Benchmark

Known colloquially as the "Realm of Dreams", Emea is a mysterious place accessed primarily beyond the realm of consciousness as the mortal body sleeps in Idalos. The mind travels far at night and Emea's not without its unique risks and dangers, though Jesine's vigilance keeps mortals mostly safe.

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Postby Faith » Fri Mar 09, 2018 4:00 pm

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She wasn't entirely used to this, but she knew what she had to do. What was strange, Faith thought, was the being lucid whilst being asleep. To be dreaming and know it was a most unusual experience, yet it was one she had grown used to over the time since she became a walker in dreams. It had led to exploring which in turn led to discovering lots of things. The former slave had very much enjoyed being able to walk in dreams, although her own deeply private nature meant that she was cautious of entering the dreams of others. Something so personal, so individual - it had to be respected and considered. It was only fair and right that she was respectful - in dreams the truth was laid bare, after all, for everyone to see.

Besides, tonight she had a particular job to do and she made sure that she did not get distracted or lose focus. Someone she cared about needed her help and Faith, of course, was more than willing to give it. Tristan Venora, Duke of Oakleight and her former owner. Was he her friend and she his? No, not entirely - their relationship was deeper than that and yet, they were also something which was hard to define. Faith didn't doubt that it was nonsensical to many, Padraig especially, but it was nonetheless a truth.

And so, Faith sat on a bench. She was wearing a black coat and no make up, her hair was pulled back from her face and piled high on her head. Her hands were clasped in her lap and she smiled to herself as she sat there. So many of the people who went past her were people she knew, she recognised. The woman who brought him chocolate cake, the owner of the Rynmere Theatre, his beloved brother and the man down the road a few doors down from his house, in Andaris. He lived in Oakleigh now, she supposed and she wondered whether he was lonely.

Had he been lonely after he had set her free?

Faith sighed slightly and wondered at her own internal processes. She knew, without a doubt, that she had to say yes when he asked her if she wanted to be free. Her reasoning had been for many of the right reasons, but she knew herself well enough to admit that she had said yes mostly because she had been so in love. Had her love, the love she shared with Padraig made Tristan lonely? She could have made no other choice, but she did not want to harm him.

This man who sat next to her on the bench.

"Hello Tristan," Faith looked at him and her silver eyes shone in pleasure at seeing him. She, of course, knew that they were both dreaming but he did not. As her gaze landed on him, her smile was genuine. "How have you been?"
"To be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others."

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Postby Tristan Venora » Sun Mar 11, 2018 3:16 am

Tristan couldn’t remember when he had last just sat on a bench and watched the people that passed him by. It had probably been before he had become a duke. He vowed that he would do it regularly again from now on. He would go somewhere alone, relax and try to forget the kingdom and all of his friend Cassander’s questionable decisions that threatened to drive him mad for a moment. But no, that wasn’t possible. There was almost always somebody watching him these trials. His bodyguards didn’t want to let him out of their sight, and then there were all those petitioners and lickspittles. Maybe he should have asked Hunter Gawyne to build that secret bunker under his estate after all. He would have had a place that he could escape to!

He had always thought that he had no talent for melancholia, but as he sat there and watched Mrs. Delner, his old neighbour who had always made cake for him, his brother, the owner of the theatre where he had worked and even Lucille, his favourite prostitute that he had once won at a fake slave auction move past him, he realized that he was getting better at it. He didn’t want to get better at it. Being melancholic didn’t feel good. He wanted to drink wine with Cassander again, joke and talk about old times. He wanted Cassander to become normal again, and he wanted to work together with all the people that wanted him to leave Oakleigh because life was too short, and there was already too much violence in the world.

And finally he wanted to talk to Ilaren again and ask her what she had been thinking. She had sent him on that mission. She had created an entire village full of savages, she had made him care about one of them, and then she had just taken her away again. She had messed with his mind – like Aelig. His Ilaren, the woman that he had wanted to marry, wasn’t supposed to be like that. She was supposed to be kind and compassionate and funny!

