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Church On The Hill

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  [Coth: the Tavern, after sunset]

  Time moved slowly in Coth. It was not as though the village was slumbering. Sunrise brought the buzzing noise of hammers banging against nails, of the final harvest gathered for the winter and the gardens prepared for the oncoming frost, of cheerful talk that rang out from the central plaza and of children galloping down dirt pathways with their heads tilted back in raucous laughter. Coth was alive—its heart beat like a steady drum, yet there was a stillness that disturbed Ioreth. There were nights where she stood atop the hill and wondered if Fate looked down upon the sleeping houses as she did, together holding their breath in anticipation of an uncertain future.  

  For the Oiche Duende, winter was regarded as a season of reflection. They found a place to settle and wait out the dangers of traveling in heavy snowfall, they found work, and they made their peace with their restless feet. As she found herself often paralyzed in the face of deep introspection, Ioreth found solace in her daily tasks.  

  It was with a feverish energy that she worked on the Church’s Message. Fiery sermons delivered by Constans in his ruined church and philosophies plucked from evening conversations were interwoven with prophecies and visions. Blazing fire, frost giants, a mystic serpent, raiders from beyond the seas...all were recorded with a meticulous dedication to detail. There was, however, one slight problem: When she tried to interview Viscerex on his perspective of the Dawn of the Green Sun, he met her inquiries with silence. 

  Pure silence.

  His response was an unblinking stare. He stared at her, and the reflective metal of his mask stared at her, and the dead eyes of the wolf he wore atop his head stared at her. Excuses floundered before Ioreth like desperate fish gasping for air on a dock. She inched her way backwards until her backside was firmly wedged against a wall, stammered out that she thought she heard Nyra calling her name, and bolted out of room at a speed that would have made Dale Thimmick’s horses nicker in envy.  

  The next morning, she found a buck’s severed head nailed to her door. Perhaps the warlord does not like to be asked questions, she mused to herself, or he does not care much for wandering elves. Whatever his reasoning, she kept its rack of antlers as a decorative fixture in her cabin, a nod to the forest that framed her home on the outskirts of Coth. Delicate vines climbed up the walls and draped themselves in thread-like loops around each prong. 

  Unlike most nights, this evening was not spent plunged into the belly of the woods or submerged in the pages of a book. This evening, the warmth of the tavern enveloped her. A fire blazed in its stone cavern, its haze drifting across broad shoulders and wooden benches. Sunburnt necks and rough-hewn arms, gentle smiles and simple clothing. In a sea of brilliant green eyes, Ioreth sat apart at the end a long table, situated as closely as possible to corner untouched by candle light. Her feet, wrapped in soft-soled deerskin boots, were pointed towards the door.  

  Though the people of Coth had never openly offered any unkind sentiments—it was chiefly the women that spoke to her, with requests to aid with common ailments or with sympathy over the plight of Ashville—there was a palpable separation between herself and the other Cothites. The divide itself was simple: they submitted to god’s will, and she did not. She offered coin from her personal accounts to aid with the tower’s construction and labored over the church's written dogma, but she lacked faith in the face of miracles. She looked up at the viridian sun as they did and believed it to be a raw display of magic that was connected to a frustratingly elusive spirit, and nothing more.   

  Surrounded by noise, it was in silence that she sipped at her mug of beer and dunked the heel of her bread into piping hot stew. No haphazard pile of books accompanied her for breakfast. A thin journal, a pen, a pot of quick drying ink, and a nearly indecipherable tome on the Empire of Taen kept the elvish woman company. A fluffy shroud of pale fur draped across her shoulders to keep out the encroaching chill and dangling earrings glinted in the soft light. Her hair was swept upwards in an untidy bun, revealing a protection sigil etched along the back of her neck. After another swig of beer and an irritated glance at a rather hopeless translation of a Mork’Outhian account on worldrift magic, she waved her hand over at the bard with the intention of politely asking her to play something other than that clatteringly cheerful tune. 

@LikelyMissFortune

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(Coth, just outside the Forest) 

 

Mythandriel Zvenda stood at the edge of the treeline, her white elk, Dorian standing just beside her. In the distance she could see the town of COTH and she felt instant relief. It had taken her a long while to travel here, with Dorian pulling her little cart full of herbs and potions. She had gotten word that a small colony of Elves had made residence here, and she had a little hope in her heart that she would know some of them, or at least, maybe of her family from her old clan would be there. Dorian nudged her shoulder, and the elf turned her head to look at the silvery beast. 

"We're here girl, we made it." She rubbed the Elic Eir's scruffy head, and the creature let out a low rumble in it's throat, grateful for the scratches. Mythandriel smiled at this, and took hold of the Eir's reigns, and made her way out of the trees. It hadn't yet started to snow, but the chill of winter was prevalent. The chill didn't bother her, at least not right now. She was too excited to finally be here, and hopefully there was an Inn or a Tavern she could stay at for the night until she got her tent set up somewhere. Her plan was to set up an Apothecary here in COTH, and make a living here selling potions and remedies. She also brewed poisons, but those took her some convincing to make. She wouldn't make poisons for just anyone. 

