S6-Chronological

DAY 1 – 2: Departure from Cragmaw Castle

Erys and Edric

Edric Crestrun

Dirt on his robes. As he hit the ground hard, the armor surrounding his chest thudding solidly against him, his arm stung from the blow that sent him there. His ears rung from the metallic clang that filled the air momentarily, replaced quickly with the sounds of nature around them. He looked up at his attacker, the sun in his eyes as he struggled to even get off the ground…he held out his hand. "…ouch. How in the hell do you get used to that?" *It was the first of many training sessions he had organized with Erys, who had taken him on when he told her he wanted to learn to use armor and shields, so he would no longer need to cower behind the others in battle. He had no idea it was going to be this rough.

Erys Moongem

"Can you even lift it?" She'd pulled the punch, she'd specifically tried to be weak about it. But Ivaric had a long way to go. "You're just like Atara, you've spent so long cooped up with your books that you can't fight." She walked over to where he'd fallen and held out her hand to pull him back to his feet.

Edric Crestrun

Taking her hand, he grumbled a bit as he was pulled to his feet, only to almost lose his balance and fall back down, righting himself just in time. "Y'know…" He had a witty reply about books being more dangerous than swords, but he relented. "…you're right. I always thought that they'd be enough, but if things keep getting dangerous, one day I'm gonna have a sword in my gut and no one to blame but myself." Lifting the shield, he had at least one quality that helped him make up for his lack of strength, and that was his stubborn durability. He might not be able to block well, but he could at least take a few hits. "Yeah…let's try this again."

Erys Moongem

A look of concern at the mention of the possibility of a specific crossed her face, but she did her best to hide it. She'd been seeing him meet grisly fates recently, which made this exercising of his shield arm all the more important. Still, as she thought about his body opening to an attacker's blade, she couldn't help but realize she was picturing his stomach as it was just a few nights ago, beneath her. She shook the image from her mind, reminding herself to be careful. To focus. "Alright, I'm going to punch straight for your midsection. Brace and use your whole body weight to absorb the shock. Push against the blow if you can." She tightened her fist. Intense physical intimacy like this wasn't exactly good for preventing infatuations, but it gave her something to do. Actively trying to hold her full strength back, Erys moved to strike at her own shield in Ivaric's hands.

Edric Crestrun

Trying to hold fast against the blow, he cursed internally that he could not use his magic to do so, but reminded himself that wasn't the point, nor was it possible while cooped up in this heavy kit. As it landed, he felt the pain in his gut as the force of the blow bled through, and he almost hit the ground again, managing to right himself at the last moment and stay somewhat standing, if in a poor position. "Oof…how the hell do you handle a real blow in this stuff?" Except for an arrow that had caught him in the shoulder back at the treacherous Cragmaw Cavern, Edric hadn't taken blows like the rest of his compatriots, shielding himself with either magic or his friends themselves, while he performed his tricks from afar. He hadn't known true pain like they did, and it felt like it set him apart some times. In this sense, the pain was good. Still, if it had to be anyone…something about her raw strength and martial prowess seemed to only make her more beautiful in his inexperienced eyes.

Erys Moongem

"You practice," she said, launching another strike with barely any power behind it, "you take the best anybody ever throws at you," and another "and you stand up for girls getting picked on by bigger, tougher, older guys until finally—-" this last blow had finally done it, barely any power behind it but he was on his ass again. Still, an improvement. "Are you alright?"

Edric Crestrun

He hit the ground hard as he failed the weather that last blow, sliding along his back as the armor cut into his hip and he let out a grunt of pain, trying not to show how much it hurt. Gods, she was good at this, her movements struck him by how efficient they were, how well practiced each maneuver was in its execution, reminding him of the kind of masterful expertise he remembered from watching archmages at the academy. As he admired her, still remembering what she looked like under how kit with a faint blush, he felt his robe soak just a bit with blood. He didn't want to worry her, it felt like a minor wound, nothing compared to getting disciplined back on his old ship. That…and he didn't want her to think he couldn't handle this. He needed to show her that he could, it drove him to endure it. "Y-yeah, I'm fine." A bit of red stained the grass below him as he tried to cast a prestidigitation to hide it, only to find his magic failing him again. "A scratch, just a scratch."

Erys Moongem

She moved to where he was and ignored his protests, reaching out with her heart and letting some of Her love flow from her fingertips. The gold flecks in her eyes sparkled, and his wound healed itself. It was nothing, and she felt like she could effortlessly heal wounds like that all day. "No hiding injuries, no matter how minor." She glanced quickly to see if any of their companions were watching, and finding their privacy intact, she chose to tease him. "I've already seen you naked, Ivaric. No sense in not letting me patch you up. Plus, once you're above level, er… zero, I'm going to be hitting harder. I need to know if you're hurt so that I can see to it right away. It's non-negotiable."

Edric Crestrun

Seeing her so effortlessly heal his wounds, watching for those telltale signs of the Weave's manipulation as his flesh knit itself back together, he couldn't help but feel some of admiration for her and her skills. Yes, they had their night together, but he was starting to wonder, a few days later, if her warnings about developing feelings were just a mere side effect of her practice or something a bit more…real? Either way, he managed to pick himself off the ground this time and dust off, looking a bit embarassed. "I can't believe I'm so bad at this…but don't worry, I won't conceal anything anymore. I need to get better at this before we get to Waterdeep."

Erys Moongem

Erys finds herself smirking a little, as if to say 'you couldn't get much worse, dear', but she doesn't say it. "Let's call it a day there and head back to the group, yeah? I think Rowan mentioned finding some food."

Edric Crestrun

Even without words, he parses the meaning just fine as he hands her back her shield and slips out of the breastplate she had let him borrow along with it. "Food sounds good about now. Do you…think this is even worth it? I mean, if I can't cast my spells in the armor, there's not even a point to wearing it."

Erys Moongem

"That'll come with practice, Ivaric. Don't worry. When I first started, it was… nearly eighty years ago. And I wasn't much better. Atara was against me learning to fight but too many of the guys in our classes started shit. I had to learn to dish 'em out as well as take 'em, and believe it or not, it's much more important to take them. Trust me, we'll get you there. It's a long ride to Waterdeep and you've spent your whole life learning." She smiled reassuringly, or as reassuringly as she was able, leading the way as she effortlessly put her kit back on.

Edric Crestrun

"Trust me, I've taken more than my share of blows. When it's fists, feet, or even a cat-o-nine-tails, I can handle it well enough, but being durable isn't going to help with bladed weapons and morningstars." Just thinking about that blow from Groll that had sent Val down to the ground back at the castle was enough to give him immediate pause. "You really have been fighting the good fight for so long…I've only been around for a fourth of that, and only about ten of them actually studying magic. How could I ever catch up?" Thinking about it, the elves who mocked him unceasingly…they had spent decades trying to do what took him only a few years. No wonder they had been so mad. "So…before we get back, I wanted to know more about your Lady Firehair. Seeing her in that vision last night…I have to know more."

Erys Moongem

Erys' face instantly lit up. "Would you really? There's little in this world that brings me as much joy as celebrating and sharing in my love of Lady Firehair. I'd be happy to answer any questions you have. But the vision from a few nights ago… I only got details. Why don't you tell me exactly what happened?"

Edric Crestrun

Nodding, he looked at her as he smiled, recounting the events as he still remembered them so vividly. "Well, I had been envisioning the sea and all its splendors, trying to visualize it as you had told me to, to better recount my love for it. I saw a sunset, a green flash, and the eruption of a volcanic isle being born. Then…" Even now, recounting that nightmare gave him chills, and he walked closer to her as he spoke, his voice hushing a bit. "…she appeared again. Umberlee. She was so angry, so sure I had betrayed her and her mercy. But then I heard your voice, clear as day even deep underwater, and you were there with me. For once, I wasn't alone, and you were holding my hand." His recounting grew more confident, as he looked at her with eyes that almost seemed…smitten. "She reached out to crush us, but as you spoke, you…you became Lady Firehair herself, or at least how she's described in the books I've read on the subject. You…She saved me, and brought to light the whole of the nightmare, and dismissed it entirely. I haven't had the same dream again since." Thinking about it, he could not seperate the feeling of infatuation he felt for Sune with that of Erys but…she had warned him about it, right? It wasn't anything, just sex, she had let him know that.

Quinys and Edric

Edric Crestrun

With the events of Cragmaw Castle now fully behind them, the party on the road to Waterdeep, and the High Road stretched out before them for miles and miles, things were far too peaceful for Edric, who had come to enjoy the chaos of his life too much to properly enjoy the peace. When they made their first camp, Edric tapped Quinys on the shoulder, and gestured for her to come with him. "Cmon, we gotta have a chat. Yer gonna prefer it's away from the others."

Quinys Forgedawn

"This sounds like I'm in trouble." Quin finished setting her bed roll and looked over her area before following. She found a tree stump about thirty yards out and still within line of sight and sat on it, starting to clean out from under her nails with her dagger. "What did I do now?"

Edric Crestrun

As she sat down, Edric was looking off towards the sun, the lessons that Erys had been teaching him still firm in his mind. He had to try to reach out to her, and if he failed, then he would keep trying. Somehow, someone had to break through. Turning on his heel with a flourish, he pointed at her. "Last time I told ya how I felt, what'd you say to me…that I don't really know anythin' but what you've let me know, right? So how about I start findin' out?" He grinned, putting on his persona with flair as he stepped towards her. "I'm gonna ask you a couple of questions every day, no less than 2, no more than 3, and yer gonna give me an honest answer. In exchange, I'll answer any one question you ask me, and at the end of the trip, I'm gonna tell ya again how I feel, and if ya still feel the same way, I won't bother ya again, okay?"

Quinys Forgedawn

Quinys looked at him for a long moment before shrugging, he would either get bored of this quickly or run screaming by the end of it and she wouldn't have to worry anymore. "If that will make you feel better, I guess."

Edric Crestrun

"Yeah, I think it will, Dagger. You and me, we're gonna learn about each other and we're gonna be thick as thieves by the end of it. I don't know if ya know this, but yer my best friend, and I know shockingly little about ya, and I can't stand knowing shockinging little about anything, ever." He took a seat on the ground across from her, as he smiled. "First question, what's yer favorite sweet?" Start off simple, he figured.

Quinys Forgedawn

With a quiet chuckle Quin remembered her fiftieth and the cake. That amazing cake that Adonis has brought to her, and how she loved every piece until it was gone. "Easy, white cake with white frosting. It's simple and elegant, with a light flavor, and maybe a touch of lemon sometimes. It's best with strong tea. But I would probably eat any sweet, they're my favorite food."

Edric Crestrun

"Cake's a good choice! I've had my share, although growin' up I never really got any cake, but boy did I spend a lot of time starin' at em through the windows of the bakeries uptown." This was a good start, and he shifted a bit closer as he considered her. He certainly had a type, he realized, between her and Erys, and even Sune. Who knew he was such a sucker for redheads? "Alright, next question…if you could live anywhere in Faerun, where would it be?"

Quinys Forgedawn

"Turmish, hands down. The bustle of a city without the oppression of a king, where could be better?  Plus, merchants everywhere and so close to the seas. A lowly thief could become something great if they took the right steps." Her mind wondered for a moment to the excitement of running down streets and being a cut purse again, then using that to buy not only what she needed but what she wanted, and retiring each night to the shores of the Inner Sea and watching the sun set over it. One day she would be somewhere beautiful and not have to look over her shoulder, or she'd die trying to get there.

Edric Crestrun

He nodded, thinking about the moonlit shores, of the beauty even so far beyond the ocean. The Inner Sea was a place he had never been before, mind you, but it had sea in it's name, it couldn't be all bad. "Personally, I don't think any place in particular is where I'd wanna live, I wanna live on my own ship, sailin' from port to port, for the rest of my life…that is, if I survive that long. Can't be sure of that with the cards fate has dealt us so far." Now here was the big one, the one he needed to lead up to, and would be the first test. "…last one for today, promise. What's the worst crime you've committed, the one you felt the worst about?"

Quinys Forgedawn

Quin sighed heavily, thinking about the different ways to answer this. She told him she'd be honest, but would he really know if she wasn't? Did she really want to lie to him? "Those are two different questions, with two different answers. The worst crime I've ever committed, the one that would get me in the most trouble, was…lightly stabbing a member of a noble family. He was a pig and didn't know how to keep his hands to himself and I refuse to feel bad about it. The one I feel worst about? Well, once upon a time when I was still young and somewhat innocent about the world I was convinced to accuse a man of something he had sent done, because he owned Adonis money and knew that the man would be ruined. So I said what he asked, not knowing what it meant, and now that I do I'll regret it always. Even if it meant eating well for a few weeks."

Edric Crestrun

Listening intently, he wouldn't know if she lied to him, he had decided to take whatever she said at face value and believe her every word. "Sounded like the first one deserved it, I'd have done worse to a guy like that, and I have on a couple occasions when I saw some noble prick tryin' to get his noble prick wet with some bar maid or merchant's daughter. With the latter, I had to teach him and the girl's father a lesson, he tried to sell her virginity off to gain his favor and to make a few gold too. As for the second…everyone's done somethin' they regret like that. I once ruined my mom's reputation by bitin' one of her customers, and stealin' his wallet too. Wasn't a bad guy, just in a bad mood and I guess I was a little bothered by what she did for a livin' sometimes." He sighed, but smiled. If that was the worst she could think of, he figured these questions would go pretty smoothly. "Alright, yer turn, and since I asked two there, you can ask me two as well."

Quinys Forgedawn

"Alright then. Why do you care so much about your appearance?" Quinys had never put much stock in her own, leather armor and a braid being all she usually wore outside of trousers, a shirt, and her underclothes. Edric, however, put so much work into looking perfect all of the time forever and she found that strange for one who tried so hard to not be like a noble high elf.

Edric Crestrun

Grinning, he waved his hand and a burst of shimmering light appeared from it and fluttered around his features in a glamourous way. "I like to look good, is all. Started off as a way to seem unflappable to those who tried to bring me down, and then it was a way to hide the bruises and ruined robes of their torments, and now…well, I guess maybe I'm tryin' to impress y'all a little, but I also like knowin' I look my best." Of course, there were two in particular he wanted to impress, but he didn't need to mention that.(edited)

Quinys Forgedawn

"Okay, and now a bit harder of one. I thought you had no interest in women, what changed?" She always thought Edric was 'safe', but this was different. He never showed interest in her, or anyone else that he'd seen, and now he was professing feelings and making things difficult and she didn't particularly enjoy it.

Edric Crestrun

"Heh, I think ya misconstrued my personal attempt to stay chaste. I've always been interested in women, especially beautiful women such as yerself. I just didn't know if I'd ever be stickin' around long enough for me to feel secure about doin' it and possibly knockin' a girl up." He smiled, as he rested his chin on his hand. "As of late though, I've had enough portents to know that I won't be leavin' any of ya for awhile, possibly 'till I'm dead. So, that's why I wanna pursue you now, besides the fact that I've had feelins for ya since shortly after we met at the Apple."

Quinys Forgedawn

"So dying is a better option when it comes to the possibility of getting a woman pregnant? I guess that way she doesn't hold on hope of your returning." Quin stood and placed her dagger in her belt with a sigh, looking over their camp and the people they chose to make it with. What would happen to the group if one of them died, would they continue on or be fractured into splinters? Add a baby onto that and chaos would soon reign.

Edric Crestrun

"That's three questions, but that's fine, I broke that rule. Anyway, gettin' pregnant isn't necessarily a consequence, ever heard of Nararoot? Ya make some tea out of it, and babies ain't even a problem. My issue is that I never met a girl I trusted enough to be usin' it on a regular basis. Erys, naturally, has a lot of experience with usin' it, so if yer curious, just ask her." That was something he had personal knowledge of, having seen her consume it having helped him settle his nerves regarding the whole deal considerably. "But I guess when I think about it…I do wanna have kids someday, and be a real good dad to 'em."

Quinys Forgedawn

"You'd be a great dad." Quin smiled at him softly, almost letting some of her stone walls crumble before clearing her throat and sticking her hands in her pockets. "I have to do a perimeter check and see if there's anything dangerous out there, you stay and tend the fire. I don't want you getting eaten because you won't stop talking."

Soaring in Parallel – Rowan and Erys

Erys Moongem

They'd managed to make it back through Phandalin yesterday, so by their second day out they'd finally officially made headway towards Waterdeep. Erys was already feeling her nerves tighten. She had plenty of tea, she had her companions with her, they were united in this divinely ordained purpose – whatever the fuck it was – and they had a woman with them who could turn into a bear. Speaking of which… she realized suddenly that Rowan was not in the wagon, and indeed that nobody was. She'd fallen asleep. And the others had probably already made camp. She shook her hair out, sighing and pointing out that making sure someone was always watching the camp, always watching over the others, was something she took very seriously. That meant she'd have to play four-hour catchup every now and then. As she pulled the flap aside, she made her way out of the wagon and discovered Rowan in the midst of what certainly seemed to be preparations for a walk. "Want some company, sweetheart?" Erys suggested, grabbing her belt and dagger from her little pile of stuff and strapping it on over her casual clothes.

Rowan

"Of course, please join me." Rowan hadn't admitted it to the others, but she was relieved to leave Phandalin and when she saw the open road ahead of them with lush forest on either side, she finally felt more at home. Not wanting to be rude to the others, she had rode in the wagon most of the day rather than walk as she was much more accustomed to. However, once they had made camp she was interested to see what these woods had to offer, if they were similar enough to her own to feel like home. Waiting for Erys to gather her things she idly considered what direction to go. Picking a direction entirely at random as soon as Erys joined her, they set out into the treeline.

Erys Moongem

It wasn't that she moved faster than Erys, but that she moved with a greater sense of ease in the wilderness. At least, that's what she found herself telling herself. Erys follows Rowan's entirely random direction, knowing that if she were to get lost or separated from Rowan… "Hey, Rowan? I'm not so good at this nature thing so… don't lose me, okay? I'll find myself back in Evereska wondering what the hell wrong turn I took." She chuckled. "And then they'd just tell me to leave again." She looked, though, all over. Trying to see whatever Rowan saw, trying to take it in. Surely there was beauty everywhere, but all these branches and all this dirt threw her for a bit of a loop. Rowan seemed to have no difficulty whatsoever.

Rowan

As soon as they lost sight of the camp, Rowan started moving swiftly through the trees. While her antlers often felt awkward in civilization, she ducked effortlessly through branches and between tree trunks without ever catching herself on anything. She could hear Erys struggling behind her, rustling leaves and snapping twigs as she walked, and it brought her back to her agreement to share this walk, so she slowed her pace to let the elf catch up. "Sorry, I got a little excited. It must seem strange, since I have never been here before, but it feels a little like home. See, there are many rabbits here, there must be a den nearby." Rowan pointed out a group of rabbits hopping through the leaves. If she had the time…and if she were alone, she may have been able to set traps for them.

Erys Moongem

Erys nodded. She'd seen pictures, surely, but never really seen… rabbits. "Oooh! They're cute. I like them." It was astonishing how effortlessly Rowan was moving through everything even with her goddamn… beautiful antlers. It had to be some kind of magic at work. "So by my count… I've seen… elk, bear, the direwolf which freaks me the hell out… have you found out what else you can turn into yet? Any limits? Like… could you be a rabbit? A common housecat? That might be good for spying if we ever have need of that." Erys frowned, glad Rowan couldn't see her face. Whatever it was that was after her was serious fucking business. Erys wasn't going to let them have her.

