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[center [font "Times" A sort of a Beauty and the Beast idea mixed with some eldritch monstrocity curses.
This is set in a sort of a D&D world. High fantasy, elves, dwarves, fae, mages wandering around causing mess. All that.
[left [pic https://i.pinimg.com/originals/d7/96/52/d79652bf7d405fb924adb7b53cbda890.jpg]] In this world, a character will come across a being, a creature, a man? Either stumbling around in the wilderness and realizing that there's an old path, or an overgrown avenue, or just the whole sort of castle/home itself. Once inside, the wandering adventurer discovers that the place isn't abandoned. Something lives here. Something that reads, that thinks, and that speaks when they hear a voice from the shadows. There's a shape there. It's the thing.
The creature has lived here for years, either as a sort of a local spook, or as a squatter, left alone to haunt this place.
Or perhaps wandering adventurer wanders out of town tavern and sees the shape of a big, cloaked, monstrous looking creature. With intelligent eyes. Pursue? Attack? Run?
Character applicants can be male, female, neither, or something else. No race restrictions except for dragonborn, goblins, kenku and such monster races if you intend this to be romantic. This doesn't [i have] to be romantic, also; it could be if they decide to develop that way. Frankly, giving this poor thing a friend would be lovely. Getting him out of his isolation and into the world again.]]
[right [pic https://i.pinimg.com/564x/b9/5f/3b/b95f3bafe7031ac5b4fd93cc3c22942c.jpg]] [font "Times" [B General Expectations]
1. 800-1000+ characters preferred, but flexible.
2. Communicate with me, it makes it easier on the both of us. A roleplay in no way needs to to be 'surprise motherfucka' every time. It's a constant discussion about plot and characters and things, and if things don't work we can do things again or talk about it. I want that sort of clear to make this work out.
3. Ask questions. I know I will.
5. Cursing is allowed
6. Mature themes will be explored as in more than just the existence of smoking and drinking. There will be mention and interaction with mental illness and violence.
7. Romance is not a requirement
8. Do NOT OP
9. I will post inconsistently because I possess both a professional, emotional and a social life and its complications, but I will post when I can. I will post as fast as I can but I have multiple RPs I devote equal time and energy to on top of a busy schedule so I will do my best to be quick if I can, please understand. I extend the same to you, and you can take your sweet ass time too, just make sure I know you'll come back, as I will do as well.
[center Questions, comments? Send me your favorite dessert as a message title, and we can talk!
You don't have permission to post in this thread.
Kalenfort came into view, Alenia veering around it like she had planned, wandering toward what looked like the proper mouth of the road out of town that she and Alvér had passed under. At that time, with him leading the way for her through the fog, the low, wooden gate and the archway lantern had since burned out. Tonight, with how early Alenia was arriving at it, the lantern was lit and flickering in the onset of darkness.
[i Almost there,] she promised aloud, nodding as if in acknowledgment to the landmark of the gate, and kept moving. Deeper into the woods, she knew to follow the road before they started moving toward the landmark-spotting part of the journey. She repeated them to herself, chipper to Myhrr, mumbling softly and looked out for the tree with the twisted trunk, first. Which. The landmarks started where?
As Alenia had kept walking, the shadows deepened with the coming of night. The sky was orange and edged in a threatening blue, pushing her light away from her. There were no more fences or farms clearly marked and clustered together here. It was a wooded, cart-rut road, covered in leaves, and silent barring the breathing of the forest, the clatter of the leaves.
Myhrr meowed up at the elf, rubbing along her legs and slinking over the woman's feet, deftly stopping her for fear of stepping on the animal.
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Alvér's hands clenched, staring at the room again, full of Alenia's things. He would walk away only to return to it again. At first it was only to stare, to prove to himself that these things were here. Trying to make an effort to replay and listen to the voice that promised him she would say goodbye. That the little exorcist at least had that much decency. That she was leaving her things there for safe keeping on the brief trip, not to fake him out so she could get a day's head start on an escape. That she wouldn't go about spreading the rumors and stories as she had so [i tactfully] in Kalenfort again about the monster that lived in the mansion.
She would return. Alvér had in no way expected her to do so. Even her morbid, invasive curiosity about the dead-prince's personal life had its limits, surely. She had been disgusted by his rushed admittance to his flaws, pushed beyond reason by her incessant questions that led nowhere, and her continual disappointment at what he gave to her. He glowered, fists clenching, and had the all-too familiar desire to burn turned in him. To break everything in his sight. But he was poised. He was well. He had control. The clenched hands came together, the ring of his fingers rubbing harshly at the skin of his wrist.
He wasn't even aware of how it was warping with every upset pace, every flight down or up the stairs or forceful shutting of all of the drapes, pushing the world out and away from him. It had abandoned him. He wasn't aware of the insidious changes until he would note the ache in his back, centered over the base of his spine and radiating outward. The strain between his shoulders, how his shoulders hunched and his head hung low. Decrepitude took over the man and rotted, aged his skin. He broke apart, feeling vicious and outraged to be left, abandoned by his most loved, trusted companion. [i Myhrr] had left him. Such is the nature of animals, he figured bitterly.
Myh didn't have the social hangups that people did. No sense of loyalty or permanence. Just food, care, and entertainment. And it seemed she had taken hers elsewhere.
