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Thread: A Fae, A Faun and a Human

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    Philomel's Avatar

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    Philomel van der Aart (+ Veridian)
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    Faun (+ Fox/Earth Spirit)
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    A Fae, A Faun and a Human

    ((opening rated mature - set after Staff and Sword.))

    As she felt their bodies align, Philomel took a long, deep breath in. Below her in the depths of the Sword and Staff were people she had loved, hated and desired, people who she wanted dearly and longed to be rid of. For one, there was Lichensith Ulroke, a man with whom she had a complicated past but currently felt hurt from. What he had done to the woman Shinsou loved. What he had tried to do with the Crimson Hand by displaying his power. What she had seen from the rumours about him and his projects that filtered into the one brothel she had influence in in Salvar ... the presence of him sickened her.

    Therefore she had had to leave that room, and she had needed a distraction. The option before her had been so easy to reach out and take - a few words and a willingness. Storm Veritas, a man whom she knew much of but knew personally little, the man who was the partner to Shinsou van Osiris in the Brotherhood of Castgars. Shinsou, that man whom Phi had seen, wanted, and then realised it couldn't be. No relationship could be for her.

    Taking another breath in she twisted to face Storm, her clothes and weapons now strewn about her. Curves and generous breasts - far larger than she cared to admit. Around her face her hair cascaded, a storm of violet, darkest purple, and tinges of chestnut, the natural colour peeking through. Tapered ears were smooth of fur and her lips were pursed slightly, set amongst flawless skin. There was a reason why she was so successful as a whore, and she was called the Matriarch of them, and right now she was willing to show him.

    Slowly her hand extended out, and she invited him to step closer. As their flesh met she began to carress and kiss him, being as gentle as she could. Slowly she went, for peace was what she needed right now, joy was what she was granting him. In the moments where she was not brushing her lips across his skin she spoke soft and warm.

    "Tell me what you want and I will grant it," she said, "I will give you the world tonight if you so desire."

    And underneath them, almost directly a giant rabbit was waiting, wondering if the young man-boy was going to ascend her back along with the dying fox. As the rabbit, Mao, and the fox, Veridian, felt the touches beginning between their mind-companion Philomel and her new human lover, they closed them off, allowing her time. Even though Veridian might be hurting from the pain of acid spilt from the mouth of a veangeful Briarheart, he was not going to disturb her. His task had been to see this man-boy, the fae Fenn, to safety, and that was his plan. It was still his plan. It was the rabbit's plan.

    Thus as the human and faun above made love the fox, rabbit and fae below made peace.
    Last edited by Philomel; 09-18-2017 at 06:32 PM.

  2. #2
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    Storm Veritas's Avatar

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    For all his travels and experiences upon the great open world of Althanas, Storm couldn’t help but feel a tinge of uncertainty entering the encounter. Philomel was unquestionably beautiful; her perfect skin and thick, pillow soft lips as feminine and stunning as any he’d ever seen. Her clean, violet hair and delicate jawline yielded to heaving breasts that would stagger even the most experienced adventurer. It was further south that bred his introspection, for Philomel was a faun.

    In truth, the fur-lined legs were bizarre to him; a distinctly inhuman characteristic in the space where women were typically at their most delicate, their most feminine. He wrestled with this for only a moment, considering those that he had known laying judgment for his embrace of this “creature”. It was a juvenile inhibition, and he knew it.

    Who the hell are you honestly trying to impress? Are you going to wait for your second lifetime to stop giving a shit?!

    Whatever reservations the electromancer clung to vanished like dust in the wind at the moment she kissed him. Her lips were liquid with purchase; a hypnotic softness that shook the aging magician to his knees. Immediately, his fingers ran down her soft back, and he felt her long, slender fingers begin to dance up and down his frame.