Rowan

Erys' exclamation had caused the rabbits to scatter. She smiled at the innocence of it, reminding her of when she had first seen the variety of creatures that lived in her own forest. She ponders the question. "Hmm, I don't know if there are limits. I still can't really explain it. When I change it feels like I've always been able to, that it's been with me for my whole life, but only a few weeks ago it never would have occurred to me. I suppose I don't really think about what I'm going to be as much as I think about what I want to do and it just happens. The bear and the direwolf are when I feel the need to be strong, the elk and deer when I want to be fast. I don't see why I couldn't be a rabbit." Rowan concentrates for a moment, imagining herself small and agile, quick and accutely aware of her surroundings. She closes her eyes and when she opens them she is face to face with Erys' ankles.

Erys Moongem

Erys watches in astonishment as Rowan's forms shrinks down to no larger and honestly not all that different than the rabbits they'd just passed. She exclaimed again. It was unbelievable. Truly remarkable. The only way she could make heads or tails of it at all was to rationalize that Rowan must have the sort of relationship with nature that she had with her own patroness. "That's… how were you able… can you turn into a tressym, like Scout?"

Rowan

Rowan thinks again, this time imagining herself as the winged cat, but for whatever reason, it does not feel the same. She is confused, and decides to return to herself in order to try to explain it to Erys, although she's not sure she understands herself. "No, I try and it is like imagining myself to be another person. Maybe he is too complex a creature, maybe it is because he has a full mind and not simply instincts, but it is like attempting to become you, it doesn't seem possible." Rowan starts walking again, slowly but she does want to explore the forest a little.

Erys Moongem

Erys giggles. "Hang on, hang on, what did you just say? Did you try to become, or I mean, look like me? Why?" She increases her speed to make sure she catches up with the tiefling, wanting very much to hear this answer.

Rowan

"Well, I mean…" Rowan blushes, only now considering that it is quite a personal thing to try to do. "The first day after we arrived in Phandalin, when I was still trying to figure this out, I was in my room and thought, I suppose as you did, what are the limits? I had just seen you and figured I would try, but obviously nothing happened. It's like the difference between changing your clothes and changing your skin, some things are so part of you that they can't change. I…I think it has to do with the mind. When I'm an animal, I'm still myself. I still have my own thoughts, but I also have the base instincts of the animal. My senses become keener, I can recognize smells that as myself I would not know. It is like a blending. Trying to do that with a person, it would be like holding two minds in one body. It would be too much. Am I making any sense at all?"

Erys Moongem

Erys blushed at the implications of Rowan's naive phrasing. "Y-yeah, it makes perfect sense. You couldn't… take my shape because you don't know my mind. And if you did, it'd be… strange, to say the least. Is a bit of a shame, though. What about the…hoozits… and….whatever that thing with the god awful smell was? Can you turn into those things? No, I guess they have minds too. Interesting." Erys smiled to herself at the tiefling, shaking her head in mock confusion. 'What are the limits? Girl, you have no idea.'(edited)

Rowan

Rowan returns the smile, oblivious to any alternate meaning. "I…I'm not sure what a hoozits is, but that thing," Her smile fades. "No, whatever that thing was, it was not natural. I could not turn into that, and I don't think I would want to." She continues walking, trying not to think too much of that monster. She points out several other creatures she recognizes for Erys to fawn over.

Erys Moongem

At each new creature, Erys delights in the simple joy of Rowan's demonstrating of knowledge. It was one thing to watch her turn into a bear and hold a hallway, it was one thing to see her become a direwolf and bound around the rest of them with brilliant tactical attacks that left her targets defenseless, it was one thing to remember that she was first a fawn, and that first comfort Erys had tried to give her. In a way, it struck Erys as parallel: Rowan was being hunted by forces she didn't understand for unknowable reasons, and so was she. Rowan was growing into a different person than she had been a tenday ago, and so was she. Never did Erys feel the duty of their divine purpose stronger than when they were together. At that thought, a rustling in the trees brought Erys' eyes to the sky, and finally she was the one who got to point out an animal. "Oh, hey, Rowan! An eagle!"

Rowan

Rowan looks to the sky, far above them circling overhead she could see the massive wingspan of a large bird. It was difficult to tell at this distance the true size of the creature, but it was likely larger than she was. She had seen eagles flying overhead before, but none like this. "That's not just an eagle, that is a giant eagle! They are mentioned in my book, but I don't think they live in my forest anymore. I've certainly never seen one. They are smarter than most birds. They can understand speech and have their own language. They can be very dangerous too, but it looks like this one is just surveying his territory." Rowan looks at it with wonder. It had been quite a time since she had seen a new animal, not counting the direwolf in the cave. She wondered what other animals must be out there that she didn't know. The possibility was exhilarating.

Erys Moongem

Erys clutches onto a tree to brace as Rowan's excitement overflows. She loved watching Rowan's wonder explode like this, but it was always a shock for the first second or two, and without her armor, well… it would be better not to be intruding. "We aren't, uh, somehow, infringing on its – his? – territory? Are we? Do we need to leave?"

Rowan

Rowan realizes she has made Erys nervous. She turns away from the sky and gives an encouraging smile. "No, it is unlikely to attack us. They're intelligent and know that two people are not good prey. As long as we do not threaten it or its nest, it will likely leave us alone." *She looks back up at the bird again. It is hovering in large circles, but while she can keep it in her view, because of the distance it must be moving at tremendous speed, fast enough that it could cover the distance to the ground in short time. * "Nevertheless, perhaps it is best we head back to the camp."

DAY 3 – 4

Erys and Edric

Edric Crestrun
Surprise. That's what he felt, as he opened his eyes and found himself still standing after another of her blows rained down onto the shield. His arm still hurt like hell, and the armor still felt like a lead weight tugging down on his neck, but he was standing! He laughed, looking at her as he brought his shield back up quickly in anticipation, almost like he was challenging her to do it again, to prove he could. He was like a kid again, almost, proving his mettle in a very new way. He may be able to alter reality at a whim, but now he could block attacks with a big chunk of metal! "Hah! That was…ow, still, but I actually did it this time!"

Erys Moongem
"Great job, Ivaric. Fantastic. Take a breather, and when you're ready, bring the shield back up and hold. I'm gonna hit you for real this time." Erys stretched, rolling her shoulders, getting ready to really come at him. Unarmed, still, but she had to keep pushing him further or he would never advance.

Edric Crestrun
Taking a moment to recover he smiled, breathing a bit heavier but still raring to go as he raised up his shield once more, bracing behind it as she had taught him. "I'm ready when you are, Alvaroda. Don't be afraid to hurt me, I can take a hit." That was at least one thing he was certain of. The things he'd survived had proven that well enough long before he had met any of them. "I'm not gonna stop until I can knock you on your ass, that's a promise!"

Erys Moongem

Erys laughed, loud and carefree. She was going to enjoy this. As the days had gone on, she had felt her infatuation fading in favor of an honest appreciation of Ivaric. Yes, he was beautiful. Yes, he was powerful. Yes, he was truly blessed. But he was not irresistable. "Hold, Ivaric!" She shouted in warning, slamming her fist as hard as she could against her shield in his hands, pushing with her body weight and strength against his attempt to hold her advance back. The chainmail glove she wore protected her from all but the most superficial shock.

Edric Crestrun

For just a moment, it seemed like he might in fact hold, his feet holding firm into the dirt as the blow struck, but it was the followthrough that got him. The angle of his shield ended up wrong, and he felt something 'snap' in his wrist as he went right off his feet and toppled backwards. The pain hit him moments later, as the bones in his wrist ground against each other as he tried to catch himself, as he grabbed it with his other hand with a hiss, surpressing the urge to cry out as he looked up at her with a look that defied any attempt at pity. The bruising was immediate as he realised he had broken it, dropping the shield with his now useless hand, yet pulling himself back up to his feet with haggard breaths. "N-Not…bad…"

Erys Moongem

"Ooooh wow, I heard that. Sorry. Here." She moved to his body, ran her fingers over his wrist, pouring just enough of Her into the wound to mend the break, prevent the bruising, and undo the damage she had caused. The buzz was there, but it was weakening, which she felt good about. Still, it made her feel safer teasing him. She whispered, letting her voice take on a soothing tone "You needn't save face, Ivaric. I've seen you cry out in your most vulnerable moment."

Edric Crestrun
"It's not you…I guess I'm still that boy getting beaten down by his peers, trying not to let them see me cry." The pain faded away so quickly every time, as he felt her healing touch restore and mend the break almost instantly. It almost felt a bit euphoric. "I have nothing to hide from you, Alvaroda, but I still feel like they're staring me down sometimes." Picking the shield back up, he looked at her with that same eagerness in his eyes to continue, trying to sublimate his growing feelings into his efforts to improve at her behalf.

Erys Moongem

She returns to her position and waits for him to stand again, taking up a boxer's stance. She wasn't especially good at fighting unarmed, but it would spare him any serious injuries until he had a better chance against her. "You have nothing to hide from them, either. Hold the shield up when you're ready, Ivaric. We're all watching."

Edric Crestrun
He nodded as he held his shield up against her, fixing his stance and preparing for another strong blow. He wanted to prove them all wrong, but more than that he needed to prove himself wrong. Prove he was worth Sune's affection, and to feel that the way that Erys had shown him she did. "I wish I could honestly believe that, and maybe one day I will, but they're still out there…still looking down at me, thinking I don't deserve to be here. Thinking my name is garbage!" His arm stood strong this time as he took an aggressive pose.

Erys Moongem

At his remark, Erys' face hardens. "Don't talk to me about worthless names, Ivaric." She put the flash of anger flaring up in her heart, focused on Atara's constant chiding 'Again, Lady Kiirnodel?' and ran at him, slamming her fist again into the shield with all the fury and resentment she was harboring. As Ivaric managed to take the first, she instantly launched a second, momentarily blinded with rage at the vision of a tear-stained letter from Shad Dunbar.

Edric Crestrun
That second, enraged blow was one he was not prepared for at all, no matter how well his stance had been placed he just did not have the skill to properly deflect or absorb it. The shield was sent off to the side, as the blow connected with his chest instead, as he felt ribs crack under her knuckles, sprawling to the ground as he tried desperately to take in a breath. For a moment, his life flashed before his eyes, less out of imminent danger and more out of post-traumatic shock, as the memory of feeling bones broken under the fist of an angry elf flooded back to him as he was left shaking on the ground. Suddenly she was them, and he was the scared little boy again, eyes wide with terror at being trapped back in that hated moment. "S-st…stop….d-don't…"

Erys Moongem

Reality flooded back all at once, and Erys swore in Dwarven on reflex, "Caradhak. Ivaric, Ivaric, Ivaric, I'm so sorry. I'm so sorry. Shhh, shhh…" She tore her glove off on the run over to him, slid the last few inches, grabbed his face and kissed him, letting all of the healing light within her pour into his shattered body. 'Again, Lady Kii—' she shook the voice from her head and focused on her charge. She continued to cradle his face for a long moment, furious with herself for losing control for even a moment. "I'm sorry. You weren't ready for that blow. I was remembering my mother and the way she used to taunt me with my 'nobility'. I wasn't angry with you, I'm not angry with you. Everything is just fine. You're safe, I promise. But that's all for today."

Edric Crestrun

It took him a few moments to return to reality as her kiss seemed to snap him back, a flash of Sune's image appearing to intercede directly as he felt her kiss. His eyes went from a wild panic to a subdued calm, but a pain still lingered in his heart as he looked up at her, seeing the regret on her face as he weakly smiled. "It's okay. I'm okay, Alvaroda. I'll be okay." The way she held him made him feel even safer than her words could accomplish, as he put his arms around her for a moment to linger within that feeling, hugging her tightly. "It was…it brought me back to a bad time in my life, a time thankfully long gone." It was getting harder and harder to properly sublimate these feelings, as he felt that he wished he could remain in her arms like this more often, and her kiss still lingered upon his lips.

Erys Moongem

"Just rest for now. Healing magic is good but I feel like I let anger into our space. You'll be able to take a blow like that in a few days, but not yet." She frowned, moving to put his head in her lap and gently stroke his hair – a small act of reassuring intimacy, to roll back the damage her anger had done. "Let's talk about that. You mention it all the time. It's time I heard."

Edric Crestrun
Closing his eyes, he embraced her comfort happily as he began to roll back the years in his mind, revisiting those early days at the Academy. "I should explain something first, to give context to much of this story it's important to understand why I was treated the way i was before I detail the transgressions. My name…my surname isn't actually Crestrun. That's something I made up for myself when I signed up onto the crew of the Golden Lion, when I decided to become a new person and throw away my past. My real name is Edric Serall." The name alone brought back potent and yet faded memories of his dear mother, her smile as she watched him play, her tired expression after a long day. "I don't know if that means anything to you, but Serall is a Brothel Name, something they give to the employees as a way of protecting them and fostering a sense of familiy amongst the girls under their Madam. My mother was one such employee."

Erys Moongem

Erys chuckles ruefully a little, but it certainly made sense enough. "I think a lover I took in Neverwinter earlier in the year had that name. It makes sense, I suppose. You surely know from the way my sister looks at me every time I say it that Moongem isn't exactly the surname I was born with, either. And with my centennial approaching, I get to pick my own once I've decided on one. Serall is a beautiful name, surely as beautiful as Kii—… Kiirnodel. Why forsake it? Is it well-known as that sort of name?" She looks down into his eyes, trying to make clear she was listening and paying full attention even as the words 'become a new person and throw away my past' bounced around in the back of her head, resonating with intensity.

Edric Crestrun

Nodding, he had realized just through his incredibly rudimentary knowledge of Elven that Erys was the one with the altered surname, and he had wondered why for some time. Perhaps he would have an honest answer soon. "It's…one of the most popular brothels in the city. Anyone who heard my last name knew my mother was a prostitute, and reminded me of it on a daily basis…it stung far worse after she died, hearing their cruel taunts and insults about her. Some of them said they were glad she was dead before she could birth any more spawn like a rutting…bitch." He tensed up a bit, remembering their phrasing and feeling that old anger and shame welling up. "The one person who didn't care was Alvin. He was an incredible wizard who saw in me a talent that he claimed was deserving of the best attempts to foster it. He considered me a diamond in the rough, and was, at the cost of a great deal of his professional capital, able to admit me into the Academy of Neverwinter."

Erys Moongem

At his tensing, her gentle stroking of his hair became a firm, attention-grabbing grip. "You're beautiful. I am sure she was as well." She heard the rest, and smiled at the mention of his entrance to the Academy. "And which voice has proven the clairvoyant one? The ones who called you whoreson as if it were an insult? Or the one who said you had talent?" An Erys of even a month younger would have taken the opportunity to segue this conversation on talent into an awkward sex joke, but she was learning the lefts and rights of the social conventions of the group, and she opted out of remarking on recognizing his talent in the bedroom, 'y'know, for a virgin.' But that didn't stop her from grinning a little wider at the thought of it.

Edric Crestrun

Opening his eyes a bit at her grip, he blushed a bit as he returned her grin and tried not to let thoughts of their night together recently distract him from his retelling. "Well, you tell me. I can do things those pompous sons of bitches would turn green with envy at witnessing. But it still stung. It still stings to this day, even if I don't begrudge her a moment for what she did. I never felt ashamed of her, only of myself, because you are right, she was a beautiful person inside and out…she even prayed to Sune, even if I hadn't realized it until very recently, thanks to you." He had only just put this together with his new knowledge of the goddess, and it almost seemed fateful somehow. "Point is…they didn't like me at all. They were all highborn elves who had been guaranteed their spots in the Academy since birth, training with private tutors for over half a century with their privledge and told that they would become Bladesingers and High Mages without equal, and here I was performing above their level with only a fraction of the lifespan." The next part as he remembered it…his healed ribs ached with a phantom pain. "So they beat me. Almost to death once. They forced me to eat dung, saying it was fitting for a beast like me. They even humiliated me in front of one of the first girls I had ever had feelings for, just because she happened to be one of their sisters, stripping me and mocking me and bading her to laugh at me in my disgrace until I could never bear to even look at her again."

Erys Moongem

Erys knew the rage would be impossible to hide on her face, but as her fist clenched she at least had the good sense to pull it away from Ivaric's head first. "There is no greater sin than to sit idly collecting your daily allotment in feigned study, or real study even, without actually getting out and fucking doing something with it. To take something into yourself and to just… Ivaric, the things I've seen you do already, the things you're capable of. They would astound elves I remember from Evereska. Already, already, you're so capable. And we both know there's no stopping that particular wagon anytime soon, is there?" Finally feeling her blood cool, she moved her hand back to his face, to stroke his cheek in reminder of her verdict on the matter. "If we should ever encounter any of those knife-ears, you be sure to point them out to me. I'll show them the value of their wasted decades. You are no beast, Ivaric. You are brilliant and beautiful." 'If only you believed me when I said it.'

Edric Crestrun

Seeing her righteous anger only seemed to make his passion rise again, along with her declarations of his self-worth in her eyes, it was becoming more and more difficult to lie to himself. He was developing real feelings for her, but he believed she didn't feel the same way. She shared her love with everyone, why would she devote any extra to him? Even so, he leaned up as she stroked his cheek, and kissed her himself this time, closing his eyes and savoring the moment as he lay in her arms. All he knew right now is that he wanted to act on those feelings, the same way he did with Quinys, and in his heart he did not see a betrayal of either. "Alvaroda…you might just convince me yet."

Erys Moongem

She wrapped her arms around him tightly, enjoying the simple delight of being outside with a lover and having the freedom to kiss him without concern for being interrupted or bewildered or for…interrupting anything herself. The shock of the memory made Erys realize she needed to seek out her sister. "Ivaric… few things would make me happier. If we're done for the day, I need to find Ona. I just remembered that I owe her a rather big apology for something private that went wrong… Goddess, a month or more ago. I'll…probably tell her about us, too. If that's alright with you."

Edric Crestrun

Smiling, he nodded as he looked into her eyes and appreciated the view for just a few more moments. "I wouldn't mind at all…but if it's possible, I'd like if we could…have some more private time together ourselves later, if that's alright with you." Even if she just considered him another of her many lovers, he wanted to embrace her again, and show her just how much he appreciated everything she had done for him so far. She had helped him realized more about himself than almost anyone ever had, and let him find the good within the dark days of his adolesence "I need to go and speak with Dagger anyway, she's been asking for more help with her magic."

Erys Moongem

Erys giggled. "We have another tenday or so before we finally get back to Waterdeep." *She winked seductively, her usual sense of self returning with the passing of the anger. "We'll have plenty of time together. Easy on those ribs, Ivaric." And as they parted, she found herself laughing internally at the revelation that the whoreson had adopted her nickname for the target of his affections. All concerns aside, she'd clearly done well to intercede there.

Sisters Again – Erys and Onys

Erys Moongem

Erys returns to the wagon, shaking the small amount of pain out of her wrist. Ivaric was starting to develop a passing amount of strength with her shield, but he still wasn't able to defend himself properly. It was going to take forever, but it was good to have something to focus on during the journey. Certainly better than the trip down to Neverwinter had been. As she approached, she noticed that most everyone had gone off one way or another, save her sister. It had been some time since they'd been alone properly, and the events of the last few days had made her very much want to speak with her. Cragmaw had been ridiculous. Ona had held firm. Erys was proud of her. She smiled as she approached, giving a little wave. "Ona! Can we talk? It's been a spell or two since we've had a chance to be alone. Y'know, since before… no pressure, only if you feel up to it."

Onys Kiirnodel

Onys smiled mildly, standing up and adjusting her chainmail, the elf having been seated on a fallen log for most of the last half-hour or so. She nodded. "Of course, sister. I apologize if I have been distant. Our first foray into the field since Oathtaking being such a spectacular failure is…a humbling experience." She brushes some of her unbound hair back with a hand, walking over to Erys.

