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Old April 1, 2018, 03:53 PM   #1 (permalink)
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[PA] 'Cause somewhere in the crowd there's you [Talindra]

TS: Mid Spring, Era XXV PF

“Get out of the house,”
they’d said. “They’ll be fine for a little while without you. Go have some you time.” Niven had fought Kailin and Calanon for a candlemark before she finally gave in to leaving the twins for a little while. Kailin had set her up a nice bath and laid out her favourite wine coloured dress which had just started to fit again and having no interruptions, it wasn’t long before she was ready to go.

Niven was giving directions for how to care for her two babies, even as the door shut behind her. Standing outside the door to the house, the elfess fought the ever growing desire to go back inside. Kailin had been right, they’d just been fed and changed and were just put down for a nap. She and Calanon were both there to care for them. There was absolutely no reason that she couldn’t leave for a bit. And, gods, did the elfess need to! It had been almost a month since they’d been born and Niven hadn’t set foot outside once since then.

Rubbing her hands together anxiously, Niven looked around her. Where should she go? "Maybe not far,” Niven thought, worrying about what might happen if the babies woke up hungry. There was a banging from the other side of the door. “Ok! Ok! I’m going!” she called, taking a few steps forward, before turning to look back at the door longingly. Inhaling deeply, Niven walked down towards the carriage that had been called for her and said to the driver, “Plaza of Queens, please,” before climbing in.

As the coach rumbled along the cobblestone roads, Niven smiled as she imagined the cute little baby clothes at least one merchant was bound to have, or at least some material so that she could make some herself. She pictured a pretty yellow to go with her daughter’s golden hair and perhaps a nice green for her handsome son.

Lost in her musings, it was only a short time before the carriage stopped and Niven could see the spires of the tall elvish castle and the flags flapping in the wind. She smiled as the Castle and the grove around it always managed to remind her of the beauty of the elvish architecture that once graced the Sylrosian Forest. There was always a twang of sadness that accompanied the thought as the fact that it no longer existed was also present.

Stepping out of the carriage, Niven advised the driver that she wouldn’t be too long and he nodded and moved off to the side where the other carriages were parked.

Smiling as the salty sea breeze tousled the wisps of hair that had fallen out of the knot the druidess had put her long cornsilk blonde hair into, Niven walked towards the east side where she’d spotted a clothing store, eager to see what they had or could make for the swords and shields she had in her money pouch.
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Old April 2, 2018, 01:37 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Plaza of Queens...

An interesting name for a market area, one that screamed to any thief looking to make a few swords. The crowd fit the name, bustling with many well-clothed individuals out on a stroll - allowing their earned or obtained coin to dangle from nothing more than a few strings.

And yet somehow the auburn haired elf found herself not here on business. Or that kind, at least. The dense crowd and multitude of colors surrounding her seemed like a perfect means of losing unwanted guests should the need arise down the road. With quill in hand, she began to map out the area - marking any stall or alleyway that caught her attention.

All seemed to be well, her cognac gaze darting between the contents of the paper resting on top of her journal and her surroundings to ensure she didn’t bump into anyone. It was perhaps halfway through her trip that the Nimrban who had been resting peacefully up against her neck decided that he was bored. Tiny claws climbed up the side of his mom’s hair, plopping down on top of her head as his orange eyes scanned the crowd.

Tali looked up and chuckled, reaching up to offer her companion a treat. “I’m trusting you to behave while we’re in here, okay? If you do - I have a special surprise waiting back under our little tree.” It always sounded a bit sad when she mentioned what they considered to be home, but it was the best that she could do. There were some safe taverns around, but it could be dangerous trying to escape when one has to take others into consideration. If she were in the open area, Niko could only get but so far and she would be able to keep an eye on him. In a city? He could be lost within a short period of time and Tali wouldn’t have enough time to thoroughly search for the rascal. He had been trained (mostly) but the intelligent beast was always curious which made him unpredictable.

Having accepted the small treat, the elfess believed they had an understanding so she resumed her previous work. The treaty seemed to last less than a candlemark for an interesting scent caught the creature’s attention. His tiny frame grew rigid, his gaze scanning the crowd for the source of his interest.

Tali could feel the tension growing in the small body perched on top of her head. She slowed to a halt as a slender hand slowly inched toward him. “Nikomori, don’t even think about it. Remember the deal we-“

The midnight black ball of fur darted off of her head, charging toward the item of interest as he avoided trampling feet and other obstacles that stood in his way. “Motherfether!” Tali snarled, shoving the journal quickly into her satchel as she began to dart after him. Her journey wasn’t as easy as her tiny companion for she had to push through the crowds while keeping a gaze locked to ensure that she didn’t lose him.

Upon reaching his destination, he climbed up the side of the Druidess who was currently in search for attire. If his mission succeeded, he would perch himself upon the woman’s shoulder and stare with a tilt to his small head.

The auburn-haired elfess arrived soon after, falling into a bow as her hands grabbed the upper part of her leg to keep her upright. “Please forgive me, Madame!” She took a moment to catch her breath before returning to an upright position. “He can be a bit of a troublemaker. I hope that he didn’t cause you too much trouble.”
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Old April 2, 2018, 11:34 PM   #3 (permalink)
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The Sylrosian was busy daydreaming about little booties and hats with each graceful step that brought her closer to her destination when she heard a few sounds of alarm and upset from her right. A few people gave exclamations of annoyance and a few of fear as they squirmed and jumped out of the way of a black little ball of fur. It wasn’t until it got closer that Niven recognized it as a nimrban. She also realized it had its sights on her and was charging right at her.

