Valdasar blinked in surprise as the door to his own room was unceremoniously closed in his face, then looked to see Eran disappear up the stairs. In just a moment, he was alone. He chuckled lightly, shaking his head but did not depart. Instead, he opened the door once again and joined Loic and Lael, shutting the door behind him before folding his hands in front of him, evidently keen to remain and watch over his charge.
“No, actually. Not exaggerated,” came his voice from inside the room, when the hunter inquired after the rumor of his death. “I just got back.”
By the time the Drow entered and shut the door, he was pulling his shirt down over his waist and tucking it in carefully. Loic turned to give her his complete attention instead of going for his leather cuirass, and by his confident posture, it was apparent that he was deliberately not trying to hide the abomination attached to his side.
“First of all,” he began and took a step towards her, “everything is alright. We won, and I’m okay.” The distress in her voice both surprised and concerned him. It was endearing that she still cared enough about him to illicit this intense reaction, but he needed to relieve her of it immediately. He didn’t enjoy tormenting her.
At about that time, the door opened and the wizard gave Valdasar a nod of acknowledgement. He was welcome during the conversation, but only because of how recently he’d been dead. Loic was still unsure about all of the side effects of being resurrected. Lael would have to either put a mask back on her feelings, or have some faith that the nice, elderly priest wasn’t going to judge her. The wizard had run enough tests on the fellow in the last handful of hours to have acquired that faith already.
“I went to Vizeran’s room to see what I could from the window. I saw a platoon of figures filtering into the front door, but I couldn’t get any closer before I knew they would see me. Even though I can make out shapes down here, I don’t have Drow eyes. So, I tried to cause as much damage as I could before they got in, from as far away as I could manage. I dropped some ceiling on them. The thing I hit happened to be a damn Yochlol. We have some phenomenal warriors on our team, I admit, but between the footmen and the priestesses, and then a Yochlol, I knew that my role in the battle would be to give you guys as much time as possible to split their forces. I tried several tricks at a distance first, but it resulted in wasted spell-power and they sought refuge inside the tower. To keep them away from the stairs, I engaged the Yochlol and one of the priestesses. I kept them occupied long enough for my golem to come take the hits for me, but just before he could reach us, the Yochlol caught me in its mandibles – it was a giant spider at the time – and that mostly did me in. The priestess took the opportunity to stick her blade through me. When I returned to awareness, I was no longer… here. I spent about six hours in The Fugue, and then I was returned to the material plane, and my mortality, by what I assume were the combined efforts of Ghaunadaur and our scaly friend here. Even better, Valdasar continued to heal me up, so I am fit enough to travel as soon as we can manage.”
“My condition.” Loic raised that hand up enough to indicate it. “It’s actually a gift. It’s still growing, but I believe it will become a natural weapon, one that I might actually be able to have some skill with.” He lowered his head a little, then his eyes, and quietly added, “I doubt it will look nearly as bad when it’s done. …Not as diseased.”
Lael’essthrae Xund’lara Torviir
Lael was stood behind the door when Valdasar decided it was in his best interest to be with them, the door had knocked her and she greeted the Dragonborn’s presence with an irritated huff. She moved then putting equal distance between the cleric and the wizard, leaning against the wall and folding her arms defensively. Staring at the toes of her boots as she listened to his story.
When he was finally done, Lael simply just stretched and moved as if she was leaving. She had no idea where to start with any of this mess. Should it be the stupid plan to distract a Yachlol and her handler, alone, or to continue the Ghaunadaur argument. She felt too weary to deal with either.
Resting a hand on her eyes she sighed. They stilled burned from being subjected to a lengthy battle with two sunblades in her vicinity. Her head throbbed, most likely from a blow taken, Angaste nagged for riders attention and Eilistraee’s song screamed at her.
Despite the overwhelming noise going on in her mind all the tired Paladin wanted was a simple answer to a question. “Why-” She began before stopping.This conversation was private, Valdasar could stand there in silent protest all he wanted but there were other ways. “
Ele ph’dos ji sei’lor pholor ulu kyorl ulu dosst ehmtu elge?” ((Why are you so consigned to your own oblivion?)) She Continued in Undercommon.
