Private Tales Of Sand & Dragonfire

  • Distant lands call to you, Guest. The next world event coming soon.

    A land once ruled by Dragons and Gods opens, but not every secret of Arethil's past is safe to uncover.

    Titanfall

A private roleplay only for those invited by the first writer

Chaceledon

The Draconian Diva
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“It’s not quite that simple. We can’t see through Rheinhard’s eyes, or ears.” Ferenzi explained. “But everything he is witness to is a memory. We watch them in the shards outside, all those pieces of mirror are memories. Some don’t stick, like...oh, going to the toilet. But interactions with people, information, and skills are things kept there.”

“I can learn from the men before me as much as the men after me can learn from what I have done.” Volker said quietly. “If you are worried about Oor, the men here are not loyal to him.”

“We are all prisoners here, Seteta. We don’t get to go to the quiet goodnight of the afterlife. We are here forever, or until the line is extinguished.” Ferenzi said gently. “There are two exceptions, however. Klaus and Aluid. Klaus was Rheinhard’s father and is completely mad. We’re all mad here, but if we were ranked by our sanity he would be at the bottom. Aluid is Oor’s...well. You can figure it out. The boy is too young, Oor got his claws in too deep, and he tells him everything.”

Thankfully conversation turned back to the courtship as Aluid came back in. The boy sat down next to Seteta, clearly pouting. Rheinhard and Ferenzi ignored him. As far as they were concerned he’d deserved the temporary neck ache.

Ferenzi smiled at her. “Just think of it in dragon terms. Chaceledon was absolutely useless before his capture. No skills whatsoever except jewelry and drinking. He was, by his own admission, a spoiled brat. If a man like that is a dahn’s most eligible bachelor, I think you’ll be fine.”

Aluid perked up when she addressed him. “I didn’t know there were elves out there! Rheinhard killed a lot of people there, and I’ve been to Pedeo a hundred times. We never saw any elves.” He grinned.

“Persian normally doesn’t show pets that aren’t trained, and once they are you’d not be able to tell an Abtati from any other elf.” Ferenzi corrected him gently. “Chances are you met one, but they had a slave collar on.”

“You guys are going there right? Maybe you’ll get to see more Abtati!” Aluid pointed out.

“We might. We’re not there to sight see, we’re there to declare asylum, which will be dangerous in itself.” Ferenzi shook his head. “I hope Chaceledon knows what he’s doing. Keep your head on a swivel, Seteta.”

Seteta
 

Seteta

Wooing a Fabulous Dragon
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So the safest thing to assume, Seteta realized, was that anything Rheinhard was present for, Oor would be able to find out. Especially conversations or observations.

Looking around at the Volkers present, she felt a... helpless compassion for them all. Especially young Aluid. Out of all of them she'd met, she had to admit that she so far felt the most at ease around the child, but knowing that he was fixated on Oor, that made him the most dangerous of them all, for now.

Ferenzi smiled at her. “Just think of it in dragon terms. Chaceledon was absolutely useless before his capture. No skills whatsoever except jewelry and drinking. He was, by his own admission, a spoiled brat. If a man like that is a dahn’s most eligible bachelor, I think you’ll be fine.”

Seteta nodded in acknowledgement of Ferenzi's encouragement, but worry settled in her eyes. There were many ways to go from spoiled brat to skilled individual, but abuse and trauma were not good ways to go about it. She'd seen freed Abtati try to come to terms with their captivity by saying it forced them to become better, but she'd still seen the mental and emotional scars they'd dealt with. Chaceledon's captivity had, certainly, shaped him after so long... but she hoped he wouldn't let it define him, once he was free.

“We might. We’re not there to sight see, we’re there to declare asylum, which will be dangerous in itself.” Ferenzi shook his head. “I hope Chaceledon knows what he’s doing. Keep your head on a swivel, Seteta.”

"I will," Seteta promised. "We've got quite a ways to go before we reach Pedeo, though. And I will admit that there is one obstacle I did not anticipate. If Chaceledon thinks that restraint is an admirable feature to display to a potential mate, how in Arethil do I convince him to eat a sufficient amount while we travel?"

One other thought occurred to her, and she turned to Rheinhard. "How does the passage of time in the real world translate to what's going on here? Will Chaceledon come looking for us if we're gone too long?"

Chaceledon
 

Chaceledon

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“Won’t happen.” Ferenzi chuckled. “The man was on a diet before.”

Dragons, especially Chaceledon’s dahn, have poor relationships with food. Chaceledon’s mother fed him water and cucumbers for months as a child when she was convinced he was too fat. He is sensitive about it. I will make sure he eats enough.” Rheinhard told her. “We give you permission to court our mother.”

“Time passes slowly here. To give us the benefit of study.” Ferenzi told her. “Come, let’s get the rabbits back and see what Chaceledon has come up with.”

They stood, and the same pulling sensation began in Seteta’s stomach. It felt as though her guts were fighting to climb out of her throat. Black swirled in her vision, and Rheinhard pulled his mouth away from her eyes, and wiped them clean of spittle. There were slight red marks on her cheeks, just under her eyes, where his teeth had rested.

Volker shook his head and rolled his jaw. “Follow.” He told her, picking up his rabbit and the bird he’d struck. When they returned to Chaceledon, the dragon had made an attempt. There were cups he’d hastily dug out of their travel kit, pine tea already made, and their pot was brimming with broth. Volker leaned over it, and picked up the stems of the plants Chaceledon used.

