By Xullrae Zauvir
Chapter 3 - Uncharted Territories (part 2)
It was naught but a short rest which had been taken after the human had performed the healing ministrations, and placed him within the confines of his suite at the Inn proper. Though Vesz'aun was completely whole and fit in a physical sense once more, mentally speaking he was anything but.
Not that most ever considered him mentally whole in the first place.
Lingering traces of the shock he had endured during the draegloth's torture session still played upon his mind, though at the moment, a more pressing matter was causing him angst; his beloved blade had been shattered. The insecurity was more of an angered one than anything at this point, and as he had risen from his bed and ever so carefully gathered the disparate pieces within a wrap of cloth. He had gone over various designs of revenge that would carry out, when such a thing were in his ability to accomplish. Both against the draegloth, and the human, for putting him in that position in the first place.
That the draegloth had only gotten free due to his own scheming never dawned on Vesz'aun, or if it did, he pushed such thoughts aside. Though angered to the point of brashness, there was enough pause before he was left to realize just how naked he felt, and helpless without his vaunted weapon of choice. An entire mindset and fighting style now revolved around the blade, and as such, he felt incomplete without it. The fact he fared quite well for years before taking up the Bladesinging arts was yet another thing that eluded him for the moment.
Now he was no longer of a mind to brazenly walk the streets and meet any challenge head to head, he settled for garbing himself in a cloak which would conceal most of his person. No use attracting attention whilst he was rendered so helpless.
Finally prepared, he left the inn behind and made his way towards the Tower of Masked Mage, his bundle in tow, an incessant, nonstop slew of obscenities was issued under his breath, versed more towards Cogliostro now, as said being refused to aid him in fixing his beloved blade, having offhandedly told the bladesinger that he had more important matters to attend.
What in the Abyss could be more important than his blade, for cryin' out loud!?
Wrapped up in his thoughts as he had been, he never took notice that another form had been tailing him the entire time. Even when he reached the Tower, and crept his way inward, through a small entrance that most of the clergy weren't even aware of, he took no notice of the large shadow which crept in his wake.
As it stood, he arrived within the basement level of the Tower without problem, and now crouched within a small alcove whilst he tried to remember where it was he was supposed to go in order to find his quarry.
In another part of the Tower, Xull'rae was left to her own devices, so she headed to the main alter room to have a little prayer and quiet time to herself. Upon reaching the chamber she immediately began the various gatherings of candles, cloth and incense she would need. Her own thoughts churning on thoughts that bothered her. How was she with two scatter brains supposed to execute the kill on her matron in just three months? She needed strength and guidance as anxiety threatened to overwhelm her.
Offering a small shrug to the empty hall before him, Vesz'aun hopped out of the alcove, glancing back to take note that the illusion which covered its presence was still in place, then he briskly walked off towards the stairwell which would carry him up towards what he believed was the clerics' foyer, where he would have a handful of choice hallways to pick from in order to find said quarry. His soft footfalls echoed lightly in the vast, empty hall, as he felt no real need to conceal his presence, even though he felt it would be best if no one spotted him in this particular section of the temple.
Arriving at the stairwell, which wrapped around as it led to the level above, he paused, and crooked his ear upward, trying to assess if anyone may be above, and if so, who they were. No movements nor voices came to ear, at least not from that direction. A soft, echoing sound, as if a door were closing, did come from the hallway behind him, however, but after a quick glance in that direction, taking note that no forms were visible, he dismissed it as irrelevant. There were actual chambers off the far end of the hall, so perhaps someone simply emerged from or entered one that was currently out of view. Without further pause, Vesz'aun made his way upward, pausing once more before entering the hallway in front of him. Taking note of voices, yet not overly close by, he moved forward and peered down both directions, taking note that no one was immediately present. That done, he turned to the right, towards where the common room should be, the one where all the hallways resided.
One entrance to the main altar chamber lay off to his left, and once more he paused within the small alcove it presented, peering towards the small entrance that most of the clergy chose to use, there was no guard posted at the moment.
His heart nearly skipped a beat in anticipation as a familiar voice came to ear, that of the mage who could restore his blade. The voice was issuing from the far side of the alter chamber from what he could tell, and more then came to his sharp upswept ears, these issuing from one of the halls in between.
A slight frown crept upon his handsome visage at that point. He did not have any real worries should he be caught in this part of the tower, but it was best to avoid questioning if possible. So, he took the last recourse available, and inched the altar room doorway open, peering in quickly, seeing if anyone were present at the rear of the chamber. Noting only a single figure within, and not paying much mind to who it was at the moment, he figured he could creep through the back end of the room and more or less be left to his own devices.
Taking that shortcut should bring him into the hall where Bragh was now conversing, and soon all would be well. As such, he quickly opened the door far enough to dart inward, and closed it softly behind him, making sure the hood of his cloak was in place as he entered. Trying to be unobtrusive, he began to saunter briskly yet quietly across the width of the chamber, hoping the other figure within would not care to question his presence.
Such was not his luck however as Xull'rae rarely let anything escape her notice, she saw the cloaked figure as she turned and lit some candles. She thought it a bit odd and knew many were allowed in the temple, but only clergy were allowed here. Aware though that not all outsiders knew this, she decided to correct the poor soul, lest the Shadow Sorcerer or some other clergy member happen to come in and deal harsher words. "Traveler this is for Clergy only and is a place of meditation and prayer. Wherever you are headed it is suggested you return to the foyer and ask a priest to help get to where you need to go." Her voice was not commanding nor superior, it was just serious and bordering on lecturing.
At recognition of Xull'rae's voice, his cloaked form stiffened, though he hoped not visibly. Pausing a moment as he recollected his bearings, he turned his hooded gaze in her general direction, making sure his face nor naked upper body would be seen in the process, and offered a simple nod. Hoping it was enough, he began to quicken his steps towards his destination.
