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 The Altar of Stars (Alex X Eldar)

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PostSubject: The Altar of Stars (Alex X Eldar)   Tue Apr 09, 2013 9:17 am


The day had started out quite well. Sunshine, a decent breakfast, an attractive innkeeper… even her husband had been quite nice, that was until he had figured what had transpired between his wife and one of his customers. Said customer had then of course had to get out fairly quickly though not without stealing another kiss from his newest conquest much to her husband's outrage.
Apart from that little hiccup, good fortune had followed Del’ure all day long. He had come to Didienne in an attempt to mix things up a little, having heard that a few of the High Council members were sleeping on their riches. Certainly they wouldn’t really need them all, now would they? And Del’ure had heard about a certain someone quite interested in a certain valuable goblet one of those councilors had.
It was safe to say that it had all gone smoothly. Goblet acquired without being seen, then deposited in the hands of the collector who had paid him handsomely.

However, that was also when his luck had changed. Del’ure could still not quite understand how he had ended up in a dead-end alley with the sun quickly setting, and with six thugs cutting him off. Had it been the slight clink of coins in his pocket? Had he done something to offend them?
Surely these weren’t friends of the innkeeper, were they? Why would he even bother throwing his money out the window by hiring them to beat up someone who had slept with his wife? If he did this every time, he was either far richer than he let on or he would be as poor as a church mouse by now. Not that Del’ure cared.

There was of course also the fact that he was wearing a rather nice coat at that moment, and that men generally did not seem to like him very much, though that had always seemed to be a problem only when women were around. So what was this?
Either way, he was in trouble.
Well… he could blast his way out of there but he wasn’t very keen on making a show of his real power. Plus, he disliked using it on such a scale. It would be far more interesting to see what they would come up with or hearing what bone exactly they had to pick with him.

That was when a thought struck him. What if these were sent by the council member he had robbed earlier? But nobody had seen him, or had they? If that were the case then they certainly wouldn’t be swayed by the offer of doubling whatever their payment was, because no matter what Del’ure had to offer, they knew the councilor could top it.

“Well, then,” Del’ure finally said as he slowly lifted his hands into the air. “Do you have something to say? Or do you just like standing there, trying to look intimidating? Because I can tell you right now, it’s not working. You should change tactics, you know?”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
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PostSubject: Re: The Altar of Stars (Alex X Eldar)   Fri Apr 12, 2013 8:49 am


    "Get out now! Before you manage to break anything else!" The gruff male voice yelled above the rumble of the Inn's tavern-room, struggling to be heard over the merrimaking and smaller arguments.

    "Hey, hey, heeey! Don' get all brash with me 'cause ye caught yer wife swappin' smooches with some bright eyed mot! If ye'd bothered to keep 'er bed warm, maybe she'd not have climbed under 'is sheets faster than a bitch down a Fox hole!" was the quick, but slurred reply. A loud THUD sounded against the door, followed by the noise of splintering wood hitting the floor.

    "OUT!" A mug that had once been filled with ale broke through the glass window, sending shards of glass and chunks of wood onto the dirt streets outside. The door to the Inn flew open and shoved the same mug flying across the alley. Stumbling into the wooden frame, the figures of a very tall and much smaller woman stood awkwardly with their backs to the evening air. He was slumped over on her right shoulder, her long arm wrapped around his waist and hand firmly holding his wrist were the only things keeping him up as he continued to swear at the other man behind the bar.

    "HA! I didn' break tha one, ya git!"

    "I'm so very sorry, gentlemen," the powerful voice of the small woman cut through the crowd, an accent rolling like thick honey off her vowels. "but it appears that my companion has had too much to drink-" "I CAN'T HOLD ME -hiccup- DRINK!"

    His drunk statement was answered by the door slamming shut, his foreign friend having struggled to bring the door close with her foot. The Inn Keeper had been more than happy to help and threw the door shut on the tip of her boot. Mumbling a series of curses that would have made even the most aged of sailors blush, she found the man lucky that her boots were terribly sturdy and that she hadn't felt a thing. She turned her companion away from the fits of laughter coming from the other room and they both slowly began to drag their feet further into town.

    The bumbling idiot was the first to catch the eye in the mixture of Sun and Moon kissed light, his provincial features scarred with calluses on long fingers and fresh bruises blooming a sickly yellow underneath the collar of his dark blue tunic. He held high cheek bones and a strong jaw covered in a softly tanned skin, all topped with bright chartreuse eyes and finished with a grin that melted even the most reluctant hearts. A desirable looking creature, indeed, he was a good bit over six feet and had a beautifully kept build. His golden, shoulder length hair was in a fit of disarray, strands popping out of the leather thong that once kept in a perfect tail behind his neck. He ran a dirt stained hand over it now as he straightened up a bit more, his steps picking up pace.

    "You just had to bring up his wife... You realize it will be weeks before we go back in there again." The woman mumbled from underneath his arm.

    He laughed loudly and moved his arm down so that it rested around her shoulders instead of on. Landing a firm poke on her temple, he replied, "Don' worry so much, Krisiries! We a'got ever'thing we needed from them folks. We won' have to go back!"

    Krisiries, as he called her, shook her head. By comparison she was almost the exact opposite of the man. The top of her head barely reached over five feet by a few inches, but by no means appeared to be a tiny person in presence. Her stature, like the man's, was that of a body trained to remember combat, managing still to maintain the heavily accentuated curves of a well endowed woman of 25. Long, straight sheets of ebony hair blossomed down to her waist over a vest of charcoal. It shone with a Cerulean hue and mirrored an oval face with a cherubic mouth. She was darker than him, skin a sharp contrast behind her strikingly light teal eyes and white sleeveless tunic burning against her bare shoulders.

