Esmora: The Blade of the Rose [Reserved Nyx]

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Xylohem
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Re: Esmora: The Blade of the Rose [Reserved Nyx]

Post by Xylohem » Fri Jul 27, 2018 7:07 am

"I believe you, Lucian Caelum." Time seemed to pass slowly as other Initiates attempted their trial. The second to pass was a Naga woman who spoke her answer to the riddle proudly and with confidence. And true to the Queen's words, the woman's answer was different than Lucian's. It was at this point Anaslyn saw a few realize how tough the test would be. But as they looked to the Queen, she saw a familiar feeling shine in a few of their eyes. They knew that even if they failed the test their Queen would not be mad at them, but rather guide them as a mother would.

Even with this peace of mind, when they reached the line and prepared themselves for the incoming challenge fear flashed on their faces. Slowly the Rose Queen turned her head toward Lucian but her brown eyes seemed to look past him as if he weren't there. And in a strange language, much like that of the Naga Rose Guard who had healed the Woodsman's wounds, she spoke to the Naga woman. The two seemed to casually converse, though the Naga woman did not bow her head to the Queen. Instead, she seemed to puff her chest forward with pride as she spoke.

The Rose Queen did not look offended and her tone remained sweet, even speaking the strange and slightly musical sounding language. A few times the Naga woman seemed to raise her hands toward her face as if to hide her blushing cheeks, but she wasn't blushing at all.

Eventually, the pair stopped talking and the woman cupped both of her hands in front of her face and lowered her head to the Queen. To which the Rose Queen responded in kind and smiled. She had studied the cultures and languages of every known race while she was Anaslyn, the noble from Vellidor. This was a partial reason she was sent to watch over the war for the forces of Vellidor.

Soon there only stood half the group of fifty Initiates left to take their test with only two who had succeeded so far. Anaslyn had hoped to have five new souls to join the Rose Guard, but should the rest fail then she would call upon others on the continent of Kaleth to join her Guard.

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Re: Esmora: The Blade of the Rose [Reserved Nyx]

Post by Nyx » Fri Jul 27, 2018 10:53 pm

As the Naga woman neared, Lucian acknowledged her with a nod of respect. Despite their race’s general serpentine appearance, their woman often had fair, rather beautiful faces. They were a proud and cunning race, and he had the opportunity to meet a few that tagged along with an explorer expedition. Their language was difficult to learn, but Lucian found he enjoyed the sense of accomplishment he felt when he learned a particularly difficult phrase. Or perhaps he simply enjoyed struggling.

The Queen seemed to engage in polite conversation with the woman, and though he enjoyed the musical quality of her voice, his attention mostly lingered on the remaining group of Initiates. Two more failed rather quickly. One had been shot through the hand but continued on towards the planks until he caught an arrow through the eyes and he was dragged off to heal.

The next was getting ready to begin. Lucian had leaned himself against the wall at this point, a hand stretched out near his waist, fingers idly twitching, warmth spreading along his palm. He wasn't even aware of what he was doing until he felt the cold from drawing the heat away from the space around him, and flames lightly danced between his fingers. He closed his hand quickly, stuffing out the flame, but he felt the goosebumps spreading along his arms and back, and fought to repress a shiver with a soft grunt.

Lucian shifted his stance slightly, looking down at his frame. Unaware of the frown that pulled at his lips, he tugged lightly at his shirt as if he just realized how much skin he was actually showing. With a quick glance towards the others, he folding his arms over his chest again. The next testee had managed to make it to the planks by the time he looked back up, it stood to reason they had a pretty good chance of making it so far.
For now it's too soon to say, "Will we be always, always?"

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Re: Esmora: The Blade of the Rose [Reserved Nyx]

Post by Xylohem » Fri Jul 27, 2018 11:33 pm

The pain the Initiates were going through threatened to move the Queen into action, though she remained still and watched carefully. Braxis continued to hound the hopefuls and a few other Rose Guard members had stepped forward to help heal and tend to the wounded. Anaslyn closed her eyes for a moment to give herself some resolve. It was necessary, or she might just be sending her people to their deaths without carelessly. Still, the pained moans of the injured sounded deep within her mind threatening to bury her alive.

Slowly she opened her eyes to cast away the pained thoughts and returned her attention to the test. While the Rose Queen kept her attention on the trial, the uncomfortable grunt that came from near her made her turn. Carefully her eyes looked to Lucian questioningly. Studying his lax position, she smiled beneath her mask. Few of her Rose Guard would be lax around her, even if she stood in front of them she could feel their tension.

