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Yulgar's Inn: The Legend Returns!

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12/3/2014 16:45:47   
Ronin Of Dreams
Still Watching...

"Ah, Yulgar's Inn, a most fantastic place to stay. The building itself sits as an unassuming edifice, standing two-stories tall but no more ornate than any of the other buildings of shingled roofs and tastefully stained wood. A simple cloth banner advertises its state as an Inn, reinforcing the simple elegance of the place. The doors are stout, thick oak bounded with strips of iron, but this is to be expected. It is Battleon, after all, site of a number of invasions in the past. Tis good to be prepared. They do open at the slightest pressure, making one wonder if they are meant to keep chaos out, or chaos within..."
~Arcadius Corosco

As the door opens wide, the first impression that strikes any visitor isn't the sight of Yulgar's impressive physique working behind the bar, nor Hans flitting about with restorck or serving orders of food to patrons, nor even the sounds of cheer and conversation coming from the dining area beyond. No, the first impression is that of the doorway itself. It taunts the mind with its simple nature and purpose. That it is the Way through which one comes through the Door, and therefore enters the Inn. A curiousity that, to the normal visitor, is easily dismissed by a simple greeting coming from either Yulgar or Hans. Then the waves of sound from assembled laymen, smiths, and workers wash over the average visitor, embracing them with the busy business of relaxation.

Even some adventurers and guardians have made their way to Yulgar's Inn, but still there are plenty of spaces at the round tables left open for anyone wishing to strike up a conversation. Extra chairs lay against the walls as a small fire gleefully dances in the confines of a hearth, filling the room with an extra aura of pleasant warmth. With rooms upstairs for the asking, and the price of a meal a mere three gold, its the type of Inn one can make themselves cozy in without much difficulty.

As for those wishing to make a name for themselves...now that is the true secret behind the success at this most seemingly simple Inn.
AQ  Post #: 1
12/10/2014 21:25:59   

Kitsandra's vision was fading in and out and the landscape looked hazy to her, but it felt familiar to her.

Kitsandra was in a lightly forested area a good two hundred yards away from a decent-sized town. The town itself was on a well known trade route to Battleon. Large patches of open meadow were scattered throughout the immediate area. The forest increased the further east you went, away from Battleon, and decreased the further west you went, closer. While traveling to Battleon Kitsandra stayed on the outskirts of town, just far enough away so that she wouldn't be seen but close enough that she could see the route and follow it.

Kitsandra had been traveling for sometime now, going from town to town, to somehow find a way to remove the magically induced void placed of her memories that anything to do about where she came from and the people she called family; or the person who placed the spell on her for that matter. The only thing she can recall is her birth and the associates of her family. Hiding out in taverns and apothecaries or mages houses, as a bat, she searched for any information that might give her some sort of clue. So far Kitsandra has come up with nothing and this last town was a dud as well. Deciding not to waste anymore time, after a short rest, Kitsandra thought it would be best to skip over the small towns and villages and head straight to Battleon. She was sure at least someone in such a well known human town could help her or known the nature of the spell blocking her memories from her and why she can't do away with the spell herself.

Kitsandra turned to face a thicket to her right. "Something tells me that a creature will attack me from there." Moments later and a very angry and very hungry bear came charging out of the thicket, straight at Kitsandra.

Sure enough, hardly a second had passed until and arrow flew into the bear's eye. The animal roared in pain as its legs buckled and it fell to the ground. To her right, a man came running toward her; bow in hand. He stopped as he saw Kitsandra walk up to the downed bear, which was trying to get back to its feet, and blast strange magic in its head. The bear fell back down for good this time, blood coming out from its nose and ears. Kitsandra heard the stretching of the man's bowstring again, though this time the man's bow was aimed at her. Kitsandra's magic no doubt made him stop and notice that the wings on her back were to life-like to be fake. He would try to kill her now, just like every other human who realized what she was. As she stared at the man, waiting for the moment to strike back, he foolishly aimed his bow to the ground and let loose the arrow into the dirt. Kitsandra felt herself take a step back and question the man.

"What are you doing? Why aren't you attacking me? I'm your kinds' enemy, am I not?"

"I can't attack a child. Even if you are a vampire." The man shook his head in defiance to Kitsandra's prompting.

At first Kitsandra stood there confounded, staring at the man, but soon anger started to build up in her.
“Are you saying that just because I look like a child I'm not a threat? That kind of reasoning will get you killed one day.”

The man shook his head. “That's not what I meant and even if it is dangerous it's just my belief.” “Wh...doin....out here...?” Kitsandra's vision started to fade in and out once more as the man spoke. “Where...y..home...?

“I can't remember where I'm from or how to get back.” Kitsandra replied to the man, though she wasn't sure if he could hear her. “I'm traveling to recover my memories. And what about you?”

“.....enjoy nature more...” His choppy explanation came back. “Headed back to Battleon...job as bod...ard....to the woods.” The man stopped for awhile and then spoke more nonsense to Kitsandra. “I'll help you get back your memories.”

“Wh-what?” Kitsandra mouth hung open slightly as she took a small step back. She didn't seem to care that her vision had readjusted itself. “Why would you do that? What's in it for you that you'd go out of you're way to help me?”

“Logically speaking, nothing.” The man said plainly. “But I can't just let a child travel around here by themselves. Plus I'm sure you know that the people around these parts aren't too fond of vampires.”

Kitsandra closed her eyes in annoyance to the man's 'child' remark, but kept a straight face. “You being the exception?”

The man laughed. “Me being the exception.” He said, as he placed the bow over his shoulder. “My name is Aerin, what's yours?”

Kitsandra stood there in silence for a few moments before she finally opened her eyes and answered him. “Kitsandra.”

“Huh?” The man, who called himself Aerin, seemed to miss Kitsandra's name or wanted her to repeat it.

“Kitsandra. My name is Kitsandra.”

“Kitsandra, huh.” Aerin mulled the name over in his mind. “Ok, then Kit it is.”

Kitsandra's eyes widened as anger showed visibly on her face now. “I am a powerful vampire, not a child.” She said as took a few steps forward and placed her right hand on her chest. “Don't mock my name by giving me an odd human nickname! I am the Queen of Illusions and-”

“So you do have emotions? Alrighty 'Little Queen', how about we set up camp first?”

Kitsandra gritted her teeth. This man infuriated her to no end but she could tell his words were honest. “Fine.” She muttered as she followed him. Walking Kitsandra felt a slight pain in the back of her head as her vision faded completely to black.

The floor was shaking as Kitsandra opened her eyes. Her back was against the floor and she stared upwards towards and white, canopy-like covering. Kit was riding in a caravan headed to Battleon; the inside of said caravan was quite dark. The only source of light came from a crack in-between the drapes that covered the backside of the caravan and a small opening at the front where the driver sat steering the horses. Kit's head was facing the drapes and straining to peer in-between the drapes, she could tell it was still day, however, due to the lack of light, in was close to the later hours of the day. Sitting up Kit rubbed her eyes and looked around. The caravan wasn't big, but it was made for traveling purposes and was built to accommodate five to six people at once. It was a bit tight for her wings but it was manageable since the caravan was empty besides her and the presence of one other.

“Awake now?” To her left was Aerin sitting on a large, rectangular, wooden crate. Checking the equipment, he had a bow in his hand that he was restring. Kit laid back down and closed her eyes. Placing the back of the right hand on her forehead, Kit answered Aerin in a soft and tired voice.

“Yeah..” A dream, that's why the place felt so familiar. “That's right, we've been traveling together for a week and a half now. Aerin decided that we should head to Battleon by caravan three days ago.”

"...Although I still feel that checking out those smaller towns was a waste." Kit thought aloud purposely, though Aerin acted as if he didn't hear her.

A moment later and Kit understood what had awoken her. One of the caravan's back wheels hit a bump in the trail and lifted Kit's head in the air, causing it to come crashing down on the floor. “Ow...” Kit sat back up, now fully awake, and rubbed the back of her head. Aerin laughed a bit at this, which caused Kit to stare at him. “What's so funny about someone hitting their head while trying to sleep?” She inquired.

“I'm sorry,” Aerin shook his head, as if to deny her statement. “It's not that. Its just little funny to see you keep that emotionless face as you say 'ow'.”

“Well, I'm sorry that this is the face I was born with.” Kit retorted as she continued to stare at Aerin who was trying his best not to laugh. Just then the diver looked over his shoulder and spoke to the two.

“This be the last stop until reach Battleon, you two getting off?”

