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.

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Gren Blockman
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Post by Gren Blockman » Thu Jan 30, 2014 6:18 pm

Izira might have been near to teasing him about throwing her own words back at her when he continued and added more. Any words she had were forgotten the moment he said those three words. She leaned back, her hand touching the locket he'd given her. "I... believe you." An apologetic smile is half formed before she is looking away.

He dropped his hand from around her shoulders as she leaned away, but he left it pressed against her back for a moment. "I don't need you to say it back to me, not yet. I can wait until you're ready. I just wanted you to know how I felt."

She gave a small nod, then searched for something else to talk about. "Have you talked to anyone about having the Rangers for an event at the inn?"

He took a deep breath, and removed his hand from her back, while looking back out at the water. "Yeah, I mentioned it to Perrigan. He would have to give his okay. He said it would be fine, as long as it didn't last long and take away from our duties too much. From him, that's as good of a stamp of approval as I'm going to get. I told some of the other Rangers, and everyone's up for a buffet. I . . . heh. I kind of brag about your cooking to them, so they're looking forward to it."

"I thought you were going to do the cooking after Thursday's dinner?" She peeked back around to him.

He smiled broadly. "I said I would *help*. Come on, all I really did was dump some boysenberries and blue cheese over a steak. I will help *you*. I wouldn't want them to miss out on your amazing cooking."

She chuckles softly. "I am teasing you." Her smile remained in place after that. "Have you decided on a date? I will need menu ideas or at the least a few suggestions. I am already preparing to have plenty of coffee available."

"Date? How about Thursday? I think I've got a mission tomorrow, but I'm not sure, I have to check in first. Thursday would give us time to prepare. They'll pretty much eat anything, but even a nice Chicken dinner would be great. With mashed potatoes and green beans. Cornbread . . wait, no cornbread. They've been living off Journey Cakes for the last three months. Biscuits! Yeah . . . " He gazed into the forest like he was off in another world, dreaming about the buffet already.

"Thursday." She nodded in agreement and took mental note of the suggestions. "I will provide biscuits and rolls."

"Oooh, rolls. I like those little crescent shaped ones."

"Croissants." She gave him the proper name. "What would you like to serve for dessert?"

"Pie. Crumb pies are my favorite. Lemon. Maybe a cherry one." He stared wistfully off into the distance again.

"I will make several of both. Do you know how many I should expect to be feeding?"

"I'm sure we'd have twenty at least, if it’s a buffet." He glanced to her nervously, "Hey, I'd like to do my share. Whatever money or supplies you need, I can help out."

"It will be taken care of, do not worry."

"Well, alright. I hope Perrigan comes. I think he might, as long as he feels everything is peaceful enough. He'd probably leave Westerguard in charge until we got back. I'd like you to meet him, he's the closest thing to a father I have."

"I hope he comes as well, so that I may meet him and finally put a face to the name." She smiled. Her hand lifted to brush fingertips through the side of Gren's hair.

His face softened as she touched him, the warmth of her fingers giving him comfort. "Thank you for doing this. I appreciate everything you've done for me."

"You are welcome", she said with a peaceful smile.

He studied her face, memorizing her eyes, mouth, hair, the clothes she was wearing, like he was burning the memory into his mind, when he suddenly blinked and looks up. "Holy . . . is it getting dark already? We were supposed to go to the Outback tonight!"

She glanced up to the sky, noting the coming of night. "We will have other nights to go. For now, it is best I return to the inn."

"Yeah. We'd, uh . . . better go back." He started to stand, and offered her a hand up.

She took the hand offered to stand. "Will you return to your tree house or shall you wish to make use of your room?"

"I'd . . . " After the intense conversation they had, part of him just wanted to go home. But another part of him wanted to stay, to be there with her, in some way. "I'd like to stay. In my room. If that's alright."

"I gave you the key for a reason." She kissed his cheek and moved on, heading back to the path and the way home.

He trailed behind her, up the path, and took her hand in his again, like it had been when they first started out. "Have you seen Jeremiah lately?"

"I have not." Despite the time stretching on and his absence continued, Izira did not sound worried. "I suspect he is resting."

"Hmm. If you say so. I'm still getting that weird blue light effect when I go through the portal. Maybe I can ask the staff about it."

"You still have the staff?"

"Unfortunately, yeah. Our Guild's Mage, Malcolm, was supposed to take it off my hands weeks ago. But he's a slacker. Lackadaisical with his duties and studies. He's probably forgotten all about me even having it. I don't mind keeping it, it's not like it's going anywhere."

"Noira, you met her at the Arena Saturday, is considering trying her hand at dueling. She expressed interest in obtaining a wizard's staff to that end."

"Huh. I'll have to bring it by the next time there's a Fight Night. I've only been on Twilight Isle once or twice. I don't feel very comfortable there. If I bump into her, I'll see if she can use it."

"That is generous of you, another worthy trait."

"That's just the kind of guy I am, I guess." He chuckled, and looked sideways at her. "You know, I seem to have forgotten one of your traits during my little speech."

"You listed so many, I do not see how anything could have been forgotten." She glanced back to him.

"Oh, no, I remember now. It was a very important one I forgot. Believe me when I tell you . . . I think you're drop dead gorgeous."

She smiles to the compliment, "I should hope not, I would prefer neither of us to die."

"No, I want us to live a long time. I feel like I've got a lot to live for . . .”

"It is a good feeling to have."

"Yes it is." He dropped his hand from hers, only to curl it around her waist and pull her close to him, as they walk up the path.

Her head found a nice spot against his shoulder, enjoying the time together on the way back to the inn--where they will have to part ways to retire into their separate rooms.
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Post by Gren Blockman » Fri Jan 31, 2014 6:11 pm

Thursday, October 24, 2013

When Gren had shown up to help Izira prepare for the arrival of the hungry rangers she wasted no time in putting him to work. She knew he had limited experience in the kitchen and put him to easy tasks like mashing the potatoes, snapping the ends off the green beans, cooking and cutting strips of bacon, dicing the onions, shaping croissants, and stirring pots to keep the contents from burning. She enjoyed, when in the process of cooking, showing him how to do something new.

Now the scents of the buffet filled the interior of the inn, along with the warmth from the fire sent into the large hearth in the main room. The sitting area had been rearranged to allow for the long buffet table to divide the two parts of the room. Plates and silverware sat to one end, where two lines could be started. The menu included salad with a house dressing, baked seasoned chicken breasts, garlic mashed potatoes, steamed green beans sautéed in butter with onions and bacon, croissants and butter.

Another table for dessert, lemon crumb pie and cherry crumb pie, had been set up near the main table for the buffet, but separate so as not to make the rangers walk through the whole line. Along the bar several kegs of the Orktober Ale had been place, with buckets of Broot bottles on ice, pitchers of water, and carafes of the Wutroth coffee. Izira finished setting out glasses and mugs for the rangers.
Her attire for the night a white wrap top over a lace camisole, paired with a sand colored skirt and white heels. Gren's locket adorned her neck, as it had since he gifted it to her.

Gren was wearing his simple brown shirt and pants, with an apron tied around his waist, expecting he was going to spill plenty of food on himself, but pleasantly surprised that was not the case. He had finished toting out the desserts for the dessert table, and wiped his forearm across his brow. "Everything looks great!" He hoped everything would go well. Perrigan had agreed to attend. He thought about Haddon and some of his pals, and frowned slightly, hoping they wouldn't cause too much trouble. He glanced around at the spread, then turned to look for Izira. "I've got the desserts out, is there anything else I need to do?"

The last glass mug in place, Izira looked to Gren as he set out the desserts. She left the bar, moving through the tables and over by him just as he turned to look to her. She smiled warmly, reaching out to pluck at his apron. "Take off the apron before the rangers arrive? I do not think them seeing you in it will do you any favors, at least not before they have tasted what you helped to provide them."

He's smiling pleasantly at Izira, until what she explained to him sunk in, then he grimaced slightly and hurriedly untied the apron and slipped it over his head. "I . . . uh . . . thought I was going to make a mess. Heh." He grinned nervously, and rubbed the back of his head. "They should be here any minute, I told Moriana to show them the way."

"Nothing more than is to be expected, you are a natural in the kitchen." She took the apron with a smile before she kissed his cheek. "You should have a drink before they arrive. You have certainly earned it. I will put this away while I tidy a few things in the kitchen. Try to relax." Apron in hand, Izira moved back to the bar and slipped through the door into the kitchen.

Her kiss made his nervousness vanish, and he watched her go back into the kitchen, before making his way to the bar and getting a bottle of Broot, twisting off the top, and taking a long drink. He glanced over all the food with a little grin on his face, when a movement outside the window caught his eye and his head naturally turned in that direction.

Moriana had appeared in the portal, wearing the Ranger's customary grey cloak. Her lithe body swayed up the path a few steps, until she turned, putting a fist on her hip, to see if the other Rangers were coming. They had been a bit surprised as Moriana vanished into the portal, even though they were told and expected it. Dutifully, they begin to enter, one by one, until a congregation of twenty grey cloaked people stood at the beginning of the gravel path. Moriana seemed to do a head count, before turning in place and leading them towards the door. The Rangers made no sound on the path, nor the steps or porch. Seeing them coming, Gren hurried to the door to greet them. Moriana opened the door emphatically, and scanned the interior of the Inn, as if looking for trouble, before casting Gren a suspicious glare.

Gren smiled broadly. "Moriana! Thanks for bringing everyone here! Let me take your cloak!" Moriana lowered her hood, but glared down Gren with a haughty look. "Um . . . ok . . . never mind." She strode past him and toward the benches. The next person through the door was Perrigan. Pulling back his hood, the gentleman in his fifties showed off his short white hair, and deep blue eyes. "Gren. Thank you for inviting us." He pulled off his cloak, showing his muscular physique. "Of course, Headmaster."

Next was Haddon. The large, bald man already had his cloak off, and was moving to slap Gren on the back. "Gren, my buddy! Hah! So what does a fellow have to do to get something to eat in this joint? HAH HAH HAH! *OH!*" The exclamation was due to Haddon turning his head and seeing the buffet laid out for the incoming Rangers. Haddon grabbed his heart and put his other arm in the air, as if he was having a heart attack. He staggered over to the buffet table and dropped to his knees. "Good Lord Almighty! I haven't seen a spread like this in years! You can take me now, Lord!!!!"