As his eyes glanced down at hit ripped and torn shirt, she swore she saw a bit of red color his cheeks. But it might just have been the heat of the day and the might of the sun beating down on the continent. Though her mind began to play around with the idea that he was embarrassed. He was indeed strong, she could tell before he even went through the trial. His muscles were prominent enough that she had no doubt he could possibly give one of her Goliath Rose Guard a run for their money in an arm wrestle.

"Uncomfortable in the city Woodsman?" Her question was innocent as she looked at Lucian. The Rose Queen felt Anaslyn smile teasingly, but the Queen kept her face blank beneath the mask. Holding to two separate and secretive lives was difficult enough, but now with new faces in the mix and a war on its way. Both sides, Anaslyn and the Rose Queen knew that her little escapes into the city to help would become immediately halted if a kingdom declared war. This revolution hurt her deeply, but by the time of this day she had grown accustomed to hiding this pain.

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Re: Esmora: The Blade of the Rose [Reserved Nyx]

Post by Nyx » Sat Jul 28, 2018 12:10 am

“Uncomfortable in the city, Woodsman?”

He felt the heat flush his cheeks, the warmth of the day suddenly uncomfortable. His jaws clenched slightly as he fought to keep his expression neutral, though he couldn't hide the narrowing of his eyes. Then, unable to hold it any long, he chuckled softly and turned to regard the Queen. With a shrug of the shoulder, Lucian spared a glance for the Naga woman as well.

“It is that obvious? You can take a man out of the wild, but you can't take the wild out of the man, I suppose.”

His grey eyes shone with mirth, lips twitching in a half smile, flashing white teeth with slightly pronounced canines. When his attention turned back towards the activities, he let out a soft sigh.

“I had forgone wearing any armour, for fear that I would be over prepared for the occasion. Now you have the advantage of me being underdressed. Not that I mind the experience.. it's just, I really quite liked this shirt, my Queen.”

He looked down and tugged lightly at the ruined fabric, before raising his eyes to meet her own.

“I wouldn't have expected your thorns to be so.. possessive.”

Lucian winked playfully, surprising even himself.
For now it's too soon to say, "Will we be always, always?"

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Re: Esmora: The Blade of the Rose [Reserved Nyx]

Post by Xylohem » Sat Jul 28, 2018 1:16 am

Confidence. Arrogance. No, not completely arrogant. As she watched him she could sense the power he seemed to radiate. He had earned his confidence in some way she knew not how. Though his tone was sly and quick. Many men had put forward their confidence when they met her as the Queen, but none were as bold. Actually, a moment passed and she seemed to laugh as if taunting him. She had been advanced upon by so many men even when she did not don her masks and a few were even bolder than the Woodsman who stood confidently.

Slowly she raised her right hand and the sound of a few swords sliding into their sheaths. Three Rose Guard had silently stepped within ten paces of Lucian with weapons partially drawn. Of course, the three were Elven, but as the Rose Queen seemed to laugh others turned their gaze to the Queen who looked to Braxis. "Oh, my dear Woodsman. You're so much more than bold and confident." The tender and light tone of her voice quickly seemed to shift back into a confidence and noble tone, "But, you have much to learn. I hope you keep your mind as open as often as you stare at me with my gaze away from you."

One of the Elven Rose Guard seemed to shift in place, though with the helmet that hid their face it was impossible to tell if they were just fidgety or if they were struck by the words she spoke.

Still, the Rose Queen turned her gaze back to the trial and watched as the third Initiate had used the distraction to pass through the magical door. Carefully two of the Elven Rose Guard moved back to their original positions while one with a white cape clasped to the back of their armor stood behind the Queen a few feet away.

Anaslyn wouldn't condemn her. Olora was only doing what she thought was right and needed. While the dark elf woman would likely remain silent, Braxis broke the tension by going to the newest Initiate who had passed the test. "Well, I honestly didn't think you'd make it small one." As he chuckled, the Goliath pointed to the Rose Queen's left. Cautiously a Gnome man moved to a standing position near the Naga woman who had seemed to turn and stare at Lucian's mostly exposed upper body.

