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You are here: Home --> Forum Home --> Creativity Forum --> Personal Creations --> The Fates of Fortune
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GM for this game: Merideth
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Eol Fefalas
Turning Capashanese
RDI Staff
Karma: 447/28
7281 Posts


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 Negodiaev 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 DiLucci 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…

“Password.”

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-looking 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 Etellenya…

“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 2018-11-20 at 11:01:40 by Eol Fefalas

Eol Fefalas
Turning Capashanese
RDI Staff
Karma: 447/28
7281 Posts


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…”

Uncomfortable?

“…ill advised.”

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 its 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, its 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 2018-11-20 at 11:03:53 by Eol Fefalas

Merideth
Muse-i-licious
RDI Staff
Karma: 177/13
3127 Posts


A Report

There is a flurry of purple material that rushes into the room, blazing amber eyes floating above it. “Where is my partner!? You sent these gorillas to bring me here to ask me about Nyx!? Get them off me!”

“Are you going to behave yourself this time Cayrimsa?” 

She responds with a curt nod of her head.

“Well if you promise to behave yourself…” Dmitrova nods to the two men who have got her by the elbows and they let go. “But boys, stick around in case the witch changes her mind.”

The dark muscle gives Cay a wicked grin as he steps back a few feet and positions himself between Cay and the door, while the tall thinner man in the grey robes simply wanders to the corner of the room and keeps his eyes on the woman in purple. She shakes her arms out as they let go and she smoothes out her dress some before glaring at Dmitrova.

“Good… now as for Nyx… if you find him you let me know. I haven’t seen him since last night. Apparently he felt I owed him something for backing me up when I was here last, or else he got me confused with one of his horses. Tried to take me in some alley after we left here!” She touched the bloom on her cheek, “Got in a few good hits before I managed to get a spell out on him and he ran off with that tail tucked between his legs. Haven’t seen him since. Which is good for him as I have plans to start hewing body parts from him starting with his ears and working my way to his toes… I imagine about midway through he’ll be screaming for me to stop. I don’t know what this is all about! And I don’t think I care. I’ve done my job and I was on my way here to report to you, when your thugs drug me here. I don’t appreciate being handled like this Dmitrova, especially not when I’ve been doing exactly what you told me to!” 

“So you don’t know where Nyx is or what he has been doing all day?”

“I said no didn’t I? Are you deaf!?”

Dmitrova rises up and pushes his large frame into Cayrimsa’s personal space.

“Have you forgotten your place already Cayrimsa?!” he glowers over her. Tselika leans forward a bit fingering the short sword on her belt anxiously.

“You start dressing up like an elf and forget that you have sworn an allegiance to me? To the Hellkites?”

Her fist tightens and she takes in a deep breath. “No sir. I haven’t. I simply don’t understand why you keep bringing up Nyx. I have information that I’d imagine is much more interesting than that festering pile of hwandi.”

“Then what is your report Cay?”

“I spent the afternoon cooped up in the Bolstoii barn. I was not certain I would get anything, the murder this morning put everyone into turmoil.”

“You know something about the murder?”

“Know something? By the Gods… I know more than you would imagine. Kharinya is sleeping with the murderer.” She watches as Dmitrova’s face contorts into confusion and then nearly shock.

“You heard me. His name is Aelion. He’s a slave in her father’s household, takes care of the horses. He poisoned Lady Olsta a few days ago, sounded like it was an accident, that he meant to kill Senator Olsta instead. He is using a trip to get a horse for Styopa as his alibi… was on his way back when he ran into a woman on the street who remembered seeing him near the Olsta estate the night of the murder. Seems he panicked and killed her and her child. He admitted this all to Kharinya. She’s going to try and help him out of town tomorrow.”



Posted on 2009-12-08 at 02:55:24.
Edited on 2018-11-20 at 11:04:34 by Eol Fefalas

Eol Fefalas
Turning Capashanese
RDI Staff
Karma: 447/28
7281 Posts


Hmmm...