    "Cain, you-" "Well! What 'ave we here!"

    Krisiries was brought to a bone jarring stop, her feet almost tripping out from underneath her as the man halted in front of the mouth to a long stone hallway, the lopsided grin on his face splitting gorgeous features asunder. His posture almost instantly reverted back to using his tiny friend for whole hearted support as he steered her in. Limping under the weight, she blew a stray piece of hair from her almond shaped eyes and quickly saw what had caught his attention.

    At the end of an alleyway that stunk of rotten food and sewage stood a group of men talking amongst themselves. Or, more like, a gang of idiots surrounding some grinning fool who, from their position, looked like he was trying to talk his way out of having his stripped body dumped in the bottom of a river. She sighed inwardly and hoped Cain knew how much he owed her in the morning.


    "Hallloooo, boys!" he called out happily to the bunch, stopping just a few feet short of the band. Wavering, he threw up a hand in what was meant to be a polite greeting and only turned into an awkward flap of his fingers. "What are yes doin' so secretive-secretivel-all secret stuff down here? May'e a small bit of gamblin'? Min' iffun I join yer party? I gots me more than a fair share of gold!" He punctuated the statement by reaching over and smacking a belt purse attached to Kisiries black breeches, a loud jingle of coins echoing off the stone bricks around them. Which only earned him a firm crack on the hand that nearly toppled the both of them over.

    "Ow!" Cain kissed his hand as he regained balance. He laughed as looked back at the men. "Feisty git, isn' she?"






~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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PostSubject: Re: The Altar of Stars (Alex X Eldar)   Fri Apr 12, 2013 9:19 am


Del’ure’s green eyes narrowed at the newcomers. Friend or foe?
From the looks of it however, they were providing an excellent distraction from himself and there was nothing else for him to do than use it to his advantage, whether they intended him harm or not. After all, the interruption was presented on a silver platter, and by a lovely looking lady on top of it all – never mind the overly loud drunkard hanging from her shoulders.

Some of the thugs obviously seemed to be thinking along similar lines as Del’ure when a few of them turned around to see who was intruding on their personal business. A sneer promptly appeared on their faces. A woman and a drunkard! What harm could they possibly do! Already on the brink of waving them off to be on their way, the words froze halfway in their leader’s mouth when he heard the tingle of coins. Maybe there was more to be gained here after all?

“So you think you want to gamble with us?” he called out to the two of them, fully turning his back on Del’ure along with three of the others.
Del’ure’s grin grew wider. He held his tongue despite wanting to throw in a comment but he didn’t want to have more eyes on him again. The two still keeping him in check, or trying to, were already looking at him with mistrust as though they knew he was going to try something. Del’ure edged closer to them, beckoning for them to bend closer as he whispered. “Should we do a little gamble of our own?”
“What sort of gamble?” the one on the right asked before groaning as his partner punched him in the arm. “Don’t listen to him.” Chuckling, Del’ure nodded confidentially. “A wise statement indeed, but it won’t do you any good.” Slowly lowering his arms again, Del’ure winked at the one on the left.
“Don’t even thi-,” the thug started but he never managed to finish the sentence. He hadn’t even hit the ground yet, holding his furiously bleeding nose when Del’ure was already fighting the second one. He hadn’t been in a hand to hand fight in quite a while. This was actually very refreshing! Now all he could hope for was that the woman and the drunkard would either join in or had another trick up their sleeves because otherwise he would either play the outnumbered victim, or he would have to expose his powers. And he really wasn’t in the mood for the latter. It only caused an unnecessary stir and he would have to stay clear of this place for even longer.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
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PostSubject: Re: The Altar of Stars (Alex X Eldar)   Fri Apr 12, 2013 10:16 am



    "Aye," Cain replied. The drunken glaze over his eyes burned brighter as he turned his attention to the leader. Something dark shifted there behind their brightness, quietly in the depths of his mind, but it went unnoticed by the thieves. Kisiries however could physically feel the sudden change in her partner. The muscles underneath his tunic sleeves tensed and relaxed slowly in the rhythm of a snake contemplating his prey. Ever so slowly, she pushed her left foot out in the tiniest of gestures. To anyone else, it looked like she was only striving to keep Cain on his feet. In reality, she was widening her legs to a defensive fighting stance.

    "I just love me a good game o' dice! Allow me a moment to talk the li'le lady out of 'er purse..." Shuffling his arm down to the small of her back, his shifted sideways so that only Kisiries could see his face while he reached for her belt. He offered her a wink, a small squeeze of pressure on her spine, and grabbed the bag of coin.

    "Don't even thi-"

    At the sounds of the man's wail the strange couple sprung into action. In one fluid movement, Cain ripped away the coinpurse, pivoted on soft sole boots, and shot Kisiries flying towards the thief who had spoken with a thrust of the hand on her back. Adjusting quickly to the sudden momentum as she twisted sideways, she thrust her elbow out and took the leader down with a painfully sharp blow to his sternum. She was magically on top of him in a single breath with a foot on his bruised chest and the end of a black, thick staff against the hollow of his throat.

    Cain never stopped moving. He moved out of his first throw and immediately into another. The bag shot out of his hand and into the forehead of the thug to his left. It burst open to reveal it had been full of a thick powder, heavy rocks, and thin tin pieces that must have been the source of the tinkling. The thief screamed in agony as the powder assaulted his eyes so that he never saw the knife coming. Cain slammed the hilt of a small throwing blade onto the crown of his head, answered by the sickening crunch of bone meeting a terrible fate. He grinned at Kisiries over the falling body and scrunched his nose.

