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 A Gathering, (Laurelin)
Laurelin
Posted: Feb 21 2008, 01:10 AM


Forever the Witch
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Group: Members
Posts: 13,554
Member No.: 89
Joined: 30-May 06



[[Note. I had no idea what I was talking about ... so if any details are odd (mainly with the cooking), please ignore them. Well, actually, you can tell me, but just be aware that I am ignorant when it comes to such things.]]

Surprisingly, Laurelin was unaware of anything but what she was doing with Aiden. They both seemed cursed to become completely covered with dust and dirt and grime as they played, but they were just as cursed to smile. She was thrilled to see the child warm up to her this quickly, he seemed at least fairly comfortable in her presence, something she was overwhelmingly thankful for. The successfulness of her working for Tancred really depended upon his doing so, as far as she could gather. Her assignment seemed doomed to failure if the boy could not even learn to tolerate being near her. And while she was not overly happy about working for Tancred Elliot, she also knew if she failed, even if it was the child's fault, she could very well be put to death. It was simply the way the guild worked.

Time passed without her being aware of it doing so as she played with the boy, just being in the presence of such a wonderful, if mischievous, toddler causing her to relax. He reminded her greatly of Taleneira, something that she did not really mind. They were fairly close in age, although her daughter was almost a year older. All the same, they were still similar enough that Laurelin found herself completely at ease playing with him. She smiled freely, completely forgetting about the presence of the boy's father as she did so, as she was completely wrapped up only in playing with the child in front of her. His childish giggles delighted her, and she found herself forgetting everything but him.

At least until Tancred suddenly walked up to them and picked up the boy.

Unable to hide the fact that her facade of hardness had dropped so, Laurelin met his eyes, feeling strangely bare before him. There was no time to harden her heart again and make her mask fall back into place, she had been smiling as the man walked up and it faded only slowly. She felt greatly ill at ease, and it showed in the soft shifting of her weight as she waited, almost like a disobedient child, for him to acknowledge her. It was easy enough when she had her mask on to pretend that she did not feel, that she was perfect the way she was, that she feared nothing. When it dropped however, she was left vulnerable and as a result, cautious. Especially since her heart had been so recently broken by the man she thought never would do so. Her wounds ran deep, and when she was not hiding behind the Laurelin that was the guild member, the assassin, the seductress, her vulnerability and really, her youth, showed. Or at least it did in her own mind. She did not like the idea that others could read her in any way. And she especially did not like the idea that Tancred might be able to. Still, she met his eyes evenly as his gaze finally moved to hers, the slight lifting of his lips in what might have been considered a soft smile surprising her. Still, she did not return it, even though she was slightly tempted, instead she just continued to let her typical facade slowly trickle back into place, possessing her body and her mind. She would not let her guard down like that again. She would be watching for it next time and would not allow it to happen. Never again would she smile in his presence, or in any way show emotion. It was too dangerous.

Laurelin was immensely glad that she had not started to smile at him as his features abruptly changed, almost as quickly as hers had, changing back into the hard and emotionless mask that she had come to expect from him. His colder tone of voice, as well as his almost harsh movements were not lost on her, she clearly recognized their meaning. They were meant to put her in her place, to remind her that she still served him and by no means was she his equal or even close to being so. She was dirt, she needed to remember that if she was to survive this, as much as it irritated her.

Waiting until he had turned and walked away, Laurelin stood and walked back to the fire, her temper rising slightly. It wasn't 'please ready some dinner'. It was 'ready some dinner'. There was no asking, only demands. The brute. She vaguely wondered if Aiden's mother had left because she couldn't stand the father, though she suspected that Tancred would not have been so rude as to treat his lover in that manner. Laurelin knew well enough that she was in a position to be used, though knowing that did not help her temper at the injustice at all.

Frustration starting to boil, Laurelin blocked out all the sounds of the two full Albs interacting, instead focusing on doing what was necessary in the way of fixing the meal. She dug through the packs that Tancred had gestured to, quickly selecting vegetables that she had picked out earlier that day, then some salted meat. Taking a good sized pot, she dumped her findings in it, then carried it over to the fire. For a moment, she pondered the idea of asking Tancred if there was a source of water nearby, then pushed such thoughts from her mind and gathered a skin, going off in search of a source herself.

Knowing how to find such things, it did not take her long to discover a small spring coming out of a rock only five minutes or so from the camp. After tasting the water she found it to be fresh, and she filled the skin before heading back. Once there, she set about making a stew, throwing the meat after she cut it up into little cubes into the water even as it began to heat. Peeling and chopping the vegetables was her next task, and it was completed in little time. Finishing the rest of her preparations, Laurelin set about setting up a place for her to spend the night, getting her bedroll ready as well as everything else around the fire organized. If Tancred strayed into the camp, she purposely ignored him, as well as whatever he was doing.

Finding she had nothing else to do, she ventured back to the food and stirred it, deciding that it was ready. She quickly laid out some bread, as well as eating utensils near the fire. Straightening, her eyes scanned the area for the man that was ruling her life. "The dinner is ready." She almost added the words 'if you are', but decided against it. He already knew he was the one in charge, there was no need to remind him by submitting more than she had to.


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Drydan
Posted: Feb 24 2008, 05:47 AM


Paladin
*

Group: Members
Posts: 506
Member No.: 167
Joined: 28-April 07



As Tancred walked away from Laurelin, he couldn't help but feel a pang of guilt for the way he was treating her. The girl had done nothing than try and please him, and he readily admitted that he was being less than gentleman-like to her. It was as if he was trying too hard to exert his authority on her. The thought irked him. By being so gruff with her, he was almost suggesting that he felt as if his authority was threatened...by her! The thought was preposterous. Tancred growled under his breath.

He was not the type of man who felt threatened or bothered by much. He could honestly say that he felt very little fear. There were two things in life that scared him. The first was the thought of anything happening to Aiden. The very thought made his heart pound and blood broil. Tancred's second fear was a threatening woman. By 'threatening', he didn't mean physically dangerous. A threatening woman to Tancred was one that he felt attracted to or could see himself warming too. When faced with either of his two fears, Tancred's automatic instinct was to become colder and more aggressive, as he was certainly doing with Laurelin. He had slowly taken the thick layers or armor off his heart but once...he had no plans of leaving himself so vulnerable ever again.

The very thought of Aiden's mother was enough to make Tancred see red. He hadn't killed her...but he had had a very strong influence on her assignments. At present, the woman was freezing her traiterous be-hind off up in northern Albear in the most god-forsaken stretch of land in the whole country. He had no intention of allowing her back into society anytime in the forseable future.

But back to the matter of the present...he muttered under his breath. What to do with Laurelin? He needed her...but Tancred was finding himself not completely immune to the woman. He wasn't lured by many women, in fact, very few caught his attention. However, Laurelin was snagging his'. Of course, she was beautiful, but there was something more to it than that. There were many beautiful women in and out of the guild. It was something else...her mystery. Perhaps that was it. He had always been intrigued by something he either couldn't have or didn't completely understand.

