Aeric Dalia/Chapter 4
The rest he had was the most peaceful in weeks. Strangely no nightmares would haunt him, be it from the peace of mind he got from his only connection to his old companion, or the sheer exhaustion from the night prior. Aeric sleep well, and awoke to Faline resting on him. He wasn't too fond of elves, he didn't harbor any feelings of hate, he just felt uneasy, but not with Faline. He was more fascinated with her, and that sleepless sleep elves fall into. She was fast asleep but yet aware. The paladin worked careful not to disturb his partner as he tried to get up. Her eyes opened.
" Good morning." she said while stretching a bit.
Aeric rolled his eyes. He said nothing
" I forgot how fun you can be." She rolled over her hand searching beneath the sheets. Aeric let out a surprised grunt as she found her mark.
" Nothing like a good thrashing to remember old times, eh?"
" I guess." Aeric's voice monotone, he felt reality returning, but he fought it desperately.
" I'm just worried what'll happen when she finds out."
"IF she finds out... IF" Her words blissfully optimistic.
He removed himself from the bed, Faline glaring hungrily at her lover as he dressed. She tossed the sheets off her in an attempt to lure Aeric back to bed. He paid no heed. It wasn't as if he hadn't enjoyed himself, or her form, the reality began crashing back. Dalia. He wasn't privy to knowledge if succubi are notoriously jealous, but he was going to find out.
" Oh come back to bed, let me take your troubles away again." she shot a wicked smile at him. He continued to dress, much to her protest. She didn't bother to dress instead she went to stand by the paladin.
" I know you just wanted to come here to clear your mind and reminisce, but fretting about that demon is pointless."
" I fear I am making the same mistake over and over." He said in a pained sigh.
"Aeric." her hand caressed his cheek. " I'm sure your mind was clear from your troubles for the night."
" Then concentrate on that, be in the moment. and most importantly, concentrate on this." Her hand bringing his to her chest."
Their eyes met again. Many hours would pass. An impatient demon waited at her door frame, like a lost dog awaiting her owners return. Soon she heard footsteps approaching.
She watched as an unusually happy Aeric walked down the corridor. It was painfully obvious to her what happened. She said nothing, she did nothing. Inside her emotions were tempestuous. She contemplated many things, out of anger out of vindication. All emotions she was familiar with, but that she knew would bring about her undoing. She stood there silent.
"Good to see you are ready." his words shooting past her.
She watched as he entered his room and shut the door. She listened carefully to the clamor of his armor being donned. Getting closer the demon stood at the door. ' How could he do this to me!? Have I not been loyal enough? Have I not shown my dedication?' Once again she found herself outside that thick door with her fist clenched in frustration. She stepped away and gave herself a moment to think, and calm herself down. Tears began to form in her eyes. As she went to wipe them away the door opened. Cleverly she played it off as if she were stretching, hoping that Aeric couldn't read her. Or maybe this was the part where he would explain himself. 'I did it so I could concentrate on training you, not fucking you.' she mused in her mind. Whatever his reason was, she felt betrayed, as if he was a lover fooling around behind her back.
In his usual manner he left with the belief that she would follow him. She didn't. She tried to restrain herself, but she couldn't help but outburst.
" Why?" He immediately knew what she meant.
" I don't have to explain my personal life to you."
" Just tell me why.." He turned
"Since when do you think you have authority here?" Her hand crashed into the wall making it crumple in where her fist impacted. With her small frame and her waning meekness on the field he forgot that within her is a truly frightening strength. For a moment Aeric didn't know what to do
She looked at the hole she created, and she looked back at Aeric. His stance suggested he was ready for an attack. She began to feel the same. Her anger wouldn't subside, but she mustered her will to calm her words.
" Please... just tell me why you chose her over me."
