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Girl Talks

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Girl Talks

Post  Wynnsaren on Sun Mar 31, 2013 7:49 am

8th of Erastus, 4710

Water lapped soothingly at her bare toes, calming nerves frayed to rags by the day's events. It was well into evening now and Wynnsaren sat at the edge of Candlemere lake listening to the song of the stars while the four companions chatted around the fire a short distance off.

She was somewhat proud of herself for keeping it together while they were on the island, though the remnants of the vision still burned in her mind and set her at all kinds of unease. It was more than the vision, she knew. The unknown viewer that had shared the vision with her...was it friend or foe? Orchestrator or bystander? After sixty years of receiving these prophecies, a sudden change in pattern concerned Wynnsaren even more than the disturbing vision itself. Did someone or something want her to bring these four here? And for what...good or ill?

Dark thoughts weighed heavily.

Wynn gently scooped up a handful of water and splashed it over her face. Across the lake, witchlights flicked to blazing life only to be snuffed out a moment later. Sarala said the locals believe them to be the souls of those who had died there on the island, who now tried to warn others away from the danger. It wasn't a difficult stretch to imagine that to be true. Even now, every time she closed her eyes, she could hear the screams that were released when the crimson vessel was broken. Horrified, blood curdling, heart rending screams.

Even the air itself carried an ancient malevolence here, and by the way Zaistrun and Sarala's hands trembled slightly during their brief time on the island, the oracle knew she wasn't the only one to feel it. The malice of the island was not the only thing that had given Sarala pause, she noticed. Her encounter with the willowisp and resistance to its attack surprised the young girl and had driven her inward for a time. Wynnsaren had taken note of her reaction. Was it possible that Sarala was as unclear about her origins as the aasimar was of her own?

The woman stood, and turning her back on the screams and disturbing thoughts, walked shoeless over to the fire.

"Sarala, my dear..." The sigils on Wynn's face burned in cool brightness and stars danced above her brow as she rested her hand on the girl's shoulder. "May I speak with you a moment in private?"

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Sarala Medvyed

Post  Sarala on Sun Apr 07, 2013 11:38 pm

Sarala watched the witch lights dance and burn on the surface of the lake. She found them to be oddly comforting despite their morbid existence. It was a great relief after the constant nagging terror she had felt all afternoon to have the lake between her and the haunted castle. What with all the alien symbols and the evidence of torturous sacrifices Sarala really hoped they weren't getting into anything too far over their heads. It would be one thing if they had a clear idea of what they were fighting. Her brother could get by on the knowledge that he fought evil, as nebulous as that evil may be, and he would be content, but she needed more than that. Honestly, if it had not been for Wynnsaren's compelling vision and Thaddeus' drive to take care of the matter Sarala would have steered clear of the wretched place. As it was she could not wait to complete their mission so she could turn her back on the castle.

Shifting with unease Sarala's mind wandered to the new monsters they had slain over the course of the day. She knew without a doubt that some of them would be joining the cast of characters who brought nightmares to her once peaceful dreams. Even in the subconscious the body has a hard time forgetting the thing that did more psychological damage than physical pain when it touched a person. Thankfully the divine blessings of Saranrea and Wynnsaren's supernatural powers had knit her back together for the most part, even though the memory lingered.

Hearing someone's approaching footsteps brought the sylph out of her reverie. She looked up to find Wynnsaren standing beside her.

"Sarala, my dear..." The oracle touched her on the shoulder as she spoke. "May I speak with you a moment in private?"

"Certainly," Sarala glanced over the fire at her brother as she replied the oracle. Thad seemed to be caught up in another one of Zaistrun's dissertations on Important Things. She could tell he really wasn't overly interested in the subject matter. Catching his attention she quickly made a sign that she and Wynnsaren would be little ways off and not to worry.

"I don't mind having a little chat," Sarala stood to join Wynnsaren, "as long as we don't talk about the 'delicate structure of the peasant psyche in relation to the exponential grow of a kingdom.'" A little grin tugged at the corner of her mouth as she drawled out the last phrase in an affectatious monotone.
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Post  Wynnsaren on Mon Apr 08, 2013 12:25 am

"He's a good man," she chuckled at Sarala's dead-on impression as they walked. "Zaistrun just sees things from a...less conventional perspective, but it is that perspective that will help him to be an excellent adviser for your brother. It is to the king's credit that he listens to that advice, even if he doesn't always agree."

The oracle led her away from the firelight and out of range of hearing from their companions before sitting down and patting a patch of soft grass beside her, motioning for the young woman to sit.