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.
Edited on 2018-11-20 at 11:05:50 by Eol Fefalas

Merideth
Muse-i-licious
RDI Staff
Karma: 177/13
3127 Posts


Ohhh.... a drink!

“Yes sir…” her chin rising in the air a hair as she said it and then spun out of the room. The passive protest hanging over the door fluttering against the purple of her skirts as she stalked out. She had a gray shadow she noticed as she moved up into the main rooms of the Hydra.

A drink… yes… a drink sounds wonderful right now. she mused to herself as she wandered over to the bar. The shadow found his way to a table near the main entrance, positioning himself out in the open letting her know where he was and what he blocked from her. A snarl curled at her lips and she slammed a coin onto the bar top.

“Something hard and dark!” her voice hit Ruun’s back while he was attending another customer down the way.

Immediately the barkeep’s face turned sour and after pausing to give an apology to the guest he had been speaking to turned around. “You know Cay… just because you’ve got a cut on your hand doesn’t give you the right…” he stopped as he took in the specter that had spoken with Cay’s vocals. A tall woman wearing a purple dress that hugged in all the right places and a face that was finely chiseled and not veiled in dark shadows. “to… boss me around.” He finished without the same bite he had begun with.

Keeping his eyes on her he pours her a mug and sets it before her. “You clean up rather well if I might say so myself.”

“Shove it Ruun, I’m not tipping you.” Her fingers curl around the handle of the mug and she turns around giving him the subtle curve of her back as she leans against the bar and begins to nurse her drink. Across the bar her shadow tips her a smile.

Mouse. Prior to this afternoon she knew him only by reputation. When she rounded the corner and saw his grey personage crouched under the ‘Vergal Sea Port’ sign however she knew the day had taken an even further turn for the worse.

”Ah sheit!” she murmured under her breath. “Fires of hell that pale pointy eared bastard will be the death of me!”

And yet you haven’t rid yourself of him, in fact you are planning on lying to the Hellkites to save his pale ass… so very interesting…

“Not in the mood right now…” grimaced through her teeth.

Pulling herself together she stepped out of the shadows and toward the skeleton stairs that led to her apartment.

“Cayrimsa?” The muscle spoke first, stepping forward to keep her from the stairs, his voice held a bit of apprehension to it though.

“Well… a Cayrimsa lives here, I’m trying to go upstairs… yeah I think I’m Cayrimsa at least that is what logic would suggest, then again I’d imagine you don’t have much of a brain under that thick skull of yours. What do you want?” Her eyes tried to keep both of the men in her view, the muscle was a worry, but the man in grey bothered her more.

“It ain’t what I want. It’s what my boss wants… Dmitrova wants to see you.”

Her eyes narrowed into slits. “I’m on my way there now, I just wanted to change before I went.”

“Perhaps my friend here was not clear… Dmitrova wants to see you now.” Mouse came into her field of vision. His accent was strange, clear but languid. Each word stretched over the skeletal knobs of consonants like sugary fondant.

“Well if you would let me pass I’ll go change and be there in a moment.” Without waiting for their agreement she moved to push past the muscle and toward her stairs. His hand fell on her arm.

“Don’t touch me!” she shrieked before spilling out the spell that she had worked on Nyx not long ago. The muscle leaped back and clutched his arm in his good hand.

“Ack! Mouse! The bitch just bit me! She bit me!”

“Idiot! She didn’t bite you. She shocked you. Do your job…”

“You do yours…” the muscle spat back at Mouse still rubbing his arm.

“Fine.” The wand came out from a fold in his robes and Cay found herself staring down the end of it. “Now then witch… are we going to have any further problems out of you?”

In typical Cay fashion a blob of spit launched at his toes became her answer. From her side the muscle grabbed her arm again and held it fast this time. The three of them began rather noisy trip back to the Hydra’s Breath. Every spell she attempted to cast was countered by that wand.

Mouse. She had little respect for the man who had no panache with his magic. He casted with rote memorization and because of his position within the Hellkites his spellbook was loaded with boring spells designed only to castrate those like herself. So Vadim had called in the mohawk woman to handle Nyx, and Mouse to handle her.

