Upon leaving the abandoned cityscape, they had both arrived at the Inn, whereupon Cogliostro had given Xull’rae a set of keys and instructed one of the servants to take her to the luxury suite that was now hers for in so long as she wanted. That done, he left Xull'rae to herself until the following morning, so that she could take her desired bath and rest if she so desired, and he could carry out a few more tasks that were in need of doing, one of which was gathering up the rest of the group and bringing them back here as well.
The others had been left to their own devices as well; as he personally had no need to sleep, it was sometimes hard to remember that others weren't so blessed, yet at times he managed to pull it off. Whilst he carried out various self-appointed duties, Cogliostro’s thoughts continued to race upon the looming threat of Malag'tel. There were things he'd gleaned about the infamous wanderer that he had yet to share with those in his employ, but he felt they had no need to know of such things at the moment, all in due time. More immediately, however, he had further business to discuss with Xull'rae, so when dawn finally broke in the Lands Above, he went to knock upon her door.
The answer for him to come in was given, it sounded clear despite the closed door. When he opened to step within the room, it was a rare sight, one he was likely to never see again unless scried upon. For Xull'rae was very much the woman right now and was doing what women did best, grooming in front of a mirror. She sat in a chair with her bare legs crossed. Her body of course was covered in a silk bathrobe, it clinging slightly to her still damp skin. It was the most unusual color for a drow; the short robe was dark green. At the moment she was brushing her very long wet hair. It touched the floor from her sitting position, and the green fabric she wore was very eye catching, going well with her red hair and amber colored eyes. She appeared quite concentrated on her hair, more than him at the moment.
In his usual business-like manner, Cogliostro strode forward, stopping just inside the doorway. A single brow arching as he caught sight of her, for indeed he had not really ever expected to see her in such a manner. It hadn't even really crossed his mind often before, her basic femininity that is. Bringing his hands to rest idly in the usual clasped position behind his back as he was often wont to do, traces of a humored grin etched themselves upon his features, though he doubted she would notice, so wrapped up in that fiery mane of hair as she was. "My, my, mayhaps I'll have to do this more often. This is one of those rare moments where I can understand the Bladesinger's obsession with you. Take that as a compliment, as that is how it is meant." He stepped fully into the room, and closed the door behind him, though he made no further move inward after that, standing idle whilst she finished doing her "womanly stuff."
"Mmm hmm, taken." She gave him a wry smirk in the mirror, "Speaking of him, is he still preoccupied?" She stood and started working on her hair, to put it back in it's knotted top knot ponytail.
"Mm, yes, I believe he is almost always preoccupied with you." His gaze swept idly about the room, after allowing himself a long look at her form as she stood, of course. She did have a shapely body. He spoke though, so he was not totally rude, "But if you were referring to whether I'm still keeping him busy elsewhere, yes."
Xull'rae studied him in the mirror, her pretty face was amused and not in the least bit abashed he was being so lewd. In fact she was enjoying it. He might be human, but it was nice to be looked at by someone other than Vesz'aun for a change, though she would never admit it. "I'm guessing you have no wife, or perhaps you are the type to look at anything female that has anatomy to her?"
He was still looking her over when her voice buzzed in his ears, "Hm?" He turned his oak-brown orbs back to her face, a mockingly puzzled look upon his visage, his grin widening just the least bit. For reasons not to be mentioned, he ignored the wife comment. "Oh, I am but a humble male underneath it all, and as such I am wont to gaze upon beauty when I come across it, just like any other male." He grinned as he added in, "That, and I like the wet look."
Xull’rae finished tying her mane the way she wanted it and tossed it over her shoulder, now looking at him. "Well take a bath once and awhile and you can get that look too," she smiled softly and it made her all the more beautiful. A man could loose himself in such.
Cogliostro was no fool however, and knew that smile held layers of hidden meaning, she was drow too, never could forget that, unless he wanted to come to harm or even death. "Touché," he said while his grin turned to a politely humored smile at that point. "So, need another hour to finish? I know all this primping takes considerable time." He wasn't teasing, he couldn't if he wanted to. He had many women before and none were ever speedy dressers.
Xull'rae shook her head and laughed softly, "no I'm fine, my armor is already underneath, thank you though. I suppose now business can be discussed?"
He nodded. "Indeed it can be." Allowing the smile to portray a further moment of humor, he looked her over one last time, not seeming ashamed in the least, before turning about and opening the door. "If you would come with me, our business needs to be discussed elsewhere."
She discarded her robe draping it on the chair, grabbing her piwafwi and wrapped it around her as a replacement and without a sound, followed him.
He was disappointed that he could not see what it was that she had on under the cloak. He smiled as he ridiculously thought of a teddy. Once in the more or less private hallway, this one reserved for employee suites only, all thoughts were put aside as he opened one of his trademark shimmering blue portals and waited for her to step through before entering himself. Their arrival point was simply another darkened passage of smoothed stone, a glorified tunnel more or less. Ahead there were a few torches lining the walls, and without pause he began to stride in that direction. "I have already revealed to you what your church plans to do, in regard to using you and your family name in Menzoberranzan. They have employed my help in the matter, as I stated. However, I strive to go one step beyond that which they have required of me in the ways of help. But, as I don't really care for them, I am revealing that which lay ahead to you and you alone at this time. If you wish to share what you will learn, that choice is yours to make," he said this in a very serious manner, almost to the point of being grave.
With her hood down, Xull’rae’s expression was clearly curious. She asked, "So why tell me really?"
Cogliostro shrugged lazily and replied, "Because, despite all our differences, you have thus far proved the most cooperative with me in our combined endeavors. When presented with such, I like to return the favor, so to speak, when I am able. What lay ahead has more to do with you than anyone else in question, anyway."
She was intrigued. "Alright sounds interesting," her tone conversational and still curious. Little moments like this let her able to be different and not so like the nature of her kin. Of course she was not off her guard, just more tolerable making her quite the friendly sort, instead of having to act older or more devious than what she usually was. Besides she did trust the human a little, but even now, she would never depend on him for anything, she was too proud.
"Mm, indeed it may be of interest. Ah, here we are." They came past the first torch, him knowing that the illumination would not bother one of Vhaeraun's faithful, so he made no move to quench it as they strode past it and rounded a corner, into a passage which forked left. This passage was much shorter than the previous one, only going some fifty feet until it ended. A few doors apparent on both sides at evenly spaced intervals were all closed. It was to the second one on the right which they went to, the door opening upon mental command as they arrived. This time, however, he did not beckon her to go in before him...matter of fact he made a motion for her to wait where she stood while he strided in casually enough. She could soon see him come to an abrupt halt just inside the doorway, something obviously having caught his attention as his body tensed suddenly, hands swinging apart from their clasp, and his head darting quickly to both sides, a deep frown evident on his face now.
For a brief moment, due to the fact that the human suddenly and deftly, leaped out of sight to the right side, Xull’rae could catch a glimpse of a familiar figure straight ahead, seemingly suspended upon the far wall of the room's interior, that of her personal paramour, Vesz'aun. This was quickly obscured however, as a gigantic dark gray arm of well muscled proportions darted into view, a long, taloned hand at its fore, the tips of which sunk into the stone floor where the human had stood a moment earlier. Long, apparent wisps of snowy white hair for a brief heartbeat, 'ere she heard both the human, and another, more bestial thing, issue growls of challenge and frustration. There was another blur of movement, as whatever creature the arm belonged to obscured the doorway completely, and was summarily driven back by an unseen force. A moment later, the human strode purposefully across the doorway towards where the creature had been thrown back, a definite scowl upon his countenance, his tone still that of a low growl as he spoke to Xull'rae, "You can come in now." He then muttered a string of curses, and then growled out, "Damnable idiot." Xull'rae could surmise that the latter phrase was not meant in reference to herself.
She chuckled low, "Are you sure? If my studies are correct from what scant views I've seen and the power displayed within…that's a draegloth in there..." There was no fear in her tone, rather complete interest.
"Mm, aye, you are correct in that much. And it's quite safe now, I assure you," Cogliostro’s tone was more of a controlled one now, the angered growl gone.
