By Xullrae Zauvir
Chapter 2 - The Web Begins to Weave (part 8)
Although the Lightless Realms had no sun, nor moon, to give them a sense of night or day, frequent trade with certain surface-dwellers has prompted the city as a whole to have a more or less settled upon version of night and day.
As such, it now fell to the breakfast hours for a large part of the city, and hence the Inn's taprooms were rather busy with patrons coming to partake of the fine meals available. One such patron now sat picking idly at the remnants of eggs and sausages which rested upon his platter, a cowled drowic form from the look of it, awaiting patiently for Drazoul to join him, crimson orbs sweeping lazily, though constantly, across the breadth of the room, partaking of what information they could. Business was to be done this day, and it seemed their would be plenty of background murmur to conceal that which would occur.
Drazoul looked around loosely not wanting to give the impression he was looking for someone and when he did indeed find the one he sought. He walked towards the figure cautiously making sure no others would follow or watch. As he arrived he gave a slight inclination of his head then spoke. "Nice to see you are well and fine old friend." With that he took a seat near the drow.
Meanwhile the portal which the human provided, put within Xull'rae's rooms, she had heeded the humans words, and had the intent to be the spy. So she departed the confines and made her way down the stairwell, but she didn't look herself. One she was not wearing her piwafwi, two her hair was white, her eyes red, and her face was distinctly male. Her clothing showed of the mercenary type, black leather and a sword at either side of her. Only a high level mage could see through the mirage, in which case, would show only her piwafwi to those who could see through it. She moved to a table adjacent from Drazoul and company, which was occupied by a human and his orcish looking companion, she greeted them as if she knew them and signaled a waitress to bring round of drinks, which promptly shut up what either one was going to say to her. She was prepared to listen in and stay unnoticed.
A newer addition to the Inn was also settled here, not to far from the table which the "mercenary" had settled, it would've been hard to tell anything about the individual as he was covered from head to toe in garments of ebony, one could guess he wasn't native though, just by his build and height, and while not bulky, stood a good six foot two, the only thing of notable value was the longbow, which had been leaning against the wooden edge of his own chair, an arm being draped over the back of it while free digits tended to the mug of one ale or another, twisted somewhat in his seat so his eyes could wander and assess the various occupants.
The Conversation between Drazoul and his companion continued, uninterrupted.
"Indeed, and you as well, Drazoul." Another glance was given to the room as a whole, suspicious as always, but not intent upon any single being that surrounded them. "I believe it is safe enough here to speak freely." Nadal paused a moment longer, taking another assessment of the room, before continuing. "I have that which I have promised. As our usual dealings go, in order to assuage suspicion, I will place it somewhere secure, and you can pick it up at your convenience. Secure as possible, at the very least. Now, how goes things on your end?" He looked upon the Yuan-ti expectantly.
As for Xull'rae, those "she" had taken a seat with were seasoned enough in what she was doing, that they went along with the ruse, figuring it would be the least of payment which they would receive.
Drazoul smiled in response, knowing he would be one step safer once the item was acquired. He pulled out the onyx figurine of a dog and whispered the magic word. The dog materialized from smoke and the Yuan-ti did not waste a moment to give it instructions though Nadal had deemed the place safe, Drazoul felt otherwise. "My front goes very well in fact and there is much that you may find interesting. How is your standing?"
As he was wont to do, Nadal deftly avoided questions about himself for the time being, placing a smile of sorts upon his visage whilst arching a brow in Drazoul's direction. "Some things of interest, you say?"
Drazoul's blatant use of the Onyx figuring drew some stares from those gathered, to be sure, but Nadal did not comment on that fact, nor did he seem overly worried about it.
"Most certainly Nadal there is much news that you would most likley find useful. Are you willing to hear?" Drazoul replied as he grinned all the more when some of the people stared. Was it so unusual to have extra protection in the UnderDark? Perhaps he would never know.
"Mm hm, as always, that I am." Nadal's own smile broadened at the prospect.
Drazoul accounted the whole story of the Malaugrym's entrapment and how seven children were used as seal keys and that in fact the demon they discussed earlier was a nurse maid of a sort. He spoke of Alena but did leave out the fact he and Horock were also keys since it would not be important for Nadal to know. He made a small mention of the scarred one, looking to Nadal's expression at the mention of Malag'tel. More importantly he hinted that Cogliostro was not a big player in the whole scenario as it stood but seemed to know more then he let on and as of the moment seemed to be spilling out information when it served him though Drazoul could not explain the humans goals. He also made a small reference to a curious Githyanki he meet recently.
Xull'rae was keeping to the conversation, as bored as she was she could not believe the Yaun-ti had no sense. Why in the celestial heavens would one blabber that much. The Yaun-ti trusted too much in her opinion. She knew of Nadal, but other than him being a follower of the Masked One, she knew little else. Drazoul trusted a Drow thief? She didn't know whether to laugh or kill him for being stupid, instead she sat there drinking and talking wild stories with the others at her table. Though she did contact Cogliostro mentally. I hope you are getting this human...this is actually rather boring.
Nadal listened with an expression of much interest etched upon his visage, and when Drazoul had come to finish his recollections, a single nod, and a simple, close-lipped smile was offered. "That is quite a bit more than I had expected in such a short time. And quite interesting, to boot. This news of the scarred one does bring some wariness upon my soul. I am thinking that perhaps he will discover my ruse within the church. Then again, one such as he has been described as not to care, or will find it humorous. In any event, I have tarried here too long for now." He takes a final draught from his mug, and tosses a handful of gold upon the table's surface. "Go to the Gloura's Wings, and ask for Embryssa. She will recognize you, and get the item to you. And we will meet again soon enough...in the meantime, I have much to think upon, thanks to you. For my part, I will also see what else I may uncover on all involved topics."
