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.Lucis DuGrace.

[-The Broken Chant Tavern-]

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Sir had the grace to look ashamed, "Sadly, I cannot tell her it would pain her head - there was an - accident - it stripped away her memories. Believe me, we have tried to restore them, several different ways. It just slipped from her brain as soon as it was there - anything that triggers a memory causes her terrible pain.... A permanent after effect of the... accident." 

He looked away for a moment, he couldn't hear the bells in her hair and wondered for a moment what trouble she was getting into. When he saw she was still talking he relaxed and refocused on his new companion. 

"She does more than read minds - that is not what makes me think she may have dragon in her."  He said, "She can breathe a jet stream of fire that it could damn near set an village on fire...My tail has been singed more than once. Ice too - that one is more uncontrollable . We agreed she would only use that one in dire circumstances and for very good reason. She has an unnatural love of flying for a human, she tries to find any way she can to come as close to flying without wings as she can. Her parentage is a mystery, she was found and adopted by the mummers, she could be just about anything really." 

His tongue felt dry and he let it loll out of his mouth a moment before making a smacking sound, he needed some fire water or whiskey. If he asked, Zafira would probably pour him a nice big bowl, dig out some Tambur strings , if there were any left, and play for him. She always made sure he had a good beer or whiskey and a song to go with it. He looked over to ask and she was gone....

"shit!"

 

Zafira followed the glow she saw and watched the tree morph and change before her eyes. She couldn't keep her mouth closed - the whole tree changed - the whole thing! 

"So this is how you stay out of the sun!" She exclaimed, "Way cool!" 

She ran over, ignored the staircase, and jumped up, catching a low hanging branch and expertly climbing up the tree until she was sitting on the structure's roof. She sat and let her leg hang over the side, the other folded under her. Admiring the world from her new vantage point, she smiled, greeting the sun that now touched her face. The wind tussled her hair causing the bells in her hair to tinkle softly. 

"We shall simply have to find a way for you to enjoy this so you don't fry." She called down to Alimar.

She sat in joyous thought for a moment, "If only there was some way to block out the harmful part of the sun - like a little cloud - or a great big sun umbrella!"

She took a breath in and let it out with a shrug, "Ah well- I am sure it will come to me eventually!" 

She began to rifle through her bag, looking for something. The bag had, not surprisingly, lost it. She closed it and shook it until she could hear things rattling around in it. She opened it again and peered in, finding what she was looking for. A replacement string for the broken one on the Tambur. She re-stringed it and made a test strum, it sounded horribly out of tune, she adjusted one of the knobs, plucking the string until it sounded just right. 

"Sir says the only way to greet a beautiful day like this is with music!" She said happily and began to play. 

 

 

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"I see...breath weapons are a different story... She must be a powerful breed of dragon if she is able to use more than one element though... Alimar could tell you more about them. He's read more on the subject...They are more of fiction to us, none really know too much about them than just what they have in storybooks," admit the stag with a paw of his hoof. Noticing his concern, Roshia nickered with amusement then gestured towards the treeline. "They are fine. He has taken to the trees for safety. The sun rises, and he is surely weary from travel. Come, I shall lead you to them if you like." He began to trek back into the treeline, not making a mess this time.

 

The elf's ears perked with surprise as he turned around, the tree finishing the last of its transformations. "O-Oh! You startled me... " he said as he clutched at his chest as she approached. "Yes, I... It scares some people, so I try not to do it in front of people."

The girl seemed to be more interested in finding her perch than his words as she scaled the tree like some sort of tree rodent. He smiled with amusement. He then entered inside of the tree's domain, preparing his little den as she explored and shuffled about. He unpacked his things, preparing his bedding and set up soft lights amongst the interior of the tree's design. As she strung her instrument, his ears twitched softly at the sound of the strings tuning. He wandered to the side of the tree, the branches parting just the slightest to make a hole for him to see out of into the tree's tops where the sun shined down on the lass while she played her tambur. A familiar feeling swelled deep inside of him as he watched the sun's rays drift through the trees and settle down into the forest floor. A smile crossed his lips before he swiftly turned and began to rustle about his pack. 

 

The stag made his way through the trees and perked his ears up to the sound of music. "Oh? Is this that instrument you spoke of?" asked Roshia. Soon to follow called the sound of a lovely flute.  The chipper sound sang through the trees as they came into a small cluster of trees. "Ah, I should have known he wouldn't go to bed so easily..." he nickered once more as his eyes filled with a soft doting for the elf lad. "Once he gets playing, it doesn't matter how long he's been up or what he's been through; he gains a fresh spring in his step."

