Private Tales She Who Dares, Wins

A private roleplay only for those invited by the first writer


Fury of War
Character Biography
How old was War? How long ago did the first man pick up arms to lead a group against another over some strip of land, or imagined slight? It seemed as old as life itself though that was not true. It might not have seemed possible to the mortal mind but once there had been years, centuries, where the world had never heard of war. But that was another Age, barely known to those who lived in this one now. Yet in all that immeasurable amount of time Favashi didn't think she had ever won such a satisfying dare. Oh she had won beautiful things over the years. She had won deadly things. She had won the first born child of one of the greatest heroes of the Ages, and she had won the colour of the first Mchawi's skin. They all paled in comparison to the prize she waited for now.


The pair had been unlikely friends for centuries though there had always been something... something more. It was always just out of sight or reach. A feeling to tease and threaten one another with, to see how far the other could handle that growing feeling before backing down or running away. But winning that dare had been the next step. She could feel the potential of the havoc she could wreck in this single week. It would seem like only a drop in the ocean to their immortal lives usually but this time... this time she wondered if a week might actually feel like a week as it did to a mortal. Favashi intended to savour every second either way.

She lounged by the ornamental pond just outside of the desert palace she called home, deep within Leogaire. Of course she had given Vaer instructions on how to find her home, though the Dawn Court had a way of twisting itself around in knots to cause mischief by itself, as though it had its own conscious. But he would get there, eventually. As long as a person knew their destination when they stepped on the road they would not come to harm. She gave an impatient sigh and rolled onto her back, a tiny water nymph fanning her with a large palm leaf as she waited.

* * *
Vaer Nhimei
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It was a long walk to Leogaire. Vaer had never been to the city and, wisely, had not felt particularly safe trusting the leys to take him somewhere so deep in lands of chaos without ever having been there first. He wondered as he padded along a road that kept winding when his paws walked straight, if the ley lines were as confused of their destination as the road was? Or if the spirit of mischief was just so deeply intertwined with the land now that it couldn't help having a good jest at him, too.

This was the long walk of a loser. He was trying not to feel too bitter about it, but he was pretty chagrined over the whole affair. He was old enough to know better than to play games with Favashi. Especially one that was high risk, high reward. He never won these things.

Was it her wit and wiles that always beat him? Even grumpy and pouting another loss, he didn't dare suggest she was cheating. But it sometimes felt like it.

Vaer meandered (in a straight line), all the while keeping the location she had given him in mind. Soon enough what he assumed was Leogaire appeared. It was a mismatched nightmare of places and homes, as he had expected. Or as much as one could imagine. The city somehow managed to be exactly what he thought it would be and so much more. It was a kaleidoscope of styles and colors. More than one house was a horrid conglomeration that he hoped were only in transitional stages of remodels. Deep down, he knew they weren't.

He was relieved to finally reach Favashi's home and for it to seem mostly normal. No great oddities here except its mistress. And trouble was there to greet him at her own front door.

"Good afternoon, Favashi," he announced himself as he trotted off of the street to the pond. He kept his canine shape out of stubbornness. He also chose to ignore her entirely to admire her home.

"Your house is bigger than mine." Of course it was.
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The tiny water nymph squealed when the black shuck finally materialised out of the road and with a graceful dive vanished back into the pool with barely a ripple. Favashi plucked the leaf out of the air and rolled to her feet with a wide grin for her guest even if he wasn't paying her much mind. Her eyes flickered behind her to what a mortal would probably call the palace in which she lived. She was one of the few who had adopted the more local style with lots of wide archways, open corridors to let in cooler air, and made of lighter coloured bricks and marble so as not to attract too much of the heat. Mosaics were inlaid into the floors and rich colourful engravings boarded the thick wooden doors of each room. She rolled a single slim shoulder in a shrug and looked back to him with a silken smile.

"Would you like one? People have had homes here for less time than you'll be staying," her eyes glittered with her amusement and then she stepped forward and reached a hand up to ruffle at his ears. "Such a sulky puppy, our week together will be full of fun. That, I promise," her words descended into laughter which she ended up having to smother with her hand over her lips.

"Would you like to see your rooms?"
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"Mm. As tempting as it might be to live closer to you, I think a continent and a half is close enough," he mused. A non-answer. He rather liked this house, after all.

Favashi ruffled his fur -- quite literally -- and Vaer waited until she had stepped back to shed his canine form and his sulking for his humanoid body. With the exception of the Wild Hunt festivities, he was dressed more casually than she had probably ever seen him. His attire married modern trends with traditional Winter fashions. The shirt was made from a rich black silk with delicate gold embroidered trim along the vee collar. His jacket was also black, shimmering with hidden depictions of black shucks pursuing stags when it shifted in the sunlight. From the black void of his carefully coiffed hair to his spotless boots, his appearance gave the impression that he was a man who never dirted his hands for his profession.

