Heat. The suns bear down on you unrelenting. You look up at the sky, hoping for some relief, you see none: only the twin sun's, Eduun and Kessil, as the kor affectionately call them, blinding light, with no clouds in sight. The rays from the suns beat against the scorching sand beneath you, and reflect off the glistening bodies of those around you. The combination of the suns' heat and the crowd's heat was uncomfortable, to say the least, to everyone but the few goblins scattered throughout the crowd: this was a heat they were accustomed to and enjoyed, being the race that enjoyed dipping themselves in the scorching hot springs found in both the Valakut region down south and Akoum. You look down at the sand, permanently stained with a slight-red tinge from the copious amounts of bloodshed which occur on a weekly basis, grateful that it had been recently combed and you weren't standing in any piles. You wonder how many have died where you stand now.
Where was she? The thought seemed to radiate from each individual's subconscious. It had been over an hour since the time she had allegedly requested for applicants to arrive at the Pits of Cakorot. Surely this wasted time of renting the gladiator pit must cost her a fortune? Then you remember who owns the Pits: vampire taskmasters, ones most likely subservient to her. As another begins to pass and fade, what once was an awkward silence, broken by the occasional just-as-awkward conversation between applicants, turns into a steady whisper, broken by the occasional shout of frustration or anger at having to wait for nearly two hours for what seems to quickly be turning into nothing. You look towards the east side of the Pits and see the large, wide gate still open. No one even introduced you into the Pits.
Why was she taking so long? The burst of anger and shouts of frustration grow, and applicants begin to leave. You pass the time by gazing out at the stadium, learning your surroundings. The pit itself seems to be about fifty feet across, surrounded by walls approximately fourteen feet high, keeping whatever is in the pit from getting out into the crowds above. Walls. The blood-stained walls have spikes, some of which still holding the decaying flesh of a warrior or beast impaled during the last event, scattered sporadically across them. Your eyes shift upward as you look at the stands and see what once was a decent sized crowd has all but vanished, save for a few stragglers who either have nothing better to do or are just as eager to see if something comes out of this. Another hour passes, making just over three hours in total, and what was once a tight crowd of dozens of applicants soon turns to just under twenty remaining. The twenty either desperate or curious enough to linger and see if anything will come of this new expedition house.
A faint, musical, feminine laughter fills the Pits, seeming to be carried on the wind which you now feel blowing through the stadium. A vampire woman, Vielara, as any resident of Affa would immediately recognize her as such, and two black-clad, heavily armored individuals, flanking her on either side, walk out from the outcropping where prestigious guests, dignitaries, and other high-ranking officials watch the bloodbath below, right next to the action. "So," her voices continues to be carried on the wind, reaching each of your ears, "you are the few who are loyal enough and patient enough for this expedition house." She moves forward, and you see her full figure: a beautiful vampire, above normal standards for them, whose alabaster skin contrasts the iridescent black chitin, silk, and spider webbing which makes up her form-revealing and exotic dress. You almost forget how beautiful they can be when their fangs aren't at your throat and they're not trying to turn you into a null. "I am Vielara Tekentlar of the house of Ghet. Councilwoman in the Affa ruling body and guildmaster, perhaps your guildmaster, or the Tekentlar Expedition House." She smiles pleasantly, revealing her long, pointed veins. Those could easily reach a human's heart, if her smile and words didn't charm it first.
"You are souls. Souls who search fame, lore, gold, knowledge, treasure, or whatever it is that kept you waiting in the scorching suns' light. You've seen just how generous Akoum is to those who dwell on it. I on the other hand, am much more generous to those who are loyal to me and my house." She snaps her fingers, and the creaking of metal causes your heads to turn, as you see a smaller gate open. Nulls, a vampire's favorite undead pet, pour out, carrying platters of food and tall pitchers of drink. Two loud thuds! come from the outcropping, and you turn back to see the two armored figures on the ground of the pit, Vielara floating down just behind them from above. "Please," she requests with a smile, "help yourself to some food and drink. You've earned it, and passed the first test. Oh. And don't forget to sign with your name or alias and the role you might play in a coordinated team." Two more nulls rush out of the small gate, one carrying a table and the other carrying a stack of scrolls, a bottle of ink, and a quill.
