Dragon's Egg - Act III

Nihal

Vala
'Look at me.' I let a bitter chuckle out. That's the problem, Baldhart!

I breath slowly. I need to retake the control or they'll think I am also mad. I'm afraid they'll think it no matter what I say; Cadell wants me to stop using magic already! He's right about hiding it, I can try, it will hinder me during fights, but what else can I do?! The right action would to take this cursed eye off!

What was left of my ripped tunic is quite bloody, I've washed it in the subterranean lake when I washed the blood from my chest, but it was drying and I had no soap. I retrieve it from my backpack and tear a piece—the blood might actually work in my favor, lending some realism to my deceit.

Only then I raise my eyes, stepping into light so it illuminates my features, facing Baldhart. I bite my lower lip, allowing her a moment to fully register it, my stomach twisting again as if it was alive.

"...this... complicates everything." I cover my left eye with the cloth, tying it around my head.
 
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Legendary Sidekick

The HAM'ster
Moderator
"Oh…"

I try not to overreact…
embed

…but I feel my eyes widen.

I regain my composure quickly and respond to her words.

"…not everything." I touch my hand to her face, near the freaky eye, hoping to show I'm not afraid of it—though if she reels her head back, I'll lower my hand.

I let her cover up. I'll ask she remove the cloth during battle, but now's not the time.

"Don't worry. You have eyes just like my mother. Anyway… how about we get out of this place?"
 

Ireth

Myth Weaver
Cadell

I tilt my head at Baldhart's odd statement. "Your mother?" What did that mean? She had mentioned her mother being a druid... was she corrupted too?

No, I shouldn't jump to such conclusions. Sometimes people naturally have eyes of two different colors, rare though it may be. I decide not to press the question, and turn to follow them out into the open again.
 

Nihal

Vala
"Your mother–forget it. You're right, we ought to go, that's not the place and we have something to do. But I need my answers..." I look at the children, slouching my shoulders. "They'll get even more suspicious now. Could you...? Get the number of fighters inside the Crow and inquire about newcomers and people acting suspiciously. I'll get Branwen and wait outside."

"Decide what is better for your friend, Cadell. He is coming over there," I say in a flat voice, fixing my gaze in a random spot of the ground. "Just do not tell him." With this I move back to the entrance, to pick up Branwen again.

It's too soon, at this rate I'll never make it. I'm lost.
 

Ireth

Myth Weaver
Cadell

I return to the others, seeking Aldar and speaking softly as I approach him. "Refresh my memory, old friend, how experienced are you in war? We will need as many fighters as we can muster to drive back the goblins and others." If he is less skilled than I remember, perhaps he can stay here with Matthew to guard the young ones.
 

Legendary Sidekick

The HAM'ster
Moderator
"Sure. Anything you need, Mauve…"

Kindness can defeat the corruption, right? At least keep her wits about her?

It's worth a try, Baldy. No harm in trying.

"Egil, I want to move out now. This map was a huge help—and Kolla, that kitchen door—you were both a huge help, and everything you tell us saves lives." I don't voice the 'maybe.' "So a couple more questions before we go:

One - Who's inside the Crow? Grim, of course. Who besides him is there that can put up a fight? No one saw Hrolf and his arm-wrestling buddies?

Two - Any strangers come in and out of town? I mean aside from Hiljikki—the lady who brought Burnbright home. Any suspicious people or newcomers?"

If yes to #2, I'll follow with, 'Can you describe Him / her / them?'
 

Nihal

Vala
The soft, cold breeze caresses my skin, bringing peace. It doesn't last, the ring activates, countering the cold with an uninvited warmth. I shift Branwen's weight and see if she's cold before moving closer to the courtyard's wall.

I can't run anymore, I can't hide it. They'll require an explanation and I shall provide one. I knew it would happen, it always happen with people like me, there is no point in lamenting what is done. I stroke Branwen's hair, trying to convince myself and select the first words of what must be said.

((And there she remains, at the entrance of the outer wall, just in case things get agitated again during the night in my corner of the world.))
 
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Ankari

Hero Breaker
Moderator
My eyes want to fall from their roost and wither on the cold floor. Perhaps it is the abundance of oxygen forcing the endless stream of words from everyone's mouth. The tunnels, and the stifling air below, kept such babble to tolerable levels. Anger boils in my chest and forms words of acid.

But I choke down the words. Let them talk. Let them think the worlds spins around their need to preen like peacocks and chirp like a flock of crows fighting over a spilled bag of wheat.

