Veythe slips away from Vielara at the same time Ellangil's throat swallows his first bite of meat. The accusations of "poisoner!" ring through the dry air against Vesra and her twin, Vasha. The heads of each person, excluding the nulls, turned to face the kor twins. A mixture of confusion, anger, and shock shown across each of their faces... except Vielara's. Her face showed... pleasure? Satisfaction? The only hint at her emotional state is the slow, creeping smile on her face, as she glides in closer to observe Vesra and Vasha. "Sheath your weapons and put them away." she commands sharply to the two goblins and kor, her voice cold and void of pleasantries and politeness. They quickly obey, and you hear the sheathing sounds of metal on scabbard or the creaking of wood as other weapons are undrawn or sheathed.
"Wolves." She says, bearing her fangs with a slight smile. "Wolves amongst sheep. You have acted, instead of waiting to be acted upon... seized initiative, making the first move by poisoning the food. A feminine trait, and one which I admire." Several applicants glare at Vesra and Vasha, but say nothing. Winking to the two of them, Vielara glides maybe five feet into air before stopping, and her voice once again seems to be carried on the wind. "The second test has passed. I have learned what I needed to learn about each of you." She snaps her fingers, and the nulls quickly gather up the food and drink, as well as the tables upon which they rested, and exit through the small gate. The scrolls, ink, quill, table upon which they rested, and one null remained.
"As soon as everyone has signed their names and role on the scrolls, we shall proceed to the third and last portion. Until then, enjoy yourselves and the surrounding company." She and her bodyguards exit through the small gate, and the door closes quickly behind them, leaving just the lone null with the scrolls and the remaining applicants.
Poison? This food is not poison. It's delicious. And Kor lady with plants doesn't poison. How silly to think. Kayn continues eating up until Vielara commands the table to be removed. He sighs when the null pull the food away, and waves to the null... the table of food, as they exit.
"We win!" He says as he turns to the others assembled. "Test number three. We are to get along. So be nice," he says pointedly to the other two goblins. Stupid goblins. They always go for weapons when they don't understand. So stupid. He was sure he knew them, but not from where. Everyone here had their own reasons for being here. He knew this, and they knew this. He had a feeling that everyone being left alone would not go well...
Kayn stretches, his scaly thick skin basking in the suns. It was a good meal.
Vasha patted her sister on the shoulder, a sign of praise. She watched as the food and drink are taken away, knowing another test is still in play. The scrolls. It had to be something to do with those blasted scrolls and everyone writing on them. The vampire wanted names and roles to be played. But Vasha didn't play roles, and she didn't like to follow the rules.
She motioned Vesra to stay where she was, and Vasha made her way over to the remaining table. Scowling, she read a few names, and the roles they would play. Vielara was right, she was a wolf among sheep. She gazed at those sheep, ambling around waiting for opportunity to come to them. Tired of these games, Vasha reached into a pouch, and produced a dart. She slammed the dart through the scroll, into the table below. Turning, she saw many in the crowd staring at her, and she simply glared back at them.
Vesra was a woman of instinct, so she had already begun to produce a flame in the palm of her hand when Vielara halted the crowd from attacking.
The vampire's words didn't fully register with the druid immediately, but as soon as they did the flame fizzled out. "What?" The word was almost a whisper. She was sure that she would be dead.
"Did we just win?" She signed to her sister, leaning into the shoulder pat. Vesra had wanted that physical reassurance, and her sister always seemed to know what she needed.
The druid didn't want to split up again, but she kept her distance as her sister went to sign her name. Trying to find something to do, she leaned over to the nearest person. "I didn't- I didn't actually poison anything," she whispered, feeling the need to clear her name somewhat.
It was quite the display watching the claim for poisoning and then a near all around combat. The vampire popped over and completely ruined the moment. He didn't care about why the combat was about to take place. The barbarian wanted to know how well they could fight when they were together. Ellangil was positive the twins were going to crush them ... well maybe 70 / 30. He was a little surprised the blood sucker stopped them. Losers become dinner? It was her party so anything was possible.
