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Phaedara last won the day on April 2 2015

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About Phaedara

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    The Nightingale
  • Birthday 08/20/1989

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    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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  1. Phaedara

    The Final Beginning

    The first few days were a series of hazy dreams. Prior to finding Renkor--rather when he found her--Aelyria had already long ridden the edge exhaustion to it limit. To make matters worse, the begrudging swamp failed to be forgiving and she stumbled frequently, the muck resistant to relinquish its prize and sapping the remaining fumes of energy that continued to fuel her. She thought Renkor might force her to walk to her death, but eventually they would stop, rest for a few hours, and then continue onward once again. They shared little conversation aside from the orders he'd give to eat, rest, and walk. She obliged willingly, too tired to argue or question him. There was little room in her broken heart to fight back. Time passed in a flurry of variant shades of amber. Sunlight scarcely penetrated the dense fog well enough to make much of a difference, and at night the toxic fumes had an eerie orange glow about them that screened their silhouettes and highlighted those of the creatures that dashed around them, chittering excitably with warning. But Renkor nearby, Aelyria remained safe. No creature would dare wander too close as if his mere presence were enough to ignite fright within them. Despite the dangers surrounding them and the poison threatening to enter their lungs, Aelyria felt safe. She felt safe for the first time in such a long time, the last having been on a cold winter morning, nestled against the back of a stranger who had just rescued her from the aftermath of a snowstorm. By the week's end, she felt almost returned to her normal self. Her mind less of a garbled mess than before, tried on occasion to spark conversation, but was often met with curt nods or abbreviated answers. She even asked about his drake, wondering why they should walk when, according to Ted, they could fly, but he reasoned that the fog was too noxious for even the ice drake to withstand and could not risk it's life. It seemed to make sense and didn't think much of his lack of further explanation, as her other conversations with Renkor having been just as brief and one-sided. He always seemed to have more important matters on his mind so she let him be. Never did it cross her thoughts that the person before her was anyone other than Renkor. So, Aelyria focused her attention elsewhere, but whichever direction she looked, only plumes of fog met her. She looked her feet and occasionally she might stumble upon a small reptile, skirting around her mud-caked boots to avoid being stepped on, but nothing of considerable interest. At one point she made a game for herself and attempted to match Renkor's long stride, nearly lunging just to keep up and match his footprints with hers. She remarked how the size of them dwarfed her own and paused, her boot settled on the deep print, heel in heel and creating an ant-sized canyon between curvature of imprinted mud and the tip of her toes. "Aelyria?" Her head snapped up to find Renkor turned, brows furrowed concernedly as his eyes gazed at her from above the raised mask. She must have stood there for a while staring at the footprint and felt her cheeks flush with heat. "Sorry," she said sheepishly, refraining herself from looking down again. "I saw a strange looking gecko before it skittered off. I'm good now, we can keep going." Renkor cocked his head questioningly, and she had the most eerie sense he was inspecting her, as if examining for cracks in a discounted piece of pottery. But then he shrugged and moved onward, she trailing after but with the first of glimmer of hesitance she had had all week. Why did she lie? It was an innocent gesture and yet she felt like a kid caught with a pastry well before dinner time. Aelyria tried to shake the feeling and focused her attention on other matters, only to find the subject of them filled with images Caliben and Ted, one man burning and the other bloated on fetid waters. She visibly cringed against the icy tingle that crept up her spine, and knew she needed to escape her thoughts. "Hey, Renkor," she called out to the mists. "Can I ask you something?" He didn't turn but for the briefest moment paused and then nodded his head. "You can." "Why are you even here in Taen? What could possibly be so important here that you had to cross into a whole other dimension to get?" Initially, silence followed her question, only the soft squish of mud and chattering insects greeting her ears as they trudged through the swamp. "Solitude," he said finally. "Solitude? And you couldn't find solitude anywhere else in the world that you had to come here? Of all places?" "Yes. It's not as if I didn't try. There were just...certain things in that world that I needed to be apart from. To escape from. I had hoped that being in an entirely different plane of existence would be enough to clear my mind." Aelyria thought to pry further, but had the sense that such an inquiry would be ill received. So, she diverted her attentions to another question that had been eating away at her. "So, you've been a while, haven't you?" A simple nod was enough to confirm. "Then... was that really you at the mire?" This time, he stopped and turned to her. "The mire?" "Yeah. Ted... Ted and I saw you at the mire. You just seemed to appear out of no where like a ghost, and you looked at me." She paused, swallowing at the memory. "Called out my name." He seemed to searching for an answer, eyes darting to the ground as if buried in the muck was the key to an unsolvable puzzle. Then, he sighed irritably, turning to press onward with renewed urgency. Startled, but not wanting to be left behind, Aelyria chased after him. "I'm sorry, did I say something wrong?" "No," he growled. "Not you." "Then," she scoffed exasperatedly. "Then tell me what. Was that not you at the mire?" He shook his head. "No, it wasn't. It was a Morpher." "Morpher?" She scrounged the depths of her memory for any detail on the name, but found nothing. She cursed herself for not taking more time to research Taen. "What is that?" "A creature. It plays tricks and was likely trying to mislead you. No doubt the working in tandem with the Mork'Outh to isolate you, capture you. Kill you even." "The Mork'Outh? I-I don't understand." Renkor sighed again and stopped, suddenly looking weary as if all the world's burdens sat so heavily on his shoulders. She wondered if he hadn't slept these past few days--she had been caught up in her own tribulations she had forgot to consider him. "The Mork'Outh are a group of tyrannical beasts who believe they own all of Taen. They want nothing to do with outsiders and will do whatever it takes to remain in control over everything." He paused to consider his next words carefully, as if hesitant to burden her with the secrets he carried. But with a nod and beckon to move onward, he continued. "I've been here for the past several months working along side a native race called the Xer-orians. For centuries they've been suppressed by the Mork'Outh, forced to live in hiding within the mountains. The Mork'Outh are ruthless and the Xer-orians have lived in fear for too long. They have been trying to form a resistance, an uprising to fight back." Aelyria gawked as she listened. She almost hadn't expected anything less of him, knowing he had always been so ambitious. "But, not long ago one of the hives was struck. The Mork'Outh attacked with vicious titans of their own making, savagely destroying everything and anything in their path." Aelyria could almost see his jaw tighten with anger. "It was massacre." "That's horrible," she exclaimed, the drum of blood beating in her head with rage. "It is. I've taken it upon myself to supply them with weapons of my own design. The Queen of the hive has been generous and I've been rewarded handsomely for my rendered services." He cocked his head at her and she thought she saw the hint of a smile in his eyes. "Just as I'm sure you will be if wish to help." Her heart skipped. To take on such an endeavor, something so much larger than herself? It seemed impossible. Yet... He wanted her there. "Is that we're going then? To the mountains?" He nodded. "It won't be much longer now."
  2. Phaedara

