Private Tales Take the risk or lose the chance

A private roleplay only for those invited by the first writer

Lottie Beaufort

Character Biography
Well. It hadn't gone quite to plan but then, when had any of her schemes?

Lottie's face was smudged with soot and ash from the fire that had torn through a part of the festivities but her smile shone through the muck like the moon on a cloudy night. She'd long ago ditched the pretence of Layla and so it was her own green eyes that reflected back at her in the shiny surface of the tiara and not the cold blue of a blonde she could barely remember. She threw the headpiece up into the sky again like a child would a Frisbee then snatched it out of the air and threw it again. Despite the plan going alarmingly sideways she hadn't felt this good, this alive, since her sisters had left her. She'd actually done something on her own and now she had tasted what that felt like she wasn't about to lose that feeling again. No more waiting, she vowed to herself as she caught the tiara once more and placed it atop her smouldering curls. If they were coming back they would have returned by now. She was on her own.


Her eyes slanted sideways to the elf striding alongside her. Maybe not so alone.

"Do you think you can fulfil your debt to your friend with one of these?" she touched the gems on her tiara. Stealing from her would-have-been mother-in-law had been sweet. Especially when she had literally taken the tiara off of her head. There was still an honour among thieves, however, and she would give up one of her gemstones to see her friend debt free. Then maybe he would take her... She bit her bottom lip to keep herself from asking. She didn't want to be a burden nor come off as whiny. If he asked maybe she'd say yes, but she was leaving this city one way or another tonight. But where to go? Dornoch had always appealed but then so had Alliria with its melting pot of cultures and Elbion too, where she might be able to learn how to do more than simple illusions with her gift.

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Kidnapping was a dumb idea anyway, he'd decided.

Varys had never been one for crime and thievery when it came to making his living. He didn't end up working with fireworks like his Master did, sure, but he didn't need to resort to stealing either. People would pay good money for a mage for hire, and Varys was still in his prime; the young elf was going to get stronger before he got weaker, and that was an alluring prospect for anybody. So why had he gone through with the idea that the green-eyed girl walking at his side had presented him, during an event that would have cleared him of debt with Niv?

Well, it might have had something to do with impressing her. One would need to be pretty oblivious not to realize the elf had been harboring some sort of feelings for her ever since the afternoon they'd spent on the lake years earlier. On the other hand, he'd screwed Niv over again, and that was always a fun time. Now, Varys watched his friend with a smile just as bright as hers, his travel bag slung over his shoulder as his eyes followed the tiara she seemed so proud of. "You look like I did the time I traveled back to Falwood for the first time since leaving. Lemme tell ya, leaving a place as a street-swindler and coming back with the power to move the clouds over my head with some sweet talk? It's a pretty empowering feeling. You though... you were born for it, weren't you? This has to be cathartic."

She'd told him her story the last time they'd met. He had a pretty good idea of what the theft of the Tiara meant to Lottie. He was proud of her, happy for her. It was weird, he thought, pulling his disheveled silver hair back into the ponytail he preferred, to feel so elated at somebody else's success. Maybe he'd been on the road alone for too long... At her question of his debt, he reared his head back with a laugh. It was pretty late, and he wasn't particularly worried about anybody overhearing the two of them. "To who, Niv? Hell with him. He can't stop me from leaving, and he knows it. I was here out of courtesy, maybe I'll try again in a year or two." In truth, two of the gems would probably have covered the entirety of the debt, but Varys wasn't about to subtract from her prize to aid himself.

Still, the thought of leaving was suddenly kind of unappealing. He'd been on his own for a little over a year now, and... well, he'd left both his Master and his lover behind. They needed each other a lot more than he needed them, after all. It was tough, but to take her away from him would have been cruel and unfair.

This little bit of time he'd gotten to reunite with Lottie had been the most fun he'd had since going solo.

Oh, what the hell...

"So, Lottie. What's next for you? After all this commotion... plus, you said your sisters have been gone for a while now... what's holding you here?" He bit his cheek. "Remember that old wagon I had last time? You should see what I did with it. Plenty of room for both of us. To travel in, I mean..."

Lottie Beaufort
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The realisation didn't shock her as much anymore but it still made the weight in her heart feel heavy. it still hurt. She shook herself out of it and flashed Varys a wide, mischievous smile. The invitation she had been longing to hear was out far quicker than she had expected but, though she had no doubts what it was she intended to answer him with, she couldn't help herself in teasing him just a little first.

"Are you sure you can handle travelling with me?" she quirked a brow and then in a flourish jumped up onto a stump of a freshly cut down tree that had been a few paces ahead of them. On dancers feet she spun back to face him and put her hands on her hips. "I am pretty sure I heard you utter more than a few choice swear words back there. Fire, screaming people, plans going horrible sideways? That's in your future if you travel with me," she backflipped off the stump and landed with slightly flushed cheeks beneath the soot. The grin slowly faded to a more shy and honest smile.