Xull’rae enters silently, slowly not in caution, but in concentration as she studies the place, drinking in every detail as she looked around. Her amber colored eyes rested on Vesz'aun with no expression, but her tone conveyed displeasure, "Nice to see you my bladesinger…I wasn't aware you like to be hung, I'll have to try that on you sometime," she didn't laugh but she did give a disarming smile that was utterly charming as she finished talking.
She found the rest of the room to be nothing more than a glorified holding cell. There were some amenities, such as a large table strewn with papers and tomes of all sorts. A large bookshelf filled with another couple dozen tomes and a gigantic bed as well, but all in all in still came off as a prison. When her gaze had swept momentarily towards where the human now stood, she caught a glimpse of the four armed monstrosity now pinned against the wall much like Vesz'aun's form. It appeared much as she had been given descriptions of during her lifetime, the elongated maw drowic, yet demonic and filled with razor-sharp teeth at the same time, topped by a flowing mane of snowy white, which seemingly continued part way down its broad, leanly, muscled back. The outer, larger set of arms were quite massive, much as the failed attack upon the human scant moments ago had revealed, with the second, smaller set of arms settled slightly below the first set being not much larger and muscled than her own. Despite the fact the creature was now at the human's mercy, it still came off as a rather imposing figure...the snarls of frustration and rage it kept emitting as it struggled to get free only blended to that imagery.
When Xull’rae had turned to address the bladesinger with that disarming smile, she was finally situated closely enough to notice he was not in any state to respond at the moment. In fact, one could not even tell if he were even alive right now, were it not for the constant mixture of blood and drool which seeped from his lips, which in turn kept trying to formulate words, though nothing came out but garbled wheezes. The fact that a large puncture would all but gave her a clear picture of the lung within his right breast could have large part to do with that. The entrails which were halfway spilled out of his abdomen, hanging nearly to his knees whilst suspended by metal spikes through his hands and shoulders didn't help his current state either.
"Hmmm..I see I'll have to tend to you in a bit." She studied the spikes, curious about them. After a moment she turned her amber colored gaze to the draegloth, speaking to it directly. "And you...are you calm enough to speak?" She was utterly calm and business like, her expression interested but otherwise held nothing else within.
"He would be if the damnable idiot had kept him drugged like he was supposed to. Bah," Cogliostro spat, still quite angered, though not quite shocked that this whole situation came about, taking into account he had entrusted Vesz'aun of all people with these duties. He exhaled a quick deep sigh and then spun abruptly towards the bladesinger, striding off to assess the damage, brushing past Xull'rae without another word.
In the course of such, the Draegloth was released, its form slumping downward momentarily as the magics holding it at bay were released, though true to form its natural deftness came swiftly to life, a soft landing and lightning-quick pounce bringing it to loom above the drowess in the next heartbeat, toothy maw dripping spittle upon her as a maliciously gleeful grin crept into place, its large outer claws clenching and unclenching in anticipation, the smaller set of hands already reaching towards her diminutive body. It summarily leaned in closer, sniffing her briefly, and the sneer fell quickly away, its head suddenly rearing back. Her words did not really even register, nor was it intimidated by her calmness, though one surely could have been. Rather, it appeared puzzled, almost shocked. Narrowing its gaze first at the female, then at the human, then back to the female, its gravely voice finally coming to echo throughout the chamber, "What's this?? You told me that the house will ... rather had…fallen, human...." again it leaned inward, partaking of a longer sniff this time, double checking the familiarity of it. "I don't recognize you, female, but you are of my blood."
Xull'rae nodded, still surveying him intently while replying, "Indeed I am." She flicked the drool off her piwafwi with her hand, her lips curling in slight distaste as she continued and in firm command of herself asked him, "So are we ready for discussion now or do you still plan to eat me?" She gazed at him expectantly.
"Either is fine with me." Once more the voice became a guttural growl than anything, the maw twisting into the slightest of anticipatory, and predatory, grins. "The boy-toy over there has fed my need for violence, at least for now. Speak, she-of-my-blood-whom-i-do-not-know, and keep it interesting, or I'll make you my next plaything." It looked threatening, so it was very serious.
Xull’rae knew better than to let this beast intimidate her so she remained calm and in control of her rising temper. She was wary however, if she could not handle the draegloth, she would need Cogliostro’s assistance, and that was not an option. She would prove to both she was not weak, that if she could not dominate then she could outwit an opponent. She spoke coolly, "Really now? I find that most interesting since I am the last female of our line left alive…so yes by all means lose your last chance for usefulness and perhaps the restoration of our House." She crossed her arms, not in a gesture of peace but to keep herself from lashing out at the creature. Idle hands were dangerous ones after all.
"She speaks truth, demon," Cogliostro called back, feeling the draegloth's gaze upon his back for a moment. He listened to them and admired Xull’rae’s strong approach of the fiend, she certainly knew how to handle herself well when faced with a challenge, but he could not help but feel anxious for her welfare. He never liked mixing beauties with beasts.
The Draegloth then settled its gaze upon her tiny form once again, a lusty look coming to its eye despite the situation, but it almost blatantly shook it off, getting back to the matter at hand. It stepped back a large stride, slowly, though only to assess her for the time being. After a silent moment, still seeming to doubt them both, it continued speaking, though not quite so irreverently, "I said to keep it interesting. Why would I care to restore a House which would not even own up to my existence? Much less restore one weak enough to have fallen?"
Xull'rae sighed but said more patiently then she felt, "I'm the bored one here, frankly I don't need you and don't want you, but opportunity presented you to me and I thought perhaps you WOULD like the chance for freedom and recognition but I suppose not…" She turned away from the demon and now faced the bald human. She deliberately did not answer the draegloth’s question; instead she ignored him completely and spoke to Cogliostro. Her tone was formal and even courteous, trying to rankle the creature by speaking of him like he was a piece being auctioned on the market, "I thank you for showing him to me but I'm not interested, if you could release the bladesinger and bring him to my chambers that is all I require, you may dispose of this…thing if you wish." It was the voice of command she used with a touch of arrogance, and if it came that the creature didn’t reconsider and Cogliostro did kill it then she was cruel as well. Though she wanted the monster, she was not lying with her statement; it would live or die at her whim. She didn’t want a gift if she could not control it herself. Draegloth respected the strong and powerful, and if she happened to lack either in its eyes then she would be smart and be rid of a potential problem before it began.
The draegloth responded by issuing a low, threatening growl under its breath, though it paused before it actually carried out upon the desire to strike her down. Whether it was a willful standing down or not, one could not be able to ascertain, for a moment later it slumped to the ground, quite unconscious, coinciding with the nod offered to her by the human. "I will attend the bladesinger; I am quite capable of doing so, despite what you may think. For now, I have need of your services elsewhere, back at the tavern. There is a certain conversation I'd like you to be privy to. As for the Draegloth, if that is your wish, I will not bother you with him again, though I believe I will keep him alive a while longer, for my studies."
Xull'rae pondered her options, tapping her chin with her fingers. "Keep it locked up for now, perhaps when he awakens he will come to his senses, though I could awaken right now with a psychic crush just to prove myself," She shrugs in an offhand manner. "It was mothers signature move for submission and always worked. That should make him heel and remember. Just be certain that if it refuses to tightly retrain him or kill him, nothing is worth studying if your subject gets lose"
Cogliostro nodded, agreeing with her. "Mm, aye, and I will keep him alive. He would be a most useful tool, will be, once he is truly convinced of your status." He dismissed her command, concern, whatever it was and continued, though he did change the subject, "As for the bladesinger that was a bluff to show the demon that Vesz'aun was worth more than he was."
Xull'rae looked over Vesz'aun severely, weighing and measuring him. Her composure made ice seem warm. "If you heal him or not, does not matter, I'm sure he could still be useful, but I'm beginning to doubt that."
Cogliostro did well to hide his surprise. Her demeanor shocked him. What had she expected? That Vesz’aun be the one to pin the Draegloth to the wall, instead of the other way around? If that were so, she expected much, and he knew what failure meant to drow especially this one. So he decided to defend Vesz'aun a tad, knowing that the bladesinger survived this torture and still breathed because of Xull'rae, but he was not about to voice that, he doubted she would hear him anyway. "Hm, well then, perhaps I will not bother. Though tossing away life needlessly is not my style, so perhaps I will heal him." There is a short pause, as he turns to actually face the drowess this time. "If you truly want rid of him, or rather, want his obsession with you removed, I can do so."
