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On this Road Together (Wolf x Rumpleteaser)

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WolfDog12

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Name: Veldoval

Age: Unknown (Probably 20's)

Gender: Male

Species: Aasimar

Class: Warlock

Patron: Arch fey

Position: Slave

 

Personality: Veldoval is very quiet and reserved. He has learned to hold his tongue and chooses not to cause trouble. He tries to not speak out of turn and only focuses his efforts on the well being of others, no longer caring for himself. Even when about to be put to death, he chooses not to fight and rather accepts his fate having been forced into a farther slave mentality. After all, he'd been in the slave house for many many years.

 

Bio: Veldoval was born after the war but before every aasimar had been captured and forced into slavery. His parents were of the two of the few left on the run and somehow managed to hide far up a mountain as far from the other races possible. There, the last few aasimars collected there and started a small secret society. They lived quietly for years and Veldoval was able to be raised in a loving environment. Still, at one point he started to show an affinity for magic and ended up calling upon a fey who was willing to give him magic under certain conditions. So, of course he accepted. It wasn't too much longer after he started to grow in power that his village was discovered and destroyed, the villagers then rounded up and thrown into slavery. Just after, Veldoval was taken from his parents and has been forced to travel around until someone were to come and buy him or he were killed.

 

In time, Veldoval lost hope after trying and failing to escape several times. Now, his wings clipped... one completely mangled and the other ended up tied to his body for years so it grew a bit more dented and strange. Thankfully though, it was nearly fully grown by then so it wasn't as bad as some of the infants who were bound. His Patron dislikes his reserved side but understands that there is no helping it considering his position in the slave market and while they have come to the point of leaving Veldoval alone and have stopped all communication. However, they didn't bother taking the magic they gifted him. For some reason, his fey patron felt bad for him and hoped he'd one day return to his trickster self.

 


[/hr]

 

It was finally the day... This had been the 100th auction Veldoval had been in since he was forced into slavery and still, no one seemed to want him. It was no wonder, his magic had gotten stronger and stronger, though mostly unused as of late, it was still threatening and so, the Auctioneers had finally come to a decision on the young Aasimar's fate.

 

"Dov!" the man shouted, once again butchering the young winged man's name. He was always getting it wrong... No matter how many times they'd seen each other, the man had never once gotten his name right. It was almost too bad that this was what Veldoval would be parting with... another nick name that wasn't his... "You've got one more day to live. Congratulations on being the most impossible to sell slave we've actually attempted to sell," the sick human said and laughed at the caged bird before he walked out of the tent after slapping a huge "For Kill" sign up on his cage. It was strange... people seemed to take young and sick aasimars over him and he was stronger and far more able.

 

It seemed that this was his last day to live.. if no one entered and bought him today, his head would be chopped off in the morning. He'd traveled many years with these slave drivers... He hadn't seem much of the sky or the lands but he'd seen all kinds of people come and go. There were so many races he'd never seen when he was kid. Now, Veldoval had seen it all. Short gnomes or halflings, even some dwarfs. He saw humans of all kinds, tall, short, skinny, fat, rich and poor. There were elves of all kinds. Some with like skin and hair, others with nearly black hair and skin. Heck, in one town, Veldoval even saw a family of bug Bears and a wave of dragonborns of all color. It was amazing. Sadly, that was the only joy he got out of it.

 

Years passed, and if people didn't ignore him, they pointed and jeered or made fun of him or whatever else... He found the tieflings to be the worst generally speaking. Nearly every one he'd seen made some kind of mention to the war and how it was the tieflings who won and thanks to them the other races were safe from the savage aasimars. It was strange though... Because while that was a general rule, people still didn't care for the colorful devils. There was one exception...

 

After a hard beating thanks to the frustration of Veldoval not being sold some time back around his 30s or 40s auction of not being sold, a young tiefling girl, her skin and eyes bright blue with tiny black horns poking out of her fluffy hair, took pity on him and gave him an apple. It was the kindest thing that had happened in many years and he happily accepted and offered her a minor illusion puppy to chase for a little while until her parents found her and told the auctioneer of Veldoval's use of magic earning him another whipping he wasn't able to get off the ground after for weeks.

 

The young Aasimar let out a heavy sigh and slouched back down on the ground and curled up so he could continue to fit in the small cage His wings were both bound tightly around his center, the mangled wing in pain as it always was, the other simply cramped. Both went ignored and Veldoval pushed around his chains on the shackles he wore to gain even the slightest bit more comfort. His dirty feet, bare and hard pulled together on top of one another, as he tucked into himself as much as he could for warmth. Not only could he not use his wings as blankets at the moment, but he wore nothing but a rag dress all the slaves wore... At least prisoners got to wear pants.. Slaves were lucky to get underwear.

 

Veldoval tried to close his eyes and hoped that he would be able to get some rest... Though that was doubtful with his days at their end. This was the last day... He wished he could see the open sky just one more time before he was killed. Though, it seemed rather unlikely.

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Rumpleteaser

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Name: Lucius Piety Damakos

Age: 30

Gender: Male

Species: Tiefling

Class: Cleric

Patron: Salvadiir (chaotic good)

Alignment: Chaotic neutral

Position: 7th son of Lord Damakos

 

Personality: Lucius is demanding but not particularly sadistic. Sometimes he can be nasty, bitter and cold-hearted but he doesn't go out of his way to be cruel to others. Most of his bitterness stems from the distrust people feel for tieflings, the fact he is the youngest son and he will never inherit more than a few paintings. Even other tieflings distrust one another. In general, it takes him (and tieflings in general) time to build up trust with another person. Though he can be very charismatic when he wants to be, he is introverted and needs a lot of time to himself to revitalise. He tends to push people away when he gets into one of his moods. During these times he can often be found in devout worship or studying. It is foolish to bother him when he is in one such mood. He can be snappish at best or cruel at worst.

 

Biography: Lucius comes from royalty and pure bloodlines on either side of his family, reaching back to Asmodeus himself, but he is no heir. As the seventh and youngest son of Lord Erakos Hero Damakos, Lucius was never destined to inherit anything. He had a governess along with his older siblings and a tutor until the age of thirteen but then he was handed over to the clergy of the chaotic good god, Salvadiir. He excelled at cantrips, healing and rituals but was not so good at lore or history. He was more practical than academic.

 

Unfortunately, Lucius did not always have a good time with his clergy because of his race. He was constantly having to prove himself, which became very tiresome at times. His elders felt he was not "good" enough for their patron, though he tried his hardest. He came from a "good" family but his own values were slightly skewed in their opinion. Lucius didn't understand. So long as he did good and obeyed Salvadiir's edicts, did it truly matter what he thought? Lucius learned to hide his beliefs more and his trials built his charisma until they clergy finally believed he was "good" enough to be one of them. Only then, at the age of 21, did he receive his divine tattoos. They are gold against his reddish skin and run from his biceps to his wrists.

 

Since finally being accepted as one of the initiated clergy, Lucius was sent on quests and errands. For the first four years he worked under a senior cleric but now he works on solo missions. Sometimes that would mean freeing slaves, outreaching in impoverished countries, gathering information or even assassinating dictators. He does whatever his faction demands of him. While he doesn't always like to obey their rules or traditions, he never does anything too obscene. He knows his limits well.

 

Currently, Lucius is on a mission that requires him to travel to known aasimar lands. He thinks it is foolish to send a tiefling for such a mission, given that it was the tieflings that brought the aasimar under control. His elders say that it must be him that offers the olive branch of peace exactly because he is a tiefling. Stranger still, he has not been given a partner in his quest. While he prefers to work alone, he believes he will need assistance to complete his quest.

 


 

It was chilly autumn day and Lucius's braids were whipped about by the wind. Steam puffed out of Lucius's mouth with every breath he took, not because it was freezing but because his demonic blood was particularly warm compared to the air around him. He wrinkled his nose while he walked, not particularly liking the fact he had to go to the slave markets at all. Lucius hated slavery and any form of servitude. It disgusted him that he was about to in fact purchase a slave rather than freeing one. It didn't sit right with him or his order but that's what the quest required. He reminded himself that the end justified the means. Even Salvadiir couldn't fault him so long as he accomplished his mission.

 

Still, Lucius wished to be anywhere but a slave market. He shifted his pack on his back uncomfortably and hid the scowl that was threatening to develop. He had to hide the fact he looked down on all these lowly slave drivers with their shoddy ways and evil intent. They were beneath him - common and vulgar. It took everything in him to smile at them politely and show them the respect they thought they deserved. After all, he wanted something from them so he had to play the part. Unfortunately, he had yet to find anything to his liking, which meant he had to spend even more time amongst the crowds.

 

Lucius knew exactly what he wanted, which was why it was taking so long. He wanted an aasimar that wasn't in too bad condition. They needed to be able to survive the journey to the mountains and they needed to be able to obey commands. He didn't want one that would run off at the first chance or try to fight back. They had to have just enough spirit in them to convince the other aasimar that he hadn't been poorly treated by his tiefling master. That was going to be difficult since Lucius wasn't known for his kindness. They had to be an adult too, preferably a male. He would have to choose a good or at least neutral aligned creature that wouldn't turn on him the moment they got to an aasimar hideout. If he was lucky, he'd find all that plus some usable skills. He didn't want to be lumped with a burden that couldn't defend itself. If that happened, he'd have to do the fighting for both of them.

 

Finally, Lucius came to the cage of an aasimir that had a "for kill" sign hanging on its cage. Lucius stood proud over the creature curled up in the cage before remembering to smile at him. It had one mangled wing, which Lucius was sure he could fix, and the other was bound tight to his body. He was rather scrawny and looked like he needed more than a few decent meals to bulk up. Lucius almost walked past him until he felt the sizzle of power coming from the man.

 

'Do you have a name, aasimar? What is it?' Lucius asked in a polite, even tone. 'You are a magic user of some sort. Who is your patron and how skilled are you at magic?'

 

'Aaah, greetings! Greetings!' same the suave yet slimy voice of the slave master.

 

'Greetings good sir,' Lucius replied, bowing his head. 'What can you tell me about this one?'

 

Lucius was resisting the urge to curl up his nose. He gave his best smile and held out his hand in a friendly greeting. His tattoos gave him away as a cleric but he would play the part of an innocent healer or do-gooder. He doubted he could appeal to the man's better nature but perhaps he could persuade his way into lowering the price. For that, he had to be on good terms with the slave merchant.

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WolfDog12

The young Aasimar turned to look up towards the red tiefling with his white eyes. If one didn't know better, they might think he was blind but there seemed to still be plenty of light in them. Of course, he also didn't seem to react to there being a red devil hovering above his cage. He tilted his head back, letting his light ash grey hair shift away. His hair was long and a complete disaster but there was something about his gray hair falling about his white eyes and pale skin that seemed almost charming. The man looked the small winged creature up and down before nearly turning away as most did, but he stopped and turned his attention back on Veldoval after asking about his magic. Why was he even bothering? Veldoval was lined up to be killed in the morning and it was because of his magic since everyone hated it so much.

 

He paused, hesitating at the other's question before finally opening his mouth to answer a few minutes later, only to shut it immediately when he was suddenly interrupted by the slave Merchant.

 

"This one? Why he is nothing but a lowly trickster. It's name is Vent-," That wasn't even remotely close and Veldoval seemed to react and make a small grimace at the other's false naming, "And it's magic power is... dangerous." The merchant frowned slightly towards the caged aasimar before turning up the charm again and smiling at the Tiefling. "It's one of the older aasimars we have today but you don't want this one, it worships a fey, a tricky and fickle creature only out for personal gain. After all, to get their hands on this one a few years back it nearly took out a whole party with its dark force flames," he explained. "Of course, Vol here has tamed out quite a bit... Its just useless to you and up to be killed tomorrow morning."

 

He seemed done talking about Veldoval and quickly changed trying to draw Lucius's attention elsewhere. "If you want something to clean your armor and follow you with the utter most loyalty, we do have a few younger, more energetic aasimars over this way," and he proceeded to try and bring Lucius away from the cage towards a group of younger aasimars, one of which was missing an entire wing, the other few with their wings completely bent out of shape and incorrectly formed from growing while bound. Honestly, it looked painful but they didn't seem to care much. Heck, they even seemed slightly more well fed. Though, two of them looked completely dead and their eyes were glazed over with nothing but a hollow shell.

 

Veldoval felt something odd about this tiefling and reached through the cage to hopefully grab a pantleg or the bottom of a cape if possible though he stopped himself half way and began to retreat back into his cage. It was best not to speak unless spoken to. That much he had learned. So, he sat back again and closed his eyes for a moment, thinking back to when his village was attacked and he fired off a couple edritch blasts before trying to fly away only to be ripped to the ground by a wing and have it mashed and mangled as he was forced into submission. After, he began remembering his failed escape attempts. That was fun. He nearly got away once but in the end he was caught and beaten.

 

"I can promise you that this aasimar has nothing he can offer you in your noble quest," the man said. Amazingly, this man wasn't racist towards Tieflings. As far as he was concerned, it was the tieflings that put him in business and any paying customer was worth keeping and being kind towards.

 

"I can read anything in any language," Veldoval said without warning.

 

The merchant turned so fast and whipped the cage making every slave in the place jump, including Veldoval, "HOLD YOUR TONGUE!!!" He shouted but if Veldoval wasn't bought right now he was going to die anyway so why not take the leap and he shot the coldest look towards the merchant, he even took a step back in surprise at the fire lit in those white eyes. Though, it soon dimmed once more as he looked away. There was no point in challenging him... He was going to have his head removed and his feathers sold.

 

"I'm sorry Sir, like I said; this one is of no use to you," He stated trying to compose himself again.

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Rumpleteaser

'Killed in the morning? How long have you had it?' Lucius asked, pretending to sound uninterested. So far he wasn't that interested but the fact the aasimar had some magic was worth noting. Still, he was malnourished and the shopkeep said he worshiped a trickster god. That could be troublesome. The tiefling cleric took the slave merchant's advice and moved on to look at the other aasimars he had in stock. Even if he was curious to learn more about the man and his skills, it wouldn't do well to act too interested in him in case the merchant bumped up the price. As a worthless slave about to be killed, he would cost next to nothing.

