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Ulysses Penn

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PostSubject: Onions and Ale   Mon Nov 13, 2017 3:08 am

Western Continent || South Shore || Marsius Port
The Lyral Inn

Amnon stood in the shadow of the alley beside the inn, arms crossed over his broad chest with his chin dipped toward his collar bone. Though he was fair at his attempt for discretion, his large stature and brief samples of red skin drew the eyes of those that were near enough to notice him. In particular, an elf woman with turquoise hair whom eyed him suspiciously as she awaited the partner that disappeared inside. Though silence stood between them, each were very aware of each other; wariness only on behalf of the woman because Amnon could care less. After all, it was something he had grown accustomed to over the years.

Aside from the suspicious elf woman, the tiefling was acutely aware of the scents spilling out of the inn and the fact that he had yet to note riff-raff or strumpets. The structure itself was tall and crafted from a fine, sturdy dark wood that was well with age and it was a strong visage compared to the vast, glittering sapphire ocean (nearly at its doorstep). The whisper of a warm breeze rolled off the ocean, bringing with it the scent and sound of waves and brine which were cacophonously accented by the cry of gulls.

Other than a few boisterous dwarves and an old, charismatic bard, nothing seemed unusual; the primary populace of Marsius simply happened to be human and humans were, after all, usually boring.

Now, one would assume that Amnon was waiting for the opportunity to slip in and dine on ale and a good meal, but that was on the contrary.

Pushing off the wall, the tiefling withdrew a scroll from the inside of his cloak and unfurled it, the edge of the clean parchment twitching with the breeze as he skimmed the fine-written common for the third time in the last hour. It made him look... busy, so he figured. Not that he was waiting for a contractor to arrive. Personally, Amnon usually chose to avoid such establishments. They were too busy; a high traffic area that inhibited him from the stealth he usually preferred. Though he typically had to sacrifice a lavish bed, it was a fair exchange for privacy and peace.

Deciding that he'd remembered the scroll by then, he rolled it back up and slipped it back into his belt, feeling the draw of suspicion tugging at his intuition.

Though he was not typically the suspicious type, his mind kept reverting to the idea that the contractor was after his blood. Apparently, it was important to dark sorcerers.

That in mind, Amnon drifted deeper into the alley, long red tail swaying beneath the cloak. The pads of his feet were soft on the stone, claws lightly clicking as his smooth, confident stride brought him to a quieter street. A connecting stretched that linked the upside of town with the port. The docks were farther down the coast, the Lyral Inn the heart of an array of shops and stalls that made up the market.

It had been two hours and his contractor had not shown up. Amnon was not in the business of waiting for someone and had been generous with the time that he had already waited. He figured that the contract was not urgent if its issuer was late and moved his mind to more lucrative options. He could pick up another contract, deal with a head hunt, or slay a few monsters.

Those days, none of such things were in shortage and was quick money for adventurers like him. Wanderers. Folks without a home.

Amnon's golden hues flickered about the street as he studied a few faces that passed. Other than the breeze shuffling through the streets and through his cloak, he was stone still like a gargoyle perched atop a pillar. Waiting, listening, sampling the scents. A Drow woman passed not far from him, glancing his way with a lopsided smirk, though the moment was brief, as his eyes were drawn to a pair of dwarves arguing over a bit of coin as they hobbled by not far from him. Then, there were many humans, either alone, with someone, or a few other people, weaving through one another before many of these figures dispersed into their chosen aisles, alleys, or streets.

The tiefling decided simply to watch and wait. Perhaps he was being lazy, perhaps he was busy being unmotivated, or perhaps... he was actually just enjoying being in civilization for once.
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PostSubject: Re: Onions and Ale   Mon Nov 13, 2017 3:35 am

Waves lapped at the pilings of the dock, carried by the large ship that had entered the bay, lofty sails slapping sharply in the breeze, the sounds of many men calling out orders and responding as they danced and dallied in turn across the deck and up the long masts. It was the song of the ocean that had drawn Sid to the docks and she was pleased with what had greeted her, no greater a pleasure than the noises that filtered across the frothy brine to mingle with the normal sounds of the quaint oceanside hamlet.

Oblivious to the ogling stares that passed her way from the dock workers, the low wolf whistles and the outright leering from men who had been to long upon the waters, Sidonie slipped to her rear and let her feet dangle over the edge of the dock, her pack settling beside her and the echoing thunk of her lute as it kissed the wood. Though she was the type to simply meld into the world around her, fine enough to keep silent in the midst of the raucous world that moved around her, today she embarked upon immersion. She drew the pack to her side and deftly untied the leather straps atop it, withdrawing a small slender flute made of ebony and as black as night and without pause pressed it to her lips and began to play in time with the sounds of the bustling bay.

The song was light and lilting in one turn, wildly wicked and quick in the next, each note complimenting the rolling sounds around her. Sid found a sense of peace in her music and in spite of the swift changes in melody and harmony, she found what she had so readily sought.

The end of a journey that rewarded her with only disappointment and the utter lack of challenge she had sought and had been promised.

Were one to look at her with more than a glance or a lustful gaze, they would have noted that her skin fairly shimmered faintly, unmarred and as pale as a porcelain vase upon the frame of one decidedly human in appearance, light silver eyes touched with blue were keen and wise, learned and disciplined, her lips forever in a little curled smile of serenity. She was a celestial being, though she didn't flaunt that too loudly. That alone could get her killed, or more so, annoyed by the pestering requests of zealots that chose to hound such as her to an early grave.

No, Sidonie chose to walk about in plain clothes and simple belongings, foregoing the egotistical accouterments of her more lofty and self-involved counterparts. Her desire since childhood had been one of adventure and learning, at her own pace...her own desire.

An hour or so had passed and the ship had docked and lay silent now, the men having vacated to seek out their pleasures before again they set sail. She tucked her flute back into the pack and rose upon booted feet, turning back towards the Lyral Inn and the promise of fresh fruits and wine dancing in her mind.

As she approached the doors her singleminded movements were halted by the tall man that stood nearby, it took her only a moment to recognize him as one so opposite of her that they could be different sides to the same coin and in some way, their races were just that. Sid made no attempt to hide her open stare as she took him in, the strange eyes that adorned his clothing one that caught her attention as a curiosity, the slender cut of his frame, but mostly it was the way he watched others as they passed that finally drew her interest.

It wasn't as if tiefling were uncommon, but certainly, one so brazenly standing in the light of day was not a regular occurrence.

She tugged at the door absently, waffling between going to speak to him and being drawn indoors where the late afternoon sup was being laid for guests. The scent of spiced breads, sweet fruits, savory dishes and the like now curled through the gap and made her mind up for her.

Perhaps later....

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PostSubject: Re: Onions and Ale   Mon Nov 13, 2017 11:47 am

Just as the light of day recognized the darkness, the darkness recognized the light of day. Though their moment of eye contact had been brief and no more than curiosity, Amnon could not help but feel wary in the presence of the Assimar woman and found himself contemplating an early departure. Though he was hungry and travel weary from the hundred mile journey he'd made from the north, the thought of staying in the same area as a creature that opposed him in every way was unsettling. He knew that Assimar usually traveled in groups, were connected to the greater mind and greater Divine body, that in a sense, were the very creatures that opposed him.

What struck him as odd was that she did not attack him on sight. Not like all the others had. Usually it was an immediate assumption, though a justified predisposition, as he'd met (and slain) a few worthless Tieflings himself.

This bothered Amnon deeply but there was a sense of curiosity he couldn't quite ignore. If anything, he had little to no affinity with the Assimar and a bone to pick.

For the moment, however, Amnon let it be and continued pacing around the inn with little to no aim for anything. He was tired, and the longer that he lingered around Lyral, the more he was tempted to rent a room for the night; just for some sleep. He could easily wander down to a dive but the thought of somewhere nice was all too tempting. It had been many years since he'd slept in a bed without bugs.

Remembering his many plights from them, Amnon relented and wandered to the door of the inn, ghosting in as quietly as he could. Though many people were consumed by their food and the old bard on stage, there were a few eyes that turned his way; including that of the innkeep. He knew that as the man opened his mouth, it was to tell him to leave, so Amnon took little time in slipping him a couple of gold coins. "Just for a night," he replied. Though his voice was somewhat coarse to the ears it was strangely charismatic accompanied by an oddness about him that was not customary to his kind. Instead of inspiring fear or retaliation, it was a kind of... neutrality that made some second guess their immediate assumptions about him.