With the applicant's frustration and anger pacified, most of the crowd turns to partake of the food and drink. Vielara begins to mingle with the applicants, the armored figures closely behind, constantly turning their heads in eerie, snapping motions, as they scan the crowd and environment.
Vasha had originally stood among the throngs of people, visibly unhappy with the crowd. The snarl on her lips seemed almost permanent. Eventually she grew bored of inspecting the area, and as people began to leave, she got comfortable on the ground. Sitting cross legged, she watched her sister wander around, chatting up other applicants. She was just like one of those birds she loved so much. Vasha scowled, not at her sister, but at the current situation. There were just too many people here. She hated people. People caused too much trouble.
Vasha took a deep breath, closing her eyes, pushing out the world around her. She could always find peace while meditating. There were fewer voices while meditating; she could always block them out so easily. All, except her sister. She could never, would never, block out her lovely voice. In fact, she was meditating so deeply, she didn't acknowledge the sweet voice of Vielara, and made no motion to move as food and drink were brought out. It was entirely possible that Vasha had fallen asleep.
Veythe eyed the food and drink cautiously. Hours of waiting reminded her of the hunger that gnawed at her gut, but she knew there were better things to focus on. Besides who knew if food could be trusted at this point in time? No, better to play it cautious like she'd been so far. Smile, wait, watch, and determine the best place to position herself to stay alive. Alive to live another day. Alive to distract and--well. Veythe hummed softly to herself, and shifted.
Her fingers tapped a rhythm out on the side of her pants as Veythe weaved through the rather small crowd of applicants over towards the table with scrolls, ink, and quill. She eyed the nulls, and glanced around at the applicants again, and then eyed the scrolls, in and quill thoughtfully. Name, and roll? Well she'd knew what she'd prefer to do--Veythe tapped a bit harder at her side, a steady thump-thump, thump-thump-thump, thump, thump-thump as she thought about her choices here. She didn't know a spell to check for poisons and she'd rather avoid the chance of it if the food where, but she didn't move for the scrolls, quill, and ink either.
Smile. Wait. Watch.
Veythe breathed out slowly, let her lips curl into a small smile, and weaved her way through the crowd with the ever present beat against her thigh.
Vesra was talkative, especially for a Kor. The druid quite enjoyed socializing with the other people in the crowd, although her eyes were immediately drawn to the pair of children in the bleachers. She approached them with a smile, using druidcraft to create a small white flower that she handed up to them.
Of course, as soon as she saw her sister sit down and meditate, she made her way back over to Vasha. She would never stray too far from her twin, her protector. Vesra sat down behind her twin and began to braid flowers into her hair. She still talked, even though she knew her sister wouldn't respond.
The appearance of the vampire startled the Kor. Something felt off about the whole situation. "Vashie, eyes up," Vesra signed to her sister after shaking her eyes open. "I don't trust this. Any of it."
The druid grabbed her sister by the hand and dragged her toward Vielara. She made sure to apologize to the goblin that she tripped over on the way, but she had a destination in mind so she couldn't stay and chat.
"Hello, m'lady," the Kor said with a smile and a half curtsy as soon as she approached the vampire. "We appreciate your genorosity in opening this adventure house. We're both so excited at the opportunity!"
When Kayn first entered the arena, confusion washed over him. Were we all supposed to fight? Kayn can fight. He can call fire from the earth and blast his enemies with scorching flame. Yes, he can fight. Do they want everyone to do some sort of obstacle course? Kayn isn't so good at that. He never joined his tribe in wrangling the larger beasts. He was the worse roper ever. No, he isn't that strong. He can run though. Maybe it was a race? Running is fun and he's always been good at running. He'd win that race for sure.