 

Unfortunately, the other aasimars were either children too young to hold a sword or too broken to be of use. He needed something with at least a little spirit if they were to make a good companion. He didn't want to build someone up, train them and baby them the whole way to the mountains. That was perhaps that first aasimar's major drawback - he didn't look healthy enough to survive the journey. He'd have to get the man at a bargain to agree to taking him but with Lucius's persuasiveness it shouldn't be a problem.

 

Still, Lucius spoke to the young aasimars politely, asked them about their skills and by the end of it had them all vying to be his slave. It was little wonder given the state they were in. Most aasamir slaves didn't last until adulthood so it was strange to see the one called "Vent" still alive. It was especially interesting that the man called out that he was an omniglot. Lucius didn't care that the man had that skill but he was interested that the man was bold enough to speak up. The slave wasn't too defiant though and just settled down after having his cage whipped. Lucius took a deep breath, breaking the veil of composure he was hiding behind. He'd had enough of the slave markets. He'd made his decision.

 

'I'm not interested in anything you have here I'm afraid,' Lucius announced. 'I'm looking for an adult, someone to accompany me on a dangerous quest. The only adult you have here is that one and you've already warned me he is both useless and dangerous. I think I might take my money elsewhere.'

 

Lucius paused for effect. He smiled politely enough and inclined his head as if he were saying goodbye.

 

'I do, however, have a proposition that could be mutually beneficial,' he continued. 'That aasimar is due to be killed tomorrow. You're going to have to hire someone to do the deed or your soul will be marked by your sin, if you care for that sort of thing. You'll also have to pay for his body's disposal. As far as I'm concerned, that means he's a liability to you. He's a liability to anyone, really. He's in such a poor condition, he's dangerous and I doubt anyone would be able to handle his tricksy, fickle nature. I'd be doing you a boon by taking him off your hands.'

 

'I'm willing to take him, free of charge. Just give me his papers, unchain him and you won't have to deal with murder or dispatching a corpse,' Lucian said. 'In fact, I'll even bless your shop so that your other slaves sell well. As a higher level cleric, I can bestow all sorts blessings. I'd say this was your lucky day.'

 

The tiefling waited for the man's response then continued to haggle until they'd come to a bargain. Instead of blessing the slave shop or merchant with prosperity, however, he blessed the slaves with good luck. He would never bless a slave merchant. Neither his nor his patron's moral codes would allow it. It was doubtful the owner would notice the difference anyway. One chant sounded much like another and the end product would be similar. The slaves would no doubt be sold but they would go to kindly masters. Either that or they would escape. Lucius secretly hoped they did.

 

'Your name is Vent, correct, or was it Vol?' Lucius asked as he tucked the slave's papers in his pack. He looked up at the slave and took his chain from the merchant. 'Thank you, good merchant.'

 

Lucius led the aasimar out of the shop and down the road. He didn't speak at all, wanting to retreat to somewhere quiet and private. The crowds were starting to get to him and he wanted to get the slave somewhere safe before the creature decided to run off. He didn't trust the slave. Correction, he trusted him to act like anyone would in the same situation - to try to escape. Lucius would have to bind him right away. He would have done it in the shop but his aversion to the place was overpowering.

 

'When was the last time you ate? How often have you eaten?' Lucius asked abruptly as they walked. His tone was matter-of-fact rather than compassionate. He seemed in a hurry. 'When was the last time you've even bathed?'

 

The pair came to an reputable inn where Lucius approached the mistress to have food prepared for them and a hot bath drawn for their use. They would be upstairs in their room and someone was to knock on the door and tell them when everything was prepared. Lucius batted his eyelids a little at the woman and gave her a honey-sweet smile, along with a generous tip for her hard work. There was a bit of light banter that bordered on flirtation before Lucius excused himself.

 

Once in the room, Lucius locked the door and sank down on the bed. He took a great sigh and rested his head in his hands for a few moments before looking up at the aasimar. He studied the man silently, wondering how much of the damage could be fixed with a healing spell. Lucius didn't want to take a beaten slave when he approached the last aasimir hideout. He needed the man's good word for them to believe he was not out to destroy them.

 

'I'm going to give you a slave mark for both our safety. It won't do you any harm and it's only temporary. I despise slavery and if you have been beneficial to me, I will set you free and give you your papers when I am done with you. Do right by me and you will be the master of your destiny once more,' Lucius explained. 'Get on your knees... please.'

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WolfDog12

"Please, good sir. There is no need to be in such a rush. Besides, no other merchant would be selling adult aasimars. They are too bold and defiant. Of course, I'm willing to sell you the magic bird if you are interested. If you are on a quest then I guess he would be most useful..." He didn't know who else to push onto the tiefling. The next oldest was only about 10 and more cute than helpful for sure.

 

As Lucius began to give his proposition, the Merchant listened but seemed rather offended when he was asked to give up the aasimar for free. "We actually have someone in house that does any of the killings and while yes, we will need to dispose of the body, we will be able to collect the feathers and sell them off at a reasonable price. So i can't exactly part with such worthy feathers so easily. I might however, be open to cutting the price just a little. Though, his price is already lower than any other. "How about 100 gold? You may as well be stealing it at that price. Any other could easily go for 500 and this one was already marked down to 150," he explained. Though, even without Lucius saying anything, he seemed to be re-thinking the price if he could get the blessing.

 

"Alright," His voice went low "I can give it to you at 50 gold. I can't afford to go any lower if you are willing to keep up the blessing. That is too low if you ask me but you are getting a worthy slave. He may not look it but he can still hold his own..." The man looked back at Veldoval and clearly looked frustrated with saying this but it was all he could. He had to keep Veldoval a little more on the tame side by not feeding him enough. Still, that hardly changed him and there was still a fire that the merchant feared.

 

Eventually they came to an agreement and the man seemed relieved to have made any kind of sale as he opened the cage and yanked Veldoval out by the chains handing the chains to the cleric and gathering up the paperwork, getting the signatures and proceeding to try and usher the two out back where they could preform a slave pact. However, it seemed Lucius had no use for that and quickly hurried out, pulling the aasimar behind him.

 

Veldoval wasn't trailing behind because he was too weak to keep up but because he was still shocked at what was happening. Not to mention this stranger really seemed to be in a rush so he just let the other pull him along, making sure to stay on his feet and not be too much of a burden.

 

"It is neither actually," he said, responding to the question asked of him. "It's Veldoval. That man never actually knew my name in the many years I'd been there," he explained moving to keep up a touch more so the tiefling could hear him. That was all they ended up saying to one another as Lucius made his way to the inn without another word. Though Veldoval could see the man clearly had something going through his head. He looked in some way irritated, giving off a vibe Veldoval understood rather well actually. Why was this man so frustrated about slaves? Sure, he was a cleric but also a tiefling... They were the reason aasimars were slaves to begin with.

 

Finally, Lucius spoke up again and Veldoval was quick to respond to the best of his ability. "I ate yesterday... Morning I believe and as far as a bath... I couldn't tell you.. I had a bucket of water dumped over my head a couple days ago if that counts," he said. Ok ya... he was gross... it had been a long while but still... he responded the best he could.

 

The woman at the inn they arrived at was quite charmed by the tiefling and even she didn't seem all that racist towards him, easily flirting back and open to get their food and bath ready right away. Heck, she didn't even seem to bat an eye at the dirty slave standing behind him. So, she did as he wished as soon as Lucius turned away to head to his room. She called for the food first before heading upstairs herself to draw the bath.

 

Veldoval walked over to the bed as Lucius sank into it after locking the door and resting his head in his hands. The aasimar waited there patiently with his wrists still cuffed with a short chain between them. For safety reasons, he wasn't allowed to be unbound until the mark of slavery was burned into his chest. Still, he didn't seem to be too keen on the idea of being magically bound. Chains were easier to deal with he felt like.

 

The young male wanted to protest as he found it odd for the man to say he would release him later but needed him bound now. What was this man playing at to offer such a deal? Would he really be that willing to lose his slave? and how long would this partnership last? What if he got too comfortable having a slave around that in the end, he decided against it. "It's not best to get one's hopes up," he stated defiantly. Veldoval didn't look like he'd budge at all until he was given a tiny warning tug on the chains by Lucius before he stepped forward a touch and got on his knees.

 

Veldoval knew how it went... the slaved being bought, dragged out back... the screams. He'd not seen a marking in person but he could always hear just how painful it was. So, he closed his eyes and took a breath waiting for the inevitable. He would take it. He'd not pass out!

 

As the mark was placed, Veldoval let out a growl which turned into a scream, but then back to a growl and he fell to the floor after, looking exhausted and in a lot of pain. However, he didn't pass out. Instead, he curled up and forced himself back into a sitting position, panting heavily. Just then, there was a knock on the door that nearly startled him. "The bath is ready and the food will be ready in just a few minutes," The kind female voice came though the door. She didn't seem bothered by the screams in any way. No one did. They found it odd that the marking was done in a hotel but everyone was aware of what it was and didn't seem to care one bit for the aasimar in pain.

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Rumpleteaser

'Please, sir. I understand your position but you yourself said this slave is useless, if not dangerous. He is not worth even fifty gold, even for his feathers. His wings are mostly damaged, he is scarred and malnourished. I'm going to have to spend even more gold on him to get him up to my standard,' Lucius insisted. He was polite and friendly but he would not budge. 'With the blessing, I'll pay forty gold. The blessing is worth more to you than that. Your slaves will sell well and they will sell quickly.'

 

After settling on a final price of forty gold and the blessing, Lucius spread his arms wide and began to chant. His eyes and tattoos glowed with golden light until they lit up the room. He continued to chant until the entire store was bathed in the lucky colour of gold. Each of the slaves in the shop and in storage would feel a warmth and light inside them. There would be the sensation of hope, something many of them had not experienced in years. When it was done, the tiefling nodded his head and smiled in a nice enough way. There was a tricksy twitch to the side of his lips, hiding the fact he had deceived the slave dealer.

 

Lucius didn't tug at the chain even though he was in a hurry to get out of there. He paused at one stage and looked behind him without very much caring how the aasimar was coping. He was impatient but he was not in a cruel mood, just eager to get out of the slave market and into the safety of his room at the inn. When Veldoval gave his name, Lucius simply nodded. They would get better acquainted in the privacy of the inn over a hot meal. He was surprised Veldoval's stomach wasn't growling after over 23 hours without food. It was also a surprise he didn't stink more than he did.

 

'This is how it is. Slavery is an abomination, any theft of freedom and liberty is in my opinion. I hate slavery and my order do everything they can to rescue, free and rehabilitate slaves. I personally have helped free hundreds of slaves in my time,' the tiefling explained when Veldoval said it was best not to get his hopes up. 'I will place a slave mark on you and I do keep your papers but I do not see you as my slave. You are more of a servant or assistant who is earning something from me. Your payment for your services will be your freedom. The length of your indenture will be the completion of my quest. Should you fail to serve me, you will not get paid. Hope or no hope, those are my terms.'

 

As much as Lucius hated it, he did the deed without complaint. He raised the chant and let the divine power run through his body. This was not the usual chant, however, written by the lawful evil gods. There would be no pain associated with defiance. Instead, if Veldoval thought to harm Lucius, defy his orders or escape, he would find himself weary and exhausted. Should he make any such attempt, he would fall asleep immediately. He would even be able to defy some instructions if they were more suggestions than intended orders. He would be able to travel as far as Lucius allowed him, which could even be as far as across the continent if Lucius allowed it, but they would remain bound and constantly know in which direction the other was and how far away they were.

 

'I have always hated that spell,' Lucius announced once he'd finished. He rubbed his hands together and shook them as if trying to rid himself of filth. 'The only reason I know it is to better understand how to remove it. We practice it on our acolytes so that our novices may train in removing them.'

 

The tiefling looked at the warlock without assisting him and without mocking him. He waited patiently for the aasimar to recover and raised his head at the knock at the door. He said nothing to the pretty voice at the door then held out his hand for the aasimar to take.

 

'Come, it is time for your bath,' he instructed as he helped the aasimar up. He didn't particularly mind if the man rejected the offered hand. He was just being courteous in offering it. He needed the man on his side so he was aware he had to play the part of a benign companion rather than a slave master.

 

Lucius walked over to his pack and removed a few cleaning products. He had a small bottle of hair oil, a cleansing bar, a brush and a razor blade. Hopefully the inn would have a towel and cloth. With a flourish, the cleric waved Veldoval out of the room and locked it behind him. He didn't like leaving his pack behind but they were still in the inn and they wouldn't take too long... hopefully. Veldoval was filthy and it would take a long time to clean those wings and matted hair.

 

As they walked, Lucius noted that the aasimar was taller than him by about an inch. That would make Veldoval about 5'4" by Lucius's reckoning. It didn't bother Lucius, it was just something he noted out of curiosity. He was used to people being taller than him, even his sisters.

 

'What order are you with? Who is your patron?' Lucius asked once they'd made it to the bathing room. He tested the water. It was hot but not scalding, at least by human standards. It was cool for a tiefling. It would take a few minutes for the assimar to get used to the heat but at least it would dissolve the dirt and grime on the man's body.

 

'Get in, get in,' Lucius instructed, waving his hands about. 'Your food will get cold if you waste your time standing around.'

 

Lucius was very hands on in getting Veldoval clean. He stripped off to only his pants and set them aside on a stool so they wouldn't get wet. He lathered up the soap in Veldoval's hair and began scrubbing it through. His hands were firm but not at all cruel or rough. He tried not to tug at the hair as much as possible. He simply wanted to get the job done thoroughly. When the hair was thoroughly covered in soap, he handed the bar to Veldoval so he could clean his body. The two worked silently for perhaps fifteen minutes until Lucius spoke up again.

 

'My name is Lucius, by the by. I am a cleric of Salvadiir. As you are aware, I am a tiefling and you are an aasamir. I hope that doesn't put a strain on our relationship,' he said out of the blue. He licked his lips as he continued to practically massage Veldoval's head. 'I grew up hearing tales of vicious aasmiar savagery and how the noble tieflings brought them under control. I do not believe that codswallop. History is dictated by the winner. I'm sure you heard many stories of the demonic teiflings in your youth. It is best you put them behind you. I have chosen to use my demonic and divine powers for good rather than evil. There is no evil in having power, only in how it is used.'

