Profession: Delver, Guide
Alignment: Chaotic Neutral
Fighting Style: Two Weapon style, favoring two longswords. Proficient with Longbow and carries a nice one, mostly for hunting. Has a belt full of daggers for close range throwing.
It took him a moment to pick up on the unfamiliar presence in his house. Francis lived in a two bedroom wooden house on Emerald Hill in Midtown. It had a decent living room, a modest kitchen and a small but elegant sitting room, with both the living and sitting rooms having their own fireplaces. The dining room was more of a perfunctory addition that had been fussed over slightly by his sisters, but it was determined to be a hopelessly lost cause.
He had two, no three bags slung over his shoulders and a cloak draped over most of it. The bags did not necessarily land heavily; Francis was a quite capable fellow and could easily handle the weight of his burden. The parcels were altogether awkward, however, so his presence was announced. He smiled at his trifle concern at being noisy in his own empty house, but as he hung the cloak up on the hanger he noticed that there was a plum colored evening coat hanging next to his emitting a rather pleasant aroma.
His bow he set in the corner against the walls, but he kept his baldric on for now. All of his lamps were rigged with continual flames, so all he had to do was pull a lever to raise the snuffing cap and the light would shine through. The first one was in the entry way. That one promised enough light to make it through most of the rest of the house without trouble, but he had grown accustomed to light. The warmth, however superficial it may be, comforted him. So he continued down the hallway, lighting two more lanterns along the way. With no concern for fuel costs, frivolity wasn’t really an issue.
Her resisted the normal temptation to toss his keys on to the small vanity desk in the hallway, but thought better of it considering the unexpected plum colored accouterments on his coat rack back in the entry. He was not panicked. In fact he wasn’t even really on edge. He sort of expected something to come of his sudden absence from the Longfinger’s Guild. They were just the type of people who didn’t take that kind of news very well, no matter how one put it. He was a man of decent stature, however, so they would likely afford him some level of business courtesy before getting nasty. He thought these things as he moved to the kitchen. There, the aroma of freshly baked salmon graced his welcoming nose and elicited a grumble in his wanting stomach. On the stove he found several stems of asparagus simmering in butter, pepper and garlic and a loaf of fresh bread had been warmed, sliced and buttered with garlic and a light dusting of salt.
And then he saw it, the bottle of Emmigliano Gontafray, a twenty year old rarity that even the richest of the members of high court would have trouble acquiring. Perhaps one of them was missing theirs tonight. The wine bottle was unopened but two glasses were sitting next to it as was an opener. By this time Francis had deduced that his guest, for that was what she truly was; an intruder would have been at him by now. No, to her this was a game, and most likely a game of seduction. The nature of the guest was the question at this point. Right, he had deduced that his guest was either in the sitting room or the living room. Judging by the quality of her night coat he suspected the former.
He dutifully pulled the salmon out of the oven. To no surprise it was done to perfection. It was amazing. Glazed golden orange with basil and a hint of those pine needle looking spices that never made any sense to anyone. Francis scrambled in his icebox for some parsley and cut a few pieces off to make a good show of things. Sliced the asparagus at an angle halfway and filled up two plates. He didn’t have to travel far to set the dining table. He opened the wine with only minimal trouble, but he figured that nobody would notice the bottom half of the cork floating around in the bottle. He covered the bottle with a white cloth napkin just for safety measures.
With the table set and dinner served, he wrapped a folded white cloth over his forearm and moved into the sitting room where he found his guest lounging on the lavender sofa with paisley print. She was absolutely stunning and his words caught in his throat. Her sheer green silk gown left nothing to the imagination except the color of the flesh that lay beneath. Her long silver hair flowed down the front of the sofa and caressed the floor. And that was before he pulled the lever for the lamp light. With the addition of the light, it became clear that the snugly fitting gown was the only thing she was wearing.
”I thought you’d never show,” she cooed, raising a leg and caressing it with her hand, dragging the fabric up her leg with her hand as her leg extended up and then back down on the couch.
With some difficulty, Francis restrained his growing desire and choked out a formal, ”Dinner is served, madam.” She smiled a warming smile that lit up her rounded but angular face. One could say she was middle aged, but with elves, that was somewhat of an abstraction that spanned between roughly a hundred and fifty years. Her skin was not pale, per se, but not tan either. She did not appear to be wearing makeup, excepting the subtle pinkish-red rouge that she had applied to her lips. She left her cheeks untouched as they seemed to blush naturally. Whether or not she had control of this was yet to be seen.
”Well, if you’re not going to join me on this comfortable sofa, you might as well help me escape its enrapturing grasp.” Francis was quick to act and had a hand held out to her within an instant. ”I see you’ve still got your baldric on. Are you expecting hostility tonight, Francis?” She asked as she accepted his arm and lifted herself up to her feet. Her right arm found his left elbow and they walked arm in arm to the small and awkward dining table. He helped her to her seat and then took his own.
The first to speak, Francis commented, ”Dinner looks excellent. You have truly outdone yourself.” Then he felt a little bolder and pushed for a little information as he poured the wine. ”Madame Featherhair, I presume. Your reputation truly precedes you.”
”And what reputation is that, Francis, pray tell?” She asked with a chipper tone laced with a hint of menace.
