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Forums > Fantasy Roleplay Forum > For the Crown of Laurels (closed)

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"That does seem like a sound plan. As you could probably tell, stagnation is an understatement for the attitude displayed by a number of the elven people here today. I can't promise I'm an exception to the rule, I'm sure even I have things I'm stubborn about in my own right, but a healthy change could really be used. And I can think of a few council members who need replacing already." His eyes narrowed, remembering Kalkas' words.

"The council, much like the position of King, only seeks replacements when one member passes on or extenuating circumstances call for a member to step down. If no individual could hold a position for longer than a set time, it very well could prevent some problems with lower management getting too presumptuous and perpetuate existing bad habits."

Corym shifted, as much as he appreciated the conversation, he could feel the vines in his flesh curling and constricting with growing restlessness. Willing his body not to betray a sign of distress, he forewent the usual elven greeting and instead offered a handshake to the human. "Well, it's getting late, and I must find a place to rest. If you're serious about competing tomorrow, I only recommend you try your hardest as I doubt the trials will be merciful, same with the other contestants and myself included. Just know I don't mean to make it personal. Just watch out for yourself."

After the doors had opened, Liam saw the cloaked figure rush out of the hall. Wanting to talk to them, he followed and tried to get their attention, but before he could they had went over the hill Apparently, whoever was under the hood didn't want to stick around. Curious, he followed her out into the evening air. He crested the hill and looked around, trying to locate the strangely familiar figure. After several seconds of searching, however, he was forced - with slight frustration - to conclude that they had disappeared into the night. The Elf crossed his arms, wondering where he or she could have gone, and why he or she seemed so familiar to him. Something told him, however, that he would eventually find out.

Anyway, the young noble's mind went back to the proceedings in the Council Chamber. He had noticed Lord Nemoto's gaze linger over him. He was curious as to why, but he had also seen the slight curiosity in the Councilman's eyes. Liam figured that the Lord had been wondering why he had been there, what exactly was driving him.

His mind then moved to the task they had been given. This maze seemed simple enough: fight through beasts and obstacles and be sure not to be in either the penultimate or final pairs. However, there was a slight doubt at the back of his mind. He had a vague sinking feeling that this task wouldn't be nearly as open-and-shut as it sounded.

Varen chuckled at the male elf's warning, and shakes his hand. He then turns, about to head off, before stopping, and asking the elf, "Oh, by the way, we forgot to introduce ourselves. My bad. My name is Varen Dominal. What's yours?"

While Corym and Varen discuss tomorrow's proceedings, Gweyr and her group go to rest and Liam chases a ghost into the hills, Amaranthine moves down to the market place. She has been worrying about something one of the council members said. They had been told that they would only be allowed to utilize the gear they had arrived with, so as to showcase their ingenuity, but the truth of the matter is that such a restriction could only, and is no doubt intended, to give the edge to someone like Gweyr or one of the other noble scions she had seen among the potentials. Those who had the money and standing to already possess superior equipment will hold a distinct advantage over contestants like herself who brought only what they have managed to earn through hard work over their life times.

This is why the tall elven woman currently finds herself browsing through the market stall, coin purse in hand. She has a fair amount of coin saved up and, if necessary, she could even sell her few bits of jewelry, though that is preferably a last resort. If she can get herself a proper sword, though, one whose handle hasn't been mended a dozen times before, and perhaps a few bits of guard that are more than just hardened leather, it might help to give her just that slightly sharper edge tomorrow.

Amaranthine can be approached for discussion while she browses. If she isn't, she will purchase a sword and some bracers, and then find herself an inn, feeling better about the next day than she had thought she would up until now.

After staying atop the hill for a few minutes, he had started to wander through the markets, still deep in thought. He wondered who that familiar cloaked figure was. He wondered about Lord Kalkas' threat to have archers shoot whoever he thought was cheating. Bloodthirsty bastard, Liam thought. He also wondered about the task some more, wondering what unpleasant surprises beyond the archers, obstacles, and beasts would be in the maze. Something told him it would be nothing good.

Liam was so engrossed in thought that he didn't see where he was going and nearly ran right into Amaranthine. Fortunately, he managed to stop himself before plowing into her. "Oh, terribly sorry miss," he said to her, not immediately realizing who it was. "I Wasn't looking where I was going."

"Corym, Spectabilis. I don't get much use out of that name nowadays. Regardless, I enjoyed our conversation. Be seeing you." He said with a wave before departing.

