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Talus Kahar's House - Living Room - Crown's Refuge


Built mostly by his own hands, this is the first structure built by the exiled Emperor of Fastheld, Talus Kahar XIV, as a project to learn self-sufficiency among the denizens of the Wildlands.
The main living room area is rather spacious, with room for a couch and several chairs. An L-shaped wooden counter divides this area from the kitchen and dining area. A door leads to his bedchamber.


Though a good portion of the Living Room is filled with wounded individuals, Wilesly among the walking-wounded, the man seems to have been caught rather intrigued by the sphere that rests upon the stand. He is currently hunched over it reading the name etched into the plaque.


It /is/ his house after all, and thus Vhramis enters freely, not bothering to knock on the door leading in. It seems that he's running a bit low on sleep, though he's undoubtably not the only one. Now that it's the early afternoon, the rebuilding efforts on the palisade can be heard clearly.


The young 'expeditionary leader' is so caught up in the sphere that he does not quite notice the presence of Vhramis. He apparently considers touching the orb as his hand reaches out to do so but then obviously reconsiders, casting a glance about the room. He straightens up slightly as he spots Vhramis, again a wince moving across his features as temporary bandages slide across his wound. "Hello.", he manages with a weak smile.


"Touching it is fine. I'd suggest against moving it, though," Vhramis warns, eyes flashing to the sphere, and then Wilesly. "I was told that I shouldn't move it should a cataclyism itself be occuring outside of my door." He moves inward a bit more, shutting the door behind him.


Thayndor Zahir enters soon after, a swirl of violet cloak sorely absent for the fight a now a few days past. "I remember this place," Thayndor murmurs, turning to look Vhramis over. "And I remember you. It's good to see you again. This township seems to be holding together, with your help."


Wilesly offers a brisk nod but does not indulge himself a touch. Instead he turns to regard Vhramis, "I fear we've not had much time to talk and therefore I've not been able to thank you for your hospitality and the care of our wounded." As Thayndor enters, he makes it quite apparent that he would attempt a low-bow, and instead recieves a curt half-bow and a nod. "Nice of you to join us, m'lord. The Pride is moored and offloading without a hitch?"


Vhramis turns about to look to the new arrival, smiling a bit and nodding. "Yes, welcome back. I don't think the place has changed much since you were last here. They do as much work as I do. Perhaps more. But our efforts have been more directed at preparing for the winter." He shrugs at Wilesly in response to his words, glancing about the room. "Many hurt. We couldn't forget them."


Thayndor Zahir nods in reply, wincing sympathetically at Wilesly's movements. "About finished with that, actually. I've been concentrating my efforts on making sure the Deepers wounded some days ago stay this side of the Light." He gestures to the expedition's leader. "Go, sit, save your strength. Were you poisoned?" Thayndor looks apologetic. "I had heard the battle around the township was heated, but you'll forgive me for staying with my ship. As much as I'd have liked a few more notches on my sword, it seemed that making sure the Pride went unmolested was more important. Some of my men /are/ intent on coming back home." He smiles slightly in return to Vhramis. "Perhaps I should volunteer to lend a hand while we're here. I'm not a skilled bowyer, but I am nonetheless - and I'd expect there'll be need of arrows after that attack. By the number of Wildlings it seems were there, I'd imagine they don't even need to fly straight.'


"All the same it is very much my pleasure to make your acquaintance. Though I do wish it could be under better circumstances...", Wilesly replies to Vhramis with a nod. "If you require the expedition to pull any of its weight around here I am certain you will not hesitate to ask. Its obvious we aren't quite as familliar with things around here but I dare say that Her Grace sent the best Fastheld has to offer...or at least those that could be called up at short notice.". This he adds with a roguish grin. To Thayndor, "That is quite alright, m'lord. A Captain's place is with his ship or so I've heard it said. If things should have went poorly it would have been good for there to be some way for news to get back to the Crown." He pauses for a moment as he apparently thinks up a question, "For that matter did the Crown leave any instructions with you for when m'lord was to return? If not does m'lord have any idea how long the Pride intends to remain moored?".


"Arrows will be helpful," Vhramis nods his head. "Anything will be, really. I don't suppose you have any skilled hunters amongst the party that was sent?" The question seems to be directed to both of them. "Because we can't really devote large amounts of land to farming, we're stuck with small gardens. So we heavily rely on what we can hunt."