Aiden, tired of being ignored by his father, waved a stick and swacked his father across the face with it. Tancred jerked and growled at his son. Reaching out, he snagged the little boy and tossed him in the air, growling playfully at the lad. Setting Aiden on his shoulders, Tancred picked up the sticks he had gathered while thinking and meandered back to the camp where Laurelin was busy working. Placing the pile by the fire, he watched her for a moment before leaving the camp to give her room to work.

When Laurelin called, Tancred returned to the camp immediately. Stopping beside her, Tancred peered over the fire into the pot and sniffed, his face carefully neutral. His eyes lit with surprised appreciation, the look clear on his face. He suddenly decided that having Laurelin around was worth the trouble he was having within himself if the food tasted as nice as it smelt. Giving Laurelin a smile, Tancred reached up and pulled Aiden from his shoulders.

"Smells good."

Gathering enough utensils and bowls for both him and Laurelin, Tancred spooned out a bowl of stew. Handing the first bowl to her, he quickly severed himself before lowering himself to the ground beside the fire. Sitting cross-legged, he settled Aiden in his lap. Spooning out a spoonful of stew, he tried a bit. His eyes widened at the heat, but he smiled appreciatively.

"Fantastic!...thank-you, Laurelin."

Taking some more, he raised the spoon to his lips but didn't eat it. Blowing gently, he cooled the stew before giving it to Aiden. They continued to share the stew for a few minutes before Tancred turned his attention over to his wonderful little chef. Laurelin had just risen several notches in his eyes, and the smile on his lips testified to that fact. Tossing his head slightly, Tancred tossed a lock of hair out of his face that had fallen across his brow and smiled at her, before making an effort to start a conversation that wasn't simply orders-and agreement- type conversation.

"Aiden seems quite taken with you. You handled him well. I like how you played with him. He's not very used to anyone else. You are good for him."


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Laurelin
Posted: Feb 24 2008, 10:26 PM


Forever the Witch
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Member No.: 89
Joined: 30-May 06



Laurelin didn't move as Tancred walked back into the camp, instead she stayed frozen and mute next to the fire as his steps carried him almost too quickly toward her. His promptness was not something she had expected, but she did not mind it. At least the stew would not be overcooked while she kept it warm for him, neither would it have time to cool in case she decided on that method instead of risking it burning. She did not expect his look of appreciation either, it seemed like a strange dropping of his mask. For already she could tell that he had one too ... and that there was much he kept hidden even from himself, though she suspected that even he did not know that. Her knowledge only came from years of being around hundreds of different men in almost as many situations. They were odd creatures ... yet at the same time, incredibly interesting. And annoying. She knew she would never understand them, though she was at times able to see their personalities more clearly than she was sure most were aware of or comfortable with.

His smile and compliment made her uncomfortable, causing her eyes to drop to the ground. She did not want it now, the idiot! If he were to smile at her, could it not have been before, when he had taken Aiden from her? The brute. The horrid, incorrigible ... and annoyingly handsome ... brute!

Seeing him grab a bowl out of the corner of her eye, Laurelin took a step back, falling into her servant persona ... the training that could not have been farther from her actual personality. Inside, she was practically screaming to be given equal standing, she had never learned the part of the submissive female well, no wonder no man had never wanted to marry her. Her being a half bred, which supposedly made her even further below everyone else, did not help matters either. Still, she managed contain herself for the moment, but she knew well enough that she would not be able to keep up this act for long before her temper started to show. What Tancred would do to her when it did was a threatening enough thought to cause her to want to cling to her submissiveness ... what little she had of it. She would wait to eat until he was done, if there was any left and if he chose to let her have any. It was her role, as much as she detested it. A scream of frustration tried to escape her throat, begged to be released, but it was thankfully held back. Oh, the brute! She could find the motivation to kill him quite easily, she was certain. She just wanted to go home!

His offering the first bowl to her caught her off guard, making her pause for a moment before she slowly accepted it. Hardness and cautiousness appearing even more in her eyes, Laurelin stared at him strangely. Had he really just done that? She continued to stare at him mutely before he sat down, then she quickly did the same, somehow managing to look composed and cold despite her feelings toward the opposite. Realizing she had to say something, anything, she looked down at her stew, trying to figure out how to thank him. "Thank you." She could think of nothing else, so thoroughly was she surprised. When was the last time that a man had served her? It was almost enough to cause her resentment for him to fade slightly ... only slightly. While it would have been typical for an full bred Albae woman to have been served first, it certainly was not typical in her position.

His compliment and his own word of thanks did even more in disarming her, making her feel slightly uncomfortable. The feeling did not dissipate as he started to eat and also feed Aiden. His smile rather, increased it, as did his compliment, which seemed like an attempt at conversation. But what was she to say in reply? Did he expect another 'thank you', or something more? What was she to say to this man? And while she had found his overbearing presence alarming, she found this change even more so. He was almost friendly, something she had not expected, she never would have expected it. Why was he treating her in this manner? Could he see the uncertainty she was trying to hide from her eyes as they glanced at him occasionally? She truly did not know how to respond to him. He was her superior, and while just an hour ago she might have been longing for a kind word from him as she played with his child, now she found she did not want it. It frightened her greatly, even more so than any threat he could have given her.

Desperately trying to think of something to say, Laurelin looked at her stew in silence as she ate it, wondering what in the world to do. Unbidden, the vision of him flipping his hair out of his eyes and smiling as he had just done rose to her mind, making a soft smile tug at one of the corners of her mouth. She could not help it, for that moment he had seemed so .. normal. So friendly. Almost unlike an Alb. And so hopelessly drawing. It caused her to want to brush that lock of hair back for him, to run her fingers through it ...

By the goddess! What was she doing!? Was she truly entertaining thoughts of herself with a man that was her superior?! He would never look at her, he was as Albae as they came. There would be no attraction to her, that she knew! Thoroughly disgusted at herself, Laurelin brushed any memory of the thought away and looked at Tancred, still trying to think of something to say to him. Suddenly, just saying 'thank you' sounded wonderful, at least it might spark a conversation and distract her. Thankfully though, another thought rose to her mind, and it was past her lips before she even thought about it a second time.

"What were we running from?"


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Drydan
Posted: Mar 7 2008, 07:00 AM


Paladin
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Group: Members
Posts: 506
Member No.: 167
Joined: 28-April 07



Tancred was completely aware of what he was doing when he offered the first bowl of soup to the half-breed woman who was now his companion. He never did anything without a reason and definitely never did anything without first perceiving the meanings or consequences. Well, almost never. No one was ever perfect.

Catching her off guard was worth any assumptions she may care to wish about the offer. Catching her gaze, Tancred held Laurelin's eye-contact while she hesitated. He could clearly see her analyzing the situation and trying to figure out his motives. To figure out where she fit in this relationship. For the most part, she played the submissive servant well. Although she did a good job of keep up the false persona, Tancred had dealt with too many guild members to not know when they were being deceitful. In this circumstance, Laurelin's submissive, quite persona served her well. However, Tancred, for some reason, was more intrigued by her other side. The one she had briefly let flare at him once before.

