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Evening 9th Alturiak - Jaya, Darya & "Friend Carlos"

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Evening 9th Alturiak - Jaya, Darya & "Friend Carlos"

Post  WoTmaster on Thu Feb 18, 2010 6:08 pm

What an unfortunate day. As Jaya prepared for sleep she thought back over the events of the last few hours. She had killed again, albeit by accident, and felt truly retched about it. Then when the group had come into town and went to talk to that carpenter, and then that poor lad whose girlfriend was kidnapped!

As she thought about each event again a few things didn't make much sense to her. The carpenter said there was a temple nearby but that it might be dangerous to go there? And she thought that Lady Darya was a holy warrior... so why would a temple be dangerous to her? They didn't have temples back home, those that were called to serve as Priests for the goddess just worked from their home, and worship feast were held in various family dwellings, but she was pretty sure that temples were places for priests to gather and for followers to worship. Maybe Lady Darya knows, Jaya thought.

"Miss Lady Darya?" Jaya asked quietly, "I am confused about some things and wondered if I could ask you about them."

Jaya moved over toward the paladin and continued. "Why do humans need temples? And, why would that carpenter say that it would be dangerous to go to the temple here?"
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Lady Darya

Post  Wynnsaren on Thu Feb 18, 2010 9:37 pm

Steel grey eyes shifted from the tattooed man sitting on a folded blanket in the corner of the room, and dropped once again to her work, scrubbing the last of the blood from the groves etched into the bronze shield. While her hands were busy maintaining her weapons, her mind was busy trying to decipher the mystery that was 'Friend Carlos.' A poor name for the fellow, but even a poor name is better than none at all. Whatever malevolent being had enslaved him, and probably many others, should be brought to swift and deadly justice. Preferably at the end of her morningstar. She was no fool though. Lady Darya had heard the tales of Thay and their 'Red Wizards' who brandished their magic as if the entire Weave were created only for their nefarious purposes! They were a powerful and evil lot, and though there may be little she could do against them now, she would see to it that the news of what had happened to Friend Carlos would travel back to the Tower of the Golden Dawn. Perhaps they would have more information.

"Miss Lady Darya? I am confused about some things and wondered if I could ask you about them."

The paladin was startled from her sober thoughts as Jaya approached her with questions. The halfling was also something of an enigma to her, as were most of her new companions to be honest. Not enough time had yet passed to properly know a person, and some seemed to be more wary of revealing themselves than others.

Jayashree had secrets. There was a sadness and perhaps even a touch of shame in her eyes at times. One of the first things the halfling had told her had been that she had run away from her family, and then that she wanted to make amends for something she had done. It was a wise and humble spirit that could admit, then seek to make right the wrongs of one's past. Lady Darya was already impressed with Jaya's heart.

"Why do humans need temples? And, why would that carpenter say that it would be dangerous to go to the temple here?"

Darya's stoic facade softened as a gentle smile pulled at the corner of her lips.

"I would hope that you'd feel free to question me about anything, my friend, I will keep no secrets from you. As you know I do very much enjoy your company!"

She lifted the gleaming shield from her lap and set it against the wall before continuing.

"I believe from his statements about the sermon length, Lord Geryld the paladin-carpenter, takes issue only with the head priest of the temple, and not the temple itself. The Just God is a staunch ally of Lathander, and I assure you we would be in no danger by visiting there! Though the patron deities of two men may be allies, that does not necessarily mean that the men themselves see eye to eye. We are all but mortals, are we not?"

The woman sighed slightly at her rhetorical question and shook her head at the thought. She hoped it would not be true that a holy paladin of Lathander would stoop to bickering against an ally of Justice, but such things were not unheard of.

"However, perhaps if we are to return here after we retrieve the captured Jenelith, I may indeed visit this temple and see for myself what the fuss is about. If there is a vile threat looming in the area, than all forces of good should be of one mind and heart! We cannot afford to be divided at such a time."

