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Discussion in 'THE TEST CHAMBERS' started by J_"Kraken", Jan 17, 2016.

  1. LoU OST

    Banner Saga OST

    ^ For post

    Sword Seekers

    Name: Celesar Youcet

    Age: 34
    Race: Human, partial nymph descent
    Homeland: “Someplace with a desert”
    Class (Wielder + mage)
    Sword - Dreamwalker
    Gender - Female

    Celesar possesses a tall, curved frame. Her skin is stained by constant exposure to the sun, resting at a tone between olive and bronze. Wide, pale blue eyes stare out from beneath a narrow brow that extends into an equally slender nose. Thin lips rest above a narrow chin, and laugh lines crinkle the corners of her mouth. Above a forehead beginning to show the signs of age rests long brown hair tied back into a flat that begins wide then narrows out, ending at the small of her back. Intricate ink designs in the shape of thorns line her forearms, wrapping around her wrists and ending at the palms of her hands.

    Youcet is a calm, collected individual. She bears herself in a noble manner, often taking herself - and the situation at hand - overtly seriously. When she speaks, she is matter of fact; some have called her curt and snappish, a claim she openly acknowledges. Her noble bearing and attention to detail has created the illusion of pride bordering on arrogance in many, but to this, Celesar would only respond with a small smile and a statement of indifference.

    A life as a merchant’s daughter has given Celesar a prowess in shrewd bargaining and a profound sense of stubbornness to boot. Though she is a stone-cold woman on the streets of any market, Celesar’s true talent rests in instructing and teaching. She has taught several students in the ways of magic, though in her spare time she works with the bow and arrow.

    Brief History:
    Celesar was born to a merchant prince that had shared a brief love affair with a half nymph on his travels. Though she was in effect born a bastard, as a young girl Celesar often spent time with her mother, learning the ways of magic, specifically the patterns of wind and water alongside the more chaotic innate magic of the Fey. As she grew older, Celesar’s interests drifted from taking over her father’s business to instructing others in magic.

    By the time she was thirty, Celesar had started up her own Circle and had trained a total of six students. Eight years previous, she had wed a human man and carried a young girl into the world, relatively soon after a young boy. She lives a content existence teaching in the city she had inhabited as a girl, still managing her late father’s trade routes from time to time as a partial owner of the trading company. Though all seems calm and peaceful, Celesar's line of work often involves some more practical exercises in magic, taking her far and wide across her native deserts.

    Her husband, Gereye Youcet
    Her daughter, Elel (12), and son, Gylan (4)
    Her three apprentices, almost fully trained

    • ST - 2 + 0 = 2
    • DX - 2 + 4 = 6
    • IQ - 2 +3 = 5
    • WILL - 5 +1 +1 = 7
    • CON - 4 - 1 = 3
    • ST (2) + 3 = 5
      • Short blades - 1
      • Long blades - 0
      • Ranged - 4
    • DX (4)
      • Evasion - 4 + 0 = 4
      • Aim+ - 4 + 2 = 6
    • WILL (7)
      • Fire - 1 + 0 = 1
      • Earth - 1 + 0 = 1
      • Water - 1 + 2 + 1 = 4
      • Air - 1 + 2 + 1 = 4
      • Raw - 3 + 2 = 5
      • Resistance - 2 + 1 = 3





    #1 J_"Kraken", Jan 17, 2016
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2016
  2. The Festival

    Celesar Youcet disliked the plains of Brundanya. Though she had not been through them in all of her thirty four years, and had only occupied them for more than three days and nights, they bothered her nonetheless. In lapses of teaching and chatter between Celesar and her apprentices, the woman had attempted to fathom a reason as to why the vast emptiness of the plains prickled the back of her mind. Even the heat in the height of summer, unpleasant was it was, tinged with a healthy dose of added humidity, was not terribly different from her native deserts. The grasslands were as open as the desert. Everything from the sun up above, blazing down against her skin, to the gentle occasional gusts of wind were the same. Her deliberations had led her to no conclusion, but they bothered her still.