 

Lucius was only telling a mostly-trusted truth. While he did use his powers for good most of the time, he did test the limits of what his patron would allow. He had done things some people would consider bad but perhaps not downright evil. He had killed before and he had tortured people for information before, all in the name of his order's moral code. Even just today he had become a patron of slavery in order to accomplish his goal. He would perhaps have to make atonement for that once he got back to the abbey.

 

'Close your eyes and mouth,' Lucius suggested.

 

The master took up a pail and poured a few loads of water over Veldoval's head. He then poured perhaps too generous an amount of hair oil in his hands and rubbed them together before smoothing it through Veldoval's hair. His hair was in such a bad state that it was better to have too much than too little. Lucius scooped up his brush and started with the ends of Veldoval's hair. He gripped onto the hair with one hand so it wouldn't tug at Veldoval's scalp and went up patch by patch. One one section was smooth, he'd move up a section and so forth.

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In the end the merchant was at a loss. He'd gone as low as he could and yet, he was still forced to go lower. Veldoval's wings may not be in the greatest shape but they were large and one wing was whole so he could easily make a profit off them. Still... "Alright, you win. Forty gold it is and the blessing," he agreed hopelessly. The man took the money and watched the beautiful glow as the brilliant golden light emanated from the tiefling in such a display. It was truly a wonder as the whole place filled with hope and the slaves seemed almost energized. Though, he shut them up before they got too rowdy. They'd never sell if they couldn't be in line.

 

It was strange to Veldoval how the other simply nodded to his name. So, maybe he was going to be another who simply decided what to call him without any actual care into what the aasimar's name was... Sadly, his name was all he had of his family. His wings were mangled, his family taken... that name was all he had and if he had to go any longer without it being used properly... he feared he might forget it. Veldoval bit his lip and hurried after the cleric, not allowing the chains to go completely taut.

 

Veldoval was completely dumbfounded. How could this man, this tiefling be going on about what an abomination slavery was. Not only was it a normal part of the culture now and growing, it was the freaking tieflings that put aasimars as slaves to begin with. This really was out of the ordinary and Veldoval had no idea how to take it. So, he just stood there practically gaping at the other until the kicker. That was when he frowned again and focused on the words. "So if the mission is a failure or I am unable to preform to your standards then I risk being your slave forever?" He paused to think about it for a minute before sighing. "Very well," The aasimar didn't give a reason for saying this.. he just did.

 

Veldoval had already promised his soul to a fey and after he died, she would be able to claim him. So, that was it. If he gave his life on earth to this tiefling, then it didn't change much... His life on earth belonged to someone and his life after his death belonged to another. Such was his life he supposed.

 

"The spell is no fun to me either," he grumbled from the ground as he began to sit up and the lady beyond the door called out to them. As the Cleric extended his hand, Veldoval was hesitant to take it. He didn't understand what the other was getting at so he simply got to his own feet and tried to avoid being helped in fear of being dropped out of amusement. Sure, that didn't seem like Lucius's thing but that didn't mean that Veldoval was all too ready to trust this man. He placed his hand over the new painful mark as he was lead out of the room and down the hall to the baths.

 

He glanced over at the haul the other brought with him, scanning over the cleaning devices... It had been a long time since he'd been able to really use anything as it was too much of a hassle to clean all the aasimars. So, they usually got a bucket of cold water to deal with themselves and that was as far as they could go. So, this would be really different but in a way, Veldoval was actually looking forward to the bath more than anything else that was for sure.

 

When suddenly asked who his patron was, Veldoval got even quieter than he had been. He didn't seem to want to answer but he could feel Lucius eyeing him slightly for not responding so, he took a breath and said. "Tatiana; queen of the summer court," he explained. A cleric would have little if no idea about fey creatures. Especially ones that had gods to worship. Fey were creatures just on another plate while gods were... other worldly in a different sense. "My patron may be the one who gave me my magic but she didn't force me to do anything I wouldn't do," he explained. Tatiana wasn't the true fey of tricksters. She may have her moments but she wasn't malicious in any way.

 

Veldoval frowned as the other mocked him about taking too long. He was the one who asked the damn question!!! He had to quickly write it off as he took off the one damn rag he wore. It was a simple dress and nothing else. Veldoval didn't wear underwear and the rag, while it barely came to his knees, it was small on him. They didn't have much for adults and clearly he'd had this thing for years. Every now and then the rags would get clean to attract the more, wealthy customers. For now, Veldoval was more than happy to cast it aside and test the water some.

 

He poked a food in before carefully getting into the tub and noticing just how nice it was. He could freaking melt. And so, he did. The aasimar got in and lowered himself, plucking off the strap that bound one wing and tossing it aside as he stretched both wings the best he could. The mangled one opened fully and seemed to have no problem functioning. His feather cuticles would need restoration in order to get him to regain the feathers he would need to fly. The other one didn't stretch correctly. It came up and out slightly but he seemed to stop at some point as the bones creaked and crackled threateningly at him to stop.

 

Both wings lowered into the water and for a moment, Vedoval sank in. He only got to fully soak like this for a minute while the other took the time to strip down to nothing but his pants and the aasimar sat up and glanced back as the tiefling got to scrubbing his hair. That was amazing. Veldoval didn't know any kind of head massage could feel this good and he seemed to just fall more into this bath. Though, that was interrupted as a bar of soap was pushed into his hands to clean the rest of him.

 

Veldoval wasted no time getting to work, and the two silently worked to get the small creature clean. It felt like Veldoval was removing several layers of skin in order to get clean but already he was starting to feel lighter. He scrubbed head to toe, enjoying every second of the hot water and the massage to his head. He easily closed his eyes for the water to be dumped over his head to get rid of the soap left behind. He then felt the other oiling his hand and follow with brushing. It was amazing and after it was clean, though long and wet, the tangles came out fairly easily, with only one exception. However, with some time and effort, even that one was ripped free.

 

"I've never felt this good in my life," he whispered to himself as he lowered his wings a touch into the water some more. Sure, they were covered in feathers but he enjoyed a warm bath. Never had he felt so at peace. Heck, the pain in his chest with the new slave mark was completely forgotten with this new feeling. Veldoval became so docile and easy to deal with now.

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"So if the mission is a failure or I am unable to preform to your standards then I risk being your slave forever?"

 

'I'd rather not think about that but I don't see why you'd find it so unsatisfying. You're already a slave for life. You've got nothing to lose and you're not risking anything,' the tiefling answered honestly. He ran his fingers through his braids then rested a hand on his hip. 'I don't want a slave and I'd never sell one either. I suppose I could still give you your freedom but then you'd have no incentive to cooperate. In all honesty, I'd prefer you to work with me because you want to rather than because you are forced to.'

 

Lucius nodded quietly when Veldoval grumbled about the spell. He looked at the gold marking on Veldoval's chest, which was exactly the same colour and style as the tattoos on the cleric's arms. They were slightly raised like a hypertrophic scar. The tiefling was tempted to reach out and trace them but somehow he felt it would cause the aasimar undue discomfort. There was no need to invade the man's personal space without reason.

 

'I understand. I've had it cast on me many times. I wish there was a way to mark slaves without causing them pain,' he said with a sigh. 'I would rather find some other spell to bind us together but an unmarked slave would cause unwanted attention. You'd most likely get trapped and punished by the authorities.'

 

'Now that we're bound, can I assume that it's safe to take off your chains? Do I have your allegiance for now?' Lucius asked, raising an eyebrow. Of course it was safe. Veldoval wouldn't be able to attack him or escape; the mark prevented that. It didn't really matter whether the aasimar said he would give his allegiance or not. The tiefling probably still wouldn't trust him. Lucius took the keys out of his pants pocket and came forward to unchain the aasimar. He tossed them aside without consideration and took up both of the slave's wrists to study them. He wanted to see if they needed healing or if they were in any pain so he pressed a thumb into each and watched Veldoval's reaction. He also inspected the slave's neck after the collar was taken off but he didn't press into it.

 

'Tatiana...' Lucius replied when Veldoval spoke. He noticed the slave did not want to talk about it but Lucius felt this was something he ought to know. 'I'm afraid I know nothing about her. Tell me more. What are her values and rules? What type of being is she? Which plane does she reside on? What does she control? What is her alignment?'

 

As well as his tight, mint green pants, Lucius had been wearing a forest green robe that came down past his knees. It had slits up the sides to the hips and thick, gold edgings that glinted brightly. He also took off all bar a large opal on a leather thong that had two winged lions surrounding it. He also wore two-inch gold cuffs on his wrists, which he took off. He had rebellious piercings in his ears and gold tips on his horns. Back in their quarters he'd left his casual clothes, a red-brown pashmina scarf and his forest green, formal cloak made of thick wool.

 

'I'll heal your wings once we get back to our room. I should be able to relieve some of the stiffness too,' he said. The tiefling watched the aasimar stretch his wings and noted the state they were in. He was surprised the mangled wing could still open.

 

Lucius was focused as he worked on the hair. Not surprising, it was hard work. How long had it been since Veldoval's hair had been brushed? At one particularly nasty mat, Lucius scowled and was tempted to cut it off until he triumphed. Really, any other master would have just cut the whole mess of hair off and let it regrow.

 

'I'm glad you're enjoying this,' Lucius said with a chuckle. 'Sit up and spread your wings. I'm going to clean them for you. It'll be hard to clean them yourself. Do you want your wings oiled as well? I don't know much about wings so I don't know if it would help.'

 

'Do you find me attractive, aasimar?' Lucius asked in a quiet voice, without a hint of bigotry in his voice. 'You never replied when I said I hoped there was no racial animosity between us. Will me being a tiefling put a strain on our relationship?'

 

The tiefling took the soap from the aasimar and went to look for a cloth. They were in a wicker trunk along with the towels so for now he just got the cloth. He dipped it into the water and lathered it up with soap. Silently, he began to smooth the wings down. Her was very careful and attentive at tending to the wings. He didn't want to cause any more trouble for the man. At first he was very ginger about touching them but eventually became more confidant when he saw he wasn't doing any harm. He started on one wing, working from the base out to the tip. Every single feather was washed with soap then smoothed down until the whole wing was covered in suds. He massaged the lather into the wing, especially alone the muscles and skin, until it would no doubt feel like Veldoval was in heaven.

 

'What are your skills, Veldoval? What type of magic user are you? What spells, blessings or incantations has your Summer Queen bestowed upon you?' Lucius asked as he continued to work. He was done, really, but he kept going just to make sure the wings were in the best condition. 'How good are your skills? Do you have any other expertise or knowledge besides magic? Can you hold a weapon? Have you ever been able to fly?'

 

'Fold your wings up over the bathtub. I doubt our hostess will appreciate it if we get water all over her clean floor,' he instructed.

 

Lucius waited for Veldoval to respond before pouring water over the wings. He rubbed them and tried to get the suds out of them as he poured and continued with more and more buckets until he was sure the soap was out of them. He doubted soap would be good left in the feathers so he made sure to be thorough. Once he was done, he went to the trunk and took out two towels. The first he handed to Veldoval, the second he used to start rubbing the aasimar's hair dry. He made Veldoval stand in the bathtub at first until he was mostly dry. He didn't want to make a mess of the floor.

 

'You can step out of the bath now. Do you want me to dry your wings or would it be better they drip dry?' he asked. Again, he had no knowledge of wings. Lucius looked over at Veldoval's discarded dress and thought for a few moments, frowning slightly. He disliked the look of them and they were filthy. He'd rather not force the aasimar to wear them but the only other option was Lucius's casual clothes until he could purchase a new set for Veldoval. The tiefling hummed softly then sighed.

 

'Wrap yourself in these towels for now and leave the dress. I have spare clothes in my pack,' he instructed.

 

Lucius quickly got dressed and picked up his belongings before leading the way back to their rooms. The room was small and there was nowhere to sit and eat so they'd have to go down to the tables and bar at the front of the inn. It was still morning and it was fairly respectable so there would be no drunk rabble to annoy them. After being alone with the aasimar for the bath, Lucius figured he could stomach sitting at a public table for a while. They'd want to be quick though because Lucius was feeling the need to be alone.

 

'Here are your clothes. Well, my clothes but they should fit you until you have a few belongings of your own,' Lucius said after rummaging through his pack. He handed over a red-brown pashmina scarf, matching pants, a white shirt with a high collar and no sleeves, and a brow vest with buckles*. They were in good condition, more befitting Lucius's station than that of a slave. No doubt Veldoval hadn't worn anything so fine or soft in years. As far as Lucius was concerned, he ought to be grateful Lucius was giving him the clothes off his own back. The man didn't seem like the type to appreciate such things though.

 

'Get dressed and sit down on the bed. I'm going to give your hair one final brush now that it's dry,' Lucius instructed. Again, it wasn't an order. Veldoval could easily say no and walk around with unkempt hair if that's what he preferred. Lucius waited for Veldoval to make his decision then either spoke up as he brushed the man's hair or as they left to go to the common rooms. 'How do you normally style your hair? Do you want it cut? What sort of clothes would you want to wear if given the choice?'

 

 

 

*See what he's wearing in the character image. That's what Lucius gave Veldoval.

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It seemed that Veldoval really didn't have anything to lose by doing this. Sure, he'd have to put up with being a slave for a while and who knows how long that would turn out to be, but at least he would find freedom at some point. That was better than nothing for sure. He finally agreed and had the slave mark put on him. After getting the mark and struggling to his feet, the two headed to the bathes were Lucius took his time working on the aasimar's hair.

 

It was nice to finally have the chains removed and Lucius seemed really keen on checking them out. He looked over his wrists and neck searching for markings of some kind. There were a few pressure marks and they were slightly pink but nothing looked injured and any markings would easily be gone in a few hours. It was as if he'd slept on them wrong causing them to press into him. However, as Lucius pressed into his right wrist, he twinged just the slightest. That wrist was weak with a tendon issue that wouldn't heal... ever but it didn't seem to bother him too much and if Lucius hadn't been paying so much attention to every little thing, he would have missed it. His neck did have a little extra there where the collar had been yanked many times but that also was something a little rest without the collar on would fix. Nothing worth noting and he didn't seem to be in any pain either which was good.

