Private Tales The Snake and the Charmer

  • Distant lands call to you, Guest. The next world event coming soon.

    A land once ruled by Dragons and Gods opens, but not every secret of Arethil's past is safe to uncover.

    Titanfall

A private roleplay only for those invited by the first writer

Nathaira

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Spring brought rain, and with rain, life. Roots drank deep from the cool waters and leaves soaked in the warm mists. While small creatures took shelter, the larger beasts plodded on, unperturbed by the rivulets that coursed across their fur, and striding steadily through the once-dry creekbeds that now overflowed.

At least, this is how it happened in the natural world. In the wilds, where life had been allowed to flourish. In the city, rain just meant wet. The hard stone buildings and cobblestone streets had turned slick and black in the deluge, and the streams that ran down the gutters held filth and sickness. The only beasts afoot were the horses, and they splashed through puddles to get their masters home and dry as quickly as possible.

Nathaira walked close to the buildings, sheltering beneath the shallow overhangs of their roofs. Her slight figure let her press in tightly, blending against the shadowing rock so that she appeared almost invisible. The woman she followed was not quite so threadlike, and she walked with her shawl huddled about her shoulders.

All that could be heard was the rain. It splattered loudly from rooftops and covered everything in a wash of indiscernible static. Against this backdrop, the woman stopped and looked around. Nathaira flattened herself against the wall, just half a block behind her prey. Two amber viper's eyes stared out from beneath the shadow of a hood. Satisfied that she was alone, the woman ducked into low cellar doors.

Nathaira bolted, the rain hiding her footfalls. She did not want that door locked, and she managed to reach it within seconds of it closing. She waited one second... two... then opened it.

A pretty dark-haired elven woman looked back at her in surprise, her hood pushed back to show a damp and angular face. Her blue eyes went right through Nathaira to see... nothing. The serpentine woman filled the doorway but she had become quite invisible. The elf's face twisted in confusion, and she climbed back up the small steps to look around. "Must be the wind." She whispered to herself, and closed the door.

Nathaira, having slipped past her and behind several sacks of potatoes, dropped her shroud. The elven woman approached a desk at the far wall and began hurriedly grabbing up papers. She did not hear Nathaira creep up behind her, and she barely felt the blade that sliced her throat from edge to edge. She could only grasp silently at the eruption of blood as it blanketed the desk and her body like the rain blanketed the streets above. She never saw her killer, she only fell back and died in terror.

Nathaira stood over her, looking at her upside-down face. She was still very pretty, but the light always left the eyes first. She glanced over the desk and its papers, half of them now ruined. She had not been instructed to retrieve and documents, but sense and experience told her that such writings should not be left unattended. Something in this cellar could surely be used to burn them, and she turned around.

She froze, lifting her blades in alarm. She was not alone.
 
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Malphias

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Fucking rain. Malphias was a man of fashionable high-class and meticulously opulent appearance, and rain was for fucking peasants. "Walk, she said.." the man muttered to himself with a hiss as he took shelter in another doorway, all the difference it made, he was soaked through and his hair was starting to flop down into his eyes. He was fixing it feverishly when the scent caught his attention and he peered down the street. "Fuck."

Something was wrong, it couldn't have been a coincidence, someone had gotten to the woman first, and his pretty head would no doubt be on a plate by the end of the day. He had to give Her something. He let out growled huff and took off down the street, treading as lightly as he could as he crossed the road and down the steps. He listened for a moment before slipping in through the door to be met with the sight of blades lifting in threat "Ah da da da da! Wait wait wait.." his hands shot up to protect his face, damned the rest of it just not the fucking face.

He had the appearance of a rather striking human, rather striking and rather soaked. He slowly peeked around his guard and lowered them slightly to look over the woman, his drenched white shirt open enough to reveal a heaving chest as he tried to catch his breath. He seemed, awestruck, but not disgusted, intrigued.. His hands lowering carefully as his sapphire gaze studied the woman in front of him, the corner of his mouth tugging his lips into a fascinated smirk "And who might you be?.."