Drazoul's expression turned more neutral as he was somewhat confused as to what Nadal was referring to. "Thank you old friend, keep in contact and things will go just fine." With that he left and went in search of Gloura's wings.
In a delayed response, Cogliostro responded in barbing sarcasm. Mm, I thought I had employed you to "get it"?
The stranger in the corner, set his mug quietly upon the table, nimble digits now idly play with the straps of his magical quiver, spanning across his chest in a "X" fashion, he'd tighten them as he prepared to move, lifting from his chair and reaching downward to snatch his bow, slinging it over his right shoulder, low-hanging cowl covering most of his features, but do give hint of greyish flesh beneath, dark, but not like the elves of this place, something totally different. In fact, in any case, he began to stalk for the doors, but didn't exit just yet.
Nadal rose with yet another charming smile, as he offered a respectful inclination of his head to Drazoul before they parted. "In case you are unfamiliar, the Wings is the largest establishment in town, and clearly one of the finest." Then he too departed.
Xull'rae sucked her tooth ordering more drinks and asking those at the table if they cared for a meal. She nodded to the cloaked figure as he rose from the nearby table, as most would do when one grabs a weapon. It was then she noticed her subjects leaving. They are not saying much that we don't already know except the name Embryssa and an establishment called wings where snake boy can pick up his item.
Cogliostro gave the mental impression of sighing. That is something, at least. Very well though, you may stand down now, thank you.
Drazoul signaled for his dog to follow he decided not to speak to it since people would think him mad even though the dog could easily communicate., almost forgetting about him.
Were you expecting more, if so I can try to uncover more but I need specifics.
Again he gave a long pause before answering. No, not at all, that is sufficient for now.
As meals were brought she decided to ask the bald mage things on other subjects. Alright then has the Draegloth awakened and how fairs the Bladesinger? She was merely curious, not truly concerned for their welfare.
No, to the first. And as for the second, I think I've almost got the entrails back in place.
Xull'rae gave the mental impression of being appalled. It'd be easier and faster if you would just let a priest handle it. She did not want to get up right away, as she was a better thief than that and was waiting for all them to leave.
Cogliostro's mental impression was irritated. Bah. You don't even know what I'm doing.
She almost laughed aloud, but restrained herself with scratching her nose and sniffing. No I don't but from your tone I think I hit it right.
Now he sounded strained, making his mental voice softer and more distant. Mm, think what you will. Now stop bothering me before I accidentally reroute his colon to the wrong orifice.
She gave a mental sigh. You should have let me deal with him. She let it drop then and finished her plate, belching loudly.
Still the stranger was in the inn, his attention was set on the one with a dog, following every last step he took till out the door, he himself, didn't quite leave just yet, instead he planted his shoulder against the wall, taking a casual lean.
Though neither of them knew the other at this juncture in time, they soon both found themselves being beckoned by a certain waitress, each in turn, given a brief message that Colie would like to meet them upon his private deck, asking that they wait there for him. Nothing else was said, and they were otherwise left to their own devices.
Before either Xull'rae or the stranger could do much in the way of motivating towards the private upper deck, the southern taproom erupted into chaos. A large crackling of energy suddenly erupted near the ceiling in the center of the room, sparks and arcs of purplish electricity issuing throughout the entire area, born from a single large sphere which abruptly formed. But a heartbeat later, a humanoid form spilled forth from its darkly illuminated depths, falling so fast that not much could be discerned at first. The electrified sphere disappeared roughly the same moment that said humanoid figure crashed headlong into one of the stout wooden tables, upsetting the meals which four shocked patrons had been enjoying. Many in the room were either ducking for cover, drawing weapons, or some combination of both, not the least of which being the two burly humans, and their two drow companions who now began to get their bearings after having their table all but toppled over, by what now appeared to be a soaking wet, sloppily dressed half-Elven male, who looked even more shocked than anyone else, if such were possible.
The half-elf issued a loud grunt upon impact, the world spinning for what seemed an eternity, the only thing registering being the momentarily overwhelming pain from the impact, and the nausea imparted from the unexpectedly rough teleportation. Blinking his almond shaped, hazel-hued orbs repeatedly, he tried to make some sense of the figures looming above him, and the situation as a whole. One of his gloved hands reached uselessly for the bundle of equipment he'd been holding before he'd entered the portal, the one which just happened to contain the few weapons he possessed along with everything else. The other hand then began to reach into the sheath sewn on the inside of one of his thigh-high, black leather boots, hoping at least to have the minimal protection his favored throwing knife might offer.
Cyrus was standing a few feet along the wall from the private deck, obviously on bouncer duty to make sure Cogliostro was not disturbed. A brawny man seemed to be made of decent height and all muscle. His bronzed face had not changed expression at the noise, nor did he move other then turn his head to where the bald man was sitting, to see if he wanted to investigate the supposed crashed. The blonde man known as Cyrus, felt the wild energy of the portal, open and shut. He also knew from where the true location of where the other side opened to. He was not alarmed for he knew it could not be her, so he didn't really care otherwise who it was that had stepped through the dangerous portal. Xull'rae recognized the man as one that was with Cogliostro on their first meeting.