When the innkeep slipped the coins discreetly into his pocket with a broad smile stretching across his lips, Amnon felt a sense of relief. Thank Lathander, he thought. "Welcome, please make yourself at home and we'll have a room prepared for you in no time." The keep motioned toward an empty table near the stairs, off to the side enough that he would not be an eyesore.The Tiefling inclined his head and strode toward the offered seat, slipping into a chair that had its back to the wall.

It was a spot that suited him just as well.

Here he had a large vantage point which gave him the convenience of being able to see the entire inside of the inn without looking obvious. Here, he could just watch. Just enjoy a pint of ale and a home cooked meal. Whether or not people despised him was unimportant. That when the food and drink were brought to him, he would immediately begin to eat and drink half that pint of ale in no time flat. At one point during his meal, the inn keep slipped him a key and said, "There will be a bath ready for you in an hour."

Though Amnon was suspicious, he thanked the man then turned back to watch the bard on stage. The old man playing a harp and singing an old Knight's tale with a rough, wizened voice was deserving of the awe-inspired gazes. The coarse quality to his voice struck a unique cord of emotion, leading to his audience to follow down an emotional, heart-wrenching path of youth, love, age, and loss.

All the while, his hues would flicker to the Assimar once and a while after he spotted her.
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PostSubject: Re: Onions and Ale   Mon Nov 13, 2017 4:44 pm

Having dismissed the thoughts of the teifling outside, for the time being, Sidonie found herself settled at a table as close to the stage as possible. Her desire to absorb not only the sumptuous food that had drawn her inside but the aged man that would entertain them for the evening.

Sid tucked her foot beneath her, diving into the plate of sheered meat and herb dusted potatoes with a ravenous hunger that she didn't even bother to hide from those around her. Not sloppy, but certainly not eating with the delicate flair of the other woman around her, Sid enjoyed her food with gusto rather than pushing it around in abject hunger and pretending to be some dainty flower. Each flavor danced upon her palette, creating a savory blend that was heightened by the choice of mulled wine that had been delivered with it, the only reserve she showed was in stopping to save space for dessert.

It was in short order that the Itzany man entered the small stage where a singular chair sat along with a richly detailed standing harp before it. She knew him well and in her travels had entertained him as much as he had her, regaling each other with their skill and divine gift of drawing people into the songs they played and sang alike. The man's dark eyes, nearly hidden beneath the wrinkles of age, flitted to her with a kind acknowledgment, his lips twitching ever so slightly into a smile before returning to the stoic melancholy that was his act.

"Brava Markos, Brava" Sid thought as he took his place after a short bow and began to pluck lightly at the strings. He was one of the best in the world, renowned for the unique way his husky voice could meld with the stunning notes wrought from the strings of his harp, and coveted for his skill by bards far and wide. Once upon a time, he has played at high courts, was lavished with riches beyond imagination, his name preceding him wherever he played. But now, now Markos had chosen to change himself, had sought out the dark magic of a witch to change his appearance. While Sid understood his reasoning for wanting to disappear, she was saddened by the drastic measures he took.  Markos was no longer Markos of the Itza, the tall slender man with long black hair bound at the nape of his neck, a regal nose, and high cheekbones, piercing black eyes that could dive deeply into one's soul and stroke it as a lover might. No longer was he the man of graceful beauty, gone were the longing gazes of women and men alike, no...one day had changed that and Sid had to remind herself as she sighed softly, that there were reasons that no one would ever know. Now Markos wandered the lands as a singular bard, aged and wizened, bent and wrinkled, Yulan was his name now and no one would be the wiser.

His song rose high into the rafters of the spacious eating room, filtering down to the pleased patrons as they gorged themselves. The inn was an expensive one and though Sid liked to live simply, and when visiting the port to see him, she indulged in this one little grace. It was worth it, tenfold.

The door opened behind her, the saltiness of the ocean air swept through, curling with the divine smells of the food. She didn't turn, she didn't have to, the fine hairs at the nape of her neck twitched and stood for a moment and it was all she needed to know, the tiefling had entered.

When they took her empty plate away, replacing it with an assortment of sugared figs and plums, Nubari chocolates adorned plump strawberries, rich tiny cakes of various assortment brilliantly colored arranged in a perfect mandala on the silver plate. Along with it a fine sweet dessert wine, purely clear and faintly bubbling and Sid was overjoyed.

She leaned back against the plush chairback, canting her head just slightly so that she could see the tiefling where he sat against the wall, and slowly partook of the abundance of treats. Her lips curled around a cake as her pale gaze carefully danced towards him, shielded by a thick sweep of lashes. He was slender of build, though hard to tell if he was simply skinny or well muscled beneath his clothes, he was typical in coloring, handsome in a strangely tiefling way, perhaps it was the look that he bore. It wasn't the assured contempt that many tiefling in her experience wore, not one of egotistical superiority or blatant disdain for those not of the same race, his eyes held some strange compassion within them, almost a bland disinterest and curiosity at the same time. That, perhaps, is what gave her pause at the door.

Sid turned herself a bit more fully towards him, her interest piqued and she was not one to freely hide her stares. People, of any race, were interesting and he was no exception. Gingerly she popped one sugar soaked fig between her lips, sucking lightly on the juices that threatened to slip past and trickle down her chin. She chewed thoughtfully, her hands idly wiping the stickiness from her fingers as Markos' song rose in urgency and beauty by turns.
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PostSubject: Re: Onions and Ale   Mon Nov 13, 2017 8:21 pm

Amnon eventually finished his food and settled on a second pint of ale, taking long drinks until it was empty as well. By the time that a warm fire hummed in his belly, he seemed content to simply cross his arms over his chest and enjoy the tale that the bard wove. Though he didn't necessarily drop his guard, he tipped his chin toward his chest and closed his eyes, all the while crossing his legs and curling his claws toward the pads of his feet; similar to the way in which an eagle would curl its claws inward when in flight.

He feign ease, the way in which he draped over the chair the countenance of a man who'd been through enough that he held little to no fear for his life.

He had, after all, already died once.

Amnon's thoughts drifted from placid contemplation toward memories of what had occurred years prior. To this day, even then, he'd awaken in the dead of night with the cold sweats and fluttering heart. That instead ofbeing smitten by a woman's grace, it was how he was enraptured with fear. With the things that haunted him, even then. By no means did Amnon consider himself okay.

It was just something he had to cope with to get by.

He was locked in his idling thoughts until the sensation that he was being stared at brought him out of whatever stupor he'd fallen into. When his eyes opened, they'd flicker up from the table, the shimmering, gold rings locking onto the Assimar woman's gaze. He did not blink or shy away, simply acknowledged her presence with a placid gaze. Steady. Like wind and stone; like fire and water. Subtle curiosity.
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PostSubject: Re: Onions and Ale   Mon Nov 13, 2017 8:31 pm

Sid paused mid-wipe, letting the linen square delicately flutter over the platter of half-finished sweets, of which she intended to complete by the dawning of the next day, when his gaze met hers across the room. She wasn't startled, not in that sense, perhaps more of a wolf in the hen house stare, impish with a touch of pink lighting her cheeks.

She waved over the server, quickly directing her to send the remaining treats to her room for later feasting and rose from her table, stopping only long enough to sweep her pack from the floor. There was a slight lilt in her walk, a tiny little hiccup in her otherwise smooth motions, a childhood injury that haunted her to this day, as she moved towards him with purpose. Oh, his gaze had not been one she took as curiosity, but as an open invitation to bother him and she intended to do just that. How often did one get to sit and chat with what should be her sworn mortal enemy, though really he could be still.

Her hand yanked the chair opposite him back, the sound like that of a screeching cat being tugged from a fish and loud enough to draw more than a few glances, she ignored it as she folded herself upon the seat, tucking her feet beneath her in a dainty way, smoothing the black skirts as best she could over her knees. Her pale blue gaze danced across his features, openly making notes of every little nuance of his being before settling once more on his gold-ringed eyes.

