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  1. #21
    Count / Countess Tigers is offline Tigers's Avatar
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    Branwen

    Branwen jumped for a low hanging vine and with one swing somersaulted and landed on the ground gracefully. It wasn’t a means to show off; it was just the lively nature of the young ranger. It was true that she was the more adventuresome of the two, she had been since birth. Often times she wondered if it was their connection as twins that made her brother follow her. She let out a finally chuckle before addressing her brother’s demand.

    “I’m standing right here, no need to shout. “

    She let Kam hold him for a few moments longer before releasing her twin from the bears grip.

    “Let him go Kam, Bron doesn’t want to play right now.” She said as she ruffled the grizzled fur of her companion.

    “I hope you’re not in a hurry to go back home, I wanted to spend a few days here. The old rooms are still intact if we want to sleep in doors and I packed a few things for a couple of days.”

    It likely wouldn’t surprise her brother, there wasn’t much the two were able to keep secret from one another.

    “That is unless you think that harem of women that follow you around like love sick puppies will die without you there for a couple of days.” She teased.

    “I wouldn’t want to be responsible for their deaths.”

    Most secrets were hard to keep, but they did try to keep some things for themselves. Bronach hadn’t been the only one that had admirers. Both twins were strikingly good looking, but at least for Branwen, the opposite sex really hadn’t factored much into her life, at least not yet. She had more important things to do.

    “I’m hot and dusty, I’m going to take a swim and don’t look at me like that ugh…I’ll be wearing leathers, maybe not these but I’m not swimming in my birthday suit in front of you!”

    He would hear her laugh, knowing she was still teasing. They wouldn’t have much to worry about, not from any intruder. They were both skilled in their professions and they had Kam to watch the land and Kaishi, short for Qinkaishi to watch the shore.

    Disappearing behind cover, she stripped down into a handmade pair of leather shorts. In actuality, they were an older pair of leggings she ripped the legs off just slightly above the knees. She emerged, not waiting on her twin in her handmade leathers and a dagger strapped to her leg.
    “Fish for dinner?” She asked as she stepped into the water.

    She would have to tell him tonight, not that he didn’t already know she reminded herself. But he had a right to hear it from her mouth that she had been the one to send out the invitations. Question was, would any of them respond?
    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

  2. #22
    Count / Countess Tigers is offline Tigers's Avatar
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    Old Friends


    It was a good thing that Nairn had put her out cold, the pain from the infection would have been enough to make her pass out. At least this way, the pain did not have quite the impact had she not still been awake. With the infection gone from her system, her body could properly begin to fight the fever that had once more roared to life.

    Her rest was fitful, full of bad dreams and memories, but the only evidence was the occasional moan from the young Norn. She would be famished in the morning, but feeling much better and no signs of fever or infection. Saskia would however be leery of Narin’s soup for awhile.

    While the younger Norn slept a faint glow filled the room where Nairn squinted in such concentration to the words on the parchment in her hands.
    “If you really must know what it says, I can save you the trouble of losing your good eyesight to such tiny writing.” An amused voice replied.

    As if having read Narin’s mind, the voice replied.

    “You are right not to care what the others think. If I had wasted my life with such frivolities who knows where I would have ended up, playing Princess certainly wasn’t the life for me. I was too much like my mother and father.”

    Sonja appeared before Narin, as if it were 900 years ago. If it weren’t for the fact that she had been gone that long, you would think she was standing there in the flesh before you. The look on Narin’s face amused Sonja, but she was always a bit of tease and prankster at heart.

    A ghostly hand skimmed the top of the parchment as she debated on whether to let the Norn read it, or tell her. Instead, she took another direction.

    “I owe you, Narin, for saving Saskia’s life. I would hate to see stubbornness be the end of all of my progeny. You have but to ask, and it is yours, if it within my power. Whether it is a story, a tale of old, a simple question you wished answered, it is yours to ask.”


    *********


    While Narin was occupied by her visitor, she would not be the only one seeing ghosts from the past. As Anakita went to fetch water and her thoughts were on Mara, the monk appeared as almost summoned by the Ranger’s thoughts.

    “I have missed you too.” She said as she suddenly appeared walking beside Anakita.

    “But you know you’re never alone, I’m always here, as are the others. Just because we do not walk on the same plane doesn’t mean that we do not keep watch over our beloved guild sister and her family.”

    “You’re burdened about the dragons and the state of our world. But don’t lose hope Anakita, they will be defeated.”

