Old 01-21-2013, 02:07 AM   #1
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Lady Adeline

A century ago, the Kingdom of Rionheart was a center of learning and religion, drawing scholars and the righteous from all corners of the world. King Richard ruled with a steady hand until his death, passing the crown to his pious son Roland. None were so great a man as the just King, his sense of justice and his holiness serving his people well.

But a darkness began to creep into the edges of his lands, and one day as he was hunting, Roland was attacked, startled from his horse by a dark rider wielding an ebony sword. At the point of his near murder the fair sword maiden Adeline Songsword intervened, the barefoot girl wielding a powered sword of her own with an ancient elven name, beating the darkness back with it's magical light.

Roland had found his champion.

Knighted and given a small parcel of land, Lady Adeline became a famed paladin known across the land for her beauty, her loyalty, her strength and wisdom-serving as Roland's right hand woman and general to his armies. She served unfailing for several years, unaware Roland's mind began to descend into dark madness, that he began to suspect even she of treachery.

Forging a dark pact with an evil entity, Roland sealed the holy warrior away for all eternity in a crypt said to be so dark and so deep within the earth, none shall ever find it. In the lady knight's absence King Rionheart began to torture and murder his own people, finally dying of pestilence a mere five years after her internment.

The legend of his madness lives on, as does the myth of the righteous, unknowingly betrayed loyal warrior-tales of her beauty, her wisdom, her battle prowess-Adeline the martyr and unfailing servant, Adeline, bearer of the magical sword, Adeline, said to be not murdered, but frozen in unending sleep for all time, waiting to be called upon, to lift up her sword in the name of Rionheart once again.

Little did the world know the myth was less a myth and more fact. In a cavern on the outskirts of a frozen wasteland, deep within the earth was a large boulder blocking what appeared to be a small tunneled entrance to a frozen lake. The dazzling, icy water played light across the walls, a shimmering sword sheathed in the rock at one side, the clear glass orb on the end of the pommel reflecting that shimmering light. The sword could not be lifted from the rock-it seemed impossibly heavy, strange yet pretty elven scroll work down the length of the blade. If one were to shift their eyes into the pool of water-one might be startled to see a woman caught in the rock beneath the shallow surface, seemingly resting!

The rock had somehow grown around her slender form, the light blue, long dress shifting lightly in the water's rippling movements, her dark, midnight hued hair caught in a braid that floated slightly as well. Her hands were caught in the stone, a band of it across her slender waist that grew along and across one shoulder to trap her there, her feet bare.

She was beautiful, her muted skin and fringed lashes, the small nose and full lips, the prominent cheek bones and the slightest, barest hints of points to her ears lending to the notion she was of elven ancestry, even if she herself were not full blooded. A silvery inked tattoo delicately curved around one almond shaped eye, the curves and curly cues seeming exotic all their own.

She mesmerizing, and strangely-seemed to be alive down there!
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Old 01-21-2013, 09:43 PM   #2
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Gregor

Gregor felt sick.

It had to have been the wine. Cheap Southern wine! It tasted like boiled piss, but it was cheaper than ale, so it was often Gregor's drink of choice. That didn't help now, though. He rocked on his horse, waiting for the wine to come up so he'd feel better for a minute or two, at least.

Gods be good, he hoped it was the wine. That girl seemed clean enough; Gregor hoped so, anyway, the price he'd paid. The last thing he needed in this freezing no man's land was the pox. Not many healers this far North, and the ones that did eke out a living here were mad hermits who'd rob him blind for a few vials of ointment.

Honestly, it hadn't been a good week. Gregor should have known it was going to be a bad one as soon as that farmer came chasing after him. The farmer had found Gregor in the cattle shed, "violating" his daughter and seemingly unaware that she'd invited more than a few of the local lads into that shed for a little "violation." That was always the way, of course - women got Gregor into trouble, Gregor kept forgetting and inevitably some other lass would give him a wink or a nod of the head and he'd be chased out of another town.

Until they needed him, of course. For all his vices - and he had a couple - Gregor was still one of the most able men with a blade in all of Rionheart. It was a good trade for the son of a hedge knight and a washerwoman; there was always work in Rionheart, dealing with bandits and rebels and the occasional nasty beast. It had long been a kingdom divided and, for a man like Gregor, there was always profit to be made in division.

But not anymore, not if Duke Andrew Rionsblood had anything to say about it. As the name might suggest, the duke's family traced their lineage back to Richard Rionheart, who'd first unified these lands. Gregor had scoffed at that - there wasn't a noble in the land who didn't trace their family back to the famous king. But it didn't matter, really. The duke had offered gold, and plenty of it, if Gregor could retrieve this relic for him.

