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Topic: Santa Claus Letters
Subject: Done and stuff...
Added to my Facelick... er... Facebook status/wall/page/thingamabob!
Posted on 2009-12-07 at 20:24:39.
Topic: Loaded Dice #37: Promo Poster: Reservoir Dogs
Subject: It's all fun and games...
...until someone loses an ear!
Then it's just kinda like "Wha... is he... OOOOOOOh!!! Aaaaaah! Eeeeeeyah!"
Posted on 2009-12-07 at 17:02:37.
Topic: Star Trek: No Good Deed Q&A
Go, baby, go!
I'm kind of "dry" with Mac until we get underway, anyhow...
Posted on 2009-12-07 at 15:18:14.
Topic: The Fates of Fortune
Subject: To sleep... perchance to dream...
Motionless, Nyx listened as Cay slipped out of the mausoleum and as she slid the stones back into place… felt her linger just outside for a moment… and then, followed the soft sound of her footsteps as she finally walked away. Quel kaima… Sleep well… those had been the last words she had breathed into the crypt’s chill air… Sleep…
How long had it been since he had allowed himself to actually sleep?
“Long enough,” Nyx murmured into the emptiness of the crypt, his eyes sweeping the walls of the place as if he could possibly see through them to what lurked in the night beyond, “that doing so would seem…”
As appealing as it was just then, the very thought of succumbing to that deep, all consuming state of relaxation sent the assassin’s suspicions galloping. Supposing Cay did run into the streets, screaming bloody murder, and brought the Legion to his lair? Supposing one of Dmitrova’s hawks chanced to stumble onto some carelessly left trace – a drop of blood, a too-heavy footfall, a plant bent or trampled as it oughtn’t be – and, at last, managed to find where he hid? No. Sleep was far more difficult to rouse from than the Reverie. It left one far too groggy for far too long after its mantle had been shed. The Reverie provided relaxation enough; would allow him to be alert far quicker should something interrupt. It had sufficed for him in all these… How many?…years… Decades, certainly… and would be adequate now, as well. Yes. Between the Reverie and stargazing…
Sleep concerns you but being out in the open so that you may stare at the sky does not? Truly?
Nyx scowled, reaching for his cloak and draping it over himself before hugging his legs closer to his chest and resting his forehead on his knees. “Just the trance tonight, then,” he whispered, making due with imagining the stars that painted Quenat en Etellenya on the canvas of the night sky.
None have ever found this place, the inner voice whispered, not in all this time. I would wager the finest of stallions that none have even thought to look… You should sleep…
Nyx chuckled softly, unable to argue with that logic. “I would not remember how,” he whispered.
Of course you would, the voice urged, Was it not you who so often stood watch over Jolbane when he slept in search of Dreams?
Nyx snorted at the reminder.
Jolbane. Shaman and chief of his clan. Father of Lyssa. Coward. Betrayer.
“I’ll not hear that name,” the mith’ganni hissed, his fingers seeking out a belt-pouch and the token of crystal with its magically etched portrait that lay nestled within. He sighed a bit as the crystal warmed on his fingertips and his thumb stroked lightly over the rendering of Lyssa’s… Cayrimsa’s… face.
Do not hear the name, then… Simply remember the lesson… Just like sinking into the Reverie… only do not stop at the border of consciousness and Dreams…
He sighed softly and thought of the stars, then, and of their reflections in the sea… and the way that, even in the dawn of a day, painted there by the rays of the sun, the stars could still be seen to dance on the waves in the harbor… and to glint from a tear welling in an eye… and, after a time, Nyx slept… and dreamt…
It was night and the sky was clear. Nyx could see all of the stars in that sky and all of the constellations’ twins mirrored in the black, glass-smooth waters of the sea. And, beside him, one of those constellations was represented still a third time; roughly carved into the salt-weathered deck board near the end of the Grey Arm Dock. That constellation, while not the brightest in the sky, then, still shined brighter than the wavering, red stars that traced the sigil of Prien. And they shone brighter still in the reflective harbor waters where the Threadcutter’s Axe was all but extinguished. Here, on the dock where he stood, that constellation bore no competition from even the brightest star in the sky or sea. Like him… with him… it stood alone.
The deep violets, dark blues, and cold blacks of night gave way to the dove grays, thistle pinks, and shimmering silvers of dawn. The stars were gone from the sky but, in the gilded blue of the rippling harbor, new stars – their lights all slave to the same master – appeared to skip across the waves. Where he stood, though, alone at the end of a weathered pier thrust defiantly into the endless ocean’s unrelenting assault on the shores behind, there, too, lingered the lone constellation that had more than the one representation in the heavens… like the Threadcutter’s Axe… and more, still, than those that were blessed with a seaborne twin… like Teu’Kelthyra or Shipri’s Torch. In the absence of singularities like Prien’s sigil, with the dualities of the Moon Horse and the Vagabond’s Beacon gone, and in the face of the false stars that winked at him from the face of fathomless depths… stolid in the passing of the day… implacable as the day-star climbed to it’s apex and over-shone all traces of any other in the sea or sky… Quenat en Etellenya endured beside him.
The sun tumbled towards where heavens and waters merged, then, winking the gold from his eyes and the red from the bloodruby set in his dagger, and painting them into the clouds that, at the behest of a deathly-cold wind, blew in from across the lands behind him. That same wind flapped the hem of his raven-hued cloak angrily at the sky and, in response, the sky stole that color, too, as the day-star doused itself in distant waters. There were no stars in the sky as night returned and only false ones, sparked to only momentary life as the sweeping, blue-white beacon of Drasnia’s lighthouse touched the red-black churning and crashing waves of a storm-tossed sea. Even as the maelstrom churned, though, raging through the brine of the heaving waters, rampaging and fuming in the angrily swirling and far-too-close skies, and ravaging the lands of both elf and man with it’s divine fury of winds and rain and lightning, he and the lone constellation that had dared to appear in that storm-tossed quenching of another sun, stood in defiance of that peril.
Even when the clouds broke enough for the glaring light of the Threadcutter’s Axe to turn the sea to blood and summon forth a Hydra from it’s boiling depths… even when that Hydra stretched into the reddening sky, beguiled itself into a ravenous, hell-born hawk and dove screeching towards the earth, painting Drasnia in the same blood-red hue as it’s wings… he and the constellation stood unyielding, side-by-side in the face of it’s wrath and outlasted the tantrum that the tempest had visited upon world in that dark night… and remained there, together, to see the sky brighten, again, and to watch as the gold-tinged waters of a new dawn breaking over the undulating harbor waves grew and transformed into the similar hues of an ocean of hills and grasses far to the east…
…A near all eclipsing blackness, darker than any night could ever been fell across him, then… the sea, the sky, everything was gone… everything save the oh-so-faint glimmering of the rough-hewn stars at his side…
…The ink gave way, in a blinding flash, to a corrupt redness… a slow but steady oozing of blood-crimson taint that suffused everything, even the waning stars beside him, with it’s taint before another flash, no less blinding but, this time, more painful, than the last finally took his feet from under him.
…When his sight was restored, he was greeted with the greens and golds of the waving steppe grasses as he flew over and through them faster than any horse could possibly manage. It was dizzying and nearly stomach-wrenching at points but, all the while, as he flew, the solitary yurt that surmounted a rocky ridge in the distance kept his attention…Closer and closer at an impossible speed but, at the same time, an almost painfully slow pace, he approached the dwelling, it’s details becoming clearer and clearer… First the scent of the fire that smoldered in stove in the place’s center, then the grays and reds and blacks and whites that had been woven together into a sturdy canvas that formed the walls of the steppe house, and, finally, just before the flash returned to blind and sting him, he was close enough to discern the blood-red branches, outlined in white on the one side and black on the other, of the tree that was patterned into that canvass…
…His eyes opened once more and found themselves staring out the hole in the roof of the yurt that provided escape for the smoke from the stove at a constellation he had long ago named Quenat en Etellenya… and close at his side… so close, in fact, that the stars that formed it were wrapped around him… was the true and certain incarnation of that constellation… The chestnut waves of her hair spilled across his chest, the warmth of her breath blew across his skin, and the scars from her the points of her ears had been carved away long, long ago, tickled as she groaned and nestled closer to him and deeper into the pile of furs and blankets upon which they slept.
Nyx smiled faintly, found a lock of that hair and, curling it around his finger, lifted it to his nose to take in the rainwater scent that reminded him both of past storms and showers yet to come that would awaken the plains… he sighed, releasing the tendril of her hair as his arms moved to wrap around her…
…and Nyx staggered out of the Dream…
His head snapped up from where it had rested against his knees and an almost bewildered set of moon-yellow eyes blinked as they sought ought every, darkened corner of the tomb. He shook his head, his mane lashing at the stone-worked wall behind him and the sensation of it caused him to spring off of the sarcophagus upon which he had been perched…
…How long had it been since he had allowed himself to actually sleep?...
…How long did I sleep?...
Not long… ‘tis still night out in the world.