    The Final Beginning

    Why, Aelyria feebly contemplated within those last moments of life, why would the Urge so adamantly force her awake only to have her face the same inevitable fate as before? The darkness was coming for them either way, so why spur her to life to suffer mercilessly at the hands of an element so far out of her control? Did the madness just want one last final kick of sadistic joy before they disappeared into nothingness together with their bitter futility? Or was it masochism that fueled it? Resentfully, she compelled death to get it over with and make good on its long-overdue threats to strike the final blow, but, regretfully, it proved to be as fickle as ever. Instead, the blackness behind her eyelids brightened and the weight that bore them shut lifted, granting clearance for them to flutter open as her blurred vision swam with images of a figure peering down at her. As the pressure decompressed from her chest, leaving naught but the smoldering remnants of acrid miasma in aching lungs, Aelyria gulped in air so pure that her head reeled from the drunkenness of such an ambitious draught. Although the agonizing thrum at the back of her head still lingered, the discomfort of it seemed so minute, overridden by the strained tightening of her chest once the image of her savior became clear. Twin pools of cornflower blue stared down at Aelyria, unruffled by her near brush with death, as if buried deep within them lay ancient secrets that gave them the confidence to remain unwavering in the face of mortality's icy grip. Swirls of blue marked the man's pale skin, and though scarcely seen, she could swear they swayed and moved like the winter breeze passing over the snowy mountaintops that loomed over the quaint, solitary town in which they first met. Renkor, while remaining as inscrutable as ever, shifted back an inch on his knees to give her room to adjust as she struggled to string even one coherent thought together. Aelyria attempted to speak, but was surprised by the rush of cool air taken with each breath. Reflexively she reached for her mask, but found it had been drawn down and her scarf loosened. As if anticipating her confusion, Renkor darted his eyes down below her chin and nodded to the slim metal collar bound around neck. "That collar will keep the toxic fog at bay," he said, voice resonating with a calm reservation that she hadn't realized until now how much she had missed. "That is, as long as you wear it." He spoke as if nothing had transpired since the last they met. There was no delight in their reunion, nor did he show visible disdain as she had encountered in their previous meeting. No. He was just as she imagined he might be. Renkor rose to his feet and made no offer to help her rise. She took in the sight of him, garbed in his signature black stryderian leathers and outfit, though she had but the one opportunity to bear witness to it many months ago. Tall and slender, he kept his cowl drawn forward as if even now with only her to see him, he had something to hide. Although it was strange to not see him in his Valjerian attire, the one more suited for the harsh, cold winters of southern Genesaris, this darkly donned visage seemed better suited for him in her mind's eye. It struck her how similar they were beginning to look and she felt a twinge of embarrassment at her meager attempt to emulate him, as if imitating the man who stood so firm and daunting while retaining all the grace of his natural being was nearly akin to trying to reach for the sun. She felt incompetent and even ashamed as she stood beside him. "You came for me." He didn't turn to look at her when he spoke. Something in his tone gave her pause. Had he been afraid she wouldn't? "How could I not?" she said, breaking her silence despite being terrified he might disappear into the wind if she spoke, as if he were nothing but a figment of her imagination. She thought she saw the curl of a smile on his lips, his head slightly turned and eyes cast in her direction, but he hastily returned to stare into the dense fog, as if able to see the lurking dangers hiding within their midst. "I mean, I'm surprised you even thought to consider me reliable enough to come to your aid if you were ever in danger. I'll be honest, I couldn't even begin to think what kind of danger you'd have to be in to even need that kind of contingency plan. But when Ted came to us, adamant that you--" Her eyes widened. "Ted! Caliben!" She palmed her forehead in bewilderment, grasping at the loose strands that had fallen out of her braid without care for the disarray. "Oh Velmesh! We have to go find Ted and then head back to the jungle and find Caliben! They could be in danger!" Without any direction in mind and only sheer determination and dread to guide her, Aelyria lunged to race up the stream when Renkor's firm grip halted her, forcing her eyes on him with agitated confusion. But at sight of the stoic expression broken on his lean face, her heart sank, it replace by a genuine remorse that seemed so completely alien on him. "Ted is dead. I found him first, drowned and afloat, further up stream." He released her arm when she showed no indication to run off, and shook his head. "And if Caliben was in the jungle when it caught aflame... A good chunk of it is ash by now. I wouldn't be surprised if Lunaris had burned down with it." Aelyria aged visibly in that moment, fine lines darkened and pronounced as her expression fell flat, and her limbs dropped, limp. Numbness settled in firmly in the sinew of her joints, and all the blind, fierce determination she carried just but a second ago had been completely sapped dry. Renkor sighed and drew his arm around her shoulders as if to offer some semblance of comfort and provide the crutch to lean on if she failed to find the strength to carry forward on her own. "Come," he lulled, gently but eagerly leading her onward. "Let's get you somewhere safe." And without question or resistance, she followed.
  3. Phaedara

