Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Keiga, Feb 12, 2014.

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  1. The afternoon sun felt marvelous on her bare shoulders coming through the ground floor windows as the young waitress served the front tables. Rowdy laughter burst out in a corner table nearly making Ana drop the pitcher she carried. A guest eyed her for a scant moment as she closed her eyes, sighed and regained her bearings, smiling at the man as she topped off his mug. "There you are. It will be a little longer on the chicken, sorry for the wait."

    "Oh right right, no worries." he nodded and wiped at his sleeve as she made her rounds with what was left in the container. It would have been a first in a long time for her, had she dropped it, it was bad enough some splashed on him, but the old merchant barely paid her mind after the brief glance and resumed his tale to the others gather at the table. Only his lunch of roast chicken in her hand would have him light up when she spoke.

    The past week had her on edge. Both Inn and pub were filled with both people from all walks and races. Good food was not picky of race and the Blue Ladle attracted them, particularly when the larger Inn's were packed. Ana was feeling the strain, but it wasn't that fact that pricked her normally calm nerves. She could handle so much more, but lately ...things felt a little off for her, so much so her older brother was just beginning to notice. Before she took her shift in the hall he made her promise him that she was feeling okay. Ana lied. It was easier than explaining what she herself couldn't put her finger on. Well she could put her finger on it and she did at that moment as she worked the dining hall. The smooth black stone no bigger than the tip of her thumb could be felt in it’s hidden pouch beneath her belted tunic. It was the source of both comfort and confusion for her since the day she acquired it... from the body of a dead man along with the rest of his valuables. He no longer needed it and only her brother, whom she split the loot with, knew she had it. He had no use for the rock and teased her for being a typical girl collecting pretty stones. It was beautiful, and the moment she touched it she knew it was more than just a pretty stone.

    Weaving through the tables, stools and an afternoon drunk or two was a familiar dance and soon she was back in the kitchens. The noise wasn't less, only different. The roar of the crowded dining area was replaced by the roar of the fire and boiling savories in large pots about the kitchens. The front kitchen was modest, but served it's purpose well. Food in various stages of preparation lined both the wall and counters, giving off a smell that could sometimes choke the inexperienced the first few days in the tidy room, particularly when combined with the heat. Spotting her mother and aunt gabbing by the cutting table she exchanged her empty pitcher for a full one, but set it down for a moment. Ana slipped up behind them, listening for moment before making her presence known.

    "He had enough ale in his gut to drown three horses, I should know, I emptied a barrel waiting that table of his. He should have known better than to come this far south with that much on him. Colors of a noble house or not, was foolish." Her aunt's voice carried well in the room and filled it almost as much as the pub full of guests.

    "Aye. Alone too, at that. They say he'd been dead for three days. Imagine that. Nobody noticing you was gone for three days? That's a lonely existence. At least his bill is paid too."

    A smile spread on her face when her mother utter those words and she mocked the older woman's tone when she finally spoke up. "Gossip mongers the lot of you. Should be ashamed. Carrying on like this and the man hasn't even been in his grave a fortnight." her sudden speaking startled both of them and she scampered off, but not before swiping one of the strawberries they were cutting up.

    "Go on with you! The chicken is done, take that and the bread out to the far tables and quit your lurkin. That habit of your is unnatural I tell you.” her aunt huffed and flapped her rag at her niece.

    “I can’t help it if you’re too wrapped up in your gabbing you can’t see me.” she giggled over her shoulder to both ladies on her way back out. Her aunt huffed again and her mother just shook her head.

    “At least she’s smiling...” her mother watched her walk all the way out, the older woman's face neutral.

    Ana gave the group a kindly bow as the cheers broke out at the sign of the chicken coming their way. It was a routine day and so long as she could control the strange waves of shadow that passed over her soul, she’d be fine. It was the stone, but she could not bring herself to get rid of it. There was magic there and inwardly she worried it may be some sort of curse. It was taken from a dead man after all. There was a history of great magic in her blood, but it was so far back she didn't think on it too long. She brushed these thoughts away with a shake of her head as she served the tables, eyes looking to the door as yet more customers entered.
    #1 Keiga, Feb 12, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 12, 2014
  2. Lysander had been summoned to the the royal city by the Council, which had irked him more than most would suspect. The majority of the the sitting members were absolute fools wielding power they did not deserve. Most of them only used that power to fatten their purses and themselves. While he was seated member of it, he preferred to avoid contact with the other members unless absolutely necessary. When he had first earned the right to sit on the Council he had tried to push for changes and was blocked at every turn. Eventually he had simply given up and avoided the politics of the Council as much as possible. This, perhaps made him just as bad as the other members, if not worse in ways. Still, he tried to do some good with the power he had been granted. Unfortunately it always seemed like a losing battle.

