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About Roen

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    A Free Sworn

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    Roen | Nabi
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  1. Stolen Kiss by Ruen You can check out more Ruen art here!
  2. Roen


    Roen let out a long sigh, her shoulders sagging. She set her pack down next to her on the ground, her gaze following the Tsenkhai until she could see her no more. A small frown furrowed her brow and she flicked Ashur a narrowed look. “I know some things about her tribe. But my friend was ever wont to speak of things only when necessary.” She rolled her shoulders, loosening the muscle there. The Xaela woman, as petite as she was, hadn't tired easily through their journey, even after travelling quite a distance. “But she knows that I am not wholly ignorant to the ways of her tribe. And so what she has spoken of so far, it is in line with everything I know of them.” Roen canted her head in his direction, her voice lowering. “Does that mean I believe she is being utmost truthful in all things? No. She is definitely not wanting to share more than necessary.” She tutted. “Actually, much less than necessary.” Her eyes looked to where she had seen the woman last, then drifted to adjacent yurts and stands and many other Xaelas. If she wasn’t trying to focus on the mission at hand, she would be quite fascinated about this place. Roen felt a small pang of disappointment, one that wrought forth a quiet sigh. She had hoped that eventually when she came here, that Kasrjin would be here too. And he, in his stoic and limited way, could introduce her to a place like this. It would have been an amusing scenario. “She is purposefully not telling us many things, and in that, it concerns me.” Despite her suspicions, all she felt was frustration and impatience where the secrecy was concerned, rather than fear. “But I think you and I both know, we still need to follow her lead. She is the only one we have so far.” She paused, her attention going from one merchant to another masked Xaela, before looking back to regard Ashur. “Unless you think we can gather more information from some of these traders?”
  3. "Mama, what’s on my back?” Chanai was wringing a rolled up cotton shirt when a voice from behind made her pause. She wiped her brow on the back of her wrist, turning around to see Nabi standing just a few fulms behind her with a small bundle of soiled clothing in her arms. If it wasn’t for the question, the sight of the child trying to balance a pile of robes much too big for her small stature would have brought about an amused smile. But even the view of her seven-year old daughter trying valiantly to help her mother do the laundry, couldn’t alleviate the dread that settled in the pit of her stomach. She knew that someday she would have to explain. But under the bright summer midday sun with washed sheets hanging about all around them, the older Xaela found herself without an easy answer. Had someone else pointed it out? Surely, the child could not have spotted it herself. It was almost laughable. That one such as herself, would be caught unawares by something so predictable. Sight or no, Chanai should have been better prepared to be asked about a strange pattern that was on her daughter’s back since the day she was born. Was it that it was something she herself truly didn’t want to acknowledge? She had come up with a different answer each time she had imagined this moment. But they all felt lacking in some way. Or untrue. Perhaps there really was no acceptable response. She had willed herself to forget it all in the tranquility of the mundane life that Hingashi provided. Matters like a sun spent doing laundry with her child was what was important, rather than ancient visions and prophecies. Chanai sighed, letting the wet linen slide back down the washboard into the lathered water of the wooden tub, canting her head in her daughter’s direction. Nabi was trying to set down the clothes she had collected, even as they began to haphazardly spill out of her grasp. She always was such a helpful child. Squatting down next to her, Nabi looked up at her mother curiously, those golden eyes round as saucers. “How did you come to see it, my love?” Chanai asked quietly, shifting the contents within the bucket, which prompted Nabi to scoot closer. The child concentrated on the task at hand first, to carefully tie up her sleeves as Chanai had done, although they was lopsided here and there and they only made it half way up her forearms. The older Xaela made no mention of it, only smiled faintly at the effort. But her brow remained pulled low even then, she was struggling for an answer. “Aunt Mimiyo thought it was a dirt stain at first. But it didn’t wash off!” Nabi dunked a shirt into the water, leaning forward