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The Rod of Seven Parts ::NIT-Haru-IGW::

NumberThreeInordinate

Kindness is earned...brutal honesty is free.
Joined
May 14, 2018
Upon hearing the deep voice of the male and those heavy foot falls, Jynx stopped walking and cocked her head to the side where he soon turned up. Right ear perking up and turning his direction she listened to him for a moment then smirked as she sighed.

"You didn't catch my name because I didn't give it. As for the elf, she's correct, I'm not a huge fan of her because of how she is. For those of us who respect boundaries, it's rather rude to just stroll up and take things that don't belong to you. Had I wanted to cause a scene, I would have had no issues cutting her hand off. As for my skills, there are plenty of other adventurers that accepted the tasks. Why do you two need me? At best, I can only offer the skills of a Ranger. You're a monk...and something else. I'm sure you don't need help reading the land to see where something is located."
She said as she smiled and tapped her nose.

"You don't smell human. That's an interesting disguise and very believable but for those of us who can smell more minuscule things...it's easy to tell. However, it's none of my business what you are nor do I really care."
She'd killed and worked with several races across the lands, so as long as he didn't try and kill her, she didn't have a problem with him.
"And while yes, this isn't an easy task on my own, I trust my kin much more than I trust adventurer's. Monk or not, you'll be working along side a noble elf female who seems to have some time as a Pirate. Not the greatest combination."

Standing there for a moment she saw his blush and how awkward he was with her so she sighed.
"Tell you what. We'll go talk to miss high and mighty. If I don't like how she plans on doing things, at least I can say that I gave her a chance is that fair?"
As she asked this, she turned and motioned for him to lead the way.
 
OP
Haruchai

Haruchai

As you wish.
Joined
Sep 27, 2011
Location
United States (CST)

Listening as the feline spoke, Marek nodded in agreement. He could see how Sybille might present to others as haughty, though she'd been nothing but kind to him. And, of course, he'd not been there for the initial meeting between the two of them. If Sybille had indeed simply grabbed things without asking then yes, that was rude. He bowed a little to the feline.

"I apologize for my companion's behavior. Perhaps it is best of I act as mediator for the two of you?" he suggested, thinking that if Sybille was not so forward and if this feline was not so high-strung, that they could certainly work together.

Then... she sussed him out a bit and he blushed. He could only agree, though he refused to tell her just what he was. Maybe, in time... "You are correct. I am not entirely human, though I would appreciate of perhaps you kept that between us, for now?" he said, looking hopeful, and searching her eyes. He then gave her a counter-argument to her assessment of their skills.

"Actually, acting as a Ranger or guide might very well be what we need. I would think that our wide selection of skills between the three of us would complement our task and not be overly focused. The wider the range of skills, the better." he suggested, trying quite hard to convince her, and the earlier shyness having disappeared as he focused more on their mission.

He smiled brightly as she agreed to go back and talk to Sybille, and he nodded. "That is quite agreeable. Thank you so much!" he said, and then, before he led the way back he asked softly, that blush returning. "May I know your name, please?" he asked. Then, whether or not she agreed, he would indeed lead her back to The Sleeping Giant.

The common room was just as raucous as before, though the gambling table was down a man, and the woman dancing on the table seemed to have lost her top. Marek looked for Sybille and did find her, giving a small wave as they reentered. Then, with smooth deft movement he made his way back to the table, trusting their possible partner to follow. He gave Sybille a look and said softly to her, sure that the feline would hear regardless, "Be nice, and not so grabby." he said, and then took the seat he'd asked about earlier, now quite famished and the food still present, though likely growing cold.
 

NumberThreeInordinate

Kindness is earned...brutal honesty is free.
Joined
May 14, 2018
It really was funny how they both seemed so adamant to know her name but no assassin ever gave their name. Most assassin's too the time to shield their face and make sure that the ability to recognize them among the general public was as concealed as possible so why would they divulge their actual name? Shaking her head at the male's question about her name she just held up her index finger and walked with him back into the tavern. Upon getting back to the table, she took the chair at the end of the table closest to the door and watched the two for a moment.
"Before I get pestered once more for a name. How about Shadow. That can be the name you refer to me as, or cat, feline, assassin. I don't really care. You all are adventurers who are momentarily teaming up for a large task. I don't trust you to know my birth name."

Looking to the elf she narrowed her eyes before sighing and leaning back against her chair.
"Regardless if I team up with you two, I still need to go home. I have to inform my clan leader that I'll be on an extended mission so they know to not task me to any kill tasks for a while. With that said, IF you two become my partners, you...my dear elf...will need to keep your hands to yourself. The laws of my clan are very different to the laws out here. Steal something or snatch up someone else's property in my clan and you'll be killed on the spot."
Patting her back with the scrolls she looked at the two.

"If you two are even remotely competent, then you've already looked up or spoken to someone who knows about this item or even someone who found it directly no? So you know enough to get by on why the King wants it so bad."

From what she could tell too, touching it or spending any significant time around it would be hazardous to the mind so she would speak to her clan mage about a box or something to carry the items in so that it wouldn't affect her mind...or theirs in terms of manipulation. The only downside was not knowing the size of the objects, that would make transportation a bit more difficult so she may have to have enchantments handy that would allow her to seal those items to avoid any kind of manipulation if it couldn't fit in the carrier. As she thought about this, she glanced to the female elf because out of the three, if any of them were to be untrustworthy about the reward or just anything in general, she'd be the one in Jynx's opinion.

"So I guess my question to you miss elf. Why do you need me enough to send the monk after me again? Surely it's not for my stellar personality."
Jynx added a little wrist twirl around her head and a caravan worth of sarcasm.
 

ImaginationGoneWild

Loremaster Extraordinaire, at your service!
Joined
Jan 27, 2018
Sybille was growing bored as she sat there with elbow on the table and her chin in her hand. She looked around the tavern, noting a group of card players...one of them obviously cheating judging by the way they keep touching their boot, it revealed a card stuck inside waiting for the right opportunity. Aaaand....There he goes being dragged away to the back of the tavern. "He's going to feel it in the morning..." she mumbled to herself as she watched them drag the man away.

Several minutes went by and Sybille had ordered 3 mugs of the tavern's good ale, she placed them in front of the seats of her, hopefully companions for the evening, and kept one mug for herself. Now all she could was just wait....again. The rambunctious cheering grabbed her attention to one side of the tavern, she saw how the dancer had removed her blue top and continued to sway those plump hips. For a brief moment Sybille was looking around at the men of the evening, trying to remember when the last time was she had sex...

