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 The Righteous and Free: the Princess and the Pauper (Riprose. Again.)

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AkaiJose

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PostSubject: The Righteous and Free: the Princess and the Pauper (Riprose. Again.)   Sat Apr 04, 2015 2:34 pm

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The city upon the ent was full of surprises. Finthick was used to the unexpected, but these surprises were both pleseant and unpleseant, sweet and bittersweet in their delivery and presentation. The first was the line of torches that hung from brackets on the wall, blazing proudly, spreading their soft orange light across the otherwise dim expanse. The floor itself was covered in a thick layer of dust, and as Finthick's sharp eyes adjusted to the dim light, his dragonic biology shutting the translucent slit that formed under his eyelids, giving him the ability to see in the dark, but in blacks and whites and greys. Broken furniture littered the ground, and there was a slight hint of burnt flesh to the room. A mass was huddled in the corner, and as Finthick approached, it was made obvious it was the charred corpse of an elf, as the body was much to slender to be a human, and the tipped ears persevered, even in death. Shaking his head sadly, he moved his foot to step away, but was met with resistance as a sticky substance held it to the ground. It was only then that Finthick became aware of another substance, mingling with the dust that covered the room. In more than one place, long splashes of blood streaked across the solid wood floor. He stumbled backwards quickly, falling lightly as something hit his ankles. He fell back into a large, raised ring, seemingly made of sticks, grass, and other malleable objects into what resembled a giant birds nest. Rising and dusting himself off, his eyes narrowed slightly, as the scent of the dragon Effie had killed filled his nostrils. In the center of the dragon nest was large pile of gold, gems, and other assorted treasures, ranging from weapons, to garmets, to even scrolls and books of parchments and paper. And at the very peak of this mound, sat an egg. He snarled loudly, lips pulling back from his mouth and revealing sharp, dagger like teeth, glinting wickedly in the low light. He climbed the mound swiftly, instincts stepping before reason. He reached the egg quickly, his feet planted lightly on a treasure chest and dull breastplate. He scooped it up greedily, full of malice, and as his hands gripped the egg, he could feel the soft child inside, developed, but not yet strong enough to break the casing. He held the small thing above his head, gripping it lightly, and bringing his arm back, fully prepared to smash the egg against the nearest wall, claiming this territory as his and his alone. But wait, this was but a child, an orphan. Who was he to judge an unborn child of anything other than inocence in all things? The part of him that thought, that knew this was wrong wrenched itself forward, his divine blood forcing him to carress the egg before he damned himself upon the very principles that he held himself so strictly to. He held it gently, as he would a baby, leaping down from the mountain. He exited through the same doors he had entered, ignoring the passages that branched off from the large entry room for now. He knew enough by the corpses and treasure to know what this place was. He walked out, the egg wrapped in his tattered cloak to keep it warm. He handled the entire bundle to Effie, not trusting himself with the unborn dragon. Jerking his thumb inside, he said, "This is the elven city of Ela'Heldril. It's a citadel of learning, before it was lost years ago. There's a treasure mound and dead bodies, plus I imagine the entire city needs to be dusted. You get first pick, having slayed the dragon."


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Effie:

The Ent was kind and almost childlike, the way he constantly asked questions about Effie and Finthick, about their adventures and how they had managed to chance upon the ent. She had explained all of these things and more, trying to picture and remember all of the events leading to this point. Of course, she had mentioned that she couldn't speak from Finthick's point of view, as she knew little about the man's past. But she imagined he had a hard enough time up until now. Perhaps he wasn't really rotten; he had stuck with her for a while now.

While discussing her history with the ent, Finthick reappeared with an egg in his hands. This egg was shoved into her arms quickly, even though Effie knew nothing about eggs. She blinked as he explained, but held out the egg towards him. "First off, what is up with the egg? Like what kind is it? Also, you expect me to take care of it?! Fin, you're more animal-like than I am. You should have, I dunno, some sort of instinct for taking care of these things!" But with his resigned look, she rolled her eyes and drew the egg close again, wondering whether she may find a new bag so that she could carry the egg.

"Excuse me, Ent, but I'll just be going inside for a bit. I will come back and continue our chat, okay?" She said with a sweet smile, walking past Finthick and heading towards the darkened chambers that her friend had just visited. "There must be good clothes or something. I haven't gotten a chance to clean this tunic in a while."

(Added)

Finthick led Effie into the city he spoke of, silent as usual as he showed her the mound of treasures and bodies that he had previously spoke of. With the egg pressed against her stomach, the princess looked around carefully, stepping over the bodies while scanning the area. Goblets, necklaces, thrones, all things of gold and value were strewn about here and there, shown merely as prizes rather than the valuables that were once handcrafted with the highest esteem for rulers. At her feet, after a little bit of walking around, lay a shiny, new longsword with a jeweled hilt. This she picked up, slinging the strap over her shoulder.

No, it wasn't simple to find other useful items for Effie. Most of the things were made of gold and were also too heavy to carry on their journey. And for some reason, the dragon found it easier to pick up these useless items that were used for show than things that would actually come in handy. Then again, a dragon had no need for these items, right? Effie placed the dragon egg gently on the ground before digging through a pile of jeweled items in the hopes of finding a bag. But of course, the one bag that could carry such a large egg was on the body of a dead person. But she couldn't be choosy about it, so she pulled the bag off and stuffed the egg inside. Off on the fringes of the horde pile, clothes of the finest silk were laid out in untidy piles. They shone with gold threading, reminding Effie of long lost days of being the heir to a kingdom. She couldn't resist picking out the finest tunic. There were plenty of dresses in certain trunks too, but those were not fit for combat. But Effie did stare at them for a while, trying to decide whether she could manage snatching one. She didn't want her partner to think much of this however, so she rapidly grabbed a cloak off the floor and gazed at it too, stuffing it in her bag.

Was there anything else she could use? She wasn't quite sure, but she looked through books and tomes written in very old languages. Spellbooks, probably, but not many were written in her language. The ones that she could understand were not very informational, speaking of spells that were not real. Eventually, she managed to pick up one that looked like a summoner's book, leatherbound with gold leafing at the edges. It was kept in good condition, so she put that away as well before heading towards Finthick.

