forum “Mystery is art, don’t you know?” (OxO, Mature, Closed)

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(I don't really have a plot in mind for this but I do like mysterious and I wing it pretty often in rps… but I just recently had this epiphany that Meg and Marcus are kinda like Athena and Ares in regards to personality and fighting/hunting style lol!)

@Serpentess health_and_safety language

The art gallery called to him as he walked by. Though he was new to the city, having just arrived by boat, it was the first thing that he saw that interested him.

He didn’t immediately go in, simply scoping it out first. The paintings, the sculptures, the sketches. So beautiful. He couldn’t see many from his view, but he didn’t mind. His vision was keen anyway. Though, what really got him excited… was the tapestries. He vaguely saw one peeking from behind a doorway. In that moment, he knew he had to go inside.

His gloved hands opened the door and he stepped inside. His bright golden eyes stared at everything with awe, memorizing it all instantly. He felt at home in the gallery, though likely for multiple reasons. After all, he looked almost like art himself. His cherry red hair, streaked with vivid blond, seemed perfectly dyed, though it wasn’t. His slender build was clothed in an elegant blue tailcoat over a clean white shirt, black pants, and tan boots. He could be a nobleman. He could be royalty. He could be anybody. And, that wasn’t far from the truth.

Meandering his way into the tapestry room, Nwalan kept a close eye on everything and everyone around him. Though he was enjoying himself, he wasn’t stupid enough to let his guard down. Enemies could lurk anywhere. So, could potential allies. How interesting would it be for him to meet a future friend in the loveliest places? It was almost a dreamy thought, and one that made the intrigued grin on his face grow wider.

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Meghan smiled warmly, and politely, as people admired her art. She still couldn't believe that she had been awarded this honor. Everyone said how lifelike her portraits were, how breathtaking her landscapes were… she took all of it with a grain of salt. It wasn't that she thought her drawings were bad and she was proud of them but she didn't take well to flattery or temporary compliments. Within a week, she was sure that these currently kind people would forget about her and her art.

She had been drawing for a long time but it was something she dismissed as a family talent. Something to cherish and continue to honor her ancestors, not simply a means of support or something for people of means to gawk at. A part of her almost felt like a fraud for being here. This was not a place she often visited, especially during such a fancy occasion.

The young brunette brushed aside her hair, thinking about how it would need to be trimmed soon as it just barely touched her shoulders when she caught sight of a newcomer. He was certainly colorful, as anyone could see, but there was something else about him that caused her warm brown eyes to narrow and raise a curious brow.

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Nwalan neared the entrance to the tapestry displays when he felt someone’s gaze on him. He turned, curious, and saw what appeared to be a sweet young artist watching him. He was sure his odd appearance had caught her eye, but when he glanced over her shoulder he started to wonder if that was the only reason.

The portraits and landscapes around her were captivating, even mesmerizing. So rarely could someone pull off such beauty in art. It was a chance encounter Nwalan couldn’t miss, even despite the insatiable call of the tapestries.

Speaking of tapestries, Nwalan couldn’t help glancing back at the awaiting pieces in the next room. A short pause, that was all, and he would be walking back to them again.

With an indecisive hum, Nwalan finally steeled himself to turn away from the tapestries and he approached the young woman. The portraits caught his eye again, and he pondered if they were truly watching him or if was simply an illusion. Was there magic involved? Or was this woman skilled enough to mimic magic?

“I must inquire, how did you impart such life into these drawings? It be fascinating!”Nwalan asked, his suave voice carrying an odd accent.

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Meghan tilted her head slightly as the stranger approached. He had clearly been interested in a different exhibit of artwork… and most likely still was. But she hummed dismissively to herself before resuming her polite smile, as always, hoping her sharp facial structure didn't make the expression too unnerving.

"Oh, thank you, sir." she started, noting his unusual way of speaking. "To answer, it's something of a family gift to be able to draw as well as lots of practice since I was young. It's something I've always enjoyed and grew to be passionate about." she explained in an almost half-rehearsed answer. Though it was all still true. "You are not from here. … Are you?" she added in a quick correction of her otherwise rude assertation.

