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Topic: New T-shirt design announcements
Subject: New design?
Okay... after the bit of banter that went on about it in Mr Conquest's "Hello, I'm new" thread, I couldn't help but come up with this:
Working on a "Don't Feed The Grugg... It gives him the winds something terrible!" one, next.
Posted on 2009-12-16 at 15:38:33.
Edited on 2009-12-16 at 16:03:20 by Eol Fefalas
Topic: Hello Everyone
Wait till you see the one I'm drawing up!...
...See above.... ^
Posted on 2009-12-16 at 12:02:44.
Edited on 2009-12-16 at 16:00:06 by Eol Fefalas
Topic: Hello Everyone
I was thinking something like:
P.S. Meri... the new guy tastes like conquest!
P.P.S. There! Replaced the slap-dash avatar tweak with a better product.
Posted on 2009-12-15 at 23:26:00.
Edited on 2009-12-16 at 15:59:00 by Eol Fefalas
Topic: Hello Everyone
...initiation... badge of honor... *shrugs* ... Call it what ya will. Taste test works, also...
We should hand out shirts to the newbies that get facelicked and stick around, huh?
"Eol facelicked me and I still game at the Red Dragon Inn!!!
Adventure Awaits... Moist towelette?"
Posted on 2009-12-15 at 22:32:30.
Topic: Hello Everyone
Subject: Welcome, welcome, welcome...
...and a hearty *facelick* to you, Innmate!
Glad to have you aboard and certainly hope that you find whatever it is you might be looking for here in the padded...er... hallowed walls of our beloved Red Dragon Lunatic Asylum... er... Inn.
I'm Eol... you can call me Uncle Run With Scissors if you prefer... or knucklehead... or that facelicky creeper guy... doesn't matter... I usually answer to anything.
If, in your wanderings hereabouts you get lost, need help finding anything, or just wanna sit by the fire, roast marshmallow minotaurs, and gossip about goblin girls, don't hesitate to ask either via PM or post! Someone's always willing to help out.
Posted on 2009-12-15 at 21:40:45.
Topic: The Fates of Fortune
Subject: An explanation... of sorts... maybe... Bah... back to work
The lingering pain of the wounds and the tug of the fresh sutures that now seamed them shut irritated him… they would slow him, physically, he knew; would whine for his attention even when he should be focused enough to ignore them… what annoyed him more than that, though, was the cacophony of conflicting thoughts… And emotions… that made a tangled mess of his mind at the moment. His own name, spoken in her voice and carried to his ears on the fall breeze that ushered him along the low and narrow canyon of monuments, was the final twist it took, then, to throw a catch in his stride and caused him to nearly falter a step.
Why, he grumbled inwardly, forcing his legs to keep moving, so that I might hear more of your grousing? Be reminded, once more, that I am beneath you and your precious round-eared relations? He didn’t want to stop for her… Wanted, instead, to get this job done and, in the process, set about working towards other plans that he had begun to conjure while strapped to that rack beneath the Hydra’s Breath…
But you do want to stop for her, his inner voice lobbied, and how can you not given what the stars have shown you? Given the tone in her voice as it is now? Listen to her, Nyx… that is not the timbre that it was…
The mith’ganni sighed, his pace slowed, and then stopped. He shoved a hand through his mane, wincing slightly as his arm brushed over the goose-egg that still rose around his eye and cheek, and, at last, glanced back and then turned in the direction of the footsteps that patted his way. Cay was only a few feet away, his cloak wrapped around her shoulders and the purse he had tossed at her still clutched in her hands, her hurried pace having slowed a bit as he had finally turned to face her. It slowed all the more as she drew nearer and stopped all together when she was within less than his arm’s reach. His eyes glittered as they fixed on hers but he still struggled to keep his expression flat.
“Nyx,” she began softly, tentatively, as if she wasn’t sure of the words she had called him to a stop to hear, “I’m tired and I’m sore…”
As am I, elen en cormamin,, the fractional nod that he offered by way of a response said.
“…and it wasn’t charity.” Her fingers unclenched from around the purse as she lifted and then opened it. “I still need money for a dress, and my purse is back home,” beneath the drape of the cloak, Cay’s shoulders lifted in a faint shrug.
One corner of his mouth twitched at that, resisting the urge to climb into what might have become a hopeful smile, but his eyes didn’t leave hers even as those slender fingers dipped into the small pouch and withdrew only a portion of the coin within. Neither did he make any move to take back the remainder when she offered it to him on an outstretched hand… just another short nod was his reply.
“Look…” the word was pushed into the air on a heavy sigh and her amber eyes drifted away to fall on a nearby grave-marker, “I don’t trust people… and they usually live up to my expectations. I waited in Dmitrova’s office for over an hour, listening to you scream down the hall. When they came back I was ready for them to drag me off even deeper into that pit of his. They didn’t. So you can’t explain why I’d help you… and I can’t explain why you didn’t feed me to the wolves. But you didn’t. So… you know a place I can get a decent dress? Isn’t something I usually shop for…”
Nyx’s gaze lingered on her face for a moment longer before, at last, falling away to regard the purse that hovered on her upturned palm. The voice had been whispering in his mind’s ear and, bidden by those whispers, the tight-lipped set of his visage softened and the cold glittering of his eyes sparked slightly warmer as they tracked away to the tombstone upon which Cay’s were fixed.
“I do,” he answered her question first, almost absently, “an old seamstress named Taellyn… She made this coat.”
Then, his eyes climbed the invisible slope of her stare to stop again on her face.
“Cay,” he murmured after a lingering study of the cheek his fingers had brushed over not long ago, and the tumble of auburn hair, burnished to almost copper in the light of day, that he had just as recently pushed behind a scar-tipped ear… He found himself chewing his already tender lip when her gaze didn’t lift from the headstone, forced himself to stop, and blew a soft sigh into the space between them as, finally, just one thought amongst the thousands that had been tumbling through his head untangled itself from that maelstrom and presented a clear path.
“Cay,” he said again, one of his hands moving to close over the one of hers that still offered the purse back and his other reaching to cup her chin and gently lift her gaze to his, “I can explain why I did not… how did you say? … feed you to the wolves…” The fingers at her chin traced along the line of her jaw, scarcely touching skin, feathered across her cheek… “But, I do not think it is an explanation that you are ready to hear, yes?” One alabaster finger looped an auburn lock around it while the rest drifted from her cheek and combed her hair back, the one finger whispering over her ear as it tucked the lock behind it. “I have ignored it, even wished… no… fought… against it for what, I have come to realize of late, has been a long time. Even now,” he almost chuckled, “I almost find myself wishing that the explanation was not so clear… or that I could speak it and have you hear it for what it is…” His smile went crooked, almost awkward, and a long forgotten and, once, carefully buried sensation twisted through him… “But it is… and I cannot… for fear that you would not.
I will tell you, though, that what I did, I would never have done for any other but one. And that one has been long amongst the stars… along with the someone else I once was…”
His eyes fell from hers, then, his cheeks warmed and he gave a slow shake of his head realizing how utterly ridiculous he must sound… and look… I have listened to bardsong once too often it seems… He withdrew the one hand from where it lingered along her neck; the other closed her fingers back around the purse and pushed it gently back towards her before also letting loose of her. “Hang on to that,” Nyx grinned, “If Taellyn thinks that I have money, she will assuredly charge extra. You can buy us breakfast from it along the way, if you like.
No oranges, I’m guessing,” he winked and, with some reluctance, Nyx turned and put enough distance between them again that their feet wouldn’t tangle when they walked.
“I suppose,” Nyx said to her after they had walked a bit further towards the edge of the cemetery, “you should tell me your thoughts for our shadowing of the Bolstoii whelp, today. I suppose I should keep a mind to the job at hand while I consider the one which presented itself once I discovered that there was a tunnel under the Hydra, no?”
Posted on 2009-12-15 at 17:05:29.
