[IRP] Visitor from the Vale

Moderator: Community Team

User avatar
Raef
Posts: 86
Joined: Wed Jun 01, 2022 12:04 pm

Re: [IRP] Visitor from the Vale

Post by Raef »

Was he fine? No he was decisively not. The crossing had between realms and whatever interrupted it, had damaged his meridians or his "magic veins", which helped him channel the power through himself and connected his body, organs, mind and soul. The stress of keeping his disguise up was causing him more damage. Raef did not wish to reveal himself to outsiders so he had no choice but to keep cycling his energy causing pain in his daintain (lower belly) where it gathered. He would have to pass it off as...

"...gas. Apologies, my lady...I have a terrible case of flatulence of late. Quite unbearable but I will not toot Infront of your ladyship, not even if my life depended on it, I swear!", he said weakly, and accepted the spiced wine, drinking it. Gaw...what a vile...

"Delicious taste! Thank you, your Ladyship. Shall we be off?", he rushed on.

As soon as they were at the stables, he stroked his beasts jaw and pressed his brow to the horses while whispering soft gentle words, that were too soft to here. The horse calmed visibly and allowed him to mount effortlessly, like he was born in the saddle. Raef held onto the saddle horn, to steddy himself but did not touch the reins yet guided the beast with gentle squeezing of his thighs and subtle placements of his heals or weigh on the stirrups.

"Where shall we inspect first, your Ladyship and...Steward.", he glanced at Iris, tensing while his eyes narrowed slightly. Was she an assassin? A spy? If it came to it, he would have to burn his soul to kill her if she was a threat to his princess.

While Raef's mind swirled in partial delirium of pain, he waited and watched.
Image
Lord Raef Vael'darion, Baron of Greyford, High Sidhe of the Summer Realm & Loyal Citizen of Fenia
User avatar
Nikola
Posts: 3773
Joined: Fri Aug 21, 2009 11:45 pm

Re: [IRP] Visitor from the Vale

Post by Nikola »

It may have been a trick of the light, but Nikola thought she saw something flicker across Raef’s eyes that did not seem to fit quite right. When she looked again, all was as normal as it had been, so perhaps she was just imagining things. She chuckled at his gassy explanation but chose not to comment further on it as he seemed anxious to move on. Rather than wait for Ben as she had planned, she chose to lead the man out to the stables as it felt a little awkward trying to keep casual conversation up with the stranger.

In the stables, Ben showed Raef to the horse prepared for him and Nikola went immediately to her own mare. Starr nickered and bobbed her head in greeting as Nikola patted her neck and stroked her nose.
“I missed you, too, girl,” she told the horse and glanced over at Iris preparing to mount her horse. “Iris,” she said quietly, moving closer to her faithful steward and lowering her voice even more so that what she said would not be overheard. “Have you noticed anything odd about Raef? Something seems…off, somehow.”
Image
User avatar
Iris
Posts: 22
Joined: Thu Nov 17, 2016 6:05 pm

Re: [IRP] Visitor from the Vale

Post by Iris »

She knew how to ride. Was not half bad at it, really, but she preferred using her own two feet to depending on a four-legged beast bigger than she was to carry her around. The horse Ben had prepared for her was the same one she always rode, whenever she had to ride, and the two of them had a bit of an understanding. Iris did not poke the horse in the ribs, and the horse did not try to buck her off its back. She was giving her horse a dubious look when Nikola spoke her name and approached her, asking about Raef.

