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Main - The Kitchen Table (Role Play Forum) - Trial by Dragon Blood
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ゼンガー・ゾンボルト
Posted on 11-26-19 12:59 AM Link | ID: 152891
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Bel gives the options some thought and comes to a surprisingly quick decision.

Bel: I can't vote with my heart on this. If I did, I'd opt to keep going. But since you need rest, Zarik, I'm gonna say we keep going in the morning. Sorry, Cai. We can't go into this with one of us exhausted.

In any case, are you going to tell us what happened?

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Trelior
Posted on 11-26-19 01:47 AM Link | ID: 152892
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"What do you mean by 'what happened'?" Zarik questions, "They're either sincere or playing a long con. Jolly Green showed me where we're going, extended the offer to go in alone, slinked off when I threatened him on reiterating our plan, and turned around. Judging from how you guys are all safe, I'm gonna assume they left you guys alone too."

Aren starts pulling out his pack, and says, "Well, the motion passed to set up camp. We should start getting set up."

"Why waste the effort of pitching the tents? Di you guys not bring spell components with you?" Cai chimes in. "Just put up a Secure Shelter and we can stay in safer shelter than tents."

Neris looks at Cai with a confused expression, "What do you mean?"

"She means to use our magic to create shelter instead of using basic camping gear." Zissou says in Cai's place. "Of course I have the materials. Enough for two shelters to give the women some privacy since Belgarion seems insistent on chivalry despite Caionna's protestations."

"Or!" Zarik quickly chimes in, "To give me some space from the ankle biter. I don't want her getting any ideas if we're sleeping in common space. I'm motioning to cordon her off with Cai so she behaves the night."

Aren shrugs, and says, "Whatever you guys want to do. We need to eat, too, but I think Cai accidentally nuked all of the game in the area during the light show, so we're gonna have to do with conjured food."

Roughly an hour later, two shelters were conjured in a combined effort of Caionna and Zissou. Aren had conjured a rather large spread of food from roasted fowl and cervine to bread and fruit in plentiful amounts to satiate the potentially ravenous hunger of the whole party. Zarik went to gather wood for a bonfire to keep everyone warm as the sun began to set.

When the time came to finally get to eating, Zarik filled his plate with a variety of everything for himself, but he ended up getting less than half of it due to Neris insisting on sitting next to him and hoovering up the majority of it. Caionna fills her share with just enough to get her fill, then sits alone to contemplate the coming day. Aren and Zissou take a meager share and sit together to discuss the events of the quest, and their role in the whole ordeal.

As the night grows deeper, Zarik and Aren pull out a drum and a lute and begin entertainment with simple music and songs.

When the fire dies down, the group breaks off and heads into the shelters. Caionna and Neristhana in one, while the men go into the other.

ゼンガー・ゾンボルト
Posted on 11-26-19 02:48 AM Link | ID: 152895
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Bel: I find it hard to believe that'd have vaporized everything in the area. We made it just fine and we were close to the blast too. In any case, I could go with Zarik gathering wood for the fire.

Bel goes with Zarik into the woods to find some good, thick branches to cut down for the fire. He takes out his sword and cuts down several branches that looks like they'd burn well and shaves off eventual twigs and also slices them in smaller bits to make them easier to put in the fire. Finally, he summons a telekinetic field around the lot to carry them back to the camp.

Coming back, he telekinetically puts the firewood in staples far enough from the area of the fire to not have them accidentally catch fire.

Bel fills his plate with a bit of everything and sits down next to the bonfire to eat his food. There he remains while Zarik and Aren attemtps to lighten the mood, in thoughts about the coming day. He can't help but feel like there's something wrong. A feeling of mild dread, the cause unknown to him. He follows the men into the shelter once the fire dies down.


Bel: Should I have my familiar scout the area during the night? He could easily keep watch from a tree and alert me if anything approaches from outside the safety zone.

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Trelior
Posted on 11-26-19 08:15 AM Link | ID: 152900
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"I do not feel that is necessary." Zissou responds. "I made sure we cast the shelters with the alarm component. Anything bold enough to cross the threshold that doesn't belong in the shelter will set it off and alert us."