Xull'rae whipped around to face the human mage, her face contorted with anger that she was obviously trying to reign in, but could not. Her voice was dangerously low, and it was dripping with disdain, "Who said it was needlessly? Name one incident where he was useful to you and didn't mess up." She meant her but knew the human would have countering statements of some sort. For all his vaunted mannerisms he was so soft on taking a life, needing a reason. Phaw, there was never a good reason to end a life, anyone's. She knew that, she knew killing was wrong and evil. She accepted it and did it because it was a natural feeling for her, because it was survival. But she was not going to voice aloud how she felt, not now not ever. She didn't know if she could even begin to explain. The human was talking and a cold calm replaced her anger as she registered what he said.
"Today." He respond and offered something akin to a smile, but no further elaboration at this point but added in, "If nothing else, one can count on his knack for fucking things up." He now turned back to the Bladesinger, and decided to let her know more about the drow male. He wanted to study if she truly harbored no feelings for him, or if it was just using him as a pawn as she always seemed to. "Though you've never been privy to it, he's not a complete moron, nor without his merits. I believe he simply underestimated the threat which the Draegloth presented. Or trusted in whatever deal he struck with the creature too much. I'm willing to bet they struck a deal of some sort, a mutual agreement to work together and kill me, or something along those lines." He shrugs and looked a little baffled. Not at them striking a deal to kill him, but the fact Vesz'aun marginally trusted the creature. Maybe Xull'rae had merit to want him removed after all, the more he thought about it. How did that saying go that he heard from the drow? 'Stupidity should be awarded with death.' He continued on with his thought before he let himself be sidetracked. He could see how the drow could be and were corrupt. "Otherwise, there would be no way this could have happened. There are too many fail-safes for this to be accidental."
She studied the Bladesinger with a disapproving frown, her manner still icy. If the human let him live, the Bladesinger would have to bust his ass to get back in her good graces. She could not allow his failures to rub off on her or tarnish her image. "Then consider him yours, you may do with him as you will." She looked at Cogliostro; a stone had more expression then her face right now. Her eyes were so cold, that Cogliostro thanked his hard upbringing. He felt the urge to fidget, if he were weaker he knew he'd be flinching and to the point of bowing but he was NOT the type, never would be. He kept himself still as well as his face as he spoke and was relieved his voice was so calm and conversational. "Very well, would you like all memory of you wiped from his mind? Or just the fact that he 'likes you'?" Xull'rae would make masses of people flinch and bow one day. Even grovel of that he was certain. Long before she would become Matron.
"If he manages to live and actually do something of merit, he may able to live longer by my standard...if I wanted anything removed from his mind I would have done it already…I'm better at it then you anyway."
He nodded as if agreeing, but said, "Mm, perhaps." Glancing over his shoulder one last time, to face her,"Drazoul will be meeting with a certain someone very soon at the Inn. Please make certain you can overhear the conversation. Or better yet, perhaps get in on their little ploy if you are able." He changed the subject because he felt it necessary. He even used a polite tone but it was an order all the same as he now turned back, to begin plucking the metal spikes from Vesz'aun, studying the first one for a moment. "Hm, Saer Auvryath will not be a happy camper, it seems the Draegloth destroyed his beloved blade, and used the shards to pin him here."
Xull'rae sounded resentful, for what he could not guess, "Well if you plan to keep him alive I can help restore it if it will help calm him." It was a strange thing to say, after wanting him dead. Xull'rae did know how to take care of servants, a well treated servant was an obedient servant, even Cogliostro had said that.
"Very well, but for now, you have other business to attend." Cogliostro said, a shimmering blue portal opened near her, one which would whisk her back to her room at the Inn. "One last thought before you go. Master T'orgh was the apprentice of an apprentice to the Malaugrym, back before the imprisonment. It was part of the group experimenting with creating were-dragons. I only mention this, so that you may keep a more vigilant eye on him, for if the malaugrym happens to recall this at some point, he may reinstate old enchantments of servitude, and use Saer T'orgh as a tool through which to influence the church. In fact, he may already be doing so, but I don't believe so."
Xull’rae let nothing break her frosty calm. She would indeed keep an eye on Bragh and kill him if he became a tool to further the means of the insane mage rather than the church. "Noted. I wonder if psionics can override powerful magic?" She steps through the portal not waiting for a reply.
Although the Lightless Realms had no sun, nor moon, to give them a sense of night or day, frequent trade with certain surface-dwellers has prompted the city as a whole to have a more or less settled upon version of night and day.
As such, it now fell to the breakfast hours for a large part of the city, and hence the Inn's taprooms were rather busy with patrons coming to partake of the fine meals available. One such patron now sat picking idly at the remnants of eggs and sausages which rested upon his platter, a hooded drowic form from the look of it, waiting patiently for Drazoul to join him, crimson orbs sweeping lazily, though constantly, across the breadth of the room, partaking of what information they could. Business was to be done this day, and it seemed their would be plenty of background murmur to conceal that which would occur.
Drazoul looked around loosely not wanting to give the impression he was looking for someone and when he did indeed find the one he sought. He walked towards the figure cautiously making sure no others would follow or watch. As he arrived he gave a slight inclination of his head then spoke. "Nice to see you are well and fine old friend." With that he took a seat near the drow.
Meanwhile the portal which the human provided, put within Xull'rae's rooms, she had heeded the humans words, and had the intent to be the spy. So she departed the confines and made her way down the stairwell, but she didn't look herself. One, she was not wearing her piwafwi, two her hair was white, her eyes red, and her face was distinctly male. Her clothing showed of the mercenary type, black leather and a sword at either side of her, only a high level mage could see through the illusion, in which case, would show only her piwafwi to those who could see through it. She moved to a table adjacent from Drazoul and company, which was occupied by a human and his orcish looking companion, she greeted them as if she knew them and signaled a waitress to bring a round of drinks, which promptly shut up what either one was going to say to her. She was prepared to listen in and stay unnoticed.
A newer addition to the Inn was also settled here, not to far from the table which the "mercenary" had settled, it would've been hard to tell anything about the individual as he was covered from head to toe in garments of ebony, one could guess he wasn't native though, just by his build and height, and while not bulky, stood a good six foot two, the only thing of notable value was the longbow, which had been leaning against the wooden edge of his own chair, an arm being draped over the back of it while free digits tended to the mug of one ale or another, twisted somewhat in his seat so his eyes could wander and assess the various occupants.
The conversation between Drazoul and his companion continued, uninterrupted. "Indeed, and you as well, Drazoul." The drow gave another glance to the room as a whole, suspicious as always, but not intent upon any single being that surrounded them. "I believe it is safe enough here to speak freely." Nadal paused a moment longer, taking another assessment of the room, before continuing, "I have that which I have promised. As our usual dealings go, in order to assuage suspicion, I will place it somewhere secure, and you can pick it up at your convenience. Secure as possible, at the very least. Now, how goes things on your end?" He looked upon the yuan-ti expectantly.
As for Xull'rae, those she had taken a seat with were seasoned enough in what she was doing that they went along with the ruse, figuring it would be the least of payment which they would receive.
Drazoul smiled in response, knowing he would be one step safer once the item was acquired. He pulled out the onyx figurine of a dog and whispered the magic word. The dog materialized from smoke and the Yaun-ti did not waste a moment to give it instructions though Nadal had deemed the place safe, Drazoul felt otherwise. "My front goes very well in fact and there is much that you may find interesting. How is your standing?"
As he was wont to do, Nadal deftly avoided questions about himself for the time being, placing a smile of sorts upon his visage whilst arching a brow in Drazoul's direction. "Some things of interest, you say?" he pressed.
Drazoul's blatant use of the Onyx figuring drew some stares from those gathered, to be sure, but Nadal did not comment on that fact, nor did he seem overly worried about it.