"What kind of relic?" Gregor had asked. The Duke, in all his finery, had stared at him and Gregor knew the look well. To Andrew, Gregor must have looked little more than a brute. He had a thick, strong body, marked by years of battle and hard living. His black hair hung to his shoulders and there was something in his bright blue eyes that almost seemed mocking. Gregor knew what the duke was thinking - "This is an expert of swordplay?" - but instead Andrew simply said, "We're looking for the key to unifying this country once again. The stuff of legends. And we'll pay a high price in exchange."

"If you know where it is," said Gregor, "why don't you get it yourself?" But he already knew the answer to that. No one ventured this far North unless they wanted to die. The tribes here were feral, untamed since the days of the mad king Roland. Gregor was good enough that he might be able to avoid them and expendable enough that it wouldn't matter if he didn't.

His horse started to worry as they neared the crevice where this great treasure supposedly lay.

"Come on, you dumb old bitch," growled Gregor, inching her forward through the rocks. He thought he heard something, saw movement in the slopes above him, but it could have just been the wind and the shadows playing tricks on him. He finally slipped off the horse and lead it into the narrow gorge.

Finding a fissure in the rock wall, Gregor lit a torch and ventured inside. The dull light of day faded quickly into a small spot in the distance, but the torch allowed him to see enough of the cavern. There was a pool here, fed by a narrow stream of freezing water. Gregor wasn't sure what to do now. Was he supposed to say some magic word? Where was a sign reading, "Relic this way" when you needed it?

And then he saw it, glistening from a light all its own. Gregor edged closer. It was a sword, the pommel immaculately carved, driven into a boulder. How long had it been here? Was this the relic Rionsblood was looking for? How could a sword unite the kingdom? There were thousands of swords in Rionheart - hundreds of thousands.

But none like this one.

Gregor gripped the pommel and pulled. The blade wouldn't budge. He tried again, setting the torch down and using both hands, straining his muscles with the effort. But the sword did not move, not even half an inch. He grunted in frustration. His headache was back. He needed a piss.

He turned to the pool and started to undo his breeches. It was only the light of the torch reflecting off pale skin that stopped him in his tracks. Gregor stared wide-eyed at the figure in the water.

A woman. A beautiful woman, slender but there was strength there, power. She was barefoot, clad in a simple gown and to Gregor, who'd once spent a night in the bed chamber of Mistress Vanda the Exquisite, she was the most beautiful thing he'd ever seen.

How did she get here?, he wondered. The water was ice cold. She had to be dead; maybe the cold had helped preserve her. But something about the woman unnerved Gregor. His eyes were repeatedly dragged towards her. There was a mystery there and Gregor didn't like mysteries. but now that he knew of her existence, he couldn't let the image of the girl go.

He stepped closer, splashing in the cold water. Something was weighing her down, but on closer inspection, Gregor saw that the rock itself had bound her to the pool's floor. He took a deep breath and gripped a chunk running across her torso. He pulled; the rock was hard but Gregor gritted his teeth and tugged with all his strength.

There was strangeness here, he knew that. No - there was magic here. A sword in as tone, a young woman preserved in a pool of water - this was sorcery, all right. And in Gregor's experience, there was no magic that couldn't be overcome with simple... brute... force...

The rock snapped and Gregor fell backwards with a chunk in his hands. He was tired but feeling triumphant. He went back to his work, cursing with every strain, smacking the rock with the butt of his sword, scrambling and cutting his fingers as he pulled shards away until finally, after what felt like an eternity, he'd broken enough to pull the figure free.

He lifted her head from the water. What to do now? Gregor tried to remember the myths of his youth. There were stories of princesses trapped in an eternal slumber, woken by a prince's kiss. Well, Gregor was no prince, but she didn't exactly look like a princess. He puckered his lips and pressed them against hers, feeling ever so slightly foolish and thankful that no one was watching him kiss a corpse.
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Old 01-22-2013, 05:49 AM   #3
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She was cool to the touch because of the water, but when he pressed his lips to hers, he might be surprised to find they were warm! And beneath his fingers, a pulse was beating, slowly revitalizing the inert form that had been Adeline Swordsong.

The "corpse" exhaled a soft, barely heard word against his lips-and then those fringed lashes lifted to reveal dazzling grey eyes. A slender, graceful hand lifted to press against his chest-and then Adeline's eyes focused upon him, confusion drifting across her features.

And then they flared open with a start, a movement to stand on her own in the cool water, attention flitting away from the unknown man, a deep breath as if she had been holding it for fifty years.

"The shadow-" She breathed urgently, the hand against his chest gripping his jerkin slightly as the other instinctively drifted to her right hip, looking around the cavern with a warrior's practiced scan-seeking out her enemy. What...where?

All she remembered was following her quarry into a cavern, battling in the dark...and then the heaviness of her lids, the weighted exhaustion that took hold of her limbs, falling into an icy, chilling slumber...it hurt her head to think on it, to try and remember-and as she searched the cavern for the fiend, she wondered just how she had come to lose her armor, her sword.

