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11.25.18 - Alaire, Erzabet, Durango, Inga @ Golden Hound

iiezu Dec 7th, 2018 (edited) 56 Never
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  1. Deathstalker Empire on Oasiz.net
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  3. Erzabet wakes up and finds herself back in Immortalis after a decade of absence.  Her estrange husband Alaire finds her and looks after her in a drunken fit.  Additionally:  DurangoBlack and Inga.
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  6. Εʀzαbεт·тнε·Sαтyʀ : The Satyr awoke already sitting up in bed, staring at the walls. "How the fuuu-oh god-" scrambling toward the chamberpot, the hooved creature hovered over it, wretching, struggling to empty her belly of an entire bottle of Centaurian One-Eye before it did anymore damage. Heaving, coughing, reaching for a towel, she blotted her face dry and peered around the room for a water pitcher or a skin or something...and this wasn't the inn room she'd dozed off in. More to the point, where the fuck was she? How did she even get here? The empty bottle of One-Eye stared at her from the toustled bedclothes at eye-level now where she knelt over the chamberpot and she cursed at it. Outside, city bells were tolling six, and it sounded...familiar? Stumbling toward the window, she slammed it open and stared out over dark roofs covered in snow, then the jutting teeth of Deathstalker Keep high overhead, its hundreds of windows glowing gold with torchlight. "Oh fuck me..." -d-
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  8. Alaire : This couldn't be happening. The previous night had started out as it usually went these days: a strip down of his ornamental Commander armor, wishing the men a safe night as he left the barracks, and a meandering pace through the cobbled streets of Immortalis to his second home of The Painted Robe. He'd sat at a table with several other guards, settling into his pattern of carousing, gambling, and leering at pretty women as they passed him by. Sometimes, he even stood and and wandered to the bar under the pretense of getting a drink, though his intent was clear to anyone who knew him. Standing close to a fetching barmaid, Alaire began to crack jokes and sidled closer the longer their repartee went on. Nothing about Alaire Lisieux had changed in this regard, and the crow’s feet that started to line his face only seemed to add to his charm. All the charm and single-minded intent in the world couldn't have prepared the man for the view of his incredibly estranged wife stumbling into the bar, very nearly incoherent. Some people recognized the auburn-haired woman without delay, to which he chalked it up to the characteristic horns and lower body, and cheered, singing her praises like a hero from battle. It was as if she'd returned from an impressive bender spanning a stretch of years - decades nearly, now - and much of those who were once familiar with the bard moved to congratulate her in her return. Alaire had stayed at the bar as a rotation of men and women alike come to purchase Erzabet more drink, deciding how to feel. How long had he hoped for her to come through those very doors, only to now freeze that it had happened? So, he'd closed down the bar with his wife, though he'd done so from afar and largely sober, nursing a tankard of ale until the satyr had slumped over in a chair, in danger of falling out of it. After taking a final swig of the ale, he'd stood and moved to collect her, one arm under her legs, the other against her shoulders as he cradled her against his chest. Up the stairs he'd carried her to the room she'd once kept on standby, as he'd taken over the payments when hers had come back, just in case she ever returned. Feeling just the slightest bit of resentment, Alaire had dumped Erzabet unceremoniously on the hay mattress, and covered her with the comforter. Kicking the chamberpot to the side of the bed, he'd shoved an empty bottle of One-Eye that'd clattered to the floor to the side, not immediately realizing that it must have slipped from his wife's limp hands. And despite feeling in his gut that he'd never see her again, Alaire purchased another room for the evening, and where he tossed and turned. As the light of day came, Alaire moved to sit in the hall outside Erzabet's room, and there he'd sat on the floor, knees drawn casually to his chest as his head thudded repeatedly against the wall behind him, ears keen for movement inside. When it'd came, he'd jumped to his feet and lurched for the door handle, but stopped just short, hand hovering over the brass knob, suddenly unsure of himself. And so, Alaire did the only thing he really knew how to do. He turned on the charm. Smoothing his dirty blonde hair out of his face, he set a quirky grin on his lips, and after a deep breath, opened the door. "I thought you swore off Centurian One-Eyed." Fuck. Was that it? Could he have a re-do?! <d>