"The foyer is in the opposite direction." She pointed at the door behind him, that he had entered from. Her lips formed an amused smile and her amber eyes held an understanding that most would find unnerving.
Again Vesz'aun stopped short, heart beating faster as he knew not what to do. Normally his quick wit would bring him to some quicker resolution to the problem, but the idiocy that kicked in whilst in Xull'rae's presence began to bloom once more, making such cohesive trains of thought impossible. How beautiful she looked, so unlike her Lloth persona, there was genuine generosity in her gaze, that he was ashamed he must lie to her.
Remembering that he then held a bundle, he held it up in one hand, so that she could see it, and brought the other hand up to scrawl out a quick message in Drow Sign that he was delivering a bundle to one of the clergy, and must be on his way. In the process, the front of his cloak opened somewhat, revealing the tattooed torso beneath just slightly.
"Which I can deliver," she said aloud as she started to move toward him, actually moving in a manner that said she would indeed help, her face that with its mask around her neck was sincere and her whole demeanor business like. Trying to keep curiosity at bay as to why he chose to use Sign and not talk. "This place can be confusing, and the right people hard to find."
Vesz'aun noticed that his cloak had begun to open, so he quickly lowered his arms and allowed it to settle into place once more. His mind raced even quicker through the short list of clergy that he actually knew in the place. As Xull'rae strode ever closer, he tried desperately to figure out which he should name. The choice made, figuring she might not know him overly well, he signed once more that he was seeking out Solaufein, which placed a frown of dislike on that cowled visage, and he continued signing that he knew the way well enough. Without waiting for further answer, he turned and all but ran towards the door, still trying, but failing for the most part, to look non-chalant.
Xull'rae chuckled and stopped in a calm pose, her tone meant to soothe and ease tension. "Relax I know I'm a woman but I'm not going to beat you. Come with me I'll take you to him." Eying him curiously, she studied him carefully without causing awkwardness. Most did not come in these chambers, so seeing a woman would be strange to most, part of her was wary now as her cover could be blown, but she pushed that thought aside, looked longingly at her "prayer setup." Suddenly she took his cloaked arm and all but dragged him out the toward the door he wanted to and proceeded to track the priest in question. Her mood shifting in quick torrents, with the pressure of the task ahead of her and the duty of her position conflicting with it, confusion on top of this interruption was starting to unravel her patience.
Xull'rae could tell upon grasping the well toned arm that the tall, cloaked figure was male, and that he stiffened, nearly jumping at her touch. The bundle in his opposite hand was fumbled and dropped to the floor, causing them both to pause just as she was about to open the doorway leading into the hall. While the figure frantically scrambled to lean down and grab up the bundle, the opposite doorway lit up a bit, as if it opened for a moment and was quickly shut, though no one was visible as she glanced in that direction. Perhaps someone had opened the door, anticipating entering the chamber, then had changed their mind. Whatever the case, her attention was diverted momentarily as Vesz'aun stood up and nearly whacked his head into her chin in the process.
As Xull'rae turned and refocused on the situation at hand she was slightly startled when their faces smacked into each other. It was then, at this close range that she realized he was much taller than she was and felt well muscled in a familiar way to her keen memory that her curiosity turned to suspicion. She paused carefully peering at him now, though she remained silent.
Too late, Vesz'aun realized as just as quickly, his hooded head spun around, causing it to billow open with the small breeze that was produced, he tried desperately to shuffle it back into place, but by now his handsome visage was revealed. He tried to ignore that fact and play like he was unaware and reached for the door handle in an abrupt manner, nearly fumbling the bundle once more.
The movement was halted, and perhaps the ensuing "conversation" which would have followed Xull'rae's discovery of his identity by the loud, grumbling bellow which came from the front of the large chamber, echoing loudly by virtue of construction even back this far in the room. "What's this?! My blood consorts with followers of the hated Son?"
A gargantuan form then became quite visible, looming over the main altar, the elongated muzzle holding a look of shocked outrage as the narrowed, crimson orbs swept across the symbols and idols present within.
Xull'rae was dangerously flippant in her response as she turned around, obviously unfazed by his unexpected visit. "And should you care Draegloth? YOU are the one who doubted I was of YOUR blood," she sounded offended, but spoiled it in the end with uncurbed surprise by asking, "what the nine abyssal hells are you doing here!?"
For Vesz'aun's part, he cringed momentarily at the sound of his not-so-long-ago torturer, and didn't fare much better at catching sight of the creature. Again he reached for the doorway, mind torn between thoughts of using this as good opportunity to escape, but also knowing that he should stay and protect his fire blossom, should such need done. Of course, his protectiveness of Xull'rae won out, so now he stood pausing whilst he tried to formulate just how he could save her, having already matched himself against the draegloth, and came out very much wanting.
The draegloth stayed in the hunched position, even at that position and range he was larger than her. The rumbling low voice responded, "I never truly doubted, female, until now." At this juncture, his gigantic form leaped down from its perch upon the top of the foremost row of pews, into the central aisle which would lead him to her, though he paused from moving yet, still not sure what to make of the situation. True enough, his House never did care much for Lolth, but they neither cared for Vhaeraun overly much either. But to see one of his female kin, and the one currently in charge of the ill-fated House cavorting with a god that very much went against the Dark Mother was unthinkable, at least to himself. "Have we fallen so far from grace that you would take up with this lot?"
Knowing the draegloth was distracted with confusion and disgust she nodded to the bladesinger and gave him the go ahead. "Go on Vesz'aun..Sol should be just beyond the door along the hallway..but if you need an object repaired it's Bragh you should speak to." He body language suggested protest, but she shook her head and forestalled him while keeping an eye on the draegloth. "I will be fine, the creature cannot harm me, please go and trust me," rare and fragile words, but truthful nonetheless. She just hoped that he would heed them, but hope was such a fleeting feeling among her kind that she often questioned it about herself. Carefully, she removed her half mask, to show the beast and Vesz'aun her pretty face.
