Private Tales The Old Ways

A private roleplay only for those invited by the first writer

Velkyn

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Velkyn bowed his head. "Of course."

It was of course, exactly what he had wanted.

They would never allow him to represent Raath on his own. Would never allow him to stand as one of them, because he wasn't. Yet their delegates would come, perhaps even some of the Lords and Ladies themselves. That was enough for what he wanted.

What he needed.

"I will personally assure the safety of anyone who travels into the Underrealm." That, at least, was a fact. His Reavers would travel alongside any party Raath sent, and guide them directly to where he wanted them to go.
 
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Xylthe

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A few council members shifted in their seats, others cast looks around the table as though hoping someone would speak what was on their mind, but nothing came.

"Well then," Lady Lúthien said and her aid begun to tidy away her notes. "I believe that is everything on our agenda for today. Now if you will excuse me," she rose and the other councillors and aids stood. Xylthe gently touched Velkyn's arm in warning a second before they did so they could rise with the others. "I have other matters to attend to today."

With the dismissal the meeting begun to break up. Small groups of councillors gathered to talk whilst aids busily bustled papers into bags.
 
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Velkyn

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Velkyn slowly sat back down in his seat. None of the others approached him of course, not yet. Some glanced his way, some whispered his name, but no one came close. "Go."

The Drow Lord gently waved to his assistant.

He knew these men, these women. He could see into their eyes, their minds. Every fear that they held, every little thought that coaxed to the forefront. It was all there, all read. He did not need a drop of their blood to see any of it.

"Mingle. Talk." Slowly he rapped his knuckles against the arm of his chair. "There's much still to learn."

Much still to overhear and coax from the mouths of fools.
 
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Xylthe

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Xylthe looked at him as though he'd just asked her to cut off her own hand.

"Begging your pardon Sir, if I might be so bold, but... I don't... I don't think that's a good idea," she squeaked. As soon as she stepped from his side she was going to be cornered by someone or multiple someones. Asked questions she didn't have answers to. She almost slunk further down into the chair when she caught the impatient eye of the High Lady's second aid who had no doubt been left behind to gather information.

"What do you want me to say to them?"
 
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Velkyn

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Velkyn looked down and over at Xylthe. His eyes wandered for a moment, pulling away from the Avendrow and towards those in the room. He mused for a moment, letting the question linger within the air as he considered his answer.

After a moment he finally answered.

"You know what it is I want." A sliver of it, at least. She knew the why, the reason, but not the how nor the whole end.

Enough though, she knew enough. "Do everything you can to take us there."

Vague instructions, but enough to lead her down the way. Another small test slipped into her world, another thing that she could teeter on over and perhaps grace with success. The Drow Lord intended to follow through with what he'd told her.

He intended to shape her into something useful.

Not the broken, parsed little creature she was now.
 
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Xylthe

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Xylthe whimpered. What he wanted was the annihilation of everything the people in this room stood for and a return of the powerful Drow. How was she meant to help with that? The answers tickled at the back of her mind but she ignored them; it was one thing to watch politics and the games played and a completely other thing to be a part of it yourself. Still, her fear of Velkyn was far greater than her fear of the aids ready to swoop down on her.

Steeling her spine she stood and entered the fray.
 
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Velkyn

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The first to sweep over towards Xylthe was a stout looking woman with flowing red hair. She was a dwarf, and the assistant to Lord Sehket.

She had met the woman before of course. The circle of Councilors was a small one, and their assistance only slightly larger. He name was Ramelia. Usually she was not here, one of the other assistance to the Dwarf Councilor filling her post.

It was clear she had attended only because of recent...events. "Xylthe!"

The woman sounded almost happy.

"What an interesting development this has all been." Her voice dropped lower, almost conspiratorially. "I would love to know more about your new Master."

She smiled pleasantly. "There seems to be so little out there about him."

None of what she said was a question.
 
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Xylthe

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Xylthe hadn't made it more than ten steps before she was stopped. The Avendrow swallowed the rising curse and offered Ramelia a meek, polite smile instead with her hands clasped in front of her.

