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War by Art - In Character Discussions

5-13 Mario

Kel speaks to Shi'Nynze about heading back to Divaekah

Kel marched in the lead group up the wooded path, just behind Shurkural. Shur's pathfinding skills were impressive, Kel thought, and he had full faith she would lead the group safely to the mining cabin. As he walked, his thoughts wandered to the inevitable conversation. He knew it would be difficult, uncomfortable even. But it had to happen. Delaying it would only make it worse. Kel sighed, and signaled to Shur. She nodded to Kel as he fell back to find Shi'Nynze a distance from the others. Perfect, he whispered to himself. He weakly smiled at Shi as he approached. Shi met his eyes, and smiled back half-heartedly. It was clear to Kel she knew what was coming.

"That bow completes you", he said. Shi tapped Ellidor's bow and smiled. "It's a shame you had to acquire it this way. It would have been so much better for Ell to pass it it to you when he got promoted and received his upgraded gear." Kel's smile slowly left his face as his gaze turned to the ground. He could feel Shi stiffen up at the thought of her brother. Kel didn't need to look at her to know her smile quickly eroded away.

They walked a short while, scanning the wood, looking for danger. Kel's mind struggled to focus, as he knew it was up to him to broach the subject. Shi never would, he thought. She was happy to be here, so far from home, experiencing what Kel and Ell lived every day. While Kel's thoughts were on the safety of their tree town, Shi longed for the open world. He knew she would get a taste of adventure, and want more. He couldn't blame her, truly. He felt the same way on his first mission, even though he knew it may be life-or-death for him and his squad. Not sure exactly what he would say, Kel broke the silence.

"We have a decision to make, Shi." Kel surprised himself. That was very blunt, he thought. Hey, sometimes blunt is what is required. "We have to decide at what point do we break off of these fine folk, and make our way back.” He secretly wished he gave this more thought before opening his mouth.

"Shi, we met our goal. We have to get back. I promised to get the bow, and you, back home safe. We're halfway there, but we have one part left, and we're heading the wrong way". He didn't expect an answer, and Shi didn't provide one. He broke one promise the family; he wouldn’t break another. His current promise to the Zaurahel family wasn't complete. He had one goal left. And it wouldn't be easy. He continued.

"Look, I’ll be the first to say they helped us so much. I don't know if we could have gotten Ell's bow without them. Those bugbears were fierce. Tenacious. Tougher than I would have ever expected. A night penetration under a dark moon would have been dangerous, and probably unsuccessful. And even if we found the cellar, the odds were way stacked against us. We owe them a lot." As the words escaped from his mouth, Kel realized he only weakened his case. He shook his head, angry with himself.

"Getting the group back to the mining cabin safely seems like a fair repayment for the assistance they provided. And the perfect location to restock supplies, rest a day, and begin the journey home." They walked a while in silence, every step growing more uncomfortable. The tension was unbearable.

"So what do you think?"

5/14 Carissa

Shi tightened her grip on her brother's bow. Ever since getting it back, she hadn't let it leave her sight, let alone her hands. While she was elated to have it back, there was a tinge of bitterness at how quickly they succeeded. The promise she made to her family, to her mother especially, came back to haunt her. The moment she got back the bow, she was to go straight back home, but Shi knew if she kept that promise, the chances of her leaving the Wildlands again were slim to none. Worse, as a priestess of Solonor, she'd likely spend time on the boundary, staring out into the wide open world, but duty-bound to remain within elven lands. Just as her mother wanted.

Ellidor knew all of this. She complained to him enough times about being stuck in the woods. He knew she still held a seed of disappointment that she was unsuited to be part of the shadow guard. Not long after she was ordained into priesthood, he made her a promise. He knew, between the two of them, they could convince their mother to let her go explore the world. With her brother looking out for her, how could her mother refuse? They were going to try after he got back from his last mission. Shi ran her hand along the wood of the bow again. Ellidor kept his promise, but not at all how she imagined or wished.

Kel still waited for her to answer. She thought of telling him of Ellidor's promise, the one Kel unknowingly was helping to fulfill, but she hesitated. Ellidor's death was still too raw, and Kel was more cautious than her brother. It was likely why he survived that mission, and it'd be why he'd do what he could to make sure she survived, too. The easiest way to do that would to make her go back. She didn't want that.

"We owe them a lot," repeated Shi, deciding to take a different route for her argument. "You are right."

Shi stared at the bow for a minute longer before finally tearing her gaze away. She took what strength she could from the memories of her brother before looking Kel straight in the eyes. She wasn't going to back down, and she had plenty of fuel to work with.