Nyx blinked, again, shook his head against the bleariness that sleep and his herbal concoction had left behind, and performed another quick, uncertain scan of his surroundings before issuing an almost irritated puff of air into the stillness of the crypt. He became aware then, as he reached for his fallen away cloak, that the crystal token was still clasped gently between the fingers of his one hand and, abandoning the cloak, lifted the thing to blink slowly at the face that smiled… somewhat wickedly, he noted… back from within the crystal’s heart. Following that, he became further aware that he was crusted in blood, and sweat, and dirt, and gods-only-knew what other kind of filth from his romp in Drasnia’s streets and alleyways… it caked his skin and his clothes and the stink of it assailed his nose and his eyes… and it weighed on him more, in that moment, than the bewilderment of awakening from his first true sleep in more than twenty years, than the possible meaning of the bizarre dream…
“I… could… use a bath,” Nyx decided, returning the crystal portrait to his belt pouch.
He shoved the lid of the sarcophagus aside and, after blearily arming himself with a Spartan selection of the items within, crept stealthily from the mausoleum and the graveyard that spread away from it, making for some secluded spot on the banks of the Reyal where he could scrub the grime from his hair, skin, and clothes.
Posted on 2009-12-05 at 23:57:47.
Edited on 2009-12-05 at 23:58:34 by Eol Fefalas
Topic: The Fates of Fortune
Subject: Evening at the Hydra's Breath
As the sun started to douse its light by descending into the western horizon of the sea Vadim Dmitrova adjourned from his respectable, if not stately, house on the just as respectable north-side street known as Coffergilt Way, and made his way – via a secret and carefully excavated tunnel that ran between the cellars of the two places – to the Hydra’s Breath Tavern which was located on a far seedier street in a far seedier neighborhood. The symbolism of the transition between the locations wasn’t lost on him either – at his home, he was Vadim Dmitrova, business man, information merchant, and wealthy, influential and respectable citizen of Drasnia, and, for the most part, he did respectable and legitimate business from the offices he maintained there; when he descended the ladder in his manor’s basement, though, and followed the snaking tunnel through the earth and down farther towards the banks of the Reyal, those legitimate dealings were left behind and businesses of a darker sort and he became Vadim Dmitrova, Captain of one of the largest chapters of the Hellkite Syndicate in all of the Braudian Empire. Yes, it had become nearly ritualistic, this migration from bright open offices where transactions were done with quill and coin to the torch-lit yet gloomy world where business was more the blade and balls sort, and the transition between the separate personalities that the man maintained for each typically awaited the midpoint of the journey to occur. Today hadn’t afforded him the luxury of keeping the leeway he usually kept between the two, though, and, since first having been roused from his bed by Toscani’s visit this morning, Vadim had found himself unable to keep the darker from seeping into the lighter, so it was with no small gratitude that he descended into his tunnel as the sun descended into the sea.
“Those two had better make an appearance,” he grumbled to himself, still chewing over the smattering of details that had come in throughout the day…
…No news to speak of on the legionnaire’s murder. One other soldier, the merchant, and a few other early-risers close by had, indeed, seen what appeared to be a mith’ganni in the bazaar and had seen Negodiev chase the creature off, but no one could recollect seeing either afterwards…
…Lady Evines and her young son had, in fact, been brutally slain by an elf on the Processional, in full view of numerous witnesses; none of those witnesses, though, could specify what sort of elf and each of them swore that the point-ear was alone. Neither could Lord Nonthos describe the elf who had cleaved the arm with which he collected taxes away from his elbow. The Legionnaires and even his own hawks, once they had been dispatched, laid eyes on the fleeing tree-humper more than once through the course of the day, but each of them made similar reports… As quick as ‘e were there ‘e were gone, aye?... What’d he look like? Hells, I dunno! Keepin’ track of him was like tryin’ to keep track of a single leaf blowin’ through the forest on a fall day, yeah?... Had ta be a bunny-humpin’ slant-eye the way he was movin’…when ya seen him movin’ at all, that is…
The hawks had gotten a peek at the Bolstoii estate and thought they might’ve seen the witch lurking about the place… hovering about the stables… but they couldn’t be sure it was Cayrimsa… Dressed somethin’ like one o’ them gypsy seers, Cap’n… coulda been a disguise, I reckon… couldn’ say fer sure, though… never seen th’ bitch wit’out that hat on…Weren’t no sign o’ that horse-f***er, Shyndyn, though…Couldn’ stay long what with security bein’ what it was…
So far nothing, aside from presumed proximity and coincidence, that Dmitrova had heard fully implicated Nyx or Cay in any of the day’s events; a fact that should have eased some of the misgivings that had tormented him. The curious report regarding the pair’s encounter in the alley shortly after leaving the Hydra the night before, though, raised some curious questions and, also, suggested that the two might have had reason not to be seen together; this alluded to the possibility that the mith’ganni could have very well been responsible for all of it just as Czegel and DeLucci seemed to believe…
“They will make an appearance tonight,” Dmitrova vowed as he reached the tavern-end of the tunnel, “If I have to dismantle the whole of Drasnia, timber-by-timber and stone-by-stone to find them, by Naxir’s golden nuts, I’ll have them both before me before the night is through!”
He thrust the torch into an awaiting sconce and shoved through the door that opened into the back of a wardrobe that loomed in one deep corner of his Hydra’s Breath offices. That door swung shut behind him as he pushed through the double doors of the wardrobe’s front and stepped into the candle and torch-lit headquarters of the Drasnian Hellkites. His gaze fell immediately on fleshy-faced Czegel and the two bravos that always attended him on his trips here. “What news,” Dmitrova demanded, snatching up his favored bottle even before making for his desk.
“Of the w-w-witch and the elf, sir,” Czegel stammered, “nothing n-n-new, I’m afraid. They w-w-wouldn’t be exp-p-p-pected, as yet, though. If they ha-have been shadowing the Bolstoii girl all the d-d-day as ordered, I imagine they’d be just now making their return trip…”
Vadim grunted around the neck of the bottle, swallowing the mouthful of wine as he perched on the edge of his desk. “Is she here yet,” he asked next, referring to the ‘troubleshooter’ he had ordered summoned.
“In the t-t-ta-tavern, Captain,” Czegel nodded, “She took ‘by supper’ to mean that a m-m-meal was included in her advance. Lucio obliged himself to pr-p-p-provide that courtesy…”
“You,” Dmitrova snapped at one of Czegel’s bodyguards, “Go and see if she has finished… fetch her to me when she has… send DiLucci, now.”
The man nodded and hurried past the doorman and out into the Hydra’s Breath proper… Dmitrova found himself wishing that all of his people followed his orders so unquestioningly… and hating Shyndyn for having never once even come close…
The doorman’s gruff voice turned Vadim’s eyes to the door.
“Riverrat,” was the muffled response which drew a nod from the imposing fighter posted on the inner-side. His beefy hand slid the bolt back and swung the door open to admit Lucio DiLucci and, in his wake, a rather tall and lanky human woman with alert blue eyes and a head denuded of all hair save for the narrow and pasted-up crest of chestnut hair that proceed back from her forehead and ended abruptly at the base of her skull.
The midnight-blue cloak was pushed back from Tselika doch’Dorpatskyi’s narrow shoulders, revealing the leather-wrapped hilt and scabbard of an exotically crafted short sword hanging from the harness that cinched her heather-grey tunic tightly to her almost boyish shape. Dmitrova had no doubt that the girl also wore a silenced shirt of fine chain beneath that tunic, nor did he believe that the prominently displayed sword was the only weapon Tselika bore into his offices. He’d seen the chain once before when she had ‘shown her gratitude to him’ for her own membership in the Syndicate… this was how Vadim was also certain that Tselika secreted a dagger in the snuggly-cinched gaiter that surmounted her left boot, and how he knew of the pendant with it’s secret razor that hung between her smallish breasts… she hadn’t shaved her hair into the Mohawk back then… and had been somewhat softer looking as a whole… he wondered if her love-making had become as severe as her appearance since then…
“I understand,” the woman said, her speech pattern still as precise and deliberate as he had remembered, “that you’ve finally decided to put that dog, Shyndyn, down, Vadim. Is that correct?” The smile she offered was almost seductive but the glimmer in her blue eyes belied a different excitement.
Dmitrova laughed, his eyes flicking from her to DiLucci, then to Czegel and back as he extended the bottle to the woman. “Not put down, Tselika,” he chortled, watching as she tipped the bottle to her lips, “I haven’t all the information I need to warrant that, just yet…”
“It would be far easier in the long run,” Tselika shrugged, her expression showing obvious disappointment that she wasn’t going to be sent right away to gut the point-eared bastard, “If you do not mind favoring my opinion, that is, Captain.”
“Of course not,” he smiled, “your opinion is always valued here, dear girl… so long as it is always given with your respect.”
The woman indulged in another sip from Vadim’s bottle and licked a drop of the wine from her lip before offering it back to him. Once relieved of it, she adjusted her sword and sank casually into one of the overstuffed, high-backed chairs that were usually reserved for Dmitrova’s more senior lieutenants or ‘honored’ visitors. She sighed, brushed a hand over the crest of her hair as she crossed her legs and settled into the comfort of the chair. Her eyes flicked around the room, then, and, finally returned to Dmitrova; “So, if you do not want him dead… yet… what need have you of my services?”
