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4/30 A Knight's Burdens

JWaldman May 3rd, 2019 99 Never
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  1. Artaghh exclaims, "OHTLI!"
  2. Artaghh exclaims, "WHERE ARE YE'!"
  3. Artaghh exclaims, "Dragon spirit!"
  4. Artaghh asks, "Where's Ohtli?"
  5. Ohtli Tezcacoatl says, "Ahem. Right here."
  6. Ohtli Tezcacoatl asks, "Something bring you to the Hold, Artaghh? How are you?"
  7. Artaghh says, "Uh..."
  8.  
  9. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  10.  
  11.  Artaghh says, "Alrigh'."
  12.  Artaghh says, "So it's goin'ta keep freakin' me ou' if I cannae gauge where ye' are."
  13.  Artaghh says, "Take a seat o'er here..."
  14. Artaghh says, "Oh no she's gone..."
  15.  The sound of footsteps gives the Drakan away. The stool scoots back, then forward. It must be occupied?...
  16. (Ohtli Tezcacoatl)
  17. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  18. Ohtli Tezcacoatl says, "...That boy tried to blow smoke at me."
  19.  Ohtli Tezcacoatl says, "I don't like him."
  20. [00:04] Ser Artaghh's gloomy, downcast expression was immediately banished by the scooting of the stool, the bald man's one eye trailing up to where he presumed Ohtli was....sitting. He would nod his head steadily as he scratched his chin. "Mmm, aye. Bad manners, bu' tha's kids righ'? Sure he'll ge' the righ' idea eventually..."
  21.  
  22. The knight would sigh deeply at that, digging through the confines of his black cloak for a flask of pungent, burning smelling grain liquor before taking a swift, hefty gulp, his expression briefly pained before the dull haze of the alcoholic contents brought a sense of pacification to his expression. "Well, I came 'ere cause this is probably one'a the las' chances I'm goin'ta ge'ta talk wit' ye' 'fore I die Ohtli...figured I'd make the bes' use'a the time Ihave left righ'?"
  23. (Artaghh)
  24. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  25.  
  26. "Fewer and fewer do. I doubt it. I imagine that's just one of the many reasons the world is in such a sorry state."
  27.  
  28. There's a definite pause. He cannot see it, but she turns to face him. There is worry in her voice where her face can't be seen.
  29.  
  30. "...You sound so certain. Huangzhou's lost a great deal of its strength in the years."
  31. (Ohtli Tezcacoatl)
  32. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  33.  
  34.  Ser Artaghh would slump back in his chair, his cloak flapped over and misshapenly bundled over the back end of the wooden frame as he glanced up at the ceiling for a time, the lack of a visible Ohtli to focus upon making it difficult for the peasant knight to hold his eye upon any one place for long. The room felt positively spinning, and the commander knew it wasn't from the alcohol.
  35.  
  36. "I'm positive because it's my duty as the commander to face those tha' migh' threaten my men, even'a the cost'a my own life. If If I mus', I shall challenge Tenevan in single combat'a prevent'm from placin' his hands on any'a the o'er legion. If I do so, I shall'nae win, an' so I shall die."
  37.  
  38. The knight would hiccup then, his expression somewhere between dark amusement and progressive despair as he swigged another singing gulp of the liquor, placing hishead in his burnt scarred hands as he sighed deeply in defeat. "I'm...I'm afraid Ohtli. To leave my friends an' family behind...bu' I can' run from my duty. Oathbreakers are worse than scum, an' I'd sooner fall on my own blade than e'er betray my word..."
  39.  
  40. Artaghh seemed to choke up a bit at that point, though no tears came to his heat flushed face. Perhaps the next words came difficult to even him, a grizzled veteran of Dawn's legion. "My son...he'll be six years old this year...Bu' if they destroy Dawn, they're goin'ta kill'm. Or worse, make'm betray Azrael an' suffer a cruel, half-life of despair...an' I won' be able'ta protec'm!"
