Private Tales The Last Resort

A private roleplay only for those invited by the first writer

Draedamyr

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Draedamyr let that sink in. He had little context on the gods they might have served. What even was a god to their kind? If Seska was bound to their magic in Arethil then in her own realm she would have been close to an god, Immortal and judgemental.

"You served three different gods? And one of those gods Lia was a servant of?" Draedamyr took a particularly long swig of wine before he asked the next question.

"Was Leto...a pleasant and fair god?" he asked, wincing as he passed the bottle of wine back.
 
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"The gods themselves..." She was silent for a few minutes, thinking tho hs through. It was not a very straightforward question at all.

"I...am not even sure they were real, now. The Triad were ever at war with one another, and they are said to have ascended from mortal stock in the distant past, but..." She shrugged. "I never really saw any of them,only their followers."

Followers that were anything but benevolent and kind, on the whole. "Leto was known as the Lord of Chaos, and his followers tended towards that trait." Before he could ask the question, she offered him a brittle smile. "Barnabas stood for honor, and Angelique for justice. Oleana- the gypsy queen - represented peace. She ascended during my time,and I knew her personally before she ascended to Goddesshood."

She could also recall the betrayal and casting down of the Gypsy by the other deities, and the fire and death that had swept the land in the pogroms that followed. She remembered vividly, because she had led some herself.

"Anyway, Leto's followers were on the whole no less savage than the rest. The justification for their violence was chaos, as was Barnabas' honor and Angelique's justice. Their virtue twisted to suit the greed of all of us."

She sounded sick at that last.
 
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Draedamyr

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Draedamyr listened closely both because he was interested and because no one would have heard these tales for a long time. He could see in her eyes that it was not the easiest to return to. It was hard to imagine her at the centre of all that destruction, though it wasn't always.

"You have changed a great deal from those days," he reasoned. "She might have been a follower of chaos back then, but perhaps that has changed?

"Though I must say that Reds tale was not of an entirely benevolent sorcerer..."
 
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"I have changed only so far from those days," she replied. She looked up at her companion with sad eyes. "I do not seek the reins of power any longer, but I am still as dark and twisted inside as I ever was." The truth of it hurt, but it was the truth. She abstained from taking power, refused to be a part of the civilized world out of fear that she would decide that the power was worth the risk, and in so doing condemn herself to damnation once more.

"Lia was not very stable before, and I doubt she is very stable now. So long as I am near, though, you will be safe. She was never my better, and never will be. Strength is fixed, after all, and I am the stronger of the two of us. Plus..." She shrugged, not needing to say it. The world they lived on bound certain aspects of their power anyway, so it wasn't as though they could get too out of hand.

"I do not want to talk or think about any of that, though. I've spoken enough of me these last weeks." It was truth. He could ask all manner of things of her and she could not deny him long, but she had not heard much about him.

She looked to Draedamyr expectantly, lifting a glass of wine and drinking of it delicately. There was no need to ask a question directly, for the previous statement had set the course of their conversation without the need.
 
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Draedamyr

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"I think you tell yourself that more than it is true," Draedamyr said. She had already admitted to changing, so why was Seska so certain she was still a creature of darkness?

Draedamyr relented, knowing she wanted the conversation to move on. He waved for another bottle of wine. It was going to be necessary.

"My home city was one of the handful of great cities that belonged to my people. It was lost when I was young. I was left a refugee in a human city with no possessions but the clothes on my back."

"I remember the point where I found myself was when I saw treasures from my home on sale in the common market. Next to...bread and crude iron shaped by human hands. I resolved to reclaim as many of the heirlooms of my family as possible. Reverie is one of them.

"Fencing is something I have dedicated my life to, as a way to finding my place in this world. In the end, perhaps trying to achieve a pinnacle of the art became the goal in its own right."
 
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"But the pinnacle of an art - an Art, if you will - is seldom as fulfilling as the dream of achieving it is," she observed. Crimson liquid reflected the light as she gently swirled it in its glass. "And finding fragments of the past is, in my opinion, a more fulfilling venture on the whole."

She could relate to it, in a fashion. She had known her ancestry and lived among her people for centuries, but she had also shifted through the ashes of everything she had ever known.

"What brought the end to your great cities," she asked in a quiet voice. She probably knew the answer, but it was his turn to tell of himself. "Internal strife, or the humans?"
 