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Nwalan smiled back at her as he neared, completely unfazed by the sharpness of her features. It wasn’t the first time he’d met a woman with ‘unusual’ features. Hell, in his homeland, there were some Forestfolk females that were almost as masculine as the men, simply by the nature of their race.

At her thanks, Nwalan nodded. He then listened with intrigue. Sure, it was almost a rehearsed explanation, but Nwalan sensed that she still spoke truthfully. He almost replied to her words, fascinated by the thought that her skills were inherited. Until she spoke again, of course.

Her words were almost accusatory before she corrected herself, and somehow that made her even more fascinating than before. Questions flooded his head, and Nwalan almost blurted half of them out on impulse. He kept himself in check though. He didn’t mind a little suspense every now and then.

“No. I am indeed a foreigner. I arrived by ship barely… an hour ago? Two? Time be so confusing. ‘Tis been a long while since I last visited an art gallery, and I could resist not,”Nwalan mentioned.

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Meg fought off a blush when she realized she had cut this unusual man off. She had noticed how he actually paid attention to her words and was somewhat relieved by it as most people here would brush it aside with a casual remark of how talented or dedicated she was to her work to be this accomplished.

But she smiled a little when he didn't seem to take offense and even answered in his strange way of speaking. “I see. Forgive my blunt comment but you just struck me as a traveler and I couldn't stop myself.” she admitted.

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Nwalan noticed an odd tension appear on the woman’s face as she spoke. Without even thinking about it, he peeked into her mind, sifting through her surface thoughts to figure out why she was tense. He had little worry that she would notice, as very few could ever sense his presence, unless they were either quite powerful or acquainted with telepaths.

As he searched, he discovered her battling to keep her composure over interrupting him. So, that was why she was tense. It was a needless worry. Nwalan was almost always a very patient individual, particularly when he was intrigued by someone.

He then found the relief she felt regarding his interest. Did no one truly appreciate her talent? What idiots existed in this particular city?

Nwalan was careful to avoid leaking his thoughts into… Meghan’s mind. He didn’t want to risk exposing himself without examining her further. But, he kept a subtle tether to her mind, so that he could continue listening to her surface thoughts. It always helped him gauge the potential for an ally.

“‘Tis nothing to worry of. I am a traveler, thus your comment was accurate. I am also accustomed to bluntness. ‘Tis almost nostalgic,”Nwalan said, smiling softly.

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Meghan raised a brow at her bluntness being called nostalgic but nodded at the assurance. “Well, if I may be blunt again, you are certainly the first to not be put off by that bad habit of mine.” she smiled back, excluding her family from that statement. Though there had been times when she still shocked them. Of course, she only called it a bad habit because others had done so when she was growing up and, unfortunately, never really outgrown it. She simply never understood why most people couldn't see what she viewed so plainly as a simple observation.

“Where have you traveled from? I haven't heard anyone else speak the way you do.” she asked, hopefully, politely to keep the conversation going since he was such an unusual man and, so far, more interesting to talk to.

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“Bad habit? How be it a bad habit? I have always known it as a sign of honesty,”Nwalan asked, somewhat bewildered.

He heard her thoughts regarding past reactions to her bluntness. It was a trained description, then. Something that the people around her couldn’t handle apparently. Well, he would just have to correct that, wouldn’t he? He saw no good reason for her to be ashamed of her nature, and he would figure out a way to show her that.

“I have been to many places in my travels, yet I am originally an islander. My homeland be rather isolated from the world, and I eventually decided to leave. One can only see so much on an island, after all,”Nwalan answered, chuckling.

He deliberately kept his description a bit vague. Though he was being honest about his desire to explore the world, and the multiverse, his reasons for leaving were a little more complicated than that. And, much more tragic.

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Meg chuckled softly at his confusion, wondering how sheltered this man had been to keep that opinion. "It may be honesty, to some, but most either don't want the truth so plainly stated. Or even stated at all. Some prefer to dress it up so that it's not so… sharp." she tried to explain. "When it comes out so… unexpectedly, people assume that you are being rude."