    The Final Beginning

    Darkness. Whether playing the foe or friend, it waited for her, eager to embrace Aelyria with cold familiarity. As always, there was the struggle at first; a need to escape fluttered her heart with panic but it soon would succumb to the sweet tempting promises of rest and peace of mind that often eluded her in the light. With the darkness in control, relieving her of those worldly burdens, she began to relax, arms wide invitingly to be swept away. Wake up. Pain rocked her, erupting from the back of her head and searing down every nerve of her being like belching wildfire. We're not done yet, puppet. I'm not done yet. Was that the Urge? Where had it been this entire time? The last she had heard from it, the madness screamed bloody murder upon slipping through the portal to Taen before withering away into silence. But now it chuckled menacingly as if amused by her bewilderment. Shush now, puppet. Later you'll understand. But right now, you need to wake up. Understand what exactly? It made no damned sense. The Urge teemed in her mind incessantly night and day, bombarding her with its twisted desires and insatiable hunger, but now it suddenly-- WAKE UP. Aelyria woke with a start, gasping for air but then immediately regretting it. She coughed violently, sputtering out a mixture of stagnant, fetid water and mud, only to find a more foul substance entering her lungs to nearly suffocate her. Frantically, she wheezed and covered her mouth in a feeble attempt to filter out the miasma that permeated the air. Once the initial spark of panic ran its course, she recalled her mask and quickly drew it up from her scarf and secured both snugly into place. It served its purpose as a crude filter--a necessity that helped her navigate through the toxic plumes of her smoke bombs--but the fog was lain so thick in the atmosphere that she could still feel her lungs burn with it. Undoubtedly, the mask was only a temporary measure and a short one at that. She'd need something more intricate to survive the poisoned air. Ted, as she recalled, had a more sophisticated mask. He was her only chance to live. With the clock ticking, Aelyria unglued herself from the muck along the bank of the sluggish stream, and desperately searched for any sign of Ted. Instead, she was met with the glaring amber of toxic fog, no doubt the source of her fiery lungs. She could scarce make out more than 10 paces in either direction through the thickness of it, nor could say with any confidence whether it were day or night. She struggled to remember the turn of events that brought her to this swamp, only able to recollect visions of a fire that chased them through the jungle, and then of spiraling into the ravine with Ted after she failed to catch hold of him or anything else. Her body felt bruised from head to toe, and she was soaked all the way down to the insides of her boots. It'd make sense if there were a channel of water at the bottom of that ravine as it was most likely the only thing that kept them from turning into a crumbled, meaty bloody bag of broken bones and organs. Assuming Ted even made it. Aelyria followed the stream, practically pleading he were still alive. If her memory served her right, she was in the swamp quadrant of Taen now, presumably the most dangerous of them all. Not only would she need Ted for his mask, but who knows what other dangers lurked in these putrid waters. But as she proceeded along the stream, she found fatigue quickly consuming her, limbs tingling and chest heaving as oxygen became scarce in her bloodstream, lungs poisoned by the noxious gases. "Ted!" she croaked, an invisible anvil pinned against her chest, making it impossible to breath, much less make a sound. "Ted!" She stumbled at a misstep of her weakened limbs and barely caught herself on her knees to avoid face planting back into the muck. "Ted," she cried, the sound a pitiful wheezing mewl of a newborn babe. "Renkor..."
  4. Phaedara

    The Final Beginning

    Dismally, Aelyria nodded in agreement with Ted's observations. She knelt beside the path where it began at the edge of the mire and gently pressed her palm into the soil beside his footprint, as if somehow it might surrender the answers they desperately needed. Instead, her exposed fingertips were met with cold indifference. There were no answers to be found here; only a memory flashed in her mind's eye of the spectre's pained expression and the chill of its voice as it croaked her name. Aelyria... Preoccupied by her brooding thoughts, she hadn't registered Ted's intent to pursue the trail, merely nodding absentmindedly and rising to her feet. It wasn't until Aelyria caught sight of his readied fist that her mind pieced the puzzle together. Her brow pinched inwardly before rising and then drawing back taut, a dance that reflected the bedlam of her emotions: from confusion to disbelief to begrudging acceptance that she was doomed to always be the voice of reason. And just what was that lizard still doing here? "Look," she began, easing her tone as she thought over her words carefully. "I get that you want follow this trail and although I appreciate your enthusiasm, we have to think this thoroughly. We can't just go parading though the jungle on little to no sleep and dwindling rations. We brought enough to get through the blue hills and little more but, as we had originally planned, intended to resupply at Lunaris while gathering information." Her chest heaved outwardly, shoulders collapsing with the release of an exhausted sigh. But as the last wisp of breath escaped her lips, she was struck with an intense pain that pulsated at the back of her head, just where it met against the nape of her neck. Aelyria winced visibly from the agonizing thrum, teeth bare and eyes squinted shut to brace against it. It barely lasted a few seconds before it was gone, leaving only a dull resonance and aura of fading lights trailing in her vision with its wake. She shook her head dismissively and returned her attention to Ted. "It's not that I don't want to find Renkor," she confided softly, "In fact the sooner we find him the better. It's just that I can't risk losing Caliben's life--or yours for that matter--because we were too hasty and eager to think this through. I say that we stick to the plan and--" At first, she thought the contortion of Ted's face was the result of dissent towards her argument. But as it shifted from annoyance to near distress, she paused to question it. It was then she noted the prickle of a familiar scent invading her nose. Smoke? She turned to face the wall of jungle from where she originally came, only to find the lush greens consumed by the blacks and orange of a violent conflagration rapidly closing in on them.
  5. Phaedara

