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About Lessa

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  • Guild Name
    The Vanguard
  • Position
    Guild Master

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  1. Lessa

    Woe Isn't Me

    Hey hey. Hope you have a good time here.
  2. Lessa

    [PP - F11] More Hallowed Halls

    Though there was a quick flare of sweetness in Jomei's gesture, positioning himself between the threat and Lessa, she had very little time to dwell on it. The fact that they were interacting with a ghost, coupled with the pile of remains at their feet, had a way of consuming her attention. Later, she would reflect on how strange the sight of the bones was. How long had it been since she had seen a body decomposing? It was a bit morbid, but she had experienced it plenty back on the farm: carcasses of deer struck by cars, mice the barn cats had caught, birds that had fallen from the nest. But not here. Here, the dead burst into pixels, shimmering shapes that rain down on anyone lucky or unlucky enough to still be standing. So seeing the decaying flesh, the impossibly white bones... it was surreal. "Should we really touch it?" the woman asked hesitantly, watching as her companion did just that. As he did not immediately burst into flames, or start convulsing, Lessa was forced to admit that maybe she was being paranoid. Still, her lips were drawn in a tight line as her gaze drifted from the ghost, to Jomei, then back to the ghost. As she watched, the woman reached toward the pair with long, lithe fingers that reminded her of icicles. She gave a small, graceful wave of her hand that was easily recognizable as a beckoning gesture. Then she slowly turned, hovering a full foot of the ground, and moved back the way that they had come. "Alright," Lessa stated again. "Moment of truth. Is this some Casper the Friendly Ghost junk, or something more sinister? Because I've never liked the idea of following a ghost into the dark." Then she hesitated, and ammended, "I've never really had the idea, actually. Never had a situation that called for it. But here we are."
  3. "Take a break from it?" the woman purred back. Even through the silk of her tone, Lessa could hear the pleasure and humor. That was a good sign, at least. "I could hardly do that, even for a date as cute as yourself." While Lessa could not see it, she could easily imagine the way the boss' eyes flashed devilishly as she considered the proposal. "But I have never been the kind of woman to turn down a meal, and the chance to be pampered." Were the situation not so dire, Lessa might have rolled her eyes. But instead, she kept them closed. She hoped it might help her forget that her face was presently in a puddle of burly man back sweat. "Go dispense of your new toy," the boss continued, surely referring to Lyanna. "Tell me where this place is, and we will meet there in half an hour. I'll need to get changed." Her voice took on a sort of melodious lilt as she added, "Perhaps my new toy can help me pick out an outfit." Lessa grimaced. The way in which the other player spoke of women, as if they were play things to be traded, disgusted her. Somehow, it worked to freeze her blood cold, and light a fire of anger inside of her. She nearly growled when the boss spoke again. "Does she have a name?"
  4. Lessa's captor halted so suddenly that he nearly lost his hold on her. Though the woman could not see the blade, she was able to see her companion's feet, and how they had moved considerably closer. His words, and the fierceness with which he delivered them, suggested that he had drawn his weapon. Would it all fall apart here, already? Would the situation crumble into chaos, all while she dangled helplessly from some brute's shoulder? It would be just her luck, honestly. A tense silence fell, and it dragged long enough that Lessa tried to prop herself up against the burly man's muscled back. If she could only twist a little, and see the boss, she might be able to have a better handle on the situation. But just as she was maneuvering herself into a suitable position, the bandit gave her a good shake, sending her long body flopping back against him. And as her cheek pressed to the sweat-damp cotton of his shirt, she grit her teeth. She hated not being able to understand what was happening around her. The boss voice, soft as silk, put an end to the quiet. "Dravin, you go get the girl, then. Bring her out." Even as she gave an order, her voice came as soft as a lover's whisper. It was honestly quite unsettling, but Lessa had to respect how easily the woman controlled her grunts. They were wrapped around her long, pointy finger. "Yes, miss," he answered, before ducking back into the headquarters. Still unable to see, Lessa was forced to hang and wait, attempting to slow her racing heart, and ignore the pounding in her head. He returned promptly, passing through Lessa's view only briefly. In that flash, she was able to catch a quick glimpse of a smaller girl in a blue sundress, slung in a similar manner over the man's shoulder. Bastard, was her first thought, the sight sending a fiery lance of hatred through her. The panic was chased away in a heartbeat, leaving only a white-hot anger. The girl Lessa had seen hung as limp as a ragdoll, all of the fight beat out of her. How dare they? In her rage, the player hardly noticed the other three men who now flanked the man called Dravin.
  5. Lessa