A very carefully articulated lie.

Vaer adjusted the sleeve of his jacket and scoffed, but a fanged grin sprang across his stoic features as he finally looked toward Favashi.

“Be careful with promises, Favashi,” he chuckled. His eyes, as usual, gave away how much he was already enjoying their little antagonistic game. He couldn't let her know that he had been planning to invite her to spend her week with him if he'd won this bet. Still smiling, he gestured to her frustratingly beautiful home.

“Let’s see it, then.”
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With quite an elegant bow that somehow managed to be the right amount of polite as per the rules of hospitality sprinkled with a touch of something that was distinctly Favashi, that is to say it was sprinkled with mockery, the Fury turned on her heel and padded back into her home on bare feet.

The tour on the way to his rooms revealed the palace in which she lived to be as hazardous in terms of layout as the city in which she lived. A twist down this corridor revealed a sudden opening onto some inner courtyard complete with fountain and lush vegetation the like of which would not been out of place in the Wilds. A twist down another corridor and an open door offered a peak into a library with a grand ornate desk and walls lined with books quickly followed by a room of weapons that looked as though they belonged in a museum. There was no rhyme or reason as to which room followed which and every corridor held its own surprise with a piece of art or a severed head. At least the wing in which she stopped looked relatively normal.

"Your room," Favashi pronounced with a grin as she pushed open the double doors to the bright airy rooms beyond. Rooms would have been a better description. In fact it was the whole wing down which they had travelled. The doors opened up onto a large spacious living area with cushions and low sofas around a low table one could assume was the dining room. It was the view immediately before them that really drew the eye. Glass doors opened out onto a curved balcony that overlooked a lake and sloping hills that sparkled in the sun. They appeared to be the next story up though they hadn't climbed any stairs. To the left was an expansive room with bed, wardrobes and fireplace, whilst to the right through wooden painted doors was the mosaic bathroom complete with lion-footed copper tub. It was surprisingly plain and simple in terms of colours, favouring warm oranges against the cream with splashes or hints of blue.

It looked very unlike anything a Fury would have in her home. Least of all Favashi who had once turned up to Vaer's birthday party with severed ears on a necklace.

She leaned against the door to watch his reaction as she continued.

"You're welcome to go wherever you please, but I'd be cautious about not getting distracted. If you get lost just think of where you want to go and you'll get there," much the same as the city in which she lived, Favashi's home had a mind to reorganise itself to its owners requirements.

"I took the liberty of putting some things in your wardrobe too," her lips twisted in amusement as she eyed up the black ensemble.
For a shuck with a reputation as a fun-hating stick in the mud, Vaer found himself smiling as much as he glowered in Favashi’s presence. She was trying, always testing the limits of his patience with unending antics and teasing. On the other hand she was caring and attentive. She saw through him as easily as vellum.

All of these attributes greeted him. Her bow was a mockery and yet the exact measure for her rank to his. The meandering tour through a house that was clearly something out of one of his personal nightmares, but the excited way she showed it to him was rather charming. The maddening disorder of her home was exactly the kind of thing that she would feel right at home in… and in the middle of it was a whole suite of rooms that were perfectly suited to him.

Vaer didn't do her the disservice of just looking around and giving some half-hearted answer. He shrugged out of his jacket, draped it over his shoulder, and stepped inside to inspect his lodging.

“Ah, you don’t like the funeral attire?” he laughed, glancing back at her as he wandered near the balcony doors. The view was, of course, beautiful (even if he was pretty sure they’d been more in town than the rolling plains he saw). She’d told him plenty of times how she felt about his dark wardrobe. The only question that remained was what whims had she been following when she’d taken liberty.

“So have we any plans for this week, or is this truly a time devised to torture me wherein we shall be flying by the seat of our pants?” Vaer asked as he walked. The myriad of smells that Leogaire had assaulted him with were gone, his nose and mind offered reprieve in the clean, muted scents. The rooms lacked the distinct eclecticism of the house he’d walked through in general. It was curious -- and something Vaer was not beyond noticing in his eye for detail. Was an island of normalcy in a sea of chaos really that normal, or was it just one more random thing because it wasn’t expected? Gods only knew, knowing Favashi.

