Private Tales Scorched Earth

A private roleplay only for those invited by the first writer

Fife

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He had chosen a spot well away from any books that their dinner might have potentially found its way onto. Fife had waited patiently, surveying the hall in a constant state of observation. When Raigryn returned, however, she only had eyes for him.

Or, to be more precise, only for what he carried in hand back from the larder.

Soon, she reminded him with a pleased grin. That was going to be their next stop. She would never admit it, but she was looking forward to seeing Belduhr as much as eating the heavy, savory dwarven fare. Still, it was charming that he remembered.
 
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Raigryn Vayd

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"Hopefully Elbion hasn't done something to block off the portal stone," he said. "But otherwise its just a few days to the stone."

It was the first journey they had taken by portal stone. Down into the heart of Belgrath. Down where the dwarves could charge you for winching you up to the main part of the city.

"Are you alright with staying for a few days so I can get some research in?" he asked.

"Though it is hard to balance up working out what that thing was against getting some proper dwarven ale again."
 
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Fife

Terrible Thief, Worse Empath
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Only a few days back. Fife was quite sure she didn't want to be anywhere near Elbion again any time soon, but if they were to get to Belgrath, it would have to be done. She nodded, her happiness as clear on her features as in the golden color of her mood. Why wouldn't she be? Oddly, Fife felt more comfortable here, well below ground with their monstrous hostess than she had at any inn they'd visited to date.

On the matter of ale versus dragon books, Fife crossed an arm across her torso and tapped her chin to feign contemplation.

Book is fine, she said, trying to look serious. Her trademark brow was already raised and a smirk was already curling her lips. But if you do not feed me soon, I will have finger pie. Her eyes dipped pointedly to his hands and her grin widened.
 
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Raigryn Vayd

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"Now let's not resort to cannibalism just because I'm taking too long to slice a pie," he said, waving the knife at her.

He was starting to get used to the light. Every now and again it felt as if his world slipped sideways a little bit.

He brought the knife back to the pie. It was tightly packed and it was very satisfying when the knife sank far enough to make a quiet clink against the plate.

"Oh...cannibalism means eating your own kind by the way," he said, passing some food over. It wasn't a word to come up in conversation often.

There was still a part of his mind that brought up the echoes of thinking Fife was a young boy who was going to need lots of food to grow. She wasn't going to be getting any taller than this.
 
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Fife

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Her poorly feigned stoicism dissolved and she snickered quietly. She nodded, knowing full well what cannibalism was. Her mind instinctively rejected the reasons why she knew. Without missing a beat and without even a flicker in her mood, she took the plate and thanked him.

Food had been one of their first anchoring points of trust. In the dimly lit hall, it was hard not to recall the similarities to their first meeting. Fife was smiling to herself as she broke away a piece of the cold pie. It wasn't a dwarven, but it was still good. Not that it took a lot to win that merit from her. Her palate hadn't refined, but at least her table manners had improved.

Are you finished looking for books today? she asked, still wearing her content happiness. Likewise, a glint of mischief carried her brow upward once more.
 
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Raigryn Vayd

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"Hmm?" went Raigryn.

His attention had been on finishing the karaf of wine. Now that it was gone he felt just enough of it to be too lazy to go and get more. His eyes had still followed the patterns her fingers had traced. It took a moment to sink in. His gaze was now frequently drawn to her hands more than her face.

"I am certainly done searching," he said emphatically. He still looked directly at her when speaking back.

"Has enough to eat," he asked back. One eyebrow raised in response to her look. A hint of question, a hint of challenge. The language of expression they had used long before the sign came along.
 
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Fife

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While she wanted him to find what he was looking for, she knew better than to expect him to be entirely done with his search for more on the dragon. Raigryn wasn't Raigryn at all if he didn't have something to ponder over. He seemed a man floating between islands of curiosities, always. If that gave him purpose and fulfillment, then it suited her to let him chase it.