    [PP - F21] The Quest for Knowledge

    Lips pursed in thought, Lessa studied her map. According to Regina's information, which she had messaged after the girl's hasty departure, the town in question was not too far away. But The Vanguard's guild hall was on the twenty first floor, and in all of her time there, Lessa had never heard of the civilization. Of course, that was not to say that she knew everything there was to know. On the contrary, Lessa did not spend much time exploring the dark, cavernous floor. She missed the sunlight, and the warm breeze, when she was underground. Without those things, she felt a bit like she was suffocating. But she pushed those thoughts away as she narrowed her eyes, studying the display more intently. How long had she been following this single tunnel? How much longer until she called it quits, and turned back? Blowing out a held breath, Lessa began to walk again. One more turn, she promised herself. If the mysterious town was not waiting for her around that next bend, she would- "Oh." There it was. The blonde blinked once, twice, stunned by the sudden appearance of what was a decent sized town. The narrow tunnel opened into an enormous cavern, its domed ceiling hundreds of feet above their heads. Crystals dangled in all colors, twinkling cheerfully against the dim. The buildings were also constructed of stone, most likely because it was the most accessible resource. Standing three or four stories, they looked a bit more like small towers than houses, taverns, or shops. Despite the darkness, Lessa found herself enchanted with the place. What was most surprising, perhaps, was the number of players milling about. From their equipment, Lessa judged that many of them were of fairly high level. Intrigued, she slipped into the nearest tavern. The wooden sign that dangled out front cheerfully dubbed the establishment the "Merry Miner." As she eased atop a barstool, the woman behind the bar beamed. "You here for the quest?" For the second time in three minutes, Lessa was shocked into silence. Flabbergasted, it took her a moment to find her voice. "How did you know?" The other player gave an easy one-shouldered shrug, her smile never wavering. "That's what everyone else is here for, too. Word spreads fast in a game like this." As she spoke, the raven-haired woman began to fiddle with glasses beneath the bar. "I love it. I've never seen this place so busy!"
  6. The sound the boss made was an unnerving cross between a moan and purr as she considered the player killer's words. Then her red lips pulled back from pearl-white teeth, and she beamed. "I like you," she informed him. "I like how you think. And you're not half bad yourself, when it comes to looks. Pity that I'm more interested in the fairer sex." At the mention, her fingers clenched, dragging those perfectly manicured talons along Lessa's tanned skin. The girl winced, sucking in breath at the sudden sting of pain, and blossoming warmth across her cheek. The boss's hand moved to Lessa's chin, which she used to tilt the girl's head back. When their gazes met, the older woman's thin eyebrows rose with excitement. "Boys," she stated suddenly. Given the way the muscled goonies leapt to attention, the blonde decided they were used to taking orders in such a manner. "Go bring out this Lyanna, and hand her over to our new friend here." Her eyes lifted to Lessa's companion's as she mentioned him, and they stayed there as she spoke again. "And take this one to my room directly, please." Her hand lovingly stroked Lessa's head, though her gaze never wavered. Lessa was fortunate that she was too busy being scooped up by a bandit to see the boss's quick wink. If she had, she might have been physically ill. As it was, her blue eyes were wide as she tried to catch one final glance at her partner before being hauled away. Her mind was racing, new scenarios playing out, new probabilities being weighed. The boss's personal quarters would likely be more heavily guarded, and therefore, harder to break out of. The first tendrils of panic were beginning to slow her thinking, and gray her vision.
