ask questions! Everyone is super helpful here ^^
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