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Isirion

The Bloodline of Torch

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Listening to Isirion Alzira ascertained once again that she was glad to have left her noble origin. That kind of manipulation, especially the one that seemed firmly rooted in the nobility of this city, was hard to grasp even for her. Sure, she could understand the motivations but it took a special kind of madness to think and even live based on that, at least for her. But what´s the point wondering about it now? She composed herself, beckoned Sappo to her shoulder and went to find the family tomb. She decided that her best option was to treat the kid like a small version of Isirion with an additional ace up the sleeve. That meant every bit of respect and courtesy she could muster and most definitely no cosying up, which she wasn´t good at anyways. She thought that a formal greeting including introducing herself combined with the request to clink glasses was the way to go. What has she gotten herself into...

 

Edited by Alzira

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Pride couldn't believe his ears, his outstretched hand hovered accusingly between Alzira who was already a few steps away and Isirion who hadn't moved an inch yet. Mustering up his courage yet again, he settled on Isirion and poked him in the left side of the chest: "'Don't you have a heart at all? You just realized that your five or six year old daughter is sitting alone in a freaking tomb and all you do is give Alzira a bit of advice on how to use your freaking daughter to get close enough to her mother to kill her? Don't you feel anything for her?" Isirion brushed Pride's finger away in an instant and explained with his usual ice-cold voice: "The sooner Celeris learns that death is part of life, the stronger she will be. I already told you I am going check on her myself, but it would be too conspicuous if we all leave at the same time in the same direction." Pride felt himself blush in shame under his mask after having jumped once again to the worst possible conclusion concerning his idol, but an unsettling feeling of doubt remained and so he ventured one last timid question: "And what will you do if you find her crying in the dark like any normal child that age certainly would be?" The answer he got was even more unsettling. Without hesitation, his voice reaching sub-zero levels again, Isirion replied: "If I find my daughter lacking in strength to live as a noble, I will put her out of her misery."

 

In the mean-time at the entrance to the courtyard

 

A rather bewildered sounding herald announced the arrival of Amara, daughter of the late lord Hassleborough and sole heiress to the Vine empire. Dressed up as the titular dragon, the young lady lost no time directing her entourage to place her gift, a particularly fine casket of Vine, on the designated platform. Afterwards she braced herself to endure the awkward greetings and offered condolences of those nobles who recognized her. To her surprise not even a single noble approached her, they all seemed to be busy searching for something or someone...

Edited by Isirion

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As soon as Alzira heard Prides accusations towards Isirion it dawned on her that she didn´t have a clue where the tomb was located. In fact she had already been wandering to the entrance of the courtyard. She could already see new guests arriving and servants still arranging the gifts on the present-platform. One oft the newly placed presents was a casket of excellent of vine. It would have been the perfect object for Felicia´s poison had they known this earlier... although this wine could still serve as a back-up plan. Thinking about that made her aware that it had been quite a while now that Pride´s wife left their little group. Alzira pushed those worrying thoughts away and consciously reminded herself that everything would be alright and she would be back soon...


"Focus!", she told herself:"The higher nobility will solve this quest soon." They were part of this society for so long and that Alzira almost wondered why Celeris hadn´t been found yet. She needed to hurry. As she looked around for hints of a possible tomb she caught a glimpse of Vampire Dragon Costumes. Right, Lord and Lady Marrovarg would be perfect. Surely, they would know a bit about the tomb, especially its location. She followed the couple until she was close enough. She engaged them in a little smalltalk, congratulating them to their entrance and then she asked them about their business."This must be a fascinating profession, to be involved with so many families and their last resting places. You must have seen some interesting craftsmanship." She let her words sink in and a second later she added "I bet our host´s tomb must be staggering. I wish I could have a look at it."

 

 

Edited by Alzira

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Taking Alzira's compliments with dignity and a mischievous twinkle in their eyes, both Marrovargs flashed a fanged grin, then the man said: "You are a lot livelier than our usual customers but Death still follows you." Delivering a playful slap on Alzira's arm, Lady Marrovarg explained: "My darling-dead means that your grim-looking arm-accessory has followed you here. Or maybe he meant your pitch-black shoulder accessory, even I can't keep track of all his puns." Lord Marrovarg grinned like a skull, happy to be finally able to deliver the punchline he had in mind from the moment he had noticed that the black-haired lady had a the Black Dragon cloak and mask wearing shadow. The moment Isirion appeared right next to Alzira, like some kind of bodyguard, he announced: "Death is here."

 

Instead of a laugh however he got an icy stare through the eye-holes of the black dragon mask as a reply. Then the maybe-bodyguard seemed to remember something and said cooly: "Apology for my intrusion. I haven't been a bodyguard for long. Switching from harming bodies to guarding them still takes some adjustment, so I must ask your wife to refrain from slapping my charge if she has any interest in keeping her hands." Both Marrovargs slapped their knees and laughed loud enough to raise the dead. The husband recovered first and replied: "A Death with a sense of humour nearly as twisted as the serpent-like garden path hidden beneath those blue flower petals our host fancies." "Don't worry about your lady, we are just a humble pair of funeral directors giving directions", the wife chimed in and scrabbled something on the ground with her feet. It looked a lot like a snake with a single wing on it's third coil, before it got erased with even more scrabbling. The two human Vampires exchanged a meaningful glance with the lady and her bodyguard before seemingly loosing interest in favour of sinking their fangs into the two nearest glasses of red wine.