As she headed towards the town, it seemed a little beaten up. Some houses were burnt down, some had massive holes in the walls of them, and there were scorch marks over the grass. There wasn't much activity either, from what she had heard that this was a flourishing place, that it was bustling with people, and what she saw now was very different from what she had envisioned. It was slightly disappointing. She made her way through town, with Dorian close behind her. They were both tired, but the Elic Eir was going strong pulling that little cart. Further into town, she spotted a tavern, and there seemed to be people inside. The elf felt a sigh of relief escape her lips as she neared the building, and she parked Dorian out towards the side. 

"I'm going to go in, and get something to eat. You just wait here, okay?" She spoke to the creature as if she were a close friend, and the elk tossed her head as if she understood. If asked, Mythandriel would swear up and down that Dorian did understand what people said to her, she deeply believed so. After making sure Dorian was comfortable, Myth opened the heavy wooden door to the tavern, and entered the establishment. The smell of strong beer and sweat hit her nose as she entered, and now she knew where the people were. It seemed to her that every citizen of Coth was in this tavern, and all their heads turned towards her as she entered. They weren't hostile looks however, they smiled nodded slightly at her as she made her way towards a table, seating herself at an empty table in the middle, the candlelight making her pale skin glow. 

A woman came to her table, and Mythandriel smiled at her, thankful to see someone other than Dorian for once. She ordered an ale, and whatever stew they had available. She didn't care what kind of meat it was, she just needed something warm in her belly. The fire that roared in the hearth was definitely welcomed, and she squirmed slightly on the wooden bench as she warmed up slowly. She removed the leather gloves she wore, and placed them on the seat beside her. It didn't take long for her food to arrive, and she dug into it immediately. It was hot and salty, and burnt her tongue, but she didn't care. It was delicious. Her long silvery hair was loose, and it was nearly falling into the stew as she ate, and she repeatedly had to flip it back over her shoulders as she ate, dipping the bread into the thick broth as she ate. She looked up from the bowl for a moment, and spotted a woman sitting in the back of the tavern, eating by herself as she scribbled into a journal. She stared at this woman for a few minutes, finding that she looked familiar. Very familiar. Without thinking, she stood, and headed towards the woman sitting at the table. She approached the table, and gently knocked on the wood to get her attention. "Ioreth...?" She asked the woman. "Is that you?" She asked, her heart beating hard in her chest. If this was who she thought it was, she hasn't seen her in many, many moons. 

 

@KittyvonCupcake

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Odille doesn't go out as much as she'd like to.

She likes Coth; the people are friendly, and almost as soon as she makes it to town- she’s accepted. Truly accepted, there are no remarks about the arch of her ears, or the bloody mess of her feet. Despite the ruin the town is in- Barbarian raiders!- they take her in, they care for her. 

Odille finds a job in a week.

It’s in a tavern, and she works as a bard and a bar maid. She sings and performs when she can- and, in return gets a few gold coins, two meals and a bed.

What more could she ask for?

Odille isn’t completely convinced of the Cothic faith yet, however, she’s only seen Constans- the priest behind the entire shenanigans a handful of times. Always surrounded by people, sometimes accompanied by her.

Another Elf, and Odille recognizes this instantly.

There’s a certain other worldly grace about this woman, marked as she is- just as beautiful as the tales she sings about, depict them as. And that is, where she spends her free time in the early hours of the morning- when she can’t sleep for flashes of red and hazy dreams of cows. Following the woman in the shadows, keeping just close enough- never too close, too afraid to approach.

Years spent under the villagers fear had rubbed off on her.

But so has the spirit of Coth, in the two months she has spent here. Sure, it was hard to venture out for more than hour at times- there was a fear, red hair scared her; the squeeze of people in a market push the air out of her lungs, and Odille dreams that she is once more terrified and galloping in the dark, desperate for a miracle. Blindly feeling her way, dirty and cold almost choking in mud.

The next day, people say she witnessed a miracle when the Sun shone a brilliant Green- hours before her arrival at the town.

It was a miracle, she supposed, that she- a simple runaway from a farm, so despised by her village made it safely to such a place.

Lately she has been convinced it was a natural progress.

Even if the true roots of the faith hadn’t rooted in her heart, there was inspiration. To become a better version of herself; and that’s how she ended up staying up past the wee hours of the morning, eyes burning as the kindly innkeep tried to teach her how to read.

Her progress is painfully slow, it made her feel stupid despite the kind woman’s insistence she just has an artistic temperament. 

It was a very kind way to say that she was dumb and hopeless and should just give her venture up. It was too hard.

And yet, two months were wiled away like that, learning, working and stalking, she felt far more stupid and far more cowardly than she had at any point in her life thus far. But, that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing.

