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(Created page with "{{ArcNav|Arc=Dissonance Theory}} '''Summary:''' Khitti and Quintessa finally make up, Quintessa formally invites Khitti to join the Syndicate of Shadows, and Khitti makes plan...")
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Latest revision as of 04:36, 29 June 2020

Part of the Dissonance Theory Arc

Summary: Khitti and Quintessa finally make up, Quintessa formally invites Khitti to join the Syndicate of Shadows, and Khitti makes plans to send Quintessa to Meri and Callum to deal with Caiburne the Mad Alchemist and bring his spirit back to Venturil in whatever manner needed so that the Warrior's Guild can attempt to aid Gilgamesh.

Vigilanti Semper, Venturil

Khitti || The smell of turpentine drifted its way from the library in the command wing of the guild’s headquarters, overtaking the scent of old tomes and a well-sugared coffee with extra milk as it slithered out into the corridor. Within the library, a certain redhead carefully touched brush to oil paint and brush to canvas, more canvases, these ones unfinished, left haphazardly around the room, looking as if their creator had tossed them about. She had, in fact. None of them seemed to really connect with Khitti, despite the effort she put into starting them, each one of them different: a mountain range with a small village at its base; a young girl that looked much like Khitti would have as a teenager, yet she was much more vibrant and happy than Khitti ever looked; a group of cloaked strangers, made to look like they were standing over someone, and despite the fact that they lacked faces, they still stared into your soul. The one she worked on currently was that of a dreary-looking black-haired woman, with violet eyes and charcoal-colored skin. Khitti’s brush continued on, making sure to highlight the woman’s gaunt features and equally lanky upper body in the portrait. Amarrah was painted with the only expression Khitti could ever picture on her, an expression she forever felt in the back of her head, despite never having seen the woman but once in her actual flesh. The cruel sneer taunted Khitti, her shrill voice calling to her in Khitti’s mind, though the woman was three years dead at this point. This artwork too would not click with Khitti just as the others had, and with an irritated growl, the canvas was promptly frisbee’d at the nearest wall, leaving Khitti to stare a moment at the empty easel.

Quintessa || The past few weeks Quintessa Dragana has had one thing on her mind while at Vigilanti Semper; getting better at sword fighting, but this day in particular has put the odd girl in a bit of a slump. She was conflicted about something, guilty even, so the time she had spent here today was to get away from her other duties around Lithrydel, not to contribute to them. Normally an industrious sort, this slump was rare for Quintessa, and the amount of paperwork that Jesse had prepared for the young scholar was noticeably growing with her neglect. The hex blade in question was as far west of the compound as possible, idly skipping rocks in the river and humming a wordless song. Dressed in a simple black sundress with knee-length, heeled boots, and a woven leather belt around her waist, Quintessa takes one last look at the rushing waters before heading back to the headquarters proper. The scent of turpentine drew the changeling down the halls, lured in by her own curiosity, until a loud bang caused her to quicken her pace to discover the source. Appearing in the threshold, Quintessa's mismatched eyes of sapphire and topaz flicker from Khitti, to her artwork, and then to the canvas that had been flung into the wall in frustration. Wordlessly, the changeling's heeled boots click on the floor as she approaches the discarded painting, bending her knees and turning the canvas over with a pale hand to gaze upon what it held. "She looks friendly," Quintessa says sarcastically, letting the canvas with the broken frame drop to the floor as she raises up to turn to Khitti. "You having one of those days too?" The necromancer crosses her arms over her chest and leans against the wall, the normally haughty attitude of the changeling missing from her expression. Quintessa seems down, solemn even, as she looks at her teacher with worry in her eyes.

Khitti || Olive green eyes eventually found the changeling, a frown threatening to break through the stoicism she was trying to sustain. “I have days like this more often than I do not,” she said finally, moving to pick up the various canvases she’d left around. The stack of paintings was set on top of the nearest table, the one of the black-haired woman left to the side to dry. Khitti didn’t comment on Amarrah, however. To speak of the umbrawisp female was akin to speaking nonsense; Khitti’s emotions for the dead woman were all over the place. “What are you doing here?” It was unclear what the changeling’s teacher meant by that. It could’ve merely been something along the lines of ‘What business do you have in the keep?’, but it very well could have also been ‘Why are you here in this room with me still?’. Once the easel was closed up and the palette set beside the canvases, Khitti moved to open the window, to rid the two of them of the turpentine’s vapors before finally returning to her coffee and sinking down into one of the library’s arm chairs. She sipped at her drink, until something caught her eye--a decent sized splotch of purple paint on her green plaid sleeveless, knee-length dress, that of which was gifted with a heavy, albeit annoyed, sigh. It would not have happened had she’d stuck with her usual medium. “I really need to stick to watercolors…”