There he was again, the situation all to familiar, she wasn't dangerous, she was throwing her temper tantrum. Every time she did it before he conceded, and again she would do it. He knew she didn't do it intentionally, but it was more how he allowed her to be conditioned. Aeric knew that his actions have been selfishly motivated as of recently, and he was digging himself deeper into damnation with every act. Urle, Faline, Dalia, Selena. He was still too selfish. Improving wouldn't happen, it was something he had to do himself, and he finally had enough of Aeric the fallen.
" This time you will learn to respect boundaries." His words sharp. " That is final!"
He turned around and left. She was forced to pursue. She wouldn't break her gaze of Aeric's backside. The thoughts that went through her head filled with rage. 'That bastard... who does he think he is? I would have been a better choice!' She began to suppress her thoughts, trying to think the situation over rationally; it was her saving grace many times. It wasn't easy for her, but she began to calm down. Slowly.
Aeric pawned her off to the drill masters as he normally would, keeping an ever watchful eye on her. The paladin watched her over carefully noticing subtle changes in her exertions, she was still enraged, but she was trying to maintain herself. 'Well, she can deal with a bit of emotional stress well enough.' he thought to himself almost as if he had planed his rendezvous.
Like clockwork as the late morning routines ended they would move to weapons form
"Don't expect me to fight you right now." she spoke rather venomously
"Acolyte are you ordering me again?" She grew silent
" If I may speak freely..sir" The demon's lack of subtlety was starting to wear on Aeric.
" No." With that he began barking orders for her to strike, parry, and counter. Her attacks filled with fury and vigor. He contemplated the potential she had for righteous fervor, only if she could harness her emotions and learn to control them. A thought that fired back at Aeric. He too needed to learn to harness his emotions. He wasn't perfect, and he was letting himself be fully aware of it. Though with her swinging and thrusting about he felt he was musing too much and letting a good teaching opportunity pass up.
"Your attacks are reckless but powerful. If you can learn to control your emotions, and let your rage aid you, instead of control you, your life in battle will last longer." She didn't respond, she continued to attack the dummy pole. It almost seemed with each swing she grew angrier. Her attacks were getting faster and faster. Aeric watched, and waited. If she wasn't going to listen he'd show her the hard way. Her grunts became screams as she attacked the pole then she let up for a split second. ' Now!' his mind cried. Aeric swung the heavy wooden sword down on the demon. Her natural reaction was to defend herself, but she did something completely unexpected. She let the swing connect. The blow landed on her collar throwing her body to the ground. Aeric was shocked, for a second he didn't know how to react, but soon Dalia would rise. He felt the first strike hit his leg, knocking him off balance. The second strike he parried, but only just. The paladin did what he could to regain the initiative, but her attacks came furiously, but he was not scared. Just as he had thought her attacks were fierce but predictable. As soon as he could get his footing, his attacks started flying. A hidden smile grew on his face, a fight he was going to enjoy greatly.
He let the demon attack. She thrust her staff, which he parried and followed through with a firm rasp on her back. She raised her staff overhead with a fierce cry, as she brought it low she stepped out of the way and grabbed her arm to trow her aside. The demon's eyes locked with his and she began to counter his grapple by wrapping a leg around him. Letting go of her weapon she let loose a fist crashing gratifyingly against the paladins proud helmet, almost knocking it off. Aeric braced his hand against her chest trying to keep her distant as he recovered, but the demon wouldn't relent. Yet he still wasn't afraid, something deep inside told him that she wouldn't go too far.
Though others didn't have the same sentiments. Soon the clamor of armor could be heard rushing towards the dueling pair. Dalia knew she had only moments to spare before she felt the wrath of several paladins.
She continued furiously striking over and over at the disoriented man's head removing his helmet, grabbing his head with both hands and tossing both of them to the ground. Aeric only felt two things, hitting the ground, and a soft warm lips. The crowd forming around them stopped in their tracks with weapons ready watching in confusion at the intimate couple.
The victorious demon raised her head and with a viscous grin she spoke.
" You were right sir, Harnessing emotions can be powerful." She was staring at Faline.