 

Isirion mirrored that gaze briefly before offering his arm to Alzira. There was no question she had understood the hint too, all that was left was getting to their destination as inconspicuously as possible. He hated not having both arms free, but after remembering that he was supposed to be a bodyguard today, there was really no helping it - especially since it put him far away from Pride who had started staring daggers at him for no apparent reason again...

Edited by Isirion

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While most of the party guests were akin to headless chickens, running around and grabbing everything and everyone to do with death in futile attempts to find the Phirestone heir, Dämon had rapidly come to the conclusion that there simply was no one in the area who suited the criteria that would be required to be the little girl. He turned his attention instead to the only group in the courtyard that could hold his attention, the group with the 'Death' wearing a genuine Black Dragon cloak which was making more of a commotion, which Dämon was unfortunately not close enough to listen too, although the reactions of the participants piqued his interest more than ever, not even the slightest reaction escaping his keen eyes before they split up once more.

 

When 'Death' with the genuine Black Dragon cloak approached the Marrovargs after the black haired lady in the Green Fire Gem costume had done so already, Dämon raised an eyebrow in surprise, keeping his distance and watching the interaction closely, the more he watched the more Dämon wondered who exactly they were, he was sure that they were not someone he knew from among the usual individuals to come to such a gathering, and for a skilled individual such as the 'Death' to be the woman's guard meant that their identity was not simple. Once the pair had moved on Dämon made his way after them, gliding once more thought the crowd, moving in a way to make it seem like he was heading towards the Marrovargs, whom he stopped in front of long enough to greet them without losing his prey, "My deepest condolences Lord and Lady Marrovarg." He said with a slight smirk as he used the grave humour.

Edited by FallenDiablo

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Looking as happy as a Vampire Dragon, who had per chance stumbled upon an exquisitely tasting blood sample, Lord Marrovarg went full 'Pride-admiration-mode' on Dämon: "Uhhh another Death with our kind of humour and a costume to die for!" "That dragon claw-gauntlet looks almost too alive though, the perfection level of the stitches makes our body restauration service after a Neb judgement look like a toddler smashing pieces together", his wife corrected with a near deadly amount of envy. Latching onto the prompt, the husband pondered gravely: "You are right, we'd need to seclude ourselves for a hundred years in a tomb and practice like hell, if we want to get even close to the von Gefallen skill-level." "The nearest tomb would be the Phirestone tomb wouldn't it?" Lady Marrovarg replied with a wink towards Dämon along with another hastily scrabbled and erased drawing of the way leading right there...

 

Meanwhile, after passing the magelight checkpoint in the opposite direction without a challenge, Isirion and Alzira stepped once again on the winding garden path, trying to disturb the petals as little as possible. They figured, that if they concentrated on the feel of the pavement beneath the petals and their feet, they'd find the third junction leading towards the tomb with the added benefit of not giving away the correct path to other nobles that might decide to take a stroll out here...

Edited by Isirion

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Dämon gave a genuine smile as they complimented his gauntlet, his skills as a tailor were one of the few things, that when praised, managed to make his usually icy eyes change into something warmer, although still cold all the same. "Many thanks, I stitched this... 'piece' myself." His pause was for but a flash as he thought on how to refer to the article of his outfit which was more than a simple costume addition. When they started speaking of the tomb, and with the Lady Marrovarg's wink, Dämon grinned slightly. With a flourishing bow he spoke "It has been a pleasure, however I must be going now, for this dance with death has many partners, but only one may dance with the corpse princess and earn her favor." His words were elegant and smooth, exactly as he had been taught, as he spoke with grave humour once again, his words likening the party to the Danse Macabre, the Dance of Death, a beautiful yet gruesome display of mortal fragility and vanity that only the Marrovargs and a select few would understand, or find humors in turn.

 

"May both of you have an exhuming night, beware the sunrise and prepare for the most grim of nights." To most his words would seem as if but a continuation of the grim humour, but to those who were more perceptive, or accustomed to such speech would be able to tell the last part was more than what it seemed, almost as if in thanks for their help with the information, which although little and cryptic, would to Dämon's desire, foster the relationship between house Marrovarg and von Gefallen. They would be needed in the coming days more than ever before if things did not go as smoothly as was desired, and even if they did, there would still be plenty of rolling heads, which, although the von Gefallens stayed to themselves, of course still needed the city itself to continue functioning. The disposal of corpses was vital to that end, and who better to do so than the Marrovarg's themselves.

 

With a final flourishing bow, Dämon left the couple to think upon his words and prepare themselves, and made his way through the throng of scrambling individuals, still gliding past them as if a leaf in the wind, and heading out of the mage-light checkpoint as stealthily as he could, his piercing green eyes searching the pathway as he went for anything hidden or dangerous. His footsteps making nigh but a sound, while his body wrapped in the Black Dragon Skin cloak, would make him extremely difficult to spot to the unskilled or untrained eyes or ears.

