Private Tales The Old Ways

A private roleplay only for those invited by the first writer

Xylthe

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"Go away. Go away, go away, go away, go away," she whispered under the pillow as the knocking continued until it felt as though it reverberated within her skull. Finally she could stand it no more and she stood and walked over to the door to wrench it open. Her jaw clenched as she tried to swallow down a sob.

"What is it?"
 
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Velkyn

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Behind the door stood the broken man Xylthe had helped create.

There was a hollowness to his eyes. He stared at her, and yet the gaze seemed to peer directly through her. The emptiness now seemed eternal, and yet behind it lay something else. An admiration? An expectation as though she might have something to give.

"H-he wants you."​

His words were soft, bare, as if she might offer some rebuke.

"I-in the old study."​

It was hard to tell if he was even entirely there anymore, yet he stood, waited. There was not a chance on this world that he would move without her. That he would leave the space in front of her door. He seemed almost glued in place, waiting, anxious.

As though he would fall to pieces if she said no.
 
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Xylthe

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Looking at George felt like a punishment in and of itself. He was the living, breathing example of the worst thing she had ever done and every twitch, flinch, lifeless and agonizing stare ripped at her conscious.

"Okay," she whispered. Had Velkyn known this would happen? That she would be unable to say no to anything that came out of this poor souls mouth? Xy swallowed and then took a step back. "Just, wait one moment," very softly she shut the door in his face and then shakily went to tug on new clothes and freshen up. It must have taken less than two minutes before she pulled open the door and stepped out. She didn't bother to wait for George to lead the way and instead set off down the corridor herself.

She knocked politely and waited to be called in.

"You requested my presence, Sir?"
 
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Velkyn

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George stood in place as Xylthe dressed herself, waiting, watching the door as though it were some barrier to a life that he had lost. When she appeared and began to make her way towards the Study he followed. No sound came from him, save for the scrape of his feet against the ground.

When the Avendrow arrived at the Study Velkyn called her in. "I did."

He said as he placed down a stack of papers that he had apparently been working through.

"The Council meets today." In the chaos of it all she might have forgotten. Raath, as broken and wasted as it was, mostly operated through the function of it's City Council. On which Velkyn now held a seat.

"You will accompany me." There was no question in his tone. "While your..."

He smiled. "Friend, sees to other tasks in the Palace."
 
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Xylthe

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Xlythe gripped her hands together tightly.

She considered, for a brief moment, saying that she felt too unwell to accompany him but then dismissed it. Master Llywen might have cared about those things but she doubted the Drow before her did. He might punish George too for her even asking and she didn't want the poor thing to suffer more. Instead she took a deep breath and then curtseyed.

"As you wish, Master," the title left a sour taste on her tongue. "When do you wish to leave?"
 
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Velkyn

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Velkyn watched the hesitation, almost expected her to resist, but after a short few seconds she agreed. "Now."

He stated plainly.

"I understand that attendants are now allowed within Council." From the tone of his voice it was more than obvious that he did not approve of such things. His voice flat, and that hint of anger clinging to it. "You will accompany me inside."

Briefly the Drow had considered taking one of the Reavers, but had ultimately decided against it.

This would be the first time he met all of the Councilors together. Only two of them were other drow, and the one he had met had reacted exactly the way he'd thought she would. The other he had no idea of, and those beyond him?

Well, that was what he wished to see.

A new day was coming to this city. Twilight instead of dawn.
 
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Xylthe

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It was a curious thing being given something you had always dreamed of, but by a person who had given it for all the wrong reasons. Master Llywen had wanted to take her in order to broaden her mind, to push her skills and see her become better. Xylthe could only guess at Velkyn's reasonings.

"Thank you, Sir," she curtseyed low again keeping her eyes downcast. "That is a high honour," or it would have been. Now it felt like a punishment. Her fingers fisted in her skirts to keep them from shaking and then she stepped forward to a table to the right to collect fresh parchment, quill and ink, delicately packing it into a battered looking leather satchel which she slung over her shoulder.

"Is there anything else you would like for me to bring, Sir?"
 
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Velkyn

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He mused for a moment. "No."

Velkyn knew that such meetings were usually for the proposal of laws, the signing over of documents, all such matters. But he had not intention of doing any of that, at least not yet. He needed to meet the other Councilors first.

Gather more of the lay of things.

This world was still new to him in many ways. He was fighting against something that had built itself up for over a century. Trying to tear it down with nothing but a sledgehammer wouldn't work. He needed to dig away at the foundation first.

He had already begun, he just needed more. "This will do."

Velkyn told Xylthe.

"Let's make our way, shall we?" It was of course, and utterly rhetorical question. Before long the two of them once again found themselves standing before the massive Central Hall of Raath. This time the people around them seemed to openly whisper in hushed tones, staring as they ascended the stairs.
 