She smiled down into her reflection.

Glad to see he is worried enough about me to call in Mouse. Worried about us.

Her amber eyes dissolved in the thick ripples she created when she took a drink of the heavy ale.

Using that word again Cay. Us… We…

So?

Just point it out. It’s always been I.

I think we will work well together. He seems to almost predict what I’m going to do sometimes. He didn’t scoff at this scheme I concocted. He saved my ass.

He’s an elf… a full blooded mith’ganni at that…


The ripples died down and she stared into her eyes again, noting the way they curved slightly toward her temples.

How far are you willing to go? You are lying to Hellkites already. If they find him… how much do you trust him and his twilight blood? Think he will keep to the story you wove with him? Or will he crack like his kind always do? Confess not only his own sins but take you down with him… he could. All he has to do is explain what he did, and why he did it… Dmitrova will know you are full of s***. Mouse will be on you before you can even squirm and everything you’ve worked for will be gone in an instant.

The smile she had toyed with a moment ago fell into her ale. Quietly she whispered, “He’s not like the others… I’ve seen that…”

The admission turned her stomach and under the watchful gaze of Mouse she found her way to a table near the edge of the room, where the shadows clung to the walls and she could hide the torment on her face. Reflected out of her mug the way Nyx was pulling at her emotions played out before her.



Posted on 2009-12-08 at 18:40:56.
Edited on 2018-11-20 at 11:07:20 by Eol Fefalas

Eol Fefalas
Turning Capashanese
RDI Staff
Karma: 447/28
7281 Posts


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 on 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 hard 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.”

“She would…”

“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.
Edited on 2018-11-20 at 11:10:19 by Eol Fefalas

Merideth
Muse-i-licious
RDI Staff
Karma: 177/13
3127 Posts


He didn't betray me...

“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.

Out in the bar Cay was on her second drink, her eyes swirled in the foam that danced on the dark surface of it. She was starting to feel a bit fuzzy from it, drinking was something she did not do often so into her second drink the liquor was already tingling at her nerve endings. She had watched as the mohawk woman walked in with her muscle carrying a bundle into the bar. The rest of the room had begun to whisper about its contents. Cay did not join in, she knew who was in that bundled cloak. It churned her stomach and made her take another long swig from her glass.

Not like the others? Got himself caught pretty quickly didn’t he? Typical elf

A few minutes later a hand slammed down onto her table and her eyes bounced up to one of the muscles who carried Nyx in. “Dmitrova wants you.”

“Again?” she sighed. The last inch of her drink disappeared down her throat and she stood up to follow the man into the back room again, noting that her shadow stayed on her as she went. The door closed behind her and her shadow. Dmitrova sneered something at her to which she simply nodded silently to. Her eyes were fixed on Nyx. 

Like the fish that slowly rotted beneath her home his pale limp body hung from a hook hanging off a rafter. Purple badges of his violent life stood out in the dim light of the room. Under them was the firm well-toned body of a male elf in his prime. The smoldering fires in her eyes narrowed on the sight, the anger she felt was real enough although where it was that she wished to direct it was as fuzzy as her head right now. The sight made her sick, so soon after she had determined that Nyx was not like other elves he had allowed himself to be strung up like some slave. Dmitrova also made her sick though, gloating in his triumph over Nyx when it should likely be the other way around.

Quietly she watched as Nyx came around, fluttering into consciousness then thrashing against his bindings before finally laughing.

“New protocol for summoning me, is it, Vadim,” he snickered.

Cay returned her fingernails to the wound in her palm, digging into it silently. Nyx swung before her back and forth slowly.

“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?”

A smirk and a slight laugh escaped from Cay, but with what happened next it was only Mouse who noted it. In a flurry of activity that Cay struggled to comprehend in her current state, the assassin woman rose up to attack Nyx and was pulled back by the man who had collected Cay from the bar. As she was thrust into a chair Cay let her eyes fall back on Nyx, noting the blood that ran down his leg and the dark bruise rising on his cheek while he swung wildly on his hook now. For a moment his yellow eyes met hers, and she took a breath.