"They helped you when you almost died, did they not? And you would leave them now, with one poisoned and the other cursed? Is that any way to repay them for their help?" asked Shi, tilting her head slightly in challenge. "They may be humans, er, and a halfling, but they are good ones, are they not? Good ones are rare to come by. We should help them in turn. How would it look if we left now? As you said, we owe them a lot."

5-15 Mario

Kel slowly filled with anger, every word fueling the fire. How could she think we owed them any more than we have given so far? We almost died in defense of them, warding off the evil, laying healing hands to all in need. And now she wants to do more?

He calmed a bit when he considered Shi’s innocence and naivety. In the safety of Divaekah, the clan members farm in rolling green meadows, fish in tranquil picturesque lakes, hunt in protected wood, without a single care. Few remember that their serenity and safety come at a price, provided by the actions and sacrifices of the Shadow Guard. Operating in the real world, the cruel, unfair, dangerous, kill-or-be-killed world, was different. Totally different. You don’t put your life on the line for just anyone. Shi’Nynze wouldn’t know that, Kel thought, and it isn’t her fault. She has only ever had to put herself at risk for family, or fellow clan members. Not total strangers. He let himself settle a bit before speaking.

“They’ve been our allies for ten days. Only ten days. That doesn’t make us responsible for them. We had goals, and so did they. They happened to coincide perfectly, so we formed a team. We each met our goals. They have what they wanted, and so do we. Branwyn was cursed long before we even knew she existed. And, …” He paused mid-word and looked at Shi, who seemed to be in deep thought. Ohhh, he almost said out loud, I get it now.

“You think that was your fault”, he said quietly, "you feel responsible." His voice trailed off. How did he not sense this before? “You think you owe them something because Neith was poisoned? Shi, if it wasn’t you who opened that door, it would have been another priestess. And the result would have been the same. You don’t owe them anything. I slammed the door closed. You laid hands, fired arrows. What more can we do?” Shi continued to look straight ahead.

“We both have held our own, did all we could. Yes, they saved me from the centipedes. Kept me from dying actually. But didn’t they benefit from Tebhoundrin and me? I flew over a cliff egde trying to stop charging giants. I stayed up all night on watch making sure they were safe. And do you think the bugbears just split themselves in two on their own? And you. Didn’t they reap the rewards of your prayers? Did you not pray to help all those that needed it?”

Kel looked at Shi. She refused to meet his glare. Fed up, he barked. “I made a promise to your mother and the whole clan to get you and Ellidor’s bow back safely where you belong. I cannot dare return without you, while you’re out here fending for yourself, alone. I’m not going back without you.” Kel almost audibly gasped when he heard the sound of his own words. You think you’re so smart, he thought to himself, but you’re such an idiot. All you did was point out the obvious: Shi held all the cards.

5/16 Carissa

It took all her effort to stop herself from grinning. As it was, Shi couldn't stop her lip from twitching in an attempt to smile. She took a moment to compose herself before meeting Kel's glare. It wasn't quite as fearsome after his probably unintentional admission.

"Neither my mother nor the clan know we succeeded yet. I doubt they thought we would so quickly. Honestly, I didn't think we would succeed so quickly. We likely would not have without help," replied Shi, leveled and calm. She shook her head before she continued, "Maybe it's only been ten days, but we've been through a lot in those ten days. That is barely any time at all. To us. But to them?"

Shi took a minute to gather her thoughts, her eyes back on the path as Kel looked to start simmering again. While she certainly preferred for Kel to stick around, she didn't want any ill feelings between them. She was certain Kel didn't know it, but his resentment would likely be the only thing to change her mind. She wanted to prevent it from happening.

"Ellidor wanted me to see the world. He's not here anymore to show it to me," prompted Shi, quietly. She unconsciously held his bow closer to chest. Her throat tightened, making her pause, but she pushed on, her voice almost a whisper, before Kel could speak up. "You tell me not to feel guilty about Neith, to stop blaming myself for the inevitable. Who are you to say such a thing when you still blame yourself for Ellidor's death, for something you couldn't prevent?"

Silence fell between them broken only by the sounds of their footsteps. Try as she might, Shi was unable to keep talking as emotion again welled-up inside of her. Thankfully, it seemed Kel was also distracted by his own thoughts. It allowed her to get in one last argument, and one last request.

