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  1. #11
    Paladin Quaxo9 is offline Quaxo9's Avatar
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    Nairn

    She had seen the whole thing, naturally.

    Nairn liked the Far North, despite the Icebrood and perhaps inspite of the Dragons. There were less people up here, less distractions. Hunting was good, though food was scarce. This place was teetering on the edge of insanity and Nairn knew it – but didn’t much care. Certainly, her life was important to her. The rugged domain of the Ice Dragon was no place to be if one truly wished to preserve themselves, and yet she stayed.

    Likely because she had not found any other place to be.

    Saskia’s arrival in her quiet place was difficult to miss. She had actually been tracking this particular group of Icebrood when the young Elementalist engaged them in battle. Nairn had been intrigued. Usually her brethren came in large groups to be squashed by Jormag’s peons. This lone Norn was either exceptionally stupid, suicidal, or desired to be left alone. For the time, she had stood back and watched the girl ply her arts, smirking as she called out to the animal spirits. Bear could not stand up to Jormag, how did she expect him to help her?

    Nairn had half a mind to join the battle – after all, it had been her prey to begin with - until she noticed the cloaked figure racing in to the Norn girl’s defence. The spectator took a higher seat on a jutting rock, remaining motionless as she watched the archer cut a swath through the decaying mob. Clearly, the woman was a professional. Nairn was doubly intrigued. Two lone fighters meeting on the battlefield, against such terrible odds? This was the stuff of tales and legends. The feeling of something important going on down below drew her to remain, even after the fight was over.

    Slinking down between the stone and earth, she drew nearer the two intruders in her domain. She watched them both intently, at least until the human revealed herself. Anakita Snakecharm? Truly? Nairn’s eyes grew wide as she peered out from between two corpses riddled with arrows. And the girl was really a Redflame? Legends indeed. She remained hidden, even after Saskia passed out. After that, Nairn became curious as to what the Ranger would do in such a situation, so again, she waited. She followed at a short distance, looping herself between the natural landscape – always watching – always listening.

    The Ranger’s succinct measurement of her companion brought a quick smile to Nairn’s face. She liked her, despite having never met the human woman before, and the more she saw of Anakita, the more she liked. It wasn’t until the Ranger stopped at the mouth of the cave – her cave – that Nairn made her presence known. All she did to do so was stand upright. There was a risk that Anakita may mistake her for a rising Icebrood, but she was confident that the Ranger would note the obvious differences before letting her arrow fly.

    Nairn was built like most Norn were: tall, with a musculature to support such an impressive structure. However, her height was masked by how her body compressed like a spring, giving her a stooped appearance. She was also conspicuously leaner in tone, whether due to diet or type of exercise would be unclear – until she moved. It was as though her body was in suspension separate from her legs, so smooth did she move over the rough terrain. No matter how many valleys and rocks she climbed through and over, Nairn’s eyes never left Anakita’s, a child-like excitement dancing within them.

    This Norn’s eyes were a pale olive green, as though she’d exchanged them one day with Snow Leopard herself. In truth, the Animal Spirit’s avatar clung in silver form to one of the woman’s long braids that hung from her temple. A twin sepia braid, sans adornment, finished framing her dirty face. Despite the child-like look in her eyes, it would be clear that this Norn was no youngling. Nairn didn’t have enough years under her belt to be considered an elder, nor even middle-aged, but something drew at her face to betray her age. Something that hinted at having her youth stolen away many years before that debt was due.

    When she finally stood before Anakita, the small smile that had been on her face during her approach broke into a much larger grin. Saying nothing, Nairn simply bent low and scooped Saskia up and over her shoulder. She then moved forward into the cave without looking back to see if the Ranger would follow – she knew she would. There was no discernible path through the fallen rock and stalagmites, but Nairn walked as if there were. At various points she would stop and make an effort to expose various dangers and pitfalls – not all of them natural. As they walked, Nairn casually slipped her hand into Saskia’s satchel to probe its contents. The parchment was a surprise, but a welcome one, and she slipped it inside one of her bracers. A knife was similarly acquired.

