Open Chronicles Are You Here?

A roleplay open for anyone to join

Maveriel Valthoras

The Red Wind
Character Biography

Angelical. Magical. Maybe that’s how any member of the audience might describe those vocals.
Bells, chimes, as if heavenly instruments, dripping in amid the gentle voice of the band’s singer.
Eventually, the drums picked up, percussion beats between strings, breathing music in a tavern.
In the town of Exeter, outside and east from the city of Vel Anir, north of Falwood, life was social.

Didn’t matter if you were human, elf, or orc just as well. Nothing else mattered but the inhabitant.
Whether a resident or a visitor, you could come into this town in a shroud or dressed plain as day.
A cloak, robes, armor or something else altogether, you just had to be willing to keep the peace.
Most folk aren’t here for trouble. If they were, well, townsfolk as well as authorities would greet.

One of them was a guest, no resident, having just arrived in this settlement, to the tavern in turn.
It was night, outside was cool, inside boasted about five fools beyond the bar, dancing and drinking.
They were merry, actually, happily swaying. Intoxication without violence. I’ll take it. Thought the lady.
A wood elf, sitting at the bar, turning to the bartender, tapping finger on the counter. “Another stout, sir.”

Garbed in a grey cloak, though it did not necessarily hide her armor, and the hood was down.
Beneath cloth of shroud, she wore a blend of green grey plate, some of it revealed in inches.
Setting empty tankard on the counter, the elf could drink for certainty, but isn’t here to drown.
The woman was here to relax, sit back and listen to music, having entered the tavern to visit.

Mingle with the crowd or sit down and enjoy the show alone. “And a plate of bangers ‘n’ mash.”
She gestured to the bartender to finalize her order. Behind her, a warm fire roared at her back.
The Limping Elk was as cozy as a tavern ought to be, with curtained windows, tobacco smoke.
A mishmash of laughs and quiet conversation, candles dancing by wood beams and stone walls.

Brushing strands of her scarlet hair behind a pointed ear, Mave gave her gaze to the bartop, thinking.
Quaint place. Stay the night in the inn? Leave in the morning? She bit her lip, wondering, planning.
The town of Exeter had all the amenities besides this establishment, from stables to blacksmith.
A dark dry beer came her way, a bit of a bitter taste, yet she liked it. We’ll see. She licked her lips.
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There weren't many things that the ordinary folk did better than Vampires, Kerrick Vandergard had found. In the times he'd spent living in underground warrens full of the fanged bloodsuckers he'd enjoyed night after night of debaucherous partying, endless wine and whiskey, and plenty of willing flesh ready to sate any need he might have.

But there was something to be said about a quaint little tavern, some pretty music floating through the air, and some cheap beer that burned going down and boiled coming back up. It wasn't a party, per se. No, Kerrick likened it more to a shared experience in melancholy. Nobody in this building had started their day planning on being here nursing their mug. They all had dreams, aspirations, desires unfulfilled. This was just the medicine that took the edge off at the end of the day, the cushion that softened the blow of life.

May... he'd gotten so poetic since leaving his kin, hadn't he?

As for Vandergard himself? He was here because there was nowhere else for him. The pale fellow lounging at a corner table, his chair propped up against the wall and legs crossed as he took swills of the cheap grog they called ale was an exile of two worlds. He'd forsaken his life as a Vampire, having grown disillusioned and tired of the needless sin and thoughtless bloodlust of his own kind, and any other race with a modicum of sanity found themselves at odds with the idea of having anything to do with him either.

So he drank, and he wandered, and he listened.

Because these people, for all of their faults, were so interesting. They loved, laughed and cried. Some died young, some grew old. Some just wanted happiness, and some wanted the rest of the world to go down with them. The things Kerrick had heard with hearing such as his... He was nowhere close to understanding them, those whom he'd once victimized.

But he was getting closer.

"Ey' you! Freak!"

Kerrick's grey eyes slid open, peering up at the inebriated human standing over him red-faced and frothing at the mouth. He didn't hold the look long, before shutting them again and returning to his thoughts.

That didn't sit too well with his guest.

"I feckin' know what ya are, ya fangmouth. Get the feck out of here before I rip those shiny biters of yers clean out, yeah?" The drunken man seethed.

Kerrick let out a slow sigh, fighting the instincts and urges that immediately began to pull him towards darker tendencies. It would be nothing to take a bite of his neck, to wring him dry over the table and leave him starfished on the cold wooden floor.

Were it so easy. He slid from his seat, raising his hands up in some show of surrender.

"Haddock, that you?" a voice came from about the bar, as the dreamy sounds of bell chime and lyre pluck danced like motes of starlight across the warm air.

"Eh, what, who?" the drunkard asked, the heat from his face dissipated some, his ears able to hear to voice directed at him.

"Ah, it is you, you old sod," a bonewhite hand clasped about the pissed man's shoulder. A thing like raw porcelain to the eye, porous and spinney along the plates that formed seamless around fingers that squeezed about the drunkar's flesh.

