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The time of the Dark One has passed, ended by the heroism of Raducan, now renowned as both damnor and savior of this new age. However, there is a new threat looming over Sylfe. The Dark One left his taint on the lifestream, the magical force that connects all living things and blankets the entirety of Sylfe.

The lattice has fallen into the hands of the deranged sorceror Merun Al'Caar, who believes he is a God. Using this absolute power over the inhabitants of Sylfe, he has solidified humanity's dominance over the races of the Old Age. Under the misguidance of his "Triune Church," mankind and a few converts from elder races are converting the lands into what they see as "paradise" while paving the way for Merun's transcension of his human body.

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The Grim Moon also casts its shadow over Ehvin and the Convergence is doing nothing to aid in the quelling of the unnatural tempest. The tides are changing and chaos is on the horizon.
Ëthan was once a land of divine beauty, where the cycle of nature was gracefully long, and each season could take more than two decades. Ruled by the Ayalla, special beings chosen among the mortals, the harmony of this seasons lasted through millenia, and could run forever... if it wasn't the sin of selfishness. The fear of death, the eminence of oblivion, can be too much, even for the divine entities. This is the dark point, when even the best intentions, dreams and feelings, can be corrupted. Even the power of love...

After centuries under the power of an endless Winter, mortals are reuniting to fight back the tyranny; a strugle between eternity and mortality. Could they cultivate generosity enough to fight the egotism, or are they just trying to fulfill their own desire? Who is the new avatar of order...or chaos?

This is a roleplay by Kyrion. Visit the OOC at: Ëthan: The Ayalla War


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 Ëthan: The Ayalla War (IC)

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Kyrion
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PostSubject: Ëthan: The Ayalla War (IC)   Tue Dec 13, 2011 3:53 am

The year is 665 since the beginning of the Eternal Ice. Through the last decades, the cold increased slowly and constantly; the surge of blizzards and biting winds are daily, and travel alone is a bigger sign of stupidity than bravery.

The city of Tarvel was unnaturally agitated, with much more people than it's normal population of humans, elemands and a few rhadors. One could see, if was lucky enough, even a liannon or two, from their city in the closest forest, just a few days of travel. The reason was Tarvel's Festival, a long tradition that used to occur through most years of the Spring and Fall, interrupted for the first centuries of the Never-Ending Winter. The inhabitants refused to give up all their feasts, transforming the Flower Season and the Fruits Gallore into a completely new Festival, now occurring in a four-year interval. That's how the Tarvelian Fires were born. For a few nights, the cold would be faught back with the warm of bonfire, fresh food, game meat, alcoholic drinks and shout and loud laughs.

It was also a perfect moment for merchants, dealers and nomad sellers, with their exotic goods, pelts, rare books and ingredients, forming a new level of chaos, in many voices of wild accents, strong scents both superb and repugnant. The gold and silver coins were always flowing, small gems and jewels shining, the dream for robbers, charlatans and scoundrels. The visitors have even minted an expression that says "If you have never been fooled in the Tarvelians Fires, you were not really there."

Coming from this chaotic crowd, under the light of the last rays of sun, was a specially happy liannon, chattering with a stern and visibly less happy human, while inspecting a thin rope, with tiny metallic lines tressed in the middle.

"I'm really satisfied with this rope. We needed one for weeks, and this one is wonderfully light, but still longer than our last." The liannon smiled.
The human was clearly less efusive. "I just hope this will support our weight. It's disturbingly thin."
The golden liannon seemed untouched by his friend's despondency, and put the rope in his bag still smiling. "Don't worry. I'm almost perfectly sure it will. And it was also cheap, considering the merchant accepted my parchment in liannic language as some kind of treasure. He will be so disappointed when he finds out it's only a recipe of spicy mushroom stew."
The human reacted for the first time, even so slightly "That stew was good." were his only words.
"Don't worry. I know this recipe by heart. Now, let's find a good place to stay overnight, at least a little calmer. We will need some rest after this night of Festival"

Erberus sighed, giving up to his friends enthusiasm. It was impossible to dissuade Leo to visit a Festival, where he would sell useless goods they colected during their travels, and bargain some even more useless items; he wold probably take part in a gamble or bet, give some small gifs to perfect strangers, make a touchy speech about anything or something just as foolish. But at the end, he will probably get sober enough to continue their journey, and probably their pockets would have a bigger number of coins.

This flamboyant friend also had another quality: he could easily get in touch with all kinds of people, making friends, gathering information and rumors, and pointing out possible allies. But after some years, Erberus was resigned to the idea of facing his opponent alone, after all.
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PostSubject: Re: Ëthan: The Ayalla War (IC)   Tue Dec 13, 2011 10:51 am

as it as well known, any festival is a thieves paradise.Thieves where indeed common here, and at any festival. festivals served to attract rich people AND distract them. the truth was, people knew about thieves and pickpockets here and that actually made it easier for the truly skilled to work their 'magic' without being noticed. so along strolled one of the many who had given birth the many sayings about thieves and cons at this festival. this particular thief was what some might call a 'professional', he was one of the few who was a very skilled thief, but didn't become well known because of it.

yes, very few people had heard of 'Raoul the thief' and that was because he was good at what he did.
the art of theft was a multi step process, one which he was beginning.
this first was to dress in common fashion, while not trying to blend in too much. there was a fine line between obviously trying to blend in and standing out.
the second was to take great care in selecting your target. for him, there where many eligible targets... but two stuck out to him for some reason. a human and a liannon. he could tell, they where smarter than the average target, but a target was a target, especially when he was out of money himself. Raoul was a skilled thief, but he didn't steal for sport nor did he steal that often. he had learned a lesson about that quite a few years ago.
the third and most important step was the approach, and the method of theft. he had a lot to choose from, but he made his choice rather quickly.

he lowered his wide brimmed black hat, which was mostly to help hide the solid black wolf ears that were hidden in his black hair, and unfolded a large map. he began to make a beeline towards the two. as he waked, he kept his eyes focused on the map, turning it occasionally and studying it as if he was lost. his as he continued this, he ended up walking straight into the tall Liannon. they actually collided hard enough to send them both falling to the ground.
Raoul was up in a flash "oh gods, oh gods. dear sir i am terribly sorry" he apologized frantically, as he apologized and desperately tried to help the fallen Liannon back to a standing position... though as he did so, with a fast hand and flick of a hidden blade, he cut a hole in one of the liannon's pockets and collected the coins inside. not a single sound was made, and it was out of the view of the human.

