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Thread: Zodiac Chronicles: Of Stag and Sphinx

  1. #1
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    Philomel's Avatar

    Name
    Philomel van der Aart (+ Veridian)
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    28
    Race
    faun
    Gender
    female
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    violet (dyed)
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    grey
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    Assassin-Whore, Matriarch (Gilded Lily), Master of Secrets (Crimson Hand)

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    Zodiac Chronicles: Of Stag and Sphinx

    Part of the Zodiac storyline. Closed to BlackAndBlueEyes and Christoph.
    Tirel. Late Summer. Late Afternoon.

    Back and forth had she gone, from great forest to thriving winter city. From the rescuing of an ancient powerful lyre, to the formation of a new interest, Philomel had traversed the length of the massive main continent various times over. Salvar and Raiaera had been her keen interest, with a narrow avoidance of terror in Alerar. Pity that one time had led her to be mistakenly blamed for the murder of Zack Blaze, else she would be in high spirits in the act of teaching the dark elves the punishment for taking away from mother nature.

    With her ship on the shore and captained now for the past full four months by the strong-hearted mage Vaeron, Philomel had been stuck on land. With few companions but her tera'k mount, her dragon Delath and her beloved Veridian life had been strangely dull, though peppered with acquaintences. The most recent of which was currently sitting on her lap, sniffing at the chill air.

    He was a small, neat little thing, with black ears and a white face. A prey creature by habit the rabbit that Philomel had come to name Mao, named for the magical crystal sword that had attracted the strange twitchy creature in the first place, took current pride of place in her attentions. This fact did not bode well with Veridian, who was somewhat growing daily more jealous with this. His golden eyes gleamed, and his pitiless voice in Philomel's head threatened to eat her.

    "He is just a rabbit!" Philomel said, not for the first time. "Don't you dare be mean to him!"

    Turning around in her seat on the top of her beast of burden, she stared at the fox companion. Perched on the back of the saddle he was in a self-conscious position, curled up tight protectively. Part of it was to do with the situation that her attentions were pitted more these days towards their new companion, but part of it was also to do with the full streets of the city they travelled through. Veridian the fox-formed earth-spirit bared his teeth to his beloved faun, but said no more, not again. This conversation had occurred several times in the last few days and it had always ended in an uneasy silence between them. It was strange that Philomel had picked up a rabbit for her latest familiar - for, as it stood foxes were their natural predator and a dragon ... well - yet it did not seem to bother the faun. She went with the opinion that she was part goat, which was a natural prey beast, therefore having Mao made their party more equal. Of course, Veridian disagreed.

    They had come this far north to seek out, if they could, the red-haired girl Amari again, in attempt to make contact. Amari was Shinsou van Osiris' (Philomel's good friend) ex-lover, and now the second in command to the bastard-face Lye Ulroke, the leader of the assassin's guild, the Crimson Hand. It had been with Lye as a puppet ruler that Philomel had previously had to face a war against the Hand, and that was the last time she had been properly in Salvar to live. Since then the faun's distancing from the fading, then somewhat rising assassin club had been varied at most.

    Varied. Or non-existent. And she had tried to save Amari from his clutches, but he had tortured her. He had abused her. He had dug his raking claws into the girl and threatened to never let go. Philomel now hated Lye with all her soul.

    Of course there had been another involved with the war. Maddison Freebird, Lye Ulroke's puppeteer for when he had been the one dancing on strings. Philomel had less reason to dislike her - after all she had not made herself known recently in terms of torturing an innocent.

    As she went through the old city, Philomel glanced around, warily eyeing the strangers that passed before and behind them. Some clustered in small groups, set decoratively before public houses and guild halls, muttering under their breath or talking broadly and openly about those they desired and despised. Overall the architechture was grim, dull-coloured and leering, with the odd one or two shop declaring colour. Humans of all shapes and sizes thronged the streets, with lumbering horses, donkeys and other lesser common beasts of burden squeezing between, scattered sparsely with the odd fair elf or darker-hearted orc. Philomel found herself spying them, watching them, observing them, with an eager ear trying to find the beginnings of the rumours of the red-haired lass which had originally brought her this far north ...