    Now they wanted him to deal with a problem that had cropped up. Apparently the 12th guardian stone had surfaced and the Council wanted it placed in the hands of one of their choosing. They wanted Lysander to find the stone, retrieve it from whoever might hold it, and kill that person. How tempted he had been to tell them to deal with it themselves, that he was not their lap dog. Unfortunately it would have done no good, and in the end might cost him the guardian stone in his possession along with his own life. So, with reluctance he accepted the task. What else could he do?

    A day later Lysander had left the royal city and began his journey down the King's Highway on the warhorse that had been gifted to him by his father when he had come of age. It was a surly beast of a horse with a glossy black coat and he had named it Nyelecca, which is the elven word for onyx. He could feel the faint pulse of the 12th stone's power as it worked to bond with the one who held it. It was distant, but at least he had a general idea of where it was. It would be far easier than trying to find a needle in a haystack at least.

    As his journey drew him ever closer to the pulse of the 12th stone, Lysander wondered about the one who held the stone. Did they even know what it was that they held? Would they be dangerous? In the end it didn't matter. He would kill them and retrieve the stone for the other Council members and fade into the background once more. It would be a simple matter, or so he told himself as he absently brushed the fingertips of one hand over the hematite stone set in a silver amulet that hung from a silver chain about his neck. It was the 11th guardian stone and he had bonded with it fully years ago. In truth he couldn't imagine life without the stone, it had become a part of him.

    It was on Lysander's fourth day on the road that he came across an inn he'd heard tale of before, but had never visited himself. Icey blue eyes took in the name of the establishment, the Blue Ladle. Judging from the sounds coming from it, the inn was indeed a popular place. The stone was somewhere in the area, he could feel it. He did not know exactly where it was but he was close and soon he could be done with this damnable task. Giving Nyelecca a pat on a muscular shoulder, he rode towards the inn. It would be a good place to stay while he tried to locate the stone, if they had an any open rooms.

    Moment's later Lysander was dropping handing the coins to a stable hand, "Be careful, he likes to bite," offering the warning with a chuckle as he then handed Nyelecca's reigns over before turning to the horse and uttering something in elvish. The horse seemed to roll its eyes in an exasperated manner then gave a snort, which earned another laugh from the elf. Giving one last, fond pat on Nyelecca's shoulder, Lysander then turned to make his way towards the inn itself. A soft bed, a hot meal, a good drink, and perhaps a bath, if the inn had such, would be a most welcome thing after four days on the road.
  3. "You there. Girl."

    The authoritative snarl and the significant amount of disdain packed into the one syllable of girl had Ana consider ignoring the man that summoned her. The noble man. There were a handful of them in the Inn, forced to such 'meager' accommodations and dining since the other Inn's were full, but so she would not get scolded she stopped and turned, careful not to let the pile of dirty plates topple from her arms.

    "Yes? How can I help you sir?" she pasted on her most lovely smile, and pleasant face for the customer, which worked too well. The man's face shifted as he boldly inspected what he could see of her body, his eyes returning to her face with a different appreciation in them, one she thought was disgusting. Anarah Kiffrin, the Blue Ladle owner's daughter looked younger than her twenty three years, but it didn't bother her much. She wore the normal clothing of a working woman of her class, a thigh length sleeveless tunic, belted at her narrow waist, a pair of leather breeches that fit her ample curves well and thick soled leather boots. They saved her feet when walking the Inn several times a day. Even her younger sister wore a pair beneath her layered skirts and dresses. She was all in various shades of brown and black, boring for a lady, but indispensable for working in the Inn.

    "Tell me you have an actual bottle of wine. Good wine, mind you. I can't be expected to drink this .. this.. mildly satisfying ale." he droned.

    "It seems a little watered down." Added his companion.

    A sarcastic retort on his insult to the house ale was forcefully choked back, only a 'mildly irritated' little huff reaching her lips, but she managed to maintain her smile. The stone at her waist rippled once, sending another shock wave or energy pulsing through her. Her reaction to this as well she choked back, though it was much harder.

    "Yes we do have wine, I'll be back with a bottle shortly." Not all nobles were as haughty, it was the rare few and that left a bad taste in the common man's mouth. Eventually the wine she brought him seemed to settled his whining, but not after running back and forth trying three different bottles of the same kind. She had had her fill and was relived when her sister and cousin returned to tend the dining hall, leaving her to go clean rooms for new guests.

