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Blood Will Tell [Closed]

A staging-point for declarations of war and other major diplomatic events. [In character]
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Nalaya
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Founded: Jul 02, 2011
Ex-Nation

Blood Will Tell [Closed]

Postby Nalaya » Mon Oct 20, 2014 8:11 pm

Office of the Protector
Sevan, Nalaya


The Ghanti were coming to Nalaya.

Words like white-hot razors had already flown freely from the woman who now stalked purposefully down the hall wreathed in midnight, as well as from that man of the deserts, Qasim bin Abd al Maajid. She had little tolerance for him, but even as an og'elend he was still more rational than that creature of power who had sat frustratingly immune and stone-faced against every raised protest. It made her feel like a child screaming at her mother, and that was not a feeling that she took to graciously. So if there was to be no polite verbal redress, they would settle this in the ancient and accustomed ways. Civility was a thin veneer among their kind. A weak veil that hid the reality of natures.

Like a hunting wolf, she moved soundlessly into the darkness. Her nostrils flared slightly as she took in the smell of the room with a whisper of breath. There lingered a faint hint of vanilla and vervain—her prey. Iron muscles coiled underneath skin bronzed by seemingly endless summer skies. Her fair hair drifted into her face, those ferocious blood-red eyes narrowing as she readied herself. She could see the silhouette, waiting for her movements. Her prey had to know she was here, every bit a master of the environment that surrounded them. Undeterred, she tensed with her long and slender blade in hand. Then she sprang.

Her prey whipped around, silver flashing in the darkness. She felt the sting of a blade across her cheek so lightly it only broke the barest surface of the skin. She struggled fiercely with her prey, backing the woman up against the wall, but paying for every inch with blows that spawned new bruises. She would have to hide those later to maintain her mythos. In the meantime, she pinned her victim to the wall—a creature no longer struggling even though she held her knife to its throat.

Glittering green-grey eyes looked at her, and she felt the prick of a knife at the lower junction of her ribs. It was perfectly poised to thrust upwards and plunge through the diaphragm into the heart. A blow as fatal as having one's throat cut and equally as quick. A draw...how unfortunate. Now there was little chance she would get her way.

She should have expected nothing less from the Tigress. Her thin, cruel lips curved up into a smile. "I have an appointment," Lledrith A'Daragon dal Drisinil said, relaxing the knife that was at her quarry's throat. They were still equally the predator. The Quarval-sharess could respect that and honored the unspoken threat. After all, the Protector would not have pulled that blow any more than she herself would have were their fight to go to its full extent.

"Normal people knock," Khavar T'avish said in a neutral, untroubled tone. The moonlight pouring through the slats of venetian blinds painted her coldly angelic face in stripes of white and black. It illuminated those impossibly distant eyes and turned them as silver as a coin. Off to the side came a loud yawn. Qiuse the actual tiger was a heavy sleeper, but the little scuffle had drawn his attention. He was still too young to do more than pounce on Lledrith to weight her down and bite with his sharp teeth, much short the rending power of a fully grown feline. Besides, Lledrith was his second favorite person and he would never go so far as to hurt the Mak'ur warlord.

"Fascinating," Lledrith said dryly. She stepped back into the moonlight, bruises already forming on her tattooed flesh. The stylized lines of a wolf's face was layered over her own, and the lines of its body trailed down across hers accordingly. Her nails had all been trimmed to points, which had left scratches across the inside and outside of Khavar's wrists. She was barely dressed, a broad wrap of cloth across her hips that matched another cloth that wrapped around and covered her breasts, leaving her midriff and limbs mostly bare as if displaying the tattoos. Her long, loose golden hair only added to the wild affect, flashing aside to reveal ears pierced many times over. She smelled like bitter-sweet wood smoke and blood even clean and scrubbed as she was. They seemed to linger permanently after sacrifices and religious rites like an unsettlingly intoxicating perfume. "I shall make a note of that, for next time."

Khavar lifted her left wrist and examined a drop of dark blood welling in one of the deep scratches from Lledrith's claws. The Protector looked the part of opposite, in neat business attire with fitted slacks and a blazer tapered at the waist over a soft grey blouse open a few buttons to reveal hint of cleavage now that she was, or at least had been, working alone. Her heels had left her off-balance in her fight, which was why she hadn't been more aggressive, but she was familiar enough with the uneven footing to survive.

Fortunately the Dread Wolf actually had excellent hygiene. It meant risk of infection was fairly low, not that the Protector wasn't going to put antibiotics on it. She kept some in her desk for when Qiuse was in a teething mood. She lowered her knife after Lledrith stepped back and moved around it, pulling open a drawer and fishing out a tube of triple antibiotic in the darkness with a practiced hand. "What can I do for you, now that you have made your way here?"

Lledrith smiled broadly, revealing canines that had been filed and then capped to points. She tapped the tip of her tongue against one. The smile did not, however, reach her eyes. That and the display of teeth meant a great deal. "We have no need of the Ghanti and their nobles. Let them insinuate themselves into the beds of the Edomi. The influence of weak, blue blood should not be tolerated in Sevan," she said.

Khavar applied her antibiotic cream in silence before opening another drawer. She lifted out a decanter of brandy and a glass. "I would offer you some, but I know you hardly drink," she said by way of explanation, pouring herself some of the amber liquid in the half-moonlit room. The crystal decanter came to rest on the surface of the table. "We cannot just shut out the world, Lledrith. Full of apostates or not, full of nobles or not." There was a rumbling purr and a feline that weighed about forty pounds tried to make a figure-eight circuit of Khavar's legs. The young tiger ended up rebuffed, though his mistress softened the sting by bending down and scratching behind his ears until he melted into a happy puddle on the carpet. The transported tiger had flourished since his arrival from Hostillia. "But allow me to make a concession."

"Please," Lledrith said. She'd taken up a lounging position in the chair across the desk from Khavar, a sort of boneless position born of never using chairs. She was a specimen of iron muscle left flexed and unfolded in equal portion, lines of musculature blending into natural curves so smoothly and clearly she might have been the product of sculpture.

"I will allow one of the Yath to supervise the visit, to act as his guide. If they are successful in their endeavor and no harm comes to our guests, I will reconsider my current ban on the Yath holding any position of federal authority. Does that sound interesting enough to you?"

"Very much so," Lledrith said, her genuine smile carefully covering her teeth so there was no unspoken threat or display of displeasure to it. "One of the yathrin will attend to this task. You have my word that no harm will come to your Ghanti guests."

Khavar just smiled. The word of the Quarval-sharess was, to the Mak'ur, as good as the word of God. When she commanded a city should fall, it crumbled under the assault of the faithful. When she bid them go forth and turn back invading forces, they did so in a slaughter. This would be no different—not a hair of harm would fall on this guest, not with one of the Yathrin watching him. Not from the faithful and not from apostates, if only because the representative of the Dread Wolf would probably kill any would-be assailants.

"Did you have anyone in particular in mind?" Khavar asked thoughtfully.

"Quenthel T'sarran dal Sabrae. She is a dutiful servant of the faithful and I can think of few other spirits so potent," Lledrith said, combing her clawed fingers through her thick hair. She liked the girl. Quenthel was so young and yet already on the verge of becoming yathallar. Some simply had more strength of spirit than others and her connection to the primal was as evident in ceremonies as burning magnesium in the night. Equally importantly, her manners were impeccable and her mastery of Latin flawless. She would hate to be pulled out of her territory and her duties in the Holy City, but she was young and curious enough to adapt quickly to her new role and perhaps even enjoy it.

Khavar had seen the name once or twice in Unkndirnei reports. Nothing unpleasant. The girl had just been hunting down faer practitioners, which was really best for everyone save those practitioners. It was not in the Protector's nature to approve of human trafficking. Even the evil had their lines in the sand. "I will take your recommendation into consideration. I have no objections to this particular adept of yours being the Ghantish guide. Perhaps they will enjoy the unfiltered Nalayan experience. They certainly will learn to appreciate it if they want to do business here."

The Dread Wolf's smile was thin and amused. "I have my doubts."




Some Days Later
Mijazgayin Airport
Sevan, Nalaya


Quenthel T'sarran dal Sabrae watched the private gate for diplomats with a predator's attention to detail. Somewhere in her family tree was a pair of sapphires that had left their influence in her eyes. Her lids were permanently and heavily hooded which, when combined with her long and thick eyelashes, gave her a deceptive air of sleepiness. She was tall and lithe, skin bronzed from the sun and her blonde hair almost bleached white by the same, hiding the streaks of premature silver. She was in her mid twenties and the picture of athletic health. The stylized face of a lioness had been tattooed over her own finely boned, angular one and the lines of its body continued down her whole body. Life even in the Holy City had left her with a body of smooth, toned muscle that melted into narrow curves. Mak'ur tended to be long-limbed and lean, and Quenthel was no exception. Obsidian glimmered at her throat, a polished piece that was the focus of the leather choker. Right now she was dressed in a red sarong wrapped over her hips and a matching camisole covering her torso, revealing arms and shoulders marked in the twisting black patterns. Similar lines could be seen running down her thigh on one side and both of her lower legs to her bare feet. Her fingernails had been cut and filed to points that matched her filed and capped canines.

The yathrin knew she was the perfect image of what people expected Nalaya to be. A picture of savagery and aloofness whose traditions including dining on the flesh of victims in war. They did not see the ancient traditions, the honor codes, the manners, the arts, the faith. It was a complicated tapestry, one that had kept much of the outside world to the outside and left the wild heart of Nalaya rarely pierced and never illuminated to display. It was a place of secrets and seemed intent to stay that way. Let people believe in the masks, Quenthel had some time ago decided. If they were fooled by them, they did not deserve to see the mysteries beyond. That was just after her initiation, when she had been offered her own glimpse through one of the many veils of the world.

She had fought in the Norveni Crusade, doing her own tiny part to beat back that invading army. It had left her hardened to the thought of battle and violence. But there was still a part of her that was young and curious. That was the part that had forgiven her brothers and sisters for sending her here to the capital from the center of the world, not that they had had a choice either. There was no disobedience to even the most frivolous whim of the Dread Wolf. Who knew better than the Quarval-sharess?

Her task was not an overly complicated one, at least in word. Protect and guide the Ghanti delegation while they did what they were here to do. The spirit of the matter she expected would be more complicated. The simpler a task sounded, the more difficult the execution.

She waited patiently for the Ghanti as she had been doing all morning, with all the ease of a hunter. Boredom did not seem to be a problem for Quenthel. She was used to keeping her mind still and peaceful. Every moment not spent in ferocious movement and the thrill of life and death perfectly balanced could be devoted to contemplating the nature around her. Here, she watched people. Most found the intensity of her sapphire gaze unnerving and hurried about their business. That suited her just fine. She lounged like the lioness she shared a spirit with might have on a rock under the sun. With her stood two guards in their sable dress uniforms, military decorations on display as well as a small paper sign designed to guide their guests towards them.

One of the guards leaned over, flashing her a smile. Nazaryan was a good man in her estimation. He had been nothing but the soul of manners even though he likely found her presence at least off-putting. "I see them, Siruhi."

"Very good, Sergeant," she said with an approving nod. She fanned her hand out briefly to examine her nails, delicate tendons flexing over deceptively slender bone that belied its strength. "We will wait for them to find us."

Quenthel did not know what to expect, which was rare for her. This would be peering into a world she did not understand nor pretend to have knowledge of. She was almost Yathallar, after all, almost ready to throw off the trappings of the world and vanish into the wilderness. This was the task keeping her from that level of union with the primal. But she could accept that. The world of people was quite interesting still, particularly with such opportunities to meet people from half a world away. She knew that the Ghanti would look like people—not Nalayan people, but the other kinds—and speak in strange tongues. She was told at least one would know Latin and that she was to act as their translator as they moved through Sevan and perhaps beyond. So far, the people of Ghant had not endeared themselves to the sometimes prickly Nalayans. This was a goodwill trip, from what she understood. People didn't necessarily have expectations for something in writing, but the Protector at least wanted them to leave a better impression on Nalaya than had existed previously.

