Venari Strigas

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      A young Knight, a Witch-Princess, travelling together through deeply religious lands. They're gonna have a good time, just ignore the persecution, Inquisitors, wild beasts, monsters hiding in the dark, and oh not to mention, a cult of zealous Pagans who are very convinced their Messiah had returned.



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      Lilith's Avatar

      Name: Etheldreda Northumberland
      Title: Princess of Wessex
      Nickname: Ethel, 'demon spawn', 'little witch'
      Gender: Female
      Age: 13 years old
      Home: Kingdom of Wessex, Britannia Isle
      Info: The first daughter of King Harold Northumberland and Queen Joan Northumberland of Wessex Kingdom. White hair, red eyes, pale skin, the baby girl was quite unusual ever since she came out of the womb, she didn't cry or make a fuss, she was also eerily quiet for an infant. As it turned out, Etheldreda was cursed (or blessed depending on one's perspective) with the rare gift of Arcane powers. In the words of the Divine Church, a Witch, a demonic spawn, and/or the daughter of Satan, much to the despair of her parents. The Church gave no tolerance to practitioners of the 'dark arts', whether the person did it willingly or not, men or women, adult or child.

      In Ethel's case, it was the latter on all three. Ethel's powers first manifested when she was six years old, the albino girl conjured a floating ball of snow through her will, though the object was harmless, the Divine Bible's views on such feat instantly branded her as a witch, a creature which must be burned at the stake. The King, unwilling to risk civil war or worse, inquisition, but also not heartless enough to kill his own flesh and blood, sent Princess Etheldreda away on a secluded hut up in the mountains where he secretly assigned a trusted witch as her caretaker. It had been seven years since... Her power only grew with each passing year, already bypassing her nanny's grasp on the arcane.

      Believed to be the reincarnation and/or avatar of Lilith, Goddess-Queen according to the Lennic Pagan Faith or the Mother of All Devils in according to the Church, Etheldreda's held an alternate form which could awaken under severe emotional stress, whether it be anger, fear, or even... lust.


      Name: Varanense Malx
      Title: Vanguard Knight
      Nickname: Vara, Third Son
      Gender: Male
      Age: 17
      Home: Mariavono, Kingdom of Wessex, Britannia Isle
      Info: The third son of General Malx, who commands the entirety of the Kingdom of Wessex’s military, Varanense didn’t have any expectations at all placed on him as a child. He wasn’t the eldest, who would inherit the role of General, nor was in the second eldest, who would serve as the General’s right hand man. While his father was strict with the training and education of his brothers, Varanense had a much looser leash, and he spent most of his time messing around in town or going hunting. It is due to that propensity towards outdoors activities that the boy’s complexion became sun-baked, and that he became a frightfully good shot with the crossbow.

      Naturally, however, an appreciation for ranged weaponry had not yet been developed amongst the noblemen, so when Varanense became a page, his skill with the sword (or lack of it) became the main focus. He was a squire of Sir Einslotte the Just, and afterwards became a Knight of the King’s Vanguard, racking up a few achievements simply due to being at the front whenever a fight broke out with countryside savages. Varanense hadn’t been content with just sitting on his ass and grinding away, but at the same time, he could hardly disobey his father’s meager expectations and desert the army.

      An opportunity for freedom, however, presented itself when, as he headed out of the family’s keep, Varanense caught an interesting conversation he had. If he wanted to go be a jackass, he might have reported it to the Church and then used that leverage to become an Inquisitor, but that was the same as being a knight of the army. Instead, he interrupted, flaunted his skill with nature and warfare, before volunteering to drag the King’s daughter around in the countryside.

      Retrospectively, it was pretty audacious, but then again, he’s only a 17 year old boy, and that bravado was the one thing he had on his brothers.

    "My daughter, my own flesh and blood, first child born from my wife's womb is cursed. My child looks nothing like us, hair white as snow, eyes red as blood, deathly pale complexion. Oh Lord, what have I done wrong to deserve this ordeal? However, if this is a test of resolve, then I accept Your decision, however hard it may be, I will love her with all my heart." ~ King Harold Northumberland of Wessex Kingdom


    The Land of Europa, the 2nd smallest continent on the planet, where Divinity was the major religion across most of the land. Led by the Divine Church, all Lords of Europa, from Emperors to Barons, were committed to the One True Faith. The Divine Bible was law, God was the sole deity worthy of praises, those who worshipped any other false gods were deemed heathens, those who corrupted His teachings were deemed heretics, and civilizations outside the continent which didn't accept God were deemed infidels. All of them shall bow to the lord or risk divine persecution, holy wars for the third, inquisitions for the first two. Of course, even under the ever-watchful eye of the Church, worshippers of other faiths still existed within Europa...

    Located on the North-Western side of Europa, lay two major islands, Angland and Irland, combined together they formed the realm of Britannia. Occupied by multiple kingdoms and independent duchies, Britannia was small compared to mainland Europa, but no less interesting. Wessex was one of the many sovereign powers ruling in Britannia. A major kingdom ruling the about a third of Angland starting from the bottom, Wessex was a powerful nation since they controlled the aquatic channel between Angland Isle and the mainland, boosting trade and commerce. This in addition with fertile plains and lush forests, Wessex was a major contender in the struggle to unite all of Britannia under a single rule.

    Harold Northumberland was the reigning King of Wessex, ruling hand-in-hand with his beloved wife, Queen Joan Northumberland. The Northumberlands were once travelling tribes, settling on Southern Angland centuries ago. Over the years, they managed to unite the region of Wessex under the rule of single feudal kingdom. About three years into his reign, Harold was blessed with a child, a daughter to be exact, a female baby with hair white as snow, two crimson irises, and skin tone so pale, she didn't look far from a corpse. The baby was quiet, not crying like all infants should do the moment they left the womb, but she was no stillborn, evident by her chest constantly rising up and down as she breathed. The midwife couldn't explain this phenomenon, nor did the King's personal doctor. The Court Bishop however, told the king in private that the newborn may be 'cursed' and that he should quietly 'purge' the baby. Now Harold was a pious man, but even he found it disturbing to kill his first child, even if the Bishop told him otherwise. With Queen Joan agreeing with him, they both decided to keep her, naming her Etheldreda, after the Saint.

    On the night of her birth, a huge comet passed on the sky as the solar system was perfectly aligned, a very rare coincidence happening once in millenias. An omen observed by both the Divine Church and... Pagan Witches everywhere in Europa


    Despite her quirks, Ethel grew up to be an admirable little princess. Her tutors was overwhelmed by her intellect, she mastered subjects such as languages, theology, and rhetorics far ahead compared to her peers, one could safely say the girl possessed towering intellect, a genius. She never spoke much, preferring to keep herself in the library or gazing at the stars at night. She was quite awkward during social interactions, but kind and gentle, she willingly offered a helping hand to those who needed it. The palace residents grew to love her despite her unusual appearance, all seemed to go well for the little princess... until that one particular night. She was playing around in the gardens, holding out her cupped hands to her caretaker, offering her a snowball. The woman promptly screamed then ran away from her as if she was a phantom. The royal child didn't understand of course, her young mind couldn't comprehend that her nanny found it horrifying that she held a snowball in the middle of Summer, and oh, it was also floating above her hands, pulsating with an icy bluish glow.

    Whispers and rumors about the King's eldest daughter being a witch, a demon spawn, an abomination. Those reached the King and Queen's ears, they weren't surprised, they'd have to accept her daughter was no normal girl, she never was one, could never be one. Keeping her here would provoke civil wars or worse, Inquisition by the Divine Church, the option of murdering his own daughter was obviously out of the question. Confiding with his most trusted councilors, one of them General Malx, the King decided it was best to send Ethel away on a remote region where she could live in peace. At the age of six, Princess Etheldreda was princess no more, but an ordinary girl without a last name. Of course, as a child, her parents didn't leave her alone, they assigned a nanny for her... but unlike her previous one, this one was a Witch, a genuine one, the closest person who could understand and guide Etheldreda in controlling her powers. She was Madame Lenore, a Francian witch who came into Angland after escaping an Inquisition attempt in her homeland. The King offered her refuge in his realm, on the condition that she took care of Ethel. That night, in a simple inconspicuous wagon, Etheldreda and Lenore set off into the countryside, never to be seen again... the Queen wept, but it was for the best.


