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Saga of the Nineteen Islands

Destrian listened sceptically at Isolde's request to not use Violence on Selta's minions:"Look... I understand you're not very willing to go against your kin, and all that.... But do you really think they'll give it to us if we ask nicely? Sometimes, life doesn't allow you to choose. It's harsh, but it's true."

Admittedly, his mood had been steadily getting worse, despite his best efforts to remain cheerful. The minions seemed powerful, too powerful, even for him. Kadri was apparently implying that an all powerful-Lich, with the help of some things called-The Damned?! What? Was out to get them, and apparently she was also too powerful for them to deal with. The more he thought about it, the more the situation seemed like a dead end to him. No matter what their course of action was, they were destined for failure. He didn't mind, that was the whole point of him coming here... But the others shouldn't just die like this. They deserved better. Perhaps...

Blue's return, with Velma and Lili in tow dragged him out of his thoughts. He felt hopeful: Velma always had an aloof way of dealing with issues, and Lili showed wit. Also, if she was spending this much time with Velma, it's quite possible that she could be convinced to tag along. Any help would be appreciated at this point, after all. His smile actually briefly returned at that prospect was made very tangible...Only to be ruined as everyone was suddenly extremely suspicious, something that baffled him to no end. She wasn't any more trustworthy than any of them were about a week ago...And yet people denied her key information and made her think that they were just a bunch of lunatics. Velma was also denied information, which was even more baffling, considering she had fought a dragon with them, despite not even knowing their names.

Everyone's inability to actually communicate and actually secure allies, when it was made very apparent that manpower was just about the thing they lacked the most made him reach two conclusions: One, his fellows had serious trust issues, and, something that terrified him to no end, he'd actually have to convince both to join himself.

He was very self-aware of his social skills for that to work. The mere thought of actually talking seriously to someone made him very antsy. He suddenly became very concerned about the words he planned to use. Would he be coming off as too eager? Too suspicious? Too much of an idiot? Destrian toiled with the answer before finally arriving at the conclusion.

He raised his head, shaking himself out of his thoughts again. He looked at all of them for a short moment, and merely declared:"Like I've said once before, we're thinking about this far too much, and that can't be good for anyone. Let's just stop thinking, and you'll see that the situation will resolve itself.
And I happen to know the best way to stop thinking there is. Barkeep! Two bottles of your finest wine, 5 mugs of mead, and whatever the fuck the women want! Velma! Haul your ass over here, I'm going to grant you all the information you could possibly want to know, and more!

He eagerly feasted on the pastries before the drinks arrived, ignoring any looks of suspicion or worry from his companions-first rule of Not Thinking was to Not Care. Once they had arrived he filled his cup and Keenan's, gulped it down,filled it again, also gulped it down. After a short while,he was starting to feel tipsy enough so as not to care. Embracing this as a good sign, he turned to Velma again.
"So apparently, we're on this here mission to save the world, see? We're just some random folks, no organizations, nothing special, apart from the fact that we're all Lineaged! We're hunting down them artifacts, and..." He paused, feeling a considerable amount of nervousness over the fact that he was delivering crucial information in a rather loud voice. He drowned the thoughts by chugging another cup, as well as starting to drink the first mug of mead."And they're supposed to be really damned powerful, so much so that they have to be hidden from the rest of the world, so as not to fall into the wrong hands, yadayada. Along the way we're constantly being hunted by some special organisation, though they're mostly humans so they're not that bad, they're actually a great way to get the blood flowing. There's also this really powerful Lich that will probably kill us, but then again maybe she's just a pushover like that dragon. Hell if I know." He could practically feel the rest staring at him. There was another long pause as he drank some more, having now effectively drank more than two thirds of the first bottle."That's all. No one's forcing you to stay , but I'd appreciate it if you did, you make for jolly company, and also are really good at fighting."
He turned to Kadri, taking a break from drinking to grab two more of the pastries and stuffing them in his mouth."There you go, Boss. Was that so bloody difficult, now? No, don't answer me: Just have a drink. Our odds will look better with every cup that goes down the hatch, you'll see!