  41. (Artaghh)
  42. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  43.  
  44.  There's the warm, familiar feeling of a coarse hand at Artaghh's shoulder. The soothing, calming touch of none other than the Drakan.
  45.  
  46. "...It is admirable that you uphold your oath, Artaghh. Bu-..."
  47.  
  48. She stops short. She sighs. There is no need to turn this into a lecture.
  49.  
  50. "You already know how I feel about Dawn. How it is run. I don't hold any love for Huangzhou either. The world continues to spiral because good men make terrible oaths and are hell-bent on upholding them."
  51.  
  52. Oops. She almost -does- delve into a lecture there for a moment.
  53.  
  54. "There is life outside of Azrael. Not even a half-life. It is...different. I don't profess to know much about Oscuri. But I am certain he will be safe, Artaghh. If the worst comes to pass."
  55. (Ohtli Tezcacoatl)
  56. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  57.  Ser Artaghh would allow himself be comforted as he slumped forward onto the table, his shoulder grasped by Ohtli's talons in a gesture that was appreciated, if potentially very painful were she to SCRATCH HIM WITH THOSE TALONS. He'd mumble lightly into the wooden surface before raising his head with another sigh. "Were tha' words were wind, an' so easily blown away. This island's engaged in a steeped, bloody conflict o'er jus' such words; o'dogma, creed, an' nonsensical differences."
  58.  
  59. A pained expression comes over the knight's face as he here's Ohtli speak of Azrael, causing him to grip his head once more with a steady shake. "It ain' tha' simple! I've ne'er been a devou' worshipper'a Azrael, dunnae think mos' in Dawn are trut' be tol'. It's a city'a power players, pupper masters, an' apathetic ancients playin' wit' lives like they're toys!"
  60.  
  61. Artaghh's voice in that moment lost its wholesome, boundless cheer and hope. The toxic bile of his cynicism and disillusionment seemed to come to a crescendo. "Like Alastor, like Astaria..Bu' Oscuri who betray their lord are cursed Ohtli! Their reika lines go black as oil, the life essence is drained outta them, an' they lose their luster for life. I don' wan' my son'ta be in pain because I failed, cause I los' my heart an' died for it..."
  62.  
  63.  
  64. (Artaghh)
  65. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  66.  
  67.  "I know what Dawn is...I know what Huangzhou is. I've seen enough of each to turn my stomach. Nowhere on this continent is without its sins," she remarks, the hand remaining benignly on Artaghh's shoulder. Her fingertips are tipped with those awful claws of hers, all the more obvious once visible, but she deals him no harm with them.
  68.  
  69. Capable, yes. Willing? No.
  70.  
  71. "I had seen a black-line Oscuri once...She did not seem...untowardly affected in longterm. But again. I cannot say for certain. It was a long time ago. You could always ask Emily...If you wish to send your son somewhere safe...there are places where he will be. If it comes to the worst."
  72.  
  73. It is a small offer. Perhaps though, the offer is not what he needs. Perhaps, instead, a distraction.
  74.  
  75. "...There was...a time..."
  76.  
  77. Plenty of pausing. Ohtli finds her metaphorical, conversational footing.
  78.  
  79. "...When I broke an oath."
  80. (Ohtli Tezcacoatl)
  81. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  82.  
  83.  Ser Artaghh would nod lightly to Ohtli, the talons upon his shoulder comforting him more than he cared to admit. The commander had very few moments where he could let down his guard, allow his woes to see the light of day without being swallowed entirely by their burden. The Drakan was perhaps one of the only people on this cursed island that he felt at ease beside.
  84.  
  85. "Aye...the mainland or beyond. Somewhere far away from here, far enoug' he won' need'ta fear tha' his thoughts are a crime. It'll hurt....nae'ta see'm. When his lil', green lined fingers wrap aroun' my finger, an' he makes these silly lil' noises.....he's nae some Oscuri destined'ta slaughter in the name'a the dark lord.....he's my lil' boy..."
