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Sundering in Silverhall

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Rasven

Post  The Sub-Creator on Mon Sep 07, 2015 11:11 am

Lazily, Rasven's eyes drifted open. His sleep had been peaceful, rejuvenating, and filled with the knowledge of a unique presence that left him basking in a comfortable warmth unlike anything the Merchant Prince had known before. Even more gratifying, that pleasant warmth resided beside him still, her hand placed beneath his own and over his heart, stirring every beat with a tangible, heavenly grace.

Without desiring it, the Shield of Silverhall's thoughts turned instinctively toward matters of state. Soldiers marched onward to Port Ice at this very moment, he knew, and any day he expected the unconditional surrender of House Surtova's seat of regional power now that New Stetven belonged to the rightful king, Lander Lebeda. Additionally, no sign of His Majesty's sister, Elanna, a royal prisoner of the False Regent, had turned up in New Stetven, where all reports pointed to her being kept. When the royal city fell, however, no trace of her had arisen there, much to his chagrin.

Rasven Winter was not accustomed to being duped, yet, somehow, Neski Surtova had managed to do so. And, to make things doubly worse, he was at a loss as to the False Regent's whereabouts, as well. King Lander I believed both fled to Port Ice, Surtova's last bastion of power in Brevoy, but Rasven doubted that to be the case. Port Ice had been significantly weakened before the civil war even started when the False Regent poured the vast majority of Surtovan military forces into New Stetven, hoping to catch the Lebeda's off their guard. Those forces were crushed by Rasven's Army of Fire--the name given to the hundreds of efreeti and fire elementals the Merchant Prince had managed to subjugate through favors over the course of the last century--and the prolonged siege maintained over the last couple years. House Surtova held Port Ice by the slenderest thread of ice, and summer was currently in full swing in Brevoy. Neski Surtova knew better than to flee and hide there. Where then?

As his physical eyes focused outward once more to the celestial dream that rested beside him, all stately matters ceased to have importance to Merchant Prince. While she still appeared very much the goddess--or at least the herald of a goddess--that she had last night despite the loss of her customary starlit sigils and star motes, her posture and scent and touch were all deeply familiar as Wynnsaren. Her closeness superseded all other business, kicked it straight out of his mind, and therein resided the proof that last night had not been merely a phenomenal dream . . . .

Not a single twinge arrested his body.

The Oath had truly been broken.

Thus, instead of worrying about Port Ice, or Surtova, or other matters of immediate import to Silverhall or Brevoy, Rasven pondered his feelings for the angelic woman so close to him in long minutes of silence. When those ponderings had filled him to the utter brim with affection that he could stay quiet no longer, he broke the majestic serenity of the morning sunshine and birdsong with the subtle, but heartfelt, words, "I love you."

Rasven's hand gently squeezed her own upon his chest, and he sighed the brief, comfortable sigh of one lost within his own affections. "I know that Fate and the Stars lay claim to you. I know that their power far exceeds mine own. I know that Prophecy must hold sway over you for the greater good . . . But, I also know that there are none--including those aforementioned--that will fight more fiercely than I for your safety, well-being, and affection.

"My life is yours. Here. Now. And always. I pledge it to you today, should tomorrow never come. I will battle them all for you, Wynnsaren. Fate, the Stars, Prophecy, and whatever other takers might deem themselves worthy. I will battle them all, and I shall do so with a ferocity unknown to man if that is what it takes for you to be my wife.

"Today." Rasven emphasized passionately; heartbreakingly. "If tomorrow never comes."

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Wynnsaren

Post  Wynnsaren on Mon Sep 07, 2015 12:39 pm

Tears stung behind Wynnsaren's eyes, but the smoldering blue flames, burning low even at this early hour, would not permit them to fall and provide release from the pain. Last night he had been given freedom. This morning, that freedom he most willingly gave. Rasven spoke his vows to her with a full understanding that she could not reciprocate. . .not yet, and still he offered himself up freely, pledging his life to serve as protector, provider, husband; a bulwark against this world and those beyond. The most humbling part? He knew precisely what that could entail. . .

"You deserve so much more than I am able to give, Rasven," she uttered softly, the pain of unspent tears welling in her throat. "So much more than the mere scraps of a life that remain after the masters have had their fill."

The aasimar leaned her head against his shoulder, unable to withstand his piercing gaze. She'd reached the pinnacle of mortal power, could affect changes in the fabric of reality, give life and end it, and yet in the face of his selfless love, she felt small. Wholly inadequate.