    “I want you; all of you. I want as much as you can offer.” His eyes had spread wide and wild, lust driven and white-blue in color. The tavern bedroom was a mess, with several empty and half empty glasses strewn about bedside tables and upon the floor. Beaten, water-stained hardwoods offered streams of light to the bedlam below, where a raucous crowd fought and cheered and drank. To Storm Veritas, it was all nebulous; a cloud of existential nonsense that served as mere distraction from the enchantress before him.

    With Philomel’s arms about his neck, he wished only for an opportunity to freeze time. He wished to savor in her touch, to tease her skin and lick and nip at her sensitive areas. He wished to explore her, to enjoy her like no other, and drink her in like a fine cask of wine. He wished to give himself to her, to allow her to do as she pleased, to take whatever he could supply.

    Wait for the perfect moment in your next life. Enjoy this first trip.

    With a dip in his knees he swung his sinewy, surprisingly powerful arms beneath her knees, hoisting her at the gently laying her on the bed. Her smile, filled with brilliant white teeth, was enough to encourage him further. The soft groan that hummed from her lips when he yielded his own temptation by taking one of her nipples in his mouth was so profoundly erotic that it nearly ended his encounter.

    The wizard was experienced here, but decidedly outclassed. He proceeded slowly, with great caution, and the sex-drunk grin of an experimenting teenager. He would learn much as he relished in the role of student.

  3. #3
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    Philomel's Avatar

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    10,103
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    Philomel van der Aart (+ Veridian)
    Age
    30 (+10)
    Race
    Faun (+ Fox/Earth Spirit)
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    Female (+ Male)
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    Corone

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    Through the streets of Radasanth Mao escorted her charges. The boy-man who was more magical than human rode with ease upon the back of a huge wolf, who was almost the size of her own giant self. She was wary of the creature, but he seemed fine enough, panting and padding as she bounded. Veridian was slumped across her back, like a hunted prize, his head lolling slightly with each fresh leap. He was, to put it lightly, exhausted; the breath expelling from his lungs shallowly as he fought to remain concious. In truth he could give up and die, but that would leave the man-boy alone to face up to Maverik - Philomel's one time bodyguard and now captain of the Gilded Lily, the Feisty Fox. With exception of having Mao, the rabbit. And if there was one thing Mao was not entirely brilliant at, it was communication. Yes, she had intelligence, but words and writing alluded her. Instead there was just the stream of images, smells and other senses that flowed from her mind into those of her community companions.

    Thus Veridian stayed alive, his eyes drooping closed but his will as strong as iron.

    I must stay strong, he kept telling himself as the acid burnt through his flesh, I must stay alive.

    ---

    Elsewhere, Philomel felt very much alive. Throwing back her head she groaned to the ceiling and the sky beyond, eyes half-closed herself but following a very different emotion. After all endorphins and adrenaline was rushing through her veins at a high, rapid rate. As the man moved her gently, swinging her body around so he sat on top she welcomed the change, letting her body simply appreciate the rush of energy that came. Her fine furred body would be found to be adequately less hairy down where it mattered, so any hopes of a good night would be guaranteed.

    Many had tried to pleasure her over the years, and few had truly succeeded, but tonight was one of those times. After all, it had been Philomel who had suggested it, and thus there was no forcing of joy, no work to be done, no monetary exchange that was to be made. There was just freedom - she could actually enjoy herself without needing to think to much and thus she did, moaning as he teased her body with little to no hesitation. Placing her hands on his hips Philomel drew Storm Veritas close, whispering to him with soft, encouraging words.

    "Come and be mine," she murmured to him.

    And he did. They did. They became, in the words of the old religious testemonies, as one flesh, faun meeting human, druid and summoner meeting wizard. To such an extent that the creaking of the bed that they created as he rocked gently back and forth atop her could be made from the corridor outside.

    ---

    "Fleeking ..." the huge, leather-clad, black-haired woman, who stood at a massive six foot ten inches tall, swore loudly and ran - rather, stomped in a fast manner - over to the giant rabbit. With hands the size of dinner plates and a face as red as a storm she lifted Veridian's body from the back of the creature and paused, craddling him easily in her hands.