 

And that the lad did. Alimar had arisen from the tree's trunk with his flute, with his eyes closed, his cloak and shoes missing, apparently tucked away within the tree. He swayed with his upbeat song, expression changing as he went along. His passion for music and need to explore spilling over as he played. It had even led him to the tops of the trees with Zafira. His eyes slowly opened as he felt the sun on his face. He basked in the light with such a relief, like a plant begging to be watered, he soaked in all the sun he could while his song rang true.

 

"...I know it may seem strange for someone to be so excited to see the sun...but Alimar's skin condition makes it so that he cannot be exposed to the sun's rays for a long period of time. Because of this, he has been fairly sheltered by his parents. However, his spirit continued to lead him outside of his parent's protective shell they cast him. He claims it is the call of not only the forest but the world that dares him to venture outside. Abiet he is a kind natured soul; he is naive. If he is to travel in this world..." His words seemed to lose themselves in the bittersweet thought. "Please...make sure he does not fall into harm's way," the proud stag begged softly, his gaze remained glued to the elf atop the trees, refusing to connect with the canine's. 

 

As the song was brought to an end, he slowly lowered his flute and looked out into the forest. He never tired of its beauty. His lips curled as he looked towards the sun with closed eyes. "...The sun's light is so wonderful," he whispered. "I never tired of gazing at it... Even if it was just through my windows atop of the walls of my room."

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Sir looked up at Roshia, hearing the plea in his voice

"His travels in this world will certainly open his eyes." He said, "Whether the world corrupts that innocence....well that is up to him and how he chooses to meet whatever the fates may put in his path. Greatness does not come from being sheltered, but living. Zafira is very savvy and street smart - though she gets into a lot of trouble, she knows enough to keep them both out of serious trouble...most of the time."

The sounds of their music playing perked Sir's ears, he felt a rush of energy, they must be enjoying the sounds greatly for him to feel this much energy from them. 

 

As the sounds of the Tambur and the flute faded into the air, Zafira took in a deep happy breath. 

"...The sun's light is so wonderful," Alimar whispered, "I never tired of gazing at it... Even if it was just through my windows atop of the walls of my room."

"Mmmm..." She agreed. 

Another peaceful pause passed, realization slowly dawning of Zafira that Alimar was out in the sun, no cloak to shield him or anything. 

"Agghk!" She leapt up, attempting to tackle him back into the shade, "You will cook! What are you doing up here!"

She failed in her efforts as he was much larger than her and she nearly tumbled off the top of the tree herself. She scrambled back to her bag and began rifling through it, various noises coming from her mad searching. 

She pulled out a thick, wide brimmed hat and leapt up, stuffing it down over his head and ears. It looked ridiculous with its flowery ribbon flowing in the breeze behind him. 

"I think it suits you..." she said trying to hide her smirk and failing horribly. 

She cleared her throat to work the laughter out of it, trying to prevent it from bubbling up, she shouldn't laugh, she really shouldn't....but the white hat sat perched slightly lopsided on his head, the long flowery ribbon attached to it flapping in the breeze proudly. It really was a serious moment, he shouldn't be in the sun, he could get hurt...but that hat!

"I haven't had the pleasure of playing with another skilled musician in a long while." She said, trying to distract herself from the silly hat, "That was quite enjoyable." 

 

Edited by DarkHorse
OOC- we could probably start a different thread at this point for the story line

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Roshia's ears flicked back, very much displeased with his answer. "Your words lack confidence as well as comfort... Though perhaps I shelter him too much as well. He will not grow if he is not allowed to spread his wings and learn to fly. Even if that means he has to fall in order to do so," the mighty stag grumbled.

 

"Oh, come now, I'm not That del--" Alimar flinched as the hat was stuffed upon his head, covering his snow-white hair. "H-Hey! By the elements--what are you--?" the elf blurted as he struggled for his balance at the surprise assault. The hat was pulled down over his eyes, and he struggled with it for a moment, looking at it with bewildered eyes. His fingers reached up to grab the ribbon, curiously flexing the brim of the hat to look at it. "What is this?" he asked curiously. He flexed all of the sides in wonderment, twisting the ribbon and examining it. He quirked a brow at her statement, reading her obvious signs of laughter, but only growing more confused. Was there something on his face? "Uuuh...huuuhhh..." he mused aloud before grabbing an acorn and tossing it at her. "I get the sense you're fibbing."

The ribbon sailed about, wrestling the winds with his tousled hair. He gazed out along the trees and stared at the landscape. A soft grunt left his throat as he agreed. "This is the first time I've ever looked at the land with anyone else too," he turned to look at her with a smile. "It's nice to share it with someone." The moment was serious...but it's hard to take anything seriously when you look like Miss Nesbitt.
 