Zarik stops taking off his armor for a moment and says, "Funny you should say 'doesn't belong in the shelter' as if one of us getting up and end up wandering into the wrong one." then continues to get undressed.

"I think that's on purpose..."Aren says, getting comfortable on his bedding.

Zissou mere chuckles and settles in as well.

A few hours pass...

The peaceful silence of the night is suddenly broken by a loud siren, not unlike a fire station's horn, going off in the men's shelter.

The sudden noise not only shoots everyone inside awake, but it also startles Neris, whom is inside the threshold of the door, and she lets out a shriek even louder than the alarm out of startled fear.

Aren and Zarik cover their ears to block out the sound, as Zissou attempts to do the same while snapping his fingers to disable the alarm. The alarm ceasing does not take the shrieking with it, however.

Zarik bites the bullet and takes one of his pillows and throws it at the screaming girl hard enough to knock her off-kilter, but not enough to hurt her. The pillow smacks her in the face with a comical 'poff' sound, she clutches the pillow and rushes back out of the men's shelter and back to her own. She is still screaming, but it is muffled by the pillow.

Zarik gets up and says, "I want me damn pillow back!" and heads outside in his shorts. Knocking on the door of the other shelter, he calls out, "I know you're both awake in there! Could I get my pillow back from the banshee?" The screaming stopped by now.

"Come inside and get it!" Cai shouts from the other side.

"And set off the alarm on your side too? No thanks!" He exclaims, "She took my pillow when I threw it at her to shut her up, and she ran off with it."

Cai opens the door, wrapped in her blanket, and throws a pillow at Zarik. "Take that one! She won't give up the one you threw her. Just let me go back to sleep, Mister I-Wanna-Rest-Instead-of-Pressing-On!"

"Hey! I'm not the one who woke everyone up!" Zarik protests, "How is it my fault that I want what she took back?!"

"Just shut up and let her have the damn thing. She must have wanted to go cuddle with you to feel safe." Cai says in a sleepy anger.

A tiny "Yeah." comes from inside.

"Fine! Whatever!" Zarik grumbles, "But I doubt it would have stopped at that, given what we just saved her from. Even if you've been teaching her more 'dos and don'ts'." Pointing a finger into the darkness in the direction he heard the feeble affirmation from, he goes on, "And don't do that again, do you hear me? We need sleep." Then he turns and returns to his bed, Neris' pillow in hand.

But not before a sad, "Okay." follows him.

Laying back down, Zarik lets out a slightly exasperated sigh with his hands over his eyes, "What am I getting pushed into?" Then he quickly begins snoring again.

Aren and Zissou glance at each other, then at Bel, then back at each other while the whole exchange happens. With a shrug, they settle back in and fall back to sleep.

ゼンガー・ゾンボルト
Posted on 11-26-19 06:21 PM (rev. 2 of 11-26-19 10:56 PM by ゼンガー・ゾンボルト) Link | ID: 152905
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Bel, who's in his usual meditative state, is abruptly interrupted from it, even though it can normally be canceled at will.

Bel: Good LORD, Neris! Who needs an alarm, anyway? Bel shouts, or, at least he attempts to but he can't hear his own voice over the siren and the shriek, in addition to his own hands swiftly covering his ears. Once the alarm stops, he takes his hands off his ears.

Bel: Nngh. I might have to take safety precautions for that horrible scream of hers. Bel says, still in visible pain from the cacophony of noise.

He listens in on the argument before raising his hands in the air slightly as a response to the glance from Zissou and Aren. Then he goes back into meditation, levitating a foot or so in the air.

____________________
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Trelior
Posted on 11-27-19 01:36 AM (rev. 2 of 11-27-19 01:40 AM by Trelior) Link | ID: 152915
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Morning comes without any further interruptions.

Zarik is the first to get out of bed as the sun peeks through the slats of the window blind. Stretching and yawning, he gets into his bag to get his clothes for the day. He dons a pair of denim leggings with lacing up the legs and a rope drawstring, a pair of unassuming black leather boots, a gray long sleeve tunic with bellowing sleeves, a brown leather vest, a red sash, and a burnt orange neckerchief, each with some tattering at the tails. He places a tan feathered cap on his head, and brings a longbow made of ebony wood with a large white and blue plumage on its lower limb. Its handle riser has a large rose on the underside of the grip and the arrow rest and sight window glows with a faint blue light as he holds it ready.