Topic: The Morphing Game
(No "s"! )
Posted on 2009-12-14 at 23:35:59.
Topic: The Would You Rather Game
How about Chinese Water Opera? Can I pick that?
Toenails or Tambourines?
Posted on 2009-12-14 at 23:27:11.
Topic: The Fates of Fortune
Subject: If I had known you were coming...
Nyx’s eyes had lifted to regard Cay once or twice over the course of the grousing that accompanied her waking moments. He said nothing for the duration of her ranting, though, and offered little reaction to any of it… a smirk when she griped about the lack of cushions… a contemptuous chuffing sound when she ‘praised’ Prien… and a rolling of the eyes when she complained about his disgusting elven blood having ruined her dress, perhaps, but otherwise he simply honed his blade and let her go on. Having been recently reminded of the rigors involved in coming out of sleep, himself, Nyx had actually been expecting worse from her.
“…I’m hungry as well,” Cay grumbled, sounding as if she were almost finished, “If you are feeling better, I’d like to get some food, something to wear and get on with our job.”
Our job, is it, now? the mith’ganni mused as he finished with the blade and gave it a final inspection, I seem to recall be told to report to Dmitrova before I thought to work again, not you… Although, if given a preference…
“And take this back,” she added, sweeping the cloak from where he had wrapped it around her earlier and tossing it at him, “my a** is cold, not my shoulders.”
His hand moved to sheathe the freshly-honed blade and, immediately afterward, shot out to snatch the cloak from the air. “Wrap it around your a** then,” he smirked, tossing the garment back at her as he slid gingerly from atop the coffin, “and stop your whining.
Do allow me to apologize for the atrocious accommodations, though,” Nyx’s tone was snide even if blurred some by the pained grunt that sliding the lid of the sarcophagus aside had induced, “Had I been expecting you, I might have had the maid tidy up and fluff the divan, yes? Perhaps made a cake…”
“Here,” one hand disappeared into the coffin’s depths, reemerged with one of the small, leather purses that had been secreted within – the same one Dmitrova had tossed him as an advance on the Gracchus job, as fate would have it – and lobbed it at Cay, as well, “That should be fifty gold, if I recall correctly; more than enough for breakfast and something suitable to the task at hand, no? Maybe even a bath to wash off the stink of an elf lest you sully anything new with it.”
Nyx gave another shake of his head and a somewhat soured expression crossed his features as he hauled the coffin lid back in place. When he glanced back at her, she looked as if she was about to toss the purse and cloak back at him; the set of her lips indicating preparation for a venomous retort that would accompany her actions. “Don’t,” he growled at her, his expression leaving no room for questioning, the quick gesture that accompanied it staying her own for the moment.
He gave another annoyed toss of his mane after his eyes lingered on her for a moment, his expression a mixture of irritation and confusion, and then snorted and set to snugging the kukri’s sheath to his thigh and ensuring the set of the ebon dagger at his back. “You did not have to come here, Cay,” he murmured after a moment, “I did not ask you to repay me for what has been done… I have received the payment I need from all of that, already… and, as much as I revolt you, nwalmaer, I cannot begin to understand why you would have. The purse is payment for the services, yes? That way you shall never have to admit having tended an elf out of charity.”
He snatched his coat from the sarcophagus, then, and set to sliding the stones from their places in the wall…
Posted on 2009-12-14 at 15:26:34.
Topic: Gamer Stigma
Subject: People fear what they don't understand...
...and those that don't understand gaming usually express their fear(which is usally more an expression of limited imagination) by haranguing gamers with the standard fall backs like "Oh, that's the tool of the devil" or "You're such a geek" or any number of worn out lines that I'm sure all of us have heard at least once or twice.
Yep... I'm a satanic geek who's never had a girlfriend... m'kay... and you're what? Another mindless drone who has nothing to entertain your narrow little mind aside from reality TV, tabloid magazines, and welbutrin? *shrugs*
Let 'em squawk!
Posted on 2009-12-14 at 12:39:47.
Topic: The Fates of Fortune
Subject: Interlude - Night at the Bolstoii's
“Are you trying to ruin everything? Are you trying to get us all killed,” the yellow-eyed elf fumed, “or worse?”
“No,” the other elf replied somewhat abashedly, lowering from one shoulder a small basket of apples and other fruits that had been deemed unacceptable for use in the kitchens of the Olsta household and setting it atop a low bench just inside the now closed stable doors, “No Aelion, I’m not. It…”
“How is it, then,” Aelion interrupted without glancing over his shoulder at the other, “that there’s been a grave dug for that cow and not for her husband? Did you think that poisoning the Lady as opposed to the senator would serve our purposes better?” He shook his head and scowled, dropping the brush he had been using to smooth the mane of one of the horses he was charged with tending into a pail, and leaned over the stall gate to regard the paler haired but darker skinned elf whose last duty for the Olsta’s every evening was the delivery of the less-than-perfect produce.
“A comedy of errors,” Rinril shrugged, meeting Aelion’s querulous gaze only after having flicked a nervous glance back at the doors through which he had just entered the stables, “had I, or any of the others known that the Senator disliked peas so much, a different soup would have been prepared and…”
“A comedy?!” Aelion’s tone was indignant as he plucked a shiny green apple, marred only by a thumbnail sized brown spot, from the basket. “There’s no comedy in any of it, Rinril,” he grumbled, excising the soft spot from the fruit with a thumbnail, “not for the likes of us. Will you think it humorous when Olsta’s railings finally ring loudly enough through the rest of the senate that we become less than we already are? When all of the limited freedoms the round-ears have allowed us are gone? When it is finally law that lets them treat us like less than their animals which we care for? Less than the so-called scraps flung from their tables and to the hogs?” He took a bite of the apple, then, eyes still fixed narrowly on the Olsta’s kitchen slave.
“No,” Rinril replied simply, slumping onto the bench next to the basket and selecting an apple for himself, “Comedy might not have been the proper word, Aelion… Accident might’ve been better… Unforeseen complication…” The blonde elf chomped into his own dinner without bothering to carve the bad spots from it and frowned at the straw between his feet as he chewed.
“Hmph,” the half-mith’ganni groom snorted, indulging in another bite of the apple before offering the rest to the stallion that stood next to him in the stall, “if we had managed to find that gold, we might’ve been able to hire a proper assassin and not had to rely on cooks and bakers…”
“And what about that” Rinril queried, a sardonic glance turned on the stable-elf, “Have you managed to get those manifests? Is there anything in them that can be used to get any of our people closer to that goal?”
“No,” Aelion snapped, “Thanks to your bumbling and Kiki’s oh-so-much-more-important fretting and the expansion of her social calendar as a result, the manifests are still as unknown as they were when I left… The little piglet has been as ineffectual in her task as you’ve been in yours…”
Rinril snickered; “Perhaps she’d be more effectual and quicker to act if she you weren’t constantly skewering her overly-round arse in the haymow…”
“Dinalle,” the half-mith’ganni smirked, finally coming out of the stall, “We all make sacrifices for the cause and if one of mine involves rolling around in a pool of that insipid bitch’s sweat, then, by all the stars in all the skies, I’ll not shy from doing it! In fact, I choose to look upon it as a portent of what is to come when we’ve finally turned the tables on the humans and we can begin breeding the ugly out of them…”
“I still don’t understand why Corrisan can’t get that information,” Rinril continued, ignoring the excuses Aelion offered for his relations with Styopa’s bloated daughter, “Or even why he won’t secure the funds needed to simply bribe someone at the Trade Offices to…”
“Because,” Aelion’s yellow eyes rolled, “that would be nearly as obvious as poisoning the wrong person, wouldn’t it? What over-fat, over-furred round-ear do you know, Rinril, that would hesitate to set the Legion on even Lord Bolstoii’s most loyal servant should they be dragged before the Praetor?”