When Cyrus had turned toward where the aforementioned bald one was now seated, he would not be surprised to see said human cradling his head in a frustrated manner, letting out a sigh which portrayed much the same.
The disoriented half elf's vision cleared just in time to catch sight of the large hand, wielded by an even larger human, come barreling his way. On pure instinct, naturally quick reflexes bid him roll over to the side, which brought him crashing to the floor or rather on top of an upturned chair, which caused him to stumble as he tried to gain footing, it was then he came crashing to the floor. To his credit, after a hushed curse and a loud grunt, he managed to somersault backwards and get to his feet. The cobwebs of his mind were now fully cleared, the rush of adrenaline wiping such things away, a look of half-alarm, and half eager anticipation etched upon his comely, innocent, relatively youthful visage. The once neat ponytail of sun-lightened auburn hue was now unbound, a wave of it flowing across his line of vision just when he needed the gift of sight the most. As such, the slight, anticipatory smile which began to creep upon his countenance was quickly wiped away by the large fist which hammered directly into it. Reeling backwards from the blow, he retained enough clarity to curse softly about the fact he'd probably just stained his favorite billowy sleeved white swordsman's shirt. At least, he retained sense enough for that, until he stumbled back into yet another patron, who summarily took it upon themselves to hammer him in the back of the skull with a pewter mug. There was naught much else than a blinding pain to experience in the following moment.
Sighing heavily one last time, Cogliostro quickly stood, all but knocking his chair over backwards, and gave a nod to Cyrus, indicating that this fiasco be put to an end.
Xull'rae disguised still as a male stood up quickly to avoid being toppled over in her chair, she blocked someone from punching her at the fact she stood so fast, and pushed the brute back in his chair, putting a sword to his throat daring him to move. From the corner of her eye she saw the half elf get smacked and smacked again. She didn't know what was going on, but she knew this inn pretty well and knew Cogliostro would not open a portal of such magnitude, whose energies to those in tune with magic could feel were totally wild and very uncontrollable.
Cyrus simply nodded and smoothly headed down the stairs and bring himself to the center of the common room. His movements graceful, silent, like a man who knew how to prowl. He caught the fist of a man who was aiming at the half-elf and held it in a vice grip, to those who were near, could hear the bones start to pop and possibly crack in an unpleasant sound. "This is quite enough." His voice was calm and quite uncaring, "no more fighting or the next one who is violent will have his head split like a melon and your body thrown out. So all of you do have seats and continue on your daily lives, the girls will be out to dance in a minute." The whole time he was looking at the one whose fist he held but his voice despite its tone, carried throughout the entire room.
Having come downstairs but a few steps behind the behemoth known as Cyrus, Cogliostro took note of the growing fear with the gaze of he whose fist was being crushed oh so easily. Taking a quick, sweeping gaze of the room, he then nodded to no one in particular, satisfied at the results. "Thank you, Cyrus. That will be enough. Take the half-elf upstairs please." He then increased his voice enough that it would carry throughout the room. "Forgive the interruption. All meals are free, and the drinks as well. Ladies.." he looked expectantly to all the dancers and waitresses, "...another round for everyone. As for those most disturbed by all this, once more you have my apologies. You will be given a new table, fresh meals, and a bottle of the House's best, each." It was stated in such a way as to portray that he would not tolerate any refusals or rebuttals on the matter at this time. Once that was done, he waved to one of the waitresses nearby, and silently bid her bring the half-elf's equipment upstairs as well. Then, he began to head back upstairs himself.
Xull'rae put her sword away in a quick motion upon seeing the muscled brute easily catch the fist of someone bigger than him. Of course she felt no fear, but something about his unblinking gaze was unforgiving and uncaring, and while she was used to cruelty and violence, the bronze man seemed quite different, and it certainly made her wary. She looked at baldy briefly, but instead of seating herself she started to follow him.
Cyrus simply released the man and with his other hand and arm, scooped up the limp half elf, not even bothering to be gentle nor throw him over his very broad shoulder, instead he just held him there in the crook of his arm and hip, not even giving notice that the drow male was following them up.
For Cogliostro's part, he was already waiting by the table's side when Cyrus brought the limp form towards one of the seats. Before the body had even slumped fully into place, one of his leather-gauntleted hands roughly grabbed a handful of that red-brownish mane, and jerked the head into a position to face his own plainly angered countenance. His oak-brown orbs illuminated with an eerie blue-silver glow for a moment, the only sign of magic's which now roused the half-elf to wakefulness, momentarily blotting out the angered red held within those same twin pools. Apparently, he had not paid attention that the drow "male" had followed, for he began to rant, knowing that those below could not overhear, but not aware of any up here that should not be privy to certain information. "What in the bloody fucking Nine Hells are YOU doing here!?" Not giving a chance for the Elven one to answer, he roughly jerked back his head and pushed away, releasing the half breed before he gave in to the urge to rip the impudent intruder's head off, taking a single step back to assess the beaten figure. "You have no place here, half-breed, nor any business poking your nose into these affairs!" Taking in the fact now that the half elf was blinking with as much surprise and puzzlement as from shock, he began to calm down, realization dawning on him that the half elf really did have no idea of what was transpiring, or even of his own true identity. As such, he emitted a long, swift sigh to release some frustration, spinning away momentarily. "Bah."