His eyes traced the crowd and he spotted a few goblins from Parleydin's house. His face lit up in a glorious sharp-toothed smile. Rushing over to the walls, he yells out "Booyahg!!" And gestures towards the sky. A pillar a flame flares up from the sand as he focuses his energy forth. He turns and calls out again, "Booyahg!" And another pillar of flame rises from nearby. The goblins in the stands begin to cheer and call out, and Kayn's confidence in being here is reignited.
As the hours go by, he begins to get bored. Looking at the stands, he notes his goblin compatriots have left, their short break already over. It was ok though, they had work to do. Goblins always had work to do. Just as he looks over to the gate, pondering if maybe this was all a farce, Vielara arrives with an entourage of null. Null... null are strange. They're dead, but they're alive, but they're not totally dead. They're also servants of the vampire that killed them. Who were they in their past life? Did she kill them all? Why did she kill them? He listens intently to her words, watching as she commands those around her. The nulls feel familiar to him in some way. Like they're reminiscent of those that Lillith had bonded with. Can she make them dance, he wonders...
When two nulls rush out of the small gate carrying a table and a stack of scrolls, Kayn plops himself down in the dirt. He had a letter. He was supposed to show the letter to them. It was a proper introduction. He begins to pull his various scrolls of paper out when a Kor nearly trips over him, flinging his scrolls in the air to be scattered in the dirt. "What??" Kayn calls, "Why??" He begins scrambling to collect his papers before they're trampled by more Kor rushing to meet a vampire. "Not very nice... not at all..." He eyes the Kor from behind as she pulls herself... wait... herself? No. There's two of the same Kor. She's pulling herself. His mind begins to turn at the thought. Did she create two of herself? No... they're dressed different.
It comes to him. They're lovers. Lovers like to look the same. It's what they do when they go into towns and bars and inns and beds. They're still rude though. He humphs, and gathers the last of his papers. Upon finding the letter of introduction, he holds it up high and makes his way to the nulls at the table of scrolls.
"I'ms Kayn," he says matter-of-factly, and presents his letter. "Great Booyahg of the Grotag Tribe and Apprentice to the Immaculated Lillith." He presents the letter to the null and says, "Please give this written letter, wrote with ink, from the Master of Beasts Parleydin to your Lady Vielara, please." He finishes with a toothy grin.
As the kor twins quickly converge on Vielara, the armored figures begin to shift forward in an attempt to interpose themselves between their master and the twins. As if sensing their intent, Vielara whispers something to them, causing them to maintain their current position and resume scanning and looking throughout the crowd. Uttering a small incantation under her breath, a filled cup of water glides through the air from the refreshments, finding its way snuggly into her hand. She brings the drink to her lips and takes a sip, listening to the twin's hastened introduction.
"I can sense your excitement, and appreciate your honesty." she claims with a smile hidden by the cup, tapping her polished nose with the tip of her index finger. The action reveals her long nails, appearing to have been freshly dipped in blood. "A life full of veils and smoke can be intriguing," she draws closer to you two, her face resting between both of yours as her voice fades into a light whisper "but ooohh so tiring." Her close presence allows your own noses to pick up a calm, yet invigorating, scent exuding from her person. Withdrawing herself, she remarks, "Please make sure to sign the scrolls when you can, and enjoy some refreshments if you would like." Her figure drifts off towards the signing table, towards the goblin you tripped over, and you notice that her feet dangle effortlessly above the ground due to her actually hovering just above the ground.
Extending the letter to the nulls and stating who you are bring forth... nothing from the nulls. They continue to stare into space blankly, making no appearance to have even recognized your presence. A calm, yet invigorating, scent, dances throughout your nostrils, and a whisper flows into your ear, "Talking to them won't do you any good, little booyhag. I," the figure drifts around, revealing herself to be Vielara, "on the other hand, will take your letter." Her finger trickles down the chitinous plate on your head as she bends down and smiles at you. "A friend of Parleydin is a friend of mine, no matter how small." she remarks, her velvet voice gliding into your ear like another whisper.