the coins where moved to Raoul's pocket as he finally got the liannon standing again. he went back to apologizing.
"i am so sorry sir... i hope i didn't mess up your clothes... it's just that i'm a bit ... 'directionlly challenged'. i managed to get myself lost" he quickly flipped open the map, which had fallen on the ground. "i was trying to find my way with this map... and i guess i wasn't looking whee i was going. do you think you could help me out a little? i was trying to find my to this Inn" he pointed to a small inn on the map, just outside of the city "but this damn festival crowd has gotten me all discombobulated"
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PostSubject: Re: Ëthan: The Ayalla War (IC)   Wed Dec 14, 2011 7:56 am

Leo gladly accepted the help to get into his feet again; not that he couldn't do this by himself in a second, but pretending to be a slow and aging liannon could be useful against strangers. Specially strangers that couldn't notice a 7 feet tall, golden and noisy being like himself. Smiling, he brushed the dust from his clothes and massaged his backside Calm down, my friend. Nothing to be worried about

He approached and checked the map over the shoulder of the stranger, close to his hat. "We are not familiar with the city, we just arrived too. But I think this Inn looks just what we need, so we can find our way together." Leo looked to his friend, who just raised his eyebrows. The liannon snorted "Don't mind my friend, he's just like this. He can warm a little with time. Anyway, I think our direction is right there." He pointed with his long arm for a street, not too far, with two little tents on the way, one sending food, and the other richly adorned, selling jewelry spread over a beautiful and luxurious carpet.

Taking the lead, Leo started walking and talking. "I really appreciate Festivals. The different foods, people, cultures... look, that seems tasteful." He approached the tent with food, asked for a small barbecue. Only one, for himself. He reached the coins of his other pocket - not the destroyed one- always with fussy moves, disturbing a woman on the next tent, choosing necklaces and bracelets. She rolled her eyes to the annoying liannon, who ignored the motion completely. Leo just paid the seller and continued walking, under the burning glare of Erberus.

After passing the tents, he continued talking, with his mouth full. "Yesh, it'sh tashty, indeed. Here, take shome" placing his barbecue between his teeth, he took from his large sleeves two other portions, offering one to Erberus and one to the stranger. He didn't pay for the other two "Oh, all kinds of stuff get stuck in this long clothes... What a shame. Well, I like you, mister. My name is Leocad Sonseller. How can I call you?" he talked to the stranger again.
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PostSubject: Re: Ëthan: The Ayalla War (IC)   Wed Dec 14, 2011 11:13 am

normally, it was terrible luck to stay with someone you just stole from... but Raoul had a good feeling about these two. it wasn't anything like a vibe or an aura, just a good feeling. he smiled "oh thank you kind sirs, your help is truly appreciated... even though i just knocked you down, your still kind enough to help me kind my way. your are a saint my sir, a saint indeed he said, clapping Leo on the back. after doing so, he moved a few steps to the side of the liannon; he didn't like anyone being very close to his hat... he smiled at Erberus, bowing a bit "i can see that you do not yet trust me, i can only hope that i will soon show you how trustworthy i can be" he said, his wide and confident smile never faltering as he spoke.

he followed along silently for a moment until he was offered the stolen roast. he grinned mentally, another thief eh? he wasn't that bad either, but he clearly didn't do it as a living. a look of amazement came over his face, looking from the roast in his hands to Leo "amazing... such skill and grace. i have seen many a thief in action, but never before have i seen such skill" he said blinking in surprise as he took a small bite of his barbecue. this was of course a perfect lie, as he himself had pulled off greater feats of theft. he grinned, taking in the taste of the succulent barbecue "ahh delicious... it is rare that i am given a chance to partake in food of such quality. i must thank you a second time, firstly for helping a lost man find his way and for providing him with such good food"

he quickly finished his barbecue, he clearly hadn't eaten in awhile. once he was finished he tossed it into one of the many trash bins that where littered about. he used one hand to hold his hat and the other was out to his said as he gave Leo a proper bow "it is an honor to make your acquaintance Leocad Sonseller. you may call me Raoul Marku" he said, not afraid to use his real name with these two. he stood up again, tipping his hat down slightly.
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PostSubject: Re: Ëthan: The Ayalla War (IC)   Sat Dec 17, 2011 5:40 am

Leo gulped the last part of his meat, before talking again to Raoul. "Please, stop flattering me. Specially when you are so much better than I am, Mr. Raoul" he jokingly danced his finger through the hole in his pocket "I only discovered because I checked myself. I tend to suspect when someone is absent-minded enough to ignore me in a street. It's incridible how I didn't heard anything at all." In fact, Leo felt all his pockets when pointing out the street to Raoul with his other arm, since he was behing the other.

"It's very difficult to me - not impossible, you see - to be discrete. So, I must take advantage of my extravagance. Like this" he flexed his right leg and checked the cuff of his wide pants; there was a set of small hidden pockets, from where he picked two little rings, richly adorned with precious stones. "These are from the last tent; the seller comitted a mistake, showing his goods in a carpet on the ground. The poor man and the madam buying jewels were so busy looking to me and my clothes that ignored my naughty foot. People tend to forget that liannon's feet are prehensile..." He shrugged, and flung one of the little rings to Raoul.

Érberus sighed, and spoke for the first time. "I don't distrust you because of what you did. As you can see, my companion has his own lack of good character, and I'm used to it." Hearing that, Leo sticked out a very long tongue, like a grumpy child "But you can still prove you're trustworthy, who knows? You still have your own secrets." he quickly glanced to Raoul's hat, but didn't make a move to touch it. "I am Érberus Dion Allender, but you can call me as you prefer" he gave a quick bow, before continue walking.

"--You won't eat meat again for some time" Erberus whispered very quietly to Leo, knowing that the sensitive ears of the other would catch his words. He ignored that Raoul could have ears just as sensitive. Surprisingly, the liannon didn't complain, his ears dropped slightly and his satisfied expression was now less funny.
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PostSubject: Re: Ëthan: The Ayalla War (IC)   Sat Dec 17, 2011 8:04 am

Raoul smiled, dropping the amazed traveler act "clever, very clever." he smiled, catching the ring. he at first seemed to be tucking it into his pocket, but instead he withdrew the ring and coins he stole. he tossed them back to Leo, still grinning.
"i always return what i've taken if someone catches me in the act" he explained. "through years of training i've learned to do my job very well... and adjust my tactics for those who have a heightened sense of hearing, like you. it was mostly due to your clothing choice. good for doing small tricks like you did at those stands, but it's easier for experienced people to slit your pockets within being noticed" he explained, leaving out that he learned to adjust because of his lupine ears.