“Zhah dosst eluith’orth ji lotha wun udossa, wun uns’aa, nindel dos talinth dos z’klaen plynn aglust wun folt waela di’morad fridj ji udos wynthye?” ((Is your faith so little in us, in me, that you think you must take part in such foolish actions just so we succeed?))
She had turned back round now to face the half-elf, she didn’t look angry, just tired and saddened.
“Explain it, I truly do not understand. There was a Yachlol inside, but we dealt with it swiftly and quickly, because I am equipped and trained to deal with Lolth’s Handmaidens and because I had worthy allies by my side who knew their place, their purpose.” Lael decided to edge a step closer.
“Udos ph’l’vaen nin, ol zhah fridj udossa draa lu’Usstan shlu’ta naut xun nindol maglust lu’nausbyr shlu’ta dos.” ((We are the last now, it is just us two and I can not do this alone and neither can you.)) While she was speaking she started removing the gauntlet of her right hand, the hand she favoured most for her shield.
“Ol zhah telanthus nindel jal khaless zhah waela, zhahen nind xusst xor zhahus Usstan?”((It is said that all trust is foolish, were they wrong or was I?)) Lael asked carefully her hand stretched out for Loic to take.
When the woman turned to leave, he cocked his head to the side in quandary. Had he overloaded her just now, as was his tendency to do to people? It hadn’t been intentional. That was the shortest version of the tale that he could possibly relay. The long version included things he doubted most of the group would be capable of fathoming.
But then she stopped at the door, and she asked the young half-elf a question. Loic frowned, both because he was sorry she hadn’t reached a comfortable level yet with Valdasar, and because she was apparently going to take this one on to herself as well, just like everything he’d done since he’d found himself at her side. That had to stop.
She turned to face him, and his expression was a reflection of her own: sad and tired. Its creases seemed to deepen when he was told that there had been another Yochlol, and that they had dispatched it without much trouble. He’d been fine half a second ago, but that dealt great damage to his sense of validation for having risked his life (and lost it). She sounded completely unappreciative, going as far as to call his actions foolish without the proceeding praise Valdasar had been so kind in giving him.
Despite that great sting, he reminded himself that Lael hardly ever knew what she was really talking about. She came from a place of faith and emotion. He’d noted that at times, she said things for no other reason than to take a stab in the dark at explaining happenstances she didn’t understand. With Loic, she did not understand many things, and it was possible that she could not.
He moved forward and took her hand when she offered it. He continued to move forward, boldly, and drew her into a sturdy, warm embrace. The woman barely had time to refuse before his good arm was around her waist, holding onto her tightly, and his cheek was gently leaning against the side of her head. He lingered and sighed through his nose, taking in her scent at the same time as he thought of what to say.
“…Ol zhah ’zil Usstan inbal telanthus, Lael. Ol zhah naut bauth dos. Xor khaless,” ((It is as I have said, Lael. It’s not about you. Or trust,)) he said as softly as he could. “Aphyon zhahus naut vel’bol Usstan zhahus p’luin. F’sarn taudl ulu inbal tahta dos.” ((Death was not what I was after. I’m sorry to have scared you.))
His grip relaxed, and the wizard moved away enough to look down at her. “I am not like you, or Eran, or any of those of whom you claim to know the places for. I am a wizard, and my greatest weapons are within my unorthodox ways. In there, on the second level, everyone else would have been caught up in the rage of my spells, because that is the nature of most of the ones I would have been able to use. Like you said, you had that point covered. In order to provide any kind of support at all, I decided to flank them. At the time, there was no second to spare to weigh the decision. It was either act, or don’t. I chose to act, not hide behind you in a corner, tossing fire motes aimlessly into the throng of bodies, hoping to land the enemy instead of you. And perhaps I was hoping I could save you, for a change. Perhaps I was fantasizing about my triumphant return, covered in demon blood, and how you would swoon at my amazing battle prowess.”