"Greetings traveler" she began, her own voice a beautiful song without effort, both soft and melodic, dancing across unseen scales and calming to the ears. "Haven't seen one like you in these parts in some time." she paused but only for a moment before continuing on. "I'm Sid...and you?" she asked, her head tilting slightly to the side in question, the black streak of hair that marred her silvery white mane sliding across her face and curling around her jaw.
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PostSubject: Re: Onions and Ale   Mon Nov 13, 2017 8:41 pm

Though Amnon could feel himself growing tense beneath the cloak, it was more instinctual than it was a feeling. Assimar were the bane to his being, as his kind was to theirs, thus as she glided over to him (the slight imperfection in her gait noted) he would lift his chin in the slightest manner and observe her, study her. She was very fair skinned, ethereal at best, and it was no wonder that Assimar were often coveted for their beauty. He might be Tiefling but that did not mean that he was not sometimes impressed by Assimarian appearances.

Though that did not play over his features.

When the woman fold herself on the chair beside the one on which he had rested his feet, she would introduce herself and seem to make herself at home.

"Amnon," he replied. As if through habit alone, his hand lifted to his two-tailed beard and he would stroke it idly, observing the subtle motion of a lock of black hair curling toward her chin. He'd then look back toward her mythril hues. "Can't say the likes of me are too friendly," he replied. "Unfortunately, I've seen plenty of Assimar to last me a life time." The coarseness of his voice was held in such a way that was conversational. Casual. The rigidity had been brief.

Being Assimar, her scent was sweet, light, and ethereal like the subtle glow to her skin. Slightly sugary. Pleasant. A contrast to the musky ash of his own flesh.
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PostSubject: Re: Onions and Ale   Mon Nov 13, 2017 8:55 pm

Sidonie was not taken aback by the moment of briskness to his tone and found the deep gravely tones that threaded through his voice to be a rather interesting sound and pleasant to the ears in spite of the lack of melodic quality, like the bass vibration to a drum it vibrated through her frame and set her to smiling at him broadly. Oh, he was going to be an interesting chap, she mused as her gaze sharpened slightly with her curiosity.

"We are hardly plenty, but we are hard to miss, that is to be certain." she said with a little nod, "It is a pleasure, I think...Amnon." she commented, briefly shifting her attention to Markos who was now playing in a strange frantic way that drew her to him. She saw the look of warning on his face, she sat with an enemy and knowing her propensity for finding trouble his concern was evident. Sid shook her head just slightly at him and smiled, offering a tiny wink in response before turning her attention back to Amnon.

"He is wonderful..isn't he." she stated rather than asked, leaning forward to rest her arms upon the table and looking at him with curious intensity. "What brings you here? If you don't mind me asking, I am the curious sort, always wanting to know the stories of others....I am sure" she said, her hand flipping outward as though offering something "You have quite a tale to tell."

Sid was gauging him, his response prior had been a mix of shortness and not, almost as if he was worn from life and weary of the world itself. She, unlike most of her brethren, wasn't afraid of what she didn't know, only encouraged to learn of others, to reap from their stories the songs she would write. This could be an interesting conversation, or rather bland, but somehow she doubted it would be the latter.

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PostSubject: Re: Onions and Ale   Mon Nov 13, 2017 9:11 pm

Amnon noticed the change in the bard's tune, though smooth as it was, he noticed the exchange between him and the woman whom called herself Sid. As well as the wink. Old friends, he gathered.

His golden hues caught hers again when she commented about how wonderful the bard was. "Indeed," Amnon replied. "A legend, I would presume." He knew next to nothing about bards other than that they had a gift for music and were sometimes sponsored by the rich. "I'm a traveler like most others of my kind," he replied easily. She was searching, he could feel that, and he was not sure that he would be willing to provide real answers unless things became interesting.

He weighed her next remark before tossing back an easy, "Don't we all?"

Though he was conscious of that they were one another's opposite, he found the encounter somewhat interesting. Almost like a silent parry where neither party meant any real harm. It was an opportunity he welcomed for he did have a bone to pick. Though... whether or not he'd pick it with her was currently up for debate. He saw no reason to jump down her throat for something she did not do even though the idea was tempting.

After petting his beard for a good moment, he'd lift a hand and summon a waitress where which he would order another ale. After that, he would let the hood fall over his shoulders, revealing his red horns and the rest of his dark brown locks. It was tied somewhat messily at the back of his neck, a stray, wavy lock curling toward his temple. Though his skin was red, it was not smooth and had the texture of a bit of age. There were stray scars here and there, old ones, many of which disappeared beneath the neckline of his tight-necked tunic and the drape of fabric that was his cloak (which disguised his real attire).

Though he could break the silence between them, he was curious as to what the Assimarian had to say and studied her. The gold, orbs attached to his ear lobes had a subtle, magical glow to them and they would feel warm. Most would mistake them as fancy trinkets but Sid would be able to feel the whisper of magic if she were familiar with it. (If she were intimate with magic, or adept at it, she would sense that they were enchanted to keep something at bay, though what would remain unknown. Regardless, it would be an advanced, finely woven, kind of sorcery. Discreet enough that it would feel like a whisper that someone could mistake as a passing ribbon of energy.)
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PostSubject: Re: Onions and Ale   Mon Nov 13, 2017 10:34 pm

Sidonie quirked a brow at his response, a slight incline of her head as she acquiesced to his statement, a curled little smile touching the serene smile she wore at all times. She admired the little quipiness to his responses, the short tartness of them though he hardly seemed soured to their banter. Her hand fell from where it was turned aloft to the table beneath, the tips of her fingers tapping against the finely polished though marred wood. Her nails were neatly trimmed and short, no long tapered refined look that her counterparts would have, she found long nails on already long slender fingers did not suit well in playing instruments, among other tasks. It was a steady tune, the kind that bore into a person with the intent of setting them at ease, though nothing quite as magical as a spell.

"Of course, that is the beauty of life itself, the stories that are wound tightly within it, the strands that weave together, snap, mend, knot and swirl on into infinite lives and even more stories." her smile remained soft and serene, though her eyes were keen and interested in what he would say. She continued on after a thoughtful pause, "For example, an observant man would have noticed my little problem, the slight hop to my step ...they might wonder what a being of supposed perfection would be doing with something so completely imperfect. That man may also be inclined to query, but being polite may not. I bridge that gap, I ask...I learn, feed, joyously devouring the stories of others."

When the waitress came over she nodded, the woman knew now what she liked after the week she had spent there so far so no words were needed. Her gaze again flitted to Amnon, curiosity etched into every fine feature of her face.

"So yes, everyone has a story...even I." She commented as his hood slipped from his head and exposed him from beneath the shadows of it, her smile broadened slightly, approvingly. She had always found the coarseness of the tiefling form to be a wonder, they were a hard people by nature, but there was always some softness in them that betrayed their humanity if only a little bit. It was then that she felt the tiniest of pulses coming from him, though she didn't wonder about it too long, in this world all was touched by magic and his seemed to be harmless at first sense. "My story....my limp, is a simple one but wrought with adventure and intrigue!"

Now she settled back, tugging on the bottom of her dress to hide her booted legs, comfortable against the plush back of the chair and setting herself in a way that would command some bit of attention to her, not in a lewd way - though, the full roundness of her breasts peaked over the ruffled edge of her dress, thrust skyward by the corset below.

"It was on one of those long nights, the kind where the darkness swallows you whole and every beast of the night is silent. The air was still, thick with anticipation, a dew that clung to my body like a creature hungry for the unknown. Perhaps it was true, perhaps it was only the illusion of truth, perhaps it was the fact that...I was only 12 and my brother had nicely left me in the field alone as I had wandered off in search of something sweet, a little clover bud or a hidden hive of honey, something to thwart that hunger that only a child has for all things sweet. This was my undoing, and there I stood in the middle of an open field, no moon to illuminate the way, no sounds to direct me to my home...alone" her voice had risen and dipped, moved with the story in a way that painted it for the listener, Amnon, were he that was. "Clad only in a long pale shift, my feet bare, I began to walk in the direction I thought my home would lay in, it felt both right and wrong...but the night would not divulge its secrets to me, sealing the lips of beasts tightly and blinding me well and good. It was hours, long lonely hours that I traveled, now deep within the breast of the woods. My feet were raw and bleeding, creating muddy blood boots that caked to the bottoms, my fine dress torn in places, dirtier than it had been after my hunt and I worried now of the horror that would strike my mother on seeing such a mess to her fine and delicate handiwork. I felt time drag on, my steps becoming heavy , the woods growing thicker around me until I felt as though it was swallowing me whole...swallowing me in the great maw of its jagged mouth." Sid's lips twitched a bit, she was being far more melodramatic than the story truly deserved, but she was enjoying the telling none the less. The waitress has brought her a chalice of wine, a sweet white that she tipped to her lips and drank heartily of while regaining her voice. "So where was I...oh yes, the great maw...I couldn't go any further, not a single step and still no sign of life in any form. I slumped down upon a log and great giant sobs began to wrack my tiny form until I was just a blubbering mess of bloody muddy feet, torn cloth and childhood despair. And then, as things could not get quite worse...the log moved, not just moved, but rose from the dirt and stood and I...slid down along the trunk, catching the back of my left calf on one particularly nasty bit of bark, ripping it to shreds as I tumbled in a very ungraceful way...to the ground below. And that...is how I got my limp." she grinned and canted her head in the small pause. "Obviously I lived, so that story needs no more, other than the treant I had taken up sitting upon had the courtesy to deliver me home to my very angry parents." Sid silenced then, bringing the glass up to her lips as she looked over it an gauged him for any response at all.
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PostSubject: Re: Onions and Ale   Mon Nov 13, 2017 11:38 pm

Amnon was quick to realize that he would not need to pull the conversation for it to flow freely as Sidonie seemed to pull it just fine all on her own. His lips lifted up in the slightest way at the corners, something so subtle one might mistake just for a new way that he would set his lips. It was a smile, be it small.

