Isirion

The Bloodline of Torch

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Isirion's grin was probably- no, it absolutely was the most unwelcome sight Drake could have been met with. The added vagueness of his answers only added insult to injury. At least she knew she was most likely safe? Not that that knowledge had really been a priority to her; she'd just wanted a better grasp on the situation itself regardless of her involvement, but it was clear she wasn't getting that. Fine. She just wouldn't get involved then. Because if Isirion didn't want to tell her anything more, it wasn't her fault if someone got killed. Somewhat reflecting the displeasure within, her expression didn't change much from when she'd first asked her questions. She sighed into her response, saying, "I'll keep that in mind."
Walking off Drake didn't hesitate to ensure Taellonn was following by gripping his wing and pulling him along. She isolated herself and him against a wall, pulling his wing into sort of a shielding curtain, which he kept in place even when Drake let go. Drake didn't say anything after establishing Taellonn's wing-wall so he took it upon himself to quietly inquire, "What now?" She crossed her arms and started tapping her heel enough to be noticeable to Taellonn but not obnoxious. "I'm just waiting now for... Something, I don't know- but I'm still restless as hell with everything going on." Taellonn folded in his wing, enduring a glare. "I can tell. Give yourself a moment to relax, at least. It'll do you go- stop it, I didn't move my wing just for you to glance around like that..."  His requests fell flat as Drake didn't relax and remained vigilant. The majority of her attention was on the green-haired stranger, trying to gather what she could from visuals alone. Drake wasn't intimidated by her beyond simply being unaware of her intentions; the knife wasn't a big deal (after all, who wouldn't carry a weapon in these circumstances?) and the White Dragon with the woman certainly left Drake with a positive impression. Still, paranoia from Leon and Spienz's earlier "betrayal" kept Drake from being comfortable with any assumptions she made. She leaned against the wall and motioned for Taellonn to move slightly so that she could keep Isirion in sight from this angle. Though now, Drake mostly looked to the green-haired woman, analyzing her and trying not to be caught staring as she pondered (with an irrational and unfocused mind, no less) what to make of her. 

Edited by Drakessis

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Alzira was concentrated on her training and so was Susurro. Sappo had gotten a little bored after a while and so he took a nap on the White Dragon's back, although most of the time one of his eyes was open and scanned the area. That's why he noticed the arrival of Drake and her dragon as soon as she entered the room. Sappo liked to think of Drake and Isirion as two predators who weren't sure what to think of each other because they watched each other rather suspiciously and seemed tense. As long as they left Alzira and her dragons at peace the little drag didn't mind too much. After a short conversation the woman and her dragon went to a side of the wall, watching Alzira. Sappo was curious what interested her so much that he left his place and slid carefully into the shadows. From there he tried to observe her intently and step by step he moved closer.

 

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Taellonn's view of the arena was better than Drake's. Beyond the basic dragon-human difference he was the giving the whole room a look over instead of just focusing on one area. So, it only really made sense that he saw a pygmy sneaking up in the darkness when Drake didn't. Something about the pygmy was familiar but he couldn't quite place it; was it one of the city's? If it was, it didn't seem to have much business creeping up on them. Maybe it wasn't- after all most pygmies really seemed to look the same after a while to Taellonn. He decided to temporarily ignore it and try to reason with Drake again now that some time had passed. The concern and quiet of his voice seemed to match as he asked, "Are you done staring? Someone is going to notice, and I wouldn't want to be you when that happens. Can you at least take a break to relax? I can understand why you wouldn't want to sleep here but at some point you need some amount of rest..." Drake tried ignoring him at first, but hearing the indicating inhale of further conversation changed her mind. She took a moment to look away from the green-haired woman and to Taellonn instead. "If someone noticed I'd know by now." Out of either paranoia or to prove a point she looked around. "It looks like I'm clear. And, look, I'll 'relax' when I've got the security to." Taellonn didn't bother to question how she had the security to not worry about being caught staring but lacked the security to rest, and decided he'd point out his finding instead. "Well, someone noticed you." He looked to the pygmy, his expression much more bored than anything. "A little pygmy in the shadows your vigilance somehow missed." Drake's attention suddenly snapped to where Taellonn was looking, not out of any fear (even if the pygmy had intentions of attacking that wasn't too much for her to worry about) but rather to prove Taellonn wasn't lying when she had missed the dragon herself. She could make out the shape of what had to be a pygmy in the shadows, and did a quick laugh-exhale. A pygmy? That was what noticed her? Now that she was over just having not seen it, the situation became amusing. A watcher of her own- how endearingly ironic. For all she knew it could be playing or just checking if she had any food on her. The whole situation did work to relieve some of Drake's tension, but no one could be considered fully innocent here, not even a pygmy. Not wanting it to get defensive she chose to stay put and keep a better watch on the entire area instead of just focusing on the green-haired woman and her dragon. Sometimes she would turn a little just to check for the pygmy, a slight smile forming each time. She almost wished she had some sort of food on her, or just something to give the pygmy any reassurance she wasn't going to be a threat to it... 