Meanwhile at the Bar in the Courtyard

 

Iris, whom had thoroughly enjoying herself as her brother wandered the courtyard and their mother stood above the riff-raff, the very air around her seemingly repelling all but the bravest, or in some cases stupidest, of individuals, now found herself quite drunk. As her eyes wandered the crowd she kept thinking to herself, 'They run around like chickens, as if the answer will simply be laying on the ground for them to pick up in their beak and win this little game all for themselves', thus it took little time for her to grow bored of the 'chickens', as she now referred to the crowd in her very drunk head, and instead turn her attention to her brother. Despite his initial failure to figure the truth of the riddle out, he now seemed to be on the right path, and Iris watched him leave the party and disappear into the dark. His seeming ability to see in the dark was something Iris did not quite understand, however she knew that it was time she made her own move now that she had a clear direction to follow and the entertainment of flirting with the current ladies was wearing thin, much better to go watch her little brother and perhaps even tease him a little if she gets the chance. To most the scene of her stumbling off from the bar towards the checkpoint and beyond would simply be a normal occurrence, the von Gefallen problem child wandering off somewhere private to deal with the consequences of her drinking, however to those that were more intimate in their understanding of her, would be able to see a spark of purpose in her movements, even if it was mainly covered by her staggering and stumbling.

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"Ahhh, how I would love to capture and embalm that von Gefallen treat to preserve his manly beauty for all eternity," Lady Marrovarg sighed. Her husband laughed heartily and proposed with a rather devious grin: "You know the young female von Gefallen is even more of a treat and we would even save our precious embalming fluid seeing as she has already drunk half the bar dry." "You are right, she even looks like she's ready to drop dead from alcohol-poisoning any second now. Did you per chance bring your tools?" "Nah, but we can ask Pip to fetch them real quick", Lord Marrovarg offered, scanning the courtyard for a grubby boy in a Golden Wyvern costume. "That's a good idea and it would take his mind off the fact that his most favourite place in the whole world has burned down." "Yeah, ordering that was even more cruel of Cery than usual, considering that she of all people should recognize the stab wounds all those Neb corpses bore. Hassleboroughs body on the other hand looked like he ran into the wrong end of that dragon claw gauntlet or something very much alike. Now where is that boy?"

 

Noticing for the third time the change from pavement to gravel under his feet, Isirion paused briefly and followed the new direction leading away from the Magelight. While a normal person like Alzira wouldn't be able to make out more than rough shapes, he easily pierced the darkness with his Magi sight, but nothing ahead looked like a tomb at all. There were trees though that had pygmy skeletons in grotesque poses nailed to them and the gravel path became lined with the cracked skulls of disobedient hatchlings. The shrubbery closely followed the theme, being cut into the shape of different full-grown dragons all writhing in agony or cowering before a whip. Isirion smiled faintly and after describing the scenery to Alzira he said: "More proof that the veiled lady hasn't lost her unique taste. We must be getting quite close. Last chance to turn back if you have second thoughts about meeting the offspring of two monsters as Pride would put it."

Edited by Isirion

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When her companion described the way ahead she pictured it in her mind and since she didn´t want to be completely dependent on Isirion she called for Sappo´s help.

 

Sappo wasn´t so sure if he should light up or light up the area. All this fellow pygmies nailed to the trees couldn´t be helped anymore but a nice cremation wouldn´t hurt them either. Knowing that idea would put his keeper in danger he restrained from doing so. Nevertheless he showed her a glimpse of the horrors around them. Maybe later, there could still be time for a bit of fireworks he consoled himself.Then he quit his flame and returned, there was no need to inform the others about their whereabouts.

 

Seeing for yourself is different from hearing about  and a shudder ran down Alzira´s spine when Sappo illuminated the garden art and she was glad she couldn´t see every detail. All those depictions of power over other beings including the results of disobedience, be it in topiary or skeletal form, made her sick to the stomach. As horrible as the view was it reinforced her conviction that their host needed stopping. To be completely true being in this city just demonstrated that the Blue Lady was just the tip of the iceberg of a society built on dragon suffering. Inside her anger and grief fought over dominance but she managed to hide her boiling emotions. None of them were helpful at the moment. "Onwards!" she answered Isirions question through gritted teeth. "These abominations need to be stopped."
She gripped his arm tighter and they strolled on like any other party guests or so she hoped.

 

 

Edited by Alzira

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Unbeknownst to the pair, at least as far as Dämon could tell, the cloaked figure followed them in their tracks, keeping close to trees and stepping only where there was little to no debris or other materials that would cause any sounds that might give him and his position away. He kept his ears strained, diverting almost all his attention to the sounds he picked up over any other sensation so as to 'keep an ear out' for any other pursuers and to see what he would catch from the pair he himself was following, grinning as he caught the end of what the woman said in a less than happy tone about the 'abominations', his eyes glinting in amusement at the extreme hate she seemed to bear. As he followed on and watched her reactions to the wasteful methods of the Blue Lady a thought crossed his mind, 'This pair are polar opposites, one seems unusually comfortable, the other seemed to be fuming, there is definitely more to them than meets the eye'.