“Don’t you dare, I know how to tell Queen Anne’s Lace from hemlock. Nestor taught me that. You look for the skirting.” Chaceledon sniffed. He’d changed outfits into a striking black, with a voluminous fur that hung loosely around his exposed shoulders, and framed his elegant neck. He was perched on a rock, stirring their meal with a stick. Volker set about cutting up meat to add to the stew. The grouse he skinned, wrapped in leaves, and set in the coals.

“Would you like some tea?” Chaceledon asked Seteta. He filled a cup for her...in a strangely purposeful way. Instead of just grabbing the ladle and filling it, he held the ladle up high, pouring and aerating the tea from a distance. Filled perfectly, he gently blew steam from the surface, and offered it to her perched on his golden claws.

Seteta
 

Seteta

Wooing a Fabulous Dragon
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Seteta looked at Rheinhard, aghast, when he mentioned cucumbers and water for a month. She would have assumed that dragons were mostly carnivorous, and so to her mind, even if one liked cucumbers and water, being limited to only that must be torment.

"I will make sure he eats enough.” Rheinhard told her. “We give you permission to court our mother.”

"Thank you," she said, and even her eyes smiled.

If time passes more slowly, then hopefully he hasn't thought our absence abnormal, Seteta thought as they stood. Then, Rheinhard clearly did something and a moment later she was fighting a twisting nausea as Rheinhard--with surprising gentleness--wiped her eyes. She still wiped them further with the end of her scarf, drying any remaining moisture.

“Follow.” He told her, picking up his rabbit and the bird he’d struck.

She retrieved the rabbit she'd cleaned earlier, and they were both silent as they returned to the camp. Setting the rabbit with Rheinhard's as the man dubiously eyed the plants that Chaceledon had gathered. All of the vegetation here was unfamiliar to her, and so Seteta had not even thought to gather anything herself. From Chaceledon's comment, she gathered that the two plants were very similar looking, but that one would be... not wise to consume.

If I ever leave the desert again, after this return, then I will find someone to teach me about plants, she thought as she sat near the fire, but opposite of Chaceledon. She slowly unwrapped her headscarf, using the motion to hide her glances in the dragon's direction. The way the firelight played over the tendons of his neck, and the line of his collarbone was... distracting. She forced her eyes down, and shaking her head just slightly as she fought back a blush again, focused determinedly on folding up her headscarf and setting it in her lap.

“Would you like some tea?” Chaceledon asked Seteta. He filled a cup for her...in a strangely purposeful way. Instead of just grabbing the ladle and filling it, he held the ladle up high, pouring and aerating the tea from a distance. Filled perfectly, he gently blew steam from the surface, and offered it to her perched on his golden claws.

Chaceledon's exaggerated motions helped pull her out of the moment, oddly enough, and she laughed softly with a smile as she held out a hand. "Yes, please," she answered, but didn't stand. She had no idea if she might be committing a major offense in dragon courtship here, but she'd meant what she said to the Volkers in the Well. She wasn't going to become someone other to seduce him. If they became more, later on, more than just... bedmates for comfort and distraction, then it would need to be established from the beginning that she was an equal. That her own customs, her people's traditions, were just as important as his customs and traditions.

Chaceledon had offered the tea. If he wanted her to have it, then he needed to bring it to her.

And she was not going to throw food or drink away to 'preserve her figure for the chef.' Bodies were meant to change, over time.

Chaceledon
 

Chaceledon

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Chaceledon eyed Seteta when she didn’t rise to get it. She had red marks on her cheeks, just beside her eyes. She’d been inside the Well. Rheinhard had given her a talking to and she had still returned to camp? In one piece? Unshaken? Klaus must not have been paying attention. He’d rectify that soon. At least it gave Chaceledon a warning. Aluid would run his mouth trying to impress Klaus, and the newest addition to the Well likely wouldn’t take kindly to being excluded from the conversation.

They stood like that, stock still, Chaceledon holding the cup motionlessly and her waiting for him to rise. Dragons stood for no one, and this proud desert creature wanted to be served. The impasse was as good as sexual tension to Chaceledon, who let the moment stretch out between them with a softness in his violet eyes. She knew how to play the game. Perhaps then, she’d survive meeting his parents.

Her eyes were quite beautiful, and he spent a moment admiring them. While people loved his lavender eyes, he’d always liked the shades humans came in. Blues, browns, and greens.

Chaceledon was broken from his reverie by Volker taking the cup and setting it in Seteta’s hand. Normally he’d not interfere, but this violated Volker’s strict rules on wasting things. Time...food. The dragon sighed a bit and gave his son a hard look. Congratulating him on interrupting a moment. Volker ignored him, and got some ground pepper from their things to add to the stew.

“I hope my sons didn’t scare you off too much.” Chaceledon told her with a look at Rheinhard.

Seteta
 

Seteta

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For a moment, as Chaceledon's eyes gazed into her own, Seteta forgot about the existence of the tea. She'd never seen eyes the color of his before, but more than the violet, it was the tenderness of his gaze that stole her breath away for just a moment.

