Private Tales The Sound of Steel

A private roleplay only for those invited by the first writer

Kaius

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He laughed under his breath and gave Riley a playful nudge as she failed to see the amusement in his words, but his attention shifted to watch the bridge appear. He couldn't help but smile, and his hand settled on Riley's shoulder in effort to ease any apprehension she might have.

Kaius cleared his throat and shared an uncomfortable look with Fivren at the tense moment between the two royals. He wouldn't get involved, but he settled his gaze on Arwyl in mute plea, hoping he wouldn't argue the point. Sylmara's words, in his opinion, sort of proved exactly how like 'them' she was, and he had to bite his tongue too. She didn't know Riley, and yet simply saw the ears and made her judgement. He sighed..

Bed…bath…bread…

"
Aye Riz.. Bread.." he grinned and drew in a deep breath. He already never wanted to leave.
 

Arwyl Minras

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"You have been gone for too long, Arwyl." She frowned deeply. "You've forgotten who we are."

"You'll have to excuse me Sylmara," he said apologetically. "My memory is not so bad, but perhaps being so young when my city was burned to the ground I was never quite afforded the chance to learn it in the first place."

His tone was unerringly polite and he offered a conciliatory nod of the head. The others were already heading towards food - some faster than others - but he could still FEEL Kaius breathe a sigh of relief from here.

"Where would you like us to stay and store our equipment?" he asked. Whether it was stolen or not, it was now their equipment. Arwyl planned to leave the others to eat and to check they had adequate room for the night. Not that they needed much. They had taken lodgings in barns as small as a town garden before.
 

Sylmara

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Sylmara rolled her eyes, or she would have if they were not their entirely green hue. Instead she simply seemed to stare at Arwyl, taking a step closer to him. She placed a gentle hand on his outer arm, a placating touch. "Don't be silly."

She gazed towards Kaius for a moment, then looked back to Arwyl.

"There are others for such things." Her hand waved towards the banquet where his men were already gathering. "Sit, Eat, enjoy yourself."

The Princess smiled. "You have come here for reprieve."

There was a place for all of them of course, she would not have brought them here if it was not so. During the wars this fortress had held more than a thousand elven warriors, now it was down to just over a hundred. A depressing fact no one really wanted to say out loud.

"Come." She said with a gentle guiding touch, leading him towards the massive table sprawled with food.
 

Riley

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While the smell of fresh food laid out on a massive banquet table was tempting, Riley was not interested. She still had dried human blood all over her face. Hands. Dirt all over.

Probably best to wash off the battle first. Wash off the blood from the soldiers just doing their job. Her fellow Anirians who needed to change.

It was hard for her to accept the safety of this place. Like anything else 'safe' in her life she expected it to be an illusion or something to quickly slip through her fingers.

"I'll be back. Gonna go find somewhere to wash off first," she grumbled and began weaving her way through the others toward some rooms built within the trees.
 
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Kaius

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He felt his body physically ease as Arwyl managed to answer as politely as he did, whether sincere or not. He was so close now, they had crossed the bridge, mounted the steps, he could smell the banquet, even taste the various foods on the air that caused his mouth to water in anticipation.

Then however, he caught Sylmara's words, and the look she gave him and his heart sank but his expression wouldn't betray the urge he had to groan aloud. He looked between the pair and swallowed as he offered a light nod.. "Of course, I can do that." he answered with as much conviction as he could muster.

His attention shifted to Riley as she made her way through the throng of people and he craned his neck to watch her go, uncomfortable with her going off alone given that those unaware of their arrival would no doubt find it unexpected to have a human wandering around. He looked to Arwyl with a light frown in mute question, intending on going after her.

Regardless. Food would have to wait, and Kaius had to push down the urge to cry.
 

Arwyl Minras

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Arwyl sighed as he watched Riley go. He grimaced as he took a breath.

"Just make sure she isn't trying to run off and then come and eat Kaius," he said. Arwyl sounded exhausted. Everything was starting to catch up with him.