"I accept your pledge," she whispered, trembling at the weight of inherent consequence, "and when the time comes I pray that you will likewise accept mine." Wynn peered up at him. "But as you well know, certain events are set to transpire before I am able to do so, and I regret -- I entirely lament the fact that the vow you make to me this day is soon to be tested, not only on my behalf, but for the sake of all of Brevoy. All of this world, in truth! There is a fight coming, Rasven, and as dearly as I have wished to keep you out of the fray, it seems Fate has yet again played a potent hand.

"This threat for which I have been being prepared for over eight thousand years, will arrive at your doorstep in less than two months. The Dreamer, Cthulhu, will arise from the Lake of Mists and Veils."

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Rasven

Post  The Sub-Creator on Wed Sep 09, 2015 1:56 am

Rasven accepted the immense gravity of her proclamation and riposted with a pleasant, yet subtle, little smile. "Brilliant," he whispered softly, almost enjoying her expression of alarm at his lightheartedness in the face of the coming oblivion. The half-elf raised a hand to her face and brushed gentle fingertips along her smooth cheek. "This revelation does not please you," he stated rather than asked.

"It should," he said with quiet gravity of his own, emphasizing the statement with an expanding smile.

"You are a seraph of Fate, beloved," Rasven pointed out rather unnecessarily, brushing a strand of stray hair behind her ear. "I can only assume nothing surprises you anymore. Should it surprise or--dare I say--wound you that the apocalypse has decided to start here? Though it might seem difficult to accept, Wynnsaren, fate cannot be guarded against, as you well know . . . as you have often expressed to me. None can be protected from it, and how lucky we are to have one here, now, to provide us warning for what is to come. That, my love, is a blessing beyond doubt, and one to be celebrated, not mourned."

In further effort to ease her distress, the Merchant Prince kissed her sweetly on the forehead, then offered a confident grin. "I count it to our fortune that this Dreamer has chosen my particular doorstep. The heart of my power base lies here in Silverhall, which means it will require so much less effort to get you whatever support is needed. Brevoy. Tian Xia. Vudra. The most southerly reaches of Garund. It matters not, angel. I would have gone wherever was necessary to aid you, but I can aid you best from Silverhall, and it appears your gravest enemy has blundered in its decision to attack you where I am most capable of gathering plentiful resources in a very short amount of time.

"Additionally," Rasven continued, running a pair of fingers along her jawbone in his continuing attempt to soothe her worries, "your advance warning of this coming threat will enable me to entreat the king to move innocents to safer locations. Such would certainly not have been possible had this being chosen to surface elsewhere. Undoubtedly, many lives that would have otherwise had no chance have just been saved.

"Fate favors us, beloved . . . thanks to you."

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Wynnsaren

Post  Wynnsaren on Wed Sep 09, 2015 11:18 pm

"It is generous of you to say so but I now think it more likely that it is Fate's favor of you which brought me to your door those years ago." Wynnsaren smiled softly up at him.

She wondered at this incredible man! Here he lay, smiling and undaunted, soothing her after she revealed the location of the coming devastation! A girl could get used to this kind of reception to her prophecies of doom. . .

"I am startled perhaps at your enthusiastic reaction to the news, but I am glad of it and understand why you feel as you do. You have wisely summed up our situation. The gods have prepared very shrewdly for this event -- in truth I am always surprised by their insightful machinations and provision for those to whom I have been sent, and I have to believe that the Dreamer's choice of location was also foreseen, but whether by fate or ill-fortune, it has made a very poor choice, for I have all faith that here it will meet such resistance as it would find no where else on this world and that will undoubtedly bring about its end. . .if indeed such a being can die.

"If its minions are any indication, the Dreamer already knows of me and of Matsuro Shi and will expect our interference, but what it cannot expect is the Sword of Silverhall," she offered confidently. "You are the gods' wild card, Rasven Winter. Now aside from the fact of your life being in direct peril, it is this point with which I am currently struggling, for in light of this revelation I can no longer deny that you have always been part of my mission. I had held out hope even after the Recollector's insights, but there is just too much evidence the contrary now."

The aasimar's smile slipped as she followed her line of reasoning and attempted to elucidate.

