Private Tales Strained Beginnings

A private roleplay only for those invited by the first writer

Lexi Quinzell

Commander of the White Ravens
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Lexi entwined her fingers with Cassian's under the table when she heard the tone of his words. Her darling partner was guided by his heart more than his head and that large heart of his was so easily upset. Not that Lexi could really blame him; she would be beyond raged induced if she had found out her little brother had been traded.

But there were some monsters worse than the Chimera, some that wouldn't flinch at the idea of buying children.

Casualty, Lexi tore up another bit of bread.

"And if I were to casually mention that our cities walls were made from iron and silver... would that... make you want to visit and talk a little more?"
 
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Cassian

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"For us?.." Cassian didn't know whether to laugh or feel angry. He had led men in battle, fought in countless, had been a decorated soldier and a prized fighter, and Lexi.. Lexi was a different story entirely. "Lass we face more dangerous shit than that often. We're quite able to look after ours-- Wait what do you mean human father? Of course he was human, what else would he be?.." Cassian frowned in confusion.

Lexi's question only confused him further and now he just felt stupid, and couldn't help but slamming his hand on the table. Red bristled.

"Will someone explain to me what the fuck is goin' on?..."
 

Fraeya

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Surprise flickered in her gaze at Lexi's words. Fraeya didn't answer. Couldn't yet.

Did she know?

Teeth chewed on the inside of her cheek. A city like that? A part of her was surprised no one from the fae courts had found out and tried to stop it. But then again, they were mostly self-absorbed. Except when it behooved them not to be. All that iron? Fraeya remembered when one of the human girls she'd grown up with found and carried an iron nail. Amora, that was her name. Somehow, the fae found out. She'd been whipped and strung up in the courtyard where most of the human...servants, changelings, slaves, pets frequented as a reminder.

For one nail.

She could only keep gnawing on her cheek as Cassian spoke. He didn't understand. He...she jumped as his hand slammed down. Her teeth slipped and she felt the sharp tang of blood blossom in her mouth. A wince ran across her face.

Fraeya couldn't even say she was forbidden of speaking about some things. Eyes squeezed closed for a moment, searching for words that wouldn't freeze on her tongue. Without opening her eyes, she began.

"Have you ever heard stories of babies being taken? Switched shortly after birth with something else put in their place? Do you know who is famous for doing that?"

When her eyes opened, they fell on Lexi.
 

Lexi Quinzell

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Lexi didn't answer, not right away, and silence fell over the table.

Her mind was working carefully through the situation. Fraeya had basically confirmed her suspicion that the fae were involved and that was a dangerous thing. She had faced them before, twice, and neither time had gone well. They were like Gods in a way, their magic raw and connected to the very world they all lived in. The last thing she wanted was for Cassian to panic over the safety of his little sister and go barrelling into a fight he couldn't win.

Slowly, her eye swept to Cassian and she.

"Fraeya has been with the Fae," she said as calmly as she could as though speaking to a spooked horse. "A very powerful race of beings, I assume that it was one of them who wanted the bit of horn?" the last part of the question was directed to Faeya with a grimace. That was not something she wanted in fae hands, gods only knew what they could do with it of all people.
 
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Cassian

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Cassian's brows furrowed at Fraeya's explanation, or lack of. He had heard of the changelings that she spoke of, from stories their mother would tell them when they were children, but as far as he know, they were stories.

He was looking between them as though awaiting some elaboration when Lexi spoke, and those furrowed brows rose. "Fae?.." He looked to Fraeya as though to confirm that Lexi was correct. "So you're saying you were stolen by these creatures?" he asked. Over the past year, Cassian had learned well enough that the things he would have once considered children's stories or nightmares were quite real, and so questioning or doubting it would've likely made a fool out of him.

"They keep you, against your will? How are you here? Where are they?.." he frowned, looking behind her as though expecting to see one of them, whatever they looked like. He was tense and his jaw clenched.

"You're coming home with us. They can try and come for you." he frowned.
 
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Fraeya

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She swallowed that bitter taste of blood down. A sharp nod to Lexi, confirming her suspiciouns about everything. How had she known? Perhaps Fraeya shouldn’t have been surprised with the woman being a monster hunter.

Fraeya was just grateful that Lexi had said it.