And in one moment, he had caught his startled face reflected back at him in the glass of the window. Revulsion tore at him, seeing how warped he was now. Grotesque. Inelven.
The creature hissed, pushing the hood over his face so he couldn't see it, what it had become. But he felt oddly whole. Certain in his seething, anxious upset that he had been left. And panicking at the thought of Myhrr never coming back, feeling betrayed.
It ate at him as he paced and did little but rile him further. He moved through the house with the agitated fervor of a man maddened, which wasn't far from the truth. His fingers twisted between themselves and he swallowed the bitter taste of disappointment. He wrung his hands as he felt the embers of [i anger], something he hadn't felt in a very long time. It made him want to lash out again, to fuel that flame that was all-too eager inside of him to burn things. To turn all of his inner outward. It was a way for him to seize control, dominance, over himself, and over his life. Violence. Pushing it all out towards others until he was left empty, hateful, and exhausted once again. Sated on the blood and the flesh he had taken, the things [i he] had stolen from others.
And as apprehensive, expectant eyes turned continually toward the one window he left open, the creature watched as the sun lowered. Slowly. He wanted it down now. He wanted to do something. To flee from the house and walk outside and catch whatever mice he could on the road. And when it finally dipped beneath the horizon, he felt that fetid energy swell up inside of him. But he wouldn't let it consume him yet.
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Myhrr rubbed insistently against Alenia's legs, looking up at her. In the mounting moonlight, the animal's eyes looked ghostly, reflecting at her bright and empty. She cocked her head at Alenia, reaching up and tapping at her with a paw.
The elf walked away, agitated and Myh could feel the quaver of the woman's energy running along her spine, bringing her back to arch a bit, tail tip twitching as she followed behind her. There was magic here. It had a snap in the air like an awaiting thunderstorm; expectant. Of particles rubbing together, this close to creating lightning, if just pressed a little more... And it was this thick, cottony feeling that was filling and muddying Alenia's thoughts together. As if some were too slippery or sticky and immediately slid away like so much peeling, dead, water-sodden flesh.
There were bodies in this forest. Pale faces looking up at Alenia, half-hidden in the brush. Bones, glimmering in the light.
Myhrr weaved around Alenia, trotting a bit ahead of her and looking back, tail twitching through the air with an affect of expectancy. Soft, gurgling meows from the throat of the unearthly little thing. Shiny, strange, familiar was this animal with the moonlit eyes. She would disappear in the brush and reappear again up in the trees, gazing down at her, then leap to another.
Something brittle was in the traveler's voice. A thinness that only panic could bring in a voice broke through as she looked away from these things, recalling more legends than reality. Things she had heard in the taverns, the men responding to her warbling notes she had heard sung around camp fires about the creatures that lurk alone.
Sheep. Goats. Humans. All fodder, all disappearing, all devoured by the thing that lived in the east woods.
It's this way, surely. Right after the safety, the fire, that face the-... the... She wandered aimlessly, seeking something in the darkness that had dropped around them finally as if blind. It was a heady feeling, as if drunk; the moon too bright, the leaves slippery, her knees blackened with damp earth and her hands, arms aching. Stumbling. Bodies. The cat, bringing her attention up again with a call. The moon was too bright. It was magic.
Alenia dropped her hand, swearing she had known where she was going. [i Swearing] she had somewhere to be, this elusie, vanishing myth. Hadn't she known about it? Hadn't she [i been] there? Hadn't... that man not believed her when she had said that she had come back from it?
How vivid were dreams? Were they made of memories, like some said? Or were they fashioned of fancy? Accursed fantasies put in there by the fey? Heathen, dangerous, magic creatures; pale in the moonlight.
The hairless cat's skin practically glowed in the moonlight's reflection off of her pale, pink sides as she hopped up onto a stone, curling her tail around her paws and gazed at Alenia from a shaft of moonlight, ever-patient.
There were too many eyes. Little glimmering shapes of green/gold. She had no pupils. The cat was blind? The cat had three eyes.
It meowed at her again, dropping its head a bit and smelled a bit toward her, giving another gurgling murr. She had seen this cat on a lap at one point. Who's cat was it?
[i Who are you?]
She was very pretty. She looked soft and round like a cooked dumpling, pale in the moonlight. Alenia reached out, that weird little head pressing up into her fingers and sliding to her palm. Warm. She was a good kitty.
After the animal was able to have a look around, which did not take long, she settled in next to her travel companion for some more attention. Alenia was quick to oblige her, petting her head and neck gently. She even discovered that Myh was not so fond of forehead scratches, so she decided to focus more on the rest of her which had a much more welcome reception. A while of this then the fuzzy cat crawled into her lap, which the elf could not be more ecstatic about. She knew Myhrr was probably just after a little extra warmth, but Alenia took advantage of her new vantage and pulled her in to her chest for a quick hug and a couple of kisses. There was a bit of squirming in response, but it subsided once she let her freely rest back on her lap. [b “Oh come on, I bet you let Alvér give you all the kisses.”] Somehow she could imagine it, though it was a little funny to picture. So much so that it brought a smile to her face that would linger there for quite some time.