The crowd didn't didn't disperse, but their weapons lowered, keeping a close watch on the demon. Aeric became furious, he could not be seen as defeated, not in front of everyone, especially Faline. Defiantly not to Dalia as well. He had to think fast to regain control of the situation, as Faline moved closer to extend a helping hand. He quickly wrapped his arms around Dalia and tossed himself on top, a hasty decision. As he rested on top Dalia let out a playful, yet seductive groan as her coal black hair fanned out around her head, glistening slightly in the sunlight. And in a moment all to familiar his heart began to race. He looked into her beautiful amber eyes, and tried to muster himself in the most dignified way he could as he picked himself up. She laid on her back reaching an arm out for someone to help her. The group was admiring more than assisting. Finally a helping hand came from the young Paladin Voren. The young man almost lost in the succubi's seductive curves. She knew how much she captivated the poor boy, but she knew when to use some restraint, besides she had her eyes on another. With her display no one would dispute her claim, no one but the steel clad elf, and that's just what she planned.
The bewildered crowd slowly dispersed one by one, all that would be are the soon to be travelers. Almost in a triumphant display the succubus dusted herself off with a rather satisfied look about her. She knew she would be punished sooner or later by her increasingly furious Adept, but for now she relished her moment of power over Aeric. He felt naked with his emotions able to be seen so easily, Aeric reached for his helmet fumbling with it in his haste.
He tried to not think of Faline and Voren watching and instead focused solely on his acolyte. Right now all he could control was Dalia, not the inevitable rantings from the young and idealistic paladin, and the ravings of his prior lover.
"You really outghta put a leash on that demon." The elf spat out in a joking manner. Dalia repressed the urge to stare venom into her eyes.
"Don't worry, she'll be dealt with." He paused. " My mind is clear on this." The iron man loomed over the demon, her confidence starting to wade by the second. Once free of his critics he would take Dalia by the arm and pull her along forcefully.
Aeric stormed off into a random corridor of the Cathedral the echoes of his heavy footsteps traveling a great distance. They would continue at an elevated pace for some time. She was getting slightly irked at the aimless wandering, she could only enjoy looking at high walled marble corridors for so long.
"Where are we going?" her warm words falling on cold ears
"Silence." He stopped turned around and pointed at bench. " Sit!" He barked at her. Confused she followed his orders and sat on the hard cold bench, somewhat frightened at his change in demeanor. She was used to his cold and harsh tone, but now it was different, he was teaming with anger. Or at least he seemed angry. She mused with the thought that this was some sort of a test, and he wanted to see if she'd continue her insubordinate behavior.
"Do you know whats behind these doors?" he didn't wait for a response. "The Grand Hall. Its where all our elders and our Order Masters conduct their business. I have half a mind to barge in and request sanctimonious punishment for you."
Chills ran up her spine. ' He wouldn't... he can't!' While it may be more of an administrative slap on the wrist for a normal being, the punishment could gravely harm the demon.
"I tolerate your lusting when in private, I tolerate your wanton need for dominance when its meaningless. I even tolerate a witty joke every now and then, but I will NOT tolerate you making a mockery of me, I will not tolerate this behavior any more. I swear to what ever gods you have praised, I will get you in line!" She was silent, she dropped her head as the paladin yelled at her. Though in her mind her actions were harmless she hadn't stopped to think of the repercussions.
" Sir... I'm..."
"Silence." He walked off. " You will stay here." Aeric pounded on the nearby door. He entered and with a thunder the door shut behind him, she waited.
Dalia paced impatiently in the chambers awaiting Paladin Aeric to return with news of her punishment.
She tapped her knees with her fingertips wildly, as she awaited her Adept's return. Her mind was fraught with worry. ' You just had to play alpha bitch in public, you just HAD to try and make that elf jealous. Why couldn't you resist, why couldn't you maintain? All you are doing is pushing him away. You are too dead set on one thing, and you don't care what gets in your way!' She continued to contemplate the actions that lead her to this place, and the eventual outcome of her fate.
