Private Tales Have you heard there's a rumour in Alliria?

A private roleplay only for those invited by the first writer

Gawyn

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"Avariel? Aye there do be a few tha' come down 'ere now. I didn't believe me eyes when they first appeared."

Gawyn fingered the hilt of his blade impatiently whilst trying to keep his face impassive. He always forgot how much humans liked to listen to their own voices, especially when they believed they had a spectacular tale to tell someone of note. He supposed that was how he looked to them anyway with his finely cut royal blue frockcoat and white breeches tucked into expensive leather boots. The embroidery alone had had the sailor bowing far lower than was strictly necessary but a part of him enjoyed a human knowing their place. The man caught the impatient finger movement and hurried on.

"There do be some who trade now, Sir. I expect, bein' their cousins an' all, you'll be wantin' to trade with them in the Falwood?" the lilt of curiosity at the end of his sentence died at one look from the General. Falwood elves, as far as he was aware, were not overly keen on humans knowing their affairs. Something about Dreadlords or mages getting the better of them. It was a ludicrous idea. He almost went to stretch his wings and ground his teeth when he remembered where they were, safely tattooed against his skin.

"You've been most helpful," he drawled and flipped a coin in his general direction before sauntering off into the crowds.

Thyasari reopening was old news in Alliria where new things happened all the time. Even mythical creatures with wings returning to the world didn't seem to phase the metropolitan city which was a true melting pot of every culture he had ever read about. It made finding information hard and it was even harder to sift fact from fiction. Then on top of that he still didn't know what kind of information he was looking for. Something... anything to help him decide if he should let Aohdin lower their own shields and return to the world and whether they declared independence in the process.

His feet took him back towards one of the numerous warren-like squares the city seemed to be made up of. It looked to him as though it had been designed by a drunk but the Allirians seemed to get on with it. Like ants they adapted to anything. The tavern he was staying at was on the corner of this particular square though and after a useless day of hearing Avariel had been seen but had he heard about X, he was looking forward to drowning his misery in a cup of ambrosia.

At least that was one positive to Thyasari reopening.
 
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Althea

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"You cheating WENCH!!" came the disgruntled bellowing of a man who'd just lost his entire week's wages to a woman. His meaty fist clattered down on the table, sending the dice and a few coins flying. It did nothing to discourage the broad, albeit incredibly smug, smile that the snowy-haired woman wore as she dropped the last of his coins into her purse..

"Oh come on Ren, the dice don't lie. Don't be a such a sore loser.." she crooned, distinctly unafraid of the man even as his knuckles paled as his fists squeezed shut in restraint from hitting her. Her lip was already bruised and cut from a somewhat similar incident the day previous. Thea glanced at the shaking fist and met the man's glare with a pout. "I take it you heard about Jax?.. If you want to hit me, go right ahead. He did, but he won't be hittin' much else any more.." she arched a brow and shrugged.

"Get outta my sight.." the man growled, releasing a chubby finger to point at her. She grinned, and flipped him a coin.

"Gladly! Have one on me.." she chuckled, and pushed herself up from her chair, slipping the coin purse inside her dark jacket and finding a stool at the bar. "A whisky please, Charlie!". The barkeep was an older man with broad shoulders and a kind smile that always met his eyes when he looked at her. He chuckled and shook his head as he reached for a glass and lifted the bottle of amber liquor from the gantry.

"I'd be careful of that one if I were you. He ain't got no issue with beatin' a pretty lass like yourself for takin' his coin.." his bushy brow rose and he poured her drink.

"Always lookin' after me." she mused with a coy smirk. "I can handle Ren-"

"Nikolai can handle him, you mean." he cut in with a glance to her burst lip. Her pale eyes rolled and she downed the drink and tapped the bar.

"One more, then I best be goin'.." her brows rose. The old man took the hint and slid a fat coin purse across the bar to her which she slipped inside her jacket and her lips twisted in thanks.

His blue eyes rose from the glass as he poured her another drink and he gave a nod at the man who entered. Thea followed his gaze, looking over her shoulder as the din of the tavern lowered to near silence. Her brow arched as she took in the sight of the well-dressed general who stuck out like a sore thumb amongst the otherwise grubby patrons. Everyone else seemed to think so too.

"Who's the snoot?.." she asked as she turned back to Charlie who was once again, shaking his head at her.
 
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Gawyn

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Everybody knew that you didn't get information by staying in a luxury inn on the Upper East Side of Alliria. So, as much as he hated it, he had found an inn that was a rung or two above 'shithole' and booked his stay there. The innkeeper had looked dubious about it and offered to recommend him a place that would be more to his tastes but Gawyn had simply run a finger over his scar and asked if he thought sipping tea with his mother was how he had gotten his scar.

