Caes: wakes early and nudges Zac awake for a bath
Zac: murmurs in his sleep and wakes at the nudging
Caes: Come on, pet. We need to get clean, and then get the others up. he gets up and makes sure to gather every single pearl, scooping them into the bag
Zac: helps him gather up the pearls and put them in the bag
Caes: smirks and nuzzles him, then ties the bag snugly and sets it aside to clean up and get dressed
Zac: kisses him sweetly before slipping into the bath and sighing with pleasure as he stretches *
Caes: *dresses himself smartly, but comfortably, since he’s got a day on the town, and goes to look in on sleeping Oz and Shae
Oz: curled up in Shae’s arms
Shae: snuggling his lover protectively
Caes: sharp knock
Shae: jerks awake and slides out of bed to answer
Oz: kisses Shae as he’s snuggled and looks up at knock on the door
Caes: when Shae opens the door he smiles Up, pets, and dress for a day in town. Get your chores done quickly. I’m expecting Vincent back before noon and once he’s here we’re all going into town
Oz: grumbles and pulls the pillow over his head
Caes: Oh? You don’t want a shopping spree at your master’s expense?
Shae: o_o I’ll have him up and ready, sir.
Oz: looks up at that shopping spree?
Caes: touches Shae’s shoulder It’s all right, pet. But don’t forget to get your chores done quickly
Oz: sits up slowly
Shae: closes the door and eyes Oz
Oz: I’m up…….I’ll help with the chores. drags his fingers through his hair
Shae: You don’t seem excited.
Oz: just waking up………rubs his eyes and yawns
Shae: All right. kisses him Who is Vincent? wasn’t there when Vincent was, since he’s Vincent’s replacement
Oz: Vincent……he’s a knight that tried to come here and kill Lord Caes, but Caes thought he could try and make him my companion and it didn’t work out. I asked Lord Caes to spare his life so he was sent out after he was spelled so he couldn’t reveal Caes’s location. He and I didn’t exactly get along, but I still couldn’t see him killed for it.
Shae: was about to ask why Caes didn’t just kill him, until Oz answered that, and instead sighs and touches Oz’s cheek You’re kind-hearted.
Oz: leans into his touch I thought I could get him to come around…….
Shae: How do you want me to treat him? sits next to Oz and gently drags his claws through his hair
Oz: I don’t know. sighs and rests his head on Shae’s shoulder I don’t even know how I really feel about seeing him again.
Shae: Why not?
Shae: holds him gently
Oz: He thinks I’m evil or something like that for serving Lord Caes, for taking pleasure in it. sighs
Shae: Ah. An idealist. Then… if he’s cruel to you, I won’t hesitate to put him in his place. But perhaps Lord Caes has made an impression on him.
Oz: I hope so.
Shae: kisses him and gets up to get dressed
Oz: smiles against his mouth and stands up to get dressed
Shae: dresses quickly and goes to start on chores
Oz: finishes dressing and goes to help him get the chores done
Vincent: appears on the platform shortly before sun-high. He looks a little rough, with stubble, his hair grown out a little more, no longer wearing the armor he came to Caes in, but something more bland, more universal
Zac: finished his bath and putting on suitable clothes that Oz let him borrow for the trip into town
Caes: plucks Rakshael to go down to meet Vincent with him and speak with him
Oz: finished dressing himself for the trip into town and takes Zac to the platform with him
Vincent: glances up at Oz, then quickly looks away. He is easily the tallest person on the landing
Oz: flushes a little as Vincent looks at him then away and stays by Zac, watching the others talk
Vincent: nods and drops his rucksack
Caes: Oz. Please help Vincent with his belongings and show him to a spare room. Once he’s had a chance to refresh himself, we’ll go into town.
Oz: nods as he steps forward, moving to take Vincent’s bag
Vincent: Thank you. follows Oz quietly
Oz: You’re welcome. takes him to the spare room and sets his bag down inside There’s been some changes to the bathing chambers, but everything else is the same. I’ll go make sure you have everything you need to get cleaned up.
Vincent: Who’s the new ‘pet’?
Oz: Zac, his name is Zac. He’s a merman.
Vincent: ……….. Merfolk are always good in tales. Why….?
Oz: We must have heard different tales. smiles wryly at him I always heard they’d drown you soon as look at you, but Zac’s a good person. He’s interested in things outside of the ocean.
Vincent: That’s Merrows. But a dragon. Does he even know…?
Oz: Does Zac know he’s serving a dragon? yes he does.
Vincent: Not all dragons are the same… sighs and abandons the conversation
Oz: No, they’re not the same……..I know Zac told me there are water dragons in the ocean that will kill merfolk on sight, so he was a little terrified of being eaten at first.
Vincent: bitter chuckle I don’t think ‘lord’ Caes kills you if he can use you.
Oz: grabs some towels and holds them out for Vincent He was going to kill you, you know.
Vincent: …. looks down and accepts the towels I know. He told me. You asked him to spare my life.
Oz: ………………I didn’t want you to die just because we didn’t get along.
Vincent: …………. I wasn’t fair to you. I am… sorry.
Oz: a little taken aback by that………you know I wasn’t sure how you’d react to me when you came back. If we can’t be friends, I’d at least like to be able to work with you.
Vincent: Yes. I don’t have a problem with you. As long as…
Oz: as long as what?
Vincent: I don’t want to… makes a fumbling gesture
Oz: takes a moment Oh…..no, no don’t worry.
Vincent: sighs in visible relief Okay.
Oz: You won’t have to worry about that. Just…….strictly work between us.
Vincent: nods Then… thank you. For your… kindness. offers his hand
Oz: takes the offered hand slowly gripping it firmly You’re welcome.
Vincent: shakes his hand firmly, then clears his throat and puts his stuff on the bed and starts unpacking
Oz: I’ll leave you to unpacking and cleaning up. turns to leave
Vincent: nods and continues
Oz: leaves with a small sight of relief
Shae: is waiting down the hall for him
Oz: goes to him and wraps his arms around Shae, hugging him that……went better than I expected.
Shae: Good. squeezes him
Oz: so……I guess we wait until he’s ready then take our trip into town.
Shae: nods and escorts Oz back to the landing where Caes is sitting with Zac
Zac: smiling as he sits there with Caes
Oz: walks arm in arm with Shae out to the landing
Caes: Are you two looking forward to this? An afternoon in town, some new things for you?
Oz: smiles I am my Lord. now that the thing with Vincent is taken care of, he is looking forward to going out and spending time in town
Zac: I’m excited. so looking forward to going into a human town
Caes: Oz, I am relying on you to outfit our little fish properly. He’ll need a few small things for around the tower, of course, but also clothes for town, and something attractive for festivals.
Oz: nods I’ll make sure he’s attired properly my Lord.
Caes: I trust you will. Rakshael, I hope to keep Vincent close to home now that his attitude has been adjusted slightly. However, as the more loyal and tested and clearly the most focused of my personal guard, you are his superior. I expect you to train him and help him grow. Since my pet won’t let me eat him, I’d like for him to become a trustworthy servant.
Shae: …… Yes, my lord. o_o
Oz: flushes a little at that
Zac: listening curiously to all of this
Caes: I would especially like for him to be trusted enough to accompany Oz and Zac when they leave the tower, to go into town and out into the countryside, to conduct my business. Since you asked for time away from the tower, I plan to put the two of you to work periodically exploring and helping clear trouble spots in my domain.
Rakshael: … Adventuring?
Oz: looks at Zac, knows the merman wants to explore
Zac: smiling softly
Caes: Adventuring. And perhaps more. I would like to see leadership, reliability, and intelligent operating from you.
Shae: still looks floored …… I will… not disappoint you, Lord.
Caes: caresses Zac’s cheek Making my realm safe for my less warlike pets to explore.
Oz: squeezes Shae’s shoulder gently
Zac: smiles and kisses the dragon
Caes: nuzzles him I would like Vincent more tested before I trust him with you, pet. And slightly less goblin activity in the forest, and the bandit clans in the west under firmer control, with a better recognition of my sponsorship.
Zac: nuzzles him in return well, I still need to get used to walking on land again my Lord. ’
Caes: You’ll have that time. Some of it today.
Vincent: emerges from the throne room dressed more casually, in dull colors, still with stubble
Oz: glances in Vincent’s direction
Caes: And it appears our first stop will be the barber.
Caes: smirks at Oz You could use a small trim, pet.
Zac: the barber….cocks his head looking at Vincent
Oz: smiles wryly and runs his hands through his long hair
Vincent: nods silently
Oz: off to town then my Lord?
Caes: nods and rises Indeed. Rakshael, Vincent, if you would. guides Oz and Zac onto the loading platform
Shae and Vince: move to the cranks to lower them down so they don’t have to do the stairs
Zac and Oz: both move as the dragon guides them to the loading platform
Shae and Vince lower them all the way down to the loading platform and the eastern docks, where there’s lots of activity, a variety of species moving, yelling, hauling freight, most of whom bow and make way for Lord Caes, who’s well known and recognized in the city. The massive bridge spanning the Truin river, carved to look just like Caes’ true form, stretches in front of them and Caes guides them to walk over it, up to a truly impressive height where they can watch the barges and smaller ships pass below, between the arches formed by the dragon’s legs
Oz and Shae follow their master, Zac stares wide eyed at everything while Oz keeps a hold of his hand so they don’t lose him in the crowd of people.
Caes: has his arm through Zac’s, and starts telling him about how the dwarves built the bridge, how many stones are in it, how long it took them, and about how they light fires in the dragon’s eyes at night
Shae: walks quietly with Oz while Vincent trails behind*
Oz: smiles at Shae
Zac: listens intently to everything, marveling at the sights, even stopping to touch the stones as they walk over the bridge
Caes: doesn’t rush him, appreciating his pet’s appreciation for what he’s built, and tells him about the dwarf clans that built the city under his protection and continue to guard his hoard and his assets. He talks about the goods and luxuries they import from Seaport, to the south, the huge city Zac passed at the mouth of the river, and what’s being loaded on the barges in return – mostly beer and ale, but a good amount of game meat and raw materials, wool, salted pork from Rushwater, and harvested spices from Freewater
Zac: nods as he listens So that’s what all the boats were for at the mouth of the river
Caes: land-dwelling species find it easy to use rivers as fast shipping routes. This river is called the Truin. It handles the flow of goods from Seaport in the south, all the way up north, and Dragonsgate straddles it. I did that on purpose because I had a vision for this city. Everyone who runs their goods through Dragonsgate pays a toll. And over the several centuries my city has grown, those tolls, and the shipping access, have made me a very wealthy lord, and my town prosperous and strong.
Zac: So…..you make more money. looking at the town and everything around the area
Caes: Yes. Many dragons choose to steal and maraud for their money. I chose a stable plan with long-term gains over a period of centuries, since I can expect to live that long… provided no wandering knights get the better of me. amused glance at Vincent
Vincent: looks down at the ground, lagging near the back of the group
Oz: smirks a bit at that
Zac: It’s a good plan, you make money and people benefit.
Caes: Yes. I had noticed that marauding tends to attract eager young heroes looking to put an end to such activities, which can shorten a dragon’s life span. That is why I live here, posing as an elf, claiming to be a landed lord instead of a draconic master, guiding my holdings into prosperity which also benefits myself. My physical hoard, in terms of cash, may be smaller than some dragons my age. Then again, considering I have banking interests in several other cities and investments on file, it may be larger. But those who would say so overlook the most significant part of my possessions: Dragonsgate itself. I consider all those who live and work here mine.
Zac: nods again If people knew what you were……they wouldn’t be happy would they?
Caes: No, they would not. Green dragons are evil, my dear. We are certainly not the worst of the lot… I’m sure Vincent could give you more detail.
Vince: still lagging
Zac: looks back at Vincent with interest I don’t think you’re evil my Lord.
Vincent: doesn’t speak up
Caes: I’m sure I’m best described as ‘ruthless’. But always for a purpose. There are many dragons who don’t need a purpose, and take joy simply from pillaging and hunting. I admit, I enjoy hunting as much as any dragon worth their scales. But I enjoy watching my money multiply more.
Oz: holds Shae’s arm with his as they walk and listens to Caes talk
Zac: keeps walking and looking around at the town
Shae: keeps Oz close as they near the end of the bridge
Caes: points to the biggest building on the other side of the bridge There it is, pet… the famous Dragonsgate Brewery. You can smell it, can’t you, the hops? smiles I’ve had a message sent ahead and we’ll do a tasting soon. But first, let’s freshen up your look. guides them past the brewery, which is boisterous and full of shouting, full-bellied dwarves, to a dwarven barber shop
Zac: sniffs the air as he looks at the building and nods So those are dwarves…….
Caes: laughs Yes, pet, those are dwarves. They’ve very little sense of humor, so please treat them seriously. This is master Ulfric. He’ll be trimming hair and shaving if you like.
Ulfric: big, bald, has a beard as big as he is, and glowers at them
Zac: smiles at him politely
Oz: nods at Ulfric as they stand there
Caes: Ulfric. Do please tame this one’s salt-water hair. gently urges Zac forward
Ulfric: grunts and motions him to a seat on a drop-level floor
Zac: moves forward to the seat and sits
Ulfric: hmmms and grumbles under his breath, but he’s deft and gentle as he evens out Zach’s hair, trims split ends, and gives him a length that falls softly around his face
Zac: eyes close as Ulfric evens his hair out Mmm……
Oz: looks at his split ends and shifts awkwardly as he stands there with Shae
Ulfric: once it’s cut, he washes it thoroughly with a shampoo that helps remove salt content and give it shine, rinses, trims a little more, then smacks his shoulder NEXT
Caes: guides Vincent forward first
Vincent: I don’t mind the stubble really.
Zac: runs his hands through his hair it’s so soft…….
Oz: hides his laughter behind a cough
Ulfric: eyes it Hmph. Let it be a few months you might have a proper beard for a human. he trims it anyway and contours it, then starts on Vincent’s hair, cutting off most of the length and giving him a short, masculine style that really brings out the strength of his features and makes him look less like a late teenager and more like a young man
Caes: nuzzles Zac’s hair and smiles Yes, it is. Wash it regularly with the soap he gives you and it will stay that way.
Zac: grins happily I will my Lord.
Oz: dreading his turn in the chair
Vincent: gets up looking grave and handsome, and goes to stand by the door
Caes: pushes Shae forward next, and he nods and goes
Shae: Split ends only. I prefer length.
Zac: steps closer to inspect Vincent’s trimmed beard and hair
Ulfric: Length, length, I’ve cut you before. I’ll shape just a bit around the horns, yes? Hrmph.
