View Full Version : Dietlinde is the Nicest Vampire (B)
01-03-2011, 01:27 PM
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01-03-2011, 04:02 PM
Irveska hadn't been saying much because she'd apparently been weighing up Septimie's outfit in preperation for a balanced, honest answer. "...I knew the chainmail would work with the weapons..." She gave a small grin now, and fixed the garment's orientation slightly on the much larger woman's chest. "-and I also knew you wouldn't leave them behind. I'm glad if you really like it, because I think it works... and I think it wouldn't kill you to be more of a woman once and a while..."
After the last sentence Irveska briskly turned around to hide the embarrasing sentiment, and then fetched a few added peices of jewelry that had been purchaced earlier and splashed across the bed. Since she was wearing silky gloves again it seemed excessive, but that was Irveska.
"Sorry. I'll stop now. Let's go." She soon remarked, alrough still fastening a heavy, arcane bronze necklace onto herself. It looked like it had been looted in battle from a dwarf king. Her current chipper smile didn't match it at all. "...Know any reasonably big, classy places clustered with lowlives, Mariana? I like those places best, and Septi can smoke inside."
01-03-2011, 05:21 PM
Mariana shrugged. "Big and classy? No, not really. Most of the fancier places in the city don't like adventurers or people of my, ah, heritage hanging around." She smiled. "But I do know plenty of places with lowlives. They don't mind having me around. It's funny after breaking some fingers people tend not to notice things like my complexion or horns."
"And there's lots of those. There's the Dancing Halfling, the Broken Lute, the Sword and Crown, the Gargoyle's Head, and lots of others." Mariana went on, rattling off the names.
01-03-2011, 06:54 PM
"Names don't mean much, but that's okay..." Irveska shrugged and handled her own hips idly. She was giving off a cocky smirk that said I only wanted to go to those places to make them uncombfertable. "Perhaps you could just show us your own favorate places, huh? You've certianly already given us your sence of taste."
Septi smiled and nudged Irveska, "We met in ze Dancing Halfling, remember? I spent most of zhat meeting vanting to bite Davleen's fingers off." She tugged at her top absently, considering the names Mariana had rattled off. "Yes, I 'ave been to most of those- I should warn you I am banned from Gargoyle's and the Sword," she shrugged, "fighting, you know?" She grimaced, remembering. "Asshole 'e was- decided to hit on ze ugliest woman in ze place and wouldn't take 'Eef you lay a finger on me I will bite eet off' for an answer. Kept telling me 'e was a 'Dragon slayer' and zhat as such I should be flattered. Backed off vhen I broke 'is tail." She nodded to Mariana, "Tieflings like 'im give you a bad name. Should 'ave killed ze pest." After a pause she added, "I cannot remember what I actually did in ze end to get banned; some'sing to do vith crippling one too many customers, I 'sink."
01-04-2011, 07:37 PM
Mariana smiled. "If it's any consolation I know who you're talking about. I kicked his ass too." She smiled. "I don't think Tiefling is a thing, though. I'm not - that's not - I'm Human." She floundered. "My parents, whoever they are, were Human. My first crush was a Human boy, first kiss too. I lost my virginity to a Human. Most of the people I know are Human. I'm Human. I just happen to have red skin, horns, and a tail." She shrugged.
The Dancing Halfling was loud and rowdy as usual. There was also, as usual, no dancing Halfling, although there was one passed out on the floor by the entrance.
Mariana had ordered something Dwarven for herself. Neither Irveska nor Septie spoke Dwarven, but the name sounded something like the sound two Rock Golems smashing into eachother at great speeds might make. Perhaps it had to do with her Devilish ancestry, or maybe she was just really good at holding her booze, but Mariana didn't seem to react to Dwarven alcohol in the usual non-Dwarven way of instantly vomiting, passing out, dying, or entering a berserker rage and trying to fight buildings.
She'd gotten you all a table. Apparently Mariana just had to look at people to make them leave their table. Happily she sat besides Septie.
Tail wagging happily she smiled at Septie. "So. I'm sure you have all sorts of exciting adventure stories. Tell me one!" She did seem at least a bit happier than usual, maybe it was the alcohol, or maybe it was being out with friends. "What were you and Irveska here doing before you came here?" Mariana slid a bit closer to Septie on the seat. Her swaying tail seemed to brush against the Barbarian's backside one too many times to be an accident.
Septi looked down at her drink, clasped loosely in a hand, the other supporting her head. "Hmm, no'sing overly interesting. Killing Goblins- deciding zhat killing Goblins vas not so good, met Grila. Mostly following Davleen about as 'e tried to 'elp." She paused, and looked at Irveska, adding in a quieter voice, "Zare vas some'sing very wrong vis ze last place ve visited. I still don't know exactly vhat 'appened zaire." She shook her head and murmered a word to herself in her own dialect, "Viðurstyggð
She didn't know what to do about Mariana's flirting, she'd never had to deal with it before. She tried to smile flirtily, but the effect was more bared teeth than anything so she gave up
01-04-2011, 08:34 PM
Mariana laughed. "Yeaaaah. What's the deal with Grila anyway? She seems adorable and nice and all, but most people don't go around with Goblin girls trailing after them."
01-04-2011, 08:44 PM
It was hard to tell if Irveska was either annoyed at being there or just feying superiority as ussual. At any rate, she didn't perticularly seem to remember the drinking hole itself. What she did seem to realise was Mariana's subtle moves on Septimie, but those went unhalted aswell because of her persisting impersonal nature.
Her left hand swilled a glass of not perticularly appitising red wine. Her right hand was unpoilitely hoisting the pack of cigarettes out of the inkstained barbarian woman's pocket, and helping itself to them. "These were too awkward with a mask." Was the basic explination, but a "Thanks hun." was added after a moment's consideration.
"I had some gusty drugs and lounge music in mind, but I guess this place will do..." Irveska spoke to Mariana again, blankly. Clearly not very ammused, and lacking something new and shinny to gaze at, she simply stared off into the distance. "Too bad the men here are more lowlife than ussual, anyway. Could have done with something like that..."
The mental image of Mariana's tail swaying was enough to halt Irveska's hand reaching for Septimie's bicep in combfort, but that didn't destroy the notion that warrented it in the first place. She just shrugged lightly, then took a careful drag of the borrowed cigarette with an upwardly arced hand.
Septi smiled, "She vas, initially, our guide to ze 'bad gobbies'. Ones Viurstygg 'imself 'ad corrupted some'ow." After a beat she leant in toward Mariana and spoke quietly in her ear, ostensibly not wanting to be overheard. "Viurstygg means Ze Abomination. I do not know vhat 'is business vas, but 'e vas... making trouble."
Cagey perhaps, vast understatement certainly, but Septim´e was only trusting to a point. She hadn't forgotten how uneasy she had felt in the Duke's presence, nor how much Mariana evidently loved him. Nor the fact that she was supposed to be 'accompanying' them for their stay at the city. Alighieri had claimed it was for their safety, but Septim´e felt that whilst that was perhaps a part of it, the likelihood that Mariana wouldn't relay anything of interest to him was non-existent. Besides, if Septim´e was recalling Mariana's reputation correctly (as one cretin had put it "Alighieri's personal hellbitch Tiefling of doom") she was far too formidable to just be on babysitting duty.
Septi shot a sidelong glance at Mariana. Not knowing the name, it had taken a while for Septim´e to lock the connection down, but after seeing the reactions of the other customers she felt embarrassed she hadn't connected Mariana to the fierce, dangerous, terrifying Tiefling known to do various things for the Duke.
Arching an eyebrow as Irveska stole a cigarette Septi took one for herself and lit it, closing her eyes as the silky pleasure of sated cravings spread through her. "I missed zis," she half murmured, "It is good to be 'ome, Septim´e fyrsta fŠddur."
01-04-2011, 10:16 PM
Mariana looked genuinely concerned. "The Enemy? Well, fuck." She was speaking in a low whisper now. "If you guys, you know, need to lay low somewhere for a while, I promise you his Lordship can keep you all safe from the Horned Society. Best not to talk about it in public though. Their eyes see more than you think."
She took another shot and smiled at Septie. Her tail was brushing up against her backside repeatedly now. Definitely not coincidental. "You lot manage to piss off any other evil cults?" she laughed.
"Not zhat I know of." Said Septi dryly. After a moment she drained her drink, and stood. "Irveska, could you 'elp me buy ano'zer round?" She widened her eyes and jerked her head in the direction of the bar. Subtle as a troll.
01-04-2011, 11:09 PM
"Sure." Irveska responded rather blankly. Mention of the enemy had rather unhelpfully thrown her thoughts away from Mariana, and back towards the intentions of the Tyrant. Sure, it was possible that Alighieri could realistically help her in this situation considering his backing, but explaining the fact that she was technically working for the bastard aswell was something that Irveska really didn't need in her lap at the moment.
Winding towards the bar, she gave an even more intence death-glare than ussual to anyone who crossed her path.
It only really occured to her at the very last moment what Septimie had dragged her out for, and looked back over her shoulder at the still-seated Mariana with a disgruntled expression.
Preamble not being a skill Septimïe ever saw a need for, as soon as they were out of shot she shot a panicked look at Irveska. "Vhat is she doing? Does she want to fuck? Ees she just being friendly? Joking?" She groaned and rocked her head back on her shoulders, "I don't know. Vhat do I say? Ve both know I'm as subtle as a Tlalusks' backside. Please, help me."