"Ah! I'm sorry my dear, but I've not yet answered your second question! Since you ask why humans need temples, I can only infer that halflings normally do not use them. I believe that we all need temples in a sense. A temple is really nothing more than a place where one can focus intimately upon one's deity. Perhaps halflings do not need a separate building to have such communion with divinity. Druids find that connection within nature I have been told, and that too is a temple. There are few temples so grand as a grove of ancient trees after all!"

"For most of us...humans I mean, I think we need a place to separate ourselves from our daily life in order to see that which is greater than ourselves. As we mature in our chosen faith, then we find that such places are not a necessity to us, but a sanctuary where we might pause for a few moments in peaceful reflection before we venture out into the world once more."

The Lady's eyes sparkled as she thought of the adventure that lay ahead of them.

"True service to our deities does not lie within a temple, but within each step we take outside of it."

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Jayashree Anjuli

Post  WoTmaster on Thu Feb 18, 2010 10:07 pm

Jaya listened intently to all that Lady Darya had to say on the topic of temples and the local temple. She could understand that sometimes it was necessary to have a place away from everything to think, and supposed the same would be true for prayer.

"You are correct in your thoughts that we Halflings don't have such buildings. Our priests welcome people into their own homes and travel to where they are needed much of the time. Once a week there is a worship feast that is held in someone's home, it varies whose from week to week. But not all Halflings observe these customs, some families are more devout than others..." Jaya's face grew distant for a moment, then she seemed to remember where she was.

"Of course we only worship one goddess, Rhianwen. I never really understood why other races need more than one god!"

Jaya thought about her family. Yes, some families just weren't devout at all. Oh, she knew all about Rhianwen and all the stories about Idwallon, Meraketh and Brychan. Yes her family definitely took after the mythical Brychan and followed his ways, not the ways of Rhianwen. She can't even remember the last time she went to a Morningfeast or Yearlyfeast.

Jaya knew she had much to make up for.
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"Friend Carlos"

Post  The Sub-Creator on Fri Feb 19, 2010 12:40 am

The slave knelt upon the blanket's thick folds, the tops of his feet flat across the ground with toes pointed straight back so as to allow him even distribution of weight from knees to toes. Permitting his center of balance to shift even slightly would place entirely too much pressure upon any one point, causing significant pain within a relatively short span of time. Pain meant the possibility of shifting to alleviate it, which led to the possibility of noise, which, in turn, heralded the certainty of punishment. He recognized the one, Lady Darya, repeatedly spying his positioning and posture, no doubt waiting for him to rock a bit or sag his shoulders so that she might pounce upon him with that great bronze shield. Perhaps she misunderstood the thoroughness of The Breaking, or, perhaps, she simply reveled in the anticipation of correction; either way, she would eventually realize his steadiness of manner and fluidity of movement, and so punish him accordingly to her pleasure.

The whispered voice of Master suddenly acknowledged Lady Darya, and Master swiftly maneuvered closer to the woman. Despite listening keenly for Master's footfalls, he had heard not a one---a failure that caught him completely off guard. The muscles throughout his body tensed as he readied himself to quickly come to Master's side if beckoned, and, even with eyes averted so as not to make contact, he scrutinized every move the Lady Darya made while within such intimate proximity to Master. In addition, he subtly watched the slight space beneath the door for any sign of shadows crossing through the wisps of dim lantern light without, and strained to hear any creaking of wooden floor boards or scratchings of one who might be climbing along the walls or ceiling outside. All these things he remained alert for as Master and the Lady Darya talked about gods and goddesses he knew nothing about, and owned no right to care even if he did.


