Private Tales Read between the lines

  • The Veil Falls

    Three times a year Lessat, the largest of Arethil's two moons, eclipses the sun. This time the event falls on Hallow's Eve. All across the world spirits start to appear, reliving their gruesome ends. They cannot be interacted with.

    Join us for this year's Halloween event. More information coming soon!

A private roleplay only for those invited by the first writer

Zana

Second Level
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As Talus moved off to gamble, Zana moved to the bar and took a seat on one of the stalls. More than a few of the men there gave her more than a couple of appraising looks. The bartender puffed out his chest and with a little swagger to his step, strode over to take her order.

"What'll it be love?"

"Just some water please, it looks like one of us will be needing a clear head," she sighed dramatically and glanced over her shoulder to where Talus was. The bar keep followed her gaze and gave a short snort.

"If I had a lass like you I wouldnt be wasting my time on gambling wit that lot," he shook his head and poured her water with a hint of elderflower, much to her pleasant surprise. Zana gave him a thankful smile.

"They have a reputation do they?" She asked innocently as she took a sip.

"Oh aye, they were in 'ere the other night till closing cheatin' this one or that. I had to throw 'em out in the end gone closing mind you!" He grumbled. "I only let them back in because of the gold they were showing off this morning."
 
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Talus

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Talus wasn't aware of the cheating, or at least he gave absolutely no indication that he knew. As the dice slammed down under the cup and revealed to show nothing but sixes the young Dreadlord let out a long whistle. "Man you guys are good."

He said with a shake of his head as he pushed over some of the coin he'd wagered.

The three men let out wry chuckles, each of them looking at Talus like he was a complete sucker. The Dreadlord simply smiled at them, not letting on about anything else at all as he leaned forward and scooped up the dice into the cup. They rattled slightly in the leather, and he shifted as he spoke to the three men.

"No wonder you have all that gold with luck like this." He said as he threw down the dice.

"Eh? Ah nah we ain't that lucky. This is from a job we done. Don't worry you got plenty a chance."

Talus wondered if the man was stupid or if he just thought Talus was. A frown touched his lips as he said his guess of dice out loud, and then he lifted the cup to find that once again there were more sixes than anything else.

Liars dice had to be the worst fucking game to play with loaded dice. "What sort of job earns you that kinda gold?"

Talus asked curiously.

The man who had first spoken got a thwap on the shoulder from one of the others, this ones voice more gruff.

"Just some work for the merchantmen on the docks, ya know."
 
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Zana

Second Level
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"Huh," Zana painted on the most innocent and surprised look she could muster onto her face. There was an audible breathy sigh from the man next to her as she tucked a lock of hair behind her ear and leaned forward ever so slightly, propping her chin up on her hand. The bartender leaned in without even realising it.

"I heard, that they were on the docks when that shipment came in - y'know, the one with all those arms from Vel'Anir?" the man's face was so close to hers she could actually feel his breath against her skin. It smelt of stale ale and it was an effort not to wrinkle her nose.

The rotundish man began to laugh.

"Aye no love, no way it were them who could 'ave seen that. Half a dozen men in 'ere could place them at that table when that happened."

There was a not so subtle shift to Zana's gaze because the bartenders smile faltered a little.

"Would you be willing to swear to that in a court of law?"
 
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Talus

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Talus kept chatting, and losing. "Man you guys are really good!"

The young Dreadlord said as he shook his head.

Itwas obvious that the men thought him a fool and a sucker, but that didn't particularly matter to him. All that he needed was for them to be comfortable. If they were thought they were okay, if they thought he was just there to lose to them, it would be much easier to pull the rug out from beneath their feet.

"Just luck, for sure."

He nodded his head.

"Really? That job really must have been something." He commented. "Who was the merchant?"

"Just a small guy, you wouldn't know him."

Not what he'd wanted to hear. His fingers tightened for a moment. "What he have you do?"

"Oh, we were just...loading some cargo."

Now he was getting what he wanted, a story from the men that he could pin them to and then break apart piece by piece.
 
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Zana

Second Level
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With the barkeep and several nearby drinkers names, occupations and testimonies all noted down, Zana stood up with a gracious smile, two pints in her hands, and then made her way over to where Talus was sat playing the game with the men in question. She offered him a knowing smile as she approached and a small nod of the head to confirm she already had some statements to the contrary of the story being put forward to the court currently.

