Ta'Anar Raoul MaQuesti

She stared across the narrow street, and muttered. “Good. It's busy”. Glancing down at her dress, she began to fidget with the little bow in front. The bow never stayed where she wanted. Rolling her eyes, she thought to herself, “Of all the details that might go wrong tonight, and I'm worrying about a stupid, white, lace bow on the front of my dress”. She glanced in the store window, and tried to smile. It seemed so wrong! Blonde? Blue eyes? And a dress?! Ta'Anar blanched at the spectacle.

The fact that she was human even seemed wrong! Still, this was the perfect disguise. Just what her employer wanted. “Make it public. Do what you do best!”, she remembered. He was very clear on the fact, that it “Didn't matter HOW he dies. Just send a message”.

The message; that was all she was really bring paid for. Any number of individuals could have easily killed the “firya”, but it needed to be done right. With finesse. She stared at her reflection in the wondow, and muttered to herself, “The whole idea of killing someone, must have a purpose! Many die simply because of bad circumstances, and others die from old age. The blessed few die from combat. But! The very few, I mean, the puritan of a millennium, the very best and brightest, and the leader of all..... Well, once you toss in some very bad luck, and a cruel, unforgiving world...Well, then, you have purpose. And when you have to KILL one of those mother fuckers!?!? Well, now....THAT is why I am here!” She looked around, and back at the reflection in the glass. Shaking her head in disgust, she crossed the street.

Human. The proud elven sorceress retched at having to take on such a plain, inferior form. The spell was easy; any low-level spellcasting elf can cast a transformation dweamor to make herself look human. Even the invisibility spell that cloaked her hidden weapons was simple. Tonight wasn't about being fancy. If she had her way, Ta'Anar would have preferred to conjure some mighty beast, and unleash it on the small, human town. “Throw a few lightning bolts, unleash a demon. You know, fun stuff”, she muttered, smiling wryly. It had been a few years since she and her brother had left the elven kingdom, and she ached for the chance to cast some really powerful magic!

She was a White Elf; cruel, and evil by most standards of the realm. Her people were powerful spellcasters and mighty warriors, but they were also compassionate, and extremely family orientated. The myths about the territorial White Elves, or “Horse Lords”, were filled with exaggeration, and speculation; based on battlefield prowess, and the testimony of the scant survivors of those unfortunate to run into one.

To say that the last six years had been hard, would be an understatement! Born into royalty, she was raised in the elven court, and afforded the best in education. Ta'Anar was one of the highest ranked sorceress in the kingdom before she and her brother were cast into permanent exile. Now each day was a struggle; forced to always be ready to fight or flee, she had no choice but to hide her true identity every single day. They were always on the move, and constantly carrying out acts of violence just to stay alive. She had become a woman with no name, no identity, and unpredictably dangerous.

Recently, Ta'Anar and her brother Xxai'Lon had started working for a half-elf mercenary called “Fuller”. His claim to his namesake, was “the tool that bevels the blood grove into the weapon”. He was thin, cold, and ambitious. Very few people knew he even existed, and no one knew his past. Regardless of the fact that he was ruthless, manipulative, and a soulless killer, Fuller was a guaranteed pouch of gold, at the end of a dirty deed. Xxai'Lon had taken to his new employer with great gusto, and quickly found himself being feared for his finesse with a blade. Ta'Anar on the other hand, was constantly finding herself performing degrading acts of secrecy; skulking in the shadows, with her true talents ignored.

The sun was just starting to set, and the sky was a myriad of purple and pink streaking across the darkening blue. The village was settling in for the evening, with mothers calling their children to come home, and small lanterns being lit on the muddy, dirt streets. The long day of working in the fields, blacksmith, and the granary had come to a close, and parents tucked their babies into bed, while the small taverns were starting to fill up with patrons. It had been a hot day, and even now the air was still thick and cloying.