Erys Moongem

As soon as they were near enough, Erys embraced her sister tightly. "You needed time to heal. I understand. Or at least I am coming to." She glances around at the wagon and the surrounding area. "Would you rather talk here or have a walk?"

Onys Kiirnodel

Onys held her sister to her, appreciating the contact, even with the armor in the way, and took her own look at the surroundings for the moment. "Well, I don't know about you, but I could stand possibly not looking at our wagon for at least a moment or two. A walk, then." Apparently captured by a bit of a lighter mood, she jauntily offered her sister her arm with a grin.

Erys Moongem

Erys accepted her sister's arm with open delight, remembering the times when they used to do this sort of thing more regularly with a flash of melancholic guilt. She didn't dwell on it, though. "Speaking of Oathtaking… I've been meaning to tell you something, and I'm a little nervous as to how you'll… react."

Onys Kiirnodel

Onys checked the treeline for both dangers and destinations, deciding to step further off the road towards what looked like a small pond, and starting for it. "What," she replied gently, "that you're sleeping with Edric?"

Erys Moongem

Erys followed her sister's gaze, slowly, and it took her a few moments to actually hear her sister's words. She swallowed. She looked over to make sheepish eye contact. A smile spread across her face, and then she exploded into laughter. Of course Ona had known. Ona had probably seen it on her face the morning after their oaths. Ona always knew. She laughed and squeezed her sister's arm tight, half in relief and half in elation, looking to the sky as if to chide herself for ever doubting her sister. Erys Moongem laughed. "Yes."

Onys Kiirnodel

Onys laughed as well, trying not to rain too hard on her sister's parade, but, there simply remain some duties between siblings that remain sacrosanct—-such as gentle ribbing. "Gods, Era, did you actually think you were being subtle? Ivaric? Really? You might fool a man or dwarf by using the lammen i'tel'quessir* but we've spoken it for a century now. Secrets you may have, and secrets you may keep, but that does not number among them."

* "language of the elven people," loosely

Erys Moongem

Very carefully wiping a tear of joy from her eye, Erys shakes her head. "Of course, I should have known better than to even think it possible to hide anything from you, beloved sister. We were arguing, and I was almost… ready to hurt him. For something he'd done to Dagger. But they were the wild flaillings of a virgin. And well…" She sheepishly shrugged again. "You know how I like formal introductions."

Onys Kiirnodel

Onys steps sideways between the trunks of a stand of alders, taking her sister's hand and guiding her through as well, coming up to the edge of what appeared to be a pond. Well…barely. It couldn't possibly be much wider than a farmhouse. It couldn't be much deeper than either sister was tall. But it sufficed. It was not a wagon. "Era, you act like I am chastising you for your choice, I'm not. If your heart has guided you to him, who am I to gainsay it?" She chews on her thought for a moment, eminently disappointed by the pond. "…what did he do to her?"

Erys Moongem

Erys followed her sister and looked around at their surroundings with all her usual wonder. She wasn't much for nature, but these areas fascinatined her. And she wondered what her sister had been in search of, but followed regardless. "I don't mean to make you worry that I fear your judgment, Ona…" She pursed her lips in a look of dissatisfaction. "That afternoon Dagger had encountered her abuser. You and I had fought over it. He kissed her. The innocent flailings of a virgin, but… she cried. I went to correct him with a dagger. He begged me to help him and I felt Her call. It wasn't my heart. But I made my Oath as I undressed him, and when I took him to bed, that's when she appeared surrounding him. It was just like my night with Mina so long ago. I've found it very hard to… detach myself from him, since. The training is helping, I think. It's better to focus on a single task."

Onys Kiirnodel

Onys nods, keeping a tight lid on her own opinions about the—-wait, did she say "of a virgin?"—-about the wizard. "I had not imagined such a beanpole of a man would show interest in hand-fighting. How goes the work?"

Erys Moongem

Erys rolls her eyes. "Slow. He can take a hit, right? But he's just not… I don't know. Maybe he's distracted. I knock him to the ground, he gets back up. He's got some perserverence. Theoretically, if he can manage to hold the shield and cast his spells at the same time, he should be able to properly defend himself while maintaing his capabilities. And if the Lady Firehair has truly touched him, well…" The faintest trace of blush crosses her cheeks, but she knows she can't hide it. It's infatuation. It happens. "Maybe there's some real hope for him. He's had… a number of tribulations."

Onys Kiirnodel

Onys sniffs at the autumn air, crossing her arms. "Well, if it can at all tamp down his petulance, it shall certainly serve some purpose."

Erys Moongem

"If it makes you smile… I am kind of beating his ass every day." Erys giggles.

Onys Kiirnodel

Onys grins. "I can certainly take some small pleasure in it."

Erys Moongem

Erys gives it a few moments, moving her head so that the gentle breeze fixes her hair for her, and then looks downcast again. "I never really got a chance to apologize, we've been rushing from job to job, and I know you don't want to talk about it really but… a few months ago in Waterdeep I ruined your chances with someone. I… can't remember their name, but… you were devastated. In the time I was gone, or since, have you had anyone?"

Onys Kiirnodel

Onys pulls a bit of a pained face. "Thalanil. And, no. They were on horse to return to Candlekeep the following morn, and since, I've had no particular time…and rarely the inclination to take another to bed. Our business of late has been grim."

Erys Moongem

Erys exhales, her shoulders sagging, wilting. "Ona… I—- you did show them a lovely time, I remember. Certainly there was… you…. Ona, how long has it been?"

Onys Kiirnodel

Onys hesitates, then shrugs. "You probably know better than I."

Erys Moongem

Erys considers… trying to remember… if Ona were serious, then… then… "…YEARS?" She exclaims, a bit too loudly, her shock and shame as plain on her face as can be. She had no idea Thalanil was Ona's first in… in years.

Onys Kiirnodel

She nods. "Unless I took a lover in my sleep that I am unaware of…"

Erys Moongem

Erys finds her head shaking in exhaustion. In the years… since… surely her count was easily in the hundreds. Multiple hundreds. Evereskans, and then the people she'd encountered, her companions on this or that job, even most recently Ivaric himself but… "Why?"

Onys Kiirnodel

Onys has no real answer and vaguely tosses her hands up in the air. "The work, I guess? I did not choose the simple path, and I have spent untold nights either kept company by my candle and books or in practice with armor and sword, or, of late, in pursuit of coin to keep food upon our table."

Erys Moongem

"I mean, so have I… haven't I? And all the while, I've… I've gotten closer to my Truelove, I've come to know Her in ways unbelievable when I was just starting out. Surely, with Hanali Celanil there's… She doesn't… mind?" Erys marveled at the very notion of going a month without a partner, let alone the time her sister had. And she marveled again at how, once again, she had aggravated the problem.

Onys Kiirnodel

Onys leans back against a tree. Might as well get all her inadequacies out in the open, or something. "Were she not kind, she might have actually rebuked me for not taking someone to bed. As it is, she told me to focus more on loving others than suffering for them." She does not add that she was advised to care more about her own needs as well – some habits die hard.

Erys Moongem

Erys' heart melted, as she closed her eyes and tried to imagine Onys' Oathtaking. Surely, she had sat in front of her bed in the moonlight, her symbol in her hands, and she had prayed, and as the image she had described appeared before her… what? Certainly nothing like the lovemaking that had followed her encounter with Sune. Certainly not the shockwave of, well… surely, it had been a thing of decorum and grace and not at all the sort of love that Erys practiced. "…if there is ever anything I can do to aid you in that goal, sister, do not hesitate to ask. It pains me to think of you isolated so. Were it by your own choice, that would be one matter, but…" She hadn't even noticed the shift in her language, unconsciously emulating her sister in an attempt to come off as earnest. "But evidence demonstrates otherwise. It's been quite some time, are people like Thanalel the sort of people you like? Maybe you're like… a sommelier?"

Onys Kiirnodel

Onys looks at her feet as her sister declares her willingness to give aid, but then her confusion overrides her embarrassment… "Thalanil. And…a winemaster? What does that have to do with me?"

Erys Moongem

Erys scrunches up her face in concentration. "Like… like they sample… but they only drink the best. Right? You didn't just take… Thalanil. Thalanil. Thalanil. You didn't just take Thalanil back to our room and pin them to a wall. You had a whole… thing. You spent a lot. You wanted a very… intense? Connection? Maybe? Am I making any sense?" She looks to the sky, eyes close, sighing with the difficulty she was having expressing the difference between them. 'You didn't just take them home and fuck them blind, sister dearest, you expected something more, and who knows where it would have led. I can be finished with a man in moments and a woman in hours and move right on to the next if I wish it, but you… clearly…' she just couldn't understand.

Onys Kiirnodel

"It might not have ended much differently from any one of your own assignations. They were due to depart for Candlekeep with the sunrise, no matter what influence I might have had. That may even have been why I had been so emboldened to extend my hospitality beyond the dinner and to return home with them and the wine…" She shuffles around in the back of her mind for a moment, desperately seeking a metaphor. "It… even back to our youngest days, you have always known the song of love. It is a tune I wish to sing, but I know not the words. So I remain quiet."

Quinys and Edric


Edric Crestrun

Another day on the road, another diversion when they came to a stop. He was certainly sore already at this point, having already finished the day's armor training and sitting at a vantage point at the bottom of a small cliff, looking upwards as his hand shielded his eyes somewhat from the sun, waiting for something to happen. He knew she was up there, and that she was ready, and yet it had already been ten minutes and she hadn't jumped. "You okay up there Dagger? Lose yer courage on the way up?"

Quinys Forgedawn

Quin scowled down at him and crossed her arms, kicking a pebble and watching it nervously. She sat on the edge for a moment, thinking that scooting off it may be easier, and quickly learning it was not. She took a deep breath and closed her eyes tightly, putting one foot over the edge, then backing up quickly. "I can't!"

Edric Crestrun

He laid back onto the grass behind him, as he waved up towards her, a grin on his face. He knew she could do it, but he supposed that jumping off a cliff was never going to be something easy to pull off. He'd come up and help, but right now the grass felt real good and soft and boy did everything just hurt. Never had he had to work this hard before, at least physically. He cupped his hands and shouted up again. "Cmon, yer gonna love it! Had a friend who'd cast it on us and we'd leap off buildings and shit!"

Quinys Forgedawn

"Well, I'm not them." She grumbled to herself and watched him lie back, the grass did look soft, and now would be a good time to just…she stepped off the cliff. She screamed for a moment, instantly regretting her decision, before slowing and feeling her body gently float down. Her feet touched the grass and in a moment she was on her knees, breathing heavy and still somewhat terrified. What had just happened?

Edric Crestrun

Picking himself up into a cross legged sit, he started clapping for her, grinning. "See? Not so hard was it? Ya make it look like child's play when yer workin' with the Weave." Watching her work was truly inspiring, he'd never quite seen anything like it. No, she wasn't able to do things on the same level yet, but she might still make it, and if she didn't, well, she could still stab things to death with an ease and gusto he couldn't help but appreciate. "So…you ready for some more questions?"

Quinys Forgedawn

She chuckled and took a long drink from her wineskin before offering it to him and wiping her mouth on her sleeve. "I guess it's only fair, with you teaching me all of this. Ask away." She laid back herself at this point, eyes closed, as she just absorbed the feeling of the cool earth under her.

Edric Crestrun

Taking a long drink of the offered wine, he handed it back as he considered what he'd ask today. Looking at the rapier at her side, one came to mind immediately. "So, how'd you learn how to use that thing so well? Yer damn deadly with that thing, probably deadlier than anyone else in our group when it comes down to it."

Quinys Forgedawn

"I know how to use all types of weapons. Adonis showed me how to take what was around me and use it as needed. I just happened to be fairly good with these two." She patted her dagger and the rapier with one hand, then gently ran a finger along the blade of the rapier. "You never know when you'll need to protect yourself."

Edric Crestrun

That made sense, although he hadn't seen her deviate much from her usual method of stab and run, stab and run lately. Her magic helped, but he wondered if she was a little dependant on her old ways. "Alright…tell me a little more about him, Adonis. How'd you two even meet, anyway, if he ain't yer actual dad? You never really…went into that whole deal." His persona was slipping a little, his tone becoming a little more careful, more formal.

Quinys Forgedawn

"Oh, uh, I only really know the story he told me, I don't really remember it much. I apparently got separated from my parents when I was young, and he found me. We looked and looked, but never found them, so he took me home and raised me. He didn't have to, but he did, and that very likely saved my life." She wasn't sure if she believed all that anymore, but it was what she had known her whole life and how could she even begin to refute it? The only memory she had of her parents were more feelings than memories.

Edric Crestrun

He smiled, oddly enough. It was nice that she was opening up at these questions, and hearing the actual story from her made him think that there was a common problem with how the group had handled this particular problem. "I mean…it doesn't sound all that bad. Yeah, he seems like a real fuckin' creep now, but he was a parent to you and took care of ya. It's more than I could have said fer my own dad, y'know?" Hell, he'd have loved to even know his own piece of shit dad, if just so he could call him a piece of shit to his face. "Even if it ain't true, does it matter if ya had good memories? That ain't one of the questions, of course. I just got one more for ya…how do ya feel about what happened back at the bandit hideout?"

Quinys Forgedawn

Quin opened her eyes and took another long drink, thinking about the mix of emotions that she wasn't sure she even had words for yet. "For a long time, maybe even longer than you've been alive, I've been on my own. Adonis was arrested years ago and I fled, as I was trained to do. I should have known that as soon as I got my life together he would appear, he's always found ways to keep me with him, and I knew that I couldn't. If I went with him I would never get a chance to make my own decisions, be my own person, again. He swallows all that is me and makes me content to be him." Her voice shakes a bit toward the end, as if she was just realizing this for herself as the words tumbled out. "Or something like that, whatever."

Edric Crestrun

Shaking his head, he put his hand on her shoulder as he tried to bridge the gap just a bit, knowing that feeling of being controlled by ideas not your own. He'd felt that way most of his life, and even now he was struggling to get past it, but in her he saw a reflection of that same struggle. "Nah, don't dismiss it. Own that feelin', it's just as real as anything else. Point is, it doesn't seem like you want him to own you anymore, you proved that when ya didn't shoot our friends and shot him instead. I'm sorry I tried to kill him, and I'm sorry it took ya almost tackling me to stop, but no matter who he was to ya when you were young, he's not that guy anymore, and you ain't that girl. You've proved it again and again, Dagger, that yer a pretty fuckin' awesome person all on your own." Pulling out his flask, he took a long healthy drink of it as he offered a bit of stronger drink to his friend, probably still his best friend, in her time of reflection. "Alright, now it's your turn, ask away."

Quinys Forgedawn

Quin held the flask and considered for a moment, before taking a drink and handing it back. She had a question, but wasn't quite sure how to phrase it without it sounding silly. "What makes you feel safe?"

Edric Crestrun

He was silent for a moment, as he drew back his hand and thought about it for a moment. He smiled. "Guess it would be my spellbook. Alvin, the guy who got me off the streets? He gave it to me after my first year of schooling." He pulled it out of his pack, the worn leather tome inscribed with a message inside it's cover that he now showed to her. 'Edric, one day you will wield this book as a great and powerful magician, known by all, but until then, let it be your guide and companion, and let it remind you to never forget where you began.'

Quinys Forgedawn

"It's good that you finally found a guiding force, and look what you've become. Maybe not known by all, but known by all that matter."

Edric Crestrun

Standing up with a little bit of effort, he nodded as he looked towards her. "I could say the same about you. You're more than you think you are, Quin. When you start believing that, and start living your life the way you want instead of the way you think you should…well, you could do anything." His persona dropped, almost completely, as he returned his mask with a great big grin and offered his hand "Cmon, let's get back to the camp, before it gets too damn dark to see."

A Little Morning Musing – Edric and Onys

Edric Crestrun

It was morning, the fourth day of their journey towards Waterdeep. Edric, always the last to wake up, found himself rising with the sun today as he got up and stretched. Something had been on his mind, something that Erys had said towards the end of their training the day before. She had mentioned going to talk to her sister, and he had some suspicion why. He wasn't exactly sure where she was at this time, but he went off in search of her, Catbird taking off from his perch in a nearby tree to help scout her out for his master.

Onys Kiirnodel

Onys isn't far from the camp. Already awake, the elf is found kneeling just beyond a small stand of birch, quietly greeting the sun with a few last adjustments of her armor and the drawing of her greatsword. She puts the tip of the blade to the ground and leans her head against the weapon in silent prayer.

Edric Crestrun

It wasn't long before Edric had found his way over, keeping his distance as he saw her praying, not wanting to disturb her quiet moment between herself and her god. It was part of why he was here in the first place, after all. Slowly and gently, he took a seat from his fair distance, and waited out for her to finish what she was doing, as he paid careful attention to her behavior.

Onys Kiirnodel

A moment or three later, she stands, lifting her sword and slowly raising it over her head, then down again, the elfwoman working the kinks out, stretching, limbering. She doesn't turn to face Edric, but she clearly notices him. "Good morrow, Edric," she says, continuing to work through her morning preparations, basic mechanics and calisthenics.

Edric Crestrun

He nods slightly, still sitting cross legged as he watched her go through the motions. It wasn't too dissimilar to the exercises he had been doing with Erys to warm up before their training sessions, he thought. "Mornin', Onys. Don't let me disturb ya." Catbird landed on his shoulder and began to groom himself, silently observing as well. Yeah, he had some questions to ask but he had all the time in the world these days.

Onys Kiirnodel

Onys's early work is the basic preparation required of any armored soldier, but she quickly moves past it into more advanced strikes and parries, coming to a pause a few minutes later, when curiosity gets the better of her and she sheaths her sword, turning towards the seated wizard and his familiar. "Is something the matter?"

Edric Crestrun

Standing up as he's finally recognized, he smiled, as Catbird took off into the air and off into the woods to hunt once more. "Guess it's a curiosity as of late, but blame your sister, I'm interested in how the more religious of y'all manage your relationships with your gods. This ain't a goof or nothin' either. I'm seriously considerin' becoming more religious myself, and I guess I wanna know how the rest of you do it, having mostly gotten a view of the Sune side of things from Erys."

Onys Kiirnodel

Onys furrows her brow, narrows her eyes. She barely even talks with Erys about her religious practice, much less with outsiders, much less with this particular outsider. Still, she does not wish to start another argument this early in the morning, so she provides an answer of sorts: "That is…a very personal question, Edric. For myself, anyway. My sister would sing from the rooftops her love for her patroness. My relationship with my patroness is…private to me. I give her prayer each night beneath the moon, and I see her hand in beauty and love all around me." She shrugs. "I have felt her presence in prayer and in revel, and she supports my hand, whether my task is grim or joyous."

Edric Crestrun

Nodding, he pulls out a separate notebook from his usual weathered tome, and writes out some notes with a quill. "Nah, I get ya. You ain't gotta say anythin' else if you want. I guess the whole thing is kind of foreign to me, most religion I've had before this was throwin' gems to the Bitch Queen before I went out to sea. Prayin' out of love and devotion, instead of fear, isn't something I've ever done. But I want to. I've seen how certain y'all can be when you believe your God is behind you, and… I kind of envy that. It's beautiful, y'know?" Closing his book, he sighed. "…sorry to have bothered ya. I'll take off, you can get back to yer business."

Onys Kiirnodel

Onys is surprised by this turn of events. No argument. No towering wizard's ego to contend with. Perhaps he was trying to make a change. "It's no bother…it is a great comfort to have the divine take up your burden, instead of carrying their geas, and I hope you find what you seek." She slips her gloves off, stuffing them into her belt. "My business at this point is breakfast, as I would assume yours would be."

