• Graded • [Foster's Landing] Up Shit Creek (Gangui)

With the escalation of hostilities between Etzos and Rhakros, a series of small walled towns is being established as a network of early warnings and defenses against Rhakros' reprisals. Only the very bravest and most formidable of characters should risk themselves on the Witches' Wilds frontier.

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[Foster's Landing] Up Shit Creek (Gangui)

Thu Nov 09, 2017 1:17 am

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This thread was written in a Google Doc in real-time, so although it seems like we are taking control of each other's characters, that's just how it translates into the posting order.

Vhalar 9, Arc 717

The innkeeper’s wife had made it something of a sport to feed her favorite new tenant. The young woman’s bottomless appetite had returned, and the elderly matron was quite a cook. Her children were all grown and off starting families of their own, so she was happy to have a grateful mouth to feed. Most who came to their inn didn’t stay long, but the redhead showed no signs of leaving yet, and the couple who ran the establishment seemed to make it their personal mission to fatten the foreigner up.

Ellen’wyn perched expectantly in her chair at her usual table in the taproom, knife and fork in hand, eyes alight like a child. She watched the older woman march out from the kitchen, hot plates of food in hand. Ellen’s gut rumbled, and the wooden dishes had hardly been sat in front of her before she was digging in voraciously. The matron’s eyes twinkled with delight as she wiped her hands on her apron.

“You are much too skinny, but I’m glad you have such a healthy appetite. Usually young ladies your size hardly pick at their food.” Ellen grumbled something through a mouthful of food, expression glazed as she savored the flavors. Her land legs had returned, and so had her ability to keep food down. There were so many new things to eat here, and the seasonings blew her mind. The mixed-blood had no idea anything could taste so good.

“Fank you,” she mumbled, struggling to form the words while she chewed.

Suddenly, the door of the inn’s common room swung open, slamming against the adjacent wall. Ducking under the wooden beam, the feather on the warrior’s plate helm sprung through the opening. Gray harbor light spilled in behind him, silhouetting his figure. Creaking floorboards and jingling chainmail followed.

When the door closed behind him everyone blinked, their eyes adjusting to see that it was none other than Gangui. “I know you! You are the man who brought miss Ellen’wyn into our care! Sit down, sit down, have a cup of coffee!” the innkeeper’s wife exclaimed.

The redhead’s eyes had caught the change of light in the room, turning her gaze to the doorway. There he was, giant and shiny as usual. Ellen smiled through her mouthful of food, managed to swallow a bit, and greeted him rather gleefully. “Goo’ morn--ing, Gan--.” She chewed a little more and swallowed the majority. “Good morning, Gangui.” Her cheeks looked puffy--partially filled with food as they were--not unlike a squirrel.
Last edited by Ellen'wyn on Thu Nov 09, 2017 2:45 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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[Foster's Landing] Up Shit Creek (Gangui)

Thu Nov 09, 2017 1:18 am

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Taking off his steel finned helm, Gangui nodded and accepted graciously in the best manners he could remember, “And a chicken, please,” he added to the innkeep’s wife as he approached Ellen’s table, “Good morning, little bird!” He smiled genuinely, though his mustache hid it, meaning one could only tell through his cheeks and eyes. He dragged a chair out and sat on it heavily and placed his helm in the middle of the table. Adjusting the swords on his hips to they hung comfortably at his side and taking his gauntlets off he looked at Ellen’wyn again and smiled. She watched him contentedly, forking more food into her mouth.

“I see you have a healthy appetite, this is good,” The coffee came out pipping hot, “Bring me the morning’s empressions as well will you? Thanks,” The Imp Pressions was a newspaper in Etzos. An extreme luxury to the citizen’s of Foster’s Landing, it was sent via Rupture portal to the state’s tower every day, “Do you feel better now that you’ve had a proper rest?”

“Mmhmm,” she mumbled, finishing her current mouthful. Taking a draught of water to clear her throat, she continued. “Thank you. Bed nice. Keepers nice. Food very nice. Like it here. Room small, but no real care.”

