A Precarious Meeting

Summary : Tari Annale returns to Arborlon for a quiet visit before the break of dawn. Elear Israfel finds her landing upon the beach at the northern coast of the Island and the two speak.
Characters : Annale, Israfel
NPCs : None
Date : 23 August 2009

The Northern Coast of Irrybis
There is no beach on the northern coast. Here Ellcrys reaches out to the tranquil Seregaear, and though beyond the protection of the Antharam the Blood Sea is restless and turbulent, as far as the eye can see here, there is calm. The ancient Willows dip their gnarled branches to reach to the lapping waves, the Ash nod their tall heads wisely, and the few young Mellyrn this far north scatter their golden blossoms to the waves. In daylight the waves are a deep sunlight-speckled blue, and by night a rich indigo that gathers the light of the moon to the embrace of its depths, lending both forest and sea a magical air.
Exits: south southeast

It was dawn, the time of day when the fading light plays with the eyes, when the Island of Irrybis is shrouded in mist and fog, when Elves whisper that Ghosts walk among the trees. Out of this fog a single boat emerges, its sole occupant shrouded in a charcoal grey cloak. The boat cuts through the water soundlessly, creating nary a wave in its wake, to come alongside the beachless shore. [Annale]

The haphazard outline of tiny tents break the serenity that was the forests surrounding the Island. Here, and then, a tiny snore could be captured, leaking its way indiscretely from the entire mass that was the hobbits' refuge.

The guards have decidingly stayed far away from this, only shaking their heads at what might be to come. Suddenly they stood stiff, at a certain poised attention, as a slim figure appears from the faded lights of Arborlon, the city still bathed in the morning mist.

It was a morning check, nothing else, on the sleeping halflings in their asylum. The Elear waved towards the guards, seemingly to place the other two elves at ease as he routed his way noiselessly around the perimeter of the camp and then, drew a certain immense sigh to himself before heading towards the beach, his swaying cloak and pale white features quite visible in dawn's watery light. [Israfel]

Annale had read the reports about the Hobbits taking refuge in Arborlon.. but seeing the tents, and hearing the snores -did they really have to snore /that/ loud?- put an entirely new perspective in her head.

She hadn't quite fathomed that there would be this many refugees… She quickly ties her boat to an overhanging willow tree and nimbly disembarks, somewhat relieved to be in Irrybis once more. "Quel'amrun, Elear" She speaks softly, recognizing the distinct features of the Elear as he approaches. [Annale]

"Tari." The pale elf mouths the words. Barely distinct it is, and the one word forms and coalesces with the morning mist. He was quiet for a brevity of a moment before he takes two steps in approach. "Nae saian luume', Tari Annale. It's been long."

He appears a little retracted, perhaps disappointment at something. But the pale elf's own shoulders remain strict and he does not slump in wontless despair. "Are you tired?" The first question is of concern. Oddly, not of the brewing nation matters and reports he holds deep in his mind's well. "It looks like it was a long journey." He ends, with yet another momentary pause. [Israfel]

"It has been too long, and I do apologize. The Doom Pixie King is… an inspiring… host." Her words are wary, and despite her best efforts, she can't hide the raw fear that tains the lilted layers of her voice. She gestures quickly towards the tents, "How are our guests settling in? And the Elves, are they taking well to this change?" [Annale]

The Elear turns a little, arching his jaw to a side and his eyes slant towards the jagged outline of tentages once more. "I think our people have, but, just accepted. The guests are so far, considerate."

He thins his lips barely and continues quietly, "They stay within their perimeter and do not dare to move close to the City. Perhaps in fear of getting tainted." The pale lashes that rim the Elear's eyes lower as his sights scour the ground, and asks. "What news of yourself then? You cannot leave? Or is he still carrying on with his plans?" [Israfel]

Annale chooses her words carefully, eyeing the Elear's face as she speaks, the previous hint of fear gone from her voice entirely, "I am free to leave Reomyr, as I choose, although displeasing Vermicio is rather.. unwise. The Doom Pixie King does not speak to me of his plans."

She drops her voice suddenly, colour rising to her cheeks and her eyes becoming animated, "I suspect, however, that not all is well for the Doom Pixie King. His "Free Peoples" is coming apart at the seems.. and I may know a way for us to be rid of those ridiculous auras." She gestures idly with her right hand, indicating what she means. [Annale]

A soft rustle sounds as the Elear shifts his position, the heavy draped cloak he wears scrapping at his heels. He glances at his Tari, one eyebrow lifting in precise anticipation and perhaps, relief. "If whatever he has created is coming apart, then it spells well for us. Inevidently."

His arms move, bunching up to press and fold over his chest, a thinking gesture mayhaps before addressing Annale. "And what might that method be, Tari. To get rid of this taint?" [Israfel]

Annale's already pale face drains of any remaining color as she utters her next words, "The auras.. are souls. Trapped souls. He enslaved them, and can use them to spy upon whoever wears one." Her gaze drops to the Elear's feet, "You were wise to reject the Mark." While her words don't say it, she implies her own blind stupidity, her pride keeping her from openly admitting her mistake. [Annale]

The pale elf's arms release from their folded lock, his eyes drawn towards the Tari once more. "Souls. Then we would need more than sorcery here, won't we? Do you not have a specific way, or shall I try to investigate more?"

He seems all rather business-like and tact, and yet his mouth draws back once more in a thin line of concern at the fiery-red haired woman infront of him. Only the expression shows and nothing more. Not a single word uttered at her last sentence. [Israfel]

Annale turns her gaze to the still slumbering city, the morning sun glistening off the dewy leaves of the Mallorn trees, "Our clerics should know how, at least, those of a certain calling. An exorcism, I have heard, rids the body of possessed demons and souls.