The man who had been called Haddock's face scrunched up as he winced. "Hey, you let go of me, 'fore I-"

The man who all but scruffed him gave him a hard yank that pulled him off balance. Saw him stumble step into the man's frame. "You can't go and tell me you don't remember me,"

Haddock, who probably wasn't haddock turned his head and looked the man up and down. Confused. "What in the fuck, I've never-"

The one eyed man with the strange arm shoved a drink into the confused drunks hand. "Nonsense," he assured and began to pull the drunk back to the bar. "We worked that job, two months back," he said as they ambled to the counter. He put the man onto one of the stools and pat him jovially on the back. "Down in Eraslin," he motioned for another drink to the tender.

The drunk blinked. "Never been to Eraslin," he said dazed. Took a sip of his brew.

"Must've been Tertonin then," Garrod grabbed up his drink, and raised it in cheers to the vampire across the way, and took a sip.

Even monsters needed a break every now and again. Sides, the music was too nice for a brawl.

"You Quintolen's man?"

Garrod grinned. "Aye, that's the one," he had no fucking clue who Quintolen was.

Maveriel Valthoras
Kerrick Vandergard
Quaint place. Intoxication without violence. Those had been Mave’s thoughts only a moment ago.
Nothing much had changed as she stayed in her place at the counter, keeping to seat and beer.
Save for a sudden commotion of a voice raised over the tavern’s conversations there and here.
The exclaim came from further away, toward a corner. Mave turned her gaze. Leave him alone.

She thought as much but did not budge. There was no violence. Racism aside—still a quiet night.
The elf spotted the vampire get up and leave in peace, fine and so be it, lest things get so heated.
No. She had come here to eat and drink, and some hate pointed ears as much as rounded, right?
From a corner of her eye, Mave caught a couple guys getting a wee bit frisky, but stayed seated.

By leaf and tree. This just happens no matter what the tavern. She rolled her eyes and gestured.
Toward the vampire, hoping she caught his attention. The man in a band of an eyepatch did too.
He lifted his drink as though in a toast to bastards, cripples, broken things and anomalies. Sure.
The elf was on board with that. She lifted her hand, waving the vampire over her way, eyes true.

She smiled, made sure that the naysayer could see her all the while, but maybe he’d ignore her.
Sometimes belligerent men like him were content with their perceived success of an empty seat.
He’d at least gotten that vampire out of the chair. Did he want to keep being a jerk? We shall see.
Barkeep would surely kick him out in a heartbeat. The Limping Elk didn’t want anyone to be hurt.

Maybe. Mave hoped so, at least. Perhaps that vampire’s kind was the exception to this rule.
If all else failed, well, the elf had the one-eyed man to have the other patron’s back as well.
Hopefully the guest she had beckoned would join her at her stool—a vampire beside an elf.
“Buy you a drink?” She would offer the man, waiting on her meal, one eye on the racist fool.

Kerrick Vandergard Garrod Arlette
"Hark, and heed well this moment," Marta said softly to the Letai man, Naervo, who had vaguely avian features, sat across from her at the table. His hands were bundled up in a nervous bunch on the table, and Marta had her own hands cupped around his, those long fingers of hers easily wrapping around—almost twice over—his fists. "For who has directed this crossing of our paths, the turning of our heads, the catching of our eyes? Providence is not a bolt of lightning sent down from the heavens but a whisper of the wind. Though you may hear it or though you may not, you will be tested all the same. And to this I say, rejoice. Rejoice! For the gods above show their favor by granting to us the opportunities to achieve the highest possible virtues in life, and hereby, through great struggles both within and without, are these means so provided."

"I don't know," said Naervo. What slick adventurer's bravado he'd had when first Marta sat down before him was gone. Some might say he withered under her gaze, but she preferred to think he opened like a blossom. He was a troubled man, full of doubts, and yet as well there was an emptiness yearning to be filled; he just needed the right person to talk to. "I just don't know."

"How do you intend to leave The Limping Elk tonight?" Marta said. "What ale could make whole your spirit? What whore could mend your wounds? All vice is sickly sweet, poisons which please the tongue, numb the mind, and trick the spirit with empty promises...and tomorrow their ephemeral nature will be proved. If you take nothing else at all, then take this: a seed of truth, a beckoning, a whisper of the wind. Yes, do you hear it? There is a better way."

She might have been on the verge of convincing him, she might not have been. For then came something of a confrontation—this among Kerrick, "Haddock", and Garrod—right next to Marta's table. She, like a few other nearby tavern patrons, turned as curious people do to watch the interaction unfold. Marta didn't quite catch what, exactly, stoked the ire of the man called Haddock against the tall, pale man. It seemed defused easily enough by the intervention of what seemed to be an old friend, a man missing his left eye, "Quintolen's man" apparently.

