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 The Streets of Carpatus

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LadyLilliAschuill
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PostSubject: The Streets of Carpatus   Sun Apr 18, 2010 5:54 pm

(Continued from Ari’s Store)

Lilli smiled politely and untied the reins to her own horse.

“What is the name of your horse?”

She was caught a bit off guard at the question, wondering why he would want to know, but was quite flattered that he asked.

“His name’s Jasper. It means “bearer of treasure”. My father gave him to me when I was 13. He was my first horse and my father was beside himself with anxiety over me riding him. He was certain I would fall at first, but he was always very gentle.” She looked her horse in the eyes and gave him a loving scratch on his nose. Jasper, in turn gave her a knowing snort in return. With quite a bit of ease and gracefulness she climbed upon him.

Lilli pondered for a moment at his suggestion that they view the town first before stopping at Ichabod’s. She contemplated his neutral tone. If she didn’t know better, she would almost consider it unfriendly; though she knew it were not the case, for he would not be helping her by agreeing to teacher the sword if it were so. Perhaps it was because he was in such an unfamiliar place, she knew she would not be one to open up too much to strangers in a foreign land. Still, it did tend to make her slightly uncomfortable since it was her duty as a noblewoman to be pleasant and charming, the latter of which she was unsure she was coming off as.

“I would be most glad to show you the village. I am not sure how much of it you already have gotten to know, though I don’t suppose it was much, considering you recent ailment.” She said, hoping to lighten to mood a bit. “Ichabod lives at the edge of town; it will be of no trouble to stop there at the end.”

She paused a moment to assess his reaction, then continued. “If it would not be too impertinent of me, I would like to show you my home at the manor. I believe I may have a place in mind to take the lessons in and it is located on my father, Baron Atwood’s, land. I am sure he would be quite pleased to meet you. We do not see many traveler’s from your land in these parts. You may have notice a bit of…extra attention from the villager’s here.” she couldn’t help but chuckle a bit as she herself noticed quite a few of the villagers eying her riding companion curiously and some rather cautiously. “You need not worry though, it is quite peaceful here. More than likely you will not have very much contact with them, since you are here only briefly.” She hoped it was enough to reassure him, for he seemed wary of the place enough already.

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PostSubject: Re: The Streets of Carpatus   Tue Apr 27, 2010 12:46 am

Xan listened politely as Lilli explained her horse’s name and how the creature came to be in her possession. “An apt name,” he replied, a slight smile still on his face, though he didn’t clarify that statement any further. “My sister once had a horse in her childhood. The name roughly translated into ‘Bearer of the Princess’ though we do not come from royalty.” The Carakleinian watched as Lilli climbed upon her mount with the ease and grace of one experienced in horseback riding.

He nodded at her assumption that he hadn’t seen much of the village, offering a visible hint of a smile. “The smith and I have already been acquainted... after a fashion,” he remarked with light humor, glancing in the direction of the clanging noise coming from the shop. It didn’t bother him nearly as much now that he had a headache cure coursing through his veins. The Carakleinian didn’t seem very surprised to hear the inventor lived at the edge of town. It seemed the universal locale of most in that profession from what he observed, and was also explained by the unique housing shape in the near distance.

“If it would not be too impertinent of me, I would like to show you my home at the manor. I believe I may have a place in mind to take the lessons in and it is located on my father, Baron Atwood’s, land. I am sure he would be quite pleased to meet you. We do not see many traveler’s from your land in these parts. You may have notice a bit of…extra attention from the villager’s here.”

Xanthus was no stranger to being stared at, what with his ‘unnatural’ hair color being quite the focus among his kinsmen and –women. However, he couldn’t help but turn slightly and notice those nearest looking on with wary and curious eyes when Lilli had mentioned him receiving extra attention. Cautious, he nodded his head slowly in greeting to the other villagers on the scene. Turning back to the noblewoman, he nodded to her as well. “I would be very much honored to meet with him, Milady,” Xan answered, hardly finding the request impertinent. He still carried that neutral tone, but beneath the surface it was different: earnest, and genuinely intrigued to speak with the man in question.