Keeping a low profile, he skirted the outside edge of the council hall. Upon encountering a large enough looking tree, he climbed up into the higher boughs and pressed a hand to the trunk. He willed the tree to change shape and form a sort of nest out of a cluster of branches. In the process, a shower of off color leaves and withered limbs clattered to the ground below. Satisfied, Corym climbed into the makeshift hammock of stems and vegetation and stretched out. It wasn't the most comfortable of accommodations, but it beat putting himself at the mercy of strangers.

After settling in the best he could, Corym reached over and plucked a leaf from one of the branches, receiving little resistance. He twirled it between his fingers, examining it. Were it a later time of year, he wouldn't have found it too alarming for the tree to display such colors as yellows or shades of brown. This however, was a different story. "You poor thing. Just wait a little longer." He muttered before sinking into a fitful sleep.

As yet another tall person bumps into Amaranthine, the woman barely moves. It's a bit like walking into a pole or a stone wall. She actually glances down at first before correcting herself and bringing her eyes back up again, still expecting everyone she meets to be shorter than her. Honestly, if it wasn't for Corym she might have started wondering if there was also a height requirement in order to be crowned.

"It'th fine. No harm done," she murmurs softly, dipping her head slightly in a return apology, as if she were somehow to blame for standing where this man had been walking. Then her eyes seem to recognize his form. Soft, expressive grey eyes rise to his face once more. "Forgive me but...you are one of ta hopefulsh competing for ta crown, aren't you? I recognithe you from ta counthil room."

She starts to extend her hand in a normally nonthreatening offer to clasp his own, only to realize that she's still holding the sword she had been examining when he interrupted her browsing. Ducking her head in embarrassment once more, the she-elf puts the sword down before attempting the gesture again. "I'm Amaranshine. Um, but Amara is fine."

The Knight found himself restless. He had cleaned up a bit and removed his bloodstain armor from his backside—after an hour he had managed to polish both armor and sword also using that time to wash his oily limbs. He was now fresh and cleaned; indeed the melanin from his skin blended well with the spicy oils.

With his companions now tending to the inn, he figured he’d take a walk through the Elven Capital. He was very uncomfortable with the tension earlier in the conversation. He thought it was unfair that the deep elf had manipulated the discussion to find fault in Gweyr’s persepective.

As a Knight and human that faced oppression, he understood where Gweyr was coming from. They needed peace and a new direction; to halt the endless bloodshed—yet they also needed capable people who could protect their forests if necessary. It just wasn’t realistic to ask the people to stop training for combat. He shook his head in disbelief that they couldn’t understand that. He hoped the council could see the wisdom in Gweyr’s words. Then he heard a familiar voice: Amara who had greeted another elf in the competition. He did not realize that he had wandered so far in the city that he had come to the marketplace—deep thought often did that to him.

Silver hues adored the taller female, from a distance. He knew what it felt like to be an outcast; to be a bastard who could not serve his King due to his half Ethiopian race. But Gweyr was kind to offer him a place beside her and he felt at home with the elven people—in his heart he wanted the best for them.

If Amaranthine seen him, he would offer a short head-bow, but bring no verbal attention to himself. Even though he felt comfortable, he was still a guest here—a stranger in their eyes. And since he would not be participating in the trials he would act only as a spectator of truth.

Varen watched Corym depart, before sighing, and turning around. He needed a place to stay for the night, and he knew elves didn't take kindly to outsiders. Especially outsiders without much money... That left him with no choice.

"Elyzia...." he quietly called.... What is it... The reply was slightly amused. Varen winced slightly, knowing she would needle him for this, but... "I need to know of an inn with a ghost problem.... D'you think you could, y'know, look around for me...?" The response was swift, and slightly brutal: Yes, as long as you keep from trouble. The second I leave you, you get into a brawl or a chase or something... Varen was slightly indignant at this, but he knew he would never truly get the last word with Elyzia, so he stayed quiet. Soon after, she left to search.

To waste time while she was searching, he decided to explore the markets. He probably couldn't afford much of the stuff there, but maybe he could get some discounts..? It was worth a shot. As he headed towards the market, he couldn't help but mutter to himself, "She says I'm trouble.... I'm very well behaved..."

When he reached the market, he couldn't help but notice the swords first- he was a guy, after all. He was about to make a beeline towards examining the swords, until he saw who was at the stand. Amaranthine and some random guy were talking to each other. He paused, purely by instinct. He didn't like being noticed, after all, unless someone caught his fancy, like Corym. He pushed his fear aside, and approached the stand. He quietly stepped around the two conversationalists, and started examining the swords, talking only to the merchant to ask what a specific sword was, its make, how, what metal, etc.