“Thankfully,” his face broke out into a smile, and he stared into her eyes intently, “there are many ways around and through death, and it appears that the Powers-That-Be agree that our mission is too important to let me rest in peace. Xo’al naut ulu eszak. Usstan wo naut ori’gato ol sha’nalt ‘sohna ji pi’rescho, lu’Usstan orn naut sevir dos. Ka rin’ov Usstan xun el whol trantz, zhaun nindel Usstan orn ragar ussta i’dol rath uss tangi. Fol i’dol.” ((Try not to worry. I won’t let it happen again, and I will not leave you so easily. If ever I do die in a more permanent manner, know that I will find my way back eventually. Some way.))
Valdasar observed the exchange between Loic and Lael but even the scant few words of Undercommon he had learned during his time underground were not needed to gauge the tone of the conversation. Lael’s anger was palpable, as was Loic’s remorse.
[12/22/2016 10:12:45 AM] moth banquet: “Do not judge him too harshly,” he said to Lael softly. “His actions were rash, to be sure, but facing even a portion of the drow raiding party within the confines of the tower was testing enough as it was. By delaying the sorceress and her demon, he ensured we were not overwhelmed.” His eyes flickered to Loic briefly. “But I would not put too much faith in being able to return from the Fugue at a whim, young one. If it were so easy, death would not be so great a mortal fear. Should your new benefactor have interceded and not I, a mere three hundred gold pieces would seem a pittance compared to what he would ask of you I am sure.”
The tender moment between the two was dashed to pieces by the interruption of an (apparently blind) old man. Loic glared daggers at Valdasar. Could he not see what was being done here? Besides the level of intimacy he was intruding on now by speaking at that very moment, the dumb lizard tried to smack down any and all positivity he was attempting to give the paladin. She was distraught, and he was attempting to calm her. All the cleric had just done was make that harder, so he was forced to combat it.
“Stop pretending like you know things that you don’t,” he seethed at the priest, which was a bold contrast to how gentle his demeanor had been a second ago. “You’re not the one who died and went there, and you’re not the one that’s been speaking to That Which Lurks. I would vastly appreciate it if you kept your opinions to yourself. …Particularly in a moment such as this. Divine’s sake, have some tact.”
Loic was beholden to Valdasar now, and he respected the man more than he did most people, but it would not save him from the wizard’s sharp tongue when the young half-elf believed it was warranted.
Valdasar raised his brows calmly. “Tact, unfortunately, is as much a luxury to me as bed rest is to you at this moment. There is much to be discussed. And do not be under the impression that I hold my own knowledge with such certainty as you do yours. I do not speak from a position of knowledge of the realm beyond, but of Ghaunadaur himself – gleaned from accounts and tales centuries old. Only a fool assumes that a god who has already started to corrupt his body will grant him a fair bargain to return to the plane of the living.” He looked to Lael. “I presume you have seen the mutation, Lady?”
By the Gods, it was as though the man didn’t understand what he was trying to do. Ghaunadaur didn’t matter right now. Or at least, he hadn’t, until the cleric continued to press on as an unwelcomed voice in the conversation. Naturally, this had Loic’s eyes rolling in open condescension. If he could magically silence the lizard, he would have.
“What the hell is wrong with you, Valdasar?” he said before it went any further. “Tact seems less of a luxury for you, more like a fairytale creature you’ve never seen before. If you’re going to sit there like a demon imp, trying to freak people out and chattering away, when you know this is a private moment and that we’re only letting you stay because I was dead a minute ago, then we’ll just go. You won’t be invited. Things. Are. Fine. Now shut the hells up about it. Go help Eran or something. We’ll be out in a minute.”
His eyes widened like he was trying to telepathically impart some piece of wisdom the cleric was clearly missing out on, and sort of half-nodded at the woman he was with to indicate that a moment of reprieve from all the terror was absolutely necessary right now, and he was ignorantly destroying the wizard’s efforts.
Valdasar cocked his head as he returned his gaze to Loic, a look of keen understanding in his eyes. "By all the- We have just survived a deadly assault by an enemy who now seems to know our precise location. You have only just died and been brought back to life, and your only concern is sheathing your sword? "
Lael’essthrae Xund’lara Torviir
When Loic took her hand, Lael sighed, relieved, but she barely had time to gather her thoughts on the matter before Loic had completely caught her off guard and drew her close.
