Private Tales Stalked by Darkness

A private roleplay only for those invited by the first writer
Reynard wasn't smiling, something that was incredibly rare. It did touch his heart that she was worried about him when her life was the one that was in mortal danger. It also only reinforced his belief that she was bound to be a great ruler. The kingdom of the sky elves was incredibly lucky to have such a kindhearted person succeeding the throne. There was always the worry that she would be too soft, too kind and forgiving and be taken advantage of but in all fairness he hadn't seen how she handled situations like that. She could in all likelihood be far more capable with political intrigue than he gave her credit for.

Before she entered her room and closed the door Reynard left her with just a few more words. He was sure it wouldn't suddenly make her feel better but he hoped it would help. "In the end it's my decision, and knowing what I know it's a decision I don't regret." it would be one thing if she was a bad person or the kind of nobility that nobody could stand to be around but Gwynn wasn't like that. She was different than the mold usually entailed and he could only feel proud that he got the chance to help her. She was one of those people who deserved to be protected.
Reynard's words made her realize she was being silly. She needed a stiff upper lip- she was going to be Queen one day, and then her father's armies would be hers, and if they died for her, she could not mourn and feel guilty for every single one of them. She needed to be something for them to believe in, something for them to fight for.

A new resolution settling over her, she sat down at the desk in her room, pulling out a fresh sheet of parchment. While not photographic, her memory was quite good, and so she took full advantage of it as she sketched her attacker. When she finished, she sat back and looked at her work. In the morning, she would bring it to her father, and he could put the dragoons on alert. From just the drawing, one could tell he was an elf, but what kind of elf was impossible- he could very well be one of their own gone rogue.

She set her charcoal pencil down and stood. In a way, drawing her stalker's face and thinking about what to do next eased her mind, and after she bathed and changed into a nightgown, she found it easier to fall asleep.
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Reynard let out a short but tired sigh. On the whole the day was fine. He made it to his destination and at least for now was sure he'd manage to secure the job fully. Gwynn was a worthy princess and so he had no issues protecting her from her assassin. That didn't change the fact the journey itself was tiring and he had just managed to survive a battle with the aforementioned assassin. He needed sleep but first he needed to make sure the guards posted outside the door we're ok.

Reynard opened the door and checked to either side. Looking the guards over for injuries. It seemed they were only knocked out and not killed, a rare showing of restraint from a hired killer but not entirely unseen. Reynard gave the guards a slap or two to wake them from their unconsensual nap. "Good evening lads." He said standing above them now as they rose to their feet confused. "You both were knocked unconscious by an assassin. He got into the room but not far, I managed to fend him off and he escaped." He said, opting to leave out the part where he almost lost. "If you feel the need to inform the king then do so, but make sure he knows the princess is asleep and likely doesn't want to be bothered. Otherwise I have everything under control." He said with a kind and reassuring smile, clapping them both on the shoulder as he walked back into the room and closed the door behind him. Reynard would wait a bit before turning in for the night himself, making sure both guards were once again posted outside of the door before thinking of sleeping.
When dawn's light crept into her room, Gwynn slowly blinked awake. Brought back to the real world, she was once more faced with the work that lay ahead. She rose to a sitting position, turning to look out her window, into the sunlight. The Spine was beautiful in the morning, and part of her wanted to visit her eagle, Gavne. She knew it was not smart, however- it would be much harder for Reynard to protect her while airborne.

She dressed without the aid of her maids, opting for a fitted white tunic and stretchy fitted pants- perfect for fighting. She figured since Reynard would begin training for his first trial today, and since she couldn't really go anywhere by herself right now, she would train as well. She already knew the basic defense mechanisms and how to wield a dagger, but the closeness with which her attacker had come had spurred her into action.

She plaited her hair and pulled on a pair of soft, lace-up leather boots before exiting her room and entering the sitting room. A small breakfast was waiting on the table, last night's dinner cleaned away as if it had never been there.
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Despite going to bet later than Gwynn, Reynard was up before her. This was a conscious effort on his part. The less time he spent unable to properly protect her, especially when she was the most vulnerable, the better. Many nights of sleeping in the wilderness and being alert meant the Reynard had a good amount of control over his sleep schedule. He could survive off of less sleep better than most people could.

Reynard was already dressed in his leather armour, already in the sitting room with his arms crossed and muscles tensed for action. The moment he saw Gwynn leave her room however he allowed himself to relax. He didn't have to worry have as much when she was awake.

