The temple was an overbearing sight above the trees. The guards stood in the way and Kellis wasted nothing, making a gesture and bringing the two fine bodied men to the ground, unmoving but for the death spasms. Demetri scowled, managing one last cast before they passed through the gates, raising the men and sending their unliving, shambling corpses off into the woods. At least it was further explanation of the surrounding evil.

"I'm taking Estanin to an inn, now. This one looks- adequate. Wait outside the temple. You'll find Mina by the well."

Kellis nodded, following the wide streets until she stood next to the wer-vamp. Mina was uncorking a vial, dripping the contents into the well. "Why are you doing this?"

"The water was poisoned. Are you surprised? There are plenty of evil forces that jump at taking out a town with two religious centers like this one. Anyway- Lathien came up with an antidote. It should be cleared up within a few hours."

"What good is it? Everyone here will die anyway."

Mina's brows raised, almost painfully high, surprised at Kellis' blatant, cold demeanor. "Well, they'd like the life they do have left to live."

She sighed, the half-drow pulling her hands through her hair, finding it caked in dirt and blood. "Ew. I need a bath. Deme- Lathien told us to wait for Kelt and Ninaste so we can point them back to the inn he chose.

"I believe that there is a bathhouse here within the city." The soft voice that spoke floated strangely close to them and at the unoccupied well soon stood an older looking human who admired them intently. He smiled quietly, his thin lips pulled in the simplest of expressions as his young eyes caught those of Kellis' unique ones; and to this he smiled. Yet, he said nothing of his thoughts as he moved past the well, slipping by Kellis in a way that suggested he was interested in her more than just a passing helpful voice.

His hands, folded to his chest, held within them a bundle of clothing of odd color and size, certainly not something that the old mage would look to wear himself, and yet he cradled them so delicately. He paused in his steps and regarded her for a moment longer, and his thin smile smirked. "You have…beautiful eyes." And that was all he said, leaving it as that as he walked away from the two in the direction of the clerical temple.

Kellis watched the man, seeing that her master wasn't the only one in disguise for the day. Of course, there may be many men and womyn who shouldn't be here but couldn't avoid it. Her eyes traveled down his body, though more out of wonder, seeing his chosen form didn't quite fit him, than with the same type of interest he showed. However, his last comment made her snap her eyes away, looking to the well and even putting a hand up over them, as if shielding them from the sun. How could she be so careless? Her eyes could get her into great trouble here. They were cursed eyes, eyes of Malkosis' Seer. She'd have to remember that, to keep her eyelashes low.

Mina merely glanced at the man, thinking nothing of his comment, really not having seen Kellis' eyes or knowing the significance. Her job was finished, watched by one of the Simoin priestesses. And she stayed by the well until the priestess felt the tainted water clear. Now it seemed her stay was ordered. "It shouldn't take too long. Ninaste only has simple blade wounds."

"Maybe not," the priestess interrupted, leaning over the well as if she watched the water purify. "We received a much damaged young man, hit by some powerful black magic. He was hanging on to life. The High Priestess of both my temple and the Rilian temple are working on him." There was a moment of silence, as if the cleric forgot what she was saying, and it mattered little to Mina and Kellis.

"Kelt will see that she's cared for," Kellis finally sighed, looking to the ground so as not to attract more attention to her eyes.

The pause was disturbed when the simoin cleric brought up a bucket of water, drinking some from a ladle. She didn't become ill or fall over dead and, eventually, a smile spread over her face. "Very good. The water is clean. Of course, we expect nothing less from The Mina."

Mina smiled graciously. She hated the nickname. It made her sound like an object more than a person. But it was shortened from a lengthier title, one that changed from city to city and mostly translated to The Heroine of ___, Mina. "It was my pleasure."

From deep within the Rilian temple, Kelt stood watch over Ninaste as clerics attended to her wounds. They weren't deep and, because of his work, they weren't dirty or infected. So it was an easy healing. Even so, the sight of her blood on their fingers made him think, his mind wandering to the dangers of their occupation. And his biggest fear that he'd lose his lover before she could know, really know, how much she meant to him.