Iris looked at her, glanced around to where Raef seemed to be trying to bond with his mount, then back at Nikola. “Actually, there is something there,” she confirmed. “I can’t quite put my finger on it, but he seems…familiar, somehow.” Another quick glance at the strange man showed him mounting with ease. “I’ll keep my eye on him, but I think if he were to be challenged, we might be surprised at what we might learn,” she suggested and with another dubious look at her horse, proceeded to mount up.
Image
User avatar
Nikola
Posts: 3773
Joined: Fri Aug 21, 2009 11:45 pm

Re: [IRP] Visitor from the Vale

Post by Nikola »

Nikola nodded at Iris and turned her attention back to Starr, smiling at her and stroking her cheek. “You are so pretty, Starr,” she soothed. “Let’s show them around, shall we?” she said and patted the mare’s neck, swinging up into the saddle and taking up the reins to guide the mare out of the stables. Starr did not need such guidance, but Nikola liked to keep up the habit so when she had to ride another horse who was not as perceptive and keen as Starr, she would not forget how to guide it. She waited for Iris to mount and get settled on her mare and then nodded at the both of them. “If everyone is ready, let’s get started,” she said and Starr bore her out of the stable and around the front of the small castle and turned down the path that led away from the castle onto the road that would take them to the northern border of Fenshire. As they went, she explained the lay of the land and which parts belonged to the County of Fenshire, and which lands bordered her county.

“We are just north and east of the center of Fenshire County just off the road to Imperius,” she began, nodding at the road on which they were traveling. “The county encompasses Lake Fenia and Fenia City to the west and slightly south where the King’s castle is located. If you’ve been through Fenia City, then you will have seen that structure. My primary residence, Firestorm Manor, is on the southeastern shore of Lake Fenia. We won’t be visiting those areas today, though,” she decided and led them east on the road easty toward Imperius. “Fenshire shares its northern border with Redmoor County. My cousin was the countess there until her death. Her husband is now the Count of Redmoor,” she said informatively, her eyes lingering toward the north, a wistful look in them for Aida’s husband was none other than Texas Knight, whom Nikola had been seeing for the past four years. Indeed, they had been inseparable until he disappeared some months back with only a cryptic message left for her with a promise to return. As if she suddenly remembered that she was not alone, she shook her head to rid herself of the melancholy that threatened to worm its way into her heart and tore her eyes away from the north country. “We are currently riding through the Viscountcy of Hearthston which encompasses the eastern half of Fenshire County and borders the county of Imperius. As of my last query, no one has been granted this estate, so it remains under my responsibility alone until such time as someone is raised to that seat.”

The land through which they were traveling rose and dipped with thickly forested hills which began to thin out further south where the hills gave way to grasslands perfect for grazing and raising a variety of crops. “Within Hearthston is the Barony of Fenmoor. Again, no one has been granted that estate and so it remains under my direct responsibility.” She looked over at Raef and noticed that although he rode easily, the effort seemed to be a struggle for him, but she could find no obvious reason for it. A challenge, Iris had suggested. “Understand that if I choose to hire you as my steward, you will be handling the affairs of Hearthston and Fenmoor as well as the broader estate of County Fenshire. South of here lies the Viscountcy of Fenmere and within those lands is the Barony of Linbridge. Like the other territories of Fenshire, no one has been granted those estates so the whole of the county is under my direct responsibility and, by extension, yours. Do you believe that you can handle this responsibility?” she asked as they continued to ride. Watching him was unsettling and had Iris not said she had noticed something, too, Nikola would have suspected she was just seeing things as she thought she had seen him seem to slip in and out of phase. The effect had lasted no more than a blink of an eye, but she had noticed it more than once. Who was this man? What was he, might be the better question, she decided as she waited for him to respond.
Image
User avatar
Raef
Posts: 86
Joined: Wed Jun 01, 2022 12:04 pm

Re: [IRP] Visitor from the Vale

Post by Raef »

They rod at a decent pace and he took everything in as he went. If he had to play this role to be close to his Princess and slowly gain her trust to teach her, then that was what he would do.