    The Final Beginning

    Scarcely a moment's breath into tracking their whimsical companion had passed when it became clear of his destination. Ironic, she thought, that as volatile and unpredictable as Ted initially seemed, he was rather persistent if not obstinate. Although tracking him would've spent little effort--he hardly made it difficult for anyone to follow--knowing his objective cut travel time significantly. There was something to be said about Ted's devotion to Renkor. It's not as if she questioned its validity; Aelyria undoubtedly understood the magnitude of the sylph's irrevocable impact on their lives. It was as if Renkor had sewn the very wind into their every breath, lungs filled to the brim of his presence with each draw of air. It frightened her enough to not breathe. Yet, Ted bellowed his chest full and ran forward with that same bull-headed tenacity that she once saw long ago in a young boy, who she'd wrestle and tease with when their father wasn't looking. The squelch of sodden soil snapped Aelyria from her reverie, alerting her of dangerous but familiar terrain ahead. Recounting earlier events, she opted to circumvent the mire, only to discover that Ted appeared to have done much the same. A grin cracked at the corner of her lips followed by defiant twinge to suppress it. At least he's not prone to making the same mistakes twice, she mused, tracing his indisputable footpath where the impressions of his heavy ladden boots bubbled with aerated blackened mud. She caught a glimpse of what she believed was his darkly garbed visage, when the resonant snap of splintering wood whirled Aelyria's attention behind her. But when her gold-flecked eyes fell on the still, tranquil labyrinth of breeze-swayed vines and undisturbed, gnarls of ancient trees, she was left with a foreboding dread she could not quite place. Turning her attention back to Ted, she saw him seemingly unfettered by the abrupt sound, as if he hadn't heard it at all. Was it all in her mind? Had the number of countless, sleepless nights finally reached their peak, beckoning for their due? She softly groaned and rubbed the inward corners of her eyes, pinching the bridge of her nose. No time to dwell, she rallied, discarding the worry in her ever alarmingly growing pile of disregard. With intentional haphazardness, Aelyria announced her presence as conspicuously as possible as not to alarm Ted. He seemed to recognize her appearance, but didn't immediately address it whether out of spite or not, she could not begin to fathom. So, she approached his side carefully, trailing his eyes until she spotted the footprints. With eyes wide and mouth agape, she made no attempt to hide her bewilderment as every word she had originally intended to say to him evaporated from her mind. "Footprints?" Although she weren't nearly as familiar with Renkor's tracks to determine they were the sylph's, she could at least determine they did not come directly from Ted. "This is where that...thing was standing, right?" Aelyria followed the tracks into the slumbering jungle, her skin prickling with dread renewed.
  6. Phaedara

    The Final Beginning

    The weight that pressed against her diaphragm, threatening to collapse the air from her lungs now ballooned with panic. She was losing control quickly and all her futile attempts to keep the situation from escalating out of proportion had backfired. But when Ted's inordinate outburst failed to spark her pique, Aelyria knew she had been defeated and forced herself to succumb to bitter resignation lest the trepidation consume her. How could Ted not see what was happening to them? How could he not see how much she was struggling to keep them together and how excruciatingly vital it was to cooperate with the officer so that they might have an local ally to get to the bottom of Renkor's disappearance? At the very least, they did not need to make any enemies! But how could she begin explain her actions to a man so hell bent on sending them on a wild goose chase? Venturing into Taen was a daunting experience in itself, but coupled with the mysterious encounter with the apparition carrying Renkor's uncanny visage had electrified her fears, the frenzied throb of her veins circulating adrenaline with such fervor that she was sure her heart would burst from the excess. How could he not see how terrified she was, not only for Renkor's sake but for her own? If her darkest fantasies were to come true... If Renkor was beyond help... What would become of her? With no answers to offer, Aelyria yielded to Ted's provocation and watched as he walked away. The charged satchel of which he had thrown to the ground in a huff caused Aelyria and Caliben to jump with alarm having recognized it from their unfortunate expedition on the airship, but both of them sighed with relief as the hiss subsided peacefully. An uncomfortable silence trailed in after his absence and it wasn't until Milde audibly cleared her throat that Aelyria turned her attention to the other woman. She stole a glance at Caliben, attempting to read his expression and found such a mixture of emotion that he looked as if he were almost physically in pain from the ordeal. She couldn't refute his feelings, knowing if she hadn't been so emotionally drained to the point of exhaustion, she might share the same expression instead of the stony facade she bore. Now was not the time to dwell on her turmoil. Determined to move forward, she reached into her satchel and after from meticulously searching, drew out a vial filled what looked like black salt and firmly placed it in Caliben's hand. "Go to Lunaris and get as much information as you can gather about this drake and anything else you can manage to find out," she said, her voice drawn taut as if threatening to snap at any moment. "Take this vial and sprinkle a little of its contents every few meters until you get to Lunaris. I'll be able to track you a little more easily this way." She didn't wait for Caliben's reply, hastily turning to Milde to avoid any chance of his objection. "Stay safe you two." The woman merely replied with a dismissive shrug, but then thought better of it and nodded with understanding. Spinning on her heels, Aelyria dove into the overgrown brush after Ted, ignoring Caliben's protests that followed after her, hopeful they would see each other again soon.
  7. Phaedara


