It was getting late as I made my way back into the Rose Shell, my usual impish smile available for all the new friends I've been making in this land.. The once-long and luxurious red hair on my head was gone now, and only a few days' growth on what would almost be a completely bald pate. It doesn't bother me much, though. I think the worst of it was when I came to dinner a few hours after the dragon attack. Shei had this expression of shock. "Odiri told me, but I hoped she was lying," she had said. I laughed it off, giving her another smile, and she melted just like she had all those other times. That told me enough. Charm and looks go a long way, hair or no hair. Poor thing.
My pockets are loaded with trinkets from our quest. A spectacular victory today. Naligor, Kodu, Syd, and I. We did something no one had expected. We destroyed a yomi prince.
I make my way over to the table. Our table. Madam Saru's spell had repaired most of Oranssi's prayer, though I think Adi is going to have to redo all of his corrective work. But it's time to add something of my own.
The chaos in my blood calls out, a thousand tiny, disparate voices all screaming their individual wants. But not this time. Pushing down the bedlam of magic always begging to be released, I reach down into my boot and pull out a dagger. I sit down at the table and begin to carve. Adding to the map Odiri had been designing, I add something. Just one. A tree. But not just any tree. A treant, corrupted by evil. More importantly, the treant is covered in flames. Because treants burn. One less Yomi Prince.
As I finish my distinctly unmagical carving, I see the familiar presence of Madam Saru. "You aren't usually the one to do the carving," she remarked.
I thought Odiri might like the support," I replied. I offered her a confident smile. "Of course, that's nothing compared to the kindness that you provided." She smiles and offers small nod of acknowledgement, but her cheeks didn't quite flush at my compliment. Damn, she's good. More worldly and adept than sweet, innocent Shei. Much more of a challenge. Even if I ignored her rather excellent reputation among the upper crust of my homelands, her skill and looks would be enough to catch my attention. But no matter. I was famished after this last trip.
"Madam Saru, would you have someone send dinner up to my room, please?" I stand from the table, preparing to head upstairs.
"Oh, of course," she replies. "No gambling tonight?" she asks with a persuasive tone. The mad energies in my veins are almost humming now, demanding some use. I give them some relief. A few arcane whispers and nn image of a gold brick materializes on the table. Several locals in nearby chairs find their gazes drawn to it. "Something like this?" I ask. Chaos in the blood; it's a hell of a thing.
"Soveliss, you tease!" Madam Saru replies. The image vanishes. "You're welcome to gamble in my room," I reply with a grin. "Then you might be teased some more." I let my eyebrows waggle at her. The chaotic swirls in my head are demanding more. More magic, more madness. MORE.
She offers a wry grin. "I'll send your food upstairs." I bow to her politely and make my way up, keeping a tight rein on the howling in my blood. I wave to a few other passersby, offering more trademark smiles, then enter my room.
The moment the door is closed, the smile is blasted away, replaced by a silent scream as the magic begins to flare up all around. An end table holding a very nice vase with wildflowers in it is dissolved by a splash of acid. My writing desk begins changing colors with rapid abandon. A disembodied hand flies about the room, knocking things over. I go through this every night. But the return from adventure and combat, those nights are always the worst. Magic feeds itself. The more I use it, the more it wants to be used. Chaos in the blood.
It must have been fifteen minutes of this. Maybe more. My mind raced. We killed a Yomi Prince, Kodu, Naligor, Syd, and I. And the prizes we got were extraordinary. The staff delighted Kodu beyond belief. One of the five elemental weapons. The ogre I manipulated him into fighting and slaying yesterday must be completely gone from his mind now. Naligor certainly didn't seem to mind. I am findiing that he and I seem to think alike in many things. A welcome respite from the loathing I've been getting from others. Oranssi has a quiet, elitist racism about my human side. Nothing I haven't dealt with a thousand times from elves like him growing up, but it's disappointing nonetheless. He is like Kodu in that he doesn't like my methods, but his way of expressing it is… unworthy of a cleric of Orestia, I believe.