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Xylthe

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Xylthe wished the ground would open up and swallow her. Being the object of anyone's attention for negative or positive reasons took her back to her time with the cruellest man she had ever known. Her skin crawled at every brush of someone's gaze, her stomach tightening at every whisper. She tried to fold in on herself and disappear into Velkyn's shadow whilst still leading the way. He would have to sit in the correct seat after all.

"Here, Sir," she whispered faintly, pulling out the large ornate chair at the circular table where nine other seats sat. Some full, others empty. She had left detailed notes and sketches of them all for him the day before, before the nightmares of the night. Xylthe then quietly took the plain wood seat beside him and begun to take out her pieces of parchment to take notes whilst trying not to let her hands shake so bad.
 
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Velkyn

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Velkyn sat himself down in the chair, slowly looking around the table.

Not everyone was there yet, and he doubted most would arrive until the given hour. By now they would have heard of his presence, they would whisper of what he might have done. "Good day."

There was a pleasantry to his voice.

It was something that Xylthe had never heard before, not from his tongue. To her ear there would be a falseness to it, an unmistakable lie that was almost like a lash across the back. The Drow peered around the room, looking at the other Councilors.

A few of them looked at him, stared at him. Suspicion colored their features, as though none of them could quite understand what he was doing here. Why he was there.

"I trust we all have had a pleasant few days." There was an edge to the words, something that cut through the pleasantries.

"I..."​

It was one of the humans that spoke, staring at Velkyn. He seemed to look towards Xylthe, then slowly asked.

"May I ask what happened to your predecessor my Lord?"
 
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Xylthe

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The sound of her quill snapping echoed loudly in the silence that fell like a thick blanket over the room. All eyes suddenly turned to her as she stared down at the mess of feather in her hand. Trying to keep the tremble from her hand she slowly plucked the mangled feather from her hand.

"Sorry," she whispered though it was easily heard by everyone in the silent hall. Without another word she stood and moved to one of the corners of the room where a bin sat along with a dresser full of other office supplies. She found a new quill then returned to her chair where more than a few people glanced at her again.

"Llywen did not tell us he was... leaving," one of the other Drow - Lord Icarus - said with obvious disbelief.
 
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Velkyn

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Velkyn let silence reign through the room as Xylthe went to retrieve another quill. He stared at the other Drow, expression neutral. A small smiled plucked at his lips, the type a man wore when he knew something that everyone else did not.

"No, he would not have." Velkyn simply countered.

"Do you make it a habit to tell everyone your business, Lord Icarus?" The Drow's words were pointed, curt. The cadence of his tongue switched, and he spoke to the man in front of him in their native tongue. "My Cousin."

It was almost painful, calling the pathetic whelp of a man that. "Had family matters to attend to, I am sure you will understand the urgency of such matters."

Pale yellow eyes stared at the man.

A flicker of something seemed to cross Icarus' features, and he answered Velkyn in common.

"No. No I do not. My family holds little connection to the Underrealms now..."​

He stared hard, and then turned his attention to the Avendrow.

"Where is your old master?"​

As Icarus said the words Velkyn's features darkened. It seemed that even more was wrong in this place than he had first assumed.
 
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Xylthe

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Xylthe's eyes twitched in the phantom echo of a wince she had managed to mostly cover. Lord Icarus did not understand the man he was dealing with and that every word, every decision he made to spurn the Drown, was a mark against his name. An extra lashing of pain that Velkyn would one day pay to him. Her new master did not have a short memory and he would repay every transgression he saw done to him.

Paramount among them the fact Icarus now addressed her directly.

Xylthe was not about to make any such mistakes. Quietly she looked from the Lord across from her and then up to the Drow who now held her leash in a quiet question of whether she would be allowed to answer the other Lord.
 
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Velkyn

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Velkyn seemed to let the air simmer as the question hung in the air.

A few of the other Councilors broke off the conversations they had been sitting in, glancing over towards the two Drow who were dueling across the table. Velkyn only smiled, but it was a bitter, quiet expression that spoke its own sort of volume. "Xylthe."

His tone was soft, quiet.

"Tell him." Icarus seemed to stiffen slightly, expecting, watching the Avendrow for any flicker of something that should not have been there. "The truth, of course."

Briefly he wondered if the Avendrow would falter.

If all of his plans would come undone, if he would have to kill those in this room and set alight this city all around them. If it came to that he was not sure he would win, not sure if it would go the way he desired, but...at least he would take them all with him.

An end even the Gods would not deny him.
 
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Xylthe

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Xylthe might have said the truth if it hadn't been for George. She opened her mouth, the whole story there on the very tip of her tongue, but then it died and she swallowed, glancing between the two Drow who glowered at one another without seeming to even realise she was there. She looked back down at her hands in her laps and focused on keeping her tone even.

