Completed Of all the places to get stranded.... (Oban)

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Melusine Flarell

Elbion College
Messages
34
Melusine loathed being here. She never stayed very long in Oban when she had to come at all. She was well aware that in many ways, women with magic were second-class citizens here. But having returned not long ago from a visit to some friends in Elbion, it was the next closest city. and while she always felt she had to be more careful here so as not to have to use her heal spell, it was a place to stop. At least they had interesting food. Trade cities could be a veritable melting-pot of delicious foods invented by all races....

Her stomach growled as she followed her nose and finally stopped in front of a tavern that had a good, warm, slightly spicy smell wafting through the door and out into the street.

"What a delightful smell!" She sniffed the air happily and made small talk with the owner of the inn before inquiring about the price of a room for a few nights while she stocked up on food and waited for a repair to be made to one of her weapons.

Upon receiving an answer, she paid the money, but before she could replace her pouch, it slipped from her hand, spilling the remainder of the coins everywhere. The next instant, someone bigger, meaner, and most importantly, taller than she was scooping it off the floor, and holding it up out of her reach.

'I'll fight ye for it, Missy. Looks like enough to feed six people for a week.'

Melusine smirked. "One rather large person does not equal six. I think you must have your numbers mixed up." He was a good three inches taller than she was, but that would mean little enough as she was very agile. She could best him easily, or so she thought.

Until she saw five more men crowd around her. built just like him with the same evil, leery grin. Melusine was skilled, but she couldn't remember ever taking on so many men at once. And as she'd just remembered, she was still going to have to find the nearest blacksmith after she ate.

Great! Now what?
 
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Ser Gavin Halbert

The Lion of Oban
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Ser Gavin Halbert stared into his bubbling ale as though he was waiting for something to appear. His lean face was covered by a brown hood wiping the froth that was spilling from the edge. The last thing Gavin wanted was for people of this good inn to recognize the legendary knight. The village of Black Hollow named after a drunken alchemist who took a shit in a black hole in the ground and called it a black hollow was still in outskirts of the Kingdom of Dalriada and Ser Gavin was the famous white knight of Oban.

The old man was famed for being one of the most chivalrous knights in Dalriada. He won many tourneys 500 by the accounts of the bards though Gavin recalled it being far less and winning many battles with one of his greatest feats was slaying Arthur the Remorseless in the battle of the Sandy Steps in his youth. Despite his people glorifying the battle, it was something Gavin wanted to forget. It lead to the death of his mentor the man he squired for: Ser Thomas the Terrific who knighted him with his dying breath.

"Die with honor," were his last words. "You may attain glory but is nothing without retaining your honor. It is better to die with honor than to live without it."

In truth over the years, Gavin believed in his own hype. The invincible knight who was strong fast and tactically brilliant. The Knight whom exemplified what a True Knight was supposed to be, Gavin was one of the few Knights to attain that title earning the medal of Oban in front of what looked to be the entire population of Oban. Gavin was swimming glory and all was going well......

Until he died.

Gavin was slain on the battlefield against Ser Fitzalan "The Ghost" two years ago. Gavin had difficulty recollecting the memory, but according to witnesses: he was slain from head to his groin in an intense melee. In the slew of corpses however, Gavin managed to survive but he saw his face no his skull and his melted face. He looked like a monster that was cursed with unusual powers. Since then Gavin withdrawn from society still following the ways of the Knight but reflecting upon his life and what he'd lost.

Just then the Knight heard some commotion and craned his head to see a redheaded woman being accosted by some men. "Protect all women," Gavin remembered the chivalric code and approached the men. "Aye," Gavin said to the men placing his hand on the hilt of his magic infused Longsword. "What is going here?"
 

Melusine Flarell

Elbion College
Messages
34
"Uh... we were just uh..." The biggest man furrowed his brow in concentration, trying to think of a plausible lie at the sight of the older man who nonetheless looked very threatening. "Helping this young lady here with her coins." Thinking the man wouldn't notice- how good could his sight be, if he was that much older than the man before him?- he swiped a few of the coins and put them in his own pouch.

