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Gareth and Arylin in the Bathhouse

Gareth enters the bathhouse, looking for Arilyn, finding her alone and headed for the pool.

Arilyn walks towards the pool...drawn to the water..towards peace and solitude. She unstraps her sword and slips off her top as she nears the pool, alone with her thoughts. She lowers her pants, naked...free of the clothing that for her seems so unnatural. She dips her toe into the water and gently splashes the water. The sound is so refreshing. She speaks to her reflection in the water. "I never try to hurt anybody. Since joining this group we have seen death and sadness. There has been fire, destruction and deception. A piece of my heart dies each time I see death. The only way I can survive is to make light of things, to try and make people smile. I love to tease Jahl and I feel so warm when he teases me back. Kay's beauty and her spirited captured my heart so quickly and I have made a terrible fool of myself with her. I have insulted Wulfgar by throwing the amulet of Callus back at him. I thought by teasing him he would know that I was sorry. Now, I don't feel that I can ask for the amulet back...and I am so confused at what god or goddess to follow...when in the end I think it will be they that choose me and not me to choose them. At the Inn, I was made a fool of. Did Wulfgat not realize how I would feel..what the others would think. I was treated like a little girl in front of comrades that will think of me forever as just that. A little girl who gets spanked...even worse, a woman who somehow enjoyed being spanked. Perhaps Krahs, who rules the sea, has powers over this pool...and will take me away forever...taking away my breath...letting my spirit find happiness again with my love who died so long ago."

In a speed rivaling cosmic, the knight spins an about face and remains in attention guarding the doorway, but fastidiously avoiding gazing upon the undoubtedly disrobed party member. Gareth speaks not, allowing Arilyn to complete her bath, then shepherds her back to the inn.

The knight clears his throat several times during Arilyn's speech, but remains facing away. Rich, deep, thoughtfilled words carry back to the troubled soaking woman. "Many people deal with the horrors of the world in such a manner, Arilyn, and bring much joy and peace to those around them. Your manner is similar to one of my friends back at the monastary, may he rest in peace, a fellow who never failed to find the joy in the mundane, or the humour in the darkness. It is a talent I have always envied, for my mind sees the practical and the need over the pleasure and the moment... once in a double moon, I manage to surpass it, but such is rare for me in even informal settings, much less when I am in command of a company for my King. Take to heart that your expression aids others, helps them through difficult times, and lends shield to their spirit to resist bleakness. The trick, for you, I would think is to look at your own words and defences and take comfort from them also... you, more than any other, can appreciate their source, and their value." A long pause goes by. "I do think that you do your companions a misjustice to believe them unwilling to forgive Arilyn; mistakes are a fact of life. Use your humour and laugh your way back into comfort with Kay; I expect she has not even noticed that you are out of it. As for Wulfgar and the amulet..." Gareth carefully chooses his next words, silently running through a few responses, before shruging his shoulders and falling back on the basic truth he holds near. "I would be lying if I were to say I believe any god better to follow than my Lord Pikahl, so let me say so openly. For me, at least. Many others find him a hard one to follow; he is strict, his demands are much, the worldly rewards are little, and life in his service is to be shed for others, not preserved at their expense. His spirit and purpose, however, are what attract me so strongly, even in my own weakness." A small, quiet sigh escapes as the paladin exhales. "I, too, feel that the gods choose us more than we pick one out of an apple barrel at Summer festival. If you have not felt the pull to one diety yet, keep your mind open and listening, not confused with self-berating mental words. Apologize to Wulfgar and Kay if it makes you feel better; play a harmless prank on them if the same does. The key is to listen to yourself." Another pause punctuates the silence. "I do not agree in Wulfgar's action, but neither do I think that everyone will view you as a child. Respond to it with a jest of your own, treat it lightly, something that will take away from the significance it holds to you...but do talk to Wulfgar and explain how his action affected you. I could be wrong," Gareth's tone, although muted for respect, is quite incredulous at the notion :), "But I suspect our companion did not think about the repercussions of his act. You are doing the same with surrendering to loss and despair. The Arilyn I know is a fiery young elven lass, who trips and proves her mortal nature, but rebounds and struggles onward to make the world a little better, a little brighter. Take that spirit, that love for others, to heart... it makes you incredibly valuable. There are times when I look over our party and feel my spirit soar at so many folk willing to put the welfare of others before themselves; in truth, I privately consider our group "The King's Shield," much as servants of Pikahl are the shields against evil for all people... but I wander." The paladin pauses a very long time. "Do not despair, Arilyn. I have failed my god, even so severely as for him to remove the accruments that come with his service. Such failing is a painful tearing within me, and despair has risen many times seeking to pull me under. Giving in is easy, looking away is easy, allowing someone else to suffer because it is not you... those are easy... and wrong. Evil must be confronted and defeated or renounced, and conceeding is not an option. Defeat in service is a victory, but not trying is a waste before the attempt would have begun. Forgive my prattle... I know none of you much care for my discussion... please, enjoy your bath."