"Ehm, erhm......" Vesz'aun was caught, and speechless at the moment. That Bragh was who he truly sought out was not to be mentioned to her right now, as she was unaware in so far as he knew that Xull'rae had any inkling of his past with said wizard, as well as some of the clergy here. And Bragh had made it a point before now that no one was to know of their mutually beneficial agreements, as he tended to call them.
Xull'rae continued the conversation, regardless of Vesz'aun being there. "Think of this Draegloth, our house only craved domination and power..power we had but not enough. It was Lolth who casted us down..why not use the same one who threw us out to climb back up by using her AND another god to do it. I am granted power by both gods simply because Lolth does not know I serve another, because at face value I DO serve her, so am I not true to my house to do what I must to achieve the power we lusted for?" She was not trying to beguile him, sometimes telling a truth better served your purpose than a lie. She knew she needed this wild unpredictable creature, so she must so courage and strength, of course a little sincerity might throw him off balance. She had to try, if she wanted to succeed.
Her plan worked, it brought the creature to a halted silence. For some overly long moments, his bestial mind churning over her words, uncertain at this point how to take it all. Then, with a low growl, almost a sigh, the creature turned about to face the altar once more, shaking its white maned head slowly. "Very well, but it still seems wrong somehow," The voice was almost a pouty one, if it could be called such.
Xull'rae snickered and offered a response with humor, even though she understood his misgivings. "And since when do drow do what is right to achieve what they want..? Very few." It must be hard to be a creature bred and blessed by Lolth's intervention, to inevitably go against her will but not at the same time. Draegloth's were made to be vicious but obey the Matron of a house and that made her his mistress. It was ironic really, but Xull'rae was no fool and knew she must keep this creature hidden but close to her.
Betrayal was too common in this society after all, she had to nurture him.
Again the large creature growled, spinning back towards her slowly. "That's not the context I meant it in." He shrugs it off though seeing her nod and continues speaking, looking her over and studying her odd features carefully. "At any rate, you and I have much to discuss, female. I tire of being kept caged up, so I am here to tell you I will do what I must to serve you, in order to be set free."
That was the opening she needed, but she told herself not to be overeager or greedy. Nurturing took patience, something she knew she had to work on. Keeping it simple at first was the best strategy right now. "You don't have to serve Vhaeraun, like I do, but he can be beneficial." Not wanting to preach or recruit at the moment, she wanted him to absorb the information first, but a little "advertising" wouldn't hurt, so she pressed on, "I noticed you are into magic well he can offer that unabashed." Noticing she did not know what to call him, she thought now was a fine time to ask, "what are you called..assuming you have a name?"
For Vesz'aun, the ruse was up as far as the female went, but he kept his hood up, hoping that the creature wouldn't recognize him. It also kept him from speaking at the moment.
The draegloth snorted and said in an arrogant tone. "Mm, I take what magic I want for my own, I need no god to provide that. And the Mother called me Mourn."
Xull'rae suppressed her flash of temper, remembering that this draegloth just spurned Lloth too, she let it go. After a moment she realized that Vesz'aun chose to stay, for her sake or for fear she wasted no time trying to figure it out as it was probably both. "Go on male I said I'm fine," she pushed Vesz'aun against the door gently enough.
To distract mourn from the identity of the cloaked figure, she added in, after a short pause, relieved her voice sounded collected and calm, "you need not serve me either, but I think it would benefit us both, as our goal is the same, so I will see about housing you somewhere not so confined."
Vesz'aun grunted. Frowning as he dared not protest openly, as nodded to Xull'rae, and swiftly made his way out into the hallway, not daring to look at the beast as he would lose his nerve. He never hearing the reply of, "The human saw about housing me too, and you saw how that went. I pray that your version of such is a much kinder one. I'd hate to have to kill one of my last remaining kin, as I will the human all too soon."
After a moment of standing there Vesz'aun took note that Bragh and whoever was with him were long gone. Tucking the bundle and his cloak beneath one of the many benches which lined the hallway, and jumped upward, intending to enter the chamber and keep an eye on things via the small attic and rafter system which resided at the top. He detested the fact that the room was magically silenced so that no sound entered within or without whilst the doors were closed, because he would not be privy to what went on in there until he clambered his way up there.
With Vesz'aun gone, she focused her attention on Mourn. Aware that a draegloth's presence here would cause alarm among her brethren. She sought a clean and effective way to speed this along while seeming unhurried. "My name is Xull'rae," she added as an afterthought. "Of course it is," referring to Cogliostro, "he's a Rivven to him you're nothing but a large dumb monster, but where to put you..?" She tapped her chin in pondering what to do. "I can't take you to the Lolth temple in the city and keeping you here might be just as dangerous..but hmm...you have thoughts of your own so where would you want to stay..not that you'll get what you want perhaps, but it'll give me ideas."
Mourn's eyes flashed a glowing red and a growl erupted into a snarl as he said, "He'll get a taste of large, dumb animal fury soon enough." As Xull'rae brought a single finger to her lips in a motion to quiet himself and did so, but frustration still laced his tone as he answered her question, I am at a loss, Mistress, for I am far removed from my proper place, and time.
Xull'rae sighs peering up at him as she walked around him slowly holding her chin with her thumb and index finger. "You're too big too hide in a lot of areas, and this is not the City of Menzo, and it's certainly not safe for you to roam the city freely...very frustrating. Do you know any transfiguring spells to alter your appearance?"
