Welcome to My City

Drache is the present-day capital of the Kingdom of Arangoth and lies at the mouth of the River Darian, surrounded by the city docks all along the waterfront. Click here for information on the various suburbs and areas of Drache. You can also click here to view a sketched map of the city.
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Welcome to My City

Post by Nymphetamine » Tue May 08, 2018 5:56 pm

High overhead, the stars spangled the sky on this particular evening in Drache. The streets were quiet in this part of town. The Dragonseye was an upscale, wealthy neighbourhood in the Black Dragon District where old money invested in both scenery and security for their pretty townhouses. Though the lamps were lit, most of the homes were dark, their occupants fast asleep.

A cloaked and hooded figure emerged from the shadows beneath the blooming fruit tree on the corner. Though they were small in stature, the darkness clung greedily to her shoulders as if it couldn't bear to be parted. She paused for a moment, hesitating as the gloom faded into night about her. Beneath the cowl, keen eyes locked in on the target: an unremarkable house down the street, recently purchased by a colleague. If he could be called such. It was a generous assumption on her part.

Hands sheathed in kidskin drew their hood forward as she bowed her head. Surging forward at inhuman speeds, the pitch black miasma wreathing her and erroding her body into the darkness as she moved through the night, she set out for the house. Breaking and entering would be so gauche. She peered into the windows as a deep shadow, nothing more than the endless darkness. Another window. Another window. A door with a tiny key hole, not yet warded against this sort of intrusion.

The smoke cloud poured through this tiny key hole, and found itself in the scullery. It was empty of any servants, perhaps too soon for him to have hired on any staff had he wanted it. Nothing to note her presence. She had taken pains to occlude her presence, her magical aura, the scent of the very darkness she weilded this evening. The sheer amount of energy that was going into hiding herself from detection was greater than any of her recent projects.

Seething through his house, the wraith of shadow searched through each of the rooms. Unleashing her senses about her, she sought out his wards and protections to avoid triggering them. Even him, were he casting, or using any active magic. She knew how his magic tasted. Her awareness cast out into the shadows and deep darkness until she found him where she should have looked first: his study. The fathomless shadow's mind went through the same sort of reaction her physical body would have shown just then. A thin smile tugged at plush lips, now delighted that the game was coming to a head.

Without much fanfare, she stepped out from the shadowy recess of a poorly lit corner. Her figure materialized, dressed in black leathers. As the shadows pulled away from her even as she moved away from them, as if she stepped out of the inky waters of night. Her pale features resolved there, doll like beauty shining through the shadowy film pulled from her. Familiar, yes. The same blonde hair braided down her back. The ghosting little smile of amusement.

"I've brought you a house warming gift," she announced in her soft voice, the siren tones coated in beguiling sweetness.

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Re: Welcome to My City

Post by Krisael » Tue May 08, 2018 6:35 pm

Its appeal to his sense of style would likely be clear to her the moment she emerged from the shadows. The architecture of this little place he'd bought was cunningly simplistic. Quite dissimilar from his foreboding fortress nestled in the midst of the dark tangle of the Elgar, this place seemed quaint, although if she knew the scent of his enchantments, she would recognize that the exterior of this place had been subtly altered to give the impression of abandonment. He could light every hearth and candle within, and the windows would remain dark, the doors would maintain that intangible stillness that said nothing lived within the walls.

As his invited guest approached the stylish little townhouse he'd acquired as a place to rest in Drache, its owner moved from room to room, only avoiding her peering eyes by purest happenstance. Knowing his magic as she did, she would have no trouble peering through the veil of his enchantments. Scattered crates of belongings lay in various stages of unpacking. Most of the belongings in question gleamed in the moonlight, valuables left in plain sight and meant as bait for the unwary padfoot who made the terrible mistake of crossing his threshold. He had made it quite clear to his liason in the city that no one was to remain in his home after a certain hour, and the staging people he'd hired were quite good about vacating the premises at the appointed hour.