"Good morning princess. As you can see breakfast is ready for you." He said smiling, glad to see she was ok as well as dressed and ready for the day ahead. From what they were told he would be undergoing three different trials in order to secure his position as Gwynn's bodyguard. While he didn't love the idea of needing to be tested he certainly understood the mindset behind it. He was and unknown variable, and an unproven fighter. This was their way of making sure his abilities were up to snuff. All he had to do was prove he was worthy of their trust.

Reynard wasn't sure of Gwynn's abilities, especially as it pertained to fighting but looking at her outfit now it seemed she was at least intent on doing some work today. He didn't take her for the type to train but in all fairness he hardly knew her well anyways. "Im guessing you're dressed and ready for training?" He asked amicably, hoping to strike up a friendly conversation and and relax the both of them for the day ahead.
Gwynn nodded in response to Reynard, and picked up an apple from the table, taking a bite out of it. After she'd swallowed, she spoke. "Do you want to eat anything before we go?" she asked. She raised the piece of parchment with her attacker's face on it. "I'd like to visit my father before we go to the training room," she perched on the edge of the couch, resting the parchment face down on her lap.

She noticed a bit of doubt in Reynard's gaze as they discussed training and it was hard to discern if he didn't think he was up to it or if he thought she wasn't up to it. Whichever it was, he would be proven wrong.
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Reynard looked at the breakfast set out on the table. Truthfully he didn't eat anything while waiting for Gwynn to wake up and he certainly wasn't any hungrier now. Though to eat nothing at all would be a poor decision at best considering the trials that lay ahead for him. He needed the energy and nutrients to get through the day.

Renard grabbed a piece of bread and an apple as well, deciding that would be enough for him to get through the day. With a look to the parchment containing a drawing of Gwynn's attacker he couldn't help but admire how accurate it was. The more he learned about Gwynn the more it seemed she was as simple as one would initially think. "I don't have an issue with that. I believe one of the guards should've informed him of last night's events but this will give the soldiers a good idea of who exactly they are looking for. It's quite a good drawing as well." He said as an aside, offering her a kind smile as usual and taking a bite out of his bread as readied to leave the room.
Gwynn nodded and stood up. She took another bite from her apple, and then moved to exit the sitting room into the hallway. Her guards were still there, having changed shifts. She wondered if the ones from last night were going to be fired for letting the assassin get past them. If Reynard hadn't been there, Gwynn definitely would have died.

She nodded to the guards and walked down the hall. It was relatively quiet, and she didn't relax until she left the floor where the royal chambers were, and climbed the stairs. Close to the top of the tower was the floor with the throne room, ballroom, dining hall, and other formal and diplomatic spaces. She walked towards the war room- a smaller room branching off her father's public study. Like she suspected, her father was bent over stacks of parchments.

He glanced up when she and Reynard walked in and immediately crossed the floor to wrap his daughter in an embrace. "I meant to come and see you earlier but I heard you were asleep," he said after a moment, pulling back from the hug to place his hands on her shoulders. Gwynn thought she saw new lines in his face and grey strands in his hair.

He pulled back and stepped around Gwynn to face Reynard. The king extended his arm for a handshake towards Reynard. "You saved my daughter's life," he said. "While I trust you a little more now, the trials still must continue, don't you think?"
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Reynard followed Gwynn's lead to the war room, after all she knew the kingdom leagues better than he did. He made sure to map every door, room and passage in brain. He needed to make a mental map in case he didn't always have Gwynn to lead him around. The last thing he needed was to get lost in the castle on his way to something important. He hoped he could get used to the size and complexity of the kingdom before that moment ever arrived.

The smile on Reynard's face remained, he didn't feel the need to be grim or serious for the kind, especially after seeing the way he embraced Gwynn without hesitation. Reynard knew plenty of kings that refused to show an ounce of emotion for fear of of being viewed as weak. Regardless of that it would be against Reynard's character entirely. He just couldn't help but smile and try to spread as much positivity as he could. It was the best method he's found to combat the negative emotions that liked to consume people.