"I'm not ready to go back, Kel. There is still so much to see and do. What's a few days, weeks, years, to see it compared to the centuries I have left to enjoy the Wildlands? There is so much I can learn out here that I never could at home. So please, Kel. Will you let me? Will you come with me not out of duty, but out of friendship?"

5-18 Mario

Shi's words struck a chord deep within Kel's fiber. He agreed to accompany Shi partly out of duty as a Shadow Guardian, mostly out of guilt for Ellidor, but ultimately out of friendship. And love. Love that one has for a family member or closest friend. Shi qualified as both. His motivation was a mixture all of these, intertwined such that one couldn't be separated from another.

"Shi’nynze, I set out with you to find Ellidor's bow partly out of duty. I was solely responsible for his death.” The words stung him to his core harder than he imagined they would. "But I am also with you for many more reasons, duty being the least significant. You are my sister, my family. I have known you since the day you were born. If I knew you were venturing out of Divaekah, for any reason, I would be the first to escort you. I could not live with myself if my negligence again causes another Zaurahel to..." Kel, what are you saying? Pipe up. You swore you would never reveal the truth surrounding Ellidor's death. You would take that to your grave. Push on, stay focused. He shook those thoughts from his head.

"Our friendship will never cease. That will never change. You know that." Kel couldn't decide whether he was trying to convince Shi or himself. He sincerely hoped that statement would always be true, that his conscience would allow it. He knew it wouldn't. Painfully, he continued. "I cannot tie you up in a sack and carry you back. Your decision to not return now is yours, and yours alone. I am bound, not by duty, but by our friendship to remain with you.” He had only one card to play, and he had to use it now, harshly, even if it caused Shi pain. Knowing that hurt Kel.

"Just know your decision to remain out here has consequences. Your mother will raise and lead the Garrison troops all over these parts trying to find you. She would be put in grave peril, for your wanderlust." Wow, that was laying it on very heavily, thought Kel. I hope she doesn't break out in tears. "And me being out here with you prevents me from protecting Divaekah. Every extra day we are here is another day I cannot be on a mission. It only takes one attack on our town to destroy what we have spent ages creating, not to mention the lives of everyone we know and love. That's a lot of weight for your shoulders." Satisfied but hurt, he looked away, letting Shi ponder his words.

5/19 Carissa

Shi couldn't stop herself from visibly wincing at Kel's words, but she hoped that's all he saw. She tried harder to hide the hurt and confusion. As he soon looked away, she was certain she was successful. She did not look his way again, but she was not going to let him get in the last word. Even if the guilt stared eating at her from the inside, she would not let Kel know it.

"Mother would not do something so drastic, not so quick. Father will instill sense within her," said Shi, carefully. She hoped it was true. Her father wasn't as bothered by her wanderlust like her mother. "And Solonor will watch over the Divaekah, as he always has. I have faith in that."

Not wanting to draw the conversation out longer, or give Kel more fuel for her guilt, Shi quickened her steps to catch up with the group. She pushed her thoughts of their conversation aside for the moment as she caught up to Branwyn. A lighter discussion of possible antidote creation was much preferred as their journey took them farther from the Wildlands.

5/20 Carissa

  • Posting the remaining conversation which happened in chat on this page just to tidy it all up and have it in one place:

[Master] Shi walked away from Kel, caught up to Hugh, then Kel comes back up

[Kel (MarioCS)] Shi, hold on a second, dont run off

Shi'Nynze (Carissa) slightly annoyed. "What?"

[Kel (MarioCS)] hey stop a second.

Shi'Nynze (Carissa) slows down so Kel can catch up.

Kel (MarioCS) sadly " i'm sorry. i didnt mean those things. I know your mom isnt coming out to get you"

[Kel (MarioCS)] not this soon anyway

[Kel (MarioCS)] but she will

[Kel (MarioCS)] eventually

Kel (MarioCS) smiles

Shi'Nynze (Carissa) shakes head, "And how long is eventually?"

[Shi'Nynze (Carissa)] What's a few years?

[Kel (MarioCS)] well, we'd somehow have to ghet word back that we are safe, and what are plans are

[Kel (MarioCS)] i know Divaekah will survive for a while without me, too

[Kel (MarioCS)] so, if you want to stay, and travel, and experience, I'll be right here with you

[Kel (MarioCS)] but this is on you,...

[Kel (MarioCS)] i mean, asking them if they will have us

[Shi'Nynze (Carissa)] I did plan to tell her when I'm ready.

Shi'Nynze (Carissa) smiles slightly, "It's quite a *simple spell, actually."

