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Lady Gilaen

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About Lady Gilaen

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  1. Enid had half drawn her sword when Arthur stayed her hand. He was a predator in his own right (though the word held a very different connotation than he might have liked), and he had claimed the mad giant as his prey. Of course he was not robbed of his senses as Ilohim was. He had enough compassion and curiosity to abstain from using lethal force...for the time being, at least. Enid would not have been so kind. Reluctantly, the seer sheathed her weapon and confirmed her companion's request with a subtle nod as he darted into the alley. In another time and place she might have disregarded his instruction in favor of her own swift, largely painless solution, but Arthur had proven his intuition to the seer over the decade or so that they'd worked together (however annoying that might have been to admit). Releasing her grip from her side, Enid took two steps back and began to fiddle with the cuffs of her black, buttoned coat. She'd undone one of her cuff links when another arrived on the scene. He was well dressed with a sort of elegance about him, and long hair that only served to emphasize his rather short height. He hardly regarded the green witch as he stepped past her to join Arthur in the impending fray. But as the two cast their varied elemental spells, Enid was at a loss for how to handle the mage's request. “You're better suited to figuring out what's wrong.” she muttered to herself, mocking her friend's words in a tone that sounded nothing like him as she unfastened the other cuff link. “You're better suited to a body bag if you think a little water is going to...” again she muttered, though the thought trailed off as an ill stench invaded her inner senses. Enid wasn't a true psychic in the way that a telepath or an empath was, but she recognized the impression of an unseen presence all the same. Possession? She couldn't be sure without making a direct connection with the giant. Pieces of cement from the alley floor had magically lifted and converged to form a wall between them and their target. It seemed their threat was not merely a physical one. This will be interesting, the seer thought grimly. She glanced briefly down into her hand. The cuff links, now resting in her palm, were a polished silver and shaped like fly nymphs with gleaming emerald eyes. She closed her hand over them, squeezing tight until the papery crunch of something breaking met her ears. It was difficult to hear beneath the splash and buzz of the other spells being cast upon the giant woman. When she uncurled her fingers, two fat, adult cicadas flew from her grasp and went about orbiting her head in erratic flight patterns. A mad mind was a difficult thing to control, but maybe the seer could calm it with a direct link to her own. At the very least she might gain better insight into what they were facing. “The giant.” she instructed one of the cicadas, looking back to the alley and pointing a finger in Ilohim's direction. The sight of her now gave the seer pause. The wall had fallen, and two figures now stood at the end of the narrow passage, one looming over the other as if the first was casting a tangible shadow. Looking at it, one couldn't be entirely sure that it was really there. There was little time to linger on the mystery as the other of two cicadas landed on the seer's upper lip and crawled quickly, painfully up her nose. “Gah!” she huffed, reeling back a moment before the thing crawled past her sinuses and settled somewhere in her head. Gods damn! She thought. She knew the unpleasant cost of her little charm, but she had expected it to burrow in the ear. Rather, she'd wanted it to, but neglected to hold her nose after waking the mischievous little things. The other cicada flew past Xartia and Arthur, and through the alley, buzzing about an unpredictable path on its way to meet the mad giant. All it needed to do was crawl into an ear or nostril and settle into the mad woman's head to make a link between their minds. Though large for an insect, it was still quite small and unnoticeable in the midst of any attack that would distract from its presence. It would try first for the giant's ear. @Al Sa-her @Voldemort @Sings Through Pain
  2. What a world, thought the seer as she slumped sluggishly into the passenger seat of her companion's car, her feet propped on the dashboard as she gazed out over a pitiful city scape. It had been an especially dull day up to that point, apart from their vehicle exhausting itself on the edge of what passed for civilization this side of the veil. Enid occupied her idle time rattling what appeared to be a set of dice in her hands. She'd cup her fingers around them and shake, then open her palms to read their meaning. Sometimes she would toss them lightly into the air and catch them, testing how many and how high she could go before they fell to the four corners and she had to scoop them up from the floor. The dice told the same tale of misfortune over and over, and by