    She could, however, conclude that Brundanya would be pleasant if perhaps the air was a tad cooler. Sweat had been plastered across Celesar's forehear ever since they had crossed the border into the kingdom, and her delicate purple silk - usually light and free-flowing - sagged and hung heavy to her skin. In Thonosea, all one needed to avoid the heat was a fan and shade. Here, with the very air ripe with water, there was no respite. Celesar had attempted to chill the air around her using magic, but the strain proved too much to maintain over the course of an entire day. If her students were bothered by it, they made no note of it.

    Three weeks prior, news of the Communion carried its way over the narrow seas of Mesym and to Celesar's home of Al-Abihij. Though not a devotee of any particular god or goddess herself, preferring to keep her faith in what she could touch and feel, Celesar felt the inclination to attend. She had attended the ceremony once as a young girl with her mother, when she had felt obliged to humor her mother's strange beliefs. Now a woman grown, the notion of attending with a new perspective intrigued her enough to make the trek across sand and dirt well beyond her zone of comfort.

    She had also brought along three young - if perhaps agitating in their own regard - mages in the making.

    Ardwund and Cyna had gone along without too much complaint, particularly after Celesar had mentioned that they still owed her the respect of another year to truly complete their training. Only Eyja had seemed, if anything else, interested enough to give her more than grumbled complaints and a bland 'I suppose so'. Celesar also suspected that of her three students, if she said 'Jump' (Ardwund would question the worth of jumping to studying magic, Cyna would outright refuse) Eyja would be the only one ask 'how high?'

    Up ahead Celesar could spot the rough outline of houses upon the horizon. That would make some rational sense - the guide she had questioned upon their last stop had informed her that yes, she was on the correct path, and that Namasar should be within half a week's ride if she followed the flowing river that followed the road. The mage tugged at the fitting of her right sleeve and nudged her horse forward, urging the beast to move faster. It snorted and flicked its ears as if to protest the request. Cautiously, Celesar reached out into the air around her, grabbing at the humidity, condensing it into a ball of water about the width of her thumb. She cooled it and flicked at her her horse's head, smirking as it splashed out with a satisfying plink. The horse snorted again and Celesar's smirk morphed into a smile as the animal took the hint and turned its trot into a canter.

    What use is reigns? I have spurs all my own, she reflected ruefully.

    After arriving in Namasar, alongside several other travelers - a mixture of locals, pilgrims, and attendees - Celesar had momentarily stopped to ask for directions, fill her water skin alongside her pupils, and set back out to the indicated path.

    "Can't miss it," the man had grumbled in response. "Could see it from the bloody coast in Thonosea."

    Celesar had appreciated the attempt at a hyperbole, but she certainly could not even see the jagged island her people referred to as 'Lion's Tooth' from Al-Abihij, let alone all the way down the ocean to Brundanya. She had tossed the man a coin for the advice and set back to the path. By the time her group reached the festival grounds, the sun hung heavy in the sky above.

    The half-nymph was unsure what to make of the grand show the Alrumite had established upon arriving. It felt...smaller. Less impressive than her memories as a child would lead her to believe. Though she had been little over nine at the time, could that really turn giant marquises into common merchant tents? Casting the thought aside, she pressed on. A stableboy offered to relieve her and her students of their mounts, and there they were, in the heart of it. All around them rang the sweet tones of ceremony - chatter, music, and merchants shouting off their wares. The air was heavy with the scent of roasting meat, the air covered in a thin layer of smoke from cookfires, adding their own earthen smell to the mix. Celesar took in a deep breath of the air: it was not often she could take in anything more than salt water and sand.

    Celesar reached into the pouch she wore around her waist, hidden from pickpockets in the folds of her silk gown, and withdrew several coins. She called up her pupils, handing them each an equal share of the coin in turn.