The woman was quite obviously dangerous, and Malphias' fingers splayed, hands held out by his sides to show that he was unarmed. He was. "I'd rather not die, if you don't mind.." he cast her a roguish grin, his eyes leaving her for only a brief moment to regard the dead woman behind her. Shit..

"Seems you've caused me enough problems already... Did she talk?.." he sighed, somewhat irritably and refocused his undivided attention on the snake like beauty, waiting for her to lower her weapons, or lash out, in which case he readied his retaliation with a calm expression, and a charming smile.
 
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Nathaira

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Nathaira remained silent, her mind racing through scenarios, consequences, contingency plans. Already she had thought of several ways to kill him, worked out a few plans for hiding two bodies while destroying the woman's notes. He was not a target, but he had seen her.

And yet, she hesitated. His demeanor was strange, conversational even. He was apprehensive of the weapons being drawn at him, but he did not appear overtly fearful. It was not something she was used to, when dealing with humans (especially those she surprised), and so her curiosity was peaked.

He was involved with the woman she had just killed. Her death was a problem to him... was he her ally? No, he had asked if she'd "talked." Had he been sent to interrogate her? To what end? Did he seek to learn the information that would harm Vel Anir or suppress it? He was human, he could be an ally...

No, they would have told her if they had another agent on the woman, they would have prepared for this eventuality. They prepared for everything. The knew everything.

She wanted to ask him who he was, why he was here, how he knew the woman, what information he wanted from her, what he intended to do now that she was dead. She wanted to ask this... but she did not. Curiosity was one of her vices, and it did not suit her line of work. Her face hardened, she knew what she had to do.

In a flash, she rushed at the man. Her body weaved through the air like water as two flashing daggers sliced forwards. It was a practiced dance, and one meant to deliver as many potential cuts as possible. She only needed one, for her knives were already slick with venom. More than enough to kill this man.

Or it would have been, had he been human.
 

Malphias

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The woman seemed to be taking her sweet time deciding what to do about her predicament and finally decided against civilised conversation. He groaned. He did hate a mess.

Malphias moved quickly toward her, his muscular form sweeping at her to try and throw her back into the wall. He may be unarmed, but he was fast and strong when he had to be, and he needed a second to get himself into the woman's mind. That was his weapon. His fingers splayed and gripped at the air, holding a tight fist as he twisted the scene..

To Nathaira, she would see the wounded image of someone she cared about, bleeding from several slashes that she had thought she'd aimed at Malphias.. "Why, Nathaira?.." was all they'd say as they writhed, panicked eyes staring back at her.

The dead woman was now the corpse of someone else she wouldn't have dreamed of harming, throat slit open, dead eyes wide with terror.

Malphias sank back against the wall into shadow, sliding to the floor as he gripped his arm to his chest. He hadn't got away without a wound of his own. It hurt, really hurt, more than it should have...Something wasn't right. His head fell back against the wall and he moaned a sound not entirely void of pleasure.

There was definite pain, but with it there was a high, a hit of something new that surged his pulse and called every nerve in his body to attention. It was trying to kill him, whatever it was, trying to stop his heart but his blood was too hot and too badly abused to lie down easily.
 

Nathaira

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He was far too fast. No ordinary man should have been able to intercept her, especially after her knife cut into his skin. There was no time to be incredulous, the clear reality was the arm in her chest that sent her light and sinewy form crashing into the stone wall. The wind was forced from her lungs noisily at impact, and she fell to all fours on the ground. She stood quickly, body protesting, but she had had worse.

She gasped. It was not a trivial thing for Nathaira to be shocked, but her daggers clattered to the floor as horror twisted her face. Rumer was lying in front of her, bleeding and shivering. "Why? She asked. The venom was taking action quickly, and the girl's limbs went rigid.

"No!" Nathaira shrieked, and she took a step forward, but her attention was drawn by another horrific vision. Aila lay dead on the floor in place of the elven woman. The blood was still there, but now it leaked from the neck of one of her oldest friends... or whatever was closest to a friend for a Forsaken.