Perhaps they would even carry something of her homeland with them when they left. She hoped it was not scars. Too many people had been sent limping away with those as their bloody trophy honoring another defeat. She turned the thought of all this over in her head, uncertain of what to make of it.

The Ghanti had come to Nalaya.
Last edited by Nalaya on Sat Dec 06, 2014 3:41 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Ghant » Tue Oct 21, 2014 4:41 pm

“Bold Venture”
Government Palace
Ghish, Ghant

This is interesting, thought Artos Belmore as he presided over this most recent meeting of the Jauneketxea. There was much business to discuss, and the Lords of Ghant were much interested in discussing it. Like why I am conducing this meeting.

It was a rare occasion indeed. Malibar, who was the Lord Paramount of the Jauneketxea, was indisposed, being entangled with the Edomites in Dakar. Malibar, Sophia, Martin and Michael all were there, and therefore were unable to conduct this meeting, as was Lord Arlan Belmore, who was the Vice-Lord of the Jauneketxea. Arlan and Andraste Broda were in Aragon spending time with the Hollands. As a result, responsibility for conducting the meeting feel on their son, Artos.

Artos was only 21. He was a tall, willowy boy, with short brown hair and soft blue-green eyes. He hoped that he was not going to be torn apart by the assembled lords this day, as he assumed his position at the dais.

The Jauneketxea room was large and round, with a high vaulted ceiling and a semicircle of seats, with the Dais where the circle opened. In the middle of the floor was a black and white patterned tile floor with an interlocking Patu symbol. The room was packed with nobles, be they lords, great lords, chieftains or tribal representatives…at least the ones civilized enough to participate in such discourse.

“Assembled Lords of Ghant, I bid thee welcome to this session of the Jauneketxea…”

Lord Ocnar interrupted him. “Who are you to welcome us, boy? Malibar and Arlan are not around, so they send your little scrawny ass in here?”

Andar Broda snapped back, unamused. “My grandson is well within his rights to conduct this meeting, northerner. You would be wise to remember that.”

Artos sighed, and then continued. “I, Artos of the House Belmore, shall be conducting this meeting as the son and heir of Vice-Lord Paramount Arlan.” Artos scanned the room for a moment with his eyes, studying the composition of the assembled lords. Many of them seemed impatient. Artos suspected that he knew why.

“The first order of business is the announcement of the engagement between Queen Mara of New Edom and Prince Michael of Dakmoor. The wedding shall take place on the first day of November, and shall be followed by a reception and a ball. The ball itself is open to any in this room who wish to attend. May I see a show of hands from those that wish to attend the Grand Ball to be held in Fineberg, New Edom?”

Half of the hands in the room shot up, which was at least 300, to Artos’s knowledge. “If you would like to attend, please write down the name of your House on a piece of paper, and leave it in your chair when you leave. I shall have the papers collected at the end of this session.” If truth be told, Artos was excited to be attending such an illustrious event as the Grand Ball in Fineberg, New Edom. Hopefully I don’t have to see my sister and the High Prince of Shalum all over each other.

Artos conducted some other routine business well enough. This isn’t so bad…luckily grandfather is here to keep the ruffians at bay. Artos did wonder how the last item on the agenda would be received, however. Should be an interesting reaction.

After about an hour that time came. Here we go. Artos stiffened his back and took a deep breath. “The final order of business before this session is adjourned concerns a matter brought to my attention by the Prime Minister.” Artos explained, scanning the room and taking a drink of water before continuing. “The Government has been in contact with Nalaya, and there has been talk of sending someone to said country to represent our country. The Prime Minister felt it a prudent choice to send someone of noble stock there. Therefore I ask you, the assembled lords of Ghant, if any man among you would be willing to take up this…venture.”

Jauneketxea sessions were usually funny, if tense, meetings that had much laughter discussion taking place amongst the lords. For the first time that Artos could observe, the room fell silent…it was silent as a crypt. A few men were coughing, and there were some whisperings. Other than that, not a sound.

Lord Hona was the first to break the silence. “Why don’t you go, Artos? Your sister has made herself useful by laying with the High Prince of Shalum, and your father has other sons to carry on his name. Time to make yourself useful, eh?” The lord laughed.

Others joined in, before Lord Malguki spoke. “He wouldn’t last very long…why not send one of the northern barbarian clansmen…perhaps Uldi would suffice. I don’t think anybody would mind if he got eaten.” There were some chuckles heard in the room.

Lord Dyn, a northern lord, laughed and responded by saying, “The Ghantar that live like absolute savages and eat each other are not represented in this fine assembly. I find it shameful to think that you lot would equate us northerners with Nalayans…all they do is live like animals, eat and fuck, if what I heard is true.”

Lord Sortu quickly snapped back. “Well, I married a northern girl, and that sounds like her.” That got the group laughing.

Lord Pago had to wait a moment for the laughter to die down before he could get a word in. “Hold on, I know what to do. Let’s send Lord Torloju down there. I mean, he eats so much boar that he looks like one…a nice fat plump lord that even looks, and probably tastes like a pig. We can stick an apple in his mouth too when we ship him down there!” The laughter that got was even greater then before, with Lord Torloju turning beet red, looking like he was going to go through the roof.

Artos felt the need to steer the conversation back on course. “This is an important mission for Ghant. Someone needs to go and take this seriously. So I ask again, who here will go?”

The room grew quiet again, with eyes shifting around the room, voices faintly discussing what to do. This went on for at least a minute. Artos sighed. For a country that prides itself on honor and bravery, it would seem as though there are a large number of pansies present.

“I will go.” One voice in the back bellowed. The man stood up slowly, and began to walk forward to the floor. The room was quiet and the eyes of the Jauneketxea followed him as he went. as As he got closer, to the floor in his methodic stride, Artos could get a better look at him.

His eyes were like a pair of rubies, burning a deep shade of red. His face was chiseled and dignified, and had a heavy brow and an unflinching gaze. He was very tall and barrel chested, with short raven hair and pale skin that seemed to seldom see the sun. He was clad in black, from his neck to his feet. It was Errando, the Crown Prince of Odolargia.

Errando came to a stop at the center of the floor, his eyes narrowed and his mouth long and straight, his face unsympathetic. Artos nodded towards him. “Crown Prince Errando, are you aware of the risks of this mission, and are you aware of what is at stake? It could be dangerous.”

Errando’s blood red eyes twinkled at Artos, before he turned around to acknowledge the Jauneketxea. “There was a time when House Odolaren was feared throughout Ghant, for our power, our ability to wage war, and for our devotion to the Blood God. I have seen the Old Ways still adhered to in the deep parts of the country. I say that I am not afraid. Nothing these Nalayans do is anything that shall intimidate or instill fear in me. And I shall not be consumed, for I am a warrior. However, should an ill fate befall me, my father has three other sons to succeed him. My name means ‘bold venture’, and I believe it is time for me to live up to and earn my name.” Errando scanned the room as if to wait for someone to say something funny…nobody said anything.

Artos nodded. This should be interesting. “So be it. In the name of the Jauneketxea, I hereby decree that Errando, Crown Prince of Odolargia, son of His Majesty Kame of Odolargia and Lady Jaena Aljiba, shall represent Ghant to Nalaya. Good luck and Godspeed.”

With that, the duration of the meeting went on as per the usual, while Errando prepared himself for his bold venture.

*************************************************************************************************************************************************

Errando worked out the details of his trip after the Jauneketxea meeting was complete. Errando decided that he might as well depart that evening, and get there at a reasonable hour the following day. Errando decided upon having a party of seven, with six others accompanying him. Seven was a number that Errando insisted upon having for the size of his party, seeing as how it was a number of good fortune. I would like to have as much good fortune as I can. Errando was able to fill his party with some people from the government building…seasoned people. This would be a historic trip, and Errando had little room for error.

Once everyone was ready and in place, they rode out to Ghish International Airport, and boarded a private plane, bound for Mijazgayin Airport in Sevan, Nalaya. The flight would be long, so Errando brought a few things to keep himself busy, like some books. Not my battleaxe though. That was checked.

It wasn’t long after the plane took off that Errando fell asleep…perhaps a combination of being tired and being bored, seeing as how the book he was trying to read was hardly entertaining. There was a calm serenity surrounding Errando as he went closer and closer to his destination. He was not afraid…more curious, in fact. Much of what was known about Nalaya in Ghant was what was heard from people of other nations, or what stereotypes floated around amongst the people.

In his sleep, however, Errando found himself reflecting upon his homeland. He dreamed of Odolargia, with all of its ancient groves, castles and provincial villages with longhouses and thatched roofs, and the rolling hills that were permeated with frost for most of the year, like a layer of powdered sugar upon a pastry. Odolargia was not a place that most people associated with pastries, however. Odolargia was a province of Ghant that was fairly backward and relatively forgotten, and to which the rest of the country regarded with suspicion and fright. It was remote as well, for it was to the north of Dakmoor past the Odoladarion Hills, to the south of the river Eskura where it flowed into the ocean through the gorge, and to the east of the Zorgindutako forest. And smack dab in the middle of all that was Odolbihotza, the capital city and the seat of House Odolaren.

Not too far away from there to the west was Odolmeka. Twas a vast temple complex that went both above ground and deep underground. It was built around 500 BCE by King Ozula of Odolargia, in honor of his patron deity, the Blood God. It was used for centuries as a place of great worship and rituals practiced by the Blood Cult. Some of these rituals consisted of human sacrifice and the bathing in and drinking of blood.

Deep inside these ancient temple chambers rested the fabled Odolzaldun of old, otherwise known as the Blood Knights. An ancient order of knights fanatically devoted to the Blood God, they would lie in wait until they were summoned to do the bidding of their master, and wreak havoc upon any who stood in their way and appeasing their merciless god. They had not stirred since the Ghantish Revolution, however, and their very existence had become very much in doubt.

Errando had dreams of these things, these places, these things and these rituals, until one of his companions woke him up. “We are here, Errando. Get up.” The man said, pushing a hand on Errando’s shoulder. Errando, for his part, shook his head and stretched, and got up from his seat. This is the time,, Errando thought, as he gathered himself and adjusted his clothes. He was wearing a black tunic, slacks and shoes, but brought other clothes with him provided the climate necessitated a change of clothing. Knowing that his staff would secure his baggage, Errando simply made his way through the gate to see who might be on the other side waiting for him. Time to see what lies on the other side.

Beyond the private gate, Errando scanned the area to see if there was anyone there to meet him. Naturally there will be. Indeed there was, as Errando spotted two guards in sable dress uniforms, along with some military decorations to boot. That must be who I should be looking for… That was when he noticed a most curious sight. There in front of him, alongside the guards, was a tall and lithe young woman with long limbs. She had bronze skin, white hair, blue eyes like sapphires framed by an angular face, and dressed in a red sarong and camisole.

Errando thought she might have been pretty had it not been for the tattoos covering her face and body. Desecration of the flesh, Errando thought to himself as he looked upon this woman. Among the Ghantar, desecration of the flesh was looked down upon, be it tattoos, piercings, or any other form of body modification. Errando should have expected such a thing in a land such as this. It took all Errando could do not to cringe at the sight of her. I can’t fuck this up so soon…not when I just got here. Errando focused on the leather choker around the woman’s neck, the obsidian glistening from its embedded socket within.