“None!” Aelion’s boot kicked through the straw litter on the floor and shot a dung-laced glop of the stuff hurtling towards Rinril’s sandaled feet. “None! The minute the court was in session, any round-ear worth the title would point his fat finger at Corr to avoid the dungeons – which would be far better than those which the likes of us could expect, I assure you – and how long do you think it would take Corr to break under the Governor’s torturers and how long after that before the Legionnaires herded the rest of us up and marched us to the block or gallows in his wake, hmm?! Sea and stars, we wouldn’t have to even be concerned about Olsta’s legislations, then, because we’d all be dead, let alone relegated to less than dogs, wouldn’t we?!
This is why all I’ve asked you to do is slip a bit of poison into Olsta’s gullet,” the yellow-eyed elf raged, jabbing an accusatory finger at his compatriot, his tone well above that of civil conversation, “Despite how often we hear the Senator and his staff talk about how stupid you are, I at least thought you could manage that! It’s nowhere near as complicated as the whys and wherefores of the grand scheme, is it?!”
Rinril’s eyes had grown wide and begun darting nervously about the barn as Aelion’s tirade grew louder. Now he was on his feet and waving raised hands at the advancing elf. “Keep your voice down,” he pleaded, trying not to let his own tone rise, “You’ll get us whipped… or killed…”
“You might have already done that,” Aelion growled, slapping Rinril’s hands out of the air before taking a double fistful of the cook’s threadbare coat and giving a firm shake, “because you were too incompetent to kill even one!” His voice was lower, now, but, growled through clenched teeth, less than six inches from Rinril’s face, no less angry. “In less than a week, Senator Olsta is scheduled to leave for the Capitol. Four days from then, he’ll be standing before the Senate, proposing those new restrictions that we all know he has the backing to carry. Do you think the senate will deliberate overlong on whether or not to pass the measures? Do you not think that they’ll be enacted throughout the Empire even before Olsta’s cavalcade has returned to Drasnia? Tell me, Rinril, are you that stupid?!”
“N-no…” the cook-elf balked taking hold of the other’s wrists and trying to pull his way free of the grip.
“What will the manifests even matter, then,” Aelion shoved Rinril roughly away, “Should that legislation go through, there will be no way that any of us will manage to attend any of the Avenon bound caravans without looking forward to spending our nights tethered to the wagons, will we? No chances of passing information. No freedom to continue our searches. And, mind you, even the boldest clans in Shanurdir won’t be fool enough to raid trains which will be as heavily guarded as they’ll certainly be! We need Olsta dead, Rinril, and we needed him dead three days ago!
I hesitate to even ask you to try it again,” he grumbled, casting a final, derisive glance in the blinking Rinril’s direction before kicking at the straw, again, and turning his eyes towards the chestnut mare that still needed to be brushed, “We can’t afford another mistake… another ‘comedy of errors’…”
“I… know, Aelion. I…”
Shaking his head, Aelion took up the basket that Rinril had brought and started a slow, stall-to-stall walk, delivering the treats to “his” horses. “It’s already become more complicated with what happened to Lady Evines, this morning,” he said, his tone once again at a nearly casual level, “If an elf is allowed on the streets tomorrow, I’ll wager that it’ll be only under double the normal scrutiny if not worse, and that will make our tasks difficult enough. And, if Senator Olsta is not dead by nightfall tomorrow, those tasks will become all the more unmanageable because we, then, won’t have the time to find and dispose of all the bastard’s speeches and letters that will certainly be sent to Ellisia East even if he doesn’t go with them.”
Aelion had reached the last stall on the one side and had crossed to the other to begin the return trip; yellow eyes glinted from the looming shadows as they fell on Olsta’s cook again. “Do you think you can mange to kill him properly, this time, Rinril? Or will one of us need to risk curfew tonight and try to find a professional who would even entertain the job on such short notice? Where we might come up with the money to hire such, though…”
“I’ll do it, Aelion,” Rinril said, though he didn’t look entirely confident about it.
“Do you even have any of the poison left?”
“Enough,” Rinril nodded, looking at his feet and silently hoping it was so. After what seemed like an uncomfortable moment of contemplation for him, he added; “I’ll do it… Even if I have to… to stab the man, myself, with a knife from the kitchen… That will be my… sacrifice…”
“See that you do, then, Rinril,” Aelion said flatly, having reached the final stall and the end of the fruit and vegetables in the basket. He thrust the now empty bin back at the other elf; “Sooner rather than later, hm? No more comedies?”
“No. No more comedies,” Rinril answered, taking the basket back.
“Good. Go on, then,” Aelion waved in the direction of the barn doors, “It’s almost curfew and if you’re caught on the streets after you’ll have already failed us a second time.”
Posted on 2009-12-13 at 18:51:01.
Topic: RDInnsider - The March Issue Is Here!
...I got the same message when I tried to open the e-mail attachment, myself.
The link I provided above, though, opens just fine. Give that one a shot Kyle.
Posted on 2009-12-12 at 20:28:24.
Topic: The One Word Game
Subject: Why, ye gods, must you make me say...
Posted on 2009-12-12 at 15:09:02.
Topic: The Morphing Game
Subject: *bites tounge*
Posted on 2009-12-12 at 15:06:24.
Topic: The Morphing Game
Posted on 2009-12-12 at 14:58:58.
Topic: I'm new here.
Howdy doodie, Jet. Glad to have ya amongst the Innmates. Like Wolf said, jump right on in...
*tosses Wolf some water-wings and various other floaties*
...Don't worry about the sinking part... If ya can't swim we'll float ya.
Oh... and watch out for Eol... he's very likely to facelick ya if he knows you're here...
Welcome to the Inn!
Holler if you need anything.
Posted on 2009-12-12 at 13:14:09.
Topic: Corrupt a wish
Subject: Yea verily...
...thou shalt have thine pony and it shall speaketh to thee in dark whispers and thou shalt be striken mad by it's constant nagging to paint the goldfish and flog the platypus. Thus shall the nice men in the white hats come forth and bestow upon the the canvas sportscoat with the backward sleeves upon thee, and yay shall ye dwell in the room made of rubber amen!
I wish that hadn't been so easy.
Posted on 2009-12-10 at 21:38:06.
Topic: The Morphing Game
Posted on 2009-12-10 at 21:18:28.
Topic: The One Word Game
Subject: I came to get...
Posted on 2009-12-10 at 21:17:34.
Topic: The Fates of Fortune
Subject: Adrift... in silence and stillness...
He was home. He was safe. How any of it had been managed, though, Nyx would likely never know… and if he never remembered the preceding hours, either, it would be a merciful thing. Undeserving of mercy, though, the elven assassin would remember, just as he remembered every other pain and torment visited on him over the years. So it was that, having forsaken mercy, Nyx took hold of the one comfort that was offered… he was home… safe… and, for only the second time since he had left the steppes, not alone…
“…I’d rather you died at my hands instead of those filthy humans,” a stern but somehow concerned voice murmured from the wavering fringes of his consciousness. He felt arms enveloping around him, softness and a scent like rainwater along with them…
Filthy humans, his mind registered, his rolling gaze trying to train on the face to which the voice belonged, Lyssa?
“…behave yourself, or I swear what Dmitrova and that ugly b**** did to you will only be the beginning…”
Dmitrova… Contempt… surprise… sacrifice… Lyssa is gone… pain… rage.
“…Do you hear me Nyx?!”
Hear you? Cay? Consciousness faded… the walls of stone blurred…became a hazy lattice over which was draped over with pattern woven canvas…
“Nyx!” The shouting voice called him back. “…do you hear me!?”
“Yes,” he answered… thought he answered, “yes, Lyssa; I hear you, melamin. I always hear you. I am just… tired… I need to rest… sleep… anta kaima…” He felt himself falling again… no… not falling…
“…Lay here will you?”
…lain down. Sighed… felt a spur of pain…
“Not as if you are going much of anywhere like that I suppose.”