"A limp I was not going to inquire. Assimar are not perfect, nor are the Elves, or the Fae Folk," he supplied. Truly it did not intrigue his curiosity but he listened with interest as she seemed eager to supply him with the tail. His mild interest carried throughout the story though he couldn't help but think it slightly strange that she was speak about her limp right away. He felt that she was trying to get a reaction from him, to instill something other than his quiet placidity. He enjoyed the story, however, thinking it interesting that her limp was something so simple as a mistaken gouge from a Treant's bark. A dark, potentially terrible story with a righteous ending. Or rather, beginning, in her case, as she was not yet dead.

At the end of her little tale, Amnon simply inclined his head, expressing with a light change in his expression that it was pleasant to hear.

He'd had another large pint of ale by then and would set it to the table top, not noticing that she had some subtle, plush cleavage. Though he was a man, he failed to do what men did as his life had mostly been in solitary; the days of his youth seemingly long gone. However, he did not bypass the Assimar's beauty.

"I assume you're an aspiring bard," he commented. "Or a bard without the will to be found."

She struck him as a kind of woman that did what she wanted. The fact that she had approached him and struck a conversation was enough for him to get the idea.

"I guess it is fair to give a story in return. Something to mark this moment with a strange, non-volatile Tiefling." There was a whisper of amusement in his voice.

Even if he was useless with his voice and had no talent with instruments of any sort, he did take pride in his intellect and his thoughts, and likewise, his ability to tell stories. Even though he lacked the strength and breadth of most other Tiefling, he made up for it in intellectual ways.

"Born from the ash, the fire, and the whisper of a demon's breath, we are born from the kindling flames of a place where which we may never return. Skin the color of blood, eyes the color of darkness, and souls the color of chaos... I am no different than the Demonkin that walk this realm. There is no other tale I would tell for any a tale of a Tiefling are often tragic, gruesome, and at most times, terrible. Twisted and grotesque like the Black Wood nestled in the Cradle of Dame."

Amnon slipped his hand around the large cup and lifted it to his lips to wet his throat with ale. When he set it back onto the well-polished table, he'd lift his golden hues to Sid and continue steadily.

"And this is where it begins."

A slight, curious smile.

"She approaches; curious, questioning, whom eyes glimmer with the valor of mythril, and whose gait lilts with a gentle limp. She quietly begs of a story and weaves well-spoken words, words perhaps recited, and engages in a dance that none know better than the sun and the moon, faceted by the stars. Here she sits, waiting, wondering, hoping to hear what a Tiefling might say as he wanders about in a roundabout way and avoids any questions about himself. But there she sees the knowing in his eyes and wonders what depth a shadow might hold. What kind of story would a Tiefling tell? A story of tragedy and intermittent hell."

Amnon uncrossed his legs and switched, sinking into a slightly more relaxed position.

"He smiles, albeit subtle, and toys with her curiosity like a cat batting at a mouse suspending from a string. And though the sun and moon play chase, they never seem to touch any longer than the brief whisper of twilight and that is what story he weaves. Teasing, whispering, and suspending something so dark and sordid that the dead would feel nauseous. A coy gaze beneath lashes, a tease of lips parted and many pointed teeth, he begins to tell the woman of a day, deep in the west, when the White Wind washed over the land and blanketed the dark silhouette of a village... cowering beneath the looming figure of the black tower; clock face hidden by the sheet of snow dropping from the accursed heavens. That in the tomb of this angry night, none were the wiser to the dirty deeds slumbering beneath the cold than he. Wailing devoured by the howling wind, dead devoured by the final breath, sorrow devoured by a madman..."

He lightly shook his head.

"What kind of story would a Tiefling tell? A story of tragedy and intermittent hell, for there is no other tale I would tell for any a tale of a Tiefling are often tragic, gruesome, and at most times, terrible. Twisted and grotesque like the Black Wood nestled in the Cradle of Dame. It is in this that he says few things and few stories should be heard, and though she rocks on the edge of her seat, she will be left to sleep on a story that never truly began with an aching wonder about how evil and sordid this story might have been. The end."

Amnon lifted his ale and drowned it before flipping the cup upside down on the table once it was empty. "Forgive me for I am weary," he stated, dropping his feet from the chair. The subtle click of his claws touching the wood were audible and he took a reserved expression as his golden gaze locked onto the woman's mythril hues.
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PostSubject: Re: Onions and Ale   Mon Nov 13, 2017 11:59 pm

Sidone smiled politely, accepting the acknowledgment of the tale without seeking further comment. Indeed, he had been partially right, she was a bard and she did not wish to be known, but her skill was equal to Markos, though Markos would claim her better by beauty alone. She only nodded at the question without nailing down either assumption and when he shifted, moving as though he had his own tale to spin she moved too. Her knees slid upward, arms sliding around them to clasp against her chest, her butt now rests upon the chair rather than her feet and she watched him with rapt intent. Oh, but she wanted to hear a good story.

The first few lines and she was hooked, rocking forward she listened with keen ears for any hint of truth to his words. The excitement of his tale as he wove words that were so beautifully, tragically poetic gave rise to a wide-eyed interest that she couldn't feign, for stories were her life. His deep voice vibrated through her, a thrumming of words that bore deep into her mind and eeked out tiny images. Her breath drew into her chest and she waited, anticipation mounting like a knight taking to his trusty steed, galvanized and shining brilliantly...such as his tale began.

It was only, after many long moments of verse did he drop the proverbial bomb upon her. Exploding in her face only to leave her slack-jawed and eager. "Oh, no..no no no..." she said as he set his feet to the floor as if he would rise from his chair. "One does not simply begin such a tale and leave it...leave it empty. It is like begging a keg of ail and taking but one amber drop!" her voice was rising in pitch, trembling with the anxiety of a story never started...nor finished, but teased to the point that when he stopped she nearly tumbled from the chair. Her silvery gaze flashed up to his, there was no anger, but there was an intensity that shot at him in a most physical way. "You can't...just...stop."

Her lips snapped shut for only long enough for her to process, though her mind refused to wrap around what he had just done. "You would make a most amazing bard, a storyteller so supreme that even the great old masters would be envious of what you can do..." her voice was a bare whisper, almost as if she didn't want him to hear what she said.
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PostSubject: Re: Onions and Ale   Tue Nov 14, 2017 12:12 am

Amnon couldn't disguise the grin the stretched over his lips, the shapely expanse drawing up over a set of many sharp white teeth. He'd sat back just to watch the way in which she nearly tumbled from her chair, eyes wide with lips agape in such a way that he was pleased to know, innately, that she'd enjoyed every word. Only Lathander knew how long it had been since last he'd smiled, though he was hardly ashamed of it now. "But I can and I will," he replied easily. It was at that time that he'd rise to his feet and gaze upon her as his smile faded. His lips set in a contemplative manner. A contemplative expression appearing on his features thereafter.

When his gaze flickered up to the bard on stage, whom had finished his performance not long before, it seemed that his time was done. At least, was his welcome. Her outburst had brought attention to them and this was where he felt the need to retreat to his room for the night.

Dropping his golden hues to the Assimar woman, he'd remain quiet for a moment, gazing upon her openly before turning toward the stairs they sat by. "I am weary but I could use company a bit later if you would like to chat in a more amicable setting. I am on the third floor, second door from the end. Convenient thing about being a Tiefling is that people tend to give you 'out of the way' places to bed and to eat so there, it will be quiet."

