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Destan of Gillian's Hill (played by FadedTapestry)

It had been years - or had felt like it - since the man had been static in any one place long enough to investigate any of the traditions that might become seasonally apparent. So often had he been preoccupied during the colder months that, upon returning to his secondary home in the city, it felt strange to not be rushing in like a whirlwind, packing, and then heading out of the door again. In the time leading up to the Hallowed Eve, he had asked around and researched. Certainly to the amusement of some.

But, alas, he could not quite get his head out of the books at times, curious as to where each aspect of the traditions came from.

In the end, he had made a decent attempt to decorate his home like the others. A series of decorative glass baubles on string had been easily made to glow with a cantrip, illuminating the alchemical substances within. He had carved a turnip quite decently, and had selected a monstrous ogre-like face as the horror to depict. He then purchased a decent amount of boiled sweets and wrapped chocolates, discovering a new taste preference for himself too in the process of sampling.

The Blood Hunter then settled in as the hours darkened, settling into his chair near to the stoked open fire, reading the time away until - if - someone visited.
Krepta was a little too old for trick or treating– at least in her own world. She didn’t know the exact customs of this one, but it was safe to assume that things would be no different here– though she seemed to remember something about beggars being some of the origins of the infamous yearly door to door search for sweets.

If not for her temper, Krepta could probably reasonably pass for one. But in the days where she had known the streets all too well herself, she had relied more on thievery than handouts. Bowing her head to the mercy of the monied class had always stuck in her craw, and that was true now as much it had been then. Krepta hadn’t even bothered to attempt that route.

All the same, she did need a way into people’s houses tonight, and one that wouldn’t get the majority screaming bloody murder. Lucky for her, Krepta had stumbled across a stranger, older tradition that still had some living roots within this city. It was something normally practiced more towards the winter holidays, but so far Krepta had gotten away with borrowing it for the harvest season. People seemed to avoid questioning her antics as long as she continued to dance somewhere between entertaining and terrifying. Or perhaps they just appreciated the novelty.

There came a sharp rap at Destan’s door.

This particular house was decorated with glowing baubles strung along the outside. Krepta took a moment to admire them, their colorful light glinting off of white bone and twisted antlers as she bowed her head a little, watching the threshold through deep shadowed sockets.

The mouth of the skull parted slightly, nestling a long lower jaw into the shaggy black bear skin that Krepta wore around her shoulders as a cloak. The head was more deer than horse, which was more traditional for this little game, though it couldn’t quite be said to be that either. Those crooked, pointed teeth were nothing that had ever belonged to any prey animal in anyone’s bestiary anywhere or anywhen.

“Fair friend, fair friend, won’t you open your door?” Krepta called in a sing-songy voice. “Some food and drink, for this poor troubadour?”

The rhyming was a bit of a struggle– it didn’t come naturally to someone who was fairly well known for getting straight to the point at any given opportunity, but Krepta thought that she was getting better at it.

And besides, the whole thing let her get a peek into places without arousing suspicion to her true motives. Win win, right? No one got hurt, and she provided the local populace with a little entertainment for the night. So far every house here had been clear of the Corruption, thank god, but Krepta still sensed the pull of an artifact somewhere out there, and she couldn’t stop looking until she found it.
Destan of Gillian's Hill (played by FadedTapestry) Topic Starter

Destan had gotten a good way through the books that he had set aside for use in researching when the knock came. It took a moment for him to register and then remember that he was actually partaking in the Eve's festivities. Getting up, wincing a little as an old, long-healed wound was twinged in the process, he made his way to the door and plucked up the cauldron in passing.

Upon opening it and seeing the skull-adorned woman, he looked surprised. Was the going around asking for sweets something that adults did too? To his credit, he adapted quickly and amusement faintly showed on his weathered features. At the query? He looked back into the house for a moment, assessing. He did have a peppercorn-seasoned goat stew nearly done, and enough ale that he would not be short if he shared it. As much as she was also a stranger, the old laws of hospitality where he hailed from were strong and almost magically binding, such was the strength of their compulsion.