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Draedamyr

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"Ah so we are on the melancholy of our people's ending and the philosophy of self improvement. Clearly it is an evening for wine," Draedamyr remarked with a soft smile.

"We are slow to change. We can live a thousand years but most die within a few hundred. That means there are just a few revered for their knowledge who might not have learned a thing in the latter half of their lives."
 
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"Melancholy is my favorite subject, or had you missed that detail?" The time was light and playful, and she was smiling as s hgt said it. There was no need to pursue the darkness inherent in every society, or the many roads to the ruination thereof.

She leaned back in the oversized chair. "It seems strange to me," she began, staring at the ceiling with glass in hand, "that so many of the elder races live so long, but the individuals rarely do." How had she loved for so long? She was not immortal, only biologically so. She had lived through a hundred wars, and the end of one world, and a million altercations spread across thousands of years.

Luck? Fate? There had never been an answer, and she suspected there never would be.

"I suspect I am one of those that fail to learn much in my twilight years," she said, dropping her eyes from the ceiling and fixing in him again. "You've managed it, despite your profession. And you have probably lived more in your years than I have in the last several thousand."
 
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Draedamyr

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"Humans can live to a hundred, I'm told. Most of them don't cross fifty," he said in an off-hand manner. It drew a strange look from one of them women at the bar. Not in an unfriendly manner, just a confused glance from someone who struggled to conceive of what kind of discussion was going on.

"But for all that survival I only have a few hundred years left. Age will come quickly when it arrives."

He pursed his lips and looked thoughtfully at his glass as if the wine held the answers. Wine never held the answers, no matter how many times he tried to find them though.

"My last century was wasted. I should make sure that the next is not. I spent my time trying to forge a legacy in making another person become my protégé. I have children that are doing well. I should worry about what I do with my time."
 
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Children. She stayed away from that, for she had none. It was common for centuries to pass before being with child again, among her people... but it was seldom done, anyway.

She did not really want to contemplate the other, either; there had been companions in her life, far spread across an expanse of time that the human woman who had looked puzzled would simply be incapable of comprehending. Of her own people, she had not seen a man in ten thousand years. All of her companions had been short lived, and rather than growing apart - as had Draedamyr's wife - had simply passed out of the world, leaving her behind.

She could not even remember the last to share her affection, so long had it been. Even brushing the notion made her drain her glass in one long swallow, and reach for the bottle for more.

"No time spent with another is wasted," she said in a quiet voice. "There are those who never have that connection, you know...and those who had it, but lost it in far more abrupt fashion than the gradual pull of time." She leaned in towards the table. "Of course, if I am imposing on your time..."
 
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Draedamyr

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"You are not," Draedamyr said emphatically. He noted the speed with which she refilled her glass. He regretted starting on the topic of her old acqauntainces. That could have waited a few nights and not sent her thinking of the past.

Seska had clearly been so alone for so long. It now felt like an eon since they had expressed the idea of intimacy. A lot had happened since then.

"Stay with me?" he asked quietly. "Tonight." He held her gaze unrepentantly, the wine forgotten in the moment. She was right and he did not want to waste more time worrying about his legacy or years that had been wasted. There was now and decisions that he did not feel he would regret.
 
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"Yes," she replied without hesitation. At least she had the grace to color faintly at the forwardness on her part...and on his. "I will." A casual look to the windows showed that it was not yet night, though. Something to look forward to, then.

She settled back in her seat, feeling as if a terrible weight had been lifted from her shoulders, one that she had not realized she was carrying. "I threw myself at you in the beginning, but I think we can be a little less eager this go round," she added, cheeks still faintly red. "Until then," she said, and raised a glass. "I would love to know more about you. Your dreams, your aspirations, your fancies..."
 
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Draedamyr

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The difference between quaffing a fine wine and savouring it's quality, he mused to himself. He gaze lowered briefly, feeling embarassed by his actions too. It did not temper his smile.

"Aspirations? Once I wanted to recover the glory of elven artisans in the hands of humans. I do in fact have quite a collection in the city. I wanted to train someone to be an even more accomplished swordsman and that went very wrong.

"I am not even sure what my aspirations are right now. I have been in a foul mood for a full year because the last one went so wrong and more recently thinking only of survival. I will have to give that question thought. As for fancies: fine wine, fine food, good music, poetry, a play. There are many reasons I prefer the cities," he said with a grin.