"Our upbringings make up so much of who we become as adults, do they not? Zaistrun has wrestled with adversity from a young age and it has shaped who he is and how he perceives the world. As it does likewise for all of us. You see, I've found that knowing a person's history...where they come from and what their blood heritage is, will often help me to understand them.

"It is the same for our comprehension of ourselves." Wynn turned her silver eyes directly upon the lady as she sat down. "Until I discovered what I am and what blood runs through my veins, I could not understand my own desires and abilities and why I am drawn so longingly to a heaven that I can only hear."

Taking Sarala's hand in her own, she could feel a subtle breeze swirling about the woman.

"You and I have many things in common, my lady. I have seen the conflict and the confusion on your face when confronted with an ability you do not understand. I've seen you do things that are not possible by human standards without the assistance of magic. You know you are different but you do not know in what way."

Wynnsaren's eyes flashed brightly as she slowly and deliberately traced an invisible line along Sarala's palm. The path the knife took when she and Thaddeus made their pact.

"It is true that you are the king's sister," the oracle intoned, "but the blood you share is by choice and not by birth, though no less a bond."

Wynn gave her a moment to process those thoughts before striking at the heart of what she'd taken her out here to say.

"If you wish it, Sarala, if you are ready, I can give answer to that question that has troubled you for so many years."

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Post  Sarala on Wed Apr 10, 2013 10:20 pm

"Wait.... You... what?" Sarala gingerly slipped her hand out of Wynnsaren's and returned it to her lap. She had thought that the oracle's references to their childhoods was just an interesting conversation starter. But then she had delved deeper into matters very personal to Sarala, things no other living person but her brother knew about. Suddenly she felt very uncomfortable, cornered unexpectedly and she didn't know what to do. She was flustered and was finding it difficult to remain composed.

"How...? Did Thad...?" Sarala fidgeted with her hair as she searched for the words. Sucking in her breath through gritted teeth she turned her full attention on Wynnsaren. With blue eyes searching the oracle's face she asked calmly, "What has my brother told you?"
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Post  Wynnsaren on Wed Apr 10, 2013 10:26 pm

Sadness tugged briefly at Wynn's countenance. Her intention had not been to panic the girl, but yet again she'd overstepped her bounds. Revealing secrets one should not know was never easy and the aasimar honestly wondered if this would cost her these new found friends. There was a reason she'd been alone for so very long.

"Sarala," she patted the air calmly before folding her hands non-threateningly in her lap, "you know far better than I that your brother would never betray your confidence. He has told me nothing of your past, nor have I asked."

A slight sigh escaped her lips and she turned her face toward the moon a moment to collect her thoughts.

"My first vision of the four of you gave me the impression that you were all...unattached by familial bonds. Four separate people whose connection to the land solidified into a connection with each other. When I visited Oleg's to inquire about your names, I was surprised to learn that you two were siblings, but my visions are often open to some interpretation so I thought that I must have been mistaken. Meeting the two of you in person though... Then simply observing your abilities..." Wynnsaren finished the thought with a shake of her head.

"I do not know how you came to be siblings, and I understand that you do not know nor trust me enough to share with me that personal information. I do however understand what it is to not know something so simple as what you are, and I do know how much and how far I would have gone half a century ago to figure that out! I've read countless volumes trying to answer that question about myself and in reading them I've learned much about what I am not.

"I wish to spare you that search, Sarala, that is all." Another sigh and the oracle fell gently backwards, her blue-black hair splaying out and disappearing into the dark grass beneath her. "What I've come to know is for your ears alone but if you do not wish to hear it, than you never will and neither will anyone else. It is your secret, my dear. It is not mine to tell."

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Post  Sarala on Thu Apr 11, 2013 7:53 pm

So it was a supernatural understanding, at least initially anyway. Sarala felt a tinge of embarrassment when she realized that she should have known better. Thaddeus wouldn't have told anything because Wynnsaren didn't need to ask. This was, after all, the same woman who found out about them through a vision. She needed to remember that the oracle's information almost always came from a different source, one she had never dealt with before knowing Wynnsaren. This perspective brought ease to the sylph's panicked mind. Sarala sighed deeply as she repositioned herself closer to Wynnsaren.

"No, you're fine," she started with eyes raised to the sparkling heavens, "I just, well... you just... you caught me off guard.

"This, who I am... what I am, it's not something that is talked about."

