Private Tales Coinciding Paths

MJK

✿❀❁
Member
Messages
70
Character Biography
Link
Valerie leaned back against the wooden wall. If she listened hard enough, she could hear the faint snoring of the woman inside broken occasionally by an indiscernible mumble. The sound made her eyes crinkle with amusement, the female beginning to relax somewhat with the thought of leaving the unconscious soldiers behind. She wouldn't be free of them completely, by the half-day head start would be a decent enough buffer to allow her space to unwind a little. After all, she had been doing little but looking over her shoulder since the moment she left. The addition of the male at her side was a calming effect of it's own, the female taking full advantage of the comforting presence he imbued into her.

She laughed as he explained his change in motivation for heading to the major city, the sound light as sleigh bells but coming from a genuine place. "Well I apologize for making you rethink your goals upon reaching Val Annir. I hardly think bear-cakes are a bad reason for wanting to earn a bit more of an income. It's definitely a more good-hearted motivation for earning money than repeated visits to a tavern or lavishing oneself with finery."

His hand fumbled at his side, close in proximity to her given the rather short length of the van seat. The seat was meant more for a single driver, but they both fit thanks to the elf's willowy figure. However, the female was startled at the sudden grasp he took of her hand, which had been resting at her side since she had no need to hold the reigns. The female might have thought it accidental had his fingers not interwoven with hers, making the female's skin tingle and her heart race. With widened eyes she looked down to their linked appendages, at a sudden loss for words. Such affection was not common where she came from. Noble children were expected to refrain from too much outward shows of expression until such a time that they were wed. Thus the action, although most likely harmless in Anverth's eyes, had caused her to stiffen initially. That being said, she found the connection pleasant, shoving aside her initial reaction to pull her hand away and instead relaxed back again.

*********************************************************************************​
The trail of caravans continued on their trekking for some time, the time passing like the blink of an eye with Valerie and Anverth conversing. Towards the end of their travels Valerie had found the sway of the caravan to be like the rocking of a cradle, her eyes eventually closing and her breath deepening with sleep. One particular jolt caused her to shift in her position with her head resting back against the van chair, her head instead coming to rest on Anverth's shoulder. It remained there for the last bit of their journey, the halt of the caravan outside of Val Annir's gates waking her while sending dust flying into the air. "Are we there already?", rubbing at her eyelids she mumbled out the drowsy question, opening them to find where she had fallen asleep. She sat up quickly, embarrassment forcing her awake much quicker.

In front of them a wall of grey stone rose like a shadowy behemoth, blocking out some of the sun and casting the line of caravans in partial shadow. Valerie fixed her gaze on the sight, mouth falling open in awe and disbelief at the sheer size of the structure. "I would guess so by the looks of things..."
 

Anverth Kettlewhistle

Aspiring Entertainer
Member
Messages
30
The young man could feel Valerie tense up as he took her hand, and, hell, he couldn't blame her. Sleeping in the cold, rising before the sun, and having an experience as stressful as running across those angered hunters would all lend to tension. She relaxed after only a few moments, though, and the halfling felt that she probably needed the embrace just as much as he had.

==-*-==​

Anverth was truly happy to have found his new companion's company only the night before, for being able to converse rather than just listening made the hours pass far quicker. The events of the morning caught up with Valerie, though, and she soon dozed off with the swaying of the van as it trundled its way down the path. The young man, meanwhile, kept his eyes open and on the lookout even as the road left the forests behind. Vel Anir towered imposingly in the distance, grey stone walls looking almost like basalt in their own shadows. He cast his sleeping companion a glance, then, tempted to wake her from her slumber to see the imposing city state as it rose over the the horizon. She looked too peaceful to wake, though, so he decided she'd be better off with a bit more rest anyways.

The young man realized rather dimly that their hands were still clasped, forgetting how long it had been since his instinctive grasp.

His grip carefully relented, and he deftly withdrew his hand without disturbing Valerie too much. He let out a small sigh of relief, half happy to be free of contact, at least for a while. It was only a few minutes before a small bump in the road sent the young elf back his way, though, planting her cheek delicately upon his shoulder. Little more than a strangled sound managed to make it from the halfling's windpipe, and he resolved to let her sleep just a while longer. It's not like he minded much, anyhow.

The city walls grew larger and larger until they threatened to pierce the sky, shadowing the caravan's approach. The lack of sun brought a chill to the air, making Anverth shiver as his companion stirred from her slumber. He couldn't resist a small laugh as she embarrassed herself awake, giving her that same warm, somewhat cheeky smile that had become his trademark.

"Yeah, we're there, though I suppose 'we're here' would be a bit more apt." He turned back to the imposing walls as their van neared the gate, nodding towards their very tops with a broad upward gestures. "Taller than any tree I've ever seen," he observed, recalling her story of the mages from the previous night.

The caravan continued its slow trundle through the gate, one long snake-like chain of carts and wagons and walkers. Valerie and Anverth, towards the back of the pack as they were, were some of the last few people to enter the city only to be greeted by more high, grey walls of stone. The roads may have been straight, and the city surely seemed defensible, but the innumerable banners hanging from high along the walls was the only saving grace the city bore in terms of aesthetics.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: MJK

MJK

✿❀❁
Member
Messages
70
Character Biography
Link
Valerie had to tilt her head back to properly take in the entire expanse of the defensive gates, gulping quietly as she thought of what might lay inside such a structure. She couldn't help but say out loud a rather poignant thought she was struck with, muttering quietly, "I wonder what it's purpose is....to keep people out or instead hold them in?" His innocent, ever ready grin greeted her when she eventually lowered her sights, the female naturally reflecting him with a smile of her own. Under her excitement though was a growing nervousness, one which made her hands itch to lift the hood of her cloak over her head so she could cover her ears.

While the mages had spoken highly of the city and it's wonders, plenty of elves had shared there own, less pleasant sentiments about the region. Many spoke of the looks they received, carefully veiled but still tangible distrust from the human population within. Each reasonably sized settlement had some sort of military in place, but the might of the armies and navies of Vel Anir was spoken of in every corner of Arethril. The elf knew that such a place might hold those who could not see past her elven features to the individual beneath them and that alone was enough to make her a little anxious.

Their caravan passed through the gates under the watchful eyes of soldiers, some bearing weapons on the ground while others kept a steady gaze from their aloof positions atop watch towers. Valerie could feel the gaze on her intensify as she came close enough to be discernible, the girl balling her hands into fists to stop her heightened desire to lift her cloak cover. She smiled politely at the human males they passed, their well-made armor glinting in the late sunlight, noting the hardening of their gaze as their eyes flicked to the obvious pointed ears on the sides of her head. Only once they were through did Valerie let out a long exhale, releasing the breath she hadn't realized she was holding. The caravans took a slight detour, many stopping in a clearing alongside the road while others continued off into the city. The elven female steered the gypsy vanners to the first option, pulling on the reigns once they were in a decent position.

Once stopped the door of the van swung open with a loud bang, making Valerie startled after her earlier anxiety. The sound of bells could be heard, a hunch-backed, white-haired woman emerging from within. "Ah, lovely, we're here...plenty of violets too..." she said smacking her lips together, Valerie raising a brow curiously at Anverth after looking about to see no such purple flowers the woman spoke of. With a chuckle the elf eased herself off the seat, going around to thank the woman for her help and to part with some of the elk she had caught as a show of her gratitude. The old crow chuckled happily to herself, patting Valerie on her head from her heightened position at the van door before accepting the meat. "Thank you my dear, I hope to see you again in the future. This will be good tonight, maybe I can even add it to that broth for dinner...." She turned and walked back into the van, mumbling to herself some more and leaving Valerie with a look of perplexity. After a moment the elven woman rolled her eyes with a smile, heading back to the front of the van to retrieve her things and pull her bags onto her back.

"Ready to find that bakery?" She asked Anverth giddily, adjusting the way her sheathed dagger lay against her hip.
 

Anverth Kettlewhistle

Aspiring Entertainer
Member
Messages
30
Anverth swallowed his nerves as they passed through the first checkpoint beyond the gate, giving the guards on his side of the van a brief wave and an anxious smile. He was awarded with the slightest crack of a smirk from the least hardened of the guards, but the others gave no reaction at all. The young man turned his gaze back to the train of wagons ahead of him, trying to avoid any further eye contact.

There was a phrase about half-elves that he'd heard once or twice before; To elves, they look human, and to humans, they look elvish. Sure, the half-breed young man had felt stares from the smallfolk of his hometown, but he felt that the rounded points of his ears did little to help him in a place like Vel Anir. While he didn't have a drop of elvish blood in his veins, "A knife-ear's a knife-ear," or so he'd heard bigots claim.

The van snaked its way past the last of the guard towers, and Valerie let out an audible breath. She got an understanding look from Anverth, paired with a gentle pat on the shoulder. "Hey, it's alright," he claimed softly, though he wasn't certain it was.

The young elf guided the horses to a clearing off the main road, and the halfling was surprised by a growing excitement to get to walking again. He didn't give the concern a voice, but the uncomfortable wood of the driving seat had made his legs and rear tingly with a lack of blood flow. As the wagon came to a stop, the young man rose to his feet and gave a great big stretch, yawning quietly into a balled fist. He hopped off of the elevated seating area, reclaiming his bag and once more slinging it onto his shoulders.

He stood a way back from the elf and older woman's goodbyes, hoping to thank the latter for the ride once she was contented with her farewell to Valerie. The old gypsy, however, saw it fit to wander back into her abode before he could prattle off so much as a 'thank you'. The halfling merely gave two blinks of confusion, growing glad that the old woman had been asleep for much of the trek to Vel Anir.

While the young elf went about gathering her belongings, the halfling busied himself by smacking the dust of the roads from his shoulders and pants. Contented with the small cloud he managed to remove from his clothing, he fixed his friend with an equally giddy smile to her own. "I should think I'm ready. Palette's all cleansed, and--" His stomach finished off the sentence for him, giving a low grumble of contempt.

His grin turned a touch embarrassed, and a hand went about ruffling the back of his hair. "Ahm, yeah, just a touch famished. Shall we?" He gave a brief nod down towards the main road, casting a brief glance to the dagger at Valerie's hip. He should probably get one of those... Hm.
 
  • Like
Reactions: MJK

MJK

✿❀❁
Member
Messages
70
Character Biography
Link
She let out a hearty laugh at the obvious rumblings of his stomach, allowing herself the freedom to express her amusement at his clearly empty stomach when normally she would have stifled such a reaction. After all, outbursts of emotion could be unbecoming for a lady amidst a bevy of lords.

