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cursed with ideas
Location: On the road west of Danach
Time of day: Mid-afternoon
Characters: Talia, Erik
Mentions: n/a
Talia rolled her shoulders, stretching against the stiffness that was setting in upon her neck. She’d be glad to be off the road for some downtime after this round through the kingdom. Rogue mages were getting fewer and far between in Cantawar, but they were also getting more clever. All the easy pickings had already been expelled or otherwise disposed of, meaning they were now left with rooting out the crafty and more powerful vermin.

That considered, the small regiment she’d taken along had done well this rotation. The iron cart they used to transport captures pulled heavy against its longsuffering draft team, loaded with the chained forms of their new prisoners. She’d have to schedule an execution day when they arrived, the dungeons would be filled by this delivery.

Talia was roused from her thoughts by the appearance of a pair of figures approaching along the road, riding hard from the direction of the capital. The two were coated in grime, and she just registered the face of Lieutenant Seimon Cadogan as he neared. She barely recognized the man even as he drew up his steed panting before the party, so changed was his countenance.

“Cadogan! What’s the meaning of this? What’s happened to you?” Talia pulled her own horse to a halt, motioning to the party behind her to do the same.

The man shook his head, at a loss for how to begin his explanation. His eyes wandered the landscape around them, seeming to search for something there that would make sense of this.

“The king,” he said, and his eyes moved to lock on to those of his captain, “The king is dead.”

The news went through the group like a wave. Talia froze in her saddle, grip on the reins of her mount tightening to a painful clench. Behind her, several of the captured mages lept to their feet, chains clattering loudly in the shocked silence.

“Have you lost your mind, man? What d’you mean the king’s dead?” One of the Kestrels scoffed from the group, but was silenced by a sharp gesture from Talia.

“Explain.” She said simply, fixing the lieutenant with a firm gaze.

It took a few tries, full of starts and stops with amendments to details not quite told right the first time through, but when he finally got through it the apprehensive quiet was pierced by a sharp bark of laughter from the cart.

“Good riddance!” Marwen, a disheveled pyromancer, had slowly made her way to the front of the cart during Seimon’s explanation, and she now stood with hands wrapped around the bars of the cart. “Rotten son-of-a-troll got what he deserved.”

A Kestrel standing to the right of the cart growled and drew his sword, swiping it across the bars. The motion showered the mages inside with sparks, but the woman only laughed, teeth bared in a snarl. The Kestrel drew his sword back, ready to do more, but was stopped by a snap of “Enough!” from Talia.

She looked down at her hands, brow furrowed in thought and worry. After a few beats, she raised her gaze back to Seimon. “You’re really all that’s left?” He nodded. “Fuck.” Talia swore under her breath, then turned in her saddle to look at those who stood behind her. She’d prioritized speed on this rotation, taking with her a bare minimum of people on the team. Even if she had the numbers, this thing had wiped out nearly all of the capital’s regiment. They had to go after the princess, duty and honor and the fate of their country demanded it, but they couldn’t hope to stand even a sliver of a chance against something like that. Magic that powerful could only be countered with one thing - more magic.

“Fuck,” she swore again, more audibly this time through teeth gritted against the option that was rapidly forming in her mind like a tide of dread.

“We seem to find ourselves in a crisis,” she said, voice taking on a timbre of authority as she turned her horse to face everyone. “One that affects the future of us all. And like it or not our hands are being forced. We must ask you for your aid.”

A pause before a murmur went through the group as they realized she was addressing the mages rather than her own men. The small handful of Kestrels looked angry and confused, to put it lightly, at their leader’s proclamation, but her tone made it clear there was to be no argument. Talia continued before any voices could pick up in protest.

“If you agree, you will not go unrewarded. If we succeed, from that day on you will be permitted to practice magic within our borders and we will turn a blind eye to you. If you refuse, we will execute you where you stand. If you agree but try to turn against us once your chains are removed, you will return to life as hunted animals and we will still see to your execution in time. We captured you once, we can do it again. But - if you agree and help us find the princess, you shall have your freedom.”

Erik had been motionless throughout this, eyes closed and leaned back against the cart’s bars near the rear, seemingly asleep. He drew himself up now, eyes opening to lazily glance around at those gathered. This news was huge. Any time power changed hands it was likely to bring change, and if they could get on the good side of the new ruler by rescuing her from a kidnapper, this time the change might be for the better. However, if this thing had really wiped out all but two of the capital’s Kestrels, he really didn’t like their odds.

“You’re asking us, your sworn enemies, to join you on a suicide mission,” he stated, deadpan.

Talia drew in a breath to stop herself from snapping at the prisoners. “You are right, you might die. But you might not as well. We are giving you two choices: Meet sure death right now at the edge of a blade, or take your chances on this mission and possibly gain your freedom. You need us for this chance to restore yourselves to a position of favor within this kingdom, and we need you to be the means by which we defeat this evil. Like it or not, we need each other.”

Erik grimaced, but offered no more protest. She was self-righteous, and what some might consider a mass-murderer, but she was unfortunately also right. If there ever was a time that Cantawar had a chance to return to the way things were before Maeleg turned the country to shit this was it.
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Nina had been mostly good for the entire cart ride. She sat in the corner of the cart, staring at the ground with a despaired expression. Trying to grasp the situation while also being unable to use her powers. Throughout the cart ride she had been shaking her chains, trying to make any sort of noise that she could. It was too quiet in her head, the silence of not being able to hear the thoughts of others was deafening. She hated it. She wanted the sound to come back, she wanted to go home.

Nina had managed to ignore the guards who were pissed off by the noise she made. It was hard, not being able to read their thoughts and know exactly what to say or at least be able to sympathize with them. She still didn’t understand why she was here, she just wanted to help. She didn’t want to hurt anyone like they thought she did. They were afraid of her and all magic and she couldn’t understand why but they were hurting others because of it.