A moment that was interrupted when Rheinhard walked between them and retrieved the tea from Chaceledon and handing it to her. He fairly dropped it in her lap, and she scowled at him before he turned away. She'd wanted Chaceledon to bring her the tea, and she'd been willing to wait for it. It wasn't about the tea, after all, and she would have drank it even if it had been cold as ice by the time the dragon caved.

“I hope my sons didn’t scare you off too much.” Chaceledon told her with a look at Rheinhard.

Seteta shook her head, and then took a sip of the tea. She hadn't quite decided yet if she liked pine tea, but the flavor wasn't awful. And clearly Chaceledon had an inclination for it.

"It was... a strange experience," she said, reaching up to run her fingers over one of the slightly-sore marks on her face before tucking a stray lock of hair back behind a pointed ear. "I only met a handful of the Volkers, though. Ferenzi. Nestor. Aluid. They, at least, weren't so bad."

She glanced back at Rheinhard where he was tending the stew. "And... I think, maybe, I earned just a little bit of respect from all of them," she smiled softly, then turned her face toward Chaceledon again. "But I suppose we'll see how far that goes."

Chaceledon
 

Chaceledon

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“Nestor is a judgmental ass and was until the day he died. Mind you, he was such a bright boy. The only one who thought to argue the terms of his own enslavement when Oor showed up at his family’s farm. And he did try to poison me. It was sweet, he and Lansom couldn’t bear hearing...well, anyway. I thought it was nice of him to try.” Chaceledon smiled a bit at her. “Ferenzi was a boy with class. Such a good son. And a beautiful dancer just like Rheinhard.”

Volker sighed and began setting up the tent. Chaceledon ladled them some stew, and passed bowls to Seteta and Volker. He filled a spare teacup for his own meal, and delicately drank roughly a third. He had a peculiar way of eating. Volker simply shoveled food into his mouth and that was that. Chaceledon ate like he was taking tiny bites of something unspeakably rich. “All of that.” Volker told him. “We will need your skills in the next town. Coin. Something that does not leave a trail. You need your strength for it.”

Chaceledon glared at him, dumped his teacup back into the pot, and rose to prepare himself for sleep. Unlike before, he didn’t brush his teeth in front of Seteta. That was indelicate now.
Seteta
 

Seteta

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Seteta hid the horror that washed through her at the words tried to poison me. it was sweet. And while Chaceledon's smile eased her heart a little, she knew that even a few year's worth of trauma could break even the best men and elves, and the thought of the horrors Chaceledon had endured for most of a dragon's lifetime... if she thought about it too much, she wasn't sure she could bear it. Not yet.

“Ferenzi was a boy with class. Such a good son. And a beautiful dancer just like Rheinhard.”

"Dancer?" she murmured curiously, with another glance in Rheinhard's direction. And yet, as he moved, she could almost see it. Even for as large a man as he was--though they were equal in height--Rheinhard's posture and motion held a subtle grace.

When Chaceledon dished up the stew, she was mildly surprised that he actually handed her a bowl of it, but then again... this wasn't flirting, at the moment. It was surviving. She gave his teacup of stew a withering glance, but hid her annoyance before Chaceledon saw it. She certainly didn't want to encourage him to eat even less, if he were to misinterpret her frustration. Which, she gathered from what she'd learned in the Well, he almost certainly would.

Seteta helped herself to a second bowl of stew after Chaceledon left the fire. She didn't strike up a conversation with Rheinhard, preferring for now to spend some quiet time in thought, though her mind was a bit unsettled and tumultuous. It was unnerving to recall that she'd literally been inside someone else's head for a time, but what she'd learned there about Chaceledon was invaluable. But the answers she'd gotten to some of her curiosities had only spawned even more questions.

Eventually, she cleaned up the dishes they'd all eaten from, made sure the horses were settled for the night, and then retrieved her new toothbrush from her satchel. She brushed her teeth with plain water, since Chaceledon hadn't provided her with tooth powder and she didn't want to bother him about it right then, and then readied herself for bed. She took her hair down, finger-combing it once more, and then ducked inside the tent, removing her shoes and coat before plopping down on her bedroll with a sigh.

An Abtat swear escaped her in a whisper as she closed her eyes, only to be greeted by the memory image of Chaceledon's long neck and the slope of his muscled shoulders--yet still somehow delicate--emblazoned on the inside of her eyelids.

'I'll let him set the pace and tone of things.' By Abtatu, what a foolish promise to make. Seteta rolled onto her side--away from Chaceledon's bedroll and bearskin--and clenched a fist in her blanket in frustration. What an idiot you are, Seteta.

How she would find sleep that night, she had no idea.

Chaceledon
 

Chaceledon

The Draconian Diva
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“Yes, dancer. Rheinhard, once we’re out of here I’m going to take you and Seteta dancing. She deserves to see how beautifully you move. Besides, you could catch a man’s attention, Hardy dear.” Chaceledon smiled.

“Don’t. Not until we are in Pedeo and we have struck up a deal. This is the second night.” Volker told Chaceledon sternly. He wanted to hope. But he was wary of hoping too quickly. He couldn’t bear seeing Chaceledon crumble if this failed. For the moment the dragon was in good spirits, but Chaceledon built things up in his head.

The dragon gave him a withering look on the way to bed. He finished his routine, and this time...he slept with only a pair of beautifully stitched harem pants on. His slim waist and long legs complimented it perfectly, and he’d designed it to hug his rear. Good. All set for morning.

