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Thread: Apex IC

  1. - Top - End - #61
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    Katarina enjoys the dance and makes sure its more than just one, giving her a deep kiss at the end of it. I trust your judgement, and I can feel it as being fey associated. Its not their usual trickery either, so Im not afraid of it, yet. Lets see what happens at nightfall.
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  2. - Top - End - #62
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    Katarina and Sybilla enjoy themselves during the festival, their dances drawing a large crowd and encouraging others to dance as well. A lot of people are taken by the sheer beauty of both women and their displays of harmony and affection. Many dream of being able to find such love in their lives at some point, or to be in place of either woman. For the people, the harvest festival itself is already enjoyable, but it becomes magical through the presence of the Apex and her staff (and even when Katarina is busy, Sybilla tends to interact with the people, who walk away starstruck). And once the twilight arrives, Katarina does feel an uptick in the sense of wonder as well.

    The festival is lit with magical dancing lights of various shapes and hues, music audible on the grounds. The atmosphere changes, taking on a bit more of a mysterious yet comfortable feel. With her enhanced sight, Katarina begins to see what most would miss. Disguised fey beginning to mingle, something that is perhaps surprising to the Apex, since dryads and nymphs and pixies usually stay away from crowds and "civilization". To the people, they are one of them, if beautiful and charming, dancing and chatting and luring and playing. Katarina sees shy dryads give treats to kids and talk with people in more quiet places, nymphs being adored and dancing and singing, pixies putting on little shows and playing with children and playing little good-natured pranks. The fey they do come across smile to Katarina and Sybilla, one or two even stealing a little kiss, and in the crowds, the Apex spots a hauntingly beautiful nymph, who to her true sight seems to have an inner glow, her beauty so immaculate it almost brings tears to her eyes. She smiles to the Apex and her partner at one point, indicating interest in meeting them, but they all have a whole night before them. Katarina's staff is drawing the attention of the fey as well, the staff members most likely see through the disguises in one way or another, and welcoming the otherworldly attention and curiosity. Remy is easily the one the fey are most comfortable around (and perhaps drawn to), and Katarina even sees the twin dryads being with him, who are normally notably shying away from attention, and the gardener can also be spotted amicably talking with the startlingly beautiful nymph. And both Kit and Sophia seem to draw fey attention, knowingly or not.

    As the young night continues, Katarina's attunement to Love also tells her that intimacy is starting to emerge slowly among the crowds, seeing kissing couples (and strangers hooking up), a few dances becoming closer (Meave at the very forefront of that), and a few people seemingly retiring for the night, or heading to the orchards or fields.

  3. - Top - End - #63
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    Katarina quietly points out the fey to Sybilla if she is not able to see them, once she knows what to look for, her association with Remy's dryads will help her spot them on her own. Their magic is probably part of what we were feeling before. They seem to be behaving themselves, which is good Fey can be very disruptive around humans when they choose to be. She allows more of the night to pass before finally saying I think someone wants to meet with us guiding Sybilla towards the nymph.
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  4. - Top - End - #64
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    Sybilla seems to have picked up on the fey presence, and the princess basks in the atmosphere of wonder it brings. "The fair folk has been very kind to me whenever I met them. Have they given you trouble in the past?" Sybilla asks. Given Sybilla herself is almost like she sprung from a fairy tale, perhaps the fey do react differently to her as well. The forest beings do seem to perceive reality differently than most mortals in some ways.

    Making their way to a small pavillon, overgrown with vines, the radiant nymph awaits the couple, sitting on a padded garden bench, and gesturing the two women to one opposite of her. This close, the aura of this woman seems almost iridescent in the light of the full moon and the dancing orbs illuminating the festival.

    "You can feel it too, can't you? Gifted, these sisters are, and with both of you and your companions here, well, this is a most auspicious night indeed." The nymph smiles.

  5. - Top - End - #65
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    Before they arrive in the pavilion:
    You have only met fey in our estate, in the wild, its different. The fey like to play pranks but some of them are quite malicious and dangerous and cause parties a lot of problems and even death. And they end up painting all fey with the same brush. On the other hand, there are evil people who hunt and abuse fey, and then the fey paint all humans with the same brush. There's more than enough blame on both sides, and its been going on since the beginning of time.
    When they arrive:
    There is indeed magic in the air, I felt it from the moment I received the maiden's kiss, and your people have only increased it. But you have me at a disadvantage, you know our names, but we dont know yours.
    All the time, Katarina keeps Sybilla close to her, perhaps even their thighs touching. Its not that Katarina doesnt trust the fey, her dealings with Remy's have been fine....but when dealing with the fey, its best to keep your eyes open.
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  6. - Top - End - #66
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    Sybilla looks concerned by what Katarina tells her. "I have heard of the Unseelie Court, but all my encounters with the fair folk before you stepped into my life have been pleasant overall. Perhaps I was simply lucky?"