Finally arriving in the bedroom, he paused by the door and (in a moment of order so rigid it felt grossly misplaced in this house) stepped out of his boots and slipped into a pair of slippers he summoned from between. Vaer wore a shit-eating grin that was quite mischievous and, in apology, entertained her. He draped his jacket on the back of a chair and settled his hands on the wardrobe, then cast a final glance over his shoulder. One brow high and not even bothering to pretend he wasn’t curious, he opened it.
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"It's perfectly charming," Favashi retorted eloquently; a response fit for the Court Rooms indeed. The smile that accompanied was probably less so. As he meandered the room she played with the fringed edges of the burn orange throw draped over the arm of the low lying couch. If anyone hadn't know her better they might have thought the expression on her face was tinged with nervousness. Of course that could not be so, not from a Duanann about what a Black Shuck might think of a gift and certainly not Favashi out of all of those. As he wandered from the main room towards the bedroom she trailed after him.

"I have a few... loose ideas but it's always more fun when you see where the mood takes you," she leant up against the tiled archway that split the sleeping area from the living area and played with a long lock of her hair by twisting and twirling it through her fingers. Her eyes intently followed his movements with unabashed curiosity as he took off his boots on the threshold of the plush rugged room and her eyebrows climbed into her hairline when he made slippers appear of all things. It was the grin that really struck her though. Nothing tamed, nothing ordered, just pure wild unadulterated joy and it tugged at something deep within her chest as she returned the grin.

As he wandered over to the wardrobe she subtly moved her fingers and with each step the slippers changed a little from the smart, sleek black pair he had chosen for himself to a fluffy pink ensemble that had her grinning behind his back. When he turned back towards her Favashi managed an innocent look she hoped he would take for something to do with the clothes within the wardrobe and not what she had done to his shoes. And what a wonder of treasures the wardrobe contained.

Favashi would never admit it but she had had nearly as much fun filling the wardrobe for his visit as she did on the battlefield. This, in a way, was another kind of war and this step one of many moves the pair had already played against one another. The vividness and range of colours was a sensory assault itself. Garments ranged from deep dark greens and blues to vibrant reds and golds that looked like it had been spun from the sun itself. Despite it though, Favashi had allowed him some order by arranging them in a fading scale of colour like a rainbow. As for what the garments were exactly there was almost as much variety in cut as there was colour. There were the baggy harem pants of the far West with matching vests and shirts embroidered with silk. There were fitted and tailored suits that would have been respectable at human and fae court dinners alike. Then were were more casual and ... odder pieces. A breastplate and long streaming red cloak, a kilt of fine woven tartan and a pair of shorts that bordered on indecent.

The fae of war pretended to study something beneath her nails.

"I thought perhaps the feather boa might be suitable for tonight's party."
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Color erupted from the shadows inside the wardrobe. At least he could appreciate that she’d sorted them rather well into a smooth, rainbow gradient -- even if the outfits themselves were mismatched in every conceivable way. There was neither rhyme nor reason to anything he saw. Picking a color, Vaer pulled out the sleeve of something that looked like it would be better suited on an acrobat than a High Lord. Beside it was a whole ensemble that would have been perfectly at home in his own personal wardrobe. (At least it would have been if it were black.)

“A feather boa?” he laughed. With a great sigh, he picked up the most garish pink boa he’d ever seen in his life. He wrapped it about his neck and, turning back to Favasi, propped a hand on his hip.

“You’re bringing me to a party in the Dawn Court? Aren’t you worried I might be a bit too conventional?” Said the black shuck in a pink feather boa. “I’d hate to embarrass you, Favashi.”

He’d lost the bet fair and square. While he might still be a bit miffed at yet another defeat, he wasn’t going to be a surly ass and ruin what might as well be a fun visit with his friend. Even if he was going to be the gossip of all major Courts for a while for it. Vaer Nhimei, off being strange and unusual in the Dawn Court. The Erlking's Penance spotted acting rather unlike himself in Leogaire. At least with this, they might forget to talk poorly of his mother and his heritage.
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Favashi clamped a hand over her mouth when he turned to keep herself from laughing. If she started she feared she would never stop. She unabashedly ran her eyes down his form from head to toes, where she grinned again at the fluffy slippers sticking out from underneath the black pants. She quickly looked back up at him with the innocence of a new born lamb.

"It's just a small gathering I'm having," she pushed off the wall and prowled across the gap that separated them. There was something about finally having in her home that was positively delicious. Their meetings had always been on his turf in Autumn or Winter. Favashi stopped when she was toe to toe with the Shuck and gently she reached up to wrap a portion of the boa around either hand. She tugged gently until he bent his head towards her. "Us Fury's like to get together and play a few games every week. I forgot it happened to be my turn to host, but you don't mind, do you Vaer?" her eyes lingered on his lips before rising to his eyes. If she leant further anymore their noses would touch.