    There was as much life inside the cave as outside of it and the wind whistled through hidden cracks and wove its sighs through the labyrinth. The Ranger would likely wonder where this little journey was going to end – and it would end quite abruptly. It was strange; one had to almost be on top of the opening to see the light emanating from the room within. A trick of fate had made the perfect cranny for a recluse Norn.

    A fire on a rock shelf was the source of the light, obvious once one descended the cut steps into the cavern. Nairn carefully set her burden on another shelf, this one covered by several bear hides, before moving toward the fire to stir the embers up. Beside the fire stood a small pot that appeared to be catching the water that ran from the crack above. It was clever enough to use a natural fissure to disperse the smoke from a flame, handier still to obtain water from it as well. She poured liquid into two horn cups and passed one to Anakita.

    At that moment, she felt so unprepared. Never had she imagined meeting someone she would want to interact with. Her home mirrored this fact immeasurably well. So sparsely decorated the room, Anakita would have difficulty deciding if it really was a home to the Norn, or simply a bear’s den she had stolen for the night. She shifted uncomfortably. She hadn’t even a stool to offer this hero of legend. In the end, Nairn used what she had. The wolf fur she had tied about her neck was laid on the floor with care. Again, she paused, her jaw working before her lips parted to speak.

    “M-make yourrrself at home.”

    The words were spoken slowly, the stutter at the beginning signalling a sort of ‘false start’. Her vowels were drawn out, like her tongue was cradling the sound before releasing them into the air. Nairn’s ‘r’ extended into a deep-chested purr, causing the word ‘yourself’ to sound disjointed simply by the difference in where the sound was coming from. At the very least, it would be obvious that not only was Nairn a Norn of few words, but also rarely spoke at all – at least, not to persons such as herself.
    Winner of the dubious Vaarsuvius Award for Verbousness!

    I support altruism.

  2. #12
    Count / Countess Tigers is offline Tigers's Avatar
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    Saskia Redflame


    She slept for several hours, the only sounds from her were the occasional labored breathing that could be heard from where she lay. The fire and the bear skins were enough to warm her chilled body and eventually she was able to break the hold of the fever that held her. Perspiration beaded her forehead and had clumped pieces of red and blonde hairs together resembling small framed shots of a flame. Had she been standing outside in the wind, her hair would have had appeared as living fire as it twisted and contorted in the breeze.

    She rolled over, facing the others in the cave. But the remnants of the fever held her and thinking clearly didn't come quickly. It may have been a blessing, because the young Norn was not at her best. As the haze began to clear, Saskia felt even more out of place than she had when Anakita had first made her appearance. Then there was the other Norn, she recognized her not from sight, but from memory of stories.

    She could only imagine how she got here and it was hard to tell if the sting of heat on her cheeks was from embarrassment or the what remained of the fever. She would have preferred to have remained quiet, but that would have been rude to both women. She found it difficult to face either of them, and her gaze came up slowly to regard Nairn.

    She sat up, her side burning as if it were on fire. Could the scar be infected under the tissue, it was possible, the blades of the Icebrood were not cared for. Both women were watching her, which made it that more difficult to speak.


    "I...thank you for your fire and the use of your bed." Saskia said addressing Nairn.

    "I am...Saskia Swiftrunner." She said, introducing herself to the older Norn.

    She purposely avoided the use of the Redflame name. Had Anakita not known who she was, she would have introduced herself as she had to Narin. The Redflame name was one that carried weight not only amongst her own people but that of the human world as well. It was a name she did not deserve.

    This moment was awkward for her, especially with all eyes on her. Saskia was yet young and although she had an iron will, it did not mean that she struggled with self confidence. She was just barely 19 and felt a drift from the world that she had known. And now she was in the company of a legend and a fellow Norn whom she knew little about other than through stories. The urge to stand and leave was great, instead she noticed the cup that had been set beside the bed. She took a long drink, a momentary distraction from the awkwardness she felt.

    Holding up the cup, she nodded at Nairn and thanked her. After that, the young Norn sat quietly, hoping this moment would pass. She had a duty to fulfill before she could even think about where she might fit in the world, and that was even if she lived.
    Last edited by Tigers; 07-22-2011 at 02:37 PM.
    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. #13
    Anakita Snakecharm
    The Year 1324 A.E.




