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Old March 30, 2018, 10:11 PM   #1 (permalink)
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[PA] I知 gonna give all my secrets away [Moss]

TS: Winter, Era XXV PF


The candlemark was late. The entire Alyxanda family and staff had long since gone to bed, which meant the entire house was quiet as everyone slept. Well, almost everyone.

Niven tried desperately to get some sleep after a more than usually mentally stressful brightening, but the twins she carried in her womb would have none of it. This darkening, more than others, they were as active as ever, making it impossible for their elven mother to sleep. Every time she got comfortable there was a swift kick to her ribs or a punch to some other internal organ and she had to shift again or at least attempt to shift them.

Giving up, Niven pulled back the covers of the four poster bed she was sleeping in, swung her legs off the side of the bed and sat up with a sigh. The flames in the fireplace licked at the chimney and caused the light around the room to dance. Niven gripped the edge of the bed for a few minutes before wracking her brain trying to figure out how to problem solve her sleep issue.

Juno, her dog laying curled up in the corner, gave a sigh in his sleep. 鉄ure, she mumbled grumpily. You're sleeping soundly." The babies started to really move again and Niven sighed. There was really only one way to fix this that she knew of: She had to get them to sleep first.

Rocking to get herself up off the bed, Niven pulled her lavender dressing gown over her linen night dress and tied the ties just above her bump. Lighting a candle, Niven quietly went to the door and slipped out silently without making a sound and started to head down the hall. She wasn稚 sure where exactly she was going, she just knew she needed to walk to put the babies to sleep.

For a little while, Niven let the candle dimly light the hallway and she paced back and forth. After a quarter candlemark, the babies were still moving around a lot, so Niven picked up her candle and decided to go for a longer jaunt. Heading down towards the front of the house, Niven took the stairs to the front hallway and to the kitchen. There she got herself a glass of water and then walked the length of the kitchen. Kicks started to get less and less the more she moved. The only problem now was she was wide awake.

Sighing, Niven moved to the foyer and found a window with a bench in front of it and sat down. Blowing out her candle so it wouldn稚 drip everywhere, she sat it on the bench beside her and looked up at the moons through the glass and let her mind wander through the mess that was her life right now. The angle of the natural moonslight was just such a way that she was hidden in the shadows.
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Old March 31, 2018, 04:57 PM   #2 (permalink)
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A pebble skittered into the shadows, across the sleet-covered cobbles until it harmlessly crashed into the side of a nearby building with a thunk that echoed across the street.

Moss' boots scuffed over the road surface, kicking similar stones and crushing the small amounts of snow that had fallen that darkening, each scrape seemingly louder than the last amidst the surrounding silence. His body was exhausted and he ached all over. His arms were burning from having to carry his friend home in an act that he doubted he would ever be forgiven for. His face smarted and stung from the street fight he'd taken part in, the taste of blood in his mouth every time he dared to touch his tongue against his split lip.

And his legs...oh, his legs! The mere act of placing one in front of the other was a seemingly mammoth task as he trudged back to the Nest, dreading the climb he would need to make up the stairs of Alyxanda Manor. But there, rest awaited him in the form of a comfortable bed and - when he felt capable of climbing into one - a hot bath.

The brightening had been far more eventful than he ever could have imagined. He was supposed to have arrived in the City of Queens and do little more than sit down. Instead, he had found himself consoling Kailin, meeting her pregnant - pregnant! - friend Niven, and confronting a drunken Calanon.

Dawn, he hoped, would bring with it an opportunity for a fresh start and much reflection.

As he neared the front door of the manor, Moss turned away, a gloved hand tracing over the top of the small fence that marked the boundary of the property, tired eyes straining at such a late candlemark. A flake of snow fell from his hair and briefly blocked his vision as he attempted to find the small side gate he sought in the moonslight, but a quick shake of his head sent it back into gravity's grasp. The mystic flinched at the sound of metal scraping against stone as he pushed at the gate, dreading the thought of waking up anyone inside the house or causing unwanted attention from one of the patrolling city guards. Eventually, though, he made his way up to the kitchen door and - to his great relief - found it unlocked.

"Thank you, Jax," he breathed, after Kailin's younger brother Jaxon had tipped him off to ask the cook to leave the door unbarred when he left earlier that darkening.

Stepping inside, and with the building's internal warmth immediately soothing against his skin as it washed over him, Moss turned and closed the door as quietly as he could, the latch offering a quiet but consoling click. Spotting a few items of food resting patiently on the bench, he seized a pair of bread rolls and a few pieces of fruit before he locked the kitchen door and stepped slowly and cautiously into the dark house.
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Old March 31, 2018, 07:09 PM   #3 (permalink)
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The moonslight illuminated the soft flakes of snow that had started to fall. Niven smiled to herself as she felt the energy and essence of the weather pattern. It made her think of snow in the forests while growing up. Snowballs and snow elves and snow faeries with wings and dresses. Fun times with her cousins for sure.