“You need not worry though, it is quite peaceful here. More than likely you will not have very much contact with them, since you are here only briefly.”

“It is good you live in a peaceful place,” he commented sincerely. The Carakleinian thought a moment before instinctively saying the first thing that came to mind in his native tongue. “I mean... ‘Please, lead the way, Milady’. Forgive me: sometimes my Alranian is not as fluent on the first try as I’d like...”

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PostSubject: Re: The Streets of Carpatus   Fri Apr 30, 2010 10:37 pm

Lilli stopped for a moment at Xan’s comment about Jasper. If she didn’t know any better she would think he was referring to her as the treasure her horse bore. But what else would say? She merely shrugged it off as the rode, but it still stored itself into the back her mind. She could not help but smile just a little when he mentioned his previous acquaintance with the blacksmith, knowing it was the pounding of the metal he was referring too. She would expect it would not have been a pleasant experience knowing his ailment.

Lilli watched as he took notice of the villager’s wariness of him, and felt a bit of empathy. She knew he was most likely used to being stared at, for he has not the typical appearance one would see even in his own country. How difficult it must be to be different even among your own people, she thought to herself. Yet he did not seem bothered at all by their stares. She smiled within herself, glad he had no shame in his differnce.

“I would be very much honored to meet with him, Milady,”

Lilly nodded in agreement. In all honesty she was not sure what her father’s reaction to him would be, though she was sure he would be quite curious about him as well.

“I mean... ‘Please, lead the way, Milady’. Forgive me: sometimes my Alranian is not as fluent on the first try as I’d like...”

Lilly was not aware of the smile that came upon her face as Xan spoke of his attempt to her language.

“It is quite alright, Milord. I do not mind at all, I find it quite good actually. It is unfortunate that I was not taught your language; I find it very beautiful, full of strength and purpose.” She paused for a moment, wondering if anything she said made sense of she simply sounded like a chattering fool. “Forgive me if I am rambling, but I tend to speak my mind if I am not careful.”

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PostSubject: Re: The Streets of Carpatus   Wed Jun 30, 2010 1:57 pm

Xanthus paused when she stopped, wondering why she had halted so suddenly. He didn’t have long to think about it for they resumed their pace almost immediately thereafter. And it did not escape his notice that in addition to the other villagers, Lady Atwood’s eyes were also upon him. Whether it was to keep her villagers safe or mere curiosity was beyond him. The Carakleinian did not kill simply to kill: if he took a life it was because he felt he had absolutely no other choice. It didn’t bother him being different. In fact the warrior learned long ago that if others had a problem with one being different then it was the other’s fault, not one’s own.

Her nod in regards to her father told him that not even she was certain how he would take to the Carpatus’s newest visitor. Silently, Xan prayed for a positive outcome in meeting one of the most notable citizens of this village. If all went well with the courtship of Duchess Elektra he would be living within this Kingdom for some time, and he would need allies.

Dark eyes glanced to the noblewoman in added apology for his foreign words. It had aggravated him as a young man, the foreigners visiting Caraklein speaking a language he didn’t understand instead of the native tongue. Mostly it was because he couldn’t understand and that they refused to repeat themselves in a more understandable medium that had rubbed him the wrong way. Quite a few of his fellow villagers felt the same about such people, though they had all grown to be suspicious of anyone that spoke in a tongue they didn’t comprehend or acted rather strange by their reckoning. On the outskirts of Caraklein, it could’ve meant anything from the awkward visitor who had gotten themselves terribly lost to an ambush of epic proportion.

And yet here was Lady Liliane Atwood, smiling at him for his slip of the tongue. It didn’t seem mocking or patronizing.

“It is quite alright, Milord. I do not mind at all, I find it quite good actually. It is unfortunate that I was not taught your language; I find it very beautiful, full of strength and purpose.”

