Today is Day 16 of NaNoWriMo! It's Monday, meaning back to the weekly work grind.
My total for day 15 of NaNoWriMo was 3,009 words! It was 1k shy of what I wanted to accomplish, but it's still really good considering I couldn't focus XD Hope you enjoy this long post!
All passages were in order from yesterday's post, so here's what I wrote:
I jogged through the alley and slipped into the crowd of people walking down the intersecting sidewalk to head for the game lounge. After everything that had happened yesterday, I was excited to meet up with the team. Of course, I had to admit, was more excited to see Rinneth. Everything was coming together faster and better because of her. It made me glad I had managed to convince her to join the team, even if it did complicate other parts of my life.
My pace slowed when the lounge came into site and I noticed the guys standing outside. This doesn't look good. Since everyone had their own key, and the lounge was opened by this time, no one should be waiting outside. Then I noticed how dark and quiet the building looked.
Vamir waved as I approached. "Hey."
"Hey," I greeted as I joined them. "What's going on?"
Rial went to speak but was distracted when he saw something behind me. I turned around to find Rinneth and Ramos walking up.
"Why are you all out here standing around?" she asked.
"I was just about to explain to Vesser since he just showed up too," Rial said. "Looks like the building is have power problems. Started a few hours ago with surges and now the power is completely gone. They don't know when it'll come back either."
I ran my fingers through my hair. "Great."
"Is there another place we can go?" Rinneth asked.
"Thuldren and I have studio apartments here in the city," Rial said. "But they don't have great connection to the servers, especially when more than one person gets on per apartment."
"I always use the lounge since I live deep in the woods where connections are great," I admitted.
"And I live six hours away in the elven city of Nytndell," Vamir said. "I rent a hotel room here when I visit, but I go cheap so it doesn't come with the ability to connect to the servers."
"What about you lass?" Thuldren asked. "I know ye said you lived in Xilo, but…"
She nodded. "If you guys don't mind a two hour drive we could go to the family estate."
"Do you think that's wise?" Ramos asked her. "You father isn't keen on surprises."
"He'll live." She looked back at us. "We have room for two more in our vehicle."
"My car is gas efficient, so I can take someone with me," Rial offered.
Rinneth nodded. "Ramos will go with you just in case we're separated."
"Don't argue with me, Ramos," she chided. "It's the most logical thing to do."
"I'll also go with them," Vamir offered. "With my height I need the extra leg room."
Rinneth laughed. "Understandable. My car is parked at the convention center, so meet us over there."
"Why would you park there?" Rial asked. "They have expensive meters."
"Because Fallon industries gets to park there for free," she said. "Not only are we sponsoring the Tournament in autumn, but Lagor Technologies, rents space at the top of the building, and we're in the process of acquiring them as part of Fallon Industries."
"Lagor Technologies," I mused. "Why does that sound familiar?"
"They're the ones who created the virtual simulation pods," Rial said. "The pods became an instant hit and a division in Lagor Technologies was created to develop simulations for the public to purchase and use. This division eventually broke away from Lagor and became Ruthless Arts, the game studio who created and owns Evenstar." Rial looked at Rinneth. "Why would your company be acquiring Lagor Technologies?"
"Lagor created many things in their time, but ever since they came out with the simulation pods and then portable helmets, they've struggled to top them and recently their company has begun to struggle," Rinneth said. "Because their creations fall under what our company does, we struck up a deal to keep them going. We'd give them the funding to make their next big project and we'd get a share of the profits when it hit off. Two months into the deal their company's situation worsened so my father proposed an acquisition. As long as they could product something worthwhile, we'd taken them into the company to continue creating new technologies."
"What big project are they working on?" I asked.
She placed a finger up to her lips and winked. "It's a secret."
The group of us groaned. She would tease us like that. Maybe I could convince her to spill at some point. The way her eyes twinkled had me thinking it was something pretty exciting.
Thuldren clapped his hands together. "Well, we can talk about this later. We have quite the drive to get through first."
"He's right," I agreed. "Lead the way, Rinneth."
She nodded and headed back the way she had come. Thuldren and I followed while Ramos and Vamir followed Rial to his vehicle. When we reached Rinneth car I couldn't help but admire the sleek convertible.
"You guys wouldn't mind if I drive with the top down, would you?" she asked as she unlocked the car.
"I don't mind at all," I said.
Thuldren ran his large hand over his bald head. "I quite like the feel of the wind rushing through me hair, lass."
The three of us laughed and then jumped into the car. She lowered the top and placed some sunglasses over her eyes, and once Rial and the others showed up, we headed out of the city.
"Would either of you be opposed of me turning the music up?" Rinneth asked as we left city limits. "Ramos hates loud music in the car. Plus we have vastly different tastes so we usually we end up having nothing playing."
"Turn it up, lass," Thuldren encouraged. "It be your vehicle."