I walk away, allowing them to continue their conversations. Maybe they'll brew some tea. I'm sure the ancient elf and his sweetheart have a few cookies to add to the spread. There is a new friend, after all. How impolite would it be to not offer him some refreshments.

((Move Silently))



The cool air dampens my temper. Even as close to the taint as we are, nothing can replace the open sky to a temple crowded with preening princes dressed in armor playing the hero. I smile at that image. That was unfair. They aren't playing heroes. Once they exhaust the hot air collected in their skulls, they can be productive.

Gnolls, wargs and goblins. The first priority is to secure one of the gnolls. They'll have information we don't. Second is to rip the throats of every enemy that would harm Catli.

I hunch my shoulders against the building wind. What is it about this girl that has enthralled me. Maybe I'll find out once I've cleared the town of their threat. Another smile. I'm starting to sound like Baldhart, eager to seek my own death. The cold wind stings my face like nettles, draining any fire left in me.

I jog to generate some heat.
 

SeverinR

Vala
I watch as they welcome the newcomer.
Then suddenly Cadell takes Mauve aside from the group.
Leaving Branwen to far from a friend, to close to the newcomer, and too open for the children.

Sprinting down stairs I arrive in time to see Mauve pick up Branwen. I move close to speak to her about leaving the child...
but when she looks at me, somethings wrong.
Mauve is not covering her emotions as well as ussual, something is wrong, but something is different.
Her eye.
I stop, considering my words.

"I was concerned about Branwen being alone." is all I can say.
"Is it...are you...?"
"Aldar is it?" I turn towards the stranger. "I am Aliron. I trust few. I wonder about the sanity of a person that walks in these woods alone and proclaims to the world to use dark powers that good men have dennounced."
"We live in troubled times, so there might not be many sane people left in the world."
"Lastly, I ask is stay away from me when you do your dark arts dance."

"a friend you might have been to Cadell in the past, but these days people can change so fast. I will be watching you."

I look down with a sigh,

"Curse this taint, curse magic, curse all the secrets to protect the innocent." I grumble glancing at MAuve, Branwen and then back to Aldar, I make a wide arc around Aldar to move to the entrance to look for anyone else that might be approaching.
I keep looking back at Aldar so I know where he is.

"We have a long road ahead of us." I look at Baldhart grimly.
 
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Nihal

Vala
((@SeverinR After the confrontation Mauve is outside with Branwen, by the entrance to the temple in the outer wall. Cadell, Líadan, Aldar, Matthew and Keitsumah(I guess) are inside the temple with the children, and Ankari went for a run.))

The ranger leaves the temple, running against the wind. Wouldn't it be ironic if I slipped after him, following his trail and threatened to kill him just like he did with me? A sort of twisted equilibrium, funny but ultimately useless.

Aliron's reaction is terrible, I think I've lost him now. I lull Branwen. Every time I take an odd action they'll wonder if the corruption ate my mind, they did it already. How can I possibly convince them I'm not?

The answer was there the whole time: I can't.

The memories of him return to me. He was always a bit mad, "eccentric". We knew that, but we didn't know how badly corrupted he was, he hid it really well. Does it run in the blood? Learn from your mentor, Mauve. A faint smile comes to my lips. I've been preparing myself for this, only half aware of what I was doing; it's the same of my spell choices when I was at home, the perfect—discreet—spells to travel in a world that despises magic. No blasts of shiny magic, no summoning, no obvious effects... although I ought to have learnt how to change my appearance. I'll make sure to look for this spell on Aslaug's book.

I rest my weight against the wall, cherishing my luck and feeling the sadness and all the other dark feelings moving inside me, like a trapped beast looking for an opportunity to surface. Not now.
 
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"Cadell i would be honored to help in combat, Im a little rusty but i have been in many sticky situations throughout my time, I would rather like to tag along."
"Aliron, Pleased to meet you, The art of spellcasting has been dubiously threatened by dark men using it incorrectly, I have no intention of doing so, I ask that you refrain from judging me before you have properly met me, Though i understand your point of view.Very well, I shall keep my distance as much as possible while using my magic. It may just be me but friends are hard to come by, I dont make them easy but once i have decided somebody is trustworthy thats that and nothing could change my mind, I see you glancing out to the dark forest, Believe me i am alone, You shall see as time passes i am trustworthy."

Aldar turns to cadell again, " So are we ready to go?" He asks with that usual grin of his.
 

SeverinR

Vala
"Know that I trust all in our group, and all in our group I will protect. If anything threatens any or all of our group, I will act to terminate that threat. From within or without." I say with a glance at Mauve.
" I do not accept any outside reasons for harming anyone in our group, be it royalty, goverment, or traditional normal ways of thinking. Our purpose is to great to let one person endanger the mission."