Edric Crestrun

Blinking, he smirked, although this time without the implication of his usual know-it-all remark to follow. "Yeah, breakfast sounds like a good idea. Mind if I join ya?" He hadn't spoken much to Onys outside of their usual quips, and since they left for Waterdeep he had been distant, mostly spending time with Quinys and Erys, trying to figure out a few things between the three of them as they made the long cross-country trip. This might be a chance to make up for some of his early missteps.

 

DAY 5 – 6

Erys and Edric

Erys Moongem

She ran forward, picturing again the image of her mother absolutely decking the dwarf. She felt her muscles tense, she felt Sune's light fill her, and then with all her strength, WHAM against the shield from the left, a sidestep and WHAM against the shield from the right, and finally with all of her bodyweight a solid strike to the center of his mass, pushing as hard as she could against the shield to knock him down. She was already sweating from the effort they'd put in today, and breathing hard, and she could tell that he was too, and frankly, there was an undeniable beauty to it, even as she fueled her punches with rage. "Well done, Ivaric. And in only about a week. You're really getting there."

Edric Crestrun

Every blow of her gauntlets rang out against the shield like a bell, his confidence rising with every blow he withstood, even pushing back a bit as he gained a bit of ground on her advance. As they finished up that day's training, he was panting but not out of breath, sweating but not exhausted, and while he still didn't have the concentration needed to cast a spell, he was getting closer and closer every day. "Thanks…always said I was a fast learner, be it magic, fighting, or in the bedroom, according to you." He grinned, as he started to feel like he could be a little cheeky now, trying to make that part of him real, and not a play he put on just for the others. So far it had only been Quin and Erys who had seen past that mask, but he hoped soon he could be his true self all of the time.

Erys Moongem

Erys chuckled. "Don't get fuckin' cocky, tomorrow I'm coming at you with a dagger. It's gonna hurt if you fuck up. It's gotta. Only way you learn the reflexes. Might stab you a little." But she nodded, giving him his win for the day. "But you're right, you're picking this up quick. Still no magic?"

Edric Crestrun

Shaking his head, he set the shield down, his arm plenty sore today but in a good way, that way that told you that you'd made some progress. "Not a bit. Couldn't even if I wanted to, mind you, but that was all me." Of course he could have cast a spell beforehand to give him protection, but that wasn't the point of any of this. He had to get good at this for real, or it wouldn't matter if he had full plate on, he'd still be dead if someone closed the distance. "You know, I'm curious, who taught you how do do this so well? I'm asking because, really, you're a fantastic teacher. I don't think I'd have learned so quickly or as well if it wasn't for you. Isn't this kind of stuff part of the training for nobility or something?"

Erys Moongem

She takes a seat in today's particular grassy field and stretches, getting comfortable. She was really starting to love their post-session talks. "Oh, fuck no. No, gosh. Okay, so we have two moms. Avara – Aegan, who I take after a bit more, and she's really sweet. Really compassionate. She got me out of a lot of trouble when I was younger, y'know, this or that noble boy said for sure I would marry him, of course my daughter would never…. and okay maybe I had, just to get him to sleep with me. I was young! I was still learning. She was there for me all the time. But she was much more focused on making sure we were loved, that we grew up healthy. More of the traditional mother, I guess you could say."(edited)

Edric Crestrun

Pulling off the armor, which had gone from a ten minute process to something he could do with little effort, he set it aside and took a seat next to Erys, leaning a bit as he rested against her. Listening to her story, he couldn't help but be a little envious, even if he tried to hide it, knowing that her childhood had been rather blessed. More than envy though, he was happy she had that. Happy that someone had that, after his conversations with Quinys, it sometimes felt like the two of them occupied their own world of bad parents and absent ones. "Sounds nice. You elves really start off young, huh? Or was that just you?"

Erys Moongem

Erys giggles a little. "I joke with myself sometimes that Sune knew I was Hers so early on that She got started on me early. I started a little earlier than you're technically supposed to, but most elves are at least experimenting… at least, commoners. Nobles there's all this… you've seen how obsessively I drink my nararoot tea. I absolutely cannot get pregnant because then there is big trouble shit, especially now, a year out of Evereska. Word would get out, Ona would undoubtedly feel dutybound and… And there would be questions. I don't want questions. I don't want kids. I don't really even necessarily want to keep—- So, the point is, Atara, Vestera, she's my other mother. Ona takes after her more, right? So just look. She was more the prototypical father, I guess. Very firm with rules, very disappointed when I got caught doing things that weren't befitting a noble lady. She used to get these letters from the other Houses, fucking detailing this or that fist fight or this or that illicit dalliance and it'd always be, 'Again, Lady Kiirnodel?' just to drive the point home. Like I was supposed to even want that. So no, being a noble had nothing to do with it. Far from it, actually. Maybe that's where Ona got her training? But I learned the way you're learning, just slower because I didn't have a teacher. Really… nice of you to remark that you think I'm doing a good job, by the way." She kisses the side of his head. "It obviously means a lot, considering the context of our relationship."

Edric Crestrun

He smiled, both because of the casual kiss and the way that they were talking, her so casually going on about her childhood of constantly defying the standards of nobility, that small annoyed tone in her voice making him laugh occasionally at this detail or that. It had become sort of a regular thing now out here on the road, something he hoped could continue on their arrival in Waterdeep and the continuation of their actual, rather grim task. It was like living in a different world for awhile. More and more, however, he couldn't help but feel that warmth in his chest as he laid against her, slipping his head down into her lap as he looked up at the bright blue sky above them. "Nobility sounds so overcomplicated. How can you keep all those rules in mind all the time? No wonder Onys hates me so much, I must seem like a total boor to her." Things made more sense when it all came into context, the wild child and the 'good' sister who has to keep her from getting in trouble, and often failing. And yet he could understand the love between the siblings was stronger than any bond he'd seen in this world. "How do you see the context of this relationship, Alvaroda?" He was starting to get genuinely curious. It was true that she was helping lead him not only towards martial prowess, but both a better understanding of Sune, and of himself. Where he fit in, he wasn't totally sure yet.

Erys Moongem

She started stroking his hair as he returned his head to her lap, perfectly fine. Having been days, the buzz had faded. Infatuation was no longer a concern, and her honest appreciation for Ivaric's beauty could stand as exactly as it ought to. So she found his question rather… perplexing. "I'm not sure I understand, Ivaric. Are you asking me if I'm falling in love with you?"

Edric Crestrun

"Not exactly…" He wasn't ready to be completely honest about how he felt, or even totally sure if that was how he felt in the first place. Even so, he didn't expect her to fall in love at all, to the contrary, she had made her stance on such things quite obvious from the very beginning. That didn't stop some small part of him from hoping for something more, of course. Between Quin's outer shell, and Erys's fleeting stance towards romantics, Edric felt…a bit adrift in his feelings, and it was starting to make him feel a little less secure. "I'm happy the way things are, you know? I guess I just don't have much experience with this, not like you or Onys, or even Val. Unlike you, I'm starting really late at this whole game."

Erys Moongem

She continues to stroke his hair, really enjoying the feel of him between her fingertips. It fels especially nice to be able to enjoy the physical sensation without worrying about infatuation causing issues… but perhaps Ivaric himself was a little faestruck. Was that such a bad thing? Maybe it would help him keep his relationship with Dagger professional until he was no longer her mentor, no longer just another Adonis for her to cling to. That was important. So she didn't hesitate to touch him even as she saw what she saw in his eyes. "I love the way things are between us, Ivaric. I love spending time with you. I love knowing you're behind me with powers I just don't understand and you're growing every day. I love watching you grow. I love seeing you wield what you wield and I love how well it complements what the rest of us do. I love teaching you. We're meant to be together, all of us. You and I were meant to be together that night. I am sure of those things. You're experiencing your first infatuation, and that's okay, but I did warn you. I'm beautiful, and you loved making love with me. And Sune Herself, blessed be, was right there with you. Your heart thinks there's maybe more there. It's okay to admit it out loud if it's true."

Edric Crestrun

Maybe if he wasn't as mindful, or even overly intelligent, he would be able to so easily admit how he felt, and just accept it and move on. Maybe if it was just a simple infatuation, he'd be able to dismiss it and be happy with the deep friendship that they had developed together. No, he was happy, just sitting her with here and listening to her talk, he was happy. But the way she said it, the way she presented those last few lines, 'your first infatuation' 'that's okay' 'I did warn you' 'Your heart thinks there's maybe more there' 'It's okay to admit it', it felt like she was talking down to him. She was dismissing how he felt before he had even admitted it, as nothing but a schoolboy infatutation. Maybe it was. But it still stung somehow, and now he couldn't admit it, out of some sense of pride, because to admit he felt that way would be to admit he had made some judgement in error born of a naivety, and he wasn't comfortable in that space. "No, you're right. It's just an infatuation. I'm…sure it will pass soon enough. I appreciate everything you've done for me so far, and it's only…natural I'd feel some kind of attachment to the person who introduced me to my sexuality." Now he was rationalizing it, and pushing it into a quantifiable box. It couldn't hurt him there, and he could just look at it and remind himself what these feelings really were. He could just enjoy the contact between them. Time to switch the subject. "So, tell me about some of these fist fights you got into, is that why you had to train yourself?"

Erys Moongem

Erys shook her head, closing her eyes and taking a deep breath. "Ivaric, it is very important to me that you understand two things. What you feel now may be infatuation. Particularly if you find yourself called to service for Sune, real romantic affection may develop between us. If that's the case, we are helpless. Like…" she quickly tosses aside a 'ships lost at sea' metaphor and reaches for… uh, shit. "Like… wild animals. If Sune sees fit to light a fire between us, trust me. We will be unable to resist, and I will give myself fully to that fire. There are some who believe that when a Sunite's service is well and truly finished in the world, they're granted that… second Truelove in their life, because of course, Lady Firehair always comes first." 'Stupid joke.' "I don't want you to feel belittled or discarded. Just to recognize that you are every bit as attractive to me as I am to you, and that we share a bond – thanks to the night of my Oathtaking – that will last forever. Period."

Edric Crestrun

His attempt at redirection rebuffed, it was for the best, as her explanation seemed to strike a better resonance this time. This time he could be a little more honest. "I…you're right, I don't exactly know what this is yet. I'm overthinking something that's already been wonderful and unique, and built on something that I still don't have any grasp of yet, but you seem to consider a divinely unique moment. I don't want to say how I feel, just not yet, not until I think I'm sure about it. Especially because I don't know if it's as simple as it is for most people. For instance…I think I'm going to stop being a mentor to Dagger, I'm going to tell her when we get to Waterdeep that I can't be her teacher anymore." He didn't want to explain exactly how he felt there either. "Point is, whatever is going on between us, I want to find out. I care about you enough that I don't want to screw it up by assuming things too quickly, and if we keep talking about it, I'm going to make an ass of myself…and for once in my life I think I'm ready to start sharing myself with someone and screwing that up isn't an option."

Erys Moongem

She smiled. It wasn't all that often that a first-timer could handle this sort of thing so well. It was really cute. She tried not to laugh at him, but she knew it was showing in her eyes, that sense of amusement she always had now when she looked at him. Even when he argued with Ona. Her fondness for him was a direct result of what he'd done for her, sure, but also his beauty. He kept himself looking immaculate, even in the most bizarre circumstances. She'd wondered how but obviously: fuckin' wizards. It had to be a spell. "Once you're no longer her mentor…" She reconsiders. After all, he'd just expressed that he didn't want to talk about it. "I highly doubt you can screw things up with me, Ivaric." She stroked his cheek again, bringing her hand to his chin and kissing him again. "Sometimes, I've found that making love without all the wonder of the first time can help ease that initial rush of infatuation. Plus, it's been a few days. It might be fun. Wanna sneak off together tonight, after dinner, once everyone's turned in? We could take our time, I could show you a few things we didn't quite get to last time. It's not like you can't sleep in. I've been standing watch constantly and fucking nothing is coming at us on the main road. Honestly… I could use the stress relief."

Edric Crestrun

He blinked, before grinning a bit, things normalizing again after the kiss, as he sat up from her lap, turning to stand up as he stretched, feeling the burn in his arms as he did so and looked at Erys with a warmth in his expression that had almost faded from self-doubt, so close to slipping back into that wretched state of self-loathing. "Yeah, I think that could be fun. Same place as now, or…did you have someplace else in mind? Scout found a nice clearing in the woods we could steal away to while he was hunting." He was glad she didn't ask further about Quinys…that was a situation that had yet to develop, but he hoped he could share with her soon. Two loves were blossoming for him at the same time, and despite what typical logic would dictate, he refused to make it a one or the other proposition. He was Edric Crest….Edric Serall, dammit, and if he could make reality his own plaything on a whim, he could love whoever he damn well pleased.

Edric and Quinys

Edric Serall

A few days later into the journey, Edric had told Quinys to meet him by a cliff overlooking a waterfall about half a mile from camp. Catbird had scouted it out, and while it had been a bit of a walk, it was gorgeously beautiful and an excellent example of natural beauty, a rainbow issuing from the basin as the waters from a nearby river poured down in a rumbling sheet. A copse of trees surrounded the area, and wildlife was extra abundant, but there was one thing out of place…Edric hadn't showed up yet.

Quinys Forgedawn

Quin slipped the leather armor off her legs after kicking off her shoes, then placed her feet in the water. It was cool and helped with some of the soreness from their travels. She tried to decide how crass it would be to slip off her pants and just wade out, but then decided she could do that under the moonlight tonight when she wasn't waiting for Edric.

Edric Serall

As she did so, there was suddenly a ripple in the water next to her. Then two ripples, as the water parted for two leg sized holes which the water rushed by. "Glad to see you made it. Been waiting for you to show up, knowing you were going to be sitting exactly there, just so I could pull off this gag." His voice came from a space right next to her, and even if he was invisible, she would be able to tell somehow that he was grinning widely. Moments later, he confirmed it by becoming visible once again. "Find the place okay?"

Quinys Forgedawn

Quin jumped and placed a hand over her dagger, ready to bury it into his thigh before chuckling and sitting back a bit. "You shouldn't startle someone who's first response is to stab, bad for your health."

Edric Serall

"Haven't you heard? I've been getting stabbed at for practice lately, thanks to Erys. Been getting pretty good at not getting stabbed, as long as I've got a chunk of metal to swing around." Pulling out his flask, he took a nice long drink and offered it over to her. "Starting to run low, but there's always wine. We brought plenty of wine." Thinking about what he had been talking about with Erys earlier, he had to work up a small bit of courage to say what he wanted to say next. "So…I don't think I'm going to be able to be your mentor any longer, Dagger. Not that you haven't been an excellent student, really almost too excellent, but…I haven't really been a great teacher."

Quinys Forgedawn

Quin took a slow drink and fiddled with the lid of the flask for a moment or two before closing it and handing it back. First she lost Adonis, and now Edric was deciding that he didn't want to teach her, what was wrong with her that her mentors just kept leaving? "Understood."

Edric Serall

He could sense the disappointment, but as she handed the flask back, he put his hand over hers, giving her an understanding look. "Listen, Quin. I'm not fit to be your teacher. For one, I kissed you, and that's really not the kind of thing any teacher should be doing with their student. Secondly, I don't have the right to say I know enough to be your superior. You, Dagger, are my peer, my equal, and I don't want it to be any other way. Now, do you you think you're up for a couple more questions?" He moved his hand from hers as he took back his flask and took another drink.

Quinys Forgedawn

"Yeah, sure." Quin took out her wine skin and took a few gulps from it, laying back on the rock and letting herself just feel the warmth from the sun. How would she find where to go without a light to help guide her? She was left in the darkness again, and now she just had to find her own way, and she didn't know how to escape.

Edric Serall

He knew what his next question would be as he saw her lay back with that expression on her face, but he had something to say first. "Quin, you know I ain't going anywhere, right? That isn't my question, of course, but…dammit, I really wanna say something to you, but I don't know how you're going to feel about it, so I'll just ask…what do you wanna do with your future?" He laid back onto the rock with her, head tilted sideways.

Quinys Forgedawn

"My future? I doubt I have a super long one." Quin thought about what he meant by 'future'. A few weeks, a month, a year, a decade? Her life was so much longer than his that what she thought was a short period was significant to him. "Other than survival? I want to relax. I want to not be afraid and to not have the people I love be afraid anymore."

Edric Serall

"Then relax. You're slowly being surrounded by people who love you, Dagger, people who want to make sure you make it to a ripe old age, long past the day where you have to ever stab anything ever again." He knew that his own future would be dwarfed by hers. He might live to the age she was now, and she would go on for another few hundred years if she was lucky. Yet, he looked towards the future every day of his life, excited and ready to face it. "Are you afraid of being alone? I'll answer that myself too, because I'm terrified. I don't want to leave this world the same way I entered it. I want to be surrounded by family and friends and I want them to see me off to whatever plane the Gods send me off to. I just know…I don't have to be if I don't want to."

Quinys Forgedawn

"I don't think 'afraid' is the right word. I don't like it, sure, but I don't fear it. If I die alone then I'll probably be standing with a knife in my hand." Quin sighed and thought about where her life was leading, and if she would be with this group for her final moments, or maybe just parts of it if they lived long enough. "Fear isn't something to try and prevent, it's something to accept and feel. It's best to feel what you feel, then you can learn to live through it."

Edric Serall

He sat up a bit, as he looked at her and smiled a bit. "See, this is why I can't be your teacher. That's a wise answer to have, and I guess when you've lived for 80 years or so you pick up a few things." He had to think about this last question for a few moments, and he stood up before he asked it, knowing that if he was utterly mortified by the answer, he could always, y'know, jump off a waterfall. "What do you think about me, Dagger? I mean, I know I've been selfish as hell, and I know you probably think this whole thing is just a weird way of getting into your head, but there's a reason I didn't want to be your mentor anymore besides knowing I'm not the right one. I want to be the one who's there for you, no matter how I end up doing that. Maybe you need someone like that, and maybe it's not a boyfriend or even a best friend, but…just, go ahead and answer before I make any more of an ass of myself."

Quinys Forgedawn

Quin looked up at him in the setting light and thought, for a long moment, about this question. He was her friend, her confidant, a total ass at times, and so many more things than she had words for. She felt the need to protect him on almost an instinctual level, but somehow felt safer when he was around, his smile made her want to stab him and give him whatever he asked for and she didn't know which was the stronger drive. Her language failing for a moment, she took out her dagger and cut her hand slightly, letting the blood bubble up from the shallow incision and holding it out to him. "I don't understand how things work, but I know their need for me to survive. If I'm cut, I bleed. If I bleed too much, I'll die. When we fight, I ache. And I feel like if you left, a part of me would die. The part that craves company, or maybe the part that feels secure sleeping some nights, I don't know. All I know is that right now I need you by my side."

Edric Serall

He was a bit surprised by her answer, as he stood on the precipice of the cliff, the waterfall roaring behind him, and as she presented her bloodied hand to him, he reached out to take the dagger from the other, as he performed a similar cut onto his own hand, before taking her hand in his and grasping it firmly, pain shooting along his palm as he smiled at her with confidence. "Then I'll be by your side, Dagger, as long as you'll be by mine. I swear it, from this day until the day I die. We're going to be something else, Quin, something the world hasn't seen in a long time, if ever, and we're going to show them things and accomplish feats that they'll speak of for ages to come. I can see it all, but I can only see it all if we stick together." As their blood dripped together onto the rocks below, a pact was made. The future was always uncertain, even to him, but he knew now, they would walk towards that future hand in hand.