Raoul grinned at Érberus "believe me, there is no man more trustworthy than a thief who has been caught red handed" as he spoke, he grabbed his hat, lifting it slightly as he moved forward to bow again. as he did, his lupine ears flattened against his head, becoming invisible beneath the locks of identically colored black hair. he moved his hat away as he bowed, revealing his seemingly lower hair. he quickly replaced his hat, preventing them from getting a very long look. once the hat was back on, his ears where able to relax. "we all have secrets, some just have varying levels of importance... though i still don't think you should punish your friend by denying him meat. yes theft is generally bad, but i can tell he had only good intentions. giving food to a stranger and displaying his skills before another thief? not necessarily bad." Raoul added, walking past them. he actually knew his way to the inn quite well, so now he was leading the way
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PostSubject: Re: Ëthan: The Ayalla War (IC)   Sat Dec 17, 2011 11:36 am

Leo seemed embarassed for the first time, something unusual. But when catching the coins and ring, he smiled, regaining his relaxed face, just slightly sadder. "No, Master Allen is not punishing me for stealing. I shouldn't eat meat frequently. In fact, no liannon should. I just slipped from my usual diet. No need to worry. And about the coins... I'll use them to pay our meal and a round of drink for the three of us, okay? So you don't inflict your moral code, or something."

Érberus just narrowed his eyes. Raoul heard what he said, so his sense of hearing was not normal, too. Although he didn't see the lupine ears under the hat, the long jet black hair was always covering Raoul's face, se he couldn't notice any human ears too. He wouldn't forget to notice that in another moment.

The group was already leaving the limits of town and approaching the Inn. Many horses were being guided to the stable, and the hall was full of activity. As they approached the counter, a gentle lady asked "How could I help you, gentlemen?"

"Please, two rooms. One for Mister Raoul here, and one for Mr. Leocad and me." Érberus answered, pointing to the respective members of the group.
"Sorry, mister. But we only have rooms with one bed each. The others are all occupied" The young lady bit her lip, with concerned face.
"It's okay, two beds are just enough." Érberus assured.
"Well, if this condition satisfy you, mister, here are the keys for both rooms. They are the last in the second floor corridor, the doors facing each other." The young lady was now used to avoid questions; many guests use their rooms just sporadically, passing some nights in the company of another person of the town. Érberus picked the keys, thanked the lady and passed one to Raoul. "If you want to check your room... we can meet again in the tavern next to the Inn."
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PostSubject: Re: Ëthan: The Ayalla War (IC)   Sun Dec 18, 2011 10:45 am

Tenebraus Ygnis, nobleman of house Ygnis, proud Liannon had been called a variety of things his entire life. He had been called headstrong, stubborn, foolish, meddlesome, convincing, and even intimidating but never once had he been called a dull stick in the mud. He was still fuming from the events of last night when the eldest of the serving women, Bitha, had invited him to join the rest of his household in venturing for the Tarvelian Fires. Tarvel was not far from their humble manor, but Braus did not like leaving the comfort of his study. Ever since the winter had grown increasingly bitter, he had been confined to his home.

He claimed the cold made his joints hurt, but truth be told, he felt a malignant force on the wind. As though the entire world had turned the enemy. It deeply disturbed him and made him angry.

As he recalled the events of the past night, he sat down in his room, preparing for his morning meditations.

The elderly serving woman had entered the room when Braus was reading on the Ayalla. The flame on the candles in the room flickered as a cold wind swept in from the hall outside. "Why is it cold in the hall, Bitha?" he had asked.

Bitha smiled and said "The stable doors are open for we plan to ride to Tarvel. Young Master, please, join us for the Tarvelian Fires, perhaps it shall help you ease your mind.

"What makes you think my mind needs easing, Bitha?" answered Braus without looking up from the scroll he held in his hands. He adjusted his reading glasses on his snout.

"I may be old, Braus, but do not mistake me for a fool. Come with us, you need this." Braus nearly winced at how Bitha had emphasized the word need. She knew him so well. What with having raised him since he was a pup.

"You are a fool for thinking I will listen, Bitha" he said gravely, looking up at the serving woman. A moment's silence hung in the air before they both broke into smiles. They both knew Braus was right. "What do you think of premonitions, Bitha?" asked Braus after a while. The woman took a stool and sat in front of the desk.

"Did you have a vision, Braus?"

"No, Bitha. I have a feeling. Whenever I go out into the cold, there is an evil in the air. As if it is a malignancy to be pruned from these lands."

"It is, Braus. This winter is not natural. But who are we but mere mortals to go up against the likes of the Gods? Nay, I say, there is something else on your mind." said the old woman, looking straight through Braus' facade.

"These Tarvelian Fires are different. It is like the winds of change are blowing. I feel they bring whispers of tragedy and sorrow. But there is hope in their words."

"Then why do you not wish to go? Is this not what you have been clamoring for? Have you consulted the dream, Braus?"

"I fear the dream has little to say about what shall transpire, Bitha. I do not go not because I do not wish to see my battle resolved. I do not go for I fear that going shall undo what I have worked hard for."

"You fear for you do not enjoy life! Come, have fun, let your worries be melted away by the fires of Tarvel even for just tonight" said Bitha.

"Have you not been listening, Bitha? Do not treat me as a child for I am no longer!" said Braus. "I will not come. There lies too much at stake."

"You are wise beyond your years, yes, but to one as old as me, you are but a child" said Bitha. "You are a fool Braus! A dull stick in the mud! Your rigidity will be your downfall. Heed my words, young one," she continued and left swiftly before Braus could explode.

Wiping the memory from his conscious, Braus breathed in and out evenly and silently cursed the winter for confining his meditation to his home. He began to dwell on the world around him. Soon, he was in the Dream.

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PostSubject: Re: Ëthan: The Ayalla War (IC)   Tue Dec 20, 2011 1:00 am

Raoul smiled, accepting the key. he took a long moment to memorize the room number, he then shook his head. "i do thank you for the generous offer, but i fear i cannot accept." he gave a sad sigh, tossing the key into the air and catching it again, he then handed the key back to the lady "perhaps this beautiful young lady could refund the money of my friends?" he smiled, making the girl blush. since Raoul had given her back the key, she didn't find much problem with giving back the money spent on Raoul's room to Érberus.