The male mussed up his hair, a show of his slight embarrassment when his stomach spoke for him. Valerie nodded her head to where he indicated down the road, taking up position at his side and easily keeping pace with him. Soon the exertion of walking brought a heat to her skin, the girl removing her cloak as they walked and stuffing it into her satchel. Beneath she revealed leather pants and lightweight elvish boots, her upper half covered by a white, thin tunic top that billowed around her arms but had the sleeves folded up her forearms. The collar made a gently sloping 'V' below her neck, giving small exposure to her collar bones and showing hints of a silver necklace which was tucked into the garment. Owing to the way it was covered by the clothing the pendent that hung off the end of the necklace was hidden, keeping the silver disk upon which her family crest was engraved hidden from prying eyes.

The pair strode onward, heading deeper into the city's reaches but sticking to the wide, well-designated roads. Valerie kept conversation with Anverth as they walked, giving minor notice to the thickening of the crowds around them as they approached the busy centre of Anir Square. "When did you first start playing the fiddle?" She asked casually, ducking closer to him for a moment to avoid a man carrying a basket of bread on his head. People were getting busier, the noise of the approaching market signalling it's nearness. She needed to keep watch where she walked now, not wanting to trip over the uneven cobblestones of the road or lose Anverth, who was only just taller than her, in the throng of people. Upon listening intently to his response she lost focus for a second, not seeing a stocky man exiting out of a nearby alleyway.

She bumped into him abruptly, sending both of them sprawling back a step or two before each recovered their stance. The man was large for a human, coming to the same height as Valerie but with a much thicker neck and protruding belly. "Ay, watch it you tree-hopper! Use those eyes for something other than bird-watching!" He spat on the ground at her feet, shoving her aside irritably while Valerie only stood and stared. She did not have much experience in dealing with direct, ugly confrontation. Disguised and beguiling words were more her forte in identifying and disentangling. Her eyes followed the man for a short distance over her shoulder, his stocky figure being quickly consumed by the crowd. Letting out a short exhale and rolling her shoulders she continued walking, urging Anverth to continue his reply. "Sorry, what were you saying?"

They continued on like that for a little longer, the stalls and vendors beginning to pop up on the sides of the streets catching the elf's eyes more than once. Eventually she felt the urge to slow for a moment, taking a little time to gaze a flower stall upon which baskets and pots were hung from every available space, holding blooms of more colour than she had ever seen in one small space before. "There's so many.." she uttered, more to herself than Anverth before she quickened her pace again. By now the market was at it's busiest, the female using her strategic height to peer above the heads of the many humans surrounding them to look for any sign indicating a bakery. It was her sense of smell rather than sight which told her they were getting close though. "Can you smell that?" She asked the male at her side, inhaling the scent of freshly baked bread. "I think it's somewhere around here."
 

Anverth Kettlewhistle

Aspiring Entertainer
Member
Messages
30
The pair walked off towards the promise of baked goods and bear-cakes, late sunlight beaming down between the high buildings which flanked the road. The sun's heat apparently grew past the point of comfort for the elvish woman, whereas the halfling found his vest and loose, flowing shirt to be plenty breathable. For the first time since they'd become acquainted, Valerie doffed her cloak and slid it into her pack, being met by an appreciative nod from her traveling companion. He'd been a fan of what elvish fashion he'd seen in the past, and her ensemble of clothing hadn't been an exception.

The heart of Vel Anir grew closer upon every step, and so too did the streets get more crowded. Before long, the thoroughfare was busied by more people than Anverth had ever seen in his life, but the budding anxiety native to crowded places couldn't get to him. Somehow, the sheer number of people bustling about was a comfort to him, as if he were meant to thrive in a larger city rather than the humbled beginnings he'd been given.

Their idle chatting also helped to put the young man at ease, and he gave her question an answer in a voice just loud enough to be heard over din of business that encompassed them. "Actually, that's something of an interesting story. Y'see, a violinist came to town one day, and I figured out I could mimic what he did almost perfectly--" Anverth's enthusiastic answer was cut off as a stocky man all but shambled into Valerie's path, and she was too absorbed in what he was saying to notice. Their collision was quick, but the man's tirade in response was not. "Look, sir, it was just an accident, yeah? Won't happen ag--" The young entertainer started, but the rude human was gone before he could finish, leaving an ichorous discharge of spit in his wake. Their was a muttered curse from the halfling, who shook his head whilst glancing down the alleyway this jerk of a spectacle came from. Some twenty feet down the shadowed stretch of walkway was the entrance to some sort of bagnio, and Anverth wasn't surprised.

"Ah, right..." He said, following after Valerie as she urged him to continue his tale. As he got to her side, he offered her the crook of his elbow to make certain they wouldn't lose one another in the sea of strangers. "It was only a short time before I figured out how to play my own tunes from there. Traded flowers and herbs until I had enough to buy my own fiddle, and practiced just about every hour I didn't spend reading or working the field."

His gaze stared to middle space as he tried to recall just how long ago this had all been, chewing his lip in thought. "I reckon that was all... Just over a decade ago, probably. I'd only seen about eight winters before I fell in love with music." He gave Valerie a brief flash of a smile before turning back to the road ahead, intent on not forcing another run-in with a brutish stranger. They continued for a short time, talking idly of this and that, before reaching the Anir Square proper. Anverth made no comment when she stopped to peer at a stall of flowers, but he did note where the stall was for future use. Just in case, of course.

Over the scents of floral arrangements, burning charcoal, and the burnt-honey scent of melting beeswax that permeated the square, the halfling's nose twitched at the familiar air of baked goods. His companion mentioned the smell mere moments later, and Anverth took a deeper draw of breath through his nose, pulling him in a vague direction somewhere to their left. "I think it's this way," he said, taking the lead of their expedition for a moment to cross the thoroughfare. They came to the corner of the street where it bent into the square, where there stood a squat building billowing with the sweet scents that had drawn him there.

"Do you reckon this is the one?" He said, turning his attention momentarily to the elf at his side. By the smile on his face, she could tell that he was almost certain they'd found the bear-cake haven they'd been searching for. Thrown together from quarried stone nearly identical to the streets and walls around it, the bakery was a stout little building decorated with a series of scarlet banners. A sign over the door labeled the building Sweet Temptations, and the door itself sat just a few inches open.
 
  • Like
Reactions: MJK

MJK

✿❀❁
Member
Messages
70
Character Biography
Link
Valerie was thankful that he got to finish his explanation as to how he better his knowledge on fiddling. From what she could gather, practice really did have much to do with the skill and dexterity he had acquired over the years. It reminded her somewhat of her training with weaponry, a far less enchanting skill but necessary nonetheless. She had loathed the hours spent swinging at make-shift targets and the many bruises and scrapes she had collected when dueling with the tutors her father had instruct her. Looking back on it though she was thankful, since she doubted she would have made it this far without the lessons she had learned. Especially considering her narrow escape from Daedalus' men hours earlier.

The crook of his elbow was caste in her direction as they discussed his musical endeavors, the female happily taking it by weaving her arms through his. Not only did the connection help keep either of them from wandering apart, but there was some other sensation Valerie got from the grasp he had on her that she couldn't quite name. All she knew was that the warm feeling in her chest was pleasant and she was almost thankful for the crowds lending the situation for their linked arms to be necessary. "Ten years is a long time to stay committed to improving oneself in a particular art. I applaud and admire your efforts. I can say with confidence after hearing you last night that it was time well spent. " She was genuine in her compliment, continuing to chat with him before the enticing scent of baked goods led them like a trail of crumbs to where the bakery stood.

The quaint exterior of the bakery was inviting. Although the same stone used to build the majority of the architecture around them was replicated with this business, the rich red drapery and warm scent of baked goods somehow softened the coldness of the masonry. "I reckon this has to be it. Corner bakery on the main street of Vel Anir is all I was given to find it and this by far best fits that description. I guess we'll only know for sure once we head inside and look for the confection we have in mind." Valerie parted with him (although, the feeling over their increased distance was bittersweet), to head through the partially open door. A soft bell sounded from above the entrance, making Valerie tilt her head up to see where the sound came from before an amused grin spread across her features.

She looked around, easily able to weave her way among the numerous displays owing to the few people in the small floor space of the shop. Her eyes scanned carefully over each and every item, her breath occasionally fogging up the glass of the display cases when she paused a bit longer than necessary. When her eyes finally appraised the item she was looking for she straightened triumphantly, her smile growing to the widest it had been since leaving her home. Beaming in Anverth's direction she waved him over with her hand, setting her finger on a particular spot on the glass to try and point out what she had seen.

"I've found what we're looking for," she whispered softly, as if speaking too loud might make the sight disintegrate before them. Nestled among numerous other confections was various fist-sized shape. Some of the shapes depicted bears standing on two legs as if in a dance while others showed different scenes of bears curled up in slumber or feeding with a trout stuck into it's maw. At her excitement Valerie hadn't noticed the approach of the baker, a podgy and round man looking as if he had become the very dough he made. His arms were thick and strong though, most likely from the hours spent kneading at bread or mixing up various batters. The male wiped his hands on the soiled apron tied around him, clearing his throat before speaking. "Anything I can help you folks with?"
 

Anverth Kettlewhistle

Aspiring Entertainer
Member
Messages
30
The halfling followed in short order, entering the shop not long after his elvish companion. The bell hanging over the door was awarded with a small laugh for its musical effort, hailing there arrival in its sing-song tones. Anverth cast one last glance out the door, making certain nobody was trying to follow in after them before closing the entrance carefully behind him.

Immediately, the young man was off, slowly scouring display after display for the bear-cakes that were entirely the sole reason he came to Vel Anir. His gaze was inexorably drawn to a plate of macarons that nearly made him forget why they'd searched for the bakery in the first place, nearly salivating at the mere sight of luxurious delicacies. His peripheral caught an even more enchanting sight, though, as Valerie beamed at him as wide and bright as he'd yet seen. A slight tint of redness spread over his cheekbones before he realized that she was probably smiling over something in the display at her front, rather than at him. Ninety-percent probability on that one, anyhow.