By the time Marta turned back, Naervo was gone. She blinked, and then sighed lightly through her nose; Naervo had managed to slip away without even saying so much as a goodbye. Another lost Letai, looking for meaning and purpose. What success he'd found in the material world as an adventurer fulfilled him not in the way he needed it most, and trepidation drove him away. She could only hope that Regel would see them ordained to meet again, or that Naervo now carried that seed of which she spoke.

For now, Marta sat and nursed her drink—water—and listened to the melody of the lyre and to the two rough-and-tumble men, Haddock and Quintolen's man, have their conversation.

Maveriel Valthoras Kerrick Vandergard Garrod Arlette
Kerrick had been prepared to leave peacefully as the intoxicated man had so eloquently requested of him. Being turned away was something he had become accustomed to, and something he had learned to accept. There were many who cared not for his intention or lack thereof; That he was of a kind that they did not understand or approve of was enough to look upon him with disdain and hostility.

Vandergard supposed... that he didn't blame them.

How many had he killed? How much innocent blood had he consumed? How many beautiful young women had he turned, simply to have a night of simple pleasures with them? No, he had spurned that life, but those sins would never leave him. What anger and hate he did attract was well deserved. Kerrick had no intention of fighting the malice which was aimed at him.

And yet, as predictable as these people could be they sometimes still managed to surprise him. Another man, somewhat uncanny in his appearance with a hand of bone, hair as white as his own, and a single eye intervened on his behalf, drawing the attention of Kerrick's aggressor with an assailment of obvious lies meant to steer the inebriated man's mind astray.

Vandergard watched blankly as the stranger led his problem back to the bar, presumably to become even more washed until he couldn't stand, let alone make threats. The stocky, one-eyes man tilted his drink in Kerrick's direction, and the Vampire gave him the smallest of nods. He hadn't asked for anybody's help, and he would have been perfectly fine, but...

He was only on his first drink.

From the corner of his vision, something else caught his attention. A young elven woman with hair of flaming scarlet waved in an attempt to draw his eye, beckoning for him to come to her. Again, a fresh assault of trepidation settled in his gut; The last thing he wanted was attention, let alone from a shapely young woman. Elven or otherwise, women drew a lot of attention in Taverns. Sitting next to her would mean any drunken, wandering eyes that were stealing glances at her would also be looking at him.

Briefly, he turned back to his table, closing his eyes and taking a fraction of a second to ponder his choice. He did need a new place to sit, anyway... The brightly dressed woman at the table beside him was loud, and beyond that, she gave off the air of a holy woman.

Given the choice between a potentially friendly Elf and a Priestess, he'd choose elf.

Kerrick made his way to Maverial, settling into the seat beside her with little more than a nod and quick glance at her eyes. That part was important, eye contact. At least, for him.

Her offer made him chuckle, just a tad.

"If I hadn't been nursing a beer over there, I'd think you were making a joke." A smirk played at the corner of his lips as he turned his head towards her once more, the ice ever-so-slightly broken. Offering a drink to a Vampire could be considered foolish. "Fine. Thanks."
The two men at the bar nursed their drinks, and Garrod was glad to see the man accused of vampirism decide to join better company than Garrod kept at present.

"You survived then," the drunkard with the last bit of sobriety left in him.

It was the faraway sound to his words that had Garrod shift his gaze, from the content of his cup to the hollow look in the drunk's eyes. "Less I'm a ghost," he looked to his hands. One bone white, the other his own flesh. "Don't think I'm quite there yet,"

"You've not heard?" he asked.

A cocked brow. "Heard?"

"Crazed bloodrinker done ripped the entire company apart,"
his hands trembled round the mug. His eyes wide. He gripped the drink tight and washed it down his throat.

"Huh," Garrod looked to the bartender, and tapped a boney finger against the counter. It knocked loud as metal against wood. The tender turned, and a finger raised. "Another for my friend here,"
Apparently the vampire had accepted her gesture. That worked well and with another’s efforts.
Sitting at the bar, amid the music and conversation all around, she couldn’t detect the other’s.
Yet, the man had taken it upon himself to treat with the drunkard who had mistreated another.
That other one was now the elf’s guest. It was a mutual effort, really. She turned, caught a smirk.

“The pun wasn’t intended,” she grinned, catching it while the elf studied the vampire’s visage.
She could only assume he was dangerous, and he potentially did not discriminate in his diet.
Nevertheless, she might just as soon have rescued an unscrupulous sellsword in this pinch.
The elf settled her gaze on the man’s pale face, hollow cheeks and his sunken, sullen eyes.

At her guest’s acceptance of her second request, Mave tapped on the counter for a gesture.
The place was understandably busy but she caught the bartender’s attention. “What’ll it be?”
The man sitting on the stool beside the woman had an opportunity to request his own drink.
The barkeep cocked a brow at him, more in expectation than hesitation, and he did not curse.

