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 There and Back Again, Draefend Returns to HQ
Draefend
 Posted: Sep 2 2017, 08:27 AM
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Leaning against a brick wall, I take stock of how far I've come. I strip quickly, changing into one of my new outfits: black t-shirt, black jeans with the red stitching, my new boots and jacket. My lip itches like hell, but they warned me it would. I have tucked the two rings into an inner pocket and look forward to wearing them in a few days. But the small studs give me the effect I wanted. It's hard not to toy with them, and I have to keep reminding myself to not flick them with my tongue. I look up, tracking the sun as it arches across the sky. I still need a haircur, but that can wait. I want to get back and catch up with Skeezix as promised. I reshuffle my possessions, packing my new backpack; a canvas and leather mix of black, etched with red flames dancing in the light as I move.
__________

As I wander around the city, I take it all in. The Diggers have given me a home, and more importantly hope. But as the sun climbs higher across the sky, I can't help feeling an impending sense of dread. I am not looking forward to another sleepless night. I shudder and push my fear to the side...for now.

I look around, contrasting the difference between the city at night and the city at midday. There is calm around me. Walking through a park I seek a group of kids dancing. If I had more time I'd consider joining. I sit for a moment and watch an artist painting the sky on canvas. I can tell that his eyes see a beauty I can't yet comprehend, as he mixes colors not discernible to me in his natural model. There is a couple laying in the grass, staring at each other; I find myself envious. Don't they know how dark the world can be? Part of me wants to warn them. Part of me whishes I could have what they have. But the realist in me keeps moving forward. I have places to go and things to do. Quickly laying out a plan. I need to meet up with my newfound friends, hoping a trip to this Mrs. Wu will help me taclke the impending night.

I need to find a way to earn; I have no shortage of money and trade goods...but my friends are right; it won't last forever. I want to perform again. Maybe sing, maybe magic, maybe tossing blades. I'll need to talk to Marigold about when and where the best place to go would be. But for now I just want to find a place to secure my stuff.

I smile a bit...it's only a matter of time before my father realizes the true extent of my crimes. A dark corner of my heart whishes I could be there to see his face. Another part of me wonders who he'll send after me. My brother is the most obvious choice. But would he risk losing both of his sons? I doubt it. A hired hand is the more obvious choice. But I have plenty of time to continue redefining myself before I really need to worry about that.
__________

My stomach growls softly, having gotten used to the idea of having food available. Looking up I can see the house the Diggers use as their headquarters. Hoping that Skeezix is awake, I walk up the steps and open the door. Pulling my jacket tight around me, I make my way to the kitchen. I pass a few people in the hall, but no one says anything as I enter, looking around....
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Skeezix
 Posted: Sep 9 2017, 06:36 PM
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It's a scorcher of a day, and the brilliant sunshine outside is promising that the temperature will continue to rise well past the middle of the afternoon. Sane people were finding pieces of shade to claim. If they couldn't find a place to claim entirely to themselves, they shared and conserved resources by not moving much. So too, the Diggers are laying in the shade of open windows, looking out with a false lazy gaze. They know what trouble looks like when it comes knocking.

A the clearly Highborn Noob just strolling in, wearing his recent purchases from Elftown? ...Eh. Not much of a threat to anyone's lives. No one he would recognize is working inside of the kitchen at this hour. It's very nearly deserted, save for a pale, freckled waif with ginger and mauve dreadlocks watching to make sure the fires don't go out. She turns to look at his stomach when the next growl sounds and nods him towards some old refrigerators that have water dripping out of their bottoms since they were converted to not run on science. There's a few leftovers from breakfast in the icebox, along with various open jars of pickles and jams. Bless the person that set up the 5 large glass jars of tea to steep cold in the back of the middle fridge.

Easy to pile a plate, and pour oneself a glass of lemon, mint and cheap black tea with lots of sugar.