“No, we're headed straight on through to Battleon.” Aerin answered the caravan driver as he slowed the wagon to a stop on the outskirts of a little town. “You should probably become a bat now.” Aerin awkwardly told Kit, as she was still stare at him with a straight face. “No telling if someone plans on using this caravan.” Kit sighed and seconds later the sounds of faint scratching can be heard as a silver furred bat crawled next and into a brass birdcage off to that side of Aerin's feet.

“Why must I do this?” Though the question had been asked countless times and she had received an answer countless times, Kit continued to ask every time they had to go into a town or someone join them inside the caravan.

“Don't worry.” As Aerin closed the cage's gate, he avoided the question. He had realized by now that no matter what, there would be no answer he could give that would satisfy her. “Once we get to Battleon you can move around freely. Trust me, they get stranger guests then you visiting all the time.”

“Oh?” Kit said as Aerin hoisted the cage she was in up on the crate's left side. Kit's ears pricked as she heard the sounds of gold coins being exchanged between hands. “Somebody is coming on board with us.” Her report was whispered to Aerin, who repacked his equipment and sling the restrung bow over his shoulder. The drapes opened and a male and female adventurer entered the caravan. Outside Kit could see that the sky was covered in grey clouds; it would rain soon. The two new travelers sat on the opposite side of Aerin. The female spotted Kit first. She was a tall women who wore a worn metal suit and carried a battle lance with her. She had long red hair and hazel eyes. Resting the lance's pole on her right shoulder she turned her head to face Aerin. “What an interesting looking bat you have there.”

Kit slightly tilted her head upward, waiting to hear Aerin's response.
AQ  Post #: 2
12/14/2014 14:23:18   

Precision. Patience. Perception. These were the traits of the Hunter. This is what allowed them to succeed. But then came the crunching of footsteps. Aerin loosened the grip of his bowstring, rotating his head until he could pinpoint the source of the noise. It was footsteps. The pattern was... human? A two-legged individual no doubt. He turned his head back towards the bear who had its own head cocked in the same direction as the sound. He had heard the sounds as well. But it had no patience, and therefore the bear - as a Hunter - would not succeed. It launched itself from the brush, charging at the intruder. Just when it neared its target Aerin let loose an arrow with unreal Precision. His Patience had paid off. His Perception his ally. The arrow hit straight and true, penetrating the bridge between the bear's eyes and causing it to limp down in pain.

Jumping into the open, Aerin finally caught sight of the intruder: just a young girl. Her short silver hair hung down to her shoulders, a stark contrast against the purple dress she wore. Aerin drew another arrow as he approached, ready to finish the bear off, but not before the young 'girl' unleashed a blast of unusual energy, killing the bear instantly. The act frightened Aerin to a degree, who immediately strung his arrow and aimed it at the girl.

A few moments passed as the two looked one another in the eye. A simple movement of his fingers would allow his arrow to strike the girl between the eyes, just like what happened to the bear. But he couldn't do it. Her violet eyes were unusual. Her silvery hair was unusual. Everything about her was... unusual. She wasn't normal. He aimed his bow at the ground, letting go of the string. The arrow pierced the earth a few feet away...

"What are you doing," she began, "why aren't you attacking me? I'm your kinds' enemy, am I not?"

"I can't attack a child. Even if you are a vampire." Aerin shook his head. It didn't matter what she was or where she was from. She was just a child.

The girl seemed confused at first, but anger began to set in. “Are you saying that just because I look like a child I'm not a threat? That kind of reasoning will get you killed one day.”

Aerin simply shook his head in protest. “That's not what I meant and even if it is dangerous it's just my belief.” “What are you doing out here? Where is your home?

“I can't remember where I'm from or how to get back,” she replied, “I'm traveling to recover my memories. And what about you?”

“I personally enjoy nature more. The outdoors... it is my home now. I'm headed back to Battleon, just finished a job as bodyguard, escorting someone through the woods.” The girl did not reply. “I'll help you get back your memories.”

“Wh-what?” The girl asked as if surprised. “Why would you do that? What's in it for you that you'd go out of you're way to help me?”

“Logically speaking, nothing,” Aerin admitted “But I can't just let a child travel around here by themselves. Plus I'm sure you know that the people around these parts aren't too fond of vampires.” It was just. There ws no way Aerin could live with himself if he just let this girl go off on her own, especially given her... condition.

The girl simply closed her eyes. “You being the exception?”

Aerin laughed to himself, “me being the exception.” When he felt comfortable with the girl he told her, “my name is Aerin, what's yours?”

“Kitsandra," she said after a few seconds.

“Huh?” Kitsandra was a strange name, or at least not one he was accustomed too.

“Kitsandra. My name is Kitsandra," she repeated.

“Kitsandra, huh.” After deciding the name would be cumbersome to continue pronouncing, he finally just came to a conclusion: “Ok, then Kit it is.”

“I am a powerful vampire," she began, "not a child.” She said as took a few steps forward and placed her right hand on her chest. “Don't mock my name by giving me an odd human nickname! I am the Queen of Illusions and-”

“So you do have emotions? Alrighty 'Little Queen'," he teased, "how about we set up camp first?”

“Fine.” She muttered as she followed him, but it wasn't long before she blacked out.

The two new individuals climbed into the caravan as Kit's bat form entered its cage. An armored woman looked at the cage and said "What an interesting looking bat you have there."

"It's just a bat," replied Aerin. "There's nothing particularly interesting about it." The woman nodded her head in acceptance, positioning her lance in a more comfortable position.

"Just strange is all... having a bat as a pet, don't you think?" The woman leaned forward, anticipating Aerin's answer. The man beside her leaned back, putting one of his hands behind his back. He looked to be stretching, but Aerin knew all to well he was faking. Something was definitely wrong.

Aerin ignored the woman's question and replied with his own, "might I ask where you're headed?"

"Battleon," she replied quickly, "yourself? Where are you and your... 'pet' headed?" Tension began to build in the air, Something wasn't right. Aerin let his right hand rest beside his hip, in close proximity to his dagger, just in case. The caravan hit another bump and Aerin used his left hand to stabilize Kit's cage.

"Battleon, just like yourself. I hear the hunting's good around those parts," Aerin replied, still trying to get a good reading on the two adventurers. "What exactly are you after in Battleon?"
DF AQW  Post #: 3
1/20/2015 21:06:34   

Casually, Ebony pushed the door to the inn open with his side as he walked into the building. His black robes nearly trailed across the floor as his face welled up in disgust beneath his mask, invisible to the world. A slight groan escaped him, "What a rugged dump.... So unsightly." The mage mentioned under his breath. The whole place seemed to have a homely feel to it but was just so simple. No real elegance or wit to be found anywhere, but if it had to be done it had to be done. Ebony had traveled quite the vast distance to find his way to Battleon in an attempt to try and find a willing adventurer to help him with something very important, an experiment that could only be done with someone that has high mental fortitude and willpower! And, if he wasn't able to find someone who met those qualifications, Ebony still had another much more dangerous task that he would require help for. Even if that help came from someplace like this....

The mage slowly walked across the room before finally settling down at a small table near the entrance. It seemed to be a good place to scout out people who might potentially be of use to his cause. "Now, the only problem is figuring out which people can be of use and which can be trusted...."
AQ DF MQ  Post #: 4
7/20/2015 14:05:50   

The good Mme. de la Soleil hobbled in the door and clutched her stick tightly in one claw-like hand. It wasn't that she distrusted the Inn, although that certainly didn't help. But that old gimp leg was acting up all the way here, and she couldn't afford to fall down, not in front of everyone. She would rather die than fall down. A few gray hairs drifted over her face as it sweated slightly, belying the smooth and careless facade that she put on to make the trek to her chair appear simple.

The bright yellow dress stood out against the rich brown of the comfortable inn, but the ferryman's wife did not feel the stares of the curious. She made her way laboriously over to the far corner and ordered a bite of steak and something very pale that tasted of the better times in her life. Fishing around in a pocket, she drew out a letter and scanned its lines once more. For a brief instant, her face was something terrible to behold, drawn and hard and bearing a kind of perseverance usually unknown to mortal men. The housewife sat back and closed her eyes, dreaming and hoping and praying all at once.

She ate quickly and sharply, savoring each bite for an appropriate amount of time to balance it with her hunger. It was clear this was a rare treat for her, and indeed: as Mme. de Soleil paid for the meal, she was forced to root around in her purse for the final coin; it was clear that she had none to spare. When the food was gone and at last she was alone, her hands sought out the letter again and continued to scan it.

My dear Madame,

It has come to my attention that you have been living in discomfort for a long time. I may be able to do something about that, in return for a small favor.

Yulgar's Inn, 6 o clock.

A friend

She looked up at the clock just in time to hear it boom 6 times.
DF MQ  Post #: 5
8/7/2015 15:40:09   

Two and a half hours ago.
Location: 60 kilometers west of the Maelstrom, Frigate Caedus.