 

"She is an Arch Fey of the Feywild...." he said but really didn't want to be talking about his patron now. She is the queen of the summer court.... It's different... She gave me my powers, my magic. It isn't like a cleric who prays and works to learn their skills.." He paused to think about it a little more. This wasn't an easy topic... Not even a little bit. What the hell was he suppose to say?! "She doesn't really have a domain here on the material plane... and her alignment... I'm not sure..." he seemed to really be giving this a lot of thought.

 

Fey weren't gods... They were beings of another plane that could influence the Material plane and while gods that other classes worshiped were higher beings that for the most part, no one ever sees or actually talks to, Fey could be communicated with and Veldoval had many times in the past... However, he hadn't done so in a long time and honestly wondered if Tatiana even remembered him. Probably but it was still worth noting.

 

"Why would you heal my wings? I may be bound but wouldn't people find it odd that you'd have an aasimar flying by you?" he questioned. Was he allowed questions? It hardly mattered as Veldoval stretched his wings the best he could. Due to several missing feathers, the mangled wing looked quite a bit smaller than the other but it was able to fold and unfold rather well.

 

Veldoval looked down a bit as the other made a comment about how much he was enjoying it. How could he not. When was the last time he was able to sit in a tub with warm water? Not to mention he was getting a head massage and his hair cleaned of not only the dirt and grime but of the tangles as well. It was quite impressive. Who wouldn't be in heaven right now? Of course, that was a different story when the other mentions his wings.

 

"No, they are alright..." he flinched and the wings pulled in some, clearly unnerved by the idea of being touched and cleaned by another's hands but the man still forced himself onto those wings and once he started, the tension seemed to release some from the white wings as they were cleaned. "Please no oil. That will cause them to take in moisture better and make flying harder, especially in rain. It can damage their somewhat waterproofing," he explained but didn't seem to have a problem with just a normal cleaning and soon enough, he was back in heaven. The wings fully relaxed, only holding enough so they could be up while being washed. Otherwise, he was enjoying this too much. No one had touched his wings with such care and pressure. The tension built up from years of being bound and caged seemed to just melt out of them.

 

"A-Attractive?" He repeated clearly stunned by the question. "I don't know... I've not thought about it. And honestly, I don't care what you are. It was more humans than tieflings that invaded my home and ripped me from my family. Besides, I know not everyone is the same. You are extremely different from any others. I mean that in a good way," he added the last part rather quickly so there wasn't a miscommunication.

 

"You are really asking a lot aren't you..." he said trying to remember every question being asked of him. "Ok... I do have a number of spells, my eldritch blast being most useful as I can use it all the time without tiring but I do have other powers as well... I am also good with a short bow, crossbow, and long bow. I like to fight ranged." He then had to stop to think again what had been asked of him. "Yes... I was able to fly several years ago... Most aasimars learn how to fly when they turn about nine or ten and I had been flying for a few years when the village was attacked." It was getting harder to keep his timeline straight now.

 

As instructed, Veldoval pulled his wings in, cupping them in a way it was easy to get the water through all the different sections but it did still take some time to get the wings fully rinsed. By the time they were done, the water was cold and Veldoval was happy to get out and dry off. He seemed to take his time running over his chest and arms, down and up, avoiding his wings as the only part of his body while Lucius focused on the hair. Soon, he was a clean, only messy aasimar. The layers of dirt and grime had been scrubbed away but the hair that stood out in all directions was something else.

 

"It is best if I flap them out a couple times then let them air dry," he explained but flapping them out was going to be hard if Lucius didn't want to get the place all wet. "They can also be pat dried..." he said having forgotten that. So, he stretched a wing around and began to pat at it gently. The only reason he'd not really used this method was because he wasn't able to get all parts of the wings.. at all. So, he had to accept help.

 

After showing Lucius the safe and easy way to do it, it was easy for him to pat the wings down without rubbing and soon Veldoval wrapped a towel around his waist. He was instructed in how to dress so as he had one towel around his waist, he pulled his wings in as much as he could, nearly flattening them to his back. However, the bent one was sticking out and the mangled one seemed to twitch and fall more relaxed. He couldn't get the towel around them in their sad state so he had to just wrap the towel around his front and partly hold the ends down with his wings as they headed back to the room like that.

 

The aasimar waited patiently for the tiefling to dress before he was handed clothes to get in. So, Veldoval did just that. He pulled the pants on, dropping the towel away and then pulling away the other but as he was handed the top pieces, the aasimar just stood there holding them. He looked up at Lucius as if waiting for him to realize his mistake. "As much as I appreciate it, honestly, I've never had anything this soft... ever and it is amazing but.... er.." he seemed almost shy now as he let his wings flap slightly close to the body to show he couldn't put a shirt on that didn't have someplace for them to go.

 

As he did so, Lucius seemed to realize the problem and took the shirts before giving Veldoval a cloak which he happily accepted and placed around the deformed wings. They stuck out and made Veldoval look really strange but at least they were covered and his chest wasn't showing.

 

Veldoval, having taken the other's suggestion as an order, walked over and sat at the bed. "I wouldn't bother," he warned. "It needs to be trimmed but you will never get it to lay flat... Many tried but somehow... it is defiant," he explained. There was really no point so the two headed downstairs instead.

 

"I don't need anything too fancy. Just a shirt that's baggy enough to cut wing holes so my wings can slip through without tearing the shirt. Wings are the reason every aasimar has clothes that are 2 or so sizes too big for them," he explained with a touch of humor. Veldoval seemed to really be opening up.... or so it seemed. He still kept things close to the chest but he didn't mind the conversation in any way.

 

Once they were in the main part of the tavern, Veldoval seemed distracted as he began to focus on a young boy near the back cleaning up dishes and tables. The boy seemed to be a few years younger than Veldoval but he had light blonde hair and pale blue eyes as he walked around. The aasimar moved to take a step towards the boy or call out to him but froze. How could he. He was just a slave..... they both were. Veldoval turned away from him to focus back on the man he was marked to. "Sorry, I don't know if I was listening..." he had to ignore the boy for now and focus on the task at hand.

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Lucius was pleased to see a nod. It was not much but it was enough to give an understanding that they would would together rather than against one another... even if it was unlikely they would trust one another for some time. On Lucius's part, it was just because he was distrusting by nature. Being a tiefling meant nobody trusted him, even having to go out of his way within his own order, which meant he learned not to trust people in turn. He was particularly suspicious of common, uneducated folk who would swindle him at any turn. Then again, he was just as much a liar and swindler as others were. Perhaps the most distrusting folk were the most untrustworthy.

 

'What injuries do you have, past and present?' Lucius asked after noticing the wince. It didn't really matter. The spell he would use would heal any physical damage unless it was something the person was born with. It wouldn't heal arcane, poison or any other non-mundane damage that still had a taint to it though. He had other spells for that but he needed to know about them specifically first. 'I want you in the best physical condition for our journey. Your health benefits us both but it pleases me personally to care for and free slaves.'

 

'I see...' Lucius replied. Everybody knew what archfey and the Feywilds were. They tended to be very chaotic but so were tieflings and Salvadiir. That meant Veldoval was a warlock. It really was too bad he hadn't picked up much lore during his family's tutelage and his order's ministrations. He had passed all his subjects but had taken longer to accomplish it. 'You don't have to tell me everything now but I'd prefer you continue to think it over and report back to me with what you can remember.'

 

'I want to heal your wings but I never said you would be flying around beside me. You will be allowed to fly when he get far enough from the cities. In fact, I'd prefer you practice at every spare chance you get to build up your wing-strength. You may need it,' Lucius replied. He wasn't going to give away where they were going or what they were doing just yet but he wanted Veldoval prepared to meet his people and make a good impression for him. A tiefling in a aasimar hideout needed all the allies he could get. He just didn't trust Veldoval with that information yet. He would have to tell him at some point but Lucius hoped that Veldoval would be the one to ask about it once they were closer to his homelands.

 

'Yes, attractive,' Lucius confirmed. He listened to Veldoval's answer then nodded, forgetting that he was behind the man so Veldoval wouldn't be able to see him.

 

'I don't very much like talking to people for too long, you'll come to notice, so I'd rather get it all out of the way quickly. At the very least, I should know who I'm dealing with if I'm going to travel the countryside alone with them. For all I know, you could be an evil warlock bent on revenge. The slave mark prevents you from killing me but there are a lot of others who would love to maim a tiefling on your behalf. I'm afraid my kind are just about as well liked as aasimars are,' Lucius answered in a plain voice. He listened to Veldoval's skills and gave a sigh. He preferred fighting ranged too but he could fight melee when needed. He sounded a little irritated when he spoke next. 'I'll get you a crossbow. I doubt you have the strength for a bow at the moment. Make sure you only use it when you don't have a spell you can use instead. I won't be constantly buying you bolts.'

 

Lucius nodded when Veldoval pointed out the tops wouldn't work around his wings. He took them back and folded them away, instead getting a very thick, green woolen cloak that had a purple silk oval and two golden, winged lions on the back of it. The emblem matched the leather thong he was wearing. It was the symbol of his order, as Salvadiir appeared as a lion with phoenix wings and a man's shaggy head.

 

'Very well, it seems a barber is in order. You really are an expensive assistant,' he said, though there was an amused, joking tone in his voice. 'Next you'll be asking for a bedroll, blankets and even a pillow!'

 

The cleric packed his belongings back in the thin, leather satchel they belonged in then put that in his giant, heavy pack. He'd been carrying everything alone for a long way so it would be good to have someone to help carry the load. A second pack just added to the list of inventory he would need to get Veldoval.

 

'You'll be getting something tailored. I don't like baggy clothes unless you absolutely insist. The seller can sew slits on them and I'll get buttons for the bottom of the slit,' he announced. He'd already decided he needed an aasimar and expected the clothes they were wearing would be useless. 'You can give me your preferences for colour and design over our meal. Does it matter whether you have an emblem of Tatiana on them?'

 

At first Lucius didn't notice Veldoval's distraction but he stopped and looked at the man as he obviously resisted the urge to take a step towards the boy. Lucius looked over the younger man. There didn't seem to be anything wrong with him, other than the fact Lucius could feel the presence of the slave mark. The slave looked completely human. The tiefling couldn't see what could have possibly stopped the aasimar in his tracks. Lucius reached out his hand and wrapped his fingers around Veldoval's, giving him a slight tug to get him going.

 

'It's fine. Find a table for us to sit at. I'll get us our meals,' instructed in a low voice.

 

The tiefling "master" ushered Veldoval on his way a little before going up to the bar. He was given a tray with a plate of food on it, which he assumed was meant for only one person. He supposed most tieflings wouldn't bother to feed an aasimar slave or share a table with them. He cleared his throat and politely asked for two pints of their weakest ale and an extra set of cutlery. At the look of surprise he got, he explained that his order did not approve of slavery and the aasimar was being taken in by his order to become a novice then released back into the world. That got an ironic chuckle, given that tieflings were the ones who put an end to aasimar's freedom. Lucius laughed too and leaned against the bar in a relaxed way, pointing out that many tieflings used their powers for good rather than evil. Most tieflings didn't like law, order and structure but their ethics and values were as varied as humans, he pointed out. After that he politely excused himself before the conversation turned sour.

 

'I'm afraid they only prepared one meal for us. We'll have to share,' Lucius announced as he came to sit across from Veldoval. He placed the plate in the middle of the table, pushed one drink over to Veldoval, took one for himself then set the tray aside for a serving boy to take. He rolled his shoulders, thinking how much he would love to go back to his room and pray for a while. Lucius took one gulp of his ale and sighed heavily, getting into a relaxed permission.

 

'Veldoval, you looked like you had some connection with that boy. You know I can't free every slave,' he said quietly. He took another gulp then cut their bread roll in half. It was a large, country-style meal with corned beef, gherkins, cheese with holes in it, mashed potato, a few veges and parsley sauce poured over everything. It wasn't a hot as a tiefling would like but it was wholesome and it would keep them going until latemeal. 'My coin can only stretch so far. The order gave me enough to complete my mission. I brought a little extra for luxuries and emergencies but it was not expected that I would purchase a slave. Forty gold was about all I could afford to pay for you, given that I'm going to have to supply your inventory too. If you see a slave - one slave - that particularly pulls at your heart-strings I will consider buying them but I can't make promises. My mission is more important than my, your or any other slave's life. Now eat up. You must be famished.'

 

Lucius dipped his bread into the parsley sauce then delicately sliced off a piece of the corned beef. It got them a few stares that slave and master were eating from the same plate but Lucius didn't seem bothered. He ate quietly and drank his beer without paying attention to the other patrons. He didn't really like interacting with people for long periods of time unless he had to. It would be strange for him to get used to constantly being in Veldoval's vicinity.

 

'Is there anything you'd like to ask me?' Lucius piqued up when the meal was almost done.

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"Er... let me think about this... " He actually took the time to go back and think of all the injuries. "My wrist was damaged in a training exercise and it can't heal... It doesn't affect movement or anything like that. It only hurts when the temperature is wonky so I tend to bind it for support but really, it isn't too bad. Nothing to worry about. Otherwise... I've had broken bones and my wing will have to be broken to be set correctly before healing," he explained pointing towards the bent wing. "Otherwise just whipping."

 

His list of injuries wasn't too extensive so it was a bit odd to think about but when you looked at the wings and the whip marks... it made more sense. The dull pink scars all over parts of his body told the stories of how he had tried to escape and was punished severely for it. Though, even touching those marks, nothing. He had no reaction to them and easily traced his finger over the marks gently to show the soft skin was alright to be touched. "I've been hit a number of times but those have all healed," he added. How much was he suppose to say. What was considered what the tiefling was looking for? Who knows.

 

He didn't really say anything but Veldoval seemed to light up when he was told his wings would be healed and he'd be allowed to fly as much as he wanted to build up strength. Sure, he was always tethered and bound to Lucius but he would happily take this over anything else! He'd have to remember how it worked and hope his wings had enough strength to get him off the ground again! Still, the idea of the wind pushing against him and the sun beating down on his wings, how could he not be exhilarated.