“Thank you...” he answered in the same soft-spoken tone of voice. “I learned the tongue of your people later in life, when language-learning becomes slightly more difficult. It is... an intriguing language,” Xan explained, though there was an emphasis on the word ‘intriguing’ of that one uses when they aren’t certain of a word.

”... Forgive me if I am rambling, but I tend to speak my mind if I am not careful.”

Blonde hair shook slightly from side-to-side. “To give thought a voice is no crime. Speaking one’s mind is... encouraged? ... in the part of Caraklein that is my home. Even the smallest child may comment within the Councilor’s circle.” Xanthus replied, brushing away her apologies. He paused a little after each sentence to line up the words in his head before saying them. “Your ‘rambling’ also aids my understanding.” Xanthus thought he might be pushing it to say that he liked the sound of her voice speaking the Alranian tongue, or that it might be taken the wrong way, and thus didn’t comment further on it.

“Where shall we go first, Milady?”

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PostSubject: Re: The Streets of Carpatus   Thu Jul 08, 2010 3:02 pm

((Caution! Crappy reply ahead! >.<))

Lilli understood completely when Xan spoke of learning her language later in life. It was always a wonder how as children so much more is learned in regards to language, compared to learning as an adult when so much more of the world is understood. Still, the more Lilli thought about her own life, the notion of taking up other languages seemed more and more intriguing, if not necessary. Perhaps when these lessons are done, she would take it upon herself to learn, despite the difficulty of language learning.

“To give thought a voice is no crime. Speaking one’s mind is... encouraged? ... in the part of Caraklein that is my home. Even the smallest child may comment within the Councilor’s circle.”

Lilli was somewhat surprised to hear of such customs. Caraklein was defiantly much different than Alrania. The more Xan spoke of it, however, the more fascinating it sounded. “Your customs are more accepting than my own it seems, at least when it comes to equality. I must admit, it was not easy to convince my father of my taking up the sword, but I think in the end he knows that it is something I must do….that and I was not going to let him tell me otherwise.” She added with a hint humor.

Lilli suddenly realized that she was, again, staring. Cursing herself for seeming like a bantering ninny, she casually looked away and ahead of them. As friendly and courteous as Xan seemed to be, Lilli still felt intimidated by his appearance. Why was he so different? And why was she finding that so interesting? Lilli convinced herself that she just had to get out of Alranina. There was just too much of the world to see and learn about that she couldn’t help but feel like a sheltered child, ignorant about the world, despite her rigorous education.

“Where shall we go first, Milady?”

Yanked out of her own thoughts, Lilli regained her focus on the task.
“Oh, yes…Well seeing as Mr. Payne’s residence is just a few more steps, perhaps it would be easier for you rest for a moment and get established. I don’t mind at all, I am in no hurry.”

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PostSubject: Re: The Streets of Carpatus   Tue Aug 10, 2010 1:19 pm

Xan tilted his head to the left slightly and inclined it in a sort of bowing nod, considering the first portion of her words a compliment. A golden waterfall of hair fell as would a curtain and shielded half of his face. Emotions indiscernible danced across the warrior’s face as he listened, though the Carakleinian did crack a small smile at the humor he heard in her voice. “Some are exceedingly difficult to persuade,” he replied, employing the same tone of lighthearted humor Lilli had chosen. “It is admirable that he seeks your safety, though perhaps unwise to assume you shall never be in a situation that requires you to defend yourself alone,” Xanthus added a bit more seriously. “A wish and fault of many within this world.”

’Will you stop playing warrior for but a moment so she need not feel as a hare beside an attack hound?’ the voice of his mother laughed for only his ears to hear, somewhere to his left.

”It cannot be helped, mother, but if it pleases you...” he thought back to her before relinquishing the rigid posture he took to a more comfortable stance. Xanthus was still guarded, but wasn’t nearly as stiff.

With a dark-eyed glance to his guide, the Carakleinian couldn’t help but somewhat envy the fact that aside from clothing quality being a cut above the other people here Lilli looked entirely normal amongst the populace. Yet, at the same time, different. Xan couldn’t quite place this difference, and it was this puzzle that intrigued him. In time and during lessons in mastery of the sword did he hope to unravel the mystery.