I ponder the potential enemy:
without:the queen, the villagers, any person seeing Branwen,

within: Overly corrupted Mauve, egotistical Ranger, Ravenous Branwen, wild dog,
 
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Steerpike

Felis amatus
Moderator
Egil and Kolla watch the interaction between Mauve and the other characters curiously, but neither says anything. When Baldhart asks about the Crow, they turn their attention back to her.

"I don't know who is in there," says Egil. "Grim and Burnbright for sure. Apart from that, it beats me. No one else came out. There were some fisherman down from Arendal in town that morning. Might be they're still inside. Grim's usually got at least a few guests. But to be honest, apart from Grim and Burnbright I can't say who's inside."

As Egil talks to Baldhart, Kolla breaks away from the group and heads toward the courtyard entrance, near Mauve. "Excuse me...uh...ma'am. Is that your little girl? If you want to leave her here, you can. We've already got a group of kids upstairs. None of them are quite as young as yours, but I'm good with kids. Egil is too, I guess, in his own way. We'd be happy to look after her if you're going into Srilkind with the rest."
 

Ireth

Myth Weaver
Cadell

I nod, looking him over. "What weapons are you best with? Shall we keep you with the archers or the melee fighters?"
 

Legendary Sidekick

The HAM'ster
Moderator
I reply to Alin, "Agreed." It's obvious that Mauve's transformation troubles him most. "I think kindness and compassion can help her with her… wound. A lost eye is permanent, but shunning her means the mind goes next."

I say to Aldar, "Did you know that kindness and compassion are the teachings of Brynhild, even though she's the goddess of battle? She's the most misunderstood deity, I think, maybe because it's mostly men who claim to teach about all the gods but only a woman can follow Brynhild. All followers of Brynhild have one ultimate goal: to become a valkyrie. Do you know how I know that? Light a torch, and when we're away from the temple, I'll show you something that would impress even a wizard." Not a slip-up if he already blurted it out, I figure.



Oh… and Nissa, I'm not just showing you off, I'm…

I know. Just because you don't voice the thought, doesn't mean I can't read it.


Huh… is that so? So, you knew that—

—That you thought you were going nuts and just imagining me? Yes. And I forgave you every time.



If Alin or Aldar want to chat, I'll stick with them. If not, I'll step ahead to where Mauve is seated. She needs to know she won't go through this alone and that I haven't given up on her.

Oh! Kolla's with her… um… this should be interesting!
 
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SeverinR

Vala
"I agree. We can see what the magic is doing to her. Is that what hapened to Calexa? Mutated into that beast we killed? Will Mauve become some beast?"
"I never have liked the arcane, but since the Taint, I hate it."

I turn when I hear Kolla ask about Branwen, look to Baldhart, then to Mauve.

"I think it best if we leave soon." I repeat.
 
"Aliron i fully understand, Im one to protect those i cherish as well. Fear not i shall aid you as much as i can"
Aldar replies giving a slight bow as a sign of respect.

He turns to face cadell
" I have a quarterstaff should i need it,However i think i would be best with the archers as my main abilities are spellcasting. I dont have thick armor so to be in the melee is a last resort"

"baldhart!" Aldin lets a chuckle let loose.
"there isnt much you could show a wizard, But i am keen to see what it is you wish to show me, without a doubt, If there is one thing that it certain about me it is that i love to learn."
 

Nihal

Vala
"That's kind of you, but I am afraid that is not a good idea," with a gentle smile, I answer the peasant girl.

I overhear Aliron talking about leaving and turn to look at the temple. "I agree, if everyone got their answers it's about time to leave. Anything left to discuss should be done on the road."
 

Legendary Sidekick

The HAM'ster
Moderator
"Do you have a torch?" I ask Aldar. "I don't think stealth is needed for the first hour of travel, and we'll make so much noise it's fine by me if a fire tempts an enemy to move to us—as long as we're well away from the children before it's lit."

If he doesn't have a torch, I'll ask Matthew since he doesn't need so many. And I agree with Alin, "I've got all the information we're ever going to get, so let's get out of here!"
 
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Nihal

Vala
"Then let's move on."

I turn my head in Baldhart's direction and walk towards her, annoyed by the sudden gap in my field of vision. "Are you fine with refusing the offer?" I lower my voice. "It breaks my heart to drag her into another battle, but these people... she is just a child and does not understand our language. She would not know the time to flee if they were to..."
 
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