    Anakita's mouth quirked into an ironic smile when Nairn showed herself. Clearly, this woman was watching all along... and she couldn't be bothered to help? The Ranger didn't make an issue of it, though. There was clearly something about this Norn that was... odd.

    That wasn't necessarily a bad thing, though. People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones, after all. Anakita was odd, too, and always had been. Nairn seemed - not harmless, necessarily, but not immediately harmful. That was enough to make Anakita follow her into the cave.

    It was clear that between two taciturn people, there wasn't going to be a whole lot of chitchat. Anakita gave Nairn a grateful smile when she picked up Saskia... and failed to notice the hand in the pack. The Ranger was too busy being glad she didn't have to tote the unconscious Norn any further.

    Anakita was strangely touched when Nairn offered her the skin she was using as an adornment to sit on; clearly this was a strong gesture of hospitality. "Thank you," she replied sincerely, then took her up on the offer, reclining comfortably and glancing around the cave, taking in her surroundings.

    She kept a careful eye on Saskia, and was relieved when the Norn Elementalist started to stir. Good thing she wasn't dead or permanently damaged.

    The introduction, though, made her blush. Anakita had been here for hours and hadn't thought to do so. Just when she thought she had conquered her own feral nature, she'd do something like this that would remind her why she was more suitable for the woods than for most company.

    "I'm Anakita Snakecharm. Sorry I didn't... but thanks for letting us stay here."

    Then, realizing the lapse had been mutual, she added to the Norn stranger, "What are you called?"
    Last edited by Monkey Kitty; 08-15-2011 at 06:34 PM.
    "Sleep to dream, and we dream to live..." -Great Big Sea

  4. #14
    Paladin Quaxo9 is offline Quaxo9's Avatar
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    Nairn

    For awhile, the Norn simply regarded her conscious guest with open curiosity. Nairn was more than comfortable with allowing a prolonged silence – mostly because she was used to it – and partly because she had no idea what she would say. Anakita Snakecharm was a legend among legends. She likely had more tales about her than any other human, though her record could be considered ill-gotten. Being cursed to live forever couldn’t help but lead to having more feats of greatness recorded than anyone else. Still, it was an impressive accomplishment. She was honoured to have the Ranger here.

    Nairn was not a completely ignorant hostess, however. Eventually she got up and began moving stones in the rock face beside the fire to reveal small makeshift cupboards with culinary tools and food inside them. A space below the fire place revealed a cistern of water painstakingly collected from what little warmth the hearth produced. A pot was filled and put on to boil. Next, a dark, dense lump was carefully sliced thin and set afloat in the water. As the substance heated, the distinct scent of bison meat and berries wafted into the cavern. Another cubby hole revealed a pile of pale, shrivelled roots which were also added to the stewed mixture.

    She regained her station, crouched against the wall, as the pot bubbled away. This time, she regarded the still form of Saskia up upon her craggy bed. Nairn admitted she was curious as to whether the girl really was a Redflame – and why one as young and healthy-looking as she would collapse after a simple battle. Her eyes narrowed. Perhaps she should have been watching more carefully – obviously there was something important she had missed.

    Until the Elementalist stirred, Nairn had no reason to move beyond stirring the pot from time to time, nor to speak any word to her guests. She simply nodded in response to the girl’s gratitude and turned her head thoughtfully when Saskia gave her last name. When one had such a grand name at her disposal as Redflame, why would she choose something so lacking in history? Nairn scruitinized her as the Elementalist sat up, holding her side. In the dim, flickering light she could see now the scar residing there. A nasty, angry-looking thing. Interesting.

    Nairn returned her attention to Anakita, grinning from ear to ear. Again, the strange working of her jaw and throat before her lips parted to release sound.

    hhhI know who you are.”