this point the seer was certain it meant a very long wait before their car trouble was resolved. Not in a million years would she have discerned its true meaning. Enid left her window down to listen to Arthur talk mostly to himself and the engine, filling the quiet void of time until they were on their way again. She'd tossed the dice again when the scream happened, rippling through the air as if riding a wave from a distant shore. Three of six dice fell to the vehicle's floor, and the remaining sat restlessly in her right palm. “I heard it.” she responded. She was looking into her palm at the three remaining dice which, upon inspection, looked nothing like dice at all, though they clicked and rattled much the same. A proper soothsayer, or a good butcher would recognize them to be sheep knuckles. This appears to be quite bad, she thought to herself as she closed her fist, jamming the bones into her pocket before exiting the car. She looked to him as his features shifted ever slightly, reacting to the scent of blood. “Fate does not favor you, Wolf. I doubt we could avoid such disaster if we tried.” she said, retrieving her weapon from the car before almost slamming its door shut. It was an old adage that she'd expressed more times than either of them could count, but she never seemed to tire of saying it. Truthfully, if they wanted to avoid disaster they merely had to stay put, or hide, or run from whatever misfortune lay in their path. But for Arthur there was only one true and viable option. “Upon your lead,” said Enid, gesturing him ahead of her to follow the gory scent. They raced toward whatever pool of blood permeated the air. After a time even she could smell it; that warm, irony stench of violent death. It was laced with something intangible to ordinary senses. There was a rank, festering sadness that clutched at the seer's heart as they approached whatever they hoped, or feared to find. Her green skin went a little pale and her vision blurred, if only momentarily. “The past is folding on the present,” she warned the wizard, “Fate is forming a circle to bring the inevitable to fruition, joining a beginning t-” The seer stopped just behind Arthur, the two of them staring down a scene of gore and horror as a rather large figure loomed over the soft, wet remains of something that was no longer distinguishable as a person. “...to its end.” she concluded in her flat way of speaking. Her voice and expression may not have faltered, but Enid's posture and hesitation in reaching for her sword spoke well enough her surprise and disgust. @Voldemort @Sings Through Pain @Al Sa-her
  3. An alley was as good a place as any to begin an adventure. They were dark, quiet spaces that left small chasms of uncertainty in the cracks between buildings; cracks that fill the emptiness with a mere shadow of reality. They were perfect for hidden doors and portals and secret dealings. Perfect, Enid thought, save for the smell, which was a general mix of stale, wet, and altogether disgusting. Even an earthy stench had reason to it, but the swell of city muck was enough to turn the witch a darker shade of green. She spent the entirety of Doctor Renes' speech with a gloved hand over her mouth and nose, filtering the air between her fingers to little effect. It was going to be a long night. “Hmmm...” she exhaled in a breathy tone, considering the path that had been laid out for them. The good doctor knew the city better than any of them could ever hope to in the time since they'd arrived. As recruits go, she was their most valuable addition to the team. Even so, Enid was not entirely at ease with Renes' pluck. On the one hand, it was encouraging to see such confidence and experience manifest itself in the old woman's manner. She clearly knew what she was doing. But Enid had seen the potential for disaster ahead of her, and rash decisions were not exclusive to young minds. That's not to say that she did not trust the doctor; only that fate would choose her path regardless of the best laid plans. When Renes' smiled at them, ever knowing as she was, Enid couldn't help a subtle smirk in turn, though it was hidden behind her cupped fingers. When there was mention of a magic barrier she dropped her palm and grimaced. Magic was their best defense against dangers ahead, and without it their little Fox would be next to helpless. “Hmph.” she sighed again. Matti's voice cut the cool silence of the shadowy nook like the back of a hammer. The spring witch couldn't help a definite flinch at the sound. Plain as his voice was, it was clear to the seer that their stone companion's words were somewhat emotional. Or morally driven, which was as close to emotion as the golem could get, she supposed. Rather, she guessed. Hell if she knew anything about his heart if he had one, but if it was there she wanted to tend to it like any other. Enid placed a steady hand over Matti's arm. “Anything we encounter under the city is meant to be dead,” she assured him, though her voice was equally even in tone (if much quieter). “Whatever stands in our way, Steward, I would hope you have the clarity to act in your own best interest.”