Thinking about the Sylrosian forest led her to thinking about Calanon. The thought of Calanon brought up thoughts of her conversation with him when he was first told that the babies were his. A sharp inhale through the nose accompanied a frown as she thought about the unjust accusations that had been hurled at her. She put her hand on her belly protectively and rubbed it. The scene replayed in her mind a couple times before she shook her head to clear it and moved on to something else.

Niven went on to think about Kailin and how difficult this was for her, but how well she was handling things. It was not easy on her, as expected, but at least with her, Kailin was being quite generous. Kailin had been there for her even though the news completely turned her world upside down. She’d given her a room in her families house and ensured that she had everything she needed, and even offered help after the babies were born. And she had tried to help her take her mind off things by introducing her to her friend Moss, though that had been rather awkward. The elfess applauded her friend for being so amazingly understanding. But then she wasn’t seeing what was going on between her and Calanon behind closed doors either. She hoped that whatever happened, that she and Calanon would be ok.

She then thought about herself and what she was going to do once the babies came. She thought about what she was going to do for lodgings and how she was going to provide for them. How to raise them. If Calanon would want to be involved or leave her to her own devices. Niven wondered what gender they would be. How she would love a daughter to dress up in the prettiest dresses she could afford. But a boy would be fabulous too as she remembered all the fun she’d had with Chariras when he was little.

It was amidst these thoughts that the sound of footfalls outside in the soft snow reached her elegantly pointed ears. Niven's gaze fell from essentially staring into nothingness to the figure outside. Who would be out this late? Perhaps a beggar of some kind? The figure went out of sight and Niven went back to her thoughts only to have them broken again by the sound of an iron gate creaking. Her body tensed. Was someone trying to rob the Alyxanda's? Surely not, there were guards about the streets. Her mind was racing wondering if she should go an wake someone or try to handle it alone.

Niven rose from her place on the bench. Looking to see what she could find in the pale glow of the moonslight, Niven spotted a pair of heavy candlesticks resting on a console table. The elfess moved as quickly as she could to grab one as she heard the door in the kitchen bolted. When the figure finally emerged, Niven recognized the build of the man she had met earlier in the brightening. Though he reeked of vomit. The Sylrosian wrinkled her nose as she watched him walk as quietly as he could, eating something.

Knowing that it would be rude not to announce herself, the druidess stepped forward into the glow of the moonslight so that it illuminated her frame, hiding the candlestick behind her back. “You are out late. Everyone is asleep.” she said to the man in the darkness.
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Old April 1, 2018, 04:52 PM   #4 (permalink)
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"Aah!"

Moss let out a cry as a previously unseen figure stepped out of the shadows and spoke. Alarmed, the human staggered in the hallway. The plate in his hand lifting briefly, just enough for the bread rolls and fruit to defy gravity for a fleeting moment, before teetering dangerously at the edges of the crockery, spinning and tumbling in the dish until somehow they collided with each other in the centre and were saved the ignominy of crashing onto the floor.

The plate's holder, meanwhile, had narrowly managed to regain his balance, heart racing as he turned towards his greeter. The mystic made no particular effort to regain his breath, simply glad to be still be upright. As his breathing naturally slowed, however, he recognised the shorter frame in the doorway, moonslight dancing in her blonde hair as it cast through a window from the room beyond.

"M-milady," he eventually managed to say, his voice hushed in the otherwise quiet house. "I'm sorry if I startled you."

A light chuckle then formed at his lips as he saw the humour, given it was clearly he who had been given the bigger fright. A sheepish grin formed at Moss' shadowed lips as he sent cursory glances up and down the hallway and over Niven's shoulder into the foyer beyond, silently relieved that nobody else had seen his stumble. And then he remembered the plate in his hand, extending it towards his fellow Alyxanda guest.

"Are you hungry, milady?"
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Old April 1, 2018, 08:41 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Niven winced as Moss let out a yell, almost dropping his plate of food. “Perhaps that was unwise, in hindsight,” the elfess thought to herself as she put her hands out as if to aid the man and keep him from falling. It was not needed though and the only thing it served to do was bring to light that she was going to use the candlestick as a weapon.

Realizing that she now looked as if she was going to attack him, Niven quickly lowered the hand again. “Niven, please,” she said, brushing away the formal title. Considering she had just about given him a sizeable bump on the head, it was the least she could do to not have him stand on ceremony. Especially with no one around. She moved out of the moonbeams through the window and placed the candlestick back beside its brother on the console table. “I fear I startled you far more than you did me. My apologies,” she said in a soft low voice.

At the offer of food, Niven looked down at the plate and considered having some. “No, thank you,” she said, holding up a hand. She’d just gotten the babies to calm down and go back to sleep, the last thing she wanted was to eat and have them wake in a few candlemarks.