"That's it for me," Effie said in a soft tone, holding the tunic in her hands. "You can continue searching, I would love to go change out of this old rag. The smell of blood is overwhelming."

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PostSubject: Re: The Righteous and Free: the Princess and the Pauper (Riprose. Again.)   Fri Jun 19, 2015 5:39 pm

Finthick scratched at his chin, hooking a fingernail underneath a few of the scales that dotted his cheeks, as numerous as freckles. He ran a hand through his auburn hair, wet with sweat from the effort to reach this fort, as well as the stuffy heat from the torches. Two dark corridors circled at the back of the hall, one branching from the right, the other branching from the left, presumably reaching further structures, either lower of higher on the ent. Finthick looked at all the old dead people, one's that were presumably of his race, or one closely related. Having lived well beyond the scope of most mortals, he had seen great cities as this one rise and fall. But this had been a special one. The Eladrin had constructed this place just after their famous crusade against the beast races, with their orc and goblin handlers. This place had been one of learning, constructed on one of the oldest trees, rumored to have been an elder ent, a being that lived on through time immemorial. It had collected texts from all cultures, but had been lost one decade when it's teachers stopped flowing out. Explorers had been sent to look for it, but the citadel had vanished, tree and all. Now, it had been found again, by two adventurers, who had just slayed the dragon who had found it. The rumors of it being ent-built were true, which would explain why all was gone. Now, they were presented with a great opportunity. They effectively had a stronghold from which to conduct themselves, and a mobile one, if the ent could be swayed into allying with them. But ents were slow to do anything, especially if it was pleading alliance, though if gained, they would hold friends longer than any other race, even the elves, who were slow to make enemies and friends, and even slower to forget them.

The Ent was on the move, which was apparent by the small rumble that shook the structure with each step the giant took. Finthick rubbed his scaled hands in nervous habit, looking about the great hall. He moved to Effie and grabbed her arm softly as she turned to change. A sorrowful expression on his face, he motioned to the bodies. "Help me with these," he said, nodding to the charred and skeletal corpses sitting about, "they were a proud people. Elves the forest, maybe even some men. We'll gather up their bones, grind them, and throw them to rest in the forest."

Not waiting for her response, he went about his grim work, picking up each bone he would find, and tucking it into one-of-a-multitude of large bowls scattered about the room. He began to set things he found on the floor, like fallen weapons, packs, clothing, into a pile on the smooth, clean floor, after having cleared the dust from it, of course. These would have to be sorted through afterwards, as well as the rest of this place explored, but for now, he went about his work, gathering the dead to be put to one final rest in the place in which they died.
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PostSubject: Re: The Righteous and Free: the Princess and the Pauper (Riprose. Again.)   Fri Jun 19, 2015 9:21 pm

"But what of my--" Effie started with a growl, but cut herself off when she noticed Finthick's sullen face. It seemed that his mind was in another place, as his eyes were not allowed to look directly into hers. What, she wondered, was his problem now? Did he have some connection to these dead beings? Or perhaps he was reminded of something else?

She watched him begin his work quietly, how he chose to pick up the remains carefully and with a certain air of respect that, admittedly, Effie didn't think she'd seen before. She always thought him as uncaring and rather haughty, but it all seemed to have disappeared. Finthick, in what seemed like an instant, had become a stranger to his partner, right when she felt that she was beginning to understand him best.

With a defeated sigh, she quickly tore off her soiled clothes and threw on the new tunic, pulling her hair out when it was caught under the collar. Euphemia rolled up the sleeves and brushed away some dust from the garment, throwing her old clothes now to a corner of the room. She hurried to the nearest skeletal remains, gathering them into her arms and bringing them to the pile that Finthick had started. "Would grinding not take a long time? Why not burn them?" She knew that burning bones would take a very long time and it could threaten the Ent, but grinding the bones would take ages, since there were many, many bones to be thrown away. She knew that while they burned, the two of them could work at seeing what else was left in the city on the Ent, or perhaps try and relax for once.
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PostSubject: Re: The Righteous and Free: the Princess and the Pauper (Riprose. Again.)   Tue Jun 23, 2015 6:49 pm

Finthick finished his work, the tall pile of bones sitting in a large clay bowl at his feet, nearly reaching his waist in height. He placed a hand on one dusty skull and picked it up, staring thoughtfully into the empty eye sockets, where once glittered bright, shining, life filled orbs of sentient intelligence, but now only held dust and the long forgotten memories of what those eyes had seen. Sighing softly, Finthick set down the skull, instead turning to his partner, nodding at her logic. He looked around the room, before finding a large clay pedestal towards the center. Presumably, some great statue had sat here, reminding all who passed it of past deeds, but the great figure had long since vacated this spot, leaving a smooth, flat, and most importantly, non-flammable surface. Finthick grasped the large bowl, and pulled them up after him onto the stone seat. He made a stack of them, packing the bottom of it with rags and other tinder, before slipping inside himself, and grasping the fire that burned within. After a few moments, he opened his mouth, and spat. Fire flared out in a soft arc, lapping onto the fuel at the bottom. It wasn't long before the bones burned brightly, a macabre campfire if there ever was one. Finthick sat and tended to it, putting more bones on when needed, and watched the flames solemnly, thinking of the past.
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PostSubject: Re: The Righteous and Free: the Princess and the Pauper (Riprose. Again.)   Sat Jun 27, 2015 11:01 pm

He was definitely a lot quieter. Perhaps he was tired out from all the events from today? She was a little surprised that he heeded her advice, silently helping him toss the bones into the bowl that he found. Did she perhaps say something or do something that had upset him? She reached into her recent memories, starting as far back as the defeat of the dragon and rummaged around for every little conversation she had with Finthick. No, there was nothing there that would have made him too upset. Then it was the city on the Ent--more specifically, the dead elves that were in the deserted city.

Effie bit her lip and took a seat a few feet away from her partner. What to say, what to say? "So, uh... did you know anyone from this city? I mean, you seem very reverent of these dead folk."
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PostSubject: Re: The Righteous and Free: the Princess and the Pauper (Riprose. Again.)   Mon Aug 17, 2015 12:01 am

Finthick looked at the girl in surprise, a slightly annoyed smile coming to his face. "How old do you think I am?" he asked, a raised eyebrow shot in her direction.