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Re: Esmora: The Blade of the Rose [Reserved Nyx]

Post by Nyx » Sat Jul 28, 2018 3:20 am

Lucian thought she may have mistook his openness for an advance, but he didn't bother to correct her. In truth, she may have just cut right to the truth of the matter, but he never meant it to come across as that way. When the Rose Guards stepped forward the warning was clear, but his eyes were focused and intense. Swords slipped free of their scabbards a few inches, but Lucian thought that was a mistake. It looked intimidating sure, but the advantage of surprise was lost.

His body had gone completely still, apart from the slight twitch of his index finger. It would take just under two heartbeats to draw the kukris at his waist, and two further to throw the blade. The deciding factor was distance, and with the Guards standing close together, swinging their swords would be near impossible, but they'd know that, presumably, and opt for a more stabbing or vertical slashing motion. They'd given up their advantage of surprise, but Lucian had a few of his own. The trouble would come from their armor, but a quick glance gave him their weaknesses. Eye slits, armpits, the back of the knees. These were spots typically uncovered.

His first move would be to close the distance, left or right, it didn't make much of a difference and it was mostly depending on who was quicker on the draw. They would have to go first. He could use the first body as a barrier for the second and third to keep them from surrounding him and whittle them down. He could close the distance immediately. Magic was a distinct possibility, but he found himself unafraid of the probability.

"Oh, my dear Woodsman. You're so much more than bold and confident. But, you have much to learn. I hope you keep your mind as open as often as you stare at me with my gaze away from you."

He shook his head slightly to clear his thoughts. A slight tremor ran up his arm.

Had he actually thought about attacking someone?

The Guards had stepped away, and one remained closer to the Queen. He wasn't sure what to say, though he felt properly chastised, he couldn't help the troubling emotions that raged underneath the surface. Finally he said, “I sincerely apologize, your Highness, I overstepped myself, and did not mean to sound overly-familiar. I admit I don't have much practice when it comes to social…?” He tried, but he wasn't sure of the word.
For now it's too soon to say, "Will we be always, always?"

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Re: Esmora: The Blade of the Rose [Reserved Nyx]

Post by Xylohem » Sat Jul 28, 2018 4:23 am

"Scenarios perhaps." Her tone was calm and as cold as a winter breeze. "The wild in your heart must be tamed, Lucian. You will be able to practice talking and etiquette afterward." After her words had been spoken she seemed to remain still and silent. She would not see a fight break out amongst the Guard, not with so many others nearby. So her mouth remained closed and her mind let Lucian's smirk and wink fall away. Though she couldn't seem to erase the look in his eyes from her mind. They had tried to goad her into a response, one which she had given. And one that was not very reminiscent of a Queen.

Quietly the Rose Queen watched the trails continue. Some of the Initiates had seen the situation with some turning their gaze back to the Queen just for a moment. A couple looked at her with fear while others were admittedly difficult to read. This troubled her as she narrowed her eyes toward those who seemed hard to read. Quickly their gazes returned to the next Initiate as they attempted to scramble up the high wall.

"Something troubling you?" A quiet and familiar voice snuck into Anaslyn's mind. For a moment she tensed, but after she realized who held this power she felt herself relax. In her mind, she responded to one who held more power than herself.

"I need a break..." The light voice giggled hysterically at her choice of words. Gently a smile pulled at her lips as she held back the urge to laugh along with her unseen friend. No, not unseen. A tender glimmer of purple and green showed in the sunlight by the entrance. Though, the colors seemed to become visible for but a heartbeat and then return to their invisible form.

While the Queen remained quiet, the Naga woman smiled at Lucian and whispered low to him. "If you need help with anything you just ask."

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Re: Esmora: The Blade of the Rose [Reserved Nyx]

Post by Nyx » Tue Jul 31, 2018 4:39 am

Lucian choked on his response, attempting to cover his blush with a cough. His face seemed to be in a constant state of flush, almost uncomfortably warm despite the small breeze that filtered into the morning. The initiates were starting and failing at a pretty good clip now even as Lucian turned to face the Naga woman with a hand rubbing the back of his neck.

“Err.. I… thank you. Apologies, I don't think I got your name.”

He couldn't help but notice the way her eyes seemed to linger over his form, as if sizing him up, or perhaps something else. Her gaze was intense even, but Lucian didn't wilt or back down, simply watching her in return. It wasn't pride, per se, but rather a learned behavior. All the social nuances Lucian had acquired up until this point were mostly learned from his father. And his father taught him that it was rude to not look a person in the eyes. Now it was the first thing he noticed in a person.

