Tread Softly

Home of Izira Nyte and The Forgotten Layers Inn. Resting in an unnamed magical realm, the place is easier to find when lost if one is without the aid of a map drawn by the lady herself.

Moderators: Gren Blockman, Izira Nyte

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Gren Blockman
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Location: The forest, the woods, the trees

Post by Gren Blockman » Mon Feb 10, 2014 5:56 pm

Perrigan was gazing out the window, facing away from the door. His hands were clasped behind his back, as he stared into the distance, at the far northern mountains. A bit uncharacteristic for him, Gren noted, usually he's reading some parchment or book. Perrigan turned his head, and for a moment, his face betrayed the worry he felt at the news from the north. He quickly covered it with a warm smile. "Hello, Gren. And Izira! So good of you to visit again. Why don't you have a seat?" He pointed to two chairs near the desk. Perrigan sat in his own, leaning back slightly. Gren lowered himself into one of the chairs.

Following the invitation to sit, Izira moved to one chair and smoothed her skirt as she lowered herself into the seat and crossed her legs.

"So what brings you here today, Gren?"

Gren swallowed and glanced at Perrigan, concerned. "Westerguard came to the Inn today, he told me about the orc and goblin alliance."

Perrigan's face fell slightly, more out of concern than surprise. "Yes. He is worried, as he should be. As *I* should be."

"We all know the danger involved, Headmaster. We should all be concerned. But I heard something else that worries me."

"Oh?" Perrigan leaned forward slightly.

"Haddon said . . . he heard you had nominated me to be Captain of "F" Troop."

Perrigan stared at Gren for a long moment. "Haddon hears a lot, doesn't he?"

"I guess so, Sir."

"And has little problem repeating all he hears", Izira noted with a soft smile.

Perrigan gave Izira a gentle smile, before looking back at Gren. "In this case, Haddon is right. Your name is on a short list to take Abraham's place."

Gren sat for an extended pause, letting that sink in. "Why? Why would you choose me for this?"

"Gren . . . I know it's a lot of responsibility. The danger involved is great, as well. But we are short on leaders. No one has stepped up over the last few years and showed that they are capable of leadership roles that are vital to the success of this Guild. You have more than capably led Recon "B" over the last five years, and your talents could be better used elsewhere."

As the reality of the situation sunk in, Izira reached to hold Gren's hand.

Gren couldn't help but hold Izira's hand in return.

Perrigan lowered his gaze slightly, noticing the gesture, before looking back at Gren. "As I said, it is a short list you are on. There is also Burke, Brienne, and Haddon. Rhett is at the top of the list. Westerguard is pulling for Rhett, basically because he is the best Ranger we have. He has just as much experience as you with Recon "A". The decision has not been made. If it were made today, I would choose Rhett, just to please Westerguard."

Izira asked, "What is holding back the decision being made?"

Perrigan took a deep breath, then glanced at Izira. "There was an . . . incident. Between Rhett and . . . a fellow Ranger. We're trying to get to the bottom of it before a decision is made." Perrigan gave Gren a pointed look.

Gren gulped and looks away. "Headmaster . . . I know you have faith in me. But I feel this assignment would be above me. Is there any way that I could convince you to change your mind?"

Perrigan's deep blue eyes gazed at Gren. "I can't say I'm not disappointed, Gren. I've defended you many times, and given you plenty of chances to prove yourself. If the lot should fall to you . . . I will give you the opportunity to turn it down. You have a few days to think about it. That's the best I can do for you, right now."

At the mention of the Rhett's incident, Izira glanced to Gren. No voicing that she wondered if it was Janna. Guilt is expressed in her features as Perrigan voiced his disappointment. She did not know if Gren's hesitancy was entirely his own or due to their relationship. She squeezed his hand again, "You are capable of doing anything put to you. You wooed me, did you not?" She did not want him to be caught up in something dangerous, but she did not want to hold him back of being who he could be.

Gren gave Izira a loving smile. "Perrigan says that I can turn it down, should it fall to me. Let's hope it doesn't fall to me." Gren nodded to Perrigan. "Thank you, Headmaster. I know that was asking a lot. There are others on that list with just as much to lose as I have." Perrigan nodded solemnly. "Maybe we should go." Gren said to Izira.

"Yes." Standing, she offered a soft apologetic smile to Perrigan. Turning and moving for the door, she hoped that Rhett would not still be beyond it.

"Good night, Gren. Good night, Izira." Perrigan offered as they move to the door and exit. Gren nodded and smiled to Perrigan as they exited his office, shutting the door behind them. Rhett is still there, with his suggestive smirk and crossed arms. His eyes took up their undressing of Izira again as they walked past. "You're gonna have to bring her around more often, 'Dreamboat'. I'm getting tired of looking at the same ol' women every day."

"Mind your own business, Rhett." Gren gave him a momentary glare, before opening the foyer door for Izira, escorting her out of the building.

Once the door is closed behind them Izira turned to Gren, "Gren... you have to tell me, were it not for me, would you take that assignment if they offered it to you?"

Gren glanced off down the street, as if trying to imagine that scenario. "I honestly don't know. I never thought about it. I would take it, if I felt they needed me. But not because I wanted it. I like doing Recon work. I like doing my patrols. I don't know if I could handle being in the infantry like that. I was forced into it a few times, and I didn't like it."

"If they offered it to you.... it would mean they needed you."

"By 'needed', I meant, if there were no one else that could fill the position. They have Rhett, Haddon, Burke, and Brienne. One of them could take it, and probably do better than I could."

"If they could do it better they would be the one chosen."

Gren smiled slightly, and lowered his head, looking at the path in front of Perrigan's building. "Before I met you, I don't think I would have had the confidence to accept. I should have accepted, because I had nothing to lose, but I would have beaten myself up over whether I could have handled all the responsibilities. Now that I have you in my life, I think I could handle those duties. Better than I would have, at least. But I don't want to put myself in danger now. It's a strange situation."

Izira leaned against him, sliding her arms around him and hugging him. She assured herself of his presence before she swallowed, "I do not want you in harm's way.... but you are a ranger..." Looking up to Gren, her eyes slightly watered, "I do not want to be the one holding you back from success, Gren. Perhaps they will offer the position to Rhett... but if it is you.... do what you feel is right and not just right for me."

Gren nodded silently. Instinctively his hand went up to caress her cheek. "I will do what I must do. Let's just go home, alright?" He kissed her forehead and held her there for a minute, before leading them back up the path to the gate.

"Okay." She walked away with him.

Gren kept his arm around her shoulder as he walked with her past the barracks. His mind tried to process his conversation with Perrigan, and he wondered whether he would get the call or not. He stayed as quiet as he could until he got Izira back to his treehouse.
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Gren Blockman
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Post by Gren Blockman » Tue Feb 11, 2014 6:02 pm

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Gren awoke in his bed that morning, lazily blinking his eyes. He felt the warmth and softness of Izira lying next to him. He shifted his eyes to look out his window, and saw that the sun had risen. He wanted to groan in frustration at having to leave the comfortable embrace of the woman he loved, but he knew he had work to do. He gently kissed Izira's forehead, before sliding delicately from between the sheets, and going to take a quick bath. Then he dressed himself, putting on his grey cloak. He peeked around the corner of the stairwell to see if she was still sleeping now that he was finished.

She had awoken and now stood once more in her dress, pulling her beads back on. Looking up she caught him peeking and she smiled to him, "It is not as easy to sleep when you get up."

"You know . . . that statement can go two ways." He gave her a little grin and made his way over to her, to give her a good morning kiss on the lips. "Would you like something for breakfast? I have some . . . uh . . . cereal and milk. Sorry I don't have anything fancier."

She softly chuckled at his words. She returned the kiss and the smile remained as he offered her breakfast. "Something I will have to consider for future overnight stays... along with a change of clothes." She shook her head lightly, "I should be fine until I get back to the inn."

"Alright. Something *I* need to consider, too, if you're going to be staying here, I . . . " There was the sound of a loud, knock at the door, causing Gren to turn his head. "Who could that be this time of morning?" He glanced at Izira. "I'll be right back." He made his way down the staircase and through the foyer, to go and open the door.

Looking toward the sound of the knock at the door, she nodded as he told her he'd be right back. Though, Izira did not linger in the bedroom, but followed as far as to the kitchen, where she at least got herself a glass of water to drink before standing at the top of the stairs to see who Gren's visitor was.

Opening the door, Gren saw the smug grin, and arrogant stance of Rhett. He was standing with his arms crossed in his usual attire. "Good morning, 'Dreamboat'. Hope I didn't interrupt your morning bowl of Fruity Flakes. Oh my." He glanced up and saw Izira at the top of the stairs. "I see you had company last night. So how was it? She looks like a regular wildcat to me." Rhett's smirk broadened into a crooked, teeth exposing smile.