"Ardella will be putting out her new play come the summer in Alliria. You should come and see it!"
 
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She smiled. "I have not been to a play in a very, very long time. I do not have anything personal against the cities of men, but they have a way of recalling memories of dark times for me." She raised a hand to forestall any guilt on his part. "Do not mistake that as melancholy maundering on things long gone; I also do not often have anyone to travel with. The icicles of memory are less troublesome when you have someone there to hold them at bay."

She offered Draedamyr a warm smile at that, and then drank of her wine. Savoring the flavor as she did the conversation.

"I would not worry about your pupil, though. When it is not your own mind, your own flesh..." She shrugged. "You cannot control others, no matter how you like. And you can never know the mind of another." It was the eternal gamble, that. Those you loved, those you trusted with everything - your hopes, dreams, and ambitions...could turn on you and you would never see it coming. "All you can do is trust, and quite often it will not be misplaced."

She stared off into the distance. "Plays. I wonder how they do them these days, if the arts has been further refined or fallen back..."
 
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Draedamyr

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"It's just...fresh. He wasn't my flesh and blood, but I did love him." Draedamyr sighed, drained his glass and poured another one. He decided that was enough of that. His malancholy mood had snuck in as he had pushed the literal demons away.

"Progress in the arts just goes round in circles for centuries on end," Draedamyr mused. "They are at least over their experimental phase with alchemy. For a time you could not watch a play without expected to have you heart stopped by some colourful explosion from the stage!"
 
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"Magic always was the best thing in stagecraft," she replied. She decided to leave the yawning abyss alone, as he had done for her. She understood wounds, to flesh, spirit, and soul. They did not have to discuss his wounds with words; their ancient souls communed without the need of such shackles. "Those that rely on alchemy are ever at the disadvantage."

Her wine vanished, the bottle replaced by another in silence as she stared at the dregs without a word for a few minutes.

"Does this Ardella specialize in comedy or tragedy? I do not know that I am ready for something pulling the strings of this black old heart of mine," she said. The curve of her lips belied a faint smile, proof that melancholy was not present in that statement.
 
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Draedamyr

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"I am afraid that Ardella is broaching some of those lines. There may be tugging on those blackened heart strings as well as some...abstrsct comedy. I believe the playwrights there have developed a habit of making increasingly abstract jokes. The idea is, or was, to keep the humour very high brow.

"Over time that's turned into an art form that allows people to think of themselves as ever so clever if they catch the humour. I feel that they may have started a fashion of laughing just to show they understand.

"So it may not melt your heart but it might confused and frustrate you," he laughed. "And also make you weep. I am not selling this well. Shall I ask if they have some cheese for with this wine?"

Whether it was the distance from the demons, the wine or the switch to more gentle conversation but Draedamyr started to look more relaxed.
 
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"Ask what you desire, dear, but I shall not eat." There was a slight and deliberate pause. "Probably," she added finally. She was not really hungry - she was never hungry in the same way he could become, and when she was it was for something that he, nor any other living being, could provide.

"I have never really been one for the finer arts, at least no more than required to maintain a certain image." She wondered, for a moment at least, if Draedamyr had ever been a member of the aristocracy or not. Probably not, she decided. "As a Duchess, I was required to attend such things as a function of the courts."

She looked at her companion with a soft smile on her face, a twinkle in her eyes. "I always found the finer skills of highly trained swordsmen and mages more entertaining." She could remember those duels, often between masters in their areas of expertise. She imagined that Draedamyr was a match for most any she had witnessed all of those years ago, though she would be hard pressed to single out any individual.
 
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Draedamyr

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Draedamyr had a small pot wrapped in a cloth in front of him soon enough. With a knife and a slab of bread he was able to enjoy a snack with the wine. He wasn't as hungry as he should have been given the last day.

"So if I were to host a lesson for some swordsmen you would find that more entertaining?" he mused.

"Perhaps if you are there because you have chosen to be there it will give you a different perspective on the matter. And if it is boring I will ensure we have sufficient wine to make it pass quickly," he suggested.

"There are a troupe of mages that perform, but I guess to you that would seem as simple parlour tricks?"
 