He floated in a blissful oblivion for… he didn’t know how long... buffeted, on occasion, by sharp spears and blunt clubs that went unseen in the nothingness and, after a while, felt himself floating upwards… and a short way down, again. Felt the cool of fabric against his head and the warmth of flesh beyond… and then it was raining… a deluge of cool but burning drops fell from a dark and cloud-laden sky and into his throat and he was drowning. Spikes of anguish shot through him as he lurched and coughed…
“…good waste of liquor…”
Not rain… wine…
“…down you go… loosing… blood… stop that up…”
Cay? What in all the hells?
She is trying to help you… Tell her about the herbs in your…
She thinks you are delirious…
Am I not?
…you will need to show her.
Nyx laughed in his mind but couldn’t tell if the laughter went past his lips; No… no shape for that… here…
He felt the herbs pushed passed his lips, tasted the sweetness of her fingertips over the bitterness of the saturated leaves, and smiled faintly as that sweetness withdrew. He smiled and chewed and the bitterness of the leaves sweetened and merged with the wine and he wavered again and sank back into limbo. It was different here, now. Warmer. More peaceful. And the assault of phantom implements of war were fewer… those that he did feel, though, were sharper, this time… closer to where this place abutted the other… and he tried to fight them but was restrained… and succumbed again to the ink.
“You’re a damn fool Nyx Syndyn” the stars spoke as he swam toward them through the void, I’m not worth all of this…”
Uma, lle naa, he said back, unsure if they heard, All of this and more… You are my guide… you are my reason…my… partner… I am…
“…that’s what everyone else has done…”
“…not… everyone else,” he felt the words mumble past his lips as the zephyr of her voice caught him and lifted him towards vague awareness. It was fleeting, though, and he scarcely managed to hold on to it long enough to see twin, amber stars flare brighter before the blackness crashed over him again… “…Lyssa… Etellenya…”
After a while, the black became less than a cold, numbing darkness. The pains in that cold vanished as the black turned to purple, and warmed and softened. Curious and gentle, the fingertips of the wind and stars caressed over his face and twined through his hair, and he was free…
There were dreams again but, this time, very few of them followed him into wakefulness. There were remnants of them… some, nothing more than queasy and unsettling sensations… others, conversely, that were comforting and warm and… Sweet?!
The velvet cloak of slumber unfurled and dumped Nyx into reality and his eyes – both of them, he noted (though one more than the other) – shot open and for an instant he blinked in that same anxiety that had beset him when last this happened. His instinct, of course, was to bolt upright… get to his feet… get a weapon in hand… The feather-light weight of a slender hand, though – fingers delicately entwined in his hair – stayed that instinct and he blinked again, not moving. Before his eyes was a blood-stained and fairly-worn but still finely crafted and elf-worked swath of purple fabric that wrapped about a trim belly and, beneath him, on the other side from where the delicate hand rested, the same fabric draped over the lap upon which his head rested… and the faint scent of rainwater…
“Cayrimsa?” His lips formed the name more than it was truly spoken, scarcely even whispered. Yellow eyes blinked once more as Nyx became aware of more than just situation and circumstance… his body spoke to him… told him that the dirt and the blood and the sweat that he last remembered were no longer there… that open wounds had been closed and aching wounds assuaged by poultices and patience… and that his arm had wrapped languidly around Cay’s waist as he had slept in her lap.
“…Don’t you ever touch me again!!!”
Ever so carefully and as hazy memories of the past night tried to play through his mind, the mith’ganni slipped the one hand from around the still dozing witch and, at the same time, used the other to gently extract hers from his hair as he withdrew his head from atop her legs. The cloak she had covered him with fell away as Nyx, still achy, got to his feet and his eyes took in the various articles strewn across the tiny chamber even before they scanned, with no small amount of admiration or appreciation, over the wound-mending she had performed on his body with them. Another blink found his gaze back on Cay and a sheepish, perhaps even grateful smile on his lips. Without a sound, he crouched, gathered up the cloak, and draped it around her shoulders. He found that he could not resist, as his hands came back from snugging the shadow-black fabric behind her, letting his fingers feather across her cheek to brush an errant lock of hair away from her face and place it behind her ear. A thumb stroked gingerly over the scar where once that ear’s point had risen and, tentatively his lips followed, placing the lightest of kisses there before he backed away from her and left her to what was surely a much needed and much deserved rest…
I wonder about her dreams, yes? Nyx murmured inwardly as he tore his attentions from the sleeping witch and turned them to tending to his gear. What visions do you see, nwalmaer, when sleep has taken you?
When Cayrimsa finally began to stir, Nyx had already straightened the crypt’s tiny interior, mended the tear in his pants, and, having donned them and his tunic, had resigned himself to the top of the sarcophagus where he attended to the sharpening of his blades. The rasp of the whetstone gliding along the down-curved edge of his kukri accompanied the stretch and yawn that issued from her as she stumbled into wakefulness.
“Quel amrun, Cayrimsa Etellenya,” he smiled softly, his moon-hued eyes flicking in her direction for only an instant before tracking back to the edge of the kukri’s blade, “It seems I owe you a debt of thanks, yes? And, perhaps, a new dress?”
Posted on 2009-12-10 at 21:05:23.
Topic: The One Word Game
Posted on 2009-12-10 at 19:59:10.
Topic: The One Word Game
Posted on 2009-12-10 at 19:19:48.
Topic: The Fates of Fortune
Beyond the wardrobe through which Nyx, still bound, manacled and already bleeding, had been dragged was the secret entrance to a tunnel which snaked its dark way through Drasnia’s belly. Ten or fifteen paces, by Nyx’s count, beyond where the false wardrobe opened into the underground passage another shorter and darker tunnel branched away off the left side of the main excavation and continued in that direction perhaps another five paces before it ended at the face of a heavy, iron-bound door. Past that door, pitchy torches flickered to create weird, dancing shadows on sharply hewn stone walls. The walls framed a largish room strew with tables, chains, needles, pincers, gyves, ropes, nails, shackles, hammers, wooded wedges and blocks and splinters, gags, mouth and tongue stretchers, heating irons, braziers, wheels, and pulleys. Much of this charming paraphernalia bore dark stains in spots… some of those spots, particularly those on the table across which the mith’ganni assassin was presently stretched, promised to darken all the more before the night was finished.
Nyx – naked bruised, cut, contused, being stretched to the point that the stitches which laced his one, previously tended injury threatened to snap or tear free of the flesh – blinked the one yellow eye that wasn’t already beginning to swell itself shut and craned his neck to regard the others in attendance. Vadim Dmitrova – flanked on one side by the young but skilled Tselika doch’Dorpatskyi and, on the other, by his trusted lieutenants DiLucci and Czegel – stood at the table’s foot, each with a smirk of some satisfaction etched on their faces. Left of the table and some distance away, though it was difficult to get a clear look past his arm when Nyx turned his head to do so and impossible to get a glimpse in his peripheral vision thanks to the state of that eye, lingered a pair of healers (one who did his work with herbs and potions and another who employed magical methods) and a small troupe of other Hellkites whom Nyx, try as he might, could not name at present. Not that any of their names mattered or that the presence of any of them concerned him, now. At the right of the table and much closer than any of the others in the room stood the one person whose presence concerned Nyx the most, right now.
Massively constructed, and black-nailed Ibram Gost was known to many in Drasnia as the finest smith to light a forge on the north side’s bazaar, few citizens of the imperial port city, though, were aware that Ibram had been supplementing his income from the smithy and honing a new craft these past few years as a hired torturer for Dmitrova’s chapter of the Hellkite Syndicate. The bull of a human had recently cinched the wheel near the top of Nyx’s table, causing the elf to break into a sweat with the effort of keeping his joints in their sockets and, as the one, now wide, yellow eye that could do it snapped towards the face of the man, Ibram took up a sledgehammer, regarded it and the elf thoughtfully, and then, cracking his flat expression, slid eyes towards Vadim and raised a questioning brow.