She took a sip from her mug of ale when she spotted Marek waving at her. Nearly choking on her drink she waved back and pointing for them to sit. It was Marek who spoke to her first, asking her to behave. "Very well," she responded, trying not to roll her eyes. Before she could open her mouth to say something, Jynx warned them both about not digging any further for her name. Instead she had provided them with some examples for substitute names they could give the feline.

Shadow, Cat, Feline, Assassin...Sybille pondered them, Kitten, Mittens, Whiskers, Puss,... Luckily for her her face was a pokerface as she thought about the nicknames, Shadow's mood warned her enough not to push it.

"Shadow will do. And 'we' will not inquire further about your personal life." She said, she understood the need for anonymity among assassins. She listened to what the Shadowfang has to say and actually liked the info she gave about her clan, no matter how little it was. She only heard about the infamous Shadowfang Clan, heard that it consisted solely of Feline Beastfolk hidden deep in the Fangwood. She stumbled upon these woods once but had decided against testing her fate.

Sybille may be an adventurous woman who didn't mind looking for trouble but she knew when enough was enough.

Sybille paused after Jynx asked her why she was needed. She took a sip from her ale before answering with a chuckle, "No it isn't because of your 'stellar' personality as you put it."

She frowned before looking up, "Well actually it is. Back in Starfall you were the only one that questioned the Black Sovereign of his motives, what the catch was, and what the real task was. I knew as much as you did that this will not be a mere retrieval task. The man didn't even trust his own kin...that says something about the artifact."

She leans forwards, her arms resting on the table as she looked at both the Assassin and the Monk. "I accepted your request to team up because you're a Monk. Your people were trained to keep level-headed. Never rush into things, look for alternative ways to complete a mission besides brute force or bloodshed. You are tranquility incarnate, always striving to better yourselves away from greed and lust and anything else that humanity considers a flaw. People trust you. You,-" she nodded at the feline,"You show an intelligence that most don't have. You probably realized that you couldn't pull this off on your own. But you also know that you can't involve your Clan into this because in the end...Clan is family. And your family, if this quest will be as dangerous as we suspect, will only be a distraction and hold you back. So instead you would team up with strangers who you believe are competent enough to hold themselves in battle. Less emotional attachment if things go wrong. And out of all the adventurers that were summoned, we're the only ones that didn't look at you with contempt or are trying to get in your pants."

She gave it a moment to let it all sink in. To both of them.
 

NumberThreeInordinate

Kindness is earned...brutal honesty is free.
Joined
May 14, 2018
Jynx sat there for a good period of time simply watching the female and listening to her. She was rather talented at breaking someone down just off of looking at them and listening to them. She'd have made a very good assassin. When she was through speaking, Jynx tapped her knee as she had one foot hiked up on the chair, bent at the knee. After some debating internally she sighed.
"Well. The only way I'll agree to this little trio is after I've had my Clan Shaman take a look into you."
She said as she motioned to the elf female.

"You're right, Monk's are usually very trustworthy and have a good head on their shoulders. Noble Elves who moon light as pirates really don't bode well for trust. So I'll be having my clan Shaman take a look into your mind. Should you pass, then I'll tag along. If not, well. Layla's never had Elf meat. Wonder if she'll enjoy it? Just so you know. What you did in your past isn't going to be what I judge. It's who and how you are now that'll decide your fate. So, if you think you're good on that aspect, we can proceed. If not, then we have nothing left to discuss and I'll be on my way."

Looking over at the Monk she motioned to the food.
"Don't just stare at it Monk. Eat up. Cold food is better than no food at all."
She said as he seemed to be so focused on listening that he'd forgotten to eat yet again.
"If this group is to succeed you're going to need to know how to multi-task good sir. Not being able to listen and eat at the same time is going to hinder you quite a bit."
 

ImaginationGoneWild

Loremaster Extraordinaire, at your service!
Joined
Jan 27, 2018
Sybille blinked rapidly for a moment when Shadow said that before they made their partnership official she needed a Shaman to 'look into her'. The Mystic Arts. She leaned back, the chair creaking under her weight. Sybille was never comfortable around them, they undercover things that are better left alone.

And Sybille visibly stiffened when Shadow mentioned that she used to be a pirate. She never told anyone in the Guild that she was one...She wondered what gave her away. But she agreed to the stereotype, pirates are an untrustworthy bunch. She could attest to that so she acknowledged the accusation. And there's that stellar personality of hers, threatening her with a Ravager. Most likely the one that she was strolling with through the streets of Starfall.

Sybille nodded at the Shadowfang and raised her mug, "Agreed, I'll tag along for the...shaman." she said with a sigh before taking a few gulps of the mug. She looked back at Marek, chuckling for a bit. "Funny. Usually we want nothing more than a man who listens..."

"When do we leave then? i assume your shaman resides in the Fangwoods?"
she asked.
 
OP
Haruchai

Haruchai

As you wish.
Joined
Sep 27, 2011
Location
United States (CST)

Marek kept a close eye on the two females, almost expecting a brawl of some sort of break out between them and that he'd have to mediate. They were fiery, and he had little experience with women, much less with ones that had wills of iron like these two. He had taken a bite out of a hunk of bread and chewed slowly as they sparred back and forth. His eyebrows raised at the conditions that Shadow set before Sybille. To submit to some sort of arcane divination and her very life was on the line?! Who would accept such a thing?

Yet to his surprise Sybille accepted! She must want the help of this feline very much. Which brought his gaze back to Shadow. His eyes looked her over and he blushed again as she gestured to his food and that he should eat. Cheeks burning, he did set about eating the food, and as he only had a few bites down a comely barmaid stopped by and asked if he wanted the food heated up. Her auburn hair was pulled back, revealing her slightly pointed ears and marking her as a half-elf. Her eyes were bright as she regarded him, and Marek gladly handed back the food so she could get him some that was hot. It was easy enough to do, as the venison stew could be set on the stove readily.

The conversation between the two seemed to be winding down, and the half-elf returned in a few minutes to give him a now piping hot bowl with plenty of meat and potatoes. Her hand touched his shoulder and lingered there momentarily, before she turned, brushing her hip against his arm and moving away. Marek, clueless as he was, set into eating. Neither of the females had eaten yet, that he had seen.