It took Anverth fewer steps than he would've thought to cross the store to the young elf's side, staring down at the elaborate cakes. Only a thin layer of glass protected them from the halfling's appetite, as he might have otherwise been hungry enough to eat one whole. "How-...? Why-...?" He tried to clear the surprise from his voice, giving his head a quick shake. His expectations had been relegated to the realm of cookies frosted to look like a bear's face, or perhaps a cake carved vaguely into the shape of one, but the sculptures he was met with far exceeded anything he could have hoped for. He stared, perplexed, at one edible statuette in particular. It depicted a bear with a humorously small top-hat, risen onto its hind legs with a concertina stretched between its front paws. "I-... I need them..."

The halfling muttered more to himself than Valerie, not realizing that the baker presumably responsible for these wonderful creations had joined them. Anverth gave a quick glance up to the man, donning a friendly smile. "Oh, ah, hello! We were just looking, is all." His gaze fell back to the small array of bears, and he wondered if he even had enough to make a down payment on one. Maybe Anirians didn't even accept the currency he bore, given that they were from an almost entirely alien society. He'd need to find that out soon.
 
  • Like
Reactions: MJK

MJK

✿❀❁
Member
Messages
70
Character Biography
Link
The baker watched with amusement at the pair gaping over his baked foods, chuckling to himself as he scratched at the curling beard dangling from his chin. He was a master of what he did, but the look on people's faces when they saw what he did in his everyday life never ceased to amaze him. It helped the baker see past the mundane nature of the laborious work he did, which is one of the reasons he insisted on sometimes working the front of the shop with his wife rather than confiding in the back kitchen of the small building.

Valerie looked to turn to Anverth as he tried to absorb every detail of all the bear sculptures on display, finding that watching him in his amazement scan through each one was almost better than having found the bears in the first place. The baker spoke up again, not in a tone that implied he was rushing them though but rather just being informative. "I can see you folks aren't from around here. The travelers always show such fascination compared to the locals. I take it by your intent stares that you're after the Ursa cakes?" Valerie's eyebrows scrunched together for a moment at the name he had given the sweet treats, needing to take a moment to run through the Common tongue vocabulary she knew before realizing what the man meant. It hit her suddenly, her eyes opening again as the figurative light bulb went off in her brain. Ah, yes...ursa means bear...

The elf nodded her head to the baker, confirming his suspicions. He beamed with pride, crossing his arms over his chest in a laid-back stance. "Do you taken elven silver?" Valerie asked with a slightly concerned tone, her own thoughts mimicking Anverth's without the two saying a thing to each other. The baker nodded his head once, saying with a dismissive shrug of his shoulders that made the thick girth around his middle move as well, "Ay, I do. This is Vel Anir after all, what major city would survive past it's initial settling if it didn't welcome other folk in ta do business. That's m'secret for staying in business so long...not turning away a patron considered t'be an outsider like most of the other rats running around the city."

Valerie straightened some more, twisting to untie a small leather pouch from the inside of her bag. She scrounged around inside it, producing a small silver disc which shone with an unnaturally pure light. Elvish silver was mined under strict laws and the deposits near her home city was one of the reasons her civilization thrived as it did...even if it did attract unwanted attention from neighbouring elvish settlements such as Daedalus'. "Will this be enough?" She asked carefully, placing the coin in her palm which she showed to the baker. The man's eyes widened at the sight, but he snapped suddenly as if broken from the spell the sight of the coin had cast over him. He curled her fingers back around the item, saying softly "That's more than enough m'dear for two, but ye best be careful who ya let see such precious metal. Plenty o'folk around 'ere would love ta see ya cornered in an alleyway for even a crumb of that wee thing. Not often humans outside of Fal'Addas see such unspoiled silver." Having never traveled outside of her region, Valerie was a bit shocked by his reaction, worry tainting her features at what he had said.

He carefully slid the coin off her palm so that it did not glint easily, pocketing it in a small pouch he kept tied to his apron strings. After that he leaned onto the display case, a mighty feat for such thin glass to withstand with the bulk of his arms, and said, "Which flavour are ya after?" Valerie's eyes widened once more, her subdued reaction to the man's response about her coin quickly forgotten. "There's more than one?" She said with disbelief, looking to Anverth to get his opinion on what he wanted.
 
Last edited:

Anverth Kettlewhistle

Aspiring Entertainer
Member
Messages
30
Anverth found it comforting to know that his money wasn't entirely worthless in the city, and he was more than willing to drop a few copper drams on baked delicacies. The Ursa cakes were likely a great way out of the halfling's price range, but after a few days of performing, he was sure that he could snag one. Splitting it evenly with Valerie was bound to bring them both a great deal of joy, or so he hoped.

The thought of saving his more disposable income was quickly forgotten, though, as his elvish companion produced more money than he'd had in his entire life and held it out to the baker. The light reflecting from the coin shone in the purest of whites, lighting the elf's face to a paler shade by the sheer purity of its silver. Anverth's gaze fell slowly to the leather satchel on his belt, weighted with a series of copper coins and a pair of slightly tarnished silver pieces, all of which he'd saved over months of working and performing. Yet Valerie was about to drop twice his coin-purse's worth on a pair of cakes.

His bug-eyed face turned once more to the young elf, though she may have been too preoccupied to notice. Her features creased with worry, and the halfling couldn't help but wonder how she'd come across the coinage. Surely if she were a pickpocket or thief, she'd be more familiar with the value of silver and gold... But he couldn't begin to fathom another explanation for how she'd come up with that much money. Instead of dwelling on the subject, the young entertainer blinked the surprise from his eyes, turning his friend a kind smile as gawked in disbelief that, yes, apparently bear-cakes come in more than one flavor.

"Well, one can't go wrong with the classics." There was a wide shrug to his shoulders, hands fanning outwards in ambivalence. "On one hand, trying something exotic might be interesting, but chocolate and vanilla aren't to be scoffed at, either." His smile began to show a bit more teeth, and a familiar warmness creapt back into his expression. "How about next time, when I buy, we try something new, but we stick to the tried-and-true for now?" It seemed a fair plan all around, though it was bold of him to assume he'd be able to afford a sample of the lavish delicacies any time soon.
 

MJK

✿❀❁
Member
Messages
70
Character Biography
Link
The baker waited on Anverth's suggestions as to what they would get, the man's patience infinite as the young halfling explained his plan to the elf. She skewed her mouth to the side as she mulled over his proposal, quickly giving a nod of her head as a way to accept what he had put forth. "Alright then, that sounds good enough to me..." The baker chucked, unable to stop himself as he intercepted their conversation. "Chocolate and vanilla it is then. However-" He looked to Anverth from the corner of his eye, leaning down to carefully take out two differently posed cakes before setting them in a piece of muslin cloth, "- you'll find that even the classics can come with a twist."

After placing the confections carefully in their wrapping he slid them towards the two foreigners, leaning with his arms on the counter before steepling his fingers in a sort of satisfied gesture. "I hope to see you folks again, next time I'll be sure to give you a surprise." With that said he pushed off the glass, waddling his way back to the kitchen hidden behind a latched gate.

Valerie carefully pulled the closest bear into her palm, using the muslin cloth as leverage so as not the break the carefully made item. The pose she had chosen was of a black-furred bear sitting on a log, the wisps of icing angled to make it look as if a soft breeze was rustling his coat. The other bear was a softer tan colour, the same one with the top hat and musical instrument strung between it's front paws which Anverth had been looking at earlier. The elvish female gave a triumphant gaze to Anverth before flitting her sights back to the cake, saying with an amused giggle, "It looks almost too good to eat."

However, the coin she had spent would be a waste if they did not devour the treats. Carefully, Valerie pulled on a part of the sculpture, removing a small chunk of icing covered cake to reveal a sponge the same colour as fertile earth. "Guess I pulled the chocolate then..." the female muttered, popping the piece into her mouth delicately. Her face lit up the more she chewed, having found the twist the baker had mentioned. "It's made with raspberries between the layers, that sly trickster!" Her exclamation was one of admiration and awe, her description of the baker said with a teasing intention rather because she felt any sourness towards him. "What's in yours?" she asked the halfling, thin fingers removing another small piece of cake before she looked to him for his response.

The pair consumed their delicacy, the elf feeling satiated with a full stomach and sweet after-taste of the soft, plump red berries on her tongue. While continuing to walk through the market, simply taking in the sights rather than having any intentions of buying anything, she spoke up to Anverth about a possible downfall in their disorganized plans. "Not that I'm in any rush, but we might have to start thinking of where we will be staying tonight. There are cheap inns looking for work in exchange for boarding near the city's entrance, I saw a sign saying so on our way to the bakery. Otherwise I have a tent I can use to camp on the outskirts of Vel Anir. Which would you prefer?"
 

Anverth Kettlewhistle

Aspiring Entertainer
Member
Messages
30
Anverth found a small grin playing across his features in spite of his previous apprehension once the musical bear was in his hands. He carefully lifted it in tandem with Valerie taking her own, turning it over in his hands and not so much as watching the baker leave. What was it he'd said about the classics having a twist? The halfling dared not dwell too long on the subject, fearing that suspicion might make him lose his appetite. Instead, he pulled a small piece from the cake, feeling just a little bit bad about the now missing chunk of the bear musician's leg. The young man gave a small nod at Valerie's mention that they might just be too good to eat, giving the bear an examining look. There was a strange dichotomy between the edible statue's soft, tan exterior and the spongy vanilla interior of its cakey body, but the artistry of the frosted fur was almost enough to make it seem natural.

Without more time to consider whether the cake truly was too good to eat, Anverth popped the small piece he'd removed into his mouth and gave it a brief chew. Swallowing, he gave the elf at his side a broad grin. "Almonds. Powdered, or something..." His voice trailed off into a mutter, unable to conceive of how the talented baker had pulled off such a miracle... Perhaps it truly was magic, after all.

The halfling managed to finish his cake off just a short while before his companion finished hers, and the faint taste of macarons lingered in his mouth. Overall, the cake was well worth the price he'd paid in kindness and travelling, though in the aftermath of his blissful consumption, he felt a twinge of remorse at making Valerie pay such an exorbitant fee. Determined, he resolved that he'd pay her back eventually, but found himself contented for the time being to walk arm in arm with her once more as they continued to explore the market. A few merchants approached, trying to hawk what goods they had to the pair as they walked. It only took a few careful words on Anverth's part to convince the peddlers to move along, though, and the duo found themselves unperturbed soon enough.

The young man listened carefully as his companion spoke again, turning to her with a warm smile. They must truly be friends, he thought, to be staying together after arriving in the city. "I'd be fine working for a few hours to get us a room. Might even be able to negotiate some pay, too." His stride brought him closer to her to avoid a passing group of humans, elbow bumping softly into her side. "I mean, I'd hate to leave you out in the wilds... You do get terribly cold." His voice took up a tone of knowing cheek, and he gave her a wink that was borderline flirtatious. There was an unmissable note of concern to his voice, though; Her hands had been frigid just the night before, even when they were huddled close about the fire.
 