Keenan 'ole boy, I didn't order all these for myself! Get to drinking! Or do you have a code that disallows you to drink anything that's not holy water?"

He made a mental note to stop drinking once he was about to pass out: There was someone that still needed convincing, and he sure as hell didn't plan on doing it while he was sober in the morning.
With the various outbursts and statements, Kadri sat back. This wasn't something she necessarily thought she needed to get involved in immediately. Lili had rejected the offer of transport, and the lineaged simply nodded in response. Velma had walked away to get herself a drink and Keenan had followed to try and convince her to come with them. Flashbacks to the ruins played in Kadri's mind; was this going to tear the party apart? Would she have to travel by her own in the future?
Destrian, of all people, managed to somehow completely defuse the situation with two bottles of wine, mead and a surprisingly positive attitude that Kadri doubted actually existed within the man until that very moment. Two drinks came and went and suddenly he was spouting details about the quest, what they had come up against, what they were going to go up against and what they were looking for. Kadri's eyes were wide with shock and anger. She had gone to answer him but a drink was slid in front of her and Destrian curtly dismissed her.
She sat in stunned silence for a short while that to her felt like an age. A sigh escaped her lips, a long drawn out breath. A reminiscing smile tugged at the corners of her lips as she picked up the mug, raised it towards Destrian and then started drinking. Three seconds, four seconds, five, six. She had gotten half way through the mug before she took it away from her.
"You remind me of someone. I doubt you've met them. They spoke exactly like you did just then. Used to take me to the tournaments in Volk, me and another competitor. Paid for our entry. She was always in it for the money; used to bet on me to win and Hendrik to lose. Seems so long ago now given all that has happened." She paused, raised her mug again, "To old friends."
She started drinking once more, not stopping until the mug was empty. She then filled the mug with a red wine that had been brought to the table by the waitress.
@Dominaiscna @SilverFlight @Athanas @A Not So Wonderful Story


Tende altum, volare altius
Keenan just stared at Destrian, mouth agape as the truth poured from him faster than he was pouring them all drinks. His eyes darted to Kadri, almost afraid of what he'd find in her eyes. She had worked so hard to keep their quest a secret, it took bringing her to tears to get her to share all that Destrian was now giving to the room. As the drink was slid in front of her Keenan timidly raised his own glass to her.
"In the end," he began quietly, for her ears only. "Those who mean us harm apparently already know where we are, and what we're doing, so this," he gestured at Destrian, still speaking, his words growing louder and more slurred, "doesn't really change much at all."
Keenan smiled as they sat together, drinking. The mood in the group had been rather dour since they had come together. It was the first time he saw all of his companions having...fun.
"To old friends." Keenan took up the toast and drank deep.
"So Kadri! This is the first time I think we've heard you mention anything about your life." He leaned in conspiratorially. "You were in rigged fights?" His tone betrayed the fact that he was impressed, far from the judgement people might have been expecting. "What on earth possessed you?"
Keenan was grinning, the ale was making it much easier to smile, and to speak.
"Where are your friends now? Still in Volk getting into mischief without you?"
@Baconhands @Athanas
Velma raised her lip to show a fang to Keenan as he spoke to her, still quite upset. The more he talked, the more she calmed down. Her body relaxed, and she stared down at her own pint. She sighed heavily and looked Keenan in the eyes, no grin, no teeth.
"That pole sword she's hauling around was forged by her husband, whom she lost. She told me so in the room."
She turned to the pint and took a large gulp.
"When a woman her age lies, they change their posture, trying to become visibly relaxed. Their eyes dialate, and they tend to mess with their hair. She did none of these things."
Velma would take another large gulp of her ale.
"The woman is genuine and truthful to a girl that literally hadn't talked to her for more than a moon. She patched me up too! If that isn't trustworthy Tee-nin..."
She looked to Keenan with a serious stare.
"I'm not sure there's a soul that is."
For those few moments, Velma would seem very adult like, as she did to Kadri during their hunt. It wouldn't last long though. She finished her ale, and coughed a bit. Leaning back in her... Stool.
She fell onto the ground with a loud thud, groaning without a flinch of reaction. The groan turned into a laugh as she looked up to Keenan with a gold eye.
"I haven't drank in *hic*... A while... Hehehe..."
It was just typical ol' Velma!... Wasn't it? She had done the act to distract from her skill in reading people, hopefully drown out any questions. Cleverly, it's something she would do, too.