Suddenly, reality was not so clear. Her head whipped to face Malphias, who was sitting against the wall. "What... what is this??" They could not be here, she would have been told... and they were not here a moment ago. Her eyes fought savagely against her mind. Rumer was there, dying on the floor, and it was her fault. She can't be there. But she is.

She reached forwards to the girl, but retracted her hand. She felt... fear.

"What did you do?!" She called to the apparently human man in the shadows.
 

Malphias

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Malphias' body was trembling, his pale skin sinewy with a fine sheen of sweat as he blinked up at the woman, a smirk struggling to form at the corner of his lips as he watched her panic. He looked over the girl she saw on the floor, and the elven woman, and he frowned at her.. "You killed them.. You killed us.. What, what've you done?.." Malphias' honeyed tone was strained as he fought against the effects of the woman's poison, whatever it was, it was taking hold and trying to shut him down. He refused to let it, and shuddered against each wave of pain that washed over him.

His form slowly changed, an illusion, like the others, but he had to be someone she knew, someone she wouldn't want to kill. He'd leave the who up to her, he cast the illusion, but her mind created the details.. it was a fun trick, to see people crumble when living their worst fears.

Right now there was no way he could physically fight her back, he relied on the manipulation of the woman's mind to keep him alive. Meanwhile, he watched her, his expression one contorted with pain though he was curious. Malphias had many addictions, but most of them were different forms of magic and bloods. Each one a drug to him, a euphoric escape, but this.. This was something far more potent, this was something he was enjoying very very much..
 

Nathaira

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This was something entirely new to Nathaira. They'd had illusionists in the stronghold beneath Vel Anir, and they had enacted horrible tortures on the minds of the Forsaken, but nothing like this. Those visions had been designed to frighten, to break, to breed obedience and tolerance to pain. They were never meant to discourage killing. They never showed you a horrible consequence of carrying out your duty.

Still Nathaira's senses were telling her that the things she saw were real, and her mind was beginning to lose that battle. Whatever magic had worked its way into her was worming around, trying to find new ways to horrify her, to show her something so terrible that it had to be real.

Kasimir approached her. "Ka... what... what are you doing here? What is happening?" she could only whisper. He was clutching his arm where she had cut him.

"You killed us."

"I didn't mean... I don't know..." she could feel the panic taking hold. As if on cue the rigid body of Rumer relaxed just enough to shriek in pain, her green eyes full of tears and staring pleadingly at Nathaira. Her body was weeping blood from hundreds of cuts that would not heal.

She was not a stranger to Rumer's screams, she had induced them herself quite often. But... this felt different. She hadn't meant to hurt her this time, and she did not want the girl to die.

She gave in to the illusion. Part of her knew it wasn't real, it couldn't be, but the truth of her senses could no longer be ignored. She pulled a small vial from her wrappings, full of red liquid. She looked at it for a moment, fighting with herself. The antivenom was very difficult to make. If she wasted it, punishment would follow.

She didn't care, she had to stop the screaming. She tipped half the contents into her mouth, swirled it around a bit, and bit deeply into the illusory arm. It felt real enough, her mind convinced entirely of the girl's existence. Please work.
 

Malphias

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"Mh.." he groaned quietly as he pulled in a breath. He didn't necessarily taste or smell fear, but he fed on it, somehow, it nourished and pleased him and his lips pulled over his teeth as he grinned. He was trying hard not to fall asleep as whatever toxin coursed through his veins started to numb him and his eyes blinked heavily. He shuddered a little more. What was this beautiful drug?

He watched her, his narrowed eyes on the vial as he plummeted further into the blissful abyss, his black heart thundering in his chest as it now sent venom coursing through his entire body, his blood heating dangerously in effort to kill it. The girl she was trying to help choked and spluttered blood from her mouth and writhed, clawing at her skin until it peeled away and more blood leaked from her wounds until she physically melted before Nathaira's eyes... The effort to smirk was difficult, but Malphias managed it. He really was a fucking artist.

