At a critical time for the Ravenwod family, Lily has left to pursue love and adventure across the sea. Unknown to her is where that desire for excitement will lead her. Betrayed and hunted by many factions, she will survive by wit and courage. And a shadowy figure may be her greatest friend or deadliest enemy. The reach of the Guild and the Disciples of Soth is spreading and threatens her.
The Violence in Variations
And after a few weeks the arrived in Valusia and offloaded into the port city of Mandafall, it was a sprawling port that began at the water and rose up into the mountains nearby. Gerard sauntered down the gangway and waited for Lily, all the while looking for his cousin who was supposed to meet them. The smell of the sea and fish was strong in the area and with luck where they were staying would be away from the water until they moved on. "Welcome to my home Lily, I grew up not far from here at my uncle's estate and I will be happy to show you everything." He smiled to her even though she had gotten sick once on the way here as they encountered a storm just outside Valusia's territorial waters.
"It's fascinating Gerard! It's so different from home! I mean look at it! Sure the smell isn't the greatest and I know Igot sick and I'm sorry but if it wasn't storming it would have been fine I bet! But wow it looks so different! Even the people do Gerard! Look at all the clothes! It's crazy! So busy too! Daddy never let me too close to the boats and more often then not I'd have to stay in the carraige. Where do we go from here Gerard? I mean we had plans but that was all for later and while we were adventuring so what's next from here?" Lily asked walking down the plank with his help. Though the land swayed for a while it went back to being solid and she was fine soon again thereafter.
Just then Gerard pointed to a man hurrying in their direction, "That is a cousin of mine Magal he will set everything up for us." They walked to meet the young man who glanced over his shoulder and quickly stepped out of the alleyway. "Greetings cousin Gerard and to you too Miss Lily." Magal's accent was thicker than Gerards and twinged with concern. "Uncle Gregor cannot see you today he is on business, he wishes me to have you stay at one of the best inns in the city." Gerard nodded and ushered them along the street towards the inn and tavern district.
"Oh? It isn't anything serious is it? I hope your uncle is okay Gerard! Oh wow what aweful luck for us! Everything was going so well! I do hope he's allright and nothing will happen that's too serious! I wonder how different this place will be from my uncles? I bet it'll be very different! Magal you have a very interesting accent! I would love to hear some more of it, say Gerard why don't you have an accent as thick as your cousins? How many cousins do you have Gerard you didn't tell me about any of your family except for your uncle of course." Lily chattered away happily, as always if she was excited or happy the words just flowed right out of her mouth.
Something caught Lily's attention someone was following them he had a dark cloak and she could not see his face. Magal hurriedly escorted them to the Two Moons Inn, a three story building just outside the scent of the port. Magal said something else to Gerard in Valusian he turned as if to confront the person behind them. They were gone, Magal said something about phantasms and opened the door for them. Gerard took her hand and squeezed lightly, "We will have a chance to get some rest and cleaned up tonight, then meet Uncle Gregor tomorrow."
"Oh sounds great... if your cousin okay? He seems aweful jumpy Gerard... Is he looking for friends or something? Perhaps another cousin? Oh wow! Look at this place! IT's really different too wow look at that! I wonder what the stuff on the walls are! OOH is the food going to be different Gerard? What were you speaking? Was it the native language? Can you teach me? I would love to learn how to speak it!" Lily said excitedly worried about Magal's behavior and then distracted by everything new she was seeing it was amazing, everything was new and exciting and she was really happy to be here and with Gerard.
"Everything is fine Lily, the waterfront can be a little dangerous and he has always been a fearful man. Lily remembered the one word Magal had said "Da'Karis" but they went to the third floor and opened up the door to a large room with an open ceiling and large window that let light inside. "My uncle loves to spend a good sum of money on rooms when I come to visit and cannot stay with him. And of course LIly I will teach you Valusian even though most people speak common or the trade tongue here." The bed was soft with warm sheets and Gerard rang to order dinner and a bath for them.
"I know the Trade tongue Daddy taught me when Mommy said it was a pointless language to learn. I'm really good at learning languages though Grandma said it was because I talk to much that whenever I use a language and ther is someone to talk with I talk so much my mind just files it away. I never really understood that but I suppose it makes sense in a way. I'm sorry about your cousin then Gerard and what a wonderful Uncle you have! I do hope he likes me! MMM! a real bed it's wonderful!" Lily said dropping her gear and laying on top of the bed, she missed it very much she had been resting on hammocks on the boat this whole time and this was a very welcome break.