  4. “You misunderstand, Miss Fox.” the Spring witch said as she set Arthur's cup aside with the scraping chime of flatware on wood. Evelynn regarded her fortune lightly, but Enid failed to see the humor in it. She weaved around the back of Arthur's chair as he leaned in to whisper something to his lover, then picked up Evey's cup again, holding it closer so that they could both see into it clearly. It was just a splotch of dead leaves to anyone who didn't know what to look for, but Enid treated it as though it were picture, if a somewhat blurry one. “The axe is not powerful because of its heft or edge. It is a lever; a tool with which one directs their strength with precision. So it is, you have the power to overcome your trials not merely by your skill, but where and how you choose to use it. That said, this symbol only appears when there is hardship ahead of you. Rest assured, Miss Fox, there is excitement in your future, or entertainment as you put it. Whether you want it or not.” She set the cup down again, this time placing it close enough to Arthur's that they just barely touched. A symbolic gesture, or carelessness? Enid didn't seem to pay it any special attention before moving on. Next was the samurai, whom the seer had yet to grant a proper name. This, she thought, would be interesting. A blank slate was a rare challenge, and though their golem companion had presented a similar problem, he was too far from human to be considered unusual. For all Enid knew, all golems might have a similar aversion to fate. Mortals, on the other hand, were an easy read. At least, most of them were. “May I?” she asked of Tenkai as she gestured to his tea. The seer leaned over the samurai's shoulder, staring into his cup to see.... a wet pile of herbs and little more. For the first time in a long while she felt deceivingly normal, and for a moment (despite her better judgement) she questioned the strength of her gift. She was a little surprised, certainly, but not shocked. Shock was an affliction for those without foresight, and this possibility (however odd it seemed) had not escaped the seer. She plucked the cup from the table and brought it up to her nose to squint over it a little longer, searching for something she was certain never to find. Her flat expression shifted subtly into one of annoyance. “This,” she said to the samurai, as though accusing him, “is why you have no name.” It was an unusual claim, though by now the group was likely familiar with the seer's penchant for naming others to suit her preference. She placed the jade cup back in its saucer and let out a deep, calming sigh as she leaned into the table to the right of him. “Most think of fate as a prison.” she explained, “A term to which they are sentenced by their birth or circumstance. But it is far more complicated. We are not sticks in a river, flowing with the current of time along a channel of fate. Us, life, time, fate: We exist without boundaries, concurrently. We choose fate because it embodies 'what may be'. A life without fate-” Enid cut herself off, having realized that she'd raised her voice to a man who had no intention of offending her. “I'm sorry.” she said, her tone once more even, “I am sorry...” again, “What I mean to say is, fate is a journey. Without it we are still and unchanging. That is all.” She left the samurai's side, allowing silence to fill her heart and settle her mind before she continued. “Ah, Madame Whisp,” Enid said of the professor a short while after she'd materialized. “How kind of you to join us on the material plane.” She watched with a slight wrinkle of disgust at the corner of her mouth as the older woman tapped her ashes into Matti's tea. It was strange, the dichotomy between the professor's corporeal and intangible self. When she was little more than smoke and spirit it was easy to forget that she was around. As a physical manifestation, however, Professor Renes was a presence to be reckoned with. (Take that as you will). “As it just so happens,” the seer said, sliding what was formerly matti's teacup over and in front of the professor, “I see ash in your future.” Enid offered Matti an apologetic pat on the shoulder, though her expression and tone weren't quite consoling. “It probably wouldn't have worked anyway, Steward.” The pat-pat of her palm on his stone shoulder made a dry slapping sound that made the gesture seem a little mechanical, like it was modeled after a human gesture, but lacked the warmth and subtlety it needed to be a comfort. The seer was about the pass over Professor Renes, leaving her fortune to sit in limbo with whatever courtesy the old woman might have offered the golem before, when she spied a shape floating in the ashen leaves of her cup. She scooped it up without a word of warning and turned it clockwise in her hand, searching for the ghost of a symbol that had caught her fleeting gaze before. “A violin,” she said after a while, “Egotism at its finest. But there's something else floating around here.” She turned it again, this time counter clockwise until her wrist couldn't go any farther. “The Raven. It carries bad news over the tower. The height of the tower represents opportunity and the great length you may fall if given to failure. The prize for you at the end of this journey is great, but you risk losing it at the hands of your own ego. I... I'm afraid I can't articulate more than that.” The seer placed the cup before the old woman once more and moved to her seat at the head of the table. She was beginning to look weary, even a bit pale (if such a thing was possible). She did not attempt to read Kalyna's fortune, at least for the moment. Their resident tech expert was a skeptic, she could tell. Enid didn't take offense to such a mindset, but she wasn't about to waste her time and energy on it if Kalyna was prone to doubt and uncertainty. You don't have to