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Insae kept the chuckle silent, soundlessly propagating inside her head, no need to provoke the poor little elf any further. Who would think a high poshy, arrogant elf lost control of their face, and the first shown, very visibly, would be a flushing of that pale white face? Insae had flustered many a creature, but this one took the number one spot in trolling, amusing fluster.
Oh! And what was that?!!? Insae knew Alloen tried to keep his voice controlled with that tone of authority, but every few words a single syllable popped out betraying the authoritative tone as unnerving. Even his arms, thought not by much, betrayed the outwardly calm appearance. Why else would hide their arms, specifically at and below the wrist, behind the back? No one wanted to look a fool by having the hands do weird things, especially not a personality like the fair elven statue that was Alloen.
What's this, what's this, Insae believed her eyes. What's this, Alleon approached her close. However he still kept the distance, his few glances betraying something, perhaps fear, at the sight of the tail. Insae couldn't make fun of Alloen if he indeed feared the tail for she herself knew the destructive force of such an animated whip. Even with a light flick of just the tippity-toppity of her tail would send Alloen planting his smug fair face into a surface which would make him ugly.
Speaking of fair looking, smug bastards, why wasn't this one sneering? Those orchid orbs with black spheres weren't squinting in combination with a wicked smile, but what else it what even Insae couldn't decipher. Alloen could keep this win, if even this had been a mind battle, Insae was satisfied with her twisty turning victory.
Insae couldn't help but twist her head 45-degrees clockwise, her point-of-view, the tip of her tail giving a few flicks before settling down. The head then twisted 90-degrees counter-clockwise, the entire tail closely sweeping around her body and lay to rest near the right leg. Not only did Alloen offer help in standing up and giving back her dagger, he also offered to eat. Although the way he offered food lost Insae. The conjunction [i or] presented an alternative item or idea, but she failed to see the two different alternatives in Alloen's conjunction phrase. She being a guest, a light way of identifying as a prisoner, meant it would be rude to eat first, especially if starting off with the main meal.
Insae gave up. She decided to give her own little show.
Rotating her head so it made her body more or less symmetrical, Insae brought her hands together and cracked her knuckles. Some preferred a one-by-one crackling while others leaned towards the all-at-once firing, Insae belonged to the latter. Sliding the tail directly behind she coiled it onto a spring while shifting her legs slightly; Using the stored energy Insae used it to help stand up while lightly dusting herself off.
Now the next part of her show. Insae moved her feet apart while placing her, hands holding each other, in the lowest notch of her spinal chord; Her entire body becoming a rigid stone. Sweeping her Prussian blue eyes up and unflinchingly locking with those orchid orbs, she slowly extended her tail out. Once close enough she curled the tip and shook Alloen's free hand that way, instead of a warm semi-scaly hand he'd feel a cold and very scaly tail. After giving one firm hand-tail-shake, Insae unwrapped her tail and relaxed it straight behind her. [b [+purple "You can keep the dagger as a keepsake, especially if some accident happens to me during my stay"]], poking fun at Alloen's earlier phrase about being a co-conspirator without any trace of insinuation. Dipping her head up and down, not a bowing motion, [b [+purple "As to the food"]], a few seconds of pause, [b [+purple "I can't eat first, that would be rude. Especially if you want to start off with the main course. I'd be happy to eat, but I can't breach the morality of the laws of hospitality despite me being a prisoner still."]]
Insae relaxed her shoulders by a fraction, a slight dip being the only thing visible.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Alloen was more than a little perplexed and caught off guard by her reaction. Had he said something offensive? Perhaps hearing how he would not openly just give her priceless dragonborn tomes was distressing to her? Perhaps releasing her bonds had not been the wisest of choices, especially when that gentle roar began to build. He reactively took a step back to the throne as his eyes widened for a moment and he grasped her dagger a little tighter. Her rhythmic thump of her tail gave the impression this was some ritualistic chant she was making and he was equal parts wary and fascinated.
Here, before him and right now, he had a dragonborn girl who was giving him some kind of personal showcase of the like he could only link toward her scaled kin. No human could make those noises nor that reverberating sound that echoed around him, not without a drum or other instrument. He was captivated by this young girl so much so he could have sworn he saw a light haze of smoke expelled with some of her breaths. Was he about to see her fire breath? [i Could she do that?] He couldn’t help but lean in a little closer and narrow his violet elven eyes on her lips. But there was no further smoke. No flames licked forth like a fiery tongue. In fact all he really noticed was her smiling. Before he had realised the thumping had ended and his ears adjusted to what was perhaps the more ominous sound; laughter.
His cheeks flushed when he realised he had misunderstood and that he had been played a fool. Standing upright he brushed at his clothing to smooth it out and frowned across at her. Whilst she revelled in her moment of success, winning this small battle of the minds, he sighed and brushed a hand through his raven locks.
[+firebrick “Firstly; apology accepted. Secondly; you may not be in bonds anymore but do not think yourself devoid of punishment yourself. Mock me like that again and we will throw you in with those humans as a co-conspirator.”] He was trying to sound authoritative yet his voice belied a touch of nerves. Thankfully he had drawn his hands behind his back where they flexed about her dagger in a calming manner.
Stepping down off the throne platform he approached her though he did not get too close for that powerful tail to whip out at him. Sat down or not, he was wary of this woman.