    Once she was up the stairs and in an empty room by her self, she collapsed to the floor. She wasn't that tired, but she couldn't hold herself up any more, the odd waves of.. power that washed over her were getting more and more difficult to fight. On the floor she glanced at her hands, "By the gods..." she pushed her self up and slid over tot the bed, resting her back there as she held both hands in front of her, eyes growing wide at what she saw. Her skin, her whole body faded in and out of translucency. "What's happening to me?"
  4. Lysander froze in mid-stride, about halfway to the inn's door when he felt a pulse of power. It also brought a frown to his lips, the look on his angular features enough to cause a few commoners to steer clear of where he stood at the moment. It was rather frustrating to know that which he sought was so close yet be unable to pin point its exact location, even when its power was stirring. Turning about, he swept his icey blue gaze over the surrounding area, hoping to maybe luck would be on his side. Just maybe he'd spot the one with the item he sought. Of course things were never that simple, especially when the Council was involved.

    Uttering a quiet curse, in elven, Lysander lifted a hand to drag his fingers through his smokey gray hair in a slightly frustrated manner as no one in particular seemed to stand out. One more sweep of the area was given as he turned in a slow circle, ignoring whatever looks were cast his way, and then he sighed quietly, shoving aside his annoyance. No need to enter the inn in a seemingly foul mood, right? With that he continued towards the inn, his pace unhurried. A good night's rest and he could hopefully resolve matters on the morrow.

    Upon reaching the entrance to the Blue Ladle, he didn't hesitate to pull the door open and step inside. As the door closed behind him, he cast his gaze over the occupants of the dining hall for a moment. This establishment did seem to have quite the diverse crowd, from every day people to self-absorbed looking upper class folks. With that cursory inspection done with, Lysander moved the counter and waited patiently for the proprietor's attention, or that of whoever was working the counter at the moment, to turn his way. Once he had it, he offered a genuine smile before speaking, "I would like to procure a room for a week," if matters took longer than that he could easily pay for more nights, "Also, I wouldn't mind something to eat, whatever is the house special today will be fine, and a mug of your finest ale," readily handing over whatever coins were needed to cover the costs.

    A few more pleasantries were exchanged with whomever had served him at the counter before Lysander turned and moved to seek a table. There was a brief glance for a table that seated someone who appeared to be of noble birth and his cronies. Their general attitude screamed 'arrogant fool' thus when the man glanced up towards him, the elf offered a disdainful sneer. The man looked about ready to puff out his chest, so to speak, but Lysander simply moved on. Even when the man had dared call him a filthy piss-ant, the elf offered no reaction. If only the man knew he was talking to the 11th seat on the Council, or perhaps he was lucky. Surely any of the other Council members would have taken insult and the nobleman would find himself either dead or owning next to nothing.

    Lysander settled on an empty table in one corner of the dining hall, pulled out a chair, and proceeded to make himself quite comfortable as he tried to ignore the ever present feeling of the 12th stone being somewhere in the area for the moment. When a plate of chicken and mug of ale was placed before him, he offered a pleasant smile, "My thanks, it looks delicious," speaking quite truthfully. Once left to his own devices, Lysander set into his meal methodically and he wasn't disappointed. Both the food and the drink were top notch, in his opinion.
  5. The episode lasted for only a few minutes this time, but the intervals were getting shorter. Hiding this weird reaction to the stone she carried was becoming more of a challenge, but still something would not let her even consider parting with it. That was getting stronger as well. Thoughts on it were similar now to chopping off her arm and she cringed. Ana didn't even realize she had been in the one room for a full twenty minutes, but once she did, she got up and got to work. There were three rooms to clean and she needed to be back down in the hall to help serve, or her mother and aunt would threaten to feed her to the hounds.

    The Inn was modest in size and could handle the over flow quiet well. In these times it was nothing for travelers to double even triple up on the rooms, not the nobles of course, but this gave them reason to jack the price since they wouldn't share, most just needing a place to sleep a few hours before pushing on to their destinations. The last room she cleaned had been such, but the group of men who stayed here made the place reek with whatever backwoods weed they smoked. She took note and made sure to inform her father of it. They wouldn't be welcome. Nothing more happened as far as a full attack but when she looked in the mirror on the wall in one of the nicer rooms, she scared herself. For a brief moment her eyes changed color, taking on a dark black as opposed to her normal dark blue and in them there were soft blue lines like cracks as if her eyes were going to explode. As she stared at er eyes the colors moved and swam about. Startled she pinched them shut and looked again. All was back to normal.

    "I'm going mad for sure," she mumbled to herself and quickly finished up her job, carrying her pile of filth linens down to the back of the inn to be washed later. her sister and cousin eyed her as she returned, but she ignored them and went straight to tending the newly seated folks. Thankfully the snide nobles that bothered her earlier had been taken to their rooms. It was a miracle they stayed.