Having gotten dressed, he begins going through the cupboards to scrounge through the leftovers from the night before's feast to get a breakfast that isn't contested by Neris. Grabbing a slice of venison, a chicken breast, and an apple, he sits on the foot of his cot and eats.

Aren is the next to rise, he simply gets dressed as he was the days prior and follows suit with Zarik for breakfast. Zissou wakes moments later and does the same.

On the girls' side, Caionna is the first to rise. She digs through her bag to get some actual clothes to wear. She puts on a halter top that is tie-dye of white and her signature purple, a belt on her midriff, elbow pads, white hand wraps, and a short apron with pouches. She wears a pair of black, form-fitting shorts, white thigh-high socks, and black knee-high boots. She covers her head with a bandanna that matches her top, tied tightly to her skull with a large knot situated behind her left ear.

At her left hip is strapped the scabbard for a decorated rapier with an ornate gold-inlaid sweeping. The guard and pommel are furnished with a large purple gems, not unlike that of the crystals orbiting her the day before. The handle and knuckle guard have a similar golden inlay. On her right, floats one of the crystals of her essence.

She grabs an apple and takes a bite out of it as she goes to rouse Neris from her sleep.

Neris is fast asleep still, clutching Zarik's pillow and burying her face in it to block the sunlight from the window. She grunts defiantly at Cai's shakes to wake her.

"Come on!" Cai says, "You don't get to sleep later because you woke everyone up last night trying to sneak in to do Author knows what with Zarik in the middle of the night! We need to get you dressed and ready for a hike!"

Neris peeks a wide open eye from behind the pillow, and says, "Alright..." Kicking her legs out and over the edge of the bed, she sheepishly says with her mouth partially muffled by the pillow, "Am I in trouble because of that?"

"Kind of..." Cai responds, as nicely as she can muster, "I can't speak for the guys, but I can tell you that I'm not exactly happy about it."

Digging through her bag for more clothes, she pulls out a cute outfit that consists of black slacks, a white shirt, and a sleeveless denim overcoat that buttons on the chest and hangs open from the clasp. She orders Neris to undress out of the quick-fix outfit of the previous day and instructs her to put each piece of the new outfit one at a time so that magical adjustments could be made to fit her smaller stature and allow her wings to fit comfortably through the back.

Neris stands and inspects the clothes Cai gave her. She frowns and says, "I think it's cute, but it's not very comfortable..."

Cai shakes her head and gently scolds, "I'm sorry for the discomfort, but I can't allow you to go out gallivanting naked anymore. You'll get used to it." Walking over to the cupboard, she pulls out another apple. Taking her knife out, she begins cutting it into slices that Neris is able to hold and manipulate.

Setting the sliced apple on the table in front of the younger woman, and watches her eat. Cai thinks to herself, 'There's gotta be something we can do for her to make her life easier... I'll have to ask Zarik when this is done and over with...'

After they've finished their meager breakfast, Cai shoos Neris out the door to wait for the others before he makes sure all of her belongings are in order, then makes her way out as well.

By this point, Zairk, Aren, and Zissou have done the same and meet the girls outside of the shelters.

Zarik nods, and says, "Good morning, girls!" Looking Cai up and down, he remarks, "Very nice outfit, sis. Suits you better than the Cavewoman getup you had yesterday."

Caionna draws the rapier at points it at Zarik, lightly jabbing the tip of the intricate, golden debole in his face, "I had time this morning, so I decided to actually get dressed. Surely everyone will be happier with me not being nude." She shoots a glance at Bel and winks. Turning her attention back to Zarik, she adds, 'You look good too. Nice to see you genuinely out of heavy armor for once."

Zarik looks over Neris and lets out a whistle, "You're looking very cute today, Neris, much more fitting than having you run around naked today! Did you thank Cai for picking something nice out for you?"

Neris turns bright red and tries to cover her face.

Cai shakes her head and says, "No, she didn't. Instead she started whining that it wasn't very comfortable."

