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Old 11-01-2012, 02:20 AM   #1
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Love Triangle: You, Me, and... my goddess? closed thread

Moderator's note: This thread is closed, please do not post without the express permission of the authors, we hope you enjoy our story.

Love Triangle: you, me, and… my goddess?

Historians note: this story takes place in a realm of fantasy in a time when the world is for the most part at peace, at least between elves and humans. They aren’t the best of friends but as they say this is better than them killing one another. For the most part the elves stick to their tree towns and the humans to their cities and villages. The dwarves, well most suspect they are under their mountains somewhere although they are rarely seen. Our story begins on the frontier lands, somewhere between the populated lands of the humans, and the secluded forests of the elves.

He bent over gracefully. His hands stretched out before him planting palm down on the ground as he lifted his feet straightening in that posture. He pushed himself through these positions and more as he sought to center his thoughts. Long blonde hair floated around him as he moved while eyelids closed over sapphire eyes as he moved from memory.
The first sun’s rays struck the ground and the daytime animals began to stir. The man continued to move expressing this form of elvish movement art. Humans might call it yoga, or something similar, but in fact it was much more than that. It was a harmonization of the body and the mind for they must be united. The goddess Luneska demanded not but perfection from her clerics. To be able to heal the bodies and minds of others one should know one’s own body and mind. This was her teaching and he tried to live it every day.

Coming to his feet slowly Talinath moved into his house. His fingers traced the length of his longbow as he passed it where it leaned next to the door encase he needed it. Talinath lived alone, some miles from the nearest elven village, and a like number of miles from the closest human settlement as well. He did this so both sides could know they were welcome to come to him for healing. Luneska would grant her blessings to anyone regardless of race, as long as their heart was good. Talinath found he enjoyed the peace his solitude brought him, it was calming.
There were many male elven clerics but few that sought and found the blessing of Luneska. Rather than being drawn to Solarus the father lord of the sun, Talinath was drawn to the mother, to the lady of silver. Many elves said that males lacked the discipline to worship Luneska, that they could not control their bodily urges. They were the keepers of healing, keepers of the sacred elven rituals. Even though elves were a particularly sexual people, and the worshipers of Luneska some of the most sexual, they only gave themselves as a part of the healing and growth rituals within the elven lands, they held back at all other times so that they would be more pure, more passionate on those nights they were free to express themselves as the rituals demanded.

Talinath had been away from his people for a number of years now. He was young by his people’s standards, only about 125, not much more than a score of years over the age of adulthood in elven culture. He had been a priest of Luneska since his assertion to adulthood, and had been away from his people helping to aid human refugees after the last great goblin war, and other humanitarian pursuits. He missed his homeland and his family.

Talinath hummed to himself as he poured himself a cup of tea from the pot hanging over his fireplace. Before he could sit down he became aware that there were noises outside his small house. Someone was approaching. Long graceful strides carried him to the door and opening it he saw a number of men, three in total carrying what appeared to be a woman between them. It was obvious from the limp state of the woman that she was at the least unconscious. Blue eyes flicked from the woman to the tall man in front. “Who’s this constable?” he asked the law enforcement officer.
“I’m not rightly knowin m’lord, but surrin she’s hurt bad. They dun got her bad.” The man said his slight peasant accent making him sound like he was less of a native speaker than the elf who addressed him.
“Why didn’t your healers attend to her immediately?” the elf asked as he ushered the two men carrying the woman into his house directing them to lay her on the bed.

The constable looked sheepish as he took off his hat nervously squashing the cloth in his hands. They dun said there was nothing they could do fer her.” He said. The man cleared his throat and lowered his voice, “I’m thinkin it has got more to do with where we picked her up doncha know m’lord.”

Talinath raised one arched eyebrow, caught somewhere between intrigue and annoyed at the man’s words. “Speak plainly, this woman may be dying I don’t have time to play wrestle the story out of you.”
The constable straightened up seemingly a bit affronted by the way that the typically very soft-spoken elf had chastised him for his gossip mentality. “She was in a house of ill repute doncha know… everyone’s thinking she be a lady of the night m’lord. None of them wants to be associated with them lady’s. I mean they’ll help em shed a baby and cure some of their illnesses.” Talinath’s snort cut the officer off.

“The first part is true, but the second part is false.” The elf said interrupting him. “I know this because I treat them when they are sick not your healers, and I will not help them take the life of their child. I will give them herbs to keep them from getting pregnant but I will not help them shed a baby. However I do not see why this is relevant to this conversation in the first place. Are your healers true healers or not?” he looked much closer to losing his cool than he really should be; there was a bite to his words that was not typically there. He had more he was going to say to them but decided it was not really worth it and waved a hand dismissing the men. “I can see you gentleman will be of no further assistance to me. I thank you for bringing her to me, I will do my best to heal her.” And turned away, a clear signal that the men were dismissed. He could not resist one final barb as they exited, “I hope your healer’s bigotry didn’t cost this woman her life.”

He moved around the house rapidly gathering what he would need, he mentally chastised himself for getting angry, he should have asked what had happened to this woman. It was clear that she’d been beaten by someone, but whom? Why? What for? It would have been nice to have such answers. He moved to the bed and laid long slender fingers to either side of her forehead mentally probing her orah, sensing her pain, where injuries might be. He then began to run his hands over her body inspecting her body for broken bones, cuts that may need sewed shut etc. He knew that he couldn’t heal her all in one day or one session, his magic could only do so much. He would combine it with his knowledge of herbs and hopefully she would make a full recovery. He placed hands on her chest and abdomen seeking the inner peace within. He whispered a prayer to Luneska as he pressed out with his life force contacting her orah and slipping into her body, beginning to encourage her body to heal. He was not one of the elder great healers to which this came naturally it was still a struggle for Talinath after 25 years of practice, but he knew he had to try. His eyes stayed closed as he murmured in elven his hands pressing at certain points on her body as he worked to heal her. It was not so much that he healed her as he worked to help her body heal itself speeding up the natural healing process. His eyes still closed he didn’t see her eyes open, and with his energy directed at knitting the bone in her right leg, he wasn’t aware that she had awakened either.
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Old 11-03-2012, 12:33 AM   #2
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Sevasti was a thief.