[+firebrick “I have an idea of the background to all this, but yes, an interrogation is required to learn the full truth.”] Looking down on her he could quite easily have sneered on her as the low blood a lot of his kin would see her as. Yet he saw the potential in her. She was quick witted and careful with her words and also her actions. There was intelligence in those dark Prussian blue eyes of hers. They were certainly captivating in their own right, not to mention something more alluring that he couldn’t put into words. His hand came forward in offer to help her up, the other following not long after holding her dagger. He held the blade so that the handle was proffered to her. He would’ve liked to keep it as a genuine dragonborn crafted weapon, but he still had need of her and this could be a further sign of his trust in her.[+firebrick “Would you prefer to eat first or go straight to the main course?”] Being Alloen that had many meanings, a vast majority sexual in nature, but for now he truly just meant the interrogation.
As she sat soundlessly Insae fully expected Alloen to either confirm or deny her questions disguised as statements. That was the only logical follow-up to those questions. The biggest factor fell upon whether or not those disguised statements had been actually said, which in Insae's case they had not.
So when Alloen began to speak about books, poor Insae, along with her mind reeled with confusion. Of course out of habit she showed naught this expression upon her rock solid face, but inside none other than the absolute opposite to solidarity, chaos, reigned supreme. The information though useful didn't help in either those questions or the new ones popping up. Even Alloen's face dropped into curiosity from that sickeningly amusing smile of his, though it did make looking at that hypocritical elvish face much easier, that only led to further confusion.
Insae let out a quiet annoyed roar, a most curious mix of human and dragon; Higher pitched because of the human half while having that characteristic vibrating rumble from the dragon half. A fast slap with the tip of her tail bounced around the hall. The stress, since being kidnapped, slowly had built up and finally snapped. Not polite or showing good manners, but even Insae had her limits with certain things.
This bloody fucking situation being one of those!
Her erratic tail-tip snapping slowly calmed down as the seething breaths, was that smoke, followed suit. Insae reigned her mind back in its place and started figuring out what had gone wrong.
A single minute in deadly silence followed, broken by a light chuckle from Insae which then broke into a short laughter before quieting into a chuckle and then back into nothingness. Insae finally understood from whence the confusion had come from.
[+purple " Even though you wouldn't admit to such a mistake, I do apologize for that confusing moment. What I had meant to say was this: If what you say is true, you do realize the implications of that? You are implying those farmers aren't just any farmers, but they are a part of that cult. And the reason they reached to me and have me give them my cooperation was to make me give up my blood. Then remains the question whether they were actually in the cult or being used as pawns. Me thinks that will be answered in the interrogation, correct?"]. Ending with a smile and a half-devilish sort of gleam in her eyes.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Yes, her reaction was indeed a surprise, certainly not what he expected and it brought a smile back to his lips. She had yet to do one thing he expected of her save for the dagger being kept secret. And even that was more a lie by omission than her defying him. For Alloen her approach to everything he had said was rather calm and tranquil. She was being informed that the ‘peasants’ she had been escorting were actually escorting her as their bounty; that her blood held the key; that she was quite integral to a plot to change the entire world; and yet she was now sitting down on the floor sipping her water as if this were a slumber party.
Watching her finish her drink quickly he wondered for only a few moments on having another brought, perhaps a pitcher this time. She had been stopped before they had eaten and surely a platter of food would not be turned down either. But to do that would make him too hospitable. She was here for a reason and he needed more answers. He was intently staring at her now, judging her as her tail flicked and she stared down at the floor as if turning in on an inner monologue. Just as he went to speak up – she did.
[+firebrick “Books? I have a few.”] He answered without hesitation, though he looked curious more than amused now; why would she ask a question in such a way?[+firebrick “I can’t be sure they are directly linked to your particular family history or your unique heritage. But they are interesting reads nevertheless.”] Why was he telling her this? He should have held this information back, withhold it from her and use it at a later date. Oddly he felt a need for her approval.[+firebrick “You help me and I am more than happy to offer them to you – to read of course. They are rare and I would hate to diminish my collection.”] Very noble and inkeeping with his persona thus far.[+firebrick “And of course you will have the help of my lands and people too.”] A very broad offer, but a lovely addition.
And yet another pause filled the silence between the two of them. Even though they were having a conversation they also played a game. Just like with certain card games it involved having any advantage over the other while not giving any advantages to the other; Insae knew that Alloen held all the advantageous cards in his heartless hands, but she knew as well she could bleed through both deck and cards until the roles would be reversed.
But for now, she'd thin out the deck and their sets of cards, one thing at a time.
Alloen stood up, dusting his pristine clothes, which probably contained neither dust nor dirt, before proceeding to walk down the stairs. Of course his flashing, grinning, stupid looking smile hadn't left his face, Alloen probably had countless years perfecting such an irritating smile.
The next offense committed by this impertinent bastard of an elf came in the form of crushing any idea of her personal space. Their chests were so close to touching, Insae had to control her tail lest it whipped and accidentally tripped Alloen. Out of the options of looking at his cloth covered chest or those bright, smug blue eyes, she chose another option; closing her eyes. The elf could think whatever he wanted to think about that.
Closing he eyes meant relying on the other senses, and even though Insae had no sense specific training at least her ears were up to par.