“Oh,” he grinned almost wickedly, “hello, Cay. I might have expected you to be here…”

As soon as his eyes swung away hers turned into little slits again. “Rot in Hell hwandi!” 

“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.”

“She would…”

“Elven scum!” Cay shouted at that and stepped closer, lobbing her own spit onto his toes. “Ten minutes Dmitrova… give me ten minutes with him please… I’ll bring you the pieces when I’m done!” 

A glare moved over the witch from Dmitrova and behind her Mouse smiled. “Cay, back down.”

Glowering she dropped her eyes to the floor and snapped her lips shut. As her eyes fell to his feet she caught sight of a scar pressed into his ashen rump, it was circular, a crude fist smashing into an intricate elven knot. The symbol was familiar to her even when it was so poorly branded into flesh. 

My my Nyx… you’ve had an interesting life haven’t you?

“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…”

Soon enough the room was vacant save for her and Mouse. 

“Not going to go join in the fun?” her skirts billowed out around her legs some as she plopped into a chair.

“Not my kind of party” The fondant cooed from his position near the door.

“Yeah…” the fires rolled in her head and she leaned back fully in her chair falling silent.

Through the walls that separated her and Nyx now she began to hear screams echoing. Closing her eyes tightly she kept her fist drawn up. Her heartbeat made time with his screams, bringing back the memory of how his pulse had throbbed through his veins earlier, how it must be coursing through his battered body now. In silence she waited it out, trying to keep her breathing as level as she could knowing that her every twitch was being watched and recorded by Mouse across the room. 

Let him guess at what is going on through my thoughts. I think I would even have to guess at this point

Instead of thinking she tried to give into the pain that started in her palm and spread up her arm, tried to imagine that the chorus in the next room was not Nyx, was not being done in order to save her own reputation and skin from the same fate. The minutes passed and the noises grew worse, her heart beat continued to speed along with his, the blood spilled over her palm as it spilled down his body.

When the door finally opened again to allow the muscle to walk in she jumped out of her seat. Her heart catching in her throat as her eyes opened and she looked at the figure in the doorway.

“You’re free to go Cay. Keep with your assignment and make another report tomorrow.”

Free to go? He didn’t betray me then? Despite all the screams? Despite what they’ve done to him? He didn’t betray me...

He didn’t betray me…
 

The voice went on in her head, but outside she kept her cool, kept up the act same as him. If Nyx could keep his cool under the pressure he was facing, she would keep hers.

“And him?” she cocked her chin toward where the screams were still coming. “I don’t get a chance with him?”

“No… Dmitrova isn’t done with him yet. I think he plans to keep you two working together though, so you’ll get your chance. Unless Tselika gets to him first that is.” He laughed.

“Tell Dmitrova I’ll come back on my own tomorrow.” Her voice cold as she left the room. 

The streets were still cloaked in darkness when she left the Hydra’s Breath. A few more hours and daylight would chance across the ripples of the sea once more, but for now the darkness still held sway. At this early hour there were few out and she moved confidently toward her goal.

Where to now Cay?

Don’t make me say it… you know full well where I am off to…

Be careful though…


She paused and out of the corner of her vision noticed the flutter of grey that paused with her.

“Mouse…” she sighed and made a quick examination of her surroundings. The darkness was in her favor, but little else was. The crowds she could easily loose herself in were gone for the day, no mists clung in the alleys. A few other figures moved about around her: a noisy drunken couple stumbling toward a tavern, two men in dark cloaks and a group of three or four women narrowing in on the two men. A smile curled across her lips before she flitted over to the women. 

The first one that caught her eye was a middle aged human, her smile was sans a few teeth and Cay could almost see the dirt that collected in her wrinkles under the layer of heavy makeup. 

“Lookin’ fer sometin’ nice?” The woman scooted up close to Cay.

“Hardly… not for me no. The man in the grey robes behind me. My boss, he wants something nice. I’m just here to set it up.”