Errando wondered how this woman would react to the sight of him. This is probably as strange for her as it is for me…in her neck of the woods, everybody probably is as…desecrated as she is. Errando tried to imagine his visage then. Tall, broad shouldered and barrel-chested with hair raven and skin pale, with burning red eyes, clad in a black tunic. Errando laughed internally. If ever there was a contrast between a man and a woman, this had to be it. The Gods work in mysterious ways.

Errando stiffened his back, and took a deep breath. He assumed that he was supposed to address the woman, so that is what he did. He locked his eyes onto hers without so much as a grimace, and then he introduced himself in Latin. “I am Errando of the House Odolaren, Crown Prince of Odolargia. I come from Ghant as a representative. I assume that you are who I am supposed to meet?” Errando waited for a response, with an unflinching gaze and a stoic look, although by no means unfriendly. Errando wanted to exude strength and confidence. For this was a bold venture, and fortune favored the bold.
Last edited by Ghant on Thu Nov 06, 2014 4:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Ex-Nation

Postby Nalaya » Tue Oct 21, 2014 9:34 pm

Mijazgayin Airport
Sevan, Nalaya


Visible through the windows was the Artsat'ye Jur Valley, a large gleaming lake to the west of the airport surrounded by fertile farmland and lush groves of trees. It was a far cry from other parts of the country so arid. Above, the River Sevan thundered over the massive cliffs and poured down as a torrent of white that wreathed the lower reaches in mist. It gave the ancient city of Sevan the illusion of floating upon silver, earning it the name "the Hanging City". The whole of the fortress-capital was built into the side of the mountain, a construction of pale stone that had not only withstood the test of time, but thrived. Visible even from here was an abundance of green and life amongst the city's stones. Soon Errando would be the first of the Ghanti ever to set foot within the capital of Nalaya. Hopefully his footfalls would leave a better impression than the words of his fellows had.

Quenthel had studious eyes and a quick understanding of human nature. She noted that first look where Errando seemed ready to flinch. He was either intimidated or repulsed, but certainly put off in one way or another, upon seeing her. Perhaps the reputation of the Mak'ur had spread. Or perhaps all Nalayans were tarred with that brush. It was hard to say. A Crown Prince. She had no idea what that even meant. The concept of aristocracy had been explained to her, but it had never really been internalized. Nalayans handed down tradition, not title. You earned your status, or someone would take it from you, in her experience.

He was not a bad looking man, but he was almost alien to her. The clothing, the mannerisms, the attitude that he brought with him. The poor man seemed convinced that he needed the world to take him seriously. Still, she would be his caretaker for however long he remained in Nalaya and she took the cardinal virtue of hospitality to heart. She rose like the unfurling of a wave, all fluid motion and grace. There was not a hint of effort in anything she had done so far, as if her muscles were so perfectly attuned to her that they needed no cue to work in unison. "Welcome to Nalaya, Paron Errando Odolaren," she said with a bow. Her Latin sounded like a Roman noblewoman's. She had been fortunate enough to have an excellent teacher and a talented mind. It made her very valuable to the faith, because she could explain the message of L'i'dol more fully to more people. "I am Quenthel T'sarran of the Yath. The Arzhani Protector has dictated that I be your guardian and your guide while you are here in Nalaya. Your...local liaison, some people would term it, though my role is more encompassing than that."

Her instructions had been very simple, but explicit: no harm of any sort was to come to the Ghanti representative. If they did something worthy of retaliation with great harm, they would be removed from the country in tact. Not a scratch, even if it meant Quenthel putting herself in harms' way for this stranger. Quenthel did not know what manner of man he was, as og'elend, but if the Protector and the Quarval-sharess had together commanded such a thing, she would defend him until her dying breath. And there were certainly perils in Nalaya, though not those born of the imaginations of foreigners. Well, most of the time.

Around them, the people who moved seemed to be varying shades of browns rather than a full pale whiteness like Errando. The only exceptions were the hooded Nalayans with cloth wrappings all over their bodies beneath their clothes, even down to their hands. The exposed flesh, mostly fingers, were the color of alabaster. Imanalov' come down from their remote mountain homes, of course. They gave a few respectful nods in her direction. Quenthel was the only Mak'ur in the airport at the moment and certainly the only yathrin. No one else bore tattoos, though a fair few had pierced ears like she did. Four men approaching a casket that had been sent home, all in military dress, had blue woad-like paint in swirls on their hands. It was a sign that their duty was with the dead.

Quenthel was not by her very nature someone who warmed up quickly to strangers. Ideally, she was in a battle with them and then knew their true colors enough to be comfortable. This was no longer possible. She settled many times for a fight, but this too was often not possible. It was a perplexing problem. However, for the sake of Nalaya, she was putting forth an honest effort to be trusting and helpful. She was not demanding Errando's respect or appreciation or even approval. It was her duty to simply serve. To a yathrin, it was a difficult concept to grasp, but Quenthel was young and adaptable.

She looked over Errando's companions, but none were as interesting as him. That seemed fitting, as he was the official representative. She imagined they were the normal staff or security contingent that accompanied Ghanti nobility wherever they went. She felt sorry for them. They were as lost here as children. "Whenever you wish it, Paron, we may depart for Sevan. Many people walk or ride the train, but a few cars have been called for you and your entourage," Quenthel said patiently, offering him a small smile that seemed just barely there.
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Postby Ghant » Wed Oct 22, 2014 8:20 am

“The Real Deal”
Mijazgayin Airport
Sevan, Nalaya


Errando found himself glancing at the area outside of the airport. Twas a valley it seemed, with farmland and groves. There was a waterfall above that came from a mountain. Errando appreciated the beauty of the landscape and of the city layout, or at least as far as he could observe.

What Errando did find truly ironic, was that in the 5,000 years or so that Ghant had possessed some degrees of civilization, that he could very well have been the first Ghantar to step foot in Sevan…that was actually welcome there. Of course there were stories of people going down there and never coming back, and there were stories of people that said that they went down there and came back…but the latter could very well be just tall tales. Ghantar are known for that.

Ghant was a place with a rich oral tradition, one that went back much further than the written word. In fact, Ghantar didn’t even bother keeping written records really, aside from runes for really important things, like the Old Laws, names of people and deeds, poems and prophecies. Eventually the Latin alphabet seeped its way into Ghant, and the nobility decided to start using that. The oral tradition never lost a beat though, and Errando knew more than his fair share of tall tales. like the one about the basilisk and the pool.

One thing Errando could tell about this woman was that, aside from all the tattoos and piercings, she was quite perceptive. Those sapphire eyes in those sleepy pits of her face were diligent, studying Errando and his band of merry men, which were all behind him with bags in hand, keeping a reasonable distance back. City boys, Errando thought to himself. He didn’t bring any women with him, because he didn’t want to be responsible for them if something bad were to happen. Plus, Errando didn’t want to expose women to the harshness of this country and what was said to take place here. Women shouldn’t have to see that.

Then there were the fingernails. They were cut and pointy, sharp looking…Errando found his eyes drifting towards them at one moment or another. They looked like they could cut flesh. Might be nice for a light back scratch…or to gash somebody’s throat really quick. Errando’s own fingernails were short and trimmed, like most Ghantar, men and women alike.

The woman addressed Errando. "Welcome to Nalaya, Paron Errando Odolaren," she said with a bow. She spoke exquisite Latin, better than some Ghantar that he knew. Not bad, not too bad at all. Errando was impressed. His impression of the woman was that she had a graceful air, and could move quickly if she had to.

She continued. "I am Quenthel T'sarran of the Yath. The Arzhani Protector has dictated that I be your guardian and your guide while you are here in Nalaya. Your...local liaison, some people would term it, though my role is more encompassing than that."

Ah, so her name is Quenthel. Errando thought. Such an exotic name

"Whenever you wish it, Paron, we may depart for Sevan. Many people walk or ride the train, but a few cars have been called for you and your entourage," Quenthel said patiently, offering him a small smile that seemed just barely there.

Errando listened and followed along with what Quenthel was saying. At the faintest hint of a smile, Errando returned it, before speaking. “A pleasure to meet you, Quenthel T’sarran of the Yath, if I might call you that. Might I add that you speak Latin flawlessly. I am sorry, I do not understand, what is Paron, Arzhani, T’sarran and the Yath? Is T’sarran your family name, and Yath the name of your tribe or clan? Among my people there is much confusion over the meanings of your designations. Errando felt stupid for asking, but this was information that he needed to know. Questions along the lines of what have you done to your body and why were swimming through his head, but he decided that such questions were best kept unasked, not wanting to give offense to someone responsible for guiding him.

Errando continued. “I am ready to depart for Sevan whenever you are, my lady. As far as how to get there, how did you get here? I would defer the means of transportation to thine judgment.” Errando asked her curiously. Errando appreciated the offers of cars and such, but Errando was looking for a genuine Nalayan experience. He wasn’t about to come into this country and expect a 5 star experience with all the amenities one could expect from a cruise line. No, I am looking for the real deal. In Errando’s mind, Quenthel T’sarran of the Yath was about as real as the real deal could get.
Last edited by Ghant on Wed Oct 22, 2014 8:23 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Nalaya » Wed Oct 22, 2014 9:37 am

Leaving Mijazgayin Airport to the City Proper
Sevan, Nalaya


Quenthel laughed at his curiosity, not a malicious sound but a melodious one. Her voice by nature was in the alto register, clear and free of her usual accent in Latin. "Quenthel will be fine, for the sake of brevity and ease," she said, more than happy to indulge his inquiring mind. It was a good sign that their foreigner did not just charge forward without bothering to learn anything about the country he was in. Too many had made that mistake and suffered greatly for it, "My clan name is T'sarran. Mak'ur do not have family names, only the name of a parent. In full, I am Yath Quenthel T'sarran dal Sabrae. But that is too long for most strangers to remember."

Her smile was broader, but still did not reveal her teeth. There was a light of approval dancing in her sapphire eyes. "Arzhani and Paron are honorifics. I suggest you become comfortable with them and the others. I will teach you. Manners are everything in this country. As they say, even if you must kill a man, it costs nothing to be polite." She was speaking only half in jest at the last part. Nalaya no longer allowed people to just run around shooting each other, but there were still duels fought to satisfy private honor. They were governed by specific rules and watched beneath the auspices of the law. "If we should have the honor of addressing the Arzhani Protector today, it would be wise not to attempt to be overfamiliar. The Tigress of Yeraskh is not a forgiving woman."

At the matter of the Yath, she found herself briefly at a loss of how to explain it. It was so natural for people to simply know. It was not as though she hid her nature. In fact, she took great pride in revealing it as all of her fellows did. It was a powerful achievement, a step above the vast majority of the faithful. To be Yath was to be a protector, a mystic, a conduit for the primal. "The Yath are...mystics, priests, adepts of my faith. I am yathrin, one of those who guide and protect the devoted," she explained. "But that is not important now. I am your guardian and your guide for so long as you remain in our country."

When he asked her about transportation, she smiled. "I of course walked here. The road down from the city is a beauteous one. But you and your companions have your bags, so I would advise the cars. It can be difficult to keep large groups together on the train and I am no shepherd. Perhaps later if you are interested, I can give you a full tour of Sevan in a less sheltered way. But first we must dispense with your baggage and see to it that your accommodations are as they should be. You will be staying in the Zoranots'in itself. Now come. I will answer as many of your questions it is within my power to answer."