  7. All was going to plan. He played his part beautifully, she had to admit. Though she did not care for the sensation of being tied up, she understood that it was entirely necessary for their ploy to work. And besides, she felt a little thrill at being tossed over his broad shoulder, though she would never, in a million years, admit as much. How had her day taken such a dramatic turn? If someone had told her an hour ago that she would be not in her own comfy bed, but tossed bag-of-potatoes style over a player killer's shoulder, she would have busted a gut. Yet here she was. Lessa held up her end of the bargain too, squirming a bit for good measure as her "captor" neared the hideout. And though her cry of pain when she was thrown to the ground was not entirely staged, the small whimpers certainly were. She recognized that showing even a shred of courage would contradict her damsel in distress persona. She could not give them a reason to suspect who, or what, she actually was. A former clearer of floors. A guild leader. A goddamned badass, when she put her mind to it. The obvious confusion that rolled off the bandits in waves demonstrated that, yes, everything was going to plan. That was, until the boss walked out. Actually, no. Walked was too plain a word. Slipped? Slinked? Swayed? Slithered? Jesus, the woman seemed to pour out of the doorway, the sunlight shimmering off the black pants and corseted top. Where Lessa had been expecting a pudgy Italian mafia-boss, she saw a character out of a bad BDSM porno. Or a very good one, if you were into tight-lipped smirks and beady little eyes that made your skin crawl. "Well now," the boss began in a voice that was as sensual as musky perfume, and twice as potent. "What do we have here?" She reached a hand for Lessa, who, remembering her role, began to tremble helplessly. She dropped her face, letting her blonde hair shield her like a curtain. When the other woman's fingers slipped past the locks, and gently traced Lessa's cheek, it was true horror that suddenly gripped her. The boss's long, red nails had been sharpened to lethal tips.
  8. She ignored the jibe. It was probably justified, which was precisely why she refused to dignify it with a response. Why was trust such an issue here? Had he not, only fifteen minutes ago, made his lack of trust very apparent? Now he was asking him to trust her? Lessa could not decide if she found it frustrating, or fascinating. Maybe a dash of both. "Hmm," she murmured, studying the man down the tip of her nose. Then she shrugged. They were in a hurry, and there would be time for philosophical debates later. "Trust is earned," she stated simply, once more throwing his own words back at him. "I don't have to trust you to work with you on this." She shifted her weight, finding her feet again, and turning toward the opposite end of the entrance hall. It ran all the way through the hall, with smaller hallways branching off at random intervals. Some led to bedrooms, others to a kitchen, practice areas, and lounges. But everything was centered around the single long, wide corridor, which ran from the front door to the back. He had even dodged the inquiry as to his name. If he could not even be forthcoming with that information, why would she trust him? "I don't need your trust to get through this," she concluded, "and you don't need mine. So we'll just keep our mutual goal in mind for now, and say that's enough." It would have to be. With a nod of her blonde head, she motioned to the other doorway. It opened in a cluster of rocks, which nearly blended in to the dark cave walls. From there, it would be only a quick walk to the city's center. "Lead the way."
  9. Her response came quickly, easily, and without thought. She did not have to think, to reflect, on this particular point, for her to know that it was right. "Sounds like the kind of girls these men target are weak, and the kind that need saving. I'm neither of those things." Then, recognizing that she was beginning to near the borderline of being overly dramatic, she withdrew slightly. "We've already established that there's no trust between us," she stated plainly, giving no indication as to how she felt about the issue. "But if this is all some complex scheme on your part, and you're actually working with them, you have way too much time on your hands." Sensing the tension that hung thick in the air, Riker paced from the man to Lessa, and pressed his face against her calf. She reached down to scratch him between the ears, and found herself oddly calmed by the gesture. Had she even realized that she needed calming? "I can fight my way out," she said suddenly. She spoke with the certainty of a person trying to convince herself, as well as him. "And I'll do what I have to." It would be self defense, after all. She would avoid the glaring orange icon, and the limitations that came with it. Not to mention the scorn. But could she live with the guilt? Her gaze dropped from her new companion to her old familiar, and she frowned down at him. She was already so full of the stuff, both her heart and soul black, and rotting with it. What was a little more guilt, eh? "Besides." The last part was spoken distantly, as if it were an afterthought. "They'll all buy our story about us being strangers, because we are. I don't even know your name."