As their guests started to arrive, Izira came out from the kitchen--arriving in time to see Haddon drop to his knees before the buffet. From the break in the bar she nodded to Moriana before lifting her voice to Haddon, "That would be quite the waste of food. I suggest you beseech the Lord to take you *after* you have had your fill."

Haddon stopped his charade and looked at Izira as she spoke, his eyes going wide. "HOT DAMN! Does the lady come with it??" "Hey, knock it off!” Gren called from the doorway, still collecting cloaks. Perrigan gave Haddon a disapproving glare. "Haddon, behave yourself. We are guests here." Haddon grinned sheepishly, getting back to his feet."It's just a joke! They know it's a joke! Heh."

She faintly smiled at Haddon's words and Gren's retort. Izira nodded her head to the large ranger as he stood and then made her way to join Gren. She stood beside him to help him gather the cloaks and hang them up by the door. It was a wonder there were enough pegs.

Gren was still looking at Haddon a bit narrow eyed, until Izira came to help him with the cloaks. It was only then that he realized he had nineteen identical grey cloaks (minus Moriana's), and no way to tell them apart. He looked at them a bit paranoid for a moment, then shrugged helplessly, hoping no one would know the difference. He helped Izira hang them all up. Moriana had given Izira a nod in return, and the other Rangers had filed over to the food, staring curiously (and hungrily) at the buffet. Gren watched the men eye the buffet eagerly, and whispered to Izira, "Hey, why don't we let them go ahead and eat, and I can introduce you a little later."
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Post by Gren Blockman » Fri Jan 31, 2014 6:13 pm

"I am surprised that they have not already started to eat", she replied softly in response. She rested a hand on his shoulder, turning to address the one she figured must be Perrigan. "Headmaster, I am gladdened to see that you were able to attend tonight's dinner. Will you allow me to fetch you a drink while you take the lead through the line?" Her other hand gently directed Perrigan toward the buffet.

"They're being polite. Or trying to be." Gren said, giving Haddon a sideways look. Perrigan smiled gently to Izira and allowed her to lead him to the front. "That would be kind of you, Miss. You may call me Perrigan. Gren has told me much about you. I am glad to see he has found a Lady with such manners and a gentle disposition."

"Perrigan, you words are too kind. Please, call me Izira. I have provided ale, coffee, and Gren's favorite--Broot Beer, for the night. There is water as well." Izira guided both Gren and Perrigan to the buffet line, and waited for Perrigan's selection of what to drink before moving to have Gren take her spot next to the Headmaster. "I will leave it to Gren to answer any questions you may have about tonight's menu."

"I have heard the coffee here is outstanding. I would like to try it for myself." Gren heard Izira and edged up to Perrigan's side. "Uhh . . . yeah. Any questions." Perrigan turned and smiled to Gren. "I'm fine. I can see for myself, it looks wonderful." "Alright then", Gren replied, then turned to the others, "Alright, you all can go ahead and get started . . . " There is immediate shoving and grousing as the twenty Rangers try to cram into a line behind Perrigan. "HEY! HEY! EASY! EASY!" Gren yelped, getting caught up in the mayhem. "The food's not going anywhere, you'll all get a turn!"

"Coffee it is." She smiled and tipped her head as she excused herself and headed to the bar. She glanced back at Gren when he got caught up in the eagerness of the hungry rangers. She gave him a sympathetic smile while preparing a cup of coffee for Perrigan. Cream, sugar, and glass of ice water were added to a small tray with a spoon, as she moved back across the room to join Perrigan as he took his seat. The mug and glass were set beside him in time for his meal. "I do hope you enjoy everything."

Perrigan sat down with a plate of food, smiled and nodded as Izira brings the tray, then puts cream and sugar in his coffee, before taking a curious sip. He smiled, impressed, and held his cup up to Izira in salute. "All the rumors are true." He chuckled, and began to eat his meal. Haddon had of course butted his way to the front of the line, and he sat down with a plate that looked like it had enough food for three people. Moriana sat down next to him and gave him a hostile glare, before eyeing the chicken suspiciously. She took a small bite, then her eyelashes began to flutter, and she got an almost half-asleep look on her face. Haddon stared at Moriana, then barked out a laugh. "Damn, this must be *real* good! I'm not waitin' either then!" He started to tear through the pile of food on his plate, and the other Rangers in turn began to enjoy their food as well. "Hey, leave me some of those potatoes, Crawford!" Gren called over to the poor young man, who ended up last in the line.

Izira excused herself with a dip of her head, leaving Perrigan to enjoy his meal. "I invite the rest of you to help yourself to the drinks provided on the bar. There is drink and food enough for everyone to have their fill." Smiling to those gathered, she moved back over to Gren's side and lowered her voice. "I do not think the potatoes are at risk, Gren. I took your appetite into consideration when I was cooking and multiplied it."

"You think of everything." He gave her a kiss on the cheek. "Everyone looks happy so far." He noticed Bernard hadn't gotten anything to drink. "Hey Bernard, do you want something to drink? I'll get it for you." "Thanks, Gren! I'll take a Broot!" Bernard replied. Gren turned and smiled to Izira, pointing at himself. "Spokesperson. Told ya." He then went to the drink table and grabbed a few bottles, giving one to Bernard, then offering them to some of the other Rangers who looked like they forgot to get themselves something.

Softly chuckling, her hand ran over his back. "You did." She smiled as Gren moved through the tables, making sure everyone was taken care of. She did the same, picking up a pitcher of water and making the rounds with it.

Once the drinks got passed out, he glanced around to see if anyone needed anything else, before going back over to Izira. "Well, they're all settled down now. Let me introduce you to some of my friends."

Refilling a pitcher, she left it on the bar for others to make use of. She nodded to Gren to lead the way.

Gren put his hand in the small of Izira's back as he led her over to the table. "Of course, you've already met Moriana. And Haddon Fields. This is Izira Nyte, proprietor of the Inn" Moriana is sipping her coffee, and gave Gren a look of annoyance, but nodded politely to Izira. Haddon lifted his hand up (with his fork still in it) to wave at Izira, his jaws still full of food, which could be plainly seen because he is smiling open-mouthed. Gren rolled his eyes heavenward in embarrassment.

"It is good to see you again, Moriana. Haddon, a pleasure. I am glad to see you are enjoying your meal." She bowed her head to the pair.

"To die for." Haddon gave Izira an arrogant finger point, reminding her of his previous clowning. Moriana just nodded briefly again, before going back to eating her chicken. "That was Recon Team "A" ", Gren reminded Izira, before scooting her down to the next pair, while giving Haddon another brief glare over his shoulder.”This is *my* team, Recon "B". This is Bernard Schaub . . .", he said, pointing to the man with the unkempt red hair, ". . . and this is Crawford Swilly." Gren pointed to the young man who was last in line. He seemed much smaller than the other Rangers. His hair was short and black, and his eyes were grey. Bernard and Crawford turned to peer curiously at Izira.

Izira gave a curious glance back to recon A, noting the lack of a member, though it was nothing so important that she questioned him. Coming up to the next table, Izira smiled warmly to the pair. "It is a pleasure to get to meet you both. I hope the walk was worth the meal?"

"Oh, it was, Miss Izira!", Bernard piped up, "Wow, Gren, you were right! She's like an angel!" Crawford smiled shyly, and said nothing, but the amount of food that had vanished from his plate indicating he's enjoyed his meal. "Hey!", Gren tried to stop Bernard, but failed, and he turns a bit red.

"It is a good thing I am not actually an angel. Rumor has it that the upkeep required for one with wings is a true hassle." She lightly touched Gren's arm to soothe his embarrassment.

"Well, you could have fooled me, because . . ." Bernard finally noticed Gren's look and embarrassment, and his face fell a bit. "Oh. Uh, it was nice to meet you, Miss Izira." Bernard gulped and turned back to his plate, looking guiltily at Gren. Crawford continued to stare shyly, until taking the hint from Bernard, and eating his croissant. "Moving on", Gren said, giving Bernard a perturbed look, before shifting his gaze back to the assembled Rangers. "Rhett and Janna . . . they aren't here." He sighed a bit sadly. "That's for the best, I suppose." No need to cause a scene, he thought to himself. "Oh! There's Malcolm and Yolene!" Gren led Izira over to another table, where a lanky half-elf who looked to be in his twenties was sitting. He had a blonde crew cut, and was yawning fiercely. There was a wisp of a female elf sitting across from him, with pale white skin and the same color hair. Her eyes were a pale sky blue. "Izira, this is Malcolm Avery, our Guild's Mage", he said, pointing to the man, "and this is Yolene Beluviel, our Healer. This is Izira Nyte, Propreitor of the Inn."

"A pleasure, I hope you are enjoying yourselves." She gave a nod of her head, though Malcolm got a curious look for the yawn.

Malcolm held up both hands at Gren. "Dude . . . you're like going . . . way too fast." He looked sleepily at Izira. "Yeah . . . Thanks for the food. And stuff. You know." He gave another massive yawn and looked like he was about to doze off right there in mid-conversation. Gren grimaced at Malcolm, and gave a mortified look heavenward. Yolene, however, smiled brightly. "My thanks, Good Lady, for this divine feast. It doth sate my hunger, quench my thirst, and fill my soul with a warmth I have not known for some time." She extended her arm dramatically over her plate, with a flourish of her fingers.

"You are both welcome." Another nod as she smiled, "I am happy to have you in attendance." This time Izira started to lead the way from the table, leaning in and speaking softly, "Malcolm appeared to be.... out of sorts."

Gren gave Malcolm a mortified glare, then looked back at Izira. "Don't mind him. He's always like that. He sleeps like eighteen hours a day. One of the most lackadaisical guys I've ever met. He'll be alright."
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Post by Gren Blockman » Fri Jan 31, 2014 6:13 pm

She nodded in understanding. "Is there anyone else?" Amber-browns looking around, she wondered if anyone else was not in attendance.