    Seven years passed since then, life went on for the Wessians, only this time, one particular child of the King was missing, but Harold's Spymaster took care of the rumors, spreading false news that Etheldreda died of sickness during a trip to a neighboring kingdom. Of course, they didn't completely cut off communication with their daughter. The Queen occasionally sent discreet letters to Lenore, asking how her daughter was doing, whereupon the witch would send back through a special messenger assigned by the Queen. It seemed Ethel was indeed a gifted child, her arcane powers grew on her own, her mastery of the forbidden art came naturally to her, it was in her blood. Lenore suspected Ethel had grown powerful enough to surpass even her.

    One day, whether it was due to a whistleblower or some other manner, Harold didn't know, but one thing for sure, the Divine Church sent him a letter, informing him they had sent Inquisitors to do some investigations in his realm. Not a full-blown crackdown, merely some sweeping to root out suspected heretic groups in Wessex. Something the King found extremely discomforting due to obvious reasons. These inquisitors were specifically trained to hunt down witches and as far as they were concerned, Etheldreda was another witch. Harold would not see his daughter burned at the stake. Desperate times required desperate measures, as such, he held a secret meeting with his General and Spymaster in the former's family keep on how to best handle the situation. They came to a conclusion that Etheldreda shouldn't stay in one location, she had to move from place to place like a nomad, avoiding the Inquisitors, but not with Lenore, one witch was enough, two would spell certain doom. They needed someone else to accompany her... That was when one Varanense Malx, an Ex-Vanguard Knight and General Malx's third son, eavesdropped on them. To make matters worse, the teen heard everything, Malx had prepared himself for the worst case scenario. The King ordering Varanense's silence through execution, but the boy's odd proposal may have saved his life. Vara insisted to be this 'companion' for Etheldreda.

    After much deliberation, they agreed, but not before Vara's father made him swore he'd protect the princess with his life. The teen was given a horse, crossbow bolts, dagger, and all necessary supplies for travel, also most importantly, an official edict scroll signed by Harold, containing the order for Lenore to leave Etheldreda with him then go into hiding. With no time to waste, Vara was sent off on the journey.


    It'd take him about two days to reach the valley where the witch-princess lived. It was a lush forest surrounded by hills, no beaten path was in sight, no village, the only direction Vara had was the map the Spymaster gave him. It was in the very late at night, perhaps it would be best for him to rest then continue his journey later at first morn. He heard splashing sounds of water, a small river was near, just the perfect spot to set up camp. Once there, he'd come to a clearing... already occupied by a girl about four years younger than him. She had red eyes, extremely pale complexion, and twintailed white hair that seemed to glimmer under the moonlight. She was wearing a white dress, but what struck out the most was not her physical traits, the girl was standing on the surface of the water, her whole form glowing with soft light blue shine, her back was turned towards him. "...Ehn?" Noticing someone behind her, the girl turned around to look over her shoulder, coming face-to-face with Varanense. There was no mistaking it now, Vara saw her before, back when he was around 10 years old, this girl was none other than Etheldreda.

    She turned around, still standing on the water, "A... boy, y-yes, I remember. You're a boy, aren't you?" She tilted her head, looking curious as she examined his form up and down, "Nice horse you have there." she smiled softly, it seemed Vara's mount agree with her, the horse neighed as if understanding the princess' words. "So... tell me your name." She stepped off the river surface, onto the ground where her glow dissipated, "I am Etheldreda, you can call me Ethel. I think I've never seen a boy before since... uhm... since I was really small."
    #1 Izurich, Dec 14, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2016
  1. The two days of travel had been far from tiring, even though his legs may have told another story. Freedom was an addictive thing, and while some degree of haste was necessary, Varanense’s spotted mare, Liesse, was seasoned with travelling through rugged terrain, going up and down the rolling hills of Wessex will no problems. Alongside the weaponry that the King and his father had provided with him, the tanned youth brought along camping equipment, a sizable amount of money separated into multiple purses, as well as a firestarting kit and a tent. Those two stuffy old men had pushed him to hurry, but Varanense had no intention of heading out to a journey ill-prepared.

    After all, just because he was having fun didn’t mean that he wasn’t going to be safe.

    The moon hung high up in the sky, a dim silver light casting down below. Carrying a torch through the forest, the young man walked his horse through the thick forest. Low hanging branches prevented him from riding swiftly, and it was too dark for it anyways. At the very least, however, it was a clear night. Varanense had always wanted to try sleeping underneath the stars, and for today, perhaps, he’ll lay off with setting up the tent. The river might be a chilly place to rest, but if he dressed warmly, it’d be fine.

    As he got closer to the stream, however, another source of light became apparent on the moon-drenched clearing. A white-haired girl with ruby eyes stood on the stream, her feet never sinking into the waters below. The blue light that shone from her skin seemed eerie, but at the same time, rather pretty, and her voice…

    No, god dammit, this was the type of unaware shit he’d be dealing with?

    Varanese forced a smile at the Exiled Princess of Wessex, Etheldreda Northumberland, before quickly removing his heavy cloak and draping it over her body. Placing one finger on her lips to motion her to be quiet, the blond knight closed his eyes, listening into the forest. No sounds other than owls and Liesse, but…

    “Congratulations, Your Royal Highness. I am, in fact, a boy, and you would, in fact, be dead if I was the devout sort. Heard that you were scatterbrained from rumors in the past, but why are you doing witchcraft in the wilderness? At night? By yourself? Didn’t you get a message from your father about the Divine Inquisition?”

    A little forthright, perhaps, but General Malx wasn’t here to smack him in the head for his disrespect, so Varanense was going to be as discourteous as possible until he got bored of it.

    “More importantly though, I have a scroll from the Spymaster, to hand off to your caretaker. Where is she? Hell, why does SHE allow you to pull off this shit?”
  2. The little witch took his forced smile a genuine one, her red eyes glimmering with excited curiosity, but just as she was about to approach closer, the golden-haired older boy with tanned skin suddenly removed his cloak then put it on the girl, of course the garment was quite oversized for the shorter female. "...?" Ethel blinked her eyes in confusion, staring down at the dark fabric loosely hugging her form, the color greatly contrasted with her white dress and pale skin. She wanted to speak, but the light brown index finger pursed her lips shut. Her instincts sensed no danger from him so she let him do as he pleased, in fact, she was curious on exactly what this boy was trying to do.

    His voice took her attention, it had been years since she heard a masculine voice as since her exile, the only human contact she had was the witch Lenore. Though young, Vara had passed his puberty and with it came the deepened voice. As much as she wanted to continue admiring the opposite sex, he didn't come for leisurely chit-chat. He knew about her true identity, what kind of feat she just did, her father the King, and the Inquisition. His manner of speech was also quiet alien to the sheltered princess, in all her life - including her first six years in the palace - she was never accustomed to crude 'commoner' vocabularies.

    "...mmmh..." Ethel huffed as she removed his finger from her face then looked up at him, red eyes still curious, but now there were tinged with caution, "Are you the new messenger?" Ethel was aware her mother and Lenore sent letters, since the witch rarely left her side, there surely must be someone assigned to deliver these letters. Speaking of Lenore, yes, the Francian woman was indeed watching her now despite what Vara thought. The ex-princess ignored his little insult, focusing on his interrogating questions instead, "I love going outside in the night, the moonlight is gentler on my skin compared to the sun's burning rays." She sighed, he spoke as if 'witchcraft' on the same level as heinous crimes, sure she knew the Church's views on people like her, but for someone sent by her father, she expected him to have an... liberal mind regarding magic and witches. "I am simply practicing what I am good at, what I was born to do, in the vein as you aiming your weapon and shooting at targets." The type of weapon he carried certainly made her think he was an archer of sort.

    "Yes, Mother warned us of the Inquisition, but Madame Lenore assured me tonight is safe..." She smiled enigmatically, "Indeed, I am not by myself." As if on cue, the distinctive caw of a raven rang out in the clearing. If Vara looked up, he would see a large black bird was perching on a nearby branch, the bird swooped down to the ground beside Ethel, but just before it landed, its black feathers shifted into dark robes as it transformed into an old woman with grey hair with a hood slightly covering her features, "Madame is with me." Ethel stayed put as the old woman took a few steps towards Vara.

