Private Tales Serpents Beneath the Salitran Sky | Salitra

A private roleplay only for those invited by the first writer

Laru'Dahl

Serpent of the Red Sun
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There was a restlessness in these streets. He could feel the anxiety. It permeated every stone feature, every hardened face. And as the sun crept closer to the horizon, as shadows were cast farther and wider, this tension only grew.

Paces quickened.

Hearts raced.

He could hear them. He could feel them.

Tucked away in one of those foreboding shadows, the Serpent of the Red Sun lay waiting. Watching. Listening. He'd been in the city for only a short time, but already he'd come to understand a great many things. First was the obvious - after Soleimon had been killed during the Empire's invasion, it had been only a matter of time before things descended into chaos. Those stewards of the god-emperor Gerra had done what they could to quell the fires of rebellion, but even they proved powerless to fill the void which the tyrant's absence left. Supposed tyrant, some would say. And even now, Nymeasha - daughter of the former king and apparent ward of the emperor - returned to rule and still the unrest. Her presence here, her very existence, was an anomaly to Laru'Dahl. Her actions against the emperor had warranted nothing less than her execution, and yet here she remained - and ruled.

The lord's ways were certainly not his ways, and mysterious to no end.

Nevertheless, who was he to question one such as He? And yea, even one such as her, daughter of royal descent.

He was but a simple tradesman.

But in spite of these many efforts, there were still many who held no regard for the rule of law. They saw fit to do as they choose, especially under the cover of night. And night was soon upon the city, with naught but torchlight to show the way. Clouds from the sea had come to hide the stars, and even Lessat's light was powerless to peek through. Darkness gripped tightly, and none of faint heart would be found in the streets. And Laru'Dahl, that stalker of the shadows, soon found himself in the quiet unknown near a gathering of trifling minds.

"...you believe what Allarahn wants us to do. It's a complete waste of time," one of them whispered.

"...I 'ear she's got dirt on'em," said another.

"Listen, all I know is..."

There was a clanging in the distance.

A stiff quiet took the air.

The nights in this city could be perilous as of late, even for their kind, and one could never be too certain what it was they heard stirring around dark corners.

"shh, shh... all I know is, Allarahn's payin' good to have her back in his hands. I don't know about you, but..." the third voice trailed off, and though Laru'Dahl could not see, he thought it was likely he was making some kind of gesture implying fortune. Then, a shifting of feet, "word has it the bar over there's a bit of a hideout."

They whispered a few uncertain words, and then he heard them begin to move, taking a casual pace. They came into view as they entered into the street, and he watched as they crossed, casting sharp looks over their shoulders as they went. They saw him not, and entered into the bar just there. The torchlight was dim, but his eyes were keen. Beneath their robes, they were armed.


Liana
 
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Liana

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Well you see...what had happened was...

Liana did not know one thing about Allarahn. She knew everything. His life, his business, his men. He had made the mistake of leaving her around documents and she had made the decision to gather what she needed. She was a broker of information and that is what she needed to move up in life. Information.

Knowledge was power and Liana was powerful.

Unfortunately, Allarahn had figured out what she had done and she had taken off. That was this morning. She had not been able to make a plan to get the fuck out of Salitra yet. She had hit the inn that had been her home for the last six months to gather the very few possessions she owned. Namely her knives and a change of clothes plus the silver chain and aquamarine pendent that had supposedly belonged to her mother.

Liana was set to meet the man who was going to get her out of town at the bar she currently sat in. He was late and she was getting increasingly worried. Yes, she had her hood pulled low over her face and a light scarf across her nose and mouth but that meant nothing when you were being hunted.

Her fingers tapped on the bar top as three robed men entered. She paid them little mind until one of them started talking to a waitress.

"We are looking for our sister." Lie. "Average height, brown hair, bright blue eyes. Have you seen her?"

The waitress looked around the bar and then back at the men with a sweet smile, "nope." Lie. "Only regulars tonight. Can I get you a drink? Maybe she will come in."

