Old June 10, 2017, 02:12 PM   #1 (permalink)
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[Jaedaxia] True Grit

Time Stamp:
Summer Era XXIV

He'd spent the last few cycles here in Jaedaxia. The man was getting to know a certain young lady who happened to have found herself a place in his affections. She was the gentle sort, but had a wild streak in her that he couldn't help to be drawn towards. So he'd stopped his wandering for awhile and taken up residence in one of the city's many inns.

But that wasn't where Clifton Compton currently found himself. Naw, he was on the outskirts of town in the woods at a watering hole. His chestnut mare Molly was dipping her nose in the pond and drinking. He was contemplating.

It wasn't really the sort of thing he usually did, but it seemed like the apt thing to do right now. The leather of his breeches scraped against the surface of a boulder as he leaned back against it. His faded blue shirt was rolled up at the sleeves and his arms were crossed over his chest. His head was tilted downwards and his face was shadowed by his tan, wide brimmed hat. A soft snore came from him.

Maybe contemplating wasn't the correct word to use in that particular instance. Snoozing might have been more honest. That was until one of his snores shook his entire body and his hazel eyes shot open and looked around wildly. He chuckled heartily and readjusted his hat.

"Now Molly, what'd you go and let me do that for? Judging by the rumbling in my belly, we done missed lunch. I bet there won't even be any pie left by the time we get back."

He smoothed the horse's mane adoringly and grabbed the reigns in an attempt to take her from the water. Molly sputtered and shook her head. She wasn't going no where just yet. She liked this watering hole.

"Oh come on now, you know I'll sneak you some carrots."
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Old June 11, 2017, 12:38 PM   #2 (permalink)
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It had been a more than eventful summer and Niven was happy to be back in what she now considered to be her home province, though being home didn't meant things were going to slow down any. She was no more than a few cycles from finally walking down the isle and becoming Dante's wife and that meant that there was lots to do in preparation for their big day.


While she was very happy to be finally getting married to the love of her life, the Silrosian was finding herself more and more escaping to the woods for relaxation. She had always found solace amongst the lush flora and the gentle rustlings of the fauna and the wood elf had found that as her stresses were becoming overwhelming, she found the need to centre herself so she could keep a balanced and clear head.


So it was here, in the woods outside the city of Jaedaxia, where Niven found herself before she prepared to head back into the city and meet up with her eldest daughter to finalize plans. As she took deep breaths, inhaling the sweet smell of the flowers and trees, she caught another scent on the soft breeze that was caressing the plant life as it blew through the trees. One that she couldn’t place. It was musky, but not unpleasant. And it was mixed with the familiar scent of an ungulate.


She made her way through the trees towards the origin of the scent, her light footfalls virtually undetectable. As the smell intensified, a soft drawl reached her pointed ears. It was an accent she had not heard before and was so unlike the broad Jaedaxian accent.


Parting a particularly large bush, Niven found herself standing opposite the water to a ruggedly handsome man trying to coax his horse away from the pond. She chuckled to herself as she watched him bribe his mount and she was having none of it. Not wanting to startle man or mare, Niven cleared her throat and waited to be noticed.
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Old June 15, 2017, 10:03 AM   #3 (permalink)
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The promise of carrots did nothing to hurry the mare from dipping her nose back into the pond. As if mocking Clifton, a little toad leaped from his lilypad with a ribbit and dunked into the water too. If he had been a superstitious man, he might have thought it some kind of omen. But he wasn't, so his thoughts did not linger on the possibility that he himself might end up in that pond later on. Not one single second did that idea linger in his head. Hazel eyes blinked at the ripples in the water as a shudder built its way up his spine, and he tore his gaze away.

It was in that moment that he heard a soft ahem coming from somewhere in the underbrush. It was the sort of noise that one would employ while attempting to garner attention. It seemed these woods were good for more than just watering Molly. As his face turned towards the sound, and his eyes alighted on the person it had escaped from, Clifton decided these woods were good for meeting beautiful women too. He wondered at the meaning of that.

It seemed this time he was being graced by the presence of an elf. Now elves had always held a sort of ethereal beauty for him. It was all pretty damn intimidating for the man who had been raised so far away from such creatures. But he'd spent his fair share of time amongst their kind in the wars. Though most of them had been males, not that it mattered much when it came down to prettiness in elves. Even the men had more feminine features. That sort of thing would always be strange to Clifton.