Well, that would be one way to put it. Thief, rouge priestess, occasional sacred prostitute. Really, she wore a lot of different hats depending on where she was and what needed to happen. She was a woman of some faith, though. Moving where the wind took her, she was far from her native land. Not that it troubled her all that much; that was her purpose. Whatever good she could bring along the way, well, that was the idea.

She’d actually been at the brothel for a fortnight. Of course, she wasn’t “performing” in the usual manner that would happen at a brothel. If anything, she served as a confidant for the other whores. Most women didn’t get into that line of work because they wanted to (and of course, there were a few that did), and the Madame had enough sense to realize that happy whores made more money. Sevasti had offered her services, and now, ta-dah, she had a place to stay. As far as a priestess went, she wasn’t the type to constantly try and work up converts either.

In fact, most people didn’t know a lot about Sevasti. She liked it that way. On first approach, she wasn’t threatening. If anything, she was the type of woman who would blend in, despite her dark skin, neatly shaven head (save for a topknot of tight black curls that hung neatly from the left side of her head, held with gold bands) and sharp fox-like golden eyes. Even with as outlandish as her clothing could be, she still just seemed to drift away in the background. The Madame had accepted her, and just thought of her as the type who was quiet. Sevasti never asked for more than the other girls, and made herself useful in the kitchen and with cleaning.

On this particular occasion, she’d ended up as a bouncer.

Well, she should have known it was coming.

After all, she had just... “liberated” some particularly pricey items from them.

She found herself in a conundrum when they’d come in, looking for the usual road ass.

Ducking behind the bar, she had attempted to blend in. It was hard to mistake them: two of the usual bandits - built like golems, brutish in manner and in deed. Usually she would have killed them (a practice she found disturbingly easy), and true enough, she had killed quite a few, but the ones that came in had managed to out run her.

Damnation. That was the last time she’d let people get away from her.

And of course, when one of the bandits was a little rough with one of the girls, she had to step forward. And of course, they had recognized her. And of course, she wasn’t able to get to her blade in time. But, when all was said and done, she emerged the victor. After all, she was the last one standing. Even though she was barely doing that.

She had taken a step forward, and promptly passed out.

___________

“Dispose of the bodies.” The Madame (for no one knew her real name) was unflappable, even in the worst of situations. This was not her first murders witnesses, and she knew it would not be her last. As much as she hated thinking about how much it would cost to clean the blood out of the carpet, she found herself entirely more concerned with the status of the very unconscious Sevasti.

That, and impressed by how she’d taken the two bandits out. She had started the fight unarmed - and because of that, had sustained those grievous injuries. But the moment she was able to grab a blade (tossed to her by one of the whores hiding under a table. Most carried some sort of stiletto as an added “insurance”, though the Madame attempted to discourage it), she had made quick work of them. Punctures to the vital artery in the neck, and both bled out within moments.

As the Madame stood at the foot of the establishment’s staircase, she watched the four hired muscles carry out the bodies of the bandits. She sighed. If they had been doing their job to begin with, the whole situation could have been avoided. Her thin brows rose as her lips tightened. Ah. She’d take the cost of cleaning the place out of their pay. They would not be so negligent in the future.

Around the collapsed Sevasti, a young girl with cascades of blonde curls kept her thin hands on the dark skinned woman’s neck.

“Madame, she’s not doing so well. I think we need help,” and her blonde brows knit.

“Very well. See to it that the proper authorities are contacted,” The Madame turned to ascend the stairs. “Oh,” she said, as if it was an afterthought, “Once she’s healed, make sure she comes back here so I can thank her.”
___________

Everything hurt.

Before she had lost consciousness entirely, she had attempted a recovery spell. With the way her body throbbed, she could tell it probably hadn’t been the most effective in the world.

Slowly, she opened her eyes. They curved naturally upwards, and seemed to be perpetually narrowed. The severity of her gaze was not helped by the brilliant gold of her pupils, nor the natural upsweep of her dark eyebrows and lashes. Three bars of black ink perfectly circled her wrists and ankles. The other whores had undressed her, considering that her clothes had been torn to shreds. They’d wrapped her loosely in a large shirt.

“Gods above....” she rasped out, her golden eyes struggling to focus on him.
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Old 11-04-2012, 01:47 AM   #3
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Talinath worked on the woman’s right leg examining the wound. He observed that the woman was either lucky or had good reflexes. The bruising and cracked tibia suggested that it had taken the brunt of a heavy kick. The bruising was mostly to the side. Talinath deduced that the kick had probably been aimed at the side of her knee, a blow that if landed properly could have made her knee pop.

The leg wasn’t the only nasty injury, from what he could tell she had several cracked if not broken ribs as well, and some fairly nasty pulled muscles. He wondered what exactly had been done to her; did someone grab her and swing her around like a rag doll?

He could see that some of the wounds on the forearms looked defensive, like she had set her hands to block many of the blows aimed at her. It looked like she had been at least partially successful in that regard for she only had a couple bruises on her face, the rest looked like she had managed to fend them away from her more vital areas.

As he reached inward to the magic within him he prayed softly to Luneska who had a hand in granting him his magical energy. His prayers were soft and in elven as he worked.