He paused to throw a few more bones onto the fire, before pulling his hood up over his head, and tucking his knees up under his chin, "I'm not old enough to know anyone from here, exactly. But I know plenty of Elefain. Hated almost everyone, but what're you going to do when your entire race has a stick up it's ass and are flaming racist. Though, I've only talked to one after my wife's death..." he took a moment to wipe his eyes, and compose himself, before continuing, "Taly was an Elefain," he paused to laugh once, a sad smile appearing underneath his hood, "her parents hated me. Her da thought I was some no good drifter. Which I was, really, but that wasn't a good reason to hate me."

"I'm not old enough to have known this place, no. There are others like it, though. Riprose," he paused, glancing at Effie for any sign of recognition, "you've heard of him, yeah? Famous ranger, king, immortal? He made it a goal to find as much of these types of ruins as he could. And he's found a few, lucky bastard. Good guy, if a little intense. He and I are a lot of like. We've both watched loved ones die. He lost his mother and wife to war he didn't want to fight. I lost my wife and kids to my mother. I, mm..." 

Finthick got up then and walked out of the large room, shutting the large doors behind him. He fell to his knees on the ledge hanging from the ent's back, tears streaming from his face. THe quiet rumble of the ent's giant steps echoed throughout the forest. Tears streamed down his face in the silent night, and his shaky breaths came in short gasps. he pulled his knees up against him, and buried his eyes into his knees, the memory of his last visit to his wife's grave running through his mind.
__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Finthick ran his hand over the worn headstone, smiling softly as his other hand held the vibrant bouquet of flowers.  The tears were there, but he had long stopped caring about them, having stood in this spot too many times for it to be uncommon. The words were still visible to him, and he read them out loud.

“Here lies Talmeria Rehorn Albrotone; Wife, mother, and fighter till the end.”

He couldn’t help the pride that swarmed through him everytime he read those words. It only caused more tears, and soon his eyes were cloudy, fogged by a cloud of tears. He set his hand against the willow tree, gazing up at the drooping branches and leaves, breathing in deeply to try and calm himself, smiling all the way. His fingers began to pick apart the flowers, letting the bright colors fall to the ground, until only a few blooms remained in his hand. These flowers grew only in the caves where his wife and him had wintered when they were together, far to the south against the rocky, cliff filled shore. They were of a soft purple, with specks of red or blue mixed in, depending on how late they were picked. They despised the sunlight, which is why he had shielded their beautiful blooms and soft, angelic glow with the bright, vibrant petals of wild flowers. He returned his gaze to the tombstone, setting his hand against it as he knelt before it, as he would a child.

“It’s been another year, Taly,” his voice threatened to crack, but Finthick didn’t care. The words still came, still meant the same, no matter how they sounded. Tally had taught him that long ago.

“Our anniversary, if you remember. Remember our wedding? How your dad begged me not to go through with it? How I told him I loved you too much to hurt you like that?” Finthick shook his head, closing his eyes and sniffing loudly, laughing weakly.

“I brought you some flowers. There was a nice couple that moved into our cave. I let them have it for free, because I know you wouldn’t make them pay for it. You would have hit me if I had taken their money,” Finthick rubbed his arm absently, almost instinctually, having felt his wife’s wrath on many occasion for some comment or mess up. Talmeria never meant to hurt him, but the short, petite girl hardly knew her own strength.

“I just wanted to stop by, Tally, give you these flowers. I wanted you to know I didn’t forget, Tally. That I’ll never forget,” his voice did crack now, and he closed his eyes, trying in vain to fight back the torrent that streamed now, despite the added obstacle. He busied himself, arranging the blossoms so that they stood resting in the shadiest spot, propped against the headstone. He took another quivering breath, and added, “I just wanted you to know that I love you, Tally. I’ll never stop loving you.”

It was about this time he broke down. He laid his head down, his forehead resting against the forearm that supported himself against the tombstone. His voice cracked at frequent intervals,  his sentences broken apart by sudden inhales as he continued.
“Why did I leave,Tally? That one night, that one, stupid night, why did I have to leave?” his hands bunched into useless fists, for he dared not strike anything under the willow tree, “I keep doing these things, Tally, these good things, hoping they’ll make up for failing you. I stupidly hope they’ll bring you back, or avenge your death, or something, anything! They don’t do anything, Tally. I miss you everyday, and all these things I do, this hunting, this avenging, these judgements, they don’t do anything for you. I just want you back, Tally, I want to love you, hold you, feel you again. By the gods, I miss you so much, I’m so alone.”

He sat and sobbed, saying the same thing, over and over again, tears streaming from his face. He missed her with all his heart. He blamed himself, everytime he thought of her, and thought of her lying dead in that clearing, that burning clearing. The three claw marks that marred her beauty. Blamed himself for the sleeping babe, lying in the inferno that was it’s bed, and the toddler that had held that little sword, which had laid two feet away, joined with his hands and head. He blamed himself, because he had left. The guilt flowed out of him, as it always did on this day, the day he loved and dreaded at the same time. The day that always ended with tears, and the same phrase, uttered over and over again amidst the sadness.

“Why’d it have to be you, Tally?”
_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Finthick hadn't been to her grave now for years, especially not after taking Effy on. The missing was still there, but the guilt had begun to fade. He understood things were beyond his control, and even if he had been there, he would have died as well. He was glad to be alive, even if he felt guiltier still for that line of thought. Finthick enjoyed living, and with each good deed, he knew Talmeria would be proud of him. And he knew she waited for him. One day, he thought, he would retire, and finally join his father, but for now, there was more work to be done. He pulled himself together with a few soft sighs, and walked back into the hall, sitting down, a little closer to Effie, and continuing his tending of the fire, his hood hiding his red eyes and the dried tears on his cheeks.
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PostSubject: Re: The Righteous and Free: the Princess and the Pauper (Riprose. Again.)   Sat Aug 22, 2015 12:21 am

"Uh, dunno. I'm guessing like five billion years old? Though that's a bit generous, even from me," Effie shot back instinctively, as if looking at that smile from him triggered her automatic responses to counter his remark. And she expected some sort of witty retort in return to hers, but there was only a few moments of silence. He fed the fire, not looking at her once as he retreated under a hood, words stumbling from his mouth and into the air in front of him. Though Effie could definitely hear these words, she felt as though they weren't directed at her. Maybe it was the lack of eye contact. Maybe it was the way he looked--shut off and alone.