"It's within our judgement," Thayndor replies, looking directly at Sly as if to explicitly include him in that statement. "Our goals here are to map the water route to Crown's Refuge and ensure it is free of hazards, make contact with the township, let our experts and surveyors plan what is needed to fortify the place and then come home to begin the second phase of development, are they not?" He shrugs. "I've done my part - Darkwater brought you here and will escort any subsequent convoys beyond the Aegis, because I'm sure the ease of our journey this time was due in no small part to the Wildlings knowing little of boats or water travel. And we will bring you back when our jobs are done." He shakes his head at Vhramis. "I'm not so sure about hunters, but there are a few anglers at Darkwater. Fishermen. I'll see about getting some of the men to start casting nets, if you'd like. And you know I'm good with a bow, although I know little of tracking prey through the forest."


"I'm afraid the extent of my own foraging and hunting skills involves raiding the of noble pantries with reckless abandon.", Sly quips, casting a somewhat wry glance towards Thayndor. "Though I do not believe I saw anyone listed on the roster as a skilled hunter or tracker, one never knows. I'll ask around." He nods in agreement to Thayndor but is sure to look to Vhramis aswell. "We can speak on the matter later in detail as to how we are actually going to go about those means. In regards to travelling back...well...we shall have to see what elements of the expedition will be returning. If I can deliver my report through correspondence to Her Grace...but there is also the matter of overtaxing the resources of the Refuge here and we would not to wear out our welcome." He smirks lightly towards Vhramis.


"Fishing will be helpful also," Vhramis nods to Thayndor. "Please, have them cast nets, as you said. And we do have food stores, don't take me wrong, but I'd rather keep a steady supply coming in. Especially now that...we're much less able to collect more." He shrugs to Wilesly, and adds, "However long you stay, I'll be sure to put you to work."


Thayndor Zahir nods back. "I'll do that," he says. "You may be dining on grilled trout ere long." The Zahir grins, then looks perturbedly at Wilesly. "You intend to stay out here? Be warned, there are more scars where those came from." He gestures to Sly's wounds.


"I intend to do whatever I need to in order to fulfill my obligations to the Crown and Her Grace. If that means remaining here I will do so.", Wilesly replies with a stern nod. "If it pleases m'lord we can discuss the reprecussions of such an action at another time." He evntually looks back towards Vhramis, apparently at a loss of words. An all too rare ocassion indeed.


"If you intend to remain here..." Vhramis says after a moment, looking towards Wilesly. He shakes his head. "You'd best think well and hard on that. Living out here changes a person. Maybe you don't quite feel it yet, because you've just arrived, but each day is a bit different when you're unsure of just what exactly is lurking in the woods right outside your home."


Thayndor Zahir nods. "I've felt it, to some small measure, when I was out here last - although we were sleeping under open sky then, with little time spent here at Crown's Refuge." He looks vaguely reflective as he peers out the door of the house. "There is the positive, though. Some measure of accomplishment, of discovery. But there are always the Wildlings."


Though not actually shouting, the voice that abruptly penetrates the otherwise civil conversation is, without a doubt, vociferous. A roar of thunder across a clear sky that is at once both vast and intelligent, powerful and ancient in equal measure. Amused and... dangerous, to say the least. Perspicacious and utterly magnificent.

"THERE IS HIGH SHADOW IN YOUR LOCATION THAT YOUR KIND SHOULD NOT HAVE ACCESS TO. AN ARTIFACT. ZAN'SETHARAN'S WORK PERHAPS?" it rumbles, ominously, though not without cold mirth, "I SEE NOT ALL OF HIS INFLUENCE HAS BEEN REMOVED FROM THIS REALM. THIS VEXES ME."


"There are always going to be things in the shadows no matter where I go, Fastheld or beyond the Aegis.", Wilesly states. "The problem with Fastheld is that I often found myself taking tea with that same element. No, what lies in the shadows of Fastheld is not unknown to me and I never truly feel at ease." He frowns thoughtfully, "In some ways I would rather take my chance with the unknown. At least the Wildlings aren't likely to stab you in the back under some false pretense. The one I saw in action was rather less than subtle...very direct I should say." Again his roguish grin, and a slight shrug.


Vhramis reacts to the rumbling voice as if he were struck. Hard. The man reaches out to grab onto the nearest something for support, which just happens to be Thayndor's shoulder, as his face grows a touch more pale. "He's here," he whispers to the two with him.


"You don't understand, Master Sprigg," Thayndor says quietly. "Out here, Wildlings are the dominant on-" eyes snap to Vhramis. One hand slips down to his sword. "Who? Vhramis, what are you talking about?"


Wilesly is nodding towards Thayndor minus a smile, just as Vhramis reacts poorly to something that must have escaped his notice. "Are you well, sir?", Wilesly asks apaprently not understanding. "Who is here?"