He urged the growth of cells, the knitting of the bone. As he worked he remembered the first time he had seen a disciple of Luneska heal an injury. He was not much more than a child and his elder brother had been injured in one of the last great elf goblin wars; that was back when the goblins had a strong leader and were united. He remembered his brother’s broken form lying on the woven vine litter he’d been carried on. Talinath remembered holding his brother’s hand, while his mother knelt across from him. That was one of the few times that Talinath remembered his mother looking so sad, her blue eyes brimming with pearly tears. He could remember the way that she wiped at the tears with one hand as the other gripped Tahlir’s hand.

“Is he going to die mama?” Talinath had asked softly unable to look at the horrible open gut wound his brother had sustained.

“I don’t know,” she had said softly, “Your father is fetching Nina the healer.” Talinath felt a little better at hearing this. Nina, which was a shortened form of her name, was an elven healer of no small reputation. She was one of the village elders, to young Talinath absolutely ancient.

Talinath remembered his father arriving. Remembered the warm comforting hand that was laid on his shoulder. He looked up at his father, into the green eyes and dark hair, hair and eyes that were reflected in his brother. High elves tended to either have black hair and green eyes, or blonde hair and blue eyes. Talinath’s brother and father were of the former coloring and he and his mother were of the other hair and eye combination.

The healer had come, kneeling in her green dress at his brother’s side. Talinath could remember flashes of that memory so clearly. He could remember her hands, slender and delicate, thee paleness of her skin soon washed in red as she pressed her hands to Tahlir’s wound.

He had watched as the priestess, one of the most skilled healer’s in the elven community, prayed to her goddess. Before his eyes, his brother’s wound had begun to close. The great rend in the proud warrior’s body closing under the healer’s hands. Her magic and force of will pressing into him.

Talinath had been sure that his brother would die. He had not; he would go on to make a full recovery.

Talinath could only hope that one day he would become that powerful, gain that kind of skill, as his devotion to his lady goddess, and his magical ability, the depth of his control would increase over time.

Talinath came out of his inner thoughts, from the memory at the rasp of her voice. “God’s above.” He heard her say.

The full crescents of lashes lifted and his blue eyes flicked up to meet her gaze. He was startled by the vivid color of her eyes, and instantly he was intrigued by them.

“I’m afraid you will need to wait a bit longer to meet the gods above.” His voice was smooth and lightly accented a rich baritone. He let his hands slide off of her bare leg as he stepped to the table to the side of the bed and retrieved a glass of water he had set there for when she woke up.

Lifting the glass he moved to the side of her bed. He slid his arm under her neck gently helping her to lift her head half sitting up. With the other hand he offered her the water. He lifted it towards her lips. “Can you tell me your name and what you last remember?” he asked, beginning to assess for brain damage even as he gave her some water. If her hand came up to take the glass he would relinquish the glass to her if she looked able to take it. He did not know how impaired her injuries were, so he sought to find the balance between helping her and not treating her as if she were unable to help herself.
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Old 11-04-2012, 04:20 PM   #4
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She said nothing further, allowing him to lift her into a sitting position. Silently, she did a quick assessment of her body. Her leg still hurt, but overall....much better than she had been before she passed out. The world blurred, and she closed her eyes, inhaling deeply. Holding her breath, she hissed as it slipped between her lips, taking with it much of the pain. It didn’t take a genius to know that her magic capability was quartered. She had taken too much damage in the last fight. Even within this stranger’s arms, her mind ticker-taped through the events of last night. Analyzing flaws, picking out benefits.

“My name is Sevasti, and the last thing I remember is passing out after killing two bandits,” she said flatly. Taking the glass of water from his hand, she drank deeply. It felt fantastic on her throat. After nearly draining the glass, she handed it back to him, and licked her lips.

It never took her very long to assess a home - she was a thief on occasion. Hm. Nothing of real (i.e., easily moved) worth. And as much as she had sticky fingers, she did have some sense of morality as well. It wouldn’t look good to rob the home of your benefactor.

“Yick. Where did I get these clothes? At least the boots are mine,” and she sighed. Wiggling out of his grasp, she was all too aware that she had nothing else on under the voluminous folds of the shirt. Great. No undergarments, this shirt, and her boots. And all of her goods - probably back at the brothel. IF she was lucky.

“Who are you?” She turned to face him now, those piercing golden eyes narrowing just a bit. “And what do you want for healing me?” She added the last bit as an afterthought, hoping that he was the type to be one of those lovely generous souls who wouldn’t dare ask a helpless woman to part with her hard earned cash.

Maybe it was the shifting, maybe it was speaking too much, whatever it was, the world wavering violently and she slumped back into the bed, groaning. “Well,” she said, in between gasps, “I suppose you’ll have to deal with me a little longer. It doesn’t seem like I’m quite up to snuff just yet. How long was I out?”

The last question would be the most important. As her senses tiptoed back, she realized that she had no idea where she was. And she was familiar enough with the town that it was truly cause for alarm. Okay, so let’s think - she was unconscious, and now was in a strange place with a strange....She looked up at him, her eyes narrowing, though not unkindly. Elf.

“Are you an honest to gods elf?”

Elves were rare in her part of the world. She had only seen them in passing, and there was something about their quiet grace that was beautiful, but off putting as well. "I would have thought your kind was too good to touch the likes of humans..." Her words weren't unkind, but very....matter of fact. She didn't want to run the risk of upsetting him, since it was obvious that he had put some effort into treating her. But on the same hand, it wasn't like her to hold her tongue. Separate, but not equal - that's how the elves were. And this one certainly knew his stuff.

Hm.

This would be...interesting.
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Old 11-08-2012, 01:28 AM   #5
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The elven healer handed the glass to the young woman and watched her drink thirstily. He accepted the glass that she handed back to him reaching over and laying it gently on the small side table once again.

An arched brow seemed to lift over one blue eye as she spoke. He didn’t say that he didn’t think she looked able to kill too ruffians, however it was readable in his eyes and facial expressions.