This bar was a safe space for whoever needed it. If she was not waiting for someone, she would have been hidden in the back where they kept cots and baths for those they sheltered.

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Laru'Dahl

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It hadn't exactly been unexpected that this is how it would go, but for whatever reason he had actually hoped to not have to spill blood on this night. Such would not be the case as it would seem, as he now lingered outside the bar's entrance, tucked in the dark, awaiting the time to strike. He could hear them inside, asking questions, sticking out like terribly sore thumbs. Terribly amateurish. But the questions they asked fit the description of the one he'd come for, the one he had great use for. But unlike the petty riches of these lowly ghouls, his were those of the grand Empire.

The only debate to be had was in blood.

And he was only so patient.

So, as there was no reason to believe his appearance would illicit any suspicion, beyond that bestowed upon those of the deep desert dwellers whom he might resemble, he entered into the bar. His mask covered his face, but through it he could see the uneasiness it caused - in some at least. Others were of harder sort. And as he scanned the room he looked for his quarry. He found her, quite quickly, but played as though he hadn't and in fact was doing an assessment typical of any newcomer. He afforded the three men a momentary, dominating stare, and then made his way nearer to the bar, near to where Liana sat. As he approached there, he looked at her, focusing to wordlessly capture her attention before he sat down inconspicuously.

She'd need to recognize that he'd come for her so they could then leave and promptly deal with whatever... problems decided to follow.


Liana
 
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Liana

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Liana had a love hate relationship with her eyes. Blue eyes were not very common in Amol Kalit and hers stood out even more than usual. Hers were almost other worldly in their blueness. The outer ring of dark blue and then the brightest blue for the rest. Unique was beautiful when you were not trying to hide from others. When you were...it was shitty.

She kept her head low as the newest guest entered the tavern. She turned her head ever so slightly and did not see the red flower that was supposed to be on his lapel. This was not the man she was waiting for and it caused a low growl to leave her lips as the waitress slid an ale to her with a smile. Liana's eye followed the man as he walked towards her and took a seat way closer than she liked.

He was covered from head to toe and there was something about him that shouted out at her to run. The way he carried himself, his weapons, and the look he gave her all sent shivers down her spine. Perhaps the first three men were a distraction while this one was the real hunter. She averted her attention back to the tankard in front of her as she listened to the voices around her.

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Laru'Dahl

Serpent of the Red Sun
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So.

That was how it would be. Unfortunate, but of course, not unexpected.

Laru'Dahl sat and motioned for a drink. When asked which kind he only pointed. He had no intention of actually drinking anything anyway, so it didn't matter in the least. But it did add to the illusion did it not? The three seemed to by it. Paired with his perceived distaste of them upon his entering, they took him for any old Abtati wanderer feeling a little too sure of himself, and ignored him. This was of course perfectly part of his ploy, which if ended in failure would only begin yet another. Either way, he was getting what he wanted.

And, he was certain, he would not be the only one.

But there were other matters that took precedence at present...

Such as why his target was out front at all. He'd assumed perhaps the empire's agents had managed to get word to her, but upon her apparent ignorance of him he could only assume she was awaiting someone else. Otherwise, she'd have been in the back with the other troubled lot.

He himself had come from such a lot.

It wasn't long, and he heard their footsteps moving away but he didn't turn to see. He needn't. It was by their sauntering pace that he could tell: they'd spotted her. But they chose to keep their distance, likely perceiving the danger of approaching her within the safety of these walls. Humble as it may seem, a haven remained such a place for good reason. And yea, even he would be loathe to draw blood here in such a place - but his hesitation was from respect and reverence.

Though others had come and gone, the appearance of a particular individual caught his attention. Lara'Dahl gave him the same once over he'd given each and every person in this place. And though he saw nothing of great interest, but he could not help being intrigued when his eyes fell upon the sight of a pretty red flower.


Liana
 
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Liana

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The bar was not busy and she had clocked everyone's position when she had entered. When her brothers finally figured out that she was their sister, she heard the three pairs of shoes move out of their booth and start to walk towards her. Liana's right hand slowly moved to her right hip where she unsheathed one of her daggers. One of many that were hidden on her person.

