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  1. #1
    Ascalon: Ruins of the Past (GW1)

    Ascalon: Ruins of the Past (GW1)


    We're home! Anakita told herself when they first set foot on Ascalonian soil, but the words were meaningless. She didn't even recognize this place as the pleasant rural landscape where she had grown up, and the occasional glimpse of a slice of the past she perceived-- a formation of stone, an old iron railing, a few feet of cobblestone path with with a handful of straggling pieces of grass poking up-- only caused her stomach to twist in knots.

    Landing in Lion's Arch had felt like coming home. The trip from there to Ascalon had felt like a cloud was slowly descending. The home of her childhood was as dead and gone as her parents and grandparents and Rhodri.

    Returning back to the ruins was an unpleasant obligation, not a homecoming. Anakita looked forward to being back in Kryta, in the little house in Beetletun, with the family she had created.

    Adding the a second baby meant more work, of course-- although Anakita was glad that she was still nursing when the little girl arrived. At least they didn't have to worry about a food supply. The joy outweighed the extra effort, though, and even Miles seemed pleased with his new sister. Not knowing what name the little girl had been given at birth, they called her Coral, to honour the Jade Sea, which had given her the beautiful parts of her heritage, too.

    Anakita stood in the cemetery near the Wall, now. A small fire burned beneath the stone pedestal containing the Tome of the Fallen. It seemed to take forever for the evil volumes of ancient script to be consumed, but slowly they succumbed to the flames. Soon the ongoing Shiro'ken magic would be undone... though the changes they had made to Miles before his birth would be permanent, since it had been a one time event. Some things could be fixed, and some could not.

    She was unaware of a few young Charr watching from a safe distance, ready to scurry away at the first sign of being noticed... whether by this group, or the Ebon Vanguard, or the other Charr who would not approve of a young female warband.

    Anakita tried not to breathe in the acrid smoke. Here in Ascalon, the smell of burning reminded her of the Searing.

    Get this over with! Then get out of this graveyard!

    And by that, she wasn't sure she only meant the physical resting place of corpses where they stood.
    "Sleep to dream, and we dream to live..." -Great Big Sea

  2. #2
    Count / Countess Tigers is offline Tigers's Avatar
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    Nimue Dominia

    It was home for Nimue, and as far as she felt it always would be. But she did not begrudge the over hanging dread from her companions and guild mates. Mara’s parents were from here, although she’d grown up in Charr territory to the Northeast of the ShiverPeaks. And this was Kiara’s first trip to Ascalon and you could see by the young Ranger’s face that she understood how devastating the loss of her guild sister’s homeland had been.

    The mesmer walked off while the others burned the books. Here at home, she had a price on her head. She’d done more than her share to piss off the Charr. Collecting her head on a pike would make several Charr happy, but Nimue never planned on making that task easy for them. She looked out over the burnt and scarred landscape, the mesmer wouldn’t be returning to Lion’s Arch with them. Her current task was done, it was time to go back to killing Charr.

    Tonight when they broke for camp, she would tell them. It would mean doubling back, but it was better than having them camp somewhere dangerous. They’d likely stay at one of the outposts, which one she wasn’t sure. If she was correct in their feelings of leaving as soon as possible, Anakita would likely push them to get as far away from the heaviest infested Charr occupied territory as possible. Depending on how much she drank that evening, she may just head home.

    It wasn’t the first time that she’d traveled by herself. She spent most of her time alone out here anyway. As soon as she saw the smoke begin to disappate, she joined the rest of her guild. Nimue was prepared to double time their trip back in the direction of Lion’s Arch. If she had to, she’d say her goodbyes on the road.

    Peace is a lie
    There is only passion
    Through passion I gain strength
    Through strength I gain power
    Through power I gain victory
    Through victory my chains are broken
    The Force shall set me free

  3. #3

    Anakita's plan was slightly different than what Nimue might imagine. Yes, she did want to get back to Kryta, and yes, they would need to find a town or outpost where the children could stay safe during the night. She didn't intend to leave instantly, though. Once the thick, slightly oily smoke had cleared after the destruction of the tomes, she addressed the group.