Melusine was nervous at the thought of taking on six such burly men, but her voice was firm. "You were not, you filthy thieves! Liars, the lot of you!" She stood up on her toes and tried to jump for the coins she'd seen the man swipe, but her shorter height put her at a horrible disadvantage, and even so, her best sword needed repaired, the metal dented severely from her last fight. Or rather, her last defense of herself, rather than someone else. She chewed her bottom lip uneasily. Before she could scoop up the rest of her coins, the five other men had pocketed them first, leaving her looking rather sheepish with an empty bag. She blushed as red as an apple, but covered it with a sneer, though on second thought, she kept her mouth shut, knowing these thugs would only harass her more if they knew her sword was dented.
She did, however, have a dagger, and she bent down to retrieve it from inside a small pocket in one of her boots.

"Give it back. Now." She pointed the dagger at the largest man's stomach. She'd rather have pointed it at his throat, but she couldn't get that far. At only 5 feet 3 inches, she was almost average height, but not quite close enough to it to be able to defend herself that way.

Still, his stomach was large. And she hoped the possible threat of losing some of his insides would be enough.

"Gotta catch me first," he taunted. Leaping out of her way would have perhaps been a stretch given his bulk, but he did manage a suitable dodge to the left.

"And then ye gotta go through the rest of us," added another of the thieves threateningly. "We's a gang, ye know."

"I've done so before." Not with such burly men, but they didn't need to know that. The less they knew of her skill the better.

She made a valiant enough effort, but at least, tired out, she collapsed, panting, and one of the men pulled her to him, trying to cut off her air with his other meaty hand.

Melusine's eyes grew wide as she fought to breathe. She felt her head begin to spin, and for a horrifying moment she saw spots before her eyes. If she passed out now, they'd have her for sure.... she might be able to get away from the man who held her, but she'd only land on the floor and make things even worse by fainting not knowing who would pick her up and cradle her head to keep her from possibly getting a concussion.

She wasn't going to ask for help, wasn't going to appear like a silly, weak, frivolous woman in front of these men. Not after the show she'd just made, a loss or not. Melusine Flarell, named Heather by her biological human mother, was no weakling. Wasn't her red hair proof enough of a temper just as fiery?

Not that she could ask for help at the moment anyway. But if she could breathe, she would be sorely tempted to do so.
 
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Ser Gavin Halbert

The Lion of Oban
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The Old Knight has been around long enough to sniff out a liar, if Gavin removed his hood in front of these jokers right now than they'd be pissing their breeches begging for mercy. Alas he didn't have the desire to do so. "Yes you were helping a lovely maiden," he grunted "and I'm a member of the Beaufort family."

All Gavin wanted to do was to drink and wonder what the hell he was but a Knight must always muster up the will to defend the innocent. The red headed girl seemed very feisty not giving up despite her physical disadvantages. A small smile formed on Gavin's weathered face, people often forget to be a Knight meant that you must never give up despite the odds.

Many people who were taller and stronger than this girl would have less willpower than her. The men were surprised that the red head had a dagger but Gavin saw it coming from a mile away. These thugs were amateurs and all of a sudden a chase between the girl and the so called gang began ensue over her coins. Gavin sighed internally it was like dealing with children but he was impressed by the young girl's tenacity.

"A Knight without determination is like a Wagon without wheels." Ser Thomas had told Gavin when he was serving as a Page. "You might as well be a Paper Dragon if you are all bravado but will crumble with the simplest pressure."

He was snapped out of his memories when he saw the red headed girl on the floor. The rotund man's meaty hand around her slender neck. She was struggling gasping for air but she refused to call for help it didn't matter though. Her pale skin became paler signaling that it was cry for help anyway, as quick as a Cockatrice Gavin rushed towards the fat man kicking him in the face with his golden grieve.

Gavin heard a sickening crunch blood splattered all over the corpulent thugs face as he screamed in pain lying on the floor crying hysterically. The tavern became silent as another man drew his knife and began to flail towards Gavin like a drunken brute. The old knight sidestepped nearly causing him to trip which left him open for an uppercut which shattered his jaw due to the golden gauntlets.

The third man snuck up Gavin thinking that he had the Old Knight, but the thug was as stealthy as a Goristro. Gavin dropped down a split second before the thug could grab him by the waist, the Knight placed his gauntlet covered hand over his face forcing him down onto the ground and kicking him in the stomach as hard as he can. The thug coughed up blood as Gavin turned to the remaining two. "What are you?!" one of them said his body quivering in fear.

"I'm a man who'll be responsible for your physical disabilities," Gavin said simply. "If you do not hand the young lady her coin."