Swift little claws climbed up her wine coloured skirts and only stopped when it had reached her shoulder. Having previous experience with Rauko, her friend Liahal’s little pet nimrban, Niven grinned as the little monkey-cat perched itself on her and stared at her with intense curiosity. “Hello there,” She cooed at the little ebony beast. “And who do you belong to?” she asked as her emerald eyes scanned the crowds for signs of someone missing a pet. The druidess caught sight of a ginger elf making her way as quickly as she could towards her and Niven, smiled as she approached.

“No apology necessary, he caused no trouble to anyone but yourself,” she said to the elfess, waving her apology off. She knew all too well the trouble a tiny monkey-cat could cause, but this one hadn’t done anything. Yet. “He was just being friendly, weren't you buddy?” she cooed at the Nimrban again, reaching up to allow the animal to sniff her to gain his trust. “He probably smells my dog,” she said to the elfess, meeting her eyes.

She took a few moments to take in the elven girl before her as she worked to catch her breath. She was quite fair skinned, even for a redhead, a colour of skin she’d only seen twice before: Once on her ex-husband, Dante, in his Esh’lahier seeming and again on Jirael, her friend and the former Thane of New Coldmoon. It only highlighted the pretty auburn hair and her captivating dark amber coloured eyes. She was dressed in clothes that were rather worn but still were clean and well kept. This impressed the Sylrosian. No matter what her circumstances, the elfess clearly took pride in a neat appearance.

Little claws digging into her shoulder reminded the druidess of the animal perched there, bringing her out of her thoughts and into the present. Remembering Rauko’s affinity for candy, Niven gave the nimrban a sad smile. “I’m sorry, my little friend, but I have no treats for you.”

Glancing at the mixed-race elven woman again, Niven smiled. “I’m Niven,” she said, holding out a hand. “Do you want your little pet back?"
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Old April 3, 2018, 05:03 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Interesting. That was the best word to describe the nimrban’s intense expression as beady eyes scanned over the druidess. After a moment, a small hand reached out to pluck a single strand of dog hair from her blouse which he held up to his nose before offering it to the maiden. His head swiveled toward Tali who managed to catch up after a few minutes. Once again, his own curiosity prevented him from being rewarded. It might end up being worth it though, should someone explain the source of the hair.

The elfess’ hands moved quickly to readjust the black blouse that seemed to have fallen a bit from her shoulder, moving onto her disheveled hair after that. Thankfully her dark brown leggings remained unharmed - truly by some miracle for there were several instances where she nearly met with the ground. The Plaza Of Queens was quite the thick crowd after all, making an easy escape a bit more difficult than originally planned.

None of that mattered, however, as the elfess managed to return her gaze to the victim of her curious friend. Pale blonde hair seemed to absorb the rays of the triple suns, emitting a beauty that truly spoke wonders despite the majority being tied neatly in the back. Vivid green eyes brought color to her pale complexion, giving her almost a glow that made Tali feel rather plain in comparison.

There was a chance that she could snag a few fancy gowns, to help in blending in a bit better, but dresses and skirts made movement restricted. With a killer on her back, anything that kept her from retreating wasn’t acceptable. So she had to accept her meager appearance and offer a kind smile to the druidess along with accepting a handshake. “T-tali, a pleasure to meet you.” There was a stagger that couldn’t be helped due to the momentary hesitation of which name to provide.

In the meantime, Niko retreated back to his natural comfort zone - perching himself on Tali’s shoulder once he was alerted to a lack of sweets from the curious woman. He held out the strand, tilting his head to the side in hopes she could provide some answers.

Tali laughed. “That’s a dog hair, Niko. Do you want to keep it in your collection?”

The creature nodded and scurried across the elfess’ chest to reach his destination. He carefully placed the hair inside of a satchel before sealing it shut and returning to his post.

“He likes to pick up random items and keep them. He’s becoming quite the hoarder, I’m afraid.” A shy chuckle escaped in an attempt to maintain a calm air between them both. She wasn’t good at socializing due to paranoia constantly screaming that it wasn’t a good idea to engage further. “So, you have a dog, eh? What’s their name?” Unable to keep herself from fidgeting, she reached up and began to pet Niko’s head.
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Old April 5, 2018, 05:31 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Her attention on the nimrban as he plucked a piece of Juno’s hair off her clothing and held it out to her, a grin spread across her pretty face. Juno had fairly short fur, so it was a good eyesight and sense of smell that had little Niko finding the stray hair. “Ah, yes, that belongs to my puppy. He’s my pet, much like you are your owner's pet,” she explained to the monkey-cat.

“Tali. What a lovely name,” the druidess complimented as she shook the other elfess’ hand. It did not escape her notice that Tali had stuttered a bit giving her name, which made Niven wonder if it was her true name or an alias she was using. She kept those thoughts to herself, though, and merely smiled.

“Oh!” Niven said, with a laugh as Niko left her shoulder for his mistress'. “There, that probably feels better, hm?” she asked him, reaching to scratch under his chin. Watching the exchange between the elfess and her pet, Niven’s eyes danced with mirth as the black beast fetched a small pouch and deposited his treasure into it.