  86.  
  87. The knight would lean into the drakan's talons lightly, placing his head in his hands with another deep, haunted sigh as, for once, he found himself at a loss for what to do next. In all his days as a soldier, never had he found himself so...troubled. "...Wha' oath did ye' break?"
  88.  
  89. (Artaghh)
  90. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  91.  
  92. "...If it what you wish for. If it will put you at ease...I can see that the boy is taken care of. If all Hel breaks loose, I can look after him and send him to where you wish," she offers gently. She cannot stop war, she cannot change minds, but she can be prepared to care for those strewn about in the aftermath. The circumstances of the child's birth? Irrelevant.
  93.  
  94. Her talons remain at his shoulder, but they shift as he does to avoid prickling him when he resituates.
  95.  
  96. "A long, long time ago I was still part of Gehenna. Sibri led the tribes. War came and went often. Mostly with Gaiar. I made an oath to a Dryad. The circumstances surrounding it...changed."
  97.  
  98. She frowns. Her fingers tense. A most unfond memory is dredged up, but not without a purpose.
  99.  
  100. "If I'd kept my oath? I'd have been feeding a monster. That's what he'd become."
  101. (Ohtli Tezcacoatl)
  102. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  103.  
  104.  Ser Artaghh would seem to be brought some sense of ease from Ohtli's words, the tension in his brow lessening to a degree even as his frown seemed to grow only deeper. It was better that his son was safe, alive, healthy and happy. If it needed to be that such a place was as far away from the knight as possible to ensure he lived the longest, happiest life possible? Such was the sacrifice any good parent needed to make.
  105.  
  106. "If...well, when I perish...I wan' ye'ta look after'm Ohtli. Yer the only woman I trus'ta ge' the job done righ'....who I'll know'll make'm feel loved when 'is parents ain' aroun' anymore'ta make'm know...no kid shoul' e'er feel like they're nae loved enoug'..."
  107.  
  108. The words seemed to elicit direct harm upon the knight, for they were swiftly followed by another hefty swig of the grain liquor.The burning had long become a steady, numbing lull, and the knight's face was as red from inebriation as it was pale from dread.
  109.  
  110. "Mmm....he became'a monster?...ye' don' need'ta tell me if ye' don' wanna...jus' nice'ta talk I s'pose…"
  111.  
  112. (Artaghh)
  113. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  114.  
  115.  The clawed hand shifts from its perch on Artaghh's shoulder. It moves- to try and gingerly pluck the flash from the paladin's mitt after his latest swig. She wordlessly tries to cut him off from doing further harm to himself. Chiefly, his liver.
  116.  
  117. "You have my word to it. The child will be cared for."
  118.  
  119. She is at first hesitant to continue, but she focuses more on the notion of distracting him. As drunk as he is? He might not even remember.
  120.  
  121. "It's been the way of many Dryad to fall to corruption here on Agartha. He was no exception, but hadn't always been that way. I was focused on a purpose. Gaining a greater blessing from Quetzalcoatl, but I promised that after it was done I'd be his.
  122.  
  123. "When I was done he'd become something different. He was well on his way to becoming a Sin...And he blamed me for what befell him."
  124. (Ohtli Tezcacoatl)
  125. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  126.  
  127.  Ser Artaghh's flask was deftly swiped by the Drakan as the knight glanced blankly for a time at his now empty hands, his one eye hanging lifelessly upon the burn scarred lines of his hands before he once more placed his head in them, Ohtli's words bringing a lightly comfort even as a haze of despair overtook him.
  128.  
  129. "Yer….one'a the brightes' lights in this island's endless night Ohtli...any fool tha' could blame ye' for their fall....mus'ta been full'a shit. E'eryone's ultimately...responsible fer the path they walk.....good...or bad..."