She could hear her own breath, quiet, small, meditative almost. Alloen's breath differed substantially, long and a touch of exhilaration, no doubt accompanying his 'borrowing' of her dagger. And then a touch, a small bolt of frost on the bottom of her hands as if the cold be asking the hands to move. Insae obliged Alloen and lifted her hands up somewhat higher, to which she felt something against the ropes binding her wrists together. So he planned to cut the bonds? An interesting and most curious development.
She most definitely never said that! Not a single part of her monologue of impure dragon's blood mentioned not being a dragon! Despite him mistaking her words, the feeling of being able to twist and turn one's wrists felt refreshing. Insae definitely was proud of the dragon part, it literally made up half of her existence.
Although him taking the knife was irksome. Yes she did have her sword, but anything one made with one's own hands one wanted to keep.
With his back turned Insae heard Alloen's voice slightly muffled by his own back. Opening her eyes, which blinked hard once readjusting to the warm fire light, continuing to examine Alloen's movements.
After he finished his monologuing Insae felt the urge to sit down. Putting a hand on the grip of her sword and pushing it away, Insae slowly settled down into a criss-cross position while her tail wrapped around clockwise and came to rest on her left thigh. Hunching over like a tired traveller over a campfire, Insae drank the entire cup before setting it down almost soundlessly. The cool water wet the parched throat and settled the slight thirst.
Then Insae hunched even further, setting her elbows upon her thines and resting her head on her curled up hands. She did know of a few tales of what dragon's blood could do, but this one she knew naught. It wasn't that Insae disbelieved Alloen, just the sheer jump from a tiny drop of blood, her blood, could be used for such a catastrophe. This idea unsettled Insae, it could be seen in her narrowing eyes and in her tail as the very tip of it flicked.
[i [+purple If what you say is true, you do realize the implications of that? You are implying those farmers aren't just any farmers, but they are a part of that cult. And the reason they reached to me and have me give them my cooperation was to make me give up my blood. Unless they didn't know, which meant someone else was pulling the strings.]] [+purple "Wonder if he has books on dragons from where I am?"] Unbeknownst to Insae, she did not realize that she had swapped what she had wanted to say and what she did say, continuing to gaze at the floor.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Alloen found the sarcasm and the implied annoyance to be quite humorous and in turn he was drawn in further to this marvel of a woman. She was not a fool, she understood the situation. If he wanted to talk and have a bit of back and forth between them then she would oblige until such a time as he no longer held the advantage. He understood this was just talking but he hoped that what he had to say would interest her enough that she may listen further. To that end he smiled as he sat in his seat and let a pregnant pause between them grow.
He brought that to an end by standing. Pulling himself to his full height, and atop the small stage that the chair sat upon, he was quite a tall figure. He was not imposing or perturbing however as he still wore his smile. Brushing down his clothing he move forward, down the step and toward her, holding his tongue as he neared her and stopped almost pressing against her chest. His right hand drifted from his side, moving about her side though never quite touching her clothing. It moved further round to her back pulling them even closer to where she would either stare at his chest or be forced to look up into those bright eyes that stared down on her.
The elfin prince held his subtle smile as his hand returned, her ‘hidden’ dagger held in his lithe fingers. His free hand touched hers just enough to insinuate that he wanted her to raise them up for him. Once she obliged he took a hold of her restraints in his right hand and brought the knife to the edge.[+firebrick “The girl with the dragon’s tail and dragon’s strength, who speaks the dragon’s tongue and has the dragon’s spirit, claims not to be a dragon?”] A moment’s hesitation before he drew the knife up and his other hand down, the restraints cut easily and pulled free of her hands.[+firebrick “You should be more proud of the dragon’s blood within you than the human.”] He turned from her then, taking the knife with him as he began to walk back to his seat.
His monologue continued as he walked, back to her.[+firebrick “You are a first generation dragonkin Insae.”] How did he know?[+firebrick “You bear the name of your kind, something only firstborn’s do.”] He understood far more about dragons and their culture than most, that was obvious.[+firebrick “Your blood is more pure than most and a few drops is worth more than all the blood in a dozen of second generation dragonkin.”] He reached the step up but pivoted, one foot on the platform as he looked back to her.[+firebrick “There are those in this world who wish to bring about an apocalyptic time, where their archaic law is felt from The Raging Ocean to The Endless Ocean. Your blood is key to them bringing that about.”] The cards had been lain before her and now he would see her reaction. He had an idea for how it would go, but she was often full of surprises.
A whistle flew through the air but Insae payed not a single drop of attention to its high pitched squeal. This sudden void had quickly swallowed all of Insae's attention, a place of no answers. So deep did Insae allow the void to submerge her that the sounds of feet and a voice were as if they never had existed in the first place.
And than a sudden intake of breath halted Insae's infinite without answers plunge. No breathes had she taken the entire time, the mind solely focused on this void that it had forgotten for some time other bodily functions. The lungs had begun to burn, not literally, as the air was used up, until no more usable air was left. Not only did this sudden intake of a voluminous quantity of air stop the thinking, Insae's head rotated back upwards so as to be looking at Alloen perched atop his throne.
Alloen began to speak once again. Insae still had offed feelings towards Alloen, hence her resuming her stony and expressionless face, but not as an adversary any more. Despite his 'offences', all his actions were in accordance in protecting his land while also helping her solve the farmer mystery.