His open demeanor sealed back up, and without any more of a word, Amnon would mount the stairs and glide upward, his wide stride allowing for quick and quiet passage; the pads of his feet nearly silent upon the wood. His black visage was swift to disappear and it was at that time that Sid's old friend would come along to chat (and more than likely, to chide her).

(Am leaving it up to you to summarize their encounter and draw the scene toward his bedroom. Har har.)
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PostSubject: Re: Onions and Ale   Tue Nov 14, 2017 1:02 am

Watching, listening, dismay drawn in every feature of her face, her very posture was curled forward as if in defeat and when his offer came she made no move to acknowledge it. Either it was her being stubborn, which was likely, she thought, or that she contemplated it and it was a dangerous affair altogether. As he left her curled on the chair as she was, she was stewing with the thoughts and that lingering question of the tale not told. Frustrating, infuriating, no wonder people hated the tieflings, she grumbled loudly.

Sidonie was not one to care what other's thought of her or her actions and in spite of being an aasimar, which drew its own attention, she did little to do so for herself. Unlike her kin, she didn't feel that the air of superiority suited her, nor did she find it an attractive trait, and lacking that certainly allowed her to slide beneath the purview of the elders, not that it mattered to her either. She walked the world alone and preferred it that way.

"Sid, you can't do that..." she heard Markos before he even sat beside her, a mug of ale in his weathered hand. "You are aasimar...and more so you are Talfir." that jab stung and she turned to look at him with a slight frown.

"Do what exactly friend?" she hated his new name and refused to use it, in private she called him Markos. "Speak to a person visiting the inn, or because they are tiefling?" Sid felt snappy, she always did when she was questioned about her choice of friends...of course Markos would know that their own story one of bland torrid whispers that never grew the wings of truth. She had fancied him a brother more than anything, a wise voice when she could not find wisdom herself. "Tell me how that worked for you?"

His frown was deep and the grunted response let her know that she teetered on a fine line with her choice of words and Sid sighed loudly. "You know that in spite of the war being long forgotten, the blood war rages and for the safety of your family and your pretty little head...a tiefling friend might not be one of your best ideas." His leathery hand fell upon her arm, squeezing her in a fond way.

Sid looked at him, then at the hand where it lay. "My family is fine without me or whatever I do, they always have been. You know the story well and it is near impossible to find them anymore." she gave a little shrug and lifted her eyes to his. "You are all that I have anymore."

Markos nodded back to her and rose from the seat. He leaned over and placed a soft kiss on her forehead, "Indeed, as you are mine. Be safe and wise, do not lend to trouble you do not want nor need." he said as he turned away. "Let me know how it goes," he called over his shoulder and Sid could tell by the tone that there was a laugh tucked in there. He knew her well enough to know...that she never listened.

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Sid had made her way to her room on the second floor, furthest from the stairs and at the corner, a lovely little balcony overlooked the bay and the street below and it was there that she settled for a time in quiet contemplation. Though Markos and her were of the same age, in reality, he had always been wiser about life, save for that one moment in time that changed his life forever. She understood his concerns, both for her and her family. Sidonie Tarkimos was of a dying lineage, wars had ravaged her people in the early days and from there the stronger lines had taken hold nearly destroying a lineage over ten thousand years old and one of the three races that were born of the sands of time. She was of an ancient line and on top of that...she was born an aasimar. It was a double jeopardy that had made her life hell from the start, though her upbringing had been quiet and uneventful, it was only because the elders and her parents had sequestered them away from those that would seek to harm or use her.

Sidonie plucked at the tray of sweets beside her, tossing a soggy sugared fig over the railing and listening as it splatted on the stones below. Simple things, she thought as she closed her eyes and sought the solace of her angelic guide.

It took only a brief moment before the darkness of night gave way to the soft silver glow of the celestial realm, though her body remained silently on the balcony, her spirit soared through the heavens.

"What troubles you Sidonie of the Talfir?" the voice soft and familiar, the voice of the angel Myllandra. The woman stood so tall and slender that Sid never ventured a guess as to the height of her patron. She was clothed by her hair, nothing more, long pale blond locks that wound along her limbs, curled about her frame and held her aloft. Wings that seemed of satin feathers parted behind her, fluttering only occasionally as if to keep her toes from touching the ground, or perhaps out of agitation.

"Nothing more than the usual." she would comment softly. "Only that choices sometimes have dire consequences and others chances for something grand. "

The angel nodded once, "That is wise of you Sidonie, but that is not what troubles your mind now." she urged her gently though sometimes Sid would rather she yell at her to just spill the beans.

"True, I am sorry." Sidonie knelt before Myllandra, lowering her own silvery head until it touched before her feet. "I do not believe that all are good, or all are bad, I believe that each has a middle ground...and while I should fear the one that is intruiging my mind, I find drawn to learn more in spite of it."

A soft humming sound came from Myllandra, a silken rush of air carried the scent of lilies that was the mark of her angel. "And in all what have you learned about your intuition?" there was a gentle chiding in her voice and were Sid to look up, she would have seen the faint smile touch the lips of the angel.

"It is right, more often than not." Sid replied and did look up then.

"Then you know your answer."

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Sid gave a loud grunt as she snapped back into her form, she always hated that moment of transportation and how quickly she was thrust without warning. She never got to say goodbye, and perhaps that was a good thing.

She rose and lifted the plate that held only a few more treats of cakes, breaking them up she sprinkled them to the cobblestones below. The birds and beasts would dine well this eve. Moving into the main room, lush in appointment and usually far too rich for her and headed straight for the door, to which she quickly slipped out. It was silent, only a few candles still lit the long hallway towards the stairs and no sounds could be heard beyond the few that carried in from the street below. Ladies of the night giving call every once in awhile, a beggar, cats brawling and the yowl of a dog that likely got punted.

There was no hesitation in her steps, her footsteps gliding easily down the hall without a sound until she reached the stairs and mounted them without pause. No, she didn't care if anyone saw her, but she didn't want to draw attention to it either and so quiet was the best mode of transfer...at least she thought so.

Sidonie was a bit dismayed when she reached the third floor, here the hallway was shorter, being more of an attic space than a true floor. The walls were chipped and crumbling places, the floors not bearing the same shine as those below, it was almost as if it was forgotten and that for some reason struck her as both sad and wrong. She counted down the doors and found the one that was his and strode up to it boldly as if to knock.

What if someone saw...damn...

She paced back and forth before the door, then turned to it again, fist raised.

What if he was going to harm her...no one would hear...damn....

She again paced, this time going from end to end, her footfalls no longer stealthy but padding against the worn floor. She stopped a third time and faced the door.

"Everyone saw you two talking, if anything happened to you they would know who to blame, surely if he wanted to hurt me he would have done it before...Sidonie...you are an idiot." she raised her fist again to knock.
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PostSubject: Re: Onions and Ale   Wed Nov 15, 2017 12:32 am

Despite the dilapidated 'third floor', the room was not too shabby and the hot bath that awaited was more a luxury than he had ever known. The steaming water and light, soapy scent was inviting, and it was not long before Amnon was nude and padding toward the bath to step in and sink into the hot water... a heavy sigh passing his lips.

The tension in his muscles released in a nearly orgasmic manner, and as such, he'd drop his head backward and sigh as luxurious chills raced over his scarred flesh. With his hands in his lap beneath the water, feet crossed on the rim of the foot of the tub, Amnon's mind drifted here thereto not long after his eyes closed and it was in a lazy manner that he proceeded to wash himself. Salt and grime lifting away from his flesh.

Once he washed his hair, his horns, tail, and feet, he whispered something and drew a symbol over the water to purify it.

Thereafter, he'd reheat it with another simply spell and would relax until he was dancing on the border of sleep; uncaring that he might turn into a prune.

When the Assimar neared, the familiar prickling of the opposition stirred him from his rest and he would open his eyes, the golden iris' seeming a bit more vibrant than before. Realizing that he should appropriate himself, Amnon pulled his feet into the bath and stood, causing water to rush downward and splash back from whence it came. Stretching and sighing heavily, he'd close his eyes and simply stand in the temperature of the midsummer night, absorbing the divine sensation of relaxation, before stepping out and using a simple wind spell to dry himself.

Once taking care of his garments, he'd re-clothe himself and turn to the door, becoming aware that she was nearing.

There was a brief pause and stillness before the sound of pacing.