Oz: smiles, glad Shae will keep his hair long
Vincent: looks at Zac, not sure what to do about him
Shae: sits patiently while his hair is trimmed and shaped, then gets up and it’s Oz’s turn
Zac: head tilts at him then steps back to watch Oz take his turn in the chair
Vincent: frowns, but not unhappily, just puzzled, not sure about Zac
Oz: swallows, literally the one thing he really fears is hair cuts and sits
Ulfric: So much length. Always with the length?
Oz: Just……..just a trim.
Ulfric: Just a trim. Just a trim. snips and snips, trims his split ends, shapes his hair better around his face, then makes him lie back for a shave
Oz: actually doesn’t require much of a shave, always had trouble growing facial hair
Ulfric: doesn’t take more than half an inch or an inch off and gives him a thorough shampoo too, since he’s got the length
Oz: glad once it’s over and he can get out of the chair
Caes: Did you not like that, pet?
Oz: swallows no…..I don’t like getting my hair cut my Lord. though he knows he needs to stay looking presentable so he suffers it
Caes: Mmm. I’ll talk to you about that later.
Caes: But for now, we have some ale to drink.
Oz: gives a nod and steps closer to Shae
Zac: I’ve never had ale….
Caes: Well, you’ll get to taste a number of them. I’ve arranged for a private lunch for us with the tasting. The brewers will be showing you the best they have to offer. Does that sound fun?
Zac: Yes it does my Lord Caes.
Oz: thinks the tasting will be enjoyable
Caes: leads them all back to the brewery, where they are met by an older dwarf wearing a very fancy surcoat and a golden embossed pocket chain. He bows a lot and escorts them into a back room with amazingly carved heavy furniture and a pair of chandeliers flickering above. There’s a pristine white table-runner and a row of huge lidded steins set down the middle of the table
Shae: gets Caes’ chair first, then Zac’s on one side of him, then Oz’s on the other side, then sits next to Oz
Vince: winds up sitting next to Zac
Zac: mouth open as he looks at the heavy furniture, running his hand over the carvings this is beautiful…….
Oz: takes hold of Shae’s hand squeezing it gently
Shae: smiles quietly at Oz and returns the squeeze
Caes: Dwarves are superior crafters in all respects, pet. Whether it’s wood, metal, or alcohol, they view creation as an act of worship of their god, Moradin.
Vincent: Oh. Do they still worship Moradin around here?
Caes: raises an eyebrow Don’t be catty, pet. I am not such a tyrant that I force anyone to worship me, let alone abandon the gods of their ancestors. Goodness.
Caes: Though I do appreciate worship from a select few. touches Oz under the chin
Zac: I can tell they are exceptional craftsman…….
Oz: looks up at Caes as the dragon touches him under the chin and smiles softly
Caes: There are many more examples of their work to show you, pet. My city is full of wonderful things.
Dwarf: returns with a tray full of mini-steins Before lunch, a light pale ale, a hint of mint and fresh summer apple. Enjoy my friends! My lord!
Zac: I look forward to seeing more examples my Lord.
Vincent: after a hard look from Shae he rises and distributes the drinks
Oz: sits up in his chair as the dwarf brings out the mini steins
Zac: mint and apples……..wonders what that tastes like
Caes: accepts two small drinks and gives one to Zac Just taste, pet. You don’t want to get drunk before we have a chance to see the town.
Vincent: sips his and his eyes widen in surprise That’s good. he takes a bigger drink
Shae: sips carefully, then sets his cup down
Zac: takes the drink and tries a small sip, eyes lighting up at the taste on his tongue
Oz: sips his eagerly
Caes: watches his pets to see how they’re enjoying it
Oz: sipping on his with a smile and looks at Shae and the others
Zac: tips his glass back downing his drink That was wonderful..
Caes: laughs There are more to come. Vincent, you might even smile at some point.
Vincent: looks down at the table and reddens slightly
Dwarf: returns Eh? EH? It’s good?
Oz: grins at that
Zac: It’s just as good as your craftsmanship. says with a wave at the furniture and building around them
Dwarf: beams Excellent, excellent! Another round?
Caes: smiles around the table I think we’re ready for another round.
Oz: finished his drink he nods in agreement
Zac: looking forward to the drinks to come
Dwarf: goes and brings back another round Another, before the food! Blackberry wine with hints of orange and sour spring cherries, and the faintest touch of rosemary and honey to lighten it!
Shae: passes out the little mini-steins
Oz: Oh blackberry…….
Dwarf: The best tastes of summer, drink!
Vincent: sips his, then makes a thoughtful face
Zac: sniffs the glass, catching the hint of orange before taking a sip
Caes: rolls his languidly over his tongue, lounging on his chair
Oz: sits back in his chair as he enjoys his drink
Zac: This is good……..sips his slowly, wanting to enjoy it more
Caes: I’m glad you think so, pet.
Shae: Much more to my taste. sips his quietly
Oz: This really is good.
Zac: finishes his drink
Dwarf: emerges LUNCH! What we have here is a very light roasted quail with delicate tomatoes and some greens, beer bread with a peach jam, a fresh trout chowder with just a bit of fennel and spring onions, and to accompany, our high-foaming classic stout.
Dwarf: Very light, because you have things to do, yes? HAHA!
Vincent: gets up to help distribute the courses and the fresh steins while Shae moves the other steins to the end of the table
Oz: eyes the food, mouth watering
Zac: I like trout………I don’t know about the rest. looks at the food with interest
Caes: Try everything, eat only what you like, pet.
Shae: smiles as he gives Oz his stout, but chooses to keep his wine
Zac: nods and takes a couple bites
Oz: thanks Shae, fingers touching his lovers briefly as he takes the stout from him
Shae: offers him a private smile
Vincent: digs into the food with an appetite and washes it down with generous swallows of stout
Caes: tastes and savors, particularly the chowder – the fish is VERY fresh, probably caught that morning, delicious
Zac: takes a bite of everything on his plate thoroughly enjoying all of it
Caes: Good, pet?
Zac: nods, his mouth full of food
Oz: chuckles at Zac as he takes small bites of his food and washes it down with the drink
Vincent: has finished his stein of beer
Shae: slides Vincent his stein
Vincent: …. Thank you.
Oz: takes hold of Shae’s hand as they sit there
Zac: smiles at Caes between mouthfuls of food
Shae: glances at him, then quietly holds his hand under the table
Caes: seems very content to be having lunch and a tasting with his pets
Dwarf: AHA, already gone, eh? You’ll be in a good mood when you leave here! Now I have for you a big favorite! Sea salt and a touch of the caramel in a fine yeasty ale! ENJOY!
Oz: glad Lord Caes seems content, enjoying the food and the mood about the table
Zac: sea salt?
Dwarf: Ah yes, sea salt!
Shae: distributes this time, and sips his, and seems pleasantly surprised and keeps it
Caes: Mmmm, sublime, my old friend.
Zac: eyes his glass and takes a sip
Oz: loves the taste of salt and sweet together
Shae: impulsively tugs Oz closer and kisses him so he can taste the sweet and salt on his lips
Oz: surprised, gasps as Shae kisses him Mph!
Zac: sits back and grins at the sight of those two
Shae: holds his hand and backs off quickly, embarrassed
Vincent: ……. just looks down at his plate, most of his food already gone
Oz: squeezes his hand gently
Zac: smiles at Caes
Caes: caresses Zac’s cheek, but shows a hint of tact and doesn’t kiss him in front of Vincent
Zac: leans into his caress
Caes: Enjoying your lunch pet?
Zac: very much.
Oz: The food is good my Lord.
Caes: I’ve been giving some consideration to finding a long-term chef for the Overlook. Mrs. Meeks who cooks for the boarding house does quite an excellent job considering how much work she has to do each day, but sometimes I crave something more… creative. More inspired.
Zac: the food is delicious……….
Oz: a long term chef would be a good idea my Lord.
Caes: But of course there’s security to consider. I’m not about to hide in my bedroom whenever I feel the need to stretch my wings.
Oz: You’ll be able to find someone who can stay at the overlook I’m sure
Caes: I’m putting feelers out. Especially since our little family is growing.
Zac: finishing his food and looking around for more drink
Dwarf: comes back in without a tray My lord, pardon the interruption, but there’s a scene at the western gate. The Watch is intervening, but they say… well, they say it’s a fae of the Deep Wood.
Dwarf: So naturally….
Oz: looks up with interest a fae?
Caes: Of course, naturally. well, I’m here, I might as well see to it. Vincent. Rakshael. With me.
Vince and Shae: stand up and move to follow him
Zac: looks at Oz then at the others should we stay here my Lord?
Caes: Yes, you’ll be taken care of. to the dwarf Whatever they desire, old friend.
Dwarf: Of course, my lord! Another round?
Oz: nods at the dwarf we’d appreciate another course.
Dwarf: Finished with lunch? Ready for dessert?
Zac: nods yes, yes dessert.
Dwarf: Time for apple pie! Apple pie mead! A honey liqueur with crisp apples, cinnamon, cloves, served hot with dollops of fresh cream! Divine!
Oz: Apple pie and apple pie mead? grins excitedly You’ll love this Zac.
Zac: smiles at Oz and the dwarf I’m sure it’ll taste just as good as everything else I’ve had.
Dwarf: laughs Just the apple pie mead! But to help soak it up we have a lovely streusel cake for you!
Zac: I’ve never had that either
Oz: That’s good too.
Dwarf: goes away and comes back with slices of streusel cake and ceramic mugs full of piping hot mead covered in whipped cream
Oz: takes his mug of mead and blows on it to cool it off, taking a small cautious sip with whip cream sgood……..
Zac: mimics him and groans at the taste
outside, Caes takes his two bodyguards and goes to see what’s going on
little faun is trying to protect himself as he lays there on the ground with a broken leg, crying in between asking why they’re doing this to him.
Caes: *sends Vincent and Rakshael in to disperse the crowd, which quickly quiets down and backs off when Vincent roars “MAKE WAY FOR THE LORD OF THE TOWER OVERLOOK”
faun tries to make himself smaller as the tall human roars at everyone.
Caes: *approaches, frowns at the little faun with those emerald-green eyes, and looks at the crowd, including several Watch members who have been trying to break the crowd up but didn’t have the presence to do it It’s just a faun. There is absolutely no call for this kind of response. If the fey of the Deep Wood have something to say in Dragonsgate, then as the Lord of Dragonsgate I will hear them. turns to Vincent Take the faun to the Tower Overlook, where he will receive my hospitality. The rest of you, return to your jobs immediately.
Crowd: ….. mutters, but begins to disperse
faun shrinks back as those emerald eyes look at him afraid but not at all prepared for what’s said and sits there tears running down his face as he tries to cradle his broken leg
Vincent: kneels next to the faun and reaches for his leg
faun: shaking as Vincent kneels next to him it’s…….b-broken……gives little choked hiccups
Vincent: gives the Faun a sharp look I see that. Carrying you will make it worse. I’ll get a cart. Rakshael!
Shae: appears Lame.
Vincent: Yes. I need a cart. And unless one of you has healing ability, he’ll need either a priest or a medic.
faun: whimpers as he sits there looking up at the two of them as they talk
Shae: frowns and goes to appropriate a cart
Caes: stands over them Your first stop should be the temple to Moradin. Tell them I’ll settle the bill.
Vincent: … Yes, Lord.
faun: stares up at Caes with large dark eyes, knows what he is
Caes: gives a faint smirk and turns away as Shae comes back with a small wooden cart, somewhat dirty Is there nothing cleaner?
Vincent: Not a problem, sir. strips off his overtunic, leaving himself in the long-sleeved undertunic, and spreads the tunic over the bed of the cart
faun: terrified of what that smirk could mean, but turns to look at Vincent as the human strips off his overtunic and lays it on the cart
Vincent: forms a chair with Rakshael, both sliding their hands under him and behind him and hoisting him up
faun: cries out as they hoist him up and clutches at their shoulders, feeling faint
Vincent: settles him very carefully in the cart I’ll take him.
Shae: nods and returns to Lord Caes
Vincent: to the faun This will not be a smooth ride. Hold on.
faun: gives a weak nod as he lays down in the cart on Vincent’s tunic
Vincent: takes the handles and tries to choose the smoothest route to the temple. The roads are actually quite good in Dragonsgate but they are cobbled, so they’re bumpy
faun: cries out as the cart bumps along the road and grabs handfuls of the tunic he’s laying on
Vincent: just tries to make the ride as short as possible until they arrive at the big, stone temple to Moradin, flanked by statues of dwarves with war hammers
faun: trying to muffle his cries with the tunic as he lays curled up in the cart, the ride seems to go on forever for him so when it finally stops he doesn’t even notice
Vincent: circles around the cart after a second of thinking and scoops the Faun into his arms princess-style
faun: bites down on the tunic as he’s picked up, his broken leg hurting abominably as he buries his face against the humans chest
Vincent: walks as smoothly as he can Almost there. We’re almost there. Go ahead and faint if you need to. There’s no shame in it.
faun: even with Vincent carrying him as carefully as possible he does end up fainting in the humans arms the pain too much for him
Vincent: takes him to the priest and says to charge Caes for the bone setting and healing, and once that’s done and he’s been given a packet of painkilling tea herbs, he puts the faun back in the cart and takes him to the Tower Overlook. lacking other instructions, he takes the faun to a spare room and settles him in a bed with his leg, now healed but still sore, elevated
faun: comes around hours after he’s settled in the bed and looks around in confusion, then fear
Vincent: sitting nearby with his arms folded You’re awake. In pain?
faun: gives a tiny nod and looks at his leg sees it’s all mended and bandaged and propped on some pillows
Vincent: Stay put. They gave me some tea to ease the pain. I’ll bring it to you. gets up and leaves
faun: not like he could go anywhere even if he wanted to but doesn’t say this as he stays put and watches the large human leave the room. just sighs and lays back down glaring at his broken leg I knew it was a bad idea to leave my forest………..
Vincent: the leg is actually not broken anymore, just sore from the trauma and healing. He brews him a strong cup of tea, adds a little honey, and brings it to him
faun: staring at the ceiling as he lays there and starts as Vincent comes back
Vincent: Sit up. Do you need help?
faun: shakes his head as he tries to sit up, surprised to find how weak he is and falls back on the pillows and reddens…………I need help……
Vincent: sets the tea down and slides his arm behind the faun Put your arm around my shoulders.
faun: hesitates but puts his arm around Vincent’s shoulders
Vincent: has strong shoulders, and gently props him up and puts the pillows behind him
faun: blushing as he feels the muscles in Vincent’s shoulders as he’s propped up with pillows
Vincent: Is that all right? his dark blue eyes are intense but not hostile
faun: gives a little nod, looking down not wanting to meet that intense gaze
Vincent: gives him the cup Drink this. I tried to sweeten it a little, but it’s meant to help you heal, so it still might not taste good. Drink it anyway.
faun: takes the cup and tries a cautious sip, making a face at the awful taste, the honey making it just bearable to drink
Vincent: I know. But on the bright side, your leg should feel better in a few days. There will be some lingering soreness, the priest said, from the bone trauma, but your body will work it out.
faun: gives a little nod, his horns sticking out of his hair as he sits there and sits back when he’s finished with the drink a few days……..sighs I should never have left my forest….