He did look over at her once, but that could hardly count. She nodded in recognition of the legend, but she didn't know every little detail. Her eyes widened a bit after his revelation that he had once had a wife, but instantly reverted to a somber look. Thinking more on it, she didn't know half the things Finthick probably did. She was inexperienced, young, and she did not know enough about the world. In fact this realization made her feel small and insignificant, as though her own loss was nothing. He had lost a wife and a kid. She had lost almost nothing in comparison.

Effie heard his voice dwindle into a stifled choke and watched him head for the doors. He was definitely crying, no doubt about it. But Effie knew that she couldn't tease him about it. No, she cared for him more than that to ever do such a thing to him. "I'm sorry, Finthick... I didn't know," she muttered under her breath, now poking at the fire with a bone. Her breath shook and she realized she was on the verge of tears herself. She empathized with her partner much more than she could or would ever show.

Eventually, Finthick returned after what felt like hours. Effie had thrown a few bones in, but she stopped poking at it when she heard the doors open once more. He sat back down next to her, breathing normally once more. She looked over at him, but it seemed that he was once again lost in his own thoughts.

"I know that the pain you feel is a great burden, Fin. I'm sorry about your wife, I really... am." Her lower lip trembled a bit and she let herself shed a single tear. But of course, once she let that tear go, another one came and then another. She scooted over and pulled her partner into a hug without warning. Effie was never really good with consolation. "I wish I... had asked earlier... I had no clue."
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PostSubject: Re: The Righteous and Free: the Princess and the Pauper (Riprose. Again.)   Sat Aug 22, 2015 6:06 pm

Finthick continued to state into the fire, pulling his hood a little farther over his face. Those two sat there in silent embrace for awhile, Effie's words hanging over them in the quiet firelight. Finthick knew what she meant by them, even if there was more that could be said. He knew she cared, at least a little, and he allowed her to sit with him and join in his sorrow for a few minutes longer. Finally, he rose, pulling off the ratty, tattered hood and cloak he had worn for so long. It smelled of dust, sweat, and long years of wear, and he knew deep down inside that he needed a new one. It was less a cloak now, and more a half cape, and as he picked up one the last bones from the pile, wrapping it around the top, he thought back on all the times it had kept him warm on the rode, or thrown a bit of mystery to him as he walked into town, tattered cloak billowing behind him. He gripped the bone, and stuck the end wrapped in his cloak into the fire, crafting a fairly macabre torch, and offered a hand to Effie.

"Fancy a bit of exploring?" he asked, a sparkle in his eye, "I fancy I'll need a new cloak at some point, but there's a lot to see around here."
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PostSubject: Re: The Righteous and Free: the Princess and the Pauper (Riprose. Again.)   Sat Aug 22, 2015 10:00 pm

She was surprisingly fine with the silence, despite the fact that she realized she should probably not be crying. Eventually she just sat there with her arms wrapped around him, her tears dried because of the fire, numb from the emptiness of doing and thinking nothing. All she could do was look into the fire and think about the bones that fed it.

The Elves that fed it.

Finthick got up, which shook her out of her trance. He helped her up and, for a split second, Effie almost thought she had imagined his whole crying episode. "Exploring would be fine, I suppose. My legs have gone numb," she replied thoughtfully, smoothing her tunic out with her hands. "And I'll try to look around for a cape."
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PostSubject: Re: The Righteous and Free: the Princess and the Pauper (Riprose. Again.)   Mon Aug 24, 2015 1:11 am

Finthick smiled at her as she said she would look for a cape, almost correcting her that he wore cloaks, and not only that, but fashionable ones. He had no use for capes, especially the poofy ones that the nobles wore. He caught himself, though, and instead motioned her to follow him, holding the torch high and leading her past the dragon's nest, and up the stairs to that circled to the right. They climbed for a few minutes, each footfall leaving a small dust cloud behind where no one had tread for years. As they reached the top, the stairs opened into a large space filled with beds, kitchenettes, chests, wardrobes, and bookshelves. The room was huge, and there were enough accommodations to house at least thirty people.

"Huh," said finthick, holding the torch high, "you're looking at an elven communal, Effie."

Finthick moved to one of the spaces, sitting down on a wicker chair next to a wooden table. He moved his torch to the half used candles in a candelabra on the table, lighting the ancient wicks before hanging the bone torch on a nearby sconce. He motioned to one of the chairs across from him, saying, "elves live in communals, you see. They're culture is very touchy feely, everyone knows everyone's business. Families live together in spaces, close to the communal, but they get private spaces. Couples and single elves will live in spaces like these, though. Normally, if enough generations of elves are in the same family, an entire family will occupy a space like this. I'd propose sleeping here, but I know there are better quarters farther in. Would you like to start looting now, or shall we move on? THere's bound to be some goodies about."
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PostSubject: Re: The Righteous and Free: the Princess and the Pauper (Riprose. Again.)   Thu Nov 26, 2015 2:17 am

Euphemia followed behind her partner silently, stretching out her sore limbs as she walked. How long had the two been traveling? She swore that sitting down became more tiring than walking onward; she never wanted to get up after taking a break, but at the same time she was anxious staying down for too long. She itched to keep moving forward.

Her gaze swept the communal, fingers running along the rough wooden table. It wasn't as much dusty as it was textured, the carvings that ran along the edges showing her the amount of effort it took to make it. She winced slightly when Finthick mentioned looting; after burning the bones, she didn't want to take more than what was needed from this city. For some reason, it felt wrong to be stealing from this place. It was as though she were stealing from the grave. "I think we can explore later. All I want right now is to rest; the day's been dragging on for too long now."

