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Of Limescale and Pearls

The realms where magic is the most prevalent. These are the realms of traditional fantasy but includes any setting where magic is the primary focus. Examples: LotR, Harry Potter, Dresden Files.

Moderators: Darkblade, Georgeanna

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dinthalion
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Re: Of Limescale and Pearls

Post by dinthalion » Wed Oct 11, 2017 2:30 am

Anelise heard the thud. It woke her from a restless sleep. She listened for the sound of animals or of any other danger but she heard none. Instead she heard birds, she could see the sunlight. Cautiously she got up to investigate, hope rising. she was confused at first to see the satchel, she opened it to investigate the contents. Seeing the meat and cheese she realized how hungry she was. She took the food back inside to eat some and thought about what this meant. Someone had brought that food, that meant she wasn't alone, she was being guarded. It made her feel even more uneasy to realize someone she couldn't see was watching her. but it also meant this bandit wasn't working alone, her heart sunk, that likely meant there was some form of organization to all this.

As she nibbled on a piece of cheese though she began to see the bright side. Maybe it was just one person, if they weren't the leader they would be easier to persuade. She touched the pearl necklace still around her neck and thought of the bracelet she'd tucked in her stocking knowing they would help her sway this second captor to her side.

And so she made her way outside and began to look around.

"Who's there?" she called out. "I just want to talk to you. Please!"

She tried a few times with no reply. Finally though she had an idea, surely her guard would get in trouble if she escaped. He would have to reveal himself if she tried to run away. With sore legs and slippers almost worn through she began to make her way into the forest, her heart beating fast.

"Help me! Someone help me!" she called.
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Re: Of Limescale and Pearls

Post by Madrigal » Thu Nov 02, 2017 1:17 pm

From his perch in the gutted attic overhead, just out of sight of the princess, Arion smiled contentedly to himself. Things had been going well since he had escaped with the princess. Not quite as well as he might have hoped, granted. She still seemed dismissive and disrespectful of him, a major liability if he was going to trade her for his lost treasure. Leaving her stranded here for two days was a stroke of genius. A chance for her to kick her heels and consider her situation, far from anyone who might rescue her. Of course, she was not alone out here. Far from it. It wouldn't do if she were to try to set out on her own, or if one of the many predators in the forests here decided she would make a nice snack. He had been seated up here, keeping a silent vigil on the girl. After making his way into the forest, he had looped back and silently climbed his way up into the rafters overhead from the outside. Good thing he had--those wolves from the night before had come closer than they had ever before. Fortunately, a sharp cry on his flute was enough to spook them. The cry of the griffin was a terrifying sound to most predators, though the chimera he had found on his morning scout around the house would think little of it. Fortunately, the animal seemed more interested in migrating than hunting, and would probably pass through the woods by nightfall. And then he could be on his way.. Yes, it was almost time. All he had to do was wait and...

Arion felt his blood run cold as a new sound reached his ears. Oh no. Nonono--the dumb blueblood wasn't making a run for it! He sat up swiftly, running and leaping from the hut before landing on the ground. The ungrateful brat, running like that. He had even given up the last of his food for her. But there was no way he was letting her go. This was the only way he would see his little treasure again! He wasn't going to let her be eaten.

"Hey! Stop!"

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Re: Of Limescale and Pearls

Post by dinthalion » Sat Nov 04, 2017 2:20 am

Anelise didn't recognize the voice for sure. She had a decision to make. Should she keep running or try to persuade him herself? But fear and panic made the decision for her.

"Help me!" she cried running blindly. But she didn't make it far before she fell to the ground. He skirts had been caught in brambles. She felt them scrape at her hands and arms as she tried to rip them off. She realized then that she couldn't get away. She was going to have to try her powers, try to persuade him.

She looked up, disappointed to see it was her original captor. Still maybe if she concentrated she could sway him.

"Let's make a deal." she said with as much authority as she could muster. She felt the pearls against her skin drawing power from them to seem more honest, innocent and persuasive. She didn't know much about him to use to manipulate him but she was sure he was greedy, most people were. "You want a ransom right? If you bring me back right now, I'll tell my sister you rescued me. You'll get the ransom as a reward plus a title, land, a beautiful wife. Anything, all you have to do is bring me home and I'll make sure you get it."
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Re: Of Limescale and Pearls

Post by Madrigal » Mon Nov 20, 2017 4:33 am

He stopped at the edge of the glade behind her. His eyes rested on hers, lingering on her gaze. Her words, sweetened as much as they could be by magic, drifted through the open air of the trees, with only the songs of the birds overhead to distract them. As she finished speaking, he stepped slowly, silently forward. His motions were casual. Unthreatening as he strolled through the high grass and flowers in the center of the glade. The thief came to a stop directly in front of her, his eyes showing a glimmer of temptation. Then, it vanished, replaced by an unbowed will.