The woman leaned sideways a bit to get a look at who Cay was talking about. “ohhhh… well... in dat case… 30”

Cay laughed, “30? For you? For 30 I could get a nice girl with all her teeth to suck on it…” with a flip of her head she started to walk away.

A hand reached out for her, “20… an I’ll do whate’er he like”

“17”

“Drive a hard deal der miss…”

“17”

“A’ight… 17…” The hand went palm up and Cay fished a few coins out of her pocket and slapped them in the woman’s palm. 

“Be persistent, he likes to be seduced.” Cay winked then started to walk off. 

* * * 

Half an hour later she stared down at the stone that hid the entrance to his crypt. In her arms she carried a bundle she had put together at a tavern along the way, with enough money you can get just about whatever you would like at a tavern it turned out. The stone standing in its proper place confirmed that Nyx had not been nabbed here and that this was still a safe place to come, and that Nyx would then return to it again. 

So she moved the stone and left it slightly out of place purposefully before taking herself and her bundle inside. Once again she went about waiting for him, this time inside his lair. A candle poised on one of the pedestals lit her in the soft glow of its light. The sheet she had procured lay across her knees while she sat on the floor, it unraveled into strips under her fingers. Between strips she paused to take a swig from the bottle of wine to her left. To her right there was another bottle filled with water. 

She focused on the task she was working on and tried to tune out the voice that kept asking her what she was doing in her head.



Posted on 2009-12-09 at 03:34:51.
Edited on 2018-11-20 at 11:11:36 by Eol Fefalas

Eol Fefalas
Turning Capashanese
RDI Staff
Karma: 447/28
7281 Posts


Ow...

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 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 on 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 they 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 its 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.
Edited on 2018-11-20 at 11:13:39 by Eol Fefalas

Merideth
Muse-i-licious
RDI Staff
Karma: 177/13
3127 Posts


How very touching... no really... touching

Her eyes quickly darted up from the shreds of sheet spilled over her lap when the dark blue that had colored the hole in Nyx’s crypt was suddenly draped in black. The next moment what was left of Nyx tumbled onto the floor, his kukri first. For a moment her shock seized her. From the screams she had heard she had expected him to be in bad shape, but this… this was worse than she had been expecting. His luminescent skin reflected none of the candle’s light, and if she had not been so certain that no one else would be coming out of that hole she likely would have suspected it to be anyone but him. Only his clothing bore resemblance to the man she knew, and even that was soiled and wet.

The strips of yellowed linen fell off her lap like confetti as she lurched forward and caught in him her arms before he spilled across the hard tiled floor of the crypt. Slowly he opened the one eye that would still permit such activity and his bleary yellowed orb met her.

“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…”

Her jaw clenched a little bit as she stared down at him, so helpless in her arms right then. The dirt and grime and the elven blood that seeped from his wounds sunk into the fabric of her skirts.

“You should be glad I don’t much care for this dress… and yes… I’m sure you do want to rest. However, I think if you tried to sleep right now without having whatever was done to you tended… you might not wake up again. Not that that is an altogether bad option for either one of us right now, but I’d rather you died at my hands instead of those filthy humans. Now behave yourself, or I swear what Dmitrova and that ugly bitch did to you will only be the beginning. Do you hear me Nyx?!” she stared down into his face and gave him a good shake when she noticed his eye had fallen shut and he had not replied.

“Nyx! I said do you hear me!?” She shouted when his eye blearily tried to reopen for her.

“Yes… kaima…” he muttered weakly.

“I swear to the Gods! If I didn’t feel somewhat responsible for your condition I’d finish the job myself! Just…. Lay here will you? Not as if you are going much of anywhere like that I suppose…” the normal bite in her tone was still there, but she used surprising tenderness when she pulled herself out from under him and laid his limp frame on the ground, letting his cheek rest along the cool tiles.

She grabbed the two bottles and a handful of linen and settled down next to him.