Spoiler

This is true... I was thinking the same, though I am not sure where to relocate the thread... Thus I have lingered here for a while ^^;; Never roleplayed in a place that sectioned off places this detailed before.
(Also I have no idea what it is with me and the Disney references these last few posts...)

 

 

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She sat at the bar, while Frank was busy -- as always -- polishing a wine glass with a clean cotton dishrag. Vivian examined him with her green eyes, scrutinizing the slow decay that followed all mortal men and women. She didn’t spend much time with humans because it was too  much of a painful reminder of her own lost mortality. Never would she age, never would she feel the cruel scythe of time cut trenches into the ripe beauty of her youth. If death ever did come, she would meet it within the same body and face that she had worn three hundred years ago when she was just a young woman of twenty five. And so it was that any amount of time she spent in the company of humans served as an uncomfortable reminder of not just what she had gained but what she had lost -- namely, her little sister whose bones had probably turned to dust by now.

 

“Are you sure I can’t get you something to drink?” Frank asked her, breaking the awkward silence that had settled between them after he had commented on how little he had seen of her lately.

 

“Yeah, I am still waiting on some people. But maybe you can get us a bottle of whiskey ready, bring it over to that table over there” she replied with a nod of her head and a bounce of golden hair. It was cut short, as always, so it fell past her ears but hoovered just above her slim, round shoulders, which were notably bare. Rather than taking on the more utilitarian garb as she snuck out into the streets of Versilla after leaving her husband satisfied and sleeping soundly in their bed, she had dressed up -- or rather down -- in a tube-top dress that fit her like a second skin, with a length that fell below her grain by just a few inches. The fabric was black and shimmered with what looked like thousands of sewn on lustrous fish scales.

 

She looked woefully out of place, and yet the severity of her posture, the frightening stillness of her entire form, and the harshness of her green eyes paired with the simply detached expression on her beautiful face made the mere idea of questioning her for anything simply out of the question. Like some dangerous but regal beast, some feline predator, she lounged where she wished and looked utterly comfortable while doing so. While nearly any other woman who looked and was dressed like her would have found it impossible to avoid unwanted attention, with Vivian there was a healthy radius of open chairs.

 

Beautiful but unapproachable, Vivian tapped glass-like fingernails on the bartop. She was waiting for the arrival of a handful of knights. It seemed that the queen’s second coronation had been occasion enough to attract the few remaining members of the Black Heart, unfortunately things had not ended well. News was spreading of Gabriela’s disappearance, and she took it as a flatout miracle that she might be able to touch base with her fellow knights. Although they didn’t owe Gabriela anything, being that she had all but disappeared and abandoned her responsibilities as monarch, Vivian had to hope that there was some loyalty left in those whom she had once brought together. She wasn’t doing this for the Queen of Orisia, but rather for her Maker -- her Sire.

 

But it was getting late and still there was no sign of Quinn, Lyrae, or Justus.

 

She got to her feet and tugged on the short hem of her dress to make sure she wasn’t giving anyone a free look up her skirt and then made her way to the table she had pointed out to Frank. It was a round table with four chairs around it, and unlike the rest of the tables that littered the open space of the parlor, this one sat between two lights and therefore was nested in shadows. A dark and quiet corner seemed rather appropriate for this sort of thing. Orisia hardly seemed like the place they had all found when Gabriela had first called them to the order -- now there were vampyric knights and monstrous demonic guards.

 

“Out with the old and in with the new,” she mused aloud as her heels clicked against the wooden floor, carrying her across the room as if she were floating on air. She was grace and temptation incarnate. She stopped suddenly and glanced over her shoulder at Frank, whom she caught gazing after her with a less than innocent expression on his wrinkled old face. “Four glasses, you old pervert.”

 

The bartender glared at her, “why put the goods on display if you don’t want people examining them?”

 

“You’re not the kind of buyer I am looking for, stay in your lane,” she lifted a slender arm and with a lovely, white hand she flicked him off.

 

“I know I can’t afford it, but I can window shop, can’t I?”

 

They both laughed as Vivian sank into her chair and into the shadows.

 

@Roen @-Lilium- @Eternity

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After the failing coronation of the Queen, Justus had lead Charlotte to his quarters in the main living quarters of the Black Heart Knights. Since then they had move towards the Broken Chant Tavern where he would see a familiar face in Frank the barkeep who always slaved away in the tavern over the years. Having left Charlotte asleep in the room they were currently staying in, Justus descended the stairs of the Inn portion of the tavern towards the main space for patrons to take drink and meat, enjoying the company of others or brooding alone in the corner.

Reaching the end of the stairwell Justus would stop just through the doorway towards the active part of the tavern, his silver eyes scanning over the few patrons that took part in the art of drink. It was nice to see that not much had changed over the years, and how much it was still the same from the days he truly served his Queen.