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  10. Εʀzαbεт·тнε·Sαтyʀ : "I thought I HAD sworn off it..." Erzabet said without thinking, but that voice... Turning, still on her knees, the Satyr simply stared at him, wide-eyed, confused. "How-" the bard began to ask, reaching to brush auburn curls out of her eyes, her bobbed curls messy with what had probably been fucking, or sleeping, or some combination of the two. "How the fuck did I get here? Did you WISH for me? Like use a True Wish, or what? Did you make a deal with Graz'zt? Tell me you didn't sign that goddamn book just to get me here, there is plenty of trim from here to the Abyss that you could have had just for the asking." Amber eyes clouded with confusion were gradually melting at the sight of him - how long had it been? Three years? Seven? No...by her count, almost nine years had passed. The thought shamed the Satyr despite her own nature. She'd gone on the Great Walk after one of her paramour's deaths and not known how or where to go to return to Llarlandarl, yet here she was again like a stray cat dropped off at the stoop of an old house. "O-Our boy...is he well? Are you well? You're beautiful, Alaire...you haven't aged a day..." It was beginning to come back to her now, and Erzabet slumped backward onto her rump, throwing her hooves out in front of her, nearly knocking over the chamberpot in the process. "I was walking home from a gig at the Black Sail Tavern in Sigil..." The 'City of Doors' it was known as, but portals into the prime materials were rare...and rarer still was finding your way back to the one you'd come from. "I was on my way back to the La Fon," she was struggling to retrace her steps, "...and I was a little drunk, so I-I-I must have turned a corner and passed through a portal back, but I can't remember much after that. Fucking One-Eye." Hauling herself up and kicking the chamberpot under the bed, the Satyr tottered to one side, still residually drunk, and glanced down at herself to make sure she wasn't filthy before managing a few tottering steps toward him, her hooves sounding heavy to her. It was hard to see, and she scrubbed at her own tears with the back of her hand before opening her arms to him, wanting to touch him more than even look at him. "I couldn't find my way home. It's been-" she stopped herself, "-I can't imagine how it must have been." -d-
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  12. Alaire : Alaire had nodded knowingly at Erzabet's response, having recalled a tale or two of hers where the stuff was involved, and even one of their own when he'd convinced her to drink it with him. The man had settled his left side against the door frame and crossed his arms, finding it harder to keep his winning grin the longer she stumbled for an answer to her return. It had never really mattered to Alaire what other woman he could get, so long as she'd been there at the end of it, to laugh over it, cringe, or exchange details so she could have her turn with the woman. It wasn't that the man didn't care for anyone else in a sexual or even a romantic way at times, but no one had ever outshone Erzabet in his eyes, and so he'd been miserable and lost. "I gave up wishing a couple years ago, now," Alaire finally offered at length, drawing a large breath. Briefly, he glanced towards the door before he straightened and stepped into the room, gently closing it behind him. He didn't expect a screaming match, but he didn't want passersby to hear him mope to this woman who'd taken his heart with him when she left. Taking a seat on the trunk at the foot of the bed, "Renaud's got all your charm. Brains, too. Strong as an ox. He's gone and followed my dumb ass into the guards." Alaire didn't have the heart to tell Erzabet that their boy had clipped his horns and filed them flat, hiding the leftovers with shaggy strawberry blonde hair. The query about his own well being was left unanswered, still reeling from having her so close. This had to be a fever dream. Surely he'd been stabbed by yet more drow and was suffering from an infection that was sure to take his life. She'd stood and approached him, tearful and unsteady in her steps, and Alaire was reminded briefly of Renaud when he'd asked where his mother'd gone. Eventually he stood and met her halfway, drawing her into a tight embrace that only increased in fervor the longer it went on. He had sincerely thought seeing her would be a purely happy reunion, but he swallowed hard against a lump in his throat. "Oh, you know me," he'd managed, voice cracking, "Too cheery to be bothered by much of anything... But I desperately missed you, Erzabet." <d>
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  14. Εʀzαbεт·тнε·Sαтyʀ : 'Oh you know me...' he said, and the years of pain in his voice was a shard of ice in her breast. Erzabet clung to him, burying her face in his neck, breathing him in, bathing in him in the salt of her tears, unwilling or perhaps unable to put on a brave face for the one human in the world she'd fallen so hard for and for so long. "I tried for so long to find my way back," she whispered into his shirt, "I bartered so much, laid down so often, researched for so long, and I-" she realized he'd said it himself, swallowing down a sob, "-eventually gave up wishing." What more could be said? She'd wronged him terribly simply by leaving, but she'd only thought to be gone for a few months...not almost a decade. Not so long. How could she have abandoned he and the boy for so many years with no word? Guilt chewed at the Satyr as she stood there with him, her arms wrapped as tightly around the man as they would go. "Forgive me for cursing you with this..." she murmured, "...with me. Please forgive me, Alaire." They both knew her true nature, but they'd both believed she could overcome it for him, for Renaud, and yet she'd been swept away like she knew she eventually would. There could be no promises of staying forever, only because those