Private Tales On life's wayward trails

A private roleplay only for those invited by the first writer

Divina Rosenstern

Merchant Noble
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Sitting, she watched Tzuriel for a time, and though she knew the irony of the situation--had she not said yes to their engagement, nor said yes to this trip, she wouldn't have been in this sort of situation--, she had to admit she was thankful to any Gods that listened that he was alive, and that she was alive with him. Truthfully, she was grateful to be with him, even though circumstances not too long ago were dire. She wished she could be of more use, but the cold waters had sapped her strength.

She wished she were more knowledgeable in the ways of the woods, but she had lived a life partially shielded from the harsh realities outside of Alliria's ports and the Shallows. The savageries of the woods were an acquaintance, and often protected by guards and hired adventurers. She knew of plants, of herbalism and their healing properties, but she had never had to survive like this. She hated feeling so helpless.


"It hurts all over, but I can feel again. I think that's a good start. How about you? do you think you're up to using more of your magic to dry our clothes?"

She glanced down at the underskirt she held. Even now, with the slight breeze, the clothing was slowly beginning to dry. Thankfully, it was not a colder season, it wouldn't take long. She shook her head once, brows drawing in with worry. "No. I used what little I had on the cloak... I am sorry, my love. I have never felt so..." She lifted a hand. The palm was scraped red from carrying rocks, from the gravel. From use they seldom saw. "...Drained."

Weak, useless woman.

The voice hummed through memory; she gritted her jaw a moment, shutting it out, forcefully closing it down. But the cold face wouldn't leave, it surfaced as though to spit more venom at her--


"Eat this, we'll have to be sparing with it until we find another source of food."
She blinked up at him, then nodded once, taking the ration carefully. Perhaps she could be of use after all; despite her ravenous hunger, she nibbled at the jerky, glancing up at him through thick dark lashes. "You must be cold. Come closer, so I can share the cloak and it's warmth." She spread out her free hand to him, and offered a worn smile.

No. She refused to let the past have its' voice now. She would prove herself a useful companion. For Tzuriel, and herself.
 
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Tzuriel Alanthis

Merchant King Of Arethil
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"No. I used what little I had on the cloak... I am sorry, my love. I have never felt so..." She lifted a hand. The palm was scraped red from carrying rocks, from the gravel. From use they seldom saw. "...Drained."
She was indeed having a hard time and he could see it. He knew he couldn't expect everything from her, she wasn't used to life on the road after all, she's not been hardened by it.
"I understand, it's alright, just take it easy."

"You must be cold. Come closer, so I can share the cloak and it's warmth."
He met her eyes and met her worn smile with his own. Everything was set out to dry and the sky was noticeably darker now, but they had a larger fire now which now offered some appreciable warmth, a shelter which would do at least a better job of containing the heat of the fire, and enough wood to last them the night.
He accepted her outstretched hand and joined her under the roof of their new makeshift shelter. He opened the cloak and put himself next to her before closing it around his shoulders.
He found her fingers and cupped them in his hands, bringing them to his mouth and blowing in them inside the shelter of his palms to trap the heat and warm them.

Even though she was cold and exhausted he couldn't help the feeling that something was eating at her. Granted, he wasn't all that familiar with her magic, perhaps it was a side effect?
"I'm sorry, Divina. I should have been more prepared for something like this... You don't deserve to sleep on the dirt with a cloak as the only dry thing between the two of us."
He sighed and rested his head on her shoulder, closing his eyes wearily.
"Something is eating at you... Do you want to tell me what it is now? Or perhaps the morning? We can spend the rest of our energy "warming up" tonight..."

In spite of his exhaustion he could feel a fire building within him, the heat of passion that they could use to warm their chilled bones. Her naked body pressed against his and vise versa, somehow he found the energy.
 
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Divina Rosenstern

Merchant Noble
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He had done so much. She was proud to be his, that they were here together. Her heart warmed looking at him while he cupped her hands. She also couldn't help but admire him as he moved; most would have been embarrassed to be walking around without clothing, but he had confidence enough to not care and even to consider her.
"I'm sorry, Divina. I should have been more prepared for something like this... You don't deserve to sleep on the dirt with a cloak as the only dry thing between the two of us."
The smile brightened, widened at his words, and when he rested his head against her shoulder, she brought one arm free to wrap it about his waist, pressing a light kiss into his shoulder. "You don't deserve this either, Tzuriel. How could we prepare for something we thought we already adequately had?" She pressed another kiss, this time against his throat. "And next I go with you, we shall be better prepared. Together." Her remaining hand between his pressed against one of his own hands, giving a light, tender squeeze. But... he was perceptive. She knew it was part of what they were, but being perceived so clearly was a surprise; she blinked a moment.