"Don't you think you should eat first? Shouldn't go anywhere on an empty stomach." he mused, and looked between Sybille and Shadow. They seemed so eager to get going that they were forgetting to take care of themselves.
 

NumberThreeInordinate

Kindness is earned...brutal honesty is free.
Joined
May 14, 2018
Jynx looked at the male as the barmaid blatantly flirted with him but he seemed completely oblivious to it. Sighing she unfolded herself from the chair and walked over to the barmaid leaning down to her as she was looking a bit disheartened. Whispering to the female she dropped a few coins in her hand to pay for their room while warning the female about what she'd assumed of the male just by watching and listening to him. Walking back to the table she waited till Marek had finished his meal then placed her hand on his shoulder and pointed to the barmaid as she was standing at the bar looking at him.
"That female is very interested in you and would like to chat with you. Go talk to her, tomorrow...meet me at the gate leaving the city and we'll head for my home then."
She said as she helped stand him up and gave him a shove toward the barmaid before looking at the elf female.

"I'm sure you can find something to do to occupy your time till morning. Meet at the gate."
She said as she left the tavern to go find some entertainment of her own with some friends she had in the city who she trusted. They were gonna be gone for quite a while and she didn't know when she'd get to have fun again so why waste the opportunity?

The following morning, Jynx was leaned against a tree right outside of the gate that would still give her new 'companions' a view of her the moment that they got to the gate, sitting in the soft patch of grass, hands laced behind her head as her hood and mask were in place. It would take a bit to walk home but it wasn't too terribly far and once she got home it would be worth it.
"Wonder how our virgin Monk handled his night?"
Jynx whispered to herself as she giggled and shook her head, thinking about how the barmaid was actually shocked when Jynx told her that the Monk was a virgin and that she'd need some patience with him and that Jynx was also paying for the room as she wanted the female to work him over for the night.
 

ImaginationGoneWild

Loremaster Extraordinaire, at your service!
Joined
Jan 27, 2018
Sybille perked a brow when she saw how obvious the barmaid's interest was in the Monk. She watched the two interact, or more watched the girl send him all the signals while he just stuffed his face with food. Oh boy, she sighed to herself. She then watched how Shadow got off her chair and started talking to the girl, and then exchange money with her. She chuckled when she saw the girl's facial expressions, looks like Shadow picked up on the same detail as Sybille did. Our friend the Monk was a virgin...

Sybille had finished her second mug of ale when she sat there with her hands laced together underneath her chin with the biggest grin. Marek looked like a fumbling teen when he approached the Half-Elf, but it looks like he was going to get lucky after all! "Ooooh~" she said teasingly when the pair went up the stairs. She quickly turned her attention to Shadow when she spoke to her, nodding at the meeting place. "Alright, I'll see you there."

With everyone gone Sybille got off her chair and headed towards the stairs herself but not before turning around and checking out what the tavern had to offer as bed companions...Maybe another time, she thought to herself. With that she retreated to her own room for the night.

The next morning she was wearing thee same crimson attire but this time brought her feathered hat with her. Prepared with her rapier at her belt and the paperwork needed to pass through the various border checkpoints in the country. Hopefully when all this shaman nonsense is done they'll finally be on their way. Who knows how much time they've lost already...

She approached Shadow, greeting her with a tug on her hat. "Marek isn't here yet? She must've given him quite a work-out." she said with a chuckle.
 
OP
Haruchai

Haruchai

As you wish.
Joined
Sep 27, 2011
Location
United States (CST)

Clueless indeed, the monk had finished his meal but soon found the comely half-elf practically in his lap before she would drag him upstairs. He was a man after all, and recognized beauty, so he knew she was quite fetching. The room she took him to was appointed well enough and she locked the door behind them before making him a man. Almost all night.

By the time morning arrived Marek was exhausted but highly alert and wide awake at the same time. The half-elf snored softly next to him, her limbs tangled in the sheets and a smile on her face. Marek disentangled himself and gave her a soft kiss, causing her to stir slightly and as he got dressed she woke and her eyes found him. "Will you come back and see me?" she asked. He went to kiss her again and nodded. "I'll try. I'll send word if I can." he said and then he had to leave. He knew that Shadow and Sybille were likely waiting on him, and he grabbed some bread, ham and cheese as he left the inn and headed toward the gate, having gathered all his things and eaten as he went.

He could see the women waiting and he raised an arm in greeting. He wasn't even out of breath when he approached them, though there was a bit of color on his cheeks, and to the sensitive nose of Shadow the smell of the half-elf clung to him a little.

"Good morning! Sorry I am a bit late. Last night was... spirited." he said, smiling as he blushed, and only meeting their eyes briefly. "Did you already eat?" he asked, still concerned about their welfare as he was last night. But by all other indications he was ready to go.
 

NumberThreeInordinate

Kindness is earned...brutal honesty is free.
Joined
May 14, 2018
Jynx smirked at the male as he came running over and stood up, walking over to him as she sniffed and giggled, waving her hand in front of her face.
"Someone smells like a little half elf female. May wanna find a little river to wash off in Monk."
She said with a wink before walking off as she headed home.
"Let's go. Gonna take all day to reach to woods and I'd like to go home."
She said as she held a fairly quick pace. She did slow down a bit as the midday sun started beating down but she was able to fight past her instincts as a feline which wanted her to find some shade and sleep. She kept her mouth shut toward Sybille simply because she wanted to let the elf's mind run through all of the trials she could possibly face with her Shaman.

Stopping for a few hours to let the trio get a little power nap, eat as well as let the Monk wash up, they were back at it right before sunrise. When they reached the edge of the woods Jynx spotted some adventurers that were a bit lower ranking. They were at the woods for an actual quest that wasn't involving the King and talking to one of her clan members who was the outer scout. When the female saw her approaching she smiled and walked over to Jynx. The two shook hands and pressed their foreheads together before the female giggled as she looked at Jynx.
"Layla passed by here two days ago, she didn't look happy about being sent home alone."
"Yes well, I was paired with a very pouty cat."
As she said this, none other than Layla jumped out of a tree and scared the hell out of the adventurer's not twenty yards away.

