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Messages - Ebon Ilnaren

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Stardreamer Manor / Re: Bits and Pieces - One-Shots and Vapor Play
« on: October 26, 2019, 06:29:36 PM »
An Encounter With Renna
October 19th

The evening was late, and while the smaller moon was in the skies above Rhy'din, it remained shrouded by clouds. Ebon was heading home through Dragon's Gate, seemingly inattentive to the city around him. He even hummed a faint tune.
A gentle thud, was all that allowed Renna's presence to be known. That, and the floral scent of her perfume. High heels clicked behind Ebon, her footsteps matching his. "Hello, Ebon."
He kept walking, not even breaking stride. "Hello, Renna." Though he didn't look at her, his tone was tinged with- not anger or hatred. Disdain, perhaps, but also a touch of amusement. "Enjoying the night?"
"I am. Granted, this city..." She made a motion he never saw. "It always is interesting. Heading home I see?"
"That was my plan,"  he replied drily.

"I know. I watch your movements. Always. As well as Doran. Including your home." She made a motion as he turned to the large bird flying circles overhead.

Finally he turned to look at her, eyebrow raised. "You look... well."
A simple white dress clung to her. Fleshed entirely--no metallic claws. No flaws. No scars. Her hair was pulled back into a tight ponytail. Her high heels were crystalline in nature---transparent and yet tinted purple. However, in her hand, she held a gun pointed right at him. "So do you."

His eyebrow arched. "A gun? Really?"

She smiled. "It might look simple." It looked like a standard snub-nosed Dan Wesson revolver. "But it isn't." She tilted her head, her burning crimsons glowing. "I came to talk."
Pinpoints of white light flared within Ebon's own midnight eyes, and an unseen force gripped Renna's gun hand, forcing her arm back that the weapon was pointing up beneath her own chin. His mouth twitched into a smirk. "Then talk." He released his hold on her arm, having made his point. "I'm always willing to talk... although, do you mind if we talk and walk?"

Struggling with the weapon, Renna released an too inappropriate sigh as she felt the barrel of the gun against her own chin, and when he released it, she kept it there. Her eyes rolled back into her head as her eyelids fluttered. Her body shuddered with anticipation. It never came. He released it. But she kept the gun pressed against her own chin and even pressed it harder so that the barrel pushed into the flesh under her chin. "No, not really. I don't want any closer to your home, then we are now." An odd coldness overcame him as her eyes buried at his. They seemed... Inviting. Almost lovely to look at. His disdain was awash with a pleasant sensation tickling his skin and, for whatever reason, he wanted to step closer to her. Like a planet seeking to escape a black hole, but only orbiting closer.

Ebon felt his face go slack, almost numb, and he took a step forward. Then, in the depths of his subconscious mindscape, a flame blossomed, shining like a beacon, and he heard a voice, Phen's voice. Be strong. His eyes grew narrow and his lips thinned. "You've learned some new tricks, I see." Surprisingly, he didn't seem very upset, recovering his poise in moments.

She stared harder. "No. I ate someone similar to you." The sensation on him---on his feet, felt like magnets. A gravitonic pull that almost could not be denied, but... Well, she knew better. A step alone was enough for her. Or two. Or three. Her crimsons glowed hotter, the very pupil of her irises becoming a darkness that invited a singular light at the center. And then, in his head, he heard her voice. Come take this gun from me, Ebon. She relaxed the grip of her hand, and pulled the hand away from her own chin, allowing the gun to go slack in her grip, the weapon dangling on an index finger. "It's an offering... of peace. My last one."
"Someone similar?" Thoughts raced through the back of Ebon's mind, even as he focused on Renna. Doran? Velen? Azure? No, they were all well and good; he had even seen all of them within the past two days. The smirk returned when he heard her voice in his head. *Why should I try to take it? I've no need for guns." Then she spoke of a peace offering, and that gave him pause. "I would like peace, but-" He frowned. "How can you expect me to trust you, after all you've done? To this city, to my family? You and your cohort tried to kill me. You abducted my daughter, my son... even though they came back to me, the fact that you took them is damning."

"I did that. That I cannot deny. And yes, I did that. For a reason. Perhaps a reason you cannot or even no one can comprehend. Not that I am saying I am working for some higher power because there is none, but myself. I am a selfish evil creature. I know that. Should you trust me? No. No you shouldn't. But I am not here for my own ends. If I was? I'd have attacked you on sight  and hoped somehow, I could overtake you... and eat you. Absorb your powers. Your genetics. You and your whole family, was nothing but an experiment for me. Or, was..." She smirked a little, then she closed her eyes. "No you don't need guns, Ebon. Guns are nothing to you, but this? Is my greatest weapon. Better than me and better than you." She paused, lowering her gaze. "I am doing this for Batten. And don't think for a moment I'd do this selfishly. I am doing this for him. This weapon is not for you. It is for Doran." Renna looked to the weapon, then to him. "I don't expect you to trust me. I predicted as much. A fool could predict a spider cradling a fly back to health is out only for one purpose only."

She tossed the gun to his feet. "It is for Doran." She soured. "I've come to you because perhaps you could give him it, where I could not. Since he... well... he hates me. And justifiably so." She added, softly, "And this city?" Her crimson eyes looked about. "Has given me nothing but pain and yet, you people? Look at you. Living life. Heroes. Where are my moments when I saved so many of you? Nothing. Nothing is ever remembered about that, hm? But that's fine. I don't care anymore anyhow."

Without taking his eyes from Renna, Ebon crouched down and picked up the gun, then straightened once more. "You have done good. It may have been only a fraction of your total deeds, but I can't deny that truth." A soft chuckle slipped from his lips. "I accept your peace." One hand reached out, held there as an offering.
Renna stared to the hand. Then looked to his face. "I am going to do something you will hate, Ebon." She indicated the weapon. "You will promise me you will give Doran the gun and you tell him exactly, what I am about to tell you."
He lowered his hand and nodded. "I can promise that."
She held up her hand. "Five shots. I can produce more bullets but I doubt you will ask of me for that. He must understand that this weapon is a last, resort. If there is no other. He cannot use it unless he, or someone he loves, is in grave, grave danger."

She nodded slowly. "Somewhat. Each bullet contains a part of my SCHISM Technology, directly from my Engine. It displaces space. Imagine... she..." She paused, waving a hand. "If you were shot with this? Like I aimed at you? Imagine... Well. If struck? Which I doubt I could had, by the way... You are a slimy bastard... Then your chest?" She pointed at him, then to the wall. "Was suddenly over there----" The added question caught her off guard. She stood wide eyed. Her cheeks reddened. She looked away. "What has he got to do with anything with this conversation?"