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Draefend
 Posted: Sep 12 2017, 04:29 PM
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I stare at the only person in the kitchen; her hair amuses me. Studying her intently, I lose sight of how hungry I am. But only for a moment. My stomach rolls and the girl nods toward some large metal boxes. I grunt my thanks amd check them out. Pressing my palm against one, I can feel the cool of the metal. Pulling open the handle, I realize the inside is filled with cold food. I grab some meats from breakfast and sit at the table I was at with Marigold last night. Man...what a hell of a day. Shoving food in my mouth I almost forgot that I wasn't alone. Blushing, I take the forward approach. "Thanks for the food. Much appreciated." Looking her in the eye I add, "I'm Draefend."
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Skeezix
 Posted: Sep 13 2017, 09:20 AM
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"Danana," She responded to his offering of the name to be called by. There was a brief gesture, the reverse of a nod, where the head and chin thrust up and out, the chollo nod. "Saw you helping with breakfast."

Bending forward sent those colored woolly locks a-swinging as Danana made to check the coals in one of the woodstoves. Shuffling both the metal crate she sat on, and the wooden one she dragged over to the lowering embers in one fire. "Weather witches put out a report that it's only gonna get hotter today, and then chilly tonight."

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Draefend
 Posted: Sep 22 2017, 05:05 PM
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Danana. I let her name roll around on my tongue. Watching her, as she watches the fire. Her description of the weather stirs a memory.
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"Feredir." I feel the whisper on the back of my neck. I can feel a bead of sweat running down my forehead as I concentrate. "You have to search...deep down inside yourself. Your never going to be able to cool the flames if you don't look inward." Easy for you to say, I think to myself. Tensing, I can almost feel her lips graze the back of my earlobe. "And it doesn't come easy for me...I just try harder than you do." I smirk. Fucking mind reader. I turn to look and lose control, the fire burning my palm. Cursing, she places her hand over mine and I feel a rush of ice flow through me. Watching her as she bites her lip, smiling playfully. "It's not fair you know...." But she silences me; pressing first a finger against my lips and then her mouth. Clearly the exercise is over.
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I walk over to Danana and take a chance. If this goes wrong I'm screwed. But I've been feeling lucky. Taking a deep breath I plunge my hands into the coals and palm an ember. Relaxing I let the energies flow through me. Feeling a tug I haven't felt in a long time, I smile. It's going to work. I set my creation in front of the girl. The ember glows, dances...but it's now encased in a translucent rose of solid unmelting ice. At least it seems to be unmelting. In theory as long as the ember stays hot then the ice will remain cold. It was a risk, performing magic again. But I think it was worth it. Smiling, I look at Danana. "Sometimes heat makes way for beautiful chills."
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A body of the streets
 Posted: Oct 6 2017, 07:58 AM
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"Mhmm.... " Danana smirked, speaking soft, low and huskily to this Highborn who was clearly showing off for her. With her own callused and soot-covered fingers, she deftly plucked up the icy rose and twirled it between her fingertips before touching a cold petal to her lips. "Sooo... does that mean if you'll help keep my bedroll warm tonight, it will be cold by morning?"
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Draefend
 Posted: Oct 7 2017, 05:17 AM
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Her slight smile...the light in her eyes as she peers at me through her locks. I glow softly with a pride I haven't felt in ages. I hadn't lost the magic of manipulation after all. I'd heard horror stories of people crossing the Border and losing everything. But the fact that I was able to pull off the trick made me think I might be able to rely on street magic for a living. Overall, despite the rough night, it was turning out to be a pretty fine day.