He knew it was completely inappropriate and meaningless for him to accept anything more than the front she was presenting him. What she was doing was the politically correct way for her to behave, and he should be uncaring and continue about his business without a second thought to her. For the most part, that was almost the case. Tancred didn't particularly care about the dark haired woman. He felt little sense of responsibility for her. He had, after all, only been in her company but a day. However, he was finding himself intrigued by her. Those sweeping dark lashes that covertly covered her heavy brooding gaze, those full lips, her womanly curves, that snap of temper he'd seen...

Tancred gathered that his annoying interest in the woman would quickly expire as he would uncover her true personality and probably become rapidly uninterested. That was always the way. Look a little too long, and the flame always died. He was not concerned. All there was left to do was wait it out. For now, all he needed was a capable nanny for Aiden and someone who cooked better than him.

After they had settled down and Tancred had tried his hand at a little conversation making...and failed...they ate in silence. Thus, he was surprised when Laurelin finally spoke. It was not what he had expected her to say. However, nothing in his conduct showed surprise at the unpredicted question as he continued to feed Aiden. Looking up, his gaze professionally polished to make one whole-heartedly believe every word that passed his lips without a second thought, he calmly replied, his eyes meeting hers' evenly, "We were not running away from anything."

His tone was almost irritatingly patient, as if explaining such an obvious thing annoyed him. That the very idea of him retreating or running from something was proposterous. Wasn't it? He would have her believe it was.

"I have business to attend to in other parts that would fair best if we did not tarry."

That said, Tancred held Laurelin's gaze evenly. Even during the lie, nothing about him gave away any physical hints that he was not being truthful. Nary an eyelash flickered. The man was frightfully in control of himself and how others might perceive him. He had not been able to climb the dagger ridden ladder to his current high rank because of his startling integrity and open honesty. Nay, Tancred could use words like any other tool. He selected and used the ones that would build him the circumstance he wanted, or create for him a desired escape. As he had demonstrated during his speech at the rally, Tancred knew exactly how to weave things to his making. He had no intention of explaining to Laurelin his complicated relationship with the king.



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Laurelin
Posted: Mar 24 2008, 09:06 PM


Forever the Witch
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Group: Members
Posts: 13,554
Member No.: 89
Joined: 30-May 06



[[Wow ... I am replying exactly a month after my last reply ... you may hit me now. *hides*]]


Her dark eyes met his evenly as she awaited an answer. The man's entire posture remained the same, not a single thought or emotion played on his face or in his eyes. For all he reacted, she might as well have not spoken at all. Realizing that perhaps she had taken the courtesy he had shown her a little too far, expecting him to actually answer her and continue to treat her with a semblance of respect, Laurelin barely resisted the urge to frown. Her displeasure was both at him, and at herself. Him for just being Albae. For treating her as everyone else did, for taking her away from her children, for being cold and callous. However, herself she hated for starting to open up to him, however slightly. Her lessons in the inability to trust had been hard learned, but perhaps it was by the cause of her mother's elven heritage that they were almost too easily forgotten. By this time in her life, she knew that she should be more aware of the fact that she was worth nothing to no one, and that respect was a dream that was never going to be realized. It was simply a fact of life, over which she only begrudged herself. She was the one that caused such things to bother her, no one else. Still, anger at him simmered, controlled for the moment.

When he did look up to meet her gaze, Laurelin stared at him evenly, her gaze completely expressionless. Just as his was, she reflected. Just that fact making her eyes narrow slightly, her eyes searched his thoroughly. Not in a way that was soft or feminine, but in a way that was almost challenging. It was not just his expression that caused such a reaction in her, but it was also his words. Her jaw clenching together, the fury and wrath that had taunted her moments before came even more strongly over her. The patience in his tone only made her anger stronger. Did he think she was a child?! Did he think that she was so foolish as to actually believe what he was telling her?! She knew there was far more that had gone on at the camp than he had revealed. His behaviors there had informed her quite plainly and easily of that fact. Admittedly, if she had not worked in the guild as long as she had, the lie probably would have worked quite well. She would have believed it. However, her anger was too strong at that moment for her to even consider the fact that he was telling the truth, perhaps that was more the reason behind her actions than anything.

However, there was also the fact that she was very good at what she did. A spy and an informant, she had learned to look for inconsistencies, both in words and in behavior. When he had told her that they were still leaving that morning, she had not missed how his voice had dropped, even though they were in the midst of a crowd of people that made it difficult to hear. Admittedly, there could be the slight chance that the mission they were going on was a secret one, one that required that no one knew. That however, seemed unlikely, at least in her mind. So firmly ingrained had the idea that they were running become throughout the course of that day that it was impossible for her to logically accept any other reason or purpose behind his actions. The idea of them running had not disturbed her in the least, she was used to the lack of loyalty in the guild. Though she had never been directly involved in such disputes herself, she was more than familiar with them and how they worked. She had never been targeted. However, she had targeted.

Her eyes continuing to stare into his, a faint spark of anger appeared. She was not going to snap. No, he had already told her that he would put up with no such thing from her. He had told her to control her temper, and she would. Barely. That much he would get from her. That did not, however, mean that he would be spared from the outpouring of wrathful words that were trying to project themselves from her mouth. As much as she clenched her teeth, there was no way that she would able to hold them back. There was nothing she disliked more than dishonesty, having been burned by it too many times. However, she also knew that a faint amount of trust was going to be needed between them if their business relationship was to at all succeed. She was going to be watching his child, he would have to have some level of trust in her, no matter how much he would have denied it. If it was her children, there would be no way in Fynrir or in Albaeir that she would leave them with someone unless she trusted that person to spill their very blood for them. And how could he trust her to be willing to do that if he couldn't even trust her with information as to what their circumstances were? ... not that she necessarily would be willing do so, but that did not change the facts.

Realizing she could not stay at the fire with him, she stood, her entire body rigid in her fury. Laurelin almost turned and went without a word, then she stopped, staring at him evenly for a moment that seemed to last far too long. Her gaze challenging him, she knew that by her standing and staring down at him in such a way her message was clear. She was calling into question his words and his character, and she was certain that he knew it. Realizing too late that such an action was not smart, her chin titled a fraction of an inch in further denial of his authority. Knowing that there was no way to repair the situation now that her stand had been made, she managed to pick a few words out of the large assortment of them that were swirling through her mind. "You may call me many things, Tancred Elliot. However, don't you ever dare call me a fool." The words delivered in a tone that dripped with venom, yet in a low and almost bitter tone, she turned her back on him and stiffly walked away, carrying her meal.