    For a while she simply stared, blue eyes wondering over the russet red and blood red body, some flesh exposed and fur entirely ruined. She sucked in her breath via her tongue so it made a rasping, worried sound before she looked over to look at the boy-man on the wolf's back. A wolf who seemed much happier than the rest of them to be here.

    "So what's with you then?" she asked Fenn, "Bringing me an almost dead Matriarch's fox, eh?"

    Her eyes narrowed, as she stood on the thin board that led up to the three-masted, mighty wooden ship. The place which could, if all went well, provide healing for the earth-spirit doused in briarheart acid.

    "Eh?" her voice was gravelly, hoarse but strong, and her form was the same. She waited for the fae to answer, with as much patience as a bear has scales.
    Last edited by Philomel; 09-19-2017 at 03:10 PM.

  4. #4
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    FennWenn's Avatar

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    So this was where Mao had wanted to take him! Over Corone’s loping hills, through the thick forests, and onto its rocky shoreline. To this polished ship, and this fierce, bulky lady. This rather gruff, seaworthy lady. Daugi greeted the woman with a perplexed “Wuff?” and a thump of her tail. Fenn simply flashed her a nervous grin.

    “You going to tell me, or…?” Her tone was bristling, impatient. Impatience was a quality he shared in spades.

    Giving his oblivious mutt a scratch between the ears, the tiny fae slide off her back. On unsteady legs, he poked at the saltwater-slick deck with a toe. Frost spiraled from his icy touch. He scrawled quickly in the feathery white dustingd -- also with his toes. I NOT HURT FOXFRIEND. WERE IN TAVERN, LADY OF PLANTS DID. UCKY SIZZLING SPIT. CAN FIX, RIGHT? Worry flashed across his face, drooping his ears and drawing his mouth into a tight frown. MAO-BUNNY BROUGHT HERE… FOR REASONS? PURPLE FAUN PHI WANTED, NOT SURE WHY.

    The captain’s arms crossed over one another as she read his explanation, bulging biceps on display. Fenn was a bit twitchy-nervous around this bastion of strength… but he was also kind of tempted to poke her biceps, to see if they were more steel than squish. He stuffed his hands in his pockets to quell this dangerous urge. He’d probably chased enough terrible trains of thought for today. Probably.

    “Seems an odd story to me. Eh, he telling the truth?” she asked, turning her head to poor, bedraggled Veridian, still stubbornly shuddering from his burns.

    The fox gave her a limp nod and sighed, as if to say that the story was all too true for him.

    Begrudgingly, the captain-lady tipped her head towards -- well, Fenn didn’t really know the name of it. The stick-y-out bit of ship with a door in it, leading inside. “If the Matriarch sent you, I won’t be the one to turn you away. You have a name?”

    FENN.
    Last edited by FennWenn; 10-13-2017 at 08:01 PM.

  5. #5
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    Storm Veritas's Avatar

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    When they were done, the wizard collapsed aside her in a heap, laughing at the preposterous enjoyment he had just been blessed with. There was something about release that brought him a wild blend of ecstasy and exhaustion, distilled with an aftertaste of clarity of thought and focus. He could reflect on the moment, knowing decidedly the wisdom of his decision making in the immediate aftermath. To his relief, there was not a shred of regret or doubt. He had been given one of the great experiences a man can have in this short journey.

    “You are more parts sorceress than I thought.” A charming smirk as he pushed himself up against the headboard, propping his glistening back against the wooden rails. She had finished with a violent shake at near the same time; were she not actually satisfied she faked it well enough to squash any concerns that he would have harbored.