“Alright you Gods forsaken elven rubbish, the first thing we need to do is get something down your throat, you’ll need fluids, got to replenish what you’ve leaked all over my skirt. Which by the way is worth quiet a bit more than that orange you put on my tab… not to mention how much I spent on the whore to get Mouse off my trail and all these supplies. You’re so in my debt you’ll be washing my feet like any other elven bastard for the rest of your life! Now come on, sit up a bit for me so you don’t choke to death before you can start to repay me.”

Edging her knees back under his head she slips her fingers to the nape of his neck and supports him while her other hand brings the bottle of wine to his split lips. The effort ends with him coughing and a majority of the wine spilling down his throat and into her lap, but some gets down and for what will come next the effects of the alcohol are likely going to be beneficial.

“Perfectly good waste of liquor if you ask me, but you aren’t… so then… back down you go. I guess I should first figure out where you are loosing the most blood I suppose and stop that up.”

As she starts to put him back on the ground and begin her examination his eye rolls open at her again and he groans. “Pocket… “

“Pocket? Yes you have pockets Nyx… now please…”

But she is cut short as his hand reaches up and clamps over her wrist. Again he pulls her breath from her chest and the pulse beneath the tips of his fingers quickens.

“Nyx I told you to behave!”

But the hand pulls her own closer to his chest and into the folds of his coat, guiding her fingers past the weaker beating of his own heart and to a pocket hiding in the shadowy depths. Her eyes narrow on him as she yanks her wrist away and rummages through the pocket. A moment later she holds a few of the grayish leaves up over him, they are limp and soggy but she still recognizes them as the leaves he gave her the previous night to help with the pain in her throat. She sighs and nods to him.

“I see… Well…. I’m not going to prechew them for you, I’m not a cow. Besides they seem pretty damp already. Here…” her fingers fold the leaves into a square packet and she pushes it gently between his lips, pulling her hand back and shaking it the moment his tongue presses against her fingers.

“Ehh!” The spittled fingers are drug across his shirt and for a moment she can almost swear that a smile crosses over his lips.

“Go ahead laugh all you want now, as soon as I get you healed up I’m going to kill your lily ass!”

With Nyx humming to the sweet effects of the leaves seeping into his tongue Cay restarts her examination of him. Before long she notes that the majority of the blood seeping onto the floor is from his legs, likely the wound she witnessed that mohawk woman administer.

“Of course. Going to not only make you see you naked twice tonight but now I get the honors of removing your pants this time. I hate you… I truly hate you!”

Grimacing the whole while she obligingly carries out what she intended to do tonight. His pants are removed and as quickly, and blindly, as she can she uses a strip of linen soaked in water to clean the dirt and the blood from his legs. Under it all she finds the wound he had stitched earlier, now broken open and spilling out the blood soaked herbs he had stuffed into it, and the cleaner line on his inner thigh.

When she digs out the herbs in the older wound he tenses and gasps in pain while his fingers reach down to stop her.

“Lay still you horsef***er! It’s ladled with sea scum and dirt… you want it to infect? Trust me I don’t enjoy being this close to your precious family jewels… I’ll get it done and get you patched back up as quickly as I can, now lay back!” Her hand curls around his wrist and she presses it to the ground where she then captures it under her knee, holding it still while she cleans out the wound. The same treatment is given to the other, then carefully she pulls a thread off one of the linen sheets and threads it into a needle she also picked up at the tavern.

Straining to not only keep his hands from clawing at her, but to also see in the dim candle light and tune out the groans coming from his lips she rather expertly sews up the gashes in his legs. The linen catches now and then on his tender flesh and if he had been in any shape to watch he would have noticed the grimaces that flash over her face when she pulls the thread to get it through and hears how it makes him cry out beneath her. Soon enough, though, she tears off the last bit of extra string and then binds the wounds tightly under a few strips of linen. They turn pink where they touch the wounds but the blood flow seems to have ceased.

Pleased with that work she then moves to his upper half, covering the lower with his cloak. Ever careful to support his head, especially now that his groaning and facial contortions have died down and she suspects that he has finally fully passed out on her, she removes his shirt. There had been an angry red welt on his thighs and now that she had his shirt off she noticed the others that crossed over his chest. She sighed and gently brought her fingers down upon one that crossed near his heart. She closed her eyes and felt the heat from the wound and the way his heart continued to beat just under the bones protecting it.