    As she moved about taking orders,she had to step to the side often as many people besides the servers were bustling about. On one such turn another guest, a tall noble lady with one of the more pleasant personalities, bumped a glass pitcher from her table. Without a thought and way before the lady even noticed she even did it, Ana's hand was there catching it well before it hit the floor. The liquid splashed a little and this alerted the woman finally, but no harm was done. "Careful there my lady. I had to squeeze all those lemons. You'll make me cry if you waste an entire pitcher of it. This stuff is gold."

    "Oh ... gold indeed. The taste is perfect. You will show me how you mix this before I leave at the end of the week, won't you?"

    "As promised." Ana replied with a smile, thankful no one notice the near impossible catch she had just made. On the inside she could again feel the pull of the stone and she touched it, the smooth feel of it just under the layer of her tunic at her waist calmed her once again.
  6. Shifting slightly in his chair, Lysander took another pull of ale from his mug, icey blue eyes watching the hustle and bustle as the inn's staff served its customers. It was a charming establishment and the food sat well with him. He had, after all, pretty much cleaned his plate before pushing it aside on his table. Yes, he would have to pay a the Blue Ladle another visit in the future, after he had completed the task he had been set. Even now, as he tried to just relax, the pulsing power of the 12th stone seemed to taunt him. It felt so close and yet completely out of reach at the same time.

    The faintest hint of a frown pulled at the corners of his mouth as he forced thoughts of the 12th stone out of his mind. Now was the time to relax. He could worry about the finding the stone tomorrow. Another pull of ale was taken, and savored, as a couple of merchants sitting near him began haggling over the price of certain wares. He listened in silence, allowing the conversation to distract him. While the bargaining session sounded a bit heated, it was really done under friendly terms. After a few minutes both men clasped hands in a firm handshake, sealing whatever deal they had come to. This brought a quiet chuckle to the elf's lips before he glanced down at his nearly empty mug. The idea of getting it topped off was appealing.

    Lysander's gaze swept the dining hall, seeking out the nearest server so that he might attract their attention. This happened to be a young lady, two tables away from him, that was currently holding a pitcher and speaking to a woman of noble standing. The moment he spotted her he felt a familiar pulse of power, which almost caused him to gape at her. Yet that pulse of power faded almost immediately, which helped him keep his typical composure. Surely it had been a trick of his mind. Yes, that was it. Again, he forced himself to forget about the guardian stone he was supposed to retrieve, before he started assuming everyone was carrying it.

    He waited patiently, until the young woman finished speaking with the noblewoman, his left hand rising to absently brush fingertips over the amulet which held the guardian stone he possessed. When she appeared to be finished, Lysander cleared his throat and spoke up, "Excuse, miss. I could use a refill, if you have a moment," his tone of voice pleasant. Should he manage to catch her attention, an easy smile would be offered as he set his empty mug upon the table. There was just no way the girl could have the 12th stone. Perhaps it was a hint of arrogance that made him so readily believe this. Despite being of good intentions, for the most part, he was noble blooded after all.
  7. Ana turned and looked behind her hoping the noble elf was talking to her sister, or her cousin, perhaps, but already knew that couldn't be true, both were in different parts of the hall just as busy as she was or...busier. She was just standing there now that the lady was settled. With the back of her free hand she brushed her bangs from her face and moved towards the customers table. A platter of bowls to give to the couple beside his table was back in her hands and she nodded to him. "Certainly, sir... It'll be just a moment." She gave the hungry merchants their meal and smiled kindly at the compliments to the chef and the tips. It was the second one they had given her and she tried to return it. Ana was a true thief to the core, but while working in her fathers Inn, she was the epitome of humility and modesty. An image she maintained carefully.

    "You already gave me enough! I can't take all your coin, sir!"

    "Now girl, just take it. Let an old man blow his money on you. It's mine to do as I please." he winked. "Best soup on this side of the river and believe me, we would know. Tell your dad we said hello. I reckon he's heaps busy with this crowd, eh?"

    "That he is." Ana flashed her best modest smile and let a blush touch her cheeks.

    It was only a minute tops that she returned to the elf's table to fetch his mug, but in that time, she managed to examine him a little, angling her body as she talked to the merchants to gaze at the noble just over the merchants shoulder. His clothes, both simple, yet smartly tailored to the perfect fit, spoke of both rank and title, not just your average rich noble. This intrigued her along with increasing her nervousness...a rare thing for her. Yes she had a hard time dealing with them, but that was more due to most being quite smug and rude to 'lesser folk' and human females on top of that.

    She was back at the man's table and scooped up his empty mug with a smile. It was a hesitant thing, but she managed. "I'll get yours from the tap. My brother just changed them out. Premium quality." All the while she prayed the stone remained dormant. The simple hum of its presence was all that happened as she filled his mug and returned, much to her relief. Curiosity had her torn between a quick escape and being her normally chatty self. Giving the stone the opportunity to do something hokey in font of this male was not on her list of most favorable events.