    ------------------

    "Galaphae," the nymph says, and Katarina doesn't just hear the name, but also feels, smells, tastes it, not merely being a name, but encapsulating what this nymph embodies. The Apex, untrusting of the fickle fey nature, suspects a form of charm at first, but this may simply be the strange nature of the fey at work. Nymphs hold a significant measure of power compared to most people in the world, but this one is more powerful still. Not through careful cultivation. She just is. Sybilla seems quite fascinated with Galaphae, just as the nymph seems to have taken a liking to the two women opposite of her, but Sybilla's heart still firmly belongs to Katarina, who by now realizes the princess is holding her hand.

    "There has not been a gathering like this in a long time. Your people celebrate the spring, the solstices, the harvest, but they create nothing but memories, when they used to know the true ways of celebrating with the world. Until this autumn. We felt the rites and meanings, and so many people gathered by these new greensingers. They know the dedications and signs, feel our mother Gaia in their hearts. The arrival of you and your companions, as well as young Sophia offering her first kiss to you, a powerful devotee of Love All-Embracing. We heard the call, and we arrived to join with your people as we have long, long ago. They still have much to learn and remember, but you, too, are teaching them, and so will we. In a way, consider this an opportunity given to us by young Kit and Sophia, meeting on common ground. Our people do not need to stay apart. So enjoy yourselves, see what our worlds joining can bring... and perhaps, mortals and the fey can once more be together." Listening to Galaphae is pure joy to all senses. There is a sense that the nymph is ancient, yet time does not mean as much to her as it does to the shortlived humans. Sybilla certainly seems endeared by the idea of humanity and fey becoming closer, perhaps influenced by her past encounters with the fey, including the twin dryads.

  7. - Top - End - #67
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    Katarina gathers her staff together, starting with Sybilla and making sure she ends with Amelyn, still probably with Kit.
    Your Festival was wonderful, and your knowledge of the ancient rites actually surprises me, I didnt think anyone still had contact with them, much less able to practice and execute them. The after-effects of it will be felt for years, both in the harvests and quite possibly in relations with the fey. Youve done your heritage proud.
    After saying her goodbyes to anyone else who might be around, Katarina casts a teleport to bring her entourage back to her estate, heading off to find Eve to see if the adventurer's leader has made contact yet.
    I am not trusting my research paper to some millennial. They'll put unicorn emojis on it and post it on social media.
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  8. - Top - End - #68
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    The Apex collects her staff, Sybilla also making sure to get Sophia home. Reaching the barn, they find Amelyn and Kit, the student still seeming a bit sleepy, but happy, resting against Kit. The whole staff can see what happened between them and Meave doesn't even try to hide the biggest teasing grin. Amelyn seems like she doesn't really want to go yet, but at the same time she will be going home, and she loves her home, so it may be one of the best problems to have.

    "Ain't got much of a heritage, but Nature's always been there for us when people haven't. This way always worked best for me. Healthy and happy land, healthy and happy people, everybody wins. Thanks to all of you for participating and making this a winner. No idea if this'll last years, but the rite got a whole lotta punch, I could feel that. Gala's pretty happy, too. Welp, guess it's time for clean-up and dealing with the puritanical sorts. As always, all of you are always welcome here," Kit looks especially to Amelyn, who smiles and blushes back. "If you're feeling up for creating a tradition, swing by once the spring rites happen next year, and after yesterday, we'll go from people coming in droves to being flooded with visitors next harvest festival." Katarina can feel Kit would like to discuss something with the Apex, but it can wait for now and she doesn't want to discuss it in front of everyone either.

    Back at the estate, despite everyone feeling healthier than ever, it is clear the staff could use a bit of rest, though they return to their roles to take care of whatever chores that need doing before taking a break. Pretty much as Eve predicted, and when visiting the half-elven secretary, she is, naturally, already up, looking as sharp as ever, and taking care of a bit of paperwork (diligant as ever). Through a gap to the door to her bedroom, Katarina spots the succubus resting on Eve's bed.

    "Good morning. Mister Quinn's arrival has been scheduled for tomorrow noon, and he was suitably excited and humbled by your acceptance of his request. Judging by his reaction to me, he will most likely have trouble with your beauty, but it didn't lessen his drive towards his quest. How was the festival? You have a healthy glow to you."

  9. - Top - End - #69
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    I learned a few things about myself, about the fey and above all, Kit and Sophia. They are a lot more than even they suspect of themselves. And whatever rite they managed to execute, was felt all over Highland and will be felt for some time to come. I see that our succubus visitor is adapting to life here, does she have a name? Although now that I think of it, maybe we should give her a new name, to signify her new life. Shall we go discuss it with her? with a decidedly naughty wink at Eve.