“Shyndyn is rather elusive,” DiLucci volunteered, humbly, “I seem to have not a hawk one that can spy him or a shadow that can stick to him for longer than it might take him to fart…”
“So I am to play fetch, then, and that is all?”
“Perhaps,” Dmitrova nodded, “if he doesn’t report in tonight with news of the task I’ve set him and his partner on, yes. I’ll offer your same rate, nonetheless, and, if it does come to putting him down, as you say, I’ll double the rate and allow you the honors, hmmm?”
“And if he does show?”
“Half your rate for simply attending,” Vadim countered quickly, “and, of course, the supper you’ve eaten.”
Tselika smiled at that, her Mohawk bobbing as she nodded her assent. “Tell me, then,” she said, “tell me everything.”
“Of course,” the Hellkite Captain grinned, finally moving around to the business side of the desk…
The next long while was spent with Dmitrova explaining the situation, in detail - and with more than a few interjections and appendices from his lieutenants – to the lady assassin. How long, exactly, that while had been, Vadim wasn’t sure but it wasn’t too much later that a hail of curses and worse were heard to come from the hallway outside and, within moments of that, a knock on the door, a password given, and that door opened to admit a pair of hawks flanking an obviously enraged Cayrimsa Ettelennya…
“Ah,” Vadim grinned as his and every other set of eyes turned to fix on the Wharf Witch, “here’s the one, now.
Tell me, Cay,” he said, the grin fading as he rose from his seat and started back around the desk, “where is your partner?”
Posted on 2009-12-04 at 18:09:51.
Edited on 2009-12-04 at 18:51:02 by Eol Fefalas
Topic: Audalis - Leeway
...I'm more the tough and gamey sort.
Posted on 2009-12-04 at 14:53:25.
Topic: Loaded Dice #36: What Took You So Long?
Subject: "They've got a cave troll!!!"
Which got hacked to bits when all was said and done, if I recall...
Posted on 2009-12-04 at 14:51:56.
Topic: The Fates of Fortune
Subject: Are you crazy?!
There was an undeniable spark that surged through Nyx when, with a pleased look in her eye, Cayrmisa’s chin lifted a fraction and closed the space between the tips of his fingers and the skin of her cheek. He knew in that same beating of his heart, though, that it had been a mistake to not have withdrawn that hand when he first realized its position and an error of even greater measure when he stupidly allowed himself to languish in the contact for even the fraction of a second that he had. Before those realizations had translated between mind and body, though, the prideful fires that lit Cay’s eyes flickered towards resentment, her hand closed tightly on his wrist, and as she wrenched it hatefully away, a spark of a different sort shot through the mith’ganni.
The effects of the herbs and of her proximity were lost as the witch’s spell sent a painful electric jolt through him. His eyes went wide and his knees buckled a bit, both in response to the jolt itself and to the sudden awareness to each and every wound he had incurred during the course of this past day. Instinctually, his free hand shot to the handle of one of the punching daggers that secreted themselves as a part of his belt buckle… the next moment would find the blade free and slammed upwards into and through the witch’s chin…
“Not your melamin!”
…In the act of reaching for the dagger, Nyx’s fingers had touched the symbol of Prien which was the belt’s clasp and he thought he heard a mocking laughter somewhere behind the painful haze and herbal buzz in his mind… and then those words from her… He winced, not so much from the pains rendered by her spell or his wounds, and let his fingers fall away from the weapon…
“No matter how impressed with me I am not your melamin and, for your sake, I’d hope you’d remember that. The last, and the only time an elf has ever been foolish enough to try and have me… I bit off his ear…” the witch snarled, twisting his hand further and sending another jolt through his arm. “I swear I can find more interesting parts to remove from you…”
Nyx gritted his teeth in the wake of that last shock and, rather than allow it to buckle his knees as the first had, he instead drew himself up and forced himself to glare defiantly into her eyes…
“…Working with you is one thing… lle sarigrien… is something else.”
“Lle sarigrien,” he growled through clenched teeth, “are you completely mad?!?
As if you had not thought…
“Get your hands off of me, woman,” he hissed, wrenching his arm from her grasp and stepping away from her as his other hand went to massage the lingering sting at his wrist. “Lle sarigrien, indeed,” he murmured, climbing atop the sarcophagus again…
He kamelaya, eh? the voice tittered.
Now narrowed yellow eyes slid towards Cayrimsa after Nyx had situated himself and sucked the blood from his still bleeding lip; took her in quietly as he considered what had just happened… what she had said… what she had always made known…
“You should go, now,” he sighed, the tone of his voice attesting to nothing other than the fact that he was, perhaps, exhausted, “make your report to Dmitrova…”
The mith’ganni regarded her for a moment longer, the whisper of a smile played on his lips for less than that, and he finally allowed his eyes to close once more; his head rocking back to rest against the wall, his arms wrapping around his aching ribs, and his legs drawing in closer to his body, the tug in his thigh evoking a faint grimace. “Amin anta est,” he added, “I shall find you in the morning, yes?”
Posted on 2009-12-04 at 14:21:12.
Edited on 2009-12-04 at 14:37:55 by Eol Fefalas
Topic: The Fates of Fortune
Subject: Full of surprises...
It was the second time today that he had offered Cayrimsa a means of being free of him... If she would give him nothing, Nyx had decided, he would give her at least that much…
Nyx waited in silence for a long while… reading her actions when she turned her eyes to smolder in their contemplation of the grime-washed stained glass… there was indecision… perhaps confusion… and torment… Always torment, yes?… in what he saw in that moment. With a glance at her face, he noted a familiar fire in her amber eyes (but, he thought, he glimpsed another, not so familiar one burning along side it) and her firm-set jaw worked subtly as she debated with herself whatever thoughts were playing in her head. When his glance dropped it found her hand, clenched white-knuckle tight, and a drop of her blood falling from the fist to spatter silently on the floor near his feet. His breathing and hers had been the only sounds to pass through the still air of the crypt and, again, he watched her fingers curl and dig into her palm once more.
Is it truly such a difficult decision, Cay, he kept the question to himself, You despise me and all my kind, yes? Have you not told me so on countless occasions? What is there to consider, then?
When Nyx lifted his eyes from their consideration of the rose-petal bloom of her blood on his floor he was prepared to end her debate for her by telling her that there was nothing she could do to help him and that she should just go, give her manufactured report to Dmitrova, and be done with him as she wished to be. As he drew in the breath to drive those words, though, her head snapped back – the locks of her less than contained hair brushing across his face in the act… rainwater… – and she was smiling.
“Aelion,” she said as suddenly as she had turned to look at him, “He is not a full blooded Mith’ganni from what I could tell, but he has your eyes. Technically he did not arrive in town for several hours after the murders…”
Yellow eyes blinked rapidly in the murk of the crypt and, with thanks due to the buzzing state of his mind and sore condition of his body, he shuffled just a step backwards in the shock of it all. Manke tanya tuula?! He was quick to steady his body but not quite so his eyes, which continued to blink in the brunt of Cay’s sudden… and excited?… plot to implicate Styopa Bolstoii’s own stable boy (and forbidden dabbler in his daughter’s skirts) in not just the murders that Nyx had committed but, also, one that she had deduced that the half-twiligher had done.
“…well behaving slaves don’t need their lovers to get the cargo manifests to Avenon now do they?”
The words Nyx had thought to say were all but gone when he watched the tip of her tongue flick across her lips. He imagined that he wouldn’t have had the chance to speak them even if he could recall them because she was talking again before she had finished wetting her lips. His own smile, he felt, was somehow attached to hers at this point and, as Cay’s smile grew wider, so did his. And, in the instant after that, she leaned in and was suddenly so very close to him… his eyes were as bright as hers, now, and he imagined, so was his excitement – be it of a different sort than hers, perhaps – and it was evidenced by his inability, at first, to keep his hand from lifting to touch that cheek, now and by the fact that his tongue sought to moisten his own lips as he watched hers…
“Don’t you ever touch me again…”
Though his heart pounded and protested, Nyx did stop himself, his fingers stopping a hairsbreadth from the skin of her face, his head ticking as he forced it to stop it’s tilting in preparation to taste her lips... His smile persisted, though, and he drew in a long, deep breath to steel himself against the effects of not just the herbs. “You are a wicked paching slitch, Cayrimsa Ettelenya,” he managed to say after a moment, “I am very impressed…”
Posted on 2009-12-03 at 21:03:21.
Edited on 2009-12-03 at 21:04:02 by Eol Fefalas
Topic: The Fates of Fortune
Subject: Help me? With what?
The sound of his name spoken by her voice brought his eyes open, again, and his head tipped in her direction. He couldn’t help but smile that razors-edge smile when he was met with her pointing finger and dour expression… There you are. Not so timid anymore, yes?… He managed to focus on the tip of her finger first and and let his gaze drift along her arm to her shoulder and up her neck to get to that familiar, fire-eyed, glare.
“…let’s start off with this: I am not your melamin…”
A black brow spiked lazily at that first rebuke and Nyx blinked… “Did I say that?”