Jynx smiled as she stroked Layla's chin and shook her head before the female nodded to the two with Jynx.
"What about them?"
"Taking them to meet the Shaman. I'll explain more later tonight with my father."
The female nodded as Jynx led the way into the dark forest while Layla walked beside her. Walking through the thick forest, ducking under the fallen trees and weaving around large bushes and infant tree's, Jynx stopped about four hours into their stroll. Looking at the two she waited for a moment as twelve Shadowfang members surrounded them and a large male walked over to Jynx. Greeting her with a forehead bump like the other before stroking the top of her head as he smiled.
"Welcome home child. Who are these guests?"
Jynx smiled as she looked up at the male who looked a LOT like Jynx.
"Thank you papa. This is Monk and elf. I have an important task given by the Black Sovereign and it requires me to be gone for a long time. I can explain in more detail...after this elf speaks to our Shaman."

The large male nodded soon they were led into a deeper part of the forest which opened to several homes, like a large town right in the heart of the forest. Thousands of assassins walking around without their masks since they were in the comfort of their own home and no one had the balls to try and attack them directly. Walking toward a large hut at the base of a tree, Jynx moved a hide flap out of the way where an older feline female was sitting on the floor in the middle of the room with several white wisps floating around her. She was wearing a thick deer skin cloak and seemed to just be enjoying her time in meditation. Upon seeing Jynx she smiled and stood up, another forehead bump before the female looked at Marek and Sybille.
"What can I help you with child?"
"I want this elf checked."
"Ah. Pirate noble elf. That's not a very common combination. Very well."
The female's eyes began to glow a soft white hue as she began whispering in ancient incantations while she waved her hand in front of Sybille's face before stepping back as her eyes returned to their normal canary yellow.

"She's fine."
Jynx nodded then looked at Sybille with a smirk.
"Good to be working with you elf. Now we just need to get you two a temporary room, there will be a feast tonight."
 

ImaginationGoneWild

Loremaster Extraordinaire, at your service!
Joined
Jan 27, 2018
Sybille smirked and arched a brow when Marek approached, saying he had a 'spirited' evening. "Was it now?" Sybille asked him, horribly feigning ignorance. Sybille thought about Shadow's remark about lingering scents...She forgot that Beastfolk had superior noses then the other races of Golarion. Did she still smell of the ocean? She wondered as she subtly tried to sniff her collar. She waved away his question about breakfast as she turned around and followed the feline assassin.

It was a long but easy walk to the forest, they even got to take a break by a stream so Marek could freshen up while they all took a quick nap. But Sybille couldn't sleep. Her superstitions were making her anxious; what will the Shaman see? Her noble upbringing, how much she hated it, running away from home, life at sea, the deeds she had done, joining the guild? This couldn't be in her favor, all these experiences can change a person...

It was morning when they finally reached the edge of the Fangwoods. Sybille watched how the Shadowfangs caught up with each other but didn't pay too much attention to it. However a large Ravager bursting through the foliage will force you back to alertness real quick! Sybille had instinctively grabbed the hilt of her needle-like blade before relaxing again, realizing that the creature was rather tame and more focused on the joy of being reunited with its mistress. She took a deep calming breath and let go of the blade again.

They went deeper into the woods. It was very tranquil and green, nothing ominous or paranormal, or even magical about it. It would've been a peaceful forest if it weren't for the feeling of being watched. Sybille kept her eyes on the trees and bushes, expecting something to jump out at them at any moment now. But instead they were greeted by the Shadowfangs in a fairly friendly enough way. One supposes that if a single Shadowfang brings you into their Clan's home then you must be trustworthy enough to not be considered a threat...

Sybille frowned, her lips turned down when Shadow didn't bother to call them by their name. The village itself was quite quaint actually. She liked it, the houses were built in such a way that it didn't disrupt nature around them. They were into one of such houses, a tent like build at the base of a tree. Sybille looked up at the tree for a bit before being ushered inside. Out of respect she removed her hat and tossled her dark hair.

Before Sybille could introduce herself to the Shaman the old woman stood up, approached the Elf and began her 'reading'. It was quick and ended up with a 'she's fine'...

Sybille was stunned, "That...that's it? Nothing else I need to do? No strange potions to drink or eat some sort of decaying animal leg?"

She had a feeling that everyone was looking at her oddly...What kind of Shamans did she visit in the past??? Apparently Pirate Mystics are just about as trustworthy as a regular pirate... She decided to save face by leaving the tent with an awkward cough and placing her hat back on her head.
 
OP
Haruchai

Haruchai

As you wish.
Joined
Sep 27, 2011
Location
United States (CST)

Feeling a little embarrassed Marek set in with the women and after awhile they stopped by a stream so Marek could wash. Of that he was glad, and he was a bit modest with himself, staying away from the females. He managewd to dry and get dressed, though entirely unsure how much of him they'd seen.

The rest of the walk to the Fangwood was uneventful, though they stopped at the edge of the forest. The greeting that they gave one another was fascinating, and they saw it several times throughout their little sojourn in the woods. Soon they came upon a wondrous sight.

A city in the woods. It was magnificent and for a moment Marek was a little awestruck by the efficiency of it all. He'd caught the introduction of them by Shadow, simply monk and elf, but it truly didn't bother him. He did accompany Sybille and Shadow to the shaman, and was equally surprised by the rapid return of an answer, and the succinct way in which it had been said. So it seemed they now were officially working together.

Following Sybille out of the abode Marek looked around. "I doubt we'll be allowed to explore much, but this place really is something." he said. He looked to Shadow. "So where to now? I assume you have some preparations to make?" he said.
 

NumberThreeInordinate

Kindness is earned...brutal honesty is free.
Joined
May 14, 2018
Jynx looked at the pair and smirked.
"I do. You two will be housed in a temp home which we use for guests. I'll take you to it."
She said as she walked them down a dirt path, waving at a few passing felines before getting to a lovely little home at the base of yet another tree and partially inside of the trunk itself to offer some protection against any rogue winds that travel through the forest. Inside was a space for a camp fire to keep the place warm, a table and chairs, some books and a bear skin rug. The home had two fur beds, one on either side of the home as well. Motioning to the home, Jynx reached up and pulled her mask down for the first time as she was home now. Flipping her hood off to allow her ears to move freely she sighed as she took a deep breath through her nose and smiled slightly, fresh pine, burning embers, this was home.

"I'm in no particular rush to make it to the other continent simply because logically, the other's are going to be making a mad rush for the item and even IF they get there, judging by what I've seen just in the last few days, they're going to be having some interesting characters following them to probably steal it after they've retrieved it. So, I'm letting them thin each other down and watching from the distance to see who all is my enemy. Rushing a target with no idea on all of the players is suicidal and something amateurs do. I plan on giving it two days before heading out. If you want to head out before then, then by all means. I'll find your carcass on my way there. I've already got some friends waiting along the way to keep an eye out for the coming adventurers and whoever is following them."

