Papillon Comes Of Age Papillon Blade Intro

<Mina‘Haplo> [The date was the 7th of Isadorest, 900 BA. It was a bright day in the city of Posselbrook, which was a fairly sizable city in the western part of the country known as Paxia. The sun wasn’t the only thing making the day bright, either. For a young, 15 year old girl and her family, it would mark her ascension as a member of the most respectful house of Reel- and her first steps into adulthood as a worthy successor.-
<Mina‘Haplo> [Today, Papillon Reel, daughter of the Councilman of the Mages’ Circle of Posselbrook, would undergo the Trial of Succession, a ritual performed by the Reel family to mark a successor as 'worthy'. There had been a public square commandeered for the event, with Papillon's parents and 600 esteemed guests and friends taking part. A raised stage had been prepared, ringed with chairs, so all could see this momentous occasion.]
*Papillon‘ Reel, 15. She’s 'backstage', in the study, and pacing back and forth frenetically. She'd be biting her own nails off if they weren't gloved in silk. She's dressed in her finest mage's robes, an expensive affair studded with emeralds and sapphires along their golden trim. She is white-haired, and it's longer, tied back with a studded ribbon.
*Papillon‘ is reading from a lent tome from one of her many academic masters, trying to recite the first few stanzas to the Trial of Succession to jog her memory and aid in mnemonic recitation.
<Mina`Haplo> [There is the sound of applause from outside, and a quick glance outside would reveal that Sinclair Reel, Papillon’s father, had just stood to approach the podium. He was a tall man with hard lines to his face, with medium-length hair that had once been white, but was now more steely-silver. He, too, wore the finest robes, long and sweeping that fell to his ankles, with golden trim-
<Mina‘Haplo> [Offsetting the blackness of his robe. He placed his hands down on the podium and began an introductory speech- Papillon’s first cue to be prepared.]
*Papillon‘ takes her flute of water and drinks down from it. Mineral, of course. She takes deep, calming breaths, and stares back towards her book. She’s pretty certain of what's going to happen. She just didn't want to admit it. It's the proverbial few precious seconds before the fall's impact, the calm before the storm.
<Mina‘Haplo> ["… My good friends; to the Honourable Magister-Dean of the University of Western Paxia, Mr. Anthony Applestone; to the Head of the National Council of Transmuters, Mr. Louis Paskell;…" He’s introducing friends and guests. Some of them are Councilmen- some of the most powerful people in the country. The moment is growing ever closer.]
*Papillon‘ waits for her cue. She’s been told it over and over, and it's ringing in her head as she replays it over and over in her mind. "And now, without further ado, we try the future heiress to the House of Reel," her father speaks the words over and over in her mind. Her eyes flit back and forth between the text, and her toes and fingers grow clammy.
<Mina‘Haplo> ["… And she, no doubt…" A momentary pause. "Will prove a worthy successor to the legacy of the Reel family, and continue its long and glorious tradition into the future. And now, without further ado, we try the future Heiress to the House of Reel…"-
<Mina`Haplo> [There’s the sound of scraping chairs as six hundred people, most of them influential and powerful, get to their feet to watch the testing. "Papillon Reel."]
*Papillon‘ ’s eyes widen. It's like one of those 'you've played it back a thousand times in your mind, but you're still not ready for it' moments. She actually has to shove the mage book she is prohibited from carrying away, chucking it unceremoniously down the hall as she paces over the curtain and around. She stares at twelve hundred eyes, all transfixed on her. What pressure.
<Mina‘Haplo> [They stare. All of them. Her father’s eyes are on her, sharp and hard; there's her mother, watching her with a sort of slightly forlorn, yet supportive look to her face. The Magister-Dean is peering at Papillon with a curious, almost appraising look, the sort one might give a student. It is quiet. There's a long carpet leading to the stage…]
*Papillon‘ paces towards the stage, every sound of her footsteps echoing in her ears. Tromp. Tromp. Tromp. Curse the Reels and their huge, resplendently-echoing atrium. She marches up to the stage, and puts on a brave face as she looks towards the tome that will be her salvation or her damnation. She takes a deep breath, and recites: "Gentile forces of the wind, smouldering courage of flame…"
<Papillon`> [ "Transient passing of water, plentiful bounty of mother nature. I beseech thee, to shed your inner workings and bestow upon me but a privy of attention. Thy strength be at my command, to forbear." She waves the wand in her hand about. … it’s supposed to glow with brilliant blue light, as the first of many steps to the Trial. It doesn't. ]
<Mina‘Haplo> [It’s silent now. It used to be quiet, but now it's well and truly -silent- as everyone has suddenly become aware that this Is Not Going According to Plan. It's as if no one seems to be breathing at all. Sinclair Reel stares, his eyes becoming ever harder as her mother, Amora, closes her eyes in despair. "Again." Hisses Sinclair between his teeth.]
