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    Chilling

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    elanya
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    Chilling

    Post by elanya on 20/12/11, 02:01 pm

    The Shadar Kai stood perched at the bow, just about as far forward as she could manage, frigid air blowing across her form. She'd finally given in and wrapped her cloak loosely around the rest of her exposed skin, but she relished the cold sinking into her bones for the challenge the discomfort presented. Shifting her stance slightly, she turned so that the wind was at her back and she could watch everything happening on deck. This gave her mind more things to focus on while she held her position, fighting the wind for stillness, breathing with careful control to master the flow of the energy in and around her body and let that be sufficient to keep her warm and ready.

    It was a simple exercise, and an isolating one. The days after they'd come back from the Gnome village had been frustrating, and she'd felt even more an outsider to her colleagues in the guild than normal. But *this* mission... She'd felt a little better, at least, that they all seemed to share her curiousity about the mysterious floating island, that she hadn't had to push, hadn't been overruled, hadn't been told that all her ideas were bad or dangerous, that she was a bad *person* for caring about seeing wrong things made right, all thoughtless violence and no reasoning or empathy... Well.

    She pushed the thoughts away. The whole point was to move past that, concentrate on something else. But she knew what she really needed to achieve this was to reach out, somehow, and reconnect. It didn't come naturally, and so she stood and focused and watched for an opportunity.
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    Re: Chilling

    Post by Josh on 20/12/11, 11:23 pm

    Dhenirigan's breath fogged as he ascended the steps up to the main deck of the Highwind, the two large mugs he carried steaming copiously as well. Valandra was fond of the dark elven brew, and the swordmage was still curious about any aspect of the ship's design. The magewright was often on deck, persistently checking binding spells and such.

    Crewmen bundled against the chill milled about on deck, performing their various duties, but the eladrin was nowhere in sight. On the bow, however, Dhenirigan spied Tzesira standing defiantly in the wind. Wrapped in her cloak, she surveyed the ship's goings-on with her usual impassive stare.

    Raising a mug in salute, the gith made his way nonchalantly across the deck, savoring the feeling of the cold wind, the shifting deck. As he approached the young monk, Dhenirigan offered her a mug.

    "Coffee?"
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    Re: Chilling

    Post by elanya on 20/12/11, 11:52 pm

    She watched the Githyanki ex-air pirate come out with his two mugs and look around before heading her way. She kept her focus until he reached out the second mug, judging it an appropriate time to set aside her stillness.

    "Thanks."

    She was surprised to see her hand was shaking now that she'd relaxed her tight control. It cold have been the cold, it could have been momentary muscle weakness from the release of tension. Either way, the steaming mug felt wonderful in her hands, and she held it high and close to her body, with the steam rising up to her face.

    "Who're ya lookin' for?"
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    Re: Chilling

    Post by Josh on 21/12/11, 12:15 am

    Dhenirigan noted the momentary tremor in his companion's hand, but refrained from comment. Instead, he moved to lean against the railing to get a similar view of the entire deck and sipped his coffee before answering.

    "I had a notion to find Valandra to 'talk shop,' as it were, but it would seem she's elsewise occupied. Noticing you, I thought perhaps you'd care for something warm to drink, which I happened to have to hand."

    He took another drink, the brew dark and sweet.

    "What brings you out on deck in this weather?"
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    Re: Chilling

    Post by elanya on 21/12/11, 12:39 am

    She shrugged, taking an experimental sip of the steaming black drink, then making a face as the heat of it scalded her tongue. "It's a good place for focus drills, I guess. T's not like there anything better to fucking do." She paused, recognizing how negative that sounded, even if it wasn't really what she meant: training was never wasted time, even if it wasn't immediately satisfying. "Looking forward to the mission though. Should be pretty fuckin' sweet - you?"
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    Re: Chilling

    Post by Josh on 21/12/11, 01:22 am

    "The aforementioned quest for conversation. Which it seems I've concluded, though differently than anticipated."