Vincent: … Why did you?
faun: flushes as he fiddles with the cup those people…..they’ve been cutting down my trees. I was mad, I just wanted them to stop, to take only the deadfall
Vincent: I thought faeries were usually shy. All the stories say so.
faun: flushes I was angry………I thought I could talk to those humans, but they……..they didn’t listen, and then they……..they broke my leg. tears up
Vincent: … They’re afraid of the fae. Your magic. I’m sorry about your leg, but it’s mostly fixed. It’ll be as good as new soon.
faun: I just wanted them to stop cutting down my trees………hitches as he sits there I wasn’t going to hurt anyone, I couldn’t hurt anyone……..
Vincent: o_o Don’t… shhh, there’s no need to cry. It’s going to be fine.
faun: No it’s not. looks up at him, tears rolling down his cheeks they’ll keep cutting down my trees, and I won’t have a home!
Vincent: But… but Lord Caes controls the zoning around here. If you… hesitates
faun: sniffling as he sits there It’s no good, you don’t understand……it’s my home. The only one I have.
Vincent: Maybe you can convince him to save your home.
faun: will he help?
Vincent: …. He can be persuaded. But… it’s not… easy. Or maybe it is easy, but it’s not…
faun: confused I don’t understand
Vincent: …. feels dirty just suggesting it, wrestling with himself …. I’m sorry. I’m not being very clear. smiles faintly at the faun Just… when he gets back, just speak to him. Explain to him what’s going on and what you want. And maybe…. he’ll listen.
faun: sighs and sits back against the pillows I will talk to him, I should……thank him for helping me……flushes as he looks at Vincent I didn’t thank you for helping me.
Vincent: … looks away I was just following orders.
faun: still…………you helped me. looks at Vincent I won’t forget it, that not all humans will attack the fae.
Vincent: No. We’re not all idiots. It’s just when you get commoners together in a big mob things tend to go badly. You’re lucky we were in town and reachable.
faun: shakes a little at the thought of what could have happened if they hadn’t been there……yes, lucky.
Vincent: You’re safe now.
faun: am I? asks it softly, does feel oddly safe around the human. thinking how careful he was to make sure he had a smooth ride in the cart and the way he carried him before he fainted
Vincent: You are. Lord Caes wouldn’t have paid for you to be healed if he planned to hurt you. He doesn’t waste money.
faun: gives a little nod and moves to put the empty cup on the little table by the bed
Vincent: What’s your name?
faun: hesitates, but since he feels he can trust Vincent he tells him It’s Nym.
Vince: I’m Vincent. Of… well. Just Vincent anymore.
Nym: Vincent of Vincent? gives him a shy smile at that
Vincent: faint smile Just Vincent. Or Vince.
Nym: Vincent……..sits there awhile more then shifts uncomfortably um……….reddens with embarrassment I need…….a place to relieve myself.
Vincent: … Oh. There’s a chamber pot. Come, I’ll take you. wraps his arms around him to help him out of bed
Nym: puts his arm around Vincent’s shoulders again, stifling his cry as he’s helped out of the bed
Vincent: helps him walk to the pot and balance against the wall, since he can still use one leg
Nym: red with shame as Vincent helps him walk and balance against the wall could you………leave for a moment?
Vincent: Of course. You can stand?
Nym: not really flushes I think I can manage. leg is about to give out but he’s far to embarrassed to have Vincent there while he relieves himself
Vincent: All right. leaves
Nym: does his business quickly, sighing then tries to stand back up and falls over with a cry
Vincent: … Do you need help?
Nym: look up at him from the floor ……………….yes. red faced
Vincent: comes and scoops him up and puts him back in bed
Nym: clings to him, giving a little whimper as he’s hoisted in the man’s arms and put into the bed again
Vincent: My apologies. I’ll try to be gentler. lays him carefully into bed
Nym: it just hurts…..actually surprised how gentle the human is being with him
Vincent: Do you want the blankets? Are you cold?
Nym: yes please. gets comfortable on the bed and piles of pillows again
Vincent: tucks him in and gently slides a pillow under his leg to elevate it, which will help the ache Do you need anything else?
Nym: flushes as Vincent props his leg up and tucks the blankets around him can I get something else to drink? Or eat?
Vincent: Of course. Uh…. what do you eat? looks somewhat adorably confused
Nym: almost anything…its hard to poison a faun so he can eat practically anything, and he isn’t sure what kind of food is here
Vincent: Do you eat meat?
Nym: sometimes, I like fish.
Vincent: What else do you like?
Nym: fruit, vegetables…..I really love honey.
Vincent: Fruit, vegetables, and honey. All right. Stay put, I’ll be back. goes to try to get him a snack
Nym: sighs and sits there looking around at the room again
Vincent: puts some fruit on a plate, makes him a salad with carrots and tomatoes, gets him a piece of rosemary and sea salt foccacia with honey to dip in, figures he’s overdoing it and goes back upstairs with all that
Nym: straightens as he sees Vincent come back in with the tray of food
Vincent: I… it’s my first time back in the kitchens in a while. But hopefully there’s some things you like. sets the tray next to him on the bed
Nym: smiles as he looks the tray over and starts to eat slowly this is good
Vincent: nods Good.
Nym: finishes off the salad with the dipping sauce and the fruit almost in record time
Vincent: You were hungry.
Nym: blushes I eat a lot…..
Vincent: faint smile and You’re so tiny.
Nym: puts a hand over his belly with another flush
Vincent: Is there, uh, anything else?
Nym: reddens as he looks down at the plate then back up at Vincent……can…….can I get more?
Vincent: remembers Caes saying ‘hospitality’ Of course. Right away. takes his plate
Nym: hopes he isn’t being too pushy It’s not any trouble is it?
Vincent: Of course not. Lord Caes said you should have the hospitality of the Tower.
Nym: wonders what the price will be for the hospitality of a dragon but keeps that to himself
Vincent: goes and builds him another plate and brings it to him with something to drink
Nym: thanks him for the food and drink and eats this more slowly than the first plate
Vincent: retreats to his chair to sit quietly
Nym: eats and steals glances at Vincent
Vincent: sits there looking brooding and handsome, with his dark hair and stubble and blue eyes and lean, powerful frame, so tall and knightly
Nym: thinks he’s rather handsome for a human and sits back taking a sip of his drink as he tests flexing his leg and winces
Vincent: watches him quietly, somewhat fascinated by the shape of little hooves under the blankets
Nym: tries dipping the fruit in the honey sauce just to see how that tastes and finds Vincent staring at his hooves and wiggles one under the blanket
Vincent: watches it thoughtfully, then realizes he’s been caught staring, blushes, and looks away
Nym: smiles and keeps dipping the fruit in the sauce, just really liking the honey
Vincent: tries to keep quiet and play silent guardian while Nym eats
Shae: knocks on the door, then opens it without waiting for an answer Lord Caes has returned and demands an audience. Bring the faun to the throne room.
Vincent: I… yes.
Nym: looks up at the knock on the door, and quickly finishes his drink
Vincent: lets him finish, then sits on the edge of the bed and lets Nym grab onto him
Nym: sets the food aside and wraps his arms around the now familiar muscled shoulders of the knight
Vincent: lifts him up Do you want to lean on me or be carried?
Nym: thinks about it is the walk far?
Vincent: Somewhat far. The overlook is large by design.
Nym: then please carry me.
Nym: doesn’t think he could handle walking that distance just now
Vincent: nods and scoops him up, then carries him out. He’s right about the length of the hallways… they are built to accommodate Caes in his true form so they’re wide and vaulted, with doors spaced along them and witchfire candles in ornate glass frames shedding warm light across the beautifully-etched stonework. His footsteps echo softly as he carries Nym through the residential wing toward the throne room
Nym: looks around wide eyed at the size and length of the hallways reaching out to try and touch one of the candles as they walk by it
Vincent: notices and stops. The frame around the candle is warped glass with wrought iron settings, so actually touching the candle isn’t really possible, but he can touch the glass What?
Nym: flushes when Vincent stops and touches the glass around the light I’ve just never seen light like this up close…..
Vincent: …. Candles?
Nym: I’ve seen candles, it’s the witchfire I haven’t seen.
Vincent: Oh. It’s a simple spell. Not that I can do it, but I hear it’s simple.
Nym: That’s not the kind of magic I have.
Vincent: I’ve heard the magic of the wood fey is powerful. starts walking again
Nym: It can be. rests against him as Vincent starts walking again
Vincent: carries him all the way out to the throne room, with its columns supporting the huge vaulted roof, mottled glass skylights allowing the sunlight to shine down onto Lord Caes’ lounge. In front of the dragon-sized lounge is a human-sized throne, and Caes is in human form, sitting there. Green moss and vines trail down from the ceiling dripping water into long, raised pools
Caes: sitting in his throne, and has allowed Zac and Oz to be there if they want to, sitting on the steps around his throne, and Shae is standing behind it looking bored Why are you carrying him? I ordered that his injury be healed.
Vincent: It’s healed, lord. But the trauma done to the bone still causes pain. He’ll recover fully in a manner of days, the priest assured me.
Nym: eyes are up on the ceiling as they walk in, taking in the moss and trailing vines
Zac and Oz: *still drunk from all the apple pie mead they had in the brewery, giggling off to the side of the throne
Nym: presses against Vincent when Caes speaks, trying to curl up and hide in his arms
Zac: likes his new clothes and smiles as Oz shows him the new trinket he bought
Caes: Ah. Well. Here you are, little one, far from home. What brings you to Dragonsgate?
Nym: peaks at Caes my trees……..
Caes: totally bought Zac a few bracelets and maybe a lavaliere for his waist so he’ll look super pretty
Caes: raises an eyebrow and waits
Zac: playing with his bracelets in the light
Vincent: My lord, the woodsmen have been infringing upon his habitat. They’ve been taking live trees rather than deadfall.
Nym: sighs grateful that he told Vincent earlier and the human can speak for him as he’s more than a little terrified to be there in Caes’s presence
Caes: Ah. And where is your home, relative to the boundaries of the city?
Nym: to the North……pipes up as he peaks at Caes again
Caes: To the north how far? Near what landmarks?
Vincent: My lord, aren’t fey secretive by nature? Asking the exact location of his home…..
Caes: gives Vincent a quelling look I have nothing against fey creatures in my realm, pet. In fact, I welcome their presence. Where fey dwell the forest is healthy. But if this faun desires a boon of me, as his liege lord, he must tell me exactly where the problem is. I cannot make a decision without information.
Nym: trembles in Vincent’s arms as the human speaks the dragon like that will you puts me down? please? says it softly in Vincent’s ear
Vincent: frowns, but he sets him down carefully, holding his shoulders to help him balance
Caes: Well, little faun? Will you claim me as your liege lord, and ask for my protection?
Nym: nervous as he approaches Caes’s throne, limping from the lingering pain…….y-yes…..I will claim you as my liege lord. doesn’t see any other option and if the dragon can offer his protection and help stop the woodsman from killing the rest of his forest. slowly goes to his knees I……I offer you my service, and swear fealty to you.
Oz and Zac: looking on with vague interest as they lean on each other
Caes: stands and touches the faun’s shoulder, eyes gleaming with triumph I accept your oath, little one. And I encourage you to suggest to any others who live near you that they offer the same. A realm united is a thriving home for all its citizens. Do you understand?
Vincent: grits his teeth, looking mildly horrified by what’s happening, but knows better than to say anything
Nym: bows his head at the touch to his shoulder and nods I will……my Lord. whispers it softly, hoping he did the right thing, but refusing to tell the dragon where his home was or acknowledging him as his overlord didn’t seem like a very wise thing to do. Not after being healed and taking advantage of his hospitality
Caes: How far north of Dragonsgate is your home? Can you estimate the miles?
Nym: takes a moment to think it’s……..a days walk my Lord, about 20 miles or so.
Caes: Ah, even farther north than Freewater then, and it’s likely Freewater’s townsfolk who are cutting your trees. By tomorrow you should be more mobile. I will have Vincent accompany you to your home, if that is satisfactory, examine the situation and report back. Thus he will deliver you to your own home. Unless of course, you think it unsafe.
Nym: nods I don’t know my Lord……it’s why I came here, they’re cutting so much I’m afraid I won’t have a home, or be able to repair the damage done.
Caes: mutters What are they doing, building a burning man? Well. Injured as you are, I still think it’s better to wait until tomorrow. Vincent, you will escort and protect this faun back to his thicket. Should you meet any other native fey creatures I expect you to act with diplomacy and honor my continued patronage of you. If the situation can be solved individually, I give you leave to do so. If you require assistance, use your clasp to send word to Rakshael. He will find a way to give you aid. Understood?
Vincent: glares at the floor and grinds out the words Understood, my lord.
Nym: has no idea what the hell they’re doing with all the wood, just wants them to stop cutting live trees
Caes: I will have transportation to Freewater arranged for you tomorrow. North from there is brigand territory and you’ll have to make your own way. For now, faun, rest and accept the hospitality of your liege lord. Is there anything else?
Nym: No, no my Lord. I….thank you for the hospitality, and protection.
Caes: Then this audience is concluded. Oh, wait. One more thing. turns emerald-green eyes on the faun What am I?
Nym: shakes as he meets those eyes a dragon……….my Lord.
Caes: What breed of dragon? wonders if Nym can tell that, or just knows there’s a dragon of some sort hiding under his skin
Nym: has no idea what breed, doesn’t make much of a point of getting this close to dragons, but since Caes is surrounded by humans and other he takes it as a sign of being more tolerant then most he’s heard of I don’t know……
Caes: Hmm. Just as well. But I would stress that I am your liege regardless. If you want my protection and my aid, maintain your loyalty to me. That is my requirement. Otherwise… I don’t mind a little human mixed with my goat. shows his teeth
Vincent: scowls and tries to hustle Nym out of the throne room
Nym: shrinks back in fear at the show of teeth, bowing his head to Caes I will stay loyal my Lord. wraps his arm around Vincent’s shoulder again as the knight helps him stand back up
Caes: lounges contemplatively as they leave
Vincent: scoops Nym up without being asked and carries him back down the hallway
Zac: he’s cute…….