"Ah." she nodded as he explained where he was from, as well as why he traveled, though she felt like something was missing from his answer. Something she couldn't quite put her finger on… maybe it had something to do with his unique hair color? "I would love to visit an island sometime. I've only been around cities and it's not all that great after a while."

"Oh, where are my manners tonight?" she groaned at herself before holding her hand out. "I'm Meghan Hill."

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“All of that might be true, yet that be because some folks cannot handle the truth in its sheer beauty and scale,”Nwalan replied easily, a mischievous grin lifting his lips.

He noted her suspicion, but otherwise didn’t move on it. Little suspicions were fine, but he would have to watch her and time things carefully. If she found out his nature too quickly, he might lose her as an ally. He didn’t want that to happen at all.

“Well, I know of a variety of islands I could show you if you ever wished to come. And, the company would be a delightful change,”he offered.

He didn’t mind whether she accepted or not. Though he was careful with his choice of words, mostly because his homeland was a place he didn’t plan on returning to. He had nothing left there but sad memories, and it had already left marks on him. Not to mention the great risks to Meghan’s health. The forests were rather hostile to the ignorant.

He gave her a patient smile as she remembered to introduce herself. Though he already knew her name, she didn’t know that he did. So, best to play along. It was nothing new to him, and he didn’t mind that either.

“I am Amrien Hazzledale. ‘Tis a pleasure to meet you,”he purred.

He took a step back and bowed deeply, then straightened and smoothly caught her hand, kissing the back of it before gently letting it go.

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“Beauty?" Meghan echoed as she tried to process his words. Yes, she understood that many people preferred not to confront the facts and deny her observations, most of the time… other times led to embarrassment but the number of times someone had been impressed by her comments had been low. She was going to be thinking that comment over for a long time.

"If I ever get enough money to pay for such a trip, I would like that. I haven't had the opportunity to travel since I was young." she admitted, remembering the times she and her father had gone camping together. Those memories were bittersweet but still clearly cherished… and not a topic she planned to bring up with a total stranger.

She smiled at the bow, finding it kind of cute though a bit Old World, but blushed a fierce red at the kiss. That had been completely unexpected and… admittedly, flawlessly done. A part of her mind briefly wondered if he had done this often, either back home or if he was just that much of a flirt. She cleared her throat and pushed aside the surprised embarrassment before attempting to speak again. "Amrien? That's a… well, it's not a name I've heard before. Does it mean something on your island?"

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“Indeed. The beauty of truth be that, regardless of one’s efforts to hide from it, no one can escape it. It may never emerge, yet it still exists, influencing the world around us,”Nwalan said thoughtfully.

A chuckle escaped him at her words.

“Money be no concern with me. The entirety of the cosmos is a mere step away,”he said. He was being both serious and humorous with his words.

Her thoughts on travel and its bittersweet nature reminded Nwalan of his own experiences. After all, one of the reasons he wandered was due to grief. Though, when she thought of the Old World, it brought him back to the present. He had briefly forgotten that he wasn’t on his homeworld anymore. This was… Earth, as the native humans called it. So, he actually didn’t have to worry about traveling to his island home, unless he took Meghan off-world. That would have to wait though until he knew more about her, and that’s if he ever deemed her ready to go that far.

“I know not if it has any meaning. Yet, Amrien be an old name. Possibly referring to a king… or bloodline maybe… ‘Tis been a long time since I last considered its meaning,”he said.

In all honesty, Nwalan had no idea if Amrien referenced anything. It was an alias that had come to his mind spontaneously while he was leaving. Though, it did sound similar to the names commonly used by one of the coastal kingdoms of his homeland.

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Meg nodded at his little speech, finding the truth in it and somewhat enamored by how elegantly it had been phrased. “You… make an excellent point. And I wouldn't disagree with you even if I didn't understand what you meant. Are you always this intuitive?”