Nina hadn’t noticed the cart come to a stop, or the dishevelled Commander giving his shocking news. Nina was only pulled from her trance when her fellow mages reacted, their chains clattered as they all rose to their feet. Nina’s attention was officially caught and she stood up slowly, trudging a bit closer to the front of the cart as the Commander sputtered his story. He looked nothing like a commander to her. He almost looked scared, maybe he was, it was hard to tell without her powers. She depended on them quite a bit.

Despite these people being the source of her despair, Nina couldn’t help but admire Talia as she turned to Nina and the other Prisoners with a plan. She came up with a plan so quickly and stayed composed and authorities in the face of such a tragic event. If only she hadn’t been so full of hate, she could do so many good things with that mind. Maybe it wasn’t too late for her. Nina had never met people with this much prejudice in their heart. While it was unfamiliar, Nina had to at least try and help them.

Her eyes lit up for the first time since she was arrested at this opportunity. This was perfect. If they worked together, Nina could help them! And she could earn her freedom. After she helped them, she could go back to helping mages or go back home. She didn’t think she’d go home though. Nina disliked leaving things unfinished, she had to help make things better here. Or die trying. Her sister’s would understand.

“I’ll help,” She spoke complacently, she looked at the kestrels from behind the bars.

Location; On the road west to Danach, in a cage
Mentions; Noil Noil
Mood; hopeful


Adv. / Lit. / Multi-Para
Fae Illusionist
On the road west of Danach
Irritable, yet prideful
Riv'Lea [Lea]
The sound of chains rattled all about her, the ones clinging to her throat, wrists, and ankles holding most of her attention even though one of the other captives practically shivered in her skin [Nina]. She kept running the situation through her head, still trying to make sense of it all. Everything had gone smoothly. The Retributionist scout had come back and said the coast was clear. So why had there been a Danach scouting party? Brown eyes closed, air huffing angrily through her nostrils. It no longer mattered why, the scout was clearly a fool. And she was exhausted. At the very least, the rest of her party had escaped back into Lúth-glad. She doubted she would be rescued as their party was still so few, and the fact they lost her was a tremendous one. But her impending death would rally them to the cause, and hopefully draw more Faefolk to their cause.

Shouting at the head of the prisoner wagon caught the fairy's attention, her eyes opening as she focused to listen with her pointed ears. The wagon suddenly halted, chains rattling about from the sudden stop. Part of her felt a little hopeful that maybe the Faefolk had followed. But if it's too good to be true, it usually was. An unfamiliar voice caught her ears, and she strained to listen. It was faint, but she didn't even need to strain for long. The words crashed through the guards and prisoners alike; the King was dead.

But didn't she just say to herself; 'if it's too good to be true, it usually was'?

"Good riddance!" One of the prisoners yelled, earning her a swipe from a sword that nearly showered them with sparks. When the woman's response was a laugh, so too did Riv'lea.

"Hah! 'Gods be praised', as humans would say." She retorted, though fell silent when the leader of the caravan yelled 'Enough'. It didn't wipe the grin from her face though. There was silence, Lea pulling herself up against the bars close to where the pyromancer had rose. She looked outside with a smug expression on her face as she watched the Captain contemplate what was to be done. The cursing only made Lea more excited.

Until it pissed her off.

At first, she was certain she heard wrong. But the direction of Talia's eyes was not on her own regiment but those she had imprisoned. A hiss rose to the fairy's lips, but she couldn't muster the words she wanted to scream into the face of her captor. And with each passing second, each word uttered by the woman, that anger only grew. Her hands were clenched into fists, the manacles digging into her delicate fae skin, her knuckles white. There was absolutely no chance she would betray her home, her people, for the chance to be free. She would die and her death would mobilize the Folk of Lúth-glad to end Cantawar once and for all.

She put a stopper on her anger for a moment as she turned to look at one of the captives who had spent the ride sleeping [Erik] and was now questioning the Captain of the Kestrels. Narrowing her eyes, she returned her attention to Talia.

"This is bullshit..." The fairy muttered under her breath, the action letting out much of the steam that had been building inside. She was too tired for this human political crap.

"I'll help." Lea snapped her head to the side as she looked at very curly-haired Nymph.

And she exploded.

"Are you insane!" Riv'lea shouted, her wings spreading up and around her. They shimmered like light filtering through trees, catching motes of dust and pollen in the beam. "She talks a good game, I will give her that. But that is all it is to these people. A bloody game." She looked around at the other prisoners that shared their temporary cell. "Promises by Cantawar mean nothing. Death has always hung over our heads since they decided to blame magic for their own issues. Since they decided to blame those who didn't even know what was going on in this Kingdom." She turned to glare at Talia, a resolute look in her eyes. "They'll just use us until we're no longer useful. That's all this is. Give us hope by making fake promises of freedom only to cut us down as soon as we finish the job. Pathetic. We're facing death no matter what because we'll always be blamed for something we didn't even know was happening." Her wings lowered, folding against her back. "My freedom now doesn't change the past, Kestrel." She spat as the last word left her lips. "I'll need more than my freedom to help someone like you."

Her heart pounded, her already exhausted state getting that much worse.

She wasn't crazy where she wanted to die. No one ever wanted to die, especially when they were a long-lived race like a fairy. But a naïve wood nymph was already bowing down to her new masters and the human didn't voice any sort of disagreement to Talia's proposition. If anyone needed to speak up, it needed to be her. She was already ready to die for her own people of Lúth-glad, to become a martyr for the Retributionist's cause. What difference did it make if she placed herself between a sword and the rest of the prisoners? They needed to remember why they were chained and in a cage to begin with before they made such a rash decision.