Oz: nods and leans against him
Caes: I suppose. smiles at Zac Feel free to make friends.
Nym: grateful of his strong arms, holds tight to Vincent
Zac: his hooves are so tiny, and his tail is fluffy…….muses to himself
Vincent: brings him back to the bedroom and settles him on the bed Rest. Do you want me to stay in the room, or outside the door, to give you privacy?
Caes: chuckles He is a faun, not a satyr. Less lusty than his more boisterous cousins. Still, he may be receptive to the charms of my beautiful fish, if you’d like to get to know him better.
Nym: will you stay inside? not sure if Vincent will really stay in with him
Zac: I see, well I only have a day right? Besides, he seemed quite taken with our knight.
Vincent: If you want. You’re in no danger here, if Lord Caes has granted you hospitality. He’s usually truthful to that extent. bitterly
Caes: blinks, then smiles Do you think so?
Oz: grins from his position, half in Zac’s lap Did you see the way Vincent carried him in here?
Rakshael: The creature is lame. That doesn’t mean anything.
Nym: Do…….do you think I did the right thing? now questioning himself for swearing service to Caes
Oz: Not if you’d seen how he was before.
Vincent: ……….. I think, in the end… you made the safe choice. Lord Caes… enjoys power. But he does understand the obligations that come with it. has to grind these words out like he hates to say them I think he will keep his word.
Rakshael: But you said his attitude was improved since his return. Perhaps his willingness to serve has to do with that. And his perception of the faun as a creature of good.
Rakshael: If he bears the prejudices you indicated, he would want to protect a good creature from an evil dragon. His knightly upbringing would demand it.
Oz: It has improved……leans against Zac who’s idly braiding his hair as they sit there
Zac: snorts a little as he listens to them talk
Caes: Something amuses you, pet? to Zac
Nym: as long as he keeps his word……
Zac: does he really think you’re evil Lord Caes?
Caes: Evil is such a subjective term. As I’ve said before, I prefer to be called ruthless, if I must wear a label. But dragons of my breed typically are evil, and much more intelligent than other breeds, thus more dangerous and subversive. After all… I am lord of an entire domain, almost completely unknown among my own subjects, quietly amassing wealth and power with every passing year while guiding my realm in a direction of my choosing. And far to the east lairs a red dragon served by barbaric races who regularly eats her followers and rampages across the countryside, destroying what they’ve built. She brags of how many heroes she has defeated, but it doesn’t seem to occur to her that she has already failed, because heroes are trying to kill her. Vincent is the first to come after me, and he now serves me.
Vincent: He does. So far.
Zac: starts braiding another lock of Oz’s hair as he listens to Caes talk
Nym: nods and settles back on the bed
Vincent: … Can I get you anything? Is there anything you need?
Caes: Well. Let’s adjourn to somewhere more comfortable. My chambers, perhaps?
Nym: I don’t know what else to ask for.
Vincent: You don’t have to, I just… shrugs
Oz: grins that sounds like fun.
Caes: Rakshael, since these two are a bit tipsy, would you be kind enough to fetch refreshments? rises from his throne
Nym: How……….how did you end up in his service?
Vincent: …… I…. struggles I can’t….. I can’t tell you.
Vincent: since Nym has some familiarity with magic, he may be able to tell Vincent is fighting a compulsion
Nym: head tilts as he senses the magic placed on Vincent Oh…….I was just curious.
Vincent: exhales explosively I can’t talk about it. I’m sorry.
Nym: It’s okay. I can tell it’s a spell.
Vincent: looks relieved You can?
Nym: gives a little nod
Vincent: rubs a hand through his hair I don’t want to be here. I’m free to say that at least.
Nym: But you can’t leave either…..
Vincent: No. My life is… owned.
Nym: He owns my life now too.
Vincent: Not like he owns mine. You owe him fealty like anyone else who lives on his land. The most he may ask from you is a tithe, or service like… like guarding your forest and reporting to him if something comes there that shouldn’t. Or, like he said, trying to recruit other fey creatures into his service.
Vincent: But I have to go where he sends me and hop when he says ‘jump’.
Nym: …….if not he’ll eat you?
Nym: Oh. stares at his hooves under the blanket
Vincent: reaches over and touches his shoulder You’ll be fine. Tomorrow your leg should feel much better, and I’ll protect you.
Nym: flushes, and touches Vincent’s hand gently Thank you.
Vincent: nods, blushes, and retreats to his chair
Nym: settles back in the pillows, closing his eyes as he tugs the blanket up to his chin
Vincent: should I dim the lights?
Nym: starts Oh, yes. Thank you.
Vincent: gets up and turns the lights down to nightlight level, then settles into his chair, propping one foot on the frame of Nym’s bed with a sigh
Nym: eyes close as Vincent dims the light and feels the human’s foot propped on the bed
Vincent: slides down in his chair and folds his arms and tries to relax while Nym rests
Nym: sighs softly in the dark
Vincent: is quiet so Nym can sleep
Nym: tosses and turns in the bed
Vincent: notices, gets up and sneaks out, goes down to the kitchen
Vincent: creeps back to Nym’s room with some warm, honey-sweetened milk with a dollop of good mead in it that he heated in a pot with some sprigs of chamomile and a hint of valerian root, whose flavor is well covered by the honey, and touches his shoulder to see if he’s awake
Nym: stirs as Vincent touches his shoulder, wasn’t really asleep mmm?
Vincent: You seem to be having trouble sleeping. Here, sit up. helps him sit up and puts pillows behind him
Nym: I’m not used to sleeping inside like this…….sits up with Vincent’s help, and flushes in the dark not that my home is bare of comforts…..it’s……not like this.
Vincent: Lord Caes has extensive gardens. Would you be more comfortable out there? offers him the mug My aunt’s recipe. It always helped me sleep.
Nym: he has gardens? perks up at that It wouldn’t be too much trouble for you would it? takes the offered mug, taking a cautious sip, eyes widening at the taste and smell oh…….it’s good…..
Vincent: There’s a little alcohol in it. Not too much, just enough to help smooth your dreams. he stands I can move a pallet out there. Drink your milk. I’ll return when it’s done.
Nym: nods and drinks it slowly
Vincent: takes quite a while, actually, close to half an hour, before returning Would you like me to carry you?
Nym: finished the drink and lounging on the bed please……
Vincent: scoops him up carefully and carries him down the hall, through the throne room, down the steps, and out to the gardens. He has chosen a sheltered nook with a trellis of climbing vines and built… well… a blanket fort, basically. Except that he’s used sheer curtains that will still show the stars and lined up pallets and cushions to make a lovely nest underneath the drapery. There’s a fountain just out of sight spilling water into a pool, a soothing babble, and there are enough crickets living in the plants to chirp and sing, plus the fireflies glowing and floating over the tumbling rows of flowers
Nym: drowsing in Vincent’s arms as he’s carried down the hall and through the throne room, takes a deep breath of the air in the garden, opening his eyes just enough to take in the fireflies and little blanket fort Oh……..you did all this?
Vincent: …. When I was very young, my brothers and I played like this sometimes. Building forts out of blankets and chairs and defending them with wooden swords and shields. I thought… in this case… it might keep the insects out for you.
Nym: It’s pretty……actually thinks it’s a good idea, and wondering why he didn’t think to build something like this in his thicket back home
Vincent: gives him a blanket in case he’s cold I’ll be just outside. Sleep well.
Nym: Outside? Are you sleeping on the ground? blinks at him as he settles on the cushions
Vincent: I pulled a mat out for me too.
Nym: won’t the insects be all over you?
Vincent: I’ve slept outside a lot, I don’t usually get bitten. faint smile
Nym: you’re sure? it’s not like there isn’t room in the blanket fort, just feels bad about Vincent sleeping on the ground outside after he went to all the trouble of making a nice bed like this for him
Vincent: is trying to give him privacy, doesn’t think the cute faun would want him in his fort with him I’ll be fine.
Nym: settles on the cushions and looking up and smiling as he sees he can still look through it to see the night sky and feels more at ease
Vincent: settles down just outside to relax
Nym: shifts on the cushions, making soft “mama” noises as he finds the right position to prop his leg up
Vincent: startles Hmm? Something wrong?
Nym: flushes, covering his mouth Nothing…….I’m fine.
Vincent: settles back down
Nym: sleeps rather contentedly, doesn’t wake again until the morning as he feels safe and warm
Vincent: is even more disheveled in the morning
Nym: yawns cutely as he wakes, tail twitching
Nym: tests his sore leg as he sits back
Nym: surprised at how fast it’s healing, and rubs the stiffness out of his leg than looks back at Vincent who’s still sleeping and leans closer looking at the knights sleeping face
Vincent: is quite handsome, in a strong way, clean features, thick eyelashes, full mouth, straight jaw. His dark hair is ruffled and sticking up in all directions and his lips are slightly parted as he dozes
Nym: lightly traces the line of Vincent’s jaw, feeling the stubble and holding his breath as he checks to see if he’s still sleeping then goes back to his close inspection of the human
Vincent: after being kept up so late, he keeps sleeping, oblivious, all Nym’s to touch and explore. He looks both strong and vulnerable like that
Nym: smiles softly when he realizes that Vincent isn’t going to wake up and snuggles back down beside him, head on the human’s chest as he traces his jaw and plays with his stubbled chin
Vincent: stirs a little when Nym lies down on him again, shifting against the mat and turning his head toward Nym, accidentally nuzzling him
Nym: startles as Vincent nuzzles him, leg brushing against the human’s morning erection and freezes
Vincent: lets out a very soft sigh with just a little bit of ‘mmm’ to it
Nym: stays still afraid to move
Vincent: his breath is warm against Nym’s forehead, steady and even, proving he’s asleep
Nym: breathes a sigh of relief and tries to move again, reddening as he leg brushes against Vincent’s erection a second time
Vincent: his head tips back and he gives a soft groan, shifting, rolling over and wrapping around Nym
Nym: maaaass in surprise as Vincent rolls over and wraps around him
Vincent: takes a deep breath, snuggling Nym in his arms, but doesn’t do anything to him… just snuggles him, burying his face in his hair between his antlers
Nym: bright red as Vincent snuggles him and buries his face in his hair and wiggles in the man’s arms
Vincent: still very asleep, his breathing deep and even, but when Nym squirms his fingers find the base of his spine just above his table and rub soothingly, sliding through his fur
Nym: gasps as he feels Vincent’s fingers rub the base of his spine, just above his tail and melts against him oooooh…….no ones…….done that before………
Vincent: Mmmm. smiles a little and rubs more, dragging his fingers through the fur over his spine, scritching gently
Nym: eyes close in pleasure as Vincent’s fingers drag through his fur and scritch up his spine uhn……legs twitch
Vincent: fortunately doesn’t try anything else, just cuddling Nym, scritching him like that, breathing slow and steady against his antlers. His erection is, however, somewhat prodding Nym’s hip
Nym: thoroughly enjoying the scritching, putty in Vincent’s hands, though he’s blushing furiously as he feels the human’s erection pressing against his hip
Vincent: mumbles something into his hair, sliding a strong hand up Nym’s back and down, just rubbing soothingly
Nym: melts even more as Vincent’s strong hands slide up and down his back uhn……..gasps the knights name softly
Vincent: Shhh. mumbles something that sounds like it’s supposed to be comforting, nuzzling Nym’s hair as his hands slide up and down his back… but now his other hand slides down and cups Nym’s thigh, coaxing him to press closer to him and against his hardness
Nym: gives a helpless cry as Vincent cups his ass and pulls him tight against his body, feeling that hard length throb against his hip and squirms Vincent……gasps again, wondering if the human is still asleep or not
Vincent: Hrnrmsmph. shifts again, yawning, and his eyes open… and then he realizes what’s going on, and it sinks into those dazed blue eyes, and he yanks his hands off Nym and jerks back from him with a curse !!!!!!
Nym: all dazed and feeling delightfully worked up from those strong hands on his body and then blinks in confusion as Vincent jerks away from him with a violent curse and scrambles backwards maaaaing
Vincent: eyes wide, panting, turns beet red and hides his erection with his posture, then looks at Nym What were you doing???
Nym: ME?! just as red as him You’re the one with the…..gestures at Vincent, turning redder you…..you grabbed me and started……..rubbing on me.
Vincent: … slowly looks horrified, then despairing I… I…
Nym: hugs himself and retreats to the pillow fort white fluffy tail flashing as he hides in the piles of pillows
Vincent: … Oh, Nym. I’m so sorry…. I… gets up and stumbles off
Nym: watches him stumble off sighs, curling up
Vincent: is gone for a long time, over an hour
Nym: just stays hidden in his pillow fort
Vincent: eventually comes back with a rucksack, walking slowly and quietly
Nym: hears him anyway and peaks out from behind the curtains, forgets they’re sheer so Vincent can see him clearly
Vincent: stops when he sees Nym looking at him, a good distance away, standing stiffly and looking away I… asked Lord Caes to send Rakshael with you instead. He refused. I… I can’t apologize enough for my behavior. I didn’t realize… I wasn’t…
Nym: ………..but I don’t want him, you said you’d take me. quietly accusing him from his not very hidden, hiding spot
Vincent: … I know. But I… after what happened, I thought… you wouldn’t want to travel alone with me. Even though I swear I had no intention of… I would never, ever lay a hand on you….
Vincent: practically vibrating with humiliation I was having dreams. I didn’t know….
Nym: glares at him from behind the curtains Didn’t know you were touching a fey?
Vincent: … What? blinks, looking lost and regretful
Nym: It’s okay, you don’t have to worry about touching me. steps out from the pillow fort, looking angry and hurt, feels stupid for hoping
Vincent: steps back, hands up No, I won’t. Nym, I swear I won’t. I’m so sorry, there’s no excuse.
Nym: Is it because I’m fey? gives a little stomp of his hoof, ignoring the pain that shoots through his leg I don’t get you, you act all protective, your kind, and…….and you do all these…..ridiculously sweet things for me. I felt safe around you, and then……..then you touched me with your hands and I felt like it was the best thing, only to have you freak out on me later.
Vincent: blinks like he doesn’t understand a word Nym said I… no, I… I wanted to keep you safe. I will. And I understand if you hate me. You have every right. But… but you don’t have to ride with me, you don’t have to speak to me, you don’t even have to look at me, I swear. I won’t bother you. I never meant to… to… try to… I would never touch you without your permission!
Vincent: I can’t forgive myself for making you feel unsafe.