Sarala paused as she tried to reconcile the warring thoughts within her head. One part of her wanted to skirt the subject of her origin all together, feeling that it was much to personal to share with one she still barely knew. Another part of her reasoned that she hadn't been doing a great job hiding her secret in the first place so what did it really matter. Underneath it all was a nagging curiosity to know exactly why she was different from the human family she was raised with. This curiosity became bolder and more insistent the more she dwelt on it, threatening to break down the walls she had so carefully built up around her precious secret. Maybe, she thought, she could afford to give her curiosity a foothold, just this once.

"Wynnsaren, the story of my childhood, how I came to be a Medvyed is long and complicated, and partially, still a bit of a mystery." Sarala slowly lowered herself to the ground next to the oracle. "I was raised under the assumption that I was human but that assumption was quickly questioned when the differences became apparent. And even though I know that I'm not human I have found it easier to let society continue to assume that I am.

"I don't intentionally draw attention to the things that point to my heritage which is why your, um, revelation startled me so much." The sylph gave a wry smile. "I should have expected you to put the pieces together sooner or later. I'm sorry, I just haven't quite gotten used to your whole vision thing."

Sarala sighed again. She still couldn't quite believe that she was being this open with Wynnsaren. It surprised her how easy it was to share something so personal with the oracle. Was this what friendship felt like?

"So, um, I guess what I'm trying to say is that I would like to hear the answer you have for my, um, for what I am."
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Post  Wynnsaren on Thu Apr 11, 2013 9:28 pm

The moon soared overhead, shining her light upon the two women lying there in the grass. Wynn smiled, glad for both their sakes that she hadn't done any irreparable damage to their fragile relationship.

"I'll admit it took me some time to sort out the clues. You are quite adept at blending in even when you're not consciously trying to do so, and it wasn't until this afternoon when I saw you resist the willowisp's electrical attack that those clues formed a coherent picture. I've seen you float gently to the ground when you should have fallen. You can see as well as I in the darkness, and you have a constant breeze swirling close to your body that I didn't notice until the day you all came to my shop in New Stetvan.

"I believe, my lady, that you are a sylph. Somewhere along your line, a human ancestor was joined with a being of elemental air to produce the traits that make themselves apparent in you today, but whether that being was one of your parents or a distant relation is difficult to tell. Sometimes the traits can lay dormant for many generations."

Wynnsaren turned her head to the side to watch Sarala's reaction to the news.

"Sylphs are...quite rare, my dear. At least those who choose to reveal themselves are rare. You are certainly the first of your kind that I have met in my years. From what I've read, a sylph will normally bear swirling blue marks on their skin that give evidence of their elemental origin, but I've not seen such marks on you. Might I ask if you carry any?"

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Sarala Medvyed

Post  Sarala on Thu Apr 11, 2013 9:51 pm

Sarala's reaction to the oracle's revelation was oddly stoic. She lay there silently looking at the sky, taking in Wynnsaren's information with an expression of calculated interest. Sarala found it curious that she didn't feel any differently after finding out her specific race. She had always imagined a revelation like this one would leave her feeling like a brand new person. As if the answers to her secret questions somehow held in them the key the a whole new personality. Such was not so for the sylph. She was still as cautious, chaotic and mockingly blunt as before. No sudden transformation.

She was thankful for the knowledge but she couldn't help her amusement as it only served to add more questions to her already lengthy list. Some of these new questions confused her, but she still wasn't sure just how much she wanted to share with Wynnsaren at this point. Asking more question might lead to more questions being asked of her, and who knows what kind of information shared through implication. If her story was just her own and no one else's maybe it would be different. But her adopted family, the Medvyed's, especially those of their current generation, were some of the key players in this story and as much as she didn't agree with some of her siblings she still wanted to protect them from any sort of ill repute.

But what reason would Wynnsaren have to diminish her family's reputation. To be honest, the oracle would have to be filled with quite an ample portion of malice to try to turn a simple story of a child lost in the woods into blackmail. And unless she was an excellent bluff Sarala should have noticed any evil intentions in the oracle by now. Wynnsaren already knew so much just by observation alone... what could it hurt?

Sarala knew the real question was how far did she want to let her guard down?

"Oh, yeah..." Sarala replied absently to the oracle's request. "I've got a couple of blue markings."

She rolled unceremoniously onto her stomach and turning her head away from the oracle she flipped her hair over her shoulder revealing a curling tendril of blue that crept out of her collar and up the back of her neck.