  10. The woman sucked on her bottom lip as she thought for a moment. Lifting a hip, she settled herself on the edge of the table that stood in the hall's entryway. Arms folded across her chest, she watched her familiar hesitantly sniff the other player, before nuzzling into his pats. Pretty shitty guard dog, she thought with a flash of wry amusement, before again focusing on the task at hand. "Between zero and a whole dozen?" She frowned. "That's a hell of a range, and I don't like the uncertainty. I feel like we need to get inside before we make any solid judgment calls." As soon as the words left her, a plan begun to unfold in her mind. "That's not actually a bad idea," she muttered to herself. One sneaker-clad foot tapped out a sporadic rhythm, accompanied by the churning of the water just past the closed doorway, as she mused. "You mentioned they don't know you, right? So suppose you showed up at their door, asking for your girlfriend, or your sister, or whatever. You can make up some excuse for wanting that girl back." She flashed him a tight-lipped smile. "And in return, you give them me. If they try to take me without a deal, we fight them. If they make the switch, we use it as a distraction to grab your girl and get ourselves out. Even if they turn us away, we learn about their numbers and their strength just from being there. I'll play the helpless victim you plucked from the Town of Beginnings, and forced to be your bargaining chip. They won't know what hit them." Her shoulders then rose and fell with a small shrug. "I can handle being bait." I used to be a frontliner, she wanted to say, but she bit back the words.
  11. "I could ask you the same, about your obsession with doomed heroes." It was petty, and tactless, and more than a little pathetic. But Lessa felt the need to get one more jab in before they transitioned to the business end of things. Her frustration with him still burned hot and heavy, but she had to admit that he was right about the urgency. She could pick at him later, if given the chance. By now, the sounds of the search party had reached their climax, and were beginning to drift away. If they were to sneak back into the main tunnel, and escape before the mob reached the end and turned back around, they would need to move quickly. In that twinkle of bells that seemed impossibly loud in the small space, Lessa unequipped all equipment but her massive sword. It looked unusual, with her slim-fitting t-shirt and loose, flowing pants, but she had a point to prove. "No sneaking skills," she confirmed, lifting her gaze back to his face as the ribbons of light died away. "I just hit hard, and can take a hit myself. I may be more distraction material, should the need arise." She began to jog now, an action she made look oddly graceful, given the claymore strapped to her back. Once she felt him moving up alongside her, she continued. "They know you. They don't know me. We can use that to our advantage." After a couple of moments, Lessa slowed to a halt. To their left, the tunnel bowed outward, forming a small cavern. About twenty yards from where they stood, a small waterfall crashed from a gash near the cave's ceiling. It tumbled into a dark lake, not much larger than the average suburban in-ground pool. "Here we are," she announced, peeling away from the main passage and drawing nearer to the water's edge. Nearly hidden by a cloak of darkness, a narrow ledge jutted from the cave's wall, allowing her safe and dry passage behind the waterfall itself. A door, cleverly disguised to match the black rock, swung open into the Vanguard's guild hall. "Home sweet home," she stated. As if in answer, a mocha-colored mound of fur galloped toward the two players. The wolf gave Lessa's hand a companionable nudge, but uttered a throaty growl as it turned its gaze toward the man. "Riker," she introduced simply.
  12. Lessa