Nym: almost in tears I don’t hate you……..you don’t understand………
Vincent: I understand I treated you appallingly, and you trusted me. But I… I swear on my father’s sword, on my mother’s shield, I won’t hurt you, or v…violate you again.
Nym: wants to pull his hair out in frustration I know you won’t hurt me………gods…….you………and you didn’t violate me, you……….surprised me, and I liked your hands on me you big idiot.
Vince: stops, blinking at him, still looking grieved Nym, I… like some rapist. Without a thought for you. Like…
Nym: you’re not a rapist. takes a step closer to him
Vince: I might have been. looks away I was… deep in dreams. If you hadn’t … stopped me, woken me… there’s no telling what I might have done to you, unknowing, thinking it was just a dream….
Nym: sighs and steps closer taking hold of the front of Vincent’s tunic in his hands and presses his face against the human’s chest
Vincent: shocked by this, stands still and rigid, fists clenched by his sides …. I know that I… touched you. And made you… touch me. I’m so sorry….
Nym: you didn’t make me do anything. looks up at him with his big dark eyes I’m telling you………….I……….liked how your hands felt on me BECAUSE you made me feel safe, I still feel safe with you. tries to give him a shake, but it’s not really effective cause he’s so small and it’s like trying to push a boulder over I feel safe with you, okay? and if………looks down then up again blushing if you……..want to touch me like that again……….I’d, I’d be okay with it.
Vincent: blinks …. You’re not…. upset?
Nym: I was upset………because I thought you freaked over the fact you were touching me, because I was fey. not because……you thought I didn’t like you touching me.
Vincent: I… no, of course not. I have nothing against fey.
Nym: sighs as he stands there head resting against Vincent’s chest I don’t………flushes, hiding his face I haven’t let anyone touch me like that because no one made me feel safe, and I….I feel safe with you.
Vincent: grimaces, eyes closing I’m sorry, Nym. I know what it’s like. I never meant to damage your honor.
Nym: really doesn’t think he’s getting through to Vincent so he sighs and steps back eyes on the ground so you’re still taking me home right?
Vincent: nods Lord Caes insisted. You’ll probably want breakfast first?
Nym: yes, it’s going to be a long walk. which means a lot of time alone and probably gonna end up walking in silence because Vincent is going to be brooding and constantly apologizing
Vincent: Oh, no. I thought you heard… we’re riding as far north as Freewater.
Nym: Riding? blinks
Vincent: Lord Caes arranged for us to hire a small buggy so you can stay off your leg and we can make better time.
Nym: Oh, so no walking.
Vincent: Not until Freewater. We’ll have to walk from there.
Nym: Another cart ride then?
Vincent: Yes, but buggies have springs, so a much more pleasant one.
Nym: nods so……breakfast?
Vincent: Yes. Come with me to the kitchens. gestures
Nym: follows him to the kitchens
Vincent: shows him into the kitchen where he can have his pick of produce, grains, drinks, and even meats in the locker if he likes
Nym: fixes a plate piled high with fruits and veggies and some meat mixed in and sits down to eat, hooves swinging from the stool he’s sitting on as he munches on the veggies
Vincent: gets himself some bread and jam and a couple pieces of fruit and sits quietly at the table to eat them
Nym: looks over and flushes when he sees how much he’s eating by comparison………is that……..that all you’re eating?
Vincent: I’ve packed us a lunch. I’ll be fine.
Nym: Oh……..didn’t think about lunch. now he feels guilty about taking all this food
vincent: notices the guilt, though he doesn’t understand it Eat as much as you want. You’re still recovering.
Nym: nods and eats his food slowly
Vincent: nibbles on his toast and fruit and sips some plain water
Nym: goes to the fridge and gets a glass of the milk he saw in there and comes back, climbing back up on the stool to finish his breakfast
Vincent: finishes and starts cleaning up
Nym: I can help with that.
Vincent: No, stay off your leg. Rest while you can. I’ll do this.
Nym: you’re sure?
Vincent: Of course. gathers his dishes too
Nym: sits there drinking his milk as Vincent cleans up, ends up with a milk mustache
Vincent: despite how raw he feels, he smiles faintly when he sees that, and offers Nym a napkin
Nym: takes the napkin and wipes his hands on it, doesn’t realize he’s got a milkstache
Vincent: heh. takes the napkin and gently wipes Nym’s mouth for him
Nym: sits there blinking then blushes as Vincent wipes his mouth oh………thank you.
Vincent: nods and gently puts the napkin down, retreating quickly, wondering why he did something so obviously inappropriate
Nym: flushes and looks away, then peaks at Vincent from the corner of his eye
Vincent: rinsing dishes under a hand-pumped faucet and setting them on a towel to dry
Nym: watches him, resting his elbows on the counter, thinking how nice it would be to have Vincent’s hands rubbing up his spine
Vincent: those hands are knotted and strong and capable-looking, with sword-calluses across the palms, and Nym can remember those little rough spots and how they felt against his skin. Vince, oblivious that he’s being watched, dries his hands on a towel and then turns around only to blink at Nym ….
Nym: has a dreamy look on his face, eyes fixed on Vincent’s hands, shivering a little as he remembers how those calloused hands felt at the base of his tail then teasing his thigh, sitting there with his lips slightly parted
Vincent: blushes, looks around, but there’s nothing for Nym to be staring at besides him so he clears his throat Uhm. Nym?
Nym: starts as Vincent says his name and reddens …………………….oh………um………..clears his throat and turns to slide off the stool so………we should go now right?
Vince: can’t help glancing down at Nym’s groin, wondering if he was thinking about… things. Then hastily looks away because that was not his place Yes. I packed… and I’m ready.
Nym: catches the glance downward and flushes I don’t have anything to pack so I’m ready.
Vince: clears throat Then. we should head into town. This way.
Nym: nods, his hooves clicking on the stones as he follows Vince
Vince: walks him out to the loading platform and winches them down to the ground level, where the buggy is waiting with one swift-looking horse and a teamster
Vince: takes the reigns from the teamster and offers Nym a hand up
Nym: takes his hand and steps up into the buggy finding there’s already some cushions to sit on and sighs gratefully
Vince: lets him get situated then climbs up on the other side and flicks the whip, which is not a thick powerful bullwhip or anything but basically just a string on a stick. He steers the horse onto the bridge
Nym: sits comfortably looking around in fascination as he fainted on the way up
Vince: is quiet as they ride through town, ignoring the stares, and then takes the road out of town heading north into the forest
Nym: ducks down as they ride through the town, expecting someone to throw something at him
Vince: no one throws anything. They make it safely out of town and under the shelter of the trees, though there are a number of farms and orchards spread out around Dragonsgate so the trees are thin, mostly there as windbreaks
Nym: looks back at the town as they make it through without incident, then turns back around looking at all the farms and sparse trees………it’s not as pretty as the garden out here.
Vince: Not everyone has the money and time Lord Caes has to waste on flowers.
Nym: flowers aren’t a waste of time.
Vince: They are if you have to work sun-up to sun-down to feed your family.
Nym: stays quiet for awhile as they ride
Vince: just drives the buggy as the road goes on. There’s lots of people passing, but most of them don’t take a whole lot of notice, focused on wherever they’re headed
Nym: glad for the opportunity to look around without fear as they ride
Vince: the day wears on as they ride for hours. Nym can sleep if he wants to, there’s enough padding on the seats
Nym: does get tired as they ride and eventually curls up on the seats to drowse
Vince: wakes him later for lunch We’ll be at Freewater soon.
Nym: sits up when Vince wakes him we’re there already? rubs his eyes and looks around
Vince: No, soon. offers him some meat and cabbage packed into a roll It’s lunch.
Nym: sniffs the roll and nibbles it s’good.
Vince: nods and eats his with one hand while driving the cart with the other In Freewater, stay close to me. The people who live there are a bit… uncivilized.
Nym: I know. watches him drive the cart Can I try that?
Vince: Driving? I suppose. offers him the reigns Just tug this one to go this way and the other one to go the other way and both to stop. Uh, mostly if you just leave the horse alone it will stay on the road.
Nym: takes the reigns excitedly and tugs gently on first one then the other to see how the horse turns
Horse: turns, but tosses its head to communicate that it thinks Nym is on glue a little bit
Vince: chuckles Don’t annoy her.
Nym: Oh, I didn’t mean to…….lets the reigns alone, just holding them in his hand the way he saw Vince holding them
Vince: takes the opportunity to stretch, groaning, and fix his cloak where it’s gotten smushed under his body – he’s wearing dark brown leather armor with gold filigree and a deep green cloak with gold designs
Nym: looks at the armor he’s wearing, then down at himself and suddenly feels conscious about not wearing clothes, especially after this morning
Vince: We can stay overnight in Freewater if you like, or continue on and try to get as many miles in as we can before dark.
Nym: shifts on the seat I’d rather not stay in Freewater……if that’s okay.
Vince: I would keep you safe. But it’s okay. We’ll turn in the buggy and move on.
Nym: I know….I just……I don’t like that town.
Vince: glances sidelong at him and just nods For the record… Lord Caes has vassals there. If you ever find yourself in trouble, in the future, try to find Kylis or Iaski Ekari. They’re tieflings. Red skin, black hair. As his agents, they owe you protection in his name.
Nym: I didn’t know that……..
Vince: I know. But now you’ve sworn him fealty, so as your lord, he has a responsibility to protect you. That responsibility is also passed to his vassals… not mere tenants like you, who simply live on his land, but his active agents like them. And me.
Nym: Do, do you think they would have helped before I swore fealty?
Vince: … I… don’t know. But I doubt it. They’re not very nice people. But they are loyal to Caes, so you can trust them.
Nym: I doubt I would have made it into town to talk to them anyway.
Vince: Maybe not. But… just in case. Maybe, now that we know they’re close by, Lord Caes will have them check on you periodically?
Nym: I suppose. for some reason he hadn’t thought about other vassals of Caes’s looking in on him
Vince: ….. Or not. finishes his lunch
Nym: do you want the reigns back?
Vince: Sure. accepts them from him as they continue on, reaching Freewater in mid-afternoon. Freewater is NOT Dragonsgate… it seems more like a shanty-town than a city, built in a marsh, as much boat as shack with people just lazing around everywhere, gutting fish, weaving nets, and glaring at them
Nym: hunkers down in the seat the closer they get to the town, inching closer to Vince as people glare at them
Vince: I’m wearing Lord Caes’ uniform and sigil. They won’t dare make trouble. squeezes Nym’s knee briefly as he drives the buggy to the teamster’s paddock. He helps Nym down from it as the teamster, a surly dwarf, comes out to accept the reigns and slings the traveling pack onto his back
Nym: feels reassured but still on edge as Vince helps him down from the buggy
Vince: puts his hand on Nym’s shoulder and steers him across the way, onto a rickety wooden walkway suspended above the swamp water, toward a building made up of what looks like half a dozen mismatched lean-tos with ‘general store’ painted above the door
Nym: can’t help but think of all the trees that have been cut from his forest to make the things in the town and cringes as they walk across the rickety walkway
Vince: Freewater is thick with trees, big old swamp trees with tangles of roots extending into the water, covered in moss growths. They walk into the store, where an unwashed human eyes them Message. the human grunts and plops down a scrap of parchment and a quill pen, which Vincent accepts and quickly scrawls a note on the parchment, then folds and seals it with a bit of paste provided by the human For the Ekaris, by command of Lord Caes. again, the human grunts and takes the message, setting it in a box with several other pieces of folded parchment
Nym: stands close to Vincent, practically glued to his hip as they walk inside the store and pears around him to look at the human
Vince: once that’s done he guides Nym right back out and across the walkway, toward the road We should be able to get a few more miles in before nightfall, but if you get tired or your leg aches, tell me and we’ll rest.
Nym: nods, just glad to be off and out of the town
Vince: and so they walk on, and north of Freewater the road is much less busy, far less travel going on, only the occasional person riding by on a horse and they don’t see any wagons or buggies at all
Nym: breathes easier as he walks, glad to be putting distance between them and the town
Vince: How is your leg?
Nym: didn’t want to say it was hurting, was just wanting to put as much distance between them and the town……..sore.
Vince: Do you want to stop and rest?
Nym: I guess I should.
Vince: nods and guides him off the road, to some trees where they can sit How close do you think we are?
Nym: I think it’s 5 more miles.
Vince: sighs We can’t push hard enough to make that by dark. Would you like to camp near here? Get some rest?
Nym: I would. sits down
Vince: I’ll find a good clear spot off the road. gets up and goes hunting through the trees
Nym: hugs his knees to his chest as Vince goes to find a spot to spend the night
Vince: eventually comes back across the road and finds a better, drier spot on the western side. He helps Nym over there, into a small thicket clearing carpeted in last-year’s leaves, and unwraps a pair of waterproof sail cloths from around his rucksack, using scraps of twine to tie one between trees for a little bit of shelter in case of rain. The other he lays down on the ground as protection from mud and bugs after cutting a branch off a random bit of brush and using it to sweep the area
Nym: watches him with interest as Vince sets up their shelter for the night You picked a good spot
Vince: I’ve done this before. I don’t think we’ll get much rain tonight, if any, so I won’t bother digging a trench.
Nym: No I don’t think we’ll get rain tonight.
Vince: loosens his armor, but doesn’t take it off, and opens the sack Hungry? Or just want to rest?
Nym: I just want to rest. settles down, then eyes the sack and rethinks that ………I could eat actually.
Vince: pulls out a loaf of bread and breaks the end off, giving it to Nym along with an apple, then pulls out a block of cheese and breaks a corner off it Dinner. Enjoy.
Nym: sits there, taking alternate bites of bread, cheese and apple together
Vince: breaks off pieces and takes an apple for himself too, setting the water skin between them
Nym: sits there, hands full, mouth full and looks at the water skin between them
Vince: sets his food in his lap when he needs a drink
Vince: glances at him and manages a faint smile at his full cheeks
Nym: chews and swallows, and reaches for the water skin
Vince: takes a bite out of his apple
Nym: takes a long drink from the water skin then lays down
Vince: unfastens his cloak, puts the clasp in a pocket of the sack, rolls it into a pillow, and offers it to Nym
Nym: looks up at him What about you?
Vince: Humans are hardier than we look. I’ll be fine.
Nym: takes the rolled up cloak and snuggles down, closing his eyes as his food starts to digest Mmm…….it’s nice being out of the town. The garden wasn’t so bad because it was above everything and it was open.
Vince: …. What happened to you in Freewater?
Nym: looks up at him Nothing really happened to me, it’s what’s happened to other fauns in the town.
Vince: What’s happened to other fauns?