"Please... help me..." Malphias or, to her, Kasimir reached out as he sat slumped against the wall.
 
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Nathaira

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Nathaira dropped the vial as Rumer tore at her own flesh. Her pupils were wide in fear as she watched the girl writhe. She tried to hold the girl's hands back but they were strong, and the skin came off like paper. She couldn't do anything but whimper as the child she had come to love dissolved into red pulp, filled with pain and fright. It was all so terrible, and she could feel Rumer's body slip through her fingers as her mind slipped further into despair. She looked at her own hands, covered in blood. She tried to wipe them on her clothes but it would not come off. It felt hot. She closed her eyes, doubling over into her knees but the images would not leave. She could not shut them out.

Aila dead, Rumer gone, Kasimir in pain. And they said she had done this? Thinking was difficult, it was like trying to hold focus in dream. Something was trying to break through... something was trying to tell her...

Her face suddenly went blank. Deadpan. She opened her eyes and sat up. This wasn't real. It could not be, it was too horrible, it made no sense. All of her senses were lying to her. It is just like your training, she told herself, remember it isn't real.

The handlers had tried to break her mind many times, and they had succeeded more than once. Horrible visions, terrible untruths. As a child they had been great beasts and monsters that stalked her from fog, things she could never escape, her mind convinced that her legs were being torn from her body again and again. As an adult, those she trusted would betray her, and several visions of her mother had been employed against her. "Why did you kill me?" The mirage would ask. "Why did you have to be born?"

She stood, very slowly. It took all of her strength to push down the bubbling torrent that these nightmares brewed. Her feet slopped through Rumer's remains as she crossed to "Kasimir." It was a perfect mimic. His many tattoos, the light shadow of stubble on his chin, his beautiful face...

She stood over him, visibly shaking. "You... are not Kasimir..." she wavered, and swallowed. "Stop this."

She said it as a command, but in her head, it was begging. Please stop this
 
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Malphias

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His heart was starting to slow again...too slow. Fuck. He breathed, shallow, enjoying the euphoric oblivion too much to realise that he was, in fact, dying. His knuckles were white as another jolt of pain shot through him and his body writhed against it with another moan and he bit down on his lip hard and grimaced.

“It’s me...” he groaned, reaching his tremulous hand toward her, dripping blood..

Voices, in her mind, echoing around the room, cries and screams of her fallen friends. Kasimir slumped a little further. He really needed that vial. “Don’t let me die....” the red tiefling looked up at her, spluttering dark blood from his lips.
 

Nathaira

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Her resolve started to slip once again, and she raised her hands to her ears against the screams. She saw them all. The little boy she had murdered when she was six, the girl whose throat she had torn out with her teeth when she was eleven. Norris laughing as her arm was snapped in two by a feral child with wolf's teeth, and congratulating her when she cracked his neck around to face his back.

She saw Rumer bleeding and dissolving again and again, saw blood pour from Aila's slit throat... impossible amounts of it. Most of all she saw Kasimir, his face tortured in pain, limbs shaking, skin turning pale. She saw the sweat on his brow, saw the familiar rigidity cause by her own venom.

No... no it wasn't real... none of it was real. What if it is, she kept thinking. What if any part of it was real? If Rumer and Aila were gone, if this vision was somehow true and they were dead, she did not want to lose Kasimir as well.

She told herself that this affection was not weakness. They were allies, and allies should be protected. It was in the interest of Vel Anir to keep its agents alive, after all. Yes... yes it was natural to save them.

She knelt to the tiefling, looking into his pained eyes. They were his eyes, no question. "Prove it to me," she whispered, "Show me you are real."
 

Malphias

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This one was clearly less dim witted than many others he’d tormented. She was questioning things, looking for proof, fighting with her own mind and vision. As much as it amused him, he’d fallen a little too far down the rabbit hole, and he wasn’t entirely sure he could climb back out without help. Malphias went to great lengths to get himself a fix, but even fae blood didn’t try to kill him. It just felt good, this felt better, this hurt... ‘more’ said the masochist.