As Velma heard Destrian's booming voice, she would sit up readily and head over to the table in both excitement and suspicion. The mad man, would he actually say it? The more he spoke, the more her mischievous grin grew. The actual story. It was a lot to take in, but she's heard a lot of crazy things. Crazy mixes well with more crazy. Velma helped herself to some of the Mead and drank happily in thought. She really liked Destrian. He was a living in the moment kind of guy. Velma finally realized that he mentioned a "Lich," which was not her favorite enemy.
"By Olikah, we better hope they like us... No Lich is to be taken lightly."
She smiled as a toast was proposed, and was too drunk to realize what it was.
"A toast to-..."
She stopped, lowering her mug and sort of just smiling calmly. She never had a friend before. It sounded cheesey, but it was true. She grew up by herself, mastering her crafts, doing and done. No more than that. She raised her mug and looked to everyone.
"To new friends."
Her eye even seemed a little moist, but of course she would deny it. With actual souls around her that cared about her, it was overwhelming happiness for the sharp-toothed girl. Her grin was bright as shechugged down the Mead.

@Athanas @Pumpkin Spice Cyanide @Baconhands @SilverFlight @Dominaiscna
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Though Isolde had been waiting on Kadri for her reply to her question, all attention was drawn to Destrian as he spoke out loudly, ordering many alcoholic drinks which were passed around the group. She watched as he downed a glass and then another and it wasn’t long before he showed signs of being tipsy.

As entertaining as it was to watch him, as soon as he began speaking loudly about their question, the lineaged’s blood ran cold. Her gaze flickered from the slightly drunk man to the faces of the people seated around them before she looked over at Kadri, her eyes reflecting her concern. Fortunately enough, though the lineaged of Arbuzs was obviously furious at what he had just done, a drink and dismissal from Destrian was enough to dispel her anger. And with a few seconds of downing her drink, Kadri was visibly more relaxed... and almost cheery. Looking around, Isolde spied the others as they all gathered around the table and her eyes crinkled slightly at the sight of them laughing and smiling together. She found herself smiling too as she watched them, a bunch of stranger, enjoying each others presences over a couple of drinks....like friends.

In truth, it was far from reality... but Isolde figured that they could all do with a little cheeriness and relaxation after everything. Even if it was only in such a moment, under the influence of alcohol, that they, such a ragtag group of lineaged, could come together... it was better than nothing. It was foolish, as with alcohol came the risk of loose lips and lowered guards, but they clearly needed time to just let go of their worries and live in a bit of bliss,

And so, even though she normally avoided alcohol, being rather bad at holding her liquor, Isolde decided to join in. As her members toasted, she silently lifted her mug too before bringing it to her lips. She managed a gulp before having to replace her mug back on the table. Undoubtedly she made a pained face, brow scrunched up and eyes squeezed shut as the alcohol burned its way down her throat.

Once the liquid was down, she let out a shaky breathe, deciding that the alcohol wasn’t too bad... until a hiccup bubbled out of her throat. Her hand immediately went to her mouth in embarassment and, while everyone’s attention was on Kadri, she slowly pushed the still relatively full mug away. That was enough for one night.