    "You've had enough of my fussing and teaching for three weeks," she stated. "I won't bother you all with learning about the ceremony - if that is how you wish to-"

    "No," Cyna interjected.

    "If that is how you wish to," the older woman continued, narrowing her eyes at Cyna. "Spend your time, do so. Still, enjoy yourselves as much as you can - remember you'll have three more weeks of my fussing to endure when the festival is over."

    Celesar added one of her rare chuckles, eyes twinkling with amusement.

    "Now go on - if you have need of me, I have no doubt in your ability to find me when it is most inconvenient."

    #2 J_"Kraken", May 24, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2016
  3. Nimrielye Elyen

    Personal Information
    Age: 25
    Sex: Female
    Hometown: The Splendid City of Encilis

    Height: Nimrielye, "Nim", stands a good head shorter than most men. Her slender shoulders and generally petite form give way to her appearing smaller than she truly is.
    Weight: "It's rude to ask a lady of her weight, isn't it?"
    Eyes: Somewhere between hazel and green: they never can seem to decide on one color and stick to it.
    Hair: Nim's hair is a tangle of dark brown mahogany-tinged curls that remain tucked up in a cap or hat more often than not (hair gives an enemy a handhold). Still, she prefers to leave it long, outright refusing any suggestion that she should butcher it to shoulder length or shorter.
    Complexion: Sailing the seas has exposed Nimrielye to more than her fair share of sunlight, though her skin has refused to darken to the sun-kissed hues of her fellow sailors and merchants.
    Note-Worthy Features: Much to her chagrin, Nim's mole just right of her nose has refused to shrink or disappear despite her various attempts to remove it.
    Typical Apparel: True to her perceived social station, Nim dresses in colorful, sashed garb with a strong preference for navy blues and dark crimsons singed with golden edging. Beneath such, she wears loose tunics singed at the waist with a belt. Leggings replace dresses and smocks, and rather having her feet clad in dainty "lady" shoes, she prefers steel-tipped leather boots.


    It has been said that you will never meet the daughter of a successful merchant as foul-mouthed or considerably unlady-like as Nimrielye Elyen. The woman has an innate talent in the art of insults and a knack for profanity rivaled only by the saltiest of sailors. She lacks a filter and will, as a result, say anything in any setting. Suffice it to say, she has not graced many dinner parties of the formal and noble sort.

    Nim's brain has a way of often working far faster than she can consciously process the information coming in. When she came of age, and as the sole heir to her father's business at the time, she began to manage some of the less important aspects of the various trade routes. She become notoriously well-known for her inability to manage dates and shipping times that within her father's business "nimming the deadline" came to mean "passing the deadline" for a time.

    When at last it was realized that Nim could not manage anything behind the scenes within a merchant empire, her father had instead put her at the helm of one of the frigates in the company's corsair fleet at the age of eighteen as a second mate. She swiftly rose through the ranks, proving herself to be a reliable and competent asset to the fleet. When she finally seized command of her own ship, often the first thing heard whenever anything went wrong was "Do I have to do everything myself? What's the point of a fucking crew?"

    To simply state that Nim is loyal would be a discredit to her dedication. Once her respect is gained, short of a sea change in the relationship, Nim will live and die by that person. Of course, her loyalty is not so easily gained, as it requires a degree of competence that few (other than herself, naturally) can muster.

    Bold and Reckless
    Why be the candle when you can be the bonfire? Nim's decisions tend to be straightforward, unquestionable ones with a focus on simplicity over everything else. As a child, when her father attempted to teach her sevack, an ancient game aimed at teaching methodical, rational planning and forward-thinking, the girl's first instinct had been to gamble everything on a handful of game-making plays. She won big or lost big, and while some habits die hard, some simply never die at all.