“Well met Sevasti.” He said when she mentioned her name. “I am Talinath, a healer…as for payment. As you can see, I live fairly simply.” He extended an arm gesturing around at the small cabin surrounding them. Perched in the bows of a large tree, the living space was mostly one room, with a smaller sectioned off area that was obviously meant for sleeping. This is where Sevasti lay at this time. Aside from a beautifully crafted longbow leaning in a corner near the front door, and an equally well-crafted longswordd which was at the moment hung over the mantle there were not many items that looked to be of value in the room. There were some beautiful paintings hung on the walls, however the way Talinath’s eyes caressed over them as he scanned the room his gaze following hers as she looked around the room, suggested the elf had probably painted them himself.

“I typically do not ask for payment as much as I ask for things in trade. There are things that I cannot produce or that are finer coming from another. The local human village makes a strong black brew, I won’t drink the stuff, it is far inferior to tea, but some of my guests are very fond of it. I trade for things like that.” He shrugged slightly, “Your health is of more concern than any payment. I do typically in addition to any agreed upon trade ask that the people I assist pay it forward so to speak and do a kindness for someone else in need.”

As she fell back into the bed he nodded to himself. He had wondered how long she would remain seated without assistance. He had to give her credit, she was tougher than she looked that she had done so at all. “You are welcome in my home and may remain until you are well.” He offered kindly. He seemed to consider her last question adding and figuring time in his head. “Well I live some small distance from the village, we’ll call it half a day’s march, longer if they had to carry you which they did; apparently there were no wagons available. We will call it closer to a day before you got to me, and I have been working on you for.” Here he paused eyes flicking to a candle that was flickering low on the side table, “The better part of two hours. The moon is up, it is perhaps an hour after dark on the 5th day of the 6th month if I have not lost track of the calendar days.” He said giving her a reference point of day and time so she could also fill in encase he was wrong and she had been out longer than even he had thought.

His eyebrow rose as she asked yet another question without even seeming to process his answer to the previous one. She had a lot of questions. Talinath really couldn’t blame her though. “Yes, I am in fact an elf, of the high variety.” He said somewhat dryly. It was not like she was the only person to ever be surprised at his race. However, his slanted blue eyes, arched brows, gracefully angular features accompanied by his slender stature and accent made it fairly obvious. He reached up with his hands and pushed back the flow of his blonde hair revealing his ears, which in fact did come to delicate points.

He let the cascade of blonde hair fall back into place as she said her final thought. The elven healer was an even tempered gentle soul, but this did not mean he was emotionless, far from it and his face showed his surprise for a moment before he schooled his features. “There are some of my people that would not treat a human, although I will say it is the gray elves that more commonly hold such…bigoted views of your race.”” There were of course three sub races of elven kind, the gray elves, the high elves and the sylvan or wood elves. The gray elves typically lived in cities made of stone and were scholars, builders and artists. They were the elves that were known to be haughty, even to other elves. The sylvan elves to the other extreme were a wilder nomadic race of elves; they had darker skin and were rarely seen by even other elves. They were also very withdrawn from other races, but for far different reasons. High elves the third variety were somewhere in between the other two. They were not nomadic building their tree towns, but rather than controlling nature and shaping it to their whim they instead built their homes in harmony with nature. This is how Talinath’s house was not completely symmetrical; he had had to build it around the tree while not disturbing the natural shape and nature of the tree in the process.

“I do my best to heal whoever is brought to me, be they human elf or half elf. I dare say I would treat a Halfling, gnome or god forbid a dwarf if they were brought to my door, although those races are fairly rare in these parts.”

Taking a step to the side Talinath snagged a chair and pulled it up to her bedside seating himself so as to not loom so much over her where she lay, so they could more easily converse.
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Old 11-08-2012, 10:56 PM   #6
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“Well, thank you, Talinath, for helping me.” She looked unflinchingly into his eyes, and a smile creased the corners of her eyes. Like when she handled gold coins, her fingers itched to touch the burnished blonde of his hair. It was brilliant, airy - finer than anything she’d seen before. Not much mesmerized her, but this did.

It was often said in her home village that certain elves could make people lose their senses. That’s why they were dangerous - they lived on a level entirely different from mere humans. It wasn’t that this talk was done to encourage anger towards elves; just a respectful distance. And in some cases, to stop heartbreak. Sevasti never thought of herself as the type of woman who would fall head over heels with someone at just the sight of them, but...

That was the dangerous thing. That “but” that lingered in the back of her head, on the tip of her tongue. He had to be real. Reaching out, she tentatively grasped his sleeve, more to make sure that he was real. Her touch was surprisingly light; if it wasn’t for her fingers inching further to feel his flesh it might have been imagined. It was made much easier since he sat closer to her. Leaning over, she encircled her arms about his neck and gently captured his mouth with her own. She didn’t hold the kiss for any longer than a few breaths. Like everything else about her, the touch was so brief and so soft, it was more readily imagined than understood that it’d actually happened.

“Thank you,” she said again, this time softer. Settling back into the bed, she pulled the blankets up around her. Talinath didn’t seem like the type to have hurt her - or would have waited until she was conscious to do something TO hurt her. He had a decidedly chaste aura that made him easy to trust - after all, she’d never heard of any virgin going on some mad killing spree. True, his home did not leave her with much to fight back with (if he chose to attack her), but she had enough confidence in herself that she would at least not go down easily.

Within a few moments, her breathing had evened out and she was lost in sleep.
_______

Being a woman of all trades meant that she ultimately kept odd hours. She was up now, the room painted in the pinks and reds of early dawn. Slipping out of the bed, she crept over to the window and folded her arms under her chest. Leaning out the window, she took in a deep breath. The early morning was perhaps the stillest; those brief moments when everything was still abed or settling in. From where she was, she couldn’t see or smell the cooking fires, and a slight mist settled across the road and breathed out from the deep tangle of the woods.