Even though he asked questions, they were not questions for Alloen already knew the answers. Insae could not shake of the uncomfortableness of the situation, it was as if Alloen was the parent and she a baby who was being spoon fed with the food being information. And he had to have figured out that by now she was somewhat desperate to plug the void.
Alloen wasn't wrong about the incentive, two out of three guesses were correct. The farmers had indeed promised both a doubling of her standard fee as well as contracts in Dorfeen. The former wasn't as important as the latter, for knowing that you'd have a contract sounded much better than merely putting it as a question.
But the next comment, a theory as Alloen put it, was that they wanted her blood of all things? There were all sorts of rumours surrounding the potency of dragon's blood, but only about blood extracted from a dragon. Yes dragonkins had dragon's blood flowing through their veins, but it was severely tainted with human blood.
An ornate cup filled with some liquid, looked like water, was placed down near her at her feet. One problem, Insae had naught the skill to manipulate her tail to move the cup from the ground and up to her mouth without spilling the contents onto the floor. If the task had involved flinging the cup at something, like a smug elf for instance, Insae would complete it with the same ease she sliced through people.
[+purple "You have great logic in thinking I can use my tied hands to pick up the cup from the ground"], her voice jeering and filled with sarcasm, [+purple "And before you mention my tail, I will only cause water to be spilled."] Without a break Insae feigned ignorance, whether or not it was good to elf standards she didn't give a shit, her voice switching to curiosity and aloofness. [+purple "Why would they want my blood? Yes I do have dragon's blood flowing in my body, but it is impure because of the human blood; I am no dragon."]
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat Clearly his comment about her choice in weaponry had hit upon a nerve as she bristled subtly at the remark. As an astute actress Insae hid it well, a pursing of her lips and a firming of the jaw, but the reaction was very much there. Although he held disdain for such fighting styles, power over skill, one hit of her sword would be enough to cleave a man in two – especially when coupled with that genetically superior strength of hers – yet he was careful not to offer praise to his prisoner.
Listening to her speak he looked a most interested man. Straight backed, hands on the arms of his seat, eyes fixed upon her. To hear that she had refused them only to be coerced was quite interesting. She had some flexibility to her at least, or perhaps her duty to be ‘helpful’, as she put it, was greater than her desire to do as she wished. And now it seemed her suspicions of the men had finally come to a forefront, the beautiful dragon tongue a pleasant surprise and he sat back into his seat with a smile having leaned forward to listen intently. Raising his right hand, a slender finger extended to the ceiling, he pursed his lips and gave a whistle. After a few seconds a servant approached out of the door the elder elf had vacated from not long before. The protruding finger dipped to indicate Insae, brilliant violet eyes never leaving her as he spoke,[+firebrick “Have water brought for our guest.”] Affirming she was his guest now, as opposed to his prisoner, he waited for the servant to bow and leave before continuing.
[+firebrick “So, without any down payment you took some poor farmers at their word to head all the way to Dorfeen? Awful long way to go for some farmers. Especially so many farmers for a single cart of food. Can't be much profit in it for them, let alone you.”] His brow rose with his rhetorical question, a smirk playing on his lips. He did not note any change in her stance as she resumed a steely look of determination. Did she truly see him as an adversary? Still? Interesting.
[+firebrick “Very peculiar for a sell sword not to procure even half the total payment before starting a job. But then you are no ordinary sell sword are you dear?”] Again, rhetorical. Leaning forward more now he rest his chin upon his right palm. Clearly he was enjoying these theatrics and trickle feeding her little bits of information.[+firebrick "I'm sure there must have been some incentive for you to break from the norm and agree to go with them. Perhaps double or triple your usual fee? The offer of steady work or contacts in Dorfeen by which you could make more coin?"] He shrugged, not too caring of her reasons why she went with them.[+firebrick "Whatever it was, they got you to agree. They could have gone elsewhere, paid less, but they were keen for [i you] in particular to help them. I theorize, those farmers were not intent on your protection but rather on you – or rather, for the blood within you.”] A wonderful theory to make and if in a perfectly orchestrated moment he chuckled as the servant returned.
In his hands he carried a beautifully carved cup. It was rich black ash with the usual elven flourish of swirls and symbols of old elvish deities long lost to the past. The inner lining was coated in gold so that as the servant approached and proffered the cup to her the water within would look bright as a honey sweet mead in the crackling flames around them. Leaving the cup to her the servant turned and offered another bow of his head to Alloen before leaving. Throughout the pageantry the elfin Prince sat watching Insae as he had the moment he sat down.
[+firebrick "What do you think of my theory young dragonkin?"]
Even though Insae never once looked directly at Alloen, that feeling of being minutely examined with every syllable pronounced was one she knew very well. Whether it was haggling over buying or selling prices, practice bouts, or just simply being a the rare oddity which was a dragonkin, it was practically a requirement to be used to this feeling or face the dire consequences of rash actions.
Alloen pronounced her name correctly the first name, no one had ever mispronounced her name, those still alive, due to its simplicity in both length and letter placing. The people and creatures who had mispronounced her name had done it on purpose while fighting, and they were all rotting bodies and buried skeletons. As to the dragon's tongue comment, Insae could not decide whether Alloen poked fun or was earnest about wanting to hear it. That would be unveiled at a later time, but for now the interrogation would proceed.