    "A scroll for Little Ethel's caretaker you say..." The elderly spoke, her voice raspy, but far from frail, she sounded like a wise old sage, "That means the scroll is for me. I am Lenore." It should be obvious to Vara by now that Lenore saw everything, starting from his arrival in the clearing, "I appreciate your concern for Her Highness, but I suggest you mind your language, young man. Despite her circumstances, she's still His Majesty Harold's daughter." The witch extended a wrinkled hand at Vara, "Now give me the scroll." There was no reason to believe otherwise, this old hag was indeed Ethel's witch nanny. Once she received it, Lenore would examine it briefly, on the seal was the usual coded cyphers, revealing the scroll was genuine, "This is authentic, I shall read it back in the hut, come on, Ethel, let's go home." Lenore took a few steps, closely followed by the princess, then stopped as she looked behind her shoulder. "What are you waiting for, little ruffian?" She scoffed at Vara, "Come." it seemed the knight didn't come off to a good start with Lenore, courtesy of his little smack-talk. "Oh, I allow Her Highness to 'pull off this shit' because this is a routine for us, so we've been 'doing this shit' for years now, just for your information." Yep, not a good start indeed.


    About thirty minutes later...

    Vara found himself sitting on a chair in a small, but comfortable, living room. A fireplace was nearby, gracing the room with its warmth. It was a simple wooden hut, looking very much like a hunter's cottage, but knowing who its inhabitants were, everything was more than meets the eye, especially the girl sitting across from him. "So... you haven't tell me your name yet, Little Ruffian? Ethel put both elbows on the table, cupping her chin with her hands, leaning forward to better look at him. "I see, nice to meet you, Varanense. Ehehe~" She giggled, seemingly really happy she could talk someone else other than her nanny after so long, "How's the Palace? Everything is fine, right? Mother and Father, they are both healthy, no?" though she received regular letters from her mother, Ethel was still interested to hear how things were going from one of the Palace's inhabitants.

    Their little talk was interrupted by the creaking sound of a wooden door as Lenore emerged from her study room, now without her robe, Vara could see the elder's features clearly. She held so much experience and wisdom behind those wrinkles, Lenore sat down beside Ethel, her face serious, "I have read the scroll, yes, it is as I have foreseen." Through a crystal ball perhaps? She's a witch after all, "My Dear, Ethel..." Lenore caressed the princess' white hair, smiling knowingly. "It's time." Something was definitely up between the two.

    "Ah-... I... I see." Ethel fidgeted, looking at Vara, then at Lenore, back and forth, "S-so... with him?"

    "Yes, dear." Lenore smiled sadly.

    "Will you be coming with me?" The princess gripped her nanny's hand tight, eyes starting to bubble.

    "I am afraid not, dear, us traveling together bears too much risk, the Inquisitors are keen, I am sure you will understand." Lenore sighed, rubbing at Ethel's cheek, "You have grown so much since I first saw you, don't let those self-righteous tyrants deny your right to live, to be who you really are. You are undoubtedly the baby born on that particular night all those years ago." The old woman leaned forward, kissing Ethel's forehead. "Don't worry about me, I can take care of myself, besides... this old body doesn't have much years left to live. Even witches can't escape Death's embrace you know." The witch ushered Ethel to sit up, "Now, I want you to rest, you will need it, I have some things to talk about with the ruffian."

    "Yes, Madame..."

    Once Ethel went inside her room and was out of earshot, Lenore turned her attention at the only male in the room, "Varanense Malx, Third Son of General Malx, I implore you, protect her with your very soul. Don't let the Church lay even a single finger on her, and while I had taught her to control her powers... Lenore reached into her baggy clothes then took out a seemingly ordinary ruby necklace, she gave it to the knight, "Just for precautions. This pendant is made with the princess' blood, a form of restraining charm, put it on her and it will suppress her powers, but also leaving her weak and helpless. Only use this when you are sure she will go out of control, it'll be agonizing for her so consider this as a last resort." Lenore wasn't finished yet, "I never told her this, but since you'll be accompanying her for an indefinite amount of time now, I shall tell you. We witches believe Etheldreda is the incarnation of Lilith."

    Vara would recognize the name, according to the Divine Bible, Lilith was the Mother of All Devils, once a Holy Priestess of The Lord. She broke the law of celibacy by having an affair with an Angel named 'Zadkiel'. When God knew, He was furious, he expelled Zadkiel from the Heavens and demanded Lilith to sacrifice her child to Him for a Test of Faith. Lilith refused, rebelling against Him instead. As punishment, God condemned her into a creature of pure evil and lust, thus Lilith the Demon Matriarch was born.

    However, according to the Lennic pagan faith, Lilith was a benevolent Goddess-Queen who ruled her land with compassion. Her grasp on the arcane was equal to none, her people lived in harmony for millenniums, until she was betrayed, by her own daughter. The ambitious snake of a daughter convinced the people to turn against Lilith, deeming her as an unholy abomination, that she consumed the souls of innocent people to fuel her powers and grant her eternal youth. Her kindness and compassion became her weakness, rather than curbing down the rebellion by killing her own daughter or her followers, she relented... she didn't resist as they captured her, paraded her around to be spit and thrown with trash, ending with an agonizing death as her body was consumed by flames at the stake. The traitorous daughter succeeded her as Queen, forming the 'Divine' Church as the first Holy Priestess. an age of oppression and fear began. However,it was said Lilith never truly died, her body may perish, but her spirit lingered... still conflicted between letting the Church's tyranny continue or finally accept sacrifices were needed to achieve peace. One day she'd return, on that day, she'd exact righteous vengeance upon the Divine fools with her faithful flocking under her banner.

    Obviously, Lenore believed the latter, "She's our Messiah, she will be the one who end the tyranny of the corrupt Church and bring peace upon all mankind where we can freely practice our beliefs without persecution." The Witch then moved to her shelf, coming back with a map of Britannia, "Go to Wales, meet with a woman named 'Morganna'. She's one of our Seven Matriarchs, direct descendants of Lilith. She will know what to do so Ethel can realize her destiny. As for me, alas, I am but a humble old witch, I... leave the rest to you, Sir Vara." The witch let him take the map, "Now then, anything else? If not, you should go rest, you two have a long arduous journey ahead."
    #3 Izurich, Dec 16, 2015
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2016
  3. Tch. Magical shape-shifting shenanigans was cheating, and practicing magic out in the open definitely could not be considered something that’s equal to training one’s accuracy with a crossbow. Nevertheless, once the elderly Lenore took the stage, Varanense kept quiet. No need to incur the arcane wrath of someone like her, after all. He handed over the scroll without much fuss, and smiled in a simpering manner as she chastised him for his common sense.

    “Damned magicky types,” he muttered under his breath as he took the reins of Liesse once more and followed after them.

    Well, the hut was better than camping out without a tent, in the end. The fireplace was warm, and while the two ladies didn’t have any fodder for his spotted mare, she seemed satisfied enough chewing on the grass around the hut. Hanging his cloak behind the chair and resting his weapons by the table, the knight sighed, crossing his arms. It was irritating, having a little girl call him a ‘little ruffian’, but he replied to her properly regardless.

    “Your royal highness,” he said with thinly veiled sarcasm, “I am Varanense Malx, third son of General Malx. I’m also not a ‘little ruffian’, because if I was little, you’d be positively pocket-sized. And everything’s fine. Your father was nervous enough about the Inquisition that he sentenced me to the guillotine the moment I revealed that I knew of your existence, but outside of that, it seems like everything was alright.”

    He would have spoke more of the royal affairs if he had actually paid attention, but outside of that little tidbit, Varanense had nothing. Constantly spending one’s time in the royal forests or on the lawless outskirts of the Kingdom didn’t do wonders to one’s understanding of family affairs, regrettably enough. Lenore, of course, interrupted their chat before Ethel could ask more questions, but what came next was similarly heavy.

    The dark-skinned knight turned away as the mentor and the student steeled themselves for their separation tomorrow, his cheeks flushing at the awkwardly emotional scene before him. It ended quickly, thank god, and soon, Ethel headed out, leaving only an old witch and a young knight.