  130. The last word seemed to hang upon Artaghh's tongue for a time as he lightly slurred, grasping his head tightly as pain wracked through his skull. The weight of his own sins could not be drunk away so easily.
  131.  
  132. "Wha'...wha' happened'ta him? Did he try'ta hurt ye'?"
  133. (Artaghh)
  134. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  135.  
  136. [01:31] "Yes. You are correct. He chose to walk the path he did. That doesn't mean I was without blame. I was young. Stupid. I fear you are doing as many do- giving me too much credit."
  137.  
  138. The Drakan neatly tucks away the flask in her pocket coat, out of sight and mind. She returns her comforting claw to Artaghh's shoulder where she's content to keep it perched. When she speaks again after tucking it away, her voice is soft, barely a whisper.
  139.  
  140. "...Yes. He did."
  141.  
  142. (Ohtli Tezcacoatl)
  143. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  144.  
  145.  Ser Artaghh would nod slowly, staring down at the table with his head in his palms for a time as he mulled over Ohtli's words. He would steadily raise his head, placing a hand on the Drakan's shoulder in a mimicry of her own comforting gesture as the knight attempted to flash an encouraging smile. There had never been a more obviously fake gesture from the swordsman in all his days.
  146.  
  147. "The people ye'....choose to love, they....hurt ye' the wors' huh? A'leas', they can...Ya know, I came'ta Dawn a two eyed, illiterate peasant wit' a short life'a farmin' experience an' a dreadful wanderlust. I wanted'ta see the islan', become a famous knight....figh' monsters an' defend my home valiantly..."
  148.  
  149. Artaghh would lower his head for a time then, the pained expression once more flashing across his face as he tried to speak the words that had hurt him most outloud. "I me' a sweet, young noble lady wit' an' intense stare an' a beautiful voice...an' I fell in love wit' nae jus' her, bu' the tale I though' I was livin'. The idea'a a noble knight courtin' the beautiful lady an' livin' happily e'er after, jus' like the fairy tales..."
  150.  
  151. The commander would chuckle, a bitter and hateful think as his face sunk, hollowed by the recollection of the ideal he'd held so close to heart, the one that had motivated him to push his limits as an energy magi in the first place. "Bu' stories are jus' stories, an' nothin' beautiful e'er remains. She disappeared fer years, lef' me alone in Dawn wit'ou' any clue where she'd gone. Then she came back, an' all was righ', e'erythin' made sense...I though' tha' she was a perfec' gift'a Azrael made jus' fer me, an' I fer her."
  152.  
  153. It wouldn't be noticeable to most, lest they knew Artaghh well, but in that moment just a bit of life left his expression in a sigh, his brow weighing just a bit heavier. "Bu' far as I know, she bedded half'ta town while I was thinkin' these fanciful things. Women all, aye, bu' I banished my concerns. It must'a been cause we were nae engaged, righ'? Then when I was made paladin, she accepted my proposal, an' all was bright again.....til she fucked Leoda nae bu' a month later."
  154.  
  155.  
  156. (Artaghh)
  157. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  158.  
  159.  Artaghh says, "Ye' know how it feels, thinkin' ye' can make someone love ye' enoug' as ye' love them? Make love ye' enoug' nae'ta hurt ye'...."
  160.  Artaghh says, "Worse than any wound I've taken in battle..."
  161.  That the sot-of-a-paladin tries to encourage her is warming enough.
  162.  
  163. "I do...I do know how it feels. But Artaghh…"
  164.  
  165. She gives his shoulder a little squeeze, his frame a little jostle in a vain attempt to clear his addled wits.
  166.  
  167. "I had a choice. I could have followed my oath. I would have been fuel for his Sin of Lust. I would have lived a miserable life and made things worse, not just for me, but for others. Or I could go against my promise. I am not saying that breaking an oath is right, but...there is a place. I would rather suffer in Hel, as my people way I will, than have given in to him.
  168.  
  169. "After that ordeal, I found something far better in the man that's now my husband. Something that's lasted. At the end of the day there is no other I would rather serve than him.