One cuddle session later and Alenia’s stomach was calling. It was time to get both of them fed. So slowly standing from her spot on the ground, the bard made her way into town with her tiny companion. The first place they stopped was in a tavern the woman had previously stayed in. She knew the food was good and would fill them up before grocery shopping. Plus, the woman who owned it was kind. Alenia bought a hand pie made from the previous night’s left over roast and she managed to convince the keeper to scramble up some eggs and roast scraps for Myh who seemed rather happy to be included in the makeshift meal time. The two woman chatted as the traveler ate as well. After some inquiry, the redhead told the older looking human woman that she was back in town to do some grocery shopping, which sparked more questions. Most pertaining to the fact that the tavern keeper seemed to think this meant Alenia was settling down someplace and must have found a beau. The elf assured her that she was simply doing a favor for a friend; though it seemed her insistence was met with skepticism. But the topic was dropped after that, so it was fine.
Bellies full, it was time to set out on the task they had come all this way for: shopping. As expected, the small market area in this village was not busy. It was likely all the locals came and took care of any errands that morning. Aside from Alenia and Myh there were a couple stragglers, but they didn’t have to fight anyone to make their purchases, which for the most part pertained of what Alenia considered the cooking and baking essentials. There were a few things on her mental list that she had to forgo for lack of room in her pack, but it was fine. She would either make another trip or they could do without since they weren’t really necessary items. Besides, she was just thankful she was saving room on produce since Alvér had his garden to pick from as well.
With that all done, and their food fully settled, Alenia was ready to set out on the walk back to the manor. She only hoped this trip would be as uneventful as the first.
When Alvér got up, the afternoon was well underway. He had slept hard and his neck and back were a bit sore. He didn't hear a thing in the house. Myhrr hadn't woken him to be let out. Odd.
He moved out of the room and into the hallway, and downstairs. Silence greeted him. An empty grate and the settling smell of dust.
Alenia's words came back to him and a flush of shame poured over him, tightening his fists. Did he really need to check? Was he really that concerned? Surely he was above this. But where was Myhrr?
He swept upstairs, forgetting himself and his figure as his hand brushed over the banister, the tall man making it up to the second floor and into Alenia's wing, passing the unused rooms until he made it to hers and opened the door. Inside was her little mess of items, some left on the bed that he recognized from her room at the inn. Including the comb that made her turn and see him that first time.
But where was Myh? Were all of these leavings a ruse to ensure he didn't follow her? There was a chance it was all fake. But that meant that Myhrr was gone forever. Something split in his chest, it felt like, and his hand went to the door frame, Alvér leaning on it.
It took a little bit of time, but after smelling around, Myh noted that the traveler elf had stopped moving. Trotting back over, the pink kitty started smelling around at Alenia more thoroughly now that she had her... all to herself.
A wee nose started booping, gently, along Alenia's foot, and then ankle, and then leg. Her eyes would shift between what she was doing and Alenia watching her. And presently she came closer, tucking herself into the relative form of a loaf against Alenia's leg and hip and hiding her paws underneath herself, leaning her head into any wayward pets that came her way.
[size10 [http://i.pinimg.com/564x/c9/d5/ae/c9d5ae7fcf7e746cd889802d8f82c03c.jpg have a cute kitty baby]]
Alenia was on her mission to set out, her mind focused on that and what route she would take to get to the next village over. So much so that the cat’s meow caught her somewhat by surprise. The woman stopped to allow the creature to go through her ritual of rubbing up against her leg and even reached down to give her a little pat on the head. However, Alenia could not let it go too on and politely excused herself. [b “Sorry Myh, but I have to get going now. I will see you soon, take care of Alvér for me while I am off.”] With that she was off to the door, but so was the little goblin of a cat. It seemed her request fell to deaf ears this time. Thinking the animal would give up at some point, the elf did not bother trying to keep her in the house when she opened the door. In fact, it would have been a fruitless effort with how agile the kitten was.
It was when Alenia was nearing the edge of the property, passed the fence-line even, that she got the feeling that Myhrr was planning on following for the duration of the trip. Taking some time to try and set her straight, telling her she had to stay, it seemed the cat would take no direction, which was only to be expected. After a bit of this, Alenia finally gave in and just let the determined little beastie have her way. [b “Fine, but you have to take the blame if Alvér gets sore at us for you coming along.”] Truthfully, the bard was happy to have the company, so even if he did wind up mad, she would deal with it. Having someone to talk to other than herself would be worth it. And the woman did chat with the cat, some idle conversation as they made their way through the forest.
The trip itself was not a difficult one. The path was well beaten and, given the sun had not yet come up; they did not have to worry about making way for any other travelers. It was a little chilly, but it was bearable because they were on the move, though Alenia did worry about her naked companion. Perhaps she should have taken some time to see if she had something to fight the cold… but Myh showed no sign that it was bothering her, so the woman thought it was probably okay. Besides, an hour or so into the trip the sun peaked over the horizon and began to share some of its warmth with them. The trees surrounding them cast long shadows on the ground until the light source rose up into their leaves. The travelers continued on in their shade until, after several hours of walking plus the occasional break, the village Alenia had been seeking came into view. Unlike someplace like Kalenfort, there was not much of a bustle to it. There was a market for the locals, but it was not the sort of place people usually traveled to for supplies, except for a few families who lived farther out away from the more established civilization. Because of this, Alenia was not too worried about having to fight crowds to go shopping. It would be fine if she and Myh stopped for a bit to rest before getting something to eat and purchasing supplies.