"He was gone very suddenly, my lord," she said softly. Sticking as close to the truth as possible was almost best. These men seemed to be able to sense every quiver of a lie. "Master Velkyn is the rightful Master of his old household and... I do not believe Master Llywen will be returning any time soon."

A murmur went around the Hall.
 
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Velkyn

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"There." Velkyn's voice was neutral, showing none of the righteous rage which now sat within his chest. "Are you Satisfied, Lord Icarus?"

There was more than a slight barb to the words. "Or would you like to assume something else? Perhaps I sacrifice slaves to the Old Gods? Or I kidnap innocents and feed them to the maw of the Xen'alkesh?"

Both of the other Drow seemed to bristle at the mention of the creature, and Xylthe would know the mention of the legend. The Xen'Alkesh was said to be a massive creature deep within the Underrealm, a monster, a physical manifestation of the Elder Gods. Long worshiped by the Drow and fed thousands upon thousands of slaves, sacrifices, and even Drow.

"I am here to see to my Cousin's affairs." He told the Council Bitterly. "To ensure this great city of Raath goes on a proper path."

His eyes flickered to some of the other Councilors. The Humans, the dwarf, and even that strange horned creature. He tried not to let the disgust show on his face. "Is that not what we all wish?"

Velkyn asked.
 
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Xylthe

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Please don't, please don't ask anymore...

Xylthe had not prayed so hard in her hundreds of years of life since she had been an acolyte herself. After what had happened to her home, what had happened to her with her first master who had locked her in a box for his own sick pleasure, she had decided the Gods were probably not real. Today she feverishly hoped her misfortune all these years was a reflection of their dislike for her directly.

Her theories on the Gods would have to wait for fruition for the doors banged open and in walked an elderly woman decked out in the thick, heavy gold chain of the Mayor and the elected leader of the current gathering.

"Let's cut the melodrama short shall we Icarus? We should be extending a warm welcome to our new temporary stand in, not being so hostile," she flashed a tight-lipped smile then sat down. She did not possess the dark ashen skin of a Drow but her pointed ears peeking through her silvery hair suggested she was elven.

"Let's call this session into open."
 
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Velkyn

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Ah. One of the high kin.

Velkyn had read of this one. She was an opponent to be contended with. The fact that her age showed despite what she was a note of her age. Velkyn would have estimated at over a thousand years old, likely double his own years.

The Eilra, born on the surface and having wandered into Raath near three centuries ago. She had been a fixture on the Council, and one of it's head for almost as long as most people could remember. Steady headed, and disgustingly progressive.

"First order of business. The Seyshall of Burgen's trade agreement..."​

Velkyn slowly leaned back in his chair as the meeting actually began, glancing over towards Xylthe to make sure she was taking notes. Things droned on for an hour, then two before finally a subject that he actually cared about presented itself.

It was Lord Icarus who brought the proposal forward, his voice echoing out.

"The Southern Tunnels. Those which were to be sealed. I wish to bring this item to the top of our priorities."​

A glance was spared towards Velkyn for just a brief moment. He knew exactly where those tunnels lead, all of them did.

The Drow Lord frowned, leaning into Xylthe. "The procedure for interrupting?"

He asked quietly.
 
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Xylthe

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Xylthe leant closer so that her lips were hidden from view as she murmured the answer to his question. She knew there were sharp eyes around this room and if they suspected what she was saying then they might try and interrupt before her Master could.

"There are different ways to interrupt. You can raise your hand and wait to be called upon or if you believe the matter to be urgent you can stand and then say My Honourable Lady. That will give you the floor to speak your point straight away," she said softly so that any highly tuned ears wouldn't catch her words.

When she was done she went back to scribing as though she had just been explaining a bit about the tunnels he didn't know.
 
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Velkyn

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"The Underrealm is a dangerous place, Councilors. There are a dozen nations and thousands of creatures that would mean Raath Harm. We must be able to control who enters our home."​

Lord Icarus was speaking quickly now, avoiding his gaze from falling on Velkyn.

The Drow Lord knew exactly what his counterpart was doing of course. The Southern Tunnels were the most direct path to Levesari, to the ancient kingdoms of the Drow. They were far, thousands of miles away, but without those tunnels it would be all but impossible to reconnect.

Something both of them knew.

"We Have to ensure the safety of our citiz-"​

"My Honorable Lady." Velkyn said as he stood from his seat. "I must beg leave to stand against this...tirade of fear."

He stared at Icarus. "The Underrealm is no more dangerous than the surface. Would Lord Icarus have Raath cut itself off from that as well?"

"Nonsense. There are a thous-"​

"There are a thousand reasons to do anything, my Lord, but none of them should be due to fearmongering." He looked at those in the room. "I can well understand your hesitation. The Underrealm has been lost to many of you, it's cities and Kingdoms spoken of in whispers and hushed voices."