He took a seat, legs tingling. It was something between relief and pain. He was going to ache through the night.

"Do you keep this place so you can launch raids at the humans?" he asked the princess.
 

Sylmara

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She let out a scoff.

Just how much did Arwyl not know of his own people? Of the laws that now ruled them. "Unfortunately, no."

There was a look from some of the Elves standing around them, though Sylmara paid them no mind. Her head shook slightly, but she did not seem to pay any attention to those standing around them. Sylmara was well known for her 'opinions'.

"My father forbids it." She sounded disappointed. "An attack from Saen would break the Treaty forged with Vel Anir after the last war."

One that was enforced by the King in Fal'Addas.

Her hand waved slightly, and from across the table a plate floated towards them. Food was piled upon it, the bounties of the Falwood piling on and landing in front of Arwyl. "Such provocation would not be...ideal."

That was how her father always put it. "Saen'Althas is a remnant of times long passed. It stands as a memory."

Sylmara sounded disappointed.
 

Riley

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Riley's gaze remained stuck to the ground as she walked, flickering up now and then. Catching most glares of suspicion from the Princess' people. Distrust. Hatred. Perhaps a small kindling of curiosity. Fingers twitched at her side as she fought to keep from swiping her charcoal brown hair behind a curved earlobe.

It was a habit and she felt it wiser to keep the tips of her ears somewhat hidden. Even if it didn't matter. Everyone here knew she was human. Even though she was a skilled hunter and moved more sure...more quiet than most humans, she'd never move as fluidly as them. Not be as light or as fast.

The worst part of all this?

She felt like she had to hide.

And that went very much against her nature.

But for Arwyl and his group - for Kaius. She'd try. She'd really, really fukin try. Even if she had to prove herself over and over. That was fine. She could do that. She didn't plan on living that long anyway. She just hoped she could give Vel Anir enough hell before the reaper came to collect on what was due. Helped this new group of people that she'd found - that had found her, that wanted to do the same. Even if they never trusted her.

Fukin dragonballs. Who gave a shitgoblin?


She'd been alone since they'd snatched her from her family. Surrounded by others but still alone. What did it matter? She was used to it.

She looked up in time to stop herself as one of the guards fluidly stepped into her path. Fists remained at her side. "Just looking for a place to wash off."

The man's nose crinkled. His eyes were a bright, green mossy color. He seemed to agree she needed to bathe. Distaste was painted across his face in broad strokes.

"The bath house is over there." He finally spoke and though it was gruff, his voice held a musical lilt.

"Thanks," Riley grumbled, not looking to see if anyone followed her. Not looking to see Arwyl's gaze of distrust. No gaze from the princess. Not looking to see Riz devouring a fifth loaf of bread. She found herself in a long and wide room that seemed far too large for the tree that seemed to house it. There were open pools of water, water dripping from a system of wooden troughs into the pools. Small privacy screens split up the wider pools and there were stacks of towels in one corner. A small mist of steam lingered along the surface of the pools.

So they were warm.

The worst thing?

It was actually goddamned beautiful and for some reason, Riley had to keep the tears from suddenly welling into her eyes.
 

Kaius

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He suppressed a sigh and gave only a brief dip of his chin in response to Arwyl's request, ignoring the growling in his stomach as the mingled aromas of the various foods danced under his nose in torment. His jaw clenched as he turned to go after Riley, following the trail of gossiping elves until the guard who'd directed her toward the bath house simply stood and pointed the way as he noticed Kaius clearly looking for someone.

"Thanks." he muttered.

He had to stop himself from simply barging in, and instead he stood outside and cleared his throat before calling out to her.

"Riley?...Are you kiddi--" he bit back his words and rubbed at the back of his neck. "You shouldn't be wandering around here on your own. You need to stay close, lass.. Come and eat, will you? We haven't had a decent meal in days." he sighed, trying to sound far calmer than he felt.
 

Arwyl Minras

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Arwyl took a long look around. Her family might have had something to say about her taking in troublemakers. In fact, given her guard captain's tone he imagined word would reach them eventually and they would not be pleased.