Quenthel was not wrong about the road up from the airport to the city. Off to the right were the breath-taking falls with rainbows dancing among the mist. Soon one could see the valley below, the lake like a polished mirror of blue beneath the azure sky. Farms spread out in the surrounding area, groves of fruit trees in fine lines. The people became ants as they rose and rose up the mountain road until they came to the city itself. The old gates were gone, but the gargantuan arch graven with the forms of two dragons remained, their claws meeting at the apex of the arch as if locked in an eternal balance of struggle and their eyes of polished red stone fixed on the approach. Inside, the city was crowded with life, human and plant. Narrow, zig-zagging streets split off from broad avenues. Sevan was built like a layer cake, with higher and higher tiers providing fall-back positions for the defenders should the city ever come under attack. It would have been a nightmare to try and assault with its maze of streets and many rooftops. The stones were ancient and weatherbeaten but still endured without crumbling. This was a city that had stood for more than a thousand years, since time immemorial, and that antiquity lingered in its buildings. Green growth was everywhere—trees casting dappled shade on the broader avenue, vines climbing and flowering along buildings, grass peeking up at street corners only to be carefully trimmed down. All of the life lent the city an earthy, fragrant smell that covered much of the unpleasantness of so many people so close together.

They passed the Cathedral of St. Michael with its beautiful, expansive stained glass windows that had been lovingly restored at the end of the war. Next was the Tkhrali Opera House, its entrance built in a Roman style with fine fluted columns, also newly refinished and repaired. They were buildings at once old and new, much like Sevan itself. The ancient city now had power-lines and cellphone towers where they would have never existed before.

There were many images of serpents and dragons or other mythical creatures carved around doorways. "They ward off evil," Quenthel explained, pointing out a particular set of twin manticores guarding the doors to a Nakhmanayr shrine. Even as she spoke, the Adhan echoed out from the great mosque's minarets and a good number of people moved to the sides of the road and unrolled prayer rugs. Everyone else continued with their business unperturbed.

Life did not move quickly in Sevan. Very few people seemed to be in a hurry. People chatted and children ran loose in the street chasing footballs or their pets, be they cats or dogs. The car wound its way forward, occasionally stopping to allow people with baskets or equipment to pass. There were a very large number of soldiers in the streets, probably housed at the Zoranots'in or the Akademia. None of them seemed hostile or as if they were patrolling. Most were just in uniform without primary weapons or body armor, going about their leave without a care in the world.

At the highest point in the city rose the fortress that was the Zoranots'in. The first sight was the massive arch where two serpentine dragons entertwined, their jaws facing outward and open as if ready to let loose a gout of flame on invading spirits. Time and the elements had worn away the sharp edges of the stone, but the images were still readily visible without the damaging effects of acid rain that could be found in some other countries. Within there was a vast courtyard where once the armies of old had mustered and now modern soldiers moved in formation or lined up for inspection. It was lined on all sides by olive trees that cast dappled shadows on the square and supported climbing roses, each like a living trellis. Above stretched the towering heights of the fortress itself, stone bathed in golden sunlight and similarly softened but not weakened by age.

When they rolled up into the courtyard, Quenthel opened the door and stepped out, motioning for Errando to follow. "This is the Zoranots'in," she said, indicating the palace-stronghold of thousands of rooms and probably a hundred gardens. It was virtually a small city of its own contained within greater Sevan.
Last edited by Nalaya on Sat Dec 06, 2014 3:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Ghant » Wed Oct 22, 2014 10:55 am

“The Town”
Sevan, Nalaya


"Quenthel will be fine, for the sake of brevity and ease…My clan name is T'sarran. Mak'ur do not have family names, only the name of a parent. In full, I am Quenthel T'sarran dal Sabrae. But that is too long for most strangers to remember."

Errando nodded. Not as long as some I have come across north of my neck of the woods. Indeed, there were some Ghantar with names that even other Ghantar couldn’t understand, as naming practices tended to very from tribe to tribe and from clan to clan. “Very well, Lady Quenthel. Please, call me Errando if you would like.” It seemed only polite to return the invitation of being referred to on a first name basis, although Errando did wonder how she would feel about being called Lady. Errando called her that out of habit, as that was the polite way of addressing a woman among the nobility. Errando was a creature of habit, and old habits die hard in Ghant.

Quenthel’s sapphire eyes glistened as she continued. If there was one thing about this woman that was the sheer definition of beauty, it was her eyes. At least she can’t desecrate those. Errando found his own ruby red eyes focusing on Quenthel’s sapphire blue eyes as she spoke, wondering what she thought about the contrast. "Arzhani and Paron are honorifics. I suggest you become comfortable with them and the others. I will teach you. Manners are everything in this country. As they say, even if you must kill a man, it costs nothing to be polite…If we should have the honor of addressing the Arzhani Protector today, it would be wise not to attempt to be overfamiliar. The Tigress of Yeraskh is not a forgiving woman."

“…And would it be considered overfamiliar to address someone without the appropriate honorifics?” That might have been another dumb question, but in this situation, it seemed like the only dumb question was a question unasked. Errando had to make absolutely certain that he didn’t fuck anything up…and that included placing an emphasis on learning the manners of this country.

Errando was curious about this Tigress of Yeraskh. “…And who is this Tigress of Yeraskh that you speak of? In what way is she unforgiving, if I may ask?” Curiosity and a devotion to being thorough had always served the Crown Prince well. For in any situation, be it among friends or in hostility with foes, being keen and knowing the right things would always have a tendency to lead to success…and Errando was very much interested in succeeding here.

Quenthel continued to explain the designations. "The Yath are...mystics, priests, adepts of my faith. I am yathrin, one of those who guide and protect the devoted…But that is not important now. I am your guardian and your guide for so long as you remain in our country." Quenthel continued, explaining the nature of the transportation. "I of course walked here. The road down from the city is a beauteous one. But you and your companions have your bags, so I would advise the cars. It can be difficult to keep large groups together on the train and I am no shepherd. Perhaps later if you are interested, I can give you a full tour of Sevan in a less sheltered way. But first we must dispense with your baggage and see to it that your accommodations are as they should be. You will be staying in the Zoranots'in itself. Now come. I will answer as many of your questions it is within my power to answer."

Errando appreciated the honest and candid talk. “Very well, I shall follow your advise on the cars, on account of the baggage. A full tour of Sevan in such a way would be most welcome. And as far as questions, I am sure I will have more than a few, provided you have the patience to answer and explain. I am quite ignorant, you see.”

As they went, Errando took the time to soak in the sights, especially the city of Sevan itself. As he studied the city and its numerous features, he tried to imagine a city in Ghant that could compare to it. There wasn’t one, really…although from a layout perspective, the closest he could think of was Gauekoizarra. The City of the Nightstar was different in that it was surrounded by a swamp to the east, a forest to the north and west, and mountains to the south.

Errando took note of the Cathedral and the Opera House, both of which looked as though they had been newly refinished. There was even some power-lines and cellphone towers, the likes of which many parts of Ghant still lacked…Errando’s home of Odolargia was relatively backward in that regard.

On the doorways were the guises of mythical creatures. "They ward off evil," Quenthel explained as she pointed out a particular set of twin manticores guarding the doors to a shrine. As she spoke, there was noise emanating from the great mosque's minarets, while people moved to the side of the road and unrolled prayer rugs. A most interesting sight to behold.

Errando studied the things taking place before his eyes, and the sounds that entered his ears. “What is considered evil, might I ask?” Evil was such a subjective term, and what it was seemed to vary. In Odolargia, and much of northern Ghant as a whole, evil was seen as necessary in order to maintain balance in the world. For good would be totally impotent, without the contrast of evil

Another thing that Errando observed was the slowness of the progression of life in Sevan, which was not unlike Ghant. People didn’t seem to be in hurry, and Errando was quick to notice that. Errando could appreciate a slow paced setting, as that would be one less aspect of his current situation that he would have difficulty adjusting to.

Then they came upon a massive fortress at the highest point in the city. Errando nodded in appreciation of what he was beholding with his eyes. Truly spectacular, he thought. It was not unlike some fortresses in Ghant, although this one seemed so much more…vibrant, if that word could do it proper justice.

"This is the Zoranots'in," Quenthel said, indicating the palace-stronghold.

Errando nodded and smiled in appreciation, his ruby red eyes glistening. “This is quite the town you have here indeed, truly spectacular, and unlike anything I have ever seen.”

Indeed, this was proving to be quite the Town.
Last edited by Ghant on Wed Oct 22, 2014 1:59 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Postby Nalaya » Wed Oct 22, 2014 5:08 pm

The Zoranots'in
Sevan, Nalaya


Quenthel didn't seem bothered by the strange appellation added to her name. How could it be any different from Siruhi? The concept of aristocracy did not even occur to her in the slightest. "Paron Errando, then," she said. It would be too familiar of her to drop the honorific altogether, particularly with a foreign dignitary. She appreciated his questions and their honest intent in understanding. Perhaps she could help prevent a diplomatic fumble. "It would be overfamiliar or even disrespectful to address someone without the appropriate honorific, depending upon the circumstance. These are titles earned by blood, sweat, and tears. To forget them would be...I would say unthinkable, but you are not Nalayan and so we do not expect that memory of you."

At the mention of the Tigress, Quenthel laughed. "Did they not tell you? That is one of the names they call the Arzhani Protector for her ferocity and cunning in battle. She is not a woman to whom emotions other than fury come naturally. She is like the ocean, calm for a second and the next a raging tempest that can destroy all within reach. This is why I speak of her as unforgiving—she does not well tolerate insult or missteps. Her cardinal virtue is loyalty above all else, and she gives it as unwaveringly as she expects it. The Arzhani Protector is what Nalaya needs to remain united."

When they passed the shrine with its manticore decorations and he asked his question about evil, Quenthel took a slight pause. In the L'i'dol faith, there was no good and there was no evil. There was only passion, be it creative or destructive. She did not have a good grasp of the concept herself, though she did not view it as a necessary balance as Errando did. She did not see it at all. There were only desires that ran into darkness. These were not necessarily to be shunned. Vengeance was a powerful motivating force in the lives of the Yath, sworn to bring retribution on those who harmed the ku'thal, the faithful. "The Arusai believe in malevolent spirits, those who wish to bring harm on the living and the peaceful dead. That is what those symbols deter. As for what you consider evil, that is your own judgment to make. I do not presume to dictate such things to others."

Most peoples across the world, she found, believed in spirits that could and would do harm. In her own traditions, it was the foolish and the weak who harmed themselves with the power of the entities they sought out, neither good nor evil but instead primal and powerful...such as the spirit bound to her own by the markings she bore. The same ones that made Errando so uncomfortable. It was entertaining to her.

Once they were safely ensconced within the walls of the Zoranots'in, soldiers arrived to help the visiting diplomats with their baggage. Quenthel moved confidently through the group, hips swaying slightly as she moved. She seemed even more comfortable here than at the airport, but that was the nature of a yathrin. Everything belonged to them and they belonged everywhere, at least as far as their attitude seemed to dictate.

Quenthel felt a little swell of pride at the center of her chest when he complimented Sevan, even though she was not native to the Heartland. It was still her capital, still the crux of the nation that she had fought and bled to unite. When the unification came, she was lock-step behind the Quarval-sharess. The battle for Sevan had been something for a lifetime. And now here they were, at peace, and it was very well worth it.

"I will show you to your room and leave you to prepare if you would like before meeting the Arzhani Protector, or we can seek her out now," Quenthel said placidly. She was not naturally a person inclined to ill temper. Instead, she was like a volcano—it took a long, long time and a lot of pressure to make her blow her top, but when she did.... "Alternatively, we can give it some time for you to adjust. The Arzhani Protector is not expecting you to meet with her any time soon, though she has expressed her willingness to make time. I can always show you Sevan if you wish to walk off the stiffness of the plane. I hear they are quite uncomfortable."