MJK

✿❀❁
Member
Messages
70
Character Biography
Link
As soon as she spoke the words she worried she might have gone a step too far. After all, it might not have been right for her to assume they would be remaining in company once the excitement of the bear-cakes had subsided. She waited apprehensively for Anverth's response, relieved when he did not look confronted with a decision he had not been expecting to make but instead took it in his stride. Her idea of working for a room did not perturb him, the man instead eager upon the manner win which they could acquire accommodation.

He teased her about her icy tendencies the previous night, bringing an embarrassed half-smile to her features as well as a soft chuckle. "I think I would manage well enough, it wouldn't be my second night in the woods after all, but a soft bed is better than a forest floor any day. I wonder what sort of work will be required of us? I would be all too happy to restock him with meat or even deliver a few items around Vel Anir."

The pair continued on, eventually the time growing near enough that they needed to head towards the inn in question and acquire as to what they could do to earn their night's stay. It was edging on sunset by the time the elf and halfling made their way inside the establishment, the stone exterior of the building a brilliant orange from the lowering sun as they stepped foot over the threshold. Valerie was surprised to find that although it was an inn, the lower level consisted of a tavern-like atmosphere with stairs on the far-end leading up to the rooms to rent.

*****************************************************************************************************************

"A....what?" Valerie asked with confusion, ears perking up as she tried to grasp as to what the innkeeper needed. The weedy man, thin enough to look as if a strong gust would blow him over, rolled his eyes as he tried to explain to her again. "A barmaid. I need someone to tote around food and drinks to customers this evening, my previous worker had her mother pass away and needed to leave last minute." His eyes grazed over her from head to toe, as if analyzing her appearance. "However..." he began, gently rubbing at his chin as he mused to himself, "You're going to need a uniform. The men around Vel Anir don't always take kindly to their servers dressed as if they got back from a hunt."

Valerie's eyes widened, the female glancing off to where the innkeepers wife was explaining to Anverth about what she would need him to do. Meanwhile the man in front of her had turned, rifling through a basket underneath the tavern counter to pull out a dark-navy skirt stitched to a corset-like structure over a loose white shirt with billowing bell sleeves. He handed it to her, saying with a bored tone, "Men who come to drink after training don't want to be reminded of the woman soldiers they train with." The elvish woman gulped quietly, saying in a worried voice, "I...don't have any experience. with this." The man gave an unfazed blink with hooded eyes, saying without a flicker of worry, "It's easy, carry food and drinks to tables, fill up empty mugs and put the coins in the box under the counter. That's all there is too it. Besides, I can't afford to not have someone working tonight, soldiers get paid their salaries today so it's bound to be packed. I don't plan on being closed on the night I earn the most money out of the entire month. Any tips you make you can keep on top of the free room tonight." Valerie looked down at the dress he had given her for a second, looking back up with her mouth open to speak only to find the man had disappeared into the tap room at the back.

She sighed, turning to the side to see Anverth walking her way after the innkeepers wife (a stout woman in contrast to her husband) had finished speaking to him. "What is it that you need to do tonight?" She asked merrily, trying to stay positive about the fact that despite how tonight went, they would at least be earning a small income and also get a comfortable place to sleep. No sooner had he responded than the two heard the man shouting at them from the back so he could be heard, saying "Better get ready you two, tavern portion opens at sundown!" Valerie gave a grim smile to the half-ling, rushing off to the room they had been allocated to change.
 

Anverth Kettlewhistle

Aspiring Entertainer
Member
Messages
30
"So, what, just a few hours of playing and I'm free for the night?"

A charming smile played across Anverth's face, half-spurred in a polite effort and otherwise caused by the fairness of his deal. The stout woman before him had a faint redness to her features that hadn't been there minutes before, cooling herself lightly with a slightly stained fan of lace. "Oh, if that's not too much of course. Keep your case open, though," The woman said, trailing two fingers over the closed seam of his violin case. The young man shivered just slightly in discomfort, either too polite or too uncomfortable to tell the innkeeper's wife that he was, respectfully, absolutely not interested. "Any money folk throw your way's yours to keep."

Anverth threw a quick glance in Valerie's direction, but she was too preoccupied gulping over her new uniform to notice. When he looked back the innkeeper's wife, she was leaning in a foot closer to him while her husband was distracted, smeared-lipstick far too close to the halfling for his own comfort. "An' if you're half as good as you say, I think you'll make more than enough to get somethin' nice..."

The young musician disengaged from their conversation before the stranger could get any ideas, turning his back to her and walking towards where he'd be playing for the night. His voice came out in more of a rush than he would've liked, leaving at the quick pace he was. "Alright, thank you, ma'am, I'll just go see this stage for myself, then!" The older woman huffed audibly, deflating just slightly before heading off to the bar.

To call the dais of raised floor at the tavern's far wall a 'stage' would be more than generous. A single uncushioned chair was placed dead-center of platform, and Anverth quickly went about shifting the wooden seat to the front of rostrum. He planted himself in the chair, shifting around a little to make sure he won't be getting any splinters during the night. Without delaying any longer, he popped his instrument case open on his lap, drawing his fiddle to his shoulder and drawing its bow across its strings. Foul acoustics of the room reflected highers tones straight back into the musician's ear, resulting in a skin-crawling shudder on his part; That would take some getting used to.

Luckily, Valerie approached before he could dwell on how rough this night was shaping up to be. She asked him just what was he'd need to do, but he was far more interested in what her work would entail-- After all, why would they give her a new outfit if she was going to be out dirtying it while hunting? Nevertheless, she asked first, and so too would she be answered in kind. "Oh, nothing too complicated, just need to play some nice ambient songs to cover the din of conversation. She said I could toss in a few more boastful pieces if I like, and I suppose we'll have to see how if I feel like it in the moment."

Anverth gave the dress in her hands a short nod, cocking an eyebrow. "What's that for? They didn't give me anything to wear." Her answer, if she'd even begun to give one by then, was cut off by the shouted voice of the tavernkeeper. Before his friend could leave to change, the musician caught her grim smile, giving her a warm expression in return. "Hey, it'll be alright, culver. Worst comes to pass," he threw a quick glance about, leaning in and dropping his tone. "We can always go strike a camp for the night. Walls're overrated."

His smile perked up to a brief grin as Valerie turned to leave, dropping promptly to a neutral expression of ambivalent grief as soon as he left her sight. The halfling promptly went about making sure his fiddle was in tune, which was a tougher effort than he would've liked, cold nights be damned. His tuning finished just as the doors opened to loose a flood of tenants, many of whom were still donned in the gambesons and colors of Anirian guardsmen. Anverth promptly got to playing a peaceful tune, just loud enough to be audible under the growing tide of conversation. Tonight, he thought, Maybe things'll just work out for the better.
 
  • Like
Reactions: MJK

MJK

✿❀❁
Member
Messages
70
Character Biography
Link
Valerie spent less than a few minutes changing into the outfit that had been given to her. However, once it was on, the reflection of herself in the aged mirror hanging on the far wall of the room made her pause. Gulping quietly she surveyed how she looked, trying to adjust the pieces in an effort to cover up as much skin as she could. While elvish court outfits weren't exactly known to be conservative, they at least were made to fit so there was no chance of skin being shown that the wearer had no intention of exposing to light. Her efforts of tugging and pulling at the material helped very little though, the female coming to accept that what she had on was just going to have to work.

She took in her reflection one last time, going through the trouble of moving her hair forward to try and cover up some of her pointed ears as well as her exposed shoulders. Despite the curtain of wavy locks falling roughly down the sides of her face, the upper half of the uniform was still obviously too big for her. The wide, circular collar piece was too loose, causing the shirt to sit just off her shoulders or even to angle down deeply on one side if she didn't correct it properly. This allowed for much of her upper torso to be on display, such as her neck and the full extent of her collar bones. Then there was the corset - a tight piece of fabric with boning that although fit her better than the shirt, made her waist and atheletic figure more prominent than she was used to. The only thing she was happy with was the skirt, which fell to a decent length and covered up her hunting boots she had decided to keep on. The only other item familiar to her was her pendent, which she had tucked neatly under the clothing as soon as she put it on as a force of habit.

Hearing the opening of the inn door and the beginning of raucous conversation, Valerie knew she needed to get to work lest she wanted to upset the innkeeper. The elf put on a smile, squelching down her desire to sprint and hide in the nearest cupboard, before running down the stairs.

****************************************************************************************************************************
Calamys made quick work of paying off the guards at the gate, the human males allowing them access even though it was far past the curfew at which the main gates were closed and travelers were no longer permitted to enter Vel Anir. Magnus was grateful for his companions ability to negotiate their way inside, since he had not been interested in spending another night camping in the cold. It had been a long, hard walk though, one which was set at a pace just short of a run thanks to Calamys' eagerness to catch up to Valerie. By the time they had arrived at the city it was well past sunset, the first dots of stars beginning to show against the navy sky of night.

"Where to now, Cal?" Magnus asked, hand still resting on the hilt of his sword after the dirty looks they had received from the guards acting as gatekeepers. The young captain looked around, musing to himself quietly without giving Magnus an immediate answer. Instead, the young male elf just walked for a bit, bright green eyes observing the immediate area. "If I was away from home, have stayed alone in a tent for five days and am on the run with very little elven currency, where would I go..." He expected no answer from his acquaintance, Magnus looking to him with furrowed brows and mouth agape at his strange query. Calamys suddenly stopped mid-stride though, tilting his head as if he had been struck by a thought before he took two steps back. It was then that he turned his head to the side, hand coming up slowly from where it had been resting on his hip to tear away at an advertisement nailed onto a make-shift community notice board.

Looking down at the torn-off paper he smiled smugly to himself, eyes scanning over the small map that had been etched onto the parchment which asked for help at a inn not too far from where they stood. "I know where she is... Find the coats in the bags." Calamys scrunched the paper up into a ball in his hands, tossing it aside before walking in the direction they had come from. I'm coming for you, Val.