As she pressed into the scullery, she would find that his wards were few and uncomplicated; any thief worth half his mettle would find it quite easy to move through the home. As she laid eyes on a few of the trinkets he'd left scattered, she would see the cunning of his plan. Each bit of gold, every glittering gem, all the fine silver which set askew on each of the lovely hardwood shelves would reach out to her, subtly insistent that its value was the greatest, and that she could be wealthy and respected if she would but take it. She would likely notice the hook wrapped in the sweet bait as well.

She would find him in his study, elegant hands wrapped around the edges of a lecturn, tapping out a silent piano tune with the tips of his long nails. His head and shoulders slouched over the pages of a thick volume, and a small fire burned in the hearth in front of him. If he felt startlement at her sudden appearance, he masked it well, and a little smile bent his pale mouth as he turned to face her. "I suspected that you might. What do you think of my little home away from home, Lady?"

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Re: Welcome to My City

Post by Nymphetamine » Wed May 09, 2018 2:36 pm

She hadn't quite known what to expect of his charming home. The illusions and enchantments that he had tightly knit around the place had done a good job of keeping away any that might be overly interested in the place. While ordinarily property in Dragonseye was on the up and up, he was figuratively keeping his head low. The lack of outward elegance was displeasing to her sensibilities, but far be it for her to comment. That would just be rude.

Drawing back the hood away from her blonde locks, she took a moment to arrange herself. Isabelle was dressed head to toe in snug fitting black, completely covered save her face and hair. It simply wouldn't do for the Sithire of Transdariania to be skulking about Drache under cover of night. Shadowwalking had certainly helped to obscure her, but there were all sorts of magic users, and one could never be too careful. She had a public reputation to consider, after all.

Glancing around the room, her gaze eventually returned to him, her smile never once wavering. "Not to my tastes, I think, but I like your temptations." Referring naturally to the bits of bait that he left here and there to tempt the unwary. Poor things. She spared no more thought on the petty thieves that would be lured in by the subtle enchantments.

"What brings you to Drache, Shaodin? I thought few things would stir you from your lair." Which, being honest, Isabelle might have hoped that would be the case. Though they were on amicable terms with the sharing of knowledge and research here and there, she would have preferred he stay in the Elgar. Competition for resources with another vampire mage was not her idea of a good time. She kept her thoughts carefully guarded against being overheard, unsure if he would attempt to listen in, nor could she blame him if he did.

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Re: Welcome to My City

Post by Krisael » Thu May 10, 2018 8:41 pm

As she arranged herself, Shaodin took a moment to close the book he'd been reading. If she were watching closely, she might be familiar with it as a work of contemporary fiction; some bit of entertaining fluff he'd had one of his retinue purchase within the city. A casual brush of his hand set the books on either side into a neater array, making it not quite so obvious which was the most recently replaced. A bit of embarassment at his choice, perhaps? Or, more likely, his sense of order requiring that things be arranged just so. The mess in the rest of the house was already driving him quite mad, and his study was the picture of carefully aligned neatness and organization.

It was an interior room, which might've made it seem stuffy if precisely placed mirrors didn't provide an openness to it that bordered on illusory magic. They were placed just so that none of them would reflect the likely occupant of the room for more than the briefest of moments, but the light and space were amplified nicely. The space was L shaped, with one wing directly to the right of the door through which she'd entered containing a desk and a plush chair, as well as neat stacks of notes whose contents no doubt ranged from quite mundane to wondrous. Built-in bookshelves surrounded this alcove, and the desk was placed so that anyone entering the room while he was seated there would face him like a petitioner to some high office.


The other wing of the large room contained the fireplace, the lectern, and a couch and two wingback chairs arranged around a low, elegantly crafted table. The walls above the oak wainscot were a deep burgundy, and a few pieces art whose imagery was dark and somewhat surrealistic broke up the monotone. Hung above the mantle from its ornate baldric was his saber, which glittered prettily in the firelight and seethed with dark enchantment in the other spectrum her eyes could detect. Along the wall to the left of the heavy oak door stood a map table and a globe of stretched hide with neatly drawn continental outlines, clearly of his own making and cradled in a cunning piece of wood-and-metal work which allowed it to turn smoothly on any axis.