    "Thanks for your help," she began. Technically they hadn't been working for her-- the help of the whole guild had been requested for the negotiation in Cantha. Still, their efforts and their bravery had directly benefited Anakita and her family, so it seemed only right.

    "Before our family goes home to Kryta, we planned to check in with the Ebon Vanguard unit currently stationed at Piken Square, and see if they need our help with any of their pending missions. Anyone who wants to is welcome to stay."

    Although she wasn't frequently in Ascalon, Anakita did serve the Ebon Vanguard and the Sunspears as well as the Shining Blade when they needed her. It led to a rather nomadic existence, and she worried about the effect on her family. There was so much need in this world, though. Which good cause ought she to say no to? Since she couldn't choose, she tried to maintain a balance of service and time in residence in Beetletun.

    The young Charr, meanwhile, were slipping away now. They had scouted, as Rac Cursebringer had ordered. Later, and in greater numbers, they would attack.
    Last edited by Monkey Kitty; 01-14-2012 at 04:37 PM.

  4. #4
    Anakita Snakecharm

    Kismet Curseheart

    The guild members had organized their individual plans, and at the moment, the plan had Anakita by herself just outside Pike Square. Stefan was looking after the children, while Anakita did a brief sweep around the walls and surrounding areas, making sure they were clear before night fell and the camp settled in for a rest during the hours of darkness.

    Any threats that might be found here, Anakita could deal with. She already had, in fact. At three different times during her patrol round, Charr had rushed her, thinking a lone traveler-- a woman-- would be no threat. None of them were left alive.

    The Ranger heard a rustling in the parched foliage behind her, and she directed Azh with a gesture. When she saw a patch of greyish fur, evidence that it was a Charr that Azh had rousted out, she let an arrow fly. It missed by half an inch and impaled a dead tree instead.

    The Charr zigzagged toward her, too close for arrows to be of much use, even from her shortbow. How had the Charr gotten near her so fast? He must have been hiding behind the rock already, or she would have heard him. There was so little cover here, and the turf crunched beneath a person's weight.

    Why had her enemy been hiding? An ambush, probably. Anakita pulled her boot knife, and as if the movement was choreographed, they lunged at each other.

    They rolled over and over in the dirt; first Anakita had the advantage, then the Charr flipped her on her back... but Anakita's arms were strong from years of drawing a bow, and she shoved her attacker so hard that the figure was airborne, crashing into the dead tree a few feet away. Anakita didn't pause an instant. She swept the enemy's feet out from under him with a swift arc of her boot, and when he hit the dirt, she pinned him, knife poised to slit the throat--

    And then she looked at who she was actually fighting, for the first time seeing a face rather than just a solid mass that was charging at her.

    The Charr was young. Very young. Anakita knew that Charr were weaned and sent for military training at three months old, and fully grown after a year. This one was somewhere in between. A combatant, but still an adolescent.

    The other thing Anakita realized was that the "he" pronoun she had been using was not accurate. She had just assumed, since as far as she knew female Charr were never permitted to fight. But no. This was the face of a Charr girl, not a boy. A kid.


    The Ranger picked up the knife the Charr girl had dropped, then stood up abruptly. The Charr remained on the ground, assuming this was a trick, and stared menacingly at her.

    "Get up," Anakita ordered bluntly. "I'm not going to kill you. Just get to your feet and leave. I have no intention of following you. Go away. Go back where you came from."

    The Charr shook her head. "I can't."

    "Yes you can. I didn't do you any serious injuries. You'll have some bruises but you can walk. I encourage you to do so, before an Ebon Vanguard member who is less understanding spots you."

