Stroke of Midnight ((IC))

World’s End Tavern: Role-play and Fan Fiction
Marthius sat behind his desk, as he watched his daughter move into his study. She moved with a certain grace much like a lioness out on the hunt, and he smiled.

"I don't like the way you've been treating the servants." was all she had said. And his eybrows raised at the notion that he mistreated his servants. HE mistreated the servants. This is what was the problem of late? Why she would leave the dining room suddenly?

Marthius closed his eyes briefly, as he thought about what she had said. Perhaps he had been a bit harsh with Esther the other day. And he had lost his temper with Edwards a week or two ago. His bride had always been the one to take care of the servants and their needs. He had been busy studying and researching, as well as building his estate...the very home they, servants and family, lived in.

The warlock sighed heavily, and opened his eyes. She still stood before him, waiting for his reply...and the way she set her chin, and the tilt of her much like Alicia, and he sighed again. As he spoke his voice was calm and collected, deep and warm.

"My dear, your father has been under a great deal of pressure lately. Forgive me if I have let my temper flare at you, or any of our servants. I shall apologize to each of them, individually, and take care it. Will that suffice, dear child? Or is there anything else that has caused you discomfort here within the estate?"

He leaned back in his chair, and looked back at his daughter, wondering if this truly had been the reason for a rift developing between them, or was it something else?
"So what about you? Why are you in this area?"

Jorym looked over at the Pandaren as he ate his food. And he spoke in a low and whispered voice.

"I come to seek a warlock who threatens the very existence of a common man. One so vile as to believe changing a person into a demon could be a good thing. I have come to stop him, or die trying. That is why I am here, friend."

Jorym leaned back after speaking, and took a healthy swallow of the ale he had set before him. The paladin looked at the big bearman, wondering what his reaction would be.
Yanyun stopped eating, his face grew somewhat grim as he said "This warlock sounds like someone who must be stopped, if you desire help I shall lend you my skill in battle so can be stopped."

Kal'tok was in the middle of the tunnel, after taking one more step he quickly turned around and grabbed the man by his throat, he asked as he raised the man's face to his "Why are you following me? And who do you work for?"
Jorym knew two things studying the Pandaren's reaction - one, he stopped eating, that for a Pandaren is quite an accomplishment in and of itself. And he saw the grim look the Pandaren had when he offered his help in defeating the warlock, even so much as calling Marthius a monster. This gave the paladin hope that he may not be taking on this warlock by himself.

Jorym stood and offered his hand, "I am Jorym Stonehorse, a paladin of the light, and I would be honored to have you beside me as we go to battle this monster, this warlock called Marthius. And you are? My big Pandaren friend."

At the sound of the warlock's name, several of the patrons left their mugs, and went out the door. Several others stared at the paladin in fear as to why he would even mention the lord's name in the open like that. While several others made the sign of the "evil eye", and went back to their drinks, glancing once in a while at the two seated at the table.
Alice nodded, "I'm sorry, it's just a bit upsetting at times. And no, nothing else has been bothering me." She smiled. "Anything you need to me to do father?" She asked. He said he was under pressure, but Alice had no idea how far under he was. She didn't understand, but she wouldn't voice her concerns to him, especially if he was stressed.

She relaxed a bit now that her father knew. He might still lose his temper, but as long as he apologized for his past actions, he was in the clear. . . For now.
Marthias smiled warmly at his daughter, "Would you return with me to dinner? And yes, there is something else that has been on my mind." The warlock, stands, and makes for the door of his study, allowing her to leave first, then closing and locking it behind him. As he walks down the stairs to the dining room, he explains what concerns him.

"Alice, there are rumors of some that would stop me from the experiment we, I mean my fellow researchers and I, have been working on so hard to bring to its climax. I believe that the estate will need to be...shall we say, protected from these others. Can you scout around and see if you can note anything within a radius of the estate, and the manor, just to allow us a border of security, you understand?"