With that she pat Layla's side and jumped a good twenty feet up the tree, locking onto a branch, swinging her hips forward to propel herself to another branch. Flipping herself onto the catwalk above that branch she walked along the wooden bridge to another home which was hers. Layla following gracefully so that she was right beside her. Leaning over the railing she called down.
"Like I said, don't touch what isn't yours and respect people's privacy, otherwise you're free to move around! This may be a good chance for you to get some new clothes elf! Just cause you wear a hat one day and take it off the next day doesn't make it a different outfit. Change your clothes, my nose begs you!"
With that she walked into her home to change into something more comfortable which was a pair of cloth shorts and a loose fitting top which allowed her fur to breath a bit more than her constricting armor. Running her fingers through her hair she stretched and looked around her home. Taking the saddle off of Layla she kissed the feline's snout.

"Father said the clan chef's are making roasted hog and elk. I bet if you head there now, you might get a piece before it's cooked."
Which had Layla bounding down the tree as she and several other Ravagers were standing outside of a large hut where a massive billow of smoke was coming from and several male felines were tossing bits of fat and chunks of meat to the Ravagers to eat.
 
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ImaginationGoneWild

Loremaster Extraordinaire, at your service!
Joined
Jan 27, 2018
Sybille turned to Marek, smiling and nodding at him, "I agree, this place is strangely peaceful." She looked up at the many catwalks that criss-cross the woods, the houses that occupy not only the ground but also the treetops. She follows Marek's gaze landing on Shadow, listening to her plans to give them housing and to give it some time before they properly begin their journey.

She looked around the house as she took off her hat and cloak, tossing them on one of the beds. Sybille was surprised that Shadow wanted to wait that long and upon hearing her reasons why it raised even more questions. "You were followed?" she asked the feline. She expected the other 'contestants' to perhaps sabotage the quest for the rest of them, maybe bribe informants to keep quiet, or guards to stall us... She pondered before turning to Marek, "Did you notice anyone strange on our travels? Or at Vigil?"

After the assassin literally jumps away from them along with her ravager pet she left them a finally piece of advice. A change of wardrobe. Sybille turned on her heel, walked outside and stared up at the trees trying to find that condescending wretch...but alas the beastfolk was gone already. She returns into the house and asks Marek, "I don't smell do I?" she sais as she sniffed her collar and sleeves. Sybille didn't get many opportunities to change clothes since she didn't exactly have a home to store them. Sometimes she'd go to a shop to get new ones and throw the old ones away but she always made sure to wash the clothes whenever she could. Whether it was by an Inn or friend's place, or a river.

"Where am i going to find new clothes?" she asked to no one in particular.
 
OP
Haruchai

Haruchai

As you wish.
Joined
Sep 27, 2011
Location
United States (CST)

The constant back and forth barbs exchanged between Shadow and Sybille were just background noise to Marek now, who had learned long ago to tune out that which was not necessary. It was one of the very first things you learned in meditation. So as they bickered he simply took in the sights.

However, he did pick up on the fact that Shadow had been followed. Perhaps this accounted for her aggressive attitude and general prickliness. It would make sense. But as Sybille asked him if he'd noticed anything he shook his head. "No, I don't think we were followed at all, and certainly not after we left Vigil." he stated with confidence.

Marek's eyes widened a little when he told they'd be having wild hog and elk. He'd never tried elk, and he was always up to try new things. But then Shadow took off, leaping away, and though he might have followed, he wanted to stay with Sybille. He felt bad for her as she seemed so out of sorts. Her question about clothes brought a small shrug.

"I have some clothes you could borrow, but I do not think they would be very flattering for your..." he blushed as he realized that his next words might give away the fact he'd quite noticed her, yet he pushed forward, "figure." he finished and managed to keep his gaze on her instead of turning away. He cleared his throat and said, "Shall we go and eat first? Ask for a place to bathe perhaps? Check out our lodgings?" he asked, though the last brought a blush anew as he thought of cohabitation.
 

NumberThreeInordinate

Kindness is earned...brutal honesty is free.
Joined
May 14, 2018
Jynx spent some time with her fellow clan's members for the first hour or so, just catching up with them and talking about jobs that they were doing or had done. Her last job she'd run into a fellow clan member who'd been paid to protect a target that she'd been sent to kill. Walking down the dirt path, both Jynx and the male were laughing about that as they'd spotted one another in the middle of an attack and decided that the client paying for the assassination was paying more, so Jynx carried on with her task while the male forfeit his task of protecting the male. In those instances, the highest paying job was the one that won over. Spotting the elf and monk, Jynx looked at the female and pointed to a rather large tent at the base of a tree.
"That's a merchant who's been given permission to sell in our area. His shop is run by one of our clan members when he's not here. I'm sure you can find something to tickle your expensive fancy."

The male who was with her looked Sybille up and down and snorted.
"Pirate."
"Apparently an ex pirate. Adventurer now. Still a high born elf though."
Jynx said as the male rolled his eyes and nodded.
"Ah, that bored with working that you're tagging along with them now?"
"I'll explain at the council meeting tonight."

When the male nodded again they gingerly bumped their foreheads together before the male walked off and Jynx looked at them.
"Best walk around and get familiar with the area. No one's gonna hold your hand through it. You wanna eat, you go to the dining area and get yourself something to eat. Clan already knows you're with me."
Giving a nod to the monk she smirked.
"You're not the first monk here but you are the first...unique...monk we've seen so you may be getting some attention. Just food for thought."
 

ImaginationGoneWild

Loremaster Extraordinaire, at your service!
Joined
Jan 27, 2018
Sybille quirked an eyebrow, waiting for Marek to finish his sentence. The Elf was well aware that men, and sometimes even women, found her ‘figure’ attractive. It was something she had to deal with frequently at sea. She lifted her chin with a smirk, glad to know that she could still make grown men blush.

While Jynx was catching up with her family, Sybille agreed with Marek to grab something to eat. And they decided that the best way to find food was to follow the smell of juicy elk meat.

They approached an area where that delicious scent just made your mouth water. Since the weather was nice there were several tables and chairs outside the large tent, which was also sitting at the base of a tree. Most utility houses seemed to be at the base of the trees while their private homes were way up in the treetops only connected with catwalks.