Reynard wasted no time in shaking the kings hand, his smile turning playful as he spoke. "Of course, if it were that easy to become Princess Gwynnestris personal bodyguard I imagine I wouldn't be needed in the first place. Besides that I always relish the chance to prove myself." Reynard was confident in his abilities. Travelling alone you had to be as there is no one else to rely on. What form the trials would take was an entirely different question altogether but there was no use in dwelling on it and driving himself crazy. Whatever happens, he'd simply do his best and hope that was enough.
Gwynn was grateful for her father- he was usually more fearful of strangers and foreigners but his daughter's (and heir's) safety was of utmost importance. The king nodded at Reynard's words and stepped back to the table. Gwynn took the opportunity to give her father the drawing of her attacker. "This is him," she said. her father took the parchment and looked it over.

"We'll have copies of this made immediately," he said, folding the parchment and pocketing it, right as Captain Valynn walked in. He bowed to the king and the princess. "If I may take Her Highness and the guard to the training room," he said.

The king nodded, giving his daughter and her bodyguard-in-training a smile before returning to his parchments. Gwynn followed the captain of the guard out of the royal floors, and towards the lower training floor. It was a lot of walking for so early in the morning, but Gwynn welcomed the distraction.

When they arrived at the training room, there were already a few dragoon warriors training with spears and swords. Valynn gave Reynard a series of workouts and then turned to Gwynn pausing for a moment. Eventually, while Reynard trained, Gwynn practiced the basics of fighting with Valynn, who went perhaps too easy on her, but she was still learning nonetheless.
The training room was one of the best Reynard had ever seen. Dragoon warriors and guards used this room to make sure they were in top condition, ready at any point to do their jobs to the best of their abilities. This would more than likely be a room Reynard used often. He really did miss training quite a bit. The long journey to the sky elves meant he had little time to focus on training, only getting in a few minutes of stretches every day to keep himself limber.

The room had everything he could want. Weights and weapons, both for sparring and actual fights were there for use. He couldn't help the smile that overtook his face at the site of it. As inconvenient as having to do the trials was, Reynard was ready and hoped it would get him fully back into fighting shape.

Reynard's mind flashed back to the fight the night before with the assassin. He had spent many minutes thinking over the fight and what he could've done better and the biggest factor he could think about was rust. The journey here had taken plenty out of him and having to fight just hours after arriving surely couldn't have been great for his skill. Maybe these trials would be exactly what he needed. He wasn't as confident as he wanted to be and if the assassin prepared another attack he needed to be absolutely prepared for it.

Reynard went through the workouts given to him by Valynn and by the end he felt better for it. He could feel some of the lost strength returning to his body even now. He was excited for the trials and wondered exactly what kind of challenge they would provide. Only time would tell, but after training and working out he regained some confidence as well.
The next two weeks passed by rather quickly. The assassin had made no moves on Gwynn since that first night, and her father's best men were hunting him now, while Reynard prepared, getting stronger and more well acquainted with the tower.

it was the day of Reynard's first trial, and even though Gwynn would just be watching, her nerves were jumbled. News of Reynard's arrival had spread through the tower, of the human who would be the princess' personal bodyguard. The Sky Elves were spectacular at keeping secrets- it was what kept them safe for the past century- so there was a low chance of Reynard's true purpose here escaping the walls of the tower. A sort of spectacle was made of it- some of the nobles would be there, along with some dragoons and current elven guards. Rather than her father, Gwynn's mother would be in attendance, since he was expected to be in council meetings all afternoon. They had even set up rows of seats, stacked on blocks so that each row was higher elevated.

Her maid got her ready and escorted her to the wide, open space the trial would be held in. Reynard was already getting ready, so Gwynn had no chance to talk him. She was ushered into her designated seat, elevated above the rest so she had a good view. The obstacle course was taking place in one of the lowest levels of the tower, where impressive murals of the sky elves covered the walls from floor to ceiling on all sides. Scenes of epic battles and moments in history, painting a history known only to the Sky Elves.

Occupying the main space of the room, a maze of sorts had been erected. The seats were high enough that the spectators could see inside the maze, where obstacles in the forms of magic, physical items, and people waited. Captain Valynn's second in command, Mace, waited inside the maze at the very end, on the opposite end of the room. If Reynard made it all the way through the maze, he would complete the first trial and be one step closer to becoming Gwynn's official bodyguard.
2 weeks wasn't a long time, but it sure felt like an eternity for Reynard. The wait for the first trial was near agonizing. It was the first step in officially becoming Gwynn's body guard, though bodyguarding was exactly what he had been doing the last 2 weeks anyways. He couldn't help but feel a bit miffed at the idea he was doing all the work without the official recognition. Regardless of how it made him felt he'd have to do them anyways. He'd earn the title and the respect of everyone present.