    "Told you tonight would be fun, lass!"

    The woman rolled her eyes without ever having looked at him.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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PostSubject: Re: The Altar of Stars (Alex X Eldar)   Fri Apr 12, 2013 10:37 am


Not seeing the need to kill this one either, Del’ure tackled with the thug for a while before smashing the side of his right hand into the guy’s windpipe. All around him, figures were in motion and the thugs were falling one after the other as the two newcomers went to work. Del’ure had to admit, they had style. He loved a woman who could fight. A challenge! An all too rare challenge in his lifestyle at that.

While she was busy keeping the leader in check, her friend, who quite obviously wasn’t drunk after all – either that or he just bloomed to life when he had had a few mugs too many – and was a rather sneaky fighter it seemed, had eliminated another of the men.
It was quite satisfying indeed to see them go down so quickly.

As the man slipped from his finger, frantically gasping for air and scratching at his throat, Del’ure rushed a third thug, who, despite his fear at the sudden and very unexpected turn of events, had drawn a knife from somewhere in his clothing but didn’t seem to quite know what to do with it. Wrenching it out of his grasp, the thug aimed a low kick at Del’ure. The latter could only narrowly avoid being hit in the groin and took the well placed knee in the thigh instead, instinctively bending over a little in pain. While he did so, he yanked at the thug’s wrist to force the man off balance, before wrestling him down onto the ground and punching his lights out with one hit.

Getting up from the thug, he looked at the others, removing dirt from his cloak and casually smoothing it over again as though nothing had happened. “Fun indeed,” he picked up the man’s words. They were an odd pair to say the least but it seemed to work well for them, and Del’ure was curious to find out more about these people who had just helped him out of a tight spot. “And what a welcome surprise might I add. You have appeared just at the right time! My humble thanks to you.” He gave the man a nod and extended his hand to the woman in an offer to help her to her feet.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
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PostSubject: Re: The Altar of Stars (Alex X Eldar)   Thu Apr 25, 2013 9:52 am

    Krisiries shifted atop her prisoner and leaned the staff harder into his vulnerable throat, leaving him with only enough air for one last struggle. He tore at her clothes and dug his nails anywhere they found purchase; the desperate body convulsed wildly beneath her. Her frowning, narrowed eyes captured his blood shots irises while she whispered for only him.

    "Live better,"

    His reply was one last whimpering gasp as he finally went slack under the wooden weapon and slipped into unconsciousness. Krisiries immediately pulled back from his bruised skin to keep from killing the man, but did not move to get up immediately. She appeared to be pondering the sad looking body underneath her and was quickly interrupted when a set of fingers invaded her view. Following them up to where they belonged, she caught her own breath in her throat as if it were now her turn to be choked by some invisible force.

    The man in front of her was purely magnificent, as if some Goddess had sculpted all her dreams of absolute male beauty from a block of exotic marble and brought this being to life with magic. An aura of heated air seemed to roll off him and engulf her, making it nearly impossible for her to inhale and regain her composure. Parts of her mind revolted against her reaction, screaming she looked like a love struck dolt, but it was quickly drowned out. Driven by an invisible force that drew her towards this amazing creature, Krisiries slipped her small hand into his and pulled herself up.

    Like a bolt of over charged lightning, a strangely terrible feeling sparked from where their skin touched and overwhelmed her entire body. She covered it all with a very quick smile, but the eyes above were dark and quivering underneath.

    What is he?

    "No thanks necessary, friend. At least none for me, Cain is the one to give gratitude to." She nodded toward her companion as she tried to pull her hand from De'lure, her voice fluid and no reflection of the wavering emotions she had felt only moments before. Cain grinned back at the two as he crouched next to the man covered in the thick red powder he had thrown, picking up the pieces of tin and rock scattered about. "He was the one who stumbled upon your little party."

    "Party, that be the word fer it."

    He laughed through his mock drunk accent, thought it wasn't as strong and appeared more to add sarcasm behind his statement. There was no need to play the man who'd had too much to drink. With a history of alcoholism and a bottomless pocket of tricks, he had been able to fool their way to victory both back at the tavern and here in the alley. Twice in the alley, he noted with a quiet chuckle in his head.

    It had been simple to pretend he hadn't picked up on Krisiries' strange reaction to this stranger. He had known her long enough to know that she had never tripped over herself when it came to a good looking man. There was definitely something more going on here, but as he sifted his fingers through the grime in the street to find the last pebble he resolved to wait until later to question his female friend about her moment of prepubescent awkwardness.

    Cain stood and walked over to join them in conversation, thoroughly trying to wipe off the remnants of dark red dust from his palms with a cloth he produce from his shirt pocket.

    "Red Dragon Pepper," he mused with a wince as he worked a bit out that had coated a small scratch on his thumb. "Pesky stuff."

[i]

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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PostSubject: Re: The Altar of Stars (Alex X Eldar)   Sat Apr 27, 2013 6:38 pm


She had let him live. Interesting choice. Her companion had smashed a knife into a thug’s forehead but she had decided to go the same route as Del’ure. He was sure however that this movement did not stem from weakness or inability to go for the kill. No, it had to be something else. Not that it was of any importance to him whether these men lived or not, he was merely wondering at the differences between partners. There was bound to be a story there. Maybe he would hear it.

