Private Tales The Sound of Steel

  • The Veil Falls

    Three times a year Lessat, the largest of Arethil's two moons, eclipses the sun. This time the event falls on Hallow's Eve. All across the world spirits start to appear, reliving their gruesome ends. They cannot be interacted with.

    Join us for this year's Halloween event. More information coming soon!

A private roleplay only for those invited by the first writer

Arwyl Minras

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"We will talk of that later."

"That seems sensible," agreed Arwyl.

There was a tension between the princess and her captain. She was in charge here, but there was a higher power in her parents. Perhaps it was why he had such a small following. Those who didn't agree with his leadership were allowed to leave. No one was punished for disagreeing with him.

"Now..." he turned to look down the table. "...how is the ass, Kaius?"
 

Sylmara

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"Indeed." Sylmara echoed with a smile.

The Princess didn't seem interested in the conversation, her mind was already elsewhere. She did not have a talent for battle, but she did have a talent for convincing people to do things for her. That was what she would have to do if they were to catch the Anirians.

Her gaze briefly flickered towards the Captain, lips thinning for a moment before she observed some of the other Guards. After a moment she spoke, her tone absent of any real emotion. "We have some excellent healers here if you require them still."

The words could have been another jest at Riley, but the way Sylmara spoke them made it clear she that was not her intent.

At least at the moment.
 

Riley

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An uncertain look was passed to Kaius as his side nudged into her own. Was this what it felt like to be able to be on the edge of relaxing? Just to eat and not worry about a dreadlord catching up to her or that proverbial knife in her back?

Sure, sure she was surrounded by elves and in a foreign, forbidden court.

But there was something warming in her cracked and guarded heart at the sight of Riz grinning with his mouth full of lamb and that innocent, almost human-like shrug in his massive shoulders at Kaius. Taking a bite of vegetables and meat, eyes snapped to Arwyl then the princess, gaze narrowing slightly.

Then a quick pan back to Kaius' face. And the flicker of her gaze to his rear.
 
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Kaius

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Kaius paused mid-drink at Arwyl's question, his eyes wandering over the few looks he got from around the table. His wrist dragged across his lips as he set the tankard down and set his elbows on the table, clearing his throat as he nodded casually.

"Tender.. Thank you for asking." he answered politely and yet his tone was dry, as though he was awaiting some form of torment over the ordeal.

"You're too kind, Princess. But it's been adequately tended to by the talents of our human friend." he answered, a brow quirking slightly.

Kai's stomach was filling nicely, and he enjoyed another plate of food and a few more drinks with his companions until he was pleasantly tipsy, his spirits high for a change.

"Alright. I'm taking a bath. Riz, I'd suggest you do the same. You've been smelling particularly ripe of late, brother." his empty tankard slammed onto the table with a laugh and got to his feet. "Don't go wanderin' off.." he muttered as he leaned close to Riley before turning toward Arwyl and Sylmara with a dip of his chin before swaggering merrily off to the bath house.
 

Arwyl Minras

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It was always disappointing when he couldn't get a proper rise out of Kaius. After these years it was increasingly the case that he grimaced and pushed through the barbs Arwyl laid. He was, perhaps, the most singularly determined man Arwyl had ever met.

Riley was their friend now? Arwyl was aware that he ad stood up for the girl in front of a princess who still had a kingdom to be princess of. He was just surprised how quickly his tone had changed on the matter.

What Arwyl wanted to do was take a bottle of wine and go somewhere quiet, on his own, to polish it off. Instead he thought he probably had to make at least half an effort to seem like royalty.

"And how is your home, princess?" he asked.
 
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Sylmara

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Sylmara frowned at the idea that any human could be a 'friend', but she decided that it was likely due to the fact that they had been in the wilderness so long.

The Wildlings, as her father liked to call them, often forgot themselves. There were tribes deep within the Falwood who refused to even acknowledge that places like Fal'Addas and Saen even existed. They would rather be kin to the forest than their own kind.

Perhaps those thoughts had crept into Kaius.

She shook her head, deciding to just let it go for now. These men had had it hard, and their company was not only their own kind. Best not to address it. "Saen is in decline."

A fact her father would deny, a fact her brother would never admit to, but a simple truth.

"As more vile things creep into this world the light of our people seems to seep away." She frowned. "Our numbers have become fewer, and I fear if it is not stopped the city will soon begin to Whither."