Without hesitation, they threw Gavin the coin pouch and ran out of the tavern. Gavin could smell the fresh scent of urine as they did so. He looked over the red headed young girl and smiled helping her up. "Here you go miss," he said before taking out his own coin and tossing it to the bartender. "Sorry about the mess," he whispered before heading out of the tavern.

Gavin caused too much ruckus to resume drinking it was time to hit the road anyway.
 

Melusine Flarell

Elbion College
Messages
34
Melusine staggered dizzily, managing her first deep breath in what seemed like an age. She couldn't quite feel comfortable walking yet, but she certainly wasn't going to stay here with the smell of blood and urine everywhere. Not that Melusine was a stranger to either blood or urine, but when one was still fighting to breathe, those smells were a bit much.

"I...um... wait, I..." She didn't feel like she should be left alone. As much as she always thought she was capable of defending herself, she was always a little frightened when she had been in danger of being hurt. Or dying. Or passing out. Being alone seemed like it was always a little scarier at times like these, irrespective of the fact that she had felt she had had no choice but to leave Fal'Addas. And her heal spell was technically useless. She hadn't been physically injured, per se. only winded. Though now that she thought about it, as easily as she bruised, she'd have a nasty one around her throat that might hurt for awhile and make swallowing a little scary and more painful.

"I forgot to thank you. And my heal spell is useless against this kind of thing., since, bruised as my throat will be, I'm only winded." She gulped in her fear before she could stop herself. "Ow...."

"Ummm...sorry, sir." She bowed her head, trying to hide tears of physical pain. "My name is..." She took another deep breath, still surprised by how much it hurt to do so, but also giving herself time to think of exactly what she should tell him her name was. Dare she hope he would care who she really was- that she was Melusine Heather Flarell, both of those names, not just one? She also felt rather uneasy since she had told him she had a heal spell before her head had fully returned to normal.

Too late now, though, and he had helped her, so she decided to take the chance that he might be nicer than she thought about the whole thing, even if this was Oban and women were treated the way they were here.

"My name is Melusine Heather Flarell. My human mother - she died when I was born- named me Heather, but I was raised by elves, and my elf name is Melusine. Mel or Meli to my friends."

Or any of all four, to my lovers. She thought. Not that she considered anyone she'd have a one-night stand with a lover. Love was something different, something she'd never had from anybody. Not that kind of love, the kind of love where you could lean your damp cheek against a warm chest after you'd been crying and feel you were home, that that person knew you better than you knew yourself and would love you forever and protect you from anything. Not the kind of love where your heart sped up the second you felt that person behind you and you smiled....

And she wasn't looking for it, either. She never quite did, though she longed for it someday. She was aware that she was only thinking such thoughts now because being physically winded and scared out of her mind had reminded her how alone she really was when she was by herself, just the trees and the air.

Being sick or hurt was scary by yourself.

And as she'd told him, her heal spell was useless against things like this. Not that it lasted forever regardless- only long enough for her to be able to find somewhere to give her proper medical attention when it wore off, most times.

Well, now she was really in a bind. He'd probably know by the pain in her face and the bruise already beginning to show on her throat that she was hurt and shouldn't be left alone. The decision to trust him was already made once she realized that she shouldn't be alone for now. Whether or not it was the right one, it was too late to change it.

"So thank you. I'd have used my sword, but as you see, it needs repaired." She showed him, removing it from the tie in her belt. She smiled brightly despite her pain, even though she was also embarrassed that he'd seen her lose.

"I'm usually better. They're some of the biggest men I've ever fought." It was as if she were apologizing for the supposed inconvenience of his having to help her, and she blushed again.

She rarely dared to ask if she could travel with anyone, even her friends, or if they would travel with her, not wanting them to think she needed assistance.

Except that this time, she might. But she still didn't want to bother him, so she didn't dare ask. But she still had to compliment him.

"You were magnificent." Was there really any other word?

"Probably better than I'll ever be." She wondered how long he had been a knight.
 
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Ser Gavin Halbert

The Lion of Oban
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Just for once Gavin wanted the stories of the lone Knight saves a maiden from bandits and leaves without incident. Of course, he had forgotten the one thing that happened in those tales: having the maiden thank the Knight. Gavin didn't really want to hang around for too long, he long desired to travel the world like a Knight-Errant just doing good deeds as befits a Knight. Sadly, it seems that the young lady wanted to delay his plans.