The man himself was simply clad in comparison to his normal finery, which he reserved for his rare forays into the night. A loose-fitting ivory silk shirt, unlaced at the collar and with glittering obsidian gathering the cuffs, and similarly billowing breeches which fit snugly at the hips and lower calves. His feet, for a wonder, were bare, which gave him an approachable, almost vulnerable appearance. Clearly he had not sent his calling card to her for business, or he'd have kept himself more strictly arrayed.

"Is the housewarming gift the very pleasure of your visit, Sithire?" He asked. Although the tone of his voice and his accent made it quite difficult to be sure, there was no hint of sarcasm in the use of her title. Etiquette and decorum were all that kept beings like the two of them from destroying one another, along with large stretches of their most unfortunate battleground, and he observed those protocols to the letter. Perhaps at some later, more familiar stage they could be dispensed with, but not for now, unless she insisted. He gestured toward the couch and chairs arrangement with a slight bow, presuming that their visit would be less 'business' and more 'conversational.'

"My acquisition of this small property is merely a matter of convenience, I assure you," he said as he moved to one of the chairs and waited patiently for her to be seated. "I come to the city frequently enough that a sensible abode seemed a reasonable expense." The elder predator did not mention his reason for coming into the city. No need to be crass. He also did not need to read her mind to know that she would not share easily. At least not on a permanent basis. "My presence here will be intermittent and quite temporary, and I have already made arrangements to ensure that my future visits will be known to your House, Lady." He suspected that he could have hidden his presence from her, but to do so would have been a violation of the very decorum that prompted him to refer to her with full honorifics. "You have my word," he finished gravely.

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Re: Welcome to My City

Post by Nymphetamine » Fri May 11, 2018 8:06 pm

The study felt more like him than the rest of the house combined. Unsurprising, since like her labratory, this was a place dedicated to the worship of knowledge and research. No doubt it would become familiar to her over time if he were to make Drache some sort of vacation home from the Elgar. Shaodin's taste was impeccable.

If his appearance surprised her, she did well not to show it. Far be it for her to judge, as she too was dressed with a mind towards function more than anything else. The ornate dresses, elaborate coifs and wonderous array of jewelry was suited to her role as noblewoman and sithire. She hadn't wanted the attention as she skulked through the night. A gloved hand reached for the stays of her cloak and unfastened them so she could draw the light silk off her shoulders. It was draped over the back of one of the chairs.

Isabelle was used to the need for ritual and formality between their kind. They were evolved beings, better than human if they could keep their immortal minds fed with lofty purpose. These little ceremonies between them served to book end the need for peace. Respect factored into that more than anything else. Without it, she would be driven to destroy him. She had always gotten the impression that he was the same way, having been alive somewhat longer than she.

A thin smirk touched her lips at his flattering question. She could do so much better than the gift of her presence. As if she would ever be so insulting to him. "A gift of knowledge," she corrected him, but did not expand upon the answer immediately. Instead, she gave him the space to reassure her of his intentions within her city, temporary or not. Raising one hand, she dismissed those assurances with a gesture.

"I'm unconcerned with your business here, Shaodin. You of all people know better than to leave behind bodies when questions will surely follow."

The Sithire didn't so much as forbid him from killing, so much as she hinted that he would do well to dispose of any corpses. Attention drawn by being careless was repellant and dangerous for all of those present. Though, she at least could hide behind her citizenship should she be ousted from her lofty seat.

"Do you have any wine? We should celebrate. I'm giving my husband an heir of our flesh in some twenty five weeks."