It was not so much that she wanted an explanation from him, it was more that she had strictly wanted the courtesy of trust. She did not expect an explanation from him even now. Actually, especially not know. The chances of him even knowing where to find her were remote as she slipped through the trees. Somehow, hiding seemed safest, for the moment. She knew there was no way that he was going to be pleased, she expected and accepted that. However, she did not hide out of fear, only out of the necessity to be alone and to think. Also, she knew that if he had any training in tracking at all, he would find her all too easily.

Stopping when she reached the spring where she had fetched water for their meal, she sat beside it on a large boulder and looked around, her eyes taking in the nature that surrounded her. It was so much easier to understand than humans and their relations were. A seed fell from a tree and grew, springing up to towering heights with nary a thought or a care, dropping its own seeds in an attempt to make its mark on the world, when in reality, just the tree being there was a mark in itself. It stood resilient against the wind and the snow and the rain and the weather. It was immovable in calm. A soft and almost humorless laugh escaped her. If only humans were more like trees.


[[Gah. I told her she couldn't know that he was lying, that it made her too powerful and insightful and stuff, but she wouldn't listen! And when I said I wouldn't write it, she took away my muse and refused to give me anything else. I am sorry. She looks so smug right now. *glares at Laurelin*]]


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Drydan
Posted: Mar 26 2008, 08:38 PM


Paladin
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Group: Members
Posts: 506
Member No.: 167
Joined: 28-April 07



Another outburst? Hadn't he told her once that he had little tolerance for flashes of temper? Tancred inwardly had to fight down his own impatience and anger. Who was she to scold him?! She had asked a question that was beyond her right to know. What should be concerning her...the only things that should be concerning her...were Aiden and his needs. That was all. If Tancred decided to tell her more, that was his prerogative. However, until the time came that he was willing, and felt the need to enlighten her, she had no right to complain about being left in the dark. Tancred told no one his business. It was bad enough that he was having to have a woman travel with him and share his space. He didn't need her inside his affairs and head as well!

Why the guild doubted this woman's guild potential...he didn't know. Her personality definitely distinguished her as being an Alb, despite the fact that she had some elvish blood running through those fierce veins of hers'. As she stood, literally shaking from her inward rage, Tancred was forced to lift his gaze to meet her eyes. That alone made him scowl. He wasn't used to anyone other than the king exerting any sort of authority over him....man or woman. Swallowing the temptation to release his own temper upon her, Tancred inwardly stilled himself and instead distanced himself from her with a cold gaze. Many of the Albish persuasion found his insessent calm infuriating. Tancred was aware how it disturbed many, and had learned the hard way that he could control more people with cool control than he could with responding in an equal display of ill-temper.

Tancred said nothing in response to those venom filled words as they spilled into the cold air. His gaze hard, Tancred stood. He had barely risen to his feet when Laurelin spun and stormed furiously away into the trees. Tancred was left glaring into her retreating back. Resisting the urge to storm after the woman and tell her exactly where she stood...Tancred bent down to pick up his son. For the next few minutes, he set the altercation from his mind and instead concentrated on fishing his dinner and making sure Aiden had his fill.

Once his own irritation at being so boldly challenged had calmed, Tancred began to inwardly contemplate both Laurelin and her words. Fool. Interesting choice of words. She obviously had not believe him. That did not take any sort of genius to figure out. That was fine. No self-respecting assassin would have. The difference being that most self-preserving assassins would have pretended to believe him and respected his choice in not revealing information that he had deemed confidential.

Laurelin was an interesting woman. One moment she acted so meek that Tancred wondered if she had ever defended anything before in her life, and the next she was facing him down with fiery words and blazing eyes. It still wasn't too late to send her on her way...yes, she knew of Aiden, but thank-fully, that was all she knew. Tancred knew he still had the freedom to get rid of her. He was fully aware of the fact that he would eventually have to enlighten her on at least some of his affairs. However, he was hesitant to do so. Once she knew... he would not be able to release her. Well, he wouldn't be able to release her alive anyways, or until the king was dead and buried.

Grumbling under his breath, Tancred left the dinner and went to his bags. Pulling out a canvas, he strung it low between several trees to make a sort of shelter. As he worked, he was forced to continually go after Aiden as the little boy would wander to far off. He needed someone to take care of the lad. There was no other option than to keep the woman around. The days of taking Aiden with him on assignments and into meetings were rapidly coming to a close.

Scooping up Aiden for the ten-thousandth time, Tancred sent a rather dirty look in the direction that Laurelin had gone. How long did she plan to stew? As Aiden once again began to squirm, Tancred raised his voice in a very sharp, "Aiden, No!"

He rarely talked to the lad in such a way, but Tancred was growing very irritated.

ooc; Oh boy! He made her mad! lol


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Laurelin
Posted: Mar 28 2008, 07:53 PM


Forever the Witch
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Group: Members
Posts: 13,554
Member No.: 89
Joined: 30-May 06



The remainder of her meal was finished in contemplative silence as she analyzed her situation. There was more to it than there appeared to be, that she was sure of. Eating slowly, Laurelin let her mind drift, viewing her relationship to Tancred, and the man himself, from every angle she could possibly conceive. It was part of her training, though it unfortunately did nothing to calm her anger, instead it only served to increase it.

Oh, but he was insufferable! The stubborn, pigheaded, obstinate, arrogant, conceited - she did not even know what to call him! The best name that came to her mind was brute, and not even that conveyed the depths of how he annoyed her! Never had she met such a man, and that was saying something. Dealing mostly with men in her line of work, to never have met someone like him was a strange occurrence indeed. Perhaps what made her even more frustrated with him was the fact that he was so deathly attractive. She could not remember the last time she had found a man so drawing, he seemed to pull her to him, no matter how much she resented him. The insufferable annoyance! Why did his hair have to become tousled on his head so? And his eyes, such dark and brooding orbs of darkness that threatened to pull her very soul out of her, leaving it in his possession. And his body ...

Letting out a soft cry of frustration, Laurelin evenly kicked a rock, sending it flying into the trees. That man! Oh, how she hated him with everything she was! His physical appearance aside, she hated him. And to let herself even think about how he looked, how drawing he was ... how hopelessly and totally - Standing abruptly, she clenched her teeth, struggling to distract herself. She was being ridiculous, completely and totally ridiculous. Oh, that man! What was he doing to her? She had not found someone so attractive in years, and it seemed just her fortune that he drove her to insanity, not because of his appearance, rather by his personality!

Completely determined to hate him, Laurelin ran a list of all his traits through her mind that annoyed her. The list was frustratingly short, however she refused to dwell on that fact. She did not need a reason to hate him. It was perfectly reasonable to hate him just to hate him. Not helping matters was the fact that he had refused to verbally spar with her, she vented her anger so much more quickly and effectively when she could actually argue with a person. But no, he had to sit there, staring at her calmly, as if she were losing her mind! The annoying brute! Well, he would just see if he would be able to get a single extra thing out of her. Yes, she would tend to his son. Yes, she would obey and submit to him, provided she felt inclined to do so. However, he would not get anything more out of her than was absolutely necessary. She wanted to go home, and the less help she was, surely the sooner that event would be able to take place. Nothing was more important than being a mother to her children, and surely Aiden needed his own mother.