She was on the verge of tears part of Gavin wanted the girl to let it out. Sometimes it was good to express emotion, Gavin certainly did for good and for ill especially when he was in the battlefield slaughtering the enemy for his country. There was nothing like the feeling of patriotism especially defending its honor against those who would dare to crush it. To crush your enemies and to hear them suffer it was exhilarating..... though it contradicted the chivalric code. Those dark impulses..... it was something Gavin had to contend with ever since he was a page.

"A woman who openly practices magic in the territory of Dalriada?" Gavin mused. "I'm surprised the secret police didn't haul you away immediately. Best to withhold that information lass lest you get stares." In Oban, women were placed on a tight leash due to the fear of magic being more powerful in women then men. While the grip is loosening over the years, women who openly practice magic were looked upon with fear and terror. There were even Witch Hunts that went on over the years, Gavin himself had to save some sorceresses from burning at the stake. One of the rescues lead to a wild liaison by the mage.

The girl introduced herself as Melusine Heather Flawell: A half-elf and judging by her backstory it seemed that she wasn't raised in the Oban or Dalriada's realm after all. Which was a good thing considering that outsiders even the female mages get treated fairly well. Oban is one of the nations in Arethril and part of the reason was due to the strong relations it's built over the years as well as it being located between Alliria and Elbion: Two of the major trading cities as well as having control of the Allrian Strait.

"Should I call you Melisune?" Gavin asked this is just as convulsed than a noble having so many titles! Even Gavin's wasn't this confusing. "Or Mel? Perhaps Heather?"

Melusine then mentioned that she had sword but was broken. "Well let's see it then," Gavin said. "I'm good at maintaining swords of all kinds."

He turned around to head to the forest and sighed. He still hadn't returned Melusine's complement of being magnificent. "I was only helping you because it's my duty to," Gavin muttered. "It is Knight's duty to protect the innocent now come on help me find a place to set up camp so I can examine your sword."
 

Melusine Flarell

Elbion College
Messages
34
She considered. "For most of my life, I've been Melusine- or Mel for short. Heather might fit my personality-" she managed a small smile. (OOC: Sometimes it's used as a reference to Scottish heather, so I always thought anything Scottish might be a good warrior name) "But it's not my name- the one I'm known by." Somehow, she had the feeling he might understand that- something familiar felt comfortable. He'd helped her, and that somehow made him seem like her friend now, and you were comfortable with your friends, right?

He seemed to be a little concerned that she was crying, so she explained as best she could. "It hurts. The one who grabbed my throat hurt me. It might hurt to breathe for quite awhile. My throat is bruised, but because I'm winded- and not, say, bleeding- the heal spell is useless." She wiped her eyes and paused, remembering something. "I don't think you told me your name. Fair is fair."

She nodded as he reminded her that she should withhold the information about her heal spell. "Yes, forgive me. My head isn't exactly on my body at the moment." Her head still whirled and hurt and spun and the world flashed periodically before her eyes in a haze of spots, but she made herself keep walking as he offered to take a look at her sword.

She shrugged as she followed him a little further and decided to help him set up camp; She'd paid for a room at the inn, of course, but she didn't dare go off alone and risk waking in the night alone while in pain. Besides, maybe the extra money could pay for some help to clean up the mess.

"Sometimes I help others if needed- sometimes for a fee, though anyone in desperate situations I'll help for free. But this mess..." She pointed to the banged and dented metal. "I got by trying to defend myself. Some type of weird monster I've seen very few of, if any at all. But its teeth! I don't understand how something like that doesn't break its teeth on metal." She shook her head in wonder.
 

Ser Gavin Halbert

The Lion of Oban
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What is in a name? It encompasses who you are when the bastards take everything else, all a person has is the clothes on their back but more importantly their name, their identity. Which is why Gavin was taught that the best way to break a person was to strip pieces of who they are away. Starting with the person's name and history take those away and who are they really? Just an empty shell waiting to be filled with the truth you manufactured.

The way Melusine flip flopped between Mel and Heather indicated to Gavin that she doesn't know who she is really. A young woman trying to look for a purpose in life, Melusine was around her early twenties at least. When Gavin was her age he was already sure who he was: A proud Knight of Oban, Lionheart, the hero of the Sandy Steps. Gavin had achieve a considerable amount of glory in his youth when he killed the Hedge Knight Ser Arthur the remorseless at age 17. "I have some herbs in my pack," Gavin said helping Melusine set up the camp. "I can make some tea to help with your sore throat."