"None of your business, Rhett. Don't talk about her like that."

"Oh, pardon me, 'Dreamboat'. I see I've touched a nerve."

"What is it you want, Rhett? I'm going to be late for my patrols."

"Hold your horses, I was getting to that. Westerguard sent me. He wants you to report to his office first thing this morning. He has a special task for you."

It is more difficult for Izira to offer Rhett a friendly smile, but she managed a partial one that didn't stay long. More concern as it seemed that the man tried to get a rise out of Gren and Westerguard's request. Izira might prefer to be away from Rhett's view, but her curiosity for Gren and refusal to show Rhett any weakness on her part kept her planted.

Gren gave Rhett a long look. "Well? Did he give me a letter? Usually he puts something like that in writing."

"Sorry, 'Dreamboat', he was too busy to be that formal. He's getting a group of Soldiers together to go reinforce the militias at Violet Crossing. I suggest you get a move on, you know how his temper is."

"Yeah. Fine. Thanks for stopping by." Rhett gave Gren a sarcastic wink and let his eyes roam over Izira for a second, before turning and walking across the clearing, disappearing behind a tree.

Gren sighed and shut the door, then he turned to look at Izira. "I'd better go see what he wants. Will you be alright, walking back by yourself?"

She relaxed once Rhett was gone. She still cannot understand what positive quality Gren could have seen in the man. A thoughtful frown worn upon her features before Gren's words draw her attention. "I have made the journey many times before." She smiled, moving to return the glass to the kitchen.

He went back up the stairs, walking into the kitchen. "I know. Something just doesn't feel right." He managed a smile. "I'm sorry about that. I'll try to keep you away from him as much as possible. When I get done with Westerguard, and my patrols, I'll come by the Inn."

"You did not know it was *him* at your door, had I not come down for a look myself I would have managed to avoid his gaze." She went to the sink, cleaning and drying the glass she used before she put it away. "I would like that." Smiling back to Gren when she said he would come to the inn once he finished.

"Alright then. I'm going to go ahead and go. Just lock the door for me on your way out, alright?" He leaned forward and gave her a long, deep kiss. "I love you."

"I...'ll walk out with you."

He nodded slightly. "All right then." He put his hand on the small of her back, and walked down the stairs with her to the door. Gren glanced around the clearing where his treehouse lay. Not seeing anything suspicious, he gives her another farewell kiss.

She was smiling as they parted. "I will see you tonight." Her hand lingered in his before she started on her way home, a glance back to him just for another look.

Gren stood smiling, his ice blue eyes showing how much he cared for her in his gaze. He was waiting for her to vanish from his line of sight, before he set off on his journey. Once she did, he turned and made his way to the east, towards the Headquarters.
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Gren Blockman
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Post by Gren Blockman » Tue Feb 11, 2014 6:03 pm

When Izira moved out of visual range of the treehouse, she would see Rhett leaning against a tree about ten feet from the path, arms crossed, wearing his self-confident smirk. He was making no move towards her, or to say anything, just watching.

A blink and a pause in her step when she saw Rhett lingering off the side of her path. A tight smile to Rhett, "I dare say Gren will beat you back to headquarters."

"He probably will. Fortunately for me, Westerguard isn't at the Headquarters. He's at Violet Crossing already." Rhett made a mock 'O' face and covers his mouth with his hand. "Oh my, I didn't tell him, did I? I'm so forgetful sometimes."

Izira opend her mouth but could not find the words. Her lips closed with a concerned frown, she looked back to the tree, knowing that Gren was well ahead of her now. She would not have the time to catch up to him before he discovered Rhett's time wasting trick. She moved on, her steps starting on the same path but to give her space from the man. "I should hope that if you gain that captain position you will be more considerate of the time of those that serve below you."

Rhett was staring at her legs the whole time she spoke, not paying much mind to what Izira said until she finished. "If I'm Captain, sweetheart, they'll do what I say and like it." Rhett gave her a little smirk, and a mocking little wave, as he was waiting for her to move out of his sight again.

Izira had no doubt he applied that way of thinking to more than just those he was in charge of as a ranger. She shook her head and walked on, stopping a ways beyond to look behind her.

Rhett was following her, but being careful enough to stay far enough away in the trees, so she would not see him. He paused as she did, hiding behind a tree, and peered curiously at her, like a predator toying with its prey. Lightly he ran his finger across his chin, waiting for her to begin walking again.

She did not see Rhett again and it made her relax, a finger drawing up to pull some hair from her face and tuck it behind her ear. Izira turned back to the path and enjoyed a quiet walk back to the portal, humming a soft song to herself.

Rhett trailed after her at a leisurely pace, noting his surroundings and the path she took. It wasn't an area of the forest he was that familiar with, but the landmarks such as the cluster of lakes and the stand of evergreens were enough he could find his way back. He blinked a bit as he watched Izira vanish into what seemed to be thin air. Then he remembered something that Haddon said about the Inn not being in RhyDin, but through a portal. He made his way down to the spot where Izira had vanished, and stepped forward. He found himself at the end of the stone path, looking out at the gardens that surrounded the Inn. He glanced around for a few moments, a bit confused at his surroundings, and briefly forgot to hide himself again.

Rhett didn't need to worry about hiding, the lady of the Inn was slipping through the front door, her shoe vanishing. Her thoughts mainly on a quick shower and change before she ate her breakfast. She smiled, petting the large orange cat that rested on the counter, on her way by.

Izira showered, taking more time to pick out what she would wear as the lavender scent of her oils filled the air around her. She decided on a purple dress with a v-neck collar and thin black belt at the waist. She slipped on black heels and moved to the kitchen. Her hand touched the locket from Gren, she smiled thinking that he would like her dress. In the kitchen she had a glass of orange juice and two pieces of toast with pumpkin butter. Eating while she prepared a little salad to take out to Pascal.

Rhett had noticed the door close behind Izira as she entered the Inn. He gave her a smug look before he carefully made his way up the path and the steps of the porch. Glancing through the window, he saw that she had gone down the hallway, and out of sight. Slowly he pushed the door open, and entered the main room. He made note of the sitting room, and the bar area. The cat got no more than a cursory glance. His footsteps made no sound as he edged down the hallway. He could hear the sound of water from the shower, and the faint scent of lavender. He gave a quiet chuckle, and moved back into the main room, absently glancing at the bottles behind the bar, and looking out the windows at the gardens beyond. From the back, he could hear the muffled sound of the water turning off. Thinking that was his cue, he eased back to the door, to make his exit. "See you soon." He said in a low murmur, before moving out the door, down the path, and towards the portal, chuckling darkly to himself.

Gren had taken up the wild goose chase, going all the way to the Headquarters, through his usual stumbling block with Grace at the gate, and finally made it to Perrigan's office, where he expected to see Westerguard. No one was anywhere to be found, and Gren scratched his head, wondering what was going on. After a few moments, he saw Malcolm slowly walk by the window, rubbing his eyes sleepily. Gren walked out the door and approached him. "Good morning, Malcolm. Have you seen Westerguard or Perrigan around?"

Malcolm squinted at Gren. "Huh? Oh yeah. He yelled something about Violet Crossing and left this morning. Yeah. Rhett. He was supposed to tell you. Okay?"

"God. He got me. Thanks, Malcolm."

"Whatever. Yeah. Alright." Malcolm wandered off to his room, looking like he was going to fall asleep on his feet.

Gren hurriedly made his way from the Headquarters up to Violet Crossing, where Westerguard was. After getting berated for being late, Gren was given his assignment, which took up a good part of the day. He was sent on a mission with Moriana to scout the high mountains. Returning to his treehouse, he was tired enough to fall asleep, but he remembered Izira and made the trek to the portal, and the Inn. It was almost night time, but he made it just as the sun was starting to set. He went up the path and to the door, pushing his way in, and looking around to see if she was still there and awake.
Last edited by Gren Blockman on Thu Mar 13, 2014 7:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Gren Blockman » Tue Feb 11, 2014 6:04 pm

Izira sat in the main room by the fire, amber-brown eyes picking up the light from the flames. When the door open part of her tensed, but seeing it was Gren she was able to slightly relax. The smile she gave him is troubled. "I... suspect you had a long day."

Gren's look of fatigue and frustration faded into one of joy and contentment as he saw Izira sitting by the fire. "It was. But it just got a whole lot better." He gazed at her purple dress. "You always look so lovely. I'm such a lucky guy." Forgetting the weariness of his body, he made his way over to where she was sitting by the fire.