In truth, Varen would love to introduce himself. But, he's actually quite terrified to introduce himself. Introductory shyness is no small barrier. He has a hard time thinking of words to introduce himself to what he terms nondescript people randomly. Again, interesting people prove to be the exception. And when he has established conversation, it becomes much easier for him. It's just that initial jump.

Liam nodded in response to Amara's question. "Yes, I'm one of the contestants," he said. "I saw you in there as well." He reached out and grabbed her proffered hand and shook it. "I'm Liam. Liam Haleri," he said, smiling a bit weakly at her, his dark brown eyes meeting her soft gray ones. The Elf wasn't sure what to say next, but he decided to plow ahead nonetheless. "Availing yourself of something before the task tomorrow?" he asked, trying to sound as friendly as he could.

Behind Amara, Liam could see a tall...Human man standing in front of the stall, asking questions to the merchant. He seemed familiar to him, but he wasn't sure why. After a few seconds, Liam realized that it was the Human who had suddenly appeared in the Council Chamber. "Hello there," he said to him.

"It'th nithe to meet you, Liam." Amara offered the tall elf a shy smile that he no doubt couldn't see behind her veil. She couldn't help but feel grateful that his name didn't have any 's's or 'th's in it. That increased his value in her eyes by a moderate amount even before he'd had the opportunity to say much. "Yeth, I'm in need of a new shword. My old one'sh been mended a few too many timesh to be reliable. We need to be at our beshth for tomorrow, don't we?"

Her face tilts in curiosity as Liam addresses the darkly clothed human behind her, but she doesn't actually reach the point where she would be able to see the man. Grey eyes suddenly find themselves arrested by silver as she catches sight of Valens gazing at her from across the way. The elf tilts her head down slightly in a similar nodding gesture, but even as she does, her fingers move up to tug at her veil and check that it is still in place. It is, but that may not keep anyone from noticing the warm blush growing across the tops of her cheeks where they are visible at the edge of the fabric.

"Um...e-excuthe me..." she mumbles to no one in particular before moving away from the stall to approach Valens. "Greetingsh. You are Lady Gweyr'sh companion, aren't you?" She still bares her lisp, though it makes itself known in different ways when she speaks, as she does now, in the common human tongue instead of her native elven.

The activity in the city seemed to slowly dwindle down as more citizens retired to their homes. Surprisingly, even though it was an hour after nightfall the market place still seemed to bring in eager customers. He noticed a stall with fine bows, oiled from long to short range—exotic wooden styles that seemed to glow in the night. He smiled, admiring the craftsmanship.

The bowmaster mercant was a female, who burned her breasts to be the best Archer in her day. He could tell she was a retired Ranger because she wore no shirt or upper garment even in the public city. From a distance she looked like a wiry male, with a bald head, rough voice and calloused thin fingers. The two bargained with each other in elven and Valens was interested in purchasing some composite arrows.

That was when her familiar voice distracted him. To him it felt like only a second ago that he smiled upon the veiled female, yet when he turned around she had left the elf she socialized with only to come and greet this lowly bastard. He bowed at her like she was his Queen already—indeed he was honored that she took the time to come see him. She chose to hide her beauty beneath the veil, yet she was very tall, even taller than Gweyr. But the Knight was not intimidated—he was interested.

“Mae govannen, Amaranthine nae ta?” He returned the honor, avoiding common yet choosing to speak in the ancient tongue of the Tel’Quessir. His voice was very deep, handsome and the dialect was well trained—like he grew up naturally speaking this way.

“Ar' uma, amin tua arwen Gweyr yassen ilya amin heart, soul ar' mind.”

Amara finds herself caught completely off guard at such a deep and respectful bow. Some small, logical part of her brain knows that this is the sort of thing she'll have to get used to if she does actually manage to succeed in acquiring the Crown of Laurels, but to see such genuflection offered up to her here in the middle of the market and now when she is still nothing but a lowly wanderer, causes her to actually take half a step back in shock and confusion.

"Saesa uma il- kawa. Amin naa n'uma er am'," she murmurs softly, somehow managing to get through the phrases without sounding like a complete fool. There were a few letters in there she still found difficult to pronounce. (('Saesa' would have ended up sounding more like 'Shaesha' but I left it untampered so as to make it easier to look up in the translator.)) On the whole however this particular older elven dialect is rather to her liking. It is certainly easier for her troubled tongue to wind its way through. Sadly so few, even of her own people, bothered to learn it that it had not occurred to her to even attempt speaking it to anyone yet.