"You didn't hear it?" Vhramis asks the two as he looks slowly towards the Silvan Dimrost. His voice is still hushed, as if the strength was sapped out of it. "How did you not hear him? Is he outside?" The man abruptly makes his way towards one of the windows, snapping back a blind to look outwards.


That unforgettable Draconian voices rumbles forth once more, dripping with a power beyond mortal comprehension so befitting of the age of the Crimson Drake that speaks without words. "I AM OF A MIND TO RAZE YOUR LAIR TO THE GROUND IN ORDER TO RECTIFY SUCH AN OVERSIGHT, BUT I FEAR KALATH'ARIA HAS BRED SOME DEGREE OF COMPASSION WITHIN ME." A sinister chuckle. "OF COURSE, THE DARK FOLLOWERS SEEM TO HAVE FOUND ACCESS TO THE SHADOWED WEAVE, AND THAT ITSELF IS REMARKABLE. PERHAPS I WILL SPARE YOU AFTER ALL."


"Hear who?" Thayndor asks, but the words are not as sharp - not a demand. Instead, his eyes are absorbed by the Dimrost, puzzling over it. "What's this voice you hear ..."


Wilesly allows his hand to ride low on his belt, idly fingering the gold quillions that protrude from his scabbard in the form of Diplomacy. The arm that instinctively rests at his wound falls to his side as any thoughts of pain are momentarily lost. He moves quickly behind Vhramis as if to catch a look out the window himself. "This might be a good time to explain what in the Shades you think is outside...", Sly suggests in a whispered tone. "What did you hear? What did it say?".


"The Red one," Vhramis answers the questions, stalking away from the window and back to the Silvan after he fails to see anything. "The Judge. He's here, and angry with me." His voice raises again, as he draws forth a bit of his courage and will, and he apparently begins speaking to the air. "Please...don't raze the house. The settlement. I did not think...what with everything that happened. There are many innocent people here, who have nothing to do with the artifact." His voice falters for a moment. Is now the time for questions? "...you saw the attack on us?"


Thayndor Zahir's brows knit in confusion, and he looks from the Dimrost to the archer. "Are you /sure/ you want to stay beyond the Aegis, Master Sprigg?" He asks, only then turning to face Wilesly, his back to Vhramis. "It appears that madness is surely a consequence of too much time away from civilization."


Val'sharax purrs darkly, the harsh Draconic tones of his voice crossing an insubstantial distrance from a place that is both here and not here. Malice and compassion combine as one to create something utterly unique and inhuman. "PERHAPS YOU CAN NOT BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR THE TAINT UPON THE NATURAL ORDER THAT ZAN'SETHARAN HAS LEFT BEHIND, BUT THERE ARE OTHERS WHO REMAIN TAINTED BY IT. THOSE WHO DO NOT BELONG IN YOUR LAIR. ASHLYNN BIRCH? AAAH..." He rumbles a direful sound of mirth, "SHE IS A SCAR UPON THE BALANCE. SHOULD I DESTROY HER? NEED I? SPEAK! FROM WHERE DOES THE HIGHER SHADOW HAIL, BANE OF WOLVES, AND HOW MANY HAS IT TOUCHED?"


Wilesly frowns as he turns back to watch Vhramis move back towards the Silvan Dimrost, his eyes regarding the back of the man with close scrutiny. Finally he bites at his lip and responds to Thayndor, "I've known one or two crazy people in my time, m'lord. Master ... Warlord ... Wolfsbane here does not appear to have lost his wits. Mad with fear perhaps but what man wouldn't be after such has been described." He pauses for a moment as he draws closer to Vhramis, seeking an idea as to what he is up to. He falls silent to observe what occurs next.


Vhramis lifts a hand slowly to hold it to his forehead, the man squeezing his eyes closed. "Do not harm her, I beg," he replies in a soft plea. "I'll face your judgement, as I encouraged her to use it. You are correct, however. It was a gift from the Violet. Left to facilitate transport for her and Talus Kahar. But your knowledge is vast, you told me as such."


"He's seen more, I imagine, than you or I could fathom," Thayndor replies. Eyes rest on Vhramis and his hands fall to his sides, then clasp behind his back. "There's no shame in it - looking into the shadows at the edge of our world and finding a shade of insanity creep over his mind. It certainly hasn't limited his fighting ability."


Wilesly purses his lips and continues to listen to Vhramis' apparent monologue. "Well apparently it isn't Wildings.", Wilesly murmurs to himself before looking back to Thayndor. "M'lord, will of course forgive me if I take him as the expert on things about here and not question his sanity right off the bat."