He raised his hand in greeting towards the elf princess and flashed her a congenial smile, "Now I would say 'Vedui' and invite you over for a conversation, lil lady," he began. The elvish word came out slow and steady as if he were trying his very best to get the syllables correct.

"But you appear as if you belong amongst the foliage. Prettiest dag'gon sight I've seen all day." Molly grunted as if in protest. "'Cept Molly here, of course. You will have to forgive me for saying it," he held his hands placatingly towards the horse who simply whipped her tail against her hindquarters and resumed ignoring the man.

His grin turned lopsided as he rolled his eyes at his horse's impudence. "I do hope you don't mind me saying so, miss. And I am begging your pardon for continuing on in such a manner, but can you just imagine being me and feasting your eyes upon a beauteous elf framed by the very woods in which she belongs? I'd sooner die than coax you from them."
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Old June 15, 2017, 10:36 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Her rosebud lips broke into a smile as the stranger did his best to greet her in her native tongue. It was sweet that he made such a solid effort to get it right, but there was no masking his strong accent. She liked it, though. There was something pleasant to the ears in the drawl that casually fell from his lips. She found it exceedingly charming.


The smile turned into a grin and she giggled as he made an effort to soothe the ‘jealousy’ of his indifferent mount. He was funny and she enjoyed his brand of humour. It was refreshing to find someone so naturally droll. It put her at ease to find him an amiable man. She had not always been so fortunate in and around Jaedaxia.


A soft blush rose in her cheeks at his compliment. “I am very much at home in them,” she admitted, looking at the foliage around her. Her sea-green eyes drifted back to the man. ”I come to the woods as balm for my soul when things within the walls of the city or the pressures of life get to be too much.” She smiled warmly. "However I cannot stay here among the greenery and it's wood-dwelling creatures forever. Life must carry on and there are always obligations that must be attended to.”


The Silrosian looked up at the suns in the clear blue skies and tried to gauge the candlemark from their position, as she had been taught as a child. “It would seem my time here must come to an end. The city beckons.” She lowered her head and her gaze returned to man to whom she gave a shrug. “Looks like you don’t have to worry about whether or not to coax me from the woods. I will be leaving of my own volition.” She moved to go, turning her back to the human, but then stopped as a thought struck her.


“I hope you don’t mind, but I overheard that you were looking to get Pracenda. I am hungry myself, if you’d care to join me back to the city?” She asked turning towards him again. “That is, of course, if you can successfully manage to get Molly here away from the spring,” she quipped, her mouth sporting a wry smile.
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Old June 16, 2017, 10:01 AM   #5 (permalink)
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His head nodded knowingly as the elf admitted to being at home amongst the flora. He could just imagine what it must have looked like to see a whole bunch of elves living in the woods, as natural as can be and more comfortable there than they ever would be between the stone structures of the city. They weren't unlike Clifton in that regard. Though his sort of nature was flatter and more wide open. Rolling fields of grazing cattle and crops was his habitat.

"Obligations sure do put a damper on a good time, don't they just," he chuckled. His mama had attempted to remind him of his own obligations when he left the ranch. He'd assured her that he would be back eventually. He just needed some wandering time. He'd been called an idiot for that, and he supposed that was all right with him. If being an idiot meant that he could meet people he hadn't grown up with, then he would take that name and paste it across his brow.

"Not that I think it needs to be said," he called after the woman as she turned her back to leave, "But it wouldn't sit right with me if I didn't. You be careful out there, lil lady. There are many strange people lurking in the woods, myself included." As if she agreed whole-heartedly, Molly whinnied and bobbed her head up and down. Her nose pushed at his arm and he placed a hand placatingly upon her face. She was obviously ready to go.

He was checking the straps on his saddle when the elf woman turned and said something of food. His stomach rumbled and his lips quirked upwards. "Ayup," he grunted as he jumped into the saddle and settled his boots into the stirrups. He twisted the reigns around his hands and pulled Molly's head towards the woman.

The pair trotted over and he tipped his hat to the lady with a broad grin. "Clifton Compton, at your service, lil lady. Don't seem right you eating with a stranger and all. So call me Cliff and we can friends. How 'bout that?" He reached a gloved hand out to her, in order to help her into the saddle.
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Old June 18, 2017, 04:24 PM   #6 (permalink)
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She watched as he expertly mounted himself on his horse and a smile flitted across her lips as she thought of Trigg, her own steed back home in Demios. She made a mental note to do more riding when she returned home and spend some quality time him.