You did, the inner-voice drolled.
The other brow rose to match the height of the other.
“I am also not so slow as to be unaware of what you did for me today,” Cay continued, “I screwed up and you covered my arse…”
That admission brought what must have been an uncomfortable twist to Cay’s visage, then, and Nyx rolled his eyes and lifted a hand in a gesture intended to stifle any further ‘thanks’ or spare her any further uncomfortable confessions. He grinned wickedly, though, as she went on with the ‘report’ she would have been giving Vadim had she gone there already. The way she tied in the events that Dmitrova’s ‘shadows’ likely had observed into the rest would have been more than convincing… I should never try to take you by, force, he mumbled inwardly, unsure that the words or the thought itself might have escaped to her ears, Well, were I trying to kill you, perhaps… but not for that…
“…you ran off with your tail between your legs like the yellow-slant-eyed elf that you are…”
That comment caused his smile to slither in the direction of a sneer and his own eyes hardened a bit, now, but there was little reaction otherwise… Yes, yes… filthy-point ear… horse-paching grass eater… I grow weary of it… I am, perhaps, no more elf than you are these days, am I Cayrimsa? I have not hewn away the physical evidence but do you think my own people would have me back after what I have become? Do you believe that I have limited my marks to only those with round ears?...
It is but a ruse she weaves for Dmitrova’s sake.
Nyx gaze remained on Cay’s face as she continued on and he offered no reaction than an occasional blink and that same, lazy wave of don’t do that when she admitted what his earlier escapades had done for her. For the duration, his expression remained flatly impassive until…
… you backed me up… and now I’m offering that in return.”
At this, his eyebrows raised a bit in what might have been interest or surprise.
“So I’m only going to say this once… and since you seem to be a bit slow tonight, I’m going to say it in your guttural tongue.”
Here, he chuckled softly and offered a faint nod.
When Cay leaned closer to him, eyes flashing and jaw clenched tight, he thought he might have felt his heartbeat quicken…
“Lle mema amin tu?” she asked, the biting edge still on her voice.
Nyx’s hooded eyes widened a bit and he smiled as the question registered. Did he want her help? There were things he found he wanted just then… found he wanted to reach out his hand and brush fingers across the witch’s unbruised cheek and, perhaps, he wanted to kiss her again, softly this time… instead of acting on these wants, though, he rocked forward and slid off the sarcophagus, making a noise that was half-laughter and half-a-snort. “And what do you propose to help me with, nwalmaer,” he asked past a wince that a tugging in his thigh had induced as he turned towards her, “escaping the city?
I have those designs already, Cay, down to the horse that I shall take when I go.”
Not that you have designs on where you might go thereafter, though, yes? What city in the Empire will not have legionnaires or Hellkites or bounty hunters hot for your head? What clan on the plains in Shanurdir would have you should you be fortunate enough to escape that far?
“Perhaps,” Nyx smiled, his voice staying level, “your offer is to turn the suspicion from me to some other, then, yes? Get me out of the Empire’s scrutiny and restore me to a kinder light where the Hellkites are concerned… so that Vadim could torture you by assigning us to work together, again?”
He paused, his eyes dipping to regard the scorch-marked floor for a moment before lifting to fix to hers once more; “Is that what you want, Cayrimsa?”
Posted on 2009-12-03 at 18:06:32.
Topic: The Fates of Fortune
Subject: We, is it? Hmmm... and after all that work, too...
“Taking heads seems to be something you are rather skilled at it would seem,” Cay offered, a wry smile playing on her lips as she crouched down and made to wriggle her way into the crypt.
Nyx grinned, leaning almost casually against the cool stone wall as he watched her, and offered a shrug. “I have had lots of practice,” he murmured, “and heads are usually right at eye-level, yes? Not difficult targets…” The effects of the herbs he had chewed earlier – carried through his system rather quickly during his swift and stealthy transit from the livery – washed over him in an almost-too-soothing wave; his eyes drifted shut for just a second and he chuckled softly at his own joke. When the muffled staccato scraping of her boots against the stone floor of the interior reached through the buzzing in his ears, his eyes opened and traced a lazy circuit around the shadow-draped graveyard before sinking towards the ground and slipping through the entrance behind her.
You’ve never let anyone inside here, his mind reminded him almost languidly, What will she…What will you say?
Had not considered it, I suppose…
“Well,” Nyx said, his eyes finding her as he came to his feet inside the tiny place, “welcome. Not quite as spacious as your place, yes? The previous occupant did leave it in immaculate condition, though...” Again, Nyx couldn’t help bet let an amused smile play on his lips though he did manage to suppress another chuckle. His hands settled on the lid of the sarcophagus as, rather than respond with words or a smile, Cay simply lifted a brow and backed a few steps towards one of the pedestals on the opposite side of the room…
Is she nervous? he wondered, the smile waning but not completely disappearing, as he shoved the casket’s lid aside, Unusual for her…
Would you not be, that inner voice returned, Was it not just yesterday that you demonstrated how quickly you could take her down and have a blade to her? Now, for whatever reason, here she is… alone with you… in a space considerably tighter than that alleyway… and how many did you kill today?
His head bobbed once at that reasoning and, as he unfastened his cloak and laid it atop the coffin, Nyx cast a sidelong glance at Cay. Though she was trying not to, the half-elf looked uncomfortable and uncertain… Thinks that she has gone farther than she meant to, yes? That you may have her death planned, as well… He unslung the bow, gaze travelling back to the interior of the sarcophagus as he placed the weapon amongst the other items therein… Or, mayhaps, she is a bit taken aback by your… mood… that bundle has warmed you quite nicely, has it not?… Another nod of his head as, with an expert tug on the lanyards which bound the kukri’s sheathe to his pack, the weapon came loose and joined it’s brother in the casket… Something to which she is more accustomed rather than quips, hmmm?
“So,” Nyx almost snickered, wincing a bit as the act of loosening the pack straps annoyed a bruised rib, “what of the Bolstoii girl?” He didn’t bother unloading the pack after it slid from his shoulders – he’d likely be filling it to capacity soon, anyway – and dropped relegated it to the makeshift storage chest.
“Kharinya,” Cay began almost instantly, the matter-of-fact tone in her voice testifying that detouring the conversation towards the job had helped assuage at least a bit of the uncertainty that her body language expressed, “KiKi to her friends, kitten to her lover. She’s probably around seventeen or eighteen years old, on the fleshy side…”
The assassin continued the process of removing and stowing his gear as she relayed her findings to him. He nodded on occasion as some detail or revelation she had gleaned; other times, his expression went thoughtful when his humming mind caught hold of some small bit and twirled it in a dance of possibilities and, still other pieces of her to the point report brought him close to a chuckle.
“…. I think he knows something about the death of the senator’s wife by his reaction to the news,” Cay said of Kharinya’s surely-secret-elven lover, “he had been out of town until today. They have difficulties getting around someone named Corr in the household, probably another elven slave.”
“Likely,” Nyx murmured, finally drawing the ebon dagger, sheath and all, free of his belt. He went contemplative again and started to tap the ruby-set pommel of the weapon against his chin as he sorted the wealth of information that Cay had gathered… the first tap, even through the tingling, herb-induced numbness, reminded him of the split and bruise on his lip and he flinched just a bit. His tongue started forward to massage the wound …
“You are wanted by…”
…Nyx’s tongue stalled on the wound, flattening a tiny bubble of blood that had welled forth, and his now somewhat curious gaze slid towards Cay again, eyebrows raising a bit before he tossed his last weapon (save the bone and wire garrote ‘bracelet’ he always wore) into the sarcophagus.
“…everyone,” she approximated, as he offered a vague smile and slid the coffin’s lid back into place, “Guards are in force, and I’d imagine that they are not the only web that the Empire has set out to find you. Staying in Drasnia could be difficult for you. I’ve been at the Bolstoii manse most of the day, came directly here afterwards…”
One black brow spiked a bit higher at that last and something a little less vague crept into his smile as Nyx lifted himself sluggishly up to sit atop the now closed casket. Amin sinta, were the first words to offer themselves up as a response as his eyes glittered and took her in at leisure; Why directly here and not the Vadim? were the next. He got the chance to voice either, though, as her next words obliterated both from his thoughts for the moment.
“What do you think we should do now?”
We? Nyx blinked… What do I think? …and blinked once more… Is this the same Cayrimsa I know?
He did allow himself a chuckle, then, thumbing away a thin rivulet of blood that rolled over his lip, and his eyes almost sparkled as he looked, first, at her and then at the smear of crimson on his thumb. “We,” he repeated the word, half a chuckle and half a whisper, and his eyes flickered back in her direction… You have yet to understand exactly what I did today, don’t you? And why I did it?… He gave a slow, almost disbelieving shake of the head as he unfastened the top few clasps on his padded coat, letting it fall open to reveal the deep violet-dyed fabric of the soft tunic he wore beneath. Leaning forward, resting his forearms on his knees, and clasping his slender fingers togehter, he examined grinned at the part of the floor framed by the positioning off his own limbs and repeated the word again, just as softly, smiling all the while.