The thought struck her as strange, and she, although she had been pacing in her anger, stopped as if she had been forcibly pulled to a staggering halt. His mother. Good goddess, the man was probably married! Why the thought had not occurred to her before was strange, normally she would have automatically assumed such a thing. However, perhaps it was because he wore no ring, although that was not really all that odd. Many men chose not to. Well, that silenced any thoughts she might have had on being attracted to him. There was no possible way, even if she could look past how much she hated him, to even consider thinking about him now. He was nothing more than an employer, it was imperative that she remember that now.

Furious with him, she took only a moment longer to collect herself before deciding she probably should head back to the camp. Confounded man! Why she was so upset she did not really know, however she did know that she was positively livid, she truly had not cooled off at all. Keeping her teeth clenched, as if that would cause her to keep her mouth shut and silent, she walked slowly, although purposefully, back to where she had left the brute. She stopped just shy of entering the camp, her eyes narrowing as she watched the plainly frustrated father chase after his son. Unable to stop the smirk that turned the corner of her lips, she actually enjoyed watching him get angry with his toddler. The fact that he was struggling was one she enjoyed. Good. Let him suffer for a while. It was far less than he deserved.

Glancing away from them and around the camp, she took in the casual tent he had erected, looking back at the brute just in time to see him shoot a dirty look in her direction. She was quite certain that he had not seen her, nor heard her, her training combined with her elvish genetics prevented such foolish carelessness. Her sneer grew slightly as she heard his words, so he truly was irritated. Finding immense satisfaction in that fact, she waited only a moment longer before she stepped out into the camp, placing her dishes by the ones that Tancred and Aiden had used. Refusing to look at him, she gathered the dishes into the pot, knowing another trip back to the stream was needed in order to wash them. A few other tidying up measures were taken, then she straightened, finally meeting Tancred's eyes.

Unabashed, she walked to him, holding out her hands to take Aiden. None of the challenge had left her gaze, or her stance, though the smirk had wisely faded from her lips, however, not completely from her eyes. "Having a little bit of trouble?" No, not the wisest words, but she truly had not planned on speaking them, they simply left her lips without any planning or foresight as to their even existing. Her body stiffened after she realized just what she had said, and to whom she had said it. However, her pride was too great for her to ever dream of recalling them. They had been spoken, and she would take whatever consequences they led to. If there were any. He seemed rather too calm about her outbursts and her words that were spoken when they should not have been. Never had he threatened her, which perhaps gave her a false sense of security.

Still, to suggest that he was incapable of handling a year old child was definitely not the best idea. She never had excelled at controlling her tongue. And, no matter how calm he might have been before, she had the sneaking suspicion that she was going to regret her words more than any others she had ever spoken.


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Drydan
Posted: Mar 28 2008, 09:28 PM


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Member No.: 167
Joined: 28-April 07



Tancred jerked around as Laurelin glided smoothly into the camp. He was not unaware of the fact that she seemed to be purposely snubbing him. Exhaling through his mouth, he breathed in via his nose. A long, hard breath. Fighting for calm.

How she was irritating him! She had one job, that was it. Look after a certain squirming toddler. That was all he had asked of her! And yet, she was throwing tantrums because he wouldn't give her his business, and she was flouncing off into the trees to eat alone because she felt he was not being just. If only she knew! If only she knew what he spared her by keeping her in the dark. For someone of her trade, she had to know that being on the inside of political intrigue was never a safe place. That was one of the main reasons that he needed her now. The guild was becoming a very unsafe place for Tancred. Thus, he couldn't afford to be exposing a one year old to the hidden blades that lay beneath the coats of treacherous men. Having Aiden along with him was a distraction for Tancred, and he could no longer afford any distractions. As the king visibly aged, men were beginning their cunning pursuit of the throne that they all knew would soon be available. The throne in Albear was not passed down to heirs. It went to the strongest man. The one who held the most cunning, the strategist, and the one who could beat out all competition by sheer brute force.

Besides himself, Tancred was aware of two other men who were in equal range of claiming the crown upon the king's death...or murder. Whatever happened to come first. Even if Tancred was not openly campaigning for the throne, he was well aware that the other men viewed him as a large threat. Threats were only neutralized when they were eliminated. Tancred had no intention of being eliminated. Thus, he wove his webs of intrigue as thickly as the others did. An assassin paid off there...a certain mouth silenced at the next turn...a favor garnered...political ammunition gathered...a little black-mail. It was all part of the game, and the game was not a safe one.

Did she really want to know why they had been forced to leave the camp so suddenly? Tancred's web of informants and supporters ran thick. Laurelin would have no idea of how deep the intrigue and tangles went. As soon as he started sharing information, dates, people, destinations, purposes...anything... with his son's 'care-taker', she would be pulled into the thick of things. Her freedom would be permanently lost. Is that what she wanted?

Surely she was not so naive as to think a man like him had flippant business to take care of? Business that was so un-important that supplying information such as destinations would not be a hazard?

Growling under his breath as Aiden began to cry, furious at his father for holding him and simply from being over-tired, Tancred glared once again at Laurelin's back.

As she sauntered over to him...yes, she sauntered. That sway in her hips had to be purposeful. Women didn't normally glide like that...or did they? Was he simply noticing it for the first time because his eye was undeniably drawn to the infuriating and nosy woman? As she stopped in front of him, Tancred's dark eyes easily read the look in her face as she openly spurned him. Jaw muscles clenching, Tancred released another breath out his nose. As Laurelin got to know him, she would learn that that action was a clear sign that Tancred was fighting to control his temper. The scowl not completely smoothed from his face, Tancred simply shoved Aiden into her arms. He would not answer her. He would not. If he did, he would snap.

The crying boy and the arrogant, lofty, annoying woman could darn well keep each other company. Inwardly fuming, though outwardly still maintaining a large amount of calm, Tancred turned away from Laurelin. His back to her, he strode...(though some may go as far as to call it 'stomped'...) over to where their plates were now stacked. Picking them up, he headed directly towards the creak. The sounds of Aiden's aggravated cries were grating on his already taunt nerves.

Stopping abruptly at the edge of the camp, Tancred turned sharply, almost upsetting the stack of dishes he held. Only he could hold dishes and still look fierce and not loose any of his manly appeal...

His tone strained from the tight control that he was now clearly exerting over himself, Tancred spoke to her, his voice still somehow holding its calm, cool coating. He was polished, if nothing else,

"You do realize...Ms. Serkan...that men in my position have killed both men and women, who were much more valuable to the guild than you are, for far less offenses?"

His black gaze holding her's for a moment, Tancred broke their eye contact before leaving both her and Aiden to enjoy each other's irritating company.