Raoul patted Érberus and Leo on the shoulders "to correct the previous statement, if you gentlemen would like to inspect your room... then i will meet you at the tavern beside the inn" he laughed, strolling out of the Inn. as usual, the thief had a trick up his sleeve. it had been as simple as distracting the girl with a compliment while he handed her a fake key with a different room number. Raoul didn't even need the key, he hadn't used a key in the past 3 years, but he didn't want her to try and rent his room out to anyone else. all he had to do was sneak into the inn (an easy task).

he walked into the tavern and on his way, picked some coins out of someone else's pocket. once inside he used his newly acquired coins to order his favorite drink... which surprisingly wasn't alcoholic. he was instead enjoying a cup of pomegranate juice. he sat back, occasionally taking a drink as he waited for his companions to join him
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PostSubject: Re: Ëthan: The Ayalla War (IC)   Tue Dec 20, 2011 5:04 am

Leo just shrugged, not yet sure about what Raoul would do, but already thinking about many creative possibilities. The liannon and the young man headed to the room and entered with their key. The room was simple, but bigger than they expected, mostly because it was nearly empty. The wood ground was very clean, and the furniture was very simple: a small wardrobe, a common bed, a little table with one chair, a console-table with fresh flowers, a tiny furnace, that also made the fashion of heater.

Leo just left his purse next to the bed. Both travelers had very few clothes, so the wardrobe was unnecessary. "Oh, the bed is always a little small, but the flowers are lovely." he smiled to the bright yellow lillies, usually cultivated in protected greenhouses, and strong enough to survive some days in the cold.

Up in the console, a very polished silverplate worked as a simple mirror. Érberus approached, distracted, not really worried to see something. He checked his spell was still perfect, a tiny effect he used to make both his eyes look brown. He didn't care about public opinion, and usually didn't hide his different eyes. But it could be more prudent be discrete in a Festival, specially when his intuitions says that. Both eyes were identical, in a particularly dull and common brown.

"We couldn't avoid a thief like our dear friend with this pathetic door. Luckily, I think he won't steal us again, and that kind of skill is rare. Argh, what I'm saying? We have nothing precious anyway." Leo said, when exiting the room again, and picking the key from his pocket.
"Not even your book?" Érberus asked."
"Yes, it's precious, but not in the way most people want or search for" The other answered, as they walked downstairs and headed to the tavern. It was not yet full, as the night only began, and they soon found Raoul. Leo asked for wine, while Érberus asked for coffee.

"So, what brings you here? The Festival? Something special?" Asked Leo to Raoul, from behing a mug of aromatic wine.
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PostSubject: Re: Ëthan: The Ayalla War (IC)   Tue Dec 20, 2011 7:23 am

Raoul sipped his juice, glad to see that they made it in a timely manner. Raoul crinkled his nose slightly at the smell of leo's wine. he had never liked alcohol in any of it's many forms, not the smell, not the taste, not the effects. he politely kept his mouth shut about that detail though, not wanting to offend the liannon.

Raoul simply shrugged "the festival of course. ever since the festival has reopened in recent years, it has added to the main travel routes of people in my profession" he avoided saying that he was a thief in such a public place. a tavern was filled with drunk people, and a thief did not want to be known in such a place, else he risk a brutal beating"i have traveled quite a distance in my time, but i always come back here for the festival. i typically don't stay long though, a man in my profession has to say on the move after all... but when i am here, there is always easy money to be made. of course, it does get rather boring, thus i am always on the look out for any interesting venture i could be partaking in" he finished his drink, placing it down on the bar.

he grinned, leaning forward "though i feel you both have a more interesting reason for being here. it matters not if you are simply travelling through, but i have seen many just like you.... you both have a look about you, like two men on a mission. tell me, what is it that you both are trying to do?"
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PostSubject: Re: Ëthan: The Ayalla War (IC)   Wed Dec 21, 2011 9:11 am

"Well, I thought the Festival was the main reason, yes..." Leo finished his first glass of wine, and started serving another dose from the bottle, thinking in a good answer to Raoul. To his great surprise, Éreberus took the word, answering first.

"We will fight the Winter"

The liannon almost spilled wine over the table when his hands moved unwittingly from the surprise, but he grabbed the bottle again without making a mess, just in time. He looked to his human friend, frowning; Érberus was usually silent and specially introverted with strangers. He never saw the other being so straightforward before, and touching this subject. Getting over the surprise, he quickly found the reason for this uncommon move: probably test Raoul. He would never care being treated like a mad man, specially in a Festival where many eccentric people meet every day. But if the other could take his affirmative seriously, he would gain points with his friend, seeming more trustworthy.

"Winter has abused the power for too long and must be stopped. All the lands suffered enough, trying to survive the eternal harsh conditions." Érberus continued, without worrying if Raoul would understand the way he refered to the Winter as a person. Leo continued drinking his wine, with concerned expression. "To keep with my plans, someone with your skills would be useful. Not only your skills with your work... but also your hearing" the last words were whispered quietly, seeming nothing compared with the noise in the tavern.

"I can give you all the money you want. And protection, if your work skills are necessary, and we have any problem. Also, you receive the blessing of seeing the true Spring, the first in centuries. I won't tell you more than this, before you give me an answer. But you have until tomorrow by night to think, if you need. However, you seem like one with quick decisions. But don't tell a word about this to anyone. My ears are not so talented, but I'll know if your tongue can't obey this simple order."
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PostSubject: Re: Ëthan: The Ayalla War (IC)   Wed Dec 21, 2011 10:02 am

Braus sat by his window, contemplating as he watched the flakes of snow fall from the lofty heights. Today was a calm day, the first in many weeks. It had always been a near-blizzard, but now, everything was at peace. He wondered if this was some sort of omen from the Gods above. Whatever it was, he could not fully wrap his head around it.

He pondered what the Dream had told him and he was met with resistance. He could make neither heads nor tails of the jumble of events that happened. But one thing was startlingly clear, the fate of the world would be decided on that very day. Whether the world would see the rains of another spring or will forever trudge towards a cold, silent death. His part in all this, he did not know, but he knew in his heart, the Dream could not lie. He knew in his heart of hearts, he wanted to be part of whatever revolution against the forces of nature would take place.