    As if she had needed any introduction, still Nairn made it obvious that she did know exactly who the archer was – and not only in name. The next part was more difficult. She needed to maintain some semblance of sentience and also decide on what name to use. In the end, the thief went with the simplest version.

    hhyou are welcome.” She moved her hands away from one another, palms turned out to her guests. One hand returned to rest on her own chest. “Nairn.” Her name was stated simply and perhaps more clearly than any of her other words. She was painfully aware of the fact her vowels did not sound quite right, especially when she began a sentence with them. Using one word to introduce herself seemed like a good way around that hindrance.

    At this juncture, Nairn stood and moved to the fireside once more. Two hammered silver bowls appeared out of the rock face and she began ladling stew into them. The knife she used to slice the dried meat was, in fact, the one she had ‘borrowed’ from Saskia. It was sharp – and handy – so Nairn hadn’t thought anything of it. She handed the first Norn-sized dish and spoon to Anakita. It was simple fare, but it was what she had.

  5. #15
    Count / Countess Tigers is offline Tigers's Avatar
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    Saskia Redflame



    It seemed that Anakita and Nairn were getting along rather well, Saskia observed quietly from her seat. She had failed to noticed that the other Norn had been using her knife, because her thoughts were focused on her responsibilities to Erik. Her eyes had traversed the darkened out lines of the cave, just beyond the flicker of the fire light. She'd been lucky today and she knew it, which only made the sting of the Redflame name burn that much more.

    Her great grandmother would be very disappointed, how did she ever manage to be tagged with such a highly regarded name? She had lost herself after Erik's death, Saskia no longer knew who she was anymore. She had been like any other Norn child, eager to make her name, to have her story told around the camp fires long after she had left this world. She had idolized her grandmother, she had overcome many obstacles and had earned the respect of not just the Norn, but her human heritage as well.

    The day that Saskia had earned the name Redflame had been a moment of pride. To be compared to her grandmother was honorable enough. She had already earned the title Swiftrunner and for good reason, she was one of the fastest Norn in the Shiverpeaks. She had become a skilled hunter, agile for someone of her size. But she had also been confident, something that had been shaken when Erik had returned as an icebrood. The only way she could get that confidence back, was to make sure that Erik had found peace.

    She took a deep breath, her side burning with infection, her heart broken and hurting. Shame outweighed the honor she felt in having the Ranger offer to assist. She had to leave, it didn't matter if she met her death on the frozen tundra of the Shiverpeaks, she had nothing left, not even who she was. Her gaze came back to Nairn and Anakita.

    "Thank you Nairn for your bed and a place to rest, but I should go soon."

    She didn't notice that Nairn had slipped something extra into her soup when she held out the bowl. The older Norn did not speak but indicated with a movement of her head that Saskia should eat. She returned a grateful nod to Nairn and took a spoon full of her boiled bison meal. The seasonings hid the special ingredient added by the older Norn and in a matter of moments and a few spoon fulls of soup, Saskia's vision began to swim and her limbs became limp.

    In one graceful movement, Nairn caught both the bowl and the younger Norn before either hit the ground. Not a drop of soup spilled from the bowl as she set it down and situated Saskia back on her bed. The young Norn would not be going anywhere for awhile.

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

    To say that Nairn felt for Saskia and her plight would have been an exaggeration. Did she understand the pain of loss – not only the loss of someone she loved – but her loss of self? Perhaps. Was it this sympathy that moved the Norn thief to intervene? Unlikely.

    Nairn’s motivations were calculated and her attitude was notably cool. Without intervention, the elementalist would die. There would be no story in it, no song, no remembrance even of such a death. It simply wouldn’t do. So – Nairn interfered. She counted the number of scrapes the spoon made across the surface of the bowl and turned before Saskia’s eyes had even fully closed.

    Her hand hovered over the remnants of Saskia’s wound, feeling the heat rising unnaturally from the skin. An infection resided there. Nairn squinted in the low light, then shook her head as she let out a grunt. She moved away from the bed, bowl of soup in hand. Barely glancing down, her foot moved a stone set against the wall – revealing a chasm – and she dumped everything down it. The potion she had used was very strong and she didn’t want to risk contaminating future meals.