The interior was a large open space, one corner of the tent was dedicated as a cooking area with a small flap in the ceiling to let out the steam and smoke of their pots and fires. Some more tables and chairs along with some storage chests and closets.

Sybille watched the few Felines grab plates and approach the cooks for their portion of the day. She glanced at Marek, pointing at the small table with utensils. She grabbed a plate herself and joined the line.

She couldn’t help but feel unwanted here as the assassins gave her similar looks as Jynx. It was either the scent of the ocean that bothered them or the way she moved and talked that gave away her origins. Either way, a Noble Pirate doesn’t help at making friends among the common folk…

Another thing that came to mind was the history between Beastfolk and Humanoids...Long story short, there was still resentment between the two species due a bloody past between them. There was a time where people, like hers and perhaps even Marek’s people, had treated these beings as nothing more than animals because well...they were kin to them. It has been a small century that both sides were treated equal. Perhaps that’s why there is this unease she was feeling.

Together with Marek she sat at a table outside, admiring the village and its daily comings and goings. And the elk meat by the way, delish… As both adventurers were enjoying their meal, “So what do you think about all this?” she asked him before she took another bite. “About the plan to sit back, the Rod...And the stalking…” she said the latter with a worried frown. Jynx never told them whether the spies were a coincidence or if they were connected with the ‘quest’. If it is then Sybille didn’t like the idea of just waiting around.

“I think we need to have another chat with her, make sure we all understand what we’re getting ourselves into.” she said as she put the plate with the dishes, thanking the cooks for their meal.

They walked around aimlessly until they stumbled upon Jynx again who told them to feel free to explore around and to help themselves with the dining hall. “We already did, thanks.” she said as she pointed behind them. “Where are you going?” she asked the Shadowfang.

Whatever it was that the feline had planned, Sybille decided to visit that merchant first to get some new clothes but not before turning on heels when her Elven hearing heard Jynx comment about Marek being ‘unique’. She frowned and squinted before turning back towards the merchant...slowly and pondering. "Secrets, secrets..." she muttered to herself.

At the merchant after some haggling she bought herself something more simplistic. Sybille hoped that perhaps if she dressed less fancy her companions, and perhaps future encounters, may go smoother. She was allowed to change her clothes at the shop, figured she could give them her old clothes then. It was expensive materials so they could make quite a few coins on it.

It was a
simple outfit; a pale blouse with a brown vest over it, a broad belt wrapped around her waist. Along with some brown pants and her old boots. She transferred her pouches and rapier to her belt. She even gave the merchant her feathered hat, it would only get in the way in combat. In fact she was certain that she would even lose it on her journey with what was to come.

She went searching for Marek to present her outfit to him, "What do you think? Less arrogant?" she asked him as she spread her arms and twirled around a bit.
 
OP
Haruchai

Haruchai

As you wish.
Joined
Sep 27, 2011
Location
United States (CST)

Walking with Sybille through the Shadowfang territory, Marek took in all the sights that he could. He was quite curious, and soon he and the elf had agreed to go grab some food. The smell was easy to follow and in short order they were seated and eating, the roasted elk and wild hog quite delicious.

Sybille's question made him shake his head a little. "I think maybe sitting back is a good plan, though surely we're not the only ones to think of it. Only one person, or group, can grab that piece. Then I think the fighting for it might be rather ferocious and deadly. I think the King made a horrible mistake letting others know about it. Now it is simply information, and it's out there for anyone to take advantage of. Were I him I'd have been much more discreet and kept that information to just myself or only hired one small group that I felt I could trust. Not advertise it and call for Platinum ranks." Marek took another bite and continued. "Since we know we're up against other Platinum's, things just got much more difficult. Not to mention the fact that I guarantee the Chaos Queen and her minions will be set against us as well."

"As for the stalking, that's just as I said; either other Platinum ranks or minions of the Queen. It will likely be like that the whole way. Now we have to be careful."
he said quietly.

After they had eaten, the went to look for the merchant, and ran into Shadow. Who of course spilled his secret. Sort of. He gave Sybille an apologetic look. Perhaps he would reveal himself to her soon. They did need to establish trust and the more he kept his secret to himself then they might wonder what else he was hiding. That seemed to be how people worked.

The tailor was quite nice, and as Sybille changed her clothing and then displayed the new attire for him, Marek blushed once more. She was quite beautiful, and he managed to answer her. "You look very nice. But I never thought you were arrogant." he said, meaning every word. To quickly change the subject he mentioned something he had heard about. "You know, I've heard that there are some geothermal hot springs around here somewhere. In the Fangwood. I wonder if Shadow and her clan use them? Want to go look for them?"
 

NumberThreeInordinate

Kindness is earned...brutal honesty is free.
Joined
May 14, 2018
"You never once thought she was arrogant? Must be nice to be so blissfully unaware."
Jynx said as she walked over with a towel draped over her shoulder, a wooden half bowl in her hand and some soap in the bowl. She'd lost the top that she was wearing and baring her chest to the world around. Her turquoise blue nipples showing off for all to see with metal hoops hanging. Having one's nipples pierced wasn't exactly uncommon but it wasn't something that those without a high pain tolerance went through. Smiling as she walked over she passed the monk, rolling her fluffy tail under his chin as she giggled.
"The bath's are open air and mixed, so hope you don't stare too much boy. Also, good to see you in common clothes elf. Makes you look more approachable."

With that she walked off and headed toward a tent that was open and behind it was stone walls built around three trees with loads of steam coming from behind the walls. Inside the walls were four large pools of hot springs, each one able to hold quite a few people. Setting her towel in a basket she took her shorts off and set it in the basket as well before heading to a pool off to the left. Each pool was different in temperature. Walking into the water, she tapped her toes against the surface of the water and shivered a bit before stepping in and sitting down with her back against the stone rim of the pool. On her butt, the water stopped just under her breasts but as she scoot forward and rest the back of her neck against the rim, the water covered her up to her neck. In this case, felines didn't really have a problem with the water because it would clean them, it was hot and relaxing and most importantly, they could feel the bottom.