Just then the door to his room slammed open, and a red-faced Bitha strode in impudently. "Tenebraus Ygnis, get off your sorry butt this instant!" she bellowed, making him jump. He was still shocked. He had not expected the stern-faced Liannon to come barging into his room. Whatever this was, he knew he wouldn't like it.

"What is it Bitha? Is this how you treat your Lord, barging into his room unceremoniously? You forget your place, woman!" snapped Braus, rising from his seat.

"You should know very well that I know my place in the grand scheme of things, Braus. It is you who knows not your place," said Bitha, the emphasis she placed on the word your making Braus grimace. "Accompany me to Tarvel, Braus. Quickly. I feel the tides of fate changing."

"Are you daft, woman? did we not settle this last night?" said Braus, getting a little bit irritated. But his curiosity had been piqued and there was no way he was letting Bitha leave until he got the whole story.

"Well then forgive me, your excellency--" she said through gritted teeth. "--but you must know." she continued. Braus got a wistful expression on his face as she told him exactly what happened.

Bernard almost choked on his tankard when he heard the words uttered. "We will fight the winter." He had been, since childhood, cursed with acute hearing and even a ways down the bar he had heard that one line. By virtue of fate, or chance, or whatever force was at hand, Bernard heard that one line.

It so happened that Bernard was a servant of the House Ygnis, noble Liannic family. It so happened that he was Bitha's mate. He had come to the tavern to drown his sorrows over being unable to sire any pups and instead he had happened upon the one thing that probably was the cure to his Lord's grievances. He mumbled a quick apology to the Tavern owner and fled its smokey confines.

He sought out Bitha, not that the Liannon woman was hard to find even in the thick throng. He told her of what he had heard and she nearly laughed at him. "Are you sure you're not simply drunk, Bernard?" she said, chuckling even.

"Bitha! You know me, I do not kid when I am drunk! Now let's do away with this silly banter and head to the master's house!" he insisted.

"What makes you so sure, Bernard?"

"Who would say such a thing in a public place, Bitha?" said Bernard in a hushed voice. "It was the way he said it, devoid of emotion, of laughter or sadness. He simply said it. There was only conviction on his voice" he whispered.

Bitha knew enough to trust her mate when it came to these matters. "Stay here, keep an eye on this young man you speak of. I'll talk to Braus."


Braus was at the crossroads of destiny. Little did he know that the decisions of him and others like him on that fateful day would decide the fate of the world. As for him, his decision would eventually lead to the end of the Eternal Ice. "Let's go, Bitha. Is my horse saddled?"

"Yes" answered the older Liannon. Braus had already left the room. She smiled to herself, hopeful she would see the turning of the season.
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PostSubject: Re: Ëthan: The Ayalla War (IC)   Wed Dec 21, 2011 11:49 am

Raoul smiled, sitting back in his chair. he was silent for several seconds before he laughed, leaning forward towards Éreberus
" i can certainly see why you might have need of my skills, but you already have someone of better hearing than I" he gestured at leo. "his ears are naturally better, mine have merely been... enhanced with a little magic, but that's beside the main point" he said, his hand flicking the side of his wide brimmed hat. if Éreberus had been looking closely, he would see something twitch amongst Raoul's black hair.

Raoul leaned closer, whispering now. he made sure that only Leo and Éreberus could hear them (with human hearing anyway) "so... you wish to fight the winter, to end it's power hungry reign... yes, i am well versed in the ancient tales of how the seasons are supposed to work... well sir, i find your cause to be perfectly noble... and you are right, i am not one to waste time with important decisions. you have just gotten yourself a thief" he grinned, leaning back and talking more freely " as for money, i require none. believe me i can make more money walking through a street than you two could if you sold everything you own. though protection is one thing i do need. a man like me rarely encounters trouble, but on occasion things do happen. certain spells have been known to get me in trouble. though do not worry of me spreading the word to much, men like me learn to keep a secret at a young age." with that he stood up, tossing a coin onto the bar for a tip.

"finish you drinks gentlemen, i'll be waiting for you at the Inn, there we can talk more privately... and as a special treat, i'll show you why my hearing is so fine tuned... as i can tell, you are quite curious" he added, then quickly exited the tavern. he had good reason for leaving, a few people where starting to look at him, people he had robbed only a few hours before. a quick exit was usually a good idea
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PostSubject: Re: Ëthan: The Ayalla War (IC)   Thu Dec 22, 2011 7:57 am

The bottle of wine was completely empty, and a slightly groggy liannon was just behind it. Leo turned to Érberus, smiling malicious. "You just fished a good one. This boy can certainly be a good ally. Specially when we find the key. I'm sure he could grab it."

Érberus finished his coffee, but waited a little longer at the table; he could raise suspicion following Raoul so quickly. "Yes, and not only this ability is useful. The fact that he can easily hear us--"
"Hear you..." the liannon corrected.
"-- yes, it doesn't matter, hear me, even from far or quietly... and even more important, if he's really planning to tell a secret, this means..."
"He already trusts in us. At least, in some degree." the liannon grinned.

Érberus always liked the way his friend could easily catch the things, and deduce the rest. When he made mention to get out, the other stopped him with a hand on his arm, smiling once more. "I'd like to warn you that someone else reacted to your story. Another one, from my people, stood really fast and exited the tavern. He was not really discrete, that's why I heard him. I believe he will tell this... we should be aware, if he brings another ally, or a foe"

Érberus nodded. He gave no secret information to Raoul yet, so the stories about it would still be pretty harmless. "Thank you." The young man said, exiting and waiting for the other to get up.
"You have nothing to thank, that's my duty, master Allen. Oh, I'd like to inform you that I'm only drinking alcohol because I know we won't leave so soon. I'd never drink on a mission with you, master Allen." Leo said, with a possibly fake expression of gravity.
"Don't worry, I don't mind you being drunk, Leo. In fact, you're quieter like this."
As an answer, Leo showed his long tongue for the second time on this same day.

"He's also a little mistaken about the money you could gather selling your goods. It's not that I dislike his generous and proud nature, I like the things bargained. But only your vases... they are, uh, three-hundred years old?"
"Four hundred"
"Yes, four hundred years old... anyway, these vases would worth a small fortune."
"Probably"

The two men entered the Inn, nodded to the young lady at the counter, and headed to their room. They opened the door, and waited for Raoul, not yet sure about where he would appear.
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PostSubject: Re: Ëthan: The Ayalla War (IC)   Thu Dec 22, 2011 12:10 pm

Raoul calmly stepped into the room, closing the door behind him with his foot. he did not speak at first, but instead paused to pull out a small throwing knife and clean the blood off it with a small cloth from his pocket. he then replaced the blade, putting it among many others in a holster hidden by his overcoat. he looked at the both of them and smiled "oh don't worry i didn't kill anyone. just gave a few drunken idiots a nice new scar to talk about... they started it" he added.