In the morning, Rheinhard was already up and stoking the fire to reheat the stew. He added the bird to it, some foraged mushrooms, and a little flour to thicken it. Chaceledon took one look at Seteta’s clothing and clicked his tongue in disapproval. He set out a pair of nicely formed breeches and a loose fitting linen top for her.

“How much clothing did you bring?” Volker asked as he exited the tent. The dragon was wearing only the harem pants, low on his hips, to show off a bit of his figure.

“Enough.” Chaceledon said lightly.

Seteta
 

Seteta

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Eventually, after tossing and turning for a while, Seteta had resorted to meditation instead of trying, futilely, to sleep. At some point, though, she must have drifted off to sleep after all, for she was woken by a cool breeze and bright, morning sunlight as Chaceledon stepped out of the tent.

She took a long, slow breath, and a long, slow exhale. When she sat up, she spotted the breeches and linen top that Chaceledon had, apparently, laid out for her while she still slept. Seteta smiled softly. This she would humor. It was apparent that he was a stickler for hygiene and appearance, and while being of the desert had meant she often went without bathing simply because water was scarce, it didn't mean she had to look like a slob.

It didn't take her long to change, and for the moment at least she decided to leave her hair loose, once more combing through it with her fingers. It was still soft and smooth from the oil Chaceledon had her use that day, in the bath. After she laced her boots back up, she slipped the wool coat back on, but left the front unfastened, and stepped out into the morning light.

Apparently, Chaceledon's new hobby was both testing his endurance to the season's temperature and trying her patience.

You've already seen each other naked,
she reminded herself as she was greeted with the sight of Chaceledon's bare shoulders and back as he spoke with Rheinhard at the fire, a barely audible whimper choking its way out of her throat as her gaze fell lower. A stupid pair of pants shouldn't affect you this much. Get a hold of yourself.

Yanking her eyes back up, she looked, with determination, at Rheinhard. "I'll be tending the horses," she said through gritted teeth. "Let me know when breakfast is ready."

She turned away, avoiding looking at Chaceledon again, and headed away from the campfire.

Chaceledon
 

Chaceledon

The Draconian Diva
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Chaceledon straightened up from helping Rheinhard with the fire, tossing his hair back over one shoulder. Seteta walked past them to tend to the horses, and Chaceledon gave a small, knowing smile to himself. “Is she out of earshot?” he asked Rheinhard.

Volker gave a look to the elf. “Yes.” He muttered.

“Thank the gods I’m freezing.” Chaceledon hissed, and casually walked back to the tent as though nothing in the world was wrong. He added socks, his boots, a shirt and vest, and his long mink-trimmed red coat over it. With the soft orange tones of the pants and vest, it fit him rather well. A little casual for his tastes, but that was the point.

Rheinhard was cooking strips of venison, and some bird eggs he’d found, along with dry biscuits soaked in the grease from the former. Chaceledon also recognized a small luxury brewing in the coals. “Coffee?” he asked curiously.

“The last from the woman I hunted.” Rheinhard informed him.

“My kingdom for some chilies.” Chaceledon sighed as he poured himself a cup. It was strong, dark and bitter. Dragons added chilies candied with sugar to it; it gave a sweetness to the coffee a few seconds before unforgiving burning.

“We are headed toward Vel Anir, but there are a few border towns. We have enough coin to rent a smithy for the day, and I assume you stashed materials. Sell a few blades, and that should cover us.” Rheinhard told him.

“A few materials. It’s mostly clothing. But I’ll do my best. What do the boys think of Seteta..?”

“Ferenzi and Aluid like her, Nestor hates her and Klaus wants to rape her.”

“So no one’s formed an opinion yet.”

“No.”

Seteta
 

Seteta

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When Seteta finally returned after caring for the horses, she dished up her own breakfast and poured a cup of coffee while rolling her eyes at Chaceledon's much more weather appropriate attire.

The fire was slowly dying now, and it wouldn't make any sense to build it back up before they left, so she sat a little closer to it than she normally would, alternating between warming her hands--which were only chilled rather than aching, since she hadn't used her illusion magic for Chaceledon again--and eating.

"You mentioned needing Chaceledon's skills in the next town," she said to Rheinhard when she finished eating and began to help break down the camp. "What skills are those, besides clothesmaking? And how far out from the next town are we?"

She spoke loudly enough that Chaceledon could hear her clearly, subtly inviting him to join the conversation. And, perhaps, to even join the work of packing up camp.

Chaceledon
 

Chaceledon

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Chaceledon had a single piece of venison, a small amount of bread, and two cups of coffee. Rheinhard drank water, and made sure the rest of the food was divided evenly amongst himself and Seteta. The horses cared for, he began to break down the camp. Chaceledon looked rather pleased with himself, proud to have caught Seteta off guard.

Volker added his pine branches to the fire to give the elf a little more warmth before they left. Chaceledon didn’t miss the move; it was kind and didn’t waste the branches. Trust Rheinhard to find something nice to do for her in the name of utilitarianism.

“Blacksmithing.” Volker told her. He stopped breaking down the tent and withdrew his longest blade from the roll on his thigh. It was crafted from a human femur, the ball joint scarred from dual use as a club. The blade itself was immaculate. Roughly as long as a hand-and-a-half sword, it was folded and reinforced with a flexible core. Though scarred from use, it was clearly well made. “My weapons have weathered two wars, countless skirmishes, and have killed everything from gigantic insects to elves such as yourself. A lifetime of servitude, and yet still sharp enough to slice a man as though he were air.” He told her, and let her look for a moment. He sheathed the blade and resumed his work. “Chaceledon is a master artisan, and has crafted every weapon my family has used, with the exception of the first man.”