Stepping from the shadows of the stairwell doorway, Justus would pass the bar towards a table where he spotted a familiar face. Noticing Vivian sat awaiting him and those few knights that still remained in Orisia, Justus would approach from behind her, “It has been far too long..” With those words spoken, Justus took up a chair next to the fellow Knight of the Order.

@Pasion Pasiva 

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An evoking summons reached her by the grace of black feathered wings. How it had come to find her is expressed by the words scrawled across wax stamped parchment. Pale fingers almost crumple the delicate strength of the words beneath them. Their ever growing ashen tone due to the stagnant waste of golden magma in her veins. Memory serves to deter acceptance, but hesitation prevails upon her. A second glance of irradiated eyes, however, molds the decision.

Arduous thoughts of Veelos tremble along shaded pools of memory. Causing ripples to cascade along their smooth surfaces before colliding. It all appears coincidental, her having finally decided to return home being met with need from an old acquaintance. Or could the Knight of Prudence be called such after they had somehow managed to endure such devastation together…? Lyrae takes a moment to ponder on the ‘luck of the draw’ that she calls survival. They both being of similar nature, yet of very different undead quality.

 
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
 

But of course the unquestionable Reverence she pays to the DuGrace family, holds fast. Homage to Lucis in the momentum of a threat had not done a thing for her, save to assist her ability to dissolve into the shadows; having felt the Order of the Black Heart’s pulse fading.

It takes a few days ride, full of apprehensive thought, for the knight to emerge as requested. The date in question gave her ample time to steady the trembling in her dead heart. A hollow darkness that does little more than breed reminders of a life never lived. Wasted potential.

These are the shadows that cling to her shoulders. Haunting every aspect of her nature in an attempt to darken and foul a once luminescent mind. Young, frail, and lively. Doused like a candle caught in the whirl of a tornado.

 

da6d8e9a2b422f96cb2e375702f46200.jpg

 
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
 

There is little time left to dwell on old matters, while dusty boots tap against the slatted wooden floor of The Broken Chant Tavern. Not quite on the heels of Justus, but close enough to place an adage after his comment.

Indeed it has.

The Knight of Reverence, follows along. Taking a seat with an expression no warmer than the drinks on the table, Lyrae dips her chin in short greeting.

 
   
   
   
   
   
   
   
                       
Edited by -Lilium-

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An easy task it was, seeking out his wife. By now, Alazar was well familiar with Vivian’s aura, the sensation of her presence, and the feel of her mind. He needed only to follow the trails they left, drawing closer to the point of their origin, and he would find her. He had tracked her down once in this way before, which had led to him saving her life from a would-be murderer, and he wondered what compelled him to follow her this time. Perhaps it was the tension in her eyes he had noticed as of late, or the swift determination in her recent movements, or the pensive thought behind her crystal stare.

Whatever it was, she wasn’t going to get away with anything without him knowing!

He stopped before the entrance to the Broken Chant Tavern, tilting his head up to look at the sign swinging slowly in the warm night breeze. It had been quite a while since he had visited the tavern, but he remembered with pleasure the bartender Frank and the exquisite drinks he had procured from the place. He figured Vivian wanted to weave her plots in such a place – a common, unsuspicious place like this would do fine.

Alazar had dressed the part of a common citizen, abandoning his usual black and white attire for a light blue tunic and navy slacks, embroidered with complex knots and intricate weavings around the rising throat and loose-fitting sides. While becoming, it was simple enough to not draw much attention, and the only sign he was something more than a normal patron was the natural grace with which every vampire moved. Smoothing back his hair, dyed to a simple coal black, he entered the tavern.

Frank looked up with a smile, and Alazar saw that the tavern’s owner recognized him… and the sudden wary look in his eyes confirmed all of Alazar’s suspicions that he wasn’t supposed to be here.

In any case, there she was, and already two others were there, a man and woman, with one chair left empty, still awaiting a fourth schemer. Who were they? Alazar did not wonder long – by their attire and disciplined composure, he could guess they were soldiers. Knights, even.

Knights of the disbanded Order of the Black Heart. Vivian hadn’t spoken too much of them and easily brushed away any questions he had, but it seemed they’d never left her mind.

He couldn’t be sure, of course, and sauntered over to Vivian, resting his hands on the back of her chair and leaning down to whisper in her ear.

“A stable relationship means communication and no secrets, love.”

