By Xullrae Zauvir
Chapter 1 - Meetings and Acquaintances (part 2)
Roughly two hours had passed since the human and his small entourage took their leave of Narbondel's Shadow. In their wake, the Inn's proprietor had hastened to pass a message along to the enigmatic drowess. How he had known her identity, cloaked as she was, had not been revealed. As the room had been filled with no less than forty of the proprietor's regular, somewhat loyal guests, it would not have been to her benefit to cause a ruckus in order to find out. As it stood, the message had been from a certain Bladesinger the drowess had come to know, bidding her meet him at the ramshackle dwelling he'd managed to procure for himself in the Stenchstreets district, as soon as was possible. Xull'rae sighed loudly to herself as she received the note, wondering what the damnable male wanted now. As she etched her way carefully through the crowded streets, her steps deliberate and slow as not to bump into anyone or have her cloak brush against dirty bodies. The Braeryn always made her skin crawl and her nerves shy away in pure disgust. She was from a noble house and despite her living in the wilds of the Underdark for a time, she still could not stand this hovel. Being but a hand throw's distance from said district, one would have thought the journey would be a short one. However, the streets therein were far busier, and more crowded, than she could remember, the journey arduous due to having to push through so many mobs of the filthy, disease-infested slave races and outcast kin of her own race. As one would suspect in such environs, the odor of decay, sweat, and other less mentionable things proved nearly palpable, and quite overpowering, under such conditions. Though she kept her identity largely hidden, most of the creatures residing within the Braeryn were shrewd enough to figure out she was not one to be trifled with. At last, the small spire that comprised the Bladesinger's home came to view, the once-grand sculpting along its walls now but a shadow of their former selves, covered in every manner of unmentionable fluids and gore. Her amber colored eyes surveyed the home of the calling male and a displeased frown placed itself on her soft lips beyond the cowl of her piwafwi, and tiny able feet carried her confidently inside.
As soon as her feet carried her far enough into the hovel's interior, the thin, yet sturdy stone door was slammed shut behind her, a simple bar of metal dropped across its width, offering a tad more security from the dregs outside. There was a dim illumination spreading across the small entrance chamber, shining down from some obscured light source on the level above. It took a moment for her to make out the familiar shape of the Bladesinger, leaning against the secured door, his tightly muscled silhouette seeming to heave with somewhat labored breathing. His trademark, crooked grin shone brightly a moment later within the small patch of shadow obscuring the area around the door, and a heartbeat after that, his rather handsome, sharp featured face came into view, sweat dripping from his brow, rivulets of the salty liquid running down the length of his bared, obsidian torso, offering a certain sheen to the multi-blue hued tattoo which encased the bulk of his wiry chest.
The shock of white hair which framed that visage was quite errant from its normal style, matted down with sweat to the point it appeared he had just bathed. Twin pools of crimson locked with her amber as he slowly drew one of his slender digit, leather-clad hands into view, dark liquid, appearing to be blood mixed with less mentionable things, dripping from between the fingers. "Fire-blossom, so kind of you to drop by..." A slight cough then escaped his lips, a tiny fleck of blood left upon his thinly formed, exquisite lips in the aftermath.
Xull'rae's frown deepened upon seeing him, he looked just as dirty as the rest of the wretches in this place. Normally he would always catch her eye, though she'd never admit it, he was quite a looker, with a body that most matrons would kill another for, just so she could be the one to have him father drowlings, to ensure they would be pretty. But now, he was repulsive. So she stepped away from him in a cool manner with a huff "What do you want Bladesinger...?"
A perplexed, though not quite daunted, frown then creased his own countenance for a moment, to be replaced quickly enough with yet another crooked grin "I've been well, thank you...well, more or less. I just love the way that hood frames your face...." Again, a short, wheezing cough was emitted, though this time he turned away, more blood-filled spittle coming forth, the grin fading fast.
"Look, one of these dretches used a poison on me that
I don't happen to have an antidote for...I've managed to delay the effects for a
time, but well, I figured maybe since you fawn over me so much, that you'd,
well, help me...." Again he frowned, realizing he sounded like a simp.
Then just as quickly, a bright, beaming, quite out of place smile was offered to
her, much hope etched into its creasing. Pleading hope, that is!