"Something is eating at you... Do you want to tell me what it is now? Or perhaps the morning? We can spend the rest of our energy "warming up" tonight..."
A low chuckle slipped past her lips, and she shifted, pressing another kiss against his neck, her voice low and soft against his ear. "Tomorrow. I'll tell you about it tomorrow. Meantime..." She pressed her lips further up until they met his, moving her free arm until her hand settled on his chest, blue eyes glinting with a smile. They were both exhausted, but this would help ease their stresses and anxieties, and was indeed a way to warm up... but truthfully, she just wanted to be with him. This passion was always a way to do just that.

"I want you, Tzuriel. Let's 'warm up'." Full lips curved into a grin, and she leaned back, lightly tugging at his hand and fully admiring him in the ambient firelight.
 

Tzuriel Alanthis

Merchant King Of Arethil
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"You don't deserve this either, Tzuriel. How could we prepare for something we thought we already adequately had?" She pressed another kiss, this time against his throat. "And next I go with you, we shall be better prepared. Together."
Next time... Sometimes Tzuriel wondered if Divina was just a beautiful dream, how else could someone like her really want to put up with any of this?
But he could tell that she was being brave, perhaps for his sake, nearly everything she's done since their engagement has been for his sake.

This woman was definitely choosing the short end of the deal to be with a doomed man, consigning herself to carry on his legacy. Granted their combined businesses brought unimaginable wealth, but that was a secondary consideration.

"Tomorrow. I'll tell you about it tomorrow. Meantime..." She pressed her lips further up until they met his, moving her free arm until her hand settled on his chest, blue eyes glinting with a smile. They were both exhausted, but this would help ease their stresses and anxieties, and was indeed a way to warm up... but truthfully, she just wanted to be with him. This passion was always a way to do just that.

"I want you, Tzuriel. Let's 'warm up'." Full lips curved into a grin, and she leaned back, lightly tugging at his hand and fully admiring him in the ambient firelight.
"Tomorrow, then." He smiled as he met her kiss halfway, the glow of the firelight highlighted her peaks and cast a deep shade on her curves giving her a warm and inviting appearance. He followed her down and they made love well into the night until warmth was no longer an issue.
It was fast and passionate, as they moved together and their blood began its regular flow once more.

He watched the fire throughout the night, getting up occasionally to stoke the embers and add a few more sticks to the blaze. Again it was a huge risk to have a fire in the first place, even a smokeless one, he could only pray that the light wouldn't attract their assailants.
He would quickly return to the shelter and the arms of his fiancée so that exhaustion could bring him to sleep once more.

Morning came slowly and broke in a grey dawn. The fire had gone out at some point in the night and Tzuriel slept through it, clinging to Divina for warmth.
There was a thin layer of frost on the ground around their shelter, but their clothes miraculously remained free of frost and dried in their proximity to the fireplace.
Tzuriel didn't want to get up. He was sore and his muscles kept wanting to cramp up, the cold air was unwelcome on his bare skin. His sexy fiancée was warm and in his arms, they were safe for now and things seemed less dire.
But he also didn't want to get within bowshot of their assassins, he also didn't want to starve or freeze to death again.
He reluctantly peeled himself away from Divina, doing his utmost to not wake her as he crawled out of the cloak and checked over their clothes. A few were slightly singed from the fire, they were cold but dry. He brought them inside the shelter, set Divina's clothes beside her within reach, and clenched his teeth as he pulled on his stiff and chilled clothing.
Perhaps he could sponsor some enchanters to start a business creating magical winter clothes? Especially for winter treks like this... If they survived this, that will be his next business venture.

He got dressed and went out of the shelter to see if the fire could be salvaged and to gather more wood. Everything was covered in white frost, but that will likely melt later in the day. He brushed off the wood and found some still dry twigs and firestarter. With that he got enough of a blaze going to start working on the wetter pieces of wood.
He went to their food supply and began cooking some mutton over a spit he made for the fire.
Meager by his standards, but sufficient to keep their energy up.
 
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Divina Rosenstern

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Her bones were on fire.

Her lungs burned, like a great hand wrapped around them and squeezed in an inferno-like grip. She found herself gasping for air, the pain knifing through her ribs. She could hear her mother's voice, see her figure vaguely, but the fever burned in her brain, making her hazy. She could hear her voice, talking to someone, but another person paced into the room, his normally pleasant face taut with anxiety and frustration. She could see them talking together, but he broke away from her mother, stalking towards her bedside. She could see his hands as they gripped her shoulders, and began to shake her, her body limp as his frustration finally seemed to break something in him.