She keeps her back turned to Gareth...carefully listening to each and every word. She does not move, and waits for him to finish, his words comforting her. When his last word crosses his lips, Arilyn turns her head and smiles warmly. You have had my respect and admiration from the first time I saw you. You made me feel very wanted and cared for and I will not forget the kindness you have shown me.

"It is what, I think, we are meant to do upon this world; I am quite glad to hear that I have made your merge into the group more comfortable."Gareth replies.

She turns, her body shining...the light bouncing off the water and over her body. Her breath quickens and her pink nipples change to a caramel brown firmness. Her eyes sparkle as she moistens her lips with the tip of her tongue.

Gareth, back turned and oblivious to the interior of the bathhouse, continues his stiff-backed watch of the outside doors.

Kay enters the bath house, and discovers a red faced Gareth facing the door, his back to a very naked Arilyn.

"Greetings, Kay. I trust all is well at the tavern?" The knight's gaze is very, very tightly focused on Kay's eyes.

Kay centers her eyes on his, "The food was overpriced, the stew had far too many boiled carrots in it, however the war-god was an unexpected pleasure. He basically went on about how you guys don't realize how important you are to the world, and how I'm supposed to aid you all in pushing back the darkness and the what-not. He was a little more descriptive, but wished that I not go into details and wanted you all to 'choose your own path.' Oh, and Keldar told me about that book of yours, I take it you will be destroying it?"

Gareth's eyes widen again at the mention of diety intervention and his eyes light up with hope. "Whom-which diety spoke to you? Pikahl?"

"He was a tall, pale guy who called himself Imbrol. His symbol is engraved on the blade of the sword.", she lets out a sigh. "And what a find blade it is! I could spend the next fifty years of my life pulling in the jobs I was getting on better days, and still not have the money to purchase such a weapon." Kay keeps her eyes centered on Gareth's, as she blindly fishes for one of the cleaning sponges. "As for the book, what do you mean by 'completing it'? Do you mean a ceremony to destroy the book? I'd hate to be around if someone of equal evil would get wind of it."

"Oh..." the paladin's voice drops and the light dims back to normal.
"I am glad you now realize the important and difficulty of our task, and hope you appreciate your value to the team.. and feel welcome with us. Regarding Keldar's book... I am hoping that the temple of Callus will hold what is necessary to complete it.. many of the components for the ceremony I know are not here, and I know little about substitutioning replacements. It is an evil thing, and pouring one's self into it seeking anything can only bring despair."

" Kay keeps her eyes centered on Gareth's, as she blindly fishes for one of the cleaning sponges. "As for the book, what do you mean by 'completing it'? Do you mean a ceremony to destroy the book? I'd hate to be around if someone of equal evil would get wind of it."

"Yes... I wish to remove that evil thing, but require special components.. and aid from Pikahl. I had hoped the diety you mentioned might have been Pikahl announcing he would step in... but I fear I have yet to regain his graces." Gareth sets his shoulders stoically and continues to ignore the washing women.

"No, sorry. I couldn't even utter a word in his presence, let alone ask for Pikahl. Now, unless you're planning on hoping in yourself, you'll have to excuse me while I get cleaned up abit. I still smell of smoke."

Arilyn quickly washes...dries off...slips her clothes back on and heads over to the temple.

Gareth walks Arilyn back, suggests that someone might be kind enough to wait for Kay at the bath house, and has Wulfgar accompany him to the temple.


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