She smiled wide and turned the volume up on her stereo system. The speakers blasted with something you'd hear in a club and she instantly started dancing in her seat. It wasn't my kind of music, but I enjoyed watching her and even Thuldren as he got in on it. Rinneth and I started laughing when he tried to sing along. Thuldren himself admitted he wasn't the last creature on earth you wanted to sing, and I could see why. Tone deaf wouldn't be able to cut how bad it was. But the best part out of it was hearing Rinneth laugh and seeing her smile. The light honeyed sound of her laugh snared me. The twinkle in her eye and the small dimples on her cheeks dared me to reach out and touch her. But I kept myself together and refrained from being weird.
The next two hours passed quickly with the amount of fun the tree of us had. It was a shame Rial and Vamir had to be stuck with Ramos…according to Rinneth at least. I was starting to think the relationship between the two was far more complicated than she even let her friend Erin know.
"Lass, not to be rude," Thuldren started. "But are ye sure ye ain't lost? We be drivin' in this forest for some time."
Rinneth chuckled. "Well, technically we're on my family's land."
Thuldren began looked around. "Really?"
"Well yeah. We're seventy dragons strong so we need a lot of land. The main house is in the center of the thousand acres we own with several smaller homes scattered about."
Thuldren stared at her. "A thousand acres?"
"That's a pretty average size territory for that size clan," I said. "Large colonies have several thousand acres."
Thuldren whistled. "Pays to be a Dragon."
My attention was pulled away when the sound of loud buzzing echoed through the trees. "What's that?"
"Some of my clanmates," Rinneth said. "They like to go out with the off-road vehicles and turn up the dirt."
Just then several off-road motorcycles crashed through the trees and drove on all side of us. Rinneth leaned on the door of the car when one ride moved closer to her.
"What are you doing back so soon?" the Dragon asked in draconic.
"I thought I would bring my team home for dinner," Rinneth replied.
"Does your father know?"
The Dragon laughed heartily. "Then we best get home or we will miss the show."
"Make some popcorn."
The Dragon sped up and shot down the road in front of us, as did the other riders, though I was too preoccupied watching Rinneth to care. Even though I knew her Dragon bloodline, I still found myself fascinated by how well she spoke the language.
"What?" Rinneth asked when she noticed me watching her.
"Should we be worried?" I asked. "That conversation wasn't exactly comforting."
"What, what was said, lad?" Thuldren asked.
"Summed up, her Dragon friend there was going to make popcorn to watch the show when Fallon found out she's bringing us over unannounced."
Thuldren laughed, surprising me. "I bet ol' Fallon be mighty surprised."
"You don't sound worried at all."
"Lad, I already prepared myself for a spectacle. Dragon or Human, her da won't be any different than the rest out there. Seein' his quine bringin' home a couple o' lads, all but yers truly rather young lookin', and very much single, ain't gonna make him happy."
"He's right," Rinneth agreed. "When I had dinner with him last night he told me he wasn't too thrilled with me being the only female on the team."
"Dragon instincts run deep in me, so he doesn't have to worry about much, but that doesn't make my father any less protective," she said. "It's just how fathers are."
I rubbed my face. "Why do I feel like much of his hate is directed towards me?"
"Probably because you can sense he doesn't like you," she said honestly. "Which is true. He won't say why, and I find it rather odd since he has the least to worry about with you."
Did she really believe that? I suppose since she's on the team and our enforced rules as they were she'd think nothing of me beyond teammate and possibly friend in the future as we got to know each other better. But, it could also be because of how her past lives had been said to act. Not many were known to be accepting of their chosen mates immediately, thinking they weren't a good choice for them, and their mates deserved better. Are you this way too, Rinneth? Have you not learned from the past? Or is there something in your life that makes you hesitant to accept it?
The trees thinned and soon the forest became a clearing with a large mansion constructed right in the middle. Even though I had tried to sneak in here that one night, I hadn't had the chance to take in just how magnificent this house really was. Nor had I looked at the well tended landscape around the building. They have to have a Green Dragon or two in this clan to keep it this nice. With so many Dragons in the clan, I wouldn't know for sure.
"Hey, Vesser," Rinneth said. "How's your nose?"
"Why ye be askin' that, lass?" Thuldren asked.
"I'll be fine," I said. "The territory boundary was strong, but it's nothing I won't recover from."
"Okay good," she said. "I forgot to warn you about the line. I tend to forget how fresh my father likes to keep the marks."
"He really doesn't like other Dragons coming in, does he?"
"He's a full Black Dragon, what'd you expect?"
I laughed. "Fair enough."
"Ye Dragons be confusin'," Thuldren said. "I didn’t smell anything besides this huge forest."
Rinneth snickered. "Don't worry about it, Thuldren. Your nose isn't strong enough to catch our boundary markers."
"Aye, whatever ye say, lass."