“Aiya, lisse’Cayrimsa,” Nyx sighed after a moment, “free you from the nightmare and you invite it right back to you, yes?”
The mith’ganni lifted his head and turned it to regard the… beautiful… witch, then, and smiled softly… Just say it… before leaning back to rest his shoulders against the wall behind him. Still smiling, he brushed his mane from his shoulders and drew in a long, deliberate breath before turning his eyes toward the dark ceiling of the mausoleum and letting them close while deliberated what he was going to say. After a long moment, those moon-hued eyes fluttered open and blinked at the ceiling as he blew a warm breath into the chill air of the place.
“When I did on The Processional, today,” Nyx began after a moment longer, his eyes still trained on the ceiling, “I did because it… because you needed an escape from the moment to be able to finish the job, yes? Before it began I knew that it would make staying in Drasnia difficult… make remaining a Hellkite all but impossible…for me…”
His head rolled against the wall behind him, tilting his eyes in her direction again. “For me, being a Hellkite is not important and there is but, perhaps, one real reason for me to care about remaining in Drasnia after this,” his smile broadened enough for him to once again be reminded to the injury to his lip and his tongue danced over it before he continued, “For you, though, Cayrimsa Ettelennya, Drasnia and, for whatever reason, your place in the Hellkites seem of more importance…”
The Twilight Elf grinned, folded his arms, and blinked, very slowly, one time, wondering if what he was saying made sense. As he had allowed himself to relax, more and more had the mixture of herbs that still coursed through his bloodstream served their purpose. His wounds still nagged but they didn’t ‘hurt’ and, though, he didn’t care for the occasional swimming of his head, he found himself starting to succumb to the warmth of relaxing muscles and sink into the almost musical drone in his head.
“So,” Nyx continued after a moment of thought, “what happened today was done in such a way that you can deny a part in any of it, melamin… Seeing as you are here, now, though, and not at the Hydra’s Breath as I had anticipated… I suppose what we do next is up to you, is it not?”
“Hmmm,” he murmured, closing his eyes and letting his head loll back a bit as a delicious wave of numbness rippled over him… “You’ve not been to see Vadim, yet, I presume,” he said, still wrapped in the tingling warmth, “No… you’d likely not go and see him looking as lovely as you do now…”
Posted on 2009-12-03 at 01:08:03.
Edited on 2009-12-03 at 01:09:21 by Eol Fefalas
Topic: RDInnsider - The March Issue Is Here!
Subject: *facelicks google*
And I didn't even brush my teeth first...
That does suck, Wolf... I mean, we can always get you the newsletter but missing e-mails from potential employers...
Posted on 2009-12-02 at 13:42:23.
Topic: RDInnsider - The March Issue Is Here!
...I've gotta wait til the hug is over to get my facelicks in or what? When did that become the rule?
Note to those of you who have received the first issue of thise fine publication but can't get it to open after downloading the attached pdf - if this happens, just hit the link in the e-mail notification Newsletter link and you should get it to open just fine. It's worth the effort, I promise.
Great work, Meri! Thanks for all the hard work you put into this... Printed mine and hung it up in my cubicle... got three guys at the office who've already read through it.
Posted on 2009-12-02 at 12:31:39.
Edited on 2009-12-02 at 13:38:36 by Alacrity
Topic: The Fates of Fortune
Dusk found Nyx in a livery near Drasnia’s eastern wall where the waters of the Reyal spewed into the city after having voyaged across half the continent from its source in the northern mountains. He had found a place to tend his wounds and, finally, rest for a moment in one of the stalls after the grooms who tended the place had stalled the animals they boarded and the blacksmiths and leatherworkers who shared the space had damped their forges and set aside their tack and harness work for the evening. Now, hidden from sight by the placid, gray mare that had easily been convinced to keep quiet, Nyx reclined in the straw-piled corner of the stall and exhaled softly and allowed his eyes to close for a long moment. As his muscles relaxed, a slow, self-satisfied smile spread across his lips and he laughed as the cuts, scrapes, and bruises he had acquired itched for attention now that the adrenaline had started to ebb from them.
“Oh, how these humans managed to build an Empire out of nothing but their sheer numbers, I shall never understand,” he whispered to the mare as he finally sat up and allowed his eyes to open, “when half a legion of the Emperor’s troops and a handful of Dmitrova’s incompetent ‘shadows’ cannot rein in a single, moon-eyed point-ear, yes?” He thumbed a fresh trickle of blood from his lip and tongued the wound from which it emanated – a small split inside his mouth acquired when, as he sprinted away from one pursuing guardsman, Nyx rounded a corner into an alleyway where he ran into another and took the brunt of a startled swinging of a spear-butt across the face. The blow had set his ears to ringing and rattled his teeth, of course, but other than that and the cut where his lip had been smashed into his teeth, it had been a wholly ineffectual strike. Nyx had allowed the momentum of the blow to spin him around and, grabbing the haft of the spear as he went, wrenched the thing upwards and surged forward, driving the spear’s point into the soldier’s shoulder and trampling the bumbling round-ear to the refuse-littered cobbles before releasing the weapon. His other pursuer had stopped to aid his fallen brother, of course, and that had been all the time Nyx had needed to ghost deeper into the alley and, from there, find his way to the rooftops.
The horse nickered a bit as the mith’ganni licked the blood from his thumb and spit it into the hay between his legs.
“Amin sinta,” Nyx snickered, flicking a glance at the dappled mare before rolling a hip forward and gently probing a finger past a blood-sopped tear in the leg of his trousers and into the now throbbing stab-wound in his thigh, “it amazes me that they ever learned to tame horses let alone entire nations.” He winced as the finger slipped easily into the wound and gauged its depth, then chuckled again as he withdrew it and, as before, licked the ichor from his finger and spit it into the strawpile. “The worst injury they could inflict all day was given me by fat, clumsy noble. More dumb luck than skill, though, if the round-eared pig had not thought to pull that ridiculous ornament of a knife before he fell on his face out of fear I might have escaped with no more than a limp-wristed slap…”
The horse looked at him, snorted, and then tossed her mane before dipping her head to her trough.
“Uma,” Nyx whispered back, fishing in his belt pouch for a needle and a selection of herbs, “amin nae ascar; but they brought it on themselves – that round-eared slitch could have simply let her spawn’s apology stand as it was, no?… and the amada with the pig sticker could have simply screamed, wet his pants, and stepped aside like the rest… He wanted to lose that arm, I suppose …”
The assassin shrugged, plucked long hair from his own mane, threaded it through the needle’s tiny eye, and then glanced up at the horse. “Besides… there were… circumstances…” An almost warm smile danced on his pale lips just then and he realized that, since this morning, this was the first time he’d had to think about Cay. When he had last seen her, she had walked away from him and the sharp-tongued human as he had hoped she would, and then the slaughter had started…. He wondered if she had managed to get to the Bolstoii estate unmolested from there… if she had managed to get an eye on their mark and glean any information from her, if so… if she had returned to the Hydra’s Breath to make a report and what Dmitrova might have said to her… or done to her…
The mare nickered again.
Nyx’s moon-yellow eyes blinked and saw the horse again. He offered an almost sheepish smile and a fractional nod; “Right.”
He uncapped his waterskin, poured a swallow into his mouth, and then placed a neatly-rolled bundle of herbs on his tongue. He chewed the bundle for a while as he ripped the tear in his pants wider and irrigated the puncture wound. After recapping the skin, he quickly spit out half of the chewed-to-a-pulp herbs, packed the stuff into the wound, and then set to sewing it shut with the needle and hair-thread. Several minutes later, his mind humming softly and his muscles warm and loose as effects from the herb mixture he had been chewing, Nyx had stitched an effective, if far from expert, line of sutures where the cut had been. He doused the now closed injury with another tip of his waterskin, extracted the pasty remains of the herbs from his mouth and smeared them over the stitches.
“No need in getting completely stoned, yes,” he grinned and winked at the horse as he packed away his kit and got to his feet, “I still have some way to go before I reach the… my home… and safety enough to relax.”
The mith’ganni, wincing slightly at the first few tugs of the sutures, padded towards the mare and gently caught her head as she swung it around to regard him. “Thank you for your hospitality, mellonamin,” he murmured, cradling her muzzle in one arm as the other hand gently stroked her neck, “I have a sense that I’ll not be long for Drasnia after this… Perhaps you’ll do me a courtesy again and allow me to steal you when I leave, yes?” He chuckled softly, then, and touched his forehead affectionately to the creatures face; “Aa’ menealle nauva calen ar’ malta.”
With that, Nyx slipped quietly (although, perhaps, due to the herbs and the still tugging stitches, not quite as gracefully as he would normally) from the stable and then the livery and melted into the shadows of Drasnia’s benighted streets. Time to leave Drasnia, then? the inner-voice that was his own asked as Nyx moved south and west along the river.