Zarik shakes his head and says in a clearly jesting tone, "Let's add that to the list of things we'll punish you for after this, after the debacle last night!"

Neris hangs her head and she quietly starts to cry. Sobbing, she wails, distinctly quieter than her reaction to the alarm, "I knew he was still mad abut that! I'm so sorry! I just wanted to feel safer!"

Zarik rushes over to Neris and tries to calm her, "Hey, I was only kidding... I wasn't being serious!" He picks her up, bracing her legs with his right hand and her back with his left at the base of the underside of her wings.

Neris wraps her arms around his neck and sobs into his shoulder.

The look on Zarik's face just scream, 'Now I feel like an asshole'. He says, "Once we're ready to go, let's hit the road.

ゼンガー・ゾンボルト
Posted on 11-27-19 06:12 PM Link | ID: 152917
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Bel cancels his meditation when he notices the others moving around. He streches his limbs a bit and yawns. Then he sits down and eats some of the leftovers from last evening, enough for a light breakfast. He picks up eventual things he put on the floor last night and puts them in the pockets in his robe. Afterwards, he follows the others outside.

Bel: Hey, ladies. The wizard notices the new clothing and takes a good look at both of them.

Bel: Looking good. Hearing Cai's remark and noticing the wink, he clears his throat and says: Well...it's more dignified. In any case, it looks very nice.

Bel takes note of Zarik's joking comment and Neris's reaction and wonders if he really should give her an earful about that shriek last night. (Hmm. Maybe it's not such a good idea after all. I should probably just drop it.)

____________________
There is nothing that can stand against my Zankantou!

My youtube channel
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Trelior
Posted on 11-28-19 05:04 AM (rev. 2 of 11-28-19 05:58 AM by Trelior) Link | ID: 152925
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Zarik tries to put Neris down, but she doesn't want to let go of his neck. With a sigh, he picks her back up and says, "Aren, please carry my bow so Neris can piggyback. Little shithead won't let go of me."

Aren nods and takes Zarik's bow and its harness off of him and situates it on his belt and hangs the bow behind him. "Seems if you're not fighting something, you're carrying one of the girls." he laughs.

Situating Neris on his back; her arms around his neck, and his hands under her knees. He says, "Yeah, well, at least she's clean today."

Neris nuzzles into the nape of Zarik's neck closes her eyes. She coos, "Thank you Zarik."

Shaking his head, "Sure... You manipulative little brat!" to giggles from her.

Caionna clears her throat and says, "If you're done flirting, you two, I would like to get this show on the road!" tapping her foot impatiently, she says, "Be glad you don't have to carry me anymore!"

Zarik laughs, "Yeah. You're about twice her size, and since she's an avian race, she's kinda built to be lighter." Taking the lead, she says, "We're heading dean near due northwest, so I guess we lucked out by resting so the setting sun isn't gonna be in our faces all day. It's pretty far, though, we're looking at two to three hours of walking."

Cai wants to react to Zarik's comment about weight, but can't since he justified himself. She just huffs instead.

Zissou shakes his head and puts his paw on his mentee's shoulder. "We are very thankful you are up and able to walk among us with p[ride, for what it is worth, my dear. You know Zarik meant nothing by it."

"I know." Cai replies, "But he should know that commenting on a woman's size isn't usually good for a man's health."

"Three hours?" Neris chirps.

"I'm with her, Zar." Aren comments, "That doesn't seem right given all the longer you were gone yesterday."

"Well; considering our walking speed, the topography, and calculating for them deciding to turn hostile, I want to make sure we're prepared to take until at least late morning to get close." Zarik replies, "If we're lucky, we'll get there quickly. If I'm lucky, I won't get choked out by the nearly sixty pounds of down on my back."

Neris headbutts him for the comment.

"Or, she could just try to knock one of us out with percussive force." He says, "I don't want either, but I'm clearly not in control here."

ゼンガー・ゾンボルト
Posted on 11-28-19 09:53 PM Link | ID: 152929
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Bel: Seems like you got something stuck on your back there, Zarik. Bel says and laughs.