His powerful legs carrying him quickly to the stream, Tancred scrubbed the dishes quickly, his thoughts not on what his hands were doing. His mind on Laurelin, Aiden, the guild, his business, his contacts, the king, his next move, the contacts that he was heading to arrange...basically his mind was everywhere, Tancred glanced down to realize that he was furiously scrubbing a plate that was already sparkling clean...a plate that had probably been clean for a while. Glaring, he set it aside and rocked back on his heals, staring at the trickling creak. Why could life never be simple? Easy? How come things that were supposed to make life easier never did?

Scooping up the dishes, he headed back to the camp. His temper firmly locked away, though still brewing, he strode back into camp moments before the sun dipped below the last of the trees.


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Laurelin
Posted: Mar 30 2008, 02:18 AM


Forever the Witch
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Member No.: 89
Joined: 30-May 06



Standing in front of Tancred, her arms held out to accept his child, she had to wonder, what exactly did he see when he looked at her? She herself had long ago grown accustomed to people looking down upon her for her mixed blood, perhaps that had caused some of her defensiveness. She wanted to be trusted, to be looked upon as more than a simple tool, a creature, something that existed but was not really alive. Having received that condemnation too many times, that really was what greatly caused her anger at him. She could not see him as perceiving her any other way. It did not matter to him that she had her own children she wanted to be with. It did not matter to him that he had discussed nothing of payment. It did not matter to him that he was being unreasonable to expect her to take care of his child when she did not even fully comprehend the circumstances she would be caring for him in. Perhaps his reasons were good, were noble, but she could not see them. She could see nothing but the blood the distinguished her from everyone around her. The blood that at that moment was flowing through her with complete and total hate. In her anger at the world, she did not see she was discriminating in the same ways she saw herself as being discriminated against.

Blood ... the thing that seemed to flow through Fynrir and Albaeir like its currency. Without the right blood in the right country, you had nothing, you were nothing. Just as some items of value were worth more than others in bartering, so was blood perceived. For the most part, people followed the unspoken, or at times very much spoken, rules well. The elves had their lands, their race, their thoughts, ideas, goddesses, shrines, rulers, architecture, gifts, talents, abilities ... all that was fair and right and noble and well was attributed to them. The humans less so, although they also held their place in the world, though obviously less significant. Who was to say if they were good for anything? Their lives were so sort, mere whispers in the life of the immortals or those with spans of thousands of years to live that faded into typicality. Duergar, an old race of whom few spoke and none really acknowledged during that time. They existed, that was known, though where they stood in their ideas when it came to the invasion of Fynrir little was actually known. Seeming to have faded into obscurity, their bloodlines were really of little significance among all the other matters of thought, at least among those who were not of their race.

And it all returned to the Albae. At least, it did in Laurelin's mind. Anger, hate, macabre creations, creatures of pure, complete, and total hate. She did not exempt herself from that group, even though half her blood was that of the elves. What was she to do? Choices had had to be made, everlasting decisions that had both haunted and comforted her for years. The decision to not reject how she looked, instead choosing to embrace the race of her father rather than that of her mother. Although, more of that probably had to do with the fact that she did not feel herself worthy to be among the elves ... at least if she joined an impure race she would not corrupt it. That, and the lands of Fynrir held too much heartbreak for her ... far too much. Never again would she trust a man from there. Neither did she trust the Albae men, but at least there was less of an uncertainty when it came to them. They were predictable machines of anger and destruction, killing and not loving. In an odd way, she found their callousness refreshing, much easier to feel safe around than the tenderness that often accompanied men of the races of Fynrir. But then, she had never met a duergar either.

It was because of that same blood, that issue, that perhaps she was naive in certain things, though she was not aware of it. The guild hid things from her, using her like a puppet that was unalive, inanimate, unable to think or to reason. Little information was ever given to her, though she still completed her assignments well. All the same, because of that she did not know the various things things than ran below the surface of the guild. She was a paid assassin, she was not paid to think. And while she might have done so, and considered things well thought out, there was only so much that she was able to reasonably do when nothing was granted to her in the way of information.

With trained eyes, Laurelin took in every aspect of the man in front of her, and quickly. She noticed his deepened breathing, the slight flaring of his nostrils as a result, the furrowing of his brows in displeasure, the clenching of his jaw and the tightness of his entire body was recorded in her mind in a single glance. Although it was obvious he was angry, such signs would be good for her to know, her training and much personal experience had taught her that. She had no doubt whatsoever that she would be seeing much more of his anger as time went on, it seemed that as long as she hated him, there was going to be little way that she could avoid snapping at him. The man was just so ... insufferable! She hadn't even done anything, and he was angry at her! Admittedly, she had challenged his authority, but surely he didn't find her that much of a threat! Honestly! What did he think she would do to him? Stab him in his sleep? Her death would be ensured if she did so without being told to or being paid off to by someone that wanted him dead themselves. Her taking the matter into her own hands would not be happily looked upon, she would pay for it dearly, and she was well aware of that fact.

Rather surprised as he actually shoved his crying son into her arms, Laurelin took the toddler automatically. Without even having to think, she adjusted the lad in her arms and cradled him, her motherly instincts, such as they were, kicking in. Her eyes, still brimming with her anger, followed Tancred's every move as he acted as though he were about to take care of the dishes. She herself had been planning on taking care of them, though far be it from her to save him any work, especially when he seemed inclined to do it. A faint smirk twisted at the corner of her mouth as she watched him leave. Doing woman's work now, was he? Even though the words never would have dared to leave her mouth, in her mind she was gloating, and quite freely.

His turning surprised her, though his words really did not. She had expected such a threat at some point, and she met it as she did all threats against her, with obstinate defiance, her eyes glaring into his as strongly as his gaze glared into her own eyes. The heat of their wrath seemed to flow between them, creating an extremely tangible connection. She almost felt as if she could reach out into the air between them and would be able to feel it on her fingers.

Pushing such nonsense from her mind, she turned her back on the woods he had stepped into, starting to force herself to focus on the wailing child in her arms. His cries tore at her, not simply because she was a mother, more because the cries grated on her, tearing at her already frazzled nerves. Shifting him into a position that she had never seen a child refuse, she cradled him against her as if he were a baby, starting to soothe him. It was several minutes before the boy slowly relaxed, his cries fading into faint hiccups. Continuing to pace the camp, she held him, for the first time looking at him, really looking at him. He was a child, he looked like every other child, yet he was just as captivating as every other little year old baby she had ever seen. His delicate eyelashes falling across his cheeks, his little fists, the small button of a mouth, out of which soft, almost half sobbing breaths were still escaping, as was typical of small children. He really was beautiful, and she felt her heart melting. As much as she hated his father, there was no way she could hate this child. Deciding he was calm and would not awake even if she stopped moving, she walked to the fire and sat beside it, though far enough back that the smoke would not disturb the baby. Staring down at him while patting his bottom gently, she was unaware of nothing but him. So completely calmed was she that she did not even hear the footsteps approaching the camp, footsteps that belonged to the man she loathed.