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Jace Arclight

Post  Magyc on Fri Feb 19, 2010 9:54 am

No one had yet criticized his decision. And if they had, he had more than ample intellectual rationale to justify throwing up the fog. After all, they were under archer fire, and obscuring the vision of their assailants would give Lady Darya and the rest of his new allies a chance to charge the woods without being fired upon. How could he have known that danger also lurked much closer? He still burned with embarassment after seeing the stout dwarf badly wounded after having to confront the three bandits alone in the mist for a time (although looking now, perhaps the wounds were not that bad after all, thankfully). But the tactical situation was not foremost on his mind when he cast that spell...his impulse was to hide. And when he heard the ambushers coming after him, he ran...thankfully, the mist kept that a secret from everyone.

This had been his first brush with combat, ever, and his instinctive reaction was to hide and run. Never before had he heard someone call for his blood, and it both unnerved him and sharpened his resolve to be more careful and alert. His first action in accordance with this new resolve was to follow up on something he had overheard when they had delivered the bandits to the local "authority". Apparently they were all local but one...it might be useful to know where he came from. We were carrying something of value to a powerful wizard after all, and he had been less than convinced when his employer assured them that interest in their cargo would be nonexistent. And the bandits chose to attack an obviously well-armed group (with a mage who they seemed to fear, he realized ironically) who outnumbered them. Luckily, they had taken one of the bandits alive. He wondered if it would be a breach of protocol to question Lady Darya's contact without her present...yet he did not want to seem paranoid either...


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Lady Darya

Post  Wynnsaren on Fri Feb 19, 2010 1:59 pm

"Of course we only worship one goddess, Rhianwen. I never really understood why other races need more than one god!"

The Lady smiled and and brushed a few errant strands of hair from her face as she considered Jayashree's words.

"I have no course but to admit my ignorance of your Rhianwen... I think I would very much like for you to tell me of her sometime. With Lurien as close as it is, it may be helpful during my travels to understand more about my halfling friends!"

"It is true that there are many deities among the human pantheon, but most of us choose only one deity to be their patron, though we acknowledge the power that the others have within their spheres of influence."

The paladin bent over and hefted her morningstar into her hands before picking up the polishing cloth and getting to work cleaning the weapon. She so hated her hands to be idle for long. The time she spent keeping the tools of her trade in pristine condition, was also time to focus her mind on solving any puzzles that might lay before them.

Her eyes shifted again to the man in the corner of the small room that the three of them shared. She was fairly certain that he hadn't moved, and mostly certain that he was still breathing. Friend Carlos looked for all the world like a fleshy statue, but his eyes held a keen awareness of his surroundings that intrigued the young woman. This man should be no one's slave... Were the tattoos on his body a means of controlling him? Could his wizard master use him as a weapon at a whim? Lady Darya intended to keep an eye on him. Not that she didn't trust the man himself. In actuality, there was little of the man himself left, if anything, but instead he was what his master had conditioned him to be. A puppet. The thought of it made her blood boil in righteous indignation.

Jayashree had impressed the paladin in that regard as well. Though the man now referred to her as 'master', instead of using him for her own purposes as some might, she treated him as a friend. As an equal. He received his share of the treasure as the rest of them had. The paladin was glad to see it, and glad that Friend Carlos' loyalties had fallen to her for the time being. She would watch over him of course, to be sure no one would try to take advantage of the man, but it seemed he was in good hands for now, until something could be found to break the chains of evil magic that held him in thrall.

Jaya's line of questioning began to raise questions of its own. Was she hedging around the real inquiry she wanted to make?

"Is your interest in human temples merely a passing interest, or are you curious for a specific reason?" Darya lifted her face to look intently into the halfling's large, blue eyes. "If there is ever something you'd like to share with me, I should hope that you'd feel comfortable to do so."

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Jayashree Anjuli

Post  WoTmaster on Fri Feb 19, 2010 10:36 pm

Jaya listened to Lady Darya carefully. It seems she was right, this woman was knowledgeable about gods and therefore might be able to answer her question -- help her figure out her course of action.

She saw the paladin's gaze move to observe the poor man kneeling on the floor. Jaya could understand the cruelty that had made him this way. Why he chose her to be his new master, that she couldn't fathom. But, she would do the best she could in her new role until she could find a way to free him from whatever curse or spell he was under.