Quintessa let her gaze linger on Khitti for a moment before she looked at the empty doorway and back again. "I wanted to talk," she admits, moving over to peek her head out of the room to check for eavesdroppers before she closed the distance between herself and the templar. "And apologize." Quintessa seems loath to say she's sorry about anything at all. "That whole conversation- Caiburne, umbrawisps, Gilgamesh- I don't understand any of it and it was perhaps... insensitive to speak about it like it was another one of my projects." Her icy blue and warm hazel optics glance down at the stain on Khitti's sleeveless dress. "I know a cantrip that can get that stain out. Prestidigitation, it turns out, isn't just for tricks." Quintessa rests her pale hand upon the table to prop herself up as her hip leaned into it, half sitting on the surface. "I usually just stick to charcoal sketches, personally."

Khitti smirked somewhat as it looked like Quintessa was physically pained by the fact that she wanted to apologize, as well as the actual act of doing so, the redhead finding it as amusing as she did when Brand was in the same situation. “It’s fine,” Khitti said, the smirk fading. It wasn’t fine. It bothered her that the Shadow Plane was starting to become more than she could handle, if only because of all the people that were becoming involved with that other plane of existence. Khitti thought better of her lie, sighed, and drained the rest of her mug. “No… it’s not fine. I don’t like being the “expert” on the Shadow Plane. I don’t like that they’ve made me their savior of sorts. I don’t like how closely connected I am to it, to the point that I have to take alternate avenues to use any other type of magic if I wanted to. I hate that I care about that place, even now after it’s traumatized my husband and my sister. I hate that I care even one iota about it. I hate that I feel like it’s my responsibility, on top of all the others. I hate that other people know about it, whether because of me or because of that bastard Kahran. I hate that it’s spiraling out of control, even after he’s dead. I don’t feel like I can trust anyone with that place or anyone from that place.” She took a breath, her line of sight focusing on the girl for a moment before shifting elsewhere. “Despite all of that, despite how I feel, I -am- the expert on the Shadow Plane and I -am- their Harbinger, whether I want it or not. So, please, trust me when I say that this is extremely dangerous and that’s why there are only two copies of that book and it needs to stay that way. That’s why I try to do too much on my own, so no one else gets hurt, physically or otherwise.” Khitti paused and shrugged, returning her attention to Quintessa, “That said… You were right. We do need Caiburne. We need him so we can extract every ounce of information he has before I rip his soul to shreds for what he did to my family. We need him… and you’re going to be the one to get him. Because if I go, he won’t make it to Venturil. He won’t even make it out of Sage.” Quintessa’s offer of getting rid of the paint stain was considered and she eventually nodded in acceptance, standing so that the girl could do away with the paint that had dried on her abdomen.

Quintessa found her mind racing with everything Khitti was saying, how her teacher had been involuntarily thrust into the role of savior and expert. The young scholar couldn't understand not wanting these things. Her whole life was one constant struggle for knowledge and acceptance. She had to fight to get anyone to acknowledge the progress she had made in the last two years. Quintessa was still regarded as nothing more than a precocious child at times, simply dabbling in things she ought not. What would Quintessa give to be regarded as a hero- as a savior as Khitti had been named, like the changeling dreamed about when she was 12? Would Quintessa ever be a hero? As Khitti raises to accept help cleaning her dress, the changeling silently mocks these desires by internally naming herself 'savior of dresses' before she pushes herself away from the table. "Not being in control sucks," Quintessa says finally, agreeing with Khitti's words. "But when we wake up each morning we are presented with a choice. We can linger in our warm sheets as if we were made to stay there, swaddled in ignorance, or we can rise and do the things that only we can do." Quintessa holds her hand close to the stain on Khitti's clothing as she speaks. "Does the honey bee refuse to do the work that only the honey bee can do? Do the birds refuse to sing? The cat refuse to hunt?" Quintessa's mystic aura begins to slowly engulf the purple paint, separating it from the fibrous threads of the green plaid skirt as drawing it out like toxin from a wound. "You're not a person that can just close her eyes while the Shadow Plane ebbs out of control. You've always been against corruption as long as I've known you..." As the stain breaks loose it condenses into a sphere that hovers over the mage's hand in a semiliquid form. "Which is why my organization has been watching you." Quintessa locks eyes with Khitti at that last utterance, wondering if the hint was enough to catch her interest.