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Re: Welcome to My City

Post by Krisael » Wed May 16, 2018 9:45 pm

Progeny. The notion had never particularly appealed to him; in fact, he'd taken great pains to exterminate every thread of his line in the turbulence of his wild and angry youth. Still, the notion was a beguiling one on an intellectual level, and his intellectual curiosity lofted one gold-dusted eyebrow. "Yes, I believe I may have a suitable vintage on hand." If the notion of leaving her unattended in his study perturbed him he showed little sign of it as he said, "A moment; I will return with some glasses. Please lady, make yourself comfortable."

He turned the question of 'how' over in his head as he swept from the room after making a small bow. He doubted very seriously that her womb would open to receive a child, and if it had he would have sensed the infant in her. It would have to be grown in some inorganic environment. He pondered at what medium she'd chosen to suspend the whelp in as he entered the scullery and swept down a long stair into the darkness of an immaculate cellar.

The answer, he supposed, would be blood of some kind. Their most recent conversation prior to this had been in regards to a store of powerful blood in the form of a dragon, whose soul she'd consulted him about removing. And how had she solved the problem of growth and aging? Unless the progeny were truly alive, with only such aberrations in its makeup as would provide the gifts of their unique heritage? Many questions and few clear answers.

Shaodin considered the selection of wine only briefly; he only kept a very few bottles on hand to appease the theoretical mortal guests he might receive willingly. The bottle in one hand, his other gathered two gracefully shaped chalices by the stem as he passed the glass rack and climbed back into the scullery.

The question of parentage occurred to him. Despite having little interest in politics for his own gains, he still made it a point to keep himself reasonably well-informed of the goings on in the countries which surrounded his abode. Wars were nasty business, and keeping onesself distant from them could be difficult without sufficient prior notice. He knew of the man she'd married by reputation, and their union and the subsequent alliance had piqued his interest sufficiently that Shaodin had made a few inquiries after his nature in the Sithire's own domain. By correspondence, of course.

He'd learned nothing of note, and hadn't pursued the matter further. Now, however, Isabelle's phrasing, specifically the use of the word 'our' rather than 'my' gave him cause to think that she'd managed a feat nearer to actual reproduction than he'd originally considered, which was quite intriguing indeed.

He dallied in the scullery a moment, taking his time with opening the wine to consider the breakthrough and its repercussions. With the bottle properly decanted, he arranged the glasses and container on an exquisitely etched tray of silver, which he perched on the fingertips of his right hand and returned to the study. The tray was placed on the low table between the couches, and he made short work of two perfect pours. The first he passed to her, and took up the second to raise in perfect poise.

"To discovery," he said, meeting her green eyes with his exotically tilted hazel ones, "and more importantly, understanding."

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Re: Welcome to My City

Post by Nymphetamine » Thu May 17, 2018 2:58 pm

A thin smile touched her lips as he affirmed that there was wine of some vague variety. Not that it mattered much to her if there wasn't. This was a touch of formality, the trappings of mortality that still clung to her. A necessity borne from interacting with mortals far more frequently than her counterpart. Nodding to him, she turned to seat herself in the chair currently serving as a coat rack for her cloak.

Legs crossed at the knee as she leaned back in the chair, making herself comfortable. While Shaodin mused on what her baiting words had meant in terms of her progeny and perhaps even of the father, she contented herself with looking around his study. It was much as expected of him. Everything has a place and everything in its place. It may have been a point of curiousity to snoop, she held him in far too much respect to mistread upon his domain. How rude. If they had not their propriety, what else would keep them from snatching at each other's throats at the barest provocation? No, Isabelle remained where she was. She knew well enough that in time, Shaodin might share whatever his current endeavours were. Just as she too was sharing with him what she did.

By now, the fundamentals of how the apparatus worked had been discerned. Between the manual that had come with it and actual use, she had sussed out its general principles. Thoughts had been given to the fact that she would eventually try to reverse engineer the thing. While being beholden to Ravynetti Tivaurd did not suit her in the long term, she intended to produce at least one viable heir before returning the device. Perhaps two, if the dark baron had no immediate use for it. Which he had not seemed to be in any rush. An heir and a spare, as it was commonly said.