    "No, I can't because... my warband is dead. Our leader sent us against the Ebon Vanguard. They slaughtered us. I ran away from the fight because I didn't want to die for Rac's stupidity. But Rac will kill me for running, and the others were wiped out. It's only me now."

    Anakita knew she should answer, That's not my problem. Somehow, though, something different came out of her mouth. Something rather like advice. "So find some other Charr. You can't stay with humans. They'll kill you. I'll kill you, if you try to harm my people."

    "Can't." The Charr was still acting sarcastic, very... teenaged. Anakita could detect an undertone of fear now, though. "I'm a girl. You know what they'll do if they find me?"

    "Yes." They'd burn her. If she was lucky, they'd kill her first.

    "So I can't go back. I'm staying with you."

    "Absolutely not!"

    The Charr smiled winningly, although this revealed razor-sharp fangs, which didn't convey quite the desired effect of docility. "But I have to. You spared my life. By Charr custom I am bound to you and owe you a debt."

    Anakita couldn't help chuckling. "The Charr have no such custom. You made that up on the spot."

    In spite of the circumstances, the Charr girl grinned back. "Well, yeah. I did. But I'm useful, you know? I can help you. Or... you'll leave, and I'll die."

    Anakita paused, undecided. "What's your name?"

    "Kismet Snakeheart," the Charr replied, pleased with herself.

    "No! There is no way."

    "Come on! You know why I chose it. That is Charr custom."

    "Yes. You've figured out my name, and used the 'snake' part like a warband designation."

    "Exactly. I'm in your warband now."

    "No you are not! I don't even have a warband, and even if I did, you wouldn't be in it. No way. I've worked with Charr before as uneasy allies. I'm not getting close to one, though."

    The Charr looked afraid again. "So... that's it? You're going to let them kill me?"

    Anakita frowned. If she brought home a Charr, her guildmates would never forgive her. The Ebon Vanguard wouldn't understand why she would show mercy to a Charr combatant at all. They would turn their backs on her, cast her out. The Vanguard might consider her a traitor, and even execute her. All the work she had put in to earn their respect would be gone, the result of just this one decision. The heroics she had done on their behalf... and the countless hours of boring patrols and mundane missions that had finally gained their favour in the end. It would all be over, everything she had worked so hard for.

    Just one life. One young life she didn't even have to take herself. If she did nothing, stepped aside, that life would wink out of existence, and everything she had built for herself would be safe.

    Damn, damn, damn.

    Anakita returned her knife to her boot, wiped her dusty hands on her leggings, and helped Kismet to her feet.

    "Fine. But don't tell anyone you're staying with me unless I explicitly tell you that you can. And don't try to harm anyone in my family, or my guild, or the Ebon Vanguard. Unconditional surrender on your part. That's how you get to live."

    "I promise," Kismet agreed, almost purring with relief.

    Anakita's heart, meanwhile, was filled with apprehension, confusion, and outright cold dread. What the hell had she just done? And what the hell was she supposed to do now?
    Last edited by Monkey Kitty; 04-29-2011 at 08:36 PM.

  5. #5
    Stefan Baruch

    Ryder had agreed to watch the children while Stefan went to the small market in Piken Square to get something to cook for dinner. It seemed that Ryder had become a permanent member of their family, which Stefan was happy about. She was like a sister to him and Anakita. She would be living in the Beetletun house with the family when they returned to Kryta, it had been decided; it just seemed natural. They enjoyed her company, and she was more than happy to pull her own weight when it came to household responsibilities.

    As Stefan rounded the corner, he caught a glimpse of white feathers and a broken beak. A Tengu? Here? There were Tengu on all three continents, but as far as Stefan knew none were native to Ascalon.

    When he got closer, he realized that this was not just any Tengu stranger. This was the Tengu shaman who had been pestering Anakita at the negotiations in Cantha, and who had upset her so badly. Stefan's eyes narrowed, and he swung around to pass her at a wide distance, not wanting to engage her in conversation.