“Oh, yes…Well seeing as Mr. Payne’s residence is just a few more steps, perhaps it would be easier for you rest for a moment and get established. I don’t mind at all, I am in no hurry.”

“Perhaps...” he agreed, though with slight reluctance. Xanthus had been about to protest needing a moment’s rest, so used to plugging away at the trail before him until exhaustion won out, but decided against it. Perhaps in all actuality it was she that needed the rest? He shook that thought from his mind just as he felt a dull surge of pain behind his eyes, not enough to be considered much of anything yet still tangibly there. The cure from the apothecary still needed a little more time to erase all of the symptoms. “Perhaps that is wise... I could drop off my belongings there. Toivo would surely relish a few less pounds to bear,” he said lightly yet seriously, patting his horse on the neck in praise.

Xan searched for another venue of conversation. “What precisely is the role of Mr. Payne in your village? He seems... I believe the word is ‘unique’?” he asked, glancing at the various contraptions, gadgets, tools, and supplies – all very strange to this Carakleinian’s eyes – strewn about one side of the yard.

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PostSubject: Re: The Streets of Carpatus   Thu Aug 12, 2010 3:31 pm

Lilli nodded in agreement to his statement. It was true that a father was responsible for the wellbeing of his children. But, obviously, she was no child. Perhaps it was her father’s pride that refused to accept her decision to take it upon herself for skills of protection. Either way, Lilli was pleased that she had finally won him over.

“Perhaps that is wise... I could drop off my belongings there. Toivo would surely relish a few less pounds to bear,”

“And I am sure he will be eternally thankful to you.” She said with a nod at Toivo.

With Ichabod’s house now before them, Lilli could feel a light smile upon her lips as she surveyed the yard of the inventor’s home. With a slight shake of her head, she hopped that the messy appearance did not gave the Carakleinian the wrong impression of the cleanliness of the place. After all, she knew that the contraptions and gadgets strewn about the area were merely Ichabod’s inventions.

“What precisely is the role of Mr. Payne in your village? He seems... I believe the word is ‘unique’?”

Lilli could understand why he would inquire about the inventor. As much as she cared for Ichabod as a friend, he was indeed, quite a unique person; eccentric, if anything. She didn’t have to ask to know that there probably were not many inventors in Caraklein, if any at all.

“Well, you are definitely correct in that observation. Ichabod is our resident inventor…of sorts. I believe he hails from Mystenia, though I never though inquired about it further. He’s actually quite brilliant in his work. Mind you, some of his ideas aren’t quite…successful.”

Stopping Jasper in front of the house, Lilli dismounted and reached into a small bag for a small cube of sugar, which she offered to the horse, who gobbled it appreciatively, as she lovingly stroked his mane. Watching Jasper with his tasty snack, she suddenly remembered that he was not the only horse present. She reached back into the bad and pulled out another cube.

“You…don’t mind do you?” she asked rather timidly, offering the sweet block to Toivo.

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PostSubject: Re: The Streets of Carpatus   Thu Aug 26, 2010 3:24 pm

A corner of the Carakleinian’s mouth hitched up into a smile at her words, which Toivo had punctuated with a noise that sounded somewhere between a snort and an equine sigh. Xanthus gave the horse a fond pat upon the neck. “Often felt have I that it is me in his debt rather than the other way around,” the man remarked. There was a light undertone of laughter or simply good-naturedness in his voice.

It personally surprised Xanthus that a man would keep so much junk upon his property, never having seen any such thing back in his village on the borders on Caraklein. Even in the Capitol of his home, among the residents, he’d never seen such things strewn about the grounds of one’s dwelling. Then again, the heavy snows probably had something to do with that. The warrior certainly hoped the items were not outside because of a lack of space within the house...

