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Graphic Sexual Content A Lost Ranger
June 21st tag Arjay
Emberverse-Main

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#1
There had been a flash of light, and a searing pain, like nothing she'd ever felt, like nothing she'd ever heard of, except in the stories that she'd heard about the Change, and the grim days that had followed. And then.....

She'd been standing near Lost Lake, holding the Sword of the Lady in her hand. It had seemed almost anti-climactic, after she'd traveled to the site in secrecy, the first person in centuries who wasn't the High King or the High Queen to be allowed to reach the Lake. Who had been allowed to touch the Sword of the Lady, or at least part of it. The part that existed beyond time and space.

It had seemed odd, then, that she was in the same place that she'd been in before she'd touched the Sword. So she'd started hiking out, which had been a trivial task for a battle hardened, fully trained member of the Dunedain Rangers.

Those were the same skills that had allowed her to notice the subtle changes in the terrain and vegetation that told her that this was not the Crown Forest Demense, nor any place in that part of Montival.

The same finely honed skiils, she thought with an ironic smile, allowed her to identify the inn that was in front of her. It wasn't one she'd seen when she'd traveled on the caravan routes as an ohtar-the Dunedain equivalent of a squire-, before the War. But she recognized the type. She could picture the common room, the rough wooden tables, the beer, the bowls of...yes, that was stew, venison, with some vegetables her nose spotted. Still, it seemed to be in good repair, which made her hopeful that the beer wouldn't be sour, and that the beds wouldn't have her scratching fleas and picking lice for a fortnight.

And a place like this was always a good place to get information, so she headed inside and walked up to the bar. "A pint of beer, goodman." she said politely, using the honorific common in Association territories. She looked around the room, surveying the scene in front of her.
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#2
Wednesdays were terrible for business. Oh, there were some regulars that he could always count on, of course. There was a dwarf that always came in for a drink after work and few humans who liked drinking while arguing over the virtues of the strange letters they wore on their clothing. There was, of course, the ever-eloquent Morn, though he seemed to be in a very reflective mood off on his normal stool in the corner. Arjay, therefore, had been enjoying a very quiet day comparatively. It offered enough to see that he wasn’t worried for his business, but not so much that he couldn’t enjoy the book he’d acquired from one of the human worlds.

He looked up from his reading when one of the barmaids brought him his meal, and his eyes fixed on the new arrival at the bar with a raised eyebrow. Well now… he couldn’t say that seeing someone from a world that resembled his (at least, by her appearance and equipment) was unheard of, but it was, indeed, a rarity. He took a few moments to study the girl, her posture, her equipment. She looked a bit trail-weary, something that wasn’t exactly common in the Hub, where everyone could get where they wanted to go easily enough. Had she possibly had a long journey, then, returning to the Hub from another world? Quite possible, but people who did so usually rested in their own borough before heading down this way. No, this girl had the inquisitive look of a newcomer about her, which was raised the elf’s interest even more.

Picking up the wooden bowl (obviously Arjay could afford finer dishes, but there was something charming about wooden bowls that he could never quite get past) filled with stew, he returned his book to the bag of holding at his hip and made his way across the room to where the girl was waiting for her drink. “One of the dwarven kegs, Sam,” he told the bartender. “The lady looks like she’s come a long way to get here, leave the weaker drinks for the Brothers over there,” he added, gesturing at the loud humans in the corner, where the group in blue… Phi something, he still hadn’t learned all of those strange letters, seemed to be overcoming their drinking partners by sheer numbers.

That done, he turned his attention to the girl, taking the opportunity to study her a bit more closely. Her sword seemed heavier than his, but that was true of most human swords when compared to those of Elven craftsmanship. Her clothes showed definite signs of road-wear, and he began to reaffirm his assessment that the woman was a new arrival in the Hub. “Fair evening, milady,” he said, offering her a charming, if crafty, smile, and a slight bow before he sat. “And welcome to my establishment. Arjay Lo’Ran, at your service. The sight of a new face in my inn is always a pleasure, but I can’t recall the last time that it was this pleasing.” There was a playful sparkle in his eye, but he didn’t pursue it any further than that… yet. Sam was returning with their drinks, and frankly, the task of making sure the girl was acclimated to the world was a bit more important than showering her with compliments. “If I might ask, what services will you be needing from us today? Lodging? Repairs?”
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Emberverse-Main

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#3
Luthien had been looking around the, well, remarkably well appointed inn. Truthfully, it had more in common with the hall of an Associating noble, or, to be more exact in her comparison, Stardell Hall in Mirthilwood than it did with any inn she'd seen, but this was clearly an inn, not a private home.