When the woman gripped his hand, accepting his help, he knew that he had made an impression and instantly felt the thrill of her admiration rush over his skin. It was a powerful sensation and he enjoyed it immensely, but he tried to keep the smug grin off his face. The sparkle in his eyes however did give a small hint as to how he felt about it. He couldn’t deny though that he was quite intrigued by just how intense her reaction to him appeared to be.

For a brief moment, he considered holding tight when she tried to remove her hand just so he could explore this sensation a little longer, curiosity a strong motivator therefore, but he opted against it and let go, stepping away from her lightly to address her partner.

“You really did have an excellent timing, I have to admit.” Del’ure nodded at the man, quite curious as to whom these two were. “How can I express my gratitude to you for helping me out of this tight spot? Maybe by offering you a drink? Or can I return the favour somehow?”
He wasn’t quite sure what exactly he was offering since he could get himself into serious trouble with this, especially since h didn’t know them. They could be into he did not know what and they could be dangerous despite the fact that he had just helped them. Then again, he liked to think that he could hold his own against the two of them if it needed to come down to it. But of course, there never was any guarantee. They had their own tricks up their sleeves. Maybe they would simply opt for a drink, which would definitely be the easier way to deal with this. Lately however, life didn’t seem to go the easy track for him. Then again, he did like a challenge every now and then. There had definitely been too little of that lately.

“Red dragon pepper? Sounds like one heck of a strong pepper,” Del’ure grinned. “It definitely seems to have pleased our friend there.” He nodded towards the body on the ground. He had never heard of such a thing before but it had definitely been a nice diversion tactic. “Maybe I should get myself some of that at some point. It could come in very handy. In case I run into such an incredibly unfortunate situation again.”

Realising that he didn’t even know their names either, he continued: “My name is Del’ure, by the way. May I enquire as to your names?”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
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PostSubject: Re: The Altar of Stars (Alex X Eldar)   Mon Apr 29, 2013 8:24 am


    The more Krisiries stared at De'lure, the more her initial fascination faded away and turned into simple curiosity. He was handsome, for sure, but as her teal eyes ventured over him while he spoke she took in details anyone would be want to miss. The scar on his ear underneath the shadow of his hair was a point of interest, a child hood accident or battle lost in his younger years. The ever calculating look behind his lordly face, a testament to either an intelligent mind or a cunning creature ready to betray. And above all else... the heat...

    She had initially assumed the hot air she had felt earlier was just her blushing, but now as she stood close to the stranger she started to realize that the flush of fiery air was continuous and that it was most certainly coming from him. It seemed to seep out of his very pores and, to the person with the right vision, translated into his aura as heat waves of colour forever wavering around Del'ure's form. For a small instant, deep in thought, she even thought she could smell smoke. Her urge to instigate her assumption was thwarted when she realized Cain had said something to her.

    "Hm?" She murmured, finally tearing her attention from De'lure and turning her entire body towards her companion in a way to keep herself in check.

    "Don't be rude, you git. The man offered us a drink and all you can do is stand there like there like a boy who's seen his first pair of teets!"

    Cain had stuffed the handkerchief back into his pocket while Krisiries took her inventory of the other man, resorting to try and wash the powder out instead the next time they found a water source. Blocked by some itching sensation at the edge of his mind, he was oblivious to all the conclusions she had easily come to. Normally he was much quicker in an assessment of people they met, but he found with De'lure that if he thought too hard about their new friend that he was invaded with a severe, angry pain in his head. He shrugged it off as exhaustion from such a long past few days and left well enough alone. Krisiries was the one with the affinity to solve mysterious puzzles, not Cain.

    Krisiries erupted in a singsong fit of laughter, agreeing with his comment of her dumbfounded attitude towards De'lure. She leaned on her staff, both hands clenching it near the top, and collected herself before replying.

    "Aye, we would be more than happy to join you for a drink. We haven't had a decent moment to sit down in days and my feet would be more than thankful." She gave the man a genuine smile for the first time, the gesture reaching her eyes without a glint of suspicion. "My only suggestion is that we go to the Prancing Pony downtown. It's a bit on the fancy side, but we seem to have worn out our welcome at the only other place that offers good ale." Her look trailed to Cain with a sarcastically raised eyebrow.

    "The lass giving me a look of disapproval is Krisiries. You'll have to excuse her poor manners, I'm convinced she was raised by a pack of wolves." She nodded her head in recognition. He reached out a hand to the man for shaking, his grin returning.

    "Well met, De'lure, you can call me Cain. I have to say, I'm rather impressed with how you handled those thugs. The way you moved, I am sure that you would have faired fine without our help." He jerked his head to indicate the three men De'lure had left incapacitated, his tone serious with an edge of joking as he continued. "Tell me where you learned to fit like that. Army? Your father? Where can I sign up for lesson?"

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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PostSubject: Re: The Altar of Stars (Alex X Eldar)   Mon Apr 29, 2013 8:53 am


Del’ure shook Cain’s head, returning the man’s grin with a genuine one of his own before letting it slip into just as honest a smile as he nodded at Krisiries. “Pleased to make your acquaintance.” Turning back to Cain, he winked. “Pack of wolves, huh? I shall be weary to stay out of reach of the claws and teeth then.” Some women had a tendency of freely using those weapons whenever they saw fit.

“Ah yes, unfortunately, my welcome is most definitely worn out here as well. The Prancing Pony does sound like the better option at the moment. The ale may indeed not be quite as good but at least no one will bother us there.”