I have little choice after what I have done, today, he answered. The Legion will be relentless in its hunt of me as, I imagine, will Vadim… His hawks weren’t as numerous as the legionnaires this afternoon but they are looking, too… Yes… Drasnia is best left behind… been here too long anyway…
You have made a habit of leaving things behind, today, yes? Leave Cay behind to finish a job that you should be getting paid for… Leave behind Drasnia… Leave behind your god…
Nyx smirked and, adjusting his course to avoid a loose knot of patrolling soldiers he had spied ahead, realized that, other than Cayrimsa, there was another thing he hadn’t thought about nor – somewhat thankfully – heard from since this morning’s chaos on the Processional… As loud as the screaming and yelling of the humans had been to his ears, the screaming and yelling that Prien had done was louder in his mind
What have you done, Prien bellowed as soon as the boy’s head bounced from the cobbles at his feet.
Given them what they want, Nyx snarled in reply, the kukri whipping up and out to carve the human slitch’s jaw from her face – additional penance for her transgression of haranguing Cay – before taking her head, as well, a reason to hate and fear! He kicked the woman’s body hatefully away as it toppled towards him and, before the over-soft lump of human flesh landed atop its own head, he was already charging down Processional Way in the opposite direction he had sent Cay. The humans and even those few “domesticated” elves, dwarves, and Halflings that attended them, were quick to either run or faint out of his way and just as quick to trample one another over in order to do so.
I didn’t call for those threads to be severed, Prien raged loudly enough for Nyx to wince against it’s volume, I didn’t order you to reap those souls!!!
I did not do it for you, did I, then? the mith’ganni snapped back as he leaped over a screeching pile of gold and silks and quivering meat hung from human bones.
You sever the threads that I choose, elf! You reap the souls that I want…
“You there! Stop!!!” The over-polished breast plates of the Legionnaires gleamed in the morning sun as they spotted him and pounded up the street towards him, spears readied or swords drawn.
Skidding to a stop for an instant, Nyx squinted against the flare that had caught him in one eye and turned to see another Imperial Patrol already coming from the other end of the street… Perhaps I no longer care what you want, Nyx sniped at his deity as he sprinted back in the direction he had come, knowing that he could beat even a running legionnaire from either patrol to the narrow sidestreet he had decided not to take a second ago.
What has my devotion gotten me, O’ Executioner? Nyx spat,Nothing from you except torment and mockery!
WHAT?!?! Prien screeched.You impudent little point-ear! I made you what you are! You belong to ME!!!
Nyx gained the sidestreet and lost no speed as he diverted down its path. Behind him the shouts of the soldiers were now swelling above the screams and wails of the citizenry. I made me what I am, he argued, the epithet having started to fan the flames of his own anger, You did nothing but set me on the path to what I was to be and then demand I collect your sacrifices!
“Here! Here!!! Guard!!! I have him!!! S-s-stop you… you… filthy point-ear!!!”
Where the fat, dandy of a noble had come from and what he thought he was going to do with that jewel-encrusted stickpin of a knife, Nyx couldn’t be sure… but there he was, all rouge-cheeked and dyed-wigged and frilly-robbed, not seven paces away with what looked like one of those impractical ceremonial affairs that were used at Naxir’s Temple clutched at the end of one waggling arm. The sight didn’t slow the assassin, of course, and, had he not been in the midst of a heated discussion with his god or attempting to lose the pursuing soldiers, Nyx very well may have heaved a sigh and bowled the man over… instead, he hefted his blood-soaked blade, made a horrible face and howled…
The man squeaked and paled and fell forward just before Nyx would have plowed into him, the tiny dagger found purchase in the fabric of the assassin’s pants and was pressed into the meat of his thigh by opposing momentums.
Nyx growled as he brought the kukri down and took the man’s arm off just below the elbow, dislodging both the blade from his leg and the man’s weight from his progress.
And I belong to no one, Lord Prien, the elf decided, just then, spitting on the roly-poly, squealing little pig of a man before picking up his pace again, Not these paching round-ears and not you…
It wasn’t exactly easy to run with the stab wound in his leg, at first, but run he did, and after running for several hours, Nyx didn’t even feel the wound… nor did he hear anything more from Prien…
“Yes,” Nyx realized, his voice scarcely a whisper to his own ears as the cemetery came into view at last, “I suppose I have left behind my god…”
And what else, the inner voice queried as the mith’ganni crept closer, moon-hued eyes slowly scanning the familiar landscape of the necropolis, what else will you leave behind with this new found habit?
The Twilight Elf’s brow knitted in confusion as he slipped past the caretakers cottage. Nothing, he answered after a while of considering the question.
No? The voice sounded as if it didn’t quite believe that response; Nothing?
Nyx, now crouched beneath the arms of the old, familiar yew tree, scowled again… reconsidering the query as he performed one final sweep of the cemetery before committing to continuing on. It was then that he noticed a statue in the graveyard was either out of place or had been recently added to a tomb which, he knew, hadn’t been tended let alone visited in all the years he had been in Drasnia. Another of Vadim’s paching shadows, he surmised, They’ve finally ferreted out my hiding spot, then. He forgot the question posed by his own mind as he reached back and unslung his bow. He was in no mood for any sort of fight; best to end this one without risking being seen, at all.
Creeping from beneath the yew and through the fence that separated it from the cemetery, Nyx set an arrow to the bowstring and whispered between the graves to set up his shot. He had the silhouette sighted in and was in the process of drawing the string back to his cheek when it occurred to him how familiar was the shape of that silhouette…
Nothing at all?
She turned and faced him as he rose up from behind the tombstone, the arrow still pulled back and pointed at her heart. “So,” Cayrimsa said, stepping down from her perch on the old stone casket and taking a step towards him, “I see you’re still alive…”
Nyx blinked, his eyes darting suspiciously around the graveyard for a moment before fixing back on her, and the bow creaked as he drew the arrow farther back. “What are you doing here, Cayrimsa?”
The witch, still in that purple dress, stopped her advance and raised her palms. “Relax,” she said, “If I had malicious intentions you would already be on the ground... I am alone... no need to be so jumpy. Besides I think you have proven before that you can subdue me if you wish to.”
Nyx smiled wickedly… or was it warmly… as he lowered the arrow and let go the tension on the bow string. “Very well,” he responded, his gaze breaking from her again, just long enough to complete a quick scan of the graves between where they stood and the mausoleum… he tipped his head in the direction of that slowly crumbling edifice, “follow me, then.”
He returned the arrow and bow to their places as he guided her to the rear of the crypt but said nothing. Nor did he speak as he set about sliding the stones away from the heretofore secret entrance to the thing. Once the last stone was out of the way, though, Nyx gestured to the hole in the wall… “After you, arwenamin,” he winked, “that way you can be sure I’ll not try and take your head as you crawl in behind me, yes?”
Posted on 2009-12-01 at 22:21:55.
Edited on 2009-12-01 at 22:23:11 by Eol Fefalas
Topic: Loaded Dice #35: A Dead End...
"...reminded me of Eol..."
Awww shucks! I wish I was that goodlookin'.
Posted on 2009-12-01 at 16:04:33.
Topic: The Fates of Fortune
Subject: Elves! More trouble than they're worth!
Drasnia's North Side
The way that Vadim Dmitrova squinted against the sunlight that filtered in through the windows of his parlor as he entered made it obvious that the tavern-proprietor/information-broker/underworld kingpin was unaccustomed to accepting visitors or doing business before noon. That the squinting only served to etch the scowl of annoyance even deeper into his features made it more than obvious that he was not at all happy at having been roused from his bed before noon to attend either. And the fact that Dmitrova had made Toscani wait whilst he sent servants to fetch two of his advisors before making his appearance made it abundantly clear that he was expecting business of the worst sort...
“What is this all about, Captain,” Dmitrova demanded as he finally strode into the chamber with his men in tow, “We’ve done business for long enough for you to be aware of my schedule, have we not? I dislike being even gently roused before noon, let alone being ordered to entertain guests… ”
“And you know how I dislike to be kept waiting, Vadim,” Erik Toscani glowered, fingering the hilt of his sword as the Hellkite Lord situated himself in a high-backed chair behind an ornately carved desk of some exotic hardwood that he would have difficulty in naming, “and loathe being spoken to as if I am beneath you.
The purpose of my visit is not to remind you of our respective positions but I will happily remind you if necessary. I’m sure the Syndicate would waste no time in finding a replacement for you, should you be arrested and tried for the crimes you have committed... perhaps even a replacement not so deluded by his presumed status as to pay respect where it is deserved!”
Toscani’s rebuke churned a current of anger and, had the man not been the Captain of the Imperial guard and, thereby, the chief law enforcement officer in Drasnia, Dmitrova would have likely had the man tossed out or worse. As it stood, though, Toscani was right…
The Hellkite Syndicate, unlike organizations such as the Nightcloaks and Sea Snakes, held a secret modicum of respect where the Imperial government and nobility were concerned and were viewed as an almost necessary evil which could just as often be found working for the Empire as trying to skirt it’s laws. If a noble wanted an assassination done, they came to the Syndicate with the contract; if the Empire could not bully some idealistic rabble-rouser or rebel into submission the Hellkites were employed to make him disappear; and, in exchange for these “legitimate services” a blind-eye was turned to the more underhanded dealings of the organization. Even though Vadim headed one of the largest chapters of the Syndicate in the Empire, his power wasn’t such that, if Toscani arrested him, any of the others would bemoan or even protest his loss. The intricacies of the relationship between the Empire and the Hellkites made it far from profitable to bicker over a single warm body that could be easily and effectively replaced following a short war of succession that would boil up within the Syndicate before the noose was cinched on Dmitrova’s neck.