That didn't mean she didn't have her own ulterior motives. Striving and failing to appear entirely aloof, her playful grin permeating her imperious look, she glanced around the hall casually. She didn't see the Librarian, but she doubted that meant she wasn't there.

For now, Fife responded. Her eyes slid back to his. There was a growing appeal in the way his gaze left hers to watch her hands -- in knowing that he was watching.

I was thinking about what you said earlier. The new ideas.

There was a small twitch at the corner of her mouth. So maybe she wasn't ready for spontaneous moments. There was no point in being upset about things she couldn't help. They had time. There would come a day where his touch didn't echo in a chamber shaped by strangers. Someday it would only ring a bell of his own making, its tune sweet and warm. In the meantime, she would make do.

Carry me? I'm so tired. She wasn't tired at all.
 
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Raigryn Vayd

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For now, he thought to himself. The truth was that neither he, nor the librarian, thought there was much left to find on the subject. There were errant references to the dragons of old, but word of mouth tales had lasted far better than any written texts on the matter. Most were conjecture, authoritative texts written by those who had never laid eyes on a creature.

"New ideas?" he replied rhetorically. There was little of his usual control as she blindsided him with that smile.

The grin of unrestrained anticipation formed to the same slow cadence as the sense of desire spread from his feelings. There were, in fact, several books in the place dedicated to sketches of new ideas. The librarian kept them because many cultures had burned every last copy.

They would not be making a stop on their return to their room. Raigryn wanted to see what happened when she led the dance. Even asking to be carried was part of that. Some spark of imagination she had held onto since her brief panic earlier in the day.

Raigryn stood from the table, gaze now full of purpose. Pulling her chair from the table, he let her wrap her arms around his broad shoulders as he threaded his arms beneath her. She was almost no weight at all as he lifted her up to carry her away.
 
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Leaving the Library New

Raigryn Vayd

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There was a cold wind from the north as they rode back for the portal stone. The library itself was well shielded from the weather. It was something that may have changed from hour to hour and whilst they were below the ground they were none the wiser. He had finished his research, coming up mostly empty handed. She had left with one of the books the Librarian saw as more common and therefore able to be taken away.

He was enjoying the silence as they rode. It was something he had often thought attached to being alone. Raigryn talked a lot, but he was learning that silence could be shared. A morning he had thought would be spent having some very serious conversations with Fife had been better spent making slow love to make his point far more effectively.

He was still the one to spoil the silence.

"We'll pull west beyond the next town I think, put some distance between ourselves and Elbion."
 
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Fife

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After some time underground, the world seemed glaringly bright. Fife had shielded her eyes from the sun and the cold wind whipping at their backs as they emerged from the earth. It was, oddly, eerily similar to the day they had come up from Belgrath to walk along the cliffs and take in the true scope of the Spine's majesty.

A feeling, she reassured herself, was borne out of memory and nothing more.

Their final days had been spent in respite, enjoying one another's company as much as they'd enjoyed that of the Librarian and her collection. Time she had avoided talking to him like she had resolved to.

Her eyes cast forward where Raigryn rode Dusty ahead of her. They meandered the narrow path and back onto the trail south. Fife felt a twinge of guilt, but they were feelings she was still working on. Wanting to be perceived as an equal, she didn't want to feel emotionally inept.

Socks tossed his head and moved into a trot in order to catch up to Dusty. They had fallen behind during her introspection and the pony was eager to be going somewhere.

Raigryn called back, breaking the silence with their travel destination, and Fife answered with an affirmative. Then, with a sigh, shifted in to get comfortable; it was going to be a few days in the saddle. Regardless of her minor aches, she rather preferred the promise of avoiding Elbion.
 
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Raigryn Vayd

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"You know I'm going to have to remember my dwarven runes," he said some time later. Raigryn could never let a silence last forever.

"I had intended to get a bit of work at Elbion, but I'll have to see if there is some writing to be done at Balgrath."