“There was one in the water. It wanted to drown the boy so I...made a bargain for his life.” How many countless other bargain had she made that had cost her more in the end? Sometimes she wondered why she still did it. Why hadn’t she grown as cold and merciless as them? Most of the time she wished she had.

You’re coming home with us.

“No,” she said to her brother. “It’s complicated. I’m bound to them by ancient laws and bargains. Things I,” she paused feeling that weight on her tongue again. Reaching down she grabbed a handful of dirt and spread it along the table. Tracing out the following words.

‘am forbidden to speak of.’

But not forbidden to write about. Loopholes upon loopholes. “I was able to meet you because I was given some time off...from my other job. And even with a city of silver and iron,” Fraeya turned her gaze back to Lexi. “I’m not sure even that would stop some of them. I just wanted to meet you both. See what you were like. And that will be enough.”

Enough to get her through however long she had left. However long she could outsmart them.
 

Lexi Quinzell

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Lexi ran a hand down her face.

The fae were the last people she wanted to upset in any way. The last time she had fought one it had taken two of her soldiers lives in order to bring it down and that had been a lesser fae. If Fraeya was in a contract there must have been some higher fae behind that. However, she could feel Cassian tensing beside her and could only imagine what was going through his head at the idea his sister was in an unbreakable contract for, probably, years to come.

"Fraeya is right...There is nothing we can do," that was the truth of it and she turned to Cassian with sympathy and regret in her eye. "I'm sorry, I am," she wasn't sure if she was apologising to him or his sister.
 
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Cassian

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Cassian could only stare at Fraeya incredulously, part of him still wondering if she was half mad as she spoke of the fae by the water and as words continuously seemed to stick in her throat.

No? Cassian opened his mouth to protest as she further explained, and he frowned down at the table as she began spelling words out. His skin warmed. He had enough trouble deciphering ink on paper let alone dirt on a table. He glanced to Lexi and looked back to his sister.

"No that won't be enough." he retorted, cut off by Lexi's words, her apology. His only living family had found him and he was supposed to just let her go back to these creatures who kept her as some sort of slave? A muscle twitched in his jaw as he looked between the two women. He'd never known Lexi to resign herself like that, he knew what she could do, and still she felt outmatched, far outmatched by the sound of it.

Cass set his elbows on the table and bowed his head, running his fingers into his hair and letting out a growl in frustration. What sort of brother was he if he didn't try to protect her, and what sort of man was he if he insisted that Lexi put her life at risk by trying. Helplessness bothered him, painfully so. Red curled herself around his shoulder, nuzzling her head against the side of his face.

"What am I supposed to do?.." he asked neither of them in particular.
 

Fraeya

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She matched her brother’s posture. Shoulders slumped. Fingers of one hand drummed on the table. Her other hand clenched into a fist, pressing that dirt into her palm. She’d never asked for this. Never had a choice at being taken.

And now she felt guilty at having met him. Met them. Dragging them into this in a way. But she’d been...desperate.

“There might be a way. If there’s something they want more than me. To trade.” She shrugged and rubbed at the back of her neck, running her tongue over the sore spot on the inside of her cheek.

“I don’t know,” she added in a whisper. Could she approach Delun on something like this or would that put her in even more danger? Put THEM in danger?

Was there someone else in the courts that could help her? Someone on the inside she could trust? It would have to be someone in the autumn court. But her only ally was in winter.
 

Lexi Quinzell

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If they were alone Lexi would have drawn him into a kiss, into her arms, into her bed to make him forget what he couldn't control. She could only imagine how he was feeling now based off how she would feel if she had discovered Damien had taken a fae deal. In fact the very idea made her feel sick. Gently she rubbed up his arm and squeezed his shoulder, gently resting her forehead against him in silent solidarity. The truth was that if he asked her she would send the Raven's against the Fae but it was a war she didn't want to start.

When Fraeya piped up about something they wanted Lexi raised her head.

"I might... have something they would want," she shifted uncomfortably. It wasn't an object she would give up lightly and the deal would have to be razor tight, the wording precise but... "A very long time ago the Templar tried to fight the fae, before it splintered into factions. There is something they took from the fae to nullify their magic... I will give it back in exchange for your freedom."
 