Chaceledon’s version of work was neatly washing her clothes using the cleaned stewpot, gingerly using the dirtied water to extinguish the fire. Her clothes, dried with a bit of his fire magic, he folded neatly and laid on a clean rock for her.

“I haven’t a clue where we are.” Chaceledon said with a look to Rheinhard.

“We should reach a small logging town by late afternoon. I will get you set up crafting and repairing tools, and making weaponry.” Volker told him.

Chaceledon sniffed. “Sharpening axes for a lot of rustics?”

“Then you should be able to do it quickly.” Rheinhard grunted, offering Seteta their folded tent.

Seteta
 

Seteta

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As Rheinhard brought out the blade and displayed it for her, Seteta couldn't help but gawk a little. She was no sword- or blade-master herself though she could hold her own in a fight if necessary, but she could recognize fine craftsmanship, even if the inclusion of the human femur was a bit gruesome for her tastes. She knew enough not to touch another's prized weapon, though, and simply admired the blade until Rheinhard resheathed it.

By the time they finished breaking down the tent, Chaceledon was folding the freshly-laundered clothes Seteta had worn since they left Fal'Addas. She gave the dragon a smile as she retrieved them. "Thank you."

After tucking the clothes into her rapidly overflowing satchel, she deposited it in the cart, and then took the tent from Rheinhard and placed it in the cart as well. There was little that remained to do, so she went to retrieve the horses, tying the gelding to the back of the wagon, hitching up the cart horse, and then saddling her own mare.

"I need to figure out a name for you, it seems," she murmured to the horse as she slipped the bit into place. "We're going to be traveling together for quite some time."

A thought occurred to her then, and she glanced in Chaceledon's direction with a mischievous glint in her eye. "I'd name you dragon," she whispered to the mare, "but I think the Abtat word would be too harsh for a creature like yourself. But in some ways, he reminds me more of a cat than a dragon. So... maybe Mau?"

As the Abtat word for 'cat' slipped from her tongue, the mare whickered and gently nudged Seteta's shoulder. Seteta laughed. "Mau it is!"

Chaceledon
 

Chaceledon

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Chaceledon walked to the back of the wagon to lounge. Well, it wasn’t entirely unproductive. He withdrew a hard block of green wax and reached up to pat Volker. “Hardy dear lend me the small one.” Chaceledon took the small blade as Volker offered it, and began to carve. Volker looked over at Seteta naming her mare. He didn’t see the point really. Horses were backup rations that walked.

“I shall name you Adimar, from the draconian for prince.” Chaceledon told the gelding with a smile, offering him a carrot from the wagon. Volker frowned at him; they shouldn’t be wasting rations on the horses.

He looked at his own cart pony as he flapped the reins a bit to get them back on the road. “I will name you Rations.” He told the cart horse. Chaceledon slapped his arm playfully, and returned to his carving. Over the hours on the road, a beautiful bangle appeared. It looked like an eagle’s claw, with two claws elegantly curved over the wrist. The wrist and claw tips melded together to gently touch the wrist and keep the jewelry in place.

“Seteta come here, I need a more slender wrist.” Chaceledon told her, holding out a hand expectantly.

Seteta
 

Seteta

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Seteta mounted Mau and joined the cart as they set out. She looked on, with a little concern, as both Chaceledon and Rheinhard followed her apparent lead and named the other two horses. She eyed the wax block Chaceledon was working, but didn't ask about it.

She could not, however, resist commenting on what he'd named the gelding.

"Prince?" she snorted. "Whatever the draconian word is for eunuch would be more appropriate."

The day passed quickly. She didn't ignore Chaceledon quite as much as she had the day before, and she enjoyed brief moments of trivial conversation with both him and Rheinhard.

Despite the slight chill in the air, the sun was warm and the wind was quiet. There were several times when Seteta let Mau have her head, and the two of them would gallop a ways up the road, and she would close her eyes and tip her head back, letting the air flow through her hair and the sun warm her skin.

Eventually, in the early afternoon when she rejoined Rheinhard and Chaceledon. The block of wax had been transformed into a delicate looking carving.

“Seteta come here, I need a more slender wrist.” Chaceledon told her, holding out a hand expectantly.

Her eyes widened and she bit her lip anxiously, setting her hand in his. She didn't want to hurt whatever it was he was working on.

Chaceledon
 

Chaceledon

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Chaceledon gently took her wrist and fitted the wax carving around it. Perfect. He took it off her with an artful twist, not so much as cracking the wax despite the jarring movements of the horses. He smiled at her, setting the band carefully into the furs he sat on. “I have a little silver left. I’ll cast it for you when we reach the town; it will protect you from the fae.” he said. “They cannot bear the sight or touch of silver.”

Rheinhard drove them into town in late afternoon, and made arrangements at a stable for their three horses. He let Seteta actually guide Rations, Adimar and Mau into the stalls; they still hated him and were nervous around Chaceledon. The dragon wouldn’t be caught dead stepping into a stable.