The innkeeper’s wife returned with a copy of the paper, “They only sent over 30 copies today, we got our hands on one, so it will cost you 7 gold,” Gangui almost spit his coffee at the suggested markup. Ellen snorted quietly at the look on his face, grinning at the way his mustache wiggled when he was shocked.

“Keep your paper, I can do without it today,” Gangui scoffed.

“Suit yourself, you chicken is almost ready,”

“Anyways,” Gangui turned back towards his company, “Have you tried the chicken here? It is really good. They use some good dry rub on it, not sure what’s in it, but its foreign spice I say. Just another bonus of being on the port,”

“No,” she admitted, but was curious. “What is dry rub mean? Meat dry? Sound bad if dry. You have bad taste.”

Gangui guffawed, “How can you knock it until you try it? It’s really good, I promise, the meat is still tender, but the skin is packed with flavor. I can’t explain dry rub, you’ll see it when she brings it out, OH--” He leaned back on his chair to yell at the kitchen, “And bring plenty of light-mead and--”

Snap! The little wooden legs of the chair couldn’t support a man and his armor, let alone a large man like Gangui. The crashing sound of metal and wood was almost akin to the pots and pans in a kitchen falling all at once. It was Ellen’s turn to burst into laughter now. Though she lept to his side in an instant, her freckled face was split in a wide smile. The mixed-blood knelt down to the warrior’s prone side splayed on the old wood floor as he was. Red filled his vision as braids and curls and feathers loomed overhead. She patted him gently on a metal shoulder, still giggling and sniffling with mirth.

“You are well? I tell you this armor too much. Need clothes, like me. You too worried, and too heavy.”

Gangui surged with a momentary lapse of sanity when the anger from being made look a fool crept up his spine like greased lightning. It was strange how in some situations the barbarian’s fuse was long and drawn out, but certain trivialities made him explode in mere moments. Grabbing the broken stool he threw it across the room like it was a pebble, “I supposed I’ll have to pay for that,” his voice strife with disdain. He slammed a fist on the floor angrily. Before he could do anything else though, the beautiful red head was at his side, filling his vision with a better type of red, not the angry type. Instantly, he calmed down. He wasn’t sure why or how, but he did. It felt good to look upon her.

“I am fine, thank you little bird,” His face began to glow red slightly at her melodic laughter.
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[Foster's Landing] Up Shit Creek (Gangui)

Thu Nov 09, 2017 1:29 am

Suddenly, the innkeeper’s wife appeared once more, iron skillet in hand and raised to strike. “What in Pahrn’s name is going on out here?!” she screamed, red in the face and looking for heads to crack. She looked at the stool, then at the only two people in the room sitting at the floor together. Her nostrils flared, but she hesitated. “What happened?” she asked, managing to sound considerably less irate.

The armored hulk stood up with a surprising amount of grace that seemed unusual for one donned in such armor. The floor shook around him from the great weight of flesh and metal. Wiggling his nose and gesturing with outstretched hands in sign of peace, Gangui explained, “Nothing to see here. I leaned back and the chair broke. No problems here.” Hoping to calm the woman was something that surprised him. Coughing, he accepted the woman’s rebuke and insistence that he payed for the chair. Perhaps it was karma for being a cheapskate over the newspaper. Gangui was also particularly aware of how Ellen seemed to sooth him so, but he pushed the thoughts away for another time.

“Ahem.” He sniffed and sat heavily next to Ellen’wyn again, who seemed particularly interested in why he wanted to wear armor so often. “The armor, yes. I do very dangerous work, little bird. I am a mercenary contractor and a good ol’ boy.” He didn’t mention that a 'good ol’ boy' meant a political actor. “I never know when I must battle or when a turn-cloak may attack. It is just the way of the world here. There is a price for casting down the shackles and the yoke of the Immortals. Lesser men think they can rule in their stead.”

“You not take any trial off?” She looked skeptical. It must be boring to do the same thing all the time. “Never tire?”