After a while he realized that somebody had sat down next to him. He turned his head, and his eyes widened. It was Faith, Faith his former slave, Faith the first woman that he had ever really loved, Faith who had fallen in love with another man. She was the only one who knew everything about him and his daughter and what the Immortals had done to them. He hadn’t shared Ayla’s secret with anybody else. Sometimes he wished that he had decided differently back then, but he hadn’t realized what she had meant to him until it had been too late.

Faith”, he said, and his entire face seemed to radiate from within for a moment because he was so happy to see her again. She wasn’t his Faith anymore, but she would always be there for him. She had assured him that he would always have her friendship, and he needed a friend even more than he needed a lover right now. “Oh, Faith. I don’t know where to start. Ilaren, my beloved Ilaren, turned out to be like Aelig, the king’s people are killing innocents, my subjects don’t like me, and I don’t know how much longer I will be able to keep Ayla’s being a Mortalborn a secret.”

“Faith, I don’t know what to do.”
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Benchmark

Postby Faith » Sun Mar 11, 2018 3:44 pm

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He was dreaming, although he didn't know it and she very much did. Faith looked at him and she smiled. She had shared his home, his bed and his life for nearly an arc and she knew Tristan Venora in ways that most people simply did not and could not and he looked sad. Faith hated that idea, that very notion and she took hold of his hand in hers, sitting there on the bench. He turned to look at her and the change on his face caused her to smile in genuine delight. He was so pleased to see her and Faith understood that it was because he needed to talk. So, she sat and she held his hand and she listened.

While he spoke, she didn't, it was only when he was finished that she said anything. Listening to his words, a few things became apparent to her. "Well, I'd say that you started with the least important and went to the most." There was no doubting it in Faith's mind that Ayla and her safety were paramount to Tristan and so, the ex slave started there. "It seems to me that Rymere has changed, and a lot. But Tristan, do you think that people finding out she's a mortalborn would put her in danger?" Faith had grown to believe that Lord Krome, Lady Elyna's husband was, or might be, a mortalborn. He had hidden it and she had to think that he had done that because it wasn't safe then. If that was true, then with the awful things that he had told her, how much worse must it be now? "If so, your best defence is to tell no one. Especially not anyone with the last name Venora." She sighed, and shook her head. "I'm sorry, I should not say that, but Tristan the royalty and nobility was dubious at best when I was there. It sounds like things are going from bad to worse."

With a very genuine look of fondness on her face, Faith said, "I wish you'd just leave there, bring Ayla and come and live on Scalvoris. Or somewhere else. Anywhere else. That place is toxic." One trial, she would go back and would do so with the intention of ending slavery, she was sure of it, but the more places that she went which were not Rynmere, the more toxic she saw it as being. "I don't know what's happened, but burning people alive?" It was horrific. But then, this was the place that branded people on their face when they gained their freedom from slavery, where slaves were treated horrifically and everyone knew but no one stopped it. Where divorce didn't exist and ... she could go on and on.

"Have you spoken to Cassander?" Faith asked, wondering what if anything the king might say. "And, who knows about Ayla? Other than you and I, who knows?" The less the better as far as Faith was concerned.
"To be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others."

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Benchmark

Postby Tristan Venora » Mon Mar 12, 2018 4:32 am

“Faith”, he said and held her hand as if she were his anchor and the only thing that kept him from drowning. He would never be able to do more than that again. Would things be different if she had become his duchess? Would Rynmere be different? There was no point in wondering about it, he realized, because he was only a mortal and couldn’t turn back time. “The normal people in Rynmere are stupid and uneducated. They can’t tell the different domains of magic apart. They only know that mages can set things on fire, manipulate your thoughts and change shape, and that scares them. How do you think they will react when they see a girl that ages quickly and that has strange powers? They’ll probably think that she is magical and hand her over to the Order of the Mantis so that they can burn her alive as well!”