As she sat her nights in the corner of the tavern- singing ballads about anything and everything, she began to slowly grow less afraid of people. Now she knew those stares, directed at her ears were not in malice.

There was progress, slow and painful, creeping progress.

'Dear Lancelot, my sorrow clad in silver
You see my thoughts return to you again
You came to me as others come a-courting
But nothing is with you as other men

I ask you leave a penny for the sermon
And another for the errors that you make
And keep these words forever as reminder
Of what sends a dying lily to the lake'

 

Still, it did not prepare her for the evening ahead. Odille didn’t notice at first, the woman was so plainly dressed, the press of the tavern was just enough that she didn’t quite pay much attention to the darker, secluded niche’s of her turf.

It caught her off guard, then, when she finally met the other’s brilliant green eyes- and her next note fell flat. Her group of regular customers were disenchanted, and they almost seemed groggy when she stopped her song. 

“He-ya Dilly, you feeling okay?” It was Mark, a burly brewer that she suspected sampled more of his product than he should’ve. But there wasn’t any real harm in him, he slipped her the occasional spar pennies when he thought she wasn’t looking. She smiled at him, a thing one- and she found a watery courage in them.

She got up, and cautiously approached the elf. Delivering this customer some beer, and that one some pottage. There were two of them now, the newer one with silver hair- she couldn’t recognize, still she worked until she stood right across from the Elves, close enough to touch. Before he courage deserted her, Odille forced herself to meet the woman's eyes and tried to concentrated on not stuttering.

“Wha-what’s your name, fair lady? I shall play whatever you like if you would allow me a few questions.” She wavered, perhaps her voice had been sweet enough to mask it, but still she had wavered.

Despite herself, she felt tears prick her eyes.
 

@KittyvonCupcake

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[Coth: the Tavern, after sunset] 

Trapped as she was in the quagmire of a particularly pedantic portion of a Mork’outh’s philosophy on the growth of trees, Mythandriel’s approach was absorbed in the background noise of the tavern. Her presence was amorphous until she reached out and rapped her delicate knuckles against the table. There was a hesitance to her simple action that shaved an edge off of Ioreth’s initial irritation at the interruption, but it was Mythandriel herself that shocked away any remnants of her ire.

 To have an unexpected encounter with her own kind would have been a surprise, but to see her kindred---and one that was believed to be forever lost? To say that it was jarring would have been understatement, yet Ioreth swallowed the lump in her throat and rose to her feet. It was Myth, little Myth, recognizable instantly by the softness of her gray eyes. They were Zvenda eyes, the same pale shade of airy silver shared by Ioreth’s father and brother.

 “Hi, cousin,” she said and with a fluid motion brought Mythandriel close enough for their foreheads to touch. Some families kiss each other on the cheeks, others settle with a hearty handshake. Night elf families embraced as such, with a message clearly felt: I see you, and you are safe here. After they separated---Myth may recall her elder cousin always shying away from the touch of another, the sensation of static electricity beneath her skin stronger now that it had been during her adolescence---accented common tongue was set aside for a rapid flow of Duendaic.

 “My father searched for you after news of what happened reached us. He performed the rites for your family, but there was no trace of you. Did you cloak yourself? What did…”

 Though more questions boiled on her tongue, they were forced down. Had she allowed them to continue, their reunion would have transformed into an interrogation. A twinge of guilt caused Ioreth to grimace. Barely a hello and I’m already dragging her back to what was no doubt the worst night of her life. She slipped a furtive glance across the tavern, scanning to see if any of the barbarians were here to provide Mythandriel an unpleasant reminder of how her parents perished, but another interruption once more seized her attention.

 It was a testament to Odille’s budding courage that the haughty examination Ioreth subjected her to did not cause her to wither on the spot, yet her hasty expression of displeasure was quickly morphed into a sympathetic softness at the sight of glittering tears swimming at the borders of the bard’s eyes.

 “Please,” she hummed, “‘fair lady’ is flattering but inaccurate. I deal with books, not serfs. You can call me Ioreth.” An apologetic frown caused her brows to knit, wrinkling the runic tattoo at the center of her forehead. “Would you excuse me for a moment?”

 A key was retrieved from a leather pouch attached to a belt she wore looped loosely about her hips. It was then pressed into Mythandriel’s hands. “You can find my cabin on the outskirts of the village, east from here. If you need rest and quiet, go there, yes?” she murmured, nodding her head in the general direction of her home. The gentleness of her voice shifted into a matter of fact tone, which did little to explain the rather ominous nature of her next line of thought. “If you find another dead deer by the door, just ignore it.”

 Any opportunities for further illumination about another dead deer were swiftly cut short as she tilted her head to take in Odille’s appearance once more. Another stray pup, she decided, a flash of green sparking for a sudden second in her violet eyes. Lost. Something about her felt familiar. A shadow cast against a wall, perhaps, or a tendril of golden blonde hair caught glinting in the rising sun. Whatever it was, the white of Ioreth’s teeth gleamed against her dark lips as she offered a smile and a seat at her table.