*******************************************************************************************************

Valerie was flustered, trying to carry a tray in one hand as well as a half-full jug of the most pungent smelling liquor in the other. She needed to go and fetch a few mugs from the tavern counter, ones which customers had been waiting for since arriving, but she kept being interrupted along the way to refill empty goblets or pints along the way. The crowd had thickened substantially since the sun had dropped below the horizon, the noise in the small hall rising with the number of occupants. This made it difficult to maneuver her way through the throngs of local men and soldiers which were packed like sardines among any available place to sit or stand.

She finally made it through though, letting out a huff of exasperation while fixing where the shirt had slipped off her shoulders for the umpteenth time that evening. Seeing her approach, cheeks red and arms full, the innkeepers wife chuckled to herself on the other side of the tavern counter. "Difficult, ain't it? Take a swig of this, will take away some of the stress sitting on your shoulders like a fat pirates parrot." She slid a short glass along the counter, some of the brown contents spilling along the way before it stopped in front of the elf. "Is that?-" Valerie began, the woman cutting her off, "-Liquor? Yes. Makes working with this brutish buffoons much easier if ya ask me." Valerie gave her an incredulous look, simply leaving the drink where it stood as she picked up the full mugs, filled up the pitcher and made her way back into the loud crowd.

The one thing she was happy for was the well-received reception of Anverth's fiddling, the group of people gathered just about inebriated enough to not care of singing off tune along to the familiar songs he played. She looked up to watch him momentarily for a particularly joyful chorus, the volume of the crowd heightening and making Valerie laugh with amusement. Her watching was broken quickly though, a nearby soldier who wheezed out breath thick with the drink on special for the day taking her wrist sharply and pulling her onto his lap. "How's a'bout y'fill up m'glass sweet'eart? I like the idea of an elven wench crawling around to do my bidding." The man's companions laughed loudly at his words, getting the reaction he intended from the other soldiers. His words were slurred and cumbersome, Valerie wishing nothing more than to squirm away out of his grasp and teach him a lesson. However, she knew doing so would cause a scene and there was little chance of her keeping the plentiful tips she had made from the other customers if they grew sour over her treatment of their brutish compatriot. He pushed his empty mug towards her, the female simply biting her tongue and hiding her true feelings behind a fake smile as she filled it up. She got up to leave, the man's hand lingering in an area on the verge of inappropriate as the elf walked away. Biting her lower lip she dragged in a breath, still stifling her biting comment as she left the busy area.

Valerie made her way back to the counter, not even thinking twice as she downed the poured drink the innkeepers wife had given her. She was surprised to find it less strong in taste compared to some elvish wine, the liquid burning as it slid down her throat but more than bearable. If this will help me get through this night without dueling one of these dogs then it will be a blessing indeed.
 

Anverth Kettlewhistle

Aspiring Entertainer
Member
Messages
30
The sole piece of furniture garnishing the stage laid on its side, forgotten five songs back in the young musicians set. The energy filling the room had been steadily increasing in density as the crowded tavern only grew more full, providing the air with the electric stillness of a crowd's attention. Anverth practically danced about the stage as he played, cutting quite the caper to his own energetic beat. The song he played was a simple one and a favorite among the mostly magic-scorning soldiers of Vel Anir, for it told the tale of an idiotic student and his antics at the College of Elbion.

"Well, come ye little children and I'll tell you the tale, of a worthless little jackass called Rosey-Posey Ale! Now little Rosey Jackass swore a wizard that he'd be, he took his father's money to the University!" The musician fell into another verse, joined by the drunken, off-pitch rabble gathered nearest to the stage. Energetic fiddling on the halfling's part only helped spur the crowd to continue, and his voice helped to mostly carry along the simple melody of the piece. It took Anverth three songs to realize that background music hardly helped him to earn any tips, but as soon as he started singing classics and dancing as best as he could manage, the coins started to flow rather steadily in. His fiddle case sat a quarter full at the stage's edge, offering the musician a very visual cue to how much he'd earned from the strenuous effort of keeping his energy on high. As it stood, he had a broad smattering of copper and silver coins of varying sizes, and he figured that perhaps entertaining had been the right choice of a career after all.

"He met a lovely lady who studied quite a bit, and when she threw him on his ass, he nearly threw a fit! So he wrote a note to daddy, all of this to wit, an' now she works as a stable girl, raking up the--" Yet again, the veritable bard dipped into the song's chorus, riding on the rather awful singing of his admirers in order to give his voice a brief rest. Rather liking the feeling of not singing for at least a few seconds, the halfling improvised a fiddling section in place of the song's next verse. While it caught some of his more adroit listeners off guard as they'd already started the following lyrics from memory, the brief interlude of instrumentation freed Anverth's eyes to peer around and try to spot his friend amidst the crowd.

He found Valerie after a bit of searching through the crowded tavern, but his elevated position did lend itself rather well to his efforts. She was laughing, mirthful and joyous, while looking in his direction. In spite of the attention that he'd been lavished with throughout his performance, there was something about her admiration that brought a bright blush to his cheeks. It was only from his physical exertion, of course-- Dancing was tough, and there was absolutely no other reason he'd feel butterflies tickling his diaphragm, no sir-ee, no way.

The strings of his fiddle squeaked in shock, however, as one of the tavern's tenants roughly pulled the young elf into his lap. The musician's grip of his bow grew tight, knuckles whitening just faintly in a barely subdued rage. Luckily, she disentangled herself from the situation before anything could escalate too far, and the young entertainer finished his song with one last, rushed verse. "When the masters saw he was a cheat, a liar, and a cass, they whipped him thrice across his back and threw him on his ass! And since the ladies of the town did rid him of his eggs, he's going home to daddy with his tail between his legs!"

Realizing that anger had tinged his voice with harshness, Anverth took a moment to center himself throughout the crowd's scattered applause. He righted the chair back onto its legs, setting his fiddle and bow in a cross upon its seat. When he addressed the crowd once again, there was a kind, charming smile across his face, though it notably didn't reach his eyes. "Well, I'm going to be taking a brief break, so if you wanted to buy me a drink--" His finger extended toward the crude man who had so rudely handled Valerie less than a minute prior, and one of his eyes flicked shut in an overtly flirtatious wink. "--Now would be the time."

Anverth left the stage and waltzed towards the bar, hearing laughter swell through the tavern at the beard-splitter's expense. He made it to the bar a foot from his friend's side, knocking twice on the wood and giving the innkeeper's wife a broad, tired grin. "Could I just a get a mug of water? Bit parched up there." His words came out through labored huffs, having dropped the act of having himself together on stage. It truly did take a lot of work to make something effortless, after all.
 

MJK

✿❀❁
Member
Messages
70
Character Biography
Link
Valerie was taking a breather when Anverth arrived, the female wiping at her brow and trying to collect together any empty mugs that had been so haphazardly dumped on the tavern counter. She piled them neatly in rows on top of a nearby long tray, making it easier for the items to be scurried back to the kitchen for use by the next round of drink orders. She was so concentrated on her task that she did not notice Anverth approaching, some subconscious part of her only vaguely aware that the crowds had even stopped singing. As he knocked on the wood she startled, her hand almost tipping over the entire pile of mugs had she not moved quickly to stop the first mug in it's fall. Letting out a long, frustrated sigh through pursed lips she straightened the object, all too pleased she had managed to stop it in it's flight.

Once that was done, the innkeepers wife picking the tray up and carrying it away, she turned to face her halfling friend. While attempting as much as possible to put on a brave smile, the fatigue she already felt tainted the corners of her mouth so that they did not lift up as much as they normally did. "You're doing brilliantly up there, the crowd loves you!" Her exclamation was heartfelt, Valerie consciously picking up the one shoulder of her shirt as it had begun to droop down. "I had no idea that-" she was interrupted by the return of the innkeepers wife, who slammed down a mug of water filled to the brim near Anverth's hand. "Here y'go love. Keep up the song-making, happy folk are more willing to spend more coin on buying beverages. As for you..." She pushed a full pitcher in Valerie's direction, jabbing her thumb in the direction of the table where the soldier from earlier was sitting. "...don't stop what you're doing. The more you're filling cups, the more money we're making. You're even better than the old girl who was here, she fussed about and was far t'slow for the pace the soldiers 'ere drink." Valerie picked up the heavy pitcher, giving a pained smiled to the halfling as she said over her shoulder, "Guess I'll see you in an hour or two then..." The innkeeper's wife gave Anverth a seductive smile once she'd left, placing her hand on his before looking into eyes and saying, "You're everything you said you would be an more, maybe I could convince my husband to let you stick around for a few more nights..."

Meanwhile, with the elf walking back into the crowd, a cloaked pair entered into the establishment. With their hoods up over their heads it was difficult to make out their features as they made a bee line for the tavern counter. Their voices were accented when they addressed the innkeeper's wife, much in the same way Valerie's was when she spoke. "Your finest wine, please..." The one muttered, placing a tarnished piece of silver on the counter. The bar woman got what they wanted, the two inconspicuously making their way over to a darkened table in the far corner of the tavern floor with their drinks in hand.

Valerie was approaching the table she had been directed too when all this was occurring, too preoccupied with keeping her cool as the soldier from before noticed her nearing. "Ah, look who's back for more gents!" He said proudly, placing his hand on her lower back as she needed to lean across the table to fill some of the farther mugs. Flesh rising with goosebumps from the touch, Valerie's brows furrowed angrily. Just ignore him, he's just some harmless drunk you'd put out with the dogs before he could even draw his weapon. He's not even worth your time, don't let these humans think their opinion of your species is right or add more fuel to the fire... Her mind kept on like this, thoughts helping to calm her down.

Not that it was noticeable to any other patrons in the tavern, but the one cloaked figure in the far corner of the room had been watching the commotion with the female elf intently. He seemed to be filled with wrath as the human soldier proceeded to place his hands on the young female, caressing her as if she was free meat when, in the cloaked figures eyes, she was already promised to someone else. The man's posture spoke of the foul-minded state he was in at seeing the commotion, leaning forward with foot tapping irritably against the floor. While all of this was occurring he kept a small, well-forged dagger in his palms, twisting it in a tightened fist as if he was contemplating throwing it across the room.
 

Anverth Kettlewhistle

Aspiring Entertainer
Member
Messages
30
Catching the tower of mugs tumbling down in his peripheral, the young man reached out dexterously to catch the uppermost cup. By the time he closed half of the distance, though, the substantially quicker elf managed to snag the keystone of the structure and stabilize it once more. "Sorry," Anverth muttered, rubbing his knuckles absently to remove the faint tingle of knocking. His features couldn't resist prickling up into a bashful smile at Valerie's compliment, tinting just faintly from the praise. Regardless, he could tell that she wasn't having as good a run of things as he was, and his glee dimmed at the realization. Before he could voice any praise her way, though, there was a loud 'thud' of mug meeting bar, and the innkeeper's wife was back. She gave Anverth's efforts a brief acknowledgement before complimenting Valerie's work, though the musician could pick up on a faint tone of criticism that permeated the older woman's speech. The elf said goodbye for the moment, but as the halfling turned to ask her something, he felt a hand settle on his.