01-05-2011, 08:43 PM
"Be cool. You're a big girl, aren't you?" Irveska made a mockingly sinister smile, then placed herself closer and cupped a hand to Septimie's ear. "Look. She obviously likes you, I've been picking it up in that tail aswell... Just ask yourself what you want out of this relationship, drop some subtle hints and make her work for it."
Clearly, lady grimdark's experience lay more in exploiting interested women than actually sleeping with them. At least her bad mood seemed to have dissipated...
"You can do it, tough lass!"
"Hints. Right." Septi paid the barman, ignoring his scrutiny. Evidently he was trying to work out what, exactly, the super hot woman with the tail saw in the mohawked creature with the tiny shorts and conflicting gender presentation. Septi passed Irveska a new glass of wine, holding her own beer, and flashed him a predatory smile that saw him suddenly develop a crushing interest in serving other customers. "Make 'er work for it." Septi shrugged, "I can try, I suppose." She made her way back to the table, trying to think of a hint. What kind of hint? What was a hint, exactly, and when did it stop being hinting and started to be not-hinting? Make her work for it? How?
She sat down next to Mariana, so close she could feel the warmth from Mariana's leg on her own. She opened her mouth to say something then closed it, unable to think of anything to say. Instead she put her arm around Mariana's waist. Subtle it wasn't, but it communicated everything that Septi just didn't have the lyrical trickery to express.
01-07-2011, 06:07 PM
Mariana seemed surprised at first, but quickly rolled with it, leaning against Septi and resting her head on the Barbarian's shoulders. "Did you get what you wanted?" She asked.
01-07-2011, 08:57 PM
Jealousy wasn't quite an accurate word. It had taken a long time for Irveska to even begin speaking frankly with Septimie, so she had frequently considered their moments of proximity to be more of a 'side effect' from the fact that they both lacked any real relationships as things stood. It's how I should have expected things. She told herself. No new history here.
Remaining on a bar stool, -half to sulk, and half to stay out of her two companion's way-, the overdressed woman just swirled her cheap wine distastefully and kept up just enough of an intimidating expression to keep the drunks away. Without someone to either scrutinize or pulverize, it seemed her conversation with the Tyrant was again the only thing she was able to think about.
Septi nodded, and smiled to herself. "Yeah. I did." After a second she turned and kissed Mariana on the forehead, careful to avoid her horns. The gesture felt filthy in its intimacy.
She glanced at Irveska and felt... guilt? Something like that. She wasn't dropping the woman, and she still felt infinatly closer to her than she did Mariana- thoughts of the Duke unsettling her slightly. But Mariana just... understood in a way Irveska never could.
01-11-2011, 08:31 PM
Mariana made a happy little sighing sound. "I'm glad to hear it."
01-23-2011, 10:07 PM
Trying to avoid thinking about her few good relationships only made Irveska inadvertently concentrate on the bad... The hellish bitch that had cut her face up in that gods-forsaken place was just the first in a long line. Alot of former friends had become enemies pretty soon after; Did I really scare decent people away, or was it all just proof that they were only after my father's money?... I'm sick of thinking.
Impatiently snatching a bottle of reasonably decent whisky and honey-sole liqueur from the bartender, the crimson-haired lynx returned to Septimie and Mariana's table. Taking an outside seat as to avoid gooseberrying too much, Irveska kept a totally blank face whilst her free hand wordlessly presented a triad of small glasses between her arced fingers.
Septim´e shot a smile at Irveska. "Just vhat ze doctor ordered." She leaned forward and plucked two of the glasses from Irveska's hand, placing one in front of Mariana, the other in front of herself.
She tapped the glass with the index finger of her free hand.
"Care to do ze honours, Irveska?"
01-30-2011, 07:03 PM
Opening the bottle with her teeth and swilling a reasonable ammount of the strong liquid into each one of their glasses, Irveska gave Septimie a warm but disgruntled smile. Afterwards she gave Mariana a similar affair, but it was much more short lived considering the perticular individiual her mind was preoccupied with... Not that that fucking horned slut from the wasteland looked all that similar, but the angular features and predatory eyes were certainly present.
"Here's to staying in one peice, and showing the wasteland who's in charge." She spoke with a practiced faux enthusiasm, holding her glass up slightly, and allowing the multitude of brass rings on her hand to sporadically glimmer below the hanging oil lamp. "...Hopefully next time there will be less religious nutjobs in it."
01-30-2011, 07:31 PM
"I can drink to that." Mariana laughed, before raising her own glass a bit as well. "And here's to shitty parents, asshole Dragon Hunters, and lovely Barbarian ladies and their cute friends." She gave Irveska a little wink and Septie a playful nudge, her tail still rubbing up against Septie's back and bottom.
Septimïe smiled, "'Ere's to mysterious Dukes and ze beautiful women who work for zhem." She raised her glass and downed the shot, sticking her tongue out in disgust at the taste. "Ugh." Even just this little alcohol had her head swimming slightly.
02-03-2011, 06:46 PM
Irveska just gave off a jaded look at Mariana's mention of "shitty parents", but made at least a conceeded effort to smile when she brung up the last two things. The brain was really fighting with the heart over this woman; There wasn't any logical reason to dislike her, just a passing resemblance to an old foe, and a knack for stealing Septimie's attention due to their similar pasts. Such things were enough, through, apparently.
The red lynx downed her glass quickly and relished the noxious aftertaste. She noticed that Septimie wasn't exactly in agreement, so instead of pouring another round, just made herself one and placed the bottle infront of Mariana.
"...Should have bought you a fur coat." Irveska soon spoke at Mariana, already lazily proping up her chin against the table with her right arm. The pose made drinking awkward, but she did it anyway. "You don't have enough flare for your position, woman... That's what you need... I-don't-give-a-shit-ness..."
02-14-2011, 09:25 PM
Mariana inhaled her drink and was already pouring herself another. She did not seem particularly inebriated. You were beginning to wonder if she did not have Dwarven ancestors.
Mariana shrugged. "Thank you, but you don't have to buy me anything. And I don't know, I've always been told that black leather catsuits are pretty much the norm for someone in my position." She gave a knowing little wink. "But you both look really great. Not that I know much about fashion. All I really know is not to show too much skin because, well, yeah. Red."
Septi frowned and squeezed Mariana's waist gently. "Your skin is gorgeous, and you aren't exactly at much risk of being overly 'urt eef any idiots decided to attack. Vhy vould you vant to hide even an inch of yourself?"
02-16-2011, 01:16 PM
Snagging the bottle back before the rest of it dissapeared, Irveska resisted the urge to simply state bullshit towards Mariana's self-defeatist remarks. Sure, having crimson skin made people dislike you, but predjudice was everywhere. Fear was indeed the only way Irveska personally knew of making freinds, as dubious as that statement would have sounded out loud.
"...Geez, I swear you two have the same brain..." The red lynx spoke half to herself, sipping at her refilled glass carefully, then handing it lazily back to Mariana. It wasn't in her nature to continue complimenting them, so she just sat and took the conversation in from afar now instead.
02-20-2011, 08:43 AM
Mariana just smiled, apparently enjoying herself.
"So have you all decided how you plan to get to Endora yet? I imagine even your Gnome friend isn't quite crazy enough to try going through Therion."
Septi frowned at the abrut change of subject, but decided not to push it. "I 'ave no idea. Ze intamicies of travel and suchlike are usually left up to o'zer members of my party- I just stand around and kill vhatever I am pointed at."
03-04-2011, 10:52 PM
"...Blutwald, probably. Vampire country..." Irveska answered blankly, gazing into her empty glass, but not pouring herself another just yet. "As long as we stay away from civilization it should be a quick trek... When I was there a few years back the bloodsuckers kept their zombie pets as close in line as possible."
Looking up briefly just to take in Septimie's new disgruntled expression, she was unsure of were to go with the conversation. It was probable that she was gooseberrying, but the lynx's pride wasn't going to let her wander off. Option three sounded better; Get particularly drunk.
Briskly, she refilled the little glass thimble, then reflexively looked around for something a little bigger.
"Vampires?" Septi forgot all about the change of subject, "I 'ope we don't 'ave to fight one of ze 'orrible leetle bloodsuckers. Ugh." She reached for the bottle again and refilled her glass, making a face at it before taking the shot. "More zombies. Zhat is, at least, an easy enough opponent. Whoever said 'a change is as good as a rest' es a liar, and a lousy one at zhat."
03-28-2011, 11:25 PM
After giving Mariana a quick sultry glace, Irveska rapidly used the dregs of the bottle to pour one last round, then rested her face on both her elbows and gave Septimie a smile far to wide-eyed and sweet to be sincere... Well, coming from her.
"Vampires-she-man-pires." She made light of the stony barbarian's comments, and then consumed her own glass eagerly. "I've never actually fought one. They are easy to talk to as long as you show 'em who is wearing the pants... and you know, don't mess with their stuff... Talked to a bunch, never fought..."
The drink was clearly beginning to catch up with the lynx now, turning her cheeks red and making her speech more cumbersome than ever.
04-04-2011, 10:54 AM
Mariana smiled at Irveska's slurring. "I try and make it a habit not to fight anything without a pulse." She mused, her voice and slight swaying suggesting that her Dwarf-esque drinking habits were finally taking at least a slight toll on her. "Although the well-fed ones kinda have a pulse. Well, they have blood and their warm anyway... warm..." Mariana trailed off, smiling, and just rested her head on Septie's shoulder, her tail still rubbing up against the Barbarian's back.