Now Insae had not any liking to this interrogation. The day had been free of trouble and she had been looking for a similar evening to end the day. Instead all this bullshit had popped out of the forest. But if she wanted to live, she'd have to continue being an actress in this farce.
Insae could hear the disapproving tone in Alloen's voice concerning her [i 'behemoth of a blade'], the fact that dwarves would commend her mattered not. Yes the blade was long, wide, but it had a keen and sharp edge along with a sturdy and unyielding pommel backed up by a fighter who had the know-how and strength to use it effectively. Insae knew not to kid herself when it came to elven blades. Simple, light in weight and small in size, an edge with an unparalleled sharpness, all backed up by fighters who had many more years of fighting experience. Insae knew she'd lost every single one-on-one fight with an elf, as one old elf she'd encountered had shown her in the course of 10 practice bouts.
To be honest, Insae herself questioned these farmers as well. The doubt had always been there ever since they had approached to hire her. Normally people would pay up front, but these farmers made promises to pay her once they reached Dorfeen. Usually she wouldn't do such contracts, but these farmers did know about her enough to understand that braking a promise with her would lead to some very undesirable consequences, they had even stated as such after her initial refusal.
Insae let some doubt creep into lips, a slight dip on the left half of her lips, and eyes as they focused on the fire. Shaking her head slightly with a deep sigh, [+purple "Even I've had doubts about them. They did not pay me up front and instead promised to pay me once all of us reached Dorfeen. I refused them initially, but they knew about my reputation as a helpful sell sword and they seemed to understand what I'd to them if they did not pay me"]. Insae coughed a few times, a dried out throat not helping to talk at all. [+purple "It feels like they are part of some farmers conglomerate. But...…. but that can't seem to explain why they'd go alone.. Too pogaan voknownne] [size10 *1].
Insae abruptly stopped speaking, only now understanding the void she had uncovered.
*1 - Too many unknowns
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat She was cool, calm and collected, handling the knowledge of his power and title with no concern. She may have dragons blood but it was ice that ran through her veins it seemed. Watching her intently his bright eyes watched as she spoke her name and offered up a very brief history of her life to this moment. Not leaving silence to linger long his fingers rapped upon the arm of his seat.[+firebrick “Insae.”] He mimicked her pronunciation and the syllables roll from his tongue, head tilted a touch to the side as he regarded her and the name she spoke. It did not sound of any race he knew, so he assumed it to be from her draconic heritage.[+firebrick “Beautiful. Dragon’s tongue is such a fascinating language. I would like to hear it more one day.”] Perhaps another time, when she was less mysterious and had served all use to him. For now he had to keep focus.
The cup in his hand was brought to wet his tongue once more before he brought his hands to his lap, fingers interlinking together.[+firebrick “So you are a sell sword and blacksmith in one? I will assume you were the one to forge that behemoth of a blade we took from you. I’m sure the dwarves would commend you for working such material into a working piece.”] It was clear he disliked the sword in drawing comparisons with the little folk’s weaponry. It was crude, large and heavy and it showed the wear of use. No doubt it would be cumbersome to wield. A mirror opposite of an elven blade.
[+firebrick “Though such a weapon, and such an [i 'alluring'] woman as yourself, heading north with some hostile peasant farmers is what has me stumped.”] He remained sat back in his seat, his voice rather than his body language conveying all his interest in her.[+firebrick “You said you were heading for Dorfeen with food. That is normal as it is a path many take with their goods. But they often form large caravans for safety as they cannot afford hired blades. So what begs the question is; what makes you so special dear?”] In his dismissive tone it came across a little disparaging on her character to ask why anyone could possibly find her skills useful.[+firebrick “Indulge me here Insae,”] again her name is spoken perfectly and with respect,[+firebrick “how much were these peasant farmers able to pay you?”]
Gone with the wind. The feeling of annoyance crept in with having her words falling on arrogantly deaf ears about such a serious matter as a hidden knife. No matter whether she was or was not, she was, trying to make fun of the leader of this 'hunting' expedition.
All she could do was follow the lead of the elves as they led themselves and her around the tree. It did take awhile to navigate the circumference of the tree as it was thick, but not thick enough to be 'dummy thic'. All the while intrigued bystanders, though curious, hastily stepped back to let everyone pass through; even they were afraid of the guards' capabilities.
Eventually, they came up to quite a big house. For sure had to be at least three times bigger than the huts they had left behind. A staircase connected the ground to the porch of this grand building, and even from here Insae could see the intricate designs laid upon the building.
And of course every little thing had to be cleaned to a very impeccable state. Not a single blemish or unpolished spot on the metal, not a single microscopical drop of dust, not a single scuff mark, and even the wooden boards squeaked of clean as they stepped all over it.
Standing in between the two fires after the guards left, Inase could see two figures. One was the arrogant prick from really earlier ago, and the other she saw for the first time. Similar looking to the arrogant prick who sat on the grand oak chair, the chair appearing more to have been naturally grown instead of carved and moved, except the hair had a very noticeable length advantage.
So the two were related, but that didn't really mean anything. I mean, there was nothing wrong or right really in having this arrogant prick talking with his uncle. Family was after all family, unless your family either was dead, disappeared, or both as was with Insae.