"Perhaps so much as to check some of the outlaying villages. I would only trust such a thing to you, as I know you can be discreet, and follow up with a report for me, say in a few days, my dear?"
((ack this post was meant to go before Lucif's last post, it wasn't there when I first started typing, took a break half way through and ate -_- ))

Maive smiles makes his way to the seat next to Cathdedan, and pours a glass of wine for himself. "Drink is slow and savor it, eh?" he thinks to himself, he really didn't understand that concept, he'd rather constantly be drinking a lot rather take tiny sips to "savor" it. He thought a moment on the idea, and figured he drank it so fast it didn't have a chance to hardly touch his taste tongue.

Maive raises his glass to Cathedan and smiles, "I guess we will be working together now." Maive turns his head to see a beautiful young woman talking Marthius. she was well dressed, and Maive overheard her call Marthius 'father', confirming his suspicion that she must be the daughter he remembered hearing about from Edwards. On closer inspection he could make out some resemblances between the two of them, not a whole lot, she definitely did not have the "shady" aura he felt when he first saw Marthius. Maive observed the two while trying to get a hang of the whole 'drink wine slow and savor it' thing. They seemed to have a good relationship, which was a bit reassuring as to what type of person Marthius was. The conversation seemed to become intense, Maive listened in closely.

"I wish not to say it in front of the present company, father."

Maive instantly came to the conclusion that she was referring to him, Maive hung his head down staring at his plate, Lillith must have sinced how he felt, because she sat up and laid her head on his lap. Maive was once again reminded that he really did not belong here, and he had almost fooled himself into believing otherwise. He watched as Marthius walked away and Alice soon followed behind, and Maive once again felt as if his unwelcoming message was soon to come.

Maive slowly took another sip of wine, and half-heartily chuckled at himself at the thought that he had finally perfected that art, though a bit to late. Maive looked around the room for Edwards, and upon spotting him he waved for him to come.

"How may I be of service to to you? Are you finding everything to your liking?" Maive was once again staring down at his place, his words came out in a slow, bitter tone.

"Yea....Everything is great, well....ya' know...its been a pretty long day and all, its kinda wore this old man out." Maive pretended to be rubbing his eyes, trying to cover his eyes, which must have been full of shame. "If it is not to much trouble, may I be shown to where I'll be sleeping at?" Maive really didn't expect to sleep as much as to sit and wait to be asked to leave, he thought it would be best to wait somewhere else, thinking Alice harbored something against him, and he just wanted to be alone for a bit.

"Ah yes, I most certainly can accomodate you, follow this way please." Maive faked a smile and nodded to Cathedan as he rose from the table, and once again found himself and Lillith following Edwards through the halls, though this time he took more notice of the floor then the other surroundings. They stopped at a door and Edwards opened it for him to enter, "I trust that this will be suitable for you and your companion, I already prepared your night clothes for you while you were bathing, they are setting at the foot of the bed." Maive was quite impressed with how through Edwards was. "Would you like me to wake you for breakfast in the morning?" Maive slowly made his way into the room and sat next to the folded night clothes.

"Yea...If I am still here...." Edwards raised a brow, looking at Maive puzzled.

"I beg your pardon?"

Maive for some reason felt as if he could talk to Edwards honestly. "Yea, I don't think Lady Alice is happy with me being here, I overheard her say something about not wanting to be around the present company..." Maive's voice cracked a bit, he was usually a master at not caring what others thought of him, he had to be, living on the streets, being an outcast to society, but for some reason, he felt an abnormal about of shame. Maive continued, "I can't really blame her for not wanting me around, so if she wants me to leave, I cannot object."

"Master MAIVE, I understand your concerns, but may I remind you, that you are a guest of this estate, and will continued be treated as such, and if your concerns are true, which I highly doubt, in the end it is Master Blackwood who decided who is welcome or not in this manor, not Lady Alice. Most Likely you misunderstood what she said, she would never blatantly disrespect a guest without cause in front of them."