"Most certainty Nadal, there is much news that you would most likely find useful," Drazoul grinned. "Are you willing to hear?" he asked as he grinned all the more when some of the people stared. Was it so unusual to have extra protection in the Underdark? Perhaps he would never know.
"Mm hm, as always, that I am," Nadal's own smile broadened at the prospect.
Drazoul accounted the whole story of the Malaugrym’s entrapment and how seven children were used as seal keys and that in fact the demon they discussed earlier was a nurse maid of a sort. He spoke of Alena but did leave out the fact that he and Horock were also keys since it would not be important for Nadal to know. He made a small mention of the scarred one, looking to Nadal's expression at the mention of Malag'tel. More importantly he hinted that Cogliostro was not a big player in the whole scenario as it stood but seemed to know more then he let on and as of the moment seemed to be spilling out information when it served him though Drazoul could not explain the humans goals. He also made a small reference to a curious Githyanki he met recently.
Xull'rae was keeping to the conversation, as bored as she was, she could not believe the yuan-ti had no sense. Why in the celestial heavens would one blabber that much? Drazoul trusted too much in her opinion. She knew of Nadal, but other than him being a follower of the Masked One, she knew little else. Drazoul trusted a drow thief? She didn't know whether to laugh or kill him for being stupid, instead she sat there drinking and talking wild stories with the others at her table, though she did contact Cogliostro mentally. I hope you are getting this human...this is actually rather boring.
Nadal listened with an expression of much interest etched upon his visage, and when Drazoul had come to finish his recollections, a single nod, and a simple, close-lipped smile was offered. "That is quite a bit more than I had expected in such a short time, and quite interesting, to boot. This news of the scarred one does bring some wariness upon my soul. I am thinking that perhaps he will discover my ruse within the church. Then again, one such as he has been described as not to care, or will find it humorous. In any event, I have tarried here too long for now." He takes a final draught from his mug, and tosses a handful of gold upon the table's surface. "Go to the Gloura's Wings, and ask for Embryssa. She will recognize you, and get the item to you. And we will meet again soon enough; in the meantime, I have much to think upon, thanks to you. For my part, I will also see what else I may uncover on all involved topics."
Drazoul's expression turned more neutral as he was somewhat confused as to what Nadal was referring to, but he responded regardless, "thank you old friend, keep in contact and things will go just fine,"with that he left and went in search of Gloura's wings. He signaled for his dog to follow, deciding not to speak to it since people would think him mad even though the dog could easily communicate.
In a delayed response, Cogliostro responded in barbing sarcasm, mm, I thought I had employed you to "get it"?
The stranger in the corner, set his mug quietly upon the table, nimble digits now idly play with the straps of his magical quiver, spanning across his chest in a "X" fashion, he tighten them as he prepared to move, lifting from his chair and reaching downward to snatch his bow, slinging it over his right shoulder, low-hanging cowl covering most of his features, but do give hint of greyish flesh beneath, dark, but not like the elves of this place, something totally different in fact. In any case, he began to stalk for the doors, but didn't exit just yet.
Nadal rose with yet another charming smile, as he offered a respectful inclination of his head to Drazoul before they parted. "In case you are unfamiliar, the Wings is the largest establishment in town, and clearly one of the finest." Then he too departed.
Xull'rae sucked her tooth ordering more drinks and asking those at the table if they cared for another meal. She nodded to the cloaked figure as he rose from the nearby table, as most would do when one grabs a weapon. It was then she noticed her subjects leaving. They are not saying much that we don't already know except the name Embryssa and an establishment called Gloura’s wings where snake boy can pick up his item.
Cogliostro gave the mental impression of sighing. That is something, at least. Very well though, you may stand down now, thank you.
Were you expecting more, if so I can try to uncover more but I need specifics. Xull’rae asked.
Again Cogliostro gave a long pause before answering. No, not at all, that is sufficient for now.
As meals were brought she decided to ask the bald mage things on other subjects. Alright then, has the Draegloth awakened and how fairs the Bladesinger? She was merely curious, not truly concerned for their welfare.
No, to the first, and as for the second, I think I've almost got the entrails back in place.
Xull'rae gave the mental impression of being appalled. It'd be easier and faster if you would just let a priest handle it. She did not want to get up right away, as she was a better thief than that and was waiting for all them at the table to eat and to leave.
Cogliostro's mental impression was irritated. Bah, you don't even know what I'm doing.
She almost laughed aloud, but restrained herself with scratching her nose and sniffing. No I don't but from your tone I think I hit it right.
Now he sounded strained, making his mental voice softer and more distant. Mm, think what you will. Now stop bothering me before I accidentally reroute his colon to the wrong orifice.
She gave a mental sigh. You should have let me deal with him. She let it drop then and finished her plate, belching loudly.
Still the stranger was in the inn, his attention was set on the one with a dog, following every last step he took till out the door, he himself, still didn't quite leave just yet, instead he planted his shoulder against the wall, taking a casual lean.
Though neither of them knew the other at this juncture in time, they soon both found themselves being beckoned by a certain waitress, each in turn, given a brief message that Colie would like to meet them upon his private deck, asking that they wait there for him. Nothing else was said, and they were otherwise left to their own devices.
Before either Xull'rae or the stranger could do much in the way of motivating towards the private upper deck, the southern taproom erupted into chaos. A large crackling of energy suddenly erupted near the ceiling in the center of the room, sparks and arcs of purplish electricity issuing throughout the entire area, born from a single large sphere which abruptly formed. But a heartbeat later, a humanoid form spilled forth from its darkly illuminated depths, falling so fast that not much could be discerned at first. The electrified sphere disappeared roughly the same moment that said humanoid figure crashed headlong into one of the stout wooden tables, upsetting the meals which four shocked patrons had been enjoying. Many in the room were either ducking for cover, drawing weapons, or some combination of both, not the least of which being the two burly humans, and their two drow companions who now began to get their bearings after having their table all but toppled over, by what now appeared to be a soaking wet, sloppily dressed half-Elven male, who looked even more shocked than anyone else, if such were possible.
The half-elf issued a loud grunt upon impact, the world spinning for what seemed an eternity, the only thing registering being the momentarily overwhelming pain from the impact, and the nausea imparted from the unexpectedly rough teleportation. Blinking his almond shaped, hazel-hued orbs repeatedly, he tried to make some sense of the figures looming above him, and the situation as a whole. One of his gloved hands reached uselessly for the bundle of equipment he'd been holding before he'd entered the portal, the one which just happened to contain the few weapons he possessed along with everything else. The other hand then began to reach into the sheath sewn on the inside of one of his thigh-high, black leather boots, hoping at least to have the minimal protection his favored throwing knife might offer.
Cyrus was standing a few feet along the wall from the private deck, obviously on bouncer duty to make sure Cogliostro was not disturbed. A brawny man seemed to be made of decent height and all muscle. His bronzed face had not changed expression at the noise, nor did he move other then turn his head to where the bald man was sitting, to see if he wanted to investigate the supposed crashed. The blonde man known as Cyrus felt the wild energy of the portal, open and shut. He also knew from where the true location of where the other side opened to. He was not alarmed for he knew it could not be her, so he didn't really care otherwise who it was that had stepped through the dangerous portal.
Xull'rae recognized Cyrus as the man that was with Cogliostro on their first meeting, as she started making her way to the bald mage. Her curiosity made her pause when the chaos in the room began however.
When Cyrus had turned toward where the aforementioned bald one was now seated, he would not be surprised to see said human cradling his head in a frustrated manner, letting out a sigh which portrayed much the same.
Meanwhile, the disoriented half elf's vision cleared just in time to catch sight of the large hand, wielded by an even larger human, come barreling his way. On pure instinct, naturally quick reflexes bid him roll over to the side, which brought him crashing to the floor or rather on top of an upturned chair, which caused him to stumble as he tried to gain footing, it was then he came crashing to the floor. To his credit, after a hushed curse and a loud grunt, he managed to somersault backwards and get to his feet. The cobwebs of his mind were now fully cleared, the rush of adrenaline wiping such things away, a look of half-alarm, and half eager anticipation etched upon his comely, innocent, and relatively youthful visage. The once neat ponytail of sun-lightened auburn hue was now unbound, a wave of it flowing across his line of vision just when he needed the gift of sight the most. As such, the slight, anticipatory smile which began to creep upon his countenance was quickly wiped away by the large fist which hammered directly into it. Reeling backwards from the blow, he retained enough clarity to curse softly about the fact he'd probably just stained his favorite billowy sleeved white swordsman's shirt. At least, he retained sense enough for that, until he stumbled back into yet another patron, who summarily took it upon themselves to hammer him in the back of the skull with a pewter mug. There was naught much else than a blinding pain to experience in the following moment.