Elven clerics are the best there is, if any cleric can free us of this acursed Mark, it would be our own." She was thankful for his silence, although she didn't say it, hoping one day to be able to express the thanks she felt to Israfel, [Annale]

The Elear raises his head, his brows lowering to a placid soft pale line, "Then we just need to seek one who is strong enough to carry this out, it will not be difficult, Tari." There is sufficient assurance in his voice indeed — for now, it seems all he can do.

Seemingly, a worry line finds its way upon his forehead, and one twitch of a jaw muscle exposes that. "And yourself? When can you leave?" The tone of his voice depicts that it is no longer a question out of political concern. But something else. [Israfel]

Her fiery gaze snaps to Israfel's face, her next words forgotten at the mention of her leaving, "Leave? I assure you Elear, I have no intention of leaving Arborlon at the moment. Why are you in such a hurry to be rid of me?"

Her voice is controlled, although her fiery amber eyes, subdued until now, dance with suspicion and, strangely, confusion. [Annale]

His facial expression changes immediately, himself wondering at the odd reaction and then blamed it quite on the way that they had met. Perhaps she did not hear him clearly the first time.

"Leave Reomyr, Tari." He voices out flatly, slowly even for her benefit. He does not blame her for misunderstanding his words. But it is fine, in a way, he supposes. That she took to it with suspicion, than rather something else since the mirror of his own feelings cracked a little back there. [Israfel]

As quickly as she had jumped to suspicion does she become mirthful, a soft chuckle escaping her lips, "Forgive me Israfel, I fear I have jumped to conclusions that you do not deserve. It..With all the plotting, I thought you meant to be rid of me here."

She pauses, searching his face, "I have not seen Vermicio for many weeks, although I am acutely aware of his ability to become invisible. I have left Reomyr, lest I be summoned to return." [Annale]

The Elear shrugs almost helplessly, taking another look back at the massive orchestrated snoring that is the refugee camp. "Why would I even plot to get rid of you? There is nothing to gain." There's no amusement in Israfel's voice even. [Israfel]

He goes back onto the topic of Vermicio and Annale herself, and questions with curiosity laid bare. "So, once he is defeated and removed, all your allegiances sworn to him are gone?" A small sound from the trees nearest to him makes him look up. A singing bird. To break the lull of dawn now. It would be light soon, and the city would wake, along with the hobbits. [Israfel]

Annale shifts her cloak, letting the hood fall back so that she can feel the morning sun properly upon her face, her eyes closing, "Yes… my betrothal to Vermicio is hollow, my acceptance was given in exchange for the lives of the Elves. I harbor no true allegiance beyond what politics currently dictate."

She sighs remorsefully, "You may wonder why I still maintain this farce. The reason is simple - the soul of my servant Aryella is being held hostage, as a guarantee for my co-operation. But it. She is a sacrifice I can accept, in exchange for the freedom of our people." She keeps her eyes closed, knowing they may betray her, although her voice and facial expression do not. [Annale]

"Aryella?" The Elear murmurs lightly, briefly remembering a letter sent to him by the girl. He glances at the Tari once more, denoting that change upon her face and the turn in her voice. "Where is she held then, do you not know?"

He leaves the more technical aspects tucked away, sensing that it is not the time to go into theories and practical solutions. Instead, his own hand stretches out, gloved and armored, and he turns his palm face-up, his fingers relaxing, towards Annale, asking quietly. "And are you still Marked then?" [Israfel]

Annale leaves the topic of Aryella to rest, for the moment, with the snores of the Hobbits becoming broken, she knew their privacy would soon end.

Opening her eyes, she lays her fingers tips upon Israfel's palm, her hand and wrist bare, "I have never been Marked. Vermicio spied on me himself. The Gods have gifted him with the ability to become invisible at a whim… among other things." Her fingers tremble slightly, although her voice remains strong, "Had I been Marked, and spoken what I just have, my life would be forfeit." [Annale]

The Elear glances at the smaller hand placed upon his own palm, his tawny sights hued golden for a moment. He curls his own around her hand in a gentle grasp of reassurance. "I wonder." He speaks softly, watching the touch of his fingertips upon hers.

"If he might just Mark you with your own servant. Perhaps." He lifts his head just a little, meeting his Tari's amber eyes, the shades of his own shifting to match hers. And he just left that afterthought hanging, the residue of a smile lighting his lips. In quickness, his hand withdraws from hers but not before placing her own gently back to her side. [Israfel]

Annale's gaze remains firm, "Perhaps." is all she had to say about the Elear's idea. Another broken snore erupts from a nearby tent as a singing bird hums its song, "I shall retire now, Elear Israfel, and hope that later, we may meet to further discuss the Hobbits, and anything else I may have missed in my absence?" [Annale]

His head just shakes in the usual assuring way that he projects, "You can rest at ease, Tari. All that you need to do is to come home wholly and safe. And free." Israfel replies, watching her now with thoughtful sights, the hue of his eyes partially darkened.

"If need to be, you can summon me to anywhere away from the Island — if there be something we need to speak of urgently." He pauses, drawing his hands behind his back. "Else, if not. I will have good news for you in a week." [Israfel]

Annale inclines her head towards Israfel, her blood-red hair slipping over her shoulder and shimmering in the morning light, "I look forward to some good news, Elear. And.. make sure you get some rest." A hint of a grin graces her face as she draws past Israfel and heads into Arborlon quickly, hoping to avoid any waking Hobbits or Elves. [Annale]

The Elear steps back slightly, his body inclines into a bow towards his departing Tari. Words are merely words. To distract and assure. Then, he slips a look towards the rising sun over the horizon, its rays broken by the incoming rush of waves.

He is not so certain anymore.

About her. [Israfel]

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