It had all been going to plan. Yulgar's Inn, at 6. He'd have gotten there an hour or two early, found a nice spot to sit. Had a drink or two. Read a book. Then gone to meet their decrepit contact when it had been time. Tabs would've been able to meet up later, once she'd finally woke up.
Sleeping in was one thing, but sleeping in until 3:30 in the afternoon was a bit odd. And incredibly lazy.
That aside, it was the whole sleeping in thing that caused this whole mess.
Well. Not really. It was the whole 'staying-up-late-and-telling-the-navigation-crew-the-wrong-destination-in-her-haste-to-get-some-sleep' thing that had ruined everything. Well, probably. There was a good chance it was something else, but it was probably Fatality's fault and it was probably because of something dumb.

It wasn't the crew's fault, far from it. Vox probably should've checked whether they knew where to go, to be honest. Or made sure Tabs had told them the right destination. Or maybe he should've checked to see where they were sooner.
Sure, everything did look about the same from several thousand feet in the air, within the clouds. But even so, there were some landmarks you'd normally be able to see. Or not see, as the case were.
About 2 minutes ago, he'd stuck his head over the edge of the airship to have a quick look and had seen greenness, trees.... Coast. Battleon wasn't near a coast. And Yulgar's Inn was in Battleon, meaning that they were in the wrong place. Or Battleon had been moved by some super teleporter or mega dragon. As cool as that would've been, he doubted very much that had been the case.

As a matter of fact, they had been over water. And heading towards a bloody huge whirlpool. If he listened, Vox could make out the sound it was making over the thrum of the airship's engines and the rushing wind.
So yeah, that had been a bit of a shock. Not the worse one he'd ever had, definitely not. It was an impressive mistake though. Most importantly, not his mistake. Of that he was certain. It was rarely his fault, and he had no doubt that this time was no different from the others.

So after he'd pulled his head back on board, he'd gone through their options as he strode to the bridge.
Option number one. Call it off.
Less than an hour and a half to the meeting? With an old lady we can contact with.... maybe pigeon? Or letters wrapped around rocks? No calling that off.

Option number two. High tail it to the right coords. That was pretty much their only option.

Vox strode into the bridge. A few of the navigation crew turned around to see what was happening, then turned back to what they were doing. A few snapped off salutes, though most didn't. A couple of the non-vital posts had snoozing men in them. Vox didn't mind. He didn't exactly run the tightest of ship or care if people slacked off occasionally. It was only when they didn't follow orders, that was when he had a problem. If he did ever have a problem with incompetency, it was either when people were being dumb while being in the thick of it, really.
He walked up to the man at the helm and tapped him on the shoulder.
The man turned around.

"Yessir?" The helmsman's name was.... unimportant. Vox rarely remembered names.

"So, Mr. Helm."

"It's Leonards, sir. Corporal Walter Leonards," the helmsman said, pointing to the name tag on his breast.
Why does he have a name tag?

"Whatever," Vox continued, ignoring him. "So our destination. Where are we heading exactly?"

The Corporal made a strange face. "Uh, the El Tee said that we were heading for Paxia.”


“Yup. Yessir.”

“Did she say anything else? Did she seem to know what she was doing?”

“Nope. And as much as she normally did, I guess.”

Vox stared at the man for a bit while he processed the entire ordeal.
Paxia doesn’t even sound like Battleon.

There were a few moments of staring, during which the Corporal waited and blinked. Vox looked snapped out of it so suddenly that he flinched.

"Anyway! Admiral!"

"Uh. Did I receive a promotion, sir?"

"Even if I could, I never would!" Vox said cheerily, titling his head to the side.

"Fair enough. Um, anyway, sir?"

"We have a new, -correct- destination that we need to reach by 5:50 at the latest," Vox said, walking over to the map display.

He tapped his hand on a spot several times. A marker appeared, in the shape of a building. An inn, perhaps.

"There," he said, tapping the spot a few more times. Arrows appeared around the spot, more appearing each time he tapped.

The corporal examined the spot.

"Hmm, and that would be 5:50 in the morning, roughly 14 hours from now?"

Vox tilted his head again, his version of a cheerful-yet-not-cheerful smile.

"No, that would be 5:50, exactly 2 hours, uh," he paused, checking a clock on the wall and continued, "16 minutes and 12 seconds from now."

The corporal didn't say anything. A few other members of the crew had been listening in and were either making adjustments to the instrument panels at their stations or looking at the two men. Not one wore the bored or carefree expression they had had several moments ago.
Neither Vox or the corporal had moved, when Vox put a hand on the man's shoulder and gestured to the nav crew.

"Well, it's on you lot now. We probably shouldn't be late, so I'd get a move on," Vox said, his tone somehow even more cheerful than before.

"Um. And just, uh. How are we supposed to-"

"Firstly, I'd say we turn the ship around," Vox suggested, taking hitting a button on the side of the helm.

A loud, blaring siren blared throughout the ship. The warning for a course change or sharp, banking turn.
There was silence, save the thrum of the engines. Then activity burst around the ship as her crew leapt into action.

"Secondly, full speed. This trip might not seem that important, but it just might be. I'll be down below, seeing if there's anything else that can be done," he finished, turning and striding towards the door.

The entire ship lurched as its starboard wing rose and its port wing dipped. Caedus's engines had powered down momentarily as they changed direction.
Within a minute, they had powered up again and the thrum had risen to a high whine as they maxed their output.
The ship shuddered as it picked up speed, a roar following in her wake as she tore through the sky.


Present time
Location: 5 kilometers from Battleon, Frigate Caedus.

Their destination wasn't far now. They'd be able to make it, barely. Though they would have attracted the attention of anything or anyone within several dozen kilometers of their path here.
Vox'd ordered the nav team to bring Caedus to its closest contact range on a slower, quieter level. They didn't need all the townsfolk to be aware of their arrival, after all. Knowing Fatality, they might be well aware of their visit by the time they left.... Though hopefully not. The engines had been plenty of noise for one afternoon.

He strode down a dimly lit passageway, towards a steel door at the end.
Wonder if these lights'll be too bright as well?

Vox reached the door. It was a thick door, inset with many rivets and bolts, with a remarkably thick handle. Standard for the ship, though Fatality had taken the liberty of adding a few enchantments and things to sate her paranoia.
He rapped on it twice and waited. No response.
Two more raps.
He pressed the red gem set next to the frame, and watched it pulse for a while. Nothing from the magical doorbell either, nope.

He muttered a curse under his breath and then stood back. One foot back, heel on the floor and kicking through-

The door didn't move.

Vox stared at it for a few more seconds, and contemplating a new 'no-door' policy on the ship.
He tapped the crystal on his left shoulder.

"Uh, yeah. Natalya? You're gonna need to get us a table."

Three seconds after the clock struck 6, there was a shrill squeak followed by a thud and another squeak.
And then there were 3 crisp knocks on the door. Several more seconds passed, and then the door opened slightly. A lady with shiny, purple hair, purple glasses and a bandana around her face peeked through.
After a few seconds of assessment, the door opened fully and the purple-haired lady strode through.

The purple-haired lady walked past the bar, only stopping momentarily to nod at Yulgar, as though greeting an old friend. Ignoring the curious gazes that flickered her way, she strode on.
She continued until she reached the table at which the Madame sat, where she stopped and took out a small square of paper.
The lady appraised the paper for a few moments, occasionally glancing up at the lady seated before her.

At last, she folded the paper and tucked it away before bowing her head slightly and sitting in front of the elderly lady.
A few seconds ticked by before the purple-haired lady pulled out another square of paper.
The hastily scrawled message read:

Hello, my good Madame.

Unfortunately, our meeting will be running a few minutes late and we my carry-on apologises profusely for this.
In the meantime, while you wait, please enjoy the company of our messenger and order whatever food or beverages you like.


P.S: Seriously, I can't get her cabin door open. You might want to start eating first, we'll be down in a bit.

The purple-haired lady sat with her back straight and hands clasped on the table, and stared straight ahead.

< Message edited by Kooroo -- 8/7/2015 15:48:54 >
AQW Epic  Post #: 6
10/20/2019 12:16:32   

Sara was exhausted. She had been forced to travel on foot for the past week due to heavy storms, had had absolutely no luck hunting for food due to the same reason, and felt like she was covered in at least an inch of mud. Her wings itched, too - she had folded them away entirely at the first hint of rain to at least preserve their integrity, should she need them to make a quick escape or protect herself from the bandits that were supposedly hiding out in the area. Phasing them out of existence always did make her shoulders burn uncomfortably, as if they new a piece of them was missing. Though she hadn't seen a single hint of bandits, either. The tempest had driven all people usually travelling to shelter. All sane people, at least Sara thought as she struggled through the deluge, fighting her way to warm flickers of light that made odd smears against the dark rain, but still successfully illuminated the front of the largest building in town.