"---Weak!"

"Child... not a son... Divina!..."

She woke with a start from the nightmare but did not gasp. At first, she couldn't register her surroundings; the bite of the chill, the dampened earth, the scent of pine. But slowly, images, memories came back to life, and she realized her arms were empty. Tzuriel. Did they take him?

She could hear sounds behind her; slowly, she eased over onto her back, seeing him tending to the fire. For a moment, she could only stare at him. Another shaft of guilt poked at her, reminding her of her own ineptitude here. Between the two of them, he knew how to survive better. He might have fared better without her own dead weight dragging them both down.

Swallowing it down with the relief he was fine, she began looking around and noticed her own clothes were set beside her. Smiling with relief that they were dry, she didn't mind so much their chill. With time, they would warm. She caught a glimpse of the dirt smearing her arm, and suppressed a grimace. She didn't want to know what her face looked like.

She dressed quickly, grimacing at the cold clothing. But the cloak was warm enough; quickly, she wrapped it around herself, shivering as the cool morning still nipped through her dress. "Anything I can do to help?" she asked him, crouching down next to him and eyeing the spit. Perhaps she could forage for something as they would make their way back; a small way to being useful. "Smells good."
 

Tzuriel Alanthis

Merchant King Of Arethil
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"Anything I can do to help?" she asked him, crouching down next to him and eyeing the spit. Perhaps she could forage for something as they would make their way back; a small way to being useful. "Smells good."
He looked over his shoulder as she crawled out of the shelter and joined him. He could only smile at the sight of her, tousled and dirty in wrinkled clothes, yet she still managed to pull off that sleeping beauty look so well that he hardly noticed, "Good morning, Divina. If you want you can tend to the food while I sort through everything again. You can talk, I'll listen if you're ready."
He stood and went to the pack, giving her shoulder a reassuring squeeze as he walked by her.

He began sorting through their supplies, throwing out a few things ruined by the water. Their map was a lost cause, their food was mostly salvageable, so long as they ate it soon before it spoiled. They might have enough for three days, perhaps four if they can make it stretch. Some strong twine which could be used for making snares, a small medical kit that would only be good for disinfecting and cleaning wounds
He had his enchanted sword still, which he didn't need to worry too much about. Magical items tended to survive far better than normal things. However he would need to make sure their hunting knife didn't rust, their whetstone was fine. Flint and steel were good, though he would need to keep the steel from rusting as well.
He set up the Whetstone and went to work sharpening the blade of the hunting knife.

But he made sure to pay close attention to Divina.
 
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Divina Rosenstern

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"Good morning, Divina. If you want you can tend to the food while I sort through everything again. You can talk, I'll listen if you're ready."
Her shoulders stiffened at his mention of her talking. Truthfully, she had hoped he had forgotten already, or would have asked later. As it was, the usual cool calm the Allirian woman maintained cracked, and he would see a momentary flicker of rare anxiety, before it smoothed over once more.

She loathed talking about herself. It was a weakness, exposing doubts and fears. If they had still merely remained business partners, she wouldn't have talked about it at all. But... she glanced up at him for a moment. This was Tzuriel. Though they hadn't had much personal time to spend with one another, she trusted him. They both held secrets of each other, but it was more than that. Dropping her eyes, she exhaled, listening to the scrape of the knife to the whetstone a beat and the crackle of the fire before speaking.

"I want to be useful."

She continued, looking at the meat, but her jaw was set, not allowing a flicker of emotion to penetrate through while she spoke. She could surely keep calm while discussing this. "You would know this. But the patriarch of Rosenstern, Ricard, married above his station. His wife, my mother Amelia, was the heiress to the Gilded Fleet Merchant company. He married with the promise to her family to produce sons for the Gilded Fleet to continue its' legacy. But all he had were girls."

Her lips twisted in a bitter smile, but her eyes glinted coldly, watching the flames lick the wood, and then the meat. "I was the oldest. The most responsible. I never hesitated to tell him how I felt he was squandering our wealth away; though he was a noble, he was a squalid one. And my mother was caught in his poverty." Her hand trembled a moment, but she buried it into her cloak, continuing on numbly. "They still love one another. But he nearly cost us her entire fortune; when I was nine, I overheard him discussing with his creditors how much he owed, and I tore into him about putting us into poverty. I was furious with my mother for letting him tear down her legacy, but I was far angrier he was denying us girls what was also rightfully ours with his need to impress his 'friends'." The bitter smile dropped, and her eyes narrowed.