    Abruptly she turned to face Anakita, a strange, open expression on her face. It was almost as if the Norn had forgotten the Ranger was there – or perhaps she was merely perplexed to realize that she should explain her actions. After a moment of awkward staring, a relaxed grin graced her lips once more.

    hhhYou were right about Norn. Very ssst...recalsssitrant.”

    When she finally finished the sentence, Nairn looked chagrined to have spoken at all. Her ‘s’ sounds were drawn out and harsh like the throaty protest from a large cat. She had attempted to say the word ‘stubborn’, but had thought better – only to have fallen into the same trap with the second word she chose. Anakita was left with little more than a breeze as the woman passed her on the way out of the cave.

    The Ranger wouldn’t be left on her own with her sleeping companion for long. It was as though Nairn had spontaneously re-appeared in the cave, an oblong brass object in her hands. It was finely crafted, but a crude handle had obviously been added to it by someone other than the creator of the object. She set it carefully on the bed and held the base as she pulled upwards. There was a ‘click’ and a ‘hum’ and Nairn bobbed her head as she counted out four beats – then pressed the top back down.

    A bright light stabbed the darkness, shooting out of the front of the device with sudden ferocity. Nairn hadn’t been looking at it, but she still squinted against the assault on her senses. She blinked a few times then turned her focus to where the light glanced off Saskia’s side. As suspected, the whole area was reddened – but purple tendrils also peeked through the skin, stretching out from the central area. A very bad infection indeed. Her fingers now probed the area, seeking the underlying tissue for answers. Closing her eyes, she let out a slow breath, pressing deeper into Saskia’s side. The unconscious Norn gasped and moved as though to roll away from her touch, which confirmed Nairn’s suspicions.

    A flicker of uncertainty wrinkled her brow as she settled back on her heels, chin in her hand. She had no healing packs of any kind – an engineer was miles from here – and her own skills with the knife had been largely limited to making injuries like the one before her now. Still, it couldn’t be that hard? Nairn let out a snort of air and furrowed her brow in thought. It wouldn’t be hard to open her up – it was the closing the wound again without making the infection worse that was the problem.

    If only there were some way to draw the poison toward the surface, the piece of whatever it was along with it. A piece of clean linen could do the trick on something more surficial. If she could just draw the poisoned blood out...like ink from an inkwell…ink…from an inkwell. Nairn’s eyes widened slightly and turned as though she were about to ask something from an invisible person on her left. Could it work? She turned her head to look over at Anakita – the crouched Norn now on the same level as the human.

    hhhI have an idea.”

    Nairn wasn’t sure why she had felt the need to say as much. She was more a Norn of action than of words. Even now, she was standing and walking back out of the cave with sure steps set to her task. Unnecessary chit-chat had never been one of her faults. Of course, that lack of communication often led to misunderstandings – perhaps it was that thought that caused her to speak aloud to the Ranger she respected so.

    The place the recluse Norn was going to retrieve such objects as a self-lighting lantern was further into the cavern and no less secret than the room she had just left. It was a tight fit for someone of her stature, down a chute and through a crevice, a sharp turn to the right and a deft duck to miss a dangerously sharp stalagmite. Someone smaller than she would likely have less issue gaining access, but Nairn had always been more concerned about one of her brethren discovering her secret.

    It was several minutes until Nairn returned – this time with a long-tipped dipping pen, a wooden bowl, two tiny stilettos, and some reeds. If the lantern’s origin wasn’t obvious enough, the size of the knives would point out the fact that Nairn had visited an Asuran colony at some point. How she procured these items was not so important as how she was about to use them. She set the bowl next to Saskia’s side, then moved to fill another basin with water and wash her hands thoroughly. The mud on her face remained – in the new light it would be obvious that it had been applied on purpose.

    Small rectangles of light bounced over the cavern ceiling as Nairn picked up the tiny knife in her left hand and the pen in her right. The back of her left hand bore several old scars: a row of round spots across the span and one larger one in the centre. The injuries that had caused the scars didn’t seem to affect the Norn’s dexterity as she deftly sliced a tiny ‘x’ into Saskia’s side. Blood pooled, but as Nairn inserted the pen’s tip, it carried up into the nib instead. The knife went down, a reed went up to be placed into the nib’s storage.

