Created On Tuesday, 08 January 2019 18:04By Kim Powers
Character's Name: Antonia Claudia Thonnius
Title of Adventure:Of Nightmares and Things.
A pat on the back was one thing. Several was something entirely different. Antonia had spent so much time being called a pirate and a scoundrel that she really didn’t know how to handle all the praise and thank yous the people of the small village were given them all.
Antonia had spend the first few hours away from the masses trying to sleep in the early dawn hours underneath a tree near the water's edge. Drest, his dog and pony had joined her, or rather she’d joined them if only to enjoy the peace and quiet. Sleep wasn’t as blissful as she’d have liked. Everytime she dozed off, the zombies and skeletons jumped into her dreams. Nightmarish thought, about that poor bastard that had been somehow turned into a zombie. In her dreams her friends had been taken and she’d been forced to fight them or succumb to the same fate. In the end Antonia gave up on sleep. Instead she decided that there was only one way to make sure nothing like her dreams ever came to pass.
Not wanting to bother Drest or the others for that matter, Antonia ventured to the outskirts of town. She could practice there and not have to worry about anyone. Or being in anyone’s way. In a small thicket of tree, Antonia could take on the enemy. In the thicket the oncoming zombies and skeletons that haunted her dreams were relentless. Each tree took on the form a foe in her eyes. And while her steps proved graceful and elegant each blow was deadly and precise. Antonia’s blade bit into the trees as if her life depended on each blow being a death blow.
Julian could appreciate the accolades that had been tossed their way. They were in his mind well deserved. If one of the group, the team, had been singled out, he might have felt differently, even if, perhaps especially if, he had been the recipient of the extra praise. But everyone seemed to be getting an equal amount of it. He thought briefly, of writing an epic about it, and knew he would some day. But right then and right there it was too dark of a subject. Tales of the arcane and undead were hardly the fodder of a good bar song, and how on the gods’ green earth could one make a romantic ballad about it.
He appreciated the outdoors as much as the next man, but there was no way in the Nine Hells that he was going to sleep outside, on the ground, when he had a choice in the matter. There was a nice Inn with a private, free room, it just wasn’t logical therefore to go sleep outside.
He did manage to fall asleep and had a nightmare about being stuck in his parent’s home sharing it not only with his brothers and sisters yelling and screaming at him, but what was especially chilling was that departed ancestors were there as well.
This eventually brought him to fully awake and after that, he couldn’t go back to sleep again. He dressed in a newly purchased pair of pants and shirt, and decided to take a walk. He found himself near the river than spotted a meandering trail and followed it. A noise caught his ear and he decided to investigate.
He stepped into a clearing and found himself watching Antonia pushing herself attacking imaginary foes. He assumed she was practicing and not crazy, so he called out in a playful, almost smart-ass typical Julian fashion. “We’ve already had one fight this morning, aren’t you getting kind of tired of the action?”
“I’m more afraid of it, than tired.” She admitted as she dealt a devastating blow to a tree limb. Slicing through it, severing the outreached hand from the tree’s frame. Antonia looked at him as she took a moment. “That soldier could have been any one of us.” She added, and she was sure he could see the fear of that reality in her eyes.
The smile that had been playing at the corners of his lips slowly faded away as he walked towards her. “You’re right, the could have been. But, it wasn’t. And we’re safe. It’s daylight, we’ve beaten this blackguard at his own game. We won. We beat them, they don’t have power over us. It’s going to be okay. You don’t have to kill off all the trees.”
She smirked, the trees, she thought. “I just know it isn’t over, we’re not done with this quest. We won this fight, but the next town and the next battle.” She sighed. “I don’t want to be the reason you or anyone else gets hurt.”
“We can all take care of ourselves,” he replied as he took several more steps towards her, “and you’ll never be the cause of anyone getting hurt. You're too good for that. And if it’s not over, well we’ll face it together.”
Him getting closer wasn't lost on her. Antonia didn't mind in fact she put her sword back in it's scabber. “I can always get better.” She took a few steps towards him. “But thank you. It's good to know we will face whatever's next together.”
He took a half step towards her then halted. “You know, we handled ourselves pretty well down there with all those skeletons and the miller. I don’t think we ever in real danger, but we could have been, it might have been much worse. Those kinds of experiences help put things into perspective.
And I’ve been thinking, thinking about when we kissed. You were drunk then, or at least you weren’t sober. You are now I’d like to try again. If you’re willing that is.”
Antonia looked at him with the strangest sideways glance. “What?” She asked. “Wait, when did we kiss?” Antonia did her best to must a disgusted expression. The truth of course was that she did remember. And she remembered him backing off as soon as he realized she wasn't clear headed. A gentlemanly gesture she was impressed by. But she had to mess with him, just a little.