The Drowess burst out laughing at his statements, finding it ludicrous that he'd assume she'd help just like that. "What..? you called me ... for ... this ..." She looked him over, saw his boyish face and almost fell for it, just because he looked so appealing, but she shook it off with a sigh. "In truth I cannot cure it but I can delay it ... I'm still young you know ... most priestess are two hundred or three hundred years old but I can see about getting an antidote."
For the moment, all he could do was blink, stupefied, but by what she couldn't tell. Then, ignoring her "reluctance," it never really registering in his mind anyway, he twisted about, gathering up his ornate, silver-pommeled thinblade from where it was leaning near the door. Taking up a worn, leather rucksack, which in turn sat near the blade. Items in hand, he nodded to her with a grateful, charming smile. "Okay then, do your mumbo-jumbo, then lets head back to your place, I can just stay there while I heal up, I don't mind you attending me for a few days."
"You come ... with me ...?" Xull'rae scoffed, like it was the most absurd idea she ever heard. "Why don't you just go the the Vengeful Weave Inn and rest there, you need to go there anyway because I'm going to pack ... I'm heading back to Sshamath."
Again, for a moment he didn't seem to comprehend, which in reality, part of it he did not comprehend. His words were spoken slowly and deliberately, almost in a tone as if he were talking to a child, thinking her a bit slow at the moment. "Yes. I will come with you, that's what I said." Then something else dawned on him, "Hey! You want me to go to Sshamath with you?? Great!"
Having shown a bit too much excitement, he recovered a bit, posturing himself a bit more formally. "Yes, of course you would want your great protector along. I shall not fail in my duties. Now, can we go back to your place, or what? And where the heck is this Inn you're talking about? Near your house? Are you staying there? Matron kicked you out?" Between smiles, he coughed once more, though no spittle came forth this time. His features were etched by betrayed pain, however.
Xull'rae rolled her eyes, he was a handsome one, but not very smart at times. In truth she kept him because he seemed to be the only drow male that did her bidding AND found her attractive. "I'm not taking you to the compound ... I can't you are not allowed there remember ..."
Once more, the Bladesinger appeared perplexed, then traces of an assured grin came to rest upon his visage as he nodded heartily. "Ah, so the Matron IS jealous that you have me, and she doesn't. Yes, I suppose that would cause some friction around the ol' compound. I suppose I could slap it to her, and sneak around the place while she was in the bliss of our union's aftermath ..." He mused quietly, and thoughtfully.
She shook her hooded head in exasperation and started the incantation of the spell that would delay the poison and offer some comfort.
"Oh yeah, I'll hush up now," he offered, but just kept on regardless. "Don't want to interrupt your concentration. Bet that's difficult to remember the words, huh? Yeah, I know I stumble on the few incantations of wizardry under my belt at times, and I just hate when people blabber on while I'm trying to cast........So, almost done? I'm dyin' here, ya know?"
"Why don't you try Chessintra's compound?" Xull'rae asked in a patient tone. "She'd greatly offer you a place to stay ... because if YOU asked her it would make her think you were interested in her and that you left me.." She released the spell in complete calm, despite his blabbering.
"Who? Oh, that bimbo. Why would I want to stay there? Sure, she's got a nice set of teats, but her hair is just plain ol' white, I mean, c'mon, YOURS is so much more vibrant. And why would I want her to think I like her? And we're together, you and I?" The last query was spoken in an almost dreamy manner.
The female clenched her tiny hands and almost struck him in anger but she took a deep breath and calmed herself. "Then go fondle them ... she'll heal you of your poison if you do, cause if she thinks you are interested in her she'll heal you ... understand ... besides once you get healed get her drunk and high tail it out of there. As for my hair ... don't flatter me I still am not going to fuck you ... and ... together ... yes at this moment we are together in the same room.........."
He was seemingly lost in a flighty haze for some long moments as the magic's took effect, and all he could mutter afterward was, "We're together.....Yes, get drunk...fuck me....Fondle...."