The shuffling stopped as the door opened again. Liana's head tilted slightly and she let out a slow sigh of relief as she spotted the flower. But why had the other men stopped? The hair on the back of her neck creeped up as she turned her head a tiny bit more to see the mans face. She was dead. This was not the man that had been paid to get her out of the city. That man most likely laid in a pool of his blood by now.

The last man Allarahn had sent after her was Johkna. He was Allarahn's right hand man, his attack dog, and her ex-fiancé. He had been waiting for patiently for her to fuck up so he could get his revenge on her. It was a very long, convoluted story in which they had both played dirty but she had won in the end. Allarahn needed her though so Johkna had been forbidden to hurt her. That was two years ago.

It was four on one but the other three didn't matter. Johkna would make sure that he was the one to kill her. Her eyes flicked up and she mouthed go to the waitress. She did not need to be told twice as she gathered the other innocent patrons. The click of the door let Liana know that she was free to fight now.

The only issue was the other man at the bar. He had not moved when the waitress had bid him to join her. If he was with them then it was five on one and he was close enough to grab her before anyone else could. She could only hope he was just someone who loved trouble. Small mercies, perhaps?

Liana slowly turn to face the door. Her blue eyes set on Johkna and he just smiled the most ruthless of smiles. "Fancy seeing you here, Joh. Why don't you send these little boys home and we can take care of this ourselves."

Johkna laughed and then shook his head. "You have a kill order on you, Liana. You don't even get to state your case this time." This time, that made her smile. Yes, she was trouble. Lots of trouble. Allarahn couldn't let his secrets get out though. The secrets she would take to her grave.

Laru'Dahl
 
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Laru'Dahl

Serpent of the Red Sun
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"You have a kill order on you, Liana. You don't even get to state your case this time."
She's not the only one.

While the first three were small time, little more than goons - this one, whom his target had referred to as Joh, was another story. It was difficult to be sure without a perfect physical description, but he could only assume this individual was none other than Johkna. Laru'Dahl would have been a fool to not employ as many of the empire's resources at his disposal to prepare himself for his task - which he did each and every time. Amongst all the information regarding the happenings in Salitra, especially during the time following Soleimon's death, Johkna's name had appeared more than once. As had Allarahn's, but there was quite a bit of interesting information on that particular person.

What he did know for certain is that this Johkna would be nothing more than a persistent pain in his side.

He'd have to be dealt with.

And of course, not a one of them paid any heed to Liana's requests. All four of them were going to take her on, and no doubt overpower her in short order.

So that is why he stood, and though he made to motion to draw at his arms, his posture became clear that he opposed them. And wordlessly he challenged them to make a move, daring them to test his hand.


Liana
 
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Liana

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Liana had stood while Joh was speaking. Her right hand held one dagger while her left went to pull the other from its sheath. No one moved in the tense silence and then the stranger stood. Liana turned her head to look at him as Joh did the same. It was clear to her that this stranger was with her and not with them. Small mercies, indeed.

Two on four did seem like better odds but not by much. "We could always work on the whole marriage thing again," she quipped and Joh laughed a deep, rumbling laugh. She took her chance to move before his laugh had even finished. She crossed the room in the blink of an eye. Her foot cracked into the closest mans shin before her right hand brought the blade across his throat.

These men were nothing. They had to travel in packs of three because she could take them on pretty easily. Joh would be harder. He was already difficult to fight when they were sparring and in love. Now there was nothing by hatred between them.

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Laru'Dahl

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His overconfidence was a mistake.

Liana, whose name was now confirmed, did not hesitate to draw in for an attack in the midst of the mild distraction - a successful attack at that. And with the knife drawn thoroughly across his neck, her first victim fell while spewing blood from the fatal wound. Though he grasped at his injury, by the time he'd hit the ground he lost all strength in his body and his life had left him.

There was an abrupt thwack and what sounded like water spilling followed by first a small thump, then a large thud. A second of the three lackeys had been struck quite violently in the face by a projected glass, and quite suddenly knocked unconscious. Laru'Dahl's drink proved to be useful after all, as its vessel was stout and sturdy, and did not break upon contact with either his target or the floor, and served as a formidable weapon.