" to start things off, i merely want to say... if we are going to be working together, i am going to have to trust you to some degree and you will have to trust me. as i sign that i am putting trust in you, i will tell you my secret. it's not something i show off, for obvious reasons" with that he quickly removed his hat. at first, there was nothing interesting to be seen, only Raoul's black hair. but then, his lupine ears twitched into an upright position, making them well known.

"yes, these where a nice little curse put on me well i was an arrogant young boy. i've learned that they are a curse and a blessing. the heightened hearing is a blessing, but i have to keep them hidden all the time. mostly it looks strange, but even worse, some people think having the ears of a wolf is a sign of lycanthropy. i've gotten chased out of several small towns because my ears where showing... personally i don't even know or care if werewolves do exist or not" he rambled, taking seat in the small chair next to the smaller table. his ears twitched periodically as he talked, but he took no notice.

"right... now that we have that out of the way... are we going to discuss your plans for fighting the winter"
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PostSubject: Re: Ëthan: The Ayalla War (IC)   Fri Dec 23, 2011 9:45 am

Érberus reacted to Raoul's ears and story just slightly raising his eyebrows, and listening politely. Leo had a hard time, being a little high from the wine, to control himself and avoid giggling; the small black ears seemed cute to him. To his luck, Érberus started talking again, being more communicative than he has been on the late months.

"Thank you for the vote of confidence. Now it's my turn. Both your hearing and reliance are precious, because only with that I can operate my magic on most ways. I'm not skilled in magic, but I was way better a long time ago. Now, most of my little spells are centered in sounds. Specially, but not strictly, my voice."

To illustrate what he just said, he raised his palm in front of his face and emited a special noise with his mouth. It was not like a human voice; it seemed more like a musical instrument, coming from the deep of a cave. A mix of wind, metal and echo. His palm slowly reacted, firstly becoming dark, the fingers growing slightly. Soon, the skin became dry and rigid, and the hand assumed the aspect of a tree branch, but unnormaly flexible. Érberus tried out all fingers, and the thin sticks moved. "To modify something, specially living and sentient beings, my magic must be heard. Even unconsciously or during the sleep. And I cannot create, just transform." His palm slowly returned to normal, and he looked to Raoul again.

"Another thing that facilitate my magic is the confidence. I can't touch a strong-minded creature without his or her permition. If you need my magic to help you, increase any ability, or even change slightly your body, you must trust me, allow me to do so. That's also the proof I'll never enter your mind or transform you when you less expect it; you can easily feel my presence close to you if I'm using magic, and only your permition will give me the chance to try. But I can't give absolute assurance about the effects. I still have many limitations. I'll avoid using magic if I can"

Leo, grinning and listening to the explanation, interrupted his friend. "That's a reason he keeps an annoying and noisy liannon close to him. I can easily hear master Allen, and I trust him completely and unreservedly" Érberus, raised only one eyebrow this time.

"Now that you know your allies a little more, I want to know how far you want to go. There are, undoubtedly, great risks. If you know the legends, as you mentioned, you know we won't fight a small power. You can end this is more than just lupine ears." Érberus glare was intense, and his voice, controlled, but powerful. For the first time, the young man's presence filled the room, and his aspect was solemn, nearly regal. A strong aura, growing much more than a common traveler could achieve. The invitation was in the air.
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PostSubject: Re: Ëthan: The Ayalla War (IC)   Sat Dec 24, 2011 1:02 pm

Raoul smiled, rather impressed by Érberus' impressive abilities. he sat back with a happy sigh "hah... if only i had skills like that. the ability to even slightly change my appearance at will? it is the dream of any thief... but it is most likely for the best that few if any thieves have such a power. " he mused, absentmindedly scratching behind his right ear. "your skills are very impressive, especially in comparison to my magical skills... the most i can do is make sparks to help get a fire going on harsh winter nights, and often barely that!" he laughed.

focusing on the subject and becoming serious, he continued "now i can fully understand why you would ant someone who has both my hearing and talent. you need people you can trust, who trust you, and can also hear you at a distance. it is a rather interesting situation... though i am in high doubts i'll ever need you to enhance my abilities, it might happen so that is quite helpful... changes to physical appearance though, i plan to test the very limits of that... oh so many ideas, i'll need to create a list of basic ideas. perhaps an easy and discreet system of signals i can give you to request a certain change at a particular moment? shouldn't be hard to do... though i would like to know, have you yet found a limit on how far you can change a person, even with their full consent? this are things i need to know... feel free to demonstrate on me or Leo, he is drunk so i doubt he will mind..." Raoul rambled, up out of his chair and pacing now.

"good sir... your attempts to frighten me or at least make me think twice fail miserably... facing creatures of legend? doing battle with powerful forces? why... this is the kind of thing that only happens once in a lifetime... no not even a lifetime, once in a millennium! you sir have my word and my undying loyalty. i will be with you two to the bitter end" he reached into his overcoat and withdrew his favorite blade, a 12 inch dagger. first he pointed the tip at himself, making a small X in the air above his heart. he then cut the palm of his free hand, not deep, just enough to bleed and leave a scar. he winced, taking out a piece of cloth and cleaning the blade, then holding the cloth in his cut hand, to soak up the blood "argh... ignore that... just a way a thief makes a promise. as we are known for being a distrustful lot, should we make a promise that we intend to keep, we always give ourselves a nice little scar to make sure we don't forget it... not exactly a blood oath, no that would be strange... just a way i can remember to keep my word. also, if your making a long lasting deal with a good thief and he/she doesn't do something like this, don't trust that person" he advised, very calm for someone who intentionally slit their palm open
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PostSubject: Re: Ëthan: The Ayalla War (IC)   Sun Dec 25, 2011 1:39 am

Éreberus frowned when Raoul cut his own hand, but the expression eased, and the corners of his lips moved a little showing a rare half smile. "This action was unnecessary. I could have marked you, if you wanted to. But now I can't cure your hand properly. Just accelerate the proccess slightly." The wound would soon close, leaving the small red mark of a recent cut, and then white, as most old scars. "Thank you for the trust."