believe in a reading for it to be accurate, but one must at least be open to it. Enid reached across the table for the teapot, stretching her arm so far it made her shoulder pop just a little (and not unpleasantly). A good stretch after all of this would be ideal, she thought as she poured the slightly less steaming water into her cup. She blew at her tea once with an extended sigh, then drank it in four solid gulps. When she was done she stared into her cup, her hand unmoving and her expression one of stone. Within her cup, though none could see it, was a bat navigating its way through the clouds. A troubling journey with a disappointing end. Beyond that, past the clouds as they hung ominously low in a tiny sky, a comet descended from the heavens. An unexpected visitor. Well, no longer unexpected, she supposed. Without voicing insight into her own fortune, the seer turned her cup over, wet leaves sticking mostly to the bottom of the bowl before she placed it upside down in the saucer. What or whoever awaited them in the auspicious days ahead, she would be ready.
  5. You're delightful to read!

  6. Enid cast a glance over her shoulder at Evey as she teased her with a thumb-sized cube of steak, greyish on the sides and pink in the middle. She still turned her nose up at the notion of cooked meat. It tasted foul, she thought, and had been drained of far too much blood. Mind you, the seer rarely ate meat of any kind (too much iron was not pleasant on her stomach), but when she did nothing but fresh would do. She did not hide a small sneer of disgust at the food as she returned her attention to the kitchen. She didn't seem to notice that she'd also been paid a compliment. Matti's voice boomed in the witch's ears and caused her body to jump just an inch in surprise. She would never be accustomed to that voice. She was accustomed to quieter company, though the golem was, at least, their most civil companion by far. The problem with the golem was not in his manner, nor his ability, but in his potential. Rather, the problem was not his, but Enid's, for she could not see his potential, his fate, no matter how she tried. It might have been nothing, but a being with no foreseeable future (however it might contradict its nature) was a wild card. The sooner she could read his tea leaves, the sooner she would be at ease..she hoped. “I....I'm sure it will be fine, Sir Steward.” she assured the stone being as he muddled through the minutia of his task. She raised a brow at Kalyna, who's laugh reminded her very much of a chirping cricket. (Whether or not it sounded like one was debatable, but that hardly mattered to Enid). “I think I mistook your name before,” she said to the tech specialist with no discerning inflection, “You seem to me like a Cricket now.” She tilted her head to one side, then shrugged and allowed the pair to pass out of the kitchen. Matti poured the water and Enid allowed it to steep for a few minutes while Arthur reviewed what, for the most part, they already knew. Still, it was good to review the plan while they prepared for the reading. The seer needed them to be focused on the task at hand, if nothing else so their minds were on the immediate future. Too often a person's mind would wander beyond the foreseeable and alter their reading to reflect a much longer timeline. That would do them no good here. When she felt the tea was ready, she brought the teapot around the table, pouring from the left hand side of each participant. She stopped beside Matti and hesitated before pouring his tea. “I understand that you don't need to eat or drink, but can you? Drink, that is?” she spoke to him in a sort of whisper. Arthur was still talking at this point. “If you cannot, then...well, pour the tea where one normally drinks, and be sure to leave just a little at the bottom.” Loose bits of leaf and spice floated freely in his cup, as they did in everyone's. They'd turned the water a light, yellowish green. “Drink at your leisure. Remember to leave just a bit at the bottom of your cup. And drinking a bit of leaf won't kill you,” she added, casting a sideways glance in Arthur's direction. Enid's own cup was last, but she would not fill it until she had circled the table once more and given everyone else a proper reading. As requested, Evey was first. “Your cup, Miss Fox, if you are done with it.” Enid asked in an almost genteel manner. She extended her hand and took the jade cup when she was ready to offer it. “Hmm..” she breathed audibly, turning the cup in her hand once, as though to get a better look. “I see....a table. A happy interlude. This is now, perhaps, or something near enough to the present. And there's an axe. A sign that you have the power to overcome the trials ahead. Or else you mean to chop the table with an axe, though very few symbols translate so literal.” Was that a joke? The seer's expression was too flat to tell. “There's also, hmm...I see a bear. A grouchy and difficult person inhabits your future. Little surprise, that.” She moved on. Arthur was, of course, seated next to Evey, so he would be next. Enid waited beside him, tapping her foot as she waited for him to down the bulk of his tea. Wordlessly, she held out her open palm for the cup when it was done. When she looked into the bowl of the cup her posture stiffened. “There,” she said, pointing to a smear of dregs, “A beacon. The situation calls for your leadership. And next to it, the wolf.” It might have been a humorous coincidence, but nothing about the seer's expression seemed entertained by it. “Betrayal.” There was a brief silence, allowing for a moment of reflection on that implication. There were many forms of betrayal, but not all came from outside of a person. She continued, “And the hare. Something important is just over the horizon. It seems to me that the wolf is chasing the hare, driving it toward its destiny.”