The Sithire was not given to fidgeting, and waited patiently in stillness and silence for Shaodin to return. Propping her cheek up on her hand, she turned over how best to proceed in the matter of her 'gift of knowledge'. It seemed as good a time as any for her to give him a veiled warning in regards to the extensive network of influence Tivaurd had cultivated over the past two decades. She did not begrudge the lich that, though she knew better than to draw his interest into setting his sights on her. The work she made in Drache could only continue so long as she had little opposition to it. Thus far, no one seemed to mind that she spent state and personal funds on the cultivation of magical learning.

She heard him before she saw him, the sounds of his footsteps heralded in the stillness of the house beyond his study. Twisting slightly, she turned to track his progress into the room, noting the silver tray, bottle and pair of goblets. Her faint smile returned to ghost upon unstained lips. She rose from her seat to accept the glass, eyes never leaving him.

"To discovery and understanding," she murmured in mild appreciation of this particular toast. The goblet was lifted and she sipped upon the robust vintage he had found for them.

Reclaiming her seat across from him, she gestured for him to sit. The goblet remained cradled in one delicate porcelain hand, braced against the arm of the couch or chair she had taken. Once again, she crossed her legs, appearing as comfortable in his space as ever. Knowing that the burden of conversation was resting upon her shoulders, she studied him for a moment.

"Where to begin?" The question was mostly rhetorical, but she did not let it hang in the air between them long before giving over to what he was burning with curiousity to learn.

"There is a lich by the name of Ravynetti Tivaurd who has made Drache something of his home for the past twenty odd years. He has a keen and vested interest in the city's prosperity and supported Drache's quest for independence. He has, thus far, supported my claim to the sithrangel. He's very well known for the plethora of children he has had over the years. It should be of no wonder that I asked him how he managed to produce children from dead flesh." Isabelle paused to lift her glass again. "Towards that end, he loaned me the arcane apparatus and its detailed instructions, that allowed his wife, also afflicted with our condition, to gestate a child or two."

It went unsaid that she owed the necromancer a favour, that would no doubt turn political before it was claimed. Was it worth it? To secure Asnerith Dreth's eternal adoration, it might be. As long as he was bound by matrimony to Transdariania, he would not seek to invade or make claim on the province, as he had wanted. That would be worth it, at least in the eyes of the populace. His control of the Bloody Fifth was legendary.

"It was chance that my first attempt produced a viable human fetus. But it grows now in this arcane womb."

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Re: Welcome to My City

Post by Krisael » Sat May 19, 2018 2:48 pm

Having preferred hard spirits even in life, he took only a diplomatic sip of the dark wine. Without further remark Shaodin sat in one of the wingback chairs across from her. He deposited the glass on the table and settled back, mirroring her crossed legs and steepling his fingers to watch her over elegantly shaped nails. His hazel eyes were beginning to darken with the thirst, and he could not prevent a somewhat predatory gleam in his intense scrutiny as he listened to her thinly veiled warnings about this dark baron.

He had encountered only one other of Tivaurd's kind in his long years, and their exchanges had not been pleasant. Shaodin did not count himself one of those fools who considered his own affliction of a higher order than those of other long-lived dead, but he remarked lichdom as... distasteful, somehow. It seemed, however, that as his association with Isabelle grew, if it grew, his likelyhood of encountering this Tivaurd grew in kind. So he would put on his court polish, and tolerate the creature if it became necessary, if for no other reason than to maintain the relative calm of the political waters in this neighboring country.

One soot-darkened gold eyebrow rose in mild surprise as she made clear that it had not been she who had wrought the instrument of her own progeny. But then, Isabelle had consulted him for assistance in her endeavors once before, so why should it surprise him that she would find and use whomever she needed to reach her own ends? Her unassuming nature was one of her most endearing qualities, after all.

Of course she would make attempts to recreate the device on her own terms. Her motivations were not dissimilar to his own. The questions of 'how' and 'why' rang out in her mind, perhaps as loudly as in his own. Sussing out the forces which drove the universe and which were responsible for all phenomina natural and unnatural was the connection that bound he and she in common cause. They simply approached the answering of those questions with different methods.