His quip, despite holding a deeper meaning, was so obviously meant to be funny that she smiled. “The cosmos? You are ambitious, aren't you?” she chuckled. “Looking for other types of life out there? Or are you just an explorer of the last frontier?”

She wasn't going to give voice to the thought that Amrien must be either very rich or a dreamer to speak so casually about walking among the stars. Though she briefly questioned whether it was his whole island or just him.

“Well, it's a very nice name even if it is a bit unusual around here.” she told him with a slightly raised brow. “Though… it doesn't seem… oh, never mind. I hardly have any room to judge. My parents gave me a common name with a unique spelling to make me stand out. As if I need any help with that.” she informed, a mix of emotions filling her at that. Pride and love for her parents were obvious but there was a note of irony and annoyance… perhaps even a bit of disdain? Even she wasn't sure.

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Nwalan chuckled,” I have… picked things up over the years. ‘Tis both my nature and my experiences that have led to such insight in life.”

“Hm… Maybe all of the above,”he replied with a laugh.

It amused him to hear her pondering about his wealth. In his homeland, his attire spoke of nobility, though he supposed it wasn’t like that on Earth. Though, he technically didn’t have a single coin to his name. That didn’t mean he couldn’t make money. He had learned that trick centuries ago. So, in a way, he was unimaginably rich, just as long as he had something tangible to change into money. Anything worked, such as a wood chip or a string.

He smiled at her compliment, then grew curious at her next comment. He wondered what she had been meaning to say, but he didn’t push the issue as she continued. Her opinion regarding her parents seemed to be torn between many things, which Nwalan understood well. Though, was there a deeper meaning to her comment about standing out? Perhaps more than just her artistic talents?

“‘Tis nothing bad with standing out. Being unique be a blessing that some never have. Take my hair for example. ‘Tis dyed not. It simply be how it be. Yes, ‘tis quite odd, yet I cannot change how it truly be. And, why should I?”he remarked.

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Meghan laughed easily with him at both his answers. Of course, he would pick up many things from his travels whether it be skills, knowledge, or even a simple souvenir. It was nice to be able to enjoy herself in a conversation like this. Though part of her enjoyment came from trying to figure Amrien out. “You certainly have a way with words.”

Her amusement dimmed slightly as she raised a skeptical brow at his opinion about standing out but nodded all the same. “You make another good point, but at least you stand out in a way that people would call beautiful. I could tell that your hair is natural.” she sighed, feeling obligated to explain even if it meant he would walk away. Maybe it would be for the best if he did. She was used to being alone. “You see that man there? The one in the tux with the slicked-back dark hair?” she asked, nodding in the gentleman’s direction. “I don't know him but I know that his wife is having an affair with the nanny. So he comes to events like this so he can have as much champagne as he wants. Even though he won't forget what’s going on in his life with it. And I can tell that he has no plans to be with anyone tonight.” she informed as if the man was holding up a sign. “And that lady? The tall blonde in the black dress with the fur stole, holding her nose up at the world? She’s broke. Used to be very well off, possibly influential, but lost her money… I’m betting it was a bad financial investment that crashed. She comes here to hide that fact.” she shrugged before meeting Armien’s eyes. “How’s that for standing out?”

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“I try,”Nwalan said with a snicker.

Her determination to figure him out was intriguing, if slightly concerning. Though, he quickly became more concerned by her change in mood. He listened to her closely, pondering how she had already known his hair was natural. As she continued, he glanced at the people she mentioned, fascinated by her descriptions.

Though Meghan was clearly troubled by her abilities, Nwalan couldn’t help the mischievous grin that grew on his face at her question.

“Impressive. Yet, you are alone not in your abilities,”he cooed.

I, too, am an oddity, he said telepathically.

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Meg raised a brow at his mischievous expression, a little nervous about what he was going to say or do next. She didn't normally tell anyone about that for a couple of reasons. But add the fact that she couldn't read Armien as easily as she could read everyone else in the room.

She jumped at the voice in her head, her eyes widening as he tried to assure her. “You… how did you… I don’t understand.” she shook her head. “You were impressed with that and you were in my head?”