“They don’t give those poor mages the opportunity to defend themselves. I doubt that they’d handle Ayla’s case differently. As for my relatives …”
He paused and furrowed his brow, thinking, and then he nodded somewhat reluctantly. “I prefer to think that Andráska would be understanding and accepting, but you are right, I need to be careful. There was a time when I thought that I could trust Alistair, and look how that turned out! He sleeps with Rynmere’s most wanted criminal now!”

“I want to leave”,
he admitted and sighed deeply. He was still holding her hand because touching her made him feel better. It made him feel safe. “I want to buy an island, build a castle and become a crazy alchemist, and I don’t want to have to worry about Cassander or Pythera or my subjects and whether the food I’m eating has been poisoned. But if I leave, who’ll be left? I often have the impression that I’m the only one who really cares.” He paused and shook his head.

“Would people regard me as a failure if I left, Faith?” he asked and looked at her. “Would Cassander ever allow me to see my family or my friends or Valeria again if I moved to Scalvoris? What would your people think of me?” He had never cared about what other people thought of him before – in fact he had gladly broken all their rules, and he hadn’t cared about etiquette either – but the arc since he had become a duke had changed him, against his will. He was worried that he wouldn’t be welcome on Scalvoris.

“I haven’t talked to Cassander yet”, he admitted. He looked so sad when he said that because he didn’t understand what was happening to his beloved kingdom right now. Why couldn’t people just get along be happy that they were alive and had enough to eat? “He’s changed, Faith. The man that I am friends with, the man who likes puppies, cheese and fine wine and who is so excited to listen to my stories, would never order the killing of innocents. Maybe I should go and talk to him, but I’m not sure if I will be successful. I have the feeling that Cassander may be beyond help …”

“Nobody but the two of us knows for sure”,
he told her. “But some of my servants probably suspect that something is up because Ayla ages so quickly. I wish I could just turn it off and give her a normal childhood. I’m worried about what aging so quickly will do to her mind. She’ll probably start wondering why she’s different soon.”

“Faith”,
he said. “I’m not sure if I’m still happy. This isn’t what I had in mind when I was trying to envision my future. I thought that being a duke would be fun, but it’s mostly about fighting fights that you cannot win, lying and deceiving. Some of my subjects even accuse me of being just like all the other nobles!”

“I don’t want to be like them!”
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Postby Faith » Mon Mar 12, 2018 6:17 pm

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"Order of the Mantis? What's that?" She guessed it was the resident mage-hunting crowd, created by the king or.. whoever it was. She shook her head, keeping a firm hold of his hand. If things were as bad there as he said, then he was absolutely right. His daughter wasn't safe. Faith had no one there that she could trust any more. "Tristan, I will do whatever I can to help you, I promise." She had never seen him like this and it scared her more than a little. Tristan Venora was not someone given to .. well, that wasn't true, he was very given to dramatics, but not like this. Her fingers tightened and she smiled at him. "You can come to me. Always. If you choose to leave, then you can." There were portals, Faith said, in the University. Eclipse Portals, so called, in memory of a man who had died on the expedition which found them. They were probably more and more restricted, but he had influence, she was sure. If not, she did and Padraig had free access to them in Scalvoris because he was in the expedition. She told Tristan that, knowing how he felt about Padraig, but also knowing that nothing was more important to her former owner than the safety of his daughter.

As for his family? Faith knew things there, things which formed her opinions and she spoke them honestly. "I thought I could trust Lady Elyna and Lord Krome. After you set me free, they just cut all ties. I wrote, but they didn't reply. Aeon warned me about Lord Krome, and the secret he had. Aeon's dead, Tristan." The boy who had once walked her home, for whom Tristan was going to make a hand. He'd been murdered, she told him, saving a baby. But that was one thing. This was another. "You are the only noble from Rynmere who I think you can trust Tristan. All of them, they risk losing it all, from what you said, if they harbour a mage, or Ayla. I think it best you be more safe than anything." Andraska was taking care of Alvorn, after all, and he might well be concerned with his own secrets.