Bobbing a curtsey as Clifton introduced himself, Niven’s eyes smiled as she replied, “I am pleased to meet you, Cliff.” The name felt odd on her tongue, but there was little that seemed normal about the handsome stran-er-friend. “I am Niven Soleil of the Silrosian Forest.”


He extended his gloved hand to her and she reached up and grabbed his strong forearm to brace herself and in a swift movement and a flash of skirts, she expertly lifted her light elven frame up onto the back of Molly, straddling the back of the horse. She wrapped her porcelain arms gently around his strong torso to keep herself steady in the saddle as the horse moved.


This feeling was relatively new. Dante had little use for riding and she couldn’t remember a time she had ever witnessed him doing so. She wondered if now that he spent his time as a human if maybe he could now be coaxed to ride with her.


“At your pleasure,”
she said warmly to her escort.
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Old June 21, 2017, 10:56 AM   #7 (permalink)
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"Pleasure to meet ya, Miss Niven Soleil," he grunted as he helped lift her onto the back of his saddle.

It didn't seem right to mention the name of the place she was from. The news of the destruction of her homeland had reached even the backwaters of Candaceburg. He was almost certain she wouldn't want to be ruminating upon that particular fact. As a matter of fact, Clifton was more determined than ever to make sure he put smiles on her face instead of frowns. Someone who had experienced so much loss shouldn't have to wallow in that sadness. Not around him at least.

He scooted forward to give her some room as her arms wrapped around his stomach. It seemed she was no stranger as to the particulars of back-saddle riding. He gently patted her hands to make sure they were secure, and nodded with satisfaction. "All righty then," his spurs were turned into Molly's flanks and they began their journey back into the city.

The horse didn't move at full speed, Clifton certainly wasn't in a hurry. He rarely ever was these days. It was nice to take life at a slower pace. They still trotted along swift enough to have a nice breeze upon their faces, though. The man sat in an amiable silence as he navigated the newly familiar city towards what was quickly becoming his favorite restaurant.

It was a nice enough tavern, humble as it might be. Perhaps a little rough around the edges, but Clifton was hardly one to judge something by its exterior. Or interior as was the case. He stopped Molly just outside the door and slid from the saddle, lifting his hands to help guide his companion to the ground. "They have the best cherry pie here, Miss Niven. Don't go telling my ma I said so." Such a declaration was certain to earn himself a slap across the mouth. Everyone knew his ma made the best pies. That is, everyone who hadn't had these particular pies before.

He wrapped the horse's reigns around the pole that was made for such things and held the door open for the elf to enter.
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Old June 24, 2017, 04:22 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Niven was grateful that Clifton didn’t go into any questions regarding her origins. To be completely honest, the elf wasn’t sure why she’d even mentioned it. Maybe it was because he had said she belonged in the forest she felt compelled to tell him which forest she hailed from. Either way, she really wasn’t sure that it was a topic she wanted to get into right this moment.


She held on firmly, but still gently to the cowboy as they trotted off towards the city. Her experience riding Trigg made her completely comfortable on Molly and she moved with the horse as they rode in pleasant silence. Anything said would have been lost in the wind anyway. As she bounced on the back, her long blond hair sailed behind her like a flag.


Upon reaching their destination, she recognized it as the one of the family favourites. She smiled, remembering many good times here. She allowed Clifton to climb down first and when he reached to help her down, she swung her leg over, put her hands on his shoulders, and allowed him to control her drop to the ground. She let out a slivery laugh at his comments on the pie and his mother. “I promise, your secret is safe with me.


He held the door open for her, like a good gentleman should, and she passed through into the dimly lit room. It seemed they were not the only one hungry at this candlemark. The tavern was at least 3/4’s full and it wasn’t until Niven stood on her tippy toes did she spot a group leaving from a table with a barmaid bussing it. Quickly, she slipped through the sea of people and snagged the table for the two of them, hoping that Clifton would be quick on her heels.

"I'm famished," she said as she slipped into her seat.
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Old July 19, 2017, 06:20 PM   #9 (permalink)
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He dipped his hat to the lady before taking it off completely as she brushed past him and entered the tavern. It wasn't polite to wear headgear inside such establishments. Especially not when in the company of the fairer sex. If Clifton was anything other than the idiot his ma often liked to remind him of being, he would be considered a gentleman. At least in the manners sense of the word. Not so much in the etiquette and keeping his clothes clean department. But that wasn't really a problem right now.

"Much obliged," he grinned at her as she promised not to tattle to his ma on his taste in pie.