Seeing no shadow, no possessed swords, Adeline's eyes flickered back to the man, a crease to her brow. Had she been drowning? Had he resuscitated her? She didn't remember falling into water, but yet here they were-where was her armor? Where was her sword? Her horse? How deep down were they?

"Who...are you?" Her belle voice inquired, and even soaking wet-she managed to come across as graceful, ladylike, standing before him in the cool water, her gown slickened and sticking to her slender curves, rivets of water running down the material, down her skin.

His presence was puzzling.
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Old 01-23-2013, 12:33 AM   #4
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They stumbled back and forth for a few moments until Gregor released the girl, who was thankfully not a corpse. Indeed, as he glanced at the slender, toned figure hidden only by the soaking wet dress, she seemed to be quite well put together.

Her eyes were darting left and right; her sudden energy had thrown Gregor off for a moment, but he regained his wits. The first thing he did was take another step back, both to give the woman some space and to get his feet out of the freezing water. Did she feel the cold? Maybe being stuck down there, she was used to it.

"Yeah, plenty o' shadows here, love," he said. "It is a cave, after all." He raised his hands, palms outstretched to show he meant her no harm.

"My name is Gregor," he said slowly. "And you needn't fear me, milady. I'm a man of honour."

Which was a boldfaced lie, but Gregor found lies worked best with manic young women. He'd probably saved himself from a knife in the gut more than a dozen times thanks to that piece of wisdom, but he'd never applied it to strange girls in caves before. He hoped it would work.

"I'm on a mission by Lord Andrew Rionsblood," he said. "You know who he is? You must do, right? He sent me this way. Lucky thing I was passing by, too, or you'd have been stuck there for a good long while." He pointed at the pond of water and frowned. "How'd you end up in there, anyway?"
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Old 01-23-2013, 06:28 AM   #5
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It seemed a strange name, and as Adeline composed herself, drew in a breath and gave one last, slow look about the cavern-she spotted her sword. Ah. One mystery solved.

Her beautiful face softened into an almost relieved expression as she moved through the water to also step out of it's coldness, a thoughtful glance to her soaked attire. He said he was a man of honor, but Adeline hardly doubted that in the first place-he had saved her from drowning, after all. "I thank you, honorable Gregor." She said in that belle voice of hers, attention on the sword as he went on.

She paused near her sword, those grey eyes lifting from it to him to frown a moment. "Rionsblood? No...No I do not know him-is he from afar?" Odd he would have Rion in his name, and as the untitled Gregor spoke, Adeline felt her headache returning, eyes drifting to the water.

"...forgive me, but I imagine I fell in." She said slowly, simply-as if that were obvious, and she worried about hurting his feelings with her statement of it. Adeline wrapped her right hand around the sword, the clear glass orb on the pommel filling with a wispy, light grey smoke-and without so much as an exerted pant, drew it from the stone.

Holding the crafted blade at an angle to test the balance of it, Adeline seemed to find it in order before slipping it through the simple attached loop in her dress sewn for that purpose. Thus armed, Adeline only now realized she was rather cold. "I too am on a mission, though I fear my enemy has fled after casting me into the water to drown." She frowned slightly. "Though...I do not remember drowning." Hm. "I must report to my liege."

Her speech was pretty and calm, alluring all it's own along with her thoughtful, puzzled expression. " What is your mission? Perhaps the King could assist?"
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Old 01-24-2013, 01:36 AM   #6
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She moved with a lightness and grace out of the pool and Gregor knew he was staring. He blinked his eyes when she gave her thanks and mumbled, "'Twas nothing."

He suddenly realised his breeches were still undone and quickly turned away, tying them up. He felt tongue-tied, which wasn't his usual response to a pretty girl. This girl was more than pretty, though, and the manner of their meeting was remarkable enough that Gregor imagined some confusion was understandable.

She certainly seemed confused - being trapped underwater will do that to you, he thought.

"Rionsblood?" asked Gregor, tying the knot. "No, they've been around years." He was about to ask if she'd been under a rock, but in a way she had been. It was possible she'd fallen in, as she thought, but that didn't explain the way she'd been trapped.

Gregor turned and his jaw dropped.

She was holding the sword.

The sword from the boulder.

She was holding it, testing its weight, as if there was nothing at all strange about sliding a beautiful blade from a rock. She just as casually slipped it into a loop at her waist.

"H... how did you...?" he began to ask, but she mentioned a mission of her own. Her liege? That settled it, then, thought Gregor. A bloody foreigner - no wonder she didn't know of Rionsblood, but at least she spoke the language well. She turned back to him, looking as puzzled as he was.

"What is your mission? Perhaps the King could assist?"

Gregor chuckled and said, "Which one? Must be at least three kings at any one time. Been that way around here since mad Roland shit himself to death." He noticed she was shivering a little and even if Gregor wasn't a knight, he could at least show a little chivalry. He picked up his cloak from the cavern floor and offered it to her. It was old and stank and stained with blood, ale and only the gods knew what else, but it was warm and that was the important thing.