The little woman took a seat against a tree not far out from the village entrance. The tall grass was soft and comfortable to sit in, not to mention an ideal place for Myhrr to play. Stopping was also an opportunity for the kitten to get any excess energy out before they went shopping. Alenia did not want her getting too riled up while in town. A tuckered kitty was an easy to keep an eye on kitty.
Myhrr had heard Alenia moving around the house that early in the morning. She was the only noise breaking the silence that had fallen over the complex other than the little scratches in the walls. The breathing of the building shifted from the even, slumbering pattern to something held, briefly. The cat's ears perked, backing into her hiding spot to watch the wood elf moving across the house towards Alvér's room.
Silence again for some time. Myh padded toward the room, tiny paws making no sound on the bare wood next to the runner carpet. She listened to the silence, peeking into the chamber and watching the still form of Alenia stand over Alvér.
Then, hearing the soft voice of the traveler, she slunk back into the shadows and followed Alenia out. It was when she reached the main room downstairs that Myhrr meowed, trotting up toward the traveler with a little, needy sound in her throat. She opened into a little gallop and made it up to Alenia's leg, where she promptly threw her arched body against her to rub against her. She gurgled out a purring meow, looking up toward the elf.
Passing through the threshold, all was still. Alvér must have already fallen asleep, that or was hiding some other place. But given the lived in feeling the room had, she was certain it was the former. So, quiet as a mouse, Alenia came forward to double check. When the bed came into sight she recognized the mound of pillows and blankets from the night before, a little more organized now that he was not writhing beneath them, and knew he must be there. Her plan was to wake him so that she could say goodbye, or rather see you later, just to let him know she was headed out for now. Maybe it was mean to do so, but she would feel worse leaving in silence, however once she reached his bedside she stopped. The man was not as she expected. Lying in bed, slumbering peacefully, she found him as she had seen him the previous night. Alvér had shed his deformities once more. Stayed there next to his bed, she watched him quietly. At his request, she had tried not to look at him as much as possible the last time, but now he was not awake to scorn her, so she took the chance. Being unused to seeing him this way, Alenia found it strange. Well, less strange and more foreign. This was an Alvér she felt she did not know… and he was beautiful. Or maybe handsome would have been a better word? She did not know, but the elfin woman was transfixed there, watching him for some time longer than she probably should have. And while she did, a million thoughts ran through her mind. Not just about his appearance, but also about his curse, how it worked, and if there might be some way to do away with it. Seeing him this way, without the use of his premeditated magic made her believe there might be.
After some time of this, the woman shook her head to pulled herself from the trance-like state. She really did need to be off, but after seeing him looking so serene and finally out of pain, Alenia could not bring herself to wake him. Instead she whispered soft words, no louder than the knock that failed to stir him only a short while ago. [b “Goodbye for now, Alvér, I will return soon. Sleep tight.”] It was tempting to pat his head or tuck him in a bit, but she held herself back. And with that she turn on her heel and make it back to the hall. She was ever so careful to shut the thick wooden door without a sound, and then tread lightly back to the stairwell. It was not till she was some distance away that she let her over abundance of caution fall to the wayside. She really was on her way now.
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Alvér dragged his eyes back to her, a guarded glare ready for her as he expected to hear chastisement in her tone as she explained what she said, she meant. It left a distinct feeling in his stomach when she mentioned her things still being there. Perfect excuse, replaceable items. There was something tight and unforgiving in him that was winding more and more as she trotted away from him.
He watched her go, listening to her in the kitchen. But when she returned to that room to go upstairs, he was no longer there.
Alvér's room was silent when she knocked. Empty sounding, in that thick, static way that told you something was behind it. You were mostly positive something was there, and the silence was just what was covering it up as you strained to hear it. The perfect, pregnant stillness of a sleeping person was what she 'heard' inside of the chamber. And when she opened the door, the low, early light of the morning did not follow. Alvér's wing still had its curtains drawn, where Alenia had thrown open the ones down her hall. And it sent his bedroom, with the drapes closed, and the bed shrouded, even deeper into darkness.
Her eyes adjusted as she entered, walking across the cold floor, and managing not to trip over one of the carpets by the bed. Upon looking in on the open side of the bed, she saw the figure of the man, her friend, asleep. He was on his side facing her, his ashen skin aglow in her nightvision.
The creature's hands, slender still, but not the spidery, bony appendages they had been before were curled by his mouth. But he was hardly creature any longer. Pale again, his elven face was relaxed in slumber, pressed into the pillow, shadowed by a raven mess of hair about him. He was angular, bridging on underweight, but it wasn't the drawn, sallow look he took to when he was overcome. He was young. Brows arched naturally, instead of pursed in contention or upset, the boundary between them smooth, lacking the stressing cracks that had parted his skin like old plaster.
His body lacked the pendulous, overwhelming confusion that it had grown into, worsening earlier. Instead she saw the shape of a man again, like he had had when they were in town together the second time, clinging to him to keep him from killing.