"Is your interest in human temples merely a passing interest, or are you curious for a specific reason?" Darya lifted her face to look intently into the halfling's large, blue eyes. "If there is ever something you'd like to share with me, I should hope that you'd feel comfortable to do so."

Jaya's eyes left "Friend Carlos'" form and looked back at Lady Darya. "Well..." she started. "I have two concerns. The first is for our poor friend here and how best to help him. The suggestion of taking him to the Mayor would be a sound one in Luiren because many times our Mayors are priests. But among humans that doesn't seem to be the case as you have separate places for your priests. I think perhaps asking the mage we are delivering the chest to would be a good idea, but I'm not very experienced with these things."

Jaya thought some more and chose her words carefully. "The second concern is more personal and in truth a bit selfish." She blushed as she spoke the words quietly. "I'm not sure how to go about making amends for the wrong I've done. And to compound it, today I was responsible for taking a man's life. How could I ever make up for that?" Jaya's face was solemn and serious as she looked toward the floor, then after a moment lit up and she looked up again.

"Oh, and I would definitely enjoy telling you all about Rhianwen and all the stories about her... some time when we don't have such pressing matters... perhaps after we deliver the box and find the missing girl and have freed "Friend Carlos". Jaya smiled at the thought. Yes, she liked this paladin, Lady Darya, she was a good person to know.
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Lady Darya

Post  Wynnsaren on Sat Feb 20, 2010 3:19 pm

The paladin furrowed her brow in thought as her hands worked diligently, polishing the sharp spikes on the weapon. She was sorry that her little friend was carrying such great burdens, and hoped that she could say something to help alleviate them.

"Addressing your second concern first," she began slowly, "it is a noble heart that feels pain when forced to take a life. To know the value of such a precious gift seems to be a rare thing. However, the man attacked you and you had to defend yourself or lose your own life! He was armed and seeking your death, so in my opinion, no formal atonement needs to be made for the actions you took. Still, if you feel the guilt of his blood, you should pray to Rhianwen for guidance. To show you a way to forgive yourself. I've heard many stories of adventure, and if such is the road we are now on, I fear that the deaths of those bandits will not be the last ones we shall cause. In times of great evil though, we must seek to purge it where we can for the good of all peace-loving folk."

Lady Darya stood the morningstar against the wall next to her shield and took Jayashree's hand in both of hers. "I don't know what wrong you have committed that you feel so desperately the need to make amends for, but forgiveness should always be sought first from the party you have wronged. If that is impossible, than if it were me, I would go to my temple and speak with the High Morninglord and seek penance."

She paused for a moment and softened her voice before continuing. "Even then, even after all reparations possible have been made, it is our responsibility to pick ourselves up and set our lives back on the path of righteousness! If we allow ourselves to be mired in guilt all of our lives, than our light will diminish."

"As to your first concern, it is my hope as well that the mage we are going to see may have some insight into our friend's condition. I suspect that it was a wizard that had enslaved him and whose evil magic holds him yet, but I have no firm evidence of this. Perhaps Friend Carlos may be able to speak to that himself!"

The paladin patted Jaya's hand before releasing it and turning to address the fleshy statue in the corner.

"Friend Carlos, I apologize for the rude behavior I've exhibited by talking about you with our friend here, instead of directly to you!" She bowed her head to him. "Please, we'd like to know more about Preeminence. Was your former master a wizard? Was it he that placed those tattoos upon your flesh?"

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Jayashree Anjuli

Post  WoTmaster on Sat Feb 20, 2010 8:57 pm

Jaya felt relieved that the death of the bandit was justified in a way. She certainly hoped that the paladin was wrong about more deaths in their future. She recognized that his death at least had truly been an accident and in defense of her own life. But the other... that had been deliberate. Again she saw the eyes that haunted her so, beautiful brown eyes with a hint of golden, warm and kind eyes. She saw those eyes widen with shock and betrayal and the light slowly fading from them, no longer warm but cold in death.