Niven nodded at Tali’s explanation. “Everyone has got to have a hobby,” she said with a small shrug. "He collects things. I garden. Or at least I used to….” Niven thought longingly of her garden and greenhouse back in Demios at her old home. It had been some time since she'd had her fingers in fresh soil. She hadn’t asked for a bit of earth here to grow a garden, but then she wasn’t sure she was going to have the time to devote to it for a while anyway now that she had babies to look after. Now her hobbies included feeding, changing and cuddling her babies.

“Yes, I do. His name is Juno. He’s a mixed breed of Aelyrian hunter and Sylrosian Tracker and about this big,” she said, holding her hand to just above her knees,”He’s been with me for almost 10 years and is still running around like he’s a puppy.”

“How long have you had Niko?” she asked, remembering the nimrban’s name. “I have a friend who also has a nimrban, but she’s white. They’re quite the mischievous little beasts, aren’t they?"
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Old April 6, 2018, 08:30 PM   #6 (permalink)
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The interaction was a bit...difficult.

Not bad, necessarily, but the druidess offered a compliment simply at a name being given. Should she have done the same? Friendly interaction was rather complicated, although she had grown a little bit of practice. It seemed as though the conversation moved too quickly for the elfess to give a response - or rather her little beast was too swift.

Comfortably settled on his perch and finding the druidess acceptable, he leaned into her offer and closed his eyes in satisfaction. So long as it was from the right people, he loved affection. Having been somewhat trained on how to get what he wanted - his request for pets was tickling Tali’s neck with his tail. Less aggressive, but it worked he supposed.

As the shadow beast darted about and went to town on his treat, Tali offered the beautiful elf a shy chuckle. “I suppose that’s true. Sli-erm, a friend of mine told me they were quite intelligent.” While it was difficult to give out her own name, releasing the name of those she considered herself to be close to was nearly impossible. After all, unwanted ears could be listening in search of a lead on how to drive a blade into her heart.

A bit over paranoid, but the life of those she cared for was worth it.

However, a sense of almost nostalgia seemed to strike the beautiful maiden upon mentioning hobbies. The first response that came to mind was to apologize, followed by asking what stopped her from doing so. There was hesitation in releasing such for their interaction technically was based upon nothing more than the munching beast. Would it be inappropriate to fall into such personal matters?

To play it safe, Tali offered a bow of her head. “I’m sorry to hear that you don’t do it at present. I hope you’re able to return to that which you seem to have brought you joy.” Simple, yet a runaround attempt at comfort and personable interaction. Or rather, the best that the auburn haired elf could manage.

Her eyes widened as if she had aged back a few years. Dogs weren’t common in her life, except for a few that acted as guards during her thieving days. To meet such a large and friendly one sounded rather exciting. She even began to wonder how Niko would react to seeing the beast whose fur he had added to his collection. “Truly? He’s so big!” The excitement quickly felt the backstab of paranoia, bringing a rueful tone to her once bright smile. Again, this was nothing more than strangers making small talk.

It had to remain as such.

“It’s wonderful to hear that his energy hasn’t faltered. I’m certain the love that you’ve shown has impacted his well-being quite a bit. As for this little guy,” a slender hand reached up to pet the top of Niko’s head, “I’ve only had him for a bit. Perhaps a month or so, but he rarely leaves my side.” She gave a soft chuckle which leaned toward a more quiet tone. “They can be rather mischevious, yes as you’ve just not witnessed. We’re working on training, but even the offer of a special treat couldn’t keep his curiosity at bay when he spotted you.”

Her copper gaze began to wander for a moment before returning to the blonde haired beauty. “Do you come to Port often? I’m in the process of making my way through it myself, but I fear this is my first trip to the Plaza of Queens.”
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Old April 8, 2018, 05:16 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Niven didn’t miss the slip Tali made and she wondered if it were just possible…? “Do you mean Sliucha? The Governor of Moonstone?” she asked, her eyes betraying her eagerness to find a common ground with the woman before her. Anything to put her at ease as she seemed tense.

A chuckle escaped from the elfess. “I’m sure I shall. Most of my problem is that I am a new mother.” Niven put her hands on her abdomen which had now shrunk back to its normal size and showed no outward signs of having housed two lives aside from the odd reddish stretch mark which had only shown up within the last month of her pregnancy. Though none of that was visible through her clothing. "My two children seem to take up most of my time. I’m sure as they get older and I adjust to motherhood, I’ll get back out of doors and my hands in the earth.”

The young elfess’ outburst at the size of Juno elicited a peal of silvery laughter. “Indeed, he is not a small animal. But he is very useful. He has kept me from death more than a few times and has been useful in finding food as well as people when needed. But I’m sure he is no less useful than Niko there.” The Sylrosian gave a nod of her head towards the nimrban.

The elder elfess looked thoughtfully at the black monkey-cat. “I wonder what it was about me that intrigued him so? I suppose it doesn’t really matter. I am glad that he did. I am always happy to meet new friends,” she said, her gaze shifting to Tali, her smile reaching her eyes.

“I actually live here, for the moment,”
Niven replied. “I’ve been here since the turn of the era. Things in my life became complicated and there was a giant shift in my situation. I have other friends here in the city, so I came to see them and have stayed at their request.” That was likely the most tactful way she could think of to describe what had happened this era so far.

“The Plaza is actually one of my favourite places to shop and to people watch. It’s almost always busy,”
the druidess said, warmly. "But I can help you find something if you like? What are you looking for here?"
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Old April 9, 2018, 08:32 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Feth.