THat comment about her ability to speak elvish, he wasn't being rude or arrogant about it. Insae knew that her elvish sounded like if she'd be listening to the guttural noises of orkish. As long as he understood everything she said or tried to say in the common tongue then there wouldn't be much of a problem.
Either he was bluffing about knowing the knife, or he truly did know about the knife in her bag. Either way, the whole 'demeaning search' thing just sounded like a ton of bullshit. The act of searching the entirety of a person for any weapon did have a purpose and that was to disarm so nothing unexpected would happen later. Unless the elf felt comfortable with her keeping her knife, which he probably did because he'd probably kill her before she could even unsheathe her knife.
Insae preferred life over death, so she wouldn't be doing something that stupid.
A prince eh? No wonder he acted with such arrogance. Elves by themselves were already arrogantly annoying as fuck, but the royals were even more so. Something about being high and haughty just made them shake their leafy tail-feathers in excitement. Unfortunately, that meant she'd be dealing with one right now.
Even though she was part dragon, Insae didn't breath fire, or anything else for that matter, in reality. Yes, reality was often disappointing, but not like she'd say that to the arrogant Alloen. But in way he was right, she was a blacksmith, not as good as the elves or even dwarves but still good, which meant she was a fire-tamer.
Insae breathed in letting the air peruse her mouth, nose, and lungs, before shooing it away with the beginnings of her answer. [+purple "In a way, I am no one"], staring upwards and into space as she rolled her tongue on the bottom left teeth inside her mouth, [+purple "I have a name, and only one name. My name is Insae, the name which my mother bore"]. He didn't need to know which one was the human and which the dragon, all he needed to know was that a dragonkin had a human and a dragon as parents. [+purple "I am a dragonkin. I come from a village which now exists only as a smoldering village."] Insae shrugged her shoulders, the elf probably though nothing really of all this except that what she said was boring. [+purple "I hire myself out, a mercenary basically, and I do know how to run a smithy."]
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat As the dragonkin girl was brought forward, she was guided around the central hub tree, skirting around its thick roots that protruded from the ground at times. As they circled about it, a few more of the curious elven villagers stepped out to stare intrigued by the sight of such a being and children were quickly pulled close to their mother’s side lest they dart off to get a closer look. They were respectful not to get in the way and parted without issue before the soldiers in their emerald cloaks. This is how the procession continued until they came upon the ‘Masters Home’.
The building was easily the size of four or five of the huts she had seen on entering. It looked to be two floors though it did sit on thick, rich mahogany stilts, about five or six feet up. A central staircase rose up to porch, the handrails particularly intricate and etched with very fine details that were touched with deep moss greens and gold that highlighted complex shapes like bow wielding elves, prancing deer and flowers in bloom. Taking the woman up this way the doors were already open and she was led into the grand hall. From here she would see it was only one floor with a vaulted ceiling held aloft by pillars of wood that were decorated similarly to the stairs. Everything was so exquisite and impeccably clean too, the floorboards creaking under the boots of those who entered.
The guards took Insae as far as the middle of the room before leaving, two large fires on both sides of her illuminating the room in a golden hue. On adjusting to the new light she would find the same arrogant elf as before sat before her in a grand oak chair that was partially carved. Pieces of it were still wild, as if it had grown into that shape, and in truth it had been carefully nurtured to make a beautiful design. Nothing was done without purpose it seemed. He sat there with his same subtle smile though he had shed the emerald cloak and now sat in a red tunic edged in silver. His hair had been brushed back a little and in a hand he held a metallic chalice, likely silver. An older gentleman stood at his side, hands folder behind his back, hair dark like the seated man but much longer. As Insae spoke however, his head tilted to the side a touch and he watched her silently in judgement.
[+firebrick “Thank cin uncle an iuithi- -o cín thamb but im will ceri- hi govanneth eriol.”][size10 1] He spoke confidently as he watched the girl before him. The elder elf inclined his head and stepped aside to a door not far behind where the chair sat, moving through and closing it quietly behind. For a time the remaining elf sat enjoying the crackling of the fires and a sip now and again from his cup. There was no need to hurry this along, yet he was a touch too excited to not speak.[+firebrick “We will speak in common as your elven could do with some work.”] It was passable, and he understood her, but he felt like he was listening to an Orc speaking dwarvish and that would not do. At least common, though basic and dull, would not hurt his slender ears.
[+firebrick “I knew about the knife dear, do not congratulate yourself too soon. If it is not in the boot it is in the waistband. But with that long tail of yours, and that little figure, I did not wish to demean you too much by searching deeper.”] The smile only grew as he raised the cup a touch mockingly to her, taking a long sip and licking his lips of the residue.[+firebrick “Though keep the smile, it is rather sweet to see on you.”] He sat straight-backed in the seat, resting the cup down on the arm of the chair as he looked forward and down on her – it sat on a platform after all. Allowing himself to lord it over her a little longer he finally decided to begin their talk properly.[+firebrick “I am Alloen Blacksong, Crown Prince of Fostinhen, Protector of the Western Elves and Heir to the Realm of Feanor.”] He had said those words a thousand times and it still sounded rather nice. Leaning forward in his seat he raised the cup towards Insae,[+firebrick “And who are you, my little tamer of dragons fire?”]
1 - Thank you Uncle for use of your hall but I will conduct this interview alone.
