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22 June 2008 @ 11:17 pm
23 Flamerule 1372 **draft**  
I'm not sure how long I slept, but it was dark in my room when I was awakened by a light rap on my door. It was Tordrin, bearing a tray of fruit and cheese.

He greeted me with a kiss. "I heard that you slept through dinner, so I thought I'd bring you something to eat."

"Oh. Thank you," I said.

I've had sex with so many people, men and women, and I've never been shy around any of them afterward. Well, maybe Rizzen, when we were very young and just starting to be intimate, but that's different. Tordrin, on the other hand, I haven't had sex with, and I was surprised to feel very shy as we sat at the small table in my room. I just didn't know yet what to think about what was happening between us, or what I wanted to happen between us. It would be different if all he wanted was a proverbial roll in the hay; that would be fine. Hells, I'd have already done it. But that wasn't what he wanted. Men, or women, for that matter, who just want sex don't dance around it like Tordrin did. The intimacy he wanted was different.

"You're very quiet," he said, "is something wrong?"

"Oh, um, no. I just don't sleep very often, and I'm groggy."

"You usually just trance?"

"Mm-hm. I usually . . . work . . . through the night, and Seledra likes to do things during the afternoon or evening when her duties are finished, so trancing in the morning frees up more of my day."

"I see. Sleeping once in while is quite relaxing, though; you should give yourself more time for it once in a while. Thieving is stressful work, after all." I stopped and stared at him. "Well, it's not like we didn't already know you're a thief."

I laughed. "No, I suppose not." Time to change the subject. "So, you said you were a member of the Silver Swords; when was that?"

Tordrin grinned. "Don't think I don't see what you're doing. But I'll humor you, because I'm a sucker for pretty silver eyes. I was with the Silver Swords for twenty-five years, starting when I was 100. Part of that time was training, though. My siblings were all magic users, as was most of my family, and they went to elite wizarding schools. I was more interested in fighting, and school bored me. So the Swords took me in and completed my training as a ranger. Even as an apprentice, though, I got to travel on assignment."

"Where have you gone?"

"Oh, all over the Silver Marches, of course. I've been as far south as Calimshan, and as far east as Thesk, but most of my work was here in the Silver Marches, and in the Dalelands, particularly Cormanthor." Push, push. I became very interested in the contents of the fruit bowl.

"Cormanthor. That's where House Jaelre went, after leaving Menzo, isn't it? I've heard there are other drow living there, as well. Did you fight them?"

Tordrin didn't answer right away. "A few times, yes. The first time I was there was as part of an escort, for a priestess of Eilistraee. The Silver Swords do a lot of work with Eilistraee followers, in the hopes that they can mend the rift between the drow and other elves. A small group of drow women in Cormanthor wanted to train in the ways of Eilistraee and set up an enclave for other potential followers of the Dark Maiden in the region, so Qilué Veladorn sent one of her clerics. We were asked to travel with her, to protect her in the event of a threat. We couldn't be certain that our contacts wouldn't have been found out and killed before we even got there, or that the whole thing wasn't a ruse to begin with. The Eilistraeens have had a rough go of it out there, and we were called there several times to assist them. I'm not sure any of them are left, now. But that's a sad story, for another day, perhaps." I looked up, and he was looking away from me; he looked back at me and smiled sadly.

Perhaps I was wrong to distrust him; perhaps he would understand. It's been so long since I've allowed myself to think of my home. Even Seledra, the only person to whom I've told anything like the truth, only knows the half of it. I hadn't allowed myself to grieve after the attack on our ceremony that night; I focused on survival, even after tentatively rejoining the Eilistraeens in the Underdark. Even them I gave a false history; I knew my father would have searched for me when he didn't see my body among the dead, and I couldn't take the chance that anyone knew someone survived that attack. But Tordrin, maybe I could tell him.

"Mayurra?" He looked at me with concern. How long had I been lost in thought? "You seem far away."

"I'm sorry, I-I guess I'm still not quite awake." Maybe I could tell him, but not yet.

"Of course." He looked . . . frustrated. "Perhaps I was wrong to wake you. I should let you get back to sleep, if you're done eating." He took a more formal tone, and got up as though to leave.

I stood up myself. "Wait!" I think I surprised both of us. Tordrin looked at me. "Stay?" I said, extending a hand.

He smiled a real smile. "I won't pretend I wasn't hoping you'd ask," he said as he pulled me into his arms.

***

I questioned the wisdom of inviting Tordrin to my bed so soon, but I needn't have. He was taking his time, it seemed, content to simply hold me as we lay together, with the occasional kiss or caress. We slept a few more hours, and he left me just before dawn to go back down to the Harpers' camp. I got up as well, and dressed. I decided my hair had grown out enough to attempt an updo. I braided several narrow plaits in the front, and gathered the rest of my hair on the top of my head. Then I realized that since I had the wrong jewelry box, I had no hairpins.

