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When Dalitso had opened his eyes once again, he would lay gaze upon a sudden feast upon the head table only—a plethora of what appeared to be roasted venison, birds, eggs, greens, some sort of thin wafer—enough to feed a bit more than a small family. The table had suddenly been adorned with some of the small flowers that littered the pathways, bringing beauty to where there was once solemnness. It was as if it was a rebirth of life upon the cold stones.

“Yes, I am the oldest.” There was a small, dragging pause after the sentiment, and Dalitso may have caught the Queen’s wistful and averted gaze for a moment. “My brother Hiram’nyar is the Council’s favorite and the one preferred to take the throne, but he deferred to me as an elder. My father… was a respected Elvatian, and is missed. However, towards the end of his life, he made some… unorthodox decisions, decisions that I have chosen to uphold as his last wish.”

She took a few steps towards the head table, surveying the abundant blessing before them with a faint smile. “The path of life in Urdu—or in Ivory, as it is called by those outside of it— revolves around the preservation of the natural order. For millennia we have kept most out because the intentions often revolve around the exploitation of abundant resources. To take, without giving anything in return.” She lifted a hand gently to the food on the table, gesturing for him to go ahead.

“The forest provides generously for those who seek to do it harm, but only more so to those who have sworn to preserve its life.” The ancient spirits of the Deepwood had also come to her aid, once they had chosen to take shelter there. Elvira would only feel such a strong sense of obligation, a conviction to protect that which has been such a sanctuary for their kind. And now, to Dalitso, his caravan, and the remains of Delilah’s army.
Dalitso (played by Serverus) Topic Starter

Elvira had answered him and Dalitso appreciated the sound of her gentle voice. There had been so much silence as of late; perhaps that was why he did not sleep as well. He was used to chaos. Albeit her story brought him a great comfort. Even after his eyes opened again and the plates of food now sat before them; in his mind he knew it was a bit much for just the two of them, so he showed her his human discipline.

He sacrificed his hunger a little while longer to enjoy this sweet moment. He wanted to prove to her that he was no savage. Whilst his stomach still growled achingly before her like a lion. Dalitso had great respect for her land and her hospitality. “So your father had some slight controversy, interesting,” he tried to forget the food. Instead he listened.

Elvira shared more arcane knowledge as she stepped forth towards the dining table. Her skin was tanned naturally from the grace of the sun, it was beautiful, ethereal, comely, elegant, probably tender to the touch, with no visible imperfections; indeed her very feet were designed with grace and perfection. Dalitso poked his curious mind; but did not want to pry and embarrass himself with so many questions—instead he listened.

He listened until he thought that she had finished. He remembered how when he woke, he called out to the spirits of this forest; perhaps they had heard him; or maybe Elvira even heard him or they told her; this explained why she was not treating him like a human, but sharing something she probably never would have shared with any non-Elvatian before. Or maybe she was this way with all the humans and he was just now learning this.

“I refuse to do this place harm. Such a lovely forest, I’d rather help preserve its life. But I can not speak for my other companions.” he stepped closer to her, side by side. He observed all of the food and it looked delicious. He just found her company to be more satisfying. “The heart of a human is wicked and deceptive among all things, so no one can truly know it.” this was an ancient saying, from a wise warrior king, from Aceba, named Nazir, who conquering many kingdoms. “I’ll be honest with you, Elvira. Ever since I touched the demons hand I don’t think I’ve been much human since. I don’t even think I’ve aged. Speaking of which, how old are you?”
The warrior before her was so earnest and frank, so willing to speak his mind before her. Aside from the majority of the council who despised her, and her own siblings there were few who would speak to her in such a way. Free with words spoken from an honest place in the bosom, yet keeping the intimacy of a friend. It was a comfort to know that there was someone who was not considered as family as a heartfelt supporter. That quieted her in a way that she couldn't describe, lifting a small weight from her heart.

His question made her look up in mild surprise. After a moment or two, she laughed, bringing a couple of fingertips to her soft, thin lips. It was a soft sound, not deep nor airy but rich in its own middle ground. "I am well-aware that I have not interacted with many humans, but is there not a human adage that a woman should never be asked her age?" she teased. In fact, was it Joseph who had said it? Who knew. There were too many more pressing thing to deal with. She gestured for Dalitso to seat himself as she did so before the food. He must be famished. After all the fighting and the period of travel, rest had been paramount. Nourishment was now the next priority.

Elvira selected for herself some of the grain wafers and a few mushroom caps stuffed with what looked to be meat and spices. Enough for a snack, but nowhere near a meal. She took a small, neat bite from a mushroom before setting it down again. "But as for that answer, a thousand solstices and nineteen score have passed for me. It may seem like much, but for the Elvatian a thousand and half is roughly only middle age." She would not help but pause with her own disturbed and pensive thoughts as she picked up the fine, thin goblet with the light yet tart cider. It had been because of such differences that some of the Council disdained the idea of working with humans. With their short lives, memory of truces did not live on so long, and it seemed like such a waste of time and effort. But if only in this moment, their goals aligned. Their need had begun to outstrip their culture's pride.

Dalitso's eyes hardly ever left her, and she paused to tilt her gaze to him more fully. "I can only imagine you have questions, and I shall do what I can to answer them." She offered him a faint smile.
Dalitso (played by Serverus) Topic Starter

Her laughter, as soft as it was, soothed him from his moment of nervousness. It felt like a real conversation now. Like she was his friend and not just the Queen of this great forest. When she jested about a human’s old truth, he smiled at her. She was correct in her thoughts, if she assumed that his ecru hues had studied her; indeed, even with all the food around, his eyes never left her comely visage. “Ah, a human’s adage is nothing more than a myth, or superstition,” he grinned. “Or maybe I am just out of touch with humanity,” he shrugged.