promises meant little in the face of her absence. "I love you. More than the stars. More than the great road. More than my fingers on lute strings. I've missed you every single day...it's been almost unbearable." She had to say these things for both of them, had rehearsed it so many times, but now that she was here, none of those platitudes or attempts at whimsy would come. They felt insincere. Cowardly. He would be given truth, or nothing at all. "I fucked a beholder for you," she whispered, "...because it promised me a map of the prime materials that showed a portal to Llarlandarl...but a group of heroes killed it before we made it to the dungeon where it was buried. It was always some merry band of heroes, or a lone farm boy and mentor traveling that seemed to get in my way. Or the double-cross of an old friend I once knew...fortune did not favor me, Husband. It rarely does..." the ring on her hand felt heavy, but it's weight had always been a comfort, moreso now that it held the spine of the man who'd given it to her, "...but finally Lady Fortune has smiled on me...just for a moment. I missed you so much." -d-
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  16. Alaire : He'd not given Erzabet's disappearance much thought at first, having believed that she would return before long as she always did. Weeks had turned into months into years, and eventually even Alaire's unrelenting and determined cheeriness had cracked. He'd grown jaded and detached, putting on a brave face for Renaud until one day they just stopped talking about her, a silent and mutual understanding that pretending only bolstered the nagging feeling that she'd not return. In spite of himself, Alaire felt the sting of tears in his eyes as he pressed his forehead against her hair, his head knocking her horn in an equally foreign but familiar way as he went to do so. It didn't matter that his neck was drenched, or his shirt made damp, as it only reassured him that this wasn't a final cruel trick of a pining mind. That, and it was Erzabet. Nothing compared. "Fuck the gods anyway. Not like they'd ever done anything for us," he responded venomously when she declared she'd likewise given up. It broke his heart to know that she felt the same pain he had, and somehow it made her absence all the worse. All this time, he expected she'd been following her nature, not intending to harm anyone, but simply doing as was in her bones to do. Learning otherwise was almost worse than her absence, and though there wasn't much room left between them, his embrace tightened again, as if in an attempt to shield her from it all. "You didn't curse me, Erzabet. You gave me every good thing in this world," Alaire responded seriously, leaning back briefly to look at her face. Eyes rimmed red and muscles in his jaw jumping from trying to maintain composure, the guard commander hardly appeared himself. She'd declared her love for him, and he was on the fence about her return no longer; his right hand cupped her chin to tilt her face up and he leaned in to kiss her, soft at first and then? Ardent. Desperate, even, though he schooled himself enough after a minute to allow her to share her burden with him, his embrace loosening with the sole purpose of being able to see her better. 'I fucked a beholder.' Alaire choked, staring stupidly at her, jaw slack. It turned out she'd had a valid reason, but he was still trying to work out the logistics in his mind while she spoke. Slowly, he closed his mouth, watching her face with disbelief while she regaled him with her tale, and while he appreciated her dedication, and hadn't missed that she'd gone through trial after trial in an attempt to get back to himself and their son. "I missed you too, Erzabet. I'll never love anyone more than you," he'd offered earnestly, hands sliding over the caps of her shoulders. "But." He pressed his lips together, realizing he was going to make an ass of himself, "How do you fuck a beholder?! Like? They have dicks?" The more he spoke, the higher in pitch his voice climbed. Clearly Erzabet had shattered his entire view on the reproduction processes of beholders. <d>
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  18. Εʀzαbεт·тнε·Sαтyʀ : His kiss was a balm she almost forgotten, and the Satyr leaned into it, returning his ardor as her partially open eyes traced along his cheek, the tension in his jaw, the gaunt, haunted sadness in his face. She'd done this to him, this beautiful son of Adam she'd entrapped and curled her fingers into, and it was a brand of guilt that in the last decade she'd become uncomfortably close with. Erzabet feared she would feel it every time she looked at him, but just as quickly as that morbid fear unfurled through her thoughts, it was arrested by his question. "They get into your head, man..." she murmured, drawing only a few inches away, "...I don't remember much, but it was this weird psionic thing. I was a little messed up after, but you know me." There was so much she didn't say, that she'd fought, had killed, had sung the eddas of the Abyss and rallied its troops in the blood war, that she'd killed bright-eyed young heroes, had cooperated with the worst of the worst, that she'd bartered with demons and devils and yugoloths and any other power that bore the promise of finding a portal home. Those were the tales that the Bard swore to herself she would never tell. Her little house in Sigil was packed wall to wall with little trinkets and oddities and gifts she'd collected in the hopes to one day give to him, like some hooved bower bird building a colorful nest of pilfered pretties, but they would forever collect dust in a far away city she would never dare reach for again. It was worth the sacrifice. Leaning in, Erzabet kissed him again, clutching him close to her, praying to whatever gods still listened to her that they wouldn't be separated again...then remembering what Alaire had said. 