@Athanas @SilverFlight @A Not So Wonderful Story @Pumpkin Spice Cyanide @Baconhands
Kadri gave Keenan a smile but she shook her head. She took a sip of wine before she started explaining, "If only tournaments in Volk were so unfair. There are two different kinds: one for lineaged and one for non-lineaged. Hendrik... well... he always tried. Wasn't a bright soul - didn't know when to stop. Went around tournaments wearing a tabard with a weasel embroidered on it. The fiercest creature he's ever fought is what he used to say. Couldn't fight to save his life but boy, he could run when he wanted to." A grin came to her face.
"Now Sigrid. Sigrid's from one of the Commonwealth's colonies. Sly as you can get. She was always confident enough to exploit her apparently exotic nature and look since the day she arrived. She was perfectly happy to let everyone her age treat her to gifts and presents in return for acknowledgement that they existed. She was a fiercely intelligent person; always knew what she was doing, always in control. But she wasn't ruthless, she had... a heart if you could call it that."

Her smile dropped and she looked into her wine contemplatively, "We always did it for the income, but if you win a tournament, find some sort of artefact, maybe compose a great piece of writing or music then you gained Prestige in the eyes of some sort of spirit. The short of it is that our monarch is supposed to be the most prestigious individual in our Kingdom."
She took another sip as the smile returned to her face, albeit gentler as she fiddled with a ring on her right hand. "Sigrid and Hendrik... well I'm sure they're back home. I haven't spoken to them since... well..."
Velma mentioned a new toast and Kadri was happy to raise a cup to change the subject and honour 'new friends'.
She took another drink, "So... anyone got any lovers at home?"
@SilverFlight @Dominaiscna @Athanas @A Not So Wonderful Story


Tende altum, volare altius
"Hey now, no giving up." Keenan watched as Velma disappeared under the counter, then nudged her with his foot.
"You haven't had nearly enough for that. And I don't fancy my chances carrying you up those narrow stairs!"

The new toast by Velma had a good ring to it Keenan thought, and he followed suit with another draught before following the Olikah lineaged back to their table.

He caught sight of Isolde taking a swallow of one of their choice poisons and he couldn't hide his delight as he watched her. She scrunched her face up and when she hiccuped he broke into an uncontrollable laugh that stole his breath. It took him several moments to get it under control, and even then he was still grinning, albeit apologetically, in her direction.
He sobered a bit listening to Kadri. Happy that she had that type of person in her life.
"You'll get back to them, when this is over. They sound like good friends."

His eyes had drifted back to Isolde after that moment, and when Kadri asked about lovers Keenan nearly choked on his ale.
Taking a moment to recover Keenan cleared his throat. "Uh no." He answered, suddenly more reserved. "No lover...and no home."
@Baconhands @Dominaiscna @A Not So Wonderful Story @Athanas
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Despite the dim light of the room, it was easy to see Isolde flushing red from embarrassment, and Keenan's laughter, proof that he had witness her little hiccup (no pun intended) did not help her situation at all. She spent a little while with her head leaning on her hand, partially obscuring her expression though it was easy to tell that she was trying to keep up a frown. But that didn't last long before she let out a sigh and surrendered to a growing grin on her lips, not before throwing one last light glare in Keenan's direction.

As Kadri began talking, Isolde turned her full attention to the other woman. Though the alcohol effectively made her feel warm and fuzzy inside, she was far from being tipsy or drunk and was relatively alert as she listened to the lineaged of Arbuzs tell of her old friends. Her interest peaked as Kadri explained the tournaments. She had lived in Eastern Volk for so many years yet this was the first time she was hearing of tournaments where both lineaged and non-lineaged participated in. Then again... her village was secluded as is.... and even then, she lived an isolated life, generally staying in the same bubble of the healer's home. Perhaps if she'd been braver... ventured out of her comfort zone sooner...

Shaking her head slightly, Isolde mentally brushed away such thoughts and refocused on Kadri. Her eyes studied the other lineage's face as she spoke of her friends. The smile she wore... would have been enough to show her feelings for the two people, Hendrik and Sigrid. Watching her talk made Isolde feel happy... and warm. Looking around from person to person, she wandered if their little rag tag group of lineaged would one day also be unified with such trust and friendship. It definitely would be nice to have... friends.