"Hmmm . . .” Gren looked around at the remaining Rangers. "Westerguard isn't here. He's the "General", Second in Command. He must have stayed behind to run the Guild in Perrigan's absence. Phipps, the Quartermaster isn't here, either. He's married to Perrigan's niece, Eleanor. I don't know the rest of these guys very well. A lot of them are newer recruits. I recognize their faces from when we charged up the hill at Violet Crossing, the day before the play. Perrigan must've given them priority to reward them for their bravery."

"I am positive that after tonight a number of them will seek to become better acquainted with you, even if only for the chance at another good meal." She chuckled softly, looking around at those enjoying their meals. The fact that others were absent made the lack of Rhett and Janna less curious.

"Oh, I'm sure they will. Speaking of which, I'm going to get some of that food, while I can. If you want something too, then we can sit with Perrigan, Haddon, and Moriana."

"I fear I took my fill while cooking. Get a plate and join Perrigan, I will continue making sure everyone is taken care of."

"Couldn't wait, huh?” He gave her a little smile and swirl of his hand on her back. "Alright, I hope Crawford left me some of those potatoes." He gave her a little smile and a brief wiggle of his eyebrows before making his way over to the buffet. He got his share of the salad, chicken, potatoes, beans, and a couple of the croissants, before going to sit with Perrigan. Perrigan gave Gren a warm smile. "The buffet is excellent. I'm glad the new recruits got to enjoy a meal like this." Gren replied, "I am too", before he started his meal.

Izira returned to the bar, picking up a picture of water in one hand and the coffee in the other. As Gren enjoyed his dinner she took the time to visit each table to see how everyone was doing, refill their water or coffee, and see who needed another Broot or portion of ale. A reminder was given to save room for dessert to anyone who hadn't gotten that far yet into their meal.

Haddon had just finished his plate, and sat back down with three slices of crumb pie, two cherry and one lemon. He grinned devilishly at Gren, and said, "Hey Gren, why don't you tell us about the Woodsman from Snow White again? Haw haw!" Gren gave Haddon an exasperated look. "Aw, come on, Haddon . . . " Perrigan and Moriana looked at Haddon, then Gren curiously. "Aw, *you* come on! The least our host can do is give us a little entertainment." Gren gulped mightily, glanced at Perrigan a moment, then sighed. "Oh, alright. All I was saying was that I don't think those fairy tales are sending the right message to young girls. The Woodsman, or Huntsman, in Snow White is the one that saves her life. He gets her away from the Queen, doesn't poison her like he's supposed to, and risks his life to go back and deceive the Queen into thinking she's dead. He also is the one that kills the Wolf in Red Riding Hood. And what does he get for it? Nothing. Snow White ignores him, instead going for the pretty boy Prince Charming with the rich Mom and Dad. I think Snow White should have ended up with the Woodsman. He's the one that sacrificed and put his life on the line for her. There's more to happiness than good looks and money." Gren nodded emphatically, while Haddon busted out laughing, pounding his fist on the table. "I feel the "Elvish Princess" story coming on! HAW HAW HAW!"

Izira stopped, curiously listening to the exchange, then giving a sympathetic smile to Gren. As Haddon laughed and continued, Izira moved away from the collected tables and rounded the buffet table. Fingertips brushed over the up-do as she moved to the bench of her piano and sat down. She paused, thinking of what to play, certainly not the usual sad tune for this lot. She recalled a tune a passing ranger had taught her many years ago and hoped it would be familiar to the group. The words of the tune had been forgotten, but she smiled to herself recalling the general amusing nature of the song's tale.

"She *wasn't* a Princess, she was a Marquess! I don't see why you feel the need to pick on me about that!" Gren was turning red. Haddon guffawed harder. "Don't be that way, Gren! *I'm* the one who's jealous! I'll probably never get to bed Elvish royalty! Have some pity for us poor, lowly commoners! HAW HAW!" Perrigan slid his glance over to Haddon again. "Haddon, that's enough." Haddon flinched back slightly from Perrigan's gaze. "Aw, I was just having a little fun, Headmaster, I didn't mean anything by it. I'm sorry, buddy!" Haddon apologized, giving Gren a playful grin. Gren grimaced, but didn't reply. Suddenly their attention was given to Izira, as she began to play her tune. Haddon broke out in a broad grin. "Well alright! Dinner *and* a show! Heh heh!" Perrigan looked a bit bewildered, then he smiled pleasantly. "That sounds like a tune I used to know . . . many, many years ago . . .” The old Ranger crossed his arms and listened fondly.

Her fingers danced nimbly over the keys, giving life to the notes of the song. Izira closed her eyes, letting the rest of the inn slip from her thoughts as she played. Once the melody ended, she stilled.

Thunderous applause erupted from the twenty Rangers seated, along with a few whistles. "Give us another one, little Missy! One with some life in it! HAW!" Haddon bellowed, raising his tankard of Orktoberfest Ale.

"I fear you have enough life for everyone." She smiled, calling back. But her fingers picked up a fresh tune, something the rangers could dance to, if they were inclined.

"Oh, *that's* the stuff! Come on, Moriana, let's shuffle our feet a little!" Haddon jumped out of his seat, grabbing Moriana's hand and pulling her with him. Moriana had a comical look that bordered between total bafflement and homicidal rage. Haddon began to twirl her in place while she frantically tried to get him to stop by banging her fist on his shoulder. Yolene had stood up to dance, but Malcolm had groggily waved her off. She then skipped over to Bernard, who gladly took her in his arms and did a little box step style waltz with her. Crawford quietly clapped and smiled at the dancers.

Haddon continued his curious dance/struggle with Moriana. He had his arm around her waist, and she was staring holes through his head with her glare. When the tune reached its conclusion, Haddon dipped Moriana in dramatic fashion, and she took that opportunity to headbutt him in the mouth. "OWWWW!", Haddon cried out, dropping Moriana into the table. He staggered backwards with his hands covering his jaw. The assembled Rangers burst into laughter, and their applause for the tune Izira played was louder than the first. Moriana ran over to Perrigan, and rapidly pointed between her and him. Perrigan glanced at her for a moment, then figuring he was saving her from another rumble with Haddon, the old Ranger stood from his seat and danced slowly with her to the next tune, which seemed more soft and romantic than the two Izira had previously played. Yolene slipped out of Bernard's grasp and went over to Crawford, trying to pull him out of his seat. Crawford shook his head, afraid, but she finally got him up and her arms around him, rocking back and forth with him to the slow tune. Crawford seemed incredibly uncomfortable at first, but about mid-way through he seemed to be enjoying himself.

The other Rangers watched, drinking the Orktoberfest Ale, eating the pie, and chatted amongst themselves. Gren was content to remain quiet, and watch his fellow Rangers enjoy the buffet and music. He wished that it could be him dancing with Izira. He stared at her hair done up in a twist as she sat on the piano bench. Gren softly pictured them together, his left hand clasped in hers, his right arm around her waist, slowly moving together to some old tune while gazing into each other’s eyes.
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Post by Gren Blockman » Fri Jan 31, 2014 6:16 pm

Gren had finished his meal, and forgotten about dessert, so during one of the songs, he snuck over to the dessert table and got a slice of cherry crumb pie. By then, Perrigan and Moriana's dance was finished. Perrigan was again seated across from Gren. He was watching him with a warm, knowing smile. Gren looked back at him a bit bewildered, looked to the side, then back at him. "What's the matter?" "I'm happy for you. She seems like a wonderful woman. Talented, soft, caring. I hope things work out for the two of you." Gren stared at Perrigan for a long pause, before answering. "Yeah . . . I do too. She's, uh . . . she's everything I've been looking for." Just then Yolene threw her arms around Gren's neck. "Oh Gren, my silent comrade, you must do me the favor of a dance this night! For the night is young, and each moment must be lived to its fullest!" Gren chuckled at Yolene's theatrics. Perrigan nodded for Gren to go ahead, and Gren stood and put his arm around Yolene. The tune had shifted to a more frolicking one again, and Gren circled with the tiny elf woman, trying to keep his balance, while Yolene giggled.

And on she played, though that tune was the final for the night. After the song finished Izira stood, giving a short bow of her head to the rangers gathered.

The Rangers give a "Hooray!" and clap long and loud as the final tune ended, and Izira bowed. Yolene skipped away from Gren and back to her table. Gren walked over to Izira, lightly wiping the sheen of sweat from his brow. "That was great."

"A pity I did not get a turn with you." Looking over his brow, "Though, I do not know that Yolene has left you enough energy for it", she said with a quirk of her smile in amusement.

He chuckled a bit. "Well, she made me do all the work! She's heavier than she looks. Twirling her around in a circle for four minutes isn't as easy as I thought. Hey . . . you know what . . . " A thought crossed Gren's mind, and he looked over at Crawford. "Hey Crawford, come here for a moment! Didn't you play a little piano? Play that little tune for me and Izira!" Crawford looked a bit bashful, but he nodded and rose to help his friend Gren out. As Crawford made his way to the piano, Gren turned to Izira with a smile, holding his hand out. "Shall we?"

"It would be rude to refuse before your guests." There was a tease in her tone as she took the offered hand and stepped in closer to him.

"I know. Exactly how I planned it." Crawford sat and played a slow, dreamy little tune, while Gren slipped his arm around Izira's waist. His ice blue eyes looked into her amber browns, as he swayed back and forth to the gentle music. "I like your hair up like that." The Rangers all quieted a bit, some elbowed each other and pointed to the pair, watching with pleased grins.

"I used to do it up more... before..." She looked around herself to indicate her time alone in the realm. "I thought, with hosting your friends, it would be good to wear it up again." Izira moved easily in Gren's arms, letting him lead. Her grace gave away her knowledge of dancing.

"Well, you thought right." Gren wasn't exactly a dancer, but he knew enough to bob back and forth during the slow song. He did note the ease with which she moved. "You'll have to teach me some more dance moves. I'm afraid "running in a circle" and "sway to the left and right" are the only ones I know."

"I had not noticed." Her smile was kind, amber-brown eyes focused on his. "I would be happy to teach you some new steps."

"Good. Because I could get used to this." He gently rubbed her fingers in his left hand, and tightened his right arm around her waist, as the dance continued. "I think everyone's watching us, heh."

"I also had not noticed that." Her fingers brushed over the back of his shoulders.