"Nothing really, I was simply curious." The redness in Renna's cheeks spoke volumes, and Ebon smiled warmly despite himself. "An impressive weapon."
Renna kept her eyes away, then, looked at him. "Yes." She affirmed with a certainty that burned with her eyes. "He created me."
"He's a good man, if a trifle... reckless." He regarded the gun again. "I could probably think of a few entities that could survive this, but I do thank you." Then his dark eyes turned back to Renna. "I don't think Doran hates you. I think he pities you."
"No. He will hate me." She indicated the weapon. "Edward gave back a shard of... her. Renna." She hissed. "I made this." She indicated the weapon. "It is made to kill not only those you think, that can escape." She pressed her hands to her own chest. "It's made to kill me."
"Very well," was Ebon's succinct reply.
"I thought, maybe... this, would be enough..." She looked to him, searchingly. "So that you don't have to worry about me again."
His expression was stony, the perfect poker face, for a minute. Then another. Finally he cracked the slightest of smiles. "I appreciate that. Thank you." He tucked the gun into the back of his belt. "Although you do have a tendency towards multiple bodies. I may need to get more bullets." There was actual humor in his voice, however dry.
"I have clones. Yes. But this one? No, it's not one of them." She indicated him. "You can end it now if you want. I am sure Batten wouldn't mind."
"No." Ebon actually grinned. "I'd hate to have to clean up the mess."
Slowly, she held out hand her hand. "Ebon."
He took and shook it, firmly but not unduly so. "Renna." His bracers seemed to vibrate for just a second as they touched.

She gripped his hand tight. "Ebon." Then released it. "And yes. Yes. I Do. I love him. Absolutely. There is nothing I will not do for him and I am in love with him."
"Then I hope the best for both of you." If Renna had any sense of empathy, she would feel the honesty in Ebon's words. "I'm actually tempted to stop by the Red Dragon--Tenball told me he's going to try a shift behind the bar, to see if it's a good fit. But I should be getting home." With a nod of farewell, he turned and went on his way.

((taken from live play with Renna))

Stardreamer Manor / Re: Bits and Pieces - One-Shots and Vapor Play
« on: July 25, 2019, 10:32:59 PM »
Hide & Seek

The sun was warm but not unbearably so, considering it was a summer day in RhyDin, and a breeze came through the manor windows to set the curtains billowing. The Stardreamer fosterlings were enjoying a day of leisure, exploring their various hobbies and interests, taking a swim in the little lake, or simply lazing about under some shade. With his charges at liberty, Ebon was prepared to settle down in the library with a book and a cup of tea.

So naturally he sensed a little one approaching his side. "Papa?"

Across the room, Phen glanced up from her jewelry work, her lips curled into a grin of wry amusement. Meeting her gaze, Ebon chuckled softly before turning to his youngest. "Yes, Olivia?"

"Will you play with me?"

Setting down his book, its spine still unbent, he reached out and tousled the girl's hair, eliciting a happy giggle. "Of course I will! What would you like to play? Dolls? A board game? Hide and seek?"

"Hide'n'seek!" The girl's exuberance was infectious. "I wanna hide! Close your eyes an' start counting!" Without waiting, Olivia dashed towards the hallway, but paused in the entrance to look back at her father. "No peeking!"

Ebon raised a hand to ward off any objections. "I swear!" Turning away, he favored Phen with another grin and, shutting his eyes, began counting slowly, deliberately to a hundred. Finally he reached the end of his count and his dark eyes sprang open. "Ready or not, here I come!" Turning, he glanced around the room, but of course there was no sign of Olivia. A quick look over at Phen was unhelpful, as she simply shook her head without raising her gaze from her latest project. Spoilsport, he sent to her, but there was no malice in it, only amusement. With that, the hunt began in earnest.

The front hall with its koi channels was one of her favorite places, but it held little shelter, and yielded no signs of Olivia. Some of the manor's foster children were in the conservatory, two playing chess and a third sketching in a pad; they all feigned innocence, which told Ebon that his daughter had passed through that way. She hadn't remained, though; a quick check behind the curtains proved that. Onward went the search!

For the better part of an afternoon Ebon roamed the manor's halls and rooms, seeking his wayward child. He found the other daughter easily enough; Azure, as usual, was in her bedroom working on an embroidery piece, though she was honest enough to indicate that she hadn't seen her sister. For a moment Ebon thought he heard Olivia's giggling, but from where? She's certainly inherited her mother's sneakiness, that much is certain, he mused as he continued the search.

Finally a thought struck him. Aside from the bathrooms and kitchens, which were out-of-bounds, he had searched every room in the manor... except one. Returning to the library, he stood beside his chair and--slowly, steadily--turned in place, eyeing every nook and cranny of the room. At her desk, Phen began to laugh in the hissing manner she could manage, and Ebon knew his hunch was correct.

"I know you're heeeeeeeeere," he called out in a sing-song voice, and was rewarded by a girlish laugh as Olivia crawled out from beneath an end table draped in cloth.

"Did I make you look everywhere, Papa?" Not the least bit upset at having finally been found, the girl bounced on her toes for joy. "Am I clever?"

Lifting her up into his arms, Ebon gave Olivia a proud hug. "Yes, you are, my girl. You are indeed!"

Stardreamer Manor / Re:
« on: May 10, 2019, 11:38:13 PM »
Ebon released the breath that he hadn't realized he was holding. He started to turn to Feenah, only to be hurriedly shushed. "Not yet," she whispered as a warning, and so they continued on. Only when they were well out of sight of the city, shielded by a copse of shade trees, did they stop to rest and release the tension of their escape. "I thought it was all over when that Knife made my look up at him," the boy exclaimed softly. "I was sure they would have had my description."

"They did," replied Feenah with a chuckle. "He just didn't remember he had it at that moment." She cackled with merriment when Ebon simply blinked at her. "Nice trick, eh?"


"That was my doing." Ox lowered his hood to reveal his face, and as he did so, his features seemed to blur and shift until they appeared as a balding older man, his bearded face graced with warm eyes and a kind smile. There was something about him that Ebon recognized, but how or why, he couldn't say, and so he simply listened to the man. "This," as he touched the plain metal clasp at the front of his hood, "is a gift from... far away, something your friend Astenyar once gave me. It casts an illusion of however I wish to appear, something he called a glamour; my own gifts assist, subtly convincing those minds around me to simply believe what they are seeing… or, in your case, forget what they are seeking and what--or whom--they saw."