Septi just smiled and leaned her head on Mariana's, careful to avoid her horns. "Irveskaaaaa," she slurred, "I am not afraid of vampires, and especially not vis you around..." she gestured rather more wildly than was necessary, "you 'ave ze firepower, I 'ave ze brawn..."
04-21-2011, 09:33 PM
Irveska was still making that weird chipper smile, making a decent attempt at forming the letter "u" indeed. "That's more like the... t-the upbeat confidunce that I like when you do..." Swaying forward a little, she shook her head and then had a second attempt at building a sentence that made sence.
"...I'm happy you think so. You've certainly put that killer grip on all the enemies we've had so far..." Her eyes closed, then glanced at the table; But her mouth was still upbeat, telling of the fact she was thinking of how to work that last part into a pun with a little of the words "Mariana" and "bedroom" added.
"Certainly wasn't our brave cleric or valiant fighting... er, princess... who have kept us alive. It's too bad we can't have a little firery catsuited action on the team, really..."
04-21-2011, 09:37 PM
Mariana smiled. "His lordship needs me. I can't leave. I'd love to, though." She turned to Septie, her tail getting even more suggestive with its groping. "speaking of, his lordship got me a doggy for my birthday a few yearsh back. He needsh me and I should probably go home and feed him."
"Coming with, Sheptie?"
Septi smiled blearily at Mariana's ear. "I think so..." she turned to Irveska and frowned very deliberately, "I don't 'sink ze dog is for eating," she confessed before turning back to Mariana, "Yes, I am."
04-28-2011, 08:24 PM
Resisting the urge to blurt out another dirty joke or two, Irveksa just retained her sultry smile and leant around the table to give Septimie an affectionate hug; Alrough it was several sizes too small for the rather large woman. The dog munching comment went ignored, which was probally for the best.
"Have fun, hun..." Irveska ushered her on simply, whilst also preparing one of the pale barbarians' cigarettes, which had mysteriously appeared in her left hand after the embrace. "Go for it! You can tell me about it tommorow."
It was always difficult to tell how honest her smiles where, but her motivations didn't seem that sour at least...
05-03-2011, 08:22 PM
Mariana lived in one of the nicer areas of the city. You imagined her neighbors probably weren't happy having a Tiefling around, but that they probably didn't say anything because Mariana is Mariana.
Her dog was named "Fleshripper" and was an adorable and friendly corgi with an overlarge collar studded with spikes.
She showed Septie straight to her bedroom after feeding Fleshripper.
Mariana was gorgeous.
She was clearly a bit nervous and awkward, and obviously had never been with another woman. She was, however, an eager learner, and clearly into it.
In related news, Davlin and Grila had fun that day, and even more fun that night.
After they'd woken, Davlin (Grila was still sleeping in his bed and growled at him and tried to bite him in her sleep when he tried waking her the first time) and Irveska found notes under their doors to go to Mariana's place (with an address) and await his lordship.
Septie was woken by a kiss from Mariana. "Wake up sleepyhead." She laughed, clearly in a very good mood, tail wagging. She was already dressed in her catsuit.
"His Lordship wants to see you. The others are already downstairs. Let's not keep him waiting."
Mariana's place was nice. Irveska, Davlin, and Grila were all downstairs waiting. Grila was cowering from Fleshripper who very much wanted a hug from her.
05-03-2011, 08:26 PM
"Government work apparently pays then," Davlin chirpily told Mariana as he looked around the room and pat the 'ferocious' corgi. "How long do you have to work for our fair Duke before you get into this pay bracket?"
Septi peeled herself from the bed reluctantly and got dressed slowly, going an interesting shade of pale pink when she realised she would have to meet with the Duke dressed in the skimpy clothes Irveska had given her to wear the night before. "Kill me dead," she muttered, before sighing and pulling them on.
She walked into the room where Irveska, Davlin and Grila waited bashfully, sinking down next to Irveska as quickly as was humanly possible.
05-03-2011, 09:13 PM
The Duke's carriage was outside. Mariana ushered you in, getting in after you all.
"Ms. Locusta spoke with me earlier this morning." He began. "She tells me you are passing through Blutwald. A dangerous proposition, but it can't be helped. She pleaded with me to make your passage safer, and given how valuable an asset she is to myself and my city, I obliged."
"I am on good terms with many of the von Karnsteins. No, it is nothing like that. I have already made arrangements, and in exchange for your entire trip being done by carriage and with one of their own, they have agreed to allow you safe passage without harm." He gave a knowing smile.
"You may, particularly you, Mr. Groundsprung, be tempted to make this knowledge publicly known. To share with the world the fact that I have dealings with the Undead. This is, of course, your business and your choice. I am, however, compelled to remind you that before you go about telling people I am friends with vampires, that you keep in mind a very important fact:"
"I am friends with vampires." His tone of voice never changed from the same affable and friendly tone it had before, but the menace and threat was clear. You got the idea that Duke Alighieri was a bit more than he let on.
05-03-2011, 10:01 PM
"As I told Mariana on another occasion, I've been on speaking terms with a few before, and it's never ended in a conflict." Irveska spoke with a typically disinterested tone. The fact that she was now wearing a rather refined, expensively detailed and inmodest black dress said something else about her opinions of the duke, through. Her apparent lack of a hangover after last night was confusing, too. "Thank you for arranging the transport, none the less... Hope you didn't have to call in any favours." -Because I'm not going to repay anything I didn't ask for. She added mentally.
Her reaction to everyone had been pretty cold. Maybe she just didn't like dogs.
Septi just kept her head in her hands, apparently suffering from her night out. Why was everything so bright and loud and sparkly and spiking into her brain? She had nothing to add to the conversation, was hurt at Irveska's distance and felt deeply, deeply uncomfortable in the Duke's presence. She did not like him. Mariana loved him as a father, but Septi felt itchy and nervous around him. He was like a coiled snake, poisonous and so very, very clever. Instead she just shifted awkwardly in her seat and stayed silent.
05-17-2011, 05:52 AM
"There are many factors I suppose," Davlin replied with a cheeky smile. "On one hand, there are the religious aspects of the undead I have a few problems with. But on the other, they can't be too bad if one such as yourself are friends with them."
He shrugged magnanimously, "And choices are what make you who you are, not so much your past."
05-17-2011, 07:58 AM
I don't like having to warp ahead, but I want this moving. Feel free to mention in your posts how you spent the rest of your day. Zizi, we can talk about what Mariana and Septie got up to. Post was also made while sleepy, may edit it later
"Very good." The Duke smiled one of those warm, friendly, and terrifying smiles.
"The Baroness Dietlinde Müller von Karnstein should be arriving tonight. She's very young, in fact I believe she is only a little over 80, so I imagine she'll find you all very fascinating company. She will take you to the end of Blutwald, upon which you'll be on your own."
"If there's nothing else."
That night you all met up to wait for the Baroness. Her coach was all black, as you might have expected, and driven by black horses. Otherwise unmarked. Blutwald nobility wasn't that popular outside Blutwald, what with that whole "killing and eating people" thing they did.
A very quiet man who you suspected may have been some manner of Undead under an Illusion spell ushered you in. It was large and spacious and opulent.
Dietlinde herself was, as you might have expected from a von Karnstein vampire, absolutely stunning. She had long black hair down to her waist, a gorgeous face with carefully applied make-up, and had worn a tight and very low-cut dress that showed off her curvacious figure. You imagined she must have been about 18-20 when she became a Vampire.
She was only ever so slightly pale, and the air around her was not unnaturally cold as with most Undead. Davlin (and anyone who can do a DC 20 religion check) knew this meant she was very well fed.
Grila didn't seem at all scared. She probably had no idea what a Vampire even was.
Her voice was pleasent and surprisingly not as haughty as you'd expect from both a baroness and a Vampire. It had an almost rural quality to it. "Dahrlinks," she smiled" Baroness Dietlinde Müller von Karnstein." She kissed you each on the cheek as you entered. Her lips were warm and totally not at all corpse-like. "but there's no need fvor all zat stuff." another smile. "you may call me Dietlinde. Ve're going to be travelling togezher fvor a vhile, szo we might as vell be vriendly, yes?" She seemed nice enough.
She turned to Davlin as the carriage started off. "You are Davleen, yes? Priest? I just vant you to know that I do not hold you accountable for anythink your fellows hafv done to my blood-sisters, and would hope that you vill extend me the same kindness." She gave him a genuine smile before turning to Irveska. "You look mahvelous, dahrlink."
05-17-2011, 08:42 AM
"I'm sure there will be no unpleasantness throughout the journey my dear," Davlin replied, possibly a little strained. To tell the truth it actually pained him more than he wanted to show, being around sworn enemies. It was harder then it looked."
"I suppose actions make who you are inside"
05-17-2011, 08:40 PM
Birds fly, grass grows, and Irveska Lubov dresses for the occasion. Either trying to out-intimidate Baroness Dietlinde or perhaps simply trying to remain on equal terms, she had a pleated black leather dress covered everything down to the thighs, whilst also remaining tight to the voluptuous curves of her hourglass frame. For an extra sinister edge, her sleeves were shaggy white feathered arrangements resembling harpy wings, and a bronzework skeletal half-mask had found it's way back over the lower half of her uncompromising face. Aesthetically speaking, the coach could well have belonged to her.
"Thank you." She responded in a low tone, not sounding greatly impressed, but bearing a decent amount of respect. "I must say your taste is exquisite... and it was gracious for you to come all the way out here to pick us up..."
She looked over to Septimie for a moment, considering something, then hastily glanced back. "Excuse me if I'm unaccustomed to accepting charity, but may I enquire on exactly what arrangement that the Duke came to with your Blutwald nobility? I would feel much easier about this situation if I knew what each party had to gain from helping us."