He couldn’t hold his arm up any longer and his head lolled as he coughed up more thick blood. He closed his eyes and let himself slump fo the floor in his illusion of Kasimir, trying to crawl toward her as the voices in her mind amplified ‘Help him!!... How could you?!....What’ve you done?!’
 
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Nathaira

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Nathaira bit her lip. Kasimir offered no retort, no further attempt to gain her favor. It was the best decision Malphias could have made. Surely, she thought, an imposter would continue begging, would come up with some lie. Kasimir simply lay before her, dying by her own venom.

She weighed her options. If this was a nightmare, then letting him die would either have no consequence or simply the death of an enemy. If she saved him, however, she could interrogate, learn just what was happening to her.

But if this was not a nightmare, then Kasimir would truly die. He would die only because of her own doubts.

Her mind made up, she snatched up the antivenom from the ground, threw it into her mouth, and bit deeply into his neck. She took a small amount of pleasure at the closeness, and had the situation been less dire, she would have given herself time to enjoy it.

She stood back, doing her best to ready herself for any tricks. It was extremely difficult, as Rumer's remains stuck to her feet and Aila shuddered in the background. The emotional walls she had hastily erected would only bear so much more.
 
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Malphias

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Malphias gasped at the contact, a shuddered moan escaping his bloody lips as a wave of pleasure rushed over him and he reached to grip the woman's shoulder, his knuckles paling as his fist clasped around her cloak. Burning, agonising pain oddly tinged with numbness screamed through him and his heart was thundering again in an instant. He breathed heavily, letting his head fall back as his mind swam. "Where have you been all my life?" he mused dreamily, his lips curling into a besotted grin as he blinked heavily up at the woman.

"I can make it all go away... If you promise, not to kill Malphias.." the red Tiefling rasped, his head tilting at her..

"You are beautiful.." he sighed deeply and chuckled a sound of deep and twisted satisfaction.
 
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Nathaira

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"Kasimir's" moans took her off guard. It was not the typical pained gasp or even the screams that usually accompanied her bites. She had not injected any venom, but her fangs had still pierced deep into his neck and would hurt tremendously. She chalked his shivers up to shock, but his words were not so easily swept away.

It was clear that this was not Kasimir. For one thing, he would not speak to her as a new acquaintance. This Malphias must be behind the nightmare. It was difficult to think in this way, for her mind was still slavishly bound to her senses which were thoroughly at the mercy of the illusion.

"I promisse," she hissed, wiping his blood from her lips. It was a lie, of course. She would reserve judgement on Malphias until she could think more clearly... but his odds were currently not good.

The comment on her looks was unexpected to say the least, and her face twitched into annoyance. Was he mocking her? She knew she was hideous, it had been beaten into her time and time again. Monster. Half-breed. Sinful.

She didn't have the capacity to dwell on it, though, and took a half step back towards the tiefling. "Make it ssstop." She could feel sanity starting to fray.
 
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Malphias

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Malphias hoped the promise wouldn't be instantly revoked, he really was too exhausted to fight her, and his energy had dwindled too much to stay In her mind for much longer. The images around her would appear to turn to little plumes of purple smoke that seemed into the floor and disappeared, leaving only the woman that Nathaira had murdered. Malphias' own illusion fell with it, he was no longer Kasimir, nor did he retain the appearance of the human who she'd attacked..

His bloodied skin was a soft shade of lilac, though there was not much of it not decorated with dark runes. Solid red orbs looked back at her from a handsome and well chiselled face that tilted, the corner of his lips tugging into a smirk that revealed a hint of sharp teeth of his own. Large, curled horns adorned his pretty head like a crown and his large prehensile tail swished and draped across his legs.

"I did try to be civil..." he muttered with a throaty groan, reaching a hand to press against his neck as though trying to hold on to the pain.
 
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Nathaira

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In a merciful, blissful few moments, the world around Nathaira faded away. The screams stopped, and the floor was once again covered only the in the mud that three of them had tracked inside. Rumer, Aila, and Kasimir dissolved into purple smoke and faded into the ground. The elven woman lay where Nathaira had left her, the blood already drying on the desk and floor. There was a small puddle on the ground where Rumer had been, where Nathaira had uselessly spat the antidote into the illusory girl.