    As Ashelewyn dressed, Eleri turned away to slip on her own garment, retreating within the menial task to keep her vexation at bay. For a man who relished in the freedom of his bare visage, he was rather stiff principally. She wasn't fond of being lectured--even if she could reluctantly admit he may have been right--but she held her tongue to avoid devolving into another argument. After all, considering how quick Crysta enchanted the pup to sleep, she determined it was best to remain on their good side lest she ended up losing a day herself. Taking the signal the leave, she went to gather her things and follow. When they returned to the fighting grounds, Eleri was almost surprised to see the chimera's limp carcass still unsullied. Their chance escapade that lead to the pup's discovery seemed to take a majority of the daylight, enough time for a scavenger to catch wind of the fresh kill and mutilate the corpse. Perhaps even in death the chimera's vicious reputation superseded itself, sowing hesitation even in the most starved creatures. Or perhaps it had just felt like an eternity passed with the elf to banter and bicker with incessantly. She couldn't quite decide if that were a good thing or not. With the impression she would just be in the way if she tried to help with the skinning process, Eleri found a place to settle her gear and got to work inspecting the armor for dents and abrasions. The light-weight metalwork had cost her a pretty penny to afford, but it had already proven its worth on multiple occasions, to include today's battle. Granted, denser armor might have saved her from the bruising of her ribs where the chimera had struck her, it was still enough protection to keep them from fracturing or breaking entirely. Aside from some scuffs and superficial scratches, it remained in good form. Satisfied, the fighter began to arm herself with the bulk of it since she did lacked a steed to carry it for her. Reminded of her mount back in town, Eleri cast her eyes on the chimera pup. She half expected it to wake up, but instead the pup slept soundly nearby with only a twitch of its ear or flare of its scaly nostrils to indicate it still lived. Well shit. I'm not sure how well Brie and Rhast will get along, she mused, disconcerted by the prospect. Last thing I need is that little daredevil nipping at her heels. But as she inspected the pup from afar, curiosity beckoned her closer. With Ashelewyn busy with his work--though she doubted he were completely unaware of her dealings--Eleri slowly crept up to the slumbering beast. Carefully, as she didn't quite know the full potency of Crysta's magic and fearing it might fail if she disturbed the chimera, she knelt beside Rhast. With her gloves still piled with the rest of her gear she had yet to fasten, Eleri reached forward with bare hands to touch the lion cub's head. For a brief moment, she hesitated. She wasn't frightened, not at least in the usual sense, so she couldn't quite understand what it was that held her back. Upon realization the elf could at any time peer up, notice her hesitation, and deign her a coward, Eleri forced her hand forward with pride as motivation. It was softer than she had imagined it to be. With all three heads still locked in twilight, she contentedly streamed her fingers through the cub's fur, relishing in a particularly soft spot on the top of its head. Its ear twitched in sleepy response, spurring a grin on her lips. Feeling bolder now, Eleri danced her fingertips across the kid's coarse curls, working them upwards to inspect the pair of ivory buds protruding from its forehead. She wondered if its horns might one day become as formidable as those of its parent's, and suddenly an anchor dropped in the pit of her stomach. The chimera had only been trying to protect its young, yet they killed it. She knew it was ridiculous to feel sorry for the beast and she was sure the pup would come to care less as time pressed on, yet she still felt remorseful. Eleri tried not to let that bother her as she turned to the whelp's head, ready to explore its scaly hide when a voice drew her concentration. Finding Ashelewyn shoulder-deep within the chimera's open chest cavity didn't help assuage her guilty conscious, but it did remind her there was still plenty of work to be done. "Was I...supposed to?" Curious if she even had brought anything remotely useful for organ preservation purposes, she left the pup to rummage about the rest of her gear but couldn't find a thing aside from the salt she brought to preserve the hide she hoped to bring back. With nothing else to contribute, she took the bags of salt to him, kneeling beside the sealed jars. "I honestly have never dealt with witches, so I never found much use in taking organs unless a client specifically asks for it. Even then, I just use whatever container they give me or a waxed hide since it's easier to carry around...Wait. Mire?" There was no hiding the displeasure in Eleri's warped expression, her eyebrows furrowed inward. "Is that...where you intend to go next? Please say no. I hate mud. I especially hate getting stuck in mud. And it stinks."
  8. Phaedara

    The Final Beginning

    Aelyria's nostrils flared and her jaw clenched tight. Even with the absence of the Urge's incessant prodding at her temper's threshold, Aelyria found it difficult maintain patience when vexed these days and, naturally, she found Milde's tone particularly more annoying than it had any right to be. She wanted nothing to snap and snarl like some unhinged wild beast sick with disease, despite how petty and diminutive the other woman's offenses were. Diplomacy be damned, she deserved respect! But, instead she took in shaky breath, mustering the remnants of her failing willpower to swallow her pride and keep her irritation at bay. "Enough." She blinked. No, that did not come for her own thoughts. That was not her voice. Aelyria reeled her head in time to see Ted charging forward into the line of fire, an indomitable presence that left her gawking with near envy. That was until he spoke again. "You arrogant little shit," Ted barked, his pale, sickly appearance a sore match for a convincing bravado. "Who the fuck are you?" Aelyria stiffened despite the triggers in her mind sparking an urgency to leap forward and clamp a hand over his blustering mouth. Maybe it was exhaustion or even a morbid curiosity to hear what he had to say that kept her locked in place, but fortunately, Milde did not seem to take him seriously enough as a threat to draw her rifle or pistol. At least she had some sense. When Ted's tantrum had subsided, he barged towards the jungle only to pause and reveal--perhaps not as covertly as he had intended--that it had all been an act. Aelyria groaned inwardly and rolled her eyes in Caliben's direction, wondering if he were nearly as dumbfounded by their companion's lack of tact as she. But beside him she noticed Milde, the fire burning in her eyes a familiarity that she quickly realized needed to be extinguished. She licked her lips and turned to the woman, holding up a hand to excuse herself. "One moment, please, if you don't mind." Aelyria lightly nodded her head and pivoted sharply in Ted's direction, chasing him down before they lost sight of the demolitionist. Aelyria hadn't put much thought into what she did next, but she knew something had to be done before they found themselves thrown into whatever passed for a jail cell in Lunaris. With a less than carefully aimed slap at the back of Ted's head, she struck him with just enough force to get her point across. At the very least, she had to make it look like she was reprimanding him, even if not for the most readily apparent cause. "What exactly do you think you are doing?! I am not going to go trampling through the jungle looking for your sorry ass, and I sure as hell am not going to trust a godsdamn lizard to get us to Lunaris in one piece!" She pulled on the back of his collar, twisting him around and then shoved him back in the direction of from which they came. Ted looked ready to interject, but Aelyria was quick to bark him down like a mother who met her patience's limit with an unruly toddler. "Either you cooperate or you can climb your own way out of the next bloody mire you stumble into with only Mr. Hissy-Pants to witness your slow, inevitable death!" She couldn't be sure if the exaggerations would be enough to pacify him, but at the very least she hoped for temporary compliance, long enough to get them headed in the right direction. So with a reluctant Ted in tow, she returned to Milde and Caliben, narrowing her eyes sharply at him a final time as if to punctuate her former threats before returning her gaze to the bewildered pair. "I apologize on behalf of my associate here," she gestured mildly with the tilt of her head before hesitating. "That is, for his abrasiveness, but not his words. There's truth in them. We've traveled too far and long to get here only to end up at odds with a stranger in unfamiliar lands." Aelyria paused, crossing her arms with shoulders slumped, the burden of which they carried showing its toll. "We could use a guide as I don't much care for our companion's version of one, and...perhaps...we could be of some use to you as well." Here she had be careful. She eyed the woman, picking apart at the character of which she so briefly understood to decide with what information to disclose and how. For certain she didn't trust her, but before them stood a potential asset, assuming they played their cards right. "I overheard, just before you were so rudely interrupted, you mentioning a drake. We might have information of one in the area, perhaps the even very same one we're looking for." She recalled that Renkor had indeed had a drake. Ted had reviewed it in their plans and even Renkor himself had mentioned something about acquiring a dragon's egg in the letter he left behind long ago, of which she still kept neatly folded in the pockets of the satchel by her hip. "Our goals may not be too dissimilar and we might be able to help each other out. But... I think Lunaris would be a better place to discuss such things, wouldn't you agree?" Gingerly, Aelyria turned as if to indicate she were ready to follow should the Taen officer choose to lead them.
  9. Hi, any plans for Seris in the future? I represent House Aetherion.