Blinking a few more times, his thoughts swam through the pain, brining him to full clarity, or at least as much as the various pains would allow. Cradling the back of his bloodied head with a black-gloved hand, Nemesio's gaze narrowed at the bald crowned human, voice holding a certain amount of bravery and indignation, despite being surrounded by odds he could not hope to defy. "Look, I came through a doorway, searching for someone I had seen enter it earlier, and this is where I ended up. It was not intentional, so please do refrain from this treatment. I had no clue that this..whatever it was," Referring to the portal, "..would occur." Now he moved that bloodied glove forward, pinching his once cute nose in a seemingly futile attempt to halt the bleeding.
Xull'rae stood on top of the stairwell, motionless but otherwise making no attempt to hide, not even really caring if her disguise could be seen through. She was just curious of what caused the portal and who fell through it.
Cyrus' meaty hand slapped a handkerchief down on the table, his huge arm slightly smeared in the half elf's own blood, he spoke up in the same tone as before, "more importantly what you doing there in that other place anyway..it's more dangerous than it is here. In fact you were snooping around the ruins..you are not even a citizen of there, so do start explaining yourself before Cogliostro here looses his temper more and possibly kills you."
Not that it did much good, he took the offered handkerchief and hastily wiped what blood he could from his face, hazel-hued gaze moving from one man to the next, mind racing to make some sense of the situation, and formulate a way out of it. Though he was fit, leanly muscled, and had some semblance of fighting skill in his repertoire, he was not a total fool, and knew he stood not a chance against either of them, let alone both. Plus the innumerable patrons of the unknown establishment. Pausing a few moments more, to staunch the blood flow from his nose as much as he could manage, he finally took it away and answered, moving his attention from one to the other as he addressed them both. "So you know about that place? Then you should know of the woman, the one in that..that, maelstrom of darkness, for the simplest way to put it. I've been trying to find some people there that seemed to know her. I want to help is all, as I'm a sucker for a damsel in distress. All I'm doing here is following one of the people I'd seen there earlier. A tall guy, bl.."
Nemesio was cut off rather harshly by Cogliostro. "I know whom you seek, half-breed." He slammed his hand upon the table as it settled there, supporting his form as he leaned in to the man, looming over him in a threatening manner. It would not do for the simpleton to reveal too much to those in this particular corner of the world. Glaring down at the battered male a moment longer, he then stood fully once more, adjusting his longcoat and trying to gain some semblance of etiquette. "He is not available to speak at this time. I suggest you go back from whence you came, and I'm not speaking of the ruins, either. Your 'help' is not needed, and your prying is not appreciated, no matter if you actually have good intentions."
Once more, Cyrus put a meaty hand upon the half-elf's shoulder as if ready to remove him, though it was a surprisingly gentle touch. "The Lady is actually rather safe so do not worry. It is best though that you stay away from that place and her." He expression did not change but his brown eyes sparkled with truth and intensity that Xull'rae identified with in her own self. A passion to thrive for another. She continued to listen as he was still speaking, "you will only die and end up like those undead and want to just 'live' to destroy her."
The bald human was ignored for the moment, defiantly so, though silently. Nemesio's gaze turned toward the bruiser who had addressed him more civilly. A slight bit of puzzlement creased his brow, for more than one reason. "I'm sure she is safe, if you say so. I had seen that much for myself. But there's no guarantee it will stay that way, and she's not getting any better if people just sit around, something needs to be done. It matters not if its safe or not to myself, I just want to help." At this point, he deemed the broader of the two men as someone to respect. But such was not so with the bald one. A deep frown creased his comely visage as he turned toward said figure. "And as I've never once seen you up there, never saw you trying to help, who are you to tell me what I should and should not do, and where I am not wanted. Sure, this place might be yours, and yeah, you can make me leave, but keep out of my affairs when it comes to those ruins and the lady within!" Despite himself, he'd actually raised his voice, an unusual temper flaring.
The temper subsided soon enough though, replaced by one of mild surprise, and followed once more with one of pain, taking note that with blinding swiftness, the bald human was upon him once more, and had driven a dagger through his hand, pinning it to the table. Gasping softly, Nemesio took note that it was his own dagger which the human had used, the one he'd drawn from his boot earlier. He summarily kept his mouth shut as the human began ranting in his face again.
"What part of we don't want you butting into this affair did you not understand !? The next time, I cut out your tongue. Enough talking on the matter. You are to leave, both here and the ruins. Take your gear, and ply your luck in the wilds of the Underdark around us if you've nothing better to do! And yes, your curiosity being peaked, you are back on your proper homeworld, half-breed!" Cogliostro fumed a moment longer, then turned away, not knowing just what to do with the frustrating half-elf, lest he reveal too, knowing enough was said already. But what if the wrong people heard of this? Then what? "Bah."
The unshaken and ever calm Cyrus looked at his bald companion without judgment. His tone still not carrying a tone of emotion. "Calm yourself Cogliostro, you do have a guest," his brown eyes rest on the disguised Xull'rae. The drow male, before returning his gaze to the half-elf. "Forgive him, he has been touchy since her fall and has been trying to keep it underwraps. Not that anyone here can make sense of what's going on nor do they have to deal with this world yet. As for you..well very noble of you to want to help..but how can you? You can't even get back there without us and you just upset him..So now is the part where you leave or grovel. And no half-elf, you cannot follow us without us knowing so please do not try. Just take my advice and stay away." What was shocking to Xull'rae was the Cyrus knew she had been there, knew she was gathering information about this unknown "woman," yet he did nothing but just mention it to Cogliostro as if reminding the mage of his purpose. His voice and expression never altered. It was STILL flat and uncaring. But what struck her was that this man followed Cogliostro's orders without question but at the same time, looked after him like an older brother or father would. Very strange. Other worlds too? What was Cogliostro really involved with?