"I am afraid I am about to make it worse..." She stood up from her seat.

He was moving towards her to embrace her, but then her statement caused him to stop and curl his fingers up in hesitation. "Why? What happened?"

"Silas told me a man came into the inn today. He thought I would have seen him because he went back to my quarters before he left." She used the cat's name due to the information coming from Jeremiah's cat form.

Gren face fell, he slowly lowered his hands, and gave her a look of concern. "Wha . . . . he didn't do anything to you, did he?"

"No. Though I cannot imagine what he might mean to do." Izira paused, "From Silas' description I believe it was Rhett."

"Dammit." Gren did something very un-Gren-like. He got mad. His hands found his hips, and he set his jaw into an irate frown. "I need to have a talk with him. Now. Before this gets any worse."

Izira moved over to Gren, wrapping her arms around him. "I fear... that might only encourage him further. I... know he sent you to headquarters for no reason." A soft smile she went on to explain, "I saw him on the way home, we exchanged words and he revealed to me that he sent you to the wrong place. I... looked behind me, once, after passing him and I did not see him... I did not think...." Well the result of what she did not think was obvious now.

He continued to stand with his hands on his hips for a few moments, until he softened at her touch. He rested his fingers on her waist and let her finish talking. "I was hoping he wouldn't do something like this. When he didn't show for the buffet, I was grateful in a way. You'd be safe from him. But when he saw you . . . " He sighed, and looked down, realizing what Rhett's plan was this morning, so he could track down where Izira lived.

A slight shudder ran through her at the thought of her first meeting with Rhett. "He is... unpleasant."

"He is. I should have seen that. I just kept hoping . . . I kept hoping it would blow over. But it's been six years. I'm weary of this. I won't let him hurt you."

"I would not let him hurt me either." The flames in the fire seemed to grow and twist before returning to normal. "Gren..."

His breathing returned to normal, he glanced at the fire as it rose in fury for a moment, before looking back at Izira. "If you think it's best that I don't confront him, I won't. But please be careful. I don't doubt that you have the power to stop him. He is dangerous, though. Just remember that. He could still sneak up on you . . . " He closed his eyes and looked away for a moment. ”I just don't want anything to happen to you."

"Should he try something..." She looked to him, searching his eyes and knowing his kind heart. "He might be of little use to the rangers ever again..."

He pulled his mouth back in a smile, then looked back at her. "Let's hope it doesn't come to that. Not for his sake. For yours."

She nodded, smiling and tipping her lips up to Gren's for a kiss. It was a comfort she'd been without since learning of Rhett's presence.

He pressed her body towards his and answered her kiss, holding her there for a while, as he tried to forget about his weariness, the efforts of the day, and Rhett's behavior. He rubbed his fingers through her hair, and breathed in the scent of the lavender oil she had used.

Leaning against him once the kiss ended, "What did Westerguard want?"

He sighed. More bad news. "He wanted me up at Violet Crossing. The Rangers are forming a temporary camp there, to keep a better watch on the orcs and goblins, and to help reassure the locals that we will help defend them if anything happens. He sent me and Moriana up into the mountains to collect information and do some spying on troop movements. It doesn't look bad . . . yet . . . but they are there, and they are preparing for something."

"He will not... keep you there, will he?"

"Not yet. Haddon was sick today. He drank some bad ale, apparently." He chuckled ruefully. "Perrigan wants Recon "B" held in reserve just in case we're needed elsewhere. Recon "A" will be stationed in Violet Crossing until further notice." He gave her a pointed look, and hoped that the order will keep Rhett out of their hair for a while.

She nods softly, understanding his point and hopeful for the same reasons. Her arms remained about him, "Are you hungry?"

"Starving. I had some Deer Jerky for lunch, and that's all I had to eat today."

She shook her head, kissing his cheek before drawing away. "I will fix you up something to make up for that."

"Great. Thank you." When she moved away from him, he took his cloak off and hung it on the peg near the door. His grey shirt and brown pants looked ripped up and slightly muddy, as he stepped through the main room and sat down at the bar. He leaned his elbow on the countertop and rubbed at his eyes with his fingers, as if willing himself to stay awake for a while longer.

Stopping at the bar, she poured Gren a cup of coffee to keep him going. Cream and sugar placed out for him to add. Then she slipped back into the kitchen.

He glanced at the cup, then put the cream and sugar in, probably a little too much because he was still used to drinking Chicory most of the time, and sipped on the hot beverage, waiting for Izira to return. He thought about Silas, reminding himself of his return, and Pascal's issues as well. He wondered if Izira knew anything. He glanced at the empty bar and thought of the man with the orange eyes, and what became of him.

Izira first came out with a bowl of acorn squash bisque and a plate of fresh rolls with butter, "This is course one", she said with a smile. She set out a Broot and a glass of water for Gren before vanishing into the kitchen again.

"Course One? I get the royal treatment tonight, I see." He looked into the bowl at the golden colored bisque. How does she do it, he thought, everything she makes looks so good. He quickly buttered a roll and took large spoonfuls of the soup, alternating with the roll. His hunger and weariness begin to vanish slightly as the warm bisque enters his body.

The bisque was the first course to a wonderful evening meal, and Gren spent the rest of the night at the Inn with Izira.
Last edited by Gren Blockman on Thu Mar 13, 2014 7:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Gren Blockman » Wed Feb 12, 2014 5:13 pm

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Gren woke that morning feeling rested and slightly more at ease over the previous day's events. His duties motivated him to leave the bed, which he tried to do as delicately as possible so as not to wake Izira. He was still amazed at how lovely and well-kept her bedroom was. He figured he'd better take a shower before he left, so he went into the bathroom and turned on the water, letting it run over his face for a while to further wake him up. This *could* hold more than two people, he idly mused. After cleaning himself off and dressing, he moved back into the bedroom to see if Izira had woken up yet.

Izira remained in the bed, but dreamy eyes watched Gren emerge from the bathroom. She smiled to him, "You did not wake me?"

"I wanted you to get some rest. After everything that happened yesterday." He walked over to the bed and took a knee, to be closer to eye-level with her. He ran his fingers through her hair, as he admired her natural beauty, "I'd better get going. With all the trouble going on, I don't want to be late again today. But I'll try to finish up early and come back. Is there anything you'd like me to get for you while I'm gone?"

Gently beneath his fingers she shook her head, "Just your safe return to me." Leaning over the edge of the bed, she pressed her lips to his in a long kiss.

He met her kiss, running the back of his fingers along her cheek. "How could I not return after a kiss like that?" He smiled gently. "Good bye, I'll see you soon." He rose back up and walked out of the bedroom, not keeping his eyes off of her, until he closed the door behind him. He made his way down the hallway, out the door, and down the path to the portal, where he vanished from sight.

Izira watched him go, only leaving her bed after the door shut behind him. She showered and dressed in the peace of her bedroom before moving out and into the kitchen. A light breakfast enjoyed while she fixed up a snack for the rabbit.

A few hours went by. Then the door to the Inn opened, and Rhett strode in, closing the door behind him. He was dressed in his usual maroon shirt and brown pants, His blonde hair was combed back and an arrogant smirk played across his face. He crossed his arms and leaned against the door once it shut, glancing around the room to locate Izira.

Izira had spent a short time outside, enjoying the day and the rabbit's company. Now she sat behind the bar, enjoying a cup of tea and looking through a cookbook. As the door open she smiled and lifted her attention from the book. The smile fell flat at Rhett. "You return so soon, Rhett."

"So soon? You're suggesting I've been here before?" His vain smirk betrayed no hint of surprise as he strutted over to the bar, and took a seat on a stool before she can say otherwise. He kept his arms crossed and leaned back slightly.

"One cannot creep about my inn unnoticed." She kept herself where she was. Amber-brown eyes on Rhett, the expression colder than any she'd worn in a long time.

"Creep? That's a rather unfriendly way to put it. I'll have you know I was curious about this Inn I've been hearing about. Haddon told me all about the wonderful meals you cook. I came by to see if I could find out for myself, but you were in the shower. So I behaved like a gentleman and showed myself out. You wouldn't have wanted me to disturb you while you were naked, now would you?" He turned his head slightly to the left, giving her a suggestive look.

"Most visitors keep to the *public* area of the inn, unless invited to my quarters."

"I'll remember that in the future. Far be it for me to invade the sanctity of a ladies' boudoir." He put his hand on his chest, and tried his best to shift his mocking smirk into a look of apologetic understanding.

Izira gave a quarter of a disbelieving smile to that.

"I don't have to invade. Most women invite me willingly." He answered her disbelieving smile with a return of that arrogant smirk.