It was a nice place. A safe place. They could live here. He could have dropped to his knees and begged and maybe, just maybe, they would have taken them in.

And forever, he would have been living off the scraps of someone else's table.

"It won't last," he said. "They'll chip away regardless of treaties. They'll find ways to satisfy themselves that they followed the words - as written. We just ran from an army that was staffed by Vel'anir men, yet it was not an anirian army."
 

Sylmara

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Sylmara smiled. "I know."

Not about the army, but about the Anirian's testing the waters with what they could and couldn't do. It had been their way pretty much since ink had been put to paper. A fact that she herself had argued a dozen times before they'd ever even signed anything.

"It is their way. Liars. Betrayers. Murderers." She said in disgust. "Humans. It is all they are."

There was true venom to her words.

Sylmara had seen what humans had done, had felt it to her very core. As they'd marched and burned the Falwood she had suffered and despaired. As the forest had sat dying, so had she. That pain still lingered within her heart even now.

"This army. Where was it going?" She glanced briefly towards one of the Elven Guards standing nearby before her gaze slowly returned to Arwyl.
 
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Riley

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Riley had barely sat down and gotten her boots off when she heard Kaius. She was used to travelling on her own and now could she not get one MINUTE to herself?

"Riley?...Are you kiddi--"... "You shouldn't be wandering around here on your own. You need to stay close, lass.. Come and eat, will you? We haven't had a decent meal in days."

"I dunno. The rabbit I caught in the woods a day ago was pretty decent. Would've shared if I'd know I was being followed." Riley as stubborn as she was began peeling off her socks and unbuckling her belt. "I can handle myself, Kaius. They barely see me as anyone worth watching. Go eat."
 
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Kaius

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His eyes rolled and he paced, his jaw clenching as he held back a retort at her stubbornness. He pressed a hand on the wall and leaned, rubbing at his face with the other hand. Twenty years. Twenty years they'd been on the run. He could count on his hands the amount of times he'd enjoyed a little home comfort in that time. He felt exhausted in every way a person could feel exhausted, and a full belly and comfortable sleep didn't seem to much for him to want.

He sighed deeply and turned to press his back to the wall and slid down to sit, arms draped over his knees and head falling back to cast his eyes toward the heavens, silently asking for the strength not to lose his shit.

"I know you can, Sparky. But I trust these people as much as they trust us." he muttered quietly and huffed. "I'll wait, and we can eat together.." he insisted with a quiet groan, praying that she wouldn't take too long.
 
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Arwyl Minras

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"This army. Where was it going?"

"I assume still sacking Kuresdan," Arwyl said. "We tracked the army for a while and realised they were heading to lay siege to the town. We...ended up in the town right before the siege. My fault," he added quietly - only because Kaius wasn't within earshot. He had picked a fight and been marched by the guard back to the walled town.

"They're not flying under Vel Anir banners, but General Irving is at the front, Jasper Vance is leading their foot and there are several Dreadlords with them. That caravan was probably carrying payment to the vassal state for their cooperation. Fucking human politics."
 

Sylmara

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Sylmara did not know the names of those men, but she did not really need to.

Anirians, their vassals, were all pretty much the same. This Irving was not of Vel Anir, he was not one of the Five her little birds had told her of. Yet who he was didn't really matter, same went for this "Jasper". The only thing that mattered from that list was the word 'Dreadlord'.

They were the mages, the men and women her brothers had spoken of.

The others were just...men. Easily slaughtered and done away with.

Kuresdan was a name she recognized though, her lips thinning slightly as she thought of the small city. It was walled, as far as she recalled, and thus could likely hold out during a siege for at least a week. Her lips thinned, and an idea slowly formed in her head. "How many are there?"

She had a poor mind for tactics, but she could do basic math.
 
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Riley

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"Gods Kaius," Riley groaned and let the rest of her clothes drop around her ankles before stepping into the steaming pool. "I'm wiping off this human blood as fast as I can," teeth ground out. Then she ducked under.