"I should preface my explanation by confiding to you that I am a selfish and wicked creature," she admitted in all seriousness. "Do not let the halo fool you. The gods may use you as they see fit, but I will not allow them to take you from me. I want you, Rasven, and not temporarily." Wynn dropped her gaze and lifting her hand from his chest, plucked gently at the platinum tunic he wore. "But you see, there is a millenia-old pattern which informs me that those who belong to a mission are never mine to hold on to. I will lose them at the conclusion. I always lose them. When I look upon the Fates of Four, I see friends but always in the context of the mission. That is foremost in my mind as is necessary to my purpose, and as the time draws near, I cannot help but distance myself from them. It is an innate behavior. Instinctive self-preservation. So you see. . .that is the reason for my apprehension -- my point of worry. While I have every confidence in your skill at warfare and I hardly think this rapier which is permanently affixed to your hip, is just for show, I never wanted you to be part of the mission because my feelings for you are infinitely unable to be contained within any span of time.

"I cannot lose you."

Wynnsaren dragged in an awkward breath for the express purpose of sighing. She sat up, smoothing out her blouse as she scooted to the edge of the divan and stared out into the gray nothingness her sight afforded.

"It is not for me to question the gods designs, for their eyes can see at a far greater distance than my own, yet that did not stop me from hoping that certain things might have been avoided. . .that there might be another way, but they must believe that this plan gives Golarion the best fighting chance for survival. I trust them. I do. Especially in this. I must also trust that they will not frown upon our continued relationship once this mission has reached its successful end."

After raking her fingers through her hair, she shook her head and chuckled. "Here I am putting the vardo before the horse, when there is a battle to win!" Wynn turned over her shoulder to regard the Merchant Prince. "When I leave you, it will be to Akiton, to speak with the Contemplatives of Ashok. I believe they will have additional information about this Cthulhu and the Great Old Ones, or at least know where I must travel to learn more. When I have gathered more intelligence on our enemy, I will make it known to you so you can plan accordingly.

"Is there any aid I can offer in the meantime?" She asked. "I am sure your relationship with King Labeda precludes the necessity of my meeting with him in order to convince him of the enormity of the situation."

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Rasven

Post  The Sub-Creator on Wed Sep 09, 2015 11:58 pm

"I will speak in earnest to the king about our situation," Rasven assured. "He will hear me, of that I have no doubt."

The Merchant Prince groaned with the mingling of pain and exhaustion as he followed Wynnsaren's lead and sat up beside her. Something ached inside him--a rather profound spiritual agony that manifested itself as an acute physical pain right through the center of him. Perhaps in the detachment of the Oath from his person, it was required that a piece of his soul also be shaved off. The mental picture conjured a certain uneasiness, but he resolved to do without it regardless. Had the Oath corrupted a part of him so thoroughly that it could not remain with him after the Oath's destruction, Rasven hardly needed that part going forward.

"Otherwise, I have but one task yet before me to see this war played out," the half-elf continued, a slight waver in his voice and wince upon his face as he arose from the orchid divan. The slumber of Silverhall had passed with the darkness, and the city now exhibited vibrant life throughout its streets and piers. "The False Regent eluded my vigilance in escaping New Stetven, and, wherever he fled, the coward dragged the king's sister with him. That he chose not to kill her demonstrates political motive . . . . The fool undoubtedly seeks to marry her by force and use her connection to the king as grounds to raise another army against him somewhere else." The Shield of Silverhall shook his head with a resigned disbelief. "The heights of Surtovan daftness cannot be fathomed by any with a logical, reasoning intellect; undeniably why my head hurts to consider it even now." His inability to smile punctuated the seriousness of the claim.

Rasven shifted his stance ninety degrees to regard Wynnsaren. "It grieves me having to speak politics with you, beloved. My limited time with you deserves more cheerful and inspiring topics of conversation. As this was something of a business call, however, I suppose there is nothing for it." The Merchant Prince grinned to take the edge off the statement.

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Wynnsaren

Post  Wynnsaren on Thu Sep 10, 2015 7:26 am

"Do not let it grieve you to speak to me of what weighs on your mind, Rasven," she replied in a softly reverberating tone. "For too long you have borne your burdens alone. I hope that now and in the future, you will allow me to shoulder at least a small portion when you can." Wynnsaren smiled and lightly brushed the fingers of her left hand along his pale cheek. "Surely it is the least I can do after coming and sharing with you the encumbrance that is the fate of the world."

She returned his grin and then, neither ignorant nor callous to the pain he was enduring, floated from the divan to retrieve the bottle of Osiowet that had been waiting so patently on the table beside them. It was unreasonable to assume that he would suffer no effects from last night's trauma, but Wynn hoped that a bit of temporary pain would be the worst of it. After all, Rasven Winter could deal with pain unlike anyone she'd ever met. Still. . .she hated knowing that he yet suffered at all!