In what little she provided, the woman was able to quickly deduce the name that Tali didn’t want to fully drop. However, there was a glimmer in the vivid emerald gaze that made it difficult to deny the truth. You’ve done it now… she scolded to herself, forcing up a small smile to hide the growing anger that she felt toward herself. “Y-yes, actually. She’s the first person to help me with a…rather difficult situation. She’s a wonderful woman. Do you know her as well?”

A single sentence could change an entire mood. Turn what was once a casual conversation into a realization or a threat, depending on the person to which one was speaking to. In the case of Tali and Niven, the statement that slipped into the air managed to seize hold of what was once a naturally beating heart. To the point that the elfess wasn’t able to give enough thought into any sort of disguise – leaving her pale expression fallen and a shade brighter than before.

The woman had children.

It was too dangerous. She had to leave. Casual conversation wasn’t even safe. They were in a public area. Eyes could be watching them right now. Her assailant could go and-

No. Not anymore.

I can’t do this. I already told myself that I can’t let him win.
The mental reassurance did little to ease her mind, but provided enough for her to regain control over the emotions that were being revealed as a faint smile returned. “That’s wonderful. Congratulations, madame.” A careful bow was offered out of respect and to try and give herself some extra time to continue cooling down beneath the safety of her auburn veil.

They were just talking, after all. Friends was a bit far-fetched to begin thinking about. Should it get there, then Tali could simply explain the dangers and allow the elfess to decide for herself whether their friendship would be worth it. Again, if it even came to that.

Upon returning upright, all seemed to settle back down as she managed to give her smile a bit of strength. “I’m sure that once they’re a little older, they would love to join you out there. If not, a mother can always use a bit of alone time for few understand how difficult the job can be.” Not that Tali actually knew herself from experience, but she spoke from what she saw of other mothers. Any that she had found growing up appeared to be exhausted, but never lost their smile. Motherhood was worth the work to them, and the blonde-haired beauty that stood before her would be no different, she believed.

…from what little she knew about her. Of course.

Her mind found itself doubting anything that was said or done due to the inability to simply shove aside the potential danger. Paranoia was a bit stubborn like that, acting as a leech that refused to loosen its grasp despite logic prying away at it constantly. Despite this, a hint of color returned to her cheeks as a soft laugh danced alongside the salty breeze. Perhaps she had let her excitement get the better of her, but it couldn’t have been helped. Somehow, she found herself not caring as much about the embarrassment behind it for the laughter seemed to be lending a hand in distracting her conflicted mind. “He sounds like a wonderful companion. Loyal and strong are always important in such a relationship, even between us and other creatures.” A bony finger raised up to scratch Niko’s head, managing a small chuckle of her own. “He’s helped quite a bit. The roads can get rather lonely, especially when you don’t truly have a place that you can call home. He keeps me company and is worth all of the trouble that he manages to get himself into. Curious beasts, truly.”

The question was an excellent one and yet something that Tali couldn’t find an answer to. She gave a simple shrug, squishing Niko between her head and shoulder. He rubbed his head along the edge of her face as he found enjoyment from the affection. There were times where he wanted nothing of it and would simply swat her away, but he was feeling ‘cuddly’ at present. “I’m not sure. I would say that it was the dog hair, but it could have been something else. Nimrbans have an incredible sense of smell, but I doubt you had enough of Juno on you for him to be able to detect it.” Her gaze turned to him as best as she could manage given his current position. “Want to explain why you jumped this woman, little one?”

Niko stretched himself upright, small hands rubbing at his stomach as his gaze remained fixated on Niven.

Tali blinked. “What, you could tell that she was pregnant?”

The small beast continued the gesture.

“I mean…I suppose I’ve heard rumors of animals being able to pick up on that sort of thing. I’ve never seen it in action, though. That’s interesting, but-!” she reached up and booped him on the nose, watching as he recoiled from the strike, “that doesn’t give you the right to just run off like that. Some people might not like it if a small black beast began to climb them like a tree. Got it?”

Niko seemed a bit irate, curling back up on her shoulder with his back facing outward and his small face hidden in auburn strands.

“Or you can pout. That works too,”

While the distraction of discussing animal companions was pleasant, the words that the elf had dreaded found their way to the surface. What should I do? She wants to be friends.

Okay. Calm down. Try and lure her to a more quiet part of town. Then you can lay the facts down and let her decide if she really means what she’s saying.


There was a small amount of comfort hidden in the fact that Niven wasn’t living alone with her children. If all went as Tali couldn’t help but fear, at least there would be others to perhaps frighten the assailant off. Mixed along with it was a bit of sorrow for it was clear that the complications weren’t the most pleasant. However, having just met, Tali didn’t feel comfortable asking for further details so she simply offered another bow. “I’m sorry to hear that you’ve been through troubled waters. Hopefully, staying with them and being able to raise your children in peace will give you some relief.”

Somehow the question threw her a bit off, perhaps because of the events that had managed to scramble her head. What was she doing here again? Oh! Right! Surveillance. Not exactly the best thing to say, but a good opportunity to get somewhere a bit quieter. “Ah, well if I’m honest? I was doing a bit of shopping for Niko here and perhaps somewhere to snag a meal.”