Sighing heavily one last time, Cogliostro quickly stood, all but knocking his chair over backwards, and gave a nod to Cyrus, indicating that this fiasco be put to an end and quickly.
Xull'rae still disguised as a male stood up quickly to avoid being toppled over in her chair, she blocked someone from punching her at the fact she stood so fast, and pushed the brute back in his chair, putting a sword to his throat daring him to move. From the corner of her eye she saw the half elf get smacked and smacked again. She didn't know what was going on, but she knew this inn pretty well and knew Cogliostro would not open a portal of such magnitude, whose energies to those in tune with magic could feel were totally wild and very uncontrollable.
Cyrus simply nodded and smoothly headed down the stairs and brings himself to the center of the common room. His movements are graceful and silent, like a man who knew how to prowl. He caught the fist of a man who was aiming at the half-elf and held it in a vice grip, to those who were near, could hear the bones start to pop and possibly crack in an unpleasant sound. "This is quite enough." His voice was calm and quite uncaring as he continued, "no more fighting or the next one who is violent will have his head split like a melon and his body thrown out. So all of you do have seats and continue on your daily lives, the girls will be out to dance in a minute." The whole time he was looking at the one whose fist he held but his voice despite its tone, carried throughout the entire room.
Having come downstairs but a few steps behind the behemoth Cyrus, Cogliostro took note of the growing fear with the gaze of he whose fist was being crushed oh so easily. Taking a quick, sweeping gaze of the room, he then nodded to no one in particular, satisfied at the results. He said, "thank you, Cyrus. That will be enough. Take the half-elf upstairs please." He then increased his voice enough that it would carry throughout the room. "Forgive the interruption. All meals are free, and the drinks as well. Ladies.." he looked expectantly to all the dancers and waitresses, "...another round for everyone. As for those most disturbed by all this, once more you have my apologies. You will be given a new table, fresh meals, and a bottle of the House's best, each." It was stated in such a way as to portray that he would not tolerate any refusals or rebuttals on the matter at this time. Once that was done, he waved to one of the waitresses nearby, and silently bid her bring the half-elf's equipment upstairs as well. Then, he began to head back upstairs himself.
Xull'rae put her sword away in a quick motion upon seeing the muscled brute easily catch the fist of someone bigger than him. Of course she felt no fear, but something about his unblinking gaze was unforgiving and uncaring, and while she was used to cruelty and violence, the bronze man seemed quite different, and it certainly made her wary. She looked at baldy briefly, but instead of seating herself she started to follow him.
Cyrus simply released the man and with his other hand and arm, scooped up the limp half elf, not even bothering to be gentle nor throw him over his very broad shoulder, instead he just held him there in the crook of his arm and hip, not even giving notice that the drow male was following them up.
For Cogliostro's part, he was already waiting by the table's side when Cyrus brought the limp form towards one of the seats. Before the body had even slumped fully into place, one of his leather-gauntleted hands roughly grabbed a handful of that red-brownish mane, and jerked the head into a position to face his plainly angered countenance. His oak-brown orbs illuminated with an eerie blue-silver glow for a moment, the only sign of magics which now roused the half-elf to wakefulness, momentarily blotting out the angered red held within those same twin pools. Apparently, he had not paid attention that the drow "male" had followed, for he began to rant, knowing that those below could not overhear, but not aware of any up here that should not be privy to certain information. "What in the bloody fucking Nine Hells are YOU doing here!?" Not giving a chance for the elven one to answer, he roughly jerked back his head and pushed away, releasing the half breed before he gave in to the urge to rip the impudent intruder's head off, taking a single step back to assess the beaten figure. "You have no place here, half-breed, nor any business poking your nose into these affairs!" Taking in the fact now that the half-elf was blinking with as much surprise and puzzlement as from shock, he began to calm down, realization dawning on him that the half-elf really did have no idea of what was transpiring, or even of his own true identity. As such, he emitted a long, swift sigh to release some frustration, spinning away momentarily. "Bah."
Blinking a few more times, the half-elf thoughts swam through the pain, bringing him to full clarity, or at least as much as the various pains would allow. Cradling the back of his bloodied head with a black-gloved hand, the half-elf's gaze narrowed at the bald crowned human, voice holding a certain amount of bravery and indignation, despite being surrounded by odds he could not hope to defy. "Look, I came through a doorway, searching for someone I had seen enter it earlier, and this is where I ended up. It was not intentional, so please do refrain from this treatment. I had no clue that this...whatever it is," Referring to the portal, "..would occur." Now he moved that bloodied glove forward, pinching his once cute nose in a seemingly futile attempt to halt the bleeding.
Xull'rae stood on top of the stairwell, motionless but otherwise making no attempt to hide, not even really caring if her disguise could be seen through. She was just curious of what caused the portal and who fell through it.
Cyrus' meaty hand slapped a handkerchief down on the table, his huge arm slightly smeared in the half-elf's own blood, he spoke up in the same tone as before, "more importantly what you doing there in that other place anyway…it's more dangerous than it is here. In fact you were snooping around the ruins…you are not even a citizen of there, so do start explaining yourself before Cogliostro here looses his temper more and possibly kills you."
Not that it did much good, the half-elf took the offered handkerchief and hastily wiped what blood he could from his face, hazel-hued gaze moving from one man to the next, his mind racing to make some sense of the situation, and formulate a way out of it. Though he was fit, leanly muscled, and had some semblance of fighting skill in his repertoire, he was not a total fool, and knew he stood not a chance against either of them, let alone both, plus the innumerable patrons of the unknown establishment. Pausing a few moments more, to staunch the blood flow from his nose as much as he could manage, he finally took it away and answered with a question, moving his attention from one to the other as he addressed them both, "so you know about that place? Then you should know of the woman, the one in that…that, maelstrom of darkness, for the simplest way to put it. I've been trying to find some people there that seemed to know her. I want to help is all, as I'm a sucker for a damsel in distress. All I'm doing here is following one of the people I'd seen there earlier. A tall guy, bl--"
The half breed was cut off rather harshly by Cogliostro, "I know whom you seek, half-breed." He slammed his hand upon the table as it settled there, supporting his form as he leaned in to the man, looming over him in a threatening manner. It would not do for the simpleton to reveal too much to those in this particular corner of the world. Glaring down at the battered male a moment longer, he then stood fully once more, adjusting his longcoat and trying to gain some semblance of etiquette. "He is not available to speak at this time. I suggest you go back from whence you came, and I'm not speaking of the ruins, either. Your 'help' is not needed, and your prying is not appreciated, no matter if you actually have good intentions."
Once more, Cyrus put a meaty hand upon the half-elf's shoulder as if ready to remove him, though it was a surprisingly gentle touch, his deep voice gave reassurance, "The Lady is actually rather safe so do not worry. It is best though that you stay away from that place and her." He expression did not change but his hazel-green eyes sparkled with truth and intensity that Xull'rae identified with in her own self, a passion to thrive for another. She continued to listen as he was still speaking, "You will only die and end up like those undead who want to just 'live' to destroy her."
The bald human was ignored for the moment, defiantly so, though silently. The half-elf’s gaze turned toward the bruiser who had addressed him more civilly. A slight bit of puzzlement creased his brow, for more than one reason. "I'm sure she is safe, if you say so. I had seen that much for myself. But there's no guarantee it will stay that way, and she's not getting any better if people just sit around, something needs to be done. It matters not if it’s safe or not to myself, I just want to help." At this point, he deemed the broader of the two men as someone to respect. But such was not so with the bald one. A deep frown creased his comely visage as he turned toward said figure and commented, "I've never once seen you up there, never saw you trying to help, who are you to tell me what I should and should not do, and where I am not wanted. Sure, this place might be yours, and yeah, you can make me leave, but keep out of my affairs when it comes to those ruins and the lady within!" Despite himself, he had actually raised his voice, an unusual temper flaring.