“My dinner, sir?”
Mave politely asked after her meal just as the bartender began to turn around.
“Don’t worry, lass, should be right out any minute.” It was her turn to turn to the other patron.
“Bangers ‘n’ mash.” She revealed her order for no real reason, sipping on her beer. “Delicious.”
Wiping froth from lips, she shifted topic. “Name’s Mave.” She'd wait for his name, if allowed.

“I imagine that’s not the first time you’ve been picked out to be kicked out.”

The elf kept her eyes into the vampire’s, never looking away, with no fear.
She did not want to appear fearless so much as not offer him any doubt.
Whatever he was used to from others, she was just a woman with beer.

Kerrick Vandergard
Garrod Arlette Marta Maisal
Exeter was but a stop in Marta's ultimate journey—her mission. Not some mission which would prick the ears of the adventurers who populated The Limping Elk, some venture whose aim was coin or prestige. Such things might well be the necessity of a chosen profession, as it was with Naervo, but the currency garnered could nourish but the body only. And what troubles plagued Naervo had no solution which could be purchased with gold or silver.

He was but one of the many Marta sought, for hers was a mission whose aim was nothing less than the spiritual guidance of her fellow Letai. To offer a divine word which had the power to infuse them with something which transcended the mere flesh and blood of mortality...if they'd an ear for providence, that subtle whisper of the wind.

Marta's mission would take her all the way into the deserts of Amol-Kalit, into the Empire—for a good number of Letai who called Liadain home dwelled there.

At present, however, earthly matters. Her drink, her dinner (which she ought to order soon), and rest for the night. Regel had seen her this far from Gild, all without incident even while traveling alone. The god of Jura guided her path, but it was she who had to walk it.

Crazed bloodrinker done ripped the entire company apart.

Marta straightened and square her shoulders once she overheard this from "Haddock". Some part of her made a plea to stay focused upon her own business, that she was in no way suited for such a task (an entire company), that warriors and hunters far more capable would inevitably be driven by their own gods to achieve the glory of courage in slaying the fiend.

Yet she stood from table. Collected her staff. Crossed the short distance to the adjacent bar and there, after setting her staff to lean, with grace did her folded arms come to rest on the counter. She gazed deeply, intently, at both "Haddock" and the one-eyed man.

"Forgive my intrusion, if you would be so kind, good men, yet called to your company am I by your words spoken, to my ears received." Her eyes came to settle firmly on Haddock, in their pink hue a conviction which only went deeper the longer one looked. "Say you again, the fate of your company?"

Garrod Arlette Kerrick Vandergard Maveriel Valthoras
"Same as before, thank you." Vandergard muttered in reply to the Bartender with only a quick look towards the man. While some had caught on to what he was, others were oblivious to him being anything other than a strangely pale fellow who didn't seem to hang around other people very often. So long as he didn't make himself too obvious, it would stay that way.

Even so, there were always perceptive people.

"I wouldn't have faulted you for it. Surprisingly, nobody has tried it before." He felt the muscles in his face loosen a bit as he slouched forward over the bar, his poor posture yet another mechanism for making himself smaller in the eyes of those who would take offense at his presence. The sunken grey eyes set in his pale face did shift to look over the elf who'd so boldly invited him to sit aside her. "Kerrick." He replied simply.

Elves were an interesting sort, he'd learned. They stayed young and smooth-skinned for far longer than other races, and besides the pointed ears they often sported could also be noted for their lithe and slender figures. With how pristine Maeve looked to be, he wouldn't be shocked if she were young even for an elf.

The most striking feature about her, though, was the piercing amber gaze that had so briefly locked onto his own dull stare.

Reminded him of something, maybe... Something he'd prefer to forget.

"People assume to know me because they know what I am." Vandergard turns his head back towards the surface of the bar, watching his fingers as the fiddle with the various rings on his fingers. "But prejudice doesn't limit itself to my kind. It doesn't bother me much now, because in a way I understand their trepidation. In a different place, in a different time, maybe I would be the monster they think me."

A thought comes to his head as a fresh mug is set before him, and Kerrick smirks as he wraps his fingers around the handle and brings the rim to his lips to sip at the bitter grog.

"You know... there's a myth that you have to invite somebody like me in before I can do anything to you..." A nonsensical myth, made up of superstition from Vampire cadres long past. "Here you are, patting the seat beside you knowing full well my curse. I admire that, to an extent."
With lone green eye, Garrod did regard the newcomer. Robes, sterling and blushed, as prim and proper as the speech that poured from proud lips.

The Hunter motioned her welcome.

The drunkard stammered. "Oh," his mind raced with the flush of thought. As if asked to pluck a fish from streaming current. "I... mean," he looked down into the contents of his drink. Frown deepened across his face. "They were butchered, ma'am," he said with a measure of defeat. "Like lambs torn through by a wild cat,"

Garrod peeled his eye off the drunk. Its sight traced over the woman in her orderly robes.

The new drink was put before the despairing drunk.