"... Maybe I could convince my husband to let you stick around for a few more nights..." The young man turned back over his shoulder to the woman who'd set her hand presumptuously on her own. Dimly, he realized that she'd changed at some point into a shirt with a much more sweeping neckline compared to the one she had upon his arrival, revealing more than just her collarbones. The halfling gulped as she stared at him through lashes laden with poorly-applied mascara, smiling seductively over her crooked, browned teeth. His look of shock was quickly overtaken by a forced smile, paired with an equally forced and admirably nervous laugh. "Well, ahm, I'd love to work a few more nights, of course, but I do have a few concerns." The innkeeper's wife leaned further forwards, giving Anverth a look that said she was listening without ever taking her callused hand from his. "Well, my friend is being harassed by your customers, y'see, and I think more could be done to stop it." The musician put on a defeated shrug, donning a positively mournful expression. "If things like that don't come to a stop, we may need to seek work elsewhere..."

His tone was all doting concern and glumness, though the threat he hoped to imply had clearly landed; The older woman straightened noticeably, withdrawing her hands to her sides and giving Anverth a wide-eyed stare. "Well, o'course! I-I'll go talk to my husband, right 'way!" Her voice was rushed and worried, dropping all the seductive pretense she'd had before. Her not-quite-pleasantly plump figure practically left a woman-shaped dust cloud as she turned on her heels and all but sprinting to find her husband. And people told him acting was a waste of time... Heh.

The musician bided his time by looking out over the crowded tavern and finally getting around to drinking his water, taking a seat on a stool with his back to the bar. A pair of cloaked figures bumped past him on their way by, but the mellow musician didn't mind all too much. They had quick words with the innkeeper'a wife upon her return and hustled off to the darkest corner of the establishment. Typical, the halfling thought, watching them go. Can't people get more creative with their discretion? Cloaked figures, dark corners, bah...

His eyes caught sight of something far more infuriating as he went back to looking over the bar, spotting the same soldier from before once more harassing Valerie as she was just trying to do her damned job. Clearly, he hadn't humiliated the bastard enough just yet. Without actively thinking about his actions, the halfling set his half emptied mug on the bar, and his feet carried him through the crowd to the offending table. A few cheers rose in his wake, but he didn't give them much attention and the cheerers quickly hushed.

Upon arriving at the table Valerie was serving, Anverth put on an expression of perfect mirth, acting a touch inebriated. "Oi, mate, you were the one with the perfect falsetto, weren't you?" The young musician practically swept the soldiers hand off of the young woman's back, instead placing the drunkard's arm over his shoulders in an amiable sort of masculine embrace. "Jackass, jackass!" The halfling sang in a high, sing-song tone, patting the soldier twice on his chest. "They should be paying you, my friend! I mean, really, I just fiddle, but you can sing!"

The halfling continued this confusing fast-talk long enough for Valerie to finish filling the remaining glasses, keeping the drunkard too perplexed to punch him in the face for interrupting. Once the last mug was filled again, Anverth shrugged the soldier's arm from his shoulder, giving him an appreciative point. "You, mate, might just be my new best friend! Alright, you lads enjoy the drinks!"

On deft feet, the halfling disengaged and walked to Valerie's side, speaking only just loud enough to be heard over the din of conversation. The table of soldiers, meanwhile, sat in a dumbfounded silence before the drunkest among them started laughing and the rest followed suit. "Are you alright?" He said, head cocking to the side in concern as he leaned in close towards his friend. "I think I've made enough to buy a room for the night at someplace a bit more reputable. A pair of beds, walls, none of these pricks." His thumb threw over his shoulder towards the group of rabblerousers. "Besides," his tone fell a bit more hushed, then. "I think the owner's trying to bed me, and I'm not about to do that."
 

MJK

✿❀❁
Member
Messages
70
Character Biography
Link
Valerie was doing her utmost to keep her thoughts in her head with the goings-on around her. Were she to lose even a smidgen of her willpower, she was going to break the man's hand before putting him on his ass. She had taken down buck bigger than him and was not one to be made out as a bashful damsel to be spoken to and treated as anyone wished. It was one of the characteristics that had made her balk and flee at the announcement of her arranged marriage. Just as she was on the brink of snapping with the man having the gall to begin shifting his hand southward, the halfling swooped in.

The elf was all too thankful for the distraction, letting out a long exhale through pursed lips while her muscles relaxed again. She hadn't even realized they had been tensing up, coiling with the force she would need to surprise the soldier if he moved his hand even one more inch. Anverth's methods though were surprising, considering that he was able to deflect the man's attention off her using something other than brute force. Once the mugs were full she retreated, taking her leave as soon as she possibly could.

She was relieved to have Anverth join her side as soon as she had left, giving him a look of complete gratitude while she toted the empty jug back to the tavern's main counter. "Thank you, for that. The distraction you provided was a saving grace indeed. I'm alright now, but only because you bought me the time I needed to finish up my duties. A second longer and I might have made him regret ever coming here in the first place." Pushing the jug onto the counter she turned to lean against it, letting out a sigh as she rested her arms on either side of her by propping her forearms on the wood.

Back in the corner, the cloaked man has settled back down with the elvish woman gone from the soldiers clutches. He even went as far as to sheath his dagger again, his companion visibly relaxing with the action by sagging more into his chair and throwing his glass back to down the wine in the goblet.

Valerie answered Anverth's other question, thinking as to whether or not they should remain in the tavern when the experience so far had been unpleasant to say the least. The final addition though of the innkeepers wife doing some harassing of her own towards Anverth helped make up her mind. "Let's leave. I've made enough tips to supplement a few nights of accommodation elsewhere." The soldiers were beginning to quieten down anyway, some even taking their leave to pay some of the more seedy areas in town a visit. Drinking was only a warm-up to some of the other pleasures that could be acquire with lined pockets.

The female made her way upstairs, returning shortly in her previous attire and with their bags flung over her shoulders. She pulled her bow, arrow bag and satchel over her shoulders after handing him his things, garnering the attention of not only the innkeepers wife or the drinking soldier, but also the cloaked figures in the corner.

"Where d'you think you're going?" The woman asked, lipstick smeared all over the glass she had been drinking from. "Away from this place of business ma'am. I pity the next woman who you invite to be feasted upon by dogs such as these." Valerie's tone was simplistic, as if she had been commenting on the weather rather than imparting some offensive commentary. The woman slammed her beer mug down, about to say something when Valerie shot her a look that could curdle milk. In her hand was already a small throwing knife cheaply carved from bone, one she had pulled so quickly it had barely taken the blink of an eye. "I really would hold your tongue right now. Especially with the way you let people treat your servers and entertainers." The woman backed down, Valerie turning to say to Anverth, "Let's go, one last thing though..."

She turned swiftly, using her momentum in the twist to give her arm the forceful, arced motion to send the throwing knife soaring across the room. It cut through the air with a slick sound, aimed precisely to dodge other customers as they moved across it's path. It hit true on it's intended target - a beer glass held to the lips of the soldier who had been plaguing her all night. The glass shattered, sending the contents splattering all over the man's lap. Needless to say, once he sobered up and noticed that the one side of his mustache had also been closely shaved off by the weapon his mood would only worsen. He looked around perplexed, unsure what exactly had just happened while all his friends laughed at the unfortunate wet patch forming at a rather humorous spot on his trousers. Valerie smiled wickedly....much like the barely visible smile worn by the cloaked figure who had watched the weapon whip it's way towards the deserving dog of a human.

"We can leave now." Valerie said victoriously, spinning on her toes to head for the door without taking too much note of the surprise echoing around the room.

***********************************************************************************************************​

Not a second after Anverth and the elven girl had left the tavern did the cloaked figures stand, moving their way deftly and intently through the crowd to head out the door after them. They were careful to follow from a distance, not wanting to alert the pair that they were trailing them.
 

Anverth Kettlewhistle

Aspiring Entertainer
Member
Messages
30
Anverth grinned as Valeire agreed to skip out on working for the rest of the night. With their combined haul of tips, they could be sure to net a few nights of comfort within the city walls to plan out whatever happens next. The young musician felt a faint tug of guilt at leaving before finishing off his set, but if it got them both away from what harassment the night brought, so be it; There were better venues to perform at, anyhow. Places with less guardsmen and cloaked weirdos.

The young man bolted to the stage, emptying his case into the mostly-empty coin purse on his hip and placing his fiddle and bow into the newly emptied space. He rose to his feet, giving a deep, sarcastic bow to the crowd. The soldiers who hadn't yet left for the brothels of the city gave him a variety of confused stares ranging from slightly puzzled to outright vexed. The particularly crude soldier's drunkest friend was the only one to applaud.

The pair rendezvoused back at the bar, Anverth giving his elvish friend a broad smile as she tossed him his belongings. While the dress and corset may have been classically 'prettier', he was happy to see her in what he assumed was far more comfortable hunting attire. Only the first few syllables of his "Shall we?" managed to escape before he was cut off by the innkeeper's wife, looking on at the pair incredulously. Before the musician could retort with something subtly biting, his friend came to her own defense, earning an amazed look of admiration from the young man beside her. The astonished grin was joined by a similarly inclined laugh as a throwing knife simply appeared in Valerie's hand, giving her air of understated threat a substantial backing of evidence.

The halfling crossed his arms over his chest and leaned his back against the bar, hoping to see what happened when his friend crossed the room to her previous assailant. She only made one step, though, instead using the momentum of her turn to whip the throwing knife expertly in the man's direction. Anverth flinched noticeably at the sudden act of violence, but he couldn't help the grin when he realized that she hadn't, in fact, been aiming for the man himself. Instead, his mug had been shattered by the force of impact, sending dull shards of ceramic exploding outward and staining the man's pants to a faintly brown wetness. "Bugger's pissed himself," someone shouted across the room, awarded by a rise of laughter among the tavern's rowdy attendants.