05-17-2011, 08:53 PM
"Ah! But that vould be tellink, and vhere's the fvun in that?" Dietlinde laughed. "You are very beautivul, Ms... Lubov? You should not vear a mask. I'm sure I'm not alone in vanting to see the rest ov your beautiful fvace." She gave Irveska a genuine smile. "and do not vorry, darhlink, you are safe here vith me. I have brought plenty ov... fvood to last me the trip, and I don't bite or anythink."
"Vell, not unless you vant me to." She laughed, giving Irveska a flirty little wink.
05-17-2011, 09:52 PM
"Call me Irveska, please." She amended, simply. The lynx had to admit that the vampire's soft, ungainly accent was rather cute, but her agitation over the refusal for information still made her wary. Accepting charity was bad enough. Thus, her attitude remained just as cold and distant as ever. "...and may I mention, not all of us are immortal, Baroness. Consider I find this mask to be a more comfortable lie than the truth."
"I won't insult you by asking that my companions stay off the menu. It would be helpful, however, with all due respect, if they stayed out of your race... Traveling only at night doesn't exactly line up with our goals, you see.... Other than that, I'm sure we'll get along famously."
05-17-2011, 09:59 PM
"Irveska I am not a monster." Dietlinde said, sounding genuinely hurt. "I vould never, never force myself or our blood on anyvone." She said. "Bezides, ve have very strict vules about voo ve may touch vith our embrace." She gave Irveska another flirty smile, leaning over a bit as she did. "Ov course, Irveska, you are more than beautivul enough. And I love your outvit."
"Not lovink the mask so much, though. A pretty girl like you shouldn't be vearing a mask."
05-17-2011, 10:21 PM
Irveska's expression remained exactly the same, and for a moment she just thought carefully about how to reply.
The mask came off with a brisk pull of the lace, and she lent in towards Dietlinde at a slightly lower elevation, close enough for them to feel one another's breath. Her head tilted at a slight angle, the red-maned woman's face bore an expression of attraction mixed in with a heavy note of scrutiny. "No, not a monster. Certainly not." Which element of her expression was honest was extremely difficult to tell, and her blank tone of voice only served to back this up. "But I have great difficulty trusting those with human elements, you see. No matter your morality, those in my line of work tend to be similarly suspicious of charity..."
"If I was doing something for you personally it would be different, but..."
05-17-2011, 10:32 PM
Dietlinde smiled warmly at her. "You are very beautivul, Irveska. I do not knnow vhy you vould ever vear that dreadvul mask. Your face is simply stunnink." She seemed genuine in her compliments.
"If you vant the truth, darhlink, in spite of my teasink earlier, I veally don't know vhat Duke Alighieri negotiated vith my blood-sisters nor do I care to. I vas asked to this think by them, and as I love meetink new people, I gladly accepted. That's all. This is not some part of some grand scheme or anythink, or at least if it is, then I am as much a fool as the rest of you." She gave a shrug. "And vhat exactly might you do for me, personally, Irveska?" she asked, her tone clearly flirtatious. Irveska had noticed her checking out her chest a few times.
Grila, for her part, had already fallen back asleep against Davlin's shoulder and was drooling on him.
05-17-2011, 10:56 PM
"...Tease you, at the very least." Irveska gave off a small grin accompanied by a short, heartfelt laugh. It was true enough that she liked Dietlinde's body and was pleased by her demeanour, but as Septimie would know, it took alot more than that to really get inside the rather sinsterly attractive woman's shell.
"Thanks for being honest." She then commented, leaning back in her seat, and altering the position of her rear slightly as if specifically to appease their hostess. Despite Dietlinde's comments, the mask hung at an angle within Irveska's left hand, modestly shading the scar tresspassing her lips. "Tell us more about yourself if you want... Beyond our position, I do find myself wondering how such a heirarchy works. I can't think of many other places with such socail mobility, to your kinsman's credit..."
05-19-2011, 07:04 AM
"At the very least?" She gave Irveska a flirty smile. "I vonder vhat else I might have to look forvard to, then."
"Vell, I vas born 80 years ago. Ve vere peasants. Ve managed. Vhen I vas 20 agents of the local Countess took note of my beauty. Vun think led to another and the Countess granted me her embrace. That vas sixty year ago."
"My blood-mother did more than just grant me the blood-gift. She taught me thinks. Vonderful thinks. I'm the first person in my family who can vead. My father vas so proud! She taught me history, and about the vorld, and all sorts ov vondervul thinks. I'm forever thankvul for the opportunity and vondervul gift I have been given." She was beaming. "And I've forever to enjoy it all. I'll never grow old, never vither, never die."
"I know that you outsiders hear stories. About us and vhat it is like. I am not a monster. I look after the people of my barony. And despite vhat the stories may tell you, I am happy. I can feel." She leaned over and gently touched Irveska's face with the back of her hand. Her hand was warm and felt completely normal. "I can feel that. I can feel the varmth of your skin, Irveska. I can feel the wind in my hair. I can taste food - and no, not just that. I mean veal food. I can feel the embrace of a lover." At that last word she gently caressed Irveska's cheek before leaning back and taking her hand away. "I've lost nothink, and gained so very, very much."
"I do not know vhat your life vas like, Irveska, or the rest of you, but I do not think I can tell you quite how good that feels. Anyvhere else in the vorld, probably, I vould have lived and died a short, pointless, little life in my parent's home. I vould probably have been forced into a marriage vith some man I did not love, and my beauty vould have vithered and died vith me. I vould never have been taught to vead, never learned anything, and stayed a pretty little idiot - until I died an ugly, old, idiot."
"But now?" She said with a shrug. "Now? Now I can vead. I can vead, and I can vrite my name, and I know about the vorld, and about history, and about all sorts of things. I am not an idiot, and it is vonderful."
"Oh, and I'll live forever. There's that too." Dietlinde added with a laugh and a wink.
05-19-2011, 09:52 PM
"80 years?..." Irveska repeated under her breath, taking on a neurotic look that betrayed her underlying envy towards the beautiful vampire's position. Being pampered and cultured herself during her youth, she knew enough about the blood drinking kin's general folklore and abilities, but the thing about hearsay and books was that you always took their advice with a pinch of salt... Not so with the breathing, bleeding, fantastically constructed creature in front of her.
Sexual attraction was a trinket to Irveska, nothing more than an acquired asset. The same went for how human one considered themselves. But perhaps Dietlinde had grasped at somewhat more of a foothold on the lynx purely from what she represented?
With power like that, Irveska could retain her pristine body forever and linger in the company of similar souls by default... But it wouldn't exactly help her numerous quests for revenge. No, her furious, living heart could not rest with that kind of existence.
"You should stop using the word 'monster'... In my experience it's more suited to the humans it's applied to. As for the rest, people have a fickle nature towards things they have jealousy for." Irveska spoke carefully, giving her words an almost sympathetic hue. It might have even been a little too frank for her companion's tastes, even, but there would unlikely be a better opportunity to gain information about Dietlinde's kin. "Is it true... You cannot walk in the daylight?..."
05-19-2011, 10:02 PM
Dietlinde gave a smile. "Vell, I could. I'd just die, horribly. So I don't."
"And, yes, it is also true I cannot cross movink vater outside my coffin, and I cannot enter someone else's property vithout their permission. All the stories of our veaknesses you have heard - those are probably true." She gave a gentle smile to Davlin. "See? No secrets. I trust that you all vill not try and use the information I have given you to hurt me, just as you trust that I will not try anything."
"You flatter me, though, Irveska." she laughed. "Not that I am complainink about that."
Septimïe first avoided comment out of awe, then out of jealousy at how easily and quickly Dietlinde had sidestepped Irveska's defences. She, never subtle, simply glared at the floor. When Dietlinde outlined her life story Septimïe had glanced up through her cascade of shaggy white tresses sharply, listening greedily. What must it be like, to be able to read? Or write? To understand those twisting marks on paper that others could glean such meaning from?
Septimïe tightened her lips and looked down. Why did she care? She was just a stupid, unlovely, ignorant, illiterate brute. She did not know about the world, she did not know about history. She was every kind of idiot that Dietlinde seemed to have despised so much within herself. And worse besides. Septimïe had done things she had never considered dreadful at the time; but the more time she spend in civilsed company the more she wondered if- unlike the elegant woman in front of her- she was the true monster. And what did a brutish ice giant need with books and reading?
Still... her gaze moved to her sword. On the hilt, in unskilfully cut Icekarl runes, was the sword's name. It had been one of her half brother's swords, stolen as she'd fled. He'd carved the name himself when he'd successfully become a karl. Their alphabet was simple, she knew, only a few runes that could be strung together to convey very simple meanings. Only the men were ever taught it; women didn't need to know when in the year a pass was safe to travel through, or what meat could be hunted in the vicinity. She'd often traced the runes with her fingers, wondering what meaning they held to other karls, and what meaning they held to her brother.
She'd never know, now. No-one outside the karl's knew the runes; why would they want or need to? Even if they had the karls wouldn't have enlightened them. Competition for food and safety was fierce enough in the North that no karl would ever give away the means to read the centuries of carved secrets there were to be found scattered around. Outsiders were almost worse than women, and less useful to boot.
Instead she crossed her arms and tried to just remember Mariana and the wonders of the time they'd managed to snatch together, ignoring the jealousy she had over Irveska and ignoring the stinging reminder of her own hopeless stupidity.