He took the sword from Melisune his blue eyes darting over the dented and nicked Longsword. Even fully repaired, this was a poor quality Iron Longsword cheaply made for villagers or bandits. "It looks like you haven't maintained this sword for months," Gavin muttered lighting a match against the log he was sitting on to start the campfire.

As the flames became bigger, Gavin sighed he didn't tell Melisune his name. She wasn't a citizen of Oban so it was probably safe to tell her. Besides, it wasn't very chivalrous to not tell a woman your name after you've rescued her. "I am Ser Gavin Halbert of Buckwater." he replied bluntly removing his hood. The old knight took out a small, black metal pot and began to pour some water and herbs in it placing the tea over the campfire.

After about two minutes heating the tea, Gavin poured the tea in a small cup and gave it to Melisune. "Drink lass," he muttered. "It'll make your throat feel better," before taking out a whetstone from the pocket of his cloak and began sharpening the edges of her sword.

"I take it you're from the Falwood no?" he asked. "Despite their welcoming of other races, Elves aren't exactly when one of their own interbreeds. I've heard half-elves are looked as second class citizens in Fal'addas."
 

Melusine Flarell

Elbion College
Messages
34
The soothing timbre of his voice as he told her to drink nearly brought tears to her eyes for a different reason altogether. Perhaps she was more ill than she thought, if being injured made her wish for a permanent residence with friends close by., if both if those things could be found, " Thank you." She sipped the tea. "I still can't believe they managed to actually leave a bruise." She shivered despite herself, warming her hands against the teacup and smiling gratefully. "Crafty men, despite their stupidity, weren't they, to make my injury just obvious enough to be scary, but not bad enough to be able to use my powers?" She sighed. "I have much to learn, I know.." The real truth was that she tried her best, but her spunk and tenacity only got her so far. Real fighting experience- especially when one was so short- was hard-won. Not to mention she wasn't as streetwise as she looked, and was perhaps too willing to see the good in others to be able to make a career of being a cold-blooded killer. She knew these things, but had she known it, his assessment that she was confused about who she was was more true than not. He had, however, slightly misunderstood her origins.

"Nice to meet you, Ser Gavin. Um, yes, I'm from the Falwood, but I am fully human. Some elves befriended my mother, who happened to give birth while traveling. The name she gave me is Heather, but perhaps I'm more of a Melusine than I realized- that name has always sounded rather...delicate." She coughed, still hurting., though the heat in the tea eased the pain, "They are welcoming of other races, as you say, but not everyone understood why elves would take in a human child no matter how good a friend my mother was to them. As well, I'm sure you've seen how small some of the things elves use can be. I've had to fight to exist in the way I need to and thrive from a young age- I was seven or so when I started learning swordplay." Not that he would probably have known it from her show today. She sighed a little, still embarrassed. "So you see, neither the elven world nor the human one is quite mine. And then when you add in the fact that the age of eighteen seems to mean something special to humans- and the fact that I know a spell- Don't get me started!" she huffed. "Six years I've been on my own now, and perhaps in some ways, I always was. It's a lonely life- perhaps too lonely, on days like this. " She pointed tentatively to the bruise on her throat. "But what am I supposed to do, in two worlds where I don't fit? So I help those who deserve it, or live by my own wits, and I will likely die doing one or both of those things. I have affection and friendship to give, yes, bur I probably have just as many enemies as friends. But in worlds where one doesn't quite fit, one must still exist- so I went to Elbion to learn enough magic to survive alone. And there's not much time to maintain a sword when one lives or dies by it." She chuckled at herself.
 
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Ser Gavin Halbert

The Lion of Oban
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Ah so she was fully human in that case Gavin guessed that the Elves would be more accommodating. Even though it happened often, all the races frowned upon race mixing because they don't want to dilute the genetic structure or something like that. Even a tolerant city like Oban raises an eyebrow at it sometimes. "Forgot to warn you," Gavin chuckled a bit. "That the tea is still hot but continue drinking it. The hotter the tea is the more effective it will be for your bruised throat."

While Gavin was fond of tea, it paled in comparison to Wine and Oban was famed for producing the best Wine in all of Arethril from Red Wine to Gold Wine. The Wine was usually sweeter than the ones produced from Fairbarin, Allria and Elbion. "It sounds to me lass that you have a hard time discovering who you are," Gavin said beginning to sharpen her blade. "All the talking without an direction it seems that you are a leaf in the wind hoping to find something worth doing."