"YULGAR'S INN" cheerfully proclaimed itself in tall, bold letters over the doorway - and although Sara muttered a brief apology under her breath to whoever would need to clean up her mud-spattered footprints, she shoved her way through the Doors all the same and into the warmth and noise of the crowded inn.
AQ DF MQ AQW  Post #: 7
4/23/2020 22:54:40   

Ah, the endless bustle of the inn. Clara could hear it from outside the doors, where she stood shaking off the pink and white parasol that kept her from the worst of the storm. It would be a busy day today- rain always pulled in travelers looking for a break and a warm cup. But then again, every day was busy at Yulgar’s. And that was the way Clara liked it! The young woman had been working this job for two years now. It never got boring. There were always new stories of battle and grandeur, of outsmarting foes and exploring foreign lands. Most were exaggerated, of course, but that didn’t make them any less fun to listen to. Much more interesting than her own stories of grandeur: which, for today, included sleeping in late and feeding Harold, the stray cat, an extra piece of meat. Clara was genuinely excited about that last one. Harold was an absolute sweetheart.

But there were stories far more grand than hers through these doors. She stepped into the inn exactly two minutes before her shift started. Her boots were muddy, of course, but they seemed tame when met with the mud tracks on the stone floor of Yulgar’s. That was expected, and unavoidable. But they looked like they hadn’t been cleared in an hour. What was that new girl doing? Everyone knew on storm days you were supposed to mop the entrance every ten minutes! Clara would do it herself, but she normally went straight to waiting on tables. She’d flag down someone else to do it soon. Clara was already in her work uniform (a dark green dress with puffy sleeves and a white lacy apron), but her clunky rain boots just wouldn’t do. She made a beeline for the back closet. Up went the bulky leather coat, off came the wet shoes. They were replaced with knee-high black heels that clicked softly with her steps. She’d be lying if she denied her pleasure in the extra couple inches they gave; without them, she was rather short in stature. But that was that! Notebook in pocket, pencil in hand- what kind of adventure would she find today?
Post #: 8
5/1/2020 12:29:43   
How We Roll Winner

It was a dreary day indeed.

Dao Yulan walked down the streets of the city of Levavers. Despair hung in the air like a heavy curtain. If Levavers had been beautiful before, now it was but a scorched ruin. Actually, that was an exaggeration. The city looked miserable but at least it was still standing, compared to tragedies such as, say, Auberrac. He'd been in modern battles before and had seen bloodshed, but still, the viscerality of lower-tech wars never failed to make him cringe.

It had been two weeks since he had arrived on Aruzon. Four months earlier, the forces of Hollow Lake had arrived on Aruzon's coasts, accompanied by Hae Iseul, Long Shewang, and Sariel Shadowlight. Their mission: to liberate Aruzon from the mysterious force that kept the eternal flames of perpetual war raging unending. The people of Aruzon had not taken their arrival lightly. Although from what he had heard, a single naval battle with Sariel's ship, the Winged Victory, had promptly defused the situation.

Yulan shook his head and continued. He wasn't nearly as ragged as the civilians, but fortunately there were few on the streets to give him or his very unsubtly displayed weapons strange stares.

Yulan stopped suddenly. He had been in this city for only three days, but like any good shinobi, had long scouted and studied most of it. And surely, he would have known if there was construction of a new inn along Levavers' main street.

Yulan frowned. Yulgar's Inn . . . He'd never seen nor met a "Yulgar" before, but somehow, the sign gave him an unsettling sense of deja vu. Also unlike the rest of the depressing gray city, this inn seemed to be bustling with activity. The glow of light from the windows cheerfully beckoned him.

Why not, he thought. Yulan strode to the door and walked in. Warmth and light washed over him, with the wonderful aroma of food and drink wafting through the air. His mood lifted instantly.

I really needed this break, he thought, smiling to himself.

AQ DF MQ AQW Epic  Post #: 9
5/2/2020 23:15:01   

Sara relaxed almost instantly as she stepped through the doorway, warmth seeping into her muscles as the tension across her shoulders loosened. She allowed herself a moment to just breath, taking in the warm smell of fresh bread and smiling and the deluge of laughter occurring as what looked like simple townsfolk swapped stories near a crackling fire.

"Did ya hear about what tha' hero did this time?"

"Oi, stop teasing, luv, you know the stories always reach you first, you gossip."

"Hey now - !"

A smile, small but genuine spread across her lips as she shrugged off her cloak, barely registered the chilly breeze across her shoulders as the door swung open and closed behind her. For once, she didn't bother looking around to catalog the inhabitants or the new entrants. Strange, to feel so welcomed in such a new place, but this inn had an air of deep-seated well being, kindness and strength built into every inch of its oaken walls. And if the muscles of... Stars Above, was that an innkeeper or a blacksmith? of the tall man behind the bar was anything to judge by, Sara was certain troublemakers would be handled efficiently.

A few strides, and Sara swung herself up to perch on a bar stool, draping her cloak over the adjacent one and leaning an elbow on the counter to catch the attention of the slight, smartly dressed maid. What a contrast her size made to the broad man pouring out mugs of cider several paces away! Tucking away her grin, Sara twirled her fingers in greeting. "Can I order from you directly, or do I need to brave Sir Muscles over there instead? I've courage enough for the bandits, but not to face the barkeep!"
AQ DF MQ AQW  Post #: 10
5/4/2020 0:10:39   
Eternal Wanderer

“Look, it’s just a little rain.”

The cloaked figure trudged through the precipitation, apparently talking to himself. “Worse back home. Heavier and colder.” He ducked under a water-laden branch, slanting his staff low to prevent it from knocking a load of chill moisture from the foliage onto his head. By his voice, the rather damp fellow could not have been much more than a boy, but he made his way through the overcast evening with a steady step - and a quiet stream of comments muttered to the clammy air. “Almost there. Over the ridge, and then…”

He paused as he crested the rise, looking at the village - more a small city really - spreading out below. For an instant his eyes, blue as a robin’s egg, glowed; they paled to a sickly yellow that deepened to a speckled amber over the course of a few seconds, his pupils stretching and narrowing, taking on a startling resemblance to the tawny, inscrutable stare of a cat. The young man’s gaze swept over the buildings with a sort of calculated consideration at odds with his boyish appearance, and the slender fingers of one hand gently drummed on the rain-slicked length of incised wood in his hand. “It’s only a…”

Stopping mid-sentence he looked up, peering through the branches toward the stormy sky as his eyes returned to a more normal appearance. “I suppose.” With a quietly exhaled sigh, he tugged the hood of his faded grey cloak a little further forward and started down toward the lights of the polis below. “Fine, fine,” the young man grumbled, using his free hand to hitch the leather satchel slung around his shoulder higher on his hip. “Clouds are looking ominous anyway.”

It turned out to be a good decision. By the time he made it to the outskirts of town the rain had picked up, cast nigh sideways by a wind that took on a whistling, keening quality as it scythed along the eaves of the nearby buildings. He grimaced, pausing a moment in the lee of a small hovel to tug the flap of the satchel at his side down hard and tighten its lacings. “Naturally… If those scrolls get damp I’ll never hear the end of it. Not to mention the samples.” The young man sighed, though a faint smile tugged at his lips as he forged back out into the blustering rain.

The city was larger than it had appeared from above, but he navigated it with all the assurance of a native, taking the turnings presented at each crossroad purposefully until he came to a halt before a handsome, low-slung building of solid timbers. “Yulgar’s Inn,” the young man mused, contemplating the sign near the door, “should serve as well as any other.”

Several sets of wooden frames were laid out near to the door, protected by the overhanging roof of the inn. Each of them featured a pair of uprights on either side of a flat board, all outfitted with short stiff bristles, and after a few seconds of consideration the young man grinned, realizing their purpose. “Rather ingenious, really.” He stepped forward, bracing a hand against the wall and using the brushes to scrape the worst of the muck and mud from his boots before taking up his staff and pushing his way through the door.

Warmth and light met him, washing over the traveler in the mingled aromas of fresh bread, rich stew, woodsmoke, and yeasty fermentation. While his eyes roved the common room, the young man took a moment to slide his staff into a waiting rack stocked with all manner of weapons common and exotic. On the other side of the entryway was a long row of pegs just about head-height above a slatted floor; perfect for receiving cloaks that might otherwise drip their loads of moisture on floors and stools that no doubt saw plenty of spills without adding more to their trouble.