    Even as she speaks to Eve, her mind is composing a message to Kit.
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    I know that you are probably interested in pursuing an even more intimate and close relationship with Amelyn and I am sure she is interested in you as well. I have to say this to you, Amelyn is my student and not my slave and is free to pursue any relationship she wishes. However, while I have no problem with you continuing on as you are now, I would ask that you not take her away, for at least 6 more months. She is at a very important moment in her learning, about to master the most powerful spells available to mortals, and I need to be there for her. She is a prodigy and will unquestioningly master them, but it needs to go at the pace that is in her best interests, not her own opinion. She still needs a bit of guidance and thats why I ask for 6 more months...and then if she wishes to commit completely to you, I will give you both my blessings
    I am not trusting my research paper to some millennial. They'll put unicorn emojis on it and post it on social media.
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  10. - Top - End - #70
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    Seeing Katarina's intentions coming, Eve gets her paperwork in order as the Apex speaks. Each time Katarina looks at Eve's desk (and the correspondence area of her office), she gets another insight into everything that goes into running her estate and business smoothly. This woman could build a business empire all by herself if she wanted to.

    Eve rises with her usual poise, cutting a stunning silhouette in the morning light, and offers a little head tilt and smile that tells Katarina that the Apex is on the way to a social faux-pas. Katarina knows the look, Eve having to remind the Apex every now and then how less fantastically powerful and gifted people feel about things. "Oh, I am with you, but as your secretary, I do have to tell you that wanting to rename someone, after barely having met her in person and having forgotten her name no less, is not a good look. Like most of her kind, Xethira worships her own freedom, and a name means a lot more to an outsider than a human. Also, succubi have very good hearing."


    Sending the mental message to Kit, Katarina hears "Gaia's tits!" from a startled farm lass at the sudden voice in her head, along with increasingly confused "Wha-" "I-" "Wait a minute-" and other noises. After the message is through, there is a nervous chuckle, followed by "Hey now- Hello? Do, do I just talk to answer? I'm just... gonna talk, ok? Hold on." Katarina gets the sense Kit is moving somewhere else before continuing.

    "First of all... gods I hope this is comin' through- anyway, first of all, no takin' away or slave business or secret marriage contracts or crap like that! Ammy's not a sack of potatoes on the market!" Katarina can almost hear the What kinda woman do you think I am? afterwards, but Kit doesn't say it, perhaps partly due to reminding herself that she is talking with an Apex. She is also clearly not comfortable with this sort of communication, having no one to really talk to. She takes a deep breath. "Listen, I just... this is all new to me, you know? Ammy's always been wonderful, but last night... things just sparked. Never felt like this and I'm havin' trouble keepin' things straight right now, 'cause I'm thinking about her all the time. It's just... gods, she's barely a woman, same age as Sophia, and I got seven years on her. I've been in her shoes and it didn't go well, so I'm feeling like... am I seducing this wonderful girl into something that won't be good for her?" Amelyn has mentioned Kit and Sophia having had a rough past, and the fear of subjecting Amelyn to what she had to go through in some shape or form, willingly or not, is troubling Kit, to say the least.

  11. - Top - End - #71
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    Spoiler: Kit
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    This has gotten off on the wrong foot and thats partially on me. Im not saying that you would kidnap her or make some sort of secret marriage, Im just asking to keep it casual until her training is complete. As for whether or not you are suited for each other, let me just say that if I didnt think you were right for each other, we wouldnt even be having this conversation. And if you think you are seducing Amelyn into something not good for her. Amelyn knows her mind better than anyone I know. I remember when I met her, I was just visiting the Mystra academy to give a lecture, wasnt even supposed to meet anyone, let alone a slip of a girl barely able to cast second order spells...who walked right up to me, bold as brass, and introduced herself as my new apprentice, I thought the magister was going to implode on the spot. No one puts Amelyn in a spot she doesnt want to be in, thats for sure.


    She then turns to Eve what would I do without you? Of course you are right and you've prevented me from making a fool of myself.
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  12. - Top - End - #72
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    "Yup, that sounds like Ammy alright. Taking charge is her middle name." Kit chuckles. She evidently still has to do some more figuring out and soul-searching on this matter, but she does feel a bit better about this. "Ain't gonna get in the way of her training or anything. I'm no mage, but it's easy to tell Ammy lives and breathes magic. It'd be like making her starve." A short pause. "Honestly, got a bit to work on myself as well. Feeling a bit weird since the rite, in a good way, somehow. Should probably get a better grip on all this ancient magic business, what with Ammy working super-hard on her craft and all. So, uh..." At this point, Kit seems pretty uncertain at how to actually end this kind of magical conversation. "thanks for taking the time. Talk to you later?"


    Back at the estate, Eve simply responds with an easy smile. "You got that unfocused look. Do you need some time to wrap up your messaging?"