"What about your brother?" Faith asked, suddenly. "Who looks like you? Could he stay there awhile while you and Ayla escape? Or just come for a holiday, think about it." She listened to his question about who would help and Faith smiled slightly. "Sometimes, you have to be outside of the society in order to be safe enough to change it, perhaps?"

And no, she said, she knew that he didn't want to be like the other nobles. "You aren't, Tristan. You're not like them at all." Faith understood him, in a way which no one else could, she suspected. "Why don't you come for a visit? You and Ayla? Or go on holiday somewhere. Tristan, I want to help you, how can I help you?" She rested her head against his shoulder. "I'm sorry the world turned into a place like this for you. I always envied you and how you saw it." It could have sounded bitter, but didn't. Especially when she added, "I want to thump whoever changed it for you."

With the slightest of smiles, though, Faith added. "If you do come visit, you can even bring the cat. But mine is bigger, has four tails and gives electric shocks."
"To be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others."

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Benchmark

Postby Tristan Venora » Thu Mar 15, 2018 1:48 am

“The local mage-killing faction“, Tristan replied bitterly as Faith asked him what the Order of the Mantis was. “I’ve asked around, Faith. I thought that at least some of my fellow nobles would protest against Cassander’s new law, but they don’t seem to care.” He shook his head. “Faith, I don’t understand how they can be okay with killing people! If doing so had any chance of success, I’d ask a mage to initiate me in order to prove that becoming a mage doesn’t automatically turn you into some kind of monster, but they probably wouldn’t even give me the opportunity to explain myself!”

“They should use their stupid Order of the Mantis to hunt down my cousin Pythera and her bandits instead. They’ve probably killed more people than all the mages in Rynmere combined!”
he pointed out and shuddered. Pythera was his least favourite relative. She was worse than Zvezdana and Alistair combined. Zvezdana had at least fought for something that she had believed in, and she had acted out of love for her husband, Pythera on the other hand was just a ruthless murderer. He doubted that she was even capable of love. He couldn’t believe that he was related to such a person!

“Thank you, Faith. Thank you”, he said softly as she assured him that she would do whatever she could to help him. She was probably the only one who really cared. “I’ll see if I can access those portals. If not, I’ll just take Ayla and Mistral and get on a ship – or buy a pair of those magic shoes you once told me about. I used to be so jealous of you because you owned a teleportation device, remember?” He smiled sadly.

“Aeon’s dead as well?” he asked and shook his head in disbelief. He seemed to be surrounded by death at the moment, and he didn’t like it at all. “He was such a nice guy. Did Lord Krome kill him? I never got the opportunity to make him a new hand. I wanted to make him a golden hand with all kinds of special properties …”

His voice trailed off.

As Faith mentioned his brother, Tristan’s face lit up for the first time since they had met. “I could do that!” he exclaimed. “I could let Hart play duke for a while while Ayla and I go on a vacation, and if I decide that I like Scalvoris better, I could just let him keep the duchy. I doubt that anybody would be able to tell the difference. That’s an excellent idea, Faith! I wonder how he’ll get along with Valeria though …”

He didn’t explain who Valeria was or what she meant to him. Instead he told Faith, “I’d love to visit.” As she rested her head against his shoulder, he put his arm around her and just sat there for a moment, holding her. “Just don’t abandon me”, he whispered as she asked him how she could help. “Even Ilaren seems to have abandoned me. She created an entire village somewhere in the jungle. She made me care about the people there, and then she took everything away again. I used to love her, but I’m not sure if I still do …”

“Are you serious?”
he blurted out as she told him about her cat, momentarily forgetting that he was supposed to be sad. His eyes were wide. “How did you get such a cat? I want one as well!”
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Tristan Venora
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Postby Faith » Thu Mar 15, 2018 6:47 pm