As if on cue, she rubbed her eyes and stifled a persistent yawn; the day was harsh on her body and she knew she would be sore tomorrow. Effie nodded to her partner and sauntered to one of the rooms, collapsing on a bed and falling asleep just a few seconds afterward.
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PostSubject: Re: The Righteous and Free: the Princess and the Pauper (Riprose. Again.)   Wed Dec 16, 2015 11:28 pm

Finthick’s mind wandered blissfully as he silently watched his partner retreat to bed. His hand absentmindedly went to the sconce where his macabre torch rested, gripping it lightly as he lifted it from it’s resting place, and hoisted his weary body from it’s sitting position. Perhaps he would attempt to sleep tonight, he mused to himself humorously, toying with the idea of releasing his mind in the odd magic that made up of what people commonly called “Dreaming.” He relished the idea of conversing with his father, or even a solar or simple deva, but he knew such odds were slim, even though it had been many nights and many miles since he had last thought to rest his head and let his Will wander without his direction.

As he was thinking, he had started to walk, and had entered another hallway, following it lightly, elven footed as he was, not a step left in the thick layer of dust that had settled on the floor like a quilt around a man on a cold winter’s night. He eventually came to a new opening, not a proper door, but a dark open entryway, straight on the sides, with a slight arch at the top. He held his torch through it, illuminating what was inside, and revealing a much larger room than he had first expected. He took a slight step forward, and as his hand inched towards the opening, he stopped, pausing as he was made aware of a slight tingling in the air in front of him. Hmming slightly at the odd thing in front of him, he brought the torch to his face and inhaled sharply, the fire present slipping wistfully into his mouth, down his throat, before resting fitfully in his lower abdomen. He set the torch gently on the floor next to him, letting his eyes figure themselves out as they adjusted to this new darkness, welcoming the sudden change by shutting themselves behind one of their thin sets of lids, giving Finthick a brisk night vision, robbing him of colors, but allowing him to see things in a much clearer light than that provided by a torch.


Reaching out his hand slowly, he pushed and pushed until he found that same buzzing, pausing and easing his hand upward, until his palm was directly facing the doorway. He inhaled sharply, his hand buzzing with the excess energy set off by whatever energy flowed through the doorway. As he could not ascertain what sort of enchantment or ward it was from merely feeling it, he disappointedly began running his hands around the side of the wall, long, sensitive fingers looking for the tell tale runes, sparking with energy, that kept this ancient piece of will anchored.

Finthick humphed as he slid his hand over a thin vein of writing, energy dancing along his fingers. He couldn’t make out the shape of them in the dark, and he glared at the obstinate doorway, frowning through the darkness, through the thin veil of magic, not quite being able to perceive the contents of the room beyond. His dragon side was entranced, though, at the chance of a multitude of treasure being hidden through this narrow doorway. In one last bout of frustration fueled, childish impulse, he picked up the bone he had been using as a torch, and hurled it through the doorway, where it instantaneously turned to ash.

Finthick’s brows furled even harder into a look of confused curiosity, and as he sat down, back against the wall, it was with this expression and his eyes fixed firmly on the door that he eventually allowed his will to wander, and the odd pleasure of sleep to visit him again.
p to visit him again.
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PostSubject: Re: The Righteous and Free: the Princess and the Pauper (Riprose. Again.)   Sun Dec 20, 2015 1:49 am

The night went undisturbed for Effie, despite the Ent's slow stomping. She was just too tired to keep herself awake any longer; the energy that coursed weakly through her veins simply vanished as soon as her head hit the bed. Within moments, her mind wandered into a darkness that was wonderfully familiar and utterly soothing. No nightmares, no dreams. Yet she felt a strange burning sensation spreading from the pit of her stomach towards her arms and legs, causing her much discomfort.

When she did wake up again, light was streaming through the corridors of the communal. Effie stretched out her aching limbs and rubbed her eyes, wondering slightly why her head was spinning ever so slightly. But she recalled the steady lurch that the Ent moved with and deducted that she was getting slightly motion sick, especially with her stomach empty of food and water. Her hands instinctively grabbed for the pouch with the egg inside, moving it so that the straps went over her shoulders. She moved to the door and didn't see Finthick right away, moving back down the halls, retracing her steps from the night before towards the original branch they'd climbed to talk to the Ent. Her hand often reached out to touch the wall in order to steady herself.

She walked carefully out onto the branch, squinting past the sunlight to try and get a good look at the Ent. "Good morning," she started loudly, feeling the air from her lungs rush past her parched throat. "How have you been? I apologize for leaving yesterday without saying goodbye, we were a little entranced by the city."

"Indeed, it is no problem at all. It has been a long while since I had last moved. It is refreshing to walk on my own; being without company is commonplace now," his ancient voice croaked, his branches shuddering slightly. "Euphoria, was it? I hope your rest went unperturbed. How is your thorny elf partner?"

Effie shrugged, her arms wrapping over her stomach as she sighed. "Fine, I suppose. Would you mind if we stopped for a bit? I must collect water and perhaps fresh food. It will also do you some good to just sit for a while before continuing."

The Ent gave a grunt in response, his limbs creaking to a halt before he offered the palm of his hand to Effie and her egg. She hoisted herself up onto it, feeling her stomach buzz a little as she was lowered to the earth. Her legs felt a little wobbly even when she walked about, taking note of the direction that the Ent pointed her to. When was the last time she felt this terrible? Euphemia wasn't one to get easily sick; no, she had never been like this ever since she began travelling with Finthick. Even when she lived in the castle, she wasn't known for getting sick and staying in bed. There was one time, however, when she was bedridden. In fact, she'd been so ill that they needed buckets by her bed and in her bathroom just for her sake. Needless to say, she wasn't allowed out of her room for a long while.

-

It'd been the fourth day she was sick. Effie was laying in bed, staring out her window. Her servants had forbid her from reading as it would simply strain her too much and she was not allowed to move her pillows or sheets. She wasn't even allowed any visitors! She was simply staring out the window, 'trying' to sleep (though the servants told her to, they opened the curtains because they said sunlight would help her recover) when suddenly, a dark figure descended from above her window, standing outside the glass on her balcony. This startled her a bit and she sat upright, but she didn't dare to leave her bed. The figure, opening her door, invited itself in, moving toward her bed carefully and noiselessly. She blinked once or twice, trying to focus on the face of the mysterious person, but they removed the hood of the cape they wore and...