His eyes fluttered to the cleric, realizing that any Rilian priest or priestess could perform a life binding ceremony. They'd be excited to do it. But, as his fingers pressed lightly around her wrist, flexing into her relaxed flesh, Kelt decided that now was not the time, at least not to bring it up to Ninaste. Even in the best of situations, it would make her heart beat harder and there would be more blood lost faster. No. She needed her rest. And he needed time to think clearly, without worries of her flicking through his mind like an open book that never settled on a page long enough to read the contents.

He was so distracted that Kelt missed the glowing laying of the hands, that her wound closed up completely, or that they scrubbed her clean, leaving behind only a sensitive blue bruise and a young womyn with half alert eyes. "You can take her now. Though you should take her directly to an inn, where she can rest. We'd take her in here, but her wounds are light and we have a bit of an emergency going on in another room."

"That's fine. We have adventuring companions to return to," Kelt admitted, removing a satchel of gold and placing it on the bed where Ninaste laid, helping her to her feet.

Ninaste sighed quietly as the clerics worked over her wounds and, at the touch of their glowing hands, a type of peace fell over her. Ninaste's mind wandered during the healing, thinking of simpler times and places, and she couldn't say she was surprised to see that her thoughts turned towards the home of her youth. She recalled with amazing clarity the time she slipped during practice and fell hard to the floor, breaking her then thin arm nearly in half. She remembered lying on a table very similar to this, with a cleric working above her, and next to it she saw her father and next to him Ashlar. Her brother watched her with extreme curiosity, having just started his own clerical studies, and she giggled and squirmed at the bothered expression the cleric's face held as her brother questioned her relentlessly.

Ninaste snapped out of her daze at the sound of bagged gold jingling and she gladly took Kelt's assistance of helping her up from the bed. For being healed she still felt very weak, and she wasn't shy about leaning against him as he helped her towards the inn. They met Kellis and Mina along the way, and the two of them led towards the inn that Demetri chose. She was actually surprised to see him, in his visage, and Estanin sitting at a table, waiting for them.

And that was just about as much as she could take. She heard someone mention a bathhouse, Kellis perhaps, but Ninaste was already somewhere between the world of awake and asleep. She whimpered softly and laid her head against Kelt's shoulder, sighing. "Mm tired…" came her voice, softly spoken. She was tired, physically, mentally, and she just wanted to lie down for a moment and let his warmth finish the healing his hands had started.

Kelt wrapped his arms around Ninaste, taking her up in his supportive embrace, and paused long enough to kiss her face, past the drying blood from their earlier battle. "I'll take her upstairs; maybe take a sponge to her skin. You guys enjoy a meal." His eyes slipped to confront his sister, her own averted to keep the copper irises out of sight. "Stay out of trouble." He took Ninaste's weight against his chest and started up the stairs, taking what little directions Demetri, as Lathien, gave. And it wasn't long before he could lay her out over one of the beds.

The room was meant for adventurers, one with lots of floor space and a full hearth to keep them warm, several cots spread through the place. None of them were really meant for two people. But Kelt could manage to slide up behind Ninaste tonight, if she was feeling well enough to have his arms around her. Even as she slipped in and out of rest, he undressed her, laying her down on a cot and leaving her side only to pour water into the basin and bring it and a clean cloth to the side of her bed. With a tenacious exactness that he inherited from his drow blood, Kelt cleaned her skin, wiping up every dried crust of blood, rinsing away loose gravel, and changing the water several times. He started at her feet, covering her on his way up, and soon had the blankets comfortably up around her neck as his fingers divided up and cleaned her hair, rubbing water clear to the scalp and out to the ends. That was soon braided.

As he stepped back to enjoy his work, his breath was stolen away. She looked so healthy, color and radiance coming back to her. And he thought he maybe looked upon an angel. Better yet, his wife. He sat at her side for a while longer, resting up from his work over her, and thought about running downstairs long enough for an ale.