    There was a moment of reflection from the ghostly monk. The world had changed so much since her presence here and she did not envy the burden that Anakita had to carry. And there were things happening in the realm of the gods that she did not speak of, these were not Anakita’s concerns. There was no sense burdening her anymore than she was.

    “Everyone sends their love, many wish they could do do in person, but they are currently occupied.”

    It was far easier to let her think that perhaps they were basking in peace or lying in the arms of their loved one than to know the reality.

    “The road ahead is not going to be easy, but you’ve always known that. There will be opposition from people you will not expect, but you will not be facing it alone in this realm or in mine.”

  3. #23
    Anakita Snakecharm



    "It's good to see you," Anakita told her dead Monk friend, with a soft smile on her lips. "It's been too long... and I feared it would be much longer before I saw your face again."

    "It's not just dragons I fear," she said quietly. "Sometimes I feel like I don't belong in this world anymore. Like I'm no longer part of things, just an observer. It's not the dragons that make me feel that way. It's the people."

    She looked off into the distance. "They don't care anymore. They don't fight. They're so busy trying to survive that they don't... they don't even pause to want more than this."

    "How many times have we 'saved' the world? It wasn't just us, though. We were the hands, we wielded the bow and the sword and the staff - but there were hundreds, there were thousands behind us. Not everyone could fight, but so many used to care. So many used to lend their hearts to our struggles. Now almost no one gives a thought to winning battles, only to living another day. It makes me feel... old. Even more than the passing years have."

    Anakita smiled an ironic smile, because by nearly any possible reckoning she had been alive for a great deal of time. Her body might not have changed, but her mind had become both expansive and strangely crystalized in place.

    "Every time our guild fought some great foe, I thought we'd won lasting peace. It never lasted, though. The Titans, Shiro, Abaddon, the Destroyers... always another battle to fight. The world didn't stay saved. I kept hoping. We won some good years. But then everything collapsed into something worse than ever. Especially our people's pride."

    She met Mara's familiar eyes. "I don't fear the dragons. They can be defeated. Anything can be defeated. What I fear is that our own people are too far gone for it to matter when we win. Yet I can't forget them. They are the burden I carry."

    Suddenly a smile quirked up the corner of her lips again. "I can feel your presence, sometimes. Yours and the others. I'm glad you haven't forgotten me. Someday I'll join you. I think on that day, we'll all be ready to rest. In the meantime, though, can you tell me what's going on in the Mists, or is that knowledge too arcane for the living of Tyria to possess?"

    Anakita knew her friends too well to imagine they were content to bask in immortal peace while such important battles were being fought in the mortal realm.
    Last edited by Monkey Kitty; 01-24-2012 at 08:15 PM.
    "Sleep to dream, and we dream to live..." -Great Big Sea

  4. #24
    Paladin Quaxo9 is offline Quaxo9's Avatar
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    Nairn

    Sonja’s arrival was indeed a surprise – on several levels.

    One, no one aside from Nairn had ever been in her secret library. It was a library. All around, the cavern walls were completely obscured by bookshelves filled with leather-bound tomes or criss-crossed with wood beams holding an endless supply of scrolls. Names or places were neatly inscribed upon book spines or along the top left of the diamond-shaped holes in several languages. The desk stood in the centre, small cupboards and stands covered in candlesticks and wax dotted the area surrounding.

    Not only was it extremely unlikely for someone to have found their way to this literary niche, the simple appearance of her guest gave Nairn’s heart a pause. Third – the identity of her guest was possibly the greatest shock of all. Sonja Redflame? The Sonja Redflame? If not for the half-Norn’s hazed appearance, Nairn would have assumed she had simply missed the part of the Snakecharm curse which included the Norn heroine. No, her guest had come from beyond the Mists – which explained all.

    Sonja’s second sentence broke the spell that held Nairn in place, as the Norn quickly snatched the spectacles off her face. How ironic – to be praised for something while disproving the statement. The self-conscious woman’s eyes darted to the paper before her, as though distracted, before daring to turn them back to those of the Redflame. Unbound curiosity and excitement danced within her glass-green irises – of that she was not ashamed. Her true self may be hidden away in this room, but not for fear of what people might think – for fear of what they might do if they knew of the treasure within.