This inn clearly drew a mix of travelers from many places, some of them in garb more exotic than any she'd seen in Salem or Portland. A few in clothing that looked almost like the pictures she'd seen in her history books, the dress of the lost Ancients. The man who was approaching her, though, was dressed in clothing not unlike her own.

No. she realized with a start. This wasn't a man. This was.....

An Elf.

An Elf.

But how? They had left Middle Earth at the end of the Third Age.

Had she traveled back in time, to the days recounted in The Histories?

Had the Sword sent her to Valinor itself?

Mind racing with questions, she was somewhat taken by surprise by his friendly, almost casual greeting. The mild flirtation of his compliment. And his inquiry, the sort of thing any publican might ask. Almost, she thought with bemusement, the greeting one would expect from a hobbit, not an elf.

But an elf he was, and she knew her manners "A star shines on the hour of our meeting, my lord. My name is Luthien Vogeler. I will need lodging, and a bath, for a start, if you would be so kind." as she spoke, she hoped that her Sinadrin was comprehensible. The Rangers had worked hard to maintain the purity of the Noble Tongue, but....well, as far as she knew, she was the first Ranger in the 5th Age to speak to an Elf.
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#4
Well now, this was a surprise. The girl spoke Elven… or, at least, she sort of spoke Elven. The dialect was very… rustic, he supposed. It was much like the dialect that his mother’s tribe spoke, but with some obvious regional differences. Still, it was much better than he expected from most humans, and at least she made an effort! Of course… it did beg the question of where, exactly, she was from that she knew Elven. He had assumed she was from one of the Earths, but this made him consider otherwise. “It shines brightly at that, my lady,” he replied in the same tongue, not correcting her own words, but using the correct ones himself regardless. He bowed again, extending his hand to her. If she was going to play this formally… well, that was quite a pleasant surprise, and he wasn’t one to disappoint at that. “A room and a bath will be arranged, and quickly… and if you find you need anything further in either of them, I can see to the matter personally,” he added, a smile that was half courtesy, half mischief crossing his face.

“But first… I’m curious from whence you hail, my fair Luthien. It’s not often that I hear a human speaking my tongue, and never since I came to this world. You have the look of one who’s traveled far, and one usually does not do so without a purpose. Might I know yours?” It was, of course, possible that the lady would tell him to take his questions and apply them someplace uncomfortable, but she didn’t seem to be inclined to do so. Indeed, from the way he’d seen her eyes lock onto his ears, the sudden straightening of her back, the catch in her throat as she began to speak… she wasn’t inclined to be anything but respectful to him, which was very, very interesting.
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Emberverse-Main

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#5
He understood her Sindarin. His accent was different from hers, which was to be expected. But the important point was that her speech was comprehensible to him. Luthien couldn't help but smile with unalloyed delight at this affirmation that the Dunedain Rangers had managed to successfully revive and preserve the Noble Tongue.

"I'm sure that the room and the bath will be delightful." Luthien replied, certain that the rooms would be as well appointed as the common area where they were presently. She couldn't help but blush a little at the suggestive comment. Luthien was no stranger to flirtation, but it had been some time since she'd sought it out and receiving such attention from an ELF was more than a little overwhelming. Not unwelcome, but overwhelming.

And then he was asking her about her Quest. It was like something out of the Histories, and the possibility of an Elf joining her Quest, or even just helping her along the way, as Galadriel had the Fellowship....it thrilled her to her very bones. "I come from the High Kingdom of Montival." she replied "Even there, few speak the Noble Tongue, it had been forgotten after the last of the Elves left Middle Earth, to travel to Valinor, at the end of the Third Age. The Founders of the Dunedain Rangers revived it after the Change, using the information that they'd learned from the Histories." for a moment she looked a bit embarrassed "in the years that followed we added new words, the vocabulary in the Histories was lacking in some ways." many of those were related to sex and other similarly earthy functions that had no place in an epic tale. "It gladdens my heart that my speech can be understood by one of the People of the Stars. As for my Quest...."