There was two places to wet your whistle in the little town. The smallest was located on the edge of the village, and boasted about the farm fresh produce they served to travellers and local families. The atmosphere was cozy and warm, like the fire that crackled in the corner of the pub. The larger tavern, was located in the middle of the town. It served very little food, but was famous for strong, home brewed ale. The building was a tall, wooden, three-story Inn, and even though it was ageing, and weather-beaten, it provided patrons with music, dancing, and the opportunity for a dark corner, or a soft bed.

Ta'Anar glanced in the cracked, dirty, window of the Inn. The lamps were burning brightly, and she could hear the sound of laughter over the folksy band on the small stage. She glanced around the street to see if anyone was watching her, then she looked up at the one window where she knew there WAS someone watching; the window was dark, but she knew he was there. She straightened the white bow on her dress, sighed deeply, and walked through the front door of the Inn.

Instantly, she reeled from the stench of stale ale, and sour tobacco smoke. The bright lights of the tavern made her blink several times. Ta'Anar suddenly became conscience of all the eyes suddenly staring at the strange woman in the white lace dress. She cleared her throat, pasted a practised smile on her face, and expertly surveyed the room. Directly at the door, was a small wooden desk guarding the stairwell to the rooms above the tavern. A bored young man sat behind the desk, absently chewing on a dirty fingernail. When he noticed the attractive woman in the lace dress, he stood up and smiled. Ta'Anar guessed him to be about 14 years old, wearing grubby work clothes, and missing a few teeth.

“Why, hullo Miss”, he drawled, “You're not from 'round these parts, are yea? Do ya need a room?” He gave her a suggestive leer, and flashed another toothless smile. “We do have ladies that only need a room for a few hours, and I kin offer you a decent rate”. He drummed his hands on the desk and continued, “If'n that's what ya need, just let me know. So tell me, are you here on business or pleasure?”

Ta'Anar shot a look of pure hatred at the snivelling, greasy, boy. With a cold sneer that made the young man back up a step, she growled, “I'm not interested in renting any rooms”. She smiled inwardly, as she saw the human blanch, and with practised bored indifference, turned away from the front desk.

She rocked on her heels, as she kept pretending to be happy and innocent, as her eyes scanned the tavern. Nearly immediately she saw her intended target, a tall, rugged, human in his late thirties, was seated across the room with his back to the wall. He was looking straight at the door, and was taking an obvious interest in the pretty woman in the white dress. Ta'Anar pretended to look away, and acted like she was looking for someone; happily talkative, waving to a few people, being friendly and bubbly. The act worked, as she watched out of the corner of her eye, as he followed her around the room. Ta'Anar walked up to the bartender, and smiled; flashing perfect, white teeth.

The balding, fat, bartender eagerly rubbed his hands together, and leered at the attractive young woman. His face broke into a smile a jack-o-lantern would be envious of, and crowed, “Well good evenin' Miss. The name is Charlie, and I'm the owner of this here establishment”. He whipped his hands on his dingy, yellowed apron, and asked, “What kin I getcha?” He picked up a dirty bar rag, and began to wipe down the cracked, wooden bar.

“Wine”, replied Ta'Anar dryly. She cleared her throat, and forced a pearly smile, “I mean, do you have any red wine?” She purred, “The driest you have good sir”.

Charlie rocked back on his heels, and licked his lips hungrily, “Well, now”, he drooled, “I might have something an exotic young lady like yerself mighten' enjoy”. He cocked his eyebrow expectantly, and placed his hand on his hips. “But, it's gonna cost ya”, he replied haughtily.

“Ugh!”, Ta'Anar rolled her eyes, breaking from character. This human disgusted her; his bloated jowls, blood-shot eyes, and flabby girth, were accented by a nasty body odour. She sighed, and deftly pulled a few coins from a hidden leather pouch, and tossed them on the bar.

The bartender's eyes opened wide when he saw the glint of gold in the flickering light. He ravenously snatched up the two gold coins, and drooled, “Ahh, yes! I DO happen to have a few casks of dry, red wine in the cellar”. Nearly falling over his feet in his haste, he disappeared through a doorway, and headed to the kitchen.