 

The thought of continuing this conversation past today was scary and Vendoval didn't think there was much he could do. It had been a long time since he'd heard from his patron so how was he suppose to remember things...For a moment he thought Tatiana probably changed over all this time but then, for her it was probably nothing more than a blink. It wasn't like she ran on the same time constraints the material plane did.

 

Veldoval frowned as the other didn't think he had the strength to handle a bow at the moment. The aasimar opened and closed his hand just feeling it, as if he were gripping something but quickly shrugged. "I have one spell that is a cantrip so I can just keep casting it... You don't have to give me a crossbow if you don't want to," he suggested. It wasn't like bolts couldn't be reused in some cases but he could understand where the other was coming from. Especially since bolts and a crossbow were more expensive than a bow and some arrows. So, why couldn't they just go with the bow and arrows? it was cheaper and if the aasimar needed, he could just take the time to build up his strength.

 

The cloak given to him was large and extravagant but it was nice non the less and it managed to cover his wings fairly well. He was really impressed and pulled it about him with a small smile. This master was so different any other he'd seen come through the slave tent and purchase someone, and basically drag their unconscious body out of the tent as the slave would have passed out from the marking they got.

 

"I can cut my own hair. It might look a mess but it is... my mess. You've already spent too much on me..." he said looking down. "I also don't need something tailored... I've been a slave for years, I can't accept tailored clothes like that as much as I might enjoy that.... I just wouldn't feel comfortable," he tried explaining.

 

Though, the conversation seemed to just end there as Veldoval became distracted by the boy across the room and after he'd turned away back to his own master, he was ushered to go find a table and so, Veldoval bowed his head a bit out of thanks and respect for the Cleric taking notice and being so understanding. The aasimar quickly made his way down towards the back finding an open table where he could whisper to the other slave who perked up when he saw Veldoval before looking around, pale blue eyes fixing on Lucius for a minute before returning to the elder aasimar. The two spoke ever so quietly and Veldoval was bold enough to get up and hug the other, who was shocked but gave him a pat on the lower back, avoiding the wings before being called by the young lady from before.

 

As soon as he heard his name, the boy called back happily and smiled towards Veldoval before hurrying off towards the kitchen as Veldoval quickly took his seat again. Even if he were to be punished, it would be worth it for that moment. He needed to do that and despite the lack of wings and the binding, the boy seemed happy and free. Not to mention, when he got back to the kitchen, rather than punishing him for hugging a guest and another slave, he was pat on the head and treated like a small child making a new friend but he did have to keep working.

 

"We have a past... That's all. He doesn't need saving. That girl there is the one he is bonded with and she treats him like a pet... A spoiled one at that. He does have to work around the tavern but otherwise, she just loves having him around. They get along really well and he likes her a lot," Veldoval said while he looked over at the boy before turning back to the tiefling. "His wings were so white and pure... it's sad he doesn't have them anymore," Veldoval said softy, more to himself than actually conversing with Lucius.

 

Veldoval seemed to wait for the other to give his permission before he reached for the food. The last thing he wanted was to step out of line. The ale, the food... it was more than he deserved... Just as Veldoval bowed his head before reaching for the food, the boy appeared before them placing another hot meal down. Though, it looked like someone had taken a couple bites already. The boy meekly shrugged towards Veldoval who seemed to understand completely and smiled. "Can't let food go to waste," he said before the boy took the tray left aside and hurried off. The aasimar didn't ask any questions but looked up for permission to start eating before he finally began to dig in. Whoever started this meal had only taken a couple bites so it was nearly a full plate but that was plenty.

 

Veldoval gave a useless shrug. "I don't know.... I'm pretty curious I guess... but I don't have any questions right now... a lot are forming but there isn't anything I need to know. Not right now... Not just to follow you," He explained. "May I ask you my questions later when I organize them a bit better?"

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Lucius was puzzled to see the second meal offered to Veldoval until he saw the plate had already been nibbled on. It seemed a waste for someone to purchase a meal and eat so little of it. The cleric nodded his thanks to the younger slave then pulled the first meal over to himself. At first he went about eating without taking any notice of Veldoval until he realised the man wasn't eating.

 

'What are you waiting for? You don't need my permission to eat,' he said, sounding something between outraged and surprised. 'That goes for things like going to the toilet too. You are your own man.'

 

The tiefling ate delicately, using only the tips of his fingers. There was no lip smacking and nothing was spilled. He looked up as the slave stammered over a reply then nodded. Veldoval was allowed to ask questions.

 

'You may ask me anything you like and I may decide not to answer,' Lucius replied. 'Just don't question me in front of others or when you know it's going to annoy me. I'm a good person but I do get into moods. You'll learn to spot that. I can't really handle too much social interaction and need to spend a lot of time by myself. You'll have noticed how quickly I wanted to get out of that slave market and back into my room. If I want some peace, you are to give me peace. I can't be blamed for what I'll do if you provoke me when I need to be left alone.'

 

After they were finished their meals, Lucius took them to the bathroom to wash up then sent Veldoval to return the towels. While Veldoval was away, the cleric prepared a chalk circle on the floor. He set up five little metal bowls and placed some dried incense in each. While Lucius had several healing spells that could be used immediately, healing larger and older wounds required calling upon Salvadiir directly. He would become a conduit of Salvadiir's divine energy rather than casting the spell himself.

 

'Ah, Veldoval. Come sit in the middle of this circle with me. I'm going to heal your wings now... your scars too. In fact, it's all going to be healed,' the tiefling announced. He was sitting on one side inside the circle with its strange symbols, legs crossed. 'Hold your hands out and clear your mind.'

 

The cleric waited for Veldoval to obey then cast a fire spell to light all the bowls of incense. He took the aasimar's hands and linked their fingers together before starting to chant. The his golden eyes and the tattoos on his arms began to glow through the fabric of his clothing. The room began to feel warm and a breeze stirred until it raced around the chalk circle. Lucius tilted his head back, his mouth gaping wide, and divine light filled his mouth. It flowed through him from the five incense bowls, into his mouth and out along his arms towards Veldoval. It then flowed along the slave's arms and absorbed into his body. Veldoval would feel warm and weightless, as if he might just float off the ground. He would feel all his injuries tingling at once and perhaps even start to itch as they healed. When the healing was complete, the fires went out and the light stopped flowing. Lucius stayed where he was as the surge of divine power eased and he became aware of his surroundings again. There was a strangely disappointing feeling to losing all that power. It left him feeling rather empty.

 

'Do you feel any better? Move your arm around and tell me how it is,' Lucius asked. He already knew the answer but it was best to check. Veldoval's physical injuries would be completely healed. There would be no scars and even childhood injuries would be gone. This spell could not heal magical or poison damage but from what the slave said, he didn't have anything beyond mundane injuries.

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Veldoval nodded and quickly ate his meal as if someone were going to take it from him and he needed to get it down. There was no grace to his eating habit and he simply scarfed down the meal and waited patiently for farther instructions... in this case he was just waiting for Lucius to finish. That was fine. As he asked about his questions, Lucius was very calm and explained rationally towards the aasimar what he would do and it was understandable. If he didn't like something then it was Veldoval's fault. He was the slave and had to know his place as such.

 

This master was quite odd though.... Veldoval was having a hard time understanding if he was a good or a bad person. He was really nice, taking care of him, and clearly he didn't like the idea of slavery.... that being said, without so much as batting and eye, he had no problem threatening Veldoval if he were to step even a touch over the line. Was that to keep him behaving? For sure but why was it such a vague threat? He must mean that the method of beating the aasimar would differ and change based on Lucius's mood. It was like walking on eggshells while a snake told you lies of good things for stepping on those egg shells. How strange.

 

As soon as their meals were finished, the odd pair disappeared back upstairs to get cleaned up and after, Veldoval was sent back down to return the towels. He did so quickly before returning up stairs. He happened to open the door while Lucius was still getting everything set up but he remained in the hallway, out of the way until the other had finished and finally stepped in. As he did so, he was quickly instructed to go sit in the middle with Lucius so he carefully walked across making sure not to knock anything over or smudge any lines before he sat before his new master. This was actually a bit terrifying really... He understood it had to do with healing but it looked like some kind of demon summoning. Though, demonic and divine power... in many ways they were very similar to each other.

 

Taking a deep breath, Veldoval closed his eyes and took Lucius's hands, clearing his mind as he did so before the spell started. It was quite the process and Veldoval felt even lighter than his already light weight. He felt like he was floating for a moment before the warm itch that began to cover over him. He twitched and fidgeted slightly clearly wishing to scratch that itch but he quickly pulled it together and sat still... or as still as possible while the spell continued. When it finally ended, Veldoval felt all that weight back and he shifted as if in pain but as he did so, he realized there wasn't any pain.

 

The aasimar was more than a little impressed and began to move back and forth, checking where his injuries had been but were no longer there. No pain, no scars... Nothing. As he checked over his body, Veldoval paused and looked over his shoulder slightly towards the bent and awkward wing, slowly stretching it to its full length and there it stood, large, strong and straight. It was nearly impossible to contain his excitement and he placed a hand over his mouth as if he were about to start crying. Veldoval stretched both wings and let them beat gently a couple times before he tucked them back in towards his back. "Thank you," he whispered in a shaky voice. The tears the built up in his eyes never fell but it was clear just how happy he was. He was even showing more emotion than he had since they met.

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Lucius was most displeased with the way the slave ate but said nothing. For a while he just stopped eating and stared. He could understand that the man was a slave but he'd once had parents to teach him table manners. He wasn't so racist to assume aasimar were uncouth beasts. They lived in the wilds but were still cultured people. Veldoval had no excuse. The man's eating habits had to be changed. Lucius stared a bit longer before going back to his own meal. The thought of training a slave left something distasteful in his mouth. He would have to leave that for another day.

 

The tiefling gave a quiet smile as he watched Velvodal so excitedly check himself over. He wasn't tired from the incantation but there was a strange powerlessness after feeling so much divine energy course through his body. He could feel his mortality. He rolled his shoulders then looked at the man silently. He reached out and grasped the man's shoulder in a comforting way. He knew how emotional slaves could be once they felt they were safe. It was as if that weight on their shoulders came flooding over them and they just drowned in emotions.

 

'It's fine, Veldoval. Soon you'll be flying across paddocks and forests the way you were born to,' he reassured the man. It was the best he could come up with. He cleared his throat then stood up. 'Take the bed and have a rest. I need to clean this up. Unfortunately, if anyone saw a tiefling doing an incantation like this, they'd assume it was some sort of demon possession.'

 

Lucius picked up the metal bowls with their incense in them and tossed the remains into the fireplace. There was no fire going at the moment but hopefully the ashes would blend in with the others. He didn't want to put them in the rubbish bin in case it appeared suspect. He then pulled out a rag, poured a little water from the pitcher on the vanity then wiped up the chalk drawings. When that was done, he sat down in the middle of the room with his legs folded beneath him and his hands laying slack in his lap.

 

'I need to meditate. Don't interrupt me unless it's important,' he said firmly. 'I suggest you take that time to rest and relax. You can go out but make sure you're back here in two hours. I don't want to have to look for you.'

 

The cleric closed his eyes, pressed his hands together and held them up against his nose. He breathed deep and even. His body was poised but not stressed or rigid. He could sit like that for six hours if need be. His breathing started to slow to something one would expect from a sleeper and he was completely unaware of the world around him. In all honesty, he was currently meditating so he could retreat into the privacy of his mind rather than fulfill his meditation quota for the day. He needed time alone but now he had a slave to keep an eye on. He didn't know how long he'd last with the other man's company. He hoped he wasn't provoked into lashing out at the man. That would ruin his plans indeed.

 

After the two hours were up, Lucius took a deep breath and stretched out his arms. He stood up and began flexing his body at different angles then shook himself off to limber up. The tiefling gave a heavy sigh then looked around for the aasimar. They needed to go out but Lucius was already hoping they wouldn't be out for long. He smiled a little in greeting when he saw the man then waved him over to the bed. Lucius himself took the chair at the vanity and pulled it over to the bed so they could face one another.

 

'Right. I need to know what to get you,' Lucius announced. 'I don't want to be umming and erring out in the markets.'

 

'First thing you need is a pack. You'll also need two sets of clothes - one to wear and one spare. You'll need a bowl, a few utensils and two canteens for water... Do you need a bedroll or are you fine sleeping on the ground? You'll need a cloak and a blanket to keep you warm at night. Strong walking shoes too,' Lucius thought aloud. 'I need to buy extra food for both of us. Do you drink alcohol? You may have one bottle of liquor if you choose... What do you need to cast magic? Do you need any ingredients or utensils?... You'll need a set of daggers and a weapon too. I'll leave the type of weapon up to you but I don't think you're strong enough yet to wield a bow. Do you need armour?... Is there anything else you need? Any requests?'

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Upon the other's request, Veldoval was going to lay on the bed but also wasn't sure how long Lucius needed. Not to mention that the young aasimar was more than a little excited to feel his wings stretch again. They weren't strong enough to fly, not yet, but he could at least start exercising them outside. He'd have to do it in the alley so no one freaked out but that would be just fine. So, the aasimar waited patiently for Lucius to go into a full trans before he slipped silently out of the room into the hall, then hurried down the hall and outside, trying to avoid people as much as possible. It was best if people didn't see that a brand new slave, one as old as he was, had his wings in full strength. They'd lose it... and not just on him but the one that healed his wings as well.

 

Veldoval was super careful and kept his wings as close to the body as he could so it looked like they might still be strapped down and he disappeared into the back alley without any trouble. He waited a few minutes there before he stretched his wings and began to move them. The were rather powerful, though their frailty was less to be desired. Yet still, they were beautiful and he was excited to be able to feel the wind on his face, the sun beating down on his white wings. The thought filled him with such joy, he began to beat his wings heavily as if trying to take off, only jumping and calming down as he strained something in the weakened wings. Maybe another time.

 

The aasimar checked over his whole body finding the scars gone and exercising as he needed before tucking his wings in and making his way back to the room. He didn't want to be late by any means so he made sure to head back early so he'd have about 10 minutes to spare. As he got to the door, he wondered if he could slip back in... What if he disturbed Lucius. So, he waited patiently in the hall, sitting next to the door and patiently waiting for some sound before entering. When he heard the creaking of the floor inside as Lucius got up to stretch, Veldoval quietly slipped back into the room and smiled at the other when they'd made eye contact.