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She smiled brightly at him, and then laughed. "Watching you dance about with that pretty little sword of yours would be entertainment enough. So long as you are doing it without a shirt on."

She did not touch the food, but she did enjoy the ruby wine with obvious pleasure. She was nowhere near as refined as Draedamyr was, and was content to enjoy even a merely passable vintage with good grace. Simply being in a place where she was not actively having someone try to skewer her was an improvement over the last several days.

"As to theatre..." What was there to say? But she felt confident she could put into words what needed to be said. "People watch theatre to escape to a place they have never or never will be. Its just that...well, I've been to many of these places." A pause. "Not in the literal sense, obviously, but still. The same goes for troupes of wand-wavers. Parlour tricks have their places, and at least I don't have to worry about them trying to assassinate me."

Mostly. "It really doesn't matter. Good company is better than a good show, as far as I am concerned."
 
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Draedamyr

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"Little sword?" he asked. One slender eyebrow arched slowly. "And that was genuine affront at my sword and not a tragic attempt at a euphemism," he added quickly.

The bar had settled down to a gentle hubbub. The sailors were more subdued than he might have expected.

She had a point. One he agreed with. They knew so little about one another, whilst have a deep understanding of a few key facets of one another. They needed time to enjoy one another's company.

"Shall we ask them to pour us a bath?" he asked, remembering that he still had dried blood on his skin.
 
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She let the slip pass without comment. It was embarrassing to admit that she had to think for a moment how it might be a euphemism for anything, which just went to show her age. Seska had not thought of herself as a woman in a very long time. Ancient she might be, powerful after a fashion, and undying (at least, so far), but - lacking any better phrase - human she was, still.

Just one with a lot more history than the namesake of humanity had in its entire history.

"A bath would be...wonderful," she admitted. Streams and lakes and ponds had sufficed most of her life, at least since stepping out from the world of her birth. "Creature comforts I am often without, and among the few that actually make me feel anything but venom for cities."

She flagged down someone herself to have the thing done, then returned to her implacable regard of the swordsman in front of her. "There are unplumbed depths to you," she said, eyes like violet gemstones gleaming, inscrutable. "Like so many our age; an onion with layer upon layer, simplistic to look upon at first and ever more complex and convoluted the more one studies the subject." There was the barest curve to her lips.
 
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Draedamyr

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He matched that gaze and pondered just how much experience lay behind those eyes. How many more years she had been through. How many she had spent truly alone, not a few like his self pitying claims.

Draedamyr looked down and spent enough seconds looking at the surface of his wine that he realised he was starting to become a little drunk. He hadn't eaten properly the last two days which meant it had gone to his head more quickly. He decided to slow down.

"Why is it always an onion?" he asked with a thin smile. "Could it not be a good vintage of wine that develops a more complex character as it ages?"

Through the doors to the back stairs he caught sight of someone hurrying up them with a bucket.

"Shall we retire when we finish this bottle?" he asked.
 
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She treated Draedamyr with a smile. "A fine wine might look uninteresting from without, but when you drink of it there is no longer any mystery. All the flavors are there." She took a sip of her own, eyes sparkling. "An onion is layered, and just when you think you know what there is to know and there are no secrets, then another layer eels up and you discover there is more to learn."

She realized the man did not need the explanation, but she delighted in poking that tiny hole in his argument anyway. "So long as you don't make me cry, I will not be bothered by your status as an ancient onion if you aren't bothered by mine."

She cast a look to the stairs, grinned. "Retiring sounds fine. I doubt the water will be hot enough for my taste, but I rather imagine I can fix that problem myself."
 
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Draedamyr

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"Well then I am not allowed to be a fine wine then am I?" he replied. He went as far as to try and feign a sulky expression but he was most definitely not suitable to join an acting troupe. He was not convinced that he had so many layers to his personality. There definitely were many stories that were layered around who had been that explained how he got here.

Draedamyr eye the stairs and swirled the rest of the wine around the bottle. With a soft smile he pushed his chair backwards and stood up.

"Well, I hadn't even thought of that. We can always finish the bottle upstairs," he declared with a hint of a smile and an apologetic shrug. He looked down and Seska and had to think of the path that had led them here. It wasn't a long one and yet it had woven such a complex route that it was hard to work out exactly what had led them here. Feeling a flutter of nervous anticipation, he realised he felt more alive than he had done in months. Perhaps years.