DAY 7 – 8

The Hunt – Rowan and Onys

Rowan
It had been roughly a week on the high road, and everyone seemed to be falling into a routine. They had brought plenty of provisions but in the interest of fresh meat and frankly to stave off boredom, every two or three days Rowan would go out into the forest on a hunt. She had mostly brought back rabbits and squirrels, one time they were near enough a stream where she could catch some fish. These were enough to feed the large group for only a short time, so she kept going out. She thought she had saw a deer two days ago. That would likely feed them the rest of their journey if she could manage to find it, although it may be difficult to take down alone. "I'm going hunting now," She said to the group at large "If anyone would like to join me they are welcome to."

Onys Kiirnodel
Onys, sitting beside the wagon, fiddling with the fittings of her armor, the mass of chain laying as a pile in her lap, looks up. "I would be glad of the diversion, Rowan. I'll just be a moment…" she replies, lumping the armor into the back of the wagon and digging in her pack for a dark cloak—-more a poncho, but enough to keep her white traveling clothes from standing out—-and her longbow.

Rowan
Rowan was a little surprised at Onys' willingness to tag along. She didn't really seem the type to be sneaky or quiet, but she did at least have the sense not to wear her armor or bring her large sword, so maybe she had misjudged her. "Excellent, although I would bring a dagger with you just in case. We may have to go rather deep into the woods, and if something comes upon us, you won't have time to nock an arrow." With that she grabs her own equipment. She doesn't need much, she leaves her shield and heavy cloak behind. The weather is much warmer here than in the forest surrounding Neverwinter and the heavy fur will just slow her down. She does take her staff that doubles as a walking stick and heads to the treeline off of the road.

Onys Kiirnodel
Onys nods, her braid bobbing along her shoulder with the action. "I have my handaxe. There is usually not much call for it apart from when I am collecting kindling, but it will suffice in a pinch." She follows. She's clearly not an expert woodswoman, but she's clearly spent at least some time in the wilderness, and only sounds to the experienced ear as a quarter of a herd of cattle stomping through the forest, as apart from a tenderfoot who'd emulate the whole herd.

Rowan
Rowan sets off into the trees, slowly at first so as not to outpace Onys, but as they lose sight of the road and the trees completely surround her, she feels herself relax so completely she forgets to be considerate and instead starts weaving in and out of the trees, moving almost silently. While her antlers frequently caused her trouble in Phandalin, she ducks under every branch effortlessly. This isn't her forest, but it reminds her enough of home that she can feel the stress melt away. It's only a few minutes later that she remembers to turn around and look for Onys.

Onys Kiirnodel
Onys is slowly picking her way through the fallen leaves and deadfalls of autumn, doing her best to keep quiet and remain within sight, but the elf is still a number of trees behind. She watches for game and to keep track of Rowan, leaving the particular pathfinding to the druidess. With all that has gone on over the last few days, the monotony of the wagon ride is certainly enough to make anyone dwell on past mistakes, so the trip into the forest is a welcome distraction.

Rowan
Rowan sees Onys attempting catch up and feels a little embarrassed that she had left her so quickly. Doubling back she walks alongside her."Sorry, I got a little caught up. Here, if you want to move softer, try walking like this." Rowan demonstrates how to lift and place your feet so as not to rustle the leaves as much as possible. "Do not overly concern yourself with making noise though, even mice and squirrels make noise in dead leaves. Besides, what I'm hoping to find is much deeper in the woods and we have a while before we may spot it."

Onys Kiirnodel
Onys nods. As a practiced woman-at-arms, she is used to adjusting technique on the fly. "It is of no concern. I presume that, for you, it is preferable to escape civilization somewhat, and I could not gainsay that for any price. I am not particularly looking forward to returning…home, I guess." She shakes her head, realizing she revealed more than she'd planned to. "Let us carry on, then."

Rowan
"I miss home, personally. Although, I suppose I do technically come from Neverwinter. I'm not really looking forward to returning there either. No, I suppose the forest is my home. Coming here into these woods feels a little like it, but just enough for me to miss my own forest. I knew every tree, every rock, every stream in that forest. Here, because we are moving so much on the road, every day is learning a new path. I feel like I'm coming to know it better."She moves with Onys through the trees now, walking alongside her."The smaller animals are everywhere." Rowan points out a squirrel several trees away running up into the branches. "There is a large wolf pack, but they are much further south than us right now. You can hear them sometimes at night. We may come across a lone wolf but they will likely not attack. I have not seen any bears personally, but I have seen their tracks. Do not worry, I will protect you if we happen across one. I believe there is a stream not far from here and I am hoping that when there we may find a deer, which would be an excellent kill."

Onys Kiirnodel
Onys takes it all in. While she was raised in the comforts of a city home between the Twelve Hills, there is something in the elven character that looks for the lonely places in the forest. She says as much: "It is difficult for me, as I almost have three homes – Evereska, the place of my birth, Waterdeep, the place where I set my boots before the fire, and the wood, beneath the trees and the stars, as any elf might claim. In these woods, however, I am yours to command, Rowan. I could not see half the traces you follow, even with my arts of war and gifts of birth bent to purpose."

Rowan
Not accustomed to such formal speak, Rowan tries to interpret the meaning of Onys' words, eventually assuming that she means that she trusts her. "Thanks. I mean, I wasn't very good at first. I just have a lot of practice. I've lived in the woods for more years than I can count. I didn't know anything when I was first brought to the woods, but with some guidance and a lot of mistakes I learned how to survive. Now it's like I'm part of it as much as it's part of me." Rowan pauses for a moment and she can faintly hear the sound of bubbling water. "The creek is nearby. We much be as silent as possible now as we approach it. We should still be downwind, so that anything that is there will not be able to smell us."

Onys Kiirnodel
Onys simply nods, already taking the suggestion and putting it to action. She follows behind, eyes wide, scanning around her, stepping softly through the underbrush.

Rowan
Rowan approaches silently. Years of hunting have trained her to do this without thinking. She can see ahead the trees part and the glimpses of a shore. Staying several feet from the treeline, she crouches low as she surveys around. She doesn't see anything, the water is moving fairly swiftly over the rocks and there may be some small fish, but otherwise there is nothing else here. She can see from across the shore there are hoof tracks. There are deer here, and they do come to this stream. She silently points them out to Onys and indicates that they will simply have to be patient.

Onys Kiirnodel
For all Onys's faults, patience is a virtue she has in spades. She slowly draws her bow and nocks an arrow, not drawing back, but merely crouching to the side of Rowan with the weapon ready. She's actually a bit excited to be out in the woods with no real pressure on her but that of comradeship and the necessary business of life in the wilderness, the edges of a smile creeping around the corners of her oft-frowning mouth.

Rowan
Rowan scans the treeline. She falls into a kind of trance, where she is both aware of her surroundings and yet feels outside of her body. Her mind wanders as it often does when she is in moments like this. She thinks of her own home, and of how much she will enjoy returning there. She considers whether the others would like to see it. Onys may, as she seems to be enjoying the hunt, although she recalls Erys looking a little less at home in the forest. She thinks of the conversation earlier and whether she will one day return to Neverwinter, and whether she will recognize anything there or if it will be as foreign to her as Phandalin was. She is brought out of her thoughts by movement across the stream. After a moment the rustling becomes the form of a large buck emerging from the trees. It looks around before dipping its head to drink from the water. However, it is quite far away from where they are. Much, further than Onys could hit with her bow. Onys had been learning well, but would almost definitely scare it away if she moved. Leaning over to her ear she whispers as softly as she can." There, about 200 feet away on the other side of the stream, do you see it? I am going to sneak around and herd it towards you. When I do, can you take your shot?"

Onys Kiirnodel
Onys nods, eyes not moving from the deer. Her reply is murmured. "I will be ready."

Rowan
Rowan moves back slightly and concentrates. She feels her form shifting, becoming sleeker, more powerful, and faster. Her new wolf body complete, she pads away from the stream to the North. She will have to move quite a large distance around the deer so as not to scare him back into the trees. Several minutes later she finds herself at the edge of the water up a hill. The deer cannot see her and she is able to cross the narrow stream. With her improved vision she can see Onys at the ready, with the animal between them. As if a spring was released she breaks into a run, charging the animal. It attempts to disappear into the trees, but she moves around to bring him back along the shore. They are approaching where Onys is hiding.

Onys Kiirnodel
Onys draws. Proper form would be to stand erect and fire in an arc, but she's taking a deer, not sacking fortifications. In fact, the lower limb of the bow nearly scrapes the ground in its ready position, as the elf remains in her crouch. However, she rises, hoping to gain a shot at its shoulder when it finally sees her and turns aside. Her drawing fingers touch the corner of her lip as she brings the bow to bear upon the buck.

Rowan
Rowan is losing speed, she can run but not as fast as the deer and not for long, when she sees a slip of light appear from the far side of the stream. The deer is knocked to the side by the impact, the arrow sticking out of its chest. Rowan catches up to the fallen animal, it is not long for the world, and not wishing it to suffer any longer than it has to, she bites and holds its neck until it is dead, which takes only a moment. Changing back to herself, she removes the arrow and motions for Onys to come across. Her breath is heavy from the run and she wipes the blood that remains around her own mouth where the wolf's teeth punctured the skin. "Well shot, a clean kill. We should have meat for the rest of our journey!" Rowan pulls out a knife, cutting through the animal's skin and muscle and begins to clean it."It's more than we can carry, so once I am done I can be a horse and you can put it on my back. We won't be able to speak on the way back, so I wanted to say thank you, I could not have done it alone!" Rowan grins with satisfaction as she does her work.

Onys Kiirnodel
Onys comes over to assist Rowan, quite glad of the outcome. "Thank you. It was my pleasure, Rowan." She places one hand on the tiefling's shoulder with a smile. "Do you need assistance with the cleaning? Because I can certainly assist with the eating."

Edric and Erys

Edric Serall

Another day, another grassy plain, another meeting with Erys. He looked forward to it every day, ready to once again throw himself into his training and improve his skills. The day before had been one of revelations, the wound on his hand still aching slightly, reminding him of the oath he had made to Quinys and his newfound devotion to the cause of inspiring love and admiration within her, truly beginning to understand the meaning of Sune's concepts. Looking around for Erys, he waved to her as he spotted her across the way, smiling. "Hey! You ready to get serious today?"

Erys Moongem

She had seemed to have been busy with something, but at the sound of Ivaric's voice, she cast it aside. "Hey!" She marveled at the sight of him. Something had indeed changed. She grabbed her dagger, spinning it a few times in the air as she walked over to the place it made sense to have their sparring session for the day. "Ready to beat your ass some more? Absolutely. Been looking forward to it after the other night." She tossed her shield and chainmail breastplate over to him, expecting him to cast the required spells to affix the fit appropriately, per usual. It's not like anything interesting was going on. She'd regret wishing for more action in no time at all, she was sure of it. "What's up with your hand?" She swung her dagger down into its sheathe and moved towards him, reaching for his hand.

Edric Serall

He grinned, as he stepped towards the makeshift arena, and shrugged at her comment regarding at the night before. "Oh? Are you looking for a rematch for that as well? Because I'd be happy to oblige, any time." Something about him was indeed different, and that sense of hesitation that had existed within him seemed almost imperceptible. Crestrun was gone, Serall was here, and he was ready to give it his all. Now that he had come to terms with Quinys, he had set his sights on the woman before him, and intended to share every bit of Sune's love with her, in more than just the physical sense. As she reached for his hand, he drew it back smoothly, tutting. "Ah, I can't have you healing that away. This needs to mend the old-fashioned way, or else I'll be doing injustice to Dagger."

Erys Moongem

It began with her eyebrows. They just rose. And they just kept rising. And they seemed to pull the rest of her face along with it, from the wound itself to Ivaric's face. Mouth wide half in shock and half in pride, her eyes darted looking for any hint, any indication. And then like a wave, the memory of Adonis and her stern warning against violating their compact. Her shoulders slumped and she looked downcast. "You didn't."

Edric Serall

He shakes his head, as he grins. "No, I didn't. We did something far more significant." He goes on to explain what had happened at the waterfall, as well as the questions he had been asking her the past seven days. In culimnation, he describes how they had cut their hands, and clasped them together, promising to stand at each other's sides until death came between them. He seemed to speak with an immense pride, as much as he had for their own first moment of intimacy. "We're bound together, now. She is my peer, my equal, and my right hand, and I am hers."

Erys Moongem

Erys lost herself in thought, and in the implications of it all, seeming to be lost in a complex calculation before realizing that… yes, that was the way. A partner in all other ways but a partner. An equal. She honestly felt a little embarrassed she hadn't come up with the idea herself. But then she found herself looking just the slightest bit crestfallen. "…is this an exclusive thing? Were you teasing me with the promise of a rematch in order to make sure I knew the door was closed? Was the other night goodbye, Ivaric?"

Edric Serall

Once again, he shook his head, as he reached out with his left hand, the one unscarred and took her hand in his. "Far from it. I meant that honestly. I love Quinys, but when I realized what I had accomplished with her, I also realized that I might just love you too. You have brought me to a place where I never would have imagined myself, and made me reconsider my life and it's purpose. Sune's path is to spread love, and to spread admiration and friendship where love cannot or should not blossom, and with you, I believe that love can, and should indeed bloom." Holding her hand in his, he now clasped it with the other, holding it between them. "I don't know how most people consider these things, but…I don't see a reason to kill one love for the sake of another. It would be nothing but a waste."

Erys Moongem

The touch of his hand on hers was every bit as electric as the first time their lips had met, and for a moment in time, everything froze. This wasn't going to be a declaration. This was going to a confession. It was in his eyes. It was in his damnable smirk. She had to focus on what he was saying. "Far from it," 'No, see, people, they don't actually love—-' "I love Quinys." 'Of course you do. Here it comes. This is goodbye after all.' "I might just love you too." 'No, no, Ivaric… it's infatuation, we've known each other barely a tenday and…and…' and then he proved it, the way a boy who grew up hearing false confessions would have to know was the right way to do it, the way a boy who'd seen what he'd seen would know he had to make it tangible and real for her. He had to prove it. The flash of an image in her mind of the sea, of sharks, of fury. Her impulse was to bury. To take a firm grasp of the feeling welling up inside of her and shove it as deeply down as she could, to not let it show on her face. She could at least step back and let the two of them have their love, have the satisfaction of having fostered it — and hadn't that always been enough? Hadn't that always been… She let him pull her close, let their faces be drawn a moment apart. She hadn't realized the tears were just slipping out now, that he undertood, that he really had been touched by Her. She hadn't realized how she'd react. People didn't love her. They loved her body. They loved what she taught them. They loved what her noble status meant to their plans for social ascension. But that never, ever, resulted in… and there was clearly no thought to her House, no mention of why, save Lady Firehair, which was certainly good enough for her. "Ivaric…" She found herself whispering, moving her head to rest for just a few precious moments against his chest. "You idiot." She just let herself take in the feel of his body against hers, the weight of him against her, and finally, blinking, she pulled away. "It's cheating to use Her words." She sniffled, smiled, and steeled herself. Her first formal response to an honest declaration of love in half a century. "I don't know if I love you in the language you're describing, Ivaric. But I do love you. I don't know if that's ultimately what She wants of me. But I do love you. And if you want to till the soil, I'll not disrupt your work. But I can't deny that I hope it goes well. And in the end, Goddess help me – what will be, will be." She pulled away from him, hoping it would clear her head, but she found that it only made her long for their training today, the physical sensation of moving forward. Waterdeep felt weeks away.

Edric Serall

His hand ran through her hair as she rested her head against his chest, having watched a kaledoscope of emotions cross her face. Things had changed so drastically for him recently, and having her to hold onto made things far more simple. She loved him, much like Quinys, in a way that wasn't quite love. He was learning that, in truth, that was more than enough. As she stepped back away, he moved to grab the shield and step back towards the designated area to begin their training. "I learned from the best, you know. Whatever happens, whatever future we end up choosing, I'll be happy as long as I get to be part of it with you."

Erys Moongem

She couldn't help but smile, a faint blush painting her cheeks as she readied herself, drawing her dagger from its sheath and twirling it with a practiced hand. "We'll see if you still feel that way in a half hour." She laughed, looking down at the ground, then at the sky, and then suddenly she was moving. She felt so light without her armor on, but she certainly was nothing like Dagger. She ran at him and swung her arm, careful not to cut him too deeply in the worst case and ready to heal any wound save his sacred mark with Dagger. She felt herself distracted with thoughts of her, with thoughts of Adonis, which was good. Mind not on the strike meant she wasn't putting her whole force into it. Safer that way.

Edric Serall

As she came at him, he moved his shield quickly to deflect the blow, but it was difficult. The edge made it skitter along the metal surface, and soon enough it dug into his arm and scored a cut across it. Even so, he barely winced, and if she gestured to try and heal it, he would shake his head and refuse and get back into his stance. "Don't heal me until I really need it. I need to see just how much punishment I can take before I go down, and this is the safest opportunity to do so." Even with armor, he needed to know how much he could survive.

Erys Moongem

Her gesture rebuffed and the explanation heard, Erys glanced down at the dagger in her hand, a sliver of blood along the blade. She grinned wickedly. "Alright, Ivaric. That's your decision. But… if you want me to stop, just say…" She considered a moment, the parallel as obvious as the ground beneath them. "…Giant." A moment later, she was on the move again.

Edric Serall

As they moved, the act became somewhat of a dance. The graceful movements of Erys and her dagger, the strong striding steps of Edric and the shield, as the sound of metal on metal clashing began to fill the air, silenced occasionally as the dagger slipped through his defenses and left another cut on him. As he found himself relying too much on the armor to deflect the attacks, he started pushing the shield out further. "I'm not going to stop until I'm on the ground, Alvaroda. Don't hold back so much."

Erys Moongem

She laughed, not stopping, quickening her movements, picturing the cavemouth. How had Dagger moved? She emulated it, lettering her legs carry her around and around him in unpredictable directions at unpredictable speeds. She felt contact but ignored it. He wanted to test his limits and she could bring him back from the brink. 'Stay away from the inner thighs… well, there's a thought I don't have all that often.' She noted his neck and spine as well, and kept him safe – but she gave him what she had with the small weapon.

Edric Serall

The more she rained down with her attacks, the more he blocked, and yet the more managed to slip through his defenses. He was too slow still in this armor, and as he found a break in the attacks, he stopped and held up a hand, cuts across his body already starting to bleed a little more than they should. With a bit of effort, he pulled off the breastplate, dropping it onto the ground as he pulled off his tunic shirt as well, the cuts across his body more visible against his skin. "No need to ruin a good shirt, right?" He was still confident, even as he started to feel the edge of the blood loss. "I'm going to get this down, I promise you that."

Erys Moongem

She was breathing hard now, having to put in a lot of effort to move around at this speed. She felt the soreness in her muscles and marveled at how he looked without his tunic on. Her eyes were wild, the sight of his pain and struggle possessing its own unique kind of beauty. "Better not take the rest off. A woman can only control so many impulses at -" She flew at him again, laughing with delight at each successful block and calling his name at each successful strike. It sure felt awfully familiar. She could get used to this teaching thing.

Edric Serall

Grinning, he was enjoying this, even as the pain started to become a distraction, and his body became a lattice of bleeding cuts. The excitement of it all, after his dual admissions to both her and Quinys, made him feel more alive than he had in years. Even so, the blood loss was starting to get to him, and soon enough his grip weakened, and the shield slipped out of his blood slicked hand, which lead a particularly deft dagger thrust into his shoulder, leading him to gasp out and go down to one knee, putting up a hand to yield. "E-enough…that's enough, Alvaroda. G-Giant."