He slapped the countertop as the bolted forward, adding further distraction. In a fluid motion he danced around Liana as he drew near, grabbing a chair and using the momentum of his movements to hurl it forcefully at Johkna, trusting Liana to properly deal with their third issue before moving on to the fourth and final obstacle.


Liana
 

Liana

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Liana was amused by the thwack of the glass for a second as the second man fell. Thank you, stranger, she thought as she just smiled viciously at the third man. She saw the stranger throw a chair at Joh and she just chuckled to herself.

The third man - the biggest and slowest - took his eyes away from the stranger and turned them towards her. Liana just winked at him. He let out growl as he started to move towards her. It was cute how he thought he had a chance. She didn't just remember information, no, she absorbed it. She knew how to fight from watching sparring matches. Many of them in which she created a catalog in her mind of every single move made.

Poor guy. She didn't even move from her spot this time. She lifted the dagger that was already coated in blood and flipped it in her hand. Holding onto the blade, she launched it at the mans eye. It hit home and he stumbled about trying to remove it but it had already hit his brain and he tumbled onto the ground.

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Laru'Dahl

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The thudding of the chair against the table, Johkna had moved quickly enough to avoid being struck. With heavy footfalls against the wooden floor Laru'Dahl moved quickly to fill the gap between the two while Liana made short work of the third, larger man.

Johkna was no slouch. In fact, Lara'Dahl knew from his investigating that he the man was in fact quite dangerous. But, where the Serpent of the Red Sun knew his enemy fairly well, the same could not be said of the other. Johkna would have no idea who it was who encroached so dangerously upon him. He'd have no idea the ice that was behind those hidden, dark eyes, and what horrors they'd beheld and how meaningless the life before them seemed to them now. Wordlessly the struggle began.

Laru'Dahl drew near, and without enough time to draw a weapon Johkna reached out to attack. Deftly the assassin's hand reacted with a firm block and then a quick smack against the face. This broke Johkna's focus and balance. For only a few more seconds they silently fought one another, until experience overcame ambition and with finality Laru'Dahl delivered a painful blow.

A harsh knee to the groin.

The sound of Johkna's sharp breath nearly cut the air, and there was a stillness for a moment. Finally Laru'Dahl backed away for the man to fall slowly to his knees as his hands guarded his pain. Laru'Dahl was simply too fast, there'd never have been a chance - not like this.

The slow sound of rasping steel rang out as Laru'Dahl pulled a short blade, one of many to choose from. But he moved slowly, as though allowing Liana the time to make a move herself.

"I'm not the only one," Johkna started through gritted teeth, "Allarahn owns this city..."


Liana
 

Liana

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Liana winced as the stranger kicked Johkna in the groin. She would have felt bad if it was anyone else in the world but this brought her a sick pleasure. She had honestly thought that he would get back up and that is why she had replaced her dagger into its sheath and pulled out one of her own short swords. Enough reach to stay out of his range but not too crazy in a room this size.

When he had fallen to his knees, he had dropped his knife in favor of protecting himself from further kicks. Liana had taken advantage of it and kicked it out of the way but she hadn't needed to do that. He was angry as she stepped in closer to him and squatted down so they were eye level.

"Allarahn owned this city. His secret will be out before your body is cold." The smile crept across her face before she continued. "I will start with you, I think. Allarahn is the one who murdered your parents all those years ago. He promised to train you and help you find the killers...how crazy that they were never found..."

Johkna growled at her and called her a liar but the words were barely out before her left hand was holding his shoulder and her right was plunging the short blade into his gut.

Her victory was short lived as she pulled the sword out and stood to face the stranger. He may have helped her here but that didn't mean anything if he was here to kill her as well. She kept some distance between them with the blood stained blade between them.