He tried not to smile and failed miserably. Leaning forward, he rested his cheek against her forehead, taking in a deep breath of her scent. Suddenly he stopped worrying about whether anyone was watching them.

Her forehead leaning against his cheek, she smiled. The gentle movement between them continuing until the song slowed and ended.

The Rangers let out a "Wooooo!" and a boisterous round of applause as Crawford finished the song. "*Kiss her, you knucklehead!*" Haddon called out, cupping his hands around his mouth. Gren momentarily looks upward and gulped in embarrassment, before looking back at Izira. Then he leaned forward to give her a tender kiss on the lips.

She looked to him after the dance, smiling. No embarrassment when Haddon called out to them. Izira returned the kiss, "Thank you for the dance, Gren."
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Post by Gren Blockman » Fri Jan 31, 2014 6:17 pm

"Any time, Izira." The Rangers increased their applause as the pair kissed, and when the music stopped, the clamor steadily decreased until they became wrapped up in their own individual conversations again. Gren is still holding Izira, when Perrigan walks up to them. "Gren, if you wouldn't mind, I would like to speak to Miss Izira here for a moment." Gren blinked a bit at Perrigan, "Uh, sure! No problem!" He let Izira go, and went back to the table. Perrigan turned his deep blue eyes onto Izira. "I wanted to thank you for what you've done tonight. We've had some rough weeks lately, and they needed something like this to boost their spirits."

Her hand lingered on Gren's, only letting go as he stepped away at Perrigan's request. Izira smiled kindly to him. "No thanks is needed, Perrigan. I am happy to have been able to offer this little respite to you and your rangers. I hope everyone feels welcomed enough to return as they will. I am sorry that not everyone could attend."

"I'm sure they do feel welcome. Perhaps later, I can bring some more of my Guild here. I had to leave enough behind to make sure the Forest was still safe. Westerguard, my best friend and Second, would like it here. I shall have to tell him about this place." He watched her for a moment. "Gren thinks very highly of you. I can see why he feels that way."

She noted Perrigan's watchful gaze. At his words she tipped her head to him again. "Gren holds you in high regard, I am sure it would mean a lot to him to know I have your approval. I think highly of him, as well." Amber-brown eyes watched Gren at the table. "I also worry for him. I know how dangerous his job can be."

"That is good to know", he replied in response to her thinking highly of Gren. He followed Izira's gaze briefly, before looking back at her. "It is dangerous, I can't lie to you about that. But Gren is tougher than he gives himself credit for. He is a survivor, and one of my best Rangers. He has a big heart, and a desire to help others. He is doing good work for the people, if that is any consolation."

"I fear you might rethink your estimation of me were I to say that it is of little consolation." She gave a soft apologetic smile to Perrigan, "I do not think warm thoughts of his good deeds would do much to console my heart should anything happen to him. But I will trust your words and believe that Gren is a survivor."

"It is understandable, Izira. We all face danger on a daily basis, and have loved ones, somewhere, who worry about our safety. I believe in Gren. Even when no one else would. I am concerned for his safety, and I hope very much that one day he will find the happiness he has been searching for. Perhaps he's already found it." He smiled gently at her, not feeling the need to elaborate.

"Perhaps." Her reply was a soft echo of understanding all he said. She rested her hand on his arm a moment, "Thank you for your words, Perrigan."

"Of course. I . . . ", he reached into his shirt pocket and pulled out an envelope, which he handed to her. "I got you a little something. As a token of my thanks. You can wait until we leave to open it."

"I... thank you." She accepted the envelope, curious but thinking she would open it in private. "I will wait to open it."

Perrigan nodded and smiled. "Thank *you*." He stepped away from Izira then and back toward the tables. "Alright, Rangers, let's get ready to move out. You've had enough fun for one day." A series of disappointed grunts and complaints came from the Rangers, but they obediently began to get to their feet. Gren made his way hurriedly to the door to pass out their cloaks.

Izira took a moment, moving to the bar to store the envelope in a safe spot before joining Gren. She seemed to have a better memory of which cloaks belonged to who, despite them looking identical.

As the Rangers filed through the door, they each in turn thank Izira and Gren for the meal, and the music. Their faces are kind, and their steps seem more upbeat than when they walked in. Other than Malcolm, who looked like he was about to fall asleep on his feet. Haddon grinned big and gave Gren a rough handshake. "You better marry this one quick, before I come back and steal her away from ya. HAW!" He said, pointing at Izira, then giving Gren a big slap on the back. Gren frowned and gave Haddon a blank look. Moriana punched Haddon in the shoulder, then pushed him out the door. "I was only foolin'! Honest!" Haddon protested, before disappearing. The last one out is Perrigan, who simply nodded to Izira, having said what he wanted before. Then the Rangers, pulling their hoods over their heads, moved quietly back down the path and disappear through the portal.

Izira waved to the departing rangers, turning her smile to Gren. "I would say that was a success." Her gaze leaving Gren and looking to the main room and the awaiting cleaning that needed to be done. "I have heard you can easily judge how well a party went by the mess that is left behind." Softly chuckling as she touched Gren's arm, she lightly moved to the tables to start picking up plates. She would tend to this before she opened Perrigan's gift.

"I would agree. We make a heck of a team. We must have had a heck of a party then." He glanced around at all the empty mugs, plates, and food thrown around due to the Rangers' boisterous cheering. Gren helped to pick up the plates, and went to carry them over to the sink, before he stopped and looked back at Izira. "What . . . uh, what did Perrigan want to say to you?"

"He wanted to thank me for the dinner." She brought her own batch of plates to the sink. "He told me you think of me very highly." She smiled, because she did not need Perrigan to tell her to know that. "And he said he saw why."

Gren smiled gently, looking at the empty plates. "He worries about me, I know. He looks after me, like I was his son, sometimes." He got a faraway look on his face, before he smiled, looking back at Izira. "I'm glad getting to meet you has put his mind at ease."

".. he also gave me a gift." She looked to Gren, but she was stepping away and gathering more items from the tables.

"Oh yeah? What kind of gift?" He followed after her, to collect more dishes. He peeked at the dessert table to see if any lemon crumb pie was left, and he nodded silently to see there is one more piece. He hadn't got to try it yet.

"I do not know. It was in an envelope." Her fingertips smoothed over the sweep of her hair. "I will open it after we finish cleaning."

"Alright. Huh." Gren thought back to the conversations he'd had with Perrigan, wondering if something he said gave him a gift idea. He grabbed several of the mugs, and the remaining dishes. "Hey, uh, I hope Haddon didn't bother you too bad. He really has a good heart. He's just, uh, a little rough on the jokes sometimes."

"I have known worse." Her smile held a tease, "I think he was under your skin more than mine." She opened a closet, taking out a broom and dustpan. "Do not worry, I plan to refuse his proposal."
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Post by Gren Blockman » Fri Jan 31, 2014 6:18 pm

"Well . . . that's . . . Good!", he replied, stammering because he is flustered. Haddon did get under his skin. He could only imagine how bad it would have been if Rhett had been here to egg him on more. He went over to the food table and gapes a bit. "Man, they picked this buffet clean. Hope you weren't planning on having leftovers."

"I might have hidden some extra in the kitchen." She grinned as she swept around the table.

"Ooooh. I have to say, those potatoes were pretty darn good." He got a cloth from the sink and wet it down, then went to the tables to wipe them off.

"You are a professional masher." Izira moved through the tasks of cleaning. "Did it bother you, not having Rhett and Janna here tonight?"

"Well . . . ", he looked down at the table for a moment. "In a way, yeah. Regardless of what happened with Janna, or the differences Rhett and I have, they are still my fellow Rangers, and they could have enjoyed themselves today. I wish we could all be friends and move on." He scrubbed down one table, and moved to start on another. "But it was probably good they didn't. Rhett could have caused trouble and spoiled everything."

She softly nodded as she moved on and continued cleaning until the next thought occurred to her. "I did not say anything, I did not want to encourage Haddon further, but I question your statements regarding the woodsman."

"Oh yeah? What do you mean?" He looks up from where he is cleaning a table, trying to get a cherry pie stain removed.

"You cannot help who you love.... deserving or not." Once more her fingers smoothed over her hair. "What did Haddon mean by the Elvish Princess?"

"Well, you've got a point there, I can't argue with that. But part of the point of that story, was those fairy tales are constructed with morals. You know? Like "The Early Bird Gets The Worm"? They aren't true to life, anyway, but meant to teach people a lesson. So why don't you teach people to look for inner qualities, rather than superficial things like looks and money?" He gulped and looked a bit worried. "I don't know if I should . . . uh . . . It's not that I don't want to tell you, but people don't believe me, they think I'm making it up."

"Why not teach girls not to wait to be rescued? The man that comes is not always a prince..." Her thoughts slipped to something beyond the here and now. She returned to the present, "Tell me, I promise to believe you."

"I was talking about love, at the time. Whether Snow White could have rescued herself or not wasn't really the point I was trying to make. But anyway . . . " He gulped, and looked at Izira. "It's kind of a . . . romantic story. Oh well, you've told me about some of your past relationships, I guess I can tell you one of mine." He takes a breath and thinks a second, making sure he's got the story all together in his mind.

"I am just saying... if we are to look to a story's morals." She passed him, kissing his cheek. "I should hope your romantic story with the Elvish Princess has good morals."

"Well, I don't know. If a man rescuing a woman is going to upset you, you might not like it." He smiled a bit at the kiss, and goes on with the story. "A daughter of an Elvish Marquess got lost deep in the woods, and had been kidnapped by a band of orcs, that were going to hold her ransom. Our Guild was made aware of the situation. They were afraid if they attacked, they would kill the girl. So they sent me in to try to sneak her out. I was able to smuggle her out of the camp, but a mountain lion attacked us. It was one of the scariest moments I had as a Ranger. I barely defeated it, but I was wounded, and needed to rest. So we built a fire and decided to camp until dawn. She wanted to show her gratefulness, so we made love next to that camp fire. When I got her back, her parents were grateful, but they refused to let her see me again. She was nobility, and was promised to another."

Izira paused in her cleaning, looking curiously to Gren.

He looked quietly at the table he had just cleaned, then back at her. "Now do you understand my story of the Woodsman?"

"I am sorry the Woodman did not get to marry his Elvish Princess."