    She had spotted him, though, and moved to intercept him. Short of attacking her, which seemed extreme-- she was an old woman, after all, and had never physically threatened them-- there wasn't much he could do, so he gritted his teeth and prepared to try to keep the discussion as short as possible.

    "Ahhh, Stefan Baruch," the Tengu woman greeted him, though her expression hadn't become any more pleasant.

    "Yes," he acknowledged briefly. When he tried to turn away, her winglike arm grasped his.

    "The first husband of Anakita Snakecharm," she added, as though by way of introducing him to herself to remember him.

    "Just the husband of," Stefan rejoined curtly.

    "Yes. For now." There was suddenly a strange smile on the old woman's face.

    "What do you mean by that?" he asked before he had the chance to remind himself that this conversation couldn't be going anywhere good.

    "I am a seer," the Tengu woman replied. "I see your past, and your future. You are... mediocre, Stefan. She is a hero, and you are just some hired mercenary who would still be swinging his sword at Devourers outside Ascalon City in exchange for a few coins if it wasn't for her. You aren't good enough for her, and you never will be. You can't go the distance. You've never been there for her at the end. Not in the Ring of Fire Islands, and not since. She will always exceed you. One day, she'll realize it, and you'll be left heartbroken. Until that day, you're just the filler. You are a... physical diversion, and nothing more."

    Stefan pulled away, but she grabbed him again, more fiercely this time, her talons raking red furrows on his forearm.

    "You will die, violently and alone. No one will care or mourn you. You anticipate your death in battle, and it doesn't frighten you, but... by then she will be long gone. She will have moved on with her life, a life without you in it. She'll never even know you fell."

    This time, he yanked back more powerfully, forcing her to release her hold. Yes, she was just an old woman, but now that she had drawn blood he was prepared to be a little rougher.

    As he stalked away, she called after him. "You don't believe me, but you will. Anakita will come home with a Charr tonight, and demand that you accept the creature. Then you'll know I have the power of true sight!"

    Stefan chuckled under his breath, and rubbed at his scratched and stinging arm. "A Charr. Yeah. That'll be the day."
    Last edited by Monkey Kitty; 05-04-2011 at 01:39 AM.

  6. #6
    Count / Countess Tigers is offline Tigers's Avatar
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    Nimue Dominia

    Nimue looked out over the ramparts of Piken Square. The smell of ash filled her senses, but when she looked out over the burned land, she only saw the green lush meadows and rolling hills of her lost country. She only saw this when she thought of Marek, which was most of the time. Perhaps she did should move on, that's what her head told her, but her heart refused to listen. She was connected to this land, and even if her guild mates or her former countrymen thought her a fool, this was a part of her that she could not change. Her heart, her soul, hell her very being was forever connected to those she loved and lost. There was no changing that.

    She pushed herself away both mentally and physically from the rampart and began to stroll the grounds. The others had already set up for their short stay there and taken on various tasks. Anakita was out patrolling, Mara had immediately gone to see what kind of medical care was needed and Kiara and her young man Eiran were tasked with various duties, including a more fortified group patrol. The mesmer often worked alone, but that did not mean she would not participate in any of the needs that were still needed here amongst those of her people who had remained behind like herself.

    She decided tonight, she would let her companions now she would part ways with them when they left Piken. She was back home now, and this would be where she would stay until needed by her guild. It was during her walk that she came upon a serious discussion from the ranking officers.

    "We need to get a messenger through to the Northern Wall, but those damnable Charr have captured or killed everyone we've sent! If we don't get someone up there to warn our men, we'll lose the whole damn group!" The commander yelled.

    "Perhaps I can help." Nimue interrupted.

    The commander looked up indignantly until he realized who it was.

    "Ah, Nimue." He replied almost embarrassed.

    The mesmer ignored his actions and stepped closer to the map that was sprawled out on the table.