She had always assumed it was because of what she was that made him particularly uncomfortable with her being so close to him. They could be friends, he had conceded that much over the centuries, but he still seemed afraid she was as likely to bite as she was to give a friendly pat. Ironically if he hadn't acted quite so scared, so unsure, she wouldn't have done it so much. But now it was one of her favourite games to play.
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She approached and Vaer remained in place, though he watched her dubiously. It would be lying to say he wasn’t out of his depth. He was thankfully a High Lord of the Winter Court and was good at making the most out of any social situation.

He expected her to close the gap and stand uncomfortably close to him. What he didn’t expect was for her to twist her hands in the boa and gently pull him forward. Vaer’s smile vanished and he bent, his face drawing close to hers in an act of submission that came far too easily.

They always played the same game. Every time they met, she brought the same catty, seductive energy, which he ignored or deflected with staunch chastity. It was always she that chased him with her tricks (if he even noticed them). It was his job to thwart her, deny her, resist her.

Yet it was he that looked down. It was Vaer whose eyes dropped to her lips, so close to his that he could feel her breath on his chin. He was acutely aware of her scent: the tartness of raspberries; the sweetness of litchi; the gentle floral scent of roses and the rich, earthy notes of sandalwood. The black shuck breathed slowly, the air from her lungs filling his.

It was a very dangerous game to be playing now. There was something different this time. Perhaps the intimacy of the setting or that they were alone -- something, he realized suddenly, they had never really been. There had always been the buffer of other people.

The telltale color that all too often gave away her victory didn’t cross his cheeks this time. His eyes lingered on her lips for a moment too long before finally fluttering back up to hers. His breath was unsteady as he exhaled. Vaer mounted the very difficult task of trying to remember what she’d just said.

The party. They were talking about her party.

“I do not mind at all,” he said softly, his voice not much more than a rumble in his chest. His hands found her elbows and slid up to her wrists, his large black hands curling around them carefully. “I can’t beat you at your games. Perhaps I can best your friends instead. Will that make me a Hound, a High Lord, and a Fury?”

The quirk of a smile at the corner of his lips before he dipped his head lower, out of the dangerous reach of her lips. The boa unwound from around his neck, freeing him to back away. His hand passed over hers, the feathers slipping through his palm as he put much-needed space between them.

“Since I’m a good sport and since you went to the effort of building such a comprehensive wardrobe, I’ll let you pick my party attire.” His grin was back, more confident and more playful with her at arm’s length.

He had to be careful. He didn’t know what was game and what was intent. Favashi was a good friend; he couldn’t let her get to him like this. He valued her far too much to be stupid.
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Favashi's breath hitched as those eyes, oh those golden eyes, dipped towards her lips and he seemed to inch a little closer. Would he, wouldn't he? The puzzle always set her mind a whirl. It was what had made it so entertaining in the beginning but now... Now it was something more. She didn't think she would laugh if he did close that gap as she might have done a few hundred years ago. She even rocked onto her the tips of her toes to close the gap between them as tiny as it was. His touch was a thrill she still denied herself despite the tiny goosebumps that broke out across her bare arms in his wake. This was it. He was going to...

...Move away.

It was never cold in her home but there was a chill in the absence of his heat and it was a hard thing not to let it show how much it wrenched her that he sidestepped her again. Still, she was over a millennia old. Or, at least she thought she might be. Whatever years were notched upon her blade it had given her enough time to learn to school her expression in the face of defeat. She tugged the boa over her own shoulders.

"Oh, no. I couldn't possibly. It's all part of the fun seeing you trying to work out how these things go together," Favashi turned and plopped herself on the foot of his bed and folded her legs. The desert style dress parted at the hidden slits to allow her the mobility to do so more elegantly than if the garment hadn't had them and she rested her elbows on her knees before resting her chin on the back of her hands to watch.
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"Throwing me to the wolves in a strange Court," he mused, feigning hurt with a hand to his heart. "How cruel you are to me, my friend."

She sat down and Vaer turned his attention back to the wardrobe. The quiet breath he drew when he had his back turned for a moment of privacy helped take the shake out of his hands. His fingers brushed over the shoulders of the section between red, orange, and yellow. What did one wear to a party for chaos to measure itself? Vaer hardly knew what to expect her to wear to normal functions, let alone to one inside her native Court.

As he drew the sleeve of something out to inspect its cut and length, he started up some random conversation.

“You will be glad to hear I’ve not yet had any marriage proposals,” he informed her with a light tone of amusement. “Hallori has been quite arch on the matter and though she will offer nothing about her vision, she will also accept no arguments of reason. She insists that I'm to have a wife and that she saw her at our family's Long Night party this year -- nevermind that it is only a month and a half away.