Lofting a brow, Amnon pulled adjusted his studded leather armor and donned the rune-written, eye-painted shawl and waited for her to knock.

Then she stopped before the door again. Another pause and silence.

Then more pacing.

Tilting his head, Amnon padded quietly toward the door and noticed as she approached it for a third time and began speaking to herself... "Everyone saw you two talking, if anything happened to you they would know who to blame, surely if he wanted to hurt me he would have done it before...Sidonie...you are an idiot."

The idea that she was talking to herself struck him as laughable but it was only amusement that donned his sharp features. He waited until there was another silence and pause before he simply grabbed the knob and opened the door, taking a step back as if to assess her. Without his cloak, she would be able to see his stature. He had the shawl, the studded leather armor, and a fine pair of firmly fitting pants that accommodated the tail swaying back and forth. His hair was also down, rather wavy, as it sat over his shoulder, a few locks to frame his face. A more relaxed look than before accompanied by the same steady gaze as before.

"If I intended to hurt you, I wouldn't have done it in public. I would have set this up exactly, or perhaps, snuck into your room to smother you with a pillow, but I hope you can tell that is hardly my intent..."

He seemed mildly amused.

"I think we can both agree that there is a morbid curiosity in one another. Naturally, we should have killed each other already, but it is quickly apparent that neither of us compliment our assumed roles."

Stepping to the side, he would simply open one arm and invite her in without a word. Should she accept, he would close the door and pad toward the two chairs and a small table sitting just at the entrance to a balcony overlooking the street. There were cups, a teapot, and a tin of tea there but no water to fill it. Simple as it was, Amnon simply summoned water from the tub (pure, cold, and fresh) and would heat it with the same spell he'd reheated his bath with. He would proceed to drop in a couple of bags of tea and would let it steep. His golden hues lifted to Sidonie and he would motion to the chair beside him as he lowered into the one he stood beside.

"Hope you don't mind whatever tea this is. I can try it first if you're worried I might poison you."

As Amnon would settle into the chair, he would cross his legs and curl the claws of his suspended foot into the toepads and would cross his arms over his chest; idly stroking his beard as his gaze observed the world he could see outside the balcony.
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PostSubject: Re: Onions and Ale   Wed Nov 15, 2017 1:41 pm

Her hand was aloft, a small fist poised to finally pound upon the door of the tiefling she should fear, but did not, not even a little bit. The intrigue overrode good sense, and she followed her instinct in this. Of course, she was startled, jumping back a bit and giving a tiny yelp of surprise as the door swung open and there stood Amnon. If she had to guess, he appeared amused though nonchalant about her being there at all, and she aghast at being caught looking like she was confused as to why her fist was held as such. It dropped idly at her side, her lips parting slightly as he gave her a retort to the words she had whispered only a moment before.

"Indeed," she commented, following him into the nicely appointed room, oddly relieved that it did not seem to match the disheveled appearance of the hallway preceding it. The scent of ash and soap floated behind him, a curious sort of odor that had strange memory connotations for her. She had had previous contact with tieflings, none of them very good to be honest, but it was that ashen scent that they all seemed to be touched with that one first noticed. "Interest, I would place that about right...I find it interesting that a tiefling felt so comfortable to make themselves known so brazenly," she said as she followed him to the balcony, nodding at his offer of tea and waving her hand to contest his offer to taste it first. "I am not concerned with such things, if I am to die, then it is my time." Sid gave a little shrug and slipped into the chair, tucking her feet beneath her and smoothing her skirt over her knees.

Just as he observed the world beyond the failing, she would observe him. There was an interesting and marvelous air about him, a confidence that mingled with some reserve or perhaps it was weariness. His features were attractive for his race, not devilishly handsome...as it were...since many of the men tended to rely on that dark beauty to entice unwitting human, elven and other...women and men into their little webs. No, he was attractive in a wisened way, the lines of age touched his skin and complimented the very very faint smile and she was not immune to beauty of any sort. The way he stroked his beard was as he had before, maybe it was a nervous thing but she didn't feel any nervousness from him.

"I suppose," she began thoughtfully, the full of her lips turning in a soft smile, her eyes steady on his profile. "that you wonder why I am so curious...to know your story that is. Which, may I remind you, you promised to supply!" she chided him lightly, a twittering laugh punctuating the end of it.

"The fact is, that I find all stories interesting, but those of dark intrigue, of the hidden part of humanity, of cruelty and pain, to be the most incredible and wondrous. Sure, I could listen to tales of unrequited love...or not, or poetic romance, tales of the gallant knight and the poor lost princess until I was nothing but a fluffy blob of happy things with nothing but happy endings. However, " she paused for a moment, her attention briefly distracted by the howling call of a wolf from the surrounding hills."However, those are often felt, seen and experienced emotions, they bring about the sweet singing tales of pretty bards, vapid and empty in my opinion. Like Mar...ehm, Yulan. He sings of things that draw on emotions normally not felt, sadness, emptiness, loss...with not redeeming ending, no fairytale to bolster it. It was from him that I learned of the other emotions and how much more enticing of a story they tell." her arms drew her knees before her, knitting her fingers together to hold them as such, her chin resting in the little valley it created.

"So tell me your story Amnon, show me the darkness that your tease promised..." The pale luminescence of her skin gave her an ethereal look, waves of silver pouring over her shoulders and cascading down her knees, the black streak touching her cheek lightly, sterling hues touched with the sky appeared attentive, curious, keen.
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PostSubject: Re: Onions and Ale   Wed Nov 15, 2017 2:23 pm

"After cowering in the shadow for many years, it took me a long time to realize that fear stops most people when one such as myself treads lightly. Not that I have not faced many perilous situations, it is just that the frequency lessened when I did not worry about being discreet. I suppose it was the difference of acting shady versus being present."

Amnon would each pour them a cup of tea when the scent of it reached his nostrils, indicating that it was well-steeped and ready.

Once cradling a cup with his hand, he would take a sip and continue once determined that the tea was actually quite fine. Slightly spicey and warm with a hint of something cool and pleasant.

"Dash in the instinctual fear my kind garners and you have people with a fear of confrontation. Life is fairly peacable that way though someone does go running to the guard now and again. Easy to diffuse those situations just by moving on."

He waved a hand dismissively and proceeded to take another drink of tea.

"I suppose... that you wonder why I am so curious...to know your story that is. Which, may I remind you, you promised to supply!"


Amnon flicked his gaze to her features, meeting her mythril hues and noting her softened smile. "A promise made is a promise kept," he replied simply.

He had figured that her curiosity went no further than a passion for story and those thoughts were affirmed when she provided him an explanation to her endeavor. For her, it was story, and for him, it was the fact that he had never sat down and simply had a conversation with an Assimarian on a mutual level. Not that they ever gave him the time of day, anyhow (as he was certain it had been the same for her).

Regardless, as she prescribed her observation, his mind would already began working over a tale appropriate for their encounter for he was certain that after this night, they would never meet again. Perhaps it was this thought that geared his mind toward a milder tail.

There was a certain hatred associated with his past, a hatred that often kept him up at night and drove him to succeed over what challenged him. Then the lapse from his death and strange revival...

After Sid finished her explanation, it seemed that Amnon was deep in thought. The sip from the tea was an idle, automatic gesture, the thought rather deep behind his strange black and gold hues. When he realized that she had stopped speaking, a somewhat guilty, faint smile replaced the one that was amused. He did not apologize or make it a point to address the lull, however.

"I cannot show you the best of the worst as I do not believe in revealing everything to a perfect stranger, but I can tell you something that you can retell as you please."

Amnon shifted in his seat and took a more relaxed posture, resting one arm on the arm of the chair, hand dangling off, while the other held the cup upon his knee.

There was a thoughtful pause, a pause which took some time, before Amnon seemed ready to tell a tale.

"He brandished a long sleek blade whose steel was as black as a starless night, empty and devoid of all other than what it consumed. If you have ever gazed into the sky, focused beyond the stars into the nothingness that lingers above us, then you would know only a fraction of the fear I felt when I met the thing that changed my life forever. It was not rainy day like most would say nor ravaged by storm, by wind, or snow. It was just a lovely morning in summer... sun warm like molten gold... Just after spring where the world's scent still lingers sweet and the grass is still lush and soft."

Amnon's voice was written with the memory he spoke of, a slight wistfulness.