The Old Knight empathized with Melisune being out there all alone. He began withdrawing from society lately ever since his death ever since he received abilities that was unnatural..... Gavin didn't understand how they worked but there times when his dark impulses of hatred and bloodlust reaches a fever's pitch, he begins to change. The flesh starts to peel off revealing a skull, his voice becomes deeper and more demonic and Gavin could feel dark energy surrounding him and compelling him to give in to his base instincts.

To kill indiscriminately and give in to his true nature.

Gavin remembered the last time he unleashed it: Blood and gore everywhere body parts strewn. Men, women and children the Gods the little children! Gavin shook it off trying to forget what he'd done, was he a man or a monster? Possibly the latter based on what he did. "You survived this long without dying lass," Gavin said finishing sharpening her sword it was mostly dent free with the nicks gone. "All a person needs is a starting point. You've helped people along the way. There is good in you Melisune a fierce determination in your eyes. Almost like a Knight the embodiment in what makes a good warrior."

He didn't want to say it, there was something swirling inside Gavin to take her as a squire. Honestly Gavin never taken a squire before but maybe just maybe he can regain his honor through instilling the values of a Knight through this lost soul. Perhaps Gavin can find redemption through Melisune and rebuild his mentor's image. "Train the girl," he could hear his mentor's voice inside his head. "You need each other."

Gavin didn't know if it was really Ser Thomas or it was figment of his imagination but he would honor it nonetheless. "Melisune," Gavin said forming a sad smile. "I'd say the starting point is with me, travel with me lass. Become my squire and learn the ways of the Knight. Maybe by taking this path it can provide you the direction you need."
 

Melusine Flarell

Elbion College
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34
Melusine thanked him for the advice about the tea and half-smiled as she continued to drink it "I'd never have asked outright. I want you to know that. I'm usually too proud, to be honest. That's not me...you've clearly seen how I... well, try to defend myself. If only tenacity were enough! But the truth is, when I'm injured. I'm afraid to be alone." she admitted. "Though I don't know why I'm admitting it to you when there are so many people who know me better that I can't bring myself to admit it to." Maybe she was just injured enough to be frightened beyond belief. "Besides, though, I'd like to learn from someone who is clearly a master." She was more relaxed now that she'd admitted her fear of being alone when ill, and ready to talk of other things- like how she could help him. How long have you been a knight?"

She did, however, raise her eyebrows at the offer of being his squire. Squires dressed and undressed a person in their armor. Somehow, as a young woman, the thought of being one to a man had never crossed her mind. Still, it comforted her in a way, making her realize that he was probably serious. "You mean it? Not just until I can breathe easier? I'd love it. Maybe I'll learn how to be more...adequate against huge men like that. " She really smiled in excitement for the first time in a long time, but then chuckled sadly. "I'm still embarrassed someone had to see me lose so badly. That's certainly not how one stays alive." She considered his comment about her sword again. "Perhaps if I'd had a better weapon they'd have run screaming. Not that they didn't anyway, thanks to you, And thank you as well for fixing it."

She paused again, turning something else he'd said over and over in her mind.

"There is good in you, Melusine."

"At least someone else knows there is good in me- someone who isn't thanking me for saving them. If you know what I mean," she sighed. Everyone probably liked to be complimented once in awhile. She just felt that she did little to deserve it, and even when she was good at what she did, to get compliments wasn't why she helped people anyway.

Speaking of which, was he sure she could help him as much as he could help her?

"Are you sure I can help you- really help you?" she had to ask, but then she grinned. "Well then. When do we start traveling?"
 

Ser Gavin Halbert

The Lion of Oban
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"Been a Knight since I was 17," Ser Gavin replied simply staring deep into the campfire in contemplation. "Was knighted during battle......" He remembered the blooded and battered Ser Thomas gripping a teenage Gavin's hand while battle of the Sandy Steps raged on. Gavin and Ser Thomas fought Arthur via horseback in the middle of the battle. The Oban forces managed to cut off Arthur from reinforcements despite being outnumbered, Arthur had a warriors instincts. Being that he was an ex-Knight and a grand leader of the Knights of the Fallen.