As he took a few more edibles from the table before it was so rudely withdrawn, he found himself near the twins while munching. The one who did not seem to talk very much went to sign her name into the ledger. The other stood there in front of him. She leaned back to talk and seemed a bit nervous - or maybe concerned - over the slight altercation. "This is an arena, and the best man ... or woman ... wins. Pretend, real, it makes no difference. Vielara liked it. Enjoy your victory. Those who whined over your plot, we won't see them again for it to matter once we are officially adventurers for this house. Keeping your flaming hand close, and your sister too, we will be sure to take down this third test and claim the spoils of victory."
"Are you proposing an alliance?" Vesra asked, looking him up and down. As far as she was concerned, her sister was the greatest warrior in all of Zendikar. But perhaps this large, muscle bound fighter could be a worthy second.
"My name's Vesra," she grinned, druidcrafting a small yellow flower, which she then held out to the man. "If you listen to the language of the flowers, this particular blossom means victory. The trees think it's all a load of garbage, but I happen to like the way they look so I don't pay much mind to what the other plants say."
Veythe stepped back as one of the Kor twins stormed over to the table with the scrolls. She was still contemplating Vielara's words. Wolves among sheep? Yes she could see that the Kor twins were more about action than words, or even over listening. Veythe liked that. Actions always spoke loudest after all--and the twins actions spoke plenty loud. Brash, impatient, but clever. Veythe admired that cleverness.
When the Kor girl stabbed into the papers she turned, hand still clutching the pan flute. If anything Veythe would rather be prepared to weave a bit of magic with sound given there was still one last test to go, and this one might just end in a fight given the second. The first test patience, the second test action...the third test perhaps meant survival after all. Veythe eyed her up and down and gave a wry sort of smile, lips twitching at the obvious frustration.
"It seems rather counterproductive, doesn't it?" she said. "Assigning roles. Roles are fluid as the action changes and demands."
Vasha, still standing in front of the table glaring at the crowd, turned her gaze upon the human speaking to her. Vasha kept her hands to her sides, loose and ready to grab her hooks the moment she needed. For the first time since coming here, she found herself in need of speaking, which only annoyed her further. "I tire of the games. Do we fight?" Her words dripped with icy rancor. A movement over the human's shoulder caught her attention, and she spotted her sister. Vesra was being accosted by another human, this one male. What was with these humans?
Vasha signed a string of expletives to herself, bushing past Veythe and storming over to her sister. She pushed herself between her sister and the muscle man, leveling her hostile stare at him. Her left hand behind her back, she held Vesra's hand. Her right hand was on a hook. She said nothing, but the intent was clear; stay away from my sister.
It surprised Ato not in the least when the vampire stepped input a stop to any violence and suddenly announce that the food had been the second of the tests. Had it been, though? Or was she merely taking advantage of the situation as it arose? He watched the others to see if anyone else walked out, fearful of signing the scroll and joining Vielara. At this point, he suspected anyone left was committed.
Seeing the warrior with the sword on his back approach the kor women - an obvious ploy to to find advantage in their position of favor with Vielara - he pondered. Perhaps he does have a point, the need to work with others as a cohesive unit would be required for success, so an early alliance with someone could be beneficial. He eyed his prospects and considered what each could offer, and his measuring gaze settled on the human woman he'd noticed earlier, judging the competition as he had been. A flute? She'd pulled it out in expectation of a fight, so obviously a tool of power in some way - most curious. He made his way towards her.
"It seems rather counterproductive, doesn't it?" she said. "Assigning roles. Roles are fluid as the action changes and demands."
"In any group, one must find their place and their purpose. We all have roles to play in life, as the gods decree, though with freewill and fluidity within them. A chameleon may change is colors as need demands, but he is still the same creature at his core, is he not?" Ato pauses briefly before he continues. "It appears that alliances are starting to form, and I suspect that is what Vielara wants to see. A loner won't very well fit into her needs. I think you and I may be able to help each other - offer her a team that perhaps works more by brains and planning than simply hacking things with a sword, no?"