Ta'Anar turned and re-examined the bar. A couple of Wood Elves sat quietly in the corner, eating some sort of a watery, bland soup from worn wooden bowls. A table of six boisterous dwarves were sitting beside the stage, drinking heavily, talking loudly, and pounding their heavy ale mugs on the dirty table demanding more alcohol. Several farmers sat at greasy tables, drinking the name-sake “Silver Dragon Ale”, after a hot day in the fields. An odd group of mixed descent were seated around a large round table, playing some sort of animated card game; a sour-looking dwarf, a thin wispy-woman, two heavy-set humans, and a smooth-talking human dressed in black leather. Ta'Anar stared as the animated card player dressed in black regaled his comrades with a tale about a previous bar brawl, “.....so I took his bet, and walked over to that table full of minotaurs, and yelled WHERE'S THE BEEF??”. The table erupted in laughter.

Suddenly, she felt a slight tap on her shoulder, and Ta'Anar turned to face the man she was hired to kill.

“Hay pretty lady”, he crooned, “What brings you to this dung-infested hole?” He ran a manicured hand through his dark brown hair. His skin was tanned, and he stood easily three heads taller than the disguised elf. He was wearing worn, studded leather armour, and a large longsword hung at his side. By human standards, he was handsome, but there was a hint of danger in his mysterious, pale-blue eyes. He extended his hand, “The name is Sam. Samuel Porter”.

Ta'Anar pretended to be shy, and meekly shook the large man's hand. “Why, I do declare”, she purred in her best human drawl, “You are just a big drink of water. An' cute too!” She giggled, silently hating herself inside.

The bartender appeared from the kitchen. He leaned against the door frame, breathing heavily, his cheeks ruddied from the strain of walking to the cellar. With an awkward flourish, he produced a small, oak cask. He grinned; the teeth that remained were stained yellow. “I found a good 'un Miss”, he puffed. Walking up to the bar, he set the wooden wine-cask down, and started to wipe off the cobwebs and dust with the dirty bar rag. “It's a good vintage”, he wheezed, “I bought a few a while back from an elven trader”, he explained, producing a plain wine glass. He expertly tapped the keg, and poured the rich, red wine. He glanced up and grunted at Sam, “Kin I getcha something?”

Ta'Anar smiled knowingly. She batted her eyes at the bartender, and cooed, “Can we get a second glass?” She turned, and seductively purred at Sam, “You do like wine, don't you?”

He beamed, and chuckled, “Sure, I'll have a drink with ya”. Turning to the bartender, he quipped, “Well, you heard the lady. Get me a glass”. He cocked his head back, and squared his shoulders, “What's your name, cutie?”

“Sally-Mae”, she lied.

The bartender pushed a second glass of wine in front of Sam, grunted in disgust, and started to pick up the wood cask.

“Hold on”, Ta'Anar barked at the rotund, greasy, man. “I paid gold for that keg”. She shot a harsh stare at the embarrassed bartender.

“Sam chuckled, and shrugged, “Better do as the lady says”. He nodded in satisfaction as the bartender simply turned and waddled into the kitchen. Smiling at the beautiful woman in the white, lace dress, he picked up the cask and his own glass of wine. “Come sit at my table”, he offered, “I don't bite”.

“But, I do”, Ta'Anar muttered with a impish grin, her eyes flashing with excitement. She picked up her glass of wine, and walked over to the rough, wooden table. She set the glass down, and suddenly was face to face with a very ugly, huge, man. Instinctively Ta'Anar took a step back as the scarred human snarled, and she waved at Sam. “Can you call off your goon?”, she quipped in annoyance.

“Oh, sorry”, he grinned sheepishly. Turning to the overgrown mass of muscle, he barked, “Be nice, Hammer. This here is Sally-Mae, and I've invited her ta have a drink wit' me.” He smiled, walked around the table, and pulled out a chair for her to sit on.