  13. - Top - End - #73
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    My messaging is all done. Shall we?
    I am not trusting my research paper to some millennial. They'll put unicorn emojis on it and post it on social media.
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    Twitter: It's a small weapon, aimed indiscriminately at a viewership/readership that has mastered the art of over-reactive hyperventilation at the speed of light.
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  14. - Top - End - #74
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    Knowing that her appointment is on deck for tomorrow and wanting to make sure she presents her usual irresistable image, Katarina and Eve spend the rest of the night with Xethira, each trying to match the other in endurance to keep up with the succubus. When morning finally comes, Katarina, as always, channels a large portion of that pent up tantric energy into both her charisma and wisdom, maxing herself out in preparation for the interview. Eve will be out to make the first greetings and arrangements, no doubt aided by Maeve who likes to greet all visitors, especially if they bring any associates (being told to come alone doesnt always work, but the staff are more than willing to distract any additional visitors, leaving Katarina one on one with the "boss"), and while she waits, she goes through her usual round of full buffing, to create the maximum effect.
    She is an Apex, after all, thats why Quinn is interested in hiring her, and she needs to present the image and power he is expecting.
    I am not trusting my research paper to some millennial. They'll put unicorn emojis on it and post it on social media.
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    Twitter: It's a small weapon, aimed indiscriminately at a viewership/readership that has mastered the art of over-reactive hyperventilation at the speed of light.
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  15. - Top - End - #75
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    For most people, entering the estate grounds is a big step, like trespassing on utmost holy grounds. The Apexes do not carry their title for nothing, having no equal among the mortal races apart. Fools might say that they have equals in one another, but that would imply they are mortals. And as Katarina knows, she is long beyond such trivial barriers as age.

    The Sintar Estate is small, perhaps even tiny compared to the realms of other Apexes, but Quinn knows that even if he stepped into vast lands holding equally vast armies, they would all still be trivial compared to the Apex themselves, who may as well be a demigod. For one of the mundane to enter the grounds of an Apex is to realize that no matter how good they will get, even if they mastered and invented every possible technique, it would all be meaningless compared to the might of an Apex, some of whom could easily replicate everything they do with an afterthought. For those dabbling in magic like the adventuring bards, they must admit that what magic they wield is akin to an idiot child thinking themselves gifted for realizing they can crack open a nut with a rock, and will never come even close to the lofty echelons. But perhaps most tragic are true mages that step into an Apex' realm, some coming to accept they will never reach this level of mastery beyond the shadow of a doubt, some despairing at realizing the magnitude of their might, and some being blinded by lust for power and false sureness that they too are meant to be an Apex. As Quinn has truly come alone, as requested by Eve, perhaps he wanted to spare his party from this experience for as long as possible.

    Eren Quinn is greeted by Sybilla di Varencia, a woman of mythical beauty who gave up her rightful throne in a heartbeat to serve Katarina Sintar as her maid of honor, her every motion and word perfection.

    He sees statues of marvelous craftsmanship, immaculately gorgeous while embodying strength, only to find them moving with quicksilver smoothness, giving them a strange allure.

    Eve Sylna may be most familiar of the sights, but meeting her in the flesh is a wholly different matter entirely. Some may scoff at being awed by a secretary, but those have never met this sharp-eyed woman who frequently acts as Apex Sintar's right-hand woman and for good reason.

    When asked if he would like a refreshment, Quinn realizes the presence of a shorter, fire-haired woman, as if she had always been there in plain sight, only he had been too blind to see her. Even as he politely declines, she still looks up at him with a mysterious smile, her offer that perhaps she can help him with something else now stuck in his mind, even as she simply left his vision again after blinking once.

    And finally, the Apex Katarina Sintar, one of the most powerful beings and most beautiful women in this world, in her full glory. Sybilla leaves them after announcing the guest's arrival, naturally asking to for her or Meave to be called if they need anything, but even the departure of a woman like the Princess of Hearts does not help much. Eve stands towards Katarina's side, as always in such matters. Quinn has been exposed to women millions would kill for, but even that experience could not prepare him for Katarina. The Apex has witnessed a great many different reactions when she displayed her full presence and inhabited her full station. Fainting is quite common. Severely embarassing themselves is as well. Hardly anyone (save for other Apexes) manages to just adress her smoothly right away. Men, women, or anything in between, it does not matter.

    Quinn is clearly awe-struck, and he, too, cannot simply carry on as if nothing happened. So Eve buys the clients time, as a courtesy, by introducing them.

    "Apex Sintar," Eve opting for the official title to remind the guest of an comfortably acceptable way for them to adress Katarina, and to not confuse the guests about questions of decorum. "I introduce to you Eren Quinn, leader of the Whitegate Fellowship, an esteemed adventuring group fighting to protect mankind from evils most kingdoms are ill-prepared for dealing with."

    Quinn, meanwhile, copes with the situation by standing straight with eyes closed, and remaining silent for a few moments after Eve has finished, along with a deep breath or two. Finally, he opens his eyes again, and tries to keep his voice as controlled as possible, along with his composure.

    "Apex Sintar, it is a tremendous honor to be invited to your estate, and I am deeply thankful that I may make my request to you in person." With this, Quinn bows, deeply, and remains in that position. "I beseech you to aid us in our quest to find the lair of Kranrakor Blackwing, and should the foul draconic lich still exist, to aid us in its absolute destruction, before the abomination rises once more to drain the lands of all life." Even after this, he does not dare to stand back up straight again, until being allowed to do so by the Apex.