"This is the easiest one that I can show to you," her tone was matter of fact as she gestured to the marking. "All the rest of them are hidden by my clothing. A couple of them are even on my feet. That's where the first one showed up. My feet." She smiled at the memory. "I scrubbed that thing until my skin was raw and still it wouldn't budge. That was one of the first clues that tipped me off to the fact that I was different."

Smoothing her long white locks back into place, Sarala was quiet for a moment as she attempted to sort her thoughts.

"So you say that I'm some sort of half breed. What did you call it? A sylph? I guess that would explain a lot..." she pursed her lips in concentration. "The winds, er, breezes around me, the whole floating thing...

"I've gotta say that the whole resistance thing was a shocker." Sarala snorted at her own bad joke. It felt good to laugh. She was needing to see the lighter side of things. All that over analyzing was tying her brain in knots.

"Is there anything else I need to know about hidden abilities? Can I lay eggs or fell trees with a whisper?" A mischievous smile crossed her face as she looked over at Wynnsaren, waiting for her reply.
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Post  Wynnsaren on Thu Apr 11, 2013 10:00 pm

The aasimar turned and held Sarala firmly with her gaze.

"One thing you must know is that you are not a half breed," she said in steely voice. "I am not a half breed... Do not allow the world to label you because I assure you they will try, and they will get it wrong every time. You are Sarala Medvyed! Lady of Novastasia and sister to the King. You do not have half a fate or half a purpose in life. You are completely whole in heart and mind and body."

Wynn rolled onto her side and propped herself up on her elbow.

"I've spent too many years living like that and I won't have you make the same mistake. Your life and purpose here are far too important to be quenched by self doubt. You are too important, Sarala," the oracle softened her tone as she briefly pressed her hand to the side of the young woman's face.

"Now as to the egg-laying," she laughed aloud, raising the heads of the men around the fire, "I believe you are safe. Sylphs procreate in the fashion usual to humans, but you are far too young to be thinking about having sylphlets! Honestly, my dear, what would your brother think!?"

The thought of Sarala sitting for months on a nest produced peals of laughter and silver tears rolling down her cheeks. Wynn remembered all the crazy questions she had of herself when she first learned what she was, but she'd been much older than Sarala at the time. This young sylph was still maturing and still discovering her abilities.

"There is one other thing that I recall about sylphs that will be of particular interest to you, and while there are definite benefits to it, there are also some drawbacks considering those with whom you are tied." Wynnsaren sighed slightly and looked over to the fire where the others sat talking and occasionally peering into the darkness in their direction.

"Yet one more thing we have in common, Sarala. Unless we meet with an untimely end, we should live well into our second century of life on this plane."

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Post  Sarala on Thu Apr 11, 2013 10:14 pm

"Wow," the exclamation slipped like a sigh from her lips. "I wasn't expecting that kind of a... um... bonus."

Sarala nervously fiddled with a bit of grass as she tried to digest the news.

"200 years. Really? That is... a long time." The sylph bit her lip as she stared off into space. Sarala found herself in a state of awe as the connotations of a long life swept over her. She would watch her brother grow old and die long before she even began to feel the effects of aging. In fact, everyone she now knew would die long before she did. Everyone, that is, but Wynnsaren. Sarala wasn't sure how she felt about that little fact.

"So you said that you're going to live that long, too, right?" The sylph's quizzical gaze focused on the woman next to her. Sarala wondered how long Wynnsaren had been traveling around following her visions. She had wondered just how the oracle seemed to know more than she should and had just recently chalked it up to her supernatural abilities. But maybe some of her wisdom had more to do with her age even if her face did not bear the signs of living many years under the sun.

"You don't look that old. When we first met I thought you were about Tharili's age, my older sister. But now, looking at you, I'm not so sure.

"Just how old are you?"
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Post  Wynnsaren on Fri Apr 12, 2013 9:17 am

As Sarala processed the ramifications of this new information, the oracle was reading her expressions as a familiar book. It didn't seem so long ago that her own thoughts had traveled down those roads. With one exception. The sylph's eyes were inevitably drawn to her friends and family around the fire. What would that be like to suddenly realize that you will likely outlive all those that you love and are most familiar with?

"I am seventy-three years old," Wynnsaren answered her question simply and in a tone that suggested the number meant little to nothing to her. "I guess that would put me at the equivalent of about Zaistrun's age if I were human, but the measure of years is a clumsy method of determining age.

"Tell me, Sarala," she asked curiously, "I know it will take you some time to sort out all your feelings about this new information and I assume you will eventually tell your brother, but he must know there is something different about you. He's seen the same things that I've seen after all... What about the rest of your family? Didn't your parents or other brothers or sister ever see something in you that made them question?"