Bel: Let's just get going. I'd like the walking to be over with as soon as possible. It's really not my idea of fun. Plus, the sooner this is over with, the better.

____________________
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My youtube channel
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Trelior
Posted on 11-29-19 05:42 AM (rev. 2 of 11-29-19 06:54 AM by Trelior) Link | ID: 152932
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"Yeah, no kidding!" Zarik says to Bel, "I don't know where she got all this strength from, but she's got more of it than she did yesterday!"

"Oh I'm not that strong, and you know it!" Neris squawks defiantly, "You just don't want to risk hurting me!"

"A little of column A, a little of B." Zarik retorts, "Your strength is still unnatural for your frailty. A little bit - wait, no, a lot - of meat in one meal shouldn't have rebuilt your muscles that much."

"Perhaps it may be the key to how she's even still alive, Zarik." Zissou remarks.

"You're probably not wrong, old man." Zarik laughs. "Her disposition is as fiery as ever, though..."

"And noticeably not fearful of being in trouble anymore..." Aren adds, "I think your comment about manipulation was right on the money."

"Speaking of the whole thing with her sneaking over..." Zarik starts, "Why didn't she want to snuggle close to you, Cai? You're close enough to being me since you're a silver dragon too! She seems to have a thing for dragons."

"Male dragons, Zarik." Cai says, "You may have been onto something when you implied she wanted a different cuddling."

"May have?" Zarik blurts, "She's been pretty damn overt about it from the moment I broke the chain in that damn cell!"

"Let's not forget that she was trying to get at me when Zarik was out of reach dealing with Zerilisk!" Aren chips in.

Each point being made makes Neris' face turn a deeper shade of red, her body heat also increases ever so slightly.

Zarik is the first to notice, for obvious reasons, and remarks, "Have we sussed your secret?"

Neris buries her face in his shirt and lets out a muffled, "Shut up!"

"Yup!" Zarik laughs.

The hike passes effortlessly as the group breaks into songs and verbal games to pass the time. Suddenly, the forested canyon gives way to a large dark area under a large overhang. It is pitch black underneath except for a wreath of flaming braziers on the perimeter of the bowl.

Zarik stops his singing and brisk hiking suddenly enough to send the inattentive and relaxed Neris shooting forward. Her harmonizing with his singing is abruptly interrupted by her slamming her head into the back of his with a distinct thud.

He quickly lets go of her right leg and cups his hand over her mouth before she can start verbalizing her crying. He shushes her and says, "I'm sorry, but we got here way faster than I thought we would, and the sudden stop surprised me too!"

As Zarik situates his hand to hold her leg again, she wipes her face on his shoulder to dry the tears. "It still would have been nice to get a warning! your head is hard!"

"And so is the beak you call a nose!" Zarik quips back.

"Enough bickering, you two!" Cai interrupts, "Are you sure this is where we need to go?"

"I mean, I'm no expert," Zarik snarks, "But this seems to fit the description of a Dais of Fire. Wouldn't you say?"

"Fair enough." Caionna concedes, "What are we waiting for? Let's go!"

"That seems unwise." Zissou states with a paw on her shoulder again, "I feel that it may be in our best interest to rest for a short while before we rush headlong into our final conflict upon this mount."

"Yeah, I think we should get something on our stomachs..." Aren adds, preparing to cast another Create Food and Water spell, "At least take the load off for a bit!"

As he finishes talking, a picnic area appears in a nearby flat area with a spread similar to the makeshift feast of the evening prior.

Zarik wastes no time in kneeling down and dropping Neris' legs and waiting for her to let go of his neck before he walks over and starts digging in. Between bites, he says, "And this time, I plan on actually eating my fill!" As he climbs up onto a high rock that Neris can't reach him.

"How am I supposed to eat if you won't feed me, you jerk!?" Neris whines.

"You stuffed your face well enough on your own last time!" Zarik exclaims.

"Come here and I'll help you." Cai says, Sitting on the blanket, to which Neris bolts over and cranes her head back with an open mouth.

"What a little brat you are..." Aren grunts as he gets a plateful of food. "What are we going to do with you?"

"Love me?" Neris chirps playfully.

"If only it was our love you yearned for, little one." Zissou muses, shooting an accusatory glance at Zarik.