Edited by The Hummingbird

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The scent of soap and clean sweat came in from the balmy Orisian night, followed by Quinn. Opening and closing the oaken doors behind him on well-oiled brass hinges, the knight turned and dabbed idly at his damp forehead on the sleeve of his arm, breathing out a gusty sigh. Spring was chasing Winter out of the Somerset Isles, and with the changing seasons came the warmth and humidity. Try as he might, there was no escaping it. Like all knights and men-at-arms, Quinn removed his weapon at the door, taking it from the studs on his double-wrapped belt and hanging it up on a rack on the wall. He fiddled with it briefly to make sure it wouldn’t fall, adjusted the knife tucked near the small of his back, then swept his sleet-gray eyes throughout the room. Like the others, he had received a summons from his brethren. That it came so soon after the Orisian Queen’s disappearance was no coincidence. Finding them - two he recognized, the last pair he didn’t - Quinn nodded to himself, satisfied, and went to the bar. 

“Hey, Frank.” His smile was tired and wane, somewhat forced for the barman, though that did not mean Quinn was not happy to see him. Since his return to the capital after a year of self-imposed exile, the paladin had rarely slept, his thoughts and prayers with the Orisian Queen he was too late to save from her captors, if she was indeed taken away. That no one knew where she was or whom she was with was another mystery that remained unsolved and kept him awake at night. Frank returned the smile, still polishing the same wine glass. He jerked his head towards the three near the corner. “You’re with them?” Quinn nodded, glancing at the four briefly, then back to Frank, who was talking. “Your tab’s still open. Now I’m not saying I thought you skipped town, but..” They both laughed, Quinn longer.  “I’m starving, Frank. Do you have any of that sausage the last time I was here? With the cheeses?” Frank was already nodding, turning to set the polished glass aside. “I’ve got whiskey coming your way, too.” Quinn hummed noncommittally, turning towards the table with the four already settled. “Just..just put it on my tab, yeah? We’ll square up some other night over drinks.” 

“Uhuh. I’ll take that on faith.” Frank muttered not unkindly, making Quinn chuckle while he approached Vivian, Justus, Lyrae, and Alazar. His hard-soled boots clicked across the waxed floorboards, his gait sure and smooth, with the grace of a natural fighter. He grabbed the back of a seat and dragged it out, but paused before he actually slid into it. Temple-taught etiquette made the paladin hesitate, waiting for permission. It was a split-second force of will that he overcame the inclination and sat on his own accord. This was a meeting among friends if not like-minded individuals, and he was working on what some girl called his provincial manners. She was kind when she laughed about it on their date, but he was still flushed and embarrassed over it, even now. Looking between Vivian, Justus, and Lyrae, Quinn’s gaze settled last and longest on the standing Alazar, who gave him a most unsettling feeling. The paladin cleared his throat and decided not to stare. Instead he addressed Lyrae, who he knew better than the others. He hadn’t seen her since Veelos, which was years ago. 

“I’m sorry I’m late.” He looked at her, but he spoke for the benefit of all. “Things are hectic out there.” A master of understatement, he let that commentary settle, his gaze flicking, landing on Vivian, the green-eyed beauty. He cleared his throat, still flushed from the heat. He combed several strands of damp hair away from his eyes and adjusted the loose band that kept it all back. “What am I late for, exactly?” 
 

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As Vivian sat there, one bare knee crossed over the other, and one beautiful stiletto high-heel shoe bobbing up and down in what appeared to be an elegant display of impatience, she couldn't help but notice how awful the silence was. Frank needed something to liven the place up. Music would have done much to liven the place up, but beggars couldn’t be choosers. There weren’t many places left that would turn a blind eye to a meeting such as the one Vivian had hoped to set up. Raphael had introduced an intricate system of spies into Orisia that were loyal to a fault, and it was in large part the reason that the Queen’s Order had all but disappeared. One by one, the lesser members of the Black Heart had been found out as if they were common criminals and then outlandish charges had been leveled against them. Those who still wore the title of Noble Seven and others, who like Quinn, were beloved by the queen, had somehow been spared. Perhaps Raphael did not dare be so blatant about his take over. Whatever the cause, those precious few remaining knights found themselves in thinning company.

 

One by one the appeared. Vivian felt them before laying eyes on them, and with her mind and the shadows that she commanded, she studied there expressions, their bodies, and tasted the residue of the hard lives they had been living since the golden age of their order. Where had they all been, what had they been doing, what kind of lives had they taken once their purpose had ended? For Vivian, being the Queen’s fledgling gave her the sort of privilege that allowed her to remain relevant, protected, and eventually employed once again as one of Gabriela’s regents. She had found companionship with Alazar, and had married -- life had settled into a quiet normality since then.

 

But guilt and wonder lingered…

 

“It has been far too long…” said Justus as he approached from the rear.

 

Comfortable with her presence and with the setting, the male vampire took a seat besides the female vampire. They regarded one another quietly, and to his words, Vivian only offered a mild nod. It went without saying that it had been too long, but to hear the thought spoken aloud -- it made her heart ache.

 

“Indeed it has.”