"Be that true or not, I have little interest in the knowledge. You are here. What do you want?"

"What does any man want that walks into the Inn of a beautiful lady?" He paused for a moment, letting that sink in, before continuing. "An ale, of course. If you could find it in your heart to serve a . . . *ruffian* such as myself." He said the word ruffian with a touch of high class pomposity.

"To call you a ruffian would be far too kind a word." She slid her book and tea aside, moving and getting a mug. She filled it with ale a put it before him, "Three silver."

Rhett pursed his lips into an mocking "Oooh" face, as if her words hurt him. Lazily he drew his thumb across his dimpled chin as he ogled her hips, swishing back and forth as she went to get a mug. He reached his hand into the front pocket of his maroon shirt, and drew out three silver coins, which he placed on the countertop in front of her. "Thank you, Madam Barkeep. You didn't spit in that, did you?" He gave her a sideways look, although he still had a smug look on his lips.

A thin smile. She put the mug before him and took the three coins. Izira did not spit, but she saw no reason to say a word to Rhett one way or another to that. The coins were taken and placed into the till. Izira returned to her seat.
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Post by Gren Blockman » Wed Feb 12, 2014 5:14 pm

Rhett did not move, still watching her move about, until she took her seat again. Then after a moment, he reached forward and took the mug in his right hand, and downed half of it in one long chug. He nonchalantly placed the mug back on the bar top, and gave the main room of the Inn a broad sweep of his gaze. "You must get awful bored here. All by yourself. No one to talk to, or while away the hours with."

Her eyes had returned to the book, and she didn't appear to move her focus as she responded. "You are wrong in that."

Rhett eyed Izira for a moment, glanced back at the empty room, then back at her. "It doesn't look like I'm wrong. Oh pardon me, maybe it wasn't polite of me to mention a lack of customers to the keeper of an Inn. Awfully bad manners on my part."

"This place is not meant to draw customers." She turned a page in the cookbook and looked at another recipe.

"Then what's the point?" Rhett grabbed the mug again and drank a little more.

"The point is not for one such as you to know." A flick of her eyes at him with a pointed look, then she went back to her book.

"Ohoho. Well, excuse me all to hell." He eyeballed Izira for a few seconds before speaking again. "I'm detecting some hostility here. I thought I apologized for the supposed intrusion into your shower. Have I done something else to offend you?"

She closed the book, keeping a finger within it to hold her place as she turned to look to Rhett, "Tell me, how did you happen to find your way here yesterday... so shortly after I crossed your path."

"I was taking a leisurely stroll through the forest. Staring at the trees and contemplating life in general, you know. I came upon a glade of evergreens and I saw you disappear into thin air. I was concerned for your safety, so I went to investigate, and lo and behold, I found it was just the portal to your little slice of heaven here." He shrugged his muscular arms slightly, as if that explains everything.

An extended look, "Why return today alone? Why not bring Haddon or Moriana or Janna, your girlfriend."

"Haddon and Moriana are busy up at Violet Crossing. Patrols, missions, that sort of thing. Janna is the best archer Perrigan has, so he keeps her at the Headquarters to train the other Rangers. So that left me plenty of free time to pay you a visit. A friendly visit, of course."

"Of course." With a smile that didn't reach her eyes, she returned to her book -- her finger sliding down and pushing it open again.

Rhett drained the last of the ale from the mug. Realizing he's going to have to pay for another one, he merely set it back on the countertop. He then craned his neck, as if peering between Izira and her book. "You didn't answer my question."

"Which was..?"

"Which was . . . have I done something to offend you?"

Amber-brown eyes moved again from the book to the man. "If I say you have, I suspect you will come up with another smooth excuse for it or offer me another insincere apology. Perhaps you are used to most women falling for that? I am not most women. I am not naive." She had enough experiences in life. "If I have not been outwardly cool towards you it was merely for the sake of Gren. As you pointed out, there is no one here but us and I do not feel the need to put on airs." Her gaze dropped to the empty mug and she smiled that smile that didn't reach her eyes, "Would you care for another or must you take your leave?"

There was no hint of change in Rhett's face, nothing to suggest her words had struck a cord. He merely watched her with that same self-assured attitude. "No, I think I'll be fine for the moment. For the sake of Gren . . . Poor ol' Gren. So how are you two doing, anyway? I'm sure it's another blissful day in Paradise for you lovebirds."

"There is nothing poor about Gren."

"How about his faulty memory?" He gave a little tap to his forehead for emphasis.

"The only think Gren might have that is poor... is who he has called friend." She looked at Rhett with her own emphasis.

Rhett winced slightly at Izira, not out of anger, but more as if he is looking at someone who doesn't know what she's talking about. "I'm not the one that made a poor friend. A friend has your back when your life is on the line. A friend fights to defend you no matter what the odds. A friend doesn't bail on you. Go limp like a sack of potatoes. Ask my "friend" who was it that drug his half-dead carcass out of Quiet Springs. Then you'll find out who the 'poor' friend is."

"A 'friend' is someone who recognizes when their friend is in pain and attempts to give them some understanding. Gren told me of what happened, how he reacted to what he saw... and how you have blamed him for something he could not control."
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Post by Gren Blockman » Wed Feb 12, 2014 5:16 pm

"Ahhh . . . now we get to the real heart of the matter, my dear Izira. Gren, and what he can't control." Rhett leaned forward in his stool, resting his elbows on the countertop. "We are Rangers. Do you know what that means? It is all. About. Control." He spaced the words out for emphasis. "We see fighting, blood, and death on a daily basis. We have to be stronger and better than our enemies, or we die, and innocent people die as well. Gren? Look, I feel sorry for him, but his head is messed up. Amnesia? Phobias? Complexes? Whatever you want to call it. Bottom line is? He can't hack it as a Ranger. I've been telling Perrigan that for years. One day, he's going to get someone hurt. One day . . . he'll get someone killed." He returned Izira's emphatic look, his jaw setting as his own personal feelings begin to come to the surface.

"Ones ability to do their job should not interfere with your ability to be a decent friend."

"When *my* life is on the line? It damn well does interfere. Look, that's between me and Gren, I understand you're going to take up for him. You feel sorry for him. You watch him stammer and fumble around, try his damnedest to be a nice guy, and it all gets thrown back in his face, because no one has any respect for him. It's a natural response. But one day Gren is going to have to face his issues head on, and not lie to himself and think something or someone is going to come along and make his problems go away. Your pity? It's only enabling him, not helping him."

"Understanding is not pity."

"Oh, it's *understanding* is it?" His face set back into a smirk again. "I thought you two were an item. You know, boyfriend and girlfriend. Shouldn't it be about more than understanding?" He lightly runs his thumb across his chin again. "Don't you love him? Have you even *told* him you love him?"

"We are an item." She turned her head and went back to her book.

Rhett's smirk broadened into a face-wide smile at Izira's non-answer. "Ohohoho." He leaned back and covers his face in his hands. "Gren, you poor b@$t@rd. Damn, I didn't realize how close to the mark I was."

"You are not close to any mark”, she said without looking up.

Rhett's smile showed no signs of leaving any time soon. "I'm not? Then why couldn't you look me in the face when you said that? Don't be embarrassed, Izira, I understand completely. You were trapped here for what . . . five years? First guy you see comes barreling through the door, of course you're going to have certain urges. Certain needs. And if he's the gentle, wounded type like Gren? Awww, he's sensitive. Poor guy. So you meet his needs by feeling sorry for him and telling him he's not the screw-up everyone knows he is, and he meets . . . . *your* needs. Although I'm finding it hard to believe he could meet *any* woman's needs."

Rhett succeeded in gaining the full attention of her eyes. "I am not at the whim of my appetites."

"Ooooh. Got your attention on that point. Not Gren being a screw-up, or not being able to satisfy a woman. No, your appetites. This isn't exactly a ringing endorsement for our lovable Gren, is it?" Rhett chuckled, then smirked again. "Alright, let's talk about your appetites. Since you brought it up. Looking at you, a healthy, attractive woman in the prime of her life, I'd say you had more than your share of men in your time. Are you telling me, that after five years alone, you didn't have any 'appetites' that needed satisfying?"

"If I am not speaking up to those points it is because what I feel for Gren and what is between us is none of your business." She spoke to the first, ignoring his question.

"I understand you wouldn't want me to know you don't love the guy. I might use that knowledge to do mean things to him. Since I'm such a villian and all. Look, you've actually got me feeling bad for the guy for the first time in years. I'm only being cruel to be kind. Gren needs help. Of the psychiatric kind. Rather than string him along, why don't you just recognize that, and let the poor guy go, huh? Hasn't he been through enough?"