Mourn shrugged his large shoulders, somehow knowing she was trying to be helpful. A priestess would not know too much of the arcane lore and didn't expect her to either. "Some minor ones, yes, though that will not be of much help in this city from what I've surmised...I've never seen so many wizards and other wielders of magic in one place," he replied, actually sounding rather awed by the time he was finished speaking.
Xull'rae caught the respect in his tone and gestured grandly, using a dramatic voice to give effect to her welcoming speech, the irony was she didn't use humor or sarcasm, though it could have been appropriate. "Yes the City of Dark Weavings, the greatest magic city in the world...welcome to Sshamath."
When he grinned, it was not a pleasant sight, so Xull'rae got on with business before the draegloth decided to act on natural urges and become unmanageable without alerting her brethren or resorting to violence. "You should just return to the inn this time just stay within the room you were in, my room or the library it connects to..ok it is the safest haven at this point, and the library is filled with spell books and other knowledge."
Vesz'aun at this point, had managed to get inside and was currently peering downward from high above, taking in the conversation. He let out a small gasp of protest, upon interpreting what his fire blossom has said to the horrid creature, then he promptly and silently chided himself for, hoping that he would not be sensed.
A decided frown formed upon Mourn's toothy maw, then a malicious grin of sorts settled into place after a few moments thought. "Yes, that would be appeasing...to wrench the knowledge I need to defeat the human from his very own selection of spells."
Xull'rae gave him a matching grin and warned for reminder's sake, "just be sure not to be seen or caught, I hope you understand why?"
So this one was young, he could tell. She had impressive potential though, her body despite the abnormal coloration's was fit, strong and healthy, while her talent of the mind was wild and free, a kindred spirit in his opinion. She had growing up to do, some of her mannerisms spoke of childish sincerity and quick to form opinions, but he could not deny her quick wit and able to strike deals and plots like an adult. Perhaps a bumbling adult at times, but she had survived this long then she would grow out of that in time. So he saw fit to correct her reminder with the truth. "I understand well enough, Mistress. Despite my heritage, I am not stupid."
Her demeanor did not change, she simply nodded in understanding. She could be manipulated perhaps, but that required too much for a spirit such as hers, but he would keep things in mind to test her in the future to see if she was worthy of following. "Do we have funds with which I may procure some items of magic? That damnable human confiscated what I had on me, and the remainder of my items are lost in the past.."
As he was speaking, she was saying at the same time, "in any case I'm giving you permission for all three areas..although it is the rivven's inn and he only gave you that one room, so expect when he returns to be pissed at us both."
They looked at each other and both smiled. One was alluring, the other hideous. As they waited to see who would speak first, Xull'rae was the one who did so, answering his question, "I will buy what I can and drop them off to you..I don't have an extreme amount of funds but, what are some things you desire so that I may see if I can afford them?"
Mourn once more lewdly looked over the young woman in front of him that was his kin and his mouth stretched in what could pass for a smirk, despite still showing some teeth. "I'm sure you can work your way around the human's anger well enough." He hurriedly changed the subject, seeing anger flash across Xull'rae's face, but his smirk never left that bestial face. "Since we have not many funds, I will procure what I can from the human's domain while I still roam free. With any luck, I will find my own items before he can stop me. Which for right now, I believe is not a problem, as there was no sign of the human, mundane or magical, when I left. He's probably too full of himself to think I could have escaped anyway."
Xull'rae shrugged, content to let him do what he wishes for now to see what he is capable. Trusting this creature would be near impossible, but if she could show him she was strong enough to handle him then perhaps they could form a bond. In restoring her house, she would need allies, strong but trustworthy allies. Well, as much trust as she would dare give to such creatures as draegloth's and drow. "if you are sure, this the largest city to obtain magic items of all kinds, and yes I believe he had important errands to run knowing him. Methinks though, that you should go shortly you are in a prayer chamber and others share this room, and while the clergy here are using me for their means I don't want them to use you as well," she smiled in irony at the truth she spoke.
He shot her a quizzical look for a long moment, then a slight smile of understanding creased his elongated maw. Nodding once, his large form began to disappear from plain view, the workings of a minor spell springing to life. "Yes, I shall take my leave...the longer I tarry, the less my chances of rummaging through the human's domain anyway. We will meet again soon, Mistress. I am now at your beck and call."
Xull'rae squashed the surge of excitement, that ran from head to toe at Mourn's last words. She knew that the alliance was a fickle one and could change the next time they met, but it was a success all the same. Keeping her tone level and as it had been, she responded, "I will stop by later to check on your progress..if we can maintain our secrets and objectives, our house may rise from the ashes after all."
She was eager, he could smell it. He did not rebuke her for it, for he was himself. It gave him proof that she was at least serious to restore their name. "May it be so," said his maw, the only visible part of him now. The words were trailing towards the doorway from whence the creature had first entered. Then with a telltale opening of said doorway, the maw vanished in wisps and the beast was gone.
The place was oddly silent, even with spells in place it was too quiet. As if harboring a sixth sense that she was being spied on now that she didn't have the draegloth to concentrate on, she figured Vesz'aun was lurking somewhere listening in the conversation but she saw no need to expose him any further than she had so she did not bother to look for him.
Replacing her mask she knelt down, the candles were still lit, the wax dripping and waning in size but she'd have to make do as she lit incense and began her prayer ritual.
She didn't get much time for prayer as she was suddenly interrupted by Vesz'aun's voice. "You aren't actually going to let him in your room, are you?" The bellow came from above, as the Bladesinger floated slowly downward towards her. "I mean, c'mon..he's brutish, ugly, and probably filth infested! Diseases galore, a veritable farm of wretched creepy crawly things even! Put him in the damn stables or something!"