On the other side of the door Aeric was having a conversation with Brother Fredric. Mostly about mundane topics to kill time. He was testing Dalia, he wanted to see how she;'d react with the stress of a looming fate. He remembered many times when he acted up that Faline would pull this stunt. Especially the few times he was caught sneaking into Selena's room. Dalia would be punished, but Aeric knew that the threat of punishment usually worked better than a simple punishment.
"Well what are you going to do with her? She'll figure it out eventually that this is a trick. I fear you give the poor creature far less credit than she actually deserves."
"I figure if I come out and act like I talked the elders out of a grand punishment she'll be more inclined to obedience."
"Ah the old ' I stick my neck out for you' Approach. a good classic." Fredric chuckled.
The two continued to conversed for sometime till Aeric deemed it appropriate to return to his frightened acolyte. The Paladin gave the friar detailed instructions on how to deal with Dalia as he would need to leave soon to prepare for their travels the coming morning. He wouldn't let something like this stall them. The succubus would be punished, but The feeling of freedom so close it washed over Aeric. He was beginning to hate the Cathedral, just something about it tugged at him the wrong way. An overwhelming sense of discomfort.
He would leave the care of his acolyte to Brother Fredric. He was still apprehensive about leaving the succubus alone to her own devices, but the friar had previous dealings with her, as short as they may have been, as well he trusted his friend to behave well.
The door latch echoed through the hall, Dalia's face lit up, showing a desperate smile in the hopes that nothing would happen to her. Aeric wholly ignored her, she almost reached out to him as he passed, to learn her fate.
" Acolyte..." Fredric addressed her. " Please come with me." He spoke in with a false dark overtone.
Almost as if her body worked against her, she could barely stand. This feeling was so new, the terror of the unknown. Were she weaker willed, she might have tried to flee or fought back, but she forced her trembling body to stand and silently follow the robed man. He lead her to a small desk with scattered scrolls and documents, with a curt gesture he commanded her to sit. Fredric wasn't an imposing man by any means, but he worked the silence to be a powerful ally. She would sit and remain in silence for another period that went on for too long in her mind.
"Do you know why you are here?" She continued to be silent, she didn't want to admit her own guilt. He didn't force her to speak, he continued to shuffle his paperwork, making her feel second priority.
"... I'm too impulsive, I don't think before I act." She said looking down.
"No, you are here, in my office, because your Adept stuck his neck out for you to make sure you weren't consecrated." Her heart skipped a beat. "Your impulsiveness is more HOW you came to be here." He continued with his paperwork.
He wouldn't reengage her in conversation, he was curious as to what she was really feeling guilty for. Simply asking her wouldn't work, she needed to feel the tension crushing her before she would speak frankly. Though something itched at the back of the Friar's mind, he wanted to delve into what trouble the two actually have gotten into. He pushed those thoughts aside as he did the first time he met the demon.
"I know... but.."
" Please don't make excuses with me, I am not the person to seek pity from. It'd be wise to stay on my good side." He interrupted her.
" Yes sir..." He continued to draw out the silence until he had finished filling some wayward documents, then he turned his attention to the Succubus. He had forgotten the hypnotic beauty she had, though simple focus and he could ignore it, he hoped.
"Now, I do not care what you two do in the privacy of a locked room, but in public, you have to understand that you cannot go about mounting whatever man you wish." He tried to retain his barring but his voice denoted a bit of a chuckle. " Am I making myself clear?"
" ...Yes Sir." Her mind beginning to wonder if this lecture was the worst of what she as going to get.
" Good, now that we are on the same page, Onto the matter of how we are going to deal with the situation." He paused as he procured the list Aeric prepared for him. " Normally, in the event of lewd behavior in the courtyard a simple flogging through purified implements is required. In your case this would quite literally burn through you and possibly destroy your body. So!" He paused for emphasis enjoying his rare moment of feeling threatening. " Instead you are limited a meal today, and subject to twice the amount of physical conditioning. Rather easy punishment if you ask me." The last sentence he said beneath his breath, but the demons keen ears still able to understand him.