Xull'rae groaned and through clenched teeth said, "Go to Chessintra's compound ... I'll meet you there ... naked ... so you better hurry cause if you don't get there fast enough I will get bored at leave!" Yes it was ridiculous to say, but the truth of the matter was she was only bluffing ... and hoping he'd fall for it in his disgruntled state.
The Bladesinger blinked in more than mild surprise. He once again partially comprehended, his imagination filling in the gaps. "So, you want me to get naked, and meet you at Chessintra's, for a threesome?" Without waiting for an answer, he quickly spun towards the door, fumbling with the metal bar. "I shall not fail in my duties!"
The drowess blinked and gawked at him, disbelieving his stupidity in translation and just uttered a startled yes in response.
Within moments, he was out the door, slamming it off the wall so hard it cracked, the fact he nearly stumbled over a drunken, lounging hobgoblin just outside said door never registering in his mind, various hoots and hollers emitting from him as he pushed his way through the crowded streets beyond. "Outta my way, gimps, I'm on my way to the Seven Heavens!"
She sighed once more as she watched him go, before giving way to snickering as she prepared to go to Sshamath that evening. If the male known as Vesz'aun got himself killed on the way to the bitches compound, oh well she'd could always try enticing an elf or two. True Elves were so different from the drow but surface dwellers, even arrogant ones could find her attractive, and odd balls like her couldn't be too picky on pawns nowadays.
"Hm, please tell me he's not really a drow? Even being a human as I am, I know drow are not like that. I've NEVER heard of a drow like him. It's quite disturbing to think about, in all honesty," came a deep voice, one she'd been acquainted with only a couple hours before, came from behind her, that of the bald headed human.
"Get used to it he's coming along ... even if you end up killing him ... it's called obsession and he'll jump in a fiery pit if he knew I would..." was her reply as she went past him unphased that he was even there. Proof, that she was tough to sneak up on and ready for just about anything.
"Mm, I'm thinking that his death will come long 'ere
I "get used to him". At any rate, I need you to come with me for a short time."
Her seeming nonchalance at his entrance was duly noted, and as she brushed past
his form, this time she could notice his form was presented in flowing robes of
deep blue, trimmed with silver in various places, the attire much more fitting
to the description she'd been given of him 'ere they met.
His meaty, leather-clad hands were clasped casually behind his back, his demeanor very nonchalant as well, as he turned off towards a side passage. His bidding having no semblance of being questioned as far as he was concerned.
"Men always need something it's why the gods made women to do what they can't ... what is it now?" Her tone was clipped as she continued to pack, though she was aware of his moving form.
Cogliostro stopped in his tracks, frowning in irritation, he turned back to face her as she packed. "I have no need of you to DO anything, drowess. There is a thing I must show you. Something beneficial to yourself, to be certain. So please do hasten with your task, and let us carry on."
In response, she threw one of the rusty daggers that had been on the floor, at his back ... knowing full well he could block it but didn't care. She was not one to take bad moods or orders lightly. However, she did heave the pack over her piwafwi covered shoulder and stalked after him, never one to turn the opportunity to benefit herself. Her whole body, down to the way she walked, said if another word uttered from him she'd attack, no matter that he could hand her her entrails, she'd try anyway!
Facing away once more, in order to hide the trace of a humored grin which etched itself temporarily upon his features, he indeed paid little heed to the dagger as it sped unerringly toward his broad back. As it stood, the dagger seemingly bounced off harmlessly and clattered upon the filth-strewn stone beneath their feet. Having no wish to kill her at this time, he gave her the silence she wished for as they journeyed farther into the Braeryn. The degenerate mobs all but parting to make a clear path for them this time, though none seemingly went out of their way to step from the path of the two travelers.
Some long minutes had passed 'ere they came to one of the outer walls to stand before the battered doorway of yet another once grand building, this one having been carved into the wall itself. A simple gesture of the human's hand caused the illusory spider webs covering most of the doorway to disappear, allowing them access into the dark confines. Being something of a gentleman, he stopped and bid her proceed inward. The hooded Drowess peered at him just gave him an 'are you stupid ... this is the Underdark ... you go first and die' look.
Shrugging slightly, he turned and entered the abode. Nothing untoward seemed to happen, much to her dismay. But she followed regardless. It was a rather unadorned, dust filled chamber that they stepped into. Nothing much to speak of. In fact, the human turned upon her entrance, and told her to step back out. "If you would...." His tone polite as he made a gesture to emphasize his words.