So, with a quirked look of amusement, he stood to one side and made a motion for her to enter. "Will a bowl of goat stew and a tankard of ale be sufficient for such a travelling bard?"

While his home did not contain any corrupted items within it, anyone with the ability to sense magical items would've detected a few 'pings' on the senses upon reaching out. Nothing major. An enchanted ring that he wore on his right hand, a leather satchel hung and tied up midway along a wall, and each of the lanterns had been lit by a cantrip rather than by natural means. Anything he had ever discovered in his journeying that had been of note had been donated to the guild that he was a part of, rather than personally kept. If it was not relevant to his personal quest, he had no use for it.
Goat stew? Hm.

A hint of real interest flickered in the green eyes behind the skull. Looking over his shoulder, Krepta could read the tell-tale signs of an adventurer, or perhaps a scholar, though this man looked too capable and weather-worn to be a mere creature of dusty tomes. She also didn’t sense any pull from any of the objects in the room, though a few of them did send tingles like static electricity dancing across her skin when she focused in on them.

Truthfully, even with her cloak to keep her warm, it was a fairly chilly night, and Krepta would have many more houses to check after she was done with this one. What harm could a hot meal and quick rest do? It was far more than the hard apples and cheap sweets that she had been offered thus far, at least.

Though his comment tickled her almost more than the offer of food did. The idea of herself being anything even near the idea of a ‘bard’ was a hilarious mental image. If only he knew.

“I uh–” Gah. What rhymed with stew? True? You? Blue? Wait, she had something–

“Goat stew, you say? I very well may. A kind offer made, to come and eat. Truth be told; I am quite bleat.”

And the terrible pun was free of charge.
Destan of Gillian's Hill (played by FadedTapestry) Topic Starter

If he caught the looking over his shoulder or around him into what of his home was visible, he didn't draw attention to the awareness, nor did he attempt to hide any of it. He was not fool enough to keep anything of vital importance in his private dwelling. Everything assessed as being so - or that could otherwise be used to cause harm, intentionally or accidentally - was kept guarded within the guild's headquarters.

When she fumbled with a response, the smirk became a little more open, and genuine mirth appeared in the pale grey-blue of his eyes. When she accepted the offer, he grimaced at the pun and, once she was over the threshold, shut the door. He didn't lock it - acutely aware that such a gesture could be taken as a threat. Dropping some of his own guard a little, he was about to turn to ask a question when he winced... such was the force of the magic sensed within the skull-adorned figure. Eyebrows raising in surprise. It wasn't painful but it was intense. Forcing himself to turn away to get the food, two bowls were filled with the goat stew and he offered one to her, plus a spoon.

The bowl and cutlery, like the rest of the interior of the room, seemed to be a balance between good enough quality to last but not the ornamented flashiness that one might expect a wealthy individual to have. His clothing too, suggested enough money invested in it for it to be durable but not so much as to be decorative.

"May the food warm you on this night, and I hope your time afterwards does not end in fright." He was not a poet by nature to any degree but he tried!
There was a breath’s moment of tension that appeared in the line of the shaggy bearskin across Krepta’s shoulders as Destan shut the door behind them. She tilted her head a bit, following his movement through the skull’s hollow eyes, but noting that he hadn’t actually locked it, Krepta relaxed again.

She supposed that she couldn’t really expect him to keep it hanging open, but old instincts were hard to shake, weren’t they?

Krepta caught the wince too, and the skull tilted a little the other way, watching Destan curiously as he seemed to squint against something that she could neither see nor sense. The eyebrow raise that followed seemed to be directed her way too. It didn’t take much to catch onto exactly what was distracting him after that, but Krepta’s only comment on the subject was a small shrug as she accepted the bowl of warm stew in both hands.

She tried to deliver a spoonful through the gap between the not-deer’s jaws, but was increasingly unsuccessful with each new attempt. Eventually, Krepta gave up, huffed a bit, and pulled off the mask, tucking it carefully under one arm so that she could properly eat. The newly removed skull left Destan to admire a mane of long brown hair no less wild, and a face mapped with scars.