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Post  Sarala on Sun Apr 21, 2013 9:42 pm

Sarala blinked in surprise at Wynnsaren's comparison of her own age to the age of the fledgling sorcerer. If a length of seventy odd years equated to the cusp of adulthood then at one and twenty the sylph must be viewed as a child. Sarala wasn't quite sure how she felt about this since she most definitely did not view herself as a child.

"Only seventy-three?" the sylph raised her eyebrow incredulously. "This whole age thing is going to take some getting used too, that is for sure."

The oracle was right. It would take time to sort out this new information, but that time did not need to be right now, in this very moment. She shoved those thoughts aside. Tucking her left arm under her head like a pillow Sarala let her body relax and and her mind reminisce.

"Thaddeus knows that I am different," she began pragmatically. "He's known almost as long as I have. It wasn't until I was thirteen that I even noticed anything different about me. I was raised with the understanding the Medvyed blood ran through my veins and I had no cause to doubt it, at least not for a very long time. Then came the markings, and the breezes behind closed doors... I couldn't help but question what I was. And Thaddeus was always the one in whom I confided. He was always so reassuring." The sylph curled her fingers into her palm to feel the unmistakable scar.

"Our late father confided in Thaddeus before he died, telling him all that he knew about me and where I came from. It confirmed our suspicions that I wasn't really a Medvyed by birth. As it stands now, as far as I know, Thad and I are the only living members of our family that know the truth.

"But I forget that the you only know two out of the five of us Medvyed's, and Thad and I look nothing alike. I'm sure you're wondering how my white hair got past the rest of the family all these years. You may think I lack in certain familial characteristics, and in some ways that may be true. But if you could see us as a family, all together, you would see how easily I came to fit in.

"You see, Thaddeus gets his dark features from our late mother and his hulking stature from our late father. He has father's jaw as well. But father was very blond in his younger days, something he only passed down to one of his children, my brother, Gustavous. So when I came along, the shocking color of my hair was attributed to my father's side. Surprising, the shape of my chin corresponds quite well with my mother's. The similarities are just enough to make me fit in as well as I could."

Sarala couldn't help a wry smile as she thought of the now glaring differences that set her apart from the house Medvyed. Things that before may just have been traits of childish rebellion, but now spoke of something more.
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Post  Wynnsaren on Sun Apr 21, 2013 10:06 pm

"It's true that I've noticed you have a most remarkable way of fitting in, in spite of such beautifully outstanding features. It is a gift that has served you well and will continue to do so throughout your life," Wynn noted in a wistful voice. "It's a gift that I have, on occasion, wished that I shared."

She gently brushed the side of her cheek, running her fingers over the sigil that burned there with a cool blue light. Fitting in had never been her strong suit.

A sigh accompanied a brief moment of her own reminiscing before she laid back and laced her fingers together, bringing them to rest on her stomach.

"The gods have blessed you greatly, my dear girl, to have such a family...though only a fraction of it have I seen. The bond between you and your brother is even stronger than blood, that much is clear, but what of your other siblings... Do you believe you will ever tell them what you have learned? Are not all of them as accepting as the king?"

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Post  Sarala on Thu May 09, 2013 9:52 pm

"'Accepting' isn't exactly the word I would use to describe the rest of my family." Sarala replied with a chuckle. "It's not like they are bad or anything, but I'm not sure they would understand if I told them that I am different.

"'Traditional' is a better way of describing my other siblings, especially Coranious and Tharali. Gustavous can be more like Thad when he wants to be, but he gets... distracted. Our mother was loving in her own way, but mostly she was strict, very strict. She had set of rules for everything and she enforced every one of them. Coranious and Tharali whole heartily embraced that life style when they were grown. I think it's their way of upholding the family name.

"Life as a Medvyed in Stoneclimb is a completely different world from life out here in the Stolen lands. Everything is etiquette, and regimentation, and tradition, and station. It was extremely rare that we ever mixed with any other race than humans. The noble class in Brevoy tends to look down on those who are not their own.

"Our family has a long standing respect for the forest lands, and we nearly venerated the fey that lived there. But much of that is changing now that Cor is in charge. He still has some respect for the wilderness, but he respects power and money more. The fey are only a myth to him and he has no use for them. He views them as the imaginary friends of his younger siblings."

Sarala inclined her head toward Candlemere lake and sighed. "To tell my family that I am not human would only cause waves, and I've done that enough already.