"Get down on your knees and beg me to join you. All of you. Then maybe I'll be ready to accept your little deal." She suddenly spoke up with just as much forcefulness as any Cantawar commander. She would take everything from them before she would help them, and she would make a show of it as well. Even if they did cut her down, the fact that she stood up to their captors might give the rest of the prisoners the morale to continue to challenge.

"So what say you, Kestrels?" She shakes the bars on the wagon to punctuate her point. "Get down and BEG!"
coded by natasha.


A little Valkyrie of a healer.
How did things end up like this? Chained down and placed in a cage like a wild animal, carted off to what was presumed to be the capital to likely be murdered like the rest. Opening her eyes, Petra set her sapphire hues towards the others in the cage with her, chained all the same as the young Gem mage, though some were of different walks of life comparatively. A breath was taken before setting her eyes on the chains, Petra could feel the disconnect, she couldn't commune with the spirits, let alone her gemstones, all because of her magic, and the insane king's request to forcibly kill out all the mages, without understanding the consequences and hatred he built, why did innocent lives have to suffer for the actions of a select few whom were unwelcome in most communities anyway? It baffled Petra every time she thought of the cleansing, it made little sense to her.

In the time that the woman clad in green and gemstones was lost to her own thoughts, the cart had come to a stop. Glancing over to the front, Petra could see the presumed captain talking with a messenger of sorts. While they were out rounding up the souls present, the Mad-King was killed, prompting a "Good Riddance" from a mage in the cage, she was noticeably taller than Petra, appearing rather disheveled with her long brown hair, though what set her apart the most, was the orange eyes, akin to the Fire Opal in Petra's mind, if she still had her satchel, the Fire Opal was one of her many gemstones, and was a cherished one from her aunt. However, that thought was interrupted by the shrill sound of metal against metal, followed by the sparks scattering over not only Petra, but over each of the mages within. A laugh came from the one who antagonized, much to the dismay of Petra, who was not a fan of being showered in metal. What didn't aid the situation was the words of another joining in, followed by swearing.

As the Captain contemplated her next course of actions, she soon set her gaze on the mages and fey that were brought to this point. Simply asking for their aid, in exchange for their freedom. It came off as an insult to one, who felt more inclined to speak of her disgust with the situation, Petra could not agree more with the disgust, especially as another fey mentioned her willingness to help. Turning towards the two, Petra rose, glancing first to the Kestrels, then towards the two fey, her sapphire eyes showing her restrained anger, first, though, she wanted to address the question at hand, "You expect us, the people you have treated as lesser and enemies for the past decade, to even think of aiding you?" A harsh scoff came from her lips following those words, "I'll admit, it shows you've gall to say the least. However, the price of my own freedom is but a drop in the ocean to the reprimands you owe for the transgressions." A pause came over Petra, as now she turned to the fae, she knew how the other felt, and showed her contempt, however, understood the seeds they could plant for the future, ending something like this took time, turning back to the captain, she continued, "That being said, if you want our aid, for a great task ahead, I ask a great reward, not just my freedom, or the freedom of those in this cage with me, but simply the Cleansing to end, here and now. As I've heard, the lot standing here are the last of the Kestrels, as such, you've now the opportunity to correct the errs of the past." Hoping her point was across, Petra glanced to those with her, and then to the Kestrels once more,
"If those conditions are met, then by the spirits of the earth, I will give you my support."

Mentions Noil Noil InTheSea InTheSea x_Tasia_X x_Tasia_X
Mood: Seething, yet hopeful.


Adv. / Lit. / Multi-Para
Kestrel Scout/Archer
On the road west of Danach
Shocked, angry, confused
see image above
Illyrius "Lyr" Demol
Illyrius was ready to get back home.

After gathering some information from tiny villages that rested far too close to Lúth-glad, his group of Kestrels found a party of Faefolk. While the majority of the creatures got away, the magic user who had caused that to happen ended up in their custody. She didn't go down easy even when she used up all the magic she apparently had. And even then, Lyr couldn't understand exactly what he was seeing. The group had gotten blinded by an incredible flash of light, and when the light faded, the fae were gone. But they could still hear sounds, there was running, and yelling in a language he didn't understand.

They had all disappeared, and Lyr himself checked the earth for tracks but found there weren't any. He remembered the others being angry, until one of the Fae suddenly appeared before them and collapsed to her knees. She tried to get up and fly, but against five Kestrels and and their horses, her flight only got a few feet above their heads. She kicked one of the Kestrels right in the head and knocked her clean onto the forest floor, but that act alone was enough to give the other four the ability to practically tackle the massive fairy to the ground.

Lyr took great pleasure in watching her chained up. But at the same time, he wondered if she knew she was going to die, and felt pity. With her pulled along by the back of their horses, there was no escape for the Faefolk. She repeatedly turned to look back towards the border, and he wondered why she looked so smug. Maybe she really didn't know she was going to die. When his party met up with the rest, the fairy was placed in the caged wagon with the others they had captured and forgotten. Ushering his mare up with the others, he let out a long sigh before he took a long swig from his canteen, falling in line as he usually did.

Sometime later, the boy dozing in the saddle, he heard the sound of hoofbeats rapidly approaching. Unease settled upon him, as there was no reason for such haste unless something was dire. Or they were in danger. Luckily, the riders bore the armor and colors of the Kestrels, and while the boy still felt unease, he was relieved the riders were friends as opposed to foes. Hanging towards the back, Lyr stayed silent and listened to the leader of the Kestrel's speak to her Lieutenant who was leading the hurried crew.

"The king is dead."

