Private Tales Read between the lines

A private roleplay only for those invited by the first writer

Zana

The Executioner
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Thud... thud.... thud...
It was a blur of Dreadlords kneeling and then heads rolling. The heavy feel of the axe--


Zana jerked away from the fence as if it were a red hot poker. She wasn't there. Here, here. She took a breath and forced herself to look at the house and focus on the feel of Grey's fur between her fingers, the sounds of the birds as the wheeled about overhead. It's done. It's over. I did what I had to do... Words Guards and other Dreadlords, rebels and nobles had told her firmly whenever they caught the haunted look in her eyes. Vel'Anir had needed a clean slate and that didn't mean releasing walking weapons upon the world full of hate.

But some had walked free...

She hadn't realised how tightly she had been holding the scythe until her hands began to hurt. With a deep sigh she forced herself to walk on towards the tool shed which was overflowing with Talus' equipment. She dropped it up against the flung open door and then waddled back towards the sound of the hammering. Grey ran ahead of her though stopped every now and then to make sure she was indeed following. Zana got the distinct sense he would start herding her soon like some over-grown sheep dog. She shook her head at the thought and a rare, small smile tugged at her lips.

"Are you hungry?" she called up when she finally reached the living area doorway.
 
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Talus

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The hammer came down one more time, a thunderous noise that seemed to echo.

Then Zana spoke.

Talus turned almost instantly, his gaze falling quickly on his heavily pregnant wife. He flashed her a brief frown, mostly because he was still not a fan of her working this late into her pregnancy. It was a thought he kept quiet though.

She'd bonked him the last time he'd brought it up. "Starving."

The once Dreadlord said as he pushed himself up from the floor. Hammer flew briefly into the air, flipping a few times before landing once more in his palm.

"First floor is nearly done." For a third time. "I like the more openness."

Zana's idea.
 
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Zana

The Executioner
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Zana's hand subconsciously smoothed over her swollen stomach as one of the twins moved and her eyes roamed slowly over the room before her. Originally they had sectioned off the kitchen, livingroom, a playroom for the children and a study of sorts but once she had lost her powers she had reasoned it would be much easier for her to keep an eye on the children as they grew if it was one large room. It was only the study or 'snug' that was separate from the rest now, providing them with privacy should they want it and their own space. Everything else down here was geared towards a large family.

"Mhm," she took a few steps over the threshold and turned to look up at where the second story would go.

"Do you still think a balcony over looking this space is a good idea?" a way to join the two floors together whilst also giving the living area a lovely high ceiling to make it feel more spacious. Or for a way for them to quickly look down and see if there was an intruder below.
 

Talus

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Talus looked up to where Zana was mentioning. A frown touched his face for a brief moment, though it was mostly in thought. "Yeah."

He said, though he was still playing over in his mind just how he would put something like that up.

Building furniture was easy enough, but he'd found that putting together a whole damn house was a hell of a lot more difficult. Not that the concept was hard, just more that...well everything had to be put in the right place and fit together.

It took a lot of planning.

"Next week." Talus said, scratching the back of his head. "Maybe."

There was still so much to do, and every day it seemed like more. Still, Talus would not have traded it for anything else. That much he was certain of. Talus sighed, looking at Zana as he pulled himself up and off the floor. "How are the fields, Miss Farmer?"

Talus teased.
 
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Zana

The Executioner
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Zana's look could have frozen blood in a man's vein but it only lasted a second before she glanced away. She wasn't angry or upset with him and he would no doubt feel that through the bond. But she was angry and upset. At the world. At that hooded figure who had denied her her mother and taken everything as a forfeit. Tears pricked at the backs of her eyes at the memory, of the pain still in her heart, and she made herself walk to the skeleton of a kitchen that had been installed by Talus' dwarven family. He refused their help still on the majority of the project but he'd at least consented to them doing the 'plumbing'.

She still thought it was magic, not this 'engineering' they claimed.

"I should be done by the end of the week," Zana hated how raw her voice sounded and she cleared her throat as she begun to busy herself with pots and pans. "I think the twins enjoy it, they seem to move more when I'm sitting still."
 
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Talus

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Talus followed after Zana, sensing her thoughts through the bond.

Quietly he came up behind her, steps slow and calm. His hand gently came down onto her arm, thumb stroking over her skin. It was a soothing touch, though he would not call to her emotions unless she wished to express them. "Maybe."

He said.