"You must not be from around here, but I've no clue why your king would send you to this awful place," he said. "If I'm honest, I'm only here because the Duke offered a healthy reward if I retrieved some relic for him. But you don't want to know about that! We'll get a fire going and you can tell me a bit about yourself."
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Old 01-24-2013, 05:50 AM   #7
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Adeline blinked as he asked which king. Grey eyes watch him, an uncertain, though polite pretty smile curving her lips as if she thought he was joking with her-only for her eyes to widen, lips forming a surprised "o". She was so shocked by his traitorious words-Roland, mad?-she couldn't quite find her composure, eyes lowering to the cloak before she frowned, his friendly manner seeming to speak of a good natured man, even if he had just slandered her King.

"I am that King's champion." Adeline said quietly, her expression darkening. "And I would humbly request you do not speak of my just leige in such a manner again." To speak of a king's death was treason! Besides-Roland was only in his thirties. Death was far away yet, Adeline was sure of that. And mad? There were whispers, but Adeline was certain her king would prevail over idle gossip and harmful lies.

Watching him a moment more, trying to decide if he was friend or foe, Adeline also felt...slightly bereft of something. Recognition? She had grown used to people knowing whom she was, but she could forgive his ignorance-she was humble, after all.

She was swayed by the idea of a fire, of being warm. She accepted the...questionable cloak, too ladylike to turn her nose up and too cold to mind terribly as she draped it across her own shoulders. She did not even have her boots, but once upon a time-Adeline hadn't even owned shoes, so she supposed she would manage. "Oh, but I would hear of this relic-perhaps I have heard of it, perhaps I know where it might be. This...Rionsblood duke, he may have lost a heirloom? Or is this relic a forgotten treasure?"

She was curious, and rather pleasant to be near.
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Old 01-24-2013, 10:13 PM   #8
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Gregor gave her a funny look. "That king"? Surely she didn't mean Roland? Maybe the poor girl had taken a bump to the head when she fell in. He was still curious as to just how she had pulled the sword free from its place in the boulder, but it would be night soon and the need for a fire was a more pressing concern.

"No offense, love, but you'd have to be a hundred to be Roland's champion," he said as he made his way back towards the cave entrance. "He was dead when my grandad was a boy. Mad as you like at the end. Some said it was the black pox, some said it was something worse." Gregor wasn't sure why he was talking about all this. Even if she was a foreigner, she'd surely know the story.

There wasn't much wood around, but he managed to gather together a bit of scrub that would warm them up soon enough. He gave her another glance and thought of a few other ways to warm them up, but he remember a bit of advice his Uncle Roger had given him about not sticking anything into anywhere or anyone strange unless you didn't want it back. A girl from a pool of water claiming to be Roland Rionheart's champion was definitely strange.

He pulled the old nag closer to the cave mouth. As much as he didn't want to stay here overnight, it was getting too late to move now and the girl definitely needed to dry off before they could go anywhere. The last thing he needed was for her to get ill. He just had to hope none of the mountainfolk would spot the fire in this little gorge.

"I'm not sure what the relic is," he said, gently blowing on the small flames until the caught in the wood. "The Duke just told me it could unify the kingdom, or something. I thought it was that sword, actually, but I couldn't pull it out of the rock." Gregor sighed and sat back, stretching his legs out in front of him.

"How'd you get it out?"
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Old 01-26-2013, 07:50 AM   #9
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"He was dead when my grandad was a boy."

Adeline stood rooted in place, staring at his back as he nonchalantly moved to leave the cave. Why...why didn't it sound like he was lying?!

She eyed the pool of water with a wary glance before moving to follow him. Another woman or even a man might have begun to panic. Adeline's heart was calm however, if slightly...dreading. she moved to help gather a bit of kindling and firewood, maintaining her composure as a lady must.

Desperately, however, she struggled to remember just how she had ended up in the water. The sleepy heaviness that had possessed her limbs...the cold unfeeling dark...sorcery. With her sword ripped away, she had been powerless against her foe's tricks. Adeline remained standing as he started the fire, her grey eyes lifted towards the mountain, disconcerted to find it appeared different, no longer lush with trees and vegetation.

"My sword?" Adeline said softly, her fingers playing across the intricately carved handle. "It is a family heirloom...passed from my great grandmother to her daughter, to her daughter, and then to me. The magic in it knows me." She kneeled before the fire, watching him intently a moment. Peace ebbed from her being, a calm. "Only I can wield it...were you honest, earlier, honorable Gregor?" She asked instead of elaborating further on her sword, on her family history.