Mina sat with the group for a short time, feeling the stares of those around them, and finally shook her head. "There is no way about it. Estanin needs a bath. She's- attracting attention. We can't afford that."

Demetri opened his fleshy mouth, meaning to disagree. But even his ego was aware that they couldn't be drawing attention in holy Exult. "Fine. Take her, clean her up."

Kellis stood up, turning to address Demetri with the required respect. "May I, Master?" Demetri waved at her with a hand, excusing her. And she skipped toward the door, throwing it open. "I wonder where it is, that bathhouse the guy at the well talked about." She was out the door before her sentence was finished, Mina and Estanin following behind.

Mina kept close watch on Estanin, realizing that Kellis was leading them down a side road a little too late and having to correct the mistake before they found the bathing house. Two different baths, one cold, one warm, both small and freshly filled with the newly antidote treated water. "Kellis- you go ahead and bathe in the warm one. I'll take care of Estanin in the cold water bath. I have no doubt that Lathien's handiwork will color the water..."

Kellis really didn't understand what she was saying. But she did catch that she'd be taking a hot bath. And she stepped light and quick into the room, removing her robes and gown and hardly casting a glance around to see if anyone else was bathing. Her thin, delicate, chocolate form slipped into the water, rolling steam parting for her slender calves and firm thighs. And she sat back with a sigh, letting the warmth soften her stressed, weak muscles.

The steam rolled gently within the bath, filling the room like a thick morning fog. Yet, not long after she settled, and the waters calmed, something glistened beyond the transparent white curtain, and it wasn't long before the twinkling turned green and vibrant, two small orbs that peered at her from probably a too-close-for-comfort distance.

"Wow…" the young voice cut through the steam that eventually cleared to show the vision of a small boy, regarding her with a tilt of the head. "You're REALLY pretty!"

"Aahz." Came a familiar voice, and almost in a wave the steam rolled to reveal the other end of the bath, in which sat the same older man from earlier.

To anyone without the vision of magic he seemed to be waste thin, brittle even with paling, wrinkled flesh that reflected his age if not more. A tired, wrinkled face rested beneath a sparse spread of white hair, and without the presence of his mage robes he seemed nothing more than a shell of a man. This is what he seemed to others, even to the boy who giggled and waded back to his side. Kellis, though, saw a much different vision. The man was anything but elderly, in fact, he was youthful and healthy with a sun kissed glow to his skin. Long, dark brown hair rested about his strong shoulders, and he regarded Kellis with a smirk upon his Elvin-like face, his warm, brown eyes smiling. Aahz all but swam up to the man, his red hair dark and slicked against his brow and shoulders.

"It's not polite to stare, even if she is quite stunning to look at."

Vondearan, meanwhile, opted out of the bath house, at least this early in the day. He wanted nothing more than to spend a moment with Naya there within the warm folds of water, their naked bodies next to each other, but he couldn't risk the chance of someone finding a Drow within their little holy city. Azmyth, too, followed the pair, rather content to spend his evening within the inn's tavern rather than floating about in the scented waters. Caeliam volunteered to take Aahz, saying that he needed a moment to relax and gain his thoughts and that the boy could use a warm bath after his ordeal. Azmyth promised to have a room ready for them when they returned, even if the dwarf would be too occupied to be there and fill it.

"Ah, yah kids go on o'head. Mah mouth waters for the taste of soom spirits." His thick, gloved hand bid them a wave as he approached the bar to order a drink, leaving the renting of rooms to Vondearan.

Vondearan sighed softly within the hood of his cowl, and took up Naya's hand as they approached the inn keeper's desk. "We should leave early morning, before our new found friends. I have the strangest feeling that becoming involved with them could be hazardous."