Vasha places a hand on her sister's shoulder and squeezes, indicating she had something to say. Keeping an eye on the vampire, she signed to her sister, "Eat no food. Drink no water. She's too pushy. She said first test. What is the second test? Watch those who eat and drink."
The nulls are mindless. They're commanded with simple tasks. Like a hill of termites. Pheromones, smells, the scent. Perhaps the vampire commands with smell. Kayn's attention turns to the hovering vampire and back to the nulls, and he notes the blank expression even in the presence of their master. Completely mindless. Worse than termites. Can they even smell?
"Mine Lady Vielara, I thanks you." Her presence was intoxicating. The complete fear she could instill at a glance and the power that radiated from her made him want to drop to his knees in fealty. He resisted that urge. The urge bred into his kin for generations. Follow the powerful. Succumb to their strength. This instinct nearly took over as she stood before him. Instead he moved to sign the papers, quill in hand.
"Should I be insulted that you would think me so stupid?" Vesra signed jokingly, laughing a little bit. That was classic Vasha, always worrying for her safety. She didn't need to remind her sister that only one twin had spent over a year in the wilderness alone. "I have a hunch that signing the papers is part of the second test. I just can't figure out what the right answer."
The druid grabbed her sister's hand once more and pulled her towards the scrolls. She wanted to inspect them up close. She ended up following the vampire, right over to the goblin she had run over earlier. Perhaps now she could apologize more fully.
Vesra picked up the paper to inspect it more thoroughly, but she had no background in the arcane so even if it had been enchanted, she couldn't tell. There was parchment. There were names. And there really wasn't much else. "It just looks like paper," she signed to Vasha. "Do we sign?"
"I can't say it enough, I'm so sorry," the Kor said to the goblin after a long moment of silence. Silence bothered her; it was so loud. Vesra tried to fill every silence she could. "I'm all elbows and knees, it's hard to keep track of all these long limbs." She used druidcraft to create a little flower crown for the little goblin and held it out for it. "Will you accept this as an apology?"
After signing the documents, the goblin looks up to the two tall Kor standing above him. One looks almost angry, the other giddy. Hand in hand, as lovers do. The giddy one offers Kayn an apology and a circle of plants. He likes plants. They make food taste good. Food is a good apology.
"Is ok," Kayn said, "Sitting in dirt is not smart. I'll be smarter and not sit in front of your walking." He accepts the circle of plants, and looking down at it and back at her, he sees she expects him to taste it. His lips open ever-so-slightly and his sharp teeth bite into the largest flower. It's fresh, only recently bloomed. It's delicious. He likes the taste, as it will flavor the meat well on the table. "Is very good," he says, walking to the food table, eager to try it out with a large slab of meat.
Vasha didn't look pleased by her sister dragging her across the arena, but she didn't fight it. She looked at the paper and the people suspiciously. There was a trick here, she just couldn't tell what it was. She noticed the goblin her sister had stampeded earlier and raised an eyebrow as he ate her sisters flower crown. It almost made her smile. She watched as the goblin made his way over to the food. She squeezed her sister's hand.
"He's going to eat," she signed. It was handy being able to speak silently, especially in crowds like this. Very few people knew Kor sign, and it was more difficult to eves drop on a language you don't understand. "Let's watch him, and see if he dies."
"That's not-" Vesra sighed. She would have to make the goblin another one later. The kor was wearing a flower crown of her own, something that she had thought would have been a clue to the small one of the flower's proper use.
"Let's watch him and see if he gets sick," the elder twin corrected. "We're not going to sit here and watch him die."
Vesra glanced back at the parchment, scrawling her first name on it after another moment of contemplation. There was no last name or tribe name attached; the sisters had lost that name many years ago. "I'm tired of waiting for something bad to happen," she signed to Vasha, already feeling her protest. "If this triggers something, let's get it over with. Besides, you'll always protect me."