 

Swiftly shifting to the bed as he was ushered towards it, Veldoval was quick to follow orders and listened as the other started to go over a bunch of different things. "I don't need a bedroll, I'm use to the ground," he explained. Though he preferred to sleep in trees where it was possible... Though he hadn't slept in one in years so maybe he couldn't due to size.... "I also don't need shoes.... Have never used those," he said motioning towards his bare and calloused feet. They didn't look injured, just tough from never using shoes. "I'm not a huge fan of liquor," He admitted.

 

As Lucius began to go even deeper into what Veldoval would need as a warlock and to use his magic, he was shocked. Sure, he had been informed he'd be able to use his magic but still... The other was willing to get him the tools in order to do so without so much as batting and eye about it. "I'm uh... pretty adapt to a wand...." He admitted a bit sheepishly. A wand was what he'd used as an arcane focus before. "Also, I'm fine with a short sword I guess... I've mostly only used a bow but I could also use a crossbow if needed. Though, the bolts and everything are expensive so I don't need much for weapons. It's alright if I don't have any armor," he added the last part quickly before going over what he'd be carrying in his head. He'd need to get his wings strong quickly to carry himself and then everything else on top of that.

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'Ah, good. You're back. How was your walk?' Lucius asked politely. He pulled on his scarf and fussed with it a little while as he tried to decide how he wanted it to look. Tieflings were generally very concerned with how they looked. They were very vain in general and loved the comforts of life.

 

'No bedroll? Good, that makes one less thing to carry. I'd prefer if you had shoes though. Your feet may be used to the rough but they're going to get cold. Can you handle walking in snow?' he asked. As a tiefling, the thought of walking barefoot in snow was atrocious. Lucius would get frostbite long before a human or aasimar did but didn't quite realise he was the exception, not the norm.

 

'I'll let you decide what sort of wand you get. Is there any particular material, core or embellishments you prefer to have?' he asked. Lucius then shook his head when Veldoval said he could possibly use a sword. 'No. If you don't already know how to use it, I'm not giving you one. You would be a liability wielding a sword unless you can already beat a man and take him down with one. You can have a bow or crossbow, it's your choice. Do you know how to fletch your own arrows?'

 

With everything decided, the cleric gathered up a small, black leather messenger bag and slung it over his shoulder. He made his way to the door and walked out. After locking their room, the tiefling held out his hand for Veldoval to take.

 

'I hope you don't mind. It's not because you're indebted to me or I think you'll run off. It's just companionable. We can link arms if you prefer,' he offered. He wouldn't force it on the man, however. He would let it go if Veldoval had any objections to holding hands or linking arms in public. 'I don't want us to split up. If there's something you want to look at, tell me and I'll follow you. We don't have to be back at any particular time but I can only handle crowds for so long. We might even have to take a break and find a park to settle in.'

 

Lucius smiled at Veldoval to reassure him it wasn't as bad as it sounded. He then guided the aasimar out through the corridor, beyond the common area and into the chilly autumn wind. Lucius immediately shivered and started to fidget with his scarf as if he could get it to cover more of him. Even with long sleeves, it still felt like the wind was blowing right through him. He wasn't about to ask for his cloak back either because that would mean Veldoval would be walking bare chested.

 

'First thing's first. We need a pack for you to carry everything in,' Lucius announced, accepting the fact he was going to be shivering until he got Veldoval other clothes to wear. That would be the second thing on their list. 'Do you have any preference as to what patterns, colours or materials your new clothes are made of? How well do you tolerate freezing conditions? Winter is coming and the place we're going are chilly even in summer.'

 

The tiefling guided them through the streets, staying close to Veldoval primarily in hope of sharing a little body warmth. They got a few glances, no doubt because a tiefling master was shivering while an aasimar slave wore a cloak. Lucius simply smiled politely or gave them a hard look to mind their own business. Most people looked away once they'd been caught staring. At one stage the wind whipped up, swirling around in an eddy until Lucius stopped in his tracks and just braced against it. He wondered silently how the tiefling warriors had managed to win the war in such chilly conditions. He figured their metal armour must have kept them warm.

 

'Greetings! Greetings!' came the boisterous voice of a curvy woman when they entered the traveller's shop. Her whole body wobbled as she hurried to greet them. She held out her hands and Lucius held out his gloved ones to greet her.

 

'Good afternoon, my good lady,' he said, smiling with all the charm of a sunny day. 'It seems you're in luck today. I have an entire list of things I need to purchase from you.'

 

'Oh, really?' the woman said, her eyes flashing greedily. 'What can I help you with?'

 

'I need a pack that's lightweight but large and sturdy. It needs to last a good year of rugged terrain,' Lucius announced. 'I also need a thick, large travelling cloak; two water canteens, perhaps even three; eating utensils, and a bowl. They're for my friend here.'

 

'Friend?' the brunette asked. She openly looked the aasimar up and down, much to Lucius's annoyance.

 

'Yes. He is my slave but he makes a very good companion. I haven't had to whip him once!' Lucius said in an amused tone. He was aware he'd made an error. He wouldn't so casually call Veldoval a friend in public again. 'Nonetheless. He lost his pack in a ravine on our journey here and I need a few things replaced before we go into the wilderness again. Do you think you can help me?'

 

'Of course I can, good sir! I suppose you'll be needing rope, a medicine kit and cooking equipment too,' she suggested. Oh! That greedy woman!

 

'No, thank you. Just what I listed,' Lucius replied, inclining his head politely.

 

The woman quickly showed them around the store, practically ignoring the slave the whole time. Veldoval wasn't the one with the money, after all. Several times the woman tried to convince Lucius to buy more than what he'd listed but he insisted he had everything else he needed. Lucius made sure to inspect the wares properly, especially the pack. He practically pulled it apart to inspect seams and the base of the thing. When he was finally satisfied with it, he handed it to Veldoval.

 

'What do you think? Is it too heavy? You're the one who's going to be carrying it,' he said, then looked to the seller. 'Do you have anything that's more lightweight?'

 

'Nothing that will survive the wilderness. This is the best pack we have,' the woman assured him. And the most expensive, she could have tagged on the end of her statement.

 

After the pack came the cloak. There were many travelling cloaks hanging high on a rack, which Lucius flipped through idly. In the end, however, he stepped back and guided Veldoval forward.

 

'This is your decision, Veldoval. You need something warm and comfortable that will fully wrap around your wings and body,' he said. 'Choose anything you like. If nothing here suits your fancy, we can always look elsewhere.'

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"It was very good, thank you. I really just walked around back and stretched my wings a bit but to feel them move the way I wanted them to with no hesitation or pain, was a really nice change... So, thank you for that," Veldoval said. He was very honest when he spoke and left nothing out but at the same time, he didn't add unneeded details that might bored Lucius, especially when he was the type that didn't seem to like too much conversation. It was easy to gauge that Lucius would rather short and to the point honesty while keeping up manners so that was what Veldoval would work to do.

 

"Oh... er...." Veldoval looked down at his feet and frowned. It was true that he was able to walk on cold surfaces since his feet had grown rather numb but even he wouldn't be able to walk through snow in such a state... He'd lose his toes that way. "I suppose shoes would be useful," he stated.

 

When Lucius asked of the wand, Veldoval thought back to the wand he'd had before. The length, the balance, the type but in reality it all came down to one thing. "The feeling... It's a matter of feeling. If I just hold the wand for a few seconds I should be able to tell that it is for me," he added to his explanation a little. Though, the conversation quickly changed when Lucius started to talk about wielding a sword or other weapons. "I understand," he said looking down a bit. He wasn't great with a sword but then, he didn't really need a weapon... He was only taking one up for his master's comfort. Veldoval primarily used magic more than anything else.

 

"I can fletch an arrow... I also know how to retrieve bolts and arrows without them breaking so I can use one multiple times. It will only last so long but it is possible," he explained.

 

The aasimar took his master's hand after a bit of hesitation. He didn't find it appropriate to hold his master's hand or arm without a good reason to do so but if this what was Lucius wanted, he would oblige. Though, strangely enough, he had a feeling that should he refuse, the tiefling wouldn't be upset in any way and that was comforting. Still, he took the hand anyway and nodded towards the other before they headed out. It was really odd, what with them being nearly the same height... or maybe they were exactly the same height... it was a bit harder to tell with Lucius's horns and everything but their shoulders stood at the same height. It just made for an odd picture... a slave as tall as their master... especially since the only slaves sold were children.

 

Lucius had many questions but it was understandable. "I don't have any real preference, just things that work well with my wings, that's all...." He paused looking down a bit as he seemed to think about it more. "Actually... Things of reds or silvers would be best as they are common colors for aasimars. So, in wearing those colors we would hold an even better chance when speaking to them," He admitted. It sounded rather odd for those colors to be used with their kind but it wasn't unknown. "Er... maybe silvers and blacks," he said. His change may make it seem like he didn't even know his own people but as most tieflings are red, that color may not bring back such good memories.

 

"Also, I don't particularly like freezing conditions but my body temperature runs higher than most as I have wings to pump blood into and they generate a lot of energy." The aasimar was very good with these kinds of questions so had no problem admitting to them. He knew his body well.

 

Veldoval was able to feel his master shivering next to him, and pulled in close. He wanted to return the cloak but also couldn't go walking around shirtless... even the aasimar was quite cold at the moment. As he felt the other stop short and stiffen to brace against the oncoming wind, Veldoval side stepped and one large wing came out and blocked most of the gust against his master, covering him the best the wing could. It was actually quite effective as Veldoval shivered quickly before tucking the wing back under the cloak once the wind had passed.

 

He didn't say a word of what he'd done and simply turned and walked a bit quicker to get his master out of the cold wind and into the warm interior of the shop. It was actually quite nice in this store and it seemed to have quite a few of the things they were looking for so that just meant fewer shops they'd have to travel to.

 

Veldoval found his new master rather impressive, turning on such charm... and the patience he had dealing with this clearly greedy lady was god-like in many ways. As the two conversed for a moment, the aasimar glanced around, taking in mental notes of where things were in accordance to what they needed. Upon mention towards him, he offered a slight bow but could clearly see the woman looking him up and down. It seems Lucius had a slip of the tongue and she was questioning him.

 

"I offer my master friendly banter and great conversation," He said with another small bow but the woman hadn't the time of day for him as she pushed on greedily towards Lucius. That wasn't going to do. So, any time the woman tried to push on more than what was asked of her, Veldoval piped in with the next item they needed, shutting her down and giving Lucius an opening to not deal with her.

 

"Ah, Master. What of these items, this was what you were searching for, correct?" He'd pipe in, bringing the item over, and handing off with a bow before twisting and vanishing to another part of the store yet again. The woman was probably very angry with him for interrupting but he wasn't her slave, he was Lucius's so he was going to help his master, and only his master.

 

As he took the pack, Veldoval did a once over himself but what he did was very different. He was instead mentally measuring it to see how it might fit when his wings were out or when he was flying. When he found it would sit properly when doing so, he nodded. "This would work wonders, Master," he said just adding the master part to press the woman's buttons more. "I will be extra sure nothing bad should come to this one," he said just to continue driving at the woman. Man would he have his ass slammed if he were her slave. Pity he wasn't.

 

Veldoval stepped up and flicked through the cloaks as well, testing the fabric between two fingers, checking tags and seams. He seemed really intent on finding a really good one but also making sure not to spend to much and after a few moments, he let out a disappointed sigh, loud enough for both Lucius and the store owner to hear. They were getting a lot of things so now was the time to drag this woman's prices down.

 

"I'm sorry to say this Master, but of all the places we've been, the stores we've seen, this just isn't right. As far as quality goes...." He shrugged a bit, turning and catching just his master's eyes for a second to offer the plan with just a glance. Let's see how it worked. "We've clearly seen better. Price means nothing if the quality is lost. Clothing doesn't seem to be of a great specialty here. For example, a cloak like this," he placed his hand over a double sided cloak, one side black, the other an almost silvery, yet duller grey. This was the cloak he wanted and hoped Lucius would realize it based on his desire for these colors earlier. "It has many uses don't get me wrong... but for the lack of design, and the suffering quality... it is sad to say the price is far too high. It's at least double beyond its quality," he said. This was his silver tongue and with his charisma just as strong as Lucius's, it was easy to see why so many found him a danger just to speak.

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'It was my pleasure,' Lucius said, inclining his head to the slave. When he looked up, he smiled at the man in a friendly way. 'I imagine it must have been a happy moment for you. I'm glad I could give you that.'

 

'Do you need any tools to fletch arrows?' Lucius asked, wondering if he really wanted to go to all the trouble of getting tools for fletching arrows when the man was a warlock. Was it enough to get him a wand? Alas, Lucius didn't know how practical Veldoval's spells were. The aasimar had been rather quiet about what he could and couldn't do. Eventually Lucius would press him for details but that would come after they'd finished their shopping.

 

'Silvers and blacks it is,' Lucius replied with a nod. He looked across with curiousity at what Veldoval said next. 'Really? I would have thought having wings would make you more susceptible to cold... greater surface area and all that. Tieflings have hotter bodies too but that only makes us immune to the heat rather than the cold. I'm used to living in a hotter climate than this.'

 

The tiefling master pulled in close to the aasimar as the man wrapped a wing around him. They got a few looks but Lucius was far more concerned with keeping warm at the present. Thankfully, the wing stopped most of the wind from blowing through his bones. He smiled at Veldoval and squeezed the man's hand, even offering a muttered "thank you" before heading off again.

 

Lucius found himself incredibly relieved to have Veldoval with him. It really felt like the man was on his side. It was two against one with this woman. Together the pair could easily get her to lower her price.

 

'Thank you, Veldoval. You're going to need a few eating utensils,' Lucius said when he looked over at what the slave had brought. He gave the woman an apologetic smile at how put out she looked then reminded her that he needed a pack with straps that would adjust for aasimar wings.

 

'I'm glad you like it. It's too bad you lost your last one,' Lucius said with a sigh. 'I suppose it can't be helped. Luckily we have most of the shared belongings in my pack. Your pack mostly had the food and your personal belongings.'