Luthien lightly touched the pommel of the Sword of the Lady. It caught the light oddly, as though the Sword was both solid and not solid, both energy and matter, both a physical object and an abstract concept at the same time. "This is The Sword of the Lady. It was given to King Artos the First, he and his Queen, Mathilda. Or part of the Sword, anyway. It is a thing of great power, and I have been given the Task of taking the Sword elsewhere. I do not know where the Sword is Destined to travel, I must trust in the gods, and in the Sword itself to guide me. I have been travelling for many days. First I went to Lost Lake, where the Sword of the Lady, or the part of the Sword it is my task to bear, was placed by Artos and Mathilda. After I pulled The Sword from the Stone, I found myself here. Wherever 'here' is. I do not even know where the Sword sent me, at first I thought I was still in Middle Earth, but if this is Middle Earth, it cannot be the Fifth Age." she looked at Arjay hopefully, waiting for him to offer some assistance.
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#6
Amusingly, the human woman didn’t seem to be opposed to his advances, which Arjay decided that he was going to have to remember for later. At the moment, the matter of her immediate purposes was more pressing to him, particularly when she began relating the details of her world (or at least, what he assumed were the beginning of details of her world) and the quest she was on. Oh, he didn’t doubt her words. He was, after all, studied in magic, and even that was fairly unnecessary to sense the magic of the sword.

“Sam, bring the lady some stew,” he said, turning his attention momentarily from the fetching young swordbearer. As the bartender moved to comply, he gathered his thoughts to address everything that the girl had told him. “Well, I believe that answering your last question will help with any further conversation, milady. I am afraid that you are not in your Middle Earth any longer, although you may find that parts of this place resemble it. This place is… between worlds. Those who stay here for any length of time call it the Hub. From here, you can reach… well, presumably any world you wish, though it’s yet to be tested to my knowledge.”

“As to the details of your quest… well, I might be some sort of help with that, but I’m afraid that you will need to tell me more. I’m afraid I’m not of your world either, though it appears that my people passed through it at some time or other. These things are known to happen, there are tales of the arrival of my ancestors on my world, but that’s neither here nor there at the moment.” He moved back slightly, letting the barkeep set her meal down before he moved on with the conversation. “What is important, is that you bear an instrument of your gods, and they are not given out lightly. If I may?” he asked, extending his hand toward her sword. He looked at her eyes, waiting for that telltale look of assent before he rested his hand on it, feeling the tingling magic against his skin. “I’ve held many enchanted swords in my life,” he said, grasping the hilt as he studied it, lifting it in the sheath without quite drawing it to feel the weight of it. “I’ve held those made for war and those made for protection. I’ve born swords blessed by sorcery, by nature and by the divine itself, and this sword… has the feel of destiny about it.” His eyes returned to hers, calmly studying their depths, weighing the spirit he saw behind them. “What that destiny will be? That’s not for me to say, but I would see this through, if you would wish assistance”
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Emberverse-Main

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#7
Luthien nodded with understanding as Arjay told her about the place she was in. It made sense, it was well known that the Sword was a thing apart from time and space. It must have guided her here, perhaps to find the Companions that she would need to complete her Quest. Or perhaps the Sword was to go out of the world, and it was her task to take it there. That thought was somewhat disquieting, she had to admit. She had hoped that when the Quest was over that she could go back to Stath Ingolf. But if that was not her destiny...well, there were clearly many wonders to see in this place, and in the worlds beyond it.

She accepted the stew with a murmur of thanks, and began to eat, listening as Arjay spoke. The stew was excellent and, as she'd guessed, it was venison, well seasoned and with plenty of vegetables. The flavor of the meat was comfortable, and homey, the Rangers kept no herds of their own, save for horses, which were geasa to eat, and most of the meat they ate came from hunting. When he asked to touch the Sword she nodded her assent. Luthien would not ask another to carry it for long, the task had been given to her and it was unwise to go against the wishes of the Sword of the Lady, as wicked Prince Edward had learned in her great-grandparent's day. But it was also known that the Sword would not harm the just and honorable who touched it without ill intent.