Khitti looked anywhere but Quintessa as the girl got close and dealt with her dress. She let her talk, keeping silent and staring off out the window. “Quintessa, I -am- corruption.” It was funny that she was still having this same conversation with every person she met as the years went on. Pilar. Dominic. Celaeno. Brand. Meri. Lionel. There were countless others. None of them could see it, though. They couldn’t see what she saw. A ‘thanks’ was muttered as the changeling finished with her wonderful dry-cleaning magic; she’d have to remember to get Quintessa’s help in the future or even maybe have her teach Khitti how to do it herself. But, that was for another time. She had caught that look from the changeling, crimson brows furrowing somewhat. “What organization?” Another one? Wasn’t it enough that Kahran’s lackeys still watched her? That there were likely others keeping tabs on her? Khitti eventually settled back down into her chair, one leg crossed over the other, her hands clasped together in her lap. “You do realize these people of yours would not be the first to watch me? What makes them so different from the others? Why should I trust them? Why should I trust anyone at all?” There was definite interest, yes, but Khitti needed answers first.

Quintessa holds the sphere of purple aloft before she casually tosses it towards the wall to splat against it and dry almost immediately. Finally, a smirk comes from the odd the as Khitti speaks of being a corruption. "We have that in common," she admits as she places her hands on her hips, a hint of catastrophe in the tilt of her head. "You once promised to kill me if I became a tyrant. I remember it well, but would you also extend this promise to the rest of the leaders of Lithrydel?" A flicker of her mismatched eyes is thrown behind her to ensure their privacy. "That's what I think makes us, the Syndicate of Shadows, different. We trade information not to gain political power, but to keep those who already have it in check. Those like Queen Josleen and King Macon. Those like the Mage's Council. Those like Larewen the Mad." There is a long pause before she finally says, "Those like myself too if I lose my way and become the next Larewen... We are different because we are loyal to nobody but the cause. We seek a world without oppression, where people can be free to live their own lives without existing under the thumb of some monarch... Or some mad scientist who only sees the world as his personal petri dish... Or whatever insane despot that turns up. All of them will find their end at the edge of a knife... And we want you to join us in this mission. You are already on our side, your dedication to seeing Caiburne destroyed once we use him for whatever we can proves it, but we can achieve so much more if we work together." A curious smile tugs at her pink lips. "I'm not asking you to trust us... I don't even fully trust us- I'm not sure if I'm even capable of trusting anyone either, but I still accept their information and their support. As long as you don't become the next Queen Josleen, there should be nothing for you to fear."

Khitti let out a dry chuckle. “Josleen and Macon… Those two need their bridge burned again. The only thing that Larket is good for is the Chapel of Pleasure and the House of Ara. Cyris’ place too, I s’pose. I would’ve burned that place to the ground if it wasn’t for them. Then again, I’ve been saying the same about Venturil and here we are in Venturil.” This whole musing over setting places on fire was just Khitti stalling, of course. She felt silent, those crimson brows of hers knitting together again as she thought things over, idly chewing on the inside of her cheek. Regardless of whether or not she took the offer, she’d have to tell Brand. Thankfully, Brand was not the type to spill secrets, especially not ones that were secret organizations--he’d been in one in Catal after all. He had to know, at the very least, that they were being watched and it was probably by “friends” this time. “Alright,” she said at length. “And yes, I absolutely would extend this promise to everyone else. To Hildegarde, the dragon I served in the Frostmaw war. To Mayor Uma in Cenril. I would’ve even extended it to Lionel had he stayed as Hildegarde’s second in command.” She may have put a bounty out on him, but that wasn’t the same. That was personal. This? This was business. “There’s one that should be moved up towards the top of your little list… The Queen of Alithrya is the one that kidnapped Lynn’s mother, Emilia.”