"I don't know what wrong you have committed that you feel so desperately the need to make amends for, but forgiveness should always be sought first from the party you have wronged. If that is impossible, than if it were me, I would go to my temple and speak with the High Morninglord and seek penance."

Jaya knew that seeking to make amends to the one she wronged was truly impossible, he was dead and she the cause of his death. She could also not go to speak to her priest about it. She could not go home and risk punishment for leaving the family, or worse getting pulled back into that world.

"Even then, even after all reparations possible have been made, it is our responsibility to pick ourselves up and set our lives back on the path of righteousness! If we allow ourselves to be mired in guilt all of our lives, than our light will diminish."

She could do that, she could set herself on the path of righteousness. She would pray to Rhianwen and seek Her guidance.

"Friend Carlos, I apologize for the rude behavior I've exhibited by talking about you with our friend here, instead of directly to you!" She bowed her head to him. "Please, we'd like to know more about Preeminence. Was your former master a wizard? Was it he that placed those tattoos upon your flesh?"

Jaya looked toward the form of their friend, bowed in obeisance. She hoped she wouldn't have to command him to speak.
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"Friend Carlos"

Post  The Sub-Creator on Sun Feb 21, 2010 2:11 pm

Thus far, he sensed no apparent outside threats to the room, though that hardly meant he stopped anticipating them. Seeing as neither Master nor the Lady Darya struck out against him, the slave determined that nether had noted the brief tension from moments ago. It lingered in his mind, however, that the decision had been simply not to act upon the gross disturbance immediately, but to await the proper time when his guard was down. Preeminence adored bringing him up from his rest enthralled to the wracking pain of wind-lashed or fire-seared flesh, though he readily admitted a preference for these tortures as opposed to the anatomical contortions that lasted much longer periods of time.

In addition to keeping a sensitive ear to his surroundings, "Friend Carlos" also separated his attentions to the continuous conversation between Master and the Lady Darya. Though he understood nothing at all of the gods they spoke of, and had never known anything about this apparent thing known as a "Paladin," he realized it might well be demanded of him to somehow play off this information in the future. Therefore, his mind consumed it all, storing it for the possibility of recall.

"Friend Carlos, I apologize for the rude behavior I've exhibited by talking about you with our friend here, instead of directly to you!" She bowed her head to him."

Though the Lady Darya's voice maintained its strength borne through conviction, the traces of genuine softness that conveyed some measure of actual regret baffled a mind completely incapable of perceiving their honest intent when directed at him. None apologized to him--and then followed it with a gesture of humility? She toyed with him, obviously. Devious, that one, but he declined the invitation for punishment all the same. Still, he knew now to be incredibly wary around the Lady Darya, as her tactics felt genuine, and so were all the more dangerous.

Please, we'd like to know more about Preeminence. Was your former master a wizard? Was it he that placed those tattoos upon your flesh?"

"Preeminence is the Master of the Spoken Word," he replied quickly upon her allowance to speak, and absolute in his use of the present tense--daring to presume Preeminence dead, or otherwise incapacitated, was a heresy of the greatest sense, and would undoubtedly demand his destruction. Preeminence sees all things. "Preeminence blessed this useless shell as a tool to act at the whims of Preeminence. With a word, Preeminence commands me, and what Preeminence desires comes to pass."

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Lady Darya

Post  Wynnsaren on Mon Feb 22, 2010 12:55 am

"Preeminence is the Master of the Spoken Word. Preeminence blessed this useless shell as a tool to act at the whims of Preeminence. With a word, Preeminence commands me, and what Preeminence desires comes to pass."

The paladin half expected the man might need to be commanded to speak, but was very pleased that he responded to the questions. Still, anger lit in her eyes at his words.

"My friend, I will have to disagree with Preeminence in likely every regard, but this one in particular. No man is a worthless shell until he chooses to make himself exactly that! Did you choose to serve Preeminence, or did Preeminence choose you?"