"There you are!" Zana chimed in a sing song voice and set down the two drinks on the table. The men looked up ready to no doubt tell her to sod off before doing a double take. She pretended to pay them no mind as she slid into his lap and glanced over his dice with a grimace.

"Gambling away all our hard earned money I see," she sighed dramatically and turned her eyes open the men who ogled her openly. "I am sorry if he is bothering you gentlemen."
 
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Talus

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By the time Zana came over Talus had nailed down the three sailors "story", at least what they had told everyone. He knew it was all lies, but, it was important for bringing down the hammer.

He smiled at her for a moment as she slipped into her lap, simply drawing his fingers over her thighs and reveling in the thought of her being there. He gazed at her, then slowly swept his eyes back towards the three men. "Oh no bother at all, My love."

Talus smirked.

"Hard to bother Liars." Almost immediately the three men half stood up, affronted by what he had said, or perhaps trying to show off to Zana. "SIT DOWN!"

His voice held such authority, such command, that the three men suddenly froze.

"I know what the fuck you are. What you did. Sit. Down." The three men looked at one another, and then slowly sat down. "My love. Would you care to explain their position?"

His voice returned to an almost sweet tone.
 

Zana

Second Level
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Even Zana froze when Talus raised his voice. He was usually so calm, so methodical in his thinking before he spoke that emotion rarely entered the equation. It took her a moment to register he was waiting for her to speak.

"Well," she cleared her throat and ran her fingers over the hand that laid against her thigh. "Let's see. Combined with what you've told my darling fiancé here and the witness statements from several patrons in here that can place you at this table for the whole night you lied about, I would say quite a terrible position when the courts find out you lied. What is the prison sentence in Alliria for falsifying evidence?" she pretended to ponder the question for a moment and then snapped her fingers.

"Ah yes, life imprisonment. In truth, quite a light sentence where we come from. Though... I suppose accidents do happen in prison. I'm sure the counsellor who paid you for their services would be quite keen to silence any talk of this connecting back to him..."
 
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Talus

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"Or." Talus began as his eyes slowly traveled between the three men. "We could make sure that none of you see the day you need to testify on."

Such a threat would normally have come from Zana, but in that moment Talus seemed to radiate violence. The way that he sat, even with Zana in his lap, spoke of just how quickly he could snap and break into a fight. It was like he was ready for them to deny it all.

He was a predator looking at prey.

The three men looked at Talus, at Zana, and then at one another. Slowly they seemed to shirk back in their seats, as though they knew that they had lost already.

"We ummm...we could leave town..."

Talus raised eyebrow. "You know, I think that would be a good idea."

No witnesses meant no trial, they didn't have to tell the truth, as long as they weren't there the councilor couldn't prove anything at all.
 

Zana

Second Level
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Oh but there was something to be said about a man who oozed danger. Zana wasn't even on the receiving end of the threat but the power and force behind it had a weird sensation fluttering in her stomach. Her nails dug slightly into his thigh beneath the table as the men squirmed beneath that lions gaze and finally conceded to his idea. Pride flooded through her.

"Excellent," Zana's lips quirked up at the corners and then, with a final squeeze to Talus' thigh, stood up and brushed down her dress. "I think that is probably the wisest thing you have agreed to in your lives," her head tilted to the side as if weighing up the matter before nodding to herself. Her eyes then turned to Talus and softened a fraction.

"Shall we go get your friend out of prison now my love?"
 
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Talus

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Talus leaned over towards Zana and whispered in her ear. "Sure you don't want to find somewhere private for me to take you?"

He had felt her exhilaration through the bond of course, and felt her hand dig into his skin. His smirk told of no small amount of smugness, though he hadn't done it for that reason. He'd known the men wouldn't respond to anything else.

Threats of jail was fine, but people like these only responded to violence.

He wondered if that more violent side of him would have to come out more often soon. A battle was drawing near, one that they would both have to fight in. He took a breath, pushing the thought away and trying to focus on the moment.

"Though I suppose we'll have later for that." Talus said as his hand brushed over her hip.
 

Zana

Second Level
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Zana's cheeks coloured and she playfully slapped his arm.