Arrangements at the forge were made with no small amount of chuckling from the rough populace. The town was small, clearly centered around milling wood, and their smithy wasn’t so much an actual shop as an open air stall with a forge in it. Muscular, scarred men sniffed at Chaceledon; they’d expected the older, muscular Rheinhard to be the smith.

Rheinhard stood by as Chaceledon set his wax creation on one of the two rickety tables in the smithy, and began unloading materials from the things he’d taken from the shop.

Two silver bars the size of a palm and flat as river stones were laid on the table, wrapped in indigo silk. A polished wood frame followed it, and Chaceledon packed it with sand supplied by the smithy. The forge he extinguished, much to the smith’s dismay...and relit it. Purple flames belched forth and consumed the last of the orange coals, transforming them into glowing violet. The heat kicked off was palpable, like an invisible wall.

The ceramic crucible was loaded with the silver, and set into the fire. Man’s fire would take several minutes to melt silver; Chaceledon’s looked like butter in a hot pan. He cast the bracelet, destroying the carving in flares of fire and the scent of burning wax, and simply plucked the finished bangle out with his bare fingers. A quick blast of flame from his lips, a violet tongue that burned away the last of the wax, then a hissing plunge into a bucket of oil.

Chaceledon quenched it again in water, and settled down to polish the piece with an array of roughened creams and a piece of suede. When he was finished, he wiped off the claw bangle and offered it with an elegant flourish to Seteta. It would be warm...but not so hot she’d hurt herself.

With that, the dragon stood, stripped down to his waist, and put up his hair.
“Five gold to repair your tools.” he said sharply, lifting his chin.

Seteta
 

Seteta

Wooing a Fabulous Dragon
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Chaceledon's touch was gentle, so light she barely felt it, as he slipped the bracelet on her and then twisted it off.

“I have a little silver left. I’ll cast it for you when we reach the town; it will protect you from the fae.” he said. “They cannot bear the sight or touch of silver.”

"Fae?" Seteta asked as they continued on their way. "Are we going somewhere where fae might be?"

When they neared the town, Seteta pulled aside on the road and tied her hair back, then wrapped her headscarf back around her face. For now, she preferred that even if Chaceledon and Rheinhard--and by extension, Oor--knew her face, that not everyone between here and Pedeo did.

She was quiet as she accompanied the man and the dragon into the town. While Chaceledon's features--his violet eyes and strange copper hair--drew fascinated glances and whispers, but her own appearance drew suspicious glances. Not many outside the desert kept their faces covered, it seemed. She wondered, though, what the townspeople would think if they knew that Chaceledon was the most dangerous of the three of them.

Well, she assumed that Chaceledon was the most dangerous, simply because he was a dragon.

Seteta watched, not saying a word, as the smithy space was haggled for--barely keeping up with the negotiations as words in the Common tongue were thrown back and forth with fluent ease--and as Chaceledon began to work. She settled into a spot off to the side, out of the way but where she could easily see both Chaceledon and the gathering crowd. Rheinhard stood nearby as well.

When Chaceledon relit the forge-fire, Seteta audibly sighed at the wave of warmth that washed over the area. It was one thing to experience the desert chill at night, and another matter entirely to be slightly too cold all the time. Her eyes widened at the sight of the silver melting so quickly, and she gaped at how quickly he crafted the bracelet. When a violet flame escaped his lips, she couldn't help but gasp.

Then, a short while later after polishing the silver, he presented the bracelet to her with a graceful twist of his wrist. She reached out, but didn't take the jewelry right away, instead smoothing her fingers across his and gently up to his wrist, drawing small spirals across his forearm as she met his eyes.

"Thank you," she said, slowly trailing her fingertips back down to his palm, and plucking the silver from his hand.

The warmth still remaining from the forge was soothing, and she slipped the bracelet onto her wrist, looking down to make sure it was arranged as she remembered him setting it into place on her wrist when he tested the size of the wax form. She stretched out her hand, admiring the look of it.

Then he stood, and her arm fell back to her side as she watched, more than a little enthralled, as Chaceledon stripped off his upper garments and fastened his hair back. She took a deep, deep breath and found herself a stool to sit on as he began to negotiate with the villagers.

Chaceledon
 

Chaceledon

The Draconian Diva
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“Persian is Fae.” Chaceledon answered her, blowing a bit on the wax mold to clear away little pieces. “You’re a pretty young thing. He’d itch to get a collar on you.” He shooed her away so he could concentrate, and settled back into the wagon.

The town wasn’t exactly to his satisfaction, but the bangle forging had gotten him the attention of a few men who knew their way around iron. Chaceledon clearly knew what he was doing, and he played it up for them. He offered the bangle to Seteta, and the elfess took it.

His eyes met hers. The soft contact between them as he took his gift was much better thanks than her words. He smiled a bit at her, eyes softening as he looked into hers. He was enjoying these moments, and she had slipped into the draconian way of flirting so easily. Usually both men and women who hadn’t been raised that way were so...impatient. He watched her pull away to admire her bracelet. The fit was perfect, but for something carved in the back of a bumpy wagon? It may as well have been. It looked so fetching on her.

At his challenge one of the men stepped forward. “Think you can fix this then?” He asked with a grunt, setting down a cracked pick. Chaceledon gingerly picked up the handle, throwing a kerchief over it as though the man had dunked it in a latrine. “I’ll see what I can do. Pay the lady.” Chaceledon nodded to Seteta, and the man grumbled and fished around in his pockets for the gold.