"And my mother, may the gods bless her, is just as convinced. She has had three friends over these last two weeks. Conveniently, they all brought their very charming and very single daughters. Poor girls." Vaer laughed and shook his head. "I was actually very glad to get away, so thank you for your excellent timing."

It was about as much as he'd ever spoken of his family. He'd offered Favashi enough small glimpses of his family through gossip over the years to build a portrait like a mosaic. His eccentric, clairvoyant sister and his assertive, quiet mother managing their family like one kept the accounts and ledgers.

And, as usual, Vaer immediately drew away from the topic. He withdrew and held against his chest an ensemble that would have been right at home in the Summer Court three millennia ago. A mix of turquoise and rose gold with an egregious amount of metallic and jewel tone embroidery, it clashed horribly with his skin and eyes.

“Do I want to know where you got any of this?”
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My friend.

Did he say such to make a point? To draw up the battle lines quite firmly once again? If she had been in her tigress form her tail would have been lashing side to side though as she was her eyes only narrowed at his back in an attempt to work out the layers beneath such a simple flippant remark. Perhaps he still thought of this as a game and thought that she did too - which she did! - she protested to herself. It was all a game. A harmless piece of fun...

So why did she begin to wring the silken sheets she sat upon when he started talking of marriage?

The truth was that one day he would find his mate and he would marry, regardless of whether or not his sisters visions held the truth of the future. And he deserved it. He was her dearest friend and nothing would make her happier than to see him with a woman who could give him the family he so wanted. But nothing would make her hurt more either. She hastily smoothed out the sheets as he plucked a garment from the selection before him and turned to her to show it off. The perfect amused smile twisted her lips like a pretty painting.

"No," Favashi laughed thinking of the bard's body she had taken that particular ensemble off of. His singing had been an affront to the word music. "That's a definite no. We'll be outside for most of the evening if that helps you decide," her eyebrows rose with a sultry smirk.
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Vaer laughed. “Of course not.” He was grateful, at least, that he wouldn’t have to wear this one. Nevertheless, the very pragmatic shuck hung the ensemble back up and neatly straightened it.

“Can I at least expect the weather outdoors to be… like this?” He waved a black hand at the windows and their stunning, puzzling view. “Do you get to decide the weather or are you just as subject to Leogaire’s whims as I am about to be?” Vaer flashed a grin over his shoulder and continued to rummage. This was torture of the acutest kind, but she seemed amused. This was, after all, her week.

Yet while Vaer’s hands slid over the garments and his eyes saw and considered, his mind was drifting back to that stupid boa and Favashi. The softness of velvet and silk became the warmth of her skin beneath his hands. All he could smell in the room was raspberries and roses. Not good.

Rather abruptly, he picked up a suit that, while utterly conventional and conforming to his usual wardrobe, was also a shocking, horrible shade of pink that might actually have matched the damn boa. Vaer held it against himself and turned about to present it to Favashi.

"A compromise?" he asked, grinning like he'd won something. "I can be a creature of habit and it matches the boa. Unless you'll be conceding and picking something yourself after all?"
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Favashi's eyes wandered down his back and then cocked her head to the side as she enjoyed the view from where she sat quite openly. The anger and possessiveness she had no right to feel were beginning to fade into the general irritated buzz that was always there at the back of her mind feeding in to the Wars that waged across the world. 5,000 men had died today so far in forgotten fields. Not a bad day.

"I'm not a weather sprite," she sniffed at the insult. "But even if I were I couldn't control the weather no more than I can control the roads you walked down here," Leogaire was not called Wonderland for no reason. Nobody knew what magic their founder had imbued it with but the city had its own living mind and heart and soul all filled with a glee for the same chaos as its long dead mistress. She explained as much to him as she sat and waited for him to select an outfit. He seemed to enjoy the history and she saw no harm for a Shuck to Winter and Autumn to know that the land itself would fight against intruders.

When he turned with the pink fashionably cut suit she clapped her hands in delight and pulled the feather boa about herself with a grin.

"Oh that is perfect. I am going to tell the others we must all wear pink on Wednesdays," she gracefully rose to her feet with a hum. "Did you get that Neketchi?" A small genii materialised out of the wall and bobbed a little curtsy, her skin fading from the colours of the wall she had been standing back to her usual greyish tint with wide black eyes. Her dress looked to be made of criss-crossing petals which bobbed and moved as she vanished in haste from the room. Favashi didn't pass her so much as a look.