Alenia did not notice how deep the man’s anxiety went at first. Her attention was on the cat who came to say hello. It just about melted her heart when her bright eyes popped over the cushion on the couch. She really was the cutest little bat cat the woman had ever seen. But as she thought this, Alvér became vocal again. He was skeptical of her. [b “Well, I said I would come back, so that is what I intend to do. It would just be rude to leave without a proper goodbye.”] The woman knew she had not exactly proven herself to be the politest of elves, but she liked to think he believed she had at least that much common courtesy. [b “Besides, I plan to leave most my things behind. If you get too nervous about it, you can just go to the room I am in and see that my stuff is still here.”] Replacing things like her bed roll and other travel gear was too costly, she was not just going to abandon those things.
Turning back to look at Myhrr, she gave her a light pat on the head before moving to stand. [b “Speaking of which, I should probably go and make sure I am ready for after my nap... I am gonna put this away and clean up a little bit before I head out. Thank you for sitting down to eat with me.”] Smiling happily at the man, it was genuine expression of gratitude that he had obliged her. And after that she went off to the kitchen just as she said she would to sort things out there.
Once she was satisfied with the state she left that room in, and having managed to cover up the left overs so that nothing other than Alvér got into them, Alenia headed back to her room to unpack her rucksack. Traveling with it empty, aside from her snack, would leave her more room for food items on the way back. She did not want to walk all that way with an armload full of groceries, that would be just a little silly. So once that was done, she dressed back down and crawled into bed. It took a bit to fall asleep, even though she was comfortably snuggled in, but eventually sleep found her and she woke a few hours later. By that time, it was difficult to drag herself from the warmth, even though the light of the sky was beckoning her through the window. She managed though, dressing for a day of travel and grabbing her now near empty bag. All that was left was to let Alvér know she was heading out, but as she looked about, she did not immediately see him. Perhaps he had already retired for the night. With no hesitance, more confident than ever that she had seen all there was to see on his side of the house, she pranced down the hall with confidence all the way to his door. If she does not find her friend before arriving at his bedchamber, she will knock lightly at the door and enter cautiously regardless of whether she receives an answer or not.
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Alvér hesitated, staring at her as she moved on so easily. So... it had worked? Or did she just- take his moment of anxiety well? He hadn't done it for such a prolonged time in months. When he had been fed and healthy and uncursed, sure, but now he knew it could wear off at any moment, really.
He wondered how she felt, what her plans were. Other than his fear of exposure, he knew there was a big chance that she was in fact leaving finally. Which he had expected, of course, but. After they had stopped trying to hurt one another, he had thought with all of her treating him like a person and such that she would do it not under the cover of a lie... Or was she telling the truth? He hadn't known her long enough to know her tells yet. And that bothered him.
Beyond that, she had said things that day... He didn't like that she knew so much about him. As relieving as it was to say out loud, to [i tell her] that she was facing something punished, dangerous... He didn't like being known. It itched at him. And as much space as he had wished from her earlier, when she had prodded, and followed, and dug into him like that, he wasn't expecting this, and so suddenly.
Myhrr made a plaintive noise, butting her head against the side of Alenia's leg and rubbing her length along her, tail tip visible above the couch edge. She put her paws up on the edge of the couch, making a little burbling meow.
His breath huffed out, eyes down. "[B It makes me wonder if you will come back,]" the creature said, his eye sliding over toward her from the corner, watching her reaction. "[B I have half of a suspicion you won't.]"
He reached an absent hand out and pet over Myhrr.
Alvér’s sudden burst in appetite took her by surprise, but in a good way. The little elf was happy to see him eating. He needed it. As excited as she was about it though, she was still aware enough to make certain she did not stare at him while he ate. No reason to make him get self-conscious about it. Alenia would hate for him to stop because she had made him feel uncomfortable, not when he was just getting the gumption to eat back in him. This reasoning was part of the reason she moved on with the conversation and let him know her plans for tomorrow. However, at letting that all out he stopped.
The expression the man wore after that was one of unpleasantness. As though he was thinking of things he would rather not. The bard was not sure when he was getting himself wound up about, she was just going to get stuff to make more food, but eventually he turned more toward her, hand extending. Her caramel eyes watched as it came toward her and stopped just short. What was he doing? As she tried to figure it out her gaze traveled up his arm and to his sunken eyes. That was when everything got a little hazy. She was hearing him, but at the same time she wasn’t. It was strange, but Alenia did not think anything of it. The petite elf just sort of nodded along with what he was asking compliantly. That sounded easy enough, just don’t tell anyone about anything she saw here. Alvér, the house, the road up to it and the woods that surrounded it, all fine by her. After all, her efforts in Kalenfort had been for not. And it was not likely the people of this smaller village even know about the ‘monster’ in the manor. Best to keep it that way and not cause any more panic. It all made sense, so when she blinked out of the foggy feeling Alenia thought nothing of it.
Back of her own mind in a way, Alenia hopped back to an old topic of conversation, one she remembered a little more clearly as she looked down to the plate at his side. It was nearly empty. [b “I made enough so that we could have some for dinner as well, but if you are still hungry now feel free to have more. I can figure something else out for later.”] Smiling happily know that he liked it, she was happy enough to try and throw one more thing together before bed. Though, thinking about sleep, she stopped. [b “Actually... I should probably take a nap soon if I want to be awake enough to travel and shop during the day.”] It was not as though there was a night market for her to peruse. If she left too late in the night, as she was more accustomed to waking up at those times, then she would have to waste time sitting around waiting for stores to open and she did not want to be away any longer than she had to. [b “So, I guess we can just call what is left over yours to eat as you want since I will probably take off when I wake up.”] Plus, she still had some leftover travel rations. Those would tide her over for the trip and she would not have to worry about Alvér going without.