Letting that bit of news sink in, he turned to Feenah, concern in his eyes. "Are you sure you want to go back in there? Even with the memory cleared, it’s dangerous." As he spoke, two others moved out from the trees around them. One looked exactly like Ox had appeared, while the other was not much larger than Ebon.

"Now, you know I do more good for the cause in the city than I could ever do out in the wild with you." She reached up and gently patted his bearded cheek. "Don't worry about me, get the lad to safety." Then Feenah turned to her new "Ox" and motioned for him to take up the cart while his companion moved to her side to support her. At the edge of the thicket, she paused and looked back. "Be well, lad!"

Ebon's voice cracked as he lifted his hand, though whether to wave farewell or to implore her not to leave him, he really did not know. "And you also," he finally answered, just as they were moving away once more.

Then he was alone with the stranger… and yet, somehow not a stranger, though Ebon knew that they had never met before. A lengthy silence fell between them.

The man broke the stillness with a chuckle. 'You don't know what to make of me, do you? You know me somehow, and yet you do not know me. The answer is simple." Suddenly his expression hardened, grew cruel, just for a moment before resuming its prior kindly state.

Ebon gasped and stumbled backwards, while at the same time a nearby rock rose from the ground and launched itself at the stranger. It was an erratic flight, easily avoided, but the man raised his hands with palms out, a staying gesture. "Peace, lad! I am not your enemy!" Somehow the truth of that statement reached the boy, calming him. "You have suffered greatly at the hands of my kin, and for that I am truly sorry. My daughter took your innocence, my brother took your sister. I know not what I could give to replace them... in truth, nothing can, but I hope to help you find the strength to find your peace within."

"Who are you?"

"My name is Doran." He strode forward, offering a hand out to Ebon. "I wear my shackles no more, neither hand nor heart."

The youth blinked once, but after a moment realization struck, and with it a memory. As he clasped Doran's outstretched hand, Ebon felt himself all but bursting with elation. "I am a free man."


Stardreamer Manor / Re:
« on: May 10, 2019, 11:28:45 PM »
"Here, lad!" The voice was familiar, vaguely and irritatingly familiar, but Ebon couldn't place it well enough to let it disturb him as he walked, keeping watch on the gate from the corner of his eye. Then, without warning, something caught on his foot and sent him stumbling. The youth rose and turned, half-ready to bolt. An old woman stood there, the cane that she'd used to trip Ebon in her hand; beside her, a man in laborer’s garb held the grips of a large, empty hand cart, his features half-hidden by an open-faced hood. Though he didn’t recognize the man, after a moment Ebon realize who the woman was. "Old Feenah?"

The fruit vendor's expression melted into a kindly smile, and she nodded before stepping forward, leaning on her cane and taking Ebon's arm firmly but not roughly in her other hand. "Yes. I told you when we left the stall, don't get so far ahead of us, lad. You know these old bones don’t move so quick, and Ox here," nodding her head towards the man with the cart, "has to pull that thing along."

"Ox is strong," added the man, apparently not much of a conversationalist.

They were approaching the gate, and Ebon had to struggle within himself not to panic as the Knives turned to look in their direction. Knowing the place of a slave, he followed Ox's example and kept his eyes looking down, wisely opting for pragmatism over pride. The trio stopped as a Knife stepped over to them. "What are you about?"

"If it please you, m'lord, my lads and I are heading to the outlying farms to buy fruits for my stall, back over in the Southriver Market. The eska is almost out of season, so I want to get one last harvest in before they all go rotten." Feenah’s voice cracked just a bit. "If you like eska fruit, I'll be sure to leave you lads a nice ripe one on my way back."

"Hmm." The armored man moved in front of Ox, and Ebon heard the subtle sound of a dagger being drawn, followed be a soft, frightened whimper from the laborer. Then those silver-clad feet came back into his own field of view, and suddenly there was a dagger tip at his throat. The cold steel blade pressed up beneath his chin, and Ebon lifted his face accordingly, though he kept his eyes downcast until the Knife snarled, "Look at me, boy."

Barely able to draw breath, Ebon lifted his gaze to meet the other’s glare, and waited for the call that would bring the Knives' wrath upon them. It never came. After a long moment, the Knife sneered pulled his dagger away to resheathe it, and stepped back. "You can pass… and I'll be waiting for that eska, woman."

"Thank y'kindly!" replied Feenah as she hobbled past, supported by her cane on one side and Ebon on the other, while Ox hauled the cart behind him. They passed under the first of the great metal doors, raised up within the gatehouse, then another and then the third. With each one, the boy expected that massive weight to slam down, crushing the life from them all. Then, moments later, the three of them passed through the other side of the wall and out of the city.

They had made it.

Stardreamer Manor / Re:
« on: May 10, 2019, 11:28:09 PM »
[size=18]Part 7 - A Free Man[/size]

Recalling Astenyar's instructions, Ebon slowly but steadily made his way eastward, towards the city's edge and beyond to freedom. He did not run, not wanting to draw any attention to himself, but he did keep a sense of purpose in his thoughts. It wouldn’t do to have some lazy merchant delay him by forcing him to work, and so he crafted the facade that he was on a task for his master. Technically, it was true, but the master in question was himself.

There were no signs of pursuit, either overt or surreptitious, no tingling in his senses to warn him of any unexpected dangers. Still, something--or someone--had spooked Ulara, even before he had killed her remaining guard. The fact that he couldn't sense it meant either that it wasn't following him... or it could hide from him. The latter thought did not particularly appeal to Ebon, but he left it alone to ponder a weightier matter.

How could he get past the guards at the gate?

There were at least a half-dozen Silver Knives in plain view, eyeing every passerby with meticulous scrutiny. Ebon knew that since Ulara recognized him, she could well have given his description to the gatekeepers. For the first time, he actually regretted those eyes that had given him his name; they were too recognizable. Yet he needed to get past, or he would remain in that accursed city forever, free in his soul but trapped in body.

His first thought had been the river, which entered Tar-Kyrul from the east, where he wanted to go, but then he saw the grating blocking passage for anything larger than a fish. So that wasn't going to work. Climbing the walls themselves was definitely out, of course. No, he would have to slip past the guards, somehow.