'Fuck the Gods'. Yes...fuck the gods and their fickle hearts. Fuck them all. He spoke the truth in a way she could never hope to. "We are the gods now. The bottle is our libation, and the bed is our altar, and our hymns are the laughter of the drunken and besotted." Spitting in the eye of Fortune felt good. So very good. Returning the gentle little headbutt, Erzabet released the desperate hold she had on him to give the poor man some air. "I don't know what to do now..." she whispered, looking around the room, seeing where he'd set aside her belt and coat, "...but you deserve a drink. Many drinks." -d-
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  20. Alaire : Alaire wasn't about to ask if she'd stay, if she was back for good, a nagging feeling in the back of his mind that if he brought attention to her attendance, it'd only make it worse. So, Alaire settled into the moment, his hands reacquainting themselves with her curves in awe and adulation, as if seeing and feeling a goddess in the flesh before him. Even the strange topic of how a beholder performed in bed hadn't stopped him from inspecting her form, her face, the shock of curly auburn hair. Even though he'd just kissed a woman who'd only just finished retching, he was still wonderstruck, hardly put off. Though the beholder thing was kind of weird. "That sounds kind of fucked," he offered after a moment, clearly lacking the finesse to give his particular brand of disturbance proper justice. Alaire'd not been aware of the extent she'd gone to, but had he... Had the roles been reversed? He would have done the same with grit and ferocity, just as she had. He would've understood if only she shared as much with him. There it was though, the poetic ability that Alaire was in wonder of just as much as anything else about her, if not more. A dim man, he couldn't believe anyone was so gifted as Erzabet. Who else could paint a lifestyle of debauchery to make it sound so holy and untouchable? She'd released him to a degree, turning her amber gaze around the room, and Alaire watched her, helpless but to fall in love with her all over again. "So do you, from the sounds of it. No wonder you got back into the One-Eye. I'd want to forget that shit, too," he offered with a reassuring grin. Reluctantly, he parted from her, moving to collect her clothing from the very trunk he'd sat on, and offered it to her with an outstretched hand, "There's this place called The Golden Hound. It's not our Robe, but I have a feeling it could use our particular brand of liveliness." And then he explained, because Alaire was dense, "Because it's boring. And stuffy." In short, he very much wanted to see Erzabet work her particular brand of charisma on a place he altogether avoided despite having been invited several times. This bard could make anything entertaining. <d>
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  22. Εʀzαbεт·тнε·Sαтyʀ : "It was bizarre. I still have no idea why that is what Many-Eyes asked for." She shrugged, not giving the matter much thought these days, as with many of the couplings she'd undergone in the last decade. It just felt so good to see Alaire happy again, even by a few degrees. Levity was what they both needed right now...though the Satyr ached to ask about their son. The lack of discussion worried her...but then again, he'd raised the boy alone, hadn't he? What would Renaud remember, if anything? Did he hate her? Curse her? Was he acting as a Satyr would, or as a human? She hoped that if he passed as human, he used his hybrid talents to their utmost...and promised herself to ask if her courage held. Taking her things from Alaire's offering hand, she pulled the heavy red leather belt across her hips and settling it a jaunty angle, then slid the long-handled mace she carried into place before shouldering her cloak and lute. "Sounds positively tedious," she said of the Golden Hound, "let's go knock the walls down." Gesturing that he lead her, Erzabet followed him down the hall of the Robe, leaning in close as they descended the stairs to breathe against the sun-kissed little shell of his ear, taking an opportunity to steal a breath of his hair...he smelled of armor oil and pepper and leather, all those things she remembered, mingled with her tears drying on his collar. "How-" she began to ask, but the words caught in her throat, shying away from the subject of Renaud, "-how is it that when we met, you smelled like a cutpurse, and now you smell like a captain of the guard? That's expensive mink oil on your leathers..." she pivoted away from asking about the boy, deciding to get a few tankards into her before trying to broach the topic again. "You'll be proud," she murmured as they crossed to leave the Painted Robe, "I finally learned how to fight with more than my horns and hooves," she petted the mace hanging from her hip, "I named it 'Hindsight'." -d-