With a grimace of consternation, Wynnsaren popped the cork and poured him a glass of the potent and priceless wine. "In light of this final task you mention. . . Perhaps I could be of some assistance to you in bringing this false regent to justice and rescuing the king's sister."

The oracle paused before explaining herself and returned to her place by his side, placing the crystal goblet into the Merchant Prince's hand. "If you can provide me with something that belongs personally to Neski Surtova, than unless the gods themselves are hiding him, I will find him for you, my love. I will be able tell you precisely where he is at this moment."

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Rasven

Post  The Sub-Creator on Thu Sep 10, 2015 8:18 pm

Rasven accepted the rejuvenating wine as he pondered her revelation. In all actuality, he had not desired the osiowet--feeling it much like the rings as a crux to be overcome now that the Oath was gone, but he knew drinking the wine would calm the concern of his betrothed.

"That would be most gracious," he thanked the aasimar. "Surtova was not known as a gift-giver; however, I happen to know that certain articles of his made their way to Silverhall after the fall of New Stetven. It should not take long to acquire contraband for a short time, that you might weave your magic and learn what it has to say."

Lifting the goblet for a polite drink, Rasven admired Wynnsaren from above the crystal rim. "With the False Regent located and in custody as a political prisoner of the kingdom, it should permit full closure to this war. I would be in your debt, and would then turn my vast resources to the next hurdle facing the kingdom: that of convincing the king to evacuate the people from the shores of the Lake of Mist and Veils.

"You have stated that you must be gone this day," the half-elf verified. "How long have I the pleasure of your company? I can have a possession of Surtova's here within the hour, certainly, yet the news of your coming task sounds quite pressing."

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Wynnsaren

Post  Wynnsaren on Thu Sep 10, 2015 10:05 pm

Wynnsaren turned her face to the warmth of the rising sun and wondered if it was a sight as glorious as that of the sunset of what felt like so long ago. "We near the end now. . .one way or another," she uttered in what was simultaneously a gentle and thundering voice. "As much as I desire to stay, there is something much greater than myself that drives my actions, as you have the unique ability to understand," she smiled and turned back to regard the half elf, appreciating the play of colors the sun threw against his skin. "To linger long seems -- selfish of me, when so much is at stake.

"I do not have a set time for when I must leave and I should like to see to it that the war for Brevoy will be brought to imminent close so that there will be one less burden for you to bear while I go stir up some trouble off planet." Her smile tilted into a diverting smirk and she laced her fingers together and hooked them over her knees in an almost childlike manner.

"If you have other matters to attend to until the arrival of Surtova's seized prize, I will wander a bit about the estate as I have still not seen the half of it! However, I would rather not leave before finding his location, for I am terribly curious what it might be like to have Rasven Winter in my debt. . . A prize no doubt, to which half of Avistan would wish to lay claim!"

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Rasven

Post  The Sub-Creator on Fri Sep 11, 2015 12:09 am

The Shield of Silverhall graced the aasimar with a tantalizing grin. "Be prepared to harbor the envy of half of Avistan, then, beloved."

After another brief drink, Rasven approached Wynnsaren and offered her a hand of courtesy in rising from the divan. "It will not be long before I have something for you. Naturally, the estate is yours. Enjoy it to your heart's content.

"Shall we reconvene here in just over an hour's time?"

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Wynnsaren

Post  Wynnsaren on Sun Sep 13, 2015 7:35 pm

"Of course," Wynnsaren smiled and accepted his gallant assistance before retrieving her pack and hefting it over one shoulder. "It will also give me the opportunity to refresh a bit after the past day in the Expanse. I will see you here upon the balcony in an hour then."

The pair parted company and Wynn made her way to the chambers which had been set aside for her since their engagement. Her few belongings had found their way here in previous months: the empty picture frame, the small orrery made from the model planets Matsuro Shi had found during their Kirya expedition, an armful of books rested on a shelf beside two scroll cases of hand drawn maps, and her personal journal of star charts sat open on the desk precisely where she'd left it last month.

Everything she could call her own fit in a corner of this one room within the suite of four rooms Lis had seen prepared for her visits. From the outside, it must have looked rather sad, for the head servant had asked on several occasions if she wouldn't mind him bringing things in for her to 'fill up the space.' She had politely and repeatedly declined. Perceptive as he was, perhaps Lis had guessed that she was hesitant to risk putting down roots even here and wished to take action against such doubts, for on occasion something small would appear. A vase with fresh flowers. A self-standing globe of Golarion. A shelf for her collection of silver ravens. Simple things. Thoughtful things. Things that made her feel welcome in this expansive place.