"WHAT?!" Zarik shouts, accidentally spewing out chunks of venison.

"Precisely." Zissou laughs.

ゼンガー・ゾンボルト
Posted on 11-30-19 06:26 PM Link | ID: 152936
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Bel: If you don't watch it, she'll be stronger than you when this is all over with. Bel says in a teasing tone to Zarik. He stops when they reach the dark overhang area and looks around for a bit.

Bel: Well...this looks like a cozy little spot, doesn't it? And I think you need to chill a bit, Cai. Bel replies to Caionna as she wants to rush in immediately.

Bel: Since you got your powers back you seem to be even more reckless than I am at times. Who knows if they're prepared a trap down here. Or made the area unstable somehow.

He walks over to the picnic area and grabs a portion of food, not quite as large as the one during breakfast. Then he finds his way to a flat enough rock closeby and sits down to eat. Hearing Zarik's reaction to Zissous comment, he turns to address Zarik.

Bel: I thought you were going to eat your fill, not sprinkle it on the ground. The wizard says and laughs.

____________________
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Trelior
Posted on 12-01-19 03:08 AM Link | ID: 152948
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Aren's eyes bug out a little bit when Bel tells Cai to calm down, "Not a good idea to have said that. Never tell an angry woman to calm down..."

Cai cuts Aren off and adds, "Well, when you've been used as a battery against your knowledge... When you're in spitting distance of the ones responsible, it's kinda hard to not want to rush in and rearrange faces!" she speaks between bites of meat and feeding Neris. "When you're as pissed off as I am, reck and tact kinda fall by the wayside."

"It would be wise to demand parley in the open air." Zissou interjects, "If an audience is as valuable to them as they say, they will recognize the concern and acquiesce."

"Laugh it up, jerk!" Zarik retorts, "At least I'm actually able to eat!" Turning to Zissou, he says, "I told Mister Viridescence about that concern, and he ignored me. Don't suppose that bitch face doesn't want to be out in the sunlight due to vampirism or something stupid like that!"

"Well, Zerilisk, showed signs of vampirism." Cai adds, "Despite the healing she got from Aren, Neris still has bite scars on her body at locations of major blood flow centers. You taunted it, yourself. And let's not forget the artificial night he wanted to put in place for your battle."

"Well then." Zarik concludes, "Gonna need another Sending from one of you guys to deliver our demands straight to the source. I'm not going under that overhang without proper guarantee we're not gonna stumble into a trap."

"The message would be better sent with the voice of either of you." Zissou replies, "Come hither and dictate your message. No more than twenty five words."

Zarik gets down from his rocky perch and walks to Zissou, whom has already gotten the spell components ready. Clearing his throat, he says in a stern voice, "We are here. We do not trust you. Come outside and speak or we do not speak at all. This is not negotiable."

"That is twenty three." Zissou notes.

"Fuck you!" Zarik shouts, "Perfect!"

ゼンガー・ゾンボルト
Posted on 12-01-19 03:32 AM Link | ID: 152949
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Bel: Shut up, you. At least I have the guts to do it. Bel whispers to Aren before turning to Caionna to address her response.

Bel: I understand, Cai. Trust me. But it won't hurt being at least a little bit careful. We're doing this together, remember? If even one of us walks into some sort of trap it'll be a disadvantage for the rest.

The wizard sits down to wait for an eventual response to the "phone call".

Bel: That's 26 words, Zar. If you count the very last one.

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"Believe me, Bel." Cai replies, "It's taking every fiber of my being to not bound into there with complete abandon."

Neris headbutts Cai's breasts with the back of her head and grunts then opens her mouth, expecting to be fed more.

Cai responds in turn with a cross expression and a moderately powerful slap to the harpy's face. "You do not do that! I don't even have anything left of what we had near us! Even if I did, you can speak and it's impolite to not use your words!"

Neris puts a clubbed hand up to the cheek that got slapped and fights back another crying fit with a whiny, "Yes, ma'am..."

Aren, Zarik, and Zissou turn at the sound of Cai's palm slapping across Neris' face. An expression of mild shock upon their faces.

"Wow... Cai just went full Mama Bear on Neris." Aren murmurs.