"He is a very private man," she said softly and offered an apologetic shrug of her shoulders, trying to look almost embarrassed about the fact she did not know much about her own new Master. "If Llywen had given me more advanced warning I would have... prepared better," she shook her head as though it were a great pity and sin she had been left on the backfoot.

"I-in fact..." she said slowly as the idea dawned on her. "Perhaps your own Master will get to know him better, he has sent me to invite all the councillors to a dinner, tomorrow night," what better way for Velkyn to begin his plots, right?
 
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Velkyn

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"Yes they do often like to think we just know everything." The Servant commented with a shake of her head. As though she knew exactly the type of pain that Xylthe was going through.

A frown touched the woman's face for a moment as Xylthe suggested a dinner.

Fingers reached to the satchel she carried around at her side. From it she plucked what appeared to be a small notebook. She flicked it open and began to search through the pages, frowning for a moment before she nodded her head. "Yes...yes I think we could do that."

She commented.

"He was supposed to have a meeting with-" The servant cut herself off. "Well, doesn't matter now does it?"

A smile touched her face. "I'm sure Lord Sehket will be most interested in coming to dinner."
 
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Xylthe

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Xylthe swallowed the loud sigh of relief that was just about to escape her lips. She hadn't thought it would work. Maybe as a reward Velkyn would let her skip the meal so she could recover her fragile nerves that had been stretched to the full limit the last few days.

"That is fantastic news," she gave a watery smile she hoped seemed genuine before glancing over the other servants shoulder to the other aids hovering like monsters in the darkness. At least now she had a plan with what to confront them with. "Please excuse me, I must pass out these invitations to the others to," she dipped her head politely then moved on.

It took her an hour to get round the whole room in between the small talk, the needling for information, and listening to how one aide had been picking up all her work here and wasn't happy about it. But in the end she returned to Velkyn feeling... almost certain she wouldn't be beaten.

"My Lord," she dipped a curtsey. "The other Councillors have accepted your invitation to attend a dinner tomorrow at the manor," her eyes briefly flickered to those nearby who might overhear.
 
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Velkyn

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Velkyn spent most of his time watching, waiting.

Only one of the others approached him, or rather, one of his servants did. The creature moved towards him bowing and scraping. Already knowing that anything less would be met with a lash of disapproval later. A word was whispered in his ear.

A quiet suggestion that caused nothing less than a subtle smirk upon his lips. No word was offered in response, just a nod of the head that sent the servant scrambling back. Velkyn watched him, and then he waited for Xylthe to return to his side.

Near an hour later she arrived, his eyebrow perking as she spoke of a 'dinner'. "I see."

He mused, glancing down at her.

"Excellent." A dinner was...outlandish within their own society, but certain bridges had to be extended if he were to be successful in his task. Velkyn knew that. "I suppose there is much to prepare then, no?"

The Drow Lord asked, looking down at his servant.
 
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Xylthe

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Xylthe's shoulders slumped.

"Yes, Sir," she barely caught herself before she sighed. She should have really thought about the amount of work that a dinner was going to entail before she had suggested it. Her desire not to go back in that horrific room had had her blindly stumbling into new problems. Swallowing she steeled her spine and glanced back up at her Master.

"I... It-it might be prudent, Sir, to hire more... help. It might raise questions if they were to see the manor so empty," she almost squeaked the last bit of the sentence and braced herself for a blow for even suggesting what he do to manage his household.
 
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Velkyn

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Velkyn considered the words. An impulse ran through him to deny such a thing, to simply say no and force Xylthe to handle it all.

Yet he knew better.

They were putting on a play.

It took time, coordination, manpower to set a stage. He knew not what it all entailed, that would have been telling a lie. Yet he understood that Xylthe would not be able to take care of it all. Her former master had a staff, a gaggle of servants to do as one needed.

That would be part of this. The presentation that the other Councilors would expect. "Hire who you need."

Velkyn told her. "I'll see you have the coin."

His head slowly turned towards the Avendrow.