Why did these surfacers think this was an appropriate way to behave around her, to invade her so? Pressing her hands against his chest to push him back and place him at a respectable distance before his arm snared his waist and she completely froze.
Was this right, was she truly okay with this? If Vizeran had done anything as bold lacking her expressed invitation he would have found himself on the end of Dawnbringer without any doubt. Yet she let Loic take such liberties and it troubled her.
Luckily her unease was swiftly ended as Loic let go and placed some distance between them. He talked of his juvenile fancy about saving her for a change and Lael’s mouth twitched into a smile. Lowering her head she pursed her lips and scrunched her face trying to subdue it. She was still mad at him, she didn’t want to give Loic the thought that he was absolved from it. Yet as he went on, the smile finally cracked and Lael had to cover it with her hand.
She gave Loic a look that was both amused and annoyed, mostly at herself. It was a deep relief to see that the sweet boy that took a Mace to her icey defenses all those months ago was still there, which is all she wanted to ensure.
‘Silly boy’ Lael thought. ‘Don’t you know you already have.’ the Drow female’s parted her mouth to express it but it was then Valdasar decided to interject. Lael had almost forgotten that the old lizard was still there.
Did the Dragonborn understand Undercommon? Lael wondered as she turned her head to gauge his words carefully, it seemed the Old man only responded to what they said in common, so it would seem.
The Paladin was not objecting to the point that Loic’s actions may or may not been necessary. Her motives were completely selfish and that the wizard should be more careful for her sake. A frown followed.
Would Ghaunadaur demand such a price? The calm waters she briefly held onto stirred again and suddenly she was unsure.
Yet before she could get a word in edge ways a debate took place and Lael found herself bouncing her head between the two.
When the cleric mentioned the corruption of Loic’s body she let her eyes fall on the twisted thing, so it was as she feared, the god was making his mark… Loic’s protest about speaking about it didn’t fill her with confidence either, despite his best intentions Lael’s shoulders dropped in disappointment. The young half-elf still didn’t understand.
And then it happened. Valdasar’s inelegant comment about Loic wanting to ‘sheath his sword’ that made the Paladin cringe physically. Her hand smothered her face to hide her embarrassment. If a dark elf could be seen blushing this would be the time it would be, Lael could feel the heat emanating off her face. “Oh, Goddess.” she whined. This was fine, if anything the paladin could deal with this misconception.
“Enough!” She irritably hissed with a stamp of her foot ensuring in the same movement she place the half-elf at a more respectable distance.
“Firstly, Valdasar. If all it took was a gift here and there, a touch or a kind word, then they would not call us Dark Maids ” Came the first retaliation, putting stress on the final word to get the point across that Lael meant it in the very truest sense of the word.
“Next, nothing staves away the fear of death like the warmth of another body but this is not what we are talking about.” As she spoke her voice got more shrill and her shoulders rose. “Lasty, it is no one’s business when, where or who I choose to lay with and I demand the entire conversation be dropped here.”
Turning her attention to Loic, Lael wearily brushed her hair out of her face. “Loic, there is only one thing I desperately want you to understand because I do not think you do. I need you to realise what place of torment you have placed me in.”
“This is not about what god you chose or why, my reasons are completely selfish and I confess to it. Ghuanadur is not the enemy of my enemy…” She paused and drew breath. “He is the the enemy. In my lifetime I have witnessed what his servants have done to my people. And I do not mean Drow, I mean those who follow the Silver Maiden, when his cultists laid siege to the Promenade, our holy place and heart of our church.”
“I need to know that this pact you have with him is temporary, it is circumstantial.” She moved back over to the wizard and laid her hand on his gnarled arm and spoke softer the stress slowly ebbing away from her voice. “ My greatest fear is not that you have chosen a evil god, but that one day I must choose between my faith and the sole friend I have in this world.”
“If what Valdasar says is true and Ghaunadaur is marking you, Am I supposed to turn on my family if they see it and decide you are a threat? Or what if your dark master decides that a as payment he wants my death, would you do it?” shaking her head violently she closed her eyes as her mind whirred all the terrible things that could happen because of this choice.