    Dhenirigan's gaze diverted over the railing for a moment, watching the ground sweep by far below.

    "Indeed, this should prove most interesting. Its a boon for Highmark that this earthmote appeared so close. Mythragal usually claims such, additions to Ioun's holy city or mobile citadels for favored lords. I'd wager that notice couldn't have been up but a few moments before Mrs. Montagu claimed it for us."

    The swordmage smiled, casting a sidelong glance at Tzesira.

    "Though I imagine your anticipation has little to do with the political intricacies of such a find."

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    Re: Chilling

    Post by elanya on 21/12/11, 08:01 am

    Tzesira grinned into her coffee, showing all her teeth, before taking another sip. "Fuck no! Hadn't even thought about it." She chuckled again. "Heh - I'm sure they clean all that shit out first, but it's fucking funny to think of some stuffed up Lord coming out to claim his new floating island and finding it all covered in, fuck I dunno, monsters and poison shit from the plane of 'You're so fucking dead.'"
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    Re: Chilling

    Post by Josh on 21/12/11, 11:22 am

    Dhenirigan chuckled as well, glad to see some levity in the shadar-kai.

    "You'd be surprised. Ioun's mage-lords saw plenty of action in Ahkas; many of them are well-versed in dealing with such environs."

    He paused, considering.

    "Though I do remember one minor lordling, barely more than an apprentice, I had aboard back in those days. He flew in with us at the final assault of Ikkiri-Sar. Talked up his prowess, how he'd been training his whole life for a crack at the 'Ahkasian dogs' as he called them.

    The swordmage took a drink, drawing the story out a bit.

    "He promptly wet himself upon first sight of a wing of bluespawn darters and their riders. Spent the entire battle crouched behind a gunnel, one long scream as I recall."
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    Re: Chilling

    Post by elanya on 21/12/11, 03:07 pm

    She laughed. "Fuckin' useless, eh? Bet you couldn't even toss his ass overboard. One thing to talk yourself up, but you'd better be able to back that shit up if you're gonna crow about it."

    The monk paused a moment to take another sip of the hot bitter-sweet beverage. Her muscles were starting to stiffen now that she wasn't concentrating on them, and she stretched a little, careful not to spill her drink while she sank into a low horse stance. "So, uh - what's a bluesapawn darter?"
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    Re: Chilling

    Post by Josh on 21/12/11, 11:38 pm

    "Hmm, quite," Dheni offered, casting Tzesira a strange look but otherwise ignoring her first statement. Considering it best to steer the conversation away from the execution of useless colleagues, he focused on her question.

    "Nasty buggers the Ahkasics breed, drakes with a bit of dragon blood I'm told. Small to be able to carry a person aloft, but fast and mean. They can't keep up with an airship over distance, but they tend to swarm. They can cause quite a spot of trouble, but nothing a prepared crew can't sort out."

    The gith was lost in the past for a moment, old battles flitting in front of his eyes. Coming back to the present, he gave Tzesira an appraising look.

    "Certainly your homeland has comparable dangers, hmm? I've traveled quite a lot, yet never seen any of the Shadowfell vestiges."
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    Re: Chilling

    Post by elanya on 22/12/11, 09:47 am

    "Yeah..." Tzesira thought about it for a moment, shifting her weight to stretch out her other leg. She could list a bunch of monsters, but that wouldn't really give the right impression, she didn't think. "Well the Shadow affects everything. So to deal with that, everything's drives are all fuckin' revved up - prey drives, hunting drives, sex drives, its all just more. So even shit that wouldn't be a big deal normally is probably fuckin' out to get you. And because of the Shadow, lost of shit can shift and shadowstep, and does necrotic damage. Like the Hyena from the Goliath blooding thing. That kinda shit. Only fuckin' popping out of nowhere."