Gerard grabbed her foot and pulled her boot loose then got the next one off, "Come along my love, no armor or weapons needed in here tonight." He set her sword belt far to the other side and her pack before adding, "Or clothes if you so wish." He had told the cook they wished roasted fish with fried potatoes and fresh bread was to be delivered and then hot water for baths. Other than that Gerard had left strict instructions they were not to be concerned. Tomorrow could not come fast enough, he just needed to get her into a dress to meet Gregor.
"Oh sorry! ON the bed too! I'll get it off. Gerard none of that until we are married remember? But if you promise not to look I'll change into something more comfertable after my bath. Just no looking!" Lily said this time not speaking as much or as fast, she was embaressed about being naked in front of him and she had made him promise until the wedding night nothing was going to happen. So she was soon untying the ties for her armor and taking it all off leaving the padding on for a moment before taking that off as well, down to her pants and shirt. She felt odd without it and she hated wearing pants in front of Gerard, he liked it ever so much when she was in dresses and looked feminen. But he always praised her skill so much she knew he was the perfect man.
"I have the picture of you nude my lover, I did want to bathe you myself unless you would rather I use another tub here in the inn." he said with a grin. Laying his hands upon Lily again would probably lead to a bad place, but, if he used another tub he could take care of certain problems. A knock at the door meant the food was here and he opened it wide and smiled as the serveing girl swept in with the tray. He tipped her well and reminded her about the water for a bath for once the dinner was done.
"Maybe a seperate bath would be best... for both of us." Lily spoke softly and shyly. Though once the food arrived she quite being so shy and she got the little table ready for them to sit down and eat at. She said graces to all the gods like her parents taught her to and she then began to eat. Real food and not just ship food was a wonderful change, though it was more fish then she had ever had in her life before Lily liked fish so it was obsolutely no problem for her. And a bath afterwords would let her unwind after everything that happened so far. The journey had been long and hard and she was glad the family wasn't worrying about it. Or trying to come after her to get her her.
Gerard did not complain, after the meal and while Lily would bathe he would enjoy one of the serving girls then do the same. As they finished dinner he asked, "Lily tomorrow we need to get a dress so I can introduce you to my uncle properly. I hope you don't mind, I just really want him to like you my love." The maids brought the water shortly after and he bowed to Lily telling he would return after he also bathed and they would get some sleep. He was concerned though, Magal had inferred that Da'Karis was following him if that was true then they would need to be cautious.
Lily agreed quickly with Gerard and soon enough was bathing, trying to clean herself very thoroughly, scrubbing her skin and washing her hair really good. Once she was positive she couldn't be any cleaner she got out and dried herself off, keeping a drying clothe around her hair though she quickly dressed in something for bed, in this case pants and a shirt. With a belt on. Then she worked to dry and brush her long light brown hair. Rubbing it until the cloth she used was wetter then her hair and then sitting near the fire and brushing it fully over and over. She would braid it for bed but she wanted it as dry as she could get it before hand.
Gerard came up also cleaned up after his bath and ready to sleep, he had taken a draught to keep himself in control around Lily. He climbed into his side of the bed and gave her a chaste kiss goodnight. Tomorrow would be a busy day and a mosy profitable one for him. "Goodnight Lily, tomorrow will be quite an adventure for us." he said quietly before giving her another kiss. A coach would come and get them in the morning to take them to get her a simple dress and then usher them to Gregor's estate.
Lily slept soundly and deeply, all the sea travel had made her very tired, but she woke early like she always did, and she unbraided her hair and brushed it out before styling it. Then she washed her face and hands and applied a little make up to her face, hopefully Gerard would like what she did. She then made an order for breakfast to be sent up, finished with her daily ruetiene she shook Gerards lets gently to wake him up. "Time to get up lazy bones!" She chirped happily, she was so nervous about meeting his uncle she didn't have much to say once again for the second day in a row.
He reached out and pulled her down to him raining kisses upon he neck even as his hand travelled to her backside to squeeze it lightly. "Good morning Lily my fine love." he said with a grin. Gerard wanted badly to strip her down and enjoy her before he took her to Gregor, but alas it was not to be. "You look ravishing Lily, I wish we had not promised to wait until we were married." he said softly. He began to get up so he could also wash up, eat, and get ready to go get Lily's dress then onto Gregor's.