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"He likes crickets, from what I have seen", Isirion stated while strolling over to Drake's location to start a more serious conversation: "His keeper and I sent the assassins a message that will probably keep them at bay until it is bright enough outside again to aim and shoot an arrow. You can ask the green-haired lady about the details while you keep guard with her as added protection. This would give me the time to find and deal with the air bandits like my master asked me to while it is still dark and be back in time for the perfomance tomorrow like I promised the arena owner. Don't you agree that this is for the best?" Isirion honestly hoped the female warrior would agree, because if he had to try to blend in with one more of Pride's improbable impractical props, he'd rather pull the arena entrance wide open and invite the assassins in. There had to be a limit to how many despicable decorations you could put on one dragon or human. He had clearly reached his limit when he found himself face to face with an iron butterfly mask with matching insect antenna double swords...No, Drake had to agree!

 

In the meantime somewhere over the Endless desert

 

With every wingbeat they got closer to rescuing the last hopefully still living member of the Royal Blues, Sodger's mood improved. He patted his trusted mount and asked him cheerfully: "So for that performance tomorrow - got any ideas yet on how to beat my apprentice?" Aseto carefully shook his head so his rider could feel his neck muscles move and replied: "The whole idea of the performance is that it is predetermined who wins and who looses. In our first fight I am supposed to beat and give him the whole lone tragic survivor background Pride invented. In our next face-off he will already be the mythical Death character and beat me in return." Sodger tried to wrap his head around that idea and he mumbled: "So you both fight each other with the intention to loose? That doesn't sound very honourable." "No, it isn't," Aseto agreed and added: "but as you bloody well know, the alternative is to fight to the death like they do in every other arena, willing or not." Sodger obviously liked that idea even less and he spat: "A fight should always be out of necessity and for a noble cause otherwise it is just mindless slaughter." This time Aseto nodded carefully and said: "While looking for you, I freed a few arena dragons and prisoners, but the self-proclaimed protectors of the city soon captured them and any Royal Blue they could find again. I will be glad when we can finally leave this rotten to the core city behind and never come back." Ale and the Guardian wholeheartedly agreed only to be reprimanded by their once again enraged captain: "I don't care how awful the city is now. I didn't fight in the Dragon War only to run away now with my tail behind my legs because things aren't like they used to be anymore. Even if no-one else fights for our ideals I still will. Once we are re-united with Eyes I will return to the big city and free it from it's corruption - even if it means burning every corrupted guard tower to the ground!"

 

Ale almost fell from his dragon upon hearing this and gasped: "You can't be serious!" The Guardian looked equally shaken, but his voice had a curious undertone as he inquired: "And how exactly do you plan to accomplish this? There is no way for you to just walk up to the Nebs' towers and torch them." "Torch them?", Sodger repeated incredulously before he shouted with all the conviction and passion his comrades had found so inspiring during the war: "I will incinerate every last one of them and cleanse that cesspool of corruption with bloody HELLFIRE!"