with the effort, her arms submerging well past the elbow. She didn’t seem to mind her sleeves getting wet. “She said you knew.” Chanai watched the folds of fabric within her daughter’s small hands starting to balloon up with the trapped air within. She moistened her lips slowly, her lingering affection slowly giving way to something more thoughtful. “It is… a mark of a prayer,” she said quietly, soberly. “I prayed that you would come to me, and you did.” Her voice trembled with the weight of the truth in those words. Nabi’s eyes blinked wide, her mouth opening in a gasp. She straightened with an awed look, the laundry suddenly forgotten. “A prayer! So… you asked the gods? About me?” The wonder in her child’s expression, what mother would ever want to deny it? Under any other circumstances, Chanai would have done everything in her power to see such a thing to its full bloom. But this sun was an exception. In the face of the light that shined in Nabi’s eyes, her own darkened and lowered. “For as long as I could remember, I wanted one thing. I was so certain that it would be the only thing that could bring peace to my heart, that I’d be willing to sacrifice anything to achieve it.” Her hands had gone slack upon the edge of the vat, droplets of soapy water dripping from her fingertips. She was looking off into the distance, and rather than seeing the streets of Kugane, there was a familiar meadow that stretched out before her, a sea of green and gold swaying with the summer breeze. She had been so sure, for so many years, that she could restore the beauty and that feeling of serenity to the blood soaked lands of the Steppe. There was a pause before Nabi’s voice brought her out of her reverie. “You look sad, mama.” The child had stopped her own plunging of the soiled clothing, instead placing a wet hand over that of her mother’s. More droplets fell from their touch, rippling the water below. Chanai sniffed, blinking back down at her daughter. Her smile was tentative at first, but soon it warmed with all the affection that bloomed in her heart. “No, my love. I’m not sad. I am… sorry.” She shook her head, those words bringing about a stirring in her chest. “But not because of you. You are my little miracle. My beautiful winged thing.” She squeezed the smaller hand in hers, bringing it up to brush it gently against her cheek. “You brought love to a heart that was ailing. I was trapped in darkness, seeing only the shadows. But you brought light into my life. Now I see love where I thought there was only death. Freedom and hope rather than inevitability.” Chanai turned, her head dipping as she leveled her gaze to that of her daughter’s, the intensity in her voice and expression wholly summoning the young Xaela’s full attention. “I wished for a change, Nabi. The mark you bear is one born of twilight. When the bell tolls of change and rebirth.” Her hand squeezed tighter, and her eyes flicked to the glint of woven metal that hung from the child’s wrist. “It is a great and terrible thing… for it can free you or bind you.” “I don’t… I don't understand,” Nabi whispered, her eyes now starting to show fear as it darted between that of her mother’s. “I’m scared, mama.” Chanai bowed her head, a long sigh deflating her chest. The truth was too hard. Nabi was not ready for it, and she was not prepared to share it. Was she hoping that by blurting it out, that she would find some release? Relief from her guilt? Or forgiveness from the young and naive heart of an innocent child? “I am sorry, little one.” She caressed the child’s knuckles with her thumb, shaking her head. “You are my greatest gift. I only want to give you the life you deserve.” She brought her lips to Nabi’s hand, before setting it upon her lap and straightening. She smiled down to her daughter, giving her the most warm and reassuring look she could manage. “The mark means nothing now. Only a memory of a supplication long forgotten.” She gently tucked away an errant lock of hair behind the child’s horn. “Don’t show it to anyone, from here on.” Her fingers gently held the child’s chin, lifting it to call upon Nabi’s gaze intently. “It is something we left behind. Same as our home. Now we make a new home here. A brand new start.” She extended a forefinger to lightly twirl the bracelet around the child’s wrist. “And remember this, a gift from both your father and I. Make sure it is with you, always. It will protect you.” Chanai searched Nabi’s eyes, and there was something unwavering in her words despite her gentle tone. “You promise?” There were many questions in her daughter’s wide gaze. But despite her curiosity -- and mayhap even a hint of fear -- one thing shined bright and certain in the child’s eyes. A trust in her mother. And so Nabi nodded earnestly, and Chanai pulled her in for a gentle kiss upon her forehead. I too will promise. I will make it right.
  4. Roen