I was curious why Rinneth had asked me that question. Sure, it was a strong mark, but I've crossed it before. I had known what to expect when we had decided to come here. Then it dawned on me. Maybe she was nervous about us being her. Or, in the very least, me being here. Did her father's overprotective nature have her concerned for me? Dragons rarely tolerated other dragons in their territory if they weren't related or part of their clan. I also tried to steal from them. Maybe that's why he hates me. I may not have to do with him being over protective at all. It could just simply be because I'm a dragon.
But as I watch Rinneth pull up in front of the mansion, I could see the unease grow inside her. I started to get the feeling there was a big secret she was hiding. One that had a lot of weight on all of this. One that was too heavy for someone like her to be forced to hold.
The three of us climbed out of the car just as Rial pulled up behind us. He, Ramos, and Vamir exited the car and we let Vamir stretch before heading up the steps. I felt bad for the guy. Affordable cars these days barely allowed those of my height, six feet, to sit comfortably in them. Elves generally had to have their own custom cars built if they wanted to get around that way, and that got expensive.
Once he was okay to walk, Rinneth led us up the front steps. Our teammates gazed around with amazement as if they'd never seen a house this big before. Right, they probably haven't… Rinneth opened one of the large entrance double doors and we walked into a large open foyer where we were greeted by four happy dogs. Rinneth smiled and gave them each the attention they asked for before moving on to us.
"Hey, girl," I greeted when her receiver jumped up and placed her paws on my chest.
"I don't think I've ever seen an animal not be afraid of you, Vesser," Vamir teased.
"All the animals we have as pets don't mind or actually like Dragons," Rinneth explained.
"Sounds like you have more than these dogs," Rial said.
"I have my four dogs and a sun conure, but there are two cats running around here, a couple lizards and snakes, a couple of fish tanks, and we have a large aviary out back with various other birds."
We all looked up at the balcony on the second floor to find Fallon staring down at us. Several other Dragons were with him, all wearing business suits. "I was just told you were bringing guest home."
"Power outage," Rinneth said.
Fallon nodded and slowly descended to the first floor using one of the two curved stairs leading to the second floor. He fussed with his suit jacket as he did. "I have an important meeting to attend. I'll be back in a few hours."
Rinneth gave him a quick kiss on the cheek and handed him her keys. "Good luck."
He chuckled. "Thank, I think I'll need it for this. Be good while I'm gone."
She rolled her eyes. "Yes, Daddy."
He patted her cheek while smiling and then headed for the door, but stopped. "Oh, your room's renovations are done. We've got most of your things moved back into the room except your simulation pod and a few miscellaneous items."
"Excellent!" Rinneth beamed.
Fallon smiled at her enthusiasm and then continued to leave. The two of us made eye contact, making the room tense for a moment, but he continued on without saying a word, the other dragons following quietly.
When the door closed Rinneth let out a sigh of relief. "That went better than expected."
"A little too well," Ramos said. "I was sure he was going to reprimand you for not giving him a heads up about this adventure."
"He probably will later," Rinneth said as she headed for the stairs to the second floor. "He just didn't have time because of his meeting. You know he doesn't like to be late for those."
Just as Rinneth made it to the stairs, four young black dragon whelps bolted out of the dining room to our left and ran past her up the stairs, a middle-aged Dragon female and male in hot pursuit.
"Is that normal here?" Rial asked as we continued following Rinneth to the second floor.
"Oh yeah. Those four are all energy and constantly getting into trouble," Rinneth said.
"I'm impressed by the architecture of this place," Vamir praised. "Very elegant."
"I think my father said it was an Elf who made the initial designs," Rinneth said. "This place was built…forever ago so I don't know for sure."
Vamir nodded. "If my guess is correct, I would say it's the work of Ryul Agis. He was well known for creating wonderful architecture that captured the essence of the race he was building for, but still had a bit of an elven flare to it."
"The name sounds familiar," Rinneth said. "Do you think it was him, Ramos?"
"I honestly don't know," he replied. "I never cared enough to ask."
Rinneth laughed. "Right."
Thuldren nudged me. "Lad, you don't seem the least bit impressed by this place."
I swallowed. "Well…about that…"
Ramos snickered. "He's already seen this place."
Rial's brow rose. "Say what?"
Rinneth giggled. "I caught him breaking and entering."
Rial and Thuldren belted out a hearty laugh, but Vamir was less than amused. "When was this?"
"The night I was accepted onto the team," Rinneth said.
Vamir sighed as he covered his face with his hand. "Seriously, Vesser?"
I held up my hands. "Hey, I didn't know this was her house. I just knew it belonged to a clan of Dragons and would be a fun challenge."
"No wonder Fallon hates you, lad!" Thuldren said.
Rial shook his head. "We really are lucky we ended up with that sponsorship."
I shook my head and Rinneth giggled a bit more with amusement before stopping at a pair of mahogany double door. I suspected this was her room.