Maive somewhat feeling better pats Lillith on the head, "Thank you Edwards, and you don't have to call me 'Master Maive', it makes me feel a bit uncomfortable, just 'Maive' is fine."

"Of course Mast....*cough* Maive, I look forward to seeing you at breakfast." With that, Edwards closes the door and walks away.
Maive now feeling a bit better observes his surroundings, this room was no less extravagant then the rest of the manor, the floor was made from fine golden oak, and the walls where painted a rich dark red. The bed was large and had silk sheets and pillow cases that matched the walls, the bed frame itself looked of high elf design, it was white, but had gold colors "marbled" into it. There were matching dressers on either side of the bed, three drawers high, they where a natural faded gray, with a dark purple border along the top, the kind you would find in Darnassus, on top of one of the dressers was miniature clockwork gnomes, a male and female, they had very advanced looking gears, and a polished brass finish and a wind up on the back, Maive picked up one of them and turned the gear on the back a couple of times and it began dancing in place, he couldn't help laugh a bit as Lillith jumped ran to the other side of the bed and hid, poking her head up occasionally to bark at it.

Maive turned his attention to the opposite dresser, atop of it was another vase with freshly picked flowers, similar to the one he saw in his way to the bath, he began to wonder if Alice picked flowers for all the rooms of the house, or was this vase placed here because a guest was expected to sleep in the room, or alliteratively Edwards may have taken notice to his admiration of the ones in the hall. Whatever the case these flowers had not been here for long, and were arranged with great skill and care, Alice really must be a soft, kind person he thought to himself, but still he wondered if she was talking about him at the dinner table.

Maive relieved the thought and changed into the night clothes, he was not used to the idea of of a special set of clothes for sleeping in, but they felt smooth and comforting, he definitely could get used to the idea. Maive realized he was actually tired after all, and Lillith finally got over being scared of the clockwork gnome and jumped up and snuggled beside him, Maive preferred her familiar warmth over that of the blanked, it was something he was used to ever since he found her, they slept like this. Maive wrapped his arms around Lillith and held her tight against him and fell into a deep slumber with a smile on his face, as long as Lillith was with him, he could be happy anywhere, their bond; inseparable.

(( --------- added bonus to! A pic of Maive and Lillith! getting the timing right for this screen shot took a lot of patience, waiting for the rat to be in the right spot in view, and Lillith to sit at the same time ------------- ))
Alice nodded, and smiled, "Of course father." She followed him down and sat in her regular place. She smiled at Catheden and returned to eating her dinner. She then looked up to see a place empty. She motioned Edwards over and quietly asked him about the missing guest.

He told her the missing guest was Mas- *ahem* was Maive. She asked why and he told her wih a slight hesitation. She nodded, and he went to his usual place in the room. She smiled and decided to go visit Maive tommorrow, since he was probably asleep by now. . . Bit she would be gone tommorrow morning pretty early.

She really didn't want to wake him though. . .
After dinner, Marthius locked himself in his study, and stood on his balcony. His mind raced at all the things that popped up while he was in the middle of his most important discovery, and so close to implementing it. He stared up into the night sky as the twin moons drew ever closer to that important date.

As he stepped into his study again, he closed the door to his balcony and locked it. He wasn't foolish enough to believe that there wasn't some way the news had leaked out in what he and his followers were trying to accomplish. There would those who would try to stop them, and he needed to prepare special defenses for the estate, as well as protect the experiment to allow it to continue to fruitation. He would speak with Catheden in the morning, learn if he had found any other "volunteers" or what he had learned outside of the estate.

Alice would be leaving early in the morning. She was not one to tarry when given instructions, especially when it came to protecting her home. Marthius smiled. He wondered just how much of an inkling she had of what he had planned for humanity and the lesser races. He would have an army of demons that would follow his every wish and whim, and he would show the world what true power was. Yes, true power!