"You mistake me for yourself, I am not one to string someone along." She stood up, moving from her book to collect his mug to put it in the sink.

Rhett shakes his head sadly. "Izira. You still don't get it. Don't you see I'm in the same position? Janna. She's been stringing me along. She feels bad because she left 'Poor Gren' for me. When it was the smart thing for her to do. Now she stays with me out of pity. If I was so bad to her, why is she still around after five years? No, you see, she thinks she owes it to me. She wants to be with Gren. I know that. I was going to tell her to go ahead, if he meant that much to her . . . until you came along." Rhett leaned forward, placing his elbows on the countertop again. "It's time for everyone to be honest with themselves here. Realize what it is everyone wants, or needs."

"I will be honest with you then." Mug placed in the sink, she returned to the bar. "I think you need to leave."

Rhett's serious look shifted into a smug sneer. "Well, then. If that's what you want . . . " He rose off his stool, and gave her another long look. "Think about it, Izira. I'm not telling you anything you don't already know." He glanced up and down at her, then the smirk reappeared, before he turned and went for the door. "Au Revoir, Izira." He gave a roguish little wink as he moved to exit the Inn.

There is the softest of curses under her breath in her father's native tongue as he moved to the exit.

Rhett's arrogant chuckle can be heard as the door shut behind him. He strode leisurely down the path to the portal. He looked back once at the window, still wearing his knowing smirk, before he turned and vanished through it.

Izira washed Rhett's mug several times before drying it off and returning it.

(Nov 13 tbc . . . )
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Post by Gren Blockman » Fri Feb 14, 2014 5:06 pm

Gren did his patrols that morning, dutifully, and reported his findings to Westerguard at the encampment at Violet Crossing. Just like the day before, he had been off on one wild good chase after another, as orc and goblin sightings were rampant among the terrified populace. As he was leaving the General's tent, he saw Rhett, arrogantly leaning against a post, watching him. He had gone directly back to the camp after his 'talk' with Izira at the Inn. Gren narrowed his eyes at him, and was going to say something to him, before he remembered Izira had said it would only encourage him further. Gren walked past him without a word. Rhett shook his head sadly at Gren as he walked by, and Gren wondered what that meant. He continued through the woods, not bothering to stop at his treehouse, and went straight to the Inn. He arrived there as night was falling. Walking through the door, he pushed his hood back, glancing to the bar to see if Izira was still about.

Jeremiah stood behind the bar, leaning with his hands on the counter. With a nod to Gren and a smile, he said, "The lady is back in the gardens."

Gren looked momentarily surprised, then smiled broadly. "Jeremiah! I haven't seen you in a while. I thought something had happened to you." He moved over to the bar to see how Jeremiah was doing.

"I am around, even if not seen." One hand lifted to scratch at his beard.

"Well, I was kind of worried, because Izira said that if you're in human form for too long, it'll drain your energy."

"It is a taxing task. One I will likely need to keep up for a while." Jeremiah frowned with displeasure. "That man returned to the inn today."

Gren made a fist and pounded it on the countertop. "Dammit. I knew I should have said something to him." He frowned and snorted in frustration. "Is Izira alright?"

"She is not happy, but well enough."

"I should go to her then. Thanks, Jeremiah. I'm glad to see you're alright." He headed to the side door, remembering to turn to the right to go to the gardens beyond the Inn.

Jeremiah nodded to Gren as he left.

Izira sat a little ways into the garden, by a small pond. She rested on a blanket, looking up at the stars in the sky. The rabbit Pascal was with her, and slept at her side.

Gren tried to be as silent as possible, so as not to wake Pascal. He moved over to Izira and sat down on the blanket next to her, laying his hand on her shoulder. "Hello, Izira. Jeremiah told me what happened."

Her hand lifted up, touching the back of the one he laid on her shoulder. She smiled sadly to him. She glanced down to Pascal who remained asleep.

"He didn't touch you, did he?"

"He was more interested in trying to toy with my mind than my body."

"For now. I know him, and I know how he works. He starts by telling you things he thinks you want to hear. Trying to lure you into his confidence. I won't . . . " He sighed, and looks away. "I need to confront him, Izira. I don't want him to bother you. I . . . don't want to lose you, either."

"You will not lose me." Her eyes softened to his concern, “Perhaps I was wrong on you not confronting him... " She sighed, feeling that morning would not help anything.

"It's alright. You were just hoping . . . like I hoped . . . that it would blow over. But it didn't. We need to have a talk, Rhett and I." He said the word "talk" with an edge in his voice.

"Before that happens.... I should tell you what he said to me."

"Go ahead, I'm listening." Gren slid his hand around both shoulders, and pulled her close to him.

"He said Janna wants you back... and that he had been ready to tell her to return to you."

Gren rolled his eyes heavenward. "That's one of Rhett's half-truths. Janna probably does want me back. After living with Rhett for the last five years, can you blame her for thinking she made a mistake? I feel nothing for her." He looked Izira square in the eyes when he said that. "I put her out of my mind a long time ago. I hope she gets away from Rhett one day, but it's over between us. As for Rhett letting her go? He's had five years to do that. Whether she's a trophy to him, or whether he's punishing her, or me, I can't tell, but if Rhett wanted her gone, she'd be gone."

It comforted her to hear those words, and she smiled, though the smile could not last. With a single finger she drew some hair back from her face. "He... implied that I am only with you out of pity and due to you being the first man I saw after so long." Her gaze returned to Gren, "I hope you know as well as I that is not true.... despite... certain affections I have not said."

Gren looked at the blanket for a moment, before looking back into her eyes. "Izira . . . I want so much to hear that you love me. Especially after this wonderful week we've had. But you've been honest with me. You told me it would take you time. So I want to give you that time. When you told me what you did, about Errand, how you wished he was me, I knew then you had feelings for me, even if you're still unsure about them. I trust you, and I have faith in you, that you will see I am the one for you."

"I more wonder if I am the one for you..." she smiled and looked back to the gardens.

"I know you are. I've told you how I feel about you. You just have to recognize how you feel about me."

Another soft smile, she nodded some understanding and kissed him lightly. "When will you talk to him?"

"Tomorrow, first thing. I'll go to Violet Crossing and have it out. I'd go tonight, but it's gotten dark already. Plus, I'd like to be here at the Inn, in case he comes back. I don't think he will, but I'd like to be sure."

She nodded again, relaxing against him for a while before she felt ready to move. "Let me fix you something for dinner."

"Sounds good. I can eat a horse." He paused, then gave her a nervous, sideways look. "You don't serve horse, do you? I mean . . . you seem to have everything back in that kitchen."

A soft chuckle, "I will not serve you horse.... do you like hamburgers?"

"A hamburger would be great. You got any French fries? I love those for some reason."

"I have potatoes that can become fries." A knowing smile, she stood up.

He stood with her. "That'll do. I'm a meat and potatoes kind of guy, you know."

She kissed him, "You are much more than that.... you are my cook in training, tonight." Grinning, she took his hand and pulled him to the kitchen.
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Post by Gren Blockman » Sat Feb 15, 2014 5:51 pm

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Gren went through his routine that morning, of trying not to wake Izira, showering, and dressing. This time, he managed to do it all without disturbing Izira. He wanted to say goodbye to her, and assure her everything would be alright, but thought maybe it would be better to let her sleep. He soundlessly made his way from the bedroom, took his grey cloak off the peg near the door, and walked down to the portal, where he reappeared in RhyDin, the blue lights still shining eerily about him as he did so. I'm going to have to do something about that, he thought. He made the hike northwards, towards the staging ground the Rangers had set up at Violet Crossing. It took him several hours to get there. Luckily for him, he caught Rhett before he had left. Rhett and the other Rangers had pitched tents just outside of the village. Gren marched up to the tent that he knew was his, and showed himself in.

Rhett was looking into a mirror, and combing his curly blonde hair. He smirked, and turned his head to the side back and forth, as if admiring himself. His bed was rumpled, and the faint smell of jasmine was everywhere.

Gren flared his nostrils and frowned. That probably meant he had a woman here last night. "Rhett." Gren said, in way of a 'greeting'. He folded his arms across his chest and glared.

Rhett saw Gren in his mirror and a broad smile flashed across his face. "Hey there, 'Dreamboat'. To what do I owe the pleasure?"

"Izira told me that you came by the Inn yesterday. The day before as well."

Rhett turned from his mirror, the smile still on his face. He crossed his arms as well. "Did she now? I must've made quite an impression. You better watch it there, 'Dreamboat', I think she might have the hots for me."

Gren strode up until he was eye to eye with Rhett. "Leave her alone. I'm telling you. If you've got any shred of dignity left, you'll leave her be."