"Damn straight I did!" Cai says, her face still tensed and angry, glaring Neris down. "We're going to have to teach you manners yet, little girl!"

Neris avoids eye contact with everyone while she stammers, "I'm s-sorry.. Please don't hurt me!"

"We're not going to hurt you, kid." Zarik states in a sympathetic, yet stern tone. "Cai just isn't going to be as patient about your shenanigans as we are. Especially given how she tends to react to that kind of physical contact. Be glad she pulled the hit, or you would be bawling... if you were still conscious."

"Eep!" Neris chirps, "I'm sorry..."

'Zarik's right, if you weren't already frail and weak... Or if you were any of these men... it would have been far worse." Cai growls with a glower.

Suddenly, the party hears a booming voice of a female dragon responding to Zarik's message, "However inappropriate that message was, we will accept your terms. We will meet on the summit above the dais after dusk. Be punctual, petulant child!"

"You heard the cunt." Zarik says, "We have a few hours until sundown, and I'm not going to bake in the sun all day. Let's stay down here in the shade of the trees before making our way up there."

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Bel: Then it's good that you have us to hold you back in case you wouldn't be able to. Bel says and turns his head in the direction of the others for just a moment, awaiting a response.

He raises an eyebrow at the sound of the slap as he turns back to Caionna. (Wasn't that a bit harsh, Cai? She doesn't know better.)


Bel: Actually, I'm kinda curious as to how far that physical prowess of yours goes, Cai. Don't worry, though. I'll not be mimicking Neris.

He listens closely to the returning message.

Bel: Hah. Inappropriate, she said. Which part?

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"I don't know," Zarik laughs, "My whole message seemed pretty on point for the moment."

Cai eyes Bel suspiciously, as if she somewhat misunderstood what he means.

Zissou picks up on her suspicion and says, "He means in terms of pugilism."

Narrowing her eyes, she says, "I certainly hope so."

Aren shrugs and says, "I really don't think we'd be able to stop her if she was truly determined to go in, guns blazing."

While everyone is chattering, Neris sits with her head down. She having scooted a few inches away from Cai, hugs her knees to her chest.

Zarik sits down beside her and sits quietly, watching her.

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Bel: Don't worry, Cai. I was just messing around a bit. But I am curious as to where your upper limit is.

Bel walks over to the edge of the treeline and sits down, resting his back against one.

Bel: So. Our target wants to meet at the top of this overhang after sundown. Why does it matter where we meet then? It'll still be dark.

Awaiting a response, he ponders the sense of darkness within him that's been growing the closer they've gotten to their destination.

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Time passes by agonizingly, but eventually, the sun begins to set.

Zarik stands and scoops Neris, despite her day-long pouting, and slings her onto his back like he had that morning.Stomping his foot, he yells, "Up and at 'em! Let's go!"

Cai finally breaks her silence, and says, "I think I'm comparable in strength to Zarik if I apply my full might."

Zarik laughs and says, "You may be comparable to me in this form, but you're unlikely to hold a candle to my true form."

"Fine, whatever." Cai audibly rolls her eyes, "At least admit that's strong for a woman."

"I never said you weren't." He slyly retorts.

Aren and Zissou get up and begin following quietly, having nothing to add to the conversation.

More time passes as they reach the meeting spot, well past nightfall.

There is no one else around, which angers the siblings.

Zarik calls out, "Hey! We're here! Where the fuck are you?"

"Yeah! Did you get scared by the fact that this is your final night alive?" Cai shouts immediately after.

No response.

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Bel: You two can compare muscles when we're back in Bruon. Just make sure you don't wreck Roff's house. Or more likely, the whole town. Bel says as they walk towards the summit.

Arriving, he looks around but all he sees is a large, empty area. (Hmph. Big surprise there. Either they're not here, or concealed somehow.) He thinks to himself, impatiently tapping his right foot.


Bel: Come out, come out, wherever you are! I could use the challenge, you know. Or did Aeshalt learn a bit of Cowardice 101 from Zerilisk!? Perhaps that high-and-mighty attitude is just show after all.