Watching Danana, she twirls the rose, pressing it softly against her lips. A shiver snakes its way over my spine. Perhaps my showing off was more than just a simple trick? I chew my lower lip nervously as the memory takes hold.
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The slap stings. I've felt pain before, but nothing like this. Everyone is staring at me. But I won't gove them the satisfaction they seek. "Wind in the reeds....bend....but never break." my mother slaps me again, harder. My brother snickers at the display. Father watches with amusement, a pheasant bone hanging idly between his teeth as he tosses bits of meat to the dogs. The third strike draws my attention back to Mother. "Just what were you thinking child?" I go to speak...almost laying my thoughts to bear, but I can't. They must never know the lengths I've taken to betray their plans. "What exactly do you think Tuarwen's father will say when he discovers how you insulted his daughter? His family? What do you think he will do?" I knew exactly what he would say and do, but it didn't matter anymore. For him or me. "Have you nothing to say for yourself?" I barely hear the insult before I feel the blade across my face. She cut me with a table knife, blood trickles across my already developed scar. I swear openly and take a defensive stance, but the next strike never lands. I never saw Father rise from his chair, but he is there. Holding my mother who is now shaking, sobbing in his arms. He faces me and nods to the door. Nothing but laughter in his eyes; he is enjoying all of this. "Leave, boy," he directs, barely above a whisper.

I storm out of the house screaming at the sky. Working my way to the river, I take up position under the great oak. Leaning against the massive trunk I try to breathe, to let the forrest wash over me. Had it been a few minutes more I would have been lost to meditation. But his mistake was not masking his footfalls. Fuck, I think. Can't I have one moment of peace? "What the hell were you thinking, Fer?" my brother's sniveling voice screams inside my head. "Leave it alone worm....I'm in no mood." He laughs almost maniacally. "Seems your mooood is what got you into this mess in the first place." He sits next to me, grinning wildly. "They'll disown you for this, you know that right? You've really screwed it now." He giggles before adding his punch. "And I don't just mean the help you know." He laughs harder and it makes me want to kill him. "And seriously...in the stables? You would have been better off just laying with the horses you know? At least Mother would have been able to explain that to everyone." I move to punch him, but he sees it coming. Always a quick little shit, my brother. Dodging my punch, he kicks me across the chin. I lay back against the tree. Done. I'm done with all of this. I look up and he's standing over me. He spits on me and I let him. I just don't care anymore. "The good news is they will have to let me marry the princess you know. It's the only way for Mother to save face." He kicks me again and wanders off toward the estate. I can't imagine Tuarwen's father would accept a secondborn for his daughter, but moon and stars protect her if that's the decision. I'd have made a terrible husband. But I have to believe I'd treat her better than the worm. But then again...I guess I'm the reason for this mess to begin with.
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Almost so lost in thought, watching the rose against her lips, that I barely miss when she speaks....barely. But hearing the words was one thing. Comprehending and responding was another challenge. My head was spinning out of control and the hue of my skin was fluctuating as I danced between elation and panic. Bed...sharing...warm. I gaze into her eyes. Was this an invitation? Or a playful response to my desire to show off? Sun and moon what the hell have I done. Still....even here....I haven't figured out that actions have consequences. Two roads lay before me. One playful and one inevitably painful...for both of us, most likely. But if I've learned only one thing on this journey, it's that sometimes you have to take a chance now and again.

Leaning on the counter watching her, I flash a smile. "Cold in the morning?" I chuckle playfully, "If we're sharing a bed tonight then I imagine night will never end....Not to mention," I pause for a second before diving in, "sometimes a chill is the best reminder of how warm things can get....and it provides incentive to heat things up again."
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A body of the streets
 Posted: Nov 8 2017, 12:21 AM
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"Well then Dreafend...just ask around for my bunk tonight and we'll see what happens." Danana teased, grinning through a missing tooth. To her perspective, this fine young boy was just learning how to play the notes outside of a recital hall. Then again, his skin color was.. kind of looking like the way a TV screen did, back in the World, whenever the signal was getting lost or crossed with another station... Then again, probably rude to point that out right now. Ah well.

Outside, footsteps on the gravel garden walkway announced another of the Human Diggers coming in with a conversation in hushed tones. "I'm just not certain that staying here is doing any favors in this case," A lanky tall man with a half sheared tussle of mouse brown hair was speaking with a Trueblood of similar height who looked up at the scene of flirtation.