" Is that all?" Her tone confused.
"Yes, though I honestly doubt this will prevent you from doing something rash again... Now is there something you'd like to say?"
" Apologetically..." Fredric said in a snide tone
She grew a bit silent.
"I'll improve my behavior and only mount Aeric in private.." She tried to suppress her grin, only to fail. Fredric couldn't help a smirk as well. He got up from his seat and began to escort Dalia out of the chambers. she felt relived, her punishment was much lighter than she was expecting. ' Some running and sweating, I'm good at that, I'll be fine.' she thought. The two continued then Fredric stopped suddenly.
" I forgot something, stay where you are." He darted off. A few moments later he returned with heavy brown wool robe in his hands.
" I almost forgot. You will be wearing these." He had a smug look about him, almost like he enjoyed her annoyance as much as Aeric did. She reluctantly grabbed them from the Friar and painstakingly threw them around her body, covering her form replacing the sensuous curves with dull heavy cloth. The familiar weight on her wings returning, pressing them uncomfortably close to her body. She threw the hood over her head to complete her transformation back into a formless shape. Just as she was when she first met her Adept. Almost poetic she mused to herself.
The two robed figured found their way to Aeric who had a throng of equipment splayed about the ground near the stables. He was tending to his horse, a magnificent white stallion with a few brown spots on its neck.
" She's been briefed?"
" Yes, you can have her back, and do try to keep her under control for the rest of the day at least." He droned off as he walked away to return to his work. Aeric grabbed a saddle out of the stable and walked to his horse. " See the equipment on the ground? It will be packed and ready for tomorrow in ten minutes."
" What? I can't get it done that fast!" Aeric stopped and turned to the insubordinate demon, dropping the saddle.
" I don't care, it will be done. Now!"
She slowly moved to the gear still confused how she was going to pack the gear. fumbling over most of the equipment. She did her best trying to pack the equipment into the bags and store things properly. Aeric walked up to her grabbed the bags and emptied them.
"Too slow, run a lap around the stable." He motivated the demon to begin to run, keeping pace, and striking her every time she slowed. She would finish her lap and the orders began again for her to pack the gear. As soon as the time limit drew near the Paladin began barking the time left until he made her run again, each time she failed he pushed her more, making her work harder doing more to exhaust her. They continued for an hour, but Dalia finally accomplished the Goal set by her harsh master. She always managed to keep with the pace he set, albeit sometimes he felt we has being too cruel.
"That took too long, now you'll have to move faster for the next part of your chores." She almost fell to the ground in horror that she'd still have to do more. The torture to the frail and feminine demon would continue well into the night. Aeric found excuses to make her run work out and overall tire herself out, but as the night grew he would let up on her, taking pity, and showing lenience.
He helped her walk to their final task for the night. He lead her to a bench outside the blacksmith's workshop.
" Smith, Is the armor for my Acolyte done yet?"
"Eh? which one be that?"
"The Succubus." He had little patience for the man.
" Oh yeh, I remember that one. It's almost dun. Give me 'bout an hour and all 'ave her ready."
" Please, make it quick." Aeric Grumbled Aeric left the overhang to return to his defeated companion. She was resting her head against the wall and she forced a pained smile as she saw Aeric come sit next to her. He wasn't as self contentious about letting her drape herself over him in her usual manner, it was late and very few would be there to see them. Despite his better judgment, he decided to remove is helmet and enjoy the cool night breeze. The exhausted Dalia nestled up close to Areic tilting her head to look at him. She wanted to speak but her body wouldn't let her. Instead she placed her hand on his cold steel gauntlet hoping for a response. He let out a sigh and turned to look at her. She stared back at him and Aeric gently brushed a few strands of hair from his companions face. He didn't want to be this hard on her, but with the way she was acting, he wanted her very exhausted for the morning, he didn't want to chance a confrontation between her and Faline. He wanted to tell her, but feared he'd appear weak. instead of exchanging any words, he let the tired succubus rest on him, enjoying her company all the while. Her soft breath calming him as he unconsciously began to hold her closer, turning his hand and grasping hers. He tilted his head back and relaxed.