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"You're not like them, Tristan," Faith said with a very genuine expression of fervour on her face. "Not one of them. Don't let them tell you differently, or persuade you to marry for any reason other than love. You deserve to be happy and Ayla deserves a proper mother." Not held in some loveless marriage with an undoubtedly beautiful noble woman who would have him about second to last on her list of priorities. When he suggested that he should ask someone to initiate him, though, so that he could prove that he wasn't then going to turn evil, Faith looked at him with an expression she'd worn more than once when he'd owned her. When something he'd said had been, in her opinion a very bad idea and yet, she thought that she probably shouldn't say that exactly. "Well, you could. But I think that perhaps that wouldn't be very safe for you or the person who initiated you. And keeping yourself safe means keeping Ayla safe these trials." That was certainly true and she did not doubt that he knew it, too.

He talked about what he would do, and Faith smiled at him as she shook her head. "You taught me how to eat, Tristan. How to use cutlery. You taught me that people can be kind, rather than cruel." Those things were true, absolutely true. "You have nothing to thank me for." In terms of the portal, she said, she would be very happy to endorse his use if it helped. Whatever he needed. She chuckled though and then her face lit in a grin as he spoke of the portal boots. "I do remember. But they only take you home. Wherever home is." They couldn't just go bouncing around Idalos.

But no, she said, Lord Krome didn't kill Aeon. "An Avriel called Noth did. He called himself the Prince of Eternal Mercies, Tristan. He's an Avriel with one wing. He's a monster and he killed my friend in front of me." Of Lord Krome and Lady Elyna, Faith said, she hadn't seen them since the military expedition they'd been on together. "I'll tell you about it, when we see each other next, I promise."

Sitting there, with his arm around her as they sat on the bench in his dream, Faith's memory went back to the crow's nest on U'frek's ship and she gave a quiet, gentle sigh. "I promise you, I won't do that." Faith said when he asked her not to abandon him. "I simply could not." This was going to be tricky to explain to Padraig, Faith thought, but there it was.

The signs were all there, Faith knew. He was starting to wake up. She grinned at him when his eyes lit with excitement like once they had and she chuckled. "You come to Scalvoris where you and Ayla are safe, and I'll get you one." Faith grinned at the prospect of a four-tailed electrified can vs Mistral. "But I don't think Mistral will like it. Tristan, I have to go but listen to me. I'll write to you on our scrolls, alright? To remind you of this conversation. When I do, I'll remind you of everything I said to you sitting on a bench and I want you to remember it because I mean every word." Reaching down, she picked up something which she had obviously been keeping under there for some reason and she handed it to him. It was a piece of parchment with a simple drawing of a smiling cat face. "When you see that. Remember." She leaned forward and kissed his cheek.

"I'll see you soon. Stay safe, keep in touch." Just before his dream ended, Faith left it, simply no longer there.
"To be free is not merely to cast off one's chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others."

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Postby Banshee » Sun Mar 25, 2018 6:20 am

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THE FEELS! How is this so bittersweet, how dare you both! I didn't ask for all these feelings of feel-y things.



Faith


Overview : XP: 15

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Consequences : Injuries/Overstepping: No.

Loot: No.

Expenses: No.
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Comments : Ugh, why's Faith so good and caring and UGH! I love her as a character. She's so thoughtful and smart and persuasive and ALL THE GOOD POSITIVE WORDS! I love your writing as always.


Tristan


Overview : XP: 15

Renown: No.
Consequences : Injuries/Overstepping: No.

Loot: No.

Expenses: No.
Knowledge : 
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Comments : The mentions of Valeria shouldn't have shocked me or took me by surprise but OH BOY, they did and I have feels. But by the Immortals, Tristan is so melancholic and despairing and I just want to hold him and hug him. Oh wait, that's what Val's for, never mind! :P

I'm so used to Tristan having a brighter tone when you write him but I've only seen him from Val's perspective so it makes sense. You really portay that miserable side of him well and to be fair, he has good reason to feel those things, doesn't he?


If you think that I missed anything or you have any queries about your grade then don't hesitate to PM me!
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