There was no surprise at what was happening, nor judgement, just a mild amusement before they replied to their human companion. "Perhaps sending them to Yorubi's place on the hill would be an option, has he been heard from lately?"

The human shook his head before spotting Danana and her position and grinned with a sigh. "I'll make sure there's a package in your bunk, just keep those embers going."

"Yes, Yes, Bosch the not-dad." Danana replied, waving him off as the two continued their conversation.

"If he isn't available... Hrmm.. I will see what locations my sources can find." The Trueblood replied, after looking to be in deep thought for a moment as the pair continued on through the house.
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Draefend
 Posted: Nov 8 2017, 09:59 AM
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I process the invitation. Destined to spend the rest of the day wondering if she is serious. I chew my lip feverishly. A habbit I must learn to break. One of many I guess. About to respond, I hear the crunching of feet. One of my own, and a human companion by the sound of it. I turn eagerly, wondering if Skeezix and Marigold have finally made there way down to the kitchen. I tense as I realize how wrong I was. The pair take us in, stopping midway through their conversation. Blushing, I watch the watchers. Danana seems to know them, and there's a brief exchange before they move along. I turn my attention back to the girl. I can feel my body, twitching nervously. "Who...ermm...what did he mean by package?" I study Danana again. Terrified of screwing up. "Anyways...but tonight...yeah. I'll certainly ask around. Nothing like a good game of hide and seek." Hide and seek? Way to go princeling. Feeling foolish I charge forward. "But ahh. Anyway listen. I errm. So Marigold and Skeezix....were. I mean well I was supposed to meet them today. They didn't say when. But today so. I'm here and they were going to take me to this place. Mrs. Wu's? They said she could help me but yeah. So. I mean....wanna go with us? You don't have to. But you could. If you want. You know....go with us I mean?" What the fuck is wrong with me I wonder. I stare at the rose she's stil holding near her lips. At least she hasn't thrown it at me. Thank the stars for small miracles.
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A body of the streets
 Posted: Nov 9 2017, 10:45 PM
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Oh sweet Mab's frozen titties, this boy was stumbling through his flirtations and invitations for things he wasn't really all that in control of. "Nothing you need to worry about...just stuff for human women to worry with." Danana chuckled, let the explanation of human fertility issues come before bed tonight. "I'd like to join y'all, but I did say earlier that I have to keep watch over the embers tonight. It isn't worth the headache of not listening to a weather witch."

Draefend did recall that was the reason for her being parked in front of the still-hot ovens during this wretchedly hot day. "As for Marigold and Skeezix... I think they're both trying to beat the heat right now... both are probably sprawled out in the basement, it's technically the only cold room here today."

She gestured to a door that was propped open with a brick covered in some brilliantly colored ghastly knitted thing. There were few lights on inside of the stairs leading down, just enough to see the wooden stairs by and avoid bodily harm.

"Skeezix might still probably sleeping off a dose of the medicine. It helps with her back
pain, but right after the dose, she's out for at least four hours." Danana sighed and shook her head, but not before tucking that little frozen rose ember into the front pocket of her coveralls.
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Draefend
 Posted: Nov 10 2017, 08:10 PM
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Clearing the mess I made, I quickly gather my pack and the bags of stuff. Excited about the adventures ahead. Gifts for Skeezix, tea for Marigold, a journey to see the healer. And the possibility of a date tonight. Is it a date? Was what we did a date? Humans are so....complicated. I turn before heading down the stairs. "Was an immense pleasure...meeting you, Danana. I look forward to the night." Tossing in a bow and a wink for good measure, I head down the stairs. Over turning, and not realizing how blindingly dark it was when compared to the kitchen, I slip. Ever so slightly. But enough to unbalance me. Sliding a few steps I curse in elvish. I take a moment to gain my l composure. Always two steps forward, one step back it seems. Not waiting for a reaction from my newfound friend, I decend the stairs. Slowly and one at a time. Letting my eyes adjust, I realize the basement is part cavern and part labyrinth. Wandering, stepping over and around cots as I go. I ask a few who are awake if they have seen Marigold or Skeezix and I get sent every which way. Finally, after exploring what was most likely only a portion of the great underground I manage to stumble on my friends. I lean against the wall, and let myself slink down to the floor. I sigh with content, my skin glowing with the warmth of a candle.
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Skeezix
 Posted: Nov 12 2017, 10:32 PM
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Skeezix lay sprawled in a web of ropes made of braided rags and herbs that had been hung as a hammock between two iron I-beam support posts, fast asleep. The sound of her breathing came as a faint resonant hum, as if her chest was a deep cavern where a string quartet was playing. The sound itself was of peace and a sense of security, and didn't change immediately when Draefend appeared glowing faintly in the dark of the silent systems of heating under the Digger House, nor did the girl wake from slumber.