    "If you could bring me up to speed." She asked.

    One of the Lieutenants, quickly pointed out the dilemma, while Nimue studied the map. All of the men and women present within the room had all grown up around Ascalon, many knew each other well, others had come to know each other as they were brought together from all over Ascalon to fight the Charr.

    "Do you have runner?" Nimue inquired.

    A young Ascalonian woman stepped up. She couldn't have been more than 17. Times had called for desperate measures, and her superiors would not have called on her if they had not felt she was competent enough to complete her task. But when it came to Charr, competence did not always guarantee someone's survival. Nimue would not question the girls running skills or her ability to stealth her way in and out of Charr infested territory.

    "I will be your decoy. The Charr patrols intersect here."
    Nimue pointed out on the map.

    "The largest groups will be focused in this one area for a short time, before the overlapping patrols make their way back. I'll enter the valley here, just as the largest of the patrols intersect. It should be enough of a distraction for the Charr to divert their attention my direction allowing your runner to get through undetected on one of the paths further east."

    "Nimue, I can't ask you..."

    "You didn't, and no, you can't. This is my choice, the Charr haven't seen me for over a month, that should be enough to cause them to give chase and it's your best chance to get your runner through that valley alive."

    Nimue stepped back from the table, there would be no more arguments from anyone in the room, although there was plenty of silence.

    "Just coordinate the time with me and I'll set out to make sure your runner has the best chance of getting through. "

    It wasn't like others hadn't died fighting the Charr, or that no one had ever volunteered for such a mission. The loss of any of their countrymen was reason enough to be silent, even to the Charr. Nimue was no one special, and she didn't consider herself as such. It was only that they knew that she was one that hardly ever refused a mission that would be considered suicidal.

    Later that afternoon, Nimue had her things packed she would need to take with her and left a note at camp for her guild mates. It seemed she would have to say her goodbyes by letter instead of over a hot meal. If they were still here when she returned, she'd give them a more proper send off, perhaps drink a few too many bottles of ale with Constance until they passed out.

    A quick glance over their camp and Nimue left out through the secured gates and began her arduous journey north. The young Ascalonian woman would head out a few hours later. They had worked out the timing, and neither could be wrong on their arrival times or the consequences could mean one or both of their lives.

    Nimue made pretty good time, once she was back in Ascalon, moving through the ash covered lands, her mind set was all business. Even running as a distraction would not guarantee the young girls survival, but if Nimue could help in anyway, she considered it worth the risk. It was late afternoon by the time she reached her rendezvous point. She would pull the groups further North from their main patrol, with the hope that it would give the runner a cleaner shot up through the valley east of her position.

    Things didn't go as planned. The mesmer had not counted on the Charr allying themselves with the grawl. Once she was spotted by a roving band, it only took one of them to spread the word that the mesmer had been sighted. Her escape route was about to be cut off and her life would not be in mortal jeopardy. She paused long enough to drink some water and regain some strength, she was slightly ahead of schedule.

    What she didn't know was that they had been expecting her and had prepared several traps in advance. The runner would easily make her destination unharmed as Nimue had been right in her assumptions that they would focus the main group on her. By the time she had set out, all routes of escape had been closed off and Nimue's life would be in great peril.

    She lay quiet near a rock, listening to the approaching Charr. She needed them close enough to see her and take chase, but not close enough to cripple her. She bolted up through the middle, pausing long enough to cast two spells in either direction to assure their attention. It worked, just like she'd thought. They doggedly chased her North and she paced herself to make sure she kept them within sight but out of casting range. Estimating the time it would take for the young woman to move through the heavy Charr patrolled areas, Nimue cut west to a place she expected to be clear of Charr.

    What she met when she rounded the corner were a group of the evil beasts awaited her. Nimue came to a screeching halt, no time to turn around and try another route, she was trapped.

    "Lyssa, what have I done!"