Veythe snorted at the insults--of course some oafish man would cause trouble just when she sought the chance to learn more about the impatient twins.
"In any group, one must find their place and their purpose. We all have roles to play in life, as the gods decree, though with freewill and fluidity within them. A chameleon may change is colors as need demands, but he is still the same creature at his core, is he not?"
At the words Veythe turned to view the mer curiously as he spoke. She smiled to him, and nodded her head in agreement. She'd seen him assessing and judging earlier like herself. To Veythe caution was a trait she liked to see, especially in a prospective ally. Impatience may get the job done, but it caused butting heads and chanced destabilizing group dynamics. Veythe had plenty of chances to work on calming furious tempers. She glanced toward the Kor women and the larger man who brought upon him the sister's ire. She still didn't have a name.
"Tests within tests," Veythe murmured. "Yes, it appears alliances are for the best in this instance. And you are entirely correct--at their core a creature is always who they are, no matter the colors they share." Her grin at that is positively vicious. She knows well how a creature could change their tune to mimic something they were not. "Veythe," Veythe nodded her head. "Now...if you don't mind I'd rather stop a massacre caused by some curious women I'd like to get to know."
Veythe strode away, heading purposefully toward the two sisters and the human. She whistled to get their attention and signed to the women Is everything alright? Your sister seems worried for you health. Has he done anything you disapprove of?
Ellangil let Vesra’s words settle in his head for a moment. It was weird to hear the word ‘alliance’. The barbarians of the Adalbern Tribe of the Kargan did not view things like alliance. They were a people, a family. Each put in to do their part for the survival of the tribe. Alliances were diplomatic and broken all the time by cities and businesses. To become so selfish as to break the bond of the tribe meant banishment. It wasn’t heard of. He didn’t answer that part just yet.
The barbarian nodded his head in greeting, “Vesra, I am Ellangil.” He would have accepted the interesting gift thinking it some type of Kor custom, but Vasha decided these pleasantries were not acceptable. The tall Kor woman glared at him as if he had cursed her name. If not for Vesra, he might think all Kor were hostile like this. It made very little sense to him. Still, he was not about to let his guard down. The women in his tribe were able warriors and defended the tribe at the side of the men when needs be.
Ellangil had to sigh to keep Vasha’s anger from riling him up, “Where this hostility brews is on you, not me. Since we have never met, it makes little sense for your attitude towards me. Protect your family, I get that, but it is neither here nor there at this moment.” Okay, maybe it made a little sense, but not to this depth.
“Look around for a second. We have seen two tests thus far. The concept of this adventuring house is to adventure. This is not a solo feat. It requires a coordinated group in order to achieve success. I expect combat will be required to meet the goal. Fail the mission, and the vampire drops us. Those first two tests had nothing to do with combat. So how do you expect that third test to play out?” It was an obvious rhetorical question. Why would the vampire try and put together a group that needed to know how to fight without seeing if they could fight in the first place.
“I’ve no doubt that it is going to take this ‘alliance’ in order to pass the third test. I even think that it will take more than the three of us to succeed. In my tribe, women are just as capable in combat as the men, so there is nothing protective in what I say. I am a warrior and know my role. You seem as an agile warrior, different than my style but no less deadly. Your twin brought forth flames in her hand and has a silver tongue, much like the shamans of the tribe.” Ellangil had said enough to Vasha. Any more would just be rambling. She would either understand his words at this point or was never going to.
The barbarian moved his eyes past Vasha towards Vesra, “I accept this ‘alliance’,” the words were still strange to speak though the concept made sense. “But I believe we will need more than just the three of us. You have the gift of speech. I have two questions. Will your twin agree to this and can you gather more? Maybe the aquatic man? I know little of their kind but to have survived the heat for those hours during our first test and with no water, I feel there is some kind of endurance and determination buried within him that could serve an alliance well.”