Her eyes flickered to Keenan while she was deep in thought, yet her gaze remained on him for a few seconds before he turned his head and she looked away, distracting herself with pouring another cup of tea. It was just as Kadri asked her question about lovers that Isolde took a sip of the tea and she almost choked on her drink. As she was awkwardly trying to stifle her coughs, Keenan answered and she found herself instinctively looking at him. For some reason... she felt a little happy at his confirmation on the subject... followed closely behind by a wave of embarrassment. "Neither do I..." she spoke, a little abruptly, before awkwardly looking at anyone not in Keenan's direction, "Destrian?"

@SilverFlight @Athanas @A Not So Wonderful Story @Baconhands
Velma was enjoying the tales of fighting while drinking her sweet ales before she tensed at the mention of lovers. Sexual fluster? Not a chance. But you so much as hand a flower to the girl and she will become too nervous to talk. She thought back, and decided to catch herself with a grin.
"I have a lover, myself!"
She drank more and pointed it around the group, her face was flushed in red as she swayed.
"Any of ya ever hear a mermaid sing before? OHHHHHHH- *gargle*"
She poured more ale down her gullet as she sang. Perfect girlfriend material.
She humored herself with her own joke.
"Hehehe... I remember when I got into fights! First time I got to Commonwealth! I sure showed em'! That was the first step to my career y'know!"
She was too drunk to remember that was a topic she didn't want to talk about, but her stupor nummed her worry.
"Je' tellenioden! Tarem! Pallesco!"
She shouted in Yur as she swung her mug and fists in the the air, enacting her fights.

@Athanas @Pumpkin Spice Cyanide @Baconhands @SilverFlight @Dominaiscna
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It was exactly the sort of reaction Kadri was expecting; quick impulsive reactions from Keenan and Isolde, and what confirmed her suspicions more was the simultaneous and similar reactions of the both of them, followed by quick confirmations that neither of them had partners at home. How had she phrased it? Lovers? Perhaps that hadn't been as appropriate as she wanted but it certainly revealed the answer to the question she'd been mentally asking. Sendrin obviously approved - the aspect of fire was, in some countries, revered as an aspect of passion as well. This was the case with Kadri's home.
A ghost of a smile came to her lips and vanished a second later. Velma's response was also, to an extent, what Kadri was expecting. Seemed that they were a pack of lone wolves... though she was certain that wasn't a situation would persist for long.
"No lovers, no homes. I seem to have taken on quite the band of travellers, vagrants and lawbreakers," Kadri joked. She paused, finishing her mug of wine and pouring another, "Can't remember the last time I got drunk. Was way before the monarch was selected. What a mistake the Spirit made this time, right Isolde?" She looked at the lineaged of Selta with an uncomfortable and knowing smile, "Can't lead anything can she? Hasn't even been back to Volk since she was elected."
She shook her head, before she drunkenly grinned at those present, "Anyone else here royalty? Just me? I thought so. Hey Keenan! Remind me tomorrow to knight you because I will definitely forget! You too Velma. You can be... something... I'm sure... I'll find a role for you somewhere!"
@SilverFlight @Dominaiscna @Athanas @A Not So Wonderful Story @Pumpkin Spice Cyanide
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Tende altum, volare altius
Keenan hadn't look up from his cup again. He was staring into it, a bit of the sullenness he usually tried to keep hidden creeping to the surface.
His brooding was interrupted by Velma's attempt at a song. It made him smile, if only faintly.
"You should slow down a bit." He offered the advice carefully. "What career would that be by the way? Saving the rears of people too stupid to stay out of dragon caves?"
@A Not So Wonderful Story

Kadri's loose categorization of the party made Keenan return to brooding over his cup. "Not exactly by choice..." He mumbled quietly, and looked pained. He at least, had never wanted to leave his home. Everything he loved was back in Arenthor. It was only when Kadri spoke again that his brow furrowed and he looked up at her.
"'Royalty'?" He repeated, staring at her in puzzlement. Suddenly his eyes went wide.
"Noooo." The word dripped with absolute disbelief. The ring. The ring she showed him the night before they went into the cave in the flats. He remembered the symbol now.
"You...you can't be..."
Velma laughed as Keenan recommended her slowing down. She listened as Kadri talked before her smile quickly faded, and a lip raised to reveal a sharp fang. Kadri was a royal? She sure didn't act like one! Pah! To think that one of the people a part of her kind's conquering would be beside her. Once Kadri described her as 'something' her teeth clenched and eye widened. Her pupil focused and became small, rage filled her gold stare at Kadri as acid bubbled from her palm and melted the mug she held.
"No, I don't think I had nearly enough."
She answered Keenan with an eerie voice. She tossed a gold coin onto the table and snatched up a bottle of Mead, face still flushed red. She turned to give a last look towards the table.