I ventured out, and came across two women I hadn't met before, a soft-spoken elf and a red-haired human, just outside an open bedroom door. Vanity overcame hesitation, and I approached them.

"Excuse me," I said. "I'm sorry to trouble you, but have either of you any hairpins? I was dressing for the wedding, and somehow I left all mine at home. Oh, I should introduce myself! My apologies; my name is Mayurra Aerynrae."

The elf took my offered hand. "Oh! Ariel told me about you last night. Pleased to meet you. I'm Linu La'neral, and this is Sharwyn." The redhead smiled tightly.

Sharwyn mumbled a greeting, excused herself, and retreated into the open room, but Linu kept talking to me. "Don't mind her, dear, she's . . . not a morning person. But you wanted hairpins, didn't you! I think I have something that will do." Linu led me to her own chamber, chatting about her home in Evereska (I think that's where Tordrin is from), her late husband, the plague, Pandora. "Now, I think I've got just the thing," she said when we got to her room. She produced a box of beautifully crafted hairpins.

"Oh, those are lovely! I couldn't borrow them, I'd be afraid of losing one." Indeed, if I "lost" one (or three), I think Seledra would kill me.

"Don't think anything of it, dear. These silver ones would be just lovely against your hair. Here, let me." Linu motioned me to sit, but as she stepped behind me, she tripped, spilling the pins all over the floor. I helped her gather them up; it would have been so very easy to pocket one or two, but I'd promised Seledra. I hate promises.

Linu finished my hair and explained that it was an old Evereskan style before she showed it to me, and together we made our way down to the wedding grounds. Seledra was helping the twins and an unfamiliar half-orc finish setting up. The guests gradually started to gather, and Ariel came down with an old, frail, elf, who Linu told me was Ariel's husband, Celeborn. Tordrin joined us as the guests started finding seats.

"Ah, we all clean up well when we put in the effort, don't we?" he joked. "You are positively a vision, my silvery one." He kissed my hand. "That hairstyle conjures up some old memories, but it suits you beautifully. Your work, I assume, Linu?"

Linu started, then her jaw dropped in recognition. "Tordrin Windweaver?! Why, I haven't seen you in ages! My husband was good friends with his brother," Linu explained to me.

"It's good to see someone from home," Tordrin said. A shadow seemed to pass over both of their faces. They chatted for a minute about Evereska, and some creatures called phaerimm, before Linu left to find Sharwyn. Tordrin and I took our seats at the back. Finally, the ceremony started. Seledra began by blessing, well, just about everything, including the bridal couple. Pandora and Aarin had to recite chants, and shared bread and salt. Then Sharwyn stood up to sing. Fortunately, she was a more pleasant performer than she was a conversationalist. As she sang, I glanced at Seledra. She looked alarmed, and when she realized I was looking at her, she tried to sign something to me. I'd been teaching her, but I didn't understand what she was trying to tell me. What? I signed back. I wasn't sure if she just hadn't gotten it down yet, or if she was mixing things up because she was upset. Finally, she just mouthed, "Where's Thralia?" I looked around quickly, and, indeed, there was no sign of Thralia, or her cousin, Taeghen, another member of her band. I whispered as much to Tordrin, and we got up to check the Harpers' camp.

As we left, Tordrin stopped to give some instructions to Jaden, a half-elven shadow mage I remembered from the orc battle, and, of course, another band member. As we approached the camp, we heard both Taeghen and Thralia, their voices were raised in anger.

"Let me go! I will not let you ruin this wedding!"

"Wedding? It's a travesty, is what it is, and I will not allow my kin to participate in such a . . . blasphemy against The People!" Tordrin ran lightly toward the tent the voices were coming from, and I followed. Through the tent opening, I could barely see Thralia on the ground, wrists and ankles bound, with a short length of rope linking her hands and feet to further restrict her movement. I made a movement toward the entry, but Tordrin grabbed me and pulled me back. If he overpowered Thralia, what makes you think you can take him on? he signaled quickly in drow sign. The argument continued.

"It's bad enough you keep around that A’Tel’Quessir and those abominations that you trust more than me, your own blood!"

"Jaden and the Talaviirs are proven Harper Agents. I trust them because they've earned it, not because of their blood."

"Fool! Blood will out; it always does. Don't even get me started on the way you protected that little chit of a drow girl. We should have let the Hold have her. And now you'll just stand and watch as Tordrin chases her; you ought to rein him in, cousin."

"Tordrin is my equal; I do not--"

"Please! Moon elf or not, he's a traitor to his blood, as you are becoming. Of course, he always was a drow-lover, wasn't he? And an Evereskan, no less. I'm surprised his family didn't disown him."

"I can't believe what I'm hearing, Taeghen; you--" Thralia's words trailed off, as Tordrin grabbed me and half-dragged, half-carried me away from the tent.