"About..." Adeline hesitated, a troubled, slight frown to her soft mouth. "...about King Rionheart? Is...is he truly dead? And...for so long?" This was old news to everyone else, but to Adeline-it seemed as if the woman hung on his every word, concern and worry visible in her beautiful face, that shimmery tattoo catching firelight.
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Old 01-26-2013, 10:45 AM   #10
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It was an interesting tale she had about the sword and it only left Gregor further intrigued. He'd never seen a magic sword before, though many a merchant had tried to con him into thinking otherwise. A sword that no one but you can wield? That would be handy.

She was taking the news of Ronald Rionheart pretty hard, considering he'd been dead for bloody years. Gregor tried not to sound too annoyed by it, though. After all, she was the one with the magic sword.

"Yes, I was honest," he said with a sigh, closing his eyes and leaning back against a rock. "He's dead, been that way for... sixty, seventy years? Maybe longer? Doesn't matter, anyway; from what I was always told, the country had gone to shite long before that.

"Anyway, after Roland's in the ground, everyone argues about who is heir is. You know, usual bollocks. Haven't had a proper king since."

While they were going to be here, Gregor supposed he might as well keep himself occupied. There had been a lot of strangeness this day and if he didn't focus on some mundane task he'd probably end up as mad as the girl. He pulled a sharpening stone from his pack and drew his sword, then began slowly working the blade. It was a heavy weapon, unwieldy, but then Gregor was not one for fancy moves or quick parries. He hacked, he bludgeoned, he scream vile cursewords and charged at poor buggers who'd sometimes wisely turn and run.

"Where are you from, that you don't know any o' this?" he asked her, narrowing his eyes. "If your liege sent you to this forsaken place, surely he told you a bit o' the history?"
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Old 01-26-2013, 12:03 PM   #11
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"He's dead, been that way for... sixty, seventy years? Maybe longer?". He spoke the truth, or at least, what he believed to be the truth. Adeline felt her mouth go dry, her dread shifting to a numb, adrift feeling.

Her eyes dropped to her hands, but they were young hands. She ran her fingers over her cheeks, touching youthful skin-Roland had been alive, he had sent her to investigate a rumor, asked her to travel North-one of her hands slid into her hair, fingers raking through the damp, midnight hued locks, freeing waves from her unravelling braid.

She was disturbed to learn how much time had passed, disturbed to hear this unfavorable talk of her liege. He studied her, and his puzzlement only worried her more. "He did not." Adeline said softly, dazed eyes returning to his from the fire.

The beautiful girl drew her knees up, a shiver going through her body from more than just cold.

"Because when he sent me, it was not yet history." The flames drew her gaze back, a frown on her lips. She had been somehow transported to the future. Her king was dead. Her mother was dead. Her country was apparantly a "forsaken" place run by sqabbling lesser men.

"...what happened? Roland was a good man, a just King-how did his lands become so..." She glanced up at the barren landscape. "..."forsaken"? Why do you call him mad?"

She inhaled. "I was...am Lady Adeline-a paladin, in those times. I was Roland's champion, as I said." She touched at the sword, troubled. "And I failed to defend him against whatever foe has done this."
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Old 01-26-2013, 03:48 PM   #12
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Gregor listened to her carefully to her tale, setting his sword and stone aside as she explained to him who she was and where she came from. He waited until she was finished, then laughed out loud.

"You what?" he said as he finally calmed down. "Roland's champion? No offense, love, but I think you took more than one bump on the head.

"But you're right, though," he said, going back to the blade, "he had a paladin called Adeline. Supposed to be the very best, if you believe all the tales. Couldn't have been too bright, though, if she never noticed what her king was like. Most say Roland had her killed, she was the only thing stopping him from doing whatever sick bollocks he got up to. Only a few years after that, tips over and dies 'imself. My grandad always said it was the best thing he ever did."

Gregor examined the edge of the blade. He liked to maintain a good sharp edge on one side and the top foot or so of the other. That was all you really needed for a backhanded cut, in his experience. The girl, who may or may not have been called Adeline, was shivering by the fire and he suddenly felt a bit guilty for laughing at her.

Not her fault she's mad, he thought.

"I don't know what to tell you," he said after a moment's silence. "They say he start practicing black magic, and that was that. Are you hungry? Got a little dried meat in me pack."

He stumbled to his feet, sliding the sharpened blade into his scabbard. He tossed the stone to the girl.

"Magic or not, any blade stuck in the ground for a while could do with a sharpening," he said, then walked to where he'd tethered the horse. Opening up a pack, he retrieved a few pieces of dried beef. Not much, but at least they wouldn't go hungry tonight.

He paused, just for a moment. Something had moved on the slope behind him. Could be an animal, he thought, but no reason not to play it safe. He pretended not to notice, but kept his ears open as he pretended to check on the horse. More movement, shadows within shadows. It was a dark night - perfect for an ambush. Gregor didn't show any panic. He could tell how many there were, just that there were more of them than there was of him.