When Elvira took her seat, he found a seat across from her, so he could sit, but not break the intimacy shared between them. He sniffed his goblet and took a sip of the tart cider, from a golden chalice. It was more masculine than thin, with a wider design. The burn from the drink purified the acids inside his stomach. He purposely avoided any meat. But took a piece of fruit and bit into it. The juice flushed down his brown lips like honey. His teeth were in good condition, as if they were preserved. Thus his unnatural ecru irises would convince her that he was no longer human.

He was intrigued when she finally decided to confess her age. When she spoke of answering his questions, he frowned a bit, only playfully. He did not want to burden her with a boring conversation. Maybe the other humans were used to intriguing her with questions, but Dalitso was a traveled warrior, a beast that had his own story to share. “Not at all. I prefer watching you eat. You can learn a lot about a Lady by the way she eats,” he jested; only to take another tender bite of his fruit. “There is something I need to tell you. Few know this. The Valkryn Demoness, Chi...”

That was when the trees that shielded them from everything outside of this eating place, was momentarily disturbed. A force of wind blew against their garments and the magical blockage was reopened. An Elvatian of the Queen’s guard scurried upward to ruin their moment with news. “An orcan militia has advanced on our outpost. My Queen, we are under attack. But do not worry, we can handle this. It is only twenty Orcs. You do not need to join the fray. But as your guardian, I am only here to inform you. Continue with your guest,” the tree blockage went back into position and they had privacy once more.
The message was delivered quickly, and just as quickly the messenger had departed. However, the Queen’s gaze had dropped, and the small smile had faded to a touch of pensiveness. For a moment, Dalitso might have believed that the comment had made her upset. But then she breathed life to another chuckle. “I must apologize for the interruption, Dalitso… it seems that my soldiers are in need of more history lessons,” she teased. She then turned to explain to the Aceban. “In our capital, or in the other outposts of Ivory, the ancient magics have long since been stripped away.”

She held up her hands, and golden magics weaved themselves into wispy shapes, into a glade of trees with soldiers before them. “In those places, the forest is defenseless without it. And such is our word.” She placed her hands together as if in prayer, dispersing the golden magic. “Vara i’ er ya ona,” she recited with a touch of reverence. “‘Protect the one who gives’.”

With an amused smile, she then lifted her hands to gesture to the clearing about them. “But we dine today in the heart of the Deep, an ancient sanctuary that has been untouched until now.” She lifted her hand, and as if in affirmation, there was a twittering that didn’t sound all avian. It was almost as if a chirruping, overlapping set of whispers. “The forest comes alive in the Deepwood. It protects us here; vara I’ er ya ona is not a necessary principle in this place.”

“If anything, the guardians shall apprehend the orcs before my men may even get to them. You…have met them,” she finished with some uneasiness, reminding him. Oh, how she wished that Zamora not have caused such panic, as perhaps she would still be here with them. She fell silent for several moments before finishing the subject. “The trees themselves will shelter us. But alas, we cannot stay for too long…”

She paused again, dipping her head to him lightly, reminiscent of a bow. “Again, I must I deeply apologize for the interruption of my men. What was it you were to mention about the Valkryn?”
Dalitso (played by Serverus) Topic Starter

He felt his appetite shatter at the warning of an Orcan invasion. In his mind, he was ready to put down his fruit tray and help her people fight. For a moment, it seemed as if Elvira wanted the same, whilst her smile of warmth returned and she spoke of the historic trials of the Elvatian magic stripped. Magic had a complicated existence, he thought. He knew that many arcane abilities were banned in some of the human societies. And now the Drow brought Necromancy to her Forest, one which was forbidden by the Afgarian people.

"First the undead, now Orcs. It seems you will never have peace unless we put these Orcs down for good," he relaxed in the chair, his eyes saddened for her.

Then she reminded him of his last words, before the intrusion. He knew they were at war and they could not tarry here in this mystical paradise for much longer, so he would have to be brief with her, for the sake of time. "I will try to explain this as easy as I can. I still do not understand what I have become. But the Valkryn, the Tigress, who now cares for Commander Delilah, is bound to me. Many years ago, my mother had a secret relationship, a love a affair with Chi's master. He was a powerful wizard who did not see my father's murderous blade coming in the night. My mother laid on her own sword after her lover was killed. I used the same blade and slit my own father's throat. This intrigued Chi and the Valkryn has not left my presence since. It has been over two hundred years. Those in my company, the gypsy girls, I rescued them from my father's caravan; they have not aged with me. We are cursed to live as immortals, bound to this loyal demon. All because of my rage. I do not regret what I have done, Chi has been a valuable companion. I just needed you to know that I am not a normal human. I come from the bloodline of the Al'Shadye, Assassins of the Sands, the first humans to walk Aceba."

The morning sun reflected off his milk chocolate colored skin, like bronze, his ecru irises, everything about him looked like a man in his early stages. But there was a wisdom about Dalitso that stood out from the normal, as if he had seen many things in this life. Things that had shaped him for the trials that he would face ahead. "I gave you my word that I will help find the cure for Delilah, but I also do not wish to leave you stranded in this war. If you will have me, I would like to fight beside you and help you push the Orcan invaders back. If you do not have peace, I do not wish to have it. I wish to know your suffering, so together we can overcome it."

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