Leaning back, she lifted the loose shirt from her body. Bare under the rising sun, she stretched her palms out to it, enjoying the furtive warmth and the promise of another glorious spring day. Adding golden highlights to her dark skin, the sun danced across her lithe form. Despite her lifestyle, not a single scar graced her skin. The most prominent markings she had were her tattoos - three bars across each wrist and ankle. The mere simplicity of them brought attention to how delicate her wrists and ankles looked. Her build was not befitting of a usual sacred prostitute - or a thief. She had easy curves, but overall her build suggested someone who enjoyed swimming or climbing. The topknot that hung lazily across her left shoulder cast long shadows down her back. Her palms still outstretched to the sun, her lips moved in a silent prayer. To whom or what would be a mystery.
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Old 11-09-2012, 01:39 AM   #7
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He laid his hand over hers when she reached out to touch him. He sensed that she needed the reassurance that he was real. Most elves enjoyed touches of all sorts especially among their own kind. Well the high elves did that is. Talinath was rarer still in that he would allow touch from non-elven individual as well.

One brow slightly raised when she pulled him close d pressed his lips to his in a gentle caress. He found himself somewhat surprised by this gesture but said nothing about it. There were so many cultures, all of which had their own customs. There were some human cultures where good friends walked down the roads together holding hands, and still other cultures that upon greeting one another slapped or punched one another to show respect for the other’s strength. He recognized that coupled with her softly spoken words constituted a thank you in his instance.

When her eyes closed the elven healer rose. Stepping slightly away the elf stripped off his thick green robe, leaving him in breaches a garment somewhat akin to shorts. It was a warm evening and Talinath wished to take his reverie outside in Luneska’s light. Leaning over Talinath laid a hand on her forehead to assure himself that she was not feverish before he departed.

Walking out the elf found a nice spot, dropping into a crossed legged posture he folded his hands in his lap, pressing fingertip to fingertip. He began to pray to his goddess. He asked her light to renew his strength, his magical ability. He gave thanks for the strength that had been granted to help heal Sevasti. After a time his eyes closed and the elf passed into reverie, what passed for sleep among his kind.

The morning’s dawn found him up before the dawn’s light had fully lightened the sky. He stepped into the clearing before his home. He stretched, and began the dance, the movement art. Most of his people performed some form of movement art such as this, especially the clerics. A cleric of the lady of the moon there were times that Talinath performed these exercises under the moon’s light. However, for most occasions he performed it at dawn as was customary

He could feel the tug of tendons, the gentle strain on muscles. His lithe figure bent like a sapling in the windas he moved through pose after pose.

His ritual complete, the elven healer moved back towards his douse. He became aware that he was not alone and the woman Sevasti was also paying homage to the dawn. He had a full view of her body the way the light was striking her body. He let his eyes travel over her admiring what he saw. It was not that he was being lecherous or rude, but rather it would have been rude for him to not look. She was obviously alluring in her unique way, and his people admired beauty. After he got a good look at the beauty she seemed to be displaying he did avert his eyes respectfully. Acknowledgement of beauty was one of the highest compliments, but staring certainly was not. He noted the way her hair fell over her skin, the way the tattoos outline and drew attention to her wrists and ankles. He noted her curves, which were full for her small stature. All this and much more he took in before he looked away.

He said nothing to her not wanting to beak her concentration her inner peace. He merely walked past her fingertips whispering softly over the back of her shoulder, that one touch saying much and telling him much about her state It told her that he was there, that he acknowledged she was awake and in what seemed to be prayer and that he would not break the peaceful mood with words until she seemed ready.

The touch also allowed him to read her Orah, sensing her levels of pain, which seemed less and her general wellbeing.

The elven healer stepped forward to where he had discarded his robe the day before and pulled it on again. He then moved to the area of the room that was set aside as a kitchen and began to prepare tea. He also began to slice some fresh fruit, assuming his guest was hungry. He had no idea when she had eaten last.
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Old 11-11-2012, 12:46 AM   #8
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The feather touch of his fingertips caused her to open her eyes. For the briefest of moments, her fight or flight instinct was triggered, until she was able to reclaim herself and realize where she was. If she was nervous or non-plussed by being naked in front of him, she didn’t show it. Watching him move away from her, she smiled so slightly, not making any direct move to pull her clothing back on. The shirt wasn’t too much in her style - and unlike many, she would rather go nude than wear something that displeased her.

“Thank you again for giving me my time, Talinath,” she said as she strode into the small dining area. She was still unclothed before him. Rather than an air of sexuality, there was an air of absolute calm about her, comfort. “I have healed enough to feel my own magical capability returning, so I won’t darken your door step any longer.” Her voice was husky, but not low. Not quite the purr of a cat - there wasn’t enough sensuality in it-, but it wasn’t quite the flirtatious bubble that most women of the night used. It was a voice that came and went, edging closer and slipping away as constant as the ocean waves.

Out of idle curiosity, she watched him slice fruit. She appreciated the gesture, but she would need something a little more substantial in order for her to feel like she’d actually gotten the much needed healing. “Point me in the direction of the village, and once I retrieve my items, I’ll repay you.” It was said very matter of fact. From the briefest of touches from him to the distant way he held himself, the way in which she truly desired to repay him was off the table. Perhaps he was being respectful in averting his eyes, but within that, without the hook of desire, she was not going to force herself on him. If she cared little for him or let herself get carried away by his physical appearance, it was very possible. But from what little she knew of elves, she knew that it would more than likely end badly. He could very well overpower her, or communicate with the members of his clan, and the last thing she needed was yet more people after her.