“Oh, wow!”, gasped Ta'Anar, “I guess chivalry isn't dead after all”. She sat down on the old, wooden chair, and straightened her dress. She was relieved to see the two bodyguards walk away, and stand near the door to the tavern. Ta'Anar turned and smiled, “So Sam”, she purred, “What does a handsome man like you do for a living?” She batted her eyes, and feigned ignorance. His smile was professional; crisp, practised, with bright-white teeth. She hated all of it; she knew the truth.

Sam sat down, and raised his wine glass in a toast. “To new friends”, he smiled.

Ta'Anar forced the dark thoughts from her mind, and focused on the task at hand. Her pouty red lips broke into a smile, and she winked at Sam. “To new friends”, she chimed, gently clinking his glass. They both took a sip of the rich, throaty, berry-flavoured wine. Ta'Anar licked her lips, enjoying the aroma, and snap of the exotic import. “MmmmMmm! That's good”, she admitted. “Elven?” she quirked rhetorically.

Same agreed, “Yes. The owner does a modest trade in alcohol stock”. He raised his hand, and gestured around the bar, “Not only is this tha' best place to stay for Kilometres around, it serves the best ale in tha' kingdom!, Sam explained. He stopped and took a sip from his glass, and looked around the bar. “All this”, he waved again, “Is merely a smoke screen for a lucrative trade market”. He chuckled slightly, “And, it stocks Elven wine, yes”.

“Is that what you do then?”, Ta'Anar asked, raising her eyebrow in what she hoped was innocent curiosity. She batted her eyes, and sweetly asked, “You sell alcohol?”

Sam chuckled, “That, and more”. He leaned back in his chair, as it creaked in protest. He started to nod his head to the beat of the music blasting in the bar. His eyes flashed from person to person in the Inn, gauging, calculating. Suddenly, he turned and flashed a wide smile at the beautiful woman seated in front of him. “What do you do?”, he quipped, deflecting the attention from himself. He pursed his lips, studying the strange woman. She was attractive; the perfect hourglass figure, smooth skin, and elegant by local standards. It was her eyes, however, that intrigued him the most! Something about the eyes seemed a little off; baby-blue, but, sparkling with danger. So innocent, yet so frightening to behold. He was nervous, and a man in his position didn't like it when he felt nervous. There was something about this woman though, and he wanted to drink in more of her raw electricity.

She paused. The alibi was perfect; alluring, portending, and untraceable. “Same as you. I trade in secrets”, she lied, smiling innocently.

He frowned, and pursed his lips. Experience had taught him to be wary, yet he felt compelled to asked, “What kind of secrets?” He cleared his throat, trying to appear disinterested and aloof, while his mind reeled from the direction of the conversation. He forced a practised smile, and refilled the two glasses.

Ta'Anar accepted the offered glass, and took a long sip. She cocked her head and smiled knowingly. “Let's just say”, she purred, “That you and I are both aware, that information is worth more than gold.” She paused, and leaned back in her chair, licking her lips from the strong bite of the wine. Smiling, she continued, “The only difference between you and I, is that I know who you are.” She winked, and waited for the man to respond.

Quietly, he whispered through clenched teeth, “And, just who do you think I am?” His eyes danced with adrenaline, and danger.

She had seen this look before; surprised, and cornered. She looked around, and quietly rejoiced at the nearly packed bar. It was as public as an assassin could get, and it was time; there was no use waiting. She liked it this way, with at least a hundred witnesses, it meant there was no room for error, and things had to be perfect. Her pulse raced from the wash of adrenaline, and her breathing quickened from the excitement. Ta'Anar leaned forward, slowly and deliberately. She wrinkled her petite human nose and pretended to be sweet. “You're a hired killer.”, she whispered, and winked.

He showed no emotion, and merely cocked his head to the side, gauging her. For a long moment, neither said a word, just staring at each other; reading the subtleties of body language, and waiting for the other to speak. Time stood still. Suddenly, Sam broke into a wide grin, “OK, now I know you're screwing with me”, he playfully snapped.