"Wasn't but a day's march to the east," he offered. In hopes of, something. His eyes looked to the new cup. He thought it over a moment longer. "Twas me and my man Olinar that made it out," his eyes went wide. "Once the butchery began,"

"A day east, toward Artenhild?"
a border town, toward the edge of the human territories. All manner of trouble made its home there. All manner of trouble seekers made coin their too.

The drunk nod, head still hung over the pool of his drink.

Marta Maisal
Maveriel Valthoras Kerrick Vandergard
The man’s words—Kerrick’s—were reflected on for a moment. They were rather simply spoken.
In a tone that was about as vibrant as his eyes and his skin, quite unlike the patron beside him.
Yet it was what he said that had left an impression. It definitely did apply to one of his species.
Then again, how many presume to know Maveriel Valthoras, spotting her as en elf immediately?

With her slender face, pointed ears, the bow and quiver on her back, and athletic if slender figure.
For her kind, to be stereotyped could quickly lead to violence, especially if hers is a racist spectator.
For a vampire, however, torch and pitchfork were possible outcomes that followed Kerrick everywhere.
The elf could imagine, anyway, as she listened further. To her, he isn’t much different from this one bear.

The memory slipped into her mind just in time for her to grin beside her contemporary’s statement.
Whether a myth or superstition, there was usually a basis in most cases, but Mave would happily play.
Curse. Some vampires who were in his seat would have called it a blessing. To them, no understatement.
They take pride in who and what they are, that others were food for their kind. Not him. She held her gaze.

Once upon a time, maybe. She theorized. But not tonight. “Oh, if I feared you might bite me, sir, well…”
She trailed off to sip from her ale. “I simply would not have invited you over. Or perhaps I cast a spell…”
Mave didn't look away from his face whatever their casual game. In the end, just patrons in conversation.
“When you sat down, perhaps. And if you try anything funny then…” She shrugged. “You'll become a pigeon.”

Spoken without breaking a grin, her eyes into his, burning amber in full spectrum.
In the light of the fireplace, candles and torches, her eyes danced amid each flash.
Yellow in one instant, orange the next, red and brown; a fire of color, even golden.
A plate was placed on the bar then. “Dinner is served.” Barkeep said. “Ah... At last...”

Kerrick Vandergard
Garrod Arlette Marta Maisal
Once the butchery began. Disgusting Jins, Marta thought, creatures covered with sin and vileness, they in their blasphemous existence spreading death and predation wheresoever they go.

Vampires had become quite the problem for Gild and for all of Campania ever since Reikhurst fell. The ruined city had become a hive of the dark-dwelling creatures, and from there they plagued much of the Allir Reach, Campania, the Valen Wilds, some apparently ranging out as far as Bhathairk so some of the wilder accounts went. The day could not come soon enough when every last one of them was put into the ground; the Right Ordering of Things demanded the vile scourge be eradicated.

The question: what if over Artenhild, so mentioned by the man with the sole green eye, hovered the same fate as Reikhurst?

Marta looked past the drinking survivor—he deserved no reproach for such an indulgence tonight—and to the man with the green eye. "Are you familiar with this Artenhild?"

Garrod Arlette Kerrick Vandergard Maveriel Valthoras
At her purposefully empty threat, Kerrick merely stared back into the Amber glow of her eyes. Or perhaps he stared through her, his mind lingering on the idea of being so simply ripped from the cursed existence he found himself in now. Is all it really took angering the wrong person? Not to be killed, but to be made different? Vandergard both found it poetic and found it sad he took so much time to ponder it.

"That wouldn't be so bad, being a pigeon. I've always wanted to be able to fly, to travel without hiding my face or making sure I hid my teeth." His grey gaze slowly slid back to his mug as the smirk on his lips lessened to a subtle smile, his lips loosened ever so slightly by the buzzing presence of the alcohol in his system. "I thought leaving behind my old life would offer me such a degree of freedom, but that hasn't come to pass. Freedom of thought, yes, but not of the body."

It would be a farce to claim he'd not yielded any positives from joining the world at large. Certainly, he'd learned more about life than he would have bathing himself in sin and vice every night and sleeping away from the sun, and his view of the world had been widened considerably. The hollow feeling in his chest that had driven him to seek such rich views still lingered, however.

Whatever it was he searched for, he hadn't found it.

But now he'd seen a glimpse of it-- that cacophony of color and life within the stranger's eyes, so vivid and diverse as she'd beamed at him... Could he too one day have that vicarious life behind his sullen greys? It was doubtful, and yet seeing the spirit that Mave possessed was somehow comforting.

"But then why did you invite me, Mave? Since you made conclusions about my character and held no such fears..." The glass in his hand now emptied, Kerrick placed it on the bar and strewed a few coins of silver onto the old wood. "Not an act of charity to save me from my surroundings, I would hope. I am capable of managing myself, I assure you."

He would admit, though, being glad he'd moved. He heard the strange woman who'd been a table away from him closer now, speaking of Artenhild. It was a vague memory, but a memory nonetheless.