    1. Phaedara


      Yes! I do currently have some fun things planned for her (or so I hope) but it's going to take a while to get there since I'm in and out of Valucre so much lately.

  10. Phaedara

    What are you playing? [Table Top Edition]

    I haven't played any games recently, but I will always carry a special kind of love for Cosmic Encounters. Own every expansion that's available and the core box is so beat up from years of travel and countless game nights that it's practically falling apart (poor thing). Pretty much every board game night started off this bad boy and it's my favorite one to introduce to new players. It tends to break down barriers fairly quick as folks start backstabbing left and right. Good times man. Similar games of that vein that I enjoy are the Battlestar Galactica board game and the original Dead of Winter. All three have some treachery aspect involved. 😐 Not sure what that's supposed to say about me. Of course, RPGs are great. DnD for simplicity and quicker play, but Pathfinder for a bit of complexity and depth. One day I'll have enough free money to own Kingdom Death. All the pretty miniatures! But Ticket to Ride was the first board game that really got me interested in the hobby! That's a solid game! And kudos for getting through that novel of a rule book that Horus Heresy comes with. 😐 I ended up nope-ing out of that one, but I hear it's fun for WH 40k fans.
  11. Phaedara


    Eleri experimented with the chosen name, 'Rhast Maweyn', toying with the syllables as they rolled off her tongue and stretched her lips. Quietly, she repeated it until it settled naturally with her speech and decided that despite its translation, it was a good name. Of course, the elvish language--or what she assumed was elvish--had a way of making anything sound mystical and refined. It would, however, give native speakers some pause. Amused with the thought, Eleri chuckled inwardly as possible scenarios reeled through her mind. Deviating away from such musings, she watched Ashelewyn's attempts to tame the chimera pup with mild interest, introspectively comparing the tactic with those used to tame and train a horse--something she knew how to do well. There were considerable differences. Equine were skittish creatures and although food might be a motivator as reward for advanced maneuvers, there was little chance of taming a wild horse on hunger alone. Yet the elf was making definite progress in such short time, so even she had to concede to his approach. So despite some reservation, Eleri actively studied the demonstration, attentive to the budding relationship that blossomed between the two. However, at the mention of Eleri's role in their 'parentage', she wrinkled her up-turned nose to express her distaste with the analogy, her lips puckering to match. She thought to dagger him with a quip, retaliating against his order to participate in the lesson, but a soft rumbling disrupted her thoughts. With a brief glance down at her belly, the freelance almost looked embarrassed as she pressed her folded arms against it, as if somehow that would silence the hunger pangs from vocalizing their arrival. It would seem the mention of food had reminded her of her own standing malnutrition. With a resigned sigh, Eleri rose languidly to her feet before reluctantly making headway for Asheleywn's gear. She knelt down to shuffle through his things, pausing briefly as her eyes took in the condition of his bloodied cloak. She reached for it and rolled a thumb over the fabric, inspecting its quality and heft. It wasn't in terrible shape even though the chimera hadn't been necessarily kind to it. There was no doubt she could sew it into repair--if he'd even let her--but she reserved the thought for later, setting the cloak aside to continue the search. Spotting the satchel, she probed through it until she found the dried strips, the spicy aroma triggering her lips to moisten with eager anticipation. She ripped free a small piece and hurriedly shoved it into her mouth, rising to return to the group as she chewed. But as she turned, Eleri found an furry-scaled surprise charging at her. With an undignified, startled squeak, Eleri reflexively jerked her arms and outward leg upwards, bracing for impact as the chimera pup rushed at her with hungry intent. Fortunately, an irritable procession of bleating from the ram's head demanded discipline and the pup skidded to a stop. Warily, she relaxed enough to lower her limbs but continued to watch the chimera as it paced back and forth, eyeing her hungrily. "Fucking hell! You are starving aren't you? I'm guessing you didn't get the chance to eat before we...well...yeah." The cub's head kept its penetrating gaze fixated on her, wide eyes flicking to the tasty morsel in her hand as the dragon squealed with ravenous vehemence. The ram, however, seemed entirely disinterested in her, focus pointed in the direction of the elf with whom it had already built its rapport. "Okay, okay. I get it," she assuaged, gesturing for the chimera to calm. "I'm hungry too you know. But, according to grandpa long-ears over there, I'm supposed to make you work for--" In hindsight, if Eleri had paid even the smallest bit of attention to the chimera's swishing tail and rigid, lowered stance, she might have seen the lunge coming. But as she lurched back to avoid its leap, she instead found herself toppling backwards, tripping over the piled gear behind her. Before she knew it, the cub had snatched the jerky from her fingertips, excitedly tossing its head from side to side as if tearing flesh from a fresh corpse and then dropped it to the ground where it gorged on the meat with its carnivorous sibling. Instantly deflated, Eleri lay strewn over Ashelewyn's gear, eyes regarding the sky with subdued deference. "Well, that went great," she muttered crossly. "I guess this must be a sign from the universe that I should never try to have kids unless I enjoy getting walked all over--which I don't." With a pained groan, she picked herself up from the pile and rubbed her back where she was sure an axe hilt had bruised her. Defeated, she wobbled back to her own equipment, sparing a sidelong glance at the elf. "I think I'll skip on the rest of today's training session," she said, prying her trousers free from the mound and slipping into them, wriggling as they stretched tight over her thighs and backside. "After all, isn't there a 'momma' chimera we need to skin and gut?" Suddenly she clasped a hand over her mouth to stifle a satirical, alarmed gasp and shot a glance at the distracted chimera pup. "Oops! Should I have not said that in front of junior?" With the roll of her eyes as if unimpressed by her own joke, she located her blouse and inspected it for tears or stains as she continued the line of questioning. "That is what you plan to do, right? As noble as your mission's original intent may have been, I can't just stand idly by and let a good pelt go to waste, especially when there's money to be made. A starving girl has to eat. And, more importantly, drink."
  12. Phaedara