    [F20 - PP] Simple Math

    Her gut instinct was to pull back from him when he sat next to her, but Lessa forced herself to remain still. Her mood was far too good, too positive, to let the darker parts control her anymore. Guilt still swirled there, mingling with uncertainty, doubt, and fear of his walking away again. But the sun was warm on her face, and the breeze toyed with her hair and kissed her tanned cheeks. The sun had coaxed out long-hidden freckles, which the girl had actually taken a liking to. It was too beautiful a day to let the negativity win again. So she simply leaned forward to pluck a blade of grass from the ledge in front of her. She toyed with it, letting it roll between her fingers, as she spoke. "It all happened pretty quickly," she confessed. "I'm friends with another player, who sells books on one of the lower floors. I was feeling especially nostalgic one day, and decided that I missed studying history. I stopped into her store to see if she sold any textbooks, on Aincrad history, or anything else. I thought maybe the game would include them for some flavor. We got to talking, and one thing led to another, and I told her I was a teacher." Lessa paused to watch a butterfly flap lazily by, the yellow-orange of its wings shimmering beneath the afternoon sun. "She let me know that a number of younger players had gone in asking her for textbooks as well. Seems they wanted that sense of normalcy that doing homework could bring. She gave me a few names, and I met with some kids in her shop. Word spread, and now I host little tutoring sessions here, out of my house, so we don't clog her shop." "It's nothing formal," Lessa continued, "just providing a little guidance. I've got one poor girl who hardly knows how to read. Seems she was playing with her dad, and he disconnected right before we were all locked in here." Silence fell, as if the woman struggled to find the words to say next. Talking about the horrors her kids had witnessed always managed to twist her up. It was unlikely for some child to be in Aincrad alone, unless he or she had endured some tragedy. The sun, she reminded herself. The breeze. Stay positive. In an attempt to keep the darkness from creeping in on her, Lessa turned her face to the light, basking in it before answering Baldur. "It'll be great to have you on board. I can show you the book, if you want. There's a bunch of numbers that don't make sense to me. I think it is one of those 'solve for x' disasters, but it has about the whole alphabet in there." It was ridiculous, and perhaps more than a little sentimental, that her heart caught at the words 'I'm all yours.' But she gave no indication. "If you don't mind sparing the time, I know the kids would love to meet you, too. If you're up for it."
  13. Lessa snorted. Whatever reaction he was going for, and she imagined he was trying for something, it probably was not the eyeroll, the headshake, and the snort. "You're all the same," she muttered. Her forehead was split by a line of annoyance as she studied him. "I would have thought that years in Aincrad would have drained that dramatic bullshit out of try-hards like you." By the time the words had left her, her tanned face had contorted into a sneer. "I thought I'd been pretty transparent with you," she continued, fighting to keep her voice low, so not to be overheard by the search party that would be passing any moment. "I don't like you, so I'm not doing it out of the goodness of my heart. I'd had every intention of keeping you pinned, but then you told me about girls who needed saving." Her blue eyes flashed. "I figured, hey, that was something worth investigating. Is that not good enough reason?" Both hands moved to her hips, a stance she knew was cliched, but it felt the most comfortable in the moment. "I don't care if you trust me, or if you don't. I never asked you to. But let's get one thing straight." She lifted one hand, and jabbed a finger at him. "You can take your veiled threats and shove them up your ass, because this isn't some blockbuster film, and so I don't need any poorly written dialogue." She took a step closer, and felt a hot lance of pleasure as she threw his own words back at him. "Are we clear?"
  14. Lessa