He could see the profile of the mountains over Elbion. They would just be able to see the city once they reached the stone.

"Do you want to learn a few of them?" he asked. "I might do a little practise later."
 
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Fife

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He never could keep quiet. Fife huffed a breath of amusement to herself and shook her head. Giving Socks a little heel, she brought the pony up beside him. Raigryn was looking ahead of them, the mountains a slip of darkness on the horizon.

Yes. And she did. Fife smiled. A year ago she couldn't read and now she was going to learn runes. How different would she be a year from now? What sort of misadventures awaited them in the future? Hopefully things less frightening than some of their close calls. Perhaps a little more magic and sightseeing than scrapes with death.

He was clearly in the mood for talking, so she probed her mind for a way to keep him going. After all, a part of her had started to fall in love with him somewhere in the middle of those long-winded expositions.

Where did you learn runes? she asked, spelling out the word she had no sign for. Her hand came to rest on the saddle in front of her, relaxed and silent and ready to listen.
 

Raigryn Vayd

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"Studied them back when I was learning. They tried to teach me to writer elven too and in that they truly failed. You get one accent over a letter in the wrong place and some's name becomes the rudest word in their language," Raigryn replied.

"Dwarven runes however, are fairly simple. It's perfectly phonetic so even if you can't speak the language - and I can't - you can usually write down what someone is saying."

"We'll stop off at the next down, then there is a cut through some woodlands to the portal stone. Hopefully they haven't done anything stupid like surround it with troops with the city in disarray."
 
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Fife

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Is there anything you didn't learn? she teased with a growing smirk. She was well aware that they had just left the frightening company of someone who likely was closer to knowing everything than he was. By comparison to herself, however, his knowledge seemed endless.

Shall I teach you how to pick locks and then you will know everything? Fife laughed. They were not unaccustomed to the idea of her taking a turn as teacher. She had supplemented many of the Silent Way between lessons, after he had fallen behind on his solo adventure. And while he had not outright objected to her using her own set of skills, she still had difficulty imaging Raigryn as eager to learn them himself.

Joking over, her demeanor sobered as she followed his indication forward. Offering only a nod. It was a very different route from the one they had followed to find the Librarian, but she wasn't keen on going back toward Elbion. A change of scenery was always welcome -- as was one last point of civilization that potentially offered an opportunity to begin replenishing any Aspects she had used in their last fight.

However, her smirk returned and it was her turn to break the silence. She looped the reins on the saddle and spun around in her seat to dig in her bag. A moment later, she produced a small pouch, righted herself again, and steered her pony toward Raigryn. Fife offered the pouch insistently for him, mischief painting the wide grin she bore.

I had planned to give it to you in Elbion. For my own meal and bed, she told him. The pouch jingled merrily and Fife was already heading off any argument. I promise it came from people who would not miss it. It is small coin. I was very careful.

It had been no small task making sure that he, above all others, hadn't noticed. She had been paying attention to every transaction he had made this past year, learning what was and wasn't fair, and knew damn well by now how much it cost her to be fed and lodged.
 

Raigryn Vayd

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It was a strong flash of joy that flowed down the connection. A particular shade reserved for surprise. It was not an emotion he was struck by often. His expression remained quite frozen as he looked at the pouch.

He slowly reached out to take it, feeling the weight of the bag.

"When did you even get the chance to take this? From who?" Raigryn asked. There was no argument, certainly not yet. He had been completely blindsided by this. He recalled sliding past the topic of conversation before, but had just assumed that he would have noticed her trying to steal.

Not trying. Had gathered coins without him noticing in the slightest.
 
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Fife

Terrible Thief, Worse Empath
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Fife looked rather proud of herself, grinning from ear to ear like a cat who had caught a canary.

While you were working. When we were walking. When I visited Socks. She shrugged, trying and failing to appear aloof. One a man well-dressed man. Tall, yellow hair. He was rude to the man in the stables, did not care for his horse. People who are bad to animals are bad people.