He backed into the cave mouth and offered the girl some food, all the while keeping his eyes on the horse outside. They'd go for it first, he knew. He just hoped they didn't kill it - it was a hell of a long walk down the mountains.
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Old 01-26-2013, 11:24 PM   #13
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His laughter was understandable-but only made Adeline feel worse. It was absurd and it tragic, and the stalwart warrior didn't know what to do, how to think. She -was- Adeline. That was the one thing she could always be certain of. She pulled her blade from the loop and looked to it. She was a Swordsong. This was her birthright. Her honor in steel form.

And as Gregor spoke about...well, -her-, Adeline felt offended. "Roland wasn't mad." Adeline interrupted, a red smoke in the pommel's orb, thick instead of wispy. Her grey eyes were intense and riveting, staring him down. "And he did -not- kill me off. I was general of his armies. I was his champion. I swore my life for his."

Stopping him from...what had happened since she had fallen into the water? Who had besmirched the Rionheart name?

He tossed the sharpening stone to her and Adeline caught it in one hand, the graceful woman looking to the flames with that same dark expression. "Whatever dark sorcery this is..."

Could she be dreaming? Trapped in a vision meant to cause doubt?

Perhaps. It was a gentler solution than this truly being the future, than her being ripped from time and space. She rose to her feet, having also noted moving shadows and, like him, feigning ignorance. Gregor thought her mad, and so be it. She need not prove herself to him. She needed only to find a way back to her time, and if that failed-to find a heir, to honor her oath.

"Believe what you like, but do not speak of Rionheart as such again." She warned, "accepting" the offering-only to nod ever so slightly past his shoulder.

If and when the barbarians attacked, Adeline whirled to have his back, sword drawn. The orb swirled with the same red smoke, but she intended to use none of it's magic, relying instead on her swordplay.

Which was impressive, not just for a woman-but for a warrior, as Gregor would soon see.
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Old 01-27-2013, 12:36 AM   #14
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"Believe what you like, but do not speak of Rionheart as such again."

Gregor chuckled and said, "All right, beggin' forgiveness, your Highness. Oh, sorry, you're his Highness' champion. He spotted the hint of a nod as he sat down and bit off a piece of meat. It was salty and Gregor was regretting not bringing more water. He'd have considered the pool, but only the gods knew what was in there.

She was a curious one, all right. She seemed very... earnest. Gregor didn't know what to make of that. She couldn't really believe she was some legendary paladin, could she? He supposed he'd seen stranger things, but then cast that thought aside. He might have seen some remarkable sights, but he's never seen a piece of living history before and he still wasn't sure he was seeing one now.

He sat with his back to the cave mouth, as if he didn't suspect a thing, but his sword was across his lap, loose in the scabbard. He wanted them close, almost on the horse, before he moved. There would be a scout, checking to see if the people inside were going to be trouble. Gregor knew enough about the mountainfolk to know that they'd avoid a fight if they could, but if they felt there was anything worth taking from the sellsword, they'd try him.

He cursed under his breath. A pretty girl could be worth plenty.

The thieves let their excitement get the better of them. They scrambled down the last few feet and rushed towards the horse, at which point Gregor sprang to his feet, sword drawn, and ran to the cave mouth, roaring as loudly as he could.

It checked the thieves for a precious few moments, which Gregor used to bull rush through one of them, leaving the skinny bastard splayed out on the ground. The second man raised a club, which Gregor knocked away with a backswing before stepping forward to drive his elbow into the thief's face. He didn't really want to kill them; he was just hoping to hurt them and make sure they knew not to bother him again. He could understand their desperation, struggling to make a life in these rocky hills. But he'd be damned if some inbred goatfucker was going to steal his horse.

"Come on, ye cunts!" he roared, forgetting his manners in front of a lady and kicking one of the men in the stomach. The was more movement around him and Gregor took a step back as men and women appeared from the shadows, brandishing clubs and crude blades.

"Bugger," he muttered.
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Old 01-27-2013, 11:34 AM   #15
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Adeline held her sword before her in both hands, her eyes analyzing the scene as the others approached cautiously but menacingly. Two rushed forth and Adeline stepped forward to meet them, knocking aside a man with the flat of her sword, parrying the second and driving her fist into his stomach.

"Who are these fiends?" She asked Gregor, her belle voice calm even in the midst of battle-her footwork light and quick, the grace of a dancer mixing with the bearing and strength of a knight as she turned to trip up another foe, taking his club as he fell-and bonking him on the head with it. She bore her sword in one hand, it's weight adjusting-and the club in the other, the tribesmen hesitating in the face of her skill and calmness.

(I imagine if he says they're weak willed tribals, she'll use a bit of magic to frighten them off.)
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Old 01-27-2013, 02:53 PM   #16
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The girl had raced up so quickly that Gregor didn't even realise she was in the fight until he turned around and saw a burly mountain man crawling away with blood spurting from his nose. She moved with a remarkable swiftness, no doubt thanks to the lack of armour. It left her more susceptible to attacks, but it allowed her to move at full speed through the half dozen people that had come to help their foolish friends. Besides, it didn't look like any of them would land a blow on her at this rate.