    She shrugged, taking another drink. It didn't seem alcoholic, but she was starting to feel a little wired. "So what is this stuff anyway?"
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    Re: Chilling

    Post by Josh on 22/12/11, 10:36 am

    Dhenirigan raised an eyebrow over his mug, about to take a drink. Instead, he lowered it and gave Tzesira a quizzical look.

    "You've never had coffee before? The gods' drink, this is."

    He took a drawn out sip, inhaling the rising steam loudly.

    "Many's the watch I've managed solely thanks to this brew. Mind, too much is a poor idea. Though the same can be said of quite a lot."
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    Re: Chilling

    Post by elanya on 22/12/11, 11:14 am

    She peered down at the mug. "K said I should stay away from the stuff. Didn't think it'd be this sweet."
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    Re: Chilling

    Post by Josh on 22/12/11, 11:23 am

    "'Black as sin and twice as sweet,' as my first captain used to say."

    Dhenirigan smiled contemplatively.

    "Skyships are usually so far up, and bit of heat is welcome. The longcoats, coffee, whatever we can get. I wonder why Ms. Sinsinger warned you away from it."

    Looking his companion over, the swordmage started.

    "That cloak isn't the only overwear you have, is it? I know you're used to cold, but...hmph. Goodness."
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    Re: Chilling

    Post by elanya on 22/12/11, 12:11 pm

    "Dunno - I try to stay away from sweet stuff mostly though but the warm is nice."

    She shrugged a bare shoulder. "I fuckin' hate having to wear anything more. Not used to it. But I have shit if there's like, snow or whatever. I'm not fucking stupid. But I like the cold. It makes you pay fucking attention to what your body's doing."

    The monk glanced back over her shoulder, as though the earth mote might appear on the horizon at any time. "Probably we'll get there and it'll be all fuckin from the plane of ...somewhere warm and sunny. That's be a fuckin' lark, wouldn't it? Then all the ponces'll fight over it for sure." She turned back, grinning again into her coffee. "But I'm hoping it'll need lots of clearing out first."

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    Re: Chilling

    Post by Josh on 22/12/11, 12:25 pm

    "Oh, I believe you'll be well satisfied on that account. Earthmotes tend to hail from what's left of the Elemental Chaos, so in all likelihood it will be infested with elementals or demons. We're all much more acquainted with what a challenge they can present."
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    Re: Chilling

    Post by elanya on 22/12/11, 12:54 pm

    "Fuck yeah!" She grinned again, bouncing a bit on the balls of her feet. "'Go clear out shit' is a way better mission. No one needs to get their pants all in a twist about who you can and can't kill."

    She made a face, wondering if maybe she shouldn't have voiced that thought.
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    Re: Chilling

    Post by Josh on 22/12/11, 01:12 pm

    "Hmph. Quite." Dhenirigan sipped his coffee, biding time to consider a response. His brow furrowed in consideration of the fierce monk.

    "Yes, I'd heard there had been some disagreement as to the disposition of a certain prisoner on your last mission."

    The swordmage paused, pondering.

    "Is that an ongoing concern?"
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    Re: Chilling

    Post by elanya on 22/12/11, 01:26 pm

    Tzesira gave the Githyanki a long look, feeling a bit suspicious. her nerves were feeling jittery too - maybe K had been right about the coffee. "I fuckin' hope not." She glowered, feeling the bitterness creeping back up on her. "But fuck. Probably."
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    Re: Chilling

    Post by Josh on 22/12/11, 02:03 pm

    Frowning, Dhenirigan raised a hand apologetically.

    "I'm sorry you feel that way."

    The gith turned to lean over the railing, looking down again. He kept his gaze locked into the distance as he spoke.

    "Ms. Rhob...Tzesira, how many people have you known who've died?"
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    Re: Chilling

    Post by elanya on 22/12/11, 03:48 pm

    She watched him for a moment before answering. So many people on Nerath proper seemed to have what she felt was unhealthy obsession with death, as if it didn't happen to everyone, and couldn't happen to anyone at any time. Death was natural. It was *meant* to happen, and it was better than the alternatives, as far as the end of ones life went. There were good deaths and bad deaths, and dying at the hands of a victorious enemy was hardly one oif the worst ways to go. But no one here seemed to think like her on the subject.