Her final words on the matter caused another change in the porcelain mask of his face. A mild frown tugged downward at the corners of his mouth. "The child will be truly human, then? Only human?" It was a piquant matter for him. If a child of truly human nature could be borne from the governing code of two who were not, or even from one who was not, like Isabelle, and one who was, as her husband seemed to be...

He had long ago learned that although the common nomenclature for a patriarchy suggested that blood was the governing factor in determining a child's heritage, it was quite unreliable in doing so. Many years ago, he had asked himself why fathers and sons shared so many physical characteristics. Though there were commonalities in the blood, they were not exclusive commonalities. Further investigation had led him to a theory that the characteristics of living creatures were governed by a code which hid deep within their cellular makeup. A code which was harmonic with similar code, and dischordant with dissimilar. It was the reason blood could not be reliably transferred between persons unless they were closely related. If this apparatus could reliably identify and alter that code to bring viable human progeny from the essence of two non-human entities, he wondered at its potential to alter the code of a being which already existed.

These musings occurred in the space of an eyeblink, and his intent regard never left her. With his thoughts silenced, he awaited her answer.

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Re: Welcome to My City

Post by Nymphetamine » Sat May 19, 2018 11:54 pm

The wine was a prop of civility and culture, held in her pale hand and occasionally sipped unafraid from. So far, between the two aged vampires, they had a stalemate. It would be rude to attempt to subvert him without suitable cause and would engender a life long grudge should it ever come to that. She had no intention of bonding him, and she was willing to hazard that he felt similarly. At least so far as their interests did not cross one another.

Perhaps it was this quiet comraderie that could tip toe into rivalry that had drawn her in the first place. This was her city. He was a guest, even if he did not consult her prior. She was magmanimous and would forgive him for the transgression with smile and housewarming gifts. Like with Tivaurd, keeping things placid and not at across purposes was more beneficial than waging outright war for scant reasons as pride or ego. How could she exchange information with someone she was bent on destroying? No, better to hold them warily at arms length and offer cooperation, if only in exchange for this or that bit of research and accomplishment.

Isabelle waved her hand dismissively at the notion of 'only' human. "It's unknowable what sort of traits will breed true in the offspring before it's completed its gestation. From the reading I had done, there is a chance of mutation and deformity, which the apparatus detects and informs the user of after a period of thirty days. It would seem that I was fortunate that this was not the case this time, and thus 'human'."

Truth be told, she was immensely curious to see a mutated fetus or offspring. There was no telling what a dhampir borne of Dreth's loins would tell. How could the lycanthropy preesnt? Did the curse always strike and would the child be able to tap into that? Or would wolf and undead clash in some horrific way? Her curiousity was burning to see this child, but she was forced to wait.

Even now, she was advancing in the second trimester, when she would have to pretend to be expanding with a growing fetus. There had been some quiet debate as to whether she would use a pillow, or if she would warp her body to secure the illusion. While both were appealing for their own reasons, she wanted the deception to be as thorough as possible. The best way of not having a glamour penetrated was to fleshcraft and she was certainly quite capable of doing that. Though, she would naturally have to avoid such clerics that might try to divine over the pregnant Sithire. Perhaps she would have to enter a seclusion from the public.

Musing on these thoughts, she fell quiet for a moment but did not dwell too long on the subject.

"There is an additional complication that might arise from this union. While I don't believe it's common knowledge, my husband is afflicted with a curse of lycanthropy, that is hereditary. I'm quite interested in seeing what sort of traits should manifest as the child grows. Dhampirs have ever been a curiousity, but I had never thought that I would be amenable to breeding one myself," Isabelle admitted.

She had been somewhat hesitant to the idea of attempting it, and frankly, had not thought it possible for a female vampire to carry a child to term. In this she appeared to be correct. Her experiments with vampiric mice and attempting to breed them had not proven very fruitful, after all. The idea of creating an apparatus to do so had seemed distant and might not have been stumbled upon immediately had it not been for the idea to consult Tivaurd on the subject.