Leo was on the bed, his back resting on the wall and the eyes half closed, but still listening. Érberus was standing since he entered the room, and seemed that he wasn't tiring his legs. "This magic is not impressive. About the limits... there are many. But the major one is: nothing in my magic is permanent. That's why I can't revert your ears to normal ones. Now, some years passed since you received this curse, so this condition can be considered your normal state. I can alter it for some time. The longer the time, more energy is consumed. This energy may come from me, or also from the one affected. You could share your energy to make an effect last longer." He explained, sure that Raoul could easily understand him. It was good to deal with cultured people.

Leo started talking, maybe because he wasn't used to hear Érberus speaking so much in a row. "This energy is not the one you use everyday for your common activities, and you regain resting or eating. It's magic energy, or 'mana'. Each being has it's own source of mana, but it changes greatly. One can find ways or rituals to enhance one's capacity to store this magic. Even though you have little skill in magic, you can have a lot of mana in you. If you run out of mana completely, you're unable to create any magic effect, and yes, you feel tired. If you insist in magic... this can end in scary effects. The magic can go terribly wrong. And the energy used is your own life-spam. Literally, you age faster."

The liannon stretched his arms and shook his head to ward off the fatigue. "Master Allen never tested his limits, and I volunteered myself many times. But he insists it's too dangerous." He lifted his eyes to the human, smiling with an expression hard to read. Maybe some admiration? "Indeed, it's too dangerous. Alter only the appearence is not so hard. You change only some characteristics, usually the superficial ones." He intoned that weird sound again, and his right hand became wood, once more. "If you touch, you can feel real wood. But I still can move it, feel it. It has bones, nerves, flesh inside." He touched his palm on the tip of the blade Raoul used. At first, a little crack from the wood being pierced. Then, a small drop of blood.

"I can change it to real wood, but with no nerves, it would be moveless. And if I lose it, even without feeling, I would never place it back. That's a risk. Superficial alterations, like skin tone, hair, eyes, are pretty easy. Change the height or weight, not so much harder. I can change you to be 8 feet tall. But if it was only the appearance, you would still have your own strenght, and not the one of a giant this size. To transform you into a real giant of 8 feet tall, I'd need a lot of mana. I don't know if I could create this effect, and I'll hardly try. More questions?"
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PostSubject: Re: Ëthan: The Ayalla War (IC)   Tue Jan 03, 2012 11:13 am

Raoul flexed his hand quickly, admiring the new little mark for a moment. he nodded, pacing as he absorbed all the details about Éreberus' abilities. he ran a hand through his black hair, feeling the sides of his ears " indeed indeed... i highly doubt i will be in requirement of such drastic changes, and i would prefer to remain my current height and weight for most of this process. the most i will require is simple things, changes of color to the hair or eyes, maybe changes to the shape of the nose; on occasion a more drastic change might be called for... aging my appearance by a few years shouldn't be that hard to do... as a final question, how hard is it for you to stack changes and control the speed at which they happen" Raoul sat back down in his chair, trying to think of an example.

"say... if it was a full moon night and i wanted to scare off a few guards by making them think i'm turning into a werewolf. how hard would it be for you to give me lupine eyes, fangs, claws, and a bit of fur; in that order, and at a very slow rate? it was clear to see that Raoul was very interested in Éreberus' abilities and all the possible uses. he was rarely one to ask alot of questions, but in this case he wanted to know exactly what he had to work with.
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PostSubject: Re: Ëthan: The Ayalla War (IC)   Thu Jan 05, 2012 1:50 am

Érberus raised an eyebrow, thinking about the slightly humurous situation, and the creative plans of Raoul. "Yes, I could change you. Slowly or quickly. If only externally - without the superhuman strenght and agility of a proper werewolf - I could keep you like this for nearly two hours. Including those skills, around 30 or 40 minutes. More than that could be tiring and dangerous, except if you share your own energy, making the effect last a little longer. Your mind would be preserved during all the proccess; but you could be assaulted by a little drive of wolf instinct, the closer you get to a real werewolf. Nothing overwhelming, I presume."
Leo, who seemed already half asleep, spoke with his eyes closed. "Yes, yes... real werewolves do exist. They are troublesome, those little furry guys... and girls. Well, not so 'little', in fact." He yawned, before continuing. "You never talked this much, master Allen. Specially about your magic... I don't see you using it very often. Except that thing, you know?"

Érberus, imperturbable, explained. "I think we will hardly have the time to explain all this in a slower pace. I still have one point to resolve. And about the thing--" The young man snapped his fingers, making the wood hand change back, but it wasn't the only one. His dull brown eyes also changed; the left one was hazel, and the right in a deep green, both brilliant and intense, like a bird of prey during it's hunt. "Different from Leocad, I like discretion. I just change them. But about my last important point: as I mentioned before, my magic is powered by sounds, and my voice is the main vehicle for this".

"In order to make an effect last longer, you must hear my spell completely, and it will take some time. In special cases, I can create an effect quickly, but I'll need to make more and more little spells to keep it running. So, you can choose: you can hear the magic for some minutes, and enjoy the results, or hear some seconds in every five minutes, for example, or the magic will end prematurely. To make it really safe, you should't get too far from me, considering your auditive range, if you feel the effect is passing. Do you want to try?"
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PostSubject: Re: Ëthan: The Ayalla War (IC)   Thu Jan 05, 2012 4:17 am

Rauol nodded with his usual smile. Leo confirmed his suspicion about the existence of werewolves, he had never actually seen one... But he figured on his journey he might encounter one. He briefly considered the idea of being a werewolf, after all  he had lupine ears and slight wolf like instincts for years. As most legends on if the condition was actually contagious via magic or bite wounds, he wasn't sure if he would get the chance or want the chance. He guessed the entire was more of a curse than a blessing.

Raul shook his head, clearing his thoughts. He laughed, giving a dismissive wave " I doubt we will ever need to push the transformation very far. The few you have seen my ears called me a werewolf over that and ran off... And then they gathered a mob and ran me out of town" he rolled his eyes in an annoyed fashion, but continued "for someone to actually see me changing even just as far as fangs and fur, should be enough to scare anyone away"

Rauol raised an eyebrow at Éreberus' true eyes, but nothing more. He wasn't all that surprised, but he was impressed. The intensity of the eyes gave him the look of a hunter and, in Raoul's opinion, a born leader. He didn't comment though, he didn't see a reason to do so.