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  24. DuräŋgoBläck : *He took in the information that she gave him, mused it around in his head and let it tumble around a little* "Inga.. Wonderful name" *He stated before pursing his lips as he bobbed his head from side to side.* "Ah! They call me Black around here. Pleasure to meet you. You are in the wonderful realm of the Deathstalker Empire and this my dear is Immortalis and this building? The Golden Hound. It's quite a rather nice place to enjoy a drink. Not like some of those other questionable places where your purse might get stolen" *He spoke while idly waving his hand before taking another sip of his drink.* "Do you have any place to stay?" *E
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  26. Alaire : "I mean look at you. It's certainly why I started nosing around." In that field after a battle. In that river as she'd washed her skin of gore, dirt and sweat. Alaire wasn't sure if he was drawn to Erzabet because it was something written for both of them, or simply because she had a charm that many people couldn't deny, but he didn't question it. He wouldn't trade it for the world. Now that the initial tension of her return had left him to a degree, it felt easy to fall into a familiar rhythm with the satyr. Jokes, ignoring all the things in the world that didn't matter beyond the here and now, and quiet bets on who would pull the most ass in a given night were all on the horizon for them. At least, that was what it felt like right now, and he wasn't willing to convince himself otherwise. He watched as she slung her belt over her hips, brow quirking with intrigue as she slid the mace into a place that looked familiar at her side. Her response saw him grin from ear to ear, and he led the way at her behest down the familiar stairs of the Robe and out toward the cobbled street. She'd kept close, the pair the same height, making it a dynamic that flowed as naturally as breathing, and he felt her warm breath against his ear. In return, Alaire looked over his shoulder at her, expression soft and one of wonderment, though a crooked grin had weaseled its way onto his face before long. Her question had seemed stilted, and though he thought it odd, the man took it at face value; maybe her throat was still tight from their emotionally charged reunion. His was. "Oh, even fancier now," he began, voice full of swagger. Theatrically so, in fact. "I'm Guard Commander, I'll have you know. Stuck me in charge of all of them for some reason. And it gets fancier yet. Your protege, Alys? She's kept your spot of Court Bard warm for you." He and Alys, both abandoned by their spouses, had spent many nights in this very common room bemoaning their lives and drinking. "I expect she'll want to give it back as soon as she hears you're around." Renaud he'd already brought up; a guard himself, Alaire felt that this implied the boy was successful in his own right. Out into the chilly air of night, the man's shoulders rounded against the breeze while he ventured an unsure arm around Erzabet's waist. The walk to the Golden Hound was brisk and took no longer than ten minutes, but Alaire was glad to be at it all the same. "Hindsight?" he queried, his own less creatively inclined mind trying to puzzle why she'd called it that of all things. "... Beeeecause in hindsight, it's stupid to fuck with you?" Well, he'd made an attempt. Shooting her a lame smile, Alaire pressed the door of the Hound open, taking quick stock of those within. As he'd promised Erzabet, it was relatively quiet, though he recognized a familiar face in Durango Black, Imperial Tailor. The last time he'd seen Durango, there'd been not so veiled threats about getting eaten, though Alaire likewise had the inkling that the man wouldn't actually devour him unless given a proper reason. "Durango!" he'd cried, jerking his head excitedly towards Erzabet, "This is my wife! Who's your friend?" Having just missed the introduction, his timing proved impeccable as always. To a passing barmaid, Alaire had asked for an ale, holding her attention long enough for the satyr to order as well before he approached the seated pair. "Alaire," he offered to the white-haired woman with a warm grin, finally removing his arm from Erzabet's waist in order to shake the woman's hand. <d>
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  28. Εʀzαbεт·тнε·Sαтyʀ : "Guard Commander?" Erzabet let the syllables roll around for a moment, feeding on his pride, welcoming the testing reach of his arm around her body, leaning into him, "and here I recall saying you would never take the post even if offered. They must have offered you a heavy purse to deal with the drama of so many men in so many barracks. I shall enjoy seeing you in full dress sometime." She slid an arm over his shoulder and strolled at his side, enjoying the chilly air as they meandered down the lane. The idea of Alaire commanding with a savage lash of towel flipping in the public baths amused her greatly. News of Alys was equally impressive, though she had no desire to unseat or diminish the success of her apprentice by reclaiming her post as Bard of Court...there was no telling if she'd even be welcome in the Emperor's sight again...if indeed he remained the Emperor. "She earned it, she is entitled to keep it," the Bard said cheerfully, "though I'd play the sweet girl's second if she ever requires a duet. I'm glad she's done well for herself." There was no jealousy in the Satyr, though the idea of a lasting legacy within her own class, or with a child, or with a husband