    Shael and Anchor.jpg

    “I know they don’t like each other, but they trust each other when it counts. And I think eventually, a friendship can bloom from that.”
  5. Roen

    Cigarettes and Fireflies

    Album of cool art I've collected! Either commissions or just awesome art drawn by a talented friend. (I am looking at you Ruen)
  6. Commission: Standoff “I know they don’t like each other, but they trust each other when it counts. And I think eventually, a friendship can bloom from that.” By Drist
  7. Roen


    Roen nodded to Ashur somewhat reluctantly. Whether the woman answered her question satisfactorily or not, the Xaela was all they had. But Roen wasn’t about to admit that out loud and so early. At least, not until she was given a better idea of what they were dealing with. The paladin still wasn’t sure how much to trust her, but the Tsenkhai did speak of Kasrjin with a measure of familiarity. Was she his friend? Would she even answer if asked? Roen doubted it. “So then,” she sighed, the release of the tension in her shoulders just barely noticeable. “I suppose we are the foreigners for the job.” There was a quick glance given again to Ashur, just to be sure her companion did not have any other questions. She was starting to get the idea that the Ishgardian was as wary about this as she was, but willing to see it through. “We came ready for travel,” Roen assured, although there was a twinge of doubt in the back of her mind. She had planned for a trip to the Reunion, but not as far as the glaciers. “We will need to resupply at the Reunion.” She tilted her head in the Tsenkhai’s direction. Like it or not, this Xaela would be their guide into the unknown. Neither Ashur nor she had ever traveled to the Steppe before. "When do we start?"
  8. Roen


    Roen listened and watched carefully. As far as she could tell, there was no deceptive air about the woman. Perhaps it was all masked by her confidence and the sure way she held herself, but small pauses and cracks here and there in her otherwise seemingly infallible countenance told her that she could believe the Xaela's words. Or at least, believed that their intent was aligned with one and another. Roen did finally stopped pacing, just studying the Au Ra across the fire with her arms crossed. She occasionally gave Ashur a quick sidelong glance, to gauge his reaction to it all. His focus on the end goal was obvious enough, but with him sitting, and his line of questions told her that he was becoming a little more at ease with the discussion at hand and the auri woman. But something still didn’t feel right. Or perhaps it was because it was too fortuitous that they ran into each other. “So if your people are not supposed to be at the Reunion for years, then just what are you doing out here on your own? If you are a Tsenkhai, are you not one of their leaders? Why are you looking to hire mercenaries to steal something from your own people? Will all your people be against us?” She tilted her head. "Just what kind of opposition should we expect to encounter?"
  9. Roen


    Roen blinked, feeling a bit placed on the spot. There were tidbits she had picked up regarding the details of his tribe, but it wasn’t as if Kasrjin had been overly forthcoming when it came to the ways of his people. And her explanation of what had happened to him was disconcerting to say the least. Make someone a monument for their heroic deed? What kind of tradition was that? If she knew anything about her friend was that Kasrjin was definitely not the type to want or even enjoy such an accolade, much less being held captive. She slowly moistened her lips and shifted her weight, beginning to walk slowly around the fire. She was too restless to sit as Ashur did, especially if the Xaela was also not relaxed enough to do so. “It was not as if he sat down and gave me lessons about his people. We just talked. Over a period of time that we knew each other. He was honest. Almost to a fault.” She cleared her throat. Why was she even defending him to this woman? “He told me he was injured long ago, and was kept in a… stasis? Then brought back into the body of another. One who used to be Tsenkhai. And he still had some memories of him.” Roen’s eyes flickered to the Xaela. “But he held to the belief that this keystone was essential in keeping the ways of your people. And that the temple, where aether was held static, it was becoming more erratic and your people used…” She paused with a frown, straining to recall what Kasrjin had told her. At the time, she found it all rather difficult to understand. “An alphabet, a manifestation of the aether, to communicate, to learn, to predict things. To thrive.” Roen mulled over her own recollection for a moment, before she canted her head pensively. “So without the keystone, the aether would just dissipate into the land, away from this temple? And your people would learn to live without this… Correspondence?”
  10. Roen


    It was sounding too perfect. Everyone was getting what they wanted. It was almost too good to be true. Roen still hadn’t forgotten the betrayal that Kasrjin had suffered, and it was amongst his own tribe. This Xaela was just yet another proof that things weren’t as cohesive and communal as he had believed his people to be. “Before we agree to this plan, I need to know more,” Roen insisted. “What will happen to your people without the keystone? And just why is Kasrjin even a prisoner after what he did? This temple you speak of, is it where you keep…” She paused for the right word. “Souls?” Roen had too many questions. She shot a look to Ashur, wariness clear in her eyes, but mostly to implore for patience. Undoubtedly he too would have more questions following her own... seemingly unbelievable ones. “Do you know of the place where we retrieved this keystone? Because that place was…” She licked her lips, now truly at a loss for how to describe it. “...Unbelievable. And it wielded magic far beyond any scope of understanding I had.”
  11. Roen