    "I haven't seen you in these parts before. Passing through or staying for a time?" she glanced at the remnants of his meal and instinctively gathered his plates. "If you've the time to sit for a spell dessert is coming out of the oven in a few more minutes... if you're interested, that is... strawberry tarts. Better than the fancy stuff at Highland Arms. Shall I reserve you one?"
  8. Lysander gave a slight nod of his head in acknowledgement of the serving girl's words, leaning back some in his chair, content to wait as long as needed for a fresh mug of ale. As she went about the business of serving the two merchants, he quietly observed, though his thoughts drifted elsewhere. Who could possibly have the 12th stone? He honestly hoped it turned out to be someone he would utterly despise within moments of finding them. With even more luck it would be someone who would attack him immediately. Then he could kill whoever it was in self defense. The idea of straight up, cold-blooded murder didn't sit well with him at all.

    Once again, with some effort, he pushed his thoughts away from finding the 12th stone. It wasn't an easy task when the 12th stone continued to call to him, in a sense. To help, he focused on the brief conversation between the serving girl and the merchants. A hint of an amused little smirk played across his angular features as she tried to turn down the extra tip being offered. He knew many that would snatch it up without a second thought, even though they had more than enough coin. He nearly chuckled when the girl was given no other choice but to accept. What he didn't notice, was the fact he was being studied.

    When she smiled, while procuring his empty mug, Lysander returned a friendly one of his own, "Freshly tapped, I look forward to tasting it, speaking quite truthfully. As she moved off to refill his mug he frowned a little. He could have sword the 12th stone's presence had felt stronger when she had come to his table. It had to be simple coincidence, or his imagination. How could a common serving girl possibly possess one of the guardian stones, after all. It was an unfair thought for him to have, but he had it nonetheless. For a moment, icey blue eyes swept over the dining hall again. Maybe, just maybe, the stone was actually inside the inn, though. In the hands of one of its many patrons.

    Soon enough, though, the serving girl had returned and had his full attention once more, another smile easily forming upon his lips, "This is my first time through these parts, though I have heard tale of the Blue Ladle before. So far the tales hold true and I am not disappointed," nodding once with those words before adding, "I will be remaining in the area for a couple of days, perhaps longer."

    He tilted his head slightly to one side as she made mention of the dessert that was just about ready. A thoughtful expression playing over his face for a moment before nodding, "That sounds like a splendid idea. I have no pressing matters to attend to, so I might as well enjoy a treat," grinning a bit. Again it felt like the 12th stone was so close he could reach out and touch it. He couldn't wait to have the stone in his possession. Maybe then it wouldn't taunt him so much, so to speak.
    #8 Seth Bloodmoon, Feb 25, 2014
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2014
  9. "Aye. Now that's what I like to hear. I may have to reserve two tarts just for that compliment to my father's Inn." She curtsied, though she wore breeches and boots instead of skirts. Then she settled the mug in front of him and rested her now full pitcher beside it. "A couple of days?" His reply gave her a start, but she managed to prevent herself from visibly showing this, covering it up with the words of just a curious serving maid, or course. Why it even made her nervous she wasn't sure, but she relied on her sharp instincts as always. It was a practiced art, being something she wasn't, choosing which emotions to show, which to reveal and which to toss in someone face.

    "Someone of your refinement hanging around here? Now that sounds interesting," her tone took on an openly nosy air, making it obvious she was innocently fishing for more background on him, like any good innkeeper would do. "Like there's a story behind it. What could possibly be of interest around here aside from Leland and his many failed business pursuits?" she took a jab at a passing merchant who only ruffled her hair. He would have smacked her backside too, had she not dodged him.

    "Watch it girl." he winked, long used to her sassy teasing. "You won't be saying that when I'm rich."

    "I'll believe it when there's coin in my pocket, you old coot." she had to shout it at him since he was walking away and this cause a ripple of laughter to the regulars used to their banter.

    Turning back to the man before her she smiled. "Sorry, I get a bit carried away with some of these regulars. My name is Ana by the way. If you're staying here for a time it may come in handy. Just let me know if you need anything. Oh, have you reserved a room already or did you just slip in here for the food?" she leaned closer, eyes shining mischievously and whispered loudly. "The beds may be nicer than a few of ours, but the food is rubbish. You didn't hear that from me though."