The human's comments on his devotion to Gweyr cause her mouth to want to smile and frown at the same time. This results in a rather embarrassing grimace. Thankfully no one would be the wiser but she adjusts the veil once more just to be on the safe side. Also, simply out of habit. Nervous habit. "Re naa aman a' harya y' mellon ve' lle," Amara adds with a bow at the waist for Valens. She doesn't know he's a bastard, but honestly even if she did she wouldn't care. If anything the knowledge would make her like him more. Empathize with him more. For now though all she sees are his handsome face, his strong build and his heart felt devotion to another. It is both admirable and sorrowful all at the same time.

"Nan' lle ume il- quena lle essa n'ala. Mani uma amin yela lle? will lle yanwa i' tournament?" The tall woman's head tilts like a bird as she regards the human with undeniable interest. She has completely forgotten that it is getting late, that the shops will be closing soon and that she still does not possess a sword worthy of the trials to come.

Valens was not only a loyal person, but he was a man who paid attention to detail. He noticed earlier in the council chambers that Amara had struggled to speak in common, so he decided to speak in the true tongue of her people, hoping that it would be easier for the female to communicate. Sure enough it helped, albeit it started off rough for her and he could not make out her first word; thus as she finished he nodded and understood what she meant. He did not mean to offend her by offering a bow; he just thought she deserved that honor. But he would make note to never bow to her again.

At the mention of Gweyr being blessed, he listened, quietly, his silver hues observing whatever skin she exposed. When a female wore a veil, it often created a controversy in a man's heart; one where he desired to see more. Even if it meant admiring her callous fingers that still looked feminine and soft. Valen's imagined how it would feel to touch her skin. Even though he was close to Gweyr, he could never touch her, his breath alone being of man often disgusted her. But she was kind enough to allow him a place in her fellowship, so he never asked for more. Living with elves, speaking to elves and killing for elves had slighted broken his mind. Often he was jealous at how Elwing & Akosh were so attractive and the women drew to them like a stream of wine in the desert. For many years, no elves ever approached him. Imagine how it felt to live as an outcast even amongst his friends. So he was curious how her skin felt. But he was a gentleman and turned his gaze from Amara, so she would not feel like he was a man of lust.

"Valens." He shared his name, "Ar' n'uma, amin uma il- irma a' be y' Aran."

Then the ex Ranger Merchant grunted, disappointed that her sale was being disturbed and disrupted. She nearly growled at them both, but the message was mostly for the female in the veil. "Excuse amin, manka lle naa il- goien san- ho eska ar' kaima yassen ho, san' saesa let amin tela doien business yassen ho. San' amin can close de ar' lle atta can caela lle talk."

Valens was embarrassed and he could do nothing but laugh; his face a blushed mess. He had forgotten about his business with the wood elf. "Amin apologizes, let amin get y' hundred composite arrows."

The female nodded and offered him a sack that was already prepared. She told him how much gold and he traded her for it. After the sell, the merchants wife came to kiss the female's lips and help her begin cleaning up for the night. Silver hues turned back to Amara...but he was still embarrassed a bit for his rudeness; yet still a smile was on his face amused at the whole outburst. It was good to have a laugh after all of the previous tensions.

Amara finds herself much less amused with the other woman's words, specifically her aggressive and insulting tone, though the insinuation doesn't help much either. Those fingers that Valens had been admiring, thin and long and work calloused and pale, clench themselves into fists at her sides. If it is possible she feels as if she wants to dislodge this woman's teeth even more than she wanted to hit Gweyr not so very long ago. Of course, this woman isn't nearly as perfectly beautiful. Still she forces herself to remain calm, at least outwardly. A brawl in the streets will do her no more good than one in the council chambers.

When the human looks back at her, Amara is struggling to get her color back under control. His smile brings a small one to her hidden lips, but it only barely reaches the most important part of her face, her eyes. When silver meets grey once more he will find that her large, expressive orbs reflect mostly anger, sadness and rejection. "A-amin hiraetha. Amin ume il- merna quen- e' i' men," she says softly, stuttering just a touch over her apology. Her warm tones are slightly hoarse with frustration and embarrassment.

Why did she even approach him in the first place? Hadn't she just finished telling herself that she couldn't afford to allow herself to be side tracked by her heart or her body? Does she even want to be queen?

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