"Ah well. It wasn't meant to be, I guess." He finished wiping down the tables, he went over to the dessert table, and picked up what was left of the pies and brought the over to the sink.

She softly chuckled to herself as she continued to clean, "A woman having sex out of gratitude does not exactly sound like making love, but I am inclined to believe you. I know one night with someone does not always make it a one-night stand. Sometimes... it does not take long to know what your heart desires." She smiled softly to herself, but then thinking on her words, her smile turns apologetic. "It is... easier to rush into things when you are younger."

He chuckled a bit. "Maybe I was a bit vague about why we made love. I didn't tell you what we said to each other. Also, the danger, how close to death we both had been could have had something to do with it. I felt I loved her. Just something about her, I guess. Her face, her hair, the way she snuggled up to me that night, what we said to each other. She made me think she would be with me for the rest of my life. Heh, maybe like you said it's easier when you're younger to rush things like that."

"Rush into love. Rush into danger. Sometimes they are one in the same."
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Post by Gren Blockman » Fri Jan 31, 2014 6:19 pm

"Yeah, I agree." There was another pause. "Maybe now you see why people don't believe me when I tell them what happened."

"Perhaps they are less inclined to believe you due to their own limited experiences."

"Perhaps. Or perhaps, like you did, they think I'm a virgin, and when I tell a story like I slept with an elvish princess, they think I'm making up a tall tale."

"Perhaps... you should go into more detail. It would leave little to doubt." She chuckled again at the thought of it.

"Huh. Which details do you think I'm leaving out?"

"The words you said... who made the first move... the way you touched each other." She chuckled again, sure that the thought of describing the intimate moment in detail would make Gren blush.

Gren did turn sort of pink at the details, he looked up at the ceiling for a moment, then back at Izira. "I remember her being very afraid, telling me how much she appreciated me saving her. She said she had never seen such heroism, and she told me that she wished she could marry a man like me. I remember how intense her eyes were. She had these sparkling green eyes. She looked at me like I was the only person in the world to her. When I built the fire, she immediately cuddled up next to me. She said she didn't want to sleep alone that night. She wanted me near her, and she never wanted to leave my side. I put my arms around her to comfort her, and I felt her shivering. She was soft . . . and delicate. Before I knew it, she was kissing me, and asking me to never leave her alone, she didn't want to be alone again. My heart just went out to her. To have someone want to be with me that badly. I wanted to be that hero, be everything she wanted me to be. So I gently took her shirt off, then her pants. She climbed into my blankets with me, and she didn't let me go until the sun rose."

She moved by Gren, brushing fingertips through his hair. "I already believed you." The hand brushed back, then drew around and down his jaw, pulling him closer for a kiss. She smiled as she stepped away and started to collect what remained on the buffet table to take back to the larger sink in the kitchen.

He felt warm all over when she touched him and kissed him, he watched her walk away and to the sink. Following, he looked for a towel, so he could help her dry, while she washed. "I wanted you to know. For some reason. I wanted to share it with you. Maybe I just wanted someone to know it really happened other than me."

"Shall I tell you my *romantic* story?" She looked over to him as she cleaned. He'd find that the dishes handed to him straight from the sink were dry already and only needed to be put away.

"Uhhh . . ." He looked a bit unsure, both at the story, and the dry dish she handed to him. He looked the dish up and down, glanced back at her briefly, then shrugged and put it away. "You can, if you want."

She considered his response and smiled. "Another time."

"Aw, see? You just had to lead me on like that."

She gave a soft chuckle as she continued to wash the dishes in hot water. The heat didn't get to her. The dishes were dried and cooled by the time she handed them to Gren. Having his help putting the dishes away made the chore pass faster.

Dutifully, he takes the plates, mugs, and silverware to whatever cabinet or drawer they belong. He's not really upset with her for not reciprocating. "I guess I should have realized what a chore feeding twenty Rangers would be."

"You will be well prepared for the next time." Finished with the dishes, she moved back behind the bar, taking out the envelope and looking it over curiously. She glanced to Gren, and then she opened it.

"Next time?" He gulped and looks nervous. Then he glanced at the envelope. Inside, Perrigan had places two season passes to the Shanachie Theater. "For you . . . and your special someone. -P" was written on a note inside, as well.

Izira smiled, touched at the gift, showing the passes to Gren.

Gren smiled broadly, looking at them, then back at Izira. "Well, look at that. Hopefully, you won't have any dinner plans those nights." He remembered the conversation they had about the season passes, he had told Perrigan about it while he was trying to figure out something to get Izira for a gift one night.

"Hopefully. Will you extend my gratitude for Perrigan's generous gift when next you see him?"

"Yes I will. I should thank him too, I suppose." He glanced around the Inn. "Do you need any more help from me? Or have we taken care of everything?"

"Everything is taken care of."

"Alright." He moved close to her, puts his hand on her cheek. "I should get going. Thank you, again, for everything you did here. It meant a lot to me."

"Be safe." It is different than her usual farewell of 'safe travels.' The two words a heartfelt request. "You have more dinners to plan and help me with."

"Dinners. Plays. And hopefully other things." He gave her a deep kiss on the lips, keeping his hand on her cheek until they part. "Take care, Izira. I'll be back soon."

"I will be here..."

With a little grin, he turned and moved to the door, taking the final grey cloak from the pegs, pulling it on, and lifting the hood over his head, before making his way out the door and down to the portal back to RhyDin.
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Post by Gren Blockman » Sat Feb 01, 2014 7:09 pm

Delver's Hall

Friday, October 25, 2013

Gren walked down the street, holding Izira's hand, wearing his customary grey cloak, but with his hood pushed back. "I've never been to Delver's Hall before." He glanced at the tall building and swallowed. "Well, I'm ready if you are." He glanced at Izira.

The grey trench coat covered the brown dress, but left a bit of lower leg and her cream-colored peep-toe sling back heels to be seen. Her hair was pulled up into a tidy twist like the night before. The chain of her locket could be seen, dipping below the collar of her coat. Izira returned the squeeze of Gren's hand as she smiled and led the way in. "Then let us enter."

The makeshift market out front in the building's not-quite-a-courtyard had fewer customers than normal and even a few less vendors, people still adjusting to RhyDin's rather abrupt cold snap. Noira herself wasn't out there, though she'd taken advantage of the slow business to secure a better deal on a healing salve. She'd picked a table near the massive Job Board in the back, less interested in the comings and goings of people posting, signing and snatching contracts than the bored-looking rogue fidgeting with his throwing knives two armchairs down from her. Instead the elfess' head was bent to her studies, several books, notes and rubbings spread out on the low table in front of her, detailing ritual magic, lunar alignments and portal fluctuations. She'd chosen a pair of skinny jeans, a dark turtleneck and boots today, plus her leather jacket currently folded across her armrest. Her ears twitched at the sound of people entering, but as there were perhaps a dozen other patrons milling about the hall, she did not find it to be cause to look up. She did, however, look up at the bar when she realized her mug was empty: "Boro! More cider, please." The dwarven adventurer-turned-legal-consultant-sometimes-bartender grumbled but did as asked.

"Alright then." Gren smiled back, and walked with Izira through the courtyard, past the statues and the vendors. Not really interested in buying anything, he went up to the sturdy double doors and held one open for Izira, before he followed her through and into the main bar.

Izira's steps slowed upon entering, giving her amber-brown eyes ample time to take in the expanse of the building's interior. She looked less at the people and more at the set-up and architecture. Noira's voice, raises over those of the few others present, called Izira's attention. The woman turned to her companion and nodded her head in Noira's direction. "Our walk has proved a success, Noira is here."

"Make that three ciders!" Shouting wasn't really in Noira's nature (outside of combat), but the hall was rather massive and it never hurt to raise your voice to be heard. "Good morning, you two," she greeted them both, not at all aware of the time, "and trust me, you'll want to try the cider. Apparently Boro's uncles make it every year, and it's warm and tasty."

Gren was gazing around nervously at the place, and the patrons of the bar. Izira's comment and nod of her head drew his attention to Noira sitting at her table. "Great. Well, let's go say hello then." He made his way with her, over to where Noira was studying. He opened his mouth to say hello, but Noira beat him to it, calling for the ciders and saying Good morning. He chuckled a bit, "Well, it's more of a Good Afternoon now. Hey, I'm always up for some cider." Inwardly, he was thankful it was a non-alcoholic drink she'd chosen. "May we join you?"

"It is good to see you again, Noira. I have brought Gren here so that the two of you might discuss the wizard's staff that is currently in his care."

"Of course, and is it? Black hells," she sighed, and set her journal down and gathered stray hair back behind her long ears. "Oh yes? I'd nearly forgotten," she smiled. "Tell me about the staff. I'm better with a staff than a sword, and I'd like to hurt people with it. Within the context of the duels, of course."

Gren pulled out a chair for Izira, and waited until she seated herself, before he found his own. "It is. Well, the staff I found belonged to a mage that was doing some kind of plant research deep in the forest. It is a long golden staff, with a blue gem like a sapphire at the top. When you grasp it and mentally ask a question, or wish for something, it springs to life, and says "How may I serve you, Master? Ask any question and I will answer." Little letters, like words in a foreign language appear before your eyes, then turn into RhyDinese words. If you ask it a question, it will show you how to use the staff to perform whatever task you need it to."

Now that they were inside, she undid the ties of her coat to reveal the brown dress worn beneath it. She gave a gentle touch to Gren's arm to thank him for the seat. She rested her coat over the back with care before taking a seat. Her legs crossed.

"That sounds very powerful," Noira murmured, visibly intrigued. Her attention only wavered when their drinks arrived, and she warmed her hands around her mug of cider. "Are you sure that's something you want swung around in the ring?"

She gave a warm smile of thanks as the drink arrived. Izira took the mug and rested it between her fingers, letting the heat from the mug seep into her hands.

He took the mug of cider with a grateful nod to the bartender. "Well, that's the thing. I was supposed to get it looked at by the Mage of our Ranger's Guild. But he's . . . " Asleep all the time. "He's kind of . . . behind in his work. I saw the staff open a portal to another realm. Also, I used it to create an Anti-gravity field around a three hundred or so pound body, so I could carry it a great distance. Maybe you would be able to study the staff for me, and see whether it is useful to duel with, or whether it is too dangerous for that."