Lady Darya looked the man over once again, and scolded herself for not having purchased him a suitable set of clothing for travelling. She would rectify that upon the morning.

"Did you have a life of your own before entering into service to Preeminence?"

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"Friend Carlos"

Post  The Sub-Creator on Mon Feb 22, 2010 2:28 am

"It pleases that my choices come by command," he answered the Lady Darya with humble sincerity. While the statement insinuated his eagerness to perform whatever was desired of him, he had carefully phrased it so as to omit any need for direct address to her, as the woman had shrewdly not provided him with a title by which to do so, nor leave. His eyes never strayed from their location on the floor at her feet.

To her second inquiry, he replied, "Into the beneficent graces of Preeminence was I brought into the world, and have served as the tool of merciful Preeminence as best my foul wretchedness allows--merciful, this one says, because Preeminence has surely suffered undeniable indignities entirely the fault of my ignorance, and, yet, Preeminence permits me continually to serve."

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Lady Darya

Post  Wynnsaren on Mon Feb 22, 2010 12:01 pm

"Into the beneficent graces of Preeminence was I brought into the world, and have served as the tool of merciful Preeminence as best my foul wretchedness allows--merciful, this one says, because Preeminence has surely suffered undeniable indignities entirely the fault of my ignorance, and, yet, Preeminence permits me continually to serve."

The Lady nodded almost imperceptibly as she listened. Not in agreement of course, but in that his answer had not come as a surprise. She lifted her eyes and her gaze fell once again upon the tattoo on his forehead.

"Sir, you say you were born into servitude to Preeminence, yet when we first met and I inquired about your tattoo, you said you received it about a year ago. Though I've not inspected them thouroughly, it seems you have three such markings correct? Did you receive them all at the same time? Did Preeminence mention what purpose they serve?"

Rising from her seat Darya moved slowly over to the kneeling man. She was terribly curious to see if the markings had been created with injected ink or staining of the skin, or by some unknown method.

"Might you would be so kind as to permit me a closer look at the mark you bear on your forehead?

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"Friend Carlos"

Post  The Sub-Creator on Mon Feb 22, 2010 7:43 pm

The Lady Darya's use of an honorific immediately had him on edge, fearing another had entered the room without his knowledge. Having never lost line of sight on the door, he knew none had come from obvious portals, but being in the presence of Preeminence had quickly taught him that others often appeared randomly without a hint of their coming. Interestingly, her speech pattern continued on with him as its primary focus, but the slave strained his periphery visual and hearing senses to detect any possible newcomers.

". . . it seems you have three such markings correct?"

"Correct," he swiftly replied.

"Did you receive them all at the same time? Did Preeminence mention what purpose they serve?"

He waited until she had finished both of these questions before answering. "The blessings were granted one immediately after the other. As to their purpose: Preeminence deemed them necessary for me to best serve. Mine is to accept, appreciate, and perform the will of Preeminence, never to question or determine reason."

"Might you be so kind as to permit me a closer look at the mark you bear on your forehead?"

"As it pleases," the slave capitulated, closing his eyes so as not to make contact with hers, and tilting his head back to permit the woman a good view of the mark.

From a distance, the mark appeared no different than the common brand favored by pirates and brigands, though fashioned with an exquisitely steady hand. Inspected dutifully from up close, however, the reality proved far more gruesome. The deep red ink that colored the mark suddenly became the glistening, swirling essences of blood, fire, and magic. The flesh bordering the mark folded inward and grafted to it, as if seared directly into the tattoo, assuring absolute unity between man and symbol.

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Lady Darya

Post  Wynnsaren on Mon Feb 22, 2010 8:56 pm

Examining him closely, the truth of the mark became apparent. To be in such near proximity to a magic worked as villainously as this had been, strongly affected the paladin and inhaling sharply through her teeth, she jerked away, the heel of her palm pressing hard against her head above her left eye.