Lily had squeeked when he petted her but she blushed happily at the comment. "Mother always said it takes a strong person to adventure but it takes an even stronger one to wait until marraige." Lily spoke as if quoting, and she really was. Her parents were the most important people in her life, after them came Conner and her siblings and then Gerard. But Gerard wasn't family so he got special treatment. Lily ate with Gerard and she stayed quiet. It was obvious she was fretting quite a bit, but this was a rare time of near silence for Gerard since leaving the capital city. As soon as they finished eating Lily cleaned up quite a bit before she was finally ready to go.
Magal did not arrive on time, Gerard figured he was hold up somewhere or that Gregor had him doing something else. "Well, we cannot wait much longer let's head to the market and get you a wonderful dress and be on our way. Do not worry about bringing anything we are perfectly safe and will not need weapons." He opened the door and ushered down the steps and out into the morning. Lily got a real chance to watch the people as they walked to the market it was a real culture shock as people went about their day.
Lily was deffinetly shocked, no words came from her the entire trip she just walked around soaking up everything! Once or twice Gerard had to stop walking and go back to grab her away from a stall or something and usher her to the dress shop. "This place is incredable Gerard! It's so amamzing! It's so different! I mean compared to my city this is like the other side of the world! Which I guess it kind of is! But still I mean did you hear them out ther?! Were you listening, wonderful this place is so amazing I mean I can barely describe it oh I wish Conner were here! He always has a way with words and I bet he would love it eve so much! The hustle and the bustle and the people and how they interact it's just so different I simply love it here!" Lily suddenly burst out excitedly, she spoke so fast that everyone near them both stopped a moment in surprise to listen, though only the most fluent would be able to understand her through her speed of speech and with the excitement from whish she spoke.
Gerard brought her lips to his in an effort not to quiet her, but make her nervous enough to remain quiet. The seamstress came to them and smiled, "How may I help you today?" Gerard released Lilly and spoke, "My fiance is looking for a simple yet elegant dress to meet my family." He smiled to the woman and took Lily's hand in his. The woman smiled broadly and ushered them back into the area of the store were several dresses were on display to allow Lily a chance to look around.
Lily went pink when Gerard kissed her and she shyly glanced at him the entire time they were in the stores. She finally picked a dress that would probably look the best on her and she was ushered into an area to try it on. Soon enough she walked out in the dress and smiled brightly at Gerard, "Well What do you think?" She asked unable to silence her need for his praise and his thoughts. After all she wanted to please his family and after watching everyone outside she felt this would be a good selection her herself, since she was more human then elf unlike her brother she was broader and well she was of good size. Not to tall, not fat and not thin, muscled but with some fat to her, in short she was the perfect female specimen.
"Wonderful choice." he praised then told the shopkeeper he wanted a soft suede boot to go with the dress. Gerard was unable to take his eye off of Lily, it was truly sad that he had to give her up before getting to try her. He knew she was pure and that is what made a foreign girl expensive in this line of work; high station and pure. He'd make at least one hundred gold plus whatever he got for the things she brought with her. "You are too good to be true Lily, I'm a lucky man." he said with a sly grin.
Lily giggled softly and after putting on the boots she hugged him tightly and kissed his cheek. "I love it! It's wonderful! I do hope your uncle likes me Gerard and we can head out on our adventure really soon!" Lily said shyly, it would happen after the wedidng anyways, it was supposed to. The wedding, when she and Gerard would become one. Lily blushed brightly at those kinds of thoughts and was simply happy to be here and with Gerard. After all this was the perfect way to prove to her family that she was capable and smart all on her own.
"Oh, I'm sure he will love you Lily and don't fret I'm new things will be coming soon." he assured her and then they left after he paid the shopkeeper. During the rest of the morning he showed her around the city and got her little treats. Finally, they headed up into the more proper estates until they stopped in front of one. It wasn't as large as the Ravenwood estate, but Gerard had told her that his family wasn't very wealthy when he proposed.
Lily was silent, she knew when she was being bribed to be quiet when she saw one, her whole family had been doing it on and off for years! Starting with her mother, though Mother was tricky she used toffee and different sticky things that made you slow down to speak. Though Lily loved her more then anything she never begrudged her mother that trick. So she stayed quiet but bounced a bit hanging onto Gerards arm. She was breathing quickly as well as she was trying to contain her excitement for Gerards sake and the sake of his uncle. After all first impressions only happened once... unless you were in the Ravenwood family and then it sometimes happened twice.