    She spoke of the icy calamity Ethel would bring forth if she lost control of her emotions, of the pendant that could suppress that arcane might in times of need, and finally, of how the witches believe that the Princess of King Harold was related in some way to the Mother of All Devils. That last bit was heavy, and Varanense narrowed his eyes, resting his chin on his clasped fingers.

    The messiah? Peace upon mankind? All that pressure put on a young girl’s shoulders, just because she happens to be stronger than some old hag and her knitting club? That didn’t sit well with him at all, but Varanense internalized those emotions.

    Nevertheless, escorting Ethel to this ‘Morganna’ woman was the mission that was now entrusted to him, and, placing his hand over his heart, he nodded once, in assent. “It shall be done, Madame Lenore…and are you packing up Her Royal Highness’s travelling stuff? Because I really recommend tossing in a large cloak and dark brown hair dyes. Not sure if you’ve noticed, but she stands out a lot.”
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  4. The old witch noticed all of these may be too much to take, even for herself and Vara, let alone the very person they were talking about. To make matters worse, Ethel was a child in both mind and body, she was an immensely powerful mage for her age sure, but a young girl nonetheless. "Thank you, Sir Vara, from the bottom of my heart." Lenore bowed in reaction to the knight placing his hand on his heart, vowing he'd do all he could to safeguard the princess.

    About Ethel's physical appearance, "Hmmm..." The witch clasped her hands near her lips in deep thought. Vara made a good point, the princess - while not monstrous or horribly repulsive - did have a rather... unusual appearance especially to the common people. Lenore was a witch so she never minded her albinism, but she understood if people found the combination of her snow white hair, red eyes, and very pale skin to be unnerving. The Church's common image of demons depicted them with red eyes certainly didn't help. "I do have a large cloak for her, but not hair dye. I can use magic to change her hair color, but it'd defeat the purpose of slipping past Inquisitors." Those fanatics had special methods to detect magical residues, including enchantments. "I suppose you can buy some at a city, until then, the cloak will do. Go rest now, I will prepare her belongings for travel, she doesn't have much really."

    After Vara went into the guest room, Lenore would swipe her hand as she commanded baskets and sticks to move on their own, preparing clothes for Ethel then stuffing them inside a leather bag. She expected Vara already brought all other essentials such as money, food, weapons, and others, also, Lenore already gave him a map and the restraining pendant. It didn't take long, once done, the witch sighed, she went inside her own room to pray and meditate, asking for the Gods' blessings for their journey, they'd need it.


    Next morning...

    Liesse the spotted mare was all prepped up and ready with Vara standing close to her. Ethel and Lenore hugged each other, whispering their last farewells, then reluctantly, the little princess separated from the old woman who had been her substitute mother for four years. They waved hands, then the cloak-wearing Ethel walked up to the knight, looking at the ground, fidgeting. She took a deep breath as she raised her head, ruby irises staring at the blond teen, "Alright, let's go..." Her right hand reached out as she tugged at his clothes, "T-take care of me, alright...? being all nervous.

    The princess mounted Liesse with Vara's help, sitting behind him, her small arms wrapped around his belly, hugging him for shelter. As the horse moved away, Lenore went inside her hut, the dwelling became smaller and smaller until it was hidden behind the tree line. Ethel was noticeably silent compared to yesterday, she was still sorting out her feelings, leaving behind her home for the 2nd time, off to a journey across the country. "I have seen the map, we're heading West towards Wales, right? I've... never been there before." Her hug on his body tightened, it was clear Vara was her only guardian from the pagan-hating society ahead.


    Hours later, at night...

    It'd take them another day to reach the next town for resupplying so of course, the party set up camp at night. Vara was in charge of setting up the tent and gathering firewood while Ethel made the fire - by heating the wood through magic - then prepared dinner for them, a simple meat and vegetable soup. She prepared the ingredients before her then conjured a couple of floating blade-shaped ice shards, these flying knives began cutting at the meat, carrots, and onions. Oh yes, the princess was quite proficient at cooking despite her unorthodox methods, unaware Vara may find slight morbid amusement at the prospect of eating a Witch's cooking. Stereotypically, witches and cauldrons were equal to ghastly ingredients such as eyeballs, lizard innards, and toenails.

    Putting the ingredients into the broth-filled pot, she gestured with her right hand to make the liquid inside churn. Moments later, dinner was served. "Hey, Vara, uhm... let's eat." Ethel called him. She commanded the broth to flow out of the pot into two bowls, then she took one to offer it to Vara. Once he took it, the young girl would began eating herself, "Ehehe, aaah, Madame Lenore taught me how to cook, this is her favorite recipe, I wonder if I did it right...?" She turned her head at him, eyes hopeful, expecting his comments on her dish.
    #5 Izurich, Dec 16, 2015
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2015
  5. The morning was colder than the days before, and Varanense pulled his cloak close to his body, his breath puffing out white clouds as he leaned against his horse. The dew on the grass had not yet evaporated, and they grazed against his thick pants, dampening them. His leather boots were resistant to that amount of water, however, so for the time being, he was content with waiting out in the cold, suppressing his shivers as Lenore and Ethel said their farewells.

    “It’s my duty,” he responded blandly in response to her worries. Hoisting her up to the back of the sadly and tying her bags to Liesse, he silently apologized for weighing the mare down with so much, before hopping on himself. The wind still bit at his face, but Ethel’s body was warm, and the rising sun was pleasant. Reaching the border to Wales would have taken four days if he was alone, but with Ethel, it’d now amount to a week’s worth of riding and camping.

    “A shame that you haven’t,” Varanense replied airily, “It’s a nice, mountainous sort of place. Not as intense and wild as the Land of the Lawless, but quite nice. The aristocrats there are rather overprotective of their territories though…”

    At this, his gaze darkened, remembering an unpleasant time. “…that sister-fucking inbred shitstain. Trying to imprison me just because I took a wolf in his land…”

    “But hey, we’ll probably get there in a week, maybe less if you know how to ride a horse alone.”

    Night fell on a full day’s worth of travel, and Varanense stretched beside the small tent he constructed. The leather construction was meant to fit one large man, but Ethel was small, and he hadn’t grown up fully yet, so it would fit the two of them rather comfortably. It was a clear sky once more, the stars twinkling up above, but the moon was waning now, its light not quite as resplendent as the night before. Ethel cooking made him nervous once more, and for the full duration of her magicking exercise, the tanned youth stalked around the fireplace, looking out for people in the distance, people who might see this.

    There weren’t any out in the wilds this late at night, though, so the knight settled down and sighed, taking a soup-ladened bowl from her.

    “Really,” he said, eyeing her arcane manipulation of the broth, “You couldn’t just use a spoon for that? Or just use normal tools for cooking? Please don’t tell me you plan on continuing with your witchcraft once we’re in town.”

    Dipping his wooden spoon in for a tentative taste, however, Varanense didn’t have any complaints about the taste. He generally preferred heavier flavors, with thick haunches of meat to sink his teeth into, but the knight nodded his approval. It was edible, and there was no point in complaining about food quality when one was travelling.

    “It’s aight. Your legs are still fine after a day’s worth of riding?”
  6. "Ehehe~ It's delicious, right?" Ethel grinned at the older boy, holding her own bowl in her hands, she took a sip, finding herself agreeing with him. Not as good as Lenore's cooking, but she did it enough justice. The princess paused eating at his concerned question, "Ehm..." she stared at her own legs, "I-..." she wanted to answer him but stopped at the last second, her eyes narrowed as her cheeks puffed instead. It seemed somehow he had struck her nerves. She continued eating until about half of her bowl was empty, then sighed, "Yes, I'm fine... but if I tell you why, you'll be all annoying and rude again..." she sighed, "...fine, I can use my powers to keep my body healthy, happy now?!" She raised her voice at the end, then drew back after a couple of seconds, staring into her bowl.

    "I cooked as I've always have, b-besides, it's faster and more efficient!" She still wasn't done, "Of course, I'm not a fool, Sir Vara, I will not try anything if we're in public." She continued eating the rest of her meal in silence. Crackles from the campfire gave a hearty atmosphere, warming the two from the cool night air. Ethel took his bowl once he's done then was about to wash them with some water magic, but his stare made her stop. Grumbling, she resorted to cleaning them the old-fashioned way.