*Papillon‘ is in a cold sweat. Her eyes turn to the tome again, and she waves the wand to no avail… before moving towards the second verse. Maybe evocation was her banned school. "Uh," she stumbles. "Hale of body, sharp of mind, free of spirit. To great bounds we leap, to great heights we soar, that we may cast free the shackles of mortal form. Infinite wisdom of transmutation, avail thyself to me."
*Papillon` waves the wand in the other direction, as she’s supposed to. It's supposed to take on a yellow light to accommodate the blue light (that also doesn't exist). More sweating.
<Mina‘Haplo> ["Do it -again-, girl! You will not embarrass me here, today! Not today!" Hisses Sinclair, his voice creeping a mite above a whisper.]
*Papillon` fights to hold back tears. She looks to her mother for an ebb of comfort. Then towards the tome again. You shalt not best me, tome. Maybe she prohibited TWO schools! Specialists have to do that. There’s hope left. "Deep 'neath the shadows, lost in the annals of time, whispered among nobles and rags, I hail thee, secrets. My hand uncovers, and my eye sees all, for no fact lies unseen to the Diviner."
<Papillon‘> [ A white light flies out of the tome, to crown itself on the top of her wand! … is what Papillon deliriously hallucinates for a split second, but alas, the miracle never happened. ]
<Mina`Haplo> [Amora has this strange, crestfallen look on her face, as if she desperately wants to hug her daughter, but can’t. Sinclair is not nearly so gentle. A quick look around the area notes a few guests smirking or even giggling silently at this public humiliation. The Magister-Dean is peering at both Papillon and Sinclair with a curious look.-
<Mina‘Haplo> [Sinclair approaches, the lines on his face deepening in his hard fury. He snatches the grimoire from her hands, and clamps it shut. "You imbecilic girl." He spits. "You utter waste of space. How dare you humiliate me and your entire family today? How dare you waste my generosity, the resources I have -poured- into you in the vain hope that you might produce some sort of worthwhile talent?!"]
*Papillon` wants to throw up. Resists the urge, remembering she’d look even worse in front of six hundred people. The grimoire is snatched away very easily, because she doesn't want it. Her fingers are choking the proverbial albatross around the wand's shaft.
<Mina‘Haplo> ["Look at you. Not even worthy to hold a wand." He grabs it and tosses it aside. "Not worthy to wear those clothes- my clothes, the mark of a mage on your back! You are an insult to the name of Reel! Go! If you cannot even complete this test to prove your succession then you will have no place here. Go! Get out of my face. You are not my daughter anymore."-
<Mina`Haplo> ["That’s enough, Sinclair." Amora stands now, her face sad, yet angry. She is quite clearly an elf, with the upswept, pointed ears and the long, dark red hair of the Agnesian elves- the colour of the fallen autumn leaf. "Calm down and get ahold of yourself, please. Think about what you're doing here- this is Papillon. Your daughter! -Our- daughter! You cannot seriously intend to send her away?"]
*Papillon‘ stares between her parents, shying away as she is very much loathe to get between them. She hopes her mother can soothe the raging storm that is her father. Hope, however, rides alone.
<Mina`Haplo> ["I will do as I please! She has failed to live up to expectation- even the low ones I set for her. I was willing. You -know- I was willing, Amora, but look how she stands here, before us, talentless, worthless . I will not let someone like that be a part of my -family-!" "If you send her away, Sinclair, then you send me as well. I will not abandon my daughter." "Well, maybe that would be for the best!-
<Mina`Haplo> ["You stand and protect this useless sack of bones- I have no need for someone like that in my family either…"]
*Papillon` sort of stares agape at her mother and father, both disbelieving and aghast as she wrenches her hands and looks to the audience for some fast-dashed relief, because he feels the stare of six hundred faces against her own. "Mom," she finally croaks out, but her voice isn’t there.