The temper subsided soon enough though, replaced by one of mild surprise, and followed once more with one of pain, taking note that with blinding swiftness, the bald human was upon him once more, and had driven a dagger through his hand, pinning it to the table. Gasping softly, the half-elf took note that it was his own dagger which the human had used, the one he'd drawn from his boot earlier. He summarily kept his mouth shut as the human began ranting in his face again.
"What part of ‘we don't want you butting into this affair’ did you not understand?! The next time, I will cut out your tongue." When the wounded man opened his mouth to protest, the bald man never gave him a chance as he continued, "Enough talking on the matter. You are to leave, both here and the ruins. Take your gear, and ply your luck in the wilds of the Underdark around us if you've nothing better to do! And yes, your curiosity being piqued, you are back on your proper homeworld, half-breed!" Cogliostro fumed a moment longer, then turned away, not knowing just what to do with the frustrating half-elf, lest he reveal too much, knowing enough was said already. But what if the wrong people heard of this? Then what? "Bah," he spat in irritation.
The unshaken and ever calm Cyrus looked at his bald companion without judgment. His tone still not carrying a tone of emotion, "Calm yourself Cogliostro, you do have a guest," his eyes rested on the disguised Xull'rae before returning his gaze to the half-elf and gave a brief explanation of the topic, "Forgive him, he has been touchy since her fall and has been trying to keep it under wraps. Not that anyone here can make sense of what's going on nor do they have to deal with this world yet; as for you…it is very noble of you to want to help…but how can you? You can't even get back there without us and you just upset him…so now is the part where you leave or grovel. And no half-elf, you cannot follow us without us knowing so please do not try. Just take my advice and stay away."
What was shocking to Xull'rae was the Cyrus knew she had been there, knew she was gathering information about this unknown "woman," and yet he did nothing but just mention it to Cogliostro as if reminding the mage of his purpose. His voice and expression never altered, it was STILL flat and uncaring, but what struck her was that this man followed Cogliostro's orders without question but at the same time looked after him like an older brother or father would. It was very strange. There were other worlds too? What was Cogliostro really involved with she wondered?
Though there was a steady flow of pain to match that of the blood seeping from his hand, but the half-elf spoke in a calm enough manner, through clenched teeth, of course, "Well I'm bloody well not going to grovel...And I can't go anywhere with my hand pinned? Plus, I'm not so much a fool to think I can get myself home from here. So what am I supposed to do?" Slowly, as not to arouse any further actions against himself, the handkerchief was taken to his bloodied face once more, wiping the fresh flow away. "I admit I'm not the best man for the job, but at least I'm willing to do something, anything. Look, just let me talk to the others, the guy I came to find if nothing else...I have money, I'll pay for a room, this is an Inn from what I've gathered." His hazel eyes became pleading, the closest thing to begging that he came to.
Cyrus spoke up again, forestalling Cogliostro without moving or looking at him. "What makes you think we are doing nothing just because we are not there? Do you even know her name? Did you know what happened? Do you know who and what she is? Who she loves? Her family? Another point of advice, never assume anything. She is guarded, IF you would have paid attention you would know she is and by whom. And do not ever assume those who know her and dear to her are doing NOTHING. That will irk me. It is possible you could help, just stay away from the ruins. There lies an empty body that is nothing more than a husk. Now I ask you, smart one, how do you track a soul when it is no longer there, and no amount of magic can trace it?" Cyrus’ eyes started to burn with an eerie hunger, which caused Xull'rae to look away before she was consumed by such a cold and fierce gaze and lose her nerve. He was not speaking to her, but she still could not look at him. This man had a soul but he was not natural. He reacted so differently to everything than anyone she had ever met, she couldn't say why but it disturbed her on many levels.
Though listening to the conversation at hand as Cyrus stopped him from outright killing the stubborn half-elf, Cogliostro's immediate attention was drawn to the drow "male." Soft footfalls carrying him to loom directly in front of said figure, "You may drop the ruse now," he said while a slight frown was settled upon his now otherwise calm features, a ponderous one at that. He knew not whether to fret over the fact she heard what she did so far, or not. True enough, she would not be able to make much sense of it in and of itself, but he's noted thus far that the drowess has a lively spark of curiosity within, and it would not do to have her poking around into these particular affairs. A decision would have to be made as for what was to be done, but it could wait for the moment. As it stood, he spun and strode back towards the others. "You might as well come join us; I have need of your services."
Xull'rae nodded and the disguise dropped revealing a small figure swathed in the drow black piwafwi, face hidden by the hood as she smoothly moved to have a seat. She was relieved her voice sounded so assured and calm as she responded in front of these men of power, "very well," She was also grateful of the hood in place, to hide her startlement. So engrossed was she in her own thoughts that she did not sense or hear Cogliostro approach. It was a stupid misstep on her part, one that could have killed her with anyone else. She was becoming too comfortable and trusting around the mage she realized. She didn't know who to be more disgusted by. Him or herself.
The half-elf remained silent as the large one spoke, and offered a simple nod when he was finished and then the youth took initiative, saying, "you speak truth. I do not know any of that information, and I ask your forgiveness for making assumptions based off of what I've seen. I have come here seeking answers to all those questions. The greeting I have received has shaken me a bit from my course. It was anything but what I had expected. As for your final question..." he turned then, facing away from the bouncer to settle his gaze determinedly upon the dagger which held his hand to the table. A moment longer, he was silent, summoning up the willpower to carry out the task he'd appointed. And with a grunt of effort, he forced his gloved hand upward, drawing a gasp of discomfort from between his lips as it slid up the length of that sharpened metal. The gasp quickly turned into a small cry of even more pain, mixed with frustration, as once at the top, his hand hit the small crossguard, he couldn't get the dagger to budge one bit from its roost in the table. He exclaimed in pain, keeping the hand still now before he caused permanent damage, "Bloody Hells! Arrghh! Damnable minions of Asmodeus, I've seen enough people pull this sort of thing off!"
Xull’rae move forward and leaned across the table, pulling back her hood, "fool idiot. Be like a normal person and just pull the damn thing out of your hand." She took the hilt, giving it a smooth and quick but vicious yank, pulling it free.
There was a final gasp of pain, eyes watering just a tad from it all, as the dagger was plucked free. Quickly he drew it back towards himself, cradling it, trying to forget the pain at the moment, and gain some semblance of pride back. Taking a deep breath, he freed his good hand long enough to brush the erratic mane of auburn from his vision, smoothing it back as best he could, but mainly managing only to smear it more with blood than it already was. A charming grin was offered to the exotically beautiful drowic form in front of him. Her skin was smooth and dark like a storm cloud. That face was a vision of seductive beauty, with eyes the color like a wolf’s, whose look was on the hunt and her lips were soft and uplifted in a smile that highlighted her sharp cheekbones. The over all look bespoke of a dangerous intellect. His gaze lingered for a moment on the coppery hued mane she bore, but he did not do so overly much on the fact, as he didn't want to seem rude. He replied kindly, "many thanks, milady."
Cogliostro watched the whole exchange with irritation. Upon seeing the man make moon eyes at the lovely Xull'rae, part of him could not blame the other man, but that smile showed too much trust already. He couldn't help himself and burst out in exasperation, "by all the damnable gods...deal with drow often, do you?"
Xull'rae smiled alright, though it was laced with a darker touch and her amber eyes studied him with a look of superiority, but appreciation of his attentions as well. This could be the pawn she could use to replace Vesz’aun. He needed to be tested so she couldn't help but add a quip of her own to see if he could dish it out or be obstinate. "I see half-elves get the stupidity of both races…poor boy," she patted his head like a pet and laughed as he winced and shied away from her then.
Cogliostro snorted. "Mm, I almost agree. He gives good argument for your theory, but don't tease the idiot. I brought you here to heal his wounds, not make him a toy."