    "S-sorry, it's just..." Her fingers trembled, "It's just I didn't expect my father to send someone so... so intolerant of who I am." She remembered his comment about her cooking method, maybe that was just how Vara were, but his words stung, made worse since she'll be spending an extended amount of time with her. From this alone, the Knight could see how the two vastly differed in background, upbringing, and thus, personality. Ethel was a sheltered girl with streaks of naivety, gentle and untouched by the harsh 'reality'. In hindsight, it was good thing Vara was her companion, perhaps he could prevent her from acting foolish due to her innocence. Cruel it may be, but Ethel had to 'wake up' sooner or later, she was no longer under the protection of her witch caretaker where magid and arcane were the norm, in the real world, it was exactly the opposite.
  7. It looked like magic really was quite versatile, to be used in such a wanton fashion. Varanense sighed as Ethel revealed more of her magical capabilities and her lack of common sense. Despite how Lenore may have taught her well in the magical arts, she was very much lacking in a sense of reality, in understanding how normal people acted. He was a knight, not a shapeshifting old hag with supernatural senses. Unlike Lenore, he couldn’t accurately confirm when it was safe for her to play with magic, and when it wasn’t safe. All he could do was watch the surroundings, stay vigilant, and hope that the white-haired girl didn’t do anything stupid.

    Nevertheless, Varanense wasn’t so cold-hearted that he would just silently ignore Ethel’s feelings. As she clumsily wiped the dishes clean, the knight walked over and took it from her. “If I was intolerant, I would have just…”

    No, a threat like that wouldn’t go over too well, huh?

    “Never mind that, actually. Sorry, but I’m not Lenore, and not all parts of Wessex is safe and isolated,” he said as he cleaned the dishes, “And this is just the view of an outsider, but is magic really something you should be using for mundane tasks? A knight does not use his sword to chop vegetables. A farmer does not use his pitchfork to serve food. Everything comes with a duty and a responsibility. Your magic may be able to do your chores for you, but what purpose do your hands serve then?”

    he said, staring out in the distance, “You’re a human before you’re a witch. Don’t rely on magic for everything, because your hands and tools exist for a reason, and it’s not right to remove that.”

    With that, he began to perform maintenance on his crossbow and his sword, signalling an end to all this.

    “Now go sleep, Your Royal Highness, and stop doping your body with magic, or you'll never grow up big and strong.”
  8. As she awkwardly went about her dishwashing, Ethel was conflicted as who was at fault for her predicament. Was it Vara? The knight who kept seeing her inherent arcane talents as a curse, wanting her to stop doing her gifts. Was it Lenore? The witch rarely taught her the ways of the mundane and common people, evident by Ethel not knowing how to properly wash bowls the 'normal' way. Or... was it herself? The naive little princess who was too attached to her powers, she couldn't be bothered to restrain herself. At the moment, she grew convined it was the last, she was the one to blame. Vara wanted to keep her safe and blatantly performing magic was one sure way to get her killed while Lenore was a witch, she was responsible to guide Ethel in managing her powers, of course the old woman would focus on that instead of teaching her 'unnecessary' things such as household chores, there were higher priorities.

    Still, she was rather salty at Vara despite him being right, such was the thought process of a young girl. "...what?" The princess raised her head at him as the knight approached. "..." She pursed her lips when he offered to takeover the chore. Reluctantly, she allowed him even though it stung her pride, he must've thought her as a spoiled royal brat who couldn't even do basic chores. She could! If she just used her powers, the whole set of cooking utensils would be sparkling clean in a jiffy. "just...? Just what?" He dropped the topic and Ethel didn't feel the need to press him. The albino resorted to just sit near him, gazing at the stars.

    Ethel may act grumpy towards him now, but she listened carefully to his words. Annoyance gradually taken over by guilt as Vara explained his point of view. The part of him not being Lenore and Wessex were obviously true, his analogue with knights and farmers required some explanation from her. "I am a... witch, I'm not a knight or farmer. Magic is ingrained in our blood, it is who we are, while knights didn't have swords inside them when they were born just as farmers with pitchforks." Her point being, arcane powers were their limbs, not tools, so performing magical feats were waving their hands not swinging around a sword. "Even if most of the world hates us. At least... I hope you can understand." She gave him a small sad smile, "Truthfully, I think 'witch' is just a term... I am a human just like you and others. Magic is as natural to me as using my hands, I am not removing anything."

    The girl giggled, having calmed down enough to appreciate little jests, "I doubt that, look at Lenore, she grew old just fine. A-anyways... uhm.." Ethel reached out with her right hand to caress his, holding it, "Good night..." the way her eyes looked at him suggested she was implicitly asking him to take care of her while she slept, she didn't want to be alone. Pulling away her ribbons to free her twintailed hair from its bonds, now cascading down her back like an alabaster curtain. She stretched her arms with a yawn then tucked herself into the tent.
  9. “Yeah, Lenore definitely grew old.”

    He left his statement at that, fearing that the witch curse him if he went any further. Watching Ethel remove her ribbons and enter the tent, Varanense placed a hand behind his neck, massaging it, before kicking dirt over the flames. They sputtered, then disappeared, leaving only softly glowing embers behind. The tanned knight pulled his cloak closer to himself as the night’s chill settled in. The stars sparkled and the moon cast a faded light over the grassy plains.

    His eyes were adjusting to the darkness now, and shadows lurked in them. Five, perhaps seven? It was too dark to tell at such a distance, but it wouldn’t matter soon. Bandits, perhaps? Scouts of the inquisition? Also a possibility. Maybe just curious villagers? This late at night, unlikely. Regardless, they would wait. They would wait for him to sleep.

    And then they will strike.

    Varanense placed his loaded crossbow and his unsheathed longsword down, by the fire. He crossed his arms, leaned against one of the wooden poles that supported the frame of the tent, and waited. The wind was picking up, clouds travelling east. Soon, they covered the cloud, and it was then that he could hear them approach. Shadowy outlines, clear enough against the dark blue sky that Varanense could count them now. There were seven, and none wore any armor.

    Bandits, huh?

    Before they got within 50 meters of the camp, the youth, his eyes gleaming in the darkness, pulled out his crossbow and shot a bolt. With a twang, the missile struck one man, and he gurgled painfully, falling to his knees.

    “Shit!” “He’s awake?!” “CHARGE!!”

    The rabble began to run, but by then, Varanense had already loaded the second bolt. Bringing it up once more, he felled another, before picking his sword off the ground and parrying an axe strike. Sparks lit up the night as he cut down the third bandit with a backhand. Two others rushed at him from the sides, yelling out coarse threats. Annoying bastards. They’d wake up the princess.

    He charged one of them, sidestepping a power stroke before pivoting behind the barbarian and sliding his longsword through the man’s back. Another death wail sounded as he kicked the corpse off his sword, sending it over to the bandit’s avenger. The new challenger was noticeably more skilled, trading blow after blow with Varanense, forcing him back with each swing of the Warhammer. But, soon enough, an opportunity presented itself, as the man took just a little too long lifting his two-handed weapon over his head. Stepping up close enough to smell his rancid beard, Varanense kneed him in the groin and sank a crossbow bolt into the back of his neck.

    Dishonorable, but it only served them right.

    He spun around and cleaved through the shoulder of another bandit bastard that thought he could sneak up behind a Vanguard Knight of the Kingdom of Wessex.

    Varanense breathed heavily and straightened his grip once more, prepared for the n-

    “You bastard! Drop yer sword or I’ll carve up yer little bitch here and now!”
    • Nice execution! Nice execution! x 1
  10. The princess had a hard time in getting herself comfortable enough for her body to drift into slumber. Sure, she wasn't exactly living in the comforts of the palace for the last four years, but she had a real bedroom in Lenore's hut, simple yet comfortable. Here only a tent sheltered her from the open skies while she's laying on a fabric separating her from the hard ground."Mmmh..." She shifted left and right, getting herself situated to the new accomodation. The air was cold, but at least due to her elemental affinity, Ethel was never bothered by low temperature, but as a catch, she's more sensitive to heat. She focused on a single thought to help calm herself and that was... Vara, yes, whether she liked it or not, the cynical knight was the only person she could rely on for the long journey ahead. Knowing he was just right outside the tent, watching over her, was enough to ease the girl so she could sleep.