The new arrival lifted the satchel slung cross-wise along his body and ducked through its strap before gently depositing it on the ground and unpinning the plain metal brooch that held his damp mantle closed. Shedding the garment revealed a young man of serviceable looks, hovering somewhere between the slightly awkward mien of a teenager and the competence of a man who knew his business. His hair, cropped to perhaps a finger’s length that hung about down in damp locks over his forehead was a blond so pale it seemed white; his eyes seemed startlingly blue as a result, flickering over the room with a strange mixture of amused intelligence and intent analysis. He was clean shaven, though that was more likely the result of his youth than any preference regarding facial hair, and he was garbed in a black vest over a formal shirt of a mottled verdigris hue and pants of simple off-white homespun.

Spotting a vacant stool at the bar, the traveler knelt, slipping the carrying strap of his bag over his shoulder again before strolling in that direction. One hand dropped to the lacing securing its flap, undoing them as he took a seat two stools over from a dark garbed woman with shoulders broader than his own. The young man nodded absently to her as he glanced up at the wall behind the bar, eyes squinting slightly. He grunted quietly, half-whispering to himself. "Too long reading in poor light..."

At the new arrival’s side the satchel stirred, flexing slightly with a very faint scrunch of parchment against leather. A few seconds later the flap lifted, pushed up from within to disclose the curious gaze of a cat. She was a delicate creature with long grey fur, looking more like a bundle of fluff than a being of muscle and bone, but she wormed her way out of her nest and stepped gracefully out onto the cloak-covered stool between the two patrons. For a moment the lithe feline’s golden gaze traveled over the common room, the triangular ears atop her head flicking and swivelling back and forth as they oriented on the sounds of various conversations or boisterous carousing. But at length the cat’s regard fell on the silver-haired woman, resting on her with the quiet intensity that came as second nature to most felines.

Distracted by his perusal of the offerings listed, it took the young man a moment to realize the cat was out of the bag. He glanced over and blinked, seeing the little feline seated primly atop the damp mantle. “Hey!” With an exasperated huff the newcomer reached over, lifting the slender cat and depositing her in his own lap. “Come on, you’re going to get your fur all over this lady’s cloak…”

Settling herself with a quiet mrowl, the grey mouser ignored her master’s admonitions, continuing to stare at the nearby woman.

For his part, the young man smiled, a touch of nerves evident in both it and his tone as he addressed the other patron. “I’m really sorry, miss. She has a mind of her own, always poking her nose into other people’s business.”
AQ DF MQ  Post #: 11
5/4/2020 11:18:51   
How We Roll Winner

For a few moments, Yulan stood awkwardly in the middle of the inn. He was about to amble over to take a seat at the bar when he noticed the rather large man behind the bar glaring at him. Yulan glanced behind him to see another arrival place his staff in the weapon rack.

Ordinarily, Yulan would not have let himself be bullied into submission, but he had come here to relax, not to start a fight. On the flip side, he would rather not find himself unarmed should things get sticky.

For another few tense moments, Yulan held his gaze against the mountain behind the bar. Although not a word was exchanged, the meaning was clear. Yulan sighed and raised his hands in surrender, then strode over to the weapon rack, unclipping the Shadowcutter and the two greatsabers from his belt and carefully placed them into the rack.

Now that he was unarmed, the mountain gave him another hard stare before turning back to his work. Yulan chuckled despite himself. He thought it would be unnerving to be disarmed, but instead he now felt quite the opposite; without his swords weighing him down, the lifting of his mood, both physically and mentally, was complete.

Yulan slid into the unoccupied stool next to the silver-haired woman, opposite the side of the stool she had thrown her cloak on. He watched as the pale-haired man's cat slid out of her satchel and smiled at the fuss she made as is customary to all cats, and her master's attempts to keep her in line. He drummed his fingers absently on the counter as he waited for his turn to order.

< Message edited by ChaosRipjaw -- 5/4/2020 15:23:16 >
AQ DF MQ AQW Epic  Post #: 12
5/7/2020 0:27:17   

Sir Muscles? Genius. Clara liked the speaker instantly. Her build and attire were common to the Inn, a rather strong-looking woman with broad shoulders and dark, thick clothing. A passing traveler with plenty of battle experience - though admittedly Clara’s assumptions had been proved wrong at times. That was what made the Inn’s patrons all the more interesting! Besides… the woman wasn’t just an ordinary adventurer. Her hair and eyes shone a gorgeous silver. Clara wanted to reach out and touch it. Maybe it was actually metal, she’d seen that once here. But randomly touching a patron’s hair was definitely a bad idea. So she gave the girl a light laugh instead.

“Ha! I feel ya, hun. He does give off a rather threatening vibe, doesn’t he? I promise he’s nothin’ but a big bunny rabbit. But I can take your order.” She winked and leaned in a little closer to the woman, lowering her voice. “Gives me an excuse to ignore the mud that needs- oh my gosh.”

Cat cat cat cat cat. So soft. Pretty kitty. It wasn’t as fat as Harold was, but Clara was pretty sure Harold was getting about 8 meals a day. This one looked more feminine, bearing a shiny gray coat instead of Harold’s spotted cow fur. It slipped softly away from a man two seats down and made its way towards Clara’s new guest, settling quite regally on her thick jacket. A mere glance around the room was all it needed. Its authority over this land and its people were clear. It could command Clara to drop dead on the spot, and she would listen. Surely, such royalty deserved its own seat at-- nevermind. In one foul swoop, the queen was ripped from her throne. The cat thief, a young man with a thick leather bag, set her down on his lap. Ever polite, the gray beauty did not protest, but stayed fixated on Clara’s patron. Cats always see things people can’t. Clara felt his scolding and apology were both unneeded- though, with a hint of nervousness in his voice, Clara could hardly be frustrated with his efforts. He was almost cute.

“She is absolutely gorgeous.” Clara leaned over towards the man, placing her elbows on the table and smiling at the kitty. “You know, if she wanted her own meal, I have some special food in the back. Reserved for royalty such as herself.”

Post #: 13
5/10/2020 17:31:18   

Sara couldn't help herself. She burst out into bright, pealing laughter as the waitress turned, mid-conversation, to gush over the cat next to her. Relief bubbled up between the giggles - she had seen the delicate creature leap up next to her and had been bracing herself for it to yowl and leap away when it got a closer look. This was actually the closest Sara had come to a cat. Usually they ran away from her, with the most she saw being the flick of the tail as it rounded the corner. Eyes betrayed her delight even as she got her laughter under control, turning in her seat to smile at the young man who had liberated her cloak.

"I see I have been neglected in favor of serving the true beauty of the room!" she said, with a smile to the waitress to show there were no hard feelings. "Don't worry about it - cat fur can't be any harder to clean off than stray feathers, and those I've dealt with plenty!"

She gave the new-comer a quick once over. Younger than her, barely, with the awkwardness of someone not quite used to acting like an adult and an intelligent glint to his eyes that meant he knew far too much to be a child. And cute. Not quite as adorable as his companion, but cute.

"A spiced cider if you have it, please, and some of the beef stew. And I am more than happy to move my cloak so the lady can have her own seat." She swept the cloak up and, with a glance to her other side and a nod at the man who had taken the empty seat there, flicked it over her shoulder. It swung about and dissolved into a shower of silver sparks, which twinkled and vanished before touching the ground.
AQ DF MQ AQW  Post #: 14
5/20/2020 0:22:44   
Eternal Wanderer

The cat’s young master - or perhaps simply her conveyance, depending upon one’s perspective - blushed faintly. With her silver hair and flashing eyes, his fellow patron was certainly exotic, and very pretty. That was something of a problem for the traveler; he never was quite certain what to say to beautiful women. Another unfortunate byproduct of spending a great deal of time with his nose in a book or his eyes focused on dusty old scrolls.

Luckily, he was saved from a possibly embarrassing response by the waitress’ enthusiastic interjection - and the motion of the cat in his lap.

Feline ears swiveled, catching the sudden and effusive note of admiration in the voice of the tavern employee. Turning her gaze on the young woman, the cat blinked slowly, head tilting a fraction of an inch to one side. Such praise was, of course, her due, and the grey mouser certainly would not do anything to suggest otherwise. In fact, she shifted slightly, rising on her hind legs to set her dainty forepaws onto the counter and crane her neck up in the direction of the enchanted woman, peering back at her with golden eyes.

Glancing down at the little mouser with a fond smile, he scratched gently beneath her chin. The motion earned him a low, throbbing purr of pleasure as the cat’s eyes half closed; he kept up the attention with an ease that bespoke long practice as he lifted the smile to the woman on the other side of the counter. “She’s shameless, you know.” There was no malice in the words, only an indulgent sort of humor. “I probably should take you up on that offer, else she’ll turn her teeth on me. We’re both a bit peckish after the hike in.”