Though there was a steady flow of pain to match that of the blood seeping from his hand, he spoke in a calm enough manner, through clenched teeth, of course. "Well I'm bloody well not going to grovel...And I can't go anywhere with my hand pinned? Plus, I'm not so much a fool to think I can get myself home from here. So what am I supposed to do?" Slowly, as not to arouse any further actions against himself, the handkerchief was taken to his bloodied face once more, wiping the fresh flow away. "I admit I'm not the best man for the job, but at least I'm willing to do something, anything. Look, just let me talk to the others, the guy I came to find if nothing else...I have money, I'll pay for a room, this is an Inn from what I've gathered."
Cyrus spoke up again, forestalling Cogliostro without moving or looking at him. "What makes you think we are doing nothing? Just because we are not there? Do you even know her name? Did you know what happened? Do you know who and what she is? Who she loves? Her family? Another point of advice is never assume anything. She is guarded, IF you would have paid attention you would know she is and by whom. And do not ever assume those who know her and dear to her are doing NOTHING. That will irk me. It is possible you could help, just stay away from the ruins..there lies an empty body..nothing more than a husk. Now I ask you, smart one how do you track a soul when it is no longer there..and no amount of magic can trace it?" His brown eyes started to burn with an eerie hunger, Xull'rae looked away before she was consumed by such a cold and fierce gaze. He was not speaking to her, but she still could not look at him. This man had a soul but he was not natural. He reacted so differently to everything than anyone she ever met, she couldn't say why but it disturbed her.
Though listening to the conversation at hand as Cyrus stopped him from outright killing the stubborn half-elf, Cogliostro's immediate attention was drawn to the drow "male." Soft footfalls carrying him to loom directly in front of said figure. "You may drop the ruse now." A slight frown was settled upon his now otherwise calm features, a ponderous one at that. He knew not whether to fret over the fact she heard what she did so far, or not. True enough, she would not be able to make much sense of it in and of itself, but he's noted thus far that the drowess has a lively spark of curiosity within, and it would not do to have her poking around into these particular affairs. A decision would have to be made as for what was to be done, but it could wait for the moment. As it stood, he spun and strode back towards the others. "You might as well come join us, I have need of your services."
Xull'rae nodded and the disguise dropped revealing a figure swathed in the drow black piwafwi, face hidden by the hood as she smoothly moved to have a seat. She was relieved her voice sounded so assured and calm. "Very well." She was also grateful of the hood in place, to hide her startlement. So engrossed was she in her own thoughts that she did no sense or hear Cogliostro approach. A stupid misstep on her part, one that could have killed her with anyone else. She was becoming too comfortable and trusting around the mage she realized. She didn't know who to be more disgusted by. Him or herself.
Nemesio remained silent as the large one spoke, and offered a simple nod when it was finished. "You speak truth. I do not know any of that information, and I ask your forgiveness for making assumptions based off of what I've seen. I have come here seeking answers to all those questions. The greeting I have received has shaken me a bit from my course. It was anything but what I had expected. As for your final question..." he turned then, facing away from the bouncer to settle his gaze determinedly upon the dagger which held his hand to the table. A moment longer, he was silent, summoning up the willpower to carry out the task he'd appointed. And with a grunt of effort, he forced his gloved hand upward, drawing a gasp of discomfort from between his lips as it slid up the length of that sharpened metal. The gasp quickly turned into a small cry of even more pain, mixed with frustration, as once at the top, his hand hit the small crossguard, he couldn't get the dagger to budge one bit from its roost in the table. "Bloody Hells! Arrghh! Damnable minions of Asmodeus, I've seen enough people pull this sort of thing off!"
Xullrae leaned across the table, pulling back her hood, "fool idiot..be like a normal person and just pull the damn thing out of your hand." She took the hilt, giving a smooth, quick but vicious yank, pulling it free.
There was a final gasp of pain, eyes watering just a tad from it all, as the dagger was plucked free. Quickly he drew it back towards himself, cradling it, trying to forget the pain at the moment, and gain some semblance of pride back. Taking a deep breath, he freed his good hand long enough to brush the erratic mane of auburn from his vision, smoothing it back as best he could, but mainly managing only to smear it more with blood than it already was.
A charming grin was offered to the exotically beautiful drowic form in front of him, his gaze lingering for a moment on the coppery hued mane she bore, but he did not linger overly much on the fact, as he didn't want to seem rude. "Many thanks, milady."
Cogliostro watched the whole exchange with irritation. Upon seeing the man make moon eyes at the lovely Xull'rae, part of him could not blame the other man, but that smile showed too much trust already. He couldn't help himself and burst out in exasperation, "by all the damnable gods...deal with drow often, do you?"
Xull'rae smiled though it was laced with a darker touch and her amber eyes studied him with a look of superiority, but appreciation of his attentions as well. She couldn't help but add a quip of her own. "I see half-elves get the stupidity of both races..poor boy." She Nemesio's head like a pet and laughed as he winced and shied away from her then.
Cogliostro snorted. "Mm, I almost agree. He gives good argument for your theory, but don't tease the idiot. I brought you here to heal his wounds, not make him a toy."