  170.  
  171. "You deserve better than this woman has given you. You deserve better than Dawn is going to give you and the rest of the world, alongside Obsidia. You can find people that will treat you better, and find that noble purpose you dreamed of...
  172.  
  173. "But you have to seek it out, Artaghh. No one can give it to you. No one can drag you there kicking and screaming or force you."
  174. (Ohtli Tezcacoatl)
  175. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  176.  
  177.  Ser Artaghh would smile as Ohtli attempted to jostle him out of his depressive fugue, perhaps a bit more clear headed as he was nudged about by the Drakan. But it was a sad thing nonetheless, and the expression did not reach his eye as he held his gaze upon Ohtli's own for a time in a silence. "Oh, ye' know me Ohtli. Stubborn an' oathbound'ta a queue. Worse than a mule in trut'...bu' ye' know wha' tha' means jus' as well."
  178.  
  179. The knight would wipe a bit of the sweat from his brow, though it felt cold to the touch upon his burn scarred hands as he let out another, accepting sigh. "I cannae turn my back on her, the same as I cannae turn my back on Dawn or my oath'ta either'a them." The wrinkles that pervaded the bald swordsman's forehead seemed to deepen then, the strain of Artaghh's reality dulled less and less by intoxication as he slowly sobered up.
  180.  
  181. "If I didn' love her...it'd be easy'ta walk away. She's Dawn'ta me, I s'pose, a tainted gem tha' I treasure all the same no matter how much it hurts me. Real tragic an' poetic like tha', as any true knight should be..." The paladin seemed haggard as he mulled over the next words to leave his mouth. Yet when they left his lips, there was no longer any passion in his tone. Just cold repetition.
  182.  
  183. "If I broke my oath, I wouldn' be long for this world. To maintain my honor, I'd take my own life after rightin' any wrongs I made manifest. I've...done evil things Ohtli, Dawn deserves me as much as I deserve it...Ye' dunnae deserve'ta be stuck listenin'ta me jabber when ye' are a far be'er person. Ye earned yer happy endin' Ohtli, an' I sewed the roots of my fall jus' the same."
  184.  
  185. The knight would smile once more at that, a melancholic attempt at emulating the joy he once felt in his steadfast determination. "Ye've brough' me peace many times Ohtli...I'll ne'er be able'ta repay ye' for tha'..."
  186. (Artaghh)
  187. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  188.  
  189.  She wants to continue arguing. To use both hands to jostle him to his senses, but a large part of her knows it's fruitless. Not that she didn't still want to try. Her eyes fall to the sparkling, frosted token that hangs around Artaghh's neck.
  190.  
  191. "...I never quite had her charisma. People always respected her so much more. But I wonder if even she'd be able to talk sense into you right now. We both see great potential in you Artaghh. What you choose to do with it...That is up to you. There are men who have done worse than you, doomed entire nations and served demon Lords that have still sought to do good after the fact. Repentance is there if you want to take it."
  192.  
  193. Horses to water. The same cycle repeats. Stubborn creatures sticking to terrible oaths as it all spirals downward. Over. And over. And over.
  194.  
  195. "While there's so much suffering, can there really be a happy ending?
  196.  
  197. "You probably shouldn't go back to Dawn like this. You're a mess...Feel free to use one of the beds here. What you need now is rest."
  198.  
  199. It's good that she confiscated his flask.
  200. (Ohtli Tezcacoatl)
  201. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  202.  Evalina says, "-"
  203.  Evalina says, "..."
  204. Evalina snaps fingers, points to them, and backs way the hell off.
  205. (Evalina)
  206. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  207.  
  208.  Ser Artaghh would lower his gaze in shame as he heard the truth of Ohtli's words, his right hand proceeding to grip the ethereal, icy pendant lightly, as delicately as the knight could manage, in his burn scarred palm. The coolness against the ever present warmth of his burns was...soothing, to a degree, though only a bandaid in truth. A patch over for wounds that weren't half so simple to heal.