[Kel (MarioCS)] i told the GUard if we're not back in six months, something is wrong, so we have just over 5 moths left before we send word

[Shi'Nynze (Carissa)] But...that is provided we stay.

[Kel (MarioCS)] if if that is just to say we are OK

[Kel (MarioCS)] but id rather not lie

[Shi'Nynze (Carissa)] You only gave us 6 months?

[Kel (MarioCS)] i was confident in us hegetting this done quick, he had good leads

[Kel (MarioCS)] and look,

Kel (MarioCS) looks at Ell's bow

[Kel (MarioCS)] see?

Kel (MarioCS) smiles

Shi'Nynze (Carissa) smiles, "True..."

[Shi'Nynze (Carissa)] Hmm. Hey, Hugh? What's it like at the city? Will they let us stay the residence with you all?

[Kel (MarioCS)] wow, that was blunt

[Kel (MarioCS)] /shakes head

[Shi'Nynze (Carissa)] Better know what we're getting into, right?

[Hugh D'Ambray (mharm-15549)] Well, I cannot speak for Branwyn, but I doubt she'll have a problem letting you live in the residence

[Hugh D'Ambray (mharm-15549)] I enjoy the cirt ro a point

[Kel (MarioCS)] She'll take us in after just ten days?

[Kel (MarioCS)] thank you!!!

[Shi'Nynze (Carissa)] I mean, I had hoped, but

[Hugh D'Ambray (mharm-15549)] Considering you'be been fighting with her? She'll view that more favorably then just a simple conversation

[Hugh D'Ambray (mharm-15549)] She puts more emphasis on those types of thisngs

Hugh D'Ambray (mharm-15549) shrugs

[Hugh D'Ambray (mharm-15549)] I knew her for three days and she let me join up

[Hugh D'Ambray (mharm-15549)] But, I also pledged loyalty to her too

[Kel (MarioCS)] Well, we will definitely be loyal, dont know about pledging loyalty to her, though

[Shi'Nynze (Carissa)] I was thinking the same. I'd rather not pledge anything.

Hugh D'Ambray (mharm-15549) smiles

[Hugh D'Ambray (mharm-15549)] Well, then don't expect full allegience from her either

[Kel (MarioCS)] it would only be for a short while, like 50-60 years

[Kel (MarioCS)] I think Shi would be bored by then...

Kel (MarioCS) winks and smiles at Shi

Shi'Nynze (Carissa) laughs, "That's far more time than I'd expect. And a city...well, I'd like to see it, but there are no trees there."

[Kel (MarioCS)] I've only seen one from outside the walls

[Kel (MarioCS)] kinda dull and dingy looking, no foliage at all

[Shi'Nynze (Carissa)] I've only read about them. The books all say the same.

[Shi'Nynze (Carissa)] But still, I'd like to see it. It's hard to imagine.

[Kel (MarioCS)] it would be a new adventure for me too

[Shi'Nynze (Carissa)] See? More reason to go!

[Kel (MarioCS)] i'd feel a bit weird, not having anywgere to immediately hide if we had to

Shi'Nynze (Carissa) grins, "You could probably hide behind Anor. She's quite large."

[Kel (MarioCS)] wow, we ,could use a pack of these beauties at the Uard, they would make great watch dogs

[Kel (MarioCS)] Guard*

Shi'Nynze (Carissa) nods, "Maybe with a little training. They're still wild wolves."

[Kel (MarioCS)] I'll leave you Shi to discuss with Hugh

Kel (MarioCS) joins the lead party

(Previously Shi gets a little teeny-tiny bit too close to death for certain people thanks to a troll attack. They make camp for the night and first watch is Kel, Shi, and Branwyn. Also we realize their conversations, including this one, are likely in elvish, but at minimum, she can interpret the tones of the voices.)

[Kel (MarioCS)] Shi, dear, may i have a word?

[Shi'Nynze (Carissa)] Yes?

[Kel (MarioCS)] Shi, you almost got killed, maybe going back isnt a bad idea after all

[Shi'Nynze (Carissa)] I'm fine.

[Shi'Nynze (Carissa)] I can handle it.

[Kel (MarioCS)] I said i will stay with you , and i will

[Kel (MarioCS)] but if are not allowed to stay with these folk, what do we do?

[Shi'Nynze (Carissa)] They haven't turned us away yet.

[Kel (MarioCS)] well, Branwyn is right there, wanna ask before we get too far, and have to face spiders and trolls alone?

[Kel (MarioCS)] if you would like, I'll ask, but she nay like you more, well...because of Teb and all. He's not overly fond of her

[Shi'Nynze (Carissa)] Well if you can stop Teb from speaking...