So he watched the gateway plaza, looking intent on his business as he crossed it, keeping up that facade. So intent was he that, when the answer finally came, it took him completely by surprise.

Stardreamer Manor / At the Golden Gala
« on: October 20, 2018, 11:10:16 PM »
October 20, 2018

While attending the Golden Gala, Phen and Ebon were walking by a little nook when she spied something shiny. Ever a gentleman, Ebon retrieved the object, which turned out to be one of the lucky golden eggs that indicated the Gala's prize winners, and they won the following prize:

A couples weekend retreat at Hotel Niseko, a traditional onsen ryokan set in the mountains above a small village of Kiyoshiyama, Yasuo and renowned for its natural hot springs. Family owned for three generations, the inn's owner Sachiko-san continued to uphold traditions set in motion by her grandmother 100 years earlier. To this day, the okami personally welcomes guests with a tea ceremony in the ryokan's garden of red maples, mountain cherries, and Karin pear trees.

The crowning feature of every Hotel Niseko suite is its own private hot-spring bath. On a cool evening, there is nothing more romantic than a hot soak on the balcony. Couples will also enjoy a farewell 2-hour full-body massage with special medicinal plants and herbs for a more personalized experience.

Community Events / Re: Mid-Autumn Festival: A Golden Gala
« on: October 20, 2018, 01:17:01 PM »
Ebon attended the Gala wearing a black vest, pants, and tie over a well-tailored red shirt.

He was going to wear something else, but then saw that Clayton was wearing almost the same outfit. True, Ebon probably wore it better, but why make a friend look bad?

Perhaps by way of apology for making him change outfits, Fate seemed to lead Ebon and Phen to a little nook where her quick eyes noticed something shiny, catching the light [i\just so[/i]. Retrieving the object, Ebon found that it was a small golden egg, which they were directed to take to the Gala's MC. It turned out to be a prize, in this case a romantic weekend for two at Hotel Niseko in Yasuo. Needless to say, plans would soon be made for a little vacation.

Stardreamer Manor / Re: Times Past: Origin
« on: October 04, 2018, 04:56:34 PM »
Then Ebon's eyes opened again, pinpoints of light burning like stars in his sockets. Ulara gasped as they stared back at her, and suddenly her mental grip on his throat was broken, the backlash sending needles of pain through her skull. "Aaah! Get him!"

Both of the Knives sprang into action, one of them striking q fighting pose as shimmering blades of psionic force sprouted from his arms while the other drew a sword and faded from sight once more. Ebon ducked beneath his more visible foe's attack, more out of reflex than thought, and then rolled as he sensed the physicality of the other man moving to strike. His awareness reached out and grabbed hold of his shrouded opponent, breaking the man's concentration on hiding himself. He suddenly reappeared in a reverse fade, hanging in mid-air for a moment before flying backwards, hard into the shop wall.

Ebon was looking desperately for an escape when suddenly a hazy mass appeared in his mind, approaching from behind. Turning, he caught a volley of gravel in the face, barely able to close his eyes before being blinded. Then a force blade cut into his shoulder, and he screamed in pain. Blood red tinged the edges of his vision for a moment and he just lashed out.

Barrels and crates throughout the alley rose from the ground and hurtled to and fro, shattering against side walls to spill their contents across the pavestones. Those selfsame contents joined in the chaos, mixing with wooden chips and loose stones pulled into the air. The Knife with the mind blades raised his arms and his weapons expanded into a shield, protecting him while at the same time anchoring him firmly to the ground. Ulara, warding off what she could with her own talents, managed to take shelter with him, eyes wide as platters in shock.

The other Knife wasn't so lucky. Stealth was useless in such chaos, and as he struggled to reach his comrade, the barrage of broken crates, shards of pottery, and rubble pummeled him mercilessly. He dropped to his knees, blood streaming from a myriad array of cuts on his face, and then a brick soared through the air to smash the man's nose into the back of his skull.

Screams sounded from the streets beyond the alley, but nobody dared approach the fight while the psi storm raged within the alley. Finally, though, it settled, leaving the scene looking like a tornado had passed through. For several seconds, the silence was broken only by the heavy panting of Ebon's breath as he stood there, hunched over with both hands on his knees.

As her servant dropped his mental shield, Ulara peered across at Ebon and then smirked, before suddenly glancing up, towards the rooftops. "We have to go. Now! Take him!" She turned and started towards the street while the Knife approached Ebon, psionic force extending into bands that wrapped around the youth, holding him fast.

"Gkk!" Hearing the unexpected sound, Ulara spun around to see her man and Ebon standing facing each other. The Knife still held his prey tightly, but his wide-eyed expression and gaping mouth made it clear that not all was well with him, while Ebon's face held a fierce, almost feral look. Then there was a crack and the Knife's neck just crumpled while his mental grip on Ebon vanished instantly before he crumpled to the ground.

The young man turned and looked at Ulara with those dark eyes of his, and an almost-predatory smile twisted his face. He took a step forward.

Ulara was not fool enough not to recognize when she was outmatched. She turned and ran.

For his part, Ebon stood there for a moment, watching her go, and then he gathered up the sack that he'd dropped when the encounter began and swiftly moved off in the opposite direction.

* * *

As the lad stepped out of the alley and hurried away, a hooded figure leaned out from the roof's edge above the alleyway. "The boy has strength, and the wit to know when to choose his battles and when to abandon them. Good." Then he dropped over the side, flipping in the air to land deftly on his feet, and headed after Ebon.

Stardreamer Manor / Re: Times Past: Origin
« on: October 04, 2018, 03:54:44 PM »
Quickly Ebon gathered up his sack and rushed to the top of the steps, pausing there to glance up and down the alley. He couldn't see anyone, couldn't hear anyone, and yet... somehow he knew they were there. Two figures moving approaching, one from either direction, and a third nearby. Just at the edge of his perception.

Why couldn't he see them?

Because they're shrouding my senses, he realized, as his skin tingled with sudden fright. He closed his eyes, struggling to contain the fear, to calm himself and find his strength as Astenyar had instructed him.

"Ebon," came a voice from the shadows, purring like a cat who has cornered its prey. "Pretty boy."

Upon hearing those words, all color drained from Ebon's face, leaving him as pale as the dead. Only one person had ever referred to him that way. "Ulara."

She stepped into view, lips curled into a smirk of wicked delight. As ever, she moved with the sinuous grace of a serpent, though her attire was far more subdued than it had been on that night years before. "You remember me! I am truly touched!" She reached out to him with both hands, almost entreating. "Do you remember how good it felt? My body against yoirs, skin upon skin?"