As they walked through the small city towards their destiny, Del’ure laughed. “Oh, the fighting is something that comes rather natural to me, and most of all it’s years of experience of trying to avoid actual fighting that has made me fight the way I do. Confrontations are nice and well only in certain circumstances,” the look he briefly shot at Krisiries from the corner of his eye suggested that most of his confrontations were most definitely of a different kind – and by the way she hadn’t even reacted to his question he was wondering if maybe…, “but I prefer to avoid them if I possibly can.” It may have been a lengthy explanation but he also hoped it would satisfy Cain’s curiosity.

Looking at the man more closely, he returned the question: “What about yourself then? The trick with the pepper is not one I’ve come across in quite some time, and throwing your partner across the alley as a way of attacking is a rather spirited move as well. I was quite impressed by how you handled the thugs as well.”

Both of them knew how to handle themselves, that much was certain, if not just by the way they had helped him in the alley but by how they held themselves even merely walking down the street. They knew how to fight, Del’ure had no doubt about it. And their features certainly told a story of travel or similar endeavours for they were not of the typical pale skin mostly encountered in these parts. It made him hope that he would soon be able to return to warmer climates towards the south of Dragons’ Cove as well. He wasn’t too fond of the colder area, as nice as it was.

“What brings the two of you two Didienne, if I may ask? You don’t exactly look like you’re from around here,” he inquired as they seated themselves at a table near the back. The kitchen door wasn’t far off, and thus an easy exit was handy in case it was needed.
A waitress instantly bustled over to their table to take their orders and hurried off again to prepare their drinks.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
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PostSubject: Re: The Altar of Stars (Alex X Eldar)   Mon Apr 29, 2013 10:48 am



    Krisiries scrunched her nose in playful distaste when De'lure mentioned staying away from her claws, but said nothing more on the subject and simply followed behind the two men. She briefly paused at the mouth of the alley to glance back at the bodies scattered across the ground, then quickly turned to find them. Moving to walk next to Cain, intentionally keeping him between herself and the other, she just barely caught the middle of Del'ure's answer.

    The staff thumped quietly on the ground as her free hand casually brushed along her belt, taking inventory of what she had left now that the coin purse trap was gone. Inner pockets sown in that held her real coins; the sheath of a knife that lay flat in the curve of her left hip; another small pouch that hung off the same knife hip with unknown contents. She continued to take a mental check of anything she had not in immediate reach while absent-mindedly listening to the two talk back and forth.

    "Ah, well..." Cain rubbed the back of his head, thinking of how he should answer. In doing so he remembered the state of his hair and immediately set about taking out the leather thong and tying up his hair in a much better knot. "I started out as a thief very, very young. You learn things living with the shadows of men like the company I kept. Twenty years of learning to fight with a knife like an extension of my own arm and squirming my way up the ranks of the large guild."

    His grin melted into a very small, sad smile as he looked down at Krisiries. Although she could feel his eyes on her, the woman continued to stay silent and did not return his gaze. She wasn't sure if she was comfortable with how much he was sharing with someone they'd only known for less than an hour, but she trusted Cain and his judgements. He returned his attention to the street ahead of them and found they'd made easy progress in finding the rundown Tavern.

    "The other stuff, though, I have to give most of the credit to the women in my life." He continued his reply as they worked their way through to an empty table. "Krisiries and I have been fighting together for quite some time now. After so long, you instinctively develop ways to work around each other; complimenting strengths and filling in to compensate for another's weakness."

    Krisiries waited for De'lure to sit first when they finally found a comfortable set of chairs in the back. Knowing it would be impossible to avoid sitting next to him, she opted instead for the chair that would give her a perfect view of the front door and everyone else in the place. Cain sat with his back to the room, that years of working together instinct he had mentioned letting him know that she was well prepared to keep an eye out.

    Comfortably positioned, she crossed one leg over the other and set her staff down on top of her lap- making sure either end would not bother anyone.

    "The bag trick was actually an invention of our friends." She shoved her way into the conversation before Cain could answer. "She grows the plant that produces the powder you asked about. It's absolutely delicious in it's fruit form, but she discovered that dried and ground finely, it will blind someone for three days when it gets in the eyes."

    Cain nodded along, but was lost when the tankards of ale found their way to the table. He was too busy drowning himself in half his mug to notice the way the waitress seemed to hover around De'lure for much longer than necessary. However, when the other man asked about their reason for being in town, he lost his merry interest in the alcohol. He slowly set down his drink and looked over at his companion, letting the silence stretch. She in turn looked back up through her long eyelashes and thoughtfully ran a finger over her bottom lip out of habit. Something quiet passed between them, fleeting and easy to miss.

    As if they hadn't stopped at all, Krisiries picked up a delightful demeanour and turned to look over at De'lure, leaving the finger resting on her cheek while she answered.

    "It's actually quite a long story, but you're right. We aren't from these parts... Or, well, any parts in Dragon's Cove." She caught a mischievous grin that would make a Hyena shutter. "We followed a plot of rumours from our homeland and they took us out to sea. We were on that accursed ship for at least three weeks before we finally found the mouth of your River Tarz."

    She paused briefly to take a drink before continuing.

    "The crew refused to continue with us, so we worked our way alone through some forests up till we came across Didienne. Originally, we had stopped in some place called... Mmm..."

    "Harglen," Cain pipped in helpfully.