"It'll certainly be nice to have the extra labor." He said with a smile. "Though I think traditionally farmers have about a half a dozen children or so."

The former Dreadlord looked at her from the side. "Helps with the fields."
 
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Zana

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Zana only realised she was shaking when he touched her and she almost dropped the pan she was holding. She said something inaudible under her breath and brought her hand up to rub at the bridge of her nose. Tired, she was just... tired. She let herself lean into him and seek comfort in the knowledge that he was here, that he was solid and real and alive. Sometimes she had nightmares she had lost him too that day, that the miracle that his wounds had healed hadn't happened and she had been left alone.

"Half a dozen? Don't think you're capable of getting the full 12?" she said in a mix of a laugh and a sob. She covered her mouth and then shook her head as if willing her body to pull itself together. "Maybe we should ask for help, Talus. You can't keep doing this all by yourself and I'm..." Useless. "... The size of a whale. I don't know how much longer I can work," she grimaced at the thought of not helping and quickly ploughed on.

"Why don't you ask the dwarves... or hire help from the town?"
 

Talus

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"We'll get it done" Talus said with a smile.

There was a confidence in that smile. Something that said he would be ready. He knew it might not have seemed that way, not with all the chaos, but if he tried. If he truly pushed it, he was sure that everything would be set.

"At least." He added quickly. "I'll make sure it's kid friendly."

His fingers tightened on her in gentle reassurance. "Railings, and...uhh...beams. You know, so they don't fall."

Though if their assumptions were correct, providing safety for the house would probably be a better plan all together. The twins had already shown a propensity for magic.

Wild magic at that. "I can build our home."

Talus said with a smile, kissing her neck softly.
 
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Zana

The Executioner
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Zana knew it was important to him to do this with his own two hands but she had hoped she would be able to share the work somewhat with him. But the last few weeks it was as though the twins had taken steroids whilst she wasn't looking. The crotchety old woman who was the village Wisdom had told her that that was a natural thing when carrying twins but Zana hadn't believed her until she'd read as many books on it as possible too. If they were right she had a week or two before she was going to need to be on bed rest entirely.

She took a deep breath.

"Okay," that bit of news could wait. Zana looked down at the pots in front of her and shook her head slightly. "I can't even remember what I was..." she pursed her lips and glanced over the ingredients half used. "Oh," the stew, she'd left things out from the stew earlier that was right. Muttering to herself she waddled over to the large stove where a pot was already bubbling away and with a grunt took it off the heat.

"Can you get the bread out of the coals? It should be ready by now."
 
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Talus

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"Mhm." Talus said with a nod of his head.

He pulled himself away from Zana, his touch soft as he stepped towards the kitchen. This wasn't anything new he had to do, Talus always helped her with the cooking when he had to. Quickly he moved through the kitchen, pulling open the heavy cast iron door.

A few seconds later the baking loaf was put gently down onto one of the safer counter tops, some knitted thing ensuring that the wood did not get burned.

"We're making good progress." He said with a smile, continuing the conversation they had been holding. "Maybe we can create a list of priorities."

Talus said as he turned. "What needs to get done first."
 
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Zana

The Executioner
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"The cribs."

Zana set the two bowls of steaming stew on the table and then massaged the small of her back with a slight grimace. She was glad that the first part of her pregnancy was over and she no longer threw up at the smell of her favourite dishes, but sometimes when the twins moved and kicked her she wished that that part was back. Once the pain had eased and she could breathe again she slowly eased herself into the chair and thought about the priorities some more.

"Their nursery is another... I still can't decide if soundproofing it is a good idea or not," she tore a bit of warm bread off and smothered it in butter before dunking it into her soup. "It feels like everything is important when you begin to think it through in your mind but starting with finished flooring and walls everywhere I think is a good idea. Do you think you're nearly finished with the ground floor?" Her eyes flickered to the vast empty room. It made even their table look small but at least furniture buying was something she could do.
 
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Talus

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"Cribs." He nodded, that was easy enough at least. He could finish those in a day or two, if he didn't allow himself to get distracted with everything else.

A frown touched his face as she mentioned finishing all the flooring and the walls.

Slowly he glanced around their home, frowning for a moment in pause. Then a moment later he nodded his head.

"I can do it." He would just have to...push himself a little bit. Talus hadn't used much of his own magic since the battle of Vel Anir, since the revolution, but this was for a good cause. Phase-walking might speed things up. "Walls and floor."

He nodded. "At least for the downstairs, railings for the upstairs too."