"Oh, and, ah..." The young man turned on his heels, facing the innkeeper's wife once more and deriving a little too much joy from her stunned expression. He deftly produced a single silver coin from his purse, tarnished from use, and slapped it delicately on the bar. "Buy yourself something nice," he said, mimicking the barmaid's own tone from earlier that night to her, reaching carefully over the bar and pulling back a small bottle of strong liquor from the tavern's store. "Maybe, I don't know, a marriage counselor? Just a thought." There was a mock salute of respect on the halfling's part before he waltzed out of the tavern, bottle in one hand and violin case in the other.

=-*-=
"You were incredible back there!" The halfling practically shouted the commendation in his excitement, turning his gaze to Valerie with an expression of raw admiration. The pair walked down the street, heading further towards the center of the city and steadily rounding to a nicer side of town. "I mean, I didn't even notice you pull the knife, let alone throw it!"

In spite of his claim that he hadn't seen her throw the blade, he mimicked the motion perfectly, giving an explosive gesture to represent the shattering mug. "I mean, crash! You dusted the poor tankard! Didn't even see it coming, did it?" Anverth reached over and took Valerie's hand in his own, finally coming down from his high of second-hand adrenaline. The gesture, though perhaps the most subdued sign of affection of the day, earned a frustrated huff from one of the cloaked figures distantly following the pair. Not that Anverth noticed, though- he was much too busy watching the elf at his side, eyes still wide in lingering excitement.
 

MJK

✿❀❁
Member
Messages
70
Character Biography
Link
Valerie felt exuberant, practically high on the rush of endorphins that still coursed through her after what had just happened. It was almost like the rush she got when taking down an animal after a long and patient time of following it, reaping the rewards of hard effort. This was better though, somehow more satisfying as she taught a lesson to those sorely needing it. The female was bouncing as she walked, unable to hide the glee radiating from her after what had happened. She had acted without thinking, something that her past trainers and tutors had scolded her for numerous times. It seemed though that she still hadn't learned her lesson... but she was more smug about it than ever.

As they walked their surroundings became noticeably nicer. Rather than dark alleyways the streets were lit by burning lamps. The soft glow of the candles flickering above them added an ambiance of safety that Valerie had missed back at the other inn. Good things really happened in darkness, it had a habit of creating a dark screen under which people felt hidden enough to do dark deeds. This newer part of town though was pleasant, the lamp light bright enough for Valerie to even make out the colour of flowers sitting thickly in the pots or gardens around them.

Anverth caught her focus again from her surroundings as he mimicked her action of throwing the blade, eliciting a chuckle from the elf as the memory played over in her mind again. "The look of confusion and then utter embarrassment on his face will be burned into my memory forever. I feel he got his just desserts after his evening antics." He took her hand as she laughed, causing her chuckle to feather off with the pleasant sensation. She felt less awkward about it than the first time it had happened earlier that day, instead embracing it as she allowed her fingers to intertwine with his. "I'm glad we left though. Another few tips would not have made up for anymore of that brute's behavior. "

A short distance behind them, Calamys bristled at the sight of the half- blood grasping onto Valerie's hand. Magnus did not even need to turn and look, he knew the young captain well enough to guess he was fidgeting with the hilt of his sword. Whenever Calamys got irritable, he tended to grasp the neatest weapon he could. "How much longer are we going to follow then for?" He whispered softly, only just loud enough for his companion to hear. Calamys answered roughly, barely contained anger evident in his tone. "We follow until opportunity presents itself or until they arrive at their destination. She's on high alert now, senses firing at full speed after her victory back there. That disgusting human got off lightly, I was considering giving him a polite talking- to behind the inn except we had to leave unexpectedly. Anyway, we need to wait until she calms down again and drops her guard, then we'll make our move..."
 

Anverth Kettlewhistle

Aspiring Entertainer
Member
Messages
30
Anverth gave a broad grin as his friend spoke proudly of her antics, giving her a gentle elbow to the side. "And you're the one to exact those 'just desserts'-- That's got to feel nice." The young man felt better than he'd had at any point during the night, for the electric joy of performing for a rowdy tavern wasn't much compared to the subdued tranquility of leaving that wretched bar in his past. Well, okay, perhaps the buzz of entertaining did compare pretty well to the quiet of the streets, but both situations happened to have their advantages. The advantage of happy company, for example, brought a ruddy hue to the halfling's features and a definite enthusiasm to his gait.

His grin drooped just slightly as Valerie continued her thought. The abuse she'd suffered that night had been an entirely different echelon to what he'd underwent, and a quicker intervention may have meant they wouldn't have left in such a hurry. But with the peaceful nip in the air, and warm company at his flank, the young musician couldn't feel too bad over their hasty escape; Had they not left when they did, he'd still be prancing about in a stuffy bar making a fool of himself for money. "I'm glad we got out of there, too. There isn't enough money in all of Vel Anir to make that drudgery worthwhile." His hand gave hers a soft, zephyr-like squeeze of support, and the small smile playing across his features redoubled the gesture.

A small creature strode boldly across the pair's path, turning sideways only a meter or so before them and puffing out its tail. Silhouetted as it was by the lamplight further down the road, the arched-back entity looked about as iconic as any house pet could before hissing at the two interlopers coming into its domain. Anverth blinked twice at the new arrival to their conversation, recognizing it almost immediately as a cat of some sort, a little bit bigger than any he'd seen before. His mouth fell open in adoration, and the musician released Valerie's hand to crouch down in the middle of the walkway. Taking a knee, he extended a hand towards the tortoiseshell beauty, giving two quick whistles.

"Come here, gyb," he said, nearly forgetting about all the world save for this one small, adorable creature. "C'mere, kitty, come on." Apparently something in his tone changed the cat's mood, as it took two quick bounds towards him before roughly headbutting squarely into the man's exposed shin. The halfling quickly took to giving the cat a good petting, rubbing up under its chin and behind its ears, muttering all the while about how good of a girl the creature was just for existing.

Little did Anverth know that the cat's abrupt introduction provided quite the distraction for the cloaked pair of figures closing in on them; Instead, the young man was transfixed, running his finger's through the largish animal's fur and feeling the faint purring welling up from its core. The cat left him sooner than he would have liked, though, taking two swaying steps toward Valerie and rubbing up on her legs. "I think," the halfling said, pointing towards the small beast and pausing for dramatic flair, "She likes you."
 
  • Like
Reactions: MJK

MJK

✿❀❁
Member
Messages
70
Character Biography
Link
The squeeze on her hand had been light as a summer's breeze, but the sudden warmth that filled her chest with the gesture was tangible to the elf indeed. She couldn't help but let out a slow, easy sigh, contented by the twist the evening had taken for her and the halfling at her side. Anverth was entirely different to anyone else than she had met. Not just in the way he looked, but in his mannerisms and thoughts as well. The elf had always thought herself to be cut from a different cloth to the rest of those back at the elvish court, a black swan among the peacocks so to speak. Feelings of loneliness, a sort of need for separation from those around her had oft made the female feel as if she was too different for her own good. Some of the differences she celebrated since she had no desire to have the same materialistic, power-hungry antics that motivated most of her peers, but other times it had a tendency to make her feel isolated. Upon meeting Anverth though, allowing herself time to get to know him and reflect on her own self, has led to female to realize that there are other people in the world more alike her than she knew. They were a rarity indeed, someone of Anverth's virtue and selflessness and Valerie intended to treasure her run-in with him to the full extent. Something was beginning to niggle at her, a feeling she had yet to be able to identify or name, but she knew it was there and beginning to grow. For the moment, she was simply happy to have been fortunate enough to befriend the male strolling at her side.

Her inner reflection was interrupted by the sound of a bush up ahead rustling, her ears perking up as she tried to narrow in on the sound. A strange silhouette meandered confidently into the lamplight. It was as if the creature intended to use the halo of yellow illumination as a spotlight, intentionally bringing itself to their attention. She had never seen such a creature before, although it reminded her of some of the larger woodland cats that a few elvish nobles had taken to keep as pets for the status of luxury it brought them. This one was much smaller in size, but had lost none of the attitude and defensive displays identical in it's larger counterparts. When she realized it was of no threat to them despite it's hissed warning, she relaxed again.

"You think it's going to attack?" She asked Anverth curiously, surprised when he took to kneeling on the path and cooing softly to the animal. With his descent he released her hand, the female surprised at the sense of loss she felt with the departure of his warm palm. Her surprise was soon forgotten however as the creature loped towards them, seemingly have a change in personality as it took to kneading against Anverth's hand. The creature guided the direction of his affection, angling and arching itself in different areas it required affection. Valerie watched Anverth carefully, feeling a strange squeeze in her chest while seeing him fuss over the creature. A small smile spreading over her features as she too slowly dropped down to her knees at his side.

Soon enough, the animal approached the female too in search of adoration. Valerie mimicked Anverth's action, bringing her hand down slowly to it's head where it arched up to meet her. It purred loudly, the female chuckling as she felt the vibrations of the noise through her palm. "You think she does like me? I haven't ever seen one this small before...." The cat continued to rub up against her knees, even going as far to take a paw and step up onto her one leg as a way to gain height and get closer to her petting. "She's cute....I wonder if she lives in one of these houses? Best guardian I've ever seen, aren't you?" Her words had turned to baby-like cooing with her last sentence, her words aimed at the cat rather than Anverth. It would appear even the great huntress could be subdued by the soft fur and dilated yellow orbs of the feline staring up at her.

Meanwhile, with the pair stopping to give the cat the attention it demanded, Calamys and Magnus had taken to the nearest shadows: a small wall bordering a plot two houses down from where the female and halfling sat. The elven soldiers knew this would be the best opportunity they got, the higher ranked of the two drawing his dagger and indicating for his friend to do the same. "I will get her, you subdue the male. Don't hurt him....not too much at least. Nothing that will cause permanent damage. He'll make a nice addition to my father's household of servants, or perhaps he can earn us a small amount of coinage at Cerak At'Thul. Regardless, the boy will not be getting off lightly after touching my property. We're going to approach from the sides, using the street shadows in between the lamps to move. Do so quickly, but silently. We'll need an element of surprise if we're really going to get her. If she gets even an inkling of what's to happen, she'll dart again. If that plan doesn't work, help me with her before concerning yourself with him. I doubt he's even armed, all you'll need to do is knock him out." Magnus nodded his head once, showing that he understood the plan. With Calamys giving the signal to move the pair split up, each keeping the same pace as the other while they lurked down the street in darkness.