Erys Moongem

In what looks and surely feels like a fluid motion, Erys kicks the shield away from the two of them, tears her dagger out of him, throws it so that it digs into the ground,, grabs him by the wounded shoulder and pushes him to the ground, straddling him, kissing him, pouring the light of their Goddess into his whole body — careful to avoid the right hand. Visible light shone around them as his wounds healed, his mind steadied, and he was good as new. Mostly. Still atop him, Erys' exhaustion was clearly apparent. "Tell me I beat you, beautiful. Tell me I made you give in."

Edric Serall

As her kiss sent Sune's light throughout his body, he could feel all his wounds sealing back up at once, as the pain faded away from all but a single, cherished wound. Straddled atop him, his breathing matched hers as a smile slipped across his face, fully pinned and defeated, and yet satisfied by the result. "You win, Alvaroda. Completely and utterly, I am defeated." His hands, shaking and bloodied a moment before, were firm and steady as they rested on her hips. "Is that what you want to hear?"

Erys Moongem

She made a sound of intense satisfaction and kissed him again, delighted. "Yeah," she whispers against his cheek, "it really fucking was." She stands, quickly, before she pulls him into a middle-of-the-day trist. The urge is pretty strong, but he'd just confessed a love for her and then she'd beaten the hell out of him. It was probably enough for today. "Let's call it there. You can take a lot more than I expected, Ivaric."

Edric Serall

Dusting himself off, he smiled. "Coming from you, that's quite the complement. You were pretty deft with that dagger of yours. Did you pick up a few tricks from Dagger, or was that all you?" He had been watching Quinys's technice since they had met, and while Erys had performed admirably, no one else quite matched her skill with a small blade. "You may not compete with her deftness with the Weave, but you might give her a run for her money in a knife fight."

Erys Moongem

Erys shook her head, catching her breath, stretching. "No… no way… I mean, I've used it all my life, it's my go-to in emergencies, but it just can't do the kinds of things my longsword can. She'd toy with me, tire me out, exactly like you were just about able to do there. And then she'd have me, worse than I had you. One major artery or one good feint and Dagger's probably got me in a fair knife fight. The things that girl can do. Beautiful." As she spoke, Erys gathered the various bits of her kit and mended them, redonning them with little interruption. "Before we even start talking about whatever madness you've taught her."

Edric Serall

Grabbing his tunic shirt, he slipped it back over his head as he began to cast prestidigitation to undo the bloodstains and small tears that had accumulated before he had removed it, doing the same for the rest of his appearance until, once again, he looked like he had just freshy showered in perfectly laundered clothes. As he watched her redress, he did a bit of the same, as he cast away some of the dried blood that had splashed upon her armor. "Madness? No, my love, I have taught her the Art, the most splendid of its kind, and she has taken to it as a fish takes to water."

Erys Moongem

Erys puts an active effort into not looking too disappointed at his redressing, but it'd be ridiclous to expect him to go around topless all the time. Kind of him, though. With a gesture, he cleaned her armor of his blood for her and she was almost disappointed. She found herself enjoying the evidence of his struggle to resist her. Someday, someday soon, he was going to be able to deflect a blow like the one that had finally beaten him; her breath catches in her throat, though she tries to hide it. "I've seen her practicing this and that, but it's awfully interesting that she has magical talent despite…" Erys finally thinks of something that cleanses the aroused blush from her cheeks. "What she's been through."

Edric Serall

"I almost wonder if, in some strange way, it had something to do with it. Her talent seems different from any elf practicioner I've met, and I wonder if that's due to her disconnection from her heritage, thanks to He Who Will Be Soon Forgotten." To wit, he would be forgotten when he was a pile of ash on the ground, or a very stabbed to death corpse, courtesy of Dagger herself. The latter would be more beneficial, but now that he had this bond with her…anything was possible. "To try and explain it, if I wield the Weave by taking a pair of sewing needles and adding a stitch here, removing one there, and weaving entirely new structures, she's…well, she's using them as stabbing weapons and tearing right through."

Erys Moongem

She smirked ruefully, hatefully, at the nickname Ivaric had chosen for Adonis. On this, most of all, they were most assuredly agreed. "So wait — after all the time she's spent with you, she's not using your techniques, but her own?"

Edric Serall

He shrugged, looking about as lost as she was on the matter. "She figured out her own way to do things before I could even teach her properly. There are some limitations, it's a rough way of doing things, but she's managing some unprecidented progress. Maybe she'll have to start relying on more traditional methods if she reaches her limits, and there are limits to such a style of magic, but she's smart enough to know what to do next."

Erys Moongem

That made Erys smile. It was no wonder that Dagger was uniquely talented. She felt a bit of pride, even, having recognized it so early in their relationship. After, she remembered, being a total bitch to her. She'd saved her sister's life from the wolves like it was nothing, and she blamed it on a deovtion to… Erys nods to herself, many things clicking into place for her at once. "I imagine she is." She glances up at him, a look of mixed concern and a dare in one. "What about your limits?"

Edric Serall

It was like he had been waiting for someone to ask him that question for weeks now, and he had. Frankly, it was something he thought about a lot, and it was hard to hide the excitement as a grin creeped across his face. "Frankly? I don't know if they exist, beyond time and effort. I've unfailingly managed to scribe everything I've gotten my hands on, and every day it feels like my control over the Weave improves….and it's only going to get stronger. There's a well known Wizard's Guild in Waterdeep, with a library of spells almost unrivaled. If I can afford their dues, I have access to…well, almost unlimited power." He was excited…if he was a guilded wizard, so many doors would open to him, both literal, figurative, and metaphysical. "Soon I'll be able to do things that I could have only dreamed about back in the Academy."

Erys Moongem

She loves seeing him happy, excited, almost childlike in his excitement. And at learning. Not at studying in some tower, and not staying in his Academy — but seeking out more. That she could respect. He'd meet his limits, someday, surely, and she'd be there to soothe him. And push him past them. The though delighted her. "If you need more money to be able to afford the tuition or dues or whatever, you could always sell that fucking robe."

Edric Serall

"Oh, I plan to…but first I'll need to offload some of the contents at the appropriate vendors. This thing is only going to cause more problems, and it'll be worth a pretty bit of gold to the right merchant." He had stopped wearing it often, mostly keeping it wrapped up in his pack where it wouldn't tempt him to come up with any more terrible ideas. "Honestly, it should be far more than enough. With the money left over, I should be able to stock up on enough spells for half a lifetime."

Erys Moongem

"Heavens above… I certainly haven't made that kind of money doing any of the stuff I've been doing. Well, Ona's hoarded most of our gold. I tend to, y'know, spend it." She smiles wide, excited to share her passion with an intensity equalling his. "So this chainmail, right? It's training armor. Now that I'm an official paladin sanctioned by Lady Firehair herself and all – thanks again for the assist, by the by – I've got to look into getting myself some proper plate armor. I'm gonna be at the head of things with Rowan a lot of the time and… we're gonna have a lot more shit to deal with. Especially this bounty situation in Waterdeep. Doesn't make any godforsaken sense. Anyway. So my first set of plate, right, I'm gonna get plated with gold and red, just paint, y'know – I can mend it when it gets damaged, so why not? But it'll look amazing. Seems to be the right way to advertise exactly what I am and not 'hide myself away,' right?"

Edric Serall

Listening to her describe her own passion, he smiled as in the back of his mind, gears began to turn. She really was beautiful when she was excited about something, more beautiful that is, like a fire being fed fresh fuel and blazing upwards in response, burning brighter and higher. As she did, he walked over, running his hands along her arms as he secretly did measurements in his head, passing it off as an intimate gesture. "Right, as if you would be one to hide yourself or your purpose. Frankly, you don't need armor to accomplish that, but it would send out the right signal. Personally…I think you make a bigger statement for Sune when you're wearing nothing at all, but that's a very different statement indeed. I'm speaking from experience, of course." He wasn't much one for flirting, but it was time to give it a spin for once.

Erys Moongem

She giggled openly, loving the feel of his hands on her body and the sound of his words. "Nice… nice… you really are learning. Heavens above, if I could serve Her without the need for the armor. That would really be something. You're certain you wouldn't find yourself jealous, Ivaric? All the men and women of Waterdeep with their disgraceful vices gazing upon…" She placed her hands on his and guided them along her body, describing a variety of her assets in turn with a mocking, seductive tone, challenging him to take possession of her in the moment. As she did, she gradually turned to face him in his arms. "The Lady Firehair desires more of me than enticing the beautiful to my bedchamber. As I believe you'll agree She's demonstrated. Just look at you, Ivaric."

Edric Serall

To be honest, he had meant it more as a joking flirtation, but seeing-and feeling-her taking it to a very real place was a pleasant turn indeed. "Jealousy implies I have some concept of exclusivity with you, and if there's one thing you've taught me, Sune will always come first. Besides, I wouldn't wish to prevent you from spreading Her love to others, that would truly put me on a shitlist to deprive Her of such an effective agent." His hands moved with hers, as he worked some of the same discipline that he used to master the Art to keep himself from doing anything too…drastic. "You're right…and that's why I wanted to tell you, I intend to devote myself to her in truth and practice. When we get to Waterdeep, I'd like to visit Her temple with you, and start working on becoming Her servant."

peramene

[ok now you gone done and did it]

Red Phantom

[oh i know i did]

Erys Moongem

Erys' mouth opened ever so slightly in a moment's expression of shock, her eyes darted over his face looking for any indication, any sign of deception. Anything. Anything to make her doubt his words for an instant, and there was none. She'd taken a lost sailor, a bitter, cynical, fuckin' wizard of all things, and she'd led him away from the watery depths of a nightmarish Hell she could only imagine… to Her. She'd brought him to Her. Perhaps she'd always been meant to, perhaps she'd always been able to. Perhaps she hadn't been working hard enough. It's not as though Sune had any shortage of disciples, but… but… he looked at her and he loved her. He loved her, and he wanted her, and he wanted her again, and he knew damn well She was first in her heart always and not only was that good enough for him… it was the natural order of things. In time, She would earn Her rightful place in his heart, too. But for now, Erys could do nothing but kiss him, and kiss him, and kiss him, as she desperately pulled away any possible barrier between them and pulled him to the ground.

Quinys and Edric

Edric Serall

Edric had decided not to be as mysterious about their meeting place this time. He invited her out towards a lake that had been spotted along the way of their route, which had seemed thankfully free of anything that might disturb them, besides the odd jumping fish or two. As he sat at the lake's edge, he smiled. Today, and the days before that, had been a big change for him. He seemed different, more confident, as he looked to Quinys and smiled. "So…I realized we never got to you asking me a question yesterday. You wanna start with that?" Something had happened with him and Erys earlier, and while he didn't mention it, it almost showed without a word.

Quinys Forgedawn

"Yeah, sure. My question for you is: what was your mom like?" Quin had shown up in a nightgown, having decided it was modest enough to swim in around him, and waded waist deep into the water. It was cool, but not cold, and the feeling of the clay under her feet was exactly what she needed. "I know you loved her, and she was a great mom, but who was she as a person?"

Edric Serall

Kicking his feet in the water, he looked up at the sky as he tried his best to remember. "She died when I was young, so I guess I don't remember as much about her as I'd like…but she was a great mom. Always made sure I had everything I needed, always had a smile for me when she was done working. She usually did her best to spend time with me, teach me things, and make sure I knew I was special after a day of getting treated badly by people in the city. It wasn't easy for her, I imagine, but she did her best, and never resented me for how much harder I must have made it for her, or at least she never showed it."

Quinys Forgedawn

"It's good that you have good memories of her. I only really remember what my mom looks like because of a picture, but I like to imagine she was nice. I used to a lot more when I was younger, but it's harder to pretend when you grow up." Quin dipped under the water completely for a moment, it being as close as she would get to a bath for a while, and ran her fingers over her scalp for a second or two.

Edric Serall

He nodded, as he pulled off his tunic top and decided to jump into the still waters as well, diving under the surface for a moment only to pop up next to her with a grin.  "Alright, time to get a little more interesting. How about the people we've found ourselves with? Like, say…what do you think of Rowan? She's certainly the strangest of our bunch."

Quinys Forgedawn

Quin smiled widely and relaxed backs bit, picking up her legs and floating in almost a sitting position. "Rowan is magical. And I mean that as more than literal. She has this wonder about her that makes me want to both protect and teach her as much as I can." She realized that that made little sense and decided to try and elaborate a bit more. "I mean, it can't be easy being a tiefling, and I want to learn all about her experiences, but I also want to show her the world and all its wonders. But with that world comes the people in it, and most of them suck."

Edric Serall

Diving back under the water, suddenly three more Edrics popped up alongside him, all doing various different strokes as the actual Edric swam back up next to her doing a backstroke. "I know what you mean. She's certainly not a child, not after surviving the wilds all those years, but she's so naive to the rest of the world, people most of all. Worst thing we could do is prove her worst fears correct. Also, watching her work, I'm amazed at how she manipulates the Weave in an utterly alien way to the way I trained. How about Val, our resident holy man?"

Quinys Forgedawn

Quin laid back, letting the fabric of her nightgown bunch and pool at the whims of the water as long as it kept her mostly covered, and closed her eyes. "Valorn is a great man, with an even greater calling. How many dwarves do you know that could corral four newly adult adventurers and prevent it from falling apart in a massive wave of angst? He hits hard and feels even harder, even when he's trying to forget his feelings, and that's what makes him so much better than even he knows. His wife would be proud, and even if he has no natural born children, he's helping raise all of us bit by bit each day."

Edric Serall

"Yeah, it's weird to think that even if you three elves are in your eighties and nineties, you're still considered younger than me. Val's a good guy, and while he's still in his wife's shadow, he's going great things out here that I think will help him find his place in Moradin's service. I'm trying to figure out myself where I fit into the grand scheme of the gods, one in particular, and he's been a great help in figuring that out." Not as big a help as Erys, of course, but when it came to the commonalities of worship, he was the most qualified guy he knew. "What about the sisters, then?"

Quinys Forgedawn

"Erys and Onys are like…opposite sides of a coin. They're made of the same thing, but are so different and far from each other, but infinitely close at the same time. I mean…" Quin sighed as she tried to find the words to describe either, or both, without just using their names. "Onys is phenomenal. She is devoted in a way I've never seen to both her sister and her god, and has an intensity that I envy on a deep level. However, when she's calm it seems to reach out to the world and set it at peace alongside her. Erys is like a blessed fire. She battles with the same intensity that she loves with and has no 'half', she is completely consumed or absolutely unfazed with no middle. And together they are like nature itself."

Edric Serall

He nodded, knowing just how hot that fire could burn, and how chilling that calm could be from his interactions with both. "They're both excellent representations of their faiths, and their oaths. I mean, I had my problems with Onys at first, but those just ended up being my own insecurities rising up, and I think we've managed to figure things out between us now. You're right about Erys, she has no half-measures, be it in combat, faith, or love. Between you and them, my opinions on elves has radically done a complete turnaround." He tried not to say anything that suggested his relationship with the latter of the sisters, not with his own connection with Quinys being so nascent and fresh, but at the same time he wanted to be open about things. "She's…really something. I mean, they both are."

Quinys Forgedawn

Quin stood and walked from the water, letting her soaked gown cling to her and taking away a bit of the privacy it once provided. Her hair dripped and hung in wet strands, running down her back and giving her chills in the quickly cooking evening air. "Is it my turn to ask a question now? Because I have one that is a bit strange."

Edric Serall

Stepping out of the water himself as his duplicates vanished into mist, he stretched his arms above his head, smiling as he recalled how different things had suddenly become for him inside, as he watched Quinys standing with the darkening sky as a backdrop against her form. She really was beautiful. "Go right ahead, we're partners now, there's no question too strange."

Quinys Forgedawn

Quin blushed a bit and folded her hands together, running her thumb over the still somewhat sore cut on her palm before reaching a hand out to Edric and clearing her throat. It felt as if she was suffocating on something, but she didn't know how to explain it, and strangely didn't mind it. "Will you watch the sun set with me?"

Edric Serall

It wasn't a question he expected, but he smiled as he reached out with his own hand, showing the unhealed cut upon it as he took her hand in his. "Dagger, I'd be honored." It was a step in the right direction, that he could recognize, and yet he was happy for things to at whatever pace she dictated. For now, he was happy.

DAY 9 – 10

Erys and Quinys

Erys Moongem

Erys slumped down, returning to camp looking exhausted. Every day Ivaric was getting more proficient with the shield, it was pushing her harder to keep up with him and challenge him. It was getting to be tiring. She just let herself breathe, for a few precious moments, just let herself remember that it was just a few more days to Waterdeep, and then the party would finally be able to see to Roxie's remains and that of his brother. And perhaps even figure out this damnable bounty situation. Not to mention, Ivaric would apparently finally rid the group of that fucking robe. She took her chainmail gloves off and just her herself feel her own skin again. When she was finally done training Ivaric, she was going to finally have so much free time again. Still, it had made the trip go by easier. She wondered idly if now would be a good time to grab four hours' rest.

Quinys Forgedawn

Quin sat on the edge of the wagon, swaying a bit to her own beat and enjoying the last few moments of light before the sun was completely set. She watched Erys sit and begin removing her armor and wondered why she was exhausting her self every day trying to make sure Edric stayed alive. Was it just to be a stronger team? Was there more to it than that? Whatever it was it probably wasn't any of Quinys' business, but she walked over anyway and offered a wineskin. "You look tired."

Erys Moongem

Erys hadn't noticed her, but was delighted. "Dagger." Her voice spoke with fondness. She was well aware that following their training sessions, whether they ended in sex or not, Ivaric had made a point of seeing Dagger as often as possible. "I am. That boy isn't there yet, but he's getting stronger." She took the offered wineskin, drank sparingly, and returned it. "He tried to bash me with my shield as if it were some kind of blunted axe today. Showed him the error of his ways. I've been trying to fight like you since ranged threats he seems to be good with, but if he comes up against someone with skills like yours… that's when he'll need these skills. Hells, maybe we should have him try to defend against you once he finally gets faster than me. A little one-on-one might fun."

Quinys Forgedawn

Quin frowned a little, unsure of how she felt about approaching Edric with a blade in her hand and attacking him, even if he had been training. "I'd hate to mar him with scars, he seems to care so much about his appearance." She sat next to her friend and drew in the dirt idly, making crude little flowers and funny faces. "What do you think of him?"

Erys Moongem

"Oh, he heals right up. Little bit of the ol' infusion of godliness and he doesn't have a single scar. Save the one that correlates to the one I notice you share with him." She smiles wide at Dagger's question, watching her draw her little faces and flowers. "I love him." She said, matter-of-factly, a simple statement of the truth between them. "There's a bond building between us — one sec," Erys reaches far behind where she was sitting for her bag, pulling out the little supplies required to make a dose of nararoot tea. And then she freezes for a moment, fingering a second dose forward in her bag. "…Dagger, would you like some tea? It doubles as a contraceptive. I drink it every five days or so, not sure if you've noticed. But I bought extra for the road and we're almost there, if you'd like to try some."

Quinys Forgedawn

"How does it taste? I mean, I don't need the…other things, but I do like tea as a drink." Quin took a slow breath at Erys's comment about loving Edric and stamped down some other questions she had, it wasn't her business. Now, at least, she had an idea of how she would act around him. "And the cut…it was a way of explaining things I didn't know how to explain."