Nemesio was not a complete idiot, he was versed well enough in the drowic race, in so much as the Elven half of his family had taught him whilst growing up. The fact this drowess was mingling with humans and other varied races gave him some clue that she wasn't typical, so he'd been his usual self with her, and did not mind one bit if the alluring smile were faked or not. It was pretty all the same. However that touch of hers was inviting but he had no desire to be leashed so he sat back, waiting not understanding what was being said, he could not speak drow language well but he understood their tones. She was mocking him however cutely and Cogliostro was still pissing on him.
When Xull'rae spoke again, it was in Elven, though thickly accented, she was very fluent in it though to Nemesio's surprise. "Why not he likes my hair. I can see why, his is red too." Her tiny hands touched his wounded one in a light caress. She murmured the correct spell, sending a warmth through his hand and within seconds the wound sealed up, she then retreated her hand, the other playing with his dagger, looking at him intently. "Have a name boy?
The grin morphed into a warm smile, though it was muddled a bit by the smeared, drying blood upon his countenance. "That I do...Nemesio Dreamweaver, at your service." He contemplated standing, but he was both a bit woozy from the wounds he'd suffered thus far, and he figured the gentle hand upon his shoulder would turn into nothing less than a painful vise should he try to get out of his seat. As such, he offered the most polite nodding of his head that he could muster. He let the boy comment slide figuring her older by her demeanor. He was unaware of how drow aged but gathered it was still slower than half-elves with human blood.
"How touching. Now, can we figure out what's to be done with the good simpleton Nemesio. There are other matters that need tending this day." Try as he might and admittedly he wasn't trying hard, Cogliostro could not keep the contempt from his voice.
"Give him a room, he said he had money..besides it seems he loves the woman you seem to care about as well baldy..otherwise you wouldn't be so upset at him snooping wherever he was." Xull'rae replied with a trapping smile.
Cyrus helped Nemesio carefully to his feet, supporting him by the shoulders with both hands. "Up you go..do take it slow now, be sure to stay out of trouble you've caused enough of it already." Cyrus obvious response was to stay nuetral.
Cogliostro looked at Xull'rae abashed and with indignation. "Bah. How in the Nine Hells can he love a woman he doesn't even know?" His ever present frown deepened, his gaze fully upon the drowess this time. "And you've already professed that you know next to nothing of love, so step down, if I want a professional opinion, I'll look elsewhere." He paused taking a deep breath calming down, "And in other news, you are right, drowess...he HAD money. Whatever is in his purse now belongs to me, for damages rendered."
Xull'rae gave off a humorous laugh in reply, when she spoke her tone was lightly mocking. "Awww touch a nerve did I? I don't know love, but it is very similar to softness and defensiveness which you are now showing. She's probably a wife..or no you don't seem the type..a mistress per.."
Before she could finish a large greatsword was brandished quicker than even the she expected as it laid positioned at her throat at a deadly angle. Cyrus's tone was commanding and serious. "You will NOT call her anything disgraceful least you would very much like your head removed from your shoulders, and since I do not have a deal with your church I would not be breaking any vows. I fear not you drow or your gods, so do not think you are any position to threaten." He was cold and precise. He never threatened and was always one to hold true to whatever he said.
A single brow arched at the sudden twist things had taken. It had not occurred to him ahead of time that Cyrus would react in such a way, though it indeed should have been expected. He did, however, know better that to bother with any attempt to get the man to stand down right now. So, he simply offered the drowess something akin to a polite, thin lipped smile. "I think Cyrus has said enough on that subject."
Xull'rae just stopped, trained well not to look surprised though in fact she was, she had never seen a human move so fast unless magic based but she felt no residue from him, and for the first time, she even doubted her psionics would work on this one and that made her afraid, in which she turned that quickly into envy and anger. For once though she just sat there, silent and fuming but not showing it. At this point if she did she did not know how he'd react and knew the bald human would not stop the brute. She could tell now that yes, Cogliostro had a restraint on him, but that restraint was a short one.
Nemesio was about to thank the large human, when the short outburst occurred. There was surprise etched upon his own features now, at the very quickness of the large man's actions. It was duly noted, to be sure. As he started this entire fiasco, he felt it would be best simply to keep his mouth shut at this juncture.
Cogliostro said, to ease tension if nothing else, "your point has been taken, Cyrus. Now, if you would step back, she needs to tend the simpleton's head wound." He did not gloat over the fact of the drowess' temporary moment of fear. In fact it was a well placed fear. Even he did not know if he could manage to get Cyrus to stand down, or if he could stop the warrior should he choose to kill the drowess. But, he had to try, lest this turn even uglier.
Cyrus still had the half-elf by the shoulders when he drew and sheathed his blade, his dark eyes flat and emotionless as they rested on Xull'rae. No taunting or challenges made, just a cold confidence that he would harm and kill should more offenses be made, whether or not Cogliostro was there.
Xull'rae sighed in irritant and stood and stepped over to the half-elf once murmuring a phrase as she carefully touched his head. Taking extreme care not to look at or touch Cyrus upon doing so.
Cogliostro took note that the situation seemed to be diffused for the time being, he strode back to his seat, and picked up his snifter, taking a long draught, though the frown never disappeared. His gaze fell upon the raggedy looking half-elf once again. "So tell me, oh great warrior...what is it that you think you can offer in the ways of help? I took note that you were scarcely even armed when you decided to venture forth in search of that certain fellow...nor are you equipped otherwise. Preparedness doesn't seem to be one of your strong points. I'm hoping that there are some such things about you...."