The Dragonborn sighed and hung his head. “I am sorry. This has been a trying time for us all and I should not have spoken so bluntly. But know, Loic, and you too, Lady Lael, that my presence here and now is not to interfere in your personal affairs. As you have said many times, Loic, there is precious little time and I do not know when I will have another chance to speak these words.”
He looked up, regarding them each in turn. “My visions brought me to Gauntlgrym, and to you. I did not know what significance you had and even upon hearing of your exploits, I had my doubts. But then came the sign, outside Gravenhollow. When your friend the deep gnome vanished beneath the shadow of a dragon; I knew then that you, along with your companion Taman, you have all been chosen. The Justicemaker himself is watching over you, whether you choose to acknowledge it or not, and I must see you both through what is to come.”
His voice grew heavy, though whether it was through sadness or simple fatigue was impossible to tell. “Mistrust runs like poison through the veins of this…motley gathering of wizards, warriors and priests. I would not be surprised if Ghaunadaur wished to sow the seeds of disunity just as surely as Lolth herself. The two of you are vital to defeating this threat and I would not see our plight paralysed in its infancy.”
He looked to Loic. “I have seen friends, family and lovers torn apart by secrets and arrogance. Listen to your friend, but heed also the words of Eran and Ilia, and the masked one. You are chosen, but you are not alone.”
[[:loic-gwawr-llwyd | Loic Gwawr’llwyd]
Loic’s hand flew to his face at the exact same time as the one beside him, more with a mental scream of frustration than embarrassment. He was so dumb-struck at the cleric’s ability to completely miss a point that he didn’t have the words. As a handful of snappy comebacks filtered through his brain, he began to relax and direct his energy towards fixing the awkwardness and anger abundantly floating through the room again.
But, he didn’t have to. Lael stomped her foot and he stood to attention, as if awoken by a thunderclap. As her voice grew shrill, his ears climbed back marginally on his head, trying to get away from the audio assault. When she was finished putting it frankly to Valdasar and returned her attention to Loic alone, he tried to wipe the various shades of shock off his face and pay attention.
The wizard listened without interruption, but before he could reply, the cleric once again cut in. This time though, Valdasar’s words were much easier to swallow. He seemed to at least understand he’d done something wrong, but the manner in which he excused himself left what could have been a slight apology feeling hollow. Still, he listened without interruption.
“…O-okay,” he said half-heartedly to the Dragonborn, looking at the fellow like he wasn’t making a whole lot of sense. He really wasn’t. Loic did trust the majority of their travelling party. He had begun to doubt if he and Raddan would ever get along, but they didn’t need to. They could be rivals, he knew, and work just as well together. Ultimately, he didn’t understand where Valdasar’s worry was coming from. Perhaps he’d seen something that the wizard had not. “Well, give it some time, Old Man. We’re getting to know each other as fast as I imagine is possible without everyone being a Psionisist.”
Looking to the Drow again, he nodded over at his armor, which was still laying on the ground, then moved towards it. “Would you mind helping me a little? I would make a mess of it right now if I tried to tie knots.” It seemed he was going to wait for an answer to that first before continuing on the topic of what she kept insisting was his master.
With an impatient sigh, Valdasar turned to leave the room. He stopped at the door before glancing at Lael over his shoulder. “I will check on the others. My lady, if you please, I would like to speak with you as soon as possible. You will find me on the lower floors.”
Lael’essthrae Xund’lara Torviir
The Drow Paladin had exhausted herself spiritually with her outburst. She couldn’t remember the last time she had been worked up so much. She was quite certain that not even her sisters drove her to such extreme fluctuating emotions and from all she could recall all they did was bicker among themselves.
Loic’s request was simple enough and she swept the armor up in her arms as Valdasar requested to see her after. With a curt nod she agreed “I will find you after.”
She held up the armour and awaited the wizard to attempt to put it on. “I would say arms up, but I do not think I could reach.” Lael stated in a dry tone.
Valdasar left the room and closed the door. Alone in the hallway, he released a deep, exhausted breath and cast his eyes up to the ceiling. “Why, Bahamut, great Lord of Dragons, do you see fit to test me with the most taxing of all creatures; the young?”
With that, he shuffled towards the stairs and down to the lower levels.