It wasn’t a lie. Niko could always use more treats and the elfess never managed to curve her hunger due to the little amount that she consumed daily.
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Old April 12, 2018, 04:47 PM   #9 (permalink)
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“I do, in fact,” Niven said, smiling warmly. “I’ve only spent a little time with her, and I found her fantastic. She’s actually given me a task that I need to complete still. I’m helping her with a difficult situation. I’ve just been a little busy.” Pregnancy tended to do that. Dante would have none of her going in the early stages of her pregnancy and now only having just had them a month ago, it would be a little while before she could leave them to go with their father. But she had plans to do it. Their homeland needed to be catalogued and a report done up of what the area was like so that they could start rebuilding.

Niven beamed. “Thank you! It’s a new adventure for me, but I think I’m up to the task.” Truth be told, Niven was scared to death. When the twins had first come out, she had been thrilled to finally be able to hold her children. But soon after came the overwhelming feeling of how difficult everything was going to be. She now had two lives that were in her charge and they needed her. For everything. She’d raised Chariras from the time he was four. He had never been a tiny squalling infant who only ate, slept, pooped, and cried. This was all completely new to her. She was grateful for Calanon and Kailin for their extra hands, but even they could only do so much. It was times like these that she missed having a partner to share the responsibility and burden of it all with. As it stood now, she was very much alone.

Those feelings had to be pushed away, now though, as she was not only in a public space but engaging someone. There was only a flicker of sadness in her eyes as she chose to focus on how much she loved her children. Tali spoke of them joining her in her garden and Niven thought about the idea in her mind’s eye. It was possible, of course, but who knew if they would even show an interest. For all she knew, both might take after Calanon. There was a demure smile then, for the elfess before her, and a slight shrug. “Who knows what the future will bring,” she said simply.

Nodding, the Sylrosian agreed with the pale elfess. The bond between her and Juno had only deepened since she’d become a druid and even more so since being kicked out of her home with Dante. More than once her four-legged beast had been the shoulder she cried on when things got hard and she was otherwise alone. Things were better now that she had Moss and Kailin, but for a while there it was just the two of them.

Her nod became more pronounced as Tali spoke of loneliness on the road. “I know exactly what you mean! I got Juno to help me hunt and track while I travelled around the empire. For eras, I simply camped out with my survival gear, with nowhere to lay my head unless it was winter and then it was Inns and Taverns.” Niven looked at Niko again and smiled. “My friend would say the same about her Nimrban. Worth every bit of the mischief they cause.”

Looking with interest, Niven watched as the monkey-cat mimed out his reasons for picking her out of the crowd. Her eyebrows raised in amused surprise as Tali interpreted. “Perhaps the shift in hormones were something he could smell? I think that’s how Juno knew I was pregnant too. He refused to leave my side during the majority of my pregnancy.”

Niven gave the little nimrban a mock sad look as he hid in his owner's hair due to his punishment, then laughed a little at him. “Silly boy,” she teased, playfully to him bending over and reaching out a finger to tickle his back.

Tali’s next words had the druidess’ emerald eyes moving from the beast to the pale elf’s face. The sentiments were kind, but her life was far from being uncomplicated. Having babies with your best friend’s beau due to a love potion that destroyed your marriage was not something that she was going to be getting any relief from anytime soon. However, the elfess didn’t know that and Niven couldn’t even begin to fault her for that. Instead, she plastered what she hoped was a warm smile and nodded. “Yes, relief would be very welcome,” she said honestly.

“Shopping,” the Sylrosian said with a smile. “Sounds like fun. Have you seen the shop for pets that’s down that way?” she asked, pointing west. “I’ve gotten a few things there for Juno. I think you’ll like it. Also, if you are looking for a hot meal, there are food carts in this area, but if you want something more substantial, there are taverns in the Castle District. Can I treat you to one of those?"
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Old April 13, 2018, 09:44 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Tali managed a small, warm smile of her own. “I agree. She’s a wonderful,” her mind flashed to a moment of how they first met which caused hesitation as well as brightened cheeks, “and, um...interesting person. Honestly, I probably wouldn’t be here today if not for her.” A pause before her mouth moved quickly to mend the rather dramatic statement. “Erm, I mean here. Talking with you. Making friends.”

Smooth? Not really, but a good attempt.

Back to the pregnancy talk! Something that the elfess knew little about, but not a topic that she could avoid. Niven was happy about the new development in her life! Who was she to bring it down? “I fear we haven’t met long, but from what little I know - I have to agree.” As she spoke, she lifted her gaze up and caught a glimpse of darkness to the vivid green that met her own. Right. She had lived a difficult life up until this point, perhaps there was a bit of fear mixed in with joy? Due to confirmation never being spoken aloud, Tali kept to herself. If the elf wished to disclose such down the road, then she would be happy to attempt comfort.

If Indeed there was a down the road. For now, there appeared to be as their conversation continued. The dog that she spoke of was held quite high in her heart, just as Niko had done the same. Well, sort of. “My little one is wonderful company most of the time, but he can have a bit of an attitude at times. He doesn’t quite understand that we aren’t able to sleep in such comforts you speak of. Our home beyond Ziel Aerca consists of any tree willing to offer us shelter for the darkening.” Her lip curled inward, bitten down by her teeth for a brief second. Perhaps it wasn’t the best idea to be so personal. Not yet, at least.

Thankfully, Niko’s small temper tantrum was enough to veer the topic away as he became the center of attentio. She gave a small shrug for the woman’s explanation was entirely possible. “Maybe? All animals have a certain level of intelligence that I don’t think we can ever truly understand.”