"Cyrus?" Effie asked incredulously, falling back onto her pillows with an audible huff. "What the hell are you doing here? Trying to scare the sickness out of me?"

He laughed, moving to her side and taking her hand. "If that's what it takes then yes, I attempted to do just that. Did it work?" With his other hand, he proffered a few flowers into a vase sitting on her nightstand. His calm smile, despite knowing it well, gave Effie a fluttery feeling in her stomach; or maybe that was her sickness threatening to scare off her fiancee?

"No, it's still there. You know, I know exactly how a caged bird feels at this point. I'm not even allowed out of my room! The only other place I can go is the bathroom and even then I'm only allowed there a few times!" She whined, gripping his palm tightly. "I might as well be in a coffin!"

"Shhhh, calm down! I'm not supposed to be in here right now, hence my entrance of choice," Cyrus murmured, smoothing the hair on her head. "If you're sick of it, let me help you. I can take you to the garden for a bit."

She shook her head. "Won't work, the guards there will see me and I'll be sent back here, genius. Everyone at the palace knows I'm not to be seen out and about. Now, if there was a way to hypnotize them into thinking otherwise, I'd love to hear about it."

Cyrus rolled his eyes, leaning over Euphemia to grab her sides, pulling her up and onto her feet. She struggled to stand a bit, but with the help of his steady arm, they crept towards her balcony. "I can help you go anywhere else if you'd like. Or are you going to just retreat into your 'cage' again?"

Effie again felt a flutter and her cheeks burned slightly. "I want to go climb a tree. The leaves can block this dreaded brightness." She felt a cool breeze blow past her ankles, reminding her of her disheveled appearance: her knotted hair, the dark circles around her eyes, the unsoiled cream nightgown she had been in all morning. She folded her arms over her chest in an attempt to regain some dignity, but Cyrus once again foiled that idea by coaxing her into riding his back piggyback style so that they could get to her favorite tree without being easily seen.

She'd attempted to climb that tree but because of her weak state of being, she'd needed Cyrus's help up. But once there, she climbed to a comfortable spot and nestled in, sighing in relief. Her fiancee joined her, but there was a long silence that stretched on for what felt like eons. It wasn't too uncomfortable; they were often like this, lost in thought, hands close enough to be held but neither of them having the guts to do it first, staring at anything but the other person. Perhaps it was Effie never really being openly affectionate that stopped Cyrus from being too close with her. Or perhaps he just never really felt the same feelings that Effie had whenever he was around. Either way, the two didn't know what to say to close the sea-wide gap between them.

"Er..." Effie coughed, blushing violently after forcing herself out of her thoughts. "Thank you. I hate being forced to stay in my room for so long. It's good to be out... Even though the servants don't try to scare the crap out of me." She attempted a smile, but it came out faintly, her eyes darting to and away Cyrus's own gaze. He seemed so calm and sweet, Effie wasn't sure if he was able to stand her own loud temperament. He was definitely of a princely stature; it was ironic that she was the princess in this situation.

But he didn't scoff or make a joke back. He moved closer to her and took her hand carefully, planting a gentle kiss on her forehead. This, of course, sent Effie into a mental fit, her face turning a brighter, more obvious shade of red. "You're welcome, Princess Euphemia. You know I'll help you with anything, just say the word and it's done. But I can't guarantee I'll stop trying to scare you a bit every now and then," he chuckled.

Effie, in the midst of her fit, racked her brain for an immediate response. She clapped her free hand over his, causing him to arch an eyebrow, but she didn't care. She stared at him directly, fiercely, her words tumbling out on their own. "Please, call me Effie. Love me as a woman called Effie, not as just a princess." And just like that, she let go of his hands and looked down at her lap, feeling dizzy from both illness and her own words.

Yet Cyrus didn't seem to mind in the slightest. "Of course. Whatever you say, Effie."

-

Effie straightened up, wiping away the bile from her lips. Her stomach felt as though it were on fire, but the emptiness made her feel good after feeling so nauseous. She continued away from the tree, approaching a pristine river. The young woman grimaced a bit, angry at her memories for betraying her. She no longer wanted to remember feelings and thoughts from her past; she'd buried them along with her hope of his return home.

In that river she washed her face, trying to focus on her task at hand. With a pouch, she collected water and drank, then refilled and capped it before heading back towards the Ent. And on the way back, she attempted to catch two rabbits, succeeding with only one before bringing herself to the temporary home.
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PostSubject: Re: The Righteous and Free: the Princess and the Pauper (Riprose. Again.)   Sat Dec 26, 2015 11:53 pm

Finthick's eyes snapped open in the morning, the steady lurching of the ent halting as they stopped. His eyes widened for the space of a single second, before they relaxed, and he pushed himself up from the wall where he had spent the night, stretching himself lithely, the tendons in his back and arms popping loudly as he released a colossal yawn. His sleep had been disappointingly uneventful, with the themes ranging from whimsical to out right ridiculous. The door bugged him, and his dragon blood boiled with furious curiosity as to what laid beyond this door, this veil. He growled at the dim morning light, turning sharply, knowing he would get no further in this morning's investigation with the low light that mid morning offered him. He retraced his footsteps to where Effie slept, and was surprised to see her up and about already. He shrugged, making his way back towards the main hall, when he became acutely aware that the ent had stopped moving. Curious, he continued, following the marks and signs he had made to lead him back towards the front door. Easing the door open, he leaned against the railng, looking down to the forest floor, far below. He sniffed once, not wanting to make the descent, instead voting to sit down on the deck and wait patiently for his partner to return to the city that they now resided in.
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PostSubject: Re: The Righteous and Free: the Princess and the Pauper (Riprose. Again.)   Sun Dec 27, 2015 10:49 pm

Effie was feeling very off, even after vomiting. The water, though quenching her thirst, did not improve the aching feeling that was ringing down her spine or the burning sensation in her stomach. She realized that she may have caught something, but she wanted to desperately ignore it. No, sickness could easily be cured by food and hydration. Surely, this small, ill feeling was nothing.

She approached the Ent and requested his help in getting back up to the city, her hands holding the straps of her bag tightly as she clenched her teeth. The ascent up made her feel worse, her stomach flip-flopping unnecessarily. Her feet stepped shakily onto the deck that looked out over the Ent's shoulder, the Ent starting again at a deliberate lurch through the forest. Effie turned towards the door back into the city, but soon noticed Finthick sitting patiently before it, his eyes staring at her carefully.