 

When the pair started moving again Dämon took the opportunity to walk closer, moving in front of them before altering his steps slightly so that although they were still graceful and light, they gave off the impression of someone who had already dipped into the bar a couple times for the fancy liquor that was being served. Once he was ready he stepped out onto the gravel path, keeping his gait slightly skewed so that to the woman's eyes he would seem to be drunk, but he doubted such a ploy would fool the man, although should still be enough to show a non-aggressive stance, at least for the moment since the pair had intrigued him so already. "You two are quite far from the party, did the attention your 'Death' costume drew made you too uncomfortable to stay there too?" The way he spoke was intended to make it seem like he had left to get some space before the commotion had gotten too exasperating, his voice smooth and striking green eyes, not to mention the half of his face showing his unbelievably beautiful features, giving the impression that even without the 'Death' costume he would have had plenty of sycophants swarming him as long as he stayed at the party.

Edited by FallenDiablo

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Ripping himself free from Alzira's arm once again, Isirion lost no time stepping between her and the armed, or more precisely arm-clawed, figure. With the same motion his right hand darted towards the concealed assassin's knife and his body assumed a stance that would allow him to fend off the dragon-claw gauntlet if necessary. So far it did not seem that way, but Isirion wasn't willing to risk anything at a distance too short to efficiently use his blade. Like Drake had proven with her sneak-attack during the thieves guild assault, against a claw-user he was at a clear disadvantage in grappling range. A knife however was perfect for the current distance. If the other 'Death' tried anything besides talking, Isirion was more than ready to put his knife-skills stemming from a childhood frequently spent gutting disgusting fish to use. Wordlessly locking eyes with the possible target so that no movement however slightly preluding an attack would escape him, Isirion left the diplomatic option entirely to Alzira.

 

A few minutes ago at the party

 

Nightfeather had finally begun to relax. Their infiltration of the party had been successful, nobody paid any attention to the Hassleborough entourage in their vine-themed costumes despite some awkward movements here and there. A quick trip to the bar, an invaluable source of rumours and solid information everywhere, quickly solved the mystery. All the guests here were focused on finding the Phirestone heir in order to gain favour with her house, in other words boring political stuff. Nightblade would scold her if she said things like that out aloud, seeing that that boring political stuff was what usual led to the most lucrative assignments. Compared to that, their payment for the current mission, the stuffed Pillow Dragon hatchling Amara called Mr. Fluffy Pillow seemed the lowest of the low - until they found out that the slightly jingly sound the unnaturally heavy thing had made, came from the actual stuffing consisting of pure gold. Whatever else Hassleborough had been before getting murdered, towards his daughter he had acted with foresight and deeply loving care. Nightfeather brushed away a tiny bit of moisture that had appeared in the corner of her eye and concentrated on the nobles participating in the event. Which of them had hired 'Death' and why? Who was directly or indirectly responsible for Trueshot's demise in the wake of that crime? Nightfeather's searching gaze landed on the blue lady who was strutting around the battlements. No. While that noble was certainly cold-blooded enough to order a massacre of the scale that had happened at the Hassleborough mansion, she had no need to use an outsider when the whole of the Nebs was in her palm. If she wanted to get rid of Hassleborough, she could have just pinned any convenient crime on him like she had done with that unfortunate arena-master. The same logic excluded the Overtons and the Hightowers from the list of suspects, leaving only the von Gefallens and the Marrovargs. Hiring 'Death' to bring death to someone sounded like a typical Marrovarg joke, but given their profession, they had no reason to begrudge anyone their life since in the end everyone in the city eventually would end up their customer. The von Gefallens made even less sense as culprits, they were already superior to everyone, so why remove the number of people to look down on? Should they focus on finding 'Death' instead after all? No. Nightblade had been right, that would only lead to more victims among them. She could still hear the rustling of Death's cloak in her nightmares, feel the knife at her throat before getting stabbed in the hand in the blink of an eye...

 

*rustle*

 

Nightfeather's eyes widened, her breathing sped up along with her heartbeat. Searching around with frentic eyes for the source of the disturbingly familiar sound, she soon found herself trailing behind the male von Gefallen heir as if in a trance. Every time his genuine Black Dragon skin cloak rustled in the crowd of party-goers, her hand clenched and wandered to a concealed weapon. Finally Nightfeather got a grip on herself and allowed her assassin's training to take over. Melting into the crowd, body language as tranquil as an oasis, she followed the distinctive cloak and dragon-claw-gauntlet from a safe distance. To make sure she wasn't spotted even after following all the way into the garden area, Nightfeather circled around until an all too familiar sound stopped her dead in her tracks.

 

*rustle*

 

Instinctivly hiding behind a Blue-Banded Dragon topiary that seemed to be missing some teeth-twigs, Nightfeather stared ahead in disbelief because in front of her, illuminated briefly by a pitch-black pygmy's fire, was another genuine Black Dragon skin cloak rustling omniously...

Edited by Isirion

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It seemed recent events had tempered Alzira´s emotions because the sudden appearance of another Death hardly startled her like before. Nevertheless a soft shriek escaped her: "Do excuse my behaviour, but you gave me a scare, appearing from the dark so suddenly." Then she added in a dismissive tone: "Don´t mind my bodyguard. He´s new and quite eager to impress." She hoped she came off as careless noble and Isirion would get her intentions. Although this new aquaintance was quite surely one of their contestants and his well-groomed appearance, the quality of his garments and his cultivated behaviour confirmed his high status to her, due to his sudden approach without Isirion noticing earlier possibly made him a very dangerous opponent. Nevertheless there was still the option of a more civilized solution. Alzira waved her hand vaguely in the direction of the party they had left: "To answer your question quite frankly, I was in dire need of a repose from all that hubbub. I wonder if an accomplished gentleman like you could teach me how to ditch my bodyguard too? You must be really good at that, given that you are wandering the premises alone?"