Lyr's heed swam, his fingers clinging to the reins to steady himself. The King couldn't possibly be dead. There had to be some kind of mistake. The King was...well, the King! He was unshakable, unkillable...

Yet the Queen, just as prominent, died a decade prior.

After one of their own spoke up and was quickly silenced Talia. His brow furrowed as he listened, trying desperately to hide his horror. Magic users were bad enough, but a strange, giant bear? What was someone like him to do about something like that? He swallowed a thick, nervous lump from his throat, only to snap his head in the direction when one of the captives uttered their approval for the Kings death. Another joined in. The boy ground his teeth as he watched a Kestrel clash his sword against the bars to silence her. Only Talia was able to stop the situation with escalating.

But it didn't look good. Most of the Kestrels were gone, save for the merged groups that stood around him. Him included. Cold sweat clung to his brow and he could feel it dripping down his back uncomfortably. Talia looked distressed, and he didn't blame her. He couldn't imagine the weight of everything bearing down on her, with all eyes on her looking for an answer she might not even have. He was very glad he wasn't in her position.

But he couldn't imagine the answer she did seem to have. Asking the mages for help...were they really that desperate? These people...creatures...they were the cause of this entire mess to begin with. For the leader of the Kestrels to even think that was a good plan... It meant it was probably the only one. Did they deserve freedom after the murders of their royalty?

One of the prisoners, a disheveled man who he hadn't even seen in the wagon until now, made Lyr purse his lips. Suicide mission? Was this what this really was? A war against some creature that would just slaughter them like the rest of the Kestrels? He looked at the ears of his mare, the horse shifting her weight beneath him. He debated just running, but if the prisoners agreed and they ended up actually winning this thing, he'd probably be hung as a deserter. The mage fell silent, and instead one of the other prisoners spoke up, apparently willing to help.

He glanced to the Captain, furrowing his brow before he returned his gaze to the cage when yet another prisoner spoke up, though this one he recognized; the fairy. She looked livid, calling the curly-haired nymph insane before going on a tirade of her own. Her words were venomous, but nothing struck more below the belt than her demanding the Kestrel's to get on their knees and beg. He felt livid. How dare that thing speak to their commander in that manner? She must be stupid, because death was the only other option given to her.

Another spoke up, with less anger than the previous mages and fae. But her tone was matter-of-fact, and still called for more than just being able to simply be let go at the end. Could they afford to barter?

"How...how dare you!" He spoke up from his horse, his expression incredulous, "The Captain already gave you your options. You can either take freedom upon completion of the task or suffer death now. Right here." He pointed to the nymph, "At least she has some intelligence." The boy looked to Talia, "I'm sorry for speaking out of turn, but they can't speak like that to you, Captain!"
coded by natasha.


cursed with ideas
Location: On the road west of Danach
Time of day: Mid-afternoon
Characters: Talia, Erik
Mentions: InTheSea InTheSea x_Tasia_X x_Tasia_X Mineczka Mineczka
Talia visibly bristled under the onslaught of words from the fairy. She of course hadn’t expected everyone to simply agree outright, but the venom with which this creature dared speak to her brought red to the edges of her vision. She thought she’d made herself perfectly clear, and every minute they spent here speaking with these things was a minute for the princess to get farther away.

“This is not a negotiation!” she snapped, and her horse shimmied under her at outburst. Talia tilted her head toward Illyrius in acknowledgement of his defense, “You take one of the two options, I care not which.” She knew what they were doing. Crafty beings, even faced with execution, were still trying to weasel their way back onto land that rightfully belonged to humankind. “If you want to die for your futile cause, far be it from me to stand in your way, but none will be here to see it. No one will go on to tell tales of your martyrdom. Your death here will mean nothing.”

Erik sighed. He’d never seen the point in fighting a never-ending war against the mundane humans of Cantawar. Both sides trading blows until they destroyed each other. Better to pick up and leave them to wallow in their miserable anger. The hands off, apathetic stance on Cantawar had served him well thus far but, this was different. They didn’t need to fight the ideology of an entire country. They just needed to kick one beast-master’s ass and it could very well all be over with.

“Look, it’s all well and good you two are ready to die for the ‘cause’ or whatever,” Erik spoke up, motioning dismissively in the air between them, “but some of us would like to live to fight another day. And what the hell do you expect her to do anyway? You said yourself Cantawar promises mean nothing, and worse than that, she’s nothing but a particularly nasty little lap dog. Even if we trust them, the Kestrels don’t have any real power without their precious Royal to decree it.”

This was probably the most consecutive words he’d spoken in years, and it was in defense of a damn Kestrel. Who would’ve thought. “Did you stop to think that if a group of mages and Faefolk come to the rescue of the new ruler of the country, that might just incline her to reconsider her worldview somewhat?”


Wildlife Conservationist in the Making
Platinum blonde hair fell over an elegant face as pure emerald green eyes closed as the cart stopped. Chains rattled against her skin, the cold metal links icy against her fair ivory skin. Ashryn couldn't believe she had gotten herself captured of all things. Then again - she had only come looking to help. What a mistake. First, her parents went missing... then she went off on her own .... everything just sucked. The gentle elf hoped her mare was alright - she hadn't seen her horse since she had been captured.

As the voice of the captain sounded, Ash couldn't help but flinch slightly. She didn't like loud noises, and in general, the Kestrels hadn't been on her top list of people she liked - despite not having any ill will towards humans period. The woodland elf sighed as she raised he piercing gaze from the floor and studied the small group of humans. Listening intently as Talia spoke about a plan. Her emerald gaze meeting the captain's own gaze for a split second before darting away.