  7. Enid was gone a short while as the rest of her party milled about their given tasks with no looming sense of dread or urgency. Most average people experienced a healthy twinge of fear prior to a reading, either because they don't know what to expect, or because they know exactly where fate will lead them and would rather avoid confronting it. Of course none of their party could be considered average by any reasonable measure. They were each malformed, the witch thought: A series of misshapen puzzle pieces fitting together despite forming no cohesive picture as a whole. There were a few gaps here and there, and some pieces fit just a bit too snug, but all in all they had created a very casual atmosphere for one another. Good, she thought. It was so difficult to read a person through their apprehension, like trying to spot stars through mist. When she did emerge, Enid had changed her general manner and appearance. She wore a long, conservative dress that was black at the neck and faded to burgundy all the way down. There were speckles like stars deftly hidden in the folds of her skirt that would peek out with each floating step as she crossed the threshold from her room to their shared quarters. She had a ghostlike manner of moving now; uncalculated and flowing in each subtle gesture. She went first to the dining room and addressed the three that were there with a deep nod that could have been mistaken for a bow. “Thank you kindly, Miss Fox,” she said to Evey, “for setting the table. But, oh- Where is my teapot?” She followed the length of the table with her gaze before spotting it just beyond where Arthur was seated (and noticeably salivating). “There you are.” she spoke to the teapot in a way that seemed a bit too sincere, as though it might respond and apologize for having misplaced itself. The witch cast a speculative glance at her friend's plate as she passed, before scooping up the empty teapot with a needless flourish. “I shall never understand the appeal of seared meat.” she said, “You've gone and cooked all of the flavor away.” The Spring witch reached across the table as she spoke, shooing Kalyna's dragonfly away just as it had replaced the lid on Enid's tea tin. It was not an especially aggressive or spiteful gesture, but one can't help shooing a bug, even if it is only that in appearance. “Once we are together, Wolf, I want you to revisit our basic plan. Give everyone a chance to consider the part they play and what they mean to take away from the endeavor. That is, if you would be so kind?” The last bit was more of a courtesy than a question. Tasseography, like any other form of divination, was not a direct process, but it would most certainly help to have everyone focused on the task ahead. “If you would lower the lights, please, Sir,” she asked of Tenkai as she sprinkled loose tea leaves into the open pot. The dregs were what the Seer would use to divine meaning, so she needn't bother with a strainer. She hoped (and knowingly doubted) that nobody was opposed to pulp in their tea. “Hmm...” she hummed, peering into the dry bottom of the jade pot. She replaced the lid on the tin, then circled the table to reach the kitchen door. “Is the water almost ready?” she asked as she peered through the doorway with a very faint line of concern between her brows.