Marigold, perched as he was in a folding lounging chair nearby, over a thin cotton quilt that allowed air to breathe around him. Sitting on plastic bands was uncomfortable no matter the temperature when your skin tried to meld via humidity. His prosthetic leg was off of the knee, leaning against the side of the chair as he reached for it and then relaxed, a small globe pinned to his shirt produced a cold blue light that he was reading by.

No one around in this broad expanse of tunnel or cavern wanted to move, it was just barely a tolerable temperature down here, enough that tank tops and shorts were bearable. Some opted out of clothes entirely, by choice or by ...other issues.

"Looks like you found Elftown alright.." Commented Marigold dryly, turning a page in his book something the translation spell failed to work on for the title. It's cover had been repaired several times, in plain brown paper with stick figure drawings on the front.

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Anyone wanting to mug a troll had better be using a building on a stick

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Draefend
 Posted: Nov 13 2017, 07:49 PM
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Speaking in my native tounge, I whisper softly. "Did I ever!... This city...I mean. I had heard the tales obviously. But I never imagined it would be anything like it is." Barely able to contain myself, I begin rummaging through my pack. I find the antique wooden box of assorted teas and nod approvingly. "I picked these up...thought you could use a fresh supply." Blushing, I hand it over to Marigold. "If your anything remotely like me...then nothing beats a fresh cup of tea." My mother would at least be proud of this single lesson learned; that thought alone nearly has me in hysterics. Looking over at Skeezix, I determine it's best not to wake her. "I have gifts for Skeezix too. Spices, ingredients, and such." I study Marigold for a moment. "I...I find myself in an awkward spot..." I chew my lip softly. "What can you tell me of Danana?" I watch intently, waiting for his counsel.
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A body of the streets
 Posted: Nov 30 2017, 08:36 PM
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"You ventured into the land of the YEPPIES and found lovely things, all the better for you." Marigold smirked, folding the book shut to pick up what teas Draefend offered to him.

Skeezix, for her own part, stayed well into the realms of medically induced sleep and gently snored into her own arm as the two Truebloods discussed things around her, punctuated by the odd sleepy growl at something. Marigold watched for a bit as well before turning to babysit this Highborn lordling who was was a pogo stick in the ocean. "Danana? What causes you to inquire?"
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Draefend
 Posted: Dec 3 2017, 04:42 PM
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"Yeppies?" I peer quizzically at Marigold. Not waiting for him to answer, I press on. "I did find lovely, prettt things. And people." I pause for a moment, reflecting on my morning. "I still need a haircut, but at least now I know where to go. I'm pretty sure I can find it again." Rolling around the thoughts in my head, I recount my experience with Danana for him, sparing no detail. "I honestly wasn't trying to turn a romantic encounter. At least not at first,I don't think. I wanted to try magick. To see if I could could control the elements." Chewing my lip again I realise how silly it was. "A bit a reckless now that I think about it...I mean I guess anything could have happened. But...I did it! The rose was perfect." Walking him through the conversation, I relay the point of my inquisition. "So...I umm." Embarassed, I come out with it. "So I guess she offered to share her bed."
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