was still so foreign to the creature that it gave her a massive sense of awe that such a thing could be possible. They were a people who lived in the moment, giving little thought to the ripples they might leave in time or place ere their parting. As they approached the Golden Hound, she never wanted this moment to end, not for as long as she lived. "I named my mace Hindsight because in hindsight I should have let you teach me to fight properly with a sword. It took years to heft this damn thing well enough to strike a killing blow." Memories of killing a Drow with a simple paving brick surfaced for a moment, and the look of horror on Alaire's face as she bashed in the elf's still living skull. As the moment passed, they were ducking into the Hound, and he was cheerfully introducing her to strangers, forcing Erzabet to put her wits forward as best she could in the circumstances. "This is my wife!" Alaire proclaimed, and there was an unexpected relief in hearing him say those words, and the pride that yet burned in her man for them both. "An ale for now," the Satyr ordered of the barmaid, slipping a few coin into her pocket in advance lest they drunkenly forget later, a promise of a long night of drinking. Now approaching the seated pair, after Alaire disengaged, she reached out to greet both of them, "Erzabet Lisieux," the last name she'd kept all this time despite her absence, "pleased to meet you both." -d-
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  30. IngaFreyjasdottir : Inga listens attentively, her brow furrowing slightly as she takes in this information. No, this is a totally new realm. She's never heard of it before, and has no knowledge of the kind of people and things she would find here. But they have mead, so...she's willing to give it a try. "A pleasure to meet you, Black. I'm afraid I've never heard of this place. I do appreciate the information," she responds. "I do not have anywhere to stay as of yet, but it is no worry," she says, waving a hand in dismissal. When they are approached by others, Inga looks surprised. She blinks, but then nods. Well, perhaps the people here are quite friendly! "Erzabet Lisieux," she repeats, her tongue tangling around the unfamiliar sounds. "I am Inga Freyjasdottir," she replies. "Ah...a traveler," she adds.
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  32. Alaire : It was hard not to have pride as Erzabet tested his new title, even if was only a carefully calculated ploy on her part to appease him. "I didn't plan on it," he'd started, about to tell her that it wasn't like he had much else going on at the time, but opted instead for, "I couldn't refuse the challenge." Mention of seeing him in full dress saw Alaire waggle his eyebrows at her suggestively. Unfortunately, his job was largely comprised of being stuck behind a desk, and so over the years he'd gained a bit of weight to the point that his old mercenary armor only fit if he sucked in his gut. Now though? Well, he a had a reason to start running with the men. "She'll be thrilled to see you, I think. J'raal, yourself and Robin had all disappeared around the same time. She had a tougher go of it than I did." Alaire still had friends in Gabrielle and Viktor, their son Renaud. Not all was lost. "And I expect she'll want nothing more than to play with you constantly." In truth, he'd probably have to fight her for a turn, but that'd be another night. She shared why she bestowed her mace the name of Hindsight and Alaire snorted in response, "Well, now you can teach me to use a mace." Durango had all but ignored his greeting, and so Alaire focused instead on Inga, though he glanced warmly to Erzabet when she gave his last name as her own. "Traveler?" he'd inquired, "Are you a professional of any sort?" <d>
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  34. Εʀzαbεт·тнε·Sαтyʀ : "They dared you?" An arched auburn eyebrow lifted at Alaire, "someone knows exactly what to say to you. I'd wager crowns to crullers that Viktor talked you into that." The idea of meeting back up with Alys was a warm thought, one that Erzabet promised herself to make time for in the coming days as she caught her bearings. Mention of J'raal and Robin departing around the same time as she had troubled the Satyr, though she worried more over Robin's fate than the former. She hoped he was well, wherever the wandering Fool had ended up. "I'll see to teaching you the mace sometime soon, useful skill to have, and translates to almost any blunt object in reach, though they lack the momentum of a properly made weapon." Her attention now on Inga, she pronounced the woman's name carefully, "Inga Freyasdottir," the name rang familiar somehow...daughter of Freyja? How fascinating. "A fellow traveler, I hope you find your way here comfortably and with ease." -d-
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  36. IngaFreyjasdottir : Inga smiles softly. "A professional. I am what you might call a wisewoman--and what many would call a witch, I suppose. I've come to accept the terms," she offers with a shrug. "In my home I am called a völva and a seid-kona," she adds, expecting that she will be met with blank looks. "Much of my magic is concentrating upon healing and protective wards." She takes a sip of her mead once it arrives. "I arrived here unexpectedly, but the journey was fine and I am happy to have a warm welcome," she responds. "Proper hospitality is very import," she adds with pleased smile.