"It really is for the best that I moved away."
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Post  Wynnsaren on Thu May 09, 2013 10:52 pm

The oracle listened intently to Sarala's tale, fascinated to hear details of her upbringing. After living there for so long, the racial bias among Brevoy noble families came as no surprise, but knowing the young sylph and her brother, Wynn thought that perhaps the Medvyed's were raised to be more open-minded about such things. Apparently not... How much more exceptional did the pair seem to her at that moment!

Wynn's silver eyes were drawn to the campfire in the distance and those around it. She wondered what Sarala meant by 'mixing'. Was it intermarrying that they frowned upon, or even socializing with those of less-than-fully-human heritage? As a noble son of a proud family, how would Zaistrun react to his paramour's revelation?

Thoughts and questions more appropriate for another time.

"Coranious," she began, finally breaking the moments of silent reflection. "He is the reason you left your home... His rule over the family pushed you too far, didn't it..."

Wynnsaren turned her head to carefully regard her companion's reaction.

"But it wasn't just what he did with the family as a whole. It was more...personal to you.

"What was it, Sarala?" She asked, her eyes filled with a mix of curiosity and compassion. "What did your brother demand of you that caused you to think it best to leave?"

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Post  Sarala on Thu May 09, 2013 11:18 pm

"He 'demanded' that I marry a selfish, lecherous pig whose desire for women was just barely overshadowed by his greed for wealth and title." Sarala spat the words out with barely bridled vehemence. "Cor thought it was a perfect match. It would have elevated my social status thereby giving me more then enough to live my live out very comfortably, even if I was just a trophy wife to a man who had been married twice before. Not to mention the fact that he was as old as my father.

"Oh, and did I mention that this union would've given Cor some very nice ties to a very influential family in Brevoy? How could I have forgotten the best part? A pox upon me for being so short sighted and forgetful!"

Even as her tone turned to jest the underlying tension was still evident. She could still remember how pleased Cor had looked when he had informed her about the match he had arranged. He was so sure of himself that he never once thought to ask whether or not this was something she even wanted. All he saw was a sister still single and an opportunity to increase his influence. Sarala wasn't even sure if Cor had liked the guy apart from his money and title.

Sarala shook her head in resignation. "Thad says that he meant well, and I'm sure that Cor thought he was doing his best by me, you know, wanting to see me comfortably settled and what not. But I just couldn't do it. I couldn't bare to be tied to that kind of man, making 'nice' to the in-laws and being put on display knowing that he had a string of women on the side 'for as long as we both should live'. The very idea of it all made me sick. So I had to get out, and when Thad told me he was going to explore lands to the south I begged him to let me come along."

The sylph looked down and saw what had been a patch of grass in front of her was now picked clean. Each blade of grass has been hastily dissected and torn into a dozen pieces which lay in a pile just below her chin. Her nails were stained a dark green. Slightly embarrassed that her nervous energy had made such a mess she hastily dispersed the pile and turned to lay on her side facing Wynnsaren.

"So now you know my sordid past," she said with a mocking grin. "What say you? Be I friend or foe? Or are you thoroughly ambivalent?"
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Wynnsaren

Post  Wynnsaren on Thu May 09, 2013 11:31 pm

"Wow, I don't know..." Wynnsaren shook her head and turned her gaze to the moon. "I mean, I'm not sure if I can in good conscience associate with a woman who has the sense not to shackle herself to such a dreadful and degenerate man."

A smirk graced her illuminated face when she turned back to Sarala. "Silly sylph," she playfully nudged her shoulder, "of course you are my friend! I would've told you the same that first day I met you in the woods, although you had obvious concerns about me at the time. No doubt you thought me completely off my rocker. Perhaps you still do," she winked. "I wouldn't consider you entirely wrong in that assessment... Look at where we are after all!" The aasimar motioned to the lake dotted with flickering witchlights and the haunted manor beyond. "We've all gotta be a little off to follow a vision to a place like this. So whatever form of madness you may suspect me to be afflicted with, my dear, I consider myself to be in good company!"

The stars creshendoed overhead as the girls went on to discuss much less weighty matters of adventures and dreams for the future, but it wasn't long before Wynn's eyelids drooped dangerously and her body cried out for rest. The traumatic vision... The desperate run to Akiros to gather the companions... Both had taxed her well beyond her limits and then of course there was the looming Candlemere Isle to deal with in the morning.

Sleep came blessedly quickly for her that evening but unfortunately not so for Sarala, who just that night gained an entirely new perspective on life. It was hardly the first restless night spent considering her differences from her family. It wouldn't be the last.

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