"They'll be here at eight most likely, so it gives you time to settle in. I could show you the house if you like or would you prefer to rest?"
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She liked it. That meant he was on the right path to something. What, he genuinely had no idea. But progress was progress, even if one didn’t know what they progressed toward.

Though he did turn with a measure of curiosity at the genii. Vaer raised a brow at Favashi but said nothing right away. Her house became more and more strange the longer he was in it. He’d never smelled genii before. Could he even smell them at all? He tried to be as subtle about sniffing as one could be, taking a deep breath as he gently closed the wardrobe and hung up the outfit. Nothing, or he couldn’t determine which smell was supposed to be hers. Interesting.

Returning his attention to his lovely host, he grinned -- an expression, he decided, he was wearing too much today.

“You know I loathe being idle.” He walked to the door where he’d left his shoes and began to step out of his slippers when he looked down. Then, in a very un-Vaer thing to do, burst out laughing.

“Look at how cute they are,” he remarked, stepping into his boots and picking up the pink bunny slippers. He was enamoured, but he wasn’t going to admit to why. The child Enlai’s first obsession had been chasing rabbits from his mother’s gardens, and shucks never really shook their fixations. He set them back down by the door where they would wait for his return, a very warm glow illuminating his smile as he marveled at them.

Vaer finally looked back up at Favashi and offered his arm. “Show me around some more?"
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Maedbh have mercy, but did he know what he did to her when he laughed like that? The grins and smiles he threw her way felt like scraps from the table in comparison. The sound made her toes curl and her insides twist up in knots the like of which she hadn't felt for centuries. Not since... A face amongst a halo of golden curls rose unbidden in her mind. The way his lips curved into a playful smile that brought out the dimples in his stubbled cheeks. How he would reach up and gently grasped her hip, tugging her back towards the edge of the bed. She groaned as though the delay were a great hardship and he pressed his lips in a trail between her still bare breasts. Favashi sighed and tangled her fingers in his hair losing herself in the moment.

"Come back to bed, the battle can wait..."

...Show me around some more?

The memory burst like frigid water over her and the mist that swirled her eyes vanished in a blink. The hot tent in the middle of the desert sands with their bed of soiled silken sheets melted into white and airy rooms.

"Of course," she breathed and offered him a quick, faint smile before stepping up to take his arm relieved the memory had not dragged her under further. The Mind Mists could be unpredictable and dangerous not only to her but those around her. She and Vaer had been lucky this time but they might not be so next time. "Why don't we start with the rooms I think you'd actually enjoy," which was probably just two of them and one of those was technically the garden. Her eclectic taste was not for everyone.

Back in the hallway they took a right when the corridor seemed to bend to the left and several doors down she pushed open a set into the large glass-dome topped library. The rooms seemed far larger than it had a right to be considering the last door they had passed had not been that far down the hall. Bookshelves were organised in rows and small little sitting areas or nooks broke them up. Underneath the great glass dome in the centre of the room was a great golden globe that rotated painfully slowly on its axis. Tiny golden lights glowed at odd places over continents and seas many of which were on no mortal map.
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He was not aware of the shift at first, but not a moment after he spoke, the scent of arousal hit him like a swift kick from an angry horse. A black shuck's nose was annoyingly sharp. It had the potential to make social outings uncomfortable and awkward, and they learned to tune most things out. This was not so easily ignored. He blinked and exhaled sharply. Color flashed across his cheeks and it was all he could manage to recover his composure as she crossed the room to take his arm.

Stepping out into the hallway was a literal breath of fresh air. He allowed her to lead, only stealing a single glance down at the duanann as they walked side by side. She had looked distracted, like she had been thinking of something intently. Still, reminded by the boa bobbing gently as she walked, his mind couldn't help wandering.

No. He didn't want Favashi like that. Okay, that was an obvious lie. He did, but he didn't. They were friends and, in his experience, sleeping with your friends never turned out good. It was one of his many personal rules, and he wasn't going to bend on that now. Plenty of fae exuded sensual energy. He'd ignored lots of temptation over the years without batting an eye. Why was it so different with Favashi? Why was he even arguing with himself about it??

Because he wanted to. Not really, but he definitely did. Which was why he wasn't going to. Couldn't.

He barely noticed the path they took. Something, he gathered, was not an issue because it was adapting to its mistress. Purging his mind of any more of this idea, Vaer had a much easier time thinking of something more appropriate when they stepped into a library.

Not just any library, but a large one. Absurdly large. Vaer was once again reminded of the benefits of her strange home and another positive token was added to the scales measuring whether or not he liked it. He marveled at the rows of books, the glass dome overhead, the orderliness of this single room. Awe and appreciation was written plainly across his dark face.