    This elf, like all other fae and nobles was intriguing to her, along with being intimidating and... kind. An odd combination that made her search for the typical condescending lazy gaze that most cast around a crowded room of those they considered 'inferior', yet she could not find it. Curious. he seemed very attentive as she spoke, which only made her rambling worse under his calm gaze. There was something about him that made the stone hum a little higher than before, as if it.. knew him. These thoughts and feelings played in her mind as her friendly teasing manner masked them. She felt she needed to be careful, but was confused as to why.
  10. Lysander's lips curled into another easy smile when she spoke and curtsied, "I shall offer no complaint if there should happen to be two tarts reserved," he wasn't one to turn down good food, especially after his time on the road. Shortly after she set his refreshed mug before him, he wrapped the fingers of his right hand about its handle and lifted it to his lips for a pull of the frothy liquid it held, savoring the taste. A slight nod of his head was given to her questioning words as he let the mug rest upon the polished, wood surface of his table, "Perhaps longer," though he truly hoped to have matters resolved quickly.

    A hint of mirth danced in the depths of his icy blue eyes as she spoke again and a mysterious half-grin played across his angular features, just to tease her curiosity. He held his response as she joked with the merchant that was moving past her. A quiet chuckle given as she dodged a swat aimed for her rear and exhanged words with the man. Yes, this sort of environment was much more interesting to Lysander. Not a place filled with sycophants always jockeying for more self-serving power. Alright, not everyone was like that in the 'upper class'. Just as there was plenty of self-serving types in every walk of life.

    A shrug of his shoulders was given to her apology, "No apology needed, I assure you," offering up another smile as she spoke her name, "Well met, Ana, I shall remember it then. I am Lysander of House Erendrius," offering his name in return. Another glimmer of silent laughter danced in his eyes when she leaned in conspiratorially with loudly whispered words, "I have already procured a room in your fine establishment. I do believe I am happy to take a slightly lumpier bed and good food over a finer bed and food more fit for a pig pen," offering a wink with those words.

    Lysander shifted slightly in his chair, hefting his mug for another drink. Again he was toying with the notion that this woman could possibly be the holder of the 12th stone. When she had leaned in close with words about the beds and food he could have sworn the pulse of power had felt its strongest. It had taken effort on his part to hide any reaction to this feeling. The greater part of his mind still completely rejected the idea. Yet, now there was another part of him that was beginning to grasp upon that idea as a possibility. He hoped the larger part of him was right, though. He didn't want this one's blood on his hands.

    As he lowered his mug once again, he grinned a bit, "I believe you said someone of my refinement hanging around here was interesting and surely had a story behind it?" tilting his head slightly to one side, "Honestly, there is no interesting tale to be had on the matter. Unless you consider boredom and wanderlust a story?" It wasn't a lie, so much. He did find 'refined' living to be quite dull. He couldn't outright tell anyone his real reason for being in these parts. That was between him and the Council.
  11. "Boredom and wanderlust.." Ana gave him a careful eye, a slow soft grin playing on her lips at the playful tilt of his head. "Fine fine, I"ll leave you to your secrets, Lord Lysander Erendius." his name rolled off her tongue in an easy way that was one part teasing and properly accented, as though she had said this name all her life. Ana would remember it. Having a talent for remembering names was common for one in her line of work and that included stealing and helping out at the inn. "But somehow I believe you." She thought for a moment. "Even so don't get yourself into trouble. Too much time on your hands is a crisis in waiting." Her mouth parted to say more, but she caught a look from her aunt across the room and cringed. She had lingered too long in one spot.

    "Ah. That's my sign. I'll be around in a bit with a tart or two." With a nod she collected the pitcher and headed towards the kitchens. A patron signaled her with a grunt and a rude gesture of his head, like saying her name or miss would stain his lips. Why do his kind even come here? "Can I help you Sir?"

    "It's about time. I thought for sure my son and I would die of malnourishment for the wait we have suffered so far."

    "Have you been here long. Sir? Have you a-"

    "Oh now you are saying I exaggerate. Never mind, I don't have time for excuses, badgering nor your flippant attempts at jokes. A drink, we wish for drinks and then whatever the finest meal such a place has to offer."

    Shifting gears to accommodate yet another rude noble was not so easy this time. The stone teased her and began to play on her hidden emotions warming with her inner anger. "Of ...course. Your meal will be ready shortly. I was asking if you have already reserved a room. If not and you are in need of lodgin-"

    "Heavens, no. We will push on to Larvley for a bed after this meal, so long as it doesn't pain the digestive system, which I fear it might."

    Why the hell did you stop then you pompous moron? "Indeed sir and very well. Anything could happen couldn't it."

    Normally she would not have backed down so soon, but getting out of the dining hall was the only thing on her mind, the stone increasing in it's pulse. She made it to the kitchen a little more out of breath than she should be.

    "Ana take this to your brother at the.. Ana dear, what's the matter? Your face is awfully pale child, sit down a moment, your cousin can take this."

    "I'm fine, mom. Just a seconds rest. I need to take those tarts to a table if they're done." She nudged her hip onto a stool near the counter and held her side where the stone was, willing ti not to make anything odd happen to her. The move seemed to make it obey and the pull on her body waned. When she returned to the tables later she appeared in full health, dropping off both the rude nobles drinks and the two tarts for Lysander. Her smile had lost a bit of it's edge, but you'd have to know her well to see that.