When first she'd brought her things to the Winter Estate those months ago, Wynnsaren felt as though she would get lost in such enormity. She felt small -- intimidated by the massive scale. But life was more than a mere collection of things. Life was people. Memories. After her final day in the Mwangi, the aasimar had at long last assimilated eight thousand years of them, and now -- quite suddenly, she felt as if something had changed in this space. Perhaps her belongings couldn't fill half a closet in the Winter Estate, but now unexpectedly, she fit here. She filled these rooms as she entered, as if all of the lives, all of the new memories and experiences the breadth of which felt as broad as the heavens above, stretched out and found a comfortable place here. A place where new memories could be made.

Wynn welcomed the chance at a quick bath after the previous day's exertions and afterward, peeked into the recesses of the spacious, white oak wardrobe -- in which she'd hung her three traveling dresses, to find a change of clothes. As on previous occasions, something appeared inside that was not there when last she looked. Many somethings! Gorgeous gowns of silks and lace and fine cotton suffused the cabinet, all variant shades of blues and whites. . . the colors of House Winter. Wynnsaren flushed a fair shade of crimson at the sight and the meaning behind them. Apparently Lis was doubling down!

Surely it was premature of her to choose one of those particular dresses to wear for her next journey, but the aasimar dearly wanted something, along with the starry cloak, that would remind her of him when she would be so far away. Something that would remind her of the hope of what might lay ahead if only she pressed on a while longer. And so, she chose an icy blue gown of a remarkably light and airy fabric, with a scooped neckline and snow-white lace trim and sleeves. It was lovely, and though one of the simplest selections, it was finer by far than anything she could call her own.

Once she'd repacked her gear for today's travel, Wynnsaren managed a stroll through the beautiful winter gardens to help clear her mind before meandering back up to the eighth floor balcony where the Shield of Silverhall would be awaiting her.

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Rasven

Post  The Sub-Creator on Mon Sep 21, 2015 10:50 pm

The first order of business after parting company with Wynnsaren required Lis, whom Rasven summoned to the council room with some urgency. When the master servant reported promptly, he commissioned the use of an enforcer to collect an item of Surtova's brought back to the city from the pillaging of New Stetven. While he had made it abundantly clear to all that no citizen of the besieged city was to be harmed as the Lebedan forces entered therein, he had permitted the False Regent's discarded possessions to be plundered by the common soldiers for keepsakes. Surtova would have no more use for any of it, and neither would the next inhabitant of the royal castle, whether it be King Lander I, or a future ruler should his king choose to remain in Silverhall.

"Must it be an enforcer, Master Winter?" Lis inquired disconsolately. "I had hoped that, perhaps with your new freedom . . . well . . . . "

"With the breaking of the Oath, I might begin changing my reputation with the people," Rasven finished to ease the man's hesitance at second-guessing him. After noting the servant's thankful nod, he offered a conciliatory smile, but explained, "Now is not the time to be changing tact with the people, Lis. My betrothed has informed me that the gravest peril to reach this world since the unleashing of the Beast during its infancy rushes toward us. It is imperative they listen without question when the king demands they abandon Silverhall in quick and orderly fashion. When the direst threat of our time has past, then I can work on ingratiating myself to the people, but not before."

Appeased, the trusted servant bowed and sped out of the room to carry out his orders.

Certain that order of business was well in hand, the Shield of Silverhall turned to matters of state in an attempt to while the time away. He perused letters from the king involving matters of economic and civil decision-making, answered a couple business venture requests, and studied missives delivered him concerning the military. A lingering hope of the army's early arrival to Port Ice was dashed due to a streak of heavy storms off the southern shores of the Lake of Mists and Veils that had slowed their movements to a crawl. It would be at least another two days before the force could lay siege to the final bastion of Surtovan might in Brevoy.

A little over an hour later, Lis returned with a fork in hand. "Compliments of Neski Surtova's personal, kingly cutlery, Master," he informed with a royal flourish, presenting it to the Merchant Prince as a knight would offer his blade to a liege-lord.

Not deeming it necessary to hide a smirk from his most trusted man, Rasven accepted the blade--er, fork--in a most regal fashion. "I count your services as most valuable to me, Sir Lis. You shall be rewarded graciously for them. I require one more service from you, however, posthaste."