Niko, still pouting, couldn’t help the subconscious purring at the feeling of a finger against his back. He refused to turn around and give it further acknowledgement. He was grumpy and he was to stay that way until he got what he wanted or something more interesting got his attention.

The sadness returned to the woman’s gaze. One that the elfess couldn’t bear to see continue - she was too beautiful and kind to be burdened with any unpleasantries. Feth. I guess I’m in it now. Her mind snarled as her expression brought up a comforting smile. An awkward hand extended forward to gently rub the upper part of Niven’s arm. Comforting was definitely not something that Tali was used to. “It might take some time, but I believe it will happen soon enough.” Another pause, but this one was tied together with a rueful expression. “I...I don’t know who I heard of it from, but there’s a saying that just came to mind. ‘So long as one can manage a smile, then not all hope is lost.’” A rather odd saying and a bit philosophical for an exchange between strangers, but who knew? Maybe it would help.

As of the mention of shopping for him, Niko spun back around and returned his attention to all that was going on.

Tali couldn’t help but laugh, raising a hand as if trying to hide the embarrassment of letting such loose. “If you can behave, then MAYBE we can stop by.”

Niko rubbed his head along the jawline of his elven owner, trying to butter her up and act innocent.

Despite the adorable Nimrban, the elfess wasn’t about to let a newborn mother treat her to a meal. She shook her head, smiling as the laughter subsided into sporadic chuckles. “If you can take us to somewhere that you fancy, I would be honored to treat you.”
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Old April 15, 2018, 08:52 PM   #11 (permalink)
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The warmth that the druidess found in the elfess' smile brought an intense feeling of satisfaction to her. It seemed that finally she had managed to break through the young girl's tough outer exterior and find the lovely lass within. If Niven had any thoughts on the severity of the statement Tali had made about her presence being due to Sliucha's intervention, she didn't let on. Instead, she smiled and nodded. "From what I know of the vulpine elf, she is quite the benefactress. I'm glad she was able to help to get you here....talking to me."

"Awwwww! Thank you," The elfess said, putting a hand to her chest and giving Tali a grateful look. The compliment meant the world to her. Sure, Tali didn't know her from Adam, but any confidence given in her parenting skills was welcome. Niven had never felt more out of her element than she had with her twins. The responsibility was overwhelming, especially with the lack of sleep she was running on.

Niven's brows furrowed. "I'm the last person to think that a tree is a terrible place to sleep being a wood elf and having slept in many a tree myself, but if I am correct, you are no wood elf? When I was out alone in the empire, I had a tent and other survival gear. Have you none of that? What do you do when it rains?" That the elfess had no place to call her own did not seem unusual to the Sylrosian as she had been in a very similar position not a decade earlier. But the fact that Tali lacked even basic survival gear did not sit well with her.

The gentle touch on her arm brought comfort to the elfess and she softened. Her smile turned sincere. "Thank you," she said softly, truly moved by the kindness of the ginger elfess. Tali's amber eyes seemed even warmer than she'd found them initially. It made Niven really happy to find the sweet kind-hearted girl inside Tali. "I will try to remember that."

Giggling at the nimrban's antics when it came to talking about him, Niven watched as even the young elfess couldn't help but laugh at her pet. The druidess' eyes danced as Tali's face gained a little more colour to it. Tali was relaxing and that pleased Niven.

Niven chuckled at Tali's comment. "Well, we can argue who pays later. Allow me to take you to one of my favourite places here," she said, gesturing for the woman to follow.

Leading the pair out of the Plaza and into the Castle District, Niven found The Lady in Waiting, the little tavern that had become her favourite. Inside, the tavern had been decorated to look like the great hall of a castle. There were coloured banners adorning the stone walls and a coat of arms hanging above the bar. The tables and chairs were nicer than the average tavern and there was an open fireplace in the middle of the room with a pig on a spit. The place was busy, so the only place the ladies could find to sit was at the bar.

Sliding onto a barstool, Niven waved down the bartender.

"Ah, Miss Niven, it's good to see you again! You look smaller than you were the last time you were in here," the bartender said amiably as he used a cloth to dry out the inside of a glass. "You must have had those babies of yours. Congratulations!"

"Thanks Logan," the druidess said, smiling at him. "They're a handful, but cute as a button."

"Wouldn't doubt that for a second,"
Logan volleyed back, giving her a wink. "What can I get you today?"

"A sweet tea for me, please. And...."
Niven looked at Tali expectantly for her order.
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Old April 17, 2018, 04:20 PM   #12 (permalink)
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The two shared a smile and for a moment, the air felt a bit less…tense? Awkward? Perhaps that was just the elfess’ anxiety speaking. Either way, it was actually a pleasant sensation. She gave a firm nod, letting her gaze drift a bit as once tense shoulders began to lose their tension. “I’m glad as well. Quite a few things wouldn’t have happened in my life if not for her.” Her gaze returned to the elf as she a soft chuckle escape past what was once sealed lips. “Including my little troublemaker spotting you in a crowd. I’m sorry again about that. While I’m grateful for the encounter, he could have gotten you or someone else hurt.”

The beast began to whimper, offended by his mistress’ hurtful words.

Tali chuckled, reaching up to settle his worries. “It’s alright, little shadow. You learned your lesson, that’s all that matters to me.”