That was another thing, there were far more people in attendance to his first trial than he had expected. In his mind it was to be a small event with only a few observers but it ended up closer to a gladiator show than anything else. Everything from the princess and queen to nobles and guards were sitting in the recently made stands. They had a far better view of the maze that now stood in front of him than he did. Of course he wasn't told anything about what the maze contained or how to proceed within it. He was going in completely blind, a feeling not unknown to him but one that he never liked. He was the type to prepare as much as he could but here he'd have to rely on instinct and pure skill.

Reynard didn't have the chance to talk to Gwynn before hand as he was brought straight to the maze while she got ready to spectate. He'd just have to wait till after the first trial was finished, when he'd hopefully still be her bodyguard. The longer he stayed and the better he got to know her the harder it was going to be to have to leave. Failure wasn't an option.

A couple more stretches and Reynard stood up straight. Adjusting his armor and sword, checking to make sure everything was in order and he was ready to go. Reynard had his sword at his hip, one of the only clue being he was told he'd need it in the trial. He was sure there would be traps and no doubt there would be fights as well. part of him was excited to see how he fared in battle against what the sky elves had to offer.

Reynard walked through the entrance of the maze and took a deep breath. It was time for him to get to work and show the Sky Elves exactly what a human being like him was capable of. A challenging smile crossed his face, he cracked his neck and knuckles and gave one last glance to the crowd with the smile not leaving his face. He'd looked to Gwynn and then walked through the entrance of the maze.
Gwynn leaned forward in her seat when she saw Reynard walk into sight. The spectators hushed a little as he surveyed the crowd. She wondered if he was looking for her, but before they could make eye contact, he seemed to steel himself, and then he walked into the maze.

From their higher vantage point, the crowd could see the path out of the maze, but they made no move to direct him which way to go. He took a few wrong turns but it didn't deter him. Gwynn was nervous, and she wasn't even in the maze.

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Reynard made his way into the maze. At first it was difficult to get his bearings. He had never been in one before and there were many twists, turns and dead ends. It could be difficult to remember where you had already been and which paths you had yet to take. After some wrong turns and dead ends Reynard finally started to get his bearing on the maze and it's challenge. He began to form a mental map of the maze and felt he was making good progress.

The first trap came into view, this was hopefully a sign that he was heading in the right direction. This trap hilariously took the form of giant blades swinging from one side of a hallway to the other. It was just two large blades swinging opposite of each other leaving only a small gap to move between onto the other side. It was a classic maze trap if ever there was one.

Reynard couldn't help but chuckle to himself, taking some amusement in the nature of this first trap. He shook his head, letting the amusement leave his body. He needed to focus. The window that was open for him to make it through this trap wasn't a large one and he'd need to move almost perfectly to avoid getting sliced in half by the no doubt sharpened blades.

Reynard did a few stretches, cracking his neck again. Taking in a deep breath and letting it out he sprinted forward towards the swinging blades. Reynard took a small comfort in the fact that if he failed this he likely wouldn't have a lot of time to worry about it before passing into the afterlife.

As Reynard sprinted forward he realized he timed it wrong. The blades were swinging inward as he was about to cross through the center of the trap. In a split second decision Reynard tensed his legs up and sprung into action, diving forward with his hands outstretched, narrowly diving over the swinging blades in the miniscule gap left to him. He came out on the other side and rolled forward with the momentum, shooting to a standing position on the other side of the blades and checking his body for injuries happy to find himself unharmed. It was on to the next challenge then, the first trap overcome and not a scratch on him.
Gwynn saw the blades first and prayed to any gods that were listening that Reynard had good reflexes. She leaned forward until she was sitting on the edge of her seat, and watched with bated breath as Reynard dove through the blades. She released her breath when he stood up unscathed, and while the crowd didn't cheer for him, the did murmur appreciatively.

Gwynn wondered briefly how effective the trials would be if they accidentally killed Reynard in the process- then they'd just have to find a new mercenary and go through the trials again. Gwynn just hoped Reynard didn't die; she had begun to grow attached to him and would be very upset if he died so soon.