  16. - Top - End - #76
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    Arise Master Quinn, and be welcome in my estate. I have heard rumors of this lich, and Eve has given me the bare bones, no pun intended, of your quest. Can you fill any more details that you have, and tell me about your group, who makes it up and what professions do they follow? After that, if this seems like something I might be interested in, I will tell you the terms that I offer and then you can decide whether or not you can accept them.
    After a moment, she seats herself and indicates for Eve and Quinn to do likewise.
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  17. - Top - End - #77
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    Quinn straightens back up and sits down, though obviously not sitting comfortably, as there is a lot riding on this for him. Eve seats herself with natural grace, crosses her legs, and has her magic slate at the ready to add a written record of the proceedings to her near flawless memory.

    "Right. So, Kranrakor Blackwing, ancient dragon lich, and one of the worst ones I have ever heard of. The kind who can wipe out anything remotely alive in a large area, as he demonstrated about a century ago on the duchy of Wannechia. He disappeared not too long after, but we could not find any indication about Kranrakor having been destroyed. But we did find an old record in a remote monastery that was at some point mostly destroyed by the lich, as my party and I cleared the ruins of monsters. The journal described travels of a monk who found a lost valley amidst the mountain range known as the Titan's Spine, with a thick sense of dread and evil hanging over it, especially emanating from a cave entrance he found. That alone would not be enough, but the monk also described runes, even having drawn them in the journal, some of which fit those used by Kranrakor, and all of them using a draconic dialect. With some magical analysis, it appears the journal is not that much older than the destruction of the monastery, so the monk's trespassing has likely been detected at some point and brought the lich's wrath. After some additional research, including interviewing a few of the dead, we are quite sure we have found Kranrakor's lair, and we can't ignore that. At best, we might find that the lich has been long destroyed and his undead minions likewise. At worst, we find the creature itself still existing, with an army of the living dead. We do not know what will be waiting there. Careful attempts at divination have led to nothing, except for some subtle hints of magic leading such spells astray. The exact coordinates are not known to us, and blindly teleporting could get us killed immediately, whether by ending up in a mountain or by teleportation redirecting spells. We also do not want to give the lich any indication that his lair has been found, in order to give him as little time as possible to prepare."

    Quinn takes a moment, perhaps organizing his thoughts about what he is going to say next, perhaps looking how Katarina reacts.
    "So, the Whitegate Fellowship. We formed out of necessity because there were and are threats the vast majority of cities, let alone communities, are unable to deal with. We have been working together for six years now, and have our share of experiences with both evil dragons and liches, but also mind flayers, beholders, fiends, and powerhungry wizards and cultists. The Fellowship consists out of five members. Amrita, our shapeshifting ranger, who handles navigation, tracking, part of the scouting, and is our powerhouse in combat. She is only rarely in her human form during a quest, as she wants to remain as strong and perceptive as she can be while she has people to protect. Faldriga Evaris, our elven wizard, and perhaps our most experienced and powerful member, as she is able to cast spells of up to the sixth circle. She has also witnessed some of the atrocities committed by Kranrakor when he was active, and considers it her duty to stop him. Severin of the Seven Leagues, cleric of Selūne, who probably has seen more of the world than the rest of the Fellowship combined. He has kept us protected and healthy throughout our adventures, and is a lot more versatile than the usual priest dispensing healing and turning undead. And finally, we have Sunspark Nico, our halfling rogue. She is our primary scout, and actually our trump card against the undead and fiends, having been trained since she was a child to hunt them, hence her title. She may be a little rough around the edges at times, but she is positively fearless, her precision attacks work against the undead, and I have never seen anyone put as many knives in the air in such short a time as she does. And lastly, I serve in a warrior and guardian role, making sure foes don't break through our defensive lines, as well as pinning and beating them down. I also coordinate the group and handle outreach and such."

    Katarina notes that the group's constellation, while classic, also lends itself to adapting to various situations and threats, at the very least if they roughly know what they are getting into. That most likely plays a large part in their continued success against the pretty serious threats they faced. If a wizard who can cast 6th level spells (with Amelyn already having mastered the 7th level, as both a sorceress and a favored soul) is their most powerful asset (given the potency of magic), they certainly can't simply rely on brute force to batter through all problems.

    "Kranrakor's lair is likely to hold riches typical for an ancient dragon, but his lich nature and arcane pursuits will likely mean he is hoarding a lot more than the usual treasures. As I mentioned to Miss Sylna, Kranrakor at some point stole the Shaldrin Records, a one of a kind tome the spellweaving community has been looking for a century now due to the knowledge said to be contained within, with only few having managed to glimpse its contents, and even fewer being able to grasp its full scope. We offer you half of all treasures found there, as well as the Shaldrin Records, should the tome be in that lair. We also offer compensation if there is not much treasure, or if that lair is a false lead. We can't ignore this. Kranrakor is too dangerous. But we know that we can't defeat him without someone like you, Apex Sintar. Riches are nice to finance efforts to make the world a better, safer place, but above all we want to rid this world of the evil that is Kranrakor Blackwing." And with that, Quinn awaits Katarina's judgment.