Erys Moongem

Erys grabs both doses. "So the nararoot that it's made from is bitter, and while you can eat it in an emergency, it doesn't taste the best. When you take it and you shave it, and then put it in these little bags, the tea is actually quite nice. I'll brew you a batch. If you like it, maybe you can join me for it more regularly and we can have little… tea times. Frankly, I should be making sure Ona gets regular doses, too. You never know when a wealthy darling caller is going to come along and swe—-" An image of Adonis in her mind shuts Erys the hell up in an instant. "…so we just let that seep for just a few minutes and then it'll be ready. So, Ivaric… there's a bond buildling between us that I've never really had with anybody else. It's curious. He's gorgeous, right? Like you. And he's very resourceful, in his way, y'know, for a wizard. Sorta like you. And he's definitely got a place in my life. Just like you. Just like Ona. Valorn and Rowan too. Things might get weird and rough when we get to Waterdeep, especially for me and my sister. But thinking about it… Ivaric has… so much more room to grow than the rest of us, though, don't you think? And I can't for the life of me figure out what kind of lovers he'd enjoy, which infuriates me. The same is true of you, but you're a more entertaining puzzle to solve. Women are like that. Men are sort of simple, when you really get down to it. Oh! That should be done." She reaches down, taps the little bag of nararoot shavings against the side of the prepared cups, and hands one to Dagger. "Give that a try."

Quinys Forgedawn

Quin listened to the almost babbling with a bit of wonder, enjoying that Erys trusted her enough to open up. She blushed a bit and mumbled "he's a bit handsome" when Edric's appearance was brought up, but didn't know what else to say after the emotions that Erys had confessed about him. "Edric doesn't take lovers, so I don't think he has a type." Quin shrugged, taking the tea and holding the warm mug in her hands. She blew on the steaming liquid softly and took a small sip, letting the heat and flavor coat her tongue and feeling it descend through her as she swallowed. It tasted of earth, flowers, fresh air…thugs that shouldn't be flavors but somehow were now. "This is very good."

Erys Moongem

Erys enjoyed the way Dagger listened to her remarks, but felt a definite discomfort with the concrete revelation that Ivaric had not seen fit to share with Dagger that he had in fact, taken a lover. She watched Dagger drink her tea in silence, hoping for a positive reaction, and smiling. "I'll make sure we're properly supplied in future, then. What a nice thing to do together every so often." Erys blushed a little, considering that the context of the conversation probably meant she shouldn't refer to such outings as 'dates,' but damn it, she wanted to. She scrunchied up her lips a bit and sipped at her own tea. This was gray area. This was not necessarily a good thing. But was it necessarily a bad thing? To keep the secret… or not? Ona had figured it out, but of course… Ivaric… her nickname for him… maybe Dagger hadn't thought about what it meant. Or worse, maybe she had. "Ivaric is going to start taking more lovers, I hope! With my help. I've been teaching him a few things. We've been praying to Sune a lot together." Honest. "He's a bit of an awkward fool about it, and he's worried about procreation, of course. I guess it's not uncommon for a band of mercenaries-turned-adventurers-turned-companions to not want to have children out here in the wilderness, but I'm so used to being the only one in a crowd. I take all kinds of lovers, so it's real important I drink this tea regularly or… Truelove protect me, I don't even want to think about it. I'd be called back home, Ona would have to defend her claim, my mothers would elect a representative for my child's rights no matter how much I begged…" Erys sighed, exasperated at the thought of ever returning home. "Big nightmare."

Quinys Forgedawn

Quin continued to drink her tea, pausing for only a moment at the realization that not only had Edric found a lover, but that he hadn't told her about it, and continued to profess feelings for her. This didn't make a lot of sense, but she was determined to be happy for the two who had found love in the most difficult of situations. She tried to understand Erys's concerns about becoming pregnant, and agreed with some of the more logical ones, but didn't comprehend what Onys had to do with any of it, or what a 'representative of her child's rights' meant. "Is that a noble thing? You can't just have a child?"

Erys Moongem

Erys nods vigorously. "It's… like, I don't want to sound like I didn't have everything I wanted growing up, right? I did. But so long as I have this title, having kids is this big complicated mess. Not that I wouldn't love them. Not that I don't want them someday. Probably with another woman, like my mothers chose to. I'm just waiting to get back to Waterdeep and have a scolding letter or something delivered." She shakes the thought away, downing the rest of her tea quickly now that it had cooled a little. "Let's talk about something else. Tell me about you and Ivaric and your bond, I've heard of blood bonds before but you say it helps explain… things you don't know how to explain? Maybe I can help. I am a—-" she wiggles her shoulders in a silly gesture to mock making herself seem important"Heartwarder of the Lady Firehair, Goddess of Love and Beauty, after all. What's confusing about it?"

Quinys Forgedawn

"Well it…Edric and I are close. He's probably my best friend, you being a close second, and I felt like he was distancing from me…and I was suddenly afraid. I don't know why it scared me, I've been alone for many years and I did fine then, but I've grown attached to everyone in our small group. I thought he was king to leave, like everyone eventually does, and he asked me how I felt about him. I don't really have words for it, so I related it to being cut. When he and I fight it's like my heart is cut, and I don't like saying those things because it feels weird." Quin sipped her tea for a moment, thinking about how things had changed so quickly and how she never expected to feel this deeply about anything, let alone another person, and now she didn't even know where she stood with him…after saying as much as she knew how to say already.

Erys Moongem

Erys listened intently, nodding at each point. "You worry about him when we're attacked? You want to do what you can to keep him safe? You feel that way about all of us. You felt that way about Ona before you even knew her, because she was…" Erys treads very, very carefully. "…family. To me. And time and again you've been there for all of us, Dagger. You were very strong alone, on your own, when I met you. Really strong. You scared me. I have to admit, watching you move, attack with your blades, save my dearest sister from that beast atop her. And you've only been getting stronger, faster. Ivaric tells me you've started mastering magic on top of that, in a way he doesn't even understand, he can't even teach you anymore? Dagger, you're amazing. Remember when that first direwolf had you pinned? My heart was cut wide open. You'd saved my sister's life and you were racing in alone, to fight, to stand up for us… and I hadn't even thanked you yet. I hadn't mastered healing wounds but I was going to race over and kiss you and pour every scrap of love I had access to into you however I could think to, to save you - Valorn just beat me to it. Alone, you are already incredible. But look at how much stronger you are, look at how much safer you are, look at how loved you are—" At this, she risks moving her hand to rest atop Dagger's, just a firm contact, hand on hand. "with us. When Ivaric is throwing spells and the fools facing us have no way to catch you. When I'm right beside you, doing my best to keep you safe. We've known one another just about a month, Dagger. I love you. You were meant to be with us."

Quinys Forgedawn

“We were all meant to be together, our strengths and weaknesses perfectly blended to make what we are. If my own pseudo-religious beliefs weren't so muddy I would say some god had brought us together, and that very well may be true, but I'd like to think we chose to stay together. And now? I don't think a power in the universe could rip us apart." Quin smiles at the contact, not moving from it and looking up from her tea to make eye contact with Erys. "And I'd dare something to try."

Day 11 – 12

Edric and Erys

Edric Serall

With the journey almost at it's end, Edric was pushing himself. He was so close, and as Erys rained down attack after attack with her dagger, he felt like he was nearly there. No, he still couldn't concentrate long enough to throw out a single spell, but he was keeping her blade at bay, with nary a scratch on him. He was thrilled. He was alive, and moving with an efficiency and grace that would have been impossible before their training had begun. He shone out there, dodging and blocking, until finally he made his move. With a single, hard shove, he bashed towards Erys using the shield, trying to knock her onto her ass.

Erys Moongem

Breaking up the monotony of hours a day of traveling, these sessions with Ivaric had quickly become the highlight of Erys' day. The fact that he was so quickly advancing in skill, that he was so ready to devote himself to her Truelove and join the ranks of earnest heartwarders in the world filled her heart with a joy and dedication to the cause of pushing him harder than she had yet. She flew at him, barely getting a strike past the barrier and then – she simply stopped the shield with her free hand, pulled it off his arm and spun around, her dagger close to his throat. "And you're dead." She handed him the shield back. "I know it feels like a big heavy weapon, but it's only good in extremely close quarters. You can't use it to much effect against a single opponent like this situation, and if you try, you open yourself up to shit like that. Don't try facy shit, Ivaric. Focus on not getting hit, and focus on feeling Sune and the Weave or both or whatever inside you. That's what you should be trying to hit me with." She stood for a time twirling the dagger in her hand.

Edric Serall

Defeated and out maneuvered, Edric sighed before smiling and grabbing the shield back from her. "Don't worry, I'll get you one of these days. I just need to make a break through, and then we'll see who's on the floor next time." Since his promise of dedicating himself to Sune, Edric had redoubled his studies, leaving almost no time for anything but his training with Erys and his conversations with Quin, both of which he considered to be of the utmost importance. "I'm ready when you are, unless you think we need a break." Yesterday had ended rather abruptly, so he hoped he would be able to get a little more work in today…not that he particularly objected to how they strayed off the subject matter, however.

Erys Moongem

"If it's a breakthrough you need, we'll have to start pushing you harder. Let's rest a bit and enjoy one another's company. Then I'll get back to the grueling task of beating your ass. I got you once or twice that last round – want me to heal 'em now or wait 'em out?" After a tenday of training, the routine had become second nature. A gesture from her and their equipment was fixed, a gesture from him and it was clean. A kiss, and wounds sealed. The familiarity was nice. She sheathed her dagger and found a rock to sit on, exhausted herself. Ivaric was going to be a force to be reckoned with once he had his breakthrough, if it was even possible for him to cast and cart around a shield like hers, but whatever. 'It's good work for good pay,' she thought to herself with a grin. "Sit with me."

Edric Serall

"It can wait until we get started again, nothings bleeding badly, after all." Maybe some bruising, but otherwise he was far more intact after a training session than he had been before. Moving over to her, he sat down next to her, leaning up against her as usual as he smiled. "So…what do you think it's going to be like for us, knowing we're going to be together as a team for the long run? I mean…I really care about them, all of them. I know almost for sure that we're going to be in far more danger in our future than we have been in the past, and…" All he could think about in that moment was Gundren, his head swinging from the walls. Would that be their end too one day? Who would come to recover their bodies?

Erys Moongem

Erys' faith shines through in her eyes, her smile, and even in the way she reaches her hand to touch his. "Great danger. And heavy burdens. And it is impossible to know what role we play." She looks back towards the camp, tightening her grip on his hand. "I worry for my sister with every encounter we begin. Especially with this bounty. It was such a small job and now it seems to have exploded in our faces. We may all be at the mercy of the Xana….whatever's thieves 'ere long. To say nothing of what's after Rowan. We saw a giant eagle in the woods when we first set out for Waterdeep. Her eyes lit up like ours do when we see each other. She is so young, somehow, and yet capable of such things. I don't understand it."

Edric Serall

He gripped her hand back, as he thought about how close some of them had come to death already. This was all supposed to be a simple job, and yet they had come together as almost a surrogate family and fought off threats that would have slain any of them alone. "Then there's Dagger…I fear for when that wretched man steps back into our path, because I know while he's an unforgivable bastard now…he wasn't always, and in her mind she still sees him as the man who took care of her for so long." He couldn't imagine what he would do in her position, if the roles were switched and it was his mother, no longer dead, calling him back.

Erys Moongem

Erys' face hardened at the mention of Adonis, and she turned to Ivaric with a severity uncommon to her. "He has to die. He made a mockery of their relationship – whatever it was – and if he gets her back into his hands, he will only hurt her. He has to die, and we have to see it. But first…" She found her eyes narrowing, felt her ears twitch. Irritated. Offended. "We cannot do it in secret, or his spell will never break. And if she discovers us, she will never forgive us. We cannot do it in front of her for the same reason. She has to do it. She has to have to do it. But I don't see how we get there."

Edric Serall

Nodding, he laid back onto her lap like he had done a number of times before, closing his eyes and thinking about the situation as he mapped it out in his head. "I think it's possible. She cares about all of us too, and I think she feels like she has to prove herself sometimes. I'm going to find him, eventually, and if I can find him before he finds us, we can set him up into our own trap. He's too dangerous to be left alive, but I don't want to force her to do something she doesn't want to do." It would be hard for her, hard for him even, to kill her past like that, and part of him hoped they'd never run into him again. He could imagine the pain it would cause her. "Let's cross that river when we get to it though. I'm more concerned about your sister at the moment, Alvaroda. How is she holding up with this ransom on your heads? We're walking right into the viper's nest. "

Erys Moongem

Erys tries to give it some serious thought, she really does, but the image of Ona's face scrunched up upon unrolling the first scroll, the evening after they'd all met… just made her laugh. She'd seen the face many times over the last sixty years, of course, she'd been the primary cause of it, but Goddess above… she never thought it would be as bad as it was. She sobered. A thousand gold each. "Ona is Ona. She's the most brilliant, resourceful, resilient woman I've ever known. She was for so long my only real companion. This last year has… I'm sorry, Ivaric, is it alright if I just go on?" She smiled. "Ona chose to leave with me, she chose to keep me safe, and she has. Again and again. It's been more than a year and we're both coming up on our centennials and… it's a big time. She should be home. She should be with our mothers, the Matrons. She should be seeing to the future of House Kiirnodel. She belongs there. I belong here. And now that I have you, especially… with how dedicated you seem like you want to be…" Erys looked crestfallen. "Ona has been my only confidant for ninety nine years, Ivaric. My first and oldest friend. One of the most beautiful people I've ever known. And watching the way she seems to despise herself so just… tears at me. I want to help, but sometimes it seems like I have all the optimism and brightness in the world, and she prays but she prays… quietly. You've seen me over the last tenday. I don't have any shame. I am in love with Lady Firehair. Ona obeys Lady Goldheart out of… I don't even know what kind of sense of duty. Her love should be a garden, finely tended… and instead it's… rare. For her to even smile anymore. And I think maybe I did that to her. And if something happens to her because of this bounty, Ivaric, I hesitate to swear lest I be truly forsaken for my overwhelming wrath." She didn't know when she'd started crying, but it had become apparent to her now that she'd run out of steam, holding her body close to Ivaric's to recover from the emotional overflow.

Edric Serall

As she recounted her love and admiration for her dear sister, Edric's hand rose up to wipe away the few tears that had begun to roll down her cheeks, as he looked up at her with a smile. "I don't know if you realize it yourself, the way you talk, but she's lucky to have you, just as you're lucky to have her. You talk about her lack of love for herself, but you beat yourself up for what you seen yourself having done to her, blaming yourself for everything. Why do you think she stuck by your side instead of leaving you to your fate, choosing you over her entire world?" Sitting up, he pulled her into a hug as he felt her pain acutely. He had never had someone to rely on like these two sisters did, and for that it was all the more beautiful. "She sacrificed for you, yes, but she did so because of how much she cares about you, not in spite of it. If you were destined to be here, to serve your goddess and make the world a better place because of it…perhaps so was she.(edited)

Erys Moongem

Erys breaks down, a year of overwhelming guilt desperately ignored pouring out of her. Ona's confession of a few days ago — years — she kept to herself, but Ivaric's blessings came with the burden of the specific against the abstract. Had she not always been in the way? Had she not always drawn the eye and attention of everyone around them? Had she not know damn well the sorts Ona honestly fancied and ignored it, sleeping with anyone and everyone who expressed an interest in her in the most remote capacity that had even a scrap of beauty Erys felt she could magnify. But in some way, he was right. She marveled at his love for her, but she had been focusing on the fact that she had for decades known a deeper love for her Patroness. Indeed, she had not even thought to count the longest love of her life, though Firehair would always be first and highest, though She clearly loved her back… Ona had always, always been there. And Erys had always been so loud. So in the way. So she cried, She cried and she shared stories about Ona, going on for some time about the things they'd done together, sharing with him details that perhaps should have been left secret between the sisters, but she just lost control, she felt so safe and so comforted in his arms.

Stones (Throwing) – Onys & Quinys

Onys Kiirnodel
Still several days out of the city, the forests and mountains open up to reveal the High Road's fully coastal run, the sea visible in the distance from the crest of each hill. The sea breezes help to invigorate the party, worn down by the travel, but as the sun sinks beneath the waves and camp is made for the night, Onys sits with her back to a large rock atop a sandy hill draped in long grass, watching the tide. About a hundred yards away, the waves wash in, lit orange-red in the light of sunset.

Quinys
About fifty feet away stood a different tree, and Quinys sat on one of the beaches watching the sunset herself. She had enjoyed watching it with Edric, but now…she didn't quite know how to feel. He was…with Erys? And why hadn't he told her. She began to use mage hand to pick up rocks and toss them into the water as it rolled in and out.

Onys Kiirnodel
The tiny plunk and plonk of stones beneath the roll the waves is enough to rouse Onys from her reverie, and she rises, following Quinys down the beach, a gust of ocean wind dragging her dress around her legs and lifting her braid from her shoulder. She comes up alongside the other elf, picking her way carefully down the rocky shoreline. She takes up a palm-sized stone, worn smooth by the tide and tests its weight in her hand. "Mind if I join you?" she asks, keeping her tone light, vocabulary casual.

Quinys
"Of course not, some calming company may be just what I need."Quin smiled and tossed another stone, looking over at Onys and feeling somewhat comforted by her less emotional atmosphere. "How have you been on the trip so far?"

Onys Kiirnodel
Onys takes aim and sidearms the stone at the sea in a high, flat arc. "It has given me time to reflect, which…is preferable to the alternative, to be honest. I must admit I had not wished to try my arm in combat again so soon after such a failure as we had."

Quinys
"Sometimes you learn the best after failures, and a quick success can be needed so that you don't feel like a failure for too long." She shrugged and twisted her braid into a bun, the wind having annoyed her enough with it whipping around.

Onys Kiirnodel
Onys nods. "Luck ebbs and flows, and the break has been useful. I'm prepared for what lies ahead." She crouches, hunting another stone of the right size. "You seem pensive." It's not a question.

Quinys
"Pensive? That's a good way of putting it I guess. I would have said silently lost in a world of my own, but I like pensive more." Quin nodded, her mage hand offering Onys a rock to toss as Quin sat down and just watched. "Things are suddenly different than before, but at the same time are completely the same."

Onys Kiirnodel
Onys frowns, letting the rock drop into her hand and winding up for another throw. "That…is so incredibly vague that you could be talking about any day in history. What's wrong?"

Quinys
Quin sighs and tilts her head from side to side, not sure how to respond without sounding petty. "I don't know if I'd say wrong, but…Edric and Erys are in love. And are being intimate. But he didn't tell me. I mean, I don't expect details, or like he owes me an explanation, but I didn't expect to hear this from any partner of his, let alone Erys. I thought when he found someone he'd tell me, but I guess we're not as close as I had assumed."

Onys Kiirnodel
Onys sighs as well. Well, now doesn't all this sound familiar? Another day in House Kiirnodel, it would appear. "I'm shocked, frankly, but not wholly. On the one hand, my sister is…driven. She sails on emotional tides, giving and receiving love where she finds it, and cannot help but give in. The fact that she waited as long as she did before falling in with Edric is of itself surprising. The other hand, even though I assumed you and Edric were lovers when we met, Edric seems not to entirely have his wits about him concerning matters of the heart—-this certainly being the case when you consider how quickly he fell into my sister's arms after you rebuffed his advances." Is Onys making some assumptions? Definitely. Is she wrong? Probably not entirely.

Quinys
"Edric and I? That's pretty funny, the two virgins being lovers." Quin smiled, thinking about how many times she and Edric had flirted with becoming more than what they were, and how things almost reached a peak before everything crashed down around her after talking to Erys. She didn't understand how to proceed from here. "I don't even know what to think anymore. He is enjoying your sister's company while professing feelings for me, and I don't understand how he could truly care that deeply for both of us at the same time. I mean, I get that you can love more than one person, but can you be truly in love with more than one? Doesn't being in love require you to want to put that person first?"