The soldiers with the luggage were already scurrying off like ants, leading Errando's companions to their rooms if that was where they wished to go. It seemed no one had to carry their own bag, not with the abundance of helpful souls around. The Nalayans were all courteous, taking great pains to make this group of strangers feel at least welcome since they could not feel at home. There was a bit of difficulty in the language barrier, which the Nalayans seemed to find greatly amusing rather than frustrating.
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Postby Ghant » Thu Oct 23, 2014 1:53 am

“The Local Flavor”
The Zoranots'in
Sevan, Nalaya


"Paron Errando, then," Quenthel responded. "It would be overfamiliar or even disrespectful to address someone without the appropriate honorific, depending upon the circumstance. These are titles earned by blood, sweat, and tears. To forget them would be...I would say unthinkable, but you are not Nalayan and so we do not expect that memory of you."

Errando seemed rather interested in that. How titles were earned by deeds and not by blood. “Perhaps not, my lady, but I shall learn nonetheless. My nation has done little to earn anything in the way of impressing yours. I mean to change that. In order to do that, I mean to demonstrate a mastery of what I need to know. Honorifics being high up on that totem pole as you say.”

At the mention of the Tigress, Quenthel laughed. "Did they not tell you? That is one of the names they call the Arzhani Protector for her ferocity and cunning in battle. She is not a woman to whom emotions other than fury come naturally. She is like the ocean, calm for a second and the next a raging tempest that can destroy all within reach. This is why I speak of her as unforgiving—she does not well tolerate insult or missteps. Her cardinal virtue is loyalty above all else, and she gives it as unwaveringly as she expects it. The Arzhani Protector is what Nalaya needs to remain united."

Errando scratched his chin. “…Interesting. Do you have any interesting stories that you are willing to share of how she might be…unforgiving, in the way of intolerance towards insults and missteps?”

At the mention of the evil spirits, Quenthel had the following to say. "The Arusai believe in malevolent spirits, those who wish to bring harm on the living and the peaceful dead. That is what those symbols deter. As for what you consider evil, that is your own judgment to make. I do not presume to dictate such things to others."

Errando thought about that for a few seconds, and then he offered his two cents. “I am not sure I consider anything evil. I believe everything exists in a state of moral ambiguity, where all things are part good and part evil. What’s what is a judgment call.” Errando felt the need to be careful…he was weary of discussing philosophy.

Within the walls of Zoranots'in, soldiers appeared to help with the baggage. Quenthel for her part looked more comfortable, even swaying her hips as she walked. Damn fine hips I might add, Errando thought to himself. Quenthel might have thrown him off with her numerous tattoos and such, but she did have a body that the man could appreciate. If anything could be said about Errando of Odolargia, it was that he was the sort of man that always gave credit where credit was due.

"I will show you to your room and leave you to prepare if you would like before meeting the Arzhani Protector, or we can seek her out now…Alternatively, we can give it some time for you to adjust. The Arzhani Protector is not expecting you to meet with her any time soon, though she has expressed her willingness to make time. I can always show you Sevan if you wish to walk off the stiffness of the plane. I hear they are quite uncomfortable.”

Errando thought about that for a moment before answering. “I believe that the most prudent course would be for me to bathe and change my clothes, so that I might be most fresh. Then maybe you can show me Sevan and perhaps teach me more things that I might need to know before meeting with the Arzhani Protector. I would prefer to be overprepared for that meeting than underprepared, and I feel confident that with your help, the former is quite attainable. There is also the matter of food...” Errando left that last part hanging, wondering how Quenthel would respond. Tonight is not the night that I would like dine on manflesh, Errando thought. Although…Errando was interested in tasting the local flavor… whatever that might have consisted of.
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Postby Nalaya » Thu Oct 23, 2014 9:25 am

The Zoranots'in
Sevan, Nalaya


The yathrin considered Errando's question and then answered his query about the Tigress. "I have seen her cut a man's throat for impugning her honor. He implied she was a weak leader. She stepped forward and sliced him open in the same movement as she drew her knife. He gasped like a fish on the ground and then died. More than once, when she was still merely a warlord, she rewarded traitors by necklacing. Their screams rose as high as the dark smoke. Violence comes to her like breath, as it does many of those who thrived in the old world." Quenthel knew that she herself was no exception to the rule. She had done much the same with a knife as the Tigress. One did not allow disrespect to go unpunished, and Mak'ur were notoriously quick to anger. Even if she was a more laid-back creature for one of her people, that still made her ferocious to most of the rest of the world. "The Arzhani Protector has ice in her veins. You would not be killed as a dignitary of a foreign nation. She is not inclined to lose her head with her temper."

Even as she spoke, Quenthel guided him through the ancient halls of the Avangardn, dotted with shrines and murals that depicted battles long gone or powerful spirits, the might of armies breaking and being broken. As they approached the center of the stronghold, one wall opened up. It broke out into another beautifully cultivated, but much larger, garden. A still pond with silver fish swimming in it and blooming water lilies occupied part of the open air, surrounded by a grove of fragrant myrtle trees and silver-green weeping willows that trailed their long branches into the water. Thick, soft grass and a spongy layer of moss formed a carpet over the earth here, interrupted only by the trees and tangled brambles of wild Sevani roses that were, on closer inspection, quite carefully tended. Standing at the center of all this was the life-sized statue of a woman down on one knee carved of white marble, bloodied and wounded but looking upward towards the heavens. And, despite the fact that the woman was depicted wearing modern body armor, her hand was curled around a broken sword--the Nalayan symbol of mercy. The inscription read: Անահիտ. Anahid.

Quenthel stopped when they approached it and offered the statue a bow. "That is Vehandzn Anahid Vaneni. The First Protector, the woman who made the world you see now possible. She united Nalaya with visions of a better world, one without strife in Nalaya and with love instead of hatred as the thread that bound us together. Had she not been murdered, it would be her you would be speaking to. She was a better person than any I have ever known," Quenthel said. A touch of melancholy furrowed her brow. "But her memory fades swiftly beyond these borders, if it was ever there at all."

Then Quenthel cleared her throat. "But that is not why you have come. Please, follow me." She continued with Errando down the maze-like path they were taking to his quarters, which were at the middle of the little Ghantish cluster that had been arranged. All of their suites adjoined a central dining area should they choose to eat in or conduct meetings at the polished olive-wood table. The yathrin opened up the door to Errando's room for him, revealing a living room area. The carpeting was intricately woven rugs laid across the stone floor, all of them an emerald green. The walls had been drywalled and painted a soft cream color and were decorated by paintings of knights in armor and landscapes across Nalaya. One wide window looked over the city below, at such a dizzying height that they probably had never had to worry about someone scaling it during a siege to get in. Thick glass separated the inside from the outside, but some songbirds had made their nest on the window ledge and their trills could be heard clearly. Another olive-wood table sat in here, though it was low to the floor and surrounded by cushions. One door lead off to a bathroom with modern amenities, copper fixtures and white porcelain. The other lead back to a bedroom painted forest green with another west-facing window set into the wall, thick white curtains to either side that could shut out most of the setting sun if necessary. The bed was queen-sized with a good mattress and a coverlet with patterns in greens covered the white linen sheets.

"Welcome to your temporary home," Quenthel said. Out in the common room were the sounds of Errando's companions being welcomed to probably similar rooms by the soldiers who had helped them bring up their baggage, albeit a welcome in Nalayan that probably wasn't understood. The yathrin gave him a small smile. "If it is unsatisfactory in any way, please let us know and we will make accommodations at once. You are our guests, after all. I will be out waiting for you in the common room after I ensure the others have everything they need. Take all the time you need to clean up. We can find a meal out in the city when you are finished."

The bathroom had no window, but it did have a large standing bathtub with a shower head as well, a wide mirror on the wall above cupboards that also formed the counter, and a deep, sloping oval sink. Clean towels hung from copper racks, complete with hand towels and wash cloths. A great effort had been made to modernize at the very least the area of the Zoranots'in used by foreign guests, though there were no electric lights or outlets in the room—there were oil lamps for when the sun's light was no longer sufficient. There was one outlet in the common room for a laptop or the charging of a phone, but only that one.

Within a minute or two, luggage was all tucked away by the soldiers and they vanished back to their work. Quenthel, despite her—at least to some—fearsome aspect, seemed quite solicitous when it came to their comfort and general satisfaction with their lodgings. Hospitality meant everything to Nalayans.
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Postby Ghant » Mon Oct 27, 2014 1:31 pm

“Flight of Fancy”
The Zoranots'in
Sevan, Nalaya


Quenthel responded to Errando’s inquiry. "I have seen her cut a man's throat for impugning her honor. He implied she was a weak leader. She stepped forward and sliced him open in the same movement as she drew her knife. He gasped like a fish on the ground and then died. More than once, when she was still merely a warlord, she rewarded traitors by necklacing. Their screams rose as high as the dark smoke. Violence comes to her like breath, as it does many of those who thrived in the old world….The Arzhani Protector has ice in her veins. You would not be killed as a dignitary of a foreign nation. She is not inclined to lose her head with her temper."

Errando nodded. “That is assuming that she could kill me,” he flashed a grin. “Might I digress, she sounds rather charming indeed. I know a few people like that back home. Northern Ghant is a rather savage place as well, and the cold doesn’t make it any easier.”

Quenthel guided Errando through the halls of the building, and Errando admired the architecture of it. He thought it was amazing, the sheer beauty and magnitude of scale. At the center was a statue of a woman on bended knee, looking up and appearing to be bloodied and wounded. It was made of white marble, and she was wearing body armor and held a broken sword. Quenthel stopped in front of it and bowed. "That is Vehandzn Anahid Vaneni. The First Protector, the woman who made the world you see now possible. She united Nalaya with visions of a better world, one without strife in Nalaya and with love instead of hatred as the thread that bound us together. Had she not been murdered, it would be her you would be speaking to. She was a better person than any I have ever known…But her memory fades swiftly beyond these borders, if it was ever there at all."

Errando took a moment to admire the statue and Quenthel’s words. Such passion, such sorrow, Errando thought. “Would say that her vision is coming to fruition?” he asked.

Quenthel continued. "But that is not why you have come. Please, follow me." She led Errando down a maze-like path, which eventually led to a group of suites adjoined a central dining area. Quenthel then showed him to his quarters, which looked very comfortable and accommodating.

"Welcome to your temporary home," Quenthel said. Errando could hear his party in the common room, more than likely being shown to their quarters as well. Quenthel continued. "If it is unsatisfactory in any way, please let us know and we will make accommodations at once. You are our guests, after all. I will be out waiting for you in the common room after I ensure the others have everything they need. Take all the time you need to clean up. We can find a meal out in the city when you are finished."

Errando smiled and inclined his head. “Thank you Quenthel. Everything looks quite nice and more than accommodating. I shouldn’t be that long in bathing and donning fresh garb.”

Once Errando was alone, he stripped down and made his way to the bathroom to draw a bath. There was a large standing bathtub with a shower. Errando filled the tub with lukewarm water before getting in and resting as the water went against his skin, enjoying the feeling of it.

After about half an hour, Errando reached for a towel, and examined himself in the mirror. He still had a chiseled barrel chest, but that was mostly just due to living a very active lifestyle and having great prowess at arms. He wondered what it would be like to fight the Tigress. It was fun for him to imagine how that might play out in his head. All he would have to do is dodge her throat slash, and then he could respond with a counterattack. Granted, without his battleaxe it would be hard, as he lacked claws and fangs. He did have his hands though…and he could be dangerous with those.

Errando shook the thought and went about cleaning himself up some more, before donning a fresh crimson tunic and slacks, ready to venture out to reunite with his guide and protector, Quenthel. An ironic thought struck Errando in that moment, that he needed protecting. He wondered if it would ever come to pass that he would have to protect Quenthel. In any case, Errando needed to jettison these silly fantasies of glory from his mind. He was not here to engage in combat at arms for his honor or for that of others.