Realizing how dark it was, the Sylrosian moved to the bench where she had been seated and fetched her candle, setting down on the console table. Knowing a flint and steel were somewhere by the ornate candlesticks, Niven’s fingers gently moved over the objects on the table before she found what she was looking for. Striking the flint to the steel, Niven managed to light her candle. Picking it up, she turned to illuminate both of them.

That’s when she caught sight of Moss’ face.

“By the gods, what happened to you?” she asked, surprised at his appearance. “Are you alright?” Concern clouded her features as her vivid emerald eyes moved over his face, taking inventory of his injuries. His lip was split, his cheek was bruised and he had more than a few scrapes. Lowering her candle, she could see that his gloves were torn at the knuckles, revealing them to be reddened and scraped up. Upon closer inspection, she could see debris embedded in the wounds. Lifting her eyes to meet his she gave him a wry smile. “Well, I hope you look better than the other guy!”

She shook her head, making her blonde hair dance on her shoulders, and sighed. “We should get you cleaned up. Why don’t you go get washed up and I’ll get some bandages. I think I still have some in my bag."
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Old April 4, 2018, 08:40 PM   #6 (permalink)
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A glint of moonlight caught one of Moss' eyes as he staggered. Quite unexpectedly, the pregnant elfess - presumably as an instinctive reaction with no forethought - reached out to catch the large framed human. In doing so, she had revealed the candlestick, reflecting the glow of either Melora or Mejora, the moon beams flashing in the hallway. The sight of the hefty piece of silver in the shorter figure's slender grip was as unexpected as her willingness to break the mystic's fall; he only hoped he wouldn't have to be on the receiving end of a Niven-wielded spiked candle holder in the future.

The threat vanished, however, just as Moss' breath began to return, and he even managed a weak smile of relief as his would be attacker apologised unnecessarily.

Following the pregnant woman back into the foyer, Moss took a bread roll and went to take a bite, but he flinched at the pain of his split lip and abandoned the effort, returning the food to the plate, which was in turn set down alongside the pair of candlesticks on the console table.

The former militiaman turned his head away briefly as Niven lit her candle, the small flame burning brightly in the otherwise dim room, eyes straining against the dancing light. When his vision adjusted and he turned back to face the elfess, the light flickered in her eyes, their greens piercing in the darkness, the curves of her shocked expression illuminated by fire.

"I'll...I'll be okay."

Uncertainty weighed down his words. He wasn't proud of the actions that had led to his injuries, even though he still felt justified in performing them. And yet, there was an urge to protect both Niven and Calanon - not to mention Kailin - from exposing the full truth.

Moss followed her emerald gaze to his gloves, frowning at the sight of the torn knuckles, unable to remember when the leather had worn away. He stared back at her, his furrowed brows revealing his confusion. His knuckles did sting, though, and he flinched among the flaming shadows as he tried to form a fist.

Even so, the elfess' offer was surprising, and the mystic was shaking his head before he was even conscious of what he was doing.

"But mila-", he caught himself, then paused briefly, before softening his voice, his words laced with concern. "Niven, it is the middle of the darkening and you are with child...children."

Dark grey eyes studied their emerald opposites as Moss pondered what kind of woman, while pregnant, would offer such assistance at such a cruel candlemark to someone who was little more than a stranger.

"I can have it seen to on the morrow."
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Old April 4, 2018, 10:56 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Niven gave Moss a look of disbelief at his reply. Even he didn稚 sound like he was certain he壇 be ok. And he certainly didn稚 look like it. She held the candle up a little higher to inspect his face better. No, he was definitely not going to be ok without a little fixing up. And even with it, he壇 really feel it in the morning.

She watched as he looked down at his own gloves, surprised to see the injuries there as well. She shook her head as he flexed and winced at the pain the motion induced. This made the elf wonder what had been important enough to him for him to get so cut up in a fist fight. He clearly wasn't inebriated, so it had been a conscious choice and he didn't strike her as the type to lose his head over just anything. Whatever he was in a row over, it was enough that he paid little attention to his injuries as they occurred. Or, there was also the chance that the cold had kept the wound cool enough that it was numb until now. Perhaps even a little of both. Either way, he was going to need some help and she was more than happy to provide it

Niven turned to walk away but paused as he started to call her again. Swivelling her head to look at him again, she gave him a funny look. 添es. It is the middle of the darkening. But I am clearly awake, and not by your doing. And I am pregnant, you're right. But that does not make me disabled. She paused for a moment before lifting the candle again to illuminate him better. "And, no, I will not let those keep until morning. Without those knuckles attended to, you could very well have the beginnings of an infection in the morning. Now go and I don稚 want to hear another word about it, she said in her stern mum-voice she already had eras of practice using on Dante痴 children. 的 will meet you in the drawing room. Bring some cool water and at least two cloths."