Ta'Anar sat stunned; her mind reeled. Was he really that blind?! Or, was he toying with her. She secretly hoped the latter, because she was honestly looking forward to the chance of a good challenge. “After all”, she mused to herself, “Killing stupid men is boring”. She flashed a wide smile. If he wanted to play, she would bring her best cat-and-mouse to the table. “Of course!”, she giggled, “Everyone knows, that only ugly men are sell-swords”. She cocked her eyebrow, and reached for her wine.

Sam burst out laughing. He did a quick scan of the bar, and turned back to stare at the mysterious woman in white. He cocked his head, as he gazed at those beautiful, dangerous, eyes, that appeared to be staring straight back. He shook his head, and muttered, “I really don't know what to make of you, Sally-Mae. If that really IS your name, of course”. He tipped his glass, and smiled, “Cheers”.

She picked up her glass, and grinned. “If it was a fake name, I wouldn't admit it. The mere fact that I would be lying, is reason enough to not admit to that question. Cheers, Sam”, she smiled sweetly, “That IS, if that's your real name”. She winked, and clinked glasses.

He smiled warmly. This woman was wonderful! It had been quite some time since the last time he met anyone like her. Smart, sassy, and cute. “If it wasn't, why would tell you?”, he joked. He took a long pull from his glass, and set it down on the table. Sam reached across the table, and gently took Ta'Anar's hand. He ran his thumb over her soft skin. “So, Miss Sally-Mae, where do you come from?”, he asked.

His touch was surprisingly gentle. For one brief moment, she enjoyed the soft caress, but quickly pulled away playfully. She waved her hand indifferently, “Not from around here”, she answered. She took another drink of the strong Elven wine.

“I figured that”, he chuckled, and refilled both glasses.

“You?”

“Not from around here”, he teased. Same took a long drink, nearly emptying his glass in one gulp. “So”, he mused aloud, “You say that we are basically in the same field of work”. He cleared his throat, and continued, “Which brings me to wonder, what kind of secrets you trade”. He looked straight into her eyes and quipped, “And makes me wonder what kind of secrets you keep to yourself”.

She sat silent for a few seconds, allowing the moment to sink in. This was perfect. She sighed, and glanced around the room. Satisfied that no one was paying attention, she made her move. “I trade in magic, and artifacts”, she declared.

Sam sat up, extremely intrigued. His eyebrow raised in curiosity, “What kind of artifacts”, he asked.

Ta'Anar smiled. Her chest tightened with delight, and her heart began to beat with excitement as she leaned closer to whisper, “I'll show you”. She reached into a hidden pouch and pulled out a tiny gold pendant. She held it up to the light, and it sparkled with flashes of red, and gold. It was shaped like a miniature scorpion, and eerily accurate. It's eyes were bright red rubies, and the scales were hammered gold.

Sam gaped at the intricately wrought pendant held in Ta'Anar's open palm. He licked his lips eagerly, and swallowed hard. It looked so life-like! He cleared his throat and asked, “What does it do? Can I hold it?”

“Sure”.

He held out his hand, and Ta'Anar deftly set the scorpion in the middle of his palm. Sam stared at the artwork, and whistled in amazement. “How much would something like this cost?”, he queried.

Ta'Anar grinned, and admitted, “Quite a bit!”

Sam raised his eyes to look at Ta'Anar, and enquired, “What does it do?” He blinked a couple times, and suddenly his eyes went wide in pain. He instinctively dropped the golden scorpion on the table, and pulled his hand away in shock. He growled, ”Son of a ....”

“That!”, smirked Ta'Anar.

Sam stared down at his hand, and could see the blood welling up from a tiny pin prick on his palm. He looked at the scorpion, and back at his hand. Slowly he looked up at Ta'Anar, realization dawning on his face. Quietly, he seethed, “You stupid bitch! You just killed us both!”

“Oh?”, she mused. She cleared her throat, watching Sam attempting to suck the poison from his hand. “And, just how am I going to die? Your guards? Doubtful, as they are both too busy to notice”, she proudly flaunted.

His eyes were resolute, “Give me the antidote”, he hissed. He made no drastic moves, merely sitting at the table with his killer, as the magical poison coursed through his veins.

She shook her head, and shrugged, “There is no antidote”. She watched as he started to slightly shake.