The remark needed no explaining. He could piece together how urchin kids could learn that.

Another man; short, big mustache, red face. Bumped into us. Very rude. Easy to take from him. Other woman, with brown hair, frowning. She said unkind thing to lady merchant. Very rude. Also easy. I am not sorry.

Fife shrugged for a final time. She had a type she liked to steal from if she had a choice. And she had. Shedding the sobriety of her explanation, she flashed him a renewed smile.

No Empathy. I am a bad thief, but good at taking from pocket. You are lucky I did not try taking from your pocket. She pursed her lips in thought. Or bad luck? I am expensive to feed.
 
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Raigryn Vayd

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His eyes grew wider with each new admission. He remember the man with the moustache who had been rude to them on the streets. Raigryn had nearly turned to slap him.

Raigryn had once advised Princes as they rode out to war, despite his calm temperament he couldn't stand the local gentleman talking down his nose to them.

At least Fife was saying that she hadn't drawn on her magic and not that she didn't feel empathy for those she stole from.

"Well...this will cover dinner tonight then. Not that I am condoning this behaviour just yet..." He added, giving Fife a discerning look. Raigryn still laughed, shaking his head as he tucked the purse away.

"You must have used Empathy to be light fingered before?"

Raigryn was busy silently working out exactly how much he had encouraged this.
 
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Fife

Terrible Thief, Worse Empath
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Fife offered an innocent smile. She remembered what he had said quite clearly. People they didn't like. Fife might have decided she didn't like them on her own, but she had stayed within the parameters he'd set.

Sometimes. I was always small, fast, and quiet. With Empathy, I… I was doing what felt right. I didn't know it was magic, she explained. She paused briefly to think about it. I don't know when I started taking feelings. Or using them. I just... did. Red angry made me stronger. Fury. Blue tired made my hands steady. Tranquility. I think I took some Disgust and Joy without knowing. Thinking 'you can't see me'. Running fast.

Her amusement had passed, leaving behind a thoughtful frown. They had spoken loosely about it before, but not since they had both grasped a common language like this. Her eyes stared off and her hands quieted for several long moments. Eventually she smiled again and shrugged like her mind hadn't gone somewhere else for a while.

I was confused and alone, but I survived. You are here now. I don't have to learn on my own.
 
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Raigryn Vayd

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"You don't have to learn alone," he agreed. "Which is good because I do actually still have a lot to teach you of Empathy. You listen, you learn quickly but there are aspects to grasp the basics of. Let alone master.

"And I look forward to that very much," he added with barely a pause. The shift in tone was far greater than the space he left between the sentiment and the warning that had come before.

"And for the first time in years..."

I have had to...look...too.

"Is there a sign for that? I remember one for discover but it seemed more in the sense of orders for scouting..."
 
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Fife

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The feeling that emerged in quiet moments such as these was difficult to describe. It was layered and complex, not easily defined even in Empathy and its Aspects. Bubbling up from deep within her chest, it was buoyant and airy, yet as full and strong as a breeze turning a pinwheel. She felt that she was both the bouquet in bloom and the butterfly dancing along the flowers' petals.

That works well. I like it, she told him. She did rather like that way of expressing it. The Silent Way was about thinking creatively with one's limited range of language.

And with that, Fife smiled at him before quickly finding something else on the landscape to inspect. While her feelings were often on display for him to read as he pleased, she still had a habit of averting her gaze like that would conceal them.

At the very least he couldn't see all of the color growing on her cheeks.

How could she help it when he made statements like that? Fife was yet unsure how she had come to be a catalyst of change in his life which he regarded fondly rather than the stubborn apprentice who sassed him a little too much.

Not that she was looking a gift horse in the mouth. Fife smiled to herself as her eyes scanned the horizon opposite of where Raigryn rode.