Chaceledon was a force of nature. He used a smithing hammer to knock the head loose, and plunged the cracked metal into the flames. He used the same hammer to pound the two together, superheating the area with his flame. Cracks meant nothing to a man whose very breath could melt steel. He shaped the pick’s blade with the hammer, muscles tightening in the firelight. He was completely and utterly concentrated, and when he quenched the pick head it emerged whole. He sharpened it on a wheel, sparks flying as he crafted an edge, without fear of the sparks dancing across his cheeks and chest.

“Ergh. Carve a new handle. This is appalling.” Chaceledon picked up the haft and plunged it into the fire.

Seteta
 

Seteta

Wooing a Fabulous Dragon
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Seteta held out a hand for the gold that the man owed, barely even glancing at him. She felt the weight of the coins land in her palm, turning them over and counting them as she kept her eyes fixed on Chaceledon. In the shop, when he'd changed in front of her, she'd briefly seen his body. His scars. But she hadn't stared, because it wasn't her right to stare then. But now... now, as he worked, she let herself soak up every inch of him that was on display.

The presence of his scars didn't bother her, but she knew from experience that the scars could often hide something deeper, a wound not visible to the eyes, and he had so many scars. She wished she was able to take away the invisible wounds, to make it as if none of that had ever happened, but it wasn't within her abilities, and neither was it her place. She could not heal Chaceledon. If they became... more, later... then her place would be to support him at his side as he began to heal himself.

But those thoughts were too serious for so early. He wasn't even free yet, and she may never get that opportunity, so for now she refocused her gaze and her thoughts on more carnal and trivial pleasures.

The day passed like that. She paid little attention to Rheinhard's presence, or lack thereof, at times, though she would occasionally turn her attention away from Chaceledon and to the gathered crowd. She saw no imminent threats, but they were in a strange place that she did not know, so she would remain vigilant.

Despite the distracting sight of Chaceledon's muscles rippling beneath his shimmering, sweat-soaked skin.

The afternoon passed quickly as he worked, and she collected coin, and she barely realized the hours fading away into nightfall until, at one point, her stomach growled.

Chaceledon
 

Chaceledon

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Chaceledon worked tirelessly, or if he was tired he didn’t show it. He repaired hammers, picks, crafted horseshoes, sharpened tools, and made basic items like pins and fastenings for carts and tack. His work, even the pins, wasn’t merely good. He added flares and tiny inscriptions to the pins, details that would be lost on the common logger. Tiny flanges on the heads of nails would keep them buried in wood longer. Even though Chaceledon’s creativity was often loud, he clearly knew how to be subtle and make his designs follow function.

He set aside his hammer as light began to fade. Even dragons didn’t work by candlelight. The men, appreciative of their new tools, even left small tips in the form of an extra silver or two...especially after the first men praised his work.

Chaceledon’s stomach was growling. He was ravenously hungry. Thankfully, Rheinhard had been busy. “I have sold the spare horse.” He informed them, and set down two bowls of noodles. Chaceledon leaned in and kissed Rheinhard’s cheek.

“I hope you got a good price.” he said with a soft smile. Between jobs, he hadn’t been idle. He offered Seteta a set of chopsticks he’d made from scrap metal, though they were anything but plain. The ends were inscribed with tiny rolling sand dunes, a pattern of sand and wind that traveled halfway down the chopsticks and disappeared into utilitarian smoothness. His own were a little more showy, having set a pair of seed pearls into the ends. Rheinhard’s were plain, but with a decent crosshatch to give him a better grip.

Chaceledon leaned against the forge with a sigh, delicately nibbling at the noodles. They were submerged in a thick broth, with slices of meat and spring onion. He ate delicately, and sparingly. Rheinhard didn’t mind finishing his bowl for him.

“We will have to be careful passing Vel Anir, there is no place for nonhumans there.” Volker told them. “From there we travel along the Cortosi Coast, through the swamps, then straight north into the sands. It will preserve our supplies rather than attempting to face the desert head on.”

“The swamps..? Hardy dear I’d really rather not...” Chaceledon said uncomfortably.

Trolls are a noble people, we will have no trouble from them.” Volker told him.

“I suppose this means I’m getting rid of my ivory toggles at the next stop...and the combs...” Chaceledon sighed.

“Yes. I do not want to offend men I am thigh-high to. Bull trolls regularly tear each other’s heads off as a show of strength.

Chaceledon looked at Seteta. “Well I’ll do what I can to keep our feet dry so we don’t develop anything disgusting... I don’t suppose you have any experience with the Cortosi swamps?” he asked hopefully.

Seteta
 

Seteta

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"Thank you," Seteta smiled at both Rheinhard and Chaceledon as she loosened her head scarf. She took the chopsticks Chaceledon had crafted first, smiling at the inclusion of the sand dunes etched onto them. Picking up the bowl of noodles, she inhaled the savory scent of the broth first, and allowed the curling steam to warm her face. She alternated between sipping at the broth from the side of the bowl and picking up the meat and noodles with the chopsticks.

Chaceledon, once again, did not eat nearly enough food, and she scowled lightly when the dragon handed his leftovers to Rheinhard, but she didn't comment on it. She listened as the two spoke of their travel route and the trolls, but remained mostly silent as she didn't have much to contribute to that particular conversation.