Feeling her good mood dwindling swiftly as he made himself known, she gave him a hard look. "Vesz'aun just go fix your sword, you need not concern yourself. The draegloth is technically my brother and I mean a real brother, I'm not going to bed him, he's a draegloth." Not that it was his business anyway, feeling her fists clench she relaxed them. She was not going to ruffle her, not here in this place of sanctuary.
A thoughtful moment of silence and then he broke it by speaking, which made her fingers itch to cause him harm. "Oh...well, even so! Just kill him, that'd be even better, he's nothing but trouble."
Xull'rae was making an effort not to tremble in rage and kill him where he stood. This was a sacred place, and she would uphold the dogma of her faith, she must, no matter how much of a failure and annoyance he was. Her patience was wearing thin though, how dare he tell her what to do, and admitting his own weakness that he himself could not kill the creature. Though all she said was, "remember I'm not really a Zauviir, I was adopted."
It never occurred to him to ask what house she came from, instead he was wondering why she was avoiding the subject at hand by telling him information he already knew. Yeah, yeah, I know, but you should just kill him, I mean, he jumped me and nearly killed me for no good reason, not to mention the other things he did," he shivered in spite of himself.
Xull'rae's body went tense and her voice went dangerously low. "You're nothing but trouble too, and I let you live."
A deep, resentful scowl is offered to her for a moment, then he shrugs it off, all but ignoring it and her body language, as he continues, "that's cause I'm a hot hunk of man meat...anyway, just kill him, he's probably plotting to have you for dinner or something right now."
Her anger dissolved into a cold detached calm, like what is felt before a storm hits. Her voice regaining its normal pitch as she replies, that's fine, I actually expect that and I'm prepared if he tries. Your concern for my well being is flattering and touching but I can handle the draegloth, now please go fix your beloved, I'm sure she's itching to cause bloodshed again." It seemed that she had good enough tact and diplomacy skills when under pressure, to be rid of him the subtle way without defiling this sacred place with male blood, not that Vesz'aun noticed.
"Hmph, itching to cause draegloth blood to shed, that's for sure. And I still say we can just go tell the human he's loose, maybe he'll kill the filthy beast. I mean, I can go do that right now, not a problem, the sword can wait..er, yeah." He gave her an impish smile, the only thing he noticed is that she cared for his sword, and that meant to him, that she cared for himself as well.
"No he won't," she corrected him, "he left the draegloth to me, I already gave the rivven the chance to kill Mourn. He wants to study him."
Vesz'aun took a step back in surprise, his smile turned into horrified shock and disgust. "Gah, are you both insane? It must have diseased your minds already, I told you its trouble, lemme go find some help!"
Xull'rae asked in mock concern, trying to distract him from doing something foolish and inadvertently grating her nerves. "You're sword is not important? surprising."
Vesz'aun's skins starts to blacken from flushed embarrassment and gave an unsteady response "Well, yeah its important, but, erhm, you're mor..er, nevermind," he headed for the doorway to go retrieve his broken blade he had hidden away before he said something foolish in her regard, he stated, "I'm gonna go find the bald one."
As he was leaving, she decided to respond on his comment on being insane with a lingering ghostly smile. "I probably will go insane eventually actually, something I don't want but must try to prepare for."
What made her say that he wondered. He shrugged and said, "you will if you hang around with that pile of filth and fur, that's for sure."
She laughed softly at the situation, he didn't get it and probably never would. Perhaps..but then again it's in my blood to go insane, his as well..I don't expect you to understand and if I were not drow I'd trust you to tell you what I mean...but all trust is foolish so our kin say."
Vesz'aun stopped short, just now opening the doorway, about to turn and offer her a sympathetic look, when his attention was caught by someone standing outside from what Xull'rae could gather. "What? You can trust me! You should know that by now! He wanted so much to say more, but the words died as he noticed someone else was here. "Move aside shitbag, no time for you right now."
The words came to her ears, though she couldn't quite make out who was outside, as the door shut most of the way, only cracked open by virtue that it had a faulty locking mechanism. The Bladesinger's form having retreated out into the hall for a moment, then he came stumbling a step back in a moment later, appearing to have been pushed aside, a look of much anger evident upon his visage as she caught a glimpse from her perch. Then she saw him reach for his blade, which was of course not at his belt. A low growl was issued, and she could make out his leg being thrust outward and in an upward swing. A heartbeat later, a dull thud and a loud groan issued into the doorway, right before Vesz'aun headed out once more, more of his words trailing inward, though not directed at her. "I warned ya, simpleton, now go soak yer balls in ice for an eternity or two."
The door did not completely shut at this point, and this time she could surmise it was because someone was laying partially against it, preventing such. Vesz'aun's sometimes grating voice could be heard once again, in an overly loud manner. "What, you two want some of this too? Bring it on fuckwads, or step the Abyss outta my way."
Xull'rae offered silent apology to her god for not making proper prayers this day. Irritation and curiosity getting the better of her, she went to investigate what was amiss muttering to herself why she tolerated the bladesinger and hoping beyond hope that she could be rid of him.
When she got to the doorway, she saw a familiar form crumpled on the floor, trying to catch his breath whilst cradling his manhood, the figure was Solaufein. Out in the hallway, Vesz'aun had his bundle in one hand, and was making a rude gesture with the other at two youngling males who were now scampering off towards the clerical rooms beyond the foyer. "That's what I thought, ya little punks."
The anger Xull'rae had felt towards him earlier no longer suppressed itself, and the calm dissipated, her expression as she pulled down her mask was a black thunder head. "What are you doing!? I should kill you for harm to my brethren, I'm actually within my rights to do so bladesinger and without your weapon it would be interesting to see how you'd fight me."
Vesz'aun turned, shock and outrage on his handsome face. "What?! Your 'brethren' there is a punk ass piece of shit poser, he ain't no real priest, and he pushed me, so I was within MY rights to kick his lilly ass! Or his balls in this case." He peered down at the fallen darkmask, grinning with malicious humor, mostly himself.