And after he touched it, Arjay asked to join the Quest. This, Luthien thought with a sudden shock, must be one of the reasons why she'd been brought here. Perhaps it was time for Men and Elves to again join in fellowship after being separated for so long. Or perhaps her Quest was so dangerous that it would require the help of Heroes who were beyond what Middle Earth could supply. Either way, an Elf was going to be her Companion. "I welcome you to our Fellowship." she said, grinning. "As for my Quest.....I do not know what information would help you, should I begin with the history of my Quest, or of the Sword of the Lady?"
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#8
Even if it were not for the obvious importance of this quest (in her world, at least), this conversation would have been worth it just for how delightful the woman was to speak with. Oh, he hadn’t lacked for stimulating conversation since he’d come here, of course, but there was something refreshing about someone whose world thought so similarly to his. “Our fellowship… limited though it may presently be,” he said, smiling in amusement, without really losing the seriousness of the situation. “I suppose I won’t be enough, we will need more help than just this, but I think that here, where we might have access to warriors and heroes from countless worlds, we have the best chance of finding the help we will need.” Obviously, he’d bring the matter up to Steve. Perhaps he knew of people they could summon for help. If all else failed, there were the Harpers that could help them… and, on reflection, if this world were like his, Fizzle might be helpful there.

“What I need to know, honored Swordbearer, is about your world, first of all. If I’m to help you find those that could help in your world, I need to understand the place that we will be journeying in. I’m assuming, of course, that it is your world to which we will be returning, it does stand to reason.” And, if it wasn’t her world, knowing about it was still of interest to him. As was noted, the woman was pleasant company, and very pleasing on the eyes. Knowing her culture was both polite and useful in more personal endeavors. “But first… if we’re to be joined on a quest of this import, it ought to be sealed properly.”

With a brief, arcane chant and a gesture, a ghostly hand appeared, reaching down beneath the counter for a bottle from the cabinet beneath. He didn’t need to look for where it was, he knew where all of his bottles were stored. The one he retrieved was transparent, showing off the iridescent red liquid inside. As the hand shifted back to retrieve the wine glasses, Arjay murmured a quiet word as he uncorked it, light burst from it, forming thirteen distinct points around the bottle. “Among my people, we celebrate beginnings and endings with elverquisst, and it must be done precisely. First, we pay our thanks to the gods.” As he poured out the glasses, he made the chant quietly, though it was in high elven, not the more common tongue of the forest people. “You swirl the wine, and you share it,” he said, swirling one of the glasses so that the shining liquid coated the inside of the glass, then passing it to Luthien, “We bow in thanks,” he continued, bowing his head toward her and smiling as she did the same, “And we drink.” And what did the wine taste like? Well, the tastes of fruit were obvious, as was the potent undertones of alcohol. How does one describe drinking distilled sunlight, though? Arjay had never even tried to do so, knowing that none of his considerable poetics would do it justice, and he had never heard anyone manage it sufficiently either. He was quite sure, though, that Luthien would never have tasted anything like it.
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#9
Luthien nodded in agreement. She hadn't expected that an Elf would be so merry, but it made sense that Elves would be as varied as Men, some serious and some jolly. It was a pleasant discovery. "If Heroes from many places are here, then this would be a good place to find Companions for my Quest." she agreed. "Although it does make me worry a little about the difficulty of the Quest, since traditionally the skills of the people who set forth on a Quest are only what is needed to carry it off successfully." the last was said with a little smile, and meant half in jest.

"I scarcely know where to begin...." Luthien said. Which was only the truth, she'd never met someone from another world, and she had never given any thought to how to describe an entire world to a person wholly unfamiliar with it. But then he was pausing that part of the conversation, and offering her a drink.

And offering it to her in the most spectacular way. Luthien wasn't unfamiliar with magic, she'd seen it done many times, even leaving aside her recent experiences with the Sword of the Lady. But most of the magic she'd seen had been things of the mind and spirit, not what Arjay had done, which was to casually use magic to pick up a bottle, and she couldn't help but gape a little. And once he poured...well, she wasn't sure which was more impressive, the way that he picked up the bottle, or what was contained with in it. She followed his example and repeated the motions a beat after him. Not matching his grace, of course. How could she? But, she thought, doing quite well for a human. And when she drank...