“Heh,” Dmitrova smiled a placating smile, lifting his hands in a similar gesture before rubbing them against his eyes, “Forgive me, Erik. I know that you would not be here were it not of the utmost importance, of course. I’m still groggy, still tired, and your untimely arrival having pulled me away from the wenches who made me so has…” He offered a vaguely sheepish smile and a shrug rather than give voice to the words ‘pissed me off.
“What is it, then, that brings the Captain of the Guard himself to my abode at this early hour?”
Toscani rolled his eyes but seemed to accept Dmitrova’s apology and a bit of the offense he had taken with the other man waned from his expression. He eyed the weasel-faced man who stood to the left of Vadim and then the porcine visage of the blond-haired easterner who flanked the right before finally moving to stand behind rather than sit in the chair in which the crimelord’s guests were typically expected to occupy. “One of my men was found murdered this morning along the River’s Mouth Market. There were no witnesses, though a fruit-seller did mention that my legionnaire had rousted a grass-eating point-ear from in front of his stall not long before,” he said flatly, watching as Dmitrova’s eyes ticked incredulously to the weasel and the weasel offered a scant nod of certification. The market was understood to be part of the border between territories of the Hellkites and the wharf-side stretches that had been ceded to the Sea Snakes; the exchange between Dmitrova and his man, just then, was enough to tell Toscani that Vadim hadn’t sanctioned Negodiev’s killing.
“Furthermore,” the Guard Captain continued only after Dmitrova’s gaze returned to him, “not three hours ago, “Lady Evines and her youngest son were both beheaded and laid open in the middle of Processional Way…”
Dmitrova’s eyes went wide at that. A killing on the main thoroughfare of the Imperial Quarter was unheard of even on the darkest, most moonless of nights in Drasnia let alone in the light of day… and for the victims to have been a noblewoman and her young child?! Even Dmitrova’s typically stoic advisors looked shocked; neither had even the faintest of nods with which to answer their leader’s questioning glances.
“We have numerous, reputable witnesses to those murders,” Toscani said, still watching Dmitrova and his men for even the faintest sign of there foreknowledge of the event, “some of them, too, suffered serious injuries as the crazed, yellow-eyed bunny-humper who is reported to have committed the atrocity, made his escape…”
Dmitrova’s lips were drawn in a tight line beneath his neatly combed mustaches as, resting his elbows on the desk; he leaned forward, sighed softly, and rubbed at his temples before lifting his gaze to Toscani. “Surely, Captain,” the crimelord intoned, “you do not think that any of my people had anything to do with either of these?”
Toscani shrugged, evoking a faint squeak and clatter from his elaborately worked cuirass, as he moved away from the chair behind which he had been standing and peered out the drapery hung window. “You do have the habit of employing those of questionable stock, Dmitrova,” he said matter-of-factly, lifting a hand to stay any protest that the other man may be inclined to make before it could be spoken, “but, you also tend to maintain apt control of them… So, no, Vadim, for both our sakes, I should hope that our investigations will not lead back to you.” The Guard Captain turned from the window and, again, after his eyes flicked between the two men flanking him, fixed Dmitrova with a meaningful look; “I also know, even if your people are not involved, these sorts of things rarely escape your attention and that you often are able to glean information in their regard quicker even than my own investigators. My purpose here is to ascertain that you’ll not withhold any such information should it be discovered.”
“Of course not, Erik,” Dmitrova assured, adjusting the deep violet lapels of his heavy robe as he rose from his seat and came around the desk, “Should I gain any details, I’ll most assuredly send a messenger to you within minutes of my learning them.”
“Good,” Toscani nodded, taking up his helmet and cradling it under his arm as, flanked by the Hellkite Lord, he made for the parlor door, “There is blood running in my streets, Dmitrova, spilled, apparently, by some mad, slant-eyed, piece of dung, and I’ll have little tolerance with the Syndicate or any others should it continue…”
“Of course, of course,” Vadim replied, hauling the door open and beckoning an awaiting servant to escort the Captain out, “Such things are bad for my business, as well, I assure you. I’ll set men on the situation before I have dressed.”
“See that you do.”
Dmitrova bent at the waist in a shallow bow of acquiescence and, as the slave ushered Toscani along the corridor, shut the door and turned a querulous eye on DiLucci and Czegel…
“Shyndyn,” they chorused without hesitation.
His scowl articulated both anger and, even though the name had also come to his mind at Toscani’s first mention of a yellow-eyed elf, refutation. “You know this for a fact,” he demanded of his lieutenants as he stomped back toward the desk…
“No sir,” the weasel faced DiLucci answered, “but what other could be so brazen?”
“He and C-C-Cayrimsa are supp-p-p-posed to be working in the Imperial Q-q-quarter, as well,” Czegel added, his jowls flapping as he stammered over the words.
“Working surveillance,” Vadim snapped, banging a fist on the desktop, “not wetwork! Those two are no longer freelancers that we can deny connection to should they fail their tasks! They’re full members and, as such, should know better than to operate outside the constraints of their assignments!”
“To the witch, that membership may mean something, Vadim,” DiLucci snorted, “but to the mith’ganni?” He shrugged his narrow shoulders and pursed his lips.
“Yes, I know… It means as much to him as the ‘paltry advances,’” Dmitrova waved a dismissive hand and reached for the bottle of wine that occupied a spot on one of the room’s bookshelves, “He told me as much when they returned with Thanald’s head.”
“A task from which he was never intended to return, if I may add,” DiLucci murmured.
“You may not,” Dmitrova grumbled before tipping the bottle and taking a swallow. “Loyalty aside, Nyx has always been a consummate professional. Even when he was but a freelancer, I could expect that arrogant son-of-a-bitch to do the jobs he was given cleanly and quietly…”
Czegel’s fleshy cheeks wobbled even before he stammered out his own interjection; “N-n-nyx was d-d-d-angerous and unstable, even then sir, as Lucio a-a-and I b-b-both tried to tell you, and he’s be-b-b-ecome even more so, since…”
“Which is why I pair him with another, so often, Anatoli!” Another exacerbated pull from the bottle found Dmitrova flopping back down into his chair and staring out the window on the opposite wall. “What news from he and Cayrimsa,” he asked after a moment.
“None, sir. Though we expect a report from them by tonight.”
“And from their shadows?”
“L-l-ost them not l-l-long after they left the Hydra’s B-b-reath, I’m af-f-fraid. B-both Enlo and Styer said th-th-that they witnessed a disag-g-greement between the two b-b-ut know little else.”
“Unacceptable,” Dmitrova shook his head and took one more draught from the wine bottle before setting it aside on his desk, “Find them. I want eyes on the both of them before their report is due…”
“Yes sir,” the advisors responded in unison, both of them breaking their positions and heading for the exit. They were already murmuring among themselves, coordinating their efforts before those efforts were undertaken, their strides emoting their purpose, but both men’s jaws clamped tightly shut and they stopped cold in their tracks when their Captain added another task to their list.
“…And fetch me Tselika.”
“A-a-a-re you sure that will be n-ne-necessary, Captain?”
“A-a-re you sure it won’t, Toli,” Vadim mocked, his irritation already eating away at his usual patience with the man’s speech impediment, “I am not! Send for her immediately. I want her at the Hydra’s Breath before supper!”
DiLucci smiled faintly, exchanging a look with his tubby compatriot before nodding to Dmitrova. “It will be done, sir,” he said, bowing in concert with Czegel, “She will be briefed and awaiting your arrival.” Without another word, the lieutenants turned and, falling back into their murmurings, disappeared from the room.
“Bah,” Dmitrova fumed, snatching up the wine bottle again and pouring a healthy bit of it down his throat… It wasn’t as sweet as it was supposed to be, he noticed, and left a taste of vinegar in his mouth… much like Shyndyn…
“BAAAAAAAGH!!!” As the Hellkite Captain exploded from his seat in a rage, he hurled his precious bottle across the room and, knowing that he couldn’t flip the desk over, took some comfort in angrily sweeping everything from it’s gold-inlayed top before storming out of the parlor.
Posted on 2009-12-01 at 15:59:30.
Edited on 2009-12-19 at 22:58:12 by Eol Fefalas
Topic: Corrupt a wish
You have a working lightsaber; however, in teaching yourself to use it properly have cut off both of your hands and one of your legs... and, since cybernetic replacements aren't quite in the vein of Star Wars tech... well, have fun with that saber Darth Hopalong!
I wish I could write posts as quickly as I think them.
Posted on 2009-11-30 at 22:25:13.
Topic: The One Word Game
Posted on 2009-11-30 at 22:21:22.
Topic: Confusion regarding spell lists
...Grugg can find it first.
Go, sonny-boy, go... with yer Gruggalicious self...
Posted on 2009-11-30 at 21:02:02.