 

She had been hopeful of Lyrae’s appearance, but had not counted on it. The woman had become all but a ghost after the horrid events that ended the lives of so many in the city of Veelos. But to see her in the flesh, it did more and more to thaw the ice in Vivian’s heart. And yet, the woman’s appereance was strange. Her flesh lacked the lovely hue of warm blood rushing through living, pulsing veins. She wanted to ask, of course she wanted to inquire -- but she thought better of it. Lyrae was changed, but the difference was far from superficial. There was a heaviness to the Knight of Reverence, a dire sort of seriousness that could only have been attained through suffering.

 

Vivian’s guilt only grew and grew. What had her fellow knights lived through when she had been lounging about in her beautiful castle, with her beautiful husband, living her beautiful new life…

 

In order to keep from staring at Lyrae, Vivian turned her green eyes onto Justus.

 

“It was a lucky thing that you were in the city. You disappeared and no one could find you, you and Charlotte -- I saw that you two were together at the coronation. That girl went missing years ago. It caused Gabriela distress, I remember.”

 

She shrugged her slender shoulders and forgot about the angelic child. Vivian had never known the girl personally, and was therefore not all that emotionally attached. What she knew, or rather what she understood of Charlotte, came directly from her bloodbond with the queen. Gabriela had seen Charlotte as a source of endless possibilities, and at some point, she had believed the girl dead. With narrowed eyes, Vivian wondered if Gabriela had even had a chance to see that the girl was not only alive and well, but present in the capital once again.

 

“And as for you,” those vivid green eyes shifted to Lyrae, but before she could speak -- before she could ask the question that was teasing the tip of her tongue -- an uninvited guest appeared.

 

The sight of Alazar was always a pleasing one. Her husband was handsome, charming, elegant -- all the things that would make any woman proud. But more importantly, she found comfort in the way that he looked at her. The weight of his love and loyalty was never missing from his thoughtful expressions, until this very moment. As he set foot within the tavern and moved across the open space in the main parlor, she saw the suspicion writ across his face and the edges of fear that marked a man uncertain of his love and his place. She also saw the strange relief upon his face as soon as he noted her. Perhaps the sight of Justus and Lyrae had undone whatever uncertainties he had been harboring.

 

It was a shame that he didn’t trust her.

 

Vivian smiled to her companions, and then looked up to her husband as he approached them, bent over, and whispered in her ear.

 

“A stable relationship means communication and no secrets, love.”

 

“There are things you do not wish to be involved in, my love -- I believe this is one such circumstances. But if you don’t mind sitting among those who would plot against the interests of our nation, then please, feel free to have a seat and whisper among those who are still loyal to the Black Queen.”

 

She had spoken from the group, a thing she did not regret -- for it was both a statement and an invitation. She wanted the others to know what this was about, and what better way to make her announcement than while putting Alazar in her place. He had been quiet and complacent too long. It was the only trait that she disliked about her husband. He had all the power to fix anything, but he remained a passive force in Genesaris, and likewise, in Orisia.

 

But it was a night of interruptions, and before her beloved could speak to either note his understanding or reprimand her for her cruelty, the door to The Broken Chant Tavern opened once again. Four sets of eyes watched as Quinn stepped in from the night and began the tedious work of removing his weapons. They all watched him in silence as he went to the bar and ordered food, something that none of them would want or need. Vivian had to wonder if he’d feel like the odd man out -- not because he was human, but because he’d be the only one delving into a plate full of sausage.

 

“I’m sorry I’m late. Things are hectic out there."

 

Quinn stood there before an audience of unnatural beings, three of them undead, and one of them a God of some sort. She regarded him kindly, and saw that her fellow monsters did the same. And when he did not move to take the last remaining chair, she motioned to it with a delicate hand.

 

“Have a seat, Quinn.”

 

That same hand that had motioned then lifted up higher and landed upon Alazar’s fingertips, which had been draped over her naked shoulder. “Darling, why don't you pull up a chair and have a drink with us. You don’t know how special this occasion is. It’s been years since there have been this many Black Heart Knights together in a room. We have become an endangered species in these parts.”

 

He looked uncertain.

 

They all did.


“What am I late for, exactly?

 

“Once upon a time, the Black Queen of Orisia tasked us with protecting her fledgling country. I suppose I called you all here to, first of all, see if any of you crazy bastards would show up,” she smiled sadly, blond hair falling forward and shading half of her face -- specifically her eyes. “But more importantly, to see how many of you still live by the oath you made to her.”

 

@-Lilium- @Roen 

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Shifting in his seat Justus watched as others like himself answered the call Vivian sent out, so very few indeed. No drink or food sat in front of this very old vampire, nor did he feel the need to indulge. His mind would take flight in thought of the angelic woman he left up in their rented room, a woman who too was concerned for the safety of the Black Queen.