Kellis almost missed the boy's compliment, her eyes opened wide on his burning green. They were immediately familiar and Kellis quit concentrating, seeing him as she saw the disguised man she met only hours earlier. The young red-head joined his friend and she still forgot to hide her eyes as she looked to the both of them. Kellis gave very little thought to her beauty. Drow were beautiful. That was the long and short of it. And she was a gifted, blessed drowess.

"When you said you were sure there was a bathing house here, I didn't think I'd be meeting you at it," she managed a comment, staring at Aahz with obvious thought, drawing the line between himself and his ancestors.

She took a deep breath and relaxed in the tub, spreading her arms wide around the rim and leaning her head back, carelessly exposing her long, delicate neck. Her muscles were shivering, trying to relax, and she sighed impatiently, twisting where she sat to reach into her clothing, removing a vial of scented oil. A few drops lit the room with the light scent of lilacs, her mother's favorite scent and a flower the color of her father's eyes. She re-corked the vial and turned back in her seat, stretching her long legs and pointing her toes, which brought her within easy reach of the other two bathers. "I- hate- sleeping on the ground." Her fingers started at the braids in her hair, pulling her white blonde locks free. One bonus of being a mage, Kellis' skin was clean of blood, her part of the battle happening out of reach of splatter.

"I'm so glad he's going to be okay," Naya spoke in whisper, her fingers woven with his. She watched him take up the key, her voice and her grey eyes falling silent as they did what interaction was necessary with the keeper. And they were walking the upstairs hallway before she spoke again. "I agree. They have been helpful. But they seem to know far more than they should, with a casualty that doesn't come to the innocent." The door was opened, revealing a room of moderate size, mattresses of straw thrown to the wooden floor. It wasn't a greatly expensive room. It was just what they needed for one day.

"We're alone for the time being. We should use this time to decide what we are going to do, about our safety, about Morier. About- your other student. She's out there, after all. And with Morier believing he's struck the final blow to Aahz and myself, he may be looking for her on his own, or sending out the final of the four to do the work. I doubt he'll have the change of heart you've had." She turned to face him, placing her free fingers on his chest, letting them dance across his unarmored muscles under the clothing. "Maybe- we can sneak into the bathing house tonight, when it's closed." An eyebrow lofted teasingly on her brow. "It will be reminiscent of the day we first met. Just- more fun- and without a shocked, half panicked boy."

Azmyth had an instant admirer in the tavern, even if most of those within were elves and not much to stomach the heavy accent and stench of a dwarf. The tall, strong blonde elf at the bar leaned toward the tavern tender. His attempt to order a drink was thwarted by the fact that they didn't carry the heavy stuff. And the elf sighed, unhooking a flask from his hip as he approached.

"They don't have spirits here, surprised?" He sat down, throwing his heels up on another chair, holding the opened flask out for Azmyth. "Here. I carry some for just these emergencies. It's from the Dwarven Stronghold, so it's well aged and has some powerful mushrooms." He leaned forward on the table, smiling easily. "Name's Shooter. And you, Master Dwarf?"

Aahz's eyes grew wide at the scent of lavender that seemed to overtake the room, and he noticed that both the young woman and Caeliam seemed to ease and sigh with its scent. It was pretty and nice, but to Aahz this was turning out to be a pretty boring bath. So far, since the lich's attack and seeing the healer's breast, this trip proved to be nothing short of boring. He would rather be with Vondearan and Naya; at least there was always some sort of fun to be had with them. Or even the dwarf Azmyth, he talked funny enough that Aahz could just listen and giggle and be content. But, Kellis unknowingly opened herself up to conversation at the mention of sleeping outdoors, and Aahz's eyes sparkled at the thought of getting to know yet another new person.

"Me too!" He nodded furiously, stirring the water around him into rolling ripples. "It gets all cold and hard sometimes, and dirty, not that I have a problem being dirty-" He waited for Vondearan to add a sharp remark, but remembered that he was not here. "But nothing beats waking up under a ceiling with breakfast waiting for you downstairs, huh, Caeliam?"