  209.  
  210. "Ye' think tha' doesn' haunt me jus' as much, Ohtli? Tha' I might'a me' the woman'a my dreams in time to realize they've been dead longer than I've been alive? Ye' dunnae think tha' don' fuck wit' my head a bi' e'eryday I think abou' tha' kiss? Jus' ano'er fucked up chapter'ta this bastardized fairy tale, aye? True love's kiss'll make e'erythin' be'er, 'cept all it does is make things worse."
  211.  
  212. The knight would push himself up shakily from his chair, stumbling and tumbling forward towards the desk before just barely catching himself on its edge, his head swimming a bit as he held his face with his spare hand with a grimace.
  213.  
  214. "I couldn' do tha'ta ye' Ohtli..ye' need res' more than I do....got'a...quest'a make ye' be'er after all." Artaghh's words seemed hollow, lifeless, as if he knew in that moment the futility of those words, the likelihood that he'd never achieve them now, not when he was unlikely to live but a few months longer. What he would do with just a bit more time...
  215. (Artaghh)
  216. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  217.  
  218. "I wasn't talking about the kiss. Ithaca saw hope in you. Hope in you for someone to do good. That is what I meant. These things hardly end up how we expect. Ever."
  219.  
  220. All the Drakan can do is regard the Paladin calmly as he tries to stumble to his feet.
  221.  
  222. No. That's not right. There is more she can do, though she is loathe to do it. Ohtli rises slowly to a stand. Her voices becomes firmer.
  223.  
  224. "No. No, you are staying here tonight, Artaghh. Lie down. I'm not having you go back to Dawn like this. Or anywhere."
  225. (Ohtli Tezcacoatl)
  226. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  227.  
  228.  Ser Artaghh would grumble idly as he pushed himself to a loose, standing position, the weight of his armor seeming to be the only thing that kept him standing up straight. He'd glance hazily at Ohtli, his one eye hanging droopily, lost as he tried to hold focus on anything in the moment. But besides Ohtli, all else seemed entirely dulled.
  229.  
  230. "Hope...tha' makes it even sadder...ya know? She believed in me, an' when I die all'a tha's goin'ta mean nothin'...empty promises I couldn' keep'ta stain my word even in death..ugh.." The knight seemed to attempt to stumble out of the room progressively, though it was a sad and doomed to failure attempt with his hazy vision and unfocused gait. Nearly eating shit, he'd catch himself upon the chair as he felt to one knee, heaving lightly from his damaged lungs in defeat.
  231.  
  232. "Ye' don'....need'ta do anymore fer me....Ohtli. I don' deserve it....I've earned havin'ta….crawl back'ta Dawn..I'm no....be'er than tha'."
  233. (Artaghh)
  234. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  235.  
  236.  Dawn. One of the continents currently most terrifying armies. Led by a mad man, a potent Chaos magi, and backed by necromancy and swathes of mindless undead.
  237.  
  238. And there, stumbling, half blind and hollow and wheezing, was its second-in-command. The nation's right hand. Out of his wits, full to the brim of booze and self-pity intermingled.
  239.  
  240. She paces out of sight, walking up behind him. Looming. Watching.
  241.  
  242. Then she's stooped beside him, putting her shoulder beneath his, and lifting the hazy-eyed lout from where he's knelt on the floor. Ohtli puts to work the strength she hides under that long coat and, unless he struggles, starts guiding him to one of the clinic beds.
  243.  
  244. "You do -not- tell me what to do..."
  245. (Ohtli Tezcacoatl)
  246. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  247.  
  248.  Ser Artaghh would remain barely holding himself upon the chair, lost in more ways than he could count as the room continued to spin and his head panged with sharp jolts of pain. Walking out of sight, the knight would accept that Ohtli had abandoned him to his self loathing as any responsible citizen should. She was wise to leave him, it would spare her the unnecessary duress of dealing with someone such as himself. No one deserved that.