The call to arms in a way he felt this was as they all sat at the old worn table in the Broken Chant Tavern. The naked feel from not carrying his sword was a feeling well used to, as Justus had spent a large part of his time without the weapon more of late unless necessary.

“I’ve been heeding what information I can catch of late, as I have been more personally serving another who too is concerned with the well being of our Queen.”

Justus’s thick accented words would fill the silence after Vivian’s, his hand moving to fold in his lap while fidgeting with the black ring he wore on his hand that carried what little magic that aided his protection from the irritating rays of the sun.

@Pasion Pasiva @-Lilium- @Roen

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Vivian commands Lyrae's attention just as she had before simply by pointing her word directly at her throat in the cutting manner of a knife. Though it holds a pity that causes the Knight of Reverence to harden further while causing her center to melt. The gentle luminous tinge of the vampire’s skin brighter now than it had been all those years ago. For reasons presented in short, by Alazar’s arrival. Vivian’s husband having become Lyrae’s temporary savior.

Despite the fretful tone currently worn there is happiness buried at its core. Lyrae cannot help but have some joy or sense of peace knowing her former comrade is happy and living. Comforts of emotion rarely afforded her these days.

Out of kindness she begins to motion to the empty seat at the table so that the gentleman might join them more comfortably… A gesture cut prematurely from it's origin, landing her gloved palm on the table.  Fingers pressing against the leather as it glides over the mottled wooden surface in retreat. By the time Quinn finds rest in his seat her hands are carefully tended by her lap.

Quinn’s arrival is met with more relief than she would normally allow. Even in life. They two had made it to the table. They're alive, and that is all that will ever matter. Could guilt and regret play a chord on her life, it would be a minute instance where she had planned to someday show Quinn her home. A journey never taken; a path overgrown by existential decay. Being that she had taken her time in returning home.

“Once upon a time, the Black Queen of Orisia tasked us with protecting her fledgling country. I suppose I called you all here to, first of all, see if any of you crazy bastards would show up,” she smiled sadly, blond hair falling forward and shading half of her face -- specifically her eyes. “But more importantly, to see how many of you still live by the oath you made to her.”

Decidedly removed from old thoughts and ideals of her own personal demise she returns a full gaze in Vivian’s direction. The glaze of distraction now dissipated, allowing sapphire hues to glow from the depths of her ethereal heart.

Always, my oath will stand.” Lyrae takes a moment of pause to gather what words she wishes to dispel before continuing on, the lack of breath in the accord ever more disparaging to her inward nature. “We have not heard much, but when she did disappear I engaged his Highness Lucis. Despite his inability to trap the lovely lady he was currently attempting to entertain, I felt a rise of despair when he saw that a Black Heart Knight was still very much in want of protecting the Queen. Unfortunately, I could not gather much more as home called for my return.

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One eyebrow raised, Alazar regarded his wife curiously. Her tone was soft, but her words rather harsh, speaking of emotions he had not been privy to. He knew Vivian was not a gentle and delicate woman, but a vampyre, full of passion and temper, perhaps even volatile at times. Such things were present now; he could feel it in the air, and hear it in her voice. Oh, she might be calm now, but soon enough…

His fingers tapped lightly against the wooden back of her chair before he straightened. He glanced toward the man who had just arrived  - another knight by the name of Quinn. The last of them, and Vivian confirmed his suspicions. There was something in the works with the disbanded Order, a plot orchestrated by Vivian. But whether that plot was a dastardly scheme or a chivalrous ploy was yet to be seen.

Alazar reached out to grasp a chair at another nearby table, swiveling it around and drawing it close to the table where the knights were arranged, seating himself. With one arm draped across the back of that chair and one leg crossed, he looked both relaxed and yet still full of authority. He was not asking for power here, of course – that was Vivian’s position, but he was still more than just the Lord of Brightstorm. He was the High Lord of Genesaris.

As far as he was concerned, Orisia was a much-beloved branch of Genesaris. Independent it was, perhaps even in the practice of isolationism from the rest of the world, but Alazar still saw it as his, and all its people, including their queen, was something to be closely watched. Protected. Guarded, while not controlled. Alazar preferred the hands-off approach, letting people reap what they sowed until the thorns they planted grew beyond their ability to manage.

He hoped that would not be the case here.

“You are all concerned for the Black Queen,” he said softly. “That I gladly hear, but please remember.” He turned his silver eyes on his wife. “Not everyone can be protected and some do not want to be. Just,” h added, “as some must be.” He smiled enigmatically, and waved for Frank to bring a cup of wine.