 

A long and shocked silence followed those words until Ale with tears in his eyes finally screamed back at his old captain: "You are as insane as your apprentice who thinks it is alright to murder a boy in cold blood just because he happens to be a bandit. If you start imposing your own sense of justice on this city this will start another a war. A WAR! And those who will suffer the most will be once again ordinary people who are neither for nor against the Nebs and just try to live their lives. People like my wife, my little girl and my boy Jaxon. Don't you dare take away their future with your madness! I will face any foe to protect them - even if it is you I have to stand against! You and your insufferable stubborn and truly misguided pride!"

Edited by Isirion

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Lucky Isirion had switched to a more serious topic when he'd walked over, Drake's sudden revival of her tension hopefully appeared to coincide as she thought over his words. Obviously she couldn't and wasn't just going to let him go and "deal with" or "disable" dragons however he pleased, and even if she wasn't going to be able to stop him from going she could at least make up an excuse to join him. But even that idea was shut down for now when he wanted her to stay put. Well then, he'd just have to stay here too. She stared at some of the props Isirion had been hiding amongst earlier as she began, saying, "I can't say I agree. Sure, those Nebs were distracted before but they've got to be more attentive and alert than ever now. And I'm not doubting your capability when I say this, but, no matter how well you can sneak around and slide into alleys or whatever, one Neb catches you lurking around in a manner that can't be anything but suspicious, especially in their corrupted and surely now wary sight, and you're going to have them a horde of them on your tail. Hell, you could... slaughter them all... burn the bodies, even... get back here unscathed, and you're still gonna be that target. And to what, reveal yourself to the city in an arena fight? In the daytime, no less." She finally looked to him, trying to read him to see if any of this was working but still continuing. "Of course that's an exaggeration of sorts but you have to agree that this is not a time to expose yourself to the Nebs' attention. As of now I'd say you don't blend in with any of this city but its shadows- wait until after your performance and you could walk the streets an unsuspecting 'hero,' free to go anywhere you want without question. And even if those assassins return, they don't get that luxury. I wouldn't say I'm an expert on this, but surely any marksman must be put at a disadvantage if forced to sift through a crowd."
Taellonn had kept his eyes on Isirion and had barely even shifted through Drake's long-winded argument, but at the end he just barely moved closer to her. He wasn't afraid that Drake had said something she'd regret- he just hadn't shook his fear of who she said it all to. 

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Disappointment was written all over Isirion's face as he listened to Drake's words. But she had a point, two actually. He couldn't even blend in with what people in this city apparently expected and liked as arena props and just like the White Dragon shadowing him the other day he would stick out like a sore thumb if he tried to move around as usual. As for drawing the attention of the Nebs, that bridge was already crossed when he had fetched the Guardian and the green-haired lady from their tower in person. If they had been in a forest or mountain area the night would have hidden him perfectly, but here in the city the streets were lit with torches, Pygmy fires burned in some windows and most of the patrolling dragons would have night vision as excellent as his own. Sneaking around a few buildings to get behind an assassin was one thing, but reaching the city gates when nobody was supposed to be outside because of the riots would put the mission itself in jeopardy. If he was being tailed or even hunted by a horde of Nebulas it would surely spook the air-bandits into hiding somewhere else, if they hadn't changed locations already. Drake was right, and since he saw no harm in admitting that, Isirion replied: "You are right, I will stay for now. My master's revenge can wait another day...speaking of revenge - what did that mansion owner do that you had to turn his throat into minced meat instead of just cutting it? If you harbour a known grudge, that can lead back to us as well since you have already performed in this arena in broad daylight."