"...i remember..." Jet black eyes blinked, and the haunted expression on Ebon's face gave was to steely determination. "You used me, forced yourself on me! Treated me like your toy... aagh!" His words choked off mid-sentence as an invisible hand seemed to clamp around his throat.

"You are my toy, little boy! Mine to play with! Mine to command!" Ulara closed her right hand into a fist, and Ebon felt the force at his neck tightening. "You murdered the Kyrul, my kinsman!" Their eyes met, and triumph glimmered in hers. "I should thank you for that. I came through the purges stronger, and once I proved to the new Kyrul that I had no desire for his throne, I was able to secure a place in the court on my own merits, free of my uncle's shortsightedness or the shame of my father. So you have my thanks, Ebon... and believe me, I intend to enjoy rewarding you. You may even come to enjoy it as well... not that it matters." The tip of her tongue snaked across her lips. "Boys, hold him."

Even as she spoke, Ebon felt an almost-imperceptible shift in his mind, and then two men appeared, their shining chain tunics suddenly rustling in the moonlight. One of them turned to Ulara with a grin. "Can we get turns with him as well, mistress?"

"Why not?" she replied with a casual shrug. "Just be sure not to damage him too much for my pleasure."

The full truth of their intentions struck Ebon hard in that instant, and he writhed and twisted, unable to break the telekinetic hold on his throat. He closed his eyes, and within his mind, he heard his sister's quiet voice, calling to him. Open your mind, Ebon! Open!

The Shanachie Theater / Re:
« on: September 20, 2018, 10:09:36 PM »
[quote:4656a32487="Anthony De Luca"]Thanks, Josette! It was just a little impromptu scene that got away from us a little bit.[/quote]

Those can be some of the best scenes ever.  :D

RhyDin Election / Re: 2018 Gubernatorial Debate
« on: September 16, 2018, 12:02:44 PM »
Debate transcript, part 9 - On black magic women, and wrap-up

[2018-09-15 21:43:20] Ebon Ilnaren: "This comes from one of the viewers, sent online... There are organizations in this city teaching children to use firearms, fight in gangs, and use corrupting black magic. As governor, how would you address these troubling developments?"
[2018-09-15 21:46:54] Pharlen: Pharlen clearly didn't understand the question, as her kids were trained to use firearms, to fight in groups, and use any edge they could get their hands on. "I'm sorry, what is the question?"
[2018-09-15 21:47:36] Pharlen: She just lost the Pious vote, didn't she?
[2018-09-15 21:48:13] Ebon Ilnaren: Ebon smirked ever so slightly at Pharlen's answer.
[2018-09-15 21:48:29] Ebon Ilnaren: Maybe not so slightly.
[2018-09-15 21:48:56] Rhiannon Brock: "Having grown up as one of the children in city that learned to use arms at a very young age, I can attest to the fact that not all of those children are being encouraged to be a menace to the public at large. Many are being taught to defend themselves against those that would seek to harm or kill them. As for using corrupting or corrupted black magic, again, some children are taught the opposite. In all honesty, to fight against dark magic, you have to be able to recognize it in the first place."
[2018-09-15 21:51:12] Pharlen: "This ain't the garden of Eden," ironically quoted, "And one man's black magic is another's salvation. These kids have to learn to survive. We can't afford labels like good and evil around here. We can only afford one label, and that is RhyDian. We survive by reaching out to each other, and removing threats to our existence."
[2018-09-15 21:52:10] Rhiannon Brock: "My former step-father, Judas Lasher, was well versed in dark magic. He taught many young people how to recognize when it was being used to manipulate them and how to fight against it."
[2018-09-15 21:52:43] Rhiannon Brock: She held a hand up to high five Phar.
[2018-09-15 21:53:06] Pharlen: Rawk. She returned the five without missing a beat.
[2018-09-15 21:56:16] Rhiannon Brock: "My niece is fond of saying that she didn't choose magic, it chose her. It's up to her and every child like her to either learn to wield it or or be consumed by it."
[2018-09-15 21:58:00] Pharlen: And speaking of kids with boom booms and bad mojo... She lifted her head, adjusting her glasses, to see if that was all the questions.
[2018-09-15 21:58:45] Rhiannon Brock: "As an afterthought to Sard's previous query, dragon dung is an excellent and renewable fuel source."
[2018-09-15 21:59:46] Ebon Ilnaren: "I think I'm going to call it a night, as we've been at this for four hours now. I'd like to thank our candidates--including the two children--for coming tonight and speaking their minds. I would also like to thank all of you in the Hall for attending to hear and be heard, and to those viewing the broadcast, thank you as well! Let's give a hand for our candidates!" He led a round of applause for Pharlen and Rhi.

RhyDin Election / Re: 2018 Gubernatorial Debate
« on: September 16, 2018, 12:01:20 PM »
Debate transcript, part 8 - On dragon dung and other pollutants