    Slowly, she pressed the pen deeper into the tissue, almost burying the entire metal piece. Blood ran down the reed and dripped into the wooden bowl. Nairn waited. The bright red ichor started to change colour before a thick yellow substance suddenly filled the reservoir. It oozed down the reed and fell in loud ‘plop’s into the dish, causing the blood to spatter beyond the bowl’s rim. So far, her plan seemed to be working. She couldn’t leave the reed lest it fall from the reservoir, but she needed water to clean up the wound after she was done. Barely glancing over at Anakita, her voice was no more than a whisper.

    “W-would hyou bring me fresh water.”

    Hopefully the Ranger wouldn’t think her a fool. If there was anything Nairn feared it was that – to be thought as a fool for how she spoke. It was embarrassing and crippling for someone who desperately wanted to be a Skaald. Nairn figured she’d be lucky if Anakita simply forgot the whole thing and just remembered what happened, not what was said.

  7. #17
    Anakita Snakecharm




    Anakita was not ashamed to admit she was out of her depth. She had a minor ability to heal herself, and could occasionally figure out how to provide first-aid to others, but that was the extent of her skill in that area. In truth, she had always admired healers, although she herself had no talent for it. Odd, really... both of her parents had been nature-based healers, and yet neither she nor her twin had inherited any ability in that area. Anakita, as a Ranger, had at least picked a profession under the auspices of the same goddess, Melandru. Rhodri's choice to be a Mesmer - and for that matter, to focus far more on political and social intrigue than on magic - was a complete departure.

    She wondered if that would have made her parents sad, but in her own case thought not. They would be happy she had found something that suited her. She suspected they would have been ashamed of Rhodri... not because of his choice to be a Mesmer or become a nominal follower of Lyssa, but because he had been so cruel. Her parents had greatly valued compassion, and would not have approved of Rhodri's exploitation of others. Anakita would never know for sure how they would have felt, though. They had been dead and buried before she reached her sixth birthday. Sometimes she missed them. More often, she felt like she had been an orphan forever, like she had sprouted from the ground or been spawned by some strange creature, rather than being born like everyone else, because her beginnings seemed so remote. Most people had heard stories of their childhoods from their parents before their own memories kicked in; the childish escapades of Anakita's early life were lost completely.

    Dismissing these thoughts, Anakita focused on the here and now, on what she was seeing. The Norn was impressive, so practiced and creative. It amazed the Ranger that anyone could have such ingenuity for healing.

    In a strange way, it reminded her of Mara, and she felt a stab of missing the Monk. The healing process was very different, of course, but Mara's craft had been a similarly honed and polished thing, yet with room for innovation. Anakita wished Mara could be here too - and not primarily so she could have provided her services.

    "Sure, I'll get the water," Anakita replied, coming out of her reverie.

    She hoped the stubborn Norn, the new Redflame, would be alright. Too much focus on the past wasn't a good thing, she reminded herself. All the years that had passed for her inclined her to be overly introspective, and she made a conscious effort to stay in the moment when she found her thoughts wandering. So much past behind her... but it wasn't now, wasn't the future. Now and the future were more important.

    The fact Nairn had drugged Saskia didn't bother the Ranger in the slightest. You did what you had to. Anakita had ample experience of that. If people didn't show the good judgment of accepting help, sometimes you had to help them anyway. Saskia might not thank them for this - but she would be alive to fail to do so, at least.

    "That was... amazing, by the way," she added self-consciously, as worried about the quality of her words as Nairn was, but for a different reason. For their arrangement and content, not their pronunciation. "I'm really impressed. You know so much about... well... everything. I guess that's your job to, though, huh?"

    Although it was phrased as a question, it wasn't really. Without waiting for a response, Anakita had ducked out in search of the requested water.
    Last edited by Monkey Kitty; 11-06-2011 at 05:56 PM.

  8. #18
    Count / Countess Tigers is offline Tigers's Avatar
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    At the Nouvel Ordre De Phoenix Guild Hall

    At the Nouvel Ordre De Phoenix Guild Hall

    The guild hall was damp and eerily quiet. But it was much more preferable a place to be than Divinity's Reach. Here Branwen could be alone with her thoughts, and wonder why such a group of strong heroes and legends could be so easily forgotten, their only memory carved in the stone that haunted these empty's halls. Had the children of such greatness really turned out to be such a disappointment?