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Reynard kept pushing through the maze. Trap after trap doing it's best to stop him, likely dead, in his tracks. He jumped across a pit with sharpened spears waiting at the bottom to skewer him. He sprinted through a hallway trap that shot arrows out from either side, likely tipped with poisons or worse. He battle a giant spider, which admittedly was the hardest out of all the traps so far as he was not fond of spiders at all. He got through all of them, picking up only a few scratches and bruises in the process.

The sky elves really did spare no expense in this maze. You'd think it was one meant to guard they're greatest relic or generational treasure. This was simply supposed to be a test, the first of three on top of that but they really went all out to put him to the test. Reynard was fairly confident had had done well up to this point but the maze was not over yet.

He had no way to tell just how far in he was or how much longer he had left to go but he knew he was at a sort of crossroads. The evidence to that was the iron door standing before him. it wasn't terribly big as the maze was only tall enough for him to not see over and the crowd to be able to see in. He had no way to tell what was beyond the door of course and the only way to find out was to go through.

Reynard steeled himself and pushed through the door, walking into the center of what looked like a well sized circular sand training pit. It was a sparring circle, one filled with sand to prevent serious injuries and provide an unstable ground to fight on, meant to train footwork and stability in ones movement. On the other side of the pit was a man, looked about mid 30s and dressed in the typical guardsmen uniform. It seemed this part of the maze was a simple fight, to test his capabilities against that of the typical guardsmen.

The man spoke to Reynard not long after he entered the room. "We will fight with real swords, starting from either side of the sand pit. The first to be shoved out, incapacitated or give up loses the fight. If you win you move on, but if I win you go home." he said with a slight smirk, it seemed this man didn't intend on giving Reynard an easy pass through. He'd have to fight and prove he was a capable combatant.

Both men move to the sand pit, Reynard quickly finding his footing in the sand. He was a mercenary after all, plenty used to the different environments he had to fight on at any given moment. The sand pit was by no means easy however, it slowed his movements and made him feel more sluggish than normal. As a silver lining his opponent was similarly effected by the terrain they were fighting on, he could only hope he would handle it better than his opponent would. He wasn't sure how often the Sky elves trained in sand pits but he prayed it wasn't often.
Gwynn flinched every time Reynard encountered another obstacle, but she managed to relax a little as he went through the maze with little trouble. He arrived to a sand pit relatively unharmed, face by his final opponent. Valynn's second in command, Mace, was a highly-skilled fighter; Valynn wouldn't have it any other way. Gwynn only hoped Reynard was better.

The two men were to fight in a sand pit, a rarity for sky elves, since the terrain they encountered was the rocky, sloped surface of the mountain sides. Hopefully that would level the playing field a bit more. If the encounter with her assassin meant anything, Reynard was a good swordsman.
Reynard and the elven guard met in the center of the sand pit. Both circling each other, waiting for the other to make the first mistake. This was a moment that would effect the beginning motions of the fight. The first strike and the last always made the biggest difference. This fight would be far from easy especially with the fact that Reynard truly had no reference for where his skill lay in comparison to his opponents. Regardless of his worries however there was only so much time he could spend thinking about fighting without actually doing it.

Reynard had an idea as to how he wanted to open the fight, he wanted to land the first strike and set the tone for the rest of the fight as well. As they were circling Reynard purposefully stumbled, he did this as a way to lure in his opponent. If Mace though Reynard was vulnerable there was no doubt as an experienced fighter that he would capitalize on the opportunity. Reynard was counting on Mace wanting the first strike just as badly as well as the man looking down at Reynard and his background. He was counting on being underestimated.

Thankfully Mace took the bait and dashed forward bringing his blade down in a diagonal arc. Reynard had already prepped his body to move out of the way and the sand slowing Mace's movements helped give him the time to do so. The blade came far closer to Reynard's face than he would've like, the sand not being kind to his agility either, but he managed to get out of the way in time bringing his own blade up from the ground towards his opponents chest. Mace pivoted his body out of the way to avoid most of the blow but it still grazed him, cutting a shallow wound in his shoulder.

Reynard knew he could only get away with that kind of sneaky move once, Mace was no doubt smart enough to realize he shouldn't be underestimating Reynard. They circled each other again but only for a few paces before both short forward, their blades meeting in the middle. The held this position for but a moment before both brining their blades back for another swing.

This became a fight of endurance. They clashed blades over and over again, a parry followed by another, each landing only surface level cuts before going on the defensive themselves. It was a true back and forth of swift and strong blows, swords clashing off each other sending the sound of metal on metal out to those watching.