“I never get tired!” Gangui scoffed. It was a strange question. No one had ever asked him that before. Never! Since the days he was a slave in the tunnels of Sirothelle learning the price of liberty, to the never-ending work at the Landing. “We don’t have time to be tired! Plus, I do a lot of sitting around between jobs.” Gangui coughed again. “What do you do anyways?”

“Hmm,” she hummed, processing the warrior’s words. “Hunt,” Ellen finally admitted. “I hunt beast. Spend much time in wood, but little wood here I see. Told more north. Must see very soon.”

“I can take you up north.” As they spoke, the steaming hot chicken arrived at the their table with all the dressings. Gangui quickly forgot forests and hunting as his stomached growled, urging him to eat. Seating himself on a different chair, he attacking the bird as if it had killed his own father. The warrior ate in front of the woman with little regard. With grease on his hands and face, he looked at her and asked her the most pressing question of the century. “So, are you related to chickens? I mean, I almost feel like I might be eating a long distant cousin of yours.”

The redhead perked up at the large man’s offer, fidgeting with sudden excitement. But she allowed him the satisfaction of his food as he had allowed hers, and seemed unperturbed by his table manners--she wasn’t very particular. “Would like very much,” she mused aloud as Gangui chewed and tore and pulled at the chicken. He devoured the chicken so completely that he flipped it over and slurped the slivers of meat of the back as well. Ellen eyed the spectacle with some interest, smiling over his intensity. He put her to shame, really. Made her look like quite the lady. His question caught her off guard though, and she looked both momentarily confused and then a little offended.

“Chicken? No! I am Sev’ryn.” She made no acknowledgement to her Avriel heritage. The half-blood ignored it with an obvious dismissal. “From Desnind. South, over Ta'langean Erọim. The… ocean.” She realized to Gangui it would be the southern sea, but for all of Ellen’s life up until leaving home, it had been the northern ocean.
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[Foster's Landing] Up Shit Creek (Gangui)

Thu Nov 09, 2017 1:31 am

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Gangui burped long and loud. “Ahhhh…” He almost broke the chair again, but caught himself at the last moment, “I ain’t no bigot, but your wings are hard to miss. You’ve got Avriel in ya?” Ellen wrinkled her nose distastefully, scowling at the warrior from across the table. He couldn’t take a hint, clearly, and wasn’t going to leave well-enough alone now.

“Yes,” she growled through slightly gritted teeth and a curled lip. “Know little, but father is Avriel. No met him. No want to. No care if dead or alive. No want to speak of it, thank you.” Her words ended sharply, snapping across the gap between them like a barbed whip. Birdy had talons. Ellen’s feathers were quite ruffled by now, figuratively and literally. When she was agitated, they seemed to expand and make her larger. It was an unconscious thing, but when she noticed, she very carefully flattened them once more, leaving her sleek and collected once more--at least more so than before.

“Let us walk,” the redhead finally said, needing to cool down. Stretching her legs and breathing in the somewhat fresher air of the streets outside would help clear her head. Without much of a glance his way, Ellen made for the door, very deliberate in her quick strides. Out she went without him, though she paused in the street.

Smiling at the zest that the woman exhibited at his pushing the Avriel issue, Gangui was not expecting her to jump up so quick. Fumbling with his coin sack, he dropped what the two of them owed and tipped his iron helm to the purveyors, before stomping out behind Ellen. Forgetting to duct, he bumped into the door post, but luckily for him the iron helm guarded well against such a frequent occurrence.

“Excuse me,” Gangui managed to say remembering his manners. He didn’t mention anything more about the wings, because it seemed a very touchy subject. He wondered how she got along with these racial things, though obviously a question for another time. Shaking his right leg like a dog finishing it’s piss behind an alley, he worked out the creaking knee that plagued him in the mornings before he was up and going.