They were speaking about him like he wasn’t here, the half-elf was not a complete idiot, he was versed well enough in the drowic race, and in so much as the elven half of his family had taught him whilst growing up. The fact this drowess was mingling with humans and other varied races gave him some clue that she wasn't typical, so he'd been his usual self with her, and did not mind one bit if the alluring smile were faked or not. It was pretty all the same. However her touch was inviting but he had no desire to be leashed so he sat back, waiting, not understanding what was being said. He could not speak drow language well but he understood their tones. She was mocking him however cutely and Cogliostro was still pissing on him.
When Xull'rae spoke again, it was in elven, though thickly accented; she was very fluent in it, to his surprise, "why not he likes my hair? I can see why, his is red too," her tiny hands touched his wounded one in a light caress. She softly spoke the correct spell, while one hand was surrounded by a purple aura that sent warmth through his hand and within seconds the wound sealed up. Then she removed her hand from his, the other playing with his dagger, looking at him intently. "Have a name boy?
The grin morphed into a warm smile, though it was muddled a bit by the smeared, drying blood upon his countenance. "That I do...Nemesio Dreamweaver, at your service." He contemplated standing, but he was both a bit woozy from the wounds he'd suffered thus far, and he figured the gentle hand upon his shoulder would turn into nothing less than a painful vise should he try to get out of his seat. As such, he offered the most polite nodding of his head that he could muster. He let the boy comment slide figuring her older by her demeanor. He was unaware of how drow aged but gathered it was still slower than half-elves with human blood.
"How touching. Now, can we figure out what's to be done with the good simpleton Nemesio? There are other matters that need tending this day." Try as he might and admittedly he wasn't trying hard, Cogliostro could not keep the contempt from his voice.
"Give him a room, he said he had money...besides it seems he loves the woman you seem to care about as well baldy...otherwise you wouldn't be so upset at him snooping wherever he was." Xull'rae replied with a trapping smile.
Cyrus helped Nemesio carefully to his feet, supporting him by the shoulders with both hands. "Up you go… take it slow now, be sure to stay out of trouble you've caused enough of it already." Cyrus’ obvious response was to stay neutral.
Cogliostro looked at Xull'rae abashed and with indignation, "bah. How in the Nine Hells can he love a woman he doesn't even know?" His ever present frown deepened, his gaze fully upon the drowess this time, "and you've already professed that you know next to nothing of love, so step down, if I want a professional opinion, I'll look elsewhere." He paused taking a deep breath calming down, "And in other news, you are right, drowess...he HAD money. Whatever is in his purse now belongs to me, for damages rendered."
Xull'rae gave off a humorous laugh in reply, when she spoke her tone was lightly mocking, "awww touch a nerve did I? I don't know love, but it is very similar to softness and defensiveness which you are now showing. She's probably a wife...or no you don't seem the type…a mistress per.."
Before she could finish, a large greatsword was brandished quicker than even the she expected as it lay positioned at her throat at a deadly angle. Cyrus’ tone was commanding and serious, "you will NOT call her anything disgraceful, lest you would very much like your head removed from your shoulders, and since I do not have a deal with your church I would not be breaking any vows. I fear not you drow or your gods, so do not think you are any position to threaten." He was cold and precise. He never threatened and was always one to hold true to whatever he said.
A single brow arched at the sudden twist things had taken. It had not occurred to Cogliostro ahead of time that Cyrus would react in such a way, though it indeed should have been expected. He did, however, know better that to bother with any attempt to get the man to stand down right now. So, he simply offered the drowess something akin to a polite, thin lipped smile. "I think Cyrus has said enough on that subject."
Xull'rae just stopped, trained well not to look surprised though in fact she was, she had never seen a human move so fast unless magic based but she felt no residue from him, and for the first time, she even doubted her psionics would work on this one and that made her afraid, in which she turned that quickly into envy and anger. For once though she just sat there, silent and fuming but not showing it and at this point if she did she did not know how he'd react and knew the bald human would not stop the brute. She could tell now that yes, Cogliostro had a restraint on him, but that restraint was a short one.
Nemesio was about to thank the large human, when the short outburst occurred. There was surprise etched upon his own features now, at the very quickness of the large man's actions. It was duly noted, to be sure. As he started this entire fiasco, he felt it would be best simply to keep his mouth shut at this juncture. Though he was tempted to defend the woman, so he looked at Cogliostro to see if he would.
Cogliostro said, to ease tension if nothing else, "your point has been taken, Cyrus. Now, if you would step back, she needs to tend the simpleton's head wound." He did not gloat over the fact of the drowess' temporary moment of fear. In fact it was a well placed fear. Even he did not know if he could manage to get Cyrus to stand down, or if he could stop the warrior should he choose to kill the drowess. But, he had to try, lest this turn even uglier because he would fail in protecting her.. He ignored the half-breed’s look.
Cyrus still had the half-elf by the shoulders when he drew and sheathed his blade, his dark eyes flat and emotionless as they rested on Xull'rae. No taunting or challenges made, just a cold confidence that he would harm and kill should more offenses be made, whether or not Cogliostro was there.
Xull'rae sighed in irritation and stood and stepped over to the half-elf once murmuring a phrase as she carefully touched his head. Taking extreme care not to look at or touch Cyrus upon doing so.
Cogliostro took note that the situation seemed to be diffused for the time being, he strode back to his seat, and picked up his snifter, taking a long draught, though the frown never disappeared. His gaze fell upon the raggedy looking half-elf once again and asked, "So tell me, oh great warrior...what is it that you think you can offer in the ways of help? I took note that you were scarcely even armed when you decided to venture forth in search of that certain fellow...nor are you equipped otherwise. Preparedness doesn't seem to be one of your strong points. I'm hoping that there are some such things about you...."
Before he could finish, his sarcasm was broken by Cyrus who broke in smoothly without coming off as rude. "One does not need armor always to protect ones self...I have none neither did The Lady."
Cogliostro looked at Cyrus, a mixture of irritant and surprise flicked across his face so fast it was hard to tell what he felt more. "Bah, it was not meant so literally, Cyrus. I don't wear any either, point of fact, but all the same, he is not of the caliber to be striding around without some sort of protection, defense, and armament."
Nemesio opened his mouth to respond but clicked it shut as Cyrus once more took his defense. "He has us...or at least me, if he is telling the truth in wanting to help her, I will help keep him alive."
For Nemesio's part, he still remained silent, not wanting to cut the brewing argument off between the two larger males. A warm smile was offered to the drowess in thanks noting her silence as well.
Xull'rae simply winked at him, it wasn't friendly, it was more teasing than anything.
"You have better things to do than baby-sit the whelp round the clock, methinks. And so do I. If he were to stay here...that being the better alternative to sending him back to the ruins...he'd have to have a constant escort," Cogliostro replied tartly. "One can already see he doesn't know how to interact with drow, as the good Saer Zauviir here is already toying with him."
He gave Xull'rae a warning look for emphasis of his point.
"Then have him stay here and work at the inn…you've hired worse...and better for you, he's an honest and good fellow," came Xull'rae's suggestion as she smiled at Cogliostro deviously.
At that he spun on Xull'rae, glaring and scowling much as ever. "What place does 'good' have in these lands? And what sort of job do you think this moron could do? He'd probably fuck up cleaning horseshit in the stables."
Xull'rae snickered, shaking her red head, finding it funny that this half-elf was bugging him without effort at all, "for you quite a bit apparently." She referred to the 'good' question.
Cogliostro spat in annoyance and glared at her more. "Bah, if you are finished, feel free to leave at anytime." Why were these two siding with this idiot?
Xull'rae continued, pretending not to hear the raging mage, having too much fun with this. "From the looks of him he looks to be an entertainer and if he travels a lot he is either a merchant or a bard." She stopped and shrugged as she looked at him in slight mocking confusion. "I thought you needed me for something?"
Cogliostro snorted and looked overly critical as he replied, "just because he carts a lute around, doesn't mean he knows how to use it. And I did, you just healed him, didn't you...oh, yes, that other thing, mm, damn." As he spoke his last statement he truly looked disappointed.
Now it was Xull'rae's turn to look critically at the bald mage, and comment, "you're an idiot at times. Don't you know half the people don't even know what decent music is? If it at least sounds like something they know they're fine."