“Well, you are definitely correct in that observation. Ichabod is our resident inventor…of sorts. I believe he hails from Mystenia, though I never though inquired about it further. He’s actually quite brilliant in his work. Mind you, some of his ideas aren’t quite…successful.”

A dubious expression crossed Xan’s face as he once again observed the wealth of wood, tools, gadgets he didn’t dare try to classify, and other things scattered around the lawn. “An inventor...” he murmured, nodding his comprehension. Blue-green eyes settled upon a strange frame that could’ve very well been a model for perhaps some larger-scale, very strange building. “He does have the look of Mystenia about him...” Xanthus gracefully dismounted from his own horse and led Toivo up the walk instead so that he might walk among the gadgetry himself. “Admirable, that he continues on at the risk of further failure.”

Toivo tilted his head slightly, noticing the woman his master urged him to follow was now offering him something. Cautiously he sniffed at her hand and the item it contained. ... A treat!

Curiosity getting the better of Xanthus, the Carakleinian reached out to touch the model he’d spotted earlier. However, the moment his hand approached within a loaf of bread’s length of the model it toppled over into a heap of wood. Startled, Xanthus jumped backward and began to unsheathe his sword as though he’d expected a trap to be sprung. As the last piece of wood clunked in stair-step fashion and stopped at his feet, the Carakleinian immediately looked to Lilli and relinquished hold on his weapon. “I... it just fell. I had not yet been close enough to make it fall...” he muttered, slightly embarrassed at both his inability to contain his curiosity and the extreme reaction he’d had to a simple falling of wood. Toivo, about to devour the tasty cube he was offered, looked to his master at his words.

Tentatively, Xan smiled at the sight before him much more widely than he had previously. It was almost a full-fledged smile, and had even reached his eyes. “Not at all. He does not get spoiled enough,” he said with a laugh, providing a gesture for the horse to go ahead and accept the treat. Toivo immediately bent his head back down to the offered cube and gently took the treat from the maiden’s hand.

“You may have just made a friend for life,” the Carakleinian added, skirting around the fallen structure and proceeding to lighten Toivo’s load. “... Where might I place my effects?” he asked, glancing around for a suitable place. However, his eyes eventually found their way back to Lilli.

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PostSubject: Re: The Streets of Carpatus   Sun Aug 29, 2010 3:46 pm

Lilli nodded at Xan’s comments on Ichabod’s perseverance with his inventions. She had always believed persistence to be a strong characteristic, though also sometimes a flaw, depending on the situation. She watched curiously though the corner of her eyes as he approached the strange contraption, though she did jump a bit as the ting fell to pieces on its own accord, casing the stranger to react in a defensive manner. No matter how hard she tried otherwise, Lilli could not stop the smile and chuckle at the poor man’s expression. Though he had nothing to do with the structure’s demise, she could not but feel a little sympathy for him.

“I... it just fell. I had not yet been close enough to make it fall...”

Another small chuckle escaped her though she quickly recovered her composure. “Think nothing of it, Milord. I hardly think Mr. Payne will even take notice. I’m sure he was quite aware of its…fragility.

Indeed Lilli wondered if Ichabod would even take notice of the thing’s broken state. He had the tendency to be oblivious to all else when his mind is focused on other matters. Even if he did, she doubted he would presume it was the Caraklinian’s doing, if indeed it had been.

To see Xan’s demeanor change from awkwardness to a more pleased expression at seeing her offer his horse a treat took Lilli a little by surprise. Lilli nodded at his approval and smiled graciously as Toivo accepted the sugary sweet. She returned his acceptance with a light rub upon his velvety nose.

“You may have just made a friend for life,”

With a light laugh, Lilli gave the horse another light pat. “That is good then. One can never have too many friends, even of the non-human kind.” Leaving the horses to their posts, she casually entered the yard and lead Xan the rest of the way towards the entrance, while continuing the conversation. “I believe friendship is one of the highest honors one can possess. In my opinion, true friendship knows no difference in class.” Lilli did not elaborate further, not sure if perhaps she was a bit too bold speaking her opinions, which she was very prone to do.