"Bloody mountain folk!" he replied, headbutting one young looking fellow in the face. "Always up to mischief, aye?"

Gregor heard a scream and turned in time to duck a slashing strike from a skinny, haggard woman. She was wearing a pair of gloves with crude spikes on the fingers. He hated fighting women. Not out of any sense of chivalry, of course - women just always fought dirtier than men, and Gregor was no honourable warrior himself.
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Old 01-27-2013, 08:55 PM   #17
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Tribals? This close?

Adeline took quick aim and threw the club for the back of the haggard woman's head to stagger her. There were many, and while she and Gregor could handle themselves-it would soon be TOO many to deal with peaceably. Adeline did not wish to harm ignorant tribals.

She swept kicked a brute's legs out from under him and lifted her sword high in the air with a war cry-and to the warriors' amazement, lightning spiraled up the length of the blade-and then the small chain lightning struck in their midst, right where Adeline pointed.

Screams, frightened calls and superstitious cries sounded all around them, the fleet footed mountain men picking up their wounded and fleeing-leaving the ever thoughtful, graceful Adeline standing with a calm expression on her face, sheathing the sword in the loop and dusting her hands off. "Well. That solves that, does it not?" She asked pleasantly, returning to fire nonchalantly.
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Old 01-27-2013, 11:07 PM   #18
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The club smacked the mountain woman across the back of the skull and Gregor used the opportunity to kick her away. Why did they keep coming back? He supposed it was a matter of pride now. The outnumbered the pair easily and probably thought they could wear Gregor and Adeline down.

It would have been a sound strategy, but then bolts of lightning shot from one savage to the next and Gregor dropped to the ground, cursing. He lost his sight for a moment, left with a large brightspot in the centre of his vision. When he finally blinked it away, the tribesmen were scrambling out of the gorge and the girl was making her way calmly back to the fire.

He got to his feet slowly, unsure of what to do at first. He looked to the girl, then to the mountains around them, and finally to his horse, who he hoped would impart some useful wisdom. But it didn't and that only annoyed him further.

He marched towards her and stopped on the opposite side of the fire, shoving his sword back into the scabbard.

"What... what the fuck was that!?" It was the only thing he could think to say. For a moment he remembered it was wrong to curse in front of a lady, then he realised he didn't care because she'd just fired fucking lightning from her sword.

"What kind o' wizard are ya, eh?" he asked. "How'd you do that!?"
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Old 01-28-2013, 06:40 AM   #19
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Grey eyes lift to him from the flames, a lift to her brow at his cursing-only to seem slightly amused. "That, honorable Gregor, was lightning." A rueful smile played around the edges of her lips before she stood, drawing the sword to hold in the palms of her hands.

"Throimil Oussearae..." The Elven name rolled off her tongue, an exotic, strange combination of sounds archaic even in her time. "is a magic sword, as I have said." She humbly inclined her head before sheathing the blade once more, the wispy grey smoke in the orb having returned.

Adeline frowned slightly, an anxious flitter across her calm and serene features at his exasperation. "I...I am sorry to have startled you Gregor. I am no wizard. A paladin commands her sword only, and my sword...my sword happens to channel ancient magic." She was no longer amused, but apologetic, humble, and apparently worrying she had offended in some way.

She smoothed her mostly dry gown, eyes lowering to the fire. "I did not wish to harm any of the tribals, but perhaps I should have warned you." She hadn't really thought on it, forgetting she was not in her own time.
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Old 01-28-2013, 07:51 PM   #20
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Gregor was still a little unnerved, to say the least, but he began to calm down when she explained the sword and when he saw the apologetic look on her face.

"Aye, well, I doubt they'll pop back any time soon, so that's good." He sat back down by the fire, rubbing his hands together. The adrenalin was still pumping, as it usually did after a fight. What he really wanted was a pint or a woman, but he doubted his companion would provide either. Then again...

"You don't see too many ancient magic swords these days," he said, shifting a little closer to her. "I imagine you didn't see many back in your day either, eh?" He supposed he might as well play along. Mad she might have been, but even mad women had needs, right?

And then there was the possibility that she really was a famed paladin of old, in which case he'd have a hell of a story to tell the lads in the tavern.

"So..." he said, innocently enough. "Good fight - really gets the heart pumpin', don't it?"
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Old 01-29-2013, 05:36 AM   #21
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Adeline pondered the question a moment, her eyes thoughtful. "It is a rare thing, magic." Her mind flashed on the dancing, possessed ebony swords and for a moment-Adeline felt uneasy, being so close to the cave of her transportation. The paladin didn't realize she had not been instantly transported-but frozen in sleep. She still hoped to find a way back.