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The half-mask that covered a vertical side of his face did little to hide his open amusement at both the man's reaction and at the Lady's words, he seemed to be... refreshed? That was the impression he gave off, as if a breeze of fresh air had just gusted by and filled his lungs with clean air. "Both your own, as well as his behavior is to be expected, quite the skilled bodyguard you have, even I find myself impressed by him." His amusement cracked into a slight smile, "I must say however, you two stand apart from the usual..." He paused for but a moment as he searched for the appropriate word to describe the gathering back in the courtyard, opting to use the very same word as the Lady before him had, before continuing, "Hubbub. As for teaching you... there is always a possibility, however I can't say I have ever seen your like before, may I ask for the Ladies name?" 


The more Dämon spoke, it soon became apparent that his smooth and sensual voice seemed to stroke at a primal part of those around him, sparking the carnal desires of those who heard it, regardless of gender or preference. It did not seem to be something he was doing on purpose, and would be quite hard to hide without significant effort on his part. His appearance, voice, quality of clothes and general demeanor would easily set him apart from the other lesser nobles, although he seemed to have a mysterious quality to him as well. Upon closer inspection of his outfit, one might notice that besides the black dragon cloak and gauntlet, he wore a crest that seemed to be a black dragon with several different coloured tails.

 

Not so far away in the Garden Area

 

The rather drunk and stumbling Iris had slowly made her way in the direction she had last seen her brother go, which despite her keen eyes and ears, was the best she could do since even when she was not intoxicated she would have trouble finding her brother in the dark like this, let alone when she had slammed so many drinks everything seemed to be permanently skewed. Her footsteps, much like Dämon's, were light and almost like gliding even in her current state, however she seemed to be stumbling and leaning against trees far too much which would definitely make one believe her that her blood to alcohol ratio had exceeded what was probably safe for herself and the shoes of those she came into contact with.

 

In the end she relied on her knowledge of how Dämon preferred to stalk his prey, and used that to follow along, albeit far slower than him himself. Eventually she saw the flash of a Pygmies flame from the direction she had been heading and stumbled towards it with as much strength as she could muster.

Edited by FallenDiablo

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Alzira noticed an unexpected  appeal radiating from the young gentleman. This was rather strange, due to her painting studies she had come into contact with a lot of people, and quite attractive ones too and that´s why she knew how to distance herself from them, watching them through the eyes of a painter. Usually the most beautiful turned out to be a bit boring, artistically speaking. This one was different and she knew it. She needed to exercise restraint but nevertheless she gave him her name a bit too easily: "My titles do not matter, but you may call me Alzira, of the Taifa family. Travelling is part of the family business so you could say I´m just passing through. Now you know my name and I beg you to enlighten me and tell me yours." She hadn´t intended to tell him about her family although it wasn´t that much she had revealed. He probably knew about the family empire as a whole but everything else was kept private. That was her family´s second nature.

 

Sappo was still watching this strange human who seemed to entice his keeper. The little dragon was a bit uneasy because usually Alzira kept names, especially her families, under thight wraps. Luckily she didn´t tell him much. He then eyed the outfit of the stranger a bit closer and noticed the dragonhide quality of his cloak and gauntlet which would make an attack a bit difficult but he trusted in his flame and agility. Finally the crest captured his attention. He had never seen such a dragon as depicted there on. He gave it a last stare and then returned to his usual watchfullness.
 
Still, Alzira was itching to go on, time was not on their side. Maybe she should ask the gentleman to accompany them? He was definitely dangerous and should be kept close. She looked at Isirion and hoped he´d understand. She turned to the noble: "Maybe you´d like to keep me company for a while?"

 

Edited by Alzira

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Dämon seemed a little surprised at how resistant she was to his 'charms' and his lips twitched, almost as if a small smile was trying to break free once more, as his curiosity continued to be stoked by the mysterious pair, first the man who seemed to be far superior in skill to most fighters Dämon had ever encountered, and second, the Noble Lady, who was able to resist his 'charms', from a house that seemed to value privacy almost as much as his own, 'well, perhaps not to the degree that we value it...' the thought drifted through his mind as he thought about his own family and their methods for dealing with such matters. When Alzira asked for Dämon's name in turn, he bowed slightly and said, "Of course, if such a lovely lady as yourself asks I have no choice but to oblige, my name is Dämon, Dämon von Gefallen, the first son of the von Gefallen House." He did not say his family business as Alzira had, for, at least from his and his families perspectives, if one did not know of the venerable tailoring dynasty, they would have to have been living under a rock on the other side of the world. There were darker rumours about his family, as well as their business, that was occasionally spoken of, but they were just that, rumours, barely any spies made it out of the von Gefallen family alive, however those that did never stayed that way for long, and what good Noble family did not have some dark side to them.