After she came over and Valdasar closed the door, he was finally able to respond to Lael’s fears.
“No need. Only one of the sides has been undone. Just… hold it open for a moment and I’ll slip in sideways.” Eventually, he got his long arm through its designated hole, and the rest was fairly simple.
“Regarding your question as to whether or not I will become like the cultists you know, I can say that is a certain ‘no’. Ghaunadaur doesn’t really seem to care who worships him, so long as he is worshipped, and he attracts a lot of sociopaths and hemophiliacs. Outcasts are simply within his realm of dominion. That’s not necessarily his intent. What those people do are not necessarily “in the name of That Which Lurks”. Same of many Drow who fail to see Lolth’s true vision, as I understand it. They can act according to what they think their god’s will could be, but many of them will never get confirmation on that. That aside, you must hear me when I say I do not intend to worship him. That takes free will, and I cannot give it to him, because in my own heart, I truly believe that to succumb to any one doctrine limits one’s potential and ability to see situations with total clarity. I am an ally, not a minion. If a priest of Ghaunadaur were to cross my path and you felt the need to cut him down for what they’ve done, then depending on the crime, if I agreed, then I would help you obliterate them. If I didn’t, then I would simply step out of your way. It’s more like a… uh, divine mercenary contract than picking a religion."
“So, do you understand that Ghaunadaur is not my master? He’s an investor. And that this isn’t some kind of cursed mark, it’s just a tool to help me complete the objective we all want?” He wiggled his extra long fingers.
Lael’essthrae Xund’lara Torviir
After the Half-elf slipped his monstrosity of an arm into the hole Lael set about to tying the open sides. Listening quietly as Loic spoke, not responding to each point not even with the micro gestures her face sometimes expressed.
Lael was practically done when he asked her if she understood and she nodded once in agreement. “That is all I needed and I won’t bore you further with tales of Ghanadaur’s famous deceptions. I trust you and will support you in this.”
As she went to check each tie was secure with a tug as the Drow did with her own armour she continued “My one redeemable quality in this life is my strength. I pride myself on my ability to endure long lengths of punishment but I do not know if I am strong enough to make that choice, and it would destroy me if I had to make it. I hope you now understand that…”
With one last tug Lael took back to admire her work. “There, not too bad, if I do say so myself, for someone that is usually dressed by others.”
“Oof! Ow,” were some of the noises he made when she tightened the armor. That region was still extremely tender. As she stood back to inspect her work, he lowered his arms and nodded. “A little tight, but that’s probably for the best at the moment.”
With that, he grabbed up his big, black cloak and spun it around, onto his shoulders. “I admit that I hadn’t realized before how strong your feelings for me might be. Sometimes you can be hard to read. But now that I know, it does change matters slightly. I’ll be… extra aware in the future about putting you in positions you don’t appreciate.”
“I do think you should try to speak to Eilistraee about all this, if she would hear you. Lolth has been involved, now Ghaunadaur. I imagine if anyone were to have need of her at this very moment, it would be you. She may decide to lend you some guidance. Maybe she’ll even say that in times of war, the measures we take must sometimes be the lesser of two evils, or something, and she’ll give you her blessings. Then you could tell your family and they would have to forgive me. That is, if Eilistraee isn’t completely repulsed. If you need me to throw up a spell to allow you some privacy for the ritual, I can do that almost any time. Today I’m… a little depleted, but it’s not too difficult of a casting, and I have the power-storing pearl I have yet to tap on today.”
Loic moved for the door and put his hand on the knob, but he didn’t open it yet. “I’m not using our blood for the ritual any longer. The reward may have been higher, we may have even not had the last battle if I had done it quickly enough, but in the end I understood that it was the physical manifestation of the trust you all have given me, so I smashed the mixture. If I’d used it, it would have burned more bridges than I was willing to lose. I’m off now to collect the blood of the fallen priestesses instead. He’ll enjoy that, I think. Perhaps, if there is any Yochlol left, it could work as the demon blood ingredient we need for Vizeran’s plan as well.”