Oceans were home to some rather nasty creatures and if you didn't have fins and gills, you stood no chance of getting away from those creatures. Humanoids were meant for land, not water. Jynx was able to swim but if her feet couldn't touch the bottom, she was not happy with it. She'd much rather fly or walk if she could. Funny given how one of her best non-clan friends was a Shark beast folk female who was a guide for fishermen on the coast. She was a sweet female and amazing in bed but that female always tried to get her into the ocean and Jynx just wasn't having it. Sexy or not, that was a hard no. Cupping her hands in the water, she splashed the water in her face and ran her hands through her short spiked hair before looking up to see Sybille and the male poking their heads in. At the moment, Jynx was the only one in the pools but that's because it was still fairly early in the day.

"What's wrong elf? Shy? Don't worry, I won't tell anyone if you have any deformities. It'll be my little secret."
She said with a sly grin since that would just add ammunition to her being able to poke fun at the elf. Sybille hadn't been wrong in her thought process about humanoids and beast folk but it was really a specific kind of humanoid. The noble class had been the main ones responsible for so much blood shed so that was who got the most hate. Sure commoners had their beef's but for the most part, the commoners worked along side the beast folk even back in those times because they'd help the commoners with hard tasks like plowing fields and lifting heavy things. Nobles expected the same thing but with no rest, all the while being talked down too, so that obviously wasn't going to happen. Then, the Nobles would get upset because gods forbid someone didn't treat them like walking gods and they'd execute that particular anthro or anthro's.

Another thing Nobles were known for was taking an Anthro's infant and keeping it as a personal pet or slave since they were cuter as babies. However just like a feral beast, Anthro's were extremely vicious when protecting their young and this led to more bloodshed. So yes, Jynx along with many other Anthro beings had a HUGE problem with anyone Noble, regardless of their race and they were very quick to judge because it was incredibly rare to find a kind Noble. One in a million chance really.
 

ImaginationGoneWild

Loremaster Extraordinaire, at your service!
Joined
Jan 27, 2018
She couldn’t help but smirk again when she saw Marek blush. She supposed it was a nice bonus to know that she was still attractive in this attire. She was going to say something else till suddenly Shadow showed up, half naked. Sybille couldn’t help but stare at those bejeweled turquoise nipples. Welp, now she knows what a beastfolk’s tits look like...Just as firm as the other species just more fuzzy. Although her front body looked less furry than the rest of her body.

When Marek asked if there were hot springs in the Fangwoods Shadow quickly informed them that there were indeed but they were open air and mixed. That didn’t bother Sybille much, she was used to bathe with men before...as long as they kept their distance. She nodded, “Hot springs sound good. I don’t know if it’s true but I heard they have healing properties?” she said as she followed Shadow.

She was surprised that the feline had approved her choice of wardrobe this time. Making her appear more approachable was something she was aiming for. Her chin lifted as her confidence got a bit stronger now. “Thank you,” she said to the Shadowfang.

Following the feline to the hot springs Sybille admired the way they set things up, it felt more secure and private. And with the way they set things up the Clan could easily turn this into a small resort for visitors if they were open to it. “You know...this place could make your Clan some money if you opened it to the public…” Sybille casually mentioned as she looked around.

She made Marek wait for a bit when they stayed on the other side of the walls. Sybille wanted to grant the woman a moment of privacy first. When her Elven hearing no longer heard the water splashing she gave Marek the signal to step inside. Sybille didn’t like it when strangers watched her undress; people she was familiar with, then sure.

Sybille frowned and pouted at Shadow’s comment about her shyness. “You obviously haven’t met me back in the day…” she muttered to herself. She looked around and then decided to take her clothes off, folding them carefully next to the basket that Shadow brought with her.

Sybille had that hourglass shape, something that wasn’t very common for an Elf. She had curves in all the right places and was blessed with not only a fine ass that makes you want to spank it, and her bosom was well-endowed and yet perky and firm with inverted nipples that made you want to suckle them to attention.

She slowly dipped into the water and completely dunked herself under before resurfacing and finding a spot to sit beside Shadow. Leaning back she let out a relaxed sigh, “This is nice...And I’m not deformed…”

Aside from a few scars that an assassin would recognize as combat scars there wasn’t a blemish on her. Yaaay for Elf genes.

She cracked an eye open, "Hop in Monk, try not to bleed on us..." she said with a devilish grin.
 
OP
Haruchai

Haruchai

As you wish.
Joined
Sep 27, 2011
Location
United States (CST)

Marek tried not to stare as Shadow appeared, topless, her magnificent breasts openly on display, her nipples drawing the eye not only because of the color but the piercings. Marek swallowed thickly as he felt stirrings down below. He barely stifled a groan. This mission was going to be... testing. Then Shadow drew her tail under his chin, drawing his eyes to her face and then dropping to her tits once more. He could only nod mutely as she told his not to stare and he pulled his eyes away, cheeks red.

Then Sybille seemed to suggest that they join Shadow in the springs! Could he really handle this? Marek didn't know, but his body was certainly eager. One glance at him, and the placement of his hands, would tell any knowing female the whole story. It was maddening! Marek was embarrassed, but then, he was also no coward, and he followed behind the females, his "eagerness" apparent to all, despite his feeble attempts to hide it. Being endowed was a curse at times.

Shadow went first, and then Sybille, leaving Marek standing at the edge of the pool with two females urging him to join them. Marek took a deep breath and seeing that nobody else was around shed his things until he was bare chested and wearing only those trousers as he looked at Shadow and Sybille.

"I have something to show you." he said, and his blush deepened. "No, not that." he said, though they would surely get to see that as well. He'd managed to keep his eyes averted when the two had revealed their nethers. He closed his eyes at the teasing and yet his mind turned over the half-elf from the other night in his mind and the things... oh what she had done with her body! Clearing his throat Marek let his human guise drop. It was a relief really.

The human form of the monk seemed to shift and soon Marek revealed himself for what he truly was. He was still well muscled, a monk's chiseled form, but he was no longer quite human. Blue skinned from head to toe, with violet colored pupil-less eyes... but most prominent were the short blunted horns upon his crown. Marek still stood there shyly and he explained quietly.


"I'm a changeling. My... my human parents grew to love me, and rather than see me slain when I was discovered they gave me up to a monastery, who took me in and trained me." he told them. "I'm of Fey blood. I can change my form into just about anything humanoid. But..." he looked a little sheepish, "... I can't do hair. I haven't figured it out yet. So all my forms are bald." he chuckled.

Still sporting his erection in those trousers he looked nervous again. "Did you still want me to join you?" he asked, his tone still eager, but his past experiences telling him they'd likely refuse to work with him now.
 