"I would like to go with you. There's nothing left for me here but bad memories and a ransom on my head. I want to see the world."
Varys had grown into the type of man to be forthcoming and blunt with his goals and thoughts. He'd seen enough beating around the bush to last a lifetime and learned that people who weren't capable of just saying what they wanted were never going to get it. No, he was a man of action, and he'd had a gut feeling since they'd reunited that she wasn't interested in staying here any longer. The distaste in her eyes every time her eyes met anything but him or the tiara spoke to that.

"Oh, I think you'll find I'm quite capable, Lottie. At least, more so than I was last time we shared the wagon." The last time they'd had a trip together, they'd been accosted by a group of slobbering thieves looking to cause trouble. Some quick-thinking and teamwork had pulled them out of the fire, but it had been close, and his own inexperience had contributed to that. "You make it sound like a botched plan every now and then isn't fun. Honestly, do you take for somebody so boring?" He teased over at her, winking as he pulls his jacket tighter around his slim frame. It was a chilly night, considering the fire they'd just been so close to. "Why, think you can't handle me, Lottie?"

He was flirting with her, he had been all night, but it seemed to more or less fly over Lottie's head. He supposed it was better than being rejected. He stepped back, applauding the display of athleticism. Once she'd landed, he whistled, stepping forward to the stump himself. "Psh, I can do that too..."

Squatting down, he appeared to be about to jump. If one listened close though, they would hear words spilling quietly from his mouth, seemingly down at the stump itself. When at last he sprung into a backflip, the stump uprooted itself and leaped off of the ground, giving the slightly heavier man the extra height he needed to clear the jump. Landing on his feet, Varys spreads his arms and bows. "See? Easy as cake, darling." He dusted his hands off, chuckling and brushing his shoulder against her as he walked past.

"It'd be my honor to be your guide, Lottie. We can leave in the morning unless you're so desperate you wish to take off in the dead of night. Elsewise I have a room with enough space for the two of us. If you feel as though one more night in this city will drive you mad though, I don't fault you."

Lottie Beaufort
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One brow, then both brows vanished into her hairline as he performed his trick and a laugh bubbled out of her before she could stop it.

"You came back with more than a few tricks in your pocket. Does your top hat still fit your head?" the smile lingered but the warmth in her tone took out an imagined sting a man might find at her jest. She turned smartly on her heel to follow after him. With his longer gate she had to jog a few paces before she could fall in step beside him, her hands sliding into the pockets within the skirts of her gown.

"I can handle one more night," the amusement was gone, her words all bristled business though there was a touch of remorse there beneath it all. This was still her home, still the only thing she had which she knew. But the city didn't want her for what she was, even if she wished more than anything it did. Her lips twisted to the side as though there were a foul taste in her mouth. "It'll probably be easier to pick up my things on our way out in the morning though," the festival had been on the Northern side of the city and the woods she called a home were to the south, probably the route they were going to leave by. The cobbles of the inner city were already approaching and she could make out a griffin lounging on one of the balconies up ahead.

"Here, let me show you something before we go to a tavern though," she slid her hand into his and tugged him off the main road towards the river bank. The buildings began to cluster together into a thicket, an odd mockery of the ancient forest that had once stood here, and suddenly gave way to a sheer drop down into the Straight. Nimbly Lottie made her way down some stairs which had been carved into the rockface itself to a smoothed out ledge and a bench which had been chiselled into the cliff. It awarded them a perfect view down the Straight and of the legendary sea gate where even at this hour Griffins soared about and boats trickled through.

"This is my favourite spot in the city, my father used to bring me here after he had finished business in the market."
Varys scoffed at the little jab at his performance, dusting his pants off. "It's called showmanship, darling. You're just jealous." He dramatically straightened his coat and tipped an imaginary hat to her before setting off down a road that forked off to the left. Of course, he took no offense from her playful words, but they really needed to be getting indoors. Oban wasn't the most dangerous of cities at night, but the last thing the elf needed was to get caught in a scuffle and make himself known. One very fundamental difference between the Varys Lottie had known and the one she walked with now is that his name attracted attention. When people heard the name San'Seya, heads turned.

"I'm staying at a hotel up the road this way. Have the room rented one more night anyway, so may as well use it, right?" Varys wasn't insensitive; he knew this wasn't entirely pleasant, leaving one's home. He understood how she felt, probably more than she suspected. No amount of laughter and smiles could hide the emotions in her voice when she said "One more night." Any expression of pity he held was hidden from his face though. He merely slid his hands into his pockets and his cheek. She didn't want pity. It wouldn't do her any good.

He paid a moment to think about where she'd been lodged. When last he'd been here, she was living in the southern expanse of woods. That was a good hike from where they were now, and he didn't like the idea of traversing the woods in the middle of the night. "Oh definitely. I suggest we head to bed and start on that--" Lottie grasped his hand mid-sentence, tugging him from the road he'd begun to take and back down the wide main road leading from the city center.