The slight burn told her that the drink contained alcohol, but beyond that the flavor was almost indescribable. It was like eating a peach that was perfectly ripe and warm from the sun, but more than that. It was like no fruit she'd ever tasted and the warmth wasn't just from the liquor, it was "This is amazing." she said reverently "You honor me by sharing this. Thank you."
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#10
“An interesting thought,” Arjay mused, considering her point. “If the powers that set your quest sent you this far abroad, perhaps the quest requires skills that aren’t present in your world. That’s a very… intriguing thought, I suppose, and it leads me to wonder just what this quest will be. I suppose we’ll know in good time, won’t we.” Jest or not, the lady raised an interesting point.

From her amazement at his little displays, he could tell that the lady had little exposure to magic, leading Arjay to question just how much was in her world. There had to be some, and a reasonable amount, or else his people couldn’t have survived there. Magic was, to elves, like air. Without it, they would slowly die. For them to have been there, some needed to be present, but perhaps the art had been lost when his people had retreated… or perhaps they had retreated from the world when magic began to die. Time would tell, he supposed.

“The honor is mine in being able to share it with you, Swordbearer,” he answered her, refilling both glasses before he began to actually eat his stew. “But I appear to have interrupted your explanations. Begin wherever you like, I’m sure that the story will flow from that point as we speak, conversation usually does work like that. You’ve already spoken of changes and your order and the departure of my people… start with those, and move forward as is relevant. I’m sure we’ll stumble across the relevant facts as we go. Unless, I suppose, you tire of my company and don’t wish to speak as long as that might take?” He offered her a playful smile as he waited for her reply.
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Emberverse-Main

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#11
"Or mayhaps I will need people who can guide me through places that I do not know." Luthien mused "That was what happened in the first Quest, when the Sword of the Lady was brought back from Nantucket. Without Ingolf the Wanderer" modestly, Luthien didn't mention that he was her own ancestor "to provide introductions and act as a guide, it would have been a much harder journey for all of them. But, as you say, we shall see, when the time comes. As our Companions assemble, and I hope, when the Sword itself guides me on the path I must tread."

Luthien nodded in acknowledgement of the compliment, and sipped the second glass slowly as she tucked into her stew. "Oh, I think that you will tire of my company long before I tire of your's Silverhair. To begin with your people, truthfully, Elves have not been seen in my world sense the end of the Third Age. At that time, magic began to diminish, and the Elves left Middle Earth for Valinor, that was many thousands of years ago, then came the long Fourth Age began, and the decline of Men continued. There were those among the Rangers who hoped that with the start of the Fifth Age, with magic returned and the Age of Heroes was born anew that perhaps the Elves would return, but that was not to be, or at least it hasn't happened as yet."
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#12
Arjay couldn’t help laughing, just a bit. “Oh, my dear ranger. You’ve not yet learned firsthand just how patient my people can be. We don’t easily bore of a subject until we’ve explored it thoroughly, and let me assure you, I can be very, very thorough.” He offered her another roguish smile as he refilled their glasses. Her tale made a bit of sense, from his experience with his people’s history. He had no idea what ‘Valinor’ was supposed to mean, but the People retreating from a world? Yes, that was something he heard of.

“If, as you say, magic left the world, then your tale makes sense. Without magic, my people would wither and die like a fish removed from the pond. If they knew that magic was diminishing, they would have left the world for another in which they could survive… possibly one with more of our people in it. As for their return…” He considered it, trying to find a way that would not sound callous. Sadly, there really didn’t seem to be one. “As far as their return, I understand the sentiment. The elves who departed your world, though, would have forged a new home in the world on which they arrived. They would have become… rooted there, perhaps not those who made the journey, but their children, most definitely. Perhaps, if something happened on that world, they would have looked for a new world to call home, but if your world had grown uninhabitable to them to cause them to leave, I don’t know that they would look back toward it.”
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#13
"I'm sure that you can be." Luthien replied, returning the smile. She had always enjoyed flirting, and even if Arjay hadn't been an elf, he would have been a fine specimen. "Its a fine quality, and one that I look forward to seeing you display in the future." which was no less than the unvarnished truth. Even if she wasn't certain that his flirting was in earnest. According to the Histories, Elves were not given to casual affairs, and often looked on humans as less than appealing. On the other hand, it was clear that this Elf was from a different people than the ones in the Histories, and much time had passed. So maybe...well, time would have to tell.