    "There'em be a new bookshop, ye ken?"

    "Aye, I 'ave seen in. Been in it. Ye?"

    "Aye, there'sa librareh also."

    "Eh? Ye'um mean tha' the bookshop be a librareh tae?"

    "Nawwww..."

    She rolled her eyes, moving steadily away from the two strong men. The tera'k huffed a little, feeling bored himself, and extremely hungry. His tiny but perceptive eyes peeked around for hay.

    "They'em say ye can find anythin' there."

    "Oh aye?"

    "Aye, even myths and ye know, them'em old folking tales."

    "Aye, my wee lass is pure intae them."

    "Aye?"

    "Aye..."

    Looking around she saw a small alleyway leading down to the shady right. There was the high situated sign of an inn at the start of the lane, so it was probable that there was somewhere to rest there for a moment while they got there barings. Tera'k could have his hay, Mao could look adorable, and Veridian could moan even more.

    "Aye, and the proprie'or. Some weird guy wiv a mask an' ... the girl wiv 'air as black as night. Scary beyon' reason ..."
    Last edited by Philomel; 04-12-17 at 04:42 PM.
    "Tol. Mela. Othor." "Versh. Sai. Memnae." Come. Love. Conquer. - Philomel in Tolkein Sindarin, Faunish and Tradespeak

    Very grateful winner of 2015 Althies Awards: Friendliest Member, Mrs Althanas, Best IC Rivalry (with Doge), Best Judge and Most Helpful/Friendly Mod and Admin Award of Moderator of the Year.

  2. #2
    Blue Wizard shot a food!!
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    BlackAndBlueEyes's Avatar

    Name
    Madison Freebird
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    Too old for your s***
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    Human
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    The store was empty. It didn't help that half the city was illiterate, of course; but those who were educated enough to comprehend neatly-formed lines and circles of ink arranged in rows on sheets of paper bound between flaps of leather and cardboard were either just getting off work or at home eating dinner with their families.

    So, the only two souls around, myself and Hyperion, stood at the counter of Briarheart Books, hunched over our latest dusty, tattered, mysterious acquisition.

    Hype cautiously pressed her finger against the page, tracing the eldritch runes scribbled on it with a gnarled finger. "What do you think they mean," she asked, her four amber eyes flashing with curiosity.

    I offered up a half-hearted shrug and reached for my mug of cocoa. "Hell if I know."

    I made it a point to never get too interested in the books that I was tasked by the demon Maladim to gather and move. The first time I asked about it, he gave me a pat on the head, went on a long-winded spiel about "grand plans" and "how things needed to be put into motion", and told me not to concern myself with it because no matter what happened, my job would be secure.

    And as long as I didn't accidentally unleash a many-tentacled-but-otherwise-unknowable-slash-indescribable cosmic horror with a name that lacked vowels, that was good enough for me.

    The briarbane, however, hated being left in the dark. She continued to tear her way through the book, page by page, desperately trying to translate the script in front of her. It was written in a language she was vaguely familiar with, having picked up chunks of it from other tomes she voraciously consumed. This particular book was written in an off-shoot of the dialect, and she was having a little trouble picking out the differences.

    I took up my drink and walked to the front of the store, planting myself right in front of the windows and gazing out into the quiet streets of Tirel. The quiet was good to reflect on how my life had been going the past few months. I shed that pile of weeds I used to call my body, and with it most of the baggage that was associated with ol' Briarheart Madison. I cut ties with the Crimson Hand, washing my hands of that shit show and the colossal disaster that was Lichensith Ulroke's reeducation and reformation into a worthy leader of that empire of jerks. I scraped up enough funds to open my bookstore in Salvar, where it would be safe from all the enemies I made that still lurked in Corone.

    Briarheart Books was only a front for my real job, of course, but it was an adequate one.

    The steam wafting up from the hot cocoa fogged the window as I took a sip. Hyperion caught my attention with an excited squeal.

    "Madison! Madison! I found something!"