Before he could finish, his sarcasm was broken by Cyrus who broke in smoothly without coming off as rude. "One does not need armour always to protect ones self..I have none neither did The Lady."
Cogliostro looked at Cyrus a mixture of irritant and surprise flicked across his face so fast it was hard to tell what he felt more. "Bah. It was not meant so literally, Cyrus. I don't wear any either, point of fact, but all the same, he is not of the caliber to be striding around without some sort of protection, defense, and armament."
Nemesio opened his mouth to respond but clicked it shut as Cyrus once more took his defense. "He has us..or at least me, if he is true in wanting to help her, I will help keep him alive."
For Nemesio's part, he still remained silent, not wanting to cut the brewing argument off between the two larger males. A warm smile was offered to the drowess in thanks.
Xull'rae simply winked at him, it wasn't friendly, it was more teasing than anything.
"You have better things to do than baby-sit the whelp round the clock, methinks. And so do I. If he were to stay here...that being the better alternative to sending him back to the ruins...he'd have to have a constant escort." Cogliostro replied tartly. "One can already see he doesn't know how to interact with Drow, as the good Saer Zauviir here is already toying with him."
He gave Xull'rae a warning look for emphasis of his point.
"Then have him stay here and work at the inn..you've hired worse..and better for you, he's an honest and good fellow," Came Xull'rae's suggestion as she smiled at Cogliostro deviously.
At that he spun on Xull'rae, glaring and scowling much as ever. "What place does 'good' have in these lands? And what sort of job do you think this moron could do? He'd probably fuck up cleaning horseshit in the stables."
Xull'rae snickered, shaking her red head, finding it funny that this half-elf was bugging him without effort at all. "For you quite a bit aparently." She referred to the 'good' question.
Cogliostro spat in annoyance and glared at her more. "Bah. If you are finished, feel free to leave at anytime." Why were these two siding with this idiot?
Xull'rae continued, pretending not to hear the raging mage, having too much fun in this. "From the looks of him he looks to be an entertainer and if he travels a lot he is either a merchant or a bard." She stopped and shrugged as she looked at him in slight mocking confusion. "I thought you needed me for something?"
Cogliostro snorted and looked overly critical. "Just because he carts a lute around, doesn't mean he knows how to use it. And I did, you just healed him, didn't you...oh, yes, that other thing. Mm, damn." As he spoke his last statement he truly looked disappointed.
Now it was Xull'rae's turn to look critically at the bald mage. "You're an idiot at times..don't you know half the people don't even know what decent music is, if it at least sounds like something they know they're fine."
The more she took the half-elf's side, the more it got under his skin. She had to have a motive for it, but what bothered him more was that he felt the need to protect the nieve bard from the Drow woman, but didn't let onto that fact. "Look, female...if you want him around so badly, YOU take care of him. As for that other matter, it can wait."
Yet again Xull'rae continued to speak as if she had not heard him. "Besides you are being judgmental..he should expect it from me, a race that hates him not you, a great grand WISE wizard."
Cogliostro's oak brown eyes flashed in anger, but her kept his tone slightly in check. "Bah, I've never claimed any great wisdoms...If I were so wise, would I be trafficking with the likes of your kind? I think not." At this he heaved a deep sigh. "By all the damnable gods, why must so many complications fall into the simplest of plans?"
Instead of replying, Cyrus added his own view on what Xull'rae said about the bard. "That's not a bad idea the worst that can happen is he'll get killed and why should you care if he does, what do you have to loose? You can stand to gain from him playing here, you rarely get bards here anyway."
Xull'rae replied to Cogliostro instead, her tone instantly neutral upon hearing what Cyrus said. "Because no plans are simple to obtain."
Cogliostro grunted. "Mm, no, with my luck, he'd continue to live for quite some time." He turned away now, since Cyrus was taking the opposite side of the argument than himself, made him calm down somewhat. "Other than that, however, what good would it do to keep him here? It would become naught but a prison, as I certainly can't send him out with the rest of the company, and I'll damn well not allow him to wander about on his own."
Xull'rae snickered softly about hearing further quips and complaints. "Well if you're not wise it just means one thing, you're stupid..."
Cogliostro said through clenched teeth, "I ought to simply let the Bladesinger catch view of him smiling at you, drowess, then let the two of them have at each other. At least one of them would die, if not both."
Cyrus stopped the woman from replying by speaking up, "well yes I supposed it can be viewed that way. Why not have him go with me on the errands you have me run?"
All this while Nemesio to each person in turn who was speaking. All of them were acting as if he were not there. He frowned to himself as he heard Cogliostro reply, "he'd only hold you up, in my opinion."
Cyrus shrugged in an offhand manner. "How is not my duty to put my life on the line for him, protection yes but not dying for him and if he can't keep up well he'll get lost and die but no sense denying him a chance, The Lady did not deny you Cogliostro when you went looking for a purpose in life though in my opinion at the time she should have." As his shrug was offhand so was his tone.
Xull'rae went quiet, blinking and again she looked at Cyrus as if he were something deadly and not to be touched. She didn't even look at the mage, she too like the half-elf didn't want to push further..not now.