[2018-09-15 21:14:22] Sard: A grunt accepts both responses. "Educational measures to propagate tolerance and understanding of other forms of employment and belief would be the most effective way to combat such persecution. I'll yield to someone else with questions, if there are any. Otherwise, I have another."
[2018-09-15 21:16:01] Ebon Ilnaren: He looked out at the audience expectantly, waiting to see if anyone else wanted a turn at the microphone.
[2018-09-15 21:17:51] Rhiannon Brock: She looked to Pharlen. "You can answer him first."
[2018-09-15 21:18:33] Pharlen: "It is getting late, darlings, and I do have to make sure the kids aren't experimenting with ampho without their father watching." she noted, but with an upturn of hand, indicated that Sard speak his question. She laughed softly to Rhi. "Oh, sure, make me think fast." A humorous wink, as well.
[2018-09-15 21:19:07] Ebon Ilnaren: "Ask your question, sir... last question of the night."
[2018-09-15 21:19:23] Rhiannon Brock: She grinned. "I like putting people in the hot seat. Ask Mom about that."
[2018-09-15 21:21:06] Sard: Inclining his head in query to Ebon - the man is the Moderator, after all! - the biker nods before turning back to the remaining two candidates. "How do you propose to move forward in addressing the pollution of land and waterways in, under, an around the city, particularly south of the city, where there is a large biological burden placed on the environment by the inflated draconic population? Incidentally, before you answer, the waste from such animals, when properly processed, makes an excellent fertilizer."
[2018-09-15 21:23:03] Pharlen: "Well, one of you she referred to as rocketbutt when they were in diapers," she lied in an undertone to Rhia, then turned to Sard. Then she smiled her best coyote sweet smile, "Why, I would consider hiring the person with the most interest in fertilizer, and set him to creating such a system which would clear up the issue. Sard."
[2018-09-15 21:24:34] Rhiannon Brock: Taking the remark with good humor, she chuckled and murmured to Pharlen, "Sounds like my sister, Nicole. She was born a firetamer."
[2018-09-15 21:27:42] Ebon Ilnaren: "Any final thoughts on that question, Rhi?"
[2018-09-15 21:28:12] Sard: A shudder of Sard's chest might be incomprehensible as amusement, to most of those that don't know him. There's no verbal component to his humor. Attention turning toward Rhiannon, the biker remains silent as he waits.
[2018-09-15 21:28:38] Rhiannon Brock: "To expand on Mrs. Von Tombs' ideas, there are plenty of places in need of fertilizer." She took a breath and held up a 'wait a sec' finger.
[2018-09-15 21:28:51] Pharlen: Snicker.
[2018-09-15 21:32:19] Rhiannon Brock: "Making the manure available to farmers, nurserymen, and places like the city's Botanical Garden would have a great many benefits and increase fresh fruit and vegetable production. As for the waterways, filtration systems are now in place near the new Dockside facilities. That is somewhat of a balancing act as pure water to some species is poisonous to others."
[2018-09-15 21:32:21] Sard: The Greenswarden waits. While doing so, he also unhooks his thermos to top up his coffee cup.
[2018-09-15 21:33:04] Pharlen: "And not everything that is dead needs to be decomposed," she added with a nod.
[2018-09-15 21:34:29] Rhiannon Brock: A nod to Pharlen and grin was flashed. "Exactly. I grew up on a horse farm, so shoveling that stuff should be on my resume."
[2018-09-15 21:35:33] Sard: A grunt accepts the answer, but Sard shakes his head. "That offers a viable and broadly beneficial outlet for the finished product, but it does not solve the problem of how to deal with the situation prior to processing the results of dealing with it. I would suggest giving it more consideration, as proper management of waste can not only prevent pollution before it happens, but remedy contamination that already has, before either becomes any more of a serious problem than it already is." Apparently, he's content enough with the answers, however, since the coffee cup gets lifted in acknowledgement of the two candidates before he takes a swallow.
[2018-09-15 21:36:04] Rhiannon Brock: She cleared her throat. "Bluntly?"
[2018-09-15 21:37:45] Rhiannon Brock: "I suggest that you speak with Icer and her family about options. Since her family is one of the largest bands of dragons in the city and likely responsible for a good percentage, they might have answers on how to get it under control."
[2018-09-15 21:37:53] Ebon Ilnaren: He glanced down at his podium. "I do have one last question submitted via social media, once you've answered that."
[2018-09-15 21:39:19] Sard: Another shudder vibrates the biker's chest, before he inclines his head toward Rhiannon. "That, would be the governor's job. I am merely a concerned private party." A nod yields the floor to Ebon again, as Sard settles into leaning on the wall.
[2018-09-15 21:40:01] Pharlen: "Yes?" she responded to Ebon, brows lifted.
[2018-09-15 21:40:29] Rhiannon Brock: "Fair enough. Your name is?" her question to Sard.
[2018-09-15 21:41:39] Sard: Glancing up again, the biker considers Rhiannon briefly, before answering. "Sard. Koralian Greenswarden." It's the only job description he offers - and the name doesn't come with a surname.
[2018-09-15 21:42:34] Rhiannon Brock: "Sard," she repeated quietly as she committed the name to memory. "What's the question, Ebon?"

RhyDin Election / Re: 2018 Gubernatorial Debate
« on: September 16, 2018, 11:59:07 AM »
Debate transcript, part 7 - On bedtimes and persecution