    Little did Ethel know, a threat was looming, a group of brigands on the prowl for what they saw as easy prey, just a pair of young man and a little girl also quite loaded by the looks of it, what luck, this would be as easy as taking bread from a baby. Oh how wrong they were, Vara may be young but his skills as both knight and ranger outmatched their sloppy drunken brutish 'techniques', if it could even be called that. Bandits after bandits fell by his bolts and blade. Of course, the loud commotion stirred the young sleeping beauty inside the tent. "Hn...?" Rubbing her eyes, Ethel rose to a sitting position as red irises slowly focused, feeling slightly dizzy due to waking up just as she started to truly sleep. She crawled out of the tent, whisking the drapes with one hand, "V... vara-...?!" her eyes shot open in horror at the bloody sight before her. Multiple corpses were strewn on the ground, blood pooling underneath them. The screamings came from the adult men, Vara was fighting against them. Being a rather sheltered princess, of course Ethel never personally saw a real battle before, she had heard tales of chivalry and war from the knights, but to witness a feud on her own, so close to her, was something new entirely.

    "A... a-..." She was stricken with fear, her body trembling, mouth wanting to scream but her voice stuck in her throat. These men were hostile, that much was obvious and Vara was doing his job, she must help him! "K... kih-..." Come on, move, move! No matter how much she forced herself, her body just refused to budge. Panic gripped every fibre of her being, the blood and gore were too much for the gentle princess. Fortunately, Vara alone was more than enough for these lowlifes, in fact, it was Ethel who would complicate things. "Wha-?!" Much to her surprise, her body moved, but not on her own will. The last bandit, in a last ditch move to save his own skin, managed to notice the witch, snuck up behind her, then grabbed her neck from behind. The bandit forced her to stand up, one burly arm wrapped his arm around her shoulder while the other held his curved blade dangerously close to her neck.

    "You bastard! Drop yer sword or I'll carve up yer little bitch here and now!"

    The bandit didn't care who she was, what mattered to him was now he had a hostage, these two were traveling together so they're obviously related or friends. There was no honor among thieves, even threatening to take the life of an innocent child. "I mean it, fucker, get the fuck on your knees, or I'll..." Just to make his point clear, he lightly pressed the blade against Ethel's delicate skin, nicking her there. A small trickle of blood flowed from the wound. How deplorable, but quite effective, proven by Vara cursing under his breath as he did as the bandit told. Laying down his weapon, Vara dropped on his knees then clasped his hands behind his head. "Good boy, now then... stay there." The bandit's clenched teeth clearly conveyed his desparation, he started to edge away from Vara, dragging Ethel with her still in the same position.

    "V-v... vara, h-help... me... h-he-..." Ethel's meek pleas whispered from her trembling lips, tears started flowing from her wide-opened eyes. Snapping under pressure, Ethel took a deep breath then, "HELP MEEEEEE!!!" screamed out with everything she got. Her shrill voice torturing the scum's eardrums, but it just served to anger him more.

    "Shut the fuck up, you little freak!!" He was about to grab Ethel's mouth then suffocate her to knock her out, but "...?!" stopped as he felt an unnatural chill biting deep into his bone. The bandit's eyes shifted left and right, finding the grasses around him whitening as ice formed on them, his teeth clattering in cold, in just a few seconds, he felt as if he was standing in the middle of a blizzard. The sheer cold evident by his ragged misty breaths. "W-what... what the fuck is happeni-..." *THUD* He fell, just like that, like a fallen timber, his rigid body toppling backwards, the sword released from his hand, clattering on the ground. The bandit's face was literally frozen in a look of shock, layers of ice sheet covered his body here and there. He died of instant extreme hypothermia.

    "Ha... *Gasp*..." For her part, Ethel fell down to her knees, still crying, horribly terrified. Her shaken mind couldn't register what just happened to the bandit, but to Vara, it was the very thing Lenore warned him about.
  11. Ah, he messed up. He forgot that he should be fighting to protect, not to exterminate.

    Varanense narrowed his eyes in the darkness as he dropped his sword, kneeling. It was dark enough that the bandit did not notice the crossbow bolt he had grabbed while bringing his hand up, but it was also dark enough that he could be completely sure which shadow belonged to which. His arm muscles tensed as he pinched the bolt between two fingers, ready to throw it out like a dart the moment he could ascertain where the bandit was. A darker figure was dragging her away now, and, slowly, Ethel’s body lowered. It was a good thing she was a midget then. Gave him a clear shot.

    Before he threw it though, the white-haired girl suddenly began to scream, a vicious, high-pitched shriek that even caused Varanense to cringe. Just as suddenly, the bandit’s rage turned into confusion, and then fear, culminating into a heavy thud. The clouds began to blow away, and dim moonlight shone on a frozen statue, glistening like freshly fallen snow. Ethel had killed him with the same magic she used to cook with.

    Varanense looked around himself once more, ascertaining that there were no more bandits nearby. For better or worse, he saw nothing, and picked up his sword once more, cleaning the bloodied blade with the edge of his cloak while sliding the crossbow bolt back into his quiver. Ethel cried, terrified, and he had caused all this.

    The knight was lacking still, despite his achievements, despite his skills.

    Awkwardly, he patted the witch princess on her head, staying with her as she clung onto him. Her tears dampened his coarse cloak, and all he could do was be by her side until she stopped. Her body was warm once more when she fell asleep, cuddled up beside him with a tear-streaked face. Using the edge of his sleeve, he wiped off the wet streaks from her soft face, before bringing her back to the tent and laying her down.

    Varanese massaged the bridge of his nose, taking in the stench of blood and guts.

    They may have been lawless men, but they were still men.

    With that, he went back to Liesse and retrieved a shovel. It looked like he wouldn’t be sleeping much after all.
  12. For the moment, Ethel felt utterly alone, the world closed down upon her. A scared little girl begging for someone to comfort her, to hug her and tell her everything would be alright. No such hugs came... but something close to it in the form of a warm hand patting her head. Her instincts knew the hand belonged to the only person here who would protect her with his life. Seeking further comfort, her small arms wrapped around Vara's waist, her face burying in his cloak. After unwittingly performing her deadly magic in self-defense, her body was cold to the touch, like a corpse, but Vara didn't seem to mind, letting the child exchange warmth for cold. His compassion - even if awkward - paid off as Ethel returned to normal temperature when she fell asleep, her tears stopping, cuddled up beside the knight.

    Of course, she couldn't notice what happened in the night after she went into slumber, if she did... she may offer to quickly bury the bandits' corpses with arcane methods, it wasn't just Vara who was repulsed by the smell.


    "N... mmmh..." Pale eyelids fluttered open to reveal a pair of rubies, the cot shifting underneath Ethel's weight as she slowly sat up, yawning. Her body felt heavy, last night's commotion still fresh on her mind. It took her a couple of seconds to get her bearings before she crawled out from the tent. "..." A sombre sight greeted her, it was not Vara reigniting the campfire that struck her, but the makeshift graves not far from them. It wouldn't take a genius to figure out Vara buried the brigands, how kind of him... Ethel wasn't sure if she could give the same courtesy if she was in his shoes. Of course, this struck her, Vara may be an annoying cynical boy, but he was truly a virtuous soul deep inside.

    Stepping out of the tent, Ethel sighed, taking in the morning air for the moment. Her right hand went to her neck, brushing against the dried wound. Concentrating her powers, the witch rubbed it, as small bluish glow emanated from her skin there. In a couple of moments, the scab fell off, revealing pale skin. Rapid magical healing, the envy of doctors everywhere. Patting her dress, Ethel approached Vara, sheepishly fidgeting with her hands. "I uhm... I..." Her eyes looked up at him, then at the ground, back and forth, "T-t... thank you..." there wasn't anything else to be said, she made her point clear.

    Taking a few deep breaths to calm herself, Ethel smiled at him, "Now, I'm going to make breakfast..." She kept her smile even as both of her hands sparkled, "Of course, like last night, you... don't have to look if you wish, Vara." Whether the vanguard knight decided to watch her or not, the sounds of ice knives cutting through vegetables and ingredients rang in his ears. Moments later, Ethel served them boiled vegetables with bread, a simple, yet fulfilling dish. Aside from being a witch, the princess had talents to be a cook. After the hearty morning meal, they continued on their way, leaving the graves as a warning to other bandits to not mess with a Knight of Wessex.