His eyebrows shot up to his very hairline as the elfess darted off into the crowd in search of a table. And she slid into her seat before he'd even been given a chance to pull it out for her. "Welp," his hands hung useless at his side for a moment before slipping into his pockets and sauntering on after her.

He placed his hat on the back of his chair before perching his rump upon the wooden thing. His hands were rubbed and then clapped together as his eyes searched around for his favorite server.

It didn't take long before she came waltzing up to the pair; a suspicious grin on the fiery redheaded woman's face. "Monsieur Compton," she cooed at him while placing her hand on the back of his chair and standing all nonchalant like. "What brings you here today? And with a new lady friend?" Her green eyes turned onto the elfess and her smile only broadened.

His smile turned crooked at the thinly veiled accusation that might have been thrown at him just then, and his shoulders shrugged innocently. "This here is Miss Niven Soleil. I met her and we found we have a mutual liking for food." The woman laughed and shook her head as she pulled out a pad to write their order upon.

She didn't even ask Clifton what he wanted, and he didn't try to tell her. He only ever ordered the pie. A whole one too. Just for himself. Extra whipped cream. And a whiskey. "They have just about anything you could think of. You already know what I'd suggest." He didn't think it right to order for the elfess however. She'd already proven she was a different sort of lady. One that didn't need chairs pulled out for them. He suspected it'd be the same with the ordering of food.
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Old July 25, 2017, 01:37 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Niven smiled as Cifton seemed at a loss when she didn't allow him to help her to her seat. Perhaps she should have let him help, but then she hadn't been sure to snag the table. It was sweet, though, that his intentions seemed to be to be a gentleman and she felt a little guilty about not letting him. Dante reacted in much the same way. She had eventually learned to let him dote on her, but didn't expect it from others.


The elf smiled at the waitress as she arrived and greeted the man, but it faltered at her observation. She was about to correct the woman when Clifton shrugged her off and explained. Niven gave him a sideways glance. What did she mean, 'new lady friend'? Was he here often with many women? The idea amused her. She did find the young man smooth and he had already showered her in compliments. She'd thought nothing of it at the time, only that he was an exceptionally kind person, but perhaps it was his modus operandi. Perhaps he was a ladies man. Her eyes sparkled with mirth. Boy, was he barking up the wrong tree. Not only was she engaged, but her whole purpose of being in Jaedaxia was for wedding things.


Niven was familiar with the menu, so she simply shifted her gaze to the waitress and placed her order. “I’ll have the house stew and a mug of mead, sil vous plait.”


As the woman retreated, she turned her attentions back to her table mate. “So what brings you to Jaedaxia? I can’t place your accent, but you must have come from some distance."
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Old July 26, 2017, 10:06 AM   #11 (permalink)
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It was probably a boon that one of Clifton's talents didn't include mind reading. If it had, he might have been thoroughly embarrassed at his lady companion's assumptions on what the waitress had said. His cheeks might have blushed under his stubble, and his mouth might have moved with no sounds coming out as he'd stammer for a response. For, while Clifton had no troubles in the lady department, he could hardly be categorized as a womanizer. The waitress merely knew that he hung around these parts pining after just one woman who had seemed to elude him as of late. So to see him here with someone else entirely? Well, maybe it was a little bit like cheating on his crush.

Thankfully though, none of that had to transpire.

He gave a little bewildered shook of his head at the elf woman's choice of food. Stew? That was the sort of thing one ate while on the trail and there was no pie around. The man wondered if she was malnourished or something else equally grim had happened to her to make her prefer stew over pie. He didn't think it polite to ask though. Not on a first meeting at least.

His lazy grin returned when the conversation was turned onto the topic of his origin story. "Molly brought me to Jaedaxia," he inclined his chin back towards the door where his noble steed was getting watered. It was as much the truth as anything. He hadn't planned on coming here, but here he was. The man was simply a victim of his circumstance.

"I'm from a ranch on the outskirts of Candaceburg. Got me a ma and a pa. And two brothers: one older, one younger. I'm the ugly one." He flashed his teeth in a wild smile at that.

"And what about you? Is Jaedaxia where you call home, Miss Niven? Besides the Silrosian Forest, of course."
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Old August 3, 2017, 11:23 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Niven let out a silvery laugh at Clifton's reply. "Well, it's not a lie," she thought to herself amused. "So nothing, in particular, drew you here? Most people come to a place like Jaedaxia for a reason. It's pretty far removed from most places, especially if you are travelling by land. What do you think drew Molly here? She has fine taste if she brought you here!" she teased.