"And I will tell the Reavers to stay clear." The last few words were said quietly enough that only Xylthe would hear them. The shadows need not be a part of the celebration, least until he found an opportunity for them.
 
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Xylthe

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Xylthe visibly sagged with relief at the answer. To cook, serve, and make the house presentable after the horrors of his take over would be a challenge of a task for a full staff let alone just her. Now she just had to hire a new household... without drawing attention. She wanted to bang her head off the wall. Nobody would believe Master Llywen had taken his whole house with him minus Xylthe and soon they would begin to ask their families about it.

"Thank you, Sir," she bobbed a low curtsey. "I will start that right now if there is nothing else you need me to do for you this afternoon...?" she asked hesitantly.

Though she had no idea where she would start.
 
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Velkyn

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Velkyn watched his fellow Councilors for a moment, as though he were mulling some consideration. A frown touched his features, and slowly he looked at Xylthe. The predatory look of his gaze did not leave, even as he waved his hand. "No."

The Drow said dismissively.

"See that this is done." He wasn't foolish enough to think this task would be a simple one.

Velkyn and his Reavers had slaughtered the old staff, and although the estate was now clean as could be they did lack for servants. Xylthe had quite the task ahead of her, and Velkyn wouldn't add to the weight. At least not this time. "Not to worry."

He said with a wolfish grin. "Your friend will assist with some of the tasks back home."

A smile touched his lips as he stood.
 
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Xylthe

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Xylthe's expression was a mixture of pain and grief that she turned away from him as he stood. Has she really deserved the reminder of what she had done to a man she had considered a friend? It was cruelness in its purest form. Dipping another curtsey she murmured a breathy thank you then left the rooms as hurriedly as she could, dodging two aids who sought to catch her attention. She just had to hope the rough idea she had to staff a manor would work.

Her plan took her to the slums of Raath. It was a section of town people didn't like to look at nor talk about for it admitted there were already large problems in the system yet to be fixed. If people went missing here nobody noticed, and nobody would notice if it suddenly emptied of a few either. It was the perfect place to recruit and pass them off as servants Velkyn had brought with him.

It was nearly Dawn the next morning when she returned with a solid group of 30 new servants.
 
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Velkyn

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When Xylthe returned, she would find the Estate in a state of utter perfection.

Every corner was clean. Every little space seemed to have been scrubbed and tended to with perfect precision. It was a strange, almost eerie sight.

None of the Reavers seemed to be present.

Whereas before they had been roaming the halls and watching the walls, they did not seem to be there at all now. A silence clung to the whole estate, as though no one was living there at all. No one save for a shadowed form, a huddled over broken man wrapped in a cloak.

The Avendrow's broken friend stepped slowly, opening the gate for Xylthe and ushering her in.

"He's waiting for you...in the study."​

It was a bare, broken rasp that greeted her.
 
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Xylthe

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Xylthe almost jumped out of her skin when George appeared. She'd been staring at a particular spot on the ground where she'd remembered seeing the Head Footman's body slumped, his head twisted 180 degrees in the wrong direction. There was no visible sign he had ever existed here now let alone died here. Had the Reavers really done all this? In a way she was relieved for 30 people might have been able to do the job but they had other jobs that needed doing too. They'd have been pushed to the limit.

Her nervousness rubbed off on the skitterish homeless who shied away too and cast George wary, nervous glances.

"Thank you, George," she said softly, a hand over her rapidly beating heart. "Please... help our new friends here into their quarters and get them sorted with uniforms from the laundry."

It still felt weird to give orders and even weirder to have them obeyed with an eager nod. She stifled a shudder when he shuffled, bent and twisted, past her then took a breath and made her tired feet carry her to the study. Funny how in a few days it had gone from being a treasured sanctuary for her to a room that made her full of dread.

She lightly knocked upon the door and only entered when called.

"You requested to see me, Master?" she asked, unable to keep the tiredness from her voice or her expression.
 
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Velkyn

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It was obvious that the Avendrow had managed her task, otherwise Velkyn knew that she likely would not have bothered returning. A small smile touched the Drow’s face for a moment, knowing that he had taken another step closer to truly breaking her.