    "Harglen," she repeated, throwing her hand up in exasperation she nodded her thanks. "We stopped to resupply and take lodging, but when they heard me speaking in our native language some lady started bothering about things to trade for my "foreign belongings", as she called them, which only brought on a crowd of others asking the same thing. Cain got us out of there and, well, here we are. We arrived in town only just yesterday morn."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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PostSubject: Re: The Altar of Stars (Alex X Eldar)   Mon Apr 29, 2013 8:54 pm


Pointedly ignoring the maid until she left them in peace, Del’ure focused on the two people sitting at the table with him instead. “That’s quite a way you’ve come already,” he stated, deciding not to investigate further about their homeland. If they had wanted to share anything about it, he was fairly certain it would have come up in the explanation of how they had gotten to Didienne, considering the rest of their tale. He was curious of course, but he also knew when not to pry. After all, he preferred people not dig too deeply either when he himself wasn’t want on giving more information than he had offered in the first place.

“But yes, Harglen. They don’t get many visitors or even traders in that place, I think. They’re a little odd in their farmer minded brains of theirs but they aren’t evil people by no means.” Del’ure blinked and wondered where that had just come from, deciding that taking a longer sip of his drink would hopefully set his head on straight again. What did he care what these people thought of the inhabitants of Harglen? He didn’t even particularly like them himself.

When he put his tankard back down, Del’ure cocked his head at Cain. “So a thief, huh? Well, since you’re being so honest, I’m going to offer up a little something in return as well.” Actually, did he still have the various bundles of notes he had stashed into various places along his body? He sure hoped he did!

“I’m working in the trade as well. And I can only assume that is what caused me the trouble in the alley. Though I still can’t quite explain how they found me out, unless it was a set-up. I thought that maybe they had merely been thugs looking to make a bit of money, but I’m still not quite sure whether there was not more to it than a simple, straightforward robbery.” Del’ure’s eyes narrowed a little as he thought of the moment when the gang had cornered him.

“It is of no importance now anyways. It has happened, it has been aborted. All’s well that ends well,” he continued, shrugging off his thoughts. His eyes wandered briefly to Krisiries before returning to Cain. “The offer is the following, let’s call it a real thank you for your help rather than merely paying for your drinks; so the offer is that I can show you to some rather precious loot. The high council members are amassing unimaginable riches through taxes and some shady business, and I’m sure they wouldn’t mind to be relieved of some of it. Not everything is particularly well guarded either. But anyways, I can point a few places out to you, if you so wish.”

Stretching in his chair a little, leaning back and casually crossing his arms behind his head, likewise stretching out his legs and crossing them one of the other at the ankles, he looked at his two companions. “So what is your plan? What is your story?”

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
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PostSubject: Re: The Altar of Stars (Alex X Eldar)   Sun May 05, 2013 10:31 am


    Cain didn’t need to look at his companion to feel the immediate rejection of him stealing anything that was not necessary to their health or to the aid of their mission. Krisiries continued to appear as if she were simply basking in the comfort of her seat and their fairly quiet surroundings, but inside she screamed endless profanities at the man she called friend. If he even stopped to consider taking Del’ure’s offer, she would leave him without ever looking back and Cain knew it. She put up with a lot from her mischievous companion—going back on the one promise he had given years ago was not among them.

    She finished her ale with one last swig and waved down the barmaid. She left slowly to retrieve Krisiries’ request for warm lemonade.

    Cain smiled after the girl as she inched away, and then turned his attention back to the man across the table. He leaned forward, brushing off the sensation of his companion’s silent spite, and leaned forward with elbows on the counter. “Apologies, friend, but I’m not in the business of picking the pockets anymore. There wa—“

    “Wait,” Krisiries interrupted Cain’s short lived explanation, her eyes snapping to Del’ure with a brilliant interest that could not be missed. Though her attention was on the other man, she continued on to talk to Cain through a growing smirk. “Did you hear that, Cain? This gentleman says he knows the location of a few high council members…”

    “Aye, I did.” He caught up her meaning and leaned back with a small chuckle. Bless the Gods; he could not believe their amazing good luck. Tonight only managed to get better, and better, and better… Cain gave his companion a short nod of consent when she chanced a look his way. They both felt, in hushed agreement, that revealing a piece of their puzzle to the other was more than alright. It was downright necessary. They would only need to exercise precaution on how much to let him see.

    The maid nearly dropped the wooden cup of lemonade in front of Krisiries and stamped away in brash annoyance when Del’ure continued to ignore her. Equally ignoring her, the foreign woman barely even noticed that her drink had arrived as she uncrossed her legs—staff forgotten—and moved much closer to Del’ure. She lowered her voice to a warm murmur so that no one but the three would hear.

    “It seems Fate has brought us together, dear sir.” She had to stop a moment to push away the feeling that overwhelmed her when she realized at such a close proximity she could smell the sulfuric aura rolling off of him, mixed with the soap he used and a metallic afterthought from his weapons. Krisiries found it strangely attractive and revolted against the urge to bury her face in the crook of his neck. Clearing her throat, she continued, “We came to your Dragon’s Cove, like I mentioned before, chasing rumours.

    “There are stories in our land told to children, tales of a night when the Heaven’s cried and their tears whirled across the night sky. Fiery stones flew over the oceans and burst in magnificent colour on the shores of an unreachable land.” Krisiries suddenly noticed her glass and paused to take a drink, the steaming liquid only fueling her anxiousness. “That unreachable land was your home. Many were said to land here, all except one. At the end of the miraculous event a single star fell through the darkness and landed in the middle of our continent. Recently, that star was unearthed among the Kingdom’s capital and the fairytale proven fact. People began to think, the rocks were real… perhaps the rest of the story rang true.