"Following me would not be a good idea."
Shrimp seemed tense as he scuttled after her as she marched up the stairs towards her room. She would make sure the door was closed behind her before growling to herself in anger. She tossed her bow and quiver to the side before hauling a ball of acid to a wall and watched it slam and splatter. She panted as she caught her breath, still beyond infuriated. A mental storm raged within her mind.

She was supposed to follow Kadri? A royal?! How? Her entire life was built apon a hatred for such kind. Kadri was different, of course, but a royal nonetheless. Velma only knew one thing about royals, and that was that they were no good, gold biting, land taking brutes! Only in anything to benefit themselves! She's the one taking the artefacts, no doubt she's keeping them for herself because she's selfish!

Of course, this was a drunken rage of recklessness, and she would have been more reasonable if sober. 'I'll find a role for you somewhere,' tch, as if she wanted to work under a thumb of some lazy man in his chair!

Velma would cock back her hand to throw another acid bolt before Shrimp head butted her shin's, shaking nervously. Velma's barred teeth lowered to a frown, and she dropped her hand. She was really going overboard. She crouched and pet his head.
"It's alright fella, I'm me... I'm me."
Velma sighed heavily. She looked up at the roof joist made of strong spruce. She stripped her robes as she spoke, wearing simple trousers beneath them.
"You're right Shrimp, energy should fuel tasks of benefit, not destruction. Unlike those damn- hup! -Royals!"
She had jumped up and caught the thick joist, using no ledge, but her pure grip to hold herself on the beam. She began doing pull ups, keeping her legs outward and leting out small, soft grunts as she went up and finished a rep. Her teeth clenched as she tried to rid of her rage through exhuastion. Shrimp would settle and leap onto the bed, cozying up in the blanket.

@Athanas @Pumpkin Spice Cyanide @Baconhands @SilverFlight @Dominaiscna


Tende altum, volare altius
However surprised Keenan had been at Kadri’s unplanned admission Velma was apparently five times that, and she was furious. The fact that the anger seemed to stem from a past experience was obvious, but if they were going to be able to work together in the next challenge, the feelings would have to the aired out. Keenan watched Velma storm away for the second time that night--obviously alcohol did little to dampen her temper—and counted to thirty before slowly getting to his feet and padding up the stairs. Blue watched him go but made no move to follow. Whatever he faced, he did it alone.
Keenan’s heavy boots sounded like thunderclaps in the quiet hallway, or at least they did to him. It was painfully obvious whose door he had stopped at. He drew in a breath and knocked, waiting a second or two before saying in a mock-happy tone: “Room service!
He pushed the door carefully, but refrained from going in, “I come in peace.
From the sliver of light that crept into the room Keenan couldn’t see Velma, but he got a good look at the acid running down the wall, eating through the wood as it went. “Should I get a mop?
He waited for another moment, thinking of what he was going to say in seriousness. "...Do you want to talk about it?"

Velma would hold herself up on the joist as she heard Keenan enter, listening to his words before grumbling in acceptance. She dropped down with a suprisingly silent pat on the ground. She had her back to him as she grabbed her new, soft robes and pulled them over her, as too not make Keenan uncomfortable with her lack of clothing. Before she did, Keenan would be able to see the scars that riddled her back as she walked by the crack in the door, as well as the scales of her Lineage across her shoulder blades. "I would bet five gold that she doesn't even know what her kind has done. Royalty only cares about their pride, Keenan." She scooped up her second pair of robes and soaked up the acid off the wall, since she had acquired them to resist her own acid. She then tossed them to the bed and opened the door to see Keenan. "How fond are you of history, Keenan?" She still seemed tense, but not angry at Keenan specifically. It's not like he was a royal. Knights are different, according to her father. Since they were the ones to protect and not conquer, they were alright. Her gold eye had a piercing glare, nonetheless.