    The smell of sex was heavy in the room, and it was the most bizarre of all the great scents upon the earth. In moments of passion, it was an aphrodisiac, further driving them ahead with vigor and energy. In the refractory seconds, it was sour and almost offensive; a relic of past sins that seemed to belong to other people. In either event, the scent was soon overpowered as Storm snapped his fingers, producing a small flame above his cherrywood bowl. The tobacco hopped to life, filling his mouth and lungs with a smooth, satisfying warmth that added a deeper level of clarity to his thought.

    Do fauns smoke? That’s what they’re called, “fauns”, right? Until twenty minutes ago, I didn’t have any goddamned idea what they were capable of. Pleasant surprise that they aren’t easily offended.

    A devilish grin further spread across pursed lips as he considered the thought, before slowly exhaling a deep pair of lungs full of rich smoke. He turned to the slightly open window as he did so, only now noting the sharp cool air coming in from the night.

    He spun back in bed, facing forward and laying eyes upon the bizarre beauty that had risen nude from the bed once more. She was breathtaking in her own unique way. The wizard leaned forward, stretching a long, tautly muscled arm to her with the pipe still glowing at the end.

    “Do you smoke? I find it clears the head well, and you certainly dominated my attention pretty completely.” He smiled once more, a bit more aware of how sophomoric is lovestruck nature must seem.

    “You’re welcome to crash here if you don’t have plans; no reason to scoot you off. Radasanth will still be waiting when I get back, and there’s always a new fool with a pocket to lighten.”

    The ambiguity of his comment was not unintentional; he felt confident that this new adventure of a female had a few more tricks up her sleeve. Tomorrow, the winds would drive his sails.

  6. #6
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    Philomel's Avatar

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    Philomel van der Aart (+ Veridian)
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    Faun (+ Fox/Earth Spirit)
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    Corone

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    Quietly Philomel observed the man as he pulled out a pipe and lit it with a practised hand. Her naked, perfect form, honed after years of fighting and professional love-making lounged against the headboard. As she settled herself there she raised her hands up and calmly combed her fingers through her hair, scooping through the long, purple locks to bring it to the front and over her left shoulder. Then she began the task of weaving it all into a delicate-looking but truly strong plait, not letting any strand of hair excape her dextrous fingers.

    Eyes alive and bright she watched Storm, as he spoke softly and methodically. A smile twitched at the corner of her mouth as he asked if she smoked - then continued on without giving her a moment to answer. For her, it mattered little. His words, after all, were full of compliments and it made her feel confident that she still had 'it' after all these years.

    As he finished and her lithe fingers finshed her plait she tied her hair off with a firm and practised knot and let the silence extend. Only when she was satisfied with her work did she sit up straighter, but still with her legs curled before her in a seductive, her heart thumping as she thought of what she had just done. Who she had just slept with. Him. Storm Veritas, partner to Shinsou van Osiris, a man who - who ... had ...

    "I have smoked in the past," she answered, every movement precise and seductive still - she was merely doing it out of habit now. "I have been known to smoke a great deal. But moreover, we fauns drink actually. We have priests and people who brew holy alcohol to praise our goddess, Drys. Primarily a beverage called 'Headbutt,' so-named for its kick and strength."

    She let her hands fall to her lap.

    "I am pleased that we had this time to get to know one another, Mr Veritas. I have heard much about you and was always curious when Shinsou mentioned you," she smiled through the powerful memories of the Telgradian burning at her mind. "He holds you in high esteem. As to your proposal I -"

    Suddenly she was cut off as a voice she very much recognised resounded into her head.

    Philomel! Veridian said, his tone soft but strong, Philomel, if you are done, we very much need you here. Fenn you see, I - He broke off and then sent her a mental image of a thin boy-like wrist. On that wrist was the horrible and grotesque placement of severely burned and chafed skin, that could barely be called skin at all. In some parts it had been ruined away to leave red raw flesh at the surface that was in various stages of healing but looked so close to manacle marks that Philomel knew they just had to be. Veridian was sitting with Fenn on the inside of the ship whilst the boy-man was treated to a variety of foods and goodies as Maverik guarded nearby. He had been persuaded though to take a bath (along with his huge wolf, he had insisted) and now Veridian was able to see the marks fully as they poked from his sleeves, all clean.