Edited by Isirion

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Taellonn didn't like Isirion's sudden interest in Drake's motives and the female warrior sensed it. However, she ignored it and took the time to set the scene for Isirion instead- hopefully shifting his attention from his fascination with her grudge. "I think you misunderstand my method of attack." She held up her left arm perpendicular to the ceiling and spread out her right hand, showing off her weapons. "My claws are meant to tear, not just cut. Exactly like a dragon's, with the claws' exit as important as their entry. They're not exactly meant for slitting a throat clean." She drew a line in the air in front of her arm with four clawed fingers. "That method could be effective, but the neck is curved, and that's not a quick way to cut with small edges. And even if I did try to do that with proper tearing-" she made a stabbing motion into her arm with her fingers curled to a half-fist, "-That would only work well from the side, and not the front I was aiming from." Her arms relaxed now that the demonstration was over. "So the best method for me was to tear out his throat. It was the quickest and most efficient, and any unnecessary violence you may have seen was a consequence of the moment. Any 'grudge' you might be suspecting would have fallen completely dead alongside him." Feeling that she still left too much to be said with her last statement, Drake tried to shift Isirion's attention once again, even if it meant lying to his face. But, she was feeling fairly confident so far. "This brings me to another point somewhat regarding my claws- I didn't apologize for attacking you earlier. I suppose I didn't feel a need to since you almost killed me in return, but perhaps now that you've trusted my input on your plans and you know that my claws were supposed to gouge out a fair amount of your arm, I can apologize for what damage there could have been on top of the action itself." Despite as much as she wished fate had taken her more effective, much more painful and infinitely more satisfying route, she tried to hide the scene from replaying over and over in her memory to get her final words out in a sincere way. "So ...I'm sorry." 

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Isirion followed Drake's demonstration with visible curiosity and more than a spark of suspicion in his eyes. Drake's bloodlust at the mansion had been something else and now she was using so many words to explain a thing that could have been summed up as 'claws are for slashing, not cutting'. Still, despite knowing that, her true motives remained as mysterious as always. Isirion decided, since there was no immediate threat, to use the opportunity to have her actually talking in full sentences instead of vague hints to get some answers, but not before addressing a point even more important to him: "Don't apologize for having assessed the situation back at the hut correctly. You attacked the target that posed the highest threat to your employer's master and if I hadn't been wearing my dragon skin cloak you would have succeeded in severing my hand. There are far too many weaklings in this world for you to belittle your own strength and skill. Hone them further and use them for whatever goals you have that you are not telling." Knowing that polite words alone would bring him no step closer to the truth, he decided to add a little threat and provocation: "But be careful not to betray the trust my master has obviously put in you for reuniting him with his dragon, because, honestly, I don't think your dragon would survive it if anything happened to you..."

Edited by Isirion

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Neither Drake or Taellonn could really tell whether it was the witnesses about or  Isirion's threat that had kept Drake from lunging at him right then (though Drake was leaning towards the former and Taellonn the latter.)  Regardless, it was clear whatever sort of persona Drake had been trying to uphold or create had been split apart right then. Clenched teeth seemed to barely separate as her words escaped with an underlying sort of growl at points. "With threats like that you seem a bit too keen on making enemies here, Isirion. I've done nothing to hurt anyone you or your master care about. Not on purpose or even on accident; a reputation I plan to uphold here. I don't know how you couldn't have seen that and instead decided to confront me for nothing, so I can only now see you as a fool for trying to scare me into submission- which, I should add, would take a whole hell of a lot more than a baseless warning to do." Taellonn shifted closer to Drake, hearing her seem to be arguing against a full fight but sensing otherwise. Drake was visibly even more upset by her escort's show of weakness, but just clenched her fists the best she could without stabbing herself and tried not to explode as she continued. "But my point is, as I have said before, what I value here is honor, especially, and dare I say almost now exclusively, for those who have done right by me. And under no circumstances would I put that value in jeopardy by betraying Sodger, Aseto, you, or, consequently, Taellonn."