They veered off, heading to a break in the clustered and crowded city where it slowly gave way to an older, more dilapidated section of the city that rested against the edge of the Straight. There was a thin path, one barely visible and carved into a rocky ledge. He wobbled a bit as he struggled to keep pace with the nimble woman, but it was worth it for what she brought him to.

It was beautiful, like a scene one would immortalize in paint. Noble beasts flew through the sky, meager boats drifted gently across the water under a blanket of stars that dotted the sky like tiny beams of light shining down on them. Varys' expression was one of wonder, of amazement. "One more look, huh? It's... it's beautiful."

He sat on the bench with her for some time, finding this all to be reminiscent of their first night together, watching the lake in the woods. This time though, he wasn't letting go of her hand. He squeezed it tightly, in excitement for the time they still had left to spend together. He wouldn't be alone anymore... even if it wasn't exactly how he'd envisioned it, he was so happy just being in her presence once more.


He spoke quietly, looking over at her with a somber expression upon his smooth features. There was trepidation in his eyes, something he was unsure of...

"I know this hurts... It's hard to leave, to accept that there's nothing for you here anymore. I've gone through the same thing. I can tell you firsthand that it doesn't stop hurting for a while. I want you to know, though..." He slowly raises the hand he clutched in his own, and with eyes sliding shut, kisses the back of it gently. "I'm here for you. You won't be alone as long as I'm here. I promise."

Lottie Beaufort
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One more look...

That had been exactly what she had been thinking when she had seen the little pathway that was so familiar to her. Perhaps she was just a sentimental fool to be feeling homesick or missing a man who would sell her off to the highest bidder to be little more than a walking incubator for heirs. Male heirs. She pushed the grim thought away so that it didn't taint the precious few pleasant memories she had of her father, and now with Varys, sitting on this very bench. She had begun to swing her legs when he took her hand making her go as still as a startled deer. With wide eyes she listened to his promise and stared, stunned, as he lifted her hand and pressed a kiss to the back of her hand. She was certain her cheeks were a horrific shade of pink which she hoped looked less brilliant in the light of night.

"T-thank you," she stammered and then frowned and looked away, slowly taking her hand back. "It's not so much leaving... it's... what if my sisters come back and I'm not here?" her whispered confession broke towards the end and she quickly swallowed any sob that might have been about to bubble up.

"I don't even know what made them leave. I just assumed it was their choice but... but what if I'm just a terrible sister? Should I have gone looking? Should I start looking?"
Varys, despite his flirtation up to this point, hadn't meant for his gesture to be forward or romantic in nature. Rather he sought to comfort her. He'd experienced this same moment of grief when he'd been whisked away from Fal' Addas in his youth. He remembered it clearly, the feeling of tears running hot down his face as he'd cradled his only possession in his arms, a book of memories that had been his only friend for so long.

He dropped her hand when she pulled it back, a knowing look of pity in his eyes, despite knowing it wasn't what she needed. It was never easy, to see a friend with such a storm of conflicting emotion in their eyes. What was worse, at least for the platinum-haired elf, is that he knew there wasn't much he could say to assuage her worries. He didn't know her sisters, just her. Nevertheless, he patted her arm gently. "It's not fair to yourself, to pose those types of questions. No matter their reason for leaving, you have been nothing but patient with them. I think it's only fair they show the same patience with you."

He pulled away, leaning back on the stone bench and sliding his gaze over to the incredible sight she'd taken him to. He knew Lottie's story, or at least he knew a good deal of it. "You've been here for so long... You don't really realize how big the world is until you go out there and explore it for yourself. There is so much waiting for you out there... maybe the purpose you've been seeking is just beyond the forest you lived, just out of reach."He turns to her once more, smiling warmly. "I didn't see any meaning in my life until I left home. It was actually not far from here where I found my purpose, where I discovered what I was meant to do. Who knows? We might find your calling together..."

Lottie Beaufort
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Lottie leant forward and braced her elbows on her knees. Though her eyes were on the view sprawled before them like a complicated tapestry, her thoughts were turning over his words. She didn't know why. As soon as he had said them she'd felt the desire to nod along in agreement; it's most certainly what she would have told someone else in her situation. Perhaps she was examining them in the hopes she would find something to disagree with and keep herself here. That was a thought that infuriated her to no end and she flopped back against the bench with a determined huff.

"Even if we don't, the journey will be fun," she flashed him a grin and some of the pain this time had vanished along with the worry. There was a touch of eagerness and even excitement swirling in the murky green of her gaze now. She brought her feet up onto the bench and arranged the skirts of her dress out of habit to keep her modesty from any griffins that soared too close. "So, what is your purpose? Where did you find it? Tell me everything I've missed this past year."