Nym: Others have tried to go there and stop them from cutting down trees……they didn’t come back.
Vince: That shouldn’t be happening.
Nym: No it shouldn’t. sighs and curls up
Vince: No, I mean… civilized cultures have something called ‘zoning’. It’s a group of laws and regulations that tell people where they’re allowed to cut wood, what kind of wood they’re allowed to cut, what kind of animals they can hunt, where they can build farms and buildings… that sort of thing. Lord Caes isn’t into mass civilized expansion, most of his kind aren’t. They’re forest-dwellers. So he has laws regarding woodcutting. If the area where you live is being deforested so heavily, either his orders are being deliberately ignored or someone else, someone who doesn’t acknowledge his rule, has moved in.
Vince: It’s possible his laws are being ignored, but… even though generally people don’t know he’s a dragon, folks around here are frightened of him. Or… very respectful. They know he has ways of knowing what’s happening in his territory and people who flout the law or try to usurp his power… disappear.
Nym: I don’t know what’s going on, other than that I was desperate enough to try something foolish like walking into a town and confronting the humans about the trees and hoping I’d find someone to help.
Nym: I didn’t think I’d end up in a dragons service.
Vince: The disappearance of multiple fauns is really concerning. sighs If they made it to Freewater Lord Caes should have heard something about it sooner… that kind of disturbance, even it nobody else reported it, the Ekaris would have noticed. Iaski Ekari is a warlock. He knows better than to ignore fey creatures. glances at Nym and smiles wryly With luck, you’ll rarely hear from him. He didn’t seem interested in keeping you. That’s… a good sign.
Nym: Who didn’t seem interested in keeping me?
Vince: Caes. You didn’t notice? looks away He likes… handsome young men.
Nym: flushes Oh………well to be fair I was more than a little terrified to be in his presence…..now feels a little insulted actually
Vince: smiles I wasn’t saying you’re not handsome.
Nym: huffs I don’t know if I should be insulted or not………
Vince: Try feeling relieved. I don’t think you want to serve him the way Zac and Oz serve him.
Nym: ………….frowns ……….opens his mouth then closes it deciding he doesn’t want to know
Vince: looks at him, and looks a little pitying Sexually.
Nym: reddens Oh……no, no I don’t think that would have worked for me.
Vince: I worried that he’d try to keep you. I might have had to do something stupid. But thankfully… Zac and Oz are enough for him for now.
Nym: Why would you have had to do something stupid?
Vince: … because I assume you wouldn’t have wanted that.
Nym: ……I wouldn’t have wanted it. sighs and adjusts the pillow I’m glad he’s letting me go back to my home, or what’s left of it.
Vince: It will grow back. That’s the good thing about trees.
Nym: I know, but what if it’s all gone? Where will I go?
Vince: Isn’t the forest west of the Truin massive? I’m sure there are other places.
Nym: It’s hard starting over though.
Vince: I know. But… your kind live a long time. Don’t they?
Nym: Not as long as satyrs, but I guess long enough.
Vince: I’m sorry. I’m not being very comforting. lightly touches his knee
Nym: Will you ever get to go home?
Vince: …… I don’t know.
Nym: Would you want to?
Vince: Yes. Very much.
Nym: sighs and settles down
Vince: does the same, folding his arms under his head and relaxing
Nym: thinks about curling up on Vincent’s chest again but resists the urge considering what happened last time and how Vincent reacted
Vince: as twilight fades into dusk he manages to doze off
Nym: lays there and waits for Vince to doze off before scooting closer and snuggling up against his side
Vince: drapes an arm over Nym
Nym: tucks himself against Vincent’s side and steals a glance at his face to see if he’s awake
Vince: isn’t, sleeping with his full lips parted just like the previous night, but now his hand is resting warm on Nym’s hip
Nym: flushes, his tail flicking against Vincent arm
Vince: continues to sleep deeply
Nym: cuddles against him, resting his head on Vincent’s chest, finding it a better pillow then the cloak
Vince: sleeps deeply with Nym cuddled against him as darkness falls and the crickets and fireflies come out
Nym: drifts off to sleep pressed against Vince
Vince: dreams of home, not of sex, and wakes up without a morning erection, but finds Nym tucked against his side again and blinks
Nym: sleeping peacefully as he stays tucked against Vincent’s side
Vince: lightly pets the fur over his hip
Nym: murmurs in his sleep and snuggles against the human
Vince: closes his eyes, then whispers Nym. Nym.
Nym: his turn to dream of sex, or rather how nice Vincent’s hands felt on his body Mmm…….
Vince: pats his hip Nym, wake up. Come on.
Nym: nuzzles him as he presses against Vincent
Vince: gently rolls a little, easing Nym off Nym. Come on.
Nym: mph……….reaches for his warmth sleepily as he’s eased off Vincent
Vince: snaps his fingers near his ear
Nym: jerks awake with a startled cry MAAAAAAAAAA! clamps his hands over his mouth as he realizes what he did waking up and flushes looking at Vince
Vince: ….. that was unbearably cute, and he clears his throat um. Good morning.
Nym: reddens even more morning……..
Vince: If you were cold you could have wrapped the cloak around you….
Nym: hides his face but you’re warmer……..
Vince: swallows, can’t resist brushing his fingers through Nym’s hair
Nym: makes a sound in the back of his throat as Vince’s fingers brush through his hair
Vince: withdraws with a sigh and slowly sits up
Nym: snuggles back down in the cloak as Vince withdraws
Vince: stretches and pulls the pack over, breaking off more bread and giving Nym apples and cheese to go with it We should be able to get there today. How’s the leg?
Nym: eats the food as he sits up my legs better……
Vince: Good. You’ll have to tell me when to leave the road.
Nym: nods, not looking forward to it now that it means he’ll be saying goodbye to Vincent. for whatever reason he’s become fond of the human and will miss him
Vince: breaks camp after Nym has had a chance to eat, folding the canvases back up around the rucksack and tying them in place so they don’t take up much extra bulk, then shaking out his cloak and re-clasping it around his shoulders
Nym: tries to help him fold up the canvas
Vince: smiles and patiently shows him the trick to folding and tucking the corners so it fits snugly around the sack
Nym: folds it with his help and smiles, happy to have done something to help
Vince: *walks back to the road and starts hiking further north
Nym: follows him and when they start to get close he picks up the pace practically frolicking in front of Vince It’s not far!
Vince: nods Good. You lead the way.
Nym: leads the way of the road in the direction towards his grove of trees in the forest
Vincent: follows behind him, picking his way through the underbrush
Nym: stops suddenly as they get closer to his grove………..
Vincent: looks over his head and sees how thickly deforested it is
Nym: takes off at a run nononononono!
Vincent: follows quickly, but not as quickly
Nym: sprinted ahead, ignoring his leg and ends up in the middle of his grove crying in front of a large uprooted oak tree
Vincent: follows more cautiously, pausing to examine the downed trees, the cut marks
Nym: stumbles around the destroyed grove blindlyit’s gone………….it’s all gone………
Vincent: catches up and touches his shoulder Nym. Calm down.
Nym: my homes gone……sinks to his knees, staring blankly at the ground
Vincent: I know. I see. squeezes his shoulder
Nym: stands up and stumbles away not knowing where he’s going
Vincent: catches him and forces him to sit right back down where he was Stop. Breathe. I know it’s a terrible shock.
Nym: lets Vincent lead him back to wherever he’s being led, in too much shock to even care at the moment
Vincent: takes off his cloak and wraps Nym up in it tightly Stay right here. Stay put. I’m going to look around.
Nym: sits there tight hold on the cloak and just stares at the uprooted tree in front of him
Vincent: does some more poking around, touching his cloak clasp and speaking into it briefly
Nym: starts to shiver as he holds the cloak tight around his body
Vincent: Why the hell did we walk all the way down here if you were just going to do a fly-over? speaking into his cloak clasp ……………… Yeah well, Nym said other fauns are missing. They were headed to Freewater. I left a note for the Ekaris.
Nym: barely hears what he’s saying as he sits there staring blankly at the tree
Vincent: …. Yeah. looks at Nym I’ll try but he’s in rough shape right now. I guess you saw what it looks like. listens a moment, then heaves a sigh Yeah. I’ll do that. he comes over and kneels in front of Nym Hey. You there?
Nym: meets Vincent’s eyes and hitches what am I going to do?
Vincent: Well, the first thing we’re going to do is regroup. We’re going to Freewater and we’re going to get a room. I’m going to find the Ekaris and we’re going to come back tomorrow and do a closer investigation. Lord Caes says this place has some kind of magic stink on it, but I don’t know anything about magic. The Tieflings can help. If we can figure out who or what is doing this, Lord Caes has instructed me to… handle the situation.
Nym: I don’t want to go there, I want to go home.
Vincent: Isn’t this where your home was?
Nym: I want to go home……eyes well up as he stands up holding the cloak tight around him and starts to wander through his grove
Vincent: stops him No. Nym… it’s not here. There’s nothing left.
Nym: finally looks, really looks around him taking it all in and faints
Vincent: catches him and scoops him up. for a minute he’s really stumped what to do with him. Then he carefully switches him to a fireman’s carry and starts to walk back south with him
Nym: stays knocked out for a couple hours and slowly comes back around, and completely confused as he’s staring at the ground
Vincent: just walking back to Freewater with Nym in tow
Nym: starts to sob as Vincent walks with him
Vincent: realizes he’s awake and carefully stops and puts him down
Nym: keeps going down when his hooves touch the ground
Vincent: doesn’t drop him, sits him, and then sits with him and holds onto him, figuring they can spare a second for this
Nym: just wants to curl up in a ball and cry and does just that, burying his face against Vincent’s chest It’s all gone………who would do that!
Vincent: doesn’t volunteer an answer because he knows humans do plenty of clear-cutting for their own reasons, but that logic isn’t what Nym wants to hear right now. So instead he pets his hair and says I’ll find out.
Nym: Those trees were old…..so old……..sobs as Vincent pets his hair
Vincent: I know. just holds him and keeps petting him
Nym: clings to him, crying himself out in Vincent’s arms
Vincent: Nym. I know you’re distraught. speaking gently But it could be dangerous for us out here. We need to get back to Freewater. I know that’s not what you want, but I need you to be brave and trust me just for right now. All right? Can you walk?
Nym: takes a deep breath and gives a little nod I can walk…………
Vincent: All right. Come with me. I’m going to keep you safe. starts to help him up, when suddenly there’s a terrible feeling in the air, like some kind of invisible slime across their skin
Nym: feels it and cowers on the ground I can’t hide here…….sobs
Vincent: draws his sword and whips his shield off his back I’ll protect you.
Nym: hunkers down, shaking with terror as that feeling of something foul grows in the air around them until he feels like he’s choking on it
the air shimmers across the road and a pair of big, hulking figures seem to step out of nothing, like a thin spot worn in the world. They’re tall, equine, carrying spears… centaurs, usually noble and boisterous dwellers in the woods. But something is wrong with these. There are patches of purple-black gangrene sloughing off spots on their bodies, and their eyes are a dead, glazed white.
Nym: risks a glance at them and gives a shriek of terror at the sight of those creatures and how wrong they are
Vincent: stands between them and Nym with his sword drawn Nym, try to hide in the trees by the road. They’re much bigger than you, so if you can find a thicket or something, it’ll slow them down.
Nym: frozen to the spot, but Vincent’s voice cuts through the fear and he darts off into the trees knowing he’ll just get in the way and hamper the knight
Vincent: stays between the centaurs and Nym, and they level their spears and charge him as Nym tries to escape
Nym: glances back and sees the centaurs charging Vincent
Vincent: steps to the side and catches one spear on his shield and slashes at the centaur with his sword. He circles, so the second centaur can’t get behind him
Nym: watches with his heart in his mouth as Vincent catches one spear on his shield while keeping the other centaur from getting behind him, and tries to use some of his magic to try and trip the one centaur up
Vincent: keeps his shield up to deflect spear thrusts and hacks at the centaur with his sword
Nym: watches the fight while trying to concentrate and call more magic to wrap vines around the creatures legs
one centaur gets tangled in vines and pauses to slash at them, trying to break itself free. The other one uses its weight to push Vincent around, and when its body pushes up against his shield, those ugly slimy spots seethe and squirm and then slick, oily tentacles shoot out of the slime and slap against his shield
Nym: calls up more of the vines to try and yank the centaur away from Vincent as he sees those oily tentacles slapping against the shield, afraid of what will happen if it touches Vincent
the centaur dodges the vines, prancing around and slapping those tentacles, which extend and withdraw seemingly at random, groping at Vincent before being sucked back into those ugly purple-black patches
Vincent manages to slice through one tentacle, and the end of it melts into a black smear on the road, but the rest just sucks back inside without seeming to react much
Nym: angry and scared as he thickens the vines and tries to wrap them around the centaurs throat, gasping as he uses more of his magic while fighting the urge to turn and flee like every instinct is screaming at him to do
the other centaur starts to go down under the assault of Nym’s vines, ripping at them, and then the tentacles start to come out. Everywhere they touch, the vines sicken and rot away
Vincent: ducks and scrambles as the centaur fighting him rears up and strikes with its hooves. They ring against his shield, and he grunts at the impact, but swings around and brings his sword up underneath. The metal bites deeply into the centaur’s belly and frees a splatter of thick, dark slime, but the centaur doesn’t scream or react or show any pain
Nym: shrieks as those tentacles shoot out and struggles to hold onto his magic letting those go and tries to cocoon the centaur in several that shoot out of the ground to wrap around it
Centaur: struggles, pushing against the ground, trying to break free, snapping the vines with rot
Vincent: cries out as the centaur’s spear catches him in the shoulder but manages to bring the sword down and slice the spear’s shaft in half. The centaur promptly clocks him in the head with the broken shaft
Nym: crying as he just wants the damn thing to die, feeling sick as the rot snaps more of his vines. when he sees Vincent take the spear in his shoulder and clocked in the head, he screams all his fear and anger at seeing his home devastated and the fear of what will happen if that slime touches the knight clashes together in his head
Vincent: hears the scream and turns around Nym! he swings his shield at the centaur and disengages, moving toward him to see why he’s yelling
Nym: barely registers that Vincent is moving towards him, just sees those tentacles killing everything he throws at them and tries again desperate, feels around from the dead trees with his senses and uses the vines to hurl the thing at the centaur
Vincent: charges at the trapped centaur and thrusts his sword right through its back and out through its chest, causing it to stagger
Nym: drops to his hands and knees, panting, holding onto the magic to keep the thing trapped, praying that Vincent can end the nightmare
Vincent: * pulls his sword out even as a few tentacles lash out at him, trying to snake through the vines to get him. But instead of avoiding them he lunges and stabs his sword into the centaur’s body again, and this time it spews slime through the wound and falls, kicking and squirming. Then the other centaur rears up and kicks Vincent in the shoulder and clips his head*
Vincent: curses and his blood splatters from his scalp
Nym: wraps the centaurs legs with more vines, wondering what the hell it takes to kill the thing, if it can be killed
Vincent: catches the first centaur’s hooves on his shield and lashes out, managing to cut it, but not too deep
Nym: sinks his hands into the dirt Vincent! I need you to move! going to try something stupid and hopes it works. wondering if burying the damn thing in rock will do the job
Vincent: I’m… curses again Fine…! tries to break right around the centaur that’s hounding him and gets tagged by one of those tentacles. Fortunately it touches his armor, which shrivels and blackens, but doesn’t quite go through to his skin
Nym: the ground breaks open right underneath the centaur as vines shoot out and wrap around it pulling it down into the ground
Vincent: manages to cut the other centaur again, as the one Nym has trapped is pulled into the ground. It hasn’t gotten back on its feet, and is just kicking and squirming a little.