    She ran a gloved hand along the dusty statues of her great great grandmother and grandfather. One an Elonian by birth, the other Tyrian. She'd heard their stories hundreds of times, and never got bored of them. Scattered throughout the hall stood statues of all the members, people who were friends and family. Many whose homes no longer existed in an inhabitable context, or whose professions were as forgotten as these empty halls.

    These people, their ancestors, they knew what it was like to take action when their world or their way of life was threatened. They weren't afraid to befriend races to achieve these goals and now the world seems to have rewound to a time when people kept to themselves. With the wakening of the elder dragons, all the races stayed to themselves. It was a disheartening thought, especially when Branwen walked here in the halls of her ancestors. What would they say, if they knew how their descendents would behave.

    There were stories that had reached Divinity's Reach, of a group called Destiny's Edge, a Norn, a human, Asuran, Sylviari and a Charr. Could the rumors be true, that after all this time such a diverse group had joined forces to fight the new evil that existed in their world? Branwen dug the tip of her dagger into the mass of cobwebs that covered the statue of her family.

    She had her great great grandmother's height, and her profession but that's about where the physical similarities ended. Branwen's hair was long and a lighter chestnut brown color than that of her twin brother Bronach. She was athletic, but with a slightly thinner build, long legs, quick step and quiet when she moved.

    She took hold of one of the many vines growing over parts of the empty guild, quickly climbing to the top, until she stood on top of the statue of Kiara. She brushed dust and dirt off the top of the statue, removing more cobwebs, before cutting through the thick vines surrounding the corner of the hall. With one deft move, she jumped from Kiara's statue over to Eiran's, cleaning his statue as well. She sat on top Eiran's shoulder, looking out over the room. Such a waste, how had their ancestor's let this happen, how could they have deserted such codes of loyalty and honor that dwelt within these halls? Brushing the dust off her leathers, she lept for a vine, taking a firm hold and climbing up to the upper levels of the guild hall.

    She walked through the vacant hall, wondering what it was like to have been here during the time her ancestors had filled the halls. She stood outside, overlooking the cliffs listening to the sounds of the tide crash against the stony walls. Below the balcony where she stood, Bronach's muscular form walked across the grounds. Branwen smirk to herself and looked down to one of her many animal companions, a large brown bear named Kam, short for Kamadan.


    "Tackle Bronach, Kam." She said with a mischievous grin.

  9. #19
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    Nairn

    To say she was surprised by Anakita’s praise would have been an understatement. Nairn herself would word it so when she later wrote out the account – the reason for writing being her meeting the venerable archer and the Redflame, not the minor surgery she herself had performed – though the only outward show she gave was a widening of her eyes and upraised brows. The coolness of her skin didn’t seem to allow for a blush, and even if it had, the mud would have obscured the reddening. Her response was wordless, but Anakita’s words had definitely had an impact.

    Her hands remained steady on the pen and reed, the poisoned flesh continuing to leak out of the younger Norn’s wound. Nairn began to rub at the purple lines, pushing toward the pen, hoping to remove the toxic blood as well. By the time Anakita returned, the colour of ichor had become more clear, gradually becoming blood-red once more. It was then that Nairn swiftly removed her tool and immediately soaked the area with water, following by pressing a small square of linen over the minor cuts. Hopefully the cuts would heal quickly enough to keep infection from rising once again.

    Nairn glanced over at Anakita, offering a quick smile to complement a relaxing of her shoulders. She believed Saskia was safe for now and that her surgery of sorts had been a success. Standing, she took up the bowl and tools, pressing down on the lantern to once again envelop the room in near-darkness. Despite the temporary blindness, Nairn manoeuvred herself back to the rift to dump the wastes, then started to wash all in the provided water. The task complete, she filled a mug with stew and began to eat it with her fingers, her eyes flicking between her two guests.