v[2018-09-15 20:55:47] Sard: "I have questions for candidates to answer. How do you intend to address the persecution of certain population factors by private-interest parties? This is not limited to the actions raising public decry against magical practitioners, though that is one facet. It can also address persecution of those who make their living via prostitution or gambling, by certain religious entities, and of religious entities, by other parties." Questions, yes. And not just one.
[2018-09-15 20:56:03] Rhiannon Brock: "Like Pharlen, I don't need a hitman to deal with that kind of thing. Second, the Watch has more important things to do than entertain people's whimsy."
[2018-09-15 20:56:08] Peter Radcliffe: "My frog made my jacket wet, and I need to use the loo," Peter said, unapologetically.
[2018-09-15 20:56:49] Peter Radcliffe: Peter didn't even know what that question meant. Too many big werds.
[2018-09-15 20:57:52] Sard: A responsibility of the office, none the less, in addressing public unrest rather than the legal implications.
[2018-09-15 20:58:01] Rhiannon Brock: "Perhaps, the children should be allowed to go now and their parents can help them address any questions via a statement later on?"
[2018-09-15 20:58:31] Lyneth Granger: Lyneth stared at the man who was speaking, blinking wearily. The Fae inside her answered, not the child. "You won't listen to anything Peter or I say," she said firmly. "You've been ignoring us all evening. You're just trying to make us look stupid because we're sleepy and we don't understand long words." Her mother murmured a warning from beside the podium, and Lyneth relaxed.
[2018-09-15 20:59:57] Sard: A brow flicks upward as he focuses on Rhiannon. "Are the parents running for office, then, rather than the children?" He glances toward the girl briefly, before tipping his head toward her mother and returning his attention to Rhiannon.
[2018-09-15 21:02:02] Rhiannon Brock: "And the young lady is correct in her questioning of your motives," it wasn't Rhi that spoke, but something older. "Adults have also been given leave to depart such meetings due to a variety of reasons and respond later,, they should be given the same courtesy."
[2018-09-15 21:02:53] Peter Radcliffe: "My Papa says the gov'nor doesn't have any real power. It's just a figger head."
[2018-09-15 21:04:04] Peter Radcliffe: "People have to work together to make Rhy'Din a better place." He turned to Ebon again. "Can we go now, please? It's past my bedtime."
[2018-09-15 21:04:29] Peter Radcliffe: Past both their bedtimes.
[2018-09-15 21:04:33] Sard: A snort sounds, before the biker settles his shoulder against the wall again. "I think that the child just did answer my question, actually. My motives are to gain answers, from the parties involved, rather than from outside advisers. Which leaves the remaining two candidates to answer." His head tips toward the Moderator next. "I believe the floor is still yours?"
[2018-09-15 21:05:49] Ebon Ilnaren: "Yes, you two can go."
[2018-09-15 21:07:00] Lyneth Granger: "Thank you, Mr. Ebony." Lyneth slid down from her chair, turning to the other candidates. "Thank you, Mrs. Pharlen, and Mrs. Timelord. Good luck." She wiggled her fingers sleepily in a goodbye wave, and sighed heavily, stumping toward her parents with Peter.
[2018-09-15 21:07:21] Peter Radcliffe: "Thank you, Mr. Ilnaren," Peter told the man. "It was nice meeting you!" he called over to the other candidates. He snagged Lyneth's hand so they could leave together, the same way they'd come.
[2018-09-15 21:08:25] Lyneth Granger: Peter's mother caught him before he got too far, lifting him up onto her hip as Lyneth raised her hands to her own father. It was a very late night for little people, but hey, at least they'd managed most of it, right?
[2018-09-15 21:08:44] Ebon Ilnaren: "Although I do have a quick question for you, Peter, from someone online. 'I like your frog. What's its name?' Lucy, wasn't it?"
[2018-09-15 21:09:17] Peter Radcliffe: "I hafta wee!" Peter was overheard exclaiming before someone thankfully, disconnected his mic. "It's LUCY!" He called back from his mother's arms.
[2018-09-15 21:10:05] Lyneth Granger: "Night!" Lyneth called from over her own father's shoulder, giggling sleepily as Peter was rushed out of the hall in the direction of the nearest toilets.
[2018-09-15 21:10:12] Peter Radcliffe: Lyneth's father hoisted Lyneth into his arms, likewise, and kissed her cheek, whispering how proud he was of her.
[2018-09-15 21:10:13] Rhiannon Brock: A mutter of 'Zip it, Zaphie,' might have been heard before her own response to Sard. "I, personally, cannot change the mindset of those that would behave as you describe. However, I believe that anyone taking part in industries like gambling and prostitution of their own free will should continue to do so without persecution. One might also address the problem of public servants like the Watch being taken to task for failing to respond to some crime in the city when those same people will also complain about the Watch being interfering busybodies. People shouldn't expect to have their cake and eat it, too."
[2018-09-15 21:11:46] Sard: The departure of the children is, indeed, ignored by the biker. Attention on Rhiannon again, he lifts a hand in a balancing gesture, offering neither approval nor disapproval of the response, before tipping his head toward Pharlen inquiringly.
[2018-09-15 21:12:36] Pharlen: "This is RhyDin. One of the hazards of living here is insanity," she replied, "However, we are not without the mental and physical resources to band together and bring pressure to bear on those who insist on using this place as their own personal shooting gallery. But again, because of the nature of the beast, creating shelters and safe avenues of escape would be more than helpful."

RhyDin Election / Re: 2018 Gubernatorial Debate
« on: September 16, 2018, 11:56:06 AM »
Debate transcript, part 6 - Who put out the hit?

[2018-09-15 20:43:37] Lyneth Granger: Lyneth beamed sleepily, slumping comfortably on her chair with her head on Peter's shoulder. It was nice to hear that everyone was so proud of having families.
[2018-09-15 20:44:53] Peter Radcliffe: Peter's head was drooping as he got sleepy, his fingers loosening their grip on the frog in his lap.
[2018-09-15 20:45:33] Peter Radcliffe: Peter's head lolled to bump and rest against Lyneth's.
[2018-09-15 20:45:48] Peter Radcliffe: It was way past the kids' bedtime.
[2018-09-15 20:46:48] Ebon Ilnaren: Nodding, Ebon turned to face the audience. "That's it for the pre-submitted questions. I will open the floor for anyone present to ask a question of one or multiple candidates. We are also taking questions from those viewing at home."
[2018-09-15 20:47:31] Ebon Ilnaren: "If anyone has questions specifically for Lyneth or Peter, please ask now, otherwise I think they're both ready for bed."
[2018-09-15 20:47:56] Rhiannon Brock: "Actually, I have a question for them."
[2018-09-15 20:48:29] Lyneth Granger: Lyneth made a supreme effort to rouse herself, lifting her head to blink curiously along the row of seats to Rhiannon.
[2018-09-15 20:49:25] Peter Radcliffe: Hearing his name mentioned, his head jerked back up, just in time to tuck Lucy away in his jacket so she wouldn't escape. He might be the boy who never wanted to grow up, but even Peter Pan needed to sleep sometimes!
[2018-09-15 20:50:00] Rhiannon Brock: "Peter and Lyneth, if you aren't elected Governor, would you be willing to work with whoever is elected to start new or expand on existing programs for children? No one knows the needs of children more than their peers."
[2018-09-15 20:50:25] Ebon Ilnaren: Then he looked down at his tablet and frowned, speaking softly but loud enough to be picked up by the microphone. "'Which one of you put out the hit on your fellow candidate and used the watch to cover it up?' What the...?"
[2018-09-15 20:51:20] Peter Radcliffe: Peter looked from Rhiannon to Ebon, unsure which question he was expected to answer first.
[2018-09-15 20:51:37] Lyneth Granger: Stifling another yawn, Lyneth smiled happily at Rhiannon. "If my Mummy and Daddy say I can, I would," she nodded easily. She'd completely missed Ebon's mutter.
[2018-09-15 20:52:20] Rhiannon Brock: "Good." She smiled to Lyneth.
[2018-09-15 20:53:06] Peter Radcliffe: "I would, too, and I haven't hit anyone," he said, the last bit a little defensively to Ebon.
[2018-09-15 20:53:31] Peter Radcliffe: "Papa!" he called, getting up from his chair. "Is it time to go home yet?"
[2018-09-15 20:53:40] Ebon Ilnaren: He looked at the candidates. "Never mind that question from me."
[2018-09-15 20:54:06] Rhiannon Brock: Another smile to Peter followed by a blink at Ebon then she laughed. "Oh, please, I'd like to answer that one!"
[2018-09-15 20:54:18] Pharlen: "Don't look at me, I can handle my own hits," she remarked drolly, sipping at her coffee.
[2018-09-15 20:54:59] Lyneth Granger: The parents were advancing as discreetly as possible from the back of the hall, just waiting for the nod to say the children were released for the evening.
[2018-09-15 20:55:11] Peter Radcliffe: "Can we go now, Mr. Used-to-Be Gov'nor?" he asked Ebon.