  8. The seer witnessed the following events as they transpired in a different time, altered by the nature of her perception. Everything seemed to move at a sluggish pace, enough that she could see exactly what was coming, but not soon enough that she could do anything about it. She hated these little episodes of stretched time, though there were much worse scenarios in which to have them. So it went: Arthur's attempt to deflect her attack failed by way of distraction, she (somewhat clumsily) struck her mark, and a wild flurry of cake and icing spattered across her face. With a heavy sigh, Enid withdrew her foil and stepped away from the bout with a wounded sense of dignity. The frustration was evident in the slump of her shoulders as she dropped her weapon, causing it to clatter against the stone of the balcony floor with a distinctly flat sound. Victory without honor was hardly a victory at all, she thought as she scraped sugary confection from her cheek with her gloved fingers. She examined the sweet mess before resigning herself to a half shrug and licking the frosting from her hand. “Oh!” she said, her posture lifting, “Velvet.” With that she plucked a delicate looking handkerchief from her pocket and shook it twice before wiping her face with it. “I think,” the witch said to her fencing partner, “that is enough for today. Take care of the equipment for me, will you, Wolf? I need a moment to freshen up.” Enid hooked the tip of her boot under the balance of her foil and kicked it to Arthur, apparently having abandoned her predilection for civility and form (for the time being, at least). She turned now to their audience, taking advantage of their attention to direct them as she required. “Miss Fox,” she said to Evey, looming perhaps a bit too close for comfort, “I must thank you for sharing your cake with me, but I never indulge in sweets without a proper cup of tea to have with it. My hat box is tucked under the dining table. Would you kindly open it and retrieve my tea set from within? You may have to dig a little deep, but I promise you that I have enough cups to serve everyone.” Enid surveyed the group with a steady gaze that suggested they would have no choice in the matter. She then looked to Tenkai, “And sir, if you would please help Miss Fox to set the table, it would be most appreciated.” Stepping past them, she moved on to their golem companion and his tinkering friend. “Sir Steward, Miss Shadow, may I ask you to boil some water for the tea? I intend to do a reading, you see, and I find that boiling the water myself sometimes clouds it with preconceptions. I wouldn't want any of your...our fortunes altered.” Enid eyed the golem up and down without meaning to, wondering to herself whether or not such a being could even drink at all. No matter, she thought. She would do her best to work with the problem if it presented itself. Boiling water was not a two person job, but the seer felt that Matti would almost certainly break something if left to manage his own strength unsupervised. “Thank you all.” Enid stepped over the threshold into their temporary lodging, gesturing over her shoulder with the dirty handkerchief in a sort of farewell-for-now, and tugging at her collar with the other hand. “I will join you shortly.”
  9. “Hmph!” the witch scoffed at his reckless disregard for etiquette. This was why, she thought, Wolf had only two friends back in their school days. The pair had met at University more years ago than Enid cared to count (as any measure of time was, in her opinion, arbitrary), and little had changed about her friend's demeanor since. He was a gruff, headstrong, confrontational, and often bitter man. You can imagine her surprise when the lone Wolf rallied almost an entire squad of mages (and one monk) for the lucrative occasion. She was not yet certain what to make of the rest of their company. They were a motley crew with all too much and, at the same time, not enough in common. Evelynn, or Fox as the witch called her, was Wolf's mate, and better suited to alchemical work and potions than combat. Still, the woman was resourceful, and Enid had yet to see the extent of her capability. Something in the subtle threads of destiny told her not underestimate Ms. Fox. The Steward, as she had come to call their golem companion, was about as delicate and subtle as an avalanche and twice as deadly given the incentive. His gentle soul, however, would compensate for his sheer, destructive mass many times over. The other woman with them was his Shadow, as well as his protector. The witch had named her accordingly. The last of their group...the monk- He was a mystery to the seer in ways that she couldn't quite name and, as a result, she found that giving him a proper name was no simple task. Certainly he had given her one to use, and it was a name to which he was accustomed, but it did not ring true in her ears. Almost no original names did. So she kept their interactions short and simple, at least until the seer had a better understanding of his being. “Showing etiquette is a sign of respect to your opponent,” she replied with a slight edge on an otherwise flat tone, “And if you don't respect me, I have little choice but to make an example of you.” The conversation flowed as easily as the pale light glinting across the metal of their blunted weapons. Despite her irritation at Wolf's general manner, she enjoyed the banter. As Arthur pushed her blade aside, the motion left her posture open and momentarily prone. Recognizing the ark of Arthur's foil, she shifted her shoulder forward and ducked left in an offline pass that narrowly avoided the hit. Having taken the briefest of seconds to correct her posture, Enid was now positioned to retaliate with a thrust aimed just under his leading arm.