“Oh fine Ellen’wyn, tell me more of what you intend to do in Foster’s,” He had asked her earlier, but that was two days ago and so much more information had gone through his mind since then. He walked next to her with a slight gait in his leg that quickly went away, “Shall we tour the Landing?”
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[Foster's Landing] Up Shit Creek (Gangui)

Thu Nov 09, 2017 1:38 am

The half-breed looked at the tall warrior with a side-long glance, considering him for a moment. Her arms were crossed when he appeared, but she moved them to rest on her hips. “Must find necklace first,” she announced, though that was nothing new. “Then… do not know. Work important. Do not know when leave. Home maybe, for now. But no big plans, understand?” She turned to him then, looking much more unsure yet still with that determined set of her brows.

Gangui listened intently to her words, trying to block out all other active thoughts. He tried to place himself in her shoes briefly, and was instantly reminded of his own missing heirloom. He looked upon the redhead’s soft face. She seemed young and still so full of naive goodness. The mustachio wondered if she had encountered her darker self yet. Perhaps it was different with Avriel? Gangui was no apostate to reason and wouldn’t jump to conclusions; at least not yet.

“I understand... Did your mother give you that necklace?” He tried to use a soft voice, but the harsh gravel of his tone still came through.

Ellen’s small shoulders sagged imperceptibly at Gangui’s question. Absently, she rubbed her neck where the necklace had sat just trials before. “Yes,” she admitted. “For luck and reminder of home. To return me safe. Sev’ryn… very spiritual peoples. It was symbol of Moseke, because she is special to mother. Moseke care for Sev’ryn. Fight for us. Love us. Mother said she watch over me.”

Taking a deep breath, the Etzorsi patriot realized that his gut feelings about Ellen being naive were in fact true. She spoke as if Moseke actually cared for them. Hadn’t she sworn off the Immortals? It was folly indeed and he realized that mere logic would not persuade her as easily as others. He couldn’t rebuke her, nor tear her childhood to pieces. Pausing while they ambled, Gangui looked at Ellen’wyn.

“I understand. Fald’run--curse his name--killed my father and stole his sword. It was supposed to be mine.” His voice was as soft as before except for a twinge of bitterness. “He robbed me of my birth right. It was difficult. I can only imagine what you are going through.” He couldn’t resist a small rebuke toward Moseke though. “But, little-bird, you’ve turned away from the Immortals and cast aside all doubt. Wouldn’t it better if you didn’t keep a memento of your previous life of bondage under the yoke of tyranny?”

For a moment, at least, Gangui seemed quite supportive of her plight. She was glad to be able to empathize with someone, but in the end he didn’t seem to understand. It was like cold water down her shirt. Ellen looked ahead down the street they travelled, face grim. People milled about on their daily business, ignoring them for the most part, thought it was wasn’t a surprise when they received the occasional look. Quite the pair they were--Gangui, tall and imposing in his quietly rattling armor, and Ellen, petite and wild looking with the obvious oddities on her back.

“Not better. Love my mother very much. More than anyone. You want sword back. You be happy if I say forget? Just metal. Big knife. No importance!”
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[Foster's Landing] Up Shit Creek (Gangui)

Thu Nov 09, 2017 1:39 am

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Gangui paused once again, before continuing to amble, “Many people tell me to forget it, little-bird, trying to retrieve it from Faldrun would spell certain doom for me--”

“Why want me to forget, then? Sword important. Necklace important. Different meaning, value same. Why people here hate Immortal so much? What happened?”

The armored mustachio paused for a long time mulling on her questions. He knew that if he didn’t phrase the explanation correctly he would lose her, just as he had lost Finn. Trying to remember his father’s words didn’t help either. She was not him and those words would not work. He wished he was better at this. Arriving at the port canals, Gangui beckoned his new friend to sit next to him at the edge of the water as the skiffs and barges slid along the gilded surface of the water.

“Ellen’wyn,” he finally said after the long silence, “Do you see this marvel? Have you seen anything like it?” He waved his hand over the horizon. A moment of de’ja vu struck him. He figured he was doing something right, “I don’t know if you understand the toil and strife that it took us to build this. We built it without the help of the Immortals. Do you see how the ships offload their goods directly onto the smaller ones?” He slid in closer to the redhead, nearly touching her, and pointed at the activity.