05-20-2011, 06:57 AM
Dietlinde smiled at Septie. "You are quiet, darlink. Is there a problem? I mean, look at you. A big strong voman like you has nothing to fear from me. Besides, you have a priest. And Irveska here seems to trust me. Cheer up."
"I imagine you have stories to tell."
Septimïe looked up and shrugged, "None zhat are really tellable in polite company," she said quietly. "I don't fear you. As far as I have understood, you kill to stay alive. I think this is some'sing most people can understand. Some perhaps better zhan o'zers." She shrugged again and glanced slyly at Irveska, "No, I just miss someone, zhat is all."
05-20-2011, 10:00 PM
Irveska gave a sort of startled look towards Septimie as the woman herself realized how transfixed she had become in such a short space of time.
"Don't worry, hun. I'm sure Mariana isn't going anywhere." The soft woman lent into the larger one, brushing the side of the barbarian's strong jawline with her dexterous left hand. The lack of empathy was lost on her, but at least the preened lynx was trying; That was rare in itself. "As for our hostess... I've made enough people bleed as it is... Colour me jealous that she can actually do something with all of it..."
Lurking on that thought for a moment, she just stared into the cabin floor and continued caressing Septimie's face and upper chest. It was a strange world indeed when considering becoming a vampire was the less violent deal than going on to massacre her enemies...
Well, as long as what Dietlinde was saying was true, that is.
06-11-2011, 01:23 AM
"Why, are we thinking of turning my dear?" Davlin playfully joked to Irvy as she mentioned her jealousy about their... hostesses ability with blood . "You're certainly nocturnal enough now, but I think you might get stuck at the running water part."
06-12-2011, 12:00 AM
"This is true... but I could always take it up as a hobby for a while, first." Irveska gave Davlin a highly disturbing smile, with a dark glint in her eye. She made... A joke?... That was good, right?
06-21-2011, 08:32 PM
The rest of the trip went on more or less like that. Dietlinde recounting various stories from her long life, and lots of back and forth teasing and playful flirting between her and Irveska. Every night you'd stop so you could stretch and in case you wanted to sleep laying down. Dietlinde didn't mind the delays as long as you were back in the wagon before sunrise. She was very big on not exploding.
Grila never caught on, although she did ironically try to bite Dietlinde when Dietlinde looked at her loot pile 'the wrong way.'
In feudal Blutwald, Goblin bite Vampire?
The night you left Blutwald was the end of the road for Dietlinde and your free ride, although she had gotten you some horses during a stopover in one of the Karnstein run villages.
She also gave you directions to the capital of Endora, and her advice which was basically just "I suggest not getting killed. Vane is somethink else, I hear."
"You vill remember me, vight loves?" She smiled, giving you all big hugs and kisses on the cheeks, even Grila. "Especially you, Irveska dear, yes?" She smiled. "You are a beautiful voman, Irveska, but you are tease." Dietlinde laughed. "But that is okay. I like a challenge. Maybe you could give a going avay present, though?" She gave a hopeful, flirty, little smile.
06-21-2011, 10:01 PM
"What more could you want, I wonder?" Irveska taunted with a faux-innocent tone, mockingly sicking her front and rear out within a breath's distance of Dietlinde. "Surely you don't have an absence of cash?" Letting out a tormenting laugh a few seconds later, the lynx leant in closer. She wrapped her soft arms around the vampire's pearly shoulders, then delivered a small nibble to the left corner of the woman's lips, followed by a genuine kiss.
"...It would have been nice if I'd met you sooner, hun." Her voice was warm to the ear. "But I'm a busy bee now, I'm afraid. There are alot of things that I need to... repay.... before I can practice any of this girly business..."
Breaking off and trouncing away briskly, Irveska added little more than a backhanded wave as she departed. "Until next time, Baroness Dietlinde..." Confident until the last, clearly.
She could feel Septimie's discomforting glances, but melting into a rich, classy broad was something that just came naturally. There didn't seem to be much of a conflict of interests to her, not as long as she still felt so wary about going anywhere with women in that category anyway. As with most things, worrying about that was just shoveled under the carpet to worry about later.
06-27-2011, 06:38 AM
Davlin returned the kiss to their bountiful host when it came to be his turn. "And for an unspeakable horror and abomination against all things good and pure in this world," Davlin said without a hit of seriousness in his tone or face, "you're pretty nice."
Taking Grila by the arm he gave the Baroness a wink. "Perhaps it was best we met this way, I think in any other capacity I would have been required to chase you down and put a steak in your lovely chest."
06-30-2011, 09:35 PM
Endora was kind of a shithole.
The signs of neglect were everywhere. In some of the villages you passed through things were good, although it was clear the village had basically become an autonomous entity, while in others you could clearly see the disaster wrought by bandits, lack of trade, wild animals and monsters, or any combination thereof.
The capital, on the other hand, was still largely intact and unchanged (presumably.) The city wall had apparently never been damaged during, or repaired since, Rane's takeover.
In front of the gates were two very large and imposing Iron Golems and apparently a few human guards.
They didn't seem to notice you lot yet.
07-01-2011, 06:31 AM
"I take you all to the nicest places it seems," Davlin said with a lopsided smile as he surveyed the scenery. "If this is my choice of countryside then I'd had to see my choice of Ski Resort, or even beach side."
He look at Grila and grimaced a little, Goblins were difficult at the best of times but the perky Priest did not expect just walking in with her was going to be easy.
"Irvy, Septie, Grila! Any idea on how to get into town without the locals wanting to eat us?" Davlin exclaimed cheerfully. "As a priest of a somewhat good god, I could possibly pull of a pilgrimage again. We could lie wholesale about the religious importance of this land"
07-01-2011, 06:33 AM
"Have redhair big-udder lady blow up the guards with shooty thing!" Grila shouted excitedly, doing her best impression of the sound Irveska's 'crossbow' made when fired, accompanied by little hand gestures apparently of people exploding.
She was beaming.
07-01-2011, 06:38 AM
"Commendable and resourceful!" Davlin exclaimed cheerfully, "and while there are no bad ideas in brainstorming, I don't think we can possibly pull off an aggressive invasion with just the four of us."
07-02-2011, 09:08 PM
"Gah! You're so cute when you're dreaming of murdering the universe!" Irveska suddenly snatched Grila up like a ragdoll, and took her good mood out on the tiny thing by half-smothering the goblin in her arms and chest. "If only I had more ammo, I'd totally dooo it woo it~!"
As out of place as it was, this was probally the happiest you'd ever seen her... and plain fact of the matter was, barging into a renouned demon queen's castle, seducing her and demanding she stepped down sounded like an awful lot of fun compaired to the piles of undead tripe they had been sloshing through for the past few weeks. Figuring out a way of getting one-up on the Tyrant from it was just a bonus. This was her kind of job. Hell, this was her kind of pay...
"We will have to disguise Grila again..." She remarked with confidence, placing the girl back down and fixing the goblin's scraggly hair a little, then placing her hands on her hips purely to look dramatic. "But talking to those gaurds is still dumb. Should be a way of climbing the walls or using some kind of sewer to get inside. If we are fast enough, might not even matter if we are spotted..."
"Any objections?" It sounded more like a courtesy than an actual request for advice.
Deja vu, anyone?...
07-02-2011, 09:16 PM
"Yes yes. Grila prettiest so make sense to dis-skys Grila so ugly Humans not get jealous." Grila nodded her head sagely, apparently pleased with her amazing intellect.
"Big udder red-hair Human lady pretty too, though." She beamed at Irveska. "And you okay too, Davlin. For tricksy Gnome."
07-16-2011, 09:45 PM
Davlin winked at Grila as she complimented his... tricksyness?
It was a compliment nevertheless!
"If I was a more competent magic user, or even a powerful warlock, I could have teleported us all in unawares." Davlin started with a smile, "But considering I'm neither of those things I think walking in the front door might be the way to go."
He winked at Grila again, "Unless you want a special evening together. I could carry you up a wall!"
Septimïe clapped her hands together quietly, dispelling her boredom. "Sounds like a plan. Irveska, vork your magic on the leetle one and we shall get going."
07-25-2011, 08:09 PM
Grila now looked like a pale-skinned harpy child of adorable death. Irveska seemed to enjoy the action more than usual, even glancing at Septimie in anticipation for a nod of approval...
Then, she just suddenly turned away, and began to walk off the path parallel to the outer walls. "Anybody got any rope?" She made a sharp whisper, doing her best to stay unheard by anybody that might be on the battlements. Intentional or not, that bestial wooden mask was starting to make her look pretty ninja-ish. "Septimie, you could throw Davlin over, then we could climb up on it... Or he could fly over, I guess..."
Eyes reveling in their rather devious and exciting new task, Irveska continuously examined the wall for any old collapsed sections or sewer outlet pipes they could crawl through.
Search and Spot rolls...
1d20+1=7, 1d20+2=8 (http://invisiblecastle.com/roller/view/3124203/)
08-13-2011, 08:39 AM
"As much as I would love to see the underbelly of this beautiful city," Davlin started softly, "I am not going in through a sewer. I think a man of my position and importance affords me a few vanities."
He looked a little green viewing the outside of the city. "And one of those is not to get shit all over my shoes. I think I'll teleport through the walls or climb over or anything other than trekking through a festering pipe"
08-13-2011, 09:33 PM
"Your vanities? You think I wanna go through there?" Irveska scowled at Davlin, leaning in closer to him. "You trying to say my pristine form would be right at home in a sewer, are you?.."