 

When the offer of accompanying her came up, Dämon offered his arm courteously for Alzira, his enchanting voice leaving his lips once more, "It would be my pleasure to accompany you Lady Alzira, if I may ask, what brings you to this Phirestone... celebration?" The way he said Phirestone seemed more like he was trying to spit the words out of his mouth as if they had a disgusting taste to them  but his question did not seem to be malicious, simple curiosity as to why she would come to such an event when she was already quite well off and just passing through. 

Edited by FallenDiablo

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The closer the noble came, the more Isirion tensed up, until his pose was nigh but undistinguishable from a panther poised to strike. It was as if his mind perceived a threat coming from the stranger his eyes could not see. What was it about that other Death that put him constantly on edge? When that so-called Dämon stretched out his arm to offer it to Alzira, Isirion finally realized what had been bothering him. The combination of Black Dragon hide and claw with green eyes that seemed to glow in the dark, invoked a memory of Blackjade that made his skin crawl. Confronting the dragon from the past along the human from the present, Isirion snapped and growled murderously: "BACK OFF!"

 

The angry roar startled Nightfeather from her hiding place. Believing she had been found out, the assassin drew an hidden dagger and charged. By now there was no doubt which one of the two Deaths was the bloody murderer she sought. Her eyes getting accustomed to the dark, she easily recognized the knife that Trueshots killer had taken. Throwing all caution to the wind, knowing she would have only this one chance before her target could draw the weapon he was deadly proficient with, Nightfeather flew like an arrow towards the growling Death. If she could kill him before he could kill her, she would carve out his heart and offer it on Trueshot's unmarked grave. If not, maybe at least a certain free-spirited, white-haired, amber-eyed heiress would weep for her in secret, like Nightblade had wept for Trueshot...

Edited by Isirion

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Dämon stayed unnaturally still, his outwards expression showing no signs of being bothered by the man's outburst, nor any signs of stepping away, after all he was simply following etiquette and unless he was rejected by the Lady herself or the man decided to attack him for whatever reason, Dämon did not intend to relinquish any ground. His green eyes as cold and hard as jade, not devoid of emotion altogether but still unyielding, impassive even, Dämon wondered to himself: "What is it that sparks such an outburst from this man? Has the party stressed him to the point of going mad? Maybe he is not versed in etiquette at all? No matter, his Lady should resolve this soon enough." The thoughts passed through his mind like a flash, taking no more than the time it took for a strike of lighting. When the woman suddenly charged their little group, his eyes only shifted long enough to figure out for whom she was aiming. As it wasn't him but the bodyguard, Dämon kept his eyes focused on the man before him waiting to see what he would do in this situation, the look he bore almost predatory in nature.

 

The sound of her own slightly erratic breathing echoed in Iris' ears as she moved, slightly less graceful than usual, towards the recent source of fire. The sounds of different voices talking were becoming clearer the closer she got, but her intoxication made it difficult to focus on a single one to get a gist of what was going on. When the other man who wore a similar and yet different cloak than her brother exploded with such a reaction, it gave Iris quite the startle. It took her a few moments to recover from the shock, because of the alcohol coursing through her body, but even on a hey-day her self control and discipline would have been inferior to Dämon's.

 

When the individual burst from the bushes towards the group Iris' brother was in, Iris needed another moment to recognize her face and react. Not even waiting for her mind to clear enough to make a logical choice, she simply bolted for the running woman, hoping to tackle her before she got herself killed. She knew fully well that her brother was more likely to end up killing an attacker than being killed himself, so Iris made beeline with all the might she could muster for the person she had recognized as Melidia.

 

Iris had never had many friends, her identity as a von Gefallen and her mother had seen to it that most people either wanted to kill her, run away from her or suck up to her for the power that she would one day hold. Melidia had been different from the day she first met her, so she had grown to like her quite a bit. None of the other Noble women would join Iris for drinks or invite her to private social gatherings without ulterior motives. That's why they never ended on a good note and Iris would mess around with the nobles' maids just to spite them. Making the nobles furious and the maids terrified and in awe of her was fun but not great for fostering any friendships. Melidia on the other hand did not seem to quite fall under any of those categories and this had intrigued Iris and left its mark on her. Every time they met she had discovered something new about her friend that made her even more fond of her, but never something like the unbridled rage that seemed to drive her now. They way she was going, Melidia would meet a grisly end through claw or knife, so Iris repurposed her flying tackle hug to stop her friend from getting herself killed by either Death.

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*rustle*

 

There it was again, the dreaded sound that heralded Death, my death, Nightfeather thought. I came so close, I almost got him, I wonder if Trueshot felt the same... With unnatural clarity Nightfeather perceived every motion of the Black Dragon skin cloak as it's wearer promptly spun around, Trueshot's knife in hand, aiming straight for her throat.

 

*tackle*

 

Why does my back hurt and why are there petals in my mouth? Nightfeather tried to make sense of what happened, but that proved to be as impossible as getting up. Some kind of soft, bouncy, weight held her down to the ground. A strand of cut-off white hair entered Nightfeather's vision, gently floating down right beside her. It couldn't be. Death had missed, because the only person she thought of as a friend, no, more than a friend, outside of the assassin guild had appeared out of nowhere to save her. The sound of agitated breathing told her that Iris von Gefallen was alive as well and maybe even enjoyed the position they found themselves in. Suddenly a sharp pain in her barely healed hand made her cry out in anguish and frustration. Death had driven Trueshot's knife right through the wound from the last encounter, effectively nailing Nightfeather to the ground. Looking down on her with ice-cold eyes, he picked up the dagger she could no longer hold onto and hissed with unveiled cruelty: "It's been a while since I used a dagger for a quill and human skin for paper, but don't worrry, this time, your leader will get the message even though the handwriting will be a bit messy."