With that, she turned on her heel and started walking away, taking the candlelight with her and leaving the man all alone in the dark to decide if he was going to listen or argue. But either way, she was going to complete her task. Reaching the stairs, she slowly made her way up, careful not to lose her balance or drip wax anywhere it didn稚 belong.
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Old April 6, 2018, 03:38 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Moss dropped his gaze when Niven replied, surprised by the woman's conviction. In truth, he found the elfess' strength impressive, and he bowed his head deferentially, his eyes falling to the shape of the stomach that - he presumed - had woken her from her slumber in the first place. He watched for a few moments as the orange light danced across it, contemplating how amazing it was that such a petite frame held two lives within its confines.

The shadows shifted then, as the pregnant woman held up her light to further inspect the mystic's wounds, and Moss lifted his chin so that he could watch her emerald eyes and gauge her reaction to what she saw.

There seemed no point in mentioning Kailin's offer of help for the following brightening. Niven clearly wasn't going to be distracted from her task by anything Moss might say, and the feistiness that came from such a petite creature brought the lightest of genial chuckles to his split lips.

Clearly, he had been told.

"Aye, Niven," he quietly agreed, his deep voice scything the darkness. "The drawing room..."

...was cloaked in warmth by the time Moss had done as the elfess had said. The fire lit the room in an orange glow, throwing giant shadows of the former soldier's large frame against the opposite wall as wood crackled contentedly within the fireplace. The tall windows that greeted the morning sunslight each brightening stared out into the darkness outside.

Moss, for his part, had fetched three cloths from his room - courtesy of the famed Alyxanda hospitality - and two small bowls of cool water. Having taken another look at his knuckles, and unsure of the nature of the wounds on his face, the mystic had decided to err on the side of caution, wagering that an extra bowl of clean water could come in useful.

There had been no time to wash, but the human had at least managed to painstakingly peel off his gloves, gingerly navigating his scraped knuckles and leaving them in a pile of useless leather on his bedroom floor. Likewise, his gambeson had been left behind, too. It had served him - and Calanon - well during the darkening, but there was no point wearing it indoors. His travel boots were also left in the bedroom, along with his weapons. Having lacked the time to actually wash, the human had simply changed into a loose-necked tunic and leggings, though he longed for the comfort of a long bath.

The former militiaman's weary frame had almost fallen into a chair upon his return, broad shoulders leaning back and tired legs finally getting some of the rest they'd craved for the past few candlemarks as he sat, watching the flames pirouette and leap over one another while he patiently waited for the elfess' arrival.
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Old April 6, 2018, 06:10 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Once Niven had finally got up the second flight of stairs, she walked silently to her room and stealthily slipped back into it. Juno still lay snoring on his blankets on the floor. “Some guard dog you would make,” she murmured, shaking her head. Setting the candle down on the bureau, Niven fetched her bag from the chair and dug through it until her fingers brushed against the soft ball of fabric she’d been looking for. Pulling it out, she smiled triumphantly, before tossing the bag back onto the chair and fetching the candlestick again.

Stealthily slipping out of her room again, Niven laboriously made her way back down the stairs to the second floor. “All of the exercise this darkening,” she thought, thinking about the whole reason she was up this late anyway. The babies seemed to be still fast asleep which really meant that she should be sleeping too. But Moss had injuries needed tending to and there was no way she’d be able to sleep not knowing she’d done her best to care for him knowing the sad state he was in.

At last, she reached the hallway of the drawing room of the Alyxanda house. The double doors were open and it looked like Moss had lit a fire as the warm glow of flickering light spilt out of the room into the hall. As she paused in the doorway, it struck Niven how many significant experiences she’d had in this room, just in the last few cycles alone, and a smile tugged at the corners of her mouth before disappearing.

Her eyes falling on the silhouette in the chair, the elfess entered. First, she walked to the table with all the alcohol and picked out the vodka and a glass before walking to where Moss was seated. As she got closer, she caught sight of the two bowls of water and towels she had requested on the table beside him, illuminated by the firelight. It pleased her that he could take direction so well and she smiled. Coming up beside him, she placed the wad of clean cloth and the bottle of vodka and the glass beside the bowl and picked up one of the towels and submerged it in the water to wet it.

“I’m afraid my magic isn’t as useful on flesh as it is on animals and plant life,” the druidess apologized, speaking softly as she shifted the other chair so that it was closer and she could reach him when sitting without compromising her light from the fire. “I can try if you like, but the results would not be like if Kailin did it.” She gave Moss a weak smile.

The chair now where she wanted it, the druidess moved to the water bowl, and pulled the wet towel out, wringing it out over the bowl. The water was quite cold and Niven’s hands ached from the temperature as the water ran over her skin, but she was pleased to have it so. It would go a long way to numbing some of the injuries.

Folding it, Niven handed it to the man in the chair. “Here,” she said. “Put this on your lip. But with that hand.” The elfess looked pointedly at his left hand.