Nyx’s gaze followed… somewhat anxiously some in the room would later relate.
The Hellkite Captain seemed to contemplate Ibram’s unspoken question for a moment but wasn’t long in offering a faint shake of his head and waving a hand to dismiss the thought. “No,” Nyx heard him say, “I’ll need him in condition to be able to work again should he be able to tell me the truth of today’s events.”
The smith had shrugged, set aside the hammer, and took up a pair of long handled pincers; “Pluck off ‘is berries, then, Cap’n?”
In his current posture, Nyx realized, just then, his adam’s apple had become a knife which threatened to cut his throat from the inside each time he tried to swallow. A trickle of fresh sweat trickled from his hair line and spilled into his eye as it rolled frantically back to catch Vadim’s reaction... Czegel’s eyes were wide at the suggested torture and DiLucci’s expression was almost disinterested, the elf noticed of pain as his pain-hazed gaze swept past them, but Dmitrova’s lips were split in an amused grin and Tselika was positively beaming…
“No,” Dmitrova chuckled, dismissing that idea, as well, “no need to torture him there. Yet. Try something a bit less horrific, first.”
“Do you think he’s tall enough, Captain,” DiLucci grinned as he asked the question. The weasel faced man stood less than six inches from the crank of the rack on which Nyx lay, taut.
“Did all of you miss the part in which I said I’d like him to be able to work, again,” Dmitrova asked…
“Well do something to him,” Tselika snapped. “I should have just killed him and been done with it!”
Nyx choked/laughed then, in the face of his pain and at the indecisiveness of the group. “Indeed you should have,” the assassin strained, “because, when the opportunity presents itself, slitch, the things I shall do to you I would never think to do to a horse!”
Dmitrova surprised everyone, including himself. The movement was swift and the crack loud. He drew back the whip from a whiter stripe across Nyx’s belly. It went pink, then darker, and started to rise. “That, Shyndyn,” the crimelord said through clenched teeth as he hauled the lash back once more, “is why I am forced…” The whip cracked with the sound of wind catching a slack sail, chains rattled and Nyx’s mouth and even right eye went wider than he thought it could manage as the next strike fell across his chest… “to change our protocol! I have tolerated your arrogance and disrespect for far too long…” A new welt began to rise. Tselika’s tittering laughter hung in the cloying air for a second before the whistling of the whip and the hateful crack of Vadim’s third strike – which landed across Nyx’s thighs, just an inch or so below the ‘berries’ that Ibram had sought to pluck off and alongside the crudely stitched wound on the outer right – drowned it out… “and it has started to infect the rest of my people! You saw what Cay did to poor Yuri, yesterday… and should have heard the way she talked to me when I had her brought in, tonight… she should be giving thanks to whatever gods have forsaken her that she’s not on one of these other tables along side you!
I dislike whipping a man,” Dmitrova sighed, tossing the whip aside (since Ibram had already taken up a handful of needles and begun to slide them under the mith’ganni’s fingernails) as he moved back to his previous place beside a cackling Tselika at the foot of the rack, “or even this one… It’s a slaver’s work, I think…”
Nyx couldn’t hold the scream back any longer when that first needle pushed through the quick under his nail and was driven excruciatingly towards the cuticle.
“Now,” Vadim’s voice reached through the cacophony echoing from the chambers walls, “with humility and respect, Nyx, you are going to tell me everything that you have done since I sent you out of here with Cayrimsa last night…”
The dying reverberations of Nyx’s last howls were resurrected to fullness, drowning out whatever remained of the Captain’s command, as the torturer/smith set to pushing a second needle beneath a second fingernail. Before a third sliver of metal could be placed between tip and nail of a third finger, though – much to the disappointment of Tselika and one or two others in attendance but to Vadim’s smug satisfaction – Nyx began to talk…
Yes. He had attacked Cay in that alley but he hadn’t tried to have his way with her and the slitch had more than deserved it.
Yes. He admitted responsibility for the killing of the Legionnaire, this morning. The swaggering prick of a soldier had taken to levying fines of a fleshly nature from women and girls and young boys who had impinged upon Drasnian laws of late. One of those of the girl sort whom the Legionnaire had recently ‘fined’ had been the daughter of a merchant who was all too eager to pay the price Nyx commanded in order to have the slight recompensed. Since Cay had made it more than clear that she wouldn’t work with him on the Bolstoii task, Nyx left the witch to it alone, and had spent the time since he had left her laying in the alley, stalking and butchering Dugan, and the rest of it laying low.
No. He couldn’t tell them anything about what had happened in the Imperial Quarter this morning because he hadn’t been there. Even if he had, at some point, entertained the notion of going and surprising the half-breed sorceress as she bumbled along behind the mark, he wouldn’t have entertained it for long given the way the legion had descended on that neighborhood and the ones which surrounded it.
Such was the information that was spilled – between interludes of piercing and scourging and prying intended to break the boredom induced by the details of it – from Nyx’s lips over the next hours. When the tale and torture had been revisited a second and third time and Dmitrova was satisfied in the truth of it all the interrogation had come to an end. The torture, though, had continued for some time. Tselika had offered back some of the coin she was to be paid with if the Captain would be so kind as to allow her a short while to visit her own brand of pain of the bastard point-ear. Vadim had happily agreed, even stayed to watch as most of the others who had attended the earlier sessions filed out of the chamber.
The human woman’s methods were far more creative than Ibram’s and far more painful. So it was with some gratitude that Nyx would later be unable to recall the totality of what he had endured in that room in the eternal hours that followed. It was with more than a little confusion, however, that Nyx found himself roused into an agonizing consciousness, his vision blurring as it tried to focus on what appeared to be the riverbank. He felt the weight of his clothing and gear pulling him downward, felt the trickles of blood that seeped beneath that weight and dripped earthward as his body was hoping to do, and finally, felt the rough hands that held him upright by arm and hair at the Reyal’s edge.
“Cap’n says fer ya ta go home or whereev’r tis ya go an’ heal yerself up, horse-f***er,” a voice, rough as the hand that tangled in his mane and snatched his head back, growled in his ear, “An’ when ya c’n walk agin, he says, ta make sure ya walk yer pale arse back ta th’ Hydree so’s ta get yer next job, aye?”
A pained groan that he wasn’t entirely sure he had made, himself, gurgled past his swollen lips and his throbbing head bobbled as it tried to turn and fix a good eye on whoever it was that had just spoken. He was in flight before he could focus, though. The voice and the hands connected to it were gone, the black and blue and purple of Drasnia’s nightscape swirled in his clouded vision, and pain wracked through him in shredding jolts as his body bounced more than once on the bank before rolling into the blessedly cold waters of the Reyal and was hastily swept away by the current.
Nyx didn’t remember dragging himself from the river… couldn’t recall crawling and dragging his way from the southern bank to the deathly still sprawl of the necropolis… and certainly wouldn’t have been able to fathom how he had managed to do so and still make it there with all of his gear let alone his life intact even if he had.
No, the first conscious thought that had come to him since the Reyal’s waters had coughed him up, came just after Nyx had toppled over the fence just beyond the yew tree and landed in a bloody, broken, and raggedly wheezing heap behind the mausoleum where he had hoped to hide and lick his wounds. He had landed with his face in the dirt but his gaze directed at the spot where the loose stones typically blocked up the entrance to his hidey-hole and, as he coughed and drooled blood into the earth under his cheek, a painfully trembling hand instinctively sought out the haft of the kukri that was thankfully in place (if not securely lashed) to his throbbing thigh… The stones were not precisely where the should have been and he thought he caught the faint flicker of candlelight seeping between a slit where one should have met the other…
“Pach,” he groaned, still trying to drag the kukri from it’s sheath with one hand as the other snaked towards the stones… It took him some effort and, he realized, he may have passed out more than once in the attempt, but, at long last his eye blinked and he found himself halfway through the hole in the wall… the blood-crusted hand clutching the kukri leading the way as he dragged his body across the cool stone of the crypt’s floor… Another agonized groan through clenched teeth as he lifted his head and tried to see who might be awaiting him… who he would have to kill before he could rest… and his vision was filled with a flash of purple and his ears the rustle of fabric… he hadn’t even the time to raise the kukri to strike before she had hold of him and the blade clattered noisily to the floor as he somewhat dreamily realized that Cay and not one of Vadim’s paching shadows was dragging him the rest of the way inside.