Onys Kiirnodel
Onys blanches slightly. Era wasn't kidding about Edric being a virgin? No <u>wonder</u> things were so screwy with these two. "Love is a precious thing, and lives in the heart in many forms. Some will bind their heart with another and the pair of them will be all the other needs. Some find bonds with two or three or more, and they each share in the love each brings to the others. It is…difficult when one finds oneself outside of love when the thought was they might in some way be included. It is also difficult when one, who finds they can love more than one, bears affection for one who prefers to have only one." She flips a stone upward with the toe of her boot and tries to catch it. She misses, however, and it clatters away, sending her to lift another and cast it to the sea. "You've obviously seen that I've not gotten along all that well with Edric during our time together, but I am willing to give him the benefit of doubt. New love, especially when one leaves virginity behind, can be perilous. It is so, so simple to be caught up in the tempest of emotion and sensation that one's decision-making leaves much to be desired. I would presume that this is his poorly-thought-out, clumsy, human way of trying to express that he's always loved you. I think him stupid occasionally, but I doubt he would be so cruel as to lie to you about his feelings for you."

Quinys
"He's not stupid, he just doesn't think before he acts or speaks. I'm sure he has a reason for not telling me, and I'm not entirely sure it's my business who he decides to couple with, but knowing that he's hiding it from me while trying to begin a relationship with me makes me afraid. How can he tell me he's being honest when he so obviously is keeping things from me? How can I trust him enough to open myself to him?" Quin hugged her legs close to her chest, feeling it start to ache at the thought that she may just be alone forever. For a moment she had thought that maybe things with Edric would be the wonderful dream she had waited for, but now…who knew?

Onys Kiirnodel
Onys frowns at the rapidly-vanishing sun. She may need to have words with her sister if this is going on wholly unbeknownst to her. She'll definitely need to have words with her if it isn't. Slowly taking a seat next to Quinys, she lays (what she hopes is) a comforting arm over the other woman's shoulders. "If anything, if he is thinking about it at all, I suspect he has tried to keep his affairs with Erys secret because he fears it will make you upset, as if it weren't obvious to any other one of us. He feels he's protecting you at the same time he causes you pain." She shakes her head, sighing again and squeezing Quinys' far shoulder. "I wish love were as easy a thing to live in as my sister makes it seem, but it isn't. It takes a lot of work, a lot of communication, and the strength of will to polish out flaws and make it truly shine. If you want to be with him, you can find a way, but both he and you will need to labor for it to work."

Quinys
"That's the thing, I don't know if I want to be with him. I don't know if I want to be with anyone, ever. That kind of closeness, it's…it's so much more than I may be able to handle. The longest relationship of any kind that I've had is with Adonis, and he was ripped away one night and suddenly I was alone for decades, and now I'm with you guys. I want Edric by my side far into the future, but he's human, we'd never get to grow old together, even if we all somehow make it to old age." She thought about how eventually everyone would either drift apart or die and it would be all staggered and at different times unless they died in battle together. This was starting to spiral into a crisis, and she needed to take a deep breath and relax.

Onys Kiirnodel
Onys realizes a moment too late she may have taken the wrong tack on this particular issue. Delicately, she tries to rein things in. "I think this all might be wearing a bit heavily on you—-more than you think. My advice would be to not worry about what the future might bring. It is one thing to plan for an eventuality, but to panic about the eventual outcome of things that may not even happen, it does you no favors. Perhaps not tonight, but soon: go to him. Tell him the things you've told me. If you want him to understand what he's doing to you, he needs to know your heart. And, if you need to be apart from him, come to me. I will stay with you. I owe you that much at least."

Quinys
"Thanks Onys, you really do help me when I feel like I'm drowning the most." Quin put her head on Onys's shoulder and closed her eyes for a moment, just listening to the calm breathing of the ever strong elf beside her. Something about just being in the presence of Onys made her feel calmer, maybe it was the air of confidence and detachment that she exuded.

Onys Kiirnodel
Onys holds Quinys to her as the sky goes violet and blue, the night coming on, the elf thinking just one thing: Lady Goldheart, please help me and keep me from failing them. "I try," she replies, quietly.

Day 13 – Arrival at Waterdeep

Session 6 Summary

Aftermath – Erys and Edric

Erys Moongem

Dinner rushed, completed, and dealt with, Erys locked eyes with Ivaric across the table and knew she didn't have to say anything. Furious, at herself, at the whole city, she moved upstairs to her room, unlocked it, and opened the door to step inside. Her armor looked beautiful. Would it forever be tainted by the day? No, no of course not. That was ridiculous. It was scuffed, but she could repair it, and she would. And she would get the rage fucked out of her. And she would face Finale tomorrow and she would get satisfaction. "Me was one thing," she said the room, waiting for Ivaric to arrive. "Me was one thing. Me was one thing. I deserve it. Fine. How fucking dare he. How fucking dare he." She started the proesss of getting out of her brand new platemail, so beautiful and such a thoughtful gift. "I'm definitely gonna fuck her now, Tarish. You can be sure of that."

Edric Serall

Edric was standing in the doorframe, having made it up the stairs without taking a step, if only to hear what she was thinking without the consideration of him listening. He was worried, of course. She was scared, angry, and ashamed at the same time, and it wasn't a good combo. As he watched the armor he had bought her slip off, he stepped into the room and kissed her on the cheek as he put his hands onto her shoulders from behind. "He's not worth this, Alvaroda. What he's done is unforgivable, but he's nothing. A spiteful man with a spiteful cause, and tomorrow we will punish him for it and that will be the end." The door closed behind him, the world around them became theirs once more, like those days out on the road, but without an open sky above them. He supposed that was the price of cities, even if he was glad to pay it. "I'm sorry I wasn't there. I should have been there."

Erys Moongem

She whirled on him, prepared to lash out, but the look on her face disarmed her. "I…wish you had been. Ona was knocked unconscious. She could have died." She should have blocked the blow, as she'd blocked so many others in the fight. "I'm not strong enough. I'm not fast enough. Even in this new armor, I'm not resilient enough. I'm… not enough." She felt herself wilting, trying to just get out of her armor so that she could leap on Ivaric and tell him what she wanted of him.

Edric Serall

"I'll burn it into my brain to never leave when there might be trouble. I just…got distracted by something shiny." It had been his dream for years to become a fully fledged member of a Wizard's Guild, but now that he had it, with what happened while he was achieving that goal…it felt hollow. He helped her out of her armor, as the man at the shop had taught him, helping unto the various straps and latches to pull the pieces off one by one. "You can't fight the whole world alone, Alvaroda. From what I heard, you fought valiantly and passionately, exactly how Sune would have wanted. I don't doubt she looks upon your shining example with pride."

Erys Moongem

"Of course I did, that's… that's what I always do. That's what She expects of me and I am happy to serve, but Ona… I invited that caradhak to us. If she'd been smarter she could have waited for us to return here and lure us into a proper ambush and we would have been helpless. And she blew up the wagon, the fucking…." She was a tornado of wirling hair as she fought the constant desire to be moving, to be working towards the goal of getting her lovely armor and her godforsaken clothes off.

Edric Serall

He tapped into an inner reserve of patience granted to him by his arcane training, and the calm that had befallen him back in the library. As he helped her out of the plate mail kit proper, he tried to keep up with her and her near frenzy to undress. "You didn't hire those assassins, or lure our friends into a trap, he did. And he's going to pay for it, potentially with his life. All you did was spread Sune's love in your irrepressible way, and you didn't even make her break her wedding vows." His hands worked their usual magic on the armor as it was removed, dispelling blood stains, dirt, and other grime from her beautiful armor, as he remarked internally on how much heavier it must be weighing on her now. "You made her happy, in a way I doubt Tarish was even capable or willing to do. Now he's done something utterly unforgivable in return, in the gravest defiance of Sune's love."

Erys Moongem

Erys got out of her armor and noticed that her skin felt hot to the touch. "Ivaric… I… I just can't believe… Ona." She fell into his arms, just wishing to have the relief of letting her guard down for a few precious moments. Just being that small elf girl who hadn't gone out into the wilderness yet. Her heart ached for what she'd put her sister through even before Talia had said the name. And she nearly threw up at the mention of it. Ona almost died fighting Talia. Ona almost died fighting Talia. It echoed through her mind like a bell, shaking her. "This is all my fault."

Edric Serall

Wrapping her up in his arms, he held her close as he stroked her hair with his hand, sighing and silently praying to Sune for some kind of guidance. He may not be her servant yet, but he hoped regardless that she might give some sign. "It's not your fault. You didn't do this, Alvaroda, he did, he's the bad guy here. Your sister understands you, and she knows you didn't do anything that would have warranted this kind of reaction, putting a bounty out on your heads." He tried to comfort her, but at the same time he understood how deeply she blamed herself. It wasn't easy trying to figure out how to make this better, besides imagining this Finale at their mercy and prepared to repent. "We're going to get him, and he's going to apologize, or he's going to die."

Erys Moongem

Erys just shook her head sadly. "We made oaths, Edric. Both of us. If the bounty is gone he's wounded our pride but we withstood it. If it's really, truly gone… it's just an insult. And I don't even care about insults, right, but as the fucking Evereskan nobility, as the fucking potential heir to the House of Kiirnodel, I'm really really supposed to get up in arms and ch—-" She went silent, staring at her wall, lost in thought.

Edric Serall

He looked at her, a bit worried at her sudden pause. Heading over towards the bed, he half-carried her as he sat down, holding her the same way she held him after their training sessions out on the road, hoping to return the favor. "Well…I know you two cannot enact vengance on this man, it would marr the oaths you took…but I haven't sworn anything to anyone. If it comes down to it, then I'll deal with him myself."

Erys Moongem

"Don't do anything." She said, looking towards her backpack. "Don't do anything at all. Ivaric… I love you. But I need some privacy right now. I'm dying for your touch, I am, but… I think I may have just figured this out and I need time to think. I don't want to make things worse. But I might be able to catch two rabbits." She smiled up at him, doing her best to project confidence.

Edric Serall

It was a bit surprising, but he just smiled and stood up, leaving her on the bed to think as he headed off towards the door. "Alright…I trust you, Alvaroda. I believe you'll come up with the best solution." He felt a bit cut adrift, but he had someone else to see this night, and she might need company as well after what happened when he was missing. All of a sudden he realized he hadn't been there when she needed him, and it became a more urgent need to see her. Opening the door, he turned to Erys before he left. "Good luck."

Erys Moongem

"Thank you, Ivaric. I love you. Goodnight." The moment the door was closed, she raced for her backpack, looking for her pedigree.

The Truth – Edric and Quinys

Edric Serall

Leaving Erys's room, Edric left to go find where Quinys was staying. He had let her down today, and he intended to make it up to her, especially knowing what had happened and how close she was to being seriously hurt in his absence. He was beating himself up about it down the hallway, thinking of the promise he had made and how quickly he'd already failed to keep it. Knocking on her door, he hoped that she would be able to forgive him, even if he wouldn't so easily forgive himself.

Quinys Forgedawn

Quinys answered after a moment or two, still looking less than optimal but giving Edric a small smile and moving to the side to let him in. She ached, and would for a while, but the comfort of knowing she was still alive made the pain worth it. "Didn't think you'd be by tonight."

Edric Serall

"As if I'd leave you alone after a day like that. I heard you kicked some ass out there… sorry I wasn't there to help." He scratched at the back of his head sheepishly as he stepped into the room, feeling odd about the whole situation. "I really mean it, Quin, I didn't mean to leave you guys out in the cold…again. That's the last time I ever leave you guys when danger is afoot."

Quinys Forgedawn

"How could you have known, it's not like you can see the future." Quin stopped and sighed, locking the door behind her and leaning against it. "Well, I guess you can, so that excuse is invalid. But we can't expect you to be around every moment, you had important things to do and that matters."

Edric Serall

"I didn't see this, none of my portents even hinted at it…but even if they had, I still might have done what I did. I got greedy." Walking over to her, his hand moved to the bruises and healing burns, wishing he had some of the power Erys had shown him again and again to soothe these wounds. If only he had some of Sune's touch, he could make up for this mistake. "I need to take you with me next time, Dagger. You'd be amazed, the resources available…you would be able to learn so much, so quickly."

Quinys Forgedawn

"That sounds like fun, and you looked happy when you returned until you saw us. What did you find?" Quin crossed the room to her desk and sat on it, leaving the chair for him and most of the space of the desk itself for whatever treasures he had returned with. "Unless you'd rather not show me, I don't know where the line is for you teaching me things anymore."

Edric Serall

Smiling, he pulled out the scrolls and books he had purchased and retrieved, respectively. The books were the kind that he learned from in his early days, and while they were basic, they would allow her to grow. "I checked these out for you, for you to teach yourself. I hardly need to help you along, that's how apt your talent is. As for these scrolls…we're going to fly, Dagger. We're going to be able to soar." Laying out the scrolls, they were scribed in an arcane dialect that would make no sense to her, but to him, represented endless possibilities.

Quinys Forgedawn

"Am I…should I be able to read those?" Quin frowned at the scrolls and their scratches, wondering if this is what her own private language looked to those who didn't know it.* "What language is this? It's beautiful, even if it's strange. How do you pronounce this?" She pointed at a word random, wanting to know if it sounded as wonderfully strange as it looked.

Edric Serall

Watching her wonder filled him with feelings of nostalgia, remembering how he felt when he first laid eyes on the script. His hand went to hers, as he guided her along the sentence. "Illegia Phantasma Majora. Its referring to the visual aspect of a spell intended to create a living, breathing illusion of…well, almost anything. I can give you some basic grammar lessons, but it's sort it's own dialect without a real root. My teacher described it as the 'Language of the Weave'. Anyone can use it, even you or Erys, but then the words would disappear forever. If I can learn how to copy it into my spellbook, then I can use it as many times as I have the power to do so."

Quinys Forgedawn

"How about we trade, that way you don't have to feel too teachery. You show me this, and I'll teach you my secret language." Quin picked up a scrap of paper and a quill, scribbled for a moment, and then showed it to him. It read 'aunt blasted'

Edric Serall

So he looked it over. And over. And over once more, and no matter how many times he tried to parse it, he came up blank. "I…don't get it. Is this…what is this?" It was like a devilish puzzle someone stole half the pieces of, and used to compose a whole new puzzle that made no logical sense. "This…this is wonderfully infuriating. I love it."

Quinys Forgedawn

"This honestly has no direct translation, most of it doesn't, it just paints an abstract picture." Quin smiled at his confusion, having seen it so rarely on him before.  The moment was wonderful, and she wanted to remember every part of it. His brow was scrunched in determination, and his lips pulled tight as he realized that he was confused, but his eyes were alight with wonder as he attempted to break the riddle of the two words she had written. He looked beautiful, so she looked away. He and Erys were happy, and she would be happy for them. It was her fault that she hadn't spoken up sooner.

Edric Serall

As he inspected the writing further, he figured he would just translate it later with some magical assistance, rolling it up to store it as he looked, and saw the expression on her face. Immediately, he wondered what had happened…she wasn't mad about today, and lying about it? No, she wouldn't do that.  They made a pact, one he would not dare break. "Quin…whats wrong?"

Quinys Forgedawn

"Nothing's wrong, I promise. I'm happy, and proud, in ways I didn't quite expect to be. You've made good choices as of late, I just wish you had told me about them. I thought we were friends."

Edric Serall

He sighed, as he looked her in those emerald eyes of hers. "…I'm still learning all the rules, Quin. I didn't know matters of the heart could be so complicated until I sort of just dove right in. Things with Erys happened kind of fast, and it was after I made my promise to you that she actually accepted how I felt…but that still doesn't change how I feel about you. I still have feelings for you, I might even love you, and because of everything you've been through I thought it was best to let you make the first move." His hand went to hold hers, gripping it firmly, his face close to hers standing the way they were. "Maybe that was a mistake, but what's happening between her and I isn't. Neither is what I hope is happening between the two of us. I love you both, and if I'm going to honestly pursue the teachings of Sune, I would be wrong to abandon one love for the other."

Quinys Forgedawn

Quin smiled and stepped back, still unsure of how she felt about everything that had been happening lately. "I want you to be able to have that all consuming love, the one you only speak of when you're so drunk you don't know if it's a dream or reality, and I think she can show you how to survive it without drowning in it." As for herself, Quin didn't know if she could completely give herself to someone else, Erys seemed to be able to with such ease and grace, Quin envied it, but didn't know if she's ever be able to emulate it.

Edric Serall

In response, he just smiled, shaking his head. "Come now Quin, I know a thing or two about surviving a drowning. Even if you think you should give up on me, I'm not going to give up on you, not as long as my heart tells me so. I know it's hard, and I know it's not what you expected, but…I don't want to choose, I don't even understand why I would have to. Maybe if I had been raised the way most people were, I'd have that notion of that one true love, but I learned from a mother who had numerous suitors and a lover who preaches free love without restraint." He moved to sit down at the chair next to her desk, his hands moving to create a small aurora of light between them, shimmering in various colors as he displayed an image of the two of them sitting and watching a sunset together, hand in hand. "I won't change my mind. I won’t forget this wonderful memory and what it meant to me in that moment."

Quinys Forgedawn

"I'm not saying you have to choose, I'm just saying that I don't want to make you feel split. I don't want you to have to be concerned with who you spend your time with or being fair to each of us in turn, because the truth is that I still don't understand my own feelings so I can't imagine what I may feel about you being with her and then being with me." Quin watched the memory, feeling her heart swell for a moment as she thought about the future of the team, and of him by her side for the next fifty years, and Erys at his other side…this was a lot to try and handle.

Edric Serall

"I'm already going to have to split my attentions, Quin. I haven't told you yet but…I'm going to be practicing the same faith as Erys soon. For her, she already has a love that comes first before anyone, before me, and if I can gain her favor, she will be my first love too. It's…well, it's kind of hard to explain, I guess, but I don't think any of that will be a problem to me." His image in his hand changed, to a radiantly beautiful woman with flowing red hair. "I understand, Quin. I really do, and I'll always be by your side no matter what you choose, we made an oath to one another that day."

Quinys Forgedawn

Quin's eyebrows shot up at the idea of him becoming more religious. Edric. Her partner in crime, the one who had helped her trick more than one drunkenly infatuated man out of him money, then drank deeply from the spoils. "Are you sure this is what you want? I don't want to talk you out of something you think is a calling, but I don't want you making a rash decision because you're swept up in whatever you want to call you and Erys."

Edric Serall

He shook his head again. "If you think I'm the type to get swept up in something without thinking about it a hundred times first, then you really haven't figured me out yet. No, I've thought about this from every angle there is, and I've come to a conclusion that it's what I need. I've lived my whole life refusing love, keeping it away from me at arm's length, worried I would get myself or someone else hurt." The image faded away, replaced by an image of Quin the first time he met her. "Then there was you. And then there was Erys. And then I saw Her for the first time, and I realized I'd been missing something important. That's why I want all three of you in my life, I want to share this feeling the best I can, and chase this impulse all the way to its end, discover what lay at the end of the path."

Quinys Forgedawn

Quin smiled and took Edric's hand in her own, letting her scaring cut press into the back of his hand and kissing his, then looked up at him. "Then, for once in you life, follow your heart. You seem to finally be able to do so, and deserve it more than anyone I've ever met. Maybe, one day, I'll figure out how to follow mine."

Edric Serall

Smiling, he returned the gesture as he kissed the back of her own hand, and matched her gaze. "When you do, I'll be at your side, dutifully waiting for that day to come until then."

S6-Chronological

Phandelver + Storm King and beyond CapitalistPig peramene