"Your friend is in prison!" it wasn't exactly a no but then she would never be able to hide her true feelings from him. The three men looked far more gloomy as the pair left them and it wasn't long before they scraped back their chairs and left also, muttering about getting out of town. The barkeep didn't look particularly sad to see them go though that could have been the golden coin Zana had given him for a drink that should have cost a few coppers and told him to keep the change.

Zana waved playfully as they left and then looped her arm about Talus' waist to make their way back to where they had left the servant.

"Besides, the smell of that place really made me feel sick," she grimaced and put a hand on her stomach. She didn't think she could take the jostling of being pinned up against a wall.
 
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Talus

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"Me too." Talus commented quietly as he gently wrapped his arm around her to make sure she was steady as they walked.

Night had fallen by now, and he wasn't entirely sure that they could just waltz into prison and demand Zell's release.

At best they were two foreigners, at worse they were agents from another City. Dreadlords no less. After a bref discussion with Zana the two of them decided instead to return to the estate, sharing the goodnews with the helpful servant.

The man was instantly ecstatic, telling them he would have Zell out by dawn and rushing out before Talus could even get another word in.

"Well." Talus said as he watched the open door of the manor. "I suppose we just wait here."

A shrug rolled over his shoulder. "Should I go look for that tea?"

He didn't think Zell would mind.
 
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Zana

Second Level
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How... odd a sensation to have used her magic for a selfless reason.

Zana watched the servant go with an odd expression on her face as she realised that sparking a vision to uncover the truth, to help this stranger she hadn't even met, was the first time she had used her gifts for someone other than herself or Luana. Even in Karak it had just been a song she had sung and that had been partly a need for acceptance from Talus' family than anything else. When Talus spoke about tea Zana didn't hear him due to the depth of her thoughts.

"Hmm? Oh," she blinked and then gave him a tired smile. "Tea sounds good. I'm going to go find that room, I think that is me tapped out for the evening," she placed a kiss to his cheek and then slung the saddlebag over her shoulder to set off in search of a room.
 
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Talus

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"Upstairs I think, next to where we changed." At least if he understood all that correctly.

His fingers tightened on her for a brief second, and then he watched her go. A smile touched his lips before he turned on his heel and headed towards where he was pretty sure the kitchen was. After a few moments of rooting around he confirmed his suspicion, and then set about digging through cabinets.

Eventually the young Dreadlord found what he wanted, a teapot and some leaves.

By the time he had everything together Zana would have found their bedroom, and Talus came up holding a tray with two cups on it as well as the pot. He did not yet intend to sleep himself, but he thought bringing her a drink would be nice.

After all he had taken their whole first day here.
 
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Zana

Second Level
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Zana listened to Talus' vague memory of where their room was and found it was surprising ease. The manor was set out very similarly to the one she had stayed in during her time in the Empire; Westerners seemed to enjoy having large, airy rooms and spaces. There were only three doors on this level - the middle one had been the small room in which they had changed, and to the left was a guest chamber. The other door she discovered was a lavish bathroom, though it paled in comparison to their one in Karak of course.

Even so she used it to wash off the grime of the day before heading back to their bedroom and getting changed into a silken orange nightgown he had packed for her. Grey, she was semi-surprised to find, was already in the room fast asleep by the fire. She shook her head in amusement and went to get into bed when she passed a long mirror.

Zana paused then took two steps back to gaze at herself there from the side. Her hand and eyes travelled down to her stomach where she briefly flattened the nightgown against the slight curve. She barely even noticed Talus come into the room.
 
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Talus

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"Admiring true beauty?" Talus said as he stepped into the room and moved passed her towards the small table just beyond the bed.

He had not taken the time to explore as Zana had, but had quickly managed to find his way thanks to the bond shared between the two of them. A smile flickered over his features as she watched her looking in the mirror.

His eyes caught on her form, sliding down with that same intent that it always did.

Instead of walking over to her however Talus simply set the cups out and began to pour the tea. It was a night time brew, something meant to soothe the stomach and any aches one might have. At least he was pretty sure that was it.

He'd never been one for tea.
 
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Zana

Second Level
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Zana glanced up at him and her whole face transformed; her smile was the personification of love and devotion itself. It softened every hard line in her face and the light in her eyes. Tilting her head briefly to the side she cast one more look in the mirror before clambering into the large bed.