" It's dun Pal'din Aeric!" the peace shattered by the coarse blacksmith.
The two almost jumped from their near slumber at the barking of the crass smith. Discreetly prying himself from Dalia's grip he stood up and pulled her to her feet. The succubus felt the sting of her muscles return. Aeric lead the two into the workshop forgetting to grab his helmet, causing Corbenson to pause for a second. The smith recovered himself and with his odd grin he placed his hands on a heavy sheet he placed over the armor.
"Are yeh redy?" The smith met with a stern silence. He pulled the sheet reveling the armor with a forced proclamation. The armor was finely crafted despite the short time, granted it was armor that was simply re-sized, but Corbenson was a very skilled smith. The armor was simplistic in design, no fancy jewels adorned on the breastplate or accompanying pieces. Most notably was its almost white color. The smith motioned for the succubus to move her weary body to stand before him. the breastplate was to be placed first. Before he could place anything on her, Dalia started to remove her robes, taking her time in a very fluid motion that Aeric picked up on and lightly landed a hand on her back.
The piece fit exceptionally well, due in part to Corbensons fine skills, and his vivid memory of her chest. The back plate had to accommodate her cumbersome wings, but the cuirass fit her well. Aeric started to grin.
Piece by piece her soft body became rigid steel. A sensation that was new to her, the armor wasn't as heavy as she thought it would, but her exhausted state made it a torture to keep her body standing. Though before she knew it she was fully dressed in a metal suit.
"How do I look?" She turned herself to face Aeric. Too used to his helmet concealing his faint emotions, he didn't think to suppress the smile on his face. Her armor was simplistic in its curves and angles, well suited to his tastes.
"Professional." Was his only reply.
"I'm rather surprised that there is armor around my waist and breast." She jeered at Aeric who chuckled.
The only large area without covering was her head. Corbenson explained how that her horns made it too hard for him to fit a helmet without making one from scratch. Dalia didn't mind, while she was comfortable with the armor covering her body, her face being covered would cause her to feel too encumbered and claustrophobic. After a few easy movements Dalia agreed that the armor fit exceptionally well.
" Thank you smith, we'll be on our way." Aeric spoke as he grabbed Dalia's robes. Almost confused Dalia looked at Aeric. " Aren't we going to take this off?"
" What did I tell you about stripping in public?" Aeric heartily enjoying his smugness.
Aeric practically dragged the battered Dalia in her armor to their chambers. He watched how she moved in the armor, and caught her get off balance a few times. She'd have plenty of time to get used to her armor. Aeric praised himself in his mind looking at the near holy looking demon in her near white armor. Thinking to himself how once hes out of the cathedrals confines he can truly begin to teach her instead of just yelling at her. There were just lessons and trials that could not be caught in a class room or a barracks. Then he'd finally get the answer he has been looking for for these long weeks. Can she be redeemed? Can he be redeemed?
They reached their chambers, this time Aeric invited Dalia into his room, secretly admiring her armored look. Though he hoped his intentions to his decision would remain pure.
" I'm sure it's only a matter of time before you figure out how to take it off on your own, but this time I'll help you."
"You have no complaints from me!" She almost spat out
She relaxed her body as Aeric carefully loosened straps and buckles on her armor, softly voicing her appreciation with each piece lifted from her body. He would remove her armor in a similar manner in which he would each night. Dalia would help her self removing parts Aeric wasn't attending to, eagerly undressing for him. He noticed, but something compelled him to continue, hoping he could control himself. When the last bit of her armor was removed he went to relieve himself of his helmet, as soon as it was off, soft hands cupped his ears and he felt the warmth of lips on his. It wasn't as sudden as he expected, it was slower, more intimate. He could count on one thing without fail she would try to seduce him each night. This time was different, instead of persisting she relented and let go of him. He prepared himself for what could come next.