Slowly he let his gaze sweep over the Councilors. "But I assure you, my old home is no more dangerous than yours."
 
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Xylthe

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The Drow in the room, of which there were six in total, all exchanged a look. They all knew that what Velkyn said was not the truth, that their homelands were far more dangerous than any threat from the surface, but they found themselves unable to say as much for admitting it was admitting to the humans, dwarves, elves and other species gathered here that there was something to fear. Velkyn had them cornered and they all knew it. Lord Icarus' scribe - a Drow with dark skin that was almost black - arched a slender, silvery brow at Xylthe but she kept her eyes pointedly focused on her work.

She just hoped he didn't try to find her alone later.

"Lord Velkyn speaks his cousin's words well," Lady Lúthien said thoughtfully. Icarus' head snapped towards her, a look of shock on his face, and even Xylthe looked up with an open mouth. The older elf seemed to be focusing the full weight of her gaze on Velkyn though. "Llywen had this conversation with me only last week. If we seal the tunnels to below we show fear when what we are trying to do is show our city can be a place we all exist. Peacefully."
 
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Velkyn

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Velkyn smiled, his expression anodyne. "Of course."

Peace was not the way of the Drow. It never had been, it never would be. Those who thought it could be different were nothing but fools. Their people were meant for war, for the throne. No one in this room seemed to understand that, but they would in time.

"My Cousin and I wish only to see this city, and those around us prosper." It was not a lie that slipped from his tongue, but a truth twisted to suit his own purposes.

Slowly he let his gaze pass around the room once more. "If it is the safety of the city that this Council is so concerned about, then I might offer a solution."

"I propose delegations be sent."
He began. "Diplomats to the closest cities in the Underrealm. Berrenzan, Nassad, and Urdan."

Two cities controlled by the Drow, and one by the Duergar. The dwarves who had long ago decided the sun was their bane and had lived within the underrealm almost as long as the Drow. Masters of combining metal and flesh. "If these delegations fly under my and my Cousin's flag, I can guarantee their safety and thus perhaps negotiations can begin."

Velkyn offered, knowing full well the corner he had painted these people in.
 
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Xylthe

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Xylthe thought that Icarus was going to crack the table with how tightly he was clutching at the edge.

"This is absurd! You want to trust him--" He launched a pointed figure full of venom in Velkyn's direction even as he turned his eyes towards the High Lady to implore with her to see sense. "--when we don't even know him? Who's to say his story about Llywen is even true?" Xylthe managed to keep her face perfectly blank though her heart thundered so loud the Drow Lord beside her would no doubt hear it.

"Icarus calm yourself, we're not agreeing to anything," this time it was a human woman who spoke. She had tilted brown eyes and dark skin with full, red lips which were currently pulled into a disapproving frown. "We're here to discuss."

"Lady Kaleopso is correct," the High Lady intoned and waved her hand. "So why don't you tell us why you think it is so bad we do not offer your kin an olive branch?"
 
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Velkyn

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Velkyn managed to keep his face an utter mask as Icarus burst into his scream. The voice echoed in the room for a moment, and for the Drow it was almost a song.

Conflict was where he thrived, whether it was by the sword or the tongue.

He smiled at his Kin across the table, watching him as the others began to speak out before he even had a chance to. Yellow eyes flickered through the Councilors, searching, watching as they asked their questions of him.

"Do you not offer it to everyone else?" Velkyn asked calmly.

"Those on the surface?" His eyes flickered over them. "Raath stands for equality, and so those down below deserve the same hand as above."

He smiled, but then went on. "But, I am not fool enough to think this will sway you."

No, not these men and women.

"The Underrealm is a dark and dangerous place, even I will not deny this. But there is much to be gained." Greed. That was the anvil he would strike. The rope he would use to bind them and pull them into his grasp. "An entire world of wealth to be traded for, bargained with. Goods the surface has never even dreamed of."

Slowly he looked to the Councilors. "Done right, Raath could be the next Alliria."

A name they knew even in the darkness.
 
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Xylthe

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"Perhaps... we can come to an accord."

Lord Sekhet leaned back in his chair and stroked a hand slowly through his beard. The dwarf had been watching the proceedings with keen, beady little eyes that often had not left Xylthe. She could feel that stare like a chisel in the side of her head which she studiously tried to ignore. After this session she knew the aids of every Lord and Lady here would be trying to find her and probe on their master or mistresses behalf.

"I agree with Lord Icarus - it is not prudent to trust Lord Velkyn when we know so... little of him. I'm sure you will forgive us for being cautious My Lord, but there are those who would like to foil what we are trying to accomplish here. So perhaps we send a retinue made up with representatives from the rest of our retinues too. I'm sure Lord Velkyn will promise them all protection under his banner."
 
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