“Mae govannen, Cayrimsa,” he rasped on a nearly laughing breath, his gaze searching for her but unable to focus, “You should… go now… amin… anta… kaima…”
Posted on 2009-12-09 at 20:04:11.
Topic: The Fates of Fortune
Subject: The wind can be caught...
Nyx was still grumbling at having allowed himself to succumb to sleep when he slipped into the shadows beneath a short pier that jutted out into the Reyal river. Even with as long a walk as it had been in the cool evening air from the cemetery to this sparsely populated spot along the banks, he still felt himself lingering in the gauzy effects of relaxation taken too far… still found himself trying to sort out the dream that had chased him into wakefulness. Sleep well, indeed, he growled to himself as he settled onto the ground under the dock, very near where it joined to earth of the bank, and allowed the shadows there to absorb him, Far less restful than the trance. The waking is disconcerting and… so are the dreams.
Perhaps if you had not let the dream wake you.
The mith’ganni smirked and rubbed at his eyes, then, but, afterward, sat motionless… a shadow in shadows… for a long while; watching and listening. Only when he felt certain that he was alone with only the noises of the river and the wind did he move again. How could that dream not have woken me, Nyx resumed the internal debate as he unfastened his belt and began to strip away his coat and tunic, It’s images were stranger than even some spells that I have seen… disconnected… too fast to tie one to another…
The inner voice snickered softly.
Dina! This is why only Shamans pursue the dreams found in sleeping…
Very well, Nyx. As you say.
Nyx inspected the scrapes and cuts and bruises that adorned the pale skin of his arms and torso, ignoring the patronizing tone his mind had taken with him. Before removing his boots and pants, though, he took the time to fashion a makeshift lanyard from the leather thongs that typically secured his kukri to his thigh and hung the blade from his neck… bathing alone in a darkened river or not, it was unwise to ever go unarmed. This done, Nyx sat motionless, naked save for the kukri, and waited out the night’s latest report before, finally, creeping closer to the water’s edge. He waited out another span in silence before finally scooping up handfuls of bank sand and scrubbing himself thoroughly, his yellow eyes never lapsing from their scrutinizing scan of his surroundings. Finally, slowly, cautiously, and ever so quietly, Nyx slipped into the cold waters of the Reyal and, kukri scabbard clamped firmly between his teeth, swam out and down a short distance, allowing the river’s currents to wash the sand and grime and stick and stink of human blood from his body.
As he floated weightless beneath the Reyal’s black surface, buffeted gently by the soon to be frigid flow of its waters, Nyx found that the sensation was curiously reminiscent of dreaming and, for an instant, let go of his efforts to resist the current and allowed it to carry him along… much as the dream had done…
You see? Not so bad if you just allow it to happen, is it?
Nyx’s arms stretched out and dragged the current. His body lengthened and, with a quick kick of his feet, he ascended to where the stars winked at him through the rippled glass of the river’s face. He paused, treading water, with only the top of his head to his searching, moon-colored eyes poking above the surface, and analyzed what releasing his control – even for that short time – had earned him. The Reyal’s flow had carried him farther from the dock than he would have imagined and had left him in a position form which he might miss some movement beyond it were he not careful and had also pushed him nearer to where a riverside tavern known as The Wine Barrel still served patrons on a lantern-lit deck that looked out over the waterway. Soothing, perhaps, he conceded, his gaze ticking to the sky and finding the stars for a second before he submerged and kicked against the current to regain the shadow of the pier, but still it takes me farther than I need be…
Too far, the voice queried as Nyx’s head broke through the surface of the water again, or just far enough that you are able to think on more than just the here and now?
It was funny how the stars that the assassin’s eyes found just then were owned by the constellation in the dream… funny how his own thoughts had become as cryptic as that dream, too. Still, he mused, his gaze breaking from the sky and sweeping the riverbank and under-dock shadows, a shaman’s triflings for a shaman’s mind... Not a shadow moved, neither beneath the tiny pier nor on either bank of the river… I am not a shaman… the farther I get from the here and now the more I risk what I am… He swam another few strokes closer to the dock, pushing his head further out of the water and allowing his ears a sampling of what the night held… He was very near the bank when he realized that not even a single frog had croaked into the gloom, or that there were no cricket songs chirruping from near the shadows around the pylons… Something is… not right…
He sank again, keeping only his eyes above the dark water, one hand seeking purchase in the silt and mud to anchor himself as he watched and waited and the other slowly pulling the kukri free of its sheath before his teeth let it go…
From where she stood, her back molded to the stone-worked piling of one of the dock’s supports, Tselika doch’Dorpatskyi allowed her lips to stretch into a smile. Vadim had offered a bonus if she managed to return Drasnia’s supposed “Assassin Prince” to the Hydra’s breath before two hours had passed and, here, she had managed to find him in less than one. She was proud of herself for that. Shyndyn had been stalking among, killing from, and disappearing into this city’s shadows since before she was born, after all, and, even when her services to the Hellkites consisted of little more than playing lookout or messenger… in those days when Nyx was still only freelancing for a younger Vadim… tales of the mith’ganni’s prowess, even of his very nature, had begun to become the stuff of legends in the making …
“If it’s a thing what walks, crawls, flies, swims, er slithers, citizen, I gar’ntee, by Naxir, as the Shyndyn’s killed it. Yer lookin’ fer some’ne ta do that work, he’ll be the bloke ya want…”
“Bugger ain’t no elf! He’s a ghost is what he is! How ya gonna go about catchin’ a ghost, I wanna know…”
… and she had caught him
Yes, she was very proud of herself for pinning him down as quickly as she had… and almost equally as disappointed in Shyndyn for allowing himself to have been found so easily… would have been more disappointed if it hadn’t been for the dumb luck (though Tselika would never admit that it had been anything but skill) that had first pointed to where the elf could be found. As with any mark she had ever tagged, Tselika set out on her stalk by putting herself in the mind of her target. It had been a fairly easy thing to do with Nyx – despite the faint sickness she felt at imagining herself elven – because, like her, the mith’ganni was a predator of a certain caliber and, despite variances in style or motive, all killers of that ilk developed similar habits for similar situations… like disappearing. When one of their kind wanted to hide they were always most successful when they did so in a place that defied what most would consider logic and common sense…
“An elf… a free elf of any sort in Drasnia would surely be found hiding on the city’s north side,” one of Czegel’s musclemen had protested when she had led them across the Three Gates to the southerly side of the Reyal, “More chance of blending in with their own kind and such… being hid by their kin…”
“Which is exactly why,” she growled, stopping at the bridge’s end and whirling about to train her sapphire glare on the man, “he’ll not be on the north side; because it is what everyone expects of him… No one would think him mad enough to traipse the avenues of the ‘good part’ of the city, would they? A sky-gawking horse elf skipping through noble-town where the only bark-eaters are those that have been bought and sold by real people? Now, shut up… I’m the one hunting this prey and I know better than you what I’m doing… you’re nothing more than a mule that will haul my trophy back to the fire…. If you speak again before I ask it, I will be sure to kill you once you’ve served your purpose.”