"Your library, like your house, is much larger than mine. May I?" As if he needed to ask. Vaer drifted away to peruse the spines on one of the many shelves.

"How many of these do you think you've read? I have often wondered how many books one could read with the infinite time you duanann seem to have," he mused.
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Favashi slid with grace into one of the opulent armchairs that looked well worn and well loved. Positioned almost directly beneath the oddly spinning globe she stared up at it as Vaer moved around the library to satisfy his curiosity. Each little golden light was a war somewhere in this world where a person whispered pleas to her or some version of her that existed in their lands. She had walked most of them at some time or other with a blade in hand and armour that shone golden like the sun. Legends grew and spun around her turning her into a god or a demon, depending on the ones who tasted the length of her blade.

Her eyes drifted away back to him as he spoke and a smile lazily twisted her lips upwards.

"All of them, these are just my favourites. Don't look too shocked Vaer it's not all bloodshed in my life," she crossed one leg over the other and drummed her fingers on the arm of the chair as she watched him continue on his search of the shelves. "Wherever I go I like to find a book," she explained out loud in a thoughtful, self-reflective tone. "On local history or myths or from an author native to the country. Some of these were gifts but the majority I found in little bookshops."
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Only her favorites? He looked around the room again, a different kind of wonder filling his eyes. Vaer shook his head, a gesture of disbelief and amusement.

"So many, and these only the best."

Even fae could occasionally experience that which was impossible for them to comprehend. A black shuck could live for two or three thousand years if she was lucky. Compared to a duanann's lifespan, that number was a flash in the pan. Vaer struggled to fathom how many times over Favashi had already lived his measly centuries.

"My father left Hallori and I a portion of his library when he returned to the leys." Vaer made a sign to An’Ruen like the devout, very good boy that he was. "The rest was donated to various collections, but he left us his very favorites. Not a collection as expansive as yours, but still more than I'll ever have the time to read."

He smiled fondly to himself as his fingers brushed the spine of a book, its title in a script and language he didn't recognize. It was the first he'd ever spoken of his father to her. Everyone knew who knew anything about the last millennia's Court drama knew that his father had been an Heir to one of the 50 Houses of Duanann -- a title he had forsaken to be with his mother.

Returning from his memories, he turned back to Favashi. As per protocol, he touched briefly and moved on.

"If you had to pick only three, which ones would you choose?" he asked with a sly grin. "I will accept your top ten if you lend me one of them to read"

A difficult choice. A question he couldn't help asking, even if he himself could not have narrowed down his favorites so easily.
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Favashi remained in her relaxed pose within the chair but her eyes sharpened like a blades edge when Vaer begun to talk about his father. The famous heir. He had never spoken of the reasons why he had chosen his mothers heritage over his fathers and she had not liked to press about such a matter. There were few moral lines the fury had but poking her nose into the personal lives of friends was one hard line she held herself to. Though Vaer naturally, like with every moral line she had, made that hard to stick to. The Shuck fascinated her in simple truth and she wished to know every little detail.

She just wanted to find out from his own lips and not through her spies.

With a soft laugh she rose from her chair to go and join him by one of the shelves. Top ten was a hard press when the library contained over 50,000 books but a few titles did spring to mind.

"You can borrow any books you like; knowledge is not something I would stake on a bet," she said in a surprisingly tender tone and she didn't make eye contact as she said it. Another memory was stirring and she shoved it back down in case it triggered the Mists. "But I suppose... if I did have to pick ten..." her fingers ran along the spines not far from where he had been before she plucked out a slim red-leather bound volume that looked worn and loved. With tender care she put it on a table and then moved on to another shelf, and another. It took a good half an hour but she eventually returned with nine more which she added to the first.

A cursory glance at the spines would show a reflection of subjects. One was on war - a tad on the nose perhaps - there were two romances, a bestiary, three sets of mythologies from various points of the world, a chronicle, a travelling monk's biography and a collection of poems.
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Favashi's permission to borrow any of the books here he liked was too generous, but he didn't turn it down. Only an idiot ignored an opportunity like this one. However, it wasn't the offer that had his eyes watching her curiously, but rather her gentle tone.

Vaer was not a man to press or pry. Favashi was a very complicated person who he had yet to fully disect. His opinion of her had grown from reluctant annoyance to very, very dear friend, and that growth had come from hundreds of small moments like this one. Whatever story her mind reflected on when she didn't meet his eye was one she would decide to tell him eventually or it wasn't. He was a practical man; he wouldn't waste his time sniffing after trails that led nowhere.

He leisurely strolled through her library while she perused for her ten selections. Ever patient and just as interested in the books she didn't pick, he wound through the shelves in a serpentine line. He paused at the globe and made a few passes around it in fascination, but saved that question for when she was finished with her current quest.