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With time, Alvér let himself eat more intently. He was still poised, uncertain on the edge of the couch. But with exposure, with food in his hands, his appetite soon awakened a bit more properly. He bent his head just a little to help the fork, unsteady in a hungry hand, to him, straightening out. It was good. He found himself wondering if Alenia had made more...
He glanced up when she spoke to him, seeing her smile bloom across her face, pleased with even that. She smiled so easily... [size10 he wondered what that felt like, to find joy in such simplicity.]
He hummed, glancing down again. Nodding, the creature took another bite. "[B It's good.]"
Alvér's hand stilled over the plate, having moved to take another bite. He blinked, feeling something uncomfortable solidify in him about the idea. She would leave for a whole day.
He rolled that around in his head, feeling out how it made his stomach tigthen somehow to think about. Would she expose him, then? This was a perfect point at which for her to do that. Alvér knew he couldn't keep up with her to travel like that. And his attention might not come across as anything good... Would she tell tales, even unwittingly, about the creature in the woods as she had in Kalenfort and draw attention? A mob after him, he had little chance... Was this her chance to escape him finally?
His eyes were on the food, unfocused for a moment, and he swallowed. "[b This is fine,]" he commented, voice warbling and soft. He sounded dejected, and his frown worsened. He sounded plaintive. She didn't need any- anything else. It was dangerous out there. For him. She was dangerous for him.
The creature's eyes slid to look at her.
After a moment, the plate was set aside and he turned toward her, eyes full of intent. His hand opened, reaching, but stopped when her attention turned to him. Something tightened in him. Don't touch, it said. Even if- if he was using magic, or the power of suggestion- it was easier with contact. A closed circuit. He hesitated.
"[B You can't tell anyone what you've seen here,]" he said, voice full, so soft but had a quality to it as he leaned into earnesty. "[B I don't want to be run out of here right now. I'm not- I can't do this again.]" Alvér's voice dropped to a breath, nearly quavering just so, seeing the bit of blankness in her face as he spoke. He sat back, wondering if his little intention worked. If he still had that in him anymore... And even if not, would she have it in her to listen?
Something was winding tighter in him. Anxiety from before, fear of being known, of telling her those things, of being reminded he was this [i thing] to her too was only intensifying now as she said she wanted to puncture out of this membrane of tremulous isolation. How had he become complacent already? He looked back down at the plate.
Relief, that was a good word for what she felt when he finally took his first bite. He obliged her at least that much and it made her happy. However, his comment of this being his first real meal in some time hurt her heart. Of course, it made sense, the kitchen looked virtually untouched when she first got there. Whatever he was subsiding on, be it the fruits of his labors in the garden or stealing into the town to find what he could there, it was not likely to be more than odds and ends. Alvér had not taken the time to make it more, just consumed the pieces as they were. Sure, it was food, but it didn’t really constitute a meal, not in the way she was accustomed to.
When he final had a bite and did not recoil, Alenia was satisfied. She did not think he was the type to hide his disgust, so even if it was not the best thing he had ever eaten, it was palatable to him. As someone with very little knowledge of the Underdark, the wood elf had no idea what they ate down there, rice could have been culturally repulsive. It was rather silly thought, however, so was Alenia a lot of the time and that led her to dwelling on stupidly needless things like she was here.
In the end she decided to be content with his reaction. She was about to tuck back into her food when his thanks came, and she stopped. The appreciative words brought a smile to her face. [b “You are welcome.”] Both her expression and sentiment were genuine. It made her happy, even if it was not really a reflection of what he thought. At the very least he valued her effort. Alenia was tempted to say more after that, to strike up a conversation, but instead she opted to be quiet and let him eat. She had been talking his ear off for almost the entire time they were together, so it was probably about time she let him have a bit of peace, at least for a little while. The bard would not be able to help herself for long, but she did let him finish up with whatever he would inevitably consume from his plate.
When this point came, the woman spoke up with what she had been thinking about in the meantime. [b “I think tomorrow I will go to town. Not Kalenfort, I don’t really want to go back there yet, but there is another small village not too far back the way I came... I want to get some more ingredients.”] She was pretty much freeloading, the least she could do is feed herself... and him too, but that was her own prerogative. [b “It will probably be a full day’s trip there and back, so I will be gone for at least that long.”] Not that she thought he was going to be too put out about that. No doubt Alvér would be ecstatic to have her out of his hair for a little while. [b “But when I get back I should be able to make something a little bit nicer than this.”] A smile played at her lips as she was already attempting to plot out what she would make. It was fun for her, the woman had not had access to a kitchen to flex her creativity in this way in a very long time. This excitement reflected in the tone she took as she spoke.
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Alvér glanced back at her, noting how her eyes would flicker back away from him again each time. A bitter, pleased part of him was satisfied in making her so uncomfortable, even as he itched under her anticipatory looks. It felt like control. He could still win. He could still hurt her. And that meant he could protect himself.