    She sat up, staring into the middle distance, smile fading away fast. Instantly her seduction was gone, and instead her form was alert, like that of a fine elven bow, waiting for its arrow to be released. Tense, but still naked she turned to Storm, back straight and positively even more alluring.

    "The boy-man Fenn, the one from downstairs, is at my ship. He has been there some hours I think, whilst we ourselves were busy. Veridian, however - my fox friend - smelt something a lot like blood on his wrist but could not get a good view - until now. He just sent me an image of severely ruined skin and ... I suspect Amari is involved."

    Slipping onto the side of the bed, she stared at Storm hard.

    "Come with me, help me find out what has happened. Then we can continue what we began here."

  7. #7
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    FennWenn's Avatar

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    Fennik Glenwey
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    Looks eight. He's definitely older.
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    Frost Fae
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    More or less male.
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    Corone

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    Fenn liked food.

    Fenn liked it when there was lots of food.

    Deep in the dining hall of Philomel’s vessel, there was indeed lots of food. The table was heaped high with dishes; there were platters of fowl stuffed with nuts, countless cheeses, breads, preserved fruits, vegetables, and even some condiments for them. The bowls that once held honey were all depleted by now though. Most of the platters closest to Fenn were depleted, actually, and only growing moreso. Every so often, he would sliiide a piece of gravy-slathered meat underneath the table. Daugi’s wide, toothy maw would gratefully claim the offering for her own. She was slowly getting a taste for human food. Oops.

    Veridian watched in his way of wordless judgement. Thankfully, he was doing marginally better when compared to before. Still limping, still looking miserable and semi-bald, but not whimpering in agony. The captain lady — who had gruffly introduced herself as Mav — had gotten a few other ladies on the ship to take a look at him earlier, a little before she’d sternly sent Fenn to get a hot bath. Apparently, no-one appreciated the fine layer of dirt and mud-spatter that he’d accumulated over the past few months. Pffft. It wasn’t as if he smelled or anything. Probably.

    That was okay with the boy though. It had been a very bubbly bath, and warm enough him to not become one big block of ice. His clothes had been washed too. They smelled like flowers.

    Speaking of that bath though…

    Veridian had taken an odd interest in Fenn’s wrists and ankles. He’d been snatching glances and discrete sniffs of blackened cuff-patches ever since the bubbly-warm bath. Whenever he caught the fox investigating, it sent big alarm bell’s clanging in the boy’s head. So, he hid them from sight in the folds of his cloak very carefully now. Nosy vulpine; that was Fenn’s business, and Fenn’s alone.

    Captain Mav the Mighty sat a little ways off from Fenn’s spot at the table. She seemed to be watching over him; whether it was out of desire to protect him, or to protect everything else from him, the fae wasn’t certain. “You eat like a wild boar,” she observed. “How you fit all that in you, I can’t imagine.”

    He grinned from ear to ear (honestly not knowing either) and crammed another buttery roll into his mouth.

    It was good that the boat wasn't much in motion yet; sea travel made him sick as a dog. There was a gentle swaying, but it bothered Fenn minimally in the moment. An unease in the pit of his gut at the most. Were it to get too tumultuous, he was going to have to find an open window and hand over his lunch to the salty waves.

    Which was funny, he thought. Normally one would get food from the sea, not give the sea the food they already had.

    Fenn was pretty sure that, aside from imminent danger, uncontrollable retching was the only way anyone was going to get their hands on his meal.

    As the fae pondered this, Veridian caught his attention. The fox yipped, gracefully clambered onto the table, and breathed a warm fog on the polished wood. He quickly dragged his paw across it to spell something out. Like before, he imitated the choppy, capitalized way Fenn wrote.

    PHILOMEL WILL ARRIVE SOON.