    [PP - F11] More Hallowed Halls

    He feels it too. In truth, Lessa could not decide if that fact was comforting or unsettling. At the same moment that the hair on the back of her neck stood up, Jomei turned to glance over his shoulder. The action came a split-second before Lessa turned to do the same. Jomei only would have turned if he heard something, or if he sensed something. As the room was still eerily silent, she assumed it was the latter, which lined up with her own feelings. Something was there, lurking just out of sight, the shadows providing necessary cover. Or, perhaps whatever watched them was entirely invisible. Given the oddness of their surroundings, she simply could not count it out. But she also did not want to think too much about it, because being stalked by a transparent being was a less than pleasant notion. The tension was thick enough that it could be cut with any one of the sharp-edged torture devices lining the walls. It was as if the entirety of Aincrad, Lessa included, was holding its breath while Jomei worked. It was enough that she jumped, and gave a startled squeak when the click of the lock announced the Irishman's success. Her muscles were so wound that she paused to shake her arms out before stepping closer to the door. "Nice job," she told him. "I bet your breaking and entering skill just took a huge jump." The words were delivered with a tight-lipped smile, an expression as false as the humor in her tone. But she kept it as she slipped past him, and into the cell. "Poor girl," she heard herself saying again, her voice soft, as if to utter a prayer. What was left of the body was crumpled in on itself, as if the woman had been in the fetal position when she finally passed. Gingerly, Lessa used the point of massive Claymore to roll the remains over, stretching them out a bit, allowing her to get a better view of the garment. Touching the bones with her hands seemed a little too far, but something about the white dress nagged at her. It was like a scratch at the back of her mind she could not itch, a far-away memory of something in the not-so-distant past. "Jomei," she began, slowly, as realization dawned. "I think this-" She lifted her gaze to him, then dropped her sword in a panicked, graceless motion. It landed atop the bones in a heap as Lessa scrambled backward. "Jesus jesus jesus jesus," she kept repeating. Though she was not especially religious, no other words came to her in that chaotic moment. Directly behind Jomei, hovering a few inches off the ground, was the ghost. Her long, lace-lined white dress skimmed just above her bare ankles, and the sleeves bellowed around impossibly pale, impossibly thin fingers. It took Lessa a moment to make any sound at all, her lips making shapes like a fish out of water. "I think this is the same dress the ghost is wearing," she managed, finally.
  15. "A girl in heavy armor?" She echoed his words, a smirk playing across her chapped lips. Was that how he saw her? The least he could do was call her a woman. She was twenty years old! Or twenty-three. Or whatever. In truth, she had lost track of the time that she had spent in the big floaty castle of misery. Once upon a time, she had counted every passing day with the accuracy of a rocket scientist, keep track of how long it had been since she had seen her family. Now, she could not remember the sound of her parents' voices. But she would not, could not, spend even a second reflecting on that fact. Instead, she focused entirely on what the other player told her. At the mention of forcing the girls, Lessa felt her stomach roll. Disgust pulsed in every vein, but she fought to keep her face as blank as possible. If the man was lying, he was using the story to read her emotions. Though she was skilled at reading others, keeping her own feelings in check had once been a struggle. Years in Aincrad had helped her perfect the art. When he finished, his eyes combing her face for some sort of response, she finally made the decision to trust him. At least, a little. "Alright," she began, giving a small nod. "Supposing you're telling the truth, I do understand the urgency." She let the accusation hang there. Whether he lashed out at her for doubting, or focused entirely on the task at hand, would say a lot about who he was as a person. She was eager to make the discovery for herself. The tale he wove was an interesting one, and something that was sure to tug at the heartstrings. He was a player killer, no doubt, but Lessa was no longer naive enough to hate him for that alone. There had been a time when she had seen in such startling black and white. But shades of gray had formed as she grew more jaded, and as she remembered another player who had killed for reasons considered justifiable. "We'll wait here," she told him, slipping into a more authoritative role. If he had a problem with that, it would be quite revealing too. "Assuming they keep the same pace, they'll follow the main trail in just a couple of minutes. Then we'll loop back. It's the only way to lose them. If we duck through my guild's hall, it'll cut our travel time in half, considering our back exit dumps you right next to the city limits. Then we'll both go deal with this group." Her blue eyes flashed, as cold and clear as arctic waters, just daring him to argue with her.