The eyes, that's what people seemed to notice first. Some said they were dead eyes, cold eyes - the blank fish-like eyes of the merfolk were certainly disconcerting to those not used to spending time around that people. Ato's eyes never stopped moving. He scanned the crowd endlessly, taking in every detail of the people around him, noting their look, their weapons, cataloging the information as he went and measuring the risks that each could present, as well as the support they could offer as fellow members of an expeditionary force for Lady Vielara.
Time passed slowly as Ato moved among the throng of gathered would-be adventurers, he could sense the impatience, even before the muttering started, and smiled inwardly. The vampires were watching - they were always watching, and this would not go over well with them. To work for those demons was to be totally subservient - waiting on their pleasure, or jumping to their orders. Whether in the gladiator pits of Affa or the warrens of Nimana, that wasn't going to change. He understood that the wait was merely a way to thin the herd and remove those not up to the task.
It was interesting to see who stayed and who left - the patient and the impatient. He could see a number of Kor in the mix still. Those people are well suited to the work, the thought. Scavengers. The pair of females were of interest. At first they seemed to work at not appearing to be together, but soon enough gave up that pretense. On occasion they shared a brief word in that silent language of theirs - handy that, might be worth learning at some point. Sisters, he'd guess, knowing the Kor favored twins in their births. He noticed the one woman all but trip over a goblin just sitting on the sand, right in the way and barked a laugh as it scrambled for it's belongings. Papers? That's odd, and unlike the little monsters as well - a story there to be sure. For all their lack of civility, they were wily little things. Challenging, and Ato could respect that. Finally, he noticed a human woman, pacing and watching, as he was - that was smart of her. Always know your enemy, or competition. He caught her eye briefly, passing a look that said he saw what she was doing, just as he was. He observed the others as well, covering the broad range of peoples of this world - all eager to tie themselves to a vampire. He just hoped they knew what they were signing on for.
Finally, with the crowd thinned to a more acceptable level, she appeared. Ato hadn't seen Vielara before, but knew her kind well enough from back on Guul Draz - she was no different. The guards - for all her power, even a vampire had to care for its safety, as mortal as any other - even if long-lived. The null were just another show of power - fear-mongering - but he'd seen enough of their kind as well. He listened to her words, just another face in the crowd, then hung back as they began to move towards the table, watching to see who still wished to serve, after seeing their would-be employer. Or master. The twins wasted no time in approaching Vielara directly - brave, if perhaps a bit foolhardy. Perhaps he'd ultimately do so himself, but for now Ato chose not to draw the extra attention. He moved closer, catching the words to the little goblin, and how she caressed him like nothing more than a pet. In time, he too moved to the table, sparing the null little more than a passing glance, he put his mark on the paper with the others, taking his time to note the names and roles, should the information be relevant in the future. He eyed the food and drink, licking his lips as he did so. So dry here, he thought, but abstained for now. The risk of poison seemed unlikely, but there were other risks in accepting the vampire's gifts. Falling back once again, he waited for the this phase of the process to play out, and see what came next.
Vielara smiles, watching Kayn and Vesra sign the paper, chuckling to herself as she watched their exchange unfold. "Good. Now please, eat some food. Wouldn't it be rude to refuse gifts as my guests?" she asks almost tauntingly, before she drifts away to speak with others. The armored figured continue to follow closely beside her, though they seem more relaxed as time goes on.
Looking through the crowd, Veythe counts nineteen applicants, thirteen null, Vielara, and her two "bodyguards" - a total of thirty-five persons. Out of the applicants, she notes that many of them are armed, just as she is. An elf carries a large bow with oversized arrows; an incredible man has two bastard swords strapped to his back; a smaller vampire has at least a dozen knives, strapped to his person in various locations. Most of the applicants carry at least one weapon with them, though they all seem to be relaxed to some degree. She knows of at least two persons capable of using mana to cast spells: a smaller goblin who loves fire, and one of the kor twins, who seems to love flowers just as much as the goblin loves fire. None of those she has carefully watched seem to show signs of poison, though the wide variety of poisons found in Zendikar come with an equally wide, and sometimes vague, host of objective symptoms. Inconspicuously making her way over to the food, she sees that Vielara has provided a wide variety of foods, seeming to come from most every culture she knows of in Zendikar. The food ranges from the raw, bloody meat many vampires favor, to large, edible flowers of a wide variety of colors. The drink though is all the same: water, perhaps one of the most precious resources in the scorching wastes of Akoum.