Taking a seat in the chair across from him, she reached out and gently took his injured hand pulling it towards her and turning it so that she could inspect it in the light. It seemed to be mostly a shallow scrape, but it was deep enough for a few rocks to have embedded themselves inside it. Satisfied with her assessment, Niven reached for a second towel and dabbed it in the water. “This may sting a little,” she warned, her emerald eyes locking with his storm-grey ones for a moment before moving back to the wound.

Carefully she started to dab at his hand, with gentle strokes, trying to get the tiny granules of dirt and grime out.

“So,” she started, filling the silence that had settled as she started to work. “What happened anyway?"
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Old April 7, 2018, 04:41 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Moss didn't hear Niven enter the room. His tired body had begun to lure him towards slumber - despite its pain - and it was only when he heard the clinking of the bottle of vodka against the glass tumbler, that the human realised he was no longer alone.

Grateful grey eyes looked up to the elfess as she placed the drink and glass on the table next to him, her long, loose hair cascading down behind her, catching the firelight and becoming a shimmering orange waterfall that was impossible to ignore.

"Diola lle," he offered quietly - unsure of his pronunciation, having only heard Kailin say the phrase a few times in passing - though there was probably less need for low voices in the drawing room than there had been in the more public areas of the front of the house.

The mystic leaned forward in his seat and poured himself a small amount of the clear liquid, before holding up the glass and looking through it to the fire. He would normally have offered something to his host-of-sorts, but pregnancy precluded such fleeting luxuries.

With a gentle smile and a light tip of the tumbler, Moss saluted Niven before taking a sip, closing his eyes as he savoured the taste on his tongue. He let it linger there, before swallowing and embracing the aftertaste. His smile grew as he opened his eyes once more, placing the unfinished glass upon the table.

The sound of dripping water carried through the room, then, and Moss turned his focus onto his healer, watching the rivulets run down her fingers as they retreated back to the bowl, and listened to her speak.

"Magic?" he quietly echoed. "You're a mage?"

Such news shouldn't have been entirely surprising. Their mutual friends - would the woman consider Calanon a friend? - had also been unbound. Another user of the arcane was hardly the strangest encounter. The comment, however, garnered a soft chuckle.

"Not a Thaumaturge, I take it," he grinned. "Perhaps stick to the bandages, then."

Moss' hand enclosed over Niven's as he took the offered towel, before lifting it to his lip and pressing it there, gingerly at first, but gradually adding pressure. It hurt, of course, but he'd had much worse injuries before.

He sat quietly as the elfess took his other hand, resting it in her grip as she inspected the knuckles. His eyes looked into hers and saw the flames reflected back at him as she offered her warning. He flinched ever so slightly as she went to work, her gentle touch minimising the pain.

And then a distraction was offered, and Moss let a grin form at the one side of his mouth that was still visible.

"I wanted to check on Kailin and Cal," he cautiously replied, his voice muffled a bit by the towel.

He was unsure of how the Sylrosian beauty might respond, but he didn't not wanting to dwell on how much his friend, too, was struggling - especially after what had happened that darkening.

"Cal wasn't home, and Kailin asked me to go find him at a local tavern, which I did."

The human paused, then, contemplating how to proceed. As his words dropped away, only the dripping of water and crackling of fire filled the silence.

"He..." Moss began, though his gaze looked away from the piercing green eyes and into the flames.

When he spoke again, he felt a pang of guilt run through him.

"He took some convincing."
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Old April 7, 2018, 05:54 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Niven arched an eyebrow at the man as he thanked her in her native tongue.“Lle quena edhellambe?”You speak Elvish? she asked of him. She supposed she shouldn’t be surprised with him having Calanon and Kailin as friends, but what were the chances that she would meet two humans in her lifetime that had mastered the difficult language?

She smiled and inclined her head as he toasted her, happy that he had figured out that the glass was for him. Whatever he'd been through this darkening, she figured he could use a drink.

His question about her abilities had her glancing up at him momentarily and nodding as she refocused on her current task. She gave a soft snort of amusement that accompanied her grin. “No, a Druid,” she replied.

At her friend’s names, the elfess froze for a moment before continuing her task. She had yet to see Calanon since the brightening she told him about his paternity of her unborn babies, remembering all too clearly the accusations he had flung at her before he conceded to the truth.

Moss continued and her eyes flickered up to meet his for a moment. So Calanon had lost himself in drink again. “No big surprise there,” she thought, slowly shaking her head as she refocused on getting a particularly stubborn piece of gravel out of Moss' hand. It was just like Calanon to escape from his reality by getting drunk. Hopefully, that wasn’t something that he would do frequently around his children.

Her hair fell over her shoulder and into her line of sight and the druidess looked up from her work and perched the cloth she was using on the edge of one of the water bowls before reaching up to grab her hair in both her hands. Twisting it into a long queue, Niven brought it over her left shoulder where it wouldn’t obstruct her vision. The queue loosened but stayed put for the most part as she picked up the cloth once again and resumed treating his knuckles.