 

'It's a very good pack, made locally too,' the woman said.

 

'It is a nice pack, I'd be happy to pay almost 70% of what you're asking for it,' the tielfing said. The haggling started after that. There was plenty of flirtation and banter but it was still a business exchange. In the end the two agreed on a price, though the woman looked rather put out at how low she'd agreed to go. Lucius would have to put in extra charm to get her comfortable with haggling with him again.

 

'That won't do. Perhaps we should look elsewhere for your cloak. I liked that grey woolen one in the markets,' Lucius commented. 'It was certainly big enough to cover your wings.'

 

'Nonsense! This cloak is the height of fashion!' the woman said in an incredulous tone.

 

'I may be a tiefling but we are looking for function over fashion. This is simply too thin for where we're headed and I can find better quality elsewhere, as my slave has said,' Lucius insisted. He then made his first offer. The two haggled for several more minutes before moving on to the next item they were looking for.

 

'You said you needed three water canteens,' the woman said.

 

'Two or three,' Lucius corrected. 'It depends on the size and the price.'

 

The three of them went around the store looking for what they needed and often haggling over the prices. In the end Lucius also bought a pair of boots for Veldoval here rather than out in the markets because it seemed this shop had products of sturdy quality that wouldn't fall apart half way up the mountains. It was better to get them here than in the markets, which wouldn't last as well, or the shoemaker, which would be more expensive. The woman seemed pleased with herself that they'd bought more than what they'd come for and Lucius was impressed that Veldoval had come in handy with bartering. It was a win for all.

 

'All right, pack everything in your bag and we'll be off. I'm just getting your clothes from a stall in the market square, if that's okay. Quality isn't as imperative there because they'll be easy to mend,' Lucius said to Veldoval after he'd handed over his money and accepted a signed receipt. He needed to keep track of his spendings and keep receipts to give to his order. Lucius gave the woman one final wave then led the aasimar out of the store. Having been in the warmth of the store, the chill was a bit of a shock to him. 'Quick, give me my cloak and put on your new one.'

 

There were several items they were looking for in the markets but two sets of clothes would come first. They would need alternations done while they looked around. The large, open market was larger than the streets Lucius and Veldoval had come off. It was busier too. Lucius gripped tight to Veldoval's hand so they wouldn't break apart and walked through the isles quickly. He scanned a few stalls and remembered where things were but he kept his eye on what he was really searching for. There were a few shops selling clothes. Many were brightly coloured and decorative but that's not what Lucius was after. He needed winter gear that would keep out the chill. When he found a suitable stall, he literally dragged Veldoval through the crowd and wove his way to the front of the stall.

 

'We don't sell to tieflings,' the man at the stall grunted.

 

'Very well,' Lucius replied, glancing to the young woman behind him. He turned and walked away silently until they were out of view of the seller. He then took his purse out of his messenger bag and handed Veldoval enough coins to cover everything they needed. 'You're to get two shirts and two pants. Make sure at least one change of clothes thick enough to keep you warm in the snow. When you're done, ask them to make alterations so they have slits in them from the base up. I'll attach buttons to the bottom of the slits so the clothes will stay on you.'

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"I guess I would need some tools to fletch the arrows but I really won't be using arrows that much. I have one particular spell that will be far more useful," He admitted. Veldoval was about the start up the spell in order to show Lucius what he was talking about but quickly corrected himself as they were now in public. It still was a big No no to show that he had any kind of magic. If anyone else saw, they would lose it. A tiefling with a slave that used magic? A warlock no less... that was a bad idea so he was careful not to do that. He'd wait until they were on the road together.

 

"That's a big misconception. Most think that we are birds like arracokra so they'd assume we were cold blooded as most birds are. However, that's not the case. I have hollower bones allowing me to fly a lot easier but my heart still has to pump blood through my wings so I burn calories and have a higher body temperature than humans. Still... I'm not the biggest fan of the cold, though we do tend to live in high altitude areas," he explained. This wasn't the easiest thing to explain but he was trying his best so far.

 

"Happy to be of service, Master," Veldoval said with a bow as he tucked his wing back again. It was obvious he said this to get the onlookers to turn away. This was just a slave serving his master and keeping the cold wind off him. That seemed to shut enough people up as they turned and continued to the shop.

 

Inside the shop was easy pickings. Veldoval had sweet talked his way through things before but to have someone else who was just as smooth as he was... well it was incredible. The two batted back and forth... it was almost like bullying if not for the fact the woman had upped the prices on everything so they were hardly getting a deal, mostly just regular prices, sometimes a touch lower.

 

"I agree, Sir. The straps wore out after that attack so it was no wonder it was lost... This hopefully will hold up," he looked over the pack again a bit less impressed but offered a smile of content to keep the woman from pushing the price either way. If he stretched the straps enough, he could get his wings and arms through, allowing it to fit on his back without hindering wing movement or flight ability.

 

"Oh yes, Master. I agree. That cloak would do wonders of keeping my thin, feathered wings warm in the oncoming winter," he said giving a little shiver to fake the deal. No one understood that Aasimars weren't bird creatures. Sure, they knew they were celestial beings but still believed them to be cold-blooded and in need of added warmth. This would play out well.

 

Any time the woman tried to swindle Lucius, Veldoval would pipe in about another store that had the same items for less and assisted his master where he could allowing them to leave there with far more than anticipated. However, it worked out and they were able to finish up with fewer interactions and as the time with the woman went on, she grew easier and easier to deal with despite her growing greed. All the same, she continued to push but the threat of them growing tired of being in one place too long made her a little easier to push things in their favor where they could. In the end, they only had one other stop to make for Veldoval's clothes.

 

As the two pushed into the streets, even the aasimar flinched to the cold and quickly took off the jacket and returned it to Lucius before throwing on his new cloak, black side up. He twisted and admired it some before hurrying towards the tiefling as the two hurried to a clothing booth. As he got close, Lucius grabbed Veldoval's hand and tugged him through the crowd, only getting to the point of dragging the aasimar behind him when he saw where he wanted to go. Veldoval had no clue which direction they were heading which was why he was being pulled about so easily but he tried to keep up as they rushed to the shop.

 

As soon as the pulled up to the stall, without a moment of hesitation, the man there brushed Lucius off saying they didn't sell to tieflings. How rude. The aasimar began to focus his energy when he was yanked away towards another direction and out of sight. "That's not ok in the least," he grumbled some as the other handed him money.

 

"Are you sure he'll sell to a slave? He wouldn't even sell to you... someone with a slave. You have to have quite a bit of coin to buy a slave... Well, not to buy me.... but he doesn't know that!" Veldoval was actually getting heated up about this. He was fuming but as the other gave his instruction, the aasimar had no choice but to sigh, and suck it up. He took a deep breath and tucked his wings in as much as he could before returning to the stall.

 

The man didn't want to sell to him but as Veldoval flashed the coin and used his silver tongue, he was able to convince the guy to sell... took extra to get him not to up the price though.... At one point, the man was getting too out of hand even for the warlock so he found a kind looking woman and pleaded his case to her who pitied him and helped to get the man to even give a discount. Veldoval found out after that she was a prostitute, well known and respected in this town and she had no problem letting the man remember what he did with her and he opened the slits in the shirt for free.

 

Veldoval thanked the woman, looking somewhat skittish from a distance as he bowed a number of times, and ran off towards Lucius and showed him what he got, handing over the small bits of change. "Wow, women are fierce," he said with a smirk.

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'If you have a spell you can use instead of arrows, there's no need to get you a bow,' Lucius answered. That was one less expense and one less thing for Veldoval to carry. Lucius was already wondering whether the slave would have the strength to carry everything. He didn't want to carry everything himself but he didn't want to overburden his slave either.

 

'I didn't say you were avian or cold-blooded. I thought a larger surface area would mean larger heat loss,' Lucius pointed out, sounding slightly annoyed. He was interested to hear more about aasimars but he still didn't like the way Veldoval made it sound like he was correcting him. It was water off a duck's back, however, and the annoyance was short-lived.

 

Despite the fact Lucius knew Veldoval was calling him "Master" for appearances, it still made him tense up to be referred to as such. It left a bad taste in his mouth but he said nothing of it. It simply sat there on his tongue feeling bitter. It continued all the way to the first shop they went to, where he brushed it off so he could work his charm on the shop owner. It seemed he didn't have to work too hard though because Veldoval was doing all the work. Lucius was happy to let Veldoval lead for a bit. It gave Veldoval the chance to feel like his own man and to prove himself. It also gave Lucius the chance to look around for a camping blanket for the slave. He doubted the aasimar's wings would fit in a sleeping bag. The tiefling chose the thickest, though least attractive, blanket there was and began inspecting it while Veldoval continued to argue with the woman. When they were done, it was Lucius's turn to shine.

 

'You can't expect me to pay this price for a blanket! It's so old, it looks like you're having trouble selling it,' he announced. He huffed in exasperation.

 

'I'm afraid you and I will be sharing a blanket unless this dear woman can give us a better price on it,' he said mischievously, giving a sky wink in the woman's direction... if she knew what he meant. He moved back towards Veldoval and smoothed a hand suggestively down his bare arm before parting the man's cloak to reveal his body. He looked at Veldoval intently, as if the aasimar was the only person in the world. 'Just imagine it, you and I huddled together under a tree, clinging to eachother as we shiver for warmth. Your poor wings would go numb and I'd have to rub them back to life.'

 

'Or...' Lucius paused, tilting his head to the side and smiling seductively at the woman as if she were about to join in on his imagined scenario. 'You could give us a 40% discount for being such lovely patrons and save us from a long, hard night.'

 

It worked, the woman was flustered enough to forget about greed. Even if she wasn't attracted to them, it sure derailed her thought processes. Lucius let go of his aasimar and moved over to her, brushing her hand ever so lightly while holding the blanket wrapped up in the other. There were a few whispered words before the woman chuckled out loudly and led Lucius, hand in hand, to the counter so they could finalise their deal. Again, Lucius offered a blessing in return for lowering the price. He spun a wonderful tale of the riches that would rain down on her, how she'd never go without a hot meal and how she'd always get the top odds on every gamble or risk she took. It was a pretty picture indeed, painted by Lucius's silver tongue. By the end of their time, they'd received an extra 25% discount and two pairs of thick, wooly socks and one pair of gloves to keep them warm on those chilly nights.

 

As soon as he had his cloak back, he tugged it to himself and pulled it on. He fussed a little with his appearance until he was satisfied with himself.

 

'It's fine, Veldoval. He has the right to choose who he sells to. I'm not going to force him. In the end, it's his loss,' the tiefling commented. Lucius didn't seem to bat an eye at being sent away because of his race. It upset him and left him feeling sour but what could he do? He couldn't make a scene. Making a scene in public never went very well for tieflings or their aasimar slaves. It was easier to use subterfuge and deceit. If Veldoval got refused, they could easily go elsewhere or they could use a disguise. Luckily, the stall owner's mistress helped Veldoval with the sale.

 

'I was hoping you'd get them sewn,' Lucius said, sounding a little disappointed. 'Very well. I'll take care of it tonight. We still need to get buttons, dry food and a wand for you. First, however, I need to sit and have a drink. That woman took a lot out of me.'

 

Lucius chuckled as he took the coins back and tucked them away. He then took the clothes and looked at them before helping to tuck them into Veldoval's pack. They were now both carrying quite a bit - Veldoval with his full pack and Lucius with the blanket. In the end he led Veldoval back to the inn, handed the man the key and sent him up with everything they'd bought so far. He stood by the front window with his arms folded, silently looking as if he were brooding. Perhaps it was not good to brood, given his race, because it made it look like he was up to no good. A heard a few whispers in the wind and got a few stares, which ruffled his feathers a bit. He was getting quite restless and started to tug at his braids. A heavy hiss escaped his teeth and he shivered.

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Veldoval understood the concept of not having a bow and didn't mind not having one since he had a cantrip that he could use in place. That being said, Veldoval started to feel a bit uneasy when Lucius's voice changed, showing his irritation. The young aasimar retracted slightly but it seemed the irritation was short lived. The two were able to get into the store and wear the lady down rather hard.

 

The woman stood gaping for a minute at the two of them. She had been through a lot already and this was something that was really throwing her off. Veldoval felt the hand brush over his arm, quickly knowing where Lucius was going with this and he glanced away shyly. "Oh Master, I couldn't," he spoke softly and the woman started to blush but in some ways, she seemed both into it and annoyed at the same time. It was strange and she found herself unable to react until she heard the discount Lucius was hoping to get for the blanket.

 

"Enough!!!" The woman said throwing up her arms and moving forward to force Veldoval and Lucius away from one another. She was already drained and couldn't have this scandal going on in her store. "Fine, 40% off for the blanket just knock it off. No more of that in here," she demanded, turning away with a headache that she tried to take care of by simply rubbing her temples. What was going on with these two? She had never had such a difficult time dealing with a customer as much as she was having right now dealing with a tiefling and his slave. An odd couple as it was and they were both way too smooth with their words.

 

Despite what Lucius said, Veldoval still wasn't happy about how the man reacted. He was rude and discriminating against someone who practically saved his ass.... Of course... from aasimars.... who hadn't done much... The young winged male just frowned before finally bucking up and heading over to get the cloak. Thank goodness for the wife who was a great help before Veldoval returned once more to Lucius's side.

 

The other stopped for a minute, tilting his head and looking at the cloak... What would it need to be sewn for? He wondered but brushed it out of mind and got his new cloak on, admiring it for a minute before nodding towards his master.

 

"Right, then let's head back to the Tavern," he said gently before they headed off towards the tavern for Lucius to be able to rest. Once they got there, Veldoval's job was to get the things upstairs which he did, rushing up but being careful in how he placed everything in the room. It was apparent that Lucius liked things to look a certain way and that was fine so Veldoval was going to respect his wish and help by keeping the place neat and tidy even given the amount of things they had with them. He glanced around, taking a mental note of where things were and what they looked like before finally turning and heading out of the room, locking it behind him, and returning to his master's side once more.