Now before this ragtag group stepped off, the leader first prioritized in making sure that his orders concerning the cart and dead bodies would be carried out. The stop did not last even a single moment for the leader know his subordinates well and therefore knew that they'd carry out his tasks well done and in a timely manner.
Now the procession had a amusing, circus look to it. A rider upon a magnificent elk with two columns of eight riders upon lovely white horses, the main attraction of this travelling circus. As to the other half whose task it was to bring smiles with laughter, another rider upon just as a magnificent white horse as the others with a rope which wrapped around an odd looking female and two male farmers. But all this did not take into consideration of the weapons on the elves, their armed to the teeth look would quickly convince anyone that this was no travelling circus, but elves escorting prisoners.
For Insae, the pace of a light jog even when tied to two bumbling farmers was an easy thing. For one who'd accustomed to trudging many miles per day with a heavy pack in addition to the sword and armor, jogging in armor was a literal jog through the park. As to the farmers' complaints and pleas, Insae did wish for them to shut up, hadn't they already realized the total uselessness of both of those actions when dealing with arrogant elves? At least the fading view of the world as it slowly let itself be swallowed by darkness and the chill air rushing in and out of her lungs served as a most useful distraction from the farmers' laments.
Upon entering a forest the pace was eased somewhat. No doubt the elves dare not risk breaking the legs of their precious horses and singular elk nor their own necks resulting in such a tumble. They would not have given a single damn in any of their prisoners had stumbled resulting in a twisting of a little digit on one foot or the breaking of an entire foot.
Insae's curiosity rose sharply at the sight of abundance and variety of creatures that had appeared the instance of entering the forest. If this had been a hunt, no better place to hunt than here could have appeared from thin air. Any hunter would delight in the number of creatures they'd be able to kill, as well as the variety of different game meats they'd be able to bring back to either save or sell. No doubt any such hunter would be killed before they even had a chance to draw their bow or spear, but at least their final thought before death would be a happy one before feeling a sharp feeling of pain followed by a warm, red stream of blood leaking from the penetrating hit of an elven arrow.
Insae's curiosity would have vanished as fast as it had came if it weren't for her observations of the creatures' actions. Usually any of these creatures would bolt away from anything bigger than themselves in the blink of an eye, but the usual, at least for Insae, was not what she could see with her own eyes. Upon the sides of this strange groups the creatures sat or lay and watched what was for them a curious looking group pass by them. No doubt the elves they were accustomed to seeing, but a dragonkin and two humans accustomed they were not. And as it concerned the creatures in the front, they ran as if they knew what to expect. Without a doubt there existed a relationship between the forest creatures and the elves, the creatures offered services to the elves in return for services from the elves.
Such a curiousity this was to Insae that she missed the entrance into what appeared to be a courtyard through a set of gates imbedded in a hard, wooden palisade. No doubt even if the curiousity of the coexisting creatures had been nonexistent, Insae wouldn't have noticed the well made camouflage. The only way to notice such a well hidden wall would've been to run into it nose first.
The curiosity of the creatures had now been replaced by the curiosity of the elven inhabitants who called this place their home. From the youngest to the oldest, all had gathered just outside their huts to see what had been brought in from the outside. No doubt the humans had a boring appeal to them, they weere plenty and easily encountered in the world. But Insae, no regular human. One didn't really run into dragonkin, one had to really scrounge for one in the land; Insae had been the exception, but exceptions happened and sometimes they happened for exception reasons.
After some waiting around, something or something was being waited upon, a rider returned to converse with the leader. So the humans were being sent to prison, while she herself to the master's home? If she had been human, she'd probably end up side-by-side with the two farmers in some dark, dank, musky scented cell. But because of her being dragonkin, someone here was obviously interested in her, aside from the leader of this cavalcade, and wanted to see the curiosity which was a dragonkin.
Insae still had the dagger on her back, quite a sharp problem if discovered still upon her. The best option, telling the leader of the knife when he had initially searched her, had already passed and gone, what was in the past stayed in the past. The next best option, would be to tell them now before being accused of some stupid assassination attempt. But that didn't mean Insae would allow for an opportunity to make of the leader simply pass by.
[+purple "Ni am somewhat surprised, even as ilya your diligence, i tye failed ana men i sicil."] [size10 *1] Even though Inase kept a stony expression, such that a stonemason would delight to use as a model, Insae allowed a smirk to creep onto her face.
*1 - I am somewhat surprised, even with all your diligence, that you failed to spot the knife.
[google-font http://fonts.googleapis.com/css?family=Montserrat][Montserrat It was nice to see some reaction from the young woman. It may have only been the raising of an eyebrow or her lips pulling taut as she fought a building sneer, but he took the reaction for what it was and he would silently commend her drive in maintaining her silence. Often people had one of two reactions to this situation and the three surviving members were showcasing that. The humans muttered their prayers and offered their pleas to be allowed free, to travel on with their goods. They were 'simple and honest folk'. And the dragonkin, she was stoic, she was quiet and resigned to accept what was going on now for silence brought with it her best chance of living.
Back in his saddle he looked past the young girl before him and observed seven of the bowmen from around him dismounting to do as he had ordered, Alysha directing them to their roles and getting on with the task at hand. He tugged at the reins and turned his mount away, pushing it to climb back up and over the ridge to the lake. The rope that tethered Insae to her farmer employers was taken up by a lone rider who tugged it sharply to get them moving. Once they had cleared the ridge line the elves took up two single file lines flanking their leader, eight to each side with the prisoners in the middle.