Satisfied with everyone beginning to finally have dialog with each other, Kayn plops back down on the sand. He's had this hangnail on his toe for the last week and he was determined to finally rip it off. Grabbing his foot, he begins nibbling on the nail with his sharp teeth. This thing was distracting. This was not a good time for distractions. Best to take care of it now.
"Vashie, it's ok," Vesra gave her sister's hand a small squeeze. She spoke plainly in common, so no one would think there were any secrets. "I'm ok." Her twin had always been her protector, but sometimes the monk forgot that she wasn't a delicate flower. When they were younger, she had needed Vasha to stand between herself and danger, whether that danger had been falling rocks or their father.
The druid handed the flower to the barbarian and grinned. "This is my sister Vasha, and she's not going to choke you with those hooks, no matter how much she wants to," Vesra said pointedly.
She looked up for a moment and saw a human woman walking toward her, signing to her in the Kor language. It was odd, but odder still was the woman's question about her well being.
"I'm fine," she called out to the human. "By the suns, why is everyone so worried about me? I'm not just a pretty face over here."
Vasha stepped to the side, allowing her sister to hand the pretty flower to Ellangil. She began to sign, then stopped, crossing her hands over her chest. "You would do me respect to ask me yourself if I'd allow an alliance," she said, still icy toward the barbarian. She glances at the human woman, missing the fact that she was using Kor sign, then looks back to Ellangil. "My sister obviously likes you. But keep in mind, we are in a fighting pit. It would be a shame not to spill some blood today. Make one move toward my sister, and I won't hesitate to rip your lips off your pretty face with my teeth."
She then turned her attention to the human woman. "Why are you following me?" While the intent of the question was genuine, animosity still crept in.
"Veythe," Veythe nodded her head. "Now...if you don't mind I'd rather stop a massacre caused by some curious women I'd like to get to know."
Before he could even respond, Veythe walked away, moving towards the kor women and the barbarian, as if to intercede somehow on their behalf. They looked competent enough on their own, did she really think they needed her help? No, likely just just another ploy to garner favor in hope of further alliances. Very well, then, he thought, time to grow the school.
Ato strode after the woman, and caught the flash of sign, followed by the kor's verbal response. So, she knows their silent tongue as well, he thought, and asked if she needed aid. Joining the growing group, he nodded to the sisters in greeting, and sized up the warrior, looking him steadily in the eye, knowing the tribes valued strength and confidence. He had to look up at the towering barbarian (and at the kor twins as well), but not by too much.
"It seems that this gathering of individuals is beginning to gather into groups, seeking to gain favor with Vielara based on the strengths of their combined abilities. From what I've observed so far, I believe I might have my own skills to benefit you and you, me. I am called Ato, late of Nimana, if that matters to you."
The druidic twin proceeded to hand him the flower which he graciously accepted. It was a kind gesture which spoke highly of her character. He was ready to let the situation pass as Vesra introduced Vasha to him, but such glamour was apparently only allowed to last so long. First she had glared at him like some beast, now she spoke with a venomous tongue. The woman must drink demon's blood as foul as she was acting. He could have ignored the situation to prevent further problems, but then the damnable woman took it yet another step further and threatened him.
The situation went from intense to almost laughable inside the mind of the barbarian. "Seeing as a conversation on alliances began with your sister, I merely responded to her comment. You decided not to mix words with me on the topic, so I felt no need to either. Before you decide that respect is required of me to you, I believe it was you who decided to provide none to me. I'm not the one who seems to be casting the death gaze. I could even go so far as to say that to this moment, the only thing you have done is disrespect me. And for what? Returning kind words with a woman who began talking with me? No, respect is not given, and it is by choice. You've done nothing to deserve it. You have done nothing but threaten me."
Vasha decided to turn her attention to the other human, then proceeded to use her forked tongue again. Ellangil wasn't sure how long he would be able to handle her loathing personality. The two might have been twins, but Vasha was nothing like Vesra. The barbarian took a deep sigh to let it all out before turning to face the Mer.