“Many thanks, I seem to owe, but methinks this game has become my foe,” Krepta admitted with a small chuckle. She carefully put her spoon back in the bowl, and balancing it in the hand of the arm holding the mask, she stuck out her free hand to offer the man a handshake.

“The name’s Krepta.”

And Krepta couldn’t help but sense a sort of kindred spirit in this one, particularly in his rather practical tastes. Her own clothes beneath the cloak had been tanned and sewn personally, careful stitches made to be long lasting rather than attractive. Her home back in Hallow didn’t look much different, frankly, though she did allow herself the addition of fresh flowers from Tom’s garden, and a few other pretties from time to time.
Destan of Gillian's Hill (played by FadedTapestry) Topic Starter

If he caught the tension and then subsequent relaxing, he had the tact and awareness not to point it out. She was, after all, in a stranger's home. As much as the town generally didn't have too much of a reputation for bad things happening, and folks were generally friendly, there was always the possibility of things going awry and unpleasantness to varying degrees happening.

In her presence, the blinding beacon she was giving off gradually became something he could 'tune out', forcing it to become white noise in the background of their conversation and interaction rather than a distraction. Still, he hadn't come across anyone with such a wellspring before in his life, which was hardly short by mortal standards.

When she began to try to eat around the skull, he managed to keep most of the quirked smile off of his lips, although not all. When she finally removed it, he pointedly looked at it and then back. "I admire the dedication, even when away from onlooking eyes in a private location." Referring to the costume and how it had taken difficulty dining for her to remove it. The scars and hair were noted when revealed but, he did not gawk or stare. Noting her appearance but not impolitely lingering on it.

At the returned 'parry', he then raised a hand, placing it over his heart as if he had been punctured by something. "I am no wordsmith, we shall say a truce?" He set his own spoon down, swapping it to his other hand, extending his right hand in turn to accept the shake. Returning to eating politely between returned speech once the gesture was done.

"Destan of Gillian's Hill." A variation of the giving of a surname perhaps. He did not speak it like it was a title, and it had been given with such fluency and speed as if it was routine to say it whole in such a manner. "Krepta..." Repeating what she had said, testing the name, getting as close as he could to her saying of it.

"Is this..." Gesture to the mask. "...something you do yearly or a new tradition?"
Krepta turned the name over in her mind as she considered how to answer Destan’s question. The name had been given freely and easily, which meant that if he was suspicious of her, he was good at not showing it. As well as this, Destan had invited Krepta into his home with little hesitation, and left the door unlocked behind them too, which suggested that he wasn’t waiting to pounce on her– either that, or he was supremely confident in his combat abilities.

Which may well have been warranted, considering his gear, Krepta noted. Most people wouldn’t have noticed, even if they had known the enchanted objects were there. A bag and a ring. Krepta was willing to bet that the bag probably had some enchantment on it to give it more space, or perhaps an anti-theft spell. The ring was anyone’s guess, but people typically didn’t wear such objects for fun unless they were very stupid or they were showing off a trophy of conquest.

Destan didn’t seem the type. Krepta senses were more attuned to magical objects than people, true, considering the nature of her gifts, but she was willing to bet that this man had at least some magical talent to him. He had a rather severe look to him too, with serious gray eyes and a sense of road worn experience that was hard to miss.

But the subtle humor and the blink-and-you’ll-miss-them smiles had done a lot to endear Destan to Krepta already. Without a doubt, she would have rather shared a meal with a grumbly old wolf than a smiling courtier any day. At least the wolf wasn’t trying to hide what it was.

After some consideration, Krepta decided to reward Destan’s hospitality with a bit of honesty. Though just a little. There were very good reasons why she had to keep most of who and what she was to herself– some of those reasons being the preservation of his safety as much as her own.

“Old hat, new trick,” Krepta answered, jiggling the not-deer skull beneath her arm before taking another bite of the stew. It really was quite a tasty stew– though, in truth, Krepta’s bar for what ‘tasty’ meant was fairly well buried at this point. “It’s easier to co-exist and do my work when people don’t think I’m some terrible, lurking menace. So I dress up as one to put them at ease. Funny old world, isn’t it?”

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