  18. - Top - End - #78
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    Katarina appears thoughtful during all of Quinn's explanations, its clear this group is good for most threats, but a draconic lich would likely be above their power grade. She comes to a decision quickly.
    Eliminating a lich, not to mention a source of creating even more undead, is always a worthwhile endeavor. Not to mention the chance to get a look inside the Shaldrin Records. So here are my terms With a snap of her finger, a scroll appears in her hand, which she opens and lays on the table. Of course, my most skilled colleague Eve has written this with all the legals whys and wherefores, I would never want to face her in court. But let me break down the bullet points for you. Your group has five members, so any monetary treasure found will be divided into 7 lots, of which I will take 2. How you divide up your shares is up to you. Any magic that we find will be subject to picks, with the proviso that I get the first pick, ensuring I get the records. While I personally dont need a whole lot of magic items, I have associates who could use them, or I can use them to make trades with allies.
    Second, and relating to the division of treasure, I will use my spells and abilities to further the mission without price, but if I have to cast a spell that costs me in a fiscal sense, such as a wish or a raise, then I will be compensated for that full amount off the top of the trove.
    Third, there will be no teleporting out by members who lose their nerve, although if we as a group decide to stage a tactical retreat, thats okay. If anyone does so, rest assured I will hunt them down and deal with them.
    Fourth, I take directions and orders only from you. I dont know how you make group decisions and I dont want to change your politics, especially since I am not with you long term but I dont want to hear orders being barked at me from all different sources.
    And, many of my abilities are tantric powered in nature, so if there are any prudish members, they will need to keep that to themselves.
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    Quinn leans forward to look at the document, also pointing at it as a wordless question if he can take a closer look at it. As he does so, he nods to each of Katarina's first four points. As the last comes up, Quinn takes a moment to think, scratching his forehead.

    "I think there shouldn't be an issue in principle. I do not know how you usually go about your, uh, tantric powers, but in general, if some of us need some privacy, they get it. Faldriga summons a hidden extradimensional space whenever we rest, and that has a few separate rooms, even though we usually just sleep as a group in the main room while on a mission, with one of us taking over guard duties, just in case something is trying to get in or is starting to gather near the entrance." Quinn does not seem to be in the know about what exactly Katarina needs to do each day.

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    Tantric is a fancy word for sex. I require an hour of sex before each day to make sure my powers are at their peak. Think you might be up to that? She says it in a totally matter of fact manner, well aware that this sometimes boggles the mind of non-Apexes, their reactions are sometimes worth a laugh.
    Last edited by MikelaC1; 2019-07-25 at 05:08 PM.
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    There is a bit of stunned silence, Quinn growing red, then caughing. He is considering to ask whether she is serious, but seems to decide against it, not wanting to anger the Apex. "...No. I know the word, but unless you can give me the virility of a demigod to last an hour with a goddess among women, I'm afraid... empowering you will be a group effort. I-if that is acceptable, Apex Sintar." Quinn most certainly isn't averse to being with Katarina, but he does feel more than a little out of his league and treading on eggshells in terms of what may or may not offend.

    Eve gets a chuckle out of this. This may be the first time someone is being this honest in the face of this offer, and that is something the secretary can appreciate, prefering people being open about such matters.

    And in the worst case, perhaps Meave can just appear when called (as she always mysteriously does) and take care of it each day.

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    I am assuming that Katarina does have access to the semi-official cantrip that our games have been operating under, which will allow a man to orgasm more than once in any time period, as well she can do this....
    A group effort is not an issue for me, but you might find that I have many ways of giving you vigour that you never knew you had. And giving you an erotic massage that lasts for that long just as a starting point would certainly begin to charge me up.
    It seems that Quinn finds the terms acceptable, or at least hasnt walked out yet, so without further ado, Katarina takes a pen and signs her name to the contract, offering the stylus to him after she is done
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    "If... if you say so." This topic certainly wasn't something Quinn had expected, or be part of the quest to destroy Kranrakor, and while this put him off-balance and gave him some fresh worries as the leader of the party and being responsible for the success of the quest, he signs the contract. However he may feel, ultimately, the discussed procedure is of relatively little consequence, especially in the face of forever destroying one of the most dangerous creatures in the world. He is still pretty red in the face though.

    "Thank you for accepting our request, Apex Sintar." Quinn bows forward in his chair, not quite yet wanting to stand up. He looks over to Eve. "Could I please have a copy of the contract, Miss Sylna?" To which the half-elven secretary replies with an approving smile.