”That of unnatural grace and beauty, a presence so fierce as to be overwhelming and feared by most. That your devotion to your tasks is unyielding and your record for success is unsurpassed. I must say that I had anticipated the others, but your grace and beauty, well, the words do nothing to describe the delicate honey suckle sitting across from me. Your body speaks of a natural beauty but it is obvious that you take care of yourself, but not obsessively so. Proportionally you are comparable to the goddess herself and your softly angled face excellently frames your thin but full lips, petite nose and those captivating green eyes that any man would find himself lost within should he dare to stare into them long enough.” He took a sip of the wine and savored the flavor and the smell before putting the glass down. Next he tried the salmon.
”Do you know why I am here, Francis?” she asked, after taking a sip of her own glass of wine. Francis noticed a small piece of cork floating inside the glass and hoped it would go unnoticed.
He finished chewing his salmon. ”Perfectly cooked. You couldn’t have timed it better.” He wiped the corners of his mouth with a cloth napkin and continued. ”Not specifically, but I have a general idea. I also have various hopes and dreams as well, if you are interested, that is.”
She too took a bite of her salmon and followed it up with a bit of asparagus. When she was finished chewing, she touched her lips with her napkin and said simply, ”Delectable.” She then took a sip of wine and pulled the bit of cork from her tongue nonchalantly. ”Well, I suppose since you have been an upstanding member of the Longfingers for nearly five years, I owe you the courtesy of honesty, so I shall provide you with that courtesy presently.” She took another sip of her wine and placed her partially folded napkin on the table as though she was through with her meal.
”It has come to the attention of the guild that you wish to simply leave and move on with a simple way of life. As a Delver no less. Seeing as how you have been privy to certain customs, rituals and secrets within the guild, we find this to be a little disconcerting. Now, what part do I play in all of this? Well, I am one of the higher ranking independent contractors within the guild. My jobs range from spying to assassinations. I love my work, Francis. I know all about you. All about your jobs in the guild from the petty botches in the beginning to the more successful jobs you’ve pulled as a leader with your various teams. You know how to kill, but you don’t like it; still, that doesn’t make you hesitate in the moment. What I can’t understand, is why you would want to trade in the life of a Longfinger for the petty life of a Delver. Those cold hearted bastards could care less if you get stranded out in the middle of the Warrens or the undercity or worse, the Dungeon. You’ll be on your own. “ At this point she stood up and glided her way around the edge of the table until she was standing behind Francis, hands on his shoulders, fingers on his neck and cheek on his ear, whispering.
Francis had learned as a child growing up with his father and grandfather that sometimes silence got you more than words ever could. He was banking on that right then, even as the chills of her affection shivered throughout his body. ”Well, Francis, you seem resolute. Your bags are packed and at the front door, which means you made your way past the layers of security without question. Perhaps you had it planned all along. But I’ve come to offer you a deal; a deal only a fool would refuse.
“I’m here to offer you a special assignment, new rank, new title. You would be free to join the Delver’s Guild, if you haven’t already. Free to do as you please in the outside world. But you would keep your ties with the Longfingers Guild. Oh you wouldn’t have to deal with those paltry servants in the guildhouse, unless it was necessary for whatever reason. No, you would report directly to me,” her affections grew more intense at this point, gradually increasing from whispers to soft kisses along the nape of the neck and cheek.
Francis was intoxicated by the situation and by the affection. It had been so long since he had been with a woman and such an attractive one at that. He took the cues that she had been giving and reached back to caress her leg. She did not flinch, in fact she moved into the touch, encouraging more. ”I, I don’t know, Chelsean. May I call you that? This is all so… Sudden. I think,” he said as his hands roamed further, ”That I would need to sleep on it. You know… To be sure about things and all.”
Chelsean controlled the situation with the temperance and grace of a mature and experienced woman. They did not get much sleep that night and the noon hour came too early. Francis awoke in a panic only to be relieved that she was still there. Although, there was a slight element of gloom in his heart as well, for he knew that he had inevitably signed the proverbial dotted line.
He dressed in a robe and got to work cleaning the dining room and kitchen. He had put some sweet rolls in the oven prior to working on the dishes and whatnot and by the time he was done, so were they. There was coffee and all of the aromas must have woken Chelsean. She looked tired, but radiant. Francis loved that look. The freshness of being newly awake. The goofy smiles after a night of coitus.
”I’ve come to my decision,” he said plainly.
Pray tell what is it?” she asked.
”I’ll take you up on your offer, but I’ve got a few conditions.“
“I’m all ears.” She said as he handed her a much appreciated cup of coffee.
”No one is to know about this, but I will require an official seal of some kind should I need access to certain facilities. I would like some financial backing. I’m not an assassin, and I should hope that this is one of many nights that we will be able to share together.” He took a sip of his coffee and then picked up a sweet roll and took a bite.
She smiled and said, ”I believe that I can accommodate those terms. Let me know if things should change. I’d best be going.”
It was true, after all. Francis had already signed up with the Delver’s Guild. He’d done a few missions on the side outside the reach of the Longfingers. Or had they gone so unnoticed? It was flattering that someone such as Chelsean had been sent to make sure he stayed on board, but he had a hunch that he would be called on in more ways than he cared to imagine. Time would tell. At this point, it was time to get in touch with the Delver’s Guild and see about getting a job.