The young man glanced back at the silver-haired beauty, his expression a bit sheepish as she gave the waitress her own request. “Ah… I think that would be just fine for me as well. And I would like to cover the lady’s bill, by way of apology.”

He tried to think of something else to say, some way to keep the conversation alive. His fingers absently stroked up the feline's throat as, rather graciously, the other guest provided just that: lifting her cloak, twirling it... and causing it to vanish in a shower of argent sparks. For a moment - the merest fraction of a second - the traveler’s blue eyes flickered, becoming golden cat-pupiled slits once more as they watched the silvery stars fizzle out. The man blinked as his gaze lifted back to her. “That… That was very impressive, my lady.” There was a hint of studied interest in his perfectly human eyes. Perhaps the shift, there and gone so swiftly, had been nothing more than a trick of the light. “If I may ask, how long did it take you to master that?”
AQ DF MQ  Post #: 15
6/16/2020 12:25:49   

Settling more comfortably on her stool, Sara turned further to rest her chin against her palm - the motion doing nothing to hide her amused grin. The boy had actually blushed at her words, trying to juggle ordering food and conversing and petting the cat all at once. Well, of the three ladies he’s talking with currently, at least the only one he needs to impress is the cat...

Perhaps it was her train of thought, but when the stranger turned his attention back to her, she could have sworn that, just for a moment, his eyes had shifted, flickering to a feline gold. But now they were back to a charming blue, and, well. Sara was the last person who could judge another for strange eye colors.

“Oh, call me Sara - ‘my lady’ is far too formal for when my boots are covered in mud.” Her grin softened slightly as she extended her free hand, palm-up, into the empty space between them. Flames of silver leapt to life in her palm, rippling over her fingertips. The surrounding air shimmered with sudden heat even as the fire flickered and danced within the bounds of her hand. “And the ability itself is innate, but the control to use it casually, without setting everything around me on fire? That took about a decade.”

A decade indeed… the ability to summon and dismiss items was meant to come with fire, with enough heat to set all surrounding her ablaze when she called forth her weapons in the midst of battle. But this was a different time then when her people were formed and such measures necessary. If not a kinder time, at least a more peaceful one. And while Sara definitely wasn’t above playing with fire now and then to show off, most people became rather uncomfortable around her once they realized she could materialize a few dozen fiery spears with the flick of her hand.

If nothing else, she mused, feeling the eyes of the bartender boring into the back of her head, making absolutely certain that her magic was display only and not about to set his inn alight. No need to get myself kicked out before I’ve enjoyed my meal.

She flicked her fingertips with a casual twist, silvery flames dispersing and fading as easily as if she’d shed a handful of water, and held out her hand to greet the newcomer properly. "My thanks for covering my meal, though the apology isn't needed. You have a name, handsome?"

A bit more forward than she usually was, but, well. The stranger was cute when he blushed.
AQ DF MQ AQW  Post #: 16
6/17/2020 15:11:04   
How We Roll Winner

The evening was quickly growing to be quite the interesting one.

Yulan had nearly swallowed his tongue when Sara (assuming the name she gave was real) had casually tossed her cloak over her shoulder and somehow made it vanish. Now, back in the future --- past? --- in his former time, he had played too many games and watched too many movies to claim to be unfamiliar with the sight of blatant use of magic. However, it really was different to actually see such a thing. He was familiar with illusions, seals, et cetera, et cetera, but his trained eye detected none of those typical tricks. Conjuration and dissipation. It looked as though the woman now sitting to his right was, in fact, a sorceress.

Which brought up a rather delicate matter. Aruzon was far from the reaches of Eveningsong, the capitol of the magical world. The only mages present on the continent were few and far between (or at least that was what he had been informed of), and practically all of them were members of the government. In other words, it would be a hell of a coincidence to have run into another mage in the middle of a devastated city inhabited only by the injured and the scavengers.

Despite all these thoughts, out of habit he had been absently watching Pale-boy and Sara converse. A smile (or perhaps a smirk?) touched his lips as he saw Pale-boy blush at Sara's greeting. His humor grew proportional to what looked like Pale-boy's attempts to flirt with Sara --- and what a smooth talker he was too. Using the cat to strike a conversation (though that was probably a spur of the moment thing), footing the bill, and complimenting her. Straight out of the textbook. Yulan sighed wistfully. He himself might have been a smooth talker online, but gods help him when his train of thought derailed. For this reason, from the beginning of his journey in the past, he had deliberately tried to be as laconic and reserved as possible. Inwardly, he also cursed his lack of initiative. Too late for that now.

The fire summoning made him flinch --- he'd always disliked fire --- but now that he knew there was more to her than meets the eye, he was surprised more by the heat than the act itself. None of that compared to what happened next.

"You have a name, handsome?"

Thank goodness he hadn't ordered anything yet. If he'd been drinking tea, he surely would have either spit it all out or choked to death as he burst out laughing. Fortunately he had practiced enough restraint that he only uttered a faint snort as he looked away. It looked as though Pale-boy had scored! Who would've thunk?

Behind Sara's back, he smiled cryptically at the pale man and subtly flicked him a thumbs-up.
AQ DF MQ AQW Epic  Post #: 17
7/14/2020 0:41:02   

“Two orders of spiced cider and beef stew… and a queen’s special.” Clara made a few quick notes on her paper before slipping it back into the pocket of her apron. She wouldn’t touch it again, of course- she knew the order already. But she loved the traditional flair that came from flicking the notepad shut and clicking her heels. “I’ll be back with that shortly!” She couldn’t help the grin that spread across her face as she walked away. You could practically feel the blush radiating from the boy; and Ms. Silver was definitely flirting with him now. Power to ya, darlin’. This world needs all the strong women it can get. If only she could eavesdrop a little longer… but the kitchen was fast approaching, and Clara had some fun orders to play with.

Clara liked to think the kitchen looked different to everyone who used it. There was just something in the air, a slight fog that made it feel like there was more to the room than any one person could understand. Her coworkers would say it was just smoke from cooking, but there had to be more to it than that; no one she’d talked with ever agreed with her when it came to the room’s details. For Clara, the double doors opened inwards to a lavender hue and shiny metal counters. Louise insisted it was a dark blue, and had tall cabinets. Either way, it always held everything you’d possibly need to create a dish, and was large enough that the other waiters currently there would find it rather hard to get in the way of each other. So Clara found her own little corner and got to working.

The Queen’s dish first. A queen’s food shouldn’t be left to sit for long, but the stew would grow cold if Clara prepared it now. Besides, she had a feeling the cat wouldn’t mind too much. It seems like such a smart cat; there’s probably a reason it was so attracted to Ms. Silver. Though she’d mentioned getting feathers off her coat- kitty might’ve smelled a bird! She’d serve her a duck meal, then, if that was the case. I’ll be needing this. She pulled a small yellow dish from the table beside her before moving towards the metal island that stored most of the Inn’s meat. Basilisk, Zard… nope, I’ve gone too far. She finally pulled out a drawer to reveal strips of a light-colored meat and chose a smaller section of breast meat. Now, what kind of cheese should I give her… Clara unconsciously nudged the duck drawer closed with her hip and trotted over to grab two different squares of cheese from small buckets in the ice box. Together with the slice of duck meat, the meal looked almost… pitiful. Like an attempt to make cake out of sugar and water.

But that’s where Clara came in.

I wonder how the boy came by her. She couldn’t have been a stray! Setting the dish down, Clara flicked her fingers in a circle across the meat, and though she held no knife the meat was perfectly cut: small cubes of duck scattered themselves around the plate, perfect-sized bites for a cat to chew on. Perhaps she’s a goddess in disguise, waiting for the right moment to reveal herself and protect her boy from certain death. The cheese was next-- Clara picked both pieces up and shook them over the plate as if adding salt, and small shreds of orange and white cheese fell lightly on top of the duck arrangement. Oh, can’t forget the milk! Really hoping this cat likes dairy... Clara plucked a tiny cup from the table beside her and, with a flourish of her hands, the smallest bit of milk rose from its center. Clara placed it gently on the corner of the dish and set it aside. There, that should do it!

The stews only needed a sprinkling motion above them to add Clara’s flavorful spices (her favorite!), which seemed to come from nothing but her empty hands. I wonder if they’re still talking. Maybe by now they’ve gotten down to the dark secrets of their past. Or the meaning of good and evil. I’ve heard that debate too often. The spiced cider- yeah, that smells a bit bland, too- received a bit of cinnamon. Onto a tray it all went, and out the door!