    I turned back towards the counter. What could she have possibly uncovered?

    Before I could get an answer, the bell above the door rang.
    "Being evil never felt so good!" - Marie, Splatoon

    these are the weapons of bedeviling times

  3. #3
    Lyre-Bearer
    EXP: 55,279, Level: 10
    Level completed: 12%, EXP required for next level: 9,721
    Level completed: 12%,
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    Philomel's Avatar

    Name
    Philomel van der Aart (+ Veridian)
    Age
    28
    Race
    faun
    Gender
    female
    Hair Color
    violet (dyed)
    Eye Color
    grey
    Build
    6ft / 156kg
    Job
    Assassin-Whore, Matriarch (Gilded Lily), Master of Secrets (Crimson Hand)

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    Briarheart Books.

    The very punnery in the name made Philomel curl up the sides of her lips with distaste. The amusement was not there, and neither was it in the mind of the black and white rabbit poised in her palm. Instead she was curled up tight and small, still with her ears laid back against her head as if she was captured with fear. Taking a moment the faun considered the fact that, indeed, Madison Freebird was very fearful, but she would have a difficult time preparing herself against what Philomel had become.

    Gently, she took the fluffball rodent and slipped her into the softest carry bag she had, keeping the opening undrawn to allow the rabbit air and a place to peep out. Mao barely moved as she was desposited here, and some sort of instinct kept her from running far from Philomel in any case. Letting her rest for a moment on the saddle Philomel slid off from her mount, taking down with her the tera'k's reigns, looping them back over his horns and in front of his muzzle. Rubbing his nose she let out a small sigh before looking upwards at Veridian, still curled up in the blankets at the beast's back.

    Are you going to let me do this on my own now? she asked in in her mind, arching an eyebrow.

    The fox-formed creature nickered a little, but did not look back at her.

    Why are you so determined to come here? I thought we were interested in the Red girl, not Maddy Black-hair.

    We were intially, Philomel nodded her head slightly, However, Amari clearly does not want to be found, and the Crimson Hand seems determined to allude us, for now. That or kill us. This oppurtunity has fallen into our lap, and so ... here we are.

    Outside the bookshop of the woman you swore vengeance against?

    The faun nodded, Exactly. Because she declared war on me and my own.

    His golden eyes now flashed to meet hers. Slowly, he blinked as he took a moment to think. She stared back, hand still stroking the nose of the great bovine-like tera'k, Mao the rabbit remaining in the bag.

    So we are here to kill her?

    Darling, we are here to hate her. And to tell her what I think of her. Which is akin to a pile of ... juta.

    Juta. An impolite word for poo in faunish.

    I see, Veridian breathed in slowly and arched up onto his paws. Well I cannot let you go telling humans who are barely human anymore that they are juta.

    Rolling her eyes slightly she waited until he had leapt down from the back of the tera'k. Then, going to the side of the house, Philomel tied his reigns to a traditional iron loop of a hitching rail. Veridian took the time to stretch as she bade the tera'k to take a rest, eat hay, and then she carefully lifted the small rabbit bundle down from the saddle. Tying the bag in a loop onto her belt she made sure Mao was safe before turning back to Veridian.

    "So," she beamed at him, feeling positively elated at the chance to show her new capabilities. "Shall we demonstrate the power of Drys to a being who is mostly a plant?"

    The fox grunted somewhat, but swung his tail and angled back to the door. Grinning, Philomel followed him, raising a fist ready. When they came back around to the front of the building, with the terrible name at the front she paused, and then smartly rapped on the door. Her hair was magnificent, now violet and crimson. Upon her back flowed a cape of soul blossom flowers. By her side strode an earth-spirit partly possessed by a fire demon, in a back at her waist curled a rabbit capable of mimicking supernatural ability, and beneath her through the earth coiled a magnificent dragon, born of rock and dust. The last time they had met had been short and brief - Philomel had been a dire-goat ready to kill Madison all for the entertainment of Shinsou can Osiris. Before that there had been the war. And now ... well.

