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(537-current) age 20.
Two travelers walked together south along the roads leaving the Gronzi Forest. A robed human man and an equally dressed Half-Elf woman-- they spoke in what sounded like a flurry of words, but soon became obvious that they were shifting in and out of other languages, seeming to be challenging the other to an unspoken game of intelligence.
"I am surprised you understood my song back there," the woman said politely. "I did not think that many knew the language of the Fey."
"Normally you might be right," her companion said. He smiled, but it was very slight. "But we are still very close to Gronzi, and the Medyved holdings. There, it is a matter of course to have some people who know the languae in case it is needed. They take their relationship with the sprits very seriously, thankfully. But I did not expect many here to know Giantish."
"I am from the mountains north, in Orlovsky territory. And just who are you, then, that you know so much of Medyved and their practices with the Fey?" She was very intrigued already-- she had long assumed that few others had the same knack for languages that she did, but already this human had matched her in most of what she knew-- as well as surprsing her with a few she didn't know. It both impressed and infuriated her at the same time.
"I am Aleksander Surrey-Medyved. I was adopted by Medyved when I was a little over ten years old." He explained simply. He didn't seem to be the kind to aggrandize himself over a simple name-- but one can never be too certain. He added something else, but it was one of the languages Ashiara did not recognized. He laughed cordially. She huffed and glared at him.
"A noble? Without a coterie and retinue, and fawning sychophants? My, either you are a strange noble, or a liar. Mm, or both, if what I have heard of nobles is true. I am Ashiara Suraia Jahaldine. My lord." She half-bowed as she walked-- there was no mistaking the mockery in her action. She did not seem to be pleased with the idea of dealing with a noble. "So, why is a noble of Medyved travelling to Restov alone?"
"Ah, you wound me so terribly!" Aleksander groans, feigning grievous injury. "I am not a Medyved by birth, as I said. They are sending me south as their tithe to a charter to reclaim the stolen lands. They wanted to send someone with knowledge of the Fey in order to make sure that no traditions or customs were broken. They know that few others pay proper respect to the spirits of the world, so they sent me because I know it better than any of them do. And I'm expendable."
Despite herself, Ashiara laughed. "Ah, so you cause them no end of trouble, then?" she quipped-- reverting to a variant sub-set of Fey called Aklo.
He picked it up immediately. "Not really. I am close friends with the third son of the family. But I have no blood ties to the family, so it would be no terrible loss if something befell me, but if I succeed, then they will still have full rights and claims through me and the name I carry. It was quite a shrewd play on their part. By sending me, they stand to gain much and lose little. And what causes an attractive scholar such as yourself from Issia all the way down to Restov, alone and without escort?" Now it was his turn to ask the questions, and he chose another old favorite, Draconic.
Ashiara wasn't as fluent in Draconic as she preferred, but she spoke it well enough to understand the question and answer him. "The same reason. I am well-versed in ancient languages and mythology, and I can tell the value of gems, metals, and stone better than eve the most misery dwarf merchant. There are many old Taldan ruins in the Stolen Lands. I could probably identify and assess any found. That is why I have been sent. I am not some... silent and deadly elven beauty with a bow," she practically spits the words out. "I'm just a smart half-breed. I know books, and writing. And, if they sent someone like you, I'm surprised that I am even needed."
"What exactly do you mean by that?" Aleksander asked, returning to Common.
"A well-spoken noble who is just as well-learned as the actual scholar they rounded up and sent. Makes me seem rather useless in comparison." She answered.
"Ah. Well. If you think that highly of me, then I guess I made a good first impression," he laughs. She stares at him humorlessly. "Ahem. Well, that's not my job. I'm not supposed to do your job. In fact, my job is a bit more... eh, dangerous."
She raises an eye-brow, silently encouraging him to continue.
"I, uh, am supposed to keep the spirits happy, yes. But that is not the only reason I was sent. I work magics. And deal with poisons. I have talents not immeidately shared by the rest of the expedition, apparently."
Ashiara was silent for a few moments. "That is interesting. I mean that. I did not know that the noble-houses could be so obvious when they trained assassins--" she was suddenly cut off by the sound of Aleksander laughing.
"I am no assassin. Just someone who seeks to be practical in an otherwise impractical world."
"Mm, I see," she said warily. She had heard that these kinds of charters were designed from the ground up to support numerous venturing parties. She did not know if this man was going to be among her company for the following years, but she couldn't decide if she would be happier in dealing with him, or in having to face off against someone with a love of poisons. Both prospects were... quite unappealing to her. But, there were still many miles yet to travel. Perhaps he would find a way to endear himself to her, and spare both of them the trouble that would probably follow.
"Ais o pai byr myr masol eir tia eir, sael Ai shor kyndri or os aer eil thaer saes sai ei syr." She sad aloud in Elven. Despite the dark tinge of malice and threat in the words the lilting ring of the elven language hid the entirety of her intentions. Aleksander cocked his head sideways and looked at her askance. He did not understand.
"Nevermind," she said softly. "It is not important, Aleksander."
If you do not stop staring at my ass, then I will gouge out your eye and feed them to a toad.
This was going to be a long, long journey.