Many of the Guards looked uncomfortable.
 

Riley

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"Relax. I'm safe. Don't go wandering off. Make up your goddamned mind, you drunk, grumpy old bastard," Riley mouthed off to Kaius as he left, a smirk on her face. A shake of her head. Riz shrugged his shoulders at her even as she finished off her meal. Finished off that banana.

Definitely her new favorite thing.

Riley briefly glanced at the two royals down the table. She didn't have a head or the patience for politics, so she rose from the bench, snatching a baked roll as she stood. It looked like there was a place to wash clothing near the bath houses. She intended to wash hers off. They were filthy and covered with dirt and dried blood. Hopefully the elves would have some sort of robe she could slip into.

Then perhaps she'd find an open bed for the night.
 

Kaius

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Kaius halted in his tracks. He could hear the smirk in Riley's words and he swayed slightly as he contemplated turning around. He really was a grumpy bastard at times.. most of the time. But that of course, was entirely Arwyl's fault. There was a time when he took life far less seriously as he did now, but now there wasn't much to take joy in, every day was spent watching their backs (and often neglecting his own). He huffed and looked down, his eyes falling on a large dish of some sort of pudding of rice and cream. His brow quirked, and his fingers flexed.

"Fuck it."

With a fistful of the desert he turned and swung his arm with an audible "Fwaaa!", launching it at where she'd been sitting having failed to realise that she'd gotten up. Riz fell back off of his seat and landed on the ground with a roar of confusion, arms flailing in the air until he was swiftly helped back to his feet by the elves who'd been sitting next to him, their eyes blinded by tears.

The orc stood, only his eyes recognisable as they blinked at Kaius looking like a swamp monster.

"Riz." Kaius held his hands up to placate the orc and silence fell around them, eyes moving between the pair. Riz reached into a pot of now cold stew and grabbed two handfuls of the stuff, stepping up onto the bench and then onto the table. "Now wait a minute. I was aiming for the g--"

Whack.

And suddenly, full scale uproar.

"Shit.."
 

Arwyl Minras

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Arwyl turned to Sylmara. Even as food went back and forth across the table. Even as the guards tried to interrupt the princess for instructions.

"The humans will keep nipping off bits of this work long after we are gone," he mused.

"It will end with ten of them clinging to the last rocks of Arethil and still they will fight over who gets the nicest bit of that rock."

He tilted his head to the left as a bread roll passed over his shoulder.

"You do not spend much time at home any more?"
 
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Sylmara

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Really?

A food fight.

She looked at Arwyl with all the disapproval of a mother staring at a child that had become a wayward street boy. It was clear that she expected him to control this situation. Her lips thinned for a brief moment. "No."

Sylmara answered curtly.

At one point she had not been allowed to even leave home, but over the last few years she had spent more time outside of the city than within it. She was her fathers diplomat, the one who traveled around the Falwood and visited the cities there.

"Are you..." Her eyes narrowed. "Going to do something about this?"

A gesture towards one of the buns that flew over her head.
 
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Riley

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Aiming for the...

Riley whirled around in time to see Kaius get a face full of cold stew dribble down his face. Arms crossed beneath her chest, a smug grin spreading across her lips. Hazels narrowed, brows lofting in his direction.

“Serves you right for, aiming for the girl,” the last four words with slow, drawn out emphasis. “You really are..,” THWACK.

She froze, feeling the whipped cream and strawberry dessert slowly slide down the side of her face. In her hair. Dripping down her chin and onto the shoulder of her clothing. Gaze flickered back to the chaos at the table.

“Really Riz!? I. Just. Bathed.” Whirling, finger pointed and wagged at Kaius. “Oh, no, no, NO. You are not allowed to laugh.” She scooped up a rogue roll at her feet and threw it at Arwyl’s first in command’s stew covered face.

“Bread always compliments stew don’t you know?”
 
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Kaius

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Kaius' hand dragged down his face as he listened to Riley's smug scolding, splattering gravy on the floor with a flick of his hand. He stole that grin straight from her as Riz caught the side of her face with the dessert and he snorted. His arm flew up to deflect the roll from smacking him in the face, and the laughter took hold of him until tears glistened in his eyes.