"Nice try." Something clicked at her side, cool metal surrounding her wrist. Her captor had fastened a manacle around her left arm. The iron chain hung low, connected to her wrist...and that of her captor. He gazed sternly down at the Princess. "Since you can't be trusted on your own, I'll be keeping you handcuffed to me. Now, follow me. And keep up."

He turned, strolling back towards the house, the chain rattling behind them. After picking up the satchel he had dropped for her and swinging it over one shoulder, Arion began walking down the road, his young captive following after him. The road continued for perhaps two miles until at last they came to a broad stream. Rushing water navigated its way between high rocks, amid the tumbled ruins of a forgotten bridge. As they approached however, Annelise could see that in the lee of one of these rocks was a small boat. Arion climbed over one boulder, before he extended his arm to help her into the boat.

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Re: Of Limescale and Pearls

Post by dinthalion » Wed Nov 29, 2017 3:32 am

Anelise did not back away as he came near despite her fear. She had to keep up the act and at first she thought she had won. But then she found herself chained and she felt her heart sink.



“I can’t walk.” She protested. “You said you were getting a coach.”



But she had no choice but to walk or be dragged. As they went she lagged behind him, at least as much as she could. Though he slowed his pace it was difficult for her to keep up. Her back ached and her legs burned and her feet bled. She stumbled a few times. There were tears in her eyes from the pain, the frustration and the humiliation.



When they got to the river at first she refused to follow him in.



“No.” she told him but she relented with very little prodding when she realized the boat had benches. She turned away from him as she sat, not letting him see the tears she was crying and trying to keep from making a sound.
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Re: Of Limescale and Pearls

Post by Madrigal » Thu Jan 18, 2018 2:37 pm

Arion led her gently down the rocky shore down to the boat. Her hand rested in his, as he helped her over the rough terrain until she could feel the wood beneath her feet. He pulled in the rope, before taking a seat and started rowing. The boat moved smoothly across the rapidly flowing waters, creaking as he rowed. The sun shone through the green leaves overhead, and flower petals floated gently down towards them. Birdsong filled the woods on either side. Arion was silent, continuing to row for a time, until some time had passed.

"Have you ever heard a wild songbird?"

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Re: Of Limescale and Pearls

Post by dinthalion » Thu Feb 08, 2018 11:38 am

Annelise ignored him at first. She stared out at the water avoiding looking at him. Instead she admired the colors of the dying flower petals. She was crying quietly hoping he didn’t see. Finally she regarded him for a moment.

“I’ve seen birds before.” She told him before turning back away. But his words made her more aware of the sounds around her. The wild songs too loud and too chaotic but somehow still beautiful. She thought of the songbirds at the castle, some in cages inside, those she’d paid little attention too. She though of the sound birds in the garden where she’d sat with her needlework on nice days. The colors of the hummingbirds checking the flowers in full bloom in ornamental and organized arrangements. She felt the tears come harder as she realized she might never see them again.
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Re: Of Limescale and Pearls

Post by Madrigal » Sun Feb 18, 2018 12:12 pm

"That's not what I asked."

The thief stowed the oars, placing them inside the boat before he swung his legs out over the side. One boot rested along the surface of the water, idly dipping now and again to leave a wake in the otherwise still water. His other leg rested beside it. Overhead, they could hear the birds--finches, cardinals and others--chirping and calling among themselves. Arion raised his head to the foliage, giving a whistle up towards them. His cry, a perfect imitation of one of the birds above their heads. One of them, perhaps hoping to have found a mate, sang out again. Arion returned the call, note for note. A gold finch with a bright yellow chest and black wings glided down to one of the branches nearby. A small thing, with ruffled feathers and a lean belly. But his eyes had a strange brightness to it, and its movements were quick and lively. Showing an energy and life seldom seen at the palace. The thief raised one finger, pointing to the creature, who was moving her head from side to side as she watched the two.

"That's a gold finch. I'm guessing you have them back at your palace. They might look similar, but they're very different creatures. The songbirds kept by your sister? They are forced to sing just to live. If one is too old or sick to sing, they are released into the wild to survive on their own. But how can they? They live in a cage. They can see the sky, but they cannot fly, and have been fed by hand since the day they hatched. That bird there? She has never seen the inside of a cage. The only limit it knows is the Aether at the very edge of the blue sky. It sings at the command of no one. It sings when it wishes, where it wishes. If you forced it into a cage, it would die. It belongs to the sky, the same way your songbirds belong to their cage. One is free, the other is a slave."