Ashryn debated for a hot second or two - listening to a few other prisoners agree to help the captain. Her thoughts raced between either accepting the proposal or declining at the risk of her life. Her own common sense kicked in after a while. Her own compassion and strong will coming forward as she spoke up softly from her place on the floor. "I will also help." She said lightly, pausing to see if her words had been heard as she gathered her legs under her. She wasn't sure if she should say anything else regarding her talents... and after studying the Kestrels... quickly remedied herself to staying silent. Waiting to see who else would accept or decline the offer.

Location: On the road west of Danach
Mentions: Talia Noil Noil Nina x_Tasia_X x_Tasia_X
Mood: Puzzled, Curious, Hopeful
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Serana Sylvania
Serana had built herself up from nothing. She made the right decisions, cozied up to the right people, and ascended to comfortable, luxurious heights. Choice is the true measure of wealth and Serana had reached a socioeconomic station where she could choose what work she wanted to do, whom she wanted to do it for, and dictate how much she wanted to be paid for it. Prior to the queen’s passing and the Mad King’s decree, she was exactly where she wanted to be in life and happier than ever. She was truly her best self.

Well, he royally fucked that up, didn’t he? she thought every time she reflected on the day she was forced to abandon her shop and nearly everything she owned, everything she had built -- her life’s work. No more choices. No more freedom. A lesser person might hate the king for this. In moments of weakness, she did. But, most of the time, she merely pitied him. He was only human, after all, and naturally fell prey to the crippling emotional and psychological infirmities of his species.

Regardless of how she felt about the man, she still had to survive in the nightmarish reality he had created. Declaring magic illegal and mages fugitives made the black market for magical tools and weapons explode. Close one door and a thousand others spring open. Serana found no shortage of clients, once she knew where to look, and sold her skills to anyone willing to keep their lips sealed and their purse open. It turns out bandits and pirates don’t care what kings want. They just want to know, “who’s gonna fix this crack in my enchanted sword?” They’re only human, after all.

The years went by in a whirlwind. Help these bandits for a few months until --surprise!-- they try to sell you to the Kestrels. Go help these thieves until they try to sell you to the Kestrels, too. Okay, maybe lay low and make horseshoes for this nice old farmer until, oh, look, here come the goddamned Kestrels! Humans… they never change.

But time, time is the real enemy. Serana thought she could outlast this. Humans are a fickle species. They’ll snap out of it, eventually. But ten long years of the same song and dance can wear a person down, even one who measures her life in centuries. When the Kestrels showed up, as they always did, Serana didn’t run. Didn’t fight. Didn’t even argue. She met them at the door, presented her wrists for the shackles, and demanded they be gentle. (They weren’t.)

Now that she had a few days in the cage to mull it over, Serana began to realize that surrendering probably wasn’t the best idea. The Kestrels didn’t seem to care if a mage came peacefully or not. The treatment they each received was mostly the same. Regret sank in as the cart began to fill. Each new prisoner caused a stab of newfound remorse, propelling her through the five stages of grief at a dizzying pace. She argued. She bartered. She raged. But, eventually, she achieved acceptance and peaceful quietude.

When the sun rose on this day, the beautiful high elf no longer protested, bickered, or cast spiteful glances at her captors. She merely sat quietly in her personal corner of the cart, legs crossed, carefully whittling away at a small chunk of wood that had fallen through the bars sometime during yesterday’s travels. She had no tools or weapons, of course, but her shop’s keys did a decent enough job shaping the wood. Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

She seemed to be carving some sort of small creature. The legs and bushy tail were only now beginning to take shape. If asked, her only reply was a cool, calm, “you’ll see when it’s done.” It was simple, calming work, to take her mind off of her impending death. Kindling, should they decide to burn her at the stake. So deeply was she immersed in her inner space, she nearly missed the commotion going on outside. Humans and their incessant noise! Couldn’t they at least let her have this?

Something… something… something… the king’s dead… something, something… big monster…. blah, blah, blah… princess gone…

Long ago, Serana discovered the most important rule of maintaining one’s status as the smartest person in the room is to never speak first. Wait, let others state their position, then say the same things they said, but better, like with more syllables and stuff.

When the Kestrels’ leader asked for the aid of all mages present, Serana knew exactly what to say. “Fuck you” is only two words, it’s very easy to say. But she bit back such a low-brow ‘human’ response, choosing instead to remain seated, calm, and make clear, direct eye contact with the woman. The high elf’s frigid blue eyes stared into her soul from behind the delicate lenses of her silver-framed reading glasses, like a god studying the goings-on of ants, and waited, bringing a small beacon of oppressively passive-aggressive civility to what was clearly devolving into a very uncivil discourse.

Only once the others had declared their positions, made their demands, strutted, preened and --in her opinion-- made utter fools of themselves did Serana at last rise, dust herself off, and present herself to the audience.

“Excuse me… I’ve a question, if I may,” she said in the gentle, yet firm tones of a mother guiding her errant children. “Though I did not know her personally, Her Majesty seemed a decent sort. A paragon of her kind, spoken of very highly by those whose opinions I value, as well as many I do not,” Serana said with a small shrug. “She must have been, for it seems all sense of decency left with her passing and none among you saw fit to carry on her legacy." The last bit was delivered with a slight bowing of her head, in disappointment.

“And so I ask this: has it never occurred to you, in the quiet moments as you drunkenly stumble from one atrocity to the next, that some of us within this cell might have liked to mourn or, perhaps even avenge her?” Serana asked, pausing just long enough to give Talia time to reflect upon this before continuing. “Has it never occurred to you that the offer you are making now would have served you better then? Have you never lain awake at night, wondering what lives might have been saved if even a few amongst you were half the woman she was?” Again, she paused for emphasis before delivering the final blow: “The king’s life perhaps?”

