In the weeks following the liberation of Rives-Oignees a great celebration emerged. The people, now free to do as they pleased, reveled in their victory over the Redcloaks flooding the streets in song and dance. Every corner of the city was alive with roaring crowds through the day and on into the night. The fighting pits were even transformed into temporary theater houses hosting reenactments of the battle to take Rives-Oignees.
Unfortunately not all was fun and games during the cities restoration. Yes Tiger was off playing up the crowds as he so often did, but Ool was tasking her people to find and train artisans. Tarnished took his newly acquired followers down to the docks to help arrange passage off the island for those that wished to return to their families or former lives. Each of the four adventurers had work to do and seldom found times to join in on the celebrations. As the days passed and the parties settled down Rives-Oignees underwent a grand transformation.
However amid the construction, social change and structural reform even heroes needed their rest now and then. One night after a long and stressful day Tarnished found himself unable to sleep. His mind was full of the days troubles and he lay awake staring into the night. Frustrated and groggy he took off to the local tavern for what passed as drink in this former slavers town. Admittedly he could have asked for a better stash of booze from the movers and shakers that helped in, or by way of inaction supported, the overthrow of Claudius Redcloak. All the same Tarnished sat and drank his sorrows away one by one until he was red in the face.
Returning home he could feel a slight tingle on the back of his neck. The kind of tingle he felt when spirits were close by. That’s when he saw it. The bug demon he saw Wellspring riding from days before. Anger and determination flooded his senses as he threw off the cloth wrappings that concealed his ornate dragon wand. He took aim as if by instinct took in a deep breath and slowly exhaled lining up the perfect shot before finally squeezing the trigger. A large column of fire roared through the sky soaring higher then most would have dared dream possible. The flames whipped at the demons wings causing it to dart away in fear. Tarnished reloaded his wand ready to give chase but the bug had other plans. It turned about diving to the ground and a single figure jumped from it’s back to the ground below. He had barely noticed a second before but there was actually a person riding that horrid thing.
Wellspring landed in the middle of the street facing the shanty tavern Tarnished had stumbled out of only moments ago. Her body language was discernibly tense as her fellow Exalted leveled his wand towards her demon’s head. “Stand down!” She commanded. Her feet picking up speed as she moved to intercept Tarnished before he could fire another round. He didn’t know why she was surprised after all he did warn her the next time he saw her demons he would kill them. Fueled by rage and liquid courage he took a breath and fired. At that exact moment a whip coiled around the barrel of the dragon wand yanking it free from his grasp causing its flames to veer wildly. His ornate weapon made a dull hollow sound as it came crashing to the ground several feet away from him.
Wellspring clung to the whip that so skillfully disarmed her opponent raising it’s braided length to the sky for a second attack. “Stand down now!” She repeated. Tarnished dove for his wand but the crack of the whip struck him hard across the face causing him to lurch back in pain. He moved across the street to put some distance between himself at the reach of her whip. However no matter how hard he tried she managed to keep him at bay or strike the wand further down the street. This only served to enrage him even further. Tired, drunk and feeling as if he were being plaid with Tarnished broke into a full charge for his dragon wand. Once again Wellspring struck at him with her powerful whip. This time however Tarnished reached out snatching the length in mid air. He grasped the weapon with his bare hands even as the whip caused his palms to bleed. This caught Wellspring off guard long enough for the two to make eye contact. Something about the flick of the light and the shape of the brow made them strangely familiar to each other. Perhaps it was just a trick of the moon light but she felt as if she recognized him somehow.
While Wellspring was distracted Tarnished took the opportunity to clear his throat and focus his slurred speech. “Tukaj!” At once his bleeding hand was lit a blaze sending a trail of furious fire up the length of the whip. Wellspring released her weapon just before the flames could scorch her fingers. With them both now unarmed and faced off in the empty street Wellspring spoke soft and calmly. “What is your name?” Tarnished sneered thinking this was some sort of distraction to lower his guard. “You already know it.” She shook her head sincerely. “I know what you call yourself now but you were once of the realm. What did you call your self then?” Tarnished was contemplating his option at this point. If he tried to shape a spell she would likely counter or perhaps he’d have to counter one of hers. She was more experience at sorcery then he was after all. “Why the hell should you care?” He snapped back at her. She calmly raised her arms and gestured to the city street they occupied. “Because the things that happened here, some of it was due to misplaced loyalty to a family name. It can cause people, who are good deep down, to do terrible things.”
Tarnished felt his expression falter for just a moment from frustration to confusion. Maybe it was the booze talking but his body language seemed to relax just a bit. “Blind faith that turns good men cruel.” He repeated in simpler terms. “I don’t believe in that kind of loyalty, there needs to be something more.” She continued now crossing her arms over her chest. “So I ask you again what is your name?” Tarnished stalled for time as he contemplated his options. At last the long silence was broke with his answer. “Nerrun… Sesus Belar Nerrun.” Wellspring offered a faint yet genuine smile at that almost as if this revelation had amused her. “And just as blind faith can turn men cruel why do you harbor such blind hatred towards demons?” Tarnished visibly grew tense once again at the mention of them. “That is personal…” Wellspring uncrossed her arms and bowed her head. “Well despite our differences I believe there is more to you then what I’ve seen. Perhaps one day I’ll get to see it.” She placed her hand over her chest in a half-hearted salute. “Well met Sesus Belar Nerrun. My name is Sesus Alexandria. It’s been a pleasure.” He couldn’t tell if that last bit at the end was meant to be sarcastic or genuine. Either way Wellspring grabbed her belongings, hopped on her demon, and flew away leaving Tarnished in the street alone to contemplate what just transpired.