Rhett crinkled his eyebrows at Gren, as if he was watching him lose his mind. "*You're* telling *me*? Since when do you tell me what to do? And what are you going to do if I don't? Kick my @$$? You couldn't even kick your *own* @$$, Gren!"

"I said. Leave her be. I'm not going to tell you again." Gren's ice blue eyes had adopted a very un-Gren-like hardness to them. The two men were inches apart.

Rhett saw no danger in the situation. "You'd better remember who you're talking to. You don't threaten me. Nobody threatens me."

"You've done enough to me. You've hurt enough people because of me. You should be ashamed for what you've done to Janna. You won't do it to Izira."

"I do what I damn well please, and don't you ever forget that. And step the f*** back, I don't like you breathing in my face."

"I'm going to do worse to your face if you don't stay away from her."

"You f***ing b@$t@rd who in the f*** are you . . . " Rhett pulled his fist back and swung a punch for Gren's jaw. The year he had spent in the Outback gave him the foresight and the reflexes to avoid it, and he dodged to the left. When Rhett's arm went sailing past him, he drove his shoulder into his stomach, pushing him forward and into the canvas wall of the tent. The canvas promptly split, spilling the men onto the ground. Some of the men were sitting around a campfire, waiting to begin their morning missions. They came running up to watch. Gren and Rhett wrestled on the ground, trading blows and grunting in pain and frustration. Gren finally pushed Rhett onto his back, and slammed his elbow repeatedly into his nose. Rhett twisted his body and somehow found the leverage to flip Gren over, and land a series of hammerfists to his eye. They finally ended up rolling around on the ground, throwing wild punches until Westerguard stormed up, followed closely by Haddon, and shoved some of the gawking Rangers away.

"WHAT THE HELL IS THIS? BREAK IT UP!" Westerguard reached down and yanked Gren to his feet by his shirt, while Haddon held Rhett back.

"Easy there, Champ, haw haw." Haddon said, as Rhett struggled to get back at Gren. His nose was bleeding heavily.

Westerguard held Gren back, whose eye was already to turn purplish. "Who started this?"

"Rhett threw a punch at me . . .”

"BULL$***! He's just jealous 'cause his woman wants me!"

"What the hell are you talking about?"

"ENOUGH!" Westerguard screamed. "You two idiots can spend the rest of the day hauling supplies. If I catch either one of you making so much as an eyeball at each other, I'll beat your @$$ personally with the lash. You get me?" Gren glared down Rhett, but nodded to Westerguard. Rhett did nothing, but set his jaw and grunt. "Now get out of my sight, both of you. THE REST OF YOU GET BACK TO WORK! MOVE!" Sullenly, Rhett and Gren reported to the Quartermaster, where they began their punishment.

(Nov 14 tbc . . . )
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Post by Gren Blockman » Sun Feb 16, 2014 5:59 pm

All that morning and afternoon, Rhett and Gren unloaded boxes and sacks from the steady stream of wagons that was traveling to the northern village. The encampment was starting to swell with soldiers as local militia, mercenaries, as well as the Rangers, began to report to the staging grounds in preparation for an expected invasion. Although the wind was chilly, the sun had been out all day, and both men had begun to sweat and tire under its heat. A wagon backed up to the supply depot around three o'clock, driven by a portly man with a red bandana and striped vest.

"Got a shipment of corn meal here for you boys." The fat man said, cheerfully.

"F***in' corn meal", Rhett muttered under his breath, as he and Gren moved to lift the sacks from the back of the wagon. Accidentally, they both reached for the same sack, causing Rhett to glare at Gren.

"That's mine, stay out of my damn way."

"Whatever, Rhett." Gren shook his head, and grabbed for a different one.

They marched, each grimacing under the weight of the sack hoisted over their shoulder, to the temporary storehouse built to contain the Rangers' food supply. Rhett slung his sack onto a palette, then turned and bumped into Gren who had come up right behind him.

"I said stay the hell out of my way. Unless you want to finish what we started. I'd love another chance to slug you in the face."

"I seem to remember holding my own in that fight", Gren replied, moving past him and throwing his sack down. "I don't care how many times we have to go at it for me to make my point. Keep this between you and me. Leave Izira alone."

"Gren, do you honestly think I give a crap about Izira? I mean, don't get me wrong, she's a hot little number, I'll give you that. I'm trying to get you to understand, for the past six years, that you don't belong here. That you need to quit the Rangers, and go get help, before you get someone killed. I know you don't want to hear that. You've bullcrapped yourself into believing in this sick little dream, that some broad is going to come along and love you, and all your problems are gonna go away. Izira can't make your problems go away. Nobody is going to make your problems go away, Gren."

"Izira is everything I've been looking for. She's a sweet, giving . . . "

"Oh, STOP IT, for Christ's sake, Gren! I don't want to hear that $***! You said the same damn thing about Janna! You said the same damn thing about Mileeza! And where did it get you?"

"You had something to do with Janna."

"You're damn right I did. And Izira? No different. Christ, Gren, she doesn't even love you."

"You don't know that."

"The hell I don't. I saw it in her face. I asked her, hell I practically pleaded with her, "Don't you love him?" And all she could do was turn her head."

"She's been hurt and alone for five years, she needs time to . . .”

"How much more f***ing time does she need? Are you kidding me? She should've jumped your bones the first day she saw you bust your way in there. Gren, I don't have to lay one damn finger on her. It's obvious to me why she's with you. You show up after she's been alone for all that time. She pities you and your little sad sack routine."

"You don't know her, Rhett. You don't know a damn thing about her."

"I don't have to, Gren. Because I've seen hundreds of women just like her. Let me use an example that you love to throw in our face every chance you get. Remember that silly Snow White and the Woodsman story you tell us? How the Woodsman saves Snow White, but she goes running after Prince Charming? Put two and two together here, buddy. Do you see the classy way she dresses? How she talks? Do you see the how nicely kept and expensive everything looks in that Inn? A supposed rustic Inn in the middle of nowhere? Let me tell you something, you poor dumb@$$. Now that she's free? She's going to keep going into the City. Her confidence is going to build up. She's going to meet some rich, handsome, well-to-do gentlemen. They are going to wine her and dine her, flash their money, and get her thinking. She is going to have doubts, Gren. Then she's going to have concerns. Then? One day? She's going to realize that a scroungy Ranger in a beat up grey cloak without two silver nobles to rub together just flat out embarrasses her. I can see her writing out the Dear John letter now, "It's not you, it's me." Yeah. She's not even going to bother to bust your delusions over her knee, she's just going to casually toss them into the garbage and suddenly forget you even existed. Then when you're sitting in your little playhouse, staring out the window, wondering what the hell went wrong, you're going to realize something. You won't be able to blame me, you won't be able to blame Izira, or God, or whoever else you want to point your finger at. You'll realize that you've got no one left to blame but yourself. Then maybe you'll put yourself, and all the rest of us, out of our collective misery and get the help you should have gotten seven years ago."

"Rhett, I'm not the one with the delusions, you are."

"Gren, this is as obvious as the sun coming up in the east. I see this coming a mile away. You should too. Thankfully, you're too stupid to know any better." Rhett turned and walked back towards the wagon, leaving Gren trailing behind him, stewing. He finally caught up with him when they got back to the wagon.

"I'm not finished with you, Rhett . . .", Gren started, getting between him and the wagon.

"Tough $***, because *I'm* finished with *you*. For now, at least. Now get out of my way . . . " Rhett slammed his shoulder into Gren's as he pushed past him.

Gren grabbed Rhett shirt and the two began wrestling with each other. Gren slammed Rhett up against the side of the wagon and was trying to punch him, but Rhett had grabbed his hand, and they both struggled in an impasse. Westerguard had been standing nearby, supervising the offloading of several crates of broadswords. He turned at the sound of the scuffle, and turned red with anger as he saw Rhett and Gren struggling again.

"WHAT IN THE HELL DID I TELL YOU TWO JACK@$$ES?" Westerguard grabbed both of them and tore them apart. "I'm tired of this! Since you two have so much energy, you can carry these boxes for the rest of the day, and from now on UNTIL I SAY OTHERWISE! Do you get me? I can't believe you two clowns are up for promotion! Gren, you stay here! Rhett, get over to those broadswords and help unload those crates! MOVE!"

Rhett scowled at Gren, but after a shove, he made his way over to the crates with Westerguard. Gren sighed, and hung his head. More boxes to carry. He pictured Izira in his mind, sitting on her blanket with Pascal.

"He... implied that I am only with you out of pity and due to you being the first man I saw after so long. I hope you know as well as I that is not true.... despite... certain affections I have not said."