“You don’t remember?” he queried, not sure how serious she might be. “Then I guess I didn’t make much of an impression. Perhaps we could try again. I’ll try to make this time memorable.”
Antonia shook her head at him. Not that she wasn't interested in kissing him again but that he thought he hadn't left a mark or impression on her. “Mmmm, I don't know. If you weren't very good at it the first, do I really want to try it again?” she couldn't hide the smirk on her face.
Now, he was certain, or mostly so that she was kidding him. “Perhaps it’s not my ability that is the question, but your memory. There’s only one way to find out.”
She put her hand on his chest to stop him from advancing any closer. “Before we go find out anything, what sort of perspectives are we talking about?” She asked.
He paused when she pressed his and on him. He glanced down, then back up again. When he did so his face was impassive. “I’m not exactly sure,” he said, “this is still pretty confusing to me. But, despite my reputation, I just don’t kiss women randomly frivolously.”
Antonia took the step into him when she put her hand down. “You have a good heart. And you are a gentleman.” She had limited experience kissing anyone, but she leaned in and touched her lips to his gently. Her mentality was it was ok, if she initiated it.
He smiled then through the kiss lengthening it, but for the moment not deepening it. His left hand curled around the back of her neck drawing her closer.
She didn’t know what he was confused about, he seemed pretty sure of himself in this very moment, she told herself. Antonia felt his warm hand on her neck, under her red hair. His hand rubbed against her necklace catching on it just slightly. But she stepped into him, it seemed to be what he wanted. Her hands came to rest on his hips. She wasn’t really sure what to do with them. His lips were warm and tasted like salt.
Antonia was sure this kiss was better than the first one, she took a moment to pause pulling back from the kiss and looking into his eyes. Was this what confused him? That they’d gone from barely tolerating each other to this. Whatever this was. Antonia wasn’t even sure what this was. She knew she didn’t hate him anymore. She knew she understood what had happened between him and her sister. Antonia knew that she’d grown to care about him, it wasn’t anymore complex than that for her.
Her eyes searched his face to try to understand why he was confused and decided that whatever confusion he felt would melt away if she kissed him again. And so she did.
Both brows rose above his hairline in surprise. This was happening, it was really happening. Not only had she allowed him to kiss her, she was now initiating the kiss. This time he did deepen it. Not enough to be scandalous, but for the kiss to lose any hope of remaining chaste.
Still not entirely sure that she was kissing him right, Antonia was left to follow his lead. It lingered for several moments before she once again stepped back. “Still confused?” She simply asked.
“Oh hell no. Not at all. What about you?”
She smirked about the way he said no and shook her head. No she wasn’t confused, unsure but not confused. Antonia took another step back to given them both a little space. “So what does this make us? Clearly we’re beyond malcontenous behaviors.” Although she was sure she was going to still pick on him from time to time. “Courting seems too formal a term.”
“No, I don’t think courting really applies just yet. I don’t know that we have to have a label. But why don’t we start by spending some time together, dinner, taking walks, heck, even sparring. I’m sure we can figure something out.”
She gave him a mischievous sideways glance. “You mean in addition to all the time we spend together now?” She teased him. “You know on the boat, on land. Fighting monsters, villains. The undead…” She let that last one hang out there a bit. They did spend a lot of time together, but she knew what he meant. Time getting to know each other.
“I spend a lot of time fighting villains, monsters, and the undead now and on the boat with Leif too. That doesn’t mean I want to take him out to dinner.”
“And you’re sure you want to be seen having dinner with a wayward woman pirate?” She asked. She knew she had a reputation. Her brother had seen to that, she was already disowned. He wasn’t, Julian had a chance to get back in his family’s good graces.
He shook head up and down slowly. “I’m willing to take that chance, if you’re willing to be seen with a rake that throws himself at unsuspecting women.”
“We both know that's not true.” She retorted.
When she’d come out to the woods to fight her own demons she hadn't expected this. “Dinner, would be nice.”
“Good. I’m not sure what this town has to offer, but I’m sure we can find someplace nice. And as far as reputations go yours is no more true than mine. So, what were you in the mood for?”
Antonia’s smile faded slightly. “Yes, it is.” She corrected him. “I might not have been what I was accused of, but I’ve definitely become what I was accused of.” Antonia offered him the visible reminder on her arm. The “P” branding, the permanent label of a pirate. “I mean not all of it, but enough of it.”
“I’ve been around you for months now. I’ve seen how you act towards people, how protective you are and yes you can be a pain in the ass at times. But you’re a good person. I’ve seen pirates and frankly no matter what label you might choose to let people put you you, you’re a decent human being. More than decent. You’re no pirate. Not really.”
She was taken back by his proclamation. After a moment she let out a breath she wasn't aware she'd been holding onto. Not going back and forth at each other was going to take some getting used to. “I am a pain in the ass sometimes, aren't I?” She smirked as she stepped back in towards him.