Nym: holds the thing in the ground as Vincent cuts the other centaur, knows he’ll pass out soon as he hasn’t used that much magic in a long time
Vincent: eventually manages to cut the legs out from under the other one. Once it’s down, he stabs it a couple times until it leaks gushes of slime and stops moving. The other one has also stopped, having been crushed by the ground
Nym: Vincent…….manages to gasp as he pitches forward and blacks out
Vincent: is bleeding in several places, and bruised, and semi-concussed, but manages to wipe his sword clean and sheath it and sling his shield over his back and come and pick Nym up. Again with the fireman carry, and this time he tries to jog back to town, gasping Message… MESSAGE… Lord Caes… we’ve been attacked… I think we beat them but they weren’t normal. I have to move now… yes… as soon as I’m in Freewater….
Nym: completely out, drained at the moment as he flops on Vincent’s back bonelessly
Vince: forces himself to keep going, keep that pace up, even though his head swims and sometimes he feels like he might throw up, until finally he gets to Freewater and stumbles up to the Freewater Inn
Vincent: by the time Nym wakes up, Vincent has a room at the inn and has managed to finally collect the tieflings, and the three of them are talking quietly. The room is very, very small, so someone is sitting on the foot of the bed where Nym has been placed, someone else is leaning against the wall, and someone is pacing in the approximately two feet left
Nym: slowly wakes up and does find it a bit ironic this seems to be the thing for him lately, fainting and then waking up in a bed with guys around him………..stirs and tries to sit up
Vince: He’s waking up. Nym. the pacing stops, revealing that it was Vince, and the bed dips as he kneels on it Take it easy.
Somebody: magical exhaustion is a bitch of a hangover.
Nym: sighs in relief as he sees Vincent you’re okay?
Vince: is wearing a bandage around his head and looks bruised I’m fine. gestures at two red-skinned, black-haired tieflings standing around This is Kylis, and this is Iaski.
Kylis: shows his teeth
Iaski: has short hair and stands quietly against the wall, eying Nym thoughtfully
Kylis: has waist-length straight hair and wears brown and black leather while his brother is wearing robes
Nym: flushes as they all stare at him I’m glad you’re okay…….
Iaski: As will you be, once you’ve had a chance to rest and recuperate.
Nym: lays back on the bed I haven’t done that in forever, don’t expect me to do it any time soon.
Iaski: Good. You can seriously hurt yourself over channeling like that.
Nym: I know…….sighs I didn’t see anything else that could help at the time.
Vincent: grips his ankle You did the right thing, Nym. Whatever those things were, they were dangerous.
Nym: I wanted to run so badly……….
Vincent: You didn’t. You were brave.
Nym: actually feeling bad about how close he came to running off and hiding and leaving Vincent to fight those things alone I’m not brave, I was scared.
Vincent: Bravery is acting even when you’re scared.
Kylis: rolls his red-gold eyes This is VERY sweet but we need to get our game plan in action.
Nym: flushes at the comment from the Tiefling and tugs the blanket up to his chin
Iaski: Vincent has told us most of what happened. He also told us you didn’t reveal that other fauns had tried to get help and disappeared until you were nearly there. You could have walked Vincent into a trap. If you have any other information, you need to give it to us now, before we strategize how to face this threat.
Nym: looks down at his hooves covered by the blanket at those words I didn’t……….I didn’t think, I thought……..I thought people knew, that they just didn’t care about us and what was happening to the woods. Iaski: You may know something important and be unaware that it’s important. Please start at the beginning, from when the deforestation was first noticed, and tell us EVERYTHING that happened up until this point.
Nym: nods, seeing Iaski’s point and tells them when he and the other fauns first started noticing the deforestation, how several went to the town to meet with the humans and tell them to stop. How those fauns never came back, and the deforestation kept happening until Nym heard about Dragonsgate, how the humans there might listen so he went around Freewater to Dragonsgate. Nym frowns in thought, he noticed patches of deforested areas like how his own grove was completely destroyed on his way, but just thought it was the townspeople taking more trees than they needed
Iaski: listens carefully with that intense stare, his red-gold eyes almost more draconic-looking than Lord Caes’s pure emerald ones And that’s all?
Nym: That’s all I know. a little discomfited by those red gold eyes staring at him so intensely but manages to meet his gaze, guessing they don’t believe him because of how he didn’t say anything about the other fauns until they were almost back to his grove
Iaski: considers that for a moment Detouring to Dragonsgate may have saved your life. It seems clear that whatever is causing this effect doesn’t want it discovered and reported to Lord Caes. In that, at least, we’ve already thwarted them.
Nym: figures if he’d stayed here, it would have been only a matter of time before the humans came for his trees and wouldn’t have been able to stop them. it’s why he went for help, he didn’t know it was anything other than humans
Vincent: If we go out there together we may be able to triangulate the epicenter of the attacks.
Iaski: coolly Actually I doubt that. From what you described regarding your attack, it seems those centaurs were sent after you directly across the border of Faery. The culprit may have its lair in the Feywild, and if so, trying to track it here won’t do us any good.
nym: the Feywild? has no interest in going there
Nym: but doesn’t want to be left here either if they go out somewhere
Vincent: I know very little about the feywild, but isn’t it hostile to the kind of deathly energy those centaurs seemed to have been affected by?
Iaski: You described tentacles. I’m not convinced whatever magic had affected them was necromantic in nature. Unfortunately, since we were unable to recover the corpses, I can’t confirm or deny anything with certainty at this point.
Vincent: mutters a curse
Nym: It……it wouldn’t exactly be hostile to that kind of deathly energy. The feywild is dangerous……..trails off, thinking he could bring that one centaur up from the ground would honestly have the body burned and not in the ground where the roots of trees would most likely rot from touching the thing
Iaski: gives Nym a quelling look It’s dangerous, yes, but not necromantic. That’s the Shadowfell, and the two are opposites.
Nym: tries to hide from that look by pulling the blanket up and ducking his head, hoping they aren’t thinking of going to the Shadowfell
Iaski: o_O eyes Nym’s behavior …. All right then.
Vincent: He’s been through a lot. Look, I don’t think we should do anything until tomorrow. Give us a chance to rest and recover. If you come back in the morning we can strategize then.
Iaski: slight heavenward glance As you wish. I managed to collect a few blighted twigs from the site. Maybe I’ll be able to figure out more with a few hours of study.
Nym: shudders at the thought of touching those blighted twigs
Kylis: hops off the edge of the bed and smirks at Nym Sleep well, you two. Or don’t. Whatever your thing is. holds the door for Iaski, and they both leave
Nym: looks up at Kylis in confusion……….Why wouldn’t we sleep?
Vincent: waits until they’re gone, then says quietly He’s implying we’ll have sex.
Nym: takes a minute then his face turns bright red, blushing all the way to the tips of his ears
Vincent: sighs and sits down on the edge of the bed, scratching at his bandage, which already has some blood soaking through it
Nym: sits up as he sees Vincent scratching at his bandage Do you have anything to change the bandage?
Vincent: It was just done, Nym. It’s fine.
Nym: but there’s blood soaking through it.
Vincent: That’s because I’m bleeding. wry smile
Nym: well, stop it! looks around the room and sees more bandages and tries to move and get them
Vincent: Nym. The wound has already been dressed and treated. I’m fine.
Nym: Fine. flops back on the pillows, looking at everything but Vincent, then his stomach growls audibly ………..
Vincent: sits next to him and touches his hand I wasn’t trying to refuse your kindness, Nym, I know you’re worried. It’s just that it’s already been done. Unless you think you can do it better?
Nym: blushes as Vincent touches his hand and looks up at him of course I could do it better. turns redder you’re going to have to lean forward though. raises his hands up so they can rest on Vincent’s head over his wound
Vincent: All right then. leans forward into his hands and closes his eyes
Nym: breathes in and out slowly, reaching for his magic as he breathes in, then blows it out into Vincent as he unconsciously takes the moment to run his fingers through the knights hair as the flesh knits itself back together, keeps breathing in and out letting his senses flow over the knight easing any other injury he sustained in the fight
Vincent: his lips part, and he gives a soft groan as Nym does that
Nym: keeps inhaling and blowing out his healing magic over Vincent until he’s sure every cut and bruise is healed
Vince: sighs in relief, then plucks his bandage off
Nym: looks at him with a shy smile better?
Vincent: Much better. From now on, I’ll just let you do it.
Nym: smiles again, well I can’t do that in a fight, so it’s good to have bandages. it’s only any good when I have a chance like this.
Vincent: Well, thank you. I’ll go get you something to eat.
Nym: thank you
Vincent: *gets up and goes to do that. He comes back with two bowls of stew and chunks of dense brown bread, and a pair of pints of ale on a tray
Nym: sits up in the bed, mouth watering as he smells the stew
Vincent: sets the tray on the small bedside table and sits in the old, wooden chair Cheers. smiles and picks up his ale
Nym: picks up his ale and takes a sip, then sets it aside and digs into the stew, dipping the bread into the stew and nibbling on it
Vincent: eats his stew and then sops the broth up with the bread, drinking deeply of his ale between bites
Nym: sits there quietly all his concentration on the meal
Vincent: when he’s done, he politely conceals a burp behind his hand More food? Ale?
Nym: nods his head vigorously please.
Vincent: goes to fetch him seconds, taking his bowl and plate but leaving the ale that he has left
Nym: sips his ale as Vincent goes to get more food
Vincent: comes back with a whole new bowl of stew and chunk of bread for each of them, and a full pitcher of frothy ale
Vincent: At least the ale’s from Dragonsgate so it’s good.
Nym: perks up as Vincent brings in another bowl of stew, already feeling better
Vincent: sets the food down and sits back down himself to scarf food
Nym: noms the bread
Vincent: sits back, patting his belly… his armor is off, btw, so he’s just wearing his gold-embroidered forest-green under-tunic and brown leather pants
Nym: burps loudly when he’s done eating, turning bright red as he sets his empty bowl aside
Vincent: chuckles It’s not bad. Passable. takes the empty bowl More?
Nym: shakes his head no….I think I’m good
Vincent: nods and refills both their tankards of ale
Nym: lays back with his tankard and sips slowly
Vincent: tips his chair back against the wall and contentedly drinks his ale We have the room for two days, so we can come back tomorrow and decide what to do before we move on. You can recover. You’ll be safe here.
Nym: nods slowly, feels safe with Vincent in the room with him
Vincent: Tomorrow I’m going to take the Ekari’s out to where your grove was so they can examine the site. We’re going to try to find other spots where there’s been deforestation if we can. If you feel recovered you can come with us. But I don’t want you to strain yourself. You can stay here and rest.
Nym: I don’t want to stay here alone
Vincent: I know, Nym. But if you’re tired, or worn out, you need to. I don’t want to make it even a greater risk to your safety.
Nym: I’ll be fine.
Vincent: Don’t try to be tough. touches his knee You’ll be fine here. The door locks and no one will hurt you since they know you’re under my protection. I don’t want to take you back into a dangerous area when you’re tired and drained. But we’ll see how you feel tomorrow. Okay?
Nym: nods looking at Vincent’s hand that’s touching his knee
Vincent: moves his hand away and pours himself another ale
Nym: flushes and sips his drink
Vincent: sighs happily and relaxes in his chair
Nym: drowses on the bed with the tankard in his hands
Vincent: gently takes the tankard, finishes off the ale himself, getting a little tipsy, and then carefully takes all the dishes back downstairs
Nym: just lays there in the bed, belly full, and warm
Vincent: comes back up and gently tucks him into the bed, dims the lights, and begins caring for his armor and weapons, doing his best to do it very quietly while he sharpens his blade and stitches torn leather and fabric
Nym: snuggles down under the covers as he watched Vincent care for his armor and gear
Nym: want me to help?
Vince: startles I thought you were asleep. Did I wake you?
Nym: you didn’t wake me, I wasn’t really asleep, just resting
Vincent: Ah. Well… I’m just doing some basic repairs.
Nym: I can help, it’s the least I can do
Vincent: … All right. offers him the chest piece of his plate mail, which has a couple dents
Nym: almost drops the chest pieces cause of the weight
Vincent: sets them on the bed for him
Nym: thanks….figured since he’ll probably get left here tomorrow he might as well help out and spend the time recovering. And mends the armor with his magic
Vincent: Hey, that’s handy! gives Nym a real smile
Nym: gives him a tired smile
Vincent: immediately frowns and takes his armor away You look tired. Maybe that’s enough for the night.
Nym: I can do the rest
Vincent: I don’t want to over-weary you.
Nym: I want to help
Vincent: relents and lets Nym fix the rest of his armor Thank you. It all looks as good as new.
Nym: gives him a smile as he lays back in the bed good
Vincent: sets his belongings aside I know it’s difficult for you to sleep indoors. But you need to rest now. Here. hesitantly opens his pack and pulls out a very small filigree box, that fits in the palm of his hand. He sets it on the table and opens the lid. Clockwork begins to grind, and then clicks into place and the box begins to play a soft, lovely lullaby
Nym: looks at it with interest and sighs softly it’s pretty…
Vincent: quietly It’s been mind since I was a child. A gift from my aunt.
Nym: smiles softly as he looks at the little box and slowly closes his eyes listening to the lullaby
Vincent: sits back in his old wooden chair, letting Nym have the bed, and just tries to relax
Nym: eventually drifts off to sleep
Vincent: sleeps in the chair against the wall
Nym: wakes in the middle of the night from a nightmare and sits up gasping, glancing around the room frantically then sees Vincent sleeping in the chair and gets up slowly out of the bed
Vincent: his neck is at a painful-looking angle, his mouth open as usual
Nym: goes to make sure Vincent is really there, touching his cheek softly
Vincent: jerks awake with a snort Wha?