"PLACING THE MEANS OF A GATEWAY IN THE CLAWS OF THOSE WHO CAN NEITHER CONTROL IT NOR UNDERSTAND IT. ZAN'SETHARAN'S TAINT RUNS DEEP INDEED. HIGHLY AMUSING." The mental voice of the Crimson Drake falls silent for a few moments - a silence that is deafening the wake of such vocal power - before, once again, that deep rumble returns. "AN EXCHANGE IS IN ORDER, IT WOULD SEEM, TO SATISFY THE ORDER. THE LIFE OF SHE WHO DOES NOT BELONG."

He pauses, darkly, just for harrowing effect, before offering a less severe alternative: "HOWEVER, THE SURRENDER OF THE SILVAN ORBS MAY ALSO EFFECT A SATISFACTORY RESOLUTION. CHOOSE."


"Take them," Vhramis responds to the air without hesitation. "I choose surrender over that. Anything over that." The ranger gestures to the orb as he concludes the statement, before his eyes open again. "Stay away from it," he warns to the two with him.


"Quite." Thayndor is not smiling as he meets Wilesly's eyes. "As talking to the air most certainly indicates to /me/ that he's exercising some measure of his ... expertise." As if obliging a child in a tantrum, the Lord Privateer sidesteps away from the object with a flourishing gesture of the hand. "Of course," he says, a touch patronizingly, to Vhramis.


Wilesly takes a simple silent step backwards, frowning at a few of his words most noticeably 'them' and 'surrender'. His hand is now firmly grasped on the pommel underneath the handguard. "We shall see just how much those words directed at 'air' influence the events to follow."


The choice is answered with a deep rumble of mirth; cold and compassionate, terrible and awesome. "VERY WELL THEN. THE ORBS FOR YOUR LAIR. A CHOICE WELL MADE, VHRAMIS WOLFSBANE. THERE ARE THOSE WHO WOULD HAVE CHOSEN THE SEDUCTION OF POWER FROM THE SILVAN OVER THE LIFE OF ANOTHER. PERHAPS THERE ARE THOSE WHO STILL WILL." He pauses once more, letting the suggestion sink in, before continuing, "GUARD WELL THE SILVAN ORB, BANE OF WOLVES, I SHALL COME FOR IT.

And then there is nothing, and the mind of Vhramis Wolfsbane is his alone once more.


Vhramis remains still and silent for a long moment, before exhaling slowly as his body seems to relax noticably. "Light," he mutters, making his way over to one of the chairs at the table and sinking into it. "Don't touch it at all, despite what I said before. He's coming."


"Good," Thayndor chirps, looking between Vhramis and Wilesly. "A guest. Should we prepare tea?"


Wilesly for once doesn't appear to be in good humor, casting as close to an annoyed glance as a commoner should to a nobleman, which is to say he overdoes it a bit. He moves towards Vhramis and waits without a word, his hand still remaining in place over his scabbard. "To what purpose?", Sly asks a bit apprehensively.


"I don't think he'll take tea," murmurs Vhramis, voice a bit dry. "He's a Drake. Like the one we rode. And he's not very happy that I kept the orb the Archmage gave me." He considers the two for a moment, before smiling a bit wryly. "She Who Protects is gone. She left after the natural balance was restored, or so I was told. And, in her place, there is now another Drake. A red one."


Thayndor Zahir pales, eyes shifting from left to right as he takes a step back. "You were conversing with a Drake. A Drake that chose not to be heard by either of us." A nervous laugh. "I see ... I see that you've some complexity in your dementia. Unless ..." He looks from Vhramis to the orb. "A Drake is coming /here/." Terrible belief oozes into the lines of his young face.


Talk of Drakes and the sobering expression Thayndor gains has Sly moving just a bit further away from the orb, moving opposite to Vhramis. "Surrender whom?", Wilesly asks in a very low whisper. Diplomacy at this point is near from its scabbard, part of its shining silver blade reflecting brightly. As if that would do him any good...


"Surrendering the orbs. There are two," Vhramis explains to Wilesly, though his focus is on Thayndor, the man blinking in a bit of a loss. "I didn't mean to sound as if I was going to surrender you both. And...yes, he's coming here. When he'll arrive, I don't know."


Thayndor Zahir arches an eyebrow. "If you've the power to surrender me to such as a Drake - that is, you think you could do anything to keep the likes of them from taking hold of me - then you are /truly/ mad, from what I've seen."


Wilesly offers a satisfied nod towards Vhramis, and appears to make every effort to steel his nerves against the impending confrontation. His wound is still forgotten.

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