This mission that Errando was on was no Flight of Fancy.
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Postby Nalaya » Mon Oct 27, 2014 3:36 pm

The Zoranots'in and the City
Sevan, Nalaya


Quenthel shrugged expressively when Errando asked her whether or not the Vehandzn's vision was coming true. It was hard to see sometimes, with the bickering between ethnic groups and the tensions between faiths. Nalaya seemed made of more reasons to be divided than united. And yet, it stood. The road ahead would not be an easy or smooth one, but what nation could say they enjoyed such a blessing in this mad world? As long as the Tigress remained strong and devoted to the vision of her predecessor, the future would pass as Vaneni had imagined it. "We endure," she said simply. "That is enough."

Once Errando was safely in his room, Quenthel stepped out into the corridor and looked around. There was not hide or hair of anyone dangerous. Some soldiers patrolled by, their blue and white armbands marking them as RV—the military police—which meant that they were quite safe. Very few would dare trying to cause trouble, and fewer still were under the roof of Zoranots'in. They might have backed off at the mention that she would be there. Even if they could overpower her, the hell that would rain down on their heads would be Biblical in proportion, from both the Protector and the Quarval-sharess.

She had some time to wait while Errando cleaned up, so she knelt down in the corridor to wait. Her first instinct was to pray, but instead she meditated on her current task. Errando did not seem like a difficult creature to please, which was gratifying. She was not certain she would have been able to keep her temper if confronted with a diplomat who acted like a child. Patience was not chief amongst her virtues. He was curious and concerned with how he handled himself. That endeared him in no small measure to the yathrin, as his manners would reflect on her whether that was warranted or not. She was expected to show him the standards and even hold him to them or at the very least play damage control if he stepped out of line...even if that meant drawing her own blade. She had no doubts that Errando could defend himself, but there were rules about matters like these. If he said the wrong thing to the wrong person, it would be coming out of flesh. Probably hers.

She traced the swirling lines of the tattoos on her exposed thigh thoughtfully, nails just scratching at the surface of the ink-darkened skin. Quenthel still remembered the burning agony that was receiving the markings. Bone needles had pierced her flesh again and again and again, causing so much pain that it started to blacken her vision. She had not screamed, though she thought she was going to when they started on her face. Tears had run over smooth skin then, mingling with the ink. As far as she was concerned, it was utterly and completely worth it. That and the rite that followed had been her initiation into the ranks of the Yath. Then she sighed and smoothed her palm over the marks as she came back to herself.

Did the Ghanti have such faiths, in their savage north? She could not imagine that the 'civilized' south would permit such primordial religions. The foreigners called nobility usually saw their power in names and lands rather than the potency of the soul. Errando seemed different. Quenthel saw in him a warrior spirit, perhaps even a kindred one. She would have volunteered to spar with him, but she was fairly certain that a) he would not agree and b) those who had ordered her to protect him would probably be livid.

Finally, she heard the door open and she stood up, brushing her sarong off. She greeted Errando with a small smile. "Let us go."

The path back through the halls was as maze-like as it had been arriving, winding as it did through corridors and gardens, past offices and drill yards alike. Some rooms seemed genuinely devoted to art and shrines were scattered throughout the building, but most of the space seemed quite functional in its purpose. Quenthel moved like a woman with a purpose and people arranged themselves to be out of her way. Even moving through the more crowded gates that opened into the city proper, there was at least two feet of space around her on every side. Errando seemed to be with her and so he was extended the same courtesy by the mix of soldiers and common people. They broke out onto the streets of Sevan proper after about ten minutes.

The life of the garden city was teeming, but it moved at a more languid pace than that of most cities in Acheron. People did not seem to be in a hurry. They stopped in the doorways to chat or at market stalls to negotiate prices. Children darted through the streets, but they were the main thing moving quickly. Cars were only occasional, with bicycles and trolleys more suited to the narrow streets that had a habit of zig-zagging back and forth. It was a city built with defense in mind, after all, and one didn't want to make it easy for invaders to reach the heart of Sevan.

"I believe I promised you food," Quenthel said lightly. "There are restaurants, and there are vendors. Take your pick and I will try to find something palatable for you. The spices here would probably be quite strange to you. But enjoyable, perhaps."

She seemed a bit amused by the idea of Errando and food, imagining him trying to discreetly determine whether or not it was human meat. She was tempted to joke, you know it is when it looks like red meat but it tastes like pork. Knowing foreigners, however, they would probably just find that disturbing or intimidating. Quenthel would have been amongst the first to shrug it off. She still lived in the world of men, so she understood that others had their...hang-ups, for lack of a better expression.
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Postby Ghant » Mon Oct 27, 2014 4:13 pm

“Red Meat”
The Zoranots'in and the City
Sevan, Nalaya


When Errando emerged from his room, freshly bathed and clothed, Quenthel greeted him with a smile. "Let us go."

"Alright." Errando responded excitedly. He was hungry, and wanted to try some of the local food, sooner rather than later.

After about ten minutes of walking purposefully through the building, people moving aside to make way for them, Quenthel and Errando emerged into the street once more. "I believe I promised you food," Quenthel said lightly. "There are restaurants, and there are vendors. Take your pick and I will try to find something palatable for you. The spices here would probably be quite strange to you. But enjoyable, perhaps."

Errando nodded his head as he observed the city and its pace of life, not unlike many parts of Ghant where things and people moved slowly, with rambunctious children constituting the bulk of whatever fast pace was being experienced in the city.

“A restaurant sounds fine to me. I don't mind spicy foods, they are quite good. And as long as they serve meat and I can eat it rare, I would like that. I won’t really care what it is, as long as it tastes good. I believe that is true for most Ghantar.” Errando laughed and then smiled. “The rest I leave up to your judgment, which I find trustworthy.”
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Postby Nalaya » Mon Oct 27, 2014 5:25 pm

Out in the City
Sevan, Nalaya


"I know the perfect place," Quenthel said, immediately leading the way down the narrow side streets. It wasn't a long walk by far, but she lead Errando into a quiet restaurant with wide, open windows that looked out onto the street. Its sign was in Nalayan script and read Որսորդ խորովել. Smells of grilling meats wafted through the air as soon as the oak door was opened, revealing a narrow but deep building with plenty of thick wooden tables placed close together. Smoke hung up by the high ceiling from the kitchens to the back, turned blue in the light of the sun. There were the heads of hunted animals on the wall, from the desert ibex to the great hart. Distinctly absent were the heads of predators. Much of the clientele here were Mak'ur even though it was Nava'ai owned and it was better not to offend customers.

Heads did turn to look at Errando, but they didn't gawk long when he entered with a yathrin. Some heads bowed in their direction, while others just turned back to their meals. "Rare meat?" she said to confirm before getting them a seat at a window table. It was seat oneself, as was common in the average Nalayan restaurant. The staff were busy waiting tables. It seemed like only a few moments and a young man with skin many shades darker than Errando's was there to take their order. His dark hair was close cropped in a military style and his body was thick with muscle, but he didn't seem particularly combative. In fact, he was quite solicitous when it came to Quenthel and her guest. She had an animated, but brief, conversation with the young man, who then loped off towards the kitchens.

"He said it will not be long," she explained for Errando's benefit. A waitress came over with glasses of water for them and the ever ubiquitous coffee. Quenthel relayed her charge's request for the drink that he wished and the young lady was scurrying off to oblige. "I just ordered the daily special for us, rare. I have yet to be disappointed here, the few times I have been in."

Their meal came surprisingly quickly. The plates set in front of them had assorted vegetables of bright colors and sharp tastes, lentil salad—brown lentils, tomatoes, and onions in a dressing of lemon juice, olive oil, and chopped parsley—and toasted lavash flatbread alongside the spiced, grilled strips of rare meat arranged around a garlic yoghurt sauce. Quenthel murmured something in her native tongue briefly before eating, a quiet and short prayer. It venison by taste with just a touch of red wine to its marinade. They had a basic set of silverware at the table: fork, knife, and spoon. Quenthel ate delicately and carefully, using her fingers rather than utensils for everything but the lentil salid. That seemed to be the general rule. Many people had wrapped their meat in lavash and added garlic sauce or vegetables or both.

As she dined, Quenthel watched Errando curiously. She wasn't certain what a foreigner would do when presented with this kind of a meal. If she was being honest about it, she didn't know very much about them at all. It had never occurred to her to leave the country in the way that the Anur did, ranging far and wide across the region. She had crossed the border with New Edom many times because lines on paper meant nothing compared to traditional hunting grounds and things of that nature. That was perfectly natural. But to actually be somewhere exotic as a stranger in a strange land...that had never really fired her imagination before now. She had purpose in her homeland. Meaning. Perhaps she was afraid of losing her way if she wandered too far afield.

When the door opened and she smelled alcohol, Quenthel's lip curled. A handful of Nava'ai men spilled in, clearly roaring drunk. It was a stage of intoxication where they were still capable of dealing damage in a fight, but not gracefully or sensibly. She didn't like it. Then again, she tended to eschew alcohol herself. It deadened the senses and closed one off from the world. Her whole body tensed in case there was trouble, but after a minute or two they settled down at a table and her nerves settled. It appeared that for the moment, there would be nothing aggressive. However, there was a definite tension. Their glares had settled on Quenthel, largely ignoring Errando. There was no history of ethnic tension between the Ghanti and the Nava'ai, after all. The same could not be said for the Nava'ai and the Mak'ur. The Yath were particularly disliked for their animalistic natures and vicious savagery in the fights that regularly broke out in the border areas between the Highlands and the Homeland.

Quenthel knew what they were thinking, in their alcohol-muddled minds. There were four of them and one of her. That obviously meant they would win. But the limbic system was still functioning and that meant they were still a little bit leery of starting a fight with one of the Yath. The other thing giving them pause was that they didn't have a casus belli. One couldn't just start a fight out of nowhere even when drunk. There had to be some pretext. And if they were lucky, she or her guest would give them one.
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Postby Ghant » Tue Oct 28, 2014 9:43 am

“Try Me”
Out in the City
Sevan, Nalaya


"I know the perfect place," Quenthel said, as she led Errando to a restaurant on a narrow street. It smelled very good inside. Very nice.

"Rare meat?" Quenthel asked once inside, to which Errando nodded his head. Quenthel secured them a seat at a window table. Quenthel conversed with the serving boy for a few moments before he ventured off.

"He said it will not be long," Quenthel explained. A waitress came over with glasses of water for them and the ever ubiquitous coffee. Quenthel relayed Errando’s request for some soda. Quenthel spoke to him once more then. “I just ordered the daily special for us, rare. I have yet to be disappointed here, the few times I have been in."

“Well, if the food tastes half as good as it smells, I shouldn’t be disappointed.” Errando grinned.

Then the food came out. There was vegetables, salad featuring tomatoes, lentils, onions in lemon juice, olive oil and parsley, with some toasted flatbread to boot. Then there was strips of grilled meat with garlic yoghurt sauce. Errando consumed the vegetables, bread and meat with his hands. Errando had to restrain himself from consuming these things ravenously, as he was quite hungry. He proceeded to wipe his hands, by then covered in juices and sauces, against a napkin, and then proceeded to jab at the salad with his fork.