Moss’ last statement had her looking up again, though. Her brow furrowed for a second. “He….Oh!” She said, comprehension dawning and her eyebrows raising. “This happened with Calanon?” she asked, knowing full well the answer was to the affirmative. “Wow.”

Wait a second. The elfess dropped Moss’ hand and sat back in her chair just looking at him, hand on her belly, confusion clouding her features, trying to make sense of why Calanon would need convincing to go home. Granted, she had firsthand experience with Drunk Calanon and how he didn’t exactly make the best choices while in that state. Shaking her head, she pulled herself forward again and took up his hand once again.

“I assume he had a fight with Kailin then. Was she ok?” she asked, wetting the cloth again before putting it to his reddened knuckles once more. “Did you get him home again?"
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Old April 8, 2018, 09:45 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Moss sent Niven a blank expression when she spoke in her native tongue. His eyes showed no recognition of anything she'd said, and his brows began to creep ever so slowly into a furrow. Then, just as silence was beginning to think that it was welcome to settle down and take up residence, the human laughed, his deep chuckle traveling easily within the otherwise quiet room to fill the space around the pair. Moss' grey eyes danced with the firelight that reflected in them, and his cheeks flushed ever so slightly - though whether that was embarrassment or the warmth of the fire was unclear.

"You just asked me if I speak Elvish, didn't you," he shrugged, a gentle chuckle at his lips. "I guess you have your answer."

With his drink on the table beside them, Moss managed to cock an eyebrow as the elfess spoke of her arcane skills.

"I can't say I've ever met a druid, before," he replied. "At least, not that I can remember. I am learning Mysticism, myself."

Had Moss Oktra'rek been a bolder man, he might have cast a spell to send that last sentence into the woman's mind. But, quite frankly, that seemed too playful a trick for someone he didn't know well. And even Calanon would be bleating if Moss tried the same trick on him, so it seemed best to avoid practicing on strangers.

Niven's patient faltered slightly when he saw her reaction to him mentioning Kailin and Calanon. No doubt, such names carried a lot of weight for the elfess, and once Moss had spoken of the tavern, he paused for a moment. He couldn't defend Calanon's decision to drink, but he didn't want to say such things out loud.

Instead, he watched patiently as the woman adjusted her hair, the long blonde strands that appeared golden in the glowing light coming from the fireplace shifting sides in her hands to reveal the outline of a slender neck and a pointed Sylrosian ear. But his gaze returned to her eyes when she realised that the wounds Moss bore had come from Calanon's hands.

"Aye," he nodded quietly, for there was no point in deceiving the woman. "He was..."

...feeling up a whore in the tavern...

"...drunk. I doubt he would have been so aggressive, otherwise."

Moss paused again, setting down the towel from his mouth and picking up his glass to take another sip, a gentle nod of acknowledgment sent towards the pregnant woman.

"I did get him home eventually, though he wasn't in the best state," he admitted, sending a fleeting glance to the knuckles that rested in Niven's palm. "Kailin was understandably upset, and I took my leave before she could try to heal me..."

The amnesiac's voice had unconsciously dropped low, as if he feared the brunette's family might hear him speaking of her.

"...though she said she would on the morrow."

He suddenly realised how what he was saying could have been interpreted as preferring the Thaumaturge to treat him, and he tried to make amends for his folly.

"But you are doing a fine job, Niven," he added, his sincere smile doing nothing to help him feel any less awkward.
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Old April 8, 2018, 11:02 PM   #13 (permalink)
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It became very quickly clear to the elfess that the man did not speak her native tongue. A grin of amusement spread across her face as confusion flooded his features as he desperately tried to make out what she said. She laughed. Eventually, he too joined in on the hilarity of the situation.

“I did and I do,” she said, still smiling. She enjoyed the sound of his laughter, it was a nice comforting sound, which surprised her a little. How was it someone she barely knew could make her feel so at ease? Their meeting earlier in the brightening had been stilted and awkward, while here it was all ease and good humour. "Why would that be?” she wondered. “Perhaps because Kailin was there? Maybe we felt too much like we were being watched?" It didn’t escape her notice just how handsome Moss was when he smiled and it reached his silver eyes, making them sparkle with mirth.

“Mysticism, the magic of the mind,” she said, a wry smile being sent his way. “I know a fair few people who your sphere of arcana unnerves and makes uncomfortable. Hopefully, you use your abilities for good, rather than for evil.” Niven thought back to her wedding day when Etienne had cast a mystic spell on Dante, causing him to lose the contents of his stomach. She quickly pushed Dante from her mind. No, there was no room for him here.