They hadn’t taken more than a hundred steps from the southern end of the Three Gates when Tselika had caught the faintest darkening and shifting of shadows in the periphery of her vision. Her head turned and, before the shadow within a shadow became nothing, she was sure she caught sight of the hem of a cloak within it…She had waved her mules back, then, demanding that they stay well enough behind her that she couldn’t see them, promising that she’d summon them when they’d be of use, and threatening death, again, if they failed to comply. She had bolted for the sidestreet where the shadow’s shadow had been, then, and, with some difficulty, found trace of it… followed it east and north again to a dark and all but sleeping middle-class neighborhood along the Reyal… kept hold of it’s phantasmal tether even as it disappeared along the very bank of the river… and, at last, watched as the naked elf slipped into the waters from beneath this very dock. The moment his head had disappeared beneath the river’s surface, Tselika had surged forward and secreted herself in the shadows he had just abandoned. A quick surveillance once there revealed all of the elven assassin’s kit hidden away in a shallower part of the dock’s shadows. Just as quickly as she spotted it, she secured it and tossed it all farther up the bank where one of the mules could pick it up for her in a moment and then, just as she heard the sound of something popping through the surface of the water downstream, had draped herself in this perfect darkness where even the bathing mith’ganni’s cursed elven eyes would certainly miss her…
They had and another almost inaudible rippling of the river brought Nyx closer. Back to where he believed only his gear awaited his return. Now, Tselika could practically feel where her quarry sprawled in the dark water not six feet behind her… just as she could feel those disgusting yellow eyes scanning the darkness around her… He knows… Her fingers worked against the leather-wrapped handle of the sap she held at the ready and she licked her lips in anticipation as she shifted her weight ever so slightly. When the mith’ganni came out of the water, he did so so swiftly and silently that, had her momentum not been carrying her that way already, Tselika would have missed landing the weapon on the sweet-spot just above and ahead of the creature’s pointed ear. And, had Nyx not already been twisting himself about in what surely would have been a slash that disemboweled her, the force from the blow she’d lucked into might not have slammed the other side of his head into the ground quite the way it had and knocked him unconscious straight away.
Tselika stepped forth from the shadows, her features set tight and stern as she looked down on the naked and battered elf and poked a toe into his belly to ensure he was truly out. When Shyndyn didn’t move, groan, or so much as flutter an eyelid at that first test, she drew back her foot and let fly a solid kick to his ribs. The force of it lifted the elf, set the kukri skittering away from the already limp, chalk white fingers, and pushed a grunting gust of air out of his lungs but nothing else. Having thus verified that Nyx Shyndyn was truly unconscious at her feet, Tselika at last let go of the breath she had been holding. It came out in a too fast, too loud, shuddering gust and her head tingled and swam so that she had to steady herself by bracing hands to knees.
“Oh, how I’d love to be able to kill you right now, Nyx,” she breathed, smiling when the swoon passed and her vision cleared to reveal the ‘Assassin Prince’s’ slack jawed face in the dirt at her feet, “That’s all I should need to finally prove that I’m better than you, isn’t it?” She spit on him, then, and kicked him once more just for good measure as the prideful smile, full of teeth this time, spread across her face. Following that celebration, though, Tselika wasted no time in making sure that Nyx was bound securely and, even as she slipped the last knot in the rope and reinforced the work with manacles, she sent a shrill whistle up the night-cloaked banks of the river.
It took the mules a bit longer than she would have liked for them to find her. By the time the two muscle-brained brutes came lumbering down the bank gibbering at each other in what sounded like utter astonishment, the elf at her feet had started to stir. “Hurry up,” she hissed at the two approaching shadows as her eyes flicked between him and them, “If I do not collect that bonus…”
“Yeah,” one of them breathed, almost grinning as he pounded to a stop, “you’ll kill us; we know.”
“Shipri’s shoes,” the other exclaimed, drawing up beside his counterpart, “Would ya lookit that! She got him, Zel!”
“Yep,” Zel replied nodding his admiration as his gaze fixed on Tselika, “looks’s if, don’t it? Good work, lady. I din’t figger ye’d be able ta bag ‘im at all, if ye don’t mind me sayin’, let alone so quick-like.”
The prideful smile broadened even more but Tselika shrugged. “Not difficult for those that know their craft,” she almost yawned.
“Why’s he nekkid,” the other one asked,
“He was bathing,” she intoned as if to an oblivious toddler, “idiot.” At her feet, Nyx groaned and started to lift his head; her fingers clenched around the sap’s handle and, before the elf’s eyes had finished fluttering open, the iron dust filled bag at the weapon’s business end came down and saw to it that they closed again. “His things are over there,” she indicated where she had tossed the assassin’s gear, “wrap him in his cloak or something and let’s get him back to Dmitrova…”
“Glad you said somethin’,” Zel smirked, “I weren’t zactly keen on haulin’ him bare-arse through the city… even if it is dark…”
A momentary flicker of atypical silence passed through the Hydra’s Breath Tavern when Tselika strode through the main entrance to the place – followed by two of Dmitrova’s burly brawlers who bore between them an undeniably body-shaped load wrapped in a shadow colored cloak – and marched right down the middle of the place and towards the back stairs as if she were leading a parade. The silence didn’t remain all consuming for long, though, for as her mules passed by the staff and patrons with their burden wrapped but far from truly hidden, murmurs and whispers rose in their wake. When the trio and their trophy disappeared from view of the main hall, those murmurs swelled to a buzz in no time, and it took only half as long for the buzz to elevate to the familiar din of the Hydra’s evening crowd.
Dmitrova had been somewhat shocked but not at all displeased when Tselika had returned a full twenty minutes before the two hour limit for her bonus had expired… pleasantly surprised, in fact, was more apt a description… so much so that he counted out, directly into Tselika’s palm, twice the bonus he had not truly expected to pay from his own purse, and then kissed the lady-assassin affectionately on both cheeks before stepping around her to look upon Nyx where Zel and Knapp had recently deposited his unconscious form.
“So much more an agreeable Nyx, when he’s like this,” the Hellkite Captain chuckled after a moment of simply staring at the incapacitated elf. He clapped his hands and laughed as he spun and strode back towards his desk.
“String him up on the beam, there,” he ordered, waving a hand at one of the sturdy timbers that spanned the ceiling, “Let’s liven him up and see what the Shyndyn has to say for himself, hmm?”
Before Vadim had settled back into the chair behind his desk, Zel and Knapp had already hoisted the mith’ganni up, secured the chains of the manacles that bound his wrists over a heavy hook that protruded from one of the beams, and were trying to figure out how to cover the assassin’s once more exposed body by fumbling with the cloak that had fallen off of it. “Oh leave it be,” Vadim chuckled, “his state of undress is far from his most pressing concern.
Wake him,” Dmitrova ordered, making a gesture to one of the attending Hellkites who obediently scurried forward to imbue a very minor healing spell on the elf.
“And someone fetch Cay,” the Hellkite Lord added, “I should like to be able to see her face, as well, when Nyx is asked to verify her tale.” The door to his office opened and shut as yet another of his minions set out on the task.
It took Nyx just a bit longer to come to than it took for Cayrimsa to rejoin the party. The door had been closed behind her already and she had been standing where Dmitrova had told her to for at least a minute before the assassin truly stirred.
Nyx’s eyes fluttered open, rolled wildly in his head for a moment, and then, after a bleary moment spent coming to the realization of where he was, and another frantic moment of thrashing in a futile attempt to free himself from the hook from which he was suspended, the mith’ganni started to laugh and stopped his struggling. “New protocol for summoning me, is it, Vadim,” he snickered, trying to shake water plastered hair from his face and get eyes of Dmitrova at the same time. He was still swinging a bit as a result of his struggles and that, too, made it difficult to truly fix his gaze on any one person just yet. Vadim panned, back and forth, across his vision for a moment, though, and Nyx saw the man smile… truly smile…
“I’ve been trying our standard methods most of the day, Nyx,” the Captain informed him, “with little success. You left me with few other options.”
“And hanging me here naked?” Nyx arched a brow as a young, grinning, and almost familiar female human face swung into view for an instant and then was gone again.