Kodu, once he got past the initial shock of my techniques, still has a lot of limiting ethical issues that get in our way, but it seems like I'm finding new ways to circumvent that. He just needs plausible deniability, like with yesterdays's ogre. That seems to work well enough for now.
I scored some points with Syd, the newest member of the charter. She had smuggled some kind of magical potions for herself. From the ogre's stash, most likely. I saw their magic auras. I said nothing. Our eyes met for a moment. I knew what she had, and she knew I knew. Maybe keeping her secret will be the start of some trust there. She seems skittish, like she doesn't trust many people. Living on the streets, I suppose that might be a normal development. Maybe we'll end up being friends, though.
I don't think Eucarion hates me, per se, but I think he sometimes hates my looks when he is so very scarred. I wonder how he earned those scars, but I don't think I'll ask. It's his business. If he wants to share it, he will in his own time. And at the festival the other day I think he came under the impression that I'm trying to steal Odiri out from under him.
I'm not pursuing Odiri. At least, not the way Eucarion seems to think. Odiri is simultaneously the easiest and the hardest to read. She wears her heart on her sleeve, and tries to hide her feelings with anger. She feels inadequate, with this constant need to prove her worth. To whom? Well, I think that's based on how drunk she is. Half the time she wants to prove things to herself. The other half, to Eucarion. I think ift he two of them can get out of their own damn ways, they might be able to find some happiness for a while.
But she's also hard to read. She seems to have a quiet disapproval of me, like some of hte others do. The others make sense to me, even if I don't agree with their reasons. But Odiri I can't figure. She seemed genuinely surprised when i was nice to her the other day. As if she thought I might be cruel. Maybe I've laughed at her random follies once too often. But how do you explain to someone that you laugh to fight off the screams? That the magic fights every second to consume you, and that it's like this powerful opium that feeds itself endlessly? Laughter seems to be the only weapon I have against the bubbling chaos in my blood.
I'm lost in thought. Minutes? Hours? Slumped against the frame of my bed as magics wizz and fly around the room. Then there is a knock.
Chaos in the blood. My eyes come back into focus. The slack-jawed look of vacant horror is shaken away. With a word, I dismiss the errant magics running rampant in the room. They've been fed well, and are starting to quiet again. I force myself to my feet and make my way to the door. I plaster on my usual pleasant smile and open up. It's Shei, carrying a tray of food. "Good evening, Shei!" I say warmly. She flushes and smiles in turn. "Good evening Mr. Soveliss! I have your dinner." I gesture for her to come in. "Shei, really! You can just call me Soveliss. 'Mister' is so formal. And I'm terrible at formal!" I offer a brief chuckle. "O-okay, S-soveliss," she says. I notice her hair shift, and I see a wildflower tucked above one ear. Like the ones I had destroyed earlier. Best not to call attention to that little mishap.
I pull a coin seemingly out of thin air, letting it dance on my knuckles for a moment. I give it a final spin, then flip it in the air for her to catch. "How do you do that?" she exclaims.
I give her a serious look, locking eyes with her. "I'm magic."
I can't keep the straight face up for too long, and I crack a grin. She gives me an exasperated look and swats at me. With a final titter, I snatch up one of her hands. "It's all in the wrist and knuckles" I say, tracing imaginary lines. I feel her pulse quicken, and her other hand is gliding up my arm, beginning to stroke my ear.
The ear is a serious erogenous zone for those with elven blood. Maybe Shei's hand went there by sheer incident.
Or maybe Shei was less innocent than I had given her credit for.
She was warm. I knew this because she had suddenly pressed herself against me. "Shei…" I started, but she was already leaning forward and kissing my earlobe. "This is a bad idea" I said as my traitorous hand reached around and began to pull on the srawstrings of her apron. "This will not end well," I tried to insist as she began unbuttoning my robe and and my disobedient hand began to search for ways to loosen her dress.
Mutinous hand or not, this really could end spectacularly badly. Yet now not one but both hands disagreed.
Chaos in the blood; it's a hell of a thing.