It's at this moment that Veythe sees her making her way towards her: the vampire's figure gliding effortlessly over the hot, blood-tinged sand beneath her. Soon she is in front Veythe, her alabaster skin gleaming in the sunlight, with a smile beginning to spread across her lips. You notice that no shine comes from her skin; she isn't sweating in the least bit. "It is wise to be cautious." she warns, and you catch her unique scent wash over you with a slight breeze. "Caution is the greatest resource a soul has to keeping itself alive in this treacherous existence. But surely you must be hungry? Or at the very least... thirsty." She licks her lips ever so slightly as she looks over Veythe's figure.
Kayn hasn't seen this much food since... ever. It was all prepared for this special event. Very nice.
With circle-of-plants in hand, he begins pulling choice meats from the selection. He's had a lot of beast meats growing up, as not every beast likes to be tamed, but he wondered what meats were present on the table. Maybe he'd get to taste human. Would a vampire serve human? Only one way to find out. He plops on the dirt with his meaty selections and begins to sample the fare. Occasionally a piece of bloody flesh dangles from his mouth, but he's quick to slurp it back up. Delicious! And the plants the Kor woman gave him added a unique aroma to the meal!
"The fewer people, the better our chances," Vasha signed. It didn't need to be said that convincing people would fall to the elder twin.
"Start spreading the rumor the food is rotten?" she replied in the language of their people. She didn't want to resort to setting things on fire (yet), which meant that she was somewhat limited in what she could do. Her sister nodded, and they split up a little bit. Of course, she wouldn't dare move farther away than thirty feet from Vasha, but they needed to be able to cover more ground.
Vesra cast druidcraft on the table as stealthily as she could, creating the faint aroma of rotting food. "By the suns, do you smell that?" she whispered conspiratorially to a few nearby people. As much as she thought she was being sneaky, the druid's actions did not go unnoticed.
"She's poisoning it!" A kor cried out, as he and two goblins began to approach her.
"Plan B?" Vesra signed to her sister, the panic clearly evident on her face.
Vasha sighed as her sister was spotted. She watched as the kor and goblins reached for their weapons. She slowly reached for her Kor hooks and moved closer to Vesra. Nobody was threatening her sister. Not today, not ever.
His business at the tables complete, Ato had let his attention drift away, and was watching Vielara as the vampire interacted with the other candidates. At the sound of the shout, his head snaps back around and he curses his inattention. Fool! Never be distracted by a single target!
He sees one of the kor sisters seems to be the cause of the cry, and catches the quick sign between the two as she's been caught at... whatever she did. With a quick glance around, he attempts to gauge how the others who surround her will react, and rests a cautious hand on his sword hilt. The goblins and kor who called her out don't seem to be attacking just yet, but things could turn sour in a heartbeat. He looks to Vielara as well, to judge how she reacts to the charge. (Insight?)
Veythe dips her head and acknowledgement of Vielara's words. The vampire was right, she was indeed hungry--thirsty even--and Veythe didn't miss the emphasis one bit. Instead of the unease that travels up her spine--she never liked these types of wordplay games; you could never quite tell just what the others true intentions were and Veythe knew that well--she pushed out a smile.
"I apologize if my caution seems rude," she says lightly. "I am merely eager to see to the next test you implied as to come. Besides...isn't it rude to take a bite before our delightful host?" After a second Veythe shakes her head. "Anyway, I should probably put my name down. You did ask so politely, and I merely...wanted to see who I may be working with. You can never know a persons true intentions through words alone."