“Why?”

Ta'Anar shrugged again, “They never made one. Mostly because of how fast it kills, and that there would be no way to....”

“I meant, why kill me?”, Sam coughed. He shivered, and his lungs started to wheeze when he spoke, “I'll trade you. Give me the antidote, and I'll give you this”. He held up tiny glass vial of clear liquid., capped with a wooden cork,sealed over with a thin glaze of red wax.

Ta'Anar's squinted her eyes, staring at the tiny vial. “What's that?”, she asked.

Sam smirked, and mocked, “The antidote, for the poison you drank in your first glass of wine”. He shrugged, and grinned. Suddenly he broke into a coughing fit, his lungs rattling in his chest.

Ta'Anar stared at her empty wine glass. How stupid! She should have realized things seemed so easy. It didn't seem right; a man as guarded and cautious, such as Samuel, wouldn’t have merely poisoned her for fun. He was a cold-blooded killer, but, from what she knew, he liked the company of attractive women. The disguise was perfect! There was no reason for him to have poisoned her, let alone, to have done so when they first met. She stammered, “What do you mean, you poisoned me with the first glass of wine? Why?!” She could start to feel her mind becoming sluggish.

Sam sighed, “So, there really is no antidote for yours?” He kept shivering as the deadly poison quickly flooded his blood stream, and was shutting down his nervous system.

“No antidote, sorry”.

No one in the busy bar noticed the tiny vial hit the floor, and shatter. The clear liquid seeped into the dirty cracks of the wood floor. Ta'Anar gasped as she watched it hit, and then turned her attention back to the dying man in front of her. She blurted aloud, “This is wrong!”

Sam smiled weakly, “You're telling me?” He coughed, “This is not exactly the way this hit was supposed to go tonight”.

Ta'Anar sat back, her mind reeling. “What hit?” Her eyes were wide, as she expertly gauged Sam's reaction. She softly nodded, as the horrific truth dawned on her. “You were hired to kill me!”

“Yup!”

She folded her arms across her chest, and chewed on her lower lip in irritation. She knew the answer before she even asked it, “Who hired you?”

Sam took a deep breath, and then shrugged, exhaling deeply. “Doesn't really matter now, since we're both going to be dead in a few minutes”. He coughed, and then added, “The guy's name was Fuller”.

“Fuck!”

Sam looked puzzled, he wheezed, “You know him?!”

Ta'Anar swallowed hard. The room was starting to spin, and she was beginning to sweat. She shook her head trying to clear her thoughts, and answered, “That's who hired ME to kill YOU”. They both sat back in their chairs, and simply stared at each other.

Sam broke the silence. “Now what?”, he asked, “We just sit here watching each other die?”

She couldn't think straight. Her mind was too muddled, and she could feel herself drifting. The poison obviously had a sedative effect, and she was quickly losing conscienceless. Ta'Anar knew she could probably cure herself with a spell, but, she had to act soon, or it would be too late. She needed a distraction to get out of the building. Looking up at Sam, she cocked her head, and quietly asked, “Will you dance with me?”

Sam looked up in surprise, his eyes bloodshot; large tears welled up in the corner of his eyes, and spilled unchecked down his face. He coughed, and nodded. “Sure. I'll dance with you”. He glanced over at the stage, and back at Ta'Anar. He smiled sadly, and quipped, “You know, it's too bad we didn't meet somewhere else.”

She winked and playfully chided, “We probably would have hated each other”. She reached out and gently took his hand.

He smiled warmly. The poison was wracking his body, but Sam was used to pain. He pushed past the agony of the deadly nerve toxin, and stood up. He wobbled slightly, but forced himself to regain his composure. He pulled Ta'Anar to her feet, and wrapped her up in his embrace, kissing her passionately. He chuckled as he stared deep into her eyes, “You're probably right”. He gently took her by the hand, and lead her towards the dance floor.