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Cassian

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Cassian appreciated the subtle ways in which Lexi sought to soothe him. Red continued to fight for his attention and his hand rose to scratch lazily at the ginger cat's cheek as he leaned into Lexi. It was like they knew when he needed it, they saw the pressure against cracking glass and strived to relieve some of it before he broke, they knew that underneath the strong, soldier's exterior that he was a fragile soul piecing itself back together.

He could not stop his mother from dying, nor his sister from being sent away, he couldn't save his friends, couldn't save his brother, couldn't control his own destructive spiral. Now they were telling him that he couldn't do anything to help his sister. He could feel the urge to crawl back into a bottle tugging at him, the sort of urge that would have him stumbling home battered and bruised from a fighting pit in the morning. He'd already put Lexi through enough, and he reached for her hand to grip it when she spoke.

Lexi had a way of giving too much of herself for other people's benefit. He didn't know what thing she spoke of, or the cost of it, what it might mean if the item was returned to the fae. His eyes studied her face closely, as though asking the question. Would it endanger her or anyone else?
 

Fraeya

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Lime green eyes flickered to Lexi. A desperate look nearly akin to starvation shone in them. For a brief moment. She'd lived her entire life with the fae. Nothing was for free. There would always be a debt. And this was a debt she couldn't ask Lexi to pay.

Wouldn't accept it.

Not when her brother looked at Lexi like that.

She'd never seen something like that. Not even among the fae. Their relationships were usually for power. Even the ones that found a mate. More than half the time she saw the mates and it wasn't real love. Not gentle like this. It was more possessive with less of a choice.

"That debt sounds far too great," Fraeya let the dirt slide free of one hand. "Is there a place to sleep for the night?"

She was tired and she'd put them through enough.
 
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Lexi Quinzell

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Lexi's gaze slid from Cassian's, unable to answer the question she saw there. All that mattered was she would do it for him. The Raven's would understand; family was more important than an object that was gathering dust in the Vaults. Instead she met Fraeya's tired eyes with her own mirrored expression. It had been a long day even without the added emotional strain of this meeting.

"The White Raven's are here to protect humanity, saving one from the clutches of the fae is not too great a debt," her words were solemn but didn't invite a discuss. Instead Lexi's tone seemed to imply it was still entirely down to the girl and Cassian what they wanted to do. She had simply given them a tool in which to make a choice. She held the other woman's eyes for a moment longer before glancing towards the tent flaps.

"They're setting up ridge tents outside, just claim one without pack inside."

With a sigh she stood, white cloak fluttering down to her ankles.

"I'll leave you two a while I need to check on the men," she inclined her head politely and then strode from the tent.
 
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Cassian

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Cassian stretched, both hands kneading at the tension at the back of his neck as he watched after Lexi as she left. He let out a quiet huff and returned his gaze to his sister. He wasn't sure why he hadn't realised who she was the moment he'd seen her..

"You really look like her a lot.." he smiled faintly and rubbed at his face. "We'll do what we can to get you out of this.. Get some rest, lass, just... Do me a favour and don't run off in the night, eh? We ent keepin' you against your will but there ent any need to run from us." he frowned and pushed himself to his feet to pour himself a very large tankard of ale.
 
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Fraeya

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Lips parted to protest Lexi’s assurance. There were debts too great. She’d been about to stand up herself and felt suddenly scared at being left alone with her brother. Not scared. Just. Out of her depth.

She looked up at Cassian. Mixed feelings flitted through her. Sadness and curiosity. Grief.

Standing, she wiped her dirtied hand on her hip. “I won’t leave tonight but I also won’t let you put yourself or Lexi in danger. She was wrong about debts. There are ones that are too great.”

Pale green eyes leveled his way. And before he could argue or say anymore, she left. That cat meowed at her back but she ignored it, finding an empty tent for the night.
 
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Lexi Quinzell

Commander of the White Ravens
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By the time Lexi was done ensuring people who needed it had recieved care, had helped organise the aid for the remaining townspeople, and been shouted at by Kain for not resting, she barely had enough energy left to grab Cassian and hurl him into bed with her. She had had every intention of listening to how his evening had gone with Fraeya but she was passed out in seconds.

To make up for it she woke him with kisses and hot coffee. Dark circles rimmed her eyes and she sighed into the coffee mug like it was a drug.

"So how did it go last night?"
 
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