Keenan seemed surprised Velma had not taken his head off. As it was she walked into the light of the door and his eyes trailed down her body before he turned beet red and threw his gaze down at his toes. It took him a moment to register that she had scars all over her back and shoulders. When she opened the door she was fully clothed and he tried not to let the gratitude show on his face. “Royalty can be a pain. We’re agreed. But…does that mean we should tar all of them with the same brush?
“How fond are you of history, Keenan?”
He had a sinking feeling as he began to guess why the revelation had been so upsetting to her. “I... spent most of the lessons trying to stay awake…but I’m guessing this has something to do with an order given by a monarch…something that hurt you. Deeply.

" 'Hurt' doesn't quite do it justice, Keenan." She clenched her teeth and balled her fists. "We were slaughtered if we didn't accept! And while I had to walk barefoot through fire to get to where I am, she had it all passed down to her!" Her eyes were moist and her breath Shakey. She clearly exaggerated her message, but it was obvious what she meant. "How am I supposed to just ignore that? My elder's blood soaks her gold, and I'm supposed to follow her?" She walked back to the bed and sat in a chair beside it. "It doesn't make sense..." She hadn't told Keenan to come inside, but it was pretty implied at this point. She was once again, shaken by her choices, and needed counseling.

Keenan swallowed. Velma was intimidating when she was angry, still, he decided that the rest of the inn didn’t need to hear what she had to say. He stepped inside and closed the door. There was another quiet pause as again Keenan tried to choose his words carefully:
Rulers often make terrible decisions. They can decide the fates of thousands with a word and you’re right, not many of them have a thought for just how many lives they can ruin by it.
He drew in another steady breath, trying to speak softly, to sooth her anger by being calm himself, “but Kadri is not her empire. She isn’t the choices her predecessors made. It is possible, by traveling with her, and helping her, you might forge a queen that won’t repeat their mistakes.

Velma sighed heavily. She hated that Keenan was right. She took the bottle of Mead she had taken from the table and traced the symbols with her finger. "Should I apologise? Just because she didn't choose her heritage doesn't mean she doesn't have it's reputation." She pulled her soft robes close to herself. "I don't know. I've never had friends before, and now I have to befriend my sworn enemy..." She looked to Keenan, clearly embarrassed. "What would you do?"

Me?” Keenan seemed taken aback that Velma would ask him at all.
Well…I suppose that if I had a chance to make things better in the future…it wouldn’t matter how I saw Kadri in the past. Whatever your feelings toward her Kadri certainly doesn’t share them…maybe you don’t have to look at her as an enemy, just as a woman, trying to do the right thing.” He shrugged as he brought the conversation back to an apology.
To be honest I’m not sure how much of the night will be remembered.” He eyed the bottle in her grasp, “but, if you want to remember what I’ve said…” He held out his hand for it with a winning smile, “you probably shouldn’t drink that.

She stared at his hand for a bit as she soaked in what he said. She finally laughed whilst shaking her head, handing him the bottle. "You really do have the chivalry of a knight, Teen-pan." She grinned a bit before sighing. "Somethin' bout you is very approachable, Keenan. I bet Isolde likes that." She stuck her tongue out teasingly and chuckled mischievously. Anyone with half an eye could see the chemistry between the two.

Keenan took the bottle, and nearly dropped it at the sound of Isolde’s name. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.” He replied. Trying his best to recover but already feeling the heat creeping into his cheeks.
I meant to ask,” he began, desperate to change the subject, “I couldn’t help but see the scars on your skin.”
He chanced a glance up from the bottle in his hand, “by accident.” He added quickly. “Are they a part of why you hate royals so much?