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Drydan
Posted: Mar 31 2008, 08:01 PM


Paladin
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Group: Members
Posts: 506
Member No.: 167
Joined: 28-April 07



Tancred's stride uncharacteristically faltered as he stepped into their camp and his eyes fell on the touching picture that was made by the dark haired woman cradling his son. Her head was crooked slightly to the side, exposing the luxurious arch of her pale, smooth neck. Laurelin's long black hair tumbled in long strands down her opposite shoulder, brushing over her arm and down towards her waist. Her arms cradled Aiden so maturely. Their arc just so, as the contented babe nestled his downy head against her bosom. They looked so peaceful. So at home with each other. Stopping, Tancred simply watched them for a moment. He was not a man given to romantic thoughts or cherishing moments, but somehow, this scene touched him. Maybe because it was because his child was being cherished in such a way...or the fact that it was a beautiful woman that did so. A slight smile tugged at Tancred's lips as he watched Aiden's dark chocolate eyes squeeze shut as his tiny pink mouth parted in a yawn. Sleepily reaching up, his son stretched out searching fingers to catch a curling strand of Laurelin's hair.

Moving ahead once again, Tancred set down the cleaned plates with as little noise as possible. Aiden looked so happy, and almost asleep, he didn't want to disturb the lad if he'd found solstice in Laurelin's arms. However...the thought that she had been able to soothe the boy when he, Aiden's own father, had not, jerked at Tancred's pride. Pushing the thoughts away, Tancred reminded himself that this was what Laurelin was for. A substitute mother and protector for the boy, at least until Tancred could figure out a safer option for his son.

Going to his bags, Tancred pulled out a thick warm blanket. Stepping through the snow, he crunched as quietly as the snow allowed over towards Laurelin and the half asleep child.

"Hey..."

His tone was low, a soft warning that he was behind her. Reaching out, he settled the blanket over her shoulders. His arms stretching slightly around her, he tucked it around her shoulders and over Aiden. His movements were slightly awkward, as he attempted to do the kind act without actually appearing too nurturing. However, how much he succeeded in that was up to the discretion of the woman involved.

Moving around her, Tancred sat down a few feet away, partially on the other side of the fire. His dark eyes watched, almost hypnotically, as Aiden nuzzled his face against Laurelin's chest, his small hands curling and uncurling as he fought the desire to fall asleep. Lost in the image, Tancred didn't even realize that a small, and almost tender, smile had curved his hard lips.

Finally lifting his eyes from Aiden, Tancred met Laurelin's gaze. He kept his voice low as he spoke to her, which gave the conversation a completely unintended intimacy.

"I haven't discussed your pay yet, Ms. Serkan, or your children...I do realize you have a boy and girl of your own."


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Laurelin
Posted: Apr 5 2008, 04:13 PM


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Member No.: 89
Joined: 30-May 06



While she might not have been aware of him as he was in the trees, the moment he moved into the camp her blissful world of denial of his existence, and the ensuing calm, was disrupted. The temptation to stiffen was great, barely did she manage to keep her body relaxed, solely for the purpose of the child in her arms. She knew well enough that if she tensed at all, the baby would be able to sense it, and the sleepy state that was currently stealing over him would be lost. Her chin nevertheless tilting upward slightly, she struggled with the faint feelings of vulnerability, working to convince herself that she was being ridiculous. As foolish as such thoughts might have been, his finding her in such a relaxed position left her feeling uncertain and exposed. It was so easy, almost too easy, for her to be hard and callous in her job. Years of bitterness over heartbreak and prejudice had in some ways made her completely emotionless, a wraith that moved through the land rather than an actual being. There were times when she wondered what it would be like to actually allow herself to feel ... to actually let another person into her heart, to let someone care for her. As it was, she could accept no charity, it made her feel too easily hurt. Her entire life had become a farce, an existence that was deprived of any feeling or emotion, except when it came to her children. Neira and Adrian were the only ones that she could love, and allow to love her in return. Except for them, all other love was a lie, and she had convinced herself of that almost without any effort. She had learned her lessons with difficulty, but once learned the new pattern of living, thought, and ideals were ingrained. It was only when she was with her children that she felt somewhat alive, and it was only with them that she could show the depths of her heart without worry. Somehow, the same emotions carried over to Aiden, even though he was not her child, she still found herself adoring him. It was so difficult to not fall in love with young children, and even she did not find herself immune from them. However, it was in that caring she felt for him that her vulnerability was again brought to light. And she felt fear because of it ... fear that Tancred would exploit it, or see it. She did not want to be seen as anything but strong. The worry that he might actually be able to read or see her true emotions was great, and she could not push the uncertainty away.

Refusing to look at him as he moved around the camp, Laurelin stared into the leaping flames before her with a completely unimpassioned gaze. Appearing almost stoic, she ignored him, although she did cuddle Aiden a little closer to herself as the wind blew across them. It would be cold that night. Biting the inside of her lip slightly, she resisted the urge to look at the sky for the purpose of seeking out stars. If there were none, it seemed likely that there would be a snowfall some time during the dark hours. And knowing she was going to be sleeping exposed to the skies was not a fact she relished. Perhaps saving up for a tent was a good idea, although she had no idea when she would be payed again. The realization that she might possibly have no income at all for a while struck her hard. There was naught that she could do, no plans that she could make. Her entire future rested in the hands of a certain Tancred Elliot, and oh, how she hated him all the more for it!

That thought had no sooner flown through her mind than she heard soft footsteps behind her and a softly spoken word. Realizing what was happening, she made no effort to disguise the stiffening of her spine as Tancred wrapped the blanket around her. She tucked the edges more closely around his son, her mind spinning. Such an action was decidedly tender, and it left her stunned. The only man who had ever showed such a kindness to her had been Rune, and well, he was her cousin, making it not really count. Realizing her heart was starting to soften toward her employer simply from that one action, Laurelin clenched her jaw. No, no, no. He was not to be trusted. No. He would only hurt her, and he had no reason for being kind to her. Undoubtedly he had only wrapped the blanket around her to keep his son warmer. Yes, that was it. She was nothing to him, she needed to remember that. No matter how kind he might have been at times, she needed to be wary of him. And hating him was much safer than liking him.

Her eyes moved back to the fire as Tancred settled himself fairly close to her. She refused to look at him, in a way refused to acknowledge him. Although she rather suspected that he was watching her, she pretended that he was not there, though his speaking ruined that affect. Although his voice was low and his tone congenial, his words drove a cold spike of alarm through her. Feeling as if she had been punched in the stomach, she remained quiet for a long moment, trying to figure out how to respond. She had assumed he would know of her children, but now that she knew for sure that he was aware of them she could not shake off the fear that threatened to choke her. Closing her eyes for a moment, although she knew such an action made her look weak, she took her time in calming herself.

Opening her eyes, she continued to stare into the fire, not willing to look at him. She also kept her voice low, although her words were decidedly guarded and not near as warm sounding as his struck her as being. "You can call me Miss Serkan, I am not married nor do I pretend to be. The Ms. is unnecessary." She paused, exhaling silently before drawing in a deep breath. "What about my children?"