Laru'Dahl
 
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Laru'Dahl

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Throughout the interaction Laru'Dahl had gone rather silent and relatively still after taking a quiet step back. He remained poised to strike, knife in hand. He watched quietly as she unveiled a rather harsh truth before finishing the act in a bloody display. Johkna fell in a heap as Liana stood and faced him, and it seemed Laru'Dahl's attention had already turned to her.

He seemed to measure her for a moment, and indeed he did take a moment determining whether she was about to attack. He felt not, and so in a somewhat casual manner he started by replacing the knife he'd drawn from whence it came. He stared at her for a moment, fully prepared for a bombardment of questions or insinuations, but welcome to the idea of forgoing them. In either event, he'd say nothing and then turn to point at the door leading out. Then, remaining silent, he started toward it intent on leaving this place.


Liana
 
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Liana

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Liana had questions. Liana had many questions. Was he an enemy? Who was he? What did he want? Why had he helped her? So many more too. Her first was answered as he put away his knife. Well...he wasn't an enemy for now.

As he pointed to the door and started to move, Liana wiped her blade off quickly on a dead man's pant leg and sheathed it. Yes, Liana was about to follow this complete stranger out of the safety of the bar and into the night. Sometimes super smart people were super dumb.

She followed him in silence for a good few minutes before she finally opened her mouth to speak. "Who are you? Why did you help me? You do you work for?"

What? She had given him a few minutes.

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Laru'Dahl

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He'd just reached for the door, started to push it open when she spoke...


"Who are you? Why did you help me? You do you work for?"


He stopped in place. Three questions, each warranting many words. He was one of so few, so he weighed which query was worth his response. He decided two questions could be answered relatively simply, albeit vaguely - but not so vague. What he had to say would either entice her interest, or not. She would either follow him through this door, or she would not. As was his way, he would continue on regardless of her choice, and return to his sender with his prize, or without. In the end, to him, this was all far more important to her than him.

Without turning his head, he replied with a voice both low and smooth, "I helped you in the name of the Empire."

Then he stepped back outside into the dimly lit street.


Liana
 

Liana

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His voice drew chills over her skin. It was so low and so smooth that it was also menacing like if she asked anymore questions, he would murder her very slowly. Honestly, his answer would do. If he had helped her in the name of the Empire then he was someone that she needed to follow. Sure, there was a chance he was lying but there was still the fact that he had helped her.

She stepped out behind him and looked around the area. It was quiet. Had Allarahn been so sure that Johkna would kill her that he had not sent anyone else? His mistake it seemed. That didn't mean she was going to let down her guard though. That is how people got killed.

"Can I at least know what to call you?" Liana asked as they walked. She would accept his simple answer for now but she at least needed a name. She would ask the rest of her questions as they traveled to...somewhere.

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Laru'Dahl

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Stepping out into the street he drew in a long and quiet breath. He took in the surround. There was not much to see now, apart from the odd soul brave enough to venture the streets so late. Those who they came across were either innocently making their way, or far more nefarious but hardly lack for brains. Laru'Dahl's appearance and blatant display of weaponry was more than enough to deter the more petty sort - if any such had come their way, they'd chosen not to test their luck. Liana was perhaps a little less imposing, but she'd have struck them down as quickly as he, from what he had seen.

"Can I at least know what to call you?"
He supposed that seemed fair enough, so he replied with a thick accent, "Laru'Dahl."

The depth in his voice seemed unnatural for one of his stature. He was not a terribly small person, but the sound of him was more akin to the likes of the god-emperor, or other giants. But there was also a certain inflection in his voice, something that was not native to Amol-Kalit, though he buried it beneath years of speaking the Abtati tongue.

They walked for a short while more, eventually turning down one of the various Salitran alleyways. And Laru'Dahl continued to lead her, until he finally broke his silence and said, "I am taking to you meet with one of our informants... they will verify that you are who we believe you are."


Liana
 

Liana

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"Laru'Dahl."

Liana had never heard his name. Of course, she did not know everyone in Amol-Kalit but she did know the major players in every city. Perhaps he was an underling of someone? She would store that question on her Laru'Dahl Questions list.

Their walk continued in silence and she was about to speak again when his deep, melodic voice cut through the silence.