Luthien nodded in understanding "That is one of the theories that I've heard suggested." she smiled slightly "Usually on a warm summer evening, over several bottles of wine. Among the Rangers 'talking about the return of the Elves' is a by-word for 'spending a long time talking about nothing in particular', rather like 'debating the Change' was in the olden days. Still, its disappointing to find out that the Elves are unlikely to return to Middle Earth. Which makes my good fortune in meeting you even greater."
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#14
“Well, my lady, whenever you wish me to demonstrate just what a careful, thorough study I can be, by all means, let me know,” he answered with a sly smile. All he needed was that one little sign of assent to his flirting, and he knew that it was acceptable to proceed. That was all he needed. Oh, he’d let the lady set the pace, that was only polite, but quite a lot about this woman pleased him. Her manners pleased him, her wit pleased him, her appearance pleased him… well, he could go on about the pleasing being done, but that might be getting ahead of himself.

“When my people have a place that they’ve made their own, they tend to guard it fiercely, and retreat beneath the inevitableness of time. Sharing the land with humans… we’ve found that it often does not turn out as well as we might hope. My own city, Myth Drannor, has seen its fair share of dischord simply because our peoples as groups tend to not think well enough alike, and yes, I will admit that the fault has lain on both sides of the divide.” Somehow, it always came down to humans and elves. Dwarves, halflings, gnomes… they for some reason did not tend to raise as much strive as humans and elves did. “Still, when the sharing works? It works beautifully.”

"Still, what would inspire such thought of my people, when yours have the whole world now to themselves? I know many in my world that would rejoice at the ability to use the world as they saw fit, without any interference from my people."
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#15
"Oh? One of the Children of the Stars would be interested in spending so much time offering such a demonstration to a mere woman of the Afterborn?" Luthien asked, her tone teasing, but the question was meant in earnest. "Is it that times have changed, or is that part of the Histories less than accurate?" not that she minded flirting for flirting's sake, but if he was serious...well, that would be welcome as well. She hadn't been with anyone since her Beren died, and that was almost two years ago. And now, in a strange place, faced with a dire and dangerous quest, the idea of a little pleasure was appealing. Especially if it meant getting to sleep with an Elf.

"In the Histories, the rivalry and ill feeling was between Elves and Dwarves, and there was more friendship between Men and Elves." Luthien said "But perhaps Middle Earth was an exception to the rule. As for why my people would want to see the Elves return....well, the details make a long tale, well suited to the fire side on a long winter's night, but the Dunedain Rangers, as they exist now, are a revival of the Rangers, formed in the first years after the Change, as they were described in the Histories. And those first Rangers were elf-friends, some of them even carrying a trace of Elvish ancestry. We...continued the tradition, you might say."
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#16
“My dear, I’m a moon elf. Star elves are something entirely different, and honestly they’re a bit snobbish.” After all, if you spent thousands of years hidden away in a demiplane that you created so that you didn’t have to deal with other races, you were a bit xenophobic, although it was more a fear of inevitability than actual hostility, he knew. Sun elves… Well, Arjay hated admitting to the woman that there were those of his people that held those views, but he didn’t wish to lie to her. “Some of my people prefer to look down on those races that are shorter-lived. Some simply see growing close to them as an exercise in loss, since you know that you are going to survive that person for quite some time. Some of us, though, like to embrace the energy and joy in life that comes from the more restless races.”

He smiled slyly, leaning in closer to her, reaching out and tucking her road-worn hair back behind her ear, letting his thumb trace slowly along the curve of her jaw. “And for some, it’s a much more important calling. My goddess is the goddess of love and beauty, and who am I to forsake those things that she holds dear? Beauty, passion… they are put on any world for us to appreciate, take pleasure in, be inspired by. Whether it is that first flame of color of the newly-budded spring wildflowers or the flush of a maiden’s cheek when she’s overcome in that one, blissful moment of awakening, we’re not meant to let these things pass quietly by. So when a woman, fair of face and voice, god or goddess chosen, finds her way to the door of a lonely elf, is he to turn away simply because her people are different than his?” As he spoke, he stood from his stool, moving closer, quietly, to her. His eyes slid from hers to the slight part of her lips, then back to hers as his hand cupped her face, his eyes fixed upon hers with an unbreakable gaze. “If that is the way that you wish me to act… then please, say so now, and I will withdraw at once, milady.”
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Emberverse-Main

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#17
Luthien had been expecting for Arjay to return flirtation for flirtation, either encouraging her or subtly letting her know that he was offering no more than banter. Had been expecting that they'd flirt a little more, she'd go up to her room, and maybe, in the next few days, things might move from flirting to something a bit more direct.

