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  1. #11
    Paladin Quaxo9 is offline Quaxo9's Avatar
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    Constance Terpein

    The moment Anakita stepped between herself and the Charr – the archer’s back to the latter – Constance latched the door shut behind her. Her brain screamed ‘She is crazy!’ but her intense respect for the woman before her stayed her tongue. The sentiment didn’t quite keep from making a presence on her face. Her eyebrows were the only thing to raise, her axe hand maintaining its distance from her weapon.

    Constance did her best to follow Anakita’s reasoning, though she found herself distracted by the Charr’s interjections. Nonetheless, she picked up most of the story. The Charr – Kismet, by name – appeared to have been doing what Charr do best, which was killing humans, but ran amok of Anakita while the Ranger was on patrol. Why Anakita didn’t kill the Charr outright was still a mystery, but apparently an unimportant detail. What remained was fact – there was a Charr in the house – and she had been brought there.

    She realized that the Ranger was holding her breath over what her reaction might be. In the end, there was only one way to react. Constance had to trust the judgement of the person who had brought a Charr into the home where her own children resided. She’d seen too many good decisions made by Anakita in the field and on a personal level to just dismiss this event as a psychotic episode. Besides, even Stefan seemed on board, so perhaps the whole deal made more sense after one had time to get used to it.

    Swallowing once and whetting her lips, Constance finally managed, “Nice to meet you, Kismet. Enjoy your stay.” It didn’t have a lot of emotion behind it, being the typical inn-keeper’s greeting, but it was what she could manage. Presently, she remembered why she was there to begin with and decided to ignore the furry elephant in the room. Her left arm snapped out toward Anakita, the balled up paper thus inelegantly presented. Her opinion on the topic was equally awkward. “Nimue left this. I have a bad feeling about it.”
    Winner of the dubious Vaarsuvius Award for Verbousness!

    I support altruism.

  2. #12
    Anakita Snakecharm



    Kismet Snakeheart




    Anakita appreciated Constance's restraint, but she could sense the Warrior's confusion, and it fueled the doubts that were already floating very close to the surface of her own mind.

    Had she acted wrongly? Was she just crazy? Charr were dangerous. That was clear. Even when Anakita had worked with Charr in the past, she had never forgotten that. Kismet had fought with her. This wasn't some random civilian; she was a trained fighter.

    And yet... under exactly the same circumstances, Anakita wouldn't have slit the throat of a human teenager. She would have stayed her hand. That being the case, was it right to kill Kismet simply for being a Charr? Would her guildmates really have done that? Should she have? Was Anakita the one who was wrong?

    If she had killed Kismet for being a Charr, would she have been any different, morally speaking, from those who caused the Searing?

    Was it insane to take responsibility for one of the Charr? What if Kismet betrayed them and hurt someone?

    But if Kismet had been a human, would what she might do be enough to warrant her death?

    The whole thing made Anakita's head hurt. She was selfishly glad for the the distraction when Constance brought up something else. The note made her frown, though. This didn't sound good at all.

    Anakita replied, "You're right. This is troubling. We should go find her. If everything is alright, we can still be of assistance. If not... well, better for us to be there. We should leave as soon as we can mobilize a group from the guild."

    Kismet was craning her neck to see the note. "Where are we going?"

    "You aren't going anywhere."

    "You're going to leave me here like I'm one of the children?"

    As far as Anakita was concerned, Kismet was a child... but that brought up another problem. Anakita had decided Kismet deserved to live, but whether she deserved to be with their children unsupervised was still very much an open question. Was it safe to leave her behind? Stefan and Ryder could take turns watching her in shifts, but that meant leaving both of them behind, so the party would be potentially short an extra person...

    "Come on, Anakita, I can help! Pleeease?"

    Anakita couldn't help chuckling. It was just like any other teenager wheedling the person in charge of her, even though being allowed on a dangerous mission wasn't typically a young girl's desire.

    These were dangerous times, though. Ryder was already serving with the Shining Blade at that age. Bringing Kismet along would make it easier to keep an eye on her...

    "We'll talk about it," Anakita said, not yet ready to commit herself either way. "Constance, can you go show this to the others? We should leave as soon as we can."
    "Sleep to dream, and we dream to live..." -Great Big Sea

  3. #13
    Count / Countess Tigers is offline Tigers's Avatar
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    Nimue Dominia



    The sun was just beginning to rise above the horizon when Nimue opened her eyes. It was hard to focus, it was hard to do much of anything but feel pain. She tried to move, only to cry out in pain. Her vision swam and for moment she was sure she would pass out once more. Lyssa she hurt! Despite the pain she almost laughed, hadn't she thought that several times already.

    She nearly choked on that thought when a face suddenly appeared in front of her. Instinct made her move to protect herself. Only, it was a human face and not Charr, but it was too late to stop her painful actions. Marek easily moved out of the way of her swinging fist, but not before cringing at the obvious pain it had inflicted upon his love.