A loud sigh escaped her as the vision faded. A low, almost wailing sound of relief. She did not feel as though she made the sound herself, rather, it had been waiting within her and finally had its moment to escape. The pure physical and mental release was almost overwhelming.

Kasimir was replaced by a different Tiefling, and for half a moment Nathaira waited for this form to dissolve as well. It took her a second to realize that the human she had attacked had also been a lie. This sorcerer, whoever he was, wielded deceit like it was nothing.

She looked into his scarlet eyes, saw that weak grin on his face, and her thoughts turned instantly to rage. She had been had, quite thoroughly. He had broken into her mind, pierced her innermost thoughts and feelings. He had made a fool of her, and convinced her to save him. She wanted to strangle him, to reach out with both arms and squeeze the life from him, to watch those red orbs bulge and see his lips sputter.

Only fear held her back. Fear that he could, at any moment, plunge her back into the nightmare world. She steadied her shaking fists, and breathed deeply through flared, flattened nostrils. She crouched low in front of the purple devil, studying him. He was exceptionally attractive, but Nathaira's anger superceded this for the time being. She spoke in hushed tones.

"I am afraid you caught me at a... ssenssitive time," her tongue flickered in the air. He smelled nothing like Kasimir, that too had been a trick. She cocked her head to the side. "Were you following me... or her?"
 

Malphias

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Oh he could feel the rage, his hand slid to his hip though he was quickly reminded that he really had carried no weapons. He'd been forbidden from killing the elven woman and he couldn't be trusted not to apparently. He decided that in his weakness, he was still better to be on his feet, and he used the wall to stabilise himself and his tail to balance him in case his knees buckled.

Malphias looked down at the blood on his chest, soaked into the fresh white shirt he'd worn, and realised there were a few spots spluttered onto his jacket too and he growled and tried to scrub at them with his blackened fingernails. He'd been fucking pristine when he'd left her, then there was rain and now this? He was quite clearly annoyed by the inconvenience and he gave up to return his attention to the woman.

Glistening red eyes studied her, utterly captivated as they wandered her pale green features and sank into those ember like eyes. "She had some information that my mistress required." he answered, slowly pulling his gaze from her and settling with a huff on the dead woman. "Oh well..." . Said mistress was not going to be at all happy, and he rubbed anxiously at the back of his neck.

"But either way, a happy coincidence it has been." he grinned flirtatiously, his cheeks dimpling and perfect pointed teeth flashing. "I can't say I've had the pleasure of meeting another of your kind...." he added in a questioning tone..
 
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Nathaira

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She stood as well, although he was far taller and his horns only added to the imposing silhouette that he cast. The tail was most intriguing, Kasimir's was usually hidden beneath his long trench coat. His skin, although also a demonic hue, was cool purple as opposed to the red of her Forsaken companion, and his horns twisted differently.

The eyes, though, those were different. While also red, these bore no trace of humanity within them. They were alien, aloof... cruel. Much like the pointed knives between his lips, they separated him most definitively from the common man. She was uncomfortable under their gaze, she felt as though they could see directly through her.

Still, she was comforted a little by his obviously weakened state. Her venom, while not succeeding outright in killing him, had not been harmless. Unfortunately that antivenom she had given him would protect him for a few hours at least.

As he spoke, she picked up and sheathed her daggers, never turning her back to him completely. Her hood had fallen during the encounter, and her wild green tendrils of hair spilled over her shoulders.

She thought to ask who his mistress was, but realized that it would be a foolish question. He would not tell her. It did make her wonder why Vel Anir had wanted the woman dead, though, and it added to the urgency that her documents should be destroyed.

He hadn't seemed to notice the desk with its bloody papers. Maybe if she were lucky he would give up and leave before learning anything he shouldn't. She quickly surveyed the room for anything that could be used to burn them but came up blank. She supposed her next best option would be to leave them out in the rain, or perhaps throw them into a well or stream.