"I could certainly do that," she nodded. "I was supposed to begin a course in enchantments before a portal brought me to RhyDin, and testing the staff would be a good way for me to start. And as someone who easily channels magicka from the outside... I may be your most ideal test subject." Sip.

"That's good to hear. I didn't want to bring it with me today, until I was sure you'd be interested in it. It does seem like a powerful tool, and I want to be careful with it until I know what kind of power it has."
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Post by Gren Blockman » Sat Feb 01, 2014 7:14 pm

She sipped her tea, watching the two discuss the staff.

"If it's opened a portal to another realm, I assume the amount of power is massive. Or," she clarified, "the potential power. One thing I'll try to determine is whether the staff contains all that power within itself, or is merely an effective conduit for existing power. For example... finding a potent ley line, and using that to open a portal. What can you tell me about its owner? He was doing research on plants, deep in the forest...?" She frowned.

Still lending her ear to the exchange, Izira's eyes drifted to the rogue fidgeting with his blades.

Gren was not well versed in magic, to say the least, so most of what Noira said went over his head. He tried not to look too bewildered. "I don't know much about the man. He kept most of his research a secret. He only had one assistant, and they stayed in a Tower. They were both killed, and the staff was taken by a brute named Gronnard. He is who I got the staff from. Some of the Rangers tried to go through the Tower, but most of the place was trashed, and any books they found were in a language nobody knew. They may have kept some of the books, for evidence. I can bring them as well, if you would have need of them."

"May I see this Tower? It might be too dangerous to go on my own, but I can't imagine the Legion wouldn't be interested in it too if it's nearby... I'd like to see the books, at the very least. I have... something of a gift for languages." She lifted the cider for another, longer sip.

"Certainly. I don't see why not. Like I said, I doubt you'll find anything. Although . . . you being a Mage, maybe you have some gifts the Rangers didn't have when they conducted their search." He didn't think of that. "I'll bring the books when I give you the staff, of course."

If it speaks, I wonder if there's a soul within it... That is more than a little beyond my expertise, but I should be able to tell whether or not that is the case, at least. If the staff is more akin to a golem than your run-of-the-mill arcane conduit... that could explain quite a bit." Her chin dipped into her turtleneck, frowning curiously.

"It seemed to have an intelligence of its own. I remember it calling itself a "Fully functional magical apparatus" once. It got a bit huffy with me when I said there may be consequences for me using its magic."

"I... did not get the sense of a soul, when I handled it." She returned her attention fully to the pair. "But it is... outside of my general experience in the matter."

Gren nodded to Izira. "Yeah, I don't think I would say it had a soul. But it did seem to have a mind, at least."

"Mm. Which still leaves us with the question, where does its power come from." Her eyes returned to Gren from Izira. "What would you say... is the most essential question you want answered about the staff?"

"To me?" Gren looked upwards a bit as if thinking deeply. "I just want to know how powerful it is, because if it is a danger, or can be used the wrong way, I would like it kept somewhere with someone who knows how to handle something like that."

"That," she said, "I can most definitely do. I can use the duels to see if it can be used safely -- and if it cannot, then there are the wards, I understand -- and then I'll take it somewhere else to deliberately try the opposite. Push it to its limits, if it will allow me. If it could increase the power of my starbolt," she said, showing the spell in question -- it looked like a blue-white version of a fireball hovering over her palm, "by tenfold, or prevent me from paying any price for it at all, casting at will without any need for pause and without apparent consequence... I would consider that too powerful. But of course, that's your judgment call, in the end, not mine."

Gren nodded, rubbing his chin thoughtfully. "Alright. If that is what needs to be done. I'm at a loss when it comes to magic, so I have to trust an expert on this."

She silently sipped her cider, lost to her own thoughts.

"Izira... do you have any thoughts on this?"

He glanced at Izira, taking a long sip of his cider as he waited for her to answer.

"My experience has been that the danger in magic rests heavily in the intent of the user... but, as the staff has already fallen into the wrong hands before, I believe you are in the right to tests its limits. I cannot think of someone better suited." She glanced to Gren, recalling the dozing mage from the night before.

"I have a remote site that I've used for arcane meditation and testing new techniques before. The rocks and dirt might not be too happy about being blasted into smithereens," she grinned, "but nothing else."

Gren nodded emphatically at Izira. "I agree." Then he glanced back to Noira. "That's good. I just don't want anyone to get hurt. Is there somewhere we can meet so I can give you the staff?"

"Do you know the wilderness expedition office a few blocks from the Red Dragon? It's across the street from Dhrovan's Deli. My apartment is up on the third floor above the office. Visitors are relatively sparse and the employees are very discreet, so if you brought it to me there, it should be fine."

"I seem to remember the Deli. That should be enough of a landmark for me to know where I'm going. Third floor, above the office. Alright, I can do that."

"I still have a few things to finish," gesturing to her books, "but, this evening around five?"

"Five o'clock sounds alright. Hopefully I won't be too much later than that." He is staring off absently, picturing the golden staff in his mind, hoping everything will work out.

It was enough, apparently, for Noira to eyeball Gren, lean towards Izira and ask, "Is he alright?"

"Yes. He is... the thoughtful sort." Her fingertips lightly brushing the locket that she wore as she answered. "How has business been?"

He noticed the ladies talking about him, and he swallowed and looked vaguely embarrassed. He tried to cover it by talking another long sip of his mug of cider.
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Post by Gren Blockman » Sat Feb 01, 2014 7:20 pm

"Honestly, I haven't had much time for it. But," Noira smiled, "perhaps the Legion will decide the last six months count as combat pay and give me a whole year's worth of coin up front when I see them again. But... I've still had a few adventures recently," she admitted, reaching over to pat the large grimoire on the table in front of her, its cover stained with black slime. "Mostly to acquire the kind of reading you won't find in your average library."

Her glance carried to the grimoire when Noira pats it. "Is the story of how it came to be in your possession as interesting as the tome itself?"

Gren eyed the black slime covered magical tome warily.

"I think so," Noira smiled. "Of course no one will ever know how a place like RhyDin came to be or if it's always been here somehow, but at one point there was an event that affected a number of magically powerful locations and their displacement across worlds, and possibly time distortion as well, to RhyDin and the surrounding area, called the Great Cataclysm. One such event tore out the foundation and most of the catacombs of a knowledge-seeking monastic order that had spent some time studying portal magic, and perhaps were affected by the Cataclysm as a result. The site hadn't been surveyed in decades, and that survey had been cut short after a few deaths... but I knew these monks had extensive knowledge of portal magic especially as they related to celestial alignments. Exactly what I needed. So I made my way through an abandoned sewer tunnel, through a few barricades to what was left of this displaced abbey underground, and found, in addition to innumerable tomes... bound guardian spirits that could manifest as a thick black slime, wrap around skeletons and make them move." She smiled again. "And they didn't appreciate my intrusion."

Gren's eyes dart from left to right as Noira relates her story. Time Distortion? Great Cataclysm? Celestial Alignments? Way over his head.

"That would explain the... tome's condition." Izira seemed at ease with the Noria's description. "I hope you were not injured in the process."

She laughed. "Slimed, yes, but injured, no. Only my pride was, maybe. I'm not used to being bested by the creatures I encounter in the deep, dark places," she said that with a smirk, "but I know when I'm in over my head, at which point the only good option is to run. Or sometimes hide. Hiding can be good."

"I imagine that was quite the shower." She softly chuckled.

"Mm. I suppose that's what they make them for...”, tapping her chin. "I have a tub in my bathroom already so I was never sure what the shower was for, but it's handy when there's blood, slime, soot or other filth involved..." In her head she was imagining that showers were designed specifically for adventurers.

In a lowered, confidential tone, "They have their other uses." She smiled with amusement.

He gave Izira a sideways glance, nervously cleared his throat a bit, and drank deeply from his mug again.

Noira noted the exchange, and decided to make it worse (for Gren) by replying, "Oh... I am very aware." Siiiip.

Gren turned a shade of pink, and pretended to stare at something on the ceiling that had suddenly become incredibly interesting.

"Are the showers they provide very big?"

"Mm... I'd say big enough for two, but I imagine it would be very close." She was being awful. It was through force of will that she wasn't letting herself feel, or at least show, embarrassment.

Gren started rubbing his forehead with a hand, willing himself to not turn crimson, and failing miserably.

"That is the point, is it not?" A soft chuckle as she looked from Noira to Gren. She rested her chin delicately on her fingertips.

He glanced once, twice, then a third time at Izira, eyeballing her apprehensively.

She lifted a brow in Gren's direction.

"Well, this is true, I suppose. It's what it's intended for, after all." There was a little more mischief in her tone this time when she asked, "Are you alright, Gren?"

He jumped slightly when Noira addressed him. "Me? Alright? Of course I'm alright. Yeah, nobody likes a cramped shower." He swallowed indelicately.

She turned back to Noira, "I have a walk-in shower constructed in my private quarters. Floor to ceiling blue tile, several showerheads, and a built-in bench." She took a sip of her cider.

"That sounds very nice," Noira replied, nodding. "Don't you think so?" Eyes ticked back to Gren. Then back to Izira. "Two people might fit in there a little better, but it would still be close."

Truly, there is room enough for six.... perhaps eight if everyone were to squeeze in tightly."

He had a slightly bug eyed look, mouths the words "six" and "eight", then squeezed his eyes shut as if he had a headache.

The lady's bath is truly impressive, a pity few have gotten to see it. Her heeled foot gently brushed against Gren's leg as he's squeezing his eyes shut.

Noira shook silently with laughter, hiding as much of her face as possible by raising her mug.

"*AH!*", he exclaimed as the foot brushed him, he looked sharply at Izira, then grimaced in embarrassment.

Excuse Noira while she shakily set her mug down and hid her face in the armrest to suppress her laughter.

Despite being much the source of Gren's current condition, she smiled sympathetically to his exclamation but chuckled. Her foot drew away, while her amber-brown eyes watched Gren in return. "I also have a very large tub."

"Oh, now we're going to start in on the tub." He threw his hand in the air a bit.