    Nimue gasped for air, tears lined the corners of her eyes. If she were dead, why the hell did she still hurt so bad? She felt nauseous and it was all she could do to stand the pain to turn over and vomit. A sheen of perspiration broke out on her forehead. Nimue laid painfully on her side until she felt the damp cloth touch her forehead.

    "You are the most beautiful and stubborn woman I've ever met, Nimue." Marek replied.

    That voice, so familiar. Marek, she'd know that voice anywhere. But how could that be, he was dead. Maybe she was dead, she had to be. She went to move but a hand tried to encourage her to remain still, but Niume would not have it even if it meant pain. When she turned to see the face of the voice she'd heard, Nimue's breath caught in her throat.

    "Marek?!"

    He smiled at her, and gently dabbed the wet cloth against her fevered skin. He could see the confusion on her face. He'd thought her dead, just assuredly as she did of him. It wasn't until he'd heard that she was alive through the rumors that he'd begun to wonder. When you were a prisoner of the Charr, you heard a lot of things, mainly the Charr's struggles with the humans. Marek had silently cheered her on when news came in about the troublesome mesmer. He'd worried for her, but he was rooting for her at the same time.

    He was much more thinner than she'd remember. At the moment he did not look like the man that Nimue had met and fallen in love with. He was lucky he was alive, but when he'd heard that the woman he loved was, he had reason to live.

    "I'm here. I'm not going anywhere."

    "But...you...you were dead." Nimue said with disbelief.

    "I'm happy to say that the rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated my lady." Marek replied as he gently kissed her cheek.

    She hurt, she hurt like nothing she'd ever felt and her body began to shake with fever. Marek silently worried. She was well despised by the Charr, his lovely lady of the stage, she'd earned a reputation with the Charr. They'd beaten her badly and without healing, Marek was afraid she wouldn't last through the end of the week.

    They would move in a day or two if she was still alive, and if she left this place she'd be dead for sure. Nimue was strong and healthy, but she wouldn't last the trip and even if she did, she was to be sacrificed to the Charr's gods. Silently Marek began to work a plan in his head. He had to get her out of here. He could do it, he'd escaped before. But could he manage to get her out of here alive. Lyssa why couldn't he have had some kind of healing skills!
    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

  4. #14
    Paladin Quaxo9 is offline Quaxo9's Avatar
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    Constance Terpein

    Despite the catapulted rock that had just landed, Constance was relieved that Anakita hadn’t thought she was being silly or wrongfully over-protective. She was more than willing to leave the thought train of what brought Kismet the Charr into this camp – and their lives. While she and Anakita tussled over whether she was going along or not, Constance shifted uncomfortably. She wasn’t sure how to take the Charrling – probably because she wasn’t sure of Kismet’s…position in their group. Tasked with gathering the rest of the Guild and thus dismissed, the Warrior rapidly took her leave.

    It didn’t take her long to find everyone. Mara was the easiest to locate. Constance hoped that she’d be forgiven for asking the Monk to reserve some of her energy, even when there were injured in camp to be tended. Every passing second filled her with greater anxiety – but why? Where was this coming from? In the end, all she could do was work faster to complete her task. The sooner she knew what was going on, the better. Her shield and helm were the last things on her list.

    Jogging through the camp, she seemed to pick up a mob along the way. Her guild was around her and she allowed herself to be encircled by the men and women she trusted with her life. When they arrived at the command circle, Constance couldn’t help but smirk at the officers who had given her a hard time earlier.

    “I assume you have heard of these people. We’ll be getting that heading from you now.”

  5. #15
    Anakita Snakecharm



    Kismet Snakeheart



    When Constance had left, Kismet turned to Anakita and said, "I'm going to need my daggers back."

    "No way. I'm not trusting you with weapons."

    "Why? Because I'm a Charr?"

    "No. Because an hour ago you were doing your best to kill me."

    "You hate Charr, don't you?"

    "No," Anakita replied truthfully. "Not all Charr. If I did, you'd already be dead. I'm justifiably wary of Charr until they prove trustworthy."

    "How am I supposed to prove trustworthy if you won't give me my daggers?"

    "I'm sure you'll think of something."

    "But I won't be able to protect you!" Kismet replied angrily, and Anakita was surprised. This was gut reaction from Kismet. Sincerity. Strange.

    "Why do you want to protect me?" Anakita didn't sound exactly disbelieving, but she was unapologetically curious.

    "Because you're my warband leader now!"

    "And Charr are ever so loyal? Why aren't you protecting Rac, then?"

    "It's not loyalty. It's survival. Our warband decides if we live or die, so we do our best to fit in, if the leader is worth trusting. Rac turned out to be an idiot. You don't seem like one. I want you to live-- so I will live, too! If you die, what do you think is going to happen to me?"