Ellangil looked him up and down for a short moment. He had never met one before. "I am afraid beyond the name, I know very little about your culture for the rest to make sense. Well met, Ato. I am Ellangil. I personally would be welcome to you joining us but am not the voice of the group." 'The Group' it had formed in less than a minute even with the wild kor woman. "Would anyone object?" The question going out to those who had come around Vesra. She definitely had a way with people for the group to have gathered so quickly.
Before she could get an answer from the human woman, Ellangil spoke again. She shifted her gaze back to him and listened to him intently. She slowly realized her folly. She had demanded respect, but given none in return. Her gaze fell, ashamed. This is why she let Vesra do all the talking. She angrily signed the word stupid to herself a few times. She raised her head once again, looking Ellangil in the eyes, and said, "You... are right." She then turned to her sister, signed "I'm sorry," and walked a few paces away from the now forming group around her sister. She planted herself on the ground, crossed legged, and looked at the group again. Everyone loved her sister. It was hard not to. Vasha took a deep breath, slowly letting it out, and closed her eyes. This time, she didn't push out the world. She wanted to hear everything. Just in case.
Finally his teeth were able to pull the wretched thing out! The relief was instantaneous even if the soft hide were sore to the touch. Kayn grabbed a handful of sand and began rubbing it in to his toe. It felt really good. He made sure to put a layer inside the sharp toenail as well. There, much better. Kayn stands and does a few hops to make sure that his toe is still functioning. Satisfied, he looks around.
The dart in the name list stands out to him so he approaches it and pulls the dart free. That's not how you write a name. Maybe she needed help. Writing is easy. No one wants to help her so she's sitting alone. I can help.
Kayn approaches Vasha and offers her the dart. "I can help write your name, if you are having some trouble with writing your name." His lips part in what is supposed to be a smile, but resembles a sharp-toothed grin.
Busy chatting and getting to know each other, few actually notice that seconds after Kayn pulls Vasha's dart from the scroll, the remaining null wordlessly grabs the scroll and exits through the small gate. The rest only notice what has occurred as the small gate creaks open, and then closes once again once the null has passed through. Whispers erupt from the crowd, as most wonder what is going to occur next for the third test.
The sun continues to bear down on the group, and those not native to Akoum and didn't drink water begin to feel the effects of dehydration. [I need CON saves from everyone who isn't native to Akoum and didn't drink any water. Those native to Akoum or drank water don't need to roll.]
Ellangil, as you've made your way about, scanning the applicants and chatting with some of them, you notice one applicant in particular who seems to be watching you discreetly, but still noticeable. They are an able-bodied human, such as yourself, though their garb doesn't seem to match that of a Kargan. You think that he might recognize you, for better or for worse. For now, he keeps his distance, intermingling with the other applicants.
The kor and two goblins who initially noticed Vesra's "attempts" to poison the food are huddled together now, with an elf archer and a weaponless vampire. The elf, judging by the tattoos, is most likely from the Joraga tribe, making his joining with the non-elves all the more stranger. Still, they continually glance over at the kor twins and the group of applicants forming around them, though make no approach, as if waiting to see what this third test brings. Their body language doesn't suggest friendliness, however.
From what the group can gather, at least two groups seem to have formed out of the nineteen applicants.
"Not stupid," Vesra signed back to Vasha. "You have nothing to apologize for." But it was too late; the damage had been done. Vasha's eyes were closed and she was sitting on the ground, probably meditating and blocking out the rest of the world.
"There's a lot of talk of respect, but not a lot the actual thing itself," Vesra addressed the two humans and merman. "If you want to prove you respect me, and if you want to be on my time, you have to be nice to my sister. She shows she cares in different ways sometimes, but that doesn't mean anything."
Vesra produced two more flowers, the same yellow blooms that she had told Ellangil represented victory. "These are peace offerings, for now," she smiled softly. There had been an unusual edge to her voice before, but it had quickly gone. "Be kind, be strong, and work together. I think we're going to make a great team if we keep those things in mind."
Vesra glanced over, noting a small group seemingly gathering against them. "I think we're about to experience the third trial, and my first test for you all," she laughed. "Get ready for some action."