But her words didn't return to him. Not of him, at least, but about his opinion. No more digging for the time being? No more demanding of him, it seemed.
"[B It's the first real meal I've had in a little while,]" he admitted, letting the plate down in his lap. He found himself gazing at the plate for a few moments. Sinking, as he was wont, into a reflective focus on the small details of something. He would do it often as a vampire. His senses so heightened, his body thruming with too much energy. It was like when he was a fledgeling sorcerer: pent up with potential energy and magic it would seem as he would pulse so quickly that he passed entirely out of the same throb, the same heartbeat as anything around him and sink into soemthing entirely detached.
It happened to him rarely, as of late. But now he found himself snapping away from simply gazing at how the steam curled off of the vegetables and rice. How the green stood out against the white. How the rice looked, considering how sticky it was against itself, yet was still soft. When he surfaced again, he turned to look to her, realizing he had grown so still beside her he didn't even breathe, it seemed, for a moment.
His brows pressed together, feeling something press against his chest for a moment. She cooked for him. She fed him. Again.
"[B ...thank you.]"
He glanced over at her, trying not to turn his head far, and glanced at her through the ede of his lashes to see her response. It didn't seem that he knew how to be pleasing to her, but he wondered if this helped.
He didn't know what else to say. Of course it was good. She should know that. And to him, he hadn't had anything more than plain, or cold and easy to steal and keep for some time. Beyond that, Alvér rarely felt appetite either. He simply ate to ensure he wasn't wasting. He picked up his fork again and continued on the dish.
One of the reasons Alenia had remained quiet on the walk back to the common area was because she could tell the man was so unhappy with her. Coming into his special wing of the house, she had though she had seen everything Alvér was looking to hide, so there was no reason to avoid it any longer. A bedroom was generally a person’s most private place after all. But upon having a decent look at the adjacent bathroom, she caught sight of his casket and thought perhaps that was what he was trying to hide all this time. That was probably why he looked at her with such distain when he saw her waiting in the doorway. The woman supposed she could understand, it was an important piece of him, though it was not like she was going to do anything with that information. It all came from the skepticism he still carried for her and her motives. So, she let him be mad until they reached her planned destination and even a little bit after that.
His sarcasm bled into just about everything he said and did after that. Including tell her that he did not wish to talk with her because it did not work out. She refrained from saying that she thought having this as an outlet was better than his parade of self-depreciation and harm, even if it got on his nerves. At the very least he would not be worse off than he already was for it despite their bickering. Alenia let him disagree and then watched as he made off to his bag. At the sight of the pewter cutlery, she noticed that she had forgotten the silverware and reddened. She took the offered fork with a nod. Whelp, so much for trying to save on dishes. The elf had gone through the trouble of dishing the food out with regular silverware so that there would be less mess, but after forgetting them in the kitchen it was all for not. That was fine though, she could clean a couple more utensils. [b “Thanks.”]
His next comment caught her off guard. With how cynical he had been, she was not sure how to take it. He did not sound quite so sardonic, but Alenia was not quite ready to take the compliment at face value. There was little more than politeness in the voice the night before, so she was certain in her mind he didn’t find her to be some great talent. In the end she decided to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume he was only trying to be polite here as well. And there was no sense working herself into a tizzy over that. [b “I just hope you like it.”] With that she smiled softly to him then turned her attention to her food.
The rice was plain but cooked to a fluffy perfection. Alenia liked it that way, since she enjoyed the taste of rice on its own, but doubly so when it was paired with something more flavorful like the vegetables she had prepared. Having test tasted things along the way and before she served up the food, the woman knew it was to her own liking at the very least and dug right in. Perhaps in a more formal setting she would have been more mindful of table manners, but here she didn't pay them much mind. Not to say she was a slob, that was by no means the case either. It was someplace in between, somewhere she found comfortable.
Fresh herbs were never as strong as their dried counterparts; however, she had managed to get the rosemary to balance with the sweetness of the carrots she added decently well. It had been infinitely tempting to dig up some wild garlic she spotted over by the fence and add it to the mix, but she was not sure if that would be considered insensitive... even if he was technically mortal right this second. So instead she went without.
While eating, her light brown eyes periodically flickered over to Alvér. She really was curious what he would think; she wanted a truthful review. With that she would have a direction to go in the future. If she could make foods he had a fondness for, they would be more tempting for him. He needed to eat, and she was not opposed to spoiling him with his favorites to do it.
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What surprised him was, this time, Alenia didn't say anything. She just let him go. He stopped in the front room, eyes passing over the books, the half put away bundle of things he had brought together to potentially flee this place. To leave all of this behind, and go somewhere else. A part of him ached to. He hated this town, he hated its people. And they hated him. The only thing keeping this away was fear. He was good at that. Fear. And yet somehow Alenia was here, stubbornly telling herself she wasn't afraid of him.
Even so, it wasn't like she was taking him seriously. He felt disgusting about it to no end. As soon as she had pressed her hand against his chest that night, she had just assumed he was something pathetic. He felt cut by it. Her smiles, grating on him, showing she was full of nothing but admonishment for him. It made him think of how his mother would treat his reports to her, his concerns about intrigue or court issues. She would just smile. Oh, Alvér.