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Iris let out a groan as she clutched Melidia, her smaller frame was most definitely not designed to do head-on collisions, let alone fly tackling, and it had taken quite the toll on her. For the most part, she was content to simply lay there and catch the breath that had fled her lungs at the time of impact, that is until the man started talking about carving a message on Melidia's skin, at which point she tried to scream out "NO, DON'T TOUCH HER" however as she was still catching her breath it was barely loud enough for Alzira and Dämon to hear. Aside from her unbelievable beauty, enchanting voice and other traits that her family displayed, she looked quite different from Dämon, with hair so white it looked like a white dragon's scales, amber eyes that were enchanting in their own way and a far lighter skin tone.

 

For Dämon, the sight of his older sister flying out of the bush to tackle the other woman was quite unexpected and without using a large degree of self-control he would have run forward to stop her as he watched the scene play out in what felt like slow motion, his adrenaline pumping into his blood at a rapid pace. When Isirion spoke dagger in hand, despite Iris not being the threatened target, Dämon felt as if his teeth were on edge, his mother had drilled ruthlessness into him from a young age, thus he had come to believe anyone who was trained to fight was just as ruthless and if they weren't they were not fit to be a fighter of any sort. The man before him was most definitely a fighter, and as the events unfolded Dämon's body drew as taut as a bowstring, going from the slack slightly drunk pose into a more ready stance. As his mind was too preoccupied with the situation he did little to hide the change in his stance and it was obvious that if something wasn't done about this situation he would not hesitate to put the deadly talons on his gauntlet to use. From within Dämon's chest came a low rumbling inhuman growl, so quiet that only by standing right near him would one be able to hear it, the sound was almost territorial.

Edited by FallenDiablo

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A real noble like Dämon offering her his arm, took Alzira back to the time she had been schooled in the "finer" arts her family used to get the merchandise her family treasured - information. A moral disagreement had caused a rift between her and her family, one she had no intention of closing any time soon. She had left abruptly, knowing that the innermost circle of her family would keep her sudden disconnection a secret. The only piece of official information about her right now was just that a family member had gone incognito on an educational journey. Insiders knew that meant information gathering for the House of Taifa, home of generations of information brokers of the highest rank. Usually travelling and commerce were just a handy cover for any family member, but for her, being a travelling painter exploring the world accompanied by her beloved Sappo, was her real life.

 

Never a dull moment, Alzira thought when Isirion seemed to snap and growl for no reason. Sappo, always wary of Isirion ever since he had threatened his keeper, flamed up immediately, his bright blue flame a clear warning and a silent demonstration of his fire power. When suddenly a person, dagger drawn, charged right at the group, Sappo flamed up even more, to scare them away from his keeper and it worked. The charging person aimed straight for Isirion which was alright with the Pygmy, but he kept flaming just in case.

 

Alzira, having been caught off guard by the sudden charge and, lacking any real fighting skills, could do nothing but watch the current events unfold. Isirion's outburst had been weirdly aggressive, but now he was acting outright savage. Ever since this whole Blue Lady business started he had become more and more irritable, like a murderous explosion waiting to happen. She had to stop him before he went off. She had to act, literally. With as much gravitas as she could muster she immitated the blue lady's voice and commanded Isirion: "Back off, or do you tend to disobey me again?". The last word was next to a purr. Then she continued in a very soft, almost alluring voice: "If so, please go on, I´m in terrible need of enjoyment lately." She hoped she had hit all the right notes to startle Isirion into submission, but she couldn't afford to show any doubt. There was still the rest of the situation to get under control. Still impersonating the blue lady, she turned towards their white-haired saviour and said with an almost bored voice: "Young lady, you have our gratitude, but please rise and catch your breath - we don´t want you to leave a bad impression with the first son of the von Gefallen House, do we?" She indicated Dämon with a respectful nod and addressed him with her normal voice: "Assassins, such a nasty lot, but it comes with nobility I guess. Do you think this is one of yours or one of mine?"

 

Edited by Alzira

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For a split moment, there was a near-absolute stillness from the von Gefallen progeny, their eyes fully on Alzira now, more than a tinge of iciness in their eyes as she spoke like a Phirestone, once again showing that almost instinctive hatred their mother had instilled into them for the Blue Lady for as long as they could remember. Dämon was the first to recover, the mask he kept over his emotions and expressions once more coming forth as he straightened his clothes, returning to his seemingly relaxed stance, being extra careful with the gauntleted hand so as to not ruin the rather fine and expensive black silk. Once he had straightened the silks he let out a little sigh as if a troublesome matter had landed on his lap and ruined a perfectly pleasant night, after all it pretty much had. He stepped forward as Alzira addressed Iris, noticing that she was in no shape to make polite or completely rational conversation, especially with the Lady speaking in the way she was, "My apologies, this is not exactly a desirable way to introduce her, but this..." he waved at Iris, his expression going soft for a moment in an exasperated way that only she could cause him to have before it went back to normal and he continued, "is the von Gefallen heiress, Iris von Gefallen, my older half-sister." Despite it being a little odd to refer to her as such, he had become used to introducing her as such to cut off any questions about why even though they both had the von Gefallen beauty, their appearances were still so polar opposite from each other.