    They fell upon her, first the casters crippling her to slow her movement, her own counter spells were enough to give them a fight, but she was soon overwhelmed. She had known emotional pain and agony, even some physical, but she was not prepared for beating she was about to take at the hands of the Charr. The last thing she remembers, before the world went black, was the excruciating pain, and the words of the Charr dooming her to be burned to their gods.

  7. #7
    Anakita Snakecharm

    Kismet Curseheart

    Stefan Baruch

    Anakita's first problem was deciding whether to bring Kismet into Piken Square. Inside, she was in danger from the humans... outside, she was in danger from the other Charr. The Ebon Vanguard, at least Anakita had the possibility of reasoning with if her words still carried any weight at all, so she decided to take her chances within the walls.

    The second problem was how to get Kismet inside. A Charr, even a small one, would be killed on sight. There had to be some way to keep them from seeing her. Anakita had no illusion magic, though, so she would have to improvise.

    "Wait here. Stay behind the rock. I'll come back," Anakita instructed briefly.

    Kismet growled under her breath, not believing she'd return. Anakita ignored it.

    The Ranger did come back, though. She had a large piece of canvas and some rope, which she draped around Kismet and tied like a cloak.

    "This looks ridiculous!" Kismet complained, picking at the annoying cloth covering.

    "It's this or I wrap you up in it and drag you. You can pretend to be a mysterious hooded figure, or you can pretend to be the corpse of a dead Charr. Those are the only options."


    Anakita was counting on her own reputation to let herself and her friend into the Square without being questioned. She breathed a sigh of relief when it worked.

    Her next obstacle was explaining her new arrival. Stefan and Ryder would both need to know. They lived with her. There was no way to hide it. The children would need to be told.

    If all went well, the guild and the Vanguard wouldn't have to know until... when? When would it ever be safe for Kismet? More than likely, Anakita would have to keep this secret forever. That thought made her stomach knot a little, but she resolutely ignored it.

    "Stefan, this is Kismet," Anakita said bluntly. There was no way to soften this anyway. "She needs to stay with us. The Vanguard would kill her for being a Charr, and the Charr would kill her for fighting as a female. We have to protect her. She's just a kid."

    "No I'm not!"

    "Fine. She's a ferocious warrior who happens not to have reached chronological adulthood."

    "Exactly!" Kismet replied with a grin, satisfied.

    Stefan stared wordlessly. "Alright," he finally said. Then he was silent.

    Kismet didn't seem to notice. She was too busy exploring her surroundings. Eventually she glanced through the doorway and saw Ryder playing with the babies. "I heard these things take seventeen years to grow up. Is that true?"

    Anakita half-smiled. "Yeah. Give or take."

    "Weird." Kismet moved away from the door, and started inspecting the kitchen pottery with no more or less interest than she had shown in the children.

    While the Charr wandered, Anakita said quietly to Stefan, "I'm sorry. I didn't have time to ask your opinion first."

    "I know. It doesn't matter."

    "Why are you upset, then?"

    "I'm not."

    "Yes you are. Maybe not at me, but you are. And... hey, what happened to your arm?"

    Stefan sighed, and the whole story poured out.

    Anakita stared back at him, having trouble comprehending this. Finally, she responded the only way she could think of. "Are you angry with me?"

    Stefan looked over at her with surprise. He was worried he wasn't good enough to be her husband... and she took that as something wrong with her? She had, though. Anakita looked desperately worried.

    "Are you... going to leave me?" she asked nervously. "Please don't. We can work this out. I'll change things. I'll be what you want me to. Please."

    Stefan felt a stab of anger at Rhodri for spending his whole life trying to get her believe that problems could be fixed by her changing herself to please others. He folded Anakita into his arms.

    "No, of course not. It was just some old woman making stupid comments to mess with me. It doesn't mean anything. I don't want you to change anything. I just want you to be who you are."