When we were out of earshot, he stopped. He was livid with anger, and stood with his fists clenched. "Eldreth Veluuthra! he said, and spat. I was fluent in Elven, but I didn't recognize those words.

"What's that?" I asked. He looked at me and softened.

"I'm sorry, I shouldn't have said that. Come, there's nothing we can do right now, and it wouldn't be safe for you. If we tried to intervene, it would disrupt the wedding even more than their absence already has. Taeghen's solo will have passed; I asked Jaden to sing it in his stead. I only hope Seledra will be able to improvise something for Thralia's."

We got back just in time for Tordrin to sing his part. He lead me to my seat, a hand on my elbow, and took his place at the altar. As he started singing, Seledra looked at me. "Not coming!" I mouthed. Her eyes grew wide. Moments later, I saw the dryad at her side, and I wondered what was going on. I found out a short while later, when she sang the solo that would have been Thralia's. The rest of the wedding ceremony went off without a hitch, though I admit that I was too distracted by what I had witnessed to pay much attention, and I think Tordrin was, as well, from the look on his face as he sat beside me. I didn't even notice that the wedding had ended, until I realized the guests around me were rising from their seats and drifting toward the happy couple. Seledra was by my side almost before I left my own seat. Tordrin excused himself.

I looked at Seledra. "What is the Eldreth Veluuthra?" I whispered.

Seledra paled. "They are not words spoken of in good company."

"Thralia and Taeghen were arguing. He said he wouldn't let her be a part of this . . . blasphemy against The People. Apparently it's not just humans he doesn't like. He gave her a lecture about the Talaviirs and . . . Tordrin and me. That's when Tordrin said Eldreth Veluuthra and spat on the ground. What is it?"

Before she could answer, a shout came from the camp. The rest of the wedding-goers seemed not to hear it, but Seledra and I ran out to see what was going on. Taeghen was on the ground, with Tordrin standing over him, his arm still extended from what must have been quite a punch.

"You will not bring this evil to this place. You will not bring harm to May, my agents or Jaden..."

"Jaden needs no help from me to destroy himself. His fate is already sealed."

Thralia, free of her bonds, came forward and pointed her rapier at her cousin's throat. She told her Taeghen to leave and not return, and that she would no longer consider him kin, among others things. Taeghen began to plead with her, but she turned her back and walked to the stage, not so much as glancing behind her.

Tordrin returned to us, and Seledra excused herself to serve her dryad.

"I'm sorry you had to see that," Tordrin said. "I'll stay with you until I know Taeghen's clear of the grounds, but after that, you will have nothing to fear from him. Now, we should go congratulate the bride and groom. We wouldn't want to be rude. More importantly, we wouldn't want to miss out on that cake." He grinned and led me back to the line of people waiting to talk to Pandora and Aarin. We spoke to them briefly, then Tordrin was called away to help transform the ceremony space into a reception space. I was a little relieved, to be honest. The gods themselves seemed to conspire to push us together, and I hadn't had much time alone to think about what I really wanted.

I tried to help with the break-down and set-up, but was told I was a guest and would do no such thing. So I chatted a little more with Linu, who introduced me to a half-orc (not the one I'd seen this morning) named Daelan Red Tiger. Like Linu and Sharwyn, he'd helped Pandora discover the cause of the plague in Neverwinter. I spoke to Ariel for a while, and she introduced me to Ebudae, the dryad Seledra had to serve for her druid-tree-ritual thing. I was introduced to a few more neighbors, who were at least polite, if not actually friendly. At some point I realized I'd not eaten all day, and I made my way to the well-laden banquet table. Aarin Gend waylaid me there as I was getting my cake.

"Ah, there you are!" he said in his rumbling voice. "I'd hoped I would get to speak with you again before you left." Oh, why me?

"I'm sure it's hard, with so many guests wanting a little of your time today," I demurred.

"Oh, there's time for everyone, I find. I meant to ask you yesterday, Mayurra, what do you do in Silverymoon?" Um, nothing you need pay any attention to Mister Spymaster, sir!

"Oh, odd jobs, you know, whatever I can get. Seledra allows me to stay with her, so I don't need to worry much about room and board."

"Well, what did you do in Menzoberranzan? Perhaps you could use those skills." Funny you mention that.

"Well, it's a little embarrassing, really."

"Don't worry, I've probably heard it all. You know about my checkered past."

"Well, I was a whore for a while." True story. Remind me to tell you some time.

Aarin's laugh was booming. "Well, those skills are welcome almost anywhere, I imagine. But you don't seem eager to return to that profession. What did you do after that?"

"I was just a mercenary, really. I did whatever job someone was paying for."

"Now, why are you so reluctant to go into details? Surely your life in Menzoberranzan was more interesting than that?"