Gerard brought her to the large double doors and knocked, they were opened by a man of middle years who looked twice at Lily, "Master Gerard, I know you said in your letter that your betrothed was a beauty, but I never thought you'd aim so low. Your love is awe inspiringly ravishing." Gerard smiled in return, "A poet as you've always been Mito, can you bring us to my dear Uncle Gregor?" Mito gestured them inside and shut the door and led them through the house onto the back patio. Gregor was older, probably close older than Altair, with dark hair and grey eyes and lived a soft lifestyle for sometime. Gregor's jaw dropped, Gerard had sent the picture which he was using to sell with, but it did not do the Ravenwood girl justice.
Lily was blushing deeply, Mito apparently the door man had praised her so much, she'd never thought of herself as particularly beautiful not compared to her sisters and mother anyways. While it was true she had a body much similar to her mothers, Lily's was a little thicker all around, and a little more muscled from her daily training. Her mother had slacked off a little in her business as a Duchess. Lily was plush and tight in all the right places but she had no one to tell her such things so she just assumed the good looking twin was her brother. "P-pleased to meet you." She blushed harder at being so nervous and shy all of a sudden, but she curtseyed perfectly to Gerards Uncle Gregor. She had even left her hair out of her usual braid so it was all over her shoulders and flowing down her back. It was al least mid back length.
"I am so pleased to finally meet you Lily and may I say your name is as fits your beauty. Come please, sit by me I wish to know much about the young lady who is going to marry my nephew." He poured a glass of wine and handed it to Lily, several other people commented from other tables on the patio. It seemed like business from the other day was spilling over into this day as well. Gerard escorted her to a seat and went to greet a couple other people who were in attendance.
Lily sat down and smiled softly at the uncle of her beloved. "What do you wish to know? I know lots of things, especially considering who my parents are and they are very thorough teachers! My brothers and sisters helped teach me very useful things as well." Lily said softly her speech was still normal though with a hint of her actual normal speaking, but she was distracted by all the people around and Gerard leaving her with his Uncle, perhaps he knew his uncle would love her and that was that? Whatever it was Lily was happy to be there and to be able to meet Gerards uncle. She didn't take a glas of wine however because her parents rarely let her drink, unless it was at dinner in which case she got a single glass.
Gregor looked a little confused, "Is there something wrong with the wine fair Lily? It is only a mild blended with the juice of grapes so not too strong. Some people here have no head for beverages that carry a lot of alcohol." Gerard had gotten a glass from Mito and was talking to a man who was speaking excitedly in a low tone. It dawned on Lily that perhaps not only was this business, but a party to welcome her to Valusia and his family.
"Oh nothing is wrong! I'm sorry I didn't know you had done that for me! I'll drink it I promise! I do wish Gerard had told me more about you! About what would happen once we were here! Oh gosh I feel so embaressed that I wasn't ready and I didn't mean to make you upset or anything, and I want to apologize before hand if I do anything that your not used to. I mean I've been told sometimes that I'm very startling and not a lot of people deal well with that kind of startling I suppose but anyways I'm sure you don't want to hear me ramble on oh do please ask me anything!" Lily said taking the glass and the words just sort of spilled out all at once and then she took a sip. It was very different from the stuff at home, but it was very delicious and she took liberal sips.
Gregor smiled and even laughed, "There now the wine is always a good thing to start a relationship like ours. I see that you are wearing the braclet that will actually attach to your wedding ring my dearest." Lily began to feel a little lightheaded and giddy like she didn't have a care in the world. Gerard came back and sat beside Lily, "Do you like the wine my dear? I hope you are ready for a new adventure, we will begin planning the big day and the rest of our lives."
"Oh Gerard! The wine is very delishiouss... Your uncle was just telling me about the bracelet and ring, I didn't know that was the custom here you should have told me! This is a lovely gathering isn't it Gerard?" Lily spoke though not nearly as much as before, it seemed whatever was intoxicating her was making her slow down... all of her even her mouth. She didn't seem to notice a bit however and continued to drink from the glass, it really was very yummy. A little fizzy even and it tickled her mouth pleasantly, soon her glass was empty and things were a little fuzzy around her. She looked at Gerard and things in the background were completely fuzzy, when she turned to look at his uncle the whole world spun.
Then the world went black.