    “You see, Del’ure, it is said that if all the tears are collected and brought together upon the ethereal altar, the one who binds them will be granted something so amazing that even the God’s are awed by it. So, with the current development, Cain and I decided to do what no one else was willing to try. We followed the story over the unforgiving Straights of Hyacinth—the waters that kept us from crossing to Dragon’s Cove—and lived. We have tirelessly been stalking rumour after lie after exaggeration, ever searching for the sister stars to match our own…”

    Cain took over while Krisiries reveled in her breathless bliss. She always took an excessive pleasure in talking about history, stories, and myths; the scholar in her yearning to always learn more and forever share what it knew with others.

    “We were investigating one such rumour tonight, back at the tavern just before we came across you. It took a long time to drink him out of his wits, but we finally convinced a soldier into having a bit of share time with us. He bragged about how he had been hired to escort some visiting chancellor around town while he has tea and cake with the local royalty.” He rubbed the back of his head as he slowly filtered though how much he was willing to say. “What was so important about guarding some twit in tights? I mocked him. After that, he was fast to tell us that the chancellor had in his possession a great chalice that could heal any ailment of the person who drank from it. ‘A cup never empty, it shines like the stars.’ was the way he described it. Apparently he overheard the man telling a fellow council member that it shone that way because it was MADE from stars.”



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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PostSubject: Re: The Altar of Stars (Alex X Eldar)   Wed May 15, 2013 9:56 am


Del’ure frowned briefly in confusion as Krisiries’ interest suddenly perked up and she fixated on the notion of him knowing where some of the council members were hiding their considerable stacks of treasures. But he wasn’t quite sure where this was leading thus he remained cautious on revealing that he was rather quite intrigued by the sudden change of heart. First Cain told him no, and he guessed that it was rather because of her that he wasn’t in the trade anymore, then she seemed interested all of a sudden. This was promising to be good, but he decided to wait and see.

The barmaid appeared in the corner of his eye again, swaying her hips slightly more than was necessary. He was tempted, he really was, but he also knew that getting himself into even more trouble for today wasn’t an option. Or at least not that kind of trouble. Plus, Del’ure had his eye on a different woman, who most certainly was not the barmaid. The latter couldn’t even compare to the woman sitting across from him, so he still didn’t bother looking at her, even when she was about ready to smash a tankard into his face because he was ignoring her. The slamming down of the mug did extract a grin from him however but he steadily kept his eyes on Cain and Krisiries.

When Krisiries moved closer to him however, Del’ure repositioned himself. He placed his elbows on the table and leaned closer to her, intent on listening to what she had to say. ‘U-huh, fate was it?’ Del’ure thought, but kept his grin to himself. ‘If this is fate, then I like those odds.’ Something about the way she was launching herself into this was pulling him toward her. Maybe it was only the notion that they might be going on a nightly stroll together soon, maybe it was the light shining in her eyes, the glint of joy on her face. He wasn’t quite sure, but he was most definitely going to listen intently to what she had to say. The fact that he could smell her over the very short distance between them did nothing if not increase his interest even more.

A story of stars and tears, of broken pieces brought together, reunited to grant the wielder a godly gift – it almost sounded to good to be true and Del’ure most certainly didn’t believe in these kinds of stories. At least, he didn’t believe in the outcome that was generally prophesied by fables and myths of this kind. However, he did like a decent hunt, and this story sounded like it was going to give him exactly that. Interesting companions in tow. The expression on her face was making him almost as breathless as she was from narrating this and imagining Del’ure to know the key to this fairy tale. If this was how she looked when she was excited over something as mundane as a fairy tale, then he didn’t want to know how excited she…

Forcing himself to snap out of it when Cain took over, Del’ure snapped his eyes to her companion, continuing to silently listen to the rest of the story without interrupting either of them. However, this part of the tale took a turn of events he hadn’t quite anticipated.
Laughing briefly, Del’ure shook his head. “Ah yes, a chalice made from stars so wonderfully bright that it makes the light shining in the eyes of even the most beautiful woman look like it was merely the flicker of a dying candle. Or some such nonsense. I had to listen to the twat talk for ages, while observing him, waiting for the perfect moment to relieve him of his precious possession. Of course, the light in a beautiful woman’s eyes will never even compare to any kind of chalice if you ask me,” Del’ure threw in as he looked back at Krisiries. “Is this the goblet you are looking for? The one you have heard of? If so, then that is the one I have stolen from said chancellor today. He is no longer the one you need to track.”

Frowning briefly, he turned back to Cain, ever more seriously considering the attack in the alley to have been planned rather than random. “The one you are looking for now, the new proprietor of the star-made chalice – he paid handsomely too – is a sneaky little bastard. He is guarded by a few handfuls of decent fighters and I wouldn’t be surprised if he had a mage stashed away somewhere too. He struck me as a little paranoid when we concluded our deal and I wouldn’t put it past him to try and have me eliminated afterwards merely for the fact that I know about the chalice now. He was awfully enchanted by it.”

The barmaid interrupted them again, lightly putting her hand on Del’ure’s shoulder as she leaned in. “Can I get you anything else? Anything?” She was so obvious that not even a deaf person could have not picked up on the hint in her voice. Finally, he deigned to look at her, gently brushing his fingers along her hand on his shoulder. “Thank you, honey, but we’re all set for now.” It wasn’t quite what she had hoped for but ‘for now’ seemed better than being completely blown off. Thus, she took what she got and made her way back behind the bar, ignoring the bar patron frantically trying to catch her attention for another drink.