Over the table, she looked at him with some longing in those golden eyes. Pity. She would have so loved to have taken him into her arms and show him a bit of life. Ah well. There was no point in driving home the strange-ness of humans. Pacing back to the bed, she pulled on the discarded shirt. It fit loosely on her body, the edges falling down to her knees. Since she had been so unceremoniously dumped on his doorstep, she had no belt or any other possessions, save for her boots.
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Old 11-11-2012, 01:22 AM   #9
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Talinath pulled out some sort of eggs and began to crack them into a pan he then placed on the hearth at the side of the fire.

He turned when she came into the room and his eyes registered surprise that she was so casually nude. For an instant there it also held desire. Not just the appreciation for beauty she may have recognized earlier in his gaze but appreciation for her as a woman. “You are beautiful.” He said matter of factly, how could he not. She was beautiful and she was displaying herself it invited comment. Not that she was trying to be alluring; however her confidence was exciting and intriguing in and of itself.

“It has been my experience that many humans do not wear their own skins well.” He said as he stirred the eggs in the pan his eyes moving away from her form to the food.

He listened to her words asking for directions to the village and watched her exit the room. She moved like someone who could be a dancer, or a predator. She moved almost as gracefully as an elf.

Pulling the eggs off the hearth he dumped them on a plate. Laying fruit on the plate as well he followed her into the other room. He saw her putting on the shirt.

Putting out a hand he laid it on her still bare shoulder stopping her before she could put it all the way on. “Eat.” He said the one word a command, that the command of a healer. “You need your strength. I have no meat here right now or I would offer you that, but eat this it will help.”

His eyes flicked over her form and to the shirt she had gotten half on before he stopped her, “Let me at least find you one of my robes or a forest cloke if you don’t get sunburnt in that shirt you’ll get raped, you look like some kind of beggar. I can tell by your confidence that you could walk down the village streets without your clothes and it wouldn’t bother you, that being said I just worked to put you back together, I really do not wish to see you assaulted and have to start over again.” The elf smiled just a bit, “Especially with no way to defend you.” With that statement the elven healer bent and pulled a dagger from his boot. He flipped it in the air, walking the spinning blade over the backs of his knuckles before he flipped t to her, “You’ll want that as well, you can return it when you come back.” He offered.

His tone was friendly but there was genuine concern for her. He had sensed her concern over a lack of having a weapon the evening before, yet had hesitated to provide her with the blade encase she thought to use it on him, plus she did not need it his house was as safe as any place in the region.

“Now you may go as you need to but not until after you’ve eaten.” He said and on this fact he seemed not ready to budge his features turning from the slightly playful of the parts where he teased her about not wanting to put her back together to the stern healer who thought he was in charge of a patient.

Turning the elf headed back to the table where he sat own to eat himself.

“The village is as I said about half a day’s walk to the east, the main trail is not far from here. I will at least walk you that far, I need to restock some of my stores of plants.” He added remembering she had asked for directions.

After he had eaten a piece of fruit and some of the eggs, he moved back into the sleeping area, to see if she had eaten the food. He bent and opening a wooden chest, he pulled out a long forest green cloak. Coming back over to her he held out the Material. "I believe this will work better for you than that shirt?" he half asked half stated.
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Old 11-11-2012, 04:38 PM   #10
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His compliment didn’t phase her emotionally. At least, not by much. She paused in her dressing to look at him. Slowly measuring him up, her eyes narrowing in a not malicious look, but in a questioning one. Smiling slowly, she closed her eyes. “Thank you.” She suspected that the compliment was due to his elf-like nature. There was nothing sexual that she could take from what he had said. From what little she did know of elves, she figured that they would find most things in nature beautiful if they were still.

“I would agree with that. But where I am from, things are much different. No one really selects to wear clothes unless we have to. Nudity’s accepted there.”

It was true. She was from a distant land; one that seemed to sit remarkably close to the sun. When clothes were worn, it was mainly sheer white linens delicately knotted and twisted over the body to prevent the worst of sunburn and serve as a filter from the desert sands. Social ranking was marked by tattoos and jewelry; not by ornate fashion.

Her gait was fluid, but she had a tendency to keep close to walls, as if she was trying to blend in. It wasn’t so drastic that it was noticeable to humans, but for him, it might have stood out as a bit odd. True, she had some dance practice, but found herself a rather incapable and clumsy dancer at best. There were far more at the temples back home that could twine their bodies like snakes. And he touched her again, causing her to pause. That was...odd.

“I thought elves did not like physical contact,” she said, and despite herself, chuckled at his last comment. “Nor did I think your kind had a sense of humor. But you are correct. I can imagine it was hard enough for you to put me back together. I’m not very fond of beatings myself, believe it or not. I was so weak I couldn’t cast a healing spell on myself. If those jackasses from before had not taken me from the Madame’s house, I probably wouldn’t be here to talk to you right now. I really do owe you quite a bit,” and again, that little bit of lingering as she looked at him.

Her brows raised slightly as he handled the dagger before giving it to her. With the same dexterity, she spun it over her knuckles and slipped it into her boot. Approaching the food, she gave a slight sigh. She really hadn’t planned on staying this long, but he was right. She did need to eat something. She could supplement more once she got into town. Eating quietly, she wiggled her toes in her boots, thinking about her next move.

When he came into the bedroom, she had finished, stacked her utensils neatly, and was naked once more. There was really no reason for her to be dressed, as she did feel comfortable and felt no reason to be clothed. As he offered her the robe, she felt the fabric, and nodded her approval. “I suppose I could wear this over the shirt,” she trailed off for a moment. “I suppose that’s how people do things around here. Once I get back, I can actually get my clothing back. I don’t know what they were thinking.”
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Old 11-12-2012, 10:53 AM   #11
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Talinath watched her consider the robe he had handed her. “Yes I would say that is how people dress around here. You will at least stand out somewhat less. I only draw some stares… it could be worse.” He said with a slight smile. “This place is a good bit different than my homeland as well, although we do wear more clothing than your people it sounds like. Although we share your greater comfort with nudity.”