    Sharply the faun knocked harder and waited for the door to open. Black hair, slightly shorter and weaker frame. Definitely no hooves. Madison Freebird.

    "Hello old friend," Philomel sang, a bright smile on her lips, "How lovely to see you again."
    "Tol. Mela. Othor." "Versh. Sai. Memnae." Come. Love. Conquer. - Philomel in Tolkein Sindarin, Faunish and Tradespeak

    Very grateful winner of 2015 Althies Awards: Friendliest Member, Mrs Althanas, Best IC Rivalry (with Doge), Best Judge and Most Helpful/Friendly Mod and Admin Award of Moderator of the Year.

  4. #4
    Blue Wizard shot a food!!
    EXP: 91,624, Level: 13
    Level completed: 12%, EXP required for next level: 12,376
    Level completed: 12%,
    EXP required for next level: 12,376

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    GP
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    BlackAndBlueEyes's Avatar

    Name
    Madison Freebird
    Age
    Too old for your s***
    Race
    Human
    Gender
    Female
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    The Absolute Worst

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    Philomel van der Aart had this very peculiar trait that always struck me as odd. For all of the skill she had in spycraft and the art of assassination, she also possessed the subtlety of a brick being thrown through your window in the dead of night. A very ugly brick, with a note tied to it that contained oh so many spelling and grammatical errors.

    The salt she seasoned the words old friend and lovely with immediately soured my mood to a point this mug of cocoa and Hype's lingering discovery couldn't fix. Philomel towered over me, filling my doorway with her top-heavy and cloaked frame. A venomous smirk was etched on her stupid face, hinting that she was itching to bleat me up over something that happened lifetimes ago.

    What the hells could it have been this time? In my latest stint with the Crimson Hand, I had zero interactions with the faun. Is she still sore and blaming me for the time that I said in passing that her loyalties to Lichensith may not be completely solid and he immediately tested them? It's not like anyone of importance died during those scuffles! Besides, that was years ago! If she lost any of the whores in her brothels, the world was quick to restock them for her.

    A million responses flickered in my mind. Slam the door in her face and tell her that the store's closed. Inform her that Briarheart Books has a very strict "no pants, no service" policy, and she can return when she's dressed a bit more modestly. Go straight for the outcome she probably expected, and bathe her in wrathfire while jamming sharpened obsidian into every orifice in her body as she screamed and clawed bloody scraps of her face off in an attempt to escape the nightmarish illusions I could induce.

    To be honest, that last one was really appealing the moment it popped into my imagination. I always wondered what Philomel was afraid of. Probably someone littering in the forest, and every time she went to clean it up she'd turn around only to find more garbage.

    I made a quick mental note to find out sometime, and cleared my mind of all the nasty things I wanted to do. Instead, I opted for a more friendly, professional greeting. Something more becoming of a merchant of knowledge and entertainment.

    "Ah, hello, Philomel!" I offered the faun an honest, friendly smile--one I knew would get underneath her skin or fur or whatever. "It's been a long time. Glad to see that you're alive and well. Please, come on in!"

    I swept my free hand aside, a grandiose gesture and hint that I expected her to clop her dirty hooves out of my fucking doorway and stop letting the chilly afternoon air in.

    "Now, to what do I owe the pleasure?"
    Last edited by BlackAndBlueEyes; 04-24-17 at 09:46 PM.
    "Being evil never felt so good!" - Marie, Splatoon

    these are the weapons of bedeviling times

  5. #5
    Lyre-Bearer
    EXP: 55,279, Level: 10
    Level completed: 12%, EXP required for next level: 9,721
    Level completed: 12%,
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    Philomel's Avatar

    Name
    Philomel van der Aart (+ Veridian)
    Age
    28
    Race
    faun
    Gender
    female
    Hair Color
    violet (dyed)
    Eye Color
    grey
    Build
    6ft / 156kg
    Job
    Assassin-Whore, Matriarch (Gilded Lily), Master of Secrets (Crimson Hand)

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    So desperately did she want to roll her eyes. Also she wanted to put her hands around this bloody girl's neck and wring it. She wanted to yell at her, scream, let out all her anger at what emotions Maddison had put her through, at what catastrophe the war could have led to ... But Philomel knew it was idiotic. It was all for naught. After all she was not in Salvar to get her revenge on the wrongs done to her women, as she saw it - no, she was in Salvar to gain Amari's trust and see what exactly Lye Ulroke's plans were for the newly reborn Crimson Hand.