The elder human/young Elvin man shifted slightly, but smiled to entertain the youth, nodding his head. "Of course. These tired, old bones can only handle being outside in the rough for so long."

"You're really are old!" Aahz giggled, poking him in a boney/fit shoulder, which caused him to chuckle.


Azmyth grumbled lowly when, at his request, he was turned away. "No spirits!" His gruff voice bellowed and he all but took a hard jerk on his frustrations, keeping them in check. He frowned and pouted, as much as an old dwarf could, and happy he was when a light yet strangely strong voice offered him up a flask of the very thing his mouth watered for. "Ah! Well prepared, lad, well prepared!" Azmyth brought the flask lip to his own and he was unusually careful about spilling it in the hard angle in which he drank. "Gah!" He exclaimed, refreshed, and handed it back to the elf so that he could enjoy it as well.

"Azmyth be my name, lad, Shooter? Aye? Ye have a fine taste for the brew, friend, a fine taste indeed. Surprising, still, that ye can handle it so well what with that wisp frame of yers." The dwarf chuckled loudly, disturbing the gentle peace of the inn, and slapped Shooter's back hard and friendly like.

"Old?" Kellis laughed the word out, forgetting that the disguise was there for a reason. "I see that you should have many years left." Indeed, she'd forgotten completely about hiding her eyes or her own talent. After all, he'd already seen them and was hiding away as well. So they were on rather equal footing. She dribbled water up her arm, sliding it over her shoulder and flexing the soft muscles underneath her skin. Her pointed ears showed obviously now that her hair was damp and tight to her skull. Water splashed up onto her face, highlighting her eyes with the lost droplets clinging to her golden eyelashes.

"You, boy. You'll age faster than he does. Your soul already has a few wrinkles- though, you are still remarkably..." Kellis was at a loss for words. Clean, innocent, light. Any of these words fit and yet nothing quite worked. "Like you know well what you've been through, but you still have some part of you yet untouched. You're untouched." Poor Kellis. She just never knew when her conversation was bordering on sexual. "Anyway, I haven't yet seen our rooms for the night. But there had better be pillows and decent blankets and beds. In the least, cots. I deserve a cot. We got no sleep what-so-ever last night, what with the unexpected raid that happened upon us."

Kellis was rubbing at her skin, her neck and chest, face and ears, trying to wipe away the travel grime. "When I said I wanted some real-world practice, I didn't mean I wanted a bloodbath every night. At least not on someone else's terms."

Shooter smiled, accepting the flask back and taking a deep swig of the strong liquid inside. "I had time to practice, Azmyth. Something to the tune of 300 years. The mountains have taught me two of life's greatest enjoyments. Strong spirits and bold dwarven womyn." He grinned, passing the flask back as he nudged the dwarf. "What part of the mountains do you hail, Azz. Or do you come from one of the lesser known dwarven commun... Wait." Shooter's eyes caught upon the flexing, shifting body of a young man as he entered the tavern from the upstairs floor. He squinted, smiled, and pointed with his pinky, clearing the dwarves view for him.

"Seems that lad is a bit distracted. Let's help him collect his thoughts." Shooter reached for an adjoining table, taking from it a hardboiled egg, still in its shell. And, as the young man turned to make his order, Shooter pulled his arm back, releasing the egg so it cracked and broke against the boy's shoulder, the egg falling to the floor in broken sections. The young boy of elvin build with blonde white hair and sky blue eyes turned, glaring right at Shooter's table, though his eyes actually took a moment to focus on the familiar face. "I'd have wrestled you down, like I once did your father, but that I was sure you wouldn't do as well."

Kelt's mouth dropped. And he ran to Shooter, jumping over a wayward chair in the path, embracing the old friend tightly. "What a shock. Kellis will be pleased to see you, Shooter!" He glanced to Azmyth, grinning widely. "I see you still keep good company. Mind if I join you?" The scent of spirits in the flask made Kelt flinch and his smile broke out into a bigger grin. "I was just told they don't serve that. Spare a shot for the son of old friends?"