Xull'rae knelt down to help Solaufein up, intent on seeing if he was all right and wanting to right the slight against him before she flew off the handle and did it herself. Looking at Vesz'aun with contempt she said, "if he pushed you it was because you were in the way and should have moved and went to Bragh long ago like I told you to."
Vesz'aun's crimson eyes widened and his mouth hung agape, when he finally managed to speak his tone was incredulous and resentful. "Yer gonna take HIS side!? What the fucks up with that? A guy's not allowed to defend himself, just because that piece of shit poses as a priest?"
have dropped Solaufein and gone to draw her weapon to attack the insolent
bladesinger, but she kept her fingers gripped tightly on his shoulders, if left
in his state he could come to further harm and it would be her fault. Torn
between two duties of protecting and seeking retribution, she managed to speak
in hissing tones, "he is a darkmask you idiot so therefore he is a priest
and yes I'm taking his side."
Hurt and angry now, Vesz'aun retorted, "bah! You have actually fallen for his lies? Fine then, be stupid!" His glare shot from her, down to Solaufein, who was starting to get up. Taking a step forward, he placed a hand out as if to offer to help Solaufein up, that handsome face softening to one of apology. "Fine, whatever, I'll go do my thing, and let me help you up, priest."
With distrustful eyes, Xull'rae watched him, not letting go of her companion. Solaufein, also wary decides to give him the benefit of the doubt and offers the other man his hand. Then Vesz'aun promptly stepped a little further and landed another swift kick into the darkmask's manhood before turning to saunter off, dark laughter, though not very mirth filled, emanating from his form. "See, why would Vhaeraun want some wimp ass punk like that, who can't even defend himself? I told you he's a poser."
As the priest groan and slumped sideways, Xull'rae eased him to the floor and ran after Vesz'aun slamming him into the nearest wall with a strength that defied her form which from the look of it was livid with rage. The storm was rolling and threatening to cause destruction. The dagger flashed in her hand and then pressed dangerously to his manhood, if he so much as twitched he knew he would be nicked. She was so close he could feel her breath on his skin. Her tone was disdainful and ominous "Apparently you do not believe in my faith and that's fine, you're an unbeliever and will be purged in due time, but do not think it is ever a bluff when I say that I will kill you if such an occurrence happens again that you cause harm to the Masked Lord's faithful, but I believe that would rob Sol of his vengeance, so you will live for now. If he wants to it will be exacted at any time by his choosing, if not now, I suggest you find Bragh quietly. If you can't succeed in such, what I will do to you will be worse than that monstrosity you now fear, and still live to later atone for you offenses today. Is that understood?" She was dead serious, and actually quite calm despite her apparent anger.
The laughter quickly faded, Vesz'aun's twin pools of crimson narrowing spitefully at her, one of the daggers he secreted upon his own person already in hand, though not brandished at her, as his obsession caused him to pause in that. His own manner was much calmer, the idiocy seemingly washed away for the moment, his words soft yet determined. "I've killed more than a few of your kind, priestess, for doing such as this, and have no doubt, your boy laying there doesn't possess the courage to stand against me. He never has, and I doubt he ever will. But fine, we'll play this your way, I will take my leave. Now remove your blade from my manhood, and I shall do such." The longer he spoke, the more she could see his inner turmoil within those crimson orbs, mostly born from the fact he hated her for what she was now doing, but at the same time could not allow himself to hate her.
She used this to her advantage, in the hopes that he could die and she'd be rid of him and his beautiful blood be smeared on her hands. You've killed my kind huh? What kind is that Vesz'aun? One's sympathetic to male plight, the one who has gotten you and others out of trouble with risk to myself or the bitchy, whiny, spoiled priestess, half of which that don't know the first thing about combat? So yes, please, please kill me Bladesinger, here and now." She stepped back shrugging, her dagger slipping away, her pretty face turning agreeable. "Why not? You'd being doing the drow a service by doing so, since I'm committing such an injustice by defending my faith and my comrade and violating your rights." She spread her arms wide, open for a clean hit, a kill even. "What's the matter? Live up to your threat, if I'm such the evil priestess you think I am, prove it. Kill me. Stop being weak and wishy washy, kill me Vesz'aun." She was actually serious, prepared to die to prove a point. Her faith was strong, what she was doing was right, he was weak and what he was doing was wrong to her line of thinking, but knowing Vesz'aun pretty well, it was likely he would not harm her.
A look of confusion and hurt crossed Vesz'aun's features as she backed away, and realization dawned on him of what was transpiring. He did not fear her challenge he knew he could kill her, but he knew he shouldn't she did speak some measure of truth. She was different, some of the time. The other truth was the weakness, he would not harm her, not outright, not like this, and it shamed him. He couldn't help it, he wanted her, he needed her but couldn't explain why. That one thing that sparked some semblance of emotion within his being. The pained looked was accompanied soon thereafter by one of defeat, and he tossed his own dagger carelessly to the floor, swallowing his pride as best he could, and turning away before she could glean more from the windows to his soul. His tone was weary, if a tad angered, as he walked away and said, "then I'll not kill you, as I've no want to do any drow in this world a service." It wasn't entirely true, but sullen and sulking as was his mood right now, he said it anyway.
Xull'rae stood there watching his back, her face expressionless. In truth it was no mask, all she felt was confusion now. She had him now and kept her word in not killing him, but seeing his pain caused her no joy, but caused her no pain either. She felt empty and she couldn't fathom why.
Such was Vesz'aun's mood at this point, that he paused a moment, and tossed the bundle upon the floor before he continued onward. "I wish to no longer be any more beholden to one drow either."