"By the Holy Light of Lathander..." Darya gasped as she staggered back from the force of the pain, to sit on the edge of the bed. "I don't... I don't know what it is that this 'Preeminence' has done to you, but I assure you I have every intention of finding out who he is, and why he has done this!"

It took the Lady longer to recover from the shock of the sensation than she would have liked. She had sensed evil before of course, but nothing on this scale, and she had been completely unprepared. She considered that a failing.

When she could open both eyes again without wincing, the paladin turned to her halfling friend. "Jayashree, I don't know if such magic can be broken easily, but if it is within possibility to Dispel the seals upon him without killing him then I will do everything in my power to see that it is accomplished. First we need to get some idea of what the markings were intended to do!"

So many questions had yet to be asked, and she knew that she could occupy the man for the entire evening if she were to put to him all of her inquiries, but they had an important mission to attend to at Dawn, and Dawn as they say, waits for no one.

"Thank you, Friend Carlos for sating my curiosity for the moment. I will undoubtedly have more questions for you upon the morrow," she smiled warmly at the man. He may not have been able to see her smile, but warmth can be heard in the voice as well and Lady Darya hoped that through warmth of speech and kindness of action, the man may begin to feel some sense of self once again. Unless of course the magics surrounding him made that impossible...

"I should prepare to retire for the evening I believe, dear Jayashree, unless of course there is more you'd like to ask of me?"

The woman began pulling off pieces of her splint mail and lying them carefully on the chair next to one side of the bed, all while being very attentive to anything the halfling might wish to say.

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Jayashree Anjuli

Post  WoTmaster on Mon Feb 22, 2010 9:18 pm

"I have no more questions tonight, thank you. I should also get some sleep. I will do all I can to assist in freeing "Friend Carlos" from this servitude as well! Good night, Lady Darya. Good night "Friend Carlos"."

The halfling moved over toward her bed and arranged her leather armor that she had taken off earlier before this somewhat lengthy conversation. She hoped she hadn't kept the paladin awake too long. She didn't expect her questions would lead to so many more. Crawling under the covers and settling in for sleep... well Jaya hoped she would be able to sleep. She tried to clear her mind and wait for sleep to come.
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"Friend Carlos"

Post  The Sub-Creator on Tue Feb 23, 2010 5:28 pm

When the slave knew the Lady Darya had finished her examination and moved away, he lowered his head once again into a position of submission and opened his eyes to the floor. Outwardly, he remained stoic, but, inwardly, the sentiments of appreciation the Lady Darya felt necessary still confused him. As before, he believed the only feasible explanation for such kindnesses shown him was to catch him unprepared, to make him slip and acknowledge her in some unbefitting way, after which severe punishment would follow. Something about the woman brought doubt to mind about his reasoning, but the slave mistrusted that doubt, as well. Preeminence had been a true master of thought and word--perhaps the Lady Darya chose to hide these qualities from him for now, compounding his transgressions for a later time. Suddenly, he realized that, at this very moment, his own thoughts may be working against him. Her trickery had succeeded, and he berated himself for being such a simpleton in the face of double-edged words.

What's worse: his own thoughts had possessed him these last few moments, and he had missed the entire conversation between Master and the Lady Darya. If what was said proved imperative for future endeavors, and he lacked the relevant knowledge to perform adequately . . .

"Good night 'Friend Carlos'," Master commanded him, moving toward her bed. With practiced precision, the slave jumped up soundlessly to follow his Master, quickly taking his place upon the floor three paces away and beside the bed. He rested on his stomach, sure to keep his arms in close so as not to disturb Master if she left the bed in the middle of the night, and placed his head facing away. If Master happened to move or awaken in the night, he could tell through the vibrations in the floor, or any sound made; waking to see Master was strictly forbidden.

He stared at the far wall for a long time, clearing his thoughts entirely before finally dosing into yet another night of light, restless sleep.

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Re: Evening 9th Alturiak - Jaya, Darya & "Friend Carlos"

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