It didn’t take much for him to settle back down into content purring nor for the conversation to slip right back into a tight spot. Tali winced slightly, as if the comment brought a bit of pain along with it as she continued to gnaw on her lower lip. Her gaze remained on Niven, by force of will if nothing else, but her shoulders regained a bit of height. “W-well, it’s not too bad. Living under a tree. You get a lovely view and all, it’s just not the most comfortable.” She shook her head. “To me, tents are the same as taking shelter in a tavern or inn. It’s too much work if one were to try and escape – plus it draws unwanted attention. Whenever it rains, I make sure to keep Niko protected. He hates getting wet in general. Otherwise, business as usual – sleep on the wet lawn.” A rather gross way of sleeping in Tali’s opinion, but she typically fled to a nearby basin so she could take a bath and get her clothes tidied up.

There was a chance of perhaps shifting the topic enough to make it less awkward, or rather less personal on her own end. She didn’t want the newborn mother to feel as if she needed to take pity on the poor elf as Calanon had. Not if she could help it, at least. “So you’re a wood elf, eh? I don’t believe I’ve ever met one before.” If she was honest, there wasn’t much of a difference so it was possible that she had and didn’t notice it.

Thankfully, all seemed to be moving along and the woman took well to Tali’s awkward attempt at comfort. A smile appeared – exactly as she had hoped it would. The elfess was too beautiful and kind to wear a frown, even if it was held within the depths of her emerald eyes. She deserved to be happy, from what Tali gathered of the small insight into the woman’s life.

It helped quite a bit having Niko around with his mood swings.

And so the two made their way into a tavern, The Lady In Waiting to be exact. It wasn’t one that she had ever heard of before which meant a proper scan of the room needed to be performed as she passed through the door. Exits. Obstacles. The usual. At this point, Tali was able to take in everything within a time frame that no one could tell what she was doing. To them, she was merely taking in the sights.

Tali took a seat beside Niven, quickly learning that she was a regular to these parts. She watched with a simple smile, allowing them to have a personal discussion. Once it was completed and orders were being taken, she slid several coins across the counter with a playful grin flashed toward Niven. “I’ll take an ale and a milk, please. Milady’s drinks will be on me.”

Niko chirped in delight, eager for his milk!
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Old April 20, 2018, 06:59 PM   #13 (permalink)
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As Tali began to relax, Niven did as well. She hadn’t realized it, but she had inadvertently tensed herself, taking on the air of anxiety the girl had brought with her. Things were easier now, much more amiable and it pleased the Sylrosian greatly.

Laughing, Niven shook her head and waved her hand, brushing off the apology of the paler elf. “No apology is necessary. Pets are often a good way to make new friends. Juno was instrumental in bringing about a couple of friendships himself, so do not fret. Also, being a druidess, I have a bit of a knack with animals. It's possible he could sense that.” She reached out to pet the ebony monkey-cat, her hand sliding down his back and along his tail. "And while it’s true, someone could have gotten hurt, nimrban’s are known for their nimbleness and so I think there to be only a slim chance he could have caused more trouble on his path to me then he did.”

Niven’s brow furrowed at Tali’s explanation as to why she slept in a tree. Certain words caught her attention and the response raised more questions than it answered. “Escape?” she thought, searching the elfess’ face for more clues, but finding none. “Unwanted attention?” Who was this elf who stood before her that these were concerns for her? Was she a convict? Niven gave the girl a once over, but she didn’t strike her as someone who was a wanted criminal escaped from prison. A runaway slave, perhaps? That would explain the language. But at quick glance the girl didn’t have a tattoo on her wrist citing the house of her ownership. A twitch of her lips and it struck Niven that Tali reminded her a bit of Dante’s daughter, Maya. She’d been an urchin on the streets of Vortex fighting off drunks who wanted to use her as a whore. But that would only make sense if Tali were stationed in one place. And Tali had mentioned being on the road, so she was not firmly planted anywhere. “Who could want to harm her that she feels she needs escape from?” This was something she would have to think further on, or perhaps upon better acquaintance there would be a chance to ask more questions and glean more information.

“Yes,” Niven replied in the affirmative. “You’ll be hard-pressed to as well. My people fell victim to the Xetian fog and most of us were wiped out. I lost my entire family.” The Sylrosian looked melancholy again "I have heard that what was once the Sylrosian forest is now a wasteland." Shaking her head, she brushed her feelings aside, not wanting to linger in painful thoughts. "Actually, I’ve been tasked by Sliucha to go and check it out. She hopes to rebuild and restore as much as possible. But it’s impossible to know what is needed to do that without getting an idea of what the land is like now. The idea frightens me, but confronting your ghosts is always frightening.”

As Tali threw her coins on the counter, Logan quickly scooped them up, giving her a nod. Niven made a sound of protest. “But…but…..*sigh* Fine. But your meal is on me,” she said, in her best mom voice that made it clear no arguments against were going to be heard.

In short order, Logan had the ladies beverage orders before them and Niko’s milk was no more than a moment afterwards.

“I believe I heard something about meals?” Logan asked, an amused twinkle in his eye as he looked at Niven. “I believe there might be a plate of Pheasant Pie with your name on it,” He said, his tone teasing.