    When they assembled in the courtyard, Anakita was followed by Ryder and a cloaked Charr. There was a risk of her guildmates figuring out what Kismet was... but there was a risk Constance had already told them, or would do so at some point, and it made the most practical sense to bring the Charr girl along. It had also made practical sense to give her daggers back; she'd be more useful that way, and Anakita was confident she could still take Kismet down if she had to. Stefan was staying with the children, this time. Anakita had left milk for the babies. It was strange leaving them while she was nursing, but she was a better tracker than her husband, so she'd be more useful on the mission. Her chest ached, tightly bound in her armour. Times like these, the Ranger wished she could be two places at once.

    Anakita smiled pleasantly at the guards. If her name was useful, she would trade on it, like any other useful commodity. It wouldn't be long before she lost whatever good reputation she had, once Kismet was discovered, so she would take advantage while she had the chance. In the end, the combined renown of the guild as a whole was enough to sway the situation, and they set off in search of their possibly missing, definitely reckless guild sister.
    Last edited by Monkey Kitty; 05-18-2011 at 06:41 PM.

  6. #16
    Paladin Quaxo9 is offline Quaxo9's Avatar
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    Constance

    The general properties of Nimue’s mission had been laid out for them, so the Guild members had their heading. Constance seethed inside. It was a suicide mission – both of them were – and Nimue hadn’t even asked for support! Hadn’t the last few missions cemented the fact that the Guild looked out for one another? It wasn’t as though the other members couldn’t keep up – so why had the Mesmer gone off on her own? One thing was for certain, she was both mad at Nimue and currently concerned for the woman’s life.

    They may have been a small contingent, but Constance had utter faith in her comrades – well, for the most part. It was a bit odd for her not to have Stefan’s support as ‘the other tank’, but Eiran seemed to be coming along fine. She was a bit concerned that his relationship with Kiara might distract him, but so far he hadn’t made errors that could be attributed to that. Her eyes darted over to where the Charrling ran alongside Anakita with her peculiar gait. It wasn’t so much that she was Charr…though it was, too. How could they be certain it wasn’t an elaborate trap? Constance shook the thought from her mind. If something came up, they’d deal with it. Right now, they were looking for a friend and that needed her full attention.

    The terrain was rough and the group simply needed to hope that they were on the same trail as Nimue, for the Mesmer had left no sign. Her years striking from hiding and living in this cursed place had done well in teaching her silence both of voice and movement. As they came around a short hill, it quickly became evident that not all who lived in Ascalon were as talented at this particular virtue.

    The smoke still rose from the bodies of Charr all around a centralized location marked by pools of blood. Nearby, Constance could see the tip of a staff – Nimue’s staff – hanging over a rock at an awkward angle. She didn’t need to have the nose of a hound to know it was human blood staining the blackened earth. Nimue’s blood. The Charr army had made no secret about where they were going. Many footprints marred the earth and drag marks through the blood pool left gory smears on the dirt.

    Constance didn’t even pause over the grisly scene. She simply continued to run in the direction of the footprints – and hoped that there was more blood still in Nimue than what they had left on the ground.

  7. #17
    Count / Countess Tigers is offline Tigers's Avatar
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    Nimue Dominia


    Nimue had no sense of time, she was in and out of consciousness most of the day. She had no idea that her Guild had set out that morning to find her. She'd done many such missions before, sure she'd had close calls, but you couldn't expect any mission involving the Charr not to be dangerous. In her moments that her body allowed her to keep her eyes open, Nimue rested as close as she could get to Marek. It had been a long time since she had lain beside him and although this wasn't her idea of how she wanted to have such a reunion, she would take it.

    Knowing he was alive was the only thing keeping her going. If her last days were to be spent laying on the ground next to him, it was far better than she had imagined it before she had thought him dead. It only her to move, to breath, that wasn't bad, was it? She was getting used to the irony taste of her own blood in her mouth, that couldn't be a bad thing either, could it?

    "How...? Nimue tried to ask.

    Marek gently smoothed her hair from her sweaty brow.

    "Shall I regale you with the story of my escape, and how I've survived several escapes from the Charr."

    Nimue smiled through her pain, if only briefly. It was one of his many talents, making her smile.

    "Very well my lady, if it means you will lie still and rest then I will tell you."

    Marek would have to repeat himself on several points later, Nimue would continue to drift in and out of consciousness. But each time she woke, she would hear his voice and close her eyes and listen.

  8. #18
    Anakita Snakecharm



    Kismet Snakeheart




    "Can I take off this cloak?"

    "No."

    "But it's uncomfortable!"

    "No."

    "And it's hot. Sooooo hoooooot!"

    "No."

    "I have fur, you know, and--"

    "Shush!"