    The Devil's Backbone

    The advantages of being an elf served Seris well in her lifetime, her keen senses making surprise an old acquaintance. The subtle, muted sounds of shuffling outside the inn had alerted her ears of the newcomer's presence, even though the door had yet to open. It helped that the inn was mostly silent with only the groans of flame and the soft squeaks of a glass cup undergoing it's nightly ritual with the barkeep's cloth to interrupt her focus. But there was no mistaking the uncanniness of the elf's ability. A moment later the door swung open with a heavy, insensitive thud, and the abrasive scrape and clatter of weighty armor announced the patron's entry. With fingers of one hand laid delicately on the stem of the wine glass, Seris offered no hint of diversion from the pages of the book nestled neatly in her hand, her pale eyes fixated on the printed text. To trust is to expose oneself to betrayal. After all, the nature of trust requires a reliance on another where the truster is under the impression that they control the reins, when it is plausible that the trustee ultimately commands the pulls and pushes that guides and strengthens the relationship. It’s understood that by violating this reliance, one provokes betrayal, but then this raises a thorny question: who is in the wrong? Is it the violator? The steed burdened by the trust thrust upon them, forced to maintain the order lest they outset confrontation? Or the betrayed? The driver who must forfeit and ignore all evidence that might cast doubt on the other’s trustworthiness to avoid stigmatizing the bond even on threat of being led astray? Eventually, the pained creak of a wooden chair bearing far more weight than it was accustomed to drew her attention to the man now seated on the other side of her table. If Seris were surprised either by his appearance or his massive size, she conveyed little evidence of it. Yet, a perturbing observation did bubble in her mind as her eyes glanced over him with benign interest; out of all the qualified members on the list of Mr. Lyles ever expanding roster of criminals that he could have sent for a business endeavor of such importance as this, he chose to send an Outsider. An Outsider not unlike herself. As strange as a concept as it may seem, Mr. Lyles was often hailed as a family man. After all, he kept a majority of his business managed and executed by members of his bloodline--a genealogy that reached across the midlands of Genesaris with surprising depth. Seris had been an exception to this rule. In the elf's younger years, she worked hand in hand with the grandfather and father of Mr. Lyles; Seris was the head of estates' best kept secret, to be passed down from generation to generation. She wasn't sure whether to be honored by the sentiment or unsettled by it. As long as she was paid, it didn't make much of difference most days. Either way, Seris eyed the man with blunted scrutiny. Why use an Outsider? Mr. Lyle's last attempt to bring an Outsider in, excluding herself, proved to be a mixture of success and failure. Although the man named 'Moss'--whose true name she learned was 'Caliben'--had succeeded in eliminating Bailey Valmer as an obstacle to gaining open access to Valjer's broken potential even if it hadn't been done solely by his hands, the outcome came with an unexpected cost. A tremendous cost. Simply by association with Caliben, Mr. Lyles would--for the first time in his life--know terror and pain. While the Outsider was off on his mission to 'dispose' of any 'obstacles', a strange man claiming to be a Thundermaster from Stormward came in search of him. Against all odds, the man had penetrated the steadfast defenses of the Lyles Family, invading the patriarch's home to demand for answers. When Mr. Lyles refused, the Thundermaster killed his eldest son as punishment, carving the young boy's neck open before his very eyes. Something about the event disturbed Seris, but it had been difficult to even mention the encounter with Mr. Lyles--the only one still alive to recount it--so she couldn't press for answers. But as result, the kingpin blamed Caliben for Estan's death and vowed to bleed the rogue dry by his own hands. Yet another Outsider sat across her table, a steaming hot plate of Valjerian fare served before him with all the enticement of an ugly whore pressed before a desperate, deprived man. A theory scintillated in her mind as an attempt to understand Mr. Lyle's intent. Perhaps recent failings with the Valjer folk caused by his nephew, Alcone, had brought to attention a need for a change of tactic. After all, Seris typically worked behind the curtain on these kind of matters, yet even she had been brought in to Valjer out of urgency to patch what had been nearly shredded beyond repair. The town-center massacre that took place some months before today had nearly toppled everything Mr. Lyles had worked up to. It almost brought down the wrath of the Imperial military, but Seris has been quick to staunch any military presence with some carefully placed bribes. Though, without a doubt, another such occasion would not make it as easy to dissuade military intervention. The graceful arch of her brow hinted at appreciation for the tone of which he commanded the barkeep and his daughter away. She examined him, pulling from her mind the roster of men and women that Mr. Lyles employed and found his name and mental profile among them. After all, it would be hard to miss a man such as himself, even if he wasn't the only muscle under the kingpin's employment. Although she knew him already, Seris kept her lips sealed and savored in the secret of knowing. It was often better to have them introduce themselves, as to bring light to the true character of a person. So, instead she flicked her eyes away as he assaulted his food, turning a page as if to return to her reading. "Straight to the point it seems," she remarked, pausing briefly to sip her wine. "I can appreciate that. Concision speaks volumes of a person's work ethic. But, as you should already know, I can't divulge any information until we've been properly introduced. So..." Prying her eyes from an interesting excerpt from her page, she regarded the man coolly even if she may have been mildly repulsed by the rapacious nature of his eating habits. Without any other prompting, she stared at him blankly before finally declaring, "Blood before Honor..."
  13. Phaedara