    A compliment and then an honour. Nairn was at a loss. What a great boon Sonja Redflame had just granted her! Anything? The half-Norn had nearly lost Nairn at the mention of the word “story”, but she managed to rein in her mind. At least a dozen half-told tales popped into her head – curiosity pressed her to ask her questions, and quickly – years of caution and resolve bade her measure her words carefully. How much was Sonja Redflame privy to in the Mists? Should Nairn’s questions be restricted to events of the time? Her mind reasoned ‘no’, as Sonja was clearly aware of her progeny. Truly, there were many examples of contact between those who had gone before and those still walking. Most of them ended poorly, but she quickly discarded those thoughts – instead choosing to trust in the person standing before her.

    So, if informations she desired could span the time from Sonja’s life to now, what could she possibly ask? Any stories from the past could likely be got from Anakita Snakecharm, Nairn hoped. Much of her own research had been conducted thoroughly, though she was too wise to think she’d even touched a morsel of what was to be had. So, if not a story – a question, then.

    Nairn became aware of the length of time she’d sat in silence before her ghostly guest. Her eyes refocused on the woman now and her lips mirrored the smirk she received. As quickly as her lips had turned upward, her face slipped into a much more serious mien. A question, then. Should she dare to ask the one question she had never asked? That she had never found a shred of hope in answering?

    hhhI would hask of hyou, a question.” No verbal recognition of the thanks, Nairn was straight-to-the-point and clearly working hard to produce the appropriate words. She paused after making her initial statement, making sure she truly wanted to ask – and steeling herself for disappointment should it be too much.

    “Do hyou know hwho my parentsss whur?”

    Of her line, she could possibly find herself, but these names had eluded her for many years. Nairn hoped it would be the last time she’d have to wonder where she had come from.
    Last edited by Quaxo9; 02-20-2012 at 10:43 PM.
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  5. #25
    Count / Countess Tigers is offline Tigers's Avatar
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    Mara Dayne


    Mara returned Anakita's smile, but it was tainted by her pain for her guild sister and friend. The world had changed, Mara knew it was coming the day she had died and Dwayna herself had spoken to their group. She'd never been sad or regretted her early death, to be the first amongst them to pass to the Mists, but she had felt sorry for those left behind.

    "Not everyone is apathetic Anakita, don't lose hope. There may only be a few, but I believe that their will be an army before it is over." Mara encouraged.

    How many times since their passing had many of their guild desired to find a way to return? How many times had they been as frustrated at the change in the world and the great loss of life and suffering? When the envoys came for you to take you to the Mists, there was a sense of peace and the relief that the fight was finally over. But for those that saw more than they should, it had not all been restful.

    "We are a prideful people, that is our downfall. We place pride in the places it should not be, we blind ourselves to the truth and we distance ourselves from each other."
    When she met Anakita's eyes, she simply replied with more hope. It was Mara's way.

    "If everything was a loss, we would not be standing here having this conversation, you would be in the Mists with us and the world would be no more. There is hope, and I think you've just begun to stumble upon it. The cure is in your reach."
    The sudden smile from Anakita only elicited one from the monk.

    "We've never been far away, we are almost always with you in some form or another." Mara replied.
    Mara didn't want to trouble Anakita with more burdens, especially those that she could do nothing of, but neither would the monk lie to her friend. Instead, she simply mentioned trouble they dealt with in their time.

    "Do you remember the trouble with Abbadon? The beyond is not without its own complications from time to time, but there are plenty of us here to head those off before they reach the realm of the living."

    Mara paused for a moment, and a larger smile touched her lips.

    "Besides, you know our guild, I believe they would be finding ways to keep busy if we did not have our own challenges from time to time."

  6. #26
    Count / Countess Tigers is offline Tigers's Avatar
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    Sonja Redflame



    Sonja casually leaned against the cavern wall in Narin's library. A contradiction to the two worlds she belonged too, a tall exotic beauty that was short for a Norn and tall for a human, educated, well spoken, but also very outspoken and loved the thrill of battle. She was a legendary contradiction, but a memorable one. She found it amusing watching Narin, she liked the Norn, perhaps because she could see a lot of herself in her. Time at this point made no difference to her, she was after all dead, another amusing thought.

    "I do." She replied simply.

    "But there are rules that forbid me from speaking to the living about certain things."


    There was a slight pause from the Elementalist as she looked directly into Nairn's eyes before giving her a playfully mischievous grin.


    "I've never really been one for rules, but I won't just give you the answers you seek. Narin, Keeper of Legacies, it is time for you to create some of your own. The answer you seek will come to you, I will give you the clues, but in return I give you a challenge. You must accompany Anakita and Saskia on their journey to its end. When you finally travel to the old abandoned guild hall of Nouvel Ordre De Phoenix, you will find what you seek."