"...I have never heard of a good wizard, or a good witch. It twists the mind, that kind of power." She nodded, those dazzling grey eyes shifting to him. "But my sword is a force of good. As I too strive to be." And rather than pride, that beautiful face was softened with humility and good intentions as he spoke on...and Adeline smiled faintly, one of her graceful hands lifting to press her fingertips lightly, ever so lightly at his chest.

So that he could not scoot or lean any closer. "I am a fellow warrior, honorable Gregor." She said without malice and only the slightest bit of gentle, ladylike chastisement. "Not a conquest."

Ouch. She saw him coming a mile away, it seemed.
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Old 01-30-2013, 01:21 AM   #22
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She saw him coming a mile away.

Gregor quickly backtracked, spluttering, "I-I would never assume otherwise, milady! I merely wanted to inquire as to how you might relax after a hard fight, is all!" He shifted back, doing his best to look offended by her implication.

Clearly, he'd have to apply more tact. This was not going to be easy.

The hour was growing late, and Gregor thought of bed. He didn't think the mountainfolk would disturb them again, not after the girl's display. He retrieved his bedroll and laid it out by the fire.

"I suppose we should get some rest, milady," he said as he removed the chainmail and leather that protected his torso. He kicked off the well worn leather boots, leaving him in his undershirt and breeches. "You can keep the cloak for tonight. I suppose I'll need to make my way back to the Duke and see what he has to say about all this. Should be a few days' ride, if it pleases you." He honestly didn't care if it pleased her or not. He had to go back and explain what happened and if the brilliant but possibly mad girl wanted to go with him, then that was fine.

"We'll leave first thing, so," he said quietly, laying his sturdy frame down on the thin mat and pulling the cover over him. He lay with his back to her, feeling a little foolish. He shifted, trying to rest, but he was haunted by the image of the wet dress hugging her strong, slender frame. He was uncomfortably hard and that just annoyed him further.

What a bugger of a day, he thought.
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Old 02-01-2013, 07:09 AM   #23
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Adeline seemed bemused, and yet she politely held her hands open in a placating gesture, nodding. "Apologies, apologies. I should not have thought differently, you are correct."

He made a fuss about bedding down for the night, still mildly indignant-and Adeline found it prudent to keep her eyes on the fire, giving a simple nod. When everything was still once more, she found herself with heavy thoughts again.

What was she to do? Would this Rionsblood have any insight?

After some time of thought, Adeline stood, quietly slipping away to comfort the horse, stroke the old mare's nose consolingly-before she took up a good vantage point against a rocky outcropping, leaned her back against the warmed surface-and dozed off into a light sleep.

She kneeled before the great and wise King of Rionheart, her armor weighing heavily on her shoulders and back, her hair pinned up beneath her helm. He gestured for her to stand, his blue, crinkled eyes imploring. "I trust only you with this task, Adeline Swordswong. You must not fail."

And she had sworn she would not, and she had gone away to find this dark shadow, to banish from his lands forever. She rode for days in her dream, she followed the ebbing evil into this cave-and found herself immersed in the shadow itself, dancing swords flying through the air, chopping and slashing-battling dark form after dark form in the mist, struggling to wound the unwoundable. And then the cold, dark fingers of death as her sword was pulled from her grip, as the water filled her lungs... "None escape... The heaviness of her limbs alarmed her, the helplessness as she slowly sank into a deep pool of grimy black water, her armor drifting away in pieces, her back touching stone. So tired...so heavy, so...

"No!" Adeline woke with a start just before dawn, gasping for air-her hands gripping tightly against her sword. The dark, the water, the-she breathed hard as her grey eyes flicked from the lightening skyline down towards the horse, a furrow to her brow as she again touched her face, her hands, her hair-all real, all still young, nothing wasted away in age.

Adeline released a low, quiet noise of relief.
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Old 02-01-2013, 09:58 PM   #24
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Eventually, and with no small amount of difficulty, Gregor drifted off to sleep. An old mercenary had once taught him about sleeping with one eye open, so your enemies would think you were keeping a watch on them. But Gregor didn't know if he did it properly - he rarely had anyone around who could tell him. Regardless, his enemies usually left him alone. They probably preferred their sleep, too.

He woke up as the early morning sun finally broke into the gorge. He rose slowly and looked around, forgetting where he was for a second. The girl wasn't by the fire, which had died down to embers and ash. For a brief moment, he thought that perhaps he'd imagined her. Maybe she was some wild dream, brought on by the thin mountain air and his weariness? But he dismissed the thought soon enough. As he stumbled into the sunlight, tugging on his boots as he went, he saw the scorch marks where her lightning had touched the ground.

She was sitting on a rocky outcropping, seemingly staring off into the distance. Gregor straightened up his clothes and called up to her.

"Hey!" he shouted. "Milady! You want a bit o' breakfast before we head out? Always good to start the day with a full stomach." He stepped back inside, stretching his arms high above his head, and searched for the rest of his clothes.
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