    Once again, silence weighted the air of the room. Briefly, she wondered what the Ranger meant by her ‘job’ – did she have the countenance of a healer, then? Perhaps it was for the best that her true occupation was obscured. It wasn’t that she was ashamed of her profession. To be truthful, she considered her way of life the epitome of survival – it was her society who held her in low regard. Did she resent them for this? Yes. It was that very perception of her vocation that made her wish to disguise it. Should Anakita discover it, Nairn would simply be prepared for the backlash.

    Thinking on it now, she recalled the bit of paper tucked in her bracer. Something she had slipped from Saskia’s pack. Nairn wasn’t certain why she had taken it – only that paper seemed to call to her and she had no qualms about answering that call. She slurped up the broth of her stew and licked off her fingers before picking up her tools and slinking back off into the darkness. It took mere moments to cross the distance, the folded page suddenly burning a hole in her wrist.

    Once inside her secondary home, she re-lit the lantern. The Norn seated herself on a three-legged stool, leaning over a hulking desk fairly covered with books, scrolls and loose pages in neat piles. These were all set aside for her current interest. She bent over the single piece of parchment that had been rolled, folded, and re-folded many times. A rough thumb smoothed the creases, revealing letters ensconced in the valleys. Nairn bent her head to the side, setting a pair of gold-rimmed spectacles over the bridge of her nose, and angled the paper toward the light. Human script was so tiny. Of course, the contents were usually worth it.

  10. #20
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    Bronach

    A long stem of grass bobbed in the breeze from between a pair of full lips. The young man was reclined on the grass next to the sea, soaking up the sun and listening to the surf beat against the rugged shoreline. He liked it here. The loneliness of the place and its quiet certainty that it would always exist whispered in his ear and pressed his heart to beat in time with a silent rhythm.

    He had never minded travelling. Sleeping in foreign lands. Eating strange foods. Walking roads to places he’d never heard of. Bronach wouldn’t say that he had a measure of wanderlust per se – just more of an assurance that wherever he was would be home. While Branwen was the more adventurous sort, Bron considered himself an adventurer simply due to the fact he was out on the road more often than he was in a town.

    Perhaps he just lacked the spirit for it. His sister seemed so driven – like she was being chased by one of the Elder Dragons – no, that wasn’t quite it. It was more as though of all the paths before them, she could see only one. It was that one path, perhaps, that called her to the places they went. It made him wonder what was at the end of that path.

    Plucking the grass from his mouth, he rose and stretched, giving a wave to Branwen’s shark companion. The beast didn’t deviate from its measured patrol of the beach, waiting for its master’s return. He turned from the ocean and their boat on the shore to the massive stone construct behind him. Branwen would be inside, he surmised, and began picking his way through the rubble.

    Some of the statues had been exposed to the sun and wind, their features now partially obscured. Still, it was obvious who they were – there was no need to read the inscriptions at the bases of the avatars. Bron had been well-versed in their family history, mostly due to his twin’s fascination on the subject. Of course, their history was very closely tied to this particular group of people – those of the Guild Nouvelle Ordre de Phoenix.

    He wondered if they knew this was coming. If they could have had an inkling of what life would be like 900 years after their passing. Did they forsee the return of the Dragons? Would they still have fought so valiantly if they could possibly have fathomed something so massive on the horizon, or would they have simply given up, knowing evil would win in the end?

    True, the Elder Dragons had been defeated before, but things were different now. Bronach, for all his contemplating, could not see a positive end to this scenario for humankind. So – what was life, but for living while you can?

    It was this particular thought that encompassed his mind when two huge brown arms encompassed his chest. Both he and the bear roared on their way to the ground. Kamadan was heavy – and talented – two things that would give Bron a run for his money. He could hear his sister’s laughter tittering away somewhere above and grunted his disapproval.

    He slipped his elbow up under Kam’s shoulder while pushing on the bear’s nose with his other hand, rolling them both over. Still, the bear had the upper hand – or paw – its massive form completely encircling its target. They wrestled for awhile, until it was clear that Bron was getting nowhere. He growled, then raised his voice, not know exactly where his twin was at the moment.

    Branwen! Get your rug off me!

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