  10. “You forget your manners, Wolf,” the witch replied in turn, raising her sword in a salute to her old opponent. The line of the blade cut the image of her stern face into two perfect halves, one of which was almost certainly smirking, though it was difficult to tell. With a flourish of her foil she shifted into a slightly wider stance, matching Arthur's posture after he'd signaled en garde. They'd done this very song and dance more times in the past than she could count, but the seer was reluctant to admit that she hadn't kept with the practice as well as the confident tilt of her chin suggested. Enid, much like Arthur and many of the individuals in their party, was a perfectly average person, save one or two striking details. She was, for example, about as tall as her sparring partner (give or take): a fact that was emphasized by a trim and somewhat masculine frame. She had a slightly hooked nose that was certainly noticeable, but matched her face in such a way that it couldn't have belonged to anyone else. (I suppose we can all claim this of our own noses, eyes, ears, and unspeakable, but distinct moles). Enid was also entirely and unmistakably green from head to toe. A pleasant green, mind you. A light, soft green of Spring just before the advent of Summer. Her eyes, on the other hand, were more of a jade, or so she liked to think. Jade was a much prettier word than green. It held more value, significance, and had more class to it. To perfect the appearance of a witch on all ends, her hair was quite dark and remarkably strait. She kept it trimmed short and somewhat angular. Her bangs were a strait line over her brows, hiding some of the expression in her eyes. Enid's attire was similar to Arthur's in most ways. Her ensemble, however, was entirely black to suit her preference, and she favored a gambeson without sleeves to allow some skin to breathe. Dark clothing was very warm, after all, and she was reluctant to let her new companions see her sweat. They were a fine, if odd bunch thus far, but she had yet to do a proper reading for each of them. There was an ominous cloud on their collective horizon. That the fortune teller didn't yet know what that cloud was...well, it was unsettling. A friendly bout was a welcome distraction from the shadows of what was yet to come, though she could have done without an audience. “Pret,” Enid said, signaling that she was ready. Arthur, or Wolf as she called him, thrust his foil before either of them had called allez, which was a bit rude in her opinion. It was, quite literally, the equivalent of calling 'ready, set', and then running before 'go'. A twitch of irritation pulled at the corners of her mouth as she quick stepped back, leaning to narrowly evade the reach of his foil as she raised hers to parry. That sound, like sharpening cutlery, sang a sweet, scraping song as the seer pivoted her back foot, shifting her weight forward for a riposte aimed at his chest. “Your animal side has robbed you of civility, old friend,” she said in an even, if chastising tone. After all, there is a way that things are done, and without abiding such rules one is little more than an animal. In Arthur's case that was at least half true.
  11. Spinel could do nothing but accept that the old woman of the temple meant to teach his Sapphira something of value in her confinement.  Though he knew better than to question her wisdom, and though he knew that no true harm had been done, he couldn’t help but feel a small ember, the slightest spark of anger ignite within.  He hid it well.  Stepping away from Sapphira, the young man who seemed to have little to no power at all felt a subtle shift in his core, like old coal struggling to catch fire.  The color of his eyes shifted to that of burnt ember, but as quickly as the shift had come, so did it pass.  His gaze was blue again, and set upon his twin.     She bid him go and make their arrangements for the night; a task he was happy to do if it meant a little time apart.  “Alright. I’ll come back in an hour,” he told her, showing what little faith he had that she would herself by then, if ever.  He could have left her with a light jest, but his heart wasn’t in it.  Jamming his hands into his pockets, he left her at a casual stride.     Finding someone to talk to at the temple wasn’t as difficult as Sapphira had made it seem upon arrival.  Spinel got the impression that, by and large, most of the people who worshiped there were sociable and very kind.  And though he was almost certain their lodgings wouldn’t be ‘ideal’, he’d easily arranged for them to stay at the temple that night.  (Given their circumstances, they might not have the chance to leave before nightfall anyway).  Now it seemed his only concern was filling the time between.  After all, he’d come along to babysit his arguably evil twin, which was no longer necessary.  Before long, the tall, lanky, dark haired boy found himself wandering the temple halls, admiring the religious art without context.     Spinel recalled the stories his grandfather told them as children, about his God and the power of faith.  He’d been a healer in his time, among other things.  Spinel had always admired his paternal grandfather for the strength of his character and spirit.  For a while he wanted to be just like old Sieg, who’s name had become the stuff of legends..  But that wouldn’t happen.  No amount of faith would give him what Sieg and Sapphira and his mother and father all had.  In some ways, though, it was a blessing not to bear the weight of power, as they all had in their own right.     Before long the temple was called to mass.  Spinel allowed himself to be swept along by the bustle of parishioners shuffling to get to the sermon.  Surely Sapphira could wait a little longer before he went to check on her.  