 “You must be Odille. I heard of a bard of---” a glance flicked at the pricks of her ears “---elvish descent that sang like a nightingale.” She shrugged and pushed a stray curl from her cheek. “Tales spread fast in a small village. Now tell me, what are your questions?”

@Witches Brew @LikelyMissFortune

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When Ioreth stood, she thought it was a dream. This was all very strange to the elf, it was. Finding one of her own kin here, in all places? She hasn't seen a member of her own kin since that night. She saw the slight irritation in Ioreth's face as she was interrupted, but it quickly melted away as her cousin realized that she herself was no ghost, but she was actually standing inside a small tavern in a Church town, full of promises. The last time she had saw her cousin was when their two families had gathered under some sort of celebration, she wasn't sure if she remembered which one, and she was but a small child, with chubby cheeks and wide curious eyes, and always ready to shove rocks in her mouth for some strange reason. They had always been close, more like sisters than cousins, even when they were young. There were always tears when they were separated, but there were always promises of being reunited, always. 

When they embraced, their foreheads touching, Mythandriel couldn't help but place her hand on her cousin's cheek, her fingers sliding slightly into Ioreth's hair, her eyes shut for fear that tears may fall from her soft ashen eyes. When they finally broke away, Ioreth's questions bore into her soul, and she smiled faintly at the thought of her Uncle performing the funeral rites for her and her parents. She opened her mouth to answer, but stopped once she had. Thoughts rushed to Mythandriel's head. Did Ioreth truly know what happened to her family? The night she lost them? She wasn't sure. 

That night began normally, just like any other night had. Her mother was sewing up some of her father's leathers, fixing some tears from a recent hunt, and she was staring into the eyes of a white fawn, who had just been a few months old, the baby of her mother's Elic Eir, Merill. The two had become fast friends, and her predicted it. Mythandriel had named the fawn Dorian, it just sounded pretty she had told her mother, who smiled and agreed with her. Her father was playing a song on a lute when the attack happened. Merill, ever vigilant, was first to respond to the threat, but was quickly slain by a blanket of arrows. Bandits, Cut Throats, thieves,  men who believed that the small group held valuables laid siege on their humble camp, and when her father put up a fight, they cut him down before Mythandriel could even blink. Her mother took action quickly, shooting her glances, telling her to hide. Frozen at the sight of her father's corpse, the child ran, the fawn following her, close on her heels. When one man turned, aware of their escape, her mother flung herself on the man, sacrificing herself so that her daughter could escape. She didn't remember most of that night after that, just blood, rivers of red. 

The flashback ended as she noticed her Cousin was speaking to a woman, a bard, whose ears curved slightly, pointing up. 'Ah, she must be of elvish blood.' She thought to herself, and she watched as Ioreth excused herself, only to place a key in her hands. 

"Are you sure? I wouldn't want to intrude on you or your home." She had said, the language of her people flowing off her tongue quickly, she hasn't spoke it in a long time, but it was instinct. Her cousin seemed intent on her staying at her home, so she dipped her head and smiled, but stopped at the mention of a dead deer that may be present when she arrives there. 

Why would there be a dead deer on her door? She didn't want to ask. Instead, she left her cousin with the bard, and headed over to her table, and placed a few copper coins on the table, before taking that last of the bread with her, and heading out the door. She made her way over to Dorian, who huffed as soon as she was spotted. 

"Hush now, you won't believe what just happened." Mythandriel told the elk, and she put her hand on the Eir's fluffy white fur. 

 

@KittyvonCupcake

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Odille withered under Ioreth's hostile gaze, and, despite the pity that quickly softened the blow, Odille staggered back withdrawing into her shell. It wasn't made any better by the other elf, who looked much like Ioreth as she called herself. They were ethereal with their silver hair, and gracefully arched ears- Odille was made painfully aware of how different they were to her own stubby ears, and physique. She was far brawnier than either of them, it made her feel awkward.

Perhaps, it was a horrible, terrible, disastrous idea.

And, perhaps, she should've chosen to remain in her little hovel- passed from her Father's oppressive 'care' to Billy's. Turning back now would only make thing more awkward, it would make her more liable to be shunned than speaking was.

Odille chewed on her bottom lip, anxiously shifting from foot to foot.

It would be much, much harder for her to form words now; and, with a backward glance towards Mark- already engaged with another mug of ale complimenting his last five, the bard couldn't help but wonder if she would take kindly to her inability communicate, except through bits of song.

She felt very much like a bird cornered, which was quite silly, even to Odille. She was the one who approached the woman in the first place. Heat suffused her cheeks, at the shame of her half baked approach.

"What are we?" she started, straining to keep melody from her voice.