    Fenn blinked at the writing as it faded and gave an unconcerned shrug in return. Fine with him! Whatever questions she had for him, he was willing enough to give answers. The boy’s amicability was often directly proportional to his state of comfort. Free food and a hot bath had made him very comfortable at the time being…
    Last edited by FennWenn; 10-14-2017 at 12:50 PM.

  8. #8
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    Storm Veritas's Avatar

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    Storm Veritas
    Age
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    Human
    Gender
    Male
    Location
    Corone
    The beautiful pile of taut, smooth flesh and hypnotic curves spoke to him in the midst of his recovery process. She had to go to the docks, to meet with the funny little fellow that had identified himself as “Fenn” only hours earlier, when the tavern thumped and rolled with a special, rhythmic type of mayhem. For a moment, the unequivocal acceptance washed over him as a reflex, before the still-somewhat bizarre reality of the faun hit him with a punch to the kidneys.

    And how precisely does she get there? Can she run with those powerful legs, or hop up, fur-on-fur atop Attila? Didn’t precisely walk through THAT part of the plan.

    The pipe glowed a wild orange-yellow as he sucked a deep lungful of the rich, oaky tobacco. He considered the situation as he planned his words; far be it from him to come across as condescending after she had curled his toes so decidedly. Worse, he wanted to learn more about the boy; ever since Taische had gone missing, his paternal instincts had been left wanting.

    “My horse is outside, my great big Attila. He’s stubborn as a mule, but strong as three f*cking oxen. If you’d like a ride, we can make double time coming into port east of here.”

    It was probably best not to assume much of the situation; perhaps Philomel was wont to ride on a daily basis. Perhaps she could run as fast as the heavy-assed stallion leather-strapped to the dreadwood cinch-post outside the tavern.

    Either way, smooth-play it; no reason to act surprised by any reaction. A little late for that.

    Standing, he pulled up the dress trousers even over his own backside, only somewhat consciously flexing the sinewy muscles about his back as he tied the tailored cloth. The siren behind him may have been looking; Storm Veritas was too damned old to miss the opportunity to look attractive. With only a few flickering candles to light him, and alcohol in his system to pull the flesh tight to his muscles, he laughed as he realized this was about as good as it gets.

    A glance back; she was so comfortable. So secure; even without any clothes, the ravishing beauty knew damned well how fantastic she looked. No woman would ever sit about a bed with her breasts exposed without a strong confidence that those looking would like what they saw. In this instance, there was certainly no cause for concern; she was a vision of unusual, unparalleled marvel.

    I’d love to pretend I had the will to NOT follow you down some ill-begotten rabbit hole, but who in the hell am I kidding?!

  9. #9
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    Philomel's Avatar

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    Philomel van der Aart (+ Veridian)
    Age
    30 (+10)
    Race
    Faun (+ Fox/Earth Spirit)
    Gender
    Female (+ Male)
    Location
    Corone

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    A brilliant smile appeared on her face. Gracefully she slipped right off the edge of the bed to stand, hooves firmly on the ground. Stretching her body to its full, naked delight she posed for a moment as an ancient statue, perfect in form. Her eyes fixed on Storm she drank in his own mostly naked (from what she could see of him) body, and then nodded once.

    Deftly she began to move, walking around the room with a practised amount of grace and ease. Simply put, she was seductive in every swing of her hips, in every sinew of her flesh. Even her hands were placed in the most precise of places, owing from years of trained swordsmanship and love-making. Determined as she was, Philomel was in her element and she would appear as a goddess to a religion-starved man.

    "I have a steed," said she in a formal tone as she picked up her blouse. Sweeping it over her head she condemned Storm from being able to see her bare breasts. For now. "A tera'k, my people call them. A form of ... Bovine. Similar to a Salvarian oxen I guess."

    Pulling down the white blouse down to her hips she admitted the rest, "Though, admittedly he is not here, so a ride would be generous, if your horse can carry two."