"The ugly one?" she repeated, unsure if he was kidding or not. He wasn't exactly hard on the eyes for a human. If he was the ugly one, his brothers must look like gods. "I've heard nice things about Candaceburg, but have never had the pleasure of visiting myself. Is it pretty there?"

She smiled. "No, I currently call Demios home. I live there with my fiance and our adopted children. He has a business port here in Jaedaxia, so he comes here fairly often to check on the business and I tag along when I can or need to. This brightening, I am here to check on different wedding arrangements and for a dress fitting."

The elfess waited to see how he would respond to this new information. Perhaps his interest in her would immediately wane once he learned she was taken.
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Old August 8, 2017, 10:15 AM   #13 (permalink)
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His face twisted into something of contemplation when he tried to recall exactly how he'd wound up in Jaedaxia. "Well, truth be told, I was heading towards Prime. I fell asleep in the saddle for a bit, ya see. The suns can get hot. Molly wandered. I woke up and didn't know where we were, so we just continued down whatever path we was on and wound up here. Wandering and not really inclined to ask directions. My ma always called me a fool. I suppose she's right," he chuckled and shrugged his shoulders. It wasn't like he anywhere else to be except back at the ranch. He wasn't quite ready to do that just yet.

He nodded at her question on the beauty of Candaceburg. "It sure is. But then most people would argue that the place they're from is beautiful. Even if others don't really want to agree with them." Hometown bias was something he was a little accustomed to.

"I ain't ever been to Demios. Heard it's a wondrous sight to see though." He listened as she continued on with her own reasons for being the city, a soft grin grew to lips.

"I reckon there ain't nothing better than two people in love declaring it fronta all their friends and family. Can't say that I've ever done such a thing myself, but I've seen how happy it can make people. And if happiness ain't the reason for living, then I don't know what is." As if his declaration had somehow summoned the gods, their food arrived.

"And pie certainly does make me happy," he waggled his brows at the server and then the elfess before digging his fork into his pie and taking a bite. He chewed on one side of his mouth and let out a satisfied groan. His next words were muffled behind the food, "It's the simple things really."
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Old August 12, 2017, 12:25 PM   #14 (permalink)
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"Well, I must say I disagree with your 'mama'," Niven said, smiling. "Sometimes wandering can lead to your greatest adventures. I wandered for a while and it's lead me to many an interesting experience."

"Sadly, I feel everyone would agree there is very little, if anything, beautiful left of where I grew up," she said wistfully, "But my current home is quite lovely and I am lucky to live where I get beach and woods on a brighteningly basis."

The elf beamed as the man spoke of the beauties of a wedding. "Happiness is a good reason for living," she agreed amiably as the food arrived. His response left her feeling like perhaps she had misjudged him. He certainly hadn't withdrawn as she had mentioned her romantic attachment, instead, he had willingly accepted it and seemed happy for her. "Definitely not a ladies man," she thought smiling as he took a big scoop of pie and declared how happy it made him. The waitress must have had it wrong.

"Sometimes the simpler, the better." Niven concurred. "Do you have anyone special in your life? Perhaps someone you've left back home?" she inquired of him as she took a spoonful of warm stew.
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Old August 16, 2017, 11:55 AM   #15 (permalink)
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There was a grunt of agreement from the man as the elf spoke on the simple things. He always found that they were the best things. Whether it be a sunset or a big ole piece of pie, it didn't really matter to him. Clifton loved life in all its eccentricities. If that made him foolish, well then, so be it. It was nice to know he wasn't alone in that regard.

He gulped down what remained of his pie at her next question. It hadn't quite been thoroughly chewed at that moment, so he sort of cough-sputtered a little bit. He pounded a fist against his chest to help with the movement of his food down to to his belly where it rightfully belonged.

"As a matter of fact, there is. Not back home though. I wouldn't ever-a left if I had a little lady waiting on me back there," he grinned as his eyes grew distant at the image of the woman he was wanting to be courting. "She lives right here in the city. Met her in much the same way I did you, come to think on it." Maybe he spent too much time out in nature. He shook his head of that ridiculous thought. There was no such thing as too much time spent in nature.

"She's kind and gentle. Ain't never met a woman who made me feel as if I'd known her right from the beginning. She also plays the violin. Though she ain't never played it for me. She's a downright tease in that regard."

He stopped and realized he'd been going on about himself for far too long. Wasn't polite to do such things. "Tell me about your man, then. Gotta be something special to have won the affections of a pretty lady such as yourself."
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