"The world was moving around me as it always did, advancing on the wheel of time minute by minute in lazy passage without so much as a care for tragedy working behind the curtain--breeze whispering through the trees, bird twitter pleasant like the trill of a pan flute. Nothing unusual other than the strange chill that crept over my skin when I stepped onto the beaten path outside of Pennerton."

Amnon took another drink and proceeded to refill his cup.

"Pennerton is a small town outside the Citadel a few hundred miles East of here, in the neighboring kingdom where the Paladin's Temple homes and where most seafarer's trade for strange fruit and luxurious materials. The heart of the East, so to speak, where the King's forces are most concentrated. It should be noted that I was leaving the Citadel after taking care of some small matters; I had slipped in and out without nary a sound and had apparently not gone on unnoticed..."

Once the tea pot was set down, he would turn his gaze outside.

"It was my first encounter with the Temple of Valor."
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PostSubject: Re: Onions and Ale   Wed Nov 15, 2017 2:54 pm

Sidonie took the offered cup of tea in the brief silence that imparted between them when his fingers brushed against her own her gaze flickered up just slightly as she felt the deep heat that emanated from him. She had never been so close to one such as he and while she knew of their origins, to feel that fire cascade from his crimson flesh was slightly startling and begged many questions, questions that she would shelf for the time being.

The rim of the cup touched her lips, notes of cardamom met her nose with a rich spicy tingle, in this, she indulged with a long slow sip. Her eyes fluttered closed, her breath drawing in long and slow as she savored the taste that accompanied the scent letting it roll over her tongue and course down her throat as the flavors bloomed and warmed her in turns. Divine, she thought as she opened her eyes, a soft moan parting her lips as they left the cup.

When he gave his explanation of what he would tell, rather than not tell, she inclined her head in an acquiescent way, acknowledging silently that all things come in good time. Of course, she was a bard and telling stories was what she did, whether she was good at it or not. Her realm was more in song, both sung and played, but it was the stories behind them that drove her passion to learn more as she traveled the world. Her interest was again piqued and she rests with her hands clasping the cup in front of her knees, her chin again settling in the little valley created just for that.

Sidonie marveled at the way he shifted himself, as if preparing in his own way, to tell a tale so interesting that it required a modicum of relaxation in the telling. She appreciated it, the ease of his posture, the thoughtful sip of his tea, the timbre of his voice as he began. Truly, he had a way with words, one she rather envied. Many bards could speak as such, their words intricately drawing pictures in thin air, building a city before one's eyes, drawing the attention of rapt audiences with just...words. No songs, no dalliances with instruments save for their voice. His carried with it a modulation of tone that seemed to lift the tale from his voice and place it before her. She could see the early summer trees, smell the scents that follow a season of rain and growth, the town that rose up and all that he spoke of was poetically placed, purposeful and skilled.

She wondered fleetingly if he too was a bard, but her deeper senses had already eeked out the little wave of magic and something uncommon with a tiefling in her experience, the ability to heal and a sense of good, true good...compassion. Sid settled in and listened, attentive to the nuances of his words, curious how one like him would fare with the Aasimar of the Temple of Valor...this could not be good...and that was fantastic.
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PostSubject: Re: Onions and Ale   Wed Nov 15, 2017 7:05 pm

"As I assume you are privy to the Temple of Valor, I'll spare the details and carry on..."

His pause was for thought, once again. During so, he would uncross his legs and switch them; his tail to slither around and switch sides as well. It draped off the seat, the tip touching the floor.

"At first, the sword's presence was like an abyssal whisper, various voices lilting from its very core in all manner of sweet, enticing ways. Promises, temptations, all things which would lull me into a sense of comfort and a sense of ease. Were I not accustomed to such things, I would surely have fallen victim, but when I met eyes with its bearer, mounted upon a black, shining steed, I knew that the very thing resonating upon the rider's back had been forged to kill beasts like myself. The man was different than the sword. Not so sweet, not so promising. Not so friendly. His eyes were black like coal and I recognized the gash across his face from the many tales I'd heard of the Tiefling Slayer Kerox. Though his name is ridiculous, he was not so ridiculous as his name. Black studded leather and many scars from combat with hellish creatures like myself with a certain deadly poise I'll never forget..."

Amnon took a drink of tea before setting the cup aside and crossing his arms over his chest, hand lifting to his beard to stroke it idly. His voice had grown dry and somewhat bitter.

"There was no flicker of emotion in his eyes as he dismounted. Being that I am 'brazen', as you say, I did not shy from him but I also did not preemptively strike. I could tell that this piqued his interest but in no different a way than a hunter would find surprise in his prey's behavior...

There was a moment of terse silence between us while we stood face to face, I many inches taller than he; Kerox made no move to strike. He was studying me, waiting for me to give him a reason to attack, but I did not. Not understanding that there was an ulterior motive to his biding time.

The sword's whispers grew louder, raucous, more vile. I could feel the familiar touch of abyssal magic which is dark, cold, and devoid of life. Merciless. It touched my skin like a breath of ice as if I were facing an arctic Dragon; staring into the maw of a beast whose prowess in physical combat far exceeded my own. Being Tiefling, there was little in which I had to fear, but it was fear that I felt that day and the realization that we are nothing in this world... For those of us that are strong, indomitable even, there are, that exist, someone who will always be stronger. Be greater. Be more. That was the reality I faced that day."

A dark look traced Amnon's features; the shadow of a memory which inspired hatred and true hopelessness.

"I had not realized something had paralyzed me in those moments. The sword had a grip on me that I could not break, and the moment it occurred that such a foul magic had taken hold, it was too late. Raw terror snapped its maw around my heart and Kerox locked onto that emotion like a vicious beast, as if he had been waiting for it the entire time. Despite my best effort to remove the magic, Kerox unsheathed the sword with a cold, fearless laughter and ripped a great gash into my chest with that sword. The cut was clean but brutal and stung like a heavy dose of venom, stinging nettle, and salt on an open wound. My flesh bubbled and blood gushed over his face, his hands, his blade, his armor... staining him with black blood. I could never remember screaming before that day."

His brows were knit tightly together. Stress lining his features.

"Because many events in my life have led me to have a quick, clinical sense of self-preservation, it took me little time to discover that the paralysis had vanished and that I had a window of opportunity to escape. Just as the length and stride of the swipe with his blade arced to its end, it took me few seconds to jump to my feet and run faster than I had in ages..."
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PostSubject: Re: Onions and Ale   Wed Nov 15, 2017 7:19 pm

Sidonie was leaning forward, her bare feet exposed beneath the fabric of her skirts, toes curling into the edge as his tale began to unwind, unfold and darken before her. Moreso, she was enraptured by the expressions on his face, the changes between bitterness, fear, revelation and all between, the darkness of a shadow flitting across as if a cloud had crossed the moon and blotted out the shimmering light for just a moment, before lifting to expose even more raw emotion.

She wasn't sure what she had expected, the stories talk of how the tiefling are resilient and resistant to things like fear, that their brutality prevents them from showing anything more than bland disinterest in calm times and the vibrantly terrifying visage of rage and horror when faced with a foe. She saw neither of these things in Amnon as he told his tale, she saw the same emotions that all beings could...he was not immune to the violent thundering fear one would face against one like Kerox, renowned as he was, nor to the flickering of a smile that she noted he tried to hide. He was a conundrum and one she had decided she would try to sort out.

As he strode into his story, drawing on the emotion of the moment, the arching swing of that black sword came alive in her mind and a sharp gasp parted her lips. Of course, reason told her that he lived, for if he had not she was speaking with a spirit and he was no spirit. Entranced by his words, the fear he felt in that moment palpable and thrilling, she could barely hold the questions in her throat, her lips pressing tightly now so that she would not interrupt his flow.

What happened next...oh what Amnon, tell me please...her mind echoed the question.
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PostSubject: Re: Onions and Ale   Wed Nov 15, 2017 7:35 pm

"It was as primal as a hare and a hunter with none but a bow and arrow. A reach so far and deep it became hard to do anything other than flee as if the snare that would end my life was but a few fleeting seconds at my back. The thundering sound of his beasts hooves were a distant echo to the fear. He was soundless, otherwise, written with an intensity that I had never known before in a foe. It was I who had usually struck fear into the hearts of others in battle, not the other way around, and here I was... running for my life like an animal.

...He didn't attack right away either.