“You’re a damn fool Nyx Syndyn. I’m not worth all of this. You should have told Dmitrova I was a damned liar and let him string me up instead… hell you should have left town on that horse you picked out…or even better yet, walked away this morning, let me finish my battle with the human woman by having the Imperial Guards drag me off her. That’s what you should have done… that’s what everyone else has done…”

With a heavy sigh she finally opened her eyes and stared down at him.

“Well you’ll come to regret it someday I’m sure…”

The next hour she spends tending to the more minor wounds, cleaning him off until his alabaster skin glows in the soft candle light. Linen bandages are tied around many of the welts, cuts, and scrapes that adorn his body. The last leaves he had in his pocket are in his mouth now, so when she gets him mostly cleaned up she goes to the sarcophagus and pushes back the lid to go through the few items he has stashed there. She finds a few more herbs and manages to grind them with a rock and mix them with some of the wine to create a salve that she rubs into the bruises and the twisted joints.

She watches as her fingers glide over his body, rising along his muscles and falling into the cavities between them.

So strange to touch a man like this isn’t it?

“I can’t do this right now… don’t start in on me… I’m tired… I’m hungry… and I just need to get this done”

Alright… but trust me we’ll talk later…

“Don’t I know it…”

Finally she has managed to tend to most of his wounds. The light filtering in through the stained glass windows is a lighter grey now. Dawn will come soon. The candle she had been working by has burned itself into a puddle that has long since dripped over the edge of the pedestal and onto the floor. Yawning she gets a sheet she had not ripped up and his cloak.

Sitting she leans her back against the sarcophagus and pulls Nyx’s head into her lap while she adjusts the cloak and sheet around his still bare body, with him situated she closes her eyes. In the fuzzy grey light that comes just before the dawn her hand lifts up into the air and hovers over his head for a moment, a canine nibbles at her lip and then with a sigh she lowers her fingers to his brow. With his mane tangled in her rather gentle caress she joins him in sleep.

 



Posted on 2009-12-10 at 02:06:58.
Edited on 2018-11-20 at 11:14:45 by Eol Fefalas

Eol Fefalas
Turning Capashanese
RDI Staff
Karma: 447/28
7281 Posts


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 bitch 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; 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.”

…smiled.

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…

“…pocket...”

She thinks you are delirious…

Am I not?

…you will need to show her.

“…behave!”

Nyx laughed in his mind but couldn’t tell if the laughter went past his lips; No… no shape for that… here…

“I see…”

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 injuries had been 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.
Edited on 2018-11-20 at 11:17:19 by Eol Fefalas

Merideth
Muse-i-licious
RDI Staff
Karma: 177/13
3127 Posts


Morning...

Moonlight drifted down through the leaves above her. The rain that fell from the sky caught the moon beams and sparkled it across her body as it ran.

Thin white Aspen limbs stretched for her, the yellow leaves passing over her damp skin like caresses. Each time she flinched and ran harder, face into the rain. The Elms that danced between the Aspens also reached for her, but the full branches slapped against her body brutally and bounced her back toward the Aspens.

A root loomed and caught her toes as she spilled forward, falling… falling


Cay gasped as her eyes opened quickly and found herself staring into the chiseled grey eyes of a human. Her eyes blinked as she struggled to figure out where she was. The early afternoon light did not reach this place and the candle had long ago burned out and she couldn’t discern what time it was, nor where she was, only that this was not home.

“Quel amrun, Cayrimsa Etellenya,” a familiar voice drifted from above her, accompanied by the grating sound of metal on stone. “It seems I owe you a debt of thanks, yes? And, perhaps, a new dress?”

Nyx…

The memory of the past night came to her now, and she groaned as she tried to straighten up. The knots that had built up in her neck from leaning against the sarcophagus as she slept pulled tightly. Her hands rose up to the knots and she tried to sooth them out.