    History and Relationships

    Nimrielye's story does not begin with her birth. It extends two generations back to when her grandfather, at that time a commoner lacking a surname so poor was his family, made the voyage from Deltan to Encilis having recently enlisted in the corsair fleet of a mighty merchant prince. Over the course of almost ten years, her grandfather had garnered the respect of all of his superiors who quickly gave the man (then of twenty years) control of a small sloop meant to pass messages quickly in often hostile territory. It was a task he performed admirably, and little over a year later he vanished, stealing the sloop and lying low in the northern waters of Calidar lands.

    From his small outpost located just out the Cenva fishing post, her grandfather began a smuggling business with what loyal crewmen he still possessed. He sailed by for little over a decade, evading corsairs, privateers, and naval patrols until finally his empire became too big to hide. Reinventing himself from Roben Sonofnone into Markus Elyen, altering the surname of a noble woman he fancied back in Encilis, he established himself as a merchant from the north wishing to start an enterprise in the self-proclaimed Land of Bounty. In the two years prior to his shift into legitimate business, he had ordered his fleet scuttled and sold for parts, rebuilding it with shipwrights of dubious morality from all around Calidar. By the time he arrived back Encilis, no one could recognize the once ragtag band of smugglers as anything other than sailors in a merchant fleet.

    At thirty, he finally settled down and wed a minor noble who possessed relations to the Chercheur of city taxes. With her, he fathered three children, two boys and one girl. The eldest son perished at sea in a storm, and his daughter died of consumption at the age of sixteen. Left with his middle child, the most entrenched in the noble lifestyle, not at all the rough-and-tumble man his father was, he had little choice but to leave the business within the family and so, grudgingly enough, handed it over to this spoiled brat. At the age of fifty, Markus Elyen began writing his memoirs and retired.

    Daedhar Elyen, though half the sailor his father had been, had proven to be a natural leader in the business. Under his watch, he consolidated what gains his father had made and expanded the shipping empire to handle most of the spice trade entering and leaving Encilis. By the time Nimrielye was born (the daughter of his favorite concubine, though to prevent a scandal he had swiftly married and claimed to have kept his fiance hidden for her right of privacy) the business had reached timidly into arms sales and secured an official contract from the government of Encilis.

    As a girl, Nim was treated as an outsider for reasons she could never quite place. Raised more by her grandfather, who absolutely doted on the girl, seeing in her a "more natural sailor than my no-good son", she often took to sea with Markus, acting as lookout on the boat from the crow's nest. When at last her father had his first legitimate child, a boy, he had all but forgotten about his daughter, seeing her more as an inconvenience when entertaining guests. Nim was happy to leave him to his parties, preferring instead to live out on the seas and rivers of her homeland. When she came of age, with her brother still a sniveling four year old, it was expected she try her hand in the family business. She failed abysmally, causing much embarrassment to the family name. Wanting to rid himself of this liability and social pitfall, her father shipped the girl out of sight aboard a corsair frigate.

    With her grandfather's lessons of seafaring and (though she never let it slip) fighting, Nim made a natural corsair captain, and was quickly promoted to one. It would be one of the last things her grandfather would live to witness, for a month after her 22nd name day, he passed away, bestowing a good deal of the corsair fleet he had maintained privately to his granddaughter. She sold the fleet back to her father and left her life of seafaring behind, taking a small ship and a handful of crew with her to explore the world with her small fortune. In her inattention to the greater world, she had neglected to pay much thought to this "Ogual" who seemed to have come straight out of a firelight tale. She had heard tale of the plague and of conflict in the north, but had yet to truly experience its effects. As she wandered the land, she learned of the truth, and could barely turn back around before she was accosted upon stopping in the Halturn shipping post. There, her crew was ambushed in the night by armed brigands and mostly slaughtered for refusing to give up the stores of gold.

    Distraught, her ship burned at harbor, along with several others in the port, she began to sell her skill as a sellsword, journeying ever west-ward. Before year's end, she had encountered a mysterious figure claiming to speak for the little well-known group of dragon tamers further west in a place called Tetra Manor. Unable to talk the figure down, bribe it, or otherwise avoid it, Nim agreed begrudgingly enough, feeling the spark of new purpose bloom inside of her.