For a moment, Cogliostro could remember back to the days when he and the large brute did not get along so well. He knew not if Cyrus were aware that half of what he did now was part of the whole Cogliostro disguise. He'd become more tolerant and mature since then. But that didn't matter right now, he supposed. So, he offered a simple glare, befitting of master to servant, to further strengthen the ruse. His tone Superior. "Your opinion is duly noted, bodyguard, despite my not asking for it. If this is what you wish, then so be it. All I have to say is maintain a quick pace in your ventures, so perhaps he'll fall behind all the sooner."
Not changing expression or mannerism Cyrus simply nodded. "I am never slow and he shall not interfere with my duties."
Cogliostro inhaled deeply, exhaling slowly. "Mm, that remains to be seen. At any rate, I am venturing elsewhere. You three do as you'd like. He can stay in the room next to yours, Cyrus, for the time being." A long, last look was given to the half-elf, assessing him yet again. His frown deepened, as both his disparate selves had their weighty doubts about what good the wandering minstrel could do. "Unless Cyrus here has you along on some other venture at a given time, you are to perform here in the Southern taproom on a nightly basis. I use the term perform loosely, of course." He spun around then, clasping his hands idly behind his back as usual, not caring if anyone offered a confirmation nor a denial of his orders. Swift footfalls then whisked him to the offices at the far side of the deck.
"Shall we see to your room Master Dreamweaver?" Cyrus looked at the half-elf patiently seeming to be awaiting something.
Nemesio had remained silent, even as the bald one continually berated him, but now, he allowed a short musing to escape..under his breath, of course. "So, I'm guessing he doesn't get a good romp in the hay very often...."
Having keen hearing Xull'rae picked up on what the bard said and she snickered. "That's my guess too but I'm also guessing that's why he got angry at you for discovering the imprisoned female, despite what he says it's obvious he cares for her." She shrugs looking at the office door, which was now shut.
"Maybe not love her but yes he cares for her..it's best that you not talk of such things however..and don't ask questions about her as I am not permitted to answer them, the less people know the better." He began walking holding on to Nemesio's shoulder as he moved slowly and carefully as not to disturb the half-elf's pain much.
Xull'rae frowned at the bronze colored man but nodded.
"Okay then, my large friend, I'll not ask anymore such questions. For now, at least. Might I gather my equipment now?" asked Nemesio.
Xull'rae replied as Cyrus gazed at her. "No you are only to take your lute only bouncers are permitted their weapons, patrons too, but those that use them are removed."
She shrugged as if saying rules were rules.
"But...nevermind." Nemesio protested, he was about to point out that there were plenty of weapons brandished on the floor below when he made his appearance, but why push the point right now. "Very well...might I have the weapons placed in the safe or some such then? They are rather dear to me, to say the least."
Cyrus shrugged too. "Jabress is right I'm afraid if you want weapons, best ask the owner."
Nemesio sighed, and asked, "which I'm guessing would be the bald, crotchety one. As such, I'll not bother."
Cyrus nodded. "They are safe with him. Yes that is Cogliostro." He referred to the crotchety comment.
Xull'rae chuckled, even if the brute didn't change tone or smile it was still a joke to her and a funny one at that. Nemesio too had to smile at the thought. The smile remained as he turned to address the drowess once again. This time, he accompanied it with a proper, deep bow that is afforded to most he meets of the female persuasion. "All that aside, I thank you once again, milady."
Xull'rae laughed softly in response and said, "oh you are a fetching one..hmm best get upstairs pretty boy, lest I change my mind about surface breed."
At that, his smile twisted into a charming grin. "Were I more presentable at the moment, I may just linger a while longer." A quick wink is then issued in her direction. "And I am ready when you are, hm, Cyrus. All I need do is grab up my satchel along the way."
Xull'rae stood slowly and said, "and it's jabress down here not milady be sure to remember it or you might hurt for it." She gives him a wink and heads off the deck.
"Well then follow me." Cyrus heads for the stairwell at a brisk predatory pace.
"But of course, Jabress." Nemesio called after her, going to gather up said satchel, taking pains to leave the two blades, and his finely wrought bow, all of elven make, upon the table. That done, he hefted the heavy satchel upon one shoulder, and slung his favored lute upon the other, following the large man to whatever fate lay ahead, knowing he was at least one step in the right direction now, despite the shortcomings of the day.
Cyrus opened the door to the room the half-elf was supposed to stay in moments later, handing him a key. "if you need anything ask the women, they will accommodate you. As for when I run errands I will come get you myself."
Nemesio took the key in reluctance, nodding his thanks. "Very well then, erhm, thank you I suppose. I will be ready for, hm, whatever, whenever. For now, time to clean up, for I believe that in a few hours, I shall have to carry out my part of the bargain, musically that is."
The big man nodded and said, "I will be there to be sure you don't get thrown off and mobbed."
He said it so matter of fact that Nemesio winced. "That's quite, hm, reassuring." He did not mean it as a mocking of the large man's ability, rather it came out tentatively due to the very possibilities of such things transpiring. He would get through it though...he'd worked a time or three in some dives that were far worse than this joint seemed to be.
As he began to shut the door, Cyrus turned to go, speaking as he was going down steps, "if you need bath items ask for Kail directly. She knows where everything is." And then he was gone.
Nemesio offered a simple nod 'ere the man headed out, though he had no idea of who Kail was. His brows arched in surprise at the opulence of the suite he had been granted...much finer than most accommodations he'd ever stayed in. Thoughts of the day's transpiring began to filter through his mind as he closed the door, and set off to explore his new "home".
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