"You might remember this. There was a plague in Alliria, of a fever. It didn't kill many of the nobility, but it killed many of those who lived in squalor. I lost two sisters to it, and caught it myself." Her voice dropped, and for a moment, she was still.

"I remember the burning, the agony. They didn't send for a physician because we were almost destitute. But he came into my room one day, when I was on the verge of giving up. I remember all of it."

Her other hand rested on the shoulder he touched, then glanced up at him. Features calm, but in her eyes was the slightest wavering. "He shook me. Hard enough to make my teeth rattle, for me to feel like he would have shaken me to pieces if he kept it up. Then telling me I should have been a son, that I should be useful and die." Even saying those words was bitter, and she scowled. "I know he was drunk. That he truly didn't believe that... but I did. So I survived to spite him." Blue eyes flashed, momentarily, in anger. Not at him, nor even her father, just some directionless fury that faded within a moment. "What I do is for my mother. I inherited all so that she could live in comfort, and my surviving sisters as well. I just... want to be useful." She turned her face away again, her voice quiet once more. "Out here, I am not. I am a noblewoman, adjusted to fine things and a soft life. I wish I could do more; you've done so much already."

She set her jaw, shoulders still tense, embarrassed at all of that pouring out, feeling her face flush. It was clearly just the heat of the flames. She could blame it on the fire.

"That's all."
 
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Tzuriel Alanthis

Merchant King Of Arethil
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"I want to be useful."
Not the start he was expecting. He hardly considered her useless. Her efforts in the river probably made the difference between life and death for them.
But he listened patiently, she needed to get this off of her chest.

"You would know this. But the patriarch of Rosenstern, Ricard, married above his station. His wife, my mother Amelia, was the heiress to the Gilded Fleet Merchant company. He married with the promise to her family to produce sons for the Gilded Fleet to continue its' legacy. But all he had were girls."

Her lips twisted in a bitter smile, but her eyes glinted coldly, watching the flames lick the wood, and then the meat. "I was the oldest. The most responsible. I never hesitated to tell him how I felt he was squandering our wealth away; though he was a noble, he was a squalid one. And my mother was caught in his poverty." Her hand trembled a moment, but she buried it into her cloak, continuing on numbly. "They still love one another. But he nearly cost us her entire fortune; when I was nine, I overheard him discussing with his creditors how much he owed, and I tore into him about putting us into poverty. I was furious with my mother for letting him tear down her legacy, but I was far angrier he was denying us girls what was also rightfully ours with his need to impress his 'friends'."
He nodded along as he sharpened and cleaned their blades with long smooth strokes on the whetstone. This was not an uncommon story, he'd heard a few different versions of it from several suitors. Families brought to destitution because of poor decision-making, the foolish fathers then try to marry off their heir to a wealthy and influential partner in hopes that their family will be restored to its proper status through that union.

But he knew that Divina's story of the past had a happier ending, she had married and done her best to support her family, but after two marriages had failed her she came into her own strength and forged her own path... At least, that's how he understood it, she's been the most prominent provider for her family and even her surviving sisters didn't find half of the success that she has.
She successfully charted the choppy waters of merchant and noble politics and navigated the rushing rapids of the merchant counsel. Like the water she controlled she was ever changing and adapting, flowing around obstacles and rushing relentlessly towards her goals.

"You might remember this. There was a plague in Alliria, of a fever. It didn't kill many of the nobility, but it killed many of those who lived in squalor. I lost two sisters to it, and caught it myself." Her voice dropped, and for a moment, she was still.

"I remember the burning, the agony. They didn't send for a physician because we were almost destitute. But he came into my room one day, when I was on the verge of giving up. I remember all of it."

Her other hand rested on the shoulder he touched, then glanced up at him. Features calm, but in her eyes was the slightest wavering. "He shook me. Hard enough to make my teeth rattle, for me to feel like he would have shaken me to pieces if he kept it up. Then telling me I should have been a son, that I should be useful and die." Even saying those words was bitter, and she scowled. "I know he was drunk. That he truly didn't believe that... but I did. So I survived to spite him." Blue eyes flashed, momentarily, in anger. Not at him, nor even her father, just some directionless fury that faded within a moment. "What I do is for my mother. I inherited all so that she could live in comfort, and my surviving sisters as well. I just... want to be useful."
He'd heard of that plague. His empire was much smaller at the time but he had his feet under him and plenty of capital to back himself. While he wasn't in Alliria or the Reach at the time he received the news and immediately sent word that his employees would be taken care of, he had secured emergency relief supplies from some of his allies in Elbion who immediately sent them on to Alliria to aid her in its time of need... Many still died in spite of their efforts, a knot formed in his stomach to know that Divina suffered through that ordeal.