    Like Sonja, Narin was astute and as much as she was her own self made woman, she was still Norn. She would be driven by her passions of needing to know, of wanting to learn. It may not be battle, but it was still a challenge, and meeting any challenge was still what made a Norn, a Norn.

    "When you arrive at the guild hall, I will give you the final clue that will lead you to the answer to your question."

  7. #27
    Paladin Quaxo9 is offline Quaxo9's Avatar
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    Nairn

    Her heart lept into her throat at the words. She knew. Sonja Redflame knew the answer to the question she’d kept hidden in her heart all this time. Nairn unconsciously fingered the silver leopard hairpiece resting on her chest. The only memory she held of the woman in question – her mother – was that this object had once belonged to her. Naturally, she sought its comfort as Sonja’s next sentence threatened to drag her heart down into the floor beneath their feet.

    Nairn was good at holding her tongue. It was an attribute that had been impressed into her being from birth. A nomadic life lasted longer when one was quiet. It was one trait that had served her in good stead – and would likely keep on doing so – as once again, her patience was rewarded. She couldn’t keep a grin from mounting. Ah yes, the stories were accurate – Sonja Redflame was a prankster and rule-bender. At least now she knew her sources, too, were correct.

    She heard everything the half-Norn said. Nothing about this meeting would ever be forgotten. Still, Sonja might have wondered if Nairn had heard anything about her challenge as the Norn’s visage suddenly took on a blank stare. ‘Keeper of Legacies’. This hero of old had given her a name – a good name, too – the impact of which the red-headed elementalist may not have guessed.

    Nairn had many names. There was the one she had been born with, the one her guardian had given her, then the five or six rather unkind ones given to her by others she did not know. Too many names for someone like her. Her needs were simple. Her actions straight forward. Had they ever asked about her motivations, they would have been sure to find they too were simple. As a result, the names they had given her meant very little as they were not a measure of her person. This name, however, verily throbbed in tune with her heart’s song.

    The steady thrum of her beating heart elevated to a brisker pace. Sonja was right about the Norn – they did love a challenge. Though Nairn’s motivations lay in somewhat unusual territory, her response to that love was similar to one of her brethren entering into the topic of battle. A quest to get her answers then, was it? Her face once again broke into a wry smile and she nodded once. She would have accepted the challenge if Sonja had told her the answer lay in the jaws of Jormag.

    Still, the charge and the promise deserved more than a simple nod from the Norn – she knew this – and yet was at a complete loss. What should she – could she – say? Etiquette had never been her strong point, less so when it required speaking. Slowly, Nairn pushed back her stool and stood to her full height. She did this not to draw attention to the difference between them, but so that the deference she gave Sonja would be more evident. Her left hand crossed over her chest, Nairn bent forward at the waist and nodded once more before straightening.

    hhhhank hyou. hhI hacssept your challenge.” Nairn paused, unsure of what else to do or say, but settling on something, she spoke again. “Whill hyou stay? hhAnakita isss here az well.”

    Nairn nearly winced. Of course Sonja knew this. She knew Saskia was here – and how Nairn had assisted her – so of course the half-Norn would know Anakita was present. Oh well. Those from the Mists were underestimated often, she could imagine. The smile was still on her face, though. What a tale to tell. A visitation from Sonja Redflame sending her on a quest with Anakita Snakecharm and the new Redflame. A quest that would resolve her constant question – and who knows what else may come of it?

    A tale of her own, indeed.
    Last edited by Quaxo9; 03-03-2012 at 10:39 PM.

  8. #28
    Count / Countess Tigers is offline Tigers's Avatar
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    Sonja Redflame


    The longer she was around Narin, the more Sonja liked the Norn. Her response was as expected, but it did not mean that there was no reaction for the half-Norn herself. A playful smile turned up on her lips and her blue eyes, the color of the clear blue frozen ice sparkled with a life of its own. It was times like this that she missed being alive and she suddenly wondered if Tora, Narin and Anakita were in a room together, who would be the first to talk. The Elementalist herself would be hard pressed to wager a bet as to who would win.

    Sonja returned the show of respect with a head bow of her own. Etiquette may not have been Narin’s strong point, but it had been driven into the half-Norn. Rebellious as she had been, it had become a part of who she was, another modifier that identified her with her father’s people. A Norn of breeding, the very thought made the Elementalist want to laugh, but in her case it had been true.