    Picking up a small corset she slipped back over to communication with Veridian.

    We are on our way, beloved, she told him. How is the boy?

    Resisting my charm, Veridian said, showing her an image of Fenn pulling his wrist away.

    Philomel cringed slightly, anxious that they might be facing a harder conversation than she wanted with Fenn, but that was that.

    Just ... Keep him there, she replied. As long as you can. Give him a tour of the ship?

    Veridian nodded and showed an image of him looking at Maverik, the bulky warrior, and suggesting the trip with a flick of his tail and a scrawl in frosting that had been steadily spreading across the table. There were many good cakes and pastries, and Veridian hardly got to ear them. Therefore he had stuffed his face - was still stuffing his face with the sweet buns. Apparently Philomel did not like them much, hence they were not on their menu often.

    Maverik nodded, and Veridian relayed this back to the faun. Who was now pulling on her many layers of fabric that was both a belt, a sort of covering for her butt, and a holder for her assorted weaponry.

    "Tell me, were you in those Crystal Caves at all?" She asked. "It seemed anyone who was anyone was," she pulled a knot tight and faced storm. "If you have no idea what I am talking about, then you weren't, but ..." Her hand lightly rested on the pommel of the sword she had gained from there.

    "Anyway, I am guessing you have paid already for this room, which means we can leave directly." She shook back her long mane of hair and took a - now clothed - stance of power and purpose.

    "We can have more enjoyment later?"

  10. #10
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    Storm Veritas's Avatar

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    Storm Veritas
    Age
    39
    Race
    Human
    Gender
    Male
    Location
    Corone
    Storm’s eyes widened a bit at Philomel’s mention of the Crystal Caves. He had been there, fought aside her, and had the sword in the room to show for it. Perhaps more interestingly, he had been teleported to the caves from a hotel room not so different than this one, with only a pair of worn dress pants upon him. The sword had wrestled him from sleep, where he lay aside another professional.

    You screw too many whores. Been keeping the profession bustling for a decade or more, now. Lucky the damn thing has rotted over and fallen off from all the trouble it causes you.

    Silently, the wizard strode to a tall bureau, where he unfolded discarded clothes and continued dressing once more, proudly displaying his oft blue-glowing Rat. The blade thus far had proven much more trouble than its worth, but the electromancer hoped that eventually the tide would turn and his sword would be of more use than to balance weight on his belt.

    “Here, this is the sword; took it from a casino operator that ran a few hustles outside of Concordia. I did win the weapon, more or less fair and square, before he tried to cross me. We know how those stories oft end.”

    He flipped the blade once, watching the hilt topple dutifully before landing in his hand. The sword was finely balanced, if unspectacular. Re-sheathing the phallic item, Storm spoke effortlessly as he attended to realigning the buttons on his half-silk shirt.

    “Thing was a glorified paperweight before the caverns. Then they all glowed a sapphire blue – things got wild. I think you even brought out that snake-monster friend of yours, if memory serves.”

    A quick comb through his hair pulled his peppered hair taut to his head, and he smiled at the mirror in the corner, finding a stray hair to extract between two teeth silently. He looked every part the diplomat again, and was ready to take action.

    “Attila can carry the two of us, and a few hundred pounds of cargo. Strong as three oxen and dumb as ten hammers, that one.” Looking at his shoes, he smiled; the great black stallion was a consistent source of humor, and perhaps his most loyal companion.

    The bedroom door opened with a creak, and the gentleman gestured at the opening for the incredible beauty. At the last moment as she stepped to exit, he pivoted on her, grasping her with a firm tenderness at the hip and pulling his second hand to her feminine jaw. Without delay, the aging aristocrat kissed her firmly, surprising her for a moment but remaining gentle and non-threatening. The kiss was only firm enough to make his intentions clear; they were intentions he would reiterate before following her out.

    “More enjoyment ‘later’ sounds wonderful. The sooner we can deliver that ‘later’, the better.”

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