That and an extra gold piece explaining he needed information had soon settled manners.

"Some elven lord from the Falwood," said innkeep said in a gruff whisper so as nots to be overheard by the others sitting at or near the bar. His eyes flickered briefly to the man closest to them but he was half asleep in his cup so Charlie decided to continue on. "He's been after information about that... that err.." he scrunched his nose up trying to remember the word. "You know, those winged elves from the Spine. Reckon he's wanting to do trade or trying to work out if they're gonna be a problem to his lot."

Gawyn meanwhile had slid himself into a quiet corner. A pretty barmaid floated past and tried her best gap-toothed smile which soured with the elf merely ordered some Ambrosia with barely a glance to the bosom on display.
 
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Althea

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Thea made a subconscious effort of casually fixing her snowy hair over the slight points to her ears as Charlie spoke and she was unable to avoid the sudden shift in her demeanour, her very muscles tightening rigid under her pale skin. "Avariel.." she murmured, and threw back the contents of her glass with a grimace before sliding from the stool.

"Alright, I'm already late." she huffed, leaning over the bar to grab the man's shoulder and pull him toward her, a friendly kiss pressed to his scruffy cheek. "Thanks Charlie!" she smiled at him, leaving a coin down on the bar before turning away to the sound of his chuckling.

"Take care of yourself girl." he rumbled affectionately.

Thea hadn't been paying attention to Ren and his two companions, hadn't noticed that they'd been watching her approach as she was too busy keeping an eye on the elven pomp who'd entered. Her intention had been to get out of the place quickly and without notice, her black hood already drawn up as she strode purposefully toward the door, the heels of her boots dull thuds on the sticky wood floor.

Ren stood as she stepped outside and his men followed suit, their drinks only half finished as they headed toward the door.

"Ah shit.." Charlie huffed as he watched. "Not bein' silly Ren, I hope?" he called out, and the grizzly brute turned to give his best innocent smile.

"Never.." he answered with a laugh and tipped his hat. "Good day Charlie!"
 
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Gawyn

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To the clueless in the room who dismissed him as nothing more than a rich noble, Gawyn appeared to be glumly sulking into his cup. Perhaps he was unimpressed with the lack of entertainment in the room, or maybe he hadn't done so well at business, people wondered quietly amongst themselves. It was a good distraction. His keen eyes might have seemed focused on the golden liquor in his hands but he was studying everyone in the room carefully. With his elven hearing he picked up little bits of conversation here and there. Someone was planning a raid out on the Reach, over there someone was muttering about a cheating wife, and there...

He could see they were tense by the set of their shoulders and their faced - twisted into scowls - promised nothing but trouble. Casually he looked in the direction they were looking, over at the cloaked figure rising from the bar. It wasn't really his place to get involved. People who got involved in this kind of place should know how to handle themselves.

Gawyn cursed softly, downed the rest of his drink and casually made as if to make his way up to his room for the night.
 
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Althea

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The next morning, Althea had one more bruise and Alliria had one more shallow grave. She wouldn't spend much energy feeling guilty about it. Ren shouldn't have bet every copper he had, and he certainly shouldn't have ignored the warnings. Everyone around the east docks knew who she was and under who's protection she was, it wasn't her fault that the fat man had more lard than brains.

Thea was often followed, whether it was Nikolai's distrust of her or genuine wish to protect her, she didn't know, nor particularly care when it came in handy. Men in this side of town were pigs, usually drunk, often handsy, and never ever liked being talked to with disrespect. They certainly didn't enjoy being cheated out of their coin.

Today was her day off, and she had woken early, intent on spending her well earned coin and a few extra she'd been paid for her troubles. Nikolai owned many properties in Alliria, but the most used for private living, and her favourite, was the top floor of the Bordello. A few of the girls fixed her bruised eye with some powder and painted her cut lips red before they set off out to the market for the day.
 
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Gawyn

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"Tuesdays and Friday's."

The woman heaved another keg off her cart and Gawyn clenched his hands into fists to stop himself from offering to help. An Eleven Lord wouldn't help. She set it down and sat down on the barrel to wipe the sweat from her brow. She was a rotund looking woman though he suspected it was merely a layer of fat over a lot of hardy muscle that made her look so soft. She'd hurled 10 kegs on her own already before taking a break.

"Tuesdays and Friday's they come and drop their Ambrosia off to me - Ambrosia!" she threw her hands in the air and laughed. "My grandmother used to tell me stories about bloody Ambrosia and now, here I am, selling it in my pubs and on my stall," she shook her head in disbelief. "You'll get a fair deal with them Avariels if you're after trade. They weren't weak, mind, but definitely fairer than they needed to be."