At this point Raoul stood up, dusting off his pants slightly "I'm afraid that further discussion will hardly be necessary. I doubt now will be the time to try out your abilities, I have seen your powers already. I have faith in your abilities, so we can leave all that for when we actually need to put it into practice. It is dreadfully late and we have talked enough... And your drunk friend is already half asleep. I do believe that I shall retire to bed as well. Good night gentlemen, I shall see you in the morning... And if I'm not in my room, I'm either 'working' or in the tavern. If I am working, I will find you" with that he stood and existed the room.
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PostSubject: Re: Ëthan: The Ayalla War (IC)   Thu Jan 05, 2012 7:53 am

"Good night, mister..." It was not Érberus, but Leo who answered Raoul. The liannon's back was sliding down the wall, but his half-closed eyes were shining, as he was not as drunk or slow by the lack of rest as he seemed at first. "The guy is really smart. He will get the key to you, I'm sure..."

Érberus looked back to the liannon, uncomfortably sitting on the bed, and permited a slight expression of affection pass through his cold feature. "Get some sleep." The other nodded, and took a better position, reclining on the bed, his feet on the air for he was too tall for human's beds. He didn't change his travel clothes. He would take a bath and dress properly on the next morning, being far too exhausted to worry about that; soon, Leo was softly snoring. Érberus took off his glasses, and put them on the table. They were traveling through a whole week, and his ally rested no more than four hours per night, and without a real bed.

Érberus wouldn't sleep this night. He couldn't remember the last night of real sleep... a night of nightmares, the only thing he was sure. During the night, when he was back home, he could study, paint, compose. Think, plan. Remember. The young man approached and sat on the chair, hearing the sounds of the Festival. People dancing around the fire, the young men offering flowers to the maidens, inviting for a dance. They would dance together, and if a maiden was pleased with the dance - and, specially, the male dancer - they would offer a small colorful ribbon, making a bow around the partners arm. From there, a new love could appear... or a new story for the foolish men competing with more and more ribbons. Both humans and elemands now shared these little gifts among there people.

Érberus could guess all this from the distant sounds, sitting on his chair, in the Inn outside the city. His eyes, never closed except for the instantaneous blinks, always shining with that strange intensity, had no dark circles nor wrinkles. No visible sign of fatigue. But no one, when looking deeply into those eyes, could say they were not tired.

~~~~~

Inhumanly fast. No sound. A pale form running free through the forest, so softly that his bare feet left no prints on the recent snow. It was unnaturaly agitated, and the cold air could easy the humor. And near the creature, the air was even colder. Gelid enough to freeze and kill the plants nearby.

A lake was directly in front of the creature, but it didn't slow the pace. When the first foot touched the water's surface, a little portion of ice appeared, giving support for the fugacious steps. It crossed the entire lenght in mere seconds, and only stopped when arrived at the top of a hill nearby. No signs of tiring, and the same irritation. Maybe it was time to take proper providence about him. He lived too much already. And about the key he was also trying to find. Could a minion do the work? Should the Winter take this artifact itself?

The creature felt the cold wind passing. Only by it's pure desire, a new storm started to fall from the heavy clouds, bringing rain and snow. But the creature couldn't suffer from the ice bites.
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PostSubject: Re: Ëthan: The Ayalla War (IC)   Thu Jan 12, 2012 5:04 am


"Where is this man who dares speak against the winter, Bitha? Or is this just another of your ploys to get me down to Tarvel?" asked an irate Braus after a long ride to Tarvel in the bitter winter. "If this is, then I'll be heading back"

"Do not be impatient!" snapped Bitha, surprising Braus. Neither of them had seen the other so agitated all their lives and it was getting on their nerves. "We have just arrived Braus, we must ask Bernard."

They dismounted their horses in front of the tavern that Bitha had mentioned. They tied the harnesses securely to the post. Braus knew better than to simply trust that the post would protect their horses from theft. He set a small magical trap around the post, muttering the incantation beneath his breath. It would give anyone who dared set their hands on the reins a healthy dose of poison ivy.

Bitha pushed the door open, letting out the music and revelry into the swirling snow for a moment. Braus wrinkled his nose and followed her in. They found Bernard sitting sulkily at one of the tables, drinking a tankard of mead. "Bernard!" she yelled, slamming her fists on the table, making Bernard choke on his drink.

"Calm down woman!" he said, motioning for them to take a seat. Braus gingerly sat on the rough wooden stool and clasped his hands together. Bitha remained standing.

"Where?" fumed Bitha. Bernard winced at his wife's beady gaze and placed the tankard of mead slowly on the table.

"They went to the Inn. I tried to follow them, but the innkeeper would not let me in." said Bernard dejectedly.

"Thank you, Bernard" said Braus, knocking the stool to the ground as he stood and began to walk briskly towards the door. A few minutes later they were at the inn and he flashed two gold coins underneath the innkeepers nose. The pudgy man was more than happy to let him in and gave him the directions to the room he desired.

"Stay here, Bitha" he said simply. The woman nodded in compliance. He ascended the stairs and stood before the door of the room that held either the redeemer of the world or just another poor mislead soul. He knocked loudly and for a moment that knock was the only sound that existed in the world. It bounced down the corridor and back. It was eerie, as though fate was converging at that very moment. Braus took a deep breath.
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Kyrion
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PostSubject: Re: Ëthan: The Ayalla War (IC)   Tue Jan 17, 2012 9:12 am

Leo was the one who opened the door. It took mere seconds from the end of the knocking sound, and the echo was still audible; the liannon woke up from his nap, catched his glasses and opened the door before his human master could make a move from the chair. Not that Érberus would move at all, for he was rather abstracted. Leo's pose was impeccable, but the somnolent expression was not so easy to dissemble.

"Good evening, mister. How could I help you?" Leo intentionally ignored the hour; soon, he would say 'good morning' just as naturally. His body did little to block the room's view, and Érberus could see the stranger. The solemn liannon seemed determinate, with resolute intentions, not exactly friendly, neither agressive. He didn't mask his eyes, and observed the visitor with his intense and baffling colors.

The room, although warm, was suddenly uncomfortable and eery. The invisible tension reached a peak, when two complete strangers were ready to test each other's value, in more than one concept. Even the sleepy Leo could feel that the visitor was not there by mistake or luck, but fate indeed.
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