Quintessa 's own raven brow furrows when the knowledge of Emilia's kidnapper became known to her and it is clear from her expression that this was the first she heard about it. "This is why we need you Khitti. So it was the Queen of Alithrya who perpetrated that act?" House Dragana was aligned with Alithrya, a holdover from the days of Larewen's rule, but that alliance was soon to be officially dissolved now. "Who is the current Queen of the Naga? My information is old, from a time when Queen Jaize still licked the boots of Armosia. And what of Mayor Uma? Cenril is a cesspool- a hive of scum and villainy. Was this Uma's doing?"

Khitti || “Reginae is queen. I guess she’s Jaize’s sister. Took over a couple years ago, so I was told. I doubt Uma had anything to do with it. She’s too busy trying to keep the witches together and the witch hunters at bay,” Khitti said with a sigh. “Uma isn’t my concern, to be honest. I’ve fought with her and she seems to be alright--as far as any politician can be. It’s who she keeps as “friends”. I don’t trust Hudson Landon as far as I can throw him, even if I am friends with his wife, Alvina. They’ve got armed guards keeping an eye on their house, escorting them wherever. There’s been other things too, but…” She shook her head and sat up a little straighter in her chair. “I’m well aware of what kind of a place Cenril is, but every other place is just like it. You know full well of Vailkrin’s issues. Frostmaw’s got xenophobic frost giants. Chartsend’s got some idiot named Wilhelm running the show and it plain as day that he’s abusing his power. Cenril is the least of my worries right now. But, when it comes to Reginae, I don’t know what to think. There was a naga working with Josleen and Macon, tortured a friend of mine in his little snake pit beneath the fort. What I was told when she took the throne does not match up with what she’s done now. But, I suppose it has been long enough for power to corrupt her like it had her sister.”

Quintessa seems disappointed that Reginae, the winner of the Hero of Freedom tournament, was behind the kidnapping. The changeling was a huge fan of her fighting style. Thinking about the Nagas gave the young necromancer a headache as the vision Gospel had provided her of Reginae and another Naga forced itself into her mind. "Muzo," Quintessa flatly states as she reaches out for the table to maintain her balance. "They freed the Great Serpent of the Moon. He wanted me to work side-by-side with those two but I refused... I won't be his puppet anymore-" Quintessa growls as her grip on the table edge tightens, her forehead dipping almost low enough to touch the surface. Gospel's invasive whispers only lasted for a few seconds but it was clear something was influencing the girl's mind. "Forgive me," Quintessa says as the pain fades away and her body straightens rigidly. "It seems like all the corruption is linked behind the scenes after all. Alithrya is in bed with Larket. The Drow too, are likely working beside them. This is becoming quite the conspiracy..." The changeling shakes her head at the things she'd learned. "If Uma is a witch then she would never work with Larket. As you say, Cenril is not overly our concern, but this Wilhelm? He seem problematic enough to see removed from power along with the rest." Sapphire and topaz eyes meet with emerald before Quintessa continues. "So, we can count on you to continue watching and reporting? We are not yet ready to strike against this growing corruption, but when the time comes I would very much like to see you fighting by our side against these tyrants."

Khitti || “I honestly don’t know about the drow. It’s been awhile since I’ve had any dealings with Gevurah. The last time I saw her, before your match, was the one she had with that Shishi, when Tenbatsu Kaji decided to pick me. I think she might be far too narcissistic to help any of these people. The only reason why she helped me with Shadow Plane things and my vampirism cure years ago was because she wanted something in return. I don’t know what she’d gain from a bunch of snakes and witchkillers. Every breath she used was almost always about how disgusting she found all of us above ground. I’m not trying to defend her, but I’ve been around her enough to know. Everything else is definitely a problem,” Khitti said. “And yes, of course. If I’m going to cause my own fair share of problems, I might as well do something to balance it out.” She smirked somewhat, then shrugged. “I do hope this Syndicate has people in it that are well adept at dealing with hydras, because there’s a lot of heads here to cut off, and if it’s anything like what Lionel, Brand, and I dealt with, with Kahran, more heads will pop up almost immediately to take their place.”