Gren stared at the sacks and boxes on the wagon for a few long moments then shut his eyes.

She'll come around. It's different this time. It is. I know it is.

Slowly he took another sack of corn meal and went back to his punishment. That punishment ended up being a week of probation, which included confinement to camp and heavy labor.
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Post by Gren Blockman » Mon Feb 17, 2014 6:04 pm

Thursday, November 21, 2013

The night had been bittersweet for him. Finally getting a win for his team got a huge monkey off his back. He felt like he was a part of the Badside Brawlers now, not a disappointment. On the other hand, Tara's antics had him extremely frustrated. Now she was acting like his wife? What would Izira think? At least his probation was over, and he could head back to the Inn. He couldn't believe it had been a whole week. He missed Izira terribly. Even though it was getting late, he wanted to see her as soon as possible. He made his way through the forest and to the portal, going up the path and to the door. He pushed his way through, pulling back his grey hood, to peer around the main room, searching for Izira.

The lights of the inn glowed low, settled in for the night. Izira wasn't present in the main room, but back in her own quarters. She sat behind the desk, looking through a journal of a former resident of the inn.

Gren took his grey cloak off, revealing the plain brown shirt and pants he usually wore, and hung it on the peg near the door. Making his way down the hallway, thinking she must have turned in for the night, he called out to her, so he could find her, and also so she would know he was there. "Izira?"

She paused in her reading, then closed the book and looked up toward the door of her quarters. "Gren?" Getting up from behind the desk she moved around it and toward the door and down the hallway. Opening the door between the hall ways, she smiled to him. She wore a simple lace blouse of cream with a tan skirt and cream colored heels. "Is it truly you? You have been away so long, perhaps I have forgotten what you look like."

His face lit up with joy and relief as he saw her, again. "Oh, Izira . . . " He couldn't contain his happiness, as he swept her up in his arms, and gave her a deep, passionate kiss in greeting. His hands massaged her back as he took in her warmth, her scent, and the softness of her skin.

"I missed you too, Gren", she smiled up to him after the kiss.

He chuckled and leaned his forehead against hers after they broke the kiss. "I meant to say I missed you. I just kind of got . . . caught up in the moment." He gave her a sheepish smile. "I hope you've been well."

"As well as I can be without seeing you. I have managed to get by." The back of her fingers stroking his cheek and she gazed up at his icy blue eyes. "How have you been my ranger?"

"A heckuva lot better now that you're in my arms again." He stared back into her amber brown eyes for a moment. "Geez, I could tell you some things. Maybe we should sit down first."

"Oh?" There was a curious flutter of her lashes. She nodded and stepped back, taking his hand and leading him to the smaller sitting area of her own quarters. The dual sided hearth added warmth to the room. Izira had Gren take a seat before she sat beside him, leaning to lend an ear to whatever he had to say.

He held her hand and walked over to the hearth, sitting down, and putting his arm around her shoulders. Right now her closeness was giving him comfort and easing his frustrations over the night. "Well, it's kind of a good news, bad news kind of thing. Maybe I should start with what happened between me and Rhett."

Worry painted her features, but she nodded quietly and waited for what he would say.

"I tried to tell him to stay away from you. That I didn't want him bothering you. He didn't want to hear it, and we came to blows. Westerguard made us carry supplies as punishment. It would have ended there, but we got into it again. He thinks he's forcing me into getting . . . help." He paused, and tried not to look upset. "Westerguard caught us fighting again, and that's where the week probation happened. I was allowed to handle my IFL duties, because of the contract I had signed with Badside. But other than that I was confined to quarters so to speak."

A sympathetic look, Izira brushed hair away from Gren's forehead and leaned up to kiss him gently there. "I am sorry to hear that.... "

"I hope Rhett took the hint. He said he doesn't have to lay a finger on you because he doesn't believe you love me. I think after a week's punishment, maybe he'll think twice about coming here again."

"I take it that is the good news." She is happy to hear that Rhett might stay away. That Gren is there allows her to believe that Rhett's words did not work.

"Well, that's part of the good news. The other part is I won tonight. It felt good to get that win. It made me feel like a part of the team. Like Jake can count on me. I'd been worried that I disappointed him ever since I lost to Jin. But hopefully things will be alright now. I should get another match in a couple weeks. If I win I'll be 2-2, and at least I can say I broke even. Not bad for my first season." He paused and sighed. "I was just glad to do something positive for the team, is all."

"That is very good news." She smiled widely for his success in the ring.
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Post by Gren Blockman » Mon Feb 17, 2014 6:04 pm

He gave her shoulder a squeeze, returning her smile briefly, before his face fell. "Now for the bad news." He grunted and rubbed his free hand across his face. "I need to tell you about this, because I want to be honest with you. This woman . . . she's going around telling people she's my wife."

Izira blinked softly, looking a bit puzzled. "Did you forget to tell me you were married?" A soft chuckle but she remains puzzled. She blinked, "You are not married, are you?"

"No, baby, I'm not." He impulsively lays his hand on her cheek, as if reaffirming he's telling the truth. "She's . . . she's a dangerous woman. Her name is Tara, and she has this weird crush on me. I don't know what I've done to provoke her, but she's pulling this game where she's telling everyone she's Missus Blockman. I don't know why I'd want to be involved with her. She lives in Hell for crying out loud. She calls herself the . . .” he grimaces, and mouths the word "Whore" before continuing, " . . . of Babylon." He rolled his eyes heavenward and winced.

Another light smile, "It does not appear as though I am at risk to lose your heart to this... Whore of Babylon." She rested her cheek against his hand. "This is the bad news? That a woman is telling stories that are untrue?"

"Yeah, I guess it was. I just didn't want you to be upset. She's certainly entertaining, I'll give her that. And she did have a few nice words for me, when I lost a match once. But I feel nothing for her, and certainly don't want to be married to her. I hope she gets bored with me and drops the whole thing."

"If she does not?"

"I don't know what I'm going to do. I told her we're not married and I don't want to have anything to do with her. Like that, anyway." He thought about it for a moment. "She seems to be . . . romantic", he cleared his throat, "with my Captain, Jake. Maybe I can get Jake to tell her to leave me alone."

"Romantic? Of the having relations?" Izira grinned, “She does not sound to make a very good false wife."

"Having relations." He nodded knowingly. "She has . . . *many* 'relations' it seems. I'm just trying to avoid being one of them."

"It is a... hard task?"

"*No*. She's a pretty woman, don't get me wrong. She's just . . . not my type." He tried not to elaborate. "*You're* my type. I don't want to be with any woman other than you."

A light smile, she nodded and leaned in, pressing a kiss to his lips. "Is there anything I may do to help?"

His face softened at the kiss, he was already feeling better, not just from her touch, but having gotten things off his chest. "I can think of a few things. But it may be an all night job. Think you're up for it?" He wiggled his eyebrows a bit and started breaking into a suggestive grin.

A soft laugh, she stood and took his hand and to lead him to her bedroom. "I have had a long time to rest up... I think the question is, are *you* up for it?"
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Post by Gren Blockman » Tue Feb 18, 2014 6:00 pm

Friday, November 22, 2013

Gren went about his patrols that morning, with a smile on his face, having spent a passionate night with the woman he loved. His trek through the Northwest Hills was proving to be another routine, boring one, until he caught the light from a campfire off in the distance, near a stream. He pulled his staff out just to be on the safe side, and walked over to see if anyone was there. Coming closer, he could see that there was a pot cooking stew over the fire, and a small tent nearby. At first, he couldn't see anyone, then he heard the sound of faint humming coming from the nearby trees. The humming soon turned to soft singing as the person drew closer. Gren was astonished to see that it was Janna. She was carrying a basket of mushrooms and wild onions, apparently to go into the stew. Janna stopped as she saw someone standing at her campfire, and was about to draw her weapon, when she saw that it was Gren, and relaxed, giving him a smile.

"I didn't expect to bump into you so soon, Gren. You haven't lost your sense of duty, I see."

Gren gaped at her for a moment, then smiled a bit sheepishly, looking at the ground. "Well, I know things are tense here, with the orcs and goblins. I'm just trying to do what I can. Trying to keep Westerguard happy." And off my back.

Janna slowly made her way over to Gren, her curly, auburn hair blowing in the breeze. She laid her deep brown eyes on him, as she lowered her basket near the pot. "I've heard that Westerguard is biting everyone's head off lately. He has been on edge. I can't blame him I suppose. He sent me out here to help patrol the Northwest Hills. I'll be going further out than you, of course. I was just about to have a morning meal before I continued on my way. Do you . . . care to join me?"