There seemed to be absolutely no other way through the walls regardless, and they were much to steep to climb. Since nobody responded when she asked for rope, she assumed nobody had any. Of course, the wildcat had realized this before Davlin had even said anything, but her agitation was enough for her to take it out on him.
"Grah... Pointless you going in there alone... and if we attack the guards, the fortress will be alerted, so..." She briskly removed her skeletal jacket and face mask, then shoved them into Septimie's arms. Whilst already beginning to make her way back to the main entrance, the woman then freed her hair up and ensured her norks were standing up correctly within her bra. "I'll deal with them. Keep back for a minute..."
Walking out into the open, she approached one of the closest human guards and took on a worried expression. "...Excuse me sir... Can you help us please?..."
Hopefully, the giant crossbow on her back would remain hidden for now by other giant things...
08-20-2011, 08:53 PM
The guard just sighed. "Babe, I don't know or care who you are or what you want to do here. The queen bitch doesn't pay us nearly enough to bother caring, let alone fighting you off."
The other guard chimed in now. "Of course, with Rane's friends' roaming the streets, I don't think a girl like you really wants to be in the city alone."
08-21-2011, 10:25 PM
"Oh dear. Sounds frightfull indeed." Irveska continued the show of false stupidity. "But we were ordered to personally bring a little information here by word of mouth. I'm not sure why. Wizardy stuff?... Anyway, how would one go about personaly talking to Rane. Does she normally have visitors?"
They didn't exactly look like the most professional party of mercenaries ever. As long as looking at her chest was better than standing around doing bugger all, Irveska figured she could sap him for a little more information. It was certainly a better idea than asking the more 'elite' minions...
08-22-2011, 07:52 PM
One of the guards shrugged. "You gonna try and kill her? Good luck, sister."
Another chimed in. "She has visitors, but they're always either village leaders paying tribute, or whatever guy she's currently letting bone her."
08-23-2011, 10:06 PM
"...Erm, charming." Irveska was having trouble keeping up the facade now, but kept to it for the sake of consistancy. "Well I guess we should see ourselves in, then?..."
Without really thanking the gruff soldier or bothering to listen to a response, she just waved a hand for the others to follow behind her and walked towards the inner confines of the city. The lynx looked bored, but kept her eyes open.
09-06-2011, 11:35 PM
"Smooth," Davlin laughed as he sauntered up to Irvy with Grila in tow. "You are certainly pretty good at this whole thing."
Davlin bowed to the guards and then entered quickly before they could comment on the fact he was leading a Goblin into town.
10-05-2011, 10:10 PM
The party got a large room with multiple beds at the nearest inn to the palace. Grila felt the accomodations were "big enough for Grila. Where the hu-mans and Davleen sleep?"
Some time during the night Irveska, and maybe others, were awoken by the sound of something thudding against the window and a voice coming from outside. "Irveska darlink you are in there, yes? It vould be very embarassing vor me if this vas the vong place."
It was Dietlinde.
10-06-2011, 08:43 AM
Irveska had been using Septimie as a big gruff teddy bear for most of the night, despite how dejected it clearly made the larger woman feel. She was probably thinking about Mariana, the lynx suspected, but since they had to share the same bed anyway, Irvy just figured she'd get the most out of it. The enemies were piling up, after all; It was a lonely note to try and get to sleep on.
A repeated thud at the window. The mercenary dragged herself from under the covers and peaked out at a high angle, trying to remain unseen. The sight of Dietlinde hit her with a wave of nausea that she didn't quite expect, and it took her a few more moments to unclasp the window. It wasn't that the woman didn't enthrall her; It was the idea of dragging yet another person that she liked into what Irveska seen as her own personal suicide mission.
"...Dietlinde?... You better come inside, quickly..." She spoke breifly, hoping that the woman had some kind of gawky levitation power like the stories suggested. "What are you doing here?"
10-07-2011, 06:50 PM
Dietlinde proceeded to assume gaseous form and drift her way into the room before reforming into her normal, lovely, form. Immediately she gave Irveska a big hug and a kiss on the cheek. "Hello again, my little tease," the Vampire said with a wink. "Vell, vor vun thing, Irveska, I confess that I am infatuated vith you." She gave a bit of a shrug and a laugh. "You're quite the charmer. And vor another, I vigured it vas vong to just leave you all to this task vithout some help, you know?" She gave Irveska a smile. "I am nearly as strong as I am beautiful, love, and just as clever."
"Oh, I killed a Incubus on the vay over, by the vay. He seemed to have vorgotten that 'no' means 'no' so I vound myself needing to vemind him. Vun less problem to vorry about, see, I am helping!" A big smile.
"And do not vorry about me, Irveska. I have already taken preparations. If they kill me, vell that is just a minor inconvenience vor me. Vampire, vemember?" She laughed again.
10-08-2011, 10:06 AM
Irveska sighed and rubbed the sleep from her eyes, face suddenly reddened by the cold influx of air from the steet. Or, at least, that's what she'd say if Dietlinde asked her.
"Well, you're certainly full of suprises, I'll give you that." Irveska sounded a little gruff, possibly tired, possibily teasing. She made a point of closing the window quickly, manuevering so that Dietlinde's hands were around her waist from the behind. The hug or the kiss wern't returned, but the Lynx made it pretty clear she was enjoying the attention. "But I guess killing one Incubus in this place won't raise too much attention... Could even be handy to have you around, even..."
Taking one last look out of the window to make sure nobody noticed her, Irveska then finally turned back to Dietlinde slowly and softly caressed the side of vampire woman's jawline with the back of her fingers. "Hell, who knows what other skills you haven't had the opertunity to show us... Could be handy to have you around, definately!"
10-08-2011, 11:14 AM
"How I wish we were here now," Davlin sighed contently to Grila as they walked arm and arm through one of the sprawling groves near their hillhome. Grila paid the relaxed gnome little mind, too entranced by the fluttering of butterflies dancing in the wind to give him any meaningful attention.
The fresh clean air, clear blue sky dotted with fluffy white clouds and the simple sounds of nature. It was too good to be real.
...u are in there, yes? It vould be very embarassing vor me if this vas the v...
Davlin could feel himself stirring from his slumber, rather than rising to deal with whatever was happening, he just let himself slip deeper into sleep.
And almost immediately he was back in the grove amongst the hillhomes, small animals frolicked amongst the wild flowers at the base of the giant trees and bees and butterflies made themselves busy. Davlin drew his sweetheart closer to himself, as she looked up and smiled the smitten gnome went in for a kiss.
tlinde?... You better come inside, quickly...
Davlin rose out of sleep again, only to fall back into his sweet dreams.
Grila laid dead on the grove floor as two gnomish celestials cleaned their blood soaked weapons. "Why?" Davlin screamed as he ran to the fallen corpse. His sudden tears falling on Grila's bloody temples.
"It's for the best, she would never be accepted here." His father's ghostly visage kindly told his mourning son. "It's better this way, she would never be content with our way of life."
"How do you know?"
"Hell, who knows what other skills you haven't had the opertunity to show us... Could be handy to have you around, definately!"
There was no desire to return to the land of slumber this time.
Davlin, who was holding Grila pretty tight by this stage, finally got up. Wiping the sleep out of his eyes, he looked at the vampire and Irvy and instantly wished he was back in bed. Didn't anyone have any sense?
"Oh Irvy, never invite a vampire into your abode. It never ends well"
10-22-2011, 09:39 PM
Dietlinde smiled at Irveska's touch but then gave Davlin a catty look. "Still vith that, Davlin? If I vanted to harm you I could have done it at pretty much any point on the vide over to here." She turned back to Irveska and laughed "Clerics."
Grila woke up and shoved Davlin off her. "What going on? Why pretty lady from earlier here? Why you all wake Grila?" She seemed grumpy.
Dietlinde smiled at the little Goblin before turning back to Irveska. "So, my little tease, vhen do you all plan of leaving in the morning? I do not need to sleep, just give me a chair and I vill be fine." She leaned in closer. "Of course, if I vas offered a bed, I vould not refuse it. Vell, unless it vas the Clerics - nothing personal, Davlin, but I do not do threesomes."
10-26-2011, 07:31 PM
"She does sort of have a point, Dav... You believe in too many children's stories." Irveska sighed, giving the bridge of her nose another rub. Half the agitation came from the unwanted mental image of a threesome; Doing the dirty with a woman was bad enough in her mind, never mind getting it on with a midget priest... Or, hell, a member of the undead, entrancing and wonderful to be around as Dietlinde was... "We have all seen crappy priests before, right?... So doesn't it make sense that there could also be good... erm, sirens?"
Not really expecting him to agree, her eyes were drawn to the large complex rising over the town from outside the window.
"Dietlinde, honey... Would it be wise to wait for daylight, if you can't go out then? Also, could you even enter that little shack Rane has claimed for herself regardless?" The tone in her voice was actually rather nervous, lack of slumber betraying Irveska's normally hidden soft side.
10-26-2011, 07:42 PM
"Vell, I could go outside in the morning, but I vould explode. Or melt. I am not sure, and I have made it a point not to place myself in a situation vhere I might find out." Dietlinde laughed. "Still, there are the severs and other tunnels beneath the city. Or I could have my ah... coffin smuggled about. There are vays and I am clever."
"Getting invited in vould be more of a problem, yes. Still. I imagine you lovely could get invited in after sundown, I could vait outside, and if things start to go bad, I vould be there to help." She gave a sad little smile. "I suppose it is a bit of a hassle, yes." She quickly caught her stride again though, giving Irveska a teasing laugh. "Vhy? Are you vorried about me, my little tease?"