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"Why must you be so insufferable?" a roar lets out as the behemoth of a red dragoness makes a hard landing on the platform before the party."I only wished to have a civil discussion with you, and yet you are so insistent on being combative this whole time!"

"For starters," Zarik says, "We're not stupid, we know what you're capable of. Shame on you for fooling us once, we're not about to let it get to 'shame on us for fooling us twice.'"

"Get to the point!" Cai shouts, "Zarik's right! We're not going to accept your overly sweet pseudo-platitudes! You may have conned me with your promise of a world of my own, but I assure you that I will not be entertaining any such attempts to win my good graces again!"

"Whatever do you mean, my daughter?" Aesalth says with an obvious attempt at hypnotism to her words.

Caionna throws her arm out and the aura kicks up again, suddenly, and it flares up as she shouts, "Shut the fuck UP!" the air goes deathly cold on the final word as she continues, "I just said I wasn't falling for your asinine attempts to prey on my innocence and naivete. In case you aren't aware of it, but the past several days of my life have essentially depraved me of what little innocence I had left, and it shattered much of my faith in everyone around me! Given what you allowed Zerilisk and his dreck to do to me after you realized that we were starting to wise up to your bullshit! I couldn't possibly PRETEND to act like I trust you any farther than I could throw your overgrown ass! And how DARE you call me your daughter after all of that?"

Before the dragon could retort, Zarik chimes in, "How could you call yourself the mother of either of us!? You were nothing more than an egg donor to our existence! An existence that is likely to be nothing more than centuries of ennui as we watch our mortal friends grow old and die countless times as we meet and grow attached to new ones, because we're cursed with the immortality of dragon birth. Couple that with the fact that we're cursed with half-blood genetics, which precludes us from having children of our own! No. That wasn't good enough for you! You had to try to use us to fuel your desire to ascend to godhood by stealing Caionna's power and relying on my unwritten fealty to her to make sure nothing would interfere with your plan!"

Aesalth growls, clearly daunted by the failure to woo the siblings again, "Then allow me to welcome you back into the fold as the nobility you deserve!"

"You mean the nobility we were stripped of when you abandoned us in Bruon? The nobility that you tried to deny,even as you tried to kill us decades ago?" Zarik lashes back.

"No." Caionna shouts, "She tried to kill you using me to do it, but didn't foresee you surviving. So she further abandoned us both!" Her anger continuing to rise.

"Then what do you want from me?" Aesalth roars.

"Isn't it obvious?" The siblings shout in unison, "Your death!"

Zarik unceremoniously drops Neris, and points to Aren to command them both. Neris' retreat, and Aren's relinquish of his weapon. Both wordlessly acknowledge him, Neris hurries to Zissou and hides behind him as Aren tosses the bow. Nocking an arrow, he begins to aim it at Aesalth.

The dragon scoffs, and says, "And just what do you intend to do with a pitiful toy like that, Zarikonis?"

"Don't fucking call me that!" Zarik shouts, "And this is a little thing called diversion!"

"You mean like this?" Aesalth says calmly, as Neris is suddenly overcome by the dragon's charms and tries to rush Zarik.

Taking a sharp breath, he says quietly, "I know I said I wouldn't do it, but forgive me, kid." As he winds up his left leg and gives her a stiff donkey kick to the chest, sending her sprawling backward.

Neris hits the ground hard and rolls roughly back in Zissou's direction with a series of less than healthy sounds being made in the contact of the girl's body and the ground.

"What in the bowels of the hells was that, Zarik!" Zissou exclaims angrily.

"A desperate measure!" Zarik snarls, "Look! I'm not happy about it either! She was charmed and rushing me! The bitch seems to be under the impression that Neris had me under a charm as well, and that I would pull a punch to let the kid dry hump my leg! Stabilize her and do what you can to keep her alive! I know I hurt her pretty bad with that!"

Zissou nods and scoops the battered girl into his arms. Aren reacts just as quickly and gets to work on healing the fresh wounds.

Aesalth growls, and says, "You may have sussed that out, but she still distracted you enough to allow this!" She takes a deep breath and begins to launch an assault of fiery breath at Zarik.

Cai is too busy channeling her anger and charging a spell to react to help Zarik.
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