“They carry the barrels directly to the city. Anywhere else, hundreds of men would have to wake up every day to off load the goods, lift them onto carts, cart them to the next boat, lift them again, and lift them again and again,” His icy blue eyes met her golden-hazels, “The labor of many men are saved here today because we cast aside the Immortals. The Immortals would never care for us so much as to build us such a magnificent system to save our toil and give us more freedom. The Immortals use us,” Again with the bitterness, “We are tools in their eyes, even to Moseke.”

Ellen listened the warrior’s words closely. There was a lot of information, but she’d asked a heavy question. She was grateful that he didn’t speak too fast. The redhead wagged her feet gently over the ledge of the canal while she thought and he spoke, her head tilted toward his shoulder in consideration of his words.
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[Foster's Landing] Up Shit Creek (Gangui)

Thu Nov 09, 2017 2:38 am

“Do not understand why it up to Immortals to make helpful tools. Not lazy to blame others? Moseke gave mother’s people life. Do not know why she would hurt us after. But you see this with own eyes? Bad Immortals? Or people just say?” She was obviously skeptical. Ellen’wyn had spent her entire life growing up under the teachings that yes, not all Immortals were good. But Moseke was. At least the half-blood was convinced that the patron of her people had to be. She’d never personally met the powerful being.

The redhead shook her head, obviously frustrated by it all. “Even if you speak truth, you will still help? Or you lie about that?” She levelled him with a serious gaze. Leaning back on her hands beside him, the young woman had to crane her neck to meet his blue gaze, but she was unphased by this. Her eyes held a challenge, as if daring him to back out now.

The warrior was surprised at her quandary, and the fire in her eyes was vitalizing. He spoke deep and quick, leaning in with the intensity of the fiery Aukari blood in his veins. “Do not question my honor, little bird! I am a man of my word!” A rush of color sprung to the half-Avriel’s cheeks as he swooped in close. She could feel his breath on her face, and she shivered at the sudden proximity of him.

Springing up to his feet in one fluid movement--particularly quick for being fully armored--he reached out a hand. “Let us go to the tower immediately. We will sort this out.” Raising her onto her feet, he put a little too much force and pulled the young woman into his body.

Ellen yipped loudly as she was drug from the ground and thrown up against Gangui’s armored torso. She was deceivingly light, even for someone of her stature. She braced herself there, her fingers spread across cool plate and chain. A little dazed and dizzy from being jerked around, the redhead blinked rapidly at the tall warrior. Thankfully her bearings returned rather quickly, yet her reaction was less than elegant. Her face burned fiercely and she jerked away from him, stumbling back and tumbling onto her behind on the white cobbles. She landed with a loud, shocked grunt, no better off than she was moments ago. Her speckled wings splayed across the street beside her, looking haphazard and messy.

“Excuse me,” Gangui mumbled, thoroughly embarrassed for leaving her sprawled out on the ground. A few of her feathers floated about after she regained her composure. He beat himself mentally to remember to be gentler with smaller folk. Once again, he offered an outstretched hand, hoping she would pull herself up this time. She looked at the offered appendage for a few trills before finally taking hold of his gauntleted fingers. His hand dwarfed hers, and the warm leather covering his palm was a nice change from all that metal. The thought made her wobble in shocked annoyance as she rolled up to her feet with his help.

“Thank you,” the young woman mumbled, pursing her lips and avoiding his gaze. She didn’t like the sudden feeling of exposure, or the unfamiliar look in his eyes. It made her feel naked--like she should try to hide. Unconsciously her wings pulled in closer, nestling into her back.
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[Foster's Landing] Up Shit Creek (Gangui)

Thu Nov 09, 2017 1:38 pm

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Without giving her a moment to comment anymore on the awkward situation, Gangui immediately started making his way to the government buildings, which he so simply referred to as “the tower” to friends and strangers alike. The warrior took big long strides in a direct path forward. Being focused on the duty at hand was one of his strong points. The possibilities ran through his head, including death. As a man of the field, death was always an inevitable outcome. As they neared, he stopped, halting Ellen’wyn who was having a hell of a time, needing nearly twice as many steps to keep up, “You must stay firm and true to your resolve to abandon the Immortals! Any word, nay, any thought otherwise, shall mean the demise of your beloved necklace,” Receiving confirmation from her, the mustachio continued.