"Aarin, stop that," Pandora came up and chided him. "You don't need to interrogate everyone." It gave me an opportunity to excuse myself, and I sought out Seledra. It was finally getting dark. I sat down next to Seledra, and she smirked at me.

"So . . . you and Tordrin, huh?" I should've seen this coming.

"Whatever do you mean?"

"Well, you two have been practically inseparable all day. And for another thing, there's that pendant of yours. That's moon elf work. Did he get that for you?"

Well, it would've been a good cover story, had I needed one. "What, this old thing? You know how I like sparkly stuff. I just happened to pick it up during my many travels."

"Not in any of my family's rooms, right?" Seledra raised an eyebrow at me. Really, do I look like an idiot?

"Of course not, silly. I earned this."

"Earned it? Like with a day job or something?" I briefly explained how I won the pendant and how it led to my rogue training.

"As good a way to earn something as any." She continued playfully, "Well, at the rate you're going, it may not be too long before Tordrin gives you another sparkly thing." Wait, what? Time to turn the tables.

"So . . . you and Methrammar, eh?"

She shrugged and looked away. "I guess. I mean, maybe. Who knows? We're both busy professionals and he doesn't exactly reside in Silverymoon proper. We'll see how it goes." Oh, ho!

"Your enthusiasm is truly astonishing. What's the matter, Mister Goody-Goody didn't melt your butter?" Seledra gave me a little speech about how good sex isn't everything and how very lucky she is and blah, blah, blah. Not very convincing, but I asked her to keep mum about me if she spent any more time with him. I didn't need anymore conversations like what I just got myself out of with Aarin Gend. As if summoned, both Tordrin and Methrammar appeared behind us.

"I hope you're not still too shaken from this morning to dance with me," Tordrin whispered. Oh, why can't he be a total cad who just wants to get laid a couple of times and go his merry way? But I couldn't really keep him at a distance, now; if I appeared to reject him, a number of people would want to know why. I smiled, and let him lead me to the dance floor. "See you on the dance floor!" I said to Seledra, who was not far behind me with Methrammar. But Tordrin was a good dancer, and I had fun despite my doubts.

Tordrin didn't monopolize all of my time; he did, after all, have to perform with the band. He had a few breaks, and danced with me then, but the rest of the time, I either danced with someone else--most of the men I'd met in the past few days kindly asked me to dance at least once, and there were group dances--or I just listened. Tordrin had a wonderful solo, a love ballad, accompanying himself on the mandolin, and of course, he looked right at me when he got to the most romantic lines, accompanied by some enthusiastic whooping from some of his band mates. But midnight, and reprieve, finally came. Tordrin tried to convince me to stay another night and travel with the band in the morning, but I think Seledra sensed that I needed some time away from him, and she told him she couldn't possibly be without me for the trip home. We bade farewell to everyone when our carriage was ready (yes, I returned all the hairpins to Linu), and were finally on our way, both of us feeling we needed a vacation from our vacation.
 
 
Current Location: Amalith, The High Forest
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The Heretic Heartdandycat on June 23rd, 2008 05:07 am (UTC)
"Ralenthra?" He looked at me with concern. How long had I been lost in thought? "You seem far away, dearest."

Has she told him her real name or is this a typo?

I would have to teach that girl drow sign.

I was actually tempted to have Seledra use it, but I wasn't sure it was feasible and/or assuming too much. If you think it's a good idea, I can change my entry. :)

ralenthraralenthra on June 23rd, 2008 01:40 pm (UTC)
1) Ahahahahaha I was reeeeeeeeaaaaalllllllly tired. Fixed now.

2) It may not be long enough for her to have mastered it (unless she's some kind of language prodigy), but I could either say something like "I've been teaching her drow sign, but she's not really comfortable with it yet," or you could have her attempt the drow sign and then have to mouth it because she hasn't gotten it quite right yet And R doesn't understand her (or she fumbles it because it's not second nature yet and she so worried she can't concentrate on it). That might be funny, but since it's a serious moment, I don't know that you want to inject that kind of humor in there.
vaudyvaudy on June 23rd, 2008 01:42 pm (UTC)
I really gotta remember not to reply from email when I'm replying OOC. Oh well, it's not like you don't know who it is.
Our Cultural Fear of Oompa Loompassarchasmic on June 29th, 2008 10:07 am (UTC)
Love the inclusion of Linu and Sharwyn, and the nod to the former's infamous clumsiness.

Does every woman hate Sharwyn? And if they don't, should that woman also be viewed with suspicion and contempt?
vaudyvaudy on June 29th, 2008 01:45 pm (UTC)
I was just following Sabrina's lead of portraying Sharwyn as haughty and not very friendly (gotta have that internal consistency). So R. doesn't hate her so much as found her to be unpleasant to be around. And I don't hate her, 'cause honestly, I didn't play with her enough to hate her.