To be honest, Lilli wasn’t quite sure how to answer his question. She tried the handle on the front door and just as she suspected, it was locked. She thought for a moment and then she remembered. Due to the fact that she and Ari were so close, he decided to entrust her with a little secret: the key to his home, and how to obtain it.

“Um….one moment…” Spying Ichabod’s outdoor work table, she went over to it and seemed to be searching for something. In a brief moment, a small smile appeared upon her lips and she picked up an oddly shaped pair of scissors and stepped back to the entrance. “Um...this may take a moment. You might want to stand back…” she said, rather awkwardly.

With that said, she raised the scissors to a string tied to a nail in the wall, holding up what seemed to be a flowerpot created from a small cauldron. Snipping the string, the pot fell and landed on a pair of scales sitting on a windowsill just below it. The empty side of the scale rose up and knocked into the blades of a small, makeshift windmill, causing it to spin. The model windmill spun enough to cause a light breeze, blowing the sail of a little model ship in a small trough of rainwater. The little ship “sailed” down the channel, a small blade attached to the bow and snipped yet another small rope holding up a hammer. The hammer crashed down upon a small flint creating a small spark and ignites a fuse. Slowly the fuse worked its way to a small patch of earth before…

*POOF!!*

The small mound of dirt shot up a few feet, causing Lilli to flinch a bit and take another step back to avoid being showered with bits of soil. After waiting for the durst to settle, Lilli casually reached into the new hole in the ground and pulled up a small, somewhat ornate box. Brushing off the last bit of dirt, she opened the lid and retrieved a small, strange-looking key. Setting the box upon the table, she turned back to Xan, displaying the key upon her palm.

“A bit un-orthodox way of hiding one’s key, though it’s quite creative.” She said as she fit the key into the lock and turned it. “If you thought that was peculiar, then you have yet to see inside.” The door creaked open to reveal a cozy home with even more strange contraptions strewn about, whirring, buzzing and clanking.

“I suppose you can leave you things here for now, I am not sure what Ichabod has in mind for a room.” She said inviting him in. After a short silence, Lilli spoke again. “Well, I shall leave you to your things. Take all the time you need. I shall wait for you with Jasper and my ‘new friend’,” She said with a hint of a smile and walked back down the path to the waiting horses.

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PostSubject: Re: The Streets of Carpatus   Sun Jan 23, 2011 3:04 pm

Xanthus didn’t feel it his place to say so, but at Lilli’s reassurances that Payne would not take notice he couldn’t help but agree what with the way things were scattered about. Instead he merely nodded and carried on as though nothing had happened, watching the interactions between noblewoman and horse with a slight sort of nostalgia. Before he had taken to leaving his village on long journeys, his sisters would often spoil his mount in the manner of a sweet and the same affectionate rub on the nose. Xan’s affection towards the horse was slightly different.

Toivo leaned into the contact this strange woman offered, and nudged her hand as though sniffing out yet another treat.


The Carakleinian chuckled at her remark. “Often I have felt the same,” he said, the expression on his face only changing to show a measure of conviction to his words. Xanthus listened to Lilli as they continued on up to the house. Tilting his head to the side, he contemplated the statement. Eventually he nodded, remembering how whilst he was in the throes of a head-splitting ache it had been Lilli to offer to make the medicine herself rather than the apothecary. “It is certain... not merely opinion. Or so that is my belief. A shame many of higher rank share not that wisdom. ... I would rather seek friendship with a loyal man who is a peasant watching my back... than a soldier of noble stock prone to deceive,” he returned.

Blond eyebrows furrowed as Lilli attempted to try the door. The Carakleinian wondered if it was locked, or simply stuck and she could not unseat it from its place. Doors such as that one were why he preferred the cloth closures of tents and the housing materials of his village. They could be secured, but they would never stick. At her request for a moment he nodded, observing closely what she intended to do. Did the inventor often leave a key in plain sight? Given the state of the yard... it could very well be possible. With all this mess, only those that knew where the key was seemed the only ones able to find it.