The bird, discontent at the lack of song, gave a chirp before it took flight, flapping up into the trees overhead. Arion watched it fly for a moment, almost enviously, before his arms folded his arms behind his head. One eye glancing over her face. "I can call another one, if you want to hear it sing."

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Re: Of Limescale and Pearls

Post by dinthalion » Fri Mar 02, 2018 11:53 am

"What do you know about her birds or where they live or how they sing?" Annelise demanded before bursting into tears, "What do you know about anything?"

She turned away. But it was too late to save her pride and hide her tears. She wasn't even sure it was worth trying to be proud anymore so she just let the tears flow, frustration, fear, anger, despair. She looked at the wildflowers on the bank through her tears but she let herself sob, ugly unladylike tears that her sister would have rebuked her for. She was a Faulk, she wasn't supposed to show weakness, especially not to a man. But she didn't care, she couldn't help it. Besides, he was the only one here to see her.

"Has Teresse paid the ransom yet?" she asked desperately, "Please, let me go when she does."

"I want to go home." she sobbed.
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Re: Of Limescale and Pearls

Post by Madrigal » Tue Mar 13, 2018 11:57 am

The thief was silent. Simply watching the princess sob. Neither joy nor regret drifted across his face. His words were cutting. Calculated. Cruel, he knew. But he wanted to open the eyes of his unfortunate hostage. While he spoke of birds in her family's palace, he was not thinking of songbirds and feathered pets. A different, fairer creature was on his mind. He was silent and still as she asked her question. Arion's eyes drew away, looking down at the gentle rippling water beneath him. This had been a simple job when he first envisioned it. Kidnap, hide, ransom, flee. Clean and surgical. Risky, daring and more than a little fun. Now though...

"Not yet. She's probably still assembling the money, Princess."

Arion was silent, save for the dipping of his oar. Not that there was much cause for him to find a distraction to cover his quiet. The trees overhead were alive with animal calls. On the bank of the bright and verdant river, a pair of deer--a doe and a stag--paused by the languid surface of the river. Paying neither the thief nor his prize any attention as they inclined their head to enjoy a morning drink. Arion's eyes turned back to his captive, only mourning on his face as she looked away. Then, he raised his head, and pursed his lips before letting an elegant and cheery whistle escape him. A flutter of bright red feathers came down from the trees, as a robin with a bright red head and breast landed on the brim of the boat. The little creature hoped forward intrepidly, before turning its brown eyes up to the weeping princess.

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Re: Of Limescale and Pearls

Post by dinthalion » Thu Apr 05, 2018 1:37 am

Annelise dropped her head. How long could it really take to get the money together? They sat in silence as her tears subsided. She watched the doe and stag peacefully drank water. It was as if they didn’t have a worry or care like they were just out for a stroll. The birds flew around above singing and darting as if no one expected anything of them like they didn’t care what anyone thought. She had never felt like that, never felt like she wasn’t being watched never felt free to act and speak as she wanted without the boundaries and responsibilities of other’s expectations, of social conventions and the obligations of her position.



Then he called the bird. Or it seemed like he called it. She remembered the unicorn. She watched the bird for a moment. She had to wonder if he had some kind of magic. It reminded her too of the pearl in her sock, of her own abilities. Maybe she could use them to escape. If he had his own powers she'd have to be careful. And getting to know him better, learning who he was, what he wanted, that could only help her.



But she couldn't help but ask, "How do you call the animals like that?"
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Re: Of Limescale and Pearls

Post by Madrigal » Tue Apr 24, 2018 1:08 pm

"I use my voice. Like this."

He repeated the call, as rich and sweet as any bird's song. The colorful melody echoed along the forested river, echoing off the trees here and reverberating far and wide. The thief's eyes gazed up into the branches overhead, watching the leaves shift in the wind. Several moments passed. Then, they could see it. A small, brightly colored bird, alighting on a flowering branch. The thief smiled knowingly at the figure in the tree, before he let go of the oar and strolled to the front of the boat, crouching down beside Annelise. "Its all in your throat. Here, watch."

Arion whistled again. Though it was less of a whistle and more of an exhale. A slow, long breath as he displayed his own peculiar brand of magic. There was more to it than one thought. You had to hold your head just right, crook one's lips just right and move your throat perfectly. He doubted she would get it right away. But hey, she seemed to like the trick. Maybe she would find it as useful as he did one day. As he finished his demonstration, he offered an encouraging gesture before he spoke again. "Your turn to try."