Reynard was counting on his skill as well as his endurance. Keeping pace with his opponent while not over exerting himself. He hoped his stamina was superior, after years on the road and many many battles in between destinations Reynard had become quite adept at managing his energy during a fight, he counted on Mace not having the same practice.

After 2 minutes of back and forth it became obvious who was running out of breath first. Although Mace was certainly a skilled fighter he didn't have the same experience and need for stamina training that Reynard had. In a war of attrition Reynard would rarely be the loser. Mace lost his balance after his most recent swing, this time being slow enough for Reynard to quickly parry the attack, sending the sword out of Maces hand and kick out at his leg, forcing him to one knee as Reynard quickly brought his blade to his opponents throat, stopping just short of drawing blood.

Mace knew he was beat though he didn't much like it. He raised his hands in surrender and Reynard once again sheathed his sword, both men breathing heavily after the draining fight. "Alright you win. Head out that door, good job." He said begrudgingly, shaking his head in disappointment at his loss.

Reynard nodded his head in respect and walked through the door that Mace had pointed to, ready for whatever may lay beyond.
Reynard demonstrated excellent skill with a sword, and when Mace surrendered, allowing him to finish the trial and exit the maze, the stands seemed to release a collective sigh. Some of the sky elves were talking quietly amongst themselves, surprised at how well Reynard had made it through.

Gwynn eyed Valynn, who stood nearby, guarding the royal box. His back was ramrod straight, his eyes straight forward, and his hands in fists by his sides. But a twitching vein in his temple gave him away- he was surprised as well. Gwynn could only wonder what crazy idea he would come up with for Reynard's second trial.

The king stood, and the other spectators took that as their permission to leave. Gwynn avoided her parents and walked down to the maze, towards the door where Reynard and Mace had disappeared into. On the other side was a small holding room- a chair and a small table which would supply refreshments for Reynard (and Mace). She knocked twice on the door outside of the maze before walking in.
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As Reynard walked through the large door, he let out a sigh of relief to know that it was the end. The maze was over and he had seemingly passed the first trial. Reynard took a deep breath and let himself relax, doing some stretches and attempting to switch modes. He got past the first step in officially being recognized as Gwynn's bodyguard. If this was the first trial, he could only guess and wonder at what the second and third trial could possibly include. He'd just have to prepare himself for whatever the Sky Elves would throw at him.

He took a seat in the small holding room and refreshed himself on what was provided. Happy to rest and take a break. It wasn't long after that Gwynn herself walked into the room as well. He was happy to see her and hoped he had looked strong in the maze. The last thing he needed was for her to think he was anything less than competent after all.

He offered an appreciative smile and greeted her. "Hello Princess. I hope you enjoyed the performance, it certainly wasn't easy." he said with a chuckle, fully aware the trial was far more important and dangerous to be called a performance. "It was my first maze so I hope I didn't do too bad."
Gwynn smiled as she moved to sit down in a chair across from Reynard. "You did great," she replied honestly. Her nerves settled. "I think you may have even surprised some of the elven warriors," she added. She tried not to let her relief take over, knowing as she did that Valynn was likely to come up with some other complicated task for Reynard to do for the second trial.

As if her thoughts had summoned him, Valynn walked in, bowing in Gwynn's direction. "Your Highness," he greeted her. "I bring information on the second trial," he said, pausing for a moment as if for dramatic effect. "The brother eagle to Her Highness' rohk is Yvan; Reynard, your task is to tame him and ride him without dying or killing the eagle,"

Just like Gwynn had suspected, Valynn had given Reynard an extremely difficult task. The Great Eagles were already known for being slow to trust and wary of foreigners, but even the sky elves had not managed to tame Yvan. The only person the obstinate eagle listened to was Gavne, his sister eagle, Gwynn's rohk. Gwynn supposed Yvan had a sort of angry respect for Gwynn, since he never made any move to attack her, but that was likely only because of Gavne and Gwynn's connection.

Gwynn looked back and forth between Reynard and Valynn. Valynn's face was schooled into an expression of blank obedience, but Gwynn knew him well enough to see the angry glint in his eyes. Reynard had passed the maze with little injury and even beat Valynn's second hand man, both of which had to have hurt Valynn's pride.