"I am humbly yours to command," the head servant replied formally, bowing lower in supplication.

"From whom was this priceless cutlery repossessed?"

"From Iacob Velovich, Master, proprietor of Freshwater Fare Tavern."

Rasven nodded. "Fabulous. Have our gossipers spread praise concerning the establishment that will be certain to increase profits for him. No reason Mr. Velovich should not be rewarded for his services to king and kingdom."

Lis rose from his kneeling position with a bright smile. "I shall see to it immediately, Master Winter."

"I would expect nothing less of you, Lis," Rasven inclined his head, half in salute and half in dismissal.

The royal fork in hand, the Shield of Silverhall returned to his balcony and awaited the appearance of his beloved. Upon her entrance, Rasven acknowledged Wynnsaren with a coy expression as he extended to her the fork in an upraised hand.

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Wynnsaren

Post  Wynnsaren on Wed Sep 23, 2015 11:30 pm

Wynnsaren stifled a laugh as first the fork and then the Merchant Prince came into view.

"Oh how the mighty have fallen! To be betrayed by one's own utensil is a cold fate indeed. . ."

After resting her gear against the side of the divan, the oracle approached and offered Rasven a grand curtsy before accepting the treasonous fork.

"Let us see what it has to say." Wynn turned it over in her hand and closed her fingers around the shaft. She whispered a divine incantation against the tines which sang out in a beautiful clear note from the reverberations of her voice, and then lifted the utensil to her ear, listening intently as her smile stayed fixed upon Master Winter.

Only a moment passed before she was able to give report. "You will find your False Regent at the governor's mansion within the city of Yanmass in northern Taldor. It is a settlement within the Tandak plains on the east side of the Verduran Fork River," the aasimar couldn't contain a chuckle at that, "and south of the Fog Peaks."

Wynnsaren stepped within a few feet of the half elf and graciously returned the utensil, pressing it's warmth into his palm. "Surtova has run quite far to escape you, my love, but I do not think it will be far enough."

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Rasven

Post  The Sub-Creator on Thu Sep 24, 2015 12:31 am

"Taldor," the Shield of Silverhall chuckled. "The False Regent flees to a broken empire for aid."

Not immediately releasing her hand after the reclaiming of the fork, Rasven lifted it to his lips and lightly kissed its back. "It could have taken me months or longer to discover his whereabouts so far to the south, Wynnsaren, and by that time he may have had the opportunity to rebuild his following. As ever, my angel, you are a godsend . . . impossible to not shower praises upon on a nightly basis.

"And speaking of showering praises," the half-elf smirked playfully, "mayhaps you would be willing to accept a small token of my appreciation now? I happened upon knowledge pertaining to a specific weapon favored by the devout of Desna in my recent studies of the faith. When I learned of the specific characteristic of this weapon to leave a flurry of star motes in the wake of its user, I could hardly resist its beckons."

Rasven half-stepped to the side, still unwilling to forgo Wynnsaren's hand, yet granting her a better look at the starknife now floating through the air toward them, a trail of star motes glittering behind it.

"I simply felt it imperative this weapon of your goddess find its way to your elegant hand. Naturally, I had it enchanted with specifications of your current starknife, in addition to the normal capabilities of the weapon . . . " the Merchant Prince paused for a pair of long heartbeats, as if completed with his explanation, then added, "and a minor modification of my own."

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Wynnsaren

Post  Wynnsaren on Thu Sep 24, 2015 11:32 am

The aasimar laughed brightly at the delightful surprise. "You do know I was joking about having you in my debt, do you not?"

She did not leave the Shield of Silverhall's side, but rather waited for the invisible servant to come near before reaching out to take up the weapon into her free right hand. The four compass-point blades gleamed brilliantly against the sun's rays, which illuminated an exquisite engraving of the Night Monarch upon its central medallion. As the starknife currently strapped to her hip, this new one was limned in a greenish, corrosive light, but it trailed a train of starry motes as well. The grip itself was much different than her current weapon. Wrapped in strips of fine, white leather, instead of one handhold, there were two which formed a cross at the center of the ring with the medallion at the point of intersection, allowing for more balance while throwing and more force and stability during melee combat.

As soon as her fingers closed around that grip, the weapon's abilities were imparted to her, including the 'minor modification' that her betrothed had seen fit to add. When she assisted her friends in combat, the magic would allow her to be more effective, granting them a better opportunity to land their own strikes against the enemy. This weapon would help her to accomplish her purpose in aiding Matsuro Shi toward their destiny, and in the battles ahead, even the slightest edge could make a difference!