Marta Maisal Maveriel Valthoras Garrod Arlette
Ahhh… Mave was quick to take a fork and knife to her plate to dissect sausages and try a bite.
Delicious... Bangers and mash. A simple meal, adequate for pub grub, of meat and vegetables.
Mashed potatoes to go with the sausage and with a complement of any other. Peas for tonight.
Hungry, the elf was not one to sit on ceremony, and she was not a vegetarian amid other elves.

Her contemporary spoke and she listened. She even giggled amid a forkful of peas and potatoes.
Imagining a vampire being a pigeon at that. He wasn’t the first person to yearn for a bird though.
Others had dreams of it. A vampire? A nightmare to others. With wings to steal sheep and cattle.
Kerrick? Yet again, a mystery of his being. His wings would hide him—not guide him to the battle.

The coincidence, the irony, was never lost on Maveriel, not in the least in jest, as she ate of plate.
As they both drank of ale and beer. Vampires, of course dangerous, but more or less than orcs?
Racism aside, science says a being is a being, and she’d met her fair share of evil elves before.
Freedom of thought. Mave thought, chewing on words and meat in turn. Liberty to leave old ways.

There was no doubt about it. This man beside this woman was one plagued by his conscience.
Whatever evil deeds he’d done in his past, the vampire had the ability to recognize them indeed.
He did not say it outright, and maybe the elf is wrong, but he wanted to escape his past. To leave.
If only we all had wings. Mave emoted nothing, chewing on sausage. For the pigeon is ever honest.

Words, however, and words were wind. Kerrick gave Mave a question. Why did she invite him in?
“Fear can be useful.” She traded meat for pea. “Or fear can make you a fool.” Gestured to drunkard.
Someone else had dealt with him, though, and here the elf was with a vampire sitting beside her.
“If I thought you incapable, sir, you would have left this tavern and not have taken my invitation.”

Setting utensils down, Mave took another swig of her ale, catching Kerrick’s payment.
For another beer or to close his tab? It was no matter to her and he is not her business.
To answer his question, however, was another matter. “Eh, elf, vampire, person or patron.”
She shrugged. “I see no difference this moment. I seek peace, not charity. Did you get it?"

Kerrick Vandergard
Garrod Arlette Marta Maisal
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"It is I who is asking," said Marta, raising her chin up just slightly as though finding affront with the man's grin and seemingly cavalier attitude to the matter, "for I find cause only to see a wretched fiend met with the dirt, its heart staked, its ashes scattered. These creatures are intolerable to all who possess a dignified spirit, they are anathema to the goodness of the world, and through death is both their cure effected and recompense for their victims paid."

Her regard of the green-eyed man was firm and unwavering.

"Do you feel as I do?"

Garrod Arlette Kerrick Vandergard Maveriel Valthoras
A quirk of brow, and the grin turned to a patient press of lips as she spoke. Her gaze never faltered

The grin crept across once more, like fire sparked new. "Can't say that I do," he said clear. Shift in his seat to let his eye take the full measure of her.

"Then again," he started, his white hand slipped down to the purse at his belt, its strange claws plucked out a silver coin that he held up, like small effigy that shimmered and glowed with flames warm reflection.

His hand slipped the coin, and the bright metal tinked soft against the plate about his fingers.

"For the right price, I can feel just about any which way you want," his grin went wider, and he caught the coin betwixt forefinger and thumb. Pressed it onto the table.

Marta Maisal Kerrick Vandergard Maveriel Valthoras
"Incapable? Or judicious?" Kerrick replied, eyeing the hot meal placed before the Elf. It wasn't a hungry gaze that danced across the steaming food she slowly indulged in; the scent was nostalgic to some vestige of the past buried behind centuries leaving him with a mixture of longing and disgust at the cooked meat in particular.

Vandergard didn't eat food, really. He could, but it did nothing for him. A Vampire was sustained by blood, if they wanted to live comfortably. Without that life source, they slowly withered and weakened with each passing day. "My departure would have only been to spare the other patrons here an interruption to their night. I try not to make a habit out of victimizing the mentally impaired." Kerrick shrugged his shoulders, returning his eyes to the liquid in his cup, softly rippling with the footsteps of patrons both entering and leaving.

When the bartender passed them next, Kerrick subtly flagged them down and gave a gentle nod toward Mave's food. "I would like some, please. Just the meat." The bartender gave a thumbs up and kept moving, passing the order to the kitchen before seeing to another patron.

Kerrick had spent so much of the last several years of his life fighting his own nature, raging against the monster that he'd become in spite of that very monster being baked into his blood. Mave's candid invitation, the way she so calmly regarded him as an equal, rather than the aberration he truly was, had him feeling the slightest bit nostalgic. Perhaps tonight, he would allow himself to forget that beast within him, and be however human he was able.

For that inspiration, he was thankful to the woman beside him.