She turned her face towards him and rested her cheek atop her knees and waited like a small child at bedtime for their story.
After being swept up from his home of Fal'Addas, nothing but a swindler on the streets,, Oban had been the first town on the journey that eventually carried him across all of Arethil. Since last he sat with Lottie, he'd met friends, lovers, and enemies. He'd fought and killed, and he'd held and kissed. He'd learned of who he truly was, escaped eternal enslavement, took down an entire cabal of slavers and bandits.

Now, years later the journey had brought him back here. Varys couldn't help but wonder, as Lottie looked up at him expectantly with that dark green stare if maybe this was meant to be the end of that journey and the beginning of another.

He was lost, lonely, and full of confusion when somebody had taken him from his home and shown him the world. Maybe fate had brought him back here so that he could do the same for somebody else. Perhaps it was his turn...

And so, just as he had on the evening they had sat together at the lake on the forest's edge so long ago, he told her everything.

He shared the story of how he'd left Oban to travel to a town that rested on a salt deposit, surrounded by ocean water that electrically charged everything in the city. He told her about his efforts to find who he was, the way the city's mayor had tried to have him killed and his friends captured. "I was able to carry my dearest friends out of that city, but for hours neither of them moved. I feared them dead, feared that I was alone again..."

"That night. When she finally woke up... that was the first time I'd fallen in love."

From there, they'd fled to Oban once again to try and find shelter for their remaining comrade, who had fallen deathly ill. "I kept hoping we would run into you... but I got stuck putting on a fireworks display for a bunch of nobles. That's when I scammed Niv out of all that gold." He chuckled lightly, a rather impish grin on his face. "But hey, that led me back here in the end. So I guess that worked out, didn't it?"

He leaned back, looking away from her and instead aiming his gaze up at the dark sky, dotted with little balls of light who-knows-how far in the distance... "I found out I was a Speaker. I can talk to the world around me, hear the memories of the rocks, the wisdom of the trees. I can move clouds, part water... But I got cocky." He reminisced about the old man who'd used Varys's overconfidence in his own abilities to nearly enslave his friends, about how he'd barely gotten them out of a life of servitude that he could have so easily avoided.

"When I finally freed us, it just... wasn't the same. I was more powerful than my mentor by that point, and he'd lost his mother and a hand because of my arrogance. My apprenticeship was pretty much over, and so was my relationship with my first love. She was magically tied to my mentor, and I couldn't take her away from him. She needed him, and he needed her. So... I left."

His voice seemed to tighten near the end of that, his teeth biting at the inside of his cheek. He'd gone from having something close to a family to being all on his own all over again. "I decided the only thing for me to do was go from place to place, using my magic to help however I could. I joined up with the Allirian Rangers for a bit, took on bounties, anything that I thought would help me gain more experience really." He shrugged his shoulders. He wasn't going to lie and say that it hadn't been difficult.

But it had been worth it.

"But I can use this talent I have to make people happy, to keep them safe. I can make up for mistakes I've made, and help people who are where I've been. That's what I want to do. I just want to make some semblance of a difference."

He rested his hands on his lap, closing his hands around each other as his gaze slid back to her.

"Does that make... any sense?"

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Lottie turned her whole body slowly towards her friend as he launched into his epic tale, the view in front of her completely forgotten in favour for the one he painted with his words. The emotions, the tiny little details that were so unique to him that nobody else would have told her, she drunk them all down eagerly like a woman starved. Nobody told a good story anymore. In the taverns where she would sneak sometimes to seek out other human contact after weeks alone in the forest, the stories and tales were a drunken jumbled mess or else told too perfectly and polished she forgot them as quickly as she heard them. This though, this was a story with heart. She even found herself welling up when he told of his struggle to leave his first love and scrubbed at her eyes before tears fell.

"That is a lot to happen in a person in such a short time," she shook her head. Was that what she had to look forward to? Every day a new adventure, a new heartache, a new joy? She was starving for it and she almost asked if they could leave right this very second. "And yes, it makes sense. It's what I've wanted to do with my magic since I discovered I could do what I could do," she unclasped her knees so her palms faced upwards and made tiny little butterflies appear in a silver so bright it looked like it was carved from the moonbeams.

"I would swap pretty illusions for moving mountains though," her lips tweaked into a grin. "That must be fun."
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Honestly, the elf hadn't realized he'd been holding all of that in. He'd grown up a lot, sure, but just remembering all that he'd been through in the last couple of years made him feel exhausted. He exhales, leaning back on the bench as she gazes up at him with that dark green stare that he felt so strangely compelled to impress. "It was simultaneously the most stressful, relaxing, infuriating, and happy time of my life so far. I wouldn't change a thing." He grins, his golden eyes following the silvery wisps of that formed butterflies, squinting at the bright rays that created them.

Reaching out with a hand, Varys extends a finger to allow one of the small creatures to perch on it, the soft voice that even the magically created visage had whispering softly in his ear, so full of curiosity with the world. "I think you could do wonderful things, Lottie. I do. You have a sense of justice the likes of which I've never seen before." He still remembered the raw passion that had burned in her voice when she'd told her of his story before, the unmitigated fire in her eyes...