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Re: Of Limescale and Pearls

Post by dinthalion » Thu May 03, 2018 2:08 am

Your turn to try Annelise felt her pride prickle. He was asking her to do something he knew she wouldn't be able to do. He wanted to mock her, to try to feel superior. She didn't want to try, didn't want to give him the pleasure of seeing her fail. But it would be in her best interest to gain his trust and to look innocent and harmless. If he had magic of his own it would make her subtle powers more difficult to use so it would be more important to build a foundation now.

She was stiff, she knew she would look silly, childish and unrefined. Annelise hesitated before putting her lips together and trying to imitate him. Some air hissed out but not even a whistle. She tried again. She looked up into the trees, trying to relax, trying to calm herself.

------------

Falk Palace

"There will be no ransom paid." Therese Falk told the small band of advisors gathered around her, "we cannot show weakness. The princess must be rescued, I will not change my mind on that."

"My queen, its your own sister. And we haven't found a trace of her." one of the men whispered, "No one would call you weak if you took the chance and paid, we could lay an ambush..."

Therese shook her head, "they think because I am a woman my emotions will get the best of me, they think they can manipulate me. I need to show strength or the kingdom will crumble. I will not give in to bandits demands, even for my sister. Instead we will find her and destroy them."
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Re: Of Limescale and Pearls

Post by Madrigal » Tue May 22, 2018 12:45 pm

"Nah, you're too rigid."

The boat shifted underneath them as the man stepped beside her, crouching down beside her. He paid her no heed, though he had his seat beside Annelise. He pursed his lips as he showed her, setting two fingers to his lips before he gave another whistle. Soft and sharp. As perfect as any wild bird of the free sky. No bird flew down this time, though as he whistled she could see the heads of many birds, lifting in surprise and curiosity at the sound. He lowered his lips, before turning his face to her, letting her get a look at loose, free flowing neck-length hair, sharp defined features and clouded eyes concealed by a carefree look. "Give it another try. No one gets it right at first."

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Re: Of Limescale and Pearls

Post by dinthalion » Thu May 31, 2018 3:04 am

Annelise stiffened more, instinctively trying to draw away as the thief neared her. She could feel the anger of injured pride well up as he corrected her. As if he had any right. But she fought it back. Anger and pride would do her little good here. She looked at him a moment, for the first time almost seeing a human being instead of a monster. But then she looked up at the birds. She focused on them, trying to relax. She imagined she was in fountain garden, the sound of water, the birds in the colorful, yet ordered shrubbery, a place where she could have anything changed simply by giving the command. She felt the warmth of the sun on her face and closed her eyes. She remembered as a child sitting in the sun as her stepmother patiently taught her to embroider. Then she had felt no anger at being corrected, she had not feared failure at what was then a daunting task.



Keeping her eyes closed she lowered her head. This time a high pitched but breathy whistle sounded from between her lips. Then she giggled silently, ladies weren’t supposed to whistle. When she opened her eyes though her face held the same stoic gaze she had tried to maintain the whole time.
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Re: Of Limescale and Pearls

Post by Madrigal » Wed Jun 13, 2018 12:04 pm

As the whistle escaped her, they could see a flash of color in the foliage above. A robin, breast as red as blood, drifted down from the trees, perching on a branch far above, much further than the thief's whistles. The creature paused, turning its head this way and then that, as though in confusion. For his part, he just nodded. Despite the shift on her face, her companion didn't seem to notice. He turned his face to her, giving Annelise a sidelong smile, the wind gently lifting the bangs of his hair. He said nothing at first, simply remaining crouched beside her at first. Though one could tell from his gaze that the look on his face was an approving one. "There you go, nice one."

The thief stood up, worn boots padding against the wooden floor of the boat as he strolled to the mast. He leaned forward, peering inside a compartment beneath the helmsman's seat. When he rose, it was with something in his hand. An apple sat between his fourth and fifth finger, clenched tightly in place. Between his thumb, ring and middle finger was a packet of dried and clean leaves, wrapped by a tight wrapping of twine. Between these leaves, she would see a hint of rough peasant bread. And with it, fresh meat and dried cheese. In his other hand was loosely clutched a bottle sealed with a cork. The clear glass marked by the dark green tint of tea. The man extended his arm to just over the princess's hands, before dropping the sandwich and apple into them. "Here. Eat up. We've a way to go before we get there. You'll have plenty of time to practice later."