He slipped into his night shirt, and laid down to rest for the night. And he finally fell asleep several hours later, his mind going over what must be done, what had been done, and what the morning would bring to some hapless soul that would be changed forever into a had to work...he could not fail now...the power...
Alice crept into her room silently, hoping to get some rest before dawn came. She smiled as she set out clothes, a bag, and her favorite weapons, a dagger and her bow and arrows.

She sighed as she put on her nightgown and looked into the sky. The stars shined, but nothing ever shined brighter then Azeroth's two moons. She sat on the edge of the bed, surveyed the rom for everything she needed, and layed down. After a few minutes she was in a peacefu sleep.
Edward came and woke his Lord at the usual time, and Marthius thanked him. The warlock also apologized to the butler for his tense moments lately, and Edward was taken back by the sincere apology Marthius gave him. Edward put out a fresh robe and other clothing for the warlock, as well as helped him dress and prepare for the day.

Marthius stopped for a moment, and placed a hand on the man's shoulder. "Thank you, Edward, for all you do here for the estate, and the manor. Sometimes I forget how much Alicia cared for this home and how she depended on you to follow through on it. And now it all seems to fall on your shoulders, with Miss Alice's help on occassion, I'm sure. So, thank you, Edward, thank you very much."

Edward, always the gentleman, smiled at Marthius, "Thank you, sir. And it is my pleasure to serve you and your family," he continued softly, "I miss Lady Alicia too, sir."

Marthius smiled warmly, and asked if Miss Alice was up, and if breakfast was ready. And the butler acknowledged that there were stirrings in Miss Alice's room, but had not made an appearance yet. And that Esther had a fine breakfast prepared for the manor. Edward also mentioned he had heard some movement in a few of the quest rooms.

Marthius picked up his staff, and violet lightning began to spread over his arm to surround him with a violet nimbus of power, the violet lightning slowly dissappeared, and the warlock stood erect as he walked to the door of his study and bedroom. "Edward, please alert my guests that their presence is required for the morning repast, and thank you again, my friend"

The warlock turned and locked the door, and proceeded down the stair. As he reached the foyer, and the door to the dining room, Marthius looked about, searching for something, or someone.

He shook his head and went to sit at the head of the table. Esther had done a good job of preparing breakfast, and Marthius smiled. His guests should be impressed as much he was, and he pulled a few pancakes and a few eggs to a plate, and sat down to begin the day.
Alice stretched, and as she opened her eyes, she heard the click of Edwards's boots. When she was younger, he used to wake her, but as the year's went by, she asked him not to wake her, for she always woke before he came.

She smiled as she dressed with the help of a young maid she had her father hire, and she hugged her. The maid smiled at her warmly and went to attend to her other duties. She dressed, took her backpack and handed it to one of the servants in the hall. "Take this to Esther and have her put some bread and cheese inside for me, and tell her I'll come pick it up." The servant nodded and Alice said, "Thank you."

She wore her usual clothes, but underneath was her leather armor, which was thin but sturdy, and custom made to fit to her body. She walked down to the dining hall and sat next to her father. "Good morning." She smiled at him happily and put a bit of food on her plate.
Marthius looked up as his daughter walked into the dining room and for a brief moment he saw his dead wife Alicia striding across the floor, and he set his fork down and stood up, as Alice sat down at the table.

Alice's morning greeting, and smile, warmed his heart as he thought about the the schedule and what they were planning to discover today.

Marthius's voice was warm and deep as he returned to his chair, "Good morning, daughter. It appears we are the first to partake of Esther's fine cooking this morning. I take it you have prepared for your scouting about the estate, and it's environs?"
"Of course father. As soon as we are finished eating, and I finish getting everything ready, I will leave." She didn't yet tell her father she was going to visit Maive as soon as she could before she left. Alice didn't think he would approve.