Taking a careful gulp, Euphemia straightened her back and shook off any look that gave away how she felt. "Good morning, Finn. Did you rest well? I decided to stop the Ent for a bit to get some food, but I only managed to catch this. Oh, and water. We should be good for a few hours, at least."
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PostSubject: Re: The Righteous and Free: the Princess and the Pauper (Riprose. Again.)   Sat Jun 04, 2016 1:24 am

(Time skip)

Euphemia and Finthick headed back inside the ent and cooked the two rabbits she had caught previously, leisurely continuing their sweep for loot. The sickness faded ever so slightly, but there seemed an uncomfortable weight resting in her stomach that made her a tad sluggish. Of all the things she wanted, she mostly wished to lay in her bed to rest but she knew she couldn't.

It was then, a few hours later, when Effie had busied herself with further exploration of the ent's lower quarters that she began to hear very loud humming noises buzzing through the air, reverberating against the walls around her. She shuddered and winced; where the hell did that noise come from? The hums continued, waxing and waning in volume and Euphemia was able to trace it all the way to a dark door, runes scribbled across the top of the frame. She stood in front of it with arms crossed around her chest, waiting for Finthick to show up (she knew he would-- the noise was of the unnatural kind, there was no way he wouldn't).

When he did, she gestured to the doorway. "Any guesses on what that is? I don't want to open it and get mauled."
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PostSubject: Re: The Righteous and Free: the Princess and the Pauper (Riprose. Again.)   Sun Jun 05, 2016 1:08 am

Finthick slid lightly up behind his partner, reaching an arm over her shoulder to lightly brush the door frame. He raised a gentle eyebrow at Effie's question, the gentle arch suggesting skeptic curiosity. "I'm not sure," he said, huffing out of his nose, steam billowing out and forming a hazy cloud around Effie and himself, before dissipating into the air, "there are a lot of possibilities. It could be terrible, wonderful, or somewhere in between. It might be a portal, or merely a barricade. I think we should send something through, but I'm not sure how we would measure the result."

He stood there for a few long moments, his body heat mingling with her's, tracing his fingers lightly over the runes. In the light, he could make out a few of the runes. They were definitely magical, but the only one's he understood were "Travel", "Block", and "Many". He was unsure as to what these related, as they were located fairly close to each other, and he leaned in closer to look, unknowingly pressing his chest to Effie's back. He gazed at the rune's in quiet study, huffing, a perpetual haze hanging around them, turning the end of the hallway into a steamy, low lit den, a dark wooden doorway facing them on the other side.
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PostSubject: Re: The Righteous and Free: the Princess and the Pauper (Riprose. Again.)   Sun Jun 05, 2016 1:34 am

Effie stayed silent as she listened to the sound of her partner's soft breaths. They brushed past her ear, warm and humid; even then she got chills just looking at the doors frame with its mysterious runes that she could not comprehend. Though there really was enough room to stand right next to her, Finthick was leaning against her back in order to see the runes. He better not be using me as a barrier between him and the damn door... Effie thought for a split second before coughing lightly and stepping aside a bit. "We can find rope and send something through it. I'm pretty sure we had come across some back when we were looting," she stated quietly, not sure why she felt the need hush her voice. It must be because, whatever was behind that gateway, was listening to their every word.

She hurried back up to grab the rope, grabbing a good bundle of remains with her as the bait, before returning to where Finthick stood, pondering over the runes still. She knelt to the ground and bundled the bones together, wrapping the braided rope around it and knotting it carefully. Effie tested how the bait held up (surprisingly well enough, even if it did look a little cumbersome) and gently pulled Finthick away from the door. She opened the door and was met with a black sheath of smoke, tendrils of the eerie haze floating past the frame and into the hall. "Here we go!" Effie muttered just before tossing the bundle in, letting the rope travel a bit before holding onto it. It hung there for a bit, but she couldn't feel whether the bones had hit something or not. "Nothing's really happening, not that I can tell, Finny."
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PostSubject: Re: The Righteous and Free: the Princess and the Pauper (Riprose. Again.)   Mon Jul 18, 2016 12:56 am

Finthick gently took the rope from Effie, their hands touching briefly, her's soft and unmarred, his rough and calloused, a slight distraction from the scratchy, gruff material that made up the rope. He examined it briefly, before giving it a sharp yank. He could feel something clattering on the other end, but no sound found it's way through the door. Finthick frowned slightly, and gripping the rope again, yanked. This time, the rope pulled taught, the chord trembling with anticipation as the bundle caught on something on the other side of the door. Finthick smiled, and shimmied the rope a little, and pulled again. The bundle came flying back towards him, and he ducked quickly, the bundle of bones flying past Effie and over his head, landing with a loud clatter behind them. Finthick stopped and peered at the doorway. The surface was smooth, reflecting back their own faces, a slight ripple resounding and seceding now from where the bones had returned from. Tentatively, Finthick reached out, his hand brushing lightly against the veil, before he stepped through it, his feet passing through with purpose. It wasn't long that Effie stood there alone, before Finthick's scaled hand reached through quickly, and pulled her gently through the portal by the collar, setting her gently down next to him.
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PostSubject: Re: The Righteous and Free: the Princess and the Pauper (Riprose. Again.)   Tue Jul 19, 2016 4:17 pm

Effie wasn't quite sure what Finthick was up to when he'd reached for the rope, but she let him do whatever he pleased. Anything goes when it comes to something as mysterious as the magic entrance that stood before them. So when he'd stepped through without much further hesitation, she'd let him. But she was definitely less than pleased when he grabbed the collar of her new tunic and pulled her through the veil as well.

"Damn you, Finthick, I don't really care what you do but could you not pull me into it like that?!" She growled quietly as soon as she came to the other side of the entrance, her hand pushing his away from her neck.