She turned back to him as he spoke once more, his face twisting into a perfect smile. "There are no otherss of my kind," she replied with only the barest hint of sadness. She had made peace with this fact long ago.

A pause.

Fuck it.

"Who is your mistresss?"
 

Malphias

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"Then aren't I fortunate.." he rested his hand on his chest and performed the most gentlemanly of bows, his still thundering heart vibrating against his hand. Her question brought about a grin and a throaty laugh "My dear lady.." he shook his head with a look that said she should know better. "My mistress is a frustratingly powerful noble lady who would make my life not one worth living if I told you that.". His lips pouted as he feigned regret.

He glanced behind her to the elven woman and back "Sadly, you've already cost me a fair bit.. But I cannot say it hasn't been entirely worth the pleasure of your company.." he reached a bold but tremulous hand toward her face, daring to attempt a gentle caress. "You really are one of a kind.. I can't say I'm sorry that we got off on the wrong foot, but, perhaps we can correct that." he grinned, his expression roguish and suggestful.

"Tell me.. those knives of yours.. what poison was it? Can't say I'm familiar.." he asked, as though asking her to recommend a fine wine.
 
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Nathaira

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She had expected his answer about the mistress... but not his sudden cordiality. Did he really drop grudges so quickly? His demeanor was confusing... irritatingly so. She had seen what horrors his mind could display, did he really expect her to have a polite conversation?

She recoiled at his reach, taking a step back and giving a quiet, involuntary hiss. He tongue flicked out and sampled the environment. His scent was... alluring. Everything about him seemed to be designed to ensnare. From his silver tongue to his sculpted form, the pleasing purple hues of his skin to the impressive curves of his horns. Nathaira did not like this feeling, she felt as though he were once again trying to cast an illusion.

"It iss my venom," she said with menace, implying that there was a great deal more where that came from. Next time she had to use it, she would make sure to give more. Much more. This was meant to be threatening, and perhaps to a normal man it would have been. She did not yet know the twisted pleasures that Malphias had taken from it. Of course, that too might be leveraged into her favor, should the need arise.

"What do you know of thiss woman?" she tried again. Surely he must have some information. Protocol dictating that she kill him and leave as quickly as possible, but protocol did not account for mirages and mind games. Besides, she was very curious now that at least two parties had been interested in the elf. What had she known?
 

Malphias

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He only found the recoil and hiss all the more endearing, that tongue was a fascination too. The tiefling was utterly entranced. The woman's emotions were such a turmoil, a cocktail that made his head spin. Malphias was easily bored, but she..she was complex and interesting and clearly an extremely rare find. He was quite used to women fawning over him in one form or another, but the role reversal was new to him, he rarely fawned over anything..

"Your venom?.." he gasped quietly, as though he'd just opened the most exciting gift. "My dear lady, you are extraordinary.." he rumbled, his honeyed voice tumbling out in a throaty drawl.

He had started to reach a hand out toward her again as she asked about the woman and he glanced to her with a short frown and shook his head, quickly replacing the lock of unruly dark hair that fell over his brow. "Nothing, nor will I know anything of her now. No matter..." he dismissed it with a nonchalant wave of his hand and stepped closer to Nathaira, a little too close..

"Back to that..venom of yours. You can extract it then..?" he asked, and again reached in attempt to press his fingertips gently to the side of her chin to turn her face to get a better look at those jaws. He shuddered..

"That is quite the bite you have.." he pressed his lips together tightly. She had presented quite the problem. He'd had a taste, and she was the only one of whatever she was, and as much as he'd enjoyed the hit of venom from the blade, the thought of that bite plunging it into his blood was far more exciting.. "I did enjoy it..." he purred.
 
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Nathaira

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She continued to study him as he spoke, each moment proving him more peculiar than the last. He seemed to have all but given up on his mission with the elven woman’s death. Perhaps he knew her notes would be of no use? Or maybe he was just too distracted.