Gawyn pondered those words. It could have been the Avariel simply didn't know the market value of their goods because they had been gone for so long, but he wanted to believed it was because they were kind like the woman was hinting.

"Thank you for your time," he smiled, flipped her a silver coin, and turned to wander through the rest of the market.
 
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Althea

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She and the girls were browsing through a stall of summer scarves and fabrics when she caught sight of the 'elven lord' Charlie had told her about. She peeked out between the hanging fabrics of deep pinks and oranges to watch him for a moment as he wandered through, drawing the gaze of any who were paying attention.

"There's the snoot I mentioned..Pretty looking thing." she commented quietly to Sorcha, the red headed girl who came to follow her gaze through the fabrics.

"Oh my.." she purred, a Cheshire grin growing on her rouged lips. Thea chuckled and pressed a hand to the woman's bare shoulder, inducing the sensation of cold. She shuddered. "Ey!"

The pair laughed and Thea's lips pursed thoughtfully. She took one of the scarves, a pale green with silver embroidery, and wrapped it around her bare back and shoulders, shoving a coin into the merchant's outstretched palm as she stepped out into the throng, leaving the girls to shop.

She strode casually, busy looking at hanging beads and trinkets of a stall she was passing when she collided straight into the elven lord's side and dropped her purse. "I..I'm sorry, M'lord. I'm a clumsy fool.." she chuckled sheepishly and offered an apologetic smile, her eyes lingering for a brief moment on his scarred features.

"Good day." she dipped her chin, and cleared her throat as she hurried along.
 
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Gawyn

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Gawyn bent down to scoop up the dropped purse in one smooth movement then hesitated with it in his hand. He had recognised the girl from the night before at the tavern. She hadn't struck him then as a person who would bow and call anyone m'lord, let alone look so... cowed. He patted himself down for his own wallet and frowned when he found it still inside his right breast pocket. Not trying to steal from him in the open, either. He looked to the purse in his gloved hand again. Perhaps it had been an honest mistake. If he trusted the inn he was staying at in the slightest he would of left it there for her to collect, but...

The General sighed.

"Wait!" turning on his heel he plunged into the crowd after her. She was already a good few bodies deep away and he had to slalom his way through the crowds at a quick pace to catch up with her. When he did he caught her arm gently. "You dropped this."
 

Althea

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And an honest 'elven lord' at that.. Thea smirked to herself as she heard him call after her, though continued walking obliviously until his hand caught her arm. Much of her forearm was covered with fingerless gloves that stopped under the elbow, but his hand there still made her tense slightly and she looked up at him.

"Clumsy and hopeless.." she corrected herself in a sigh and her smile met her eyes as she took the purse back from him, her fingers brushing his as she did so. He'd feel as ease, soothed in her presence, because she willed him to. "Thank you for your honesty." she dipped her chin, tucking the purse away and turning once again to wander off, though this time, his own coin would no longer be where he'd so safely tucked it.
 
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Gawyn

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Gawyn frowned as he watched her go.

There was something that niggled at the back of his mind about her face. Well, not her face, but another's. A man who he had laughed with over beers, fought beside before the Great Closing. A man who had taught him to become the General he was today. Ridiculous, he chided himself and shook his head to dispel the memories. As far as his intelligence went the Avariel entered Alliria only on certain days and they didn't tend to stay long. There was no way one of them was living he--

"Bitch," he hissed between clenched teeth. As he'd been standing there, staring like a moron thinking of a face he hadn't seen in hundreds of years, he had idly ran his hands over his pockets. When it brushed over his right lapel there was no longer a slight bulge against his chest. He contemplated shouting stop but he didn't think anyone here would help him with a petty thief so he launched into a slow jog, dodging people and carts with surprising agility as he stalked after the disappearing white haired vixen...
 
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Althea

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Thea weaved through the throngs of people as she navigated the labyrinth of stalls, her pace a little faster than usual, but in the market's busiest hour it would be difficult to run and she'd only draw attention to herself by trying.

She dropped the purse into the lap of the first beggar she saw, the young woman barely had enough time to register what had landed in her lap before she looked up with intent on saying thank you, but Thea had already disappeared back into the crowd. She couldn't see him as she glanced over her shoulder, and so she slowed her pace, assuming he'd either been oblivious or had wandered off in the wrong direction. Smugly she pinched a bright red apple from the grocer's stall and casually crunched into the sweet fruit as she perused some hats and purses.
 
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Gawyn

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"I don't know whether to be annoyed you stole from me just to put some silver in a poor woman's lap, or amused."

