I've been abandoning Awoken a bit recently! I've got to tidy up the parts of various dialogues before I can update. I ... hope you want to know stuff about Maltheran nobility, guys.
Also, did a few little scenes as practice/character building, so have a vignette.
Mara's first meeting with Silver. Slight spoilers for some stuff about Mara, but you don't have the right context yet for it to be really spoilery.
The last of the sun had dipped below the treetops and the surrounding forest, already filled with ominous shadows, was sinking into a nightmare gloom. A gloom no doubt filled with wolves and bears and Goddess knew what else that would prey on a lone idiot out in the woods alone. Had she completely lost her mind, agreeing to this? Meet a contact, alone, out in the cold dark forest - even a half-wit would have been more suspicious.
Yes, send her out on a hunt for nothing, and if - when - she never made it back ... oh dear, poor Mara, what a shame. Oh well.
But they wouldn't be that petty, would they? Vin may not like her, probably never would, but the group still needed her, right?
Screw them. She could climb a tree, wait there until daybreak, then find her way out. She had her bow. She'd been in worse situations. Well, differently bad situations.
And then, from above, someone spoke, and she only kept from screaming by clenching her jaw so tight it hurt.
"So, whose bad side did you get on?"
Mara spun around, trying to make out the speaker among the tangled mass of branches overhead. "Who's there?" she demanded, trying to keep her voice steady.
A heavy thump, and a dark-clad figure rising to a standing position. "I mean, I doubt you volunteered."
Without warning, the space between them was filled with blazing light. Mara had to shield her eyes until they adjusted to the source of the glare - a ball of light, floating unsupported in mid-air and giving off an eerie blue-green glow. Magic. So maybe that explained some of the secrecy.
"You're a -" she began, and then she catches sight of the speaker and suddenly didn't know how to finish the sentence any more.
He - they? it? - looked at her, with eyes that glowed the same unworldly colour as the magic light overhead. No pupils, just unbroken circles set in darkness. And the rest - the hair like molten silver, the skin that seemed to shine like it had been painted with metal. The teeth, pointed like a cat; biting, cutting teeth.
Mara found her hand resting on the hilt of her knife, although what good did she think that would do? Her mind ran frantically through everything she knew about magic, every story, every wild rumour, and came up blank. This wasn't something from the real world - this was something from a fable.
"Well, you haven't run off screaming yet, that's one up on most of Vin's superstitious bunch." The person began to walk around her in a circle. Mara, every nerve on edge, couldn't help but notice the fluidity of its - their - motions, like the hunting prowl of a cat.
Her lungs didn't seem to want to work, but Mara took in a shuddering breath. Focus. Think. This didn't seem to be an attack, did it? "Y-you're Vin's contact?"
"Mmmm." They completed their circuit, coming around to face her again. "Was it Vin? The person you've so obviously displeased?"
With the initial shock subsiding, better-trained parts of her mind were coming to the fore, providing their observations. The voice had an unmistakably Northern Terrik accent, though well-spoken, well-educated. And the sly grin on their face, the way those eyes watched her, finding entertainment in her discomfort - she'd seen that before, maybe not on a face this strange, but she'd seen it. Intelligent and arrogant, so often a bad combination.
"Vin sent me here to meet with you," she said carefully, and she was going to have words with Vin when they met again. No wonder all her questions about who exactly she was supposed to be meeting had been brushed aside with a grimace and a 'you'll see when you get there'. With, of course, the unspoken addition of ‘now get out of my sight’ that always came with her conversations with Vin.
"And what exactly has Vin sent? I did ask for someone sneaky, you know. How are you at picking locks?"
Huh. Had Vin sent her here out of more than sheer spite? "I have … certain skills."
"And a liar," they replied with amusement. She tensed again. Could those eyes see into her very mind? Could magic do that? Or was that supposed to be one of the things magic couldn't do? She didn't know much of anything about the limits of magic, and she'd never regretted it so much as right now. "Maybe you'll be more fun than I thought."
"What did Vin tell you about me?"
They snort. "Nothing. Which I gather is about as much as you were told about me. So what do they call you?”
“Is that so?” A considering head tilt, and then they turn away. “You’ll do. Tell Vin that I am appeased, and may be gracious enough to help with whatever calamity has befallen you lot this week. I’ll give you more details of what I need later. Don’t have all the plan yet.”
“Wait!” she said as they turned away. Who knew if it was smart to push it, but she needed some answers. Not to mention that if they left now, she’d be back where she started – woods, cold, dark. Bears. “I – I don’t even know your name.”
“Good,” they said, and grinned.
“But how – who – what-?”
They made a ‘tsk’ noise. “There’s a question in there somewhere, isn’t there?” And in the blink of an eye they’re up close to her, giving her the full view of that unwavering stare. “So let me make this simple for you. I’m not going to tell you any more than I’ve told Vin. And, like Vin, you’re just going to have to put up with it, because at the moment you need me more than I need you.”
What had she got herself into? “But what should I call you?”
“You’ll think of something.”
She hurried after them. “If you want me to get a message to Vin, maybe you could help me find the way out of here?”
They stopped again, and she thought maybe this time there was some genuine surprise there. “No night vision, right,” they said after a pause. “Fine.”
And then light burst out from them, their burnished skin melted and flowed, and there was a wolf standing there. Which then spoke. “Are you always this jumpy? Come on, I don’t have all night.”
Edited because I noticed some tense jumping. It's been too long since I've done past tense!