Oof. This felt amazing. Surfacing, she pushed her hand across her face and began scrubbing off the layers of dirt, grime, and dried blood. Bruises from the fight mottled her skin. She ignored them. They were nothing new.

"I can hear your stomach from here," Riley called out and sighed, making her way to step out of that warm pool. The man was almost as stubborn as she was.

Gods help them.

Drying off quickly, she tugged back on her clothes, not caring if they were still dirty. Wet-haired head popped out and she frowned as she looked at the bearded elf. "You didn't have to wait. You don't owe me anything. We just met." Voice was quiet...uncertain.
 
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Kaius

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He looked up at her as she peeked around the doorway. The reminder that they’d just met cause his brow to knit and he stared at her for a brief moment and shook his head with a quiet laugh under his breath, admittedly somewhat taken aback and slightly wounded by her dismissal. The woman had broken them out of a cell the first time they’d met. They owed her, and Kaius didn’t easily forget that. He cleared his throat and sighed.

“Right...” he answered and pushed himself to his feet.

“You can handle yourself.” He reminded himself aloud and walked off, rubbing the tension in the back of his neck.

Fucking women.
 
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Arwyl Minras

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"Two thousand perhaps, they had already breached the gate by the time we left. The town wasn't made to hold off a force that big. Unless something spectacular happened I would guess that they're now busy sacking the town properly. Someone will erect the gallows in a few days and the pillaging will stop. Eventually."

"They will not be happy about those jewels. There's a good reason I didn't take them," he said, lowering his voice. "That was probably payment for whoever was acting on Vel Anir's behalf. Someone will go looking for those, but we didn't leave and tracks."

She had said they would be safe here, but he hadn't necessarily spelled out that Vel Anir would probably send a Dreadlord to look for the fortune.
 
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Sylmara

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"Oh..." Sylmara sounded more than a little disappointed. For a brief moment she had imagined rallying some of the warriors, marching them from the Falwood and coming to the rescue of a city in need.

It had been a flight of fancy, one born of a girl who had watched her brothers March to war. Lips thinned for a moment, and she let out a heavy sigh. She knew they didn't have the manpower for such a stunt, perhaps Saen itself would, but her brother would never dare do such a thing. Not with the way things were now.

Disappointment painted across her face for one brief moment, and then she shook it away. Her features returning to that cool serinity, bright green eyes still holding that unsettling glance.

"They would not find this place even if you had left a trail of breadcrumbs." Sylmara sounded far too confident in that, arrogant even.

"Enjoy some of the food, Arwyl." She demanded. "Relax, rest. I will show you more of the fortress once you've eaten."
 
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Riley

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Fuking men.

Riley wrung out her wet hair as she walked, flicking the drying strands back behind one shoulder. There were two open seats at the massive banquet table. Didn't take long for the smells to make Rileys mouth water and her stomach grumble. She felt the tiredness from using her magic, traveling, and the fights from the past few days start to set heavily into her bones.

She glanced at Arwyl and the princess sitting together but didn't let her eyes linger as she pulled out a seat of finely carved and smoothed wood. Sitting, cleaned hands began plucking various foods from around her and putting them onto her plate. Many of the foods she'd never seen before. Didn't know what they were.

Picking one up, she eyed it hesitantly.

"Is all of this safe to eat?" She whispered to Kaius. The underlying question. For me. For a human.
 

Kaius

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Kaius sat at the end of one of the long tables next to Riz. He was stuffing food into his mouth at an alarming rate, and he had to clear his throat at the orc and gave him a look that asked him to show a little more decorum before fending off the stares he'd been getting with a glare of his own.

His stomach panged as he reached for an entire cob of bread and filled his plate with warm meats, cheese, and fruits and filled a flagon of ale to wash it down. He was quiet as he ate aside an involuntary groan of enjoyment.

As Riley sat he glanced up only briefly and gave a quiet huff into his ale as he drank thirstily. He'd tried being accommodating to the woman, tried offering her reassurances and trying to ensure her safety when she was more vulnerable than she realised. But she'd shoved it back in his face and for now he'd pull back as she'd wanted him to.