He stood, trooping back to the other side of the boat before having a seat by the rudder. Arion leaned back, settling into the seat as his eyes drifted over the shoreline. Up ahead, the bushes clung close to the water beneath the shadows of the trees, their flowering blossoms glowing in the faint sunlight from overhead. Lilypads coated the river in patches beneath gaps in the foliage, pure white flowers basking on the surface of the gently rippling water.

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Re: Of Limescale and Pearls

Post by dinthalion » Tue Jun 19, 2018 3:58 am

Annelise watched him hand her the food. She couldn't help but scowl a little, but she was hungry. She watched him sit back down before finally turning to her food. Her wrist felt heavy with the chain on it as she lifted the sandwich to her lips. the bread was dry and hard. She ate without complaint though. It dawned on her that she'd never really appreciated the food she'd always had. There was always a good meal waiting for her at the appointed times, and as a child all she had to do to get a snack was demand it. The only time there had really ever been any uncertainty was when she was in hiding after their father's death while Terese fought to secure her place. And even then Julia had seen to it that she always got the best of the food.

She thought about Julia, how she'd said she was a prisoner, how she wasn't allowed to leave even to see her family. Annelise had never really realized how painful that was. She felt a stab of guilt in her heart as she ate the apple staring out at the wildflowers along the bank. She remembered as a child picking a random assortment of flowers from the garden to give to her father. She'd been scolded for making a mess and he'd promptly given them to a servant to dispose of. She thought if she reached out and picked a bouquet of these lilly's no one would mind. but there would be no one to give it to.

The swaying of the boat was relaxing in a way and she was so exhausted. She felt her eyes start to close and she allowed herself to drift into a light sleep.
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Re: Of Limescale and Pearls

Post by Madrigal » Mon Jul 09, 2018 11:42 am

At first, Arion's attention remained on the boat. Though the surface of the river appeared placid and its surroundings serene, he knew well enough that there were rocks and undercurrents enough to bring their trip to a sudden end if he ignored them. Then, his eyes drifted down to the princess. Asleep upon the deck. He watched her for a moment. She had such a fine upbringing. A life of prestige, wealth and privilege. One that any child might envy. How did she ever bear the boredom of it all? A gilded cage for one.

A single muted laugh came to his lips at that thought, before he turned his eyes back to the river. It was perhaps twenty minutes later, that he saw it ahead. The old dock, in the shadow of a decrepit temple along the river. Taking the rudder in hand, he maneuvered his small craft towards it. He threw out his line, tying it to the dock before turning back to his prize. He was about to wake her up, when his eyes fell on her. He stopped from where he had crouched and reached for her, and retracted his hand. His eyes flitted to a blanket, lining the basket he had pulled the food from. Reaching over, he pulled the blanket from the basket. It was a warm day, but her dress was scant protection against the wind that rose now and again. Draping the blanket over her shoulders, Arion watched her for a moment more, before standing and strolling to the stairs from the dock to the temple above. Leaning against one of the supports for the dock, he drew his flute from inside his shirt, and began to play a simple peasant's song in a soft, low tone.

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Re: Of Limescale and Pearls

Post by dinthalion » Thu Jul 19, 2018 3:42 am

Annelise woke gently when the blanket was placed upon her. But she didn't stir. She lay there a little longer. She could feel they were stopped and it scared her a little. Soon she heard him start to play. It was humble and simple, not like the music she was used to. She had always loved music though. She listened a little while letting the melody mixed with the wind through the trees relax her.

Finally she opened her eyes. They were docked at some kind of ruin. She looked around slowly. Cautiously she sat up. She looked at him again. How could this all be so casual to him? He didn't seem like the villains in stories. There was no anger or violence. He seemed almost mirthful. She figured he'd never done any honest work in his life, never had any responsibility, maybe that made for a carefree life. A life without the weight of expectations and constant attention, she wondered what that was like.

Finally she made her way tot he front of the boat, slowly and cautiously.

"May I get out?" she asked him.
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Re: Of Limescale and Pearls

Post by Madrigal » Mon Aug 13, 2018 10:17 am

The tune on his flute came to an abrupt halt, replaced by a shrill note from the device. Yet somehow she could tell he was not angry or surprised. Something in his poise and posture hinted that this was just a test. A subtle probe to learn more about the Princess. To what end, it was hard to be sure. In either case, he simply pushed himself from the dock support, strolled to by where the princess was sitting in the boat, and offered her his hand. The palm and fingers looked coarse. The hands of someone who didn't know an easy life. But his fingers had a marvelous flexibility about them, hinting at his skill with a flute. Or perhaps with a knife. Yet his face remained. Not calm, but carefree.

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