    It was late afternoon, in an hour the sun would set, when the knight and princess duo arrived at a village, a small community unmarked on the map due to its insignificance. The biggest building around was the chapel, a small church located near the market square. Also in the district was the only inn the village had, deeming they needed a place to stay for the night, Vara and Ethel went into the inn. The first floor served as the tavern, just a couple of patrons as the usual happy hour wouldn't start until a few hours later. The barkeep, an burly man with large mustache, was speaking with a patron. They weren't speaking in hushed tones, just a casual conversation, though the topic was quite morbid.

    "Aye, heard the house's cursed." The barkeep said while cleaning a mug.

    "...has the Divine Seat not send anyone yet, Wobert? Priest Edgar tried exorcise... whatever is inside there, but he ended up convulsing like some rabid dog." The patron sighed, shaking his head.

    "I suppose, heard rumors Her Eminence sent them Inquisitors over 'ere to Wessex, who knows, maybe some will come 'ere, doubt it though, there's barely anything 'ere." Wobert the Barkeep shrugged as the patron took his drink then went back to his group. The particular conversation done, he turned his brown eyes at the cloaked pair of a young man and his.... sister, daughter, whatever. "Hmmm?" He leaned forward, his mustache swishing above his lips. "Travellers, huh? How can I help ye, need a place to stay or...?"
  13. It wasn’t seeing magic that displeased him. It was the fact that she was so insistent on using it for mundane tasks. Did the princess still not understand that? Varanense sighed, scratched his head, before beginning to dismantle the tent. Looked like it would take some time before she understood, huh? A pain in the ass, but at least she wasn’t a royal one.

    God knows how terrible it’d be if she was a bratty princess as well as an out-of-touch witch.

    Another uneventful day of travel passed, the sun as bright and the sky as featureless as ever. Lunch had been rations seasoned with a bird that Varanense shot out of the sky, and the roads heading to Melshire Village were devoid of other travellers. Bandits probably did a good ‘job’ before they met him, and the village was too small to draw up a militia to beat those highwaymen down. Nevertheless, the dark-skinned knight enjoyed the homeliness of the village, and Liesse was definitely happy with getting proper fodder to eat. Tying the mare to a post by the inn, he entered the tavern with Ethel, making sure that her hood hung deep over her face. Few were inside at the moment, but who knew when some particularly superstitious drunkard would show up?

    Ignoring the burly barkeep’s chatter about cursed houses and other irrelevant matters, Varanese said with an easy smile, “Yes, just a room and a hot meal for the night. If you could spare a couple of apples for my mare, that’d be appreciated as well.”

    Their talk about the Inquisitors caused him some worry, but the knight resisted the urge to inquire about it. The less of an impression he made, the better. They stood out enough already, with the whole dark-skinned and white-haired appearances the knight and the princess had.
  14. "Hmm..." Wobert nodded at the young man, most of his features were hidden by the cloak, but being bartenders, he had seen enough people to discern obvious features from him. This was a quaint little village so they didn't have many unusual visitors. The boy had darker skin, perhaps he was a foreigner? His accent didn't sound like it, maybe his one of his parents? The child beside him was... damn he couldn't see her, her smaller body allowed the hood to hide even more of her, it was like she didn't want to be seen. Well, not that he particularly cared, as long as they didn't cause trouble, besides... what was there to find in Melshire anyway? This place was a complete bore except for that one haunted house and no one would find the idea of exploring that interesting, except Inquisitors, these two were certainly not Inquisitors. "Upstairs, second door on the right." He reached under the table then tossed a slightly rusted old key at Vara, "Aye, I'll send someone for your hot meal, we have corn soup for tonight." After the two went to the second floor, Wobert was back to cleaning the mugs.

    Ethel was really quiet up until the moment they entered the room which was probably for the better. Once inside, the white-haired princess pulled back her hood then shook her head, untangling her hair. "Ha..." She sighed, red eyes exploring the room. It was a simple bedroom with wooden walls and floors, there were two single beds, one nightstand, a table and two chairs, and a candle for lighting. Defying the stereotype of nobles being picky about their arrangements, Ethel didn't complain at all, she had gotten used to simple living with Lenore. She'd appreciate a personal bedroom though, but... fine, she was glad to have a roof above her head for the night, besides, she could clean her body with magic, not in front of Vara of course cause it would fall under 'mundane' applications to his limited understanding. Ethel took off her cloak, then her shoes, relishing in the feeling. The albino usually slept with just her underwear, but considering she was with someone of the opposite sex whom she just met two nights ago, she would have to make do. "I'm tired..." She stated the obvious, then tucked herself into the bed, yawning, "Good night, Vara..." red irises closed followed with light breaths, she was in comfort.


    Later that night...

    The unnaturally chill air in the room would surely prick at the tan-skinned knight, waking him up or directing his attention at a certain young witch who was staring outside the window, her whole body glowing again, a reminiscence of their first encounter. "I see..." Her eyes were wide opened, but they lacked focus, she was staring far into the horizon, "...such poor souls." She mumbled words which didn't make sense to the knight. After a few moments, the glow faded, her feet touching back the floor, the little sorceress had been floating on the air just now. "Nnh..." Ethel held her forehead with one hand, while the other rubbed her eyes, "W-wha... huh?" it seemed she wasn't exactly aware what she was doing. Looking at her own hands then turned to see Vara, she blinked a few times then perked up, "Ah, I... I know what happened, don't worry." She made an awkward grin, "Uhm... I think I was 'sleep walking' and uh... talked to spirits." She rubbed at the back of her head, fully expecting Vara to scold her, "N-now, now, don't be angry, i-in fact, it's good that they talked to me, y-you see uhm... they need help." She fidgeted with her fingers, by now aware she was trying at Vara's patience with her constant 'witchy' stuffs. "...p-please listen to me, okay?"
  15. Corn soup? Varanense sighed, his small hope of cooked, moist meat for dinner quashed under the fact that it was a small village that probably used their cows for milk, not meat. The room was pretty decent, all things considered. It didn’t look like the floorboards were particularly creaky, and the two beds looked relatively clean. He couldn’t see any mouseholes in the walls, and while it may partially be attributed to the lack of inn patrons in general, the room was rather quiet.

    “A diamond in the rough, huh…”

    Well, not like it really mattered. After a week or so, Varanense was accustomed to sleeping on hard surfaces, with the wind howling in his face. Sleep came easily as the candle was snuffed out, and he fell into dreamland before the tavern underneath started full swing.
    It wasn’t the cold air that woke Varanense up in the middle of the night. It was the chill that ran down his spine, the goosebumps that burst out of his skin. Shadows coiled around the edges of his vision as his eyes gazed at Ethel’s ethereal visage. Gossamer threads of light spread from her body, a ghostly mist that both enthralled and mystified. Confronted with this divinely unholy scene, the tanned knight didn’t even notice that she was floating. The light soon faded though, and with it, his frozen state.

    He kept his face expressionless as she tried to explain herself once more. What if someone saw her being all ghostly from the window of the inn? Did he have to tie her down to prevent her from speaking to dead people in her dreams now? Varanense cradled his head in his hands, sighing at the bedside. A spark lit up what remained of the candle and, in the firelight, he stared her right in the eyes and said, flatly, “Your Royal Highness, please tell me that you’re not going to do what I think you’re going to do.”

    God damn it, he was tasked with her protection, not her travelling companion as she plays the role of the Wiccan Messiah...
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  16. She got this, little by little, Ethel found how to better explain her magical feats to someone who wasn't accustomed to them, like Vara. Of course by now, Ethel was aware the general populace had a 'burn the witch' attitude towards people like her, her bodyguard couldn't stop hammering that into her head anyways. "Phew... hehe..." The princess shyly giggled in relief, she didn't mind Vara staring at her, her eyes drifted back and forth between him and the floor, but in a good way. His attitude comforted her, she knew he was just concerned about her well-being. "Y-yes, uhm..." She twirled a strand of her white hair, "I'm sorry, Vara, but I can't help it, just like people who sleep-walks or snores." She stepped closer to him, taking his hand into hers, "That's why, keep taking care of me, alright?" She mustered the strength to look up at him then smiled, a big happy smile, "Father sent you for a reason, Lenore trusted you, so I'm sure I'll be alright with you." then she hugged him, just comforting herself in his warmth, "Keep me warm in the cold nights ahead..." the mood was getting mushy, wonder if Vara would say something about that.