10-27-2011, 02:42 PM
"Melt!?... You sound a bit too whimsical about the subject, if you ask me!" Irveska dodged the question and grinned. That said, exploding in daylight did sound like such a silly death that she found it a little hard to take seriously herself. Up close and personal, it was hard to believe that those fine curves and exquisite frills could convert into a mote of sentient gas as a second nature.
"Either way, I don't want that to happen, rest assured... Considering that we want to look honest, I don't know about sneaking inside, through." Irveska shrugged, displaying a hopelessly weary expression briefly, before looking back at Dietlinde again and disguising it. "You can be our hidden ace if everything goes wrong, but on that track, we should probably get this done tonight. Fancy looking after our wee olive damsel and the duke of disillusion whilst me and Septi are in there?..."
She looked directly at Davlin during the last bit, as if waiting for him to object.
Septi stared with naked hostility at the vampire. She did not appreciate being woken, she did not appreciate the sudden cold where Irveska's arms had been, and she did not appreciate the sappy way the redhead was staring at Dietlinde. She rolled herself a cigarette and half listened to the talk washing over her, occasionally glancing at Davlin and wondering what shades in his sleep had made his normally aggravatingly cheery face pale with fear.
Better to wonder about the little man's terrors than dwell on images of Dietlinde wrapped around Irveska.
"'Ow are ve even going to get in?" She asked pointedly, "Ve are nei'ser village council-folk nor ze men she- as ze guard put eet- 'bones'."
12-04-2011, 01:43 AM
Davlin looked at the two women and with the most smarmy accent he could muster he uttered, "I'm not sure about you but I can just teleport in. Perhaps we can work something out around that."
He winked at Dietlinde and vanished out of existence as he weaved his warlock powers, just to appear at the other side of the room and put his back to the wall. Using one of his first tricks, Spider Walk, he proceeded to climb up the wall. All the way grinning like a madman.
"Duke of disillusion," The little gnome scoffed from the top of the roof. "I have more experience than anyone here breaking into things"
12-04-2011, 01:52 AM
"Tricksy gnome is tricksy." Grila nodded sagely.
"Vell zhat is just vonderful," Septimïe said irritably, "But vhat exactly are ze more... limited of us going to do? Not all of us can do ze disappearing 'sing." She lit her cigarette and took a puff, adding "And 'ow are you so sure zhat vould vork any'vay? Zis... Rane, she is supposed to be a powerful magic-vorker, isn't she? Vouldn't she 'ave..." she gestured vaguely, "magical 'sings to prevent such tricks?"
12-04-2011, 12:54 PM
Irveska ran a few scattered scenarios through her head for a minute, trying to figure out what exact personality that Rane might have. A thumbnail came to her lips, and she darted a aggressive glance at something beyond the windows. The outer walls?
"...The cities defenses are a shit heap. I wonder if she's relying more on intimidation than actual security. It's very odd." The look passed to Deitlinde, and then to the still-sombre Septimie sitting up in bed. "Maybe we should act like some kind of crazy fanbase wanting to give tribute, and at the same time, our little holy man sneaks inside aswell. Shoots the wench in the back if everything goes wrong."
"That counts as tricksy, right?" The lynx gave off a sinister smile; Even she knew that was rather bending the rules.
The expression changed in a flash, now regarding at Septimie with a sort of adoration that was totally out of place. "Sorry, Septi honey, can we get you to dress up again? I know you didn't like it last time, but looking the part is probably important... You looked really hot, too."
Enjoying the current events a little too much, she was still a bit too absorbed to really deal with the woman's animosity towards Dietlinde. Perhaps, subconsciously, it was a sort of revenge for that night with Mariana. She didn't really want to hurt Septi, but childish attitudes die hard. The slightest loss of concentration and she found herself making the same mistakes all over again.
12-09-2011, 07:29 PM
Dietlinde shrugged. "I am a baroness, lovelies, do not forget. Perhaps you could take advantage of that somehow? I vould not know. I do not normally go on adventures."
12-18-2011, 08:24 PM
Irveska just kept up that seductively vicious glare, trying to usher Septimie out of her obvious reluctance. The desire was a slightly shallow one, perhaps, -Irveska was a creature of ghoulish fashion, after all-, but that certain granite she-titan effect that the frozen barbarian occasionally brought out was worth fighting for, she figured.
"Well, I guess we can use your presence to give our sudden appearance here some weight..." She responded to Dietlinde, alrough still progressively crawling closer across the bed to Septi. When she arrived at the large woman's side, she just planted a cheeky kiss on her head and rolled backwards, majestically laying backwards and wrapping her arms around the rear of Septi's neck. Half a sign of affectionate protectiveness, half autonomic show of matriarchy; The lynx was getting her power play on, and she wasn't particularly fussed with hiding it anymore. Facing Dietlinde now, she continued softly, with a sort delicately vindictive glint in her eyes. "...Yeah, I like that. You be yourself and I'll be your spokesperson. With you inside the walls, we can get Rane right where we want her, I think..."
Septimïe shrugged and lit another cigarette off of the heels of the last, reaching down and stubbing the spent one out onto her leather armour. She leaned into Irveska's touch, glad at least that the woman was no longer staring at her.
"Eef I have to dress up, zhen I vill. But can't I just pose as your guard or some'sing? I vould ra'zer not be without my sword or be so easily hurt as to be wiz'out my protection," she kicked the armour to illustrate her point. It was crappy, falling apart leather, but it was better than bare skin.
12-28-2011, 11:07 PM
"Well our baroness certainly wouldn't look out of place with a bodygaurd. You should be able to keep it." Irveska replied, eyes closed in relaxed thought. Arms still above and behind her head, she softly caressed the contors of Septimie's high cheek bones to sooth her burning impatience. "Hell, the place is so ill defended I can't see our lovely miss Rane being the paranoid type at all. The only thing that worries me, to be honest, is that this was all part of a trap from the begining. That bastard must have wanted her to step down for a reason..."
Truth be told, she could live with it being a trap. Figuring out what the Tyrant wanted so she could make the oppisate happen was really the top of her agenda.
02-21-2012, 06:41 AM
"I can creep around invisible." Davlin started, "I seriously doubt that I would be able to pull off the 'guard' look otherwise. Unless we want to play up my clerical abilities or my warlock heritage."
02-21-2012, 09:26 PM
"Those are played up enough." Irveska made a bemused smirk, the kind that always came across a bit more sinister than she was intending. "It's also probally going to be full of cranky sex demons... Wait, what am I saying? I bet you'd have a whale of a time if we where here to bash skulls!"
After barely containing a feirce giggle, she lent down and crooked her head down to Davlin's level. "Seriously, through. Save your magical death-fire stuff for Rane... If anyone can get a suprise attack on her before she toasts us all, it's you."
"Just... ah.... Please don't jump the gun, okay?"
02-22-2012, 12:50 AM
"So I vill get Irveska, Septimie, and myself into the palace, and the priest vill use his magics to get himself in, yes?" She knelt down by Davlin and took his hand. "You vill be careful. I am sure I do not need to tell you about demons, but still. I vould not vant to have your death on my conscience." She smiled at him and pressed his hand to her face, which was still warm and betrayed no signs of the fact Dietlinde had technically been dead for a very, very, long time.
"See. Not a monster."
Standing up again, she smiled at Irveska. "But you should all get some sleep, yes? It is a big day tomorrow, and you need to be at your best! I vill vait outside if you vant me too, although honestly loves, if I vanted to feed on you, I could have done it at any point on the vay here. And vile I do not vequire a bed, it is still kind of nice to have vun. Or share vun" She gave Irveska a flirty wink att hat last comment.
04-02-2012, 10:37 PM
"Sorry, Dietlinde, hun, I'd totally go out for a drink with you if I could... If only this city wasn't such an a-typical hellhole full of sex monsters and unholy freaks... " Irveska semi-dodged the lewd question by reminiscing over that surly night out her, Septimie and Mariana had. She was definitely allured by the vampiric bombshell’s classy, immortal good looks and soft-spoken personality, but sleeping around was just one thing the lynx really couldn't bring herself to think about since... Well, that... demon bitch which started all this...
Her expression visibly snapped back from a dark train of thought, and returned to her fiery, determined self. "Erm... -I guess that was kinda... -You'd be okay with just those crappy curtains?..." She regarded Dietlinde with a new inane question. The smile was pure-hearted, but she was perhaps a bit too hasty to keep the subject rolling in the name of remaining upbeat. She sort of knew in the back of her mind that Septimie probally wouldn't like it, either. "If the others are okay with it, I don't mind you staying the night anyway. You can protect us while we sleep."
Clumsy, whimsical remarks didn't suit the grimdark lady. Was she still hiding something?
"Oh vhatever, let ze blooddrinker stay if she vants." Septimie rolled onto her side, her back determinedly to Dietlinde and Irveska.
04-08-2012, 03:05 PM
Irveska shrugged as she watched Septimie's mood change, but decided not to confront the woman about it. At least without the eyes of the others on her for a moment, she felt free to let out that certain tinge of depression that she had been supressing, and swiftly nab a cigarette to light up from her robust partner's supply.
Dietlinde was an odd case indeed. Despite what the others probally thought, the lynx still did not regard the woman as perticularly 'human' herself. How could a person even begin to empathise with such an ageless, disconnected creature, seemingly made of smoke and mirrors? Behind that beautiful face, you couldn't help but feel that there had to be the mind of a half alien, pseudo-cannibalistic creature ticking away...