The emptiness fled, replaced once again by anger. He dared to place the blame of his weakness on her? Her tone was full of contempt and revulsion as she replied, "how disgusting. It's not my fault your attached to the damn thing, or me! It's not my fault you can't back what you say, and gods know it's not my fault you are defeated and sulking like this. You cannot handle the truth, if you were bothered by all this you'd seek means to avidly rid yourself of me and you just passed a chance. You are the one who is the punk ass! I swear I don't know why I found you the least bit attractive or noble, I guess I am stupid!" She shook her head turning back to help Sol up again, wanting to give her hands something to do before she snapped and killed him for her anger, which was always wasteful in her opinion.
"Whatever," Vesz'aun mummbled, his form rounded the corner at the end of the hall, disappearing from view.
As Xull'rae leaned down to help Solaufein up, she heard the presence of two pair of feet moving in their direction, from the opposite end of the hall, hushed words being exchanged between the two, the first being a recognizable voice, that of Bragh. "Now he is more ripe than ever, this should work out well, retrieve his blade, take it to the lab, I will go and get him as soon as I deal with these two." The second figure muttered a confirmation, though she did not recognize his voice, nor his face as he scrambled past them and picked up the bundle, continuing on his way without another word.
Bragh, however, stopped and gazed upon her and Solaufein, his ugly pinched visage forming into some semblance of concern, forced into place to be sure, voice intended for their ears this time. "Revered Sister, Brother, forgive my tardiness, I would have arrived sooner, but I was delayed with the Inquisitor." Even though he was seemingly sincere, Xull'rae could glean by the look in his eyes that it was not an entire truth.
She wanted to run after whoever took Vesz'aun's blade, but stayed her spot to confront the Enchanter, looking him over with scorn. With his gray robes trimmed with lavender and his pinched and frail face, he was hardly an imposing figure. "Have whoever picked up that bundle return it to me, it's mine, I want it now."
Bragh blinked, obviously taken off guard for the moment, then he gathered himself and said in an almost apologetic tone, "I'm afraid that you do not have the authority, Sister. Though I will take the matter up with Pharaun at the first opportunity, and let him know of your desires. I'm sure he will not turn down your request, once the proper procedures have been followed."
Xull'rae narrowed her gaze and was unmoved by his speech, she knew the rules and there were no real procedures. They were going to do something to Vesz'aun and she was not going to let them use him to get to her in any way. Whether to emotionally confuse her or have him as a tool to rid her from the tower, she was not going to be an obedient pawn nor let them use a man she wanted to get rid of her own way to make sure he never returned to plague her. No, she was not easily controlled and this lapdog had sharp teeth. Anger exploded, knowing he saw her as a child and not a woman of equal standing, she let words fly from her mouth, "no, no, no, Bragh, I am the very pissed off psionicist that can fry your mind right now! So yes I have every authority."
For a moment, there was an amount of uncertainty within Bragh's crimson orbs, then it was replaced with a tinge of his own haughty anger, though his demeanor did not show it otherwise. Again, he attempted to sound somewhat apologetic, though he was firmer with her this time. "I'm afraid that you are overstepping boundaries, allowing your emotions to interfere. Again I understand your desire, but procedures must be, and WILL be followed."
She tried to focus her thoughts and concentrate on dominating him, but her emotions were too frazzled with anger and worry on breaking the rules of her faith that she would not harm those of the faith, her frustration mounted to new heights that he was treating her this way and she was trapped within a web of her own making. Xull'rae did not like feeling helpless. With biting sarcasm she spat out, "Oh really, and is it in your authority to 'deal' with us? How do you plan to do so mage? I swear people around here think I'm not drow and can't hear well."
A look of being "caught" crossed his face and instantly it was gone, replaced by irritation. He adeptly pushed it aside though becoming of placating manner once more. She had no authority over him, and her actions frustrated him, to say the least, as she always was a difficult one to intimidate and suppress, but that would change soon enough. "Hm? Oh, that. I merely meant that I would offer up what aid I could to the situation, Sister."
Xull'rae rolled her eyes, steadying the silent darkmask to his feet, "and that's another thing you males perceive around here, that I'm stupid."
This was going badly and not the way he planned, frantic, he tried pleading. "No, not at all priestess," this time he placed his hands out in a manner to portray that he was not trying to be demeaning nor argumentative in any way, shape, or form, even if it wasn't the complete truth.
Not buying into his fake emotion, she didn't need to mind read to figure that out she replied in a calm stately manner, all traces of anger now gone, "well you can explain to the Inquisitors, the Shadow Sorcerer and every authority here that until Vhaeraun himself thinks I matter, I'm out of here. if you have to kill me, go ahead, I'd love to see you fellas try." She looked at Solaufein and asked, "can you stand Darkmask?"
This was going very badly, her words caught Bragh quite off guard once more, and his jaw actually gaped for a brief moment. Then he forced it shut, blinked once, then shook his head slightly, trying once more to be apologetic. He didn't want to be blamed for losing a true and rare faithful Masked Traitor. "Revered Sister, truly, no offense was meant. This is standard procedure that I am following, nothing more. But if that is truly what you feel, I will of course pass it along to the Shadow Sorcerer. Now, in order that I not further offend you, I shall take my leave." That said, he offered a respectful half bow, and hastened towards where the bladesinger, and his earlier companion, had went hoping no one noticed that sweat had started to pop up on his forehead, nor the nervous twitch of his left eye.
She glanced at Solaufein, and caught the slight look of irritated disbelief, which quickly transformed into one of satisfied possibilities that shifted upon Bragh's features as he spun to stride away. Though she could hear Bragh's hushed voice once more as he apparently met up with his companion after rounding the corner. "A minor setback, but if all goes well she'll be killed for her insolence. It seems this day gets better and better, maybe if she's isn't disposed then we'll have two converts so very soon."