No one had ever spoken to her the way he was now, no one had ever looked at her the way he was looking at her. It felt… predatory. There was admiration in those featureless red eyes, but it was flavored with a desire to take.

Some deep, tiny part of her enjoyed the praise, she received so little of it after all. She had never been the subject of awe that was not at least partially terror. What would happen, she wondered, if he were allowed to take what he wanted? Still, the larger part of her was sickened by his stare, the images of gore and pain still fresh in her mind. Only horrors awaited her if she let her guard down.

Her curiosity with the man kept her from pulling away from him immediately, but she tensed as he touched her jawline, her muscles taught and ready to lash out with a second bite at a moment’s notice. But… this was what he wanted?? What was this man? She could see he had been weakened by her venom, and she knew the pain would have been incredible. What twisted creature would willingly seek that out?

Finally she swatted his hand away, unable to bear the touch any longer, and took a few steps back. Extraction… he wanted to use her like all the others. She was a tool, nothing more. She was not extraordinary, only her biology. Only her cursed pedigree.

She walked determinedly to the desk, she had nothing to say to him. She poured over the papers that were still legible while keeping the corner of her eye on the handsome monster behind her.

The notes were scribbled messily. Weren’t elves supposed to be graceful and refined? This chicken-scratching was difficult to make sense of, but certain words did stand out.

Vel Anir. Dreadlords. Those were to be expected, she was an intelligence threat after all. What threat would she have been if she wasn’t talking about the city or its enforcers? But another word caught her eye, repeated on a few pieces of paper. Forsaken.

The rune in her neck suddenly felt hot, and her pulse quickened. Her tongue flickered nervously in the air, this was very bad indeed.

She knew about them.

The Forsaken were one of Vel Anir’s most closely guarded secrets, and that was saying something. They relied on anonymity and their… unique agents to avoid any suspicion or ties back to Vel Anir as they did their work.

Amber eyes scanned the desk, this would all need to be destroyed. At the head of the desk was a note with one line: Alphonse, dusk, Wren’s Beak. There was a date below. Today. It was quite obviously a meetup, and Nathaira had missed it. These secrets were now in the hands of another, and they could not be allowed to spread.

She cursed under her breath. Hours had been lost. It would take time to find this “Wren’s Beak,” to track down this second informant. Meanwhile he could be spreading the information to untold numbers. She needed to move quickly. She needed… help.

She felt her stomach turn at the realization.
 

Malphias

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Malphias gave a throaty huff and frowned at her as she batted at his hand and he rubbed at his knuckles. He deserved worse he supposed, but he couldn't help himself. He moved to lean back against the wall, arms folding across his chest as he watched the woman with curiosity and his eyes narrowed as she fumbled amongst the papers on the woman's desk. He didn't particularly care what information she had, he'd been sent to rattle her mind about a bit, not to waste his valuable time sifting through paperwork. He'd simply explain the failure of his task and accept whatever punishment he was awarded before moving on to the next... It was a miserable life.

"You seem tense, lady. What do you have to be so tense about, you done what you came here to do. Now set alight the place and be done - but at least let me take you for a drink before we part ways?.." he smirked and rubbed at his jaw. He needed more of that venom one way or another, it was simply too good to do without, he'd need to make some sort of trade deal with her or cage her. The latter seemed unlikely.
 
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Nathaira

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She was trying to think of any possibility where she did not need this devil's assistance. Maybe she could track down this Alphonse herself. She could torture the information out of the barkeep, catch up to him before he relayed the information to anyone else.

No, she thought, hanging her head. There simply wasn't time. Malphias had been tracking the woman as well which made him the only person who couldn't potentially help her. Pressing her lips together firmly, she accepted her decision.

His words were infuriating, but his voice was inhumanly smooth and calming. She straightened up and looked at him leaning against the wall. She approached him, confident that he would not try to harm her so long as she did the same. "You made my watch my friendss die," she hissed, her body inches from his. She could see the heat coming off of his skin, could see it increase ever so slightly at her closeness. "But I will forgive thiss if you..." she faltered. The words tasted sour in her mouth. "If you help me."
 
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