As they passed by the band, Sam reached into his coin purse, and deftly flicked a gold coin on the stage. He bellowed, “Play something slow”, and pulled Ta'Anar close. Their lips met and they closed their eyes, swallowed up by the sheer passion of the kiss. The world around them disappeared, and as the band began to play a haunting ballad, they began to gently sway to the music.

Ta'Anar could feel him shudder and shiver as the painful poison worked its magic. He coughed a few times, but held her close. She pressed her face against this chest, and sighed. Why was this so hard? She had killed men before, but this one was different somehow. A lump formed in her throat, and she muttered, “I'm sorry Sam”.

They stopped dancing, and he pulled his head back to look at the beautiful woman in his arms. He smiled as best he could, and bend over and kissed her forehead. “I'm sorry too”, he whispered.

She felt his body jerk suddenly, and go limp. He was dead before he hit the floor.

The bar erupted into chaos. Instantly, several people rushed over to try and help. Everyone stood up, trying to see what was going on. The band quit playing, and the room vibrated from the calls for help, loud chatter, and punctuated from a woman screaming. Ta'Anar slowly backed away from the dance floor, and tried to head towards the door.

She stumbled, and nearly passed out before she made it to the exit. The lethargic effect of the drug was causing the room to spin. Everything was a blur, and she could barely focus as she pushed through the door, and burst into the crisp, fresh air.

Ta'Anar glanced around to see if anyone was watching. She shook her head, trying to force herself to stay awake. She could feel herself starting to fade, so she closed her eyes, took a deep breath, and exhaled slowly. She opened her eyes and checked again. Everyone was too distracted by the commotion in the bar to notice, so she slumped against the corner of the Inn, and dismissed the transformation spell. Immediately, her features sharpened, and her ears grew the tell-tale tips of an Elven woman. Her fine blonde hair became snow white, spilling from her head like a thick mane. In seconds, she was once again her true form; a White Elf.

She began to mutter the arcane, spidery words that would purge the poison from her body. Her tongue clicked, and coiled over the cryptic language of the magic spell. She repeated the words, over and over like a trance, and sighed happily as the warm wash of healing magic rolled over her.

The Elven sorceress sighed happily as she stood up. Glancing around to see if anyone had noticed, she smiled. Suddenly, a thought crossed her mind; someone WAS watching. She stared up at the darkened window of the building across the street. He was still there! Of course he would still be there; he wanted to see who stumbled from the bar!

Her lip coiled in anger. Reaching deep into her secret pouch that contained her spell components, she pulled out a tiny bit of hardened bat guano, and deftly plucked an eyelash from her snow-white brow. She pressed the tiny hair into the guano, and began to fold it over, and over, muttering the incantation,“Vapor ignis, terra radix, ego praecipio tibi, exi forass.“ Ta'Anar began to roll the ball in her hands, repeating the arcane words, with a slightly different infliction, “VapOr igNis, TerrA RaDIX!” The tiny ball suddenly burst into flame; a perfect, bright, marble-sized, ball of crackling fire. She quickly rolled the flaming sphere in her hands, causing it to grow bigger, and bigger, to the size of a large bowling ball. Summoning her might, she threw the fiery orb towards the upper window, of the house.

The fireball streaked through the air, and smashed into the window frame. Glass exploded from the intense heat, and the flaming sphere continued to barrel into the room, where it detonated with the full force and fury of the Elven mage. The resulting concussive force nearly took the roof off the two level wooden house! Gobs of flaming debris rained down into the street below, as the mushroom cloud rolled out of the top of the house, and high into the night sky. Intense red, and yellow flames angrily licked at the dry wood and paper of the building, immediately igniting anything remotely flammable. In mere seconds the whole house was engulfed in flame!

Ta'Anar smiled as the town erupted around her; people spilling into the streets in fear and panic, rescuers trying desperately to put out the massive fire that threatened to spread quickly to the buildings surrounding it, and the screams of those caught in the hellstorm. She flicked her hand, and began to rise quickly into the air on a levitation spell. Soon she was high above the small human town, and watching the spectacle below, in the flickering flames of the growing inferno.

She snorted in derision, “Stupid humans”, and sped off into the night.


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