She bit into a pancake and chewed then swallowed. She smiled at one of the young girls bringing out fresh foods. She continued eating after they smiled back.
Bodor Bloodclaw walked into the little tavern. As he entered, everyone seemed to tense up. He was unsure why, but it could have something to do with the huge spear sheathed on his back or the two deadly axes hanging at each side. He laughed at the thought. If they thought that was bad, they would probably run in fear if he got....dangerous. He strolled up to the bar with an arrogant air about him. He pulled out a huge sack full of coins and sat it on the counter in front of him. Some of the shady people saw it as an open invitation. Bodor saw it as a taunt, a challenge.

"Sir!" he called at the barkeep.

"Yes?" answered the man.

"I'd like a glass of your finest ale please. And your finest room. Also, stable my horse outside if you would too. But be careful. He's a bit skittish."

"Right away, sire!" said the barkeep, the excitement evident in his voice at the thought of all the profit to be made.

When he got his drink, he pocketed his coin purse, making sure it was still loose. He relaxed and looked around the room. He noticed a pandaren and a human having a conversation. They looked like travelers. The human even looked battle-ready. He smiled at the possible job opportunity as he asked the barmaid to ask them to join him for a drink at a booth in the corner.
Jorym had sat at a table where his back was to the wall, and he could observe those coming and going from the inn. As he chatted with the Pandaren, he noticed another man enter the in.

Jorym had been around the block a time or two, and immediately noted the man's manner of carrying himself. He also noticed the conspicuous way the man sat a large sack of coins on the counter while ordering a drink. Jorym looked around to see if any shadoy characters had noticed, and figured it was all lost on the farmers and their sons who occupied the tavern area.

He watched the man get his drink, and also scan the room, his eyes lingering briefly at his pandaman friend, and himself. And he waited. Sure enough the barmaid came over to let them know that the man in the booth asked them to join him for a drink.

"Ah, lass, the seat is warmed, and me and my friend are comfortable right here. But tell him he's welcome to join our little group here at the table. And here's a coin for your trouble, and thank you." Jorym's voice was calm and polite, as he handed her a gold piece.

She smiled widely, and thanked him profusely, and hurried to let the man know he was welcome to join them at their table. (If the man looked, Jorym would raise his mug of ale towards the man.)
Marthius watched his daughter eat, and the interaction of Alice and the serving girl. He thought of how she seemed to have such a good report with the servants, much like Alicia had. Lady Blackwood had done much of the hiring, and she had known each of them well. He missed her tenderness and warmth.

Lord Blackwood raised a finger and called the servant girl over, and asked her to bring Esther out for a moment. He turned and smiled to Alice as he waited. And Esther came bustling out, wiping her hands and looking all flustered. "Yes, milord, you called for me?"

Marthius smiled warmly, and stood. "Esther, you have done a fine job, and set a fine table both this morning and last evening. I thank you so much for your hard work. Miss Alice has made it known to me that I have been a little hard on you and the others. I apologize Esther, I do hope you can forgive me, and if there is any way I can make things a little less tension-filled, please tell me."

Esther looked at the Lord of the manor, and could hear that his tone was fair and true, and his smile was warm and not false. She smiled briefly, "Aw, yer lordship, yer doin' jes fine, I knows ya be in a hard time, and I's understanding. But thank ya fer yer yer kind words, sir. I'll be passin' yer words to the others, and thank ya again." She curtsied, and left the dining room, and it almost seemed as though she was humming as she went through the kitchen door.

Marthius' eyebrows raised as her watched Esther's manner change and heard the off tune humming as she left the room. He turned to Alice, "My dear Alice, thank you for mentioning my "crimes" to the servants. I must have seemed like an ogre. Forgive me, if I may have been terse with you during this time. I'm so sorry." His voice seemed amazed, and sorrowful as he spoke.
Alice looked up as her father spoke to Esther and then to her. "I'm glad your apologizing though. You're not all bad." She smiled warmly, and watched as Esther entered the kitchen again. Alice's eyes sparkled as she looked at her father again, with care and love, seeing him as a man who cared for her and loved her as his daughter.

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