Though it wasn't like babies would be crawling up the stairs...unless...

Unless they learned how to break the laws and teleport somehow.
 
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Zana

The Executioner
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Zana wasn't sure if it was their ever growing bond or that they had simply been thinking the same thing, but she grimaced at him around a mouthful of food. Even with her own magic gone without a doubt, the twins could still access and use theirs. There had been a number of times when she had been doing something and suddenly her hand had passed through the object as though she were a ghost, or she had set something on fire by mistake. Even the elven collar meant to dampen all magic seemingly had no effect other than to give her horrific stomach pains.

"Floors in the corridors... and down here at least," she altered. At the moment it was a weird dance to the bedroom and not one she could do much longer. She had another spoonful of stew and brushed her hair behind her ear to keep it from her face.

"Let's just hope they don't destroy in their first few minutes."
 
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Talus

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Talus nodded, grimacing slightly.

The twins had already exhibited more magic than...well anyone he'd ever known. The Academy had had some young students, a few toddlers that had been taken care of. Yet he'd never heard of someone doing magic in the womb.

He was sure that it had probably happened before some time, but he'd never heard of it. A part of him wanted to go to Elbion, research it, but there was hardly time for that. "They won't."

Talus said with surprising confidence.

"They'll see it as home." He declared with a smile. "And you don't pick apart your home."

There was, of course, absolutely no science behind that statement. In fact Talus' only childhood was a contradiction to that fact, not that he would mention as such. "It'll be fine."

He said confidently.
 
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Zana

The Executioner
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Zana finished off her meal and then leaned back and smoothed a hand over her enlarged stomach. A smile touched her face as one of them pressed their foot against her touch.

"Did you both hear that? Daddy thinks you won't destroy the house," she could almost hear the laughter of two creatures of pure evil and she glanced up at him with laughter glittering in her green eyes. For a moment everything else just fell away. The grief, the anger, the hollow feeling in her heart. In that second she was just a young soon to be mother with her husband dreaming of what their children would be like.

"Come over here," she murmured and held one hand out towards him. "They want you," she couldn't explain the feeling but they were always happier when his hand was resting on her stomach too.
 
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Talus

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Talus stepped forward, his hand gently settling on Zana's stomach.

"It's all coming together." He said softly.

It wasn't exactly how they had imagined, it wasn't the perfect world that they had wanted to step into. It was close enough though. Close enough that they would be able to be happy, that they could see that next day and become the family that they had wanted to be.

The twins were almost here, the house was coming together step by step.

What else could they ask for? His thumb stroked slowly over her skin. "I bet they're probably hungry."

He teased with a smile.
 
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Zana

The Executioner
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Zana's smile faltered.

"How am I going to feed you all if I can't even harvest a field?" Talus' hunger alone made er believe he had been raised by dwarves not just spent a few months with them. She'd caught his shorter brothers in everything but blood look at him with no small amount of respect when he had polished off a meal. What on earth were his children going to be like? And there were two of them.

"We're outmatched," she announced in a panic. "Two of them, with magics we can't even..." her words were cut off as one of the twins -- the girl, she thought with no rhyme or reason other than a deep knowing -- pressed against her fathers hand. She sighed and ran a hand through her hair.
 
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Talus

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"Relax." He said quietly. "We'll get deliveries."

They were near enough to a village for that.

"We're not exactly short on gold, are we?" That was an...understatement. The dwarves had thrown them an engagement party, and the trinkets they had received were enough to hire an entire army and a half. Take that with what they had been given when leaving Vel Anir and well...

If he and Zana had wanted to they could found a whole kingdom. "They'll fill their boots and a half."

He said with a smile.

"Foods the last of our worries." At least for now.
 
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Zana

The Executioner
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"How are you so calm?"

Her arms shook with exhaustion as she held the axe in her hands. Rain pattered against the slate roof above her head and dripped onto the cobbles just outside the shelter of the narrow alleyway. Her breathing was too rapid and there was a roaring in her ears that echoed the loud screams, boos and shouts from the crowd that had come that day. She had thought she might drown in it and had had to call for a break before she lost her mind. Or what remained of it. Then suddenly boots had appeared in her vision, a hand had come down upon the axe and firmly taken it from her grasp...

She looked up into those same blue eyes, the same eyes she knew the daughter twisting in her womb would share, and she blinked the tears away.

"You're always so calm," she smiled even as a single tear rolled down her cheek. "I'm so scared. What if I mess them up like I messed..."
 