He tore some meat and his chewing slowed as she spoke, his eyes falling on the fruit she'd lifted and he eyed her incredulously before reaching out to take it from her.

"I'm not sure.." he commented and swallowed his food, apparently inspecting the fruit with scrutiny as he slowly peeled the yellow skin half way before taking a small bite of it and handing it back to her with a dry smirk.

"It's a fucking banana. Eat it." his head shook.
 
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Arwyl Minras

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He wanted to rest and relax and do absolutely nothing for days. Despite what Kaius might have thought, he spent a lot of time worrying about those that were left. They followed him, they were his responsibility. It was a lot of weight for his young shoulders.

"They will have to leave," he blurted out, "the Vel Anir forces I mean. Break away from the army they're with and head home. They might anyway. If they do there are lots of places for an ambush but I don't have enough men..."

"You're right though. Food and rest. Wine and rest."
 
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Sylmara

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Sylmara's eyes narrowed for an instant as Arwyl blurted out his fact, lips thinning almost instantly.

The thought was one that she had not had, and showed exactly why she did not lead men into battle. Such an idea could never have even occurred to her, and yet for Arwyl it was natural. She mused for a moment, and then simply nodded. "Eat."

Her hand waved, and the plate scooted closer to him.

"We will talk of that later." After she herself considered it more. The idea of meeting the Anirians on the field was both terrifying...and exhilarating.

Her father would have screamed at her for even entertaining such a thought, but Sylmara could not help it. After what Humanity had done to the Falwood, after the horrors she'd suffered...it would be nice to finally pay them back.

Briefly her eyes drifted towards some of the Elven Guards that stood around them.

Many were twice her age, most had fought in the last War. She knew that at least some of them would be more than eager to take a piece out of the Anirians. Even if it was a small piece.
 

Riley

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He may not realize that he'd been the only one she'd felt comfortable enough to ask the question to. Even if she could feel his angst and prickliness waft off him like some foul smelling aroma. Perhaps he'd relax a little after wine. After more food.

She knew he felt responsible for her. Since they'd asked her to join their band. Rebels.

He said he knew she could take care of herself but did he really?

"Thanks," she said just as dryly to match his smirk and snatched that banana back, staring at it and bringing it to her nose. She took a small uncertain sniff. Then a bite. She'd never seen, tasted, or heard of one in Vel Anir. At the Academy.

A small, genuine smile curled at the corner of her mouth as she swallowed and decided she liked it. And finished it off. She was quiet the rest of the meal, watching and observing.

Not taking the wine.

Such a change. To go from surviving on her own to being surrounded by others. Even if the others looked at her with mostly distrust and hatred.
 

Kaius

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Kaius fought a smirk as she snatched the fruit back and he continued with his meal, his eyes lifting to watch the two royals converse for a moment. He'd been trying not to pay attention, trying not to eavesdrop, but he couldn't help overhearing a little of their topic of discussion. His shoulders were heavy, and for the briefest moment he considered the room around him, tables of elves and a few other races, co-existing in merriment as they feasted and drank, the two royals sat together. He could still see that life for Arwyl, sadly he never seemed to imagine these things for himself.

He sighed and returned his attention to Riley, a little caught off guard by her smiling infectiously over a banana. His cheeks dimpled with his grin and he let out a quiet huff of a laugh at her, reaching to take a sip from her wine goblet before setting it down in front of her and leaning close.

"Relax. They're not trying to murder you." he assured.. "If anyone tries anything, I'll set Riz on them." he quirked a brow and nodded toward the Orc who was trying to cram an entire joint of roasted meat into his mouth at once, his green cheeks bulging to full capacity. A few of Sylmara's men were staring at him in a mixture of fear and disgust. The orc caught Kaius staring at him and gave a sheepish smirk and lifted his shoulders in a shrug. Kaius simply shook his head and chuckled quietly, giving the woman a playful nudge to try and ease her anxieties.