Quintessa cannot hide the disgust on her face when Khitti mentioned Gevurah. "She tired to kill me," the changeling says, pulling her dress to the side the show the scar where a Drow spear priced her flesh. "Gevurah and that worm Lanlan are servants of a giant, evil, serpent, I'm sure of it. He probably promised them all the things he used to promise me. If I ever see either of them again I'll remove their limbs one-by-one to make their deaths slow." The visceral hatred practically flows from Quintessa in waves. "Snakes and hydras alike," she continues, trying to find her center. "I don't know anything about this Kahran, but my new sword is keen enough to cut a million heads of if she has to." A cruel grin grows. "In times of revolution leaders spring up like daisies. They might grow new heads but regular people will always outnumber them. -We- will always outnumber them." A hand moves up to brush the ebony strands of hair from her face. "When next you are in Kelay, search for a small divot in the alley across from the tavern and press this ring into it." Quintessa hands her teacher a simple signet ring. "You'll find our underground base there, hidden in plain sight. Glad to have you with us."

Khitti raised a brow at Quintessa’s reaction towards her thoughts of Gevurah. “As I said, I know what kind of person she is. And perhaps they are servants of some giant evil snake. I would not be surprised. There is only so much they could “gain” from Vakmathras. It was the same with the almost forgotten spider goddess that the drow used to revere. If they have moved on from the god of death, then all the better, because I loathe working with a god that they choose to serve. They don’t deserve whatever power they say he gave to them, if he actually did. The idiots in Trist’oth and Vailkrin fail to realize that death is neutral. Death doesn’t care who you are and what you’ve done. Death doesn’t care about the near immortality of species like elves and vampires. Death will certainly find Gevurah and the others one day, regardless of if they follow Vakmathras or some giant snake. It will find them and they will see the same lightless void I saw when I died. But, in her case… I don’t think she’ll come back,” Khitti said, reaching out to take the ring once Quintessa gave it over. “She’s not invincible, Quintessa. She’s just a conniving narcissist with the ability to pretend like she has everything figured out.” The instructions given to Khitti regarding the signet ring were committed to memory, the bit of jewelry slid onto the index finger of her right hand. “And speaking of people that cannot avoid death forever, I will be sending a letter to my sister Meri and her fiance Callum. If they decide to allow it, you’re going to retrieve Caiburne yourself. I no longer have those sorts of abilities and I doubt it’s something I could do with my violin. Bring his spirit, his bones--bring the whole damn tree if you have to. You’re going to have to break through Callum’s protection spell, however. I doubt it’ll be difficult. He was teaching himself witchcraft at the time the incident happened, just as he has to now with Lanara gone. In the meantime, you should study up on the Shadow Plane. I had told Bradyn to have the book locked up, but who knows if he actually did.” Her mouth remained opened for a moment; a thought had been there and then she thought better of it to not voice it. Instead, she wouldn’t comment on the base or that she was happy to be a part of this Syndicate. She would have to see things for herself before she’d feel even the tiniest bit of gladness towards being “on their side”.

Quintessa nodded her head slowly at the mention of Meri and Callum. "Right, Caiburne. I should. focus on one thing at a time. My revenge on Gevurah can wait." She wanted to avoid speaking too much about her recent experiences breaking through the protective barriers of trees, so she simply nods her head again. Quintessa didn't want Khitti to ever find of about her trying to curse the Druid's Eternal Tree. "I will speak to Bradyn soon. I need to ask him about books on Soul Binding too, so it'll be a great opportunity to also borrow this book on the Shadow Plane." Quintessa's eyes drift away slowly as she imagines what kind of people Cal and Meri could be. "I hope your sister and future brother-in-law don't give me too much trouble." she muses quietly, "I don't like waiting on the permission of strangers."

Khitti narrowed her eyes at Quintessa, “-You- better not give -them- any trouble. Where I hesitate to kill you, Meri will not and I would not fault her for it if she did. You’re there to do a job, so be professional about it. If they do give permission, you are going to end up finding out where they live and that is not something any of us takes lightly. There have already been witch hunter attacks in that area and at their home--attacks that have targeted not only Callum but my niece as well. I am trusting you, Quintessa, to keep this information to yourself, in much the same way that I’m trusting you with things regarding the Shadow Plane. So be on your best behavior and don’t make me regret this. Save your inclination towards maiming and murder for Caiburne, because he is the one that deserves it, not them.” Paranoia ran deep in Khitti’s Lithrydelian family, unfortunately, even if the lot of them weren’t blood-related.