    And the fear that came with it.

    Markus Elyen//Grandfather//Deceased
    Markus Elyen served as Nim's mentor, stand-in father, and ally throughout her entire life. It had been said the gruff man loved little other than his ship, his wife, and his granddaughter. She grieved his passing, but he had lived a full life, and even in death, given her something to do with herself.

    Tomas Elyen//Father//46
    Nim never respected her father much, particularly after spending time with Markus. He did himself no favors in shutting the girl out of his life completely. In their last exchange before she left to set sail, he had raged, screamed, and spat at her. He had called her nothing more than a whore's runt, and forcibly removed her from his quarters. She's borne a grudge ever since.

    Brythuie Elyen//Step Mother//42
    Disappointed that her only daughter had become an even more foul-mouthed replica of her grandfather, Nim's mother's outlook towards the girl was one of passive aggressive attempts to force the girl into changing. Though the two were never as openly hostile with one another as Nim had been with her father, their encounters were always tense and as short as humanly possible.

    James Elyen//Brother//14
    James and Nim never truly associated with one another. They had only shared a dinner table when the boy was too young to remember, and by the time he had grown capable of stating more than his need for sleep, food, water, or attention, Nim had dedicated herself to a life on the seas.

    Geoffry Demaer//Lover//Deceased
    Among the crew members to leave with her on her voyage westward, Geoffry had been among the first. The two had grown close in their time together aboard the corsair My Lady's Bitch, though Nim would have none of the "green boy's" talk of marriage and true love. Still, when bandits set upon her ship at harbor, she had found herself more than a little distraught at his brutal death at the end of a brigand's spiked mace.

    Strengths, Weaknesses, Talents
    Life aboard ships of all forms and sizes tends to make one more acquainted with their sense of balance and weight. Nim's a natural-born climber and incredibly difficult to trip or knock down for long.

    Nim's eyes are sharp, but her sense of people is sharper. She can often tell when a person is lying, what their intentions are, and if they worth their salt in a matter of minutes after meeting them. At least, she has a pretty good shot at guessing them.

    Aboard a ship, armor only slows you down. Wired instincts and a quick hand often mean the difference between life and death, and Nim's got them both, just don't expect her to remember the day of the week.

    Nim is, after a fashion, charismatic. Foul-mouthed and lewd, perhaps, but when she wants something, she knows how to beguile and charm her way to having it.

    Goes without saying that living as a legal form of pirate breeds a certain distrust. "Mutiny" and "betrayal" are always in the background of any captain's mind, and they always have to be on the lookout for it. After all, it's only paranoia if they really aren't out to get you.

    Nim's a gambler to the bone, and will not think before acting. It's gotten her into more hot water than it's saved her, but thinking is for scholars in their ivory towers.

    It would do one well to avoid getting on Nim's bad side. She has always had a long streak of taking insults too personally, of taking everything to her personal honor. When she's slighted against, she will do everything in her power to tear down the offending party.

    Leave a ballista strung after an engagement? Spilled your wine on her table? Left your sword out to rust? Nim's temper is quick to ignite, and she's known to get quite physical when it explodes.

    Nim's grandfather taught her a good deal of how to fight with a saber, and even after he shattered his hip and couldn't fight properly, had hired her a tutor to continue her education. She's a dangerously skilled opponent, but her weapon of choice is never exactly battle-hardened or meant for war.

    Every sailor prides himself on his ability to brawl, and Nim can rough it with the best of the lot. She knows when to roll with the punches and when to fight dirty. Out of habit, the woman always keeps a brass knuckle handy in case she needs that extra winning touch.

    From the time she could walk and cling to things, Nim has been aboard ships. She knows how to sail them, how to maintain them, and how to destroy them. Her preferred vessel is the sloop, but she'll settle for a frigate any day. Just get those fat Man-O-Wars out of her sight...