Arrogance was a folly of the High Elves and he thought with confidence: Could he handle it?", if only she knew that he was the foremost magical expert in the Vale. Was it not he who led, trained and managed the combined Halls of Mysteries and Magic in the Vales and subsidiary holdings? Was it not he that fought in the dimensional rift wars over a millennia ago and led battalions to victory besides his Lord? Was it not he who invented a new spell lattice that improved the bi-dimensional prolatification (tm) of the six circle spell, Doom which was used to slew the mighty fell daemon, LegerocjgingggwngwgwegnwlgjdsOegg? Why did daemons names have to be so complicated, he idly wondered.

bah...can he handle it? "I believe I am up to the task, your Ladyship. I have much experience and knowledge that other may...ahhhh", he started then doubled over off his horse and into the road, groaning in pain as his glamour phased out in a sickening visual display of weirdness. He could no longer hold it anymore in his weakened state.

Gritting his teeth, he slowly stands on shaky legs, face covered in perspiration as pain racked his body and magical pathways on fire. His glamour shattered, leaving him with a grim look that may have seemed threatening, his eyes, swirled with the colours of the deep cosmos as a silver light shone then dimmed slightly in his iris. He vomited blood as he dropped to a knee, the world spinning.

He meant to say, "I have come to teach you, my Princess. Fear me not.", but what he said in high elvish, through pain and delirium was "I have come...you....fear me...."
Image
Lord Raef Vael'darion, Baron of Greyford, High Sidhe of the Summer Realm & Loyal Citizen of Fenia
User avatar
Nikola
Posts: 3773
Joined: Fri Aug 21, 2009 11:45 pm

Re: [IRP] Visitor from the Vale

Post by Nikola »

At first, Raef seemed confident to the point of arrogance as he began to answer her question, but he had not even finished his initial braggadocio before he doubled over and toppled off his horse into the road. Nikola looked on in horror as his visage seemed to phase in and out of focus for several heartbeats until at last the effect faded, leaving what she could only assume was his true form. He looked to be in great pain before dropping to one knee and vomiting blood.

She quickly dismounted and began to call on her power in case there might be something she could do to help him. He spoke again but she did not recognize the words, although the language sounded like the elven tongue that Vaelen’s people used among themselves. Before she could reach him, however, Iris stepped in front of her and faced off with the man. She had not noticed Iris dismounting and had never seen her move so quickly. Her steward was speaking to Raef in the same language he had used and clearly did not want her to get too close to him. Nikola stopped her forward motion and stepped to the side so that she could see both their faces, all the while wondering what had just happened. Iris’ mood went from wary, to fearful and then to anger before she dropped her own glamor and appeared before Raef in her true form and bowed to him.


“Iris?” she queried and waited for a heartbeat before Iris turned dark eyes to Nikola.
Image
User avatar
Iris
Posts: 22
Joined: Thu Nov 17, 2016 6:05 pm

Re: [IRP] Visitor from the Vale

Post by Iris »

Iris had followed along behind Raef so that she could study him, hoping to sort out what it was about him that seemed so familiar. She wondered that he had not looked back at her to catch her boring holes in his head with her eyes, but he had seemed preoccupied with something, although she could not say what that might be. She was just about to encourage her horse to catch up to her mistress when the man doubled over and fell off his horse. The glamor he was using sparked and twisted before fading and she practically sprang off her horse’s back to place herself between him and Nikola. Vaelen had entrusted her with the welfare of his progeny and had, in effect, banished her for pledging her allegiance to Nikola above her loyalty to Vaelen, ordering her to remain with Nikola for as long as they both should live.

As she placed herself between the two of them, she heard Raef’s words and fear rose within her. Was he one of Vaelen’s enemies come to harm his descendent? Would her magic be enough to save Nikola if that were his plan? She stared him down, speaking rapidly in her native tongue. “Who are you and why are you here? You dare to threaten my mistress?” She did not want to reveal Nikola’s lineage in case the elf had not already determined her patrimony. Something about him seemed familiar. She had not been back in the Vale since Zhaneth had taken her back to stand before Vaelen and answer to him for her supposed treachery. As that memory came to her, her eyes went wide with recognition and then flashed with anger. She dropped her glamor and spoke his true name, “Raef Vael’darion,” the words biting as they left her lips. How dare he hide his true nature from Nikola! Yet, he was her superior and so she bowed before him and spoke her true name. “I am Gwedhrien Thalawest, entrusted by Vaelen to serve Nikola Ballintyne by my life and death.”