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That confirms it, Isirion thought as once again the female warrior overreacted after his little slight towards her clingy, no-good-in-a-fight dragon. Even now Taellonn's body language seemed to contradict everything Drake was saying and something went click in his mind. He locked eyes with her and said: "I believe you, that you would never put your dragon in danger, but something does not add up. You, I, Sodger, the Guardian and Ale were the only ones that knew when exactly that night we would be targeting Hassleborough's mansion. You assured us that your 'helpers' were also around and watching, allthough I was unable to spot them. Coincidentally, despite that supervision insuring we're well guarded, like you put it, an assassin was waiting for me right outside the mansion. A mansion you were hell-bent on entering since the time I met you. Frankly, I don't believe there was no grudge involved - you chased Hassleborough from the village to the big city and killed him in the most gruesome way possible in the short time we had. I have been Sodger's apprentice for years now, I know how revenge looks like. What is even more suspicious than that outright lie about your motive, is, that right after I arrived back at the arena another assassin was waiting - and conicidentally again, neither you nor your group were anywhere to be seen. As I see it, you either put your trust in the wrong people and allowed assassins to infiltrate your helpers - or you are actively working with them. Personally I would suspect the deadly, elusive one, that was already at the mansion and eliminated most of the patrols by him or herself without ever showing their face. An assassin would have operated exactly the same way, but your actions are suspicious too. You are neither a real bodyguard, nor hired muscle and you are certainly not a collector. You do kill for revenge but you also perform for entertainment in this arena. If you want my suspicions and attempts to confirm them to stop, you have to come clear about who you really are and what you want to accomplish here, because most of the time your words and actions don't match up and neither does your dragon's body language in relation to them."

Edited by Isirion

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Getting caught did nothing but enrage Drake more, both at the situation itself but also what she considered her own incompetence and Taellonn's clear showings of weakness. She nearly kicked Taellonn away as she stormed towards Isirion, looking about ready to attack. "You want your damn answers!? Then let me tell you what you should already know, with your oh-so-great deduction skills! For one, if you'd bothered to look, most of my 'helpers' were driving off the Nebs and even I wasn't able to get in contact with them. I only had two men at the mansion, one with a dragon that probably couldn't make her way to the other side of it without ripping out a good deal of the building along the way. And on top of that, there was no signs of there being assassins after me, and I can almost assure you not a single person or dragon there thought to look after you, some stranger that got dragged into my plans 'cause our paths crossed and he happened to be good with a blade and heading to the same mansion with a similar purpose. And take a moment to consider this- if my 'helpers' were looking after me, and there was an assassin before I got here, since I was personally preoccupied with taking care of Wallet, what possible reason would anyone have to be guarding this area? Especially considering I've had this plan longer than I've been at this arena, and so far probably only one or two of my 'helpers' know my whereabouts and are no longer guarding me because I can take care of myself." She bit her cheek, knowing she still hadn't said everything Isirion wanted and probably wouldn't be able to get out of it. That was fine, she could get around it without saying too much. Hell, Isirion didn't even know her real name, how much did she really have to reveal to him? "As for the arena fight, I had no clue that this arena had non-lethal fights at first, and I hated seeing Aseto held against his will here apart from his master, and did what I had to do to get him free."
"Now, with that settled, I... I suppose if it's so imperative that you know where my grudge stems from, I ought to tell you what I can." Drake took a moment to prepare what she was going to say next. It was certainly going to be more than she would have ever wanted to admit to an enemy in her entire lifetime, but at this point she couldn't do much about that. "I'm part of a group- an assembly or guild of sorts I suppose, regardless of the proper term I'm fairly certain it's nothing you've had the pleasure of encountering before me. It's how I was able to get all that help for the attack. As fo-"
Taellonn couldn't take it. He was terrified, sure, and he was near frozen, sure, but there was absolutely no way he was letting this happen. Seeing as Drake had gotten that far and his thoughts were about as scrambled as they could be, he didn't really see much harm in nearly shouting (if it weren't for his shaken voice,) "What the absolute hell are you doing!?" Drake's attention snapped to Taellonn. Really? Out of all the times he could have said something, he said it now? She took a deep breath and stared him dead in the eyes. "I'm giving the man the answers he wants. So unless you've got something of value to say, let me finish." Taellonn recoiled and Drake looked back to Isirion, now trying to hurry this to just get it over with. "As I was saying, about Hassleborough... Simply put Hassleborough did something to upset this group of mine and I was sent after him. I'm sure you can understand why I can't say much more, why this is the first you're hearing of it, and why Taellonn here is so distressed; I'm not even supposed to say this much, much less to a near stranger like you. But now, me and my group's business is all taken care of, and I'm free to do whatever the hell I want because of it. So I decided to stay here and perhaps even offer myself as a form of assistance for your whole lot here." A fairly upset laugh nearly forced its way out of her. "After all, I've found nothing better to do."

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