    "Naturally. Meave, dear?" And as Katarina blinks, Meave in her maidservant uniform is suddenly in the room, surprising Quinn once again.
    "You rang?" Meave cheerfully replies.
    "Please fetch a copy of the contract for Master Quinn. You can find it on my desk." Eve adopting Katarina's chosen title for the adventurer.
    "I'll be back before you know it." Meave casts a quick glance to Quinn, seemingly spotting something, and having her trademark ear to ear mischievous close-lipped smile, before suddenly being gone again without a trace, once again baffling Quinn.

    "I know Nico can sneak up on me like a ghost, but I have never seen anyone do something like what Miss Meave just did," Quinn mentions, clearly impressed, understandably so. While naturally far less of a force compared to an Apex or high level magician, Meave possesses talents most rogues and thieves can only hope to aspire to. And that woman is a "mere" maidservant in this estate.

    "Our Meave is a bundle of never-ending surprises, I can assure you," Eve says.

    "To be fair, if you'd seen it before, then that probably wouldn't have been a very good rogue," Meave's voice can be heard, from right beside Quinn's ear, startling the adventurer, who then faces Meave's cheshire grin. "I can show you a bunch more tricks if you want to." And somehow, that grin manages to get wider. But before letting Quinn react, she hands him the scroll. "Here you go! Call me if you're interested!" And she is gone again.

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    Again, Katarina takes the pen and signs with a flourish, handing it to Quinn afterwards. So now, its your choice, either we leave right away or you can invite your whole group to come and spend the rest of the day and night, and partake of our hospitality. Im fine with either choice as I have powered up for the day and have my full compliment of spells.
    Last edited by MikelaC1; 2019-07-26 at 05:33 PM.
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    "The sooner we go, the better. The rest of the Fellowship is waiting in Castle Aurorae, the closest settlement to the Titan's Spine, often used as starting point for expeditions. After going over what we have in terms of maps and knowledge of the lair's location, Faldriga will create ethereal mounts for us to traverse the Spine and look for Kranrakor. She will also provide us with protection against the elements, as the Spine is frigid even during the relatively warm spring season the area is currently in, though I would still recommend a mantle or coat with a large hood against the snowfall." Quinn briefly stops. "Would... would you be able to teleport us there, Apex?"

    Eve rises, as the meeting is pretty much done, collecting the signed contract. "I wish you the best of fortunes. Sybilla and I will look after the estate in your absence, as usual. Should something come up, we will be in touch with you, and should you need anything, I am sure Meave will be able to find you in no time if you call on her."

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    Teleporting is not an issue, I have the most reliable of one of those spells, although I do need a bit of a description to arrive at the right location. Maeve, can you get my blue cold weather outfit, and Eve, in addition to looking after the estate, I would like you to arrange with our local carpenter to have a small stable built on the estate. Large enough for one oversized horse...in fact, just make it big enough for two. Eve is familiar with some whims that Katarina seems to get at times, but this is something that had never been discussed. Fortunately, they have a carpenter in Highland that does all their work.
    Once Maeve gets back with the outfit, she dons it, takes Quinn's hand and casts her spell.
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    As Meave steps out of existence again, Eve nods. "Of course," the secretary answers without so much as raising an eyebrow, Meave then appearing with the outfit and helping Katarina put it on. Quinn describes Castle Aurorae, and due to Katarina's mastery, it is enough to teleport there.

    The Apex and the adventurer arrive in the courtyard of said castle. The wind is chilling, and Katarina sees traces of snow, with most of it being kept off the pathways and grounds. It appears to be the morning hours in this place, with a light cover of clouds with blue gaps in it. The people seem rather used to the cold, wearing thick layers of clothing as they go about their day. The courtyard isn't exactly spacious, more functional, and Katarina spots hints of various crafts being found within the walls of the castle that would benefit adventurers and expeditions, as well as indications of trade, likely with larger settlements in warmer parts of the land.

    "My friends are most likely at the inn within these walls," Quinn says after getting his bearings, a gloved hand pointing towards a door with a simple sign over it saying "World's Edge Inn", which of course is hyperboly, as while the Titan's Spine is far south, there are seas and ice beyond it. The inn is most likely quite old, before one of the Apexes surveyed the then unknown areas of the world (a fairly trivial task for them) and demystified the mountain range and it allegedly being part of the rim of the world, or the name simply refers to no inn or civilization being further south. Or it just sounds dramatic.

    "Identify yourselves," they hear, three guards approaching. They don't seem as alarmed as many guards usually are when someone just appears out of thin air unannounced, likely not being a stranger to the occasional mage teleporting in, but to call them relaxed would be quite a bit off the mark. They aren't rude in demeanor, but they have to confirm who they are, and given they are this far from most cities Katarina frequents, it would be easy to see that they don't recognize Katarina on sight immediately. Katarina notes some magic runes on the guards' equipment.

    "Eren Quinn, of the Whitegate Fellowship," the adventurer says, showing a small insignia the guards seem to recognize. "And this is Apex Katarina Sintar, here to graciously assist us in finding a monster's lair."