Her eyes were dark as she turned to meet Nikola’s questioning eyes. “This is one of Vaelen’s High Lords. I do not believe he is here to cause harm, but something is very wrong,” she reported, anger gradually giving way to concern. Had he brought some sort of illness with him, hoping to infect Vaelen’s heir? She could not see clearly what was wrong with the elf, but one thing was clear – he was damaged, almost to the point of death.

Turning back to the elf, she allowed her tone to soften, if only a little, as she asked, “What has happened to you, Lord Vael’darion? What could have caused so much damage to you?”
Image
User avatar
Raef
Posts: 86
Joined: Wed Jun 01, 2022 12:04 pm

Re: [IRP] Visitor from the Vale

Post by Raef »

If one injected scolding liquid mercury into one's veins while being left put in a storm to be struck repeatedly by lightning, that was a fifth of what Raef felt at that moment. He struggled to focus on the woman's words...in hisnown language...what?!

He groaned as he successfully purged the majority of the raw power that was coursing through his damaged meridians, paths of power within him. He then wove a complex spell lattice with the residual to form a temporary block in his own dantein (core of power) so that no more ambient energy was absorbed by himself to cause more pain.

His eyes shifting like cosmos looked at Iris...no Gwedhrein of the Vale...then to his Princess. She looked lost. Did she not speak the true tongue? With a shakey voice he manages to sit up, covered in perspiration and wiping the blood from his lips.

"Please...forgive my failed ruse, Princess Nikola and Gwedhrein but I was unsure...ah....*cough*...of what enemies lay in wait.", he grimaced as his head spun, his personal power trying to break his patch spell.

"I was sent by the High Lord to finish your training in the arcane. I am the highest authority on magic beside Lord Vaelen. As I was...aaaagg...." he groaned and clutched his adboment before easing again, "...as I was traveling the ways between realms, a mighty power distrusted stable space. Must have been an artifact. I fear the ancient foe. My maridiens...paths of power were overworked to push myself through space and time while keeping reality from imploding...i am in great pain..."

He looked to Nikola and smiled weakly, " I held you as a child, young one. You have grown up to be a rare beauty. It is time for your power to match. It is time to open your potential...aaah" he said then promptly blacked out.
Image
Lord Raef Vael'darion, Baron of Greyford, High Sidhe of the Summer Realm & Loyal Citizen of Fenia
User avatar
Nikola
Posts: 3773
Joined: Fri Aug 21, 2009 11:45 pm

Re: [IRP] Visitor from the Vale

Post by Nikola »

Nikola looked from Iris to Raef, her eyes growing wider as between them she began to understand a little of what was transpiring before her. She really should learn to speak her grandfather’s native tongue, but she had seen it as more of a novelty than a necessity. She was rethinking that decision now. Listening to Raef’s tale, concern overruled caution and she dashed to his side as he passed out. “What did he mean about an ancient foe?” she asked Iris as she checked him to make sure he was still living. His pulse was weak but regular and his breathing was shallow, but he did seem to be taking in enough air to fuel his brain and lungs, at least for the moment. “Help me move him into the shade,” she said and between them they managed to manhandle him as gently as possible to a nearby tree where the earth was cooler beneath the canopy of its leaves.

She sat on the ground and Iris helped her to position his head in Nikola’s lap, seeking to keep his airway clear while she tried to study him. She took a calming breath and closed her eyes, reaching out to Vaelen through their shared connection. They could not speak through the connection as she could speak with Iris face to face, but they were able to share visuals and emotions through the bond. At least she could share hers with him. She rarely felt much from him as he had had centuries learning to hide his emotions even from himself. Now she sent worry through the bond, and he responded almost immediately. Once she had his attention, she opened her eyes and concentrated on sending him the vision of Raef lying unconscious, dried blood staining his lower cheek from where he had tried to wipe it away. His mild concern turned to confusion, and she tried to impart through the bond what Raef had said, or at least how she had interpreted what he said, concerning his passage through the portal being disrupted and the resulting damage that trying to keep it from imploding had done to him.