Gawyn leant against the wooden post of the hat stall with his arms folded casually over his chest. His face betrayed which emotion he was leaning towards with its thunderous expression. Silver was not plentiful where he came from and the money that had been in that pouch was a resource to Orisa that she had now robbed its people of. He could go and retrieve it from the beggar, of course, but he was not so cold hearted. Not yet anyway. He was far more aggrieved by the fact she had robbed him in the first place.

"I hear they punish thieves in Alliria by branding first, then the second time cutting off the thief's hand," he remarked idly and watched her every move carefully. If she ran this time he would be on her in a second.
 

Althea

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Thea tensed slightly at the voice behind her, but she cleared her throat and forced herself to continue her browsing as casually as she could. "Oh?.. I'm sure I have no idea what you're talking about.." she answered him chirpily as she tried on a hat, regarding her reflection in an ivory looking glass which she studied him through, rather than turn to him.

"You are too modest, ser. Most charitable men only do kind deeds to boast about such things to win favour." she smirked as she swapped the hat for another and tilted her head.

"Because of you that poor woman will have a warm meal and a soft bed, she'll be able to put shoes on her feet." she set the looking glass down and turned to him finally, a warm smile on her face as she curtsied to him owing only to the ridiculously posh hat that she wore. "An honour to meet such a kind gentleman." she quirked a brow, and returned the hat to the stall.
 
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Gawyn

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Gawyn watched her solemnly.

Again, her eyes caught him thinking of a part of his life he hadn't thought on for centuries. A man who would probably call him a traitor and try to put a sword through his guts if he decided to declare independence for Orisa. He blinked the ghost away and instead frowned at the young woman as she tried on hats and blithered on about some nonsense regarding upstanding gentleman. He almost snorted when he remembered how he was dressed. So she thought him a simple fool lord? He grunted. Perhaps, if he hadn't been the suffering party of such a stunt he would have seen the more humorous side of robbing from the rich to give to the poor then acting as though it were the rich man's own unselfish act.

"A wretched honour to meet a gentleman who would give silver away that is not his and in doing so steal from many needy mouths to feed and clothe one," he replied flatly then pushed off from where it was he was leaning and took the hat she had been about to select. "Wouldn't you agree?"
 

Althea

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Thea's expression paused and her head slowly tilted at him, searching for the truth in his olive eyes. Her shoulders rose and fell in a sigh and she stepped closer with a nonchalant quirk of her brow, reaching to take the hat from him and return it to the stall before hooking her arm through his and starting up a casual stroll.

"Is that so?.." she asked, her eyes wandering over the array of silks and lanterns as they passed the next stall.. "Tell me who's needy mouths have been deprived of food, exactly?.." she asked, trying not to sound concerned as she paused to look over the baskets and barrels of brightly coloured spices.
 
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Gawyn

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Gawyn stiffened as she looped her arm through his. Touch was a delicate thing in Avariel culture at the best of times but the General had an aversion to it from all but a select few. During the dwarven wars he had suffered horrendous cuts, bruises and broken limbs. One attack on Orisa had left him so badly burnt the healers had wondered if they would even be able to encourage new skin to grow. The pains mixed with a sensory overload of doctors prodding and nursing him for months had made him almost repulsed by the simplest of touches now.

His jaw clenched as he fought to urge to rip her hand from his arm.

"That money was given to me by the people of my city, to aid my work here on their behalf. Anything that was left over would be returned to them. Or at least, it would have been."
 

Althea

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Thea could feel the discomfort and disgruntlement radiate from him. Touch, for her, was a necessity in using her gifts. And so if he was going to get angry and call a guard on her, or try to beat her in the middle of the market, she'd be able to quell that flame in a moment. To his credit, he'd refrained from causing a scene or calling for her to be whipped - not that he was fully aware of how stupid that would be.

People here and there dipped their chins and tipped their hats to her, offering polite if not anxious greeting here and there. This stranger wasn't to know, and she'd give him the benefit of the doubt and consider him somewhat decent.

She turned a corner to tug him under an archway before letting go, a hand slipping insider her cleavage to retrieve her own coin purse which she held out to drop into his hand. "I have enough dresses." she shrugged and sorted the scarf around her shoulders. "That should cover your losses." she smirked.
 
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Gawyn

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He would be a poor soldier and an even worse General if he didn't notice the way people reacted not to him but the woman on his arm. Another man might have enjoyed having someone of note escorting him through town. Gawyn merely frowned. Their eyes skittered too quickly away from her. He thought back to the men who had followed her outside the night before and of the minor cut on her lip that was the only sign she had been in any kind of trouble. Gangs were unheard of in Orisa but he knew in Alliria they were rife. Was she a part of one of those?