"Certainly." Gren took a seat on a nearby log, and warmed his hands at the fire. "Man, I hate when it gets cold like this all of a sudden", he said, glancing to the stream.

Janna smiled softly and began to cut up the mushrooms and onions, putting them in the boiling pot, and stirring. "It's that time of year." Then her smile faded, as she looked at Gren with concern in her eyes. "I heard about the fight with Rhett, and your punishment." She sighed and looked downward at the fire. "I hope he didn't hurt you."

"No. He hurts my pride more than anything. He's trying to come between me and Izira. I'm not going to let him do it." Gren tried not to get upset in Janna's presence, so he avoided eye contact and stared at the fire.

"I'm sorry, Gren. I really am." Janna shook her head and trailed off. "Izira seems like a lovely woman."

Gren looked up at her, then nodded softly. "She is. I'm in love with her, Janna. She's everything I could've hoped for. I think . . . she's the one."

Janna watched him silently, trying not to let her emotions betray her. "I really am happy for you. Things are as they should be, then."

Gren stared sadly at her, while she stirred the stew she was preparing. "Have . . . things gotten better with Rhett?" He knew they hadn't, but he was hopeful, for her sake.

Janna looked like she was about to cry, but pressed her lips together and nodded sadly to Gren. "No, they aren't. But thank you for asking."

"I heard Rhett was in trouble with another Ranger last week. That was why he didn't get the promotion. That didn't have anything to do with you, did it?" Gren watched her concerned, as she ladled out a bowl of the stew and handed it to him.

Janna swallowed, and turned her head from him. "I caught him . . . again. With another woman. I tried to confront him about it, but he started . . . shoving me. Thankfully Moriana was there, and she broke it up, but Perrigan found out about it and punished him. It only made Rhett's temper worse."

Gren rubbed his forehead in disappointment. "Janna, why do you put up with it? Why can't you just leave him, Janna? For your sake?"
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Post by Gren Blockman » Tue Feb 18, 2014 6:01 pm

Janna still had her back to Gren, and was clutching her arms tightly about her chest. "I . . . . I love him."

"No you don't, Janna, I can't believe that a woman as strong and independent as you would put up with that."

"You don't understand, Gren."

"You're right, I *don't* understand."

Janna gazed into the fire, listlessly.

"Why don't you explain it to me", Gren prodded her.

Janna continued staring into the fire, as Gren ate his stew. She moved her mouth as if willing the words to come, but they didn't. "I . . . I don't want to talk about this anymore."

Gren sighed, and lowered his gaze to his bowl. "Janna. I don't want you to get hurt. Regardless of what happened between us. Rhett is bad to you. He doesn't deserve you. You need to get away from him."

Janna made no sound or acknowledgement for a while, then she dipped herself a bowl of the stew, and sat down, taking a shaky spoonful. "I'll . . . be going northward. Past the old cave. So you won't have to patrol there, today."

Gren gazed at her sadly, and decided not to push things. "Alright, Janna. I'll go west today." He put his bowl down on the log, and stood up. "Maybe I should be going. Thank you for the stew, it was very good."

"You're welcome . . . Gren." She gave a pained look to her bowl. "Gren?"

Gren had begun to walk from the campsite, then turned as she called to him. "Yes?"

"I'm sorry. For everything."

"I know, Janna. I know." He gave her a small smile, before continuing on his way, crossing the stream, and heading west towards the area he needed to patrol. Gren tried not to look back, he felt saddened at Janna's predicament, but didn't know what to do for her. She would have to take matters into her own hands, one day. He then pictured Izira in his mind. He couldn't imagine ever doing something to harm her. He calmed himself by picturing her tucking her hair behind her ear, her smiling at him when she poked fun at his use of the word "relations", the silver locket she wore around her neck that symbolized their relationship. He wished he could be curled up with her on the couch, next to the fire. He huddled in his cloak more for warmth. The winter chill was making him uncomfortable, although he would be used to it in a few days.

A few hours passed. The gentle, rolling hills went by one after the other, and Gren had almost begun to start whistling, when he heard a series of harsh grunts. He fell to the ground, and did a military crawl to the top of the nearest hill, peering over its crest. Below him, was a cluster of orc soldiers. They were dressed in black, spiked armor, and carrying spears. They were fighting over the coin purse of a dead elven hunter, who looked like he had been freshly killed with several arrows to the chest.

Gren hugged the ground, and frantically tried to think of what to do. There were at least a dozen orc warriors down there. He couldn't go charging in, or he would get killed. This was some of the first tangible evidence he had seen that showed there was orc activity in the Northwest Hills. He peered over the hill again, and tried to memorize what the orcs were wearing, for his report. Once he had gotten as much information as he could down in his mind, he slid down the hill as quietly as he could and made a break for the camp at Violet Crossing. He would make his report to Westerguard that there were orcs in the Northwest Hills.
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Post by Gren Blockman » Thu Feb 20, 2014 5:50 pm

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

The morning sun, its light filtered through the curtains, dimly filled the bedroom. Izira moved through the door, returning with a small tray, her bare feet silent against the tiled floor. The sun's light caught and revealed the blue of her night dress. She carried the tray across the room and set it down near Gren before she slipped back under the covers. There was a glass of orange juice for herself, and coffee for Gren to drink alongside a plate of scrambled eggs and toast. "I hope the wait was not too long."

Gren was lying in the bed, sitting up a bit, staring out the window, and thinking about what a lucky guy he was. When Izira entered, he watched her move towards him in her silk pajamas, and smiled gently. "You even dress classy when you're sleeping. No, I'm just happy you made me something." He ate the eggs and glanced at her drinking the orange juice. "Did you sleep alright?"

"You were here, how could I not?" She smiled to him from over the glass before taking a drink. She set the glass back down on the tray, leaning into the pillows and toward Gren. "How was your rest?" She asked with a tease of a knowing smile playing across her lips.

Gren put his hand on her cheek, giving it a loving stroke. "Just like you said. Being here with you gives me all the peace I need." He tried not to look troubled, but there was something on his mind. He took another bite of toast, then looked back at her. "I have something I need to tell you."

"Tell me?" A hint of concern entered into her features. She glanced at the food but knew it wasn't about the breakfast. Amber-brown eyes moved back to Gren, "You should know by now you may tell me anything."

"I know I can. It's important, though." He sighed and tried to collect his thoughts. "I was given a Grant by the Overlord, Teagan Rielea. Basically, what this Grant does is give the person the ability to challenge one of the Barons. She gave it to me so that I could specifically challenge the newest one, an evil mage named Vanion Shadowcast." He paused. "Have you heard of him?"

Izira shook her head, but the description of the man was enough to make her glad she did not know him. She had had her fill of evil magic users. "No, I do not."

"The last time he was in charge of a Barony, a mysterious plague swept over it, and killed a lot of people. We're hoping to avoid that this time. I'm telling you this, because he did something when he defended his Opal last week. He captured ten people from his challenger's home world, and executed one every time the challenger scored a point. I want you to be ready, in case I have to challenge him. He doesn't know where this place is, but I want you to be on your guard just in case."

"He will not be able to find me here." At least she knew the magic of the realm should be able to keep those that wished her harm out. Despite the words, she did not look much better. Concern remained etched on her features. "When... will you challenge him?"

"Wednesday or Thursday, whenever the Standings for the new week go up. They may do it early because of Thanksgiving this week." Gren puts his arm around her shoulder, and kissed her forehead. "I know this is horrible news. But I have to do something. Those poor innocent people need someone to help them. This is something positive I can do. As you say, I don't think he'd be able to find you here. I just need you to know what's going on."

"He could find me should I leave...." Her brow creased and some small part of her felt much the same as she had with Alain. Without Gren saying so, Izira already imagined her need to stay safely hidden and keep her distance from Gren in public.

"He might. It would be safer if you stayed here, until the challenge was over. But that's your call. I've told everyone that you're my girlfriend. But I don't think too many people know what you look like, since you've only been to the Arena once." He sighed, and rubbed his eye with his hand. "I don't want you to stay hidden. I wish we could go out in public more. I want everyone to know we're together, and how much I want to be with you. It's just . . . going to be a bit touchy until this challenge is over."

"I do not want to stay hidden away." Her words were simple. She knew what risk that meant, but she refused to cower to an evil man, even for Gren's sake. "I will witness your challenge when it happens."

He looked at Izira sharply, not out of objection, but out of pleasant surprise. He smiled warmly, and his eyes got a bit misty. "I want you to be there. I want you to be my Lady of Honor. I can't wait to hear those words. "His Lady of Honor is Izira Nyte." That will make me very happy."

"It will make me happy as well." A soft smile to him, she leaned over and kissed him gently.
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