Lael’essthrae Xund’lara Torviir
When Loic spoke of how he smashed the vile of blood Lael’s face lit up. “Oh Loic…” She breathed with a sigh. Perhaps if Valdasar had not completely ruined her sense of pride earlier she may of embraced the young wizard in that moment. “Why did you not just tell me that instead of letting me make a mockery of myself with that emotional outburst.”
Lael let a breathy chuckle escape and shook her head. What a mess she had made, well it was too late now, she had said all those things and there was no taking them back. Had he just told her he smashed it, it would had eased all her doubts. When he told her of the deal and the plan it was almost as if all sense had left him, which had startled her as much in the first place.
“Tell the others immediately.” Lael interjected quickly before Loic could comment. “For as much as Valdasar generates annoyance with his pious bleating, he is right. Seeds of discord and mistrust will end us in great failure.”
She cautiously stepped forward and rested her hand on the wizard back. “The others have not known you as long as I have, They have not seen your kindness and generosity. If I have misjudged you, then surely they have too.”
“And besides their company is much more preferred than the dwarf and the half-orc.” Ending the touch Lael gestured dismissively trying to keep the tone light. The Drow female was mentally exhausted from this conversation alone, the battle hadn’t even left her breathless. It was funny how these things worked out.
Although she had decided not to answer on Loic’s generous gift of privacy to conduct her Flamesong. Lael was perturbed by how he knew of it. She had tried to be so careful to keep such a solemn and personal ritual private. Often going weeks without such a serene, spiritual release. Which generally left her more of a foul mood than usual.
So how did he know it? She had always checked before hand and after to ensure no one had spied on her. The young elf knew something, but not enough to know that talk of such things was completely taboo. Instead of denying it’s existence or confirming the ritual with questions Lael decided to just completely ignore it.
It has been many a year since Lael had begged the aid of the Silver Mother, instead using her ritual to convene praise and gratefulness that she had lived through yet another difficult encounter Or a status report on Lael’s progress and growth. Whatever took the Paladin’s fancy in that moment..
It had last happened one fateful day in the forest after a quite unpleasant squabble with her siblings. Lael looked down to her uncovered hand, her fingers caressing her palm. She never answered then, or perhaps she just did not answer at that time. It had been an age, since Lael had thought about that.
Perhaps it was time to try again.
“Loic, before you go.” Lael quickly said before he could flee, she was conscious of what the boy had said about her being difficult to read. He had not been the only one to tell her than in her life. “Not even the most legendary of Dark Song Knight’s would face a Yachlol alone. “What you did today was very brave, stupid and completely insane-” A smile crossed her face. “But very brave…” Turning away from him completely, Lael started to replace her gauntlet which she had removed earlier.
He put on a helpless grin and looked at her from over his shoulder when the Drow berated him for the order in which he had explained himself. He validated it to himself because he had only started trying to tell her that everything was okay before Valdasar had rudely interrupted with so many reasons as to why, actually, things very much still were not. He’d told her as soon as he could have, he thought, but he was just glad to see her relief.
Lael came to stand behind him with her hand on his back. When she told him that it was likely the others were watching him with great caution, he scoffed aloud and rolled his eyes, muttering, “Them and everyone else that’s ever had the misfortune of meeting me.” Loic was a suspicious person, if for no other reason than the amount of things he knew that others didn’t. The unknown was often feared, and half the time it was for good reason. Still, he noted that, for her, he would attempt to maybe make some effort in the direction of his trustworthiness…
By the time she was done and making her way back to her discarded gauntlet, she’d put a subtle, genuine smile on the half-elf’s face. Between joking about the present company being preferable to the former and the praise she gave him for his actions today on the battlefield, he was feeling like their relationship was healed. Fortunately, it hadn’t lasted longer than a day. He hoped things would continue to be solved as swiftly in the future, where they were likely to end up in a quarrel again some way or another. The fact there was tension didn’t matter at all compared to the concept of sticking together and seeing it through, and everyone was becoming quite adept at that.
“Hey,” he said quietly when the woman fell into silence. “There is much more to you than your strength alone. You have a lot to offer anyone who would be so lucky.” The wizard turned the handle, opened the door, and casually began to make his way to the second floor of the tower, adolescent Basilisk waddling behind.