[Kel (MarioCS)] if you noticed, ive been sheathing him quickly. Hes not going to spoil this for us

[Kel (MarioCS)] they ARE a good group, strong and loyal. if we are going to stay in the wilderness for any time, this is a good group to do it with

Branwyn (Lisa) thinks maybe the two are having some kind of lovers spat and tries not to pay attention

[Shi'Nynze (Carissa)] Fine. I'll ask her.

[Kel (MarioCS)] fine, then

Shi'Nynze (Carissa) in Western Common, "Branwyn?"

[Kel (MarioCS)] whatever

[Branwyn (Lisa)] Yes? Are you all right?

Kel (MarioCS) lloks away, but side-eyes them both

Branwyn (Lisa) furrows her brow a bit

[Shi'Nynze (Carissa)] We're fine. We're trying to decide what we're going to do. I got my brother's bow back. But we...

Shi'Nynze (Carissa) glances at Kel.

[Shi'Nynze (Carissa)] Well, I, want to see the city.

[Shi'Nynze (Carissa)] Would it be possible for us to come with your group, for a while longer?

[Kel (MarioCS)] me too, a little bit!

[Branwyn (Lisa)] Of course. We have plenty of room. I had almost assumed you would be coming home with us.

Kel (MarioCS) walks over

[Branwyn (Lisa)] The city is most impressive

Shi'Nynze (Carissa) smiles, "Thank you! I had hoped, but I thought it best to make sure before we got too far from the forest."

[Shi'Nynze (Carissa)] I've never been outside it before.

Kel (MarioCS) whispers " what'd she say?"

Shi'Nynze (Carissa) whispers back, "That only I'm allowed."

Kel (MarioCS) starts to steam

Shi'Nynze (Carissa) laughs, "Kidding. She thought were both were anyways."

[Branwyn (Lisa)] They city is definitely not as exciting as time in the woods


[Kel (MarioCS)] oh, haha, um, thanks?

Branwyn (Lisa) steps back

[Shi'Nynze (Carissa)] Sorry. He's fine.

[Branwyn (Lisa)] He doesn't look fine

[Shi'Nynze (Carissa)] Just..not as happy with the decision.

[Kel (MarioCS)] Thank yo Lady Branwyn, i promise we" gestures at SHi, wolves, and taps Teb" will not be a bother but assets to your fime team

[Branwyn (Lisa)] You have to do what is best for you. But know that you are most welcome

Shi'Nynze (Carissa) smiles, "Again, thank you. I can't wait to see your home."

[Kel (MarioCS)] and I as well

Kel (MarioCS) whispers " right now, id like to see ANY home"

[Branwyn (Lisa)] It is a rental. I am only stayng there because I am the ambassador, but it used to be a palace

[Branwyn (Lisa)] And Jilly has a proper kitchen

[Kel (MarioCS)] Palace?? great, Shi will never want to leave

[Shi'Nynze (Carissa)] Are there trees there?

[Branwyn (Lisa)] We actually just hosted some elves from the Wildlands. Perhaps they will still be in the city when we return

[Shi'Nynze (Carissa)] Oh! That would be lovely.

[Kel (MarioCS)] Teb may know of them

[Branwyn (Lisa)] I beleive they have trees planted here and there

[Branwyn (Lisa)] The royal palace has gardens. I am sure we can spend some time there

[Branwyn (Lisa)] We also have a stable the wolves can stay in

[Shi'Nynze (Carissa)] This sounds nicer and nicer.

[Shi'Nynze (Carissa)] Oh good. I'd hate to part from them.

[Branwyn (Lisa)] Kel, Dryads Lair is right on the river and so you may travel home easily whenever you so choose if the City does not suit you

[Kel (MarioCS)] Im sure it will do nicely. I am concerned with ShiNynze, and getting word to Divaekah that we are safe

[Kel (MarioCS)] When we get homesick, we can stroll outside the city, and refocus on nature

[Shi'Nynze (Carissa)] Again, it's a *simple spell. Did I not tell you that?

[Kel (MarioCS)] and thnak you for your offer. We are homored to be part of your team

[Kel (MarioCS)] I dont know the magik

[Kel (MarioCS)] i trust you Shi, you will do what it takes.

[Shi'Nynze (Carissa)] I'll send a message home when it's a good time to, but it is still too early.

For references purpose:

  • (Simple Spell) Messenger: I tie a message to a bird who delivers it for me.