"What do you know of dhampirs?"

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Re: Welcome to My City

Post by Krisael » Mon May 21, 2018 4:40 am

The ancient necromancer assumed the preternatural stillness of the unliving as he listened, his undivided attention an almost palpable weight which now rested on her. He did not only listen, but watched and weighed every part of her. Scrutinizing every line of her carefully arranged asthetic, each minute twitch of cheek and jaw, and every gracefully flowing movement of her small, delicate hands. And as was always the case with her, his razor-fine attention told him very little. She was cautious in that regard, or else naturally gifted with a demeanor which was difficult to read.

Oh, he could follow her facial expressions, the mask of social graces and politeness, but he was loath to leave his deductions to the obvious. On any other face he could read fear or lust or hope as clearly as a book regardless of stolidity, and it had nothing to do with telepathy. But she was a closed book to him, and it was that quality that always pleased him about their little conversations. Although she had never given him reason to believe that she had misled him in any major way, the notion that she was capable of unpredictability after ten centuries of careful precognition was a thrill that made him both wary of and willingly susceptible to that unique charm.

It had been that lure of unpredictability that had prompted him to presumptuousness in setting up this small sanctuary here within her domain. It had been a small presumption, certainly; Drache was a city that accepted residents like any other, and Transdarania was by no means a closed territory. But in whatever scale, his presence here could most certainly be attributed the qualities of a trespass if she were inclined to suspicion. Learning that she was not so inclined was as useful a metric as if she had protested his arrival. Having prepared for that possibility, he knew that if she had protested he would have ceded to her wishes and withdrawn his interests from her claimed territory, but it would have been a sign that their relationship had turned to rivalry, and he would have begun preparations to proceed along that presumption.

Now, he suspected that she would subtly require some small recompense for her tolerance. Not monetary; he did not judge her so cheaply as to be bought with mere gold.

There was knowledge, he supposed, but his endeavors in the realms of scholarship and arcanism were so widely varied that to find any piece of his research that would prove useful to her would be a tedious process in which more would be revealed than he might necessarily accept. Moreover, this 'housewarming gift' of hers suggested that she was open to an exchange of information which would reduce the value of that currency. And to so restrict the sharing of understanding between them would also necessarily restrict his potential gains from her unique perspective.

He would not cede any part of his land to her, any more than he would expect her to give over her claim on Drache to him. Besides, within the boundaries of his domain he had altered the naturally occuring flora and fauna so radically that it would be as dangerous to her as it would be beneficial.

Those posibilities eliminated, he drew a conclusion which may or may not prove to be correct. He decided that he would have Alar begin work on a guest suite within his home. He had taken a place of respite within her domain, it seemed only fitting that he should provide a similar sanctuary within his own.

That decided, he addressed her inquiry. "I have sought out and documented several instances of successful interbreeding between our kind and others, and have conducted a few of my own more detailed inquiries on the subject. I found the results to be quite unpredictable, with the qualities bestowed by our darker nature being the most variable factor." He paused for a moment, consulting the vast library of his memory to recall the findings of his few relevant experiments. "Having no interest in progeny of my own, my research has been limited. There were two notable correlations; the host," an odd choice of words, considering his significant command of several languages, "rarely survives the birth when a viable whelp can be concieved at all, and the older the sire, the more gifted the offspring, with accountable variations for condition."

His assessment of the species (if you could call it that) had been strictly academic, and had held little interest for him beyond determining whether such a creature could be considered a threat. Having retained much of his own mortal vitality until nearly a century after his turning, there had been a remote chance of surviving offspring, though he had been quite exhaustive in his efforts to assure that none had survived.

"I have detailed notes on all the cases I have studied, if you would like to peruse them, though I must insist that they remain in my library." A veiled invitation that she would not miss, he was sure, and one which suggested that she was welcome to remain for a time.

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