"Thank you." she said soft,and warm to Aeric. He didn't protest, he wouldn't deny the fact he enjoyed her attempts each night, he still needed to make her respect boundaries. He didn't protest as she reached to help him remove his own armor. His mind was clouding but he tried to remain calm.
" Try all you like, it won't happen tonight."
"I don't care, I'll get it eventually, tonight I want to be comfortable." Her voice full of confidence. The noticeable lack of resistance almost made her want to press on. He gently pushed her off as he began to remove his armor. She responded by removing her clothes and laying on Aeric's bed, working her way under the covered and to Aeric's greatest shock, she did something he did not expect. She fell asleep.
Unsure of how to proceed Aeric retired himself to his bed. He pulled the sheets over the slumbering demon. 'She has to be faking.' he thought to himself but proceeded anyway. Giving way to the temptation of sleep after a long day. Just as he thought the moment he laid flat she rolled over and rested her head and an arm across his chest.
" You were easy tonight." she spoke quietly; obviously tired
" I knew I could fend you off." he joked as he rested an arm around her.
"We get to leave tomorrow?"
She closed her eyes and went back to sleep. That was the end of the night for the two, Aeric would stay awake much longer watching the demon sleep peacefully, his nerves kept him up. Not of Dalia, but the prospect of freedom so close. How the journey will go, as well as the anticipation of marching towards a battle once again. He would glance over at the demon and feel peace, reminded of someone. He closed his eyes and slowly fell asleep.
The pair slept comfortably in each others embrace. Aeric wasn't plagued with his usual nightmares. His mind was more focused and centered. The morning would come soon enough. And with the growing sunlight in the room Aeric slowly woke to Dalia still laying on top of him.
"Wake up." her eyes fluttered open, and she turned her head to rest her chin on his chest looking up at him. She pressed herself up stretching over Aeric intentionally exposing herself in a manner that Aeric was becoming used to, but she knew it still got a rise out of him. The two stumbled their way out of bed and without a word Dalia began to dress herself, and then adorn her armor clumsily. Aeric began to help her dress. She wasn't making and passes at him, this got the biggest rise out of him.
"You're conducting yourself almost appropriately this morning."
"If it makes you happy, we can still have sex." Her face taking on a sly grin. Aeric chuckled and continued dressing.
Before an answer could be given his helmet fell into it's place and almost magically his personality changed into its normal stoic guard. Dalia continued to fumble with her armor. The impatient Aeric helped her with her final straps.
" Gather any equipment or possessions you wish to bring that are necessary. Always plan on never returning on time." He turned to begin collecting a few random items. Dalia left the room to hers, almost enjoying her new encumbrance. The two fell out to the courtyard to meet up with the others at the stables. His hopes of tiring Dalia for the morning didn't work as he watched her mount her horse by jumping and with the assist of a few loud bursts from her wings land on the back of her horse. Dalia conducted herself very well on the horse, having no difficulty riding at all, but with all her equipment, preparation, and skill she was still missing something.
"Uh... I don't have a weapon..." Paladin Voren strode up next to her.
" Here take mine." He said tossing his heavy spear to her. The weight catching her off balance momentarily. She smiled at the kind young paladin, he smiled back and left to join the others gesturing for her to follow, but she waited for Aeric. He was still tending to his horse. He had much respect for the animal, the two had gone on many long adventures and now would be one more. He stuck his foot in the stirrup and lifted himself up, the stallion barely flinching at the new weight. He and Dalia both rode towards the group of Paladins and initiates waiting at the front gate. Aeric and Faline exchanged faceless glares through their vision slits and nodded as the gates opened with a thunderous roar. Though Aeric immediately felt all his uneasiness wash away the moment he cleared the walls and gazed at the expansive plains before him, he had the strange sense that he might not return. The six rode out, to begin their long adventure.