He'd grabbed a handful of mashed potatoes and had intended on aiming it at Riz who'd taken the vantage point of the table to bat away projectiles with a baguette. His grin faded however as his eyes followed a bread roll as it flew through the air toward the royals, only narrowly missing Arwyl's head. He took note of the princess' expression and visibly winced. The potato in his hand fell to the floor with a splat as his other hand rose toward their men who were all rather enjoying taking the opportunity to pelt Kaius with whatever food they could get their hands on at that moment, as though they were repaying him for every time he'd been too hard on them, for every time he'd been a grumpy old bastard..

What the fuck was he doing?.. He sobered quickly, arm lifting and falling every time he had to shield his face from another edible missile.

"Oi! Right - enough!..Riz, get off the table! Braern, Conall, get him off the table!" the two elven men reached up toward the Orc who was too busy roaring in delight as he power-pelted figs in blind frenzy.
Kai cleared his throat and turned on his heels to face Arwyl, a sheepish and apologetic look offered just as a fig smacked him on the jaw and the orc guffawed.
 

Arwyl Minras

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Arwyl whistled. He never shouted, not like his mother had. That whistle could cut steel. Kaius had told them to stop and they hadn't, so they were getting the side of Arwyl rarely seen.

He sat upright in his chair, chin raised ever so slightly. For once the angular features of his royal line seemed to stand out. Quiet fell to a level where a whisper could be heard. Whispering was what Arwyl then did.

"Now, I think that's enough fun for the evening. So you're all going to tidy up, apologise personally to your host and then turn in for the night."

He spoke softly enough that a stuff breeze through the trees could have drowned him out. It was a challenge for any to dare speak even a word against him.

"Very good."

Arwyl turned his attention back to their host, even as the first of his band issued an apology to her.

"It has been a trying for months. That was out first win in a long time. They need to blow off steam. I'll take them somewhere...

"... early in the morning..." he added to a collective groan.

"...to ensure that's done."
 

Sylmara

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Sylmara leaned back slightly, impressed by the way that he quickly reigned in his men.

A musing pulled across her features for a brief moment. Filven seemed to stare at her wordlessly, as if trying to communicate something. She thought for a moment more, and then opened her mouth to speak. "There is a training ground here in the city."

Calling this place a city was rather...liberal, but Sylmara thought it better than just saying "outpost". She looked up at Arwyl.

"You're welcome to use it." He told her. "It will give me some time to gather...information on what we spoke about."

In theory she would be able to see the retreating Anirians through the eyes of the Forest, though it would take her most of the night to find them no doubt.

Plus she did not want these wildlings gone just yet.
 

Riley

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After another bath and washing of her clothes, she finally stumbled into a long hall where there were rows of beds set-up. Seemed like the entire band would be sleeping together. Though, she imaged Arwyl would be offered a suite of his own. It made sense, so they'd all be together not only for the benefit of their hosts but also to their own benefit. She doubted any would feel too keen to be separated in case...something happened.

Riley didn't care at this point.

Though the hall was lined with beds like a barrack, the beds were not barrack beds. They were larger with the softest sheets she'd ever felt and a mattress that cradled and cocooned around her. A part of her thought she'd have to crawl out of it to sleep on something she was more used to - like the ground. But she was wrong. She fell asleep within seconds even as the sounds of a big, lumbering orc crashed into the bed to her left. His heavy snoring soon taking up the entire room.
 
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Kaius

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The whole damn mess was worth it to watch Arwyl tighten the reins. He wasn't sure there had ever been a time where he'd had to be reprimanded, but the way in which the young prince had it handled had him grinning at the floor with pride. Nobody argued, and Kaius pressed his hand to his chest as he dipped his chin in apology to Sylmara..

"The fault is mine, your Highness. I'll make sure the hall is sparkling. I'm at your service, please accept my sincerest apologies."

Kaius was the last to leave the hall, living up to his promise of making sure the entire place was gleaming. By the time he'd bathed and fished the rice out of his ear, he stood at the foot of an empty bed. It was an emotional sight, but even more emotional were the slithers of golden sunlight that slowly crept along the tiled floor toward his feet. He sighed deeply and rubbed at his face before dragging himself back outside and trudging down the winding path, back to the hall for coffee.
 
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Next morning New

Arwyl Minras

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The Princess was subject to a questioning look from Arwyl, but he didn't ask her anything. That was a very cryptic statement to make. He did not know whether it was to avoid her outpost guards from picking up on their earlier conversation or because she was keeping something from him. He would not blame her for either.