"He was your monster, rest his soul, and I pray he does not give the worms indigestion, but Queen Corethia was my queen and you people should be ashamed of the things you have done in her name," Serana said, her temper finally flaring ever-so-slightly.Her shackled hands trembled for a brief moment as she gripped the iron bars, but calmness returned as swiftly as it had vanished and she stilled once more as she nodded to the cage door. "Open it already. I just want you to know the princess's innocence and my desire to see a return to decency are the only reasons I am willing to play along with this farce... but play along I shall. You will have my aid, human, until our shared work is done, then the negotiations shall begin. For your sake, I hope you worm your way into our good graces before that day comes."

Mentions: Noil Noil (Talia)
Present: x_Tasia_X x_Tasia_X (Nina) InTheSea InTheSea (Lea & Lyr) Mineczka Mineczka (Petra) Talathel Talathel (Ashryn)
Mood: Tired of your bullshit


Nina didn’t seem very phased by her fellow fae’s reaction to her complicity. She completely understood why they were angry, so she didn’t really say anything about it. She just smiled a little at them. She watched them try to barter with the kestrels for more freedom or freedom for their fellow mates and fae. It was brave, and Nina admired all of their selflessness. But it all seemed rather naive to her. They weren’t in a place to make demands, they were being given this opportunity in exchange for their lives. That was the deal and arguing with these people wasn’t going to help. The effort was nonetheless appreciated by Nina though.

“I don’t want my death to be meaningless.” That was really her only response. She sounded quiet, much too kind and soft to be in a place like this. She looked as if she had never seen a day of battle in her life, like delicate flower that could fall apart if the breeze was strong enough

Nina glanced at the guard who used her as an example of intelligence. Her smile fell a bit, but she didn’t say anything. She didn’t do anything smart, she was just pretending to be okay with this so that she could help her people in a less confrontational manner.

The commander’s response was exactly what she expected it to be. Nina couldn’t understand why she was so angered by someone asking for freedom or an apology. Her people deserved one, but they were still too full of hate to consider the words of a fae. So she just has to make them see that she was a person, and that means making them like her. So, she can’t be rude to them.

Then the human mage started speaking again and she quickly realized that he was probably the most leveled headed person in the area at the moment. He basically stole the thoughts out of her head and spoke them in a much blunter manner. Though, she would’ve thought it more convenient if that idea hadn’t been revealed to the Khestri’s. She isn’t think they were unintelligent enough to not consider it, but before they could assume that none of them had considered the idea. Now they know some of the prisoners are actively considering that. She sighed quietly. Well, there’s isn’t much they could do to stop her. Nina opened her mouth to say something, but she quickly shut it again. She didn’t know what to say.

A woman who’s demeanor intrigued Nina started speaking. She was articulate and formal in ways that the human mage was not, but they were both intelligent. Nina looked at her with a hint of admiration, she reminded her of the nymphs back home. Graceful and motherly, otherworldly. They made humans seem like mere beasts in comparison. Even caged.

Location; still in the cage
Mentions; InTheSea InTheSea Noil Noil AnonyMouse AnonyMouse
Mood; Admiring the pretty smart lady


A little Valkyrie of a healer.
No matter what she said, nor the rage of the other fae and mages, the Kestrels weren't going to move, it was the hill they so chose to die on. They hadn't understood what Petra had said in her mind, they were to fail and die without the help, and what would killing the small group of people do to help do? Outside of practically doom the rescue of the princess, cause more needless bloodshed, and likely also doom the country they lived in. Then again, most of the Kestrels don't look at the bigger picture... The last ten years can serve as an example... Needless bloodshed from a Mad King who found a scapegoat in the mages for his Queen's untimely death, lashing out his rage towards everyone rather than finding the culprit of the actions and dealing with them, like what any sensible person would do. Just thinking about it made Petra exhausted, she was so tired of the needless violence, and the fear of having to live in hiding, and she wanted to make a change.

However, the Kestrels wanted nothing of said change, much to Petra's dismay. However, another voice came up, a young male, dismissing the thoughts shared, followed by an elf woman, who, pretty well summed up the feelings of everyone present, Petra included, but with about thirty more words and seeming less cutting at base level. It was followed by the notion that, she would follow the Kestrels to rescue someone who, quite honestly, was an innocent bystander in the situation, Brigh, the princess. Petra had lost that in the anger she felt, but, she was still missing, and this was still an opportunity to implement the change Petra wanted so bad, and standing here longer meant that the Princess is getting further and further away...

Taking a deep breath, Petra glanced to her fellow mages and fae, before turning towards the Captain, "I'll aid you." Her words were calm, though she wasn't exactly happy, sleeping with one enemy to slay another, "If only to prevent harm to bear on another innocent life. As it only would perpetuate the endless cycle of vengeance death, and we're running few on defendants." With her last comment, Petra's eyes gazed upon the few remaining Kestrels, some looking as stern as ever, others, looking disheveled and nervous, slowly, Petra reached to the bars, her eyes finally stopping on the captain, continuing her words, "Now, time is not on our side, if we know what direction they went, I can see what the Spirits of the Earth say in guiding us to the beast and princess." A teaching her mother taught Petra, mortals can forget, however the Spirts do not, and while most do not meddle in the affairs of humans, Petra was hopeful anyway... She had to be hopeful on something...

Mentions Noil Noil x_Tasia_X x_Tasia_X InTheSea InTheSea AnonyMouse AnonyMouse Talathel Talathel
Mood: Unsure, but steady.


cursed with ideas
Location: On the road west of Danach
Time of day: Mid-afternoon
Characters: Talia, Erik
Mentions: AnonyMouse AnonyMouse InTheSea InTheSea
Talia snarled at the necromancer's simultaneous admonishment of his fellows and jabs at her, but she stayed quiet. If it helped convince any of them to lend their power to the cause, she could endure. She'd been called worse. She could even get past the elf’s invocation of the Queen’s name, though her jaw clenched to the point of pain at the implication and several of the other Kestrels growled sounds of indignation. She had to remind herself - mages were nothing. They weren’t people. Their lies mattered just about as much as the yipping of a fox. It was nothing but noise.