<Mina‘Haplo> [Sinclair and Amora stare at each other with a furious, electric intensity, before Amora turns, her concentration broken. With a sudden sweeping of movement she grabs Papillon’s hand and starts to march away, the audience still reeling from the argument. "Oh yes. Go then! Go, and take your contaminated half-breed bastard with you! Maybe you'll find a use for her somewhere… It's more than I ever did…"]
*Papillon‘ gets yanked and is marched along with her mother, not quite grasping the full intensity of what just hit her. Her life. Her clothes. Her wand. Her shoes. Her ribbon. Her house. Her maids. Her dad. She stares back and forth between the two, her eyes bouncing back and forth. "M-mom…" is all she can repeat.
<Mina`Haplo> ["That man…" Amora is shaking in fury, watched by six hundred guests as they march off. "That…" She spits an angry word in Elvish that translates roughly to ’Bastard egg thief'. "How much I gave for him, how much I begged him to give up this foolish tradition…" She turned to Papillon, squeezing her hand tight. "I won't let him treat you like that. Alright? I won't let anyone treat you like that.-
<Mina‘Haplo> ["Men like that, they’re sick. They're obsessed with the petty power they get from their magic, their stupid pride in their family 'history'… They don't ever realise there's more than that, greater things. Come on. We're going to leave. Go someplace far away where you won't have to live with the obsessions of that man."]
*Papillon‘ waits until they’re finally through the door towards the relative privacy of a hallway, where she finally stares up at her mother as she descends to her knees and burbles unceremoniously into a sobbing wreck, her nose clogged and her both her eyes blasting out tears as her lips quiver and she stares helplessly up at her mother.
<Mina‘Haplo> ["Come now. Come on, Papillon. Come on, my precious one." Amora wastes no time in putting her arms around her daughter and pulling her into a tight, tight hug, stroking her hair gently. "Shhhhhh. It hurts. We’re both hurt by this. We have to- to turn to each other if we want to get through it, alright?"]
*Papillon‘ ’s 15-year old mind is grappling with this in the most immediately comprehendible and most palatable manner, as she clings to her mother and squeaks pitifully, "No more living here? No more… no more tea parties?" She stares up, wide, tear-soaked eyes and all, and wails, "No more pony rides?"
<Mina‘Haplo> [Amora shakes her head, slowly. "Probably not, my dear." She strokes Papillon’s cheek gently, trying to put on a brave face over her own rather distraught expression.]
*Papillon‘ clings to her mother, still, somewhat dearly. She just would rather weep her weary self out, now, and less of the gravity of her now homeless situation. So the tears do continue.
<Mina`Haplo> [Amora comprehends. She keeps Papillon close in the ongoing cuddle, letting her daughter cry into her shoulder. "All is not lost. I have… I have an idea of where we might go. We will leave very shortly, I think, but don’t worry. Everything will be alright. It'll all be alright."]
*Papillon‘ sniffles as she stares up towards her mother. Even to this day, the most prominent memory she has of the event is her echoing of, ’Everything will be all right. Everything will be all right. Everything will be all right….' and then on that third ring, as it often does, she awakens. Four years later, on a crummy cot the destitute might call a bed.
<Mina‘Haplo> [On a crummy cot in a dead dwarf’s blacksmithing shop in the city of Paxia- just one of a great many disenfranchised people living in the massive sprawling metropolis that is the capital of the Empire of Agnesia.]
*Papillon` runs her hand straight through her hair, and lets out a giant’s groan as she shambles on out of her bed, clad in a shaggy black top and loose sleeping shorts that're two sizes too large. {Bassard egg thieves…} she mumbles to herself, echoing her mother four years ago. {Bassards, allofem…}
*Elidin , one hour later, is all freshed up and ready to go. One running water bath later, she's ready to face the day with a sordid look on her face. She exits the house of her former mentor — now hers — and locks the door with a big iron key. Draped around her is her mother's mink coat, modified with heavy plating underneath that fits her form, white in color. Black poloneck shirt and pants…
<Elidin> [ … and a big honkin' sword that most people probably can't even call a sword with a straight face. ]
<Mina‘Haplo> [Elidin emerges out into the streets of Paxia. Her foster father, Kurnad, had set up the house/blacksmithy in the south-western part of the city, along a rather busy thoroughfare leading into the great blacksmithing and producing parts of the city. The smithy benefited in many ways from Kurnad’s ingenuity, such as actual running water and other clever mechanical marvels… But many of their benefits were quickly dwindling-
<Mina‘Haplo> [In Elidin’s unskilled hands. The street she emerged into was long, with a paved road- some of the pavements were cracked-, the notable smell of the smithies hanging in the air like a foul perfume. Blade was probably used to it by now. It was a somewhat busy road- wagons and carts filled with items- iron bars, ores, and produced items like weapons and tools- flowed across the road.]