    And thus he dismissed it from his mind. Stefan didn't much hold with fortune-telling. He didn't believe the future was so set in stone that a person could know it in advance. Seeing the Charr had startled him, but even that was not without rational explanation. The old woman could have simply seen Anakita approaching the walls with her and put two and two together.

    Everything would be fine. Stefan was confident in the strength of his marriage. That woman didn't know Anakita. Stubborn, sometimes to the point of being pig-headed... but always faithful. Yes, they would be fine.

  8. #8
    Count / Countess Tigers is offline Tigers's Avatar
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    Nimue Dominia

    Pain was supposed to be a good sign, right? It meant you weren’t dead; at least that’s what Nimue had always been led to believe. But Lyssa did it hurt! She might as well be dead for how she felt. The Mesmer had been hurt before, but never this bad. And her thoughts were that it would have been better if they’d killed her.

    She woke in and out of consciousness as they drug her away, to where she didn’t know. A prisoner of the Charr, to be burned to their gods as an offering she was painfully reminded. Why be careful with her, if she died on the way it would be no major loss. She was their enemy, someone who had been a burr in their furr for some time now.

    Nimue silently prayed for death as they drug her along the ground. After awhile, she could no longer feel parts of her that hurt anymore and soon the darkness would completely consume her. She tasted the iron in her mouth, had felt the slick wet feeling of blood along her side and clumped in her hair. Defiance and anger wanted to be heard, to be seen one final time. She didn’t want to go out like this! Not like Althea, Lyssa no!

    The pain was finally too much and Nimue didn’t regain consciousness until well into the late night. She felt a cool touch upon her cheek and a soft breeze, or where those words. She couldn’t manage to open her eyes, she coughed and blood came up into her mouth, but the pain refused to let her do much more than gasp for breathe and groan.

    “Shhhhh…. I’ve got you. Rest now my lovely lady of the stage.” A masculine voice replied.

    Nimue struggled to open her eyes and hands gently held her back.

    “Always so stubborn. Relax Nimue.” The voice replied.

    The hands that touched her, did they tremble? Goddess why couldn’t she just open her flaming eyes so she could see? The voice drifted in her ears and lingered…something familiar about it. She couldn’t place it, the pain was too great, perhaps it was an envoy come to take her.

    That thought as she drifted back to darkness gave her comfort. For in Nimue’s mind, she knew who she wanted to lead her from this life and she whispered his name.


    “I’m here my lady.” He replied, but she would not hear as the darkness took her.

  9. #9
    Paladin Quaxo9 is offline Quaxo9's Avatar
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    The Great White North
    Constance Terpein

    The Warrior could still remember the first time she saw the remains of Piken Square. Unfortunately, the place hadn’t changed. The burnt rubble still stank of death and untold fury. What the Charr had done was obvious – why, was still up in the air. Sure, the story was what they wanted more land, but Constance had her doubts. It felt more like eradication, and the why of that was what bothered her.

    There was little down time in a stronghold such as this, but Constance found herself with just that – a little down time. A nap was sought with gusto, followed by tending to her armour and sharpening her axe. It was only when she emerged from her tent for some food that she was flagged down by a passing Vanguard youth. She assured him that she was indeed part of the Nouvel Ordre, and in turn, received a neatly folded note.

    The note was not exactly in pristine order by the time it reached the command tents. Concern narrowed her eyes. If anyone knew where Nimue went, it would be someone up here. Part of her chastised herself for her reaction. Nimue was a grown woman, had been on her own in this area for a long time, and had survived thus far. What was it to her that the Mesmer had taken her leave of her Guild now that her mission was complete? Was this just Constance’s maternal nature jumping from Sabrine onto a new person – or was it the strange, disconnected look in Nimue’s eyes she had seen when they arrived in Ascalon? Besides, what would she do with the information she was about to ask for? Her heart answered that question – Constance was going to make sure her Guild Sister wasn’t in need of assistance from her blade.