Velma was quickly shut up, and stiffened up a bit. Her cheeks were a little pink, but she was drunk after all.
"Maybe..." She thought for a bit, and decided they found out at some point. She smirked to lighten the mood with some playfulness. "You guys really are dumb. You barely asked who I was! If I was an evil person in my line of work, you might've lost your lives!"
She gave him a wink, or a blink? It was hard to tell with the eye patch. She opened her robes innocently to point at each of the more larger scars, although there were much more.
"This one is from a rat of the empire. He put up a fight, but he wasn't so lucky to escape. He was feeding info to the enemies and causing the deaths of a lot of innocent people." She pointed to another.
"This one, seven bandits. Managed to land an arrow, but they didn't last too long after that. Brutes tend to try to be the first to land a hit, making them easy targets." Finally, a large one that covered roughly a third of her collar bone. She grinned menacingly. "An exicutioner's axe... I guess you could say I'm a little faster than it's swing... If you couldn't guess it by now, I'm an assassin, Keenan. Your entire team has invited an assassin to the group. Does that bother you?"
She buttoned and tied up her robes to cover her body and chuckled. "I wouldn't blame you if you guys left me here in the morning. Who'd want a killer for pay on their team? Des-treepan might be crazy, but they'd call me mad, no?"

Keenan’s brow furrowed in empathy to the pain those scars must have caused their bearer, but as she spoke the pieces began to fit together. Did it bother him? Velma might have been surprised to see no look of repulsion on his face, instead he was smiling, and his smile was insufferably smug.
An assassin. Hmm, well, I suppose that would bother me…if I didn’t know you were an assassin with a conscience. Admit it. You wouldn’t kill us even if you were contracted to do it. Not now that you know what we’re doing. What we’re up against. I’d guess that contract or no you’d still be helping. You’d still have joined.
Back at home, if he’d taken this sort of lordly tone with his brothers one of them would have hit him by now. “Besides. Where would you be without me to annoy you when you’re mopey?” He grinned and prepared to dodge. "Well! I suppose I should try and convince the others to turn in for the night. It'll be bad enough climbing a mountain with hangovers, hate to have to do it sleep-deprived too."

Velma blushed with a big grin on her lips. She swung a fist at her shoulder after all of the teasing.
"You wish, Silver Boy!" She laughed and leaned forward in her chair. "You're lucky to hear my moping! I tell excellent stories!"
She chuckled more, clearly in higher spirits. She seemed a little sad it had to end, but she understood. She then had the uncomfortable remembrance that she got mad at Kadri, and would have to make ends meet with their friendship. She sighed and looked to Keenan, taking off her eye patch. The eye would be much more dilated than the other, and would focus on the knight.
"I suppose so, if you guys want to keep up with me and Shrimp. Why don't you tell them that one of them can sleep in my room? We'll save an entire gold if we double each room. I don't like beds anyway, they're too soft."
The girl stood and stretched, she would walk Keenan to the door before standing in the doorway as he left. "Keenan!" She called out, smiling a bit. "Keep your trousers tight when you bunk with Isolde! We don't need a baby bump while fighting more dragons!"
She grinned and let out a laugh as she fucked back into her room, leaving it unlocked for whoever decided to join her. She moved to the small fireplace and used the lantern to light a fire. Shrimp came close as she curled up on the carpet and balled up to act as her pillow, soft and furry as his back raised up and down with each breath. Velma laid on her back in thought as she enjoyed the heat.
Keenan took the hit with practiced ease, laughing with her. When she offered to share her room with the others he had already stepped out of the door.
Well, I’ll put it to Kadri or Isolde. As long as you promise not to throw anymore acid at the walls.” He was still grinning.
As he turned to go he heard her vulgar suggestion loud and clear. “Not going to dignify that with a response!” He called as he reached the stairs, but he was still red when he reached the bottom of them. He returned to his seat back with the others and flopped into it with a heavy breath.
Velma's going to be fine. I don’t know about you lot, but I think I’m ready to call it a day.
@Dominaiscna @Baconhands @Athanas
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