When she claimed she'd rather be a Speaker than have her current abilities, he cackled, shaking his head. "It has it's downsides. Some voices are louder than others, deafeningly so. My teacher always told me the story of a man who spent too long close to the ocean, such a vast body of life, so many voices... He wasn't able to control his power, and last time they saw him he was trying to have a rut with a coral reef." It was a somewhat humorous word of warning, but it was very real. Varys too, had been the victim of such powerful voices. At one point he'd nearly drowned himself to stop them.

"I think your magic is fascinating in it's own right. My abilities are based in reality, practicality. You make things appear from thin air, miracles of light and sound..." He reaches over, patting her knee. "You've nothing to feel ashamed of. It's getting late, you know. We should turn in soon."

Lottie Beaufort
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Lottie watched the iridescent butterfly on his fingertip with a fond smile; like an artist admiring her latest painting. She held her finger out so that one of the others could land and brought it up to her face to examine closely. There were a few things she could improve on, she thought with a critics gaze, but no... as Varys said, there was potential there. She just needed to learn. When he patted her knee the butterflies vanished and she gave a long suffering sigh. He was right, but a part of her didn't want the night to end and for tomorrow to begin. Another part couldn't wait.

"I suppose so," she uncurled her long legs and stood in one smooth movement, the skirts of her dress falling back to the ground to cover her feet. With Varys in his finery too they looked as though they were a lord and lady on their way back from a splendid evening. Well, aside from the bits of ash still on their skin. She went on to her tip toes and with a licked thumb wiped away a smudge of it from his cheek. "Lead the way."
Varys smiled down at her as she reached up to wipe the smudges from his cheek, tilting his head slightly in mild protest at the wet streak it left. He didn't really mind; he was more or less just glad to have some kind of company in tow. If he was able to do for her what Jonathan had done for him when he was still stuck in Falwood, pick her up from a rotten situation and help her blossom... He'd like that quite a bit. It was the least he could do.

He watches her eyes briefly flitter down his form, and his gaze follows them. He was all dressed up, the only suit he'd ever owned, jet black with white laces along the middle that held it over his chest, was starting to look far too small on his growing body. Now it was lightly caked with soot from the fire to boot. The elf cackled. "We are a sight, aren't we?" The dress she wore had protected the majority of her body from the ashes they'd wrought, but her face and arms still sported small black marks and specks of dirt. It didn't do too much to hide her beauty though. Still, he couldn't help but admire her; she was far more resplendent than any homeless vagrant or forest witch he'd ever known. Just another hint towards her bloodline, he supposed.

Holding his arm out for her to hook her own in, he smiles. "Of course, I'll always escort a lady." He says in a rather exaggerated elven accent. He waits for her to accept his gesture, and then leads her back up the rocky slope, up the flights of stairs tucked away out of sight, and back onto the main road. It had been quiet before, but now the silence was deafening. Varys swore, having not brought his watch. How long had they been out? He'd lost track of the time. Gah, didn't matter. The inn he was staying at was right down the road.

He didn't remember what the hell the place was called, and most of the lights in this part of the city were dimmed or turned off completely at this point. Varys was able to find it though, based on the voices the stones on the ground offered. Lottie probably thought him mad when he'd stopped and asked directions from a rock, but the trick had worked, and soon enough he was leading her up the stairs of the deathly quiet inn and into his room.

The room was decent-sized, with a large bed, what looked to be a walk-in closet for long-term stays, a small kitchenette tucked against the wall with a sink, and an old oven with embers still glowing in it. There was a small door on the right wall with a sign labelled 'Bath' written on a plaque mounted on it. Varys strolled in, immediately flopping down on the bed. Obviously he'd need to change and all that nonsense, but his legs ached. "Here we are. mi casa, your casa. Once you're all cleaned up and decent, you can have the bed. I've gotten pretty good at sleeping on wood planks."

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"I sleep in the forest, let's not start a competition of who has had the roughest nights sleep," Lottie laughed as she carefully set the tiara upon the small little dressing table in the corner. Clearly Varys had been given the room because he was a man travelling alone; the Keeper would most definitely not have put a woman up in here. The mirror was too small and the lighting ill suited to the needs women had before going out for the evening. She caught her smoky reflection in the tiny frame and grimaced.

"But I will definitely claim the bathroom first," it was going to take an age to get the smell of smoke out of her hair despite its short length. She pulled a strand round to her nose to sniff it and huffed. She couldn't actually remember the last time she had had a proper bath. Not in a tub anyway. Usually it was the cold crystal waters of the nearby stream or the lake she had taken Varys too when the sun had heated it nicely. The faint memories of bubbles and perfumed soap practically had her running for the segregated room.