"Then perhaps we can be at peace in one another's presence. As a man and woman-- as people, and not as races."

Quietly, Kerrick raised his glass to her, a softer, more genuine smile on his lips this time.

"For I have no fear of you, and you none of I. Cheers to that."

Maveriel Valthoras

The word, said far more loudly by the green-eyed man's demeanor and actions than of anything he actually voiced, always to Marta tasted slightly foul in her mouth. The mere asking of coin was not unseemly, for a just act, particularly one of such danger as this, deserved a just reward, and this was well in accordance with the Right Ordering of Things. Yet the green-eyed man's manner left her inescapably troubled. Her homeland of Gild had a history of hiring mercenaries to supplement its missions and military in times both dire and not, but Marta remembered well the Betrayal of Banthir Pass, that most infamous blight in centuries past, from her studies. Wary was she of such of thing, and of men who not just asked for rightful compensation, but more so worshipped the very coins placed into their hands, holding them as their gods. If all that purchased this man's allegiance was a high enough sum, then it well stood to reason that the very vampire of Artenhild could buy it for a sum just a little higher.

Marta glanced down at the silver coin on the table with undisguised disdain. The silver alone weathered this judgment; for the man himself, Marta yet reserved herself as she glanced back up. Let him speak, for that was fair. Let him speak, and make known to Arethil what sort of man he truly was. After all, the gods were always listening.

"Tell me, then: what stirs your heart to action, other than the gleam of metal?" And then she smiled. "Or shall you give me the honor of attesting so first?"

Garrod Arlette
Incapable. Judicious. Maveriel reflected on both of those words from earlier even after the fact.
Kerrick may have proven himself incapable of tolerating intolerance had he have left the tavern.
As much as his departure would have been to spare others from the discrimination of one man.
And more of course. The elf knows this is not the vampire’s first rodeo. Though, still, here he sat.

The man mentioned habits, victims, and what better words for a vampire to use in a sentence?
Bloody... Beefy... Maybe... Those words also worked, Mave thought as she tasted her own nectar.
Her ale was bittersweet, with notes of chocolate and coffee, roasted nuts and darkest of currant.
The beverage went well with her dinner of taters and sausage of which Kerrick promptly ordered.

Just the meat. Mave hides a smile behind her teeth. He had not mocked her words, as some might.
Maveriel is no fool who believes that she had the tools and means to bring peace between species.
Yet she did believe that all you need is the right kind of intelligence to get along no matter your kind.
Evidently so did the guy beside her. “Aye.” Eyes in eyes. “As woman and man.” In kind she raised her drink.

Mave did not look away as she drank deeply of her ale to set her cup down, and looked beyond.
Others conversing beside her and him, including the drunkard from earlier, captured in a spell.
Figurative or not, her amber-eyed gaze ventured across those who talk with or without a shot.
Those who rose, some patrons gathering, dancing, as music shifted, and a grin came to the elf.

“Peace indeed and cheers to that.”

Mave looked back at this Kerrick.
I wonder...what fears lie within..?
Lifted her hand. “Care to dance?”

Kerrick Vandergard
Garrod Arlette Marta Maisal
A dance?

It had been years since he'd danced, and far, far longer since he'd done so without the intoxicating fog of bloodlust coursing through his veins. This strange, scarlet-haired woman was unlike any he'd met since leaving the hidden cities of his kin and placed their sinful ways firmly in his past. There was something behind her eyes, in the calm complacency of her tone that he could not understand.

Or... Perhaps he had spent so long expecting to be looked upon as an ugliness and an evil that he had simply forgotten what it was to not be so suspicious of another. Just because Mave was the first to offer him some form of connection did not mean that she did so out of ill-intent. That was expectation, clashing with reality.

Not that Kerrick knew much of what his reality was anymore.

"For me to speak in such a manner, and then turn down a dance with you would be... What is the word?" A coy smile rested upon his thin lips as the remainder of his sweet drink passed between them, leaving a bitter, burning aftertaste in his throat as he placed the empty glass back onto the wooden surface of the bar. "...Incapable of me."

Vandergard knew not what tomorrow held for him, but he wished to enjoy tonight as though he wasn't in worry of the next dawn. With a little help from a stranger named Mave, perhaps that simple pleasure was within his reach. He brought his hands to the bar and pushed his stool away before rising to his feet, offering his new acquaintance his hand, intricate rings of silver and gold adorning all but his middle finger and thumb.

Should she accept, Kerrick would gently pull her to her feet and walk with her to the more spacious area between the dining tables and the bar. The music that played through the tavern was jolly and bouncing, but the melody that played within Kerrick's mind was one he'd not actually heard in centuries. It was slower, melancholic with only a hint of joy hidden deep within the slow beats and chords. Keeping ahold of Mave's hand, the other moved to her hip, and the Vampire muttered quietly.

"It's been some time. Forgive me, if I am out of practice."