And then she kept walking past him heading for the path she knew was there.
He turned on his heel and started following her. “You’re not trying to get away from me already are you?” he asked
Antonia smirked over her shoulder at him. “I thought you wanted to walk? Or dinner?”
He quickly caught up to her, “Why don’t I walk you back to town and we can have dinner?”
Antonia looked at him with that same smirk on her face. “You’re not going to expect me to start dressing up are you? Corsets and petticoats and all that.” She did remember their conversation that night. Talking about interesting and adventurous it might be to see if she had weapons in all that ruffle and fanfair.
“I am a gentleman, I would never make such a request. I wouldn’t ask you to change who you are for me. I mean I wouldn’t necessarily mind, but I’ve found those can just get in the way sometimes.”
“I find they get in the way all of the time.” She uttered as they walked. “I didn't honestly think you were serious the other night.”
He put a hand on her shoulder, “It wasn’t that I wasn’t serious, just the opposite as a matter of fact. I just didn’t know what to say or do and I… I was scared that you might reject me, be turned off by my advances.”
Antonia glanced at him again. Julian scared of her rejection? She’d been harassing him nearly none stop since she’d learned who he was. She almost expected him to be used to it by now. She had been a little too hard on him from time to time. Admittedly she’d been very protective of her sister and Julian had hurt Gabriella in ways Antonia never wanted to experience. At least that’s what she’d told herself. Now… “I just don’t want what happened between you and Gabriella to happen between us.” She told him.
“I won’t let that happen,” he reassured her, “I mean to be honest I don’t know exactly where this is headed. But, if it does get serious, truly serious, I won’t make the same mistake I did with your sister. I promise you that. I don’t care what my family says or does.”
Antonia’s steps slowed until she stopped and she turned to look at him. Her green eyes had an inquisitive twinkle in them. “That’s not what I mean.” Antonia smirked. “Even if you and I never, whatever, if it goes beyond a simple kiss or whatever happens down the road.” Her eyebrows lifted slightly. “Or doesn't happen. Be truthful. Be honest.” Antonia offered. “I don’t care if your family tries to influence you. I’d respect you making a choice for family over me.” She told him. Still seeing her own family line as permanently severed despite all her hopes. “Just don’t vanish. Even if nothing ever comes of this, we’re still friends. And I can’t tell you the ends I would go to find a friend I thought was lost. Or hurt. Or in trouble.” She reminded him.
“I promise,” he said making an x over his heart, I will never just vanish on you.”
She nodded her head satisfied with his answer. “So, dinner and then would you like to walk around town?”
“That sounds like a wonderful idea. What would you like to eat?”
She shrugged her shoulders as they began to walk again. Antonia hadn't really thought about what she wanted to eat. The woods thinned as they walked and before long they were on the path back into the town. “I'm not picky. Do you have a preference?”
“Well, a steak would be nice, but I don’t think we’re going to find that here, so probably seafood, well riverfood anyway. Do you like catfish?”
Antonia smirked and nodded. “With the right seasoning catfish can be fantastic.” The conversation was casual between them. It seemed to flow as the two talked curiously about one another.
“What drew you to music?” She asked.
“I guess it started as a diversion. I was sent to the Academy for my formal education and started to play there, mostly to keep myself out of trouble or from being bored. When I started to get good at it though my grandmother invested in a tutor, a mentor for me and that’s how I got...wel as good as I am, that’s how I learned to weave magic into my songs.”
Antonia was genuinely interested in how Julian was about to put magic into music. She for one knew nothing of magic. “Is magic hereditary, does anyone else in your family have your gifts?”
“Heredity? I don’t think so, but I couldn’t say for sure. Initiate yes, but no one in my family have any gifts, and I don’t know that any of my ancestors did either. But I might be an exception, or maybe different types of magic are. I’m really not much for theory though. I just know what works for me.”
Antonia did everything she could to bite back the inappropriate comment that came to mind. In the end she was able to fight it off. “I'm glad you did. I mean, without your magic you wouldn’t be here. And chances are we might now be either.”
He watched her as she spoke, “So does that mean you plan to stick around for a while after we get back home?”
“Well, Selixa is my home too.” Antonia reminded him.
“I know,” Julian replied, “but that’s not what I mean. What I’m talking about is are you planning to stay with the group, are you going to stick around to see whatever becomes of whatever this is that we are doing?”
Antonia looked at him as if he'd suggested she was a coward. Did he expect her to run off? “Of course, I am. Aren't you?”
“Yes, of course, I just wanted to make sure, maybe I’m just a little insecure I want this to turn into something. Something that is going to last a long time.”
Antonia let her eyebrows lift, it was a teasing expression on her face. “You don’t have to be insecure, Julian.” She told him. “I’d like to see where this goes too.”
Last Updated On Tuesday, 08 January 2019 21:13By David Tannen