It wasn't long before she had peeled herself out of her clothes and lowered herself into the hot water that should have boiled the skin right off of her. With a satisfied groan she sunk till the bubbles came up to her chin and yawned.
Varys was quite aware of what he'd be in for if he were discovered to have snuck a woman into an establishment, let alone an unpaid one. Then again, they'd established he wasn't exactly a rule follower, hadn't they? He planned to be out in no time anyway. The elf let out a small chuckle at her mention of sleeping conditions. "I agree, let's not even get started on that one." Ever since he'd been forced to spend a night naked and in chains, he was thankful for every night he got as a free man thereafter. He looked after Lottie as she sauntered into the bathroom, fighting back a small yawn. "By all means. Indulge a bit."

He waited until he heard the movement of the water, and slid off the side of the bed to walk over to the door of the closet, swinging it open to reveal the jumbled mess of personal belongings spilling out of his bag that hung on a hook. "Oh, God damn it.." He grumbled, leaning over to gather up his things and setting them aside to sort out in the morning. He retrieved the map he was looking for, as well as a bottle of a bubbling blue liquid, taking them back to the bed.

So, while Lottie bathed, Varys had gotten comfortable. Having slipped his clothes from his body, he'd pulled on an old pair of trousers that had always been just a bit too big for him. Usually, he wouldn't have bothered, but he figured he should at least be somewhat modest for his company. It was all he'd wear though, sipping from the strange drink, letting his eyes scan over the map. It wouldn't do to just leave town without a plan; they needed work, and a route to follow. "Let's see... Elbion isn't too far. Neither is Alliria." He muttered to himself. He had a few contacts in both, but Elbion was constantly in a strange state of flux, where you were never quite sure what state the city was in.

A soft sigh left his lips, reaching behind his head to pull his hair loose as his other hand traced its way down the map. Lottie had so much to see, and this trip was for her more than anything else. It was only right that he ask her what she thought about their first destination. There was always Falwood, just a bit further down. "Haven't been home in a long time now..." He murmured.

Who was he kidding? There wasn't anything for him there. Just like Lottie, the place he was born was where he fit in the least.

"You about wrapped up in there?" He calls over to the door. "If I fall asleep on this bed, you're about out of luck, little lady. I can be a very stubborn sleeper."

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The highwaywoman hadn't realised quite how much she had missed something so simple as a bath.

She could feel her muscles unwinding as the hot water seeped through her skin to penetrate deep into her tightly wound tissue. Knots and pains she had forgotten about finally eased and she found herself able to breathe easier and relax in a way she hadn't done since her sisters had left. If it hadn't of been for Varys' voice Lottie could have easily fallen asleep. With a stifled yawn and no small amount of reluctance she slowly peeled herself out of the basin. It was another five minutes before she finally pulled back the sliding door. Without the illusions or soot the toil of the last year was far more visible. Shadows gathered underneath her eyes and her cheekbones pressed more sharply against her skin than it had before. With her dress ruined and nothing else to hand she had taken the liberty of commandeering one of his shirts which drowned her slight form.

"You don't have to sleep on the floor," she ran a hand through her still wet curls and then clambered onto the bed without an invitation. "Bathroom's all yours," she yawned and wrapped her arms around the pillow on which she rested her head. "You stink," she smirked even as she shut her eyes.
He'd been totally lost in his own thoughts, eyes roaming over the map and mind in a hazy daydream of what came next for the both of them when he heard her voice approaching, followed by the shifting of the bed as she climbed into bed next to him. He turned his head, not exactly prepared for what he saw.

"Well I didn't think you'd wanna sleep with--" He trailed off, mouth hanging open for a second as he took her in. He'd experienced it before, but he still couldn't explain it; there was something about a woman wearing your clothes that did something to you. especially when she wasn't exactly wearing anything else.

"I... Okay, right. We'll be sure to get you some new duds on our way out. Not that I'm complaining, obviously." He chuckled a bit, folding the map and setting it on the bedside table. Was this girl really so oblivious? He was having his doubts. He tried to ignore the momentary heating of his skin and slid off the bed. "And I stink because somebody insisted on trying to steal a whole ass person. Nothing but trouble."

He stretched as he entered the bathroom, loosening the string that held the old trousers up and dropping them as he replace the lukewarm water with another hot bath, stepping in and sliding inside with a long, drawn-out sigh. He didn't plan on spending much time in here, just enough to get clean. Truth be told, he was eager to get going tomorrow.

When he finally emerged a short while later, he'd slid the old trousers back on out of courtesy. His long hair was dampened and ran down to the middle of his back, and a soft yawn precluded his words as he looked towards the lovely young lady again. "You asleep yet?" She'd said he didn't need to sleep on the floor, but he wasn't one to push his luck.

Lottie Beaufort
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As the door snicked shut behind him Lottie opened one eye which landed on the carefully folded map. She had only ever seen a map once and it had been in her fathers study on the wall behind his desk. It had been a beautiful work of art more than anything useful, she suspected, but it had focused mainly on Dalradia and the wine lands her family had owned. Even then it had made her realise how small she was in comparison. What would a world map look like? Curiosity ate at her until she finally pushed herself up and plucked the map from the table to take a look for herself.