    "There you are. Let me know should you need anything else."
  12. As she made mention of leaving him to his secrets he allowed a mysterious little smile to play at the corners of his mouth. The smile pulled up into a bit of a grin as mirth danced in his pale blue eyes, "There is no need to to call me Lord," chuckling lightly. It was fitting, yes, but on most days he cared little for it. There was a nod given to her next words, that hint of amusement still in his eyes, "I will do my best to keep out of trouble," he usually managed to do so quite easily, though his reasons for being here would likely lead him into some form of trouble. Hopefully that trouble could be kept from becoming a public spectacle.

    A smokey grey brow was arched curiously when she suddenly cringed in the midst of getting ready to speak more, though it quickly dawned upon him that he might have been taking up far too much of her time. A nod was returned along with an apologetic smile, "I look forward to tasting the tarts," hopefully Ana would catch no trouble for the distraction he had caused.

    For a moment Lysander followed her with his eyes, as he hefted his mug of ale for a drink, his free hand rising a moment later to wipe a bit of foam from his mouth. There was a slit narrowing of his eyes for the apparently rude patron as a slight sneer pulled at his lips. He couldn't hear the conversation, but it was clear enough that it was not a pleasant thing. There was the brief temptation of 'lording' it over the patron. He had done so before in other places when arrogant nobles acted up. However, he pushed the notion aside, for now. He had been told to stay out of trouble after all!

    Finally he shifted his attention to nothing in particular as he took another drink from his mug, a hint of a frown taking hold of angular features. He could feel the pulse of the 12th stone fluctuating yet again. It was almost as if the thing was taunting him, and that was truly annoying. Closing his eyes, he pushed his annoyance aside, his expression growing neutral once again. There was no point in letting it get the best of him, after all. The end result of his quest was inevitable, such was the extent of his confidence in himself and his skills.

    As he opened his eyes once more, he took note of Ana approaching with his tarts and offered a smile, unaware the nobles had managed to dampen her mood. Once more his smile widened to a grin as the pastries were set before him, "Ahh, you have my thanks, M'lady," using the term teasingly in return for her calling him 'Lord' earlier, "I will be sure to let you know if I want for anything else," glancing up at her, "My apologies if I got you in trouble for taking up too much of your time," the words sincere. Then he dug into the pastries, clearly pleased with the one who had baked them for they were delectable.

    After Lysander was left to his own devices, he made quick work of his pastries and the remainder of the ale in his mug. Before he rose to move away from his table, though, he placed a few silver coins behind his mug as a tip. Then he stepped out of the inn and made his way to the stable once more. There he spent a few moments with Nyelecca, making sure his friend was well cared for and hadn't chomped on the poor stable hand. Seeing all was well, he gave the firey warhorse a few sugar cubes he kept on hand, then slung his saddlebag over his shoulder and secured the longsword he hadn't brought inside earlier. Then he made his way back to the inn with the full intent of retiring to his room.
  13. "Lady?!" she playfully narrowed her eyes at him. "I see what you did. Point taken, but I thought I told you to stay out of trouble. A war of words with me is dangerous game, Lysander. But please, do forgive me then. It's a habit for me to toss around fancy titles. I never know what will be demanded next most days so bare with me should I speak too formally. It's easier to error on that side than suffer... well, I'm sure you see my point." her nod was anything but humble, her words were direct jab at all the snobby nobles she'd dealt with that day, and she didn't fight back the impish grin she gave the truly noble, yet kind fae before her.

    Her trip to the kitchen to check on the rude travelers meal was uneventful, though her mother eyed her, worried for her health. She smiled and snagged up the tray with the soup for them and headed back into the dining hall. Voices still filled the dinning hall, though the lunch hour was finally beginning to thin down to full instead of busting the seems. Maneuvering the dining hall was child play for her, though her steps halted a half beat when she noticed a familiar form enter the room, sharp eyes instantly scanning for her brother once this rough looking male made eye contact with her. Jael, Ana's brother, didn't normally enter the dining hall, but it wasn't unusual to see him about. With him not there at the moment,she snarled to herself, chewing the inside of her lip. Her agitation triggered the stone and it's song vibrated a little louder. Not now..

    Had she not been carrying a tray of food, soup in particular, and an apparently cursed stone, she may have avoided the man, but knowing he wouldn't try anything too serious in public, she decided to tend the nobles and purposely, pointedly, even, ignore him. Their wrath was much more bothersome for the time being.