Niven’s emerald eyes danced. “Verily?” The druidess turned to Tali. “I swear to the gods, they have the best Pheasant Pie here.” The elfess paused for a moment and then cocked her head. “You’re not a vegetarian, are you?"
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Old April 20, 2018, 08:29 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Ah, so the woman was a druidess? Another first to the elf. There seemed to be a lot in Niven that was unknown to Tali which was honestly a bit embarrassing. Most had heard of such beings, likely met several and sometimes might not have even known it. And yet each new addition to her friend brought with it a childlike interest. Questions clawing their way to the surface, desperate to escape in quick succession so answers could be given at the same speed. But seeing as they were both adults, Tali had to practically swallow the thoughts – leaving a pit in the bottom of her stomach.

You have no time for such fantasies. Your life is to steal. That is all.

Her father’s words seemed to create a lock, sealing the knot within the depths so that they couldn’t resurface down the road. A hand subconsciously raised to her abdomen, as if hoping to ease the pain a bit – or at least enough to keep it from obtaining her full attention.

Niko could tell that something was wrong, but he wasn’t certain of what. Refusing to allow his mistress to suffer, he scurried down to the arm that was hovering so he could use it as a seat. He flattened himself against her stomach, his best attempt at a hug.

Tali chuckled softly, forcing back tears at the beast’s kindness as her other hand came up to rub his back. Leaving him there with a casual hold on him should he wish to leave at any time, glazed eyes returned to the druidess – holding a sympathy within them that clashed harshly against her own conflicting emotions. “I’m so sorry to hear of what happened to your home and for your loss. I had seen the destruction across Moonstone, but didn’t know until recently what the cause was.” A shaky sigh attempted to maintain composure. “If you are in need of aid, I would be willing to come along. I know how it feels, needing to confront your fears. I haven’t done so myself, but perhaps helping you will give me the courage I require to aid in my own.”

Enough sorrow! The time for drinks was upon them!

The pale expression that held sympathy and sorrow within the confines of a rueful smile managed to regain some warmth – nearly transforming into a grin – upon the bartender accepting the coin. Within minutes, the drinks had arrived and Niko practically jumped onto the counter so he could enjoy his milk. She couldn’t help, however, but feel as if the druid’s name sounded…familiar, being said enough times. Was there something that she had managed to forget? A bit of panic washed over her, forcing scrambled hands to dive for the journal stashed away within her satchel.

Upon turning to the appropriate page, her cognac eyes widened.

FETH.

She knew that she shouldn’t have overheard Cal and Kailin’s conversation that brightening! Having done so created a rather awkward situation for the elf who was now speaking with the woman she had bought baby supplies for! Helped Cal locate Pynade for!

Granted, Tali had first heard of the woman when she was still carrying child, but STILL. How was she to explain that?

Perhaps she didn’t need to. After all, this was the first time that the two had met. She could simply act as if the name that appeared in her journal hadn’t appeared until this brightening and resume all as if it were normal. Which it was. Totally. After stashing the journal back where it belonged, and taking a rather long swig of ale, her gaze shifted to Niven who posed an excellent question. The answer was simple for Tali most certainly wasn’t a vegetarian. However, if the new mother was to be paying for a meal, then it would only make sense that the elfess attempt to order something that wasn’t very expensive.

“I’m not, but I fear I don’t have much of an appetite at present.” Which was true with the development of a knot in her stomach. “Perhaps I could just have some bread and cheese?” Despite telling the truth, the slightest hint of a playful smile spread across her face without meaning so. After all, the reason that she wasn’t bringing to light was that she wasn’t trying to have Niven spend much coin if she could help it.
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Old April 20, 2018, 09:25 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Noticing the hand that went to Tali’s abdomen, Niven looked concerned. “Have you had a turn? Do you need to sit down?” Without even realizing it, the elfess has slipped into mother-role. It came all too easily these days and when she thought back on it, she hoped that Tali hadn’t found it overstepping. Niven merely just cared.

Confusion flickered across the features of the elfess, but it lasted no more than half a second. Didn’t she know what caused the destruction in Moonstone? Where on Telath had she been? The war had plunged the entire empire into chaos, surely nobody could have missed the Xetian war! Though these thoughts crossed her mind, Niven said none of these things.

“Thank you,” the druidess said, smiling at the kind wishes of the pale elfess. “It is extremely sad, but I have chosen not to linger on it and to press forward. It took me a long time to admit that my family was gone and almost half an era to come to terms with it. Things are better now, but I miss them more than words could express.”

The offer of joining her on the adventure and Tali’s reasons for doing so brought light into Niven’s emerald eyes. “Would you be? It was going to be just me and a…. friend,” She said, for lack of a better word to call Calanon. “I would so appreciate your support and your second set of eyes.” “Not to mention a buffer,” she thought. “It would be wonderful if we could help each other!” Niven had to restrain herself from clapping her hands out of joy. Now hopefully Calanon would be on board with the idea and they could all go together.

“Having just had my babies, I’m not in any state to travel right now, but I am hoping to be able to go sometime this era. Are you going to be in the area for a long while?” Niven looked hopeful, but considering the auburn elfess’ comments earlier, she wasn’t certain that would be the case.

Niven noticed the journal that Tali slipped back away but didn’t say anything about it right away. She grinned as Tali admitted to not being a vegetarian but frowned at her statement of a lack of appetite and an order of just bread and cheese. “Nonsense,” she said, shaking her head. “You must have some if you’ve never had it before. The chef here is amazing. Not as amazing as Rex Wagner, but then who is? Still, I insist you get some.”

Turning back to Logan Niven smiled broadly. “Two orders of the Pheasant Pie, please.”

Logan looked at Tali for confirmation before going to put the order in.
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