    True to her father's reputation, Nim took up smuggling while she worked as a corsair. She's naturally crafty and knows just where to hide valuables to prevent them from being found by prying eyes. It helps, of course, that patrol crews only have half a brain cell to share around the entire crew.

    #3 J_"Kraken", Aug 25, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 26, 2016
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  4. Aegnor

    Dragon Abilities
    The dragon channels its inner rage and expels it in a wave of potent heat akin to the aftermath of an explosion. With its rage released, the dragon turns berserk. Its flame burn hotter, its stamina increases tenfold, and pain becomes but a distant echo. Upon exiting this state, the accrued damage, strain and mistreatment will return with a vengeance.

    Where there is smoke, there is fire. Rather, in the case of an Inferno Dragon, where there's fire, there's sure to be smoke. As a species, they exude more smoke than do their counterparts. As a means of self defense, an Inferno Dragon can spew out a cloud of toxic smoke to blind, choke, and disorient its enemies.

    Cloak of Fire
    It is difficult to harm an Inferno Dragon with the very fiber of its being. Their resistance to heat and flame is such that it is not uncommon for tales of fully grown Inferno Drakes bathing in lava as one might in a stream or lake. In times of need, they can use this natural resistance to their advantage and, quite literally, cloak themselves in flame, becoming a living incandescent ball of flame and smoke for a time.

    Personality, Strengths and Weaknesses
    Aegnor views himself, as his species is want to do, as a minor deity of sorts. Placed side by side with a noble of any of the realms of men, such would be his sense of arrogant pride that the noble may be described a beggar in lord's clothing. With this comes a natural-born confidence and bravado, even if it isn't always well-deserved.

    Though "honor" for a several-ton lizard may differ from the standards of "honor" among mortals, Aegnor views himself to be a gentleman first and foremost. His manner of speech is refined and astute, and after a fashion, he does abide by a loose set of morals and codes of conduct.

    Once Aegnor has set his sights on a goal, he will put aside everything else in pursuit of it. As a side effect, he is nearly incorruptible and incredibly driven. He is a natural born protector and bodyguard, often able to put his own survival instinct on hold for others without second thought.

    Resourceful Fighter
    Aegnor, while being skilled in the brutal art of hand-to-hand combat, takes true pride in his ability to improvise and adapt to the situation at hand. He will use his tail, claws, fangs, and fiery breath to great effect, often in tandem with one another, taking advantage of his race's ability to survive self-ignition for extended periods without harm.

    While many will call his attention to minute failures overbearing at best or self-diminishing at worst, it is through a constant desire to reach perfection in all things that drives Aegnor to improve himself. It instills in him a sense of manifest destiny, and contributes to his ultimate sense of confidence.

    Whether you believe his bravery to be born of true courage or stupidity, one word that cannot be used to describe Aegnor is "coward." He will be the first in the breach and the last to withdraw, a fighter first in all but the direst of circumstances.

    Legendary Temper
    Aegnor is both, literally and figuratively, hot-blooded. His rage is barely contained in most instances, and it takes very little to send the otherwise well-spoken, considerate dragon into a sprawling mess of rage, irony sinew, and fire.

    As a member of a powerful, well-respect species, physical might and capability of breathing flame aside, Aegnor has developed a sense that his way is the correct way, particularly in dealings with humans. After all, how can a mere mortal comprehend his vision and decisions?

    It is not enough that Aegnor succeed in a task. He must be the first and the best at that task, no exceptions. His competitive nature has been the source of much discourse and, in a few instances, brawls have broken out at the onset of failing to meet his own impeccable standards.

    #4 J_"Kraken", Aug 26, 2016
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2016
  5. A Cause Worth Dying For

    Tell me, human, why do you fight?

    Nimrieyle Elyen, sitting cross-legged before a massive, winged, fire-breathing lizard the likes of which belonged terrorizing towns, keeping princesses locked away, and sitting on massive hordes of golden treasure, could only snort in response, overtaken by the ludicrous nature of the entire situation.