    “Good.” Sonja replied to the accepted challenge.

    The second question was not a difficult one for her answer, there wasn’t even any need to think on her response.


    “I have plenty of time to kill.” She responded with amusement.

    “Besides, the fun isn’t over yet. I’m sure you would like to meet Mara Dayne, she’s with Anakita.”

  9. #29
    Anakita Snakecharm



    Anakita's lips quirked into an amused smile. As always, Mara was more charitable about the motivations of others than she was. Perhaps she shouldn't be so cynical. She couldn't blame the cynicism on the immortality... she'd been this way for as long as she could remember. It was a character flaw. In some cases, a character flaw that had kept her alive. Immortality just gave her a broader view of time from which to be jaded.

    "You're right," Anakita said. "There's hope. There always is. I've always said this fight was winnable. We just... have to get people to actually fight."

    She almost laughed when Mara asked if she remembered the trouble with Abaddon. No, what was that? she nearly replied, but she didn't want to waste this moment with her friend's ghost by indulging in sarcasm. She just nodded that she did indeed remember when an evil god attempted to destroy the world and the last bastion of humanity had defeated the monstrous deity in the immortal realm.

    "I'm glad to know you're still there," Anakita replied honestly. "Out there... somewhere. It makes me feel less weight on my shoulders. I have no doubt you're keeping busy. Sometimes I just try to imagine that all of you aren't quite so far away. Someday I'll be with you. That's a good thing, not a sad one. In the meantime, I know I have a lot to do here."

    This visit would help increase her resolve to go and fight the battles that still needed to be fought.

  10. #30
    Paladin Quaxo9 is offline Quaxo9's Avatar
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    Nairn

    She could not keep the wide grin from breaking across her face like daybreak. Sonja Redflame was staying here for…awhile – and Mara Dayne was here as well? It seemed the entire Ordre d’Phoenix was showing up at her cave’s mouth. This must be some occasion. This day had already been momentous by the arrival of the two women on her battlefield. And now, now she had a quest.

    Nairn was swiftly moving about the cave, pulling items she would need from seemingly random locations to place into a leather satchel. A flat, wooden object went in first. It was unlikely its purpose would be immediately obvious. It was, in fact, a travelling tableau filled with sheets of parchment, inks and quills. The lamp was left where it stood, but a flint and steel hanging from a hook on the side of the desk made the cut. Food and weapons were not stored in this location, so the bag was flipped closed and the light extinguished. She grinned into the darkness in the direction of the First Redflame and ducked out of the cavern.

    On the short walk from one end of the series of caverns to the other, Nairn contemplated her challenge. The journey did not worry her. She had made the trek before, alone of course, but it would be a familiar course. Travelling with Anakita and Saskia should make it more interesting, if nothing else. Briefly, she wondered what kind of clues she would be given. Did it have something to do with where they would pass through – or more to do with where they were going? Perhaps Anakita knew something as well…or perhaps she was over-thinking this and simply needed to take the journey one step at a time.

    The first step - obviously to meet up with Mara Dayne and Anakita Snakecharm. Sound bounced off the cave ceiling as much as it seemed to disappear around corners and into hulking stalagmites, but Nairn was used to the acoustics and moved to intercept the pair. Her step paused slightly in mid-air as they neared…but she realized it would be silly to tarry. It wasn’t like she could avoid them. Nairn’s pale face soon appeared from the darkness, the ghostly hue surrounding Sonja illuminating her skin as well. Mara too, received a bow and the same wide-eyed curiosity as the other two.

    “W-welcome hhhere, Mmara Daune. hI am called Nairn.”

    It wasn’t as though she thought she would matter enough to Mara for the legendary monk to know her name, it merely seemed to be the polite thing to do. Of course, after this introduction, Nairn was rather at a loss. Her eyes dropped to the floor, flitted up to her guests (as she regarded them to be), looked in the direction of the cave where Saskia lay as though she could see right through the rock. The young Norn’s condition and Mara’s presence suddenly connected in Nairn’s brain.

    hHave you seeen Saskia? She his…unwell.”

    It wasn’t precisely concern on the Norn’s face, but it wasn’t selfishness that prodded her to ask Mara about Saskia. She knew that Sonja wouldn’t be standing around if her great-something-granddaughter were in peril, but she also knew that what little service she had provided couldn’t have completely solved the issue.

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