    “You there, do you know which way Nimue Dominia went?” Constance’s voice held authority and the assurance that she knew that they would know exactly who she was talking about.

    “Who asks?” came the blunt reply. Two men took stock of the warrior, measuring her with hooded eyes.

    “Constance Terpein.”
    “Never heard of you.” That response stung, but she bit back her tongue’s bile and continued.

    “Then you won’t answer my question?”

    The only evidence of Connie’s rising temper was the slight heave in her epaulets. Her voice remained even, though the look in her eye made the men finger the handles of their own weapons.

    “Then I will find someone you have heard of and you may answer to them.”

    She spun on her heel and all but ran in the direction of the buildings set up along the far wall. The person Constance knew the guards would have heard of was of course Anakita. She had gone out on a limb assuming that Anakita would also want to know the whereabouts of Nimue, though she just as much expected the Ranger to smile knowingly and shake her head. Muttered curses at neither her nor anyone else spilled from her mouth. Something nagged at her that she just couldn’t place.

    Constance walked in without knocking. When one spent a lot of time in camp and in tents, knocking quickly became a thing of the past. This was one time Connie really wished she had knocked. Her mouth was already open to start to spill out the contents of the note and her perceptions, but no words came out. Standing there, right in front of her, was a Charr. Her senses realized Anakita and Stefan were also in the room and that they were alive – so why was this happening? Was she hallucinating? Constance was inclined to take that explanation until the Charr grinned at her. She took what she hoped wasn’t her last second to glance in her friends’ direction.

    It was her fondest wish that she’d see Anakita with a notched arrow.
    Winner of the dubious Vaarsuvius Award for Verbousness!

    I support altruism.

  10. #10
    Anakita Snakecharm

    Kismet Snakeheart

    Anakita froze like a startled rabbit when Constance entered the house. She had expected this could happen at some point. Not necessarily mere moments after their arrival. There had been no time to prepare, no plan to hide anything.

    The Ranger stepped protectively between Constance and Kismet, shielding the Charr. Anakita wouldn't draw a weapon against a member of her guild, but she wondered if Constance would have the same scruples when it came to a perceived traitor. At any moment, Anakita could have an axe buried in her side. Would treading carefully make a difference, or was it too late?

    "Constance... um... this is Kismet."

    "Kismet Snakeheart!" the Charr added, as if expecting this to help.

    Anakita sighed. Even if Constance was familiar with the Charr custom, it was just as likely to make things worse for all of them.

    "We're still discussing that. The thing is, Kismet is our--"

    Anakita tried to figure out how to explain that. Not a family member; they barely knew her. Not a friend, for the same reason. She had no reason to think Kismet even particularly liked them. How to describe the relationship?

    Kismet suggested, "Their ferocious warrior!"

    Speaking over her, Anakita corrected, "Our responsibility. She's only a few months old-- a teenager, in Charr reckoning. The other Charr would kill her because she's a female and she was recruited to a warband. The Ebon Vanguard... well, it's obvious how they would perceive her, given the mission she was sent on. She had nothing to do with the Searing; she wasn't even born yet. She's never known anything but war training. She needs our protection from--"

    Kismet looked aghast. "I don't need protection from anyone or anything!"

    The Ranger's eyes narrowed. "Fine. You aren't a prisoner. You know where the door is."

    "Um... I kind of... like it here," Kismet hastily assured her, wanting to save face but not lose her chance of survival.

    Anakita's lip quirked upward in a short-lived smile. "I thought so. Anyway, she's our responsibility now. I understand if that is... difficult to accept. I hope we can come to a peaceful resolution of any argument about the subject, though."

    She really, really didn't want to fight a member of her guild. She didn't see much option, though. They did have an obligation to protect Kismet, whether the Charr girl recognized it or not.
    Last edited by Monkey Kitty; 05-15-2011 at 05:06 PM.

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