"You are so weird ... all wizards are I swear.." she commented irritably, as she stepped back out carefully.
"Mm, that we are." The words became distant as she stepped back through, echoing in a way, and the scene she stepped onto was one more familiar to her than the Braeryn. The palpable feel of her true god's power emanated from all around her, and after her eyes adjusted a bit, she could guess that she stood almost directly below the Tower of the Masked Mage, Vhaeraun's temple in Sshamath.
"Okay...explain what that was cause I make it a habit never to dabble in the true magic shit ... and just stick with what I know and am granted in divine power." She looked around in bewilderment as she lowered her hood, revealing a long thick shock of red coppery colored hair, as it tumbled from its confines in the hood, to dangle at her waist in a knotted ponytail, the streak of white flowing through it from her right side seemed a contradictory to the natural rustic color of her mane.
"Talking to yourself, revered Sister?" The male voice was one she was more acquainted with than the human's, and a quick look about would reveal that said human was nowhere to be found. The speaker was quite evident, dressed in his simple robes of midnight hue, long mane of yellow-white flowing freely, yet neatly, down past his shoulders, reaching nearly to his knees as it cascaded down his slender back. A relatively young, though stress-aged visage, not handsome, yet not ugly by any means, now stared at her questioningly. A superior mannerism to the male's posture, his crimson gaze holding just a tad of humor upon seeing her minor plight.
"You know I'm really beginning to hate the Rivven ... and NO ... I'm not talking to myself ... I just arrived from Men-- never MIND!!" Her amber colored gaze was sharp, then turned respectful upon seeing who it was that was speaking to her.
"My apologies Shadow Sorcerer ... Phaeraun ... transpororation nowadays leaves one on edge." She made herself look as humble as she could.
"So I am observing...fret not, Sister, I am aware of the portal, and the human," came his generous reply. "I have been waiting here for you," he continued, "and am gladdened, it ... the portal, that is ... works. Though I must admit I am a bit perturbed at your lateness. However, that is set aside, as we now have one more vastly useful tool at our disposal."
It took everything in Xull'rae not to roll her eyes and give off the impression of meekness. "If I am late, again my apologies. How I may I serve the Masked Lord and my fellow brethern?"
Seemingly unaware of her true feelings and thoughts, he stepped back from the portal, and inclined his head toward it. "Step back through, and carry on as you were. We of the Tower shall be reacquainted with you soon enough."
Again it took everything in her not to retort and complain. Instead she nodded slowly, bowed with flawless grace and stepped through the portal obediently.
The momentary disorientation was far less this time, as if she were already used to the travel. Her steps carried her once again into the confines of the abandoned building, where the human stood waiting patiently. "I take it the trip went flawlessly, as you are alive, whole, and seemingly unaltered. Very good. Now, you are free to do as you wish. This portal is for the use of you and your Vhaeraunian brethren. All you need do is concentrate while stepping through the doorway, and it will whisk you to the Darkwoods. Otherwise, tis a normal door," said he in a lecturing tone.
"No you're still ugly, annoying and dress in bad taste that's BAD not good..." came her sharp reply but she gave a single nod as he continued..again showing him she was a hard one to surprise.
"Mm, I'm heartened to hear the journey hasn't dulled your wits nor the sharpness of your tongue." Once more, he turned from her dismissively, casually striding back into the Braeryn proper. "Carry on as you will. And feel free to take advantage of the extra time this portal will afford you within Menzoberranzan....Oh, and do enjoy that threesome...." He chuckled as he began to leave.
"Yeah I will.." she called after him, her temper boiling, "myself, my dagger, and my sword...one day the three of us will be sure to dismember you!" She smiled sultry like with true genuine malice, once again enhancing the dark beauty she processed but was utterly blind to.
"Mm, so long as you do it in an enticing manner, I'm game. Fair journeys to you." Not turning back to face her, he couldn't help but smile humorously to himself as he strode ever further into the throngs.
So it was true.. she thought to herself, all men were the same..stupid! She shook her head in honest disbelief at that thought and carried about her business as usual.
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