    "Now maybe I'm trail weary, but Ana dear, are you avoiding me?" Brymley, large a man as he was, had managed to out maneuver her, coming up on her side that held the pitcher of ale and not the tray. He gripped her upper arm carefully, yet firmly, but she was well aware of how quickly that could change to a tighter grip. The man knew how to do damage and smile like the sweetest thing in the room.

    "Of course I am, but I am working. Careful you don't make me drop my tray, Brym. It's no time for your games." For such a small woman, those in the hall around her that did not know her, were surprised she so casually addressed the dangerous looking larger man.

    His lips smiled, but his eyes did not. "I'm sure you know all about games, you little fox. How about you leave the table waiting to that perky little sister of yours and meet me out back?" His suggestion was obscene, and a few around them that heard him gasped, but she was well aware he wanted valuables, the stone, and not anything else, at least she hoped. She would be failing herself if she didn't consider him attempting something vulgar. Just as he leaned in to whisper in her ear her brother stepped into the doorway of the kitchen locking eyes with them both after a quick scan of the room. Brym barely batted an eye, but stared hard at Jael while still hissing in Ana's ear. "I know that stone is not just a pretty little fancy. And I want it back, Ana my girl."

    "How long do we have to wait? I take it that soup is ours, girl? Come now, you chat with your friend later." Thankful was an understatement, a shocking one when she considered the obnoxious noble she smiled graciously at as she began to move away from Brym.

    "Of course, forgive me, sir, I'm coming." She didn't even reply to Brym but stepped forward, forcing him to let go, or cause a scene. The stone vibrated in time with the anger that was building inside her, but she managed to contain it, by sheer will power. Brushing past people blindly now, in effort to serve the tray and get somewhere private. Without even seeing who it was, she bumped two or three people, mumbled an apology and made the few paces to the nobles table. The man's voice was a dull far away echo as he complained the whole time, but she numbly nodded , served his food and hustled to get out of the dining hall. In that brief moment of making her exit she caught site of Jael and he gave her a nod while making his way over to Brym. Ana could trust him to handle Brym, but for now she needed to be alone. She wasn't sure what excuse her brother gave her mom, but she headed out the back avoiding the kitchen and any contact with people. Before she realized it she was behind the garden shed and on the narrow path that lead to the stream. Going this far was not her intent, but being out of site of the inn helped her calm herself.
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  14. A look of complete innocence played across Lysander's face when she narrowed her eyes at him, though glimmer of mischief danced in the depths of his eyes, "I shall remember that, Ana," a smile tugging at the corners of his mouth as he gave a nod of understanding, "As long as it is undertood that I don't expect, or demand, such formalities," at least when he was outside of the capital or a similar setting. When she gave that impish grin he couldn't help but grin in return.

    Upon reentering the inn, Lysander made his way towards the counter with the intention of asking which room was to be his. On his way there, though, he was nearly tripped up by a patron pushing their chair back to rise from it. A hint of annoyance played across his face as he nimbly sidestepped at the last second. This, in turn, let to him bumping into someone passing by followed by a familiar voice mumbling an apology.

    There was no response from the elf, in fact he didn't even move for several moments. Something had happened in the moment of contact, almost like a jolt of electricity arcing through his body. In that moment his icy blue eyes widened in surprise, and his jaw nearly dropped. The 12th stone, it was in that person's possession! Quickly he regained his composure, before anyone truly had a chance to notice. His mind raced, however as he connected the voice he had heard uttering an apology. Ana! The stone had been right there, under his nose!

    A flicker of anger played across elven features briefly. A look that caused a patron, that had been about to walk by him, to turn in the opposite direction hastily. At first he had to wonder if the woman had been toying with him, as if waving the stone in front of his face in a taunting manner. That train of thought was quickly stomped out. No, that wasn't the case. He was fairly sure she wasn't even properly bonded with the stone in her possession. Nor did she know he was hunting for it.

    By the time he wrestled himself from the shock of the moment, and cast his gaze about to find Ana, she was slipping out of the dining hall. This caused him to utter a curse, in elvish, under his breath. The temptation to follow her was strong. He could take the 12th stone, return it to the council to do with as they pleased, and wash his hands of the entire situation. Yet, this would also mean he would have to kill the woman. It was expected of him. Maybe he could just take the stone and lie about killing the one who had it. No.. that probably wouldn't work, especially if the stone was already bonding with her.

    "Is everything alright, m'lord?"

    Those questioning words drew Lysander from his thoughts, his gaze shifting to the serving girl that had come to a stop in front of him. A half-smile was given as he spoke, "Every thing is well. I'm just worn out from a long journey," giving the girl a nod before moving to the counter and procuring the key to the room that would be his. For now he wouldn't pursue Ana. He needed time to think things out before he made a move. Gods this was not a situation he wanted to be in! Thus he left the dining hall and sought out his room.
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