Noira threw up a hand too, as if yielding in a fight. She was just now getting herself back under control.

A soft chuckle, she shook her head. As Noira yielded, "I will leave it to your imagination."
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Post by Gren Blockman » Sat Feb 01, 2014 7:26 pm

"I just got a sudden craving for a shot of whiskey." He rubbed his hands in his eyes.

"Perhaps I will make a drinker of you yet."

"You're too much. Or we are," with a smirk at Izira, "in any case."

"You're driving me to drink and you're *happy* about it?"

"It has been a while since I have gotten to enjoy a chat like that with another woman." A nod to Noira, Izira smiled to Gren. "Perhaps a shot that incorporates Broot?" She gave a soft smile in return. "I promise not to take advantage."

"We are a dangerous breed," Noira replied to Izira with a sly smile.

"Maybe I better pass on the shot. I might be tempted to take a shower afterwards." He gave Izira a pointed look.

Izira suppressed a smile as Gren fired one back. She nodded to his words, looking to Noira. Dangerous and breed somehow recalled Errand to Izira's mind. "Have you seen Errand since your visit to the inn? I have acquired a drink I believe would be more to his taste.... I would... visit his place of business to deliver the message myself... but..." She left that off there.

"No, I haven't. I could always deliver it for you. If all goes to plan, I should have this done tonight," indicating her reading, "and have tomorrow open to do as I wish."

"If you would pass along the information, I would appreciate it."

He blinked rapidly at the turn of the conversation.

"Where is he?" She flipped open her journal to take note of this.

"The Inn of the Nocturnal."

"Oh," Noira said, and took a moment to think about it. She was mortal, after all, and might make a very tasty snack for the undead. But then, he hadn't seemed very interested. "Of course. What should I tell him, exactly?"

He shifted his eyes from Izira, to Noira, and back to Izira again.

"Tell him that I believe I have acquired a drink with a potency better suited to his tastes, should he wish to return to the inn."

"I can do that," she nodded.

"You have my thanks."

"I'd planned to stay a while longer," she frowned, "but I'd forgotten to visit the portal site this morning... I should go check the progress on the alignment again, just in case."

"Alright. Thanks for looking at the staff for me. I'll be sure to bring it by your apartment tonight."

She stood, her empty mug in hand. "I will wish you safe travels, Noira. The visit has been a delight. I will look forward to the next."

"You're welcome," nodding to Gren. "I'll have to make my way out to the Forgotten Layers again soon, if I can," she smiled.

He rose from his seat as well, moving to Izira's side.

As she scooped up her books, the rogue playing with the throwing knives eyed her carefully and began to open his mouth, a grin splitting his face. "No," the elfess replied preemptively, dropping the books into her purse.

Reaching for her own coat to slip it on, Izira glanced between Noira and the rogue curiously.

Gren stared at the rogue a bit too, then shrugged, offering Izira his hand, and nodded to the door with a little grin on his face.

"But you haven't even -- " "No," Noira echoed, and gave the couple a smile before exiting.

He nodded and smiled to Noira as she leaves.

Iriza will remain curious. "A moment." To Gren, she collected the mugs and returned them to the bar for the keeper before she returned to Gren's side.

He chuckled, watching Izira. "Force of habit, I guess."

"I enjoy being helpful." Taking his hand and moving for the door. "You never said which you preferred.... a bath or a shower."

He took her hand in his, walking her to the door and opening it for her. "Well . . . . that would depend on how dirty I was." Then he winced and shut his eyes at his unintentional innuendo.

A soft chuckle followed them out.
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Post by Gren Blockman » Mon Feb 03, 2014 4:30 pm

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

There at the bar of the inn, a glass of wine and a book kept her company. She wore a sheer blue top over a lacy white camisole with a patterned grey skirt. Her strappy heels matched the blouse she wore. The liquid in her wine glass is a moving red and orange. The inside of the inn was warm, a fire burned in the hearth.

When he was finally finished with the commotion at his treehouse yesterday, he got a message to report to his Headquarters to help Westerguard with some mission reports. He didn't get home until late that night, so he missed seeing Izira completely. Early the next morning, he tried to bath and dress hurriedly and get out the door before anyone could interrupt him. But unfortunately he was delayed again, as he saw the smoke from a forest fire and had to report it. Busy until that afternoon, he finally found his way to the portal and up to the Inn. Walking through the door, he pushed his grey hood back. He smiled as he saw Izira at the bar, and makes his way over. "Izira! Sorry I've been away so long."

She lifted her head to the sound of the door, a smile already present. It grew wider at Gren's welcome. "I am glad to see you whole." She moved from the stool, getting Gren a Broot. The bottle brought to him, around the bar. "I hope you managed to avoid arrows." Her comment was a mixture of a jest and true concern.

"Yeah, no arrows this time." He slid his arms around her waist and pulled her to him, giving her a hello kiss. "I missed you."

The bottle of Broot held off to the side with Gren's greeting. She returned the kiss. Izira smiled, her eyes lowered to Gren's chest after the kiss. "Me or my cooking?"

"Right now? You." He touched her cheek with his hand, and gave her another kiss, filled with the longing he'd had for the last three days. "Your cooking? Maybe a little later." He grinned jokingly.

The longer kiss took her breath away. It was a moment before she was able to find her voice again. "Later? I might start thinking someone else is feeding you."

He chuckled. "I just wanted time to give you a proper greeting. If it makes you feel better, I wouldn't want any other woman but you feeding me."

"I feel... very properly greeted." Now she offered him the Broot. "If you do not allow another woman to cook for you how will we manage going out for dinner? Or lunch?"

He took the Broot in one hand, reluctantly removing it from her waist. "Easy, we'll just get a man to do the cooking. Men can be chefs, can't they?"

"They can. But I imagine we will get some less than kind looks if we ask the sex of the chef and leave if it is a woman."

"We'll just have to go to a place called 'Joe's Diner' or 'Bill's Seafood'. That way we know ahead of time."

"The name of a place does not dictate who is cooking, Gren”, she replied with a tilt of her head and a smile.

"That's false advertising then. If I go to a place called 'Bill's', I don't expect 'Florence the Unclean' to be doing the cooking."

"Florence the Unclean?" She gave a soft laugh to that.

"Think about it. Would you want to go to a Restaurant called "Florence the Unclean's Steakhouse"? Doesn't sound too appetizing to me."

"That is why they called it Bill's."

"Exactly! See how logical it is? I'm glad we're in agreement here."

She laughed softly and shook her head.

"Just like if you called this place "Exotic Izira's Forgotten Layers Inn and Massage Parlor", this place would be packed to the rafters. Too bad you don't give massages." He wiggled his eyebrows suggestively.

"I think calling it 'Exotic' would make those coming in think that they are in for more than a massage." She slipped away and moved back around the bar.

"Well, you have to be a *little* discreet. You may have gentleman clientele who desire a little privacy." He sat on a stool and took a sip of his Broot. "Exotic Izira's Cat House just sounds a little too . . . tawdry?"

"Perhaps I should see if my next visitor is interested in an exotic massage? In private, of course." She set the small book aside and picked up her wine, taking a sip.

Gren got a paranoid look on his face. "Uh, no! Maybe you shouldn't. I was just speaking in hypotheticals, of course. This place is just fine the way it is. Rustic, charming, quiet. Who needs the hustle and bustle of all those paying customers?"

"Certainly, not me." The wine glass held by her smiling lips. The color of the liquid in the glass turned like liquid fire.

"I'm glad we understand each other", he replied with a little exhale of breath. "So, how've you been?"

"I have been well. A young couple passed through here while you were away. They took a room for a couple of nights and then I helped them on their way, they were looking to be wed, against their parents' approval."

"They eloped, huh? How romantic. Love must be in the air." He gave a dreamy little sigh, then another brow wiggle to Izira.

"Love and something else judging by the bump of the girl's belly." Her brow lifted and then lowered. "What of your time away?"

"Oh." His face sort of fell at that, but then he shrugged it off. "Oh, boy, it's been an eventful couple of days. Sunday, some poor old woman thought she saw a giant tearing up the woods. I went out to try to track it down and found absolutely nothing. Then she told me orcs were living in her chimney, goblins were coming out of her stove, and she couldn't get the Dragon out from under her bed. Suddenly I understood the situation perfectly."


"Yeah. She was . . . you know . . . " He twirled his finger around his ear to indicate craziness.

"Interested in you?" She battled to keep her smile hidden.

He sighed and rolled his eyes heavenward. "Oh yeah. You know me, the rugged, outdoorsy type. I'm a magnet for elderly women."

"You are a magnet for all sorts of women, from what I have seen."

He turned a bit red in the cheeks. "Well . . . that's not exactly . . . I can't help that."

"If only you had a bigger shower..."

"One that fits six to eight, huh? That sounds . . . exhausting."

"I would think that being a ranger would require some level of stamina on your part."

"Oh, it does. But you see . . . I'm a one woman kind of guy. And there's only one woman I'd like to take into my shower." He gave her a look with his ice blues, setting his chin on his hand and resting his elbow on the bar.

She is drinking when he said that to her, and she took a longer drink. Her eyes glowed brighter for a moment when she swallowed. She set the glass down, sliding it a bit away from herself. Clearing her throat, "Would you care for dinner, Gren?"

"You know, you kind of avoided the subject there . . . .”
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Post by Gren Blockman » Mon Feb 03, 2014 4:31 pm

Suddenly the door bursts open, and Haddon came stomping in, getting mud all over the floor. He was looking back at someone. ". . . So Ferguson says to me . . . 'Haddon, when them panties came off, I thought I'd NEVER stop seein' @$$! HAW HAW HAW!" Behind him was Moriana, who was giving Haddon a nasty glare with her arms crossed, as if she was sick of hearing his dirty stories.

Her words cut off at the arrival. A curious brow lifted at the end of Haddon's story. But it smoothed away and she smiled to the rangers. "Welcome Moriana, Haddon." She moved to get two cups of coffee prepared.

Gren turned around, his face dropping into a bewildered look at Haddon and Moriana's entrance. It was soon followed by a mortified grimace at Haddon's story.