[[I'm SO sorry there isn't much to work with, she didn't feel like talking. *hits* She doesn't talk when she is scared. If you need me to add more though, tell me and I can.]]


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Drydan
Posted: Apr 10 2008, 08:02 PM


Paladin
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Group: Members
Posts: 506
Member No.: 167
Joined: 28-April 07



The woman's words fairly prickled with their low animosity. As soon as Tancred mentioned her children everything about Laurelin's manner grew stiffer. Her tone held a decided edge to it, and the fear that he sensed in her was not for herself. He could literally see her gearing up to fight him if it meant preserving the safety of her young ones. She was fiercely protective, that much was clear.

Tancred felt himself admiring that characteristic. As a fellow parent, he knew all too well what it felt like to feel responsible for such a little person. To know that their every need had to be met by you and that you were the only one who could ensure their safety. It was a heavy responsibility, and one that he too took very seriously. He couldn't imagine being forced to hand over Aiden's care to someone else. To not be able to at least supervise his son's care or hold him every day. His mind working quickly, Tancred found himself speaking the strangest words. Words that he had not intended to say.

"Miss Serkan it is then...I know that the tasks the guild usually hands to you are not conclusive to spending time with your children. I have a proposition for you, one that I think you may like. I doubt you will find a better offer elsewhere."

Pausing, Tancred leaned forward, his one arm resting on his crossed legs as he poked at the fire with a stick.

"We'll be on the road for at least a week, if not two. Unfortunately for you, you will have to tolerate my presence for at least that long." He paused to lift his dark brooding eyes to her face. Tancred was well aware that the woman, Laurelin, would happily dance a spring jig on his grave. Heck, if she wasn't aware of the consequences of killing a man in his position, he half suspected that she would put him in his grave. Holding her gaze evenly, he questioned his sanity about what he was about to say but nevertheless continued, "After that, I have some work that can be done anywhere where there is a guild outpost. Nya'tharr has several. You can return to your home and care for your children. Of course, I will require you to take Aiden with you during work hours and for the days I have to leave the city for work. I will expect you to treat him with the same kindness as you do your own children. On regular days, you will have Aiden during the day and then I will pick him up and take him back to wherever I will be lodging for the evenings. We can try it for a trial period, see how it works. You will be given the regular pay for a guild member who is working on a permanent assignment."

Even while he was speaking, Tancred could not believe these words were coming out of his mouth. The offer he was making this woman was unheard of. Not only was it kind and considerate of her affairs, but he had offered her a very good pay for it as well. She wasn't even a full Alb. However, Tancred was a strategist. He knew that Laurelin would be much more apt to take good care of his son and remain loyal to them both if she felt that she was being treated fairly. While upsetting people didn't bother Tancred (as long as it didn't risk his own plans) he didn't want to risk the vengeance of the woman who was caring for his most valuable and prized possession: Aiden.

ooc: sorry for shortness!


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Laurelin
Posted: Apr 11 2008, 09:33 PM


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Member No.: 89
Joined: 30-May 06



[[You are silly!]]

The promptness of his response caught her off guard, yet in a way, that pleased her. It meant that she would not be forced to sit and wait for him to make up his mind, it made plain to her that whatever he was about to say he had considered before hand. As much as she hated having her future in the complete control of this man, she could not deny that knowing he had a plan, of whatever kind, was at least somewhat relieving. He was not making his decisions based on how he felt at that particular moment, or else his words would surely not have been so smooth and well spoken. She strangely found herself admiring his diction, and even more strangely, the authority with which he spoke his words. He spoke as if he knew her, and while that left her uncertain, she was not so foolish as to miss the signs in him that suggested just how he had gotten to where he was.

Her appraisal of his words also included his voice. His entire demeanor was forceful, yet in a way that made one want to comply. It was not difficult to see why he had the task that he did, choosing the assignments for the rest of the guild was bound to be a difficult task. Yet people followed him. His voice, low and even, was almost hypnotizing to her, and she found herself almost hanging on his every word. Even though she feared him and his reasons for bringing her children into the conversation, she had to admit the man was powerful, and not just in brute strength or in position. He had the eerie power of drawing people to him and disarming them, or perhaps that was only the firelight.

Forcing herself to refocus on the task at hand, Laurelin stared at him without expression as he spoke, digesting his words slowly, as so not to miss any hidden meanings in them. He was being shockingly generous, almost too generous. Suspicion was her first reaction, although she could honestly and truthfully think of no reason to not trust what he was saying to her, beyond the fact that she hated him. Though, she supposed that was enough of a reason. She detested him, and she was actually quite sure that he knew it. Considering that he most likely did, the idea that he was being so ... nice ... was a shocking revelation, one that did alarm her greatly. He was not supposed to be nice. He was supposed to hate her as much as she did him. Truly, that would make things so much easier. Although probably not safer, it would make things easier. She would know exactly where they stood, and exactly what it was he thought of her. As it was then, she had no idea what he thought of her. That was part of being a good assassin, you learned what others thought of you, whether they conveyed their feelings openly or not. She was finding him to be impossible to read, which left her greatly concerned. This man was going to be a problem, she could sense it already.

She opened her mouth to respond, however she was distracted by Aiden stirring in her arms. Turning her attention the boy, she cradled him gently, shifting his position slightly. He instantly melded against her, and she actually felt a small smile grace her lips before she realized what she had done. Her face immediately cleared of any emotion once again and she raised her eyes back to the fire, mindless of one of Aiden's hands that reached up and caught a loose lock of her hair, gripping it. The action felt completely natural, so therefore she thought nothing of it, her own children had done the same to her countless times. Neira especially.

Taking another moment to consider his words, she played them over again in her mind. Full pay ... just for watching a child. The opportunity to be with her own constantly ... they would drive her nuts, that she knew. She would be watching three children all under four. The situation seemed horrific, yet she knew better than to refuse. How to respond though? Did she respond with gracious thanks, or cold indifference? No one had ever offered her so much before, and she was left with a large group of unanswered questions on how to handle it. Still feeling completely unprepared, she shifted slightly and stared broodingly into the flames, their light highlighting her features in a way that made them almost look as harsh as her feelings.

"It sounds reasonable, and is definitely plausible. You need not worry about his treatment, he will receive the same care as he would if he were one of my own. Though I would think that you would wish to see how exactly I treat my children before making such a decision about your son's future. Nevertheless, I would be a fool to deny you or to refuse to accept, would I not? I will work for you for as long as you need me and require my services."

No mention was made of his generosity. She left it out purposely, and she purposely mentioned the fact that he needed her. Though the reminder might not have been the smartest thing to say, she suddenly realized that for her part, she was in a position of power. And the idea that she could question his authority, although only covertly, was immensely satisfying. Shifting Aiden again as he turned in her arms, she held the now sleeping child with a gentleness that contrasted drastically with her previously spoken words and the emotionless tone that had reflected none of her feelings, no matter how much her words might have betrayed some of them.


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