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  38. Alaire : "More like the Imperial Princess had cornered me and I didn't know what else to say aside of 'yes'," he admitted, defeated. Still, he hadn't minded the job too much, though he snorted when Viktor was mentioned. "I expect he was the one who threw my name up for promotion." Durango had stood and left, leaving he and Erzabet with Inga, though that suited him fine. "Oh, maybe I can teach you the cat'o'nine tails in exchange," Alaire responded before taking a seat across from Inga. The downside to holding his position was doling out corporal punishment when it was deemed necessary. "Seid-kona?" he asked of Inga in return, mostly testing the term on his highly unpracticed tongue. "I don't know much about that sort of things," he jerked his head to Erzabet, as she was worldlier than him in general, "But I'm sure you'll find a spot here. If you can tell me what you do specifically, I might be able to help you find your place." With a warm smile, Alaire listened while Inga explained that she was happy to be here so far and leaned back in his chair when the barmaid returned to Erzabet and Alaire with their drinks. Nodding in thanks, Alaire raised his cup to Inga and Erzabet, "To new friends!" before taking a hearty swig. <d>
  39.  
  40. Εʀzαbεт·тнε·Sαтyʀ : "Hospitality is one of the most important of the virtues," Erzabet replied quietly, and though she'd never encountered such a woman in her lifetime, she'd heard tales from the bards of that nation enough to recognize the title had something to do with magic, the word 'seid' stood out to her like a firebrand. "With such skills, you'll find no shortage of work here," the Satyr remarked, her hooves grinding the floorboards as she shifted her weight from one side to the other, amused that the Princess had pushed him into the role of Commander. "The Lady doesn't exactly take 'No' for an answer, though." Palming the heavy mug of chilled ale, she sipped with an almost eye-rolling ecstacy. "I missed the brews here, something about the earth the hops are grown in makes it special. Perhaps all the spilled blood. To new friends!" A second sip, and Erzabet kicked out a chair for Alaire before sliding into one herself. -d-
  41.  
  42. IngaFreyjasdottir : Inga smiles and raises her glass. "Indeed, skál!" she says, a little surprised just how welcoming these people are. It's almost suspicious. "Well I am glad to hear that my skills might be put to use. I rarely find myself in a place where the gods have not led me for some reason or another," she offers with a shrug. "I have had a long day however, so I think I may inquire about a room. It has been a pleasure meeting you both."
  43.  
  44. Alaire : Generally speaking, Alaire was a friendly sort who was keen on meeting new people and developing those acquaintances. It'd been Gabrielle, who, on a whim, had made him a guard while the pair of them sat in the Painted Robe, sharing an ale in the middle of the day. When possible, he liked to pass the favor forward. "Well, there you have it then. Dare or a Princess telling you, either way, I can't say no," he responded with a grin. The mention of bloody hops had Alaire snort in sudden amusement, "Is that what that taste is?" The trio had cheered to friends, but Inga had quickly dismissed herself. "Goodnight!" the man had called, and when the woman had stood, he pulled his chair closer to Erzabet's and bent his neck to get a better look at Inga's rear. "Cute ass for a cripple." As if it was a compliment. He took another pull of his ale, and then, as if reconsidering, upended it and drained it of its contents, motioning to the barmaid as she made her next pass. "Renaud's got a sweetheart," Alaire said at length, leaning toward Erzabet so they were arm to arm, "Her name's Iella LeMorte. Head healer at the healer's guild, smart as a whip. I don't know if he intends on making anything serious of it, but.." He shrugged. Anything was possible. <d>
  45.  
  46. Εʀzαbεт·тнε·Sαтyʀ : Roaming eyes followed the volva's departure as well. "I couldn't have said it better myself, she murmured, "but why are we always drawn to the terrifying witchy types? They aren't good for us. Also yeah, that slightly copper-penny flavor underlying the ale? That's probably blood..well, or iron ore in the soil if you need to pretend it isn't." Tipping her's back to mimic Alaire, the libation of liquid courage was doing it's quiet work, and when he mentioned Renaud had a sweetheart, Erzabet nearly choked on the dregs before setting the mug down. "A sweetheart? Healer? That's adorable," the Satyr said, coughing into the back of her hand. She knew Renaud would be a man by now, but at the same time she hadn't prepared herself to hear about it from his father. "A LeMorte no less? Lucky boy. How is he, Alaire?" Erzabet finally found the courage to ask, sliding her chair closer to lean into him, "does he-" she hesitated again, "does he live as a Satyr, or as a Human?" It was a choice many half-breeds had to make, one she'd never been able to counsel him on one way or the other, and it shamed her that she'd been gone for his approach and arrival at manhood...such a mother-satyr stereotype she'd been. "Is he ah....adjusted well?" -d-
  47.  