Nym: I had a bad dream….makes a decision and clambers into Vincent’s lap, snuggles against his chest
Vincent: makes a soft noise of surprise as his lap is suddenly full of Nym, but he wraps his arms around him to stabilize him Uh… um.
Nym: sighs and gets comfortable I dreamed those centaurs pulled you under the ground like I did to the one….eyes close as he feels those strong arms holding him
Vincent: squeezes him and nuzzles his hair softly I’m here. And I’m fine.
Nym: nuzzles his chest mmmm
Vincent: slides one hand up his back, rubbing his spine gently
Nym: goes still, breath catching then he moans and relaxes against him
Vincent: pauses Is that all right?
Nym: mhm….buries his face against Vincent’s chest, hands gripping his tunic it’s good….
Vince: keeps rubbing his back then, gently, sometimes scritching his head as his calloused palm slides up and down Nym’s bare skin
Nym: shivers in pleasure
Vince: starts to respond a little, twitching, swelling as Nym shivers and snuggles in his lap
Nym: arches a little as those calloused hands slide up and down his back
Vince: nuzzles Nym’s ear, lips moving against it Nym…
Nym: gasps as Vincent nuzzles his ear, the way the knight says his name does funny things to his tummy, feels like there’s butterflies caught in it and he swallows squirming in his lap
Vince: groans in surprise, hands wrapping around Nym’s hips as the squirming coaxes him almost fully hard Oh, Nym…
Nym: freezes as he feels something hard, blushing when he remembers back in the garden feeling the same thing and Vincent’s reaction, but the way the knight says his names makes him to purposefully rub against him, so he does it. Holding his breath and wiggling against the bulge
Victor: grips his hips and lifts him a little, gasping for breath Nym, that’s enough.
Victor: tries to guide Nym back into bed Come on, it’s time to lie down now.
Nym: squeaks as he’s lifted up clutching at Vincent’s tunic
Vince: gently lays him down in bed and pulls the covers over him, smoothing fingers through his hair There you go. Just sleep.
Nym: squirms in his grasp as Vincent puts him back in bed what about you?
Vincent: I’ll sleep in the chair.
Nym: reminds himself to heal Vincent’s neck in the morning cause he’ll need it from what he saw earlier okay….
Vincent: takes a shaky breath as he settles Nym in bed and pulls away, trying to subtly adjust his pants as he settles back into his chair
Nym: reaches over and starts the music box up again, hoping it’ll distract him from thoughts of Vincent’s hands on his body and the way the knight whispered in his ear
Vincent: sighs, shifting in the chair again, his cock hard and aching ….. I need to use the lav. I’ll be right back. gets back up
Nym: I’ll be here. says it quietly and turns on his side, eyes closing as he shivers under the covers wrapping his arms around himself
Vincent: jerks himself off shamefully in the bathroom, then washes up before returning
Nym: squirming under the covers as he keeps thinking of those strong hands rubbing his back and the way they stroked his hair, then back to the garden remembering Vincent on top of him, how his hand teased his inner thigh and gasps as he realizes he’s getting worked up and panics Vincent! calls the knights name without thinking as he sits up in the bed eyes wide
Vince: is down the hall, hears that, comes running and barges in Nym?
Nym: sits there face beet red as he realizes what he did and covers himself with the blanket ah…..nothing….it’s nothing
Vincent: looks around to make sure nobody else is there … Are you sure?
Nym: so embarrassed it’s…..it’s really nothing
Vincent: sighs I know sleeping here is hard on you. Try to get some sleep, all right? Or we’ll both be wrecks tomorrow. settles back into his chair with a sigh and tries to find a comfortable position
Nym: just sits there, wondering if he can be quiet enough and wiggles down under the blankets and starts to stroke himself, giving a little cry when he touches himself and then quickly stifles it, freezing in place on the bed
Vincent: it’s not the cry that gives him away so much as the rhythmic rasp of knuckles on sheets and Vincent swallows Do you want me to… give you a moment alone?
Nym: blushing furiously at being caught……w-why would I need a moment alone?
Vincent: rubs his hand through his hair I have four brothers. I know what someone masturbating under the covers sounds like.
Vincent: Is that… when you called my name earlier…. was it because…?
Nym: buries his face in the sheets……..I…..panicked……
Vincent: … Panicked?
Nym: I don’t….do this….I’m not like a satyr……I don’t sleep with anything with a pulse
Vincent: gently Didn’t you tell me you hadn’t ever… been intimate… with anyone before?
Nym: I never have…..I started….thinking about how your hands felt while trying to quiet my mind and sleep…..
Vincent: ducks his head, ashamed I’m sorry. It’s not my intention to confuse or upset you.
Nym: you’ve probably slept with hundreds….says it mournfully
Vincent: turns pale What? No!
Nym: berating himself, doesn’t hear Vincent I’m just…..stupid little faun who thinks someone like you might actually like me…..
Vincent: kneels on the edge of the bed and grabs one of Nym’s horns to make him look up Nym. Stop that. You’re not stupid.
Nym: eyes widen as he feels that strong hand grab one of his horns and forces him to look at Vincent, eyes dilate as every line of his body shows submissiveness to the human I’m not stupid…..whispers it softly
Vincent: lets go and touches his cheek You are not stupid. There’s… there’s nothing wrong with liking someone. Or wanting someone.
Nym: turns and nuzzles his into his hand8
Vincent: *dryly Also, I have NOT had sex with hundreds of people. Gods, Nym, what ever made you think that?
Nym: nuzzles his hand, tail flipping up and he looks up at the human with big dark eyes because you’re gorgeous….and strong…..
Vincent: his own stomach butterflies a little hearing that I’m… I’m not all that wonderful. retracts his hand, because Nym nuzzling it is making him want to touch him more And you… when you… make love to someone for the first time, it should be… special. Someone who really… means something to you. And who can stay with you, and commit to you. Someone who loves you.
Nym: thinks about chasing his hand down a Vincent retracts it and crawls closer you know that male fauns aren’t common right?
Vincent: … I have an inkling of that, yes. But…
Nym: I’m not going to have anyone special, that’s not how it works with my kind. There’s always a couple males born once in awhile and they mate with the females. I just happen to be one of the males that’s born with two other stronger males that can actually protect their kind. I’m too weak, I’m not a breeder. If I wasn’t so good at healing and working with plants if he considered useless.
Vincent: Fauns aren’t the only species in the world. You are kind, and good-hearted, and you will find someone who likes you just because of who you are, not because of how ‘useful’ you are.
Nym: shakes his head no one wants me…..
Vincent: sighs and sits on the edge of the bed Nym, you’re still very young. … I think. You have plenty of time, and the world is a big place.
Nym: Even the satyr’s wouldn’t touch me, and that’s practically insulting!
Vincent: … blinks Why not? They.. they just want pleasure, right? You’re beautiful.
Nym: I don’t know why! And now even you don’t want me pulls the blanket over his head
Vincent: winces .. Nym, I do want you. I’m attracted to you.
Nym: I don’t believe you mutters from under the blanket
Vincent: grimaces Well, believe it or not, I just had to go to the bathroom to jerk off because you wiggling in my lap was driving me crazy.
Vincent: And the… the night that… I… in the gardens. takes a deep breath You were in my dreams.
Nym: opens his mouth to call Vincent out on his obvious lies but stops and peaks out from under the blanket at him I was?
Vincent: embarrassing himself terribly to try to make Nym feel better, hides his face in his hands I dreamed we were at a revel… a faery revel, the kind they always say… that you should never attend, because the Fae will make you dance yourself to death, or make a hundred years fly past in one night. People who drink their wine or eat their food are changed… I was stumbling through the party. Everyone wanted me to eat and drink. And then I found you and you said you wanted to dance.
Vincent: You promised that you wouldn’t dance me to death because I was kind to you before. So we danced all night and when all the satyrs started… well… you know… with the other guests, you wanted to get away. So I let you take me into the forest, and you were cold, and you… climbed in my lap and… then we….
Vincent: And then I woke up and you were in my arms and I thought ‘oh god it’s not a dream’ but you were looking at me… well… not like you were looking at me in the dream, and I remembered that you’d wanted to lay down with me, and I realized, and I….
Nym: eyes on him, inching closer as Vincent relays his story how did I look at you in the dream? finds his heart pounding faster, holding his breath as he listens to the story
Vincent: … Warm. Happy. Calm. Not nervous, or afraid.
Vincent: In the dream it was like we’d… um. red Like we’d been together for a while, and you were comfortable with me, and with… being intimate with me.
Nym: I want to be happy
Vincent: I think most people do.
Nym: don’t you want to be happy?
Vincent: Of course. blinks
Nym: so close he could cuddle up to him
Vincent: But my happiness is a long way away. I may never get it. But you’re not in my position. You have all the time in the multiverse.
Nym: cuddles up to him you think so?
Vincent: Nym… stiffens Listen. Please. When you… when you do this, it’s not that I don’t like it. But it feels like that dream. I can’t really help that I respond to it.
Vincent: And it’s not fair to you.
Nym: feels him stiffen under his arms
Vincent: I still have to go where Lord Caes sends me. And once we fix this… I know you won’t have your old grove back. But you’ll be safe to find a new one.
Nym: sighs and settles against him I know you won’t stay with me forever
Vincent: it takes him a minute to catch up, and he goes very still … But…?
Nym: but what?
Vincent: I thought there was a ‘but’. sighs
Nym: there wasn’t, I just know you won’t stay with me forever sighs as he curls up against him like I said…..I’m just…….stupid faun, hoping someone would like me
Vincent: I already said you aren’t stupid.
Nym: you didn’t even want to come here with me…..Lord Caes made you.
Vincent: sighs I didn’t want to come because I thought I’d practically raped you, and my presence would frighten you.
Vincent: I thought after what I’d done you’d never feel safe with me again.
Nym: funny how you’re the one person I’m not afraid of
Vincent: can’t resist settling one hand on his head, between his antlers, at that
Vincent: Ever since Lord Caes… took me into his service. You’re the first person who’s made me feel like a true knight again.
Nym: tail flicks at the touch of his hand and he butts his head against Vincent’s hand gently
Vincent: But a true knight would protect you without asking anything of you.
Nym: what if I’m asking you for something?
Vincent: blinks Like what?
Nym: blushes will you hold me? Just for tonight? I…..I sleep better with you
Vincent: ….. I don’t mind that, Nym. But it could cause more… incidents.
Nym: flushes I…..I don’t mind….
Vincent: I know. quietly But I still think you should save that first time for someone special.
Vincent: It’s horrible when it’s cheap. Trust me.
Nym: looks at him, and slowly reaches up to touch Vincent’s face I don’t think you’re cheap…..realizes he’s finally touching that stubble on the knights face and blushes furiously as he scritches it gently
Vincent: swallows hard I know. I don’t think you are either. lightly touches Nym’s jaw, fingers slipping just under his chin, so close, tipping his face up
Nym: shivers as Vincent’s fingers slip under his chin and tilt his face up, finds himself responding automatically, pressing closer lips parting for a kiss
Vincent: wants to SO much, and knows he shouldn’t, but it’s so easy… he leans just a little, and then his mouth is brushing Nym’s, lips parted, shivering at the contact, and despite his guilty masturbation earlier he’s hard and throbbing again
Nym: gives a soft little maaaaa as their lips brush against each other and presses closer
Vincent: is dizzied by that plaintive little sound and leans just a little more, kissing him for real, slow and lingering and gentle, cupping Nym’s face softly in both hands
Nym: maaaaas again as he’s kissed, his own head spinning at the slow lingering kiss and the gentle way Vincent is cupping his face
Vincent: his fingertips trail down Nym’s throat, over his collarbones and down his narrow chest, thoughtlessly caressing his bare skin as Vincent leans into him and keeps kissing him, over and over, tongue touching Nym’s bottom lip
Nym: shivers as those fingers trail down his throat and along his collarbone, gasping as that rough hand slides over his bare skin as he’s kissed over and over until he feels almost drunk Vincent….gasps his name as he arches against him
Vincent: doesn’t even know what he’s doing, but he gently lays Nym back down on the bed, shifting so he’s kneeling over him, one knee slipping between the faun’s as he carefully supports himself over Nym and keeps kissing him
Nym: hitches as he’s laid back on the bed, looking up at Vincent with complete adoration as he’s kissed and slides his hands into the humans hair
Vincent: one hand wanders slowly downward, tracing the bumps of his ribs and the planes of his belly. He continues downward, and moans when his fingers sink into the unbelievably soft fur at Nym’s hips, remembering how it feels against his palm, spreading his fingers and rubbing back and forth to absorb the texture as his palm slides down Nym’s thigh
Nym: squirms as he feels Vincent’s hand wandering down his ribs and belly to slide into his fur and then start to tease him mercilessly by rubbing his hand back and forth until he’s gasping and maaaaaing adorably Vincent….
Vincent: gasps and backs off a little, eyes wide in the darkness Nym… I’m sorry… that was too far…
Nym: uhn….ah…..why are you stopping! searches for his hand in the dark and tries to bring it back to his hip
Vincent: lets him because I don’t want to go too far, frighten you, or hurt you…
Vincent: we shouldn’t be doing this, I shouldn’t be…
Nym: eyes close and he gives a tiny maaaaaaa as Vincent’s fingers slide back into his fur
Vincent: looks up at Nym’s face, torn, certain he shouldn’t be doing this but equally certain he can’t resist If you want me to stop…
Nym: lips are parted as he looks at him, gasping breathlessly don’t stop….please Vincent
Kylis: knocks on the inn room door
Vincent: blocks the door with his body and looks out at a very amused Kylis ……. Go without us.
Kylis: … Are you serious?
Nym: gives a soft plaintive maaainng cry from the bed
Vincent: growls a little You were right. We are having sex. This is the first time. You don’t need us – both of you are more learned than either of us are. Give us one day…. to….. red
Kylis: ……. Get it out of your system?
Vincent: >_< Yes.
Nym: gives another desperate little cry
Kylis: grins Well…. okay. One day. But tomorrow it’s back to work. We’re not your hirelings you know. We’re not even Lord Caes’s hirelings… we’re ASSETS. But I’m willing to throw you a bone here since you’ve been wound so tight you might snap as long as I’ve known you. Blow off some steam with your little faery boy. But tomorrow the honeymoon’s over.
Vincent: growls yes. Agreed.
Kylis: walks away laughing