“Right, thanks for that,” Erik said to the dark-skinned elf, “Accusing them of causing the king’s death is surely going to help relations.”

He finally rose to his feet in the cramped cart, stretching his back against the soreness the bumpy road had jostled into it, “If everyone is done insulting each other can we get on with this?”

Talia glared his way, then at each of the captives in turn. All the posturing between the parties wasn’t a good sign, but that’s all it was at this point, posturing. The real test of this being able to work would come when the mages were freed. Best to rip the bandage off quickly and deal with the consequences, whatever they may be.

She nodded to Lyr who was nearby, seated in his saddle with a kind of tense irritation that reflected his outburst earlier, and wordlessly tossed him a ring of keys. The barred door at the back of the cart sung open with a reluctant metallic groan, seemingly just as unhappy with the turn of events as the Kestrels who gathered round it.

Erik stepped down from the cart first since he had been seated at the rear. He had been in that cage for far too long, and even though the bars did let air flow through, breathing felt easier outside it somehow. He held his wrists out expectantly to the young Kestrel, defiantly staring into his eyes as he unlocked the cursed things. They fell to the dust of the road with a definitive thud, and Erik couldn’t help the small quirk that came to the corner of his mouth as he felt magic resume its flow through his body.

It hurt a bit, at first, like blood returning to a limb you had laid on too long in your sleep, but then it was back, and it was like sight returning after having been blind. He could feel the bright sparks of life flickering in the group around him, those with magic pulsing hotter than the others. He’d like to snag some of that life for his own, but didn’t think anyone would appreciate it if one of the horses were to suddenly drop dead. There would be plenty of time to source life energy later.
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Adv. / Lit. / Multi-Para
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  • Fae Illusionist
    On the road west of Danach
    Heavily mixed emotions
    Riv'Lea [Lea]

    Still glowering with intense heat in her heart that boiled the blood in her veins, Lea stared out at the Kestrels in defiance. She trembled in pure rage, though those feelings were slightly quelled when another spoke up near her. Glancing over to a pair of sapphire blue eyes [Petra], the fae listened to the woman speak. And of course, Lea agreed with the things that was said. In their time of need, the Kestrel's wanted the help from the very peoples they chained and slaughtered, punished for things they had no hand in. And it seemed the two of them agreed on the fact that the freedom of one was hardly anything compared to the freedom of all peoples who had magic coursing through their being; freedom of those long since passed.

    Still the woman continued to talk, and while Lea couldn't agree with the Cleaning ending completely being the agreement, the soft voice did much to lessen the wrath that swirled within Lea's heart. It was better than nothing. The Kestrels likely would turn their backs on them all as soon as everything was said and done, but maybe that was the perfect moment for the magic users to strike back. The Retributionists had to be ready though...

    After Petra stopped speaking, a familiar Kestrel asserted himself; the boy [Lyr]. As soon as he started speaking it just made her angry all over again. He was part of the group that happened upon the Retributionists as they were seeking a base of operations, and it was her quick thinking that allowed her friends to get away. That child shouldn't even be speaking. But he was Kestrel, so of course he didn't understand anything. She almost pitied him.

    Glaring at the Captain as she declared up similar terms that the boy stated, even going so far as to insult that which was the Retributionist cause, Lea hissed under her breath. Perhaps staying her hand until they finished the proposed mission was a better idea. Prove to the world that magic users were superior. Save the day, then destroy the opposition.

    The human mage [Erik] chimed in again, this time in what sounded like defense of the Captain. It did little more than usher a laugh from Lea's throat. She didn't want to waste her breath explaining to him the problem; they could all die anyway. But a chance was a chance, and she wouldn't deny that. If they could end the Cleansing, gain their autonomy and the liberation of their kind, and maybe get something more, maybe it was worth the risk. But she reminded herself to be on her guard; she would end them given the chance. The nymph [Nina] didn't like the idea of dying either.

    A blond elf seemed to agree to the terms next, one more ally to the Kestrels. Lea was aware she had yet to agree after already disagreeing, and considering she wasn't brought out and beheaded already, it became apparent that they were pretty desperate. Not desperate enough to beg, but desperate enough to give chances. Letting out a sigh, Lea struggled with herself. She didn't want to give in despite already making the decision mentally. Agreeing would make her weak, wouldn't it? Upon capture, she was ready to die for the cause. True, no one would see her death, but her death /would/ be known and retaliation would follow.

    Still, dying was...final. She parted her lips to speak, but ended up gritting her teeth; curse her pride.

    Movement caught her attention, this time another elf [Serana]. The elf seemed to hold the late Queen at high esteem, though Lea couldn't couldn't really care. Had it been reversed, none of them knew if the Queen would have gone just as mad. But Serana did make a very interesting point; this offer should have been made the moment the Queen died. The Cleansing could have been avoided entirely if the King had sat back and thought of that possibility. Hell, Riv'lea herself could remember the shock that rippled through some of her kind when the announcement came. She even recalled talk, just before the Cleansing started, from other fae that sought information to aid the king, to avenge the Queen so beloved by her people.

    She felt a little sick thinking about it.

    Petra agreed to aid officially, which left Riv'lea herself one of the last to agree to everything. Letting out an exaggerated sigh from Erik's complaint that had been directed at the darker-skinned elf, the fae lifted her sunbeam-like wings. Time to swallow her pride.