“Insurance,” Vadim answered, “just in case you had been entertaining that you’d be able to draw steel in here, again.
You remember, Tselika, I presume?” It was as if Dmitrova had timed the question to coincide with the Mohawk wearing lady swung into Nyx’s view again.
“Ah,” the assassin grinned, nodding as best he could but wincing at the jolt of pain that shot through his skull when he did, “I thought I recognized the face… but the hair… it reminds me of a horse I once pached, yes?”
Before Dmitrova or anyone else could stop it, Tselika snarled and stormed across the room, drawing a dagger. Even before the Crimelord could get from his seat, that dagger’s blade was feathered across the inside of Nyx’s thigh and then, as a continuation of the motion that had opened a fresh cut, the pommel of the dagger preceded a hammer-fisted blow across an already purpling elven cheek. Zel had grabbed the screeching Tselika and hauled her back to the chair where his Captain wanted her even as Nyx spun on his chain from the force of the blow… So had had that strike been that it spun him far enough to catch a glimpse of the Wharf Witch before he swung back the other way.
“Oh,” he grinned almost wickedly, “hello, Cay. I might have expected you to be here…”
“And I might have expected,” Dmitrova groused in response to that, “that you would have returned with the partner I sent you out with to deliver a report on a job that you were to be working together.”
Nyx chuckled… coughed… spat a glob of blood-tinged saliva onto the floor between his dangling feet… “I haven’t even seen the slitch since she tried to have her way with me in an alley last night,” he smirked, “How am I, then, supposed to report with her?”
“Hmmm… Cay says it was you who tried to rape her in that alley, Shyndyn.”
“So, since you weren’t out on the task I assigned you, then… Where have you been since you left here last night?”
“Oh,” Nyx sighed, “that would be a tale long in the telling, my Captain.”
Dmitrova laughed, then. “I’ve got plenty of time to listen, mith’ganni,” he said, “and an ear just itching for the tale to be told… I’ll want truth in the tale, though.”
“Hmmm. I shall certainly see if I can manage…”
“You’ll manage, Shydyn, don’t worry,” Vadim was out of his seat and waving to one of his attendants, “I’ve got other people who will see to that for you, hmm?
Take him to the back room,” he ordered, before turning to regard Cay again.
“I want you to stay right here,” he ordered flatly as Nyx was jerked roughly down and dragged off to some darkened corner beyond the desk, “I’ll be getting the painful truth from your partner soon enough. If it turns out that I believe you over him, I’ll send you home and let you prepare for your continued stalking of the Bolstoii girl… If it turns out otherwise…” Vadim shrugged, turned, and followed in the path taken by his henchmen.
“Have something to eat while you wait,” the man’s voice called just before a door could be heard to bump shut, “between the chewing and the grumbling of your stomach, maybe you’ll not have to hear much of the screams…”
Posted on 2009-12-08 at 22:36:14.
Topic: The Fates of Fortune
Dmitrova glared, somewhat blankly, at Cayrimsa for a long moment; scowled, chewed at his lower lip, and rubbed thoughtfully as his chin as he dragged his gaze away from the witch and set it to panning around the room to gauge the facial reactions and body language of his advisors and underlings. The half-elf’s report, as she had given it, was supported by earlier ones he had received from other sources throughout the day. It bore out the intelligence he had received in regards to the “altercation” that had taken place shortly after the pair had left the Hydra early yesterday evening… Tselika, for whatever reason, had offered a disbelieving snort and a dubious smirk when Cay had offered that the mith’ganni had tried to rape her in that alley, but neither of his lieutenants nor any of the hawks and shadows they had dispatched made any effort to refute the witch’s claim.
Cay further claimed that, since she had bespelled the Twilighter in that same alley, that she had not seen or heard from her assassin cohort and that, as such, she had proceeded about her assignment alone, getting eyes on the target and, by way of the observations she had been able to make, had apparently absolved Nyx of having had any part in the chaos that had taken place in the Imperial Quarter this morning. Instead, the report, if Vadim was to believe it, implicated some point-eared, Bedine-branded stable boy as the culprit in, not only the horrific murders of the Lady Evines and young master Sasha but, also, suggested that Lady Olsta’s untimely demise – which had of late become the hot topic in the social circles that moved about the Governor’s Palace and Lord Granwythe’s estate – may have been more than an accident. Dmitrova blew a loud breath through his nose as his hand fell away from his chin and he paced towards his desk and the bottle that awaited him there. Everything in Cay’s report indicated that, as he had confidently assured Toscani earlier, that none of his people had been involved in this morning’s madness… eased his own mind just a bit, given that, until the witch had added her own details to the story, he had allowed himself to become all but convinced that this could all come back to him through that bastard Shyndyn, somehow… but it also raised more questions than it had truthfully answered and it didn’t account for the butchering of the Legionnaire that had occurred earlier this same morning nor did it give him any indication as to where the mith’ganni had gone or done in the hours since the arrogant elf had been dispatched from this very office the night before… there would be need to expand his current efforts, branch them out into the new veins that had sprouted from the lode he had begun to mine…
“A legionnaire was killed, earlier this morning, along the River’s Mouth Bazaar,” Vadim said, his eyes lifting to briefly regard his lieutenants before sliding back to fix on Cay, “very near the place you call home, if I’m not mistaken…” he fingered the gem-set stopper of the bottle before rolling a hip and settling on the edge of his desk… “Wouldn’t know anything about that, I presume?”
“No,” Cay lied along with the scowl and shrug she offered in reply. “Heard something about it but don’t know anything about who might have done it, if that’s what you’re getting at.”
One side of Tselika’s mouth curled up into the beginnings of a smirk and, ruffling a hand through the pasted up crest of her hair, she flicked a meaningful glance at the Hellkite Captain as she rose from the chair…
“And you have no idea where Nyx might have been,” Dmitrova asked of Cay though his eyes were currently locked in secret conversation with the troubleshooter, “or where he has been since he left you on your back in that alley?”
Amber fires crackled and cast their light on each face in the room, saving Dmitrova’s for last, and a bitter expression twisted Cay’s features as her fist clenched and she grumbled; “If I had, I’d know where the hwandi is now… and I’d likely have pieces of him in my pockets!”
“You don’t know where he hides, then, I’ll guess,” Vadim’s gaze finally broke from Tselika and returned to the fuming witch, “where he lives when he’s not roaching about the city?”
“I dislike even working with him,” Cay shrugged, “I wouldn’t have call to go socializing… don’t care…”
The crimelord glanced at Tselika and inclined his head toward the door. In response, the woman adjusted the fall of her cloak and made a few steps toward the door, offering the witch a bit of a sneer as she brushed by her.
“Take men with you,” Vadim ordered as the woman reached for the latch. A wave of Dmitrova’s hand set Czegel’s jowls bouncing as he nodded in reply to the unspoken command and selected a pair of toughs from the assemblage to accompany the woman.
“I won’t need any help bringing him down,” Tselika stated, her blue eyes flicking over the chosen muscle that had just joined her at the doorway before settling somewhat indignantly on Dmitrova.
“No,” the crimelord smiled, “but you’ll not want to try and drag him back here by yourself, now, would you?”
Tselika raised a brow and sighed her acceptance.
“I do want him alive,” he added firmly as the troubleshooter gave her newly gained assistants a final cursory glance before opening the door, “I’ll consider a bonus, Tselika, if you have him here in the next two hours.”
“Done,” the woman’s voice agreed before the door closed in her wake.
With that, Dmitrova’s brooding gaze shifted back to where Cay stood and, after studying her for a long moment and seemingly contemplating it for that same duration, sighed and waved a dismissive hand in her direction. “I’m done with you for now, Cay,” he said, “but I’d prefer you stay close until Tselika has reined your partner in and I’ve had a word with him. Go and have a drink in the tavern or something but go no farther, hm… I’ll send for you when I’ve decided what your next assignment is to be…”
Posted on 2009-12-08 at 16:04:32.
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