Topic: Confusion regarding spell lists
Subject: A little help, maybe... very little...
In any experience I've ever had, 0-level spells equivocate to cantrips (just small, little, "I-learned-these first" parlor tricks and such)... I know I've seen 0-lvl spell lists somewhere before... just can't recall where, atm... I'll prowl and see what I can come up with for ya, though.
Posted on 2009-11-30 at 20:51:33.
Topic: Favorite Non-Standard RPG
Subject: I concur...
If Shadowrun is non-standard, I have to agree that it was one of the funnest RPGs I've played... Lots of RP potential along with guns and magic and all out fraggin' drek!
Also, Cortex... Firefly/Serenity RPG was great fun and, having glanced at the Supernatural RPG which uses the same system, can make the prediciton that it'd be a hoot to play as well... Guess that Cortex is probably the most versatile/adaptable "non-standard" systems I've ever seen...
Posted on 2009-11-30 at 16:22:46.
Topic: Woohoo! I hit 1000!
And, no, there's no "company loyalty gift" once you get to 1000 posts... We can have your ban-hammer refurbished and detailed, though... Perhaps a nice electrum plating?
Posted on 2009-11-29 at 17:11:09.
Topic: The Fates of Fortune
Subject: You will be the death of me, won't you?
“…I lost my patience with your kind decades ago, Nyx.”
As I’ve been trying to tell you, the voice murmured, As she has repeatedly told you. Will not love you… Cannot love you… a faint chuckle, Cannot, twould seem, stand the very thought of you…
“Got enough stuff there,” asked Cay, arching a brow at him before turning and striding off without awaiting his reply.
“Only that which may be needed,” he smirked, pulling his cloak around him as he set off behind her, “and I have sacrificed more than half of my blades for the weight… not all of us are able to fling crockery with a twitch of our fingers, woman.”
Does not even hear you…
Work, Shyndyn… Just work…
As they progressed from the cemetery and into the Imperial Quarter, the mith’ganni made sure that he stayed a couple of steps behind and just to the left of the suitably attired sorceress. Should any round-ear manage to pick out his race from within the depths of his cowl as he and Cay worked their way through the richly cobbled streets of Drasnia’s cradle of nobility, Nyx could simply profess to be a slave of the woman he now shadowed at an appropriate distance. The dress was almost certainly out of fashion with what women of the Empire kept to these days and definitely not in the state of repair that the privileged breeders would likely have a contingent of servants to maintain but, dressed the way she was, Cayrimsa could definitely pass for a gypsy seer from Bilhemore East who regularly drifted through Port Drasnia…
As if she could pretend to be anything other than angry…
…Those women were far from nobility but they did owe a large portion of the wealth they had to the Braudian nobles who so eagerly sought their counsel on matters ranging from love and lust to political aspirations and bargains with spirits. As such, these Bilhemorite gypsies were neither an all together uncommon sight in the upper-class districts of Drasnia nor was it uncommon for them to be accompanied by a slave or two…
That game she might play… would likely enjoy, as well, I would think, to have you as her dog… though, she would just as likely enjoy watching all these stinking short-lives descend on you like the ravenous wolves they are… smile while they strung you up with your own rope and…
Nyx’s gaze broke from its scrutiny of the streets ahead and the people that had begun to fill them and regarded Cay for a long moment when he heard her stomach growl. Regretting tossing that orange into the bay, yes, he smirked in the depths of his cowl and, at the same time, found himself thinking, I would get her something to eat were it a servant’s place to pick and choose for his Mistress…
Mistress is it, now?
Yes, Nyx grumbled in reply, forcing his eyes from their overlong study of the sunlight in Cay’s hair, It has to be in order for us to maintain appearances amongst these edanea…
You still assume she is even concerned with those appearances, mith’ganni, or that she’ll even lower herself to play along with anything born of your mind.
Cay will play along should it come to that, Nyx answered confidently, She is impetuous but still professional. At the very least, she would not chance her status in the paching Hellkites by failing an assignment for no other than riding herself of me…
Cay’s had stopped and, playing his part by maintaining a respectful distance from his Mistress, so did Nyx. Making sure to stay true to the role, he bowed his head and regarded his feet as was the custom for an attending slave in such circumstances. He hadn’t truly noticed what had caused her sudden halt, though…
Not for that reason, perhaps, but this looks interesting…
“…You insolent point eared hussy! My son did nothing wrong, it was you who tried to walk right over him. You could have nearly killed him! Apologize to my son or I’ll drag your low-born slant eyes back to your master and let him whip you in front of your tree hugging whore of a mother, that is if she can even be found, likely she is too busy spreading herself for some dwarven scum near the docks!”
…A spark of hot hatred ignited in the base of his skull as he heard the words and felt the tone of the human woman’s words. Nyx’s narrowing eyes lifted a bit, fixing on Cayrimsa, the breeder woman, and the little, monkey-faced brat who clung to her ample skirts. In all of that, Nyx knew, Cay would take being called a point-ear as the most offensive bit and, judging from the way her face was contorted in a grimace of pure rage, would certainly be goaded into lashing out…
I don’t think she is going to play your game, Nyx, the voice snickered, and, I’d wager, if you continue to play it, she’ll get the both of you killed…
“Master!? I’m a free woman and not an elf. I will not apologize,” Cayrimsa snarled in response…
She is doing well, Nyx thought, Whether she realizes it or not. Cay’s indignant reaction might be expected of a fortune-teller summoned to one of the sprawling estates hereabout and the last bit of her retort to the breeder-woman almost drew a smile from the assassin.
“…As for my mother, you should ask your husband, for humans can be found buried inside an elf more often than dwarves can. Perhaps that is because under all of those dresses and makeup you are nothing but a shapeless hag who is incapable of bringing a man to arousal!”
Prien’s condescending laughter rang in Nyx’s head, though, when, instead of turn from her and storm away in annoyance as a Bilhemorite gypsy might have, Cay advanced on the woman. Is it not just as I said, the voice harped, Leave her now, Nyx… the guards will have her by the time you’ve reached Bolstoii’s and…
“Naa rashwe?” Nyx asked as he suddenly strode forward.
One alabaster hand slithered from beneath his cloak and rested gently but very briefly on Cay’s shoulder, the other moved beneath the raven-colored cloak and sought out the hilt of a blade. His eyes regarded Cay first as he interposed himself between her and the human; the unspoken message in them flashing a mix of warning and, perhaps, irritation. “You should continue on to your appointment, arwen en amin,” he suggested to the witch, his tone respectful and humble, “Lord Styopa has been known to withhold fees should his daughter’s reading not be made on time, yes? If this gentlelady requires recompense for some slight that only my negligence could have caused, I shall meet it out so my Mistress is not tardy for her appointment, yes?”
Cautionary and annoyed undertones aside, Nyx’s glare, without a doubt, suggested to Cay that she go… Now!… and get to the job at hand, before he finally released her gaze and turned his on the human woman and her skirt-climbing progeny.
The mith’ganni’s eyes glinted wickedly as they slithered over the slitch and her runt and a vicious smile gleamed from within the dark of the hood that shadowed his pale face. “And you, m’lady,” he hissed at the human after a moment long enough for Cay to have bristled at his intrusion and, then, deigning to play the role he had just thrust upon her for the sake of her assignment, turn her eyes, at least, back in the direction of the Bolstoii’s, “have greatly insulted, my Mistress. While she is as beautiful – may she forgive me for saying so – as any of the women of my kind that I have ever seen, she most assuredly is not an elf. It was a great affront to my Mistress for you to have accused her of being… how is it you say?... a low-born slant-eye.
As for the boy… My Mistress would never kill such a precious child…”
It was the human woman’s turn to look indignant… how dare an elf reprimand her?! She opened her mouth to either deliver a further tongue-lashing to either the horse-f***ing mith’ganni bodyguard or his now retreating “Mistress” but a slender, ashen, and very-cold finger pressed to her lips and pinned them to her teeth. Her eyes went wide in disgust and disbelief when it occurred to her that, not only had the elf spoken above his station but had also committed the crime of laying his filthy hands on her…
“Shhh,” Nyx whispered, leaning closer in to the woman – Cayrimsa’s footsteps now all but whispered away in his hearing – as the kukri slid from beneath his cloak, “Being the point-eared piece of gutter-trash that I am, though, m’lady, I will kill your teat-sucking spawn… I shall even allow you to watch before I cut your thread, as well, yes?”
The crimson of anger drained from the woman’s face, then, and as the mith’ganni’s blade spun in its first terrible arc, was perhaps even paler than that of the elf that had just decapitated her son…
Nyx wondered if Cay was yet close enough to hear the choir of screams that had begun to swell in the streets… Hopefully, she was already at the Bolstoii manse and long forgotten in the minds of those that had witnessed and would be lucky enough to survive this…
Posted on 2009-11-29 at 05:48:45.
Edited on 2009-11-29 at 06:08:45 by Eol Fefalas
Topic: The One Word Game
Posted on 2009-11-27 at 21:59:29.
Topic: The One Word Game
Subject: lives in...
Posted on 2009-11-27 at 18:17:36.
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