Errando noticed Quenthel stare at a group of men who walked in, who returned the gaze. Errando cocked his head to examine them as well. They looked drunk, and there was clearly some tension between them and Quenthel, although Errando couldn’t determine what or why. Watch yourself boys…don’t give me an excuse to crush your skull with my hands, Errando thought to himself as he stared at the drunk men. Try me, he thought again, as he prepared his body for a fight…just in case.
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Postby Nalaya » Tue Oct 28, 2014 9:05 pm

At the Restaurant

Quenthel smiled a little at Errando's display. He certainly had been hungry and at least she knew she hadn't disappointed. The visiting noble seemed quite satisfied even though this was hardly haute cuisine. She finished eating a little behind him, since she was taking her time. No need to rush an inevitable conflict. The four men ordered food in slurred speech, not doing much to endear them to the staff besides not vomiting on the floor.

"We may have some trouble after we leave," she said smoothly, untroubled by the thought of being harassed. It was a peril of leaving the Homeland and she had come to Sevan, a mixed city as any capital would be, expecting some level of problems. "It will likely not come to blows, as you are a guest here, but unkind words may be traded. There is a long history of enmity between my people and theirs. They have a particular distaste for the Yath because of the sway we hold over our people and our mettle in battle. I apologize for bringing you into this, though I assure you it was not my intention or my choice."

Dessert came in the form of kadaif—shredded dough with a cream filling, soaked in sugar syrup—and some fresh strawberries. There was a sweet wine with it, but that Quenthel didn't partake in. She settled for her water instead. To her, the food was excellent. There were advantages to eating in the Arusai Heartlands and dessert was definitely among them. Her people weren't as talented at making sweet things.

When it came time to pay, Quenthel slid off a plain silver ring, one of many. She didn't carry currency with her most of the time because it simply slipped her mind. Yath were not generally expected to pay for things back home. The owners of the restaurant were clearly versed in the strange ways of her people, because they took the ring and vanished into the back, returning with neat, crisp nshel folded over once in exchange. Quenthel took the paper money with a small bow of her head, then immediately turned to Errando and held it out. "You will need this," she explained. "Take it, I insist. You are a guest here and it is only right you be able to buy things." She was a little vague on commerce, but she knew that foreigners liked it most of the time. It was two hundred nshel, not much in the grand scheme of things, but not too little either. It was plenty for a good night out on the town. A fair bit of money to be flashing about in a restaurant and yet Quenthel remained undisturbed. Anyone attempting to rob a guest of the Tigress was out of their mind and could be dealt with accordingly.

She rose to her feet once the matter was settled, dusting herself off in case there were any crumbs. Then the young woman stretched lazily, like a cat. She could feel smooth muscle pull and shift like a well-oiled machine. Quenthel was ready for a fight, relaxed and loose. There was no need to go into anything tensed. When they left the restaurant, there were a quite few moments and then the drunks followed. They were not stealthy creatures by a long shot, swaying ever so slightly as one of them made something that sounded distinctly a catcall at Quenthel, despite the language barriers. Certain things were universal, including assholes. She pursed her lips in displeasure. This was not the Nalaya she wanted to show her ward.

"I apologize," Quenthel said softly to Errando before rounding on the drunks. They froze a little bit when she suddenly turned and bared her teeth, exposing the capped canines. Her teeth were a bright white against her sun-bronzed skin and undeniably threatening. What looked like a smile could become quite menacing when applied by a Mak'ur.
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- Pope Julius III

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Postby Ghant » Tue Oct 28, 2014 9:44 pm

“Itching”
At the Restaurant
Sevan, Nalaya


Errando observed the group place an order. Then Quenthel spoke to him. "We may have some trouble after we leave…It will likely not come to blows, as you are a guest here, but unkind words may be traded. There is a long history of enmity between my people and theirs. They have a particular distaste for the Yath because of the sway we hold over our people and our mettle in battle. I apologize for bringing you into this, though I assure you it was not my intention or my choice."

Errando was courteous in his response. “There is no need to apologize. I know how these things go…back home, we have long histories of enmity with other parts of Ghant…especially Gauekoizarra, Noduar and Dakmoor. Might I digress, if any of them want to get testy, they can deal with me. I am not afraid.”

Errando hardly had time to continue, before dessert came. From the looks of it, it was some kind of shredded dough with a cream filling, soaked in a sugary syrup, with fresh strawberries. There was a sweet wine with it, and Errando downed it.

Errando watched the transaction take place with a ring she had on her finger. When the ring was gone, and money brought out in exchange, Quenthel continued. "You will need this," she explained. "Take it, I insist. You are a guest here and it is only right you be able to buy things."

“Certainly, since you insist.” Errando took the money and stuffed it into his pocket.

As they left the restaurant, Errando noticed that the drunks were following them out. He kept daggers concealed in his tunic, but he didn’t want to use them if he could avoid it, as he was not wanting to spill blood on this trip. "I apologize," Quenthel said before turning around to face the drunks. Then she bared her teeth…they were sharp.

Errando’s eyes grew wide and he had to recompose himself. Holy shit…her teeth are sharp. Errando thought. In his homeland, demons were often said to possess such teeth, and that men with teeth like that were demonspawn. No wonder some northerners whisper of Nalaya as a land of demons.

Errando didn’t believe any of that, though. Quenthel was clearly not a demon. Just a woman, who was polite and intending on protecting and guiding him. Maybe it was time for him to defend her. Errando faced the drunks and braced his body for a fight. He had to prepare himself to beat the shit out of them if needs be…he wasn’t going to let them harm Quenthel. Why so protective of her? Errando thought. She is very nice…and pretty when one can get past all the…desecration.

In any case, Errando was itching for a fight.
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Nalaya
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Postby Nalaya » Wed Oct 29, 2014 9:10 am

Out in the Street
Sevan, Nalaya


While Quenthel's pointed canines begged them to reconsider, alcohol was a fine suppressant of logic and survival instincts. The group of drunks could understand only basic math: four of them versus just the yathrin and Errando. Not bad odds for them and even Quenthel knew it. Fighting multiple opponents was not as easy as it sounded, particularly if they didn't feel pain quite like normal. Alcohol had a way of dampening that or at least slowing the messages on their way to the brain. She hadn't bothered to carry a knife out on her little expedition with Errando, mostly because she didn't want to have the temptation of going to lethal force. There wasn't time for her to be stuck in a vostikanut'yun station answering pointed questions when she was supposed to be paying attention to their visitor and it wasn't as though they would just let her go without at least a thorough inquiry.

One of them said something and leered, which was less than endearing. The drunks started to close the distance a little cautiously, two focused on Errando while the other two approached Quenthel. They knew enough despite their inebriation to spread out and make it hard to see all of them at once. It was time to drop them as quickly as possible. Less chance of injury that way. "Don't kill them," she said to Errando even as her hands came up to guard her body. People on the street were starting to clear out of their way, a few stopping to gawk but most just continuing to go about their daily business. It wasn't that rare for a Mak'ur to get into a fight, after all. The white-skinned man, however, drew attention. He wasn't wearing the clothing of one of the Imanalov'. That together with his paleness practically screamed 'foreigner'.

As soon as one was in arm's reach, he grabbed for Quenthel while the other two squared up with Errando. They were watching him and waiting to see what he would do before wading in. They wanted to see if he would actually go to her aid. The plan had a certain drunken cunning to it. If he did charge in to save Quenthel, the dark-eyed one planned to grapple while the other hit from behind.

The yathrin kicked the stocky man grabbing for her in the upper thigh, right on the nerve running there. She didn't want to kill anyone, but she had no qualms at all about causing a lot of pain. It dropped him down to his knees. The second one, however, was coming in obliquely and she was almost knocked off her feet by his charge. Instead, she skidded backwards at an angle, tied up with the larger man in a grapple. That was not where she wanted to be. Strong as she was and skilled as she was, he was bigger and that counted for a lot this close and personal. She couldn't get her hands free to hit him with a spear-hand and he was too close for a kick, but she could knee him still. The hits to his legs were not enjoyable for him and he let out a yelp when she almost hit him in the groin. She still got him on the sensitive inner thigh.

Quenthel could have cursed. Of course she'd missed. Still, a hit was a hit. It was looking more and more like crippling blows would be needed. If she was going to get anywhere, it would have to be by playing rough. She kicked his leg out from under him as she pushed his shoulders, knocking the big one backwards. His grip on her wrist almost toppled her, but she managed to twist free at the last second. It was tempting to kick him in the head while he was on the ground. She held off, however, knowing that it would be the equivalent of hitting him in the head with a baseball bat. The human leg was a powerful thing when moving with a whole body behind it.

She glanced over to see what Errando was doing and how he was faring, ready to spring to help him if necessary now that she was no longer bound up. She wasn't going to abandon him even if she did have two on her still.
Do you know, my son, with what little understanding the world is ruled?
- Pope Julius III

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Ghant
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Postby Ghant » Wed Oct 29, 2014 1:18 pm

“Brawl”
Out in the Street
Sevan, Nalaya


Errando watched the four men, as they split up into two groups…two on Quenthel and two on Errando. "Don't kill them," she said to Errando .

Errando nodded. He may have been a foreigner, but he was tall and powerfully built. These drunken little Nalayans would get smashed like pieces of fine china being dropped upon the floor. He wasn’t going to kill them, but he meant to make them pay for their indiscretion.

Errando watched one of the two on Quenthel reach out to grab her arm. Errando wanted to break that man’s arm, but he knew that there were two of those cretins on him as well, and that they would likely take advantage of him going to her aid. So Errando decided to deal with his two, swiftly and powerfully.

He studied the two in front of him quickly, measuring them up. His plan was simple- use his size and power to quickly eliminate the bigger of the two, and then to respond swiftly to the second one. It seemed like a solid enough plan, not one that he was unfamiliar with, for he had been in similar situations with men larger and more formidable then any of these men appeared to be.

That was enough for Errando. He send a giant fist hurling towards the face of the bigger man, hoping that a powerful blow to the nose would be enough to neutralize him.

Should that prove successful, Errando anticipated that the second man would reach out with his hand to grab or punch Errando. Provided he had a enough time to do so, he would reel around and snap that second man’s arm like a twig, which out to have been enough to subdue that one as well.

Errando hoped that Quenthel would be able to hold her own, but if not, then whoever was upon her would surely get their asses beat. He would enjoy that too, the feeling of laying his large hands on someone that threatened her and meant to put her in harms way. He was a gentlemen enough to derive satisfaction from that. Although at its base, this was just another brawl.
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Nalaya
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Postby Nalaya » Wed Oct 29, 2014 1:51 pm

Out in the Street
Sevan, Nalaya


Errando's tactic of breaking bones seemed to be effective, at least on the second one. The dark-eyed man hit in the nose staggered back and cupped his wounded, bleeding face with one hand, but he wasn't down. Nalayans weren't big and strong. That said, they were usually quite hard to kill. The smaller, second man had his arm broken at the elbow, however, which put him completely out of the fight. His dark-eyed friend punched back at Errando with surprisingly good aim for a drunk man with watering eyes. They were a little too intoxicated to be effective all the same.

The rule of being hard to kill also applied to Quenthel, however. The larger of the two she was fighting was still down on the ground, grabbing for her leg until she stomped down hard on his hand with her heel. There was an unpleasant crack as his metacarpals broke. She abandoned her rule about no kicking as soon as her second one tried to close on her. Her snap kick hit him in the solar plexus and sent him over backwards, where he lay on the ground vomiting and gasping like a fish. It wasn't the neatest or most technically precise kick, but it did its job more than well.

At about that time, the dark-eyed man fighting Errando was out of the fight as well. He didn't have the accuracy or the speed to take on a larger opponent while drunk. That was when the vostikanut'yun showed up in their BDUs, blue armbands embroidered with white script. The long, steel batons were out which meant it was time not to play around. Unlike the drunks, the men and women arriving, all three of them, were more than capable of taking people out in a hurry. And furthermore, they were armed with not just batons. All of them were carrying sidearms even though they didn't have them out. Yet.