"I never cease to be amazed by how well you understand me," Wynnsaren shook her dark locks incredulously, "and by your thoughtfulness and generosity. Your gift will allow me to be of even more use to my charges during the coming conflict, and the Starry Cloak will continue to help keep me safe. It has already saved my life on at least two occasions," she added, looking up at him with a soft smile.

Removing the old starknife from the sheath, she held it out before her until the invisible servant took it up and she then buckled the new weapon in its place at her hip.

"Thank you, my prince," she offered earnestly, placing each of her hands in his. "Equipped with these favors, I stand an even greater chance of returning to your side when this is over. . . and there is nothing that I desire more."

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Rasven

Post  The Sub-Creator on Thu Sep 24, 2015 4:03 pm

"It is my foremost duty to fulfill your desires as oft, and as best, as I am able, beloved," Rasven promised her, supported by an ardent countenance. "Most dear to me that latest desire, which I, too, desperately share. I stand ready to assist in this endeavor when called upon."

With that, Rasven stepped forward to close the proximity between them, slowly leaned in, and kissed her. Though intended to be a gesture of remembrance and farewell, not of passion, the taste of her lips inspired a dab more eagerness to fuel the kiss, prompting him to hold it a moment longer. When finally he focused the willpower to break away--a separation of only a few inches being all he could muster, his eyes burned intensely with love for this woman that had promised to one day be his wife.

"That is so you will remember it," he whispered in an authoritative voice.

Without further reservation, the Shield of Silverhall offered her hands a gentle squeeze, then released them as he stepped away from her. "You have a task at hand," the half-elf reminded needlessly. "A duty of your own to perform. I shall keep you from it no longer.

"Let's put an end to this unholy and dastardly apocalypse that we might begin a holy and pure union together, you and I."

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Wynnsaren

Post  Wynnsaren on Sun Sep 27, 2015 7:59 pm

"May it be as you say," the aasimar nodded as she whispered the solemn benediction.

Reaching for her gear, Wynnsaren slipped on the starry cloak and slung her pack over both shoulders. She hated this part -- hated it every time, and it only seemed to get more difficult. When she turned back to the Shield of Silverhall, it was to etch this moment and the expression of love in his eyes, into her memories.

"Oh Rasven," she managed a half-smile which betrayed an aching heart, "I have searched for eight thousand years and now that I have finally found you, it seems I do nothing but leave. I am sick unto death of goodbye."

Wynnsaren floated up to him and lightly brushed the tips of her fingers along the side of his face. "I pray that Fortune favor your Taldan rat-hunting expedition," the other corner of her mouth turned up ever so slightly, "and may the king's sister be returned home unharmed. Stay safe. . . for the stars will soon be aligned and you will receive my call."

With that, she disappeared. Simply gone from his side, only the tingling impressions left from her fingers and the freedom his previously oath-bound soul now enjoyed, evidenced her visit.


***

Forty million miles away, bare feet touched down and dug into the cold, sanguine sand of the Red Planet. It was dark. No moon hung in this sky, but the brilliance of the stars overhead illuminated in ethereal detail the steep-walled arroyo surrounding her and outlined the large bivouac sporting dozens of worm-hide tupiks in the distance.

Even three thousand years later, the Yunke-lo Sgoyi tribe of the Shobhad-neh maintained their traditional nomadic routes, for which the aasimar currently found herself very thankful. The scouts would be on her soon enough. Cloaked in orbiting stars and glowing sigils and burning eyes, her arrival this close to camp could not have gone unnoticed.

These next months would be trying she knew, and dangerous, yet she also knew it necessary to her purpose. The Recollector had named her Worldwalker and it was not an arbitrary title. She now understood that those lives she'd lived and those worlds she lived upon, were not randomly chosen. Each was another piece of the puzzle and each would help her to learn more of the adversary that came against Golarion. But the threat to The Cage was not exclusive. . . The true scope of this burden had not been necessary to share with Matsuro Shi, as it was plenty enough to saddle them with the fate of everything they knew and loved, but to save that one little blue world was to save all of them in this system.

Wynnsaren looked wistfully up into the sky and turned her face toward neighboring Golarion, where it thrummed with life, low on the horizon. She then Sent a whisper that skipped across worlds and brushed past the ear of him to whom it was intended. "I love you. . ."