Arthur knocked Gavin off of his Horse using with his massive Mace, the head was as big as a Coconut and was infused with an electrical rune. As he landed on the sand Gavin was dazed and was having hard time breathing he could feel 3 of his ribs cracked and he smell his own flesh burning. The squire saw the Relentless One galloping towards him Spear at the ready until Ser Thomas collided with him and a bloody melee ensued. Gavin was too stunned and too fearful to move as he saw his mentor, fight admirably, honorably..... and then was stabbed through the gaps of his breastplate by Arthur's spear and then through the neck.

Gavin remembered dragging Ser Thomas under a palm tree begging him to stay alive. However he smiled and made him swear the Knight's oath: To be loyal to the Kingdom of Daldaria, be brave, protect the weak, honor women.... however the blood began to fill his mouth leaving him unable to recite the rest of the oath. Still the Squire was gone and through Ser Thomas' death lead to the birth of the Lion of Oban. Ser Gavin took his mentor's sword and rode back to the battle cutting everyone he saw until he found Arthur once again. In one slice, Ser Gavin decapitated Arthur ending the battle and making Gavin a legend.

But right now as he stared at Melisune, he didn't really like the invincible knight that he was made out to be. "There were many knights who were bolder than you Melisune," Gavin smiled. "Those Knights are dead, I need you to be brave yet be smart."

Too many Knights died pointless deaths trying to prove their honor. Honor was important to have as a knight but it won't mean much if you're a corpse. "And I'm training you to be adequate, I'm training you so you can be better than me: The Lion of Oban and A True Knight."

The Old Knight gave Melisune her weapon back and smiled. "I'm confident lass," he said. "You got the makings of a Knight all ready: Determined, brave and just. You just need seasoning on ya."
 

Melusine Flarell

Elbion College
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"Ha!" she scoffed at the idea of ever being better than him in a million eons. "You're better because you're older, in part. But... Lady Melusine the..." she paused for a second trying to come up with a suitable nickname. "Lady Melusine the Tigress...." That would include her red hair in the picture. She rather liked the sound of that. "I don't feel much like a tigress at the moment, with my breath wheezing in and out of my lungs... but the idea is intriguing." She finished the tea what felt like much too soon, realizing even so that she wouldn't be able to heal herself; her body would just have to heal at the speed it saw fit. She smiled at his compliment. "I guess I was determined, for all the good it did me."

She seemed to register just then his comment about the other knights bolder and braver than she being dead, and she nodded seriously. "But better to die while trying to improve myself, if it has to happen at all." She smiled as she managed to stand up, still hurting, as she might for awhile, but much less shaky now. "Shall I take a nap so we can be ready to travel by night, or do you prefer the daytime?" she asked.
 

Ser Gavin Halbert

The Lion of Oban
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Gavin had to chuckle at Melusine's attempts to give herself a nickname. "You can't force it lass," he said. "A nickname is something that is given to you. I was called the Lion of Oban when I slayed the Arthur the Relentless: Ex-Knight and leader of a major raiding party in the sands of the Savannah. When I lopped his head off, I raised my bloodied sword and yelled at the sky. Witnesses from both sides of the battle said that it was the roar of a Lion though it was just me....."

He paused for a brief moment feeling his heart beat faster, it was 33 years since that fateful battle and he still hadn't recovered from it. This wasn't the first battle Gavin was in. No he was 8 years old when he had to help Ser Thomas with his armor while dodging arrows against rebels and raiders. However the Battle of the Sandysteps was one that Gavin remembered most not because of the glory he gained but the people he'd lost: Friends, idols and more importantly...... his mentor.

"It was just me letting out my emotions," Gavin said shaking his head. "We've won we cut off the head of the Snake. The raiding party was defeated and Ser Gavin Halbert of Buckwater became a legend."

The Old Knight sighed. "Let people come up with nicknames for your heroic deeds Melisune," he said. "And I prefer that you stay alive."

Gavin wasn't tired but he was sure that Melisune was, she'd been through a lot and needed some time to rest. "We'll rest here for tonight," Gavin said continuing to stare at the flames.
 

Melusine Flarell

Elbion College
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34
Melusine was indeed tired, but nervous to go to sleep. She really hoped there were no highwaymen she'd have to fight off in the middle of the night. She hoped she didn't stop breathing...

When Gavin said that what people had thought sounded like a lion's roar was just him letting out his emotions, she nodded. "I'm not sure I've ever really cried- ever. Perhaps I should have, many times in my life, but I was too focused on being brave. Not that I felt those who bullied me respected me either way, but isn't it better to let it seem as if they can't hurt you- at least when they're watching? Nonetheless, I understand...."