But, as she stared at the elf, who dealt with books of all things, it all came tumbling out of her anyway.
 

"There is a village, not far from Coth
I hail from there, but they did Froth
For they claimed me a monster
And cruel actions administer.

'Cause of this I did Run
I left, my fathers work undone
And they gave me chase
'Twas a dreary race.

I've no idea what I am
Not when they will try to catch me 'gain.
If you would be so kind, help me Ioreth.
I've nowhere left to turn."

Her words were hushed, quiet, the melody so subtle it would almost seem as though it weren't present- but there was a frantic, panicked current to her voice. Odille pleaded with her eyes, feeling more foolish with every word, but more afraid as well, he hand clenched into such tight fists she was sure there were angry red halfmoons left imprinted into the rough, callused pads.

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 [Coth: the Tavern, after sunset]

  Had she decided to remain with the rest of her books sprawled across the rug of her living room by a cheerfully crackling fire in quiet solitude, only the heavens knew if Ioreth would have encountered her missing kin before she moved on to another town. Our god has a plan for all of us; an excerpt from a sermon on the Hill was brought to mind and brushed aside.

 She believed in coincidence, not providence.

 “Are you sure?” Myth asked. “I wouldn’t want to intrude on you or your home.”

 “Nonsense, it’s hardly an intrusion if I invite you in. You look exhausted, Cousin. When is the last time you truly slept?”

 During the moment it took for Ioreth to dip her head as a silent goodbye at Mythandriel’s departure, it appeared that Odille had shrank eight inches. A crimson bloom of blush consumed her cheeks, but the little bird found her voice.

 “What are we?

 “‘We?’ Could you be more spe---”

 Without any need of encouragement or prompting, the gates that held in Odille’s story swung open. Ioreth perched on the edge of the table, listening with a trained ear to the hidden rhythm that turned her words from a nervous clatter to a quiet plea. Their eyes met and a sudden urge to wipe a smudge of soot, no doubt from working the kitchens, off of the bard’s chin.

 She’s a drippy thing, Ioreth mused. Her hand slinked backwards like a spider on the prowl and seized upon the handle of her mug. Prone to clinging, most likely. A dreamer. She took a sip of beer, intentionally moving slowly---allowing Odille to stew in her inner turmoil and unasked questions until a lazy feline smirk crept to her lips and she said, “What you are is a survivor, Odille.”

 The mug was set aside, allowing her to lean forward from the shadows with a glittering intensity. Candlelight cast a feral gleam in her eyes, refracting across strands of silver hair and pale fur until it was absorbed in the darkness of her clothing. Was it providence or coincidence that inspired Odille to seek help from the moon and not the sun and his green flame? Regardless, Ioreth accepted her plea.

 “We have that in common. These people that mistreated you---” Though the smile remained, it was cold. “Describe them to me. You believe them to still pursue you?”

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Ioreth had cut an intimidating figure for Odille- atleast she had when observed from afar. Now, however, there was a look about her; almost villainous with her fur and marks, distorted as much as her face was by a look Odille could only describe as predatory. 

Perhaps, there was some merit in the stories regaled by her village.

The slow, deliberate movements she made to sip on her beer, certainly did nothing to convince her otherwise.

Still, despite terror making her almost quake in her boots- Odille forced her fists to relax, wiping sweaty palms on the sides of her roughspun, woollen dress. Truly, she'd rather not think about her life back in the village, she did not want to think of overt stares and the words hurled at her by it's inhabitants. She didn't want to think about her intended's curly red hair, the only thing she could focus on, as they talked about her as they would about betsy or an acre of land. She didn't want to think about the dread- settling cold like a snake in her belly as she realized her Father was about to sell her off to him- and her voice to be snuffed out.

That thing will not sing, not near me- if she does, I kill her Rothbart.

Yes, Father.

Most of all, she didn't want to think about warm, fresh milk, straight from the Cows when they get milked; once in the morning, once in the evening. She missed the shepherd dogs with their shaggy black and white coats- overly excited to see her as she snuck into the barn every morning, apron pockets stuffed with treats for them. She missed the smell of damp, turned earth when it rained in Spring and worms came out onto the surface. She missed her Father's burly arms and red beard, his voice- even if her was her jailor.

She missed it, and feared it to the point it sometimes felt as though she were still choking in the mud- winded by the fall.

So, she shook her head, placing a hand against her head as though she couldn't quite remember.

"I... was never taught to read, Elf Ioreth. That is what you are, right?" Odilled couldn't stop twisting her foot, displacing the thrush on the floor till, soon, there was nothing covering the packed dirt floor around her feet. "I don't know what I am, they called me a creature, I never could find what I could from books, y'see miss?"

Then quickly, she winced at her own words, "Beg pardon... Scholar Ioreth, if it's n-not too much to ask, could y-you please teach me? Anything-- Anything at all! I would just like to know what I am." She braved a look at the other woman, wilting- fading away with every word. "Are we monsters?"