Teal eyes scrutinized the pair of scissors Lilli returned with. They were oddly-shaped but looked sharp enough to mean business. Were the shears a key in disguise? Not quite understanding her suggestion of standing back, the yellow eyebrows jerked upward in mild surprise and then settled back down into confusion. “Very well, Milady...” he replied, barely audible, and took a few steps away as advised. It was only when Lilli raised the shears to a string connected to a nail that he noticed such a small detail. But what was its purpose? Following the twine with his eyes, Xanthus couldn’t help but find the sight of a hanging cauldron-flowerpot to be a bit strange. Why not simply install a hook and hang it that way?

The man’s expression switched rather rapidly between intrigue and confusion at the sequence of events that transpired the moment Lilli cut the string. Of all the means of locking things, this was the most curious method of doing so that Xanthus had ever seen. The Carakleinian got the feeling this Ichabod Payne was a whimsical man that greatly enjoyed games... quite generally the opposite of himself. Games were enjoyable to the Carakleinian, but this... this was almost madness to his eyes. Xan became most alert when the spark from the flint caused something to ignite. Where was the fuse going, and what was it connected to, he wondered? Would they need to seek cover? ...

For the second time that day Xanthus jumped at the superficial explosion not too far away from where Lilli had retrieved the scissors. Although he had no idea what the explosion had unearthed, he could not help but mutter, “...All of this for a key?” It was the only logical thing Xan could think of that the explosion would give clue to, for it certainly did not unlock the door. Despite his reaction, he was rather fascinated by the ornate box. Sure enough, as Lilli showed the object to him, that entire thing from pot to scales, scales to windmill, windmill to boat, boat to string, string to hammer, hammer to flint, and flint to fuse... had all been for a key. Turquoise eyes blinked with incomprehension at the complexity of which the inventor went to hide a key, when his front yard was anything but orderly.

“A bit un-orthodox way of hiding one’s key, though it’s quite creative. If you thought that was peculiar, then you have yet to see inside.”

Xan nodded in agreement: the means had been most unorthodox. “Creative, indeed...” he echoed, though clearly still wasn’t quite certain what to make of the event. It almost reminded him of something one of his brothers did as a game involving small wooden tiles, only on a much larger scale. Both blond eyebrows, released from their previously clenched state, rose at her comment regarding the inside. As she opened the door and they peeked inside, the Carakleinian learned precisely what she’d meant in an instant. Strange devices were everywhere... and the strangest noises! Although Xanthus considered himself a brave man, he wasn’t so sure he wanted to venture too much further without the inventor to disable any traps that might be within. What, other than a blacksmith, would make that strange clanking noise?! Or a hive of angry bees creating the buzzing? Xanthus could not explain the odd whirring he heard at all.

“I suppose you can leave your things here for now; I am not sure what Ichabod has in mind for a room.

“...Well, I shall leave you to your things. Take all the time you need. I shall wait for you with Jasper and my ‘new friend.’”


“Thank you, Milady...” he replied automatically, suddenly pulled from his ruminations. ’That makes two of us... but perhaps I shall merely camp outside...’ Xanthus mused, dropping his things just inside the door after checking to make sure a pendulum would not swing down and take his arm off. To attempt and mark that the parcels were his, Xanthus took one of his swords and laid it over the items. He refused to leave his spear behind, and did not wish to travel anywhere without at least one weapon.

He was just closing the door when he thought he saw something. Opening it back up with a slight creak, Xanthus focused both eyes upon a crude table that seemed semi-reserved exclusively for cooking, and took a few tentative steps inside. A mouse upon the table looked up and squeaked before taking some left-behind cheese. Blond hair shook in time with its owner’s head as he once again stepped out of the residence and closed the door, heading back for where the horses were tied to their posts.

“... Is Mr. Payne aware that he has a rodent problem?” Xanthus asked as he approached Lilli again.

_________________

^Updated on: 2/20/11
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