The connection went quiet, although she could feel a rising alarm through their bond that she suspected he did not intend for her to sense. After a moment he sent her a cryptic vision of what he wanted her to do. She considered the vision and sent back her interpretation of it to make sure she had understood him correctly. She felt an affirmative response from Vaelen coupled with a sense of urgency.
“Iris,” she spoke softly. “Monitor his breathing and pulse for me, please. I’m going to try something I’ve never done before, but Vaelen seems to think I can do this with my power.”

Iris nodded and sat beside Raef, pulling his hand into her lap, her fingers searching for his pulse. She nodded once she had it and then fixed her eyes on Raef, watching the shallow rise and fall of his chest while Nikola took a deep breath before sending a tendril of her power into Raef’s body. She closed her eyes so she could concentrate on that tendril of power, guiding it first generally through his body, as much to make sure she could control the power while it was in him, and to see whether there was anything obvious that was damaged.

Her initial scan showed muscles and tendons throughout his body seemingly at rest since Raef was not moving. As she began to delve more deeply into Raef’s internal organs, she began to take note of tiny spasms along the muscles closest to his core. She concentrated on those areas and discovered what appeared to be a vast network of tiny strings which Vaelen identified as nerves as she passed her vision on to him. Those spasms were happening in the places where those tiny strings, or nerves, intersected with the muscles, resulting in the spasms she was seeing. Vaelen guided her through sense and images, which made the communication less than ideal, but he knew what to look for and as her tendril of power delved deeper into Raef’s body, there was a point at which Vaelen halted her, nudging her to take a closer look. She was unsure what it was that she was looking at, but did as she was bidden, bringing more of her power to join the slight tendril she had been using to explore. In a way, it almost felt like Vaelen was guiding her power as much as she was, but when she tried to let go of her control to turn it over to him, the tendrils faltered so that she had to concentrate to regain control before Raef was harmed.

Although she could not identify what she was looking at, and Vaelen did not offer any explanation that she could sense, she could tell that this was where the bulk of the damage had been done. The areas, meridians she thought Raef had called them, sparked, and swirled in a chaotic fashion, as if a hundred storms were blowing at full gale and at odds with the other tiny storms and somehow, she knew that was not as it should be. With Vaelen’s help she was able to utilize her power to calm those storms, gently touching the center of each tiny maelstrom, coaxing it back into its natural rhythm. As each tiny maelstrom calmed, the nerves that ran through them calmed resulting in a gradual cessation of the muscle spasms she had seen initially.

The process was so intense that she was completely unaware of the passage of time. When the last tiny storm had abated, Vaelen allowed her to stop and she sagged back against the tree in exhaustion, her energy reserves almost completely drained. Iris was there with a tankard of spiced wine and a chunk of cheese that she fed to her mistress. After she had eaten a small chunk of the cheese and drunk several swallows of the wine, she became aware of her surroundings and opened her eyes to find stars glittering above them in a cloudless sky. The depth of the darkness in the sky above told her it was well past midnight. It had been midafternoon when she had begun. She tried to speak, but her mouth was too dry. Iris was there to hold the tankard against her lips again as she drank more deeply now. She licked her lips and tried again to speak.
“How is he?” she asked hoarsely of Iris. The elf lay still in her lap, but he was warm so she knew he was not dead, but how alive he might be she could not ascertain for herself.
Image
User avatar
Iris
Posts: 22
Joined: Thu Nov 17, 2016 6:05 pm

Re: [IRP] Visitor from the Vale

Post by Iris »

Iris was grateful that Nikola did not press her for an answer to her question about the ancient foe. She did not like to speak of such things as sometimes simply giving something a name made them more real. If Raef was correct…Iris shook the thought away stubbornly and did as she was told, helping her mistress drag the elf’s limp body over to the shade of a nearby tree. As Nikola settled onto the ground, Iris knew that she was preparing to pull energy from the earth itself if need be. She nodded in approval and then sat back and watched as her mistress attempted to contact Vaelen.