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Image result for monet header tumblr

such shaping fantasies;

 

[ Coth: Ópera ston Aéra ]

 

As much as it might be perceived as rude, Míra cannot help but stare plainly at the visage of the Silver Spoons’ manager. She has travelled extensively throughout Terrenus, but has yet to personally meet a draconian. It is almost embarrassing, as the fact rather shows.

“Well, um,” her tongue fumbles as she catches that dark reptilian gaze from across the desk, and it takes a few anxious seconds to compose herself, “Mister Walmart Pentium Amazon, is it?” She makes a show of gazing at the documents spread out on her table, as if the information about the Silver Spoons and its rather eccentric, business-savvy manager had been written there all along.

Míra takes a deep breath, buries her sharp edges under the wool of friendliness, of flowery facades. This is a business appointment, and to be quite frank, she continues to experience the same old spark of excitement every time she meets an artist of some capacity. She lets that warm feeling infuse her as she makes eye contact with Wally and his group. “I bid you a most formal welcome to Ópera ston Aéra,” she gestures around the cosy, red-brick room, her temporary office of sorts until the interior decorating is finally finished, “or Aéra, as we lovingly call it.”

Míra turns her gaze through the wide glass windows, where the open air theatre lies nestled among thick greenery and stone pathways lined with miniature, lantern-wielding sculptures. “As you can tell, we’ve yet to open our doors to the general public, as we’ve been looking for—new talent, shall we say.” She leans forward, perches her chin on her palm as she observes the collection of individuals before her with a critical eye.

“We’ve yet to discuss what you have in mind for your merry troupe, Mister Amazon.” Míra smiles wide, focusing on the draconian manager, curiosity brewing in her gaze. “Let us hear your thoughts?”

 


 

@supernal @jaistlyn @Grimmholt

 

Edited by vielle

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"Wow." Wally filled the space between them with gravelly sonority. "I have a really long name when you say it all together like that. Maybe you should just call me Wally."

When he noticed the intense interest Mira had in perusing the contents of her desk, Wally found himself immediately intrigued. He leaned forward, reached a sickled claw across the desk to one of the documents and pinned it there, then leaned even further still. He craned his neck and let his eyes probe the document's contents.

Reading Terric was hard enough on its own, and the task became just difficult enough when upside-down to disinterest him entirely. Wally withdrew his claw and leaned back. When Mira next moved the document she'd find a minute divot on the face of her desk, a casual testament to the creature-manager's strength.

"Thank you super much for the formal welcome. You can let me know how much the bid comes out to later, I didn't bring my wallet with me. Or wait, am I supposed to bid you something back and the two costs cancel themselves out? Let's do that. I bid you a, an utmost, no a superlative uh, acceptance of your welcome. There we go. So, about that business."

Wally clapped his hands and rubbed them together; the sound of armored scales rubbing against armored scales was unpleasant. He trained his eyes on Mira's face, the wide smile, the clear vision of effervescent curiosity all but pouring from her face and frothing on the desk.

The human animal was interesting. Fascinating. Wally could make an endless study of them and publish his findings to the greater Wilds community for a pretty penny, he was sure of that. Their anatomy was built for equal parts clear expression and guile. It could say much without saying anything at all, and often the sly and clever used this to their advantage, for negotiations, for persuasions and intimidations. Wally wasn't built like that. The survival instinct of his entire ancestral line had very little to do with nuanced social signals and fine speech. Mira could control how much her face betrayed her inner thoughts. Wally projected much of what was inside in nearly the same moment it materialized.

She could see it in his face because it lay there unhidden. Walmart Pentium Amazon was hungry.

"I have some pretty high ambitions and I see this as one of the rungs in the ladder. I guess you could say I'm hungry. What I'm hungry for . . . I guess you'd say I want to show the world what it's all about, by showing them what we're all about. I want to make them laugh when they're sad, cry when they're happy, gasp when they're safe. When you talk about things that make you think and that make you feel people are going to say, 'a starry night, a broken heart, and the Silver Screen'.

"Oh if you meant for the performance, one of our lesser known plays to keep things from getting too stale, stapled to one of our bigger names for the draw, and two or so up-and-comers to start pushing them in the public mind. How's that sound Dranamira Andronov?"

Edited by supernal

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 [Coth: the Tavern, after sunset]

This girl was a candle without its flame. Something had to flicker within, something buried deep, hidden beneath layers of folklore and love songs and everything that caused Odille to flinch away from the intensity of Ioreth’s stare, for how else could this shy little bird have found the strength to flee from her home?

 “I...was never taught to read, Elf Ioreth. That is what you are, right?”

 First Lady, now Elf. Ioreth’s head dipped in agreement and the predatory tautness of her frame relaxed. Silence remained as she continued to examine Odille as one inspects an apple for bruising or signs of worms gnawing away at its core, peeling apart her words, grimacing at the mention of being called a creature, waiting for a hint at Odille’s true purpose for coming to her.