He considered her and then decided to address a few things she had mentioned before. “There seems to be misconceptions you hold about my people. Yes it is true some elves especially gray elves highly dislike touching especially in public or with other races. This is not typically true for my people. Although everyday touching is nothing to compare to the times of the festivals, it is still fairly common. You also have some other interesting views of my race.” He said, “Fairly inaccurate, but… still interesting.”

He moved to the door and picking up his bow he slung it over his shoulder. He did not take his sword, but obviously intended on taking the bow.

“As I said I can walk you to the trail.” Opening his house’s door he stepped back out into the sunlight outside. Taking a deep breath of the clean fresh air he could not help a faint hint of a smile that graced his lips. He enjoyed the outdoors, most elves did, and they were very in tune with nature.

He moved with the grace of a cat. He had taken notice of the way she moved, and had observed her tendency to try to blend in with her surroundings. With the green robe on that looked a lot like his she was able to do so to some extent. He knew he was better than her at it, at least in the forest, but he was not trying to disappear right now, he needed her to follow him.

They moved through the trees, Talinath pausing every once in a while to bend to collect a certain plant or leaf that caught his eye. After about the third time he did this he began to explain what the plants he was collecting were good for to Sevasti. He wasn’t sure if she cared, but she had said she was not from around here. She had also mentioned not being able to cast her magic to heal herself, this suggested to him that some of the knowledge might come in handy for her in her own work.

They walked through the large trees along a winding path that was not well marked. It was obvious enough so that it was mostly visible to individuals that knew the way, yet was just vague enough that it would take a stranger or potential threat some time to reach his home giving him time to respond.

When they reached a much clearer path he stopped. His blue eyes swept to meet hers, “Take the path to the right. If you are returning to the brothel…” he started, giving the first indication that he had known where she had come from, “Give Madam these.” He said lifting two small packets from a belt pouch. He pressed them into sevasti’s hands.

After a slight pause he explained what they were, “The larger packet is leaves to make moon tea.” A drink that if taken helped to prevent unwanted pregnancies. “And the smaller packet is leaves that when brewed should help to sooth Leighannna’s cough. Would you be so kind as to let her know what they are for?” he figured the madam would know what the packet with the moon tea was, it was just the purpose of the other package that might not readily be known to the woman. “Consider this part of your payment to me if you must.”

He awaited her response, and was prepared to let her take her leave of him, fading back into the trees as she headed off.
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Old 11-13-2012, 11:37 PM   #12
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“Really?” Her brows rose in interest. That was new. “You know, I never professed to know everything, if anything, about elves.” She smiled now. “Where I am from, elves are exceedingly rare. You are the first that I have been this close to. With this much space between the races, all sorts of stories are prone to grow. Excuse my ignorance,” and she bowed her head in a delicate incline.

Slipping on the green robe, she shifted in order to let the fabric settle around her body easier. Of course, since it was not made for her, it drowned her figure within the voluminous folds. Without a word, she slipped behind him.

Outside, the sun felt wonderful. It took all of her will power not to remove the burdensome clothing. She sighed. Not that what he was telling her wasn’t interesting; she wanted it to be under better circumstances. Where she didn’t feel trapped. But since she was going back to the brothel, it wouldn’t be too much longer. It was just for these moments, where she was so close to the finish line that she wished to break free and crash forward into the unknown.

When he handed her the pouches, her bright golden eyes held his. She was trying to figure him out, trying to see what sort of person he was. Her fingers lingered in his.

“I will. But I still owe you.” Smiling vibrantly, she slipped down the path.
______________

The Madame watched the business pace up and slow down over the course of the day. She was a stately woman, and exhaled an icy air. No one could really get close to her. Pale and tall, her eyes were a light blue and her white and gray hair was pulled up high on her head, held by ornate pearl pins. Her dress closed her throat neatly with rows of white ruffles, the rest of her garment a flawless charcoal gray. She wore no gloves on her hands, but on her left ring finger she wore a large blue-black signet ring. Like snow trapped within an gray dress, she glided among the tables and the girls, keeping an eye on everything going on.

Since Sevasti had left, the place had calmed down a bit. Bandits were scared (since they had heard of the resident bandit killer), and that brought in more money as more people (and of a higher class) readily came back to do business. For the hired muscle that had failed the night Sevasti attacked, the Madame had docked their pay accordingly and given the girl who was threatened a bonus. Whatever else she with-held, she kept it secreted away in her room, waiting for when Sevasti came back. In her stoic mind, it was such a small gesture to show her appreciation, but for the girls that worked under her, it was a major show of gratitude.

The Madame was not truly a cold woman; just a distant one. Like two stars, she felt that she was able to relate to Sevasti when the younger woman had appeared on the doorstep of the brothel. She had been slightly out of breath, but had no fear in those unusual golden eyes. She had not said where she had come, or if someone had sent her; simply asked for work. Sevasti was exotic looking enough - the Madame was sure that the girl would have some takers at some point or the other.

It hadn’t quite worked out like that.

But like a stray cat that was fed once, Sevasti returned to the brothel. The Madame was nearly tempted to smile, but didn’t. Instead, she eyed the green robe.

“I see the elf has treated you well. Tell him that he has my thanks.”

“I’ll make sure of it,” and Sevasti’s smile was cock-sure. “Here; these are for the girls, and this other one is for Leighanna’s cough.”

The Madame took the herbs, and nodded. “Go, refresh yourself. We can talk later.”

Nodding, Sevasti disappeared into the rooms of the brothel.

_____________

Later, with her booted feet propped up on the bar, she felt like a new woman. She had on her traditional long tunic (a deep red affair) belted loosely at her waist with golden rope. Under it, she wore black leggings. Loosely nursing a glass of red wine, she idly watched the comings and goings of the brothel. It was much quieter now - and she felt immensely comforted by the bag of coins and gems at her side. It wasn’t much, but it was enough to get her from point A to point B, which was most important.