    And chew on the thought she did. Already sorry for the eruption, Eleri bit the inside of her cheek as he attempted to defuse the tension between them by doing what she couldn't--apologize, or at least what she could gather was even an attempt. In her defense, it was unlike her to snap and fight back. Usually, she would just shrug her shoulders and move on, finding little value in trying to make peace with others. But as the woman passed a glance over Ashelewyn, eyeing him as he partially dressed, she wondered what else of the man she would have to learn to cope with. After all, she had been the one to say working together was about 'give and take'. Today, she took and he gave, a small victory on her part. Eleri almost felt sorry for it as she mulled on the thought, understanding dawning that her she had insulted him and the very nature of who he was, something he could not change no matter how he might try just as she could not help herself. They were both holding on tight to their differing views, much like young marsupials that clung to their mothers, dependent on them for their very survival. It was innate. But, just as much as she was afraid of letting go, she was also looking forward to the challenge. Skimming curious eyes over the elf, she soaked in the sight of him. Burnished locks of deep browns, still damp but no longer dripping with run off, were returning to their shaggy appearance as they dried, his tapered ears peeking out from beneath with pointed contrast. With his head turned from her, she admired his picturesque profile, gaze tracing the long bridge of his nose down to the sharp angle of his jaw, prickled with rough stubble. He posed a prominent figure, the toned lean muscles inviting her eyes now that his pants had been restored, his overexposure no longer a reason to turn away out of pious habit. Oh, what a challenge it would be. Eleri climbed out of the stream and was confronted by Crysta, the fairy almost chirping at her with what she could barely surmise to be either a greeting or command. Not sure of which, and not wanting to offend her new companion, she halted in place. "Uh, yes? Do you need something from me?" She tried to steal a closer inspection of the fae, but too much light diffused any traces of the tiny silhouette. Instead, a hum replied. Warmth permeated the closing space between them as the circling mote whirred around the woman, kissing her supple skin with traces of heat. Eleri nearly melted with unbridled contentment, shutting her eyes to relish in the fairy's pampering as the magical heat not only evaporated beads of stream water away, but also relaxed the tender muscles of her bruised body. "He doesn't deserve you," Eleri breathed, peeking an eye open as the mote passed over her. "You're spoiling him rotten, you know that? I hope he's treating you well at least." Crysta's humming pitched with brief inflection as if to reply. Without the ability to comprehend its meaning, she could only imagine a response made in acquiescence to fit her current musings. As she stood there, accepting Crysta's shower of magic while she wrung the hair draped over one shoulder dry, Eleri observed the amusing ritual between Ashelewyn and the chimera pup with an endearing grin. Well, he's done that before, she thought, watching him skirt the creature until it realized the game, the ram's head showing a surprising disposition for intelligence. A chuckle tickled her throat as the chimera pounced the jerky with hungry fervor, and returned her attention to Crysta to thank her for the unexpected, but gratifying service. "Do you have any other boundaries I should know about, Eleri?" the elf asked. "After all, we're parents now, and I hear it's bad parenting to argue in front of children." At that, her head snapped back to him and an involuntary, incredulous gasp escaped her lungs at the suggestion. "Parents?" she exclaimed with more ardor than anticipated. "That is not the term I would've used. Just so you're aware, I was serious about letting you do all the work," she said flatly, though a twinkle in her eye hinted she intended otherwise. Feeling mostly dry and relaxed now thanks to Crysta, but with her skin still too dewy to comfortably slip clothes on without tacking, she approached Ashelewyn and crouched beside him to examine the chimera. The ram's gaze skewered her with keen shrewdness, the slotted amber eyes sending a shiver up her spine. With its portion of the meal finished, the cub turned its scrutiny to the humanoid pair, a low rumble quaking from its throat as a soft purr. "But as far as boundaries go," she pondered, eyes pinned on the creature, "I think we'll have to wait and see what those are as we come across them. This is a first for me. Working with someone, that is. And I mean really working with someone--not just a one-off mission." She flicked her eyes in his direction and curled her lips in a smile. "But I promise not to bite so hard next time you accidentally cross one. I guess I was just a bit surprised is all." An irritated croak from the chimera's dragon head drew her attention, a fiery burp signalling its mild satisfaction with the small snack, but its penetrating eyes searched for more. Thinking back on his previous question, she turned back to the elf with a toothy grin. "I know what we should name it. Rage. Sounds badass, doesn't it?" But before he could muster a reply, she slapped his arm excitedly with an expression to match. "Wait! No! We should name it Mittens. Mittens is just the right kind of name that strikes fear into the hearts of your enemies!" With a cat-like smirk, she beamed at him as her toes wriggled in the grassy dirt. Still hunched beside him, she folded one arm over the tops of her thighs and propped the other to rest the base of her chin in an open palm. "But, no, seriously. You should name it. You're the one who found him... or her... whatever. You're the one who found it. This was your quest, after all, and I just happened to be strolling by. Which, by the way, I left the rest of my things in town, along with my horse. Let's not forget those."
  14. Phaedara

    PC Gaming

    There's tons of good things! But for an RTS, the most recent one I played was Northgard. Bonus if you like Norse mythology. I guess suggestions would depend on what kind of games you like to play. Single player or multiplayer, competitive or casual.
  15. Phaedara

    Custom title raffle 4

    Never give up! Never surrender! I'm in! And happy very early Birthday!