 “I would just like to know what I am.”

 There it was. When Odille mustered enough determination to look up, she would not have found the aloof and metallic stare from earlier. It served its purpose and was now set aside, allowing an earnestness to mold her tattooed features into a gentle expression.

 “Are we monsters?”

 “Do you think you are a monster?” For that was what Ioreth felt this girl needed; to think, to learn how to trust her own mind. Her question hung in the air as her violet eyes met Odille’s before she continued, speaking with a patient humor as she would to a child. “I have seen creatures that erupt from the earth and devour every moving thing in its path, spirits that can shred you to pieces before you could utter a scream, and magic that warps the mind into a frenzy of inconsolable madness. Have you destroyed a city? What lives have been lost by your own hand?”

 Her half smile returned, wistful and sad. “Those that called you a creature, that called us monsters, were telling a story in the dark to ease their own fears. They knew the world was full of things that they did not understand, and I believe they found solace in an old tale: that what is different from them is dangerous.”

 “My kind is the Oiche Duende, the night elf. We have a story that our kind was split in two: one locked away forever in a place like a dream, while the other was cast out of our homeland as punishment for becoming too entwined with death. Should the bloodlust of my ancestors still stain my hands and make me a monster?” She lifted her palms for Odille to study, soiled by ink stains and not ancient blood.

 “Consider humans. Think of what happened here, of the blood that was shed during the raiders’ attack. Are all of men monsters because of the potential for violence?”

 “No, little bird. I do not believe you to be a monster. If you want to know who you are, you must release the misguided cruelty bestowed upon you by others and tell your own tale.” She reached out, soft as a feather, and wiped away the soot smudging Odille’s cheek. “I shall help you walk your own Path." A light laugh purred in her throat. "And help with your letters, valea. A bard should know her letters.”

@LikelyMissFortune

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(Coth: Onwards to Ioreth’s cabin; after sunset) 

Mythandriel was still in awe at what had happened. It amazed her, and also confused her. How was is it possible that she find her kin here? It seemed like their gods were smiling down on them after all, after thinking for moons that they had abandoned her. She kept her hand on Dorian’s neck as her boots crunches underneath gravel, the sharp and tiny rocks finding their way through the large holes in the soles of her boots, embedding themselves into her tired, dirty feet. She tried not to limp. She didn’t want to show how tired she actually was. She hasn’t had a decent sleep in weeks, after leaving the Floracle, she had wanted desperately to get to Coth. Dorian pressed against her hand, and Myth turned her head to look at the beast, seeing the exhaustion in the elk’s eyes. 

I know Dorian, I know. We are almost there. And as soon as I am able, I will take care of your hurts.“ She said softly in her native tongue. It had been so long since she spoke it, she had been keeping her tongue sharp by speaking to Dorian, who seemed to appreciate it. She scratched the elk’s snowy neck as she pressed on, eventually finding her cousin’s cabin. 

She could smell blood. It was fresh. She siezed, coming to a halt as she noticed the rouge puddles surrounding her cousins doorstep, and the eerie echo of droplets as they fell from the head of a deer carcass, nailed crudely to the door. Mythandriel remembered her cousin saying to not be disturbed by this if it were to happen, but nothing could prepare for the sight she saw. As she grew closer, her hold on Dorian tightened. The ears of the deer were missing, and it’s tongue lolled out of the side of its mouth. The antlers were ruined also, carvings that could only be made with a knife defacing them. The animals poor eyes stared blankly at her, and she frowned deeply. She removed her hold on Dorian, and walked forward to approach the head. She didn’t want Ioreth to see this when she returned home. 

Mythandriel was no stranger to death. It lingered in her being, her it still disturbed her. She placed her hands on the head, and pulled, hard. It took a few attempts to remove, but she managed to hoist the heavy decapitated carcass into her thin arms, and she carried the head over to the west end of the house, near some shrubs. She dumped it there, reminding herself to bury it later on. She was too tired to dig now. She worried for Dorian now. If someone was nailing heads to her cousin’s door, she rather it not be her Elic Eir. She wiped the blood off her arms with a piece of rough cloth she carried on her, and went back to her elk. She pressed her forehead against the creature’s and planted a kiss on her nose. “Come on.” SHe said as she approached the door, and she unlocked it using the key, and when unhooked Dorian from the cart, and led her towards the door. 

Hopefully Ioreth won’t mind Dorian inside. Just until this is all sorted out. 

She led Dorian inside, locking the door behind her. She leaned against it, and sighed deeply. Finally. She was so tired. 

 

@KittyvonCupcake

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Odille considers Ioreth's words, but isn't quite able to meet her eyes. The Elf woman was wise, but spoke around the subject; forcing her to think about their meanings, implying but never outright saying. 