”I did.” He said with a nod.

There was a delicacy in all this. He’d always known that it would take time to take back the city, perhaps even decades, but with the Council coming here things could perhaps happen so much sooner.

Everything just had to go right. ”You have done very well, Xylthe.”

He told the girl.

”And I believe in rewarding those who do well.” That was not exactly true. He believed in pulling strings, tugging the marionette in whatever way that he desired. This was no different. He might over her a treat, might give her a second of reprieve from the cruelty, but it was no true reward.

A fact she likely knew. ”Your old master’s library.”

Velkyn contended. ”You quite enjoyed it, no?”
 
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Xylthe

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Xylthe's expression melted into a blank canvas at the mention of the library. It made it almost impossible to tell what it was she was thinking or feeling at his question. Was it excitement? Was it wariness? Fear? A cocktail of them all? The latter would have been the correct assumption. The avendrow was not stupid and so far all she had known from Velkyn was cruelty. For all she knew saying yes to his question now would result in the library being burnt to ash in order to break her more.

She needed to be careful with her words.

"It is a place I preferred working, yes, Master Velkyn."
 
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Velkyn

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Velkyn nodded, as if she confirmed some hint of knowledge that he’d already had. Everything was a test, a way to gauge her, a way to see into her mind and break down her whims ever more.

Even his gifts. ”You may take three of the books within.”

The Drow had learned long ago that even slaves needed posessions. It was something to comfort them, something to cling to, and something to take away when necessary. A carrot and a stick all in one.

”They are yours.” He had already had the Reavers catalog what was inside, or rather, they had used Xylthe’s own written records to look through it. Velkyn had of course already taken the books that had interested him. ”You may keep them in your quarters.”

Velkyn said with a gracious wave of his hand.
 
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Xylthe

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Xylthe's mouth fell open. He was... giving her books? Even Master Llywen hadn't given her books. He'd let her read them of course but they weren't allowed to be taken from the protective walls of the library. She had been so prepared for him to threaten to burn the whole room to the ground that she hadn't even thought he might do something nice.

"T-thank you," she whispered as she regained some modicum of control over herself. Xylthe hurriedly dipped into a curtsey. "Sir," she finished off.
 
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Velkyn

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Velkyn smiled.

It wasn't that usual, wicked, almost evil smile that usually painted it's face. This time it was something else, easier, almost...disarming. The way that one might smile at a child when they had done something mildly impressive.

"Good Service is rewarded, Xylthe." His words were plain, and rang utterly true.

Those that knew their place in the order of things could live good lives. Half of his Reavers were slaves. Men and women who had been broken, taken from other towns and cities nearby Levesari. Now they were his most reliable.

Servants still, but with good lives. "Remember that."

He said with a gesture, clearly dismissing her. "Rist is waiting for you at the Library, he will let you in."
 

Xylthe

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Xylthe didn't have the words. If she did they were lodged in her throat and no matter how many times she worked it they wouldn't budge. Instead of trying and gaping like a fish for air she gave another low curtsey and gratefully took the opportunity to escape when he dismissed her.

Out in the hall she stumbled over her own feet as her mind tried to process what had happened. Only a few hours before she had been in a cell devoid of sunlight being tortured by sleeping demons whilst torturing a man with her own hands. Her mind skittered away from that particular thought. It was still too sickening to think of what she had done to George.

Soon she found herself outside the library. She did not see anybody but that did not mean she was alone.

"Hello?" she asked softly.
 
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Velkyn

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From the shadows stepped one of the odd and enigmatic Reaver's.

His face was concealed by the same mask that all of them worn, skin entirely hidden by that strange black armor. He looked down at her for a few moments, a black sword slung across his back. "He said you would be coming."

There was a dissonance to the words. As though he were not speaking in front of Xylthe, but behind her.

A hand came out, from within it's palm a key. Slowly he turned, unlocking the library. A loud click echoed out. The sound of a lock that had not been there before.

"Will you need a guide?" The Reaver asked, slowly turning back towards Xylthe. Staring down at her through that odd mask.
 
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