  48. Alaire : "Something about the threat of having your neck slit when you're tonsils deep makes you feel alive, I guess." He shot Erzabet a sly smile, and as she drained her glass, Alaire indicated for the barmaid to get a second refill as well. "That might've disgusted me if I hadn't been drinking it for so long already," the man chuckled, head shaking with vague disbelief. Really, he'd never given it thought, but the more he considered it, the more it made sense. After sharing some news on Renaud, Alaire watched the satyr closely, unsure how to take her reaction just yet, not entirely convinced that she wasn't hiding her true feelings. "Rumor is her father's a bit of a violent freak, so I only hope he doesn't piss the man off." It'd be a poor way to see their son go. Her initial query was easy to respond to, "He's good, Betta. Well liked by most people. Bit of a shit disturber, but I think it's only because he gets bored." As she leaned into him, he pressed a kiss to the crown of her head. The next question gave Alaire significant pause, and he eagerly took the cups that the barmaid returned with, setting one in front of Erzabet before bolstering himself with another deep drink. Frankly, he was afraid of seeing the satyr's face as he considered and eventually spoke his next words. Glancing at his hands, which were wrapped around his mug, Alaire began, "As a human, far as I can tell. He's uh." Wiping his left hand down the length of his face, the man continued reluctantly. "He snapped his horns off a couple years ago. He didn't break the bone and so they still grow, but he keeps them filed." She was going to see it anyway, and the guardsman expected it'd be easier for her to digest if she didn't walk blindly into her son's self mutilation. "But he's more like you than me in every way. If he's more human, it's only because he fights to be that way." <d>
  49.  
  50. Εʀzαbεт·тнε·Sαтyʀ : For a moment the Satyr sat in quiet, gazing at the rippling head of the newly poured ale...news that her son was a beloved troublemaker didn't surprise her, filled her with an upwelling of pride so strong it could almost wash away the shame of being told these things second hand rather than having experienced them herself. The gods were cruel. In her head, she spat in their eye once more for good measure. When Alaire spoke of him living as a human though, something in Erzabet's face tightened in mixed hurts, so much so that she reached to blot at her eyes with the backs of her fingers and took a deep pull of the ale to strengthen her resolve. "I wish I'd been there to help him, talk to him at least," she whispered, shaking her head to try and fight off more tears, steadily drying up rather than make a scene in a strange tavern. "I'd rather him live as a man," she murmured into the cup, "it's safer for him, better, and it's-it's good that he's done it, but-" she hesitated, setting the glass down and slipping an arm behind him where he sat in the chair, the other reaching across to clasp at him, to lay her cheek on his shoulder, "-it must have been a hard choice for him to make. I'm glad he had you there. As humans go, you're absolutely dashing, so he can't help but be a charmer, yeah?" -d-
  51.  
  52. Alaire : The first portion of news was significantly easier to supply the woman with, though the warm expression that crossed her features made giving the second piece more difficult. Her face had twisted, nearly in a recoil, and when she began to wipe her eyes, Alaire reached behind her and affectionately smoothed down some of her auburn locks with his sword-calloused hand. He didn't want to tell her that her presence wouldn't have made a difference, as he knew that wasn't the case. "Don't blame yourself," he settled for, voice soft, reassuring. Erzabet's comment about preferring Renaud live as a human had him frown, as he didn't believe her reasons were entirely on the boy's behalf, but instead some way of coming to terms with her guilt for her absence. As the satyr turned to settle herself against his side, arms wrapped on either side of his torso, he moved his hand from her hair in order to rub her back while the other settled on the forearm that lay across his front. "He's a teenager. Pissant as far as they go when he was younger. I don't think he's set on one path or another. And now you can talk with him. Give him some tips for Iella. Make up for lost time." Holding her tight for a moment, Alaire leaned forward, draining the second mug of ale with practiced ease, "But you've got that right. Charmer like none other, though I suspect you're to blame for that." Setting the empty vessel back on the table in front of them, Alaire gestured to the door with his chin, "Want to go home? I kept that cottage you built. Been living in it all these years." With a conspiratorial squeeze of her shoulder and playful rocking of her person, he added, "Besides. We've not prayed at our alter in years. We should rectify that." Of course, he'd not press her, but in the very least, he hoped to impress her with his burst of genius and ability to callback. <d>
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