A gun was a great equalizer. No matter how big or strong the person, they weren't bulletproof.

Quenthel put her hands on the back of her head as though this was not the first time she'd encountered this situation. It was not uncommon for a yathrin to be known to the police. They were usually short on patience and willing to resort to violence readily. It was the nature of welcoming in predatory spirit. Quenthel had never had cause to encounter the Sevani variety, but in the Homeland and parts of the Highlands, she was very familiar with them. "Errando, now it is time to cooperate," she said cautioningly. "They will probably not detain us for clear self-defense. I can explain this."

It wouldn't be a short conversation with the authorities, but it wouldn't be a long one either. Not with a guest of the Protector on her side and so many witnesses. The vostikanut'yun would take statements and scrape up the instigators—and losers in this case—for arrest and medical care. The noises of pain coming from ground level suggested that there would be no resisting arrest.
Do you know, my son, with what little understanding the world is ruled?
- Pope Julius III

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Ghant
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Postby Ghant » Wed Oct 29, 2014 6:00 pm

Out in the Street
Sevan, Nalaya


Indeed, the first man’s face was hit hard by Errando’s savage fist, and he went reeling back. The second man, as Errando anticipated, reached out with his hand to grab him. That was when his arm was broken at the elbow, and that second man fell out of the fight.

Errando assumed that the first man that he punched in the face was out. He wasn’t. With a bleeding face and watering eyes, he landed a punch on Errando’s face, just as he turned to face him, and without enough time to react.

That pissed off Errando…enough for him to slam another fist into his face, hoping that one would knock him out cold. Errando didn’t have enough time to find out, or see how Quenthel was doing. It all happened quickly, and what happened next happened quickly as well.

Shit, was what Errando thought to himself as what appeared to be police appeared. They came in BDUs, and were wearing blue armbands and bearing batons. There were three of them to boot, and when Errando saw them, he looked to Quenthel for guidance.

He noticed Quenthel put her hands on the back of her head. "Errando, now it is time to cooperate," she said cautioningly. "They will probably not detain us for clear self-defense. I can explain this."

Observing and understanding what Quenthel was saying, he nodded, and put his hands on the back his head. He trusted her, and he hoped that he could get them out of trouble with the authorities, which he was hoping to avoid.
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Nalaya
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Ex-Nation

Postby Nalaya » Wed Oct 29, 2014 6:37 pm

Out in the Street
Sevan, Nalaya


The vostikanut'yun soldier with serzhant's stripes had a brief conversation with Quenthel before switching to passable, accented Latin. It was much rougher than Quenthel's polished diction. "We apologize for these men, Paron," the serzhant said. He was a swarthy man with dark hair and honey-colored eyes. Definitely Vatani, but he wasn't looking at either of them with suspicion. The military tended to beat that out of people. "It is not right that a guest of our nation have to defend himself from anyone, much less drunk fools."

As he spoke, the other two went about the business of cuffing their new charges, save for the one with the broken arm. That was a radio call to a medic. They couldn't really move him until that was splinted, so it was a bit awkward. More of the policing soldiers turned up fairly rapidly, though these didn't have steel batons at the ready. They handled the drunks while the serzhant they were talking to pulled out a notepad and a pen. "What happened here, Paron? Siruhi?" the Vatani man asked politely, pen poised over paper to take a statement.

"We were followed out of the restaurant," Quenthel said calmly, lowering her hands now that they were talking. There was no need to get upset with law enforcement when they were just doing their jobs. "One of them tried to grab me and Paron Odolaren came to my defense. It turned into this." She gestured at the blood on the ground and the men who were being hauled up to their feet and lead away. "Any of these people will say so."

The serzhant scribbled that down on his notepad and his brow furrowed as he frowned. He looked up and studied Errando for a long moment, noting the bruising to the pale man's face. The punch hadn't landed square. Thus, the bruising might not have been as bad as it would have otherwise. Quenthel pulled up her camisole to bare her midriff so she could examine her forming bruises, not particularly bothered by anyone seeing her stomach and lower ribcage. She wasn't self-conscious about her body and the Mak'ur had more lax attitudes towards things like showing skin than the average Nalayan. She ran her fingers across the largest mark. She could feel the swelling under her fingertips. It hurt when she pressed down, but not nearly as badly as some other things in her life had hurt.

The serzhant tapped his pen against the paper thoughtfully and then looked up. "Are you alright, Paron?" he asked Errando. He didn't want to insult Quenthel by even asking. "We will allow you to leave. If your story does not match what we hear from the witnesses, we can always find you later." It probably wouldn't be a difficult hunt, either. The soldier did seem genuinely concerned that their foreign guest might not be alright, which seemed almost misplaced with the drunk's broken arm. A medic had showed up and was tending to that with some gentleness, but it was still an ugly wound.
Do you know, my son, with what little understanding the world is ruled?
- Pope Julius III

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Ghant
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Founded: Feb 11, 2013
Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Ghant » Thu Oct 30, 2014 12:27 pm

Out in the Street
Sevan, Nalaya


The officer was having a conversation with Quenthel in the supposedly native tongue, before switching to passable, accented Latin as he addressed Errando. "We apologize for these men, Paron…it is not right that a guest of our nation have to defend himself from anyone, much less drunk fools."

Errando nodded. “There is no need to apologize. There are drunken fools in every nation.”

As the beaten and battered drunks were being processed by law enforcement, another question followed. "What happened here, Paron? Siruhi?" the officer asked politely, pen and paper in hand.

Some drunken idiots got their asses beat, Errando thought. Best let Quenthel handle this.

Quenthel took the question. "We were followed out of the restaurant…one of them tried to grab me and Paron Odolaren came to my defense. It turned into this…Any of these people will say so."

The soldier, as he was writing, looked at Errando’s face. That was when Errando realized that he was probably bruised from taking a punch to the face. He might have been tall and strong, but he wasn’t impervious. He took the drunkard’s punch to the face before delivering another blow, and thankfully the punch hadn't landed square on. There was still bruising though, and the tender sensation of pain and swelling. Pain is just weakness leaving the body, Errando thought, as he braced himself against “wound” that he had sustained. He had sustained worse, so this was almost like a swat in comparison.

The man tapped his pen against the paper thoughtfully and then looked up. "Are you alright, Paron?" he asked Errando.

Errando nodded, as he often did. “Yes, I am quite alright, thank you.”

The man continued then. "We will allow you to leave. If your story does not match what we hear from the witnesses, we can always find you later."

“Understood. Thank you.” Was Errando’s response, as he turned his gaze to Quenthel, waiting for her to get them out of this situation and preferably into another…right quick.
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Nalaya
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Founded: Jul 02, 2011
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Postby Nalaya » Thu Oct 30, 2014 4:13 pm

Out in the Street
Sevan, Nalaya


"I think that went rather well," Quenthel said with a small smile, leading Errando away from the police. They hadn't been taken to the base for processing or anything of that nature, which was rare. Then again, she hadn't been the one to initiate the fight this time. She rolled her shoulders a little to loosen the muscles that had tightened during the brawl. "Perhaps next time I should avoid bringing a fight on us, however."

The yathrin studied him for a moment and took stock of how Errando was looking. The hit wasn't a serious one that did major damage, thankfully, but she knew ice to keep the swelling down might not be a bad idea. How long a piece would last on this warm day was a mystery to her. "Not too bad," she said with a faint smile. For a foreigner, he could take a punch. Perhaps there was some resilience to the Ghanti after all. If Quenthel felt her own bruises, she gave no sign. Pain was to be taken in and then released without its power. "Though I hope that a blow to the face does not make it into your report in Ghant."

There was a good humor in her expression, as if the fight had been all for fun. She was riding high on a rush of endorphins that not only killed her pain but boosted her mood substantially. Not that Quenthel was a particularly dour woman by nature. She lead the way down the streets some distance until they were back in a familiar district within sight of the Zoranots'in. She was no expert on Sevan, but she knew this was where the arts lived. It was a place of interest for many who visited the city.

"Now that diversion is over, what would you like to see or do?" Quenthel asked, watching him with curiosity. Now that she paid attention, there was a certain handsome quality to those pale features. Perhaps she was looking at him differently because of the knowledge he would not abandon her in a fight. Even the yathrin herself wasn't certain. What she did know was that she was fortunate to be in the company of anyone willing to fight on her behalf. Such were not common people with the reputation of her kind. To be Yath was often to live a solitary life.
Do you know, my son, with what little understanding the world is ruled?
- Pope Julius III

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Ghant
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Posts: 2410
Founded: Feb 11, 2013
Civil Rights Lovefest

Postby Ghant » Thu Oct 30, 2014 4:33 pm

Out in the Street
Sevan, Nalaya


"I think that went rather well," Quenthel said with a small smile, leading Errando away from the police. "Perhaps next time I should avoid bringing a fight on us, however."

Errando shrugged. “I don’t mind an opportunity to snap a man’s arm like a twig, especially when he means to do someone harm with it.”

Quenthel seemed to be examining him as they went. "Not too bad," she said with a faint smile. "Though I hope that a blow to the face does not make it into your report in Ghant."

Errando laughed. “He may have punched me once, but I punched him twice, each blow being twice as strong as his…it would have taken three more of his punches to my face to equal what I did to his. I won’t make mention of it in my report, although nothing ill would come of it if I did.”

She seemed to be enjoying herself, as was he. Quenthel was turning out to be quite an interesting cat…no pun intended. As they walked along, she spoke to him once more. "Now that diversion is over, what would you like to see or do?" Quenthel asked, watching him with curiosity.

Errando thought on that question for a moment. What else is there to do after something like that, he thought. Then he answered with a grin. “Well, I believe the plan was to check out the town, and to learn, to better prepare myself for the audience with the Arzhani Protector. Maybe if we are lucky, there will be some more trouble that we can handle.” Errando laughed, the bruise on his face tingling.

The pain was sweet. Very sweet indeed.
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Nalaya
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Founded: Jul 02, 2011
Ex-Nation

Postby Nalaya » Thu Oct 30, 2014 4:54 pm

Out in the Streets
Sevan, Nalaya


"Wherever the Yath go, there is trouble," Quenthel said with amusement. "It is known." She was definitely beginning to really enjoy the company of her charge. He had a good sense of the world. She could appreciate deriving pleasure from combat. "That is why they watch us so closely when we come to the cities."

She looked around as they walked, taking in the sight of Sevan herself. "To be honest, I am almost as much a stranger as you to the capital. I hail from the Holy City. That is many, many miles from here. They say the Fane at its heart is the very center of the world." She could not imagine there being any other place more sacred. She had been in churches and mosques many times, even laying her eyes upon the relics of saints. They had not sent shivers down her spine the way the Fane had as a child, before the Norveni laid it to ruin as it still stood. She understood why it had not been repaired; it stoked the fires of remembrance and vengeance in equal measure, both important things to the Mak'ur.

Her wandering feet wove them from building to building. Finally, she set foot in the Tkhrali Opera House. "It is almost Vehandzn Vaneni's day of birth. I know that they are preparing La Traviata. Every year, the opera changes, but there is always an opening night on that day. The Tigress goes as well. It is tradition now that the Protector be there. Though I hear she prefers Macbeth."

Quenthel could not explain the Nalayan love of tragedies. Perhaps it was their cathartic nature or perhaps it simply called to the ancient soul of the country more. Either way, it did not change the fact of the matter. "Stories are important. You can tell much about a people by what stories they hold close to their heart," the yathrin said. That much she was absolutely certain of. She did not know the stories of Ghant and so she did not know them. "Is Ghant the same? I must admit that I have no knowledge of the songs or tales of your country."
Do you know, my son, with what little understanding the world is ruled?
- Pope Julius III

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