Calanon was aggressive while drunk. But that didn’t really fit with her experiences of the man drinking. He’d become more friendly, less inhibited, tried to kiss her, but he’d not become angry. No, he drank to numb his anger and other feelings. Niven frowned before flicking her eyes up to meet Moss’. “What did you say to him to irritate him?” she asked, dabbing at a new spot, having gotten the stubborn piece of gravel out of the other. "Calanon is not usually an angry drunk.”

A soft snort left the elf at his comment about Calanon not getting home in the best state. “No, I can imagine not. If you look like this, I can only imagine what he looked like. Lucky for him, he has Kailin who will no doubt patch him up.” “Good gods, Calanon,” she thought, inwardly shaking her head at him and his behaviour. “You’re really not handling this well, are you?”

Niven looked up from her work as Moss revealed that Kailin had planned to see to him and his injuries. “Oh. That’s what you meant by you’d have them seen to on the morrow.” Uncertainty took hold as she was now a little unsure how to proceed, though Moss cleared it up with his next comment.

A shy smile bloomed on her lips, and a slight flush rose in her cheeks. She nodded and resumed her debridement of the wound.

“Kailin must have had her hands full with Calanon if - can you slowly make a fist, please? - if she didn’t heal you right away. It’s most unlike her to let you leave in the state you are in.” Niven looked up pointedly and gazed at the lower part of Moss’ face.

“Can I see your lip please?” she asked, wanting to see if at least some of the swelling had gone down.
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Old April 9, 2018, 09:36 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Moss reveled in the sight of Niven laughing, her emerald eyes relaxing as she gave in to the moment. He imagined such happenings had been few and far between for the elfess, of late - she certainly hadn't enjoyed such humour during their first encounter - and it was a delight to know that he'd helped her rediscover levity, however briefly.

If nothing else came from the darkening, at least the woman had laughed.

He nodded as the elfess confirmed her superior knowledge of her native tongue, although that had seemed to be a given, and he grinned as she commented on Mysticism.

"Cal doesn't like it when I speak to his mind," he chuckled lightly, unsure why the thought always seemed humorous to him, "but I've only ever used it as a form of protection. In fact..."

Moss leaned forward once more for another sip of vodka - perhaps that was why he was relaxing? But he'd had so little...surely not...

"I had to use it on Cal to protect himself this darkening," his grin remained, the slightest sense of playfulness showing in his eyes. "He kept trying to wander off into The Gut. He was drunk, of course, and probably completely lost. I had to...make him sleep in order to carry him home."

The tumbler was returned to the table, and Moss picked up the towel once more, pressing it to his lip.

"Oh...please don't tell anyone about that," he added with another chuckle, albeit one laced with a slight sense of panic. "He'd kill me, I think, if his hangover allows him to remember in the morning."

Moss' humour faltered, however, when Niven asked what had provoked the violence. The bearded patient thought back to barely a candlemark earlier, and the argument the two men had had in the street.

"I..."

Those silver eyes that Niven had been appreciating looked away, casting down to the bowls of water as their owner sighed.

"He was drunk," he reiterated, as if that hadn't been made clear, and in an attempt to defend his friend. "He wasn't thinking clearly. And he didn't like the fact that I was planning to take him home."

His gaze returned to Niven, then, no longer wanting to hide, despite how difficult it was to explain what had happened without telling the woman every painful detail.

"He said something that I'm sure he wouldn't normally even think, and...I reacted."

He paused, trying his best to navigate the conversation as best as he could. Calanon had been completely unreasonable that darkening, and yet Moss still wanted to protect him...

"I...felt as though I had to defend you, milady."

...within reason.

The title had slipped through his lips because the confession would have felt too intimate if he'd used the woman's name.

"I yelled back at him, and he didn't like that, so he threw a punch."

Moss shrugged then, a slight blush of embarrassment forming at his cheeks. He was clearly not proud of what had transpired, but he was unable to change it.

A nod followed as the Sylrosian spoke, correctly deducing that their Thaumaturge friend had had enough to deal with when they'd returned to the house.

"Aye, Cal threw up in the house when I got him home. Poor Kailin...she was trying to clean it up and manage him, too...she didn't need another bruised face to mend."

A weak smile followed, eyes drifting to the the woman's orange skin, her cheek and neck still basking in the firelight. In truth, he was realising that arriving at the Alyxanda Manor with a few grazes and bruises had its perks. The beauteous woman's blush went without being noticed, buried as it was in the shadows of the darkening.

Attention turned to his knuckles as the woman asked him to clench his hand into a fist, and he did - though it hurt, and he grimaced - his eyes keenly studying his own wounds as best he could from his less than ideal angle.