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Talus

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"We won't." Talus said, emphasizing the first word more than the second.

Time was an impossible thing. It got away from you, carried you away, took you to places that perhaps you did not want to be. It was not an easy thing, not a simple thing, but they could do this. He knew that they could. Even if they had no magics, even if they had nothing else.

He would have bet on them. "I'm calm because I know us."

Talus told her softly.

"I know what we can do." He said quietly. "I know that we'll make mistakes. That things won't go the way we expect...especially with..."

The Dreadlord looked out the window for a moment, peering at a large crater that two days earlier had suddenly just appeared when Zana had walked by. "But I know we can do this, I know no matter what our children will be raised well."

Better than they had been.
 
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Zana

The Executioner
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Zana's eyes followed his out of the large window that let in so much light to the grand living hall Talus had made. Yes, even if she didn't have magic the twins most certainly did. There was no warning, no sense of when they would seize onto the odd magic they possessed and unleash it. They'd made Grey levitate for an hour straight that morning and the crater was Monday's experiment. She would be lying if she said their increasing magic wasn't one of the reasons for her mounting fear.

She gave a soft sigh and wiped at the tears on her cheek.

"I guess," though not a note of her tone sounded convinced. It was just another thing she was going to have to rely on him to do, to solve, to teach them. Abruptly she pushed herself back and stood, busying herself with clearing away the empty dishes on the table. Grey whined softly, darting one look at Talus before following after Zana.
 
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Talus

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Talus glanced towards the Wolf, shaking his head.

He was not ignorant to the trials that his wife was enduring, was not so foolish to think that every problem was done and gone. Lips thinned for a moment as he watched her, considering what he should say, what he should do.

It seemed only yesterday that his largest problem was how to kill the next foe, how to end the next fight. Now it seemed harder.

As Zana cleared away the remnants of their meal he slowly stepped up behind her. His arms wrapped slowly around her stomach, fingers trailing over her skin. He nuzzled the back of her neck gently, taking in a deep breath. "It will be alright."

He told her softly.

"Whatever we have ahead." Talus said quietly. "We face together."
 
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Zana

The Executioner
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The faint echo of that scream that plagued her every minute of every day seemed louder as she shakily filled the basin with water and soap to wash the dishes. In a way it felt like everything that had gone wrong in that battle, her mistakes, were just the prelude to what was to come. The warm-up act. The thought was a lead weight of fear that lived inside her heart and lay across her shoulders like an iron bar dragging her down. She was so lost in the mood she didn't notice Talus until he touched her and she flinched. Once his touch had soothed and now, though it didn't to an extent, there was a small kernel of guilt that soured every second of the comfort he brought her.

Zana shut her eyes tight and willed the scream back into its echo.

"Together," she repeated in a strangled whisper and traced her fingers over his hands, grounding herself in the present. For a while she let herself stand like that. His arms around her, his gentle caress across her skin, the sound of Grey snuffling along the floor for traces of food that might have been dropped. Home. They had made it. All those nights of dreaming, wondering, hoping and the rivers of blood they had had to wade through to get to it. Sloan would curse her for squandering it.

"I think I'm going to try out that tub," she said finally. "Would you care to join me Husband?"
 
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Talus

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Talus nodded. "I think I might."

For a few seconds the Dreadlord hesitated, smiling. Then he turned his head and let out a small puff of air from his lips. Small bits of sawdust flew into the air from when he had earlier milled the wood that had built the railings around them.

"If you don't mind some woodchips." He joked. 'I've heard they're good for your skin though."

That was a complete and utter lie of course.

Talus knew about skin care as much as he knew about running a country; which was of course to say nothing at all.

His hand came down in a soft strike onto Zana's rear end. "Come on then, lets get going. Gotta test out that Dwarven plumbing."
 
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Zana

The Executioner
Dreadlords
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Zana's laugh broke through the last of the melancholy mood and she whirled round as nimbly as a whale could manage to punch him lightly in the arm.

"You're going to traumatise our children doing that," she chided and slid past him with the grace of a warrior despite her size. The stairs as always proved a mammoth task and she cursed her own unfitness when she got to the top and had to lean against a bit of timber framing to catch her breath. At least it made her appreciate the bath that much more when they finally sunk into the hot bubbled water a half hour later. She sighed and leaned her head back against a rolled up towel she used as a pillow.

"This is my favourite room in the house."
 
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