The middle-aged elf spoke again. "If you'll follow me, you can meet Yvan,"
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Reynard smiled and relaxed further, happy to know that his efforts were worth it, and that it seems even the Elven warriors might be finding some respect for him. This was only the first step in a three part process but it was a solid start, all he had to was keep the momentum up and continue to prove he was worth a damn.

Reynard didn't have the chance to shift conversation topic before Valynn walked into the room and made his presence known. Reynard didn't know the man all too well but even he could tell the man wasn't entirely happy about his success. All the better then as hopefully that meant Reynard was doing well.

Though he was sure the next trial would be far from easy, the one he was presented with certainly seemed like a different kind of difficult than a maze. He didn't know much about the process of taming the Great Eagles but there was the obvious hang up of the fact he was an outsider. A complete stranger to how it was done. He was going in blind and didn't expect any help from Valynn and his guardsmen. Judging from Valynn's general temperament, Reynard took a guess that this particular Rohk was far from well tempered.

There was no point in worrying about it now though, he'd just need to move forward and figure it out. Reynard stood and readied himself, unsurprised that there would be little break between trials. Regardless it couldn't hurt to meet the Rohk he was meant to tame. "Lead the way Sir Valynn. I hope to continue proving myself worthy of my position." he said simply, enough to let Valynn know he wouldn't back down despite the elf's bad mood.
Valynn paused a moment to huff a short breath of air through his nose. Gwynn watched in wonderment. This was the most he'd ever broken decorum; he must really not like Reynard. As the two men left the room she got up to follow, right as Mace walked in. Valynn and Mace exchanged a heat glare and then they were walking back into the make-shift auditorium, climbing the endless winding stairs to the top.

When they finally made it to the balconies where the eagles were stabled, Gwynn's thighs were vaguely sore but she was so used to it after trekking up and down these stairs her entire life. Gwynn's rohk, Gavne, sat off to the side preening her feathers. She lifted her large head, her intelligent eyes on the trio. Gwynn smiled at her rohk and walked over to Gavne. The Great Eagle rose to her taloned feet, shifting her wings. Gwynn placed a hand on either side of the eagle's long face, resting her forehead between the Gavne's eyes, just above her beak. Gavne huffed a breath through her slit nostrils on her beak. "Hey, girl," Gwynn whispered. It had been too long since she had seen Gavne, and even longer since she had flown with her.

There was a shriek and stomp from across the space and Gwynn turned to see Yvan stomping around in his pen. His eyes were crazed but Gwynn knew him well enough to know he was jealous of the attnetion his sister was receiving. Gwynn smiled a little and walked over to him, petting his beak slowly and softly. Yvan stilled- Gwynn was the only person he could tolerate- and it was only tolerance in the barest sense. She turned to Reynard. "This is Yvan," she said.

"Yvan is one of the more... ornery rhoks," Valynn began after Gwynn spoke. "So if you can tame him without killing him, you will have passed the second task." From the look on Valynn's face, he thought Reynard would be unable to tame Yvan- he was a foreigner and knew little about rohks and this rohk was not a usual rohk on top of that.

Gwynn vowed silently to tell Reynard as much as he needed to know about rohks.
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Reynard followed Valynn up the long winding stairs, silently thanking the fact he was physically fit and used to being active because the stairs were not a short walk. He had never been in a building with so many stairs, but considering the mountain range the kingdom was built on it made sense the elves could only build tall and not wide.

It wasn't long before they made it to the top where the stables were built. He took in the sight as Gwynn went to greet her Rohk, silently noting how good with the creatures Gwynn was. He didn't have long to take in the sight though before his attention was grabbed by another, more ornery Rohk. It didn't take but a moment for Reynard to realize which Rohk was going to be his to tame.

Reynard took in Valynn's instructions, holding in a laugh. Reynard nodded his head once Valynn was finished. "Yes I imagine killing him would be fairly counterproductive. Though you'll be happy to know that violence isn't exactly a part of my taming process." though Reynard spoke with confidence, internally he wasn't as sure.

This was a challenge picked out for it's very obvious difficulty level. Quite frankly there were a lot of factors playing into this that only served to work against Reynard. He was unfamiliar with not only elven customs and taming procedures but with the Rohks entirely. This was one of the few times he had even seen one, and certainly the first this close. He was a complete foreigner and he was sure these intelligent creatures would pick up on the easily. He was a human, not an elf. If even the other elves couldn't trust him, surely a Rohk would find it just as difficult. "So should I get started now then?"