    "Why are you asking? People fucking die all the time. I don't keep a list."
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    Re: Chilling

    Post by Josh on 22/12/11, 04:37 pm

    Dhenirigan turned sharply to face the shadar-kai.

    "That is precisely what I am talking about, Tzesira. Roscoe does. Or, at the very least, he can name every single adventurer he's watched die. Then he had to watch as his father wasted away in front of him and did not, could not understand it. To Roscoe, all death means is someone leaving him forever."

    "You are shadar-kai. You told me not moments ago that life where you grew up meant death might always be moments away. You revere the Raven Queen. To you, death is an old companion, a reality which is so ingrained in your thoughts that it ceases to register. Have you considered at any point that that might not be the case for your companions?"

    "Kallista grew up with death too, but not from an impersonal force, a creeping darkness. The violence of her childhood came from her parents, her family, everyone she had ever known. Death was capricious, arbitrary, and cruel, not the culmination of a worthy life."

    "Before she became an adventurer, I doubt Delona had ever seen someone die. She's trained most of her life to be deadly with a sword, but her master teaches that a warrior must always be cognizant of what she is removing from the world."

    The swordmage sighed, pausing to take a breath.

    "I know you're strong, we all do, but you have to understand the others aren't weak because they're not always willing to kill, even something you consider anathema."
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    Re: Chilling

    Post by elanya on 22/12/11, 05:27 pm

    Tzesira braced herself as Dhenirigan turned to her - not physically, but mentally. of course he would have somethig to say. Of course he would, and inevitably it was something that would piss her off. But she held back from lashing out, eith her tongue, or with her fist, until he was finished. Because she knew she didn't understand, and that if there was any chance to make some place here with these people, she had to push herself to try.

    So she forced herself to listen to how in all his years, Roscoe had never learned to understand that thinsg die, that even he could be ended forever. And she marvelled at it.

    She listen to a new version of Kallista's story, one she hadn't heard, and marvelled that there could be any lesson in it that didn't scream out that death was inevitable, that anyone could die, that worth had nothing to do with death.

    She listened to how Delona's master tried to train her to be a killer without ever having her take a life, and wondered how he could have expected her to understand was killing was, how simple death was.

    She didn't understand. What did it have to do with her stregth?

    Her hands were shaking (from anger? Cold? Something else?), she noticed in the growing silence, and the cold was seeking deeper into her, looking for weaknesses. The coffe had lost its appeal along with its warmth. She set it aside on the rail behind her, not looking away frm the Swordmage - not backing down.

    Finally, she managed an answer, hissed through clenched teeth and narrowed black eyes: "I never said they were weak."

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    Re: Chilling

    Post by Josh on 22/12/11, 06:10 pm

    Dhenirigan maintained as much composure as possible, almost surprised at his own outburst.

    "So you merely believe their opinions lack value?"
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    Re: Chilling

    Post by elanya on 22/12/11, 06:47 pm

    Touchy as she already was on the subject, she felt like giving any kind of answer was walking in to a trap. She growled. No one had taught her how to fight with words - at least not like this. Back home, someone might think you a fool for the things you crowed about, but if you at least lived to tell of it you had something. This was... well it felt the same way she'd felt when she'd returned to the monastery for the festival and made her account to her Masters: like it wasn't her accomplishments that were on trial, but her pride. Like nothing she did was *right* even if it was all she'd ever learned... Like she'd missed some essential thing. Like she was stupid. Cold. Wrong. Worthless.

    She didn't say any of that - she didn't know how - but the weight of it pressed in around her, choking her like bad air. Her words came out clipped.

    "Why is it wrong of me to fight for the things I think are right?"

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