Euphemia pulled out her blade, warily looking about the new room they'd come into. It was a lot bigger than the hallway they'd stepped away from, the high ceiling making her feel a lot smaller all of a sudden. In every direction there was nothing but wood, of course with the exception to unlit white candles that stood on shelves, tables, and even precariously balancing on one of the chairs. A giant window allowed light to trickle through, decorated on either side with curtains that were once white (but were now a faint cream color). The shelves were filled with books and tomes a lot more ancient than the ancient history books and lexicons in her palace's library back at home, their bindings fraying and and peeling away. Though Effie had put her sleeve over her mouth in case the air was musty, she realized it was impeccably clean and lowered her arm. "What do you suppose is worth sealing away in here?"
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PostSubject: Re: The Righteous and Free: the Princess and the Pauper (Riprose. Again.)   Thu Jul 21, 2016 11:39 pm

Finthick grunted at Effie's quick draw of her sword. He appreciated her caution, but sometimes she as paranoid as could be. Whatever lived her, now, was clean, and well to do. Books lined the sh on the walls, and he was surprised to fin that he recognized quite a bit of the lettering that stuck out from the spines in a multitude of different colors. He slowly grasped the hand of her's that held her weapon, guiding it deftly back into it's sheathe. He pointed to the woodwork, to the markings on the walls and the writing on the books. "Do you recognize any of this? It's definitely Elefain in nature, but the lettering isn't of our era. If I didn't know better, I would say that this dialect is over a hundred years old."

He walked to the door on the opposite room, pressing his ear to it and listening intently. On the other side, he could hear muffled voices, and a soft, feminine giggling. Laughter echoed, even through the thick wood, and before long he could make out the slightest traces of music, a violin humming softly. He quietly wondered what time of day it was here, but drew back as he suddenly heard footsteps in his direction. He was almost to the desk, ready to vault it and pull Effie down underneath it with him, when a very pretty elven maid opened, and began to speak in very fast, and very frightened Elven. Finthick was a little dazed, his heart flutteringa bit in his chest at the sight of her. HE quickly broke into a cold sweat, and his eyes fluttered in his head. "Taly..."

Finthick's head connected cleanly with the solid oak desk as he passed out, his mind retreating a few paces into itself to deal with the shock to his system. This frightened the elven woman even more as she turned to Effie. She inspected her, and a look of mild curiousity snuck into her eye. She cautiously crept forward a few paces, kneeling down by Finthick, but not taking her eyes off of Effie. "Etna? Et pal florel? Tal flime al pactal. Mita a Talmeria, dautua a Riprose. (Who are you? Why are you here? Your friend needs help. I am Talmeria, daughter of Riprose.)"
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PostSubject: Re: The Righteous and Free: the Princess and the Pauper (Riprose. Again.)   Fri Jul 22, 2016 12:11 am

Effie looked closely at the shapes that were, at first, unrecognizable to her. After a few moments, it finally clicked that they resembled the little Elefain she herself knew from years past, when she once resided in the castle. The memories of those times came back to her in a flash, disappearing within another moment's notice.

"Yea," she replied softly, not really noticing that he was snooping around more. Euphemia was more taken by the words she couldn't understand, curiosity budding from within her gut. She wanted to learn the ancient tongues, but she couldn't go back to that life, playing the role of some peacekeeper when everything was in turmoil. It was impossible. That role was dead and buried, never to be fulfilled in her lifetime. Her eyes swept over the desk, the same words found on a few books that sat there. She wanted to pick them up and flip through the pages, to see if there was anything she could discern, anything she could use her past knowledge on. But the likelihood of that happening was very little.

"Taly..." she heard Finthick murmur before he fell, his head hitting the edge of the desk with a loud crack. She winced, imagining how much that probably hurt, before making eye contact with the woman in question, a beautiful elf who seemed very, very startled at their presence.

She blinked when the woman (Taly, she assumed) spoke to her, her words even making some sense to her. But replying? Now that was definitely a tad more difficult. "Mita a Euphemia," she started, promptly stopping because she didn't know how to really converse. She'd been so out of practice, the language no longer rolled off the tongue with even a fraction of the ease it once used to. "Help me carry him, please?" Effie asked in common now, trying to motion her to Finny's body, picking him up by his arms and waiting for Talmeria to do the same with his legs.
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PostSubject: Re: The Righteous and Free: the Princess and the Pauper (Riprose. Again.)   Sun Oct 09, 2016 7:20 pm

Taly gave a raised eyebrow to the pair in front of her. She didn't understand the words that the woman was saying exactly, but from the way she mimed and waved her arms in a confused fashion, Taly decided that she wanted her help lifting the man. With a sigh, she walked over to him, positioning herself at his shoulders. Grasping under his armpits, Taly lifted, and as she did, the man's hair fell away from his face. She was puzzled by what she saw. Here was the face of one of her northern bretheren, the rune elves, but dotted about his cheeks, and under his eyes, bright crimson shined, giving a glow to his angular handsome face. She set him down a minute as the girl positioned herself at his feet. Reaching out gently, she brushed her hand acrossed his face, and nearly cut herself on the sharp edge of his draconic scales. She let out a small yelp, and quickly picked Finthick up, taking the lead, and moving out of the room. With Effie's help, they quickly moved to Taly's room down the hall, slipping into it without anyone spotting them. they dropped Finthick down onto her bed, and Taly quickly tucked him into bed with deft hands, used to moving quickly in routine.

After she made sure he would wake up comfortably, she turned to Effie. She studied the dimnuitive woman with a calculating eye. She was pretty, that was for sure, if a bit lacking in curvature. She was obviously human, and carried herself with a pomp and dignity that most humans possessed, but her's was more pronounced and practiced, marking her as one of the nobility. Effie tried to think back to her lessons on Common, the language the humans invented to try and get a shared language between the races. She knew a little, though how to get rid of her accent alluded her still. Choosing her words carefully, she asked, "Who are you? Where do you home? Parents?"

She stopped now, not sure if that was the right word. Thinking back, she spoke again, "Lineage? Right phrase?" She stopped now, frowning even further as the language eluded her. She tapped her fingers on a nearby desk, a pout slipping onto her beautiful face. She tucked a few strands of auburn hair behind her ear, slipping to a nearby bookshelf and scanning it for something that might help, but not quite sure what to look for, either. continuing to pout, she turned to the man on her bed, motioning with her hands and asking, "Who is he? What is he?"
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