As she glanced over towards her destination, the boy and woman both lost in conversation, she realized there was a third silhouette seated on the other side of her Ms. Silver. Shoot, I knew I’d forget something! Curse my love for cats! How long had the man been sitting there? She hoped not too long. Clara quickly placed her dishes in front of their proper recipients and shoved the tray underneath her arm. “Here you go dears, that’ll warm ya right up from the storm! Hope the kitty here likes cheese.” She stepped away only to pivot back towards them on a dime. “Oh I almost forgot!” With a flourish of her hand in the air, she revealed two small leafy flowers, placing one in each stew bowl. It really was just a decoration, but Clara was a perfectionist-- looks could never go ignored. “Enjoy!” she finished, catching her breath for a moment before slowing her pace and finally sliding over to address the third man.

He was actually rather handsome. Certainly not everyone’s type, with the whole long-hair-in-a-bun thing, but Clara thought it added interest. His outfit seemed eastern, and rather simple: how were clothes able to seem comfortable, simple, and beautiful all at the same time? Alright, maybe this man was worth the rushing around she’d taken to get to him. “Hey darlin’, sorry about the wait. Got a little distracted-- I can’t resist cats. Welcome to Yulgar’s. What can I do for you today?”
Post #: 18
7/22/2020 18:37:58   
Eternal Wanderer

The traveler hardly noticed the waitress taking her leave, though the cat in his lap peered after her with inscrutable feline interest. He was too caught up in his examination of the silver-haired beauty, attention focused on the graceful turn of her hand, the way her fingers delicately unfolded as if to reveal a secret of great import. Fire, metallic and argent as her gaze, flickered to life above her palm. A small, faint smile curled over his lips, and his head nodded gently in response to the flow of Sara’s words, but there was something… not quite present in the traveler’s mien despite the almost uncanny concentration on his face. It was as if he was seeing something more than the exotic flame she manifested; perhaps he was, for the young man’s own hand flexed slightly at his side, as though his fingers were plucking the strings of some invisible instrument.

Forgotten for the moment, the grey mouser stepped delicately from her master’s lap up onto the counter proper. There was something almost human about the stealthy gaze that the little cat cast down the bar; it was certainly a more intelligent motion than one might have expected from a simple animal. No rebuke seemed forthcoming, so she settled primly on her new perch, using the higher vantage to survey the common room again. Her eyes landed on the stranger seated off to Sara's other side, and at his faint snort the feline’s triangular ears swiveled to focus on him as well. The cat’s head tilted to a slight angle, inspecting the long-haired man’s grin, and she replied to his odd gesture with a low, interrogative mrowl.

That byplay was lost on the traveler, still engrossed with his inspection of Sara’s display. Its end provoked a sudden inhalation of surprise as the woman shook her hand free of the silvery fire and offered it to him. He had, of course, been staring - and as much as the exhibition was meant to be seen, that didn't prevent the blush that colored his cheeks. Despite his embarrassment, the young man returned her grip firmly, his own skin smooth and soft in contrast to Sara's calloused digits. He hesitated for a moment before replying to her question, perhaps debating his response or searching for just the right words.

“Alexander, my name is Alexander. But call me Alex, please. I’ve never really felt the full name fit quite right.” Shifting his grip gently - those callouses spoke volumes about what Sara could do - the young man turned her hand palm up. Alex's blue eyes peered into it for a moment, like a palmist doing a reading, before he extended his minute inspection up her arm to her face.

“That… That’s remarkable.” For a moment his gaze flickered away, settling on the feline atop the bar before returning to Sara. “You haven’t gotten a single burn, have you?” His grin grew wider. “Every pyromancer or fire-slinger I’ve ever met has at least one. It comes with the territory!” Alex’s eyes were nearly dancing with a mingled curiosity and mirth. “Is it something you do, or is it just… you?”

The last question was accompanied with a graceful turn of his free hand, a motion eerily reminiscent - nay, precisely reminiscent - of Sara’s earlier gesture. Fire kindled in the traveler’s palm, the tongues of flame as blue as his eyes. He blinked and glanced down at the miniature blaze before flashing her a smile equal parts conspiratorial and joyous. "Fascinating. Absolutely fascinating..."
AQ DF MQ  Post #: 19
8/23/2020 17:04:55   
How We Roll Winner

“Hey darlin’, sorry about the wait. Got a little distracted-- I can’t resist cats. Welcome to Yulgar’s. What can I do for you today?”

Yulan’s blood went cold. Oh gods.

Many years had passed since Yulan had come from the future, and he had witnessed and done many things. He had since learned not to react to insults, to laugh in the face of danger, and to kill without mercy. He could do all of that, but none of it sent dread through his bones like basic human interaction. Oh sure, he’d casually negotiated, humored, and yes even threatened generals, politicians, royalty, and even warrioresses such as Hae--- well, he’d rather not think about that right now. People would look at his face and wonder how he could be so calm, so . . . detached.

Well, that was because it’s a blasted facade.

It was nerve-wracking. He hated conversing, or more precisely, hated the fear of the possibility of making a fool out of himself.

Worst of all, she was soooo nice. She had a pleasant, open face with a smile that would put anyone at ease. And call it childish, but as a guy, he was still nervous around women.

Ah, Orchid . . .

Another thing he disliked: ordering food. He always took ages to figure out what to order, not because he was finicky, but because he despised the idea of wasting food. The last thing he wanted was to order something he couldn’t stomach. This dislike was exacerbated in unfamiliar territory.

But when you got down to it, he thought, all these things he disliked because he really hated going anywhere unprepared. He wasn’t exactly the most powerful warrior in the world, and had survived ambushes enough times that he could convincingly portray an old master who preached against violence.

Still. All this internal fuss over a casual exchange at the bar? Come on.

Yulan leaned forward in a perfect imitation of a “cool guy.” In a friendly manner (he hoped), he said, “Hey! I heard that this inn has a barkeep who can serve meals and drinks based on mood.”

At the same time, he clicked his tongue and beckoned the pale man’s --- Alexander’s cat over.
AQ DF MQ AQW Epic  Post #: 20
9/20/2020 22:07:09   

Sara’s eyes tracked the stranger’s - Alex’s movements as he held his free hand between them, in his curiosity forgetting that his other still held her own. Definitely a scholar, this one, between the pointed interest in her display and the smoothness of his fingertips. Just how much of the world have you managed to learn while buried in your books, I wonder…

Her thoughts came to an abrupt halt, eyebrows raising even as she reigned in her gasp of surprise before the air left her lungs. Flickers of cobalt magic, cobalt fire had burst to life in his palm, their intensity matching that of her own dismissed blaze. Silver eyes narrowed for just a moment, the light in them almost glowing as Sara examined it closely, the movements of his magic matching that of her own flame for flame. But she returned his mirth with a genuine smile and a faint hint of laughter just detectable behind her words.

“I see you match your travelling partner far better than I realized, Mister Copycat!” She passed her own free hand over his, the tips of her fingers just brushing the top of the blue light. Her amusement gentled, replaced in equal parts by curiosity and fondness, as she inclined her head to the scholar.

“A true pleasure to meet you, Alex - I can commiserate on long names never fitting quite correctly. And to address your question…” She took his other hand in hers, blue flames curling comfortably around her own fingers. “I cannot be harmed by any flame that burns less brightly than my own. And while I am sure those exist, I have yet to encounter it on this plane.” Sara paused, considering, before continuing, “While I am sure you’d love to test that theory, I’d appreciate not getting teleported to the Realm of Fire to do so! And if you will forgive me for reclaiming my hands…”

The woman pulled back slightly, turning just as the barmaid placed their dishes on their counter. She murmured her thanks, then uttered a coo of delight at the sudden appearance of the flowers - kitchen magic may not be as blatant, but its presence meant that the food and drink here were guaranteed to be well worth the price. Leaving the stew for a moment, Sara picked up the mug of spiced cider in both hands, drinking deeply and savoring the hints of cinnamon and nutmeg. Even discounting the storm, the soul needs warming as much as anything else, days like this… She smiled at Alex over the drink and added, “You can ask for them back later if you’re so inclined. Though I myself am quite curious as to how long it took you to master that!
AQ DF MQ AQW  Post #: 21
11/11/2020 19:08:22   
Eternal Wanderer

Azure flames danced in the air above his palm - an unusual and lovely sight - but Alex only had eyes for the woman sitting at the bar with him. For an instant, Sara's regard was nearly as intense as the fire itself, and the young scholar was painfully aware of another blush heating his cheeks. But his embarrassment was a dim thing compared to her beatific smile, and Alex found himself grinning again as she ran her fingers through the flickering tongues. His heart stuttered when he felt Sara's nails brush over his palm, and somehow he managed to blush even darker, giving her hand a pallid squeeze as she took it in her own.