Clearly, Arjay had other plans. It wasn't unwelcome, not in the least unwelcome. But this direct approach was unexpected. Welcome, but unexpected. And when he stroked her cheek, cupped her face in a strong, lithe, skilled hand, part of the gasp that escaped her lips was surprise. But only part of it. The rest was simple, honest pleasure at his touch.

"Oh no." Luthien said "Be assured, Silverhair, your attentions are most welcome." as she spoke, she reached up to caress the hand that was touching her cheek "Very, very welcome, in fact. But I think that before I accept your offer, I should finish my stew and visit your bathhouse, I think we would both enjoy things more if I were not dusty and sweaty from the road." she smiled, mischief lighting her eyes "Perhaps you could join me, and wash my back?"
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Dungeons and Dragons-Forgotten Realms

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Mike

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#18
There were times when a gentle hand, or a subtle suggestion, simply wasn’t warranted. Oh, he could have kept giving her subtle compliments, yes, or he could let her feel the full weight of the flattery she deserved, make her heart begin to pound, make her body begin to feel the anticipation of what was to come. He was a very pius man in some circumstances, and this was one of them. Convenient, wasn’t it?

Her response was everything he hoped it would be. Smiling coolly down at her, he twisted his hand under hers, grasping her fingers lightly and drawing them up to his lips. “The lady shows wisdom and has me completely at her disposal. Backs can be such tricky matters to deal with, can’t they?” Well, more to the point, so could hair, so could bodies, so could anything that you felt like letting someone else deal with for you. He kissed her knuckles before releasing her hand with a sly smile, bowing in assent to her suggestion. “So yes, if it pleases you, let us continue to eat. I would never want you to become faint because I distracted you from your meal.” Goddess knew, she was going to need her strength…

He resumed his seat, picking up his bowl and spoon to begin eating as well. A quick murmured spell let him deliver the appropriate instructions to the staff, letting him focus on the company he was keeping. “Although I suppose I must count myself fortunate. I considered it extremely likely that I would be rebuffed in favor of another suitor that didn’t make the journey with you. It would have been fairly embarrassing, but such are the risks I let myself take, and it was well worth the chance.”
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Emberverse-Main

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#19
"And we'll both need our strength later on." Luthien said, grinning at him as she tucked into stew. Now that she had something to look forward to other than the meal she ate a little more rapidly, but carefully, still savoring the meal. It was very good, and she'd eaten enough indifferently prepared meals in second rate inns, or hastily chewed field rations that she'd learned to enjoy a good meal when it was set in front of her. Just as she'd learned to enjoy other pleasures when the opportunity presented itself. And it had been awhile....

Something that Arjay was apparently wondering about as well. "There was." she said, with a casualness that masked the pain of her loss "My...I was married, once. My Beren...he was sent on a raid, during the War of the Jaguar, and things went pear-shaped, and he didn't make it out. That was almost two years ago and there...there hasn't been anyone since then." she snorted, and shook her head "Sorry, we were having a good time, and I'm sure the last thing you want to think of is my dead husband."
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Dungeons and Dragons-Forgotten Realms

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#20
“Oh yes,” Arjay agreed, “We will need every bit of strength we can get. Tonight is a night of glad tidings and meetings. Can we do any less beneath the eyes of the gods than celebrate it as thoroughly as we are able?” The elf, himself, was not hurrying at all. He was the one who decided how all the meals here were prepared, he was the one whose tastes determined what was acceptable, he wasn’t going to do less than appreciate a meal served entirely to his taste.

He was particularly going to appreciate that meal when it would serve to distract him from unpleasant subjects that he brought up. “Ah, I’m sorry, my dear,” he said, wincing. “I understand… I was married as well. I wish I could blame war for my loss, but it was treachery… someone I thought a friend, who let me live simply so that I could feel the shame of letting him get close enough to commit the deed.” Oh, there had been others since then, that much was true. He’d also had enough time to realize, in the aftermath, that he’d been poorly married, but that didn’t change the feeling of loss, that emptiness that you felt when you had your heart torn out before you. “If there hasn’t been anyone since then, my dear, that’s a tragedy of divine proportions,” he said, trying to ease the subject back in a more positive direction. “So perhaps your arrival here is to right many wrongs.”
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