*Elidin prowls along, not making a big fuss. Her first stop, as it is any day, is a nearby dive bar where she gets her breakfast and morning ale and maybe checks on some of the jobs. And get into a fight or two, all before lunchtime.
<Mina‘Haplo> [The bar- known as the Broken Drum- is grimy and unappetising. The barman- John- stares at Elidin as she comes in. "Mornin’, Eli." He grunts. He knows her by now, and he instinctively checks under his bar to ensure his double-barrelled musket is loaded. "What'll it be?"]
*Elidin sits down and stares unamused, just flagging the usual over with her signal of putting down a silver for her breakfast. Five copper for the breakfast, and the rest for her ale.
<Elidin> *a shilling, five pennies
<Mina‘Haplo> [John takes the money and puts it in one of his pockets, taking out a dirty mug and plonking it on the table, followed by a bottle of some cheap, locally brewed beer. "The usual to eat?"]
*Elidin drinks from a dirty mug, guzzling that good ol’ mass produced rotgut down to heart. "… yeah," she dryly responds. Too early in the morning for 'you talk too much'.
<Mina‘Haplo> [John sets off with a bit of a limp to the back of the bar, returning a few minutes later with a plate of bread and some bad cheese. "Alcott was in here for you earlier."]
*Elidin snaps the bread off in two, mashing the cheese down and taking a big bite out of it. "Buss a cap in him for me for all I care," she says with her mouth full.
<Mina`Haplo> ["I can’t do that, Eli. I don't care what you kids do, jus' don't expect me to get involved and don't expect me to take sides. And if he comes around, you take it out of my bar." He grabs a mug and wipes it with an equally dirty rag. "So, whatcha up to today?"]
*Elidin doesn't answer until she's had a few more bites of her stale bread — bread so hard she's actually stabbed someone with it. Then stares towards the billboard to check it for new advertisements. "We'll find out," she responds, taking her ale and slugging it down along the way.
<Mina‘Haplo> [The board has plenty of advertisements- some of them literally advertising products, but some of them are also asking for help or services done. Some of them are just courier deliveries, or requests for produced goods, or even finding people. One person is asking for someone to retrieve a stolen object.]
*Elidin looks for the highest paying ones, of course. That’s how you do business 'round these parts!
<Mina‘Haplo> [The ’stolen object' one is worth 3 thalers- not at all a bad amount.]
*Elidin rips the advertisement off, and walks back to the counter to gloss it over, chewing back down more bread and guzzling it down with more ale. Eventually, she's finished, and barring mooks in need of punching, she holds her hand up without looking back. "Later, John."
<Mina‘Haplo> ["Later." John takes the plate and presumably does something disgusting with it, like give it to the dogs to lick clean before returning it to service… Elidin takes the advertisement, and is completely unobstructed getting out of the Broken Drum.-
<Mina`Haplo> [… But not the street, as about a minute after she leaves, she sees a tall, heavyset man approaching with thick, muscular biceps and an angry angry face. "YOU!"… This is the great Alcott.]
*Elidin does something which we shall see become a very recurring character trait: she facepalms. "Damane help me," she murmurs, and stares back towards him. "Hello, Al."
<Mina`Haplo> ["You got a lot of nerve comin’ here, Eddin." Spits Alcott. Alcott is not very smart. "I oughta bash you real hard." He demonstrates this by thumping his fist into his hand.]
*Elidin folds her arms and shifts her stance. Her face very, very slowly narrows into a mildly unamused look as her eyes glare towards him. "Yeah? How's that buck tooth working for you anyway?"
<Mina‘Haplo> ["My tooth fell out!" He bares his teeth, showing a very uneven set of yellowing little bricks… With his front teeth missing. "I have come to avenge my teeth!"]
*Elidin narrows her eyes in a hard, menacing facial expression that will soon come to be known as the Elidin Death Stare. "Yeah? Come and get it if you want, boy."