    As she gazed at the all too familiar face before her, the faun felt as if she could see something shimmering in the back of Maddy's eyes. A great boiling mass of darkness, turmoil and determination, the same such that Philomel had seen many a time, to different variants, in the eyes of of desperate girls and women, lost in the throes of mistfortune. There was a solid hunger there, for want of a better word, a desire to do ... something, whatever it might be, that was fueled by the passions insighted by Maddison's own past.

    Quite, quite similar to the ardor and intensity filling Philomel's mind.

    A light, nipping growl from Veridian brought her back to reality.

    In front of her, positioned slightly to the left side so it was off the mark of a proffering of friendship, was a hand. Attached to an arm. Located on Maddison's body.

    There had been words, and Philomel had just missed them.

    She said, to what do I owe the pleasure, Veridian reminded her, mentally.

    "Oh," Philomel blinked a couple of times, trying to seem as if she was (of course) paying attention to the words, and not to Maddy's eyes, her feelings, the feelings of wanting to ... "I suppose no pleasure. We were quite surprised to hear rumours in the town of a new bookshop. Owned by, and I quote, 'the girl wivvv hair - 'air - as black as nigh'. Scary beyond ... beh-yon reason.'" She attempted to repeat the accent of the locals. Badly.

    Tilting her head to the side she ground herself in reality some more and let live a small smile. "So we thought we would ... pop by. Didn't we darling?"

    Veridian extended his lips back so his pearly white sharp teeth showed. He brushed his tail against the door lintel, making it make a light 'bumph' sound.

    There was an inexorable pause. The hand still remained, not quite a shaking offering, not quite a bow. Instead it read similar to 'get out of here' and Philomel descided that they should read it as the opposite, as 'come on in,' and thus she did. Throwing a drearily fake cheery smile again at Maddison she clopped forwards, right into the shop, away from the cold, letting the door swing shut behind her.
    Last edited by Philomel; 05-03-17 at 07:39 AM.
    "Tol. Mela. Othor." "Versh. Sai. Memnae." Come. Love. Conquer. - Philomel in Tolkein Sindarin, Faunish and Tradespeak

    Very grateful winner of 2015 Althies Awards: Friendliest Member, Mrs Althanas, Best IC Rivalry (with Doge), Best Judge and Most Helpful/Friendly Mod and Admin Award of Moderator of the Year.

  6. #6
    Blue Wizard shot a food!!
    EXP: 91,624, Level: 13
    Level completed: 12%, EXP required for next level: 12,376
    Level completed: 12%,
    EXP required for next level: 12,376

    AP
    14
    GP
    2,375
    BlackAndBlueEyes's Avatar

    Name
    Madison Freebird
    Age
    Too old for your s***
    Race
    Human
    Gender
    Female
    Job
    The Absolute Worst

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    By Hromagh's hairy balls I never thought she'd come in. The air in the shop seemed to warm the moment the door slammed shut on its spring-loaded hinges.

    Now there was just the matter of thawing this six-foot-tall hairy icicle that showed up on my doorstep.

    And, oh, to the surprise of nobody she brought her little fire rat or whatever it was. I couldn't be bothered to remember its name at the moment.

    "Good to know that word of mouth is working," I said with a half-hearted smirk. "It's cheaper than advertisements in the local paper, that's for sure. I'm not so keen on the, what did you say they called me? 'Scary beh-yon reason'?" My accent was a bit off, but it served its purpose. "I guess it's a good way to keep out the illiterates and undesirables, though."

    Just not enough to keep all of them out, it seemed.

    I shifted my way back over to the counter, where Hyperion stood, silently watching the scene unfold. The briarbane, the parasites that birthed her being based on briarheart magic and all, never exactly knew how to react when in the presence of someone who commanded such power over the earth like Philomel did. This was probably one of the few moments that she was actually intimidated by someone.