If he'd had a tail in this form, it would have been wagging as she set down the final book. Vaer's long legs stepped quickly to the table and his eyes feasted on her choices. He immediately got the impression that if he were to ask her the same question tomorrow, some (if not all) of these selections would change. He spent a moment reading the titles with his head tilted in curiosity, a very canine mannerism.

"Very interesting choices." Of all the interesting things she had chosen, it was the monk's biography which he picked up to leaf through. "Why these?"

He knew that, sooner or later, she would go on the offensive and he would be subject to similarly innocuous, probing questions to determine his person. Something he found himself strangely looking forward to.

Perhaps he could win a bet while he was here and coerce her to spend a week with him at Hollyhall. An idea that was as unlikely as it was amusing.
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Why these?

Favashi lovingly ran her thumb over the spine belonging to the collection of poems. Why indeed. This was a dangerous game when she had already lost herself in the Mists once today but she couldn't help indulging in the nostalgia. Not when Vaer asked so nicely with such a look of wonder and hunger to devour every word before him. Her smile might have been small but it lit her from the inside out until her eyes turned to the biography in his hands. Then she laughed and slid round the table to stand beside him and peer over his arm to read the page he was on.

"This one, was written by a Monk from Jeridhea," the ancient city was all but dust now. Several cities had risen in its place but it was Jeridhea they all wanted to be. The legends today said its people had enjoyed prosperity the likes of which had never been seen again in the Steppes. Its fall was what had split its people into the tiny tribes many still lived in today. Dornoch tried but it was nothing compared to the crystal spires that city had once been made of that had made even elves weep. "I met him on his journey and he told the most beautiful stories," she sighed and when she closed her eyes she could hear his voice over the crackle of a long dead flame. "I travelled with him for a time but our paths ended up splitting apart. When I sought him out again he was on his death bed but he had written his stories down in the hopes I would come back," she smiled fondly. "Even when your business is war you can forget how fleeting life is."
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She spoke fondly of the monk and their time together. Favashi had a far-off look as she traversed the memories, and he felt oddly humbled by her simple reflection. Vaer watched her, no longer perusing the words on the page but the unseen that travelled across her expression. She closed her eyes and smiled, and there was something wise and unfathomable about her. It was very out of character for her, and yet something he’d seen and known all along.

Vaer smiled, satisfied with that answer. He wanted to live with the illusion that each of these had some grand, mesmerising origins, just like her. He gently closed the book but didn’t set it down with the others.

“Perhaps that is what makes you the better of your warlike peers. Not all of our kind have the same regard for the quick.” Duanann of war or adjacent affinities were often ruthless and callous with lives they deemed lesser, often encompassing the mortal realms. Even some fae; he would be a flash in the pan compared to her flame, burning long and bright. He might live longer than her monk friend, but in the end she'd surpass him and he'd pass into similar memories -- and hopefully ones recalled just as fondly.

But that was enough introspection for now. Vaer raised the biography.

“Some light reading for my evenings. That is, if I have any will to read at the end of my days here.” Vaer snickered and, folding his fingers in a light twirl of shadow, passed the book between for safe keeping. “I’ve only one more curiosity before we leave your grand library and prepare for this very mysterious game night. Shall we discuss the elephant in the room?”

The enormous gold globe was impossible to miss and he’d waited as long as he could bear it to ask.
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Nobody had ever called Favashi better than her peers. At least, not better in the sense than Vaer meant it. Or she assumed he meant it. She was of course better than her peers when it came to war - that went without saying - but she had never thought of herself as morally superior too. Slender golden brown brows swept up into her hairline as a mark of her surprise and then swept back down into a small frown as she begun to mull the implications of that over. Being morally superior in Vaer's eyes was not necessarily a good thing for her and her kind. It could be a weakness and weaknesses were not things the Fury could tolerate.

Leaving those thoughts firmly in the pile of thoughts never-to-be-touched-again, Favashi turned her attentions back to her very interesting and delightful guest.

"The globe?" the fury teased and as she swept past him ran her fingers across his back in a casual caress. She went to stand beneath the globe and looked up at it with a certain look of hunger and satisfaction. "They are the wars happening all over this world," her fingers brushed across the air just above Arethil's continents and then lower into the unknown landmasses. A soft sigh escaped her lips like a lover might make after a satisfying night.

"The brighter lights are where they call my name," she ran her fingers to the brighter pinpricks across the Steppes and Amol-Kalt. "The duller ones where they pray to generic Gods of War. It's here where I can pick where to go, who to see, where the best and largest spots of War are happening."
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