Ellen was panting slightly from the chase. She’d pushed the thoughts of his sudden hot-cold behavior out of her mind, readily distracted by the task at hand as “the tower” came into view. It was quite an imposing structure, and the frequency with which she saw soldiers had increased. She hovered close to Gangui’s side, balancing on the balls of her feet anxiously. “What I say? Just… ask to restore--?”

“Shhh,” a metallic finger flashed to his moustache, “I’ll do all the talking, just remember what I said…”

Taking a deep breath, Gangui cleared his thoughts. He belonged in this place. It was his home. He had fought bravely on the field of battle for the Etzorsi cause. Anxiety wanted to creep into his soul, but he had no need to feel as such. He was supposed to be there. An upstanding citizen such as himself had all the right to voice his concerns. Several soldiers passed them by, with no care. A few of them looked over, sellswords were a common occurence in the city, but the blank tabard was a cause of concern. Had he not declared a cause? He had though, even if they didn’t know it. He had completely his contracts to the Citadel.

“Good soldier,” the mustache wiggled when he found someone milling about. He took Ellen’wyn’s hand, tucking it into his arm, showing he was accompanying her. She looked back and forth between the two of them, unmoving but pink in the face once again. “I wish to speak to someone who can solve a problem I encountered earlier at the docks concerning incoming goods,” The soldier merely grunted and nodded his head to a smaller building not connected to the main tower itself. Quickly, they departed his presence. It was not common to meander around such a busy location. Everyone had a job to do, including the warrior and the Avriel.

Walking into the stone office took some time. They were questioned not once, but twice, all the while with Ellen on his arm. After being passed around confusedly by several men, they finally got into contact with someone who could actually give them an answer.

“Good sir,” Gangui began speaking the half Ith’ession, half common speach that was common throughout the docks, “Verily, I come here today to beckon thee to return a piece of luggage that was accidently held in forfeit by your good soldiers when my wife,” He tilted his head towards Ellen’wyn, who was remaining quite dazed, “returned from her business voyage from Desnind,” He guffawed, “Can you believe that they accidently took her necklace, mistaking her for an Immortal worshiper?”
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[Foster's Landing] Up Shit Creek (Gangui)

Thu Nov 09, 2017 2:28 pm

The man who sat at the large oaken desk was grizzled and no nonsense. He had a thick brown beard struck with gray, and his hair was cropped short under the leather skullcap he wore. Even sitting down, Ellen could tell he was as big as Gangui, but older and wiser and probably a little meaner. A fire snapped and hissed loudly in the large fireplace dominating one wall of his ample office, making the room almost uncomfortably warm. She started to sweat almost immediately--both from nerves at the heat. The older officer listened to the warrior’s bullshit speech in silence, alternately looking between the two strangers standing before him, but lingering on the half-Avriel critically.

“Let me stop you there,” the older gentleman said, holding up a hand for silence. “Firstly, I wouldn’t believe this creature to be your wife if you bent her over my desk right now. Secondly, I can smell shit from a mile away. Seems to me you’re just a walking pile stacked about six feet high. I don’t kindly take to common trash coming in off the street and trying to lie to my face. Now… as for this necklace. Even if I wanted to help--which I don’t--because I fucking hate liars, all confiscated materials were shipped to the city this morning. So you’re out of luck. Now get the fuck out of my office. I have more important things to attend to.”

And that was that. He waved them away with an absent dismissal and picked up a few loose papers from the massive piles on his desk.