    I gave her a comforting pat on the shoulder, marked our place in the dusty old tome with a tattered red ribbon, and closed it. "Hype, can you go fix us some tea, please?"

    Hype's amber gaze lingered for a moment on the faun before she answered. "Yes, right away," she squeaked, and disappeared through the doorway and up the stairs leading to our apartment.

    I leaped up onto the counter, plopping my ass down for a seat as my legs dangled in the air above the wooden floor. "Look, I'm going to save you from using up your daily supply of passive-aggressiveness and cut to the chase. Why are you really here?"
    "Being evil never felt so good!" - Marie, Splatoon

    these are the weapons of bedeviling times

  7. #7
    Lyre-Bearer
    EXP: 55,279, Level: 10
    Level completed: 12%, EXP required for next level: 9,721
    Level completed: 12%,
    EXP required for next level: 9,721

    AP
    56
    GP
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    Philomel's Avatar

    Name
    Philomel van der Aart (+ Veridian)
    Age
    28
    Race
    faun
    Gender
    female
    Hair Color
    violet (dyed)
    Eye Color
    grey
    Build
    6ft / 156kg
    Job
    Assassin-Whore, Matriarch (Gilded Lily), Master of Secrets (Crimson Hand)

    View Profile
    The faun's eyes blinked as she began to lose some of her falsified countenance. Faltering slightly in her usual proud demanour she parted her lips as the question resounded around her head.

    "Why are you really here?"

    She wants the honest truth? Philomel wondered, glancing down to her beloved.

    Veridian stared up at her with his magnificent golden eyes and licked his black-rimmed maw.

    By that statement, and her vocabulary choice, I would say 'yes.'

    Not concerning herself with disguising her expressions, Philomel showed unease on her face. She let out a mental, 'ugh' and then folded her arms. Turning back to Maddison, the faun rid herself of any pretense and erroneous attitude. Raising her chin slightly she focused directly onto the girl who had once, a long time ago, perhaps been human, and stared.

    "I am here in Salvar to find ..." she paused, realising that in fact it was not necessary to reveal her knowledge about Amari just then. "Find something, and it was by glorious happenstance that I heard you being mentioned. By ways of what I have previously mentioned. And I came here to essentially punch you in the face."

    Despite her words, Philomel did not then release her arms from their folded position. Neither did she take any step forwards, or make any motion to defend herself. Instead, she remained stoic and determined, her focus of her gaze, the intensity and potential, aiming to communicate her emotions and intent.

    "In all honesty you did me a wrong, and my entire clan a wrong. I know your loyalties no longer lie with the Crimson Hand, but what you did was a direct insult that was never sorted to any extent. The last time I saw you was within the shadows of Shinou's pyramid, and since then -" she broke off, tearing her eyes away from the black haired beauty and glaring over to the books around her. Breathing short, and temper flaring she took time to look around, trying to control herself and not ripple her form into that of a montrous goat-beast. That at least would give something for Maddison to contend with. Beneath her she could feel the trembling of Delath, the earth dragon, deep beneath the ground, beginning to writhe and twist, growing passionate with the fury she was beginning to feel.

    Philomel! Veridian hissed, swishing his tail dangerously fast, Stop it! You will cause more trouble than this is worth.

    "For fuck's sake," she looked back up to Maddison with fabulously temptestous eyes. "We were once friends, and I seriously don't know why you did what you did. There was little reason, or rather, you didn't give me a reason. And now Lye is back, and that bothers me. What I want to say is that you wronged not just me but every woman, girl and madama I now stand for."
    "Tol. Mela. Othor." "Versh. Sai. Memnae." Come. Love. Conquer. - Philomel in Tolkein Sindarin, Faunish and Tradespeak

    Very grateful winner of 2015 Althies Awards: Friendliest Member, Mrs Althanas, Best IC Rivalry (with Doge), Best Judge and Most Helpful/Friendly Mod and Admin Award of Moderator of the Year.

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