Valerie by then had the creature in her lap, talking to it softly as the cat drank in all the worship the pair threw at it's feet. So preoccupied were they by the small pet, that it made it almost too easy for the soldiers to ambush them. Magnus waited for Calamys to give the next signal - the captain's knife glinting as he angled it in the light and then sheathed it - before the pair materialized straight out of the darkness surrounding the circle of light Valerie and Anverth sat in. The small glint was caught by Valerie in the corner of her eye, making her look up at the same time that the cat turned and hissed to where the first elven male was hiding . By the time the creatures hackles had raised though, fur standing on end like a bristle brush, it was too late for them to act.

Calamys' grip snaked around Valerie's arms, shoving them behind her back in a position that made her shoulders feel they might pop straight out of her sockets. She yelped in pain, Calamys' other hand coming up to hold her head in place against his chest, keeping her from being able to spin around as she had the first time they had met. Leaning his weight forward he trapped her legs beneath him where she had been kneeling, causing bruises to blossom on her knees where they were roughly impacted against the pathway's stone slabs. Magnus on the other hand had knocked Anverth straight to the ground, the smack of his skull against the path allowing him to be dazed enough for the elf to position him easily. His face was initially pressed to the ground facing Valerie, wrists held together behind him and kept in place by Magnus shoving his knee into the halfling's back. Lastly there was the dagger pulled into Magnus' hand, the point directed precariously in front of Anverth's throat made accessible by the elf dragging his head back by his hair. The captain had already prepared himself for Valerie to struggle from the get-go, making sure to position her in such a way that he would have the upper hand. Seeing her so helpless as she bucked and fought brought a grin to his face, the man adjusting the grip on her head so she could see the vulnerable position her friend was in. He leaned forward, hot breath tingling her ear as he whispered in Elvish, "Scream or struggle and I won't hesitate to kill him, Valerie Faelthryn."

His voice sounded sure and promising, the female stopping suddenly at the sight of the elven metal shining white in the lamplight so close to Anverth's skin as he was coming out of his daze. She spoke back to Calamys in their own tongue, knowing full well that Anverth could understand them regardless....even though Calamys didn't know that. "Hurt him and I'll cut you from your brow to your chin. That's a promise." Her struggling ceased anyway though, the female too worried over her friends safety to try and think of a way to get out of the mess they were in. Her stillness satisfied the elven prince, the man so confident in the power he had over her he even dared to move his hand from the grip on her head. Instead his fingers trailed down the smooth skin of her neck, sending cold shocks down the elf's spine and making her shiver, until he stopped at the silver necklace. With careful fingers he pulled on the warm chain so that it no longer hid under her clothes, all too happy to gaze upon the silver embossed disc that was tugged into his palm. Every action was intent and slow, the male clearly enjoying himself at her expense.

"Hmmm....such a pretty trinket. Too bad this impure half-ling you've let drag you around wasn't smart enough to have seen it. Might have made him second guess his decision to show such amity towards you. Is it more than that though I wonder? Quite treacherous of you to be allowing such obvious affection towards a creature unsuited to the presence of someone with our race and status." Magnus pressed the dagger more against Anverth's neck, muttering to him menacingly, "Move or fight and my blade will drink up your blood, half-breed. It will be a pity to taint such a well-crafted weapon with the impurity flowing through your veins but I will do it if need be."
 

Anverth Kettlewhistle

Aspiring Entertainer
Member
Messages
30
Anverth beamed as Valerie shared his affection for the adorable little rat-killer rubbing up on them that they, in turn, rubbed right back on. "I mean, I hope she lives around here," he said before realizing that his companion's speech had devolved into the nearly-senseless prattle of cat directed speech. Even if she came from a vastly different past, it was comforting to know that even she was susceptible to the weaponized cuteness of felines. Everyone has their weakness, after all.

"We used to have a few cats like this back at High-Hill. They're good for controlling vermin and, well, being adorable little things..." The halfling trailed off, giving the cat one last rub across its tail. He didn't notice the glint of a knife somewhere off in the shadows unlike his friend, but he couldn't miss the cat's tension as it raised its hackles once more and hissed off into the dark behind Anverth's back. Fearing he'd done something to distress the animal, he retracted his hand and held it high. "Hey, calm down, frie--"

His words were cut off by a kick to his back, a rough blow that struck him squarely between his shoulder blades and knocked the wind from his lungs. The next feeling the halfling felt was his nose impacting the ground, cracking horrendously off to the left and making his vision go white with pain. The primal part of his brain wanted to scream, to cry out for help from anyone who would listen. Hell, between the sharp sting of his nose to the budding burning of his lungs, he'd settle for the soldiers he'd been insulting earlier that same hour. But he couldn't; His chest was vacant of breath, and he could only lay flat on the ground, taking deep swallows of air to get his brain running again.

The next thing Anverth felt was a knee planted firmly into his spine while his hands were grappled behind his back. He likely wouldn't have fought even if he had the strength to do so through his pain, instead continuing to breathe and get his bearings once more. The world seemed angled, tall and imposing from his vantage on the cold stones of the street. There was a tugging at the back of his hair, and the halfling simply let his head be wrenched back as a frigid dagger slipped dangerously close to his throat. The man against Valerie's back whispered something then, but it was too quiet to be heard over the pounding of blood in the young man's ears. When Valerie responded, though, he could narrowly make out the syllables as she uttered them. Elvish. Great, he thought, blinking the shock from his eyes as he focused on their words, translating them as he listened.

The elf on his spine muttered something, then, pulling the halfling from his listening. The pinned young man turned his eyes upwards to the man on his back while being careful not to move his neck against the knife. His lips pulled back into a smile that was all teeth, while the edges of his eyes crinkled with a well-practiced expression of mirth. "Half-breed, eh? You're not wrong, but, hey, you don't need to be a pompous arse about it." His gaze turned to the creep of an elf who had his hands on Valerie, smile dropping from his face as the 'half-breed' gave a weak nod in their direction. "So you're her, what, cousin? She's pretty and all, but you, my friend, look like you're family tree's something of a circle, isn't it?"

A daring smirk fell across Anverth's features as he spoke, hoping that his retorts would take away some of the creeper's revelry. His molars came down on the inside of his cheek, grinding down roughly as he muttered something under his breath. He hoped to bait one of the assailants closer to hear what he'd said, collecting a substantial amount of blood from the new wound in his cheek which he planned to spit into either Calamys' or Magnus' eyes. Whichever was a more convenient target, really-- As it turns out, impure, half-breed blood might prove just the thing to blind a would-be killer.
 
  • Like
Reactions: MJK

MJK

✿❀❁
Member
Messages
70
Character Biography
Link
Magnus did not react well to Anverth's course commentary. His calling him a pompous arse more than slightly raised his temper, but the insult he aimed next at Calamys was a step too far in his book. No sooner had the words left the young halfling's lips than he felt the heavy wooden handle of the dagger being pummeled once into his temple. Magnus grunted happily with the small effort of it, quickly resuming his previous stance but pulled the male's head back even more aggressively. "Please do continue you mutt, I would love an excuse to do that again if you have the gall to say another word."

Valerie jumped at sight of Anverth being abused, cursing in elvish as she muttered to Magnus, "Don't you touch him! I swear I'll shove that dagger in a place the sun is blessed to never see." The threat was growled, Calamys getting a strong grip on her again to squash her squirming. The captain stared malevolently at the young male, face looking upon his with utter disgust as if he had found a crushed bug beneath his boot. Coming up with a retort though replaced his wicked smile, the captain chuckling before speaking down to him.

"I'm blessed by the Gods to not at all be related to her as our race's pedigree demands. Wouldn't want something like that to ruin our event in a few weeks, now would we Valerie?" He caressed her head in some twisted show of affection, still not letting on entirely as to what the event would be.

It seemed though that halfling had something of a death wish, Anverth's incessant but incoherent mumblings coming to the attention of both the elvish soldiers again. "I swear, it's as if he wants me to hit him again..." Magnus said through gritted teeth, falling right into Anverth's trap as he went closer to listen to what he had to say. "Speak up you impure pig, be brave enough to actually say what is on your mind rather than forcing me to stoop down to your-" He didn't see the blood-filled spittle as it was spat in his direction, the elvish man only seeing red as he suddenly threw himself back with the surprise of it
.At seeing the red-coated goo on his companions face Calamys startled, thinking that he had somehow become injured even though the halfling had had no weapon on him. He may have been a rank above him, but Magnus was still his most trusted ally and it would do him a great disservice to have him fatally injured

His momentary, completely brief second of distraction was all Valerie needed really to make her move, but it was going to cost her.

She threw her head back as his grip on her hair loosened, the female sending the back of her skull full-force into Calamy's face. However, the action required some extra height on her behalf which she could only get by injuring her knees further through forcing them up off the ground with all of the elvish male's weight on them. There was a satisfactory crunch of the captain's nose, Magnus now distracted further by the dark, maroon blood that gushed down his friends face almost instantaneously. Valerie's vision exploded with dots from the heavy impact but she forced herself to move, pulling herself forward as Calamys' hand instinctively went to his face to check at the damage. Once free she crawled away, getting the small amount of space necessary to withdraw her dagger and somehow stumble to her feet blindly.

"Anverth?! Run! Quickly!" She misstepped, lunging towards him in an effort to drag him out from underneath the panicking Magnus who was still frantically trying to wipe away the viscous red coating on his face. Calamys growled at her, reaching for her while trying to stand and get her back to her knees. He only managed to grab her sleeve, ripping the fabric at the shoulder as the elvish woman groaned with the effort it took to get Anverth to his feet. "We need to hide, we need to get out of here quickly!" The captain was on his feet now already stepping towards the pair. Valerie, although dazed, easily dodged the swing he aimed at her knees, using the momentum in her side-step to kick up and solidly at his chest. The captain went flying back, but sent jolts of pain straight up Valerie legs from her purple-skinned knees. She yelped, limping back a step to Anverth where she pushed him up to a stand and away. "Run! We need to run!" She urged him forward, trying to ignore the searing throbs of lip-biting pain that spiked throughout her legs as she forced herself to run.

The pair ran in the dark, hearts racing as Valerie looked back over her shoulder repeatedly to see the two still giving chase. She led where the alleyways took her, winding down the maze-like suburbs towards the docks. Her lungs were burning in her chest and her body was begging her to stop, but she knew that even slowing down could mean the end of whatever freedom she had gained. Although the time had been short, being with Anverth had opened her up to the possibility of a life outside of the elvish court, a life where she could be what she wanted and do the things that truly made her happy. She wasn't about to lose that yet, not without putting up a damn good fight first.