  249.  
  250. But then, of course, bird mom had to be foolish and CARING, lifting Artaghh up with the ever present strength that Ohtli concealed so well, a stark reminder that she was as much a swordswoman as he was a swordsman, if a bit older and more seasoned. For once, the knight would allow himself to be defeated in argument by the Drakan woman, leaning his weight entirely upon her person as he slumped against her. He would not fight against being guided to bed, even if he was able to in this state.
  251.  
  252. "No.....guess I don'...nice'ta be wit' someone tha' does'nae need'ta do wha' I want as orders....real nice.
  253. (Artaghh)
  254. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  255.  
  256.  Ohtli has had to become a woman of compromise in her long years. Her loud mouth and willingness to fight as a hatchling was kept in stern check within the merchant city that she once owed her life and more.
  257.  
  258. It has done nothing, however, to dwindle the bright flame of her will that hides somewhere beneath for instances like these. She puts the down-trodden Paladin to bed and does everything short of tucking him in beneath the sheets; she does, at least, drape them over him.
  259.  
  260. "No. I'm afraid you are nowhere near my chain of command...Now rest," she grumbles. Then she -does- tuck the paladin in, if only to keep him from getting back up in his stupor.
  261. (Ohtli Tezcacoatl)
  262. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  263.  
  264.  Ser Artaghh was ruthlessly tucked into bed by the willful Drakan woman, his freedom of movement stolen by the tightness of the sheets that now pressed him between the covers and his plated armor as he grumbled lightly. Perhaps once he would consider this gesture demeaning, in his youth he might have blustered and blared out in distaste at the thought of a woman tucking him into bed like a small child.
  265.  
  266. But he was older, wiser, and frankly in a far more vulnerable state of mind than he'd ever been before. The encroaching shadow of death was upon the knight, and though he had no fear of facing death, those he would be forced to leave behind haunted him far worse. Perhaps a night like this, where he hid nothing and exposed all of his woes, was exactly what he required.
  267.  
  268. "...Mmm....why Ohtli? Why are ye' doin' this much fer me? I'm...a Dawnsman...I'm stubborn...I serve a dark lord an' my city....harbors those tha' hurt you....those tha' planned'ta hurt you....I don' deserve yer attention....yer kindness. A beautiful soul...like yours....coul' only be tainted by mine...a good person'ed….kill me in my sleep."
  269. (Artaghh)
  270. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  271.  
  272.  For a little while she doesn't answer. Instead she's busy with tucking in the paladin to make sure he doesn't end up hitting himself or something in his sleep.
  273.  
  274. "Because I hope and pray, Artaghh, that you'll come out of this better. Not just for Dawn. For all of us. For you and your children, and your childrens' children. You at least recognize that what you are doing is wrong. Some never even get that far.
  275.  
  276. "Now all that is left is for you to change it."
  277.  
  278. One last tuck and she pulls away with a sigh.
  279.  
  280. "Now rest. I imagine I'll be doing the same."
  281. (Ohtli Tezcacoatl)
  282. --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  283.  
  284.  Ser Artaghh's was soothed by Ohtli's words, perhaps in such a way that only having let out all this bitterness and dread could manifest. Placing a hand loosely on the Drakan woman's shoulder from under the covers, it would hang there for a time as he glanced up soundlessly at hers with his remaining eye. Slowly, steadily, his eye would shut, and the knight would find himself drifting off to sleep as his arm thudded limply from her, the strain in the swordsman's expression seemingly alleviated in lost consciousness for at least a time.
  285.  
  286. Good job bird mom, you tucked in the commander of Dawn's military like a small child. Had Ohtli brought a bedtime story, the lunacy of this circumstance would be entirely unbelievable. But then, Agartha was a strange place, and those forced to suffer here on this island of unending war took comfort where they could.
  287. (Artaghh)
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