"I am taking to you meet with one of our informants... they will verify that you are who we believe you are."

The normally confident Liana stumbled at his words. One of our informants. Who we believe you are. What had she gotten herself into now? She had already figured out that he was looking for her, obviously, but who was this we and why did they need her particular set of skills? More questions to add to the list.

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Laru'Dahl

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Only some ways down the alleyway he took her before they arrived. They came to a small, inset door. He stopped and turned to her, and remained there quietly for a moment, as though inspecting her. He'd grown to like her in the short time they'd walked. She didn't badger him with nearly the same amount of trivial pestering as most others he had been sent to escort in his time. He hadn't done it much, only when the Red Sun thought its Serpent's skills were best suited.

He was not exactly a bodyguard, but if he were, he was the only one that was needed.

He gestured to the door and said, "no harm will come to you either way."

He was quite certain he had, as he always did, found exactly who the Vizier sought.


 

Liana

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Liana studied Laru'Dahl (he was definitely getting a nickname if they were going to be together longer) at the same time he studied her. There was much more of her on display for him than vice versa. It seemed quite unfair but oh well.

When he finally moved and gestured to the door, she looked past him at it. Her eyes flicked back to him and she nodded.

She reached her hand to open the door and pushed it in. Liana was nervous but also extremely interested.

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Laru'Dahl

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Stepping inside, they beheld a rather humble and dimly lit abode. There were an assortment of different items and trinkets decorating the inside in various, archaic fashions, either set on surfaces or hung from the ceiling. The window openings were drawn with tattered curtains, and many low burning candles were scattered about.

There were three individuals sat in the open on an array of many pillows set atop lavish rugs. These three individuals were clearly women, robed quite well and dressed quite modestly with their noses and mouths covered. In unison they turned to see the pair as they entered. Each of them were of darker complexion, but one of them bore an interesting feature the others lacked - her eyes softly glowed of gold.

"Welcome, Laru'Dahl... it is well to see you again," she spoke with a tongue of velvet caress. Her eyes drifted to his companion, "and who is this," she said with a faux shock in her tone, and then with amusement she beckoned them closer, "come. Sit."


 

Liana

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Liana looked from Laru (yes, that would do as a nickname) to the three women. This was a very strange place and these women were equally strange. She looked at each one in turn before her eyes stayed on the golden eyed woman.

She wasn't sure if she was supposed to answer the question so she didn't. Liana walked the few steps until she came to an empty pillow that might as well have had her name stitched on it. She slowly lowered herself down onto the pillow and looked at the women expectedly.

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Laru'Dahl

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"Neh'rai," Laru'Dahl responded with an inclining of his head. Then he followed Liana to where they'd been called, and sat with her - not too close, and not too far. Once seated, knelt on both knees, he offered a nod to each of Neh'rai's companions before addressing her again.

"This," he gestured, "is Liana."

Neh'rai's golden gaze examined her carefully, and the corner of her lip turned up just a little.

"So," she started, "there is no lying to you, I've heard..." sly eyes met Liana's, "...but can you lie?

How well do you know Allarahn?"



 

Liana

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Neh'rai's eyes were already creepy but it was nothing compared to when they met Liana's own piercing blue ones. She had a feeling that there was no lying to this woman either and she had no reason to.

"You have heard correctly, my lady. I can detect lies," she nodded before continuing. "And I am able to tell as many lies as I want to." She offered a small smile at the women.

The next question cause her to raise a single dark brow. She knew the information she had found on him would be in high demand but this was much sooner than she expected to be contacted about it.

"I know him well. I have worked for him for seven years now. Well...I suppose worked is the better term to use in this case. I believe he got my resignation loud and clear."


It had been a glorious resignation at that.

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"Four men came to assail her," Laru added.

Neh'rai nodded in a sagely fashion, and then nodded between her companions. Unbeknownst to Liana, Neh'rai was also one gifted with some extraordinary attributes. She beckoned Liana to come a little closer, and she extended her hands out saying, "let me have a closer look at you..."