Maveriel Valthoras
A pint of ale. A plate of bangers and mash. The elf wasn’t full of food or beverage, by any means.
It would take one of her species a few more ales, beers and meads for her to be feeling intoxicated.
Yet there that elf was, in a tavern, at a bar, first sitting alone, and now with a vampire by her seat.
That was just one of those things so appealing to Maveriel Valthoras for taverns; they can go any way.

At the woman’s offer to dance, the man could have certainly gone any way and turned her down.
She would not have taken offense and, to admit it, she had half-expected he would’ve done no less.
She had beckoned him in with a bit of amusement, half-asking in jest, quite ready to turn around.
In her midst, however, other dancers had already taken to the floor, and at the time it did seem best.

Fiery eyes rested in the man’s own; an ocean of grey, cold and cruel on any other occasion, maybe.
He grinned at her, a hint of fearlessness in his thin lips that showed he’d happily oblige the lady.
His plate of meat would have to wait. “Okay.” Mave replied simply, flashing a smile in her eyes.
She was ready to stand up, drag him on his feet but he beat her to the movement and no lie.

Sitting on her stool for a moment, as if in hesitation but not quite, Mave gracefully takes his hand.
Graciously, grinning, but not speaking. This was no longer the occasion for any such conversation.
With rings on his fingers save one and thumb, her own slender bones bereft of any, Mave got up.
Her partner led her to the floor as she ignored the eyes of others. Granted, they’re here to dance.

A bit sly if not shy in the slightest, Mave intentionally did this to bring this vampire out into the light.
Not to cause trouble but to bring him out of the tavern’s bubble. Well, she tried, yet he did so himself.
Hand in hand, his hand on her hip, hers on his shoulder, dancing in unison to the melody, eyes in eyes.
He whispers in her ear. “How modest, Kerrick.” She whispers back. “Though you are not fooling this elf.”

Kerrick Vandergard
Garrod Arlette Marta Maisal
"Please," he said with a gentle bow of his head, and pushed the coin forward from where it rest. "The honor is yours to take,"

The bartender came by and scooped the silver piece up.

"Attest," he grinned again, and raised his chin, as if in lounged welcome. "for all to hear," A raise of one white finger. The Bartender moved about as he prepared a new drink.

Marta Maisal
A change in the music, the fanciful dancing of a few patrons to the tune, preceded the green-eyed man's response, and Marta's answer—this the background to her testimony.

"As it is with the governing of Arethil and all beyond, those laws which order the sky and the sea and the stars and everything collected in this great work that is our mortal plane, so too are we who live part of that creation, and for a purpose have we all been made. Yet we who live are not bound by that same divine law which makes regular the arc of the sun or the change of the season, for we are bestowed of free will, that most precious of all gifts, for without it we would have no chance at attaining virtue—the highest excellence, the greatest good. Indeed, the flow of the ocean, the wandering of the wind, these are traced back to the immutable will of the gods, and so are they ordered without variance to the exact pleasure of the divines who fashioned them; these such things are immune to vice and virtue both. But us? Yes, in us rests the heart of all good and evil upon Arethil.

"I am a daughter of Regel, the Judge of All, and after his divine example do I choose to model my life to the best of my ability. No star preceding without will across the night's dark am I, no moon preceding in phases according to its assigned schedule, but rather I align myself in a friendship forged through virtuous conduct with the god to whom I have invested my faith all of my own free will, and this is what truly pleases the gods, for what need have they of the kind of obedience on offer from the stars and moons, bidden purely to divine command as they are? I seek ever the dutiful instruction carried to me by providence, and willfully do I carry it out.

"And here such a providential arrangement yet visits this humble tavern set in this humble town of Exeter. A free will can be used for good, and it can also be used for evil. This..."
she almost said Jin, "...vampire is a tragic creature, as they all are. Corrupted of blood, twisted by malady, they are cursed with a foul lust that will doom them to live forever through vile predation. Oh how much better it would have been if this vampire which slew a company of men, which now threatens Artenhild, had the constitution to do what needed to be done, to take its own life before it ever became so unbearable and so wretched! Freedom from its curse could have been found at the point of any sword! Once he was a man, an elf, whatever the case truly was, but now what has he become? Grotesque in the eyes of mortals and divinity, pleasurable only to the sick and demented malice of its own kind.

"And so I say to you, good man, let it end. Let the slaughter and the suffering end. Enact your free will for the purpose of untarnished good, for that is what I plan to do, as these terrible things blighting the face of Arethil, these things which stand contrary to the Right Ordering of All Things so prescribed by my god, must be ended, and in the sight of Regel and all the gods will it be done. Stirred am I to action not because I am commanded like the sky and sea, but because I choose to make of my life a worthy home for a dignified and virtuous spirit. In many times of great trouble are good men and women called to answer with fire and sword, for righteousness against such evil as this cannot afford to be meek."

At last she came to a pause.

"And what say you, now, of your own heart?"

Garrod Arlette