The more she took the half-elf's side, the more it got under his skin. She had to have a motive for it, but what bothered him more was that he felt the need to protect the naive bard from the drow woman, but didn't let onto that fact. "Look, female...if you want him around so badly, YOU take care of him. As for that other matter, it can wait."
Yet again Xull'rae continued to speak as if she had not heard him, "besides you are being judgmental…he should expect it from me, a race that hates him not you, a great grand WISE human wizard."
Cogliostro's oak brown eyes flashed in anger, but he kept his tone slightly in check, "bah, I've never claimed any great wisdoms...If I were so wise, would I be trafficking with the likes of your kind? I think not." At this he heaved a deep sigh, "by all the damnable gods, why must so many complications fall into the simplest of plans?"
Instead of replying, Cyrus added his own view on what Xull'rae said about the bard. "That’s not a bad idea, the worst that can happen is he'll get killed and why should you care if he does, what do you have to loose? You can stand to gain from him playing here; you rarely get bards here anyway."
Xull'rae replied to Cogliostro instead, her tone instantly neutral upon hearing what Cyrus said, but smiled on the inside that once again the bald mage was being cornered, "because no plans are simple to obtain or carry out."
Cogliostro grunted. "Mm, no, with my luck, he'd continue to live for quite some time." He turned away now, since Cyrus was taking the opposite side of the argument than himself, made him calm down somewhat. "Other than that, however, what good would it do to keep him here? It would become naught but a prison, as I certainly can't send him out with the rest of the company, and I'll damn well not allow him to wander about on his own."
Xull'rae snickered softly about hearing further quips and complaints. "Well if you're not wise it just means one thing, you're stupid..."
Cogliostro said through clenched teeth, "I ought to simply let the Bladesinger catch view of him smiling at you, drowess, then let the two of them have at each other. At least one of them would die, if not both."
Cyrus stopped the woman from replying by speaking up, "well yes I supposed it can be viewed that way. Why not have him go with me on the errands you have me run?"
All this while Nemesio looked to each person in turn who was speaking. All of them were acting as if he were not there. He frowned to himself as he heard Cogliostro reply, "he'd only hold you up, in my opinion."
Cyrus shrugged in an offhand manner, "how is not my duty to put my life on the line for him, protection yes, but not dying for him and if he can't keep up well he'll get lost and die but no sense denying him a chance, The Lady did not deny you Cogliostro when you went looking for a purpose in life though in my opinion at the time she should have." As his shrug was offhand so was his tone.
Xull'rae went quiet, blinking and again she looked at Cyrus as if he were something deadly and not to be touched. She didn't even look at the mage, she too like the half-elf, knew when to stop, she didn't want to push further, not now.
For a moment, Cogliostro could remember back to the days when he and the large brute did not get along so well. He knew not if Cyrus were aware that half of what he did now was part of the whole Cogliostro disguise. He'd become more tolerant and mature since then. But that didn't matter right now, he supposed. So, he offered a simple glare, befitting of master to servant, to further strengthen the ruse, his tone superior, "your opinion is duly noted, bodyguard, despite my not asking for it. If this is what you wish, then so be it. All I have to say is maintain a quick pace in your ventures, so perhaps he'll fall behind all the sooner."
Not changing expression or mannerism Cyrus simply nodded and said, "I am never slow and he shall not interfere with my duties."
Cogliostro inhaled deeply, exhaling slowly. "Mm, that remains to be seen. At any rate, I am venturing elsewhere. You three do as you'd like. He can stay in the room next to yours, Cyrus, for the time being." A long, last look was given to the half-elf, assessing him yet again. His frown deepened, as both his disparate selves had their weighty doubts about what good the wandering minstrel could do. "Unless Cyrus here has you along on some other venture at a given time, you are to perform here in the Southern taproom on a nightly basis. I use the term perform loosely, of course." He spun around then, clasping his hands idly behind his back as usual, not caring if anyone offered a confirmation nor a denial of his orders. Swift footfalls then whisked him to the offices at the far side of the deck.
"Shall we see to your room Master Dreamweaver?" Cyrus looked at the half-elf patiently seeming to be awaiting something.
Nemesio had remained silent, even as the bald one continually berated him, but now, he allowed a short musing to escape under his breath, of course, "so, I'm guessing he doesn't get a good romp in the hay very often...."
Having keen hearing Xull'rae picked up on what the bard said and she snickered. "That's my guess too but I'm also guessing that's why he got angry at you for discovering the imprisoned woman, despite what he says it's obvious he cares for her." She shrugs looking at the office door, which was now shut.
"Maybe not love her but yes he cares for her…it's best that you not talk of such things however, and don't ask questions about her as I am not permitted to answer them, the less people know, the better." It was Cyrus who spoke as he began walking and holding on to Nemesio's shoulder as he moved slowly and carefully as not to disturb the half-elf's pain much.
Xull'rae frowned at the bronze colored man but nodded.
"Okay then, my large friend, I'll not ask anymore such questions, for now, at least. Might I gather my equipment now?" asked Nemesio.
Xull'rae replied as Cyrus gazed at her. "No you are only to take your lute only bouncers are permitted their weapons, patrons too, but those that use them are removed."
She shrugged as if saying rules were rules.
"But...never mind," Nemesio protested, he was about to point out that there were plenty of weapons brandished on the floor below when he made his appearance, but why push the point right now. "Very well...might I have the weapons placed in the safe or some such then? They are rather dear to me, to say the least."
Cyrus shrugged too. "Jabress is right I'm afraid if you want weapons, best ask the owner."
Nemesio sighed, and asked, "which I'm guessing would be the bald, crotchety one? As such, I'll not bother."
Cyrus nodded. "They are safe with him. Yes that is Cogliostro." He referred to the crotchety comment.
Xull'rae chuckled, even if the brute didn't change tone or smile it was still a joke to her and a funny one at that. Nemesio too had to smile at the thought. The smile remained as he turned to address the drowess once again. This time, he accompanied it with a proper, deep bow that is afforded to most he meets of the female persuasion. "All that aside, I thank you once again, milady."
Xull'rae laughed softly in response and said, "oh you are a fetching one...hmm best get upstairs pretty boy, lest I change my mind about surface breeding."
At that, his smile twisted into a charming grin. "Were I more presentable at the moment, I would just linger a while longer." A quick wink is then issued in her direction. "And I am ready when you are, hm, Cyrus. All I need do is grab up my satchel along the way."
Xull'rae stood slowly and said, "and it's jabress down here not milady be sure to remember it or you might hurt for it." She gives him a wink in return and heads off the deck.
"Well then follow me." Cyrus heads for the stairwell at a brisk predatory pace.
"But of course, Jabress," Nemesio called after her, going to gather up said satchel, taking pains to leave the two blades, and his finely wrought bow, all of elven make, upon the table. That done, he hefted the heavy satchel upon one shoulder, and slung his favored lute upon the other, following the large man to whatever fate lay ahead, knowing he was at least one step in the right direction now, despite the shortcomings of the day.
Cyrus opened the door to the room the half-elf was supposed to stay in moments later, handing him a key. "if you need anything ask the women, they will accommodate you. As for when I run errands I will come get you myself."
Nemesio took the key in reluctance, nodding his thanks. "Very well then, erhm, thank you I suppose. I will be ready for, hm, whatever, whenever. For now, time to clean up, for I believe that in a few hours, I shall have to carry out my part of the bargain, musically that is."
The big man nodded and said, "I will be there to be sure you don't get thrown off and mobbed."
He said it so matter of fact that Nemesio winced. "That's quite, hm, reassuring." He did not mean it as a mocking of the large man's ability; rather it came out tentatively due to the very possibilities of such things transpiring. He would get through it though...he'd worked a time or three in some dives that were far worse than this joint seemed to be.
As he began to shut the door, Cyrus turned to go, speaking as he was going down steps, "if you need bath items ask for Kail directly. She knows where everything is." And then he was gone.
Nemesio offered a simple nod before the man headed out, though he had no idea of who Kail was. His brows arched in surprise at the opulence of the suite he had been granted...much finer than most accommodations he'd ever stayed in. Thoughts of the day's transpiring began to filter through his mind as he closed the door, and set off to explore his new "home".