"It just keeps hitting me I'm growing two people right now," her voice was full of wonder and she thanked him for the tea as he passed it to her. "And that we're going to be parents in seven months... it... it feels so close so suddenly."
 
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Talus

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He nodded his head. "It does."

Talus would have been lying if he still didn't feel a mix of anxiety over the idea of being a father. He wanted it more than anything else in this world, more than he wanted the revolution in Vel Anir, but he was as nervous as any would be father.

The Dreadlord knew just how much things would change, how much he didn't know about raising children.

"I need to read some books." He said more to himself than Zana. "Figure out how to be a dad."

Talus had never had one, never had an example.
 
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Zana

Second Level
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Zana blew carefully onto the hot tea and shut her eyes, letting the smell of camomile wash over her with a content sigh. Already she could feel her muscles relaxing and her body growing heavy with tiredness.

"Mm," her lips curled at the corners at his words and she looked up to take in his anxious face. She patted the bed beside her. "You will be an amazing father, Talus, because you will love them," once he was seated with her in the bed she wriggled close, mindful of her tea which she took a sip of.

"I know it."
 
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Talus

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Talus looked at her for a moment, nodding his head nervously in agreement before smiling. His hand wrapped softly around her, careful not to jostle her too much so that she didn't spill the tea all over herself and the bed.

"Hopefully." He said softly.

After meeting Riley he'd had thought it a good thing, that he would have time to...well practice a little bit. His younger sister was quite a bit older of course, but she was still his sister and in need of a paternal figure. He had figured at least he'd be able to connect with her.

Now that Zana was pregnant it seemed time was running away from them.

"I'll stay up a bit to greet Zell." He said softly. "I'll make sure he doesn't wake you up."
 
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Zana

Second Level
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Zana cupped his cheek and turned him in towards a slow and deep kiss. When they parted she lingered there for a moment with the ghost of a smile playing about her lips. There was no doubt in her mind he would be a wonderful father and she could not wait for him to discover it for himself.

"That is kind of you, Grey will protect me won't you boy?" The wolf looked up from the floor and immediately trotted over to jump on the bed. "I... I'm going to wear the manacles whilst we're here," Zana looked up at him nervously.

This was a huge step. It was one thing to bind her magic at home but in a strange place?

"I need my sleep, they need me to sleep," her fingers brushed her stomach.
 
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Talus

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He paused for a moment, and then slowly nodded. "I'll keep my sword on me."

Then he glanced towards the large open spaced windows. A frown pulled at his lips for a brief moment and then quickly made another decision.

"And Mark some runes." He did not think Zell would mind if he marred some of his windows, and...it might be better to draw the runes in blood anyway. Mage blood was a powerful catalyst for Rune Magic. His hand gently interlaced with Zana's. "You'll be safe."

He would make sure of that.

A frown touched his lips for a brief moment. "Maybe...maybe we should get some Guards."

Was that being too overprotective? Probably.
 
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Zana

Second Level
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Zana laughed softly and finished off her tea, setting the empty cup down on the bedside table.

"I'm an elite soldier even without my magic, love. Grey will hear anyone trying to get in and my sword is right here," she patted to the nasty looking dragon blade the dwarfs had gifted her that stood propped against the bed.

Zana let go and cupped his cheek lovingly with their entwined fingers. She gave a cheeky but reassuring smile.

"You never know, perhaps the babies will protect their mother."

If only she knew how right she was.
 
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Talus

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He frowned for a moment. "Still..."

It wasn't that he doubted Zana's abilities. She was a soldier like he was, capable of fighting even without magic, but that didn't mean much against a dozen assassins. Talus had learned that lesson himself, and he was one of the best swordsmen in all of Vel Anir.

"Maybe we think about it." He said slowly. "When you're further along. at least"

Talus wanted her safe, protected.
 
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Zana

Second Level
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Zana's brows pulled down into a frown and her lips into a thin white line bracketed by barely contained frustration. Instead of exploding however she took a breathe and shut her eyes, counting back from 10.

"We will discuss it," she conceded once she reached one for she knew how much it meant to him. The worry of her going on missions was bad enough but she could feel how much worse it was that she might be attacked in their own home.

"I'm going to get some sleep love," Zana pressed a kiss to the underside of his jaw then snuggled down under the covers. After being ill, travelling and using her gifts on top of her exhaustion it was unsurprising she was out as soon as her head touched the pillow.