“Don’t remind me… You know some people believe in pillows you know? I understand you elven bastards don’t need to sleep with your trance nonsense but Gods… even to sit on. My ass is numb and cold… do you hear me? Cold!”

Standing up and arching her back the twin amber stars slid over him.

“Thanks be to Prien you got yourself dressed. I simply couldn’t bring myself to touch you again in order to get you dressed.”

The amber stars pulled off the Twilight crouched beside her and went to her dress. Stains soaked into the weaving. The side seam had also finally split which she fingered.

“Hmmm… as for my dress, it’s covered in Elven blood,” the distaste apparent in her tone, “I don’t imagine that will make it easy for us to get into the Office of Trade. I don’t happen to own anything else appropriate… I’m hungry as well. If you are feeling better, I’d like to get some food, something to wear and get on with our job.”

Deftly her fingers unclasped the shadowed cloak that was still graced over her shoulders.

“And take this back… my ass is cold, not my shoulders.”

The shadow flashed over his field of vision, beginning the day much like it began the day before.



Posted on 2009-12-13 at 04:30:34.
Edited on 2018-11-20 at 11:18:14 by Eol Fefalas

Eol Fefalas
Turning Capashanese
RDI Staff
Karma: 447/28
7281 Posts


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?”

“Well… I…”

“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?”

“A little.”

“A little?”

“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.
Edited on 2018-11-20 at 11:21:16 by Eol Fefalas

Eol Fefalas
Turning Capashanese
RDI Staff
Karma: 447/28
7281 Posts


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 being 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 ass 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 ass 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.
Edited on 2018-11-20 at 11:22:34 by Eol Fefalas

Merideth
Muse-i-licious
RDI Staff
Karma: 177/13
3127 Posts


Is that an apology?

The coins were heavy in her hand and as he turned to mess with the stones she bore her eyes into his back. Spells danced across the membranes that interlocked her mind as her fingers crushed the leather bag and its contents into her palm.

I cannot begin to understand why you would have… 

Neither can I Cay… you didn’t want to listen to me last night, but now the questions that you ignored are coming from his mouth. Why did you spend the night tending to his broken body?

Because it should have been my body…

And then spent this morning tearing him down?

I’m tired… 


Before she could spit any of the spells she had planned at him he had disappeared out of the hole. 

“I’m tired…” she whispered to herself. With a shake of her head his cloak is pulled around her shoulders again, realizing that the blood stained dress might not be such a great thing to walk around in, especially with the current state of things. The next moment she crawls out of the hole herself, taking a moment to tug the stones back into place before rising fully and scanning the necropolis for his shadowy figure. 

His back greets her again, the swing of his mane expressing the pain and agitation in his step. Grimacing she squeezes the coins again then hurries to catch up.

“Nyx! Stop…” She watched the catch in his step as her voice carried his name over the whispers of the dead. Then watched as he stopped and turned his head back toward her, those golden eyes moving over her with suspicion and annoyance (and hope? Or was that vulnerability?). 

“Nyx…” she started when they stood before each other again, only now in the dingy daylight instead of the painted shadows of the crypt.

“I’m tired and I’m sore… and it wasn’t charity.” She holds up the bag of coins, opens it and pulls out what amounts to about twenty gold, which gets pocketed, before holding it on her palm toward him.

“I still need money for a dress, and my purse is back home.” She shrugged lightly then went on. “Look…” a heavy sigh is pushed out of her chest and she drags her eyes to a nearby headstone, “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…” 

Her eyes still did not met his, instead she watched the tombstone and the way his cloak fluttered slightly against the purple of her ruined skirt. Her voice sounded tired and soft. 



Posted on 2009-12-15 at 00:56:50.
Edited on 2018-11-20 at 11:23:30 by Eol Fefalas

Eol Fefalas
Turning Capashanese
RDI Staff
Karma: 447/28
7281 Posts


An explanation... of sorts... maybe... Bah... back to work

“Nyx! Stop…”

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.
Edited on 2018-11-20 at 11:25:15 by Eol Fefalas

   


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