The truth was, she had been terrified at the thought of being left alone after today. But then, she had told him that. But what was happening to her that she felt safe exposing her vulnerabilities to him, when she barely knew him?

Speaking of vulnerabilities....

"Maybe tomorrow, before leaving town, we should... do something. If I'm going to be a squire- who might eventually be a knight"- though it went without saying that she hoped that wouldn't happen for awhile- "I'm going to need better...equipment, right?" While Melusine was no stranger to fighting, she didn't have a proper suit of armor.
 
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Ser Gavin Halbert

The Lion of Oban
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"Get some rest Melusine," Gavin said smiling at the young woman. "It's obvious that you've been through a lot." He taken on a squire before one boy in particular who stood out over the many young boys who desperately wanted to train under Gavin. His name was Patreck Lormark a nobleman from the Kingdom of Oban. He was the son of Ser Cedric Lormark: A Knight and one of Gavin's closest friends, Cedric was afflicted with a wasting disease and his final words was to train his son.

Patreck was a boy of 14 but Gavin could see the potential, his sword skills were prodigious and he could recite the Knight's chivalrous code by heart. Gavin was so marveled by Patreck's potential he was blinded by the boys fatal flaws: Namely his lust for power. It was two years that Gavin had trained Patreck and then they both had a falling out which lead to a duel that ended with Patreck leaving swearing vengeance. Since then, Gavin didn't take on a squire still haunted by Patreck's betrayal and House Lormark cursed his name.

Would Melusine be any different? So far all Gavin could see was a scared woman who didn't want to be alone. Gavin sighed and reached for his bag taking out his old Squire's clothing. "Wear this," Gavin said tossing the attire to Melusine. "That is your official squire outfit, people around Daldaria will recognize that."

"And sneer at the fact that a woman is a squire," Gavin thought.

"Wear that along with your boots lass," Gavin suggested. He did wonder if it was the right fit for Melusine, Patreck was shorter than her when he first wore it and he complained that it was a bit stuffy.
 

Melusine Flarell

Elbion College
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34
Melusine was somewhat aware of the risk Ser Gavin must think he was taking. Gods only knew she felt some of that risk herself- allowing herself to be real with someone for one of the first times since her Elbion College days. She would never have betrayed him- she needed...

She gulped again, bringing tears to her eyes briefly.

She needed a family. She loved her adopted parents and siblings very much, but she needed a place in the world that was made for her, a place where she fit.
Have I found it? she wondered as she took the squire's outfit and went slightly away from him to try it on.

Her spirit might have found a place where she fit, but a few minutes later, she realized to her dismay that her body certainly hadn't.

"Um... thank you, but isn't this a little dangerous? Leaving part of my chest exposed, I mean. Gods forbid I should have to fight someone better than I am...who knows how to aim for the heart. I do understand that people will recognize that I'm a squire, but still. Then again, isn't it a good reason to learn all the faster?"

Suddenly, she grinned. "It might be dangerous... but then, in the right circumstances, so am I. Or at least, I want to be. A new look for the new me. I like it."

Now feeling a little more relaxed, she tried her best to prepare to bed down, but still had to ask, "Should we take separate watches? I'm injured, but not entirely convinced there couldn't be bandits who roam around here at night."
 
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Ser Gavin Halbert

The Lion of Oban
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It seemed Gavin was right.

Look at Melusine! The squire uniform fit too close to her skin to where he wondered if she could even move in that. Her navel was completely exposed, Gavin shuddered to even imagine what it was like for Melusine to charge into battle her breasts flopping around. It would be an easy target for any opponent to take advantage of or in Gavin's experience it may cause men to drop their swords and leer at her cleavage before she could counter.

Oh bloody hell what was he thinking Melisune was supposed to be Knight not a damn harlot. However the young woman seemed to like it despite sharing the same concerns. "I could give you a bigger size," Gavin muttered. "But It's going to be tough considering not many women are considered for Knighthood."

He made his bed as well sighing as he looked at the moon shining down on him. Gavin's heart skipped a beat for a moment maybe the Gods were smiling at him once again. The Lion of Oban could finally find purpose behind the monster that arose at that fated battle? "We'll be fine," he said gruffly his eyelids feeling droopy his thoughts drifting to his lost armor, sword and...... Squire. "As soon as you wake up lass," he said. "You'll be training to become a knight."