"I hadn't thought Oban was so small..." She whispered to herself. Alliria looked to be three times the size and the sprawling 'Empire' covered large swathes of the West. Her mind couldn't comprehend it. Whilst Varys bathed Lottie pooled over the map drinking in all the little details and trying to puzzle out what kind of hill called a 'mountain' could reach so high there were little symbols of possible death placed over the peaks. By the time Varys reappeared she had gone from sitting once more to laying on her side, her cheek resting on a part of the map, and her face smoothed into one of peaceful sleep.
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The bath had done well to clear his mind, as well as the nagging aches and pains the last couple of days had built up in his muscles. On the road, a decent-sized tub was a rare treat. Usually, he had to deal with cheaply built basins or a quick scrub in a river. Luckily the first leg of their trip shouldn't be so long that it would require a dip like that; he had plenty of food and water saved up too, so as long as all went well he didn't see any reason why they couldn't make it to wherever they plotted a course to next rather quickly.

The sight that waited for him when he emerged was rather adorable, if not eye-opening. He'd already mentally prepared himself to ignore the barely dressed form of the young woman, and he was able to tear his eyes away from her legs after only a moment of weakness. The way she cradled the map as she slept so soundly though, it brought a quiet chuckle to his mouth. He walked around the bed to the side Lottie wasn't sleeping on, before reaching out and tugging the map out from under her gently.

"Makes me wonder just how little you know..." He murmured to himself. When Varys had been growing up on the streets of Fal'Addas, he would often hear tales of faraway lands, of the oceans, mountains, and deserts. When he finally got to experience all these places himself, he had some semblance of an idea of what to expect. Lottie though... who knows how sheltered she'd been? How closed off from the rest of the world this life had kept her? She was an adult, but she was also still young. There was still time to show her everything, he supposed...

He looked between Lottie and the floor for a moment as he folded the map back up, setting it on the side table with his glass. He wasn't too keen on laying on the floor, despite his earlier bravado, and Lottie had offered him space... Fine, he sat on the bed, swinging his legs up to lay beside her on his back. Normally the oddity of it all would have kept him awake, but he found that after the day's events, he drifted off rather quickly.

Lottie Beaufort
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Dawn rode across the sky in a chariot of soft pinks and lilacs and chased away the lingering twin moons that had dominated the sky by night. Even this late in summer it wasn't long before the rising sun had warmed the land beneath its rays to a pleasantly mild temperature. In the streets below people slowly pulled themselves from their beds and begun the process of cleaning up after the nights revelries and disasters. The smell of smoke still lingered faintly in the air.

Sunlight broke through the open window of the inn's room in which the two friends slept and the gauzy curtains flapped in the gentle breeze that rolled in off the river. Lottie's nose scrunched up briefly as the smell of salt and ash stirred her and the light begun to warm her spot on the bed. At some point in the might she had burrowed beneath the covers for warmth but as the room begun to heat she kicked them off with a quiet huff to let the cooler breeze caress her legs. In that moment between sleeping and waking she had forgotten the events of the previous night. Confusion crept into her mind as her body became aware of a soft feather bed and the sounds of the city rather than the hard cot and forest noises she was used to. When she finally opened her eyes and her sights landed on the crown sitting on the desk though it all begun to come trickling back to her.

The quiet noises of a persons sleeping behind her made her slowly roll onto her back and glance at the peaceful elf. Her lips tilted up into a faint smile and she eased herself off the bed gently so as not to disturb him. Quickly she rifled through his bag to get a pair of too-large breeches, slung them on along with her boots from the previous night and slid out the window for breakfast.

She was just creeping back in with a tray of fresh pastries, a freshly brewed pot of coffee and some clean clothes draped over the fold of her arm when she noticed her companion was awake. She hopped down and grinned, holding out the plate of hot treats.

Varys' sleep had been surprisingly peaceful, although given he was on a comfortable bed that was a good deal more suitable for sleep than the usual bedroll that he hauled with him in his wagon perhaps he shouldn't have been so shocked by that. His dreams were vivid, though, as they'd often be after his awakening as a speaker. Vibrant images of the mountains of The Spine, the desert plains of the Abberassi, the marshes of the Black Bay... they flooded his vision, and he could smell them, taste the crisp air against his lips.

It was always slightly disappointing when he woke up, but at least now he had the freedom to travel to any of those locations if he desired. The warmth of the sun peeking through the overhead window warmed his skin, shone against his bright hair. His eyes slid open, and a small groan left his throat as he slowly regained himself. Today was the day he took on his own protege and paid forward what his Master had done for him.

San'Seya turned in the bed, smirking a bit at his companion. "Mornin' Sunshi--" The space beside him was empty. Visible confusion spread across his face as he sat up. Where the hell had Lottie gone? Varys quickly noticed the open window once he felt the soft breeze against his bare flesh, and swore. "One night and she's already running off on me. Damn." His tone was more amused than truly concerned. Lottie had an adventurous spirit, and she'd been far too eager to leave Oban for her to get cold feet now. Wherever she was, she'd be back.