With that Veythe slipped away from Vielara and over to the table. She grabbed the quill and ink bottle and quickly signed her name. A little unsettled at being singled out like that Veythe completely missed the two Kor girls' interactions until the shout rang up. Her head snapped straight from the table the instant she finished signing her name--a blot of ink left behind in her haste to move away, startled enough to reach for the dagger at her side. What she saw had her eyes going wide and her hand shifting for her pan flute instead.
The warmth of the suns was inviting to the hulking barbarian. Standing at 6’4” with deeply tanned skin, Ellangil held a daring crystalline blue-eyed stare at any who would attempt to lock eyes. His dark brown, almost black, hair pulled back into a ponytail on the top with the sides of his head shaved. The barbarian’s beard hung about 5” from his chin in a double braid. Across his back was sheathed a big bastard sword and at his side were two hand axes. To those with an eye to discern such things, he definitely knew how to use them.
He held a brief vision of how the heat from atop a dragon would feel on his body as he sat on the beast’s back watching it sprout flames to those who might oppose him. Alaric came to mind. Ellangil gave a brief shake of his head and popped back into the present. The uncomfortable appearance by most of the others who stood in the heat made him wonder if it could somehow be used to his advantage. An overheated body sends it into dehydration quickly making the person tired. It took a strong constitution and endurance to combat in such heat.
Promises of fame and treasure had pulled the barbarian to this place. The waiting was easily a test. Gazing from the numbers who came, mostly likely for reasons similar to his, there was an expectation of many tests that would be employed to weed out the weak such as those fool goblins. He had seen enough of their kind that it would take a serious act of combat to gain his respect. Was there anyone here who would gain his trust on this day? Only time would tell.
Finally, the vampire came out. Having been exiled from his clan, he had come to this place a few times and knew who it was that had issued the call for adventurers, though he had yet to lay eyes upon her. She did not look impressive but only a fool dismissed the presence of a vampire; attractive yes, but not impressive from first impression. Her voice, though, was soothing and persuasive. No doubt Vielara had a silver tongue.
‘You’ve passed the first test’ the vampire eloquently said with her melodic voice. Guards on the ground, platters of food and ale, a book to sign … which of these was the second test? Was the signing of the book some demonic pact that damned his soul? Maybe the food or the drink were slightly poisoned to test their resistance? Would the guards attack? Was Ellangil becoming paranoid? Given the generosity of a vampire, it only made sense to be paranoid. The barbarian wished his blood to remain in his veins.
Ellangil surveyed the remaining group. Of all that were here, his eyes came to rest on the female Kor who sat in meditation. It intrigued him to see this tactic used to withstand the heat. At least, this was his assumption for why she did this. It did not dawn on him that she might hate being around the crowd. Her duplicate drug her to her feet and forced her to follow. They looked like twins, but their personalities obviously different. He would have kicked the goblin through some game port, but the ugly thing began spewing magic and yelling Booyagh. Nothing worse than an insane wizard. The merfolk held his final gaze. How in the heck did a water dweller manage to stand in such heat for a few hours without even a glimpse of exhaustion or dehydration … impressive!
Speeches were done, and his observations complete, Ellangil moved over to the food and drink table. If this was to be a test through the resistance of poison, then abstaining only caused a person to fail the test. He picked up one bite of meat and threw it into his mouth, eating as if it was an act of defiance. Then he grabbed a glass of water and chugged it down … a truly gracious host would have provided quality ale. Then he walked over to the table, slightly hesitant, before signing his name. He did not like the idea of signing away his soul but if it allowed him to kill Alaric, he would take that risk.
As for making pleasantries and introductions, it was not his style. His weapon spoke for him. His confidence made it clear it was Vielara who needed his skills more than he needed this gig. The barbarian was satisfied by making eye contact and nodding his head. After all, he was Ellangil of the Adalbern Tribe of the Kargan, and an Angel had made it clear to him that he was already destined for fame. When his life was forfeit, he will have sat at the head of his tribesmen resting atop a fire breathing dragon that submitted to his will. No one else here had received a prophesy like this. This knowledge did not make him arrogant … just confident.