“I… That is to say…” The words tumbled from him, their shapes odd and unfamiliar in his mouth. This was all a bit unsettling. Normally everything was much tidier, but now he was hard-pressed to follow the line of his own thoughts. Sara was saying something about the Plane of Fire, about her protection from heat and flame, and where Alex’s focus failed him, his training rose up to fill the gap.

The distracted scholar's eyes lifted, staring at some distant point over his elegant companion's shoulder; once more Alex's blue human eyes flickered into golden feline orbs, though the young man himself seemed otherwise unchanged as they shifted back an instant later. His mind was racing, turning the leaves of an old leather-bound tome from the library back home. Section six, travelogues. Stand eight. Shelf four. Vox, E:Navigation of the Eight Realms. Chapter four, Fire. There had been something about- His grip was broken suddenly, jarring Alex from the recollection as Sara gently withdrew her hands - both of them - from his.

“Reclaiming…” He gulped, smiling weakly as he very carefully settled his hands on the bar in front of him. “Of course, s-sorry about that.” Desperately wishing he knew a spell to turn himself invisible, the young scholar hastily pulled the bowl of steaming stew over to himself. Nice going, Alex. Real smart. The mage spooned up a bite and all but jammed it into his mouth before he could say something else to make himself look even more foolish.

It was hot, though luckily not enough to scorch his tongue. And the taste was exquisite. Alex blinked, taking another spoonful as he tried to determine just what it was that made the stew so delicious, but its secrets proved unyielding. A consequence of spending more time reading than cooking, I suppose.

The scholar glanced over at Sara, the query about the seasonings on the tip of his tongue promptly lost as he caught another thought-scrambling smile over the rim of her mug. He pawed around for his own drink, trying to put things back together. "A copycat... I suppose that isn't terribly inaccurate."

Alex’s eyes fell, peering into the spiced depths of his tankard as though the words he needed were somewhere within. For a moment he was quiet, and when he spoke his tone was meditative, almost somber. “I’ve always been able to do it. When I see a spell, when I really look at it, I can see more than just the words or the gestures. It’s like… like seeing the way a spool of threads weaves into a rug, or how each layer of paint on a canvas combines to make an image.” The young man frowned slightly, lifting one hand and slowly turning it, fingers flexing and straightening in a slow, rippling motion as fire ran through them. The flames crystalized, then fractured into motes of dancing light which pattered to the countertop in harmless plips of water.

He stared at the droplets for a long moment, voice quiet, as if he was speaking to himself more than Sara. “And I just mimic it. It's easy, like copying off the student sitting next to you in class. Sometimes I iterate on it, improve a bit. But, I guess I've never really been able to make anything that feels truly new. Something that's mine."

This was an interesting place.

It certainly had a great deal to recommend itself to one of the little grey mouser’s kind. Minute details for her sharp eyes, like the patterns of scrapes and nicks battered into the countertop she sat on, or the fancy beadwork stitched into one of the cloaks hanging near the door. Sounds loud and quiet for her extraordinarily acute ears, like distant noise of rain coming down with soothing regularity on shingle and cobble outside, a constant susurration beneath the eddy and flow of a dozen conversations. There were scents too that cloyed at her sensitive nostrils, like the sharp smell aged cheese, the sour sweat stench of a day laborer treating himself after a long shift, the tang of sword oil from the weapon racks near the door.

Yes, this was a very interesting place for those who took time to observe.

The feline’s head turned slightly, though her gaze held on the long-haired man, allowing one ear to pivot and gauge the conversation between her master and the woman he was speaking to. He seemed well occupied for the moment, and the cat might have taken the opportunity for further mischief - she had detected the skittering of a rodent beneath the nearby table - had the waitress not returned just then with her tray of dishes.

Sniffing interestedly at the cheery server’s offering, the mouser nipped a delicate morsel from the little plate, chewing it thoughtfully. She mrowled a low sound that might have been approval before taking another, only for her attention to be summoned back to the nearby man. The click and the summoning finger were met with a cryptic stare. Then, with the sort of regal disdain that was the province of monarchs and cats, the long-haired mouser turned her attention back to the tribute before her.

--I think, perhaps, you have made a mistake.-- The voice was distinctly feminine, and sardonically amused. --Cats are not dogs, to come when they are bidden.--
AQ DF MQ  Post #: 22
11/30/2020 19:12:36   

“I’ve never really been able to make anything that feels truly new….”

Sara’s smile faded, eyes turning thoughtful at Alex’s sombered tone. The banter up till now had been cheerful, even playful - she hadn’t meant the returned query to bring down the mood, even slightly. If for no other reason she preferred it when Alex was smiling. It’s not often people actually relax around me… who’d have thought talk about magic would spoil the magic?

Reaching idly for the spoon that had come with her stew, Sara leaned over and carefully crew the handle through the water droplets on the table, forming them into sweeping arcs of random, graceful lines. “There is very little in this world that I consider truly new, Alex. And as someone born of that what was, well. There are days I’d rather be anything else.” She pressed a hand to his shoulder, warmth emanating from her firm grip for a moment, before leaning back and taking a large bite of stew herself. If only to give the scholar a moment to gather his thoughts.

Humming appreciatively at the delectable combination of spices, Sara carefully lifted out the flower and set it to the side on a napkin… that… she could have *sworn* was not there a second ago. She gave Clara a quick side-eyed glance, but the waitress seemed to still be busy taking the other man’s order. Shaking her head slightly, Sara took a few more bites before looking back to Alex with another bright smile.

“Not today, though! Since I doubt I’d have been travelling through here otherwise.” Travelling… right. More like running from the last town she’d stopped in after taking care of some local monsters. The villagers had taken one look at her eyes and her fire and her wings and practically slammed the doors in her face, throwing out a hurried “thank you” as they did. The huntress gave a quick-once over around the inn, but beyond the man at the bar now attempting to say hello to Alex’s cat, no one had done more than glance curiously at them. Well, given the other folk scattered about and the odd array of weapons against the door, Sara mused, I actually might NOT be the most exotic thing to walk through that door this week.

Sara turned back to Alex, smile softening to something less brilliant, but far more understanding. “And as for something that’s yours, well. Unless age-altering magics are part of the repertoire you’ve iterated on, I’d say you have plenty of time to figure out what you want that to be.”
AQ DF MQ AQW  Post #: 23
1/9/2021 23:36:38   

The man seemed to freeze at Clara’s voice, staring intently at the wood in front of him like a deer fixated on the glow of a lantern. Whoops- did she come on too strong? Clara liked to think her cheery demeanor helped her customers relax, but sometimes her friends said she was too much to handle.

She took the free moment to study the man’s odd eyes. First red, then green. They flashed for but a second, one color at a time, before disappearing into the man’s natural brown. Was it a tell for anxiety or anger, perhaps? It could just be a particularly reflective material over the eyes, too. Clara had seen both, though her imagination tended to prefer the emotional-tell theory. Especially when customers didn’t have a lot to say… or made sudden, bizarre like this one. Drinks and meals based on mood? If she had to guess the man’s mood right now, she’d probably just guess he was nervous. Nervousness is never a good ingredient for a meal. Tastes like really dirty salt and batter that wasn’t mixed enough.

Hey, that was pretty clever… She’d never made a meal specifically based on a mood before, but… yeah, a couple seconds of contemplation and she was hooked on the challenge. She shot the man what she hoped was a playful smile. “And what mood might you be in today, mysterious swordsman?” If you say nervous or tired, I swear to the Lords…
Post #: 24
1/13/2021 14:04:52   
How We Roll Winner

This is so awkward.

What was that called, the meme back then? Stonk? Yulan thought wryly, Try flert.

“What mood am I in today?” Yulan repeated, smiling -- in anticipation or nervousness? Perhaps both.

“I feel …” Yulan paused, narrowing his eyes as though deep in thought. “... melancholic, for where I just came from, the weather can be really er … drab and oppressive.” Quite the understatement, he thought darkly. But bringing up horrific tales about Aruzon right now would probably not be the best idea.

“I also feel kind of … wistful,” he added, glancing at the couple next to him. “When you see others happy, you can’t help but feel a bit happy yourself, but at the same time … a bit of disappointment.

“But above these,” Yulan said, cutting himself off and redirecting his attention to the barkeep -- in the eyes in the eyes in the eyes his brain yammered. “I feel hope.”

For a moment he considered quoting something deep and poetic, then wondered if he should change gears and be more direct this time?

Neither. He looked at her and smiled. “I’ll leave the reason for that to your imagination.”

Right choice? Wrong choice? He would soon see.

I must really be delirious, Yulan thought, cause he could’ve sworn he heard the cat talking.
AQ DF MQ AQW Epic  Post #: 25
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