    When Quinn says this, it is like everyone around them suddenly stands still, staring, with only the light wind quietly sweeping through the castle. The three guards blink, eyes going back and forth between Quinn and Katarina, confusion and a bit of alarm on their faces (not due to a threat, but one does not exactly expect to meet an Apex).

    "You're kidding," escapes the guard while he is trying to process what is going on, with Quinn raising his eyebrows, tightly pursing his lips, and shaking his head.

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    If Katarina's appearance isnt enough to convince the guards on its own, she could make a spectacular display, but thats not her style. Besides, she doesnt like wasting her power on such things. Words will have to suffice. It would be very foolish, not to mention dangerous, to claim to be an Apex, when you actually arent one.
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    Katarina's presence and especially her voice do drive home that she indeed is who she has been introduced as. The guards straighten up immediately. "Sorry for the inconvenience, Apex Sintar. Just doing our job." They look to Quinn. "Move along." And before the two can do anything, the guards are already doing just that themselves, really not wanting to be the guys who are keeping an Apex out in the cold for no reason. The other people present do try to continue their day as well, but the attention still very firmly rests on the Apex. Quinn glances about, observing the reactions, with him pretty much invisible at the moment.

    "Let's go find the others," he says, prefering to get a move on before people convince themselves to maybe get closer and try to get some of this wondrous woman's time. The inside of the inn is comfortably warm, with a crackling fireplace. The reactions are quite similar to the outside, as people get a closer look and word has already spread. Quinn has to ask the innkeeper twice about his friends before he manages to answer, directing them to a backroom. In it, they find a large table with maps and notes strewn about, as well as the adventurers Quinn described.

    The elven wizard Faldriga Evaris, of one of the rarer kinds of elf, possessing pale skin and surprising height for an elf, and having a remarkable sharpness to her eyes.
    The human cleric Severin of the Seven Leagues, a man with a warm, weathered face and grey patches in his full beard, the insignia of Selūne old, but very well cared for.
    The halfling rogue Sunspark Nico, with quicksilver motions and piercing eyes, seeming like one who rarely, if ever, smiles, and is not to be crossed, there the way she seems to act around her fellow adventurers suggests a soft spot for them. Despite not looking at her, Katarina gets the feeling Nico is already aware of her.
    And finally, a medium sized shadow dragon, who is revealed as the human ranger Amrita, who seems keenly aware of Katarina's arrival. Her eyes and behavior in her human form have a curious nature to them, like her mindset has shifted well outside of that of a regular human, though it doesn't make her inhuman, simply different.

    As Quinn and Katarina enter, the group turns to them.
    "Friends, I present to you, Apex Katarina Sintar. Apex Sintar, please meet the Whitegate Fellowship."
    The reactions are varied, seen as Quinn introduces the Fellowship. Faldriga seems quite in awe, Severin's eyebrows rise and he shows a huge grin with plenty of laugh lines where his beard doesn't hide them, Nico shows a frown (though Katarina gets the feeling this is her usual expression towards strangers) and systematically examines her which eventually becomes an ever so slight nod (of approval?), while Amrita seems to regard Katarina like she is taking in her scent and is peering at more ephemeral qualities of the Apex, though she does seem to show Katarina the courtesy of changing back into her human form.

    "You really did it, lad!" Severin booms, laughing and putting his arm across Quinn's shoulders, the leader warrior getting almost thrown about a bit. "Welcome, welcome, Apex Sintar, so very glad to have you with us! Heard plenty about you."

  30. - Top - End - #90
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    No offense taken, good sirs, you are right to question anyone who might make such an outlandish claim. Keep up the good work
    As Katarina allows herself to lead to the inn, she smiles and waves to the people, shes always wanted to be known as an "Apex of the People", not wanting to be put on a pedestal and revered/feared as the other ones are.
    She smiles to the innkeeper as well, ordering a tankard of ale before heading back to join the Fellowship.
    I am glad to meet you all, and look forward to working with you. Just to get a few things out of the way about the deal we have, I am not here to take half the haul, only 2/7ths of it, and my claim to the Records comes only from having first pick on the magic, meaning you will all have two picks before my second, and seeing as hes a lich, I imagine he and his minions will have more than a few trinkets on them As she talks, she makes eye contact with every member of the Fellowship, but most of her looks are at the cleric.Its not a look of challenge at all, just one of trying to get to know him. Katarina doesnt have issue with the priests of Selune, except when they try to force her into their more structured forms of worship...and as a ranking member of the clergy, Severin probably knows that to the case. Now that the details are out of the way, tell me what you have, where you think the lair is, and what the best way is to get there. Although Quinn has answered some of these questions before, she is interested to see how the group answers them, maybe there are a few things he didnt mention and even if there arent, who answers and how they answer will tell her a lot about the group's dynamics and power structure. She takes a long drink from her tankard as she waits.
    Last edited by MikelaC1; 2019-07-29 at 08:46 PM.
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