"Hey there, Little Missy! We were just in the neighborhood and thought we'd stop by for some of your delicious cooking." Haddon hung his cloak on a peg, still tracking mud everywhere. Moriana followed behind him as they made their way to the bar and sat down. "Oooh, I see Gren is here. Hope I didn't interrupt anything hot and steamy. Huh? Huh? Ah heh heh heh!" Haddon gave Gren a few sharp elbows to the ribs, causing Gren to flinch in pain.

"Gren had mentioned I start offering massages... but I think the demand would keep me too busy." A smile as she set the mugs before the pair. Cream and sugar were set out for Haddon as Moriana took hers black. She looked between the pair.

"Massages? Well hot damn! I need to come around here more often!" He raised his coffee cup in salute to Izira. Moriana is still glaring sideways at Haddon, but she sipped the coffee and her face softened considerably.

Gren was giving Haddon a narrow eyed stare. "She was only joking about the massages."

Haddon gave Gren a little grin. "Aw, don't get sore, big guy! I'm just being sociable! She offered, you know. Heh heh!"

"That is not quite how I recall it, but I have the feeling you take many liberties with your stories Haddon." She moved her glass down the bar, further away from the pair as she continued to speak, "What does everyone feel like having for dinner. I am afraid there is not a menu to pick from tonight."

Haddon smiled broadly at Izira and shrugged slightly. "I'm just trying to make people laugh, there's no harm in that, is there? Heh. Well if there ain't a menu, what have you got to eat around here, then?" Gren gives Haddon a perturbed look, then he glanced back at Izira. "Whatever you've got, we'd be happy with."

A soft chuckle as Gren's look settled Haddon. She nodded to the three, picking up her drink and moving to the kitchen. "I will see what there is to be had." And with that she slipped back into the kitchen.

"Thank you!" Gren called after her, before glaring at Haddon again. "Hey, can you use a little more self-control? Izira is a lady! She doesn't want to hear about how big someone's . . . . behind is when their panties come off! God, I can't believe you said that." Gren rubbed his eyes with his hand.

Haddon guffawed. "Aw, Gren, stop being so sensitive! She's an adult, she doesn't care! Take Moriana here, she thinks I'm hilarious!" Moriana gave Haddon a sideways look full of contempt. "See?" Haddon looked back at Gren and gave another big smile.

Gren just sighed and looked heavenward. "I tell you another thing . . .” Gren looked back at Haddon, then noticed the floor, and the muddy tracks up to his chair. He got a horrified expression on his face and pointed. "Look what you did!"

Haddon casually glanced in the direction of the point, and looked back at Gren and shrugged. "So what? It happens. We had to trek through a bog this morning, looking for a horse that ran away from its master. What's the big deal? Inn's like this can expect to get some traffic."

"That's not the point!" Gren started to get angry. "You could have wiped your feet so Izira wouldn't have to clean up after you!"

"Oh HO! Defending the little lady are we? I see what you're driving at, you sly dog! In the future, I'll try not to tread dirt on your precious girlfriend's floor. Happy? Haw haw!"

Gren continued glaring.

Haddon seemed unmoved by Gren's glaring. "So when are you two going to get married? Damn, I thought you'd have a couple of kids by now. She's got them firm, child-bearin' hips, you know. I bet she could crank out a half dozen at least, no problem."

"*HEY!* Don't talk about her hips like that! What's the matter with you, anyway?" Gren turned red in the face.

"AH HAW HAW! Come on, I'm just payin' her a compliment!"

"*Please* don't talk like that when she comes back out! You're embarrassing me!"

"Oh, live a little, Gren. Jesus, no wonder everyone thinks you're a virgin."

"I'm NOT a virgin!" Gren protested.

"Speaking of which . . .” Haddon got the grin of a Cheshire Cat on his face. "Have you two . . . you know, jumped in the sack yet?"

"That's none of your business!"

"No, huh? Damn, Gren, what are you waiting for? You're going to screw around here and she's gonna give up on you. Stow that romantic crap for a while, loosen up, and get laid for Christ's sake!"

Gren covered his face with his hands. "This is a nightmare."

"You know, I had this woman once . . . " Haddon continued, ignoring Gren, " . . . sweet little piece of @$$ tucked away in some cabin in the woods . . . Well, she wasn't little . . but I like a woman with some healthy curves on her, you know what I'm sayin'! I was out on some job I can't even remember, and I was the first man she'd seen in three years. Uh heh heh . . . Anyway, morning, noon, and night, she was hot for it. Couldn't get enough. You can't tell me Izira here can't wait to get you to bang the living hell out of her."

"Jesus, Haddon!" Gren exclaimed.

Moriana gave Haddon a sharp poke in the ribs. Haddon raised his hands defensively. "Hey, I'm just trying to help the guy out! As backed up as she is, she's likely to blow Gren's head off like he was a bottle rocket! He's gonna shoot through the roof and light up the night sky once she gets a hold of him! HAW HAW HAW!"

"Be quiet! She'll hear you!" Gren whispered harshly.

Moriana started rapidly slugging Haddon in the shoulder. "What? What'd I do? Come on!" Haddon gave Moriana an innocent look.
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Post by Gren Blockman » Mon Feb 03, 2014 4:32 pm

The kitchen's door swung open and Izira reemerged carrying a large tray. On three large plates she served up slices of char-grilled beef tenderloin with a three-herb chimichurri sauce, roasted baby potatoes with red peppers, and seasoned roasted Brussel sprouts. Three smaller plates held two slices of fresh baked bread and a small scoop of butter.

Haddon's eyes got wide. So did Gren's, truth be told. "Holy Lord, that is a veritable *feast*. Well serve it up, Missy, because I'm dyin' of hunger over here!"

"You could say, Thank you!" Gren said.

"Alright, tough guy", Haddon said to Gren, then looks back at Izira. "Thank you, Missy, and let's get eatin'! Haw Haw!"

Silverware wrapped in cloth napkins were placed on the bar before each of them, followed by the plates of food. "Are you sticking to coffee or would either of you care for an ale with your meal?" She was already getting Gren a fresh Broot.

"Thank you, Izira." He smiled politely at the food and the Broot, then gave Haddon a pointed look.

Haddon didn't take the hint. "Ale? Hell yeah! Hardest one you got. I need to wash this down with something stronger that coffee!" Moriana shook her head once, preferring the coffee, while all three rangers unwrapped their silverware and started eating. "Mmmm, tell me again why you're datin' Gren, because if you ever change your mind, I could use a good lookin' woman who knows her way around the kitchen! HAW!"

Gren looked like he was going to stab Haddon with his fork.

She set about getting Haddon a mug of the Orktoberfest Ale and placed it before him. "Again? I do not think I have told you once."

"You haven't, have you? Huh. Well why don't you tell me now, because it's a mystery to me!"

"You don't have to answer him." Gren retorted.

"Aw come on, Gren, grow up already, we're just havin' a little fun!" Haddon replied.

Her wine glass was gone, left behind in the kitchen maybe. She filled up a glass of water. Ice cubes forming as the water was added. "Gren is kind, brave, thoughtful, giving.... the fact that he is also attractive is a perk."

"Aw, Izira." Gren looked abashed.

Haddon grinned broadly. "Damn, Gren, you lucky devil. You really got her conned, now dontcha? HAW!" He gave Gren another elbow to the ribs.

"Hey, stop that! What is your problem tonight?"

"We're just enjoyin' a friendly meal, come on!" Haddon chuckled, and downed a rather large portion of the beef tenderloin, guzzling down the Ale along with it.

Izira set down her water, leaning across the table to kiss Gren and soothe his ire at Haddon. Her smile told Gren not to worry about Haddon as she leaned back and sips her water.

Gren smiled tenderly back at her, grateful for her compassion. He ate some of the tenderloin, then buttered a slice of the bread to eat along with it. "This is awesome for someone who didn't have a menu tonight. I think you were just being modest." Gren gave Izira another doe-eyed look.

Haddon nudged Moriana, and pointed to Gren, grinning wide enough to show food stuck in his teeth. Moriana curled her lips in disgust and went back to eating.

"I find a menu limits creativity." She moved, refreshing Moriana's coffee and then taking a seat behind the bar. "I am glad you like it."

"Hell, I'm not worried about creativity. Just give it to me piled high and hot, and give me room cause I'm a loose eater! HAW!" As if to punctuate his statement, Haddon waved his fork wildly in the air, and a chunk of tenderloin went flying behind him.

She sipped her water, noting the flying food. It is one more thing to clean up later.

Haddon spoke to Gren after stuffing another helping of potatoes in his mouth. "So where the hell were you today, Gren? I was going to get you to help us find that damn horse in the bog. We must've tromped through half that swamp lookin' for the darn thing."

"There was a forest fire, out by Purple River. I had to go back to the Headquarters and report it."

"Aw, that's too bad. I liked that place. Hope nobody got hurt."

"I don't think so. I think we got everyone out of the area in time."

She listened to the exchange between the two men. "Do you know how the fire was started?"

Gren glanced back at Izira. "Some kids were playing around in a barn. Knocked a lamp over and lit it on fire. It was full of hay so it went up quick. Spread to the forest. Took a while, and a lot of manpower, to put it out."

She delicately nodded to that. She sipped her ice water again.

Haddon grinned at Izira. "So what have you been doing to keep yourself busy since the buffet? I can't imagine you've had too many crowds like that in here in a while. We can be a handful at times, hah!"

"No, not too many crowds. Only the occasional passer-through. I busy myself with this and that around the inn. The gardens in the back are great for taking a stroll. Neither of you have had the pleasure of seeing the gardens, have you?"

"No, I can't say I have. I don't think Moriana is the "Garden" type, though. Heh. Neither am I, for that matter."

"A pity."

"Don't worry, Missy, I'm the meat and Ale type. And the pretty lady type. So I'm doin' fine right here. HAW!" He raised his mug and took a long, sloppy drink.

Gren gave him another sideways look.

"I will take that as a compliment." She glanced at Gren as he's looking at Haddon.

"I call it like I see it. Heh. I'm surprised, Missy, you haven't asked us more about Gren. We could tell you some juicy stories. You know, to pass the time."

"No! No, you don't have to tell her anything. Please don't!"

"Aw, come on, Gren, don't be such a stick in the mud, we're all friends here!"

"Should friends even have to ask?" She softly fluttered her lashes with the question.
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