Quintessa gives Khitti a pouty look as she tells her not to give Meri and Callum any trouble, and her sense of pride takes a superficial blow when she tells her Meri won't hesitate to kill her. "I'd like to see her t-" Quintessa doesn't finish that sentence, instead sighing heavily. "Yes, Mother." The teen says, flashing her the tiniest grin. "You think I'd ever spill any information? Especially to any filthy witch hunters, ugh. I'd be killing those scumbags right now if I knew where to find them, so don't fret; I won't do anything to provoke them. I promise."

Khitti || The changeling’s sense of pride might take a blow, but so too does Khitti’s heartstrings get plucked rather forcefully when Quintessa calls her ‘mother’. The girl goes on her rant about the witch hunters and while Khitti would wholeheartedly agree… she can’t really focus on that right now because her face has gone as red as her hair. Oh no. Oh god. Why now? Why here? Why her? The mama bear in Khitti would absolutely love to jokingly scold Quintessa and ruffle her hair and maybe even give her a hug, but the Khitti in Khitti just wanted to die because goddamn it if this continues, she’s going to give in one day. She’s going to have to talk to Brand about this; he was always excellent at keeping his emotions a secret (except for anger, of course) and it had lasted for a long time too! Yes. Consult the Brand. Brand is all-knowing. On the outside, as Khitti’s busy panicking on the inside, she coughed awkwardly and stood, that green line of sight of hers darting around to find some sort of excuse to leave. She could just jump out the window? No, no. That’s too messy and would make it extremely obvious that something’s up. Oh! The coffee! “I, uh… need to go get some more coffee… and I could use a nap.” Never mind that one of those things would prevent the other from happening.

Quintessa raises a brow at Khitti as she grows more and more nervous, and it doesn't even dawn on the strange girl that it could be because she called her 'mother'. "Coffee and a nap?" Makes perfect sense. "Well... I should probably actually do -something- except waste time. Jesse has been bugging me about maps and paperwork and honestly I couldn't really care about any of that..." She sighs, ruffling her own hair. "I'm headed back to the Sage. I have an upcoming date I should prepare for anyway..." Her mismatched eyes flicker up to Khitti and she reaches out to stop her from leaving. "Oh! I had one last question: The Cenril Theatre House- can you get my girlfriend and I tickets? I'm sorta trying to impress her and I think she'd really enjoy seeing the current play... Also, I want to use the hidden gardens afterward. They won't mind, will they? I have plenty of gold if that's the issue..."

Khitti was almost free! She was almost out the door and then! she was not. RIP “Whaaaa? Oh. Yeah. I’ll let them know. They’ll have them at the ticket counter for you. I’ll let them know about the gardens too.” Khitti squinted a bit at Quintessa and smirked, “No frakking in the gardens, though. Emilia and Lynn like to play there. And I eat there sometimes. So. You know.” She’s just about to leave again when she stops suddenly to add, “Oh, there’s an inn down the street from the theatre. It’s pretty nice. I lived there for a bit when I had amnesia and Brand thought I was still dead.” The redhead shrugs nonchalantly. “You could go there with your girlfriend, so you don’t have to go all the way back to Vailkrin or whatever. Cenril isn’t entirely awful. You just gotta look for the good parts. And uh… you uh… you kids have fun… okay?” Oh god, again with the mom-ing. “Okaybye!” Those last two words were said so quickly they might as well have been one, and as soon as they were said, Khitti rushed out the doorway. She even shadow-stepped a few times. Okay a lot of times. She can keep running from her problems for forever, okay?! She’s been doing it for thirty-four years, after all.

Quintessa giggles happily at the thought of her date until Khitti tells her not to do anything in the gardens, and her face turns bright red as she tries to hide her face. "I-Yeah- We'll do that somewhere else-" They hadn't even kissed yet but the idea of doing more with her new amorous target was a near constant thought. "Thank you!" Quintessa calls after her, still feeling the burning in her cheeks. The changeling waits until she thinks her teacher is long gone before she too heads out. Running into her after that conversation would be more awkward than Tessa knew how to deal with, so she makes a b-line for the stables, not bothering to even announce her departure to the stable hand before her massive cockatrice headed eastward back to the Xalious Mountains. This is a Warrior's Guild RP.