    Releasing him, Ethel went back to the window while still holding his hand which meant she was pulling him with her. "Oh my, Sir Vara," She deliberately used the stereotypical accent used by nobles, "On the contrary, I am going to do what you think I am going to do." She giggled, then pulled him to sit alongside her on the bed. "I'm going there, uhm... correction, we are going there, I can't go alone." She expected his reply already, she couldn't expect him to agree right away, "This is my problem, Sir Vara. They are spirits, not demons, they need help, not exorcism, besides... technically they are my people, I am still the Princess of Wessex, you know. You are here to protect me, aren't you? In an inn or haunted houses, it makes no difference, as long as you're here with me." Ethel gripped Vara's tanned hand harder, "Come on, Vara, please... they reached out to me for help, only I can hear them... pretty sure there aren't any witches here." from the look in her red eyes, it was clear she was not going to back down on this.
  17. Geez, this kid, did all her time with Lenore rob herself of her independence or what-not? And it wasn’t even proper for a lady to be so forward with her words, especially when she didn’t even know what that meant. Blushing, Varanense brushed off her hand and scooted a little farther away on his own bed, saying, “Just sleep by the fire if you’re cold. I’ll make sure you don’t get set on fire or whatever.”

    The points she made in her attempts to persuade him, however, were equally terribad. The matters of the dead weren’t the concerns of the matters of the living, and just because he was supposed to protect her from dangers didn’t mean that he couldn’t go out of his way to make her avoid such danger the first place. That being said, he could tell from the red fire in her eyes that Ethel had no intention of backing down, and that she’d probably try to slip away at night if he forced her to stay, so…

    The knight sighed, stepping out of bed and cracking his joints. “What, exactly, is the difference between spirits and demons? Regardless, they’re the linger dead.”

    “They are different! Spirits are lingering dead. Demons are creatures from the underworld, entirely different from humans."

    “Right…and how exactly are you going to help them?”

    "I will uhm... talk to them, yes, I am confident I can talk to them. You just have to keep me safe, okay?"

    So a 13 year old witch girl is going to talk to a bunch of dead people, huh? Being people, wouldn’t they still think of her as an evil witch coming to harvest their souls? Especially out here in the boonies…the knight sighed once more, draping his cloak over his body and wondering if his sword was even going to be useful against spirits or demons.

    “I’ll give you until when the moon reaches its peak then, your royal highness. The matters of the dead do not concern the living, but it’d be less awkward than having to tie you to your bed every night, I guess.”
    #18 ERode, Jan 2, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2016
  18. "Wha-..." A disappointed look fell on the little witch's pale features as Vara brushed her hand away, going as far - literally - as to scoot away from her to boot. Oh come on, it took a lot from her to utter those heartfelt words! This insensitive brute of a knight didn't know how to handle a lady's feelings. The princess spoke her melodramatic words without any hidden meanings, she was too young and sheltered to immerse herself in double entendre and flirtations. If anything, it was Vara's fault for having impure thoughts.

    "How can you say that...?" A knight was supposed to be both powerful and chivalrous, he had the former, but none of the latter. Considering his father was Wessex's General, there must be some nepotism at play, someone like Vara would never be accepted as knight under normal circumstances. "Mmmph!" Her cheeks slightly bulged as she pouted, crossing her arms in annoyance. Of course, the little witch didn't notice Vara's blush due to the room's dim lighting. Whatever, she had bigger priorities at hand, those spirits suffered with each passing second.

    "He...?" She quirked an eyebrow at his horribly false conclusion, even the name suggested that spirits and demons were not related in any way. Ah what did she expect from a tanned brute? Fine, she explained her 'witchy' knowledge in a way even a simpleton could understand. His next question held more validity, Ethel wasn't completely sure on how it would go exactly, well... she would talk to them, listen to their problems, it wouldn't be the first time for her, but all on previous cases, Lenore was with her. Vara didn't need to worry about the details, if the spirits turned out hostile, Ethel could properly defend herself, he was there to deal with more... tangible threats such as a lurking beast or mad man.

    Ethel's mood brightened up when he wore his cloak, deny it all he wanted, but she knew he also held sympathy for the poor lost souls. "I'll try, but no promises, we'll leave when they properly rest." Ethel put on her own cloak then pulled the hood up, "You do realize I can handle ropes with my powers, right?" The little witch still wasn't aware of Vara's trump card from Lenore. "Come on." She motioned for him to walk beside her, "The place is just West from here. I sensed them there."


    They exited the inn without much trouble as it was already night hour when tavern activity was at its peak, the bartender noticed every person who came in and out, but he didn't care as long as they kept trouble out of his doors.

    "Ah~" Ethel sighed in comfort as the two walked under the clear night sky, moonlight gracing the village with its mystical glow. "I always love the night." She clasped her hands together, fiddling with her fingers as she peeked up from under the hood at the sky, "Lenore said witches are attuned to the moon just as Lilith did, oh, do you know about her?" There was not much people around them and Ethel kept her voice low, she was sure no one would hear this controversial topic, "The Divine Bible said she's the Mother of All Devils, but we don't believe that, we believe she... was a benevolent Goddess-Queen, betrayed by her own daughter... well, I'll tell you more about her true story once we get back." Ethel used the rest of the solemn walk to just enjoy the quiet scenery, of course she'd talk with Vara if he initiated a conversation with her.

    About fifteen minutes later, they arrived before an abandoned two story house ,ade out of both stone and wood on the village's outskirts, used to be a wealthy home for Melshire's standards. Now abandoned, mosses and vines took the chance to extend their green arms all over the structure. The doors and windows were barred with wooden planks. The house had fences which enclosed a small garden area, but opened wide due to missing its gates. An eerie atmosphere snaked out from the horror house, but Ethel didn't seem disturbed at all, in fact, she looked enthusiastic instead, like a child about to explore a new exciting place.

    "Hmmm, come on, let's go around the back." Vara could swear he heard a giggle as Ethel went off without waiting for his reply. She entered through the gateless entrance, then stopped, looking back at him with a grin, "Come on, mighty knight, don't tell me you're scared~" with her hooded apparel, crimson irises, snow white hair, the princess complemented her surroundings making as if she was the ghostly apparition haunting the house and everyone who dared to intrude. She just needed to glow to hammer the final nail on the coffin.
    #19 Izurich, Jan 4, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2016
  19. Varanense yawned as he stepped out of the tavern, glad to escape from the cheering and jeering and general drinking of the patrons. He hungered for a nighttime snack, but Ethel was already quite a ways ahead of him at this point, and the knight jogged to catch up. Walking side-to-side with her, like the responsible ‘older brother’ that he was pretending to be, the tanned knight couldn’t help but raise an eyebrow as the princess segued into the topic of the Lilith, and of the beliefs shared by the witches of the Dark Mother, Lilith.

    “If what you say is what you believe, then how is that the truth?” Varanense looked up at the unobstructed moon, now a sharp sickle with most of its form hidden in darkness. “Anyways, it totally would be convenient for you if what you worship is a ‘good’ goddess, wouldn’t it? So naturally, you’d want to believe in Lilith’s innocence.”

    He shut his mouth from there on, as the two strode towards the outskirts of the small village, until they practically left it. Religion wasn’t something he cared much about, especially if it featured the history of some obscure demonic figure, and the knight was glad to have reached the dilapidated mansion. It certainly looked like it could have had better days, but he didn’t feel any particular sense of anxiety or apprehension as he approached it. Naturally, Ethel was unnaturally chipper as she hopped about, red eyes glimmering. She was giggling like some bald, sickly creature that had found its precious, and Varanense sighed.

    The knight ignored her goading as he turned around, making sure that they weren’t being followed by some curious drunkard.

    Looked safe, at least.

    Scratching his head, the knight said, “No need to dilly-dally. Let’s just go through the front.”

    And with that, he brushed past the too-happy princess and kicked open the door.
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