"Thank you," he replied dryly and tucked the offered coin purse away inside his coat once more. "I do hope it doesn't cost you too many dresses," his disparaging tone and unchecked eyeroll as he turned to leave conveyed more than well enough what he truly thought about dresses being so expensive they could feed the masses.
 
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Althea

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Her stormy gaze narrowed at him at the tone he used, and she reached to grab his elbow before he could leave. "Wait." she frowned.

"I should warn you.. That if you're going to be carrying out business or trade around here, then you'll be needing to speak with Nikolai Ramas first." her head tilted. It was more a not so subtle warning than a threat. If Nik found out there had been business going on without his knowledge or say so, then it would only be trouble for the elf.

She let go of him, her scarf slipping from her shoulder though she quickly covered it over and smiled her best fake smile. "Have a lovely day." she curtsied mockingly.
 
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Gawyn

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Gawyn stiffened when she touched his elbow and turned slowly to look down at her only to arch his brow at her presumption. A patronising smile twisted his lips up scornfully.

"And is this Nikolai an Avariel?" of course they would assume it was business he wanted to do with the Avariel. Why else would an elf enquire about them? The reality was that Gawyn had never said what it was he needed the information for. In fact, he had been very careful not to let slip what his intentions were - true or otherwise. "I didn't think so," he continued before she could reply and shook his head as though the very thought amused him. "Judging by your tattoo, perhaps an admirer of them. One of these odd followers they seem to have gathered in their time hidden away," it was an effort not to let the sneer creep into his tone.

With a grunt he shook his head. Wasting time. He was wasting time.

"Just keep your fingers to yourself next time."
 
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Althea

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The very word made her muscles tighten and her brow furrowed at the way he looked at her. It was all she had not to swing a fist at his smug face. Her mouth had opened, intent on spitting some spiteful retort at him until he mentioned her tattoo and she glanced down at her shoulder and back at him with a scowl.

"Then you'd be wrong." she snapped irritably and her jaw tightened against the urge to call out, knowing fine well that Nik's cronies wouldn't be far away from her or the other girls. All she had to do was say the word and he'd never be seen again. At times she had to remind herself that wasn't who she was..

"What do you want with them anyway?" she asked abruptly as he turned to leave, the words out of her mouth before she could stop them. She tried not to sound curious, or worried, but likely failed on both parts. She had seen only one other avariel around here and had avoided the female entirely. She frowned and folded her arms, her brow knit as she looked him up and down.

"You hunting them or something?.." she asked, her tone as uninterested as possible.
 
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Gawyn

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He threw back his head and laughed.

The idea was ludicrous and she had no idea why which made it all the more amusing. Hunting his own kind? It was bad enough doing what he was doing, let alone that. He might have had animosity to those who ruled Thyasari and those who had done nothing to stop them hiding from the world and leaving half their people without a home, but he still considered them his people. He would have sided with them over the dwarves any day.

"Studying would be a better way of describing it," he mused after the laughter had died down, though the smile still lingered in an unpleasant way upon his lips. He glanced back over his shoulder at her and arched a brow, recalling her words from earlier. If she knew people...

"Do you have any information on them?"
 
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Althea

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Her head tilted as he laughed at her, but the way his smile lingered made her bristle. She supposed he had a right to be horrible to her, after she'd brazenly stolen from him, but she couldn't help but feel disdain by the way he spoke to her.

"I might do. Not that I'd tell you either way." she sneered. At that, a rather grizzly looking man with horrific scars and an eye patch moseyed up to stand beside her, regarding the male.

"This prick botherin' you, little dove?.." he asked in a sound more akin to a growl than a voice.

Thea looks up at Sol and pursed her lips as though considering how to answer. Her head tilted a she looked back to Gawyn, brow quirking.. "I'm not sure.. Are you?" she asked him, fingertips tapping on her forearms and toes tapping on the dusty ground.
 
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Gawyn

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This time his smile revealed teeth.

It had been a long time since he had fought with a true enemy. There had been sparring of course and drills with his squadron but a real fight was different. It was also something he had missed. He had never been born to be a leader of a city like he had been thrust into these last few centuries. He had been born to be the first to run into a battle, the man to whom others borrowed courage from. He could feel the pounding of the drums in his blood as the male looked him up and down.

"Where I come from, women can fight their own battles," he mused as his thoughts turned to his mother and what she would do if a male tried to fight on her behalf. "If I'm bothering you, perhaps you shouldn't have stolen from me and then demanded to know my interest in Avariels," he raised a brow.
 
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