"Out here, I am not. I am a noblewoman, adjusted to fine things and a soft life. I wish I could do more; you've done so much already."

She set her jaw, shoulders still tense, embarrassed at all of that pouring out, feeling her face flush. It was clearly just the heat of the flames. She could blame it on the fire. "That's all."
He set down his blade and whetstone, got up and went and knelt to one knee facing her. He placed his hands on her shoulders and leaned down, kissing her on the forehead.
"Put all thoughts of inadequacy out of your mind, Divina." He said in a low, gentle voice, almost a whisper.
"Your magic brought us through the river, I merely used the advantage you provided. Allow yourself this little bit of selfishness, do you sew your own clothing? Or do you call the seamstress? Do you mint your own coins? Or do you let the minter do it?"
He gave her his best reassuring smile.
"We have different skills, that's a fact. If you see something you CAN do, go ahead and do it, otherwise you shouldn't bemoan not having skills you haven't had the chance to develop. I'm not requiring you to be useful, in fact, allow me this opportunity to protect and provide for you."

He let his smile soften.
"Thank you for telling me what was on your mind, I'm sure it was difficult for you to speak of your past. I'm thankful for your trust. But, allow me to be honest, we must put ourselves aside for the time being, switch back to the mind of merchants and speak clearly and logically."
Almost on command his face was emotionless. His next words weren't said harshly but with a snap of logical analysis.
"We are currently trying to survive in the wilderness and we must assume that we are still being hunted by assassins. We must recognize our inadequacies and do our best with what we know, if you don't know what to do please recognize that and allow me to take the lead, I promise to do the same. If we lean on our strengths instead of our weaknesses and remain logical and aloof from ourselves, we can survive with the greatest efficiency and make it home alive."

He kissed her and allowed the mask to drop for a moment to give her a look... A mixture of love, reassurance and apology. He would have liked to have been more sensitive to her feelings, but these feelings could get in the way and lower her spirits which could effect their chances of survival. He needed her to get back into the right mindset, to not see her inadequacies as a barrier but an opportunity to rely on him if he was capable of it... After all, wasn't that how a team worked? How a partnership worked? How husband and wife worked?
 
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Divina Rosenstern

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He set down his blade and whetstone, got up and went and knelt to one knee facing her. He placed his hands on her shoulders and leaned down, kissing her on the forehead.
"Put all thoughts of inadequacy out of your mind, Divina." He said in a low, gentle voice, almost a whisper.
"Your magic brought us through the river, I merely used the advantage you provided. Allow yourself this little bit of selfishness, do you sew your own clothing? Or do you call the seamstress? Do you mint your own coins? Or do you let the minter do it?"
He gave her his best reassuring smile.
"We have different skills, that's a fact. If you see something you CAN do, go ahead and do it, otherwise you shouldn't bemoan not having skills you haven't had the chance to develop. I'm not requiring you to be useful, in fact, allow me this opportunity to protect and provide for you."

He let his smile soften.
"Thank you for telling me what was on your mind, I'm sure it was difficult for you to speak of your past. I'm thankful for your trust. But, allow me to be honest, we must put ourselves aside for the time being, switch back to the mind of merchants and speak clearly and logically."
He was right. Dwelling on these thoughts would only be detrimental... she had to be more tired than she thought to allow such thoughts a breath of consideration. But when he mentioned protecting, her heart did another strange lurch. When was the last time she allowed someone to protect and provide?

There had always been guards, once House Rosenstern fell into her hands. But she had always protected and provided for herself, never allowing any other an inch, because there was always the risk of failure. But... she would still do what she could.

Watching the cool mask click into place, she nodded once. They had both navigated rough tides alone before, and just because they survived this initial attack, didn't mean that it would be the only one, especially now. She doubted whomever financed these assassins had shallow pockets; the suggestion of death wouldn't be enough.

She had no doubt the ones in charge would want proof. Well, she'd be happy to disappoint that.

She rested her hands over his own, leaning up when he kissed her, then nodded once. "You're right. Thank you, love." However... the barest hint of a smile touched her lips, and she leaned back. "Let's eat, then. There isn't time to waste."

There was no luxury of wallowing now; she could rely on him. She would do her best by her own strengths, but she could allow him to protect and provide, and do what she could in return. Thankfully, they were warmer now, and had survived the freezing water and cooler night. Now there was just the time ahead.
 
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