    Have I said something humorous? The dragon questioned, its great head shifting up and blowing a puff of steam towards his would-be rider. Even without the warm clouds of water, Nim could feel the raw energy the beast let out, a palpable aura of heat and discomfort. It was not the pleasant warmth of a summer's day, no, his was the fury of the forge, bellows breathing out heat so potent it made the air ripple with its force. If she squinted hard enough, she imagined she could see the distortion around the grey-orange dragon's body.

    There is no levity to be found in the taking of another life, he harrumphed, followed by a sound not too unlike two boulders scraping by one another from deep within the dragon's throat. I ask again, human, why do you fight...?

    The Wench and Tankard inn stood boisterous and lively. The fishermen and cattle drivers had finally returned to port in Halturn post, bringing with them the raucous persona of hardened sailors and seafarers. Across the table from her sat her crew, fourteen in all. They, like the crowd around them, sang merrily along with the old war boat chants and raised their mugs, beating rhythmically on the table with gloved fists or booted feet. Nim herself attempted to haphazardly take swigs from her mug while participating in the festivities, much to the amusement of her crew-
    It is common courtesy to pay attention when someone speaks to you, her 'life companion' berated.

    Nimrieyle mentally shook herself and nodded.

    "I would say," she began, voice cracking from lack of use. She coughed into her sleeve as gracefully as she could manage and continued. "I fight because it is all I have known."

    So you treat this matter with such nonchalance because others have laid you upon this path?

    "If this Oracle was to be believe, my path was never mine to walk in the first place," Nim retorted. "I was destined to come to this moment whether I willed it or no."

    Ah, the dragon countered. Though our meeting may have been destined, several paths may yield the same destination. Is it not so that a ship sailing for Encilis could go north or south, through the open sea or within sight of land?

    "I suppose you could say so."

    Then you fight for another reason, why?

    The woman paused and considered the question for a moment, steepling her fingers in pensive reflection. Had she fought to earn the respect of her grandfather and rebel against her father? Had she taken up the sword in pursuit of glory and gold? Or did some part of her, nestled in some dark corner of her soul, find pleasure in not only fighting, but killing and winning? Images of battle flashed before her. Her at the helm of My Lady's Bitch, fighting tooth and nail with pirates, relishing in the glory of sweet victory. Brawls in the underhive of Encilis' outskirts, the satisfying crunches of splitting bone and sting of split knuckles. Was that what this dragon, this symbol of resistance, hope, and perseverance, wanted to hear? That Nimrieyle Elyen, destined hero and member of an elite order, fought and killed because she enjoyed it?

    "Because I'm good at it," she finally stated, tone dripping with pride.

    So because someone possesses a natural talent for something, they must pursue it?

    Nim fought the urge to gnash her teeth in frustration and cast her masque of passive indifference aside. Still, instinctively her eyes narrowed to slits as she gazed up at the dragon before her.

    "Would that not make sense?" She pondered aloud, drawing each syllable out as to keep her tone passable as considerate.

    To some perhaps, though what makes killing a noble and worthy pursuit if you can take such enjoyment from your skill?

    "I was told this was an army," Nim said. "Let's not beat around the bush: armies are tools to kill, as I'm sure you're well aware, dragon. I-"

    "Ours is not to question why, ours is to do or die", he interjected. Then what is the worth in it if you are following another's orders? What is the glory in dying on the sword of a superior officer's orders? To what do you owe him or his cause? Ah, but I digress. This is about you, not this army.

    "I feel as though no answer I give will ever be enough to satisfy you," her tone was bordering agitation now, and she knew the dragon could sense it.

    Honesty with yourself, and by extent, with me. If you ever wish to bond and become a Tamer, then you must be comfortable sharing whatever may make you who you are.

    "Then why not bond and get the fucking thing over with?" Nim demanded, pretenses of social graces gone.