He nodded deferentially when she asked to see his lip, and the towel was once more returned to the small table as Moss leaned forward, trying to let Niven have a better look at his mouth, his eyes gently scanning the features of her face up close as he narrowed the gap between them.
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Old April 9, 2018, 09:33 PM   #15 (permalink)
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A wry smile formed on her lips as Moss explained Cal’s displeasure to people invading his mind. She knew that all too well. The darkening they’d been together in the forest, he had been displeased with the intrusion of the memories and had said as much. Niven hadn’t been overly bothered by them, more interested in what she saw, knowing that Calanon was a sorcerer and therefore couldn’t have been meddling in her mind and there was no one else around.

As he moved to lean forward, Niven stopped what she was doing and looked up at him while he spoke. “Gods above,” she said, shaking her head. It had obviously gotten pretty bad if Moss had to knock him out to get him home.

Niven let out a dry laugh. “Oh, I know all too well how cranky he’ll be if he finds out I know. More cranky than he’ll be if he remembers tomorrow that you knocked him out to get home.” She smiled more sincerely. “Your secret is safe with me,” she promised.

Moss’s falter had the elfess raising her head to look at him, but he looked away from her, refusing to meet her eyes. Niven’s brow furrowed in confusion, but she waited patiently for him while continuing to work on his knuckles. They were getting close to being done.

She nodded as he reiterated Calanon’s inebriation, but that he hadn’t wanted to go home was of interest to her. This was the second time that he’d mentioned that Calanon hadn’t wanted to return to his dwelling. “Why would he not want to go home?” she asked, glancing up. She turned her head as she dipped the cloth in cold water again to get whatever she’d gotten out of the wound off the cloth and into the water before gently pressing it to his hand again.

The elfess felt his eyes on her and she looked up to meet them. If the first statement hadn’t been enough, the second one really peaked her curiosity. The third one had her dumbfounded. Her eyes widened slightly as her brows knit together. “What on Telath did he say?” she asked, now keenly interested about what Calanon might be saying about her since they parted company a few brightenings ago that Moss felt the need to defend her, someone he barely knew.

“Oh no!” Niven said, making a face. “Poor Kailin.” She could only imagine how thrilled her friend must have been to have a completely intoxicated Calanon brought home only to have him lose everything in his stomach all over the floors in their new house. She sighed, mildly distressed for her friend. Kailin was already reeling from all the revelations that had occurred that brightening in this very room, to have to deal with Calanon a mess too…. The elfess closed her eyes and shook her head.

As much as she knew it would hurt him to close his fist, Niven needed him to in order to ensure that she’d gotten everything out. The torn skin stretching once his fist was closed gave a more clear view of the wound. Her careful inspection revealed no foreign debris in his hand and Niven smiled. It was time to disinfect.

She couldn’t forget about his lip though and hoped that the cold compress had helped with the inflammation. As it was too difficult for her to move forward, she was grateful that Moss brought himself to her. Having him so close to her gave her the opportunity the detect the scent of his natural musk. He smelled good. This realization surprised her and it distracted her enough to have her forget momentarily why he was as close to her as he was. Checking herself, Niven focused on what she was supposed to be looking at, a flush once again rising in her cheeks. She needed to get a grip. These hormones were seeming to really start to get the better of her. Here she was feeling an attraction to an almost perfect stranger?

“It looks better,” she said, smiling, raising her eyes to meet his, seeing the licking flames reflected in the grey pools. “The swelling seems to be going down and the cut doesn’t look as bad as it once did.” It was at this point that she started to notice the darkening of a bruise around his left eye and the drying of blood around the cut he’d managed to get there as well. “That one is next,” she thought, making a mental note.

Niven put the cloth she’d been using on the table and slowly raised herself out of the chair. She reached for the compress he’d had on his lip and once again doused it in the cool water. The water tinged pink from the bit of blood that had come off on the cloth, but it was hardly noticeable in the dim light. Wringing it out, she gave the freshly cooled compress back to him. “Let’s keep that on there for a bit still,” she instructed.

Returning to her seat, the Sylrosian reached for the third clean towel, grateful for Moss’ foresight to bring more than a couple and the vodka. “Sorry, but this is not just for drinking,” she apologized, giving him a weak smile. Opening the bottle she poured some of the alcohol onto the clean cloth before setting the bottle down again. “Now this…. this will sting, but it’s the best thing for it.”

Gingerly, she started gently, wiping the vodka-soaked cloth around the wound to disinfect it. Once satisfied it was clean, she set that cloth aside, opposite end of the table from the other one, and reached for the bandage roll.

“Release your fist please,” she instructed before arranging his hand so that she could bandage it. Unravelling what she thought she’d need, the elfess tore the strip of bandage cloth from the rest. Gently, she started wrapping his hand, ensuring she left a bit of the end out. When she got to the end, she tied the two ends, securing it.

“There,” she said, happily, satisfied with her work. “One down, one in the process and one to go.” She gave him a small smile before reaching for the cloth she’d been using to clean the wounds. “Can you come a little closer, please? I can’t come any farther to you,” she said a wry smile on her lips as she gestured to his cut near his eye.
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