Myhrr's body brushed against him, slinking around to his front, pink body bright against the darkness. His eyes were on her. The sounds of Alenia moving things in the kitchen, the activity behind him. It was odd. He realized that most of the noise he heard here were things he had to wonder. Was it real? Was it his imagination trying to fill the silence? Was it animals? Was he back in the crypt, even after all of this time, and this somehow was all just a procured delusion, at length, that had somehow taken him years, and he was truly still in that casket?
Myhrr meowed, her little paws depositing themselves on him. His eyes refocused on her. She tapped one paw against him, wanting something. She always did that- against his knuckles or his legs as she did now.
Alvér bent, reaching for her, and picked the animal upm bringing her against him. "[B What do you want,]" he sighed, settling her against him.
Close, now, he could smell her. His nose wrinkled a bit. It wasn't necessarily a bad smell, but it was potent. And he could only imagine what her ears smelled like if he looked. It was time to give her a bath, and he queried as much to her, softly as she pressed her face against the side of his mouth. As soon as he said the word 'bath' she meowed in his face.
"[B I'll take that as an affirmative,]" the creature murmured.
The room that Alenia found was the door that came before Alvér's bedroom down the forbidden wing. It was slanted open slightly, letting a shaft of moonlight lance through the hallway. And underneath that, the sounds that summoned the elf.
Nudging it open with her hip, inside she was met with a checkered, stone black and white floor, that let the echoes of the sounds of water reach further. It was a sort of grandiose bathing room. And on a raised floor, there was a great, wooden casket of a dark wood or stone. She couldn't tell from here. But it shone with lacquer. As did the raven head of the creature. But he was less like a creature. More a man in this vision. He was knelt near a basin, great and large and stone and set, though raised, into the floor of the room itself. It would have been easier to be in the basin along with the animal, instead of bent over it like this, looking like a servant, but he wasn't keen on Alenia walking in on him without clothing on, or taking more time to dry himself off afterwards. But he had assured himself she would respect his wishes unless it was an emergency.
There was a great fireplace and mantelpiece with apothecary bottles and dishes, all heavily dusty, with who knew what in it. Unused candelabras set around- some bigger than a man with long trails of wax running to the floor, and on tables. None were lit, and both elves could see perfectly fine with the moon shifting through the tall bank of fine windows on the back of the chamber.
But when she looked back, Alvér's face was displeased. He had frozen, all sound stopping when he had realized she was coming. He had had half a mind to shut and lock the door, but he hadn't been paying attention and she was already here, and Myhrr was his focus now. However, apparently she would not listen to his wishes. Surprise, surprise. Nothing he said about boundaries, even, was serious. This was [i his] space, and now she had seen where his casket was. Where his epicenter was, his fetid, accursed trappings.
"[B Alenia,]" he said, eyes moving to the two plates she had with her as she addressed them. His face didn't soften. Even elbow deep in water with suds in it, and Myhrr's face peeking above the edge of the large basin. It looked like it could fit a handful of people in it.
Long fingers squeezed out a sponge he was using for the kitten, the muscles along his arm moving in response. Bare. She hadn't seen his arms bare before. His sleeves were rolled up. It made his arms look even longer. And the crinkly texture to his skin inthe moonlight, contrasted even more with being damp, along his arms and wrists revealed a collection of scarring.
Soon he finished and brought up a towel he had sequestered near himself to dry off the cat. After that, being left with Alenia, he busied himself drying off his arms, keeping his attention there.
She stopped in the living room. The air was heavy between them. Her back was to him before she turned. Alvér's mood had darkened once more and he was awaiting more chastisement from the bard that didn't believe in evil. Didn't believe (in) him. Surely he was only being dramatic, surely things weren't as bad- and this all coming from a woman who had no history. Of course she wouldn't get it, she was likely some peasant girl with some charmed, provincial life, satisfied with the workings of the seasons, and each and every rotten soul she came across.
"[B To 'talk',]" he repeated, sarcasm lacing his words. "[b Now, why would I do that again? It's gone so well for me thus far.]" She mocked him, in how she assured, in how she told him- he who knew himself best, who knew his body, his mind, having no other company for near two hundred years. He had nowhere to look but in. But nearly a week into an acquaintance she dared assume she knew him. That she could assure, see some light, and something worth saving in this monstrous husk. She denied him his suffering. The hardness it gave him.
With that, he took his eyes from her and examined the plate she handed him. A bit of trepidation was in him, evident, as he looked it over. Now, if she truly was trying to end him, she had a perfect chance to. He was impressed that there were hardly any, no actual little black bodies in the dry goods. No bugs. It was pleasing to see, and it smelled of more than just the zucchinis on the plate. She had seasoned this.
He glanced at her again as she assumed he wouldn't like it. Clearly, she didn't understand his lack of pickiness. It was only appetite he lacked, of late. Or hadn't been acquainted with it yet.
Having not been given any silverware, he assumed she thought he would scoop the rice with his hands. This would not happen. So, he went to one of the couches and pulled at his satchel, bringing out one of the crude, pewter utensils he had in his personal belongings. He looked to her as he turned with it, arching a brow. Did she require the same?
“[B I suppose we will see if your cooking is at all nearly as good as your musical talents, shall we?]” he purred, voice low at the base of his register as he stepped forward with a more proper fork for her. The serving and cooking spatulas were something, but not what he wanted.
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