NumberThreeInordinate

Kindness is earned...brutal honesty is free.
Joined
May 14, 2018
Hearing Sybille take the time to mention that she wasn't deformed made Jynx immediately look for something simply since it sounded like Jynx had gotten under her skin and when the female was beside her, Jynx turned and smiled a sly smile that only felines could muster.
"Well no...you're not. If we ignore the fact that your nipples are playing hide and seek."
She said as she giggled and poked where her nipple was with the tip of her claw. Not enough to hurt obviously, but enough to be felt. Looking up when Marek mentioned having something to show she looked up with a raised eyebrow about to make a very obvious comment but he beat her to that. Ah, poor boy was learning. Watching the shift happen, Jynx smirked as she watched him and when the change was done Jynx just giggled.
"You obviously haven't taken a good look around you in the few hours you were here. Granted, there's more of my kind than there is them, but...op...speak of the devil and she shall appear. Elri!"

Jynx waved behind the male as a knock out of a female came walking out of the dressing area holding her bowl of soaps. She had hair as white as a field of freshly fallen snow, eyes as blue as the ocean on a clear summers day and skin that was the color of ash. She was an elf, but not one that other elves thought highly of. She was what was known as a Drow. A dark elf. She was also hands down the finest marksman that the clan had when it came to skill with a bow. Her hair was tied up on the top of her head so that she could bathe without having to spend a day in a half drying her hair, and her skin was darker in some areas around her cheeks, the sides of her neck, along her shoulders, sides and hips, then down her thighs as those were her Drow markings that all Drow had when born. Each pattern was different on a Drow. The female sat on the opposite side of Jynx and kissed her cheek.
"Hello honey. Who are these people?"

As Elri asked this she looked to Marek and smiled.
"You're not really fitting the clothing code here boy. Go strip and hop in, if you didn't pop an erection I'd be convinced you were gay."
She said as she smiled and eyed his piece for a moment, then looked to Jynx and made a sort of chirping sound which was a secret language that the Shadowfang had created while living in the forest to blend with birds. She was commenting on Marek's size then frowned a bit when Jynx informed her that he was a complete newbie when it came to using that tool. When Marek finally joined the females Jynx smiled.
"Regardless of what you are. The Shadowfang accepts all who pass the test from our Shaman as well as those who put in the work. We're a family here, so we help one another. Elri here has been a member since before I was born. So she's earned her right to wear our insignia. That and it's an absolute riot watching any High Elf or Elf in general when they see her."

As Jynx said this, she was looking right at Sybille since it seemed Sybille, like all Elves, didn't appreciate Elri even though she didn't know her. While Jynx's attention was on Sybille, Elri smiled as she looked at Marek.
"Don't see many Changelings around. Most are executed on sight by those who think little of them. Good to see you've made it out to adulthood...in more than one way."
She said as she eyed his crotch again and giggled when it reacted to simply being noticed.
"Oh you are too cute. I'm sure we can find some Shadowfang females who would love to teach you some experience...and stamina."
 

ImaginationGoneWild

Loremaster Extraordinaire, at your service!
Joined
Jan 27, 2018
Sybille was leaning back with her eyes closed, enjoying the warm water. But Shadow had to ruin her moment by poking fun at her nipples. She jerked out of surprise and her eyes grew wide open. She quickly covered her breasts by crossing her arms, "My nipples are fine!" she said blushing furiously, trying to find a good comeback for the remark but all she had was, "Your nipples look like glow-in-the dark blueberries!" she said as she flicked one them with her fingers.

She looked up at Marek who was standing at the edge of the pool, claiming her had to show them something. It cause her to quirk a well sculpted eyebrow. She nodded slowly when he dragged both their minds out of the gutter, "Okay...?" She briefly glanced at Shadow before turning back to Marek. Her mouth was agape when she saw him shift. "You're a changeling..." She kind of felt sorry for him. She met Changelings before and almost all of them had tragic backgrounds. It's like they're cursed or something. "It's fine, Marek. You can still joiiin..." her sentence trailed off when a Drow appeared behind the Monk.

Sybille visibly stiffened. Ever since she was a little girl the tales of Drow disgusted her. Creatures that live deep in the Underdark, enslaving all who didn't meet their expectations or beliefs. basically if you weren't Drow you were a slave. Sybille even fought alongside them back in her sailing days...she still didn't like them.

She glared at Shadow with a sideways look when she confused to take joy in watching Elri interact with other Elves. Ugh...perhaps this partnership was a mistake....She sighed audibly, "Stop it," she told Shadow. Knowing she was trying to get a rise out of her. Well....it worked. "By the Gods, Marek. Get in the water already." she threw her frustration at him instead. But she had to admit, if it weren't for the disappointingly inexperience the Monk had she wouldn't mind giving that blue rod of his a try.
 
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Haruchai

Haruchai

As you wish.
Joined
Sep 27, 2011
Location
United States (CST)

Marek breathed an obvious sign of relief when he was not immediately shunned and driven away, as he was used to with most humans - which is why he hardly ever shifted from his human guises. The banter between the females made him smile, and he'd already gotten a good, great, look at their breasts. Which was a lot of the reason he was hard as steel right now. Unlike Sybille, who seemed put off by the drow, Marek found her exquisite. She certainly did not help his arousal, and as the females insisted that he join them he could do little but nod and strip away the rest of his clothing, revealing himself in his natural state - which was really quite impressive. The Fey were known as unparalleled lovers, and many were quite promiscuous.

The drow teased him, his cock twitching as they all eyed him, and he grinned as Sybille hid her breasts but flicked one of Shadow's nipple. Unsure just where to sit, Marek slipped into the pool with the women, a soft sigh escaping him at the heat of the water. It took quite a lot to hurt a Changeling truthfully. Theur ability to shift shape at will made their cells exceptionally flexible and tough as they could have normal skin to rock hard scales, so they were very resistant to both heat and cold as well as impacts of all kinds.

He sat across from them all, the four of them now in a semi-circle, and yet the clear water did little to hide his thick cock, and his violet eyes looked to Elri and Shadow. It was very obvious that after the half-elf had taken his virginity he was eager to learn more. "Would you mind introducing me to these girls?" he asked as he relaxed in the water.

He tried not to stare at the three sets of breasts that were bared to him, and he took a deep shuddering breath as he got himself under control despite the fact he was throbbing and aching with desire. The quest for the artifact was, for the moment, quite forgotten, as Marek watched and listened and desired.
 
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