    Because some things you need to hear yourself say, the dragon's head had lifted from the ground entirely now as he fixated one large, amber-hued eye down at the small woman before him. His nostrils trailed steam once again as he considered the human. Lest you lose your way.

    "I lost my way a long time ago," Nim grunted.

    Do you truly believe that?

    "I fight because I win, because I'm damn good at it, because I enjoy the thrill of life and death!" She exclaimed, rising to her feet, jabbing a finger at the dragon. He responded by snarling, flashing his teeth.

    "Fuck your tradition!" She continued, not backing down. "You want me to stand for something? Here I am. Who're you to judge why I do what I do? I could hide, claim it was for my survival, but if I wanted to hide behind my skirts like some damn coward I would've run my father's business and grown fat and lazy. No, I fight and kill because it's what I do. I kill, and no one can tell me what to do with myself, least of all some fire-breathing lizard."

    The dragon's eyes widened and it swiftly rose to its feet, mouth opening to bare all of its teeth as it glowered at Nim. Gingerly, with the same air of restrained fury Nim herself had displayed earlier, it rose a talon to her chest and rapped it against her softly.

    That is the last time you will call me a lizard, human.

    Nim could feel sweat pour down her face, though whether from fear or the dragon's unnaturally high body temperature she could not tell. The dragon's claw reclined and it laid back across the ground with a soft thud as it situated itself back into a comfortable position, the dirt around its clawed feet ripping up with the force of his movements. Re-situated, the dragon's breathing returned to normal and it fixed its gaze back to Nim, the restrained fury replaced with calm equanimity once again.

    Though I cannot personally condone your reasoning, nor do I find it very tasteful, it is not my place to see to your morals. The only question remaining is do you believe you are willing to die for the very same reasons you fight?

    "What good is a warrior without a sword in her hand?"

    What good is a dead warrior?

    Nimrieyle stammered and the dragon chuckled low in its throat, standing again. Heading swaying on its neck, the dragon lowered itself to its knees awkwardly, head leaning down towards the ground, its might crest facing towards Nim in some mimicry of a human's manner of bowing. A tugging sensation pulled at Nim's arm, and without second thought, the woman's arm moved towards the dragon's crest, fingers outstretched as if grasping for something. Her fingers brushed the bony, almost stone-like, tips of the dragon's crest and a burning sensation bloomed from the point of contact. At first believing that it was the dragon's immense heat that burned her, she attempted to withdraw the contact, but she couldn't move. Paralyzed, Nim stood frozen in horror as the burning traveled up her arm and began to bloom outward from her torso.

    As the burning traveled throughout her frame, wracking her nerves and sending sweat pouring down her face and arms from the strain, Nimrieyle began to see images flashing through the foreground of her mind. She felt wings sprout and spread open from her back, though she could not see them. Fire rang from her fanged maw, only no flames came forth from her tightly-shut mouth. Scales sprouted over her body, layered and hard to the touch, though when her eyes shot down she saw only skin shot through white in terror. The euphoria of taking flight raced through her heart, easing the burning sensation for but a moment, but her feet remained planted firmly on the ground.

    Then came the memories. Memories that weren't hers. Memories of flight instructions, of the workings of Mana. Lessons in etiquette and restraint. Of a man named Merrik, who she already felt as close as family. She tasted blood, and for a split second she thought she had bitten her tongue, only to find that images of prey flashing before her. When the burning faded, it left a disheveled, quivering woman in its stead. With as much dignity as she could muster, Nim fell to her knees and vomited, a shaking hand clutching at her stomach as she retched. When she recovered, she stood and wiped her mouth, bile still coating her tongue. In the back of her mind she could feel a presence,one not of her own consciousness. Alien in nature.

    I.. Is that you? She pondered. Aegnor?

    The name came as naturally to her as breathing.

    Aye, he rumbled.

    A pause followed.

    Do you fight for this Geoffrey as well? He asked, breaking the silence. Your grief would-

    "I don't fight for people who died," she replied coldly. "It's an easy way to join them."

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