“Now, where was I. Ah yes, the problem is that I am not quite sure where he is headed now, otherwise I would suggest stealing back the chalice for you. But, let’s just suppose for a moment that he may have somehow heard of the same legend. He would then also try to assemble all the pieces, would he not? Any other hints on where there might be pieces? Anything else you could go after? Something he would go after too, so we could intercept him, steal the chalice, get the other piece and kill two birds with one stone?” Del’ure rolled back his shoulders briefly to make himself feel a little more comfortable before leaning back against the table and looking from Cain to Krisiries, lingering briefly, and back to Cain again.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
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PostSubject: Re: The Altar of Stars (Alex X Eldar)   Sat Aug 03, 2013 6:24 am





    ( Seems we don't need to change much at all. I am going to write off what they said about the way they got there as a lie to keep out of trouble and stop any rumours getting to the SRs about how they slipped on one of their supply ships. 8D)




    They exchanged another look, but this time did nothing to hide the act. The silence between them stretched over a painstakingly long time, only interrupted by the quiet sounds of late night talk at the other tables and a small, steady pitter patter of rain on the roof. A storm had crept down from the mountains and snaked its dark, heavy clouds over Didienne while the three told their stories.  Krisiries was the first to break eye contact, leaning back in her chair to regard De'lure with a lop-sided smile as she ran her left hand over the smooth wood of  her staff. She opened her mouth to reply when the door of the tavern door burst open to allow a small gust of wind ahead of the strange newcomer.

    Her lips snapped shut as she observed the stranger out of the corner of her eye. What was a smile quickly turned into a hard frown.

    The man made his way to the bar, covered in a rain soaked cloak of black trimmed with muddied brown and gold patches along the edges. His hood easily hid his eyes and a majority of his face, but it did little to cover the sharp chin covered in dark stubble and a mouth destroyed by a scar. Pink and still puffed at the edges, the somewhat new injury ran from underneath his left eye. Vertically splitting his cheek in two down through his mouth it fell just bellow the lump in his throat. He spoke to the barkeep in hushed tones and deigned to remain standing instead of occupying one of the many stools, a small puddle of murky water collecting beneath him.

    Krisiries heart thumped with rage as she instantly recognized the distinct scar... She had given it to him.

    In what would appear only a feminine habit, she stretched back to bundle her hair into one hand and pulled the length of it over her shoulder. She brushed her fingers through the dark locks until she finally rested her hands into her lap once more. Forcing a pleasant look upon her face, she returned her attention to the man next to her and spoke for what seemed the first time  in ages since De'lure had posed his inquiry.

    Why force a smile when you could just remember the way he smells?

    "I'm sorry, friend, but I grow tired of talking business." She hated the way her mind worked sometimes. Shoving the thought away, she made sure to paint a thick edge to her words in hope that De'lure would understand not to mention what they had been speaking of before. She was  well aware that the distance between their table and  the bar was great, but she had no illusions that they couldn't be overheard anyways. "It has been such a long day for the two of us. Have you lodging here in town?"

    Cain had no need to look over his shoulder to know who had walked into the room and he didn't. Instead, he watched Krisiries with an odd look of concentration.  The shoulder she had rested her hair on was the right, three times she combed her nails through. Whatever it meant  to him, the result was his removing the small dagger from his boot and silently putting it on the chair between his legs in readiness (point away from the delicates, of course). His companions would surely notice, but the rest of the room could excuse it as nothing. Clamping his hands behind his head to remain casual, he nodded along to what Krisiries said.

    "We had been hoping  to find a room in town ourselves. Maybe you could recommend one? After all that darned time at sea and on the road, I would appreciate a roof over me sleeping head." He added whimsically.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
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PostSubject: Re: The Altar of Stars (Alex X Eldar)   Tue Aug 06, 2013 5:36 pm


Del’ure had been quite interested in hearing or even just seeing their reaction to his questions and he was rewarded by quite the reaction, though not to him or his words. He didn’t know either of them but the silence that seemed to stretch endlessly after the stranger entered and just after Krisiries had been about to reply spoke volumes.

He looked a little perplexed at the sudden turn in the conversation but he knew enough of evasive tactics, having used them on more than just a few occasions himself, not to question his companions. He gave no notion that he noticed Cain putting something, presumably a weapon, on his chair, but the movement had not escaped him. Indeed, it was all so casual that Del’ure was certain that this had been rehearsed more than once. All the better, he liked working with people who knew how to handle themselves in a tight spot. As long as it wasn’t turned against him.

“Ah, you know, I did have lodgings but I gravely outstayed that welcome,” Del’ure grinned as he slumped back in his chair, leisurely throwing an arm over the back of the empty chair beside him. Girly movements required a male reaction, thus he was deliberately presenting himself to her. If Cain and Krisiries were going to play, he was going to play along, even if he had no idea what was going on. The ugly scar however was still safely turned away from them, for now at least.

Obviously however, it was not meant to last for long. The barmaid, who had kept an eye on him ever since he had left her a little spark of hope, was now glaring daggers at him as he was so nonchalantly sprawled over practically two chairs and smiling at Krisiries.
He didn’t know what she had said but it couldn’t have been something nice, and not only the bartender but also the newcomer turned to look towards their table while she flushed bright red, whether from embarrassment of having spoken out loud or anger.

Del’ure pretended not to notice and continued. “This one does have rooms but I am fairly certain that getting a room now will bring problems. You know, barmaid and all,” he waved a hand through the air as if to dismiss the whole thing. “There is a small farm on the outskirts of town whose owners are friendly enough towards travellers. Maybe we could try there and then be on the road tomorrow morning bright and early.” Even to his own ears it sounded like complete rubbish, but there it was, out in the open. And still the barmaid was talking. What was she up to? A woman scorned was one of the most dangerous weapons, and he just realised that he just may have one of those pointed at his heart.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
The woods are lovely, dark and deep.
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
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