The response from the man triggered Gangui’s strong urge to cut him down.. A gauntleted fist slowly inched towards the sword on his hip, but the discipline that was instilled in him urged him to stop. Taking Ellen’wyn by the elbow, Gangui decidedly turned around and left without another word. He was angry, for he had failed miserably. The state didn’t show him any respect and he did take kindly to the insult. But what should he expect? As they walked out of the tower in a hurry, the warrior decided that he would never try such blatant lies again. He remembered the words of his father--the words his conscience screamed at him; false words congregated and manifested quickly, but the truth is more powerful, and honor will take you farther despite being a harder path. Those lessons were all he could think, and for a moment he forgot their current predicament.

Finding a shaded acacia tree to reconvene at, Gangui sighed deeply and rubbed his face. “Arghh... Can you believe that shit!? Your necklace is as good as gone!”

Ellen’s features were a mixture of confusion and deep, serious thought. Her wings twitched and she folded her arms, staring at her feet and rocking silently from the heel to toe. “Hmmm,” she hummed quietly, chewing her chapped lip. After a few long moments of reflection, she finally looked at the warrior. “Thank you for trying. Not gone though. Just different place? Still--”
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[Foster's Landing] Up Shit Creek (Gangui)

Thu Nov 09, 2017 2:39 pm

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The word ‘trying’ seemed to set Gangui off, resentful at his failure apparently, “Damnit, little bird, you’ll need a whole army to find that necklace now, don’t you understand? It’s… It’s a needle in a haystack I tell you!”

“What is meaning of ‘needle in haystack’?” she asked, immediately distracted by the foreign phrase. Suddenly she remembered something else that the rude older man had said. “And what what does ‘bend her over’ mean?” Ellen looked so innocent when she asked that it made it all the worse.

Gangui cleared his throat, seemingly caught off guard at the ponderay. His excited and forceful tone of voice changed and a smile pursed his lips, “Uh, you know...” He shrugged and motioned with a humping motion of his hips.

Ellen balked at the crude motion, but couldn’t look away. She was both horrified and wildly embarrassed. “Why?! He no know us! Because you say I was wife?!” Her freckled face practically matched the color of her hair now, and she was suddenly very hot. Images flashed in her mind, making her mouth go dry and knees feel a little weak.

She would never admit it, but her experiences with men had been very limited back in Desnind. Her youth hadn’t exactly been smooth sailing, and fits of rage didn’t tend to attract suitors. Ellen wasn’t unattractive by any means, but her fiery temper had always chased away any romantic interest. So she was mortified, yes, but more from lack of experience than an aversion. She was a grown woman after all, even if she’d never been touched by a man in the ways that really mattered. The redhead was visibly flustered, folding her arms tightly and looking at the nearby canal with poorly feigned interest. “He was stupid and old,” she grumbled, as if that meant anything.

Gangui took a deep and noisy breathe at the reaction of the redhead. He had been so entirely focused on the task, he was completely taken surprised by this sudden reaction to the thought of intimacy. As any red blooded man would react, lust filled him as he too imagined bedding the Avriel. His pants grew uncomfortably tight. He wanted to kneel to avoid Ellen’wyn seeing him like this, but he would never show a symbol of submission to her, not yet. He wanted to kiss her on the lips, but his honor-bound conscience told him not to. If he had learned anything from what just happened at the tower, it was to follow his conscious.

And his conscious was very clear on what to do next…

“Little-bird,” Gangui started, trying to think of right words. She jumped at the sound of his voice. “Don’t worry about the things old men say, they are mean on purpose,” He had to change the topic of discussion as quickly as possible, “We need to focus on the task at hand and attack it with all ferocity!”

The great mustache curled up as he smiled half genuine, half not. He wanted to smile, but not this much. Very lightly, he reached towards Ellen’wyn and held her fragile fingers between two leathery hands, “We shall retrieve your necklace, on my honor!” He kissed her hand, whiskers rubbing on her bony knuckles and looked down into her eyes. From his greater vantage point he blocked the sun from hitting Ellen’s face.

Should had just went for it. Oh yeah, that whole honor thing.
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