RhyDin Election / Re: 2018 Gubernatorial Debate
« on: September 16, 2018, 11:53:52 AM »
Debate transcript, part 5 - On councils and achievements

[2018-09-15 20:05:51] Ebon Ilnaren: "Moving on to the next question... Do you have any plans to reinstate the Advisory Council, or have similar opportunities for public discourse?"
[2018-09-15 20:06:17] Rhiannon Brock: "Some people don't think those rules apply to them, Peter. That's when things go crazy." A little smile was given to the lad then Ebon had her attention.
[2018-09-15 20:07:05] Ebon Ilnaren: "Pharlen first, the the kids, then Rhi."
[2018-09-15 20:07:45] Peter Radcliffe: Peter whispered something to Lyneth, quiet enough that the microphone didn't pick it up.
[2018-09-15 20:08:32] Pharlen: "I didn't know it had been uninstated. I would instate that as soon as may be done, given the opportunity and people. This is a realm that needs diversity simply to exist."
[2018-09-15 20:08:48] Lyneth Granger: Lyneth, finally getting the hang of this thing, put her hand over the microphone as she whispered back to Peter.
[2018-09-15 20:13:33] Ebon Ilnaren: He nodded at Pharlen's reply, then looked to the children. "Lyneth, Peter, your thoughts?"
[2018-09-15 20:15:42] Peter Radcliffe: Having asked Lyneth what that question meant, he looked a little more confident of his reply. "I think if people wanna help, they should help. The more people that help, the more that gets done. We gots a lot of ideas, but we can't do everything! We're just kids. We will need help." That was a yes for reinstating the Advisory Council.
[2018-09-15 20:16:23] Peter Radcliffe: He looked to Lyneth expectantly to add to that.
[2018-09-15 20:17:13] Lyneth Granger: "And, and ... I 'member when my cousin Caroline was on it, and it was all late nights, and we can't really do late nights because we're little," Lyneth added. "So it would have to happen, like, straight after school for us." She nodded firmly. "Or we could have a Kid's Council. That would be more fun."
[2018-09-15 20:18:26] Peter Radcliffe: Peter practically crowed, laughing. "That would be fun!" Not very practical maybe, but fun. Then again, their platform was based on fun.
[2018-09-15 20:18:59] Peter Radcliffe: Or partly on fun, anyway.
[2018-09-15 20:21:33] Peter Radcliffe: "And we can have ice cream at every meeting!" he added quickly. Now he was done.
[2018-09-15 20:22:47] Ebon Ilnaren: "Rhi, do you have an answer?"
[2018-09-15 20:23:29] Rhiannon Brock: "Ice cream." A smile flickered then she was serious again. "I'd like to make use of the local media to connect with the citizens at large. While I am unsure of whether or not I would have formal council in place, I am not nor have I ever been unwilling to listen to other people's ideas. You never know when someone has a better idea to accomplish a task. Some of the ones I have heard today are very good and would blend well with my own."
[2018-09-15 20:24:28] Rhiannon Brock: As had become her custom, she nodded at the end.
[2018-09-15 20:24:55] Peter Radcliffe: Peter yawned. It was starting to get close to his bedtime, though he'd never admit it.
[2018-09-15 20:26:06] Lyneth Granger: Peter's yawn set off Lyneth, the little girl blinking owlishly as she watched and listened.
[2018-09-15 20:26:16] Ebon Ilnaren: "Excellent. Last of the pre-submitted questions... What personal or professional achievement are you most proud of, and why?"
[2018-09-15 20:27:52] Ebon Ilnaren: "Lyneth and Peter first, then Rhi, then Pharlen."
[2018-09-15 20:29:28] Lyneth Granger: Lyneth beamed, despite the fact that she was rubbing her eyes. "The bestest thing what I ever did was making my Mummy and Daddy get married so my Daddy could adopt me, because I got a whole fambly and a little brother and a little sister, and a dog, and a Kneazle, and lots of friends out of it," she declared. "And I kicked the bad daddy in the fork."
[2018-09-15 20:31:18] Ebon Ilnaren: Ebon looked impressed with that recital of events, particularly the last one. "Peter?:
[2018-09-15 20:31:32] Pharlen: Pale gaze honed in on Sard. Her sense of smell was keen, and he was dangling bait. But she was stronger than her love of the bean, and remained quietly waiting her turn.
[2018-09-15 20:32:26] Peter Radcliffe: Peter blinked out of his sudden sleepiness. "What was the question again?" he asked, before remembering. "Oh, yeah! What am I most proud of?" Normally, he would have had a very conceited answer to that, but something made him decide to give them a more serious and honest answer - probably Lyneth's answer. He nodded in agreement, though he didn't know much about the bad daddy. "I'm most proud of my family and my friends. I'm proud to be Lynnie's BFF, and I'm proud of my Mom and my baby sister Cora and my fairy friend Snow and my dog, and my frog Lucy, and especially of my Dad because he's not a pirate no more and he's the best Dad in the whole multiverse! And I can crow!" And he went on to demonstrate that, just for good measure.
[2018-09-15 20:33:45] Lyneth Granger: At the back of the hall, Peter's mother nudged Lyneth's father and murmured, "Well, at least no one mentioned your winkie."
[2018-09-15 20:34:31] Peter Radcliffe: Lyneth's father only cringed and hoped no one overheard that.
[2018-09-15 20:35:49] Ebon Ilnaren: "Rhiannon?"
[2018-09-15 20:36:25] Rhiannon Brock: "What I'm most proud of is the life my husband and I have built together and of the family we are raising. A wise Terran woman once said, 'If you bungle raising your children, I don't think whatever else you do matters very much.' " A tender smile was sent Eregor's way when she finished speaking.
[2018-09-15 20:39:08] Ebon Ilnaren: Smiling, he looked to Pharlen for her answer.
[2018-09-15 20:42:19] Ebon Ilnaren: She seemed to be distracted by distant coffee, however.
[2018-09-15 20:42:30] Pharlen: Coffee. She swept that up elegantly and drank, her brows quirking as she straightened. Her turn, yes, no? Yes. She inclined her head, gracious. "I am a Firetaker, and never have I cringed back from my duty, no matter what the cost. However, upon finding this reality, I found a place where I may bring those souls who must be taken from their lives on Earth. They no longer need perish for their brilliance. This place provides haven. This is one of my finest of achievements, yes yes. Other than that, keeping my kids and husband alive and happy is a close second." And if one knew her husband and kids, well. There you go.

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