    "Why can't I?"

    Anakita slowed her pace for a moment and peered under the awning of canvas that shaded Kismet's face. Kismet didn't look quite human in the cloak, but at least she didn't look identifiably Charr. "I told you! You'll be seen!"

    "But they're your warba-- I mean-- guild. Just order them not to bother me."

    "It doesn't work that way."

    "Why not?"

    Anakita sighed. "I told you. I'm not their leader. I'm not in charge of them. I can't order them anything. A lot of them have good reason to hate Charr."

    "But I never did anything to them!" Again the adolescent, whiny tone.

    "Did the humans you came back to Ascalon to attack ever do anything to you?"

    "It's different!" Kismet replied indignantly.

    "No, not really."

    They ran on. Kismet grumbled under her breath, but didn't try to remove the cape. Anakita wondered if anyone from the guild had guessed yet, and wasn't sure whether she should hope they would or wouldn't.

    When they found the scene of blood, chaos, and carnage, Anakita stopped short. She bit her lip, a mixture of anger and worry subtly clouding her face. Kismet stopped too, and pushed down her hood. Anakita sighed and was about to say a sharp word about exactly what she didn't need right now.

    Kismet preemptively snapped at her, "I can't smell anything under this tent. Do you want me to help track your friend or not?"

    Anakita glanced at the others, concern on her face. "Let's find Nimue first," she said, almost pleadingly. There was too much blood. No time to stand and argue. "Then we can discuss... the other thing."

    Meaning, the Charr she had brought along.

  9. #19
    Count / Countess Tigers is offline Tigers's Avatar
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    Mara and Kiara

    It hadn’t escaped Mara’s attention that Kismet was a young Charr, but her mind was occupied on finding Nimue and she had nearly ran the entire time that they had been on the Mesmer’s trail. Kiara was also aware that there was something different about their cloaked companion, but she had no opinion either way.

    Kiara had grown up in Elona, she never dealt with the Charr, and so to her it wouldn’t be an issue. Mara had worked with the Charr before so when Kismet revealed her true identity, the monk said nothing. Instead, she was focused on the same scene that the others were no looking over.

    Mara swallowed the lump that was in her throat, Nimue was in bad shape, if she were still alive. She went to her knees as she examined the spot where the Charr had nearly beaten her guild sister to death. She prayed quickly and silently to Dwyana to have mercy upon their friend. When she turned back to the others, Anakita was dealing with what she expected to be protest about their young Charr companion.

    “There is no quarrel here with us Anakita. I do not have an issue with any Charr willing to work with us. Hobarrt and Nimue are the only two in our guild and Talya will deal with Hobarrt. Nimue, well, she’ll just avoid any confrontation if she’s…”

    Mara couldn’t finish the sentence it was too painful to think Nimue maybe dead. Instead brushed the dirt off her knees and headed down the road. The healer wasn’t waiting for an invitation to get on with rescuing her friend. Her services were badly needed right now, she was on a mission.

    Kiara just shrugged. She had learned at a young age that if you couldn’t trust the judgment of your guild members, it was time to find a new guild.

    “No problem here.” She said as she quickly went to catch up with Mara.

    The young ranger couldn’t help but look a bit longer at Kismet, she’d never seen a Charr until today.

    “That’s a Charr, a giant cat with large teeth and claws?” She whispered to Eiran as they walked passed Anakita.

  10. #20
    Paladin Quaxo9 is offline Quaxo9's Avatar
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    Constance

    It wasn’t a moment until she heard footfalls behind her. It was obvious that Nimue didn’t have long – if she were still in a state to be rescued. If not, Constance swore that she’d bring her body back to wherever the woman wanted it laid to rest. She’d even pile it with Charr bodies if that was what the Mesmer desired. Despite the fact she’d fought the Charr when the Searing took place – and that she was human – she had been more focused on taking what they had and moving on. The fighting in Ascalon had actually been quite limited for her.

    In short, the battle between the humans and the Charr had been almost impersonal.

    This current battle, however, was most assuredly not. Her temper was running high, fuelling her muscles to push for more speed. It was getting on in the day from when Nimue had first left camp. The Charr had made good time and hadn’t stopped along the way. They had a destination in mind, then. If it were a simple patrol, there would likely be more running up onto higher ground to survey the land. This path was more of a direct line. She hoped that was a good sign.

    The sun was riding low in the sky before smoke from a fresh fire came into view. At last, they had found the Charr camp. The pace slowed considerably as they approached, at least in outward motion. Two Charr were on patrol near the base of a cliff – both were taken down almost soundlessly by a combination of arrows and spells. The rescuers continued past the bodies, reaching an incline. It was then that Constance realized that the Charr had built their camp at the top of the cliff – and that there was only one way up.

    And unfortunately, more than one way down.

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