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Coming around the bar with a tray laden with foodstuffs and refreshments, Frank went about the tedium of laying out their table, humming a contented, jaunty drinking tune under his breath. Though the hour was late and most of the Broken Chant’s patronage had long since gone, tonight was a special occasion of sorts. He knew most, if not all of the knights seated at the table, enjoying private friendships with the men and women of the once illustrious order of Black Hearts. To see the precious few seated and talking in these dark, trying times brought a smile to his face and a flicker to his heart, and he dared to hope he was praying witness to more than just a recounting of old, nostalgic times. He was thinking of these things and more while he was setting the tumblers of whiskey out, Alastar’s clay cup of wine, and Quinn’s platter of hard sausage and soft, pungent cheeses when the paladin caught his eye. Taking out a two pronged fork and a sharp knife, the barman laid them down on the wooden platter and stepped up beside the knight. Favoring Frank with a smile, Quinn raised a hand and pressed two silver crowns into the man’s palm. It was as much money the barmen would see from a group twice their size, plus lodging in the spare rooms upstairs. Puzzled, Frank narrowed his eyes suspiciously at his friend

“Thanks, Frank. Hey, how about I lock up for you tonight? Looks like we’re going to be here a while.” An innocuous suggestion maybe, even a heartfelt one, but Frank wasn’t naive enough to think it was without ulterior motive. Before he could protest, Quinn cocked his head and conveyed through a wealth of body language how important it was that the barman concede to the suggestion. Gathering up his apron and cleaning his hands with it, Frank grunted an affirmative and nodded along, looking around the room. “Trying to get rid of me, eh? Can’t say the wife will be too unhappy.” Sighing, he gave Quinn’s shoulder a hard pat, making the paladin flinch. Frank squeezed it, knowing full well the knight’s infirmary, getting a bit of revenge for being kicked out of his own establishment. Jostling Quinn, Frank watched the man turned a shade of red and stopped just before the paladin was tempted to grab the fork and stab him, such was the depth of their camaraderie. “I’ll leave the key in the lock. Stash it be--” “Behind the water barrels, I know.” Quinn finished. “Give your wife my love. I’ll come visit soon.” Frank grunted some more, removed his apron, grabbed his stuff from behind the bar and took off, bidding the rest of the group goodnight. True to his word, he left a brass key in the door behind him, leaving it unlatched. Quinn watched him go, raised his tumbler when the door shut, then drank two hard swallows of whiskey before setting his glass down with a hard tap. 

“Thumbscrews.” The paladin mused aloud after clearing his throat of peat and fire, irrespective of the current conversation that might have broken out among his companions in the interim. “Definitely thumb screws.” Raising his tumbler, the knight brought it down again like a judge banging a gavel, then slid the glass away. “Two cuffs around your thumbs, then some ninker twists a butterfly screw to tighten them. Cracks the bones, very painful. That’s about the lightest punishment I can think of for sedition.” He raised his brows, seeking Vivian out with his sleet-gray eyes. “Flogging, flaying, paring, there’s just so many ways to punish talks of treason.” Taking up his knife and fork, he started cutting up pieces of the hard meat and cheese, and stabbing them together, popped the snack into his mouth. Dangerous though the talk may be, it didn’t seem to stunt the paladin’s appetite in the face of the supernatural entities he was surrounded by. Chewing, swallowing, he carried on. “But I’m here, and I still live by the oath I swore to Her Majesty. For Queen and country, though one is gone and the other is..,” he cut himself another slice of sausage to consider his words, finishing with, “unfriendly.” He ate another piece of cheese and meat combo, giving a quick glance at everyone else, then focused on Vivian again. He thought of Gabriela, of how she had run from Orisia, of her happiness and desire to be free. His oath was to her, but with her gone, his oath was to the country. Not to ideals or the constitution, but to the people. He lived with that as best as he could, as much as his conscience allowed. “What do you want, Vivian?” He asked, simply put. He did not have the political acumen of the Black Queen, and it showed in his bluntness. 

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A brown-haired man flew over a tavern on peach-colored, membranous wings. He circled the place for a bit before folding his wings in-to his back on a low sweep and walked in-to the Broken Chant with-out a care in the world. He did have a large, iron sword in his right hand, the only weapon on his person besides his natural weapons, which consisted of his entire stocky body, really. "Hello, every-body," he said like a clown with a stuffed-up nose. "Who wants to join me for a battle?" He paced back and forth for a while, wondering if any-one would take him up on his challenge as he hacked and slashed at the air with his blade for sword practice. Putting a-way his weapon in-to a sheath slung a-cross his left hip, he started shadow-boxing, throwing punches at empty space. "Come one, come all. I am here to entertain you." Having made his decree, he walked haphazardly in-to the private sphere, waiting for some-one to join him in there.

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