 

Once he had introduced Iris, who was most definitely not paying full attention as she stayed latched on to Melidia's lower half and glaring daggers at the man standing over the object of her current extended attachment to the ground and Alzira, Dämon turned to fully face the Lady as he continued to speak "Well, in this case, I do so believe this was no assassination attempt, far too sloppy and impulsive, as for whether this one is for me..." his face broke into a slight smile that held no happiness, only a silent promise of cruelty and pain, "there are few that I know of who would dare tempt fate with my house in such a manner, however it most likely is not yours either, she was quite focused on your bodyguard." The way he spoke of the attempts against his household sounded more like the reason was to do with those who had tried before 'disappearing' than there being a lack of attempts themselves.

 

While Dämon introduced her, Iris was trying to get herself together, thinking to herself "I am so not sturdy enough to be doing this kind of thing." Eventually, her breathing returned to somewhat reasonable levels, taking slightly longer than it took Dämon to speak, and being drunk as a skunk Iris took advantage of her newfound breath to blurt out something that was more coherent, yet reckless and obviously not entirely driven by reason, than her previous statement, "You won't be touching Melidia, no one lay a finger on her or I will have you tied up by your ankles while I..." However, her statement was cut short as she leaned her head off to the side to expel what was left of the copious amounts of alcohol that she had forced into her small frame.

 

There was another sigh from Dämon as he watched his sister puke up the irresponsible choices she had made back at the party. "Normally I would say to deal with this in whichever way you see fit, however as Iris seems to be close to this one, I would like to request that I be allowed to deal with this issue personally at a later time, preferably after the party is concluded and the matters with the Phirestones are settled." The way he spoke had the unspoken double meaning of saying something along the lines of "This issue involves my family as well so if you would be so kind as to let me handle it in a more discrete setting," and his mention of the Phirestones could mean nothing other than the party and the little game the Blue Lady had set out for them. Before he had been tactful about how he had broached the pair, however with what had just happened, he thought it best to redirect their attention towards the most logical reason as to why most of them were this far out from the party instead of letting them dwell on the issue that his sister had gotten mixed up in.

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"...no assassin...too sloppy...impulsive...", Dämon's words haunted Nightfeather after she barely managed to get the image of Trueshot's killer carving her up out of her head. She was a failure as an assassin and that hurt a lot more than her wound. Even worse, the only way to get out of the mess she had gotten herself into was to play along with the noble's assessment of her. When Iris von Gefallen defended her again right before puking, Nightfeather felt like vomitting herself. She did not deserve that kind of trust, she really was an assassin and she had approached Iris under a false name and pretense. Nightfeather found herself torn between the wish of living that lie just a little while longer and burying all the lies along with Melidia.

 

Isirion nearly felt like throwing up himself since the amount of weakness displayed right in front of him disgusted him on an almost physical level. The blue lady was right to test their daughter if that was how noble heiresses usually behaved. If he were to find Celeris drunk and stupid enough to tumble into the path of a knife with her back wide open, he would do exactly what he had told Pride he would do with no hesitation. The real question was what to do with the assassin, who potentially knew too much about them. Alzira, even though she was imitating the blue lady flawlessly, had all but forbidden him to torture her to death to send an even stronger message to the rest of her guild. The male von Gefallen, albeit being apparently cut from a rougher cloth, had let his emotions cloud his judgement because of the weird attachement his half-sister seemed to have towards this 'Melidia'. It would be easy to use his superior speed to cut her throat with the newfound dagger despite their objections. "Do it!", the fallen assassin suddenly hissed, her head raised as high as she could and her throat exposed: "I am not afraid of Death."

Edited by Isirion

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Alzira thought about Dämon's wish. It would be easy to leave the assassin in the noble's hands. On way or the other they would be rid of her for a time, but the big "but" was that this assassin was presumably one of those who were sent to kill Isirion in Pride´s arena or at least connected to them. Concluding that this woman knew more about them was not good at all. What should she do, or what could she do? Reflecting the situation she concluded that the assassin would probably not talk because it seemed she was known to the von Gefallen heiress under a false name and occupation - otherwise she would be long dead considering Dämon´s behaviour. ...or maybe the assassin thought she could save her life in exchange for information but then she had to admit her sources and relations and therefore her life would be forfeit... This could be a solution...For starters she would greet the heiress, that´s what courtesy demanded. She bowed her head towards Iris von Gefallen, offering her a sandalwood-scented pocket handkerchief: "It´s a pleasure meeting you. The circumstances are curious but at least they aquainted us."

 

She turned to Dämon to inform him of her decision:  "I agree a discrete solution would be best. I do not wish to interfere in family matters, they usually have their own rules." Then she heard the deathwish. She focused on Isirion instantly, telling him as calm and amused as possible: "Do it. Go against my wishes once more and see what happens then. I´m sure you´ll enjoy it."

 

 

 

Edited by Alzira

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