 

Immediately, Veldoval knew something was wrong. Lucius looked really irritated and he wasn't sure why. Was it a good idea to talk to him? He typically asked to be alone... but they were still just in the middle of the tavern.... the aasimar debated for a while before finally making up his mind and he walked over. "Are you alright, Lucius?" He asked finally able to drop the "Master" act. "Is there anything I can do to help? You look like you're in a really bad mood," he admitted. This wasn't the setting for this kind of face on a tiefling... It was one thing if he was brooding and acting like this in the room where he was alone and no one else could see... but it was an entirely different thing to have him doing this right in the main floor, facing the front window no less, in a tavern. Maybe they should try to change location.... "Would you like to go up to the room to lie down for a while?" Veldoval asked. His pressing probably wasn't helping his master's mood at all.

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As Veldoval looked at his new set of clothes, Lucius held them up for the man to see. They were pants and a shirt, having bought a winter travelling cloak for the previous shop. It would probably be good to get Veldoval a second set of clothes but they wouldn't be going back to the same stall for them and Lucius wanted to hold onto some of his money.

 

'Are you fine with one set of clothes for now? I know it isn't ideal but... if you need a second set, I will get it for you,' Lucius said with a heavy sort of sigh. He wasn't up to buying anything right now. Even so, Lucius remembered to smile at Veldoval in a friendly, reassuring sort of way then linked arms with the man. He was quiet all the way to the inn and seemed to be minding his own business. He let Veldoval take the lead and probably would have walked into something if not for them linking arms. At times he had his eyes closed and muttered under his breath in Infernal, which caused a lot of suspicious glances but for the most part he ignored people. Even when they got to the inn, he was still... not quite brooding but quiet with his arms folded defensively across his chest.

 

'Hmmm?' he asked as the aasimar brought him back to the real world. He immediately scowled as he realised what the man asked. He hated people assuming there was something wrong with him just because he wasn't extroverted. When he spoke next, he was a bit snappish. 'I'm fine. I'm not in any sort of mood that would cause any harm to anyone so leave me to my thoughts.'

 

Lucius sighed then relaxed his arms as he remembered his ultimate goal was to get Veldoval on side.

 

'If you must know, I was wondering what you'd do if I released you now. It's purely hypothetical - something I do a lot. I was mostly worried about your safety, whether you'd be able to make it home or whether you'd be captured again,' he said honestly. 'I don't want to see you sent into slavery again. Slavery is a blight on humanity. I just... I don't know.'

 

Lucius raised his hands in a sort of defeat. He was helpless and such hypothetical thoughts were pointless at best. It was up to the fates to decide. The tiefling looked out the window again then silently rummaged around his clothes for a few coins. Veldoval was right. It didn't bode well for a teifling to zone out in public.

 

'Get me a drink of something hot and I'll find us a table - something for yourself too,' Lucius said as he looked around the room. There was a group of people giving them both furtive glances. When Lucius nodded to them in greeting, they turned away and no doubt muttered amongst themselves about what a tiefling and an aasimar slave could be up to. Internally Lucius felt outraged that he couldn't just live in peace without being judged. He hated the way his people were discriminated against and at times it put him on edge with people.

 

Shortly after Lucius sat down at a table and two chairs against the wall, two sour looking sun elves came in and approached him. He didn't respond at first so the darker one - more of a brown than a gold colour - nudged him.

 

'Don't touch me,' Lucius said, not looking up for a moment. His expression was calm and non-confrontational but he really wasn't in the mood for this. He needed to be left alone. 'What can I do for you?'

 

'Get up,' said the darker elf.

 

'Pardon?' Lucius asked, looking bemused.

 

'You asked us what you can do for us. I said, "get up." Are you deaf as well as stupid, tiefling?' the brown elf said.

 

'I am neither, nor am I going to get up for you. My companion and I have already taken this table, thank you very much.'

 

'This is our table, devil spawn. This is where we sit. Move or we will move you,' the golden sun elf threatened.

 

'Yes, it is common knowledge that tieflings were created by the god Asmodeus by crossing humans with demons. I am very aware of that; there is no need to call me "devil-spawn",' Lucius said rather tartly. He breathed slowly then looked from one to the other. He was not in the mood to scurry away with his tail between his legs but he knew if this turned into a scene, he would be the one at the pointy end of a pitchfork. Sun elves may look down at other races as lesser beings but they were generally respected and trusted. 'As you can see, I am sitting here minding my own business. There is no reserved sign on the table so it is not yours. I have no interest in quarreling with anyone so please leave me in peace.'

 

'You have a silver tongue, devilkin, but that will not save you when it is common knowledge that this is our table. People do not need a sign to know it is our table. They just know,' the golden elf replied.

 

'"They just know"?' Lucius replied, holding down on his annoyance. He did not want to get into a fight with these elves so he had to mind his tone. '"They just know"? Nobody "just knows" anything. I know when I came in that this table was vacant. I know there was no sign saying it was your table. I know I have paid for a room and for a drink here, therefore I am obliged to use it. There are other tables free for your use. Please find one of them and leave me in peace. Thank you.'

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"One is fine, I'm use to one set and I'm just really thankful you were willing to at least get me this much," he said in a gentle tone hoping that Lucius wouldn't bother worrying over it too much more. He seemed drained from today's events and the thought of having his new master continually fuss over getting Veldoval a second set of clothing after how difficult it was just to get the first set... it just wasn't worth it. Surely they'd be able to go someplace soon that wasn't such a pain and afterwards, the aasimar could scoop up another set but for now, one would suffice.

 

The aasimar jumped when he was suddenly snapped at and quickly backed off. He had forgotten his place and it was his place to not go bothering his master. He stepped back and waited patiently for the other, though, he didn't need to wait long as Lucius sighed and said what was on his mind. Veldoval paused and thought about it for a minute before saying, "I really wouldn't know. I'd want to return home and would probably do whatever it took not to end up back in slavery... I just don't think I'm powerful enough to completely avoid capture. After all, my wings aren't at full strength still," he stated this as fact and tried not to push things any farther. However, he whole heartedly agreed with the statement and slavery was an awful thing that should be abolished. It was kind of odd coming from a tiefling.. His people were the reason aasimars were slaves as it was.

 

Veldoval was careful to watch his tongue now and didn't push the conversation any farther. He simply bowed his head, took the money, and turned on his heels before striding towards the bar for a couple hot drinks. His attention was pulled as the bartender started working on their orders and he glanced back towards the small commotion starting. Veldoval's eyes widened for a minute staring before narrowing sharply. These fuckers thought it was alright to mess with his new master? The one man that was willing to purchase and deal with a magic aasimar? A young adult no less? Hell no.

 

Veldoval did stand there for some time, watching the encounter go back and forth, his anger reaching a boiling point. These stuck up elves thought it alright to go after Lucius just for being a tiefling? That wasn't going to fly.

 

The bartender didn't seem to be paying it much mind as he placed the drinks on the counter and told the deaf aasimar they were ready. Veldoval, not listening one bit, stormed forward, arcane energy building in his hand before several people dove to the sides, the smaller slave releasing a blast of arcane energy forward, nailing one of the elves right in the back, sending him forward a bit.

 

"Back off," He snarled, preparing another eldritch blast in his hand. The purple and black spell bubbled in his hand like smoke and before one of the sun elves could attack him, Veldoval threw it forward, hitting him in the chest. He rushed forward, focusing his magic again and casting chill touch and doing some real pain to one elf, his wings shooting out to look more intimidating before pulling back to make him a smaller target to hit.

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Rumpleteaser

The elf with the lighter, golden skin was just reaching out to grab Lucius when Veldoval's arcane blast struck him in the back. He jolted forwards and Lucius raised his arms to shove the man back, thinking he was about to be attacked by the elf. After all, the man had reached out to grab him. He didn't want to harm the elf but shoving seemed harmless. The moment Lucius heard the aasimar snarling, he jumped to his feet. He was too late to do anything about the eldritch blast, which struck the darker elf in the chest, but he managed to push past his aggressors in time to stop the chill touch cantrip.

 

The moment Veldoval's hand touched him, Lucius gasped with his mouth wide open. He was protected against projectiles and most ranged spells but not against this. He very rarely came in contact with necromancy in his line of work. As necrosis spread out over the front of his clothes and chest, the tiefling sank to his knees. It chilled him to his bones and he felt the hellfire flicker within him. The tiefling gave a high-pitched whine of pain as he looked up at the slave. Even though he was shivering and his chest was damaged, he was now more worried for the slave who would no doubt be punished by the slave mark for attacking his master.

 

'Down on your knees!' Lucius said, shouting the order so everyone would hear it. 'Put your hands behind your back and in the name of your patron, do not cast another spell! How dare you attack these fine men?!'

 

As soon as the ghostly, skeletal hand disappeared, Lucius sprung to his feet and he bowed low. His teeth chittered and he ran his tongue across his lower lip as he thought of how to dissipate the situation. Before he could even speak, however, one of the elves cast some sort of frost spell over Lucius and the other cast a thunderwave on Veldoval. The wave shook the earth and would no doubt send the aasimar sprawling backwards into the crowded room or furniture. It was perhaps not the brightest spell to cast in a tavern but perhaps the elves wanted to cause a scene.

 

'Please forgive myself and my slave! This has all been a misunderstanding!' Lucius declared. His breath was coming out in puffs of vapour and his lips had turned purple with cold. He was starting to feel a bit light-headed too. Tieflings weren't built for cold damage. He expected the sun elf to reply but these ones seemed rather violent for their kind as the elf swung a punch to Lucius's cheek instead, followed by another to the eye. Lucius blocked the cheek but wasn't fast enough to protect his eye. Lucius gritted his teeth and took it, unable to do anything else, then looked up at the taller elf. 'Please, forgive us. My slave is new and untrained. I only bought him this morning and this is the first sign of trouble I've seen. Allow me to take him to our room so I can punish him privately.'

 

The golden elf walked up to Veldoval and grabbed him by the hair. He used the mop of unruly hair to throw the man to the ground, kicking him in the chest on the way. The kick had a shocking grasp spell attached to it, causing lightning to burst from his foot and electrocute the aasimar.

 

'Your slave attacked us without any provocation,' the brown elf declared, reaching out to grab the tiefling.

 

'Yes, he did. His actions were his own. I have no quarrel with you,' Lucius said through chittering teeth. He knocked the man's hand aside but would not be provoked into attack. 'Leave us be and I will deal with him myself.'

 

'No,' the sun elf said simply. 'Aasimar slaves aren't allowed magic. You should know this. It was your kind that enslaved his.'

 

Lucius winced as he saw Veldoval kicked in the side twice, causing a loud thudding sound. It riled him that someone would beat a slave who had been forced by their master to submit already. Part of him wanted Veldoval to be allowed to fight back but that would only make the situation even worse than it already was. Lucius looked around and saw the damage the thunderwave spell had done. He groaned and closed his eyes. This was not his day.

 

'What are the laws here regarding aasimars who use magic?' Lucius said calmly.

 

'They are put to death,' came a heavy, almost threatening voice. 'And their masters are imprisoned for allowing them to use magic.'

 

Lucius groaned and hung his head. Definitely not his day. As he looked up again, he saw three of the crown guard walking in. Their plate armour glittered and their scimitars clanged at their sides. They each wore a honey-gold sash of office and one of them had the pin of a superior officer. Really! That was all too much for a pub brawl. He supposed magic had been used but most of the damage had been done by the elves. Lucius tried to smile at the guards but his expression faltered at the look of hatred he got from the leader of the group.

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WolfDog12

Veldoval's eyes widened as he saw Lucius getting in the way of his spell. There was no time to drop it and he ended up striking the tiefling with his chill touch. It probably wasn't too damaging but he also knew how much Lucius didn't like the cold. In the same instance, the mark on his chest lit up and Veldoval let out a scream as 3x the damage he'd done was sent right back into him, knocking the assimar back and he stumbled back to his knees before it kicked into the demands of his Master, forcing him to obey.

 

Veldoval was on his knees, slamming to the ground, his arms painfully twisted behind his back and his hands turned to fists no longer allowing him to use any more magic. Veldoval knew he fucked up.... oh he really fucked up. This was so bad. He was not suppose to use magic and lost his temper, going out of the way to assault two elves. Shit... This was really bad. He bowed his head a bit feeling really bad but the elves weren't done with them yet.

 

It was like being struck by a ton of bricks; the thunder wave spell crashed over Veldoval with a loud bang before he was sent flying back, pain shooting through his body as he skidded off into the leg of a table. It struck him in his pulled back shoulders, still unable to move his arms out from behind him thanks to the slave mark. The aasimar coughed and squirmed a bit before finding his hair being yanked back and then yanked forward, a foot coming up into his chest. There was a shocking grasp attacked to the kick causing the aasimar to scream, spasm, and fall limply to the ground coughing. All Lucius could really see were his wings jut out and spasm before falling in a heap where they were, the coughing that followed.

 

That didn't seem to be the end of it as the sun elf continued to just drive the toe of his shoe right into Veldoval's sternum before tossing him to the side with a thud, his feathers thrown about all over, the smaller male barely conscious. One more strike and he was done for....

 

With no fight left in him, Veldoval just lay to the side of the floor, gasping for air and struggling to remain conscious. His eyes were starting to close and it became really hard to stay awake. Things slowed to a blurry mess and his ears were still ringing form the thunder attack. He couldn't hear what was happening anymore but did notice the crown's guard that filed into the room and quickly assessed the situation. As soon as they heard the aasimar lashed out and use magic, they hurried over to him and latched some magical cuffs on him and lifted him by the arms, dragging him out of the room as Veldoval didn't even have it in him to walk.

 

"You the slave's owner?" One guard Asked, facing Lucius. He eyes the elves for a minute before saying. "You need to come with us." He motioned for Lucius to head out the door, not worrying to slap cuffs on him.

 

"Hey, if you stop and kiss our boots, we might forgive you and let you and your slave off, tiefling," One elf jeered.

 

"Get those wings tied down. I can't have him fleeing," the leader said and another found some rope to bind Veldoval's wings to his body, similar to how he was when Lucius first met him. The head guard wasn't really looking at the elves now, focusing on the binding but he finally said, "That's not how that works. His slave used magic, that isn't allowed so he is facing charges anyway," the guard quickly interrupted and another guard motioned for Lucius to hurry and get out the door.

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