What made the differance was that Irveska wouldn't really have minded giving up some of her blood at this point, had Dietlinde asked, as sweetly as she tended to. Blood, flesh, humanity... They all seemed a little abstract as values, the way things had been going as of late. Every single day she ended up back in the limbo of gauging her self worth, since the incident that had started all this. It was a struggle not letting the others see that, but what value she figured she did have was all in her personality, her spirit; And her spirit wanted to crush both that bitch and the tyrant, no matter what. There wasn't any room for love or honour. Not if it also meant affirming she was worthless. The idea itself was suffocating.
Throwing her jacket and shorts on hastily, Irveska suddenly made her way to the door, with an entirely blank-slated look on her face.
"...Just... having a look around. Be right back."
05-23-2012, 01:58 AM
Dietlinde frowned as Irveska left, gave Davlin and Grila a sad smile and a shrug, before walking over to Septie and nudging her gently, her warm, gentle, totally-not-dead-feeling hand nudging her shoulder.
"Ve need to talk, I think." She said, sympathetically. "And besides, if I vere to leave the voom now, there vould be no vun else to invite me back in. And I vould be stuck outside all night, and that vould be positively dreadful. I mean, I wont catch cold or anything, but this lovely dress vould be vuined and I vould vather not have that happen if I can avoid it."
She sighed and smiled before adding "please?"
Septimïe raised an eyebrow, leant over and lit another cigarette. "Alright," she said guardedly, and sat up, "Ve can talk. Fag?" She proffered the precious supply of nicotine sticks to the vampire. A white flag of sorts.
05-23-2012, 08:20 PM
Dietlinde refused with a smile and walked outside with Septie.
"You don't like me very much." She said raising a hand before Septie could even respond. "No, don't deny it. I can tell. I'm a Vampire. Ve're people persons. Vhy not? I do not think it is because of vhat I am - you do not seem that type. So vhat is it?"
Septimie stared at her, stumped. She dropped her eyes after a second and leant against the walls, trying to think of the words to express how she felt. The silence stretched on, and she shifted, uncomfortable with Dietlinde's questioning gaze. "I-" She started, but couldn't get any further, and shrugged. "Why do you 'sink?" she asked.
05-24-2012, 04:38 AM
"I don't know. It is not my habit to ask questions I alveady know the answers to. Unless I am being flirty. Vhich I am not vight now. Not that you aren't pretty in your own vay." She gave a little wink. "But I am asking, and my teachers alvays told me I vas a good listener. You tell me, and I vill listen."
Septim´e mulled this over, and nodded. "Eet's envy," she said bluntly, "You are..." she struggled, "you are a firstborn son to a firstwed wife. And I am, 'ave always been, ze firstborn whelp of a seventh wife." She shrugged, "In o'zer words; I 'ave always been worthless. Not good for marriage; ugly and runty, vis skinny leetle arms all corded vis gristle and muscle. And vhat else," she asked with heavy sarcasm, "is a woman good for?"
She took a toke on her fag, face hard. "And zhen I came to zis world. And am I worthless still?" She tapped a finger against her shoulder, emphasising her muscle. "As a veapon, I am useful. As a person?" She made a dismissive noise and took another drag on her cigarette.
"I am stupid, ignorant, unlovely and illiterate. I cannot read even ze language of my own people!" She paused, and dropped her butt to the ground, crushing it slowly under her heel. "And you," she said, "you are every'sing I am not, cannot be. Beautiful and intelligent, confident and funny. Rich. Powerful. A Baroness. You are a person who matters." She looked up. "I am living a short, pointless leetle life. I shall live and die an idiot, and I don't even have ze grace to be pretty."
After a pause she added bitterly, "You even 'ave her trust."
05-27-2012, 12:03 PM
Dietlinde listened quietly, sadness on her beautiful, (slightly more so since they first met) pale face.
"I am sorry, Septie. Life is unfair. I have been very lucky most of my life, and it seems that you have been much less so. I am very sorry. The gods can be cruel, and people even crueler.
I vill not pretend that I am not more educated than you are, because ve both know that vould be a lie and I do not believe in lying to people if I can help it. But I do not think you are stupid, Septimie. I think you're much smarter than you give yourself credit for. I am sorry to hear that you cannot vead, but I think there are vorse thinks in life than illiteracy.
I am sorry I make you jealous. I truly am. I cannot help how the gods made me, neither can I help vhat benefits my blood-mother's gift have afforded me. I cannot help that you have lived an ugly life.
I'm not sorry for who I am, though. I vill not apologize for being who I am, or what I am, or for anything else vhich is beyond my control. All ve can do is make the most of vhat ve have in life. I have been lucky, and vhile I know I am not perfect, I have generally tried to do what I can for who I can. I vas always beautiful, but I vhas not alvays immortal, nor vas I alvays rich. My parents vere peasents, and I vemember helping out around the house because times were tough, and life vas hard. As I matured into a voman I vas afforded privilege, since my village had hoped I might attract the countess' attention and receive her embrace. And I did. But I vemember. I vemember who I was vas before. I could not vead then, and I vas scarcely more educated than you are. Then I got lucky, and now, vell, you know." She gave a bit of a shrug. "But I vas born a peasent girl, poor and illiterate, and vhile I am no longer such, I am now a vampire and most people do not see me as a person, but as a monster. I do not believe ve are as different as you think ve are." Another shrug.
"I am very sorry that you have lived such an awvul life, but that is not my fault. All ve can do is the best vith vhat ve are given. And I try. I am not perfect, I know this, but I try. I ask little of my subjects, and every harvest I send my undead servants to aid them vith their labors. I alvays am open for audience, and I do everything I can to help my subjects." She sounded proud. "I know you vill not believe me, but I vill let you in on a little secret. I do not kill vhen I feed. I have not for decades. I take as much as I can from each of my... ah... meals, and no more. I am not a monster. I vill not kill unless I am forced.
And it is unfair. I know it is. I did not ask to be born into a society vhere my beauty afforded me such privilege, but I vas. And I make the best I can of it. I vill not pretend it is not unfair, but it is much more fair than other societies. This is vhat ve tell the peasents, and this is vhat I believe. I know I cannot change the vorld, or even my society, and I accept that. I do vhat I can, vhen I can, for who I can.
I think you have let ugly, stupid people convince you that you are ugly and stupid, Septie, but I do not think you are. You vere not born a strong warrior, vere you? You became vun, through hard vork and effort, yes? That is vhat it means to be alive, Septimie. Ve can accomplish much if ve but set our minds to it. Vhen I vas younger, my mother told me that because I vas beautiful, I could do or be anything. I believed her then, and I believe her now. And if you ask me, I think everyvun is beautiful in their own vay. And ve all matter, Septimie. Everyvun matters." She gave a sad little smile.
Septimïe regarded the vampire with flat grey eyes. "You are kind, Dietlinde. You are kind and good." She turned to go inside, "But you are wrong. Not everyone is beautiful." She looked away, and shrugged. "And not everyone matters."
She hesitated, then turned back. "But I 'sink, per'aps, I can. I can be a person vhere it matters eef I live or die. Vis a leetle bit of hard work-" she caught Dietlinde's eye, "and a leetle bit of luck."
"Also," she said as she opened the door, "For vhat eet is worth, you are not ze only one who has eaten people." She shrugged, "Vhat makes a monster is... relative. In ze North, ve are ra'zer more into recycling than you southerners. So no, ve are not so different. Fangs do not make a monster." Her grip on the door tightened, and what little colour she had fled her knuckles. "Monsters make themselves."
05-27-2012, 04:21 PM
"Vell, I alveady think you matter, but I vill agree to disagree." Dietlinde gave a smile. Septie could tell she had always been beautiful, but the Vampirism added to it. She had a sort of effortless confidence and predatory grace about her that no mundane human ever did. And Dietlinde couldn't help it. It's what she was. Seductive, confident, charming, and graceful was to a Von Karnstein Vampire what scaly, large, and cruel was to a Red Dragon.
"Friends?" she asked with a smile, spreading her arms for a hug.
Dietlinde is the sweetest Vampire.
Septimïe nodded. "Friends," she agreed, but made no move to embrace Dietlinde. She smiled awkwardly, and made to go back inside. Full and frank discussions were one thing, but Septimïe considered physical contact a whole other level of uncomfortable. They could work up to hugs.
05-27-2012, 08:59 PM
Irveska lurked the halls. Going out at night in a city like this was probably not the greatest idea, especially not without a cloak and her crossbow, so she just sort of paced back and forth within the lobby. Paced and paced, until weariness began to win out against her agitation.
Obsessing over the idea of revenge so often made it dilute down into a form of caustic self-pity. Taking a seat and observing her face through a pocket mirror, she repeatedly forced a smile, and desperately tried to suppress the feeling of revulsion she had towards the way her scar skewed in response.
It was getting difficult to even remember what she once looked like, now. Had it become a sort of idolization?... Or was it the scar constantly reminding her that this was exactly how that bitch wanted to make her feel?...
Damn Dietlinde for wanting to get so close. It was a selfish, cold blooded thought. But one that was easier living with than the reality set out before her. And damn Septi too...
If only I didn't have to give a shit, I could forget. I just want to forget.
The mirror crumpled within her enraged hands, splintering and jabbing into her finger tips. Her first reaction was annoyance at the fact that their vampiric visitor would probably be able to smell even such a minute injury, and the second was how ridiculous that concept was.
Feeling a little self-defeated, she just headed back upstairs and made as little noise as possible re-entering the room.
"Sorry. Just needed some fresh air."
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