He excused himself even as Kaius started cleaning up. The old man had made that promise now; it was too late to intervene. Perhaps he could have helped. Through the day he had done well to cover how exhausted and drained he truly was.

Arwyl might have cried out in joy for their little victory, but he knew it was a small one. It might have been the end of them had they not had a safe harbour so close.

Other elven King dons were clinging on and that was all they were doing. There was no easy answer to the questions his mother had left him with. All he had was his small, loyal band and somehow he had to do right by them.



"You should be asleep," Arwyl declared, padding around the table to take the chair opposite Kaius. "One of the others told me you didn't take a bed at all."

"I'm going to head back and wake them all up and run them ragged at this drill square in a moment."
 

Sylmara

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Sylmara nodded her head at Kaius accepting his explanation before leaving the hall herself. Captain Filvan followed after her, clearly half displeased, half curious about just what the Princess had been talking about when she'd last spoken.

A few of the band might have overheard part of their conversation.

Small snippets were Filven overstepped his place, where Sylmara rebuked him, and where the older Elf lectured her on the horrors of the last war. The conversation ended with the Princess storming off, walking away and disappearing within the groves inside the city.

When the sun arose, Sylmara herself was not in bed.

She rarely required sleep, a gift of her heritage.

Instead the Princess sat nestled inside one of the groves near the training grounds, her legs crossed and her eyes closed. She watched, the world, not through her own gaze, but instead through the Falwood. What she saw was what Arwyl had predicted.

A city in flames. A siege already done, and an army broken up and preparing to return in pieces.
 
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Riley

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Those in the massive hall were stirring. Some were. Or perhaps Riz' snoring had finally woken some of them up. The soft dawn light was drifting through the windows. Riley pushed herself out of bed and frowned, doing a quick scan.

No sign of Arwyl.

Or Kaius.

Riz let out a loud fart in his sleep. Riley's nose crinkled as she plucked herself from bed.

"Gods, Riz." She whispered, a hand dragging down her face and through her hair. Slipping free from the others, she made her way down to the stream to splash some cold water on her face. Sounds of the city awakening behind her reached her ears. Back of her hand rubbed across her face as she stood to head back up the path. Her ankle hit against something and she found herself flung forward, palms catching herself on the hard dirt as her chin scraped against the ground with an oof.

Limbs barked in protest as they slammed into the earth. Head whipped up and out of the corner of her eye she saw one of the princess' elves. For a moment, there was a flash of cold, cruelty in his beautiful, youthful, and sharp featured face. And he moved so...fast.

Had he just...

Riley picked herself off the ground, wiping away the blood beginning to dribble from where her chin had hit the ground.

"Careful, the ground is uneven here," his voice strangely melodic. Riley made no move. Voiced no rage of protest or question. She hadn't been sure of what she'd seen and even if her suspicions were true, she wouldn't say anything. Perhaps he knew that, too. She was an outsider here and she would jeopardize anything for Arwyl's group. For the others. And she didn't know if anyone would believe her if she bothered to say anything. Or maybe he wanted her to say something but she had no intentions too.

Fingers quickly brushed off the dirt from her pant legs as she grunted out.

"I'll make sure to be more careful next time." A warning of her own at him as she steeled herself to continue on her way.
 
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Kaius

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The coffee wasn't doing much to keep him awake, and with his elbows anchored on the table and his head in his hands, he'd felt himself slump a little lower and lower until Arwyl spoke and his body jolted and he sat up, knocking what was left of his coffee over the table..

"Fff.." he grabbed at a towel and threw it over the spreading puddle and mopped it with a grumble.

"I'm alright.." he huffed. "Heard we were being put through our paces this morning.. Only fair that I partake." he laughed under his breath and rubbed at his face. For too many years to count, Kaius had been a bit of a tyrant when it'd come to training his men, it wouldn't have sat right with him to sleep whilst the others were reprimanded, especially since he'd started the whole mess in the first place.

"Suits you..." he commented quietly, lifting his tired gaze to the elf with a small smirk. "Top table, princess at your side, diplomatic discussion, discipline..." his brow arched. "I was impressed." .. It'd been all he'd ever wanted for Arwyl, all his mother had ever wanted, and regardless of how many times the prince would roll his eyes at Kaius' lectures, he wasn't one to give up trying.
 

Arwyl Minras

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Arwyl fell into a particular kind of silence. He desperately didn't want Kaius to know how deeply those words affected him. Arwyl didn't even know why he didn't want it to reach the surface. Kaius might have liked to know that a little of his pride could go a long way.