She was ready to do as she was bidden to do when Nikola told her to monitor Raef. She did so, but her watchfulness did not just enfold Raef. She also reached out with her senses to monitor Nikola. She divided her attention between feeling Raef’s pulse growing stronger and her mistress grow weaker with each hour that Nikola spent doing whatever she was doing to the elf. Iris understood elf magic, but Nikola’s was not just elf magic. There was something else that gave it power that Zhaneth had not been able to touch. Vaelen had not known what it was either, and so Iris had been sent back to continue in Nikola’s service, and to try to learn what made her magic so different. So far she had failed in that effort, in part because her mistress had spent long months away with the Orc, but also in part because there simply was no answer to be found.

As the sun kissed the earth on its descent below the horizon, Raef’s pulse and breathing had become mostly normal. Iris laid his hand aside and rose to her feet, walking quietly toward the horses that were peacefully grazing on the rich grass around the tree. Starr had kept both the others close at hand, and Iris lay a gentle hand on the mare’s forehead in thanks. Cook had prepared a snack for them before they had left, and Iris was grateful that a “snack” from Cook meant a normal meal for most. She retrieved a bottle of spiced wine, a couple of tankards and a wrapped cheese from her saddle bag and brought them back to the tree and then waited, using the knife at her belt to cut several chunks of cheese to be ready to give them to Nikola when she was done. She could feel power flowing from her mistress into Raef but could not see or sense what was taking place inside him.

The sun had set, and the new moon had risen high in the night sky when Nikola finally released her hold on Raef and sagged against the tree behind her. There was little natural light from the moon, but Iris’ eyes had adjusted gradually to the deepening dark so that she could see how pale Nikola had become. She quickly poured some of the wine into a tankard and held it to Nikola’s lips, then gently placed a small chunk of cheese between her lips to encourage her to eat. To her relief, Iris watched as Nikola seemed to revive a little. When she tried to speak, Iris held the tankard to her lips again until Nikola was able to take it from her with trembling hands.

"He is peaceful,” Iris answered the question. “His pulse is strong, and breathing is deeper than before. Whatever you did seems to be helping,” she assured her and handed her another hunk of cheese. “You must eat and drink and then rest, my Lady,” she admonished her mistress. “You are no good to him or anyone else until you have recovered your strength.”

Nikola nodded and Iris smiled then, relaxing just a little and gave her as much cheese and wine as the young noblewoman would take. When at last Nikola pushed away the tankard and refused more cheese, Iris set everything aside and rose to her knees to lift Raef’s head off Nikola’s lap so that her mistress could reposition herself better to sleep. “You need to touch the earth with all of you, not just your lower half, but first you need to get some feeling back into your legs” she advised having noticed how her mistress was rubbing at her legs and feet. Once Nikola was free of Raef, Iris helped her to her feet and then draped Nikola’s arm around her own shoulder to help her walk off the numbness that had crept into her feet as she sat unmoving for so many hours. Starr snorted and came over, offering the blonde her strength as well. After several circles of the tree, Nikola was walking normal, if tiredly, and Iris led her back to the tree, and helped her back down onto the ground beside Raef. “I doubt Lord TK would mind,” she smiled at her mistress and left her only once she knew she was settled. They had not been prepared to spend a night out away from the castle and she hoped that someone would come looking for them, but until that happened, or morning came, Iris would watch over both her charges. Her mind was filled with too many questions for her to rest anyway, and after setting wards around their little campsite she took to patrolling the area without going too far from the two silent bodies under her care. The wards should keep the horses in and anything else out that might come to investigate.
Image
Post Reply