It concerns her how patient she's being with Odille, it frightens how much she enjoys trying to riddle out the meaning between her words. It's like a game, and that puts her at ease, momentarily- just enough so that she stopped fidgeting as much, just enough that she doesn't flinch when Ioreth wipes away the soot on her cheek. She flushes, however, her face heating up, and she can't help but chew on her lip at the gesture.

"We are people, just like they are. Equally good, equally bad?"

There isn't much time to ponder her offer to teach Odille her letters, she see's Mark approaching a hooded figure- a curious expression on his face.

"The Lady is not a creature." He snarled, shoving him back. The hood fell back, and the flash of red that accompanied the scowling face sent Odille reeling.

She stepped back, scampering across the distance between her and Ioreth- all color drained from her face. She felt the wood, biting into her calf- and once more she was on Heffer, the horrible, horrible, horrible sound of the steed dying between her legs. It took her until she was on the ground, grasping thrush and dirt- trying to find the air to stuff into her lungs- that the sound was coming from her. 

She could only see red, and freckles and green eyes- feeling something grab onto her bicep, she convulsed shoving them off with all the strength she had. 

He had come back for her.

She had been so close.

She couldn't go back- not now.

@KittyvonCupcake

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Image result for monet header tumblr

such shaping fantasies;

 

[ Coth: Ópera ston Aéra ]

 

Míra quietly leans back just as the draconian starts inching forward, watches with faint concern as the scaly claw descends upon the mess of papers on her desk, hopes nothing fragile is torn from the pressure exerted by those talons. Wally takes a moment to look over whatever she’s been looking at, then just as wordlessly backs away to stand up tall.

Sweeping aside the document he had been perusing, Míra gives the slight wooden cavity a look of mourning. The desk had been new.

"I have some pretty high ambitions and I see this as one of the rungs in the ladder. I guess you could say I'm hungry. What I'm hungry for . . . I guess you'd say I want to show the world what it's all about, by showing them what we're all about. I want to make them laugh when they're sad, cry when they're happy, gasp when they're safe. When you talk about things that make you think and that make you feel people are going to say, 'a starry night, a broken heart, and the Silver Screen'.

If there is one thing she has learned to appreciate in others, it is the quality of ambition, of reaching for something one believes themselves worthy to obtain; the expression on the draconian’s face is something she very much empathizes with. Suffice to say, Míra will always accommodate those who seek that which she herself is searching for. Perhaps she may even enjoy the show along the way, with the Silver Screen providing the performances and emotions Wally has described.

"Oh if you meant for the performance, one of our lesser known plays to keep things from getting too stale, stapled to one of our bigger names for the draw, and two or so up-and-comers to start pushing them in the public mind. How's that sound, Dranamíra Andronov?"

She smiles approvingly, turns her gaze away for a moment to focus on the untidiness of her workspace. “Call me Míra; my full name is a mouthful as well.” The papers scattered about are swiftly put aside and stacked neatly, and red-tipped hands fold themselves formally against the desk. “I believe we can make something great happen, Wally. The stage is yours, for you and your own.” Míra hums, gestures to the window and the open-air theater beyond. “My secretary can draw up the necessary documents to formalize our partnership; will your agent be handling the bureaucratic process or yourself?”

 


 

@supernal @jaistlyn @Grimmholt

 

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"A little of both. Get those documents in my hands, I'll give them a once-over, if things don't stink like a rotten fish I'll take them to my agent for a twice-over and any final touch-ups. Sign, bring it back to countersign, everyone goes away happy."

Wally took Mira's gesture as an invitation, rising from his seat, cross to the window, grabbing hold of the ledge so he could lean over at an extreme angle and come as close to face-to-face with the semi-distant open-air theater as he could from Mira's office. He waited for her to bark orders at her secretary and for the secretary to get about their business before speaking to the air settled between them.

"I told you what I want to do with this, what I want to get done, and I told you more or less how I want to go about doing it. Shock and awe, hit 'em where it hurts, leave 'em begging for more – the usual wisdoms. But if it was that plain and that easy I suppose the whole world would be standing here in your office, and not just me."

He looked over his shoulder just then at Mira. The moment their eyes locked, the milieu settled into frame around him, forcing perspective from wherever she stood; framed as he was by the window and everything that lay beyond it, Mira might be especially sensitive in that moment, and after, to Wally's looming height, his broad frame, his powerful, unadorned limbs, and the narrow slit in one eye through which he appraised her and all the world in the same breath.

"The secret to a well-told lie, which is basically all acting and plays and entertainment are right? Is to be specific, and to be sincere. We can handle the latter just fine, actors work for hours and hours and days and days on how to reliably fake sincerity, but the former is a bit of a rub. We could go for some generic pap about hope winning out in the end, the triumph of love and all that, pretty universal lies, but it'd be better to do something specific.

"Is there anything you can tell me about the people of Coth I can use as emotional ammo?"

@vielle

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