For his part, Solaufein got to his feet with some great effort, but did not stand fully, instead leaning heavily against the door frame. Despite the obvious pain and discomfort he felt, his gaze met that of Xull'rae's, holding some measure of concern and a touch of disbelief as well. He wanted to speak up sooner but no one had given him a chance and the pain in his groin had indeed hindered speech for awhile. "Sister, you would truly leave us?"
She sighs, suddenly weary of these games and beginning to doubt herself. When she looked at him again, her amber colored eyes were pained and lonely, but there was such resolve and determination that said she didn't plan to leave entirely, but it seemed what had to say contradicted that. "Well when you put your life in peril everyday because you can't worship a god outright, because you'd be killed cause of it or worse if you do or are found out. You worship this god cause the goddess you were brought up to worship is cruel and unfair, then you expect changes. I expected equality. I've busted my ass for this 'cause' that I thought had merit, but all I get are just as much lies, half truths and disrespect the Lolth bitches give me, and I have to draw a line somewhere. Yes, I'm afraid I must leave and continue my search, maybe I should be a merchant or mercenary and not worry about the gods and their schemes. They don't care what happens to me so why should I care about them." It hurt to say that and she did not dare delve into her feelings at that moment, lest she become defeated like Vesz'aun. In her heart, she still had enough faith, but this church seemed too concerned with itself, rather than its god. Too disgruntled to stay and seek guidance from the higher ranks for fear of betrayal there too, she unties her mask from her neck and hands it to him her face reflecting her anger, confusion, and unspoken apologies. "You can have the Shadow Sorcerer do what he will to my room, I have my pocessions," she also hands him her short sword, unbuckling the sheath from her belt. "If we meet again and we must do battle, I expect you to fight with all your skill for I will as well, and if I must die I will not go down easy."
This time Solaufein's bafflement and disbelief at her actions was even more apparent, his form straightening as he stared first at the bundled mask in his hands, then at her, something akin to pleading present on his face as well. "Sister, this is ridiculous! Reconsider! The Masked One has shown you more personal favor than almost any in this place. How could you think he does not care? Backstabbing, scheming, and manipulating is part of life for our kind, a simple fact, and one which we here at the Tower, nay, in Vhaeraun's very faith, excel at. So of course you will find it happening even between the Faithful at times.
Do not fret the mage, he has always been like that, and most here do not like nor trust him, with good reason. But do not let him make you question your faith!"
Always one to have dry wit, even in dreary moments Xull'rae quipped "it's not just him, good speech though you look very sincere and appealing. Think you have time to romp around?" She gives a small smile seeing his worried face and patted his shoulder. "If I wasn't drow, you'd be a friend in my eyes at least. You have been the only one to notice me and at least talk to me as if I mattered and I thank you," she winks then and shrugs, reviewing what he had said to her. "Hmm blame the doubt on my youth. Maybe I wasn't cut out to scheme..I really don't know, it just gets so tiring at times. Maybe I'm weaker than the bladesinger." She turns to go.
He sort of offers a return smile, but his confusion and puzzled frustration wins out for the most part at first, and he takes a few moments to form words. "Yes, it is tiring at times, I agree, but life here does not allow for pause in it very often. We are not like the softer, lesser races which reside in the lands of light..though at times I personally wish that weren't so. You are hardly weak Xull'rae, you are just young, you will grow and mature more with time and then you'll be stronger. Do not think me the only one who thinks so highly of you, nor the only one of a friendly bent. I know Rizzen feels much the same as I do about it, just to mention one other. I beg you, rethink the matter. Rest on it if you must, but take back these symbols of faith in the meantime, Sister. Our Lord will be wounded, much like some of we clergy, should you falter from your faith, not to mention by your simple departure. Its not just a matter of faith which binds some of us."
Xull'rae turned around and chewed on her lower lip to keep from flinching. His words stabbed her in what little heart she had, tucking away his admissions, she believed him, and that gave her hope. She forms one of her rare soft smiles and cups Solaufein's face in her equally tiny hands and kisses his forehead. "Always am I a soft one for males, but I cannot stay here nor can I carry the mask or sword but I will keep the holy symbol of the faith and think of what you have said. Perhaps the answers I seek are elsewhere we shall see. I have not totally given up, not yet, I just need time to think."
Solaufein could do naught but offer something akin to a sad smile, and a sympathetic nod. "Perhaps they are at that. I will keep these items in my possession for the day when you will come back to the fold, Sister. No matter the outcome, you are free to summon me should you need anything." He wanted to argue the point further, simply to get her to stay, but he was wise enough to know she needed this as she stated, so he would not. The most he could try to do was offer some sense of sympathy and support for her.
Xull'rae was grateful as she nodded and stepped back. With a smile she turned around and proceeded toward the entrance of the tower with all the confidence she possessed and tried very hard not to let her constantly churning thoughts stop her from doing what she felt she must do.
Solaufein simply watched her go, a look of sadness upon his features, but understanding was there as well. If ill came of this, he would always remember that smile and the touch of soft and warm lips on his skin bestowed in kindness. He strapped her sheath on his opposite hip, and tied her mask around his wrist and went the report this matter to the Shadow Sorcerer before Bragh told his version of it.
In another part of the tower, a certain magus scried onward from beyond his lavender and gray hood with a look of knowing satisfaction upon his visage.
Meanwhile in another tower of sorts not so far away, a certain bald headed human peered into a scrying device as well, a frown of concern, and even a touch of sympathy, etched upon his ageless countenance.
Beyond the realms of mortals, a third being now scried upon her as well. A look of puzzled intrigue, touched green eyes that shift suddenly etched with concern, then shift to a deadly shade of red as the slightest touch of frustrated bewilderment settles upon his own drowic features.
No matter what Xull'rae may think now, she was unintentionally and unknowingly making an impact in many lives and existence's at this moment in time.
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