A thud at the door caused her to drop her feet from the bar. Sliding her wine glass back onto the bar, she braced herself. “Don’t you guys ever give up?”

And now she was tearing ass through the forest. Shit, shit, shit! So she’d robbed a bandit gang. So what. And so she’d killed two of those straggling members. It happens - job hazard of being a bandit. But what she hadn’t counted on was that bandit group being part of an interconnected one. Hell. She must have really taken something worth taking, to have this much attention.

Gods. She hoped she was going the right way.
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Old 11-20-2012, 01:06 AM   #13
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Talinath let her hands rest on his for a moment. He read curiosity and gratitude n her aura, along with something else he could not read. “We can discuss it further when you return.” Is all he would say to her insistence that she still owed him.

The elven healer watched her go and worked to gather the herbs he had intended to collect. It did not take the elf long to realize that his steps were taking him down the main road towards the human land. After about an hour of this he gave up all pretense that he was not following Sevasti. He was not far behind her, though safely out of range of her detection.

He followed her to the city. He contemplated joining her in the city or going to see the human healers to give them a piece of his mind, but opted to just wait.

Not surprisingly he did not have long to wait before he saw a figure come running out of the village. It appeared to be one female followed by 4 thug looking characters.

There was an audible thrum as Talinath strung the longbow. A gentle healer he might be, but defenseless he was not.

From this distance he could not tell if it was Sevasti, but he strongly suspected that was the case. Talinath moved rapidly in pursuit.

Luneska was a goddess of the hunt as well as the lady of the moon, and Talinath could hunt humans as well as he could stalk other pray. He was soon shadowing them from an increasingly shorter distance. He waited until he got a clear shot knowing that he might only get one surprise hot. He went up into the nearest tree to give himself a good angle.

The arrow took the leading thug in the side of the throat and he fell with a gurgle, dead before he hit the ground. His fall caused two others to stumble. An action that saved one of their lives as Talinath’s second arrow passed where the brute’s head ad occupied but moments before.

The thugs paused realizing that they were not alone in the forest. Meanwhile, Talinath had circled around them heading for the running Sevasti. He recognized where she was running, t was a dead end, where the tail lead into a small canyon.

His leg worked to send him like the wind until he drew alongside her. He saved his breath for running. Despite being in superb condition he still he taxed even his endurance. So, rather than talking his hand brushed her shoulder, in a subtle directing touch, one that told her to turn to the left, off the current path she was running on.
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Old 11-20-2012, 10:34 AM   #14
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While she had spent some time at the Madame’s, she gently tested a few spells. Much to her dismay, she realized she was unable to cast more than the most feeble white magic spells, barely able to heal anything more than a light bruise. That wasn’t good. Though she knew she had some skill in hand to hand combat, it wouldn’t be enough to keep her protected if she went on another raid. The glass of wine she enjoyed earlier was to calm her nerves. Part of her wanted to fly to pieces at the thought of losing her magic, the other screamed at her to stay calm and to get to the bottom of it.

All of those thoughts were shot when the bandits barged in - and her first instinct was to run.

But even she had endurance limits. She never thought she’d be so thankful as when she felt his gentle touch on her shoulder. Golden eyes nearly comically wide (as she had been attempting to think of some ingenious escape while hauling ass), she looked at him and nodded her thanks, turning to the left. Along her left side, her long knife thudded against her leg. It really wouldn’t take any stretch of the imagination to know that she was effectively lethal with it, but the problem was that it was a short range weapon. She was the best with blades, but had yet to master anything that would keep an enemy at bay save for magic.

Note to self: if I get out of this alive, I am going to master a long range weapon in a week.

The road forked into a clearing, and she nearly sobbed in relief. Space and open high grass - two things that she needed to be effective. And instead of four bandits, she had three to deal with. The odds were a bit better. Not by much, but better.

Knowing that a face off was inevitable, a wiry thug came forward, his teeth broken and dirty and a small skull pendant was in his ear.

“If you just give us back what you took, we can overlook allo’this. Ya got guts, and we need guts on our team. And you took out some of our best guys. And ya ain’t bad to look at. You’d have your needs met and then some. Whaddya say?”

He leered at her invitingly.

She grimaced. “You’ve got to be kidding. Even if I CONSIDERED it, I doubt you’d have a dick big enough to make it worth my time to see you drop your pants! I’ve heard what the girls say at the brothel. I’ve heard that a twig looks mighty in comparison.” She smirked, her hand stealing down her thigh to grip the hilt of her knife.

The bandit’s brows furrowed, and his expression turned into one of pure rage. “You...you little bitch!” Drawing a jagged dagger from his belt, he swung at her wildly.

That’s what she wanted. Anger made an opponent foolish. And this one was about her size; it wouldn’t be exceptionally hard to take him down. The brief clang of steel as she blocked his dagger swing with her own, grunting under the added weight. Her pure gold eyes met his dark ones, and she smiled at him.

“Did you know today was going to be the day that you died?” Her voice was low, nearly a whisper. And for a moment, fear reflected in his. It was when that fear dissipated to triumph that she knew she that someone was coming in behind her. Not sure if she could rely on Talinath, acting fast would be the only way to save her skin.

Goddess, help me through this one and I’ll give you a third of my loot. Promise. Have I let you down yet? ....Okay, don’t answer that.

Without waiting for the usual warmth she got from a communication, she moved. Lashing out, she kicked the lean bandit in front of her as hard she could between the legs. That would fell him. Before he could collapse, she had whirled about and caught the second bandit smoothly across the throat with her blade. He had charged in arms over his head like an idiot and left his neck and chest unprotected. Gagging in surprise, he dropped his club, his hands going instantly to his throat.

That left her with two bandits, one writhing in the dirt, the other looking at her as if he was unsure what to do next.
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