The Queen had gone relatively silent, opting to watch the ongoing trials. The dismissal seemed clear to Lucian, and he was all too happy for the opportunity to not shove his foot in his mouth again when it came to her. He found himself considering her words regardless. There was some wild, untamed part of him. A part that craves freedom, and the safety of familiar territory. But another part of him also wanted something new, adventure, a chance to prove himself. With these thoughts in mind, a soft smile touched his lips.

“I would help you too, if you needed it.”
For now it's too soon to say, "Will we be always, always?"

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Re: Esmora: The Blade of the Rose [Reserved Nyx]

Post by Xylohem » Tue Jul 31, 2018 5:27 am

Carefully the Naga woman moved her chest forward in the same fashion she had done when she was talking to the Rose Queen. "I am Shulin Asyn, of clear waters." Slowly the woman smiled with pride. While the terms of water were strange to any who did not know of the Naga's culture. It was known that 'clear water' meant the specific family held some sort of high-class ranking. Her piercing blue eyes watched Lucian as she put forward a webbed hand. The sea-blue scales the covered her entire form seemed to shine as she kept her hand in place. "I've never met one of the river streams. Have you seen the mysteries?"

Knowledge of the Faerie was common, though their presence was thought to be a myth as their hidden homes were nearly impossible to find in large groupings. Though this didn't stop some from attempting to find the Faerie cities. Many bards strung their attempted adventures with lies that they had found the beasts and even laid with a few. Some historians had also ventured out into the wood only to find old ruins of Faerie homes that were long since covered by the forest.

Still, the chance to roam the forests and possibly see one of those strange creatures was alluring. There even stood a rumor, or tall-tale, that the Rose Queen herself had gone alone into the central woods near the heart of her kingdom. In those woods, it was said she found an entire Kingdom of the Faerie folk and became good friends with their royalty. But these were just stories parents told their children to amaze them.

The next Initiate had fallen short of the balance beam as the shield had been struck and an arrow found a soft spot in the woman's side. Braxis had the course cleared quickly and another Initiate moved forward. "Regretfully, neither of us can claim a break. We have people to care for." Anaslyn let out a quiet sigh. Her friend was right but... "I'm here to give you a soldier. She will defend you, as one of your Guard." Quickly the Rose Queen scanned the smaller group and saw a hint of crimson. As her eyes met that of the woman Anaslyn remembered her. "Teach her, and keep her safe, my friend." Worry filled Anaslyn as she watched the Elf woman with crimson hair move to be the next to try the course.

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Re: Esmora: The Blade of the Rose [Reserved Nyx]

Post by Nyx » Wed Aug 01, 2018 5:23 am

“Ah. Pleased to have met your acquaintance Shulin Asyn, of clear waters.”

Lucian offered her a slight bow of respect. Feeling more comfortable with the gesture, it was of marginally better quality than the Queen received. When he straightened, he offered the woman a smile in return. Her posture was a proud one, and he couldn’t help but to hold her piercing blue gaze.
The oceanic scales that covered her frame flickered in the sunlight.

“I am Lucian Caelum, of the Kingdom Vellidor originally, though I've lived in Trivel most of my life.”

He scratched at his jaw while he thought. River streams? He wasn’t sure what she meant about the mysteries, but something there tugged at his memories.

“Err, I apologize but--”

Unbidden, a memory of his childhood drifted to the forefront of his mind.

Lucian mother was the most radiant woman he had ever known. Just the sight of her loving smile made him feel safe and warm, and utter invincible. Even as a child he had a little of the wild in him, often climbing trees or finding clever and creative way to get all manor scrapes and bruises, and it was often his mother that would wipe his tears away as she tended to his nastier cuts. She had beautiful grey eyes that were open and honest, with a giving personality. His mother and father couldn't possibly be any more different.

He remembered a bedtime story she had told him, as she was often to do. Lucian had always had an active imagination, and the world was full of adventures and mysteries just waiting to be solved. She had told him, “The Fae are hidden in the inbetween, they dance in the deepest forests and swim in the river streams. Only the luckiest people in the world can hear there song, but maybe, if you're worthy..”

Back to reality, Lucian couldn't help the wave of sadness that fell over him. It had been some time since he thought of his mother, and even now he missed her dearly. Slowly, he realized he had been starting at Shulin silently and cleared his throat awkwardly.

“I have not had the privilege Shulin Asyn of clear waters. Perhaps I am not worth.”

He offered her a half hearted shrug and a sad grin.
For now it's too soon to say, "Will we be always, always?"

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