The crack of a distant firearm jerked her from her heartache, sounding just before the bullet from a longrifle whistled past her own ear with much less affection. She managed somehow not to flinch, if only due to having expected the customary if-slightly-too-close-for-comfort warning shot. She did not flee nor did she advance as the dust cloud from the galloping scouts neared. Instead, she knelt on the ground and spat in the sand, mixing it into a red paste which she ritualistically applied beneath her eyes, drawing it downward with the tips of four fingers.

Six grey-skinned, multi-armed giants rushed in on their reptilian mounts, forming a semicircle about thirty feet from her. The shobhad -- it would be redundant to call them warriors as each member of the clan from oldest to youngest, whether male or female, was trained in the way of battle -- towered over her at twelve feet tall and even more so mounted as they were. They wore naught but loincloths, longrifles strapped across their backs and leather harnesses where their swords were normally secured, but now these well-honed blades were all held in each of their four hands.

Thundering in, they heaped insults upon the intruder, demanding to know why such a sickly sand rat would be so stupid as to wander into scent of a Yunke-lo Sgoyi encampment. The Shobhad moved closer, spittle from their vehemence raining down upon her while the stench of reptilian breath turned her stomach. Perhaps she had grown soft. . .

The oracle stood slowly and pulled back her hood. She leveled her burning gaze at the obvious leader among these scouts, a hulking brute with arms and shoulders so corded with muscle that there was nary a glimpse of his neck.

When she finally spoke, it was in perfect dialect of their native tongue. "I am known to you, brothers, but not in this form. Go," she ordered in a powerfully resonant voice that unnerved the giant, scaly mounts. "Your ulagu has received a vision. Tell him that Hakidonmuya has returned as was prophesied."

At that, the Shobhad looked at each other, blinked once and burst into laughter.

It was a risk to assume their oral histories would stretch back so far, but that had been a life full of glory and battle only to end in a grisly yet victorious death. A Shobhad-neh fairy tale . . . Still, the name had sparked recognition in their eyes. Those tales were not unknown to them! The Dream she sent to their prophet-leader days ago would help sort out matters greatly.

She stood stoically as they laughed at her, for she could hardly blame them for their mocking. It defied reason. After all, Hakidonmuya, or The Waiting Moon, had been a ten-foot-tall, four-armed, half shobhadai aasimar, whose skin -- legend had it, was made of metal and shone like silver. Unable to be pierced by anything but the most powerful weapons, the only blood she ever spilled until the end, was the oracular stigmata with which she had been cursed. Blood flowed continually from her eyes while in the heat of battle. Some of that legend had been fabricated of course, but it had been proven useful among her clan's enemies, and blood stains beneath the eyes had become traditional warpaint for the tribe's prophets.

Grounding herself, Wynnsaren cast her consciousness back those thousands of years and recalled those powers of old. The abilities of Hakindonmuya the Oracle of Battle and Blood. She shrugged and rolled her head slightly, as her flesh turned to silvered metal before their eyes.

The shobhad stopped laughing.

"I am Hootamuya," she pressed, as transcendent power shimmered in the air around them, clearly unsettling both mounts and riders this time. "The Returning Moon, Hakidonmuya reborn." The oracle methodically unhooked the gifted starknife from her hip. With her newly remembered revelations, the weapon felt like an extension of herself -- as if she was born to wield it.

"Doubt me. . ." Smiling menacingly at the massive bulk that was their leader, she issued the challenge that his pride could not ignore.

The other shobhad urged their mounts back a step as the personal challenge was laid. "I am Kwatoko," the brute thundered loudly in an attempt to embolden himself against this disconcerting slip of a human slug. He slid from his mount while his eyes remained fixed upon her.
"You are not Hakidonmuya to come at me with a child's toy, and we are Yunke-lo Sgoyi -- not easily fooled by sorcerous tricks. You dishonor our clan and our ancestors to dare name us as brothers! Now you will pay for your offense with your worthless life!" Snarling, the warrior started forward, spinning the four swords confidently in his hands.

Words would not prove to the shobhad the truth she spoke, only combat would offer such evidence, as was the way of their fierce people. The oracle needed their prophet to lead her to the location of the Contemplatives of Ashok and if she needed to take on her former mantle in order to gain their trust, so be it.

Gripping her starknife's white leather crossguard tightly in her right hand and the shield in her left, Wynnsaren of Golarion was set aside as Hootamuya charged toward the four-armed giant with startling speed, shouting a battlecry that reverberated through both history and legend.

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