The path to the meadow was easy and almost a straight path. Not wishing to arrive too late and take the ire of the Huntress who presided there, the speed at which they travelled was a steady canter for the horses and a light jog for those who walked. The leader atop his elk did not look back save to talk to a subordinate at his side who promptly nodded for another to step out of line, bringing their horses up to a gallop as they went on ahead with their orders. At times the farmers would stumble and call out asking for pace to be slackened so that they might not fall or be left to drag along the ground. No elf looked to give them any respite and the tempo was upheld.
The sun had fallen beyond the horizon by the time they came upon the small cropping of trees, the last vestiges of day giving way to a sky twinkling with stars and a full moon. There were no horns or shouts to denote they had been seen and their presence relayed to those in the meadow. Rather a slew of woodland critters ran before their path, eager to be the first to report on their arrival and gain the small treat for their service. Others, perhaps too lazy, full or simply curious, lined the pathway that led into the trees. Rich carob rabbits, bushy tailed fox squirrels, striped chipmunks and silver mane raccoons sat atop tree trunks and along the thick branches above, squeaking, talking, singing their interest though all seemingly focused upon the dragonkin girl.
Brought through another few minutes into the treeline they suddenly passed into an opening and on looking back would find a wooden palisade behind, large gates closing over. They had been so well disguised within the foliage of the trees around that it had been a shock to the farmers to be brought within some form of civilisation.
The clearing centred around a large tree with ashen bark and golden leaves. It stood devoid of any building or construction, left to grow freely and without constriction rather than be used to hold platforms or homes much like the elves were fond of in their cities. Around the clearing, close to the palisade though leaving large avenues to guide a horse through, were many small huts of wooden design with leaves used in place of thatch roofing. Despite the lack of sunlight, the moon and stars had been harnessed through shimmering pools of water that reflected much of the light and bathed everything in an ivory hue. Using this lighting the prisoners would see a number of elven faces of all ages watching them from their doorways, interested to see whom had arrived so late in the evening.
The group was stopped abruptly, though the man atop his elk continued on, riding around the tree and out of sight. For a little time there was no interaction from the elves to their dragonkin and human 'guests', not until one of the riders sent on ahead earlier returned, speaking to the lead rider who nodded their head.[+darkorange “Take i humans na i gador. I lúg gwen, na i Masters Bar.”][size10 1*]. Immediately those riders around them dismounted, tethers were cut and the two farmers led off to the right whilst the girl was pulled forward and to the left, following the path of the elk-rider.
1* - Take the humans to the prison. The dragon girl, to the Masters Home.
Even during her semi-pious moment, Insae could still hear of the happenings around her. The sounds of metal swords scraping inside their sheathes informed of the confiscation of these weapons from the farmers, while a rustling of clothes and slight foot reposition told of the patting down of the farmers in the case that there were tucked away daggers. No doubt if given the chance these farmers would brutally avenge the wrongful, from their perspective of course, deaths of their two family members, but the farmers' only course of action would be limited to holding in their fury for vengeance against these elves.
Now the two elves assigned to search-and-confiscate duty were going to finish this sacred duty with her, but the leader waived them aside by a simple yet effective hand gesture. Instead, he would conduct the mission on her in person. Why he did not let his two underlings do it Insae did not know, everyone has their own reasons they keep to themselves, but that did not change what would happen.
Deep down inside Insae wanted to slap the elf like a mother does to a child, a little reprimand to wipe off that smug smile off his fair elven face. If it had been bad enough, even though the current situation was as bad as it was, Insae would've replanted the dagger from the sheath which she carried tucked away into her back and into that smug smile; a beautiful sight that plant would make, lips still in a smile while blood leaked from the roof of the mouth discolouring the white teeth with oxygen-rich blood across that perfectly stone carved face.
Neither did Insae take any enjoyment from her sword being compared to a sword crafted for mercenaries. The time taken into planning the design, gathering the necessary materials and their amount, and forging the metal into what would be its final resting form all the while keeping this a secret from her dad just felt perfectly insulting. But from an elf's arrogant perspective, anything non-elven crafted or designed equated to something way down below their level.
But what this elf, this arrogant filled scumbag bag of skin and bones, did next might have just taken the pinnacle of douchebaggery. He had the bloody nerve to lay his slender fingers in a lighly pinching grip on her chin. Being forced to submit to a search was horrible enough of its own, but to be forced to stare because of a grip on her chin blew that out of the water. If the elves had not taken the precaution of securing her wrists, Insae would've made sure that their leader would lay prostrate and bleeding out from a lightning dagger strike.
Insae focused on repressing her suprise, a possible raise of a black short thick eyebrow or a small movement of pale, rosy lips, how had the elf not picked up on the possibility of something sticking out her back as the handle of a dagger? For all their suspicious actions concerning hidden weapons, this one came off as slightly unnerving. Was this elf truly missing the handle, or was a deep game being played?
Now a long march awaited them. Insae hoped for at least being able to walk amidst an elven guard. But if they'd be blindfolded and dragged by the horses all the way to whatever this meadow was, Insae could see that possibility.
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