"Don't be silly now," Arwyl said. The soft rebuke was entirely undermined by how the young elf turned his head aside to try and hide the corner of his lips that tried to betray him. It was a warm, bubbly feeling that rose up from his gut.

"It was just sitting at a table," he added. Arwyl took a long drink in the hope that the smirk he was holding back would go away.

"I think she has some plans. The princess. She's nice, but a bit odd. We weren't like...planned for one another way back were we? Would hate to find out she knew something I didn't."
 

Sylmara

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Sylmara stepped out from the grove with all the grace of royalty.

A few of the elven guards walked by her, a particularly young one letting his eyes linger for just a second too long. She shook her head, frowning for just a few seconds as she shifted her weight and began to walk towards the training grounds.

It would still take a few days for the Anirians to march back through the Falwood and into their Territories. She doubted they would truly enter the forest, at least if they were smart, but there was always the matter of what Arwyl and his men had stolen. A frown pulled at the Elf's lips as she considered. She would have to watch further, at least for another day or so to be sure.

"Captain, how fare our guests?" She asked Filven as she stepped into a large platform overlooking the falls.

"Well enough your Highness. Though I was somewhat surprised you have brought them here. It is...unlike you to welcome outsiders."

A small smile flickered on her features for a brief moment. Sylmara had a reputation for diplomacy, but that diplomacy almost always favored Saen. She was well known for disliking the other Elven Kingdoms and their meddlings in the affairs of her city. Something she did not hide.

"Sometimes to get we want we must compromise." Sylmara mused. "Something my mother always told me."

Filven seemed to shift slightly as mention of her mother, but Sylmara simply ignored it. "I need you to send a missive to my brother, quickly."

The Captain nodded, and then stepped closer to the Princess as she spoke.
 
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Riley

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Riley made it back to that same table they'd had dinner the night before. She slowed her steps, seeing Arwyl and Kaius sitting across from one another.

Was Arwyl smiling?

She blinked, forgetting about her bruised and scraped chin. She caught that look in Kaius' eyes. Even from here. There was a fondness on his face. Mixed with...tiredness?

She frowned, she walked slower, deliberately giving them a few extra minutes alone. But she didn't stop. She didn't want them to think she was eavesdropping, though, she imagined it would be pretty hard to do around elves and their hearing. Before long, they'd see her emerge from the path and going toward the coffee.
 
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Kaius

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Kaius let out a short huff of a laugh and shook his head. He could hear that smirk in the elf’s tone, but he chose not to tease him on it. “Yes, well… We don’t often have such tables to sit at, and you did it well.” He murmured sluggishly under a grin.

He laughed at his question.. “What if you were? Would you marry, settle down, rule by her side and have little heirs together?...” he asked in amusement, his eyes creasing as he suppressed another laugh. He let the question settle for a moment before shaking his head.. “No, you weren’t sworn to anyone, but I don’t doubt that if your parents had the chance, the Princess Sylmara would have been a possible suitor. She still is.” He sighed quietly.. He’d been so used to the elf fighting against everything that he was supposed to be that he could only anticipate opposition and protest. His guardianship only went so far, he wasn’t about to force the prince into marriage. Keeping him alive was difficult enough.

He glanced up as he heard Riley’s approach and his lips curled slightly as he rumbled a quiet “Morning.” His hands rubbed at his face again in the attempt to make himself a little more alert, but last night’s wine and lack of sleep was weighing heavily on him now, particularly after the previous day’s battle and travel, it was taking everything not to faceplant on the table.

“You’re up early..” he arched a brow observantly, and his gaze narrowed briefly at the marks on her chin. “Did you fall out of bed?”
 
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Arwyl Minras

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No, you weren’t sworn to anyone, but I don’t doubt that if your parents had the chance, the Princess Sylmara would have been a possible suitor.

Arwyl laughed softly, running his finger through a shallow whorl in the table's surface to amuse himself.
She still is.
He stopped laughed rather abruptly and shot Kaius a stern glare. It didn't hold. Arwyl felt lighter this morning, less burdened by the problems of life. They could wait out any Dreadlords chasing down the gems, or maybe convince the elven garrison here to cut off more of their troops.

"Morning," Arwyl greeted Riley with a tilt of his head.

"You know I was talking with the princess about those anirian troops..."
 
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