  12. While her husband was as fit as the day he'd met her, Lovi had grown a bit weaker with age.  That's not to say that she'd lost her form in middle age.  In fact, the courtesan had grown with the grace of a swan.  Time, however, was more evident in her posture.  She had the stiff arch of a woman who knew the world in ways you couldn't imagine, and carried the weight of experience on her shoulders.  She still towered over Tres by a noticeable margin, evident even as they sat leaning over the bar counter.     "I have little patience for questions," Lovi remarked to Tres on a casual undertone, "And we can always use the extra coin.."  She raised her glass to her lips and listened patiently as the other two made their exchange.  Her partner seemed eager enough for the opportunity, but something pulled at the back of her mind in a way that didn't sit well.  She was skeptical.     "Ten thousand seems a bit off, given the circumstances." she replied, her tone even, but firm, "Discretion comes at a cost, after all.  If it was something discrete, or inconsequential enough to mail by post, you would have.  If you're asking for couriers, then I can only assume that the shipment in question is quite important, even dangerous..."  She cast the bartender a cool, solid stare.  Her gaze was cool, but not off putting.  
  13. It was difficult to contain a subtle smile, genuine.  Boring?  "Yes," she agreed, "It is."   "....For a change of pace, though?  I don't know."  Lovi ceased swirling her brandy and took a long, hard swig.  "I could do with a scuffle or two.  Nothing devastating, just enough to break the hum."  She shrugged and took another drink.  The hum to which she referred was the drone of a habitual life.  Average people followed rituals they weren't even aware of, drifting day by day through a routine that could be considered mass if the world could be called a church.  Perhaps the bar was their altar, a place to offer communion to those who would accept the blood of the mundane.    "Of course," she added with a sideways nod, "We could go dancing. Not the way we used to, but..."  She trailed off, smiling at a memory that was warm and tangible, if a little awkward at the time.  She rubbed the back of his hand absently with her thumb.  She laughed, a low dry chuckle in the back of her throat, "Come to think of it, we haven't fought over anything in a long while. Maybe this place is boring the fire right out of us."
  14. Spinel's expression shifted from mild amusement to urgency and panic.  Sapphira was sinking into the floor like sand through an hourglass, which was most certainly not a normal occurrence.  Spinel was no coward, but he was also not brash and fearless the way his sister was.  He took a stride back away from the sinkhole that threatened to swallow Sapphira almost entirely.  He motioned to assist her when the threat had passed, but the old woman, whoever she was, had made herself known by then.   The panic that had brought his heart to a steady trot subsided at the old woman's soft, but decisive tone.  He understood now that this was just a stern slap on the wrist.  A deserved one at that.  With a relieved sigh he raised a steady hand and knocked his sister firmly upside the head.  She was tougher than he, she'd be more annoyed than injured.   "Please," he beckoned to the old priestess, "My sister 'means' to apologize and ask that you let her back up....please.  Right, Saphy?"  He crouched down and gave her a prompting look that was somewhere between serious and amused.  
  15. Lovi smiled and looked him over with a skeptical stare.  "You couldn't put a dead goat out of business," she joked, though the implication and the colloquialism were equally off-color.  Lovi originated from a strange, isolated place.  Maybe the phrase would have been more common or sensical where she was from, but as it was she just sounded...odd.  Oddness, however, was often quite endearing.   She thanked the barkeep with a nod and a gesture as he placed her brandy before her.  She didn't drink it right away, but instead swirled the dark liquid around her glass, catching her reflection in the surface of it.  She thought about his question for a while, barley looking at their apparently rustic surroundings.   "It is not quite home," she admitted, reaching across the counter to place her hand over his.