<Mina`Haplo> [Elcott’s eyes dart to the left a little, and he looks back at Elidin. "Eh. Today you LIVE! But I give you a warning, Eddin. You watch your back. Or I'll watch your back. AND BREAK IT. With my KNEE." He starts to slide away.]
*Elidin spreads her arms in a semi-shrug and a goading gestures, responding with a none-too-couth, "Walk it off, big guy. Walk it off." She turns around and heads to this appointment with the stolen object guy, since if Elcott turns around to her back, now, he'll be reminded that on her back is a giant honkin' sword.
<Mina‘Haplo> [The ’stolen object guy' is about a 15 minute walk away, now heading into the poorer parts of Paxia's urban sprawl. A run-down looking house with a broken window greets Elidin… The house's door looks like it'd break with a solid kick.]
*Elidin has her hands in her pockets as she stares about the area with some visible measure of repulsion. She doesn't bother kicking the house door, but rather just opens it. "Hey. I'm here for the job."
<Mina‘Haplo> [The smell of cheap tobacco and booze greets Elidin’s nose as she enters. The house is about as shabby on the inside as it is on the out, with rundown walls and what looks alarmingly like water damage. A man stares at her from a seat; his clothes are a sort of rascal's dandy, with a coat, a shabby-looking vest and a collared shirt. He fingers a pipe in his hands as he looks up. "The job, eh? Good, good… Sit down."]
*Elidin stares down at him and responds, not really bothering to show the disgust in her face, "No thanks. How about you just get down to business."
<Mina‘Haplo> ["I need some goods ’acquired', if you know what I mean. Stolen goods, just with a bit of… Shall we say, temporal dissonance?"]
*Elidin blinks a few times and just puts one hand to her waist. "I prefer it when people talk straight."
<Mina‘Haplo> ["Right. Right. I mean, these goods are going to be stolen at some point in the future and I need you to make them stolen."]
*Elidin lets out a bit of a sigh, and then turns about. "Not interested," she dismisses.
<Mina`Haplo> ["Come on, luv! I’ll make it 5 thalers, how's that?"]
*Elidin turns about with a distasteful look on her face. "You stupid enough to ding off the mage-eye, that's your thing. Leave me out of it."
<Mina‘Haplo> ["Pfft. This ain’t got nothing to do with the mage-eye, luv!" He puffs some pipe. "This has got to do between one crim to another, see? The Mages don't give no damn about that sort of underworld-on-underworld business."]
*Elidin lets out another sigh, shaking her head as she turns back. "I'm not keen on getting dragged into crim stuff either."
<Mina‘Haplo> ["Oh come on! I’ll make it ten thalers, how's that?"]
*Elidin glares him down, then says, "You tell me what it's all about first, and then I'll decide. It sounds fishy, I walk."
<Mina‘Haplo> "S’what I like t'hear." He puts his feet up on a coffee table. "See, there's this guy. And he's new to the area, but he's a rep of some crime boss, see, who lives over in the docklands, tryin' to spread his influence. Now, me, and my bosses- I ain't gonna tell you 'bout my bosses, don't want to implicate you, see- don't really want this 'cause this is our turf. We want 'im gone, and to do that we need somethin' from 'im.-
<Mina‘Haplo> ["A certain trinket he keeps usin’ to gain support in the area. Somethin' magicky."]
*Elidin shrugs slowly, sighing, before folding her arm and looking back at him. "Alright. You'd better be here when I get back, though. Pin this on me and I vow to end you."
<Mina‘Haplo> ["Sure, luv. No use me not bein’ here, is it? I want that item for meself, see. Here's the address." He puts a slip of paper across the little table. "Er, you do know how to read, right?"]
*Elidin snatches the paper and frowns, muttering, "How stupid do you think I look?"
<Mina‘Haplo> ["Considerin’ the people I work with, luv, you can never be too careful." A smug smile.]
*Elidin stares at the piece of paper, and then sighs lightly. "What does this trinket look like?"
<Mina‘Haplo> ["Like a necklace, with a big golden medallion."]
*Elidin considers it for a moment longer, before turning about. There’s a part of her that's just sick of herself, working for ten thalers. She used to get fifty a week as free spending money. "The money better be here when I'm back."
<Mina`Haplo> ["Oh, it will luv. Trust me, will you?" The man leans back and gives her a toothy grin.]

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