“Yes. I do not want to offend men I am thigh-high to. Bull trolls regularly tear each other’s heads off as a show of strength."

Seteta raised a skeptical brow at that bit of knowledge, though. "If they regularly tear off each other's heads, how are there any left?" she quipped.

Chaceledon looked at Seteta. “Well I’ll do what I can to keep our feet dry so we don’t develop anything disgusting... I don’t suppose you have any experience with the Cortosi swamps?” he asked hopefully.

"Perhaps we should see about acquiring some waterproof footwear before we leave town?" she suggested, but shook her head when Chaceledon asked about the Cortosi swamps. "I took the Elbion Portal Stone to the Falwood Stone when I traveled here," she explained. "To avoid having to travel near Vel Anir. Even in the far reaches of Amol-Kalit we know of their prejudices against non-humans. Since I'm unfamiliar with the area, I decided to take the route that would make me less likely to wander toward Vel Anir accidentally."

Seteta quietly slurped up the rest of the broth in her bowl, and carefully plucked out the remaining spring onions with her chopsticks, enjoying the crunch of the onions between her teeth.

"Will we be making camp tonight, or staying in town somewhere?" she asked after she finished swallowing.

Chaceledon
 

Chaceledon

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Volker snorted. “Bull trolls carve out territory for females. They best each other in competitions of strength. Decapitation is only the most common method.” He told her. “We will camp. I do not want to rest in town.”

Chaceledon looked about to object.

“Their inn beds likely contain lice.”

The dragon shut his mouth again, and shook his head at the mention of Vel Anir. “Most of your contracts came out of Vel Anir, if I’m not mistaken.” Chaceledon mentioned, examining his nails. “Don’t worry, I don’t want to be anywhere near a city that thinks stuffed dragon heads are the height of fashion. Why not take the Falwood stone to the Elbion stone? We’d skip Vel Anir entirely and head south through Maraan to Pedeo.”

“Oor will know if I go through a portal. We would be broadcasting where we are going. All Oor would have to do is send a letter, then, to stop us.” Volker pointed out. “By going along the Cortosi coast underneath Vel Anir, we look as though we are attempting to reach Annuakat, not Pedeo. We actually look as though we are avoiding Persian altogether.” Volker told them.

Chaceledon gestured to Seteta.
“Thoughts? I suppose I had better start waterproofing boots...” he sighed.

Seteta
 
Last edited:

Seteta

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Seteta shook her head. "I still don't understand how their numbers don't dwindle if they're constantly killing each other."

Chaceledon mentioned contracts, and Seteta glanced down at her empty bowl as she realized what kind of contracts Rheinhard would have had, still listening to the conversation as she thought. If anyone had told her, even mere days ago, that she would soon be courting an enslaved dragon and sharing meals with a cursed assassin, she would never have believed them.

She wouldn't say Rheinhard frightened her, but she was very aware that both he and Chaceledon were predators, and she was the weakest among them. Perhaps a wiser she-elf would have run away. She glanced back up at Chaceledon, though, her eyes softening. He was intriguing and beautiful, no matter what he'd gone through in the past. She wanted to see what he might be like when he was free.

Chaceledon gestured to Seteta. “Thoughts? I suppose I had better start waterproofing boots...” he sighed.

"If you really wanted to, you and I could make a run for the stone," Seteta suggested to Chaceledon. "Rheinhard continue on his way, either to Vel Anir or somewhere else, as a diversion. But you were adamant that he come with us, and if we part ways from him, Oor would surely find out sooner rather than later that you were running, in that case. For now, if you stay with Rheinhard, then at least it seems like you might be taking a little jaunt."

She set her empty bowl down, but kept her new chopsticks, running a finger over the etchings on the handles with a slight smile. Shifting to look at Rheinhard, she asked, "Do you already have a campsite set up? There's very little light left, even for me to work by."

Chaceledon
 

Chaceledon

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Chaceledon shook his head. “I would rather we stay together, Seteta. You’re right. Even if we’re caught we can play it off as just a short jaunt, and we just...part ways.” he clearly didn’t like the idea. He bit his lip a bit. If they were caught, and he never saw Seteta again...somehow there was a small knot in the pit of his stomach at the idea. “But we are not getting caught. We are going to go south through the Cortosi coast, head north to Pedeo, declare asylum and be rid of the bastard forever.”

“With Seteta as a guide we could potentially go deeper into the sands if Persian denies us shelter.” Volker agreed. “I have set up the tent just outside of town.”

Chaceledon blinked.
“Unguarded?” he asked incredulously. It wasn’t like Rheinhard to be so lax.

“I am going to purchase us a water butt to avoid cholera.” Volker sighed, and gathered their dishes. He avoided Chaceledon’s suspicious look. The dragon followed his son with his eyes for a moment, then looked to Seteta. “Walk with me.” he offered his hand to her. “I wanted to talk to you. If...my current husband comes and finds us, I don’t want you to leave with nothing. You deserve something for helping us this far. I’ve hidden gemstones around Arethil. The better ones, things I don’t want Oor selling off.” he said carefully as they walked. “There is a Diamond pipe east of the Allir Portal Stone. Something that could make anyone rich beyond their wildest dreams. Straight east of the Allir stone, roughly one hundred twenty miles, in a small gulley.”

Seteta