    Roen’s expression slowly flattened. It was exasperating to continue to listen to this Xaela who refused to explain things, just assuming that it was far beyond their capacity to understand. Perhaps it was Au Ra who lacked the words to properly communicate in the first place. She let out a measured sigh, pinching her nose, dismissing her annoyance and collecting her composure. Even if this woman grated on her nerves, she was still their best chance of reaching her tribe and helping Kasrjin. And possibly even getting their hands on the keystone. Only… Roen knew she also couldn’t let Ashur return it to his employers either in the end. But first things first. “What do you seek out of all this?” Roen narrowed her eyes, studying the Xaela. “And what is your plan?”
  12. Roen


    Roen stared at the Xaela. There was a lot to process, and she wasn’t sure where to begin. “What do you mean by… held?” She didn’t like that term at all, monument or no. But that wasn’t all. She too shook her head, for an entirely different sentiment. “Kasrjin risked his life to bring that keystone back. And… you have no problem letting us us take it?” This was clearly not the norm for the tribe, that much was obvious. The Xaela even said the others of her kind would object. “Exactly what happened to Kasrjin?” Her eyes were narrowed, with both a hint of concern but also confusion. “And why is it that you are willing to help us take something from your tribe, that he claimed would save your people?”
  13. "Here's to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They're not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can't do is ignore them. Because they change things. " ― Rob Siltanen Commission: The Misfits By: 7teal7 I wanted to commission a portrait of Nabi and her friends! I thought this came out fantastic. Individual portraits below! While I love the line up, I really like the details in each close up. Ghoa Mankhad: The Seducer Anchor Saltborn: The Confederate Nabi Kharlu: The Healer Akhutai Khatayin: The Grump Shael Stormchild: The Smuggler
  14. Roen


    Roen was watching her carefully as well, and as the Xaela’s demeanor shifted ever so slightly, she wondered if this woman knew Kasrjin. Knowing as much, or little, as she did of the Tsenkhai, Roen knew them to be careful, calculating, and powerful. It would be foolish to trust this woman, she needed to keep in mind that everything that the Xaela had said so far, was likely for her own benefit and not theirs. They were strangers after all, and foreigners to boot. Still, those small changes in the woman's countenance, it told Roen enough. “Kasrjin,” she said quietly, grey eyes intently meeting the gaze within those limbal rings. “He was a determined man, driven, focused, but… also bluntly honest. And… good.” Her own expression started to soften as she reflected on her time with the Khadai. “He helped me, and I him. I aided him in retrieving what he needed to return to his people.” Roen studied the Xaela as she continued, but she had not forgotten about Ashur. She knew that as the conversation went on, it was inevitable that more details would be shared, those that he would likely be keenly interested in, that she had purposefully not spoke of. But she too was getting tired of the run around and the insinuations. If she and Ashur hoped to help his mother, learn of the keystone, and also warn Kasrjin’s people, all the cards had to be laid out for everyone to see.
  15. Roen


    Roen noticed the pause as well. She didn’t know this Xaela at all, and she was infuriatingly self-possessed, to the point of arrogance. Which meant that she felt no threat in this situation and she was used to controlling the circumstances and events around her. As Roen recalled the various details that Kasrjin shared about the Tsenkhai, she was not surprised. And it made her all that more suspicious and wary. But this Xaela was the only point of contact they had so far. She was their only link. If what she said of the rest of her tribe was true, there would be none of Kasrjin’s people found at the Reunion. They had no choice but to deal with this woman, if what she claimed to be was true. But there were also her peculiar choices in words. Why did she phrase things as she did? As if Kasrjin would be forced into captivity? Not allowed to leave? “You are right. I know not of your people. Only what I learned in the short time that I traveled with the Khadai of whom I speak. But I hope what you are implying is false. That he would be kept locked away for his own safety. He has a will of his own. He risked his life to fulfill what he was sent out to do, to save his people. That deserves recognition, but also freedom so that he could make more choices for himself. He chose to return back home for the good of all.” Roen paused, before she accidentally shared anything out loud about the betrayal. That was his secret, not hers. But her frown remained. “But he hoped that should I seek out his people at the Reunion, that someday we may meet again. He did not return home to be sequestered away from the rest of the world.” Roen watched her closely as she continued. “I know some things of your ways, and that the Tsenkhai decides what is best for all. Would you have decided the same for him then?”
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