    "Fine. I'll help. But I'm not doing it for you or your King or whatever. I'm doing it for those within this damnable cage even if I don't agree with this completely..."

    The boy, of all people, was ordered by Talia to provide their temporary freedom. When the cage was unlocked, she followed the others out. It was awkward with all the chains, the noise loud in her ears. When her chains were removed, she felt the surge of magic within and around her. She closed her eyes briefly from the rush and tingles of pain, her wings flickering behind her.

    "So where to? We're wasting daylight, not that it's really a problem for me..." She lifted her hand, conjuring a small orb that looked similar to a star. Closing her hand, the sphere winked out with a small flash.
    coded by natasha.



Wildlife Conservationist in the Making
Ashryn flinched slightly as the door opened and slowly gathered her feet under her to stand up ever so slowly. Her emerald gown was stained with dirt as she dusted herself off ever so gently before she slowly stepped forward. Her eyes were wary and watching the kestrels uneasily. When Lyr approached her, the platinum-haired elf flinched away from him ever so lightly before she felt the chains unlock and carefully she stepped around the human. The deep emerald orbs studying the humans cautiously before she ever so slowly stepped out of the cage she had been in. Her body tensed in case one tried to attack her though she refused to make the first move when it came to fighting. Once out, the elven lady swiftly made her way to one side, making sure to keep her body small so as to not appear like a threat.

Ash listened carefully as words were spoken and when she caught sight of the tenseness between parties the elven healer swiftly decided then and there her mouth would remain shut unless talked to. While Ash was often a teensy bit more talkative, she also was fairly shy and right now - her best bet would be to wait until told what to do... right? Elves were prideful, and since she had been nomadic all she could appreciate at the moment was the fresh air. Platinum hair flowed around her face softly as she simply stood there.

A small question nagged at her - was her mare alright? Did they find her horse or... was she simply gone? Headed back to the group where she would be safe? Ashryn nibbled on a lip nervously as she thought about her horse before she decided to wave it off. What was done was done. Since the ketrels weren't clearly moving - the young lady decided to take a tentative step forward and slowly, ever so carefully, made her way towards Talia and the rest of the humans, standing to one side but clearly stating where she stood in the matter, on the outskirts of the human group, but clearly siding with them to show her support. Ash kept her muscles tensed, ready to fight should it come down to it (not that it was her strong suit), but all this posturing and tenseness was making the usually peaceful elf uneasy.

Location: On the road west of Danach
Mood: Uneasy, wary, shy, and cautious
Mentions: Talia Noil Noil , Lea InTheSea InTheSea , Lyr InTheSea InTheSea


Serana Sylvania
"Why, yes, it will. You're very welcome," Serana said with a sly glance at the human mage when he made a sarcastic remark about her accusations 'helping' relations. If this partnership were to stand any chance of success, bending these fools toward the truth would be necessary. Uncomfortable and dangerous for both parties, but necessary. Of course, she didn't expect him to understand that.

They've feasted on lies for long enough, Serana thought with a smug grin. I shall give their feeble minds a proper, balanced meal. It is my duty --nay, my honor-- to guide these blind, infantile creatures into the light.

These grandiose thoughts only came about because freedom seemed so close at hand. Serana was giddy with the prospect of being released. The leader had tossed the keys to the least likely of her subordinates, a wiry young thing who looked lost and confused when he was charged with the task of freeing the things he hated and feared most. Why him, of all people? Serana reasoned Talia had done this because the boy was expendable. If the mages tore him to shreds, so be it. They could conscript another slack-jawed farmboy from whatever one-horse town this one had come from. He probably had a brother or two or ten. Humans always did. They bred like rabbits.

However, Serana had also noticed the way he squirmed uncomfortably in his saddle when she made her little speech. He was malleable. On a long enough continuum, every person is, but this boy seemed like he wouldn't take long at all. Her words had awakened something in him and if Talia was half the leader she seemed to be, she had to have noticed this as well.

Then again, maybe she hadn't. With her eyes so firmly locked upon the enemy, it was totally possible Talia had no idea cracks were forming within her ranks. Today, he cracks. Tomorrow, I break him. The first of many, Serana thought as she knelt to pick up her carving and moved toward the exit. Getting out of the cart and out of these chains was only one small step toward freedom. She had to remember none of them would truly be free until hearts and minds were changed.

Oh, and there was a giant were-bear out there, too. Buuuut, let's tackle one problem at a time...

Serana joined the small line of mages exiting the cart. She took up position behind another of her kind, a diminutive, silver-haired elf, who had been rather soft-spoken and shy. She was probably one of those Luth-Glad tree-huggers, which is unfortunate, but even she had far more pedigree than the humans. If only she would act like it. When her turn came, Serana stepped down from the cart and presented her shackled wrists to the young Kestrel. She still held the half-finished carving in one hand, and gave him a kind smile as he inserted the key, which grated against the lock's internal workings.

"Wonderful," she said, taking a deep breath and savoring it for a moment. Her long lashes fluttered with excitement and contentment. Even the air in her lungs felt better now, more fulfilling, more connected to the flow and current of everything around her. She stepped aside, allowing room for the next prisoner to approach, but didn't leave the young Kestrel's side. Instead, Serana loitered a moment, uncomfortably close, with her hands on her hips.

"It does amaze me how you humans can take even a blessing of the gods and find a way to weaponize it," she said at last, with a nod to the shackles. Whether this was a compliment or an insult is anyone's guess. Both, perhaps? "I would like to keep them, if you will. For academic purposes, of course. I harbor no sentimental attachment to these crude devices, but any knowledge I might glean from the study of them could prove fruitful in capturing our kingslayer. What say you, young man?"

Mentions: Noil Noil (Erik) InTheSea InTheSea (Lyr)
Mood: Sociopathically sociable
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