He taunted me, dashed ahead and rounded back as if to herd me. Having no choice, my body complied before I had time to think otherwise and ended up running where I was directed. This game went on for an hour until I'd become exhausted. Shaking from blood loss, I collapsed, drenched in sweat with the lack of will to go on. I'll admit that at that time, I had become desperate for salvation."

Amnon topped off their tea and wet his throat, taking a moment to still the deep, dark, unsettling rage in his gaze. It was something deep and perhaps more brutal that one would ever see in their lives. In that manner, Amnon was every bit of Tiefling. Kerox was a man he would never forget.

"When Kerox dismounted and approached my collapsed form, all I could perceive was his silhouette against the sun and the strange smile that touched his lips. The evil smile. He didn't ever speak but I am sure it was because he viewed me as no more than an animal... He unsheathed his sword then and his smile alone invoked a rage I know will never die. Call it one last stroke of self-preservation... and foolishness but in one fell whisper of the correct words, I invoked the spirit of his horse and slew it. It's body burst in a gush of blood and flesh until the ground devoured its body like quicksand. Naturally, Kerox was thrust from the force, and certainly startled, but when I bid the steed to return, it did, and emerged from the ground; made up of nothing but rot and oozing flesh and blood. A beast without any real form. Kerox was mortally wounded but he overcame the steed, and that, in turn, took more energy than I had..."
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PostSubject: Re: Onions and Ale   Wed Nov 15, 2017 7:47 pm

The tea had grown cold and forgotten during his telling and when it was topped off the heavenly scent rose to her nostrils and bid her to at least take a sip to wet her parched throat, this time the taste was lost to her, as her senses were directed elsewhere, in particular at him. She felt each trembling moment as if she were there to witness it, her own fear rising and swaying, dizzying.

She couldn't possibly get any closer to the edge of her seat, both literally and figuratively, and still, the questions urged themselves upwards and she forcibly bit down on her tongue to stifle them. There would be time enough for her inquiries after he had completed this tale, and oh were there many. Her gaze was upon him like a cat's own, watching every minute motion of his lips, the shifting of his eyes, the small gestures of his hands and posture. It was like nothing she had ever experienced and she had heard more tales than the library at the capital held in her life, but nothing that drew her in until she could literally see what he said.

Sidonie was captivated by his skill with words, truly he should be a bard, dangerously so...his words could form things that no other bard had done before and that, that might not be such a good idea. That slender moment of side thought stopped and she again gasped when he described the vicious counterattack using the horse, at first...the poor horse, the next thought was on his brilliance for thinking of such a darkly violent attack.

Go on Amnon...tell me more, oh so much more... she thought, absently setting the tea on the table beside her, then winding her arms around her knees once more in rapt attention.
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PostSubject: Re: Onions and Ale   Wed Nov 15, 2017 8:04 pm

"My mind vanished from my body, for a time, suspended in the space of abyssal emptiness. There, I was in pain, in remorse, and a certain kind of craze that only comes from summoning the dead. A punishment for committing a taboo. Regardless, when I awoke in my body, I was nearly dead and Kerox was nowhere to be found. The necrotic beast I had summoned had turned into a rancid, pungent pile of flesh; gouged at by flies and maggots. The sun was gone and I knew that the only reason I did not die was that my clerical abilities had saved my life. Somehow. Some way. I disappeared for a while after that, deep in the woods, never to be found for a few years. I could not fathom the thought of returning to civilization while Kerox certainly awaited. I have no idea where he is and whether or not he thinks I am dead but I have not had trouble from the Temple of Valor since then. I can only hope that they have assumed me dead, though as a Tiefling, I know my time is limited.

There is always someone hunting my kind.

Someone with a personal motive, just like Kerox.

I have to admit, I am curious about what drives him..."

Amnon lifted the tea to his lips, the kaleidoscope of emotion washing over his features in various ways until at last, he was once more steady and calm with a hint of anger and danger. Not at Sidonie, of course, but at a force he had been unable to combat.

Here was were he took a moment of reprieve and closed his eyes, catching the sound of the ocean and the waves as they crashed against the shore. The scent of brine and a breeze that carried its whispers to his ears. It was a rare melody which he relished, and though he felt that Sid had been absorbed by his tale, her gasps and tensions palpable, it was her need to ask questions that spoke the loudest and he sensed that as easily as he sensed emotion in people. He was an observer, a feeler, much unlike many Tiefling because of his choice to do good in life. Taboos aside.

For him, it had been a strange awakening from the infernal grasp around his soul.
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PostSubject: Re: Onions and Ale   Wed Nov 15, 2017 8:50 pm

As his tale wound to a close, the words hanging between them as the vision of the events evaporated into the air where they had been, leaving a shivering glimmer of the magnitude of his story. Sid didn't look at him now, absorbing the last of the words like a fine meal, both tasteful and bitter at the same time, her mouth dry from the soft little panting breaths that carried the trials he faced deep into her mind, embedded there for all time.

How, she wondered, did he manage such a feat, it was not known if any had survived the onslaught of Kerox - though he had been silent himself for many years past now. What she knew of him was that he teetered on the brink of fallen, an Aasimar both revered and feared, dangerous to those of evil intent and just as so to those born of kindness. There had been many stories of how he came to be such a brutal fighter, of how his hate was driven because of an event unspoken though whispered. It was a cheeky thing, that his anger came from the loss of his wife, but not in the manner of death but rather of her love for a tiefling and their child is said to now walk the earth a true mixed breed. Not unheard of, but an Aasimar and Tiefling mix was rare and usually born with such disfigurement that they rarely made it beyond a year or two. Of course, Sid didn't put much weight on whispers, one day she would know the truth of that tale...but how....

"I must know...why would you put yourself so close to the Temple of Valor, knowing that it is a haven for the fighters, the warriors of the Aasimar. The dull beings that they are in their gloriously glittering armor and steeds that pranced about prettily." Now it was her that had a touch of bitterness to her otherwise calm demeanor. She had little love for the addle-brained warriors that fought for Angels that cared little for them, and a religion that they would never understand the breadth of. "I would think that a rather silly thing to do, knowingly of course. And Kerox, well he is about as idiotic as the rest...I...well.." she paused and slipped her feet from beneath herself and rose.

Her gown slid freely down, gathered at both hips just high enough to give her the freedom to run if she needed to, brushing against the floor and pooling around her bare feet. She turned to him in his serenity, his eyes closed and seeming at some strangled sort of peace. "We are not supposed to get along, one born of fire and the hells that form it, the other of the heavens and all things celestial. Mortal enemies from the moment we take our first breaths, whether we chose it or not. But you...you walked into the den, you faced one of the most terrifying men...Aasimar..of all..and you lived...how...how and why...." Sid tossed her hands up, her mind was racing with questions and now they jumbled all together. "First...first...why did you even near that place?"
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PostSubject: Re: Onions and Ale   Wed Nov 15, 2017 9:06 pm

Amnon listened to Sidonie and measured her reaction through her words and the emotion written in her voice. Her reaction was curious, to be certain, though he thought it was suiting considering her lineage and what the Temple of Valor were known for.

Self-righteous hunters, at best, but gods bless those that said it to them directly.

"Why should I tailor my life to fear?"

Amnon opened his eyes and looked over at Sid, meeting her gaze directly. Again, still steady. "Why should I tailor my life to the possibility that someone might attempt to kill me? I am Tiefling. It is something I have had to accept. I am brazen because truly, after Kerox, there is little I fear and Lathander seal my lips if I tell any other." Amnon set his cup aside and stood, stepping out onto the balcony, tail swaying as he rested his hands upon the balcony's rail. He didn't realize how tall the building was until he looked at the street below and saw the illumination from within; the laughter, the chatter, the sound of music. It seemed the Lyral was bustling then.

"I lived through wit alone. That is the how. And I lived because I did not want to die. That is the why. There is no complex answer to your question. Perhaps one can consider it luck or coincidence but personally, I only consider it that I was quick enough to make the right decision. Odds would have been different if Kerox was not a loner but being that he only fights by himself, I was lucky."

Turning around, Amnon leveled his glowing golden hues to her. Arms crossed over his chest again. He'd rest his ass against the rail, tail curling in front of him as he crossed his ankles.

"I had a contract to turn in. A simple monster hunt. Nothing more. That and I benefited by selling a thief's boon after they attempted to kill me. Something personal about his mother or some such. I didn't pay attention. Tiefling are always causing trouble and it usually involves someone's death which leaves to a living vengeance. I made fifty gold that day from a satchel of silk so I wasn't about to complain. That's food for a few months and winter garments."
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