Sliding off the bed and stretching as he moved over to the closet with a slight limp, he groans at the sight before him. Once again his belongings had fallen and spilled out of his pack. Leaning over to collect them, his eye catches the navy blue fabric of a coat, one Varys had stuffed away and forgotten for some time.

It had been his father's... had been his... when he'd initially left on his journey from home. High-collared, golden trimmed and fastened with beautiful silver buttons, it had been a valuable tool when he was a thief of the streets, making him look a deal more wealthy than he actually was, luring victims into a sense of security.

He heard noise behind him as Lottie slid back into the room through the open window, and the half-dressed elf turned to greet her, his smile only growing wider as his nose caught the scent of the goodies she'd brought. "Oh, famished!"

He grabbed a shirt and a jacket quickly, tossing the blue coat onto the bed as he walked to the platter and picked out a pastry. "You sure do know how to treat an elf. You're going to spoil me already."

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Lottie crossed her long legs and settled on the window seat to munch on her own pastry, flashing Varys a smug little grin.

"I have to earn my keep, right?" and stealing was pretty much her only skill. She had no doubt Varys would never say outright she was a burden on this trip, but Lottie wanted to avoid him from even entertaining the thought in the first place. So she would do what she could along the way to make their journey a pleasant one. Her start in life might have been a lofty one but her sisters had raised her not to shy away from hard work and grafting for a living. Though, living in the forest demanded that of a person. She bit into her second pastry and whilst she used her now free hands to pour herself a coffee, spotted the fancy jacket on the bed. Her eyebrows rose sharply.

"Where did you get that?" she said around the pastry hanging from her mouth. Before he could answer she unfolded her legs and quickly crossed the room to the bed. Her fingers ran over the braiding curiously. "It's a Machavil, right?" the stitching was quite distinctive. "Even my father could only afford one of his suits."
"Yeah, well we aren't even on the road yet..." The elf began before taking a large bite of the baked treat he'd plucked from her offering. He didn't know if she'd somehow found out about his love for warm bread, or if it was mere coincidence, but she'd undoubtedly won some points with the young mage. Swallowing down that first bite, he continued. "...So I wouldn't worry about that just yet." She would be putting in plenty of work once their trip began, and Varys would rather she didn't disappear on him like that. He took another bite, waiting for her to finish before reaching out for the coffee himself. "Besides, only a day after a night like last night? You're lucky nobody saw you. We're already on thin ice."

He didn't mean to scold her. He'd done the same thing before to his own Master. He'd paid for it dearly though, and he couldn't stand the thought of Lottie going through an experience like that. He brought the steaming coffee to his lips, taking a nice long sip of the near-scalding black drink with a satisfied sigh. At her query regarding his coat, he flicked his gaze over to it briefly. "A Mach-what now?" He didn't know much about fashion, he'd always let other people pick out what looked best on him. Now that he was alone, it had been some time since he'd seen fit to buy anything new. The brand name of the coat meant little to him.

"That old thing? I dunno what it is or isn't. Belonged to me... erm... my father a long time ago. One of the only things I got out of the house when the wildfires rolled through, and the only thing I had to wear for a long long time." When he was where Lottie stood now, the day of departure from the only world he'd ever known, that coat is what he'd wore. As she slid over to inspect it in closer detail, Varys set his half-empty cup aside. "I was considering giving it to you, but I didn't think you'd be thrilled about receiving a man's coat. That's what I wore on the first days of my journey though, It's seen me through some very steep highs and lows"

Taking a cursory glance outside the window she'd slid in from, he clicks his tongue at how high the sun seemed to be. They were already late. "Anything else you need to do before we go? We'd better get a move on soon, Lottie. Even so... I understand if you have loose ends to tie."

Lottie Beaufort
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As Varys rambled on about the history behind the coat, Lottie tugged it on.

Foreseeably it was longer on her than it was on Varys, coming to her mid thigh rather than her hips where she suspected it would sit on the taller elf. However, due to his slighter frame it fit her reasonably well on the arms and hips. She sauntered over to where the mirror was to examine how it looked and turned this way and that with a critical eye. Finally, she pulled the collar up and tilted her chin defiantly at her reflection then nodded. It would work. Her fingers ran through her short hair and she turned back to Varys with a firm shake of her head.

"I bought what I need back with me," she motioned to the sack that had come in with her through the window. Early in the morning after a festival had meant her only company had been the rats and the types of people who moved in her circles. It had been quite easy to get what it was she needed from favours she was owed and suspected she wouldn't be able to call in for quite some time. Lottie wandered back to the bed where she'd draped her chosen outfit for the day - a pair of breeches and a shirt more suited to her size - then wandered back towards the bathroom.

"I'll get dressed then I'm ready to go when you are," she gave him a quick smile then shut the door behind her.
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